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!

Two Line Reviews - #278

Movie: Scarecrow (1973)

Plot: Two hitch-hikers of contrasting characters meet on the way, get acquainted on the way to the extent that they decide on becoming partners in a business. That's when things take a turn and they end up in a penitentiary roughening the bond. When they get back together, a final ironic twist culminates the tale.

  • The perspectives that the two prime characters offer & the Scarecrow example to elucidate the two view points was impressive and the director/writer duo deserve praise for that.
  • Al Pacino, as the fun-loving son-searching optimist, rocks in his feel-good role and brings out a bucket of enthusiasm to the proceedings.
  • Gene Hackman, as the sturdy short-tempered & confident guy, shows the veteran that he is & it's a joy to watch the two share screen space.
  • Some of the scenes were particularly gripping - the scenes at the bar, the one with the gay & the final climax at the fountain!
Travel tales don't come much better!

Two Line Reviews - #277

Movie: ...And Justice for All (1979)

Plot: A sincere lawyer is disgusted with the corruptible forces in his profession and is at trouble with his superiors for being just that. When the judge he most despises gets caught in a scandalous tangle & he is being forced to defend the judge, things heat up!

  • Norman Jewison comes up with a simple yet interesting storyline to throw light on corruption, racism et al. that exist in the judicial framework. The non-complex method of writing strikes an emotional chord easily.
  • Al Pacino, in another riveting role, lives the Arthur Kirkland he plays - His haplessness,disgust and the final speech of outburst to the jury are top-notch stuff synonymous of Al Pac!
  • The roles of the senior take-it-easy judge & the battered lawyer who tonsures make their point crisply.
Classy,touching & noble!