Thursday, January 24, 2008

Movie Review - Polladhavan

People keep talking about how stylish Billa was, and how great the cinematography was. What do you think? Slow motion shots of guns and swords falling down, and people walking around wearing dark glasses... is not style. Malaysia has spectacular locales... and showing a bleached version of it is not good cinematography. If that were the case, the Hollywood crockpot "Three Kings" is the best shot movie on earth.

Polladhavan was stylish. It had characters coming out of the slums presented stylishly. It had interesting anecdotes strung together in a stylish manner. It had a half decent but old storyline with succinct dialogues and a director who did not take anyone for granted. To me Polladhavan was more stylish than Billa.

The movie started with Dhanush staggering around after killing a few guys with a sword, and then immedietely flashes back to Dhanush being your normal wastrel donkey on small wall. Wasting his time with his friends, and having an unrequited lady love. Some of the initial sequences with Karunas were extremely funny and the line "Nee Kelein" could become part of the lingua franca... like "Enna kodumai saravanan idhu"...

The story moves normally as it narrates the regular tensions in such lower class families, the discussions between father and son... that kind of remind you of 7G Rainbow colony. What happens next is pretty much out of any other normal Thamizh movie. The hero is sucked into a gang war, even though he attempts to defuse the situation at every stage. What was stylish was how the director sells the "this could have happened... there is nothing outlandish about this" feel with the cascading events.

That, to me was the difference between the Thimuru / Palani / Sivakasi kind of movies and Polladhavan. The cinematography, the dialogues, the characterization and the screenplay seemed to get pretty well to lend a semblance of believabilityto the normal hero beats goons up story. This movie is definitely worth a watch.

Polladhavan was Dhanush's best movie of 2007. The music from Yuvan was good, with help from Yogi B. The love story, could have been avoided... but then it would have shrunk the movie by 45 minutes. Dhanush looked great in the action sequences... and surprisingly, the goons provide more pay-off moments than the hero in this movie.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Movie Review - Evano Oruvan

Have you guys watched this movie called "Falling Down", with Michael Douglas in the lead. He is a normal guy... walking across town to his wife and kid, and he meets many dubious characters along the way who either prey on him or have some sort of weirdness which angers him enough to destroy them. In "Evano Oruvan", the situation is the same as Falling Down, pitting a frustrated middle aged man and a sympathetic cop against a corrupt city.

Evano Oruvan is different from "Falling Down" in a few ways though. The protaganist is just too damn self righteous. Most scenes in the movie is kind of morphed from the original. Douglas has an initial confrontation with a Korean convenience store owner. In this case, it was a Marwadi asking for 2 rupees extra. FD had an arms seller instead of a drug peddler. The kind of people they both meet are the same, and results are the same. But, the reasoning in between is significantly different.

MD in FD, loses rights to see his family, loses his job, his car breaks down, gets caught in the traffic, and that day is probably the hottest day of the year. That causes the frustration. Madhavan refuses to pay capitation fee for his daughter (because he feels that is wrong) and so does not get the seat, and he gets shot down by his manager for not approving a loan without enough documents (once again because he is too damn straigh forward). Do you see the differences between the two ? His line to his wife about himself "trying to do something about the situation" also sounded too cinematic considering his back-ground.

What I did not like about Madhavan's Michael Douglas was that Madhavan sounded too "Oh I am great"ish. D-FENS (character nick-name in FD) is more of a 'normal guy' like one of us. He normally would not care about paying the 2 rupees extra, but on that day, he snaps... because of the heat and because of his divorce. That 'just that day' reason did not click because Madhavan sounded too preachy in all his monologues. He keeps repeating how straight-forward he is, and how corrupt everyone else around him is. I felt that the character needed more frustration inducing reasons to snap the way he did.

I am not saying this is not a great movie, because I compare it with FD alone. I feel EO eventhough is a great concept, does not make use of it totally. EO certainly does not give the "this could happen to any one of us" feel intended by the director. Inpite of that, this is a fairly good movie, but not one of the best to come out of Kollywood last year. Tamilians seem to think anything that is 'different' is also 'good'. Cannot blame them with movies like Bheema, ATM and Kaalai floating around.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Movie Review - Pirivom Sandhipom

Was this really a movie? I felt it was an affected and boring presentation of a family story that has unbelievably nice people, and the story of a lonely person doing nothing about her state... in the second half.

Have you guys watched this movie "Mitr"? It is about Shobana, settled in the Silicon valley with her busy husband, and she has a serious mid-life crisis. She feels out of place, mentally, because of the generation and cultural gap with her daughter and her neighbors in general. And guess what? She DOES something about it. She goes online and tries to make friends... She tries to confront a few people who are not doing things her way, and on the whole, at least attempts at being adventurous.

