Thursday, June 30, 2005

Anniyan - Follow up

Chennai City Anniyan grossed 1 crore in the first week alone
Sathyam Cinemas alone contributed 27 laks for the first 2 weeks.
(Does this include the "theatre sponsored black tickets" called VIP shows that were held as early as 7.30 a.m.)

Other Areas
Coimbatore City : 41 laks
Salem : 71 laks (10 prints)
Andhra : 1.27 crores
Kerala : 60 laks
Karnataka : 50 laks
Tamilnadu (overall) : 10.2 crores

So Anniyan has done business (gross) worth 13 crores in the first week alone. Probably the costliest movie ever produced in Tamilnadu warrants the biggest returns, but is the movie worth it? As someone said there are so many people who want to visit the world in 40 Rs...

Having a very conservative estimate about the movie tickets, (say around 40 Rs), (The average price of a ticket would be around 20 - 30 in the B and C centres and 60 in the A centres), this means that around 25 lak Tamilians would have watched the movie in the first 2 weeks alone, which is incredulous. (I am safely assuming that no1 would want to watch the same movie twice within 2 weeks).

The population of Tamilnadu is around 6211000 which means that one person in 20 tamilians has watched the movie withing the first week of release !!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Anniyan - Movie review

Rules Ramanujam - Steer clear of him

Shankar does it again !!!! ... Well ofcourse he has!!!!

"Well you go to America and you see everything is clean and orderly. But it is not that way in India... Why?... That is what is Anniyan".
- Shankar in his inimitable style.

That caveat should have been enough to dissuade me from watching the movie... Anniyan is pretty much like these software versions, Shankar has just given the same application in a different wrapper and more colourful pull down menus. The movie absolutely has nothing new to offer, either in terms of ideas, presentation, music or acting.

A young boy loses his friend to abject corruption in the education department and starts out a crusade to rob the venal in the country. (Pluses - Innovative, excellent acting, Good music)

An elderly guy loses his daughter to corrupt practices and starts out a crusade to kill the venal in the country. (Pluses - Acting, Humour, Music,Technique)

A young guy on watching those 2 movies (and probably Fightclub and Se7ev also.. while reading Sybil in the bathroom) feels that he is unable to meet that mark feels repressed and starts exhibiting multiple personalities that give him superhuman strength, chamaleonic hair (hair changes texture with personality), weird accents, twitchy eyeballs and irritating background music and guess what ? Starts out on a crusade to kill the venal and the lazy in the country. He succeeds to the extent that 100 people do not cross the yellow line in the middle of the road and one person starts paying the proper taxes while buying property.

All said, the movie still had a few pluses... but the minuses far outnumbered the pluses.

The pluses
  • Atleast the characters perform the Brahmin characters well without messing the accents or the intonations.
  • Vivek is the only respite in an otherwise boring movie. The movie can be watched only for him and no-one else.
  • Vikram has perfected the "Srichurnam" pose in the first few scenes.
The minuses
  • Vikram's expressions for Ramanujam were very similar to those in Kaasi... especially when he is professing his love to the parents of the girl before asking the girl.
  • Nasser brings "Sybil" to the courtroom to prove the case of multiple personality disorder.
  • Prakash Raj and Nasser being given the roles played by Vikram Dharma and S.Ve Shekar's dad in most tamil movies.
  • The MO of Prakash Raj and Vivek feigning local characters to 'gather intelligence' was probably copied from the tactics FBI/CIA being used to nab Osama.... totally ineffective.
  • Sada's navel definitely could not act.
  • Sujatha once again irritates us with his long lists replete with Scientology terms. The dilogues lacked punch and conviction.
  • The flaws due to Shankar's inability to understand multiple personality syndrome. (Each character cannot predict what the other can do, and when the other comes out, Characters cannot change in midsentence, Physical characteristics like hair and nails dont change with character)
  • Painting 3-4 kms of a road in flowers and animals for a song not worthy of even being listened to for the second time.
  • Painting an entire town in gaudy colours for an equally gaudy song.
  • Creating caricatures instead of characters for the 3 personalities exhibited.
  • Using 120 cameras to film someone falling from the first floor.
To sum up, you exit the theatre thinkign probably someone need not have spent 26 crores on something that he had already done twice before.

Probably it is time we ask a question to Shankar..

"Well you watch movies from other directors in India and abroad... they try to think up different stories and movies. But why is it not that with Shankar? Is Shankar capable of only s much?"

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Shwaas - A movie review

A breath of fresh life...
A touching tribute to love...
A must - watch...

What masochists !!!... Avoid the movie !!!

