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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Descendants - Endearing!


 


        ‘The Descendants’ is a story about modern day families. It is about how dysfunctional the families get and how clueless they are in their attempt to deal with the things that go wrong.

George Clooney is a Hawaii based lawyer, whose wife, Patricia Hastie is in a hospital as a result of a boat accident. He now has to take care of his two daughters, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller, who have been disconnected from their father due to his hectic professional life.  While on this emotionally horrendous phase, Clooney learns that his wife was cheating him and was seeing someone else. Things get worse but he also has to decide with his cousins if they should be selling off their family land.

On a level, it is emotionally draining. But, this movie doesn’t try to take a stand. It doesn’t preach ‘how to’. On top of that , the comic elements at every juncture of that journey that catch the audience by a pleasant surprise and gives instant chuckles. That is the best part of this smartly written movie.

Alexander Payne does an excellent job at managing all the parallel tracks well. It could have gone wrong with these many sub plots. But, it doesn’t feel like that one bit. The dialogues are straight out of real lives and nothing seems dramatic at all.The slow pace of narration goes well with the theme of the movie but still does not make the viewer conscious about it.

The performances by the lead actors are engrossing. Clooney does a remarkable job and doesn’t overdo his role even a wee bit. He has now done the ‘good acting’ part in many movies now but it still feels so amazing to watch him give that best shot at even regular sequences that would have gone unnoticed with many other actors. There are scenes in the movie that stay with you because of the brilliant performance by Clooney and the rest of the cast. I have to mention one scene that has got itself etched in my mind, the one where he makes an announcement to his wife’s friends about 'something important' at a party. As he bids good bye to everyone and turns around to get into his house again, there is a moment when it seems like everything else has vanished and he has nothing but his pain to deal with. He goes down on his knees and feels like he has lost a battle. The way that scene was done made me go ‘wow’ and at the same time created a ‘lump in the throat’ moment!

Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller are very good in their roles. They try to match up to Clooney and do a pretty good job at that. I would be surprised if Clooney and Shailene fail to fetch at least a few big award nominations for their performances. It is movie like these that an actor would love to see in his career retrospection and rightly so.

This movie is one of the best to have come out this year and has fetched/will continue to fetch tons of accolades. Don’t miss the better side of the Hollywood; watch ‘The Descendants’.




Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rockstar - WOW !

**Spoilers ahead**




Mujhpe karam sarkar tera
Arz tujhe, kar de mujhe
Mujhse hi riha.
Ab mujhko bhi ho deedar mera
Karde mujhe mujhse hi riha
Mujhse hi riha.

Thrown out of his house by his brothers, Ranbir takes shelter at a Mosque and blurts out these words mentioned above. He is struggling with many demons here, few inside of him and few others outside. But none bigger than his love.

Imtiaz Ali has mastered the art of showing emotional conflicts of separated lovers. May be, he has a patent of such sorta movies.  But, he excels every time he attempts it. He must have slipped in terms of totality in ‘Love Aaj Kal‘ but ’Socha Na Tha’ and to large extents ’Jab We Met’ were well made movies. Major share of accolades deservingly went to Imtiaz. He uses the same pattern of story in Rockstar albeit this time with a musical theme.

Ranbir Kapoor is like just another common guy living in Delhi. He aspires to become a big music sensation one day but just fails to take it to the next level from being a random guy singing to his friends in his free time. He is constantly encouraged by Kumud Mishra , the college canteen guy to follow his dream and to try and pursue his musical aspirations.  Mishra suggests that greatest artists have always had a pain to fuel their creative inner selves that turns them into the great artists.

So, to turn into a musician driven by his pain, Ranbir ‘tries’ to get his heart broken by sheepishly confessing his fake love to the beautiful Nargis Fakhri. She expectedly despises him for doing this. Ranbir’s attempt doesn’t succeed in making him a failed lover as it was all based on fake feeling anyways. But, in a turn of events, Nargis befriends Ranbir and they become good friends in no time. Nargis’s wedding is only a month away and they both set out to fulfill her “wish list” that she won’t dare to think of, after getting married.  Meanwhile, they get close to each other emotionally and unknowingly fall in love only to be shattered and longing for each other after her wedding. She moves to Prague with her husband and loses contact with Ranbir.

He returns to his home after the wedding but unfortunate turn of events lead him to a fight with his family. He then has to depart from there and take shelter at a Dargah. He then tries to rediscover himself and later with the help of Kumud Mishra, Ranbir embarks on his musical career. But, being the simple person he is, he feels smothered in the world driven by music labels.

A journalist, Aditi Rao trying to make a story out of Ranbir’s life inadvertently tells him about an opportunity to visit Prague through his music label and he grabs the chance at the first sight of it. He appears infront of Nargis with no notice and they then begin the second chapter of their ‘relationship’. With the realization that they are going on a path that is ethically inappropriate, they continue to defy their guilt and spend time together. But, Nargis pulls the curtain down by deciding that she can’t go any further with Ranbir on this. This makes a deeper wound in Ranbir and he gets into a web of disappointment and depression.

Tum logon ki iss duniya mein,
har kadam pe insaan galat.
Main sahi samjh ke jo bhi karoon tum kehte ho galat.
Main galat hoon toh phir kaun sahi. 
Marzi se jeene ki bhi main  
kya tum sab ko arzi doon ?
Matlab ki tum sabka mujhe pe mujhse bhi zyada haqq hai!!

The external factors start causing problems to Ranbir and he in turn gets into a self destruction mode that threatens to finish his career before he could make a real mark for himself. Kumud Mishra tries his best to make him realise all this but Ranbir fails to see why he does things that are destroying him slowly.

Nargis gets diagnosed with a serious medical condition and comes back to her parents in India. Situations force Ranbir and Nargis to be face-to-face again and this starts the final chapter of their love saga. But, things like always, do not go smoothly and we see how the Ranbir battles with these problems.

Kaagare, kaagare ,
More itni araj tose,
Chun chun khaayio maas.
Re jiya re, Khayyo naa tu naina more,
Khayyo naa tu naina more,
Hai piya ke Milan ki aas.

For me, there are 5 true rockstars in this movie : Ranbir, Imtiaz , Rahman, Irshad Kamil and Mohit Chauhan.  Rahman’s music had already created hysteria before the movie released. But, Imtiaz takes it a notch higher with brilliant picturisation. The music haunts the viewer and aided by mystical voice of Mohit and brilliant lyrics by Irshad, it turns out be an out of the world experience.

Ranbir is on cheat-mode in this movie. Simply surreal. Whatta brilliant actor!! This one should be among his best performances and is almost as good as the one in Rocket Singh. K.Jo should now stop asking his guests from next season the question about who among Ranbir and Imran has a better future, if it wasn't obvious so far!! Just chuck it K.Jo.

