Expendables 2: Bigger, Better, Faster
2010’s Expendables kind of marked Sylvesterr Stallone’s return to big, loud action movies after somewhat of a sabbatical (somewhere around that same time he also starred in the latest Rambo movie). Rising to prominence in the 80s and continuing on through the 90s, Stallone has been one of the industry’s biggest action stars for a long time, and with this movie he brought together a whole bunch of his peers to deliver some, hopefully, kick-ass action with a cool story. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out because the story was basically boring and lacked heart.
Then in 2012 he returned with Expendables 2, with an expanded ensemble cast that also included as its villain another big 80s and 90s action star, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Thankfully, the new movie was much better on pretty much every front and it has held up to repeat viewings in a way that the first movie did not. Now this year in August we are going to get Expendables 3 and soon we will also be getting Expenabelles (working title) which will do what Stallone did in the same movie, but with an all-female cast. I’m excited. In the run-up, here’s my (reposted) review for the second movie, which was pretty good, all things considered and would certainly be my recommendation.
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.
Battleship: Boom, Boom, Boom
When the movie Battleship was announced, I had a hard time believing that it was true. Battleship is a tabletop game where two players never get to see each other’s playing field, and its all a matter of guesswork. There is far more to it of course, but I was left wondering how the gameplay would translate into a movie. I wondered if it could even be pulled off, and competently too. When I saw the movie, I found that particular aspect to be interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so perhaps that made me more congenial to the approach used.
All the same though, Battleship is quite a decent movie. It was never going to win any awards, given that it just didn’t have all that much star power (or in a prominent role at that), but that was never my concern. I went in expecting a decent movie, and got it. Repeated viewings have only made it more palatable to me. Because sometimes you need a movie that is just about the big, loud action. And that’s what Battleship is. I’m totally fine with that.
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.
Ladies vs Ricky Bahl: Art of Con
Ranveer Singh rocketed to fame with his 2011 debut Band Baaja Baarat, opposite co-star Anushka Sharma. A film about two friends who start a marriage planning company, it was a full-on desi movie with all the flavours and sights and sounds of Delhi. Ladies vs Ricky Bahl recreates some of that same magic, but with a bigger cast that includes newcomer Parineeti Chopra. As with the first Singh flick, I enjoyed this one too, and it has since stood up to several repeat viewings, which is pretty much Bollywood gold right there.
Ranveer and Anushka have done very few films to date in their respective careers and this is their second film together, but despite everything else, they pulled off a winner here. Great songs as usual, and a great script plus great acting made this a standout movie for me in 2011. And here’s the reasons why.
Mission Impossible 4: Cool Spy Returns
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the first of the Mission Impossible movies that I’ve seen in full. I’ve seen the others since then, but that was definitely the first. Tom Cruise has always been quite a decent actor, although with the added perspective of years, I’ll say that he tends to play one particular character, in terms of his performance, across most of his films. Still, these movies are quite good, and definitely rewatchable. Plus, if a movie is set in Dubai, I’ll definitely watch it, for sure.
So, here’s a review of the movie.
Conan the Barbarian: Bag of Disappointments
The old Conan movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger might not be the best movies ever made, but for me, they stand out as some really good cinema. Sure, they are cheesy and very typical, but they created a great niche in Hollywood, and helped cement the careers of one of my favourite actors of all time. They are classic movies with a great cult following, and I always enjoy them whenever I happen to watch them. I never get tired of them, essentially.
The same cannot be said of the remake from 2011 however. It held a lot of promise, but ultimately it proved to be a pretty big bag of disappointment, in many different ways.
Immortals: Born To Lose
Immortals. One movie that I’d really been looking forward to in the November of 2011. I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology, and I really wanted to see what this movie would be like, especially after the terrible dreariness of that-which-shall-not-be-named-but-shall-nonetheless, Clash of The Titans. I suppose I should have known better. I shouldn’t have put so much in Hollywood where stories like this are concerned.
But I did, and I paid for that… naivete. Immortals shall live on as one of the worst movies of this century. It took a brilliant concept, and then totally messed it up, on several different levels. It was at least as disappointing a movie as Clash of the Titans, if not more. Here’s my (reposted) review where I go into a bit more detail.
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.
Superman/Batman (Public Enemies):Enemies Number One
Another DCAU review for you this time. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is one of the best animated movies that have come out of DC’s animated movies line-up and it is one that I recommend highly. The sense of camaraderie between the two leads, the whole plot involving Lex Luthor becoming President of the United States and bringing some superheroes under his own banner and so on, its all really good stuff. And its got great humour, which is always key when it comes to the two leads, I think, whenever they are shown together that is.
So hope you enjoy this review and give the movie a go. If you do, then do let me know how you find it.
Green Lantern (Emerald Knights): The Corps’ Champions
Continuing on with the DCAU Spotlight feature is this review I did for the second Green Lantern animated movie, quite a different one in both tone and mood and content than the previous one, which was really good. I didn’t enjoy Emerald Knights as much as I wanted to, largely because the split narrative had bad pacing and some of the characters just weren’t as interesting as they could have been. But there were some really cool moments throughout, and that, I suppose could have been the point.
So here it is, another repost of an old review, from way back in 2011.
Green Lantern (First Flight): Taking The Oath
So this is another one of my early reviews. It was a part of a feature I ran called “DCAU Spotlight” in which I covered DC’s various animated direct-to-DVD features. The DCAU is a really fun place where a lot of different stories and characters have been covered. Its given us some really great movies, and some not so good ones. 2009’s Green Lantern: First Flight is one of the former, and is certainly one of my favourites from the last few years.
As always, its a rather short review, but I hope it is a convincing one, in that you are motivated to watch the film if you haven’t, or rewatch it if you have. I’ve always enjoyed watching it and it certainly never gets old or boring.