Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavan (2010)

Trailer 1 Alice in Wonderland: For a second, I thought that I had entered into the past only to realize that this movie is yet to be released in Hyderabad. By the way, Alice in Wonderland was the 1st post in this blog.

Trailer 2 The Last Airbender: Manoj N Shyamalan (Sixth Sense fame) was once considered to be the most gifted story teller of his generation. That appears to be a distant past now. The Last Airbender is his latest movie. The trailer showed some great visual effects. But I'm not very impressed with it as a whole. Considering his recent track record this is a very important movie for him.

Coming to Raavan, from the trailer and the general talk, you might have guessed the basic premise. Raavan (Abhishek Bacchhan) kidnaps Sita (Aish). Ram (Vikram), with the help of Hanuman (Govinda) tries to get Sita back and kill Raavan. Ofcourse, the motivation for Raavan's abduction of Sita is the insult of Surpanaka (Priyamani). What if this basic premise constitutes the entire movie with nothing else? The movie is going to suck & that is what Raavan is. What makes the original Ramayan interesting is the many many interesting characters and subplots without which even it would be uninteresting. This is where Raavan fails.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Vedam (2010)

In 2 months time, Allu Arjun gave one of the worst movies and one of the best movies of this decade in Tollywood.

Vedam has 5 independent stories in it which are taking place parallelly, and the characters of all the stories converge at the big climax. In my limited memory, I can't remember such a movie being made prior in Tollywood. This could be a risky subject but director Krish (Gamyam fame) pulled it off with great aplomb. I won't brief about the 5 stories but they are very different from each other and there is believability to each one of them although in various degrees.

If an award for the best performance by an ensemble cast in Tollywood is introduced next year, Vedam would be the leading contender. Nobody in the movie messed up there roles. Allu Arjun is an excellent fit in the role of Cable Raju. His performance & emotions at the end where he has a change of heart is the best that he had done until now. After the movie Arundhati, Anushka has become a clear crowd favourite. The whistles and shouts during her introduction scene were only matched by the entrance of Arjun. Anushka has nailed the role of Saroja going from funny to angry to angst with ease. She definitely is one of the best actresses in Tollywood right now. This is my first Manchu Manoj movie. He was an apt choice to play the music loving wannabe rock-star Vivek. Manoj is not only a better actor than his brother Vishnu but he is also choosing his scripts wisely. He created a good first impression on me. I haven't seen Manoj Bajpai fail as an actor and the same goes here. He gives good performance as the victimised Muslim Raheemuddin Qureishi. Nagayya as a poor weaver and Saranya as his daughter-in-law gave some honest & sincere performances as the exploited rural people who wants to educate the boy in their family.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kites (2010)

Kites is directed by Anurag Basu, produced by Rakesh Roshan & stars Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Kangana Ranaut, and Kabir Bedi amongst others. Story by Rakesh Roshan, Screenplay by Anurag Basu, Robin Bhatt and Akarsh Khurana, Music by Rajesh Roshan, Cinematography by Ayananka Bose.

My review is for the 130 minute Indian version. For your info, next week a 90 minute international remix version of Kites is going to be released which was re-edited under the supervision of Brett Ratner (director of Rush Hour series and X-Men:The Last Stand).  

Some of the reactions that I observed in the theater. At the 80 minute mark, the person adjacent to me is whispering in a tired voice "Oh my God! how much more time is the movie going to last?" At the end of the movie, I saw a group of friends waking one of their friends. There are uniform sighs of disappointment from the audience by the time end credits started rolling. You may guess now in which direction this review is going to be.

I saw the trailer of Kites a couple of months ago and was not at all impressed by it. So I went to the screening with a bit of low expectations. But the movie was worse than my already lower expectations.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Iron Man 2 (2010)

The movie is written by Justin Theroux who previously cowrote that fantastic comedy Tropic Thunder. Director of the movie is Jon Favreau who also acted in the movie as Tony Stark's bodyguard.

