The Book Thief – Movie Review


It is quite rare that you watch a movie that speaks to you at various levels.

The Book Thief was one such  movie for me. Told through the eyes of a young teenage girl, this movie deals with her coming of age amidst extraordinary circumstances beyond her control.

Read my review of the movie here.


American Hustle – Movie Review


I am guessing that The Batman Trilogy was almost like a life changing experience for Christian Bale in terms of his acting abilities. That could probably be the only reason that he is able to come up with awesome acting performances one after the other after he has finished the trilogy.

The latest in his lovely list of movies is American Hustle, which is set in the swinging 70s and features the story of a duo of con-artists.

Read the entire review of this movie here.

12 Years a Slave – Movie Review


All the buzz, the articles and the movie reviews about 12 Years a Slave said the same thing, this was one hell of a powerful movie with immensely powerful acting performances from the lead actors. Given that this movie also featured one of my favorite actors Michael Fassbender in a reasonably powerful role meant that I would probably enjoy this movie quite a bit.

Read my review of 12 Years a Slave here.

Jack the Giant Slayer – Movie Review


To be honest with you readers, the first time I actually read the story of Jack and the Beanstalk was when I read it out to my two yr old daughter from one of her hand me down books which she got from someone we know.  While the story itself is not all that great, the usual elements of fairy tale stories like an underdog hero, scary villains and good versus evil were all present in the story.

Read my review of director Bryan Singer’s fictional take on this classic fairy tale here [Link to movie review]

The Wolf Of Wall Street – Movie Review


From the very first scene of the movie where Leonardo DiCaprio (voicing over as Jordan Belfort) states that his Ferrari was white and not red, and the car changes colors as it is changing lanes, you know you are in for a fun ride, and that is precisely what The Wolf Of Wall Street is, a fun caper kind of movie where Martin Scorsese, the director and DiCaprio take you on the wild ride that Jordan Belfort had for approximately a decade in the 1990s.

Read the full review of the movie here.

Saving Mr. Banks – Movie Review


I remember having watched the Mary Poppins movie when I was quite young, and although I don’t quite remember the entire movie I do remember it was quite colorful and was probably the first movie in which I saw real actors and animation combined together.

Therefore, when I read that Disney had made a movie about the story behind the making of this movie and it starred Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as PL Travers who wrote the Mary Poppins book, I knew that I just had to watch this movie.

Read my review of Saving Mr Banks, the movie here [Link to movie review]

Mandela : Long walk to freedom – Movie Review


To be honest I didn’t even know that a movie called “Mandela – Long walk to freedom” was being made at all until early December when Nelson Mandela passed away and this movie was quoted as one of the better ones made about him. This piqued my interest in the same and I got around to watching it recently.

Being an Indian born well before Cable TV found its way into our homes, I was brought up on a healthy annual diet of “Gandhi” every Independence Day on television. In fact so much so that by the time Cable TV found its way into my home, I used to long to watch this movie at least once in a year. It therefore goes without saying that this movie set the standard that I measure almost all other biographical movies against. And while Mandela is a competent movie (and a reasonably entertaining one at that too) it dabbles with way too many things and is not convincing enough in various aspects.

ANCWhile we can clearly see how the ANC is forced into armed uprising and resorts to violence against the then White Government of South Africa which forms the crux of why Nelson Mandela is arrested in the first place, the viewers never quite completely understand how all of this anger and frustration dies in him, and how he embraces the path of non-violence as a way of life. Is it the prison life and the loneliness that brings about the change, or does he realize the futility of the violence which brings nothing but loss and suffering on both sides, this movie does not quite provide the answers.

Given that the movie is structured in chapters, with the jumps between chapters spanning more than a few years, viewers lack a sense of continuity in the proceedings. How and why do the white jailers and guards become friendly to Mandela and his fellow prisoners, what prompts them to be so informal with these inmates, once again these are things which the film makers miss to let us in on.

