Taare Zameen Par

Alternate Geniuses

Amir Khan just keeps getting better. I don’t really want to talk about him or his direction because it’s rather good. I think more has to be said (but is really difficult) about Darsheel Safary playing the role of Ishaan Awasthi – an eight-year old dyslexic kid.

Darsheel, with his starry eyes and buck teeth, has acted phenomenally well. Many of his simple moves tend to move you completely. I wonder how AK managed to find him. Darsheel has manged to capture the heart, soul, and tears of all the viewers. There is no overacting or underacting -- it's just perfect! Way to go Darsheel.

All the others in the movie have also acted well. He is good!

On the whole the movie is good, but for the few parts where AK has “influenced” by western media. I really did not find any reason for him to include this in the movie – Darsheel becoming Spaceman Spiff (Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes) during math class and running around the basketball course like Forrest Gump. WHY??? I am just being picky here...go watch the movie!

I give it a 4/5

IMDB Link

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The stars come down to earth


Taare Zameen Par

The genius of Aamir Khan shines through in his directorial debut. The star proves his genius is not limited to being on screen alone and another star is born in the form of Darsheel Safary.With a host of relatively unknown actors, Aamir Khan puts together the brilliant Taare Zameen Par which is easily the best of films of 2007 along with Chak De. The two best films of 2007 are Khan films and the films speak for themselves. The host of unknown actors is a common feature of both these films. The comparisons and similarities do not end here. Both movies stand out this year because they stick to the art of honest storytelling, which is what cinema is really all about.

Taare Zameen Par is the story of a 8/9 year old Ishaan Awasthi, for whom the outside world, the colours, the sights, smells and tastes hold more interest than the alphabets, numbers and the monotonous education that all of us have gone through. The one solace is Ishaan's interest in painting. But all is not as desired. With failing marks and constant trouble at school, Ishaan's parents see no other option than to send him to a boarding school where his 'discipline' issues will be resolved and he may turn out to be successful like his older brother Yohaan Awasthi (Sachet Engineer).Ishaan's troubles only continue and Ishaan draws into a shell, a world occupied only by his vivid imagination and bright colours. A temp art teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) turns up and notices the boy and recognizes the symptoms of dyslexia. Will ram connect with the boy ? Will Ram be able to convince Ishaan's parents and teacher's alike to the true nature of dyslexia and make them realise the talent that lurks within the boy ? The questions are answered only by experiencing this brilliant piece of cinema.

Darsheel Safary puts in an outstanding performance as the dyslexic 8/9 year old. Those eyes of his are more expressive than half a dozen of our so called actors put together. The moonwalk in the school corridor when he is punished, his escapade when he bunks school are so realistic and moving, that you wonder is there was hidden camera in your own school capturing all those moments.

I will not go into the nitty gritty of the movie like an arty-farty critic for there were moments in this movie that made me choke with emotion and the story held my attention and that's good enough for me. Excellent performances by one and all, especially Darsheel Safary brighten up the screen. The music is wonderful especially the - 'Tu hai dhup...' by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loyd.

The emotions expressed especially by the young Ishaan through his large innocent eyes, the tears in the mother's eyes and the quite understanding look in the eyes of the art teacher are moments in Hindi cinema that are extremely rare and cinematically invaluable.The many scenes reminded me of my own school days and the pressure on homework, marks etc etc. The story is treated with honesty with no attempt to dramatise the dyslexic and that is what takes this movie miles above many other Hindi movies which deals with different people and makes them look like caricatures ! I am counting in movies which were an adaption of the world's best know Extra Terrestrial (ET) movie and also a movie named after a dark colour !

This is one movie which is a must watch for every parent, teacher, children and maybe future parents, teachers too ! It is a movie that moves you, a movie that brings tears to your eyes, a movie that educates you, a movie that liberalises you ! What you learn, you realise can be applied at all walks of life !

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The last man on earth is not alone

I am Legend


Imagine you are the last man alive in a city trying to find a cure to a virus to which you are immune, but which has wiped out humanity as we know it. You have your dog for company and everything that's left in the city is yours to take, but keep away from the dark corners and stay indoors, hidden, after dark.


You end up talking to mannequins to keep your sanity, you end up watching movie after movie. You end up watching taped news telecast. You end up broadcasting a message and waiting at a place at the same time every day, all in the hope that there is someone else out there, for you are the only man alive but you are not alone. The darkness brings out the creatures, who were once human.


Does this give you a foreboding preview of the tone of this movie ? I hope it does for words cannot describe the efforts of the director (Francis Lawrence) and the intense performance of Will Smith, as Robert Neville. A strain of measles modified to cure cancer soon mutates to become a deadly virus that turns the infected into vampire like creatures. Like I mentioned about the movie '30 Days of Night', this movie too treats the concept of 'vampires' with a lot of maturity and difference. I say 'vampire like creatures' because there is no delving into the history of their mythic origins, for they are a result of a virus. They cannot fly, change form etc. Yep, sunlight does burn their skin and that's the only thing that keeps them away.

Will Robert Neville find a cure ? Will Robert Neville find other uninfected humans, will he survive the creatures long enough and the discover the power of his own immunity ? If he does, then he will be legend.

For over 45 minutes of the movie the only human like being you see on screen is Robert Neville and the director needs to get credit for the manner in which the story is presented for it holds your attention ! The movie takes you along and you are waiting to see what will happen, before you are led to the tragic end. There are some dramatic moments like the one where Robert Neville is saved from a suicidal mission and the moment with his dog in his lab after a vicious attack by the creatures which tend to take away the greatness of the storytelling but still the movie is worth watching, once !

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Death Sentence

Father's Love

For a while, I hadn't seen a movie with good substance. That was until last night.

Death Sentence, is an amazing movie about Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) avenging the death of his son! Nick is a happy man with a happy family; perfect! That is until his son is killed by a wannabe gangster as part of his initiation. Nick and his family try going the legal way, but the sentence does not seem good enough. Nick decides to take justice into his own hands.

Towards the second half of the movie, the movie also shows the relationship between another father and son. The difference is so stark; and when you actually think about it, it's hard to see why each went their way.

The director, James Wan, has done a good job in most places. There are few gory scenes too which I felt were influenced by Saw!

I would give it a 4.5/5.
IMDB link

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The Kingdom

When the movie started off on the multiplex screen and five minutes into the movie I knew I was going to like this movie.

I was going to like it because it seemed to be extremely well researched, well made and well scripted movie and it reminded me of other movies like Syriana, Good Night and Good Luck and many other drama and thrillers that I just love watching.

The Kingdom is a nicely scripted and well made thriller. Directed by Peter Berg (also an Actor) and written by Michael Carnhan, starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman and a host of wonderful actors such as Ashraf Barhoum (an Israeli but playing a Saudi here) and Ali Sulaiman the movie is a tale of a hunt for a terrorist killer in a foreign land by a group of committed FBI agents who soon become the targets themselves. In a land which is a stranger to them, with its clear and committed religious and social customs the group of FBI agents find an alley in the local Police Chief Colonel Faris Al ghazi and the loyal Sergeant Haytham who have to face the anger of the local terrorist whose anger towards the west is expressed by bombs and shooting of US citizens.

The Kingdom being referred to is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the tale starts off with an update on the historic events and then leading on to an immense act of terror on US citizens in the middle of Saudi Arabia, which triggers the FBI team's mission. A mission in hostile territory for they are the westerners seen as corrupting the holy lands.

The FBI team led by SPAC Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) have to put aside their thirst for revenge and focus on the task at hand, which is to find the killers of the most horrific attack on Saudi soil on US citizens.

