Friday, January 31, 2014

One By Two

half star

'I'm Pakaoed, I'm Pakaoed!'

Mini Review:

One Hundred and Thirty Nine minutes of contrived situations and cringe-inducing dialog later, the cinematic meet-cute happens. Except that you have been ready to go home an hour earlier.

Main Review:

It's a Bollywood tradition, we ignore all logic, ignore all young newcomers (from Pyar Ka Punchnama, Love Sex Dhoka to Student Of The Year) and will continue to cast heroes like Rajendra Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Jeetendra, even Sanjeev Kumar as college dudes. Here, thankfully, Abhay Deol is not a college dude, but close. He's a sort of copywriter/creative person who works in a cubicle, and clearly years older than his two young colleagues. I don't mind if he lives with his mum and dad and watches TV with them, but he's clearly too old to be the lad whose mum buys underwear for him. It's not cute to see a grown up man waking up with an undie over his face.

Also not cute is the constant reference to bodily functions and scenes set in toilets. Salman Khan letting go of one on the terrace when he thinks he is alone in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was actually funny. You remember the dialog, 'Sameer! Hawa ka jhonka!' and giggle when Aishwarya Rai catches him in the act. Here, it's not once, not twice, but four or five times that Abhay Deol farts. And they do not sound funny. The people sitting next to him in the scene vanish saying that the farts stink. You wish you could do the same from the theater, and exit before you see both the hero and heroine exchange metaphors related to the Coeliac Flux, the Bondi Cigars, the Chocolate Bananas, the Fart Surprises, the Grunties, or Tatti, if you are feeling particularly desi.

The movie did start rather stylishly with a song and one settled down in the seat hoping for a another crackling Abhay Deol movie like Dev D. And when you get over silly toys and well appointed rooms (take half a star, production design team), you find yourself wishing this were Aisha (the desi Jane Austen wallah Emma).

The meet-cute is so contrived, you want to hit someone over the head. Yes, we got the idea of two parallel lives and 'almost-met' moments. But all that cleverness gets drowned by the horrendous reality show plot. You can see from a mile away that the heroine can't dance sala. And you've seen Lafangey Parinde years ago to know the reality show thing doesn't work. It works only if you have Prabhu Dheva and a bunch of real dancers being directed by choreographer Remo D'Souza in Any Body Can Dance. The heroine's dance is just outtakes from a shampoo commercial. Shaking your curls from side to side in slow motion or wearing leg warmers is not dance. And screaming inside the waters of the swimming pool distracted more than this reviewer into wondering, 'where did I see this before?' (thanks to Google, we have the answer: The Descendants: , and also in Dario Argento's Inferno: )

Agreed that this movie stays true to the Bollywood tradition of launching girlfriends and wives on the big screen. You saw the recent disaster called Jai Ho, where the heroine (allegedly Salman Khan's latest arm candy) is a trained dancer in real life, and on screen begins to dance in every possible frame whether required or no! Remember the John Abraham starrer Jhootha Hi Sahi? That was the launchpad of the heroine who is the wife of the director... Here Preeti Desai and her ghastly 'London-born-and-brought-up' accent ('brought up by who?' is a question you are not allowed to ask in a Hindi film) makes you yearn to hear London returned Rani Mukherjee sing Om Jai Jagdish Hare...

The movie is so tedious, you don't care about any character or their forced quirkiness. Not the table tennis playing parents, not the poetry reciting parents, not even the idiotic colleague Debu. Forget about the tapori dance boy or the we-fight-because-we're-attracted-to-each-other friends... You just want to kneel in front of the Reality Show Gods and ask for forgiveness, promising them that you will watch Rakhi Sawant's wedding show again and again but no more movies with reality shows as a plot device. Because everything in the movie is summed by Abhay Deol himself when he sings (in his undies): 'I'm Pakaoed! I'm Pakaoed!'     

Friday, January 24, 2014


not seeing stars, but
putting one bullet in my brain 
to escape moralizing

Abbatoir Ho!

Mini Review:

In the beginning, Bhai’s intense stare stops three cars. His shirt comes off at the end as planned. In between there is slaughterhouse of storytelling.

