Category Archives: Movies

Skyfall: the review

Bond is back for the 50th time on celluloid.

The plot

The plot is already out due to the non-uniform releasing of the movie across the world… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyfall

Bond is  human

Daniel Craig’s James Bond  shows transitions to “being  human”   (Salman Khan would be grinning with pride at this!) . All the way from the death of the woman he loves  in Casino Royale (2006)  to the death of Judi Dench’s in in the current one, Skyfall.   

Not to mention a tad more escapism of Bond, depicting him to be taking a vacation after being presumed dead and trying to live life like a normal person (for a while of course, before he decides to start saving asses,err .. I mean, arses !)

There are further teeny weeny anecdotes like infinitesimally subtle humour, sometimes even at Bond’s expense.

One more personal touch is the climax where the final battle happens in Scotland  at Bond’s family estate called Skyfall  ! There ..the title has been explicitly justified …

The title

No! Pardon the author’s skyfalling attempts at comedy. The whole title the author guesses, is based on the theme of agents going rouge! So the ‘skyfall’ here is referring to the realistic depiction of traumatized agents getting back at their organization (in this case, MI6)

Current bond vs the rest

Skyfall is a  more realistic depiction of the trials and tribulations of her majesty’s secret service,  as compared to the more super-hero like James Bond portrayed by Pierce Brosnan who keeps saving the planet from incredibly “out of the world” schemes! (That said doesn’t take away anything from Brosnan’s  Bond who , in spite of digressing away from the original characterization of Ian Fleming‘s spy, is still perhaps the most popular Bond   and the most stylish bond )

In a private screening of the movie, Roger Moore (who was also Bond) said that the best Bond was Sean Connery, but Skyfall might change that. Check out the interview here

But yes! It needs to be said that bringing the whole James Bond franchise to the Skyfall type of story telling does make it shift away from the recently seen Bond-ness . But it also makes it like any other  “non-JamesBond spy movie” 😦

But despite that, perhaps, the brand-power of James Bond (the character, not Daniel Craig) will end up scoring above other standalone spy movies! Hmm …

Bardem: romantic to psychotic

The villain is Mr.Silver , former agent turned madman,  who is back to wreck havoc on MI-6 agents and kill the MI6 boss M (Judi Dench), who he believes betrayed him. Fabulously played by Javier Bardem, with his metro-sexual  portrayal of the bad guy.

For many of you who might not know, Bardem is a popular Spanish hero who is married to the awesome Penelope Cruz. He often gets to romance different hot ladies on screen (as seen in Vicky Cristina Barcelona)  . Anyway took a while for me to finally realize it was him in Skyfall , what with all the blonde wig and effeminate crazy-man acting !

Changing the boss

Judi Dench the original M looks old, probably is retiring from movies. The  whole I am the madame I am the boss  aura about her made legendary in Goldeneye, Tomorrow never dies, etc seemed to have faded a bit.

Anyway, it gives a Ralph Fiennes fan immense delight when the latter  becomes the new M at the end of Skyfall ! Honestly, the director Sam Mendes keeping his role to a minimum, 3 scenes and a few dialogues to be precise, is a good thing. Why ? Because , there are people in this world who believe RF can steal the thunder even from Daniel Craig if the former gets too much airtime 😉

The Bond girl

Berenice Marlohe is the Bond girl who is perhaps just there to keep the whole casanova  image of bond alive.Beyond that, she had a role which is useless compared to the previous Bond girls (they were somehow part of a story, this current bond girl’s character is relatively not!)

But well ..on second thoughts, maybe not! When the villain Mr.Silver (Bardem) kills her, there is no evidence of sorrow on Bond’s face (considering he has had a night full of romance in a boat with her the previous night before she is shot). From this little observation, we can certainly say there is an attempt to depict Bond as becoming more and more thick skinned  !

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All in all , its a good movie.

Some might even predict that this is the Bond movie that is capable of winning major awards for acting. Nope..unless filming standards fall globally, not too sure about that prediction!

But nonetheless, definitely a good entertainer of a movie.

Ra.One Review : You burn Raavan so many times because you can’t kill him

First day first show of Ra.One . Thank my lucky temporal cosmologies that it released during the Diwali holidays

Purpose of such expensive movies

I now believe in a certain theory about a direct correlation between mega budgets and positioning a visual treat as the foremost USP of a film.

