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Celebratin' 3000 Pageviews

Heeheeheehoohahahee... Bravo blogger bravo! 3000 is but a fickle thing Batty guy!

  Thank you dear Reader (or browser.. or picture viewer..  or the accidentally landed on the random blog guy), for giving us three thou hits! Here's a snapshot people.. of what's been happenin' on this blog thus far,

Wish my personal finances can show that kinda graph!

  This is just the beginning of aplenty more reviews to come. Movie-reviewing is as old a job as the mighty Eastwood himself.. and hope it stays strong and true as the man himself. I've had an good journey, that's just begun, and enjoyed writing about films that I love (or not). Hopefully, as a reader, I hope you've been enjoying the read/ride as well.

It's bin' a blast! Thank you guys!

  To commemorate this historic and precedented event, I've decided to rate..
and review a very special film. One that closed the last century with a ☼bang☼ .. and led an entire industry into making a caricature of itself.. and still does!

So let us all meet when we meet 'coz we are all here to do what we are all here to do!

Coming soon..  to a blog-post near you.

Joe Johnston's ♦ Capt. America ♦ ( 3.5 / 5 )

A nostalgic trip to the age of heroes.
[reader's rating for the movie]
  Not another super-hero flick?! If that's your impression when you come across this film at a cinema near you, please forgive Evans' earlier outings like 'Not another Teen movie' and take courage, for this movie has 'something' to offer.

Reasons why I looked forward to seeing this on a big screen -

1.  I am a sucker for 'period' films. (esp. if they involve world-war drama)
2.  Also a sucker for good, clean, epic story-telling such as Joe Johnston's works (parallels of Spielberg, Lucas, Howard, Zemeckis etc.)

Reasons why I thought it may not deliver -
1.  3D (one never thought a mathematical annotation could become a movie-goer's bane!)
2.  Racy, jumpy, cartoon-ish action we've come to expect in several superhero flicks. (Hollywood, I implore thee to rescue the prestige of 'CGI' that was birthed with such legendary and genius works in the Abyss, Terminator-II and Jurassic park)

  The movie justifies almost all of my reasons listed, plus and minus. No, the 3D is not that effective (needless to say if you find a normal two dimensional screening of the movie, book the tickets now!) and thankfully, the action has gravity and good effects in it. The rollicking, roller-coaster adventure-ride of our plucky young Evans as Steve Rogers/Capt. America in a Nazi infested spy-world of the second world war era, aided by eccentric and archetypal scientists and abetted by die-hard friends and a lady love from across the Atlantic, is brilliantly 'immersive'.

Villainous Schmidt played by our erstwhile agent Smith

  The first rule of any proper action flick is to find a bad-ass villain that one properly hates. It's also a classic Hollywood proof that when it comes to it, no one beats the Nazis. If in doubt, visit Mr. Indiana Jones. His best outings were those where he battled them. Here, we have our wonderfully talented Hugo Weaving playing Johann Schmidt aka the 'Red Skull' (a very unimaginative name), painting a classic villain that may not be as great as the Batman's Joker but good enough with his German accent and world-domination proclivities. Infact, he has found his groove in this role that sets as wonderfully as the Smith of the Matrix. Unfortunately, we see more of him in action, and less in thought and motivation. A little more screen time to the latter would have given a more satisfactory outing for the viewer.

Evans plays Steve pleasantly with a restrained and solid performance

  The CGI isn't a weak-link for this movie. Infact, it creates almost a nostalgic experience in us in terms of good, honest and down-to-earth, yet incredible effects of the decade past. This reflects ofcourse on Joe's clear and grounded vision of the script. The first of several in the film is the bone-thin and almost emaciated Steve Roger we see, before a macguffin experiment that buffs him (also CGI) to the Captain's scale. His journey from his repeated 4F rejections to the final 1A acceptance is told with the effort and time that it deserves. ( )

  The 1A happens thanks to an ingenious mind with a big heart, Dr. Abraham Erskine, no doubt modeled upon the several German and other European scientists who fled to America from Hitler's madness (luminaries like the Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, Enrico Fermi etc). Stanley Tucci (seen on the right), gives a satisfactory portrayal of the character, who has developed a serum and the macguffin experiment, in collaboration with the American engineering genius, Howard Stark.

