Saturday, October 30, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #114

Movie: Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

Plot: "Revenge is a dish best served cold". This film is all about that. A victim of betrayal makes a checklist to kill the members of the 'Deadly Viper Assassination Squad' she was once part of & she starts doing that in (awe)some style!

  • Quentin Tarantino is THE style master. The most stylish film I ve seen. By style I don't mean costumes & sets. The way even gore is shown stylishly is astonishing. Also the blending of the styles of Hollywood & Japanese Films was superb.
  • Uma Thurman ROCKS! She carries off a violent role, which nobody would associate with a woman, with total ease.
  • The soundtracks used for the film are all brilliant & used in apt places. I felt goosebumps raise on my skin when the Ennio Morricone track from Death Rides a Horse was played.
Logical fallacies. There a quite a few of them including the sword fight with 50 odd men before the climax.

My Rating: 9.8/10

Two Line Reviews - #113

Movie: The Big Sleep (1946)

Plot: A private detective is hired by a General- a father of two daughters whose younger daughter is blackmailed by a stranger. The detective goes on to find the stranger & before he gets him,the stranger is murdered. So are a few others. A chain of events follow and he finds that the elder daughter is part of the imbroglio. Finally, the detective makes the bits fall into place.

  • Humphrey Bogart shines in his classy avatar as the detective agent.
  • The lady who plays Rutledge performs pretty well.
  • The screenplay keeps one guessing & catches us on the wrong-foot time and again.
Too many characters & that spoils the party to an extent.

My Rating: 9.0/10

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Look - #2

NO COMEBACKS by Frederick Forsyth

Plot: This is a compilation of ten short stories,each centered around one character and involving just a handful of characters.

  • Crisp narration style employed - True with a majority of the stories on offer.
  • Terrific attention to detail provided in most of the stories - Boat-fishing & a game of cards are exhaustively explained in two of the stories.
  • Astonishing twists brought forth in the final page of some of the stories.

Two Line Reviews - #112

Movie: Wallstreet - Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Plot: Bretton forces a honest Lou to commit suicide with his fraudulous ways at the advent of the 2008 Global Economic depression. Lue's protege Moore seeks Bretton's mentorship to find a way to give him back what he deserves. In parallel, Moore's dream venture capital investment on Ocean energy gets hope & gets crushed by a single person - Gordon Gekko, the man from the prequel film Wallstreet who makes his return from Jail!

  • Here again, Michael Douglas scores - With his Sly, smart & persuasive ways as Gekko.
  • The men who play Bretton, Moore& Eli Wallach - the eternal Mr.Ugly offer good supporting roles.
  • The camera work is noticeably good.
This one is not much about Wallstreet as it is about personal relations.That makes it a bit less racy in comparison with the prequel.

My Rating: 8.9/10

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #111

Movie: Wallstreet (1987)

Plot: A stockbroker at the New York stock exchange, with aims of making quick big bucks, impresses and joins with giant businessman Gordon Gekko and just when he keeps going great,he understands how he's being played with in a game of greed.He ends up trying to impart on the business eagle,some of his own wicked lessons

  • The movie runs as fast as the ups and downs of stocks shown in it - Goes at a terrific speed.
  • Michael Douglas displays charisma and towers above others as the enigmatic wily biz giant.
  • Charlie Sheen plays his role perfectly,losing out to greed,realising it in the end & the other Sheen rocks in the few scenes he appears in.
  • The one liners on money are practical & crisp.

Some of the financial jargons are difficult to follow.

My Rating: 9.1/10

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #110

Movie: Before Sunset (2004)
Plot: The couple who part ways in Before Sunrise,with their plan of meeting 6 months later notwithstanding, lead separate ways in life. When Jesse is in Paris on a tour to promote his book written on his one day stint, he meets Celine again & then they walk,walk,talk & talk - Enjoyably!

