Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #324

Movie: Rajapaattai (Thamizh, 2011)

Plot: Some NONSENSE on land-grabbing by politicians

Positives: NONE, if i could discount the humour antics of K.Vishwanath.

  • A 'no-story' accompanied by a terrible sequence of scenes by Suseendhran
  • A shoddy show by Vikram in which he performs scenes that even Vijay would think twice before doing them!
  • Terrible music from Yuvan - easily his worst album in a long time!
  • Eyesight-affecting costumes worn by Vikram & the getups he come in are nothing more than spitting matter!
The worst film I've seen in theatre since Azhvar in 2007!

Two Line Reviews - #323

Movie: Don 2 (Hindi,2011)

Plot: The Don is back in action after a hiatus. This time, he is a headache to a drug cartel who aim to wash him off; He washes them off and plans a heist on a German bank to get his hands on its note imprinting plate. This he does with his aide Vardaan and is trailed and troubled,as usual, by Roma. When the heist goes well, there is betrayal! Don loses the battle but wins the war sending across a message to get ready for Don 3!

  • With his ruthless villainy and style as Don, Shahrukh yet again impresses in the sequel; His punch verses are enjoyable & he has put some nice effort in the stunt sequences.
  • The visuals and stunts are spectacular - the aerial and long shots capturing the cities of Kualalumpur, Singapore, Zurich, Berlin show them in all their glory.
  • The twist in the climax (it is nowhere close to that in Don) , though predictable to an extent, is convincing.
Farhan Akhtar misses the bus in plotting the story and screenplay. There is no story at all and the sequences shown are already seen in many films before.

Nowhere near Part-1 but the King is definitely back after the Ra.One debacle!

Two Line Reviews - #322

Movie: Warrior (2011)

Plot: The mixed martial arts championship is planned for over the July 4 weekend. Among the 16 men, two underdogs hog the limelight: A professor, an old pro at MMA, comes back to fight his financial crisis & a US War hero at Iraq is the other. They,deservedly meet in the final & THEY happen to be brothers!

  • The film has sentiment, action & inspiring scenes in the right mix - so apt for an engaging boxing film! The screenplay is intriguing powered up by a mix of quiet and action packed sequences.
  • Tom Hardy and his relation with his father(played by Nick Nolte) is portrayed superbly & so is that of Joel and his coach! It is these combinations that make the film special.
  • The action scenes in the ring are power-packed and the hard fought wins of the professor backed by his students and school principal are inspiring!
  • The AWOL act of Tom stays true to his ruthless character displayed in fights and the climax fight is a fitting tribute!
'The film to watch' this season for Boxing fans & Brothers!

Two Line Reviews - #321

Movie: Love and Death (1975)

Plot: Russia goes to war and along with it takes a timid, war-hating crackpot where he surprises all and sundry by playing pivot in Russia's war victory. When he gets back home, he yearns for the love of his cousin who seems to have loved every other person in the country! They fnally become a couple and when another war approaches, they decide to disguise as spanish diplomats and try to assassinate Napolean!

  • Woody's take on what is love and how one experiences death is quite impressive,with more focus on love than on death!
  • The fast paced narrative and the introductory scenes are full of sarcastic comedy taking digs on Russia and war and are funny to the core.
  • The complex dialogues that Woody and Diane exchange are downright funny and brilliant!
  • The Napolean assassination plotting scenes add to the fun and provide a climax to enjoy.
Dostoyevsky, a terrific funny character!

Two Line Reviews - #320

Movie: Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989)

Plot: A doctor's illicit relationship grows into a problem when she starts blackmailing him and he battles between right and wrong before finishing her off. Elsewhere, there is battle between the good and the ugly for the love of a woman and the confluence of the stories is the film's climax!

  • This intense drama from Woody Allen is appreciable for the screenplay which shows one story and itst analogy in parallel and shows the irony crisply!
  • Martin Landau who plays the doctor shows emotions - love, guilt, fear- to perfection with his expressive eyes
  • Woody shines , in his parallel track as the ambitious film maker who loses his love for the most irritating person who the couple had had laughs about.
  • The detailed artwork (Woody's house in the film being as close as it could get to a film maker's house) is appreciable.
Intense and gripping drama!

Two Line Reviews - #319

Movie: Small Time Crooks (2000)

Plot: A crook of a spoilt man, his wife and friends plan on a bank job, rent a nearby shop for doing that and by unusual change of fortunes, their shop flourishes and the couple get rich in a way they never assumed it to be. With the riches come a penchant for class and they lose their way in the quest for class,a dn finally realise their own selves!

  • There is a gem of a message at the end of this hilarious film and that isn't preachy! Another humour filled outing from Woody Allen.
  • This is one of those films which would display Woody's spontaneity in acting - the scenes where he word-fights his wife, the scenes where he show frustration etc. are amazing! The performance of the lady who plays his wife is equally good!
  • The bank job tunneling scenes & the scenes where they get coached are rip-roaring fun.
Hilarious entertainer!

Two Line Reviews - #318

Movie: The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

Plot: Two investing agents at an insurance co. who are at loggerheads are hypnotised by a magician and are brought under the curse of his jade scorpion. Through them he tries to win a lot of jewels; The duo , who get chased by police, finally come together to solve the case and nab the magician.

  • Another interesting Woody Allen film rated poorly! The intrigue, the sarcasm, the humour - they are all there in the right proportion in this film too.
  • Woody as the serious yet funny agent rivels in his role and his cat-fights with Helen Hunt are all the more engaging!
  • The screenplay though predictable and flat is enjoyable nevertheless.
Engaging and funny!

