Saturday, January 31, 2009

LUCK BY CHANCE (2009)

It’s breakthrough of the year with the entry of a promising debut director- Zoya Akhtar.
Along with direction, she also wrote the story & that’s makes it more interesting one.
The story moves around the lives of two strugglers who needs a break in Bollywood, where one knows how to grasp the chance, the other struggles with her ill luck but ultimately made their own mark in the industry. I must say its nice attempt by Zoya.
The movie has some really appreciable upside & some flipsides too.
UPSIDE-
- Sound acting by lead pair- cool & confident Farhan & always natural Konkona. Both of them delivered amazing performance.
- Beauty rediscovered- Isha Sarwani ( Remember Ghai’s Superflop film ‘Kisna’ just wasted a talented & promising actress.) She just mesmerized me with her flexible body tricks & moves in otherwise sucking ‘Kisna’ & here she looks the cutest chubby beauty.
- Detailing of the inside Hindi film industry with some fine nuances & clich├ęs.
- Superb Cinematography & Art direction
- Few cool tracks by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy.
FLIPSIDE-
- The missing of sound editing. Second half required it more than the first one.
- Unnecessary cameos of industry biggies. (Only SRK’s cameo seems worthy one…)
- Rishi-Dimple-Sanjay-Juhi Co. really seems unbearable & stretched the story part.
- Hrithik failed to his usual charm or impression even though having his trademark dance steps.
- The climax & the end of the film seems just wind up process of good script.

Still I must say its movie worth to watch once.

Ratings- 7/10

SYRIANA (2005)

The movie brings the geopolitical nexus between Middle East countries & US with the subplot of the merger between two leading oil companies. Middle East always remains the hot spot which remains volatile to US Security. The movie projects many facets of this disturbing reality in the name of power politics. Its clash of not only politics between different countries but culture, ideologies & invested interests. Immigrant situations of Pakistanis are also portrayed with depth.
The director ensembles huge star cast to cover the complex political plot rigmarole.
Talking about the performances-its George Clooney, who steals the show with his suave expressions in the multi-star cast of Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, Christopher Plummer, Jeffery Wright, Amanda Peet & William Hurt.
The movie is worth to watch for the audience who likes to watch Political thrillers & who enjoyed films like ‘Traffic’ or ‘Crash’. The movie gives me feel of watching Steven Soderbergh film but it’s directed by Stephen Gaghan & it’s really an appreciable effort.

Ratings- 7/10

Thursday, January 29, 2009

ARDH SATYA (1983)

Directed by Govind Nihalani, this is definite cop film of Indian cinema. May be the first one which portrayed the stark reality of corruption in the police force & politics with no holds barred & how it effects on a young cop. A man forced to join a career of a cop by his cop father. Agreed that we grew up watching lot of good cop/bad cop hindi films but this is different. Today’s generation, which grown up watching dark & realistic films like- ‘Satya’, ‘Company’ may be consider it inferior product in comparison but look at the time of its making. The film was made absolutely off beat tone in the time when people didn’t pay much attention to such kind of cinema & yet it becomes a most sought after cop film in class & mass audience when it released.
For Om Puri its first breakthrough in mainstream hindi cinema & he delivered a class performance as Inspector Velankar. Its more than cop character, he internalized a lot which is something original in acting. Watch his scenes with his father whom he hates & Smita whom he loves. Smita Patil maintained the dignity of her character to the expected level. My God what a natural expressions she carried!!! Shafi Inamdar was truly a discovery for me & he’s a brilliant character actor if given a chance & here in some of the scenes he outsmarted even Om. The movie is also a debut of a promising villain on Indian screen- Sadashiv Amrapurkar as ‘Rama Shetty’. It’s another story that he didn’t get such a meaty role & almost forgotten today as one of the loud villain of Dharmendra’s B grade action films. Watch the scene where Om 1st time becomes a rebel for his father (played by Amrish Puri) & next both are sharing wine together. How inner truth started revealing for both the character with confronting feelings of love & hate for each other. Two faces of Indian Police Force- Masculinity & Impotency and in between lies- half truth (ardh satya)…Kudos to Nihalani’s touch.
The film won 2 National Awards as Best Hindi Feature Film & Best Actor- Om Puri & 3 Filmfare Awards in Best Film, Best Director & Best Supporting Actor Categories.

Recommended to all who are interested in nostalgia of serious hindi films.

Ratings- 8/10

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

THE SIGNAL (2007)

Due to the bad sector in electromagnetic spectrum, a mysterious signal is being transmitted through all electronic devices like radios, cell phones, television…etc & those who hear or see becomes violently crazy just like zombies & everything is under anarchy, chaos & panic. The film covered in 3 different parts as transmission 1, 2 & 3 & all 3 parts are directed by 3 different directors. It’s neither a zombie flick nor a gory horror flick. In spite of its lower budget feel & hackneyed subject what made it an interesting one to continue is it’s unfolding style of revelation of a single story with 3 parts which keeps your head busy as soon as you complete the first & start the second. It’s the only this thing which makes me complete this otherwise crap nonsense flick full of scenes where decapitated head is talking, bloody faces are moving. I love intrigue in the film but I don’t understand director’s psychological view after watching it. The movie really scratched my head hard & probably for the most of the audience.
Watch it at your own risk. It will surely screw & scratch your head simultaneously.

