Cross- Movie Connections #1

Its been a while since I posted last, almost 6 months, in fact! Sadly, there are periodically recurring events called exams which seem to occur very often in my life at the moment. If not exams then unit tests, and if not those then a project or something worse…

So, in other news I’m going to start a new section in my blog called “Cross-Movie Connections” where I connect two or more movies or movie franchises together. Now, I need you to understand that I’m still new to this quasi-conspiracy theory business, so please don’t tear me apart if a make a particularly bad connection.

So here goes…

Movies linked: Renaissance Man and Shooter


Premise: Haywood changes his name to Robert Swagger, and transfers to the Marines, where he quickly becomes renowned for his sniper skills, despite having a slow start as a double-D in the Army.

Imagination gone wild!

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Ted

Crude humor ………. and not much else.

Before Ted released, I had high hopes for the movie – what could go wrong with Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, even if their supporting character was a pot-smoking, foul mouthed bear? As it appears, almost everything.

There is no plot, so to speak and none of the characters are particularly memorable. Maybe I’ve seen Wahlberg in too many action movies, to  be comfortable with him in this weird rom-com

I know there is a teddy bear, but this movie is certainly not for children and should not be watched with one, even by mistake. Jokes are crude and most, if not all fall flat. The only time the movie got interesting was nearing the end and even that died in a couple of minutes. The closing remarks are sort-of funny, and you think more of how the joke is stupid, more than the joke itself.

Personally, I think the people associated with Family Guy should stick to Family Guy and not try other stuff (except you, Mila, you’re awesome!). Go Simpsons!

 

Wreck-It Ralph

Disney-Pixar does it again!

Every time we think Disney’s peaked with an awesome movie, it promptly proves us wrong, with the next few releases. Starting with the classics like Cinderella and Snow White to now Wreck-It Ralph, there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping Disney-Pixar.

With the new release, Disney has recognized a growing audience of movie watchers who are also gaming fanatics and has tried, successfully  to exploit that. Wreck-It Ralph is set in a gaming arcade, and naturally is bursting to the seams with popular video game characters from Bowser and Sonic the Hedgehog, to Pac-Man and his ghosts.

Apart from these, there are a handful of references to gaming seen in the characters and their games. Even if you’re just a casual gamer, you will easily fit in and understand the flow of the movie, not to mention a few gaming themed jokes.

The movie revolves around Wreck-It Ralph,(who has a vague resemblance to the Ben 10 alien Armodrillo), the villain of the popular arcade game Fix-It Felix, Jr.

Unlike most other villains, Ralph is sick of being a bad guy and wants to be accepted by the people of the game, who shun him and hero worship the games’s protagonist Fix-It Felix. He tries entering the game’s 30th anniversary party, but ends up wrecking it, and leaves.

Later, at Tapper’s tavern (another game) he meets a soldier from the FPS, Hero’s Duty ( a not so subtle blend of Mass Effect and Space Marine) who tells him that the game’s winner receives a medal. Ralph decides to enter the game, causing a lot of confusion among the real world gamers as well as the game’s heroine, Sergeant Calhoun. After finally getting his medal, he encounters a Cybug (the game’s villains and a sort of virus) and ends up in an escape pod with, on a crash course to another game, Sugar Rush, a Mario Kart-like video game, with an emphasis on candy and chocolate..

Meanwhile, Felix and the others have a dreaded ‘Out of Order’ sign placed on their console, meaning unplugging and destitution. Felix then teams up with the Sergeant to bring Ralph back.

In Sugar Rush, Ralph meets Venellope von Schweetz, a glitchy character who dreams of racing, despite being shunned by the other racers. What follows is a an unraveling of their world with the candy exterior of Sugar Rush being removed to show a darker underbelly.

The movie runs around two hours and is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, giving other animated releases like Madagascar and Ice Age some serious competition. This movie is not just one for the kids. Watch it if you call yourself a gamer. You won’t be disappointed.

Student of the Year

A great movie but too brief

Karan Johar‘s highly awaited Student of the Year, finally released a few weeks back, and true to form, I went and watched it in its second day.Verdict: Slightly atypical rom-com, addressing issues like loyalty, not hitting on your best friend’s girlfriend, as well as how school/college authorities tear friendships apart with competitions.

The story is reasonably interesting with a variety of rich characters. Surprisingly, the main cast aren’t as well written as the supporting characters. It’s as if they’re only there to fulfill a requirement as a love triangle. Rohan Nanda (Varun Dhawan) is the son of one of, sorry, the ONLY business tycoon, played by Ram Kapoor (from the well-known Bade Acche Lagte Hain) and is a typical brat. Shanaya Singhania (Alia Bhatt) is his so-called girlfriend, although he flirts with every girl he sees. Finally, there’s Abhimanyu Singh (Siddharth Malhotra), the fresh-faced all-rounder, who is state-level runner, footballer, and apparently basketball player as well. The two boys start out as rivals, who then turn friends, and then rivals again after Abhimanyu and Shanaya fall for each other, all against the backdrop of the Student of the Year competition.

