Saturday, December 27, 2014

Shy-way: Love it or Leave it: Penguins of Madagascar: Cuteness Personified!

Shy-way: Love it or Leave it: Penguins of Madagascar: Cuteness Personified!: This week I got to watch Penguins of Madagascar which is a spin-off of the Madagascar film series, and takes place right after the eve...

Penguins of Madagascar: Cuteness Personified!

This week I got to watch Penguins of Madagascar which is a spin-off of the Madagascar film series, and takes place right after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. Produced by Dreamworks and directed by Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith, this is a cute movie and will definitely entertain the kids this holiday season.
In Antarctica, three young penguins, Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), and Rico (Conrad Vernon), rescue an egg from hungry leopard seals and set themselves adrift on an iceberg. From the egg hatches Private (Christopher Knights) and the four become a team. A decade later, directly after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, the Penguins depart from the circus and celebrate Private's birthday by breaking into Fort Knox so that Private can buy Cheesy Dibbles, a discontinued product, from their break room vending machine. However, Private begins to feel unimportant to the team. While Skipper is the leader and strategist, Kowalski is the brains, and Rico the arsenal specialist, Private is continually referred to as just being a cute face and doesn't have any remarkable skills.

The Penguins are suddenly kidnapped in the vending machine and flown to a submarine base in Venice. There, the Penguins meet Dave (John Malkovich), a villainous octopus who disguises himself under the human alias of Dr. Octavius Brine. Dave used to be adored in the Central Park Zoo, until the penguins arrived and unknowingly stole his shine. The octopus was then shipped to other zoos but his fame was stolen each time by a penguin shine. Embittered, Dave now wants revenge on the penguins. Does Dave succeed in his plan to take revenge on the penguins or does the four friend foil his plans is something that needs to be seen on the screen.

The movie starts slowly but thirty minutes through the story it gathers speed and soon you are engrossed in the adventures of the four friends on the mission to save the entire penguin population in the world. Direction by Darnell and Smith is wonderful and the screenplay is quite crisp and engrossing. The movie on the whole will appeal to the children and the message given in the movie about not judging others based on their appearance will definetly strike a chord with the audience.

Overall a nice movie for the holidays!

My Verdict: ****
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - ***** 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Shy-way: Love it or Leave it: The Interview - Too Much Hype, Delivers Nothing!

Shy-way: Love it or Leave it: The Interview - Too Much Hype, Delivers Nothing!: The Interview starring Seth Rogan and James Franco is the subject of my review this week. Directed by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg aft...

The Interview - Too Much Hype, Delivers Nothing!

The Interview starring Seth Rogan and James Franco is the subject of my review this week. Directed by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg after the disappointing 'This Is  The End" attracted a lot of hype and negative publicity when in June 2014 the North Korean government threatened of "merciless" action against the USA if the movie was released. The movie also got a lot of attention when a terrorist body the Guardians of Peace threatened terrorist attacks against every cinemas that played The Interview forcing the makers to release the movie online instead of theaters. However I felt the hype and all the negative publicity was for nothing after watching this mindless and souless comedy.
Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show "Skylark Tonight." When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

The story and screenplay by Seth Rogan, Dan Sterling and Evan Goldberg travel on a thin plot which does not make any sense. The dialogues are crassy and the performances are bad. James Franco throughout the movie has a constipated look and expression, and tries hard not to irritate the audience. Seth Rogen tries hard to act but with no success. A bunch of Chinese looking actors do not add much value to the plot. Randall Park seems to impress a little with his dictator act.

On the whole the entire movie is just a waste of time.

My Verdict: *
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - ***** 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Shy-way: Love it or Leave it: PK Is Not A 'Bhaste' Of Time! Watch It :)

Shy-way: Love it or Leave it: PK Is Not A 'Bhaste' Of Time! Watch It :):   Rajkumar Hirani films are always celebrated equally by masses and classes as the movies come with a heart and connects with the audien...

PK Is Not A 'Bhaste' Of Time! Watch It :)

 Rajkumar Hirani films are always celebrated equally by masses and classes as the movies come with a heart and connects with the audience's hearts. This week the long in the making and the most anticipated movie of the year, with a quirky name and most popular star of the generation - PK released. Like all Raju Hirani movies PK also tackles an issue and this time it is God & Godmen - Rings a Bell? Yes but No! Although the plot has a striking resemblance to Akshay Kumar - Paresh Rawal starrer Oh My God! but it is different.

PK (Aamir Khan) is an alien who comes to Earth to study its beings. His first encounter with humans force him to stay on Earth forever until he finds the remote that gets stolen and is the only key for him to return back to his world.

In the process of his journey in getting his remote back he asks several questions and affects several people's lives, and one among them happens to be Jaggu aka Jagat Janani (Anushka Sharma) and another Bhairon Singh (Sanjay Dutt). The movie is a beautiful piece of art and as I said earlier has its heart in the right place. It questions our believes in God and Godmen and makes us laugh at our own tomfoolery that we have been practicing and following for generations.

Aamir Khan is wonderful as PK and I could not see any other actor doing it better than what Aamir has done. Anushka as usual is confident and powerful in her role as Jagat Janani. Sushant Singh Rajput in an extended cameo has done a wonderful job. Supporting cast including Saurabh Shukla and Boman Irani has done a good job however I felt Boman was quite under utilized compared to his roles in Hirani's previous movies.

Story, Screenplay and Dialogues by Raju Hirani - Abhijat Joshi combination is quite powerful. The dialogues are hilarious, the scenes are funny and during the entire run time you never feel bored or distracted. However I felt that few scenes were rushed through like the Sushant-Anushka love track and Aamir's sudden romantic feelings for Anushka which although necessary for the plot was like a hurried and sudden thing. Rest I did not find much flaws in the movie.

The songs by Shantanu Moitra, Ankit Tiwari and Ajay-Atul are simple and hummable like all previous Raju Hirani movies. In songs 'Love is a Bhaste of Time', 'Char Kadam', 'Nanga Punga Dost' and 'Tharki Chokro' stand out. Editing by Raju Hirani is quite crisp and the cinematography by C.K. Muralidharan is quite enigmatic especially the Brugges part which makes you feel as if you are being treated to a fairytale setting.

Overall the movie is quite entertaining and everyone should definitely watch it at least once and I guarantee you that you will not regret the decision.