Imtiaz continues his fine run and displays mastery over his act here. He opts for a twisted screenplay and non-linear narration that simply take the movie from good to the next level. His unconventional approach in narrating a love story stands out and offers freshness in its style. The characters(apart from a few) are very well written and Imtiaz doesn’t get into creating too many sub plots that could have undue diversion of attention.

The only problems I see with this movie are with the casting of Nargis and weak character played by Aditi Rao. The beautiful Nargis Fakhri tries hard but fails miserably as an actor. Imtiaz must have gone for charm over talent for her role but I don’t think that choice is totally justified. For me, things would have worked better if he had just swapped roles between Nargis and Aditi Rao!

I don't really care much about the 'Free Tibet' image blurring controversy. Imtiaz had to agree to it as it would have been a huge risk taking on the Censor board few days before the release.Everything works from a monetary angle these days and it would be stupid to claim that director used this as a gimmick or chickened out under pressure. If someone has to be blamed for this then it has to be our esteemed censor board that does inane stuff like this.

This movie may not be a master piece but is still one of the better movies delivered by our revered hindi movie industry. We may cause more harm to ourselves if we fail to appreciate the beauty of this movie. It is not an everyday thing for such a well made hindi movie excelling in almost all departments to be presented to the audience in this country.If we fail to see the good points here then maybe we deserve crap like Ready, Bodyguard and Double Dhamaal.

Jo bhi main kehna chahoon,
barbaad kare alfaz mere!





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ides of March - Mesmerizing !!


There is a scene in which Gosling and Clooney meet in a hotel that’s shut for outsiders. They engage in a conversation where they both try to outdo each other and attempt at proving the other person wrong. It’s a simple scene but the director employs clever lines and great style in conveying the emotional turbulence that both the characters go through during that chat.

Political thrillers are always interesting to watch. There is always a plot of people involved in betrayal, cheating and treachery. This movie also does that. But, where it stands out from the rest of the lot is in its realistic depiction of the behind the scenes events. It doesn’t get too dramatic at any stage nor does it try to over-sympathize with the characters. It is bold, hardnosed and to the point.

The story revolves around the presidential campaign of George Clooney which is ably lead by Philip Seymour Hoffman as his chief campaign manager, Ryan Gosling who is Hoffman’s assistant and their team. Paul Giamatti, who is the chief campaign manager of the opponent camp tries to entice Gosling into working for them and pushes him into turmoil. Principles and ambitions clash with each other but Gosling prefers to stay with Clooney instead of joining the opposition camp. But, unknowingly this event and another critical one (a major spoiler) lead into sequences that threaten to derail the whole presidential campaign of Clooney and career aspirations of Gosling. The story then revolves around these lead characters to show how they battle tough situations trying to come out clean and successful.

This movie belongs to Ryan Gosling. This is his 3rd movie this year after Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love. He continues to try different genres but still emerges unscathed by the burden of intense characters and difficult scripts. He is truly one of the best ‘actors’ around and has again done one hell of a job. It was an uphill task for him to perform alongside movie heavyweights like Clooney, Hoffman and Giamatti. But, Gosling works like magic. He takes the centre stage with utmost ease and carries the movie forward with his brilliant performance.

George Clooney is impressive as a director. He takes a backseat in terms of screen time and lets the story unfold from Gosling’s point of view. Clooney’s control over the narration is amazing and he doesn’t lose the grip over the story at any point in time. The performances are duly enhanced by smart dialogues and they add a punch to the already impressive package.

This movie may not appeal to everyone because of its pace and the style of film making. But, it’s a definite watch for every moviegoer. Miss it at your own risk as ‘The Ides of March’ is mesmerizing.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moneyball - Engaging!


        Making movies about true events from the sports world is one of the toughest jobs in movie industry. The audience get associated with the movie easily and its then a big gamble from the movie maker's point of view. The passion towards the sport would reflect in the opinion towards the movie and it will get easily discarded by the audience if the maker keeps even one wrong step.

Moneyball works very well given all the gambles it has to play with. It is a simple story told beautifully!

Moneyball talks about the baseball managerial career of Billy Jeane(Brad Pitt). He is incharge of a club that has been mediocre in recent past and its upto Billy to revive the fate of the club. In his pursuit of revival, he asks a young,bright economics graduate Peter Brand(Jonah Hill) to assist him. They both team up and try to "replace transfer of popular players" approach with that of statistical computation of cheaper but good players. They face obvious opposition from the core group of advisors and the coach Art Howe(Philip Seymour Hoffman). But, they relentlessly try to implement their approach and the story is then about how Pitt and Hill try to take the club to pinnacle of success.

The main story track is interlaced with two sub plots. One of Billy Jeane's career as player when he got spotted by a club in his teens. Another story track is that of his current personal life. He is a divorcee and gets to meet his daughter every now and then. Director focusses on how Billy coped with his personal conflicts and devils of past to divert all his angst into his baseball job.

The narration basically is made up of extended scenes consisting long conversations. These conversations are made very engaging and interesting by the dialogues that have been written in a clever way. Not once does the pace drop drastically to make the viewer uncomfortable or bored.

Although the story in itself  is good and inspiring but its the performances of Pitt, Hill and Hoffman that takes the movie to greater heights. This can be considered as one of their best performances of all time.

The interaction between Pitt and his daughter are very catchy. The sequences are written and executed beautifully.  Brad Pitt's internal turmoil has been portrayed very well and the director shows how good he is at his craft.

This movie was touted as Brad Pitt's shot at the Oscars. I'm not sure if he'll be the leading contender but I'm certain that  the academy will reward him with a nomination at least. This is more than a wish than a prediction.

Its a very good movie and definitely deserves all the accolades. Watch it!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

DRIVE - Brilliant!



        We've watched a lot of heist movies. We've also watched many 'heist gone wrong' movies. But, this one is not quite like the ones we've watched before.

DRIVE is a movie about Ryan Gosling who works as a movie stunt man, car mechanic at a garage and a wheelman helping the burglars getaway from the scene of crime. He leads a lonely life and gets sucked into his neighbour Carrey Mulligan's life when he meets her by chance. She is a married woman with a kid and is waiting for her husband to be released from Prison. Gosling forms an emotional bond with Mulligan and her kid and becomes part of their lives. Mulligan's husband gets out of jail and in interesting circumstances gets along with Gosling for a heist. But, this heist goes wrong and Gosling falls into a web of dangerous backlash from the mob and this gets intertwined with his relationship with Mulligan and her kid. The story is then about how he manages to break all the shackles.

Its a simple story with no great layered approach to the narration. But, its the treatment to this story by the director Nicholas Wending Refn that makes this movie go from good to brilliant. Ryan Gosling is mindblowing in his understated and subtle performance. His interactions wih Mulligan are the highlights of the movie. Through out the movie, director goes for fewer dialogues than what would have seemed adequate. He lets the scenes unfold using clever pauses and great background score. He also loads confrontation scenes with violence and doesn't shy away from showing the brutal side of the leading character.