Would you want to watch a movie about an old man... whose grandson has a very rare form of retinal cancer and for whom an operation HAS to be done to save his life and yet the boy would lose eyesight. Would you want to watch a tottering grandfather trying to come to terms with this terrible tragedy and at the same time console his grandson? Why would anyone want to watch such a movie that makes you so depressed that you start thinking that "what the hell/ it is just eyesight that the guy loses... good well atleast he wont be able to watch such maudlin movies".... I knew i cannot watch this movie.. I just watched the first few and the last few minutes and ended up with a lump the size of a cricket ball in my throat. (sorry).

The movie reminds you of Turner and Hooch... and the hate you felt for the director.. for creating such a huge, slobbering, messy, dog, make you fall in love with it... and to kill it at the end? How heartless can the director be?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Alexander - movie review

There are many people who get their tongues pasted to Oliver Stones posterior... including Roger Ebert have surprisingly not praised this movie sky high. I think that is mainly because they feel that the director was confused as to whether to present this movie as an analysis of Alexander’s character or should more importance be given to the CGI effects and the war sequences which are obviously what sells the movie to gullible peopel who dont know how easy it is to clone ants on adobe premier. The result is a half baked movie that is neither a war movie like ’Gladiator’ nor a subtle masterpiece like Martin Scorcese’s ’Last Temptation of Christ’ .

The director in his urgency to raise controversy and raise a stink among ’’People who support the Green Peace Party and think Alexander is straight club’’... has failed in storytelling and character building.

Also, the entire life of Alexander could not possibly be portrayed in 120 minutes AND do justice to every aspect of life. You tend to get the feeling that OS has bitten off a piece that is bigger than his feet...

OS alwyas has this liking to take up some famous characters/event and give it his own spin as he did with The Doors when he suggested JM did NOT a few ribs removed to facilitate yoga.

While reviewing this movie, I would like to draw parallels with one of Kubricks’s masterpieces called ’’Full Metal Jacket’’ and a Martin Scorcese movie called ’’The last temptation of Christ’’. FMJ follows a company of soldiers through the Vietnam War. This movie is not know for its war sequences as much as it is for its character building and story telling. Some of the characters have attained legend proportions... comparable to that of the real Alexander.Full Metal Jacket, was something like a ’mind fucker’... makes you wonder and reconsider... it plays with an American’s perception of THE WAR... and The Last Temptation of Christ... attaches ’whys and hows’ to the life and death of Jesus Christ... the ’’LORD GOD SAVIOUR’’... the person whose intent if doubted could amount to blasphemy.

In Alexander, to stir up a similar conspiracy, Oliver Stone tries to question.. very suavely,
1. The cause of the murder of Alexander’s father - Mother or Darius?
Many such questions are left unanswered because most of the characters in this movie are ill-defined... ’’almost human’’.. Olympia is shown as clever manipulatitive and hates King Tut with all her heart.. but while Val Kilmer is being shot dead, is it pleasant surprise or happy satisfaction that is seen on her face?

Also, for example, Alexander at time is very unreasonable and at times is the voice of reason. He will willingly do something as foolish as invade India with a tired army and YET cry over the destroyed library in Babylon understanding what it means to the world. He also is not able to decide between purple and green grapes in one sequence.

2. Alexander’s sexual proclivity. - he could be bi-sexual?
There is generally a theory (among behaviour analysts) that guys who grow up with a very strong female presence at home have weirder sexual behaviour (Homos are weird).

Here I think that point is overstressed. The character of Olympia is unnecessarily oversexed in terms of her dialogues and casting, and his loss of interest with Rosario Dawson is too ’’obvious’’... His interest in eunuchs shown in the referred sequences... (Both Rosario Dawson and the Babylonian eunuch perform the seemingly harmless duty of switching off the light before Alexander sleeps... ). You tend to think OS doesnt have the balls to outright say something but is being ’pseudo suave’ while addressing this issue.

3. Why Alexander did what he did - Influenced by a nagging mother?
I have to question the casting of Jolie as his mother. Oliver Stone obviously has other intentions than just the mother son relationship... Alexander’s strongest influence in his childhood turns out to be his mother and she drives him to insanity and excellence. She is also shown to be advicing him to return home before India... wonder why that happens if she had so strongly wanted him to conquer the entire world.

Apart from the above mentioned points, I think the movie is very watchable after retirement. There are some brilliant CGI war effects, lots of bloody visceral flying about and the war with Porus would appeal to you under psychedlic drugs. So if you are going to expect a very normal Hollywood movie, then I dont think you would be dissapointed.

But being an Oliver Stone fan, I was highly dissapointed that he could not raise the interest factor by trying to relate Alexander’s life and death to something that is relevant to the world NOW. If all I wanted was to know was when and where Alexander fought whom and what strategy he followed and what became of him finally, I would much rather read a short article on Alexander on the net. The entertainment value is very high in this movie, but it lacks intellectual appeal. So delete the Oliver Stone aura and watch the movie as you would watch a Vin Diesel movie. I am sure you would like it. I watched the movie in Thamizh because I find English hard to understand and this is what I thought of that flavour.