This movie has someone in a similar situation. Sneha, in a town with not too many people in it, but she is not emotionally isolated. She has a couple of friends who are pretty much in the same situation, and there is no cultural alienation also. But what does she do ? She goes into her shell... and takes everything with a smiling face (which comes easy to Sneha...). Even during the movie, there could be ever so many solutions to the problem she has... it is not like her family lives 24 away hours by air... She could gone back for a quick visit. She could have invited a few of the 'huge' family over for one of the festivals... I mean... if she could not think of anything to cure herself of her boredom, what is the use of a Master's education? Logic aside, the movie was a plain bore. Frankly, in my opinion, this is at best a short story, that could be covered in 30 minutes. Does not warrant a full length picture.

Talking about the positives, the movie had good comedy, with the characters themselves trying to be light hearted. Also, a lot of Tamil movie cliches were consciously removed. That was refreshing. For eg:, when Cheran and Sneha take the Goa trip, any other movie would have had a song in Goa of the scenic beauty and these two guys watching people race around on speed boats... This movie (maybe because of the cost too) did not have anything of that sort. My view is a bit contradictory in that, even though only the absolute 'necessary' was narrated, the movie gave the feeling that the director is trying to bore you, so that you understand what Sneha feels. Even boredom could be narrated in an interesting way... just a 2 - 3 incidents could tell what 30 minutes of narration does.

I would suggest Cheran (and the director of the movie) watch this movie called "Flavors", which had a housewife in a similar situation in New Jersey. Just one scene of her, repeatedly adjusting a pebble arrangement on her tea-poy narrated what Cheran achieved in over one hour.

PS is a nice movie, clean (something that is called 'courageous' nowadays), and has a lot of local and natural flavour to it. At times the actions and words of the people were artificial, but those are small problems, and there is no doubt this movie could be enjoyed at home with a plate of....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Movie Review - Azhagiya Thamizh Magan

At the end of it... we know why the movie is called "Azhagiya Thamizh Magan"... The only way you could justify calling someone like Vijay.. "a handsome tamilian" is by filling the rest of the cast excluding comedians with non-Thamizh speaking people. Shreya and Vijay's father are golt I think... Geetha, mallu and the assortment of villains from the dredges of the other *woods.

ATM as it is necessarily called (people... calling it by the full name is a waste of your breath)... could be termed one more of the 'run of the mill' stuff from Kollywood. The only difference from the other 'run of the mill' movies is that this mill was closed down a few decades back.

You would seem to think that this is a new story... I mean. how often have we seen a dual role with characters interchanging? Maybe just once every-time a dual role is attempted on screen... which is probably 6 times a year. Fresh.

How often have we seen Vijay lecture to us about morals, and ofcourse friendhip? let me put it this way. If vijay were to write a book on his thoughts about friendship... in different movies... he could possibly fill a 18 inch diary.. with exactly the same sentence repeated over and over again. I think he has the memory of a goldfish when it comes to such things.

When it comes to music, I almost feel like Rahman has a poor deaf substitute whom he employs to make music for guys like Vijay and S.J Suryah. The opening song is standing proof to that... Horrible song, with Vijay doing a now very popular imitation of a handicapped guy with fits... Its amazing what passes off as dance these days.

The movie was good for the first 10 seconds when there were people talking about how good 'Guru' is... and once he makes an entrance.. it is a wasteful mixture of morals, navels and polambals... that should be safely avoided.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Movie Review - Billa

  • The first Thamizh movie to be shot entirely outside India.
  • The movie would have only been half its length if people had walked in real time rather than in slow motion.
  • Everyone in the movie.. except Santhanam wears dark glasses... every brand.. even the ones bought outside Valluvar Kottam were tried out.
  • Some really sick attempts at trying to 'characterize'.. like making Prabhu eat someting in each scene he filled... hehe.. It worked in Oceans 11.. and Brad Pitt is a few hundred pounds better than Prabhu
  • There are a few gangsters who serve no purpose other than stopping a few speeding bullets with their chest. I mean no dialogues or anything for them... Just braids and dark glasses.. and ofcourse walking around in slow motion.
  • There were just too many cheesy shots... of people grimacing and conspiring... trying to make the plot sound complicated. Hell !!! There has already been 3 movies with the same storyline !!! Can't we just take a break on the 'suspense' part?
  • Ajit looks his part... that of a aged guy with bags under his eyes... trying to pass off for a smart young gangster. 9thara tries hard to be sexy... but in the far east, I am sure you can find a few transvestites who look a lot better than her.
  • Namita is best forgotten. There are some contrived dialogue sequences with her that takes neither her nor the story anywhere but into the gutter.
  • The movie seemed like a quilt.. a patchwork of a few mandatory scenes.. from all the earlier versions.. with insipid dialogues and worse performances. Just because this quilt was knit and packaged in Malaysia does not make it any better than any other movie reviewed here.