Loyalties change, friendships destroyed, as everyone competes against everyone else for the coveted trophy.

The movie’s fun, even if the settings are not realistic. For example, no school in India has bleachers as part of their basketball stadium. And how exactly does an IQ test, a treasure, a dance competition and a triathlon show a student’s academics, art and athletics? Three out of four, okay, but a treasure hunt? Are you serious?

Even so it’s a great movie and a must-watch, at least once.

Captain America: The First Avenger

In all honesty, I didn’t know much about Captain America before watching the Avengers. I only watched this in order to get a bit of the back story on him, and having done that, I’m very impressed, more with the Captain’s actual story than with the movie in itself. Since I watched this after the Avengers, this is going to have a lot of comparisons between the two as well as a review.

First of all, it must be said that the Captain got short-changed in the Avengers. His character could have been used far more than the extra it had seemingly been cast as. I enjoyed watching the brotherly relationship between Bucky and Steve, and was extremely surprised to see Howard Stark (Iron Man’s dad) in the movie, as every bit of a casanova that his son grows up to be

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The story is interesting and concerns, as many movies set in WWII, the Valkyrie – the Nazi super-weapon designed to destroy the allies. In this movie, Johann Schmidt, a Nazi scientist and head of Hydra, the science division is the villain Red Skull. However, don’t expect Avengers-style destruction. This was set in the ’40s – explosions were smaller then.

Personally, the end was far more interesting than the story, as 70 years pass by before the Captain is found. If you’ve seen the Avengers, the rest is history. One thing, Which recently occurred to me is that even though Howard Stark and the Captain were good friends, the Captain and Howard’s son Tony don’t get along so well. Wonder why?

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Another example of don’t mess with the tried-and-tested

Under normal circumstances, Ghost Rider is one of my favorite Marvel heroes. Under “normal” circumstances. I loved the first picture, especially Blackheart, who in my view is one of the greatest movie villains  The plot was good, and the action awesome. Tough formula to get wrong, no? Apparently not.

When Spirit of Vengeance released, I had great hopes for the movie, hoping for something that would parallel or even exceed the lofty benchmarks set by its predecessor. I was mistaken. This movie is one of the worst movies I have ever watched. The plot is terrible, any action very weird, and the characters are really sad. But the worst part is the number of unnecessary changes to the overall story arc as well as to Blaze himself. Small things, like the Rider’s bike to larger things, like the story of how Blaze makes the deal with Satan have been changed without remorse. Johnny Blaze’s character has been rewritten completely from a brooding bad-ass to an entirely different person, who cracks bad jokes and is more like the Joker from Batman than the Ghost Rider. Iconic dialogues like “You. Guilty. Look into my eyes” have been removed. Indeed, the Rider himself barely talks.

 

Please don’t ask about the story. because there isn’t one of any note. And please, take my advice and don’t EVER watch the movie. Its a disgrace to film-making.

The Expendables 2

As promised, I watched ‘The Expendables 2’ soon after my previous post, and it is AWESOME! How couldn’t it be? It could easily have been a hit only by riding on its all-star cast. But thankfully, this isn’t the case with The Expendables 2.

A sequel to a successful movie always has high expectations and this easily surpassed them in the first ten minutes or so. The plot is strictly okay, and often used in other such movies. But the action sequences, and the bro-mance between Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, as well as the constant back and forth between various teammates sells the movie.

A new character is introduced, a young sniper Billy ‘the Kid’ played by Liam Hemsworth. He is extremely likable and he soon became my favorite  Sadly his role is quite short, if you know what I mean (Spoiler Alert!). Even so, Expendables 2 is a great movie which you can watch over and over again.

Oh, almost forgot to mention, there was a guest appearance by an actor named Chuck Norris. Sound familiar?

Skyfall

Two words: Unmitigated CRAP

First of all, I love the James Bond franchise, especially Die Another Day and The Man with the Golden Gun. Sadly, ever since Daniel Craig was appointed as the new 007, the franchise has taken a steep nose-dive, by messing with the core mechanics of the franchise – James Bond is NOT blonde!

Before, I’m attacked for being mean to Daniel Craig, I’d like to state that he is a great actor, but not a fitting James Bond. No offence, bud.

Now, onto the movie. The saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies perfectly. The movie digs itself into a grave, with its constant messing of the 007 formula. The plot is forgettable, and entirely cliched; no particular actor or actresses’ performance stands out. Berenice Marlohe‘s character seemed promising, but then her role ended, just like that. Obviously, these guys have just tried to fit in another movie for the Golden Jubilee of the franchise, without having thought it out properly. Even the sets seemed copied, with one looking stolen from Kung Fu Hustle.

Final verdict? Stay away from this movie. Avoid it like the plague! You will be DYING to see the credits roll.