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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bruce Willis: Die Hard

What an action movie. This is an adrenaline packed movie, of the single fighter kind of profile. The movie, released in 1988, did wonders for the career of Bruce Willis and sparked off 2 more re-runs (which were also adrenaline packed). The other good point of this movie is that it really does not try to deliver too many messages, and concentrates on giving its viewers the action that they desire.
Storyline again is simple. Bruce Willis is a New York cop John McClane, who goes to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his family (and estranged wife). She is an executive with the Nakatomi group, and is in the Nakatomi high-rise towers for an official Christmas party. His reunion does not go too well, and they have another tiff.
At this time, when he is sitting in a separate room, terrorists led by Alan Rickman invade the building and take it over. They take over communications, the front lobby and herd all the hostages to a common point. They are actually thieves on a grand scale, attempting to rob the bearer bonds kept in the building's security vaults.
He escapes their hostage taking, and starts to fight back. This includes attempting to call the police, who don't exactly take him seriously. To get the attention of the lone officer who responds, he drops the body of one of the terrorists onto the officer's car, and this brings the whole police force into the area.
In the meantime, the terrorists have killed hostages who have not cooperated with them, and are slowly bypassing the security procedures of the large vault in the building. John, injured, is still fighting the terrorists where he can. Due to a local reporter, the terrorists realize that they have John's wife as one of the hostages and take her with them.
There are some major battle scenes where the terrorists are so well prepared that they can beat whatever force the local police can throw against them. Towards the end, John realizes that they are going to blow up the roof with the hostages on them, and tries to scare them off the roof. The police helicopter thinks he is a bad guy and fire on him, forcing him off the roof. When faced with his wife as a hostage, he tricks and shoots the gang members. The movie ends with him, being a beaten and bloodied person, but victorious, having thrown Alan Rickman off the building.
This is a great movie, for pure, well-directed action. If you are looking for a great story line, or a lot of emotion, this movie is not for you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Action Movie: Air Force One

Watching this movie in a hall is an incredible pleasure. With some great air action and excellent effects (audio and visual), you get an incredible feeling. In addition, I am somewhat of a Tom Clancy fan, and even this movie is not based on anything that Tom Clancy has written, it feels very similar to something that Clancy would have written. And Harrison Ford suited the character to a large degree. Movie was released in 1997, and also had some good parts by Gary Oldman and Glenn Close.
Movie is very simple, although the plot is a bit long, with individual parts being excellently depicted. It starts with a joint operation by US and Russian special operations troops to capture the dictator leader of Kazakhstan, General Ivan Radek. 3 weeks later, while visiting Russia, the President gives a resounding speech proclaiming that the US will pursue terrorists wherever they be. His own advisors were somewhat apprehensive about this speech.
In a plan, terrorists trying to free Radek kill some Russian journalists and take their place in the President's plane, Air Force One (hence the title of the movie). (Note: It would not be so easy for people to enter the President's plane). Once on board, they get weapons meant for the secret service and use these to take over the plane in a short gun-battle.
Their main objective is to get the President, but they see him escaping in his special pod. However, he has not escaped, but like the former soldier and Presidential Medal of Honour winner that he is, he has elected to stay on board. There is a thrilling episode when the pilots attempt to land at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, but the terrorists manage to get into the cockpit and take off again.
In the meantime, the terrorists are threatening the hostages on the plane, and have already started executing them one by one. In this duration, the President fights a battle inside the plane, manages to get most of the people off the plane, but is then caught. When faced with the execution of his family, he asks the Russian president to release Radek. There is a nice sequence when Radek is being released and the way he is walking out of the prison, and this is being watched by the Russian President for whom this is a disaster.
In a fight-back, Ford manages to over-power the terrorists, and in the nick of time convey this to the Russian President. Radek is killed at the gate of the prison, and this would seem like a happy ending. However, they are very close to an air base where the commander of the base is Radek's man, and he sends his Mig's to get Air Force One. American fighters are mobilised from a Turkish airbase, and arrive just in the nick of time, not enough to prevent some damage to Air Force One, but enough to drive away these rebels (with one American plane sacrificing himself in front of a missile).
The last episode of the movie now happens. There is a C-130 Hercules nearby and that is sent to get the people abroad Air Force One through a mid-air transfer. Air Force One is losing height and speed and time is of the essence. After a final fight with the Secret Service traitor, Ford just manages to make it in the nick of time.
Overall, this was a nice movie. Nice effects, not very complicated story line, enough to make admirers of action movies feel nice.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Oscar: A funny movie featuring Stallone

The first time I watched this movie, I was somewhat unsure !! Imagine Stallone doing comedy. Anyhow, I had nothing else to do at that time, and so ventured forth to watch this movie. And in my opinion, it was worth it. I laughed much more than I thought I would, and my image of Stallone changed after this movie. I had more respect for him. The movie has been directed by John Landis.
This movie came out in 1991, so it has been some time since the movie has been out. It has been a sufficiently under-rated movie, but worth keeping as part of the DVD collection. Imagine the pleasure of showing friends this movie, and atleast some of them will really like this movie.
Stallone plays the role of Snaps Provolone, a gangster persuaded by his dying father to go straight. No one obviously can quite believe that a gangster can go straight. He decides to go into banking, and this movie runs on the day that is the day that he would turn straight. This day is the day when an immense number of things happen in his life. His employee Anthony informs him that he has stolen $50,000 belonging to Snaps, and is also going to marry his daughter. Snaps is looking for a way to get the money back, and sees an opportunity when he realizes that Anthony is going to marry a lady who is actually not Snaps's daughter. In the meantime, Snaps's actual daughter, Marisa Tomei, is in love with his chaueffeur and is pregnant by him; so Snaps has to arrange for her marriage to keep her reputation honest.
He also has to convince the banking board that he is legit, and deal with an ex-girlfriend, and his gangster rival. In addition, the police believe that he is upto some big deal and are keeping a close look on him. There is a missing bag of money that causes an immense amount of confusion and activities in the film.
Read more about the movie here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Movie: The Ten Commandments

