Everyone would have imagined, well at-least once in their lifetime, about being inside a movie universe. Here are some movies I felt great about. But first off, let me remind you, I’m not running into a list of my favorite movies right here (Well these are of course movies that I love). The things that have influenced me in bringing out this post are evidently, the subjects being dealt, the characters involved, and most importantly the whole ATMOSPHERE in the film (the locations having a really great influence on it). Be sure to leave your opinions and comments.

#10.Children of Men (2006)

One of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen; from Emmanuel Lubezki. The world is approaching the apocalypse. The year 2027, a woman gets mysteriously pregnant, a rarity for mankind who have long lost their fertility.The quest begins- to protect her and her baby in a dystopian world, where racism and terrorism dominates. The film has a beautiful London setting. It is so realistic and it sometimes appears like a first person shooting game (sometimes switching to a third person).

#9.300 (2006)

The epic battle between the Spartans led by King Leonidas, and the Persians at Thermopylae; captured in front of a blue-screen, working out to be a masterpiece. Though not gigantic with the story (but which the movie is), the style and tone of the film makes it a cult favorite.

#8.Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The first film from the all-American auteur Quentin Tarantino, who is one among those responsible for bringing and promoting the “wave” to Hollywood. The soundtracks from the 70s completes the film. Joe Cabot, count me in for the job……how about “Mr. Grey”?

#7.Narc (2002)

One of my favorite films, and one of the most under-rated movies of all time, and Ray Liotta’s performance too is overlooked- this is one of the best works he has done. The dark theatrical chroma, is what makes this film more than likable. Officer Oak, if you need any assistance with your investigations just leave a message!

#6.Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The latest installment of the greatest sci-fi franchise made in the history of cinema. In fact, I would love to be a part of the Star Wars Universe (the whole franchise). But to pick one, I’d call the third- for its vibrancy,action and visuals (the latest Star Wars, with the latest technology). The ultimate villain, Darth Vader, gets shaped in this film. I wanna fight for the Jedis!!

#5.Taxi Driver (1976)

“All the animals come out at night – whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take ’em to Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won’t even take spooks. Don’t make no difference to me.” These lines at the very beginning of the movie, with the beautiful soundtrack from  Bernard Herrman in the BG, sets the mood. An ever-inspiring story of a Vietnam vet, now an unstable, NYC cab driver, pushing himself to make a change around! The way Scorsese has picturized NY is what makes “Taxi Driver” so special in the list, and of course, the lead role by De Niro.

#4.Inception (2010)

A quite guessable choice. It would be a dream come true to star in a dream within a dream within a dream-(how many layers was that?). And also I’ve got another excuse – Christopher Nolan.

#3.Revolver (2005)

A film that is often ignored and not making it to Guy Ritchie’s pop-hits among the viewers (But I just love this one). The intimate connection between the character and his narration, shot with splendid cinematography gives rise to a cult like no other. This deep and dark ‘mind thriller’, forces you to THINK and that’s why I wanna live inside it.

#2.Good Will Hunting (1997)

A successful attempt from Gus Van Sant, with a screenplay that will surely hook you up with the movie. In fact, what I liked about the movie is the relationship between the characters, and the dim but colorful Boston depicted in the film. There’s no way you’re gonna turn your head away from this movie once you’ve heard Matt saying this -> Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA?

#1.Goodfellas (1990)

An American tale that takes us through the heart of the culture, from the 50s to the 90s. The film is seen through the eyes of Henry Hill, who narrates his story, an associate of Lucchese crime family. It also takes us through the Sicilian ways of the Italian Americans, the joyful moments between the members of the family; there’s a whole lot of genre mash-up going on in here. How I wish, I could experience this film as a reality.

