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Kick May 13, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Not quite sure if many folks are being too generous to this film or quite likely my tolerance levels have hit rock bottom. Well, I absolutely hated this film but more importantly I dread hearing that word “Kick” which seemed more painful to me than being at the receiving end of a real one.

Ravi Teja plays a character whose every action (and I mean every single action) in life is solely determined by whether he “gets a kick out of doing it”. So that you do not mistake him for just an adventurous person who likes to takes risks, he takes the pains to remind you in every other scene that whatever he did in the previous scene was only because he “got a kick out of doing it”. Technically, that means atleast for half of the film’s runtime Ravi Teja or someone else is constanly telling you this profound truth in our hero’s life lest you forget. The humor and action constantly compete with each other to disappoint you the most – the former wins for most part until the latter delivers a final blow towards the climax where a seemingly impossible heist is pulled off casually just to remind you that bad action sequences aren’t going away from Tollywood anytime soon.

Ravi Teja, Ileana and director Surender Reddy may have finally have a hit (going by the intial reviews and collections). BTW, this film also marks the Telugu film debut of Shaam who is just about the only likeable thing in this movie. Though I didn’t feel too upbeat about last week’s Veedokkade; in hindsight that seems like a masterpiece now, so rather check that one out if you want to see a flick in a similar genre.

The Italian Job 1969 April 24, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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When I saw the more recent version of The Italian Job (Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron), I enjoyed it quite a bit. When I read the reviews of the film, however, it seemed that many critics found the heist/chase in the original version starring Michael Caine to be better. At that point in time, I had my doubts about that claim but after watching the film, I have to agree that they were more than right!

Written by Troy Kennedy-Martin and directed by Peter Collinson, the original is very different from its successor, not only in terms of content but also in spirit (and location – this one actually happens in Italy). This film is not aiming to get the audience upbeat or excited through fancy gimmicks and heist scenes. In the early stages, I felt like I was watching a project manager plan, strategize and practice for a task with his team. It is actually quite interesting to view a heist from that perspective but by today’s standards this segment isn’t exciting. However, once the team manages to steal the gold, the film steadily gains a charming persona.

The heist and the following chase sequence take up a third of this film and are memorable to watch. This film is worth watching for this part alone and I felt compelled to watch it more than once. Even if you dislike watching old films for whatever reason, I’d still recommend that you watch the last third of this film.

The Bank Job March 10, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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There was little buzz about this film before it hit the theatres but if critics are to be believed, this is the only good film to release this weekend when the universally lambasted 10,000 B.C. raked in the big bucks.

The movie is based on an infamous robbery from 1971. Terry (Jason Statham) and his friends are offered a bank job by an old friend who has some inside information. The small time crooks decide to take up the job to rob the safe deposit boxes at Lloyd’s Bank in London. What they don’t know is that these boxes hold some very big secrets including one that is linked to the Royal family and before they know it, they are entangled in a web that threatens their lives.

This isn’t an entertainer like The Italian Job or the Ocean’s movies or a slick, charming enterprise like Guy Ritchie’s Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Nonetheless, it is an engaging, well-made caper flick. Director Roger Donaldson (The World’s Fastest Indian, Dante’s Peak) maintains the tension throughout and writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (who worked together on films like Flushed Away and Goal!) weave together the intricate subplots competently. It would have been quite easy to confuse the audience but credit to the writers, director and the editor, John Gilbert (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Bridge to Terabithia) that this does not happen. Jason Statham is sincere and convincing. He can carry a film on his shoulders but this film carries itself. The large supporting cast filled with British actors (most of whom I haven’t come across) is effective.

It is hard to discuss this film without giving away some of its secrets but the various subplots (apparently based on reality or at least what is known of it) keep you hooked. The robbery itself is a well-executed, tense affair. The intelligently plotted climax comes at you quick and ties up all the ends together but if you blink, you might miss one or two key moments. In between all this, the characters are given some personality and a love triangle finds its place too. There isn’t a lot of humor but you don’t really miss it because the film is paced well and doesn’t let your mind wander. This is well worth a watch.