Michael Hultgren No Comments

Race 2 Movie Review

Race 2 is power packed with top class background music, exotic locations, nice action sequences and lots of hot girls. In the first half Race 2 goes really well with nice ingredients as mentioned. Saif Ali Khan as Ranveer Singh gives good performance. John Abraham (Armaan Malik) one of the big mafia of Turkey who loves only money is being impressed and dominated whatever as per requirement in the movie by Ranveer Singh. Deepika Padukone (Elena) seems to have crucial character in the film but wasted as a showpiece. Also, Anil Kapoor as RD does have much involvement in the storyline and Ameesha Patel (Cheery) has been totally wasted unlike Sameera Reddy in first part.

Race 2 mainly concentrates on Ranveer Singh and Armaan Malik other cast is involved just as a supportive role for both. Just after few minutes of the second half you feel like losing interest unlike first half of the movie. Possibly because almost all the double cross has already been and you will not feel movie engaging anymore. First thing which is wrong with the movie is its pace, moving quiet fast in the first half while being quiet slow in the second half. Climax in which nice twits were expected is not good and just creates a space for another sequel (Race 3).…

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Madras Cafe Movie Review

Madras Cafe is an intelligent thriller based on Srilankan wars which took place somewhere in 90’s which eventually led in killing ex. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. There has been a trend of real life incident based documentary kind of thriller in the recent time like Zero Dark Thirty, D-Day but this one is somewhat similar to Blood Diamond and Body of Lies. Madras cafe is one of the successfully made films which never get off the track. It has a brisk pace with solid plot and its length is also up to the mark. Madras Cafe shows how politics, local groups and even international people got involved in a small arms deal which eventually turns out to be big threat to India.

Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is an Indian Army officer who deals with the code operations conducted by the government. Vikram is being sent to Sri Lanka in order to control a locally powerful guy named Anna. Vikram takes the help of a British journalist Jaya (Nargis Fakhri), who does have some sources for getting information. Vikram plans to attack on Anna but for that he needs a good no. of arms from the government. In the process of getting arms, Vikram is being attacked by Anna and the arms are being taken. After which Vikram gets information on the motive behind making Anna more powerful after following many leads.

Shoojit Sarkar who directed Vicky Donor this time delivers a film which is of different theme but is of equally good standard. Madras Cafe in spite of getting to a spy tone it goes on a realistic track. John Abraham is a simply superb in his powerful; he looks good and goes deep in the character which justifies looking it real. Nargis Fakhri is also good in her role but has a bit shorter one to play. Madras Cafe has many fresh faces but it works because of its strong plot.

Michael Hultgren No Comments

Mi Amor

Mi Amor is an award winning film for Campus Movie Fest in 2010. The Director of Photography Troy Moore went on to garner a degree from the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France. As you watch this film you are taken through Ramon’s eyes as he recounts the pain and memories of his past. Throughout the film the viewer is compelled to believe that Ramon is talking to himself, or a confidant off camera. But this is not the case. Now the creative team behind the film did a remarkable job in keeping the viewer curious as to why Ramon was in the position he was in. I am not a fan of films in subtitles, but the Director keep the film fast paced and intense enough for the viewer not to lose any moment of their cinematic experience with too much text

Reviewer: Dr. Zeke There are many reasons I love this little movie. The dynamic camera angles, the depth of field, the motivated camera movements, the color usage, and the performance. This truly kept my mind going through the entire 5 minutes, and then some. With the twist driven world of movies today, this was a refreshing take on a classic story. I see why this short went all the way to Cannes. Most notably, I would like to mention the Colors. White vs. Red. Innocence vs. Passion. The over saturation of the reds popped, and the white suit was awesome. Layers! Layers! Layers! This movie was shot on the floor of a bedroom, yet, when you watch it, you feel like you are anywhere but. And it looked great. Hats off to the Director and the DP. Dreggs to the wall outlet that distracted from the scene. Unless they were trying to say Power was innocence, then, Koodos. A lie, but koodos. The second most notable performance came from the Editor. In most movies, videos, and shorts, the editor is supposed to be invisible. But in Mi Amor, they hold up a big, fast paced blinking light that said, “Look at me!”, and I liked it. They gave action where needed and gave room when required. This easily could have been the longest 5 minutes of someone’s life. However, through editing, it zips by in an instant. So no dreggs for the post team, and hats off to the editor. All in all, one of my favorites. Koodos to the film and everyone who worked on it. Keep making movies!…

