Skyfall: Aging Decrepit Hero
As a big fan of the James Bond movie franchise, I’ve watched all the films several times, especially the ones featuring Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan, the two Bonds that I am most familiar with. However, Daniel Craig hasn’t exactly had a good run with the three movies that he has done and Skyfall, the most recent Bond film (#23), being a perfect example. It lies in between Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and it straddles both sides of the fence.
There was a lot that was wrong with the movie, and not all that much that was actually good. Because of that factor, it remains one of the least exciting movies I’ve seen in recent years, especially since becoming a movie blogger. And here’s the review where I go in some detail.
EVE: True Stories #1 (Comics Review)
EVE Online has been one of those games to come out in recent years that I’ve wanted to play for a long time. The entire world sounds exciting and intriguing and is full of the kind of awesomeness that I want in a game like that. Sadly, I have yet to get the opportunity, for fate always conspires to keep me away from it, sadly. But I suppose that a comic based on the game is the next best thing right? And what really could be better than a comic that is inspired by events that happened in the game as a result of player interaction? Sounds very ironically meta doesn’t it? Well, that was the hook for me to get and read this comic.
Turns out, its not quite what I was looking for. Nothing against the story itself, per se, its just that the art isn’t always clear, and the story is just slightly convoluted that I don’t understand what exactly is going on. But still, I got pulled into a mystery here, and since I love big, loud space opera, I did like this issue on a certain level. Time will tell whether or not this story will be good or not, since we have three more issue to go, but I’m hopeful nonetheless.
Cocktail: Friends With Limits
Not one of the biggest successes of 2012, but still one of the best films that year was Homi Adajania’s second movie Cocktail, the story of three friends in London and the eventual love triangle that results between them. In many ways, it was a classic romantic story, but one that focused on character drama instead of cool action moments. It was certainly in the shortlist of movies that I’d classify as the best movies of the year. Newcomer Diana Penty pretty much rocked it while veterans Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone also turned in some great moments.
It is always nice to get a film like this in Bollywood, which these days is far too obsessed with the big and flashy. Cocktail is nothing of the kind, not by far, and I just loved almost everything about it. I would love for these three actors to work together again, particularly Diana Penty, and Homi Adjania to return with a third movie too.
The Blacklist Season 1 Eps 4-6 (TV Show Review)
I might have mentioned it a couple times before but Fall 2013 has proven to be a really good season for television, I feel. So many great shows got their start in September/October last year and while a few have fizzled out on their initial promises, far more have gotten better with each episode, developing and solidifying themselves, you could say. And NBC’s The Blacklist is one of those shows. Its a spy action-drama, but it flips the genre on its head and does something rather unique with it. And in a way, I can’t help but make comparisons to Fox’s Fringe, which too was a genre-flipping show that’s been really good, what little I’ve seen on it.
The first three episodes of The Blacklist did a pretty good job of laying out who all the main characters were, what their relationships to each other were, and what the overall premise really was. We also got introduced to a fair amount of mysteries, both professional and personal as far as the two leads Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington were concerned. Thankfully, the next set of three episodes carried on from there and were even better than the previous three. While also advancing the season story-arcs, we got some great one-shots and I’m definitely in love with both the actors and the characters.
The Hunger Games: Death and Glory
In recent years, there has been a big shift in Hollywood productions. Slowly but surely, we are getting more movies featuring female protagonists. Many people would point to the Twilight franchise as an abomination and what not, but can you really argue with the results? The industry is in a situation where even such “bad” films can still do their part to raise the point clearly and with distinction that female-led movies can do well at the box office. But the kicker is the quality of such a heroine of course, and that’s where the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ first The Hunger Games novel comes in.
The Hunger Games followed the Twilight trend of adapting young adult novels featuring female protagonists for the big screen, a trend that hasn’t worked out for some other recent adaptations unfortunately. It features a very awesome female lead who kicks all kinds of ass and who is strong by her own merits, by her own doings. She isn’t defined by the people around her. She defines them. Of course, it also helped that the story itself was quite good. I’ve seen the movie a number of times since watching the theatrical release, and it has held up pretty well. The sequel, Catching Fire, released a few months ago, went a few steps further and was equally good at the least.
John Carter: Hero of Mars
Far as I am concerned, there was only one major negative of John Carter: Disney screwed up the marketing big time and instead of a potential franchise, they ended up with a near-flop. And that is painful for me, since I enjoyed the movie. I’d seen the trailers before I went to watch it on the big screens, so I kind of had an idea of what it would be like, but since I’d never read any of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novels before, I didn’t know who the character was or what Barsoom really was. After watching the movie, everything changed for me.
In that same year, I listened to the audiobook of the first book, A Princess of Mars. I began reading the tie-in comics from Dynamite Entertianment, comics which built up the world that Burroughs had introduced to readers almost a century ago. I became a big fan of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, all thanks to watching that movie. Reading Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar novels, which are heavily influenced by Burroughs’ own work and present a kick-ass female protagonist in a similar science fantasy sword-and-planet setting, took things even further for me.