What was interesting about this movie though was the fact that it gave almost equal attention to Winnie Mandela as well. Her transformation from a beautiful idealistic young woman who marries Nelson to somebody who is hardened and toughened due to the fact that she and her daughters are targeted by the white establishment is quite believable. In fact, on more than one occasion I felt that I could understand her transformation more than Nelson’s. And to be honest the portrayal of Winnie by Naomie Harris was more believable and likeable than Idris Elba’s portrayal as Nelson Mandela, which at times feels a little exaggerated, especially the walk.

MandelaIn any case, this is quite an Ok movie, not necessarily a must-watch one though.


All images in this post have been sourced from IMDB.

Rush – Movie Review


There are good sports related movies and then there are the awesome sports related movies, and Rush falls into the latter category. While most sports movies are content narrating the tale of the underdog competitor or team who undergoes a painful transition and transformation and ultimately ends up the winner defeating all odds, Rush takes an entirely different tangent altogether. Dealing with the lives of two rivals who are at the very peak of their sport, over the course of a six year period when their whole lives change due to the sport and their rivalries, and how they ultimately end up developing a grudging respect for each other, forms the crux of Rush.

HuntWhat makes the movie even more interesting is the fact that it is based on the real stories of Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt and deals with their famous rivalry from 1970 to 1976 culminating with James Hunt winning the Formula 1 World Championship in what is considered a historic F1 season for more than a few memorable reasons.

In 1970, both Hunt and Lauda were young drivers whose families didn’t quite care too much for their dreams of becoming race car drivers and both of them almost simultaneously begin their careers with Formula 3 racing. Hunt the incumbent champion is pleasantly surprised by the new European upstart driver that Lauda is and that sparks off the embers of what would become a legendary rivalry between these two drivers. Both start off their Formula 1 careers at the same time and carry their animosity for each other to the highest echelons of motorsport as well.

While Hunt is somebody who lives for the moment, enjoys the thrill of the race and likes living his life on the edge, Lauda is somebody who is more meticulous, and drives because that is the only thing he is good at. In fact he is so good with automobiles and tuning their performance that Ferrari picks him up as a driver quite early in his F1 career. This and other things prompt Hunt to join the McLaren team which puts both the drivers’ car on an almost equal footing with their rivalry being reduced to their driving skills.

Niki-Lauda-talks-to-rival-James-Hunt-2258503Chris Hemsworth portraying James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda form perfect foil for each other and whenever they are on screen together, they ensure that sparks fly. Their famous rivalry and penchant for throwing verbal barbs at each other is brought out quite well by Ron Howard, the director. Both the actors have breathed life into these characters and we only see James Hunt and Niki Lauda on screen rather than the actors’ individual personalities. Full credit must also be given to the casting team and the make up team for getting the looks of both these actors perfect in comparison with the real James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Most sports movies and especially racing movies end up looking quite farcical and unbelievable with their scripts and underdog stories, the fact that this movie is based on real events and hardly contains any fictional elements means that this stands apart from other movies in this genre. And the way in which the entire Formula 1 races are reconstructed are extremely credible. Not for a moment does the viewer feel that he is watching a movie, rather it looks like he is watching a documentary filled with footage of real races. And the fact that this does not get boring at all speaks volumes for how engrossing the movie really is.


All images in this post have been sourced from IMDB

The Insider – Movie Review


Even if you haven’t heard of CBS Network’s show “60 minutes” the opening sequence of “The Insider” gives you quite a clear idea of the same. While the title credits for this movie are rolling, we are shown three cars going through the small by lanes and alleyways in a Middle Eastern country in which one person who is blindfolded is being accompanied by armed guards. It turns out that he is Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino, in probably one of his best performances), CBS Executive Producer trying to convince Sheikh Fadlallah of the Hezbollah group to do an interview with Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer, yet again extremely competent in his portrayal) for the show “60 minutes”.plummer

This sequence highlights multiple things about the show, its producers, their commitment to providing American viewers with the truth, multiple sides to other popular media, etc. It clearly establishes the credibility of everybody involved with the show right at the very beginning of the movie itself.

In Kentucky, Jeffrey Wigand (played by a buffed up Russell Crowe, who apparently put on 35 pounds and shaved his hairline for this role) has been fired by his employer, Brown & Williamson and is at a quandary as to how he is going to meet his mortgage repayment, medical and health insurance coverage for his family, and his daughters’ education expenditure. We are not given the reasons as to his dismissal, but it is established that Wigand is somebody who very strongly believes in his convictions, and will not back down from the truth irrespective of the consequences.

