Quick Review: Sherlock Holmes and Zombieland

We are starting off a new feature called Quick Review. Generally a review would be several hundreds of words long and delve deep into the movie. But not all movies merit such deep analysis or maybe we just dont have much to say. For all such movies where we have an opinion but not an opinion so huge we have quick reviews! Read on!

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

If you havent read Sherlock Holmes you should! He was the definitive character mould for the 20th century. A 100 years later characters like that began to seep into mainstream cinema. Now this Sherlock Holmes essayed by the fantastic Robert Downey Jr is a comic one with knack of showcasing his plot before he actually performing it, be it at trivial one to put the opponent in a boxing ring down or catch the villain. Besides distributing his immense capacity for love between lady love Morstan and man crush Watson he has a cheeky tongue which is delightful and racy making the most uncharacteristic remarks which would make even a progressive Victorian like the real Sherlock Holmes himself widen his eyes.

Sherlock Holmes is as much fun as the movies can get with a decent plot and strong characterization. It is a fun, on your toes ride much like the usual superhero movies; only the hero here is a 19th cent. detective. But the action sequences and the chases though fun are nothing new, Mark Strong was wasted playing the maniacal villain who was the weak link of the movie.


p.s: This movie is actually like Iron Man in lot of its ways. The wasted hero, with a guiding light in form of his assistant, who is self obsessed beyond norm and so sunk in his work that he can perceive little else. But he comes around in the end to save the day. Also they both have a nice little pad of their own where they perform experiments and are in captive for certain periods.

There have been ah so many zombie movies and though I have not seen many(classic case of you have seen one, you seen em all feeling) I know how it is going to pan out like. Zombies arent inventive! They are dumb almost dead people and can do nothing but try feed of the normal ones. So in every zombie movie onus falls on the real people who live and weave around them fighting for survival. They set the movie's pace and tone. Be morose and heroic like in I am Legend or poke fun and run for your lives with tongue in cheek fear like in Shaun of the Dead. Zombieland is of the latter category. It entertains superbly mixing in all that you need for a fun and timepass movie; a geeky boy, a macho dude, a sexy chic, cute child and some hot wheels with some great cuts and funny jokes. 

Woody Harrelson gave a really good performance as the hack happy cowboy. Jesse Eisenberg who was being his usual fidgety self fit in really well. What really makes this film a must watch is the small but smart things. The rules appearing in and out are a riot and being contextual and active too just ads to the fun. The slow motion sequences with some great background score are a delight. This movies lives in its moments and does them all well.
Very Good

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Best of Decade - Top 50 movies of the 2000's

It has been a great decade. Life in one decade is quite different from another but the 00's or noughties as some would like to say it. It goes with movies too. The decade which just ended had a huge diversity in the way it unfolded. The word blockbuster was redefined and the BO expectations were re adjusted to a level way up north. A major part of this was the re emergence of the superhero movies. Superheroes never really had it good outside the comics and on kids' channels but the emergence and success of Spiderman paved way for a decade full of heroes. Then there were the animation flicks which laughed their way to box office and critical success at the expense of all those people who thought they were just for kids. They have an amazing potential and next decade will be even better. And finally I should also call upon the Independent film circuit to honour them for being so brave and resilient in the face of the studio moguls spending hundreds of millions on every other flick. As like in any other decade it is the independent small budget (comparably) ones which actually deliver on the potential of cinema but this time round they had help from digital technology which has become affordable and thrown the fencing between producers and consumers in to the recycle bin. The youtube generation can deliver the punch as well as the studios. You have heard of
Paranormal Activity, haven't you? 15000$ budget & 100 million$+ gross. It was good film making coupled with brilliant marketing. This is just the beginning to all such breakout movies.
We do not know how next decade is going to pan out. What will the movie watching experience be? Will theaters still hold their pull or are we going to just be addicted to Netflix? Will Avatar truly revolutionize the industry and will 3D reach our homes and be a part of it as they predict? But we do know how the last one has panned out for movies. Here in this article I try and capture the 50 best movies of the last decade ie 2000 to 2009. These lists are tough, especially when they spread across such a long time and across the world. So
though inherently flawed I try my best to keep a level head and chalk out the decade's finest.

(update: highlighting and minor sentence and position changes)
 How did I make this list? After perusal of extensive ratings on my vote history on IMDB, reading of various lists all over the web, I took into consideration the quality of film making, my personal favourites, cultural and overall impact of the movies. Then the movies were microscopically weighed against each other and rankings in this list were determined. Ask me after a couple of years and it might be different. Such is the case with all lists.

There are more blockbusters than I expected. Of course there might be many more movies out there definitely deserving a place in this but I havent seen them yet. Sure will do someday and maybe a decade down the line I can make this list really, really comprehensive.

50. Love Actually(2003)
This is a tie between two very different romantic movies. One is an outrageous mix of several stories, some sweet, some bitter but all wonderful. One of the best ensembles cast of the decade.

 Undoubtedly the contender for the sweetest movies of the decade. The latter is quaint independent movie capturing the life of two lost musicians who aren't exactly romancing each other. This movie took the industry by storm showcasing the power of the small movie.

49. Persepolis (2007)
Marjane Satrapi's digs into her own life and puts out a bildungsroman graphic novel of a young girl from Iran. The movie is unabashed story telling which has compelling visuals which seem pretty straight and simple.

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Too Much Cinema Movie Ratings: What do they mean?

Be warned! This is a very self indulgent post where I try to standardize the  movie ratings I give. This is to not only give an idea to the readers but  to maintain consistency in how I rate movies. I believe all movies of a certain ratings (say 6) should be superior to those with lower one(like 5 and below)

Everyone who watches movies rates them in their own way. Some may just rate them simply good or bad while others may call them Great, good , ok, poor and horrible or in similar other notations, to each his own. It gets complicated when you write about movies and you want to give a rating. Ratings are quite important for any audience cos they give a quick idea of how good the product is. There are ratings all over, right from electrical appliances to censor board ratings to chess player or cricket team ratings. Movies are no different. 

The ratings make life simpler for the reviewer/critic and the reader/audience in the same way. When one watches or read about  hundreds of movies every year an easy way to categorize them and recall for recommendations or any other purpose is by giving it a rating. For example I could make a list like 'my movies in 2009' because I rated them all in imdb and archived them in an excel sheet. Call me a geek but without doing so it would be virtually impossible to track the couple of hundred movies I saw last year.

When I started loving movies, writing about them and rating them seemed the logical next step. Since then(almost 6 years now) I have been trying to find the perfect rating system. Each and every critics have their own. Ebert and Siskel used the thumbs up/down method, while Ebert gives a 4 star rating. Lots of publications especially the newspapers use a 5 pointer or 5 star system. Even some podcasts I know like filmspotting uses the latter. Some sites like Yahoo, AV club give an alphabetical grading system. Aggregation sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic use a 100 point score. However the one I always chose was the 1-10 ratings system as you find in IMDB. Each of the selections made sense to the reviewer or publication because of the way they approached the rating.

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