My Verdict: ****
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gone Girl: A Nice Thriller!

 After a long time I saw a wonderful thriller - Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher starring Ben Affleck & Rosalind Pike. The hype around the movie before it's release about the nude scenes and love making scenes does not justify when you see the entire movie as the movie so engrossing these scenes seem to be a necessary part to build up the plot.

Based on the novel written by Gillian Flynn of the same name, explores the relationship between Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his wife Amy (Rosalind Pike) after she goes missing on the day of their fifth anniversary. All fingers point towards Nick after cops discover a half burnt diary written by Amy. Flashbacks reveal the tumultous relationship shared by the couple, Nick's adulturous affair with his student and Amy's psychotic side revealed through her past two relationships before meeting Nick. Has Amy really run away or was she murdered by Nick is the mystery that one has to see to discover.

Performance wise both Ben and Rosalind are top notch. Few scenes gives rise to goosebumps and the entire narrative is quite gripping leaving no room for any guess work until the interval after which the real story from Amy's side starts.

Director David Fincher has done a wonderful job and the movie has definitely done justice to the novel which one of the rarest things ever. The screenplay by Gillian Flynn is good and so is the editing and other technical departments of the movie.

Overall, I would suggest everyone to watch this interesting thriller of a movie at least once.

My Verdict: ****
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Friday, December 5, 2014

Action Jackson: Old Wine In New Bottle!


This week we have one more big budget no-brainer - Action Jackson (don't know when will people stop making such movies) directed by Prabhudheva starring Ajay Devgan in one of his most disappointing avtars along with Sonakshi Sinha, Yami Gautam and Manasvi Mamgai.

The movie tells the story (if it has one) of Vishy (Ajay Devgan) who is a happy go lucky tapori who is stalked by Khushi (Sonakshi) as he proves to be lucky for her and a bunch of gangmen. Towards the interval the mystery of the stalking gangmen is revealed when AJ (Ajay Devgan) a gangster who is also a look alike of Vishy is introduced.

AJ tells Vishy and his friend (Kunaal Roy Kapur) that the gangmen have mistaken Vishy to be him and therefore following him to kill him. On being asked the reason, AJ reveals that mafia kingpin Xavier (Anand Raj) wants him, his wife (Yami Gautam) and their new born baby dead after he refused to get married to his obsessive sister Marina (Manasvi Mamgai). AJ tells Vishy he has a plan to get rid of Xavier and Marina for which he needs his help. Then what happens is the movie all about.

Ajay Devgan has been wasted in a double role. Sonakshi has nothing new to offer. Yami Gautam is pleasant to the eyes and newcomer Manasvi seriously needs some lessons in acting. There is nothing new in the story and the screenplay dwells on a paperthin plot. The dialogues are average and sounds repeatitive after watching Wanted, Rowdy Rathore, R...Rajkumar etc which are all Prabhudheva's past attempts in movie making.

The songs by Himesh Reshammiya are average and does not help take the story ahead. Cinematography is good. Editing could have been crisper. On the whole the movie might appeal to die-hard Ajay Devgan and Prabhudheva fans, otherwise it is a pure dampner.

My Verdict: *
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Magic In The Moonlight - Leaves You With No Magic!



Woody Allen movies have always been celebrated for their stories and characters that are quirky and out of this world. Coming after last year's celebrated 'Blue Jasmine' starring Cate Blanchette, I must say, Magic In The Moonlight do not cast any magic on its viewers. I am not saying it is a bad movie however it is not up to the standards of a Woody Allen movie we always expect. Maybe we can say it is not one of his best.

Magic In The Moonlight tells the story of a Chinese conjuror Wei Ling Soo who is the most celebrated magician of his age however far from his stage persona in actual life his true identity is of Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth), a grouchy and arrogant Englishman with a sky-high opinion of himself and an aversion to phony spiritualists' claims.

One day his childhood friend and fellow magician Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney), comes to him with the proposal of pulling the mask off a spiritualist who claims to have contact with the deceased through soul connection. Initially uninterested, Stanley goes on the mission to the Côte d'Azur mansion of the Catledge family after being persuaded by Howard.

In the mansion lives Grace (Jacki Weaver) lives with her son Brice (Hamish Linklater) and daughter Caroline (Erica Leerhsen) Grace who wants to make connection with her dead husband's soul to get answers to some of her unanswered questions invites Sophie Baker (Emma Stone) a young clairvoyant  to the mansion. Sophie arrives with her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) and soon gets engaged to Brice who is besotted with the young and beautiful clairvoyant. In comes Stanley to uncover Sophie and presents himself as a businessman named Stanley Taplinger. Soon Stanley's belief in spiritualism is tested and what follows is a series of events that are magical in every sense of the word and send the characters reeling. 

The story is not great shakes but it is still a one time watch. Allen has extracted some wonderful performances from Emma and the scenes where she gets into a trance while scanning information about a person is quite brilliantly and comically executed. Colin Firth in comparison is average and his character seems to lack wit and makes him look confused on the screen. Like Allen even Firth had a bad day with this movie.

The cinematography is top notch like any Allen movie and the locales of France has been captured in a picture postcard way. The background music is quite soothing and editing is also crisp. The mastery of Allen can be seen in every frame alas I could say the same with the story. 

Overall its a one time watch however hardcore Allen fans will be slightly disappointed.

My Verdict: **
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still Alice - A Heartwarming Movie Experience!


I had the opportunity to see one of the finest movies this year - Still Alice starring the multi-talented Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart. Co-directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, Still Alice is a movie based on Lisa Genova's 2007 bestselling novel of the same name.

Dr. Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) is a linguistic teacher in Columbia University who is detected of early onset Alzheimer's disease. Alec Baldwin plays the role of her husband John Howland while Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish play her children Lydia, Anna, and Tom.

The movie showcases how a brilliant person like Alice slowly gets sucked into the whirlpool of the disease and how her family patiently copes with her. It is a heartwrenching story that showcases Alice's struggles to manage her life while dealing with the illness and her job, marriage and children.


Alzheimer's disease is a very bad condition for any human being as slowly and steadily the memories are erased out of your mind and when you see a family member or a dear one suffering with it, it is quite heartbreaking. What one needs is to give that love, care and most importantly acknowledging their identity which they would have lost in their mind but not to the world.

