The International

The drought of new releases multiplexes in India got some respite with the release of The International. 

The International is a not-so-fast-paced thriller starring Clive Owen as Interpol agent Louis Salinger and Naomi Watts as New York Assistant DA Eleanor Whitman. Directed by Tom Tykwer, The International is tale about the nexus between Bankers, arms dealers and subsequently international conflict.  

Agent Louis Salinger of the Interpol is obsessed with bringing down IBBC, an international bank based out of Luxembourg, Germany and headed byJonas Skarrsen (Ulrich Thomsen).  Agent Louis Salinger has had a past failure and disgrace while trying to bring down the bank. This apparently is one of the reasons for his obsession. The other of course being that a bank fuelling international conflict causing the death of millions is against all humanitarian feelings of the agent. He is supported in his mission by the Assistant DA Eleanor. Will they together be able to bring down a bank which owns the debt of countries, and thereby the countries themselves ? Will their efforts expose a bank that intelligence agencies, governments use ? 

Shuttling in between scenic locales of Germany, Turkey and the hustle bustle of New York, this movie focus on the fact it is money that fuels conflict, terrorism. Its basic premise reinforces the fact all and any financing of arms and war is ultimately going to bite us back. The performances are fine, though the movie is a little slow paced to be a conventional thriller. The plot is mostly predictable with hardly any surprises. the background score adds some thrill to the proceedings. Largely an intelligent thriller that was more suited for reading than viewing.

Is it worth watching ? With nothing else on now, yes I would say. You decide!


8 x 10 Tasveer

Nagesh Kukunoor tries his hand once again at a 'different' kind of film. This Hindi film made the news for the controversy between the producers and the distributors. The film's release was delayed and finally when it did come on screen, it was a treat due to the locations.

8x10 Tasveer is the story of Jai Puri (Akshay Kumar) who has this uncanny ability of looking at a photograph, choosing a person in the photo and seeing what happened just before the photo was taken. He is able to see it through the eyes of the person that he focuses on. All for a minute. Yup, you may wonder that my other Hindi watch this week Aa Dekhen Zara also dealt with something similar (photos showing the future though). Strange coincidence. I really didn't think about it till writing this post.

This movie, touted as a thriller is focused on Jai Puri finding out if his father was murdered and who the murderer is. All he has is a photo clicked moments before his father died. The list of suspects keep growing, from his mother Savitri (Sharmila), their family friend and lawyer Anil (Girish Karnad), his uncle Sundar (Anant Mahadevan), friend Adit (Rushad Rana) and even his live-in girlfriend Sheela (Ayesha Takia). 

The trailers once again were impressive. the movies goes well except for some silly sequences which appear to be shot only for gimmick value. For example the sequence at the beginning where Akshay Kumar apprehends a poacher and then leaps into a lake from a huge cliff just to get hold of the bear trap the poacher throws away was a little far fetched. This and many more in the 2nd half of the movie pull down what could have been an awesome thriller. The first half of this movie goes well. In the 2nd half it meanders into territory far too familiar in Hindi cinema. Everybody is made a suspect. Lots of shots of faceless intruders makes you almost tear your hair out in frustration. You also have the very irritating and sometimes amusing Javed Jaffery as the eccentric detective Pasha alias Happi with a i (as he keeps repeating in the movie) who seems faintly modeled after the detective Monk (series on Star World) in his obsessive compulsive disorder. The performances are nothing spectacular. Akshay Kumar tries his best but ultimately the script is just not strong enough to keep you hooked.

Whatever happened to simple straightforward thrillers where it is the story that is thrilling and not hidden faces that cause suspense. In the end this tale is predictable and you wonder why is Nagesh Kukunoor picking such beautiful subjects and then letting them run loose ? The outdoors of Canada are beautiful and are the only thing worth really the price of a ticket.

Is it worth Watching ? Nope. Did not think so. You watch and decide.


Wolverine: X-men origins

Eagerly awaiting the release of this one !


Aa Dekhen Zara

After the absolutely wonderful Johnny Gaddar, Neilnitin Mukesh returns to the screen to star in the Hindi thriller- Aa Dekhen Zara.

Directed by Jehangir Surti, Aa Dekhen Zara released in India in the midst of a tussle between Film Producers and Multiplex owners resulting in no new releases. Do not think it affected the fortunes of this film much though. I watched it on Showcase on TATASKY (my Direct-to-Home service provider) at 1:00 AM Friday. Yup, began my 3 day weekend with this.

