Saturday, July 27, 2013


Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 26th July, 2013
Time : 126 minutes
Director : James Mangold; Writers : Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, Christopher McQuarrie; Music : Marco Beltrami
Starring : Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hal Yamanouchi, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee

I am such a sucker for Japan, its mystique, customs, the language. Also its women, polite, petite, pretty. So am willing to ignore the fairly loose, skating-on-thin-ice story and just claw my way (pun obviously intended) through the film, its stop-start pace and fairly decent, though repetitive, action.

At the time of the Nagasaki bombing, Wolverine saved a young Japanese soldier, Hal Yamanouchi, from death. Many years later, Hal, now an ageing, cancer stricken billionaire, finds the Wolverine, flies him to Tokyo to thank him. And, also would like to check, if he would be, oh-so-kind as to let go of his gift of immortality and transfer that to him ?

Tao is the cute grand-daughter, Rila her friend and companion, also a seer, who gets visions of the future. Sanada plays the impetuous son, Svetlana, the venomous Viper and Will Yun Lee, a crack Ninja who’s loyalty seems uncertain.

Does Wolverine really wish to live on ? Continue being a soldier ? Does he have the will for yet another battle, one where he is the Gaijin (foreigner) and Ronin (soldier without a master) ?

I loved some of the random visuals, things shown. A grizzly bear walking in the forest amidst the early morning mist. The smoke wafting from a hot cup of green tea. The bed which adapts itself to its patients shape. The love hotel, complete with room options like ‘Nurse’s Office’, ‘Dungeon’, ‘Mission to Mars’.

Its fast-paced yet has pauses for breath. The action had ninjas, samurai swords, toxins, robots, and of course, guns and other standard stuff. Fights happen everywhere, including inside a house, on a rooftop, in a funeral parlour and on a bullet train roof. But it felt a bit forced at times, the outcome almost pre-ordained, even a weakened Wolverine more than a match for bullets and bombs.

I liked the setting. I liked the characters. Its interesting without being Wow. Fast without being impactful. Almost wish it was a different story – the central question – about the quest for immortality and the desirability of such a life, is engaging but could’ve gone in a different, more appealing direction.

Bajatey Raho

Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 26th July, 2013
Time : 107 minutes
Director : Shashant A Shah; Writers : Zafar A Khan; Music : Various
Starring : Tusshar Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Vishaka Singh, Ravi Kissen, Dolly Ahluwalia, Brijendra Kala, Husaan Saad, Nikhil Pandey, Anya Singh

There is much to like in this film –the jokes aren’t vulgar, the story line simple, the acting good (though Tusshar does bring the average down a bit) and the length just about right. On the debit side of the ledger, one could also argue, that the story was perhaps too simple, the end too predictable, a lot of the things shown were unreal and some of the characters too gullible.

Dolly Ahluwalia, her son, Tusshar, Vinay and Ranvir all seek revenge against Ravi Kissen and more specifically, need to con him out of Rs 15 crores to set things right. He had falsely implicated Dolly’s husband and Vinay’s wife in a banking scam, leading to the former passing away and the latter spending her days behind bars. Its now time for revenge…

Ranvir’s motivation for being part of the gang is never clear. Vishaka comes on as the feisty girlfriend (way above Tusshar’s league in reel life) and some of the best scenes for me involve Vishaka flirting with Ravi Kissen (kyun, aapko lagta hai mujhe zyada namak ki zaroorat hai ?). Brijendra Kale, Ravi Kissen’s man Friday, is excellent, their relationship true of many of our ‘assistants’ in reality. The cons in themselves are very ordinary and also the film has several moments inserted, which can only be classified as ‘tear-jerker’.

Its not too long, though, doesn’t stretch, has a few laughs, gets its ambience (New Delhi, the non-posh part) right, doesn’t relapse into crassness or slapstick so I guess this places it above a lot of the so called ‘comedies’ released in Hindi cinema…


Rating : Not Rated
Release Date : 26th July, 2013
Time : 153 minutes
Director, Co-writer : Manish Tiwary; Co-Writers : Padmaja Thakore, Pawan Sony; Music : Various
Starring : Prateik Babbar, Amyra Dastur, Ravi Kissen, Prashant Narayanan, Makarand Deshpande, Yuri Suri, Amit Sial

We walked out midway through the second half, though not because it was terrible but more because we weren’t in the mood for the bloodshed and death we were sure would follow.

