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Zero Dark Thirty - Review

Release Date : Feb 15, 2013 Freitag
Director : Kathryn Bigelow
Cast : Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt
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StoryAnalysis
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Escape from Planet Earth - Review

Release Date : Feb 14, 2013 Donnerstag
Director : Cal Brunker
Cast : Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Jessica Alba, William Shatner, Sarah Jessica Parker
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StoryAnalysis
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Beautiful Creatures - Review

Release Date : Feb 14, 2013 Donnerstag
Director : Richard LaGravenese
Cast : Viola Davis, Alice Englert, Emma Thompson, Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Irons
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StoryAnalysis
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Side Effects - Review

Release Date : Feb 08, 2013 Freitag
Director : Steven Soderbergh
Cast : Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Story
Emily (Rooney Mara), a waiflike young woman, visits her husband, Martin (Channing Tatum), in jail — he's serving time for insider trading — and awaits his return home but struggles with a depression that descends on her like, she says, 'a poisonous fog.' A British psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), tries to help, prescribing a new drug that 'just makes it easier to be who you are.' Things do not, to put it mildly, turn out well.
StoryAnalysis
The first half of the film follows Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara), the 28 year old wife of Martin (Channing Tatum), who has just been released after serving a 4 year prison sentence for insider trading. Martin quickly begins to attempt to regain his lost wealth. As if in a trance, Emily drives her car into a concrete wall in a suicide attempt. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) is the psychiatrist assigned to her case, and while he fears for her safety, he agrees to release her from the hospital as long as she frequently attends sessions with him. Emily tries a series of anti-depressant medications, but they fail to work. Jonathan talks to Emily's previous psychiatrist Victoria (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who Emily stopped seeing after she lost her health insurance. Victoria suggests that Jonathan put her on the drug Ablixa. After Emily attempts suicide a second time by almost jumping onto a subway track, he places her on the Ablixa. The medication works, and Emily seems to regain her normal life with Martin, except that she begins to have severe sleep-walking episodes. While Jonathan monitors her, her case appears to be solved until one night she stabs Martin to death while sleep-walking. Emily is brought to trial after a thorough investigation. It is revealed that Ablixa is known to have sleep-walking side-effects in patients, and Jonathan fights for Emily's innocence. Jonathan is criticized publicly for fumbling the patient's case; he had been taking too large of a work load and consulting for drug trials in order to make up the lost income from his wife losing her job and trying to pay for his son's private education. Emily eventually agrees to an insanity plea deal; she'll be declared not guilty as long as she is held in a mental institution until cleared by a psychiatrist. The second half of the film follows Jonathan as his life falls apart while further investigating the case. As he cannot believe he made such a mistake, he looks for conspiracies or any angle to prove he did nothing wrong. Due to the bad publicity of the case, his partners leave him, he is removed from the clinical trials, and the District Attorney will no longer consult with him. However, he begins to find bizarre circumstances in the case. For example, Emily had clearly activated the car's safety mechanisms at the beginning of the film, Victoria had been the only psychiatrist that reported the sleep-walking side effects of Ablixa, and the coverage had caused a massive drop in the stock price of Ablixa and a massive raise in the stock price of its primary competitor. Jonathan's suspicions are further confirmed when Emily is given a truth serum test and acts appropriately, only to be revealed that she had been given placebo. Upon confronting Victoria with this information, Victoria mails photographs to Jonathan's wife implying he had an affair with Emily. She and Jonathan's son leave him. Jonathan manages to turn Emily and Victoria against each other by using legal means to prevent contact and then saying each had agreed to sell the other out. Desperate for Jonathan to save her, Emily reveals the workings of the plot. Emily enjoyed the rich life and hated Martin for causing her to lose it. She went to Victoria for counseling who had also been abandoned by her husband, and the two began a homosexual relationship. They taught each other about the workings of the stocks world and faking psychiatric disorders. They went to elaborate means to fake the side effects of the drug and make a profit from the resulting predictable changes in stock price. Jonathan agrees to release Emily from the psychiatric ward under his care. She immediately re-unites with Victoria, who admits details of the plot to Emily. Emily is wearing a wire, and Victoria is arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, but due to double jeopardy Emily can no longer be held criminally responsible for her part in the murder. As retaliation for Emily's part in the plot, Jonathan prescribes her a series of unnecessary drugs with serious side effects under the threat she'll be sent back to the ward if she refuses. Angered by this, she goes ballistic, which is seen by police agents outside, and is sent back to the ward. In the final scene, Jonathan is shown having regained his normal life.
Highlights

