Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Movie Time

Amid many other pending posts, this is one I have been wanting to publish since almost two weeks but could not complete it. Could not leave it either.

I watched a lot of movies in the month of September, some new, some old, and this post serves as small reviews. The movies are listed in reverse chronological order of their release dates, mentioned alongside the title, and a rating I would give them on a scale of 10.

Welcome to Sajjanpur 19-Sep-08 8 /10  
Nice comedy set up completely in the rural India, with jokes that make good sense in the local dialect which should not be difficult to comprehend. Ace director Shyam Benegal has made a perfect movie, albeit quite different from the serious classics he has directed in the past. Shreyas Talpade as the aspiring novelist ends up being a scribe, and therefore has a peek into everyone's lives in the village. Ends up manipulating people's lives through letters, especially his love interest's. Quite a number of funny sub plots follow, and the humor doesn't let you feel they are getting too many to remember. A few melodious numbers add to the movie.

1920 12-Sep-08 7 /10  
A typical horror movie composed of all the elements--eerie winds and big empty bungalows, darkness and candles, mirrors cracking and moaning sounds, possession and exorcism, love and lust, betrayal and revenge--you name it and you get it. Set in 1920, it has tremendous similarities to The Exorcist. Though it failed to scare me, it was an okay watch despite the rather funny ending, where both Christianity and Hinduism were used to exorcise the evil spirit. Adah Sharma acted well, though the completely non-glamorous white maxi gown she wore all the time actually became an eyesore.

The Last Lear 12-Sep-08 9 /10  
Rituparno Ghosh. Amitabh Bachchan. William Shakespeare. I had already started loving the movie when I knew these were the names involved. An intriguing movie in typical Ghosh style, where people quietly sit and talk and the narration is by means of flashbacks. The story is that of an ageing and ailing stage actor being persuaded to act in a movie, which happens to be his last, and has been left in a coma as the aftereffects of the shooting. Idiosyncratic, vain, impetuous he is, occasionally lashing out at the modern world, and using too much of Shakespearean verses in normal conversation. Though AB looks funny in the poster, he looks amazing in the movie, and has delivered an intense performance. Preity Zinta's role is her most un-bubbly one, and her English dialogues are only slightly better than the rest of the cast, in which case they sound like recitals. Out and out an AB film. Watch it for him.

Saas Bahu aur Sensex 12-Sep-08 6 /10  
Another interesting title. I had half expected Saas-Bahus fighting over PE ratios but was wondering how would the saas-bahu clashes blend with the stock market. I am still wondering after watching the movie. The movie had too much--a multi-cultural neighbourhood, call center classes and frolic, share market excitements, women empowerment, and even a love triangle, without which most movies seem incomplete these days. The sensex part was very little, so was the saas-bahu part. It was good to see Farooq Sheikh after long, and a slimmer Tanushree Dutta, but then the movie did not have enough substance, and also that I had expected something else.

A Wednesday 5-Sep-08 9 /10  
An interesting title. A very interesting and well-made movie too. The plot is simple but provokes thought: a bomb threat and a demand to release four terrorists is made by an anonymous caller perched at the terrace of a high-rise in Bombay. The alert police tries to locate him and foil his attempts. The climax has a totally unexpected twist that makes you go into the thought mode. Naseeruddin Shah was at his intimidating best and gave a power-packed performance, maintaining the thrill throughout. Overall a very good movie; the only out-of-place thing was the hacker's one-minute dialogue.

Hijack 5-Sep-08 5 /10  
Small films are in. Shot completely inside an aircraft, the movie, as the name suggests, is about a plane hijacked by 6 terrorists demanding release of their boss. Shiney Ahuja, the ground maintenance engineer, manages to sneak in when the aeroplane is forced to land at Chandigardh airport. Nothing other than the expected follows when he kills them one by one and frees the hostages, his daughter being one of them. Oh yes, the starcast has Esha Deol too, as an airhostess who doesn't have to do anything anyway. The movie failed to create any interest, the age-old formula used, with no thrill whatsoever.

Rock On 29-Aug-08 7 /10  
The movie failed to rock me as much as the hype. Farhan Akhtar chose not to direct but do everything else. Produce, sing, act. With a lisp that becomes irritating at times. Wonder why did he trust one-film-old Abhishek Kapoor to direct a somber, serious, 'grown-up-DCH', and made Papa Akhtar write some Kaale-Neele-Peele rock songs which became nonsensical and had to be somehow fitted in the drums and guitar. The soft ones like 'Tum ho to gaata yeh dil' and ''Kabhi khud pe hansa' are very good though. I did not like the basic premises of the plot that four very good friends don't interact for 10 long years just because of a stupid altercation. The pony-tailed Arjun Rampal and beautiful Prachi Desai provided some saving grace to the otherwise boring cast.

