Friday, December 04, 2009

[Movie] A Christmas Carol

Its gonna be a week since i saw this movie, so thought its about time i wrote about it...  A Christmas Carol , the last show was what we managed to watch, that too Sunday morning 9am show.. Can you beat that? And we feasted on it in 3D style~!! :-)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes, Fionnula Flanagan

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Did you know that A Christmas Carol is actually a book by Charles Dickens? I discovered that piece of trivia only recently, and was mighty curious to watch the movie to know more...

 In Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is not a man people want to be associated with, they hate him- for his grumpy attitude, misrely qualities... He shouts and bah humbugs at everyone who wishes him Merry Christmas!! His partner at work has recenlty passed away!!!

He returns home on Christmas Eve only to be confronted by a series of ghosts. They take him through life, showing him various scenes involving people around him and how their lives are. How difficult his clerk's life is, and how inspite of all that, and the pittance he earns, he praises Scrooge during the Christmas meal... Each of the ghosts teach Scrooge a lesson - about hiimself, about how others view him and what he can do to change his fate....

The part where the ghost takes him to his nephew's place where the dinner party is being hosted is beautiful...  How his own nephew mocks him, bringing to light what people actually think of Ebenezer and the effect these playbacks have on him is the bottomline of the movie....   We saw it in 3D, and there were scenes with snowfall and i could literally feel them on me.. wanted to put my hand out and catch a few.... !! A beautiful tale of how people's attitude changes the minute your approach/outlook/attitude alters is what the movie teaches us....

It is a children's movie, but meant for adults as well, there are quite a few scenes that kids just wont understand... But i was amazed at the boy sitting 2seats from mine, his dad next to me.. the kid was full of vigour and was literally narrating the tale to his dad [who sadly wasnt too interested in the movie, but was more into his phone...] :-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

[Movie] Michael Jackson - This is it!!!

Directed - Kenny Ortega
Produced - Paul Gongaware, Randy Phillips
Starring - Michael Jackson and his group of dancers, singers, musicians, performers...  
This is it released on 28th Oct and was gonna be in Theaters for only 2 weeks.. I was hoping to catch it and i sure did... the last day it was being screened, at Sathyam Cinemas.. And what an experience it was.... !!!

I grew up listening to Michael Jackson's songs and the day he died, i felt very sad... Like someone i knew close was gone... After watching this movie, this tribute, i miss him more..!!  Here's why..

The movie opens to show his dancers and backstage guys sobbing and talking about how much they were looking forward to the shows, and how close they'd gotten to MJ during the practice sessions.. From there, it is an amazing rocking beautiful soulful music filled tribute to the Man himself.. Rehearsals for various songs, dancers setting the floor on fire, the film editing, singing, vocal sessions, and so much more is what we get to see during the 2hr movie...

It's amazing to watch MJ control every nuance of the performance, from the dancers' cues to details in the music that goes unnoticed most times... even how he describes his earpiece hurting -"it felt like "fists in my ears, but am trying to get used to it"... The little "God Bless you"s he says every now and then to his team and to the director.... 

The part when the music director makes a joke about bringing more booty into the song, Jackson sort of walks away giggling like he'd heard a naughty joke. When Ortega tells him that the cherry picker he's on is only on the low setting, he laughs and says that Ortega shouldn't have told him that because Ortega knows he'd just want to go higher. :-)

Be it Beat it, Earth Song, Man in the Mirror, I just cant stop loving you, The way you make me feel, each of the songs shown, each step they practice had us engrossed.... Woww!!! Words fail to describe the amount of effort that goes into a show [ i know this much effort goes into every show, but not many you get to see, right!!?] The footage they shoot for  Thriller is just mind blowing, almost like they've recreated the video as it were... hey were working on and the music video intro shoot for "Smooth Criminal" that uses '50s movies with Jackson merged into it. I am curious to know if Thriller was finished after Jackson's death, because the doc shows him and Ortega watching the screen wearing 3D glasses as it's being filmed, and we're shown a 2D, more final version. 

Audiences are given a privileged and private look at Jackson as he has never been seen before. Michael Jackson's "This is it" captures the singer, dancer, filmmaker, architect, creative genius and great artist at work as he creates and perfects his final show........... It was like watching a live performance, actually a live rehearsal i should say... had me singing along with the songs, grooving to the beats and wishing He was alive.... 

Have never seen my mom so engrossed in a show before.. Infact she called saying - can we go for a movie and when i was browsing through Satyam website, and saw MJ's This is it, i was tempted to ask her, but thought she might not like watching it.. Alas, who would have thought.. she picked that exact movie and said "chk if tickets are there and lets go"... Am so glad!!! She was engrossed it.. completely emotional... Infact i think the entire theater was glued in like never before...  probably the  1st movie where not a soul [ apart from the ones sittig right in the front, they just pay Rs10 and come sit in theater for AC comfort i guess.. most of them look like that ]... Everyone was in their seat as credits rolled on and till the very last word was done with!!!  Beautiful................

Only thing i felt could have been incorporated was his interaction wit others, few words from his family, an interview... something more than just practice...!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

[Movie] Inglourious Basterds

A name that kept resounding in my ears, a movie i had been wanting to watch but that hadnt hit Chennai theaters then... And finally, one day my uncle walked in home with the DVD in his hand... Aaaah.... *rubbing hands together and sparkle in my eyes, i grabbed it from him* ... what movie you ask -- Need you even ask[err, since i had put it up in the title of the post..hehe] .. it is Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarentino....