Michael Hultgren No Comments

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:Part 2

The Harry Potter series is an amazing set of movies based upon a magic world beyond which our own thoughts could muster. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was the closing chapter to this series, which made most of the giant fan base sad but at the same point and time excited.

Last night I went and watched the release of the new Harry Potter movie, as I have been following and watching all of the movies since they’ve began on the big screen. Here are my thoughts on the movie.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was an awesome movie to watch. If you are a Harry Potter fan and did not make it to the midnight premiere, I highly recommend that you go and watch it. In this movie, Harry Potter, Ronald Weasely, and Hermione Granger take on their final task of defeating Lord Voldemort. With Professor Snape now as headmaster at Hogwarts, there has now been a different approach with Lord Voldemort. Lord Voldemort is not anymore a name that shouldn’t be spoken at Hogwarts and between the Slytherin House and Professor Snape, an almost peculiar welcoming vibe has been brought throughout the castle. Now, Harry Potter and his friends need to get back into Hogwarts in order to destroy one of the last horcrux’s that keeps Voldemort at such high power. Little do all the characters know that there’s another piece to the puzzle missing (This piece I will not give away).

As Harry and the rest of his followers return home to Hogwarts, it is clear that they are staying where they are and plan on putting up the biggest fight Lord Voldemort will ever face. How does it end though? That’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself by watching this amazing movie.

The actors and actresses in this particular Harry Potter movie did an excellent job as normal in portraying their characters. It’s really amazing to see how each of the main characters have grown into themselves. Hermoine Granger is now more of a woman with Harry and Ronald both realizing that she has great in the moment advice that has saved them numerous amounts of times in previous movies. While Ron in this movie has become so much more confident as himself as a wizard and a friend. Harry himself has also grown into a man who realizes his decisions can affect every single person he cares and loves for. Not only was this movie more action-packed than any other Harry Potter movie that’s been out, it also is the ending, and a decent one at that.

The slight skepticism I have is that the directors and J.K. Rowling have left one or two parts of the story unfinished. This will be discussed at a later point in time once the movie has been out in theaters longer.…

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Mr Mullens

“Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory.” – Thomas Jefferson

With this so begins the short film “Mr. Mullens” (2010) which is writer & director Scott Goldberg’s treatise on the growing corruption in American politics and the American peoples’ growing disdain with politicians who line their pockets with profits while the middle and lower class citizen wallow in despair and poverty. It is no secret that unemployment is on the rise, and that our government, in some way, seems to be at the root cause. But Goldberg also places some of the blame on the common citizen, who seems to be content with the way in which the government nulls us into complacency.

But there is one person who refuses to sit down and take what the government dishes out wholesale. Chris (Chris Margaritis) has been laid off from his job and has come to the realization that the state of the government and the economy is due to the actions of a corrupt government and its practices. Especially the new Mayor Edward D. Mullins (Robert Youngren), who rumor has it had the previous Mayor murdered. Goldberg’s film expertly navigates through the fractured mind of Chris (as the film is told completely through his POV and voice-overs) as he slowly descends into an emotional and homicidal conclusion. Like V, the vigilante figure in the hit film “V For Vendetta,” Chris feels as though there is only one road left to him to enact change, which is to kill everyone associated with the corrupt Mayor Mullens.

Although Chris is obviously going about change in a questionable manner, his efforts are commendable and if he can affect just one other person to make a stand against political corruption then he will have accomplished his goal – and so has Goldberg. “Mr. Mullens” is a propaganda film in the best way in that it strives to wake people up from their nullifying existence and take part in a revolution that will finally see change not only in the political and economic world but in one’s own existence as well.

