Friday, December 19, 2014

review: PK

ET (please go home!) mash up with OMG!

2 Stars

Mini Review:

You like Rajkumar Hirani? Watch Munnabhai again. This is a tiring, plodding, annoying version of ET mashed up with the brilliantly written OMG. Why would anyone want to sit through 153 minutes of overcooked ideas?

Main Review:

So it's Rajkumar Hirani. And no one will deny superior touches in the movie: A bomb has gone off and when someone kicks the two-in-one PK carries with him most of the time, the song, 'Aasma pe hai khuda, aur zami pe hum' comes on. That moment earns this movie its one star.

The second star is earned by a moment - and only a director like Hirani could have thought it up -  when the sardarji gives his wife that 100 rupee note to give to the waiter at the five star hotel. 

In the scheme of the movie, these two moments are not important. But you suddenly discover empathy for the characters, the scene, and that is fully paisa vasool.

The rest of the movie?

PK lands naked and comic music plays (Terminator did that hundred years ago! And you still smile when anyone wears RayBans like Arnie did)
PK chased by mobs of every religion with comic music playing.
PK chased by men because he tried to hold hands with their wives with comic music playing.
PK eating paan (the red juices coloring his lips) with comic music playing.
PK calling the prostitute 'sister' because he missed downloading that bit of information. No comic music plays here, but she snores.
PK mentioning 'dancing cars' and showing us what they are at least 4 times in the movie accompanied by comical creaking and orgasmic sounds.
PK speaking Bhojpuri. Supposed to be comic? Must be, because his language makes people laugh. 
PK goggling eyes. Almost always accompanied by song with words like 'Tharki Mehmaan'
PK asking 'innocent', 'endearing', questions like, 'Bhagwan ki battery change karni hai kya?' accompanied by comic twangs of music. Almost always showing people rolling their eyes at him and sniggering too.

If you've had enough of PK, then hear me complain about the screenplay that is so repetitive, each time PK asks religion ka thappa dikhao, you want to ask, 'Is script par approval ka thappa kisne lagaya?'

I agree that we love Rajkumar Hirani so much, that we are willing to forgive him this movie. We call it 'brave', 'audacious questions asked' and so on... 

I wish I had not seen OMG! the movie, where Paresh Rawal makes every argument against practiced religion and the godmen with so much more logic, so much precision, that this better budgeted movie looks flawed. 

You cared for ET and his need to phone home. You cared for the little kids who love him. You remember the m&ms the kids lure him with. You adored how little Drew Barrymore dresses him up like a girl. Here, no matter how much he cries and wobbles his lip, you just want to him to go home. You grit your teeth when you see PK in a woman's skirt (you don't ask how he knew that the skirt was meant to be worn in the lower half and the coat on the upper, you are just so bored). It's not cute.

You want to ask the writers, 'Have you not visited churches where Mother Mary statues are draped in sarees, and coconuts are offered to her?' But I drowned that logic in coffee and exasperation when the 'God' sticker joke is repeated. 

You have seen so many alien movies, you are just grateful that they do not show mini PKs emerging from teapots and desk drawers at Anushka's home because he danced with her. Aliens love to procreate,too, our movies tell us (When the title: 'One Year Later' is shown on the screen, that was my biggest fear).

Cheating Godmen is a theme as old as the hills (remember Jaadugar?), so this looks boring in comparison. Even Nirmal Baba sponsored shows on TV are more fun to watch...

I'm disappointed by the horrendous mash up. I refuse to believe that directors don't watch films by other filmmakers so that their craft remains pure. Somebody must have watched OMG? ET? 

I came away saying 'Ouch' because now there's hole in my heroes gallery where Rajkumar Hirani once stayed.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Review: Exodus: Gods And Kings

Ridley Scott Attempts Manmohan Desai. Fails.

2 stars

Mini Review: 

The screen is larger than life, the effects are grand. But everything else is so boringly predictable, you wish they had restored and re-released the original. 

Main Review:

Remember Manmohan Desai's Parvarish, where a policeman raises the child of a dreaded dacoit? Or those 'friendship thicker than blood' movies? Movies about 'brothers from different mothers'? Namakharam? Can you imagine Ramesses and Moses singing, 'Salamat rahe dostana hamara' on chariots after winning the battle against the Hittites?

No? Then imagine being held captive by a sword-wielding Shahnaz Hussain of the Kohl, Kurls and Kaftan fame for three hours in the Dhurries and Handwoven Furnishings section inside a Fab India store... She has confiscated all hair conditioner (explains the rough stiff hair everyone in the movie sports... Imagine being told that she'll let you go only if you wear the dhurries and furnishings as dresses... Imagine Joel Edgarton emoting anger and love wearing sheer curtain fabrics as kaftans... 

But... But... It has Batman! Alas. This is the most tedious telling of the Ten Commandments story. Batman is rich when he's not 'Batman'. Here Moses loses his moolah, no? So why should Bale bhaiyya act? His Moses is lazy. He hides behind his beard and spouts boring dialog. No crackling thunderbolts chisel the edicts. Moses sits down with hammer and chisel while his people party! No wonder he is grumpy.

And just like Manmohan Desai used child actors in Suhaag and Parvarish, here too God is shown to be a child (Looks as evil as though he appeared straight out of the Stephen King's cornfields). And instead of saying, 'Jaao pehle us aadmi ka sign leke aao...' he just unleashes frogs and giant crocs and superbly magnified locusts. And flies. 