Infact, i took the dvd with me on my holiday thinking if i find time or am bored, i shall watch.. Alas, that dint happen... managed to watch it day before, here at home!!

Cast: Brad Pitt , Mélanie Laurent,Christoph Waltz

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Rating: ****3/4 

Remember, its a Tarantino movie!!! So, watch out for a bit of goryness, full on action and plenty of blod shed... ;) You also need to remember to read the subtitles [since most of the movie is in French and German] and not to miss any of the action, verbal exchanges happening on screen... 

Inglourious Basterds begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

The film, divided into five chapters, begins in Nazi-occupied France. Landa, known as the Jew hunter, waltzes into a quiet farmhouse to flush out hidden Jews. After drinking two glasses of milk, Landa, quietly, chillingly, calls his men in and has them shoot a Jewish family hiding under the floorboards. Only the daughter, Shoshana, escapes, running for her life.

Chapter 2 introduces us to the Basterds --- Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution.  The Basterds pulverize Nazis by killing as many as they can, in the most hideous way possible, and then scalping them. To watch them actually do it has us takes quite a bit of grit...[but luckily these scenes are far and few]  
The following Chapters are all about the clashes between the titans.... !! 
Lt Aldo, the Apache demands 100 Nazi scalps from each of his dirty dozen.. Must make a mention of the "Bear Jew" played by Hostel movie director Eli Roth. After sneaking into France dressed as civilians to take down the Reich, the Basterds team with British soldier Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender), a film critic assigned by a British general.. Adding spice to the movie is femme fatal German actress Bridget Von Hammersmark, who is now a spy for the allies. The two revenge plots converge at Shosanna's theater, which will premiere a propaganda film, Nation's Pride, and boast a red carpet walked by the Gestapo elite and the man himself, Herr Hitler (Martin Wuttke). Shosanna along with her Black assitance Marcel is  all set and completely poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own....  :-) 

What happens then is the climax of this gripping movie...

Hats off to Waltz, as the "Jew Hunter" of the SS, who dangles his host French farmer over the precipice of revealing what he cannot reveal numerous times, then pulls him back with obsequious lines of friendship and understanding. Every scene where he takes charge is amazing, has us amused at the way he gets the point across -- the opening scene where he switches languages so the Nazi's wont understand him,  How he speaks fluent Italian and stumps the Basterds at the movie premiere or the scene where he has captured and confronts the Basterds trying to make a deal with them... the shot where he calls Bridget aside into the room and shows her he knows she was in the bar and was the one who escaped the killings... Absolutely brilliant acting...

A second sadistic German, well-played by August Diehl, functions as an important actor in the final plot twist. Diehl's Nazi Major, who has an ear for German accents, is almost as good as Waltz...... just about.. almost!!

A movie that i thoroughly enjoyed and wouldnt mind watching again...

Monday, November 09, 2009

[Movie] Air Buddies.

Its been raining incessantly here in Chennai, and there was no way i could head out yesterday.. Sunday, spent at home driving myself up and over the wall.. Finally, decided enough is enough and pulled out my external hard drive and started scanning thru to see what movies i had on it...

The one that i knew would cheer me up was "Air Buddies"... What better movie than one with Dogs and pups!!! :)

Air bud, a succesfull ball player finds true love and they bring into this world 5 adorable pups- Air Buddies!!
The next generation comes along with five puppies. Budderball is crazy about football and all he thinks about is his next meal. B-Dawg plays basketball, isn’t exactly a team player, and speaks of himself in the third person. Buddha is into meditation, yoga and  loves baseball. Mudbud loves playing in the dirt and is a mutt who enjoys simple pleasures, including volleyball. Rosebud is the only girl in the clan, loves soccer, and is a true lady, but one who will do anything to protect her brothers!! :)

Five puppies around the house, all of them active and rambunctious, turns out to be too much for the family. That’s made particularly clear when the nanny the family hires to look after the puppies gets tied in her chair  and her blueberry pie completely devoured by the pups, while the family is at a basketball game. 

The movie is all about the family wanting to give the pups up for adoption and they running away just so they can be with each other.. What follows is an amazing tale of how the parents go looking for their pups, and the twists and turns they encounter and what happens in the end has us all going "Awww, how chweet"...

Air bud and his girl are kidnapped all bcos a rich spoilt brat wants a pet he can play with... A tiger was the 1st choice, but Duh, whats the point of having a wild tiger for a pet, right?  What follows it that the bad guys are sent to find the pups as well, cos they are worth quite a lot... This is when the plot thickens and the pups decide to go looking for their mom and dad[ parallely the bad guys are looking for them] , they come across quite a few interesting characters... But the 1st thing they do is to consult the town map to figure out where the bad guys are headed..The chase through the farm involving the billy goat is especially well done, and the showcasing 101 Dalmatians receives while at the movie theater fits in nicely. The dogs run helter skelter, proving to be more than a handful to the bad guys...!! 

Even the silly Sheriff's Sniffer dog is adorable.. How he thinks a skunk's spray cured his sniffing problems... and ultimately helps lead the boys to their pups.. And how can we forget the wolf that takes the pups into his den and helps them find their way....

Air Buddies is a great family film.. how can it not be right? It has it all - Romance, drama, thriller, mystery, comedy...  Was quite impressed with how good the head movements and body language of the puppies works beautifully. Not only that, but the character of each of the puppies is clearly defined and allows them to sound and act unique.

