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Fast and Furious 5: Rio Heist

posted 23 Apr 2011 02:08 by Amer Shoib   [ updated 24 Apr 2011 13:16 by Joseph Refugio ]

The 'Fast and Furious' franchise clearly does not know how to hit the brakes - just when you think it's about to crash and burn it swerves and saves itself from complete embarrassment. Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist (Fast Five) is the latest addition to the 'Fast and Furious' series.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) return to lead a cunning car heist plan with assistance from cast members seen in the previous movies of the series: Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges), Han (Sung Kang) and the sexy Gisele (Gal Gadot). The plan is to pull a heist on corrupt Brazilian businessman Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida).

The film starts where the previous instalment left off. O’Conner leads an assault on a bus transporting Dominic to prison. This escape plan involves a massive crash where the bus spins out of control flipping over itself numerous times and we are supposed to believe that while Dominic is freed all the other prisoners in the bus are still there and alive. This sets up the tone for the rest of the film which is about a heist in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. But things are not easy as they have Detective Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), an elite DSS agent, assigned to track them down.

Unfortunately , Joaquim de Almeida’s talent has been wasted in this film. Vin Diesal's performance, as always, is wooden. Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster, despite their age, do not seem to be able to demonstrate any improvements to their their acting ability. Dwayne Johnson, however, does provide some good entertainment as a menacingly hulking cop with no patience for fools. As the newcomer to the Fast and Furious franchise Dwayne Johnson stole the limelight.

I admired the way Rio de Janeiro was presented through the lens; it makes me want to visit Brazil and the gems it has to offer. The Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) are spectacular sights of this magical city; this movie even makes the favelas look exotic.

It's certainly not intelligently written, or particularly well acted. Forget your knowledge of physics, throw away logic and the laws of probability - granted, if you have an MSc in Mathematical Statistics or Physics then this will be difficult for you, but for most of us mortals this is somewhat possible (with great difficulty).

In summary - instead of ending up with the car-wreck many of us were expecting, what we got is a passable piece of entertainment which can be fun at times. Just make sure you switch your brain off first.

Rating: 3/5

Dum Maaro Dum

posted 22 Apr 2011 04:27 by Amer Shoib

Can Rohan Sippy and Abhishek Bachchan replicate the success of their previous hit Bluffmaster and does Deepika sizzle as much as Zeenat Aman?

This film is the story of four people whose life intersects at Goa Airport. Lorry(Prateik Babbar) is a student in Goa, who wants to be with his girl friend when she goes to study in US. But his scholarship gets rejected and he becomes devastated. Just then another person offers him help but only if Lorry can help him back and that is at the cost of his life. The second character of Inspector Kamath (Abhishek Bachchan) , is running away from his own past. He is been given the task of destroying the drug mafia, operating in Goa. The third character, that of a DJ, Joki(Rana Daggubati) , loses everything in his life after his fight with a drug mafia. He finds that history will be repeating itself, but how can he save himself from it? The fourth character Zoe, (Bipasha Basu) an aspiring air hostess, finds that she reaches nowhere after travelling through the path of exploitation and unfulfilled dreams. A ruthless local business man Lorsa Biscuta aka the Biscuit ( Aditya Pancholi) , who has an upper hand in every legal and illegal business in Goa, is afraid because of Kamath’s arrival. But this businessman knows who can provide shelter for him in a difficult situation - a powerful man, with many identities and names but nobody knows him. The suspense thriller explores Goa through the life of these characters.

Rohan Sippy has given us a brilliant stylish different film , that really does capture the care free psychedelic world of the paradise on earth that is Goa. He should be commended for giving Hindi film audiences a very cool Hollywood style of film. Films like this prove that Hindi cinema has come a very long way from the usual romantic masala films. Rohan Sippy keeps the viewer glued in this very enthralling cool film.

Abhishek Bachchan rocks in the role of the hard as nail s cop and the Chulbul Pandey (Debanng) look really suits him. Prateik Babbar excels in his role in the film and has certainly shown that he is going to be an actor to watch out for in the future. Deepika Padukone sizzles in her item number. While Bipasha Basu and Rana Daggubati are ok in their roles . Aditya Pancholi is adequate in a role he has played many times in the past.