Directors Richard and Wash does a fantastic job by sticking to the original storyline and showcasing Alice's condition in a very humane way. Julianne Moore has given one of the finest performances of her career which will definitely put her as the top contender for this year's upcoming awards functions.

Moore is ably supported by Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish. Although the pace of the movie is quite slow, you will not find it boring at any point of time. It is a movie one should definitely watch to understand that a person might lose his memories but he or she still remains the same and continue to be the same as they were before losing out to the deadly Alzheimer's, until the end.

A must watch!

My Verdict: ****
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Annie - A Musical Treat For Children!

The holiday seasons will kick start with Will Gluck directed musical Annie starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis in the title role. Based on a 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, this is the third film adaptation following 1982 film starring Aileen Marie Quinn and Albert Finney and the 1999 direct-to-television movie starring Alicia Morton and Victor Garber.

The movie tells the story of a 10 year old orphan girl Annie (Wallis) who stays in a foster home run by Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) with few other orphans. Annie visits a restaurant every Friday with the hope of reuniting with her real parents who left a note for her while they abandoned her in front of the restaurant.

Colleen who used to be a performer is now living a miserable life and has turned bitter towards the girls who are in her care and make their life hell. Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a cell phone mogul  "Stacks Mobile" is running for mayor. He is supported by his adviser Guy (Bobby Cannavale), his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne), and bodyguard Nash (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje). Will is a germaphobe and not very popular with voters compared to the current favorite Harold Gray (Peter Van Wagner). Will goes to feed the homeless and tries to eat the mashed potatoes to show how much he cares, only for him to spit it out in the face of a homeless man.

Annie is unable to learn anything about her parents since she's not in the system. She walks home depressed and sees two boys annoying a dog. Annie runs, yelling at them to stop and is about to be hit by a vehicle when Will saves her. A passerby records the event on mobile and soon the video goes viral improving Will's chances. On the advice of Guy he brings Annie home for a day to have lunch with her while the media covers the event.

Soon Annie does the impossible for Will as more and more people start favoring him and soon he signs papers and adopts her for the time being. So what happens to Will and Annie? Does he exploit her for his ambition to become a Mayor or change as a human being? Would Annie find her parents and lead a normal life? These questions get answered as you watch the movie.

The movie is quite entertaining and you will definitely feel attached to Annie and Will. Wallis displays a heartfelt performance and so does Foxx. The supporting cast also provide ample support. Director Will Gluck does a wonderful job of keeping the soul of the original story intact while he puts his own twist. The songs are again a plus point apart from the other technicalities of the movie.

On the whole, go for the movie with your kids and they will definitely thank you!

My Verdict: ****
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Serena - Watch it for Jennifer Lawrence!

'Serena' directed by Susanna Bier was one of the most anticipated movies of the year starring the dream couple Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. With every movie Jennifer at an young age is heading the Meryl Streep way. Each and every performance is praiseworthy and as an actor she has matured a lot. It's a sheer pleasure watch her enact one character after another in every movie starring her. Similarly, Serena which is a movie adaptation of Ron Rash's novel of the same name is worth watching only for Jennifer and then Bradley. Their chemistry is scorching and they compliment each other on screen.
The movie is set in 1929 during the depression era - North Carolina. George Pemberton (Cooper) is a timber merchant who is struggling to maintain the future of his timber empire. Serena (Lawrence) is married to George and she has a troubling past where her entire family perished in an accidental fire leaving her an orphan. Trouble starts in their marriage when Serena undergoes a miscarriage and is informed by the doctor that she will never be able to get pregnant. Selena suddenly becomes more possessive of George and when his secret liking towards his son born out of wedlock to a servant woman Rachel (Ana Ularu) is revealed to her she is bent on killing the child and Rachel.

The story is sluggish and falls flat however Lawrence takes the movie to another heights with her performance. This is one of the bestest performances by her and might even help her get noticed in the upcoming awards seasons. Bradley Cooper is as usual and remains true to the character. The performances by rest of the supporting actors are also good. 

The cinematography and editing is good however the screenplay could have been better. Direction by Bier is average and leaves a lot to be desired.

On the whole watch Serena only for Jennifer. It's a fiesta for Jennifer's fans.

My Verdict: **
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Ending - Worth A Dekho!


The kind of movies that made Saif Ali Khan a super star today are the ones like Dil Chahta Hai, Salaam Namaste, Hum Tum, Love Aaj Kal and Cocktail. This week's release 'Happy Ending' also falls under the same genre and therefore like all his previous similar attempts this one directed by Raj & DK is again an endearing movie.

In the years that followed Dil Chahta Hai, the directors would have changed in every movie that Saif worked but the feel, look, characters and dialogues remains the same. However this time Saif has a wonderful companion in Govinda who takes the tempo of the movie to another hilarious height. How I miss Govinda on screen these days :).

Coming to the story, it is definitely a spoof on all the rom-coms we would have ever seen in our life. Yudi (Saif Ali Khan) is a bestselling novelist who has everything in his life - fame, money and girls. Being a commitment phobic he never went past the dating stage and cut to five and a half years later he is broke, with no other book written after his first one. He has a stalker girlfriend Vishakha (Kalki) and a new competitor in the form of budding bestselling author Aanchal Reddy (Ileana D'cruz).

His agent brings him a proposal to write a rom-com for Superstar of the masses Armaan-ji (Govinda) who wants to make an entry into the multiplex genre of movies. In between his personal and professional crisis the inevitable happens, Yudi falls in love with the equally commitment phobic Aanchal. What happens is something you need to find out.

Performancewise Saif fits the role to the T playing Yudi and his alter-ego Yogi. He is hilarious, he emotes well and gets into the character from the word go. Govinda is in his bestest element. He is a pleasure to watch and the way he has made fun on himself and the kind of Hindi movies being churned out is quite hilarious. Ileana does a wonderful job and one can forget the nonsensical 'Tu Mera Hero' or 'Phata Poster Nikla Hero' disasters. She still shows some promise. Ranvir Sheorey as Saif's friend Montu does a decent job. 

Kalki as the stalking girlfriend of Saif does a wonderful job. Although it is an extension of her act in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara character still she does a great job. Priety Zinta still has the charm to floor the audience even in a small role as Saif's ex-girlfriend turned friend. I believe our industry is not doing justice to a great talent like Zinta's. Kareena in a cameo is good.