I still lament that John Carter failed at the box office. Disney’s ineptitude and the backlash from critics and fans before the movie even went to release ruined any potential success. But, thankfully, the movie has already become a sort of cult classic. I’ve seen it at least three times on DVD and each time has been a joy. It is a movie I can have fun watching every single time. Here’s the repost of my original review of it.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
As a kid, I remember when the original trilogy was released in India in theaters. There was a huge promotion about it, to the tune that you could get these nice little stickers in packets of chips that you could then use to add to these booklets that you could buy from confectionaries, grocers etc. That was when my fascination with Star Wars began. Years later, I picked up my first Star Wars book, Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston, and a few years later I saw the third movie in the prequel trilogy in theater with a friend, and then soon after that I saw the original trilogy for the first time, in college. I then went on to read a ton of Star Wars novels, thanks mostly in part to a well-stocked college library (or libraries rather, I should say), and I’ve almost always had fun.
In 2012, George Lucas and Co. began to roll out 3-D versions of the movies, starting with Episode I. It was a fantastic experience for me. But my excitement for watching the successive movies in the new format died out when it was announced that all plans had been put on hold pending Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. And now Disney has no plans to rerelease the movies in 3D, moving forward instead with a new trilogy and several spin-off films. Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.
So, anyway, here’s a repost of my review for the 3-D version of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Agneepath: Fires of Revenge
Much as with Hollywood, Bollywood too has been a bit obssessed with remakes in recent years, although not quite to the same degree. The underlying difference is that the typical stories are far too ingrained in the psyche of Bollywood filmmakers for them to really branch out and do something different, like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or Peepli Live or what have you. But, we are getting there, slowly and surely. Regardless, a remake can be quite fun if it is executed properly, such as Karan Malhotra’s remake of the Amitabh Bacchan-starrer cult classic Agneepath, which failed at the box office on release, but since has really found a way into people’s hearts.
Now with a brand-new cast, and all top-notch talent involved no less, Karan Malhotra shows what that original movie could have been like. For the remake is all-around awesome, and I certainly enjoyed it more than the original. Here’s the review.
Rockstar: The Inner Pain
So this is the first ever review I did for a Bollywood movie. Coming home after watching Rockstar, I really wanted to do a review of it, to talk about it and present a different aspect of movies to the audience of Just Beyond Infinity (or 24FPS as it was known then). I certainly started a trend for myself with this review, although I’ve fallen off reviewing Bollywood films anymore.
Still, Rockstar remains one of the best films I’ve seen from Bollywood in the last five years, and I would really encourage you all to see it, should you get a chance.
The Blacklist Season 1 Eps 1-3 (TV Show Review)
Recently, and starting with Homeland, I’ve come to take an interest in contemporary espionage shows. There’s something quite fascinating about FBI, CIA agents and others of their kind taking down the bad guys, mass murderers and terrorists and more. After having seen the first three episodes of Homeland a while back however, I’ve kind of fallen off due to other shows (not that Homeland is boring or bad or anything, quite the contrary), but watching The Blacklist recently has gotten me really interested in the whole genre once again.
The reason that I started watching The Blacklist in the first place is because of the lead actor James Spader. I’ve seen a lot of his films, especially the sci-fi flick Stargate that spawned no less than three spin-off shows, and have seen him in Boston Legal as well where he was just amazing alongside William Shatner. Spader is a great actor and I dived into The Blacklist last week nothing about the show. It so happened that I loved it, and now, having seen the first three episodes, I can say that the show is really good. Almost all the actors are top-notch and the plots are quite interesting as well, which always helps.
Best Movies of 2013
Its been an interesting year for the movie industry, whether we talk Hollywood or Bollywood. Big tent-pole movies were the norm at the box office, and there were both successes and flops from each region. It can’t be denied either that some of the box offices successes have proved to be quite surprising, such as the runaway hits Frozen and The Hunger Games #2: Catching Fire, which continue to tell studio executives that female-led movies, especially action movies, CAN be successful if given a chance and that hiding behind ridiculous sexist attitudes and thinking just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Or let’s talk Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim which underperformed in the US but was a big hit in international markets and the reason for the former can no doubt be laid at the feet of the subversive trend in American media of trash-talking movies that are different.
But enough of that. This post, the first such that I’m doing, is meant to celebrate the movies that I thoroughly enjoyed this year, whether Hollywood or Bollywood, and that’s what I’m going to focus on here. So let’s have at it.
Killer Women Season 1 Ep 1 (TV Show Review)
The Fall 2013 season has been quite good for television programming, what with Arrow returning for an awesome second season and the launch of new shows like Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow which have been really good so far from all that I’ve seen. Agents of SHIELD has been the only down-kicker, of all the new stuff I’ve seen in the last few months. Joining the line-up of good shows returning for the second half of their new (or debut, as appropriate) seasons is ABC’s Killer Women, a show seemingly styled along the likes of Chuck Norris’ classic Texas Ranger, except with a female protagonist, which is pretty damn great.
Tricia Helfer, of Battlestar Galactica, Burn Notice, Tron: Uprising and Two And A Half Men fame among others, plays the lead character Molly Parker. Molly is a Texas Ranger, newly minted and she’s a tough no-nonsense individual who goes on instincts more than she does protocol. The series premiere was broadcast earlier this week and I’d say that its off to a good start. Sure, there are some cliches here, but I wouldn’t condemn the show just on the pilot. I’ll give it my Agents of SHIELD treatment, give it until a mid-season mark or something before deciding whether to stick with or drop it. But right now, I’m definitely sticking with it.