Ratings-5.5/10

Monday, January 26, 2009

LEGENDS OF THE FALL (1994)

The film is a saga of the family consists of three brothers, a father & a lady fighting against all odds tested by time & fate. Set on pastoral background in the period of 1915. Its one of the finest emotional epic journey of family & 3 brothers who loved the same woman. How each time fate played disposing role for Susannah to live as a beloved of all 3 bros with different phases of her life & destiny is a real irony of her life. Its kind of movie which stays with you with some topnotch performances of all lead cast – Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins & Julia Ormond. Pitt has done superb justice to Tristan & it’s one of his most memorable role for all Pitt lovers.
There are several plus points of film- splendid cinematography, soul stirring background score, wonderfully written dialogues, nice screenplay, heartbreaking scenes & most significantly classic climax & end which lefts you with a feeling of watching a finely made film. It’s one of the best directed film of Edward Zwick. For All Zwick fans who watched his ‘Blood Diamond’ & ‘Defiance’, this is don’t miss material. I don’t know about the other opinions but I will love to watch it again for its timeless appeal.

Recommended.

Ratings- 8/10

AAMIR (2008)

One more sincere effort to make a meaningful cinema in the lineage of last years some of the finest films- A Wednesday, Mumbai Meri Jaan & Shaurya. Aamir is a story of an NRI Muslim doctor returning to India & right from the airport in Mumbai stuck in a fix of anti social organization network- a set up fixed for him beyond expectation. This is the other objective way of looking at concerning problem of terrorism.
The movie portrayed the ugly reality for an educated, self reliant, secular Muslim who wanted to write his own destiny. It’s not just situation fixation, rather seeing it more closely- it’s question of challenging morality of what’s good & what’s bad for humanity than religion.
Aamir means a leader & the Muslim protagonist (wonderfully projected by Rajeev Khandelwal) showed the hopeful face of true leader of Islam with his dilemma & his end deed in the film.
2008 is the year of many promising debut directors in Bollywood & I would like to add Writer- Director Raj Kumar Gupta’s name in it for his sincere effort of making a thoughtful cinema for today’s thinking multiplex audience. Hope that 2009 will continue the same trend & uplift Indian cinema further.

Recommended.

Ratings-7.5/10

THE EXORCIST (1973)

There are very rare films which uplifts the genre. Horror films generally considered as B grade products & then come a film like ‘The Exorcist’ which turned the tables & proved a point that you can make ‘A’ grade film in the same genre. Director William Friedkin, who gave us 70’s master thriller ‘The French Connection’ directed this classic spooky film of all time.
14 year girl possessed with evil spirit. All things were tried & tested by her actress mother (played by Ellen Burstyn who gave a mind-blowing performance in Aronofsky’s ‘Requiem for a dream’). Doctors, Psychiatrists failed to solve the case & here comes a young priest along with aged exorcist. They were facing no ordinary evil & before they realized it further, the struggle took horrible sacrifices to save the girl.
Director Friedkin’s penchant sense of moving action sequences, fluid camerawork & minute details made it the heart stopping material with timeless repeat value. Even so many years later it still remains an extremely spooky film with nice blending of spine chilling sound & visuals. This is a lesson learning example for all CGI turned spooky directors of the Hollywood who sell some crap zombie films.
Out of 10 academy nominations, the movie won 2 in Best adapted Screenplay & Best Sound.

A Classic Horror of all-time.

Ratings- 9/10

Sunday, January 25, 2009

FARGO (1996)

This is absolutely classic Coen Bros film & a masterly told story of a car salesman (William h.Macy) desperately needs money. The only rescue is his rich father-in –law. He hires two bump heads to kidnap his wife & get ransom amount. Initially everything worked as planned but as film progressed we come to witness the big rounds of blunders in form of several unplanned murders. To make the things worse comes an expecting lady cop (Frances McDormand) & the plot sizzles further to entertain the audience with all trademark style of Coens- an offbeat humor & unconventional thrill.
Our Bollywood has ripped off the plot & made its Indian version in ‘Love ke liye Kuch bhi karega’. Watch the original version & m sure you like the execution of the film.
It’s Frances who steals the show in her outstanding performance with her quirky facial expressions & detailing of her character & that’s reason enough why she got Oscar for the same film in Best actress category. The film also get for another Academy trophy for its awesome & off the hook original screenplay by Coen Bros.
The chilling atmosphere of snow covered town is simply creating a mood for the film with A grade cinematography by Roger Deakins.
The best Coen Bro. film ever & out n out entertaining flick.

Must watch.