I would be pleased to see Gosling fetching an oscar nomination for his performance but the chances are next to none going by the genre and the tone of the movie. Academy prefers to stay away from this kinda movie.

Fast paced thrillers are ruling the roost these days but its a slow paced, stylish and effortless movie like this one that comes across like a breath of fresh air. Its not your regular edge-of-the-seat thriller but it is more in the space of a Mulholland Drive in which there is no visible urgency for the story to unfold.

Watch this movie and be sure to get treated with this stylish side of Hollywood that entices the audience of better movies in days of mindless, 'heavily loaded with routine action' and cliches days!



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Contagion - Touchy!



       Director Steven Soderbergh has an impressive CV. What stands out is his audacity to try different genres and subjects in every new project of his. Good directors often do that.

This time around he has delivered a movie on an epidemic that creates mass hysteria. Its a unique subject material and Soderbergh is more than capable of doing a good job at it.

The story revolves around how the people and global health organisations cope with an epidemic that threatens to wipe out a major chunk of the population on this planet. The movie dwells into psyche of common people and at the same time gives us the picture of how intelligence agencies and government health agencies react to this uncontrollable phenomenon.

To garner public attention, director has casted hollywood heavyweights like Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cottilard, Kate Winslet and Laurence Fishburne. But, the director doesn't get startstruck and ensures that he does not give more attention to any character more than what the story dictates. Each of these stars have done a good job at what they have been asked to do.

This movie works because of various things. For me, the best aspects were the narration, camera work and background score. Camera lingers on certain objects every now and then to magnify the effect that object would hold on the spreading of the epidemic. Director uses this effect among others to create a thriller out of a story of how a disease takes lives and baffles everyone.

The first and last 10 mins of the movie have fewer dialogues and are brilliantly executed.Director plays with the pace of the story telling almost faultlessly.

The only part of the movie that could have been better is the story track of Jude Law for the first half of the movie and kinda pull the intensity down. But, director makes it up but by adding extra meat to that track and giving it an important place in the narration.

Watch this movie for its unconventional take on a subject that itself has not been tried many times.Watch it for stars who turn into mere characters. Watch it to know how the 'controlling groups' of the society go about their affairs in situations like this.Watch it to witness how common people like us become hooligans for the sake of survival.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Don't be afraid of the dark - A disappointment!



        I think its the imperative that horror movies should contain few horror elements that can give some 'scary' moments to the audience and make the movie worth watching. This movie fails miserably at that.

This is a story of a kid(Bailee Madison) who moves into her father's(Guy Pearce) house battered by distancing herself from her mother. She also has to adapt living with a step mother(Katie Holmes) at the same time.

The mansion they live in has an unpleasant past attached and the kid discovers those elements and the story is then about how those elements affect the family and their efforts in coming out of this situation.

The story unfolds at a leisurely pace and the director has good hold on the proceedings. He has been let down by a weak script and forced to work in a limited space.

The best parts of the movie are the ones that show the uncomfortable interaction between Bailee and Katie. 

There are no good reasons for me to recommend this movie to anyone. Give it a miss and you won't be sad about doing so!!


Final destination 5 - Same old BS!



      Every time a Final destination movie releases, it divides the audience into 2 groups - the ones who don't mind watching newer ways of getting killed and others who don't!

I skipped watching FD 4 because I knew that it would be same old shit and wouldn't really excite me as an audience. I wasn't wrong in that, based on what I heard from my friends.

FD 5 gets unwrapped in the similar structure as the earlier movies. A group of co-workers set out on an outing in a bus. They have to pass through a bridge that is under construction. A central character gets a premonition about a tragedy on that bridge and he then saves the lives of his colleagues from it.

Death now has to strike back and take lives of these people and it does it in its own style by coming up with hilarious ways of killing them.

Same old shit!

3D effects were average and were too desperate. Not the best effort, I must say. The plot was as thin as it could ever be and nothing new was offered.

I still can't figure it out as to what made me watch FD 5 in theatre. Was it the trailer ? 3D ? a hope that it would be better this time ? Don't know! I'll just stop thinking about it.

All in all, a movie worth watching if one is a fan of the franchisee. A definite miss otherwise!




Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America - Immensely entertaining!

       

        It was an ambitious attempt by Marvel studios to make movies about each of their Avengers superheroes and then culminate in a grand movie putting all these fellas on the same stage. Iron Man started it and impressed the audience and critics instantly. Iron Man 2 disappointed in comparison but still kept the franchisee going. Thor was the first big release of Marvel this summer and it made an honest attempt to introduce the character and made its mark.

So, the stage was set for the final superhero launch before the big Avengers movie. Here is Captain America, the first Avenger. He is the first member of the Superhero team put together by S.H.I.E.L.D. 

The story revolves around Chris Evans(Steve Rogers/Captain America) who wants to join the military and contribute his bit in helping the nation to win the World War 2. But, his lean and small built doesn’t give him a great chance in making his dream come true. But, his honesty, goodness and determination impress the right people and he gets chosen for a secret project of the military. This project involves making a normal person gain super-humanly powers by undergoing a scientific experiment. The experiment works and lean,weak Steve Rogers becomes a strong, tall Captain America. The story is then about how Captain America fights against Hugo Weaving(Johann Schmidt/Red Skull) , a nazi with intentions of taking control of the whole world. 

The story is simple and narrated very well. The script is potent enough to keep the momentum up for most of the parts. But, its the dialogue that takes the cake. The lines are clever and induce smiles every now and then.The director Joe Johnston works with a script that ensures the proceedings are entertaining and there are very few 'could have been avoided' moments.

Performances by all the leading actors and supporting characters is very good. Tommy Lee Jones stands out with his quirky lines. Hayley Atwell does justice to her role of a stern military commander and few moments when she turns into love interest of Chris Evans. Hugo Weaving makes his bad guy performance stand head to head with the saviour's. 

Chris Evans looks every bit of Captain America. He doesn't look out of sorts and seems like he was destined to play this role one day. He does well as the bullied and battered Steve Rogers and equally well as dominating and heroic Cap America.

Only problems I see with this movie are that it could have been shorter by chopping off few scenes. Also, the ending seemed a bit dull and let the momentum down. It wasn't a fitting climax to what the story played out till then. But, what followed the climax did bring a smile back.

Captain America will team up with Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Hawk Eye to fight against the baddies!! Marvel now has a huge opportunity in hand with the big Avengers movie next summer. Lets hope that they don't get star struck by putting so many superheroes and superstars on the same screen.

Captain America has few glitches but is surely entertaining through out. Go and get introduced to the first avenger! Watch it!




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - Mantal Buuwwwoys



The year was 2001 and the movie was Dil Chahta Hai. It spoke about male bonding like not many other movies had attempted before. The movie did not go on to become a box office hit but it gained a cult following for all the break-the-cliches attempts it made.  Countless movies since then have tried to implement the same logic and have failed dismally. 

