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Avatar 3D December 19, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Cinema means different things to different people. For some, it is about the story. For some, it is about entertainment. For some, it is about technique. For me, it is about the imagination. It is about the effective translation of a vision. And ultimately, it is about the experience.

As far as imagination and experience goes, Avatar is an unparalleled accomplishment. Writer-Director James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator 2) creates a new world that makes the best use of the new technology that he has helped pioneer over the last decade. Pandora (the alien world created for this film) is a masterpiece that sells 3D like nothing ever has in the past.

After Titanic, Cameron once again takes a story with universal appeal  (not to mention the social relevance) and mounts it on a gigantic scale. Cameron immerses you in this new world and the technology is never really at the forefront (except in the logical part of your brain that might tell you it is make-believe). I didn’t really know how involved I was in the film till Pandora was attacked and the pain felt almost tangible.

With motion capture, it is always hard to assess an actor’s performance but it seems much easier with Avatar. Zoe Saldaña (Star Trek) is only seen in her Na’vi (the inhabitants of Pandora) form and stands out as Neytiri. Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) plays an able Jake Sully.

It goes without saying that this is an experience that no one should miss. If you are planning to watch this and you are not aware of the technology behind it, my sincere request would be to read a little bit about it to allow yourself to really appreciate a mammoth achievement in filmmaking. And try your best to watch it in IMAX 3D.

Quel maledetto treno blindato (The Inglorious Bastards) August 21, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Italian, Movies, Reviews.
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In anticipation for Quentin Tarantino’s latest film (it releases today), a local theater recently arranged a screening of Enzo Castellari’s 1978 film, which is the inspiration for the title and part of the premise. This is a fun film that is filled with action, excitement and humor. It isn’t the most sophisticated piece of filmmaking but a very well-executed one nonetheless.

Think of it as a crass, crazy version of The Dirty Dozen. A group of American soldiers are being shipped off to a military prison when they are attacked by the Germans. In the ensuing melee, they escape. As they try to get to the safety of Switzerland, they are caught up in a mission to steal a warhead from under the Nazis’ noses.

Armed with a promising premise for an entertaining movie, Castellari rarely deviates from the main plot and ensures that the film chugs along at a rapid pace. Even the ridiculous love track is so short and inconspicuous that it doesn’t make much of a difference despite the fact that it is totally unwarranted and is inelegantly crammed into the script. While this isn’t the sort of film where you’d nitpick the flaws, the pace and focus surely make it easier to overlook them.

If you’re really looking forward to QT’s Inglourious Basterds, this one should raise your excitement levels. It certainly whetted my appetite. Even otherwise, this is an amusing adventure that you should enjoy unless you expect your exploitation films to be more refined.