If you are a dog lover, do watch it..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Books books.. Am back to you, my love!!!

Its been a while.. and now am finally back to reading like the maniac i am!! Had bought a couple of books at the newly opened Full Circle abt 2months back!!! And now those books keep me company at night before hitting the zzzzz..!! i love you booooooks.... every page is divine!!!

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I have read his earlier books.. Blink, recommended by a friend, following which i read Tipping Point[ which is in fact his 1st book]...

In this book, he talks about what makes high-achievers different from others.... According to him, we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and not enough to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and even links their birthday or month or year to their success. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made Beatles the greatest rock band.

Just about 100 pages into the book.. will finish reading and write complete review!!!

The 2nd book i've started is Alexander Frater's Chasing the Monsoon... The cover looked appealing and it was related to India, so thought let me give it a shot!! Not bad i must say!! :)

Alexander Frater follows the monsoons-unsteady northerly progress, pursuing its bliss and destruction as well is his own family ghosts, Elegantly insightful and humorous, he captures the delirious celebration and relief with which India greets its liquid transformation. If all travel books were this good, everyone would just stay home and read.

The last book in the list was what i got day before evening-- Chai Chai by  Bishwanath Ghosh

This book has me engrossed... its a super light read.. things we can relate to, identify with.... He decides to roam the towns beyond station yards — towns with unique names like Itarsi, Mughal Sarai, Arakkonam and Jolarpettai, Jhansi, and Guntakal.. All he does is mix with locals, learn about history, discover the lives of those who pass by that town.........

There's a discussion on this tomorrowe... Hoping to go for it... will be my 1st such book meet.... :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

[Movie] Wake up Sid

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Anupam Kher, Supriya Pathak, Rahul Khanna

Director: Ayan Mukerji

Music: Shankar Ehsaan & Loy

Rating: ****1/2

Verdict: Good light fun movie!!

“Wake Up Sid” was one delightful movie. The movie has a constant smooth flow throughout; no over the top or understated drama scenes; no ultra emotional strangulation of the audiences; absolutely no hippie-yuppie cool dude acting by Ranbir; and last but not the least, a very realistic, and refreshing story.

  A movie that reminds you of those fun college days,  where there is one guy who is the rich brat, not worried about anything in life, always surrounded by money and fancy stuff. Wake up Sid is the story of how Sid transforms from a spoilt rich brat to a responsible young man.. and the journey is so real and so so much fun, the audience is with him through the way!!!

While the film actually becomes really engrossing in the second half, the first half facilitates an adequate groundwork for the story to progress. As you watch Sid mature, and by the time he returns to his dad (Anupam Kher in a short but effective role), you realise that the destination was eventually met even as the journey wasn’t quite ‘on your face’ or ‘over the top’.

 Meanwhile Konkona gets yet another complex role for herself. She is absolutely brilliant. Watch out for her in the interview scene with Rahul Khanna and the emotional outburst when Ranbir decides to go back to his parents’ house. Her irritation is so utterly believable and so are the tender ways in which she looks after him, and the slow process of falling in love with the guy she thought was her total opposite.... :)

 The beauty of ‘Wake Up Sid’ lies in the honesty with which all the characters have been portrayed, bringing them so close to the real life. Be it the problem of English-speaking Sid not being on the same wavelength as his Punjabi-speaking Mom or the Sid who is simply wonderful with his friends, we identify with him completely. The simple dialogues of the movie make it all the more easy to relate with.The good part about the ‘transformation’ that Sid undergoes in the movie is that it comes over a period of time, not overnight or within the space of a song.
Yes, the character of Sid has various similarities to Hrithik in Lakshya, Aamir / Saif in Dil Chahta Hai but this movie will leave an imprint in your heart, and you will walk out of the theater humming Wake up Sid!!
Fav songssssss that i've been tripping on multiple times during the day... -- Kya Karoon?', 'Iktara', 'Wake Up Sid'

Thursday, October 08, 2009

[Movie] The Soloist -"Based on a True Story."

Director: John Wright

Jamie Foxx (Nathaniel Anthony Ayers)
Robert Downey Jr. (Steve Lopez)
Catherine Keener (Mary Weston)
Tom Hollander (Graham Claydon)

Rating: ****3/4

The Soloist opens with Los Angeles Times Columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) riding his bike down a slope and crashing head first on the ground.... But the real story begins when he meets Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a talented musician who's been playing a two-stringed violin while living on the streets and battling mental illness[hears voices in his head] ...Instantly drawn to Ayers’s passion for music, especially Beethoven, Lopez begins to write a series of columns about his new acquaintance while attempting to get him off the streets and perform again.

The lady who sends the Cello she has used for 15odd years before Arthritis confined her to a chair, and how the Cello rides to Lopez is a beautiful scene... The way Nathaniel looks in awe at the New Cello, how he does not want to let go of it are heart wrenching scenes...  Amidst numerous achievements and setbacks, Lopez and Ayers develop a friendship based on mutual respect despite their many differences, and Lopez rediscovers his humanity.

The movie uses sound and silence very well. Two great examples are a flaming car passing Nathaniel’s window in a flashback during the race-riots and Steve jumping into his fancy car to escape the sights and sounds of the homeless around him. This is a perfect way of showing two different worlds.

The voices in Nathaniel’s head give us an insight into how frustrating life must be for him but there are too many scenes with people sitting listening to him play. The sequence with neon colours flashing on screen while an orchestra performs has quite an effect on the audience...