Two Line Reviews - #317

Movie: Scoop (2006)

Plot: A dead reporter gets a scoop on a serial killer and his spirit gives the scoop to an amateur reporter who, along with a street magician, try to solve it by tracing and tracking a wealthy handsome tycoon who they are after.

  • It comes as a rude shock that the film is badly rated on IMDb as it is highly engaging and is one of the better films to watch without one losing interest over its course.
  • The brilliance of Woody Allen is everywhere to see - the screenplay,dialogues and direction are exemplary.
  • Add to that his own performance as the wrong-side-driving-fearing guy who moves on from a scared-to-death magician to a curious one trying to solve the case.
  • The pretty Scarlett Johansson and the hunk Hugh Jackman perform amply well to suit the film's mood as well.
A taut thriller, easily made in typical Woody Allen style!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #316

Movie: Midnight in Paris (2011)

Plot: A writer who wishes to write about the classical past which he loves is battered by his wife, her parents and her friends during a family holiday in Paris. When on one day he takes a stroll to avoid their bickering, he suddenly gets to the past and meets the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway etc. He eventually realises that he has to break up with his girl as their tastes donot match at all.

  • Even though the subject has been dealt with in the past, the premise chosen for showing the writer's delusion is fresh and Woody Allen gets the viewer to the past.
  • Owen Wilson comes up with an effortless yet impactful performance and his love and reverence for the legends from the past is evident in the scenes he meets them.
  • The way Paris is captured in the first three-four minutes is amazing and the rest of the film is as poetic as that.
  • The scene that Woody uses to stress the point - for every generation, the past seems better than the present - is brilliant.
Nostalgic tribute to the 1920s writers!

Two Line Reviews - #315

Movie: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Plot:Two friends from the US spend their summer vacation in Spain and in the process get acquainted with a Catalan painter on whom the two of them develop inexpilcable passion at different times. His ex-wife gets into the picture at exactly the wrong moment causing trouble to the already delicate relationships that exist.

  • This must be one of the Woody Allen gems,for the way in which a sensitive relationship situation is handled extremely logically & delicately is highly commendable.
  • Javier Bardem & Rebecca Hall provide nice supporting fiddle but the role of Scarlett Johansson as the passionate girl with an indecisive quest for love and that of the beautiful Penelope Cruz whose frayed temper and Spanish outbursts are extremely delightful to watch are the roles to look for.
  • The scene where Cristina explains her relation with the Spanish pair to Vicky takes the cake as the most convincing scene in the film.
  • Nice spanish locations - churches, ruins - among others, a lively narrative and a solo barcelona background track keep the viewer engaged.
Delicate subject, delivered deliciously!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #314

Movie: Mounaguru (Thamizh,2011)

Plot: A group of policemen accidentally happen to get a chance to cover up a case that would present them with a 6 crore loot. When one of the policemen's conversation is recorded and the group gets blackmailed, they plan things hastily leading to mistakes after mistakes. One such mistake - taking the life of a silent college student for granted - costs them dearly in the end.

  • Debutant director Santhakumar deserves applause for presenting a heavy no-nonsense script with an engaging screenplay within the commercial format and delivering a quality product at that!
  • The hero's honest characterisation justifies the Coelho philosophy of 'whole world conspiring to help him'.
  • The casting appears apt with nice performances from Arulnidhi,John Vijay & his group of wrongdoing policemen, Uma Riaz, Iniya & the rest.
  • The dialogues pack a punch at places (eg. the scene where he speaks with and spanks the doctor with belt) and the characters in the hero's family appear realistic.
  • Thaman's songs carry the heard-before feeling but with a good background score, he impresses. So do the photographer and Editor.

At one point towards the end, the case solves by itself and the probing that Uma does after that seems unnecessary.

A taut crime-thriller; Laudable effort!

Two Line Reviews - #313

Movie: Sweet and Lowdown(1999)

Plot: A guitarist who thinks he is the second best all over the world has reverie for his numero uno Django. The film traces the career of the guitarist over the 1930s during which he had flourished.

  • I've always longed to see what the result would be when Woody Allen directs a good talent and from what's evident with Sean Penn's performance, it would have been great to see many more such combines.
  • Woody's screenplay putting a take on the human ego through his prime character and dialogues to stress on that and sandwiching that between humorous sequences & an unusual pairing makes this a refreshing tale.
  • The commentary, with the usual nonsense touch of Allen, is enjoyable (not as much enjoyable as in Zelig though!)
Journey of a musician & a take on the elephant called Ego.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #312

Movie: Stardust Memories (1980)

Plot: A director known for his comedies turns philosophical and that is something that irks his audience. He gets caught in a nostalgic warp when he is made to contemplate whether or not to get back to what he was liked for.

  • Woody Allen shines with an abstract screenplay whose climax bears an evident semblance to Fellini's eight-and-a-half.
  • He performs his role with aplomb; It's a delight to see him get vexed in movies and here it comes in the form of irate audience wanting his autograph for the films from his past!
  • The dialogues are as good if not as humourous as they are in Woody Allen films; the final scenes where he explains one reason why one could live for is a gem.
A bit complex but interesting to watch.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #311

Movie: Deconstructing Harry (1997)

Plot: Fictional characters from a writer's past get back to him and the memories compound his problem of getting into a writer's block. Through them, he deconstructs himself & finally his own characters honour Harry.

