Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Review on Books & Movies - II

I thought I had to review two movies but I am going to end up writing comments on more than 2. 

Yuddham Sei
A tamil movie directed by talented Mysskin. Cheran is the protagonist and its a thriller. The movie has its moments, made me sit-up at times and at times the movie was just going along. Mysskin has that magic in him to weave a neat screenplay but he needs to get out of psycho characters. Its kind of scary that these psycho people maybe living in real world, our world and Mysskin scared us all in Anjathey, he does the same in Yuddham Sei. He has to get out of this genre else people will be sick of his films. 

Rabbit Hole
Nicole Kidman was nominated at Oscars this year in Best Actress category for her performance in this movie. She deserved the nomination as she brings out the pain and agony of losing her 4 year old son in an accident. I thought Aaron Eckhart was also fantastic bringing out the emotions that a father would. He was sublime because he is the 'man' and the 'man' is suppose to bring about change. He too grieves, cannot forget their loss but has to bring about the change required to move on. The truth is, this movie made me cry. Pain Stays, Life goes on!

True Grit
A typical western cowboy movie set in 1960s from Coen brothers. I learn from IMDb that this is a remake of original movie released in the same name in 1969. Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon set out to catch the bad guy Josh Brolin in the wild west. Jeff Bridges accent is too difficult for us to understand and without no subtitle he was just blabbering. The rest of the characters speak clear and a good tone. I am not sure why this was nominated for this year's Oscar in Best film and Best Actor category among others. I guess Americans love remake of old Western movies!!!

The Fighter
This movie surprised me a lot. It is an amazing movie! Christian Bale better known as Batman in the Batman series is superb as Dicky Ward. Its difficult to transform and act in such a finesse, truly outstanding. He deserves the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Mark Wahlberg is good as Micky Ward who is caught between his family and boxing career. His girlfriend Amy Adams, his mother Melissa Leo and the rest of support cast have done a brilliant job. The climax fight where Micky wins the title is really good. I recommend you to watch it and you will be pleasantly surprised. 

Blue Valentine
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this drama or practical life. I term it as life because this is what the couples go through certainly not in India but in the western countries. Ryan Gosling gives a brilliant performance as do Michelle Williams. The movies goes back and forth between past and present. The past being vivid and present miserable. How did they let this happen? Both are to blame. A well made movie and hope that if this was made in French by a French Director this would have won Best Foreign Film award at Oscars. I say this because Oscar jury wants winners or expects miracles in movies. They look for natural movies like Blue Valentine to come from foreign land!

Black Swan
Its a story of young Ballerina, Nina portrayed by Natalie Portman. She is extremely fragile, protective by her tough mother and wild in her dreams. She dreams to act as Black Swan a part in the new play but in the real world she is rejected by playwright since she cannot let herself go. The transformation that Nina goes under is somewhat predictable but the manner in which it happens is astounding. Here again Natalie Portman deserved the Best Actress Oscar this year. 


Friday, February 25, 2011

Reviews on Books & Movies - 25 Feb 2011

One more year has gone and new one has come. Here are some of my review rather comments on books and movies.

The books which I read was by an author called Lee Child. I read two of his books, cannot remember the title of first book, 2nd book was 61 hours. Both are fiction novels. It was like watching a Hollywood movie and I assume one of his books will be adapted to big screen similar to "Bourne" films in the near future. I guess he is the new sensation in thriller/spy novels. The novels were good, its good for a train journey - will keep you hooked and when you are finished you can return it. I did the same, returned the 2 novels to the vendor.

The next fiction novel is written by Amish Tripathi, an IIM graduate is the new entrant in India. The name of the novel is "The Immortals of Meluha". The novel caught my attention same as to many people was the cover of book. The title cover is etched to show a man who resembles Lord Shiva and facing back with long hair and Trishul. The imaginative idea is really appreciated that Lord Shiva might actually be an individual who might have lived thousands of years ago in ancient India. Everything is neatly presented, the plot, the flow, characters but all keeping the western audience in mind. It is happening in ancient India but when you read the book you will feel that nativity is missing. I certainly felt it and it was compelling to put the book down more than anything. The standard operating procedures, dammit are few words which keep repeating throughout the book. The imagination of Lord Shiva is sure starter for this book. I am not sure I will read the next two installments because of its emphasis on western audience.

