Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #439

Movie: Kumki (Thamizh, 2012)

Plot: A staunchly traditional village is ravaged by a Tusker which is expected to kill more villagers during the harvest season. A temple elephant is forced to shadow the delay in arrival of a 'kumki' bodyguard elephant the villagers contract. When its mahout falls to love in first sight with a village damsel, the stay extends and brings sleepless nights!

What Works?
  • For the idea of trying to create an interesting love film around an unusual 'elephant guarded forest' sort of a setup, Prabu Solomon can be appreciated. But the execution? To that, later.
  • The role of debutant Vikram, Son of Prabhu is slightly sidelined. His is neither an impressive show nor a dud. Lakshmi Menon is pretty impressive and could do well to her fledgling career. The Villagers play their role well and Thambi Ramiah as usual performs the role of bringing bursts of laughter in us.
  • D.Imman's music (though it reminds of his earlier works) is appreciable in songs as well as re-recording.
  • The film is a visual spectacle thanks to some wonderful and strenuous camera work and choice of locations! CG work is adequate and whoever did it knew their limitations, which was good to see.
What Doesn't?
  • Execution disappoints! The film wavers between this and that; What starts off as a promising tale around an elephant moves to a romance tale (which is quite shoddily told).
  • The prime characters aren't defined well: The hero is shown selfish to the core for his 4-day love!(never shown to bother about the danger he puts his elephant into); The heroine, who is shown to come from such a community wouldn't fall for someone outside JUST LIKE THAT.
The first hour promises a lot! What follows lets you down.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #438

Movie: Neethaane En Ponvasantham (Thamizh, 2012)

Plot: Varun and Nithya know each other since childhood. Simple and silly misunderstandings separate them on four occasions at the ages of 8, 16,20 and 24. Their love for each other stands taller than their ego in two occasions. Will it work a third time?

What Works?
  • Yet another attempt from Goutham Menon at telling a romance tale; Only this time, he doesn't go to foreign locales and adds extra gloss! The film is quite different in the sense that it moves not based on a lot of short scenes but based on sharp, incisive game changing conversations!
  • Jiiva looks the part in all the situations and so does Samantha. However, in acting terms, with his unperturbed yet impactful presence Jiiva shows he is way better than Sam who appears listless in some scenes thanks additionally to an artificial dubbing!
  • For Goutham, the feather on the cap are two defining scenes where the dialogues rule: The pre-interval scene in the terrace and the shore scene post Yennodu vaa vaa - The right questions asked with some nice answers there!
  • Ilaiyaraaja's mellifluous melodies have been given the respect and justice they deserve and are used as the apt background sounds as well. Camerawork of the candid style works too.
What Doesn't?
  • Goutham's ego needs some rest. Like KB, he brings in things from his earlier films and some of those send us into irritation. He is no KB. He's made just a handful of films.
  • The characterisation of the hero is selfish and the climax is a bit off that line.

A simple tale of romance, powered up musically ! Worth a watch.

Book Look - #40

Prime Characters: Mariam, Laila, Tariq, Aziza, Jalil, Rasheed.

Plot: Two Afghan women from different backgrounds are made to sail on the same boat when they get married to the same man in different periods under similar circumstances. How the bloody war and the suppressive Taliban around them become a blessing in disguise for the bonding that blooms between the women is told poetically!

  • Hosseini's mission with this novel was to show to the world the unfortunate tale of the true Afghans and the way the war had made the nation a nightmare for women is accomplished perfectly in this touching tale.
  • The picturesue quality of narration is in full flow when Mariam's story winds itself up; The oppressive ways of Taliban is expressed subtly in the Laila Mariam portions.
  • Mother-daughter sort of a bonding between two wives of the same person is such a bold thing to narrate and the delicate subject is handled with an expert's touch and one is made to feel when their sojourn together ends.
  • It touches you when the author explains the effects of Russian and American intervension in Afghanistan and how these had changed the country's values.
Remnants of a sex rampaged in the Afghan wars & their offshoot, Taliban!