  • This purely imaginative stuff has been filmed wonderfully well by Woody Allen and his team. Fictional characters getting life is a delightful proposition.
  • Woody Allen reiterates some of his own philosophies on life, relationships, awards, his trust on medicine etc. with well constructed sequences.
  • The dialogues with an apt dose of humour is a big plus. The guy who gets out-of-focus is an example of the outrageous characters that Woody creates time and again.
Hilarious Harry, constructed well!

Two Line Reviews - #310

Movie: Match Point (2005)

Plot: A tennis pro gets acquainted with the sister of a person he coaches, gets into their family & suddenly gets a feel for the lady of the man he coaches for. His not-so-enthusing family life and the opportunity to mix with the girl of his liking take him to trouble - to the point of a planned perpetration!

  • Like in Prestige, the premise that is set (with the let cord luck) in the very first minute gets captured in the very last stages of the film.
  • This is a mature, no-nonsense Woody Allen film and when things gather momentum, it qualifies as a suspense film.
  • The guilt-ridden Meyers, Goode, Emily et al. come up with convincing performances & the passionate and furious scenes involving Meyers & Scarlett Johansson are the film's marquee scenes.
  • The twist & the re-twist at the Police officer building in the climax is brilliant.
From romance to suspense, the transition is terrific.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Look - #29


Plot: The plans to assassinate the first lady president of U.S.A. leaks via a Greek servant to the Cops. The gang washes out the Greek, a few cops and a witness. They let loose one cop with the info. The cop and the FBI director's meticulous and sleepless week of work is all it takes to nab the murder-planners right at the moment of the planned assassination.

  • The book moves at a lightning speed from page one & makes for an interesting one-go read.
  • The difference in the approaches of the experienced FBI director & the novice FBI agent are shown subtly but enjoyably.
  • The humorous verses and narrative styles employed here and there are worth taking a note on.
  • The romance track of the agent with one of the suspect's daughters keeps one guessing.
A Super-fast page-turner!

Two Line Reviews - #309

Movie: Osthe ( Thamizh, 2011)

Plot: A police officer with autocratic instincts takes the money off the area hoodlum and pockets it home. His half brother and the villain get after the money, he loses his mother in the process. After some chessboard battles with the villain, the police triumphs and seeks his revenge for his mother's death.

  • The songs of Thaman are the key pluses for this film. They are all foot-tapping numbers & Dharani has ensured that they have been picturised well.
  • The colours in the film make it a watchable commercial fare. So does Simbu (if one can bear his self-trumpet blowings & artificial accent) as Inspector Osthe Velan. It surprised me that he showed some sort of screen presence in this film.
  • The heroine Richa Gangopadhyay, Sandhanam and Co. play roles that have been beaten to death in Thamizh films but are OK with whatever little they have to do.Sonu Sood too,is better than the shouting, raucous gypsy jeep villains you normally see in films of this kind.
  • Well, the screenplay is as flat as a Kanpur wicket. No twists and turns - disappointing from Dharani who has shown them in Dhil & Dhool.
  • The irritating,irrelevant & nonsensical repetition of the word Osthe by many characters in the film.
Verdict??When the first 'plus' put is a film's songs, you'd probably get an idea of the verdict :)

Book Look - #28

FIRST AMONG EQUALS by Jeffrey Archer
Plot: Four men from different parties -  two from the conservatives, one from the labour party, one from social democrats - rise from their ranks to become contenders for the Prime Ministerial role in the British parliament. Their sojourn, their moves through their careers of ascent is what the book talks about.

  • The progressive narration of how they rise from the 1960s to the 1990s is praiseworthy. When things seem a bit repetitive, a new course of action is what ensues.
  • The characters of all 4 - Simon Kerslake, Raymond Gould, Andrew Fraser & Charles Seymour - have been sketched marvelously & ensures the reader doesn t get biased towards any of the 4 men.
  • The roles the wives play in the men's success is brought forth brilliantly.
Difficult to get through the first few pages but Impressive as things catch on.

Two Line Reviews - #308

Movie: Mayakkam Enna (2011, Thamizh)

Plot: A wannabe photographer falls in love with his friend's date who too has her sights on him. In the midst of it all, his pursuit of passion gets badly hit when his inspiration - a leading photographer - denies taking him as an assistant & steals his click which brings instant national & international fame. Meanwhile, he marries the girl he was fatally attracted to but loses his mind. That's when his girl steps in determined to get him on track from the mental trauma he undergoes, and that she ends up doing successfully.

  • The last 45-50 minutes of the film is where all the pluses lie - Be it the grit of the lady ( played well by Richa) in wanting to get her husband to recovery mode, be it dhanush's performance, be it the music - and that's when Selvaraghavan shows stuff.
  • The photography, by the highly talented Ramji, is a huge plus.
  • Music by G.V. Prakash moves well from catchy in Oda Oda to touchy in Pirai Thedum during the film's course.
  • This time, Selva goofs up the first half instead of the second! The first hour and a half is utterly unrealistic - the friend's character being the worst of them all.
  • The irrelevant situation in which Kadhal en kadhal song pops up is example enough to show what we see is not what Selva must have initially had in mind for the film.
  • There are cliches aplenty from his previous films - a heroine who stares pointlessly, a friend who doesn't even know who his date is after etc.
Didn't enthuse or inspire me ( which it seems to have done many)

Two Line Reviews - #307

Movie: Inside Job (Documentary,2010)
Plot: The film traces the roots of the Global Economic Recession of 2008 and how leading U.S. Banks and Financial Cos. like Lehmann Bros.,Goldman Sachs, Merill Lynch etc. got trapped in the web created by their own selves in an attempt to find ways to create wealth.

