Saturday, December 22, 2007

Movie Review - Vattaram

I searched high and low for a review for this movie but since i could not find one that reflects my opinions of this movie, I felt I had to do the intertrons a service by writing one...

The movie, "from the stables of Saran"... or so someone had said las tyar when the movie came out. It is not only horses that come out of the stables.. but also horse excreta in solid liquid and gaseous forms. vattaram is a mixture of copious amounts of all three forms. Charan, must have thought, he is some kind of god of remakes after making Vasool raja... for he has attempted to remake a guy Ritchie style of movie in Thamizh and has failed magnificently in it.

Ok let me begin... there is this guy Naazar, who gets on the wrong side of Napoleon.. who is the head of the Vattaram... an international weapons smuggler and real estate kingpin. These guys talk abou 'projects' whose figures usually compare favourably with the GDPs of of small countries. They go by the names of "Ira", "Burma" and "eera"... i suppose that makes it easy for screaming when they are "thookufied". On a parallel track.. it would be really tough to yell out the villains name in the Slavic countries. Wonder how they would manage it.

Anyway, in the beginning of the movie, Nasser is thrown out of a chair that Napoleon likes and so gets killed. This irritates Aarya who vows revenge on nappy even as a kid. In order to emulate napoleon, he too starts his own small arms trade... and I mean human arms. He slices a few off here and there, and makes small time money. He also learns english parallely.. so that he can read up on guns. Apaprently there is a paucity of good books on revolvers in Thamizh... he earnestly explains in one scene. Oh the travails of the gangsters these days. Thol Thirumavalavan... are you listening !!!???

Now, Aarya, who goes by the name of Burma and Verma at various stages of the movie, suddenly becomes the right 'arm' man of Napoleon... hehe... and goes about his Shakuni business. He kills off Nappy's aides in some of the some of most badly thought out sequence sequences, that even a half wit in an inebriated stage could figure out who is upping all the men. It is truly a wonder that guys just keep their mouths shut because they are more afraid of Aarya than Nappy. Nappy who once said he would want to be the dead man in the death house.. and a groom in a marriage house... mouths one more memorable dialogue in Tamil. he says "I cannot catch leg and all and come up".. and falls to his death.

Saran, the director must have watched a few bad remakes of hollywood gangster movies, and maybe he thought they were gems. I really do not know why he would want to bring in 'slickness' into Thamizh tripe. However smart the screenplay is, you do need guys like Dennis Farina and Jason Statham atleast to carry off gangster movies... We just do not have the man-power for that. I wish Saran would udnerstand that. The story is not bad... but the screenplay could have made use of a few more grey cells, and the cast could have been better than statues, and pockmarks...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Comment on the Remix Billa

Am I tone deaf ? Or is Yuvan tone deaf ? Are some of the instrumental peieces in the remix completely dischordant ? (Abaswaram)... especially the whistling... and some of the humming.

Is it supposed to be that way ?

I cannot imagine someone who made "ARiyadha Vayasu" making such a horrible mistake...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Movie Review - Katradhu Thamizh

Surprisingly after almost a year of downright idiotic movies (barring PV), Thamizh cinema came up with two above average movies in quick sucession. One was of course Satham Podadhey, and the other is Katradhu Thamizh. I liked this movie.

This movie could be reviewed in any number of ways. Apart from the straight-forward, though slightly illogical story of the creation of a mass murderer, the sub-text of the movie is pretty interesting. Jeeva in one of his emotional outbursts says... there are only two kinds of people in Chennai. There are these people inside Spencer plaza, and the ones outside Spencer plaza. That jealousy is the root cause of his anger. This is compounded by the fact that his love is not able to be fulfilled and he is driven to the extremity because of a pedestrian encounter with the police.

The sensitive person that he is, he feels normal life is no longer possible, and commits his first murder in a fit of anger. He is not able to reason properly anymore, but only feels a strange power... the power of God in him, because he had actually terminated someone's life. He calls himself Sivan... because he has the power to destroy life. Lunacy clouds reason and his literary intellect overtakes rational thought. He starts reasoning his actions through broad hyperboles, and poetic extracts. You cannot blame him. He is just a product of a self misguided up-bringing.

Karuna's plays the part of the audience and voices our thoughts exactly... at exactly the rigth moment... during some of the monologue sequences. This lends us a comforting feeling that the director is making bridges to not let the audience feel left out. He is saying... just hang on... I know you do not understand. You hang on to the movie... enjoying the excellent music by UV Raja and the engrossing screenplay... and it ultimately affects you the way the director wanted it to.

The screenplay covers the stages in Jeeva's life in a very engrossing manner. His childhoood, the gory deaths, that warped his childhood innocence. His puberty spent without companionship, and his formative years spent in isolation and withuout guidance. Most of his life changing decisions just based on just a gut feeling that that was what his mentors might have adviced him to do. Every important phase in his life is puncuated with a death of someone important to him, and hence is lead astray in ever so many small degrees... which spin out of control over the next few years to make him... in his own words... 'Sivan'.

The director and script writer, Ram, has done a commendable job, and Jeeva plays a wonderful Prabha. He could have toned down a bit on his shock when he meets his college friends... and when he knows about their compensations. The rest of the cast barring the school headmaster, are just about mediocre.

Finally, I see that most of the reviews on the web about the movie attack the 'intelligence' and the lack of 'logic'. The same thing happened with Pudhupettai. The reviewers had found fault with the 'whys' of the crime as told from the killers POV. That is not the point at all. The director at no point of time is trying to justify the hero's actions. He is just narrating a story. If that sinks in, Katradhu Thamizh can be appreciated in a much more mature manner.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Play Review - Run for your Wife

I think that was the name of the play we went for in Chinmaya Hall. I did not know anything about it... Infact I first thought that it was a play written by the performers themselves... (20 - 25 year old professionals). That was not to be... it was a long drawn out... laborious presentation of a 1985ish British play which in-fact had got pretty terrible reviews even in late 1980s America.

It would not suffice to just say.. oh ok.. have you watched 'Madhu +2?'.. well this is a 'British' version of the same.... even though the idea is similar. This version is a far less enjoyable, loud and ribald presentation of one guy having two wives and the trials and tribulations of such a situation. This is not the regular stiff upper lip British humour.... this play is from the guy who wrote other masterpieces like 'No Sex Please we are British..' The jokes are pretty crass even in 2006. Imagine how crass it must have been in 1985.

You know.. there are some 'pieces of art' that never loses its originality and watchability even after it has been rehashed a couple of million times. I do not mean comedies like MMKR which was my generation's first funny movie. I refer to comedies like Sabash Meena and Baama Vijayam which still are excellent comedies... even 40 years after it was made.

This play, has been rehashed in every other medium possible, and the jokes have been heard in different forms that it kind of loses its originality in its original form. The jokes, puns and innuendos just fall flat most of the time, partly because of repetition and partly because of that 'look at me... I am a media whore' kind of loud presentation by the cast. Besides all this, the biggest problem in the play was its length. At a little more than 2 hours, with 7 characters repeating their jokes, sitting through the play was tedious. If I had planned the play, I might have removed about 30 percent of the dialogues in each scene, and alltogether removed one homosexual character. Infact I would have removed all jokes relating to homosexuality...

Everything apart, I have to say that I quite enjoyed the first 30 minutes or so of the play. Especially the first scene where the two wives make separate calls to the police station. Very well choreographed. Stage management was also impressive... The stage being split into two... to present the two houses. I also have to say, it is pretty difficult to memorize so much insipid dialogues and so many forced puns.