This is an all-time classic, that somehow has stood the test of time. It is one of the best money-making films of all time. Considering that the film was made in 1956, if one adjusts its earning for inflation, it's current earnings would be in the range of around $ 840,000, making it one of the top five grossing films of all time. It is widely acknowledged as an epic, and one of the finest creation of Cecil B. DeMille. It stars Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, and John Derek in the pivotal roles.
The movie is based on the Ten Commandments, a list of religious imperatives necessary to be followed by humans, and form the basis for morality in Judaism and Christianity. For more about the 10 commandments, read this Wikipedia entry.
The movie follows the life story of Moses, a prophet of ancient, who led the children of Israel out of slavery under the pharaohs in Egypt and to the promised land, without himself setting foot in the promised land. Moses was found by the Egyptian princess, and raised as part of royalty. He is the favourite of the Pharaoh, and rival of the Pharoah's son, Rameses II. Eventually Moses learns that he is the son of hebrew slaves, and this changes his life.
Brought before the pharoah, and accused of being the Hebrew 'Deliverer', Moses, even when faced with the removal of his status and persecution, does not recant from his belief in freedom for the Hebrew slaves. Stripped of his name and status, and losing the companionship of Nefretiri, the Princess, he is exiled to the desert.
While wandering among the desert in a desolate condition, he comes across his companions, and then in a life-turning moment, he comes across the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai and is charged by god with freeing the slaves. And thus starts the battle. He proclaims his mission in front of Rameses and brings a number of divine plagues to hit the land. After Rameses loses his child in a plague, he gives the slaves their freedom, resulting in a masterful scene of the slaves leaving Egypt.
However, Rameses recants and goes with his army to get the slaves back and kill Moses. And then the divine miracles start. First Rameses is held back at the Red Sea by a pillar of fire, and then the Sea parts for Moses, and drowns Rameses army when it tries to follow. So the slaves are now free. But when they do not see deliverance and Moses is away on top of the mountain, they lose faith and indulge in unpardonable activities. Moses, in the meantime, has been granted the Ten Commandments by God's own hands. However, when he comes back down and sees the happenings, he condemns the perverted. After a period of 40 years wandering in the desert to show their loyalty to God, he hands over the Jews to Joshua.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Movie: Predator

Predator was the first movie of Arnold Schwarzenegger that I watched, and it was a fairly impressive movie from an action perspective. The movie was made in 1987, and starred an extremely impressive creature, whom one is sure could scare the daylights out anybody stuck in a jungle.
The movie story is deceptively simple. There are a group of commandos on a rescue mission, but not told the real story. In a jungle, they start to sense something wrong, and find the bodies of the earlier team. What they eventually find is the Predator, a creature who hunts humans using some special weapons, beyond human-vision perception, and a stealth that is incredible (invisible is a good way to fight). He starts picking off the commandos one by one, killing them in different ways, until it's only Arnie.
The finale is about how Arnie manages to extricate himself from the clutches of the Predator, and flees from there.
The movie is a taut piece of work. The way that the sequence in the jungle leads to the point where they suddenly see the Predator (and then don't), the terrific scene where they try to bait the Predator ending in an incredible scene where the whole group fires a massive burst into the jungle, the fear on the girl's face, and the scene at the end where you know that the Predator, even when dying, is upto no good. This is all edge of the seat action, and the movie is a must see.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Movie: Top Gun

This is a movie from 1986, and the overall scenario is that of a time when the USSR existed as a strong adversary and the military had to be on a razor's edge. It is a pure thriller, with all the fast action of fighter planes, macho people and sexy ladies.
The story is simple: Tom Cruise gets a chance to go to Top Gun (the ultimate naval aviators training area) when a fellow aviator pulls out. He, along with his navigator, land up at Top Gun. His behaviour can be essentially described just by using his call sign 'Maverick'. He acts and behaves like a maverick too, bypassing the rules of the academy in his training. His chief rival Val Kilmer follows the rules, performs quite nicely and is ahead of him in points. The love interest comes in the form of Kelly McGillis, a civilian instructor at Top Gun.
The film becomes deadly serious when, in an accident, his navigator gets killed when trying to eject from the plane. Maverick loses his attitude, and needs to be reminded about his dead dad who dies as a hero in an area where he was officially never supposed to be, and hence his heroism could never be acknowledged.
The recovery happens when he is back on a carrier, and another set of pilots are in trouble. Maverick has to overcome his fears and rescue them. One of my favourite pieces of sound from the movie is the 'Top Gun Anthem'.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Movie: Children of a lesser god

I watched this movie when I was very young, early teens, and the movie impressed me enough that I still remember it. The movie did not seem stretched, and presented a good representation of the world of the disabled. It was also the first movie that I saw where physical interaction seemed to be beautiful rather than something that was difficult to watch with others.
The story is not very complicated: William Hurt arrives as a new energetic, but unconventional teacher at an institution for the hearing impaired. There he finds Marleen Matlin (who is hearing impaired in real life also), who is a graduate of the school, but instead of going out in the real world as taught in the school, stays on to work in the school. He tries to make contact with her (having already fallen for her), but she resists his attempts until he finds out the reason for her stubborness from her mother.
Eventually be breaks through and they develop a mutual romantic interest and start living together.
This film was released in 1986, and won the Oscar for Best Actress for Marleen Matlin.
The film has some good humour, and I found the screenplay for the movie had a natural flow, overall I liked the movie.