  • Hawke & Delpy, despite looking a lot older than in Before Sunrise, continue their tremendous on-screen match in this sequel.
  • The dialogs run riot in this film too. There is a lot lot more verity than just romance in the conversations they make.
  • The simplicity in the making of this splendid ride. If the first part covered one day in terms of duration, this one covers 2 hours. Definitely not an easy one to make. Full credits to the director & the lead pair for their combined screenplay writing effort.
Not any.

My Rating: 9.1/10

Two Line Reviews - #109

Movie: The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Plot: A private detective duo is hired by a woman who pretends to seek information on her missing sister & her lover. One of the detectives gets murdered;the lover gets murdered. The heat is on the detective as vested interests on a Falcon statuette with historical significance is found to be causing all the jeopardy.

  • The intriguing plot itself is a huge plus.
  • Humphrey Bogart is such a class act! He displays rock-solid acting stuff throughout the course of the film.
  • Dialogs have always been excellent in the very old films I've seen. There are a lot of dialogs in this film too but every single line is insightful & appreciable.
The reason for the killing of Bogart's associate is not satisfactory.

My Rating: 9.5/10

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #108

Movie: P.S. I Love You (2007)

Plot: An estranged widow shocked by the unfortunate and untimely loss of her husband is brought back to her senses and normalcy by a chain of pre-planned letters conceived by none other than the dead husband!

  • The idea shown is sweet,strange & positive - Helps in making the viewer eager to know what's going to be up next.
  • Hilary Swank is best when it comes to expressing emotions. She does that in this film too. She's at her innocent best when she says "What vital parts?All my parts are vital" in the Wild-Irish dog scene & her final emotional outburst at the hands of her mom is classy.
  • The characterisations of Gerry (Gerard Butler) & Holly's Mom are good too.
  • The final letter and the little twist it brings!
  • The friends of Holly (especially Denise) & the Irish band guitarist seem like interruptions & they irritate.
  • The film moves a tad too slow.
My Rating: 8.5/10

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #107

First things first. Last week,I saw Paiyaa (a film that ran for about 150 days).Except for some 20 odd minutes,the film was such a miserable dud. And today, I saw this film Drohi (this one ran for about 10 days before being washed out by the Enthiran Tsunami) and except for some 20 odd minutes comprising unnecessary songs, this film was engrossing.What an irony!

Movie: Drohi (2010,Tamil)

Plot: Two ten year old 'thick as thieves' friends separate after betraying each other. They keep playing the cat-n-mouse games for years together & finally shake hands after realising that they were being used as pawns by the area chieftains all that while.

  • The director Sudha,a lady who is an associate of ManiRatnam has made a good debut;Credits to her Kathryn Bigelow-like attempt to make a male-centric thug film.
  • Both Srikanth & Vishnu have done well. Srikanth,especially, has broken his stereotypical shackles finally. Yet, he remains unlucky wrt getting a break as the film has become a flop.
  • Background music of Selvaganesh is good. Cannot say the same for songs-they are pathetic.
  • Heroines. They have no role to play. Without them, the film would have been a 90 minute ride and would have looked a lot less amateurish.
  • It was saddening to see a good actress like Pooja in such a small role. Too big a penalty for playing a beggar in Naan Kadavul.
My Rating: 8.6/10

Two Line Reviews - #106

Movie: Philadelphia (1993)

Plot: A successful attorney is being betrayed and complained of being careless & ineffective at work and is fired. The attorney files a suit with discrimination claims that such a reason was tailored-out and the real reason was that he was a Homosexual and had contracted AIDS.

  • Somewhere through the episode, the point that 'discrimination based on AIDS acquisition & sexual preferences is wrong' is made subtly.
  • Tom Hanks is that one actor who makes me shed a tear or two with his terrific show of emotions and he does that here too - The Opera explanation scene - He revels. And his looks keep changing,as if he'd really got AIDS!!He deserved the Oscar he got for it.
  • Denzel Washington is casual and complements Hanks perfectly.
I expected a final outburst from Hanks in the courtroom & the lack of such a scene made me feel that something was missing towards the end of the film.

