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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, June 15, 2013

Man of Steel (2013)

Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne

Superman’s re-launch might not be as perfect / successful as Batman’s but it is indeed a good, solid beginning. 

Man of Steel (2013)
Slow pace of the film prior to interval, detailing for Krypton, non-linear flashbacks, and Zimmer’s background score all work well in building up a ‘slightly modified’ Superman universe. You have some nicely crafted out scenes demonstrating inner turmoils of Clark, while he searches for answers assuming different aliases. Some are: Clark saving his co-workers in an oil drilling plant after a mishap, confronting a drunkard in a bar.

Though, all the build up never reaches the expected crescendo.What happened in last 45 minutes or so (especially after interval) seemed like watching two different films altogether. Fights sequences needed some more personal touch from Superman; it was more destruction than action with wrecked buildings, shattered glasses filling up the screen with too much CGI/special-effects, at times too cluttered for human eyes to register. Other than this the film is made as it should have been, lack of romance/comedy is not a concern.     

The films boasts of some A-rated cast, and most of them deliver well in their respective roles. Henry Cavill is perfect fit for the new Superman/Clark Kent. When it comes to villains, Zod of Superman 2 still remains the one to beat. Sidekick Faora did look menacing. As always, Superman’s Earth mother (Lane) and father (Costner) are his emotional support and morality beacon, respectively. Growing up with perplexities about his being, they instill in him self-belief, help him control the God-like abilities, and ultimately mould him into the righteous man he is today. Jor-El (Crowe) and his son Kal-El don’t get enough time together but Jor-El might not be done yet. However, due to non-linearity in film, none of the characters seem to have meaty roles; screen time is shrewdly shared across varying contexts.     

Moreover, the film fluctuates a lot. On one hand you have a drained out Superman—during battling with Terra-modifying ‘world engine’—soaking up the Sun against a sober BGM, you are reveling the scene, then suddenly, there is a cut-to scene and you have choppers flying, artillery blasting, and what not. Snyder perhaps does it purposely, to charge up the audience after the laid-back first half.

If you noticed the Lex Luthor logo on the tanker (or something) you know what’s coming next, not that there was much doubt. Clark Kent and Lois Lane meeting in Daily planet toward the end of film finally sparked some chemistry too. In all, by the end of film you get to see the familiar Superman all sorted out in his brain, and of course, want more.

One thing is certain. Film ends on a good, promising note and a sequel, if any, will clearly have all the right ingredients ready.

I was really hoping for some post-credits scene (especially after seeing the Luthor logo) but there was none!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Eden Lake (2008)

Director: James Watkins
Cast: Kelly  Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O'Connell 
Genre: Thriller

A gruesome hoodie horror/thriller set in the British backwoods.

Eden Lake (2008)For a weekend getaway, Steve (Fassbender) and his girlfriend Jenny (Reilly) visit an outback quarry-lake before the beautiful surroundings are devoured by an upcoming urbanization, forever. Enjoy their time away from civilization; the reverie is suddenly broken by a bunch of rowdy kids lead by a yobbo, Brett (O'Connell). Quite evidently, Brett is used to have things his way, by hook or crook, by bullying or beating.

The group starts monkeying around with the couple and it soon turns into ugly coquetry. Shocked at this vulgar behavior of some teenagers, Steve confronts the group but immediately retreats on account of incessant mocking and insults hurled at him--coming especially from Paige (Finn Atkins).

Eden Lake (2008)
The group further besets the couple by stealing their belongings/car and stranding them at night in the middle of a jungle. To get his belongings/car back, Steve's second encounter with the kids results into violent clashes and Brett unleashing his belligerent bitch on him. Accidentally, Brett's dog gets killed and all hell breaks loose. Now, the infuriated group tries to murder the couple. Steve and Jenny somehow manage to escape and begins the game of cat-and-mouse, followed up with plenty bloodbath and torture.

Film does sounds like any other survival-thriller but atmosphere is quite electric, build up is great, and the climax sequence literally 'screams horror' in your face--even sans the gore. You feel for Reilly and yearn for that sweet revenge, with clamped fists and gritty teeth. Alas! might just be out of reach.  

Toward the end of film (signs were there even earlier) we realize these demented children can actually be attributed to reckless parents and messed-up upbringing in a malevolent society/environment.

Fassender is not in his usual impactful, meaty role. It is Reilly and O,Connell who really steal the show here. O'Connell hardly seems to be portraying a character. All that hatred and hostility seems quite inherent--I call that brilliant acting.

Direction is top notch. I am pretty sure Watkins isn't trying to belittle any indigenous community through this film--just showcasing what can happen in any part of the world under similar circumstances. He perfectly captures the intricacies of how immorality continues to survive and thrive.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

Director: Steven R. Monroe
Cast: Sarah Butler

Mighty Avengers couldn’t have done it better! A girl exacts revenge on her assaulters in most gruesome ways imaginable. 

I Spit on your Grave (2010)
A writer (Jennifer Hills played by Sarah Butler) seeking solitude to work on her next novel retreats in a secluded cabin. All alone, she is subjected to extreme torture and physical abuse by a group of local perverts. Assuming her dead, the assaulters eventually get back on with their lives. However, the girl survives and is on a mission to pay them back tenfold.   

You might have heard the phrase ‘Revenge is sweet’; in this film you feel it in your bones through the protagonist and a brilliant screenplay/direction. There is enough gore/bloodshed to keep you either glued in, or steer clear of it altogether.  

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