Chamku 29-Aug-08 6 /10  
Another one-film old writer-director Kabeer Kaushik presented Chamku the same Friday. However, it failed to match his earlier venture Sehar. Chamku is the story of an eponymous character played by Bobby Deol, whose parents were brutally murdered by naxalites when he was a kid. He later gets picked up under a covert Govt intelligence program to carry out political assassinations. The character is almost unbreakable as he survives several gun shots and multiple murder attempts. Though a female character was not required, Priyanka Chopra looks good in a perpetual blue chiffon saree with a stringed blouse in her kindergarten teacher role. An outdated revenge drama, Chamku failed to shine at all.

Wanted 29-Aug-08 6 /10  
The promos made me go wow over the action scenes and Angelina Jolie's new avatar with smoky eyes and tattoos visible. There was not much more in the movie than the trailer. The plot begins very well but ends up pathetically. A software engineer is kidnapped by Jolie and Morgan Freeman, who head a secret Fraternity, and is made believed of his 'elite' assassin lineage when he is able to shoot the wings off three houseflies when a gun is put to his head. The movie progresses with a boring and somewhat gory training in the Fraternity, and then he is ordered to kill people from the Loom of Fate, a loom that gives names of targets through binary code hidden in weaving errors of the fabric. A twist comes towards the end, and excellent Rajnikant-style bullets that can curve in mid air are used extensively. The end pisses you off and makes an otherwise good movie turn average. Watch it for the sexy Angelina and some good stunts in the first half, but keep your brains at home.

C Kkompany 29-Aug-08 4 /10  
Balaji Telefilms hired debutante director Sachin Yerdi to write and publicise a long advertisement for their soaps and their stars. Targetted to be a comedy, the movie failed to humor me. The jokes are bad and acting poor. The plot revolves around three losers who are troubled with their lives, and threaten the son of one of them under a fictitious underworld company called C Kompany. The prank turns serious and people start getting afraid of them. Don't know what is Anupam Kher doing among a bunch of jokers here. Mithun the don irritates with his patronizing soap stars, and tear-shedding at soaps. Tusshar Kapoor is repulsive as usual. A total crap. Watch it only if you want a reason to pull your hair out.

Phoonk 22-Aug-08 5 /10  
RGV and producer Azam Khan had promised a reward of 5 lacs to anyone who sees the movie alone in the theater. I wonder how can someone live in such a big misconception. Did they not watch the movie themselves? It is a below average movie where you feel like laughing in the first half at the strange camera angles and sounds and ear-piercing laughter Ramu used in a failed attempt to induce horror. The clichéd demonic possession, exorcism, and black magic remind you of Bhoot and Exorcist. The only good part was the kid Ahsaas Chhanna's acting.

Mumbai Meri Jaan 22-Aug-08 9 /10  
A brilliant movie that showcases few days before and after the Mumbai serial blasts of 2006 in the lives of five different, unrelated characters: Software Engineer Madhavan, constable Paresh Rawal, roadside coffee vendor Irfan Khan, TV reporter Soha Ali Khan, and a Hindu fanatic Kay Kay Menon, and everyone has lived to expectations. Each parallel plot is a story in itself that becomes interesting as the movie progresses. The movie touches many issues: Soha being interviewed by colleagues about her fiancé’s death, the loser constable reflecting on his idle police service at retirement, software engineer considering fleeing the country, Hindu extremist bridging the Hindu-Muslim divide. Light traces of humor can be found in Kay Kay's anger, Paresh Rawal's sadness, and Irfan's helplessness. The blast scene is a bit gory and painful to watch, but could be very close to reality. Amazing talent shown by director Nishikant Kamath in his first Hindi movie after just one Tamil and one Marathi movie. Though a bit heavy, a must watch. The end leaves you lighter with the evergreen song from CID that gave the movie its name.

Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam 22-Aug-08 7 /10  
A comedy on the lines of the classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, starring the hit Rahul Bose-Mallika Sherawat couple from Pyaar ke Side Effects. The sexy, naughty actress bored from her married life with Paresh Rawal wants to have fun, and Bose is on a secret mission to save the world from a disaster. The entire drama company joins hands to save the country from a bomb blast. Performing multiple roles in disguise, they make you go crazy. Paresh Rawal is as usual the best, even Kay Kay Menon acted well in comedy. The movie would be a good watch to kill time with friends.

