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Rurouni Kenshin

posted 4 Oct 2013 03:23 by Amer Shoib

From the  best selling comic has been stunningly brought to life by director: Keishi Ohtomo. The theme of can one protect his loved ones without killing is addressed in this magnificent film.    

Ex-assassin Kenshin Himura (Takeru Satô) has made a vow never to kill again. Now a wandering samurai, Kenshin protects those in hope of reparation. Finding a home at a failing dojo run by Miss Kaoru (Emi Takei), he becomes entangled in a string of murders related to a drug ring run by the ruthless Kanryuu (Teruyuki Kagawa). 

Rurouni Kenshin follows the story of a man avoiding violence – but will his vow be put to the test when those he loves are threatened by his troubled past?

Direction wise Keishi Ohtomo has done a brilliant job in translating the best selling comic into a masterful visual treat that shows that Japanese cinema Is amongst the best in the world. The techniques learnt by him in Hollywood have been put to good use in this epic tale. He totally engrosses the viewer into this mysterious colourful world, by telling a story that totally grabs the viewer from the beginning. Do not let the sub titles put you of from experiencing this cinematic master piece. The director splendidly paints a story with excellent performances by the leads and action that will take your breathe away.  

Performance wise Takeru Satô as the ex-assassin Kenshin Himura brings his brilliant acting skills in this epic film. The young actor as the wandering samurai gives us a sensitive chivalrous portrayal of what it means to be a hero. H e awe-inspiring in the brilliantly staged fight scenes and makes you forget any super hero film you may have seen from Hollywood. The style and grace of this hero puts Rambo, Jason Bourne and the Dark Knight to shame. A great performance from a very gifted young actor. He is supported by Emi Takei who plays his lady love in the film. She has beauty and is very graceful in her important role in this epic film.  Yû Aoi gets to show her acting range in a role that is mysterious. Both Yôsuke Eguchi and Kôji Kikkawa as assassins give strong performances also.

The other stand out in this masterful epic film is the excellent music. A great accompaniment in telling this great story. The sets, costumes all are first rate in this film that shows Japanese cinema at it’s best.

Be prepared to be transported to another world in this epic mesmerising awe inspiring epic film. Simply excellent action scenes that are like watching a wonderful ballet and extra-ordinary performances from a brilliant cast.

Drop everything and prepared to be entertained by a film that An awe inspiring film that will blow you away in its sheer grandeur!




posted 13 Sep 2013 01:46 by Amer Shoib

Warner Bros Pictures and Legendary Pictures present the true story of an American legend.

In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball’s infamous colour line. But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey’s hopes. Instead, Number 42 let his talent on the field do the talking – ultimately winning over fans and his team mates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow.

Direction wise Brian Helgelard really captures the era very well and gets magnificent performances from all the actors. The stand out performances come from both Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford. Brian Helegard should be applauded for bringing such an up lifting story of a man who paved the way for so many to follow. A great picture that sends out a great message of over coming adversity by  a brilliant director. 

Performance wise Chadwick Boseman not only looks a lot like Jackie Robinson, but he truly embodies the remarkable spirit of this out standing American legend. He manages to channel what it must have been like for Robinson to face adversity and makes great use of his facial mannerisms to convey emotions. He is excellent in particular when he breaks down after some rather unfortunate racial tirades against him. The scene is worth the price if a ticket alone. His performance with his wife is also exemplary and his scenes with the legend Harrison Ford most touching. Harrison Ford really nails his character Branch Rickey by changing the way he talks and his  physical appearance to get into the skin of the character.. The veteran is on the top of his game as a mentor to Robinson. The supporting cast are all excellent. 

The film is more than a baseball film; it is about a time where you were judged by the colour of your skin. A must watch film that goes beyond sport and talks of how one mans dignity over came over whelming odds to become a winner.

An inspirational film, that really moves you. 

Verdict 4/5 


posted 2 Sep 2013 13:57 by Amer Shoib

From acclaimed director Ron Howard of Appollo 13 and a Beautiful Mind  comes an awe inspiring film set in the sexy back drop of Formula One! 

Set against the sexy, glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, the film is based on the true story of a great sporting rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt (Hemsworth), and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). The story follows their distinctly different personal styles on and off the track, their loves and the astonishing 1976 season in which both drivers were willing to risk everything to become world champion in a sport with no margin for error: if you make a mistake, you die. 

Direction wise Ron Howard perfectly nails the high octane world of Formula 1. You can smell the rubber and the adrenalin rush of the 1970s and he has done well in transporting us back to that glorious time. Also he has done a fantastic job in recreating the intense rivalry between two great sports men. The performances of both Hemsworth and Bruhl are the centre piece of this film. A another very well directed film from a very talented director.

