Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

The year of the sequels?

dhoom_2_01.jpg

Never before (and I have no facts, but am reasonably sure of it) have so many sequels been released in the same year in Bollywood before. We’ve seen Krrish (sequel to Koi… Mil Gaya), Lage Raho Munnabhai (Munnabhai MBBS) and coming in November is Dhoom:2 (gee, it’s got a wiki).

And while Krrish did ok and Lage Raho… was a runaway hit, Dhoom:2 promises much more. Dhoom did for Abhishek’s career what Zanjeer did to his daddy’s! It kickstarted it. And AB Jr is still going strong. It also gave Rimii some visibility (while she gave visibility to a lot more 😉), Eesha got herself a career (and looked really good in that bikini) and it also showed us all (for the last time, perhaps) what Uday Chopra looked like without lipstick (remember Neal ‘n Nikki? No. ok).

esha01.jpg

And interestingly, it gave John Abraham a new dimension. Acting. He had hitherto been confined to nonsensical roled where he turned up and played dumb-n-goodlooking. But that can’t take you too far, can it, Mallika? Guess not!

So Dhoom 2 has Bipasha (if not John, his better half; he’s there in spirit!), Aishwarya (hope we can tell her apart from all the plastic bikes), AB Jr, Uday Chopra (sans lipstick) and Hrrithik Roshan (just 2 r’s?).

It looks slick, fast, catchy, and Bips is hot. Sorry Ash… I’m not into plastic. If you enjoyed Dhoom as much as I did (admit it… you did), here’s a peek at the D:2 trailer (oh yes, that’s the way it’ll be known). And honestly, I prefer the Tata Young version of the title song (the karaoke version!).

But speaking of sequels, I hope this one does well like the Munnabhai one, for the base concept is good and the first part was rocking.


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You tell them!

This woman has a way with words. Like she does with moving images. Salaam, Nair!

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Why-dunnit?

We all make mistakes. I also believe that we all are allowed our share of mistakes during our lifetime. We should, hence, err wisely, if I may say so. Therefore, watching 36, China Town would be a mistake 'wasted'. The directors have wasted one themselves!

Before I went for the movie itself, I was sceptical. And I said so. How good can a movie starring Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor be? Obviously, not good at all. The plot is as inane and the acting, as 'hammy' as it can get. Set in Goa (yeah, right), the sets look straight out of the 1980s (remember Rakhwala?) and are tacky at best. Unfortunately, the same has to be said of the acting, direction and the cast.

So Shahid and Kareena want to spend more time together. This is real life we are talking about, by the way! So bam! They Abbas-Mustan to sign them up for this sorry excuse of a movie and spend a cool couple of months together. And get paid for it. Cost me Rs 200 for their vacation!

The story is simple. Isha Koppikar (Sonia Chang; Chang in Goa? Whatever) is the owner of a Casino and has a son who has been kidnapped/missing (this fact is not established as far as I was awake) for a while. She puts newspaper ads with his photo offering a reward of Rs 25 lakh. Shahid Kapur is an actor struggling in Mumbai. That he has a good Rs 10 lakh for a showreel (song happens here, btw) is a mystery deeper than the one the movie actually tackles. Kareena is a girl who has left home to be with her boyfriend in Mumbai and when she says "Let's get married", he coolly tells her to come back with Rs 50-60 lakh so he can start a business and if that is successful, they can marry. Why me?

These two are in a public place and Sonia Chang's son is generally wandering about (clean as any baby you may have ever seen despite crawling about and all) and these two chance upon him and become partners in his return and the prize money. Some nonsensical jokes, introduction of Paresh Rawal (warning: he is seen in only his undies for almost 5 mins in the movie and its not pretty), Johny Lever (ok performance), a half-naked Payal Rohatgi, Tanaz Currim (can't remember her new surname) and Upen Patel (Rocky the playboy. Whooppee!) later, it is time for samosas. Interval, you see.

Upen Patel is so rock solid that there are no expressions on his face. Almost. He does manage to move an eyebrow once in the second half (refer photo).

The point I make is that despite half the movie being over, the story has not moved. So finally, finally… there is a murder. Sonia Chang is killed and burgled. And of course, everyone is a suspect. And then there are twists, turns, alibis, romances and Akshaye Khanna. Why does he do these movies to himself?