The play is on tomorrow as well. Tickets start at 100 Rs. If you read this before that please do not bother too much. The 100 could be spent on better things... like the latest Kushwant Sing joke book.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Marudanayagam ?




Impressive. To say the least.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Movie Review - Mr Brooks

Unremarkable movie with a good cast. Mr Brooks offers a brief insight into the hows of serial killing without bothering with the why. The why is sidelined to just being a 'family trait'... if only the serial killers of the world were a slightly more respected lot, they could sue this movie maker for over simplifying the 'whys', and for making serial killing an almost partisan characteristic... like diabetes.

Mr Brooks at one point of the movie says... "Selecting a person to kill is almost like falling in love. If the person you select does not do it for you, there is no point in killing him." My thought was.. ayyyayyyyayyyo.. Arivu kozhundhu annein.. killi vaila daan potukanum. Though you got to give it to the director for presenting an interesting concept, he falters in not maintaining our interest in the storyline because of such over-simplifications.

There are million sub plots in this movie, and the way all the sub-plots have been interwoven, as usual, seems contrived. Mr Brooks's involvement with the detective, and her reasons seem to be more important than why Mr Brooks even wants kill. All this apart, there are certain areas that are still good. Some inside jokes between Mr Brooks and his alter-ego, especially when the blackmailer Mr Smith talks about doing anything perfectly, are minimally interesting. I am not sure if this movie is goign to be released in Chennai, but even if it is, will not be worth a watch.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Music Review - The Music Messiah

You sometimes think, if a person is a genius, why would he have to boost his own public image. My initial reaction to the self titled album... was that. You cannot fault me, this would not be the first time Illayaraaja has tried something like that.

This album is interesting in that, there is an underlying story to the tracks (10 in number), and to quote the producer, Agi Music, "Agi Music provides a storyline for this album. Nevertheless, Agi suggests the audience to imagine their own version of the story to digest the music and motivates the listener to interpret their own meaning of the story which is hidden in this musical work." :-/. That is my version of the 'one sided dismissive smile'.

OK, in order for you readers to derive all the nutrients from his music, let me guide you through it.

1. Primordial Music - This is supposed to signify the natural music of the earth... starts with what I think is an oriental flute (I assume it is that, because on hearing it I am reminded of Kung Fu masters practicing their art in silhuoete... ). He lends his voice, and the opening firmly establishes the stamp of Illayaraaja... with a few violins wailing in bits and pieces. Just before the song gets to you, there is a change in track, in order to signify the yang of the Universe, the music suddenly turns dark. This is supposed to signify that the earth has its dark elements also. There has been an attempt to include 'earthy' bass instruments in both this song and the next.

2. Paradise - No flow in this. Why was the dark element in the previous song? This song starts on an upbeat mode, and reminds me of one other Illayaraaja composition. "Kala kalavena Mani Osai'... I liked that song, like this too.

3. Revelation - I have this one more crib against Illayaraaja. Why does he build up so well, and suddenly let you down? His sons too have the same quality. Uvan in 'Yaaro'.. in Chennai 28. he builds up pretty well in the song before he just wraps everything in a hurry with "Anbe Vaaaa" hey hey.... and a few unsettling drum beats.

4. The Jealousy of Indra - Apparently in the 'musical story', Indra the god of creation becomes jealous of the 'good music'.. the 'Ying' in the universe. The song starts out on a nice loop at the end, but then there is no continuation.

5. The curse of Indra - Indra was Jealous of the 'earth music'. So he curses. Must have pretty low standards.

6. Lust Anger and Greed - If you are following the story so far, this is teh sad part of teh album. Babies cry, violins wail really slowly... give it to Illayaraaja to make some really sad music. He excels. At the end of the sog, a baby laughs. I suppose that would be God trying to revert the curse of Indira.

7. The Music Messiah - The god ponders what to do. Hmm.

8. The Omnipresence - Hmmmmmmmmmmm

9. The Sacrament - God tries to re-invent music... to calm the minds of the people. It sounds like mood music / ambient tracks, with Native American shakers and davara tumblers rolling in the background. This Song reaches Indra, and he is rendered impotent.

10. The Redemption - The first track is replayed again, with a few fringes. The album ends.

I hope you 'digested' the album. I did, and this was the result. I hope you could get atleast a 'waft' of it it. Putrid.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Movie Review - The Queen

This movie is indeed one among 'a few of a kind' (as opposed to the previous one I reviewed). It is not often that you would get to see a realistic yet entertaining portrayal of a seemingly uninteresting but poignant event. The event in this case was the official reaction of the Queen to the erstwhile Princess, Diana's death.This movie paints a brilliant satire, touching at times, of the ugly nationwide reaction to the passing of Diana, and the very dignified royal response. This is one movie, that I never wanted to end.

I had watched Judi Dench play different queens a couple of times, and Cate Blanchet play another, once. I thought all those representations were partisan, compared to Helen Mirren's performance. Remarkable. The seemingly strong, and poker faced queen, who never 'wears her heart on the sleeve', letting the emotions break through the surface just a few of times in the movie... Each time it happens, you are rewarded with a glimpse of how much work must have gone into the wonderful screenplay. It is a wonder Mirren has not been recognized for any of her earlier roles.

The movie, in one angle, revolves around the Royal family's displeasure at Diana's comportment. The narration begins the day before she dies. The family's resentment to her behaviour when she was alive, turns into quiet withdrawal on hearing of Diana's passing. This is twisted into 'arrogant indifference' by the preyign media, the second angle, and whipped up into a frenzy.
The third angle, is that of Tony Blair, who is but a few months into his first term. He, at first seems to have the legendary british sarcasm towards the Monarchy, and wants to modernize it in every way. He then understands the enormity of the situation he has to handle, first up, and in a quick turn of fate becomes the advisor to the Queen. The rest of the movie is about how a compromise is struck between Blair's intent to not harm the monarchy, and the Queen's rigidity in preserving tradition.

Every third party reaction is treated with extreme satire. Be it the crowds that wept outside the Palace or the extreme rudeness of the media. The tongue in cheek portrayal of how the Duke of Spencer's (Diana's brother) direct blaming of the media for her death in the early hours of her death, turns into a direct attack on the Monarchy during her funeral... suavely done.

The funeral in itself is covered in a tongue and cheek manner with an emphasis on the celebrities no way connected to Diana attending it... just so that it gets media coverage. The dialogues are regularly interspersed with what all of us would have thought at that time... when we see people completely otherwise unnafected by Diana, acting up like their entire future has been destroyed.
Among the movies I have watched over the last couple of months, this is perhaps the best... better than The Prestige by quite a bit.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Movie Review - Sivaji

This has happened to me before. In the case of Snakes on a Plane. SOAP was a much hyped movie, and the premise was astounding. Putting two of peoples greatest fears... flying and snakes together in a movie along with Sam Jackson... one other mortal fear. It took me a couple of hours to actually accept to myself that the movie, in spite of its much hyped, much promised aura, is a remarkable flop in terms of entertainment value.

Sivaji is no different. This movie, flops in every sense of the word. This movie flops even if you disregard the lack of originality in Shankar's direction, ignore the pointless and half assed action sequences, and turn a blind eye to the blatant disregard to anything remotely resembling logic. The movie looks like as if someone had used flash movie maker to make the resume of a kindergarten student. And yet as a HR person, you are forced to consider it for a software architect position.

I watched this movie pretty late... the third week of release, and I was warned to not expect anythign great, and that the movie must be watched for Rajni and Rajni alone. So I prepared myself well, by leaving expectations of coherence, good screenplay and decent acting at home, in the freezer. I was prepared for the SS patented 'style', some gimmicks and a few childish feel good moments.