  • The Iceland prologue sets up the base wonderfully for this Ferguson directed, Matt Damon narrated documentary.
  • The way things such as the securitisation food chain are explained make it an easy and understandable watch even for the uninformed.
  • The kind of research done is quite evident from the footages shown & the digs taken at the leading Executives of the major banks by mentioning they denied speaking for the film are worth a mention.

Learning the '08 Recession made easy.

Two Line Reviews - #306

Movie: Submarine (2011)

Plot: A school going teenager brought up as an introvert gets a lover girl who he feels matches him best. When he finds it difficult to cope with even the closest possible match he gets, he suddenly doubts that his parents' relationship is getting fragile. He tries patching it up damaging his love life in the process.

  • The narrative with powerful, psychological commentary makes it an engaging watch.
  • The lead pair teenagers do marvelously well in their psychic yet likable roles.
  • The photography, which is neat, is a definite plus for this film.
An engaging off-beat fare!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #305

Movie: Rockstar (Hindi,2011)

Plot: A talented guitarist lacks the aura that could catapult him to fame as a rockstar. Feeling that a tragedy in life could get him there, he seeks one  as a 'means' by proposing to a beautiful stranger. What happens is not what he expects & suddenly roles revers and music becomes the 'means' to the romantic 'end' he's after.

  • This can be tagged a 'musical' for the sheer role songs play in moving the plot from place to place. A.R.Rahman gives all that the film requires with some highly riveting songs!
  • Ranbir Kapoor's performance as Janardhan a.k.a Jordan is a revelation. His amazing screen presence combined with power-packed expressions makes him shine brightly.
  • Imtiaz Ali, though not completely successful, weaves magic here and there. The scenes around Kun Faya Kun, Is Lamhe, Dichotomy of Fame songs were magical.
  • Superb Camerawork brings the venomous beauty of Kashmir, Prague & Rome to view.
  • Supporting roles are few (such is the power of Ranbir's role) and those of Shammi Kapoor, the master-cum-manager & Nargis (who looks pretty but doesn't act that well) deserve a mention.
  • The love (though the pairing is nice) doesn't create as much impact as the 2nd half would have wanted it to.
  • The swings in mood of the hero are confusing at times. So is the reason for some of his public outcries when all the mishap he's gone through are personal. That makes the rocking Sadda Haq's placing irrelevant too.
  • The craze of crowds' in cities project as though he is a rebel for a nation's cause which he definitely is not considering what happens on screen.
The 2Rs (Ranbir & Rahman) are the Two Eyes of this film which is good in parts.

Two Line Reviews - #304

Movie: The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Plot: There are three ships and in them, there are three chits a combination of which would give the clue for an ancestral treasure. Tintin & captain Haddock are on the trail & so is the villain who happens to be the descendant of the villain to the Haddock lineage. Who'l get hands on the tickets to the treasure!

  • Steven Spielberg and his innovation seems to know no bounds. This master entertainer pulls his trick once again fitting a legendary cartoon character in his experimental human-like animation feature.
  • The 'Spielberg-Jackson' duo known for their individual brilliance in grandeur combine to give an enjoyable spectacle.
  • The heroics of the adorable Tintin-Snowy duo & the drunkard Haddock with Arabic setting, Bullet etc. take the viewer nostalgically to Dr.Indy's adventures.
  • The animation team, other contributors to SFX,3D & the creative stunts (climax stunt with swaying cameras in particular) deserve a healthy applause.
Nostalgic wholesome treat from Spielberg!

Two Line Reviews - #303

Movie: Singin' in the Rain (1950)

Plot: A successful on-screen pair at the pinnacle of their careers face a downfall (thanks to the awkward voice of the heroine) when speaking movies gain prominence. The hero, with his friend from the road-show days and a cute theatre artist, revamps and rescues his career and wins in his quest for love too.

  • This comedy-musical is the first film I ve seen of this kind and was thoroughly entertaining thanks to Gene Kelly & Co. for their packaging.
  • Gene Kelly & his friend Don O'Connor show some breathtaking dancing skills & that's a big plus for this musical.
  • The cute Debbie Reynolds joins the show late but does a neat job & the witty dialogues add to the pluses.
Dances its way to glory!

Two Line Reviews - #302

Movie: Le notti di Cabiria (or) Nights of Cabiria (Italian,1957)

Plot: The film captures the street life of a prostitute who roams around the streets of Rome and experiences different situations, none of them giving her what she seeks - Love.

This Fellini celebration of an independent witty woman is a pleasant film to watch, for the characters painted are all memorable.
Giulietta Masina, the La Strada lady, plays her role wonderfully well. In some scenes, it is easy to see that she has brought to screen exactly what the director would have wanted of her - spotless acting!
The scenes with the celebrated actor, the mysterious helper & the final anti-climax are simple yet powerful.

Some memorable nights are on show!

Two Line Reviews - #301

Movie: Revolver (2005)

Plot: A brilliant conman, after coming out of jail to play tricks on the man who sent him to jail, gets into the web of two ruthless money launderers. How he gets around them to get his target rid of his power is what follows.