Music is the hero of this movie. In fact every song stands out and is not a surprise gap filler in the movie. The locales of SFO and LA has been captured endearingly by the cinematographer. Choreography by Remo D'souza is good especially 'Nacho Saare G Phadke' song.

Raj & DK does a good job better from his previous disaster 'Go Goa Gone'. The story and screenplay is good although there are traces of 'Californication' a hit TV sitcom in the US. However as they had claimed the movie to be a spoof on romantic comedies they definitely justify the same.

On the whole it is a good movie and will do well among the youngsters.

My Verdict: ***
Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dumb and Dumber To!


It's not that only Bollywood churns out inane movies in the name of entertainment. This week's release 'Dumb and Dumber To' is a perfect example of how to make a dumb movie that does not make sense or raise laughter.

After 20 years of its prequel 'Dumb and Dumber' director duo Peter Farrelly-Bobby Farrelly come out with a crasy sequel starring the original cast of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels who reprise their roles of dimwits Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas. Not that the original was a masterpiece however it was much funnier and raised more laughs compared to the direct sequel released recently.

After 20 years Jeff Daniels character Harry Dunne finds a mail from his ex-lover Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) informing him of a daughter born to him. Harry who is suffering from a kidney problem wants to get in touch with his biological daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin) to borrow a kidney. So along with his dimwit soulmate for a friend Lloyd (who has a secret desire to get jiggy with Penny) Harry goes in search for his newly discovered daughter who is given away for adoption. However while they are in search of Penny they encounter few misadventures in the form of
Penny's evil foster stepmother (Laurie Holden) and her minion (Rob Riggle).

The entire movie does not make any sense and with gross humor and patent Jim Carrey faces you cannot stretch an entire movie. The jokes does not make any sense nor laughter. One can actually feel that the sequel was made only to cash in on the original which was a hit. It is really sad to see an actor of Jim Carrey's strature who gave a wonderful performance in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' or 'Bruce Almighty' stooping to such levels.

On the whole I would not recommend this movie to anyone as even a die-hard fan of Jim Carrey who enjoys his staple brand of movies might also not find favor in this misadventure of a movie.

My Verdict: *

Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - ***** 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kill Dil or Kill The Director!


What is happening to our good old YRF? It's been ages we saw some sensible movie from this giant movie stable. This week we have 'Kill Dill' directed by Shaad Ali (after a long hibernation). Like Rip Van Winkle who woke up after years from his deep slumber to see how world changed while he was asleep, Shaad is still trying to figure out where he belongs.

After giving a frame to frame copy of Mani Rathnam's 'Alay Payuthe' as 'Saathiya' and an uninspired version of 'Bonnie & Clyde' in 'Bunty Aur Babli', Shaad makes another non-nonsensical movie like his last almost decade old release 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom'. I would like to ask Shaad, why did you wake up to make a bad movie like 'Kill Dill'? It was better you remained asleep.

Dev (Ranveer) and Tutu (Ali) are two orphans found in a dustbin and brought up by Bhaiyaji (Govinda) to become dreaded professional killers as they grow up. Dev falls in love with Disha (Parineeti) who is a social worker hell bent on reforming the society. Dev leads a dual life to please his lady love and Bhaiyaji. The day Bhaiyaji comes to know about Dev's transformation and steps he is taking to lead a normal life, he reveals his secret to Disha. Then what happens to Dev and Disha's love story and against Bhaiyaji's possessiveness towards Dev and Tutu is something you would not want to know. In fact I feel you would just want to leave the auditorium cursing the makers for wasting your time, money and causing a headache.

The performances are wonderful I must admit. Ranveer is endearing and he lives the character of Dev to the 'T'. Govinda as usual is superb and so is Parineeti and Ali. The movie falters at the execution level. Shaad has not made a bad movie, he has in fact made the movie badly. A different director would have done a better job.

Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is good but you will get bored watching them unfold on the screen one after the another. Background music is good especially the signature 'Cowboy' style music. Editing and cinematography is good and so are the dialogues.

On the whole, this is not even a one time watch movie.

My Verdict: *

Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Shaukeens - Movie Review


The_Shaukeens_2

Remaking old classics should be made punishable in India. This week's release 'The Shaukeens' is a classic case of borrowing a plot in the name of remaking and then killing the soul of the movie and the audience's minds. Director Abhishek Sharma's second outing is as disappointing as contrast to his debut 'Tere Bin Laden' which was quite hilarious and had a soul.

The story is about three sex deprived old men played by Annu Kapoor, Piyush Mishra and Anupam Kher who after trying their hand in getting laid with women in India head to Mauritius. There they rent out a cottage belonging to Lisa Haydon who is an eccentric and dumb designer who loves to stalk Akshay Kumar and is willing to do anything to meet the superstar. Taking advantage of the situation the three old men one after the other use different means to get her to meet Akshay Kumar in the hope of getting laid with the dumb belle.

The story delves on a thin plot line which runs out of steam in few minutes. Rest whatever run time of the movie is just stretched out to make it last for 2 hours. The Akshay Kumar track is hilarious but it looks like a different movie stitched to the sex starved old men's story.

Songs pop up at different intervals giving no link to the main story or plot. The direction is quite amateurish and the story, screenplay is plain bad. The dialogues are witty at certain places and evokes few laughter.

Performance wise all the three main characters played by Annu Kapoor, Anupam Kher and Piyush Mishra stand out. Akshay in an extended cameo is good however Lisa does not live upto the promise she showed in 'Queen'.

The music is bad apart from 'Manali Trance' and editing is quite patchy. The background score is nothing great to rave about and so is the cinematography which is quite average. On the whole it is a badly made movie with some good performances.  

My Verdict: *  

Poor - *, Average - **, Good - ***, Very Good - ****, Excellent - *****

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Movie Review: Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania

Bollywood writers and directors are running out of ideas and that’s quite evident with the kind of movies that are being made these days. If not a South remake, then it could be a Hollywood or Korean movie inspiration or an old movie remake. This week’s release ‘HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA’ is a clear case of movie inspired by the cult classic ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ however set in Indian heartland. The admiration Karan Johar has for DDLJ is quite evident in the narrative due to nostalgia attached to it for him (as it was Karan’s first movie as an actor and assistant director).

