Sunday, 24 February 2013

[Movie Review] A Good Day to Die Hard: Worse than the Chernobyl Disaster

Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Director: John Moore
Genre: Action, Thriller.
Runtime: 97 minutes

Wait! You must be kidding me. This saggy faced, self-deprecatory lunatic can’t be the John McClane we used to love. No, you just can’t ruin a character to this level of absurdity. Really, Bruce Willis, you signed this vile junk of a movie? And trust me, throwing the Spartacus famed, Jai Courtney, won’t help either, for A Good Day to Die Hard was a pile of rubbish that reached its tipping point by the end of first hour and then collapsed stupidly in the climax.

Visibly old John McClane (Bruce Willis) goes ‘on a holiday’ to Russia to bring his dolt son, Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) back in line. What he realizes is that Jack is not a fool anymore but an undercover CIA agent (well, that doesn’t stop him from making his horrendously awful grins) working against people who are trying to set up a nuclear bomb. So, the duo teams up to beat the goons in every way possible while Bruce Willis, in between those rains of bullets, repeatedly says that he is on a holiday. Phew!

I wonder what was the franchise owners thinking when they gave the directorial nod to John Moore, who previously made movies like Max Payne and The Omen. Extremely silly direction combined with a broken screenplay wrecks this flick and makes it the worst entry for the franchise. Not even the action sequences, which were pretty breathtaking to be honest, can save this from the mess it had become till the end looms into perspective. 

Helicopters crash, glasses break and buildings collapse on a regular interval. Unapologetic loudness and crash dialogues steals away the fun that was so easily found in the previous entries of the franchise. Even the whole set up of Chernobyl feels derivative with the smell of clich├ęs rotting the environment of the movie.

A Good Day to Die Hard is as pointless as it can get. With crass attempts at humor and a filthy American bigot premise, you can’t help but feel sorry for the fan boys who have stuck around for the unfolding of this chapter in McClane’s saga. Trust me, avoid this mess!

(first published in

[Movie Review] Kai Po Che: Sensitive, Soulful and Brilliant

Cast: Amit Sadh, Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav, Amrita Puri
Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Genre: Drama
Music: Amit Trivedi

Once in a blue moon a movie is made that touches you deep down and is poignant enough to pull your heartstrings; a movie that will stay with you long after the credits roll down. Kai Po Che is one such affair that stirs around your heart and spawns a moving portrayal of relations and ambitions against the backdrop of Gujarat riots that happened back in 2002.

Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, “The Three Mistakes of My Life”, Kai Po Che is a quintessential tale about friendship, dreams and getting back on your feet after being broken down into pieces. It follows the bend of three protagonists, Omi (Amit Sadh), Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) whose lives were altered by the happenings that were out of their control and were governed by a single king, fate!

There comes a scene in the post-interval period in which two characters run through the streets of Ahmedabad and upon forgiving, they embrace each other as the camera revolves around them. Right in that fleeting instance, with breathtaking music playing in the background, you realize the achievement of Abhishek Kapoor, the director of Kai Po Che, in etching out characters that are realistic and authentic to the hilt.

Right from the solid writing to the outstanding acting from its cast, Kai Po Che impresses technically in all the departments. Be it the atmosphere of Gujarat or the violent rendering of riots or be it the soils of a cricket pitch, everything felt genuine and the emotions were heart wrenchingly honest.

The director, Abhishek Kapoor has done a scintillating task of giving Kai Po Che profound and a weighty appeal. The insightful details and the moments were strikingly moving and if you have read the novel, get ready for a wave of nostalgia to sweep over you. 

Howsoever daring Kai Po Che might be in its theatrics, being an adaptation of a famous novel works in a negative manner as the audience already knows the fate of the characters. Some of the effect of its climax was reduced as we were already acquainted with what was going to unfold on the screen way before the movie started. But instead of the destination, it was the journey of Kai Po Che that was of utmost importance and in that, the team has struck gold.