What I got was some horribly partisan gimmicks... (come on.. do you really think that throwing a chewing gum into your mouth by bouncing it off things is 'style'?), jarring BGM, and a few cliches strung together. That maketh the movie. The only 'new' thing that this movie offers is that Rajni has painted himself pink for one song.

It took me a few hours to accept that inspite of all the self build-up, SOAP was infact a terrible movie. I expect the Thamizh audience to realize that Sivaji is a truly boring, aimless, self absorbed movie that was not worth even the first watch.

And guys... people will fool you by saying that the last 10 minutes of the movie was worth every paisa, and it must not be missed for anything in life. It is just their way of saying that the first 45 hours of the movie sucked donkey dong real hard. Do not believe them.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Music Review - Sathampodadhey

Noway is this Yuvan's best so far... but one of his better efforts. I would start out with my favourite.

Pesukiren - Sung by a few girls called the Viva Girls. Maybe their big break... they might have been heard only in bars before. Their voices blend pretty well, I think there are two of them. What is more interesting about this song is the choice of instruments... one interlude with the trumpet... playful at times and whimsical sometimes... is definitely loopable.
The second interlude too has someone getting innovative on the guitar. This song is the pick of the lot... especially when the chorus kicks in... Adangamaleeeee. Will be my favourite for a few days.

Kadhal Periyadha?
Sudha Raghunathan asking whether lust is better or love is bigger (or must it be the other way around?)... Why does it read incongruous but sound better? This would sound really nice if you have a good sub woofer. The effects are amazing. Other than that, nothing great... the trumpet makes a re-appearance in the interlude and the beat remains the same.

Azhagukutty
This song somehow sounds like a remixes of one of those Ayyappa songs, a progressive beat, and Shankar Mahadevan jamming. How does he not laugh while singing such idiotic lyrics?

Entha Kudhirayil?
Prananaadha??? :-(.

Indha Kaadhal
Yuvan HAS to sing in each of his movies... right ? And he essentially sings the same song over and over again.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Movie Review - The Prestige

Whodunits. I grew up on Agatha Christie books. Do you know what is nice abotu those books? No... it is not just the intricate murder mysteries, but it is that AC was smart enough to respect your intelligence to embed a few clues, subtle, and then when the truth is revealed you could always go back and look up those clues. The 'clue' would then make total sense. Apart from Roger Ackroyd, there is no book of AC that I have read that does not have similar small clues that make sense to teh final result.

I will go back to Sixth Sense. That seemingly disconnected scene where Bruce WIllis goes and meets his wife on their anniversary holds such a lot of meaning to the final result. The wife leaves with a sigh, hardly having acknowledged the presence of Willis. Small hint, excellent lead... and it takes a sharp mind to understand it, and relate it.

The Prestige comes close, but is not quite there. This movie has similar leads to the final result. Not one, not two but quite a few since there are so many characters involved, and every one of those hints has an effect on the final revelation... called the "Prestige". The crib about this movie begins with the opening line. "Look closely or you might miss something".. or words to that effect. Teh crib is that you really do not have to look closely. Some of the revelations are so obvious that you have a higer chance of missing a ketchup stain on your paper resume. Some are not quite so obvious but yet, since you already know certain revelations, you put it together. In the end all the leads were guessable. Gives some people satisfaction. I was one among those satisfied.

The Prestige is one more genuinely good effort from Nolan. I have not been disappointed by any of his works so far. Bale as usual excels, being the really cold and calculating magician who is at war against Hugh Jackman, another magician. Jackman... does not have too much scope and is adequate. Michael Caine seems to be present in every role that requires an aged guy speaking in a British accent. He is the most sought after butler in Hollywood circles.

Comparing The Illusionist and The Prestige... ? I do not want to carp on it, but The Prestige is by far the better and more mature movie, because of the Agatha Christie explanation. The Prestige seemed better planned and more honest, while the Illusionist relied on keeping information from the viewer in order to effect the final surprise. The only cheat in this movie was the pseudo science, which if treated as just a black box... and not dissected too much, adds strength to the story.

I would recommend the Prestige over the Illusionist any day.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Movie Review - The Illusionist

I had previously ranted about the dearth of good whodunits in Hollywood. The biggest problem in Hollywood is that most of the times, the scriptwriter would get caught in a rut of cliches, and the 'uniqueness' in any story would be aimed at breaking those cliches. Most of the times it fails. It fails like in "The Perfect Stranger" because the plot in itself is too weak, and in "Primal" because it becomes too self involved and convolutes too much.

The Illusionist is somewhere in between. It does not try to go the beaten path of trying to break down every movie cliche. Nor does it try to pose like a really intelligent story, that is intended to give you a walloping surprise at the end. It is just a very well executed, well acted and well written movie.

Another way of looking at this movie. See, every generation has its own "Primal Fear" or "Sixth Sense". The generation that gets astounded by "Sixth Sense" might always think that "Primal Fear" is not such a great movie. "The Illusionist" has the capacity to become a cult whodunit, if you discount the fact that there are more cheats in this movie than either 6th Sense or Primal fear. You would certainly like this movie if you have watched neither of the two movies I had mentioned.

Edward Norton is such a powerful actor. He fits the role of the Illusionist pretty much like... I dont know.. like Arjun suited the role of the 'Gentleman'. Perfect casting. Paul Giamati as usual plays a person who tries to work things out. he is always trying to solve some problem or the other, be it Sideways.. where he tries to work himself out, or the Lady in the Water where he tries to work something out for the narph.

I have a feeling the Illusionist is one of the better movies I have watched this year. Had an engrossing story, and all the 'magic' in the movie is not really magic... The magic really only happens at the end of the movie.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Movie Review - Oceans 13

Oceans 13... I do not want to sound hackneyed on my own blog... but yes... this is one more big star extravaganza that fails to impress. After Spiderman and Pirates, one more self involved, pretentious and magnificent dud.

I have a feelign the failing point of this movie is that it is not smart... but it plods on, focussing on essentially stupid things, trying to scam you into believing that this is all really smart. It is like a obtuse student changing the colour of his ink to bright pink, in a vain atempt to impress the teacher.

Supposedly smart men, exchanging inside jokes, short conversations... got boring half way through Oceans 12. In the third you want to smack the obnoxious smile of Clooney's face. The purported camaraderie between men seems too tortured. Sodderburgh has been second guessing himself on the dialogues, and it seemed as though he would have thought to himself... ok you are expecting me to write this.. so I wont write this.

The heist?
The huge heist, as usual improbable, is explained only in the last few seconds of the movie. If revealing everything at the end, without giving us clues about it, is supposed to be smart film making, then please make each movie a 5 minute powerpoint presentation.

Electronic Gimmicks?
A computer that apparently tracks eyeball size, from a distance of 10 feet, and can measure heart rate (wireless heartbeat?) and sense increase in temperature and blood pressure. It is the central nervous system for security measures in a casino, but can apparently be shut down by blowing a few remote switchboards and sending in a 'magnetron' in the form of a... slim cell phone... Why not?

And hey guys, I can never understand the ability of a computer whiz... to hack into ANY computer in the immediete vicinity with just a laptop and a toothpick. This movie is almost like a cartoon when it shows the tech superiority of the rat pack.

Loaded dice that can apparently turn over to either one or six on the touch of a button, obviosuly undetected, and automatic blackjack card dealers that seem to throw out only blackjacks. Not to mention roulette balls that can settle on 13 everytime.