The story is about Kavya (Alia) and Humpty (Varun). Like the original movie here Kavya is engaged to be married and she takes a trip from Ambala to Delhi to shop for her wedding trousseau. In Delhi she accidentally meets the irresponsible and jugadu Humpty Sharma who loses his heart for her at the first sight. Kavya is unattainable for him initially however he does not lose heart and pursues her. Interestingly he even helps save her friend Gurpreet’s marriage. As they spend time together they grow closer however Kavya realizes that her father (Ashutosh Rana) will not approve of her relationship with Humpty. Her trip comes to an end and she returns to Ambala.

Not to lose hope easily Humpty along with his friends Shonty (Gaurav Pandey) and Poplu (Sahil Vaid) leave for Ambala to get Kavya. That's the beginning of a journey for him that he wouldn't have imagined undertaking even in the wildest of his dreams. There are many instances in the movie that are a straight lift from the original movie. However one can definitely say that since most of the romantic movies are predictable, HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is no exception. Although his debut movie, the way Shashank Khaitan takes you through the narrative is what makes it worthwhile. It's a fun ride which makes you go weak in the knees and also laugh in certain portions. Some of the songs act as a speed-breaker to the film's flow. Like the story and script even the songs are a straight lift from popular songs eg: Tenu Main Samjhawan Ki and Saturday  Saturday. Neha Parti Matiyani (DoP) has done a great job bringing to life the vibrant colors of Punjab.

As far as performances go Alia and Varun do a wonderful job adding solidity and strength to their respective roles. Their chemistry is crackling and could be the next superstar jodi like SRK-Kajol or Amitabh-Rekha etc. Siddharth Shukla plays his part confidently and so does the supporting cast comprising of Ashutosh Rana, Kenny Desai (Varun's father), Deepika Amin (Alia's mother), Jaswant Daman (Alia's grandmother), Mahnaz Damania [Alia's sister], Gaurav Pandey (Shonty), Aditya Sharma (Alia's brother) and Sahil Vaid (Poplu), who is terrific!

On the whole although inspired, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania will definitely appeal to its target audience and make some decent numbers at the box office.
MY VERDICT: ***
Poor - *, Below Average - **, Decent - ***, Good - ****, Excellent - *****


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movie Review: Heropanti


This week we had two big movies releasing simultaneously viz; Kochadaiiyan starring legendary superstar Rajnikanth and Heropanti starring newbie Tiger Shroff and South import Kriti Sanon. After delivering two hits 'Highway' and '2 States' Sajid Nadiadwala returns with the debut vehicle of Jackie Shroff's son Tiger Shroff's Heropanti which raised my expectations at the onset.

However I must say the movie was quite average with some hummable tunes and a refreshing act by Kriti Sanon. Tiger Shroff seems to be too wooden quite opposite from his talented father, however he is a good stuntman and dancer.

The story is set in Jattland where the local don Chaudhary (Prakash Raj) is having a pompous wedding for his elder daughter Renu (Sandeepa Dhar). On the night of the wedding Renu elopes with her boyfriend Rakesh, resulting in a frantic search for her across the village. The goons gauge that Rakesh’s friends might have helped him in it and they are promptly picked up by them one after another.

After a massive search, the goons manage to find Bablu (Tiger) who is the real one helping Rakesh and Renu. Tiger, meanwhile in captivity, tells his friends about his love interest. As luck would have it, the love interest is none other than Chaudhury’s younger daughter Dimpy (Kriti Sanon).

Not only is this film about how Dimpy and Tiger’s love story end up in the iconic Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge style but also about altering the moral stands of the men of Jattland who look upon women as cattle. The movie is a remake of Telegu movie 'Paragu' starring Allu Arjun.

The direction by Sabbir Khan is quite average. The fight sequences are good and innovative, full marks goes to Tiger for executing it so well on screen. The music is quite inspired especially the song 'Raat Bhar' which is a straight lift of the song 'Muktasar Mulaqat' from Teri Meri Kahani. 'Whistle Baja' song is quite catchy which has the hit signature tune from Jackie Shroff's debut movie 'Hero'.

Overall the movie is just a one time watch. If you give it a miss, still you wont be missing anything.

My Verdict: Below Average

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Movie Review: Main Tera Hero


Entertainment! Entertainment!! Entertainment!!! and there is no one apart from David Dhawan who is the biggest Entertainer of all in the movie industry. This week we have 'Main Tera Hero' directed by David starring his son Varun, Ileana and Nargis Fakhri. Like most of David's movies in the past, Main Tera Hero is again a remake of a South Indian movie 'Kandeeriga'.

Seenu (Varun Dhawan) is a prankster who comes to Bangalore for studies and falls in love with the beautiful Sunaina (Ileana). Angad Negi (Arunoday Singh) is in love with Sunaina and won’t have anyone hitting on her. Worse still, he’s a cop.

No sooner does Seenu’s love story with Sunaina gets going than she’s kidnapped by a Bangkok based don (Anupam Kher), whose daughter Ayesha (Nargis Fakhri) has a serious crush on Seenu.

Seenu reaches Bangkok and there unfolds the screwball tomfoolery as both the ladies vie for his love. Angad, too, joins the melee.

There is not much of a story in the movie but the slapstick humor and some witty dialogues by Milap Zaveri does the trick. However there are few dialogues which sound quite corny but you cannot view a full on entertainment movie like this with an art house movie mindset. The songs by Sajid-Wajid are foot tapping especially 'Palat', 'Shanivar Raati' and 'Besharmi Ki Night'.

The movie belongs to Varun Dhawan and he makes good use of the platform he has received from his father. Although you do see a lot of Govinda, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan influence in his performances and dance steps, however he has definitely grown as an actor compared to his debut movie. Ileana is decent however Nargis seriously needs some course in acting. She is quite wooden and does not fit the character, maybe a better actress would have taken the fun quotient to a higher level.

Arunoday Singh, Rajpal Yadav, Saurabh Shukla, Manoj Pahwa and Anupam Kher are good in their respective roles. However, Shakti Kapoor has been totally wasted.

Main Tera Hero is a mass entertainer and it will definitely find favour with the youth and mass who love such movies. If you compare Main Tera Hero with any of David's previous movies then it is not too great however it is not a bad movie either. Watch it for time-pass entertainment.

MY VERDICT: ***

Sunday, February 23, 2014

HIGHWAY: Movie Review


After Siddharth Malhotra it is time for another student from Karan Johar's camp to make her second movie release. So this week Alia Bhatt comes back on screen with Imtiaz Ali's HIGHWAY a year and a half from her debut movie STUDENT OF THE YEAR.