Back to the present day, another movie from the same production house using the same concept of male bonding between 3 friends. Just that this time, they are on a road trip and in the beautiful country of Spain instead of homely beaches of Goa.

So, is this movie a remake or a sequel or ‘insert a similar word here’ of DCH ? No, sorry to disappoint everyone but it isn’t. The plot could sound similar but that’s where the comparison should end. ZNMD commands its own space and should in no way be neglected for its merits because of few similarities with DCH.

ZNMD is a story of three friends Abhay, Hritik and Farhan who set out on a bachelor road trip being a few months away from Abhay’s marriage with Kalki. They meet Katrina on their journey and she becomes part of their gang for the rest of it. Each of the lead characters have their inner turmoil to overcome that they are reminded at every step of the journey and the story is then about how they deal with those issues.

So, is this a good enough plot to hold the viewers’ attention for 2.5 hours ? Well, not quite. But then the movie packs enough punch in the treatment and narration. Zoya Akhtar makes most of the script written by herself and Reema Kagti. She shows tremendous control over the pacing of the movie for most of it. She ensures that none of characters emerge shallow enough to be discarded as artificial. The treatment is fresh and doesn’t abide by the clichés.  

What makes the ride more enjoyable are the dialogues by Farhan that are top notch. The dialogues seem real and appear straight out of our daily conversations albeit with more humour. Give me realistic humour and dialogues of ZNMD over so called ‘closer-to-life’ dialogues in Delhi Belly, any day!!

The road trip introduces us to the beautiful locales of Spain that we may have not seen in many movies before. The camera work is very good and doesn’t go overboard trying to highlight the locales.

Music is the lowest point for me in this movie. Apart from Senorita, there are not many songs that remain etched in our minds. SEL have done a better job than few of their recent attempts but still seem totally lost when compared to their initial promise.  

I would have wanted to see more of Abhay in the important sequences of the movie. Farhan and Hritik loom large and this in a sense pushes Abhay back which means that the director has definitely not made most of his talent. 

This movie dares to push the boundaries of mainstream cinema and attempts at covering all the emotional aspects of the characters without making it a regular boring drama. It succeeds in what it tried to convey and I’m pretty sure that the audience gets the point. Leave the past behind, make most of today and live for the moment. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Delhi Belly – Mediocrity at its best




Not every day affair this when a movie shocks, surprises and disappoints all in a span of 100 odd minutes. But, this movie did that and how!

Delhi Belly is a common term for what wikipedia calls as ‘Traveler's diarrhea’. So, one of our main characters Kunal Roy Kapoor, a photo journalist is suffering from this condition. His roommates are Vir Das, a cartoonist and Imran Khan, a journalist. The basic plot involves these 3 guys getting intertwined with a local gang chasing an item that contains diamonds worth crores. The trio gets stuck in a deep mess and the story is about how they manage to find their way out of it.

The story is not fresh but the treatment is. A real highlight of this movie is the free flowing profanity filled dialogue. I don’t remember a mainstream movie that could boast of such dialogues. This will make many people identify the characters as real and few others may think that it is overdone.

So, is this movie worthy enough to be given cult status? Not quite. I didn’t really find the basic plot gripping enough. The humour was inconsistent and wasn’t really laugh inducing in many of the places. But, I must say that those patches with good humour are really good. Few sequences are hilarious like the opening ones and the one where the burkha clad trio visits the jeweler to get their stuff back.

I still can’t get convinced about Imran’s acting. He has the meatiest role but fails to impress when compared to the other two lead characters. Vir Das and Kunal Roy Kapoor would have really made most out of better roles. They still do a brilliant job at what they have been asked to do.

Apart from these two, its Vijay Raaz and Poorna Jagannathan who impress the most. Vijay Raaz should get more roles of these types and directors should stop wasting his talent in mindless movies. Poorna is fresh and she should now shift base to Mumbai from Hollywood as she is sure to get more offers after this performance.

Why on earth was Shenaz Treasury(wala ?!) needed in the plot ? That whole sub plot of Imran getting engaged to Shenaz was the most boring part of the movie and could have been handled differently. Also, Vir Das’s love story was under cooked. That could have been given 10-15 minutes more and for sure it wouldn’t have been bad.

The songs have been used fairly well. Its good to see that there are no forced song sequences though more than couple of songs had caught up well with the audience. These songs are used in the background and go well with the narrative.

I think the ploy of using too much of profanity has worked for the makers. I noticed that the audience enjoyed seeing the main characters foul mouthing so much. But, the movie should have had more to it than just the shock/surprise inducing dialogues.

I wouldn't be surprised if this movie is considered one of the better movies this year.But, it would make me cringe if its mentioned in the same breath as 'Stanley Ka Dabba' and 'Dhobi Ghat'. This movie is more of a marketing triumph for Aamir Khan than a hit based on its content. So, that’s how it should be treated.

All in all, it is an average movie with few good sequences and over the top profanity through out. Different than most of the other movies these days but not really better. 



Friday, July 1, 2011

Transformers 3 - Awesome machines and silly humans!



Michael Bay did nothing much to impress the fans or critics with ‘Transformers 2 – Revenge of fallen’. It was incoherent almost through out and irritating at times. So, it was a daunting task for him to turn around the series with the third installment.

So, is the 3rd movie in the series any different? Yes and No. Its based on the same model of the previous one but just that few bits are touched up well.

Let’s get this straight, the only reason one should watch this movie is for the visually stunning, brilliantly planned and amazingly executed action scenes. Add 3D to that and what you have is scintillating piece of action that has not been witnessed regularly on the celluloid.

The movie relies far too much on the CG heavy action scenes between Autobots and Decepticons. Optimus Prime, Bumble Bee and their gang of autobots again try to be saviors of earth and guard their human friends against Decepticons who this time around want to shift their planet to earth (?!?). The background music is often subdued but is impressive whenever heard.

A special mention is deserved by two sequences, one in which deceptions attack Shia Labouf and John Turturro on a freeway. The second one is the grand climax and the sequences leading to it. It was a smart move to include base jumpers as part of the action scenes as these scenes set up by brilliant camera work and execution add another dimension to the action. I personally loved these sequences.

The scenes in the movie with only human characters are so damn pedestrian when compared to the ones with the machines. There is still no plot around Shia Labeouf and he seems clueless when he is not with machines. New recruit Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who replaces Megan Fox, looks dull most of the times. She for sure is only there to add visual appeal but fails to do it, according to me. Then you have Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and their gang of fighters who don’t disappoint with all the supporting action they are entitled to do.

But then, a movie of 154 minutes has to have more than outstanding action to achieve a ‘good’ movie tag. This movie is a one time watch and fails terribly if you look at without the action.

Watch it once only for the visual delight of machines fighting against each other and enhanced with 3D.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - A Preview


        We have waited for this movie with lot of anticipation and excitement. A casting coup of sorts with few of the best technicians from the industry.
 