Bullet to the Head - Review

Release Date : Feb 01, 2013 Freitag
Director : Walter Hill
Cast : Sylvester Stallone, Jason Momoa
Story
A seasoned gun-for-hire forms an unlikely alliance with a cop in order to avenge the deaths of their respective partners.
StoryAnalysis
The name of this film pretty much says it all - action all the way. And Sylvester Stallone and director Walter Hill (known for his action films) have the blueprint down pat when it comes to the A-to-Z of a movie of this kind. James Bonomo (Stallone) is a grizzled hitman with a grizzly voice to match who, although thoroughly competent at kicking ass, exhibits a degree of world-weariness. Make no mistake though - he's only just a few gunshots away from busting skulls and spilling guts in the blood-soaked narrative of this film, which is based on a French graphic novel. A series of incidents leads Bonomo to team up with Taylor Kwon ( Sung Kang), the archetypical 'good cop' who is appalled by his partner's trigger-happy method of getting rid of the opposition. "You don't just kill a guy like that," says Kwon in one scene, to which Bonomo grunts in reply: "I just did." Along the way, the duo uncovers a convoluted scam that if nothing else, only gives them license to gleefully blow up more stuff. Keegan ( Jason Momoa) is a muscle-bound and menacing villain who stacks up nicely to the task of being a badass. The editing is at times a bit too choppy and the fights are often close quarters, crude and bloody. Dialogues in this film are like breaks in between more action scenes. Lisa (Sarah Shahi) plays Bonomo's estranged but tough daughter who is also attracted to Taylor. Marcus Baptiste ( Christian Slater) has a few good lines but this is undoubtedly Sly's vehicle all the way. Watch it if action films get your adrenaline pumping and you are a Stallone fan.
Highlights

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - Review

Release Date : Feb 01, 2013 Freitag
Director : Tommy Wirkola
Cast : Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Thomas Mann
Story
Bond girl Gemma Arterton and 'Hawkeye' Jeremy Renner play siblings who hunt down and kill witches in this classic fairy-tale with a twist.
StoryAnalysis
The film picks up years after the events in the Grimms' famous fairy-tale. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have grown up to become bounty hunters. They are on a witch-killing spree and so, are feared and revered by many. A mayor hires the two to protect his village from the dark witches who reside in the dark forests. That's when the invincible duo, find their match in the evil Grand Witch Muriel (Famke Janssen) who has vicious plans for the fabled blood moon. In order to avert Muriel's cruelty, Hansel and Gretel must deal with their tragic past... something they'd rather not recall. Action, special effects, 3D and makeup are all decent, barring the story which becomes painfully predictable and thus highly dull towards the second half. Witches on brooms start looking like hideous and helpless zombies who are conveniently killed in abundance in most Hollywood films. Scenes showing random killings with beheadings, splattering of innards and limbs being slashed to pieces become monotonous. The film will remind you of (2012) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Blood & gore fans may enjoy the slow-mo 3D killings but the film offers nothing beyond that. A little humour and smart dialogues would have helped in making the film more engaging but that doesn't happen either. A romantic scene which involves Hansel with a potential love interest is extremely corny! Performance wise, Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are brilliant individually. As a team, they are forgettable as there is no great chemistry between them. Not the usual brother-sister banter that one is used to seeing.
Highlights

