FILM REVIEWS

Movie reviews – written for Pinstripe Magazine – a men’s lifestyle publication.

The Master, movie review

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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The Master, a PM movie review

The Master, movie review. Pre production rumors surrounding The Master suggested a film revolving around a cult leader. Half expecting to see a guru defraud his flock and amass a collection 99 Rolls Royces or a wild tussled charlatan graffiti the walls with political piggy, I watched the latest film offering by Paul Thomas Anderson, anticipating a narrative with the dynamics of Helter-Skelter. I was surprised to within the first few minutes to learn how misleading the rumors were. Pleasantly surprised.

With an array of directorial styles and homage, The Master is on par with works such as Citizen Kane and Ikuru and a filmic nod to Malick’s visual lyricism. Having excelled his previous works including Boogie Nights and There Will be Blood, Anderson has constructed a magnificent saga, which scrutinizes the dynamics between two polarities of post war American society.

The story of The Master follows dual journeys of protégé, Freddie QuinnJoaquin Phoenix and The Master, Lancaster DoddPhilip Seymour Hoffman as their paths cross upon a boat one night that in a scene reminiscent of Confucian legend. Having been discharged from army service, we first encounter Phoenix play sexing with a sand doll and consequently, being assessed in psychiatric profiling. Phoenix is reduced to aimlessly drifting across a post-Steinbeck terrain, making moonshine to fund his meth addiction. The remainder of the film’s 144 minutes follows Dodd and Quinn as their intense friendship develops. That is essentially what happens.

Phoenix, a drunk with a Chaplin-esque swagger fascinates us with his nihilism as he represses his traumas with industrial tinged hooch. We are never really given closure around his processing, which cites the film’s midpoint. What a relief. For a moment, the film threatens to branch a Bill W thread where the drunk surrenders his alcohol affliction to a 12-step higher power.

The Cause is a belief, drawing parallels with Scientology and R Hubbard. However, this is not film’s impetus. It is background against which two able actors (and cameos) are masterfully directed to deliver powerful scenes of dialogue and conflict, rising in intensity and showcasing great depth of character and dramatic arcs. It hints a spiritual discourse in that The Cause tempers a belief in karma, which lends a theory of two characters repaying karmic debts from previous incarnations. The idea of birth, rebirth and karma is polarized against the Judaea-Christian America of the post war period and Hoffman is inevitably punished with a stint in jail. Opposing the zeitgeist is a daring move and Hoffman’s strength of character and his belief are tested at various points. However, he has enough vested in himself and his entourage (although not according to his son who tells Phoenix he is making it all up) that he is able to express how overjoyed he is when he reunites with Phoenix after a row. After all, he is human, all too human. The on-screen chemistry is comparable to the rhythm of Plant and Page as they develop intimacy then fall out.

Anderson’s circular Groundhog narrative themes are lifted from a biopic drama to a more superlative and intimate stage where the idea of soul mates exists against a patriarchy world where sex is incestuous and addictive.

There is a surreal burlesque scene where a jolly sing a long suddenly undergoes a naked, pre-orgy chorus although this may be credited to hallucinatory withdrawal. The quick fire questioning is filmed in an intense therapeutic exchange, leaving vulnerabilities to surface.

At times, the cinematic mavericks come to mind; Well’s Rosebud, Elmer Gantry and David Lean’s Lawrence, filmed with impressive cinematography ranging from wide shots to intense close ups. The whole mise-en-scene recalls the post war period with glorious Hitchcockian colour and chain-smoking Mad Men.

Towards the end of the film, Phoenix looses weight, becomes increasingly dishevelled as his mask starts to slip and his face is mapped with increasing lines. He becomes less of the mischievous figure that leaps over fences, outruns lynch mobs and attacks Hoffman’s critics, although, he does retain his snarl to the end.

2012 opened its cinematic Pandora’s box late in the year but saved the best till last. The Master is moody and seduces you with its delicious visuals and hidden themes. Let’s skip the ceremonial foreplay and give Anderson an Oscar. Actually, let’s give him several.

