Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: Tanu Weds Manu Returns

A Joyful Return Of The Crazy Newlyweds

4 happy stars!

Mini Review:

It's a mad return of wilful Tanu and stoic Manu and a mindblowingly brilliant cast of lovable characters led by the amazingly talented Deepak Dobriyal. It is a wild, colorful, people filled ride which makes for a fun watch. The dialog sparkles with wit and you'll want to watch it again to write down words and use them for your own marriage!

Main Review:

Do not miss the beginning of this movie. Do not start eating pop corn before you the opening credits, or you will be spilling the corn on the floor after hearing the corniest, the maddest argument in the war of the sexes after Pyar Ka Punchnama.

Do not take people who are often heard saying, 'I don't understand Hindi' to watch the movie with you. You might clobber them with something heavy because they won't understand the movie. It's not that the movie uses complicated Hindi. This movie joyfully celebrates the languages and the screenwriter Himanshu Sharma plays with the language like you have never heard before. 'Arhar ki daal mein koi ajino moto daalta hai?' is funny only when you understand the language. I'm dying to tell you the brilliant conversation between Jimmy Shergill and Mohommed Zeeshan Ayyub but I will let you discover it yourself!

Do not worry if your attention span is low and you miss the funny lines that come at you in rapid succession. You should just watch the movie again. I will too. And watch it whenever it shows up on TV. This movie is that engaging.

Besides the star script, the casting is absolutely top notch. Deepak Dobriyal is perfect as the hero's side-kick, the voice of reason, the starter of mad schemes, the friend everyone needs to have. You laugh with him even when he's joyfully claiming, 'Saath hazaar ka ticket thaa naa' that's why he's taking in the sights instead of doing the job he was sent to do! And you love him when he's happily reacting to KK Raina's logic of drinking alcohol. 

Then there's the ever amazing Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub who  has the best lines as a lad friendzoned. His, 'Paan laga!' is the most heartfelt frustrated request in the movies! That brings us to the jilted at altar Jimmy Shergill. He's too good looking to be claiming that he's not had a chance of riding the ghodi! And you like him simply because he can be the Avasthi-ji who is old fashioned enough to not drink in the morning, and also be the Avasthi-ji who carries the gas cylinder simply because Tanu is doing what she's doing. 

Swara Bhaskar and Eijaaz Khan as Payal and Jassi are as adorable as ever. Datto's brother played by Rajesh Sharma is as good as all his other roles. His reaction after giving away his box of matches is matchless! Even the lawyer who explains the difference between a different types of legal notices is well cast! Manu's mom does not have much screen time, but her nagging which is triggered off by her husband's pony tail is the funniest you have ever heard. Tanu's parents are just as scandalised by her in this movie as they were in the first one. That brings us to the brilliant Tanu Trivedi - Kangna Ranaut. She excels in a double role and the hard work she has put in (along with the director, of course) to change her body language as well as diction shows. You would be scratching your head and wondering why she did the roles she did in the movies before Queen. Madhavan is as stoic as ever, but his Manu is meant to be a foil to the wild Tanu and he does all this and more rather well. Kangna as Datto is even better and you love her for her 'sports quota' talk as well as her feminine pride when wearing earrings and sharing home made food with Manu...

Even though there are many moments in the movie that touch your heart, nothing prepares you for the final confrontation between Tanu and Datto.  

I have given away too much, isn't it? Most reviews will. Do yourself a favor. Just watch the movie. You still want to know why it does not get five stars? Well, the second half sort of becomes too much of a Khichdi because there are too many stories ends that need to be tied up. But what a tasty khichdi it is, so it does not matter. You should be like the irrepressible Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal), shrug your shoulders and say, 'Dhat!' 

Go on, book those tickets now. Not just for yourself, but also for those unhappily married couples who probably have sex once a bhai dooj! Who knows, you might bump into all the movie critics who would have enjoyed the movie and want to 'Lol' again! 

Review: Tomorrowland

How do I sell to thee... Let me count the ways!

2 stars

Mini Review:

This movie has great ideas, and the vision is spectacular, but you are never really away from the marketing guys. Disney sells, sells and sells everything here. 

Main Review:

Is Tomorrowland a new theme park Disney is building in the corn belt? This movie surely felt like that! It could have been full of fun had the marketing guys not made the selling so obvious!

How do I sell to thee... Let me count the ways...

There is the 'It's a small world after all' ride... There are pins Disney is hoping kids are going to fight over, hoping parents will buy the pin cases as well, marketed as pencil boxes and NASA and Tomorrowland hats kids are going to scream for. Clothes that the young girl wears will be available at the Disney store, and her bicycle and her remote controlled toy helicopter too... For parents with deep pockets, the Athena robot will be available and kids will want it only if it is in its final shutdown moments (the Disney technicians will charge it extra to make it flit from one language to another randomly). There will be neon lit laser guns - toys of course - for kids of ages 4 and up, neon rings extra, batteries not included. Of course mothers could order wigs for their kids so they look like young George Clooney

Of course the new theme park will employ guides who look like George Clooney, who will demonstrate all kinds of gadgets in different rides for which you will have to wait in an endless queue. But you've been to every Disney park with your brats, so you will be used to waiting.

