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Mini Movie Reviews - 2013 January to March
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
G.I. Joe: Retaliation - This movie is like a silent ninja, in the sense that it takes its time and makes you wait, but once it decides to attack, it attacks! It takes some time to start but once it does, it becomes a revenge story from different angles by different people that comes to a common end and more importantly, it is a 'popcorn action movie' made by a director who loves the back-story of G.I. Joe. It answers questions like - WHO betrayed Storm Shadow before he chose the wrong path?, who was the one who led him to a life of violence and anger?, and if not him then who really killed the Hard Master? These are the answers that the Blind Master, Jynx and all the other ninjas of the Arashikage clan (and we as well) have always wanted to find out. Along with a lot of other characters from the G.I. Joe universe, the charismatic Roadblock, the enigmatic Snake Eyes and the mysterious Storm Shadow all bring their varied personalities into the mix of G.I. Joe 2 and add to the movie. Even the guy who plays the small role of Warden Nigel James (Walton Goggins) of the special prison in which Cobra Commander and Destro are kept plays the role with such relish, and the movie also introduces Lady Jaye, Flint and General Joe Colton played by Bruce Willis whereas Duke played by Channing Tatum only gets just a small cameo in the beginning. They have taken only just enough of the first movie to keep the storyline of this one going and while some of the dialogue does have a comic book touch to it, I think for its intended audience this movie will be good fun and of course seeing Cobra Commander in total black or Snake Eyes giving Storm Shadow the sword for the final kill is gonna be such a thrill for the cartoon fans. 3 things to watch - an exciting mountainside battle between ninjas, the fistfight between Roadblock and Firefly, and Lady Jaye in stunning red. But the best character in the movie is the funny president! Final Verdict - Storm Shadow + Snake Eyes = cobraDUST. If you don't know the g.i.joe lore then it's just another action movie that will satisfy the weekend action fans but if you do know the background story then the G.I. Joe fans will be quite happy. Yo Joe!!!
Oz the Great and Powerful
Oz the Great and Powerful - Probably most of the people have seen it or have decided not to see it so that's why I just had to write about it here. Ever seen one of those children's books with illustrations on the back? Now imagine all those drawings of cities, roads, forests etc come to life just as it is! Visually Superb with 3D that's entertaining, it's got all kinds of magic tricks (wink wink) that come together at the end. It starts in Black & White and then once we get to the land of Oz then the colours start coming in and yes some of the shots are really good to look at. The main characters are played by James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams and the side characters are voiced by Zach Braff and Joey King and all of them play characters that will eventually become the characters that are well known in cinema history like The Wizard, the Good Witch of the South, The Wicked Witch of the East and the infamous The Wicked Witch of the West. Along with the audacity of making a prequel close to 75 years after the original, Sam Raimi's usual horror/comedy treatment surprisingly works for the movie. Though it does have some minor flaws (some play-acting here and there) it's the colourful, loud, exciting, vivid visual flourishes that you will stand-out for you. Of course it wont come anywhere near that classic old movie 'The Wizard of Oz' but for what it's worth it is visually interesting and good for some timepass. Final Verdict - Keep mid range expectations and then go for the good visuals. If you like magic, colour, fantasy, exotic stuff etc., then this is your 3D weekend entertainment. Because as a weekend distraction, this is Oz the (visually) Great and (a little) Powerful!
