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Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Director: Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov Genre: Documentary With "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" Werner Herzog ...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dances With Wolves (1990)

Director: Kevin Costner
Cast: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
Genre: Western/Adventure

Plot: A civil war hero is transferred to the remote west at his own behest. Here, he befriends the mystic Indians and Wolves! 
Dances With Wolves (1990)

I remember watching this amazing movie a long time back on television. For my re-watch, fortunately, I had the extended version and still wouldn't mind any more of it!

Lt. John Dunbar (Costner) is a Union soldier manning a deserted post at the western frontier. The native Indians--possessing a very reserved nature and tolerance toward the outsiders--are his neighbors. His prized possession, a horse, is his only companion. Dunbar soon befriends a curious wolf that earns him the name Dances with Wolves with the Indians! 

Eventually, with the help of Kicking Bird and Stands with a Fist (a white girl rescued by Sioux Indian when very young) Dunbar breaks the ice with the Indians and becomes one of them.

It is a deeply touching epic about the end of a civilization (of Indians) and arrival of the 'Whites' into the west. It took Kevin Costner a total of 5 years and relatively shoestring budget (as compared to what movie earned!) to complete the movie. The effort is distinctly visible.

A special mention must be to the state of art cinematography and background score, which make the movie an audio-visual treat. The scenes featuring wolf (Two Socks-named by Dunbar for his white paws) and Costner are amazingly shot and have an artistic glow about them that soothe your whole inner being.

Dances With Wolves is a significant contribution to the world cinema by Costner. It isn't merely an entertaining movie, rather a tribute to once thriving genre. It entirely retains the legacy of the mysterious Indians.

Kudos to Costner for his maiden gem!!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Batman vs Dracula (2005)

Director: Michael Goguen
Genre: Animation

The Batman vs Dracula (2005)

Another good Batman animated feature. It boasts of Batman's arch-nemesis: Joker and Penguin, both of whom are merely the side kicks this time around, as the mighty Count Dracula has awoken.


Secret Of The Nimh (1982)

Director: Don Bluth
Cast: Derek Jacobi, Elizabeth Hartman, Dom DeLuise
Genre: Animation

Plot: Ploughing season is here and a field mouse--Mrs. Brisby--must move her family to safety before it's too late. As ill fate would have it, her son falls sick and moving him could be deadly.

Secret Of The Nimh (1982)
Mrs. Brisby must brave a visit to the great Owl who advices her to approach Nicodemus--the leader of the wise rats--for help. Why and how they would help her? Who are these wise Rats? Well watch the movie for the answers as these answers contain spoilers!

Watch out for the Crow. He's one funny guy!

It is a short and sweet tale of love, courage, and loyalty.


Excalibur (1981)

Director: John Boorman
Cast: Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Gabriel Byrne

Genre: Adventure/Fantasy

Plot: The mythical legend of King Arthur, the mightiest of all swords-Excalibur and the king of magic-Merlin have all come together in this epic tale of knights and castles and kingdoms.

Merlin has borrowed the mystical Excalibur from the lady of the water to unite a shattering kingdom under the leadership of brave king Uther. Enemy king Cornwall realizes immense power of Excalibur and agrees on a truce. What follows is a night of celebration where Uther can't contain his lust for Igrayne- beautiful wife of Cornwall. And the truce is broken.
Uther besieges Cornwall's castle, draws him out and kills him. With Merlin's help Uther transforms himself into Cornwall's physical form and consummates with Igrayne. Nine months later a child is born and as promised, Uther gives the child to Merlin.
But the father in him follows Merlin to the jungle where he is ambushed by Cornwall's loyal knights. Before dying Uther plants the sword into a rock and proclaims no one but he himself will draw the sword out again. Merlin cats a spell to make sure only Uther's blood can draw the Excalibur out.

After 16 years Uther's son Arthur- a squire; pulls out the sword from the rock. Arthur is declared a king but some Knights don't recognize him and there is battle. Arthur fights in it and wins the hearts of all the knights with his humility. He is now formally declared a knight and a king. All the knights swear their allegaince to King Arthur and the whole kingdom prospers under a wise king.
The king's bravest knight Lancelot is in love with Guenevere- king's wife. He restrains himself by living an exiles life. Cornwall's daughter Morgana, Arthur's half sister knows about Lancelot's feeling and plans to destroy Arthur's kingdom.
Merlins is now all tried and sees the arrival of science and christianity to replace magic. Morgana disagrees with him and seduces him to reveal all his secrets.She then imprisons Merlin in his own cave.
In the meantime Guenevere runs out to the forest and finds Lancelot. They make love and fall asleep. Arthur finds them sleeping together but can't hurt them.So he drives excalibur back into the Earth.
Later, Morgana disguised as Guenevere has sex with a delusional Arthur. Arthur is heart broken and the kingdom is suffering now.
Only the holy grail can heal Arthur os his delirium. For years all the knights search it everywhere and many are killed by Morgana and her evil son Mordred. A knight Perceval escapes from the clutches of Morgana and brings the holy grail to Arthur, who drinks from it and retains is former self. He then finds Guenevere who gives him Excalibur back.
Arthur calls for Merlin's help who comes out as a spirit and tricks Morgana into losing all her powers. An angry Mordred kills now old wraith like Morgana.Arthur fights with Mordred's army.Lancelot also comes to his aide as well. Using Excalibur, Arthur kills Mordred but is mortally wounded. He commands Percevel to throw the sword back into the water.He does so and the lady of the water takes it back.
Back on the battlefield Percevel sees Arthur's body sailing away to heaven of the braves.

Drawbacks: Average cinematography and acting by almost whole of the cast. Does get a bit tedious. Only the legend of king Arthur keeps the movie going.

Watch it only if you have a fad for King Arthur stories!

Change of Plans (2011)

Director: John Kent Harrison 
Cast: Brooke White, Joe Flanigan, Phylicia Rashad, Jayme Lynn Evans 
Genre: Comedy/Drama

Change of Plans (2011)

Plot: Sally and Jason are a couple leading a carefree life. Sally's friend dies in an accident and the couple find them as named caretakers for the four children--three of them adopted.

At best a one time watch.


Armored (2009)

Director: Nimród Antal

Cast: Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne

Genre: Action

Plot: The guards of an armoured truck company decide to steal the bank money being transferred in their trucks. The veterans plan a fake robbery but all goes wrong when a young recruit goes against them.

A complete waste of such a huge starcast.Average script and poor acting.


Repo Men (2010)

Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Cast: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber
Genre: Sci-Fi/Crime

Plot: Set in a time where artificial organs can be bought to replace damaged ones.

Repo Men (2010)

Law and Whitaker are repo men working for a firm which provide organs on credit. Their job-get the organ back if payment isn't made in due time, there methods-invariably bloody! as a previously agreed-on contract give them rights to resort to any means necessary for getting back the company property.

A decent enough plot-rather unique actually; has gone down the drain due to some poor scripting and average acting.

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