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Movie Review: RIDDICK

Movie Review : "Riddick"

Hollywood New Releases On September 6th, 2013
Riddick (2013)
Genre: Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Time Length: 119 min
Release Date: 6th September 2013 (USA)
Category: Hollywood New Releases
Director: David Twohy
Stars: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà

Rating: 3.0 rating (3 / 5) : Good

Summary: Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction

It took 13 years for Hollywood director David Twohy to jump from ‘Riddick-ulous’ to not so ‘Riddick-ulous’ status. And it took round about the same time for the lead actor Vin Diesel to look beyond his physique and grasp the ethics for mediocre sci-fi flick. Well, that pretty much sums up the story of the three-film series that kick started in 2000 with Pitch Black and was followed up with The Chronicles of Riddick in 2004.

The story is set far away from Riddick’s home planet Furya. The opening scene picks the story from where the curtain fell in 2004 – Riddick was tricked and thrown away to die away from Furya. Riddick (Vin Diesel) finds himself in an unconscious state on a deserted planet full of predators. But the hard-core fans would never expect Diesel to give up so easily even as he sees alien-like creatures hovering over his head pounding for flesh. And Mr. Twohy completely acknowledges the fact, never letting Riddick resign from the show.

Thus, the hero rises up again to fight back the predators and survive the battle for his life. The lead actor is dictated to plan out revenge against the alien-like hunters. Riddick, then, rises up to the challenge, devises a plan and hits back to his home planet Furya to save it. Obviously, a ruthless vengeance plan against his deceivers comes accompanied with the struggle to get back to the home planet.

For the genre of sci-fi, the flick seems passable this time as it drives back to basic elements of the genre. CGI was a positive element for the flick this time around with the makers deciding not to weigh down the film with the imagery. While The Chronicles of Riddick was bogged down with imagery, and the initial Pitch Black carried a mixture of CGI and practicality, the Riddick settled with just the right amount of imagery which also made for stunning moments at time especially when our hero fought off the first quarter with the predators.

The film does not fall short of bloodshed, mass killing and throat slittings. Nevertheless, it adds to the action thrills for the first part but becomes overwhelming as the screenplay goes further.

David Twohy, might have turned the tables around with CGI, but the pyramid fell flat when it came to the plot and dialogues. Not even the raspy voice of Diesel could pick up “Somewhere I lost my step!”

Of course, Vin Diesel’s physique, his macho appeal adds to the movie but at times it appears cheesy than real action thrill sending out fun waves to the audience. Undoubtedly, it leaves the fans of the series – which failed to be a hit – impressed but those seeking freshness in Riddick just like any other American Sci-Fi film, never mind the cheesy fun served wrapped in Diesel’s macho appeal and raspy voice.

For the final verdict, if you are still not over Fast and Furious 6 success, do not hit the theatres for this one. If you are in for some macho-ism and little cheesy fun, reserve a set for yourself in Cineplex this weekend!

Movie Review: MAN OF STEEL

Movie Review " Man of Steel"

David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan

MAN OF STEEL begins with the origin story of Superman's birth on Krypton. Unlike all the other babies on Krypton -- who are engineered by a codex to be workers, warriors, leaders, or scientists -- baby Kal-El was made the old-fashioned way, by the planet's head scientist, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), and his wife, Lara (Ayelet Zurer). During a failed coup attempt by General Zod (Michael Shannon), Jor-El is killed -- but not before his wife launches their newborn son to the distant planet Earth. Zod and his cronies are banished -- a sentence that ultimately saves the troop of villains when Krypton implodes. Fast forward to Earth, where a grown, bearded, and handsome Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is a nomad who -- as his late father, Jonathan (Kevin Costner) instructed -- hides his special powers, except for occasionally saving men from a burning oil rig or rescuing fearless investigative journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Clark finds out who he really is when he discovers an ancient Kryptonian scouting ship, but the same command key that lures his father's ghost acts a beacon for Zod and his army. When Zod's ship enters Earth's atmosphere, they demand Superman's surrender, making the caped Man of Steel reveal himself to the government and setting up a massive confrontation between Zod and Superman.

Director Zack Snyder's take on the Superman legend is seriously reverent. He strikes a tone that's lighter than Christopher Nolan's unrelentingly violent and contemplative Dark Knight trilogy but darker than the humor- and banter-filled The Avengers. Superman has always been unique among the popular superheroes: He's not a mutant or a billionaire with a penchant for vigilante justice; he's a straight-up alien who doesn't know why he's on Earth, where he came from, or what his purpose is as a lone outsider in a world of humans. Cavill is dashing and strong enough to pull off the role, and he certainly has the broodiness and the requisite Snyder-mandated six pack. But all of his self reflection, as understandable as it is, could use more levity, more spark, more of Christopher Reeve's sense of joy in the red and blue costume.