Release Date : 15 - July - 2011 

Basic Plot - Abhay is engaged to Kalki and he wants to go on a bachelor trip with his friends Hritik and Farhan before his wedding. All 3 of them set off on a road trip across Spain.Katrina meets them on their journey and what follows is an adventure of a lifetime.


Cast and Crew

Director - Zoya Akhtar made a confident debut with 'Luck by chance'. Though the movie did not go on to be a commercial success, it had enough good stuff in it to be noticed by the audience.

Story - Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar

Producer - Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar's EXCEL Entertainment

Lead Actors - Farhan Akhtar, Hritik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin and Katrina Kaif

Music - Shankar Ehsaan Loy

Lyrics - Javed Akhtar


Trailers

For all the expectations and excitement that people had about this movie, the first trailer was such a turn off! it seemed like a student's project put together in the last minute.At least, I didn't like it! Watch it below -


Then came a teaser of shorter duration but slick and stylish. Something that should have been released first. It did perfectly what a trailer should do. Give out enough details to get the viewer interested and hold back enough stuff to make it intriguing. Watch it below -




Song promo of 'Paint it red'



Song promo of  'Senorita' 



Music

Shankar Ehsaan Loy have had a bad couple of years or so. They are out of form, stuck in their stereotypic tunes and had to do something to break all the self imposed cliches.

They do something to regain their reputation here. The music brings back a touch of memories of 'Dil Chahta Hai'. Its fresh, soothing and youthful(is that a word ?). Javed Akhtar doesn't normally go wrong with his lyrics and he sticks to his class.

The album boats of at least 3-4 songs that are catchy and it remains to be seen how much impact the visuals will have on rest of the album.

Link to the wiki page on music - Click here

Listen to the songs online - Click here

Controversies

  • It was widely reported that the movie was having serious problem on the editing table. The director Zoya was having a tough time with the editors(or other way around) to get the movie edited according to her approach. For further read - click here to check the article in Open magazine by Rajeev Masand.  
  • Then we had the poster plagiarism story going all over the blogosphere. Here is what we pulled out -

            What do you think ?

Irrespective of the 'controversies', (we expect) this movie will be worth the money spent.

Final words


This movie has been in the news since the casting was announced and it would be an under statement to say that the people joining hands on this project made it more than exciting for all the movie fans to keep the anticipation up.

Its a movie that the fans have pateintly waited for and this is precisely what could take the movie down if it doesn't boast of a praise worthy script and premise. Fingers crossed!

Videos - Youtube
Information - Wiki

Monday, June 13, 2011

X-Men : First Class is Refreshing!

Brett Ratner(X-Men Last Stand) and Sam Raimi(Spiderman 3) both messed up big time with the 3rd installments of two very famous movie franchises to the dismay of loyal fans. Though these movies made loads of money, it was more than an agreement from most of the fans that lack of quality was apparent and this meant that the studios had to do something about the disappointment. Hence, the decision by the makers to reboot the franchises.

So, here we have Matthew Vaughn of ‘Kick Ass’ fame directing the first installment of this new series. The movie takes us back to 1960s and talks about the circumstances that the mutants had to undergo in their initial days and how they all came together to form the team X-Men. The story has a backdrop of cold war and how the team does its bit to avoid a nuclear warfare.

So, does this movie really leave a positive impression ? For all the expectations it had and all the cynicism surrounding the take of origins approach employed, this movie does one hell of a job! It is beautifully shot, has great background music, good action scenes and all this topped off with brilliant acting performances.

James McAvoy(Professor X) and Michael Fassbender(Magneto) are a treat to watch every time they are on the screen. Not a single line delivered by these 2 gentlemen comes across as ‘off the target’. They don’t seem unmatched to the two legendary actors who played these roles in the earlier franchise. They carry the narration forward and impart great composure and panache to the proceedings.

I loved Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s bone. She plays the role of Mystique here and gives a very humane touch to the character which definitely was never intended to be portrayed in the earlier franchise. The other mutant characters are also very well etched and are able enough to catch the attention of the audience. Kevin Bacon plays the badguy and gives the negative role enough style and meat.

First point that I’m most happy about is the fact that the movie doesn’t go overboard by including too many mutants in the mix and in the process too many stories in the plot. This helps the movie to keep firmly attached to the main plot with the few sub-plots adding enough spice. It would be interesting to see what the future installments will do on this front and how well do they introduce the newer mutants and how many. Second point is that the movie doesn’t solely rely on special effects to provide the ‘whoo-aah’ moments. Its not overdone and used adequately and effectively.

This movie is a perfect launch that the new franchise could have hoped for. All major characters have been firmly placed now and it would be a challenging job to go one up in the sequels.

Its a perfect BIG SCREEN movie that any regular movie watcher wouldn’t want to miss.


Shaitan - A review

   


      Before I get started with the review, lets get one thing clear. Contrary to public opinion, this is NOT Anurag Kashyap's Shaitan. This is debutant Bejoy Nambiar's Shaitan (remember AK is the producer). So Bejoy deserves a lion's share of the appreciation that the movie is receiving.(I appreciate AK saying the same in an interview on one of the news channels)
Having said that, its hard to leave out the "Anurag Kashyap" factor out of the picture. People who have watched Dev D, Black Friday or Paanch would know what AK brings to the table. In the same way, Shaitan too has little chunks of AK's charisma sprinkled over the script that works like magic, for most of the movie.

Cast:
---------
Shiv Pandit - Dash
Kalki Koechlin - Amy
Neil Bhopalam - Zubin
Gulshan Devaiah - KC
Kirti Kulhari - Tanya
Rajeev Khandelwal - Inspector Mathur

What its all about:
----------------------
Dash - the restaurant worker cum drug peddler,
Zubin - the computer geek,
KC - the guy who's blowing up his dad's money at the brink of treading an unwanted career path,
Tanya - the fashion model cum actress.

The thing that holds these four beings together. Cocaine.

Amy, the daughter of an NRI architect who has moved into Mumbai (Rajat Kapoor) is often tormented by disturbing memories of her mother. After meeting KC at a party, Amy is introduced to rest of the gang, and its theme of mutual trust, a healthy disregard for the rules and of course, Cocaine. The gang together has plenty of fun living their lives in a rush, be it getting high on joints, bar brawls, robbing a medical shop in of cough syrup (alcohol substitute) or racing around the night roads of the city in a giant Hummer. It is the combination of these that leads them into a life changing incident, when KC accidentally runs over some people while driving recklessly. To cover up the mess, they try to work out a deal with corrupt cop Malwankar (Raj Kumar Yadav). When Malwankar demands a hefty amount, the gang decides to fake Amy's kidnap to get the money from her father. What follows is a series of incidents that only worsen the matter for them. On the other hand, Inspector Mathur, a total bad-ass cop whose anger has cost him more than his job, is given an oppurtunity to reclaim some of his lost pride by offering him to get to the bottom of this case. As the group tries to wriggle its way out of this trouble, Mathur tries to connect the dots laid down by the various events. Eventually, the theme of the gang is what gets in the way of each individual and his/her dark side. Which one trumps, is to watch and know.