The music of the film has Pritam Chakraborty is back with a cracking soundtrack to a very cool film. The title track ‘Mit jaaye gham’, is a revised and re-arranged version of the cult 1971 song ‘Dum maaro dum’ from the film ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’. The song has been made contemporary with new lyrics, rap and additional beats and sound effects. Thayn thayn’, has actor Abhishek Bachchan behind the mike, he is mainly rapping in the track.The other songs are also good and add to the enjoyment of this classy thriller.

The film will appeal to all those people who love action movies ,prepare to be taken into a world that will blow you away. Rohan Sippy and Abhishek have another sure fire winner on their hands.

I now leave it to the audience to make their own minds up.

Rating : 4/5


posted 20 Apr 2011 01:02 by Amer Shoib   [ updated 26 Apr 2011 12:57 by Joseph Refugio ]

The latest epic adventure from Marvel Studios spans the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the alien and magical realm of Asgard to present day Earth - this is basically Marvel Comic own version of the Norse God Thor. The story revolves around Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a mighty but somewhat arrogant warrior whose impulsive decisions spark the reigniting of an ancient war. As punishment, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Thor’s father and king of Asgard, banishes Thor to Earth to live among humans as a human without his power. A beautiful young scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has a profound effect on Thor as he rediscovers himself on Earth.

Director Kenneth Branagh extracts excellent and engaging performances from the cast and has succesfully added depth and freshness to what is fundamentally an uncomplicated origin story about a son learning the lessons his father tries to impart to him. We’ve seen this story played out in classic literature and film numerous times but Branagh applies to carefully to a Marvel Comics superhero and presents it in a charming and meaningful package.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor is absolutely brilliant and nails the character on the head, his presence will not be dwarfed when cast alongside Robert Downey Jr. in the upcoming “The Avengers”. It is difficult, however, to see how the mythical character of Thor and the hi-tech Iron Man will blend together on the big screen. The chemistry between Portman and Hemsworth is good but Branagh does not progress the romance between the two but the foundations are set for further exploration of the relationship between Thor and Jane Foster in “The Avengers” or the sequel to this film.

Tom Hiddleston is wonderful as Loki (Thor’s brother). The dynamic between the brothers evidently takes a Shakespearean quality as Hiddleston brings vulnerability, complexity and even some tragedy to the Loki character. Anthony Hopkins is amazing, in a role similar to Marlon Brando’s in Superman, as he adds gravitas and intensity to the narrative. In the end, it is Hemsworth who carries this film majestically on his shoulders – verily he has come afar from his ventures as a simple surfer in Aussie soap ‘Home and Away’.

Visually the film is dazzling and the creation of the new worlds of Asgard and Jotunheim have been constructed on a massive scale. The 3D effects bring the best out in Asgard as it brings out the grandeur and detail into view, although the 3D seems to fall flat on the Earth scenes. The score for the film by Patrick Doyle is brilliant - he mixes a grand majestic style with a modern film score. Branagh has also injected a good dose of humour; it’s absolutely hilarious at times with much of the comedy coming from Hemsworth as he comes to terms with the environment around him during his exile on Earth. There is plenty of super-fast hammer-swinging and flying action as this is essentially an action film, you have every right to expect to see the God of Thunder commanding the storms and lightning with the rawest of powers and energy, indeed you will not be disenchanted.

Comic book fans (without spoiling anything) will be thrilled as a certain bow carrying character makes a cameo in the film and as accepted with most Marvel films you must linger for the post credits sequence to get a teaser of what is to come next. The bar has been raised with this gleaming super hero film; Captain America has a lot to live up to. 'Thor' is everything comic book fans have hoped for and it may be the best super hero film from the Marvel stable. I would not be stunned if ‘Thor’ smashes its way to become box office hit of summer 2011.

I am already looking forward to seeing Thor return with his mighty hammer Mjölnir in “The Avengers” and in a direct sequel. Now I leave it to the audience to go watch this film and make their own minds up.



posted 28 Feb 2011 14:43 by Joseph Refugio

Paul is a Sci-Fi comedy directed by Greg Mottola and features Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who reunite for this comedy adventure as two sci-fi geeks whose journey takes them across America.