The driving force behind this movie is, without doubt, the lead actors in the form of Foxx and Downey Jr as they prove to be a powerful combination. Foxx is left to run with his character of Ayers, whose only desire is to play music, and his performance is every bit as good as that in Ray.

Jamie Foxx- with his eyes darting, head bowed down, wacko sense of dressing, anger on a low simmer, doesn't cheat in his portrait of Ayers' illness. Something inside him will always remain unreachable. Downey's eyes finally come to reflect that acceptance, capturing the film's heart.  

The Soloist isn't about Big fancy moments, a fairly slow movie, it leaves you wondering what happens next... even after switching the DVD off...!!  beautiful is how i would describe the movie!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

[Movie] Prey

I'd been wanting to watch this movie, Prey for some time. and finally it got released in Sathyam cinemas, alas i knew no one would want to come with me for this gory gruesome movie.. SO, went and bought the dvd and watched it last night.. One hellova movie!!!

Directed by: Darrell Roodt
Written by: Darrell Roodt, Beau Bauman and Jeff Wadlow

Bridget Moynahan
-Amy Newman
Peter Welleras -Tom Newman
Carly Schroeder - Jessica Newman
Conner Dowds - David Newman
Jamie Bartlett - Crawford

Rating  ****1/2

The movie opens with a herd of female lions hunting in the dead of the night and scavenging on zebras and deers... The Newman family come to in Africa; Tom is there on work, and so rest of them decide to take a relaxing safari to see some of the wild animals. Unfortunately, the minute their guide/driver takes them "off the beaten track" do their troubles begin. David wants to take a leak, and the driver accompanies him out when they are attacked by a couple of hungry lions. David manages to rush into the car, while the driver is chewed up..Amy and the kids are now stranded, surrounded by these lions,who see them nothing more than a meal wrapped in a Jeep. As Tom returns, he finds his family missing, and the rangers talking about going for rescue operation in the morning only. He then takes it upon himself to contact this Mr Crawford who's supposedly the only man for the job, convincing him to help out...

A movie that has blood and gruesome scenes around every corner.. With every step, you think "This is it", "Oh God No, what is she doing"... and are left biting your nails, chewing your fingers till the very end... 

Amazing locations... awesome cinematography had me glued to the screen, as i sat through it in the middle of the night...!!! Enjoyed it immensely... For those of you who like such movies, also watch Ghost and the darkness 

Remember... " Out here, you're the endangered species..."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

[Movie] Reel on.. II

More Movies i've seen over the past 2 weeks!

Ugly Truth
Director: Robert Luketic

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter  .

Rating: ***1/2

  Abby Richter, an ambitious television producer in Sacramento hasnt had a boyfriend or some action in quite a night when she is at home, her cat presses on the remote and "The Ugly Truth" by Mike Chadway is on, Abby calls in and argues with him on-air. The next day, she discovers that the station is threatening to cancel her show because of its poor ratings, and the station owner has hired Mike to do a segment on her show to boost the TRP ratings.

At first, the two are at war till Mike finally convinces Abby to listen to him to conquer the man of her dreams, a doctor named Colin who lives next door.She follows Mike's instructions step by step, with quite a few goof ups thrown in... and finally realises she is someone else with Colin, and has fallen in love with Mike... This is a movie whose humour is nothing ne, but its one of those feel good, light, Romantic comedy flicks..

Watch it for Gerard Butler... remember 300 and PS I Love you?? ;)Oooh!!!

Death at a Funeral

Directed by Frank O
Starring: Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Graves, Alan Tudyk, Daisy Donovan, Kris Marshall, Andy Nyman, Jane Asher, Keeley Hawes, Peter Vaughan, Ewen Bremner, Peter Dinklage, Thomas Wheatley, Peter Egan........

This was a movie i had picked up awhile ago, saw bits and pieces till finally last evening me and my friend decided to give it a go and cracked up completely..... It stars a mostly British ensemble bunch of actors, most of whom look familiar and yet are unfamiliar.
The death of the Daniel and Robert’s father and the attempt to hold his funeral is what the plot circles around.. the occasion brings a whole lot of dysfunctional family members together. And amidst all this, when a midget of a man shows up threatening to reveal the deceased man’s shocking secret[That their dad was gay and he was his lover]  unless he gets some cash-15000 pounds, the two brothers are forced to figure out a way to deal with this blackmailer. With every scene, you are left laughing, completely flabbergasted at the chaos that is unfolding.... 
The hallucignic durg that Simon takes, making him go cuckoo, how Martha tries to keep him from jumping off the roof [ where he stands buck naked]... her useless brother, who was the reason all thsi happened [ who created the pill and put them in a Valium bottle] and so many other wierd members of the clan, each with their own set of problems and worries..!!! 
A fun movie, that is not so much as original comedy, but you will definitely have a few good laughs...
Its being remade in Hindi as Daddy Cool!! God save Bollywood and the rest of the world that watches it in hindi!! wonder how it will be!! hehe... 

[Movie] Reel on.. I

The past couple of weeks, work has been good, busy but not crazy busy, so managed to catch quite a few movies.. Indian and Foreign.. Am just gonna go ahead put up the names and a mini review on them...!! :)


Director: Susi Ganesan

Actors: Vikram, Shreya Saran and a host of others... 