In the movie you too will learn to wait for the fun parts. Yes, there are some really cool fun parts. But the marketing guys are busy figuring out whether people do want to sit in a bathtub and...

There is so much preaching between the fun parts that you will be forced to pay for someone to sit next to you to wake you up after the preaching about environment, about optimism, about the power of dreams, about not lying to parents, about feeding wolves etc., is over. Some of you would have smashed your expensive smartphones on your foreheads after all that preaching and will regret not paying someone to wake you up for the fun parts...

There is a fun movie hidden between all the obvious marketing gimmicks and the preaching. But at 130 minutes, it is too much of a treasure hunt. With George Clooney looking like he might sport a dad bod and that he showed up at the shoot simply because someone had a gun to his head, this becomes even more annoying. But the young kids are great watch and it is unfair to them that the grown ups are either look bored or are terrible baddies dressed in really shoddy clothes. 

Those who have kids, and must take them to watch Tomorrowland, make sure you take lots of moolah to the movies. Disney will probably set up a store to sell all those goodies right inside the multiplex!

Review: Surkhaab

Cool Kabootar Story!

2 stars

Mini Review:

Not very often do you come across a bi-lingual movie that seamlessly moves from Canada to Punjab and back again, telling the story of human trafficking without making misery the hero or making violence the teller of the tale.

Main Review:

If a person sports 'Surkhaab ke par', it describes their aspirations to 'fly too high', 'dream too big'. This movie tells us a story of a girl who dreams a dream and beyond all hope makes it work. 

A 'kabootar' is a person who enters a country on a tourist visa and then chooses to live illegally long after the visa expires. 

This movie is about a young woman from Punjab who sneaks into Kaneda with an illegally obtained passport, escapes from traffickers, deals with smugglers, rescues her brother and makes us the audience a part of her story. She's not your traditional heroine, but you take an instant liking to her. We understand her story, we understand her motives and although we might be horrified at the exploitation of emigrants at the hands of agents, you are never forced to avert your eyes by scenes of torture or misery.

We have seen many tales of migration in the news that are epic tragedies, many movies that make tales of human misery their central theme.

The heroine is not your usual Bollywood heroine. She's a spunky Punjabi kudi who quietly makes her point and we like her from the moment she takes the baddie in front of his dad. 

We sort of guess the story it unfolds, and sometimes the pace slows down so much we want to shake her and say things like, 'Stop talking so much, just open the stupid bag!' But at no point do we lose empathy for the girl. We might facepalm when we hear, 'I always come here when I need calm,' because they need to use the adrenaline generated by the event instead of calm. 

The baddies are believable, and so are the good guys. You sort of wonder why they are smuggling from India to Canada, but then that thought just vanishes because we want the heroine to get the better of the bad guys.

The heroine surprises you at every turn by her presence of mind and you begin to enjoy her smarts. And you just like her more for her resourcefulness.

What is really interesting about this movie is the seamless back and forth movement from Punjab to Canada, the past and the present, and how well it tells us her story, explains her need to get away from home, her dreams and aspirations. It's a cinematic task not so easy. And here, it is a very neat story-telling device.

Yes, the story drags a bit and the end is too 'nice', but you don't hate the movie at any point.

I am giving it two stars, one for the casting of the heroine Barkha Madan, and the second to the style of telling of the tale. 


Review: BIG GAME

Indian Censors, kusipää!
should have been 2 stars...

Mini review:

Had the Indian Censors understood how the Finnish director had used the curse: 'Motherfucker!' made iconic by Samuel L Jackson and treated everything else in the movie with a great sense of humor, they would not have bleeped it out, and let the movie be the fun movie it could have been...

Main Review:

In every movie since Pulp Fiction, audiences have clapped to Samuel L Jackson's use of the word, 'Motherfucker!' until the moronic Indian Censors chose to bleep it out because of some moral code. Not that we did not watch him mouth the word when it was silenced, but it's as if you went to the Africa to watch the Big Five in the flesh, and then someone put headphones over your head and made you hear nursery rhymes! I am sure the Finnish director does not know how asinine the Indian Censors are.

So it's a coming of age movie for a 13 year old boy, and I'm sure it was meant to be inspiring and fun and adventurous. I laughed at the idea of Indian mothers taking their kids to the movie and running out with their obese kids and their smartphones fifteen minutes into the movie, worried that the movie where a kid is left alone in the woods all night might affect their kids. One the way back home, they would stuff their kids with cheese parathas and assure them that their mommies would never leave them alone, ever.

Other Indian moms would use this film as a warning to their naughty kids: See what happens when you leave mommy's hand and go wandering about alone in a mall? See what happens when you go to play without mommy or the maid? See those scratches on the young boy's face? He will be scarred for life! No pretty girl will marry you...

It is an amusing film which breaks stereotypes of all American President movies you have seen, but it is a bit of a stretch. The action is fun enough, but you wish they'd hurry up and finish the damned story...