PacinoBergman receives an anonymous courier containing “the ignition propensity” of tobacco from the Philip Morris company and his search for an expert in the field leads him to Wigand. And what starts off as a simple request to help him interpret the documents in the courier ends up with Bergman inviting Wigand as a guest on 60 Minutes. Complicated by the fact that Wigand is bound by a confidentiality agreement with his previous employers, what follows is how Bergman tries to convince Wigand of the importance of the truth being revealed in the interest of the greater good of the larger number of people.

croweWhile initially unconvinced and drawn by the desperation of continuing receiving his severance payments and medical coverage, Wigand refuses to cooperate with Bergman, subsequent events force his hand and push him to a place where he gets so angry that he ends up taping for the show. What follows thereof is how Bergman struggles to get the tape on air and how Wigand’s decision to turn ‘whistle blower’ is vindicated in the long run.

Based on true events that unfolded in CBS, Brown & Williamson and the 60 Minutes interview which unequivocally turned the tide against Big Tobacco in the late 1990s, this movie keeps viewers on the edge and riveted to their seats for the almost 150 odd minutes of its running time. The ensemble cast of high performing actors such as Al Pacino, Russell Crowe and Christopher Plummer display their best work on screen which is evidenced by the fact that the movie garnered no less than eight nominations in the Academy Awards for the year.


All images used in this post have been sourced from IMDB.

Out of the Furnace – Movie Review


Russell Baze (Christian Bale) ekes out a living working in a steel mill and leading a normal life until one day fate intervenes and he happens to be involved in a driving accident which lands him in prison. His younger brother Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck) is an ex-soldier who has been scarred mentally due to his experiences in Iraq in the war against Saddam. Struggling to make ends meet with Russell in prison, Rodney gets involved with a ruthless crime gang led by Harlan (Woody Harrelson) which ends up with the situation being bad for everybody involved.

WoodyWhile the movie “Out of the furnace” attracted me due to the rave reviews I had read about it recently in various movie blogs, the fact that the ensemble cast involved the acting talents of Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Daniel Defoe and Forest Whitaker meant that this was almost a must-watch movie. And the fact that almost all the reviews praised Bale’s performance more than quite a bit piqued my interest in the same, as I have only know him to act behind the cowl in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Frankly I found his outings in “Reign of Fire” [Link to review] and “Equilibrium” quite uninspiring. I guess the script didn’t have as much scope for him to perform as this movie did.

CaseyOut of the furnace is an extremely grim movie without even a hint of happiness, light-heartedness at all. In fact even the cinematography seems to bring out the seriousness of the setting very well. Casey Affleck who is somebody who I absolutely loved in “Gone Baby Gone” has a reasonably small but pivotal role in the movie, and he performs out of his skin in the same. Woody Harrelson takes evil to an entirely new level in this outing of his. While I anticipated a stellar performance based on the reviews I had read, seeing it in action simply blew my breath away.

BaleChristian Bale is given an opportunity to do what he does best, look serious and brood through the entire length of the movie. But then he also portrays more than a wide range of emotions. Ranging from sorrow at his father’s death to elation at being released from prison, frustration at his girlfriend having left him to anger at his brother’s plight, Bale displays the entire gamut and does them all equally well.

Watch this movie only if you are a fan of grim, serious, award-type movies. This is not for the viewers looking for a simple fluffy light-hearted weekend movie.


All images in this post have been sourced from IMDB.

Snow White and the Huntsman – Movie Review


CharlizeTheronSnow White and the Huntsman is director Rupert Sanders’ take on the popular ageless classic Grimms Brothers fairy tale. The director and the writers have taken unique liberties with the story itself and have made the evil queen evil in every sense of the word. And Charlize Theron plays the role of her life in this particular adaptation and you wouldn’t think of her as anything but evil in this particular movie. Snow White herself is played by Kristen Stewart (of Twilight fame) while the huntsman is played by the oh-so-good-looking Chris Hemsworth (who of late made news with a good performance in the Formula 1 movie, Rush).