Rating: **

A movie that has been in the news forever was quite a disappointment and had way too many frills and fancy stuff.. After 3hr 15min, we walked out thinking had it been for an hour, it would have had quite an impact. the story is also nothing very new, or original, its all about how Vikram and his 10 buddies are the new age Robin Hood, taking from the corrupt rich and giving among the needy....Revolving around the Kanthaswamy temple, it is a movie where wishes made by Devotees on the tree comes true...  Way too many traces of Gentleman and Anniyan is a bit of a spoiler here... !! 
Shreya- dont even get me started on her.. Not only does she not look good[ some mite beg to differ..] but Suchi's voice is a total mismatch... Flat with zero emotions... And whoever did dance choreo for Shreya needs to take dance classes.. The best scene acc to me is the Fight in the corn field and ofcourse the En Peru 
meenakumari dance by Umaith Khan.. Her dance, lip sync and movements were soo awesome, i loved it... 
Watch the movie if you are a crazy Vikram or Shreya or Shankar Fan... dont expect too much, you wont be disappointed!!

Quick Gun Murugan
Direction: Shashanka Ghosh

Cast: Rajendra Prasad, Naser, Raju Sundaram, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Rambha, Anu menon aka Lola kutty..

Rating: **

Quick Gun Murugun is an unlikely Superhero with sufer Gun powers. A Sincere South Indian Cowboy who considers it his duty to serve and protect all around him. All i knew of this character were the little snippets shown on MTV and the Ennada rascala in Om Shanti Om!!
The movie basically revolves around [mis]adventures of Quick Gun Murugun and his fight with his arch villain Rice Plate Reddy!Not to forget the Rowdy MBA and Mango Dolly who are all part of his clan!! Rice Plate has a bee in his bonnet because he wants to be the supreme overlord of Dosa-makers, and kidnaps anyone who possesses the perfect recipe for making lip smacking Dosas.
Though i dint really enjoy the movie, or wasnt laughing my head off, there are some funny scenes , only one i remember is the  take off on Clint Eastwood's 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' parodied  in Carnatic mix... A movie meant for those who like Slapstick comedy, and dont mind seeing Southies being ridiculed!! maybe if i were a northie, i mite enjoy it more.. who knows!! :)
Ninaithale Inikkum
Director: Kumarvel
Actors: Prithviraj, Karthik Kumar, Shakthi, Priyamani 
Music :Vijay Antony 

Rating: ***

Ninaithale Inikkum is a remake of the Malayalam film "Classmates".... Its just a tough guy with a heart of gold Shiva beats up bad guy Vasu. He has the support of friends Shakthi and Bala.
On the other side is Meera , the daughter of an MLA and she opposes Shiva at every turn. Then there's Sethuraman the silly hostel warden, the cook Subramani and a pointless lecturer character who make up the college side of things. Completing the troop is Shali  a quiet Muslim girl, who at the end you see a completely different side to... The story just ping pongs between present and past, making you wonder what you are watching... and if this is the today or yesterday!!! 
Loads of bits and pieces for the audience to remember, until the end where they finally fall into place..
i've heard the mallu original is a beautiful movie, after watching this 2hrs of "makes no sense, songs start off for no rhyme or reason" movie, i think i'll take a peek at the Mallyalam version to understand the story!!! 


Saturday, August 01, 2009

[Movie] Achchamundu Achchamundu

Debutant director: Arun Vaidyanathan

Cast: Prasanna, Sneha, John Shea; 
Music: Karthik Raja; 
 Achchamundu Achchamundu  is a one of a kind movie, infact i dont think i've seen any other on this subject made in the Tamil movie industry!!  What is it about you ask ? its about child abuse and paedophiles!!! Yes.. no, dont shirk away and say "Chee, i aint gonna watch this movie"... You need to... Its a kind of an eye opener for people who think anybody who smiles and is nice to their child is simply being loving and caring.. yes, most people are, biut there are the other kind who we ignore.. or are unaware of!!

Set in New Jersey, its the story of Senthil Kumar (Prasanna), and his happy lamily-- wife Malini (Sneha) and child Rithika [Akshaya]. They have all acted well, except most scenes the accent and style portrayed seems very fake and just doesnt sit well with the audience. During the first half hour, i kinda got bored, the movie seemed to be in bits and pieces, untill it progressed eventually giving us no clues where it was headed...

This is where, a painter Robinson (John Shea) enters the story, he is a psychotic paedophile[For those who dont know the meaning, pls click on link -- they are people who lust affer children.and sexually abuse them]  . The minute he agrees to paint their basement for a throwaway price of $1000, the couple trust him with not just their home, but the security code to their home alarm system. He is sweet towards Rithika, and so she spends time with him unaware of his ulterior motives.. Through the movie, there are subtle hints here and there on Robinson's character.. A child is shown tied up in the boot of his car, another boy goes missing after Robinson gets him an ice cream, but because of his external portrayal, he gets away with it!! 