On to movies now, Aadukalam - A tamil movie with a combination of Director Vetrimaaran and Actor Dhanush for the 2nd time after Polladhavan. The backdrop is Madurai, my native place and plot is rooster fights with a love track for Dhanush. Why can't we drop the love angle and focus mainly on plot? The movie is running successfully and has won praises for Dhanush. He is good but not his best, strains on the dialogue delivery of local Madurai slang. I cannot help to compare with Karthi of Paruthi Veeran. You can't simply show a better performance than Karthi when he speaks Madurai slang. That's hardwork! Apart from dialogue delivery he is good at showing emotions whether it is happiness, sad or shock when he knows betrayed/cheated. The movies is a bit long and I felt that I saw 2 movies for one ticket. In my opinion it could have been shorter by 15-30 min which will make it slick movie and just the right kind of mix of love, loyalty & betrayal. 

I wanted to watch Biutiful but missed it due to my travel to Madurai and Chennai in 2nd week of February. The next movie I watched was 127 Hours from Danny Boyle.It takes lot of courage to do a movie like 127 hours where there is only one character for almost 80-90% of the total movie time. The movie is based on true story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber. James Franco holds the movie by his eccentric, open character. His courage to get out of an impossible situation, his right hand stuck between a boulder of rock and wall, I think most of us wouldn't be clueless where to start. But James/Aron has ideas and finally loses his forearm after 127 hours to be freed. The courage of a human being triumphs here and well enacted by James Franco. 

There are 2 more movies which I will post in next blog! Till then. Happy Reading!

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Movie Review of 'Raajneeti' - Hindi

It's been a long time I wrote a movie review. I did see lot of movies in these time but no movie appealed me to actually write a review. Ofcourse Avatar in Imax 3D was a blissful experience and Vinnai Thaandi Varuvayaa in Tamil was good.

I saw Raavanan in Tamil but was disappointed with the movie. The reviews that I am reading on the net also concludes the fact Raavanan is not for common man. It is for intellectuals or who have more imaginative powers. I decided I have to forgo my review on Raavanan. 
Next movie was Raajneeti. After contemplating whether to see it or not during the past weeks finally went for it last Sunday. I must say I liked the movie from start. Though it had lines of Mahabharata the movie is not entirely on the great epic. Prakash Jha has used the Mahabharata sequences whenever he felt he needs to use. 

The casting is superb and everyone excels in their role. I should say Manoj Bajpai has made a comeback. He is not like the usual Manoj as we have seen him in earlier films. Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Katrina and all other have done a neat job. Ranbir Kapoor needs a special mention here as he is the backbone of this film. He has done a great job as Samar. His acting is matured and his calmness in the character proves he can handle meaty characters too. 

It's politics and what you see in the screen is the hunger for Power, Love and Winning at any cost. Its about winning an election at any cost for the biggest party in the state. The drama is set in a family of 2 brothers who control the regional political party and when the big brother is paralyzed the family feud is set. The war for winning the elections goes around the family and their members. It's like a Chess game. It was thrilling to see the see-saw nature of game as in one sequence Manoj/Ajay get upper hand and in the next Ranbir/Nana get upper hand.  The plans & plot to win over each other is neatly presented or well stacked. 

However I must say the film heavily relies on Ranbir Kapoor. Ranbir tries to do a Michael Corleone but fails. There is a long way to go for Ranbir! 

My rating for this movie is 3 star out of 5.

