Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Review: Helvetica

Documentaries usually prospect to tell a story of certain significant events or people; they can also be awfully mundane, or incredibly entertaining. Helvetica is the result of the outstanding prophecy from the award-winning director Gary Hustwit, which describes the ups and downs of a typeface, one of the most used typefaces in the English language that is. But the question is, will a documentary about a font provide any sort of entertainment?

Helvetica produces a cheerfully engaging investigation into the world’s most ubiquitous typeface, uncovering a minor hit storm in the world of graphic design as well as broadening the cinematic and analytical potential of the documentary form in the process. Tracing the roots of the Helvetica back to a small factory in Switzerland in the 1950s, the film charts its rise as a staple of corporate logos, warning signs and any form of communication that requires a direct and functional mode of expression. At personal level, I’m not a designer by any stretch, but have always been fascinated by the use of language and text. It really is empowering for a non-talent like myself to observe the proliferation of the democratizing of the tools of production. It has caused me to look much more closely at the written word in the world around me. It explores the way a typeface can polarize a society. While the topic may be considered mundane to some, this films’ treatment of it was anything but that. By the end of the movie, I felt artistically inspired on so many levels, and I definitely place it as one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen recently.

Artfully photographed, sharply edited and propelled by a gorgeous rock soundtrack, Helvetica is a film that owes probably more to philosophy than style. Don’t let the ordinary subject matter put you off. This is one of the wittiest, most diligently researched, mysteriously intelligent and quietly captivating documentaries of the new millennium. Helvetically recommended.

The Bottom Line

A-

Review: Harold And Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

The first Harold and Kumar movie that was released four years ago was definitely one of my favorite buddy comedies of all time. The second sequel, albeit not as funny as the original, truly deserves attention even from those who didn’t watch the first one. The sequel picks up just hours after the last movie ended, right before they embark on a trip to Amsterdam to hook up with their sexy neighbor, Harold’s longtime crush. And from that point on, our heroes go through a series of mishaps and misfortunes that eventfully deviates them from their intentional plan, all of that in a genius comedic flair.

There’s absolutely no dull moment in Harold And Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. The plot is definitely thinner than White Castle but it almost maintains as much jokes and hilarious scenes as the first one. The movie also smartly examines the racial tensions that are engulfing the US nowadays in a hysterical atmosphere that doesn’t feel like a Sunday school special. The performance -in my opinion- is certainly better than the original; Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) characters are more flashed out and they turn to become deeper as the story progresses. The return of Neil Patrick Harris reprising himself is certainly welcoming and he provides a bigger aid to our heroes this time around. Unfortunately, the ending didn’t turn out to be as I expected; it was a little bit on the cliché side and I was really hoping for something that can knock me away, but at least, it serves its purpose.

Escape From Guantanamo Bay it’s not just a good sequel, but also a good movie, whether or not you’ve seen the first film. It packs a political punch, a well-acted performance, a hilarious plot, and a great amount of outrageous scenes that can give your grandmother a heart attack, and all of that in one package. A definite watch for the fans of the original Harold and Kumar.

The Bottom Line

B

Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I was pretty ecstatic to learn that the masterminds of the 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up were in charge in producing Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and after witnessing the slightly favored reviews across the web, I was determined not to miss it. However, the movie didn’t turn out quite well as I expected. The plot sees a struggling musician named Peter Bretter whose heart has been broken by his girlfriend and TV star Sarah Marshall. To clear his head, Peter takes an impulsive trip to Hawaii, where he is confronted by his worst nightmare: Sarah and her tragically hip, new British-rocker boyfriend, Aldous. However, fate smiles to Peter as he finds comfort with the beautiful resort employee Rachel, played by none than the very sweet Mila Kunis.

