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OLR: Arai En 305il Kadaval

Philosophical Masala inspired by Bruce Almighty with added Southern Spice from 23rd Pulikesi crew.. First half was good -- quite practical & fun to watch; lost its way in the 2nd half but recovered late.. Vasanth is not actor material.. Prakash Raj carries it through n through..

Sunday, January 04, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Azhagiya Tamizh Magan

This is a review 'In Brief' -- SPOILER ALERT

  - A refreshing change to the usual tape of Tamil Masala Cinema
  - Ditto for Vijay movies.
  - Good performance from Vijay in a dual role, especially his style in the 2nd role
  - Good blending in on the ESP concept in Tamil movies, although poor follow through after a good intro to the concept itself.
  - Nice attempt to bring in Shyamalan and Speilberg concepts into Tamil cinema.
  - Can Not have enough of Shriya -- she looks really ravishing in this movie.. leaves any guy wanting more and more songs -- who cares about the script?
  - Too much screen time for Namitha?
  - Sriman and the athletic angle are lost in translation when the Prasad character comes on.
  - Shriya and Aashish Vidyarthi were dumb to get bought into Prasad's antics, although there was atleast some intelligence and incredible amounts of luck built into his learning curve unlike other movies.
  - Aashish looks younger and better in this movie than in Gilli.
  - The ending was abrupt and not believable, although possible.

All in all -- Worth Watching once for the refreshing change in Tamil movies and many times over for reasons well known.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008 at 2:01 PM

Chak De India: Movie Review

This Review is In Brief – SPOILER ALERT:

 

·         Nice toned down performance from Shah Rukh Khan; dunno why he does not do more of these, a la Baazigar, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa & Asoka.

·         Excellent debut performance from most of the sportswomen.

·         Excellent casting and story, which brings out many points with good subtlety. Some notable examples include:

o        Towering Importance and super-stardom of Cricket over any other sport.

o        Politics and Chauvinism in sports, even in allocation of budget

o        Camaraderie among fellow sportsmen and sportswomen and even their coaches.

o        Isolation of North Eastern States from the rest of India

o        Family as an obstacle to innovation and participation.

o        Australian Sledging

o        Winning (and losing) becomes a habit in sport.

o        Overwhelming pressure to win in the National stage, especially against key rivals.

o        Branding and Match Fixing allegations.

o        Resistance to authority, especially among senior players.

o        Individualism dominates over team work to prove a point.

o        Management Skills:

§         Team work, works.

§         No place for political division within a team.

§         Common enemy promotes team bonding,

§         Hit the key passion points to derive top performance from top players.

§         Choose the best horses for courses

§         Don’t waste time to make a key strategic change.

§         Play hardball with those who play hardball and are tough to deal with.

§         Clearly set expectations, directions and guidelines.

§         And yes, apologize and admit an error.

·         Passion packed, hair raising sequences that bring out a Lagaan like effect, but does not beat out Lagaan, although it cometh darn close.

·         Makes you pump up your fist for India, the perpetual underdog in sports.

·         Worth Watching, more than two times!

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 3:07 PM

Suniel Vetti

Why the hell does Suniel Shetty still act? He adds no value to movies anymore. It is clear that he has taken a leaf out of the pre-Guru MithunDha. I was once a fan of this dude when he used to try something different and specialize in his action focus. These days he is playing all over the straight delivery in cricket parlance!

Like in Cricket, there should be some kind of a selection committee to decide who acts and who does not. It does not matter anyway, even if we see the same faces again and again as long as they are good. Don't we see this in Cricket? Villains and Heroes can change and rivalries can be established. Writers can be filtered by rigorous criteria. There is a need for some serious quality control in Indian cinema, especially Hindi films. The selection panel can consist of one theru porikki, one corrupt censor board guy, a politician, one from b & c centers, an engineer, a doctor, an IAS, an auto driver, a working woman, a college love jodi, etc. I bet films will improve in quality this way. Just about anyone comes and goes on the silver screen these days making it go green with CO2 emission.
Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 12:08 AM

Spiderman-3

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!

I loved Spiderman 3, contrary to popular opinion on the web, at sister pubs and elsewhere despite watching it only on the 2 nd day at 11pm! Okay, the leap from Spiderman-2 to 3 was not as good as the jump from Spiderman to Spiderman-2, but the important thing is, it was by no means the nose-dive we saw from Matrix-Reloaded to Matrix-Revolutions. Making a sequel is hard, making a three- quel or whatever it is called, is harder. Take the Lord of the Rings, a 3quel or trilogy, which did not maintain its standards throughout. In each part, there was some shortcoming or the other and Spiderman is no different.


