The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta)

US Presidential hopefuls take RVs, Che went on a motorcycle. The point is you need to go on a road trip to become a successful leader of the people

Ee Adutha Kalathu (Recently)

Strange and familiar make an appearance together for the first time in Malayalam cinema and the pair is a hit

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl

Four feisty ladies, upbeat music and a handsome conman. Anushka gets Ranveer. Bollywood gets Parineeti

Das Boot (The Boat)

Best WWII film ever, in fact the best war film ever. In true German fashion, restraint is applied by shooting the entire movie inside a U-boat

Neelathamara (Blue Lotus)

Blue lotus shares the same stature of blue moon in Malayalam, so do good remakes. This one bucks the trend.

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Apr 28, 2009

Innathe Chinthavishayam

'Thought of the Day' - English translation of the movie title inspires just one thought, Mohanlal and now Sathyan Anthikad as well should stop acting and making movies respectively. The duo has run out of magic of the movies like Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam, T.P.Balagopalan M.A, Nadodikkattu and Pattana Pravesham.

We have reached a stage where even veteran film-makers like Anthikkad cannot take the super-hero out of Mohanlal. Under the guise of a small-time small business owner(a garment exporter) is the good samaritan super-hero Mohanlal - who has all the time, resources, assistants, lecture-power and endless good will in the world to bring peace between three sets of warring couples. Predictable, old over-used story, dialogs and actors inhabit Innathe Chinthavishayam. If you are brave enough to waste your time in the company of 'post-2000s' Mohanlal, then this movie is all yours.

Apr 25, 2009

W

Josh Brolin is good - an actor with an amazing range. I cannot even imagine Llewelyn Moss of No Country For Old Men is played by the same person who plays George W.Bush (aka W) here. But same cannot be said of Oliver Stone, the director. It seems to me that Oliver Stone sometimes delivers sometimes he will just get lazy.

W is one such lazy film. It is an efficient translation of Dubya's life in to the medium of a movie, but if it doesn't keep you bound on the seats unless you are really interested in knowing about Dubya's antics. Other than politically interested Americans, W lacks the magnetism to bring more viewers on board.

Apr 24, 2009

Dev D

Dev D is a pioneer. From now on movies will be made like it, but Dev D owns the mold. In that aspect it is much like Satya which in 1998 started a trend of exploring India’s dark under-belly thru’ guns, gaalis and galis.

Director Anurag Kashyap is said to have given the lead actor Abhay Deol to create his own interpretation of the famed Hindi novel, Devdas. Dev D is the modern version of Devdas fraught with contemporary imagery - MMS, rich babas in their BMWs, sex industry which has gone high-tech and such. In the background there is the fast, crowded and rapidly transforming urban India and also the colorful and rustic India of the country-side which is not averse to change either.

The choice of actors who play the three main roles have been fitting. Both the female actresses - Mahi Gill and Kalki Koechlin could be considered true discoveries. But what makes Dev D stand apart in the crowd is its visual aesthetics and the incredible sound track that holds it together. It is a visual poem with a sound to match, irreverent to tradition, a rebel with a cause - for making bolder and better movies.

Apr 22, 2009

Thirakkatha

Thirakkatha is a mish-mash of reality for creating a story that director wanted to tell - namely that of yesteryear actress, Srividya. Director Ranjith confesses his movie is partly inspired the rumored romance between Srividya and Kamal Haasan during the making of 1975 movie Apoorva Raagangal.



Into what is a biographical narrative of an actress's life, Ranjith then introduces another real-life plot where he places the said actress and the plot five years into the future, in the sets of ground breaking Malayalam movie - Manjil Virinja Pookkal. Then he presents this jalebi-meenkari combo as a product of the research done by a new, up and coming film-maker Akbar(played by Prithviraj) for his next movie project.

It is interesting to note here(some trivia on the side) that both the movies which served as inspiration to Thirakkatha were significant in a similar aspect. Apoorva Raagangal was the movie that introduced Tamil superstar Rajnikant although he only had a small role in it. Manjil Virinja Pookkal was the debut film of Mohanlal, where he was the anti-hero. Mohanlal would go on to become Malayalam superstar for the next two decades and counting.

Thirakkatha is an interesting movie because it is not over-the-top, characters seem real(too real sometimes), cinematography and dialogs are above par, compared to other recent offering in Malayalam lead characters played by Prithviraj and Priyamani are believable. A watchable movie after a long time.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Hindi movies are learning to laugh at their own heroes or like the trends in fashion, old styles are becoming vogue again. No longer is the hero invincible even when wounded like so many of Amitabh Bachchan's angry young man roles in the seventies and the eighties. It is more like Raj Kapoor's bashful yet funny tramp of the fifties is making a comeback

Shahrukh Khan's Surinder Sahni in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is a simpleton who harbors no high hopes or lofty ambitions for himself. He is the quintessential middle-class urban Indian who is found in large numbers in state and central govt. offices and a very self-effacing one at that. He undersells himself, but being a character in a successful Hindi movie he ends up winning (I am willing to excuse that, considering Shahrukh Khan trying to undersell himself even though it is just for a movie role, might have been a huge task for King Khan.)
But don't worry ShahRukh gets do his histrionics in Surinder Sahni's Mr.Hyde avatar - Raj. Raj is the over the top Punjabi munda, who is what the simpleton Sahni morphs into under the cover of night, to woo his wife -Tani played by Anushka Sharma. One jarring thing I found in Shahrukh-Anushka coupling is that the fresh faced youthful Ms.Sharma accentuates Shahrukh's wrinkles. She holds her ground even in the presence of the mighty Khan, but IMHO ShahRukh should probably go for more mature heroines now.

It is definitely a crowd-puller as the box office counters have attested by now. Its plus point (or minus point for you) is, it is a lot bearable that older ShahRukh Khan commercial successes like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Yash Raj Film's earlier block-busters like Dil To Paagal Hai.

Apr 18, 2009

Love Story 2050

Hrithik clone Harman Baweja's debut vehicle, a generous gift from his producer-director parents. A love story that travels across time in to the futuristic land of Mumbai 2050 from Australia 2008. Priyanka Chopra does the Barbie doll routine in double role - one for 2008 and one for 2050, Harman travels in time to be there with Priyanka, always. Only redeeming fact about the movie, if you somehow manage to finish it, is that the future doesn't look cheesy card-board-ish. Thanks to hiring Oscar winners like Weta Workshop and John Cox.

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