If you catch the movie with general panic caused by the premise of letting a lad stay overnight in a jungle alone among moms, then you might enjoy it. It was a tedious watch for me.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: Bombay Velvet

Bombay Velvet Is Birbal Ki Khichdi,
Does Not Get Cooked.

2 stars

Mini Review:

Bombay Velvet has all the ingredients of becoming an incredible biryani. But it never really gets cooked because none of the ingredients want to be cooked in the same pot. There is newspaper rivalry, there is a socialist plot, there is a cops and robbers theme and more... Seems more like a TV series hastily edited together.

Main Review:

Who doesn't like slow cooked food? Raan that takes over two days to cook, Char Siu Pork and Mediterranean Roast Turkey need blink-free attention... And no one but those who love food can describe the joy of opening up the Dum-cooked Biryani... There's a reason why traditional recipes when followed yield awesome results.  

But there's no bigger nightmare for a chef to realise that the ingredients are so odd that they do not complement each other and will not taste good cooked together. Why would you put Kalamata olives in Biryani? Let's look at the ingredients in Bombay Velvet.

There is the story of besties from wrong side of the tracks. 
There is the story of rivalries of two privileged lads who run rival newspapers. 
There is a cops and smugglers track.
There's builder-politicians nexus. 
There is the story of a girl with the golden voice who has to sacrifice much for the glitz and glamour. 
There are guns and alcohol and sexual politics. 
There is love.
There is jazz.

And if this were a TV show centered around a nightclub, audiences would have loved it. This alas tries to cram everything in 150 minutes and you actually look for the slide that says Interval.

It's not badly done or anything. It is a beautifully shot film, and the one star goes to its fabulous production. 

You will love the texture of the wallpaper in Johnny's office and the club, and you can almost feel the softness of the curtains in Rosie's house. But for every wonderfully shot sequence there is a wail of supposed jazz songs that have the most ridiculous lyrics. You begin to wonder, would Madhuri Dixit ever dance to, 'Dhadkane goonjtee hain dhadaam dhadaam' instead of 'Dhak dhak karne laga'? And assuming one is still talking about 'dhadkane', how on Earth do you explain 'Darbadar ghoomti dhadaam dhadaam'. Do heartbeats wander about clanging? It's worse than 'Main karoon toh saala character dheela hai' because at least those songs aren't pretending to be something they are not. 

An old gent was heard muttering, 'Isiliye Bombay mein jazz mar gaya.'

By the time Anushka stops belting out inanities, there's a male jazz voice that could be singing about dying in the shower or being fed to the wood chipper. You don't care any more.

You raise eyebrows when one of the cigar chomping bad guys claims he liked Anushka better when she lay on his sofa and sang. And you wonder if you napped in the middle of that story and missed that song.

You wonder how Ranbir's hair keeps changing in length and its curl. Then you forgive Salman Khan's weird changing hair in Veer and imagine Ranbir Kapoor sitting in his vanity van like Bradley Cooper in curls in American Hustle.

The second star goes to Karan Johar who steals the show as a villain. His mooch is creepy and perfect for his role. He has an enormous screen presence and will make you laugh with him and hate him and you want to tell people to step away from him. That's very Pran like villain-ness. Perfect. 

The movie jumps so often from one thing to another because it is attempting to make all kinds of stories gel. The result is as weird as finding kaffir lime leaves in your turkey roast. Why is the stand up comedian there at all? And why is he wearing a fake moustache? Is he also a spy? Johnny Lever said that comedy was mostly mimicry in his time. Was there a audience at the club for stand up humor like that? Also, Ranbir is shown in an Opium den. I expected Byomkesh Bakshy to come storming in then... Speaking of storms, there was always rain to wash away Ranbir's bruises... And the story has jumped so much that they forgot Ranbir was in the same room as the photographer (the ghastly Geeta Dutt song is being sung!) and that's where he punches a sailor, so why is he beating the guy as though he were a stranger...You also wonder where the smuggler vanished to...You wish there was some closure to the story of the pedophile...

Am I spoiling the movie for you? If you will watch the movie despite this review, then you won't care. 

And if you do want to watch a really good Anurag Kashyap movie then please watch Ugly. 

Bombay Velvet is so tedious and annoying, it should have been named Bombay Sandpaper. You'll be scratching your head and wondering if they showed you a never-ending promo of a TV series...

p.s. The Geeta Dutt song is as horrendous as beggars in long distance trains singing tunelessly, 'tum ek paisa doge woh dus laakh degaa' accompanied by unmusical castanets made from cement pieces. 



4 stars

Mini Review:

There are Polecats and Flamers chasing you. There are tyre slashers and men who want to overtake you just to slow you down. There are vehicles with boom boxes so loud you might have to go off road just to stop being deafened by the noise. There are creatures who think road safety is for sissies. There are people shooting at you because they can. And it's awesome. 

Main Review:



This movie makes you want to run down to the parking lot in your building and pat your little car for keeping the dust and the dirt of the city away from you. This movie will make you appreciate the non stop chatter of RJs on the radio you hear during your daily commute. This movie might even make you smile at the cops waiting around the corner to fine you for a traffic infraction from an 1872 rule book. This movie will make you run to the gym because the apocalyptic future might be nearer than we think, and we need to be ready for it.

