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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen June 29, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Guys….what’s with all the Bay-bashing!!! I seriously fail to understand why Michael Bay is assumed to be the edifice on which American Cinema stands. Poor guy just makes his own brand of porn which not surprisingly has a large number of takers – what’s the big deal!

Coming to the movie itself, I must admit I didn’t really enjoy the previous installment as much I as might I have wanted to – the main reason (pretty much the same for everyone else) being the incomprehensible action sequences between the Bots. Revenge of the Fallen doesn’t improve much on that count but paradoxically was more enjoyable since I knew what to expect. To put it very simply, the sequel literally provides “more bang for your buck” when compared to the first one – and nothing else. In recent days, there was a lot written about the scenes shot in the native IMAX format. Most of it is hyperbole – first of all there are just about 6-7 minutes of such footage but since most of the film comprises of similar mayhem, there isn’t anything memorable here. I also felt that the regular IMAX up-conversion work was a little patchy. So, there is nothing you’d lose if you don’t check this one out on an IMAX screen.

Most folks from the previous film are back – John Turturro was a nice surprise though. Michael Bay can never be faulted for the amazing visual effects he employs – even if they don’t have the intended impact on the viewer. After watching the first Transformers movie, I neither had the idea that a sequel was coming nor did I want one to transpire. Though I enjoyed this film too, I would prefer to see Bay stick to making more traditional action explosion flicks.

Unless you are an inveterate member of the Michael Bay Hate Club you would want to watch this one. If it interests you (and as you might know if you have been following stuff about this movie) you do get to see “Nigger robots who can’t read”, “Decepticon testicles” and a “robot humping Megan Fox’s leg”.

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Chandni Chowk To China January 19, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Exactly two years back Nikhil Advani came out with his magnum-opus bomb Salaam-e-Ishq. He seems to have done it all over again now with the much awaited and much hyped Chandni Chowk to China. The extremely well designed promos made CC2C seem like a crazy slapstick comedy with a liberal dose of Akshay Kumar’s martial arts skills thrown in. But one really finds it hard to believe that the writer-director team of Sridhar Raghavan and Nikhil Advani could end up with such an insipid boring film.

The plot which a masala mix of producer Ramesh Sippy’s own films like Seetha Aur Geetha and Sholay along with a dash of Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Hustle looks like a foolproof premise for a film in this genre. Sadly, apart from the intermittent laughs CC2C falls flat. Akshay Kumar plays a simpleton cook Sidhu who is mistaken (don’t ask how) to be the reincarnation of a legendary Chinese warrior Lu Sheng; who is now on his way to China to “fulfill his destiny”. Sidhu is fooled by his friend Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey) about the reason he is being taken to China – which really is to get rid of the evil lord Hojo (Gordon Liu). Hojo is also responsible for the separated-at-birth twin sisters (Deepika Padukone).

Until everyone lands in China, things seemed to be going pretty well – the unfunny silliness at times still gels well with the tone of the film. But things go wrong only when we are expected to take the whole thing seriously. Like I said before, the film is absolutely boring for most of the time and that is its biggest unforgivable flaw. The only memorable parts of this whole (mis)adventure are those two hilarious sequences – one in the plane with Akshay and Ranvir; the other being Akshay’s initial training session with Roger Yuan.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Akshay but this is honestly the film where I really loved him. In his last few comedy flicks he might have come across as repetitive but here he shows a different slapstick side of his which really saves the film from sinking completely. Ranvir Shorey also has his moments but they are are far and few. Roger Yuan is also fine. Deepika apart from being good eye candy has nothing else to do. Unfortunately, Mithun Chakraborty is saddled with a rather loud role which he seemed clearly uncomfortable with. The action sequences have nothing new to offer if you have seen any Kung Fu flick before – the “cosmic” kicks and punches seem more like improvised flying people stunts from South Indian flicks.

The music is quite good – credited to Kailash-Paresh-Naresh, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Bhappi-Bhappa Lahiri (just remixing the old hit – Bombay Se Aaya Mera Dost). I loved the “Naam Hai Sidhu” track. It’s one of those simple and earthy numbers like Haule Haule from RNBDJ which makes the film come to life whenever it is playing in the background. The end credits feature Akshay Kumar performing a self-aggrandizing rap number and ironically CC2C has turned to be the flick which might potentially be his first Box Office turkey after a long time; unless the opening weekend collections save it to an extent. Catch it only if you are a huge fan of Akshay Kumar.