The non electronic 'gadgets' are even more messy.A tunnel digger... that has dug the chunnel is transported right from France to Las Vegas and is used to simulate an earthquake... imagine the logistics involved... A yapping dog sound making device, completely pointless. And so... after all that these guys have done, did they have to send hookers to the stuntman's cabin to steal his clothes? Come on !!! I am getting irritated even pointing out the logical erros in the movie.

The Oceans series??? Good in the first, OK in the second, Intolerable in the third. At the end of the movie you think, if albeit one of the best minds in Hollywood can only produce this, I do not think there is too much hope for Hollywood. Seriously speaking, the last movie that was even decently interesting was Memento. The rest have all been gimmicks.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Possibilities of 300 - part 2 ?

I recently read a report that mentioned that Snyder and Miller might actually work on a follow-up to 300. THe article also mentions they might actually recreate one more magnificent Greek war in CGI splendour. So I went ahead and compiled a list of possible Greek wars that could be the seed for next movie.

1. Ofcourse the Battle of Marathon. It would be a good idea, and the story is highly dramatic

2. A remake of the seige of Troy would be redundant

3. The Peloponnesian Wars... but do you not want to watch Greeks battling other Greeks?

4. The battle of Salamis, where 350 Greek ships battled 1000 Persian ships. The battle was won by the Greeks. Could be a nice movie. Xerxeus witnessed this battle and would be a great follow-up to 300

5. Ofcourse the Battle of Plataea, where Xersus was eventually defeated. More common characters and high on interest value

6. Battle of Amphipolis is a war between Sparta and Athens... Athens lost 600 and Spartans 8 guys. That would be a treat.

7. Euremedon, another sea battle, that inflicted ehavy casualities on the Persian forces.


I suppose Amphipolis, Marathon, followed by Salamis (my personal favourite) followed by Plataea would be the choice. I would personally like more greeks speaking in Scottish accents irrespective of what war is being depicted

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Movie review - Sivaji

Gentleman Part 5 =
Mudhalvan Part 4 =
Indian Part 3 =
Anniyan Part 2 =
Sivaji

/I am officially bored
//I am going to boycott this movie
///This will be my review for the movie

Movie Review - Shootout at Lokhandwala

1. Neha Dhupia looks like a horse. You be the judge.




/The horse NEigHs... and Neha... ?
//I was terribly bored.
///Whateva !!! I do what I want!
////Should it be 'Wali'?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Movie Review - Pirates of the Caribbean

This is one of the most confusing movies I have ever watched. Let me give you the plot details... and you decide whether this movie is worth the 150 minutes you are going to spend on it.

In the first two movies, there were only 2 groups of people, and there werent too much of double crossing or triple crossing. In this, there are four groups of people, with subgroups inside them, that double, triple, quadruple and penta cross, completely crippling the story and our interest factor in the movie. In the end, the movie makes you wonder if this is what Crazy Mohan would come up with, if he had to write an action movie.

OK let me give you the storyline.... Just drag your mouse over the blank section to read the text... Spoilers start here.
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See, basically this movie is about Geoffrey Rush, meeting Chow Yun Fat, to bargain for the map the Davey Jone's locker, where he can find Jack Sparrow, with whose help he can get to the Shipwreck Island, where 9 different pirates can decide on... Wat to have for breakfast.... and debate.. PIRATE LAW !!!

In one of the scenes, a character quips, 'does Jack plan all this or does he just make it up as he goes on...' I have a feeling the writers were talking about themselves when they thought it up. The sequences are pointless to a large extent, some of the dialogs are confusing and the reasoning completely ad-hoc. For example, why does Turner's father, at the end of the movie say... "You know she cannot come with us?",
when he very well knows Swann has already been to the Davey Jone's Locker and has returned successfully?

What is the initial intent of trying to get Jack Sparrow back. Was it to kill Davey Jones, or was it to reach the Shipwreck island on the Black Pearl, one of the fastest ships on earth, or... what?

There also seems to be no specific logic in the kind of deals people made... I frankly do not know when deals were made... through email maybe? because frankly there could not have been so many deals forged without some sort of lightning communication. And if Chow Yung Fat already had a deal with the British, why did they attack him at his bathhouse? Hmm.

Finally what was the rationale behind Becket not firing even one shot while two ships cannonaballed him?
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Spoilers ended there... and see this movie is going to be released in Sathyam. I would advice you to not go near Thousand Lights for the next 1 month or so. I am sure there would be a huge yuppie crowd which is going to come out saying "oh what a 'mind blasting' movie"... or words to that effect. YOu would end up wanting to bash their heads in with a cricket bat...

This is a gloriously pointless movie... it would have been nice if the director had intended it that way.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Movie Review - Pan's labyrinth

The selling point for this movie... for me to watch a 'CGI extravaganza' was the fact that this movie got a 20 minute standing ovation at some film festival. I felt, if so many people could appreciate something in this movie, why not give it a try? I watched the movie... and I was impressed.

Movies, like Narnia and Bridge to Terabithia were good movies in their own right... they appealed to the clan of humans who had still been pooping in their nappies at the turn of the century. The movies did not attempt to retain the innocence of the children... their heroes. Children performed humungous feats of strength, like battling chimeras and mountain lions and jumping across oceans. The stories in itself did not have any charm other than giving parents a feeling that probably this is what the children wanted to see.


Pan's labyrinth distances itself quite safely from such tripe. The story has all the ingredients to charm a child, and still manages to interest adults too. This movie has managed to maintain the innocence of the lead character. A 12 year girl... she thinks her mother is 'sick with baby'... her expression for the being pregnant. The child has very simple explanations to everything that happens around her, which kind of takes us back to "Life is Beautiful" for a moment. The story in itself also has a sort of an Enid Blyton simplicity to it, with the slight grotesqueness of Roald Dahl's children's stories. The blood, the violence, the deaths and the slightly dark surroundings may not be exactly suitable for all children, but plays its part in keeping adults too interested. The CGI in this movie plays its part more in astounding us.. into thinking... "Now they can do this?". It is a pity this movie never got to hit the screens in India.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Movie Review - Karuppusamy... Kuthagaikkarar

I do not know why I watched this movie. But I had nothign else to do. The movie is as people would put it, 'Village subject based youth movie', is about a girl who sees her mother in a man... and falls in love with him so that she can study better. Hmmm. I feel you are confused. Are you not? I am too.

Karan, I have a feeling is the new age Sivaji Ganesan. He has plenty of opportunity to overact, and acts for everyone else also in the movie. The heroine does an excellent impression of a wet sponge. She is almost always leaking water from her eyes. The rest of the cast is mostly hair... I did not know everyone in Madurai walked around with hairballs instead of faces. The hair density of the rest of the cast, makes our dear Teeyar look like Cho Ramaswamy.


Anyway enough of the slander. This movie is pure tripe made to look like one of those Veyyil, Kadhal movies that survived on the "locals doing local things" feel. In the end it manages to look like a wannabe Kadhal... and Kadhal is not a movie that you would want to imitate. Certainly not.

Talking about imitations, Karan overacts as a mimicry artist. He is called Xerox, because he can imitate any person on earth. He had pretty low standards I suppose, because his imitation of Rajini in Murattu kalai stopped with a handlebar moustache and white clothes. He could not even get the SS stare right. Meenakshi (the wet sponge) is Kanakambaram or one of those other flower names common in Thamizh Nadu... and is a school topper who falls in love with Karan. Karan apparently reminds her of her mother... I am not surprised... if all the men are hairballs, anyone with a pencil thin moustache is a woman... right?


Anyway Karan falls in love with good intentions in mind... 'ie' to make the sponge study. I am sure she would not have studied even the cover page of her textbooks... with the amount of loitering around she does with Karan. Hey do not mistake me, she is a sponge... and is already wet. She cannot soak in any more knowledge...


