Salt (2010)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 

PROS –
1) Highly-trained Soviet double agents are deployed all over the United States substituted as real American children. Evelyn Salt is one such double agent working for the CIA, however, her loyalty to CIA/Russia is shattered when she actually fell in love with his boyfriend who moved heaven and earth to get her released from North Korea.
2) A solid action-packed spy-thriller with all elements of a great franchise like The Bourne Series.
3) Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt is absolutely stunning. A thoroughly entertaining movie from the first minute to the last.
4) Kurt Wimmer’s story is the real winner here. The core of the movie is the secret Soviet program that plants brainwashed children into American families. The final TV news report confirms that the new US president visiting Russia is one such child.

 

 


CONS –
N/A

 

 

QUOTE –
Peabody: How many more like you are there?
Evelyn Salt: Like me? None.

Misery (1990)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 


PROS –
1) An author is saved by his “number one fan” after his car is met with a blizzard accident. He later realizes that he is now a captive at her remote home as his savior turns out to be a psychopathic ex-nurse [and a possible infant serial killer].
2) Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes gave her definitive performance as the obsessive fan and a cold-blooded psychopath.
3) The “hobbling” scene where Annie breaks the author’s ankles with a sledgehammer.

 

 

CONS –
N/A

 

 

QUOTE –
Annie Wilkes: Paul, do you know about the early days at the Kimberly diamond mines? Do you know what they did to the Native workers who stole diamonds? Don’t worry, they didn’t kill them. That would be like junking your Mercedes just because it had a broken spring. No, if they caught them, they had to make sure they could go on working, but they also had to make sure they could never run away. The operation was called hobbling.

Body of Lies (2008)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A spy-thriller set in the middle-east where relations between a ground CIA operative and his superior are strained over differences in their approaches to track down the head of a terrorist group.
2) In the towering presence of Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, the applause goes to Mark Strong’s convincing performance as head of the Jordanian Intelligence, Hani Pasha.
3) Alexander Witt’s cinematography is praiseworthy.
4) Russell Crowe’s opening monologue summarizes his character.

 

 


CONS –
1) It’s a boring spy-thriller with a generic plot where on one hand we have a cold-hearted no-nonsense CIA boss and on the other hand, we got an emotional CIA ground operative tired of the travesties of war.
2) After spending more than 2 hours in the movie, the output is close to nothing.

 

 


QUOTE –
Our enemy has realized that they are fighting guys from the future. Now, ahem, it is as brilliant as it is infuriating. If you live like it’s the past, and you behave like it’s the past then guys from the future find it very hard to see you. If you throw away your cell phone, shut down your e-mail pass all your instructions face-to-face, hand-to-hand turn your back on technology, and just disappear into the crowd No flags. No uniforms. You got your basic grunts on the ground there. They’re looking going, “Who is it we’re fighting?” In a situation like this, your friends dress just like your enemies and your enemies dress like your friends. What I need you to fully understand is that these people, they do not wanna negotiate. Not at all. They want the universal caliphate established across the face of the Earth and they want every infidel converted or dead.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 

PROS –
1) Sherlock Holmes foils Professor Moriarty‘s grand plan to instigate a world war among European countries by assassinating one of the ambassadors in a peace summit in Switzerland.
2) The action cinematography makes this movie worth watching. Even a mediocre story is elevated with slow-motion fight sequences and bullet-time scenes.
3) The movie can be deconstructed into major action scenes. The Watson’s bachelor party; Shootout On The Train; Arms-factory scene; Forest Chase Scene, and the climactic chess scene over Reichenbach Falls.
4) Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes was a treat.

 

 


CONS –
1) The entire sub-plot with Noomi Rapace finding her brother was a drag.

 

 

QUOTE –
Professor Moriarty: You see, hidden within the unconscious, there is an insatiable desire for conflict. So, you’re not fighting me, so much as you are the human condition. All I want to do is own the bullets and the bandages.

