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Filmy Opinions

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There have been quite a few movies which I watched in the past few (quite a few) weeks, and here are my 2 pennies/ pence/ cents (but not reviews).

(Again somewhat long post)

Kung Fu Panda – Possibly the best movie of the year so far, which is a pretty strong statement to make given some of the releases so far ((notably – The Dark Knight). Sarcastic, witty, beautiful, detailed and oh-so-god-help-me funny. It shows why Jack Black is such a wonderful talent and how animation can sometimes actually take a movie to great levels. I heart Po totally.

A Wednesday Pretty laid back and mundane in spite of the tight storyline, but still worth watching.  One can wait for the video release provided no one tells him/ her the plot. Acting by Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher is brilliant – true stalwarts of Indian cinema, these guys. I still couldn’t get myself to fully accept the makers claim that a thug pees in his pants just because a snarling Jimmy Shergill is in the vicinity. Sorry, but just not gonna happen.

Phoonk – I wish I could say out loud, without any apprehensions, that –

a) The movie is insane, arbitrarily disjointed and oh-so-NOT scary. The same goes for its creator. b) The voyeuristic crow is the best actor in the movie which speaks volumes about the ‘actors’. c) A movie makes money when Revenues – Expenses > 0. Clearly, each cast member was paid no more than half grand. => Expenses ->0. => A Hit. Even K-Jo agrees with this hypothesis and calls it a sleeper hit (whatever that means).

Ideally I shouldn’t be afraid to say all these things, but I am petrified of Ramuji. Terrified that that he’ll hex me, phoonk me up or worse – sit me down and explain to me in mind-numbing detail how godmax Daud and Nisha/Priyanka Kothari are. That’s one major reason why most reviewers gave it a thumbs up, in my opinion – RGV had them sh** scared too. You might say I’m just being scared/ superstitious, but then you know what they say – It’s superstition until it happens to you. Brrrr …

Rock On – A nice rock movie with pop-style music, well-shot concert videos and songs which are refreshingly different (although not that awesome – you can’t play the audio alone in an infinite loop without a video playing simultaneously). I say pop, because every rock band should always have a bass guitarist, while the keyboard player is not a necessity. The story can be summarized in 6 words – band-disband-grow-reband-pathos-joy. Arjun Rampal takes up the Atul Agnihotri mantle of deadpan dialogue delivery no matter what the occasion and succeeds in being woodier than the entire Amazon forest. Farhan Akhtar sings better than he acts. Watching him being a successful, Jai-Sri-Krisna going I-Banker with a nice swanky house and a cute wife gives me considerable heartburn, but it’s ok  …

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na – The movie worked because it was different, which was quite ironic – the story is pretty old and predictable (two good friends who don’t realize that they are in fact made for each other). The acting is strictly ok. The gags are like old wine in a new bottle (or the other way round- don’t quite remember). There are a lot of glaring errors (lots of time warps to cover ~20 km in like 2 minutes) and random references which can please smart-asses but which otherwise must have passed unnoticed. Still, the movie succeeds because of its novelty, hype, freshness vis-a-vis the actors and a fairly peppy soundtrack (Only one complaint: the overdose of singers with heavy South Indian accents seemed a bit out of place at times). Overall it was good, but definitely not a masterpiece as some made it out to be. Its success can be more attributed to a paucity of decent Hindi films (the other movie which released on the same day was Love Story 2050. LOL!)

The Dark Knight – Brilliant movie, simply brilliant. First time in a long, long time was I actually on the edge of my seat. Heath Ledger’s death gave it a surreal effect, like someone was addressing you from the grave, and his acting was mind-blowing. The stunts were crazy and the movie could had gone on for like ever without anyone complaining. Not the #1 movie of all time, though.