Then things happen... more hairballs turn up and wave sharp metal objects around. There are more self righteous talks about 33 percent reservation for women, and Abdul Kalam havign great plans for single women... There is a photograph of Kalam or Gandhi whenever Karan begins his monologues. I do not know how every other character listens, but I want to quickly squirt some quickfix into his mouth everytime he he opens it. He periodically visits the hairball family to plead for the the sponge to study. He usually ends up either black or blue in the face and body.


Some time later, there is a fight and the movie ends. And oh I forgot to mention... there is a song before the fight. Infact more than one song. In the end, the moral of the story is that Karan could become a really nice character artist if he could just tone down on the jaw movements and overacting.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Movie Review - The last king of Scotland

I am Tendulkar if the movie is McGrath... clean bowled over. This is a very nice movie. I've watched other Africa-centered movies,... The Constant Gardener, Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond... and what else ? I do not remember the others, but this movie should be remembered for... surprisingly, it's humour !

The first half of the movie is definitely mirthful, and is in sharp contrasl to the pretty heavy second half. I am talking about halves here... because, the attrocities of Amin come as a complete surprise to Garrigan, the main character, breaking the movie clearly into two... one humourous the second gruesome to say the least.

Ok let me backtrack a bit... this movie is about a Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan who gets to become a close confidante... a 'chief advisor' to Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator. He gets introduced to Idi Amin (a memorable scene), and Amin likes him immedietely because he is Scottish. He gets the opportunity to work with Amin, who appears, at the beginnign as a slightly violent but benevolent leader of the masses. "This is Africa, if you are not firm and violent, you will get killed", Garrigan reasons to justify the violence he sees. At the same time, Idi Amin charms Garrison by exposing his humourous side. When Amin tries to convince Nick to stay with him in his palace, the tone is almost childlike... Garrigan gets fooled.

Garrigan too has his own personal corrupting elements. He gets enamoured initially by the opulence in Amin's castle, and settles down there... cannot blame him, his only other option is the malaria infested jungle hospital.

Then he awakens from blissful ignorance to all the killings going on around him, and begins to doubt Amin. His initial reaction is to run away, to Scotland, but is once again persuaded to stay back. The proves to be his undoing. He gets caught between trying to protect Amin... his friend, and trying to stop Amin... the violent mass murdering psychopath... The final few scenes come as a shock to almost everyone in the theater. The adjective 'tasteful' will not exactly be fit... but I did not see any excesses. Hmm... you might not want to take my word for it... my previous movie had been Grindhouse. I kind of enjoyed it to say the least.

The movie has, among other things very nice performances by Forest Whitaker, and by James McAvoy. Hard to believe this guy's most mentionable role was as a fawn called Tumnus in Narnia.

The movie has been running in Sathyam for a while, i suppose it is worth the time you spend for it.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Movie Review - Chennai 600028

Monday morning... 7.30 route number 12. One more boring week of novel reading and insipid engineering subjects... the only thing that used to actually keep me going was the chant of Saturday... Saturday... I used to spend the entire week looking forward to saturday mornings in Somasundaram ground and a nice round of cricket with friends.

Those were the days, when Somasundaram Grounds were dominated by this fearless bunch of Lungi boyz, or the Mark Waugh team. The captain looked uncannily like Mark Waugh... only darker and shorter. His strokes were wide... not in choice but in scope... and was limited to only one swing, starting from behind the shoulder and ending behind the other shoulder... the arc wide... and if by chance, this arc intersected the arc made by the ball... we usually ended up buying another tennis ball. This deadly stroke was played to ward off every delivery...

Those were the days when cricket cheering was limited to catch phrases like "Well ma Well ma... well shot ma... " words I am sure would bring a smile to me when I am 90. And oh those were also the days when nothing... not even the early India - Australia series would deter us from walking those few kilometers to the ground, lugging 2 bats apiece, every Saturday morning.

Chennai 600028 captures the essence of that kind of purposeful life. A life mainly dedicated to playing cricket, and taking pleasure from little else. It is not the "Iqbal" kind of 'triumph of human spirit' movie. It is more of a glorified social commentary on the lives of the Lungi Boyz... the Well ma gang.

Their love lives, their squabbles and thier drinking interspersed with some nice songs (Uvan has excelled in this movie) and lots of montages of happenings in teh cricket field. The movie in general has an easy-going feel to it. The director never really stays on a subject for more than 3 - 4 minutes, and in general the movie is edited poorly.

But still, it is like sitting outside a ground and following atleast 3 crciket matches at teh same time. You follow one game for abotu 2 overs... and then switch onto one other game.. and then return to the first game only to moev onto the third game in a while. In the end you get glimpses of each game, but the fact remains is that you have been entertained solidly.

The story is narrated pretty much the same way, with plenty of lose ends and tangential storylines. If ever you get bored with something, just wait a bit and the entire movie changes. I was reminded of a Roger Ebert line.... "The screenplay was like someone had thrown the entire bunch of papers into the air and had presented the scenes in teh order the sheets came down"...

And yes... the fact remains that yuou have been entertained solidly for the 150 minutes. It is a nice aimless movie, though not a must watch.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Movie Review - NAI

"Naan avan illai..." is something you would say to defend yourself from your friend if he had seen you outside the theatre playing NAI. It's common to remix old songs and movies... usually it is done after giving due credit to the original creator. In the case of NAI though, Balachander is not even mentioned for writing the story. On watching the movie the truth is revealed. Apparently, the old man had requested his name be taken off the 'credits' if you may, on watching the rushes.

Anyway, as far as I understood, the movie is about showcasing 5 women, and making the audience guess the cup sizes of each one of them. With Malavika's and Namitha's playing a prominent part, there is little else of screen space to show any semblence of a story or anything else for that matter.

Jeevan plays Gemini Ganesan of the orignial, but talks the same way in each one of the 6 roles he plays. Apart from different hair styles, he does little else to display different personalities. Absolutely insipid presentation and dialogue delivery. His way of talkign is so uniquely insipid that you need no further evidence to link all the characters he plays.

The makers needed space for 6 songs, and 2 fights. So the dialogues are from a cartoon book... The dialogue writer is some sort of Mani Ratnam whith a more concise vocabulary. Usually the wooing dialogues go like this...

Jeevan with weird hairdo : Naan vandhu London la 1000 kodi ku sondha kaaran
Girl : Wow. Enakku London pidikkum
Jeevan : Oh nice, enakku India pidikkum
Girl : Enna kalyanam pannikareengala?

The entire movie is narrated from the court room, and if you thought the wooing scenes were low on interest value, the courtroom scenes were Enron shares. The narration also holds no tension with a song thrusting itself in.. pardon the pun, every 4 minutes or so. Jeevan keeps saying the movie title a few million times in a weak attempt at humour.

There is an attempt to bring in a level of contemporariness to the story, by including DNA matching and truth serum tests, but try as they may, it is impossible to salvage the weak storyline and weaker presentation by the main actors. I suppose it is too late to say 'avoid it', but the do not watch the movie even when shown on TV, on the day it is impossible to go out in the streets in Chennai. I mean... ofcourse... the day MuKa dies.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Movie Review - Flags of our fathers

A new evening. A new movie. This time since there was nothing else to watch other than Chennai 600028. I was saving it for the weekend adn so I watched Flags of our Fathers... their fathers. The oremise.. teh story reminded me of Conrad Brean (excellent role by de Niro) in Wag the Dog.. saying "One little image of one smart bomb falling down a chimney... and the American public bought the war". I suppose the same thing had happened even in World War 2.

