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99 May 18, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Thanks to the Film Producers-Multiplex Owners stand-off, there hasn’t been any new Bollywood offering for a while now. Citing the relevance of it being released during the IPL season, the producers of 99 somehow managed to get it out. 99 claims to be the the “coolest crime comedy of the year” – a claim which it admirably lives up to. I noticed that in a few reviews/articles about this film, the directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK have been mentioned as debutants. For those who are not aware, a few years back these guys made a wonderful “crossover” film called Flavors which you should definitely watch. Their latest effort just proves that they are here to stay.

The basic narrative of 99 is similar to Guy Ritchie’s caper flicks – so you have people chasing money, people chasing other people and money jumping places before everyone finally gets what they deserve. The crime backdrop in this one centers around betting and match-fixing in cricket – that’s why it is set in the year 1999. A rather interesting insight which the film constantly seems to allude to are the nascent birth of now ubiquitous pop cultural phenomenon like mobile phones, the Internet, Coffee shops and Bhojpuri Films! 99 is smartly scripted with great humor and unlike similar themed flicks is a lot more believable as there is quite a bit of time devoted to detailing individual characters and their actions. Some have complained about the long runtime resulting because of this but I had absolutely no problems with it.

Most importantly, the primary reason everything in this film works so well is its delectable cast. Kunal Khemu and Boman Irani have the greatest screen time and are delightful. The former is also looking quite good sans his long locks. Mahesh Manjrekar as the local gangster AGM impresses once again – this is the only kind of role he seems to excel in effortlessly. Cyrus Broacha is quite hilarious with his usual brand of humor. Despite having short parts Vinod Khanna and Soha Ali Khan are very impressive. The best accolades should however be reserved for newcomer Amit Mistry who never fails to bring the house down. His scene with Kunal (a glimpse of which is seen in the promos) is the highpoint of the movie.

Technically too the film looks good. The musical score (Roshan Macado, Mahesh Shankar, Shamir Tandon) suits the tone of the film perfectly. The title sequence seemingly inspired from Watchmen is also quite catchy. Going by Bollywood standards 99 is an almost flawless work which is immensely entertaining and equally clever – go for it!

21 August 15, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Apparently inspired by a true story, this film is the story of how an MIT professor and his students count cards and win/steal gobs of cash from Vegas casinos. Kevin Spacey plays the professor who devises a foolproof scheme for the purpose. The film actually is about a kid call Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a math whiz who is newly inducted into the team and soon becomes its star. Ben needs the money for Med School but he thinks he can get out when he makes enough for his tuition. But greed, jealousy and immaturity take over and things turn sour. Ben loses the money and if he doesn’t get it back in time, his Harvard dreams could be shattered.

I was terribly bored by the end of this film. Even though the premise could have resulted in a watchable film, screenwriters Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb turn this into an exercise in tedium. The intelligence of this kid is hammered to us time and again but it would have been better if the intelligence of the script came through. Stock characters and mostly uninteresting situations bring this film down and director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) isn’t really able to use the inherent charm of Vegas and making easy money.

I am sure a lot of people watched this film due to the presence of Spacey. I wouldn’t have checked it out if not for Spacey but he isn’t on screen for as long a time as you might expect. He doesn’t get scope to impress and Laurence Fishburne is wasted but Sturgess does manage to do well.

Casino Royale
sold Poker to me. 21 couldn’t do the same for Blackjack. I wouldn’t recommend this film.