It’s a remake of Romeo and Juliet, set in Banaras. There is something wrong with the film, though, if you feel more sadness at the passing away of ancillary characters than the angst and later, separation of its lead pair.

The Banaras setting is excellent, with the colours, the riverside and the fire capturing the beauty of the place. The Hindi is of a level above what most cinemagoers would undertsand, the scene in a college where Amyra has to recite a Hindi love poem while talking to Prateik, one of the highlights of the movie. The Naxalite angle is too forced, doesn’t fit in with the rest of the film.

One of its major flaws, one which is common to most Hindi films, is the ‘ease’ with which love happens, complete with the angst which follows. Prateik doesn’t look like he fits in the environment and is definitely the weakest link in the chain, acting chops wise. Amyra looks vacuously pretty, more baby doll than someone who will feel and sense her way through the predicament she finds herself in. Its Rajeshwari Sachdev and Ravi Kissen, who grab the eyeballs more than anyone else throughout the first half, along with Yuri Suri and Amit Sial…

The movie just tries too much, without a lead pair to match its ambition….I liked Manish Tiwary’s direction, the style quotient of the film – he can easily move on to bigger, better things…

Monday, July 22, 2013

Silence of The Lambs (Khooni Darinda)

What if Ekta Kapoor got the rights to remake Silence of The Lambs and was now giving her inputs to the Plot Summary ? What would the inputs be ? Ekta’s comments are in bold italics…
(Plot summary taken from, tweaked slightly here and there)

Silence of the Lambs (too subtle)
Khooni Darinda

Promising FBI Academy student Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is pulled from her training at the FBI Training Facility at Quantico, Virginia by middle aged Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) (Inka thoda scene dikhate hain, he’s brought her up a bit and has a thing for her) of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, who tasks her with presenting a VICAP questionnaire to the notorious Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) (Rishi Kapoor ? especially after D-Day), a brilliant forensic psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial murderer (Perfect moment for opening credits after his cannibalistic past is revealed). After learning the assignment relates to the pursuit of vicious serial killer Buffalo Bill, Starling travels to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and is led by Dr. Frederick Chilton to Hannibal Lecter, a sophisticated, cultured man restrained behind thick glass panels and windowless stone walls. Although initially pleasant and courteous, Lecter grows impatient with Starling's attempts at "dissecting" him and viciously rebuffs her. As Starling departs, another patient flings fresh semen onto her face (use for promo – see if we can get a classic song in the background ? Something like ‘Ram, Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi’), enraging Lecter who calls Starling back and offers a riddle containing information about a former patient. The solved riddle leads to a rent-a-storage lot where the severed head of Benjamin Raspail is found (delete head, make it some other body part, nahin to A rating ho jayega). Starling returns to Lecter, who links Raspail to Buffalo Bill and who offers to help profile Buffalo Bill if he is transferred to a facility far from the venomous, careerist Dr. Chilton (Gulshan Grover ? Then we can have him say ‘Bad Man’ and maybe touch his hair a certain way…people remember that).

Hours and miles away, Buffalo Bill abducts Catherine Martin, the daughter of United States Senator Ruth Martin. Starling is pulled from Quantico and accompanies Crawford to West Virginia, where the body of Bill's recently-discovered victim resides, and where Starling helps perform the autopsy and extracts the chrysalis of a Death's-head Hawkmoth from the victim's throat (nobody will understand Chrysalis in India…something else ? Maybe a pen from Taj hotel – I owe them a favour from our last film?). At Quantico, as news of Catherine Martin's abduction sweeps the country, Crawford authorizes Starling to offer Hannibal Lecter a fake deal promising a prison transfer if he provides information that helps profile Buffalo Bill and rescue Catherine Martin. Instead, Lecter begins a game of quid pro quo with Starling, offering comprehensive clues and insights about Buffalo Bill in exchange for events from Starling's traumatic childhood. Unaware to both Starling and Lecter, Dr. Frederick Chilton tapes the conversation and after revealing Starling's deal as a sham (good opportunity for a dard bhara or angry song here, showing Lecter’s anger at Starling’s betrayal), offers to transfer Lecter in exchange for a deal of his own making. Lecter agrees and following a flight to Tennessee reveals Buffalo Bill's real name, physical description and past address to Senator Martin and her entourage of FBI agents and Justice Department officials.