It's the more mature generation of actors in the movie who lend it its gravitas: Costner and Crowe as Superman's two fathers, both dead but still guiding and inspiring and encouraging him (literally, in the case of Jor-El and symbolically -- and via flashbacks -- in the case of Jonathan Kent). Ultimately, though, Man of Steel, like Superman II, is a face-off between Superman and his ideological nemesis, supervillain General Zod. Shannon is brilliantly cast, and despite being ruthless, actually expresses precisely why he's willing to sacrifice humanity: Protecting and ensuring the future of the Krypton people is what he was created to do, no matter what the cost. And Snyder certainly knows his way around action sequences and huge CGI set pieces, while keeping the violence much less bloody than 300. The two-and-a-half-hour movie is considerably longer than necessary, but the dramatic fight scenes will keep audiences from checking their watches. The prospect of a sequel is enticing, because now that Clark has accepted his Superman persona, there should be more fun, humor, and romance in store for the Man of Steel.

Iron Man 3: Film Review

 (4 / 5) : Very Good

 "Iron Man 3", the third installment in the franchise, will be about the terrific battle between Tony Stark aka Iron Man, and an unknown enemy whose power and reach has no boundaries.

The cast of the film includes Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley. It is directed by Shane Black.

While the film is also releasing in India and Britain on April 26, it is slated to release May 3 in the US.

 SHIELD director Nick Fury (Jackson) manages to assemble six superheroes when Loki (Hiddleston) threatens to destroy the Earth. Sadly, strong personalities don't make a good team and our superheroes fight with one another.

After a hiatus of three years, Robert Downey Jr. unleashes his familiar superhero persona again in the third installment of the blockbuster series. Although it provides the requisite dosage of adrenaline rush, the storyline also underscores the vulnerable side to the high-profile crimefighter.

It is only when everything seems lost, that our superheroes realise that alone they might be lost, confused souls, but together they become something they never thought they could be - the invincible avengers.

The film is so engaging that despite some flaws, you choose to ignore these. It is witty, smart and funny, with enough comic-book humour and elements of delight for everyone from a five-year-old to an 85-year-old.

So, everything you can imagine in a film with multiple superheroes - great action, good costume, witty writing, good subplots and most of all, the superheroes fighting one another - is there in the film. It's been designed for success and this design works like a charm.

Not one character has been given extra attention while giving enough time to establish the characters of the two who don't have a separate film yet - Black Widow and Hawk Eye.

"The Avengers" thus become a surprising example of too much being put in one film, yet it working out in the end.

The long-winding, extended climax is an absolutely delight. The length is just perfect. Any shorter and it would have not done justice to the characterisations and any longer would have made it boring.

Yet, you do miss a few elements while a few others jar. A cameo by Natalie Portman (from "Thor"), like that of Gwyneth Paltrow is missed. "The Hulk", who so far we learnt couldn't control his anger, in the climax suddenly develops it becoming an adorable green monster who's as strong as he is cute. A little on how he got there, would have been better.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki, the evil but vulnerable villain outdone by his megalomania, does the best job of "acting".

"The Avengers" is a watershed film because it is a new concept. It is the culmination of the build-up of multiple films - two "Iron Man", "Hulk', "Thor" and "Captain America". This culmination also marks the beginning of a new franchisee.

Thus, this multi-hero film itself becomes a metaphor and a tribute to the literally thousands upon thousands of people who worked in unison in the films mentioned above to lead to this very satisfying end which is also a beginning.

Each one of them showed, like the film's main theme of brotherhood, what it is to work together for a common goal. Perhaps in it lies a message for real life, that our governments could do the same with the world. For even in real life, planet Earth is in desperate need of saving with no superheroes in sight

Movie review: 'The Attacks of 26/11'

A dramatised Bollywood account of the Mumbai attacks of 2008, when 166 people died in a three-day rampage, opened in the cinemas on Friday to present an unusually emotive tale told from the perspective of a police officer.

"The Attacks of 26/11" chronicles the events that began on November 26 2008, when 10 gunmen went on a killing spree throughout the coastal city, attacking two luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish centre, among other places.