Dominic Cooper as Iron-man's Pop.
  One look at that image and you know he's a Howard Hughes clone. I've never read a single Capt. America comic but if the movie is any reflection of it, Stark and Erskine are enjoyable characterisations. Stark, ofcourse, will go on to father a super-hero and another well made Marvel film, the Iron man. Hopefully, upcoming comic based movies will study these two films well before creating other mutations like the crab-man, monster-mom and fishy-legs. Enjoyed Cooper's Stark as the rambunctious-can-do American whiz and look forward to his portrayal of Saddam Hussein's son in the upcoming, Devil's double.

Hayley Atwell plays a spirited woman in 'Peggy Carter'
  I wish to spare you the details of a story that you well know how it plays out. It is however the esprit de corps and the honest motives of the characters that compel one to go on the ride. Much like Weaving's Schmidt, one wishes to see more of Atwell's Carter. Peggy is that winsome, wholesome military pin-up girl, with a heart of gold and fists of steel. She is on loan from the British forces to co-operate with the Americans on the secret project of creating super-soldiers under Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). Thankfully, Tommy has a lot of screen time to bring his wit and presence into the character as much as the story affords. Infact, Joe's known for such warm wit and old-world humor that he so effortlessly created in the 'Rocketeer'. There are several parallels here with that wonderful world-war action drama and seems to have been the reason which helped Joe in directing this pop-corn action adventure.

  For all it's strength, the movie plays out to a relatively tame ending. The 'cosmic cube' that Schmidt seems intent on uncovering and using, looks like the cousin of the Transformer's 'Cube'. Expectedly, Red skull's fate will be tied with the cube and an all out crap-shoot scenario at the end. One cringes to see Peggy, someone who's until then portrayed with cleverness and substance, run into the battle all made up and with not even a battle-helmet or camo, looking ludicrous amongst the soldiers battling for life and death.

  This is foreplay to the upcoming Avengers, and hopefully it builds upon the spirit espoused in the film and not simply go bang-bang bangitty-boom all the time. Although, one feels the movie could been so much more, one takes pleasure with Joe's unusual treatment with a mixed bag of comic-styling and dark drama, much like Favreau's Ironman. In the end, what remains is the story of a brave, much-bullied and humiliated young Steve Rogers, within whom beats the golden heart of a lion. Cheesy yes, but evokes an era where heroes where made and not born. The story is an indirect pointer to that moral. Also, watch out for a wonderful and an evocative montage of Capt. America 'selling' bonds to the citizens Broadway style!

Johann Schmidt: What makes you so special?
Steve Rogers: Nothing. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn.

Space Cowboys ► 3.5 / 5 (Eastwood's Hollywood)

.. the not so right stuff
[your rating for the movie]

  It is fate, I guess, that first led me to see the marvelous 'The Right Stuff', before this Eastwood's idea of what may have become of those brash, uber-confident, womanizing, cowboy-pilots. This movie takes off right where The Right Stuff lets go. The latter was an 'experimental-epic'. A newness in the genre of science, drama and even humor. Semi-sadly, Eastwood's venture is a semi-experimental, non-epic. There is much of a muchness and the same of a sameness. Much of it is the lack of scientific verity and content. The context, though, is intriguing. Factually, the United States sent a chimp to space before men. There must been some incredulity and frustration for those pilots dreaming to be the first American in space. This movie starts with a fiction behind the incident, based on some history.