  • As is often the case with Guy Ritchie films, the narrative style is a positive; With the main character speaking words of wisdom to himself, we get absorbed to the events happening around him.
  • Jason Statham, although not spectacular, does a fine job. The stammering sniper is the other one to watch out for in this film.
  • The concept of three people spending years alone and getting to know each other inside out with clues is quite bewildering yet acceptable.
  • The quotes and their significance in the film show the prowess of the screenplay writer.

The suspense element (if it was meant to be one) was too predictable.

Not Ritchie's best but an Engaging fare

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #300

It's time for the 300th One! And for a hand-picked film, I had not to go anywhere as I had always kept this one for the milestone number. A film I had missed watching for a long time. Finally Amélie gets into my Blog!

Movie: Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (or) Amélie (French, 2001)

Plot: A girl whose childhood had been with imaginary friends thanks to the weird doting methods adopted by her parents suddenly gets a chance to liven up the life of an old man. Drawing immense satisfaction out of it, she keeps helping the nice people around her & in the process, falls in Love.

  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the writer/director deserves all the praise there is for creating the character Amélie in this out-of-the-ordinary film.
  • Audrey Tauotou, the girl who plays Amélie, weaves magic on-screen with her poisonous charm & smile. She creates an instant connect with the viewer.
  • The narration style (with references to facts, coincidences & wild imagination) is a winner.
  • The prominent supporting roles are all nice characterisations.
Amélie will bowl you over; Tasteful cinema at its best!

Two Line Reviews - #299

Movie: Raajneeti (Hindi,2010)

Plot: When the running of a state is up to two families for grabs, the coveting & the political games begin. Even a researcher in the family doesn't escape the conniving claws of power and politics.

  • Basing a film on the Epic Mahabharatham & coming up with a pretty decent attempt is no mean feat and that puts Prakash Jha to the 'pluses' list.
  • An ensemble of characters -Katrina, Rampal, Devgn, Manoj - have all done some appreciable work - but it is Ranbir, in the role of the wily Samar, who takes the cake!
  • The pains to make the film look 'massive' is evident with the sets, crowds & the camera captures that well.
  • Nana Patekar, in a listless role, and Naseeruddin Shah in a blink-and-you-miss role, have been ill-utilised; The climax lacks the punch.
  • Some complete rips-off off Godfather 1 gives a distaste
Massive Political Drama, well told.

Two Line Reviews - #298

Movie: Saath Khoon Maaf (Hindi,2011)

Plot: An enigmatic lady is unfortunate when it comes to choosing her 'man'. Beyond breaking point, she gets rid of the man, gets another man. 'Man' becomes 'men', 'men' die & will she ever choose the right one & get seventh time lucky?

  • This Vishal Bhardwaj offering, based on a novel is sound on suspense and thrills that one would expect from a film falling under such a genre
  • Priyanka Chopra, as Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes, lands on a plum role and uses it to the fullest extent and delivers! A nice gutsy essayal breaking off from the stereotypes
  • The photography with its dark shades suits the film's mood & is a plus
  • An audaciously fictitious story line & a devoted adoption from a book make the screenplay end up being not so lively
  • Neil, John & Irrfan end up playing roles of little note.
Priyanka's show all the way!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #297

Movie: 7 aam Arivu (Thamizh, 2011)

Plot: The chinese aim at wiping off the Indian threat by making them seek Chinese medicine for a virus wantedly spread by them in India. The trouble is, there is one person in India - a descendant of Bodhidharman who can find the cure to the virus upon a successful DNA matching which a Genetics Research student is on track to complete.

  • Intentions to bring to notice the legend of Bodhidharman are appreciable and the efforts put in are evident in the first 20 minutes or so of the narrative which takes us back in centuries.
  • A huge plus for the film is its Photography by Ravi K Chandran. Some of the Chinese & late night shots make an impression on the eye. 
  • Suriya, as Bodhidharman, is apt and even the Thejas on his gleaming face is visible in the history burst.
  • Searching..searching..searching for more pluses.. one or two scenes here and there (like the one showing the spread of the virus & some scenes of Dong Lee, some stress upon the need for looking at Thamizh's sciences etc.) are good to watch.
  • A.R. Murugadoss's petty screenplay is predictable to the hilt.
  • The supposedly tributes to Bodhidharman - the science of Hypnotism & Martial Arts - are absolutely gibberished and insulted in the film with a flurry of nonsensical & continuous fight sequences in the second half.
  • Shruti Haasan (she looks beautiful yes..) acts & talks like an amateurish performer and that makes her beauty plastic and unenthusing.
  • Except for a maximum of one or two scenes,Suriya, in the role of Aravind, has literally nothing to do except to flaunt his chiseled body and abs now and again (wearing coat without an inner vest takes his abs show to abysmally insane levels)
  • Harris Jeyaraj's album is one of his worst and the background music has no steam in it.
Disgrace to the arts and its master who the film supposedly pays tribute to!

Two Line Reviews - #296

Movie: Mongol: The Rise of Gengis Khan (Mongolian/Mandarin, 2007)

Plot: This film traces the early life of the legendary Mongol ruler Temudjin, fondly remembered as Gengis Khan. The film shows how he chooses his bride at 10 years of age, how he lives by to seek revenge on his father's killer, how he rescues his wife several times & finally, how he conquers and unites the different Mongolian clans together in a strategic war against a Khan wannabe!

  • This Sergie Brodov record is not detailed, but the coverage in terms of width of the Khan's history is quite big and it is successful in marking the Khan's arrival on to the big stage well.
  • The guy who plays Temudjin does a fine job ably supported by Jamukha, the wannabe Khan & the wife characters.
  • Huge pluses of the film are its sets, horse fights & the immensely likeable Mongol-Russian locations : Stunning visuals make this a very good watch.
Lacks in depth & some scenes are not understandable.

