Archive for the ‘TITLE L’ Category

LIMITLESS

2011/04/27

http://www.iamrogue.com/limitless/fullsite/

USA 2011  Directed by: Neil Burger  Written by: Leslie Dixon  Based on: The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn  Produced by: Leslie Dixon, Ryan Kavanaugh, Scott Kroopf  Cinematography by: Jo Willems  Editing by: Tracy Adams, Naomi Geraghty  Music by: Paul Leonard-Morgan  Cast: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro, Anna Friel, Johnny Witworth, Robert John Burke, Tomas Arana, T.V. Carpio, Patricia Kalember, Andrew Howard

So much to do, so little time; some of us feel like this while others are just the opposite – with little purpose in life and thus feel like too much time on their hands. “Limitless” opened the window and let us peek out to the great wide open of possibilities and also see what could happen if one tries to fly too close to the sun. It’s a classic moral tale told through the lens of a very unique and innovative director, Neil Burger. Some of the imagery done here are downright trippy. But it styled the story so fittingly. After all, it is a science fiction piece about a loser writer, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), with a mental block that got handed a miraculous tip in the form of a little transparent pill, which can optimize a person’s brain function to 100%. But with great power comes greater threats, turbo-charging all the stakes to overload.

This film rides heavily on Bradley Cooper, his first-time lead role. As an alumnus of The Actors Studio in New York (the Mecca for actors to be), he had all the training, intensity, and charm to silence any speculations over his ability to keep the audience in the seats and his supporting actor at bay – Robert De Niro, who plays Eddie’s boss, mentor and rival, Carl Van Loon.

The pill clocks in at 30 seconds to take effect and lasts 24 hours. At which time, Eddie crawls out of his grimy world and into one that is saturated with clarity, edge, detail and speed. A drug addict with a larger-than-life dream, Cooper’s repeating transformation from the slummed-out slacker to the golden boy with the Billionaire Boys Club swagger is easily entertaining as is sympathetic. It’s this constant contrast between the light and shadows that draws you in. Along the way, other characters are seen leveraging from this pill, each giving a notable attempt at this transformation; to which, surprisingly, was Eddie’s loan shark, a Russian immigrant – played palatably satisfying, maybe even trumping Cooper, by Andrew Howard.

With a plot that keeps twisting but never sliding far from its own truth – although a couple of scenes could have propelled it to ace status – “Limitless” carries enough weight to fend off any lip-gnawing thriller and yet has the humor, light or dark, to find everyone able to enjoy it with a few snorts and slaps to the knee. At the end, it even leaves the story open for new chapters and us wanting more…as long as the writers don’t run out of their limit of magic little pills.


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THE 4 MOVIE a.k.a. 4 PSYCHO [LUD 4 LUD a.k.a. LUD SEE LUD | หลุดสี่หลุด a.k.a. หลุด 4 หลุด]

2011/01/24

http://the4movie.com/

http://www.sahamongkolfilm.com/th/filmdetail.php?id=423

THAILAND 2010  Directed by: Ekkasith Thairatana, Chukiat Sakveerakul, Kongkiat Khomsiri, Phawit Panangkasiri Written by: Ekkasit Thairatana Produced by: Prachya Pinkaew Cast: Akarin Akaranitimetharat,  Alexander Rendel,  Chanon Rikulsurakann, Thanapon Arrunneth, Patrapisit Sappasawattichod, Alice Toy, ArttanunPiyaserth, Sirikarin Ployong, Janjira Chumneansiri, Ananda Everingham,  Peerapol Sehnakol, Thitti Vejchaboon, Pakorn Chatborirak,  Thema Kanchanapairin

If certain producers go on like this we will have more omnibus horror movies coming out of Thailand soon than feature films. Here we go again: LUD 4 LUD a.k.a. THE 4 MOVIE is one of the last productions to be finished end of last year and has just hit Thai cinemas in January.

The four segments are directed by writer and first-time director Ekkasith Thairatana, Chukiat Sakveerakul, Kongkiat Khomsiri and Phawit Panangkasiri. Mr. Thairatana’s segment is called CLEAN UP DAY (GRIAN LAANG LOK | เกรียน ล้าง โลก) and is merely an appetizer. The story revolves around a group of guys debating global warming and its causes, leading to the core of the story that identifies humans as the root of all evil and reveals a plot to kill all humans through a lethal virus.

The second film is the sarcastic THE GIFT SHOP FOR THE ONES YOU HATE (RAN KONG KWAN PEUA KON TEE KUN GLIAT | ร้าน ของขวัญ เพื่อ คน ที่ คุณ เกลียด) directed by Kongkiat Khomsiri (SLICE). A white-collar office worker is promoted to be the new manager of his department, but not everyone seems to be delighted. Soon he receives questionable gifts, all obviously sourced from a mysterious shop around the corner of his office called The Gift Shop For The Ones You Hate. Nomen nest omen.

The third entry is directed by Phawit Panangkasiri and called EERIE NIGHTS (KEUN JIT LUT | คืน จิต หลุด): a group of criminals is on the run and hides from the police in an abandoned hospital. There, things get quickly out of hand (literally) with the criminals beginning to fight and a ghost starting to haunt them.

The final episode then is a ghost comedy called HOO AA GONG (ฮู อา กง), telling the story about a Thai-Chinese family that has to watch over the body of the deceased grandfather. The family members feel awkward about the task, and so does the spirit of the grandfather who prefers to be rather active than lying dead in his bed.