Jack the Giant Slayer
Jack the Giant Slayer aka Jack the Giant Killer - It's sadly obvious that it's got the wrong director for a light-hearted fantasy fare like this. Because when it aims to be serious, it looks comedic and when it aims to be comedic, it looks serious. In other words, nothing gets the required focus and what it focuses on isn't really that important either. In a fantasy movie since the quest will always be something fantastical it is critical that the emotional stakes be really high. But unfortunately, 2 plastic bags floating in the wind will have more vibes than the 2 main leads here! So you don't really care for the characters and it's mainly the CGI that plays the main part in this movie. 80 percent of the time you can see that most of the actors are acting fully aware that this is a ridiculous idea of a movie and none of the actors including Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor are able to save this movie. It is a fantasy movie that doesn't do anything spectacular or memorable and all it does is put its lead characters through an average teen romance movie which doesn't even provide or show any emotional prowess as well. As long as the Giants & Humans battle it out you won't mind but other than that don't expect anything more and this is nothing more than just another average CGI blockbuster. Final Verdict - If you have got nothing better to do then you can watch it for just 1 time. But other than that there really isn't much to say about the movie because seriously, this is Jack the Ordinary Slayer!
ABCD: Any Body Can Dance
ABCD: Any Body Can Dance - Critics have been unfavourable to this one because it is critically just another by-the-numbers type of movie. You can predict the storyline, who's gonna die when, what's gonna happen etc., so it's like a bollywoodized version of any generic dance movie for hollywood. For example, it has scenes of a rain dance where everybody is wearing black, the plot has family problems, gang issues, members of rival gangs get trained by the same teacher and so they are forced to get along etc., which are a part of any film in the dance movie genre these days. But after all that being said and done, this is India's FIRST ATTEMPT at a dance movie (that too in 3D) and the good parts are that Prabhu deva finally gets to show-off his freestyle moves, the parkour chase sequence is interesting (yeah India CAN do free running), a lot of the actors are dancers who have come from different dance shows and the fact that people loved to see the dance sequences on the screen and clapped, screamed and whistled at them shows that people really are looking forward to such new types of movies and there is an audience for dance movies. Final Verdict - Just because a movie is average doesn't mean that you cannot have fun with it. This one is mainly for the dancefreaks or for people with low expectations. If you catch it for 100 bucks or less then you will be fine, and yes some people danced in the theater after the movie so yeah ANY BODY CAN DANCE!!!
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - I'm probably the last one to see it but ya why not? Using 3D that distances you from the action which results in you not caring much for the characters and a first half that has a visual style which has some similarities to Guillermo Del Toro's style for the hellboy movies and not really to that of a Peter Jackson movie, it lacks any real urgency like the movies of The Lord of The Rings series and it felt less like a movie and more like some slightly uninteresting video game. Though it does start promisingly with the old Bilbo Baggins recounting his tales just before Frodo runs off to meet Gandalf in The Fellowship of The Ring and then the flashbacks begin with Gandalf meeting the young bilbo baggins for the first time and then the company of Dwarves arrive and despite having having andy serkis back as Gollum along with the small presence of Elrond played by hugo weaving, Galadriel played by cate blanchett, Saruman played by christopher lee and so on, it still doesn't have that sense of adventure or epic nature of the LOTR movies and the movie feels bloated and it just crumbles under its own weight. If not for the compelling thorin oakenshield played by richard armitage, martin freeman's everydayman bilbo baggins, psychotic gollum & their riddle match and the multiple uses of the 'misty mountains' theme, this would have been just some average movie. Final Verdict - It seemed like some slightly boring travel movie for the most part except for the action climax and thorin's rise to the challenge near the end. Boring? An LOTR movie? That would have been unimaginable until this one. There are hints at the end of more to come in the 2nd part but until then, The Hobbit part 1 is An Underwhelming Journey.