The movie is well directed and tightly scripted(like I said before) with quite a few entertaining dialogues, some excellent performances and does have a deeper meaning to it than made obvious . This meaning strikes you as a dialogue at the end of the movie . A dialogue spoke by the FBI agent of his colleague when the bombing occurs and dialogue that is reverberated by the dying terrorist mastermind to his grandson at the end of the movie and that makes you think. What is the root cause of terror ? Does terror beget terror ? Jennifer Garner looks as good as she did on Alias but obviously the star of the movie is Jamie Foxx who puts in a controlled performance and receives excellent support from the other actors. Ashraf Barhoum actually steals the show as the Saudi Police chief who portrays an intensity as the police chief having torn between different dimensions of his life which including having to bear the brunt of inter-departmental politics, being impressed by the investigative capabilities of the FBI, believing in their purpose and also having a family to look after.

Watch this movie, for its one of the few terror related thrillers in recent times that does its job well.

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Dus Kahaniyaan

The eagerly awaited new format movie produced by Sanjay Dutt's Whitefeather Films and by Sanjay Gupta which features 6 Directors (Sanjay Gupta, Meghna Gulzar, Hansal Mehta, Rohit Roy, Apoorva Lakhia, Jasmeet Dhodi), over 30 actors (will give more on these a few lines down), 4 music directors and for obvious reasons 10 writers.


True to its name (and no twist there) the movie has 10 stories each roughly around 10 minutes and focuses on multiple topics from relationships to perceptions to the supernatural. This format is pretty unique although most of us have been exposed to it with Darna Mana Hai and Darna Zaroori Hai which again featured an ensemble cast and multiple stories. While these two movies featured short stories with the common theme of fear, Dus Kahaniyaan fatures no particular theme other than a twist in the tale, which possibly is the among the only few shortfalls in this movie.

The movie has stories with different titles like matrimony (Arbaaz Khan, Mandira Bedi, Sudhanshu Pandey), Lovedale (Aftab Shivadasani, Neha Uberoi, Anupam Kher), Rice Plate (Shaban Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah), High on the Highway (Jimmy Shergill, Maumeh), Gubbare (Rohit Roy, Nana Patekar, Anita Hasandani), Zahir (Manoj bajpai, Dia Mirza), Pooranmashi (Amrita Singh, Minisha Lamba, Parmeet Sethi), Strangers in the Night (Neha Dupia, Mahesh Manjrekar), Sex on the Beach (Dino Morea, Tareena Patel) and Rise & Fall (Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty). Whew ! That too me quite some time to compile and as you can see the stories and cast in each of the stories are diverse and that is what makes this format interesting.

Each story has its own plot and sticks to it and each director brings in his/her own flavour which becomes evident as you sit through the movie. My favourites were:

Matrimony, the tale of a wife who accepts a gift from her lover and tries out a way to bring it into her house but then finds out that all is not as it seems.
Strangers in the Night, a tale that a woman tells of her encounter with a man in a lonely railway station and you realise how cliched our thoughts are.
High on the Highway, a tale of two youngsters who are high and walking on the highway. I liked this fun for its style more than the story.
Rise & Fall, a tale of a king of the underworld and his lieutenant and of two young boys on their first hit (or supari). this tale has the typical Sanjay Gupta styling and that's what I liked.

In spite of all this largeness to the movie, I felt disappointed and let down, not because of the direction but because of the stories themselves. We have been exposed and overexposed to tales and twists be it of suspense, drama or crime and this movie lacked what I commonly refer to as soul. That's because not all the stories were up to the level of the others and some of them like Rice Plate were based on commonly forwarded email stories. for the most part the actors put in a decent performance. the background scores are above average and add value to the storytelling. Does the fact that there was no common theme to the 10 stories matter ? Well.... Yes and No. The lack of the common theme can make this format interesting if each of these stories were new and had a depth to them that holds you for the 10 minutes or so that you are present in. Sadly, this wasn't the case and that's why while this movie could have been a roller coaster ride giving you a high, it turns out be a drive with a few potholes which take away the fun of the drive !

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Beowulf

As Mayur has said in his post below, Beowulf is a complete CGI feature based on an epic English Poem of heroism by an anonymous author. The tale is of a hero Beowulf, a Geat warrior who goes on become a great king and whose tales of heroism are sung all through England.

This tale of heroism brought to life (or almost real life) by Robert Zemeckis begins in the Netherlands where a monster named Grendel terrorises the mead hall of the king Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins animated). There comes ashore the great hero Beowulf (Ray Winstone animated) who slays the monster in a well animated action sequence. That's not all, Grendel has a mother (Angelina Jolie animated) who is the cause of all evil in the land and has her way with men using her magic and seduction. That's how Grendel came into being for Grendel is the son of Hrothgar and when her son is killed she looks for another man to bear her a son.

With Grendel dead all is well yet not so Beofwulf, to add to his heroic tale enters the cave to slay Grendel's mother and returned alive. But is Grendel's mother dead ? Did Beowulf make a pact with her so he may be the greatest of Kings and rule over all in return for the son she desires ? Will Beowulf remain king ? What will happen to Geatland (present day Spain I think), will it be forver free from any evil ?

Therein lies the real story of Beowulf, a heroic and strong man, but man enough to be weakened by desire and lust. The movie is brilliant in its execution and those of you who haven't watched it yet, do watch it but don't take kids along for although animated, the movie is extremely graphic and yes, you do get to see a nude Angelina Jolie in all her animated glory.

Since the epic poem spoke of Beowulf, not much is revealed about Grendel's mother, where she came from or what her purpose is but the character is a pivotal and enigmatic one and has more influence on the tale of Beowulf than the many other characters in the tale.

I always enjoy tales of heroism, battle, magic and intrigue. Possibly the kid in me is still alive and I enjoyed this movie although I am not a great fan of animated movies. I enjoyed it because it did not seem animated at all and I guess that's the power of technology applied to creativity !

The animation is outstanding. Even the very hair on the faces of the warriors appears real and that's the kind of detail that attention has been paid to. W .M Creations gets the credit for the life casting mold of the various characters. All this reality created without reality makes me wonder- What if animation gets so good that it appears real, then we wouldn't need real actors would we ?

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Saawariya


Ira Pradhan tells you all about the one film I will not watch.


Mass media was created for two reasons which has in the recent times become one – infotainment. The movie, the features, the serials have to give you some information or entertain you.

Sawaariya entertains you and contrary to the popular belief is fantastical and ports you immediately to a world much different from our own. And this is a good thing specially on a weekday, when you feel like going for a massage or a pedicure and you can’t. Sawaariya is like that, like a gentle head massage, easy on your senses and you will also get a nice sleep afterwards. You just have to make sure to go with the flow and not return to reality immediately. In short it is a stage on 70mm!

The story is run-of-the mill but hey, almost all movies have stories that can be predicted. It does not make you think and that is such a relief for a change. There are some directors who think that they are doing a great job, or making us think, but they aren’t!! It’s like someone telling you old stories with visual treats.

I realized from this movie that we no longer feel deeply. Or else we would have felt sad for this case of unrequited love. But lo! I did not hear a sigh of empathy, which is why I said, if nothing, Saawariya does entertain you!

With this Sanjay Leela Bansali graduates to another level – me thinks he can direct the next Harry Potter!!

Watch it, because a change will do you good.

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Beowulf

Realistic CGI Heroes

Beowulf, an epic poem by an anonymous poet brought to life by Robert Zemeckis in the form of an animated movie. The CGI is modeled on real actors -- Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Angelina Jolie, and Ray Winstone.

The movie is not about Beowulf and how he slays monsters, at least most, to become king. I felt the movie is actually about Grendel's mother (Angelina Jolie) and how she uses her beauty to get things done. The actors/characters bear a very close resemblance to their real life appearances. Some of the effects are unbelieveable, especially in 3D. There is a scene where you are taken from the mead hall to the cave...that was awesome.

The (3D) graphics of beowulf are awesome enough to compensate for the loose plot it revolves. The movie doesn't hit the mark! You should watch it if you are a sucker for Angelina, you like epic tales, or CGI movies.
I give it a 3/5.
IMDB Link

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She still rules the Screen !