America had been in the war for over 4 years, and money was running short. They needed to raise 13 billion... otherwise their war was over. What do they do? Once again I was reminded of a Wag the Dog reference. The character Stanley Motts played by Distin Hoffman saying.. "What was I thinking !!! We have a war and we do not have a hero??? We NEED a hero..."

The American public needed a hero, a champion who would epitomize America's victory in the war... for the public to bank roll it. And just as Hollywood producers now turn to their media managers and PROs to increase a movie's worth before its release, the American government turned to its media division. Iwo Jima got caught in the lime light and that image of the second flag being raised... played a significant role in raising part of 13 billion dollars needed for the war.

What is interesting in this movie is the disparate understandings of this significant event by the involved parties. The soldiers who raised the first flag, came back to the USA and who became part of the 'bond drive', did not want to be perceived as heroes, because they, as soldiers did not do much towards the victory. The people who wanted to use this excellent photograph as the poster for propaganda, thought of them mainly as prize resources.
The reason why the second flag was raised, was seen through the soldier's eyes... as primarily army politics, while the general public viewed the reason behind raising the flag as a staged photo opportunity. The politicians wanted to encash on this to further their bigger level plans. Neither of the intentions were dishonourable, except possibly the politician's view, which, to quote Colonel Nathan Jessop saying, "Grotesque as it may seem, their existence is absolutely necessary..."

That was the story, a really interesting and topical story, with the current war going on. The difference being that, WW 2 was necessary. There was a clear threat and clear agression on the part of America's enemy. The reasoning behind the current war not compeletely clear to the people and yet the US Government has come back with the most powerfully staged photo ops in history.

This shot of the flag being raised was the seed for such a marketing concept and has been done in as suave a way as possible. The movie in general talks about how each view of the war, is in essence a necessity in the broad scheme of things.

The final statement... "There are no heroes in real life... just ordinary men doing ordinary things... but the heroes are made as and when are needed", suits the cynical attitude of today's society. This is a slow moving movie, I did not like the way the events had been sequenced, but still a movie worth its 2 hours running time.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Movie Review - Periyar

There was a man... a rebel, who could not tolerate a lot of idiotic customs followed in society. He fought against society, won some lost some and could gather a tremendous following. Just like any successful leader, he realized very early in life, to target one part of society, that was purportedly superior to the rest and play the politics of separation to gain the afforementioned following.

This man's agenda was simple. Even in 1930s, when the Brahmin population in Thamizh Nadu was only 3 percent, he made broad claims that they controlled all of society's wealth. What he comfortably neglected to talk about was the percentage of educated public that was brahmin.

What is also comfortably neglected was that he directly asked for 50 percent reservation in government jobs and doctors without understanding whether there were enough doctors and educated people to fill government jobs. What was interesting is that he never started any schools which could teach the downtrodden, but directly demanded jobs for the downtrodden.

How things further played into his hands was the stupidity of Rajaji to have created the Kula Kalvi Thittam, almost as a chariot for Periyar to ride on.

What was more criminal on Periyar's side was that he would shamelessly combine Brahmin bashing with Hindu hatred, inspite of the rest of the 97 percent of the population following the same 'stupid' Hindu religious superstitions.

What was even more criminal on Periyar's part was the fact that he would hit the idols of the gods with slippers, something that he himself had been beaten with as a child. The slipper is something of an underlying theme in the movie.

What completely exposed Periyar for the blackguard he is, was when he proclaimed August 15 as a day of mourning because only Brahmins would rule India.

What was shameful on Periyar's part would be his usage of Brahmin wealth and means to propagate anti-Brahmin thoughts and fervour.

What is most criminal is the way the movie has been made portraying Periyar as a great thinker with only noble intentions in mind. Great leader he was, but most of his thoughts were short sighted and most of intentons suitable only for the sewage.

What is extremely heartwarming is that the Chennai audience understood the shameless propaganda that goes on in this movie and hence have carefully avoided it. This movie is suited for people who still think it was the Brahmins who made the state the way it is now. This movie is a vessel for inebriated college guys who could not get a job because of their own stupidity to gloat over and blame their inefficacy on 'corrupt' Brahmins. This movie is basically for people who have no intelligence but yet do not want to take the blame for it.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Movie Review - Spiderman 3

There are some movies... that are so bad that you will not even enjoy abusing them. There was this movie called 'Marine' with John Cena which had absolutely NOTHING... neither new nor old... nothign at all. It just had John Cena chasing down bad guys and destroying them. I thought there could not be another movie that is worse than "Marine". This is by far the worst movie ever from Hollywood and it would take the likes of Rob Reiner, the weasel (whats up buuuudy) and Rob Schneider together to make a worse movie.

Then I watched Spiderman 3. I stood corrected. I have newfound respect for Rob Schneider. His movies can even be entertaining. Not even that Kashmiri movie that I saw in 1985 on DD... was as bad as Spidey 3. That movie had a story that was logical in all its negative IQ splendour. Spidey 3 had colours and sound. Thats it... thats where all similarities with 'movies' end. There is nothing else in Spiderman 3 that would make anyone... who can poop without help... call it a movie.

Nothing new in S3. You recognize old but necessary characters like the Spiderman, the aunt, the friend and the girl friend. They all are still in the same city and keep talking pretty much the same way about the same mundane things. You know the director has to keep stressing that superheroes have normal lives too. The only problem is that apart from those normal lives, superheroes seem to have terribly cliched superhero lives.

For eg: Spiderman suddenly says, "I think I will propose to Mary Jane" and the aunt comes up with an archaic story about how she and the dead uncle went ice skating in the Sahara... in their dreams. We had seen the same thing happen only 255234 times before in the earlier Spiderman movies. Usually seen with dialogues like.. "You gotta know what you gotta do..." and "Just ask yourself whether you would do what you wanted to do..." and "Would this actually make you do something better to yourself by not doing everything by itself". I really do not know how many rounds of whisky goes in before people write this trash... Thankfully such things were drowned by even more inebriated whistles in the CASINO theatre in Chennai.

Spidey also is eteranlly questioning himself... is attacked by evil thoughts/aliens and loses his powers to do 'good' to the world. Then timely advice by friend/aunt/dog/church bell... takes over and he regains his good spidey powers. Frankly if at all he had wanted to do any good, he should have slingshot the Spiderman 'reels' into space above and beyond, much ebfore they got a chance to corrupt us.

The S1 S2 mirros go on. There is the friend, who wants to wreak revenge on spidey, because he thinks he has killed the father. Then there is Mary Jane who is always aspiring to be something... and that somethign always eludes her. She wanted to be a singer, but it eludes her, she wanted to be a model... it eluded her.. and she fianlly wants to be a waitress... but she ends up on the floor... punched in the face by 'bad sipdey'. Pretty much like Kirsten Durnst... she had always wanted to act... and it will always elude her.

Tobey Mcguire. He had the same expressions in Seabuscuit as in Spiderman 1,2 an 3 and the same voice that he had as a kid asking for cookies. There is something innately idiotic about watching a 35 year old man whose voice has not broken yet, play an adult superhero with a 'Muraliesque' love interest. I cannot really put my finger on it... but I am sure if someone could... it would be a red button that would blow the entire Spiderman movie franchise off the face of the earth.

The earth is truly cursed if there is going to be a Spiderman 4. I would prefer an asteroid or global warming to that.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Movie Review - Perfect Stranger

There has never been a dearth of ambitious whodunits from Hollywood. All of them start out with the murder and all fingers pointing very clearly to one person. Every few minutes during the screenplay, there is purpotedly a 'twist in the tale'... and a new person emerges as the main suspect...but the nothing is obvious as that and so the least possible person ends up being the killer finally. In some cases like Primal fear, it pays off well, but in other cases like the Perfect Stranger, we end up being the victim. The mass murdered in this case being the director.

