Religulous

WowImage by andinarvaez via Flickr

Written and hosted by Bill Mahler, the documentary styled feature is directed by Larry Charles. You may not know Larry Charles. He is the same person who directed 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan' (2006) and also directed 'Bruno' (2009) both starring Sacha Baron Cohen. So you know where 'Religulous' is going. (Am watching Bruno soon too)

Of course Bill Mahler does not have the outrageous comic nature of Sacha but still does a commendable job in taking you through his revelation (pun intended, watch this feature and you will know why) of today's world religions. He meets various religious leaders, priests and takes you on a journey of faith. The feature is entertaining for the dry humor style that Bill maintains. Underlying that humor some serious questions are asked and it finally leads to a climax by which time you have gotten a view of the immense impact (adverse) that religions have has had on humankind.

Is it worth watching ? On a quiet Sunday afternoon, yes.


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Luck

Some time ago I had briefly mentioned this movie 'Luck'. If you recollect, I had mentioned that the trailers were impressive and seemed to show scenes from Intacto and 13 Tzameti and a whole lot of actors.

It happened to be my bad luck to have paid around INR 150/- to watch this movie. A movie which is all about Sunjay Dutt as Karim Moosa, the man with all the luck, walking impressively in slow motion. A movie where the word luck is used at least 350 times. A movie which in spite of being an action movie, has volume of dialogues like a mountain compared to the molehill of actual action. A movie where most dialogues are one-liners. A movie with vast inconsistencies.

By now you would have realized where I am going with this one. I really wonder how Imran Khan (as Ram Mehra) and Sunjay Dutt agreed to do this movie. This also stars Danny Denzongpa, Mithun Chakraborty, Ravi Kishen, Chitrashi Rawat and Shruti Hassan is introduced too. Shruti Hassan reminds me of the immaculately designed characters in video game movies- all looks, no expressions. Ravi Kishen does well as the psychotic criminal. All these characters in the game of luck have one thing in common- they are immensely lucky. Moosa hosts a high stakes gambling game where punters bet on people's luck. Most or all of the contestants are extremely lucky, they do not know it and have some compulsion to make huge sums of money. While this is supposed to be the theme of the movie, there are hardly 5-6 contests that actually take place. Rest of the time goes in spewing one-liners and the slow motion entrances of Sunjay Dutt.

Watch 'The Condemned', 'Intacto' and '13 Tzameti' and you shall get your money's worth 10 fold. The movie has some interesting parts and could have been so much more better with some deft editing and re-scripting. For example, the movie could have started with the 13 Tzameti copied scene and then taken us into quick flashbacks of the central characters. The movie could have been crisper and racier.Well, I am just suggesting although I did not get any of the budget used to make up this movie. Yes. backseat driving is easy and so is commenting on a movie somebody else has made.

Only the title song is worth a hear. The stunts look amateurish and it seems like a few scenes from Fear Factor were taken, put together, and a story built around it. The movie unintentionally provides some moments of fun and I hope the director is listening.

Imran Khan is impressive but cannot save this movie. Nor can Sunjay Dutt or the rest of the cast. The good things in this movie are - Danny Denzongpa's Ray Bans, The title Song, cute Chitrashi Rawat (remember the Haraynvi girl from Chak De and the agent from Fashion ?) Shruti Hassan in a Bikini, Sunjay Dutt's entrances and Imran Khan's screen presence. This I have given in order of importance starting with the best.

Is it worth watching ? It may be your bad luck. Watch this movie at your own risk.

A pachinko parlor in Tokyo, Japan







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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  **UK TABLOID ** L-...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Some would have been eagerly awaiting this sequel. After having finished reading all the books, since there are no more books coming, the movie is the only thing to watch out for. I am not a major Harry potter fan, i admit. I have read the books once and frankly find too many character flaws in Harry for him to be an icon or idol for children. I somehow have this impression that he does not do much, fainting at opportune moments and things just happen around him.

Harry potter and the Half Blood Prince is a laborious and long installment of the franchise. With the hunt for the half blood prince, the building army of the dark lord you are treated to long dialogues, some intense special effects. The adolescence of the characters is made more evident through the romantic overtures and mushy parts.

To put it very briefly, it is only the last 15 minutes of the movie that really matter and only an ardent Potter fan will feel pleased sitting through till then. The direction is fine, the production is fine. the actors are good in what they have to do. Alan Rickman continues to stand out as Severus Snape. Actually I think Snape is the most interesting character and if you have read the last part (Deathly hallows) you will know why. In this movie, there is a little less of magic, more of hormones and some very special make-up. the absolutely delicious Helena Botham carter makes an appearance too.

