Friday, April 25, 2014

Finding Happiness, English Hollywood Documentary film Movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: *  *  *

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              Finding Happiness(English/Documentary)Rating: *  *  *  A serene, supremely relaxed spiritual journey that is simply put- soul touching!

English film review
Johnson Thomas
Film: Finding Happiness
Cast: Elisabeth Rohm, Jyotish Novak, Romina Caruana
Director: Ted Nicolaou
Rating: *  *   *     

Finding Happiness is a film that tries to capture the very essence of peace and tranquility through it’s manifestation of the ‘Ananda’  principle  made famous by Swami Yogananda Paramahans (the man who authored ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’) . This film is neither preachy nor boringly eclectic. With a unique story told through the eyes of an investigative journalist from New York, a highly skeptical  Juliet Palmer(Elisabeth Rohm) , who is forced to experience the spiritualism of the east combined with the pragmatism of the west in a spiritual farm aptly titled ‘Ananda,’ as part of her assignment.  Finding Happiness takes us on a journey to see how people can live in harmony, collaboration, compassion, cooperation, peace and love together in a conscious community called Ananda - which means "joy".

The premise is a skeptical reporter visits the Ananda community in Northen California armed with a pen and a fair amount of doubt. As she meets more members of the community she comes to the realization that yoga, communal living and a more cooperative approach is actually the key to Finding Happiness.

The Ananda Community in northern California , is the place she is sent to.  It is community that practices sustainability and kindness and looks at these attributes as being the key to prolonged happiness.  It’s probably not easy to buy into those principles, especially for someone who is born and brought up under the influences of western capitalistic ideals. At first Juliet is dismissive of her editor’s request but is finally encouraged to seek out the truth and makes the journey. Once there, she keeps an open mind and absorbs the teachings and experiences of every day living. And after only a week of that unique experience she becomes a totally changed person. And you can see the transformation in her highly expressive visage. That is the most triumphant moment for this movie. When Juliet enters Ananda , she is questioning, skeptical and looks a little worn out from city life. At the time of her leaving she looks fresh, lovely, energized with an inner light. The transformation is stunningly portrayed. Elisabeth Rohm does a stunning job convincing us of Ananda lifestyle’s unique benefits. The end result is a changed perspective that we can leave a more benevolent and synergistic lifestyle. A truly fascinating and immersive experience, this!
Brick Mansions, English Hollywood Film Movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * 1/2 
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 Brick Mansions(English) Rating: * ½ The last movie Paul Walker completed before his accidental death, this film appears to be just another filler and brand extension for the next in the Fast and Furious line-up that made him a star!
English Film Review
Johnson Thomas
Film: Brick Mansions
Cast: Paul Walker, Robert Maillet, RZA, Carlo Rota, Dabid Belle
Director: Camille Delamarre
Rating: *  ½

‘Brick Mansions’ is not much of a swan song for recently deceased Paul Walker , there’s the partially complete, and far more befitting F&F 7 coming up for that. This one may at best be considered a career filler, one that extends the F&F brand without doing as much for your entertainment or enjoyment.
 In a future where Detroit's most dangerous criminals occupy the city's deserted brick mansions, an undercover cop joins forces with an ex-convict to defeat the notorious drug kingpin who has taken the mayor hostage. Detroit has fallen to crime, and in an effort to contain it, authorities have sealed up the inner city with a massive wall. Once you're inside, you never get out. Lino( David Belle) is the ex-con who's trying to make a dent on drug lord Tremaine(RZA) ’s business and for that he has to contend with his girlfriend Lola’s abduction. Undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker) is sent in to find the nuclear device that was stolen by Tremaine. Things hot-up and there’s enough reason for racy action.

The best set-piece though was Lino’s escape act straight after he messes with Tremaine’s consignment of drugs. It’s breathtaking and scintillatingly performed and Parkour star David Belle makes it all look strikingly easy. Thereafter there’s nowhere for the film to go. Every action set-piece after that looks a bit clumsy and oafish. Paul Walker can’t really match-up either in action or acting skills and looks pretty distant throughout. The FX is also not as seamless as one would expect from an all-out actioner. Stunt choreography is also limiting except for the Parkour act. The jump cuts and the dropped frames give the stunt choreography a certain edge but it’s just not enough to lift up the kinesis. Director Camille Delamarre teams with screenwriter Luc Besson for this American remake of  the French actioner District B13. But this is not one of Besson’s better efforts for sure. Seems more like a redundant one to me!