Saturday, March 12, 2016


The Imitation Game” (2014), directed by Morten Tyldum, loosely based on the biography “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch as real-life British cryptanalyst Alan Turing, who decrypted German intelligence codes sent via Enigma machines during World War II. The Enigma machines were a series of electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines adopted by military and government services of several countries, most notably Nazi Germany before and during World War II. We can probably safely say that Turing's experimentations are the fountainheads of the modern-day computer. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. He is considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, when such behaviour was still a criminal act in the UK. He accepted treatment with DES (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning.
“The Imitation Game” as a subject matter is already very significant and relevant—yet the movie ventures beyond obligatory “enigmatic genius” bio-movie navigation, essentially due to Cumberbatch's illuminating performance and fluid, never-boring script.

The Equalizer” (2014), directed by Antoine Fuqua, based on the 80s television series of the same name, stars Denzel Washington. Denzel takes off from the original character popularized by Edward Woodward, a retired espionage/intelligence officer with a mysterious past, who uses the skills from his former career to exact vigilante justice on behalf of innocent people who are hopelessly trapped in dangerous circumstances. Fuqua's work with Washington in “Training Day” gifted the latter with an Oscar. That synergy is in full force here—save for the predictable plotpoint, Fuqua's quick as a Western draw pace and right-there sound editing plus Denzel's inherent charisma make this violent fare succeed. A sequel is in the offing.

True Story” (2015), directed by Rupert Goold—starring Jonah Hill and James Franco. Franco plays Christian Longo, a man on the FBI's most wanted list for murdering his wife and three children in Oregon. He hid in Mexico under the identity of Michael Finkel, a journalist, played by Hill. The movie basically revolves around interaction between the two leads, which what basically saved the movie from sliding to ho-hum sleepfest. It is more compelling to read Finkel's book (same title), the basis for the movie. This one is a tedious talky exercise which is “understandable” since the director Mr Goold is more known as a Shakesperean theater director than a movie thespian.

The Purge: Anarchy” (2014), directed by James DeMonaco. The sequel to the 2013's “The Purge.” Plot: In the 2010s following an economic collapse, a sick power took over, instituted anarchy via 28th amendment, established one night a year—сalled "the Purge"—in which all crime is legal and all police, fire, and medical emergency services are shut down for 12 hours. The purge has resulted in crime rates plummeting, unemployment rates at 1 percent and a strong economy. Improbable storyline when we think of reality, you reckon? Judging with the two movies' box office earnings (part 3 coming up), a gun-crazy America finds “fantastical fantasy” in this. Shoot `em all and then fix society. Although more known actors Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey were in the first film, the second which don't parade named acts—fared better, cinema-wise. “Anarchy” has better acting too and crisper editing.

Manglehorn” (2014), directed by David Gordon Green, starring Al Pacino. As expected, Pacino's acting carries this little movie about a reclusive Texas key-maker who spends his days caring for his cat, finding comfort in his work and lamenting a long lost love. Not so exciting plotline of course but it still touched a fiber in me. It's about getting old and how to be happy about it. 

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