Watched Aaja Nachle on its first day of release and came back happy ! Madhuri Dixit's back with a bang and is extremely attractive and rules the screen with a power that can give any of the current day heroines a run for their money and careers. All it will need is some good scripts and some courageous producers and directors, and yes some not insecure lead actors !

Political controversy (yes, in India some state governments have banned the film claiming a few words in the lyrics of one of the songs is injurious to the sentiments of some community or the other ! Whew ! Wish that much attention was paid to other developmental issues, law & order and infrastructure as much as they do in deciding what the free people of this country should or should not watch) has kept this movie in the limelight for the wrong reasons (sadly !).

When will political interference and manipulation of non-political matters stop ?

I like Madhuri ! That's all there is to it + a great supporting cast and a good music score make sure this average (could have been slicker Mr Jaideep of Chak De scriptwriting fame) still stays warm in your memory long after you leave the theatre and that million dollar smile is back !

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30 Days of Night

Went to watch this movie not really knowing what it was about. Neither was it heavily promoted, nor had I read about it. All I has seen was part of its trailer someplace. the multiplex seating was half full and I had dragged along two friends who had'nt heard of this movie at all. Most of you wouldn't have heard much either and if you check at your local multiplex, it will be in in its last shows !

WATCH IT !


It is a tale that is very different (for the most part) and does give you the creepies (again for the most part). Directed by David Slade (who also directed this gem of a thriller called Hard Candy) and based on a graphic novel, the movie surprisingly has some known names and faces like Josh Hartnett (Hollywood Homicide, Lucky Number Slevin), Ben Foster (Alpha Dog, X-men 3, Hostage) Melissa George (Amityville Horror, Derailed) and a few others.

The tale is set in Borroughs, a town in Alaska which is just about to enter its 30 days of night, yes 30 days of absolutely no sun during the winter and this happens every year-the 30 days of night and not the story. On the last day of the Sun, The Stranger(Ben Foster) comes to town off a eerie ship, and who knows whats in the ship. You will, soon enough. Cellphones are stolen and burnt, the sled dogs are brutally killed, the phone lines go down, the power goes off. The atmosphere darkens, the Sun goes down not to appear again for another 30 days.

With this creepy atmosphere built up come the creatures. They cannot be shot, they cannot be stopped and they feast on the blood. Yup, they are the vampires who have been trying for centuries to hide the fact that they exist. This is a nice touch in this story and makes it seem so believable. the town Sheriff Eben (Josh) and his wife Stella (Melissa) now have to save the town and its people for the vampires have 30 days to feast, till the Sun comes out.

The bloodfest begins ! Those of you weak hearted at the sight, smell or sign of blood and gore, keep away. The story is delightful in the manner it builds up the atmosphere and the base to the story. The cast puts in a decent performance and you are entertained (if you consider being frightened or startled a form of entertainment). But, what pulls this average movie that could have risen above average is the emotional sidetrack between Eben and Stella with regard to their post marriage separation and the predictability that the movie ends up with. Except for this and a few other glitches the story writers and the Director do a good job. This movie is possibly the best after the Underworld series (Kate Beckinsale any day will pull up a vampire movie !) that deals with the vampire theme in seriousness and gives it a sense of credibility through its treatment of the myth of vampires.

This movie should be watched, at least for the first 3/4th of the movie. The Director is definitely going places (watch hard Candy and you will know why ). The ending disappoints, is overtly dramatised and drags quite a bit possibly because the writers were taking a 30 day (of nights) break to figure out how to end it !

The film makers (Ghosthouse Pictures) are coming out with another horror flick called The Messengers, the trailer of which we got to see before this movie and that looks interesting too. It stars Kristen Stewart (Panic room), Dylan McDermott (My best friend's wedding) and looks at the theme-Children are highly susceptible to paranormal phenomena. They see what adults cannot. They believe what adults deny. And they are trying to warn us. They are The Messengers !

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BOX OFFICE UNRAVELED!

Loads of newsprint and loads of Newsreels were devoted to the predictions of which film will win over the Box Office since both biggies Om Shanti Om (OSO) and Saawariya released on the same date. One movie had a beautiful debutante and the King of Bollywood (sorry purist, for using this term) and many other stars in favour of it while the other had two debutantes and a powerhouse director with a flair for grandeur matched by very few across the globe !

But then, what is the Box Office ? What do they mean when everybody from the Economic Times to the News Channels say OSO beat Sawaariya by Z millions etc etc ? As you can probably understand the Box Office is nothing but the Box at the front of a theatre which has the words ‘TICKETS’ written on it. Now, ‘trade analysts’ declare a movie a hit only if its Box office takings are at the top of the charts. But does that mean the producers made their money. Not really, in Bollywood and in the last few years especially, producers tend to recover their money through sale of distribution rights, music rights and merchandising rights alone. The Box Office takings affect the distributor and the theatre owner (sometimes it is a 50-50 sharing).

There are various websites which offer rankings of Box Office takings of Hollywood flicks such as BoxOffice Mojo and ShowBiz Data. There are many other sites too but none really that give you a credible listing of Indian Movies and their Box Office takings ! Now, the Economic Times Intelligence Group has started a section devoted to this in association with a few multiplexes and distribution. You can view it on their website.

Of course, we are not endorsing or authenticating any of these services but just sharing the info for the curious movie-goer in you.

Now, the economically oriented ones among you may question, the movie rates were not the same 10 years ago (sigh ! I remember the days when the front row seats used to cost Rs.7.50 in Bangalore and now everything is in the range of Rs200) so how can you track the all-time grosser. Well, the answer is that most credible and industry oriented box office tracking service take into account inflation and have formulas to normalize the earnings so as to give a fair ranking ! Now, you have everything from opening day box office record to opening week box office records to all box office grossers !
Well, then happy Box Office Tracking !
Did you know? Sholay, considered one of the biggest hits in Indian Film history was a Box Office dud in its first few days and the actors even suggested pulling back the film and re-releasing it ! The word of mouth that it then generated went on to make it a hit ! According to the IMDB the all time highest grosser (without inflation adjustment) in USA is the Titanic with over $600 millions. And the lowest grossing know movie in cinema history is Zyzzyx Road (2006)which believe it or not made 30 Dollars at the box office from an estimated 6 viewers. The movie starring Tom Siezemore, Katherine Heigl and Leo Grill was made for USD 2 Millions and was closed in 6 days of release ! Sivaji, the boss (a movie in tamil starring Rajanikant) allegedly recovered all it investment and more even before the release through sale of distribution rights alone !

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Madhuri's coming back...next week !

Well...it's no news but the Aaja Nachle is eagerly awaited. I am sure countless other Madhuri fans like me are just watiing to watch the Diva on screen again. Rajeev masand of CNN IBN spoke to her and you can catch more about it on IBN Live

Here's a short clip of the interview.

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Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal !

After the success of Chak De, one would have lot of expectations from another sports movie to hit the screens and fair enough, one couldn't help but compare the two.

Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal is the tale of an Asian team - Southall United Football Club which will lose its home ground if it cannot cough up 3 million pounds and the only way to make 3 million pounds is to win the local league championships. There begins the tale of Shaan (Arshad Warsi) the team captain and a bunch of rag tag players. Shaan ropes in a former Southall player Tony (Boman Irani) as the coach who also has a tale in the past. Then there is Rumana (Bipasha) who is Shaan's sister and a doctor and of course gets to be the team physio too. There is a parallel track of Sunny Bhasin (John Abraham) who is not chosen on racial grounds in a club of choice and compelled by his lost but now found sense of identity comes on board the Southall team.

The movie had the intentions of building pride in the Asian community abroad probably. Now, does the movie succeed ? if you ask me, the answer's a big NO. The movie while well intended, is patchy in screenplay and lacks soul & depth, both counts on which a Chak De India scored extremely high. Arshad Warsi is highly wasted in this film and so is Bipasha. Bipasha has a ridiculous role to play and that role could have been played by any other actress and would have made no difference. John Araham with his new looks tries to look like a footballer and unfortunately none of the cast really give you the impression of being such. While the rest of the team could be that way since they are not professional footballers and be intentionally unfit, Sunny (John) is tremendously bulky to be a forward position strike footballer !

