Author Archives: Veer-Naveen Toor

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

It was 1987 when Michael Douglas portrayed a character so profound, that despite Director Oliver Stone’s intentions, the character became an icon.  That character was Gordon Gekko and he became the symbol for what was wrong in the late 80’s with Wall Street.  It has been 23 years since Douglas uttered those famous words “Greed is Good” and as he reemerge’s from the shadows of obscurity, he brings with him a sense that what is wrong with Wall Street is not just Wall Street but us.  Oliver Stone in this sequel once again tackles the question of  how money can erode a man’s ethics.

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Actor Spotlight: Regarding Henry

If you woke up one day and no longer remembered who you were or how you got here; what would you do?  Would you find the reflection in the mirror a comfort, or would that reflection be alien?  How would you feel as you got to know yourself; finding that that the person you were, is not who you believe you truly are?  These are the questions that Harrison Ford faces and overcomes as Henry Turner in 1991’s Regarding Henry. Read the rest of this entry

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

It was 1987 when Michael Douglas portrayed a character so profound, that despite Director Oliver Stone’s intentions, the character became an icon.  That character was Gordon Gekko and he became the symbol for what was wrong in the late 80’s with Wall Street.  It has been 23 years since Douglas uttered those famous words “Greed is Good” and as he reemerge’s from the shadows of obscurity, he brings with him a sense that what is wrong with Wall Street is not just Wall Street but us.  Oliver Stone in this sequel once again tackles the question of  how money can erode a man’s ethics.

Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Robin Hood

The story itself is iconic; it is a legend that to this day you will find children pretending to be.  It is about standing up for what is right although society says what you are doing is wrong.  It is a story about sacrifice, true love and what is means to be truely noble.  It is simply Robin Hood.  There are many “legends” that Hollywood has taken on and Robin Hood has been one legend that Hollywood can’t seem to get right.  Maybe it is the concept of taking from the rich and giving to the poor that Hollywood finds subconsiously unappealing that cause their versions to be lacking.  Whatever the root cause, 2010’s Robin Hood directed by Ridley Scott attempts to give us the “true” story behind the legend. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Youth in Revolt

Cera grows a mustache despite the rumors.

Young men will always in their innocence believe that they can make a difference; that they can make their own mark in this world. Youth in Revolt is a traditional coming of age film with a familiar twist; the nice guy trying not to finish last.  Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Amadeus

The lyrics for those of us who grew up in the eighties still haunt me to this very day, “Rock me Amadeus,”  and that is what Milos Forman exactly did in his 1984’s Amadeus, (winner of 8 Oscar’s) based on the short play of the same name.  Unlike current films that have attempted to rewrite history, Forman was able to take the fiction and weave it into his very own masterpiece while staying true to the genius that was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Having already put himself on Hollywood’s radar after his direction of  One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Forman returned to the top of his game in Amadeus with a relatively unknown cast (which Forman has stated was done purposely for he wanted the audience to feel the characters not the actors). Read the rest of this entry

Robin Hood

The story itself is iconic; it is a legend that to this day you will find children pretending to be.  It is about standing up for what is right although society says what you are doing is wrong.  It is a story about sacrifice, true love and what is means to be truely noble.  It is simply Robin Hood.  There are many “legends” that Hollywood has taken on and Robin Hood has been one legend that Hollywood can’t seem to get right.  Maybe it is the concept of taking from the rich and giving to the poor that Hollywood finds subconsiously unappealing that cause their versions to be lacking.  Whatever the root cause, 2010’s Robin Hood directed by Ridley Scott attempts to give us the “true” story behind the legend. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Legion

I am awaiting confirmation, but it seems to me that Hollywood wants the world to end. Okay that may be a little harsh, but for more than a decade now the number of apololiptic or end of the world films has increased. From natural phenomena to biblical prophecy, we have over the years watched this world end, the aftermath and even the salvation of mankind. Sony now introduces their vision of the End of Days in the 2010 release of Legion. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Tetro