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is funny, though I didn’t find myself laughing at the same guffaw-per-minute rate as the people around me. The acting however was inconstant, sometimes it is quite charming and other times it’s just plain mundane and one-dimensional. Jason Segal (who played Peter) shined in some dramatic moments but I honestly didn’t believe his character to the extent that I couldn’t sympathize with him at all. Mila Kunis however was the real surprise, and she demonstrated her capabilities as a young talented actress. The script has few moments of genuine laughter but I felt most of the jokes were forced and fairly predictable. The ending however was awful and really left a bitter taste in my mouth as I couldn’t fathom the manner how everything came together in the end. To me, I found Aldous (Sarah’s British boyfriend) is the most memorable character and the best thing in the whole movie.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall will manage squeeze from you few (and sincere) laughs here and there but in the end the flick is nothing but a mediocre plot who tries to stand up by fueling us with outrageous moments. You are better off watching Knocked Up for a second round than this stale film. Wait for the DVD release.

The Bottom Line

C+

Why Superman Sucks & Batman Owns

Out of all DC Comics characters, Superman is the one hero that I think he sucks major ass. I never got interested in his story, his comics, his cartoon, or even his movies. Even though I have some admiration for Smallville, Clark Kent is certainly not as compelling as other superheroes out there. And by other, I mean Batman. Of course, I’m not going to set here and be all judgmental without giving any convincing reasons. Allow me to share with you my personal list on why Batman kicks the crap out of Superman (which he actually did in The Dark Knight Returns) anytime.

  • Batman had a much more tragic childhood; watching your parents die is infinitely worse than hearing your biological parents died without ever having met them.
  • Batman’s crime-fighting style is based more on intelligence and planning while Superman almost always relays on brute force.
  • Batman is a detective, a scientist, a master of disguise, and a martial arts expert; Superman is a burly asshole in a red cape with big muscles.
  • Even though both characters steadfastly refuse to kill their enemies under any circumstances; it’s just a hell of a lot harder for Batman, which makes his attitude toward mercy all the more admirable.
  • It’s five times harder for Batman to do anything, which Superman takes for granted on a daily basis, yet he often does it a hell of a lot better.

Review: Arranged

arranged-poster.jpg

Note: This review is based on the DVD version.

This film actually was recommended by my dearest friend Sushi, and based on her review and the premise of the movie I couldn’t help myself but to watch it. The film focuses on two young female teachers – one an Orthodox Jew (named Rochel) and the other an observant Muslim (named Nasira) – who are assigned to work together in a multi-ethnic school in Brooklyn. Initially, I thought it is one of those films with a sentimental “let’s all get along” message, but it turned out to be a lot more complicated and interesting than that. The characters find friendship with each other, because they are both confronting similar issues with their parents and the secular world. They are also both undergoing the difficulty of trying to find a mate through their community’s traditional systems of arranged marriage. While some of the characters come off as walking stereotypes, the film for the most part, does a sensitive job of portraying both aspects of religion and tradition in a very positive light. The film respects the women’s genuine commitment to their faiths even as they struggle with difficult aspects of their faiths. The acting and the script are sometimes uneven and there are moments that feel like an after school special. The conclusion is a bit too simplistic. But the message about both necessity and possibility of multi-religious co-existence is a good one presented with humor, warmth, and intelligence. Another minor flaw I found is that it doesn’t balance the lives of both characters; I felt Rochel was the leading character and Nasira was the support (sort of a side story) character, but the effort was genuine and heartwarming.

arranged.jpg

Arranged is an engaging story that feels very real, and very important in our times when so many walls keep people from connecting with each other. It is so refreshing to have the bigger theme of cultural and religious differences treated with respect and interest, and with an absence of violence. Even though it’s not a masterpiece, I invite you to watch this film along with your friends and family and absorb the fact that you don’t need shared religion in order to share friendship and respect.

The Bottom Line

B

The Last Supper!?

The Last Supper – Star Wars

last-supper-star-wars.jpg

The Last Supper – Battle Star Galactica

last-supper-battle-star.jpg

The Last Supper – Super Smash Bros. Brawl

last-supper-nintendo.jpg

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE

The Happening

The new trailer of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening is finally here. Now, let’s hope this one doesn’t suck like Lady In The Water. The movie is scheduled to be released on June 13th of 2008.