Hits and Misses:
-------------------
Groovy background score, brilliant one-liners, some good performances from Rajiv Khandelwal, Gulshan Devaiah and Kalki all contribute greatly to the movie's intent. Raj Kumar Yadav deserves a special mention as well for his role as the corrupt cop. Kalki's role of the mentally disturbed girl is portrayed with equal care. The movie has some terrific sequences where the viewer gets sucked into the character. The scene where KC beats up a guy for flirting with Tanya, or the one where KC is driving the Hummer in an unannounced race against an Audi, there is a feeling of an adrenaline rush. A scene or two where a slap lands on an arguing person's cheek, if you are too engrossed, will make you jump. Every time Rajiv Khandelwal appears on the screen, his anger is almost felt around us. With nerves on forehead and temple rising, teeth clenching, it is as if something somewhere is going to snap real soon. One scene that the viewer will remember for a very long time is where Rajiv Khandelwal kicks an auto rickshaw guy who refuses to go where he wants him to. Rajat Barmecha makes a cameo appearance as Shomu, the inspiration behind the kidnap idea.

While the first half of the movie is very well paced, the second half loses grip on the story as the characters begin to fade out of action and script begins to get a little predictable. In the end, it isn't hard to guess how the story ends, but is rather a curious wait to see how it all unfolds.
Debutant Director Bejoy Nambiar has done a commendable job with Shaitan, a movie that is sure to attract the youth of today, not only because of the story, but because of their resemblance with the characters' qualities. While Shaitan doesn't tick all the checkboxes in a viewer's wishlist, it is a must watch for everyone who prefer a change from the regular Bollywood candy floss.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Source Code : Keeps you thinking

    

        'Source Code' keeps you hooked on to it right from the beginning.  The movie opens with  lovely shots of Chicago, on a beautiful sunny day. The camera goes over the city’s skyscrapers,  highways, before getting to a speeding train.

Colter Stevens  (Jake Gyllenhaal)  is an  American Army helicopter pilot , whose last memory is fighting in Afghanistan, where he is flying a helicopter, suddenly wakes up on the train as though he has woken up from a nightmare.  A pretty girl - Christina (Michelle Monaghan) sitting opposite  to him, sees and knows him as Sean Fentress  who is a school teacher. Stevens insists that he is not the one who she believes him to be, even though Stevens looks like Sean in the mirror. Before Stevens could make sense of  what is going on,  a bomb on the train explodes killing almost everyone on the train. Stevens then finds himself in some kind of a pod, in uniform , strapped to a seat , as a woman’s voice murmuring something about “beleaguered castle” ( a card game). The voice is of officer Goodwin (Vera Farmiga),  she along with her boss Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright)  explain that Stevens has zapped in from another time and space through a software program called Source Code and will keep returning to the train to relive the last 8 minutes before the bomb goes off, to identify the bomber was , so that another major terrorist attack could be prevented the same day.

Even though plot seems a little unrealistic rather far-fetched, Duncan Jones , makes it very believable. The characters make an impression, even if they have very small roles and keep doing the same thing  (well almost ) over and over again. Stevens develops very soft corner for Christina, and also manages to get some compassion from Goodwin.

The movie over all is very engaging. It is centered around a very interesting concept. The performances are very good. The movie keeps you thinking all the time and its always ahead of your thoughts. It good fun watching it and will make you think even after you have left the hall after watching it. 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fast and Furious 5: Rio Heist - Movie Review

 Image source: Wiki
 
I had seen the trailer of this movie once. I was excited at the prospect of Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson facing each other in the latest installment of the swashbuckling, high-speed "Fast and the Furious" series. In this edition, the action shifts to Rio where Dom (Diesel), O’Conner ( Walker)  and others plot the downfall of the most corrupt businessman in Rio. However, they must at the same time, take on the FBI team headed by Dwayne Johnson.
 
 
The opening scene sets the pace of the movie, where O’Conner and his girlfriend - Mia , free Dom from a jail sentence by ramming into a prison bus. What follows is a series of interesting action sequences, which keeps you glued to the screen. The  rooftop chase sequence, Dom and O’Conner robbing cars from a moving train, are all well shot and keep you interested. The introduction and a few scenes involving the associates, who help Dom in this mission are humorous, specially the way they get the fingerprints of the businessman is something new. The subsequent part of the movie features a typical Bollywood style planning and execution of the robbery, including how all The Rock’s men die and The Rock finally decides to join Dom and Co. The climax where Dom and O’Conner drive a huge safe tied to two cars through the streets of Rio adheres to the typical Hindi movie way of murdering all Newton’s Laws.
 
 
The Fast and the Furious series has always been known for its cars, high-speed races and escapades. I was very surprised and rather disappointed to see that the cars have not been given as much importance as the characters in the movie get. The shiny cars have made "The Fast and the Furious" series such a hit and the primary reason to watch the movies for many people.
 
 
To sum things up, its a movie with a lot adrenaline rush in it. Even though the movie has a lot of Bollywood flavour, its fun. As one of my friends rightly said, "Its done in such a way that it will make you want to believe in the stunts they do. That's the difference between a regular Hindi movie and this one.". 
 
In all, its good fun to watch the movie.

 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stanley Ka Dabba - WOW!



There is a scene in the movie when the teacher gives Stanley a chocolate as a mark of her appreciation towards his beautifully written essay. With a sheepish smile, Stanley takes it amidst generous applause from his friends. He then tries to put that chocolate into his shirt pocket only to find to his dismay that the pocket is torn and is no good to hold his chocolate. This is one amongst the many bits in the movie that fall into place at the end.

Stanley ka dabba is a story of a kid who is special in his own ways. On the exterior he comes across like any other kid who narrates stories to his friends, sings songs during class breaks, and doesn’t miss a chance to have fun. But, the only shortcoming here is that Stanley doesn’t get a lunch box to school. It’s a problem only according to his hindi teacher Khadoos Verma but Stanley’s friends like all kids have no qualms about sharing their dabbas with him. But, Verma who himself doesn’t get a dabba is always preying on others’ dabbas gives Stanley a piece of his mind and asks him to get lost till he doesn’t get a dabba of his own to school everyday. This point in story leads to the big climax of the movie which I must confess is one of the most overwhelming and extremely touching ending to have seen in recent past.

This movie is all about the magical moments held together by threads of simplicity and honesty. Amole doesn’t employ any overtly comical, emotional scene to score brownie points. The movie just floats in a good pace giving enough depth for the characters to evolve and get identified by the audience. He sets up the proceedings so brilliantly that the viewer can’t really help but feel like he is in the same class as Stanley’s and is actually looking at everything happening right there. And of course, all this culminates into one fantastic climax that’ll remain etched in the viewers’ memories for long time.