 

The film wouldn’t be as effective if not for the strong performances from the actors and cinematography (which hits the audience hard and right in the face with the films use of close ups and strong angles). Music composer Mark Nadolski also delivers a perfect score for the film that makes you feel as if you are in the front seat at a political rally.

Political films don’t always play well with mainstream audiences, but this gem is something that will leave audiences questioning the politics of the people elected into office as well as maybe getting more people involved in politics and change.

Mike Chase

Mr. Mullen” is a film about the crash of the economy and the corruption ensuing from the growing size and control of the American government.

Review

Mr Mullen is a dark and brutally honest film depicting what we as Americans want to say about our political counterparts. The film follows Chris a political activist who believes that his Mayor is ruining his life and his town. This film covers some controversial topics including drug use and underage sex. It still stayed on point and left us watching this through the eyes of its main character.

While the dialog was very on the nose at times the Director Scott Goldberg did a remarkable job with editing and allowing the viewer to stay in the moment of the story.While I am not a fan of political films myself, I did find myself wondering where the film-makers where going to take us next in this somewhat bizarre world of Edward Mullen.…

Michael Hultgren No Comments

Halloween Season 1

Blinky Productions, the company behind a plethora of fan films including “Voorhees: Born of a Friday,” “Maniac Cop: Justice is Dead” and “Punisher ’79″ has something new in store for fans of the “Halloween” franchise with “Halloween Season.” Chris R. Notarile is the brainchild behind the company that has repeatedly produced some innovative and creative films for fans not only of horror but superhero (“”Elektra (The Hand & The Devil)” and “Power Girl (The Classifieds)”) and action films (“Escape From New Jersey” and “The Shadow”) and even comedy (“The Superficial Friends Movie” and “Deadpool’s X-MAS Special”).

“Halloween Season” is a fan film for the fans. It was filmed in 1 and days of an estimated budget of $380 and funded through the online Indiegogo.com website. Despite the meager budget the film, like many of Notarile’s other films are high on production value and aesthetic.

The story of “Halloween Season” is fairly simply as the events of the film follow that of the original John Carpenter series and not the Rob Zombie remakes. Notarile remarks on his website about the film, “I didn’t feel like seeing a 53 year old, extra crispy Michael hobble after some teens who might possibly be related to him in some far fetched capacity either. So I decided to just start from scratch and make something that was as far away from any of the corners the franchise had backed itself into.” With this in mind, this film opens with Michael Myers in a pumpkin patch sans mask where he stills a car and heads to a costume shop where he locates his iconic mask and Julie and Bill (Magdalena Crujeiras and Chase Coleman, respectfully), who are just a couple of teens trying to find the perfect costumes for a Halloween party.

As is want for a Myers film Michael follows the two as he now has his sights on two new victims in his reign of terror. Notarile, who in addition to writing the screenplay and was cinematographer and editor, directs the film in a very traditional way reminiscent of the original Carpenter film. The only detriment to this is that much of the film’s action takes place during the day rendering much of the terror and suspense weak. Although there are many references to the original film series (especially the scene in the costume shop which rings true of Part 1 and Part 4), Notarile’s direction lacks the drive of Carpenter’s stark cinematography and pacing. One of the greatest suspense mechanisms of a “Halloween” film is that Myers can appear and disappear into the shadows like The Boogieman. Here he simply comes off as a serial killer. This is not a bad thing in and of itself as Notarile does understand the material and what the fans want and he delivers.

Myers has his trip to the costume shop, he gets his big knife, he stalks his prey, and he gets to kill a few people and really — isn’t that what we want in a “Halloween” fan film? Although there are a few pacing problems with the film (mostly in terms of the deaths themselves), Notarile has a dedicated cast and crew and they produce one of the better “Halloween” fan films out there plus he takes the time to bring in a little of that John Carpenter music madness magic with the score (which is augmented by Chris Lott and Florian Linckus) and that goes a long way in appeasing us Michael Myers fans.…

Michael Hultgren No Comments

Rocky Handsome Movie Teaser Review

“Rocky Handsome” is an upcoming action mysterious thriller drama. Just like we saw John Abraham in the movie “Force”,in which he has worked hard on his body.This time for the movie “Rocky Handsome” the situation seems to be pretty similar. For this action drama his physique has been shown in the teaser for the most part. Although the teaser doesn’t reveal much about the movie yet it looking interesting enough. Unlike some other movie action oriented generic movie it seems to have some mysterious plot build up which will obviously create some curiosity for the viewers to watch this film. Although film’s main official trailer is yet to be released. Yet this is kind of a good beginning for the film’s promotion.