The movie is just too long and with a flurry of kicks, tackles and goals, you soon lose count and track of which match is being won or lost. While the theme of the movie is building pride against racism there are plenty of references to 'Goras' and such other racial remarks ! The dialogue seems very contrived and the movie could have done with far better direction. The team anthem of Halla Bol, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal while hummable for short while fails in becoming a sporty anthem that a nation can adopt (again reminiscing of Chak De !) Of course, the movie has been in the gossip columns for all the wrong reasons from the John-Bipasha relationship to the Arshad-John tussle and many other tussles excpet for the football tackles !

The bits that are good are a few scenes between Arshad Warsi and John Abraham and the sequence between Boman Irani and John Abraham in the rain and a few other scenes. What possibly saves this movie to some extent is Arshad, Boman and John, in spite of everything else.

If you give this movie a miss, you wont miss much really ! The catchline of the movie goes -Heroes will rise, after the movie a tired audience does rise...to leave !

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Jab We Met


Good movie. Gets to you immediately with the enthusiasm, humour and the spontaneity.

Hopeless and heart broken business tycoon Aditya decides to give it all up and meets the full of life Geet and takes a U turn and gets right back at life. After nine months he meets her again in particularly same circumstances, only this time it is Geet who is at the receiving end. What goes around truly comes around and how!

Besides this, there are good many things to watch out for in Jab We Met.

Naiveté and over confidence mixed together into a deadly but humorous concoction, Kareena Kapoor does for the first time impress you. In so many years of her acting career, I must say, she has passed in her 1st board exams.

Shahid Kapur is a good actor. At the end of it, you feel he has done plenty of justice to the character that he has taken up as a tycoon’s son. I would have expected a tycoon’s son to carry himself off like the way Shahid Kapur did in the movie.

The dialogues, the humour, true to life feeling and the transition from a full of life, happy go lucky to a lifeless soul and vice versa is a great thing to watch. It’s about life’s vicissitudes, how we deal with them and a fact that we all change with the changing circumstances around us, and an old wise tale repeated "to those who have gone ashtray, someone will come and show you the way"

The movie is watchable, and also some more things to watch out for:

Kareena kapoor has finally shed her parallel pants – kurta routine to a much ‘true to life’ clothing
Shahid Kapur finally looks old enough to be Kareena Kapur’s boyfriend
Models cant act, proved one more time by the guy who acts as Kareena Kapoor’s boyfriend, they must learn to not think of how they look
(He is hilarious and memorable "wo idiots mujhe jabarjasti ganne ke khet lejana chahate hai", Un-for-get-table!)
This is Kareena Kapur only good performance so far, by my standards i.e (and I have high standards, FYI)
Do watch it for an entertaining, feel good evening.

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Also watched Jab we met

As part of my Diwali Dhamka !

Another gem of a movie in recent times. Will tell you more about it soon !

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DIWALI DHAMAKA !

Nope, am not offering anything for sale ! Just giving you a gist of how a lot of my Diwali holidays were spent. Other than doing what I had to do, I got time to catch up on lots of movies (including a rewatch of Chak De India and many other movies) and a TV show !

First of all I will speak of the TV show which I watched all 3 seasons of ! Yup, all pretty much continuously.


Entourage, HBO's TV series. HBO does come with some beauties. As the name says the series is all about the entourage of a star or celebrity ! in this case there is Vincent Chase(Adrian Grenier) a hot newly discovered star with his entourage made up of E or Eric (Kevin Connoly) who's also his manager, Johhny Drama (Kevin Dillion) who's also his half brother, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), the very verbose Ari Gould (Jeremy Piven) and Shaun (Debi Mazar) who handles his PR. All in all The Entourage is made of an interesting set of individuals who keep you grinning from ear to ear. Mark Wahlberg is the Executive producer of this series.

The series takes you into the inside working of the business in Hollywood, the star trappings, the deals, the movers and shakers. You have a host of actual stars playing themselves throughout the series and thats what makes this series interesting and a step above other 'inside-story' kind of series or movies.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this TV series because-Its cool, its got nice background scores, its funny and its got great performances. My favorite characters are E, Drama and Ari ! Watch this series and you will know why !


NOW FOR THE DIWALI BIGGIE !


OM SHANTI OM


This movie has been much talked about in India prior to its release. Primarily due to the fact that this movie had the king- Shahrukh Khan and the hot debutante Deepika, releasing on the same day as the Sony promoted Saawariya, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and also starring two debutantes.

I haven't watched Saawariya and nor do I plan to !

I watched Om Shanti Om along with a houseful multiplex theater and I wasn't disappointed at all. I absolutely enjoyed the movie. yes, it could have been a tad shorter and the screenplay swifter in the 2nd half, but then I had a great time.

The story begins in the 70s with Om Prakash Makhija (Sharukh Khan) a junior artiste who is in love with the star Shantipriya (Deepika Padukone) and who dreams of becoming a star. He has his loyal friend Pappu (Shreyas Talpade) who is content being a junior artiste. there is the famous producer Mukesh mehra (Arjun Rampal) A chance encounter allows Om to begin a friendship with Shantipriya. Do things change ? Does Shantipriya know of Om's desire. Well, this story does not have a happy ending. The first half is hilarious and you really are amused by the whole 70s settings and the entertaining cliches (including a young Sooraj Bharjatiya, wearing a 'friend' cap,copying lines etc).

The 2nd half of the movie is set in the modern day and you have Om Kapoor (Shahrukh Khan), a starchild and a star and yes, you guessed right, a reincarnation of the old Om Prakash Makhija who now has to take revenge (just Like Karma, the famous reincarnation drama in hindi cinema). In fact, the movie begins with a tribute to Karma. There are multiple references to movies of the 70s as well. The modern day sequences are again entertaining and the Filmfare Awards sequence is absolutely hilarious with real life stars acting in it. Shahrukh Khan has the courage to laugh at himself with display of his repetitive roles and cinema (a thing of the past I surely believe). The Akshay Kumar sequence is hilarious to the core and he is absolutely entertaining, the short while that he is on screen. The tale of reincarnation and revenge has a twist too, although not entirely unpredictable ! Shahrukh Khan is absolutely brilliant and all his mannerisms only add to the role he plays ! There is the now famous song with about 30 stars in it and that song is a treat to watch not only for the stars but for the choreography which is so well done ! All the main characters put in good performances. Deepika is so unbelievably good lookinga and does extremely well !

Farah Khan does a good job of story and direction after Main Hoon Na and sticks to the pattern of establishing a base peppered with comedy in the first half with the serious action and climax in the 2nd half. Some intelligent and awesome product placement really spruces up the presentation of this movie ! All those marketers and media buyers can surely learn a thing or two !

Basically paisa vasool ! After Chak De India, Shahrukh is among my favorite Indian film stars. This movie does one thing and does it well-Entertains ! A must watch for anyone who watches Hindi movies. Yes, if it was a tad shorter, the movie would have been a few notches higher.

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Resident Evil: Extinction

Game Over?

I've never been a big fan of the Resident Evil series. This is the first one I've seen. I did not think of it as a WOW movie. But the key differentiator from other zombie flicks is the fact RE is shot in daylight! Yeah...there are very few scenes where you have to strain your eyes.
The movie revolves around the T-Virus - a deadly virus that turns people into flesh eating zombies (like we did not know...). Alice (Milla Jovovich) is bio organic weapon who goes out and beats the crap out of the zombies. She reminds me of Lara Croft -- the way she dresses, moves, and kills. Oh, I forgot, Tomb Raider is also a game.
On the whole it's not that great of a movie. Even for die hard game fans, there have been better game to movie flicks.
I would give it a 2/5.
IMDB link

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Welcome Mayur

Dear Blog Readers,

Please welcome Mayur who has taken an interest and contributed to this blog. he has already given three very nice reviews and we are sure he will have many more to come in the days to come.