The movie for us at the AMC Mercado 20 began with a human announcement that if we had not seen the first two parts of this trilogy, we were going to be "lost". We find that out in the opening moments of the movie and begin to wonder whether we could get "lost" even if we had seen the first two parts. The reason for this loss is not the romance, but what follows, a meteor crashing in and spreading some black " goo" on the earth that seems pretty focused on attaching itself to Peter Parker, a.k.a Spiderman. Oh? You did not know that, not only did you not watch Spidey, but never read the Marvel comic or watch the cartoon in India!


The first fight between the Green Goblin Jr and Spidey was underwhelming. It was not even a fight, but I guess it was by design. Goblin recovers his body but not his brains. He comes back as this naïve and innocent buddy of Peter and MJ. The latter by the way seems way too aged in comparison to Spidey or Goblin Jr. If there were a Spidey-4, she would be tipped to play Spidey's aunt or asked to shoot entirely in Maui where she looks younger. Emotions run high and dominate the movie for a large part of the 1st half. MJ is trying to make a name for herself and is overshadowed not only by Spidey's fame, but by Peter embracing it and not missing a single opportunity not to mention it. This part was cute since I could relate to myself doing that quite often even for petty achievements. Okay I think you get the point and I need not imitate Peter in this review!


The 2nd villain was by far the biggest threat to Spidey after Doc- Oc in the 2nd installment. A petty thief, who "accidentally" shot Peter's Uncle Ben in the opening edition of Spiderman which caused Peter a lot of grief and guilt throughout the series, comes into the picture. This was a well woven story through the 3 parts although it gets on our nerves to see so much screen time for old uncle and aunt. The villain story is also short and to the point. He has so much affection for the little girl that is not doing well that drives him to continue his fight to get her treated. He manages to dodge the cops only to land up as a guinea pig in a particle physics experiment that reduces or should it be elevates him to "Sand Man". He is someone who takes the form of a lethal super-human, but is nothing more than sand to anyone that attacks him.


Did I forget the "black goo" in the middle of these descriptions? I shouldn't. It makes a philosophical re-entry in the story theme as a metaphor to hate and consumes anyone who is filled with feelings of hatred or revenge, as Peter Parker is, when he discovers the identity of his Uncle's killer. He becomes an anti-hero wearing a black and white web costume. I loved this Spidey! It reminded me of how much I once loved Shahrukh Khan for his anti hero role in Baazigar. Toby has auditioned very well for his next big jig by showing very good diversity in this dual personality role. His negativity spreads beyond his dark costume on to the Parker character as well, as he is reminded by his aunt and MJ. The negative role was taken a little too far in the likes of a Bollywood movie towards the end of the jazz bar sequence when he hurts MJ not only emotionally by coming in with another girl to a bar where she's a waitress but also physically.


The comic timing was as good as in Spidey-2 and this time revolved mostly around the Peter Parker role. Here, Peter has an arch rival that tries to beat him to the job of taking Spiderman pics. He is ethically challenged in that he could morph pictures to please the boss and spread rumors on the Bugle. When Parker exposes his dirty tricks, he gets furious and his anger knows no bounds when he is not only out of a job, but Parker, to get back at MJ, who has challenges getting along with a darker Parker, resorts to his friend and foe, Goblin Jr. So, as soon as Parker gives up his negativity, there's a ready taker and he gets even more deadly by ganging up with Sand-man. Spidey can't take on the duo and needs help. This is shown realistically.


The special effects, cinematography and action sequences were all top class. Yes, you did not get a sense of shock and awe compared to the 2nd part of Spiderman. No, there is no but... coming up in defense. The proposal scene at the posh restaurant was very well handled and so was the lack of a proposal thereof. Two things were game-changing events that did it for this movie in my opinion. One was the timely rejuvination of a long time one sided friendship, it was a touch too timely to be real, but refreshing nonetheless. The 2nd was the "I forgive you" sequence. It is but natural and a touch philosophical and a good full stop unlike the oft repeated good defeats evil sequences.