Performance wise Chris Hemsworth nails his portrayal of James Hunt as a smoothe suave playboy that would leave 007 shaken not stirred. He has the nuances of the unconventional behaviour of Hunt on and off the track to perfection, like having drugs and sex often minutes before a race. The swagger the actor gives Hunt is spot on as he becomes the epitome of unruly, playboy drivers and is celebrated for his English eccentricity. Hemsworth delivers the wicked one liners to Nikki Lauda with the panache of Roger Moore. A great performance from Hemsworth who lives the part of this great British hero. 

The performance of Daniel Bruhl as the rival Nikki Lauda is also on par as a great performance from Hermsworth. He to imbibes his role with the right amount of dry wit that matches his opponents humour. The performance is perfect in that it matches blow for blow the goal of these two great sports men to be the best. The touching emotional scenes of being fatally wounded in a race and still showing determination to win are extraordinary. Both actors deserve kudos for performances that keep us engrossed in this spectacular film.  Olivia Wilde as Hunt’s wife looks beautiful and is admirable in the small role she plays in this film.

Go and drop everything and go and watch this very inspirational film that shows the determination of winners. Fast and Furious pales into insignificance as Rush goes full throttle in being very entertaining and is very sexy, witty , blunt, touching and ultimately  a very touching film. Full credit to Ron Howard the director and for both Hemsworth and Bruhl giving extraordinary brilliant performances. 

A very uplifting intelligent film.


The Way, Way Back

posted 28 Aug 2013 11:46 by Amer Shoib

From the studio behind Little Miss Sunshine and Juno comes a delightful and charming , poignant coming of age comedy drama.

14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen (Sam Rockwell), the carefree manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up and begins to finally find his place in the world - all during a summer that will change his life. 

Written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the film does well in presenting a straight forward story of a young boy that willl strike a chord with the audience. The angst that Duncan feels as the outsider in the story and not being shown any respect by the character of Trent is very well etched. The change from being a gawky teenagers to a well liked member of the water park where he is taken under the wing of a mentor is very well written and directed. For their directorial debut both of them deliver in giving is the summer film of the year.     

Performance wise Liam James does very well in playing the teenager who is shy and awkward when we first see him in the film. He excels in changing to the cool Duncan at the water park, who is a cool dancer and gets to grips with getting to know a few lessons on girls. His mentor played by Sam Rockwell steals the scenes he is in , with his odd ball humour and encouraging Duncan to express him self. We all wish that we had been so lucky to have had such mentors that believed in us at that age. The supporting cast are fine, with Alison Jenny and River Alexander particularly funny as the over bearing mom and the not so geeky son.

The Way, Way Back is a brilliant summer film , that is charming , funny, honest and delightful all at the same time. For those of you who have been all over awed  by this summers films, go out and catch this excellent feel good film.


The Lone Ranger

posted 5 Aug 2013 11:27 by Amer Shoib

In a summer that has seen the incredible success of superhero films Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, comes an American icon of pop culture to stake his claim at the box office.  Can the winning team of producer Jerry Brukeheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the film making team behind The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise strike box office gold with The Lone Ranger?

From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, comes Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “The Lone Ranger,” a thrilling adventure infused with action and humour, in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.

Director Gore Verbinski succeeds in giving us an excellent Western that caters to contemporary tastes. He cleverly weaves a tapestry that is Monument Valley, horses, trains and the US Cavalry. The film also cleverly covers every thing from John Ford to Sergio Leone to Sam Peckinpah, and successfully celebrates all those archetypes. The director succeeds in giving us a classic superhero origin story, a good man forced by outrageous fortune to don the mask of a vigilante. It will resonate with the audience, the same way that Spiderman and The Dark Knight do.      

Performance wise Johnny Depp shows us yet again why he is a brilliant  character actor. As Tonto he has a striking get up, fierce slashes of black and white war paint and a head dress comprised of a dead crow. His characterisation of Tonto is as an equal partner to the Lone Ranger and at the same time honours the noble warrior tradition of his Native American heritage. Tonto is a man who has great  integrity and dignity. The narrative of the film is very well done by being told through the elderly Tonto.. Johnny Depp does a marvellous job of giving us another memorable character, who is funny, strong, noble and is ready for  action as the Lone Ranger.

Armie Hammer as the actor entrusted to breathing new life into the Lone Ranger does a decent enough job. We do get the classic Hi-ho Silver from him but the all important chemistry is missing in this partnership. Tom Wilkinson does a fine job as the nation builder Latham Cole. William Fichtner plays Butch Cavendish , the arch enemy of the Lone Ranger with the right menace. Both Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter play their female characters with the right gravitas.    