The solution is as inane as you could ever imagine. I may as well give it away.

**SPOILER WARNING**

The butlers Mr and Mrs Lobo (I think they were Mr and Mrs) have done it. At this point, the movie seems to go into another realm altogether. Because I have left the theatre. Don't do this to yourself. Go catch Ice Age II again.

And did I mention the music is by Himesh Reshammiya? It's ok. But pretty similar to all his other songs. So if you have heard them once, it's ok. You've heard them all.

Having truly enjoyed Ice Age (1 as it should be now called), I was really excited to catch the sequel (sure I’m 26, so what?). And I wasn’t entirely disappointed. Which means I was a little bit. More about that later.

The story is simple. There used to be ice. There is global warming. Ice is melting. The ecosystem shall change. Trust the truly creative to make this funny and worth sitting through! Hats off to the team that created this movie. The characters have largely been carried forward from the first part save the addition of a new romantic interest to Manny (Ray Romano), Ellie (Queen Latifah) and her ‘brothers’, Crash and Eddie.

That Ellie (a mammoth) believes she is a possum until Manny convinces her otherwise is perhaps the most hilarious part. Manny, for his part, is by now seriously concerned whether he is the last Mammoth left on earth, a question answered by Ellie’s presence and a large herd at the end of the movie. What happened to them later, is another question.

Most of the other cast play their part including the excellent Sid and Diego who complete this unusual ‘herd’ of a Mammoth, Saber and Sloth. The dialogues are brilliant as is the animation. In fact, it’s beyond excellent. As are the creative ideas for situations.

Take this for example: Scrat is still chasing the elusive nut when he finally gets his hands on it and decides to trek up to a nice icy table land. To achieve this, he uses the nut as a step… screwing it into the ice and climbing on it. Once he reached the top, all the holes he has created to climb up join themselves and a huge fault line is created leading to a huge chasm in the mountain. That it saves the entire animal kingdom from the flood is another issue! But using ‘join the dots’ here was as inspired an idea as I have ever seen.

The one main and perhaps only qualm I have is that there is no real story line taking the movie ahead. At best, this movie is a sequence of small incidents/jokes/situations (like sitcoms) that are strung together. Unlike the first one, this is a little more disjointed and the focus seemed on the characters and their behaviour more than the story. The story almost became secondary (despite the characters shouting it out all along!). This does allow for a lot of questions to be answered like Diego’s fear of water and Sid finding a whole herd of sloth as well… but these happen like incidents that are meant to stand out. Much like a TV series that would solve one issue at a time. They happen serially and not parallely… except maybe once.

Perhaps this is the way the movies appeal to the younger crowd, but one would have wanted more coherence all along.

But hey, there’s no compromise on the entertainment and Rs 100 was more than ‘vasool’. Must watch!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Official site

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Jack Dawson is back. Meet him all over again, as he gets ready to explore a new world.

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Right from the time I caught this year’s Filmfare Awards (this is the last time the name is mentioned in the post; also, tacky site, open at own risk) on TV, I was wondering why they look so bad. Then came the Zee Cine Awards on Saturday and my mind was in further turmoil. And then this morning (Mar 6) happened the Academy Awards. Which seemed to be a class apart. Probably because they were.

So what was it that was so desperately lacking in the two Indian functions mentioned? Finesse, for one was non-existent. Look at the Oscars and you see some amount of grandeur. There is a ‘big ticket event’ feel to it. The stage is decorated well and lit very well. There’s no ‘shady’ feeling about it. I have attended one Filmfare function in person and can report that there is nothing to report about. It feels as bad (or as good, depending on which side you are on) as a college annual. The said event was at the MMRDA ground in Mumbai and the entrance to the, well, ground was marked with a black arch. Wow!

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Chocolate Ka Karkhana

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring the otherwise splendid (you’ll know why) Johnny Depp is made out to be a children’s film. It is anything but that.

For starters, Willy Wonka’s Wonka chocolates are fabulous. I’m not sure why. The world is in awe of them. For decades, the factory has been shut and now a contest has been announced that would let 5 kids enter the factory for a tour. You know the story… if you don’t… seriously, don’t bother.