Miller puts all the excitement your heart can take in this two hour road rage movie than all the rage movies put together. This movie makes your little Bollywood rage movie like NH10 and Badlapur look like your first homework in Kindergarten. This even makes Ichi The Killer look like a Christmas movie you can watch with the family.

You will find yourself holding your breath in the chase sequences. Wait. This is a chase on the road movie. So you better take someone along (preferably someone who knows CPR) so you can nudge each other in case you hold your breath so long that you might pass out... And you will be relieved to hear familiar gasps of air in the theater because everyone is holding their breath.

Mad Max is an apocalyptic story and yes, you may have heard about Mel Gibson and Tina Turner and other movies, but this one is totally special. You need not have watched any of these movies. You will 'get' the story. 

That worry over, just sit back and enjoy the tale. I even forgot I was wearing the 3D glasses. 

And just when you thought Truffaut had a great ending to 400 blows, Miller makes you facepalm with pure logic and plunges you right back into the beginning of the movie. And it gets even louder and badder and crazier. 

You come out wanting to decapitate the autowallah who overtakes your little car from the wrong side and screeches to a halt at the amber light. Doesn't everyone speed up at amber lights? Where did he come from? You wish you had the Bane like breathing apparatus on your face when you over take him again and give him the evil eye.

I loved Charlize Theron. She kicks butt. And I loved Nux and his evil ways. I loved Tom Hardy. I loved the old woman with the seeds. I loved the red-headed wife. I loved the guy with a nose covering jewelry. I was creeped out by the baddies. I was scared of the polecats. I was afraid of the flame throwers. I was jolted out of my seat every time a car crashed into another...

I loved Mad Max. But one word of advice. Don't drive after you watch the movie. You might drive like Immortan Joe were chasing you...

Review: Danny Collins

Al Pacino is brilliant. 

3 stars

Mini Review:

It's a predictable story that plucks at your heart-strings. The best part is the sharp dialog delivered by Al Pacino, who hasn't lost his charm at all. And you will love every furrow on his brow, every wrinkle on his face. And there's Christopher Plummer too...

Main Review:

Al Pacino has always had those soulful eyes, whether they were framed by his beard in Serpico or by steel when he played Micheal Corleone. The fire in those eyes may have been concealed when he played the blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in The Scent Of A Woman, but you can see it in his walk. And in this movie too, you'll see that same seductive walk, that bright spark in his eyes... And character in every furrow on his handsome forehead and every wrinkle that frames his eye.

The story is All American: A dad who will do almost anything for his family. Except that his family does not want any part of his boozing, drug riddled life. And why is he so determined to make up with his family? Because... Wait for it... Because...And this is what makes him so vulnerable and so wonderful... Because John Lennon tells him just that, in a letter that reaches him 40 years too late.

The story is how he charms his way into their hearts (and confirm his place in ours).

If you've seen one 'prodigal returns' concept in a movie, you have seen them all. But you haven't seen the love for his family in Danny Collins' eyes and you haven't empathised with a drug-addled, boozing old guy with a 20 something old squeeze, and you haven't laughed with the two old guys - Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer - about their problems since they stopped making Grumpy Old Men.

Now Christopher Plummer shows up delivering very wonderfully written dialog, and like I said before, Al Pacino simply charms birds off trees with his sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes boastful dialog. The prodigal returns concept does offer predictable set pieces. But the writers make you want the old guy to win.

There's also a little girl in his family. Now whether it is Bollywood or Hollywood, kids tend to be so annoying, you want them to be shipped off to North Korea. But this little girl and her ways win you over within three minutes of her screen time.

This one might be a spoiler, but do not, do not miss out on watching Danny's realisation that he will have to postpone singing his new song and put on a show which he has come to hate. No one but an actor of the caliber of Al Pacino could have pulled it off. You feel exactly how he feels. You feel exactly how Christopher Plummer feels. You feel exactly how Annette Benning feels. You feel. And movies like this one you know can watch whenever they show up on TV again.

With this movie, it looks like Hollywood is ready to offer stupendous roles to Grandpas who are still sexy and charming and when it comes to emoting, can beat the pants off any of the young beefed up boys we watch today.

It's a PVR Rare release, so you will have to look out for timings and maybe travel to a theater across town to watch this movie. But trust me, you will come back with a lump in your throat and might just call up dad and make peace with him again.


Friday, May 08, 2015

Review: Kuch Kuch Locha Hai

Bahut Kuch Boring Hai

(Wardrobe malfunction-wala star bhi nahi!)

Mini Review: 

Sunny Leone's 'i know what men want' refrain is boring. Ram Kapoor's earnest lust is boring. Evelyn Sharma's ever plunging cleavage is boring. Sunny Leone's assets seem to be so bored in those 'did she forget to wear a blouse' bra-tops that you can hear them snore in slo mo.

Main Review:

This Review is Bouncing. In slow-mo. 