Ratings-9/10

Saturday, January 24, 2009

SPARSH (1980)

When I watched ‘Scent of woman’, I was just speechless to express anything about legendary actor Al Pacino. Today I must admit that India already has the same genius legend in form of Naseeruddin Shah. This is the role of lifetime for him playing Aniruddh Parmar- a blind arrogant principal of blind school in Sai Paranjape’s thought provoking film. He is blind but not helpless, he is dynamic, aggressive, self sufficient to the point of obsession. His performance picked with physical nuances in detail with such a fine perfection & Oh my god it looks so real & natural that even cynic can’t find a single fault. He maintained the dignity of given character without being sympathetic about his natural shortcoming & that is the most striking thing to balance with a character like this & Nasser has done it brilliantly. It’s certainly one of the finest method acting I’ve ever seen in Hindi film. Personally I rate this role more challenging than Big B’s best act in ‘Black’. Shabana acted her character so naturally & maturely as a thinking independent woman & its strong role for her. She looks refreshingly beautiful too in this. It’s story of how these two souls discovered each others agony & transformed & heal it with Love & hope.
Though the subject is sensitive, the director didn’t make it heavy or preachy in tone, in fact it looks so simple & light in mood which touches your heart. i.e. watch the scene where a blind student complained Naseer in the office that somebody stole his sweets box or a scene where a blind kid complimented about Shabana’s Saree when she bought a candle to cheer him up. The most noticeable thing about the film is that the director kept the focus on the blind students in general without being specific to any single & showing them doing all sorts of activities on their own. Its detailing of director which works to create depth & it seems so real that it lefts you with a feeling that you visited a real blind school.
The film won 3 National Awards for Best Hindi Film, Best Actor & Best Screenplay & its surely well appreciated.
Well, it’s a test of tolerance for the audience too; watching a slow & unglamorous film like this compared to today’s technically savvy & gripping films. But along with the passion for cinema it’s also patience for cinema which is essential for every serious film lover.

Ratings- 8.5/10

Friday, January 23, 2009

VIA DARJEELING (2008)

I know many of you won’t have heard about the film. Same was my case but after watching I must say it’s one of the fine surprising Indian film I’ve seen this year. The movie is suggested to me by a close friend of mine. Its movie is produced by NFDC & directed by an independent director named Arindam Nandy who made his debut film. The brilliant idea of the film lies in its conceptualization & execution of simple plot of missing husband convoluted with the multiple interpretations & analysis of the friends gathered to share the evening on a rainy night enjoying their drinks & cigarettes in the drawing room. I haven’t seen Kurosawa’s classic ‘Rashomon’ yet but read the story & may be it influence the director or screenplay writer to draft a plot like this.
It’s presentation of the concept which overwhelmed me. Second comes performances of assembled cast - I mean this guys don’t look like they’re acting in front of camera. Here’s list- Kay Kay Menon, Sonali Kulkarni, Rajat kapoor, Sandhya Mrudul, Pravin Dabas, Simone Singh, Prashant Narayanan & the discovery of rare talent- Vinay Pathak . He is really surprising me with every other character he represents.
This is the film where even the viewer is part of the film & that happens in especially in the end which left open to the audience to imagine & interpret their own analysis of who’s behind the door? Well it’s not out & out mystery film if that’s what you expect.
Like me many will surprised with the incomplete ending & that’s reason enough to criticize the film for all but personally I think that this is the reason which separated it from other formulae masala films of Bollywood & that’s the reason I added one more point in my ratings.

Highly Recommended.

Ratings- 8/10

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ROCKNROLLA (2008)

If you like Tarantino kind of movie narration with some quirky one-liners full of fun & dark humor & complex intermixed stuff than its movie for you. Written & directed by Guy Ritchie, the movie has lots of mess piling up in a plot to amuse the audience. Apart of Tom Wilkinson & Mark Strong nobody gives you the consistent impression if you count on the performances. The first half is bit slow but in the second half it picks the real thrill & action unfurling many queries. Few lines remain staying in head after watching the film & that’s something which isn’t happening nowadays. Here are few I like-
- “Beauty is a cruel mistress”
- “That that starts sweeter ends bitter and that which starts bitter ends sweet.”
- “Beauty is a beguiling call to death and I am addicted to the sweet pitch of its siren.”
End title gives the direct clue to the audience to get ready for 2nd part.

Ratings-7/10

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CITY OF EMBER (2008)

The underground secret city was designed to protect human race from the dooms day with 200 years lock in period in a secret box. Nobody knew what the secret is. It was fixed that the box will be passed on to its successor mayors of the city years after years until one day the chain is broken. The box opened as fixed after 200 years. Its journey of how the secret is unrevealed & How Lina & Harrow (lead teenage characters) of dark city find a way to the real world of natural light.
The movie is based on false premise & so the city of ember looks like just an attempt to amuse the fantastic production design. Frequent generator power falters & usual blackouts just hammer throughout the film. I don’t understand what Billy Crystal & Tim Robbins are doing in this film. They played card board characters here. The movie is just average on all technical segments including direction.
Avoidable.

Ratings- 5/10

BOOGEYMAN 3 (2008)

As I’ve seen the first two parts, can’t resist watching this third one. The Boogeyman still remains an unsolved puzzle here too. Movie has nothing new to offer for serious freak flick lovers, it’s just same repetition of old gimmicks of first two parts to thrill the audience replacing new characters. There are few scenes which made me shrill but its not creepy scenes only which made a film engaging scary thrill. Director constantly hammered the message that its darkness within us, an internal guilt, fear psychosis blah…blah…blah…etc. which turned the legend of boogeyman into a real entity but I don’t understand crap like this. Showing severely mutilated bodies or blood gushing out on walls or flooding out from washing machines in a laundry room doesn’t materialize the horror, rather it looks ridiculous.