This coming-of-age saga of the three youngsters escalates from ground into fascinating heights and culminates at a very high point. Kai Po Che is the warm center of the emotions we feel around us. Strongly recommended!

(first published in

Monday, 18 February 2013

[Movie Review] Zero Dark Thirty: The Thorny Fences of Humanity

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler
Director: Katheryn Bigelow
Genre: History, Drama, Crime
Reviewed at: PVR Cinemas, Udaipur.

She stands alone in a room full of men, donning a fragile skin with a steel heart inside. The President of CIA asks, “Who is this girl?” Maya (Jessica Chastain) retorts, “I’m the motherf***** who found Bin Laden, Sir.”

To be candid, Zero Dark Thirty is not a subtle movie and believe me, guilt is a virtue found in every thread of every individual present in the movie; be it the terrorists or the CIA agents or the Navy SEALs. It kicks off with a cacophony of sounds with the 9/11 attack and sets the mood dark and grim. What then trails are the 10 years of journey and the greatest man hunt that took place in the history.

It takes a nonconformist to depict the archives as a documentary and still churn such explosive results from the material. Katheryn Bigelow, for sure, is one of them! 2008, she gave us a powerhouse motion picture, ‘The Hurt Locker’ which was lauded critically and also bagged 5 Academy Awards including the ‘Best Motion Picture of the Year’. Now, she has cooked the unflinchingly raw and ruthless thriller that chronicles the hunt for Al-Qaeda’s leading terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. And yet again, she has scored a home run.

Even at the start, we knew how Zero Dark Thirty is going to end. But, it is the undaunted and unflinching take of what rolls on the screen that takes your breath away. The feminism, the heroic attempts and the satire stands tall on its feet, as Maya (Jessica Chastain) gives up all to assassinate the terrorist mastermind. It is in those inflamed eyes, in the weariness of her shoulders and in her persona of dripping angst, that you can’t help but feel that the Oscars are in store for our lady lead.

If her acting was not enough to uproot your minds, we still have the impeccable direction of Bigelow to set things in motion and man, what track was she on! She takes a dig at humanity while showing the despicably gruesome torture sequences performed by the US officials while trying to nail Bin Laden. No plausible answers are given to what is justified or what is wrong and sometimes it makes us feel that in wars, the human inside us is replaced by a filthy, ugly monster. 

It often occurs that a movie which relies heavily on buried social comments becomes self-obsessed. Though being over indulgent at times, the slow building first hour reaches to an impeachable 20 minutes climax sequence that shows the superiority of art possessed by Bigelow. The night visions and the use of minimalist background score set the tone dead serious. Trust me; footsteps were never so prominent before!

Zero Dark Thirty might pale when being compared to Bigelow’s previous masterpiece, but it still is far more etched out and exhilarating than any other thriller you have laid your eyes upon in a long time. Yet again, in this incendiary dexterity of wars, Katheryn Bigelow has found her peace and ambition.

(first published in

Sunday, 3 February 2013

[Movie Review] Vishwaroop: Kamal Haasan’s Melody!

Cast: Kamal Haasan, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah
Director: Kamal Haasan
Genre: Comedy, Action

It starts with Kamal Haasan teaching Kathak to his pupils, middles with Kamal Haasan in Afghanistan along with a group of Mujahedeen and ends with Kamal Haasan saving the whole of New York City. This is a platform to show how dynamic a person can be, for Kamal Haasan is the actor, writer and director of the mega budgeted Vishwaroop and trust me, he is there in every frame of this movie; read again, every frame!

At one second he is down on the ground, begging his captors to set him free and the very  next second, he is making pulp out of their brains, beating them like there is no tomorrow. That is how Vishwanathan (Kamal Hassan) is, indestructible yet polite, humorous yet intense. 

On the other hand, Dr Nirupama (Pooja Kumar), a nuclear oncologist weds Vishwanathan for the sake of green card and quickly assumes that things are off the charts with her husband and thus, hires a personal detective to investigate him. What leads, is an inconsistent narrative jumping from flashbacks to present in an unconventional manner.

