Dec 19, 2013

Hunger Games 2 Review

'Hunger Games' might not be an exercise in futility for those who helped the film shine at the boxoffice. It might even be a well made sequel to a mediocre first offering (that's what they say). It is though a strenuous watch for me as the screenplay is neither enterprising nor entertaining. So, as long it lasts, Hunger Games at best ignites some sparks and is there or thereabouts while never really breaks the barriers of formulaic filmmaking. There's a third film in the series, so I will have my laptop ready for charging. Can't starve for these games....

Oct 17, 2013

Ezhamathe Varavu is vintage film making

Liked "Ezhamathe Varau" as it took me to vintage 80s through a mode of story telling that details even the minutest of human emotions in a gripping manner. It's a lesson to up and coming film makers to concentrate on developing exciting characters and not dwell under the illusions of the so called trends. The four main characters are given respectable identities that help them convince their acts to the discerning viewer. S.Kumar's photography is worth a mention here as he's able to bring out a character out of the dark and shuddery jungle. Hariharan-MT combo still excites but the narrative at times moves on the lines of the IV.Sasi-MT-Mohanlal classic 'Uyarangalil'. Indrajith has come of age even though there's this pinch of Sukumaran and to an extent Mohanlal mannerisms, in his portrayal of the antagonist. Yet, he is spectacular as he looks menacing, delivers punch lines with ease and modulates his dialogues superbly to suit the mood of the film. There's nothing much to rave about the performances of both Bhavana and Vineeth but the new girl comes up with a refreshing act. In the end, I feel it's a pity the movie bombed........Plaudits of the new generation madness, WHERE ARE YOUR SENSES???

Oct 11, 2013

Review: 'Gravity' is a dazzling accident but.....

'Gravity' is well shot and well directed but not very well written. Imagine the writing being firmly on the wall despite a series of catastrophic events leading nowhere and occurring in the middle of nowhere. And ofcourse everything that's meant to go wrong, goes wrong. The characters are mere caricatures hugely deprived of likeability factor except for Clooney's funny and at times untimely gags. The first 20 mins of the film is simply breathtaking as Alfonso Cuaron gets into the groove of spacial thrills by placing his coordinates just right. Disaster strikes very early into the mission but from there on momentarily, something or the other goes wrong eventually touching boredom. Sandra Bullock as the sole survivor of the mission tasked instinctively to recover herself from the heavenly mess, has very little to do when it comes to rising above the script. When she mouths her struggles back home, it hardly evokes any sympathy because there's just too much bak bak going on and too less of emotional communication. Gravity's still a great one time watch just for the amazing cinematography alone as you get soaked into the action right from the beginning. And it becomes a well picturized over the top (literally) accident that's not to be missed simply because it's a stunning spectacle and nothing more.

Sep 13, 2013

Rush Review (North American Premier)

When Ron Howard decided to bring the dramatic and pulsating 1976 Formula1 season to life, expectations sky rocketed, thanks to the amalgamation of two stunning prospects- master filmmaking and the pinnacle of motorsports. In comes 'Rush', truly a roller coaster ride that explores into depth the extremely conflicting characters of two born racers, the charismatic James Hunt and the meticulous Niki Lauda. On that note, I am truly excited to say Rush is more than racing and hence those who don't follow F1 needn't worry even a tiny bit. It throws in humor, virility, love, loss and glamour in plenty. And for those who do relate to the nuances of racing, there's always these imperfections as in one could argue that setting up an F1 car goes beyond fixing handling and power issues and that the technical detailing is fast forwarded. But that's the point, 'Rush' is more of a film with scope for ample creative liberties than a mere silver screen adaptation of the wild era of F1. Daniel Bruhl as the witty Niki Lauda oversteers everyone else in a character that's demanding and at the same time, layered. Chris Hemsworth seems to have underplayed the real James Hunt from what I have read about the 1976 champion but he is able to successfully contrast Bruhl's vision about life and racing. Technically, the film belongs to three pearls of Hollywood- Peter Morgan with a pen, Hans Zimmer with his chords and Ron Howard with a great vision and together they create a monster of a film. They say, the closer you are to death, the more alive you feel and Rush doesn't sway away from this very spirit of racing. Gear up and press your right foot cos this one's a drive to glory!!!