Rating Details:
***** - Classic & Outstanding.
**** - Must Watch. Don't Miss!
*** - Good Movie. Watch it.
** - Watch it only if you really want to.
* - Not worth your money.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Movie Review of 'Ishqiya' - Hindi

On rare occasions you get to watch a great Hindi film and this time its undoubtedly 'Ishqiya'. The movie is wonderful. There is no hype or no fake things or no exotic locations or no cheap comedy. The events are almost real. It's a true hollywood style desi film, what I mean is it's a complete desi film made in hollywood style. The movie runs about only 1 hr 50 min or so but the journey Ishqiya takes us is exciting.

The success of this movie also tells us that if you have a good plot and a story there is no need for hype or big budget. I was watching the Nokia Screen awards later in the day when Javed Akhtar insisted upon how important is the script and story of Hindi films. Ishqiya is a clean winner on this count. 

The next thing is ensemble cast. The cast in Ishqiya is terrific. Naseerudin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan and all the other supporting actors have done a tremendous job. The characters are alive on the screen and we anticipate the next move from every character. The story flows like a steady stream of water and there are twists that will make you look up or sit up. 

The music, the screenplay, editing and all other technical areas are good making this movie thoroughly enjoyable.

My rating for this movie is 4.5 star out of 5.

Rating Details:
***** - Classic & Outstanding.
**** - Must Watch. Don't Miss!
*** - Good Movie. Watch it.
** - Watch it only if you really want to.
* - Not worth your money.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Movie Review of '3 Idiots' - Hindi

All Izzz Well! The movie has everything that you look in entertainment. First thing first, comedy is the best recipe for success of any entertaining movie and 3I has tons of it. I mean, the comedy takes the stress out of our normal life. There was not a single soul who did not laugh their heart out in the theater. Everyone in the hall enjoyed it, I definitely enjoyed laughing.

The director speaks from his heart and we are instantly connected or hooked. The plot, screenplay, music, actors and all the director's team have made a sincere effort and that's paid off. I don't want to give much away on the story but we felt that the storyline has continued from TZP (Taare Zameen Par). Aamir Khan was seen in the same role in TZP as with 3I.

Aamir is good, Madhavan is good and Sharman Joshi is brilliant. I say Sharman is brilliant because we know Aamir and Madhavan are well known actors and they are in the industry for a while but Sharman, he is up in the top league. He brings up emotions very well. Kudos to him! I laughed at his antics, watch out for the comedy scene where Boman catches the 3I in a classroom.

I also read a cartoon review on Mumbai Mirror today, 28 Dec 2009 of 3I which is funny. It is sarcastic review where 3I is criticized for being philosophical. It's also true that 3I is philosophical but if you can forget that you will certainly enjoy it most.

My rating for this movie is 4 star out of 5.

Rating Details:
***** - Classic & Outstanding.
**** - Must Watch. Don't Miss!
*** - Good Movie. Watch it.
** - Watch it only if you really want to.
* - Not worth your money.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Movie Review of Avatar (3D) - English

We saw this movie on opening weekend, Friday, 18 Dec 2009. It is truly a pleasure to watch in 3D and the images that weaved in front of our eyes are Amazing. Brilliant.  The colours come to life! This movie is ultimate treat for visual effects. It's a dream world out there!

James Cameron is known for his style and technology in his movies. Avatar is the ultimate in terms of technology usage (CG & Animation combined).The movie takes us into a magical world!

As you must be hearing/reading reviews from various sources I need not delve into details as the plot is nothing new. It's good coming over evil but the treatment is different. Atlast, different can be defined! In most of the bollywood and the regional movies in India the director's claim their movie is 'different' but when you see the product it's the same story, nothing different. But here is one movie which is different! different from others! The final product stands tall leaving others besides or behind!

My rating for this movie is 4 star out of 5.

Rating Details:
***** - Classic & Outstanding.
**** - Must Watch. Don't Miss!
*** - Good Movie. Watch it.
** - Watch it only if you really want to.
* - Not worth your money.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

India - Viable in future?

