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.

Adaptation. (2002)

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

 

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A socially awkward screenwriter suffering from writer’s block while trying to adapt a nonfiction book. It’s a meta plot where real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman shares his personal experience while adapting the book.
2) A screenwriter centered movie for screenplay students.
3) Unexpected plot-twists in the final 20 minutes.
4) Chris Cooper’s performance as the real-life eccentric horticulturist John Laroche stands out.

 

 

CONS –
1) A boring movie for an average moviegoer.

 

 


QUOTE –
Charlie Kaufman: The book has no story. There’s no story.

Red Heat (1988)

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

 

 

VERDICT – 0/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A Russian cop arrives in Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country. He partners with his Chicago police counterpart to track down his enemy.
2) The most fascinating character is definitely Brent Jennings as the blind prisoner Abdul Elijah.

 

 


CONS –
1) A generic one time watch, forgettable buddy-cop movie. Walter Hill’s failed attempt to recreate 48 Hrs. (1982)
2) Arnold’s character is more robotic and expressionless than T-800. Jim Belushi’s character is supposed to be funny but it’s not.

 

 


QUOTE –
Abdul Elijah: Revolutionary political leaders like myself are incarcerated to keep us quiet.
Ivan Danko: What is your political crime?
Abdul Elijah: I robbed a bank.

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

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

 

 

VERDICT – 1/5

 

 


PROS –
1) Society in 2021 is controlled by large corporations and is suffering from an internet disease called “NAS“. Johnny Mnemonic is a “human flash drive” carrying information (cure for NSA) which exceeds his current memory capacity. Now he’s on the run to deliver the information before he’s killed by the overflow or the Yakuza.

 

 


CONS –
1) The screenplay is so boring and incoherent that it’ll put audiences to sleep. Even by 1995 standard, the CGI is pathetic.
2) Forgettable acting from all lead actors.

 

 


QUOTE –
Johnny Mnemonic: Listen. You listen to me. You see that city over there? THAT’S where I’m supposed to be. Not down here with the dogs, and the garbage, and the fucking last month’s newspapers blowing *back* and *forth*. I’ve had it with them, I’ve had it with you, I’ve had it with ALL THIS – *I want ROOM SERVICE*!

JL 50 (2020) – (miniseries)

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

 

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 

PROS –
1) A mad scientist in 1984 cracked an ancient time-travel code and conducted his experiment on a passenger plane named JL 50. He miscalculated and instead of returning in 35-hrs, the plane crash-landed after 35 years.
2) Project Ashoka – The space-time experiment with a Mauryan connection.
3) A remarkable series in terms of story, direction, screenplay, and of course performance from a brilliant cast including Abhay Deol, Pankaj Kapur, and Piyush Mishra.
4) Amongst the plethora of web-series available on OTT platforms, this sci-fi miniseries is a must-watch.

 

 


CONS –
1) The cliched explanation of wormholes using a sheet of paper and a pencil.
2) The cop investigating the case, going through a divorce is also now done to death.

 

 


QUOTE –
Das: We made it!

Cliffhanger (1993)

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

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 

PROS –
1) A mid-air heist went wrong, and then two rescue mountain climbers got embroiled in the subsequent treasure hunt for the dropped suitcases containing over $100 million.
2) A MacKenna’s Gold (1969) kind of adventure movie with thrilling action sequences and a strong supporting cast.
3) A must watch 90s adventure movie of mountaineering theme.

 

 
CONS –
N/A

 

 
QUOTE –
Eric Qualen: Kill a few people, they call you a murderer. Kill a million and you’re a conqueror.

Greyhound (2020)

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

 

VERDICT – 1/5

 

 
PROS –
1) Some good naval battle sequences wrapped up in 91-minutes running time.

 

 
CONS –
1) For a generation who grew up on submarine films like Das Boot (1981), The Hunt for Red October (1990), U-571 (2000), etc., this movie is quite redundant and completely avoidable. The bombardment of nautical jargon and navy battle lingo is not helping either.
2) Tom Hanks gave another formulaic performance which is not his mistake though. He’s a seriously typecasted in such roles now.

 

 
QUOTE –
Commander Krause: We’ll ram that U-boat if we have to!

Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)

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

 

VERDICT – 1/5

 

 
PROS –
1) Count Dracula and Van Helsing squabbling over the “final word”.
2) The “staking” scene.

 

 
CONS –
1) Not a great parody movie for a 90s movie. Maybe around the 1960s, it would’ve been a laugh-riot.
2) Instead of being a good parody, the movie is quite a literal adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with a couple of good jokes.

 

 
QUOTE –
Jonathan Harker: She’s alive?
Van Helsing: She’s Nosferatu.
Jonathan Harker: She’s Italian?

The Quick and the Dead (1995)

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

 

VERDICT – 0/5

 

 
PROS –
1) Star-studded cast.

 
CONS –
1) It’s a bad western from all standards. It’s neither a conventional western nor it is revisionist. Too much style over substance.
2) You can smell the Harmonica like revenge plot from a mile. The primary “Lady” plot with Sharon Stone, in fact, is the most boring plot.
3) Leonardo DiCaprio as “The Kid” is quite annoying.

 

 
QUOTE –
Scars: I need a woman.
Ellen: You need a bath.

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

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

 

VERDICT – 0/5

 
PROS –
N/A

 

CONS –
1) This is a below-average action movie. This generation is wonderstruck by the likes of John Wick and Jason Bourne. An average vigilante hero in a cliched movie just won’t do.
2) Denzel Washington needs to stop this right now with such adventures before he joins the league of Steven Seagal.

 
QUOTE –
Robert McCall: I’m your father. You mama forgot to tell you about me.