My Rating: 9.5/10

Two Line Reviews - #105

Movie: 28 Days Later (2002)

Plot: This Danny Boyle film presents an insanely ingenious idea on the spread of a virus pandemic causing death to a majority of the UK population,leaving behind some infected who vye to kill the uninfected.How the uninfected 3-4 people tackle the menace & a desperate friends-turnded-foes army makes way for a gripping two hour watch.

  • The concept & its making by Danny Boyle - Taking aerial shots at places as busy as the UK with only 2-3 people on focus is no mean feat.
  • The hero (who I guess is Fischer Jr. of Inception) does a splendid job,especially in the climax.
  • Background score is good. Boyle must be one of those directors who pay attention to this. No wonder he works with Rahman now.
The infection's nature is dubious. How could a virus infection make people get violent and make them want to kill others within just 10-20 secs after picking the infection!

My Rating: 9.4/10

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #104

Movie: Point Break (1991)

Plot: A cop goes undercover as a sea-surfer to get hold of a group of adventure seeking bank breaking lunatics. Adventure blends beautifully with police action.

  • Kathryn Bigelow's making of the film. The lady has definitely got some style.
  • Was nice to watch Keanu Reeves after a long time. He fits the bill as the FBI agent who goes surfing.
  • The ambush sequence on the drug peddlers & the sky-diving scenes were great.
  • The villainous ways of the Shane Watson like villain
  • The hero,who risks his own life, cannot trade-off a few months lover for a sincere senior agent.That just doesn't look good.
  • The climax fight scene. Of all options,a fist fight is what gets chosen.
My Rating: 9.3/10

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #103

Movie: Accepted (2006)

Plot:A student vexed at rejections from various colleges in the country gets inventful, creates a website of a college of his own to tackle his parents & when a bunch of other people see the site and get admitted , the real fun begins.
  • Despite being a college film, it is full of neat & decent comedy.
  • The hero boy does a very good job with a confident body language.
  • Dialogs have nice humour spread over them.
Too impractical to be true.

My Rating: 8.8/10

Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #102

Movie: Delhi 6 (Hindi,2009)

  • The second half of the film salvages something for the film's cause with some good scenes.
  • Sonam Kapoor carries herself wonderfully and does a decent job as a debutant.
  • Abhishek bachchan is OK. Does well in some scenes but peters out (literally & figuratively) with some artifical NRI stuff.
  • The first 70-80 mins of Delhi 6 is dull,dreary & directionless. Comes as a shock given that it has come from the maker of RDB.To be fair, the intention of the film is OK,but presentation leaves a lot to be desired.
  • AR Rahman's memorable compositions have all been butchered. Those picturised completely have also been done pathetically,except Masakali.

 My Rating: 7.0/10

Two Line Reviews - #101

Movie: The Apartment (1960)

  • The movie was such a good entertainer from the word Go till the very last minute - A super good plot for a humor-filled 2 hour caper.
  • Jack Lemmon as Baxter is a scream on screen. In his words performance wise,dialogs-wise & any wise wise!
  • The able support provided by Shirley Maclaine as the troubled Miss Kubelik.
  • Billy Wilder scores with considerable aplomb in a plot drastically different from his Sunset Boulevard & Double Indemnity
Can't think of any!

My Rating: 9.5/10

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #100

I chose this film specifically for the Milestone number 100! Have always wanted to see this one and have been missing it all this while for strange reasons. Me being fascinated by the legend that The Godfather series is, it was mandatory for me to complete the series and I have done that now.