A perfect Jump-board for a Gengis Khan documentary.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #295

Movie: Harvey (1950)

Plot: A soft natured man gets pooked and sees and befriends a six-foot rabbit. Trouble is the invisibility of the rabbit to others' eyes. This creates a comedy of errors in an asylum leading to confusions and engagements. When attempts are finally made to get rid of the rabbit hallucination off him, his sister realises the worth of such an imagination in letting her brother stay adorably good natured and stops the treatment.

  • This film, adopted from a successful play, is as pleasant and clean as the morning breeze; Leaves one's heart heavy after the watch. Kudos to the makers for dishing this out.
  • James Stewart deserves all the respect. This film is another example to his natural talent in action. Especially, in a scene behind the bar where he explains his beloved Harvey to the doctor, he is impeccable!
  • Sister, the doctor-nurse duo, the assistant, head doctor, gatekeeper, last but never the least - The invisible Harvey are some lovable characterisations.
Invisible yes, but Harvey touches the viewer!

Book Look - #27

Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat

Plot: The lives of two childhood friends take massive turns due a reputed engineering college seat and a girl - a friend of theirs. While the academically successful guy takes against a corrupt world with a pen leaving aside worldly gains, the loser of the love turns a crook and ends up owning a college and gets back his lost love, nearly..!

  • The book is a page-turner and has its highpoints, due credits to the author for that.
  • The dig at the screening system adopted by reputed colleges, the corruption in real estate & land deals etc. have been brought to the fore very well.
  • A girl, her betrayal & her two-timing etc. are unbearably repetitive and makes one think if Chetan is a big male chauvinist.
  • The book is a bit low on substance than it is on fantasising the dramas in a relationship.

Two Line Reviews - #294

Movie: Dr. Strangelove (or) How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1954)

Plot: When a general wrongly sends aircrafts on an attack on Russia, the entire political fraternity of the USA tries frantically to avoid the operation. All aircrafts are reverted back but all hell breaks lose when one of them is found to be in the Russian territory.

  • Stanley Kubrick shows his atrocious humour sense in this terrific mocker of a movie! Absolutely enjoyable ride this..
  • With the pretentious plot, all the film does is attack the polished war tactics and nuclear ambitions of USA and Russia, and this it does to satisfying effect.
  • The multiple roles played by Peter Sellers, the hyper General Turgidson & the mockery on silly senseless formalities make this a terrific watch. So does the hummable background track.
Mocking at epic,insane proportions!

Two Line Reviews - #293

Movie: Yip Man 2 (or) Ip Man 2 (Cantonese, 2010)

Plot: The Wing Chun preacher moves base to Hong Kong where he and his small group of pupils suffer from the local Martial Arts Association. When they realise his worth, it gets a bit too late as they end up losing their renowned exponent to a British Boxer. That's when Ip Man enters the ring to show the English what Chinese boxing is!

  • A blend of Cinderella Man and Rocky 4, the film takes the engrossing action shown in the first part to even bigger levels.
  • The Table fight sequence & the final ring encounter are as good as fight scenes come!
  • Donnie Yen maintains the aura that he displays in the first part and accumulates respect for the character of Ip Man - the Bruce Lee guru!
  • The theme song adds to the 'Inspiration' quotient.
Where Rocky IV meets Chinese Wing Chun!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #292

Movie: Yip Man (or) Ip Man (Cantonese, 2008)

Plot: In 1930s the best expert in the martial art of 'Chinese Wing Chun' is confronted first by a localite & then by the army of the Japanese Invaders. The unperturbed wizard shows his skills only when they are absolutely necessary & when he shows them, the others have no chance of surviving,let alone ending up victorious!


  • The biography of Yip Man, the legendary martial arts expert ( of who among others Bruce Lee was a disciple) pays tribute to the legend in a fitting manner & shows him with the heroic air around.
  • Donnie Yen, who plays Yip Man, with his slient demeanour and terrorising kung-fu stunts presents an absorbing show.
  • The sets, camera work & the inspiring music are of high-standards.

An inspiring biopic!

Two Line Reviews - #291

Movie: Vaagai Sooda Vaa (Thamizh,2011)

Plot: Set in the 1960s, the film focuses on a govt. job aspirant playing the role of an educator at an absolutely illiterate brickmaking village. Initially he stays there for the job-to-come by virtue of his stay but as he stays longer, he sees the importance of educating the children there thanks to the shaking of his conscience by the wisdom of a mysterious old man. Love blossoms and so does the prowess of the villagers in arguing against the looting landlord. Throwing away his aspirations, He stays there for good to complete the reform that he started.


  • The director, Sargunam after a slick rural entertainer in Kalavaani goes a bit different with a film that sends a strong message on child labour but the fun quotient is not sacrificed. He is quite successful in coming out with a likable end-product.
  • The music (many songs & the background score) was surprisingly so good given that a debutant had made the compositions. So is the photography. For this simple reason of identifying and using nice talent, the director is one to look-out for in the future.
  • Vimal shows that he is an able performer; The new heroine with her strange accent and 'village-beautygirl' looks does a fine job (except for those exaggerated expressions in songs!); The kids, Bhagyaraj & Thambi Ramiah fit in some nice cameo roles.


  • Poor placement of songs at times harps the interest in the film.
  • The hero gets in the reform act a bit too late, after 80-90 mins into the film.