Naked Lunch (1991)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 


PROS –
1) An exterminator’s drug-induced journey to the nightmarish surreal world of bugs, centipedes, shape-shifting talking typewriters, spies, and homosexuals.
2) Grotesque as expected from Cronenberg with some fascinating practical effects with prosthetics.

 

 

CONS –
1) Surreal set-up but an incomprehensible plot. It’s non-sense fiction.

 

 


QUOTE –
“Homosexuality is the best all-round cover an agent ever had.”

Black Death (2010)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 0
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 


PROS –
1) In 1348 plague-ridden England, a friar decides to join a bishops envoy to guide them to reach a remote village untouched by the plague. However, the monk is secretly planning to reunite with his love. The soldiers finally reach the village which is led by a fake pagan witch poised to eliminate the envoy.
2) The epilogue shows us the guilt-ridden monk, blinded by revenge becomes a soldier himself dedicates his life to find and punish the witch. The final revelation by the witch confirms that it’s not a zombie movie as she was fooling the villagers all the time by her resurrection act.

 

 


CONS –
1) A decent plot and superb cast ruined by bad execution and shaky camera work.

 

 

QUOTE –
Langiva: Oy, we’re not as bad as ya think. We’re worse.

First Reformed (2017)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A small-town church’s pastor already battling his personal past and current health, got distressed with climate change concerns after one of his radical-environmentalist parishioner kills himself.
2) Cedric the Entertainer surprising performance as Pastor Joel Jeffers.

 

 


CONS –
1) Another Paul Schrader character-driven story which is as boring as it can be. The uncertain climax doesn’t redeem the movie either.

 

 


QUOTE –
Reverend Joel Jeffers: Well what if this is His plan? What if we just can’t see it?
Reverend Ernst Toller: You think God wants to destroy his creation?
Reverend Joel Jeffers: He did once. For 40 days and 40 nights.

The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A boy born of a mute rape victim on Christmas day becomes a Werewolf and terrorizes a small town in 18th century Spain.
2) The young man who transforms into the Werewolf is not completely evil but rather a sympathetic character as he’s willing to get himself killed to save the innocent victims.

 

 


CONS –
1) The first act of the movie introduces us to a cruel marqués who imprisons a begger. This entire subplot (though intriguing) was completely futile in the larger context of the movie.
2) We didn’t get the full view of the monster until the climax.

 

 


QUOTE –
What worries me is that the girl upstairs is about to have her baby. And as like as not…it will be born on the very hour of our Lord’s birth. For an unwanted child to be born then…is an insult to heaven,señor. That’s what I was taught.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 0
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 1/5

 

 

PROS –
1) Return to View Askewniverse where Jay and Silent Bob travel to Hollywood to stop a reboot of the ‘Bluntman and Chronic’ movie. The pun on current reboot culture in Hollywood is noteworthy.

 

 


CONS –
1) A plethora of cameos but hardly an effective one.
2) An avoidable reefer comedy.

 

 

QUOTE –
Well, a reboot, boys, is when Hollywood wants to make a lot of money without the hassle of creating a new movie, so they take an old movie and change just enough to make you pay for the same shit all over again. They take a flick you loved as a kid and add youth and diversity to it.

The Boys (Season 2)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 0
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 

PROS –
1) This season revealed the origin story of Vought International which was founded on Nazi ideology by Frederick Vought. This season focuses on the white supremacist agenda of Vought founder’s widow Stormfront trying to run the company on her terms while the CEO of Vought, Stan Edgar [played by Giancarlo Esposito] trying to get rid of her with the help of Billy Butcher.
2) The show sends a complex socio-political message where it juxtaposes Hitler’s Nazi ideology with the alt-right ideas prevalent in the post-Trump USA. At the same time, the anti-supe liberal congresswoman Victoria Neuman is revealed to be a supe herself in the final episode running her own nasty political agenda.

 

 

CONS –
1) The first season brought us to the world of chemically enhanced Superheroes working for a conglomerative. The second season is a drag with unnecessary sub-plots.


QUOTE –
Stormfront: People love what I have to say. They believe in it. They just don’t like the word “Nazi,” that’s all.