It's not that I didn't like the version at all. There were a few good things that earned stars for the movie. Like the evil child god who is really an unhappy chai boy, even though he doesn't explain why he waited for 400 years to do something about his chosen people. 

And the introduction of the idea of TED talk in Egypt. Why else would there be some guy explaining new phenomena to the Pharoah?

The Kohl. I know surma is used by men. But men in skirts wearing kohl must have been a progressive lot...

I loved, loved, loved the scene with Joel Edgarton and the snakes. I don't care if they were not real. They were creepily good.

The 3D as in most movies is pointless. But the movie is a big bore. Serves some American agenda which reads like, 'We're on your side, Israel. We'll show people how you were tortured, so the world will give this movie four stars and forget what you are doing to the Palestinians...

See... you are falling asleep already. We almost did as well. Because you learn nothing new with this film. The scale of the film is certainly grand, but there's no fun dialog that you heard in the original ten commandments. Remember Nefreteri telling Moses that she will be his footstool if he became king of Egypt? And how Moses replies, 'The man stupid enough to use you as a footstool would not be wise enough to rule Egypt!' Alas, there is no Anne Baxter who pouts at Charlton Heston saying, 'O Moses, Moses! Why of all men did I fall in love with a prince of fools?'

This version may look grand because of the IMAX screen and 3D, but it lacks the grandeur of the original. Edgarton despite his muscles is no Yul Brynner, and Christian Bale is not a patch on Charlton Heston.

Even Bollywood fails when it attempts to tell stories which Manmohan Desai did so effortlessly. Maybe De Mille and Desai were Gods, and Ridley is merely a king...


Review: Action Jackson

Hey Prabhu! Hey Dheva! 
Dhatteri Bozo Se Cinema Ka Khoon!

Minus 5 Stars

Mini Review:

Kamaal R Khan, Sajid Khan deserve an apology. Deshdrohi and Humshakals are better films. 

Main Review: 

Never thought anyone would say it, did you? I'm saying it. Deshdrohi had a story. Humshakals had the world's lamest jokes, but you laughed at a couple of them.

Here, Prabhu Dheva wants you to believe it is funny that the heroine is blessed with good luck when she sees the hero's genitalia. That's why she pursues him so she can see him in the flesh again. In case you think that is not hilarious, then they will repeat it in animation. 

By the way, you have already been rendered deaf by the loud music, and established the IQ of the film, let us proceed to destroy cinema. With Samurai swords.

And why not? Audience has never seen Kill Bill. Sab chalega. 

Neither has Ajay Devgn. Warna he would have insisted on wearing yellow track pant suit na?
(Bechara! Each time he posed with his Dhat-teri Bozo sword and emoted hatred and anger, he wasn't told that the stills of that pose would be used to make Chinese troops encroaching our borders retreat and roll back down the Himalayas laughing.)

Plus, North ki audience has never heard of Rajnikanth, right?

Neither has Ajay Devgn. So it's okkkkayy to cheat and borrow the 'super star' music and have him say 'En vazhi, tani vazi' in English. With little change also. 'Highway' instead of 'unique'. Rajni sar is romba sweet, so we will have Ajay Clueless Devgn to even raise finger like Padaiyappa.

And audience? North of the Vindhyas wali audience, sar! Dialog sunte hee pippal will throw money at screen sar! Guarantee. Producer bhi khush, and audience gets ever orgasmic vamp.

Poor Manasvi Mamgai. Narration must have stopped for her when she heard, 'You're a hot babe from London who wears leather pants and smokes. And in and interviews with Rajeev Masand and Anupama Chopra you will be able to say, 'The role demanded it, so I shaved my hair.' Wow. 

She's hot all right, but no one told her she will sound like Darth Vader struggling with an orgasm instead of sexy. Aiyyo! Shiva, Shiva! No associating 'sexy' with Prabhu Dheva. He is making family entertainer! 

Okkay! So borrow a soundtrack from Vikram Bhatt's paranormal movies that has chudails laughing. No one has done it before! Not for Nadira. Not for Bindu. Wow. Awesummm!

Call the villain 'Xavier' because the dialog writer's third cousin from Thrissur did not get admission in that college sar!

College is called 'St. Xavier's', no? Remove the state transport from name and also 'S' at the end. That way, you will keep Catholics happy. 

Wow, sar! You are really prabhu. Like Sivaji Ganesan's son, sar!

Call Sonakshi. She can play bubbly and sweet lou interest. She has done that many times before.

But sar, we already signed Yami Gautam.

No worries. We'll make Ajay Devgn double role. Homage to Hema Malini. Seetha Aur Geetha. But with a twist. We will make Geetha and Geetha. 

Wow! You are so awsummm!

And give me color! Lots of color! So no one will notice that Sunny Deol can dyance better than Ajay Devgn. We'll add lots of dyance numbers. Have some Punjabi fellow help write fun song about Punjabis where we put Dandiya as well. So all North Indians will be happy. 

What news of Quentin Tarantino? 

Quentin's people in talks with Yash Raj. He's making Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.        

Send someone to Medwakkam High Road in Adambakkam, and find sickle maker Senthil and get him to make... Sorry sar, in North, union rules, sar... Okkay get local. And with CG we make Shivaji talvaar look like Hattori Hanzo.

Dhat-teri! That Simple-a. Also add one dyance by you during credits to make sure audience stays to clap. Super hit it will be, sar. 