Meanwhile, Malini gets pregnant and it is time for Senthil to go to Florida for a conference, but the night before that he spots a thief of sorts trying to attack his house. He then takes Malini's fears seriously, cancels his trip and decides to stay put at home with his family [ figuring that is the only way to protect them] . 
Unable to resist further, Robinson decides to make his move into their home, and  how Senthil saves his family from the clutches of the psychotic child abuser forms the climax.
Arun Vaidyanathan has to be applauded for choosing such a sensitive theme. and presenting it well. Not in one scene do we feel wierd or disturbed.. Towards the end, there are news /newspaper clippings, and statistics on Child abuse across the world shown on the screen...
The movie is not gripping or has some mind blowing scenes, nor have the actors been utilised to their max, but  the way the director handles his theme leaves much to be desired.!! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

[Movies] Offbeat

I buy dvd's, and yes, some are good, whilst others are bad!! I dont read ahead of the shopping expedition... Infact,very rarely do i know what i am going to Buy..
I BUY ---
If the name looks interesting
If the cover is appealing
If i like one of the actors
If i get a gut feel about the movie
If  its a movie someone has reccomended [ these are few and far between] :)
In the latest batch, i had bought this movie called Funny Games... and went on to watch the movie,..
 Director: Michael Haneke

Writer: Michael Haneke (written by)

    * Naomi Watts as Ann
    * Tim Roth as George
    * Michael Pitt as Paul
    * Brady Corbet as Peter
    * Devon Gearhart as Georgie
    * Boyd Gaines as Fred

 The movie opens with George, his wife Anna, their son Georgie and  dog Lucky arriving at their lake house. Their next-door neighbor pays a visit, accompanied by two young men, Peter and Paul, whom he introduces as friends. The two men begin imposing themselves by coming over asking for eggs, breaking batch after batch, eventually a frustrated Anna demands that the men leave, asking George to get them out. What happens next is what baffled me... Peter breaks George's leg with George's golf club and the two men take the family hostage. 
They force the family to participate in a number of ugly sadistic games in order to stay alive. When some of the other neighbors arrive for a visit, Anna passes the men off as friends until the visitors leave. How they torture the couple, playing mind games with them has us cringing, wondering what is going to happen next!!! One by one, they kill the members of the family, starting with the dog, the last victim being Anna!!! 
It's a thriller movie but very different from the run of the mill ones. Sort of satire, I think. If you're sick and tired of de'ja`vu film-making this one is just for you. 
 =================************* =================
The 2nd movie- Ghosts of Girlfriends Past we saw at my friend Anita's place post the yummy Potluck lunch.... 

Director: Mark Waters

    * Matthew McConaughey as Connor Mead
    * Jennifer Garner as Jenny Perotti
    * Michael Douglas as Wayne Mead aka Uncle Wayne
    * Emma Stone as Allison Vandermeersh, the Ghost of Girlfriends Past
    * Daniel Sunjata as Brad
    * Noureen DeWulf as Melanie, the Ghost of Girlfriends Present and Connor's assistant
    * Breckin Meyer as Paul Mead
    * Lacey Chabert as Sandra Volkom
    * Anne Archer as Vonda Volkom
    * Amanda Walsh as Denice
    * Camille Guaty as Donna
I wouldnt call it a Chick flick.
Nor a romcom.. romantic comedy flick
hmmm.. what can we call it??? i dunno!!! 
Connor Mead, the playboy hops from one woman to the other, leaving behind quite a trail of unhappy women... The day he goes to attend his brother Paul's wedding rehearsal dinner , the complete world comes toppling down... Meeting Jenny [the one woman in his life who has always seemed immune to his considerable charm.] after all this time, trying to keep his lusting thots to himself, he finds he is given one last chance by his late Uncle Wayne [who tells him its not too late to change]... He meets one Ghost after another, who take him thru his life, starting with childhood to the future.... 
Through the journey, Connor realises this is the only chance he is going to get, and finally decides to confess his love to Jenny ... The world is then set right and all are happy!!! 
A movie that would have been fun had it not been stretched so much.. it just goes on and on and on and on............................ watch it if you have NOTHING else to do!!!  :)

Friday, July 03, 2009

[Movie] Masilamani

Maasilamani by RNR Manohar

Starring- : Nakul, Sunaina, Pavan, Karunas, Santhanam, M S Bhaskar, Raj Kapoor, Santhana Bharathi, Delhi Ganesh and many others.
Music: Imman

The movie opens with Nakul chasing a man down the streets and getting sentenced to fine or term in jail. Masilamani [Nakul], living in Rani Anna Nagar is not the usual romeo or run of the mill hero. He is a social activist goes after anyone who does wrong, be it a case of eve teasing on the bus, cheating an old couple in a property sale or chain snatching. One day, he catches sight of Divya [Sunaina] confronting some guys who tease her students, and in the process he falls head over heels in love with her.

However, the hunky dory romance hits a dead end the day he causes mayhem at her dance concert, when all he wanted was to meet their area MLA requesting for assistance in clearing up a sewage problem. One look at his angry face and Divya lables him "Rowdy" . She mistakes his character and assumes he is a crook, despising him from that minute on!

Invariably from thereon, everytime their paths cross it is when he is beating someone up or chasing a thief. He even jokes to her about this. Knowing there is no way Divya will love Masi, he adorns the role of Mani, a soft spoken sophisticated guy.

With the help of his two friends, he stages the whole drama and wins over Divya's family and subsequently her as well. This is where,Bhupathi [Pavan] comes into town taking over as the Sub Inspector of Ashok nagar police station. After a run in with Masi, he vows revenge, but is left confused whenever he tries to prove Masi and Mani are one! Infact, the residents of Rani Anna Nagar, where Masi resides come together to establish that Mani is different from Masi. The day Divya decides to test him, a simple text message has his friends jumping into action and helping him strengthen ties with Divya!! It is one amazing scene that leaves us all stumped. So, is the one at the hospital when Bhupathi brings in the Masi's sister's daughter, while Masi is pretending to be Mani and the way the situation is handled deserves a lot of praise.

As the movie progresses, Divya comes to know that indeed Masi and Mani are one. She must now decide who she loves and if she will marry Masilamani!