Ratings- 5.5/10

Sunday, January 18, 2009

THE WRESTLER (2008)

Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson is a professional wrestler who had the glorious history 20 years ago. He is now alone, aged & struggling with his bypassed weak heart & advised by Doctor not to wrestle any more. He has only one close friend in form of a stripper. The movie is all about the character study of Randy the wrestler.
Mickey Rourke has done superb method act here, same in the league of De’Niro in ‘Raging Bull’ & gained about 35 pounds of muscle to play Randy & looks like a professional aged wrestler. Rourke remains an under achiever actor for years & worked in lot of B grade films but in this film he faced the camera with striking performance & its worth to watch him. No wonder if get Oscar trophy this year after winning Golden Globe. Although Marisa Tomei displayed lot of nudity here in her stripper role, she very well maintained the dignity of her character.

Darren Aronofsky is a director who gave some of the finest character study to cinema created the atmosphere that leaves the audience feeling for old & depressed Rourke’s character. Compared to Aronofsky’s earlier complex films, this one is plain straight screenplay mainly shot with hand held camera & has a gritty look of watching a documentary drama. The film has certain do not miss scenes- like a moving camera shot on handicap wrestlers struggling to get money through fan following photo sessions or the confession speech of Rourke to his daughter or the climactic scene when he’s on ring telling audience his real family. The film is getting popularity & IMDB ranking of 50 is proof of it.

Watch it for an underdog actor who finally made it just like his character of the film Randy ‘The Ram’.

Ratings-8/10

BOLT (2008)

Bolt is a beginning of new 3D animation franchise by Walt Disney Pictures. And after watching this I must say I will be happy to see the next part as soon as possible.
Bolt is Hollywood’s hottest television super dog with super power energy. Unknown by fake studio world one day he entered into real world in search of his partner Penny. He befriends with pigeons, black cat & Rhino- the hamster in a transparent ball to accomplish his mission. Infect, it’s Rhino an admiring cute character who made Bolt the real super dog & made impossible possible for an ordinary dog & that’s what message is.
Rhino is full of fun to watch. It’s indeed a nice addition in favorite animated characters.
It’s coolest animation visual treat with well done voice over from John Travolta & Miley Cyrus.
Bolt has something for every audience & it absolutely deserved the praise.
As per the one-liner for the film, I would like to go with Rhino who frequently uttered-
“Awesome”.

Recommended to all animation lovers.

Ratings-8/10

Saturday, January 17, 2009

LAWS OF ATTRACTION (2004)

Opposites attract. Two divorce lawyers pitted against each other with a fine screen chemistry between Julianne Moore & Pierce Brosnan. Both of them are trying to outsmart each other on & off the courts. There is a room for nice romantic comedy with a script like this & fine actors like Moore & Brosnan but the movie crumbled it on wrong directions. I was expecting a fine romantic comedy from this but I found it into bits & pieces. So romance started casting its spell with a romantic palace in a situational divorce case between them. They got married under intoxication, realized the blunder. But the blunder is a sweet beginning of living together & everything ends well when you realized that you are in love.
Julianne looks stunningly beautiful in very few movies & this is one of them & she has acted well again as insecure lawyer but as it’s below the average script & screenplay so the performance remained a wasted attempt even though she tried hard to push it forward.
Thank God director made it ends with some sentimental stuff; it felt probable & meaningful at last at least.
Ratings-6.5/10

Friday, January 16, 2009

DEFIANCE (2008)

Based on true story, Defiance is 1941 drama tells the story of 3 Jew Brothers of Poland, who narrowly escape certain death at the hand of Nazis, vowed to take revenge of their near & dear ones by bringing together their fellow men. It’s their aim of life to fight back to the force who is trying to exterminate their race. Survival is their big problem among rough woods, indifferent weather, crisis of food & medicine but they have the biggest weapon with them- Courage. The film is a nice tribute to Jew spirit who fought their struggle with all odds & made history of their race.
The film is made by Edward Zwick, who gave films like ‘Blood Diamond’ & ‘The Last Samurai’. Zwick knows very well how to combine action with intense drama & he has maintained justice to it in this film also. One thing I like about Zwick is that he never glorify the action. The action always remained a demand of script in his films. The movie is shot almost in the dense surrounding forest maintaining both engaging action & tense drama between Germans & Jews. The film also portrayed the strength of community bonding under the critical period.
It’s well made film but the problem with the film is- It does not rise above in theme, plot & screenplay & gave you the feeling of seen it all. Besides the film also fumbles in grip in the later half part.
The first time I’ve seen Daniel Craig in such an intense leading character (shedding his 007 image far behind) with balancing his character at his best. Although the character he played remains inconsistent, he gave it his fair trial. He’s finely supported by Liev Schreiber as his high tempered brother who took the side with Russian army.

No harm in watching once.

