Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Step Up 3D


Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 3rd September, 2010
Time : 107 minutes
Director : John Chu; Writer: Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer; Music : Bear McCreary
Starring : Rick Malambri, Adam Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner, Keith Stallworth, Joe Slaughter

If this wasn’t in 3D, would probably be advising you to stay away. Very weak & predictable story, mostly wooden characters, hammy, school play-ish acting, clich├ęd dialogue is compensated for by some good moments, great choreography and some mind blowing dance moves which become pure dynamite in 3D.


The plot is very very weak, reminiscent of almost every film in this genre made previously. Plot elements include a ‘good’ guy (Rick) who scouts talent and runs a dance school / practice arena, a must win (else Rick loses his house & everything) dance competition (the World Jam), a precocious new talent (Adam) who has to choose between engineering and dance, an evil ex-best friend now turned enemy (Joe), an insider who seems to be leaking information and a turncoat, unsympathetic bank managers and the obligatory love interest (Sharni). Pretty obvious how things pan out ?


There are a few moments which really stand out. A tango (quite unexpected amongst all the hip hop). A lovely street dance between the 2nd lead pair of Adam and Alyson, again set to an unexpected music track. A beautiful moment on a vent between the main leads, truly lovely to watch (especially the bubbles, and I’m definitely going to try this out). And some truly kickass choreographed set pieces, both the qualifying rounds (yes, the world championship only requires 2 rounds before the finals) and a fitting fantastic finale…


The good thing here is that some of the moves are made specifically for 3D, its not just a technological afterthought but clearly part of the original thought process. Water, bubbles, hand movements, some jumps, confetti, light effects all combine nicely with the 3D to create a visual feast. And some of the sets were truly terrific, very artistic.


So, a film that is very clear what its about (and what its not). Almost juvenile in parts, yet manages to excite. A good, fun, one time watch.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dabangg


Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 10th September, 2010
Time : 129 minutes
Director, Co-writer : Abhinav Kashyap; Co-writer: Dilip Shukla; Music : Sajid-Wajid
Starring : Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Arbaaz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Dimple Kapadia, Om Puri, Mahesh Manjrekar, Mahie Gill, Tinnu Anand


‘Tu atom bomb hui, darling mere liye’

This film is an ode to the old-fashioned, over the top entertainer. The one man army, who cant be stopped by either a hail of bullets or a stab to the stomach. The avenging ‘Incredible Hulk’ like superhero. And of course, his lady love. Sonakshi Sinha receiving the perfect launch pad.


The story line is simplicity itself. Salman is the stepson of Vinod Khanna, yearns for his Dad’s love & approval but doesn’t get it, all of it going towards his real son, Arbaaz Khan. When Salman becomes a cop, he faces a couple of battles. First with notorious youth leader and chief villain, Sonu Sood. And the other within his family. Oh, and BTW, Salman also falls in love with Sonakshi and conducts an hilarious courtship with her…


There is nothing new in the storyline, nothing we haven’t already seen. But its done with a flair, panache and sense of humour that entertains and delights. And no one but Salman could’ve carried it off. His simple dance steps are noteworthy – the one with the buckle, the one with the hand in ‘humka peeni hai’, the swimming step in the same song, his ‘mad’ dance to the munni song. His style will spawn a thousand imitations. The sunglasses at the back of the collar, the stiff walk, the jokes, his own reaction to his own jokes. And the little thing he has going whenever a certain ringtone plays in a certain villains pocket. The ‘mote wale is taraf, patle wale is taraf , aur fit wale mere peeche’. The neon hearts reflection in the sunglasses. Fantastic.



Sonakshi looks great and does a good job of the role assigned to her. Her debut also spells hopefully, a return of the voluptuous heroines, the heaving bosom’s & sizzling sarees. And an end to the size zero skimpily clad bimbette’s. Here’s looking at you, kid.


Everyone in the character cast does their job well (Dimple, perhaps, felt a little out of place). The background score, like that of a western’s, is exhilarating. And each song is a spectacle, worth waiting for. None more so than Munni with her ‘Shilpa sa figure and Bebo si ada’.


If I’m to carp, I’ll find fault with the ending (interesting, slightly long drawn, perhaps needed a small twist?). But I’m not going to.


I heard the sound of claps, whistles and cheering after a long time in a multiplex. Reminded me of the days of single screen theatres when this was normal. I’m probably going to watch it again in one, a late show this time for full on audience effect. A friend of mine (Amitabh) used to complain that modern Hindi film heroes are too soft, that when they hit someone he only falls a foot away while the older heroes used to make them fly 10-15 feet, break walls etc. Amitabh, you’ll be rooting for Salman here. Would suggest you make your bookings too…

Oh and one more thing…this one deserves to be watched on the big screen…and if anyone dares to do otherwise…to hum aap main itne chhed karenge ki confuse ho jaoge ki saans kahan se lein aur @##% kahan se….

Saturday, September 04, 2010

We Are Family


Rating : 4/10
Release Date : 2nd September, 2010
Time : 115 minutes
Director, Co-writer : Siddharth Malhotra; Co-Writer : Karan Johar (Remake of Step Mom); Music : Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy
Starring : Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Nominath Ginsberg, Aachal Munjal, Diya Sonecha

The film is created / constructed with the sole objective to lubricate your eyes & give your tear glands a thorough work out. Also, since I’ve not seen Stepmom, I can only comment on this film, not on how good or bad it is as a remake.


Arjun Rampal has divorced Kajol three years ago. She lives separately with their three kids (eldest daughter is 13, son is 7-8 or thereabouts and youngest daughter is about 5). Arjun and Kajol seem amicable enough about this relationship, he seems to have free visitation rights, takes kids home for the weekend, attends b’day parties, school functions etc. Arjun now dates / lives in with Kareena and decides its high time she became friendly with the kids. Kareena makes an honest effort but it doesn’t seem to be really working, leading to fights between Arjun, Kajol and Kareena. Will they ever be able to make this work ?


The first half is reasonably frothy. Kareena’s sometimes misplaced efforts are fun to watch as is the kids reaction to them. The rare moments of fun between Kajol / Arjun and the kids also occur around here. The scenery is lovely, the beauty of Australia coming through.


The issues, though are many. We don’t really understand Arjun’s character. What does he think of Kajol ? Or Kareena ? How important are either to his life ? Cause he seems to flit from one to another reasonably randomly. We don’t have any dialogue where Kajol and Arjun really communicate without sinking into platitudes or the routine ‘where are you’ kind of phone calls. Actually, thinking about it, most of the good dialogues are already revealed via the promo’s and apart from the tear-jerker stuff, there’s not much else to discover in the film.


The kids acted well but were given horrible characters to play. They were made to behave like kids of yore, too innocent, too sweet, too clingy, almost like the kids portrayed 15 years ago in Hindi films. Not at all like the street smart kids of today who’re sometimes even more aware than the parents of whats going on around them. Arjun, throughout the film, seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, perpetually frowning. Kajol is fine, her eyes expressive as always. I found Kareena quite vivacious, her expressions spot on and mannerisms great in a reasonably tough character role. She brought some much needed life into the film.

Someone told me that the film brought to life the worst nightmare that she as a woman could think of. For most guys as well, the film will be their worst nightmare, but for entirely different reasons.