If you liked Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead then you will most likely enjoy this movie. I laughed out loud in the cinema a number of times, however I felt that the film came close to being a bit too goofy as the geekiness reached levels that many people will not understand. Pegg and Frost deliver the laughs as usual, however you may find that Paul does not live up to the expectations you may have after watching the duo's previous outings as it is not so appealing to the mainstream due to its high density of dweeby content. It feels like this film is geared more towards fans of Sci-Fi as some of the jokes require prerequisite knowledge of inconic scenes from the original Star Trek series and the diegetic music of Star Wars. Apart that the film is good entertainment as it offers a bundle of laughs and in the midst all the silliness there is a heart in there somewhere.

Overall - I enjoyed the movie but expected more, perhaps because I saw Hot Fuzz only a few days before watching Paul.

Rating - 3/5

West is West

posted 23 Feb 2011 07:27 by Amer Shoib   [ updated 21 Mar 2011 06:40 ]

A more mature sequel to the hit East is East

West is West is the sequel to the internationally acclaimed East is East. Can it match the brilliance of the first film?


Manchester 1976 where the Khan family is still as dysfunctional as ever.  Sajid (Aqib Khan) with out his parker coat is in deep trouble, as he tries to cope with becoming a young man, his father’s dictatorial insistence on Pakistani traditions and being constantly racially abused at school. He deals with these problems by bunking off school and shoplifting useless items as a diversion from his dull and lonely life. Until he gets caught, this is the last straw for George who decides to take him back to a Pakistani village where he left his first Pakistani wife Basheera (Ila Arun) and  2 daughters in the Punjab 30 years earlier.


Resolved to teach Sajid a lesson, the tables are turned on George when he comes face to face with his own transgressions, and realizes that it is he himself who has much to learn.


It is not long before Ella Khan swiftly follows to sort out the mess, past and present.  


Om Puri is once again first rate as the iconic George Khan, who really shines by becoming a more three dimensional figure. He manages to capture the conflict within his character, and this time actually has the audience feeling sorry for him. But, the stand out performance belongs to first time actor, Aqib Khan, who is excellent as the troubled Sajid.  Linda Bassett as Ella, once again plays her role with warmth and conviction. Ila Arun also proves to be a significant presence as the first Mrs Khan, playing with a sensitivity that brings out all the poignancy of her character’s unhappy life. Pakistan looks beautiful in the film. Television veteran Andy De Emmony succeeds as the director in his feature film debut. The producer, Leslee Undwin does an excellent job in revisiting the original cast along with some exceptional new members in both Salford and Pakistan. Ayub Khan-Din’s screenplay offers warm humour and cosily soapy drama. He clearly has a lot to say about the inner conflict caused by a multi –ethnic upbringing.


Fans of the original are sure to enjoy a film that has plenty of heart and one that comes as a welcome relief that it shows British Muslims and Pakistanis in an alternative light. I challenge anyone to not to have shed a tear by the end of the movie!


I leave it now to the audience to make there own mind up.


I cannot wait for the final chapter!


Rating: 5/5



Just Go With It

posted 23 Feb 2011 03:10 by Yousuf Rafique   [ updated 23 Feb 2011 08:44 ]

A movie marketed for St. Valentine's day.
This romantic comedy about a plastic surgeon, Danny (Adam Sandler), romancing a much younger schoolteacher named Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) with the help of his assitant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), is not for everyone.
The movie starts off with Danny finding out that the woman he is about to marry is unfaithful and manipulative. Fast forward a few years later and we find out that he is living a life of bliss sleeping with countless woman by pretending to be in an unhappy marriage. That is until he falls in love with Palmer, who will not be with Danny until he proves that he is divorced and not commiting adultery. Danny then spins a web of lies which consists of his assistant Katherine pretending to be his ex-wife.
You can probably figure out that this movie takes you on a ridiculous ride but it does have some good bits - some of the dialogue is sharp giving you a fair share of laughs and Bailee Madison, who plays the daughter of Aniston's character is interesting to watch. Nicole Kidman's appearance was definitely a pleasant surprise and her performance was the best part of the film. Still it doesn't change the fact that the 1969 original on which this movie is based, Cactus Flower, is simply a far better film. The film does try hard, the swimsuit shots of Brooklyn Decker and Jennifer Aniston are predictable and unashamedly targeted at the half-asleep male portion of the audience - no brownie points from me however!
Adam Sandler is not for everyone - enjoying this movie depends on whether you like Sandler's comedy style or not, otherwise Just Go With It is just another average romantic comedy.
Rating: 2/5

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