Main Review:

‘Arre! yeh toh woh hai… Whatshisname...’
‘I remember seeing that whatshername in that movie...’
‘Oh! This one’s here too?’
‘Haw! And this one? Wasn’t he on TV?’
‘And why is she here?’

You’d need to watch this movie with a wiki cast list because anybody who is a nobody in the movies has a role in this movie, except for the beautiful Genelia who literally has no hands and she goes to the same school where Salman’s obnoxious nephew studies. She is his history teacher but is taking an exam. ‘Hain?’ Your confused brain asks in an Amitabh Bachchan baritone.

There is no answer because the script has no legs to stand on. There are however, many disabled kids shown on wheelchairs, and a mention of how Bhai has donated his eyes and you keep hoping these guys show up at the door ( )

What is awesome about Jai Ho is its complete lack of embarrassment about everything. It’s not like Besharam where there was massive error in judgement, here there are dvds of Stalin and Pay It Forward to fall back on. This movie banks on the Salman Khan craze, and treats him like a performing monkey. I love how he carries his 'bad boy who's really a good boy' thing in Wanted and also in Dabangg. But here, he's just awkward, dancing to inane songs, being the 'reaction guy to the smartass lines his precocious nephew spouts (the beautiful Tabu and the decent Mahesh Thakur produced this mannerless thing?). There are no memorable 'ek baar commitment kar dee' type dialog to take home.

There is however, a brilliant, simply brilliant moment when the annoying nephew sings a tune: pink panther song because he knows the heroine has a penchant for pink panties. It is explained, because the daft heroine doesn't know the tune. I wish they'd just let that tune play each time she showed up on screen... It would have been more fun than the gaandi gujju woman gig...

I found myself missing Sonakshi Sinha and muttering 'Iske dance se dar lagta hai, sahab' each time this heroine burst into a desperate dance at the most inopportune moments. At least Katrina Kaif had a reason to burst into the liquid electricity thing in Dhoom 3. 

Salman's fans want to see him fight. And dance. And the audience wants to go home with their Ray Bans stuck on their collars. There are fights, but we don't know why the goons hate him (he was as stuck in the traffic and didn't really do anything to piss the baddies), or why... 'Hain? Logic toh kabka mar chuka hai,' Amitabh Bachchan's Bade Miyaan voice tells me again...

Oh, I do wish to explain why I say (right on top of this reveiw) that I ought to be seeing stars and why I put a bullet through my brain:

It must have been a great idea from a poor misguided PR person when he said in the script translating committee that Salman's bad boy image needs a makeover because in reality he does charity. Yes, he does, really. 

In reality he's all about 'neki kar, dariya mein daal'. In the movie, it becomes 'thank you mat bol, good deeds multiply kar'. But it is not said once, not twice, it is repeated by as many times as there are stupid goons of Danny Denzongpa's fighting 80s who come at Salman to get slammed. 

I'd rather be pounded into the ground by Salman than take the awful moralizing of 'do something good for three people'. 

Do something good yourself. If you see really love Salman, and insist on watching this movie (and most people will, despite the reviews), tell three people not to. This way some screen somewhere will be free to show a smaller, more meaningful movie made by someone you don't know.

Sheesh, this moral science thing is as infectious as it is tedious. I will just go watch Itchy and Scratchy kill each other.

Friday, January 17, 2014


two stars

Non Stop Action! Paisa Vasool!

Mini Review:

If you don’t want deal with the intricacies of thought that make spy stories fascinating, then this action packed chase filled drama is perfect paisa vasool!

Main Review:

After Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, the Jack Ryan franchise seems to get another boost with Chris Pine and his piercing blue eyes.

In this movie based on Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, we see how Jack gets recruited into the CIA and gets called upon to save the Western world.

Now if logic is your forte, you’ll wonder how he hacks into some super smart villain’s bank account, figures out passwords, copies files easily, and does not once call tech support…

But if you love action, then you will be happy. Motorbike chases, car chases, sniper shots, bomb disposal, people evacuation, hand to hand fight, super awesome location shooting is all there to keep you riveted to the seat. There’s also cool spy stuff like handing over files and pen drives and stealing wallets and access cards and…

Kevin Costner looks so good in uniform, I missed a Keira Knightley scene after that visual. But she’s just the annoying love interest in the movie, whose job is to get kidnapped by the villain. And the scene where he asks Chris Pine if he could stop smiling… I was positively a puddle of fangirl mush. Thank goodness for press screenings. Am glad women have something to ogle at when their boyfriends/husbands are whooping at the car chases...