Unfortunately, the boobs that induced the bouncing are so tired and boring, you might take a quick nap. And they'll still be right there on screen when you wake up/ 

It's Sunny Leone's nth movie. And her ability to walk on impossibly high heels do not impress you any more. Her gyrations, her orgasmic pout, her boob thrusts  are now so familiar, you laugh when she starts slithering against a wall and pretends to shiver with pleasure. Ramesh and Suresh eating chocolate seem to find real pleasure than this display of slo-mo orgasm. 

'Yeh kar kya rahi hai?'

They did not know whether they were making a boob fest or setting up Sunny's assets for best acting by female body parts award. It's too apologetic to be a sex comedy. Ram Kapoor fantasizes about Sunny, but in the most decent way. Sunny wants to be the object of fantasy  but also gives us a speech about 'will any decent man allow me to work the work I do as an actor after marriage'. She wears a saree and says she wants to learn garba (pronounce it in slo mo as you would the words 'Garbanzo beans'). And the next minute she performs a strip tease  in front of bhagwaan-ji's temporary temple, the priest, and everyone else, sheds the saree and the blouse and steps out in a bra top (again!) and a matching skirt. 

Before you can say 'Jeeejus' and miss Rakhi Sawant, your eyes are drooping from watching the newbie Navdeep Chhabra do his gareebon ka Hrithik Roshan act. Some of us in the show were convinced that the lad did not shower all through the film because it might wash away his hair gel or his luck...

Evelyn Sharma's wardrobe person deserves a pat on his/her back because they make sure she doesn't injure her face or her knees when bouncing so much. Your brain is tired of the skin show. You think... Will...You...Stop...Bouncing... And even when she is bouncing, she does not forget her culture: 'namaste maa-ji' she says to gareeb Hrithik's mom. She is shown to be a bikini-wearing rocker chick, but she wants to marry gareeb Hrithik even though he does not have any money.

Oh, but even thou his dad Ram Kapoor runs a grocery store, gareeb Hrithik drives a ferrari and plays the guitar in a 'rock band' with the strap dangling over the strings he's strumming. You idly want him to be electrocuted with that guitar, but it's not connected to any amp alas. He's just playing a rock concert to no audience on the street with his band.

Ram Kapoor is now doing what Vinay Pathak was attempting (and failing) to do a few years ago. Playing the lovable, extra large fool. To watch him being pawed by the awful obviously gay hairdresser is so tedious, your bile goes back to some unknown region inside you and your brain sends you sleep waves in sympathy...

The unfortunate story and the slo-mo bounce could emasculate even the most die-hard fan of Karenjit Kaur Vohra. Whereas you would say Wo-oh-raaah to Ms Kaur in other movies, here you want to say, 'Ab bas, mataji. Shawl oadh lo. Ghar jaao.' You even make sad sounds for the pathetic husband who shows up in the movie for a token dance thing.

Speaking of dance, yes, some do tequila shot item number is catchy. But by the end of the movie you think you have aged in real time, and you are too tired to remember if the audience should have drowned during the paani wala dance...

P.S. The other characters are so creepy, Gujaratis should collectively protest against this film. 


Review: Piku Motion Se Hi Emotion

Verbal Diarrhea Ne Ghar Ki Yaad Dila Dee By God!

3 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

Your family and my family may not indulge in constant conversations of the scatological nature, but this movie will delight you in many more ways and you will crave for family time.

Main Review:

Just when your movie screens and eardrums were being shattered by large villainous men being crushed in slo-mo by silly heroes and simpering misses were cowering in fake fright just waiting to be rescued, along comes a movie that pleases you from ten minutes into the movie until the end.

Why not from start to finish? Let me explain. 

When you come across the name 'Motion Se Hi Emotion' you want to make sure you find a seat in aisle in case you wish to puke at the jokes on constipation. 

You don't want to buy popcorn because you know you will be subjected to strange bodily sounds and the sounds of the flush which might make you run to the nearest loo to puke again. 

You've also hated the big B's overacting in Shamitabh and wonder if you are going to be subjected to more. 

A small voice inside you wants to say the title should be 'Hee' not 'Hi' because you want to hate a movie about constipation. 

If you've hated 'Replace Important Words In Movie Titles With Tatti' on your timeline, then you will begin to watch the movie with trepidation as I did. 

But Shoojit Sarkar brings you a movie so brilliantly written (by Juhi Chaturvedi) and so beautifully shot, you find yourself making plans to go walkabout in Kolkata, you wish your dadaji would paint his house red, you wish you had said yes to a road trip with family and you will be chuckling at many many discomforting moments...

How effortlessly Amitabh Bachchan wipes away our memories of Shamitabh and make us collectively pray that he has a great bowel movement. That itself is a directorial achievement. 

Plus there's Irrfan Khan, who is also capable of doing the 'I'm a Hollywood star' thing but doesn't... In fact, you begin to identify yourself as him, the outsider unwittingly drawn into the father-daughter drama. You roll your eyes when he does, you feel just as claustrophobic in the cab as he does when the father-daughter get into arguments, you feel as shocked at he does when the father daughter duo involve him in their arguments and then gang up against him as if it were his fault.