Feelin' lucky punk?
  The fiction is that the boss, Bob Gerson (James Cromwell) doesn't like the attitude and bravura of the pilots, Hawk Hawkins (Tommy Lee Jones) and Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood). He heads a team Daedalus, which has these two and a couple more, Tank Sullivan (James Garner) and Jerry O'Neill (Donald Sutherland). He upstages their space-career by ending all military/air-force involvement with space-race and closing the Daedalus. In reality, this was handed over to a 'civilian' agency - NASA, and many military personnel, esp. pilots, went on to work there as engineers, administrators and astronauts. We later see Bob in an administrative capacity. No such luck for these guys as they finish their career entirely in the corps (think Chuck Yeager).

Toby ~ the young Clint
  This lays the setup for another one. Now, we find these cow-boys have become cow-grandads and Clint is wanted by NASA to help them fix a satellite, a Russian one to boot. There's a logical macguffin as to why only he can do that job. Conveniently for him, it requires space-walk and astronaut-ing. He demands from his ex-boss Bob, who is now managing this affair, that the good ol' Daedalus must be brought in. Ofcourse, he agrees or else the setup for the setup would have no purpose in the movie. The good ol' team is back in place and training at NASA to be astronauts, which leads to some humorous situations and then some. Launched into space they find more details about the weird nature of the macguffin job and the Russian satellite. It's a sinister twist and, well, anyone who loved Bond's Golden Eye could have made quite a good guess here, I suppose.

  I want to specially mention Toby Stephens (Die Another Day, Mangal Pandey) as the young Clint Eastwood, who not only looks uncannily like his younger version but gets his mannerisms and expressions to a T. Would have loved to see a bit more of him. Ingeniously, for his voice, Clint dubs as his younger self, and so do the other three, which completes the illusion.

    Coming back to the problem I have with the film - the spacewalking and shuttle sequences, esp. the latter. There is a beautiful sequence whence, whilst space-walking, the astronauts 'fall' over the continents in orbit and the shot captures them to be seemingly hovering over the earth. Otherwise, the magic of the space journey is destroyed for anyone who's even a little familiar with how they work, esp. after viewing a landmark movie like the Apollo 13.

Imagine me up there..
  There is an especially painful scene wherein we see the old geezers extinguishing a fire inside the shuttle with a good ol' extinguisher as if in a barbecue. Fire is at it's worst in a zero-gravity space environment. It spreads over all surfaces, as a 360 degree spherical burst, since it cannot burn 'up' when there's no 'down' in space. The geriatric subjects also potter about as if in a barn with apparently no regard to a zero-gravity environment. The only way I, personally, was able to sit through them all were due to the good and expected performances by these seasoned actors. A high school student can tear those space sequences to pieces with the science he learns. There are some NASA consultants mentioned in the credits at the end and I wonder if they cringed seeing these. They have sinned by omission. Nevertheless, it's not all a lost cause, and I can only wonder what a beaut this movie could have turned out to be if they got those effects or science right considering the good acting and plot, which is usually the casualty in most movies.

We can hardly run and dammit if you strap us on rocket..
  I researched a bit after the movie and found that Clint didn't want to use the 'vomit comet' that was offered by NASA to shoot zero-gravity sequences. He, thoughtfully, feared the ol' cowboys kicking the bucket before he could film a bucket full of rolls. Nevertheless, it shows in those scenes and it disappointed me greatly. When I saw as a young kid, I imagined the 'Apollo 13' crew to either have gone to a space station to film those amazing scenes inside the spacecraft or perhaps all brilliantly computer-generated. It was an immense surprise, although logical, that these were filmed inside an airplane that free-falls towards the earth from a high altitude. Clint could have tried the vfx route at the least. This was well before his now Spielberg-ian days and the Dreamworks backing, and maybe there were some budgetary constraints. One only has to see the beginning of 'Hereafter' and fully understand the technical quality Steven brings to Clint's films.

