Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

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

VERDICT – 5/5

 
PROS –
1) A soon-to-be-closed precinct became the target of a massive gun-battle by an army of street-gang members hell-bent for revenge.
2) An unusual partnership between a cop and a prisoner. A cop releasing 2 prisoners to save the precinct is very similar to Sholay (1975) train-scene.
3) A definitive John Carpenter’s cult-action movie with 91 minutes running time.
4) Darwin Joston’s intriguing character [Napoleon Wilson] with an unusually calm demeanor.

 

CONS –
N/A

 
QUOTE –
Leigh: The very least of our problems is that we’re out of time.
Wilson: It’s an old story with me. I was born out of time.

Vice (2018)

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

VERDICT – 4/5

 
PROS –
1) The transformation of Adam McKay from a full-fledged comedy director to political black comedy is remarkable.
2) The false end credits in the middle of the movie. It can’t get more audacious than that.
3) Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney gave her best performance to date.

 
CONS –
1) While the movie is indeed informative, it’s trivializing and simplifying history at the same time.

 
QUOTE –
Anonymous: Beware the quiet man. For while others speak, he watches. And while others act, he plans. And when they finally rest… he strikes.

Pi (1998)

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

 

VERDICT – 1/5

 
PROS –
1) A paranoid mathematical genius trying to find a pattern in the stock market for making stock predictions. The primary plot sounds intriguing but the output is meaningless.

 

CONS –
1) Pretentious to say the least. High contrast Black&White film is not serving any purpose.

 
QUOTE –
Sol Robeson: Have you met Archimedes? The one with the black spots, you see? You remember Archimedes of Syracuse, eh? The king asks Archimedes to determine if a present he’s received is actually solid gold. The unsolved problem at the time. It tortures the great Greek mathematician for weeks – insomnia haunts him and he twists and turns in his bed for nights on end. Finally, his equally exhausted wife – she’s forced to share a bed with this genius – convinces him to take a bath to relax. While he’s entering the tub, Archimedes notices the bath water rise. Displacement, a way to determine volume, and that’s a way to determine density – weight over volume. And thus, Archimedes solves the problem. He screams “Eureka” and he is so overwhelmed he runs dripping naked through the streets to the king’s palace to report his discovery.
Sol Robeson: Now, what is the moral of the story?
Maximillian Cohen: That a breakthrough will come.
Sol Robeson: Wrong! The point of the story is the wife. You listen to your wife, she will give you perspective, meaning. You need a break, you have to take a bath or you will get nowhere.

The Terminator (1984)

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

VERDICT – 5/5

 

 

PROS –
1) James Cameron’s genre-defining masterpiece. One of the greatest Sci-Fi movie ever made.
2) Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800 “Model 101”, the relentless cyborg with a mission. A career-defining role, tailor-made for him.
3) “The Terminator Theme” by Brad Fiedel.
4) The Kyle Reese paradox.

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
“I’ll be back

Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

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

VERDICT – 4/5

 

PROS –
1) A modern reinterpretation of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce. A dying man clinging to his last breath imagining an entire lifetime in his last minutes.
2) Gripping direction and tight screenplay.
3) The movie got few surreal scenes which are the stuff nightmares are made of. Jacob stuck in a locked subway station; Jacob in a gurney cruising through human body parts in a ramshackle mental hospital.

 
CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
“The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you. They’re freeing your soul. So the way he sees it, if you’re frightened of dying and… and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth. It’s just a matter of how you look at it, that’s all.”

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (2019)

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

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 
PROS –
1) One can keep guessing how Tate murders will be shown in the movie only to realize that it’s a Tarantino movie and we are watching a piece of alternate history from his point of view. In Inglourious Basterds (2009), he gave his personalized treatment to Hitler, this time it was Manson Family‘s turn.
2) Leonardo DiCaprio – the last movie star of Hollywood – gave one of his best comedy performance.
3) A great homage to 1960s Italian-Westerns with fake movie posters and plot details.

 
CONS –
1) Too much archival footage, too much narration, too much radio commercials.
2) QT movies are revered for their soundtrack but this movie disappoints.
3) All in all, this is not Tarantino’s best work where he poured his soul. This is a second rung QT movie in the league of Jackie Brown (1997). QT loves pop-culture/movie references. This movie is so much laden with such references that it’s more about references than the actual movie.
4) There are a few scenes which are not leading anywhere. Although the same formula worked out great in Pulp Fiction (1994), but it didn’t work this time. One cannot make a cult film intentionally.
5) The missing Tarantinoesque scene. The Bruce Dern scene was very close to that but it fizzled out in the end.
6) The entire scene where Sharon Tate is in a movie theater watching The Wrecking Crew (1968) was completely futile. Al Pacino scene was poorly written.

 
QUOTE –
When you come to the end of the line, with a buddy who is more than a brother and a little less than a wife, getting blind drunk together is really the only way to say farewell.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

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

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 
PROS –
1) Great action scenes – continuing the legacy in the 3rd installment of John Wick.
2) Tuco gun trick by John Wick: a subtle homage to an iconic movie.
3) There is a strong element of cassette futurism throughout the high table: typewriters, rotary landline phones, switchboard operator, etc.
4) The movie series will be remembered for its exquisite lingo in the crime world: High table, Deconsecrated, Excommunicado, etc.
5) The return of the Bowery King in the climax.

 

CONS –
1) Unnecessary Morocco subplot
2) John Wick is a lone wolf. The presence of Halle Berry as his side-kick in Morocco is annoying.

 
QUOTE –
Winston: Si vis pacem, para bellum.