Thursday, December 25, 2008

Adventure 34

Short Movie Reviews (vol 2)

More short movie reviews. The number next to each title is my rating on a scale of 10, while the number in parentheses is the IMDB rating

Ong Bak (Thai with subtitles):8.0 (7.2)
Ting Manopeaw (Tony Jaa) has been adopted by the temple priest's wife in a backward Thai village which is protected by a sacred Buddha Statue (Ong Bak). The village is devastated by famine when an art smuggler from Bangkok steals its head. Ting must now recover the head from an evil mafia lord in Bangkok, and leaves a trail of destruction in the sleazy pubs and fight clubs of Bangkok using the ancient art of Muay Thai. Watch it for the amazing stunts and fight sequences performed by Tony Jaa, though most Telugu movies have better storylines.

Kung Fu Panda: 9.8 (7.8)
Jack Black is a fat and lazy panda obsessed with Kung Fu. Much to the dismay of the Fabulous Five warriors (Tigress, Viper, Mantis, Monkey and Crane), he is chosen by Master Oogway, the wisest of turtles to receive the ancient Dragon Scroll and take on Tai Lung, the dreaded Snow Leopard. It's upto Master Sheefoo (a red panda - played brilliantly by Dustin Hoffman), the greatest Kung Fu teacher in China to turn this fat slob into the ultimate Dragon Warrior before its too late. Probably the best martial arts movie made till date, it manages to be thrilling, funny and philosophical at the same time. Black and Hoffman effortlessly sideline the voices of Angelina Jolie (Tigress) and Jackie Chan (Monkey).

A Wednesday (Hindi): 7.5 (8.7)
Naseeruddin Shah toys with the Mumbai police for an entire day, by threatening bomb blasts if four top terrorists are not released in this thriller. Though well-made, the plot has too many loopholes to be a really good movie (this is not an action movie or comedy where the plot may be overlooked). Cannot be described more without giving away the ending. Worth a watch anyway.

Hero (Ying Xiong - dubbed from Chinese): 8.0 (8.0)
Jet Li is an unnamed warrior in ancient China whose aim is to kill the ruthless king who has killed thousands in his mission to unite China. After two failed attempts on his life, the king resides in an huge hall where nobody is allowed to approach him within a hundred paces. However, since Jet Li is supposed two of his deadliest foes, he allows him within ten paces. What follows is the unravelling of a complex web of deceit, complete with complex Chinese philosophy (relationships between calligraphy, music and swordsmanship). Watch it for the brilliant cinematography, special effects and breathtaking sword fights between Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung and Ziyi Zheng. The brooding background score adds to the foreboding as the shrewd king foils off his deadliest foe yet, and proceeds to unite China.

No Country For Old Men: 8.5 (8.3)
A small-time criminal (Josh Brolin) finds a stack of cash in the desert after a shootout between rival drug dealers goes horrlibly wrong. A psychopathic hitman (Javier Bardem) strangles the policeman who has arrested him and embarks on a bloody quest to recover that money. He uses a peculiar weapon called "captive bolt pistol" to wreak havoc on locks and skulls in a spine-chilling chase that hurtles to its inevitable climax. Directed by the Coen brothers, this one is almost as brilliant as Fargo, another of their films about the perfect crime gone wrong.

Miss Congeniality: 5.5 (6.1)
Sandra Bullock is an FBI agent and tomboy. She must go undercover as a contestant in the Miss America pageant as there is a threat to bomb the function. The graceless girl must transform into a svelte model, and this transformation is certainly not painless!

The Dark Knight: 8.0 (9.0)
The Joker (Heath Ledger) is a brilliant psychopath holding Gotham City to seige. Can Batman stop him? Ledger steals the show with a brilliant performance, but the rest of the movie is about average, and aimed at Batman afficionados rather than the common movie goer

Bombaiyer Bombete (Bengali - The Buccaneer of Bombay): 6.0 (7.2)
Sandip Ray is another Rohan Gavaskar. Born to a legendary father (Satyajit Ray), he seems to have inherited none of the talent. This Feluda story probably was the best suited for a film adaption, but Ray makes a total hash of it, and even manages to unintentionally make all characters seem gay. Even the music seems to be rehashed from Sonar Kella, his father's masterpiece.

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