Laced with sharp dialogues, plenty of action, and romance, the movie goes on tell the tale of how Masi as Mani convinces Divya he is a good samaritan and truly loves her. The entire plot has been beautiful crafted by the director and executed very well by Nakul and rest of the Rani Anna Nagar residents!

With every scene, Nakul has proved that he can act, dance, do comedy and is good at it. Suniana looks beautiful, and there is a certain grace in her acting as well. In certain scenes, she does come acrss flat, but overall good performance. Bhaskar , Santhanam, Karnas and Srinath provide just the right amount of comedy, without going overboard!!

Music by Imman is enjoyable, especially ‘Odi Odi’ track, it is quite a peppy number. The other songs have variety and vigour to keep the audiences glued to the seats; however all of them are a tad too long. Song locations and cinematography was good.

All in all, Masilamani is a romantic thriller, filled with intense moments and rib tickling comedy!!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

[Movie] Monsters VS Aliens

A movie for kids...
hang on, thats not right...
A movie for kids and adults and everyone else who loves animated stuff... :)

A movie that must be seen in 3D..
Saw it in 2D format in Bombay, and then when i saw it last evening in 3D style here in Chennai, i realised its gotta be seen this way...

Wearing the cool 3D glasses, watching the characters come alive, the effects, the dust...absolutely amazing!! I was excited, more than my friend or her 4 year old son!!! :D

Btw, this was my 2nd 3D experience!!  :)
Whats the movie about?
Its about Monsters [ who are chemically modified normal people and insects] battling to save the world from the invasion of Aliens [ Ruled by Galaxor].. A movie that has all that it takes to keep us glued to our seats, is fun, serious., thrilling., hilarious, nail biting and some more!!!

It all starts when Susan [ voice by Reese Witherspoon] is hit by a  radioactive meteor on her wedding day... She transforms into a towering, giant and is then captured and taken to a place where there are other wierd/odd creatures. Re-christened as "Ginormica," Susan meets amphibious Missing Link (Will Arnett), the green blob B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), and the brilliant, genius Doc, Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie). 

They are all released from captivity when a massive alien robot sent by the scheming Gallaxor (Rainn Wilson) sets foot in San Francisco.  with time, Susan starts loving her new friends, the power she has and works towards saving the world from the alien... in the process, she learns the truth about Derek, the man of her dreams [ atleast thats what she was thinkin till she realised he was just a selfish jerk!!] 

The way the movie has been made is what sets it apart from others!!
Do watch it to enjoy every scene.. every move... every fight... every funny moment!!! :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

[Movie] Women and life...

Last week was hectic.... or was it the week before? Nah, i think every week is almost the same story...
Work...Home.. chores... cooking,etc... and well, tonnes of fun weaved between all this!!
Saw 2 beautiful interesting movies... actually saw 3, but this post is about 2.. both related to WOMEN...!! :)

1st one was an Israeli movie called Aviva, My love!  [me and a friend of mine caught this at the South India Film chamber]

Aviva --
Works in a hotel, yearns to write, jots down ideas on a small writing pad
Takes care of her family
Puts up with her jobless husband,
who, she loves, but has been cheating on her [with her own sister]
Cares about her sister and 
wants her away from her abusive husband
[knows she still is secretly in love with her ex boyfriend]

Takes her writing to a famous writer [or rather once upon a time famous, Oded]
Tells her, - he will sell her stories as his
in exchange for a decent sum of money....!!! [ the f@$%  B!@%#] 
A son, confused and lost
A daughter, stubborn but sweet
Another son, glued to the TV....

Aviva ---
Dealing with a psychotic mom
a dad who loves her, but is not respected 
[cos he once cheated on her mom]
A doctor who says -" let me look at you"
in exchange for not being able to pay for her son's treatment...

Finally... Aviva -
The woman, who takes charge of her life
The woman, who finds joy in writing
The woman, who is loved and respected by her family......!!!


2nd Movie - The Guitar

The movie by Amy Redford [Robert Redford's daughter] slides through the journey of this one woman - Melody "Mel" Wilder!!! She is diagnosed with a terminal illness, given 2months to live, fired from the job, dumped by the boyfriend. ... 

What does she do ?
Leaves her home... Moves into an expensive Loft apartment for 2mths [on rent], shops like crazy[ all from the comfort of her new home], buys the most expensive materials, fabric, clothes,and everything else you can dream off!!!
Makes friends with Rosco, the delivery man and Cookie, Pizza girl... What follows are the scenes filled with plenty of lovemaking..[all candlelight and exotic linens galore] ....... Melody doesn't connect to people as much as she does to her most extreme purchase -- a red electric guitar she's longed for since her unhappy childhood (shown thru streaks of  flashbacks) .... With sudden realization of how much time has gone by, Melody visits the doc where she discovers-- Thanks to her complete transformation[of life], the tumor knows not where it lives and has gone away..............!! Oh shit, What happens to melody? What does she do with all the stuff? the payments??? watch the movie to know!!! :D

Monday, March 16, 2009

[Music] Jazz all the way!!