Sal Kapoor



End of Watch 2012 full movie review

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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End of Watch 2012 Movie Review

End of Watch 2012 full movie review. The found footage trope transverses different genres since 9/11 when real life horror was captured on the public’s mobile phones and documented the worst attack on American soil. Since 9/11 and the Rodney King affair it has appeared in various guises, most aptly, in the horror genre. Despite the film within a film concept, it serves several functions; it highlights the age where technology mixes with narrative to remind us of film as a process rather than a classical display. It also adds a sense of realism, when used appropriately.

Now, in David Ayer’s End of Watch, it could be argued it is actually the weakest element in what is a by the numbers plot which sees two LAPD cops in the line of fire.

Bryan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Pena) are two cocksure boys in blue, who out of uniform, are as gangster as the gangsters they pursue. Leaning towards the character traits of Vic (The Shield) and Denzil Washington in Training Day, they are a rarity – clean cops who want to get married, have kids and get drunk at dances. They forgo bribes and a side-line of dealing in favour of serving and protecting. The premise is they see the department as an extended family and look out for each other till the End of Watch.

The film flows along in hyper-realist style. At times, we recoil from the kickback of the weaponry. This element is strongest part of what is a very average script. It is essentially, Colors, The Shield and Harsh Times without the depth of Ayer’s previous narratives we have come to admire him for.

If Ayer had steered the movie in a different direction, then perhaps a slightly more avant-garde project could have emerged. However, whether it was a studio decision or a narrative point, the film plays safe with characters we’ve seen all too often. Big Evil comes across as cardboard cut out which to promote the film in shopping malls. It sits on the fence – neither venturing full on as Sin Nombre nor experimental as Man bites Dog. This dichotomy is evident throughout with – you can almost feel the characters’ frustrations at times.

The SA gangbangers are loosely sketched. With Hispanic gang culture having been documented superbly in Blood In Blood Out and 187, in End of Watch, they come across as an afterthought to allow the somewhat predictable ending to unfold.

The male brotherly bonding patrolling scenes and hip Taratino-esque dialogue is what really sets it apart from a B movie. Narrating ethnic tensions and cultural differences with banter, the constant references to their wives and fear of losing control as men depicts characters who use their day jobs to muscle out and make up for the power their women have over them.

A superb villain is born in Diamonique, a female driver who really does have a death wish and is the only character who is able to challenge Big Evil’s tyranny. The cartel thread comes across as botched Traffic style coda, which is introduced too late into the movie. The video recordings are never explained and serve little function. The film would have been stronger without them. However, there are some vicious and grotesque scenes, which affect our heroes viscerally. The ritualistic slaying of drug workers, the people trafficking raids. Clearly, Mike and Bryan are affected but this is never really investigated.

The film redeems itself with some superb acting and performances – this is where world-class actors can lift a movie with a weak script.

Training Day, Street Kings and Harsh Times were gritty depictions of ethnic tensions and corruption set amongst a similar terrain and how an established body like the LAPD either works with the community or tries to repress it.

A recent French movie titled Polisse explores similar themes and character conflicts. It rises above End of Watch as an experiment in the crime genre.

Watching reality cops is nothing new End of Watch manages to parody its own grand intentions. Take away Jake and Michael’s on-screen chemistry and you have a mediocre film, average at best, but for fans of the Hispanic gang genre, it is essential viewing.

Sal Kapoor

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Looper a Pinstripe must see movie 2012

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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Looper, a Pinstripe must see movie 2012

In Hollywood, concept is king. The Matrix spawned a generation of Neo and Morpheus clones living out what if scenarios. Now comes Rian Johnson‘s Looper, a Pinstripe must see movie 2012 – a what if moment that largely follows the blueprint of The Terminator with regards to plot and structure.

In a HG Wells universe, some thirty years into our future, time travel is a black market service. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) knocks off victims for cash. A hard nosed blunderbuss toting assassin, Joe is living the life; dating a stripper, driving fast cars and clubbing late into the night. His lifestyle being financed by mob fund from the future.

However, as good as things are, every Looper has thirty years to live after which, a contract is issued to kill the them by sending their future avatar self to kill them in the past.

Lost?

Well, it’s a lot less complicated than Inception but challenges your brain to chronologically thread which story we are following. It is helped by a running voice over which quickly establishes the rules of the world.

When 5-year-old Cid is discovered to become the future Rain Maker, a Magneto type character with remarkable destructive potential to cyclone his surroundings, older Joe (Bruce Willis) is determined to annihilate the child before he can evolve into an evil tyrant. Shades of Stephen King’s Dead Zone and The Omen echo through the narrative as there is always the moral dilemma the movie places us into – If you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler and alter history?