At least they got this right. The entire audience hits their foreheads in despair. Even Singham fans. 

PS. Now that cinema is dead, you are invited to bring your Kill Bill DVDs so that we can once and for all, in a mass ceremony break them like bangles in Hindi films.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1

Abala Naari Jennifer NirupaRoy Lawrence

one star

Mini Review:

The trailer shows you ALL the action there is in the movie. The movie is tears, tears, and more tears. It's awful to see Jennifer Lawrence cry, 'Mera Peeta Aayega. Jaroor Aayega!'

Main Review:

Every time Jennifer Nirupa Roy Lawrence cried for her 'Peeta! Peeta!' my stomach rumbled for Falafel.

Why was I distracted?

One. There was very little action in this movie, we only saw aftermath of the action. Never did one imagine that one wished to see an entire district being firebombed. You were shown a townsquare full of skulls and bones. You are shown more rubble than buildings coming down. No. Wait. There's a chance to take on the Capitol's army. And you hold your breath. At last, some action. But noooooooo! Tactics say wait. No point telling them we are armed. Hide...You hunger for action. And there is none.

Two. The clothes. The clothes. I understood why Effie Trinket complains about it too. Revolution is bad for fashion. Everyone wears military green shapeless jumpsuits. Revolution always means boring clothes. At least Expendables and Van Damme movies make up for lack of clothes by lots of action. But as I said, there's no action here. And the fact that Jennifer wears the Hawkeye costume doesn't help.

Three. The tears. So many tears, Jennifer Lawrence sounds more all the Bollywood moms and Sati Savitris rolled into one. Remember Madhuri Dixit bawling over Jackie Shroff, refusing to believe he died in the fire? Or Hema Malini's 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan... Main Naachoongi!' Jennifer allowing herself to be the mascot of the revolution felt exactly like that! Each time she steeled herself for Peeta, you can hear Hindi dialog loop in the background, 'Naari Apni Suhaag Ki Raksha Ke Liye Durga Ban Sakti Hai!' Alas. There is no Durga-Kali type action.

Four. I broke my choodiyaan on the deewar with this one (white folk will facepalm and bang their head on the walls). The sheer predictability of the events. It's frustrating to know that the stupid sister and her cat could endanger lives. Of course, they are going to be missing when the warning sirens blare and everyone is scrambling to escape to safety. I wish Jennifer had given the daft sister Kaan Ke Neeche for endangering lives. I wish Stephen King had stepped in as director and introduced us to Vampire cat (she fed on the barbecued flesh of those people firebombed, remember?) who feasts on everyone in the gigantic bunkers. I'm not even getting into how predictable the raid of the tribute centre is. The vampire cat is so much of a better idea. The movie would have been less of a yawnfest.

Five. Yes. You'll feel Nirupa Roy regaining eyesight at the Sai Baba temple is better plotted than Peeta is brainwashed crap. And watching Jennifer Lawrence in a Fab India kurta and lyrca churidar (aka her hospital outfit) is hardly going to make young men buy tickets to this movie. Also you will be so numbed, you'll not want to know (or care) how peasants who had nothing to eat and were being supervised by Stormtroopers managed to build so deep into the Earth. Where did their food come from. Who manufactured their ghastly jumpsuits, Whatevs!

Again. This is a yawnfest. They have tried to milk the hunger games cow, and mocked at our collective intelligence. Wait for the final film. Here, you don't even want to say, 'Ro Mat Jenny, Sab Kuch Theek Ho Jaayega!'

Review: Penguins Of Madagascar

Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private RULE!

3 stars

Mini Review:

It's a kiddies film with grown up lines. While the kids enjoy the mad, practically impossible on-screen action, the grown ups will guffaw at the maddest writing and visual gags that keep getting sillier and funnier. These are 91 minutes well-spent!

Main Review:

Come on! Admit that you could not deal with the friendship forever thing with the lion and the zebra and that inter species love thing between the hippo and the giraffe by the third film. I was. And I loved, loved, loved the penguins who were crazy and clever and yes, crazy and clever...

So do the people who gave the penguins a standalone movie. And what a great decision that is!

So 'Smile and wave, boys. Just smile and wave!'

It starts out like a Herzog crew 'filming under difficult conditions' and snowballs out of Antarctica to New York and travels frenetically everywhere from Brazil to Venice to Shanghai and more.

It rains puns, of course, but there are cinematic tropes that will keep you chuckling. Everything from sticking together as a team, to the James Bondish Medusa Ray aimed at helpless creatures to gut feelings, the writing is great fun: 

'Always listen to your gut!' 
'Sorry Skipper! That's anatomically impossible'

The politically incorrect reference to The North Wind is also reduced to 'No one breaks wind!'

Yes, yes! The lines are silly. But when you can imagine Penguins being in 'an observation mode' you can laugh at Private the penguin wearing a mermaid costume...

The villains, the rival team, the putting others before self could have been mawkish, but it's penguins we are talking about! They have surplus cuteness!

No. More. Spoilers.

Go watch the film. If you are embarrassed of being the lone grown up in a supposedly kiddie flick, rent a kid from the neighbor or a relative and walk into the theatre, head held high. But watch the film. Buy a penguin plushy to cuddle. 

Then smile and wave. Smile and wave.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Happy Ending

RomCom That Starts Happy, Ends Blah

2 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

Everyone wants to be Hugh Grant. Saif Ali Khan comes close. This close but the filmmakers want it to be a satire too, and that's where it fails. But it's way better than some of the romantic comedies thrown our way.