“Rocky Handsome” is supposed to be released on 25th march 2016. Shruti Haasan will be playing a lead character in the movie yet she is not present even in the single shot of the film. Nishikant Kamat who has been an actor also has made “Force” last time with John. Just like “Force” I am not really satisfied with the shooting locations of the film. It seems to be shot in a not so cool places.I personally like the poster of “Rocky Handsome”, it looks fabulous “Force” movie was a good commercial success.Audiences must be expected something similar from the film this time. In my opinion as it seems from the teaser this film could be a good watchable experience.

I must say that the action scenes are thrilling shot for this movie.It’s shown in a way that it might bring a new level to the raw actions scenes in Bollywood. Nishikant Kamat filmmaking is getting better and better.I saw his last movie “Drishyam”, which was really nice film. This time with “Rocky Handsome” which is entirely different genre, his direction is looking strong in here.He is definitely being added to my list of good filmmakers.

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Michael Hultgren No Comments

Trendsetter Movies of Bollywood in 2012

1.Barfi

Barfi with its remarkable cinematography has set a new trend in Indian Cinema. Film has also been send for the Oscar this year. Hats off to Anurag Basu’s Barfi for it’s freshness.

2.Talaash

Murder mystery directed by Reema Kagti & Aamir Khan in lead role delivers a multilayer suspense drama which is never conveyed before. Being simplistic yet powerful & engaging tries to give new direction to suspense drama.

3.Oh My God (OMG)

OMG adopted from a Gujarati TV serial Kanjibhai v/s Kanjibhai, starts a debate between blindly believing in God & being logical. It raises many questions on the commercialization of religion.

4.Kahaani

One of the best suspense thriller’s in Indian Cinema. Suspense revealed in the movie is totally expected unlike other suspense movie. Movie in which flaws can hardly be found out.

5.Vicky Donor

Movie on bold topic of sperm donation with new comers as a lead. It’s one of the remarkable & unforgettable movies of the year. Vicky Donor opens door for movies on bold topics but yet not being vulgar.

6.Gangs of Wasseypur

Gangs of Wasseypur which came in two parts this year .Because of its unique narrative & dialogues. It’s being well appreciated by the critics as well as audiences. Anurag Kashyap has set a trend how film without big star cast and high techniques can also be entertaining.

7.Student of the Year (SOTY)

Movie is set in a high profile school. It shows how people envy each other because of the competition faced by the current generation. Also it shows the thought process of the new generation from the stage of youthfulness to adulthood.

8.English Vinglish

English Vinglish which is the comeback movie of the famous actress Sridevi this year. This is one of the most watchable films of the year. It’s about a lady facing difficulty of her weak English. How she learns English and overcome her weakness is narrated in a simple but yet enjoyable and unique way.…

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Plot

NB the latter part of the plot description gives away some of the major plot twists

Mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe) becomes desperate to make an original contribution to his field while at Princeton in the 1940s. His only friend, room-mate Charles Paul Bettany), is full of encouragement for him. Nash is socially inept, but does go to the local bar occassionally. While eyeing up some girls with his acquaintances, he hits on the idea which directly challenges Adam Smith’s long-standing economic theory. The resultant paper earns him a place at the Wheeler Institute, part of the Massachusetts Institiute of Technology (MIT).

A few years later he is recruited by the Pentagon to do some code-breaking for them. In turn, secret agent William Parcher (Ed Harris) drags him into classified cold war work.

At the same time, he teaches at the institute, and becomes taken with one of his brighter, and more persistent students: Alicia (Jennifer Connelly). They marry, but his classified work begins to seriously intrude on his ordinary life. The now pregnant Alicia becomes increasingly worried about and by his behaviour.