What provides Bruce Willis with motivation is the love of his wife (Qing Xu) whom he has devoted himself to. We are informed from a time traveler that Shanghai is the city of the future. Sarah (Emily Blunt) takes up a similar role to Sarah Connor from the Terminator franchise as she tries to protect her son (who actually does not believe she is his mother) and show him enough love him to produce a healthy child with a loving outlook on the world. It all goes haywire when older Joe tracks them down.

The movie is a high concept thriller, which unfolds like a video game. It falls short of achieving cult status due to an amalgamation of various plots and obvious filmic borrowings.

However, it does succeed is in providing a visual collage of the future, albeit, a depressing dystopia where the population is poverty-stricken rather than harmoniously roaming the planet. This cyber-punk bleak outlook brings to mind visionaries like Philip K Dick, Richard Matheson and William Boroughs who map out a Wild West futuristic gun slinging Cricton show.

The opening provides a snippet of the narrative to follow – The looper awaits his target and right on schedule, it is delivered from the future and blasted against the diegesis of a ticking clock. Later, subplots merge with incredible precision to allow the main story to climax.

Looper avoids time travel as its thematic focal point, barley touching on props such as hover bikes. Instead, established Sci-Fi conventions and a mix of genres offer an entertaining outlook on how the mafia might take advantage of technology in the future. By eliminating the problem before it has sprouted, scientific advances in the field allows the black market to play God, deciding on who will live and when they will die.

The film does not set out to break new ground or provide us with a mediation on a possible future; it does deserve a blockbuster film of the year award. Beautifully shot with slow motion sequences and laced with a kinesis that crisscrosses time-lines, Looper races towards the end which favorably, sees our hero redeem himself and make the supreme sacrifice, ensuring, not one child, but the whole human race is saved.

Sal Kapoor

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Killing them Softly, a Pinstripe must see movie 2012

Written by Sal Kapoor
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Killing them Softly, a Pinstripe must see movie 2012

During the height of the recession, in an attempt to stay afloat, members of the banking oligarchy like Price Waterhouse booked their staff into economy. Gone were the days traveling in luxury leather cradled seats and flat beds in First or Business class, this privilege was reserved for the highest serving board members. Apparently, the American mob learned a valuable lesson and quickly followed.

Killing them Softly

Whilst we steer our scrutinizing away from institutional travel schedules, it is the smaller organized criminal corporations that is the study of Andrew Domonik’s Killing them Softly, a crime gangster flick in the Scorsese tradition of Goodfellas and Meanstreets. The movie is a valuable addition to the pulp hitman/crime genre which sees some superb performances from some big names.

Adapted from a 1970’s novel and from the director who gave us the lyrical Mailck-esque Assassination of Jesse James by Robert Ford the Coward.

Animal Kingdom’s Mendelsohn convincingly nods off at all the right points, or wrong, considering he’s trying to distance himself from the crime. Heroin dictates his every move as he enterprises by selling valuable stolen puppies in Florida.

The plot centres around a heist of a card game. When two small-time stick up boys jack a middle level mob game (not nearly done with the same panache as when Omar Little jacks Marlo’s poker game in the Wire), Ray Liotta, who previously dared the same scam, is blamed by an out of town assassin, Cogan, played by Brad Pitt. Determined to punish every link, including Squirrel, the architect of this stupid crime, Pitt sub contracts the hit to James Tony Soprano Gandolfini. His excuse being, he finds it difficult to kill up close – killing, perhaps being the ultimate fear of our protagonists own death, so he prefers to “kill them softly.”

What distinguishes this crime caper from the run of the mill stick em ups gone wrong is the explorations of each character’s Achilles Heel. From a Catholicized fear of murder, a hotel room confession of marital breakdown to the junky’s opiate dream of climbing the rung from user to dealer, the characters in Killing Them Softly offer an analysis of motivations, all punctuated with black humor, convincing dialogue and scenes which rise with incredible conflict and intensity, filmed with superb cinematography.

Fans of the genre will be able to textually reference Gary Oldman in State of Grace, Joe Pesci in Goodfellas and Paolo Sorrentino’s assassin in the superb Consequences of Love. in this respect, the movie joins the pantheon of classic crime flicks.