It always helps to have a multitude of views and if any of you are interested, do write in to me !

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Y tu mama tambien


Awesome piece of what I would call dry comedy & intense drama. Dry comedy to me is when the comedy is underlying and not directly visible (very cliche sounding, I know!). Nope, its not a new release. It's just that I got hold of the DVD just now.

Y tu mama tambien by Alfonso Cuaron starring Gael Garcia (Amores Perros) as Julio, Diego Luna as Tenoch Iturbide, Maribel Verdu as Luisa is a tale of the complex interactions of three or more purposes.

Julio and Tenoch are two teenagers with the usual hormonal upsurge who are left with a summer without their girlfriends who are off to Italy for their vacation. They meet Luisa at Tenoch's sister's wedding and finding her attractive and trying their hand to see what the outcome will be they feed her a story of a road trip being planned to a secret and exclusive beach called Heaven's Mouth. They appear to have the intention of having a dalliance with her if possible. Luisa has her own reason for wanting to escape, that of the infidelities of her husband.

The three of them set off on a road trip that will change all their lives forever. It is hilarious to watch the attempts of the teenagers trying to impress the older women and gain her favour. It is even more hilarious to watch the very plausible jealousy between the two, the anger when confessions are made and secrets let out of the bag. What happens on the road trip is a journey of discovery, loss of innocence if one could say so, understanding of relationships and realization of the fragility of life.

Sensitively and intelligently handled this movie stands heads and shoulders above all the other teenagers-awakening-into-adulthood kind of movies made anywhere for it is honest in its storytelling, precise in its treatment and superior in its performances ! Definitely a must watch for all young adults and adult-teenagers !

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Johnny Gaddar: The New age Hero is launched


Had no expectations from this movie but wanted to watch it because the previews were interesting as they mentioned a heist and I am a big time sucker for gangster or heist movies !

I was amazed. I wasn't too thrilled with Sriram raghvan's directorial debut - Ek hasina Thi (Yes, the one where Saif Ali Khan plays the villain and Urmila is the protagonist), although I was entertained by it, but with his second movie Johnny Gaddar which is also the launch pad for Neil Nitin Mukesh is absolutely wonderful and refreshing.

For possibly the first time we have an Indian film maker paying tributes not just by word at the beginning or end of the movie but by cleverly placed instances in the movie itself and I am not talking product placement here folks. Tribute to James Hardley Chase, the Amitabh Movies of the 70s, the movie style of the 70s and of course the Dev Anand movie Johnny Mera Naam from which this movie also derives its name really point out to the fact that this Ram Gopal Varma protege is an intelligent, knowledgable and dedicated film-maker.

The movie is a tale about a gang of 5 people Vikram (Neil Nitin Mukesh), Seshadri (Dharmendra), Shardul (Zakir Hussain), Prakash (Vinay pathak) and Shiva (Daya Shetty) collect 2.5 crores to buy something from an Inspector (Govind Namdeo) who confiscates something during an interrogation and is worth 5 crores. Now, this money has to reach Bangalore. And yes, it gets stolen. Well, you know who's stolen the money. So the movie is not a whosdunit but is a movie about whathappensnext. There's a parallel track interwoven of the illicit affair between Vikram and Shardul's wife Mini (Rimi Sen) which really is interwoven

Right from the starting when the credits roll in the 70s style with the 250 colour RGB look and clips from the film appearing in-between, I was thrilled and remembered all those movies I watched on TV as a kid, and I knew this movie is different. Different it is and worth a watch, worth a watch for the great casting, great performances, great styling, great tributes and a great debut from Neil Mukesh.

Is this a great movie ? Well...honestly, No. No because the story is a tad too long and the twists a little too many, but still definitely worth a watch. We need to encourage such movie makers and movies. hats off to Neil Mukesh for choosing such an unconventional debut ! Thanks to Sriram Raghavan from bringing back a bit of my childhood !

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The Bourne Ultimatum

Intelligence meets action !

Third in the Bourne series, the sequels only seem to get better. After Bourne Identity (2002) and Bourne Supremacy (2004), comes the absolutely roaring Bourne Ultimatum. Helmed by Paul Greengrass (who also directed Bourne Supremacy) this movie is a perfect example of a brilliant action movie which is why I started off by saying-Intelligence meets action.

Couple of reasons for that actually. The movie for those unfamiliar with the first two parts or unfamiliar with the books written by Robert Ludlum, is about Jason Bourne an intelligence operative and one of the best assassins ever, who's trying to piece together his past, having to face not only his enemies but also his former employer, in trying to put together the puzzle that is his past. And, there's a lot of beautiful action.

In this part Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is out for revenge, as promised since his girlfriend was killed in India. There is Operation Brackbear which is nothing but Operation Treadstone rejuvenated and run by CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) and then there's Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) who's after the truth and on Jason's side. There are a host of other colourful and well cast characters forming Directors, Psychologists, Assassins who are a part of the plot which I won't go into because this tale is to be watched and not told.

Matt Damon puts in a sterling performance as the assassin trying to piece together his past and the action scenes are absolutely breathtaking, almost like a well choreographed poem in motion. There's this chase in the train station which is pure bliss to watch. You have to watch it to believe it and I wonder at the efforts of the screenplay writer and the director to just put that one sequence together. It's one piece of heart thumping cinema.

For those of us who have read the books, these movies are like a very welcome and quick refresher to the story obviously because the movies are faithful to the basic storyline but are adapted to suit the cinema form of storytelling, thereby eliminating a host of details and characters, but then I am not complaining. I will take these movies any day over having to read through the books again !

You come away from this movie wanting to go home and watch the first two parts all over again and then wanting to watch this part again. That's what I did. And I am waiting for the DVD of this part coming out and you can be sure I will add it to my collection !

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Blades of Glory: Comedy on Thin Ice

Blades of Glory is all about male figure skaters. No, it's not as lame as it sounds. Read on... I had put off watching this movie for quite a while. On my flight to HK, this was available and I watched it. Though the movie is only about 90 minutes, I had to watch it in two parts -- the first half on my flight to Hong Kong and the second half on my way back. The movie is rather funny and my wife kept wondering why I was laughing so much.

The movie revolves around two world class ice skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrel) aka as the Lone Wolf and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder of Napoleon Dynamite fame). It's hard, even for the judges, to decide who amongst them is better. At one tournament, the two get into a fight and are banned from competing in the men's singles group. This is too much of a shock and they are reduced to nothing. Chazz, the more masculine of the two, is entertaining kids and Jimmy tries his hand at menial skating related jobs.


Jimmy learns of a loophole in the ban and contacts his coach to find a partner. This search leads him to Chazz! The two of them, after ironing out their differences, become friends and go on to compete in the world series. Their coach also insists that they should master the infamous Iron Lotus to win the tourney. The Waldenbergs, the current favorites, try various ways to bring the male-male pair down.
All the actors have performed really well and you can spot quite a few real-life skaters in the movie.

Watch it! Don't miss the Iron Lotus ;)

I give it a 3.5/5.

IMDB Link

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Napoleon Dynamite: Wimps Rule

Napoleon Dynamite, the protagonist in the film of the same name, shows how wimps shine...in the end.

The movie revolves around the lives of three wimps - Napoleon (Jon Heder), his brother (Aaron Ruell), and his best friend (Efren Ramirez). Napoleon, a student of Preston high, spends all his time either being pushed around or drawing imaginary creatures such as ligers and unicorns. And as you could've guessed, he has no friends. Soon, Napoleon meets Pedro and they become best friends. The movie then goes into a number of sub plots like Pedro running for the school president, his uncle Rico trying to better their lives, Napoleon experimenting with a time machine, and Kip Dynamite finding his true love in an Internet chat room: La Fawnduh.

