EK Tha Tiger

Bill I’s Review – 4 of 5
Short review for now: my first Bollywood movie and I loved it! Fun combination secret agent action thriller/love story. Ending is somewhat similar, but much better, than in Bourne Legacy. Go see this and enjoy the incredible stunts, scenery, comedy and beauty.

The Campaign

Bill C’s Review – 2.5 out of 5

I had high expectations for this Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis satire.  It’s a timely film taking on our sad acrimonious political environment where politicians don’t honestly talk about the issues and say whatever is necessary to get elected with two very funny actors.    While this had some good laughs I didn’t think the satire was biting enough and thought the filmmakers often went for the cheap laugh.

This film also lost a quarter of a point for breaking Bill I’s cardinal rule of film advertising by using the funniest moment of the film in the coming attractions/TV ads.

IMDB

Rotten Tomatoes

Searching For Sugar Man

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

‘Searching for Sugar Man’ played at this year’s SXSW.  I had heard a lot of good things about this documentary about early 70s musician Sixto Rodriguez but wasn’t able to make it to the screening.  I was looking forward to it’s opening in Austin this week and was listening to my ipod in shuffle mode when ‘Sugar Man’ (listen here) by Rodriguez started playing.  This increased my anticipation for the movie as I had no idea that I knew or had any of his music.

This movie did not disappoint.  Sixto Rodriguez, from Detroit, had two albums released in the early 70’s.  They were total flops in the U.S but somehow, unbeknownst to Rodriguez, became  incredibly influential and successful (despite some of the protest songs being banned from the radio) in South Africa during  apartheid.  Rodriguez was dropped by his record company and while his popularity continued in South Africa there were numerous rumors about his fate.  Two South African fans looking successfully search for Rodriguez.  While Rodriguez in many ways remains an enigma the story of what he did with his life both before and after he was found is fascinating especially considering what his life could have been if he had been successful in the U.S.  The music is good and it’s interesting to see the power that music can have (in this case in South Africa).

This is definitely worth seeing and I am now looking forward to Rodriguez coming to Antone’s in Austin this October.

IMDB

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The Bourne Legacy

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

Awesome movie, just like it’s predecessors! I guess Matt Damon is not essential, as Jeremy Renner does an admirable job as the new “rogue agent” being tracked down by the evil US spy agency black ops. I don’t think Jeremy can punch as fast as Matt, but he certainly can jump from rooftops as well, and ride a motorbike like a champ (incredible chase scene in Manila traffic – remind me never to drive in Manila). Rachel Weisz is perfect as the “innocent” scientist; her character makes you think about true guilt and innocence. The film’s opening 15 minutes is great because it immerses you in a couple of scenarios where you have no idea what’s going on, or how these people figure in the plot, or even what the plot is. So, a thought provoking thriller, that ends up as a more typical chase movie, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. The ending (no spoiler here) seems abrupt; I was hoping for more, but I guess two hours is long enough. Can’t wait for next Bourne.

Bll C’s Review – 3 out of 5

I agree with most of Bill’s review.  This is a good, quick paced action movie that is never boring.  I also like the opening sequence (the parts with the wolves made me think Liam Neeson could have used Jeremy Renner’s help in The Grey!)  Both Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz were good (Renner’s fighting looked pretty good to me).  I also liked Edward Norton as the person directing the chase for Aaron Cross (Renner).  The movie did end too abruptly and could easily come back with a fifth Bourne movie if they desire

For the most part I found the plot interesting and challenging although not all made sense to me (BEGIN SPOILER ALERT: they decided to eliminate all of the Bourne like agents but when they have trouble killing Aaron Cross they whip out another, later edition one that they had kept in reserve!  END SPOILER ALERT).  I liked part of the action sequences but parts went overboard.  BEGIN SPOILER ALERT!:  The motorcycle chase is good but there were a couple of parts that were ridiculous (ok – i know the whole thing was ridiculous) but when Aaron Cross is barely squeezing between things on a motorcycle in totally chaotic Manila traffic there’s no way the guy in the car should be able to keep up and there’s no way Rachel Weisz would not have fallen off, etc.! END SPOILER ALERT

While I did have my quibbles I did enjoy the movie.

  IMDB

Rotten Tomatoes

Killer Joe

Bill C’s Review 3.5 out of 5

Matthew McConaughey gives a very good performance as Killer Joe, a policeman by day and a hit man by night.  He is hired by a family that needs the insurance money from knocking off the mother/ex-wife.

Killer Joe is rated NC-17 due to violence and the rating is well earned.  This is a dark comedy with much of the comedy coming in the final third with McConaughey’s very polite but ruthless character. There are also good performances by Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple.  The excellent  screenplay was written by Tracey Letts based on his play (he also wrote August Osage County) and is well directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection and The Exorcist)

It’s a good story with some good twists and surprises thrown in and if you don’t mind the violence you should check this out.

IMDB

Rotten Tomatoes

The Queen of Versailles

Bill C’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

Sometimes documentary film makers get lucky and they are at the right place at the right time. In this case, the documentarian set out to make an entertaining movie about a uber- wealthy time share magnate, his much younger wife (by 30 years), and their family as they build the largest private residence in the U.S., a 90,000 square foot house to replace their already ridiculously large mansion. This probably would have turned into a decent and entertaining movie. But then the real estate bubble/financial crisis hit and this became a very good, very different movie.

As a result, the movie explores issues such as: class differences in the U.S.; how people/families handle pressure; the cultural phenomenon of many people in the U.S. living beyond their means (and these people had means); and the crazy growth of some businesses when banks made money so easy to get and how quickly those businesses crumbled when money credit was not available.

While how these people lived didn’t generate any sympathy, the people themselves were very interesting and you did hope things would work out for them. The coming attractions made me expect mostly comedy and there was plenty of that, but the downward trajectory of their situation made this much more of a downer than I expected. Very interesting movie and worth seeing if you like docs.

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I agree with Bill, it’s a captivating documentary, where the director, Lauren Greenfield, certainly lucked out when the economy tanked. Her cinema verite style is amazing, in terms of the access she gets and the way her crew must blend into the background because the people don’t seem to be playing to the camera at all, and it’s not scripted reality like you see on TV. There’s some sit down interviews, but 98% of it is just what happens. The husband and wife are not cliches: David Siegel, the 65 year old timeshare magnate is a self-made man, workaholic and sensitive to his many employees. He tends to ignore his many kids, and treat his oldest son as the executive employee that he is, certainly not as an affectionate father. The mom, Jackie Siegel, certainly loves the spotlight and her shopping, but is very down to earth, also rose from a blue collar background and claims believably that she loves her husband, will stick with him through thick and thin, and would be able to move to a 4 BR house without too much trouble. Contrast this character with the Cate Blanchett character in Woody Allen’s new film Blue Jasmine, where she is the opposite of Jackie Siegel. I laughed out loud when she is forced to rent a car at Hertz when visiting her childhood friend in upstate New York, and asks about the driver that comes with the car. This obliviousness shows how much she’s living in a different world, but she seems like a nice person, not a phony, and a good mother (albeit with multiple nannies!).

IMDB

Rotten Tomatoes