Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #409

Movie: The Next Three Days (2010)

Plot: A family is devastated when the wife gets charged for the murder of her boss. After a suicide attempt by her, the husband decides on a plan to let her free and works meticulously for three years to make the 3 day execution successful. Amidst all this he has to take care of their kid and the watch-dog policemen!

What Works?
  • The film has a crooked plot but not something a common man made to face an uncommon situation cannot relate to! So, there gets established the connection.
  • Russell Crowe's stoic expressions are apt for the role he plays here and the family form a good threesome.
  • The background music helps; the twists in the chase are enjoyable & action blocks(specifically the scene where the wife tries to get off the car!) are gripping.
What Doesn't?
The very idea on which Crowe works based on the inputs from Liam Neeson who plays a cameo is a bit impractical!

A racy serving of uncommon action.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #408

Movie: Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

Plot: A very young kid is abundantly talented in Chess that he is compared by the biggies to Bobby Fischer, who disappeared after becoming the first world champion from U.S.A. He is mentored by a chess author who wants to see Fischer in him; He is also trained by a park-side speed chess specialist. Caught between the two and an unexpected contender, fear sets in the kid's mind and he loses focus. His parents work their way out to get back him back on track!

What Works?
  • As a film that's partly fictional and partly based on a true story, the right mix of both worlds makes it tick! Steve Zaillian's work needs appreciations for that.
  • The game of chess is shown in all its glory to such an extent that not having known to play it would hurt (not the viewing as the film is completely understandable)!
  • The mental battle that champions need to face at the zenith and the methods to tackle it are brought forth brilliantly.
  • The kid, being the pivot, plays a superb role - and offering different equally good dimensions around him are his parents, parents' friend & child, Ben Kingsley and Fishburne!
Champions' stuff, for the champions in every one of us!

Two Line Reviews - #407

Movie: Dazed and Confused (1993)

Plot: In 1976, a batch leaves High School and a junior batch gets in. The after school 'last day' parties go on and on as the drug and alcohol induced fun get limitless as night breaks into dawn!

What Works?
  • The film is set in the 70s and stays true to the time. Generates the overall feel perfectly!
  • The funny gigs students of the outgoing batch put to show are enjoyable.
  • The babbles of the drug-sters and the conversations of the nerdish trio provide the needed impetus for laughter.
  • The resolve of 'Pink' Mr.Floyd and his junior successor please too! Not to forget the amazing soundtracks!
As 'high' on content & style as the drug-sters in it!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #406

Movie: Bolivia (Spanish, 2001)

Plot: A man from Bolivia joins a restaurant in Argentina as a cook and tries to settle himself in and get some money back to his family in the economically battered Bolivia. A slow turn of events jeopardise his plans but the reason behind that is a macro-issue.

What Works?
  • The film attempts to tell a bigger story with the story of an individual immigrant. It doesn't appear to do so and there lies the beauty of the making!
  • The events at the restaurant are so routine that the climax comes as a shocker, though one would have expected that!
  • The narrative presents the views of both nationals through characters(who have all acted well) in the restaurant and never takes a biased view which makes it all the more special!
Short, Crisp tale of a mammoth-issue!

Two Line Reviews - #405

Movie: Eight Below (2006)

Plot: When an antarctic expedition of 2 explorers is halted midway due to a very rough weather, they return back to base leaving the sled dogs that helped them with their expedition. The trainer who communicates with the dogs promises them that he would be back to get them but is not allowed. The dogs wait resiliently and the trainer makes his attempts to fulfill his promise. Who wins?

What Works?
  • The emotional connect the sled dogs make with its trainer is powerful. No surprises as the film has its roots in an Asian film (Japanese) from the 70s!
  • The entire journey is informative - How the researchers and explorers make living and travel in the snow-mountains is astounding!
  • The scene in which the dog Maya saves the doc from the glacier is a goosebump moment!
  • The latter portions when the trainer feels for a guilt he needn't associate himself with is typical of a good-nature d soul!
A sound tale of survival instincts!

Two Line Reviews - #404

Movie: Glory Road (2006)

Plot: In Texas, a college basketball coach makes heads turn and lips 'psst' when he chooses a team with a majority of Black-Americans. He changes the lack of belief within and outside the team as he steers them on to the pinnacle at the national championships!

What Works?
  • Maybe another film on sports, maybe another one on the blacks - But not preachy, it's racy! That makes this James Gartner film a good watch.
  • The way the team builds up, the way it is motivated and the manner in which the white players understand the occasion and make way in the final evoke respect!
  • Josh Lucas's essayal of the heroic coach Don Haskins is commendable.
Not unusual but deserves the respect!

Two Line Reviews - #403

Movie: Hoosiers (1986)
Plot: A coach reputed for his controversial approach takes up the mantle of readying a small town school basketball team for bigger glory. He encourages a drunkard who knows a thing or two on basketball strategy to give up his drinking and take up his skill seriously.

What Works?
  • The fact that this is another inspiring sports story doesn't make it a usual fare thanks to the town angle given to it.
  • Gene Hackman doesn't look the part as a coach superficially, but when he gets into the act, he does what can be expected of the veteran!
  • His confrontations with the special boy talent, with the drunkard and the school teacher add fillip to the show!
Shows how sports can give a town its name!

Two Line Reviews - #402

Movie: Du rififi chez les hommes (or) Rififi (French, 1955)

Plot: Three men meticulously plan to rob a bank and bring in a fourth expert into the team. After careful study and trials, they pull of the robbery but a small post-loot female fetish mistake gets them all into trouble.

