Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street

Very interesting and informative documentary about the models used in financial engineering and warnings about high frequency trading.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goodfellas (1990)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers:  Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese
Cast:      Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci 
Its the story of Henry Hill and his friends working their way up through the mob hierarchy. Its an adaptation of Pileggi non fiction book 'Wiseguy'.

One of the best mob film of all time, Goodfellas, sits somewhere between Godfather and City of God in terms of the glamorization of the lifestyle. The characters are great the narration style is excellent. There are some great single tracking shots and the story moves really  fast.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dead Man's Shoes (2004)

Director: Shane Meadows
Writers:  Shane Meadows, Paddy Considine
Cast:      Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell
A disaffected soldier (Considine) returns to his hometown  to get even with the thugs who brutalized his mentally-challenged brother (Kebbell) years ago.

Loved the film, scenic locales and absorbing performance from the cast and especially the two brothers. Missed the twist as well. A powerful film about a revenge that is served ice cold.

Rating: 5/5

Half Nelson (2006)

Director: Ryan Fleck
Writers:  Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden
Cast:      Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Shareeka Epps
An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret.

Its a very subtle film which does not go into the cliched path. The performances are excellent as are the soundtrack and camera work.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Way of the Gun (2000)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer:    Christopher McQuarrie
Cast:       Benicio Del Toro, Ryan Phillippe, James Caan, Juliette Lewis
Two criminal drifters without sympathy get more than they bargained for after kidnapping and holding for ransom the surrogate mother of a powerful and shady man.

The film's director, McQuarrie wrote the screenplay for Usual Suspects. You will end up disappointed if you watch this film with high expectations from Usual Suspects. Still its a goodish film with lots of violence and bloodshed. What stands out is that there is no silly back story given for the two criminals and the violence is not stylized in the sense that time is given to show the pain. The shootouts are done very professionally, maybe too professionally. The film overall is worth a watch even though the direction is not smooth with too many twists thrown in the story line.

Rating: 3/5

Kick-Ass (2010)

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers:  Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Cast:      Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mark Strong
David Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super hero , even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

Its a thoroughly enjoyable film with its quirky story line and bad ass performances from Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl and Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy. I am not a fan of comic book films but loved Kick-Ass.

Rating: 4/5