However, the narrative is not without fault; the presidential running commentary on America’s financial crisis is constantly reiterated throughout the movie in an attempt to signify the film’s thematic elements. This is quite annoying. The out of town “strangers with a reputation” arrivals are filmed in a now cliche, Tom Cruise Collateral style sequences. These beg a little more invention.

Gandolfini’s hotel-motel disintegration subplot leaves us feeling quite unsatisfied and the only feminine appearance is a hooker who tells Gandolfini to go and screw himself in what is a claustrophobic labyrinth of macho and feral locations. It is their honest vulnerability which lifts the story above a b movie plot. However, these are petty niggles in the face of what is a study of breaking under pressure, disintegration of loyalties and payback violence.

Thankfully, there are no visceral introspective catharses here either. Whereas Ghostdog, Leon and Taxi Driver depict characters on the edge of their sanity, grasping to diary-esque bursts of inventory taking, here, the motives are purely financial. In short, the country’s institutions are drawn in a parallel to the mob. What works for the oligarchs can work for the mafia.

With Pitt dismissing Obama’s dream of community and unity with a “show me the money” ruthlessness, the film succeeds in exposing a realistic criminal world beneath a sometimes romanticized filmic veneer, and these criminals are brutal, seedy and unforgiving.

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A Separation: Best movies of 2011, pick 9

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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A Separation

With his latest feature, A Separation, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi joins the pantheon of great directors reserved for the likes of Bresson and Kurosawa. Told in a dramatic unfolding narrative, this World Cinema classic makes Pinstripe Magazine‘s best movies of 2011, pick 9.

Introduced as a Kramer versus Kramer styled drama, the story centers around the imminent divorce between Nader and his red-haired wife, Simin who wants to leave Iran. However, in line with Iranian law, Nader refuses to grant this and the judge dismisses the case on grounds of their daughter.

Unwilling to abandon caring for his Alzheimer stricken father, Nader hires outside help leading to a domestic incident in which the servant allegedly miscarries. This brings possible manslaughter charges and as Nader fights to clear his name, other parties get involved in a moralistic tale, which grips us from start to finish.

From a filmic point of view, A Separation could so easily be categorized as a realist kitchen-sink drama. Its real genius is that its narrative is an atmospheric lesson in how to structure dramatic conflict and reveal tension. The moral coin is flipped so often, it exhausts the viewer into a Rasohmon style of trickery. Just as we are pulled and align ourselves with a certain character, new information sheds light, which yanks our loyalties back to play devil’s advocate and champion the antagonist. It is with such conviction the characters perform, we neglect to make a conclusion until the end, which itself twists our POV once again. An emotional roller coaster and a meditation on ethics, the movie questions our own beliefs regarding family values.

Culturally, the film cleverly collates two sections of Iranian society. Whilst Nader and Simin belong to the intelligentsia of modern Tehran and are progressive in their outlook, Razieh and her husband, Hodjat are reactionary with a profound belief in an interfering God. Such is her conviction, she is unable to her confirm her accusations when Nader agrees to pay her compensation. Fearing being stricken down, Hodjat agrees to take the burden of the sin, which would alleviate his financial debt.

Interestingly, this is not an exploration of the Islamic religion. Just as racism is a prop in Spike Lee movies, A Separation is more a debate about families and their functions. When Simin suggests that Nader’s father doesn’t even know him any more, he replies, “yes, but I do.” It is this ping-pong conflict style that constantly challenges our own beliefs.

An intelligent, moving and compassionate tale, A Separation is a very likely contender for this year’s Oscar awards and makes Pinstripe’s list of best movies of 2011.

Check out another must see movie review, Kill List: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Best movies of 2011, pick 8

Sal Kapoor

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We Need to Talk About Kevin: Best movies of 2011, pick 6

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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We Need to Talk About Kevin: Best movies of 2011, pick 6

The subject of high-school killings has been covered by several filmmakers such as Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) and Gus Van Sant (Elephant). It’s a very difficult subject and not easy viewing. We Need to Talk About Kevin is, however, essential viewing. Directed by Lynn Ramsay and adapted from the novel by Lionel Shriver, We need to talk about Kevin is a harrowing visual memoir which culminates with Kevin’s incarceration after he massacres several of his high school peers.