The most expensive Indian movie made to date (surpassing the budget of the previous topper, Enthiran) gives what such a mega-budgetory extravaganza promises …. a visual treat which in itself is a thing of awe for the average Indian movie-goer. ( Talk about the Indian success of Enthiran or Avatar, for example)

Anyway nothing wrong in it. How else do you justify , what else can you possibly contrive with super budgets other than have tons and tons of special & digital effects 🙂

One important conceptual point  😉

G-One (the good digital guy played by SRK)  and Ra-One (the bad digital guy played by Arjun Rampal …yes! Ra.One is Rampal , not SRK as some gullible chaps might be strutting around thinking!!!) are digital manifestations made of optical fibres or electromagnetic rays coalesced into tangible manifestations of energy; whatever! I don’t really know ! But mind you ! They are not robots or any sort of mechanical beings made of metal…

The plot

Ra.One = Major plot from Terminator 2: Judgement day  + Hero powers & special effects of Iron Man + Villain’s creation-idea from Virtuosity

Bien sur!  The whole virtual man protecting the kid  idea is straight out of Terminator 2.

The HART concept about a high-technology core that resembles a human heart embedded  into both G-One and Ra-One,  is a direct lift-off from Iron Man. The whole optical fibre shit from where the AI filled gaming characters come out into the real world , is Virtuosity…

The special appearances and gimmicks

The kid’s dream featuring  Priyanka Chopra and Sanjay Dutt (as Khal Nayak) in the opening scene . And even the three imaginary Chinese ladies called Uski -Lee (lol ! ) , Teri-Lee (Rofl !)  and Sabki Lee (Lmao!)! All these are there only for the whole SRK-Ego-trip phenomenon which we are getting to see more and more these days  (For a similar observation, watch the Don2 trailer with the slogan, The king is back 😉 )

Well ! Well ! But me being a fan and all , I wouldn’t really crib too much about it . The gimmickry in question was actually pretty visually breathtaking (SRK fighting Khal Nayak ((Sanjay Dutt)) with the latter rapid firing punch-dialogues that would make your laughter nerves itch )

Action -sequences

They were good very good. For an Indian movie, the effort and soul put into the action sequences and related effects is quite visible.Sometimes you might wonder what’s the point ?  But this is an action flick and thats how action flicks around the world are ….

The real Ra.one stands up

Arjun Rampal is amazing as the villainish Ra.One with his whole voice, his physique and sense of random alacrity. He was good ! Perhaps they should have given him a little more air-time rather than focus on G-one’s  goofy doofy humor  in the second half.

Chammak Challo

I don’t need to analyze this 🙂 But I had to mention it 😉

My verdict

Here are some more reviews to look at… TOIimdbrediffDC

As for me, I like it ..not as much I would like a brilliant movie, but the way I would like a popcorn-fare!  Though the concepts have all been borrowed , re-hashed and jumbled up from Holly wood sci-fi movies, the execution of the movie shows the effort and the heart put into the movie. And for that , my appreciation! Anyway, whatever the SRK-bashers might be tempted to say, nothing is going to stop the movie from becoming a profitable venture (for all we know, it probably had already recovered its money from distribution sales even before the movie’s release)

Karan Bajaj ..covered !!

Adding to my book-reading marathons are the works of Karan Bajaj. For information on the author and the plots of his two books , look at good ol’ Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karan_Bajaj

Anyway so here below are the reviews of his two books, both of them National best sellers
 
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Keep off the GrassKeep off the Grass by Karan Bajaj
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The thinking man’s chetan bhagat is what some call the author. I totally agree.

Definitely more hard-thought-inducing than Chetan Bhagat and for me, certainly more entertaining.Some anecdotes in the movie, ‘3 idiots’ (at least the more ‘filmy’ parts) seem to be taken from this one rather than Chetan Bhagat’s ‘five point someone’. But well! Thats just my opinion.

Anyway, a darker , a mroe satirical take on elite campus life as compared to many other contemporary,similar and concomitant works by ivy-bschool-league Indian authors. Worth a try though some parts are too ambiguous/ridiculous to be taken at face-value to be reality.(The last reason is the only factor influencing a rating-drop from a potential 4 pointer to a 3 pointer)

View all my reviews

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Johnny Gone DownJohnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good book … relatively a better narrative than ‘Keep off the Grass’ (the author’s previous book) which is a decent book in itself (at least compared to Chetan Bhagat’s run-of-the-mill no brainers which are more in the genre of *masala adventures for dummies** )

Follows the adventures of an American ivy league grad to different parts of the world of South East Asia to Latin America. Throw in monkhood, artificial limbs, Brazilian models and bad-ass gangsters to make a heterogenous but attractive concoction that is an amusing narrative of the age-old formula, yet novel in style.

View all my reviews
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Social Network – Review

A good movie. The director David Fincher (of fight club and the curious case of bejamin button fame) comes up with a realistic unbiased depiction of the story behind the founders of facebook.

