Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #276

Movie: Mankatha ( Thamizh, 2011)

Plot: Four amateurs plan to 'sting' 500 crores of laundered betting money. When a suspended police officer gets to know this, he joins the gang & they get hold of the amount. They postpone segregation of the loot thanks to the watchful eyes of police crew working on betting scams. One gets caught by the police, two escape with the money & the other two have to deal with the police & the betrayers in tandem.

  • Another ear-deafening, frenzied first day first show experience of a Thala film! Mankatha is Ajith's show all the way - With his effervescent screen presence, ruthless badmouthing & some cunning action, he deservedly steals the show to such an extent that scenes without him seem dragging. His looks,even with simple costumes & a not so fitter body, being so much better than some 6-packers is something that defies normalcy!
  • The film has its share of joyous, action-packed sequences ably supported by good music & cinematography.
  • Arjun, Trisha, Jayaprakash & newcomer Ganesh are the others who impress.
  • Venkat Prabhu & his usual team have restricted their Thala devotion to an extent that there isn't much idolising; At the same time, the film gives a bite here and there for the hardcore fans (For example, the scene when multiple Ajiths plan with the theme running in the background).
  • In one way, the final twist is good to enjoy at the instant when it is shown.
  • The action is too much to take. There is so much of gun fight shown ( which took me during a gun fight sequence to the question on when an Ajith film was devoid of any scenes with a gun. The answer I got was 'Mugavari' & even after the few minutes I took to get the answer, the bullet flow from the guns had not ended!)
  • Ajith , to an extent, has been under-utilised in the film. He could have had much more scope to show his villainy; If only there were lesser characters in the film!
  • Premgi & Mahath - Absolutely poorly made roles! Their characters are what make the film a 'pethal'; Even in the midst of a serious scene, they get to act in seriously questionable funny levels.
  • The final twist, in the context of the scenes shown before in the entire film, lacks any logic.
A typical Venkat Prabhu 'Pethal' film; Nevertheless, enjoyable for Ajith's devious daredevilry!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #275

Movie: The Great Debaters (2007)

Plot: A black American professor who fights for the cause of his race, is also determined in preparing a top-notch debate team from his all-blacks Wiley College. They steamroll past the other black colleges & get invited for a debate at the Harvard School. Meanwhile, the prof gets legally entangled for his rebellious ways; The debate team, devoid of its coach prof, challenges the best & triumphs!

  • Denzel Washington's role in the film - be it his direction or his terrific scree-presence - is a huge plus for this morally noble movie.
  • The debate team members fit in their roles to perfection & deliver dialogues with aplomb. Forest Whitaker & other minor role players too sparkle in their limited time on-screen.
  • The camera work is of superior quality & there are some fine praiseworthy experimental angles adopted.
A true story on the Black Upliftment - Inspiring stuff!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mankatha Da!

It's been an year since the start of the film's shooting. The film has seen a lot of firsts.
  • Thala gutsily coming on with his off-screen look sporting grey hair et al.
  • The film's producer,director and other crew members have set the trend with some aggressive social network marketing. Mankatha is all over the place on Orkut, Twitter & Facebook. This is sure to be followed by other film makers soon.
After a period of lull, the release of a single song from the album brought some publicity.
The trailer has been 'Bang-On' in achieving what it was aimed at - Shouting out loud that Ajith plays a negative role in the film.The audio of the film has its share of good & not so good songs but when has an Ajith film relied on music - an eternal curse, probably!

With the recent news of the film shifting from Cloud Nine to Studio Green to a combination of 'Cloud Nine-Sun Pictures-Red Giant', the limelight is off the film's star. Hope the fellows donot do an 'overkill' with their promotions.
He might be off the radar when the cards are being played by politicians but come what may, the theatres will be thronged by audience on Aug 31st - not for cloud nine, not for Sun, not for Trisha,Arjun, Yuvan, Venkat prabhu; not even for 'Mankatha'. It will be for the man who celebrates his 50th film! Hoping that Mankatha comes out as a quality product & sustains the massive opening that is sure to be bestowed upon it by the legion of Thala fans across the state. Thala deserves that Big Break on a milestone film. It's been years!