We need to Talk about Kevin

There is the moral dilemma which to some extent, Ramsay appears non-committal and ambiguous around; who is to blame and where this blame ought to rest.

Eva (Tilda Swinton), unable to bond with baby Kevin, flashes back and forward in a non-linear narrative as she attempts to comprehend at what point it became obvious that Kevin was a sociopath.

Similar to Lee Remick in The Omen and Mia Farrow in Polanski’s tale of witchcraft, Rosemary’s Baby, Eva feels alienated, almost invaded by her new-born baby Kevin. In the same way as Lars Von Trier’s Anti Christ owes Sam Raimi (Evil Dead with therapy) Ramsay owes The Omen.

Eva is portrayed as icy and unbalanced, thus, complicating the movie’s dilemma further as she attempts to bond with Kevin. At one point, she loses her temper at the problematic child and breaks his arm.

Was this the incident that finally determined Kevin’s apathy and outlook on the world?

The movie’s strength lies in Ramsay’s ability to suggest through sub-text, staged with looks and gestures. The mise-en scene is drenched in red light, foreshadowing the bloody event and Kevin’s birth.

The acting and performances are persuasive. Kevin (child and teen) does a great job as a sub-goth and remarkably resembles his mother’s gaunt and skeletal frame. He sneers with contempt at his mother throughout the movie until the final scene where he admits he does not know why he did what he did. Finally, he is able to accept the affection he craves from his mother. Sadly, It is way too late.

Eva’s memories are visualized in dream-like snippets as she reminisces of running in the rain to her high flying career to and then her gradual disintegration after her Kevin’s birth. The opening tomato festival sequence is fantasy, albeit, drenched in red, which morphs slowly into vandalized paint on her doorstep as, she becomes ostracized and bullied following Kevin’s arrest.

Throughout, until Kevin murders him, Eva’s husband is dismissive of her feelings and in marked contrast, Eva is able to bond with her second child and build a loving relationship.

The movie is every parent’s nightmare as Ramsay avoids pointing the finger at either Eva or Kevin in an abstract and ambiguous moral narrative. Instead, she portrays a complex dysfunction and behavioural pattern. Sadly, as in real life, this is also true.

Check out another must see movie review from Pinstripe Magazine, Hugo: Best movies of 2011, pick 5

Sal Kapoor

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Hugo: Best movies of 2011, pick 5

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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Hugo Best Movie 2011

Hugo: Best movies of 2011, pick 5. After the death of his father, eight-year-old Hugo spends his days living in a Parisian clock tower and attempting to restore an automaton, his father’s last project. When Hugo develops a close friendship with Emily, they both plan to finish restoring the automaton and celebrate Emily’s uncle’s lifetime work who is revealed to be a masterful film-maker of his time. Hugo makes Pinstripe Magazine‘s best movies of 2011 at number 5.

It’s astonishing to think that the same filmmaker who bought us the infamous Taxi Driver scene when Robert De Niro whips out a gun and asks us, threateningly, “You talking to me”, directed Hugo Rarely has a sequence been emulated so many times in other features.

What primarily shines through in Hugo is Martin Scorsese‘s fascination and child like-awe towards early cinema. Raised in New York and spending his childhood between the church, dodging Little Italy’s mobsters and transfixed to cinema screens, the auteur pays homage to cine-magician, George Miles who enthralled audiences with silent classics such as A Trip to the Moon – 1902. What Goodfellas did for gangster movies, Hugo does for the family film.

His first venture into 3-D film making, Hugo (adapted from Brian Selznick’s Invention of Hugo Cabret) is an enchanting spectacle on par with Aladdin, Toy Story and evokes similar sentiments as The Wizard of Oz. In short, this is possibly the least Scorsese-esque film but easily one of his best.

The cinematography is lavish and invokes a magical but Dickensian Paris as we coast and tunnel through a Gangs of New York style labyrinth of boulevards surrounding the station, avoiding capture which spells a period of detention in the children’s orphanage. Unlike other movies, the 3-D vision is used to great effect as part of the narrative and unfolds like a children’s pop-up book. It is not used to brandish its capacity.

Although sluggish in places and marred with stammered scenes, the movie comes into its formidable narrative when hidden gems such as Ben Kingsley’s true identity and the automaton’s purpose are revealed.