And the daughter, oh, the daughter! Deepika Padukone is like so many people you know. A caregiver to elderly parents. The part has been written so beautifully, you understand why she's the way she is. You don't - not for one second - hate her for having become like she is. If you had a parent like she does, you would probably be serving time for having murdered a parent most brutally. I would, if I could shower accolades upon her pretty head with that one scene in the car when she realises that someone took her side.

The one horrendous but i suppose necessary evil in the movie are brand placements. Not as bad as in Krissh or other movies, but brands showing up so blatantly make me cringe...

And the other characters! Simply amazing! Moushumi Chatterjee has the best time of all maasis in Hindi cinema. She makes you want to be as cool as her. The young man Jisshu Sengupta makes you divert all your empathy towards him by just a 'Hunh'. Kaka, kaki, Bodhon the servant, the batik shirt wearing agent, the commode chair, the Varanasi lodge keeper, the maid are just as important to the plot as the father-daughter drama unfolding before us. Yes, Raghuvir Yadav's fake hair annoys you so much you cannot hear him speak at all. And you cannot believe a strong character like Amitabh Bachchan would take advice from him over anything. He is the weakest link in the movie. Amitabh Bachchan looks like he would self-medicate by reading books on homeopathy rather than have Raghuvir Yadav come over to offer advice. Maybe a voice on the phone?

That brings us to the one thing you need to seek when you watch Piku. You will notice that everybody talks too much, and that the verbal diarrhea does tend to make people laugh (the 'tatti' jokes), but despite all those recurring descriptions of his 'motions' (and I will nitpick about the story failing to go ahead because there's that one more tatti joke that needs t be included), you will appreciate the amazing silences Shoojit Sarkar captures in the movie. Yes, silences. That's when you realise that this is not just an ordinary funny movie, this is a great movie.

Thankfully it arrives on the big screen in time when most of the audiences are happy to make the horrid heat of summer an excuse to stay away from the dhishum dhishum movies. Piku is a feast of amazing visuals and funny lines and strong characters and you will want to go back home and hug your family, no matter how much they drive you into thoughts of murder or suicide. Better yet, watch the movie with the family. Despite the constipation, you might enjoy having food after watching the film.

p.s. The food in the film is delish! And tell me if you too felt like Piku's date did when she took that phone call at the restaurant.

Review: Hot Pursuit

The Trail Is Cold...

1 star

Mini Review: 

Yes, I laughed. Because the jokes were cheap (though not enough), and I so badly wanted a girl buddy movie to be funny. 

Main Review:

This should have been funny: a girl cop and a woman bandit forced to be on the road together. But you can see the jokes coming at you from a mile away.

It could have been funnier: Sofia Vergara's oomph and Reese Witherspoon's non-oomph. But both women are made to look so desperate you 'heh, heh' and hope things will change.

This movie is funny because you have seen buddy cop and robber road movies before and that they were funny and you remember Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar could be funny too.

This movie could have been funnier had they allowed Sofia Vergara's natural talent for delivering outrageous lines to work, instead of trying so hard to make Reese Witherspoon sound funny as a strait-laced cop.   

Yes, I laughed at Reese Witherspoon's granny panties but not before I stomped on the logical voice inside my head to stop saying, 'Didn't she just happily accept that she (like most 'white women) has a flat butt, then where does this large derriere come from?'

Yes, the movie has 'these' jokes. The make-up is so bad, you want Sofia Vergara to sue Warner for making her look tired. In order to make Reese Witherspoon look like a lad, they make her go on and on and on about 10-42 and 10-20 (policespeak) and you look at your watch again and again to see if it was 87 minutes yet.

I give it one star because both stars tried so hard to be funny. The out-takes say so. But you know that they know the script fails them at many levels... Why did they not borrow leftover jokes from Legally Blonde or Modern Family? The result would have been funnier...

p.s. watch it on tv on a slow week...

Review: Play It Cool

The Most Tedious Rom-Com About Rom-Coms

1/2 star

Mini Review:

I never thought I'd ever say that a Rom-Com was tiresome. But this one is. Drinking an entire bottle of Pepto Bismol or Maalox would be infinitely more pleasurable than watching this movie. Even Chris Evan's gorgeous eyelashes cannot save this movie.

Main Review:

Remember Saif Ali Khan's Happy Endings? Where he's the cool, hip, author (puke!) who gets entangled with another... Ugh! I'm sure you have shoved the memory of that film in the far recesses of your brain, or maybe you took pills to forget that you watched the film... But like bad pennies, the story is back, with Chris Evans as the lead that is well, out of steam... 

The whole movie is filled with stereotypical characters that spout stock lines in really boring scenes that make you too tired to even yawn. Even the heroine looks like she's being dragged unwilling into the romance track and that she looks like she'd enjoy jumping off a cliff more than romance the hero who is a... Well... A loser.

Now we've all dealt with lovable loser turns into hero plot, but here, you don't want to wait until that happens. Unwittingly you have fallen asleep even before the hero has asked for advice about love from his even more of a loser friend who lives in a van.