HIGHWAY is the story of two scarred characters who by a twist of destiny come together to take a journey with no destination. In a scene Alia Bhatt's character mouths a dialogue where she says that she does not want to go back to her world nor does she want to reach the destination of the journey but still she is enjoying the journey and that I believe in a nutshell Imtiaz wants to show on the screen and I must tell you he has done it to great extent.

Like few reviewers commented that HIGHWAY as a movie is glorifying kidnapping and many people would like to get kidnapped only for an experience shown in the movie. However I must say that this is just a story of a character called Veera (Alia) who gets kidnapped accidentally a day before her wedding night by another character Mahabir Bhatti (Randeep), so passing a statements saying the movie glorifies kidnapping is wrong and out of character for most of the reviewers.

Now coming to the plot, Alia is a character who is brought up in a well to do family that believes in showing a happy picture to the outside world while keeping their ugly secrets under the carpet. She feels trapped in her own house whereas Randeep's character is someone who carries wounds from his childhood. He has not had a comfortable or happy childhood and he is haunted by the memories of his mother's miseries who was his only consolation.

So when these two scarred characters from two different strata of society meet and connect with each other over their insecurities and sorrows, thats when love blossoms. They want to be there for each other and lead an existence away from their two distinctive worlds for few days.

The story is very emotional and Imtiaz has tried to tell it with utmost conviction but he falters at few places however they are just mere speed breakers in the beautiful journey shown across  6 states. I wouldn't call HIGHWAY as Imtiaz's most accomplished works but I would say this movie had its soul in the right place.

Considering that it is her second movie Alia has grown leaps and bounds as an actor and HIGHWAY will be her career turning movie like what JAB WE MET did to Kareena's. Her child like innocence in the earlier reels and then the emotional break down she goes through during the last reels of the movie gives her an unique chance to play a character with a great graph and doing justice to such a character that too in her second movie is a praiseworthy thing.

Randeep Hooda is first rate in his subdued and brooding character. In the entire movie we see him smiling in one sequence when Alia Bhatt comes searching for him after they get separated and that scene shows how his character is also wanting her to be around him and more than her it is he who needs her. The chemistry between the two actors is good and you feel from them.

Unlike Imtiaz's previous movies HIGHWAY has a lot of moments where silence and ambient noise in the surrounding play an important role. The background score is minimal and the music by AR Rahman is in sync with the theme of the movie. Especially 'Pataka Guddi', 'Tu Kuja Man Kuja' and 'Sooha Saha' sung by Alia Bhatt.

The cinematographer Anil Mehta captures the beautiful scenery wonderfully and gives a portrait like quality to each and every scene. The supporting actors are quite good and enact their roles efficiently. Editing could have been crisper in few scenes but overall Aarti Bajaj does a great job.

On the whole don't go with an expectation to see a Jab We Met or a Love Aaj Kal just go to watch Highway with an open mind and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

MY VERDICT: *** Good Watch!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Movie Review: Hasee Toh Phasee


Hasee Toh Phasee this week's Pre-Valentine's Day release is a sweet rom-com coming out of Karan Johar's stables but this time he is accompanied by Anurag Kashyap's Phantom Films as co-producer.

The movie is Siddharth Malhotra's second outing after Student Of The Year and I must tell you, in his second movie he seems more confident and delivers what is given to him. However the surprise packet in this movie is Parineeti Chopra who holds the movie altogether on her tender shoulders. This will be a milestone movie in both Parineeti and Siddharth's careers.

Now coming to the plot, Meeta (Parineeti) is a quirky character who runs away on the night of her elder sister's marriage where she briefly meets Nikhil (Siddharth). Nikhil meets Karishma (Adah Sharma) in the same wedding who coincidentally is again Meeta's sister and soon they fall in love.

The movie moves seven years ahead and we see Nikhil getting ready to get married to Karishma. Meeta who was in China comes back to India however she is kept hidden from her family members by Nikhil and Karishma.

In the seven days of the marriage celebrations, Nikhil and Meeta come closer and they fall in love. So what is the reason for Meeta to run away from India in the first place and why she is kept hidden from her own family are things one discover during the course of the movie. Moreover the narrative is such that the audience is kept hanging to know if Nikhil and Meeta get together or not in the end.

The movie by debutant director Vinil Mathew is a feel good story and will definitely click with the younger generation. Vinil is good with his direction and he is able to do complete justice to the story and screenplay written by Harshavardhan Kulkarni. The music by Vishal-Shekhar is quite catchy especially 'Zehanaseeb', 'Bulava', 'Punjabi Wedding' and 'Drama Queen'. The cinematography by Sanu John Varughese is good.


Performances as pointed out by me in the beginning by both Siddharth and Parineeti is first rate. In the supporting cast Manoj Joshi, Neena Kulkarni, Adah Sharma, Sharat Saxena and Jageesh Mukati shine out also the guy who keeps on singing Anu Malik songs is quite hilarious. On the whole the movie is quite entertaining and paisa vasool. At the box office the movie will be a winner as multiplex audience will definitely enjoy watching this fare dished out by Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vikas Bahl.

My Verdict: *** Good :)


Friday, February 7, 2014

Philomena: Movie Review

 After a long wait I was able to watch Stephen Frears 'Philomena' starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan based on a book by Martin Sixsmith titled "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee". This is one movie in years that made me wait impatiently for all these days after just hearing a one liner and seeing the poster. The movie tells the true story of Philomena Lee's 50-year-long search for her son who was taken away from her and given for adoption by the Roscrea Convent Nuns. The story is a heart wrenching saga which makes you smile and moist eyed at the same time.

The plot of the story starts with a 70 year old Philomena (Judi Dench) lighting a candle in her Catholic church and remembering her son Anthony. On being asked by her daughter the reason for her being sad she confesses for the first time about her son Anthony who was taken away from her 50 years back as she was an unwed mother. The child was adopted by a family and she was not able to find her child even after several visits to the convent who kept on sending her back assuring her of finding and informing her the details.