Midnight's Children - Review

Release Date : Feb 01, 2013 Freitag
Director : Deepa Mehta
Cast : Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor, Siddharth, Ronit Roy, Rahul Bose, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher, Soha Ali Khan, Darsheel Safary, Seema Biswas
Story
Saleem Sinai, born as India becomes free, is a magical child - will India let its midnight's children remain free?
StoryAnalysis
Straight away, Midnight's Children (MC) is a love-letter to India. The film takes a difficult novel and mostly does well, producing celluloid that wraps around you like a jamevar shawl. MC opens in pre-Independence Kashmir where Dr. Aziz (Kapoor) is treating Naseem, falling in love even as her father Ghani sahab (Anupam Kher in a superb cameo) prattles on. Kashmiriyat is celebrated in its eccentric beauty and as shikaras glide by a misty Char Chinar, a visual treat unfolds. All along, as Aziz's descendants move across India, Pakistan, even dropping into Bangladesh briefly, Salman Rushdie's voice guides you as narrator, blending with Nitin Sawhney's musical score, dipping often into that most fitting raga - Des. It's nicely apt for MC to offer so much in its hearing, Rushdie voicing large ironies with tender little loves, Sawhney's score moving you with its exquisite delights. MC also features some striking performances. Roy as Ahmed Sinai presents a passionate portrayal while Bose as General Zulfikar is tightly controlled, whipping at a flock of geese, luxuriating in bubble baths between executing Pakistan's first military coup. Certain performances - Anita Majumdar as talcum-powdered beauty Emerald, Biswas as tortured nurse Mary, Siddharth as cruel Shiva - stand out. Some shots - Saleem's face against a fluttering hand-held fan - are wonderful while some sequences - India's Emergency when daylight itself is imprisoned - dramatic. There's occasional staginess and cliches too - turbans, snakes, magicians who don't give it a break - and sometimes, the family drama floods broader political time. The film's length and some performances - Saran and Bhabha - could've been tighter. But mostly, MC moves you with its heart and words, especially when Rushdie murmurs, "Without passport or permit, in a basket of invisibility, I returned - to my India."
Highlights

End of Watch - Review

Release Date : Jan 25, 2013 Freitag
Director : David Ayer
Cast : Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez
Story
End of Watch is a 2012 American thriller drama film written and directed by David Ayer. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as Los Angeles Police Department officers who work in South Central Los Angeles
StoryAnalysis
The easy chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña draws you into the lives of their characters - two LAPD officers who work a particularly rough part of South Central Los Angeles - and sells the gritty reality of David Ayer's End of Watch, a particularly resonant cop drama that makes first-person, handheld footage relevant again. The handheld footage is supplemented with security cam and dashboard shots, as well as eyewitness POVs, and End of Watch proves more than a gimmick. It's not a buddy-cop flick, but Gyllenhaal and Peña are the most believably human partners in some time. This is easily Ayer's best work since he wrote Training Day, and, while End of Watch lacks the bravado of Denzel Washington's Alonzo Harris, it rides past genre clichés on the backs of its lead actors and a smart script. Former U.S. Marine Brian Taylor (Gyllenhaal) works the beat with family man Mike Zavala (Peña). They patrol neighborhoods rife with rival gangs and gun violence, and each traffic stop brings new danger. Between calls, the partners discuss sports, family and politics inside their cruiser, and unlucky-in-love Taylor backhandedly admires Zavala's strong marriage to wife Gabby (Natalie Martinez) and impending fatherhood. The film's explanation of its handheld footage is quick and easy: Taylor is filming his daily police work for a film project. This irks others on the force, especially humorless Officer Van Hauser (David Harbour), but Taylor and Zavala stick together or with backup officers Davis (Cody Horn) and Orozco (America Ferrera). Routine drug busts and welfare checks are replaced by bullets and death threats from a vicious Hispanic gang after the guys stumble onto the work of a powerful cartel. Ayer, whose L.A.-centric work includes writing Dark Blue and directing Street Kings, knows the streets where Taylor and Zavala work, and stocks the cast with amateur actors from the area, including ex-rapper Yahira Garcia as deadly gang mistress La La and Maurice Compte as head honcho Big Evil. These players feel real if somewhat generic, and Ayer gives them flair without losing track of his officers. The script is surprisingly funny, and Taylor and Zavala constantly rib each other like drunken fraternity brothers. A recurring joke is the pair's dissimilar cultural upbringing; Taylor feigns offense at Zavala's large family and traditions, and Zavala assumes Taylor will be very excited that Starbucks started offering a new flavored coffee. Throughout the film, these interactions remain funny, honest and believable, and the actors appear to be living the parts rather than acting. End of Watch depicts the adrenaline-fueled work life of LAPD officers, but balances its shootouts and car chases with scenes of home life. Taylor begins dating Janet (Anna Kendrick), whom he eventually marries, and she becomes part of the extended law enforcement family. Fellow officers recall partners lost and victims saved, and Taylor and Zavala contemplate what it means to be a hero after saving children from a burning house. End of Watch is memorable not because of its antagonists but because it so honestly portrays the lives of police officers. Ayer makes the medley of footage work, and keeps the film moving at a steady pace while giving its characters room to breathe. Gyllenhaal and Peña have already been overlooked for this year's acting awards, but their performances here are some of the year's finest. End of Watch takes a well-worn genre and makes it feel new again.
Highlights