Go here for the plot

Well previously among stories of programmers I particularly liked the movie Antitrust. But what struck me about this social network movie is that unlike Antitrust, there are no fictional allusions, no heroic , idelalistic, riden by morals kind of programmers.

The characters are more human and more closer to everyday characters. Yet you see  the genius-spark  (Mark Z) , the swinging hedonistic playboy (Sean parker) , the intelligent yet gullible fin guy (Eduardo) , the posh classy  high society super male bimbos (the twins) – voila! All the variations in personalities that one would expect to see in a good narration.

The focus is not on human morality or honour or any such thing. It is strictly a pragmatic and neutral depiction of how business in the real world works. Though a little bland in some parts of the plot flow, the movie still doesn`t fail to make the audience appreciate the protagonist not for his being human, not for showing hero-qualities but sheerly for his raw genius. A fact supplemented by emphasizing on his lack of excess emotion and an almost cold blooded indifference to social events that happen in front of him. A sort of irony considering the fact that he is after all the founder of the most successful social networking site

The jazzy moments in the movie range from nerdy-super-rhetoric (Mark Z hacking the apparently highly secure Harvard student profiles to create a fun poll and simulataneously explaining to the audience the technicalities) to the whole cool-dude thing ( Justin timberlake`s character Sean Parker doing the Seanathon, a sort of rip-off of the attitude exploding Sexy back video 😉 )

Still I would maintain the movie did get a tad boring and trite at places . But of course, when a real-life story that is more subtle than grand is told about the world`s youngest self made billionaire , who would not like watching it 🙂

ps: Oh yeah ! And Happy face booking ! 😀

Incept the dream among shit squeaks …

Everybody is talking about Inception. I see that this one `s rating shot up in imdb from an astonishingly ridiculous 6.* to an expected 9.*  in two days flat. Hmm … Probably the people who rated the movie before are all Americans … lol … the yankees don`t understand anything do they ? 😀  (Its a joke me hearties!)

A collegue and friend of mine writes this whole scene to scene description on imdb. Talk about serious fanhood 🙂 More dope on the movie is to be found  here and here!

The defn

Anyway, the dictionary defines it in a simple way as below :The beginning of something, such as an undertaking; a commencement

So I guess the combo of the successful movie`s theme and the definition prove the fact that dreams are in most cases the primary genesis of ideas.

The movie

To put the plot short, its about the protagonist and his team trying to change the thinking of a person by altering the origin of his thinking ,i.e.,  his subconscious. The medium to tap that subconscious is his dream.

I would take the pains to mention the character of Mal because the actress is sexy 🙂 and of course also because she is the main antagonist. The hero`s dead wife who being such a strong surpassed part of his memory? keeps popping up in his dreamland missions.

Yup! I guess memories are painful sometimes.

Hero

Leonardo de caprio is soon becoming an immaculate actor both because of his acting and the stories he selects. I mean his recent movies , Shutter Island and Inception (not to mention older ones like Catch me if you can, the Departed, The Aviator) make Titanic look like  shit-squeak.

Back to the movie ….

What this movie is  …

  1. Another feather in Leo`s cap
  2. Another diamond in Nolan`s treasure chest
  3. Good thought provoking movie leading to endless debates and interpretations
  4. One with the keep-guessing ending where the audience are free to make their conclusions on the hero`s fate
  5. The movie that shall make the totem famous  😉

What this movie is not …

  1. Though a brilliant piece,  its not an epic ,  like The dark knight or The Matrix or LOTR …. its more like a dramatic documentation of events (of the mind,yes !  but just events none the less) . The complexity is in the novelty of the theme not in the plot.
  2. It is like a lecture on the fictitious theme, but sans the ending, doesn`t leave much for the audience`s interpretation  ( audience`s imagination inducing … try the joker from dark knight for instance)

But still it is definitely a good movie, a messiah-like relief  compared to the shit-squeak  called knight and day which released at about the same time in India  (Of course! Wouldn`t deny that Cameron Diaz is still all woooooooh inducing)

Proud people

Boy ! The ones who would be so proud of the movie`s ideas are Freud (due to uncontrolled overwhelming projections which cross boundaries irrespective of the dream host …  the character Mal for instance) , Jung (due to the whole dream within a dream within a dream thing) and good ol`Lyn Chat (the technical reason why she likes it is something I don`t know.Just a hunch)

Emperor`s clothes analogy

Remember the  short kids` tale , The emperor`s new clothes ?