Bachna Ae Haseeno – Ranbir Kapoor has a good screen presence, even when he wears purple lipstick to complement with his deep purple (coloured, not the band ka) t-shirt and pink khakis. His character’s inability to commit is not as cringe inducing as some thought, but the entire second half is full of predictable reconciliatory attempts which are … well, quite boring. Bipasha looks like an aging has-been hottie who ‘swallowed’ one-too-many times, thereby acquiring a positively scary voice. Minissha Laambaa looks like a cute frost-bitten bunny and displays a unique ability to deliver all her dialogues with her teeth firmly clamped shut. Deepika Padukone has a distinctly Marathi accent which seems a bit out of place in Sydney. But still, it is an ok movie – very colourful and hummable, but nothing more.

De Taali – Watching this movie was the closest I’ve ever felt to experiencing a Dementor’s Kiss (from the Harry Potter series) which sucks out all joy from your life (the kiss, not the series). I felt miserable for days after that, and would had given up watching movies altogether had I not been so jobless most of the time. It was not just not funny – it was anti-funny. The very opposite of funny. It was what Laughter is prescribed for when people call it The Best Medicine. There was just ONE joke in the entire frikkin’ movie, and that too I missed because I was out of the theatre recuperating. Worst waste of my time ever.

The 40 year old virgin – Nice, awkward movie which has its moments. I liked it more because I’m a big fan of Steve Carrell from The Office. Overall an okay watch.

Over and out.


Written by sujaybedekar

September 17, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Aamir (2008)

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Most movies crave for hype. Aamir was released without anAamir (2008)y hype or real promotion, but it picked up purely on word-of-mouth publicity, which is probably the truest test of how good a movie is. But by the time I watched it, the movie had been so trumped up, it didn’t seem to be that good.

<digression> I’ve often heard people say mouth-to-mouth publicity instead of word-of-mouth, and I have without fail imagined lifeguards in red bikinis coming to rescue folks. Every time. </digression>

The actor is a revelation – one of those few actors to go from TeeVee to MooVee quite effortlessly – although I must confess I’ve never quite seen any of TV series. The characters are played quite brilliantly by all actors (mostly Marathi actors, which is a sad reflection on the current state of Marathi cinema. Again I must confess, I don’t watch it much 😦 ). The story is quite standard but the plot is very nicely written (my English Lit. prof. must be so happy I finally understood the difference). Calling this movie a copy of Phonebooth is like saying The Thin Red line is a ripoff of Saving Private Ryan. The qawwaali in the movie is quite nice too.

And yet, the movie leaves you unsatisfied. Why? I explain with the help of my source of daily rozi-roti i.e. MS Excel.

Fraction of Movie completed Stage in the movie Nice? (Normalised w.r.t. Initial Hype)
-0.2 Initial Hype – Awesome! 1
0 Start (Missed first 10 minutes) 😦 0
0.2 The first twist (Taxi scene) 0.5
0.4 The Dongri scene (filled with crap) 0.7
0.6 The tale of the two sisters 0.8
0.8 Retrieves bag (Refer Video) 1.1
0.9 Final twist in the bus 1.3
0.95 The slo-mo in the end -0.1
1 Fini 0.7

In true analyst, here’s an overdose of the same information – but this time as a graph. Aamir (2008) - Niceness plot

Clearly, Average (0.667) < Hype (1). Hence proved.

I still give it 3 stars. And I do think that people should stop inserting redemption for kaum (community) in every movie with Muslim characters (e.g. Shaurya).

Ed: I’m not alone in the disappointment/ sense of being let down. PFC and J Ramanand concur too, apparently.

Written by sujaybedekar

June 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm

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Hero is unassuming/way-over-the-top (one of the two extremes). Hero is brilliant and yet quite caring in either case.

Hero has a major screw up and ends up affecting himself directly or indirectly.

Gamma radiation, Krypton, Mutation, Transmorgification, Radiation and such exotic-sounding terms are thrown around at will to justify anything and everything.

Hero says ‘This is my gift and also my curse.’ Or he says ‘Angry. Rwaaarrw’ and it’s understood that that is what he means.

