Special Mentions- Hollywood 2013!!!

1. Hours
Cast- Paul Walker, Genesis Rodriguez, Nancy Nave

Director- Eric Heisserer

Plot- A father struggles to keep his infant daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Our take- Why is that now days an underrated actor has to pass away to get his last film recognized? (Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight). In this low budget small cast film Walker demonstrate that he was capable of providing a fine dramatic performance with the addendum of fast cars and wild action that brought him to fame. Writer/director Eric Heisserer manages to make a film with big emotions confined to a hospital corridor and room, and given the presence of Paul Walker, it works. The production values of this film are obviously low budget and the supporting cast may be mediocre. But there is no denying “Hours” is an incredible one-man show for Paul Walker, the actor. Very few actors have attempted this sort of project where basically there is only one character. Tom Hanks did it in “Cast Away” and Sandra Bullock did it in “Gravity”, and now this project for Paul Walker.

2. Pain & Gain

Cast- Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie

Director- Michael Bay

Plot- A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.

Our take- Michael Bay’s “Pain and Gain” is a very bleak, very dark comedy about three knucklehead bodybuilders in pursuit of their own American dream, even if the road there is paved with sex, drugs, torture, humiliation, and even murder. Bay is shamelessly reputed for huge explosions, choppy editing, excessively flashy/glitzy cinematography, sexy women, fancy cars and (recently) giant robots. With “Pain and Gain” he returns to low-budget territory since his debut “Bad Boys” in 1995. The result – the film is a debauchery in style – it’s all over the film. Although Bay cuts back on the explosions and robots (mercifully), everything else has Bay written all over it, and considering how morbidly ridiculous the film’s subject matter is, Bay tackles it in such a head-on and energetic manner that the audience is whisked off for the insane ride ahead. I think if you have a quirky and bizarre sense of humor and a jaundiced view of life, you’ll go for Pain&Gain.

 

3. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Cast- Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter
Stormare & Famke Janssen

Director- Tommy Wirkola

Plot- Hansel & Gretel are bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. As the fabled Blood Moon approaches, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that might hold a secret to their past.

Our take- How much you will end up enjoying this new twist to the classic fairy tale will also depend on your expectations. Compared to the recent spate of fairytale-inspired Hollywood movies like ‘Red Riding Hood’ or ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’, it veers most far off from its source material to tell an entirely different story. Its not an intellectually stimulating movie… duh. Its made to a hilariously entertaining popcorn flick with over-the-top action and unrealistic weapons that wouldn’t have existed given the ‘time period’ this movie seems to be set in. Gemma Arterton is one of the sexiest actresses and it is good to see her again. & Jeremy Renner is coming out on his own, respect!The result of this whole package is an adult-oriented blend of action, adventure, fantasy, horror and comedy take on one of our very popular classic fairy tales.

 4. Escape Plan

Cast- Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 50 Cent, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan & Sam Neill

Director- Mikael Hafstrom

Plot- When a structural-security authority finds himself set up and incarcerated in the world’s most secret and secure prison, he has to use his skills to escape with help from the inside.

Our take- This film reminded of the awesome Prison Break days! I would say for the 1st time a film *ing Arnie & Stallone has an intelligent plot!The story goes by smoothly and fast. Dialogues and sequence are really well written. Main characters bring you in the movie and Jim Caviezel is great as the villain.The action and visuals were what I expected, very clear and stunning. The prison was almost a character itself in making the audience feel apart of the setting. My hat goes off to the director who was able to balance the off-screen chemistry between Stallone and Schwarzenegger and fuse it into the story. No joke these two guys were made to star in a movie together. The nostalgia is off the roof!! Every movie has its flaws and no doubt this one did but in saying that, I was able to automatically ignore them here because of the story, it was well paced. Its shame this movie went unnoticed at the time of the release, but believe me, its one hell of an entertainment!

5. Open Grave

Cast- Sharlto Copley, Joseph Morgan, Thomas Kretschmann & Erin Richards

Director- Gonzalo López-Gallego

Plot- A man wakes up in the wilderness, in a pit full of dead bodies, with no memory and must determine if the murderer is one of the strangers who rescued him, or if he himself is the killer.

Our take- Many may not have heard of this brilliant film! Its not an horror film as perceived, but more of a mystery thriller. Being a fan of Sharlto Copley I decided to check it out & was shocked! The plot has many little details that give you hints as to what is going on, & keeps on providing new twists to the take, but when finally everything is pieced together, I was surprised & shocked with the climax. It keeps you guessing as to whats really going on throughout almost the entire film. Its one of the best mystery horror thrillers to come out in recent years along with some good performances & great plot twists, Open Grave is a highly enjoyable ride.

6. Fruitvale Station

Cast- Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer

Director- Ryan Coogler

Plot- The purportedly true story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

Our take- A very well made & well acted film based on the unnatural horrific event taking place in Fruitvale Station. The director takes his own time developing characters by digging into the main protagonist’s fictional life in order to develop an emotional connection & to final tear it apart with an emotional finale. One of the best Indie films of the year.

7. Devils Pass/The Dyatlov Pass Incident

Cast- Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright

Director- Renny Harlin

Plot- Five young filmmakers retrace the steps of a doomed group of hikers in pursuit of an unsolvable mystery.

Our take- This found footage horror is visually stunning, the views are just breathtaking & is among the best films to come out from this genre. From the 1st act till the shocking climax this is one is not to be missed by fans of this genre!

8. How I Live Now

Cast- Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland & George MacKay

Director- Kevin Macdonald

Plot- An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her.

Our Take- From the director of The Last King Of Scotland, this film is beautiful, artistic & equally horrifying. Saorise Ronan is a talent actress & is growing up to be a very beautiful woman, in the coming years she will be the one in the top leagues. Must Watch!!

9. Europa Report

Cast – Sharlto Copley, Michael Nyqvist, Christian Camargo

Director- Sebastián Cordero

Plot-An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for life on Jupiter’s fourth largest moon.

Our Take- Sharlto Copley (District 9) is in a small but an important role!! A simple found footage film with an interesting premise , surprisingly amazing VFX & an expected shocking finale. The film does not try to hard to please & sticks to the plot without going over the top. A gem for found footage film lovers!!

10. 2 Guns (2013)

The Cast – Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg & Paula Patton.

Director -Baltasar Kormákur

The Plot – A DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer find themselves on the run after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel. While fleeing, they learn the secret of their shaky alliance: Neither knew that the other was an undercover agent.

Our Take – Based on a series of comic books, this film was actually really good. Well the title is stupid & the movie did fine at the BO, this flick never had the hype despite starring to A list actors. The movie is exactly how it suggests to be, a buddy cop action comedy! Its funny & hilarious & the repeated plot actually keeps you hooked. Paula Patton also has a good sinister turned role. Well for those who haven’t seen this its highly recommended!

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