ChrisHemsworthWhile all of us are well aware of the original story of Snow White, this movie gives the huntsman a much more substantial role, and given that the queen is that much more evil, he has more than just a pivotal role to play in the happenings almost throughout the movie. Hemsworth does more than just look good in this movie, and puts his chiseled physique to good use in the action sequences. His dialog delivery though leaves more than a lot to be desired, more so because he sounds like Sylvester Stallone in his heyday.

KristenStewartThis movie didn’t quite work for me for various reasons on which I cannot quite put my finger on. Maybe it was the fact that it was hyped a little too much, maybe it was because Snow White herself couldn’t quite emote enough to make me empathise with her plight, or maybe it was because she was portrayed too much as a Joan of Arc kind of leader.

Nevertheless, it is an Ok one time watch kind of movie, nothing great.
All images in this post have been sourced from IMDB

Movie round up – Week ended Nov 17, 2013

Kick-Ass_2_International_PosterKick Ass 2 [IMDB Link] was not quite as fun as I thought it would be. As is the case with badly made sequels this movie struggled with too many plot points to tackle and ended up being quite a messy affair. Given that I really liked the first movie, I saw this with some expectations and I guess that’s what proved to be its undoing. Not really worth watching unless you are a huge fan of the Kick Ass franchise.

Pain_&_Gain_film_posterPain and Gain [Link to review] turned out to be a surprisingly nice movie. Based on a true story, this movie starred the ever so dependable Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “Rocky” Johnson of WWE fame. I thoroughly enjoyed the role played by Dwayne and the black humor parts of the movie as well.

Parkland_posterParkland [IMDB Link] was a movie which sounded interesting in that it dealt with the events that immediately occurred after JFK’s assassination such as the hospital he was taken to, how Robert Oswald (Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin’s brother) was treated by the cops, the person who actually filmed the last few moments of JFK’s life and how the film was developed and post processed. Turned out to be quite a nice movie to watch with some powerful acting performances especially by Paul Giamatti.

Planes_FilmPosterPlanes [IMDB Link], which was universally panned by all critics and reviewers alike as being just too generic a movie without too much character ended up being quite true to its reputation. A standard rags to riches story where the underdog goes on to win a race around the world is not quite a new storyline, but what irked me the most was that it was almost as if the Director didn’t even make an attempt to make it a little differently. And why, oh why, did Priyanka Chopra have to waste her time in a movie which gave her almost all of 10 dialogs and around 7 odd mins of screen time. Didn’t she have better things to do with her time? Can easily miss this one without feeling too bad about it.

A_Good_Day_to_Die_HardA Good Day to Die Hard [IMDB Link] seemed more like a half hearted attempt to milk the already dead Die Hard franchise yet another time. At times it seems like Bruce Willis needs the money so much that he just ends up doing movies like these which don’t even have the old world charm that the first three movies in this franchise. In fact, I thought that the fourth movie in the franchise itself was one too many. The only good part about this movie is the crazy car chase sequence in Moscow in the first half, nothing more.

Kadal_Kadannu_Oru_MaathukuttyKadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty [Indiaglitz review] was again another movie which I saw without knowing anything about it other than the fact that it starred Mammooty, and end of day, I still didn’t quite get the whole point of this movie. Yes, the protagonist is extremely troubled due to his wife constantly troubling him and nagging him all the while, and his impending trip to India is at least a few days of relief for him. But while this is established within the first 10 mins of the movie, the rest of it just seems to meander around not knowing what needs to be done. And then suddenly the last 10 mins of the movie seems to be hurried and rushed trying to justify why Mammooty is probably better off back in Germany itself. Didn’t make too much sense to me at all.

Pain and Gain – Movie Review



IMDB Rating – 6.5

IMDB Blurb – A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.


Has it ever happened to you that you end up watching a movie without knowing absolutely anything about it and it turned out to be more than just a decent movie in the end? And not just a decent movie, but a movie with a engaging storyline, a busy screenplay and some good acting performances. Well, that is precisely what Pain and Gain turned out to be for me on an early Saturday morning.