Main Review:

So Saif wants is almost Hugh Grant. And this movie has its moments too. But in its desperate need to 'not be a rom-com' because 'guys' wrote it and it was meant to be 'satirical', it falls flat. 

As a Rom-Com, it works because there is cool role reversal. And Saif does a pretty good job as a Runaway Bride. The fact that we have seen many, many movies about the writer's block and how the crusty writer falls in love with someone who simply breezes into his life, clueless about love does not matter as long as it is put in a different, more relatable setting. 

Hugh Grant himself falls for his lyricist in Music And Lyrics. He also does the Casanova thing and falls for lemme-have-a-quick-romp-and-leave Andie Mac Dowell in Four Weddings And A Funeral. So this movie has a tried and tested Rom-Com thing. It's just that it is not romantic enough for us to suddenly believe Saif changing his ways. 

If it is a satire, the movie needed to be much smarter than it is. The inner 'Yogi' (what a terrific character created! Sometimes Slob, sometimes SriSri!) needed to play a bigger part. 

Govinda - so awesome - is on a roll! Had there been more to him we could have had an enjoyable trip (a sharper, smarter version of Main Khiladi Tu Anadi).

The supporting cast is immensely likeable. Ranvir Shorey as Saif's best friend has some of the funniest lines and his comic timing is good.

Preity Zinta's character has been carelessly created. A hot ex girlfriend who is teen bachhon ki maa could have been so much fun, but we see her drinking chai. Blah!

Kalki Koechlin gets the best role. But we've seen that before too (reminded me of Seinfeld's girl with that annoying laugh).

Also, I loved the way it does not try too hard to speak Hindi. The urban English and Hindi mix works just fine.

Just saying that 'it's a satire on the process of writing cinema' doesn't wash. Had there been no subtitles, the writers would have perhaps given us a better romance. This is so in-between two things, sometimes it's a yawn or a groan.

I like romances, I do. And everyone loves satire. But this one tries so hard it sort of falls flat. Neither is it an honest to god romance, nor is it a satire. And you do wonder how Saif and Ranvir disable the tracking software on the phone when they believe breaking the laptop is the only way to delete a video from the computer...

Having cringed at things like that, the movie was still an immensely enjoyable watch. 

(One star for SriSri Saif, One for Govinda and the half for the supporting cast) 

Review: Dumb And Dumber To

So clever this movie!

3 stars

Mini Review:

Farrelly Brothers are cleverer than you think. This time Harry and Lloyd are reunited for a road trip that subtly spoofs everything from TED talks to the army to beloved movie tropes without ever shouting 'spoof'! You might not laugh out loud, but you will chuckle and grin through the movie!

Main Review:

That Jim Carrey is a genius, everyone knows. That Jeff Daniels can stand his own when pitched with Jim Carrey is truly awesome. And the two together take us through everything we thought was dear to us at the movies. No! Let me correct that. They bulldoze through (unwittingly, or so you're made to feel) so many things we know and love: cinema tropes, family values, our ideas on love and tragedy and still manage to surprise us every time they 'push bush'. 

This time Harry and Lloyd take a road trip to seek out Harry's daughter... And we trip on fireworks, tattoos, trains...

The comic timing is impeccable, although you do want to turn away from the sight of Jim Carrey swallowing the sausage, or guffaw cautiously when Harry discovers that he's adopted, or what Harry's cat does to the birds...

The Farrelly brothers poke at every holy cow that bleeding heart Americans hold dear. They are equally mean to people with physical disabilities as well as...

I remember hating the original. Maybe I need to watch it again to appreciate the humor that has made this a top grosser in the US. You better watch the movie and let me know that I'm right in saying, 'After watching this movie, you will not be able to post a smiley without chuckling...'

Review: The Equalizer

Action Flicks Ki Bhelpuri

Not Jhakaas!
1/2 star

Mini Review: 

If you've watched Steven Segal, John Claude Van Damme movies, then you've seen this movie. The original TV series with Edward Woodward is still brilliant after all these years. 

Main Review:

Why Denzelbhaiyya, why? Kaikoo itta faltu 'dekho kitta noir hai' fillum mein role liya?

When a movie deliberately tries to look more mysterious than it is, when the Raashians are more Russian than the onion domed church is, when every scene is more predictable than 'Mere Karan Arjun Aayenge'... you wonder if there were any merit in taking a glue gun and pausing the film and leaving... 

But we grin and bear it because we realize that even Under Siege series was so much better than what's happening on the screen. You begin rolling your eyes and don't stop. They copy microwave bomb, they copy knife stabbing, heck they even kill the baddies with a nail gun...

Am yawning with every word. The movie is so bad.

It tries to ride on the success of the tv show with the same name, but as an ex FBI guy who solves cases for people who have all the odds stacked against them (hence 'equalizer'), Edward Woodward is so much better than Denzel (the action here is more vicious, and it suits Washington better). You can watch the tv show on You Tube, why waste your time on bad guys killed by Rambo in First Blood (yes yes, they even copied Rambo style killing with 'available stuff', only here he has hammers and barbed wires and nail guns...)

Watch it when it appears on tv, and you cannot deal with a hysterical Sandhya bhabi in a police uniform in Diya Aur Bati Hum...

(the half star is for the screenwriter who references the books shown in the movie)

Friday, November 07, 2014

Review: Interstellar

Inter-Not-So Stellar!