Different from other horror anthologies in recent years LUD 4 LUD is mostly straight forward with only a little hint of Buddhist subtexts (as in EERIE NIGHTS) or references to the widespread belief in ghosts a.k.a. spirits. LUD 4 LUD isn’t really much of a horror movie, but mostly plays with our expectations towards the genre while in fact mostly not dealing with any supernatural ingredients at all: only the 4th segment is about real ghosts, while the segments 1-3 are trying to trick the protagonists as well as the audience into believing that something otherworldly is going on, which however is not. Since the last installment is a comedy I am not sure if I shall call THE 4 MOVIE a horror anthology at all.

Out of all entries THE GIFT SHOP FOR THE ONES YOU HATE is clearly the most original, creative and entertaining movie of the pack, leaving the others trailing behind. The first film starts interesting but turns out a lame duck, unsuccessfully trying to blend into the oh-so fashionable environmental debate, while formally kind of copying James Wan’s camera-moves-up-and-down-and-in-and-out-of-a-parking-lot set piece from DEATH SENTENCE. The conclusion then is totally random and renders the rest of the film meaningless.

Mr. Khomsiri’s movie stands out through its inventive idea, good script and proper execution, making it feel like a short feature film rather than a long short and delivering proper dramaturgy and character / story development while finding the right balance between paranoia film and horror-thriller, while embedding his scenario into a context that is very familiar to all of us. It could all happen to you, and that’s why this segment is the most terrifying after all.

The third segment feels too much like an adaptation of NAK PROK (THE SHADOW OF THE NAGA) and disappoints through predictable twists. However, it also features a great Ananda Everingham who looks like he just left the set of RED EAGLE (INSEE DAENG) and some uncomfortable gore (the only real on-screen violence of the quartet that has contributed to the film’s 18+ rating). EERIE NIGHTS is a one-man-show without ghosts, but has a touch of karmic lecture that makes it probably the most meaningful story here.

Lastly, LUD 4 LUD’s only real ghost story makes for a really funny finale, albeit for a stupid-funny one. Don’t expect anything remotely intelligent, HOO AA GONG is just for laughs and as tasteless as it gets, throwing in a big bouquet of masturbation scenes, gay jokes and corpse slapstick. Most of the humor works quite well however, and the ending is the most satisfying one of all films.

LUD 4 LUD is pure entertainment, free of the complexity or intellectual qualities of some of the other omnibus or contemporary horror films from Thailand. If your only concern is having a good time, then there is nothing to worry about.

J.


 

 

LAMHAA – THE UNTOLD STORY OF KASHMIR [लम्हा]

2010/11/26

http://www.gsentertainment.com/lamhaa/index.html

INDIA 2010  Directed by: Rahul Dholakia Written by: Rahul Dholakia Produced by: Bunty Walia, Jaspreet Singh Walia Cinematography: James Fowlds Editing by: Ashmith Kunder Music by: Mithoon Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Anupam Kher, Kunal Kapoor, Vipin Sharma, Yashpal Sharma, Shernaz Patel, Tejaskumar Shah, Yuri Suri, Shalini Soni, Vishwajeet Pradhan

LAMHAA is a film about an army officer on a mission in Kashmir, and that’s pretty much defining the pace of this relentless action flick that has a lot on the agenda. Most movies would decide early on if they are a) an action flick playing in Kashmir, or b) a movie about Kashmir in sheep’s clothing. Most movies would pick a straw, but LAMHAA either shies away from making a decision, or makes a conscious decision to indeed be both and follow through with it.

It would have been easier for LAMHAA to concentrate on one objective only, but maybe that would have been gutless. A short while into the movie it becomes crystal clear that Mr. Dholakia is really behind what he is trying to do here: to tell an untold story, in the most explosive way possible. Think Bruckheimer with brains (I know it’s unimaginable, but it just crossed my mind), or something an ageing action star would undertake to compensate for a life full of meaningless filmmaking.

From the beginning, LAMHAA dives right into the conflict zone, into a reality shaped by suicide bombers and hails of bullets swirling around ordinary citizen’s heads. This is a place absolutely comparable to Iraq or Afghanistan, albeit with a more complex history some might argue. Mr. Dholakia uses Vikram’s character to cover the fundamentals of the conflict, as well as to refer to many real events, revealing increasingly more detail about how things work in Kashmir, and why they don’t work in the first place.

I do not believe that LAMHAA’s intention is to “explain” the conflict, or to pretend that it knows something others don’t, or to claim a truth that wouldn’t be as cloudy as anyone else’s. That is why it’s best to see the LAMHAA as an observer providing a fragmented look at Kashmir’s problems, leveraging on the scenario to propel itself to the no-holds-barred action fest that it is. Critics may say that LAMHAA would have been better off taking the easy road, but then it wouldn’t need Kashmir, would it?

LAMHAA is too complex at times, or too crammed with details, but it is also rich and rewarding, fast and furious, and never superficial. LAMHAA is authentic and realistic enough to earn all the controversy that followed its release. Was it worth the effort? Definitely. LAMHAA stands out and stands tall, having very little in common with Bollywood romance or Hollywood gadgetry.

The one thing that I wish was different is the hectic, zoomy and shaky camerawork that adds nothing but distraction from what’s going on. As the film is already very fast, jumpy and overly detailed Mr. Dholakia should have chosen a different approach, especially keeping in mind that the visual chaos lasts for more than two hours. It probably reflects Kashmir’s tensions adequately, as much as it visually interprets the anxiety you can feel on those dusty streets, but LAMHAA goes overboard here, drowning us in increasingly random visualization. And you thought CLOVERFIELD made you feel nauseous.

LAMHAA is contemporary Indian cinema at its best, far more evolved than the kitsch of the old days and far smarter than most of the big blockbusters. Throw in some Compazine (or whatever you have at hand) and enjoy one of the most challenging rides of the year.

J.