Her daughter is leaving for work catering at a party where she overhears Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), one of the guests, mentioning that he is a journalist and she approaches him to see if he will report on the scandalous story she has just learned of from her mother. Although he initially scorns human interest stories - and the daughter herself, he needs work as he lost his job recently as a Labour government adviser. He finds an editor who is a potential new employer for him who wants him to get human interest stories to be employed. Martin has second thoughts the next day and meets Philomena and her daughter, and they start to investigate what had become of her son.

The long search that starts from Roscrea takes both Philomena and Martin to Washington and then back to Roscrea where the story started and ended.

The movie is a fine piece of heart that will make you feel for a mother who has lost her child fifty years back and who is still hopeful of finding him one day. Judi Dench gives a very heartfelt performance as Philomena and she is ably supported by Steve Coogan. The screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope is wonderful and has got a lot of recognition worldwide. The cinematography by Robbie Ryan is beautiful and so is the background music by Alexandre Desplat.

This is a must watch movie for every cinema lover who loves to see a wonderful story with great performances.

My Verdict:**** A must watch!!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Movie Review: 12 Years A Slave

 Slavery of any kind is inhuman and against the nature of humanity and still we come across it even today. There have been many movies in the past that dealt with this subject and the one that comes to mind is 'Django Unchained' that released last year.

I watched Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave about slavery in 19th century America based on a true story of a man called Solomon Northup who was kidnapped in Washington DC and subjected to slavery in the year 1841. The movie is based on a 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup who worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before his release.

The movie is a heart wrenching tale and I must say made me emotional in many of the scenes. The true life portrayal of Solomon Northup by Chiwetel Ejiofor is something words fail to describe. His pain, his desperation to survive, his loneliness, his hope to be free again is something very true to life and no wonder he is a mighty contender to this year's Academy Award

Coming to the story, in 1841, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free negro working as a skilled carpenter and fiddle player, and living with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, New York. Two men (Scoot McNairy and Taran Killam) offer him a two-week job as a musician, but they drug Northup and he wakes up in chains, about to be sold into slavery.

He is shipped to New Orleans, and is re-named "Platt", the identity of a runaway slave from Georgia. Beaten repeatedly, he is ultimately sold by upscale, unrepentantly callous slave-trader Theophilus Freeman (Paul Giamatti) to plantation owner William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). Northup manages to stay on good terms with Ford, a relatively benevolent master which in turn is despised by the racist carpenter John Tibeats (Paul Dano) who begins verbally harassing him.

The tensions between Tibeats and Northup escalate; Tibeats attacks Northup, and Northup fights back. In retaliation, Tibeats and his friends attempt to lynch Northup, but are driven away by the plantation's foreman who leaves Northup to suffer in the noose. Northup is eventually cut down by Ford and he later wakes up on the floor of Ford's house, being protected from Tibeats and his friends by Ford with a gun. Ford explains that in order to save Northup's life he must be sold to Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Northup attempts to reason with Ford, explaining that he is actually a free man but he is still sent away.

Epps believes his right to abuse his slaves is biblically sanctioned, and encourages the slaves to accept their allegedly predestined, divinely-sanctioned fate by frequently reading to them various pro-slavery Bible verses, both real and fraudulent. Epps also requires each slave to pick at least 200 pounds of cotton every day, or be beaten. A young female slave named Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o) daily picks over 500 pounds and is praised lavishly, and coveted lustfully, by Epps. His wife (Sarah Paulson) is envious of the attention her husband pays to Patsey and violently abuses the girl at every opportunity after Epps publicly declares that he'd choose the slave-girl over his wife, if forced. Epps repeatedly rapes Patsey, who asks for Northup's help in committing suicide, but he refuses.

The days pass until one day he sees a ray of hope in the form of Bass (Brad Pitt) a Canadian carpenter who is against slavery. Northup requests Bass to help him out who does so risking his life by sending a letter to his friends in Saratoga Springs. The rest of the story reveals the quest of Northup getting his freedom and returning back to his family after 12 years of slavery.

McQueen does a fantastic job by sticking true to the actual story and leaves out the reprieve and Northup’s weak attempts at objectivity completely. McQueen uses silent and lingering wide shots, and close-ups of subtle shifts in facial expressions as mood-inducing hyphens in his narratives. One of the most memorable scenes in 12 Years a Slave is of Solomon, named by his employers Platt, hanging from a rope tied to a tree, his muddy feet just about touching the soil to keep himself alive. The frame captures other slaves going about their business. Shot from various angles in wide sweeps, set in grey light, this image distills the terrifying banality of the slave condition at that time.

Acting is first rate whether it is Chiwetel Ejiofor or  Michael Fassbender who plays his cruel master Epps or Lupita Nyong’o who plays Patsey (she even won a best supporting actor award at the Golden Globe Awards). The scene where Nyong’o has an outburst before she is whipped tied to a post is quite powerful. The supporting cast is also wonderful especially Brad Pitt in a cameo who also happens to be one of the Producers of the movie. The language used in the dialogues has the formality and grace of that age, which makes the inhumanity of the story even more difficult to digest.

The movie is such that missing it will be a crime. Everything about the movie for me wins, the performances, the technical aspects, story & screenplay, dialogues, costumes, background score etc...

My Verdict: ***** A must watch.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club


Continuing the trend of watching and reviewing notable movies that released in 2013 (that are in the running for Oscars), today I bring forward 'Dallas Buyers Club' starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.

The movie directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y, Young Victoria and Black List fame) tells the true story of a real life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), whose homophobia attitude at first prevents him from accepting the fact that he is suffering from a disease that is more commonly associated with gays. He is slowly distanced by his close set of friends and he is left to fend for himself without any help, even as the doctors tell him he has 30 days left to live.

In a bid to keep himself alive he studies and reads up materials and articles on the disease. He comes across a particular drug company that makes the anti-retroviral drug AZT that could help him live longer. However in few days he is denied any further doses of the life giving drug.

Woodroof who is desperate to keep himself alive by whatever means necessary, after traveling to Mexico to consult with a doctor who prefers the method of Antoine Béchamp to that of Louis Pasteur (i.e. the idea of keeping the host healthy, as opposed to the medicinal treatment of a sick host). He discovers that certain vitamins and proteins are more beneficial than the doses of AZT he has been taking. So he decides to transport the as yet FDA-unapproved supplements to the United States, and opens the Dallas Buyers Club to help similar patients like him.