Movie: The Godfather - Part III (1990)

  • A film that has been Under-rated to the core.This is a terrific film in its own right. I don't understand why people have rated it so badly compared to the parts I and II. Anyone who loved Godfather I and II will love this edition as well,or that holds good atleast to me!
  • Al Pacino , as the aged mellowed down Corleone is brilliant in his portrayal.
  • The surprise package was Andy Garcia as Vincent Mancini. He is ruthless,cool headed and graceful as the new Corleone.
  • The climax set in the backdrop of an opera show is a treat - Brings back the climax of the first part,Nino Rota's music providing able support throughout.
  • The role of Mary wasn't good. The performance of Sofia Copolla as Mary adds fuel to the fire.
  • The small post-climax scene shatters the aura the Corleone's had accumulated in the three parts.
 Overall Score: 9.4/10

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #99

Movie: Nora Inu (or) Stray Dog (Japanese,1949)

  • Set in a scorching Japanese summer,this brilliant Akira Kurosawa film on a Cop's pursuit of his lost Colt pistol and a conman who misuses it brings out the message that gets quoted somewhere in the film itself - "Bad luck either makes a man or destroys him"
  • The mentoring relationship shown between the senior and the junior cop.
  • Toshiro Mifune portrays desperation superbly.
  • Some stupendous dialogs.
  • A better background score could have revved things up even more.
Overall Score: 9.6/10

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book Look - #1

If movies are tough to recall after a period, recalling things are even more tough with books. This series is meant to serve the purpose of recording things to recall later & let me begin that with my latest read.

THE CAMEL CLUB by David Baldacci

The first one in the Camel Club series.Members of a conspiracies investigators' club are party to the murder of a Secret Service Agent & things get interesting when they get to find that the murder was made to look like a suicide; There's more to it!The killing is related to a plan for the assasination of none other than the president of the U.S.A. The Camel Club shatter that plan in style.
Prominent Characters:
Oliver Stone(a)John Carr,Reuben,Caleb Shaw,Milton Farb,Agent Ford,Kate Adams,Carton Gray,President Brennan,Tom Hemingway.
  • Intricacies of the differential  policies of USA against the different countries in Middle East & Africa expressed beautifully.
  • Secret Service protection detail depicted wonderfully.
  • Maintenance of an intriguing flow of actions.

Two Line Reviews - #98

Movie: Star Wars:Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

  • If it was deserts in the first installment & snow-clad mountains in the second, the third one's enjoyable mission is based partly in the jungles of a moon.
  • The confrontation of the father son duo of Lord Vador & Luke Skywalker.
  • The tribal animals that acquaint with and rescue Harrison Ford & Co.
  • The Yoda-Skywalker dialog sequence before Yoda's passing away.
  • The first fifteen minutes in Jabba's planet was such a bore. The weird characters that appear don't help either.
Overall Score: 9.3/10

Friday, October 1, 2010

Enthiran - My 2 cents!

In what it aims at offering, Enthiran is no Gentleman,no Mudhalvan,no Indian & no Anniyan;It aims at offering sheer entertainment – like Jeans. And in that , it is successful. What’s more? It offers ethereal entertainment enclosed in a clout of spellbinding creativity. The Shankar, Rajni & Sun Pics combination deserves praise for not trying to make a film for Rajni like Shankar did, rather unconvincingly, with Sivaji.

The story could be explained in one or two lines. There is not much in that front. Robot Chitti devised by scientist Vaseegaran fails a litmus test for not being able to reciprocate feelings & the scientist’s move to feed feelings into it turns against him making the robot fall in love with the scientist’s lady love Sana. When this goes beyond limits, Vaseegaran destroys his brainchild or so he thinks only to find that it has somehow gone into bad hands and has turned calamitous. How he gets the robot back to what it was forms the climax.

Sundries first; The villain is a bore delivering mundane near non-existent thamizh words like naasa velai, theeya velai etc!. Karunaas and Santhanam are of no use to the film and could have easily been done away with. People in the other small roles fit well.