Sara Holland: I have never met a kid who didn't dream of being an astronaut when he grew up.
Col. William 'Hawk' Hawkins: Did you ever meet a kid who didn't grow up?
  Anyhow, this movie isn't about the vfx or the brilliant space journeys but all about the heart. It's a salute to the magnificent 'The Right Stuff'. We see a paper headline in the mid of the film teasing the team Daedalus as the 'Ripe stuff'. Being ripe as it may be, it's strength lies in the fact that this is a Clint's creation and it's his team. They get the job done and in style. The script doesn't turn manipulative despite it's contrived and feel-good ending. The whole film reaches out with kindness and humor as only our grandpas can provide. It's a compliment, which this endeavor deserves fairly. Maybe this would've been better on the big screen than catching it on the dvd.

Cowboyz Forever (|| -|

ID4 : The Ultimate Popcorn Fest

Independence Day (aka. ID4) 1996                 ►                          4 / 5
[your rating for the movie]
  Popcorn Fest. definition: A Movie (usually a blockbuster) that aims to find the middle ground between audiences of various tastes and generally caters to the popular opinions and imaginative will.
                        equiv. terms: A similar concept in Indian films are termed 'Masala'. Hindi Cinema(bollywood) ~ bollywood masala/masala fillim & Tamil Cinema(kollywood) ~ masala padam. differences: unlike popcorn, masala isn't served to the audience per se, but denotes the one seen in the story/film on screen. Also, Hollywood prefers to make the genre an art and not compromise on the overall quality. eg., Jaws, Star Wars, The Fugitive, Die Hard, E.T., Indiana Jones etc.
[The above definitions are entirely my own and I hold full responsibility  for the same.. ;)]

  You are alone/with friends and want to spend a mindless evening consuming popcorn/chicken bucket/soda watching a flick that is a visual feast, which doesn't require much focus or intelligent thought. In the event you missed this Roland Emmerich's blockbuster offering, then do rent it/buy it/steal it, and have a roller-coaster ride with antagonistic aliens, marvelous explosions, and some wonderful performances. There's a reason why I believe ID4 (as in Independence Day-July 4) is the ultimate popcorn fest. That's the reason for the review now. Moreover, I managed to spend such a time as I've described, last weekend, which brought back nostalgic memories for the zillionth moment.

Roland with his 'E.T' inside it's 'bio-mechanical suit'
  "What if you woke up tomorrow and found a huge saucer looming in the skies?", was Roland's retort to the reporter who was pestering him if he believed in Alien intelligence or not, after the release and success of Stargate. Wondering about his own question, he found an answer in this movie, along with his producer friend Dean Devlin. Ever since then, Roland has never looked back in his spew of blockbusting, popcorn-toting, disaster-fests (except his one-odd project 'The Patriot'). It seems he may have run out of disaster plots after finally having got to destroy the Earth in 2012, and is now directing an Elizabethan political thriller 'Anonymous'. I am quite curious to see if he will manage to make it without a single explosion.

One fine Manhattan morning..

  What I love about the screenplay is that it divides the film distinctly into three clear acts.
Act 1. July 2 > U.f.o enters the earth's atmosphere. Blasts all major cities by nightfall.
Act 2.July 3 > Survivors on the run. Area 51 exists. Various sub-plots converge.
Act 3.July 4 > American/World Independence day as the world unites in it's fight for survival.
  Somewhere in all of this, you've got a career making role for Will Smith, an awesome & a cool one for Jeff Goldblum (a favorite actor of mine), a revelation of Bill Pullman as the President (one of the best in movies), Judd Hirsch as a quirky but dignified dad, and several other able supporting casts.

  There's no way I can spoil this movie for you - it's all about the experience. You know the humans/protagonists will survive at the end (fundamental rule of all popcorn fests). Conversely, aliens will get their butt-kicked. Capt. Steven Hiller (Will) actually has a line in the movie where he tells he can't wait to whoop E.T.'s ass. Another Spielberg classic is poked at when he punches 'E.T.' square on the face and remarks, a cigar clenched, "Now, that's what I'll call a Close Encounter..".