The movie has non-stop action which is great fun. It’s a good weekend watch and you will be one among the crowd emerging from the theater sighing either over Kevin Costner, Chris Pine’s blue eyes, Kenneth Branagh’s delicious villain-ness (directing himself after Hamlet), or Keira Knightley.

p.s. don’t watch the film with geeks. if you like this movie they will bring you down to your knees by changing the passwords on your computer as revenge.


half star

Hercules Is Ridiculous

Mini Review:

A mish mash of everything mythological. Made funny only because the audience has a sense of humor.

Main Review:

It’s a potluck of all Hollywood movies where men wear sneers, skirts and sandals and women wear transparent sheets tied together with ropes.

It’s a mythical world where Greeks, Romans, Egyptians speak American. So much so, you expect Hercules and his band of merry men to be eating cheeseburgers at McDonalds.

Hercules is an all American hero in the spirit of Luke Skywalker. It is so awesomely American you imagine the scene where Darth Vader… I mean… Zeus tells Hercules, ‘I’m your father!’

Zeus does not speak alas in the voice of James Earl Jones, but you do hear the funniest American accents on actors wearing skirts: ‘They’re waitin’ at the gates!’, ‘Are y’all with me?’, ‘How could you do this to me?’, ‘I’m never gonna to forgive you!’. You laugh as the rabble chants, ‘Fight! Fight!’

The romance is so silly and affected you laugh when you watch the hero woo his heroine. And there is so much pollen in the scene you wonder how they’re not sneezing their heads off…

They’ve even got the mythology mixed up. Since when did Hera, the supposed jealous wife of Zeus, give blessings to Hercules’s human mom?

The half star goes to the hard-working CGI artistes who make the war scenes look more real than the ones you saw in Jodha Akbar, the lightning bolt fight scene, the fight between Hercules and the King, and even the cities are rather nicely created.

There’s not a dull moment… of unintentional laughter though. There is more chemistry between Hercules and Sotiris than Hercules and princess Hebe, and dialog like, ‘I will give you hope.’ when the two men’s faces are but a breath away… After the supposed arty (unfortunately hilarious) orgasm scene with sheets billowing above the writhing queen, dialog like, ‘Zeus has planted his seed inside my welcoming womb.’ only makes you fall out of your seat.

Apparently in the Hindi version of the movie, Sonu Sood has dubbed for Hercules. It may offer additional laughs or not. But I am sure y’all have better things to do with your time.


4 and a half stars. Yes.

Pros At A Con

Mini Review:

There’s nothing more delightful than a con film where the cleanest guy is a politician! The film hurtles at breakneck speed down a mountain of awesome performances, giving you just enough time to enjoy plunging necklines, shocking toupees and Duke Ellington

Main Review:

Dere’s a man who’s growed up on the wrong side of da tracks and he’s made it big. And dis Irving, he’s led b-aye a g-hurl who slips into a poh-sh Brit accent and bats her saucer eyes to seduce Irving to the tunes of Duke Ellington into making more money. This girl is called Sydney, and she puts an arm around the FBI agent making Irving insanely jealous. But Irving is already being driven to insanity by his wife Rosalyn who is, according to Irving,  the ‘Picasso of passive aggressive karate..’ The FBI, the mob and politicians want a finger in the pie too. And with each of the characters hustling each other, there’s nothing to do but to be swept away by the events on screen. And the director assures us that ‘some of these things really happened’.

Why did I give the story out in the review? Trust me, this con movie has so many twists and turns that you might thank me for offering a guide map on the back of a cheese-popcorn stained napkin.

And there’s cheese. Delightful conversations with rollers in the hair, confrontation between wife and lover, dancing so close you wonder if the heroine had to make her stomach concave to accommodate the hero’s paunch, femme fatale acts on willing macho men…

This movie has so much, you have to see it again, if only to enjoy the crackling dialog. To watch Batman, Hawkeye and Katniss Everdeen having so much fun in not being Batman, Hawkeye and Katniss is a thing of joy. And when Bradley Cooper admits hesitantly that he may have a fiancee, you want to run to the projectionist and beg him to rewind the movie so you could watch the scene again.

