X-Men Origins: Wolverine

While a bit weak at times, I am still a fan of X-men and liked this movie about the origin of Wolverine.

Having liked all the previous X-Men movies, we saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine in the theater.

While parts of the movie were good, like Wolverine’s childhood and some of his history with Sabretooth and William Stryker, there were some weak points as well. For example, why did Wolverine and Sabretooth fight for the US in the two world wars when they were originally from Canada and Canada got into both wars much earlier. Also, it seemed to me that there were some small inconsistencies with earlier X-Men movies.

The ending was a little weak too. Since this was a prequel/origins movie, that ending should have been known in the other X-Men movies.

Still I am a fan and it was worth 7/10.

Pan’s Labyrinth

A great movie in the Spanish language.

El laberinto del fauno or Pan’s Labyrinth is a Spanish movie set in the fascist Spain of 1944.

The movie follows a little girl whose mother marries an army officer. The girl finds escape from the dreary real world in a fantasy world. The fantasy is very well done as it interacts with events in the real world.

It’s an absolutely amazing movie. I loved it and would rate it 9/10.

Reservoir Dogs

This is Quentin Tarantino’s first movie. If you are a Tarantino fan, definitely watch it.

Reservoir Dogs is the first movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. I am a fan of Tarantino and so of course I had to watch it.

As is usual with Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs doesn’t work in a straight timeline, moving back and forth in time. It is about a heist that has gone horribly wrong and most of the movie takes place in a warehouse which the rendezvous point after the robbery.

I believe Amber didn’t like the movie. I have to say this is no Pulp Fiction but it is good and I rate it 8/10.

Taken

We enjoyed this movie in which Liam Neeson kicks ass.

We were skeptical about liking Taken. In fact, I was worried that Amber would get very sentimental about any harm coming to the kidnapped daughter. Sometimes being a parent makes us emotionally unstable, hahaha!

What we got was some nice action and a fun movie overall. I rate it 7/10.

The Dark Side

Jane Mayer’s book on the torture regime of the Bush administration is a must-read for anyone interested in politics, civil liberties, war on terror.

I guess you could figure out that I was reading The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by my recent blogging on torture.

This is a must-read book by Jane Mayer. It follows the torture story meticulously and focuses on how the policy developed. It is clear from the book that there were some major villains in the Bush administration who pushed for torture and got their way most of the time. John Yoo, David Addington and others shut the actual officials who were supposed to make national security policy (at the subcabinet level) out. However, the cabinet principals don’t come out looking good. They were either indifferent or supportive of the euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques”, properly known as torture.

While there are several people mentioned in the book who tried to stop torture by the US government, there were also lots and lots of bad guys, lawyers who wrote or approved torture memos, military, civilian and CIA personnel who approved, condoned, supervised or actually tortured suspected or actual terrorists and intelligence, military and law enforcement who consumed the results of torture investigations. There are times when I feel like the Obama administration should release the names and deeds of all those people, anyone who was in any way involved with the torture policy. I know it’s not going to happen and isn’t really fair either.

What should be done is to release all the information about US actions and policy with regards to torture. For example, the thousands of pages of the CIA Inspector General’s May 2004 report.

Slumdog Millionaire

It seems everyone loved Slumdog Millionaire except me.

It seems everyone loved Slumdog Millionaire except me.

The movie started out well and when the main characters are children, it was a good movie. Seeing Mumbai and the slums there was captivating in a way. However, this was no City of God.

Then everyone grows up and the plot becomes Bollywood-predictable. I lost interest in the movie then, though the friends we were watching it with were engrossed.

Also, Anil Kapoor didn’t do a good job playing the host of Who’ll become a millionaire. May be they should have tried Amitabh Bachan who hosted it on Indian TV.

I rate the movie 6/10.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

It’s a movie based on F.Scott Fitzgerald’s story of the same title of a man who ages backward. I liked it.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a movie about a man who ages backwards. It is based on a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It’s a good movie which I had fun watching. I rate it 8/10.

The Audacity of Hope

I read Obama’s book about his political program during the election and inauguration.

I don’t usually read books by politicians, especially about current politics. However, being an Obama supporter and volunteer, I thought I should read his book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

I had already read Dreams From My Father and loved Obama’s writing style. The Audacity of Hope is also written well. Of course, I liked Dreams From My Father better, but that’s because of its subject of autobiography and identity.

The Audacity of Hope was written when Barack Obama was a US Senator and I started reading it a bit before the election. I finished it around inauguration time. As to why I didn’t read it earlier? I got it early in 2008 but then most of my spare time was consumed by the election campaign. I started the book only when I went to Pakistan for a couple of weeks in October.

In this book, Obama explains his views and his political program. Having followed his career since his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, I was familiar with a lot of his views. But two things still stood out. One is how Obama is actually fairly moderate. The other is Obama’s tendency to give an honest airing to conservative views and even agreeing partly before arguing for his liberal viewpoint on any issue. This quality, the so-called post-partisanship, was evident throughout the book.

Chokher Bali

Chokher Bali is based on a novel by Tagore. That’s why I decided to watch it, but it bored me.

Chokher Bali is a Bollywood movie based on the novel with the same title by Rabindranath Tagore. So when Amber asked about the movie, I thought great idea.

However, I only watched the first 45 minutes and got bored. Amber, of course, watched the whole movie. I rate it 3/10.

Raging Bull

It is a good movie by Martin Scorsese about the Bronx Bull, boxer Jake LaMotta.

Raging Bull is a biopic, by Martin Scorsese, about boxer Jake LaMotta, played by Robert De Niro.

If you like boxing movies, you’ll like it. Otherwise you can skip it. I rate it 7/10.