All the actors have delivered; and each actor compliments the other. The direction, editing, sound, may not be outstanding, but at the same time is flawless.

Overall, Napoleon Dynamite combines Ligers, tether ball, Internet romance, and a high school presidential race to create a movie that keeps you smiling throughout and ROTFL at times.

I give it a 3.5/5…"What do you think?"

IMDB Link

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Die Hard 4.0: Sequel or Version?

Die Hard 4.0 is a must watch for anyone who:

  1. has seen any of the previous Die Hards
  2. is a Bruce Willis fan is an action movie fan
  3. is a hacker or a n00b
  4. is an Apple fan

Die Hard 4.0 combines multiple genres in one movie...very well. You have action, love, and a bits and bytes of subtle comedy.

In the latest version (I call it version because of four dot O and not just four) of Die Hard, you can see Bruce Willis revisit his most celebrated role as John McLane. The story starts with McLane called in to bring Matt Farrel (Justin Long aka the Mac Guy...pretty ironic because Macs don't have that many hackers) into custody. As the story unfolds, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), a disgruntled employee of the cyber security organization, wants to bring America to its knees by holding a fire sale. Fire sale: (n) is when a hacker, or a team of hackers, bring down vital networks of a country (government, infrastructure, and economy). And yeah, McLane stops the whole operation. I agree the plot is not too thick...but the action definitely is. I felt some of the sequences were "highly influenced" by other action flicks -- hanging from a plane (True Lies) and McLane mowing down cars with his truck (Heat). Shooting through the shoulder was highly original.


On the whole, the movie is pretty darn good of the right length. I don't know if I could take an extra 30 minutes of watching McLane take down a chopper with his car. The Mac Guy has acted pretty well - from ads to Herbie to Die Hard to Drew Barrymore.

After watching the movie, I realized a lot of action heroes are making (good) comebacks. We had Rocky Balboa, T3, and now Die hard 4.0. Go ahead and watch it...I give it 4/5.

IMDB Link

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Coming Next: Flags of our fathers

Watched Flags of our Fathers.

Another beauty from the Clint Eastwood stable. Trying to lay my hands on the related film Letters from Iwo Jima

Will write about Flags of our Fathers next.

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2007 Emmys are out !

Yippe, The Sopranos gets it once more.
for more visit imdb

2007 Emmys Winners (The 59th Emmys)

Outstanding Comedy Series
WINNER : "30 Rock" (2006)

Outstanding Drama Series
WINNER: "The Sopranos" (1999)

Outstanding Made for Television Movie
WINNER: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) (TV)

Outstanding Miniseries
WINNER: Broken Trail (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
WINNER: Ricky Gervais for "Extras" (2005)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
WINNER: James Spader for "Boston Legal" (2004)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNER: Robert Duvall for Broken Trail (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
WINNER:America Ferrera for "Ugly Betty" (2006)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
WINNER: Sally Field for "Brothers & Sisters" (2006)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNER:Helen Mirren for Prime Suspect: The Final Act (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
WINNER: Jeremy Piven for "Entourage" (2004)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
WINNER: Terry O'Quinn for "Lost" (2004)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNER: Thomas Haden Church for Broken Trail (2006) (TV)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
WINNER: Jaime Pressly for "My Name Is Earl" (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
WINNER: Katherine Heigl for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
WINNER: Judy Davis for "The Starter Wife" (2007) (mini)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
WINNER: "The Daily Show" (1996)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
WINNER: "The Amazing Race" (2001)

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
WINNER: Tony Bennett: An American Classic (2006) (TV)

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Darling

Directed by one of my favourite Indian directors, Darling is a movie that could have been far better than what it turns out to be. Ram Gopal Varma puts together a simple and pretty tight storyline.


Starring fardeen Khan as Aditya, Isha Koppikar as his wife, Esha Deol as Geetika, his office colleague and extra-marital affair, Zakir Hussain as the office colleague and friend, the movie Darling is a tale of passion, passion that kills. The tag line aptly puts it as a killer love story. I am not aware of the box office returns on this movie but what I liked about it was that the story is nothing new, of a young married man bored with the normality and conservativeness of a wedding looks to the young girl in office for some excitement and accidentally kills her. The dead girl appears as a ghost and torments the man to what we would expect, a horrific ending.

Well..if the story is nothing new than what did I like about the movie ? The answer would be its simplicity and extremely tight narrative. The movie focuses on the main characters and Ramu builds an atmosphere of fear and creates an eerie scene every moment.

Ramu gives the entire movie a kind of cold half-tone look with some excellent music scores from Himesh Reshammiya, Pritam Chakraborty, Prasana Shekhar. He makes no bones about the fact that in this movie ghosts are real and are not caricatures with frightening looks and shoddy make-up but normal humans who have passed from the realm of life into the realm of death. That's what makes this movie a little interesting, the way the ghost is treated and used. The appearance of the ghost herself is not frightening but the pressure that her appearances put on Aditya (Fardeen) and the frustration that he shows is quite a refreshing way from the commonly seen ghost with supernatural powers who appears startling you (like even in Ramu's previous ghost caper Bhoot). The ghost is so believable, almost like a real life stalker and this aspect is what raises this movie over the other run-of-the-mill ghost flicks.


What has worked for Ramu is that he has kept this tale simple and has used the half-tone, some good performances from Fardeen and Esha and kept the ghostly aspect very believable and powerful. While this movie is not among Ramu's best nor is it the best of horror movies, its definitely worth a watch. And all this without trying to be overly biased in favour of one my favourite directors in Indian Cinema.

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World Cinema Marathon

I got to watch a couple of foreign movies recently, thanks a to a gem of a library called Habitat in Bangalore. After watching Amores Perros, I thought I should check out lesser known (to me at least!) movies as they give a refreshing change from the oft seen faces of Hollywood and Bollywood.

Cronicas

Written & directed by Sebastian Coredo, released in 2004, starring John Leguizamo (as star journalist Manolo Bonilla) the movie attempts to look at the thin line between news making and finding the truth.

As the tag line of the movie says: If it's on TV, it must be the truth, the movie focuses on the tale of journalist Bonillo who is on the track of a child serial-killer called the 'Monster of Babahoyo' and comes across a man who is in jail due to the accidental killing of a little boy on the day of the funeral of the little boy's twin who was one of the victims of the monster of Babahoyo. The man has a story to tell about the Monster. In return the journalist has to air a news piece on the very popular show 'La verdad' (the truth) which will drive sympathy and have him released. The movie focuses on the lengths to which Bonillo will go to break the Monster story and at the terrible cost that it will take. How does the man know so much about the Monster ? what secrets does he hide ? How far will he reveal the truth to get his freedom?
The movie is simple, has some good actors and comes close to being a good thriller but looses out ultimately due to the slightly casual treatment.


TESIS

Tesis (or Thesis ) is a thriller about a film student Angela (Anna Torrent)doing her thesis on violent images in cinema, who comes across a tape of a snuff film (film of people being killed) and then finds clues in the film leading her to believe that the killing is very much connected to her campus and may even involve students or faculty from her college campus. Helping her a weird student Chema (Fele Martinez) with a large collection of violent porn and a not so clear past. Then there is the seductive Bosco (Eduardo Noriega) who happens to own a camera which is the same model as the one used to make the sunff film. Now you get your usual suspect everybody and who's the killer kind of story. Directed by Alejandro Amnebar (The Others) the movie has something in it and is a great effort for the low budget production that it had. The performances are commendable with Anna Torent throwing in a very mature performance. This movie is worth a watch


INTACTO

Imagine if your luck could be traded like cards, imagine if all your good luck could be taken away by the touch of a human hand. The movie is a story of people who are interconnected by their luck and at times by being unlucky. A deadly game of high stakes commences with Tomas (Leonardo Sbaraglia) a thief who is the only unlikely survivor of a plane crash, catching the eye of Federico (Eusebio Poncela) who once upon a time was the 'Luck manager' of the luckiest Jew Sam's (Max Von Sydow) casino and is out for revenge for his powers being taken away. Then there is the bullfighter (Allejandro) who is a contestant for the highest stake of them all and a cop Sara (Monic Lopez) on the trail of Tomas and drawn into the game of luck. Where will it all lead to ? Whose luck will run out ? Will Sam remain the luckiest of them all or will Federico get his revenge ? The movie unfolds leading you to get these answers.

