The Program (Movie Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- The Program charts athlete Lance Armstrong’s meteoric - and dope enhanced - rise to fame, as he made history with seven Tour de France victories and his subsequent complete and utter fall from grace thanks to his own foolishness and the persistent investigative efforts of a journalist.

If there’s one thing that this film proves really well, it is that apart from being able to ride a bike really well, Armstrong (Foster, quite on point) also managed to perfect the dubious art of being a liar and a scam artist.

Frears shows us that the seeds of his downfall were sown before he even achieved global fame. David Walsh (O’Dowd), a journalist at The Sunday Times and a lover of the sport himself, is gobsmacked when he sees a complete turnaround in Armstrong’s performance after recovering from cancer. He tells his mates that in the past, uphill stretches were Armstrong’s Achilles’ heel. Now though, he does it better than the best. Other athletes with similar aerobic capacities are left in the dust. It’s almost as if, as Walsh says, he has become superman.

Lance’s trainer, ‘The Godfather of Doping’ Michele Ferrari (Canet) borrows more from chemistry rather than any noble athletic ideals. At Lance’s urging, he introduces him to Erythropoietin, which increases red blood cell production. It’s actually Armstrong’s teammate Floyd Landis (Plemons) whose testimony leads to the former’s doping scam being unraveled. The film makes no bones about depicting Armstrong as being a pretty evil and manipulative guy, a fraud ready to go to any lengths.

The shots during various Tour de France races feature some fancy camerawork and the eclectic soundtrack also adds zing. While Foster and the principal cast have done their due, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that the film feels a bit inconsistent or too rushed, like a retelling in quick time of an elaborate scam that could have been examined in more detail. Perhaps a more psychological angle would have enhanced the proceedings.

Nonetheless, The Program can be viewed as especially relevant, given that doping in sport is coincidentally, in the news again. Courtesy toi…

The Program

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Guardians of the Galaxy (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- A bounty hunter finds himself pursued by powerful enemies after he steals an orb. Realising that the orb can be deadly in the wrong hands, he forms a team with four other dodgy individuals, all united by a common cause - to keep the orb (and what it contains) from the wrong hands.

Marvel’s latest offering is quite unlike any in its genre. Apart from wit, guile, strength and a gift for being resourceful, these Guardians are quite the underdogs. Peter Quill (Pratt) is the aforementioned bounty hunter and the villains - Ronan (Pace) and his lord Thanos (Brolin) - want the orb for what it contains.

Thanos sends the chartreuse-coloured Gamora (Saldana) to planet Xandar to steal it from Quill, but their ensuing tussle on the street attracts the attention of a genetically engineered raccoon, Rocket (Cooper) and his tree-mutant companion Groot (Diesel). The subsequent melee lands the bunch in a galactic prison called The Kyln, where they meet the muscular Drax (Bautista) who takes everything literally.

Post-prison break, Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot (vocabulary limited to “I am Groot”) form a hesitant alliance, the aim being to keep the orb from Ronan and Gamora’s half-sister Nebula’s (Gillan) grasp and then sell it. From Xandar to the Kyln, the action shifts to Knowhere, an interstellar trade station shaped like a gigantic alien-like head.

Although a team, Gunn gives each Guardian a well-thought-out personality. Refreshingly innovative, delightfully quirky, very well-made and even boundary-bending, the humour keeps rolling with laser-blast frequency in this wildly imaginative and thoroughly entertaining film. The screenplay is tighter than a racetrack with hairpin turns, but the narrative does have a few fissures.

Despite these chinks, the charming performances, strange characters (don’t miss Del Toro as The Collector), spaceships and of course, the 70s soundtrack (a highlight by itself) make this one a heck of an intergalactic romp.

Don’t miss Stan Lee’s customary cameo and in case you’re new to Marvel film lore, stay past the end credits roll. Courtesy toi…


Guardians of the Galaxy

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