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Ik Pair Past Pe Hain…

RANG DE BASANTI 

SPOILER WARNING 

To Ik Pair Future te… isiliye to present pe moot rahe hain hum!

Words of wisdom, it would seem… or just another gimmicky line? Whatever it is, it is a perfect fit in the movie. Rang De Basanti is a movie you should watch. Great characters, terrific music, brilliantly slick and a strong concept.

Along the way, though, one cannot help but feel that a bit of the same-old same-old has crept in. The fight against the machine, the ‘awakening’ of the generation and most revolutionary acts within the movie happen because of a personal loss. This is completely against the parallel concept wherein the revolutionaries take to arms to rise against the general oppression of a people.

Warning again… spoiler ahead. To avoid, go here!

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(Sing that in the tune of the title song of Neal-and-Nikki and then proceed with this panning session of the same movie.)

I love movies. I spend a lot on them. Whether I buy VCDs or go to a theatre, I spend on movies. I have (in my small, insignificant way) contributed to the growth of this ‘industry’. So I guess I should be able to criticise something if I don’t like it, right?

Neal-and-Nikki is a movie (if you can call it that) which is best left for the front-benchers. Here are some of my grouses with it:

  1. Tanisha cannot act
  2. Uday Chopra cannot act
  3. Tanisha is not wearing clothes (and without reason in a movie, this makes it another kind of a movie!)
  4. Uday Chopra is trying to get ‘lucky’. (Why he had to go to Vancouver, Canada for this, I know not)
  5. There seems to be a story missing.
  6. There seems to be a director missing.
  7. There seems to be logic missing.

This apart, it’s a ‘cool’ next-gen “it’s ok to talk about sex openly” new age movie. Whatever that means.

IMHO, don’t watch this movie even if you get free tickets. I can say this because I got free tickets and still walked out after 45 minutes. Not to mention that we reached about half-an-hour late and still had no problem picking up the ‘plot’. I am not even trying to tell you the story. Go find some review somewhere online. After a drive from Lower Parel to Andheri (W) Link Road that took about an hour and a half, I expected better.

What is really worse is Tanishaa doesn’t even look good—with or without clothes! What a waste.

I love watching movies (as is evident from this) but the recent installment of the HP series: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire was anything but enjoyable. The primary reason being the choice of theatre.

There is a reason the multiplex revolution has everyone in its grasp… they offer a comfortable viewing experience, complete with good seats, good sound and visual and generally, a good atmosphere. Unfortunately, I saw HP and the GoF at Sterling, one of Mumbai’s grand theatres from yore.

The seats were rickety at best and I was mildly surprised to notice that they did not recline when I did push into them! The second shock was the fact that there was no cupholder for my bottle of water. Time: 9.40 pm. Three hours to go.

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Escapes

The past couple of weeks have been relatively relaxed in terms of workload etc and I have had a fair amount of time on hand to catch up on some much-delayed reading and movies. The reading has already been chronicled but the movies haven’t…

Interestingly, though, my choice of movies was vague at best. I picked up Escape from Sobibor (info about the uprising), Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, Million Dollar Baby and Schindler’s List. Of this list, I only chose Schindler’s List. The other three were recommended by the wife. That three of these movies have something to with struggle and freedom (from life, oppressors or whatever) have nothing to do with my situation in life!

Of the lot, though, I was truly enchanted (if I could say that) by Escape from Sobibor. For one, it had some fairly intense and believable performances (as did the others, but no one in this movie was a known name) and the whole production looked rather low budget. Again, two of the four were movies inspired by real life incidents and both from the same era – World War II.

Schindler’s list had its length going for it but was not as striking as I imagined it would (or could or should) have been. Yes, it was perhaps Steven Spielberg at his best, but Escape from Sobibor took the cake.

Yes, Million Dollar Baby was a good movie too and deserved all the Oscars it won… I quite liked Morgan Freeman in his role and the guy who played ‘Danger’, the obviously ‘mad’ boxer. But these two WWII flicks were truly great.

For a measly Rs 149, Escape from Sobibor is a great movie to own and one you can watch over and over. One final explanation: I have no clue why I chose two WWII concentration camp-related movies in the same week. Don’t try this at home!!

I Am Shocked!