Whilst giving a lecture, he is spooked by some men, and runs away. They give chase, and it turns out they are the assistants of Dr Rosen, a psychologist. Rosen sedates Nash, and reveals to Alicia the extent of Nash’s madness. The classified work is a fantasy, Parcher and Charles (and Charles’ niece Marcee) are all figments of Nash’s mind.

Nash receives insulin shock therapy, and eventually returns home to Alicia. His medication dulls his senses and thinking processes, so he stops taking the tablets. His delusions then return. He is forced to recognise his delusions, and asks the Princeton faculty if he can work at the college.

Years pass by, he works more and more with students, and is eventually awarded a Nobel Prize in 1994.

Reaction

This is really a very mediocre film, quite patchy in places, the first hour is very run of the mill stuff, not at all of much interest. The music swells tellingly to re-inforce a point here and there, but on the whole there is little to draw your attention. Things do improve a bit once Nash is recruited by the Pentagon, but even he remarks that the work is somewhat boring.

The film is based on a biography of Nash by Sylvia Nasar. Various critics have commented that this biography glosses over Nash’s real live homosexual leanings and encounters. Certainly, little (if any) of that is shown in this film.

One positive thing though, is that the acting is not bad in places. Indie has been assured by someone who has worked with schizophrenics that Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Nash is accurate with regard to the shuffling walk and other tics that schizoid people have. Also, that there is a distinct difference between the behaviour of Nash on medication and Nash without. So all credit must go to Crowe for that. Ed Harris is not bad either – he looks like Jim Carrey’s alter ego in ‘The Mask’ (but without the green face) at times. But as usual he turns in a very solid performance. Jennifer Connelly as Nash’s wife Alicia has the easiest role – but lots of emoting and crying do not an actress make – we can all do that. Connelly claims to have met with the real life Alicia and asked whether “there was anything she wanted to show, or not to show, about the character in this film”. Don’t know what the answer to that was!

The ending is particularly sick making – a very sappy Nobel prize winning acceptance speech, accompanied by a standing ovation and lots of tear inducing music – really! By this stage Nash points out that the delusions are still there, but that he has grown used to ignoring them. Hmmm…..

No doubt Russell Crowe will win plaudits for his portrayal of the less than perfect human John Nash (he’s gained a BAFTA already), but tugging at the heartstrings by playing a ‘disabled’ human should not be the clear route to an Oscar® that it seems to be. It has certainly worked well for: Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Jane Wyman (Johnny Belinda), Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God), Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Jon Voight (Coming Home), William Hurt (The Kiss of the Spider Woman), Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man), and Daniel Day Lewis (My Left Foot) to name but a few! So watch out you nominees in contention against Russell Crowe for this film (and Judi Dench in ‘Iris’) – the scales may be tipped against you already. 

Rating

Patchy quality, the second half is much more gripping than the first. Is it really an award winning performance from ‘The Gladiator’ Russell Crowe?

If you like this film…

Russell Crowe performs much better in the renowned ‘The Gladiator’. Another excellent film he was in (though most of us probably didn’t realise it at the time) is the excellent ‘LA Confidential’.

Mathematics feature in ‘Pi’, which didn’t get a lot of screen coverage in the major cinema circuits sadly.

For heartstring tugging stories about less than perfect human beings try ‘Shine’ (all about pianist David Helfgott), Forrest Gump (an Oscar® statuette for Tom Hanks – say no more), or ‘The Eighth Day’. This latter film stars the delectable Daniel Auteuil, who befriends a young man with Downs sydrome. A brilliant movie it is too.…

Michael Hultgren No Comments

Plot

Set in Santa Rosa, Northern California, in 1949. The film opens in a barbers shop where Ed Crane works as second chair, for his brother-in-law Frank. Frank owns the shop. Ed’s wife, Doris, is bookkeeper for the local department store, Nirdlinger’s. Ed is suspicious that she’s having an affair with her boss, Dave Nirdlinger, whose wife Anne actually owns the store

One day, a businessman turns up as a customer in the barber’s shop. As the man chats, he expounds on a new technique called dry cleaning. Creighton Tolliver needs $10,000 from a silent investor to get the business up and running. This dwells on Ed’s mind for a while, then he decides to blackmail Dave for the money, sending him an anonymous note. Eventually Dave pays up, terrified that his wife Anne will find out about his fling with Doris. Dave suspects Tolliver of the blackmail, and beats him up.

