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Kaminey August 18, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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As the end-credits rolled, I was thinking hard if Kaminey was the best Bollywood flick I saw in the last ?? years. I can’t figure out that number yet but if I had make my own top 10 list for the decade, I shouldn’t have much trouble sneaking this one in. Kaminey is just awesome – and this pure awesomeness can unarguably be attributed to the genius of Vishal Bhardwaj – who has concocted a hands down masterpiece.

If you notice, this is the first time that Bhardwaj moves his turf to a city. I’ve always thought that his previous films – no matter how good they were – lost a bit of appeal because of the milieu in which they were set. In interviews about this film, he has mentioned about the Tarantino and Guy Ritchie influences one is likely to find – I think he was being too humble. The beauty of Kaminey is the way it seamlessly subverts and pays tribute to so many genres both Indian and Foreign. It has been misleadingly promoted as a smart crime caper – one of the possible reasons a considerable portion of the audience haven’t really taken to it. Actually, it is a dark crime drama with multiple threads filled with black humor and when you least expect – is emotionally powerful. This is the reason it is hard to label the film.

The first thing which struck me about this movie was the inventiveness of every scene; it gives you an idea about the effort which went into conceiving this. The added technical brilliance – be it the cinematography (Tassaduq Hussain), the score and even the sound recording is something which takes this film to new heights. On top of everything, you have a superb ensemble cast who create memorable characters. Shahid Kapoor is lovable in both the roles – irrespective of how well the film does his “f”-words already seem to be a rage. Priyanka (who is the only female character in the movie to my recollection) gets a great part once again and she does full justice to it. Among the supporting cast, Amol Gupte is superb. Though early on he doesn’t have much to do but at the end of it turns out be the best performance of this enterprise. Tenzing Nima and Chandan Roy are a few of the other characters who make a strong impression.

Bhardwaj’s score has always been the best thing about his earlier films and Kaminey is no exception. This time he and Gulzar come up with the current rage “Dhan Te Nan” among others, which is used to maximum effect. My favorites are “Fatak” and the title track which incidentally come at the beginning and towards the end respectively. After watching the film when I thought writing about it here I wanted to begin by saying – How can one not love Kaminey!!! But looking around a bit made me realize I was too optimistic. For me this was one of those films which reminds why we all love cinema so much.

Eagle Eye September 27, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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From executive producer Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks studios comes a psychological thriller that you’d wish you never heard of. A fantasy of epic proportions set in something that looks like the real world. A film that assumes you’ve never heard of the term disbelief. A film that crosses the barriers of implausibility and sprints into the depths of stupidity.

The trailer of Eagle Eye has played all summer long in front of almost every film I’ve watched (and it got terribly irritating by the end of the season). At first, it seemed like it might be an enjoyable mindless entertainer. But the makers seem to have focused on only one of those three words. Despite that, the marketing efforts should ensure a much better opening at the box office than it deserves.

Though it is based on a premise similar to that used in films like Cellular and Phone Booth, this film is closer to Bruce Willis starrer Live Free or Die Hard. While highly implausible, I was able to enjoy that film because it didn’t seem to take itself very seriously. And that is the problem with Eagle Eye. There is a single joke in the film if I remember correctly. The film takes itself too seriously when the plot is not even half as acceptable as that of Snakes on a Plane.

Nevertheless, director DJ Caruso (Disturbia) seems to have somehow convinced his actors to believe in this script and act with a straight face. They even seem somewhat earnest, Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa, Love Actually) especially. Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Indiana Jones IV) is passable while Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III, Gone Baby Gone) and Rosario Dawson (Death Proof, Sin City) get quite forgettable parts.

The film runs on paranoia, an aspect that could actually seem identifiable in current times (a couple of initial scenes do ring true), but it is taken so far that it ends up being very very laughable. The chase/action sequences also turn out to be quite irritating with Caruso using extreme close-ups in conjunction with jerky camera movements and fast editing. He even films some of the stationary scenes this way.

I don’t believe that the fields of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Pattern Recognition will reach the levels of competence that the over imaginative and relatively inexperienced writers of this film (John Glenn, Travis Wright, Hillary Seitz, Dan McDermott) foresee in a long long long long time. And therein lies my primary difficulty in being able to accept this crap (even if I was able to ignore all the senselessness). But then everyone is not aware of the current state in these research fields.

If you are looking for a run-of-the-mill thriller with a fantastical plot that you won’t mind believing, Eagle Eye might not be a bad watch. Otherwise, don’t go anywhere near this film.