I did manage to sneak in a few more movies in the last few weeks since my previous review package. Here they go.
The Adjustment Bureau:I wasn’t expecting the world from this movie. But given that it stars Emily Blunt and Mat Damon, I had some expectations going in. I was disappointed. The movie starts off great. The premise is intriguing but the story starts meandering mid-way through the movie and never makes its way back. By the time the main plot point is revealed, it sounds more ludicrous than one would want it to. Overall, very average fare.
Margin Call:This was one heck of a movie. Set in a fictitious hedge fund and happening over 24 hours of tumult during the financial crisis, it is a tension packed ride from the start to finish. It boasts of an all-star cast and a stellar screenplay. Over 95% of the movie occurs within a single set piece. The tension is palpable. The climax is believable. All in all, a great watch. Loved it.
Too Big to Fail:This is really not a movie as much as a TV movie. It was produced for HBO and shown almost a year ago. It is still not out on DVD. I caught it on a HBO rerun and was spellbound. For people familiar with the source material, the namesake bestseller by Andrew Ross Sorkin, it is a fantastic ride through some of the darkest days of 2008 when much of New York was in a tailspin. Boasting an all-star cast of brilliant performers, the real-life saga hits very close to home. Must watch especially if you want to give a human face to Hank Paulson.
The Ides of March:As a big fan of Clooney the director and actor, I went into this movie with a lot of expectations. Also, as a fan of political thrillers, I was hoping this would be an interesting perspective coming from the extremely political Clooney. I was treated to an excellent thriller steeped in politics but just as intelligent outside of it. While Clooney rocks as always, the scene stealer is Ryan Gosling who absolutely rocks in his role as a campaign staffer. Great, great movie.
Contagion:I watched this on a late Friday night and went back to bed at 1 am. I could her my wife coughing in the next room. I could not sleep much that night. Contagion is really a horror movie – one whose tale can happen any moment today or tomorrow. It is harrowing and unflinching. It boasts a big cast but let that not give you the false impression of an uplifting tale. This one is brutal. I had a water cooler argument with some colleagues over the pacing and documentary style structure of the movie. To me, it is that style and treatment that made the movie all so real. Recommended for the not so faint of heart.
Drive:A few days after watching “The Ides of March”, I sat down to watch “The Drive”. For someone who had never seen a Ryan Gosling movie until this month, two of his starrers within a span of one week was indeed surprising. But unique no more. Gosling delivers a bravura performance in this bloody, silent noirish thriller that is as stylish as they get. Gosling is stunning as much as he is quiet in this engrossing gangster tale set in LA. Every set piece and scene drips in style and much of the movie turns out to be one memorable ride. Highly recommended for the Tarantino fan.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes:The Mark Wahlberg Apes outing from a few years ago had left a bad taste in my mouth. I had very low expectations from this one. I knew that it had a good run at the box-office last summer but then again, so did the “Clash of the Titans”. With that mindset, I started watching this San Francisco based movie. Twenty minutes into the movie, I was intrigued. An hour in, I was starting to get a nice summer blockbustery feel about it. When the credits rolled, I had a smile on my face. While the movie uses every single blockbuster cliche one would expect from a summer release, it still manages to keep the viewers interest and intellect level fairly high. The real hero of the movie is the special effects front ended by the always awesome Andy Serkis. Overall, surprisingly enjoyable.
Friends with Benefits:I am not a big fan of the chick flick. Yes, I have seen my share with my then girlfriend, now wife. But you know how that goes. I had picked up this movie for 99c on Amazon VOD and it was expiring last weekend. I had to see it or lose it. The wife was busy with work to take it up. I ended up watching it for the 99c. Given all that, the first 45 minutes of the movie is actually interesting and fun. The movie starts off wanting to desperately be the un-chick chick flick. But soon enough it starts heading to its familiar grounds and before you know it, the movie is what it aims to make a parody of. A pleasant star cast is otherwise wasted. Skip it unless you really have nothing else.