Our Liberty at stake ..
  One is a fool if one tries to bring Boolean/Newtonian logic to bear upon such a construct as the 'Popcorn fest'. Armed with that axiom, I find countless fools on and off line, debating the merits of the devices and ideas used in the movie, esp. that which helps mankind conquer the alienkind. I use, what I call as, 'popcorn logic'. It implies the artistic license that works within the movie's framework, and within a reasonable degree, in the real world.

  Take for instance, people running away from the wall of fire, blazing towards the camera. Yes, the fire has been filmed in super-slow motion. People on the other hand run in real time. It is evidently a conscious choice on the part of film-makers, and it works. Firstly, the fire that engulfs the cities, almost consistently, spread at the same speed as a jet-plane taking off from the run way (lol). It is definitely fun to watch. Also, the explosion from the ray of death or whatever, is alien in nature. Maybe it isn't as effective as our Nuclear bomb. A point further enforced in the movie's final moments. So do you now see how the popcorn logic works? Hence, the contrivances of the film-makers clearly dished out for fun, serves it's purpose to the story without annoying one or make one laugh to death (see Indy escape a nuclear blast in his latest movie venture.. sic. That's poop-corn logic!)

   If Will drives the action part of the film (mostly), then Jeff as David Levinson commands the performance bit. There are several unique and beautiful moments, as much as can be provided, between his dad (Judd Hirsch) and himself. Fondness for his dad comes off effortlessly, from Jeff's eyes, as much as his love for his estranged wife. Jeff, as an actor, commands an intelligent aura about him and makes his characters immune to any bad plots. He first commanded my attention as the 'Chaotician' in Jurassic Park. Spielberg, infact, rewrote the Lost World around his character. Sadly though, it didn't do him nor the story any justice. It is sadder realizing that, until now, only this blockbuster has come close to giving him the kind of opportunity and role that enables him to be more. His David is etched with a finesse and subtlety that instantly elevates the human drama of the film, the moment we encounter him. Notice how deftly he plays the pivotal scene of the movie - demonstrating his plan to defeat the space goons.

Empire State - a wonder of destruction
  This is a movie made for the 'Big Screen' (another requisite of a popcorn fest). One doesn't experience the same on a dvd. The action, explosions and cinematography come alive in a cinema and I was fortunate as a kid to have had this seminal experience of a good popcorn fest. This is a movie, seeing which, Spielberg decided to stop making any further alien flicks (broke the oath though with 'war of the world', and no, the latest Indy with crystal skulls doesn't have aliens - they're supposedly inter-dimensional beings). This is the mother of all disaster movies and the father of alien invasion plots. Yes, there are several plots seen before and many cliches in the film, but in no other, does it come together that effectively and make a popcorn hoggin' audience root for more. Honestly, one of those few sci-fi blockbusters, that I wished for a sequel and the film-makers have wisely not made one.
David Levinson:  A toast, to the end of the world.

The Right Stuff (1983) 4.6 / 5

'The Stuff of the Right Spirit'
[your rating for the movie]
  There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate..
  The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, seven hundred and fifty miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it the sound barrier..

