In this landmark week of Chennai Express, during which no Hollywood film has released in India, it’s been wonderful to see everyone buying overpriced movie tickets to see a movie they think sucks to update their Facebook statuses about how the movie sucks and why everyone is buying its overpriced tickets. But if you are one of the few strong-willed, self-respecting or fortuitous souls who’d much rather stab your own eyes than see a Rohit Shetty film, here are some DVD recommendations to get you through the week.
You probably recognise Michael Shannon as Man of Steel’s General Zod, also known as the guy who battled Superman in a climactic battle that was longer than the lifespan of Mukesh (of ‘Smoking Kills’ fame). Or, if you are a person of taste, you may know him from Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire and Take Shelter. And if you too get the creeps by his natural face or can imagine him most likely to be the physical embodiment of the monster under your beds, then Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman is just the movie for you.
Shannon plays the titular character in this dark and gritty biopic of mafia hitman Richard Kuklinski, who was so cold-blooded that they nicknamed him The Iceman. The film also stars Ray ‘I-can’t-stop-doing-gangster-films’ Liotta, David Schwimmer (yes, Ross! In a ponytail!), Chris Evans, James Franco and Winona Ryder, but epic cast aside, the film is worth watching just for Shannon’s superlative performance. Kuklinski probably wouldn’t have been able to play himself better.
Another movie with a great cast is the mumblecore-ish indie romcom, Joe Swanberg’s Drinking Buddies, that stars Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson (New Girl’s Nick), Ron Livingston (Office Space), Anna Kendrick and Jason Sudeikis. A film literally about two drinking buddies, Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) who are each in a relationship, explores the dynamics of the age-old question: can a boy and a girl be just friends? Except Drinking Buddies ups the ante by throwing two interesting elements into the mix: Beer and Olivia Wilde’s hotness. Given the cast’s strong indie credentials (Johnson’s Safety Not Guaranteed was my favourite indie of last year; Kendrick’s 50/50 was my favourite indie of 2011), the film is good fun. Especially if you get your buddies along and play a drinking game where you drink beer for each time they drink it in the movie, an epic night is guaranteed.
But if you had to choose just one movie to watch this week, let that be South Korean gangster flick, New World, directed by Park Hoon-jung, the writer of I Saw The Devil (another crime film you *must* watch). About an undercover cop (Lee Jung-jae) planted in Korea’s biggest and deadliest crime syndicate, the film is a suave, masterful, suspense-filled and outstandingly plotted crime drama that raises questions about loyalty, ethics, honour and duty. The film is so good that there’s a good bet that somewhere, Sanjay Gupta is plotting an ‘inspired’ version of it.
There are trailers and then there are trailers that make the world a better place just by being released. The trailer of CBGB, a film by Randall Miller, about a cult New York night club that gave birth to American punk music in the '70s, belongs to the second category. Starring Professor Snape or Alan Rickman, as the Muggles know him, it's about the dry (of course) founder of CBGB, who led the revolution of original punk music. The cast includes Donal Logue, Ashley Greene, Johnny Galecki, Rupert Grint, Malin Ackerman, Stana Katic, Justin Bartha and then some, making the movie the trippier version of 24 Hours Party People (!).
Watch CBGB trailer here:
Another awesome trailer out this week is of Her, Spike ‘Being John Malkovich’ Jonze’s science fiction romcom. A man (Joaquin Phoenix in a role only Joaquin Phoenix can play) falls in love with the voice of a computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson, so it makes perfect sense). The film promises to be at least as evocative and heartwarming as the episode of The Big Bang Theory in which Raj falls in love with Siri.
Watch Her trailer here:
George Clooney is back in writer-director mode with The Monuments Men, which looks like the World War II version of Ocean’s Eleven; but no, not like Inglorious Basterds. About a group of men tasked with saving pieces of art from being destroyed by the Nazi, the film co-stars Matt Damon, Bill Muray, John Goodman and Jean Dujardin. So yes, this will probably be nominated for Oscars too. Speaking of Oscar nominations, the full-length trailer of Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, starring (take a deep breath) Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz is out, and although you will still have no idea what the movie's about, you will really, really want to see it.
Watch trailer for The Counselor here:
Bruce Willis will not be in The Expendables 3 because apparently, he’s “greedy and lazy” (according to Stallone). While I’m still pissed Anil Kapoor or Mallika Sherawat are not part of the film, here’s what the rest of the cast of The Expendables 3 looks like (so far): Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Jackie Chan, Wesley Snipes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kellan Lutz, Milla Jovovich and Steven Seagal. Yes, that's all. Here's a question: anyone you think Stallone has missed in Expendables so far? Who'd you like to see cast?