The amusing thing I observed about this movie is that some people , even if they might not  actually like it, end up saying that it was good.  Why ? Because they might possibly be scared that  denying its enjoyability is synonymous with shouting , *I am too stupid to understand!*

Awesome job by the makers for successfully inducing that kind of mass-thinking , even after the audience walks out the theatres … Not many movies do that these days!!  🙂

2012: At world’s end

2012  ….end of the world! A film that was seen yesterday sitting in the 2nd row from the screen (making it a pretty loud and optically strainful experience )

Here is the crux. World is about to end due to earth crust destabilization leading to violent fissures (‘volcano‘ taken to international levels) leading to tsunamis (like a slightly more complex version of  abyss, deep impact, day after tomorrow)

The author is no mood to talk much about  apocalyptic philosophies. But film makers’ previous tryst with global disaster movies  churned out several creative solutions

  1. Armageddon has Bruce ‘die hard’ Willis nuking a keen-on-hitting-earth asteroid before it hits Earth.
  2. Abyss has got yankees negotiating with aliens towards the end to take it easy.
  3. Deep Impact, Day after tomorrow et al, seem to just have people going to safer places on the planet.
  4. Resident evil series always has survivors and the results are not globally catastrophic though there is a societal collapse.

This movie, 2012 supposedly not depicting mankind  endangerment , but mankind extinction …. is a level above t other movies as human can’t fight against the imminent disaster but have to just survive through it.

But it is still a notch below movies like 28 days later  and 28 weeks later in terms of  disturbing audience and evoking the paranoia of apocalypse . Though I would maintain that this movie was on a pretty grand scale and seemed scientifically much more accurate than the other movies.

Of course, it set the author thinking about 2012 too. Its a freaky concept, the whole world ending thing.

But ….

my main observation from the movie is this …..

“The best way to rekindle old flames,  and get your ex- back (if you are still interested) is World’s End  😉

(infered from the John Cusack – Amanda Peet sub plot)

Blue skies and seas

Blue! Arguably India’s most expensive Bollywood movie to date, is just another Kambhakt Ishq with action thrown in.  Tons of flamboyance, all the dude dom in the world, white-goatee sporting Akshay Kumar, obese Sanjay Dutt, stuttering Zayed Khan,  sleazy super-bimbo Lara Dutta, hyper-squeaking Rahul Dev and absolutely mediocre movie quality.

The plot

As far as the story is concerned its a treasure hunt and the reasons &  mysteries behind it.

The action

Most of the more expensive action sequences, adventure scenes are in no way related to the story line.

The characters

The first half dwells too much on the build up. For instance, Aarav aka Sarkar (Akshay Kumar) ‘s lavish, flamboyant life style and his playboy image ( this trait of AK has been drained dry in almost all of his recent movies). Or Zayed Khan trying to do a fast and furious in his introduction.He does a decent  job but compared to the originals like Vin Diesel, he comes across as a a little, pansy, nipple-sucking infant! Then there’s a face-off inspired scene between Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt where they are in a ‘friendly’ boxing match.

Lara Dutta is wasted in a role which just calls for her to wear a bikini and show off her figure.  Of course, going by the popular perception of her acting prowess, she wouldn’t be able to do anything else anyway.

Zayed Khan, Rahul Dev (who sounds like a super mutated squirrel in the movie), Katrina Kaif are just there ! I mean just there to create a false feeling  that the director is adding value to a useless story line.

The faux pas

Hmm…talking of Sanjay Dutt, that brings  the author to  be a little cruel …

  1. He looks like Lara Dutta’s grandfather. Had to prevent myself from puking when the supposedly titillating duet  between Lara Dutta and Sanjay Dutt came up.
  2. Fine ! There are older actors like Salman Khan too who prance around with pretty young things. But at  least, the likes of Salman Khan look like actions heroes with all those muscles et al. Sanjay Dutt looks like an old boob-job with a paunch too evident not to notice 😦 . Totally out of place for this movie.
  3. Look at the poster below … need someone explicitly explain why Sanjay Dutt is turning the other way??  To hide his paunch of course

Of course Sanjay Dutt’s acting is good any day. But an action pop-corn fare that relies more on the action sequences, with little scope for showing acting skills …. doesn’t exactly call for an old man (who looks too tired to even talk)  do super man stuff!

…..

Faux pas …geographic

According to the initial plot, the treasure was supposed to be shipped from UK to India.Thanks to a storm it gets lost in the Bahamas (the Carri bean) . Now ..now! How the heck did it get washed away to the other side of the world.

The shipping route from UK to India is across the Mediterranean which is thousands of miles away from the carribean, Well ! Just because the Bahamas make for a cool tourist location for film shooting ? Idiots!

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All in all, go watch it if its being screened in an IMAX screen thats not too far away from home. And only if you just want a partial-kick experience at times of absolute fursat (boredom). But if you miss it, you wouldn’t really be missing something worthwhile.