Short n Sweet Movie Reviews


As promised earlier, here are short reviews of three pleasant but forgettable movies I saw recently.

Vicky Christina Barcelona

This is the only Woody Allen film I’ve seen so I can’t compare it to his earlier (supposedly superior) works. It’s got a very good-looking and high-profile star-cast ranging from Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, and Javier Bardem.

Bardem and Johansson in Vicky Christina Barcelona

Bardem and Johansson in Vicky Christina Barcelona

The story is about two American friends – Vicky and Christina who travel to Barcelona so that Vicky can complete her studies there. One night while dining at a restaurant, a stranger Javier Bardem comes up to their table who offers them a vacation in a nearby spot in return for sex with both of them.

A weird love triangle develops which quickly becomes a quadrilateral when Bardem’s ex-wife comes to live with him after a failed suicide attempt.

While the characters try to sort out their feelings for each other, we are treated to fabulous scenes of life in Barcelona.

The story is nothing much to write home about and would be quite forgettable if not for the setting in Barcelona, the high-profile star cast and the fun performances.

All in all, very entertaining, and good light-hearted movie to watch.


This is a movie based on the book Austenland by Shannon Hale. I haven’t read the book but this movie was a pleasant if slightly bland watching experience.

The movie stars Keri Russell as Jane Hayes – a modern-day girl who romances hopelessly about the life and times in Jane Austen novels. With her love life a shambles because she is more attracted to her life-size cardboard replica of Firth’s Darcy than any real male, Jane decides to live out her dream and invest all her savings in a trip to Austenland.

Austenland? What on earth is that? It’s like a theme park for Austen fanatics where women can go and live out their dreams of living in Jane Austen’s world complete with suitors, balls, and so on.

Keri Russell with her Mr. Darcy

Keri Russell with her Mr. Darcy

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them.

Will Jane be able to kick her Austen obsession for good, or will she find her real-life Mr.Darcy there?

The plot is flimsy at best and practically threadbare in many places. The only reason the movie is watchable is Keri Russell who rises above the limitations of the movie.

Watch this movie if:

  1. You are a woman or
  2. Read and enjoyed the book or
  3. Fan of Jane Austen books

World War Z

Snooze. That’s the only word I have to describe this movie.

It’s based on a very popular book – World War Z by Max Brooks. I haven’t read the book, but the goodreads reviews don’t tally up with my memories of the film making me feel this film is far from a faithful adaptation.

Technically the film does well. It stars Brad Pitt. He plays Gerry Lane, a former United Nations field agent who retired to spend time with his wife and his two daughters.

One day while stuck in a traffic jam this family finds out that society is collapsing around them when there is a stampede of terrified civilians and their vehicles, and a furious attack by people who’ve been infected by a virus that turns them into zombies.

Lane’s first task is protecting his family and getting them to safety. He then travels around the world hoping to find a way to stop the outbreak of this virus.

The special effects are good, and the zombies look suitably zombie-like.

Zombies scaling a wall

Zombies scaling a wall

The plot is decent too, however, the film feels too mechanical in many places, and I could guess the twists and turns long before it happened.

Overall, technically good, but the movie still falls flat in terms of thrills.

Have you seen these movies? What do you think? Have you seen any other movies you can recommend to me?

  • Five-Eyed Bookworm

    One of my resolutions this year is to watch more movies that are not too mainstream, so the movies in this review are now in my to-watch-list 🙂 I love Scarlett Johansson. I especially liked her character in Lost In Translation. The first movie Vicky Christina Barcelona sounds interesting. I have World War Z but I haven’t watched it. I’m not really fond of zombie movies or zombie books for that matter but I might give the movie a try.

    • Nishita

      @fiveeyedbookworm:disqus I’m interested in reading World War Z – a couple of comments on this post make me think the book is worth reading. But you can safely give the movie a skip.

      Vicky Christina Barcelona is nice, and I love how Woody Allen has captured the Spanish setting.

  • Avada Kedavra

    I haven’t seen any of these movies. Might want to watch the Vicky one. Sounds interesting to me and even I have not seen any Woody Allen movie so far.

    • Nishita

      @Avada Kedavra: I think Woody Allen movies appeal to a specific type of audience – at least that’s what I was told, and I am not sure I am the target audience. That said VCB is fun

  • whiteadi

    wwz has little to do with the book, the book is like a documentary on how come it come to this, to the conditions that permitted the apocalypse, and it is very well made with critics to the consumerism and the slow movement of governments on issues they think have low prio because don’t bring $ soon …

    Vicky is pleasant with some good performance by the actors but Woody can do better 🙂

    didn’t see the other

    • Nishita

      @whiteadi:disqus I had a suspicion the WWZ movie was nothing like the book. It was just way too bland, typical summer popcorn flick.

      • whiteadi

        indeed, I was very very disappointing because wwz the book was the smartest zombie book I ever read 🙂

        I did read some good books with apocalypses: the road and wool

        but they have no zombies in it 🙂

        Feed series is nice but way more comercial

  • Maddie

    I have only watched VCB from the list and I loved it. Am not much of zombie fan either and I stay away from anything that’s even remotely related to P&P. Don’t want to taint my mental image of Mr. Darcy 🙂

  • Jenny @ Reading the End

    I don’t watch enough movies! Maybe in 2014 I can try to see more films — I watch plenty of TV and I read plenty, and movies get the shaft. If you can tolerate a lot of grimness, I hear good things about Blackfish. (Too grim for me. I had to shut my eyes when the trailer played in a movie theater.)

    • Nishita

      @Jenny@Reading the End: I don’t watch many movies either. I just can’t focus enough. I need to watch it at a stretch with no disruptions (which rarely happens).

      If I pause a movie to get up and do something, that’s it. I usually never get to it again :).

  • veens

    None of these movies are from genres I will probably watch.

    • Nishita

      @veens:disqus honestly, they aren’t my favorite genres either. The only reason I watched them at all was because I was in a plane.

      That said, they aren’t bad movies – entertaining but forgettable.

      • veens

        🙂 Right now I saw Iron Man 2 for maybe the 50th time, and survived 😀 Highly recommend THAT genre .. there are lot of dialogues I have byhearted. Do me a favor do not even in forever introduce that boy of yours to stuff like this :'( [ I needed to say this somewhere – sorry that you had to listen in :D)

        • Nishita

          @veens:disqus Oh, I love Iron Man too 🙂

  • Shweta

    I’ve watched two on your list. Vicky Christina Barcelona was good but definitely not Woody Allen’s best. Watch Annie Hall or Manhattan to start with. Manhattan is a personal favourite. I am yet to watch World War Z but then I don’t like zombie movies. So I know which way that’s headed

    • Nishita

      @disqus_W3bZsBdKXf:disqus You can safely give this one a skip. I thought it would be good because of Brad Pitt, plus it’s based on a well-known book, but it was mediocre stuff.

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