Aug 15, 2013

'Jobs' review (Premiere show at Toronto)

Watching 'Jobs' was a bit like going to the finest restaurant in town only to be served the dinner buffet and not that winning dish. Though the characterization of Apple's talisman is uncompromising and often endearing, the director chooses to tell us the story of his life only upto the pre-ipod era. The transition from him being fired from Apple to his comeback to the corporation is rushed through so badly that it's hard to evoke any sort of emotion when the credit roll says "in 2012, Apple became the most valued company in the world". Jobs himself said once, "the best thing that has happened to me was getting fired from Apple because it made be uncertain and hungry" but the film fails to capture his resilience to revolutionize the future of human thinking for a second time and for better. Make no mistake, the movie is intense and well made but the story of the greatest marketer the world has ever seen is a screenplay of convenience. Because you know the story, you know how that winning dish tastes like and you cannot quench your desire with that buffet.

Jul 10, 2013

Lootera Review

'Lootera' could have easily fallen into the trap of being an old-fashioned cliched melodrama but Vikramaditya Motwane saves the film intelligently using his craftsmanship. He throws in long silences, layered voices, beautiful locales and a riveting background score to convey the eternal love. Inspired from O' Henry's celebrated short story, 'The Last Leaf', Lootera is an intense love story at its core backed by stellar performances from its lead pair. Sonakshi brings varied emotions with ease while Ranveer surprises you with a layered performance and their chemistry works hugely in favour of the film. Amit Trivedi's soothing score does the fine tuning splendidly as Lootera like the director's debut film 'Udaan', turns out to be an emotionally satisfying experience. Don't miss this classic!