Saddle up for a thrilling ride back into the old Wild West and welcome back  The Lone Ranger and Tonto to the big screen.  

Verdict ;3/5

The Smurfs2

posted 30 Jul 2013 02:14 by Amer Shoib

Get ready to go on a joy ride with those loveable Smurfs, in an other hair raising adventure. Can the gang save Smurfette from the clutches of the evil wizard Gargamel on a wild adventure through Paris in this globe-trotting sequel to the 2011 hit.

Determined to harness the magical essence of the Smurfs, wicked wizard Gargamel (voice of Hank Azaria) creates a diminutive race of mischief makers known as the Naughties. But in order to get the results he's looking for, Gargamel will need to get his hands on a genuine Smurf. Enter Smurfette (voice of Katy Perry), the only one of her kind who knows the spell that can transform Naughties into actual Smurfs. Having recently shot to fame in Paris due to his impressive magical powers, Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette, and sweeps her away to the City of Light. With Papa Smurf (voice of Jonathan Winters) and company hot on his trail, however, the scheming wizard quickly realizes that executing his diabolical plan will be easier said than done. Meanwhile, Smurfette's growing sense of insecurity leaves her vulnerable to the scheming of Naughties Vexy (voice of Christina Ricci) and Hackus (voice of J.B. Smoove). 

After all the big summer releases that have all given us more bang for our money, comes those loveable Smurfs to entertain us. The film wonderfully blends the cartoon favourites with the human stars of the film. It is the antics of these adorable characters that keeps this summer blockbuster very engaging. For the kids we have the slap stick of the Naughties and Smurfette running riot in lovely Paris. Along with the terrific double act of Gargamel and his hilarious cat Azrael who will have the kids laughing aloud. The adults will  have great fun from the in- jokes from classic dialogues from The Empire Strikes Back and Scent of a Woman to Jayma Mays (Grace Winslow) donning Audrey Hepburn’s get up from Breakfast at Tiffany’s to get onto the floor of a hotel where Gargamel is staying. To Brendon Gleeson (Victor), the misunderstood step grandfather, who has been turned into a duck by Gargamel, gets called Martin Luther Wing after freeing his duck companions from ending up as someone’s dinner.    

The film of the summer has arrived , with our loveable Smurfs causing mayhem in the romantic city of Paris. Prepare to be a child again and enjoy a film that will make you laugh, entertain you, talk about friendship and parent hood in a Smurftastic way.

Go to a cinema near you and prepare to be entertained by the adorable Smurfs.

I leave it now for you to make your own minds up.


The Wolverine

posted 23 Jul 2013 16:05 by Amer Shoib   [ updated 23 Jul 2013 16:12 ]

The legendary character makes his sixth  outing to the big screen , will the fans get a better film than X-Men Origins - Wolverine? Director James Mangold (Walk The Line, Knight and Day) takes The Wolverine to Japan for this summer block buster. Can the talented director score a massive hit to give us the X-Men equal to the Bond classic You Only Live Twice? 

Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.

Direction wise James Mangold has given us a film that has a much harder edge than any other X-Men films. He has embedded the angst of the character in the film, as a mutant who has never found his place in the world, has lost loved ones and has been mucked about by the Defence Department. He succeeds in showing us a character that lives a solitary existence , still haunted by the loss of his one true love Jean Grey. The back drop of Japan plays well in the film and the director uses his influences of Samurai/ Western films in this summer blockbuster. He gives us an amazing action scene on top   of a speeding train. 

Performance wise Hugh Jackman has the same charisma as Robert Downey Jnr as Iron Man, he has the characters mannerisms down to a fine art. We see him go through a gauntlet of emotions and he excels in the many action scenes in this blockbuster. He is supported very well by the Japanese actors, Rila Fukushima who plays Yukio a red-haired Japanese assassin proves she can kick some serious ninja butt. Tao Okamoto as the beautiful heiress called Mariko is a lovely addition to women who have fallen for our angst ridden hero. The other Asian actors do very well in their support roles. Sveltana Khodchenkova as Viper is passable as an evil mutant and Famke Jansen in a special guest role is manageable in her cameo.

Fan boys will rejoice that Silver Samurai makes his action packed debut. Full justice has been done to the 1982 limited series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.The film falls short of giving us a film of Bondian proportions, as this is a Wolverine film and not a glib talking secret agent. James Marigold has succeeded terrifically giving us a Wolverine film that is exceptional. People do wait for the end credits as there is a teaser of X-Men-Days of Future Past.