A valiant praise-worthy attempt..

Two Line Reviews - #290

Movie: Back to the Future 3 (1990)

Plot: The second part's climax sees the scientist accidentally go to 1885. To bring him back, the hero makes an audacious trip to the 1885 in typical spaghetti western style. When he attempts to save his scientist from an impending death, he also sees the impossible happen - his scientist falling in love! Finally, all is well as things get back to the present.


  • Zemeckis takes creativity to the next level in this edition which is more or less a tribute to the Western films of Sergio Leone and the likes. 
  • The hero's character naming itself Clint Eastwood & enjoying its presence in the past makes way for some special entertaining stunts.
  • The romantic angle on the scientist and the lady who bowls him over along with the train climax make this an engrossing film.

Hatrick! Sadly, The time-travel ends with this part..

Two Line Reviews - #289

Movie: Back to the Future 2 (1989)

Plot: The scientist travels into the future 2015 and sees the trouble that his prodigy is about to face. He comes back to the present 1985 to take the guy into the future and correct things. In doing so, the past gets affected for which a travle back to 1955 becomes essential.


  • The crazy duo experience together another adventurous trip which takes them back and forth to prevent the space-time continuum & Mcfly & Dr.Brown donot disappoint in this edition as well.
  • Zemeckis/Spielberg duo, with yet another edition, show how complex creative plots could be presented in a simple enjoyable method.
  • Here again, the work of graphics is appreciable & the same theme music by Alan Silvestri, by now becomes an anthem of sorts; The Hover-board & the Nike Shoes are delightful additions!

The future is as good as the past!

Two Line Reviews - #288

Movie: Back to the Future (1985)

Plot: A crazy scientist invents a time machine & when he is about to take the journey of his lifetime, he is shot by terrorists. A student, his follower, gets into the machine and travels to 1955 to set right the tale of his parents.

  • The film oozes creativity and provides an overwhelming entertainment of fun & action. All credits to Robert Zemeckis for making a film that I thought was only possible for the producer Spielberg to make.
  • The characters of McFly, Dr.Brown & Einstein are absolutely lovable.
  • The graphics around the DeLorean time-machine is brilliant and so is the background score
One from the past & one for the past,present & future audience!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #287

Movie: Engeyum Eppodhum (Thamizh,2011)

Plot: A girl from Trichy comes to Madras; A stranger helps her navigate the puzzling route to her & at the end of the day, Cupid strikes but they don't get to meet again. Elsewhere in Trichy, a soft-natured factory worker falls in love with a girl. After six months, all four get entangled in a tragic bus collision as if destiny was meant to be that way.

  • A pretty decent outing for a debutant director; Saravanan makes a film that one cannot have many things to complain about.
  • The soft and innocent one of Jai's is a surprising characterisation & the naive, town-girlish role played by Ananya, though cliched, is fresh thanks to the scenes with the city guy. Anjali saves her best for the climax.
  • The bus-collision scene graphics is very much appreciable showing how meticulate the makers have been in paying attention to detail.
  • There are quite a lot of exaggerations all through the film.
  • The deliberate pathos effect created out of characters that are about to die is a dampener creating no impact at all.
Though a bit exaggerated, A good attempt by a new-comer.

Two Line Reviews - #286

Movie: Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Plot: A train that covers countries across Europe, one day, plays host to a lot of important people. One among them is murdered during the trip. An ice-avalanche halts the train midway & this lets a Belgian detective carry his investigation to nab the culprit & when he finds what he finds, the suspense revealed is bewildering!

  • It is amazing to know the talent of Agatha Christie through movie adaptions like this! The suspense clearly takes one back by surprise.
  • Sidney Lumet, the veteran film-maker presents the story with a pretty nostalgic setup; with details on train, routes and passengers acting complementors to the suspenseful central plot.
  • Albert Finney, in his detective role, performs impeccably; I have seen not many convincing portrayals than that; One of the best performances.
Express-speed murder mystery!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #285

Movie: Frost/Nixon (2008)

Plot: US President Richard Nixon's forced resignation from power due to the 'Watergate' taping controversy sees him go exile to West where he works on his revival strategies. Meanwhile, a UK based TV Show host sees the potential that an interview with the controversial Nixon would have and risks to go broke to get it done. His initial recordings don't provide him fodder but cometh the hour, he strikes!


  • With rigid,stone-faced yet expressive body language, Frank Langella scores big time in his role of the American President.
  • Michael Sheen, who looks like Adam Gilchrist in the film, oozes passion as the ebullient interviewer.
  • The narrative format employed by Ron Howard suits & sets the film's mood; Hans Zimmer's background score gives able company ( The end credits track is noteworthy).

Evasive President & Exuberant Presenter -  Electrifying end product!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #284

Movie: Senna (2010)

Plot: A documentary featuring Ayrton Senna's scintillating and short-lived career in Formula 1 racing.

  • Appreciations aplenty for Asif Kapadia & Manish Pandey for bringing on to screen a brilliant version of probably the best F1 racer to have ever lived. Even with so much scope for making it a sympathetic tale of misfortune, they have stressed upon the brilliance of the Brazilian racer & have covered the inopportune moment only at the end.
  • The tussles of Senna with Alain Prost, the French Motorsport president, the heated conversations etc. were mind-boggling tapes; Eye-openers on the internal politics in F1!
  • His dramatic title snatches ( 89' Suzuka especially), manoeuvres and passionate views on racing were great to watch.
  • The patriotic Senna, living the role of a core inspiration for an economically battered Brazil, is an inspiring story in itself. That's what shakes you emotionally when the dark weekend at Imola is shown.
Ayrton Senna Immortalised! - by this meticulously made documentary feature.