Honorable Mention

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Matrix (1999)

Burn After Reading (2008)

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Fight Club (1999)/Pulp Fiction (1994)

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It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It’s a Wonderful Life (Title)

Personally speaking, this is one film that has really inspired me in the way I perceive life. Its directed by Frank Capra, and James Stewart (whose performance stands unparalleled), Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore stars in it. It’s a Wonderful Life is a kind of film, which is family based, and delves into the most simplest of human emotions and values- love, trust, truth and above all self esteem. Surely after watching this movie – you would evaluate yourself.

Its Christmas eve, and all the people in the small town of Bedford are praying for this one person -George. All the way above us, it’s been decided that a guardian angel Clarence shall be sent for to save this man’s life. Stewart plays George Bailey, a small-town dreamer, who never limits his dreams within the walls, young, daring, enthusiastic and who longs to go around the world. His childhood is shown in a narrative style. His family runs a company ‘Building and Loans’, which loans money to the people of Bedford.

George and Mary

Donna Reed plays a pivotal character named Mary Hatch, whom George marries. The scenes between Mary and George, are some of the most romantic ones that I’ve seen, pure plain romance. George, who dreams to go abroad for college and work, keeps it aside to take care of the company (along with his uncle) after his father dies of a stroke. This was a challenge he took up, to oust Henry Potter (Lionel Barrymore), a grumpy old self-centered and ignorant businessman, who holds a financial monopoly over the town, and who treats the people of the town, like cattle. The character George has tremendous growth after he takes up the job. He also sends his brother to college who later returns as a national hero after the war. George earns the people’s respect and support through his work, and becomes a person who they can look upto during their harsh times. Potter, who realizes his upsurge in town, even offers him a job, with an attractive prize money; but George declines it, though he initially fell for his words.

Potter making George the offer of his lifetime

But he enters into the worst situations in his life, when his uncle accidentally misplaces $8000, on the Christmas eve, and adding insult to injury- the bank examiner arrives on the same day. George takes everything as lost, and even begs Potter for help, who turns him down and reports him as a fraud to the police. He rants at his children at home, breaking the whole family’s joy before Christmas, and runs out desperately, boozes and goes off to the edge of a bridge to commit suicide. This is when the lord sends in Clarence (his guardian angel, who has to put George on track, to get his wings) into the water. He cries out for help, and George rescues him. George takes him to shelter, and shares his trouble during their chat, which to George’s surprise, Clarence had already known. He laughs off when Clarence tells him that he was his guardian angel. George then casually wishes, that he was never born; but Clarence grants his wish and takes him outside.

Clarence the guardian angel with George

Clarence takes him along a Bedford, that never knew about any George Bailey. He never existed. He walks through a Bedford that had turned dark- with, violence, abuse and sex. George runs into his friends Ernie the cab-driver, Bert the police officer, Nick the bartender, Mr. Cower- his old boss, but none of them could recognize him. He runs back to his home only to find his mother shutting the door on him like a stranger. George who trembles with disbelief in his dream-like state, goes to his friend Martin’s house (which was actually constructed by George),but shocked to find a graveyard, and his brother’s grave at that place. (George had actually saved Harry from drowning during their childhood – and Clarence clarifies it to him). George tells Clarence that he wants to meet Mary Hatch, who is now an unmarried maid, working at the library. When she fails to recognize him, he creates a ruckus in the street and gets chased by the police, his old friend Bert. He reaches over the bridge where he first met Clarence.

“To my big brother George, the richest man in town”

Everything suddenly falls back to normalcy, his friend Bert takes him back, George rushes through the center of the street (and town), with a feeling of getting everything back, shouting out his wishes to the entire people around, the shops, realizing the effect every single man can have on others’ lives. He reaches his home and greets the banker, reporters and attorney who had come to arrest him, and he climbs up to his dear kids and hugs them. Mary and uncle Bill then enters the house, with a bag full of cash. Yes, it was the prize for George, from the people of  Bedford when they came to know that George was in trouble.