The Wolverine is the film we have all been waiting for, a re-birth of a legend.


posted 18 Jul 2013 03:15 by Amer Shoib   [ updated 23 Jul 2013 16:07 ]

The World’s End

posted 9 Jul 2013 03:19 by Amer Shoib

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright reunite to bring a worthy final chapter to their Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. Can this hilarious British Science fiction comedy hit the bulls eye at the box office?

When Gary gathers his old crew of friends together on a whim in order to finally complete the pub crawl they failed 20 years ago, the worst possible outcome you could expect might be a three day hangover or a morning on the loo due to an ill advised 3am kebab. An alien invasion is surprising by any standards. Gary and his cohorts return to their old stomping ground to try and drink 12 pints in 12 different pubs and find the town has been taken over by an otherworldly and unfriendly alien race.

Director Edgar Wright does a terrific job of giving us a comedy about boozing, buddying  and B movie parodying. He makes great use of tipping its hat to all the late-'80s/early-'90s music that Gary and friends grew up with, the soundtrack is chock-full of hits by Blur, Pulp, The Soup Dragons, The Happy Mondays, with a major shout-out to gothic rock band Sisters of Mercy -- featured in a song, a vintage T-shirt and a rather shameful chest tattoo. The film is also full to busting with pop references that includes Wrestlemania, Batman, LEGO and The Matrix.

Performance wise Simon Pegg steals the limelight as the bombastic leader of the pack who still dresses and acts like he is still at high school. His character is hilarious that he wants to continue the pub crawl , even though the gang is being chased by aliens. Nick Frost gives able support from being boring to being dead funny in this comedy film.Ex Bond girl Rosamund Pike also is along for the ride and gives the guys a good run for their money in beating up freaky robots. Do look out for more cameos that I am not at a liberty to tell you. The cast do a wonderful job in this comedy about apocalypse and alcohol.  

Go and watch this way out British Science Fiction comedy, you will have a blast going along on this journey with the gang. Prepare to be entertained in this hilarious film about alcohol ,male bonding and the apocalypse. You will not be disappointed. I see the film paying rich pickings at the box office.

Verdict: 3.5

Man of Steel

posted 14 Jun 2013 03:02 by Amer Shoib   [ updated 14 Jun 2013 03:06 ]

Superman flies back onto the big screen in this Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures production directed by Zack Snyder (Watchmen), produced by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), and featuring a screenplay by David Goyer (Blade, The Dark Knight). Can Man of Steel resurrect the legendary character?

Born on the alien planet of Krypton, Kal-El is sent by his parents to live on planet Earth, where he is given the name Clark by kindly farmer Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and his wife, Martha (Diane Lane), who raise him as if he were their own son. As a young boy Clark displays incredible superpowers that instil him with a profound sense of personal responsibility. But when his new world is attacked by a force that humans are powerless to defend themselves against, Clark assumes the identity of Superman and fights to protect the entire human race. 

Performance wise Henry Cavill does an admirable job as Superman, he looks wonderful in the new costume. He does well in the breath taking action scenes but lacks the charisma of Christopher Reeve, As Clark Kent he comes across very similar to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, in so much as he is searching for who he is and what his purpose on Earth is. The actor will grow into the role and shows a lot of potential in this mega budget blockbuster. Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire) as General Zod is a scene stealing villain, he shows this in his clashes with Jor-El and eventually Superman. We are given more of a back story to why Zod is banished and what his rationale is to come to Earth. He is supported in his villainy in equal measure by Faora ( Antje Traue ) who displays her super powers to bring her beloved Generals plans to reality.

Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”) as Jor-El gives a great performance and appears through out the film with various characters. He is supported well by Ayelet Zurer (“Angels and Demons”) as Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mother. Starring as Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, are Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”) and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”). The latter does a great job in grounding the young Clark Kent in the truth Justice and the American way. His scenes with the young Clark are very touching. Amy Adams (“The Master”) as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane plays her as forthright and determined. She has a slow burning chemistry with Superman. Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”) as her editor-in-chief, Perry White does an admirable job.

Direction wise Zack Snyder has given us a 21st century version of Superman , that seems to be an amalgamation of Superman the Movie and Superman 2. He achieves in giving us a top heavy special effects laden summer blockbuster that is very similar to The Avengers and Transformers films that have been huge summer films. He has done well in grounding the film in the real world and we are glad that that the franchise will in safe hands for the inevitable sequels. 

Man of Steel gives us big visuals when we first see Krypton and the action scenes on the dying planet, the young Clark on his heroics and the battle between good on evil on Earth are spectacular. Henry Cavill is great and  the iconic character, supported by a wonderful cast of great actors. The Superman film that we were all waiting for. Go o to a cinema near you now and catch the return of a legend to the big screen. Take a bow Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. Cannot wait for the next film and hopefully soon The Justice League of America.

I know leave it to you to make your own minds up.


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