Les Miserables - Review

Release Date : Jan 18, 2013 Freitag
Director : Tom Hooper
Cast : Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks
Story
Jean Valjean is a man shackled to his past. A petty crime sees him a 'slave of the law' for 19 years. Out on parole, he tries making a stab at a new life but a piece of paper brands him a dangerous man forever. An act of kindness later, he finds himself paying it forward. However, not before buckets of tears are shed. , Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter
StoryAnalysis
Set in the 19th century, this Tom Hooper adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic merits attention first and foremost for its stellar cast. Each song carries the power of the words the characters utter. When they're angry, you feel the rage, when they're joyous, it's spring and when they're in tears, everything turns a darker shade of dismal grey. As Valjean, Jackman plays a variety of parts exceedingly well. He's a convict, he's a factory owner, a mayor, a benefactor, a foster father and a hero. As a foil to the protagonist, Crowe as the persistent prison guard/inspector Javert is annoyingly good. While not as consistent in clarity of dialogue delivery as Jackman, he makes up by playing conflicted soul to the hilt. By contrast, Anne Hathaway doesn't leave as much of an impact despite an impassioned (read: weepy) portrayal of the frail, fatalistic Fantine. Amanda Seyfried (as the older Cosette) and Eddie Redmayne (as her suitor, the rebellious Marius Pontmercy) are efficient. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (the downright evil Thenardiers) bring their quirky brand of menace to the table yet again. Samantha Barks (as Eponine) is a revelation. Her rendition of 'On My Own' is actually more rivetting than Jackman's 'Suddenly'. Watch out for this one, she's gonna go far! Top-notch music (Claude-Michel Schonberg), cinematography (Danny Cohen) and production design (Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson) add to the experience. To truly enjoy this film, be patient (the length IS an issue), persevere (in spite of the sing-song dialogue) and prevail (the film's actually not as tedious as you'd expect a period historical musical to be).
Highlights
A lovely story, beautifully told and acted with lot of intensity