All I knew about the movie was what I gleaned from the poster, that it had Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson in it, the line which said “Their American Dream is bigger than yours” and the line below which read “This is a true story.” I started watching the movie without too much expectation and boy, did it turn out to be a good movie or what.

Victor Kershaw, enjoying all the bling
Victor Kershaw, enjoying all the bling

Daniel Lugo (yet another wonderful addition to Mark Wahlberg’s already stellar career) plays a personal trainer at Sun Gym in Miami, Florida. He is friends with a colleague Adrian Doorbal (played by Anthony Mackie) who likes Lugo for his great attitude to life. Lugo starts lusting for his version of “The American Dream”, the one where big money, a lavish lifestyle and stylish cars rule the roost. And inspired by a motivational speaker, Lugo decides to do something about making it happen. His target – his newest gym member, Victor Kershaw (played memorably well by Tony Shalhoub).

The trio
The trio

The duo recruit the gym’s newest employee, Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson in a hilariously funny role, albeit in a dark manner) for their plan and they decide to kidnap Victor and extort all his assets. Barring a few initial hiccups, the plan goes well and the trio end up with more than just a little money. However, their attempt to kill Victor goes horribly wrong and he ends up in a hospital. I found this sequence extraordinarily hilarious, albeit in a morbidly black-humorish kind of way. The trio and their attempts to get rid of Victor forms for the funniest part of the movie in my opinion.

This triggers off a chain of events which somehow end up with the trio attempting to kidnap Frank Griga. That attempt goes horribly wrong and provides the impetus for the Miami Police to conduct an extremely comprehensive operation to round up the trio based on inputs from Victor and his personal investigator, Ed du Bois III (yet another lovely cameo from Ron Howard).

The trio making their plans
The trio making their plans

What I particularly loved about the movie was the fact that although it was based on true events and real people, the director took the material, made it his own and probably gave each of these characters a lot of detailing which ended up in most of them being memorable for the viewers. Dwayne Johnson, as Paul  Doyle probably stands out from the rest of the crowd with his hilariously funny characterization of a born again Christian who is also a cokehead at the same time. Mark Wahlberg can surely add this performance to his already long and illustrious list of wonderful movies in his career. This guy is probably one of the most under-rated actors of our time.

Watch this movie with an open mind and without too many expectations and you will surely enjoy it as much as I did.


Red 2 : Movie Review


IMDB Link:

IMDB Rating: 6.8

IMDB Blurb: Retired C.I.A. agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.


The best part about Red 2 is that while it carries over the characters from the first movie, Red [IMDB Link], you can very easily watch this movie without even having an inkling of what the first movie was all about. This story is a seamless one without absolutely any connection to the earlier one.

Red_2_1Frank Moses (Bruce Willis, reprising his role from Red), retired CIA agent is trying to rebuild his retired life with the love of his life Sarah (Mary Louise Parker) when his serene homemaker life is shaken up by the apparent assassination of his good friend and colleague Marvin (John Malkovich). At Marvin’s funeral, Frank is arrested by the CIA on charges of being part of a secret mission codenamed Project Nightshade during the Cold War days.

Frank manages to escape and ends up having not one but two bounties on his head, the MI-6 tasks Victoria (Helen Mirren) to take him down while the CIA hires bounty hunter Han (Lee Byung-hun) to kill Frank Moses.

Red_2_2The action then takes us around the world to Paris, London, Moscow and then back to London, all the while treating us to these wonderfully sequenced and choreographed action set pieces. Suffice to say that the movie does manage to keep us entertained and engaged during the entire duration of its running time.

What I personally loved about this movie is the fact that it took all these wonderful actors who we have seen beautifully portray some of the most memorable roles that we will ever get to see and lets them have fun in the spy action thriller genre. I mean, it is not every day that you get to see Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren jet setting around the world trying to save it from imminent destruction, right. And they sure as hell have a lot of fun in doing so.

Red_2_3Oh, and as if these wonderful talents weren’t enough, this movie has also been blessed with the awesomely talented Anthony Hopkins who plays Dr. Edward Bailey, in a wonderfully crafted and amazingly delightful role. Am not saying more here as I want the review to be spoiler free. And yes, the movie also features Catherine Zeta Jones in a reasonably extended cameo. I personally thought her make-up was so horrible that it made her look more than just grotesque.

