Day 163 – Jadoo: Kings of Curry – 2013

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Jadoo comes from Leicester writer and director Amit Gupta who tells the story of two brothers who are chefs. Starring Amara Karan, Harish Patel and Kulvinder Ghir it was shot in the great city of Leicester, on the golden mile where the two brothers restaurants are. Released in 2013 to a limited release, it was praised for its content but not its execution.

Raja (Harish Patel) and Jagi (Kulvinder Ghir) are brothers who cook from a book written by their mother. One day they fall out, and both rip the book in half looking to start their own restaurants. Raja takes the front of the book which contains the starters and Jagi takes the other half which contains the mains. Their restaurants are successful to a certain degree, but as the brothers require the other half of the book the restaurants level out. 20 years pass and Raja’s daughter Shalini (Amara Karan) is getting married to an English doctor. She comes to Leicester to ask her family to attend the wedding, only to find out her old friend is going to launch a restaurant to take out both her fathers and uncles restaurants. It is up to her to get the brothers to join forces and take out the opposition after 20 years of not talking.

Funnily enough, the film was shot on Belgrave Road in Leicester where I am from. The landmark locations, the restaurants and the physical embodiment of the city are felt from Amit Gupta’s tale of the brotherhood and rivalry. As he was born and raised in Leicester, you can see the director wanting to showcase what it has to offer. Unfortunately, as the cityscapes are shot with glare and wonder, the story of the film falls flat. The rivalry between the brothers is not strong enough for the audience to feel any angst against and the outcome between the two was predictable from the outset. The characters, however, are fantastic with Amara Karan taking the mainstage to get her characters father and uncle to come together for a physical purpose.

The physical purpose of the film was to bring people together with food and I believe Amit Gupta (who actually lived on the road depicted) shows it off beautifully. A swan song to his hometown, and the people that embody. The story is ok, and the inclusion of Keith Vaz in the film is a no go zone, but overall the film showcases the greatness that is Leicester.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 158 – White House Down – 2013

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White House Down is the 2013 film where a group of terrorist enter The White House and take over, holding The President of the United States at ransom. Directed by Roland Emmerich who also directed Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and Universal Soldier. Starring Channing Tatus, Jamie Foxx, Jason Clarke, James Woods and Maggie Gyllenhaal. This was the second film of 2013 to have a story where somebody attacks the White House after Olympus has Fallen starring Gerard Butler and directed by Antoine Fuqua.

Cale is a Capitol Police Officer who is assigned to the Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins). He wants to be a member of the secret service and applies for the job. He meets special agent Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who says he is unqualified for the job. Luckily he took his daughter to the White House for the interview, and they go along with a tour which was close by. While all this is going on, terrorist infiltrate the building taking over the entrances and computer systems. It is up to Cale and his daughter to save President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) and the White House from doom.

It is an energetic film, that is highlighted by the comedic duo of Tatum and Fox. They bring the humour along the journey, with Fox showcasing his talents in surprising situations. Tatum, as we know from former films such as 21 Jump Street, has the calibre to perform as a joke, and action hero and it’s a spectacle on screen. He brings a John McClane vibe to the role of Cale, including the vest that he wore in Nakatomi Plaza in the vents. They both work fantastically as a duo.

The rest of the cast are quite dull with Richard Jenkins leading the pack in bringing the boring. He has nothing special going for him minus his character Eli becoming the President for a short while. Gyllenhaal’s character follows the pack across the white house via mobile phone and generally doesn’t add much minus the eye candy that Rolan Emmerich wanted from her. Jason Clarke plays one of the villains, and to be honest as an actor it doesn’t suit him. Same as in Terminator: Genisys where he played the villain and it again didn’t feel right. Stick to being a good guy pal. Finally, we have James Woods who plays Secret Service Agent Walker who turns against The Government and The President and tries a  Coup D’etat against him. He is truly against everything the president is for and it is slightly terrifying.

Overall Roland Emmerich has directed a popcorn siege film which includes light humour and various dabs of fun violence and action. It is more Saturday night entertainment then cinema worthy movie. The film does drag on, at 2 hours 11 minute run time, of which 40 minutes are the wasteful backstory of characters we have no connection to. All I am going to say is that this film was a hell of a lot more fun than Olympus has Fallen, and kept me in the film thanks to the humour from the leading duo. It is fun.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 137 – Trance – 2015

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What happened to Danny Boyle. He used to make amazing films like 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting. They were all unique with some incredible camera work thanks to his amazing DOP Anthony Dodd Mantle, but with Trance the magic is lost. Starring James McAvoy, a naked Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel. Released in 2013, it overuses style of substance.

It is the story of Simon (James McAvoy) who works in an art auction house. He is trained in an event when if the location he is working at, the most valuable piece of art is transferred to the vault for safe keeping. As the day looms, and the final piece of artwork is up for auction, the inevitable occurs. The auction house is raided, so he heads to the back and is about to place the artwork into the vault. Disaster strikes as he is hit by the robber Franck (Vincent Cassel) in the head. The severe damage inflicted on him affected his short-term memory, and he is placed into the hospital for weeks. Once released the thieves catch up with him, saying they didn’t steal the artwork, only the frame. Simon had stashed it somewhere before the robbery, so he goes to see psychiatrist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) to recover these memories, and that’s where things take a turn for the worst.

With films like Get Out recently in cinemas, this films reminded me a lot of it. Hypnotherapy is the main theme in both films and is used in malicious ways to get the protagonist to do something they ordinarily wouldnt. It is an interesting concept, with Get Out using it a story mechanism to continue the story in a clever way. Trance, however, uses the idea of hypnotherapy as a staple for the main character of which is used as the main plot device. The difference is that Danny Boyle doesn’t use it effectively, wasting time on illogical motifs of which the audience doesn’t really care for.

Not everything is bad. The use of Rembrandt placing himself in plain sight in his paintings, and the applying the same thing into the film was a stroke of genius. Also what was the deal with Vincent Cassel, he was essentially wasted throughout as the muscle. Rosario Dawson came across originally as the enemy, in the end, she wasn’t. Also, she was naked on screen for an estimate of 2 seconds. They were the best part of the film.

I personally think Danny Boyle has lost a bit of his magic with Trance. It was long, arduous and a little boring. There wasn’t anything in the film that kept me glued to the screen. It was difficult to keep the end of the plot in sight thanks to all the left hooks that Boyle throws at the screen, and in the end, it wasn’t justifiable to enjoy this film. I was confused.

Should you watch it: NO