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Review: Wanted

Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman,Angelina Jolie.
Release Date: 27 June, 2008 (USA)

This movie could either make you gasp loudly in admiration every 2 minutes or it’ll give you a new headache every 2 minutes. Me? I had the head-aches more often.
This movie has been dubbed ‘The best action movie this summer’, and i guess they should just remove the ‘best’ out of it. For the whole movie has just one-thing in it, slow-motion action scenes featuring bullets ripping brains and hearts to shreds. And the slow-motions makes you feel the movie would have been half in length had it not been for them.

The plot is based on Wesley (James McAvoy) who plays the protagonist. A man, who enters Bullet-Motion Mode (straight out of Max Payne, i guess) each time he’s in trouble or needs time to adjust to his target. He’s taken into ‘The Fraternity’, who assasinate world leaders and corrupt people to ‘maintain the balance of power in the world’. Wesley’s partner in action is The Fox (Jolie) and they bodyguard their leader, Prof Seltzer (Morgan Freeman).

The movie shows violence in excess, but the plot is interesting. The only thing that failed (and failed miserable at it), is the presentation. The first half-an-hour makes you feel the movie is trying to prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity of Time. But the casting is good, which saves the movie from being disgraced. We all know about Angelina Jolie, though you may have not seen James McEnvoy many times. This guy from the award-winning movie ‘The Last King of Scotland’ does as good as he could and Morgan Freeman, as always, creates his elegant charm on the screen, speaking few but wise words.

But then again, this movie might blow your mind too, if action is your idea of a perfect movie. But i just didn’t like the repeated bullets whizzing around, the blood splattering in slow-motion the same way a thousand times and the wastage of a potentially good movie.

I would give it 5/10.

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | Movies | , | Leave a comment

Review of Batman: The Dark Knight

A movie I had been waiting for sooo eagerly!! For 2 weeks, I counted down to the 18th of July i.e. the date of realease. And what I saw today justified the wait!!

Over-anxious for this movie, I watched the first Batman movie, Batman Begins twice in a week. The build up for the movie was huge, obviouly Warner Bros had done their bit in Marketing the movie!

Now, it’s been a trend of late to promote all the super-hero/fantasy movies as ‘a darker and deadlier version’. That was how Spidy 3 was, all the Harry Potters are and well, yes, that’s how Batman was being promoted! But comparing Batman:The Dark Knight to the other movies is laughable. This heart stopping action-thriller keeps you stuck to the screen the moment Joker enters and continues till the very end.

And yeah, I almost forgot! The Joker! He was the reason probably why my adrenaline was pumping at the thought of the movie, even before it released! The ghastly yet somewhat elegant looking ‘freak’ was probably the highlight of the whole movie! And what a great performance by the late Heath Ledger! His last completed role is surely one for the Oscars! His slightly tilted head, that wide, wide smile with the scars and that gory lipsmacking make him stand out as the performance of the whole movie!

Well, enough said about the movie’s pre-release build up. Let’s talk about the movie in general. The movie begins with the entry of The Joker, living up to the brutal image created of him in the Comic Book Series of Batman. As the movie moves on, The Joker exerts himself as the Classiest Criminal in the whole of Gotham, who does what he does, not for money, but ‘to watch the world burn’. Batman aka Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), finds himself in two-minds as to his role as the hero beneath a mask and starts believing that Gotham needs a hero with a face, which it finds in the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Katie Holmes is replaced in this movie by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who according to me, fails to conjure the charisma of Rachel Dawes.

With perfect portrayals of The Batman, The Joker, Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent and Jim Gordon, this is one of the best movies of the year. With more adrenaline, meaner Bat Toys, deeper emotions and a clinical script, hats off to Christopher Nolan! A must must watch for all Batman fans and non-fans alike! A guarantee, you’ll love the movie every bit!

I would give it 9/10.
Consider the next best movie this year rated somewhere between 7 and 8.5. So now you know how big 9 is on my rating meter!