Do watch this movie if you are a fan of the spy action thriller genre, and I promise you that it will be a fun ride throughout the movie.

The Sound of Gravity


The movie Gravity [Link to review] begins with the lines which clearly inform the audience that sound does not travel in space. And given that almost the whole 93 mins of the running time of the movie takes place in space, it was quite a challenge for Director Alfonso Cuaron to decide upon the sound effects that he wanted in the final cut of the movie.

He had a very precise idea of what he wanted his movie to sound like. He had music written especially for a surround system, to go with the way character’s voices would pan out depending on their position. He also wanted the sound to be realistic and, at the same time, as confusing as the imagery.

Watch the video below which has been produced by the Soundworks group on “The Sound of Gravity” to learn more about the wonderful audiography of this movie

Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum – Movie Review


When I first heard that Myshkin (of Anjathey and Yudham Sei fame) was making a movie titled “Onaaiyum Aattukuttiyum” (which literally means The Wolf and The Lamb in English) how could my interest not be piqued. While the title itself was intriguing, the fact that I have enjoyed almost all his earlier movies (including even the not so good Mugamoodi, which for all its flaws had a nice underlying theme) meant that I would surely get around to watching this movie sooner or later.

However, as fate would have it, Star Viijay decided to premiere the movie at 11 AM on Diwali day, the one day that my wife and me had chosen to catch our first movie together in a theater in 2+ yrs, Gravity (read my review of Gravity here if you haven’t already done so). That meant we could see only the first 20 odd mins of OA before we had to sneak out of the house to see Gravity without letting our little girl realize that we had disappeared leaving her with the grandparents. But this small glimpse of OA was enough for both of us to plan catching up with this movie as soon as we got back home. And man, did it turn out be an awesome decision or what.

The plot itself deals with how medical student Chandru (played by Sri of Vazhakku Enn 18/9 fame) helps a wounded man who he comes across on the street in the night and ends up in a lot of trouble with the cops as that man turns out to be “Wolf”, a wanted killer on the loose (played by Myshkin himself). A botched up plan by the cops goes horribly wrong and Chandru ends up as a hostage of the Wolf. What follows thereafter forms the crux of the rest of the movie.

All the events in this movie take place within the space of a single night and consequently the entire movie has been shot at night. As if the natural settings of the story didn’t add enough darkness in the movie, the theme it deals with is also quite dark in nature. Overall, this is a movie which is somewhat brooding and heavy with its subject, and it works beautifully well in keeping the audience engaged. Even in his earlier outing with Yudham Sei, director Myshkin has shown a preference for setting his scenes in the night and in darkness and he takes this particular trait of his more than a few steps forward in OA.

At the heart of the movie is a fable that the director weaves telling us all about how his world is jungle and how people are only judged by their past deeds without any consideration or opportunity for them to change or reform. His tale talks about morals, redemption, and revenge in his own patented style. In earlier interviews Myshkin has mentioned about how he has been hugely influenced by Korean gangster movies and this movie pushes the envelope even further in terms of his own interpretation of this genre of movies in Tamil cinema.

I could go on and on gushing about this movie and how wonderfully it has been made, but I would rather that you watch it for yourselves and immerse yourself in this wonderful experience. Miss it at your own risk, especially if you are a lover of well made cinema.

Related links

IMDB Link            Wikipedia Link


Prisoners – Movie Review


I first read the review of Prisoners in Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) blog [Link to post] which piqued my interest given that I already had a copy of the movie with me. I decided to watch the movie and it did not disappoint me at all. In fact, it probably rates as one of the best thriller movies that I have seen in a long time, and for whatever reason it reminded me of Gone Baby Gone [Link to review] which I had seen 5 yrs ago on almost exactly the same date 😀  That movie also dealt with a missing girl and how coincidental can that be.

A short summary of the movie itself is provided below and is completely spoiler free.

Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) Thanksgiving is spoilt when his daughter Anna and his neighbor’s daughter Joy go missing. Detective Loki (Jake Gylenhall) apprehends the suspicious RV which had been parked in the neighborhood when the girls disappeared. The driver of the RV Alex Jones (Paul Dano) tries to escape but is taken into police custody, where it pans out that he only has an IQ of a ten year old and is release due to lack of evidence.