Emma Watson is so cute and when I read rumors that she would quit acting, I shed a tear.
Is it worth watching ? yes, if you are a potter fan. if not, giving it a miss will not hurt you much

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Troy on HBO

Am watching Troy on HBO (India, 9 PM , Friday). Have lost count on the number of times I have watched this movie. Just love the action scenes. Eric Bana (as Hector) and Brad Pitt (as Achilles) tower over the rest of the cast. Love this movie.




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Transformers: Revenge of the fallen

The biggie this month. Part 2 of the immensely successful and popular Transformers (2007). Directed by Michael Bay, starring the talented Shia LaBeouf and the very attractive Megan Fox and the tough looking Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson, Transformer 2: Revenge of the Fallen rocked the Box office on release and continues to remain at the top.

The other biggest character in this sequel plays the most prominent, visible and noisy part. The character is none other than the US Armed Forces. The US Armed forces is all over this movie starting to end providing you one of the finest on screen displays of combat and weaponry in recent times.

The sequel continues from where part 1 ended. Optimus Prime and his buddies live among the humans with Bumblebee loyally staying in Samuel Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) while Prime and his buddies including some new ones like the Twins who work with Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) of the US Army in combating all kinds of situations especially when the Decepticons (the bad robot guys for those who have not seen part 1) start making appearances. Some bureaucratic interference and fear of attack brings the story to a stage where Prime and his buddies are parting ways with Lennox. Meanwhile Sam has tried to put his adventures behind him and is moving to college. His attraction to Mikaela (Megan Fox) and his quirky roommate Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) seem to be the new factors in his life.

But all of that changes soon when the fallen (an old Decepticon who mentored Megatron) starts sending his minions to planet earth in search of something. With the AllSpark destroyed in part 1, what may they be after? Thereafter begins a race to find out what they are after and to find it before they do. The film is a bit slow with a lot of long dialogues giving background and history but in the 2nd half takes off into a pulse pounding ride of action. The action is multifold and in typical Michael Bay style, larger than life.

The US Army comes into play and you are treated to some spectacular explosions and some great CGI and robot fights. before I forget, John Turturro returns and is absolutely natural at making you laugh. He and Leo offer you some of the hilarious moments in the fill.

Megan Fox at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Ann...Image via Wikipedia

This film is such that you cannot write much about it. You just got to go watch it. You will either like it or not like it. Let me tell you what I liked about the movie-I like that it is based on Robot characters (I have a soft corner for comic tales). I like John Turturro's performance. I like Megan Fox (she's hot !) and I love all the action and explosions !

Is it worth watching ? Well, maybe. For any comic story genre fan, it is a must see.

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Kaminey will come soon

Am looking forward to watching this one. Vishal Bharadwaj cannot go wrong and with impressive trailers, it does interest me.

PS: According to Boxofficeindia.com Kambaakth Ishq had a grand bumper opening of 90%-100% collections on day 1. This was about 10% less than that of Ghajini. This would be due to all the advance bookings but if it has to make INR 70 crores (INR 70 Millions) in the next couple of weeks it really needs to keep the going strong.



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Flashbacks of a fool

Caught this on DVD. IF you want to know why I think Daniel Craig is a highly underrated actor watch this movie and Layer Cake. He is a good James Bond but Quantum of Solace did no great addition to his quality as an actor.

Written and Directed by Baillie Walsh, the film stars Harry Eden (from Oliver twist), Olivia Williams and many other well cast actors. The story is of Joe Scott (Daniel Craig), a once successful and popular actor who has now lost his credibility, thanks to a hedonistic lifestyle. With an increasing sense of loss of value and loss of self, Joe Scott is quickly reaching a point of self-destruction and self-disbelief when he receives news that his childhood friend Boots has died. The news and his conscience/personal assistant Eve (Ophelia Franklin) trigger off a flashback to his younger days. The viewer is taken back to a small sea-side town where the young Joe Scott (Harry Eden) is growing through his confusing teen years with his mother, his aunt, his young sister, his mother's friend Evelyn who is trying to seduce him, his friend Boots and the young Ruth Davies (Felicity Jones) whom he is attracted to. The characters, their life engrosses you and finally a shocking incident occurs that bring you back to the present Joe Scott.

Joe returns to his hometown which has changed quite a bit. He meets the people, rediscovers their lives. he comes across his teenage crush Ruth. The entire flashback and his visit have a profound impact on Joe. This entire journey is the flashback of a fool. The entire journey is interesting, engrossing and in many ways touching.