July 19, 2008 Posted by | Movies | , , , | 1 Comment

A Brief History of The Joker


We all know about this clown from the Batman Series. But a look into his creation and evolution over the long decades is another interesting story in itself.

The Creators:
One very interesting thing about The Joker’s origin is that the character was inspired by actor Conrad Viedt‘s appearance in the silent film, The Man Who Laughs (1928).


Conrad Veidt (The Man Who Laughs) on the left. Heath Ledger (Batman: The Dark Knight) on the right

Bill Finger, the ghost writer co-creator of Batman, brought credited Batman creator Bob Kane a photograph of actor Conrad Veidt wearing make-up for the silent film The Man Who Laughs, and from this photograph the Joker was modeled. This influence was referenced in the graphic novel Batman: The Man Who Laughs, a retelling of the first Joker story from 1940.

The credit for creation of the Joker is disputed. Kane responded in a 1994 interview to claims that Jerry Robinson created the concept of the character:

Bill Finger and I created the Joker. Bill was the writer. Jerry Robinson came to me with a playing card of the Joker. That’s the way I sum it up. [The Joker] looks like Conrad Veidt — you know, the actor in The Man Who Laughs, [the 1928 movie based on the novel] by Victor Hugo. […] Bill Finger had a book with a photograph of Conrad Veidt and showed it to me and said, ‘Here’s the Joker’. Jerry Robinson had absolutely nothing to do with it, but he’ll always say he created it till he dies. He brought in a playing card, which we used for a couple of issues for him [the Joker] to use as his playing card.


Origin:

Though many have been related, a definitive backstory has never been established for the Joker in the comics, and his real name has never been confirmed. He has been portrayed as lying so often about his former life that he himself is confused as to what actually happened. As he says in The Killing Joke: “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… if I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth written by Grant Morrison, it is said that the Joker may not be insane, but has some sort of “super-sanity” in which he creates himself each day to cope with the chaotic flow of modern urban life.

The first origin account, Detective Comics #168 (February 1951), revealed that the Joker had once been a criminal known as the Red Hood. In the story, he was a scientist looking to steal from the company that employs him and adopts the persona of Red Hood. After committing the theft, which Batman thwarts, Red Hood falls into a vat of chemical waste. He emerges with bleached white skin, red lips, green hair, and a permanent grin.

The most widely cited backstory can be seen in The Killing Joke. It depicts him as originally being an engineer at a chemical plant who quits his job to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperate to support his pregnant wife, Jeannie, the man agrees to help two criminals break into the plant where he was formerly employed. In this version of the story, the Red Hood persona is given to the inside man of every job (thus it is never the same man twice); this makes the man appear to be the ringleader, allowing the two criminals to escape. During the planning, police contact him and inform him that his wife and unborn child have died in a household accident.

Stricken with grief, he attempts to back out of the plan, but the criminals strong-arm him into keeping his promise. As soon as they enter the plant, however, they are immediately caught by security and a shoot-out ensues, in which the two criminals are killed. As the engineer tries to escape, he is confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance. Terrified, the engineer leaps over a rail and plummets into a vat of chemicals. When he surfaces in the nearby reservoir, he removes the hood and sees his reflection: bleached chalk-white skin, ruby-red lips, and green hair. These events, coupled with his other misfortunes that day, drive the engineer completely insane, resulting in the birth of the Joker.

Criminal career:

From the Joker’s first appearance in Batman #1, he has committed crimes both whimsical and inhumanly brutal, all with a logic and reasoning that, in Batman’s words, “make sense to him alone.” The character is the archenemy of Batman, and has been responsible for numerous tragedies in the Caped Crusader’s life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle) and the murder of Jason Todd (the second Robin).

Portrayals:

The character has appeared in numerous Batman related media; portrayed by Cesar Romero in the 1960s Batman television series; Jack Nicholson in the 1989 film Batman (Nicholson’s version of the Joker ranks #45 in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 50 film villains); voice actor Mark Hamill in 1990’s Batman: The Animated Series television series; and Heath Ledger in the 2008 Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight.

Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)

In this movie, releasing on 18 July, 2008 worldwide, Heath Ledger plays the Joker. The film is also been seen as a fitting tribute for the actor, who died in January 2008 after a drug overdose. He had completed the filming for his appearances in the movie by then.

Heath Ledger described the Joker as a “psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy”. Nolan had wanted to work with Ledger on a number of projects in the past, but had been unable to do so. When Ledger saw Batman Begins, he realized a way to make the character work consistent with that film’s tone, and Nolan agreed with his anarchic interpretation. To prepare for the role, Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month, formulating the character’s posture, voice and psychology, and kept a diary, in which he recorded the Joker’s thoughts and feelings to guide himself during his performance. While he initially found it difficult, Ledger was eventually able to generate a voice that did not sound like Jack Nicholson’s take on the character in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. He was also given Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth to read, which he “really tried to read […] and put it down”. Ledger also cited inspirations such as A Clockwork Orange and Sid Vicious, which were “a very early starting point for Christian [Bale] and I. But we kind of flew far away from that pretty quickly and into another world altogether.” “There’s a bit of everything in him. There’s nothing that consistent,” Ledger said, adding that “There are a few more surprises to him.”

July 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Review: Kung Fu Panda

The Indian release took place on the 11th of July, even though it had released a month ago in The States. But that doesn’t take any ‘awesomeness’ away from the movie!
A perfectly presented movie about Po, A Big Fat Panda, even though he considers himself THE Big Fat Panda. Stuck at his father’s noodle shop, he dreams and worships just one thing- Kung-Fu.
He crashlands at a ceremony where the wise Master Oogway chooses the Dragon Warrior to fight the ultimate evil in the snow leopard fighter Tai Lung, and gets selected as the Dragon Warrior. With just a fat belly and kung-fu dreams, how does he make his way to the top under the guidance of Master Shifu? And the Furious Five-Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane, students of Master Shifu, feel cheated at not being chosen as the Dragon Warrior. How does The Panda gain respect and most important of all, face Tai Lung in the inevitable showdown?
This movie has it all. The perfect recipe for a rib-tickling journey through the eyes of Po. With voices by Jack Black, Jackie Chan and Angelina Jolie, you should not miss this one if you’re a Movie Buff. ‘Coz as the movie says: There’s No Price for Awesomeness and Attractiveness!!
A juicy 8/10 for Po and Co.

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Movies | | Leave a comment

Review: Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na?

The highly anticipated debut for Imran Khan released last Friday and I got to catch it with my friends on my B’day (9th). The movie had gone down well with the critics and I was hoping it lived up to the hype. It sure did.
The story of the extremely non-violent Jai (Imran) and his cool gang, consisting of his college friends including Aditi (Genelia) may not pop your eyes out with the storyline, but sure will make you laugh a thousand times till your jaws hurt. The story begins each of the friends getting introduced and moves on as Aditi and Jai are ‘good friends’. There’s a portrait of the late Amar Rathore (Naseeruddin Shah), who was Jai’s father and a true Rajput and a great warrior, who speaks through the portrait and express his disgust at his son’s Gandhi-ist values. Soon, Aditi finds Jai a girlfriend and when they start bonding, she gets jealous. That’s when she knows its love. But what about Jai?
With huge amounts of comedy, great songs (Mr. Rehman knows his work, as usual) and portrayal of the college youth in a prefect manner, this movie wins your heart over. The movie just looks so fresh that you get stuck to it from the first second onwards. And the climax, a perfect Bolly-style ending at an Airport.
Well, that’s all for the spoils at the moment, incase you haven’t seen it yet. But it would rate as one of the few good hindi movies this year so far.
I’ll give it a healthy 7/10. A must watch.

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Movies | | Leave a comment