I have recently been researching on post production and visual effects and the like in movies and what I have found has left me shocked. Needless to say, while movies are dreams on screen, there is no truth to whatever we see.
While this may be good in the case of movies that need effects, there are also movies that employ post prod and VFX for just cleaning up and at times, hiding their mistakes.
I may never enjoy a movie again.

Bollywood a flop?

Zafar Anjum from Singapore seems to think so in this article. But why is Bollywood a flop? Moreover, he argues that China is a hit… on what grounds? Because Hollywood is investing $150 m in China and nothing in Bollywood… overtly, anyways.
Here are my two bits on the issue:

  • Bollywood doesn't really need Hollywood's approval to become a global force… it already is.
  • But isn't is a force within its diaspora? Largely, yes but I would attribute it to the fact that we make our own movies and have our own song-and-dance style. Western audiences cannot understand this.
  • Despite all the 'globalisation', Indian cinema has maintained its roots and still continues with the same song-and-dance routine and two-and-a-half hour long movies. In some cases, it's even more!
  • China makes 90-minute movies, much like the ones Hollywood churns out. Moreover, their sole identity is their martial arts (correct me if I am wrong here).
  • Piracy is an issue in both countries, but more so in China. In India, theatres are still running to full houses and proof is the number of multiplexes mushrooming at every corner.
  • $150m? Bollywood probably does that in 3 months. Remember, we are comparing with China and not LA.

My final point remains that Bollywood does not require Hollywood's approval. The Chinese have been in the US longer than Indians and hence have become a part of the US culture making it easier for them to tap this potential. In a few years, it will be India's turn and I think, we may even be in a stronger position to benefit more than China will.

Here's something more to make my point:
Amazon.de selling Bollywood Music
Main Hoon Na (or Ich bin immer da) (Amazon.de)
Bollywood Music (Amazon.de)
All Bollywood Products (Amazon.de)
All Bollywood Products (Amazon.co.jp)
All Bollywood Products (Amazon.co.fr)

And I've purposely not included the US, UK, Australia or Canada.

Salman Khan is a heartthrob and an actor I could not care less about. But the fact is he keeps making news and is (infamously) on the front pages.
Take for instance the latest 'tapes' imbroglio or his acccident when he ran over people about three years ago, he continues to be dogged by controversy. The question I have is whether he is a victim of the media and politicos.
Before we go any further, let me clarify that I am NOT a fan and although I have enjoyed some of his movies, I wouldn't always pay good money to watch them.
Coming back to the issue, his accident happened apparently because of his driver's carelessness but because he was sitting in the car, and being as high profile as he is, he became an easy target. That's the theory anyways.
As for his tapes imbroglio, why have they come up after four years? Because the Hindustan Times needed something sensational to create a dhamaka with their first edition in Mumbai. Who better than one of the bad boys on Indian cinema? Why it wasn't Telgi (as Shiv Kumar asks here) is another issue. If the HT could get their hands on this, surely they can also get their hands on the Telgi tapes.
Another theory I just heard (on Go 92.5 to be precise) was that yes, the phone was tapped and it may well have been Salman making all those claims but the reason for tapping the phone was totally different. Apparently, the Police have been doing this for a while now and using such tapped conversations to extort money from the high profile 'tappees', if you will.
Which begs the question "Why doesn't he just name the cops (if any) who may have tried to extort money and put them on the spot?" Two reasons: a) It would mean that the voice is his and that he has indeed made all the claims he has and b) The politicos and top cops would further tighten the noose around him in the hit-and-run case.
A third theory is that this is all politically motivated according to brother Sohail Khan. Sohail had earlier blamed competitors saying this was all vendetta since Salman's new movie was due to release that Friday. Yeah, right!
Also, as some factions of the media and in fact, Police have said, "How much can you believe a drunk man boasting to his girlfriend trying to hold her back?" Good question. But then again, no one just uses such names even in a fight unless there's some substance to it. There's never any smoke without a fire, I say. Now if you are going to prosecute him for something he has done three years ago and only because a newspaper who wanted to make a dhamaka published the story, it's a little 'iffy'.
On the other hand, just because it's three years old does not mean the crime is pardonable today. But first, we need to see proof of the crime. Until then, let's stick to the hit-and-run case!
As for me, I think he's innocent (against my better judgement) and is just plain stupid.
To answer my question, I say probe this and if found guilty, hang him!