Editing by Anthony was good within sequences but the between-sequences editing could have been much better. The second half sags a bit and the portions involving Kalabavan Mani and Kilimanjaro song could have been chopped off. The film doesn’t offer much scope for Cinematography and it was adequate.

Now to the bigger ones; The special effects team and its creative head – which I guess and hope is Shankar deserve ovation for the breathtaking efforts they have put into this film. The graphics work is not glaring at all and is quite a few notches above the graphics of Dasavathaaram. This is a good thing which shows that we are progressing on that front. Art work is brilliant. The Robot looks charming and believable at the same time. The Stunts are good and aren’t high on exaggeration. The make-up on Rajni is good too considering there had to be much work on that departmental front. All songs of Rahman FIT amazingly well to the manner of the film & the background score is not exemplary but is enjoyable – apt for an enjoyable entertaining film. The special background notes are the Arima Arima orchestration in the climax and a funny little Two Point O bit for the version 2.0 robot.

Now to the biggest ones; Aishwarya Rai plays a pivot in the story but doesn’t command much screen space (Not even the scientist Rajni does!). Whatever she does, she does it well and in the song sequences she dances like a charm! This makes us take our eyes off an uncomfortable Rajni in the dance shots. She looks gorgeous and the hour-glass shown in Kaadhal Anukkal song to epitomize her structure is only apt.

Shankar is a smart director and he proves that yet again. Something has definitely told him that another Sivaji wouldn’t work & thus, he seems to have modified a script to fit Rajni into an entertainer of his style (This is definitely not the Robot script he would have shared with Kamal those 10 years ago). He has done some smart tweaking to satisfy both hardcore Rajni fans and people who had come to see the Shankar film in it. Some prominent Shankar touches are:
1.    All the robot scanning methods.
2.    Robot’s answers to the scientists (Hare Paradox, DNA gyaan, Raagam identification etc..).
3.    Kannaathal koil, fire-fight & Mosquitoes scenes.
4.    The grand forms the robots take in the climax.
5.    The final scene at the museum,2030 – Final answer on why he was dismantled!
6.    A small bit this – When Chitti tries to save Sana, while moving through compartments,the robot stamps on the mouth of a person who tries to spit gutkha pan out of the train door – A nach one-second Shankar touch!
There are quite a few other samples indicating that Enthiran is authentic Shankar stuff made with no compromises. Some negatives are the winding police fight portions when the Villain robot abducts Sana & an abrupt end to the climax & some of the logically inconceivable superman stunt efforts of Chitti.Considering the film’s reach worldwide, he must also have avoided small spelling glitches that appear ('Neural' is spelt 'Nueral' in one of the two scenes in which the word appears; 'Programming' is spelt 'programing'; Mistakes not expected of  Shankar.)

Now to the biggest of them all. Even though I am not that big a fan of Rajnikanth, I couldn’t stop myself from screaming when his name appeared on the title card,when he got introduced in the film – The man carries so much aura around him. It is such a pity that he hasn’t done so much justice to whatever talents he has. Let’s forget that for the time being as he has done incredibly well in Enthiran. He looks convincing and comfortable on screen. At the age of 60, to perform whatever he has performed is incredible. He doesn’t mouth punch dialogs and that is a huge relief. He has understood that there is ample scope for heroism with the Robot’s role & remains quiet as the scientist.
As Chitti he is a riot on screen with his comic timing and talents used to the fore. As Vaseegaran he displays a sufficient portrayal & the highlight of the VERSION 2.0 Robot is Rajni’s voice modulation & Villainy – So typical of his ruthless yesteryear self, though the deja vu effects of Chandramukhi’s Vettayan makes it go overboard at times.

I went in to watch Enthiran with the aim of wanting to give a mouthful of bashing to all ardent Rajni fans after expecting to watch another Sivaji like attempt but Shankar and Chitti have bowled me over and I am only happy for it! As the song line goes Enthiran Veezhvadhillai indeed!Enthiran enthralls,entrances,entertains!!