Alex Jones being questioned by Detective Loki
Alex Jones being questioned by Detective Loki
Keller intimidating Alex Jones
Keller intimidating Alex Jones

Keller however is not convinced that Alex is innocent and goes on to kidnap and torture him with the intention of finding out where the girls have been taken to. In the meantime Loki pursues another thread of investigation which involves a man sneaking up to the girls’ homes at night and purchasing children’s clothes at a supermarket. This leads him to Bob Taylor at his home. However, that also ends up in a dead end, which also involved an elaborate set up for a hoax.

What happens for the rest of the movie is not something that I intend to give away in this review as it will completely spoil the entire movie for any of you interested in watching this movie. Suffice to say that the movie does not disappoint on any counts.

What I loved about this movie is the fact that unlike action based thrillers which have the clichéd car chases, high octane action sequences, etc, this movie takes its time to build the situations, the characters, their motivations. There are no Easter Eggs and crazy twists and turns happening all of a sudden and almost every sequence in the movie is properly set up and planned and presented properly.

Keller talking to Detective Loki
Keller talking to Detective Loki

Both Hugh Jackman, as the distressed father who will go to any length to find his daughter, and Jake Gylenhall, a cop who will pretty much do anything to solve the case on hand portray their characters wonderfully well. Jackman in this role shows a level of quiet intensity which unlike his Wolverine characters, he does not brashly display by slashing up all and sundry around him. In this movie his intensity is quiet and menacing at its worst and some of the things he does to get his daughters back is far from being condonable.

Gylenhall for his part threatens to walk away with the acting honors in the role of the OCD affected cop. The way he keeps twitching his eyes whenever he blinks is something that I thought added a brilliant touch to the character. His performance makes you want him to be the investigating officer for any crime committed against you or your family. The tenacity with which he investigates leads, the commitment to unraveling the mystery, all of these are displayed by him wonderfully well in this movie.

This movie in my opinion could well turn out to be the sleeper hit of the year, at least in the thriller movie genre. Watch it, if you enjoy a nail biting thriller which keeps you guessing till the very end. But be warned, watching it requires bucket loads of patience as the plots develops slowly and at its own pace, which explains the running time of 2.5 hrs.

Related links

IMDB Link            Box Office Mojo Link      Metacritic Link   Rotten Tomatoes Link


Movie round up for last week

Given that this was a week when my wife and 2 yr old daughter were out of town, it turned out to be quite a crazy week of movie watching. Here goes my roundup of most of the movies that I ended up watching this week.

gravity-movie-posterCP_PosterI managed to catch two wonderfully made ‘survival movies’ this week in theatres – Gravity and Captain Phillips. While Gravity [Link to review] dealt with how Dr Ryan Jones gets stranded in space due to a freak incident where satellite debris results in her shuttle being destroyed, Captain Phillips [Link to review]dealt with how a merchant navy captain survives his 36+ hour ordeal as a hostage of Somali pirates. Helmed by wonderful directors and anchored beautifully well by Sandra Bullock and the ever dependable Tom Hanks, these two movies easily make it to my list of awesome movies watched in 2013.

Another movie which I thoroughly enjoyed this week was World War Z [IMDB Link] directed by Marc Forster starring one of my all time favorites, Brad Pitt. Set in the vein of Contagion, the movie involves Brad Pitt playing an ex UN employee travelling all around the world to try and stop a zombie endemic which threatens to scourge the entire world. While I absolutely detest the zombie genre of movies, the fact that I enjoyed this movie so much stands testimony to the fact that it is a riveting movie with an awesome storyline.

world-war-z-posterNotes_on_a_Scandal-dvdcoverYet another absolutely wonderful movie that I had the pleasure of watching this week was the mildly disturbing British drama / psychological thriller Notes on a scandal [IMDB Link] While I have watched enough and more movies of Dame Judi Dench (apart from the James Bond ones in which she played M), this probably was the role in which I loved her the most. Cate Blanchett playing a wonderful support role to Judi Dench in this movie meant that this movie will remain in my mind for a really long time. I have loved both these wonderful actors in various movies over the years, and a movie with a completely unconventional and disturbing storyline like this ensures that their performance will stay with me for a while. I have to review this movie sometime soon.