The tale of innocence found lost and regained is a sure shot success formula, if done well. Some great direction, acting and dialogues make it worth a watch. Take for example, when Eve is settling Joe's phone bills and remarks, "Why do you have to dial a 976 line (phone sex) ? You are the Joe Scott, you can have any woman you want ?" and Joe says, "At least there I can be someone else". This single dialogues gives you an insight into the pressure beneath the success that has driven Joe to a decadent lifestyle.

Is it worth Watching ? Definitely.


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Inglorious Basterds, Sherlock Holmes, Public Enemies

These 3 are movies that I eagerly await and for different reasons.

Inglorious Basterds which premiered at Cannes 2009, is made by one of my favorite film makers, Quentin Tarantino (Writer & Director), stars Brad Pitt among others and is a tale of a group of Jewish American soldiers who are let loose on the Nazis to spread fear through brutal killing. This group of soldiers get infamous among the Nazis as 'The Basterds'. The film also stars the beautiful Diane Kruger. Expect a lot of gore, blood and dry humor. Watch the trailer! Awesome !



Public Enemies is the tale of the baby FBI and its manhunt for what it labeled its first 'Public Enemy Number one', John Dillinger (Johnny Depp). Directed by Michael Mann and starring Christian Bale along with a host of other actors, this film about the origins of the FBI and gun-toting robin hood like infamous heroes will be worth a watch.



Sherlock Holmes. The name itself is enough to make me watch this movie. Now take a look at the other names associated with it. Directed by Guy Ritchie, starring Robert Downey Jr (as Sherlock Holmes), Jude Law (as Dr Watson) the trailer seems to have all of Guy Ritchie's trademarks and would make for an interesting watch.

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Kambaakth Ishq

Kareena Kapoor as KaminiImage via Wikipedia


A lot of somebody's money just went down the drain, down a Hollywood drain I must say.

Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, a couple of good songs, a couple of good gags and a few supporting actors are the only good things in this movie. the movie is like a very expensive Titanic that is sinking without a trace.

The movie's storyline or what little exists of it is of Viraaj (Alshay Kumar) a stuntman in Hollywood, primarily working at Universal Studios. He is a womanizer and does not believe in the cocnept of marriage. He has two flunkies Tiger (Vindoo Singh) and Lucky (highly underrated Aftab Shivdasani). Lucky gets married much against his Mentor Viraaj's wishes to Kamini (the hot looking Amrita Arora). Kamini's friend is the model and doctor in training Simritha Rai (Kareena Kapoor) who also does not believe in men or in marriage. When Viraaj and Simritha meet, fireworks happens and there begins the donfall of this movie. Some stale gags and a few new ones later you begin to lose track of where the story is going. Brandon Routh, Denise Richards, Sylvester Stallone etc put in their appearances and obviously had a lot to do with this film's budget.

Sylvester Stallone in Sweden to promote "...Image via Wikipedia

The film fails mainly because of its lack of consistency in characterisation and storyline. This often happens when all the focus is on the stars. When that is the state of the story, I cannot comment much on direction. Take for example a tough gangster neighbourhood where suddenly there is an intact and working Parking meter with coins inside taht is used as a weapon in a fight or consider Kareena does not have USD 5000 but is shopping Gucci and other designer wear, also drives around a VW. Patchy screenplay only adds to the woes of this film.

The film has a great opening at the box office thanks to all the buzz since 2007 and the drought of movies after the producer-multiplex strike. Do not think the BO will hold too much hope though in the weeks to come, but then one never knows. Vindoo Singh does well as the sidekick but has a silly role to play. Aftab does not have much to do and is sadly underutilised. Kareena is hot (yup ! I do have a soft corner for this woman) and appears in the skimpiest of clothes you have ever seen her. Many scenes and sequences border on the titillating. Amrita Arora looks good and of course shows of her toned body in many a scene. In all, the movie seems to be a hastily put together mish-mash of different sequences, scenes and songs with some repetitive stock footage of Hollywood stars and a few guest appearances thrown in for good measure.

It is believed that this project was the dream of producer Freoze Nadiwala. His dream to have Hollywood actors acting in Bollywood film. Dream fulfilled. Sadly, it could have been such a better film to mark this remarkable achievement in cinema. This film reminds me of 'Tashan' (read about it here) which was another example of all style and no substance.

Is it worth watching ? Wait for it to come on TV I suggest. You decide !
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Kambakkht Ishq


I watch Kambakkht Ishq tomorrow. Supposedly made at a huge budget (what with a host of Hollywood stars putting in an appearance) this movie doesnt look too great. Am watching for a couple of reasons- Kareena, Akshay, Denise richards and of course to watch Sylvester Stallone saying - Kambakkht Ishq !

Will let you know if it is worth watching !

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