The last few scenes are so moving and there’s no doubt you will be choked. The performance and the scenes where he dashes through the streets shouting out “Merry Christmas” and the ending scene where his brother Harry raises a toast for him are unforgettable. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a timeless classic, and in my opinion it’s more than just a film. It’s a celebration of life, and a stage that proves the worth of each person. The film ends by leaving a message from Clarence the angel (who finally gets his wings); “Remember..No man is a failure who has friends“.

“A fairly solid thrilling experience, despite not meeting the hype”

Lately, I was going through a ‘Ridley Scott marathon’, having covered many of his films long ago, I just ensured that I watched some of those that I missed, so as to have a good assessment of his latest sci-fi alien slasher-ish Prometheus. Looking back at his 1979’s Alien, there are similarities that you can’t leave out regarding the storyline, and maybe even the characters as well.

Having gone through the slicky futuristic weylandindustries.com website, and the Prometheus clips that went viral, I really expected it to go over the top; unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be a neo-classic. Although, being below expectation, I must say; the movie certainly has many breath-taking moments and stunning visuals. Well, before I jump in, let me remind you, it’s mandatory that you watch Alien before heading for the line, or else you might even take it an absolute disaster.

The film has a great connection with the 70’s alien thriller. The whole story takes place in the future, but happens before the period in Alien. Prometheus is a space program commissioned by the Weyland Industries owned by Peter Weyland, which is leading an expedition to unravel the mystery behind the creation of man. Their intergalactic investigations are based on scriptures from different civilizations of the past on the Earth, which points to a planetary system similar to that of ours with a sun.

The crew consists of archaeologists, geologists, biologists, and the specially built android, David 8. The spaceship in this film is superior to that in Alien (which you might question by the end of this post) – the sophisticated, 3D holographic screens and maps akin to Iron Man’s, the freezers and dinner tables from Alien, a fully automated medpod for conducting surgeries, everything’s tip-top; the ultimate spaceship meant for exploration (lacks weaponry though, as it is meant for only scientific exploration). That’s well and good- you have the first impression, much like how we get a glimpse of the ship in Alien at the start of the film.

Upon reaching the destination (the moon of a planet), the team of experts led by archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green), set for exploration into a cave (following signs of life), having scriptures, and mural-like-painting-like-things (coz it starts moving) on the walls and the giant human head sculpture; giving them clues of  human existence on the planet! These scenes are really chilling and nostalgic (Alien).

Under such a frightening background, a rift in the team is expected, and it goes by the cliché; and the separated group have their first encounter with alien life forms in these caves. And also, there’s another, 15-20 minutes of nerve-racking certified R sequences back in the ship, which is one of the highlights of the film. Noomi Rapace and her counterpart Logan Marshall-Green really drive the film forward, but the whole standard was raised by Michael Fassbender- perfectly fitting into his robotic role as ‘David’ . It also has brilliant support from Charlize Theron (Meredith Vickers, the ship commander), and Guy Pearce, acting out the multi-billionaire Peter Weyland and Idris Elba (Captain Janek) also doing a fine job.

The thing about the storyline is that, it was purely scripted for the franchise, The film’s climax paves way for the story in ‘Alien’, hence naturally it (Prometheus) is a prequel. And casting Guy Pearce for the role of the senile billionaire,when there are other great performers suiting the role, has more relevance as far as a franchise is concerned. Methinks there’s more on the way and probably a prequel to Prometheus starring Guy Pearce. May be!

Alright, so although the story goes by almost the same route and Ridley Scott just meeting the standards set by him 33 years ago, the cinematic experience doesn’t go dry and is backed by the post-modern techs available in cinema today, giving us epic stunning visuals and neatly supported by the bunch of A-listers. The hype might give Prometheus an edge over Madagascar 3, but Madagascar has a wider release. Its a tight race this weekend for the top spot.  I’d give it a rating of 3 stars upon 5, for a fairly solid thrilling experience, despite not meeting the hype.