The club is a provider of alternative medicines, on average much more effective than the AZT peddled to AIDS patients for an arm and a leg. But even though the supplements pose little to no threat to the members of the club (who pay a fixed amount per month for as much medication as they require), the U.S. government becomes paranoid about their efforts to discredit the efficacy of AZT and therefore shuts them down.

Jared Leto stars as Rayon, who is transgender and becomes unlikely friends with Woodroof, acting as a connector between him and the rest of the individuals in the area affected by HIV/AIDS, most of them gay. The other main role is played by Jennifer Garner, starring as Dr. Eve Saks, who sees the rotten insides of the pharmaceutical industry and is torn between her desire to see her patients healthy and the FDA’s determination not to make the supposedly effective AZT too readily available to the public. Garner is perfect in the role as a curious and empathetic but slightly shy individual who senses her own helplessness in the face of the regulations of a big and callous government.

Woodroof’s desperate search for answers and his humanity in helping others who are in the same, nearly hopeless situation as him, stirs our empathy, and McConaughey, almost unrecognizable here as an emaciated version of the image he has cultivated over the past 15 years, is mostly successful in the slow process of letting us care about his plight.

The movie touches an emotional chord with the audience as you see time ticking off for these characters especially Rayon's death. Vallée does a wonderful job and no wonder McConaughey has already won couple of awards for his portrayal of Woodroof so does Jared Leto with his sensitive portrayal of Rayon.

My verdict: Please watch it as it is worth every minute and money you spend on this masterpiece.

Movie Review: Jai Ho!

 After a year long wait Salman Khan returns to screen with this week's release 'Jai Ho' directed by Sohail Khan. On the onset would like to clarify that if you are going to the theaters expecting another Dabangg, Wanted, Ready or Bodyguard then you will be heavily disappointed. However the movie has its staple dose of mass entertaining fight sequences and one liners as seen in previous Salman starrers but this one comes with a social message.

Jai Agnihotri (Salman Khan) is a suspended Army Officer who along with his bunch of friends played by (Ashmit Patel and Yash Tonk) starts a mission of helping people and asking them to help three people each and give rise to a chain of goodness. In his endeavor of helping people he ruffles few feathers and in turn encounters a block in the form of the ruling Home Minister Dashrath Singh (Danny Danzongpa) and his group.

The movie has a good message however on the script level the movie falters. The first half of the movie seems to drag along as Salman is shown helping victim after another with the same set of dialogues repeated to form a chain of goodness. Instead a voice over with montages would have helped to fasten the pace of the movie and also to establish the fact that he has helped a number of people and the formation of the 'Goodness Chain'.

There are many sub-plots and a number of actors from the 90's (who have been out of action) like Vatsal Seth, Sharad Kapoor, Ashmit Patel, Nauheed Cyrusi, Aditya Pancholi, Tulip Joshi, Mukul Dev, Yash Tonk etc., gets a break in them.

Newcomers Daisy Shah and Sana Khan gets less screen time and they seem to do well in their parts. Danny Denzongpa and Nadira Babbar are good and Tabu after a long hiatus seems to be the perfect actor to be cast as Geeta (Salman's sister). Child artist Naman who enthralled us in Zoya Akhtar's segment in 'Bombay Talkies' and 'Chillar Party' does a fantastic job. Genelia D'souza does a fantastic portrayal of a disabled college girl who commits suicide, would love to see her more on screen.

However the movie belongs to Salman Khan, Salman Khan and only Salman Khan. If it was any other actor the movie would have fallen flat on the face. Salman showcases a wonderful performance which is not reminiscent of his earlier outings. 

The cinematography is good, fight sequences are thrilling, editing could have been crisper especially in the first half, background score is good and sound designing is wonderful.

Director Sohail Khan does an average job but shows some good streak in the emotional scenes. Music is plain average compared to normal Salman movies however two songs "Tere Naina" and the "Photocopy" are good.

On an average the movie is a good one time watch for every Salman fan.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

American Hustle: Movie Review


As predicted by me in my last review Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe for the best supporting actress for 'American Hustle'. Yes and it was the third best performance oriented movie I watched in recent times.

It has become a trend with Jennifer Lawrence to bag awards for her performances in a David Owen Russell movie. Last year it was 'Silver Linings Playbook' that won her all the coveted best actress awards including the Oscar and this year it is again for a David O Russell movie which is 'American Hustle'.

Now coming to the story - FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper) and con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are posing as advisors to a fake Sheikh. Sydney improves Irving’s scams, posing as British aristocrat "Lady Edith Greensley." In flashbacks, Irving meets Sydney, they bond over Duke Ellington records and eventually fall in love. However, Irving is reluctant to leave his adopted son with wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), who will not divorce him.

Richie catches Irving and Sydney in a loan scam but proposes to release them if Irving assists him with four additional arrests. Sydney is against the agreement. Richie believes Sydney is British, but has proof that her claim of aristocracy is a fraud. Sydney tells Irving she will seduce and manipulate Richie, distancing herself from Irving.

The movie, an intentionally overripe comedy about corruption, duplicity, loyalty, and love, is a series of astonishment. Russell, rewriting a script developed by Eric Singer, takes off from the Abscam affair—the bizarre criminal investigation of the nineteen-seventies in which the F.B.I. called on a swindler named Mel Weinberg to help ensnare public officials. (Six congressmen and a senator were among those ultimately convicted.) The bureau’s elaborate sting involved two “Arab sheikhs” (both F.B.I. employees) eager to invest in Atlantic City’s nascent casino industry and willing to bribe officials in order to procure operating licenses. (“Abscam” was short for “Abdul scam.”) Russell has both simplified and juiced a tale that is already close to preposterous; he has created a fantasia told from the point of view of two con artists, a man and a woman (based loosely on Weinberg’s mistress). Not just the crooks but virtually everyone in the movie seems slightly crazed by ambition. The one person who’s ordinary in temperament, an F.B.I. supervisor played by Louis C.K., could be a member of a different species.

Christian Bale is in top form so is Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams. However as I mentioned earlier Jennifer Lawrence steals the show. The movie is slow at times however it doesn't take the audience attention away from the main drama. The movie on the whole is a good attempt by Russell and will lead in almost all the awards functions with maximum nominations and wins. The movie also scores big in the technical department especially the music (Danny Elfman) and Cinematography (Linus Sandgren).

My Verdict: *** A Good Watch - Watch Out for Jennifer Lawrence ;)