Ray Acharya (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is a freelance wildlife photographer struggling to make a living in Mumbai. He is left a camera in inheritance by his grandfather. Ray goes around clicking a few photographs to see how the camera functions and then develops them in his own darkroom. Wonder of wonders, the photographs do not show what he clicked but show the subject's future as per the date set in the camera. This leads to Ray saving Simi (Bipasha Basu), a bar tender in a night club. It then strikes Ray that he can use the camera to foretell the future and make money on the lottery, the horse races and even betting the stock market and cricket. Voila, within 2 months Ray owns a Mercedes and a swanky house. All seems to be going well, when Ray finds out he is being watched, watched by people who want the camera and who have sent an assassin called Captain (Rahul Dev) after him. Will his camera foretell death ?

Shot in Mumbai and Bangkok, this first time effort from Director Jehangir Surti and writers Sheershank Anand and Shantanu Ray Chibber actually appears like an amateurish effort. The dialogues are hilarious in their dumbness and the screenplay is laborious and makes you yaawn. The story starts off with a lot of promise but loses its way not knowing how to handled a subject like this. It panders around and ends up becoming the usual masala potboiler where it did not matter if the core of the plot was a camera which photographed the future. Neil Nitin Mukesh looks completely lost without direction and it is indeed disappointing to see such talent misused. Bipasha Basu does not have much to do except dress up in horrendous clothes which make her look chunky and manly. Rahul Dev does nothing much either except trying to look menancing. The background or music score is no above average wonder either. There are too many logic flaws that you stop counting them. At the end of it all you wonder, why did the film trailer mislead you so much ? The trailer was far better than the actual movie after all.

Is it worth watching ? Definitely not. You could decide too!


Leatherheads on DVD

George Clonney returns to helm and star in this light comedy, after the very serious Good Night, Good Luck (2005).

Leatherheads is the tale of one veteran footballer or should I say a tale of the development of professional football in America. Touted as a romantic comedy, this movie according to me was a lighthearted comedy which also wove in the almost documentary like tale of pro-football.

Jimmy Dodge Connelly (George Clooney) is the veteran footballer and captain of a small town team that is on the brink of collapse, thanks to dwindling funds, no sponsors and players more adept at bar room brawling than on-field tactics. Jimmy sees a way out if he is able to bring in war hero Carter Rutherfod (John Krasinki) and thereby all the paying spectators, thereby setting up the way for true professional football. Enter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) a reporter for the Tribune who is out to figure out if America's hero Carter did really single-handedly capture a whole German battalion. With the younger and popular Carter bringing in the crowds, the spunky and attractive Lexie, the crowds, the sponsors, the government attention all adding up thick and fast, Jimmy seems to be getting left behind. Or does he ?

The movie is entertaining largely because of its amusing dialogue, some deft direction and commendable performances of the whole cast. The production design is awesome and takes you back to the 1920s. The movie is shot with a lot of honesty and attention to detail. George Clooney, although the director and the bigger star does not take away screen space and fits into the tale with ease.  The dirt, grime and bodies thumping against each other in the middle of the game are so realistic you almost believe you are watching some old sports tapes.

Is it worth watching ? Definitely yes !


Watched recently

I watched Leatherheads, Sex and the City on DVD among many others. Particularly enjoyed Leatherheads so will tell you what I thought. Recent flick at the cinemas was the 2nd half of Fast and the Furious 4 about which I have written below.


Fast and the Furious 4

I couldn't get to the multiplex fast enough and I was absolutely furious at myself for sleeping too much and getting stuck in traffic. End result- I reached the movie right as the interval commenced. That's a first for me. Reaching at an interval in a movie I mean.

It would not be fair to give my views on a movie after viewing only the 2nd half of a film so I shall stick to only the 2nd half of the film. Fast and the furious 4 takes off from the first (and according to me, the best of the series). The conversation and flashback revealed that something happens to Letti (Michelle Rodriguez) that brings Toretto (Vin Diesel) out of hiding for some revenge. Brian O'Connor is back as a cop. Jordana Brewster returns as Toretto's pretty sister and O'connor's love interest Mia. The cops are out to bust a smuggling ring that does business across the US-Mexico border withan elusive leader called Braga. Dominic Toretto is out for revenge. A gang of Mexican smugglers, lots of cars a breathtaking car chase across the border at night, lots of fist fights, some morose acting from Vin Diesel and you have your typical action movie. Cannot say much since I missed the first half and I always thought the first movie in this franchise the best (haven't watched part 3- Tokyo drift yet though).

Is it worth watching ? I don't know

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