Terrorism has been tackled in countless Bollywood affairs before, but it is the context of Vishwaroop that makes it stand out in this horde. The execution, though erratic, is unflinching and compromises not a single shred of substance. Though, in the latter half of the movie, it loses the brainpowers and succumbs to gaping plot holes for the sake of delivering unabashed action sequences. But it is one thing that a thriller should always be, popcorn crackling entertainment.

And on top of that, the climax is disastrous. Seriously, A Faraday shield? What was all the setup for? To snatch a hurried climax of a movie that well exceeds its time frame with meaningless conversations and unnecessary characters speaking languages that one can’t understand. When being translated, you are already sighing for not being able to comprehend it in the first place.

As one realizes the countless times Haasan’s name been used in this review, one must realize that if not for Haasan, this movie would have been lost in the theatres without anybody knowing about it.  He gives an electrifying performance and carries the movie single handedly while the characters around him act like buffoons and behave like dumb retards on a runaway from an asylum.

What is unintentionally sidesplitting is the appearance of the villain, Omar (Rahul Bose). It is indeed a pity to see such a capable actor being reduced to nothing due to hysterical makeup and a terrible grin; wait, this grin was in the scripts, right? Actually, the problem is that the expressions never change; no, not even for a minute!

To sum the case; leave aside the morality take, leave aside the religious propaganda and leave aside the crude remarks splashed on the movie, this is semi-solid entertainment. It may get dumb by the end, but blah, who cares!

(first published in

[Movie Review] David: Style has a new name!

Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vinay Varmani, Vikram, Tabu, Isha sharwani
Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Genre: Crime, Drama

Rain falls gently; Vinay Varmani’s David stands towering, with braided hair and a hockey stick in his hand. Four goons dash towards him while a powerhouse track plays in the background and with gorgeous slo-mo sequences, our angst ridden protagonist bashes them unapologetically. You want to know the core flavor of David? It’s style!

The David of 1975 (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is the right hand of the feared Mafia in London. The story further complicates when he stumbles upon secrets that were not known to him and all together falls for Mafia Ghani’s daughter as in a paper book tragedy.

Vinay Varmani’s David is an aspiring guitarist/singer in a politically boiling Mumbai of 1999. He gets his big break but the dream falters and crumbles as his devout catholic father faces humiliation at the hands of a Hindu religious group.

The third David (Vikram) is a fisherman in Goa, 2010, who faces inner conflicts as the girl who he loves madly, Roma (Isha Sharwani), is about to tie knot with his best buddy in 10 days.

It is in the enthralling sense of audio and visual aesthetics, in which the heart of David lies. The way with which Bejoy Nambiar directs this saga is spellbinding and one needs to hold his jaw so as to stop it from falling on the floor time and again.

Be it the smashing of heads on the folk tunes of Goa or the B&W aura of the story set in London, Bejoy Nambiar shows a maddening passion in portraying them.

While there are some scenes you just can’t forget (viz, Neil Nitin Mukesh’s breathtaking entry), some of the sequences seems to stretch till eternity; especially Vikram’s story, which is sans of any purpose and connotation.  The pure aimlessness of this tale acts like a perfect lullaby and it feels overstretched and completely pointless.

What sweeps you off your feet is Neil Nitin Mukesh’s David. The way he walks, the way he talks, the way he fires and the way his arc unfolds, one word, mind-blowing! Watch it when an advisor darkly utters to him, “Tere aankhon mein David, bahut hi ranjh aur takleef hai!” And tell me if you don’t have Goosebumps all over your arms!

When all could have been the dawning of a masterpiece for David, it is the inconsistent pacing and the dingy climax that pulls away some of the punches. And yes, what was the need to connect the dots between various eras? A consistent theme would have done the same job. A lesson learned I guess.

David is experimental cine-making that dares to blow conventions to winds with its stunning cinematography but ultimately leaves you cold. It takes two and a half hour to arrive at a conclusion that regardless of all the flair and elegance wrapped up on its sleeves, feels like a vanity fair.

(first published in