Louis Armstrong.... Ella Fitzgerald.. John Coltrane.... Duke Ellington are some of the famous Jazz musicians i had heard of...  here are a few more i shall be adding to this list.... 
On Friday, we went for a Jazz concert at Museum Theater, Egmore...  Though the show started few minutes late, it was well worth the wait... 
1. Chennai based Yodhaka 
They were into fusion jazz, using Sanskrit slokas as the base.. very nice, melodious and rhythmic.... Loved the voice of the lead singers- Subiksha and Pradeed[who also played the slide guitar..]
Towards the end of their performance, Pradeep belted out the famous Mudakaratha modakam[ ganesha slokha]- it was truly soulful...!!! 
2. All the way from Baltimore - Duende Quartet
The four wizards of LATIN JAZZ had us enthralled for over an hour, leaving the audience wanting for more.. the only hitch [ nothing to do with the performance] was the sudden chill within the auditorium.. The Air conditioner was either working full swing or something was up.. we were all nearly freezing in there... :)

Apparently they were the winners from a whole bunch of people who vyed for the post of being a jazz group... Not only did they get to play here in chennai, they are on a world tour ... Fronted by Latin Grammy winning pianist Harry Appelman, the quartet includes bassist Josh Schwartzman and percussionists Mark Merella and Sam Turner ........
Sam is the one who remains in our minds even after the show is over - not just because he was black/Jamaican but he had the audience clapping, tapping their feet, singing along[ words that sounded like chants] till the end of the show... I guess that is the difference between an artist and a showman.... how involved the audience gets with them!!! :)

On Saturday, after a mini meeting with the Caferati clan, i headed over to Citi center for a bit of Jazz and some retail fun ;)
3. The Ellington Suites [Netherlands] 
Eight member team, named after the famous Duke Willington's album performed for free at Citi center lobby.. [Thanks to Landmark ]. Saxaphone, Clarinet, Drums, Bass guitar and another instrument that i dont know the name for was what they used to create music....

What a weekend it was....

Thursday, March 05, 2009

50th post -- Movie spree continues....

Yayyy, just discovered this is my 50th post in this blog!!! :)
The past 2 months i've been watching movies like crazy... Every night before sleeping, i grab a movie and then zzzz.... Some are big award winning ones and others are unheard of , but nevertheless Good movies... here are some more i feasted on...

The one for which Penelope Cruz won a Best Supporting Actress award... wonder why though!!! 
A movie set in Spain, is about two gals who go on a vacation... end up spending time with a casanova, and finally get to meet his estranged wife and its one big Sex based trip.... As the movie's title suggests, it's about Barcelona[ the town] as well as Vicky and Cristina[ the two friends].

The places, tour given of Barcelona... amazing acting by all the women are what leaves an impression.. For those, who are against sex, explicit scenes in movies, this might not be their cuppa tea...!!!

A movie i picked up in Pondy... its about a kid who is a musical prodigy, in search of his biological parents!!! the only familiar faces in this movie was Johnathan Rys Meyers[ the hot looking hunk from Bend it Like Beckham] and the infamous Robin Williams...

Evan Tyler flits about from one home to the other and ends up with Robin Williams where he starts playing the Guitar in new ways and ends up in the park earning a living...He is also on a quest to find his parents... The blending of classical, rock and street-sounds music was phenomenal. The movie was funny, poignant and a tear jerker.... Must watch!!!

This movie is sheer time pass, ahem, there were some scenes where i was bored and almost switched off the dvd... Borrowed the dvd from a friend , and thought why not!!! Glad i dint shell out $$ to buy this movie... And i have no clues why and how Robert Downing Jr was even nominated for the movie.. Arrrgh!!! silly ass movie produced by Ben Stiller simply isnt worth it...

The film stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. as a group of prima donna actors making a Vietnam War film when their fed-up writer and director decides to drop them in the middle of a jungle, forcing them to portray their roles without the comforts of a film set.
It is a satirical comedy about movies in Hollywood and takes a lot of patience to sit through.... but if you like wierd wacko stuff,go ahead.... :)

Small Change [Argent de poche, L'] 
The movies opens to kids running down the narrow lanes in France , and with every turn, more kids join them and finally they all rush like water down the river towards the school..  The movie is all about the kids finding their ground, a Single mother looking for her Mr Right and so much more..

It is also the best film from the group of “new wave” directors of the ’60s, including Truffaut and fellow movie critic turned filmmaker, Jean Luc Goddard.  
Small Change is not a single story, but a series of stories from a small town in France. It is shot in a naturalistic style, with naturalistic acting. Truffaut was famous for taking non-actors and making them actors. I guess you could call him the original actor’s director. The man had a way of coaxing a good performance out of his child actors that is truly astounding.It’s multiple stories, about multiple people, and their interaction inside this small town. The child actors are superb, as are the adults.

The movie i saw last night is about 4 best friends and how their lives change when they discover an ugly secret about one of their spouses..Upon seeing the name Meg Ryan i told my friend, i wanna watch this, am taking it with me... :)

 This is what is called a Chick flick... all women..[kinda like a diff version of Sex and the city]. A high flying corporate executive, a mother of 4, expecting her 5th child[Debra Messing says - she will try try till she gets a baby boy], a lesbian who flaunts her model girlfriend and a wife who is more than happy to sit back and let the world go by..  A fun movie with various splashes of emotions thrown in.. a mother who tells her daughter to not do anything when she finds out about her husband's affair, a manicurist who loves to gossip [ using whom the women turn tables around and reunite the couple] and the final scene where Debra is ready to deliver the baby and all the women are in the labour room is just wacko...awesome.. hilarious... and voila, she has a baby boy!!!!
I wouldnt say this is a must watch, but watch it if you have the time and someone lends you the Dvd!!  :)

Phew.... gonna sign off now... i think there are a few more i dint mention.. will come back for another one!!!anybody got a drink??? ;)