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the movie somehow fails to hold you but there is this one sequence of the contestants running blindfolded through a dense wooded forest which is really breathtaking !

Entre las piernas (Between your legs)

Directed by Manuel Gómez Pereira, this movie is an erotic thriller that touches on the issue of sex addiction and interweaves a story of adultery and murder.

The erotic sequence at the beginning of the movie is backed by some excellent background score and really succeeds in bringing forth raw animal passion to the screen which very few film-makers are able to bring to the screen. The movie is about Javier (Javier Bardem) a producer and Miranda (Victoria Abril) radio chat person, who is married to the cop Felix (Carmelo Gomez). Javier and Miranda meet at a sex addiction counselling session and there starts a dalliance which takes them to having a escapade in a parking lot on an anonymous car, which is later found to have a dead body in its trunk. The cop investigating the murder is Felix who soon zeroes in on Javier. Will Felix find the killer and find out about his wife's affair ? Who is the mysterious woman Javier meets and who is the young man persistently sending scripts to Javier for his production company.
In spite of it's very garish title the movie actually turns out to be decent enough thriller and though not entirely unpredictable has some good performances from Victoria Abril and Carmelo Gomez which lends some credibility to this slightly above average erotic thriller. It is like a downsized version of Basic Instinct without all the glamour.

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Coming on 21 Sep to India

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum - Trailer

In the new chapter of this espionage series, Bourne will hunt down his past in order to find a future.

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Eagerly Awaited

Starring Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott, the movie about drug kingpin-turned informant Frank Lucas

Watch the trailer below and you will know why I am eagerly awaiting this movie




American Gangster - Trailer

Posted Jun 11, 2007

Based on the life of drug-kingpin-turned-informant, Frank Lucas, who grew up in segregated North Carolina where he watched as his cousin was shot by the Klan for looking at a white girl. He eventually made his way to Harlem where he became a heroin kingpin by traveling to Asia's Golden Triangle to make connections, shipping heroin back to the US in the coffins of soldiers killed in Vietnam.

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24 Hours to the Emmys

2007 Emmy Nominations

Will it be Kiefer for 24 again ? Will it be The Sopranos again ? The 59th Emmy Awards is about 24 hours away. The award ceremony will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Kiefer Sutherland
Outstanding Comedy Series
Nominees:
"Entourage" (2004)
"The Office" (2005)
"30 Rock" (2006)
"Two and a Half Men" (2003)
"Ugly Betty" (2006)
Outstanding Drama Series
Nominees:
"Boston Legal" (2004)
"Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
"Heroes" (2006/II)
"House M.D." (2004)
"The Sopranos" (1999)
Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Nominees:
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) (TV)
9/11: The Twin Towers (2006)
Longford (2006) (TV)
The Ron Clark Story (2006) (TV)
Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy (2006) (TV)
Outstanding Miniseries
Nominees:
Broken Trail (2006) (TV)
Prime Suspect: The Final Act (2006) (TV)
"The Starter Wife" (2007) (mini)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominees:
Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock" (2006)
Steve Carell for "The Office" (2005)
Ricky Gervais for "Extras" (2005)
Tony Shalhoub for "Monk" (2002)
Charlie Sheen for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Nominees:
James Gandolfini for "The Sopranos" (1999)
Hugh Laurie for "House M.D." (2004)
Denis Leary for "Rescue Me" (2004)
James Spader for "Boston Legal" (2004)
Kiefer Sutherland for "24" (2001)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:
Jim Broadbent for Longford (2006) (TV)
Robert Duvall for Broken Trail (2006) (TV)
William H. Macy for "Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King" (2006) (mini)
Matthew Perry for The Ron Clark Story (2006) (TV)
Tom Selleck for Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2007) (TV)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominees:
America Ferrera for "Ugly Betty" (2006)
Tina Fey for "30 Rock" (2006)
Felicity Huffman for "Desperate Housewives" (2004)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2006)
Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds" (2005)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Nominees:
Patricia Arquette for "Medium" (2005)
Minnie Driver for "The Riches" (2007)
Edie Falco for "The Sopranos" (1999)
Sally Field for "Brothers & Sisters" (2006)
Mariska Hargitay for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer" (2005)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:
Queen Latifah for Life Support (2007)
Debra Messing for "The Starter Wife" (2007) (mini)
Helen Mirren for Prime Suspect: The Final Act (2006) (TV)
Mary-Louise Parker for The Robber Bride (2007) (TV)
Gena Rowlands for What If God Were the Sun? (2007) (TV)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominees:
Jon Cryer for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)
Kevin Dillon for "Entourage" (2004)
Neil Patrick Harris for "How I Met Your Mother" (2005)
Jeremy Piven for "Entourage" (2004)
Rainn Wilson for "The Office" (2005)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Nominees:
Michael Emerson for "Lost" (2004)
Michael Imperioli for "The Sopranos" (1999)
T.R. Knight for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
Masi Oka for "Heroes" (2006/II)
Terry O'Quinn for "Lost" (2004)
William Shatner for "Boston Legal" (2004)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:
Edward Asner for The Christmas Card (2006) (TV)
Thomas Haden Church for Broken Trail (2006) (TV)
Joe Mantegna for "The Starter Wife" (2007) (mini)
Aidan Quinn for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) (TV)
August Schellenberg for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) (TV)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominees:
Conchata Ferrell for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)
Jenna Fischer for "The Office" (2005)
Elizabeth Perkins for "Weeds" (2005)
Jaime Pressly for "My Name Is Earl" (2005)
Holland Taylor for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)
Vanessa Williams for "Ugly Betty" (2006)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominees:
Lorraine Bracco for "The Sopranos" (1999)
Rachel Griffiths for "Brothers & Sisters" (2006)
Katherine Heigl for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
Sandra Oh for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
Aida Turturro for "The Sopranos" (1999)
Chandra Wilson for "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominees:
Toni Collette for Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006) (TV)
Judy Davis for "The Starter Wife" (2007) (mini)
Samantha Morton for Longford (2006) (TV)
Anna Paquin for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) (TV)
Greta Scacchi for Broken Trail (2006) (TV)
Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
Nominees:
"The Colbert Report" (2005)
"The Daily Show" (1996)
"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993)
"Late Show with David Letterman" (1993)
"Real Time with Bill Maher" (2003)
Outstanding Reality Competition Program
Nominees:
"The Amazing Race" (2001)
"American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" (2002)
"Dancing with the Stars" (2005/I)
"Project Runway" (2005)
"Top Chef" (2006)
Outstanding Reality Program (Previously Announced)
WINNER
"Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" (2005)
Other Nominees:
"Antiques Roadshow" (1997)
"The Dog Whisperer" (2004)
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (2003)
"Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" (2003)
Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Nominees:
Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner (2006) (TV)
"Great Performances: A Tribute to James Taylor" (2006)
Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (2006) (TV)
Lewis Black: Red, White and Screwed (2006) (TV)
Tony Bennett: An American Classic (2006) (TV)
Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired (2006) (TV)
Outstanding Animated Program (Previously Announced)
WINNER
"South Park" (1997)
Other Nominees:
"Avatar: The Last Airbender" (2005)
"Robot Chicken" (2005)
"The Simpsons" (1989)
"SpongeBob SquarePants" (1999)

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Chak De India


Sometime winning is everything.