Ratings-7/10

Thursday, January 15, 2009

BLINDNESS (2008)

An epidemic of blindness, known as white blindness strikes in the city & all those who are affected transferred in a special quarantine for analysis. An ophthalmologist (Mark Ruffalo) got infected with one of his patient & quarantined. His wife (Julianne Moore) pretended the infection in front of authority, just to be with his hubby & help him during quarantine. Slowly & steadily she became a helping & guiding angel for all quarantined blind inmates & miraculously she remained unaffected among all (which is the only impractical part shown in the film). As infected ones are increasing with every single passing day & it becomes fix situation for her to control & care everyone. Amid all chaos, there is a self proclaimed man with a gun proclaimed his leadership over food in quarantined wards & exploits others. Among all this hell the lady can’t let her human spirit down & continued to help her hubby & ends up helping all.

Bright eye catching white images on the screen were aimed to the audience to feel subjectively the conditioning of victims & helps in cultivating intensity in the film too. The chaos created with blindness is amplified with apt description of imagination which seems so realistic to create impact over viewers. Especially with images like- some nude humans loitering & pissing all around in the ward. The movie raised two pertinent points. How helpless, poor & ignorant the medical science & bureaucracy are in the time of some unknown chaos. They not only fail to curb or solve the menace but add more chaos in society. Who is blind one here is a big question? Second, how the time of crisis united the people belonging to different color & creed as one family on one hand & how shamelessly cruel & greedy humans are even under the blindness on the other hand. It’s basic helplessness of human knowledge & the need of support which is focused in the film.

Julianne Moore has probably done one of the best act of her life in this & it’s certainly an impressive performance to watch without a doubt. Technically the film is faultless & I would like to praise brilliant cinematography, sound & visual editing of the film. Even though the film is similar to Boyle’s ‘28 Days Later’ in subject but refreshingly fresh & more impressive with intense execution from beginning to end by director Fernando Meirelles ; a master filmmaker who gave us brilliant cult classic ‘City of God’ & one more docu-drama ‘The Constant Gardener’. I become a big fan of him with this third film watching experience & waiting for his next one desperately. What I also love is the movie doesn’t end with expected dark ending but with a beautiful hope.
A beautifully well made creative film of 2008. An experience not to miss.

Strongly Recommended.

Ratings-8.5/10

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

GHOST TOWN (2008)

Don’t assume looking at the title that it’s a horror flick. It’s nice decent comic drama flick. Dr.Pincus is a dentist living solitary in his own cold cocoon of self centeredness. Accidentally he died for few seconds during surgery & wakes up to discover that he has an ability to see ghosts & it annoying for him as every ghosts demand something from him to fulfill their unfinished last wish. He got Frank who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen. Dr ends up falling in love & felt some spirited results. The movie is a bit too talkative in the middle but its well treated film with well nuanced & idiosyncratic comic performance of Ricky Gervais. Movie starts with funny premises but ends with sentimental romance.

Worth watching once.

Ratings- 6.5/10

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (2008)

The movie has already bagged 4 golden globe trophies & expectations are high to repeat the same history in coming Oscars. More than anyone else I’m happy to see the smiling face of British Director Danny Boyle.He is in his mid 60’s & he always remains an underdog low budget filmmaker in Hollywood for years & this is his moment. It’s his belief in the script (a novel named ‘Q & A’ written by Vikas Swarup, which even a few Indians have read so far) & his execution as a director which made the film a history. His best decision as a director is casting an assistant Indian co-director Loveleen Tondon & gave her full liberty of casting. And Loveleen has done brilliant casting to cater the world audience. Especially those slum children including child Jamaal. Apart of sound direction, the movie also scores points in screenplay & gripping editing. Not for a single minute I felt bore in the film.

The movie is a moving confession story of a Mumbai slum dweller boy named Jamaal who in the verge of winning a reality quiz show interrogated by the suspicious cops. How Jamaal knows the answers of all questions, how he won 20 million bucks & more importantly his lost love with a platform like this is thing to watch & cherish.
The movie is totally Indian in look & partly in Hindi but it’s the treatment of balancing fantasy of winning money with stark reality of slum life made it uplifting tale to admire. And it’s this balance of film which has touched the right chords of abroad audience.

Our ‘Madras Mozart’ A R Rahman got world recognition on central stage winning golden globe trophy representing 1st ever Indian who won it & it’s definitely moment of him too. But the score he gave in the film isn’t his best one. All the Indian Rahman fans who have listened his music for years may feel the background score of the film a very normal score compared to his gr8 compositions & themes of last 18 years.

Talking about the performances its- Dev Patel & Freida Pinto steals the show with their promising debut performances. Rest of the Bollywood cast- Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Mahesh Manjrekar or Shaurabh Shukla maintained the nuanced performances assigned to them. But Anil has done exceptionally well with his cheer up anchor of the show with his trademark style. Anil is going to do a thrilling 2nd film with Danny Boyle in lead role. Hope Boyle can exploit well this genius screen legend of Bollywood.

Ratings- 8.5/10

Monday, January 12, 2009

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (2008)

Taking into the consideration of its script the movie is mammoth task on production & technical level & many legendary directors including Spielberg & Kubrick who turned down the project based on the short story of renowned American writer F.Scott Fitzgerald. And after watching this I must say it may be the later half part of the script which becomes so complex to direct for any director & abstractly indigestive for the audience too. Anyway what is a letdown for them is project of prestige for director David Fincher & this is the most ambitious project of Fincher. His combination with Brad Pitt works always & it always give us some of the finest performances of Pitt – remember ‘Se7en’ & cult classic psychological thriller ‘Fight Club’.