Ray Winstone (the drunk Fagin-esque uncle), Sacha Baron Cohen (the Chaplin comic constable) and Ben Kingsley (the bitter shopkeeper) are on top form, each with their own Achilles heel. No story is left incomplete as Harold Lloyd style chase sequences culminate with Ben Kingsley accepting Hugo and Emily’s guileless offering.

As the kids catalogue Miele’s work and reignite a passionate spark back into his life, after facing financial disaster, the movie spells out the message that creativity is one of the highest virtues and it radiates in a masterful showmanship and amazing piece of film-making.

Considering the global financial meltdown and the credit crunch, we at Pinstripe Magazine would encourage everyone to watch this example of accomplished film making as it certainly will rank as one of Scorsese’s best.

Check out another must see movie X-Men Fist Class: Best movies of 2011, pick 4

Sal Kapoor

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X-Men First Class: Best movies of 2011, pick 4

Written by Sal Kapoor
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X-Men First Class, The Movie

X-Men First Class: Best movies of 2011, pick 4

Matthew Vaughn’s directorial contribution to the X-Men franchise is a prequel, narrating Magneto and Xavier’s whole raison d’être. X-Men First Class makes Pinstripe Magazine‘s list at number 4 of our Best movies of 2011 reviews.

What starts in a Polish ghetto as an anti Semitic thread weaves through the narrative into full blown action sequence climaxing with the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960’s, engineered by Shaw whose aim it is to provoke a full scale nuclear war amongst the humans.

During which, we are able to sit back and get sucked into a super-hero fantasy world which is played out by an ensemble of big names – Kevin Bacon, at times looking like a 70’s pimp, heinously stepping out of Fantasy Island or the Bond franchise, all that’s missing is the cat; Emma Frost, seducing the Kremlin’s communist elite with her Barbarella psychedella number; James McAvoy as the Darwinist nerd from Oxford and then there’s Fassbender as Magneto…

Magneto’s darker streak drives the split amongst the mutants and as he takes revenge on Shaw by piercing his brain with a Reich issued coin. The sub plots and supporting roles never intrude with this goal and it is perhaps the strongest story line in the movie, along with Magneto trying to win Raven over to his darker cause and turn her against Xavier.

The training sequence of the mutant recruits is entertaining and hints at an Obi-Wan meets Rocky Three’s “getting stronger” sequence. It’s an entertaining mid point of the movie where the kids go wild, running around, creating havoc like Motley Crue and even flying around like Tekken’s Ailsa Bosconovitch doing her Willow the Wisp routine.

At points, Xavier comes across as too powerful and omnipotent and his moral outlook, unlike many super-heroes, is never fully elucidated. It is with some satisfaction, we align ourselves with Magneto and follow his journey and see how personal his vengeance is. The Old Boy/ Marathon Man tooth routine in the banker’s office is intense but thankfully, Vaughn spares us the hammer torture routine.

With its origins as a commentary on social consciousness and comparing the unforgiving Magneto to Malcolm X and the more exonerating Xavier to Martin Luther King, Pinstripe Magazine rates this a definite pick of 2011. An average script with above average cast delivering high-octane thrills and effects.

Check out another must see movie The Inbetweeners: Best movies of 2011, pick 3

Sal Kapoor

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The Inbetweeners: Best movies of 2011, pick 3

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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The Inbetweeners: Best movies of 2011, pick 3.  Schools out, they’ve inherited some money, time for a lad’s jolly abroad!  Check out our pick 2 for best movies of 2011

And so we follow our virginal heroes on their feature length TV spin-off as they arrive at a hotel which could easily be a production set from “Holidays From Hell”, complete with a 50 euro fixed penalty, should they be unable to control their bowel movements. Does this minor setback dampen our hero’s spirit? No – it only strengthens their resolve to loose their virginity to St Tropez fake-tanned waif goddesses.

The Inbetweeners, Best movies of 2011, Pick 3

However, things are not as simple as they appear – there’s baggage en-route. Broken hearted Simon manages to repel any interested party with his ex squeeze mantra. Will, who pro-raters between a dandy Rene Descartes and sloshed-up Oscar Wilde, is informed by a dead ringer for Kiera Knightly, that’s he’s funny and doesn’t need to try and get laid. Neil hides the fact that before leaving Gatwick, his long-term girlfriend dumped him and Jay realizes, after offending a rather buxom northern girl that beauty is within.