Two Line Reviews - #437

Movie: Naduvula Konjam Pakatha Kaanom (Thamizh, 2012)

Plot: A bridegroom-to-be slips while playing cricket a day before his marriage and goes into selective amnesia! When three of his friends try to hide the episode from others to carry the ceremony off smoothly, the victim becomes a menace to all their plans showing up his amnesia whenever he possibly can! Aporam?? 'Yennachu' dhaan!

What Works?
  • Balajee Tharaneetharan is a welcome addition to the list of new-age unorthodox directors who prove their substance in their first outing! It must have been mighty difficult to convert the one-line into a 150 minute script which he has done quite stunningly!
  • His choice of actors and crewmen has been impeccable - Most of them newbies, but that doesn't show up! The friends in particular have rocked!
  • Vijay Sethupathi, is quietly climbing the stardom staircase. His essayal here is probably among the most difficult as he has to give lifeless expressions when there is a riotous ruckus going on around him, because of him. He pulls it off quite easily!
  • The background score adds life, so do the witty explosive dialogues and the camera work in the pivotal scene at the start was especially good.
  • Some sequences remain memorable: The ones at 'Hairport' saloon & the Hospital for example!
What Doesn't?
At a point towards the end, the extreme comedy turns a bit arrogant on the audiences' senses!But normalcy resumes and it ends with a fitting tribute to the original story on which the film is based on.

A thoroughly enjoyable Laugh Riot!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #436

Movie: Life of Pi (2012)

A family owing zoo animals decides to move from their base in Pondicherry to the U.S.A. On its voyage with the animals, calamity strikes in a Pacific storm, wrecking the ship leaving only the younger son cast away in a small boat.Not alone though! He has a Zoo tiger for company! The peaks that the surival instincts of living beings can scale is what constitutes the rest of the tale.

What Works?
  • Firstly, Ang Lee is to be appreciated for adapting from a book whose contents are not the easiest to conceive and place on a film reel. With immense focus on graphics and advancements in visual technology, he manages that quite well!
  • Some of the scenes have been made tastefully and are magical! The scene where the boy Suraj Sharma (who has enacted his sturdy role pretty well) enjoys the storm, the small yet nice portion of his uncle's love for swimming, the scene where he communicates with the Tiger in the Mangrove are some examples.
  • VFX is stunning in places: the digitally created Tiger is a winner's label for 'technology in films'.
What Doesn't?
  • Background Narration that moves the story forward in places is weak, artificial and induces theatre-drama effect. Usage of Direct speech in narration is excessive.
  • At the end of it all, There isn't much impact: You don't get that feeling you get when Tom Hanks butchers his Wilson and breaks down in Cast Away!

Few technical aspects and the core idea of celebrating human perseverance are appreciable!

Book Look - #39

Prime Characters:
Howard Roark, Dominique Francon, Peter Keating, Gail Wynand, Elsworth Toohey

Plot: The tales of two fellows from an architecture school - one: the naturally ideal, the other: the ideal seen from the eyes of this artificial world, their ascend and fall, the way they influence and are influenced etc. are used by the author to explain how wrongly the world perceives selflessness.

  • Breathtaking, Admirable & Stunning are some of the words I would use to describe how well Rand has tried to gutsily alter the definitions of altruism and egotism!
  • She deserves all the plaudits for the facts that the book is so apt to the present even after having seen years pass & that the narrative doesn't bore you even when the technicalities in architecture discussed are a bit beyond the threshold.
  • Many of us would wish to be Roark when we are Keating; wish to be Keating when we can afford to do a Roark and the fact that we can relate to the main men makes this a winner.
  • Gail Wynand and Dominique's portrayals have their share of twists and wisdom but the Volume on Toohey is a bit of a dampener.
Powerful, Stunningly defies some fundamentals defined by Humans!