Tetro is the second film of this new millennium from Five-time Oscar winner Francis Ford Coppola and marks the first time he has written a screenplay since 1974’s The Conversation.   I have to admit it, when it comes to movies filmed in black and white the nostalgic part of me says; “This is how films were meant to be seen.”  If you happen to be among the lucky few that are able to find Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro playing in a movie theatre, I will tell you that you will not find another movie this year that was shot as beautifully as this one.  Simply put, the use of the black and white medium gives the movie life.  From his use of lighting to visual foreshadowing, Coppola shows us that he has not lost any of the tricks of the trade he has honed over the last half century.  Read the rest of this entry

The Wolfman (Devil’s Advocate Review)

When you come across a film that has not one; but two Oscar award winners for best actor in the likes of Benicio Del Toro and Sir Anthony Hopkins how can one pass up the opportunity to watch it? One would expect powerful acting performances, an exchange of blistering dialogue and characters that would leave an impression that others would strive to achieve in a film of this nature. In 2010’s remake of the 1941 classic The Wolfman staring these two great actors, we get none of that. What we do get is a movie that is weak in it’s plotline, a little disappointing in the acting performances and relies too much on imagery to tell the story. Read the rest of this entry

Legion

I am awaiting confirmation, but it seems to me that Hollywood wants the world to end. Okay that may be a little harsh, but for more than a decade now the number of apololiptic or end of the world films has increased. From natural phenomena to biblical prophecy, we have over the years watched this world end, the aftermath and even the salvation of mankind. Sony now introduces their vision of the End of Days in the 2010 release of Legion. Read the rest of this entry

The Spy Next Door (Lil Devil)

I admit it; when I see Jackie Chan’s name on anything, I’m instintly curious about what has he gotten himself into this time. In his latest release The Spy Next Door, he plays….wait for it….A Chinese National who has been “loaned” out to the CIA (at this point in time I’d like to point out that the likleyhood that the Chinese government would loan out anyone to the United States is beyond words I can use in a family friendly article). Yeah, raise your hand if you’ve scene a version of this before. Seriously though, Jackie is at home in the film. You get exactly what you expect from him; moments of unbelievable martial arts skill and the predictable slapstick. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Gamer

I really wanted to like this film; after all I personally feel that Michael C. Hall (Showtime’s Dexter) and Kyra Sedgwick (TNT’s The Closer) are on top of their respective games in their current incarnations on television. I wanted to see how Gerard Butler (300) would grow as an actor after leading us against a force of thousands in his last movie. I even wanted to even see if Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor could outgrow the Crank franshise. In the end Gamer for the lack of a better phrase, has no game.

Read the rest of this entry

Youth in Revolt

Cera grows a mustache despite the rumors.

Young men will always in their innocence believe that they can make a difference; that they can make their own mark in this world.  Youth in Revolt is a traditional coming of age film with a familiar twist; the nice guy trying not to finish last.  Read the rest of this entry

The Princess and the Frog

Sometimes, one must go back to the drawing board in an attempt to capture a moment that has past.  Disney does just that, as it returns to hand drawn animation in their newest release The Princess and the Frog.  The movie, which was high anticipated in my household (Zara is 3), was in a single word, okay.  The animation does not wow you, the storyline does have Disney’s traditional message of looking past the exterior and into the interior of an individual and frankly scared a lot of children watching the movie.  Read the rest of this entry

Planet 51

It was a simpler time; a time where it was all about country, mom and apple pie.  There was an innocence that the world believed; where everything was wholesome.  For us it was the early 1950’s (as long as you take away the whole cold war nuclear threat thing) for Planet 51 that time is now.  Of all the family orientated animated movies that have come out this year, Planet 51 is the most child friendly (ages 4-7) and tells us a story of friendship and believing the universe is big enough to dream your own dreams.  That being said; the plot is average, the characters are immemorable (except the remote droid named ROVER, who acts like a dog) and the animation is forgettable.  Read the rest of this entry