The trailer first. The beauty or the not so beauty thing about this trailer is that you can get a really good idea of almost all of the plot points of the movie in this.

Not difficult to guess the best part of the movie. Sometimes you feel that a particular role was destined to be played by a particular person. You can't seperate the role and the person. Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark. He is so convincing that if not for the backlash of the fans you may very well change the name of Tony Stark to Robert Downey, Jr. He is absolutely enjoying this role and it shows on the screen. Also Mickey Rourke is an excellent casting choice for Ivan Vanko / Whiplash. He is really cool. I read that it was Downey who initially proposed Rourke's name for Whiplash.

30 ROCK Season 1 (2006-07)

30 Rock is the name of an American comedy series which Tina Fey created partly based on her experience at Saturday Night Live. So here we have a fictional live sketch comedy show called as "TGS with Tracy Jordan" (initially called as The Girly Show) whose head writer is Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey). We see what happens behind the production of this TV show along with knowing about the various persons/characters involved with it. 

Season 1 was nominated for 10 Emmy awards. Apart from the writing, the really best part of the series is actors. Casting was absolutely fantastic. Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, Katrina Bowden, Keith Powell, Lonny Ross, Maulik Pancholy everyone was great in their roles.

But the 2 people who really stood out for me are Jane Krakowski as attention seeking star of TGS and Jack McBrayer as the ever happy, obedient, stupid NBC page. For me, these two and Tina Fey of course are the real stars of 30 Rock. 

The comedy is top notch. If what you want is plain don't-use-much brain comedy, this is the thing for you. As far as the characters are concerned, they make me laugh very much but somehow I'm really not concerned about what happens with them except Liz Lemon. But my liking towards Liz Lemon might have to do more with Tina Fey than Liz Lemon (also I guess there might be a lot of similarities between Fey and Liz Lemon). With other characters, it's more like you make me laugh but I don't care if you are out of the show because someone else is going to do the same job. But once again the comedy is really good.

Verdict: 8/10

Some of the episodes that I felt to be very very good are episodes 13, 14, 18, 20 which are Up all night, The C-word, Fireworks, Cleveland respectively. But my top 5 favourite episodes are

1. The Head and The Hair (episode 11)
2. Corporate Crush (episode 19)
3. The Rural Juror (episode 10) & Black Tie (episode 12)
5. Jack meets Dennis (episode 6 )

Love to know your favourite ones,

Saturday, May 08, 2010

LIFE IN THE UNDERGROWTH - Part5: Supersocieties (2005)

Successfully completed the wonderful wonderful series Life in the Undergrowth. Although my favourite episode of the series is the 3rd one named The Silk Spinners (mostly because of my love towards spiders), this episode Supersocieties is a very very special one because of the similarity to our society and these societies of superorganisms.

After watching this episode, you really feel that at some point of time there was some connection to us. I mean, apart from intelligence there are a lot of similarities between us and these superorganisms. (It is another matter altogether that by seeing some of the actions of our species, I some times feel that we are less intelligent than some of these invertebrates.)

At the start of this episode Attenborough states that "The superorganisms such as ants, bees or termites are not the blindly mechanical robotic slaves that we once thought they were, indeed we now know every insect society is full of conflict, power struggles & mutinies".

Power struggles & mutinies! I never thought that could happen in other species apart from ours.

So in this episode we go into these super societies to see how they work. There is one superb footage showing the rise (from scratch) of a bumblebee society, its functioning and finally its end when the worker bees revolt and kill the queen bumblebee.

The wood ants squirting Formic acid when threatened is another good shot. After a flood, the mud ants quickly saving their eggs and moving them to a higher ground is another thrilling sequence in this episode.

The specialty of this particular episode is that most of the sequences in this episode are like from a thriller movie. Check this clip and see whether this reminds you of an old James Cameroon movie.