Get The Gringo - Review

Release Date : Jan 18, 2013 Freitag
Director : Adrian Grunberg
Cast : Mel Gibson, Kevin Hernandez
Story
It's been a bad day for Driver (Gibson) and it's not getting any better. He just made a big haul of millions that would give him a nice summer vacation on easy street. A good idea that went south - literally. During a high-speed car chase with the US Border Patrol, and a bleeding body in his back seat, Driver flips his car smashing through the border wall, tumbling violently, coming to a stop ... in Mexico. Apprehended by the Mexican authorities, he is sent to a hard-core prison where he enters the strange and dangerous world of "El Pueblito", the worst prison in all of Mexico. Not an easy place for an outsider such as Driver to survive, unless it's with the help of someone who knows the ropes - a 10 year-old kid.
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Broken City - Review

Release Date : Jan 18, 2013 Freitag
Director : Allen Hughes
Cast : Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Story
The Mayor of New York City is convinced that his wife is having an affair. He hires a former cop-turned-private investigator to disclose the identity of her lover to him. As the investigator digs deeper, he realizes there is more to the case than meets the eye.
StoryAnalysis
Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) fears he might lose his post to rival candidate Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper). Valliant is hell-bent on exposing Hostetler's alleged real estate scams. Along with political problems, the mayor also faces marital discord. He is convinced but needs proof that will expose his wife's alleged adultery. He thus hires Billy Taggart ( Mark Wahlberg), a former cop-turned-private investigator to look into the personal life of his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones). She however warns Billy that he may be wrong in judging her and her husband's motives. Broken City begins brilliantly. The plot keeps you engaged with its twists and turns, making the story look like an action-packed suspense thriller. The build-up is superb. It convinces you to expect an equally gripping second half. Unfortunately, that is where the film runs out of steam and takes up a convenient, cliched twist which leads to an unappealing climax. The complex web of mysterious events gets unraveled way too easily. From a crime thriller to a political drama on corruption, the film also faces identity crisis of sorts. The transition makes you feel as if the director got confused and chose to take an easy way out towards the end. Also, connecting the characters' past to current events seems far-fetched. Some scenes hold no relevance to the story. Catherine Zeta-Jones looks the part but is wasted. Wahlberg is seen doing what he probably does in every other film - he indulges in fist-fights when he is not taking pictures. He is good at it but there is nothing new that he does. Russell Crowe has lost weight and plays his part well. The role is half-baked though. Broken City had the potential to be this dark crime thriller as it involves dangerous secret investigation and murder. The inclusion of politics makes it pale and predictable. If political dramas are your thing, watch The Ides of March (2011) instead!
Highlights

The Last Stand - Review

Release Date : Jan 18, 2013 Freitag
Director : Jee-woon Kim
Cast : Arnold Schwarzenegger, Luis Guzmán, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville
Story
The sheriff of a sleepy Arizona border town is tasked with stopping a dangerous Mexican cartel boss from returning to Mexico.
StoryAnalysis
He's back! Ray Owens ( Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a former LAPD narcotics cop who once tackled toughs on the mean streets of the City of Angels. Now, too old for that kind of action, he has hung up his gloves, put away his shotgun and 'retired' to being sheriff of a small town called Summerton Junction. Ray and his deputies Jerry (Zach Gilford), Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander) and Mike (Luis Guzman) don't have much to do until cartel kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has his toughs visit their town on their way to the border. The scene is then set for the inevitable showdown. The action then shifts away from LA, where FBI Agent John Bannister ( Forest Whitaker) has been on Cortez's tail up to that point. Summerton's resident redneck goofball Lewis Dinkum ( Johnny Knoxville) is a cross between the village idiot and odd-job man, who lovingly hoards a shed full of weapons, each of which he has named after a woman. The fights are meaty, the car chases high-octane and the gunfights, somewhat gory. This is a movie without pretensions; a pure action film that Arnold ambles through with absolute ease - perhaps too much so. And not since Commando has he had such an arsenal to nail the bad guys with - he memorably wielded a Gatling minigun in Terminator 2 and here, he has a vintage Vickers machine gun and a pistol the size of a hand cannon to dish out his brand of justice with. Indeed, Arnie sounds so comfortable that his one-liners seem made up on the spur of the moment. Recommended if you enjoy action films.
Highlights

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