  One of the very first lines heard in the film, that set the tone for the odyssey ahead. The film essays the real lives, joys and heroism of the men who braved death, to break the 'sound barrier' at the Andrews air force base, and then, the beginnings of the American Space program in the Mercury missions (the precursor to the Apollo). This movie is right there with all those classics of the 80's such as the Raging Bull, E.T., Platoon, Mississippi Burning etc., and possible inspiration for equally good space tales such as the Apollo 13. Viewing this movie on DVD, I crave to see this on a bigger screen. Nevertheless, the film doesn't indulge in grand moments or glamorous shots as often as such stories tend to. It does the more difficult task of showing the poignant, personal stories of the bravura pilots and the eager astronauts.
The astro-nuts (actors) before the mercury capsule
Directed by Philip Kaufman (The unbearable lightness of Being, Henry & June), the movie has the career-making performances of the then several new-comers and present stars.
Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager,
Scott Glenn as Alan Shepherd,
Ed Harris as John Glenn,
Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper,
Fred Ward as Gus Grissom,
Scott Paulin as Deke Slayton,
Charles Frank as Scott Carpenter,
Lance Henriksen as Wally Schirra - the astronauts / pilots;
other such as
Barbara Hershey as Glennis Yeager,
Kim Stanley as Pancho Barnes, etc. make up other wonderful supporting roles.
Jeff Goldblum leaves his mark in the few scenes he appears and ofcourse, is quite a young chap here.
Sam Shepard & Chuck Yeager
  The unique tell of the movie is the 'spirit' in which the tale unfolds. There is the unusual undercurrent of the humorous along with the macho manner in which these good fellows tackle the embarrassment of challenges. You read right, embarrassments. These pilots do not have a personality to see events as failures. Only embarrassed to have met it. They know only one way to live - to win.

  It is an engrossing experience to see people who are essentially farm-hands and cowboys take the mantle of the Space Program. One of the pivotal scenes occur at the beginning when Chuck Yeager sees the test of the X1 Bell series experimental airplane, riding on his horse about the base. The shot contrasts the earthiness of the man who will tame the beast that will soar the sky to be the first in history to break the sound barrier.  

  These fellows are all charmers and heroes in their own right but I would single out a couple who come across best. Sam Shepard has the screen persona like the inimitable Blondie played by Clint Eastwood. Chuck in his interview, I read, while speaking about Sam's performance, said that he (Sam) acts like he(Chuck) flies.
Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper
My favorite of the lot though is Gordon Cooper played by Dennis. The first man to have slept soundly in the vastness of the space alone in his Mercury capsule, exhibits a rustic charm with unassuming brashness. Think Johnny Bravo meets G.I. Joe. Easily, the best role of Dennis' career I've come across yet. He admires Chuck and infact many pilots, then and now, considered him the best. Strangely, he(Chuck) never got chosen by NASA, for stupid, bureaucratic reasons. Hence, his story runs parallel to the lucky ones who get chosen to be blown up sky high on a rocket.

  Kaufman in this movie creates a unique genre that could be termed 'Experimental Epic',
The Real Nuts
as suggested by Ebert. It is engrossing yet laid back. Wholesome yet has several characters jostling in the screen to give you their story. An epic yet a personal tale of human lives and a heroic dedication of a group, that borders on the naiveté. No doubt a unique and refreshing film, I had no qualms with the some little contrivances such as the semi-comical German scientists of the Space program (I wonder if the chief scientist who has a comic interlude with Sen. Lyndon Johnson about Spe-ci-men/Spa-ce-men, represents Von Braun, creator of Saturn V and other gigantor rocket engines).

  Evidently, a movie I highly recommend to all film buffs and is the only one so far to have equaled the rating received by The Dark Knight in this blog.

'No Bucks, No Buck Rogers'

Pi Paroxysm ~ an Aronofsky assimilation..

Pi (1998)         3.5  /  5
[your rating for the movie]
  I am most tempted to rate this film 3.14 / 5 ..  3.14 can be considered close to 3.5, can it not? However, the film isn't that bad. I cannot in my good conscience, skew my rating meter for a number-play with the title. I am most tempted though! :) Pi, notably, has nothing to do with the almighty Pi. That numerical constant which either bugged or baited our minds when we first learnt about dividing the circumference and diameter of a circle, exists as just a title. It's a novelty. So, let's get over it.