The movie is a remarkable life story on screen. Benjamin Button, an unusual child born as 80 year old man just after First World War & he’s unwanted child due to his this strange miracle of god. It was destined for him to survive & so he proceeds to grow younger reverse in order. He met his love- Daisy in his course of life. The love doesn’t meet its end & yet it remains eternal. The tragedy with their love is as one is growing younger the other is growing older. But like any other man he’s helpless to stop the time. Its story of his life, love & learning experiences, his encounters with different people, places & situations. It’s these innumerable refined experiences which remain beyond the concept of time & death. The movie narrated in a first person narrative resembles a lot similar to ‘Forrest Gump’ (especially living with the all the personal dilemmas & complexities of life Benjamin is helpless just like memorable Forrest Gump) And why can’t it be when the movie has same screenplay writer- Eric Roth. He has again done commendable work here- turning the complex script into a simple & yet adorable screenplay. The movie is lengthy & so it required a lot of patience from the audience side. A nice background score & lesser flat dialogues would have been possibly missing requirement in its overall coloring.

The movie has once again brilliant performances of Brad Pitt & Cate Blenchett & all technical grounds movie scores points. For Fincher it’s accomplished master work, although it’s not as engrossing as his earlier masterpieces- ‘Se7en’ or ‘Fight Club’. But I must say his movie making is touching new heights with every next movie he’s making & this is Fincher’s achievement of visual treat in grand epic style.

Recommended watch.

Ratings-8.5/10

Sunday, January 11, 2009

CRANK (2006)

It’s pure adrenaline pumping action material. Jason Statham is new action icon with his Transporter franchise. He is professional killer working for syndicate. From the beginning of the movie he’s in rush to save himself, his girl friend (Amy Smart) & to search Verona- who gave him poison. He has to keep his adrenalin rolling to keep his regular blood flow in his heart to survive throughout the film & that’s make the movie exciting experience for its viewers. He’s on run from beginning to end. Certain scenes in the movie nicely combine humor with action sequences & that’s one more thing I like about this fully popcorn action flick.
The movie is hardcore action thriller & if you are really in a mood to watch out n out action thriller then this movie won’t disappoint you at all.
If you already enjoyed it, get ready for the next installment coming soon this year.

Ratings- 7.5/10

Saturday, January 10, 2009

THE ALPHABET KILLER (2008)

The movie is based on true story & it has certain resemblance with the case of ‘Zodiac’- an intriguing thriller by David Fincher. But in case of this movie it lacks treatment, grip or a thrill required from a nice thriller/suspense genre film. The protagonist is heroine here is a cop here & she’s suffering from Schizophrenia with multiple hallucination & disorganized behavior & she’s trying to solve a mystery of a serial alphabet killer. The obsession leads her to mess her personal life & career. She plans to get her job done & meet something unexpected. There are so many faultlines in the film-i.e most of the investigation scenes are almost mediocre & monotonous, Eliza Dushku has a pretty charming face but where are the expressions on her face when she’s playing such a complex character?, the movie fails to rise above a monotonous B grade thrill.
Director Rob Schmidt made really scary 7 thrilling ‘Wrong Turn’ & here he attempted to do different with hallucination turned detective cop film but that’s becomes the real trouble with the film.
Don’t mess your 100 minutes. Avoid it.

Ratings-6/10

Friday, January 9, 2009

NISHABD (2007)

Life is not what you believe, what you expected; it’s rather opposite. To live life should one rely on instincts or conscience? Instinct is pure natural & so without logic & conscience or morality is something acquired & accepted programming of mind- a part where right & wrong is justified. What happens when instinct collides with conscience in your choice, what choice you make? Sometimes vulnerability & passion of instinct can destroy all that you have built over the years. Love, when it comes, no matter how irrational, makes rationality take aback seat. An individual’s emotions cannot be controlled by the expectations of society. What a brilliant message & what a brilliant made film by Ramgopal Verma.
Watch this Ramgopal Verma film & it compels you to think hard once you complete it.
Nishabd is a tragic story of a repenting man who listened to his natural instincts instead of moral side of conscience in a situation. It’s out & out mature cinema & one of the most accomplished film from one of the finest film maker of current India - Ramgopal Verma.
There are no words to express my gratitude towards Mr.Bachchan for this role, his intense acting & those countless million dollar expressions in this film. This is again most difficult role to gain audience sympathy & yes, he proved why still he is invincible in his acting & Baap of all. More than the scripted part of the film, I like the direct screen confessional narration of Amitabh which made the audience to get inside the skin of the character & made it more subjective rather than observe it from the objective point of view. Watch his crying confession in the last scene & tell me honestly is there any other Indian actor who can deliver such an intensity to the character as him!!! He is not playing character, he be the one.
Jiah is novice in acting as it’s her debut movie & she’s gave noticeable performance but more than her act it’s her boldness of character which is such an infectious that anyone can carried away to her. It’s her characteristic unpredictability of boldness & uncommonness (internally & externally) which really made me love to fantasize about a kind of girl I would love to meet. Revathi & Nasser are two mature actors of south Indian cinema & they have also played their parts with their natural flair.
Ramu you made me really nishabd (speechless). This is again my second screening of the film. And the reason is the movie created the same strong impression in my mind during its 1st watch. I recommended it to one of my close my friend & said that in a situation like this I would also possible for me or for any mature man to get carried away by instinct. I gave him a VCD to watch it yesterday & he messed his review with his own moral codes & character analysis of the movie’s protagonist. I don’t feel sad because he messed his opinion but feel disturbed that he didn’t get the point of the film or my opinion. Today I watched it 2nd time & I will still like to retain my statement on every account. Now again this sort of purely experimental movie (which is just a frame of reference) is only a director & man like RGV can do justice. It’s more convincing & more intense & darker than ‘Jogger’s Park’, fresh & entertaining ‘Chini Kum’or Ben Kingsley-Penelope Cruz starrer ‘Elegy’ (2008).
It’s one of the most sound, serious & maturely made landmark film of the RGV.