The latest attack by Bala Saheb on Sachin's remark of Indian has once again proved that regional politics are here to stay. The majority of Indians agree with Sachin's statement and I think the attention that it got from the media will help Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) and Shiv Sena in the long run in Maharashtra politics. 

What are the political parties upto? Everybody wants to safeguard their own turf by playing regional card. The four South states are playing this language card for a long long time and now Maharashtra joining this bandwagon this can lead to serious repercussions. CPM is keen on keeping West Bengal and Kerala at any cost and Mamata Banerjee is interested in Bengal rather than Railways. This does not mean other states are not into regional politics. States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Orissa, UP, Bihar and the NE states are into regional politics very strongly but their group-ism is so strong that no outsider can see it or feel it. Imagine this, can a Gujarati become Punjab CM? Absolutely never in any life time! or a Punjabi becoming Karnataka CM? Highly impossible and unthinkable. So, Where is India?

Almost every other foreigner and literature pundits are amazed by our diversity and pluralist society. Even our literary scholars say we are united in rich diversity. Is it true? Are we united? Bengalis are united with Bengalis, Tamilians are united with Tamils and so on. Where does the Indian-ness come from? Where could we find the Indian-ness? Only when India plays Pakistan in a cricket match! When the match is over its back to normal again. I become a malayalee and you become a bihari! Where is the Indian & India? With the popularity for IPL the Indian-ness will most probably die down. IPL may well become a tool for regional politics like for example Shiv Sena sponsoring Mumbai team or DMK taking over Chennai Superkings. Everything is possible in India!

Regional languages divide our nation and politicians are smart to use this as their weapon to remain in power. Why do we like being after or behind China? It's always China and India. Why are we not making some one think India first and China second? Agreed that China opened up their economy way before India did but India needs to have the goal of beating China first in the region. To do this India has to be united but our so called leaders are compromised in regional politics that they cannot think of this in the near future. The leaders are so tied-up in local/regional issues India is at the last item in their queue. The different languages too doesn't help. A Tamilnadu MP writes a request to the Lok Sabha speaker to render his speech to parliament in his regional language reason being - he doesn't know the national language. If the speaker allows it then there will be barrage of requests from other state MPs to speak in their own regional language and the other thing is if he succeeds in his request then there will be huge celebration down south! Who is going to stop it? Nobody cares! Everybody in politics is for gain. 

A recent debate on NDTV brought this language issue and again a MP from Tamilnadu is suggesting that they cannot afford to lose the regional language in their state and if a common language is needed then English can be common medium. Where does this idea come from?? I am appalled and dumbfounded by this statement. There is a national language called Hindi and roughly 40% above of Indians speak and understand Hindi. Why can't we accept Hindi as a medium of communication? I had written about the national language Hindi & continued in Hindi Adv. We are ready to accept English, a foreign language as a medium but opposed to Hindi. Wah! The regional language/issue is the key weapon to be in power.

With Karnataka and Kerala having disputes of water sharing with Tamilnadu, I do not see them states of India. The people in respective state act like they are from different countries. Here too, people in Tamilnadu suffer due to lack of water which is a necessity and local politicians at all 3 states play the game as long as they can. They make sure that the disputes remain disputes for decades and no solution is found in the distant future leave alone near future!

The sense of Indian-ness is taking a backseat as the days goes by. What unites us to be called as India and Indian? I am proud to be Indian but nobody looks at me as Indian inside my own country. Either they call me South Indian or Gujju or Bihari or Bengali or so on. The way you are segregated in a group reflect the way we think of India. Even outside country if a fellow Indian meets another Indian the first thing they inquire about is which part of India? and that sets the tone for future communication. 

What keeps us going to remain intact as India?

Is it because of our history? 
Is it because of culture that we gain strength from being united? 

Is it because of absolute democracy?
Is it because of fear? 

I am puzzled and do not find answers.

What happens if a state like Maharashtra declares independence and declares itself as a country? I sincerely hope that this regional politics does not lead to this kind of situation in future.