Air Force One - movie review



I have been following the aftermath of the US elections and I decided to pop this old movie into the player. The feel of the movie totally a 90s one with the music, the acting and even the dialogue. There's a certain "Die Hard in the Sky" feel about it, and Harrison Ford was a young and handsome man back then.

Gary Oldman was a tour de force - playing the villain great alacrity and yet, between takes, he was a riot of fun, resulting in the crew calling the movie "Air Force Fun".
This movie had the elements of the best actioners - good plot, tight  editing, and chemistry between the actors. The action was well executed and despite the music and dialogue, it's still a riot of fun. 
Incidentally Harrison Ford was regarded as the guy who most movie goers want as the next president, and that sort of contrast with the current POTUS. In the movie, you see a whole bunch of people throwing themselves in harm's way to protect the president, and some of them sacrificing their lives in the process. I really wonder if the very same officers and other men will do the same for Trump..
There have been other films where the president is under attack, in peril, etc, but this one gives the most food for thought. I wonder if we can remain objective if our family is being threatened, and do we really expect our leaders to fight back in such conflicts.
The recent movies like "Olympus Has Fallen" has cool action scenes, but the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Even now, Harrison looks the part. 

The soundfield isn't as good as the latest releases, but it does quite well and stands up to the test of time. Recommended as a rental at least or if you like the Die Hard genre or Harrison Ford, this is a keeper. 

Intouchable – movie review




I have always had an affinity for French movies. The French language lends itself to humor, most often dosed with a bit of sarcasm. If it’s served with great wit and timing, by actors with a good chemistry, that’s the recipe for a great movie.

True stories are often a good basis for a movie, and this one actually has a pretty standard plot, borrowing elements from “Scent of a Woman”, Bucket List and other such movies. But the part which elevates this movie to greater heights is the cast. The two protagonists play off each other very well.

They couldn’t be any more different. The rich white man, tetraplegic after a sporting accident, eccentric, and demanding. The black man, with a poor background, an immigrant from Africa, fresh out of the prison, on welfare and bitter about society and everything else.

He turns up for an interview to be the helper for this man and they strike it off enough for the tetraplegic to give this man a trial of one month, despite the better advice of his lawyer, who has the black man all figured out.

There are a few standard vignettes and scenes of two men getting to know each other. A bit of Pretty Woman as the black man is introduced to a ridiculously large mansion and the trapping of wealth. But I can’t tell you how much difference a good pairing makes to the success of a movie and the two certainly hit it off. You even get some romance thrown in, and well, you do want to pick up a pen and write a nice good old styled letter to someone after the show.

You will find funny scenes; some moving ones, and the tight plot keeps it moving nicely.

Now the interesting thing about the show is that despite not having a single explosion or bomb, it manages to impress soundwise too. The surround channels get well used as the two go around Paris, and the bass does get some workout when they drive around. Finally the dialogue is great, and the music used will test your front channels. I decided to get an album of Earth, Wind and Fire after the show.


Highly recommended.

Summer Wars - movie review





Summer Wars Review



How can one place Summer Wars?


Think of a movie that allows elements of a hacking nerd vs a huge virus, with a sprinkling of romance and plenty of a motley family naturally imbibed with lots of quirks. I guess that you have elements of  The Royal Tenenbaums mixed with some Ghost in the Shell to make one of the finest anime ever made, I kid not. 

Kenji is a super maths nerdy wizard who gets roped into impersonating his crush’ boyfriend and gets dragged to meet her great grandmother for her 90th birthday. Along the way, he meets all the quirky members of her extended family, each with their own hang-ups, and foibles, some small and others larger than you expect.

In his spare time, he manages part of a virtual world known as Oz, and he inadvertently helps to facilitate the spread of a AI program which threatens to take down the entire internet, and send a wayward asteroid probe on top of the family home.

When I first bought the disc, I figured I had acquired some disc on summer battles ala the bloody classroom brawls found in Battle Royale, but I guess I should have done more homework first. Yet, I emerged from watching it with a great warm feeling, that my time was well spent.

This was a movie about family first, the ties, and the energy of the matriarch, who held the family together, and always had the right concept to handling difficult situations. This was the most important theme, and the hacking wars, good versus evil, plus the tinge of romance were the supporting story lines. 

Sure, there were elements borrowed from a variety of movies, and director Mamoru Hosoda unabashed borrowed heavily from many movies about hacking, viruses and the pervasiveness of the internet. Yet the story becomes totally his, and he infuses each of the characters with strong traits. In particular, the main characters work well, not because they are perfect, or that they are total losers, but each has redeeming qualities, and we can see ourselves in them. 

It might be an anime, and one that was Japanese, but the elements of flaws and strengths make the theme universal. The pacing is also spot on despite it’s length, and you are brought from the first act, where the internet and Oz is introduced, into the second where the two young protagonists meet, then onto the family setting, leading into how the Oz melts down and finally the big battle.

Surround fans will also get a good workout, but this movie has little of the blockbuster bass, and instead uses the surrounds to paint that image of a rural Ueda setting. You will hear crickets and lots of ambient noises which help to bring you into the movie.

Most fans will be familiar with the Ghost in the Shell series, and of course the work of the director of Spirited Away, but with this effort, Mamoru Hosoda, who also made The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, will now join the heralded ranks of the top anime makers of all time.

Highly recommended. 

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