Dave then confronts Ed and attacks him. Ed kills Dave in self-defence. Doris is arrested for the murder, being the most likely suspect as she helped Dave cook the books to provide the $10,000 blackmail money. So far, so good. The rest of this plot section will give away plot twists, so read no further if you wish to retain the element of surprise when you go to see this film.

Frank mortgages the barbershop to pay for top attorney Freddy Riedenschneider, who prepares a wonderful defence. During their meetings, Doris realises that Ed knew of her affair with Dave. As the truth of Dave’s death dawns on Doris, she hangs herself. Trying to find company after Doris’ death, Ed becomes friendly with local attorney’s daughter Birdy Abundas. She plays classical piano, and in Ed’s opinion, shows a lot of promise. As a personal project, he takes her to visit Carcanogues – a virtuoso piano teacher. He is not impressed. Birdy, feeling she hasn’t come up to scratch for Ed, tries to repay his kindness to her by fellating him while he’s driving them back home. This causes an accident. As he regains consciousness in hospital, he’s arrested for the murder of Tolliver, whose beaten body has been recovered from a local lake. Ed is sentenced to the electric chair.

Reaction

Every once in a while a stylish, stunning film makes an appearance. This is one of those films. Aping the classic film noir style of forties and fifties Hollywood the film bowls us along its twists and turns. But being the Coen brothers, there’s the quirky humour and odd surreal touch added too. Although more James M. Cain rather than Raymond Chandler, the noir style of shadows and light, atmospheric cigarette smoke highlighted at every turn (if Billy Bob Thornton wasn’t a chainsmoker before, he surely must be by now), the sharp fashions and angular looks, rekindle that genre with great authenticity. When Anne pays Ed a visit to tell him that Doris isn’t guilty, she could almost be Joan Crawford as Mildred Pierce. (Come to think of it, isn’t Mildred Pierce’s daughter named Anne?)

You feel for Ed – everyone constantly talking at him, many of them not noticing his presence. Doris married him because ‘she liked it he didn’t talk a lot’. We notice Billy Bob Thornton’s presence alright – what a performance. The craggy sculpted face, lit to reveal its silent contours. His form carries those suits rather well. And what a pleasure to hear an actor’s voice and dialogue clearly, with no background noise at all in many places. Very unlike the recent ‘Moulin Rouge’ where the actors were straining to be heard. Both Thornton, and orator/lawyer Riedenschneider (Tony Shalhoub) possess very resonant voices, with a gravelly edged timbre. The film also reveals an interesting evocation of the hairstyles of the era – Ed could almost become a philosopher on the subject of hair!

 This is a good film, wonderful acting (for example – Frances McDormand registering that Ed knew about her affair), with both principles (Thornton and McDormand) turning in excellent performances. And rarely, in a Coen brothers film, it isn’t all cold distance, you can get close to these characters and become aware of their emotions. This is the brothers best yet.

Rating

Excellent – do go and see this wonderful film.

If you like this film…

Two main strands of comparable film viewing suggest themselves – other work by the Coen brothers, and classic film noir. The most comparable of the Coen brothers films are ‘Blood Simple’ and ‘Millers Crossing’, both of which are extremely grisly in parts. ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘O Brother, Where Art Though?’ are also worth a look.

For original film noir based on James M. Cain’s novels, there’s ‘Mildred Pierce’ which stars Joan Crawford on top form, and ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ with Lana Turner and John Garfield (later remade with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson). For classic noir the list is endless. Particular favourites are ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ (the Dick Powell version) and ‘Double Indemnity’ (Barbara Stanwyck and Joh Garfield). Enjoy!…