2 and 1/2 stars

Mini Preview:

Bollywoodization of Hollywood is now complete! What could have been 2014: A Space Odyssey is Premwale Planet Le Jayenge. 

Main Review:

(If you love Nolan unconditionally, go watch the film in IMAX for the sheer size of the vision of the man. But if you are a fan of space adventure movies, someone who spots anomalies a mile away, read on!)

The movie begins with 'Nitrogen increased in the atmosphere and crops died of the blight...'
and the primary science student so long buried under movies like Batman Begins and Inception awakens and says, 'Hold on! Isn't there already more Nitrogen in the air than oxygen?' 

And then your mind races because you remember how peeing on grandpa's farm was okay because extra nitrogen in the soil from the uric acid in your pee was supposed to make beans grow like crazy, not kill crops...

But fangirl inside stomps on primary school science student saying, 'IT"S NOLAN! SHUT UP!' 

And you stop wondering how they have clean water coming out from dusty taps and wait to plunge into fabulous space-scapes you saw in the trailer.

'Oi! Yeh kya hua! Indian Drone kahan se aaya?' 

I don't realise that I've said it aloud because Nolan fan sitting to the left of me says, 'Just like Bane emerged from a hole in Rajasthan.' and another jaded fan to the right of me says, 'They just want to unnecessarily market the film to India. They forget we are all Nolan worshippers here!' 

But wait! Cooper and his daughter arrive at NORAD gates? (Just like one loves the appearance of Stan Lee in the comic movies, I love to spot details like that on the sign on the fence) Erm... But the story is set in the midwest, is it not? And Norad tracks Santa (besides other things) from El Paso (Texas) and from Alaska, no?

But that's NASA they say, and I wonder, why is it secret? Looks like hundreds work there! Where did all those people park? Where did those people live? How come the facility looks so derelict if so many people were working there? 


I do. But can't help wonder how the government had money to send so many manned crafts in search of life, when Wall-e the movie had advanced robot probes like EVA doing the same job years ago?

Why wasn't science growing food in covered domes and people living like The Simpsons movie dome to keep dust out?

And why hadn't people adapted to living in basements and windowless houses to keep the dust out instead of letting dust layer laptops and plates and... 


So Cooper is going to save the world by leaving it... 

But not without one token black guy, one white guy (who was it? everyone on screen was talking so much, explaining so much, I wanted to fast forward to some action!), a cool robot TARS, and yes, a saucer eyed female passenger (Ann Hathaway). And you know rightaway that the two men are going to die in this inter-galactic adventure and at least one because of the woman. And who was going to betray the cause? That's the basic Hollywood formula movie, no? How was Nolan is going to make this work?

And you want to know what Ann Hathaway is really doing on this mission because she's just doing pretend science work. She pulls out those cylinders filled with human dna from freezers to check them and puts them back. 

Who chose the DNA donors? Why is she checking them so often? Do their numbers increase and decrease? Is there fear that they might mutate in space as though Jurassic Park was meeting Alien meeting Predator? And why only people DNA? Why are they not carrying seeds and water and stuff people might need on the new planet?


Oh yes! There's the Zimmer organ score. There are the awesome frozen clouds... And a question. Do planets survive so near the black hole? Why aren't they being sucked in? How powerful is their gravity (or centrifuge?) that keeps them in orbit around the black hole when everything else is being sucked in? What does a hole in the sky look like from the surface of the planet? Does the black hole rise and set like out moon which makes the tides? And why are the tides not being sucked into the black hole?

How come the spacecraft that lands in water seem to land in just half a foot of water, but people seem to be waist deep in it? How come they walk/wade through the water so confidently, as though they know the ground beneath the water is even and not potholed or filled with space crocodiles or space piranhas?


And then comes the facepalm moment that turns Nolan the God into Nolan the wannabe Yash Chopra/Karan Johar. 

Teary eyed Ann Hathaway suggests,'Love transcends space and time.' 

(I missed the gobbledegook science because I started laughing and the movie flashbacked a la Karan Johar as Nolan fans killed me with popcorn bullets.)

The Flashback:

Cooper leaves home: Mere bacchon to tumhare hawale karta hoon and daughter says, 'Tussi na jaao!'

You can imagine John Lithgow wishing for Alzheimers like Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes instead of the task of bringing up brats. 

'I promise I will be back!' is not said like The Terminator, but watching Cooper wanting to go back and save his family was too Karan Johar. And Karan Johar does the 'It's all about the family' with so much ease.

Even the surprise cameo star spouts fake science about parental love and says something like 'Evolution has not transcended that one barrier...'

Parental Love was stopping humans from evolving into higher beings? What?

Here's where you wish all the corn in the movie, and not just what's in the field had been torched by Jessica Chastain, because clearly Nolan was too busy putting his larger than IMAX vision on to the screen to care how horribly melodramatic his story was turning out to be...

And yes, the Bollywoodization does not end. You can almost hear Cooper say, 'Sab kuch theek ho jaayega. Ab main aa gaya hoon.'

Then there's more love. More family. And the discovery that the black monolith in 2014: A Space Odyssey is actually made of cheesecake.

P.S. What is in the steel flask Cooper carries every time he leaves home? 

Review: The Shaukeens

Three Creep Alert! 

4 Thappad!
1 Big Hug!

Mini Review:

Seeing Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Piyush Mishra ogle and vie to cop a feel of young girls is worse than finding yourself face down in someone else's puke. Thank god Akshay Kumar was added to save the film.