Goodnight_posterFrom a historical perspective, I managed to watch Good Night and Good Luck [Link to review] which was based on true events which unfolded in the CBS Networks in the 1950s when TV journalist Ed Murrow and his team took Senator Joseph McCarthy on for his excesses in dealing with suspected Communists of the day. A wonderfully well made black and white movie in which the ensemble cast including George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr among others was really worth watching. It highlighted what the term McCarthyism meant and how many Americans lived in fear of being labeled Communists during this period.

In the same vein, I also absolutely enjoyed Ryan Gosling and George Clooney in The Ides of MarchThe Ides of March [IMDB Link], where Gosling played the campaign manager of Clooney, a US Senator and hopeful Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. This was one movie which helped me understand the US political system and its campaigns in greater detail for sure.

One watershed disaster which I ended up watching this week was the hugely hyped Elysium [Link to review] starring Matt Damon and directed by Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame. I don’t know why exactly the director picked on so many themes to discuss in this movie which ended up in a moderately rushed confused sci-fi action movie. Another disappointing movie which I watched this week was the overly hyped The Lone Ranger [IMDB Link]. I don’t know if it was the expectations from Johnny Depp or the awesome trailer that built up my hopes, which ended up being dashed with this movie. It didn’t quite work for me at all, except probably for the last 10 odd minutes.

???????????????????????????I managed to finally watch What Women Want [IMDB Link] fully despite the fact that I had seen the first part of the movie on at least four different occasions in the past. And boy, all the good vibes surrounding the movie were true and it turned out to be quite a nice rom-com to have caught during this week.

Also managed to watch for the third (or was it the fourth) time Kadha Thudarunnu [IMDB Link], a wonderfully heart-warming and simple Malayalam movie helmed by Sathyan Anthikad starring Jayaram and Mamata Mohandas. Some of the scenes in this movie, especially during the latter half never fail to choke me  up and bring a tear to my eye.kadha-thudarunnu

the-internship-movie-poster-1Rounded off the week watching The Internship [Link to review] which for all practical purposes did seem like an elongated Google recruitment video. Having said that, this movie was a nice heartwarming watch. Nothing too serious about it.

The Internship – Movie Review


Well it had been a while since I had seen an Owen Wilson movie and The Internship [IMDB Link] seemed as good a movie as any other. So I saw it and here goes a five point movie review of it.

  1. The entire movie seems like it has been paid for by Google. The movie deals with one entire summer where Nooglers (new interns at Google) in teams compete with each other in competitions to win permanent jobs at Google. All the action happens within the campus, you see red, blue, yellow and green everywhere. You keep hearing the word Google all the time. All right, I guess you get the picture.

    Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn wearing their Noogler caps
    Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn wearing their Noogler caps
  2. Unlike all the critics and reviewers who panned the movie calling it a corporate video, a recruitment video for Google, the longest in product placement in the history of cinema, there are some small heartwarming elements to the movie. However, it rides purely on the talents of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
  3. A good ten minutes of the movie is devoted to a wild night out that the team has which in my opinion was completely unnecessary, and a waste of time. It left a reasonably bad taste in the mouth from what was otherwise quite a decent movie.
  4. Entirely predictable plot with easily guessable twists and turns made the movie boring, although the same argument could be used for calling it ‘easy on the mind’ and ‘relaxing’ given that you know exactly what is going to happen next.
  5. Absolutely hated the fact that the Director found it necessary to give that dirty over pronounced accent to the Indian character in the movie. While the character made for a more than worthy antagonist in the entire scheme of things, his stupid accent made him just irritating, that’s all.

    The stupid ridiculous Indian accent
    The stupid ridiculous Indian accent

Do I regret watching this movie? Was it a waste of time? No.

Would I watch it again? Probably not, if I had a choice.

Watch this movie if you just want some light hearted fluffy stuff to watch. Don’t expect too much and you might just enjoy it.