What differentiates the good movies from the bad whodunits ? Motive. And how th motive is revealed to us. In movies like Primal Fear and Usual Suspects, NOTHIGN new is revealed at the end except the killer's identity. The story essentially remains the same, and the way it is viewed is slightly adjusted. In other words, the perspective is slightly altered without an alteration of the facts.

In the recent whodunits, miss this quality. The movie is extremely slow paced with the suspects changing every 30 minuets or so, and the bulk of the partisan motive is shown as a chunk in the last 2 minutes when almost 80 percent of the theatre has walked out. The ending is a total let down. It is not worth wasting so 2 hours for this movie. Sleep. That would be more exciting.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Movie Review - Wild Hogs

John Travolta, William H Macy, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen decide to do something about their completely washed up lives... and take a bike ride to the Pacific... I should say the story was almost autobiographical. None of these actors have done anything better than act in Sunday school plays in the last 4 years... unless you want to count Martin Lawrence as the bear with a Brooklyn accent in "Open Season".

The supporting cast of this movie also sounds like someone had run a fishing net through the sewers of Hollywood. Once great now discarded actors like... Ray Liota, Marisa Tomei make appearances and hold onto the movie like dud limpets.

Apparently this movie was intended to be a comedy... but clearly what has happend was that the writer had known only two 'funny' words in the english vocabulary. One is 'doodie', and the other is 'gay'. So we are doled heaps of the first and bushels of the next. We are treated to jokes like Macy bagging his poop because he is a computer programmer neat freak. We have a buff highway patrolman really liking the idea of four grown men sleeping together and wanting to join them. He follows them around and appears only when one of the four men or all four are undressed.I think those ideas are so much of a cliche that even writing about them became a cliche 10 years back.

On the whole, this is a movie that can be safely avoided. The story seems like something the 'Sideways' folks kept aside with a pair of tongs, and the jokes are straight out of something Bill O Reily might read in the restroom. The cast is actors even Hollywood is ashamed of and the movie... something that would run very hard and quickly to the Razzies.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Movie Review - Unnale Unnale

This is in response to some of those reviewers who have praised Unnale Unnale... Well let me give yo ua few more reasons to praise the movie.

Tanisha... she has completely forgotten the movie was Thamizh and lip synchs for French dialogues. She introduces herself with... "Enakku friends na romba pidikkum...". Reminds me of the hordes of male profiles in TamiMatrimony that claim "They like having fun". Hehehe.. I always would suggest that they extend that nugget with,"I like to be happy but don't mistake me... I am not gay". It is sure to get everyone's attention.

How is it that everyone seems connected to every other person in the movie? So hero falls in love with a girl, who is suspicious of him and breaks off, So he goes to the same obscure Australian city as she lives, without knowing about it. So he sits next to a girl who just happens to go to the same city in the same continent... AND who is the room mate/friend of his old flame. I expected to even see the air hostess in the Australian flight to appear as one of their friends in the coffee shop.

The coffee shop owner!!! That irritating guy with thick glasses from Ullam Ketkume, is everywhere. He suddenly appears on both sides of the love story and gets stuck like fast drying cow dung. He is a hard to remove smear. He is a totally unnecessary character in an otherwise also unnecessary movie. The dialogues... apparently they were very good because quite a lot of youth in the theatre associated themselves with it. "Ponnunga paatha Just looking.. Naanga paatha alayaroma ?".. If that was the basis for the tiffs of 'lovers'... I urge you guys... please turn away... or better stil, turn gay. There is no reason to continue with your present relationship.

The story could be writen on the back of a postage stamp. It is not worth mentioning in any review. The story is so insipid that the director had to use 4 songs as a filler during the second half.

The hero looks and laughs like he has the answer to all relationship questions, but is eternally confused between the two girls. Sada looks like his elder sister when she wears make up. Tanisha as the bubbly open minded alternative to the morose suspiciuos Sada is a movie cliche in any language and can be comfortably ignored. The Ulam Ketkumey guy has to be murdered. The rest of the cast is better swept under the carpet. Shameful.

The music is the saving grace. So if at all you want to spend money or time on the movie, download the songs from Tamilbeat. It takes 5 minutes and it gives you twice as much fun.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Movie Review - 300

It has always been a dream of mine... to watch a movie.. first day first show... I am a nerd. A HUGE nerd. I am glad I did it for this movie. So Sathyam theatres... Friday morning.

The movie... is everything I had expected and more. It is not everytime a viral marketing campaign on the internet works... we saw it falter miserably with Snakes on a Plane. But with 300, it worked and the movie made 150 million.

There is a theory that I propose for a viral marketing campaign to suceed. A VM technique is all about expectations... and 300 in all its simplicity, herded all those expectaions towards one narrow gully. Every single person who wanted to watch the movie, expected blood geysers, mountains of gore , and lots of adrenalin pumping in choreographed fight sequences.

We got that... and much much much more. 20 feet tall elephants, a mad charging rhino... ogres, scheming hunchbacks, killing, maiming and slicing through flesh... mountains of dead people , Punch dialogues all through out... and ofcourse I dont think anyone would have played Leonidas better than Gerry Butler. 300 is a case of getting much much more than what you expected during a VM campaign. And the VM campaign makes you expect LOTS of some very small thing.

This movie also works because it depicted the randomness of a war with all the rigid planning of a Spartan. The dialogues would put Liyaquath Ali Khan to shame... Wish Hari and Perarasu would watch this movie and learn hwo to write punch dialogues. Every character has a cool thing to say in even the most hopess situation... and sells the line so damn well !!! Vijay !! your punch dialogues in Pokkiri are kitten mews.. compared to this. I am ashamed and would never watch another Vijay movie again.

300 is a must watch. In the theatre. Playing in Sathyam and INOX. I do nto know how long INOX is going to be up... but watch it. I myself plan to watch it atleast 3 more times.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Music Review - Sivaji

Wow !!! Wow!!! no words to describe it.. Sivajeeeee... What songs ! I cannot wait to watch the movie.

Ballelakka
1. SPB... Incomparable singing... (who else but SPB for an opening song for SS ?)

2. Phenomenal lyrics... (Where else can you get Kaveri Aaru and Idly chutney in the same line??? but in a Sivajee song ).
Ayyanarukitta Aruval vaangi thaan Pencil seevalamey ???
Abdul Kalam atom bomb vangi Diwali kondadalamey ???
Why not ? if you are already feeling like you have adrenochrome in your veins!!! But makes you wonder is he the same SS who asked you.. "Poo Parikka kodaali edhukku?" in Muthu. Adrenochrome is a strange drug... ask Hunter S Thmpson.

3. Spirited beats (Dholak... Was sivamani cloned TWICE to record for this song? Poor Dholak). I would not say this intro song is better than the one in Basha. But hey this is... COOOL !!!!! :D.... kewl. I want to see SS lip synching to it. Single most hilarious moment in Thamizh movie history.


Athiradee Kalam!!!
When did SS become a Telugu actor ?? I can imagine Prabhas dancing to this... Ginger and Cinthol are being rhymed. With ARR singing he could rhyme Orange with Butter Jam...
Sayanora ? Really ? Someone named you 'goodbye' the day you were born ? They must have heard your thamizh accent. :-). Amazing.. and Roger Moore must be flattered that he is being compared to Rajni...