Main Review:

One tight slap each to the three older actors who ride this one snigger story about three older men who haven't had any for years and to TIGMANSHU DHULIA who wrote this crap. (Feminists would want to slap the writer harder for making their inability to have had sex sound like it was the women's fault!)

When Hollywood tried to laugh at randy old men in movie like Last Vegas, it was bad enough. Even having Morgan Freeman did not help their case. Why does Bollywood think Piyush Mishra's mouth thing, Anupam Kher's 'i'm in a zone' thing or Annu Kapoor's sing a song thing will work?

I had gone prepared with puke bags, but the sleazefest did not happen. The bile sort of stops short of rising up and making you hurl, the story is that pathetic. You cringe when each of the men ogles at Lisa Hayden, trying to cop a feel every time, but you'll find yourself numbed at the sheer stupidity of this endeavor.

Thankfully, there's Akshay Kumar. He appears as a jaded action star and offers us some respite from the lasciviousness of the three idiots. That Akshay Kumar can laugh at a caricature of himself is an act worthy of a true star. The funniest shot of the film though is when Dimple appears briefly (as herself) and after denying Akshay Kumar's admission of 'alcoholism' is seen drinking from a hip flask herself!

In a country where 2 year olds are raped, this movie about randy men just doesn't sit lightly. But the stupidity is so vast, everything else just fades...

Don't waste your time. Better yet, just slap the next old man in Ray Bans who is ogling at women in the park.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Review: BIG Hero 6

Big laughs! Big Fun! And Big Learning!

3 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

A kid with a robot? What's not to like?! Disney has created a superb new animation technique that makes Big Hero 6 look jaw-droppingly like a live action, real movie. It's a fabulous world of robots, superheros, kids, super villains and action! Lots of action! Plus, it makes being brainy so coooool!

Main Review:

Why should we be happy with Chhota Bheem? And Doraemon? Give your kids a taste of this superbly animated Big Hero 6 that has everything your kids will love about animation and more.

You will love how it turns up the cool quotient of brainy kids. Imagine kids wanting to go to a school that teaches robotics! And the movie does this very cleverly. So cleverly, even I wished it.

Set in a cool city called San Fransokyo which brings us the best of the two cities (imagine cherry blossoms and trams in the same frame!) and yes, our little hero is Asian! Actually, I loved the seamless colorlessness of the group. Hiro Hamada, his older brother Tadashi are living with an aunt who sounds appropriately white. And there's a token black guy Wasabi too. But the others... All nerds! They make studying look like fun! Who'd have thunk chemistry would be so colorful? Or physics?

At almost two hours the movie feels a little long for the little kids, but the older ones will have non-stop fun. There is no time to settle down and eat popcorn. Your eyes will be riveted to the screen.

Disney developed this really cool technology in order to keep your attention and boy, it works! As all superhero movies go, you can tell that a franchise is on its way, but this time I did not feel terribly manipulated. I am happy to watch the next couple of movies with these six!

Don't settle for the same ole drivel on kids tv that keeps your kids occupied while you check your mail. Watch Big Hero 6 and become the hero in your kid's life.

Reveiw: Nightcrawler

He infests the night. He is the night!

4 stars!

Mini Review:

It's a sharp commentary on the state of our media today. You'll never be able to watch TV news without thinking of the Nightcrawler ever again! Superbly written and fabulously performed!

Main Review:

From Donnie Darko to Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal's journey has been spectacular, to say the least. And in this film, he's so, so good that each time he speaks, you feel an ice cube dipped in arsenic traveling down your spine.

Nightcrawler takes us to the footage eat footage world of the freelance video news gatherer and drags us through the muddy moral line.

But wait, saying any more would be offering you spoilers.

What you need to do is brace yourself for some of the most venomous writing which is delivered impeccably by Jake Gyllenhaal who literally carries the film on his shoulder. He is what opportunity makes him. He's a media star that shines in misfortune. 

Never has a screenplay been so riveting in showing the downward spiral of a man who thrives on misfortune...

Never have you wanted the protagonist to fail so bad...

It's a guarantee, though. You will never again watch TV news without wondering if the tv camera was being held by the Nightcrawler...


Watch it. It's brilliant. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

review: Fireflies

Swat Them!

No star

Mini Review:

This movie teaches us that urban, English speaking India is happy to start affairs - with old friends as well as complete strangers. And that it's okay as long as there's some philosophical mumbo-jumbo slapped on every ten minutes. 

Main Review:

I was rather taken in by the promo which says something like 'when you are lost, keep walking, the world is round, so eventually you will be home...'

As Julia Roberts says to the sales ladies: Big Mistake. 

Every character is ridiculous, their situation stupid, the dialog trite, and you will wonder if the movie was written just so you could have a bit of a skin show.

Is that why we see more skin than talent on Monica Dogra? She is shown to be this girl who wears skimpy clothes and lives in Bangkok alone, jumping into bed with - what we assume - the first Indian she shares a bathroom with. There is nothing for us to believe that there was some fabulous chemistry between them. Ugh! 

That Indian is a sad Arjun Mathur. Poor chap! The lad is decent looking in real life, but on screen, he's shown to be constantly sweaty (dripping!) from all that and wears a stubble that makes him look more unwashed than 'biker'. His dialog is so trite, he chooses to deliver it as incoherently as possible.  

And I've saved the worst for the last. Why Rahul Khanna, why? 

