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The Taking of Pelham 123 August 3, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Director Tony Scott’s remake of the 1974 thriller starring Walter Matthau (titled The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) is a stylish update that introduces the film to a new generation but doesn’t do much else. I watched the original a few years ago and like that film, this is a simple thriller that has nothing special. It is fun while it lasts but isn’t something that will stay with you.

An NYC subway train is hijacked by a group of criminals, the head of which calls himself Ryder. He threatens to kill the passengers unless his demands for a ransom are met within the next hour. A subway dispatcher, Walter Garber, finds himself in the middle of the chaos, negotiating with Ryder. He has to use all his skills to keep Ryder from killing the passengers. But how does Ryder plan to get away with the money? Is he really after the ransom or something bigger?

The major difference between the original and this update is that the actors in the original help raise the film to a higher level while the actors in this one do no such thing. John Travolta’s character is in sharp contrast to Robert Shaw’s in the original. He overdoes his part. His mad man act is quite familiar by now and it irritates more than a little. Denzel Washington is a suitable choice and he plays it right but I’d definitely prefer Walter Matthau any day.

Scott (True Romance, Man on Fire, Deja Vu) and writer Brian Helgeland (L. A. Confidential, Mystic River, Man on Fire) have all the ingredients to make a watchable thriller and they do but this one does not distinguish itself from its predecessor much. Scott adds some more action and a laptop with a webcam and internet connectivity to reflect the time but there isn’t much incentive for viewers who have seen the original to drag themselves to watch this.

This isn’t a film that you’d need to run to the theater to watch but it should make for entertaining viewing on a lazy day at home.

P.S. If you don’t mind watching a film from the seventies, the original is a better choice.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen June 29, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Guys….what’s with all the Bay-bashing!!! I seriously fail to understand why Michael Bay is assumed to be the edifice on which American Cinema stands. Poor guy just makes his own brand of porn which not surprisingly has a large number of takers – what’s the big deal!

Coming to the movie itself, I must admit I didn’t really enjoy the previous installment as much I as might I have wanted to – the main reason (pretty much the same for everyone else) being the incomprehensible action sequences between the Bots. Revenge of the Fallen doesn’t improve much on that count but paradoxically was more enjoyable since I knew what to expect. To put it very simply, the sequel literally provides “more bang for your buck” when compared to the first one – and nothing else. In recent days, there was a lot written about the scenes shot in the native IMAX format. Most of it is hyperbole – first of all there are just about 6-7 minutes of such footage but since most of the film comprises of similar mayhem, there isn’t anything memorable here. I also felt that the regular IMAX up-conversion work was a little patchy. So, there is nothing you’d lose if you don’t check this one out on an IMAX screen.

Most folks from the previous film are back – John Turturro was a nice surprise though. Michael Bay can never be faulted for the amazing visual effects he employs – even if they don’t have the intended impact on the viewer. After watching the first Transformers movie, I neither had the idea that a sequel was coming nor did I want one to transpire. Though I enjoyed this film too, I would prefer to see Bay stick to making more traditional action explosion flicks.

Unless you are an inveterate member of the Michael Bay Hate Club you would want to watch this one. If it interests you (and as you might know if you have been following stuff about this movie) you do get to see “Nigger robots who can’t read”, “Decepticon testicles” and a “robot humping Megan Fox’s leg”.