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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.


Blue October 19, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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250 feet deep lies the secret of Blue….100 minutes is what it takes to convince Sanjay Dutt to lead a quest to find that…18 minutes is what it takes for you to realize why Sanju Baba was being so difficult.

In the film, whenever anyone mentions the buried treasure in Sanju’s presence he automatically has these series of flashes about a wrecked ship and skeletons. Writer-Director Anthony D’Souza assumes that those flashes are enough to keep one awake and curious for most of the movie’s duration. Needless to say, the action sequences as well as the underwater stuff for all their finesse are extremely unexciting.

Even if you excuse the lame script, there is something fundamentally wrong here – it’s not just the buried treasure which is underwater….the overall energy levels of everyone and everything in the movie also seem buried 250 feet in the deep. You instantly know this because 1) Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif actually outshine everyone else in a multistarrer film 2) Lara Dutta in a bikini has just about the same sex appeal as an overweight Sanjay Dutt in a diving suit. (To add to Sanju’s woes he is made to fight on land wearing that thing). 3) You pray that Akshay Kumar actually switches back to doing one of his monotonous comedy films.

After last year’s Love Story 2050, comes another film where you have to observe a two minute silence in solidarity with the technical crew. A.R Rahman’s compositions are somehow salvaged mostly because the most energetic ones appear during the opening title sequence and the end credits. The buried treasure was unlucky enough to be found by the team of Blue – you could escape the same fate if you haven’t ventured out to watch this one.

Arundhati February 2, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Sometimes you just can’t explain why a film is successful. The slick poster campaign and promos might have caught everyone’s eye but is Arundhati really the blockbuster masterpiece it is made out to be? At this point of time there is no doubt that it has gone on to become a blockbuster but I really wonder how it became one. A major reason could be some of the extremely glowing reviews it got because atleast from the murmurs I heard most of the audience didn’t seem too impressed.

Arundhati is quite a misleading title in the first place. It should actually have been called something like Jejamma Mahatyam. Honestly, this movie is more like an upgrade to SFX filled semi-devotional flicks which have been helmed by Shyamprasad Reddy and Kodi Ramakrishna in the past. And before you get gung ho about “SFX filled” let me remind you that the implicit assumption here is: “more SFX” = “great SFX”.

Once upon a time there lived a great lady called Arundhati (Anushka) – who is reverred as “Jejamma”. Her brother-in-law is this sadistic sex maniac called Pasupathi (Sonu Sood) who’d rather stab and rape a woman if she’s causing trouble to him performing the act in normal circumstances. Once he’s banished by Jejamma from that place, he joins/becomes an Aghora which kinda makes him immortal. Poor Jejamma is only left with the option of burying him alive and three generations later when Arundhati is reincarnated again, buried-alive-in-grave Pasupathi wants revenge. Can Arundhati survive the onslaught? Watch the film if you really want to find out.

Supernatural tales like these more or less have a similar plot so everything depends on how you can make the ongoing events engrossing. Atleast for me an overload of crazy mindless visual effects doesn’t do the trick. To give credit where it is due, it doesn’t make you sleep either. However, all said and done I did enjoy some part of it purely because of the craziness and (un)intentional funniness. I couldn’t stop laughing whenever Sonu Sood’s character lets out an “Aaeee Bomali!”. In fact he is the best part of the film. Anuskha is fine but just because she is the main protagonist it doesn’t automatically translate to an exceptional performance. Sayaji Shinde is highly irritating along with a bunch of other characters.

It is more or less confirmed that Arundhati will be remade in Hindi – I wonder if those who are keen are buy the remake rights actually saw the film or are just going by its phenomenal success. In my opinion, Arundhati is the most overrated Telugu film in recent times – it is too illogical even if you give some consideration to the fact that it is based on a supernatural theme. Still the mindlessness provides for some fun and that might be the only reason one might want to watch this. In any case, I am sure the curiosity factor would draw you to the cinemas (if you haven’t seen it yet).

Love Story 2050 July 7, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Ladies and Gentlemen…..take note – Harry Baweja has set a new benchmark for cinematic realism. Just a couple of instances if you find it hard to believe me. There’s a scene where the time machine takes off for the year 2050. But it’s not just Harman and gang which takes off….you yourself feel that you’ve lived through 42 years on your seat until that scene finally comes. Also, towards the end our hero is supposed to come back to the time machine before a certain deadline so that he’s safely returned to the present otherwise he’s supposed to actually grow 42 years older. A significant proportion of the audience seem to have felt the same would happen to them also and not convinced that Harman would make it in time, they started to leave the auditorium hurriedly.

In between those two events unfortunately you get to see what is undoubtedly most flawless VFX work ever accomplished in Indian Cinema. I said unfortunately only because I feel sorry for those guys at Prime Focus and Weta Digital whose effort in all probability will remain unseeen by those it was intended for. They can thank Harry Baweja for this. It really takes lot of imagination to make such an uneventful and boring film when the theme you are dealing with it time travel and reincarnation. In fact this film is so boring that you won’t even know it is about time travel and reincarnation unless you knew beforehand.

Here is Love Story 2050 compressed for you so you can avoid a trip to the theatre. Guy love girl…girl love guy (repeat cycle till 5 minutes before interval). Then girl die…guy remember girl say she want to travel to “Mumbai 2050”. Guy get brilliant idea that girl will reborn in “Mumbai 2050” and he start time travel to “Mumbai 2050” (Simultaneous, Harry Baweja start throwing 60 crore in drain). “Mumbai 2050” largely consist firangs and rule by gay fashion designers and their creation. Guy find red hair girl who look exactly like her 2008 girl. Finally, red hair girl remember 2008 duet (really nice tune by Anu Malik) and 2008 personal diary and decide to come back 2008. Story End (Simultaneous, Harry Baweja also stop throwing money in drain).

Harman Baweja has to live with being called a Hrithik clone for a while. He does show promise and it is unfair to judge him based on this film….but check out his “Milo na Milo” moves. Priyanka is borderline irritating (more to do with her 2050 costumes). The only time when you actually smile during the movie is when Harman says “I don’t need luck, I have love”. It’s funny because when Daddy Baweja might have thought of that line, he never would have guessed how wrong it would prove for him. Watch this one only if you want to show some solidarity with the VFX team.