Vaada Vaada Vangikkada. Sooda Sooda Masaal Vada.
Oh... Quentin... do you think you are the only person to have machette sounds in your soundtrack !!?? ARR goes one step beyond.. starts out with the sound of an aruvamanai flying about and composes one entire song with other household sounds... like banging aluminium kadais, bedpans being emptied and the bowel movements of someone suffering from indigestion. Take that QT. You know ARR is way better. There is also the sound of an old Jimi Hendrix LP being scratched up for good measure. 'Kewl' :-).

Follows up with lyrics like..
Vaada Vaada vangikkada. Vaila Beeda potukkada !!!.. Pah !! Well I suppose Sivaji is an NRI who opens a vegetarian mess in Gobichettypalayam. That atleast explains the indigestion part.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Movie Review - Sabari

Dr Sabhari Vasan MBBS MS FRCS DS and the leading cardio thoracic surgeon in the world, universe and beyond. He performs open-heart surgeries in the light of a cell phone (aaparaysun suxus), with his left arm tied behind his back, has performed 1000s of simultaneous heart operations, like Vishwanathan Anand plays rapid chess and has cured millions of the most dangerous disease on earth... boredom.

There are no big surprises in the movie, and it definitely pales in comparison to Gajendra and Vaanjinathan. This is more of a mellow Ramana without the thrills and minimal dialogues. The fights are more or less similar to his other movies, with each guy getting utmost 2 punches before he drops down in a heap of bones.

What stands out in this movie, are ofcourse his political innuendos. When he talks in favour of the 60,000 Sri Lankan tamils, he says there were so many aeroplanes sent to get Indians back from Lebanon... but not even basic amenities to these people. I was like hulo.. these are refugees, those are Indian citizens. There is a difference.

The paisa vasool moment, was Gaptain with bling. Imagine, Captains already weird dress sense... and he now wears bling and pimps his clothes up!!! Plus he raps inside a stretch limo with hoes around !!!! When he nods his head he resembles a boom boom maadu dressed up by a colour blind maatukkaran who just had too much to drink. Watch this movie for that alone. His Pimpiness The Gaptain.

He strikes a few B-Boy stances without the guns (remember those plastic guns in Alexander?)... and all of us swoon. Malavika's grace the occasion and they move about like bowling balls on a trampoline. The other love interest is Jyothirmayi. Her name is longer than her presence in the movie.

There are arbit characters... why do all indian girls want to become astronauts? Delhi Ganesh as Sabari's father, performs hsi own stunts when he flies about, and a truly ugly sister. She looks like Delhi Ganesh in drag. But she manages to look better than gaptain as a pimp.

This movie also has 2 climax sequences, one in flashback and the other real time, spaced 2 minutes apart. The movie ends with Sabari mourning over the people whom he kills... Apparently Vijayakanth had said the movie mainly showcases doctors and their problems. I don't know how many doctors have to fight pitched battles with real estate kingpins... But if you have to... you can learn from our Sabari.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Movie Review - Deepavali

I had the opportunity to witness this movie with one great friend:-). One of the few times... i have company for a movie. So, well I would have ended up enjoying even a Kashmiri art movie dubbed into Chinese.

Well... imagine this situation. You are working in an Irish town... for 6 months and for the 6 months, you end up eating mashed potatoes cos that is the only vegetarian dish that you get there. Suddenly someone gives you cabbage... how would you feel? I would devour it.. even if it had been left in the fridge for 6 months... Deepavali is just that. Refrigirated 6 month old cabbage. This cabbage curry is garnished with a pinch of Moondram Pirai, a smattering of Gilli and a motherload of bullshit. But apart from that the movie is pretty watchable.

'Billu'.. yes that his real name, is a New Washermanpet dogooder and son of Vijaykumar (who for a change does not resemble or behave like a retarded grizzly bear). Billu falls in love with a girl who switches her memory on and off whenever she boards a Tata Sumo or a Safari. Raghuvaran explains this remarkable medical phenomenon in a few sentences... he says,

"Sometimes when there is a head injury, you say... 'I dont remember what happened'. It is true. You really do not remember what happened. That is called loss of memory, or in law terms, the Clinton defense. "

He adds. "I tried this logic, when I hit my teacher once on the head... but they whipped me for that. Apparently the loss of memory is only for the person who gets hit".

Love blossoms and scatters seed (dirty dirty) inspite of this, and the girl extracts a promise from Billu. "Even if I forget you, will you continue to chase me and get married only to me?". Hahahaha.. only a guy could have thought up the logic... a girl... wants someone whom she does not even remember, to stalk her... She even says, if she gets married to someone else, she will die... Hehehe. Why do these directors try to think like women? They must just stick to the cliches. Why try to experiment?

Anyway, the girl loses memory yet again and moves to Bangalore. She roams near the KR Puram bridge, Forum Mall and that Kerala restaurant off Brigade road, where ourman time and again tries to convince her of his true intentions... like any stalker would. He gets stabbed, beaten, run over, stabbed again and hit on the head, for his efforts, but persists. This happens like 20 times in the second half and bores us to death.

By now we are approching the 160 minute mark, and there is no end in sight, the girl's marriage is fixed. Billu abducts the girl and brings her to Chennai. Goons follow her, and they try to bring her back. The movie ends with the titles.

There is soemthing that happens for 3 minutes between the time when the Goon's Sumos road into New WashermanPet and the titles which is best left to your imagination. Suffice to say, it does not salvage this stinking cabbage curry of a movie. It is going to stink even in the North pole. Take a good friend to the movie. Maybe you would enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Movie Review - Muni

This is my dream movie. A telugu movie, made in Thamizh. Not like Maanbumigu Measthree which is nothing but half assed dubbing work. This is actually a Telugu movie, but made solely for Thamizh audiences. The dialogue has tinges of Gongura, the acting smells KoruveeKaaram and the action reeks of Avakka.

Ragava Larencce (The artist formerly known as Lawrence). Seriously that is how he spells his name... and talking about stretching superstitions to more than just a few extraaaa vowels, Muni is a movie about the ghost of Muniyandi, who, even though seems to have the power to kill a yak, at 200 yards, with mind bullets, (Wonderboy? What is the secret of your power?) requires the stairs to climb down from the first floor to scare people out of their senses. I have watched so many ghost movies, but not once has that mystery been explained. Why do ghosts use the stairs when everything else they do defies physics?

Muni is the ghost of Raj Kran (Raaj Kiran to the unitiated... you know where the extra vowels have gone), who now resides inside Larencce, who by the way resides in the villains house, where Muni was originally killed for reasons best left unmentioned. Oh what the heck... I will mention it anyway.

Muni is just too good a guy to continue living. He thinks good, acts good and eats good. He wants to get his daughter married so that he can have grandchildren. He wants to have grandchildren so that they will kick him on his chest. He wants them them to kick him there so that ... anyway you get the idea. He is a nice guy. So he has to be killed... pretty much like how any kung fu master is killed... it is one of the laws of nature.

The rest of the movie is about the ghost defining retribution to the 'evil doers' pretty much like BrickTop (Snatch?) would do, and Laarence, blue contacts, gutteral voice and all, bashes everyone to pulp. Interestingly, when posessed by the ghost, he does not bleed.

And before I forget, the famous photograph of Muni stuffing his face with food balls... you get to see it...., but you would have to wait till the end of the movie. How can there ever be a movie where Raj Kran does not eat? And yes he bites into the bones of the chicken in a few scenes. So take your vomit bag with you incase you feel the urge. Most importantly Muniyandi Vilas is thanked in the credits for the food... Sooooo unique. Incase you are wondering, these are the best pics I could find on GISing "Muni".