Who eats cheesecake at the counter? Anywhere? How can two grown ups get sozzled drunk on two bottles of wine? Why would you mouth dialog like 'He says the lamp is antique...' Why would you choose to be boorish to your wife? Why would you be rude to parents (whose parents were they?) Why is that affair with the IIM classmate (so not believable!) look so shallow? 

Then there's that omnipresent voice of a girl. So confusing, most of us wondered if it belonged first to someone who was the wife. But wait, she says 'brother'... Then we thought it was the girl who has the affair with Rahul... Could it be... How is the voice in Bangkok as well?

But somewhere, you do not care. You want the drunk thugs in Bangkok to mug her, hurt her a bit. You want both the brothers falling off into the raging river and breaking their necks on the rocks. You want the rich wife (Rahul's) to get a better tailor (or at least stop making Indian women wear evening gowns - they look like satin maxis). You just want the movie to get over.

And you come away, asking, 'Why Rahul, why?'

Thursday, October 30, 2014

review: Fury

Guns 'N' Poses

1 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

If you've read Commando comics, then you've seen this movie. The movie follows a template so it is hopelessly predictable, but shot beautifully. 

Main Review:

You've seen enough war movies to be able to predict a template.

Story of band of brothers in arms. 

Rough sergeant who does not say much, but leads by example, has respect from his men.

Eccentric, crusty, battle-scarred soldiers: 

One religious man who will quote from the bible whilst doing horrific acts of killing (including marking bombs with crucifixes).

One minority soldier (read Hispanic for Hollywood, Muslim for Bollywood), who will say, 'Vamanos!' to prove he is Hispanic.

One rough ugly man who will have a soft heart beating inside layers of rudeness.

And of course there will be one who is fresh to the war, a young callow youth who is all cowardly and frightened by the horrors surrounding him. As the movie progresses, you will see him change. He is hated by all initially, but one of the team will support him and he will become a soldier's soldier by the end of the film.

Take this bunch and put them in a situation where they are pitched against a whole better armed, meaner enemy, and they save the day by going out in a blaze of glory.

If you are not puking yet, then you will every time you see Brad Pitt remove his helmet. His cool buzz cut is impeccable. Perfectly brylcreamed, not a hair will be out of place. He poses on the stupid tank as though someone was taking still photographs. I cheered the sniper who aims at Brad only because his first shot actually ruffles Bard's hair. The half star goes to the gel applied to Brad Pitt's hair.

The full star goes to the cinematography of this film. Beautifully shot, the film makes war so believable. So horrific. The rest? So blah, you could wait for the movie to show up on cable on some war memorial day.


review: The Best Of Me

Death By Schmaltz

one star

Mini Review:

Nicholas Sparks feeds you the idea of perfect love and then sticks his hand down your throat and makes you gag. That's when you want to jump off the nearest cliff, or chop yourself with a kitchen cleaver, or kill yourself by eating re-fried samosas at the multiplex.

Main Review:

A man who brings you flowers.
An image of lovers on a chair for two in the middle of a poppy and wildflower garden dappled in sunlight.
Childhood lovers whose love is constant.
Images of lovers in a pool.
The love of your life, dancing with you by the fireplace in a lonesome cottage.
The awkwardness of first love, where the guy is too shy to flirt, and she teaches him everything about love.

These are carefully constructed pictures of love to pull all the women to the theater. The women in turn drag their reluctant men to watch this 'stuff', knowing they cannot compete with these impossibly good looking shirtless men. But the women want their men to learn this kind of wooing instead of watching Jurassic Park or Sachin Tendulkar's Best Of Innings on TV. 

So Hollywood is discovering this 'janam janamantar wala love' with these Nicholas Sparks books/movies. They WILL make anyone gag with broken hearts being healed by miraculous coincidences, hearts that live on to beat for love even after the bodies are dead...

I puked many times inside my throat during the movie at the manipulative scenes. Yes, James Marsden looks better and better now. Yes, it was lovely watching the two lovers sit on the branch of a tree (him reading, her playing with his hair and listening). But dialog like,'my shirt looks better on you' made you cringe. And the whole film is filled with such stab yourself with a butter knife moments.

If you are a woman whose day only includes battles with the bai and the ungrateful kids, almost deaf in laws  who watch TV news all day, then do yourself a favor. Watch this movie to add a bit of fantasy to your boring life.

If you are a man, stay away from this movie. Even if you have a gorgeous body. No one dies for love. And if you watch the movie, she's going to test you. And they will play Dravid's best innings on cricket tv soon...


This is a really scary game!

2 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

I love scary films. Most are predictable. So you laugh. This one though is really really scary. And you're not laughing. You're just hoping no one heard you gasp.

Main Review:

I don't know what Hasbro was thinking, sponsoring a really scary film about one of their toys. Did they think people would buy those Ouija boards after seeing what the boards were doing to anyone who played with them?

I know I wouldn't want to be anywhere near one. It scared me that much.

And I usually laugh at these scary movies, where creepy sounds or loud noises, demons and weird indestructible dolls are used to make you jump out of your skin. Not to forget crucifixes and priests, evil spirits who occupy bodies and make them vomit and speak in guttural voices...

The movie does nothing of the usual. Except that the houses are rather dimly lit, and you want to tell the young people, 'Switch on the lights before you go exploring creepy places!'

But I couldn't. My tongue was tied, and my heart was in my mouth, and my arms were holding on to the armrests real hard. The story had climbed into my head rather stealthily...