Two Line Reviews - #283

Movie: The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Plot: A man inherits from his grandfather & father, the supernatural power of getting back to his past through memories. He experiences tumultous mental pressure every time he revisits his past. To correct things that altered the course of several of his closed ones' lives, he attempts to go back again & again experiencing counter productive results! Finally, he does the unthinkable.

  • For a Sci-fi film, the theory depicted was only marginally convincing but the film had its share of suspenseful moments.
  • Ashton Kutcher, in his roles of the troubled whiz/wasted guy, does a neat job. The support from the rough kid friend and the others are worth a mention.
The Chaos theory definition shown in the title has no relevance to this film. Atleast, to me, it appeared that way.

Sci fi suspense,Good in parts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #282

Movie: Udaan (Hindi,2010)

Plot: A teen expelled from his boarding school returns back to his sadistic father who makes it a point to crush the dreams of his son at every possible instant. The son pegs along for sometime, partly to support is half-brother, before he attempts to break from the shackles imposed by his father & flies!

  • Motwane & Kashyap - Take a bow for this astounding piece of work! It is such a pity that these kind of films are a rarity in India & literally non-existent in Thamizh.
  • The intensity of the screenplay and the actions shown make it even pulsating than October Sky, of which the film seems to have been mildly inspired from.
  • The 3 prime characters - Father & the 2 half-brothers have performed exceedingly well.
  • Some less prominent characters like the Uncle, the old patient at the hospital,the friends.. make a huge mark which shows the characterisation prowess of the makers.
Meant to fly; & Flies high!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #281

Movie: The Insider (1999)

Plot: An R&D executive of a leading tobacco firm is fired for questioning the ethics of his firm. When a journalist from a popular TV show coaxes him to blow the whistle, he accepts it risking his personal life. When all's done, the TV channel heads intervene and prevent the telecast of the show. The journalist tries to go the last mile to see to it that his whistle-blower mate's work doesn't go waste & faces hell of a lot of trouble in doing so.

  • Credits to Michael Mann and team for bringing out a neat,crisp tale of corporate fraud and the intricacies involved in bringing such things out.
  • Al Pacino, as the pro journo Lowell Bergman, plays a brilliant role; He looks Old, He looks Jaded - yes, but few can surpass the command he has over the screen and it shows!
  • Russell Crowe plays his role of a blackmailed,confused,troubled yet ethical executive to perfection & shows how classy he can be.
  • The music & cinematography are of high quality and are definite plus points of the film.
An intense,perfect portrayal of corporate crime & what follows!

Book Look - #26


Plot: An investigative journalist, fed up of his continent-hopping routine, looks for soul-searching with a long travel from NY to LA in a two-pronged Amtrak train service. His travel plans get twisted to such an extent that he meets his lost/broken lover from his past, writes a story for a director, marries a couple off & helps when the train gets trapped atop a mountain pass in a snow avalanche caused by a wild blizzard. At the end of the process, some soul-searching he does, and earns his lost love back!

  • The plot is extremely unique. A romantic novel that is completely unromantic in the usual sense & hence, doesn't bore! With his picturesque descriptions of people,places and personification of a train akin to a living being, Baldacci has presented a thoroughly pleasing travelogue.
  • The character of Tom Langdon, the parallelisms with Mark Twain & his moments with the co-passengers are cherishable.
  • The final scenes at the pass & the sweet twists in the climax are pretty enjoyable as well.
A sweet tale of Travel,Train,Adventure & Romance!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #280

Movie: That Girl in Yellow Boots (Hindi, 2011)

Plot: A British girl comes to India in search of her lost father. She encounters problems everywhere - in the immigrations office, with her boyfriend, with her profession & when she eventually finds her father's whereabouts, the biggest of shocks shakes and tears her apart.

  • The daring style of making employed by Anurag Kashyap makes this an interesting film to watch. Kalki Koechlin & Kashyap have backed up a simple,solid story with a neo-noir filming approach and have fairly succeeded in the attempt.
  • Ruth - The role of Kalki's - is bold, highly unconventional & refreshing; Her action is commendable too.
  • The roles of the side-actors: beau,parlour woman, Naseer have been handled justly and contribute to the interest factor.
A Sorrow search-tale of a girl in Yellow Boots, Presented Interestingly.

Two Line Reviews - #279

Movie: Stanley Ka Dabba(Hindi, 2011)

Plot: A snapshot of the school-lives of children - their classes, different kinds of teachers they encounter, the omnipresent,ever-important lunch boxes, the teacher who's madly after one of those lunch boxes & a talented student devoid of a lunch box and how he is hurt for not having one.

  • The movie is as refreshing as the kids shown and the food items that appear in their lunch boxes! Amole Gupta, after his stirring Taare Zameen Par, comes up with a light-hearted school film that is enjoyable in its own right.
  • The protagonist Stanley & his friends - they perform so naturally that it shocks when one gets to know that the filming was done with rehearsals and shoots with amateurs only on weekends!
  • The message that is delivered is genuine and that makes the protagonist Stanley an inspiration!
Well, the stereotypes employed in characterising teachers ( a strict south indian who dresses up and behaves extremely unlike south-indian & the exaggerated food-maniac that the Hindi teacher, played by Amole himself, is shown to be)

Delicious content this Dabba has!