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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

          Also known as Dr. Strangelove (in short), is a black comedy from the great director Stanley Kubrick. This film is a satiric shot at the cold war, by Kubric, the period after the Second World War, when the tension between America and Russia was peaking- the arms race, the space race, peace race, etc. The film shows the efforts by the U.S to stop a nuclear attack, ordered by one of their Generals, during an exercise, failing to realize it as one. The peculiar nature of the order, does not allow them to abort the attack. But the Russians on the other-side had devised their own lethal weapon, the Doomsday Machine that would trigger automatically and which could wipe out the entire life on Earth.

But the film here actually emphasizes on the greed of both the States, at a time when the whole human race is in danger. It shows the crude minds of the politicians (who represent the countries) to stay ahead of the other, rather than making efforts to save the people. It’s a smudged comedy that ‘appears’ less comical, but it’s satiric in every respect. Keep in mind – it is essential that you run the culture and environment related to the situation in the film in your mind, before you draw any conclusions. Dr. Strangelove has splendid performances from classy George C. Scott and Peter Sellers did a triple role, which surprised me when I realized it (he plays Dr. Strangelove, President Merkin & Capt. Mandrake).

               “Luther is, by far, the best crime thriller drama series I’ve seen till now.”

First of all, my respects, BBC and the creator Neil Cross, for bringing out shows like Luther, MI-5, etc. These days there are tons of series out there spitting out the same ol cliched procedurals and investigations, but Luther could provide you the essential break, that you need. This series, has turned into one of my favorites, and has left me craving for the next season; and also Idris Elba’s scintillating performance as John Luther (I’ve seen his performances in some eps of  “The Wire”, and films such as Rock n Rolla) has lifted him up in my watch-list of actors .

I came to know about this show, after I watched the Globes (2010 and 2011), in which Elba was nominated (back-to-back) for Best Actor in a Mini-series or TV Movie and won it last year, for this role. The other thing that kept my interest in this show was that it was a Brit production. I really love British shows and films; they always have wonderful cinematography, and screenplay incorporating the culture in them and also, yu kno wo els-m talkin-abou – the accssnt.

Luther is an investigative crime drama thriller. But its not just about tracking the culprit; because in every episode, they find out who the criminal is, quickly enough; rather its more about Luther’s approach to solving them or capturing the culprit by law. The distinctive character of Luther is what makes him notorious within his department. He would use any method, which is ethical according to him, for justice. And this hunt for justice has affected his personal life; with an on-and-off relationship with his ex-wife Zoe Luther (Indira Varma).

Its not a one-man show, as you’d quite probably feel like now. He’s well assisted by his faithful team of coppers-Justin Ripley (Warren Brown), Ian Reed (Steven Mackintosh), Benny Silver (Michael Smiley), Erin Gray and headed by DSU Rose Teller (Sasika Reeves) and DSU Martin Schenk (Dermot Crowely) in season 1 and 2 respectively.

Luther is a TV series that grows on you. The first season starts of by introducing to us, the extra-brilliant psychopath Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson, who in my opinion was also a strong performer alongside Elba, throughout the first season. Alice Morgan actually keys together all the 6 episodes in season 1, and is kind of like a sub-plot in every episode. Every episode showcase brilliant character acting by the antagonists, taking forms of serial killers, psychos and smugglers.

The last 2 episodes of the first season were so emotional and edge-of-the-seat thrilling that they shaped the series completely, and gave it a unique identity from the rest. Characters such as Mark North, Zoe’s boyfriend, played by Paul McGann, gets more involved with the season end climax, with every episode.

The second season starts off, right from where it ended in the first. But to my dismay, it had only 4 episodes (but was compensated by more thrilling plots). Season 2 was a bit more intelligently plotted with new, evolved, highly skilled law offenders, and the season ender takes us to an unpredictable climax; too much adrenalin rush for a tv-series, I’d say, in a good sense.

I’m very much looking forward to the third season, which is on the making. Elba stated in an interview that the scripts for the third season had been completed, and it would have a challenging  rival for Luther. He also stated that, there are plans for a Luther film coming out after the third season.