The one saving grace of the movie is the length of Chris Evan's eyelashes. We knew his eyes were bright blue, but dang! The length of those eyelashes is incredible. And they make him close his eyes an awful lot of times. Maybe he too was bored of the movie and could not express joy at being in every scene, and so he shut them...

The whole movie is like a narration, which induces sleep very easily. The theater people sent ushers with cattle prods to wake us all up when the movie was over.

P.S. You wish Captain America's shield would appear out of nowhere and decapitate all the characters.
(This review has taken three hours to write because I have fallen asleep several times when attempting to write it)   

Review: The Spongebob Movie - Sponge Out Of Water

Still Absorbant And Yellow And Porous Is He!

2 Stars for Kids
3 Martinis for Moms

Mini Review: 

He lives in a pineapple under the sea, absorbent and yellow and porous is he, the kids will have fun when he comes ashore, but for mommies and daddies, this film is a bore!

Main Review:

Be warned. Spongebob has been cackling for ever on your TV (since May 1, 1999 to be precise. And his laugh is still as hellish as ever. No? Hear it now as an extended warning: right here.

So you survived the laugh. Then you're made of sterner stuff. You'll love the references to The Avengers and understand why there's a crisis in Bikini Bottom when Krabby Patties are all gone! 

Oh, was that a spoiler? Sorry, but I needed to tell you that the movies does get interesting for grown ups too. It comes too late, but if you haven't stabbed yourself with the armrest you wrested off the seat within the first fifteen minutes, then you deserve to know that the movie does get interesting.

Someone who understands grownups in the theater added these truly awesome lines you can use in real life:

'Were you in my brain?'
'Then why do you have cotton candy on your antenna?'

The kids, though, will be cackling away at all the nautical nonsense and flopping on the deck like fish, just as the theme song. So taking them to the movie will earn you many brownie points.

You will find yourself praying those brownie points would convert magically into Martinis. I know it was wishful thinking on your part, but I clapped really really hard when Spongebob sang, 'I'm the flower, you'll be the aroma!' and Squidward added:

'Right Now I wish I were in a coma!'


Friday, May 01, 2015

Review: Gabbar Is Back

Hum Bore Ho Chuke Sanam!

1 and 1/2 star

Mini Review:

Not again! This time Sanjay Leela Bhansali falls for 'South ka remake'. This awfully loud moral science lesson will have public singing, 'Hum bore ho chuke sanam!'  

Main Review:

Salman Khan's Jai Ho was so preachy, people preferred to stay at home and watch his Dixcy Scott ads or google Sunny Leone. Here, Akshay Kumar is so preachy he spouts dialog about helping weed out corruption with a photo frame of Hanuman on the bookshelf behind him (yes, character SanjayBaba Bhansali forgot to include in Raam Raas Leela). 

It's so preachy you actually are thankful for Chitrangada Singh's cleavage and chandi (kundi being the arsehole! technicality pointed out by friend stickler for details). It's a South remake, so it is only fair that people should be told that 'kundi' means butt. Yes, when Chitrangada Singh gyrates you are laughing because the person sitting next to you shares the wiki page of Ramanaa the woriginal South movie he googled.

Speaking of Google anna, there's a scene where Shruti Haasan walks inadvertently into traffic while checking some inane thing on her phone. By this time, the audience too wants to do just that. Deliberately.     

One little part of me that loves Akshay Kumar's grin consoles me, you will see it, it attempts to pacify me. But the beard has taken over. It is so literally in your face, they forgot his eyes and nose in the posters... But then I am distracted by the rain song where the rain not only washes away Akshay Kumar's tan (he looks so fair, his mooch looks like an alien caterpillar settled on his lip waiting for Akki's grin) it washes away any hope of relief...

The only relief is offered by dialog that reaches filtered through the villain's mooch! 

'I AM A BRAND!' he claims. And no matter what anyone says after that, you add, 'Because he's a brand! The movie becomes so much more fun...

Even Mughal-e-Azam sounds more fun when you imagine Prithviraj Kapoor saying, 'Aur hum Anarkali tumhe jeene nahi denge because I'm a brand!'

It gets funnier when the villain and the hero face off in a dialog fight: 

'You cannot kill me because I'M A BRAND!'
'I'm a BIGGER Brand, you villain!'
'No I am a BRAND, watch me sneer!'
'Sneer and fear me, the whole country thinks I'm a bigger BRAND. My name is Gabbar!'
'You're not bigger, I'm the original BRAND'
'Here, let me paste my footprint on your green shirt and then maybe you will accept that I'm the best BRAND'

Should brand heads of products be allowed to get into such fights the world would be so much more fun...

That takes care of the one star. The half? Goes to the fightmaster's assistant who thought it was awesome to put a lauki, yes, a bottle gourd, at a chaat stand outside the college where the hero (hair brought to you by Wind Tunnel Hair Inc.) fights goons. I was so distracted by the lauki, I missed the reason why the goons showed up at the college. I pray some Akki fan will upload the fight video soon so you'll know I'm not lying...

Here is a picture of laukis so you too forget that this movie will be running in a cinema near you.

P.S. There are other people in the movie, but they are not brands. I feel for them. Not. 