Jack Reacher - Tom Cruise has an acceptable decent movie? I don't even remember the last time that happened. After a decade of playing "tom cruise" on screen, here is a movie that starts slow, takes it time to build up the story, it's got less shoot-outs but since it makes you become concerned for the characters whatever action, dialogue, suspense is there you are interested in it. Plus there is a very loud car chase in the 2nd half that aims not for sophistication but mainly for Rawness which works just fine and that is the main sequence in the film. The movie is based on the novel One Shot by Lee child and both Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike play the characters Jack Reacher and Helen Rodin as if they were, quite literally, characters from a novel and Robert Duvall plays a supporting role as a ridiculous and interesting character and Warner Herzog (a famous german director) plays the role of the main villain. This is a movie made by its creators who knew exactly what type of a movie they were aiming to make, and they made it too. So you have to give them credit for that. Final Verdict - A smart beautiful lawyer meets a tough army cop and they join up to uncover a murder mystery? It's like one of those movies that you see in the evening on tv for some timepass and if you like these kinda movies and if you have normal expectations then this isn't bad. It delivers just what it promises and I liked this one more than M:I 4, why? Because that was about just some super spy with explosions all around him but this one, I wanted to see how it would end. That is the kinda stuff that makes a movie worth watching. With good direction, anything will become interesting.
CZ12 aka Chinese Zodiac - The fact that I only said "JACKIE CHAN" at the ticket counter and that everybody clapped at the movie title's appearance, his first appearance, his first punch shows that people still have a lot of love for him. JC plays a character named JC(!) who steals relics and sells them but the first half is a somewhat boring, irritating, incomprehensible mess that has some bad direction and it is too preachy and it has too many lines in too many languages that you don't understand. It's at the last fight at the end of the 1st half that the film actually starts breathing. Thankfully after that the movie starts moving and since he's old he doesn't jump around much like he used to and there are less fight scenes than is normal for him but he still has that old charm and his hands are still fast and there is a skyfalling sequence at the end that will pull you in somewhat. You will wonder what could have happened if they had made the movie with more passion and seriousness. But it's not Jackie Chan's fault that there isn't a good story that surrounds him and supports the movie. Final Verdict - It won't even compare to the original Armour of God and it is not even able to come close to its less acclaimed sequel Operation Condor. Technically this is only an average movie (which is sad considering that this is supposedly his last action movie [YA RIGHT!]), so go only if you really want to see him one more time on the screen. Other than that there really isn't much to recommend. But the fact that people still stayed till the end and clapped once it was over proves that there is still no one like Jackie Chan.
The Best Movie is... ?
Though ABCD was a good attempt, if you take the movie seriously then it simply doesn't stand up to the hollywood dance movies and considering that a lot of the plot points are taken from those same movies, it doesn't really bring anything new to the dance movie genre and it also doesn't go beyond or even near the quality of those movies that inspired this one and though Oz the Great and Powerful had some good visuals, it doesn't have much of anything else like a great story or at least something special, hence it's not memorable, especially considering that this is the prequel to that old classic 'The Wizard Of Oz' and so it's just like a weekend entertainer and though CZ12 had Jackie Chan, as a movie it was just plain average and although fans were waiting for the movie as it was supposed to be the threequel to that great 1987 Jackie Chan movie Armour of God it actually disappointed the audiences by being a fake-reboot which only had minor similarities with the earlier movies in the series and it also inexplicably changed the motivations of the main character plus it also was not really that exciting or fun either and so neither the fans of the actor nor of the series are gonna be completely happy with this 'just watchable' movie and so, it's almost like a 50-50 between Jack Reacher and G.I. Joe: Retaliation but, while in Jack Reacher you get an old school type of action movie with no frills and an emphasis on a raw feel, in G.I. Joe: Retaliation you get a modern type of action movie with an emphasis on the story and the G.I. Joe lore and the ninja action and so, after considering all the facts, though its action side isn't bad, mainly because of its emphasis on the exotic backstory of the ninjas and on finding the answers to some of the questions raised in the first movie, ladies and gentlemen, The Best Movie of 2013 January to March is... G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Thank you for reading Mini Movie Reviews - 2013 January to March. Hope you have enjoyed it and had a good time with my movie reviews. There are 2 opinion polls below regarding which movie you thought was the best movie and what you thought about my article of movie reviews, so please feel free to take them, comment and give your opinions. Hope to see you soon on another article about movie reviews. Have a good day and once again, thank you for reading Mini Movie Reviews - 2013 January to March.
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