What Works?
  • The different groups involved - The robbers, their families, the rival gang - etc. are used aptly making way for a crisp narrative.
  • The way the gangsters plan for the heist is something incredible and the suspense is pulsating!
  • The determination of the chieftain played by Jean Servais is evident throughout. The climax is a silent killer! 
Breathtaking heist stuff!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #401

Movie: Invincible(2006)

Plot: A bartender in Philadelphia appears for the season trials organised by the revolutionary new coach and surprises every body to get into the Eagles team and inspires fans of the team by helping the eagles resurrect themselves! Based on the true story of Vince Papale.

What Works?
  • This is one of those hollywood films that show action at its own pace, gaining momentum gradually and finishing off in style! A pretty familiar brand, interesting nonetheless.
  • Mark Wahlberg's portrayal of Papale commends respect and the way he uses a personal insult to propel himself to success is inspiring stuff!
  • The father's role is small but crucial; Those of the NY fan-girl, Coach, Papale's friends make a mark too.
  • The scene when he comes back to his backyard to play and turn the timid friend into a believer stands out.
Inspiring enough if not invincible!

Two Line Reviews - #400

Movie: El mismo amor, la misma lluvia (or) Same Love, Same Rain (Spanish, 1999)

Plot:  A magazine journalist who has a keen taste on art finds a perfect combination of beauty and fellow patron of good art. After a small struggle, he wins her over, only to lose her again due to his changing interests. Much worse, his ego delays him from asking the woman to get back into his life and makes it into a story for his own journal which starts and ends with the same love, same rain.

What Works?
  • The maker, Juan Jose Campanella proves the genius that he is with this poetic sensitive piece of work! The screenplay which takes the film across years beautifully makes a mark.
  • The lead pair, as in their more famous later film , do their job to perfection in this one as well;
  • Soledad Villamil is South American Meryl Streep and her emotions & expressions just ooze out when needed.Ricardo Darin underplays well to give the queen some good fight.
  • The side story of the chief's romance, that of the senior editor who leaves the journal with a tumult are expressive of the times the film represents!
As lovable as the rain!

Two Line Reviews - #399

Movie: Un Oso Rojo (or) A Red Bear (Spanish, 2002)

Plot: A convict returns from prison to see his wife and child being sheltered with his wife's new husband. His obsession makes him want to stay as close as he can to them and get them out of the financial mess  they have fallen into. He needs the big buck to do that for which he makes a risky job, one last time.

What Works?
  • The film's dilly-dallying between the emotional angle of the convict to the angle that represents his self works in its favour. An interesting film has been made to look audaciously casual by Adrian Caetano, its maker.
  • Julio Chavez's rugged look, expressions and the way he adores his child make him connect well with the viewer. Soledad Villamil's is a restricted role which she walks off casually.
  • The action blocks are pulsating and the native latino background music is highly impressive!
Audacious, powerful tale of sentiment and action!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #398

Movie: Do Dooni Chaar (Hindi,2010)

Plot: A middle-class family is influenced by family and neighbours to move up the social ladder. When they get nearly tempted to take the illegal route, better sense prevails and the respectful family chugs along!

What Works?
  • The casting and the characterisation work! A typical middle class family with their own set of wants and problems is captured well.
  • Rishi Kapoor is marvelous essaying the role of the father with authoritative spontaneity! Giving him able company are Neetu Singh and the daughter,son pair.
  • Unrealistic expectations are shown tastefully sprinkled with humour and that too helps.
  • Decisions taken by Rishi when his children make the mistakes are special.
What Doesn't?
Unwanted songs and a pretty below average climax are let downs.

Tribute to those proud middle-class families!

Two Line Reviews - #397

Movie: Leelai (Thamizh, 2012)

Plot: A man assumes a different identity when he wishes to woo a girl with who he's had a series of phone-rows back at college. When he does it successfully, he doesn't know how to reveal the real 'him' and struggles through the journey.

What Works?
  • The setup - with buildings without a speck of dust, characters dressed charmingly - is as pleasing to the eye as it is unrealistic; And the type of story that is not tested frequently helps the film stay afresh.
  • The debutante heroine is adequately good both looks-wise and in performance! Not much to say about the male lead though.
  • Santhanam - the season's flavour ( though the film is quite outdated) shows his comedy from 2 years ago isn't all that bad.
What Doesn't?
  • The film takes its one-line and climax from You've got Mail but there the lead players are genuine strangers ; Here isn't that case; Hero's a fraud, so that climax doesn't work here!
  • Except the chartbuster of 2009-10 Jillenru oru Kalavaram, the music and the BGM are sore!
Half-baked - OK and Bad!

Two Line Reviews - #396

Movie: Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

Plot: A snowstorm delays the trip of a man who is all set to meet his beloved ones for Thanksgiving. He finds company in his delayed trip and the companion makes his trip horribly unpleasant but at the end of it all, helps him learn how some seemingly unpleasant things can please!

What Works?
  • The wit runs through the film and John Hughes is completely successful in striking that correct chord.
  • Steve Martin comes up with the right expressions for irritation, anger, guilt, appreciation & acceptance at different times in the story.
  • The power package in the film comes in the form of the Salesman played wonderfully by John Candy!
  • The dialogues, when funny and when touchy, are equally good.
A hilarious travelogue!