A super-hero movie series like none other. If you have read this far, it is fair to assume you would have watched the movie or are never going to watch it. To the latter, I ask, h aving watched Spiderman and Spiderman-2 (safe assumption?, else I am not sure why you read this far), irrespective of the reviews, don't you want to get closure to the series? To those who watched, how did you guys feel about Spiderman-3? What could have been better? If you have a blog review, tell me about it!

Source: Mirror Post in Ram.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 at 4:14 PM

PazhaiyaPettai: Movie Review for Pudupettai

The reason for the title is since this is not a new movie that needs a review, but just for the record for later reference. This movie was among the most talked about on the eve of its release, not just for its hit songs, or the fact that it was going to be Dhanush’s big break after a string of flops, but that it was going to fetch the national award for Sneha, a talented actress who was on the hunt for a big break. She was one of the few forthcoming front line artists who were willing and able to play the controversial role that the script offered. Ever since she conquered the spot left empty by the late Soundarya in Tollywood, Sneha has not been seen too much in the Tamil movie scene.

So anyway, the start of the movie, which I often refer to as the 5-10 minute pitch for watching the rest of the movie, was good. It kept you engaged and wanted you to carry on watching. I had forewarning that this was going to be a serious theme and I should not expect any comedy or usual chutney (tamil masala) in this one. I know a Selvaraghavan movie can get really intense and serious, so I had tissues by my side. Selva is a technically correct guy and does everything to ensure that you feel a part of the moment in his presentations. The first quarter of the movie makes you live with the protagonist, a kid with a troubled childhood, a brutal father and an unforgiving society. Like you can extrapolate from other movies or experiences, these kids do not end up anywhere good. They have an awful lot of energy, which is channeled into incorrect machines to drive far from ideal lives. Dhanush proves that he is no pushover in Kollywood with his outstanding performance and grows into challenging roles with ease.

Predictably, Kokki Kumar (Dhanush) ends up in a rowdy gang. Gangs usually source political goons and fight with other gangs. Gang members need drinks, drugs and girls as fuel to sustain their drive. In such an encounter, Kumar meets Krishnaveni (Sneha), who is a prostitute used by several gangsters, some of who get really violent. Sneha does a splendid job in fitting into this very unfamiliar role for a mainstream actress. Kareena who plays a similar role which requires much lesser intensity in Chameli, should learn from this Dubai bred South Indian star. Kumar takes pity on the plight of this girl and goes to the extent of killing the gang leader for her cause. This raises uproar in the gang ultimately leading to Kumar gaining strength within the group, much to the irritation of senior stalwarts. Goons may come and go, live and die, but the gangs must go on forever. Some succeed and perhaps too quickly for stalwarts who strive to bring them down before they can reach the skies.

Like in gangster movies, there is a strong emphasis on friendships formed within gangs. There is a surreal turn of events, when Kumar goes to attend his friend’s sister’s wedding, when he gets conquered by lust into tying the knot with the bride to be, much to everyone’s surprise. Sonia Aggarwal is horrible and has no variety at all. Even for such a small non-demanding role, she is not able to deliver. Selva thinks of her as a lucky charm and although she has delivered for him in the past, she has fallen from glory in recent times and it shows in this movie. Everything up to this point was so natural, this breaks that sequence and the movie does not recover from here.

Kumar has broken every law except one, that of polygamy, which he does not hesitate to break once he finds out that Krishnaveni is pregnant with his baby. His wife tolerates him only because she fears her brother’s life and even after this 2nd wedding, it seems incredible that she’s willing to take a shower together with her polygamist husband! Very few modern wives are that forgiving, even in Hollywood movies! Kumar gets betrayed, his pregnant 2nd wife gets sent to prison, then gets out and then beaten to death after the birth by anti-Kumar groups. Kumar is oblivious to the location of the child until the very end and his first wife divorces him and remarries, only to be separated again. Life goes on. The ending was very non-Kollywood and that was a saving grace.

Music Review (courtesy Rathish)

Songs in this movie have some of the best orchestrations ever in a Tamil movie album. 'Enga Area' employs synthesizers so brilliantly that it was better than most Western Pop songs. It also has amazing interludes and English rap bits. 'Pul Pesum Poo Pesum' song is THE best hip-hop song in Tamil to date.

at 4:12 PM

Thombi

Okay.. I have been watching so many movies of late that it is not going to be possible to stick to the structure that this blog has known for years. Well, no need for all that drama since it is only a few months or days of activity.