As the manhunt begins, Starling travels to Lecter's special cell in a local Tennessee courthouse, where she confronts him about the false information he gave the Senator. Lecter refuses Starling's pleas and demands she finish her story surrounding her worst childhood memory (does Lecter have the hots for her ? Sounds like it). After recounting her arrival at a relative's farm (she’s an orphan ? Show how her parents were killed…maybe Chilton’s men. Thodi continuity aa jayegi…and stretch the scene a bit – young girl, loss of parents, killed in slow motion, sad music, good spot to make people cry a bit) the horror of discovering their lamb slaughterhouse and her fruitless attempts at rescuing the lambs (way too subtle – something else – maybe the relative molests her ? Which is why she is sexually frigid and joined the Army / FBI whatever ?), Lecter rebuffs her, leaving her with her case file before she is escorted out of the building by security guards. Later that evening, Lecter escapes from his cell. The local police storm the floor, discovering one guard barely alive and the other disemboweled (yuk, change scene, we aren’t Vikram Bhatt or Ramsay Brothers. Did you call them yesterday, BTW about the production deal ?) and strung up on the walls. Paramedics transport the survivor to an ambulance and speed off while a SWAT team searches the building for Lecter. As the team discover a body in the elevator shaft, the survivor in the ambulance peels off his own face, revealing Lecter in disguise (we must get the same guys who did the disguise for Hrithik in Dhoom2), who kills the paramedics and escapes to the airport.

After being notified of Lecter's escape, Starling pores over her case file, analyzing Lecter's annotations before realizing that the first victim, Frederica Bimmel, knew Bill in real life before he killed her. Starling travels to Bimmel's hometown and discovers that Bimmel was a tailor and has dresses with templates identical to the patches of skin removed from Buffalo Bill's victims (we’ll have to speed up this whole portion – until she reaches the killer’s house- maybe we can have all the action happen against a fast song, speak to Vishal-Shekhar). Realizing that Buffalo Bill is a tailor fashioning a "woman suit" of real skin (double yuk !! something else pul-leeze), she telephones Crawford, who is already on the way to make an arrest, having cross-referenced Lecter's notes with Johns Hopkins Hospital and finding a man named James Gumb. Crawford instructs Starling to continue interviewing Bimmel's friends (he also says he misses her, wishes she was by his side, or he by her) while he leads a SWAT team to Gumb's business address in Calumet City, Illinois. Starling's interviews lead to the house of "Jack Gordon," who Starling soon realizes is actually James Gumb, and draws her weapon just as Gumb disappears into his basement. Starling pursues him, discovering a screaming Catherine Martin in the dry well (great opportunity for the psychedelic kind of sets here – no one in India has used them – lots of neon lights, edgy rock / heavy metal music) just before the lights in the basement go out, leaving her in complete darkness. Gumb stalks Starling in the dark with night vision goggles (we’ll make it lots of light, blinding light, and he has these cool sunglasses – check with RayBan or Fastrack, whoever comes on board as sponsors) and prepares to shoot her when Starling, hearing the machinations of his revolver, swivels around shoots Gumb dead.

(We can show Catherine getting married – kind of a happy ending – then we can also show wedding item number ?) Days later at the FBI Academy graduation party, Starling receives a phone call from Hannibal Lecter, now in the Bahamas. As Lecter assures Starling he has no plans to pursue her (See !!! he did have the hots for her !!), he excuses himself from the phone call, remarking that he's "having an old friend for dinner," before hanging up and following Dr. Frederick Chilton through the streets of the village.