Bachna Ae Haseeno 15-Aug-08 7 /10  
One guy, three girls, 12 years. Three heartbreaks, first two girls and then the boy. Realizing it now, the hero repents and goes back to make up for his deeds even after suffering humiliation, and gets pardoned. The story is okayish, the narrative swinging between past and present, and all the girls Deepika, Bipasha and Minnisha look gorgeous. The music is good. Light humor at times. Overall, a good one-time watch.

Prom Night 25-Jul-08 4 /10  
The expected fun at a prom night is ruined by a psychopath who turns out to be an obsessed lover. He had murdered the protagonist's parents some years ago and she had witnessed it. He stays in the same hotel as the prom night, and kills everyone including friends and the staff who cross his path. Nothing remarkable about the movie; ends a normal happy ending.

Via Darjeeling 27-Jun-08 6 /10  
Tried to make a Rashomon. Except it was a love triangle instead of a rape. Did not work well though. The different versions of the same story are told in an unreliable fashion; it looked more like fantasies or amateur creativities of the inebriated narrators. Even good actors like Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Sandhya Mridul and Kaykay Menon could not make the movie interesting.

De Taali 20-Jun-08 7 /10  
Good timepass. A cheerful comedy with no toilet humor. Even the sad and emotional moments are laced with humor. The movie is about three childhood friends and a triangle, when the fourth character, Rimi Sen's arrives and makes matters interesting. Some scenes are really good; in one such scenes Rimi is tied to a chair and tortured by making her watch RGV ki Aag. Light movie with a happy ending. Innocent Ayesha Takia looks cute and the vampish Rimi looks sexy.

The Happening 13-Jun-08 6 /10  
As always, the Shyamlan dude had a very intriguing concept. Very gripping apart from the last half hour. The movie carries on throuhout the mystery factor typical of Shyamlan, and you keep expecting a very interesting end. However, this one has the crappiest ending ever. It was like he had an idea, and started making the film, but could not think of a decent way to end it, and abruptly ends it explaining totally incredulous things through 5-seconds TV news clippings. Mark "Departed" Wahlberg was underused, though he tried to overact at times.

Traffic Signal 2-Feb-07 8 /10  
A typical Madhur Bhandarkar flick with the lives of a small sect of professionals as the subject. The traffic signal includes a microcosm of people who derive their daily livelihoods from it. There are beggars, prostitutes, tricksters, eunuchs and others who sell clothes, flowers and trinkets who owe hafta to the Signal Manager, Silsila. Kunal Khemu, Ranveer Shourie and Konkana Sen perform as expected. Life goes on through ups and downs but the movie ends on a sad note, as expected from Bhandarkar. But the movie entertains you throughout, especially with the Bambaiyya lingo, at the same time makes you think about people you normally never do.

Final Destination 3 10-Feb-06 7 /10  
Very similar to the earlier two movies in the series, this involves a different accident (a roller coaster one) that is avoided as the result of a premonition. However, since all those people were on Death's list, they die one by one in freak accidents: you cannot cheat death. I liked watching this thriller even though it was an old concept. And I am already awaiting Final Destination 4, scheduled to release in Aug 2009.

If Only 11-Feb-05 8 /10  
Cute romantic movie with a nice concept. The protagonist gets a chance to relive a day, everything happens the same as the previous one, and he knows his girlfriend is going to die at the end of the day. He tries to avoid it, but realizing he can only slightly change it, tries to give her all the happiness in that one day. Though the movie ends with a twist, is one of those feel-good movies you like to watch when you are feeling down.

Sixth Sense 6-Aug-99 10 /10  
One of my all time favourites. The reason I love Manoj Night Shyamlan. An intriguing concept, and a drama directed and acted out well. Most of the movie revolves around the young boy seeing and talking to dead people and the child-psychologist trying to cure him. The last 10 minutes provide a drastic twist that jolts you along with the two main characters and makes you re-think the entire movie in a new light. Chilling and thrilling, serious and scary at times, Sixth Sense makes an interesting watch, a must for all movie goers.