It is the latest in a recent spate of Bollywood movies taking inspiration from real-life incidents, a practice that used to be unusual. Just over the last few years, there have been films on the gruesome murder of a model and a daring bank heist.

The film's director, Ram Gopal Varma, said he decided to make the film to try and answer questions about how a small handful of attackers was able to lay siege to a vast metropolis the size of Mumbai.

"How can 10 men hold a city of 1.5 crore (15 million) people to siege? That is something everyone should know," Varma told Reuters.

The film focuses on the city police and their response to the attacks, for which India blames the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, with veteran actor Nana Patekar playing a high ranking Mumbai police officer referred to only as "joint police commissioner."

Patekar's character, based on a real policeman, narrates the film, which portrays in graphic detail how the hapless police force, caught completely unawares, struggles to cope with an attack of such enormity.

At one point he frantically tells a government official, "I don't know what to do."

"You need to understand that the police were confused and didn't know what to do," Varma said. "If you were in their shoes, you would react the same way to an incident of this magnitude. It is important to understand their point of view."

Advertising posters show a group of 10 men, the attackers, in a dinghy heading towards the iconic sea-facing Taj Mahal hotel, one of the most recognised buildings in Mumbai - a nod to the powerful shock and emotions the attack still evokes, symbolised by the hotel.

Varma himself has fallen afoul of these still unhealed emotional scars, setting off controversy several times.

The first came just days after the attack, when he was seen at the Taj Mahal hotel with a major politician and accused of insensitivity for visiting the site so soon after the disaster and of gathering material for a film, which he denied.

Last November, a political ally of the government said shooting at the actual locations of the attack "mocked" Mumbai residents.

"Seeing broken glass or grenade dust isn't going to help me make a film," said Varma, who has directed around 40 movies in the past 25 years.

"But after two and a half years, once the investigations were completed and the charge sheet was filed ... that is when I had the time to study it and that is when the idea of making a film came into my mind," he said.

So far, the movie has garnered mixed reviews. While a critic for news channel NDTV said some moments in the film were "gripping enough to touch some raw nerves," a review for mainstream newspaper DNA wasn't as kind.

"'The Attacks of 26/11' ends up being a confused piece of work that has neither the well researched methodology of a documentary nor the dramatics of a feature film," critic Tushar Joshi wrote.



Movie review: 'Special 26'

Special 26'
U/A Drama;
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpai, Kajal Aggarwal, Jimmy Sheirgill, Rajesh Sharma, Kishore Kadam
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Rating:  * * * *

As second films post remarkable debuts often do, Neeraj Pandey’s 'Special 26' carries the same burden that Bejoy Nambiar’s 'David' did last week. A lot of us wondered if Pandey would be able to recreate the tension and appeal of 'A Wednesday'. Well, the answer is, yes he does. Although 'Special 26' is a much different subject..

Ajju (Akshay Kumar) is part of a conman team comprising of P K Sharma (Anupam Kher), Iqbal (Rajesh Sharma) and Joginder (Kishore Kadam), who dress up as CBI officials or Income Tax inspectors and loot people’s homes in broad daylight. Their victims are mostly politicians or businessmen with a lot of black wealth who are reluctant to report the crime to the police.

When Ajju is not devising their next victim and looting, he is romancing a neighbour’s daughter (Kajal Agarwal) whose parents have fixed her marriage to someone else. All’s going well till this under-the-table case is brought to an honest CBI cop Wasim Khan (Manoj Bajpayee). Like a dog with a particularly yummy bone, Khan devises how to lay a trap to beat Ajju’s at his own game.

There is no doubt that Neeraj Pandey’s second film is a winner. Pandey and his production crew also stay strictly loyal to the era of the story, India of the 1980s. Only Maruti 800s and Fiats on the roads, no skylines visible anywhere, briefcases, watches, the look is authentic and enhances the sober mood of the film.

The story is fast-paced and thoroughly gripping, so much so that the protagonist’s minor romantic track actually seems like a drag. Much of the film’s success can be credited to an absorbing and audacious plot and its gentle sarcasm and quiet humour.

Another share of the film’s success goes to its fabulous performances. Anupam Kher is such a delight to watch when he is not playing ‘daddy’ roles. Jimmy Sheirgill is always in control. Akshay Kumar surprises with his restraint; his mellow over-confidence is the perfect foil to Manoj Bajpai’s mocking belligerence.

So what is the hitch? Just a small one; the end of the film is a slight letdown, a little far-fetched for our logic. But even then, 'Special 26' is worth a watch.