I see this as a sweet love story. About this poor orphan girl, unable to accept any man, being chased by two slightly older men – we can reduce their ages a bit to make it more acceptable (Lamhe Nishabd, Cheeni Kum show Indian audiences not ready for elderly men falling for younger women). All this, of course, against a backdrop of serial killing, investigation…

Where can we fit in Tusshar ?

PS : Met Deepika for lunch yesterday. She was looking hot, is into this new Yoga thing. What do you think ? She will bring the much needed glamour to the role, will also be a good, serious role for her…(like we did for Vidya in Dirty Picture, only in reverse)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

White House Down

Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 19th July, 2013
Time : 131 minutes
Director : Roland Emmerich; Writer : James Vanderbilt; Music : Harald Kloser, Thomas Wanker
Starring : Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhal, James Woods, Richard Jenkins, Joey King, Jason Clarke, Nicolas Wright

If the story is a tad ridiculous, and more than a bit fanciful, what you look for are leads who light up the screen and some slick action sequences & cool repartee to gloss over all the script failings. White House Down achieves all that, giving you an enjoyable ride despite a plot that’s as unbelievable as they come.

Jamie Foxx, another in the long line of Hollywood President’s of Afro-American descent ever since Obama took over, is a President trying to make a difference. Trying to unite the world by moving out of the Gulf, but in the process obviously making a few enemies. Not the least of whom are the defense companies and hawks in his government who stand to lose their raison d’ etre if this move goes through.

Channing Tatum is a war veteran and now just trying to make a living. Currently handles security for the Speaker, Richard Jenkins. And trying to win back the approval of his daughter, Joey King, who is White House / President junkie and a typical, surly teenager.

They are on a White House tour when the bad guys, led by Jason Clarke, strike. And soon, with the good guys scattered and leaderless, Channing, refused just a couple of hours ago the opportunity to join the Secret Service, is possibly the only one who can protect the President. But also has to rescue his daughter, Joey King, who is being held hostage.

Maggie Gyllenhal is good and James Woods convincing (and a tough son-of-a-bitch) as always, both important Secret Service personnel. The US Vice President one of the wimpiest in recent memory. Channing and Jamie are excellent together, both playing off each other, coming up with cool one-liners. There are multiple instances when our heroes / the daughter should've been dead. Times when the family gets together but shouldn't have. Plenty of rah-rah, Go-USA moments. Plenty of rousing music to remind you to feel patriotic, uplifted at key points.

If bombs, bullets, bad boys and bro-mantic good guys aren’t your thing, please stay away. But if it’s an entertaining action flick, with liberal doses of humour you’re after, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this one. A notch above the similarly themed ‘Olympus Has Fallen’, thanks to its charismatic leads and snappier dialogues…


Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 19th July, 2013
Time : 96 minutes
Director, Co-Writer : David Soren; Co-Writers : Darren Lemke, Richard D Siegel; Music : Henry Jackman
Starring : voices of : Ryan Reynolds, Samuel Jackson, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luiz Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong

You will enjoy this film the most if, like me, you go in with as little a clue of what its about as possible. Everything is then a delightful surprise and despite a very straight-forward, linear story, the sheer novelty keeps you going

Its about snails. And one really fast one. And fast cars. And the world’s fastest driver, the affable, very French, Guy Gagne. And a taco shop. And two sets of brother’s, where one is a daredevil dreamer and the other a dull pragmatist, tired of saving his sibling’s ass.

The lives of snails are shown in such loving detail, its funny…and that is what drives the film, rather than the main story, which is cliché ridden and seen a thousand times before

Turbo’s attempts to make the over-ripe tomatoes not splotch on him
The battle with the evil lawn-mower
The play-safe clan in the garden
The undisguised contempt with which ‘garden snail’ is said by their city slicker brethren
And best of all…
“White Shadow”…said in a reverential whisper, along with a slide backwards…

The humans are tame in comparison but then its difficult to compete against such marvelous molluscs.

It’s a fun, enjoyable film with the usual fortune cookie type central message – no dream is impossible – mashed up with a good, classic-filled soundtrack and some very, very cool snails…worth taking the kids to this one…