15 comments:

KT said...

of these I have only seen and in terms of Pretty Good, Good, Average, Very Bad (there is no "bad" movie for me)

A Wednesday - Pretty Good
1920 - Average (Loved the actress and laughed at the concept that ghost didn't fear "O lord our heavenly father", rather he dreaded hanuman chaalisa).
Bachna Ae Haseeno - Average (Deepika's role was a little boring)
De Taali - Very Bad (Watched it in hall in a treat party, breaking into too many songs exactly when you pray, "please not one more")
Traffic Signal - Good

Sixth Sense - Pretty Pretty Good (u watched it again or u watched it for first time? If you say first, I will be extremely surprised)

Final Destination3 - Very Bad - Yet overstretching a simple, original concept. Me and Singla watched it together and disliked it in same intensity.

Shailendra said...

I didn't read all the reviews... but read only Rock on.. after reviewing it so badly.. u went on to give it 7/10... That's amazing.. i thought u were generous enough to give it that much also...:-)

and yes looked at the rating of others also..de talli 7/10... that's cool... :-)

an humble request to u..plz do watch movies in theater ...

Anadi Misra said...

Did you think Tanushree was fat earlier!

Tumne kaafi generous grading kari hai...good good, seeing the positive and negative in each movie and not trying for an overall judgment thingie...

Yaar tujhe 6th Sense ki ending pata nahi thi kya? In my case, I knew it, so when I saw it in IITD, I wasnt that amused, but undoubtedly, It wud have been a good one if I didnt know that...
Also, if you haven't seen it already, See 'The Others'....another great concept

Anadi Misra said...

ohh and I wanted to add when the words suddenly deserted me (I know, rare, but true)....That its great that you are trying to see each movie from the perspective it has been made and then evaluating it...unlike most reviewers I see, who want to impose their...

ashes said...

KT:

Bas itni kam movies? Achchha maybe I liked De Taali because I forwarded all the songs. In fact, I am surprised you telling me it has so many songs! In fact, I had to separately listen to songs in Sajjanpur and Rock On to realise they were good. :)

Yes, I saw Sixth Sense for the first time. Somehow missed it...

Shashank said...

I am sorry to differ with your statement - "jokes that make good sense in the local dialect ...". That could be anything but the dialect of the region described by narrator. The dialect he used is pathetic mumbaiya version of someone's perception of bundelkhandi dialect. I have spent lot of time with people who belong to chitrakoot and mahiyar(thats the location of sajjanpur as per the narrator) and trust me dialect is very different from what you have heard in the movie. I was expecting Mr Benegal to do some research instead of making mockery of dialect. I was really disappointed form the moment i heard first dialogue and finally i left theatre after interval.
I hope directores take some inspiration from Shekhar Kapoor, who did brilliant and flawless portrayal of rural region in "The bandit queen".

ashes said...

Shailendra:

I had read your review on Rock On and know why you read only that :) Yes, I am a bit generous. And I liked the movie that much, only that I hate it when people start giving excessive hypes and excessive credits to something not that worthy.

Anonymous said...

You would have shared this link before buddy..I would have not watched many movies in them....Wow!! You described whole core story line of that movie so clean...

Btw...how you manage to see so many movies ...that to movie like Last lear...I can hardly managed to see it for 20 min..i felt like sleeping dose... I really appreciate your pateince..you have steel nerves my frnd...

ashes said...

Anadi:

Yes, I felt Tanushree had some baby fat earlier, for example, in the song Signal/ Pyaar ka Signal...

Yes, I am a bit generous. In fact, someone once told me I was so non-critical of everything I can never be a critic.

ashes said...

Shashank:

Well, I thought that was quite close; I did not have much direct interaction with people belonging to that area. But I watched the movie with someone from that region, and who has people in her family speaking that dialect, and she did not point it out. In fact, we loved, for example, Ila Arun's delivery. Let me confirm from her. Anyways, this was not expected from a person of Shyam Benegal's stature.

ashes said...

Anonymous:

I am sorry, which movie? Which core story? I have tried not to make any of them spoilers (except a few that did not have a story or did not have a suspense.)

Indigo said...

So many movies...Do you not work or what? Good collection anyways.

Amiya Shrivastava said...

First of all you have enough stamina to watch movies!

Second, I appreciate your versatility and you can make sense out of anything... you are a result oriented guy..most of it consider it as a waste of time...but when I see you doing such ...I get an uncontrollable urge of doing these myself

Last but not the least a good review of all the movies..it might serve as a guide for all of the rest...

..by the way from title it has now become tough to guess which one is a hindi movie and which one is english...

ashes said...

Indigo:

Watching one movie a day is 2-3 hours. That is easy to extract out if you have the interest.

ashes said...

Amiya:

Thanks man.

Yeah, I just realised that there are five Hindi movies in this list that have English names.

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