Everybody’s Fine – Not So

I came across ‘Everybody’s Fine’ starring Robert De Niro along with Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. Considering the mighty starcast I assumed the film would be good watch.

The movie is a family drama with Robert De Niro playing Frank Goode, a recently widowed father to 4 childeren who live across various parts of USA. On cancellation of their reunion plan he decides to visit them each and finds out more about their lives then he ever knew. De Niro plays his part very well and looks more intense then actually needed for the role. The role did not have enough challenge for an actor of his calibre yet he played it with enough seriousness. The other stars who all plays De Niro’s childeren do not have large enough and well defined roles. The movie is mostly about De Niro travelling across length and breadth of USA and learning truth about all of his children. He realizes that what he had dreamt for each of his children is not what the children have achieved and yet his guidance played a crucial role in them choosing their life’s path.

The movie was a typical American family drama to be viewed during a Christmas or thanksgiving. The movie was not bad and not very good either. One can watch any movie starring De Niro and not be disappointed. This one is just par .

My Ratings : 6/10 –  Watch it for De Niro in a role not meant for him.

Moon – Good Sci-Fi

‘Moon’ is a small British film which had a limited theatrical release in 2009 and I think it didnt even get a proper release in India. Its a science fiction tale but unlike recent sci-fi films doesnt boast of superlative special effects but tells a human drama.

It is about a guy, brilliant Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, who has been recruited by Lunar Industries to reside on the dark side of Moon and collect Helium-3 and ship it back to earth for the energy needs. He is the lone occupant of the lunar base with a computer named Gerty to keep him company and control various tasks on the base. He just has about 2 weeks of his 3 year contract left and is looking forward to go back to earth and meet his wife and daughter.

Here the story takes twist and we realize that everything is not what it seems. Sam is not actually the real Sam Bell but a clone of him and there are other clones as well, who when implanted with memory and DNA of Sam Bell all assume they are the real Sam. The 3 year contract is not the contract but the lifespan of a clone and the company Lunar Industries has been using them since last several years. The wife and kid are all part of the memory and no direct communication with earth is a trick employed by the company to keep ‘clone of Sam’ not to communicate at all.

The story gets interesting when 2 of the clones, who accidentally meet as they are never supposed to meet, plan to escape along with the help of friendly computer Gerty. They discover various truths about themselves and how they have been lied to and how they are mere puppets in the hand of big company. They discover the communication jammers, other clones who are kept frozen, learn the truth of how other clones were used and then incinerated and they find out that the wife has already died on earth and the daughter is 15 years old. Ultimately one of them does escape and the movie ends with him returning to earth and confronting the company.

The movie, unlike a big Hollywood big budget sci-fi film, is shot with a smallish budget by débutante director Duncan Jones and most of the film is shot inside studios on a bunker like set. However the set has been superbly designed. The outdoor moon scenes are also brilliantly shot. Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell and his clones acts beautifully. The actor makes us feel his pain when he realizes that he is just a clone and has been taken for a ‘ride’ by the company. Kevin Spacey voices the computer Gerty and nice to see ‘machines with heart’ for a change. The background music is apt and reminds one of ‘2001 a Space Odyssey’ and other movies set in ‘space’ genre. It is rumored that the director is planning a prequel to this movie and then a sequel as well to complete the trilogy.

I would surely recommend this movie to all the Science Fiction lovers and would eagerly wait out for the prequel.

My Ratings: 8/10 –  Dark side of the Moon was never more beautiful

Iron Man 2 – Review

Finally convinced my elder son to accompany me to Iron Man 2.

The movie is for true fanboys of the superheros, the marvel comic characters and specifically Tony Stark aka Iron Man. This Iron Man begins from where the first part ended, with Tony Stark owning the Iron Man suit and protecting the earth from all things evil. But there are problems from various corners, from the US Government who wishes to have the Iron Man suit for the defence purpose, from Sam Rockwell’s edgy Hammer who wishes to have his own version and then there is Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko from Russia who thinks he should be the rightful owner of the suit and build one himself.

Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyenth Paltrow with their witty dialogues and banter take the acting to a new level. As they say super hero movies rely more on action and stunts and special effects rather than serious acting  but then good acting always helps. Mickey Rourke’s character Ivan is scary at times and has lot more promise but I think his character is kept in the background and could have been given more menacing things to do. His end was also bit tame. Sam Rockwell’s Hammer is the true villain and is given far more footage than perhaps was needed. There are many other characters in the film like Samuel Jackson’s Col Fury, Don Cheadle’s Lt. James and then there is Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow !!!

If there is one character which needs a film of her own then its Scarlett and her Black Widow character. She is already a part of the Avengers mega movie to be released in 2012, but if the studio bosses have half a brain then they would spin-off Black Widow franchise and I promise there will be a long queue on men waiting to watch that movie. Come to think of it Scarlett wasn’t even the original choice for the role and a last minute replacement.

Overall the movie delivers what it promises. Hugh set sequences, super heroes and drones flying everywhere, big bad villain, fast cars, kick ass high octane action, super sexy sidekick and a nice story arc. I found it slightly better than first part as well ( maybe Scarlett was the tilting factor). Must watch for all fanboys – Rating 7.5/10

Cannot wait for 3rd part.