Thala - Give yourself more, give us more!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Look - #25

PAPER MONEY by Ken Follett

Plot: Two conniving men blackmail a Government agent for upping their wealth. One is interested in buying majority shares at a firm following the insider's tip forced by the other guy; In return, the other guy gets info on a van carrying used paper notes worth millions of pounds. A newspaper agency covers these stories & after a while figures out that the events are all interconnected but a volteface in the end sees to it that the pressmen can't do a thing about the scandulous forgery.

  • An early caper of Ken Follett, Paper Money is exactly what it is meant to be - a light crisp narration on money related fraudulence.
  • The prime characters are many in number - atleast 7-8 - and a linear narration of events from each of their angles adds muscle to the work.
  • The characters & the events are all depicted at a shallow level of detail & that somehow works in the book's favour. 
  • The heroic roles of the men from the Press is a tribute to the profession.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #274

Movie: Dheivathirumagan (Thamizh, 2011)

Plot: A person whose mental growth is retarded at 5 years isn't bothered by his ailment when it comes to fostering his daughter. The duo's bond breaks under unfortunate circumstances when the kid's maternal custodians take her away from him. With his relentless efforts & a lawyer's help, he presents his case of an able caretaker on court & ,finally,wins; only to make a sane decision at the end!

  • Vijay presents a moving,emotional film; Inspired by I am Sam, except for 2-3 direct scene lift-offs, the film has been tweaked a lot (especially in the second half) and the smart screenplay ensures that the film reaches its target audience.
  • Vikram - as Krishna from Avalanchi - plays his role to perfection , proving yet again that he's the next big thing (though a distant second) after Kamal. His mannerisms,voice tone are consistent right through the film which is a must & he takes care of all that with ease.
  • The little girl Sarah is charming, cute, acts well and that makes her an instant darling.
  • GV Prakash's songs and background score are significant points in the film - The theme & the Vennilave off-shoot background scores which get played time and again warrant a mention! 
  • The entire courtroom portion & the scenes from 'The Park' hotel were shoddy & bring down the quality of the film to an extent.
  • The climax act between the father & daughter were highly emotional - true. But 'Was it substantial?' for a sudden change in decision from all parties remains a question.
Good, infact, a very good film, but has been enjoying more appreciations than what it probably deserves!

Two Line Reviews - #273

Movie: Rain Man (1988)

Plot: When an old man dies, his long-absconded son returns to get hold of his share from his dead father's property but the father's Will reveals the presence of an autistic brother who doesn't understand what 'money' means. The journey intended to get the share from his brother eventually paves the way for an unshakeable brother bonding!

  • The 3 prime characters in the film are etched quite well & that is a big plus. The shift in the audacious businessman's character from a pure monetary beast to an emotional brother is shown to happen gradually making it work.
  • Dustin Hoffmann wins the viewer's heart with his body-language, tone & the uniformity he brings into it in all the scenes.
  • Tom Cruise, as the short-tempered bizman, & his lover have beautiful roles and have done well.
  • The rain-man flashback angle paves the way for the genuineness of the emotional connect.
An Admirable show of brother bonding!

Two Line Reviews - #272

Movie: Husbands & Wives (1992)

Plot: A husband-wife duo announce the break-up. This shocks their close-friends couple but a dramatic turn around sees the former pair re-uniting and the latter pair splitting!

  • The idiosyncracies (a term Allen so often uses) are quite evident with the flow of this Woody Allen flick.
  • The ironic tale is narrated in a nice and interesting fashion with classy dialogues and scene segments.
  • With Allen leading the way, Mia Farrow plays another good role & the young Liam Neeson supports well.
Ironies brought to life on-screen!

Two Line Reviews - #271

Movie: Hannah & her Sisters (1986)

Plot: A lady's husband falls in love with her sister and her ex-husband too has his share of the pie by getting into a relationship with the other sister of hers.