Whether there was a real life scam involving the FBI agents bribing a rich, foreign person is for pundits to decide. You will simply love the madness of the hustling, which peels of layer by awesome layer until the very end.

Go watch the movie already! I will go back to standing in front of the mirror practising and elaborate combover…

(we are almost at the end of server and other problems at FilmOrbit. hopefully by next week the site should be up.)

Friday, January 10, 2014


Their perception: 10 stars
What we saw: Dedh stars


Mukhtasir Review:

We like daastaan-e-double cross, and we love mushaairaas as much as the next person of good tarbiyat does. But the movie is smug, it cracks a joke, plays a clever card and waits for the audience to understand… tauba aisi khud-pasandi se!

Tafseel war Bayan-e-Review:

Boss, I love khalis zubaan wali Hindi. And the movie is an aural orgasm. No doubt about that.

It also has the coolest villainous shakhs to have come out of a UP based movie. Vijay Raaz is a pleasure to watch, his long locks, his shervani, his majnu with a magnum 44 persona… What a character he is! He’s crazy enough to do whatever it takes to win the girl, but does not act like he’s a cool guy playing a crazy character. Clearly outshines the zaroorat se zyada adakari dikhane waale Khalujaan. Koi Khalujaan ko samjhaaye, ki making weird faces could work in silent films, here it is like shouting at the audience, ki dekho, kya kamaal ki comedy karta hoon main. Alas, it is Arshad Warsi who is mindblowingly funny as Babban.

There are set pieces like the Mexican Standoff and the late night kiss episode that are brilliantly done…

Phir is film ke mouaine ka anjaam sirf ‘dedh’ sitaaron tak kyon seemit hai? Aapne toh badee tareefein suni hongi somwaar se hee Vishal Bhardwaj ke khair khwaahon se is film ke baare mein? Pata nahi kaun sa version inhone dekha… Yeh film jannat ka waada toh karti hai, lekin it falls short by miles. And there’s only one word that explains the ristee huyi quwwat e amal. And that fault, that hubris is: smugness  

Like a nausikhiya, like a person who just cracked a superb joke, this film waits, the story pauses, and the characters say: Look at me! I’m so cool. I said ‘penis; ten times without batting my eyelash, I introduced such cool characters like the bug-eyed, almost dead hakeem, I am so cool, I even have cool names for highway pubs. This film cracks jokes and then smugly explains the joke…

The fun of watching the movie ends when we figure out the double cross really early in the film. But then the filmmakers think audience is toh ahmak, chalo inhe thoda detail mein bata dete hain.

So they tell us why a kidnapping is being set up. They also hint at childhood love stories  in pictures, then show it as flashback. The audience can figure out by the peeling paint and the general unkemptness of the haveli, but they are not satisfied with that. They hammer the begum’s impending poverty with the villain rubbing it in not once, not twice but four times.

What is most irksome, is the desperate need to have a Tarantinoesque shootout in these art house films. Annoying because they don’t have the cojones to show pools of blood. Bullets are fired, but majaal hai ki koi mar jaaye! A man who lives by the gun hides behind glass when there’s bullets flying everywhere. How clever is that? Not once have we seen a drunk Arshad Warsi in the movie, and yet he chooses to pick up a booze bottle (where did it come from?) instead of the gun in the scene.

And although it was cool to see the nawaab with a shotgun, plunging angrily into the bullet fest, it would have been more nawabi, to have appeared with a retinue of servants carrying a chair, for the nawaab to watch the gun battle. It would be as aristocratic as could get.

Which takes us back to the beginning of the film. Why start this film with a ghisa pita joke and a scene ( ) ‘inspired’ from  Blazing Saddles?  As they said in the first film: there’s a whole lot of Chutiyam Sulphate being spread in Dedh Ishqiya. Khao toh four stars, na khao toh dedh..

PS. Botox failed.


death of stars


Mini Review:

Give the men a decent haircut and a shave, and women some clothes. This film is strong contender for the Worst Film Of The Year award.

Main Review:

Imagine a porn version of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Main Hoon Na and SOTY.