There is a bunch of absolutely irrelevant thugs/ goons/ school bullies out to generally pain the Hero. They get their a$$es kicked major time in the process and we get to snicker ‘lyoosers!’ at them. They also serve the dual purpose of giving the Hero some much needed match practice.

Hero tries to get rid of his boon/curse and succeeds in doing that… but not quite. Then some Maniac gets hold of those/ equivalent/ better powers and becomes something scarier, nastier and with worse mouth odour, which makes him a menace to society and Greenpeace protesters.

Maniac goes on to kill many people but for some reason never actually harms Hero’s gal. The relationship between Hero and his Damsel can be best described as It’s complicated.

Hero returns to fight Maniac. Maniac dies (but is not directly killed by hero) or is at least rid of his powers/abilities. Hero gets to kiss his gal at most once and then he’s off to do the noble thing – i.e. live a life of celibacy and make up for it (well not literally) by screwing bad guys.

Make Hero slender, supple, net-savvy and with a convoluted dressing sense – you get Spider man.

Make Hero hairy, bulky, a monkey and generally pissed off at everyone in life – you get King Kong.

Make Hero hairless, green, bulky with absolutely no dressing sense and generally pissed off at everyone in life – you get the Incredible Hulk.

As far as the actual movie goes – nothing new, somewhat entertaining, good visual effects, lots of destruction, weak jokes, predictable story.

Imagine your face while trying to calculate 1793/41, or when you’re quite constipated. Then imagine yourself doing a maanja lappet (tying up your thread after losing your paper kite) with all fingers outstretched while having the above face. That’s my rating for the latest Hulk movie.

(Nice review this one 🙂 )

Written by sujaybedekar

June 21, 2008 at 11:31 am

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Fanaa (2006) (**1/2)

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Genre – Drama /Romance maybe

Fanaa was clearly one of the most awaited films of this year. Director Kunal Kohli was riding on the success of his copied and yet well-written movie Hum Tum, and he had managed a coup of sorts by roping in as his lead pair Aamir Khan and Kajol, possibly 2 of the finest actors of the current lot with loads of experience and versatality. One was tempted to wonder why O why did the two never star opposite each other? The songs were also pretty hummable, and so I was pretty enthusiastic when i watched this movie by paying a royal sum of FIFTY bucks.
Three hours later, i thanked the lord that i didn’t spend even a penny more, ’cause this was another of those movies in the ‘quality inversely proportional to hype’ category. The chemistry between the Aamir and Kajol was minimal. Aamir looked too old and tired in the movie, and was nowhere near his best. Kajol was good as always, rather better- she actually had the innocence and charm of a newcomer, although it is apparent she has given up the battle of the ‘bulge’.
The second half of the movie happens apparently in kashmir, which is hard to believe. The director must surely think the audience is full of morons, with “snow” being enough to indicate “kashmir”- pathetic. (it’s shot in Poland, btw)
The story was new, and Aamir did play his part of the hero with shades of grey and with internal conflict pretty well, but there’s nothing else to crow about really. Kajol emotes with her eyes even when she plays blind, which is an achievement i suppose. The art direction is nice, especially during one song sequence, but that’s more or less about it. The movie just didn’t have an overall impact I was expecting. The very fact that more than moments from the film, i remember better the popcorn i had that day is i suppose saying it all.
Disappointing fare, really.

Written by sujaybedekar

June 18, 2006 at 4:56 pm

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The Da Vinci Code (2006) (***)

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Genre – Action? Adventure? History?