Let me get straight to it.. I really had no clue that this movie was a superhit while watching it. I am not sure if this review would be any different if I had known this info apriori. I really have no clue if artists these days have any time or interest to plan their careers. They seem to be caught up in a mad rush of making fast bucks and then lose their way. Such a brash statement can not become true for the likes of R Madhavan, who has not had it the easy way and has been around for quite a long time now. His assignments always give you the feeling that they are well selected for something unique. Even for a movie like Priyasaki, which was thrashed at the box office, there was still something new for Madhavan, be it making a record for the number of times anyone has clutched on to Sada's waist.

So, Thambi kind of took me by surprise. It was a movie with a message, no doubt. Armed with the usual elements like hummable songs, several of which I had already heard in my car without knowing which movie it was from, fight sequences, sentimental flashbacks, stereotype transformations, and all the good stuff. The message is not unknown by any standards. Even someone watching 10% of the movies I watch, could have caught this message elsewhere. A big element of shame for Madhavan was his overacting in this movie. He has tried to be rough and tough in different ways in his action hero performances. This one is the opposite of Aayidha Ezhuthu. In this one you need to find his face in between his overgrown hair and intermittent rush of blood. He even reminded you of Simbu, although for the latter it is but natural to overact. Maddy, we know you can't act, even if Manirathnam tries, so don't worry about it... just do your thing and we'll watch.

The actress, Booja, left much to be desired. Just another random girl picked out of the reserves in Kodambakkam waiting lists, or someone who paid for an appearance perhaps. The others were not noteworthy. Okay... these many lines is far too many for someone so insignificant.

Director Seeman has worked hard to do something different, but if he had reviewed his progress mid-way, he would realize that he had another Vijaykanth type movie in the making without Captain in it. Too bad. The songs and the dialogues are wasted by the performances!

All in all.. Thambi oru Songee!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006 at 4:54 PM

The Da Vinci Code



Whoaaa! This movie is going to be a classic! Not the most faithful when it comes to representing the book, but it is as good as it could have been!

Noticeable:
  • Tom Hanks is one of Hollywood's most consistent actors. He has played the role of Langdorn to perfection, but his makeup artist has not done as well as one would expect. Hanks looks older than my visualization from the book.
  • Sophie played by Audrey, was a poor representation of the character. Sophie was a major component in the book. Although the role of "woman" in Christianity was highlighted even more in the movie, this was an even bigger let down!
  • McKellan has played wonderfully the role of Teabing. This beats his performance as Gandalf the Grey and the White in The Lord of the Rings. He is the major player in the movie.
  • The sets were breathtaking. The churches of Roslin, Westminster Abbey and France were all perfectly as one would have imagined.
  • There were sequences that came out of turn and others that were skipped.

Deviations:

There were a few blatant deviations from the book. The most noticeable ones were:
  • Bishop Aringarosa and Captain Fache's interactions left me wondering whether it was the right movie I was sitting in.
  • On the same context, Fache's dialogue, "You used me", was hilarious. It was not in the book.
  • The Bishop's dramatic turnaround to England was skipped altogether.
  • The script writers obviously had no time for the 2nd cryptex which I was eagerly looking forward to.
  • The writers got jumbled up when it came to Sophie's contributions to cracking the code. They made these Langdorn's as well. This has contributed in a major way to numbing the Sophie role.
  • Teabing redirects Langdorn and agent Neveu to his whereabouts using a sign in the book, whereas in the movie he uses his "crutch" marks.
  • The bank manager's communication with Captain Fache and the Lieutenant could have added more drama, but I guess they ran out of time.
  • The "basement ritual" was discussed by Langdorn during the flight to England in the book, but in the movie, it was deferred to the very end.
  • The ending itself was actually an interpretation of the director and in the book, it was not necessarily the way it was shown in the movie. The depiction of documents showing family trees, Langdorn stating that "You are the secret" to Nevue were all in the movie only.
  • Similarly, in the book, there was a meeting of Nevue and her brother that was not shown even in the extended scene in the movie.
  • The epilogue was dealt with nicely in the movie, making it even more touching than the book itself!
  • There are times when I could see the challenge in hiding the suspense in the movie where there is constant perception of sight and sound. It is much easier in the book for that very reason.
Verdict
All in all, it was a fantastic movie, with some superb visuals, excellent cinematography and some good performances. Inspite of all its differences, it was a good representation of the statement from Dan Brown.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 5:36 PM

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