If you haven’t watch it, you are seriously missing a gem.

Ratings-9/10

Thursday, January 8, 2009

TMNT (2007)

They are the ninja brothers- they strike hard, defend, protect, and fade into the night. It’s supreme animation action film of the 2007. Now if you love myths, adventure & especially ninja turtles this is the movie for you. Its movie celebrating their brotherhood, strength & power with lots of morals.
Written & directed by Kevin Munroe this film has classic animation graphics that can’t let your eyes miss. I avoided the film considering it Ok type but hey it do surprised me when I complete it today. Though the movie doesn’t have usual Hollywood biggies in voice over, it doesn’t make it feel that its required.
Ninjas rocks.
Ratings-7/10

WILD CHILD (2008)

16 year old Poppy has always got what she wanted & lived pampered life in her LA world. She got a credit card papa who fulfills her every demand. But Poppy is problem for her papa ‘coz of her wild acts. Papa dear shifted her to new boarding school in England. Poppy has to fight a tough war this time with strict & disciplinarian Headmistress, raunchy & bully head girl & innumerable laws & regulations to fit her in the school. It’s more inner struggle for her than outer one & she transformed herself too.But right then she got into fix with a jealous head girl. But she proved her worth again & this time with winning a tournament for her school.
It’s an average teen movie with a moral & no big miss if you skip it. But let me tell you about the new teen discovery - Emma Roberts who looks sheer & fresh beauty here & she’s the only reason I continued watching movie till the end. She played both her acts of spoiled teen beauty & transformed nice girl cutie with aplomb.

Ratings-6.5/10

OVER THE HEDGE (2006)

There’s nothing not to like about this movie- With simple & yet interesting plot, sweet & loving characters like- the fraud & selfish leader fox RJ, naturally tentative & conscious Turtle Verne, Sweet little Hammy (a squirrel) & rest of the animals & their mind blowing plan to steal a mountain of food from neighborhood on a single night just to return earlier due to big Vincent bear. You will surely laugh it loud that every time its stealing of spuddies(wafers) which put RJ in jeopardy but still he can’t resist to steal it. The film is funny & engaging both for kiddos & adults. It’s also big comment on fast food loving human from animal side in one of the scene where RJ tried to convince animals to steal food for the 1st time. Movie has fantastic animation work from brilliant Dreamworks team. Its film about good Vs evil & yes, ‘all is well which ends well.’
Must for every animation lover.

Ratings- 7.5/10

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008)

One of the most awaited film of the year for me. The reason is my favorite director- Sam Mendes directed one of the mesmerizing must watch chemistry of all-time- Leonardo & Kate.
And yes he delivered a film which blows your senses away.
‘Man proposes & God disposes’ said Hardy & it’s true in the case of the finest couple here. Frank is an executive & April is near perfect house wife. The couple is mature & wanted to re ignite the spark of their love once again to their itchy life. April is mature housewife & Frank is responsible family man. What she wanted is to raise above their lives from ordinary monotonous fixed daily life & to live lives on the terms of what exactly one wants from life. But as it’s well said that- “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Its story of a couple chasing an American dream in 1955 & what they got is tragedy harder to live or die; & the aftermath is even more dark side of the life. It’s brilliantly scripted & executed film telling a dangling story of couple between ordinary & extraordinary. Much higher is the message when the delusional love between the couple breaks with the mentally retarded intruder. The dark face of reality is mirrored by an insane!!! What an irony of life!!!
Kate Winslet has acted again brilliantly. She was nominated four times at this young age & would not wonder if I find her name in the nominations for best actress this year but surely wonder if she won’t win this time. Leo is just improving & surprising the audience with his powerful & intense role playing performance with every next film. He is brilliant here too.
In every Mendes film cinematography plays the real aesthetic & significant integral role to heighten the approach of theme. Conrad Hall is my favorite cinematographer & Mendes has got the best creative cinematography by legendary Conrad Hall in his first two masterpieces- ‘American Beauty’ & ‘Road to Perdition’ but now Hall is no more. But Roger Deakins is also one of the finest one & he has not let me feel the vacuum of Conrad Hall in this film.
A devastatingly heart breaking film & yeah Sam Mendes I expect some happy ending here- something antidote to sad romantic ending of ‘Titanic’ here but you disappointed me. Next time make it end with happy notes; can’t bear tragic end to such lovely characters.