Jul 8, 2013

Movie review compilations from my Facebook

Okay fellas, since I have been writing only on Facebook these days, I thought of compiling some of my work on movie reviews and moving them to my beloved blog. Enjoy reading.
1. Raanjhanaa (Hindi) 'Raanjhanaa' is well performed but shoddily written thanks to a half-baked plot. It beats me how the hero forgets to attend his own marriage because he's madly in love with the heroine. Sometimes logic goes for a toss as the screenplay takes a bumpy ride in the second hour. Blips like these cast serious doubts on the director's earnestness or the lack of it in crafting a compelling love story. Pardon my stereotyping cos even though the purists may take a dig or two at Dhanush's diction, it's simply amazing to see a Tamil hero speaking difficult hindi in a convincing manner. So, it's Dhanush who indeed saves Raanjhanaa from attaining mediocrity, with a dazzling performance that's up there with his best efforts. Sonam Kapoor, who probably lands her best written role till date, does her part well. Abhay Deol is wasted in a meek role and on top of it, deliberately underplays his character. Swara Bhaskar who plays Bindya comes out with a refreshing performance. Raanjhanaa on the whole is different but lacks the authenticity and simplicity of the director's debut film, 'Tanu Weds Manu'. That said, thanks to Dhanush, the film turns out to be not-so-disappointing. 2. Mumbai Police (Malayalam) There sure are some gaping holes in the script penned by Bobby and Sanjay but the conviction with which Rosshan shot 'Mumbai Police' makes it a genuinely daring experiment. Prithviraj comes up with another spellbinding performance that would assure his place firmly above the rest of his generation. I believe 'Antony Moses' is a statement that goes on the lines of "yes, I'm one of the most secured actors in the country" and sure he is. With a theme untouched, performances unmatched and direction unparalleled, Mumbai Police stands out like a precious gem in a heap of mediocrities we so often bump into. 3. Kai Po Che (Hindi) 'Kai Po Che' indeed makes a cut well above Chetan Bhagat's mediocre novel which failed to strike an emotional chord. Kudos to Abhishek Kapoor for crafting a movie that's deeply engaging and has some glittering performances. 4. Celluloid (Malayalam) 'Celluloid' filmed by Kamal and starring Prithviraj is a cinematic masterstroke about the birth of Malayalam Cinema that's set in the early 1900s. Prithviraj has blazed the celluloid with a career best performance that simply drubs any baseless bashing from the so called critics. As a performer, he's a good yard or two ahead of anyone of his generation simply because he's able to prevent himself from being typecasted and get out of the comfort zone. Back to the film, one would feel remorseful after watching the tragic tale of J.C Daniel unravel in a form conceived by the man himself. As a moviegoer, it was hard for me to accept the fact that the prolific movie industry of Kerala was built on a taint of social injustice but was equally rewarding to see truth finding its way out of the mess. Kamal has reinvented himself after a series of . lacklusture offerings and the lead girls impress in a film that's beautifully shot by ace cameraman Venu. On the whole, 'Celluloid' is one of a kind that's simply way too good to be missed. 5. Special 26 (Hindi) Subtle humour, immaculate detailing of the 80s and a believable plot (true story after all) make Neeraj Pandey's 'Special Chabbis' a likeable film. I wouldn't go so far to brand it an overwhelming experience because the grand heist could have been crispier and editing tighter. And ofcourse the heroine and songs pop up at the wrong time all the time thereby playing huge spoilsports. Yet, the film is not meant for the masses as the uncompromising attitude of the director is evident in every frame. Akshay Kumar needs to be credited for finally doing a down to earth character after a string of larger than life roles but it's Anupam Kher who is the real scene stealer here. He continues from where he left off in 'A Wednesday' which was the director's debut outing. In short, Special Chabbis is courageous filmmaking coupled with refinement. 6. David (Tamil) My biggest grouse with Bejoy Nambiar's 'David' is that Vikram's character is poorly written as it lacks depth and is clearly one dimensional. On the contrary, Jeeva gets to emote in a meaty role and he comes out with a layered performance that's simply the best of his career. Nevertheless, the scripting falls that as there's nothing dramatic to narrate and the sequences lack conviction. On the whole, 'David' looks contrived and is a lame attempt at sending the "path of the righteous" message, if indeed that's what the director intended. 7. Neethane En Ponvasantham (Tamil) So what if the characters don't speak mind numbing formulaic dialogues, what if the frames are not graced by breath taking locales, what if the movie is deprived of shocking plot twists.......NEP is a brilliantly written piece about pure unadulterated love narrated in the most simplistic of ways. The characters are complex though as they go on a spiral laced with ego, conflicts and futilities but then why are we surprised? Aren't these elements integral to most relationships? And I can't praise Samantha enough for literally carrying the movie on her shoulders but she's fortunate to land such a well written author backed role so early in her career. I am a huge fan of the maestro like all of you but the music doesn't gel with the Gautham-esque narration and is a huge let down. I so wish Gautham had picked up his phone and dialed a certain Harris Jayaraj. Nevertheless, NEP works. 8. Talaash (Hindi) We have celebrated 'the sixth sense' and 'the others' citing unconventional scripting as a pleasantly surprising yet an intelligent route to adapt. But I can perfectly understand why the opinions about 'Talaash' are divided. As a stand alone film, Talaash scores on various levels yet crippled largely by the high expectations created by the hype. Also, Aamir's plight as a father somehow fails to evoke the level of sympathy that Reema would have hoped for. Yet, the dialogues are brilliant, performances top notch and music a huge favor. Don't expect an unravelling of a crime thriller as you are likely to connect the dots an hour into the film. It's still an easy watch provided you are ready to accept cinematic liberties. 9. Usthad Hotel (Malayalam) Finally watched 'Usthad Hotel'. I must say I am not overwhelmed by the feel good factor even though the movie doesn't take itself too seriously. It can be wrapped up as a one-liner and that's about it. Thilakan's performance was a revelation because with restricted body movements, the actor was able to bring out the best of emotions with ease. Anjali Menon's scripting revolves around a wafer thin plot but that's fine if the characters are well etched out. To her credit, she even gives ample scope for Dulquer Salman to perform but he can hardly emote despite passing the eye-candy test. On the whole, a better actor portraying the central character of Faizi would have elevated Usthad Hotel to a cult status. 10. Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (Hindi) 'Shirin Farhad Ki toh nikal padi' (uff such a long name) is a film with a disjointed script that often gets into mundanity. The characters aren't immensely likeable in a so called character driven film because the characterization itself has taken a royal beating. Trapped by the predictability factor and devoid of grassroot realism, the film tries too hard to evoke sympathy for its lead pair leading to a plastic lovestory at the core. Songs, that too some forgettable ones, hamper the mood further even though Bomman's gags do bring smile. Farah Khan should stick to what she's good at cos front of the camera is not the place for he