Where male college students are desperate to kiss their co-eds who dress like penny whores and pop lollipops out of their mouths in extreme close ups.

There are other college students who are willing to trade in their iPods to see their best friend kiss the lollipop girl.

There is Bharat Mata whose saree comes off on stage and the dying soldiers ogle at her large bouncy boobs and say, ‘Take me to your bosom, ma!’ and then she breaks into, ‘My name is Sheila’ or some such item song.

The same Mother India jiggles her breasts behind two tender coconuts for at least two minutes. The two male leads are of course shown to drink from the said tender coconuts

There are female teachers in sarees who expose a breast each (thankfully encased in what passes off as bling blouses) and behave like they’ve just discovered sex (or are desperate because of a lack of it). Their object of desire is a male teacher who makes sounds as though he’s orgasming each time the female teacher rubs herself against him.

The hero is a young man with long unwashed hair and beard (to hide a weak jaw) and big girly mouth which is covered in pink lip gloss (either that or he’s drooling). Yes, he has bovine eyes with long lashes. He wears purple pajamas and is happy to dance the pajama song with the girls  (Porn Archie?). He wears multi-colored skinny jeans and transparent shirts (with metal studs) and basketball shoes with long tongues. Speaking of tongues, the kiss where the hero’s mouth acts like a suction pump is the worst ever kiss filmed.

And it is even more insulting because a woman directed this drivel.

The story? It is told by a mostly stunned college principal (Gulshan Grover) whose job involves walking away from above scenes and then announcing: these students will represent India against Australia because they know our culture. Half the film, if you have not drowned in your own vomit, shows a terrible sports and cultural competition (many BMX bike type scenes, motorbike contest where women ride pillion, and a rock climbing contest where you wish for a repeat of 127 hours for the hero just so you stay alive).
There is budget enough to shoot in picturesque locales of Sikkim and Australia. I wish the beautiful snow clad town wasn’t overrun with girls cavorting in miniature bikini tops.

We emerged from the press show wanting to hold someone and bawl like Deepti Naval does in the movie when she discovers that her son is dead. And yes, if you have a son, or a brother addicted to porn, here is a movie that will cure him of it.


one star


Mini Review:

Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro have fun sledging each other while preparing for a grudge boxing match. The sledging is fun, the rest predictable.

Main Review:

Bow down before gorgeousness. Kim Basinger is still stunning, wrinkles and all. Sly Stallone is now in better shape and still able to pull punches, and actually looks happy making movies. Robert De Niro as a swaggering so-and-so is a polished  act as well, and does not throw away this role like he did in Last Vegas and The Family…

Yes, there’s a reconciliation with a son, the predictable scene with a hooker, an annoying child, a getting back together with an ex-girlfriend, training Rocky style, smart mouthing black men that holds the story of two boxing greats together, but it is the verbal and physical sledging between the two leads that is great fun to watch.

Maybe you should just rent the dvd, make popcorn when the predictable family/community moments happen, and watch only the clash between the two boxing greats.

Friday, January 03, 2014


two stars

Scorsese Remakes Goodfellas

Mini Review:

If it were anyone else, the world would have been brutal with the rehashing. But it’s blue blooded Hollywood, so critics and fanbois will be down on their knees, gushing, and you too will swallow…

Main Review:

So Martin-ji and the blue-eyed boy-man Di Caprio bring you a smartly written, in your face sexual, macho movie that is about a young ambitious man who learns from a mentor and flouts every rule in the book to become successful and lives a debauched life until an FBI agent decides to…

Wait a minute. That’s from Goodfellas, no? Yes, yes. But Martinji is so cool naa? He made Goodfellas on Wall Street! It is smart and funny and he made Jonah Hill pee and masturbate and Di Caprio drool and do things with a candle… Wow!

So Leonardo like Henry says, ‘As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a gangster.’ (Substitute ‘rich’ for ‘gangster’ and you’ll find yourself watching Goodfellas all over again.).

The role of the ‘Mentor’ there: Paulie Cicero is better written than the beatboxing Matthew McConaughey here.

But the dad remains the same. Irish American. Here the dad lapses into a British accent on the phone.

In Goodfellas, it is: Never rat on your friends and keep your mouth shut. Ditto for Wolf.