As the baseline of the movie says, winning is really everything and this movie is a winner. Written by Jaideep Sahni, produced by Aditya Chopra, directed by Shimit Amin, starring Shahrukh Khan and a bunch of endearing young women, I watched this movie twice before writing this. I watched it twice because I wanted to. The movie is awesome in all means !

The tale of a disgraced player taking on an underdog team to redeem himself and make a point is no new storyline (in Indian cinema it could be) but what holds this movie together is its sense of purpose. The movie is made to tell a tale and that's what it does. Shimit Amin has a talent for tight storytelling which was evident in his Ab Tak Chappan. Jaideep Sahni's writing goes absolutely in sync with Shimit Amin's style, Salim Suleiman's score is memorable and adds soul to an already tight narrative and of course the production values are taken care of by Yash Raj films. Let's not forget this movie does for Hockey, what a Lagaan could not do for Indian cricket (yup...that's' because the cricket team's not doing too great is it, while the hockey team in reaching the top spot once again)
The latest is that this movie is being included in some management school curriculum and I can see why. The movie is a lesson for any kind of team oriented existence be it in sports or even in corporate life. After Lagaan, this is one movie which again instills the feeling of passion, purpose, conviction and teaming in spite of surmounting challenges, opposition, politics and everything else put together. Being in the corporate world myself I couldn't help but relate to the situations in the movie, from the conviction to the politics, the support to the dissent, the oldies in the team resenting change to the newbies being unsure, there's everything you want in this movie. You want a situation you will find it, you want a learning you will get it. Its to teaming and winning what The Godfather is to life, answering every question you can ask.
The movie takes you a on a roller coaster ride, which is impeccably predictable, knowingly understated but yet...you fall in love with this piece of cinematic brilliance. You know what's happening, you know what's going to happen but yet you wait with bated breath to watch it unfold.

The girls playing the team of girls are outstanding and Shahrukh Khan is absolutely controlled and a superstar beyond measure for being the star and yet allowing the team to star in this sporty movie. I have always been a fan of Shahrukh Khan the superstar but after this movie, I do believe that he can act, act within the confines of a character.
The girls led by the experienced but authority-resistant Bindiya Naik (Shilpa Shukla), the quite Gunjan, perky Aliyah Bose(Anaitha Nair ),matured Vidya Sharma (Vidya Malavade), strong and hot-tempered Balbir, Mary Ralte, the very cute and endearing Komal Chautala (Chitrashi Rawat), the attractive Preeti Sabharwal (Sagarika Ghagte) and many others who can put some established actresses to shame come together as the Indian Women's hockey team and rule the screen for over 2.5 hours along with their coach Kabir Khan (Shahrukh).

The story commences with India losing a final to Pakistan in the men's world cup due to the captain Kabir Khan missing a penalty and then facing the ire of the media and the public. With allegations of being a Pakistan supporter Kabir Khan leaves his locality and goes into obscurity, for 7 years. A bunch of bureaucratic never-been-on-the-field administrators of the hockey association are sitting over the coach's job for the Indian Women's Hockey team and Kabir Khan takes up the job.

It gets interesting from here on with coach Kabir trying to build a team first, rather than teach hockey. There are unforgettable characters in the team, take the tiny dynamo Komal Chautala for example. From Haryana, this little cutie absolutely holds your attention with her rapid fire dialogue delivery. I can go on and on about the cast because they are brilliant. The team faces many a hurdle right from their practice sessions to getting their chance in the world-championships in Australia but eventually get there. And, what unfolds there is a combination of brilliant photography, tight scriptwriting, some excellent technical support & great production of the hockey scenes. What you get are scenes of absolute natural action, yet nail-biting suspense.

The scenes between the girls when they first register for the training camp, the scene when they first go to their dormitories, the first training session, the hockey match with the men's team and all the championship hockey matches are awesome.

While I do not want to give away the climax, although I did mention it is all predictable, let me just say that having watched this movie twice I still did not lose out on the thrill because the characters and the story overpowers the action. You want to hear those dialogues again, you want to see Kabir Khan's passion again, you want to admire the young expressions again and you will want to watch this movie again and again....


Shimit Amin is definitely a director to watch out for. Shahrukh Khan is King. This gang of girls rule !

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Coming Next

Watched now.


Gandhi, My Father

Rush Hour 3

8 heads in a duffel Bag

The hunt for the BTK killer

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Seventymm Online Video Rental Service

No relation to this blog other than the fact that I subscribe to this cool service.

Here is their cool ad. They are available on http://www.seventymm.com/

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Also watched: Carandiru

Also watched Carandiru from the land of the City of God. Yup, another Brazilian Movie.

Directed by Hector Babenco, the movie is told from the point of view of a doctor who newly takes charge to prevent the spread of AIDS at a prison named Carandiru. The movie is allegedly based on real life events and takes you into the lives of the prisoners in Carandiru.

While the movie did remind me of Oz, one of my favourite prison dramas, this movie had more grime and realism to it which is what grips you although you have to follow the sub-titles. The movie showcases the degrading conditions of life in the prison which was continuously being taken over and ruled by the prisoners who maintained their own law & order within the walls while the police maintained the walls.

The degrading conditions and the complexities of life within the walls sparks off an incident which leads to a climax that can only be described as a massacre. The tale has its sub plots and story lines dealing with relationships, between prisoners, between the prisoners and their families. A lot of these stories are told in flashback mode as the prisoners recount their tales and lives to the doctor.

The actors, mostly unknown ( to me, at least) except for a face or two who have played latin roles in hollywood flicks, put in an honest performance and that makes a huge difference in this film.

At the risk of sounding cliche, I would say the movie was different. The makers somehow kept it personal and non voyeuristic and yet managed to draw you into the prison. Can be watched if you get a hold of the DVD. Available at Habitat in Bangalore though.

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Amores Perros

Unfortunately, I got to watch this gem of a movie after watching Babel. For the very few uninformed Babel was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu who also made this piece of beauty called Amores Perros or Love's a Bitch. Yup, Alejandro is involved with 21 Grams as well.

Unfortunate because Babel exposed me to Alejandro's sensitivity to characters and non-linear storytelling format, thus dulling my senses to the true impact of Amores.

Still this movie amazed me, amazed me at its simplicity, amazed me at its abundance of talent, amazed me at the screenplay, amazed me at the attention and spacing given to the background score, amazed me that movies like these are made and till the director becomes famous, we find it difficult to get hold of. I wonder how many gems we miss because they are not big budget Hollywood releases.I must confess, I have never gone after foreign cinema or world cinema for various reasons but thanks to a friend of mine who took me to a video library which has this awesome collection of DVDs I got to watch this one.

Amores Perros written by Gullermo Arriaga is a congregation of tales, all interconnected by a horrific car accident (a tingle of 'Crash' ? well, this was made long before Crash so...). There is Octavio (Gael Garcia, who also appears in Babel) who is drawn into the underbelly of the dog fighting business with his dog Cofi, all because of his love for his sister-in-law Susana (Vanessa Bauche). There is Daniel (Alvano Guerro) & Valeria(Goya Toledo) in love with each other, with Daniel having left his wife and children to live with Valeria, a supermodel. There is Ramiro (Marco perez), Octavio's brother and Susana's husband who has no consideration for Susana or the family and is only looking to hit a bank and make money. Then there is El Chivo (Emilio Echevarria), the homeless man with a lot of dogs who is also an ex-guerrilla and a hitman for hire with his own hidden love for a daughter who doesn't know he exists.

All these relationships come together and get connected with a car crash and then begins a peep into the lives of these people, people who could exist anywhere, ordinary people with love, betrayal and emotions.

There lies the beauty of this movie. The tale tells no story with a learning nor does it preach, all it makes you experience is a feeling. A feeling of love, a feeling of desperation, a feeling of pain and a feeling of betrayal. Do we even realise how our lives are interconnected beyond our control?

A movie that makes you feel is the most powerful cinema possible and believe me the movie is worth owning on DVD, even if you have to read the subtitles all through to know the dialogues, but to understand all you have to do is watch.

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