Why you should watch this movie ONLY in English ?
There are some movies that you can watch, which dont make a big difference if you do so in Thamizh or English. In fact I prefer Thamizh because in English the dialogues are extremely predictable but the Thamizh version keeps you it Charlie’s Angels calling each other ’va dee’, ’po dee’ or the Caucasian character in ’’Rakshasa Paambugal - Ratha Manjariyin Vetai’’ (Anacondas 2 - The hunt for the Blood Orchid) singing ’’Appadi Podu Podu Podu’’ while steering the boat through the Amazonian Jungle...

Oliver Stone has a very interesting way of presenting things. He firmly believes in the human male’s vulberability during and after the event of sex. That is when the human male is ’himself’ and exposes his ’’OUTSIDE’’ and ’’INSIDE’’ self in its entirity.

It also happens that the censor board in ThamizhNadu has strong objections to showing shots of thin women or men with little or no clothes on... so I would say the soul of the movie... the few minutes after Alexander makes love to Rosario Dawson.. the few moments when he IS being HIMSELF and pours his heart out... has been deprived to the audience. So dont watch this movie in Thamizh or any other native language where the censor board is from the 18nth century... I think you would lose the essence of the movie.

And kids and teenagers.. this movie is not for you anyway... lest you mount a horse and start decapitating people on Grant Road... WESTERN MEDIA DOWN DOWN.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Boondock Saints - Movie review

The movie features two Irish guys with very strong Catholic upbringing. They feel irked that there is so much evil in this world and YET there is nothing that is being done about it. They feel there is no greater evil than the indifference of the good to the evil.

There is no great story in this movie. It is about two guys getting pissed off with the mob and going around Boston killing people from the RRRRsussian and Italiaan mob and earning major league brownie points from the police while doing so. This movie is phenomenal because this is the first movie that brought into the open, a homophobic homosexual. To me the best character in this movie is Willem DeFoe who plays the cop who is a homosexual. And yet he goes about places calling people a fag when they exhibit the clichéd homosexual tendencies... (ie) in most Hollywood movies, you would see the fag expressing feminine characteristics that would irritate normal men.

The 2 lead characters because Christians tend to digest ’Righteousness’ more easily if taken in with the enzyme called ’God’ administered with the help of the most devout (i.e.) the Irish. This movie became a cult hit mainly among the college going populace in America because of the blatant violence and the extreme ’slickness’ of the movie.

The key to any movie being ’slick’ and being appreciated by the average male American college goer…

1. The guys are uncommonly intelligent but are too cool about their capabilities. They never take themselves seriously
2. Have a few scenes where common utilities could be used as deadly weapons. More mundane the utility is, more popular the movie is
3. They are initially so cool that the whole world bores them. (you know… adolescents)
4. The guys are from a usually ’tough’ ethnic group. (i.e.) the Irish, the Vikings, the Russians
5. The guys are hyper tough men who can brush themselves off and walk around after having an anvil fall on their head
6. The guys kill a kitten and never have a lady interest
7. The guys keep saying cool things all the time
8. The guys make life changing decision in a matter of nano seconds
9. They drink beer like it is water and water like it is moonshine
10. They can be shot at 2 million times but will never get hit
11. When they shoot they never miss even though they have never killed a dog with a gun before
12. When they flip out they almost always cause bloodshed
13. Most of the fight sequences have very good techno music in the background
14. The characters are ’painfully real’ (i.e.) they are diametrically opposite to the Hollywood cool guys
15. They continue to evade the police/police turn a blind eye to their doings
16. The movie has an open ending where the characters never change and don’t really win anything

Sunday, June 12, 2005

"D" the movie... not a review.

Talking about ‘touking’

Do you think there can be intelligence in depicting the dumb ? Do you think mindless violence and an idiotically violent lifestyle of gangsters could be depicted seemingly realistically and go to the extent of sometimes justifying their actions? Well yes.. “Sathya” started it. “Company” redecorated it. “D” when compared to those good movies, pales… in-fact is extremely anemic. It almost looks like they have milked that cash cow of Bombay mafia aura to death with the first few gangster movies and run completely out of ideas with this one.

The makers could do nothing interesting with that subject anymore and so, revert those characters back into the normal Hindi movie clichés shown in earthen colors (which they presume makes the movie ‘slick’). Hence you endure dumbed down gangsters, paan-mouthing the gangsta lingua franca, talking about “Touking” someone all the time… and whats with the jewels? Do gangsters use jewellery for armor?

I would be greatly surprised if “D” makes it big the box office. But you can never underestimate the Bollywood market. Taran Adarsh seems to think the movie is path-breaking. There are others who seem to think the lack of lengthy dialogues like other gangster movies is simply too good. I call it lack of originality… how many more ‘touks’ can you take? Pretty idiotic movie.... you know.