In Goodfellas they have the Air France Robbery that comes back to haunt them. In Wolf, it is called Steve Madden IPO

In Goodfellas Billy gets beaten brutally and the coverup costs more than ever, and here we have Brad going to jail because Jonah Hill fucks up and then there’s a similar coverup. It’s called Lemon (rolls eyes) in Wolf.

Henry has a mistress called Janice, and the Wolf has one called Naomi (yes, yes, he marries her and all)...

There’s drugs there, there’s drugs here. And more sex and nudity shown because Martin-ji can. And it’s all so cleverly written! The set pieces on ‘drug’ fueled acts (the Ferrari, drool stage) by the principal characters are awesome. But everyone else in the movie are just men with telephones who raise their arms and cheer.

The decibel levels are enough to make you wince and you thank your stars that you have a computer program to help you buy and sell your stocks. Everyone is so charged (you must masturbate after lunch you are told. Someone tell this to athletes/sportsmen who refrain from any sexual activity before the big game, no?)! The movie is so sexual (everyone is saying ‘fucking this’ and ‘fucking that’ with so much pleasure you suspect they just discovered the word) that seeing Leonardo’s butt is nothing.

And just like Henry, Wolf admits that he is an addict. The downfall is similar (co-operate with the FBI, short sentence) and very boringly shown. You wish for The Untouchables like courtroom scenes...

Of course the end is almost similar to Goodfellas too. ‘I'm an average nobody. I get to live my life like a schnook.’ Wolf turns into a motivational speaker…

Hell, Manisha, you gave the plot away in the review. Bloody hell, I say, no matter how smartly written Wolf is, Martin-ji should have made a new movie naa?

See the movie for yourself and you will realise why I prefer Brooklyn to Wall Street.


Half star

Ronin Dhonin, Laughin Shaffin, Romancin Shomancin, Actionin Maxshunin, Dramain Shamain…

Mini Review:

Imagine serious Samurais on Prozac. Everyone becomes melodramatic, demonstratively passionate, so much so that you hear the dialog as if it were written by Kader Khan!

Main Review:

As a Keanu Reeves fan, I will be the first one to admit that some things are illogical, and could drive your friends to disown you. If you admit to liking anything in 47 Ronin, the entire film-viewing fraternity might discard you in a looney bin and stomp you so you never come out.

However, I have a funny bone that helped me through this very-unlike-a-samurai-film samurai film.

We have proof (The Last Samurai) that Samurai films can turn a jumping-on-Oprah’s-couch boy into a serious, bearded, face-your-demons alone kind of guy. But this movie is so amazingly hilarious, it turns the most serious samurais into weeping, laughing, joking, confessing, demonstrative men. Imagine 47 of them singing, ‘Ye dosti’ a la Jai and Veeru of Sholay.

And Gabbar! Yes, there’s Gabbar here too, but he wants to marry Basanti…

Basanti is the dead overlord’s daughter who has grown up offering us a glimpse of a what could have been a Heathcliff and Catherine romance. But that track doesn’t really work out because Keanu aka Heathcliff is found out mid showcase battle. Damn! This Hindi film Karma shows up with Niyati to ruin everything. Shogun with a gold upside down rice bowl hat shames Catherine’s dad into killing himself. Basanti is taken away by Gabbar and Jai (our Keanu bhaiyya) and 46 Veerus are now banished into the forest because Gaaonwaale are too bechare to support them.

Rest becomes fun because you start hearing the dialog in Hindi. Here is a smattering:

‘Tum daayan ke peeche jaao, main Basanti ko bachata hoon’

‘Is dayan ke saare roop pehchaanta hoon main!’

‘Bachao mujhe Keanu! Is darinde se!’

‘Maine tumhe galat samjha! Mujhe maaf kar de dost! Tumhare saath ladne mein mujhs garv hai.’

Watch this movie at your own peril. If the Japanese cast explaining Japanese customs to other Japanese doesn’t amuse you, then the Japanese cast speaking Engrish just might make your day.

Poor Keanu. His love for martial arts drove him to make Man Of Tai Chi and now this. a movie that couldl drive anyone to Ronin dhonin. But I was saved by Hindi dubbed version that played in my head!