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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.