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A Christmas Carol November 26, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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I wonder if Charles Dickens’ beloved classic was really suited for a 3-D motion capture adaptation. Except the promising first few minutes, most of what comes after turns out be a rather bland and soul-less rendering of Dickens’ tale.

In recent times, Robert Zemeckis seems to have lost his touch even though we can overlook The Polar Express and Beowulf purely for their technological innovation of a new form of storytelling. Sadly, A Christmal Carol is a pretty late arrival to even get away with the “technology” excuse. Ebenezer Scrooge’s original tale was both bleak and touching (still one of the very few stories I really loved as a kid) and where the film falters mostly is in the latter aspect. Jim Carrey does his best in multiple roles and that’s definitely among the very few things which make this movie watchable.

You might want to watch this if this is your first IMAX-3D flick – or better still wait till December 18th to catch the real biggie.

Kantri May 11, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Despite impressing everyone last year with Yamadonga, NTR had people talking about his drastic weight loss and that it was a bit too much – he’s lost his charm etc. Now that one has gotten used to him in that avatar, his newest offering Kantri actually is the first film of his which you can watch without wondering if he is too fat or too thin. Kantri is a regular formula film – albeit shot better than others in this genre with a nice plot twist (inspired from a movie of course!) to make you think that you’ve seen something different from the ordinary.

Kranti aka Kantri (NTR) is a vagabond who joins a gang of baddies headed by PR (Prakash Raj). Now the movie begins with a young PR cheating and killing some folks for money, so you can guess there has to be some link between Kranti and PR. There are quite a bunch of baddies here (Ashish Vidhyarthi, Murli Sharma, Sayaji Shinde) who exist just to give a reason for the fight sequences. In between there are some nice comic moments – Krishna Bhagwan’s thread was the best of them all. Ali and Sunil are also good in a few scenes. Raghubabu as usual gets the same role as the villain’s comic sidekick and he is good too.

This film seems to have been made as a conscious attempt increase NTR’s audience base. If you go in expecting a regular NTR flick you’ll come out impressed as this is quite a stylized upgrade to the stuff he’s been doing until now. There are also some lines which explicitly speak about “class”ifying him to put across the point. Since this film is about NTR he does everything expected of him in style. The lengthy dialogues (with references to taathaiyya of course!), the fights and most importantly the dances. This time the moves which leave you wonderstruck are in the songs “Vayassunami” (reused from Vijay’s Pokkiri) and “I go crazy”. The only thing good about Hansika and Tanisha are that they aren’t hanging around for too long. Mani Sharma’s tunes are good and all the songs are nicely picturized. Owing to the “class”ification the fights also seem a bit restrained (in terms of flying people) when compared to other flicks. Meher Ramesh (quite a popular Kannada film director) makes a neat debut.

Finally, if you are a fan of NTR, Kantri is the summer-special treat you’ve been waiting for….if you aren’t then atleast you won’t crib about him for once.

Beowulf December 14, 2007

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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IMAX 3D comes to the rescue of Robert Zemeckis again. Last time it was “The Polar Express”, which was yet again a bad “Santa Claus + Christmas Spirit” movie. This time with Beowulf the technology improves by leaps and bounds the the content still sucks; simply going by the plot this is the perfect example of a bad B-Monster movie.

Demon Mother’s (Angelina Jolie) purpose in life is to seduce and sleep with every Danish king who would impregnate her with a demon and trouble arises when the grown up demon son causes havoc in the kingdom. The current king (Anthony Hopkins) faced with the monster Grendel summons for the legendary warrior Beowulf (Ray Winstone) who successfully slays Grendel but as everyone else falls into the trap of Demon Mother. Years later, Beowulf’s demon son (a fire spitting dragon) has come back to trouble the kingdom and Beowulf has to confront his “paap ki aulad”.

This film more than anything else serves as a treatise on how to incorporate strategic nudity into one. You get to see Anthony Hopkins drop his robe, the extended fight scene where a naked Beowulf fights Grendal, or Angelina Jolie emerging out of a pool covered with an opaque liquid which mostly drips away but dutifully sticks at the right places.

The 3D work is stunning and in the first few sequences it really hooked me but thanks to the boring plot, you take it for granted and despite some magnificient sequences it didn’t awe me too much. I was seriously waiting for the film to end. Also, the motion capture technology works quite well and even though everyone knows it is an animated movie you end up believing that they are real actors – but not to worry….as John Malkovich and Robin Wright Penn keep appearing on screen periodically on screen and one look at them reminds you that this indeed is an animated movie.

Beowulf is the only mainstream movie to have best exploited the IMAX 3D format (and that experience itself is worth a watch) but if you don’t have access to one….safely skip this one for good.