P.S. I'm now going to watch Akshay's gorgeous grin in songs like 'ek uncha lamba kad'

Review: While We're Young


3 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts make new friends and discover... Stop reading reviews. Book those tickets now!

Main Review:

You are asking me why I've still given this delightful movie only 3 and 1/2 stars in spite of saying 'Buy Tickets' three times without saying much about the movie?

Well, it is a movie that you need to watch to feel - either like Ben and Naomi or their new friends - that's highest accolade, considering how superficial and vague most 'gentle', 'non action' movies are. This one slowly winds its way around your heart until you remember the taste of the mescalene and you begin to anticipate the effects...

This movie will remind you of the feel of the crochet throw on the couch, smell the coffee they drink, thirst for the bottle of bourbon Ben Stiller steals at the Lincoln Center, make your muscles ache after the hip-hop class...

Have you bought the tickets yet? No? Aah... You are waiting to know why there are stars missing from the rating?

Well, it's not perfect because you can see the plot a mile away. The story is predictable as the taste of peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The pleasure is when you discover banana slices when you bite into the sandwich.

It's a movie that will make you want to go kiss someone you love and it will feel like you're kissing them for the first time. 

It is delightful. Watch it. No matter what your age is.


Review: Sabki Bajegi Band

Chalo Sote Hain, Baby!

(Stars died of tedium)

Mini Review: 

'Baby! If a guy chooses his mom over his wife, then he's gay'... This film makes such outrageous claims, it barely qualifies as 'adult'. Unfortunately baby! It is not even sleazy enough to titillate. It's only teeth-grindingly dull talk, talk, talk about 'sleeping with this or that person' and ... 

Main Review:

'Kitnee baar soye uske saath?' One of the women in this ensemble cast of the damned screams at the husband.

Someone who talks about movies on radio made this movie. And their love for the movies, baby, is evident in the number of posters and vinyl covers pasted on the walls and references to scenes in movies... 

'14 times? You bastard! 14 times tum uske saath soye?' She's screaming, then she adds, 'Baby, main bhi kisi aur ke saath soyi hoon!' 

However, baby, this is the least offensive part. The kindest thing one could say about it is that it is capable of curing insomnia.

The 14 times cheat husband now asks the wife, 'Baby, tum kitnee baar soyi?'

Do you really want to know? A movie with an adult certificate that claims people spoke everything they do in the movie for candid cameras at a farm and that the film is a re-enactment of those 'real' moments. I don't think we know anyone who would create a scene like this, no matter how vengeful they are feeling at the time and run after their spouse with a gun and then a large knife...

Baby, others join the 'Main soya', 'Main bhi soya' and just when you think you are going to be served a soy-protein supplement so you could run out of the theatre, you hear: 'Tumhara earthworm kabhi saanp nahi banega'... This movie will not allow anyone to sleep despite the 'I slept with him', 'I slept with her', 'I slept with an old man', 'I slept with a barely legal lad', 'I slept with many'... You'll begin to think that their sexual lives must be very tedious and soporific because everyone talks about 'sleeping'. That's when you realise that you don't care if they are alive or they die because baby, you have watched a chap open a pack of condom and chew on it as if it were gum and go on and on about it being flavorful.  

Before you can say, 'Baby, whaaat?' you are laughing your head off because they tell you, 'A man is gay if he takes his mother's side in an argument over his wife's, a man is gay if he checks if his shoes are soiled by lifting his foot in a particular way and that a man is gay if his handkerchief is floral instead of a solid color.' 

Wow! You think! Scientific research be damned! 

It gets funnier... Unintentionally, of course, because one of the characters explains why she is promiscuous: Baby, no one wanted to see my computer skills... 

The rest is worse. All the 'babies' are caricatures - an unhappily married couple, a couple who have an open marriage who cannot keep their hands off each other, one virginal man, one obviously horny man, one freshly engaged couple with the girl who claims tradition and culture, one promiscuous girl - and they say the most obvious 'sexual' dialog without an ounce of feeling. 

In fact, even when they are confessing to their same sex orientation, the moment is shown so tackily, you wish for bad jokes you have seen in No Entry and other sex comedies you walked out of... Wedding videos these days are more sophisticated and imaginative than a bunch of grown ups, chukling at erectile dysfunction, mouthing dialog like 'khada nahi hota', 'baitha hai' is funny. 

Then comes the moment baby, when we are told why the movie was made. The filmmaker wants to confess he's HIV+ve and hopes 'this experiment, baby' has shown how important it is to be safe. Instead of going, 'Oh!' and feeling bad for the chap, you laugh, because after the talk about safety, he proposes to the girl who almost marries the chap just out of the closet. Run, baby, run! You tell yourself and do just that, and you pray that someone would staple all those brainless people at the farm and their inane 'issues' about sex baby and blow up the farm so nothing like this ever gets made, baby...

P.S. If you haven't realised, the word 'baby' is used by everyone, every three minutes, that you begin to say 'Jejus!' a la Rakhi Sawant inside your head every three minutes three seconds. Sigh. I found religion. But you? You don't need to take that chance.