Amole Gupte was last seen in ‘Phas Gaya Re Obama’ and ‘Kaminey’ donning the actor’s hat. Before that, he was credited as writer and creative director for the beautiful ‘Taare Zameen Par’. He comes back with this movie, now managing all the major departments and delivering a movie that’s just sheer genius of art.

Amol Gole, the cinematographer of this movie shot it in a handheld Canon 7D camera because they didn’t want to scare the kids away or make them nervous as the kids didn’t know at that point in time that they were shooting for a movie !! Yes, the kids were told that these were regular acting workshops and only in the end were they informed about it. These are the things that make this movie look life like and come across as a simple story with an honest intention.

Hitesh Sonik’s music and Amole Gupte’s lyrics gel so well with the scenes that they seem like dialogues between characters but with a difference.

The kids Abhishek Reddy, Saisharan Shetty, Aman Mehra, Walter D’souza and others have all done a brilliant job considering that they are the real supporting cast of the movie. Divya Dutta as the charming English teacher who Stanley admires a lot is brilliantly casted. Divya Jagdale and Raj Zutshi are good as well. Amole Gupte as the khadoos teacher just carries on the great work he has been doing lately. But, if this movie has to be remembered for one person then it has to be Partho Gupte(Amole gupte’s son) who plays the central character of Stanley and seems so natural in every dialogue and action of his as the lovable kid.

What stands out in the movie is the amazing control that Amole Gupte has on the narration of the story. Never does he let the rhythm drop and displays great control on his direction. For me, the dabba was a metaphor for what Amole wanted to convey through this story. It was a medium for him to give out the message in the end.

Its not everyday that I quote Karan Johar but here I go. On the day of the music release, he said, ‘There is no mainstream or alternative cinema. There is good cinema and bad cinema, Stanley Ka Dabba is very good cinema’.

Yeah, Stanley Ka Dabba is one of those movies that’ll try to give out a message without trying to be preachy or dumping that thought heavily on the viewers’ minds.

As an avid movie-watcher , I get disappointed when I watch tons of mindless and stupid movies churned out by the movie industry but still hope that every now and then on a friday there is a movie like Stanley releasing!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Stanley Ka Dabba - Not a review!


You wake up to some noise.Popping of sesame seeds.U avoid and go back to sleep.Daily routine they are.
 Lethargically you start preparing by stuffing the books, separating them as either 100/200 pages or text books and placing them in different compartments, only to retrieve it easily. Packing Done .
Its late.You start rushing with your heavy bagpack.Empty handed.R u missing something?
A loud scream from  back..
DABBA … Food for lunch it is ..
After some mundane morning  sessions  and some short naps, you desperately wait for lunch break. With less time on hand, you along with the your Gang start finding a place to have packed food peacefully(Hang out is what we call now..).
Open the Dabba.There is something.Yeah something.U dont give a damn whats packed inside.Seated in a circle you start passing it in round robin fashion to make sure each and everyone has tasted it. A curious friend X asks Y if he has brought chutney along with curd rice that so much suits the taste.X enjoys a spoon of that and passes on a smile. All they want is to just to hang out. They hardly keep track of the individual’s contribution/share. It’s a crime.
You go back to attend more classes,some mundane ,some interesting and some deserving a nap. End of the Day. You go back to home and start the next day afresh.
Memories . Million Memories those school moments were . They were brought to life again and refreshed after watching the most endearing and heartwarming children movie that lights up those childhood days when we were at our purest state.
Stanley Ka Dabba
Stanley is 4th Grade(‘F’ section to be precise) student who keeps his class entertained by his impromptu parallel world stories. The stories he narrates to teachers to bail himself and his gang members out of a situation. In free time(or recesses) he makes the whole class *head bang* to his tune of Dan Tan Tan.  
Lunch Period is the time that he hates the most. That’s because he doesn’t get the Dabba like others. Unlike others he kills his hunger by having copious amount of water  to sustain the afternoon sessions. Often shares it with his generous friends, but hesitantly though.
Mr. Verma(Amole Gupte) , a Hindi teacher  faces a similar sort of a problem.In this case he gets his colleagues share their food by pestering them. Shamelessly though.  He is better known as Khadus among kids for hijacking  sharing their food, albeit alone.
Thinking that Stanley is robbing his share of food from gang members, Verma vents out his anger and passes disparaging comments on Stanley by asking him not to come to school until he gets his own Dabba.
At the end , Stanley gets out of this awkward predicament by getting a Dabba of his own. How? Anything beyond this would be a spoiler J
Though Stanley and Verma are facing the same problem,empathy for Stanley grows. In actual they both are representation of same character. But still we end up empathizing with Stanley and not Verma.Why? If observed carefully it would reveal that Verma was once Stanley, hence his behavior (opinions may differ).Verma just didn’t wanted to see that side of life. May be.
Lets discuss the Gang. Yes the Friends, that we cherish the most. Reminds us of those bench fights that we picked up for crossing an undrawn borderline, the extra classes that we bunked to watch the fag end of a Test match, times when we deliberately punctured girl’s bicycle for fun, moments when we  were either caught playing radio in the extra classes or passing our answer sheets to our friends.
It was all unadulterated.
If God tells me that I have only 3 hrs to go, I would request for couple more so that I could watch Satya , Lagaan and maybe end with full stomach  after watching Stanley Ka Dabba.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ragini MMS - Movie Review


Image Source: Wiki


It was only a matter of time before someone in Bollywood pulled off a "Paranormal Activity". While Paranormal Activity shattered box-office collection records all over, Paranormal Activity-2 did a decent enough job to live up to the expectations that viewers had, especially after watching the first edition. And so, we have Ragini MMS, our own desi version of a film that encompasses the strange sequence of events around a couple, triggered by a supernatural force.

If you have watched Paranormal Activity, you will immediately notice the similarities between it and Ragini MMS. Both claim to be based on true events. Most parts in both the movies are shown and shot through a handheld video camera and cameras setup throughout the house for one purpose or the other. Then comes the limited number of people in the cast. And then there is the couple who are tormented by the demon. Both movies are relatively low budget movies and shot in a very short duration. Fortunately or unfortunately, that's where the similarities end. While Paranormal Activity was the work of a relatively unknown Oren Peli, Ragini MMS comes from the production house of Balaji Telefilms headed by Ekta Kapoor, who is riding on tons of success attributing to her SOAPs that have driven Indian TV channels into submission and have garnered massive viewership. Further, while the motive remains relatively unknown to the viewer (atleast in PA-1), Ragini MMS somewhat puts a few pieces together by the end of the movie just to put the average movie-goer at ease. And then, the release date Friday the 13th was something that made quite a bit of news for Ragini MMS, while Paranormal Activity was one of those movies that gained popularity just by word of mouth. So, its not actually fair to do a head-to-head comparison of the two.Instead, let's give credit to either of them where its due, be it the acting, the screenplay or the storyline.