It’s tough not digressing to discussing the original book by Dan Brown while reviewing this movie, so all i would say is this- the book is no doubt a well-written commercial pot-boiler; it’s not a great literary piece by any stretch of imagination, the controversial topic being a major reason for it’s success. Anyway, it’s kind of hard for a non-Christian like me to really understand what the fuss is all about. The church’s entire philosophy revolves essentially around the Bible, which is all said and done a book written by man and so is bound to have doubters/ detractors. The book and the movie simply raise an alternate theory, by probably using the same facts the Church uses to conclude exactly the opposite. It’s a matter of faith isn’t it? Maybe that’s why i couldn’t fully appreciate the movie too- one question which keeps popping up all the time is: SO?
The movie is pretty faithful to the book upto the interval. The departure from the book, especially in the penultimate 20 minutes or so is necessary (maybe) to justify the need to have a 2+ hr film, and to give it enough shock value to sustain it. Ron Howard does an excellent job at recreating the magic of Da Vinci and the Louvre and manages to capture the essence of the book pretty well. Tom Hanks is, well, Tom Hanks, and can’t really do much wrong. His bad hairdo notwithstanding, he does portray a sexed-down Robert Langdon well. Audrey Tautou is an enigma (not exactly in a good sense), with her accent changing in the movie- she has 2 distinct french accents as well as once going on to have an english-french hybrid one! Anyway, she has enough innocence and ability (read ‘cute’) to play her part well. Sir Ian McKellen (of Gandalf and Magneto fame) is clearly the best actor in the movie, he actually made me feel sorry for him going bad. Silas the albino is just not scary enough, probably because i have seen Paul Bettany in other roles- a better choice would had been an unknown person.
Still i didnt like the movie as much as i had hoped i would, especially given the hype Sony pictures and the Indian Government (unintentionally and unnecessarily by the latter) generated. The movie is just too darn long (2+ hrs!). It moves along slowly (just like the book) because it has to stop and keep giving history lessons. Also, the conclusion is as weak as the book’s ending. Still, a movie worth watching once maybe. or maybe not. Wait for the DVD

Written by sujaybedekar

June 18, 2006 at 4:16 pm

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Monsters, Inc. (2001) (***1/2)

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Genre – Animation/ Comedy

Monsters, Inc. is among the very best animation movies i have seen. The dialogues are hilarious, the characters are well-written, the timing of the ‘actors’ is spot on, the voices are amazing- this film is in fact much better than most normal movies to be released so far!
The idea of Monsters generating energy from children’s screams is a cute starting point. The 2 central characters are just perfect- ‘sully’ the champ and ”mike wazowski’ the one-eyed fella (my favourite) are too good. Billy Crystal‘s voiceover injects a lot of life into ‘mike wazowski’ (i just love saying out the name). The show-stealer is of course the the kid ‘Boo’, with voiceover provided by 2 yr old Mary Gibbs- i happened to see this promo on tv where they actually showed her giggling and squealing, with her voice being recorded for the movie! This movie spawned a plethora of animation movies like Shark Tale and even Finding Nemo, but none have been able to quite live up to the mark set by Monster, Inc. Every character is memorable- the yeti (snow-cones, anyone?), roz the accountant lady(i’m watching you!), Celia mike’s girlfriend (googlie-bear), everyone! The attention given to detail is worth appreciating- apparently, the hair on sully’s body were all programmed individually to sway just the right way when sully walks/ runs !! A must watch movie truly.

Written by sujaybedekar

June 18, 2006 at 11:50 am

Sabrina (1954) (***1/2)

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Genre – Romance

Audrey Hepburn is hands down the most beautiful person i have ever seen, no doubt about that! her charm, elegance and innocence all end up further enhancing her beauty- a rare case of improving upon perfection. That’s the first thing which strikes you when you watch Sabrina, an out and out mushy-romantic classic. She essays her role with such ease, that she makes Julie Ormond in the 1995 remake seem boring and, well, too plain.
The plot is essentially an ugly-duckling-transformation one, with two heroes thrown in to make matters interesting. Apparently, Humphrey Bogart and Hepburn didn’t get along during filming, but their professionalism manages to completely hide this fact. There’s nothing heavy or deep about this movie- in fact it’s the absolute simplicity which makes it such a wonderful movie! Watch it for Hepburn, watch it to get a taste of the B&W era, basically watch it 😛

Written by sujaybedekar

June 18, 2006 at 11:26 am

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