With all these emotions riding high, it provides a possible catharsis that will change our protagonists and allow them to come of age. We are happy to report, neither do they have any profound Stand By Me soul-searching realizations or come any closer to discovering the meaning of life or love. How easily this could have disappointed us. Neither wiser nor judicious, they slip and slide into American Pie style gags and ensure that they can’t organize a piss up in a brewery.

All the clichés present them selves in a well-established blueprint for holiday movies; the bully who becomes undone, snorting from an colon-stashed note; the Casanova creep 6 o’clock shadowed smooching waiter and perhaps, most satisfying for us, the realization that the end of summer could spell big changes as they ponder their future against a hung over setting-sun.

More Gregory’s Girl and Porky’s, The Inbetweeners is a hilarious foreign stomp abroad delivering slapstick gags fueled by sexual frustration.

Hugh Hefner said that sex is the most powerful force in the universe – The Inbetweeners took his word as gospel.

Check out another must see movie, Animal kingdom: Best movies of 2011, pick 2

Sal Kapoor

 

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Drive 2011: Coolest film of 2011, movie review

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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Drive 2011: Coolest film of 2011, movie review

When movie stunt-man Ryan Gosling has a Platonic neighborly encounter with Irene, the wife of a convict, Gosling gets caught up in a world where the fantasy of family life with her starts to become a reality.

However, when Irene’s husband, Standard is released from prison, he is forced to do one last job to repay a debt. Unable to walk away from Irene and her son whose lives are now in danger, Gosling helps Standard out on the job. Standard is double crossed and murdered leaving Gosling to escape with the money.

With the local mafia closing in and keen to recover the loot, Gosling is forced to hand over the money which will ensure the safety of Irene and her young son.

Drive, The Movie 2011

Continuing a line of heist and grab movies, Drive is a valuable addition to the hard-boiled crime sub-genre that Bullet, French Connection and The Driver have fuelled.

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refnand and starring Ryan Gosling as an ice-cold stunt man who moonlights as a getaway driver, Drive takes us on a trawl through 80’s style neon-lit retro LA complete with cheap motels, auto-garages and viaducts. The absence of mainstream commuters is notable as the movie ventures into the darker labyrinths of the L.A.’s underbelly.

Much like Paul Schrader’s Travis Bickle, Ryan Gosling portrays a lone figure, at times bordering on a split personality from gallant tooth-pick chewing neighbor who’s happy to help out with the kids to psychotic cold blooded killer, murdering several Mafioso, shot in disturbing and graphic close-ups.

Little is known about Gosling’s life before we meet him – his cool demeanor and mystery is given little account. Perhaps the most revealing scene comes from Shannon, his boss, who tells Irene – “he simply walked in 5 years ago and asked for a job. I’ve been exploiting him ever since.”

The rootless good-guy characterization works: the scene when Standard, Irene’s ex-con husband has a homecoming party and meets Ryan Gosling for the first time borders on the sinister and hints at potential violence, with Standard suspicious of Gosling whilst he was away in prison. It’s the pinnacle of the movie’s moral framework that testifies to Gosling’s more noble actions.

However, the bad guys ensure that Drive manages to discard familiar stereotypes we’ve seen in block-busting chase movies. Our favorite Sons of Anarchy, Nino (Ron Perlman) is a small time hood in the catering industry. His relationship to the East Coast mafia is miserably summarized when he complains, “they still call me a Kike and pinch my cheek as if I’m a little boy.” This sums up his inferiority complex and is punctuated with such resentment, it justifies his nihilistic aims that fuels the heist that goes wrong.

What Drive offers is an ultra-cool existential glimpse into a seedy world that washouts and Hollywood extras inhabit. A visual homage to David Lynch, Martin Scorsese with snatched glimpses of Quintin Tarantino styled violence, Drive has numerous moments of shock aligned with gentle intimacy.

With a new-wave electronic soundtrack and reluctant hero redeeming his mistakes and hot-rodding through a milieu Michael Mann would be proud of, we think Drive deserves to win coolest film of the year and ranks its place as a modern crime classic.

Sal Kapoor

Pinstripe Magazine brings you the movie reviews you want to read about.

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