  • This one is successful as a funny, likeable entertainer with Mia Farrow playing the pivot backed solidly by roles of substance given to her sisters & husbands ( Allen & McCaine)
  • The style that the narrative takes with chapters goes well with the film's tempo.
  • Woody Allen as the check-up addict & the religion philosphy seeker is a riot with his purposefully sidelined funny role.
Another relationship drama - Doesn't disappoint.

Two Line Reviews - #270

Movie: Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Plot: A budding writer is forced to give chance to a useless actress wife of a don for getting the financial support for a film he wishes to cast some promising names. When these actors rehearse, the don's aide - a bodyguard to the wife-actress - corrects some badly written scenes & soon it becomes a norm with the aide becoming the writer & the writer becoming a help-seeker.

  • The message - the difference of looking at things wearing a different hat - is superbly delivered by Allen & the title is a brilliant fit.
  • John Cusack & Chazz play the main roles convincingly & Dianne West reminds one of Sunset Boulevard's protagonist.
  • The screenplay, which gradually shifts focus from the rehearsals to the message, is smartly knitted.
An unconventional Woody Allen film!

Book Look - #24


Plot: In 1939, when WW-II gets declared,a trans-atlantic Clipper shuttling between UK and USA sees one of its dramatic journeys with fascists, kidnappers, famous celebrities, a petty-thief,businessmen,policemen being its passengers. The story in the clipper takes several branches during its journey - some romantic, some business-like - but when the core event of Kidnap takes place, there is some stake in it for all parties concerned.

  • Ken Follett offers a nice narrative where politics, business, family emotions, romance are all in the right mix.
  • The different sub-stories take up different sub-genres but are connected well to the central theme of the story and so no part sticks out like a sore thumb.
  • The pulsating moments leading to the final kidnap
  • The myriad of likeable characters makes the reading an even better experience.

Two Line Reviews - #269

Movie: Zelig (1983)

Plot: There is a man who has the weird talent of becoming (looks-wise & behaviour-wise) anybody he observes and stays close to. The film is a documentary on such a mystifying character.

  • Woody Allen makes the character 'Leonard Zelig' an instant legend with his superb essayal.
  • The different characters that Zelig the chamaleon gets into are enjoyable.
  • The narrative style employed - pucca documentary model - clicks big time.
A near-perfect mockumentary!

Two Line Reviews - #268

Movie: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)


Plot: A theatre-addict woman loses herself to her love for movie-watching and when the relation with her unemployed husband starts getting rougher, she seeks solace with a character who dramatically moves from the reel screen to the real world!

  • A novel concept, treated light-heartedly serves its purpose as a decent entertainer. Credits to Allen for that.
  • The guy who plays the screen actor who moves out complements Mia Farrow's marvelously done role.
  • The drama characters and their squabbles are funny.
 Unconventional, funny & is worth a watch.

Two Line Reviews - #267

Movie: Manhattan (1979)

Plot: A middle-aged divorcee in Manhattan is being loved by a school girl; For her good, he advises that she leave him and in the meanwhile, he gets attracted to the lover of his close friend. The cobweb of relations finally get resolved amid confusion.

  • The sensitivity factor is quite high for a Woody Allen picture & in that way it is a bit different.
  • The crazy yet intellectual dialogues sprinkled all around the narrative are pluses.
  • The roles of Allen, Diane Keaton & the girl who plays Tracy are noteworthy; The same could not be said of Meryl Streep's contracted role.
Emotional,Funny,Interesting - All in typical Woody style.

Two Line Reviews - #266

Movie: Take the Money & Run (1969)

Plot: A wannabe bank robber is such an inept, timid freak that he remains a wannabe bank robber forever!

  • A film from Woody Allen's up & coming days - freaking,weird & amusing - all at the same time.
  • The comic situations - explanation of spelling corrections during a bank robbery are all funny.
Decent enough for a fun-ride, nothing more.