CONTRABAND – REVIEW

(No Major Spoilers)

Chris Farraday (played by Mark Wahlberg) is an ex-smuggler, who now leads a legit life after starting his own business. He is happily married to Kate (played by the beautiful Kate Beckinsale) and they have two kids. Everything seems to be cool until Kate’s brother Andy, screws up a smuggling job on a cargo ship. Due to a surprise inspection, Andy is forced to throw away the drugs into the ocean, in order to avoid getting arrested by the Custom officials. This pisses off Andy’s boss Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) who warns Andy of dire consequences if he doesn’t compensate for the loss. Briggs also threatens to kill Chris’s family. In order to protect his family and Andy, Chris takes matters in his own hands when he decides to run a last contraband, so that he can repay Briggs with the “earnings”.

Contraband is a remake of the 2008 Icelandic film Reykjavík-Rotterdam. The movie has several clichés and a certain degree of predictability. It gave a “been there, done that” feeling, perhaps because I’ve watched several heist movies, which are far more superior in comparison. Those looking for a really intelligent movie will probably end up being disappointed. But overall, I still found Contraband to be a pretty decent thriller. Mark Wahlberg does really well and keeps the viewer engaged. To wrap it up, I’d suggest that you watch this one with little expectations and you’ll probably enjoy it.

Bottom line:

Contraband is a good enough one-time watch thriller.

My Rating:

3/5

DATE NIGHT – REVIEW

(No Major Spoilers)

Date Night is a movie about a middle-aged couple, played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, who lead a regular routine life. There’s little excitement or adventure in their monotonous married life. Fearing that this insipidness could eventually lead to a failed marriage, the couple attempts to spice up their life by doing something different. This unfortunately lands them in trouble and a series of seemingly hilarious events follow.

I’ll get straight to the point. There’s nothing interesting about the overall plot. I managed to get through the movie only because of the lead cast. Steve Carell and Tina Fey are simply amazing and genuinely funny. They make this movie pretty watchable, as they provide several good laughs and chuckles. But overall, the movie isn’t very good. In fact there are a couple of events in the movie that one might find plain stupid. However, if you’re a fan of Carell, you’ll definitely find it enjoyable (provided you don’t try to make too much sense out of the movie).

Bottom line:

Date Night is a silly yet enjoyable no-brainer. If you’re a fan of Steve Carell and/or Tina Fey, go for it!

My Rating:

2.7/5

DONNIE DARKO – REVIEW AND THOUGHTS

(No Spoilers)

**** This is the review of the Director’s Cut ****

I came across the plot of Donnie Darko on IMDb and I couldn’t take it seriously. The plot went like this:

“A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.”

I was like “WTF?!!? Really? A bunny rabbit?”. The movie’s high rating surprised me. Recently, when a friend of mine told me that it’s really good, I finally decided to give it a chance. And I’m so glad that I did! Now it is easily among one of my favorite movies.

Donnie Darko is a movie that could go either way with people. That is, you will either just love it or simply hate it. That’s probably because it’s pretty unique and not for everybody. However, it has developed a huge cult following. And despite that, there are many who seem to think that it’s highly overrated or just plain bad.

Now Donnie Darko is indeed complex, tedious and even weird..but in a very good way. When you realize what’s actually going on in the movie, you are left spellbound. It makes you want to watch it again, and when you do, you unravel more and more. It’s like a big puzzle that needs to be worked out, in order to be appreciated. Given the complex nature of the movie, many people who tried watching it, basically gave up on it and moved on, having absolutely no idea about what they had actually missed. I’ve heard many people rambling about how much the movie sucks and how much they hate it. If you’re one of them, the reason behind your hate is probably the fact that you just couldn’t fit the pieces together. And when others tell you that, it pisses you off. Or maybe you live under the delusion that you actually did get it and it’s the story that is flawed. Plus the fact that the movie is so popular gets on your nerves and makes you hate it even more. With due respect, lose your ego and give it another chance. Watch it again and figure it out.

Talking about puzzles, every puzzle requires a certain amount of effort to be put into it. If you don’t put any/enough effort, you obviously can’t enjoy it. And as a result, when you find yourself unable to solve the puzzle, you tend to get irritated with it and therefore, you shun it. This is exactly what happened with people who claim to hate Donnie Darko. But when you put a lot of thought and finally do work out the intriguing puzzle that the movie is, you realize how truly amazing and beautiful it is. Although the story could have several interpretations, I personally felt that it was a hybrid of sorts between sci-fi and the concept of God.

Jake Gyllenhaal excels in portraying the character of a troubled teenager. The movie has several good performances, but Gyllenhaal is the highlight and he does his job convincingly. The soundtrack is LITERALLY mesmerizing and haunting, that blends beautifully with the narration. I freaking loved the hell out of it. Here are some brilliant tracks from the movie:

  • Mad World
  • Gretchen Ross
  • The Artifact and Living
  • Time Travel

Like I mentioned earlier, this movie is not for everyone. Don’t watch Donnie Darko if:

  • You’re not into the sci-fi genre.
  • You are the lazy movie watcher. That is, you don’t like to think a lot while watching any movie.

Bottom line:

Donnie Darko is profound, intriguing and a thought-provoking masterpiece, that stays with you. A must watch!

My rating:

4.2/5 (Mind-boggling)