Watch this movie... It is one of the few creepy movies to come out of Hollywood recently...


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

review: Gone Girl


4 stars

Mini Review:

She's gone, and the cops and the husband only have clues to a treasure hunt to find her. But what we find is a commentary on the modern marriage that is at once guilt inducing and also scary... 

Main Reveiw:

Hannibal Lecter made that innocuous, 'Good enough to eat' so ominous. Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl (she writes the screenplay for the film too) does the same to, 'What are you thinking?' 
David Fincher builds the mood by giving you a slow, watch the paint peel off vision of a small town and then makes your jaw drop just as slowly as the events unfold. There is so much assured calm in the demented logic of the actions of the characters, that the director keeps you, the audience, in the eye of the storm at all times. 
You see evening news and social opinion baying for blood, but every single time, the doors are shut to that noise and we get a casual 'I want to crack open your skull and find out...'
You get to know characters with, 'Who ever took her is bound to bring her back.' or 'I spent evening drinking beer and watching Adam Sandler movies for him' 
You love the characters and hate them with equal measure.
You've seen Scenes From A Marriage, Blue Valentine and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, and maybe watched marriages of friends disintegrate in real life. This film offers you a very different claustrophobic picture of a marriage gone wrong. It pushes you into a corner and makes you squirm uncomfortably wondering 'what next' as you watch Rosamund Pike snuggle into her bed.
If people hate the film, it is only because they have felt at least one thought the characters act upon, and have been unable to do anything about it. If you believe that this film is a needless dramatisation of a broken marriage, then you haven't ever chopped vegetables in the kitchen viciously, pretending they were your relatives...
If kitty party ladies could plan as meticulously as Amy from the movie, I would join the group in a flash. Or move to their part of the suburban quicksand. 
Read the book. Watch the movie. You'll never treat relationships the same again.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Happy New Year

Heart says, 'Double Dimple Dhamaka'
Head, 'I tuned out when they boarded Chennai Express. Wake me up when mami visits again.'

Heart says,'two and half stars!'

Mini Review: 

This film releases at the heels of the Mumbai International Film Festival, and hence a tad tougher to forgive. But given the madness and the joy with which the film plunges into it, you know you are making allowances for its unoriginality and pointlessness. 

Main Review:

They call themselves Charlie's Angels in this remake of Ocean's 11. And if you thought that was enough of the unoriginal, all the best Shah Rukh Khan movie lines are inserted in the story. Well, not all. They spare us the word 'senorita'. Also present are transparent shirts, tweaked nipples, extended arms, patriotic fervour, wigs, sequinned clothes, Ra-1 props, and confetti. Lots and lots of confetti.

The movie is three hours long and has been made for seven year olds (who were present sans parents in bunches). That's why they explain and explain and explain everything. Losers need to win. Team India will win hearts. They need to hack into the computer system. The AC ducts are in room 9C. Deepika cannot Englis... Not to forget, 'Kismet is a Kutti cheez!' An evil laugh track played in my head imagining those kids sans parents repeating that dialog at home. But then I realised those parents probably send the kids to Bollywood dance classes and don't mind daughters dancing to 'Dil Mera Muft Ka'. But I've been told my views on parenting are rather severe...

But 40 lashes to editor and continuity person. The story loops so much that a character actually says, 'Deja Vu ho gaya!'

That character is Abhishek Bachchan. He not only pulls off a double dose of daftness with so much ease and such good timing, that I, a confirmed fan of DDLJ and KKHH, was looking forward to silly scenes involving Abhishek Bachchan more than Shah Rukh scenes. And they are funny only because the lad has timing. Unfortunately, they kill the gags by explanation (instead of letting the audience react to how he's going to evict the American team from 9C, they explain!) 

(I laughed out loud at all the snake dance moves even when my brain was complaining of the horrid 'babaji ka thullu' borrowed from Comedy Nights with Kapil)

I loved the surprise of sculpted abs in Dard-e-Disco, but in this movie found it rather tiring. Shah Rukh's dimples can cover all his flaws is what women feel but will not say. But I found myself waiting for that one romantic moment where the world sort of stops for women - moments that made Shah Rukh the king of romance. Moments where he stretches his arms and all the women in the audience wish to run into them. Remember the KKHH dance in the gazebo scene? The touching of her waist at the basketball game? The Swades tie dhoti moment? Even Chennai Express had one: where he lifts Deepika to carry her up the temple steps. Here? Nothing. 

Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and the pasty faced boy Vivaan Shah are so awful, even atheists will go down on their knees to thank higher powers that they don't have 11 actors in the group as in Ocean's eleven...

(Loved Boman Irani's silly man bag gag and laughed hysterically at Abhishek trying to reach the top screw with his Allen key...)

Deepika is luminous and her body and her dance are something else. But he role is as predictable as her name... You are not surprised at the 'Mohini! Mohini!' chants at all.
You will be surprised at the awful, truly awful appearance of Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Dadlani in a Bollywood gay joke though. No Anurag Kashyap rabid fan, no indie film buff will ever be able to speak of 'good cinema' to a BangBangKickJaiHo fan ever because there is sex tape evidence now. What a shame!

(Enough! My heart says, to my brains. Let me speak!)

When you think of your crush, don't you think it sets your whole world on fire? Also that glazed look Deepika gets when she hears her crush speak is probably something every woman can identify with rather easily. 

It turns me into a statistic right then and I come out of the movie grinning.