What its all about:
------------------------
Uday Jhala (played by Raj Kumar Yadav) and his girlfriend Ragini (played by Kainaz Motivala) head to a bungalow located in the middle of the woods outside the city to have some "private fun-time" over the weekend. On reaching the bungalow, it however becomes evident that Uday has his own hidden agenda of making an MMS sex video of Ragini and has all the arrangements already in place, with cameras setup all around the house. Strange things start to happen as the couple try to get intimate, with a few sightings of the ghostly figure before the movie is half-way through. The spooky mood established in the initial part of the movie is thrown away to a little extent with the intervention of Ragini's friend Piya and her boyfriend who add nothing but a few more minutes to the movie. Other than rile the ghost with their unnecessary presence, the only value that they add to the movie is drop a hint that confirms the haunted nature of the house. Its however after their exit that the movie gets interesting. Starting from a possessed Uday hissing "Main chudail nahi hoon" (in marathi) while getting naughty with Ragini (who was intentionally handcuffed to the cot by Uday to shoot the sex video), to Uday being pulled out of the bed by his hair to an extent that it rips his scalp to bleed, the ghost makes its presence felt within the house every second. Having become fully aware of a supernatural presence within the house, the rest of the movie revolves around the attempts of a helpless Uday and a handcuffed Ragini to get out of the forsaken place and how the ghost seeks them out.


Hits and Misses:
---------------------
The standout performance in the movie comes from Uday, who is brilliant with his abuses as he is with his acting. Be it the sex-hungry boyfriend or the petrified human being, Uday does great justice to both the roles. He is shameless when it comes to getting things done his way, and gives the exact cheap image of a man ready to go to any extent for it. Ragini on the other hand, is good enough to complement Uday with her acting, both in fright and in frustration. The one thing of Ragini follows you out of the theatre is her scream for help, hollowed by frustation and helplessness.

Ragini MMS has its moments, with a few instances that will make you jump in your seat (not necessarily the sighting of the ghost). But what it lacks is the finesse with which a horror story needs to be told. The background score is unnecessarily used, consistently throughout the movie, trying to spook the viewer. But most of the time, all it did was alert the viewer that something is about to happen, thus stealing the surprise factor out of the scene. Next come the ghost sightings. The movie was not even half way through and the viewer had already seen the ghost half a dozen times. To quote a line from "The Usual Suspects",

-- The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

The essence of a horror movie is to keep the surprise factor intact throughout, and that includes the appearances of the ghost to a good extent. As someone rightly said, if a viewer sees the ghost enough number of times in the movie, he/she is not far from assuming that the ghost is just another role in the movie and not THE key role. Ragini MMS falters on this front as well. Frequent portrayal of a creaking staircase, doors opening and closing by themselves was yet another thing that could've been avoided. The last 20-25 minutes of the movie was a wee bit boring, as the end was pretty much what one can guess and does not add any value as far as the story of the movie is concerned. And yet another but not so significant shortcoming in the end, its the ghost itself. A white saree clad, flowing haired Noori styled ghost is a world renowned stereotype. But then, a ghostly figure of a woman dressed in traditional marathi "kachchi" saree attire was a little too much to handle in a horror movie, atleast for the rational viewer in me. Pawan Kripalani has put together a decent piece of story, but there is something about it that is missing, something that I cant put a finger on  for certain and if you were me, you would feel the same 9 out of 10 times.



All in all, Ragini MMS is a great watch if you haven't watched Paranormal Activity solely for the fact that you then don't have a scale for comparison. But if you have already seen Paranormal Activity, Ragini MMS is a good one time watch, more so for the brilliance pulled off by Raj Kumar Yadav, well supported by Kainaz Motivala and not to forget, a decent enough storyline moderately influenced by the Hollywood flick.





Saturday, April 2, 2011

FALTU - Movie Review



I feel that one thing is very important when you enter a movie hall to spend the following few hours in a big dark room staring the big screen. Do not go in with huge expectations every time. Better if there are no expectations at all. More often than not it’s difficult to get into that mindset but if you do then be sure of not cribbing a hell lot about the movie later.

All that prelude was to tell about this movie that I watched, FALTU. Its now an old joke  that the movie was named based on the quality of its content and the seriousness of its appeal to the audience.

The first time I saw FALTU’s trailer , I was reminded of the movie ‘Accepted’(Trailer) starring Justin Long. The theme seemed similar and so did all the histrionics. But then, I was waiting for the movie to be released so that I could see if my doubts were true. Meanwhile, this happened .Well, it is one thing to get inspired and act as if one wasn’t even aware of the original. But, it’s an unashamed act to argue that the movies are totally different! Duh!

Anyways, let me now tell you how good was this movie that according to its makers is totally different from a certain Hollywood project. FALTU adds to ‘Accepted’ all the Indian flavour necessary and though it doesn’t come out with flying colours, it doesn’t totally let you down either.

The story revolves around a group of friends who get rejected by all colleges due to their low marks and then a series of events make them run a university of their own. Story then moves on to all the problems they face before culminating into a happy happy ending.

The movie has a fair share of good and bad things about it. So, what are the few things that go in favour ? Good music, fresh cast and a new story(though not original[I know it’s the 100th time I touched that aspect]). Couple of songs had already caught up well among audience and may just bring in the herds for the same but expecting more stuff around these songs. The songs are indeed impressive , especially ‘Char baj gaye’ and ’Fully Faltu’.

Jacky Bhagnani gives a decent performance in the lead role but can still brush up his acting skills as he could go a long way in this business. Puja Gupta(gorgeous!!) and Angad Bedi mark their debut and do a fair job in whatever little they get to do. But, the best of the lot has to be Chandan Roy Sanyal(he played Mikhail in Kaminey) who is here to stay. His dialogue delivery and acting is top notch. We would be more than waiting to see his future work. The supporting cast of Arshad Warsi and Riteish Deshmukh are at normal best and no complaints there. Darshan Jariwala is first rate and rest of the cast does a good job too.

The movie could have done away with 15-20 minutes of stuff that gives the narration a saggy feel. Humour is good only in patches and more effort could have been put into dialogues that seem jaded for a majority of post interval portion. Many people may find the whole concept of the movie unconvincing but then the movie doesn’t go over the top trying to be ‘preachy’.

Post Interval, I was wondering as to where was Remo’s master choreographer contribution in this movie. There had to be stuff that tells the audience why he is regarded as one of the best choreographers in hindi movie industry. And then came the best bit in the movie at the very end. It’s a UV light dance performance that really catches your attention. I last saw this dance form on India’s got talent and was totally smitten by it. This sequence in the movie is a clever replacement of what could have been a long boring speech by the lead actor and Remo scores points for this.

Remo makes a confident debut as a director and hits neither of the extremities in quality. Undernourished script doesn’t help his cause. He should next choose a better script and the audience will be more than willing to testify.

All in all, FALTU is worth a watch if you have no great expectations!

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