Luther is, by far, the best crime thriller drama series I’ve seen till now. I absolutely enjoyed it.

(click to enlarge)

 “The performance by Josh Brolin, who plays the younger Agent K, stands out.”

Well, the trailer told us what to expect, and expect no more when you’re going for MIB III. The MIB III is an entertainer if you’re looking for a cool, feel good, action, adventure ride this summer. Its from Barry Sonnenfeld, the director of the other MIBs.

To give you a synopsis, the super alien villain Boris (Boris the Animal) escapes from his highly secured vault on the Moon. Agent K was responsible for blasting off one of Boris’ hands and locking him up and also for the extinction of his race called the ‘Boglodites’ (back in 1969). Hence Boris travels back to 1969 using a time-traveller, to prevent this from happening, and to kill Agent K.

Boris alters the history by killing K (by going to the past) and no-one at the MIB headquarters, at present, seem to know Agent K in person (but only his history), except Agent O and J.

Now this killing was already revealed to Agent K (in the present, before killing him from the past) by Boris (the present day-escaped Boris) when, he confronts him.  It is from this timeline (the minus Agent K timeline), that Agent J travels back to rescue and also help K to enable a defense system, called the Arcnet  which would seal the Earth from alien attacks in future. The film ends with an act that has relevance to Agent J’s and K’s history.

Well the storyline might confuse you if you give it a second thought all over, but the makers have logically scripted it. The performance by Josh Brolin, who plays the younger Agent K, stands out; the way he maintains the serious, ‘undertoned’ Agent K as we know through Tommy Lee Jones. And Will Smith’s always there to give us the laughs!

The film, without the part at the end would have looked quite void.  After all, the movie still stays MIBish, but better than the previous ones in my opinion and was a pleasure to watch it on the big screen.

MIB 3 has grossed over 200 million (worldwide), within a week and will probably out gross its predecessors.

 Why watch it?

  • Will Smith’s back after 3 years.
  • Its an MIB franchise, the usual extra-terrestrial action-adventure on Earth (if you’re a fan).
  • Time-travel and aliens.

Why NOT watch it?

  • Just a small package of action, compared to the other movies this summer
  • 3D not worth it.
  • Time-travel and aliens.

Trailer:

“Besides the thrilling car chases, the ‘Bourne’ish hand-to-hand combats, and the shaky camera- proving to be effective at some instances, the film had nothing to count on to impress.”

I was excited about this film, when it was announced; reason: Denzel Washington! And then after the trailer came out – expectations went still higher. I have seen most thrillers starring Denzel Washington, and have liked them especially with the Scott bros. Of course, he’s one of the most versatile actor in Hollywood. BUT, keeping aside all the other works, I didn’t find that magic work in Safe House.

Safe House starring, Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, and supported by Brendon Gleeson and Vera Farmiga, could be tagged as a quite the usual thriller, that fails to surprise you at the end. The movie happens mostly in Johannesburg, where Matthew Weston (Ryan Reynolds) a low ranked CIA agent is employed as the Safe House keeper for the CIA.

D.W plays a spy named Tobin Frost, who’s now among the ‘most wanted’ list of all intel agencies. The story begins to unfold, when CIA captures Tobin and brings him to the Safe House. But he’s moved out by Weston, when there’s a security breach, and the helpless CIA, has to count on Weston to take care of Frost, till the reinforcements arrive.

This is one thing I had to make myself believe, the top secret agency, not able to recruit someone at the time of an emergency?! O.K.

Frost is also being followed by a group of locally recruited goons, who are after him, for a reason, you’ll find out midway of the film. That’s it. Rest is predictable, and the film also has an uninspiring ending.

Besides the thrilling car chases, the ‘Bourne’ish hand-to-hand combats, and the shaky camera- proving to be effective at some instances, the film had nothing to count on to impress.