Darren-right; Sean(Max)-left; Matthew-with cam.
    Made by Darren Aronofsky, with  most of his friends and family supporting this, his first feature film endeavor, it does reek of an amateur indie movie. It isn't bad, per se, as such movies are the cornerstone and fountain of original talent and creativity in the movie industry. Yet, the problems I find in the movie have nothing to do with the budget or expensive resources. We'll get to them in a minute.The story is simple. Max (Sean Guilette) is an obsessed Math whiz, who also seems to tune and integrate computer circuitry on his own, and is working to create a model for the stock market. He has a mentor and a sounding-board in Sol (Mark Margolis), who was once such an obsessed Math whiz himself. He now passes his time playing Go, feeding his fish, and dishing philosophy and unsolicited advice to Max whenever he visits.

  All is well as much as it can be in this cloistered and cluttered world of Max. We notice that he suffers from some form of mental illness and related migraines, at regular intervals. He is currently on medication for it and has tried every possible alternative in the past, from grass to needles. One day, his calculation using a weird setup of computers (more for visual imagery than utilitarian, I suppose) spits out a set of numbers 216 digits long. I know what you're thinking - no, it isn't any part of the infinite decimal sequence of the Pi constant. Infact, there's no Pi involved in any of his calculations.

Max making some spiral(golden?) on stock firm listing (bemused!)
  He does do a lot of doodles that are supposed to come across as the brilliant rough work of a genius. Maybe it works for the layman. I found many laughable. Somehow, his work starts to involve golden spirals, golden ratios (look them up if you aren't aware), and he has some interested parties interested in his theories and results. There is a Jewish cult who believe the name of God is 216 digits and hence the numerical display on his computers may be that name!

  Then there is a stock broking firm who wants to invest in his work as he seems to have correctly predicted certain trends. Inevitably, he is caught between these two and most oppressively, his own mind. This conflict and the resolution, which seems weird but in line with the story, make up the rest.

  The image on the left conveys the kind of texture that envelops every frame of the film (incidentally has a spiral on it, which I thought went well with the illustration). So the grainy black and white frames in high contrast shots, make you rub your eyes aplenty. The impression Darren wanted to convey was to see through the mad genius' mind, which I felt was a bit overdone. The cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, has made a career in the tinsel town on the strength of this film as much as Darren.

  The primary reason I intended to review this movie now is due to the glowing tributes I find aplenty on the web concerning the math and the genii of the movie. Darren is simply using the math and it's genius as a blank canvas to portray the mind's irrationality and obsession - which seem to be his favorite theme. Taking a look at his brief career, all his movies are punctuated with dramatic dark protagonists, culminating in Natalie Portman winning the Oscar for 'Black Swan'. This movie launched him and was awarded the best in Sundance film fest.

  What the movie may succeed in giving us though, is the feel for Max's dark world. His visions and delusions are aplenty. It's further fueled when a rabbi from the cult passes on his number theories from the Torah (illustrated well in the diagrams above and to the left). The stock firm gives him a classified chip which would provide his computing system some electronic steroids. He ingests the illusions of grandeur and attempting to find all pattern in the universe with his 216 random digits, that 'somehow' appear from his calculations on the computer.

   This movie is about paranoia, delusions, metal instability, and irrationality (ironic, considering Math is a rational endeavor.. or is it?). I would love to see Darren's take on Dr. Nash of the famous, 'A Beautiful Mind'. It is a strange thing that historically, mathematicians seem more prone than most physicists, scientists or inventors/engineers to have a splintered mind or a delusional tendency.Perhaps it's a pursuit that is divorced from the world of the outside to that of the inside. The more 'pure' a mathematician's work is, the more he dwells within his mind's framework and constructs. Maybe that is it's greatest asset and liability. As the Joker would love to harp,"All it takes, is a little..  Push!".

      3.5 is a neutral verdict. If you wish to have a challenging experience of diving into the mind of an obsessed whiz-kid, go for it. Do not though, for it's science or math. You may at best get numerology. Good for Darren - it was bought for a million by the Artisan. Good work for a first feature length psycho-thriller.