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Tis the season and Disney is putting on the full court press.  It seems the animators at Disney (not Pixar) are getting the studio running in anticipation of December’s The Princess & the Frog by remaking for the third time A Christmas Carol (Previous versions were Mickey’s Christmas Carol and The Muppet Christmas Carol).  This time around  Disney turns to Director Robert Zemeckis to tell us the holiday staple and he uses a lot of the lessons he learned from The Polar ExpressRead the rest of this entry

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

A friend mentioned that in her opinion Hollywood is destoying Vampires.  I will second that motion, while adding that it’s the entire fiction genre that has destroyed the Iconic Vampire over the last few years.  Ever since Francis Ford Coppola version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, we have seen the Vampire swift from a being of true terror to a being misunderstood by the world because of superstition.  We have seen this being, once human, struggle internally to seek that balance between supernatural being and morality.  It’s plight is an extreme version of, wait for it…Redemption. Read the rest of this entry

9 (Devil’s Advocate Review)

Four years later, after numerous rumors and murmurs 9 opened on 9/9/09 (good job marketing people).  As with most animated/CG films the first thing one will notice, in the opening scene, is how realistic the animation effects are.  For a few moments it is easy to forget that what you are about to watch is “not real.”  Once you get past the effects, though, the movie itself tries to tell an entire story in a very short amount of time.  After four years of production one would think the film could have reached a minimum of 90 minutes long instead of it’s 79 minute running time (when calculated on a matinee ticket of $7, it cost about 8.8 cents a minute to watch). 

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Gamer

  I really wanted to like this film; after all I personally feel that Michael C. Hall (Showtime’s Dexter) and Kyra Sedgwick (TNT’s The Closer) are on top of their respective games in their current incarnations on television.  I wanted to see how Gerard Butler (300) would grow as an actor after leading us against a force of thousands in his last movie.  I even wanted to even see if Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor could outgrow the Crank franshise.  In the end Gamer for the lack of a better phrase, has no game.

Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Tetro

Tetro is the second film of this new millennium from Five-time Oscar winner Francis Ford Coppola and marks the first time he has written a screenplay since 1974’s The Conversation.   I have to admit it, when it comes to movies filmed in black and white the nostalgic part of me says; “This is how films were meant to be seen.”  If you happen to be among the lucky few that are able to find Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro playing in a movie theatre, I will tell you that you will not find another movie this year that was shot as beautifully as this one.  Simply put, the use of the black and white medium gives the movie life.  From his use of lighting to visual foreshadowing, Coppola shows us that he has not lost any of the tricks of the trade he has honed over the last half century.

Read the rest of this entry

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by far is one of the best adaptations of the franchise.  David Yates again distances himself from Chris Columbus  in his second of four Potter films (The Deathly Hallow’s is going to be a two part release).   Taking us into the darkness as he captures the essence of the book’s theme and focuses on the main storyline, Yates effectively streamlines the books volume into an easy to follow movie.  While purists will have wanted more of the subplots and may miss the Chris Columbus vision of focusing on the magic; the tone of the movie is in perfect alignment of the book.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, No More than Meets the Eye (Devil’s Advocate Review)

Of the hyped blockbusters of 2009, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was among the top of my “to-watch list” this summer.  Think about it, it has everything a summer blockbuster should have; action, adventure, explosions (It set a Guinness Book World Record in this category) and of course state of the art special effects.  In the end the movie suffers from the Michael Bay sophomore curse: poor acting and a storyline that leaves one scratching your head.

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Angels and Demons (Devil’s Advocate Review)

When I hear that a book is being made into a movie, I hesitate and think what interpretation are we going to get and will it stay true to the author’s story.  For every movie that gets it right, there are many that do not.  Like the majority of people out there, I was introduced to Angels & Demons after learning about Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code.  To my delight I found it was a story that captivated my mind, gave me a behind the curtain look at how the Church operates, and in the end left me thinking.  Thinking about the duality of good and evil, specifically how man can be both simultaneously.  The movie,  Angels & Demons, stays true to Dan Brown’s basic story, but by leaving many so called “minor” details off the screen we miss out on the inner debate of good and evil.

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Star Trek (Devil’s Advocate Review)

I’ll start with the “pros” and then move into the KAAAAAAHHHHHHNS!

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