Strongly recommended.

Ratings-8.5/10

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

SEVEN POUNDS (2008)

This is one of the touchiest sentimental humanitarian movie I’ve ever seen in a long run. The movie touches all the right chords of your heart. If you admire Will Smith for his great act in ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ directed by the same director, believe me he is extraordinary here. Watch this film & you will agree that what a fine actor he is. As this is not an easy role to maintain a character like this & its always a refined actor that can do justice & Will has done impressive act here. Now you need a lot of patience to absorb film like this. It’s neither didactic nor shout but a whisper to the soul. Although the movie is heart tugging, it also has a secret which revealed in the end but you can guess easily if you are smart viewer.
It’s story of a friendly neighborhood tax collector Ben Thomas. He is an Angel in the form of human but he has his reasons too. Why he is helping people who are really needy? Ben has no perfect plan for himself or for them & so lot of questions remains unanswered in the 1st half. The 2nd half is attempted to answer all of them with appropriate timings.
Watch the candle light dinner scene & I can’t stop my heart dance to the emotions which is directly elated to my already wet eyes. The background score is the essential ingredient of every sentimental film & I must say it really create a mood & tone of the film in this case. Apart of class act of Will, Rosario Dawson has also gave instinctive best to flourish her character to gain the empathy of the audience.
The director- Gabrielle Muccino has strongly balanced the film with keeping its emotional appeal underlined without letting you feel manipulative. The team of director-actor once again proved their power to touch viewers’ hearts after their acclaimed ‘The pursuit of happiness’. I’m looking forward for their team work in future also.

Highly recommended.

Ratings- 9/10

Monday, January 5, 2009

ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (Spanish) (1999)

It’s my first Pedro Almodovar film & frankly he made me speechless. It’s too serious film & So many things which he portrayed in the film are totally remote for us- like transsexual prostitutes but it’s more over a heart wrenching story of the woman & that’s something universal about the film. The film looks like Almodovar’s tribute to the women.
Its story of a single mother who lost his 17 year old son in an accident, on his birthday. It’s loss of lifetime from her. She didn’t reveal anything about his father to his son. She donated her son’s heart for the needy one who requires it for transplantation. After the death of her son , she went to Barcelona to meet the father of her lost son. She met a transvestite hooker who is the father of the son. The irony is - the father himself is unaware of it & when he knew it’s too late to even see his face alive.
There is a sub plot of a beautiful nun who got unwanted pregnancy from her boyfriend who has AIDS. As the film progresses further in the last 20 minutes, it’s turning more & more dark & intense in situations, scenes & characters. One of the famous American modern tragedy drama – ‘A street car named desire’ is very significantly interwoven in the life of central character. If you haven’t gone through the drama yet than watch it’s classic movie version with one of the best act of Marlon Brando& Vivien Leigh by the same title.
Cecilia Roth has done brilliant act here in a lead role & she played the role with great finesse. The film garnered so many Awards including coveted Academy Award in best Foreign Language film & surely worthy of it.
Recommended to all world cinema lovers.

Ratings- 8/10

Thursday, January 1, 2009

DOSTANA (2008)

There are 3 reasons why I watched the film-
1) It’s not Karan Johar directed film
2) I want to see Abhishek’s comic act
3) I want to see a good romantic comedy
Congrats Karan for not directing this. Karan Johar loves to ridicule the audience. That happened with his last directed film- KANK. The good thing about this film is he is not director here & the bad thing about the film is he is producer. Karan is always in dilemma- he wants to make conventional family entertainers & at the same time also tries to attempt modernity in his films. He was confused at peak when he made KANK & made the audience more confused. So far so good. With some fresh & innovative directors’ entry in Bollywood, now audience shifted his taste to single malt rather than blended whiskey of Johar-Chopra camp.
He attempted in this film with premise of gay relationship here & debunks it with a pretending couple just to get a rented home. Thank god the cool chemistry of John-Abhishek works & they attempted it with the best of their abilities to pool the audience among all other mash. Boman & Kiron Kher continued their loud act. How many Mother India accepts gay couple for her laadla like Kiron Kher is something questionably irritating. Priyanka is not fine actress but she can be one if she quit doing this sort of baby doll roles just to be a part of Johar’s camp. And what else she got for performance here except wearing heavy make up & revealing costumes & bouncing between trio-yes Bobby Deol is also there.
It’s advisable to Karan Johar , Subhash Ghai & Aditya Chopra to declare retirement as director. They can be great producers if they give chances to some new talents od new age film makers without interrupting their creativity with their own whims & fancies of movie making. All of three have at least one such success in their account. For Karan its ‘KHNH’(directed by Nikhil Adwani), for Ghai its ‘Iqbal’( directed by Nagesh Kukunoor) & for Aditya its ‘Chak De India’( directed by Shimit Amin)
Ratings-7/10