Friday, December 25, 2009

A Decade in Review - A freEk's view!

Hello my freEk fellows,
As the first decade of this century comes to a close, it is but arbitrary that us self professed lovers of cinedom, huddle together to bitch, bicker and banter about what constitutes as the best films of the decade, to give it our freEky twist we throw in a worst – of in each category that we cover…

The Best of:
The Jason Bourne Series:

Why: The impact of this movie series, can be determined by the fact that it forced the suave, slick, gadget friendly Bond series to go through a revamp, and come back with a grittier franchise. Directed by Paul Greengrass and featuring some frenetic action sequences, and a solid performance by the unlikely action hero : Matt Damon, the Bourne series is the meter against which spy movies in the future will be judged.

The Worst of:

G.I. JOE – the rise of the COBRA!: With a multimillion dollar budget, and a every little boy’s favorite childhood cartoon at hand, Director Stephen Sommers deserves the credit for directing probably the worst stinkpile in cinematic history in a long time. With a screenplay that bordered from ludicrous to insane, this turd could not even be saved with the presence of solid actors like Dennis Quaid and Joseph Gordon Levitt.


The Best of :Anchorman – the legend of Ron Burgundy:

That Will Ferrell is a comedic genius is now a redundant fact, given his successes in movies such as Talladega, Step- Brothers, hell the man even lit up movies such as wedding – crashers with his presence; but perhaps Will Ferrrell’s defining performance in this movie as the sexist, self – obsessed news reporter is above and beyond anything that this decade churned up.
Runners Up : The 40 year old virgin, The Hangover, TROPIC THUNDER

Worst of :
Freddy Got Fingered :

This movie, the cinematic creation of comedian Tom Green, is the cinematic equivalent of getting hit in the crotch with a blunt, rusted iron rod. Filled with Green’s trademark gross-out humour, it features a scene where he whirls a newborn around his head by holding onto its umbilical cord. Enuff said?

Best of:
There will be Blood / Syriana

There will be Blood is written and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film is loosely based on the Upton Sinclair novel Oil! (1927). It tells the story of a silver-miner-turned-oil-man on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although many complained about its slow pace, There will be Blood is a masterpiece in the lost of method acting, as delivered by that reclusive genius : Daniel Day Lewis.

Syriana is
2005 geopolitical thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, and executive produced by George Clooney, who also stars in the film with an ensemble cast. Gaghan's screenplay is loosely adapted from Robert Baer's memoir See No Evil. The film focuses on petroleum politics, and the global influence of the oil industry, whose political, economic, legal, and social effects are experienced by a CIA operative (George Clooney), an energy analyst (Matt Damon), a Washington attorney (Jeffrey Wright), and a young unemployed Pakistani migrant worker (Mazhar Munir) in an Arab country in the Persian Gulf.. No film that I can recollect has managed to draw a balance between the industrial, political and religious aspects of the oil industry – which this movie amazingly does; all the while remaining a taut thriller. Kudos to Mr. Clooney, who went on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of a CIA agent suffering bouts of conscience!


The Kingdom is a 2007 film directed by Peter Berg and starring Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper,
Jennifer Garner
, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, with Kyle Chandler, Jeremy Piven and Ali Suliman. The film is fictional, but inspired by bombings at the Riyadh compound on May 12, 2003 and the Khobar housing complex on June 26, 1996 in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is the cinematic opposite of the balanced approach that Syriana takes in understanding the middle east crisis, and propagates America’s “war-for-peace” approach. Coincedentally, the original cut of this movie featured a truer to life ending which was changed in favour of a audience friendly one.


500 Days of Summer:
Directed by Marc Webb, produced by Mark Waters, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel., this brilliant rom-com told the bittersweet tale of a romance gone sour between Tom ( Levitt) and his girlfriend Summer ( Deschanel). The film’s usage of non-linear narrative, and split-screen narrative – where an ideal circumstance is shown at the same time as what actually conspired between Tom and Summer is brilliant. The impact of this movie has been felt as far as Bollywood, where Imtiaz Ali used a similar non-linear techqniue for his latest picture “Love Aaj Kal”

The Worst:

Down To You :
Starring 90s hearthrob Freddy Prinze Jr., this awful pastiche of weepy melodramas, features a scene where Freddy’s character drinks a bottle of hair conditioner in grief! Enuff said?

Blockbustery (as in, the potential to earn a gazillion dollars):
The Best Of :
The Pirates of the Caribbean Series / the Lord of the Rings:

This was a good decade for spectacle, and no movies evidence that better than the two named above. With all the thrills, chills and spills that the escapist demanded, we waited year on year for the sequels of both these franchises to enthrall us, and while it is impossible to rank one over the other, for sheer entertainment value alone; I would put ahead the Pirates series for the inclusion of this man, who single-handedly threatened to steal the show from all the explosions, thrills, and cleavage that co-existed on screen besides him.. Captain Jack Sparrow…savvy?

The Worst of:
G.I. JOE : The rise of the COBRA!
This one goes to G.I. JOE again follks!!

Mind F*ck: (as in the potential to make you go : What the F!)
The Best Of:

The Butterfly Effect:

is a thriller film directed and written by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. The film stars Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz and others, and was distributed by New Line Cinema. The move boasts of a warped storyline, where the lead ( played by Ashton) has the ability to change his past, by re-imagining it differently. Each re-imaginig however brings about unforeseen changes to his future, rather than the pleasant aftermath that he had hoped. The Butterfly Effect is a mish-mash of the Wonder Years and the Omen!



2001 American science fiction film written and directed by Richard Kelly. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Featuring random time travel sequences, a ten feet long Bunny Rabbit and an in essence a plotline to convuluted for its own good, Donnie enjoys a cult fan following, I have yet to come across someone who has figured out, WTF goes on in the movie ( which, perhaps is what the director set out to do after all!)


The Best:The SAW Series:

Little did James Whanell know that the short feature that he had pitched in 2003 as a movie idea, would become a monster hit, and go on to spawn five sequels. Hailed as the movie responsible for the "torture porn" genre, We haven't seen the last of Jigsaw and his accomplices yet!

The Worst

Otherwise known as the movie that effectively removed all memories of M. Night Shyamalan as the guy directed the "SIXTH SENSE


OLD BOY (Hangul: 올드보이, the phonetic transliteration of "old boy") is a 2003 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook, is perhaps the definitive revenge cinema. It's impact is seen in the fact that Sanjay Gupta directed a frame-by-frame remake of the movie called Zinda.


This is a wonderful gem, directed by Georgian filmmaker Géla Babluani. Tzameti is the Georgia
word for thirteen. Tzameti's impact is seen in the fact that Babluani has been called by Hollywood to make a mega-budget remake of the original ( which in my opinion worked due to its miniscule budget!)


A visual treat, Pan's Labyrinth - directed by Guillermo Del Toro, is as wild and fanstatic as a fantasy film can hope to be!

So there you have it folks, a great decade with some great cinema. Do you agree with the above lists? Have a great next decade!!


extra freeky:

The freEk's favourite movie, of the decade, in case you wondered is this masterpiece...

Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Guy Pearce will probably the decade defining movie, in my freEky little opinion for the sheer impact that it had on cinema, storytelling, and yes Bollywood's Ghajini - which was a pathetic rip-off!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

IRON MAN 2 - baybee!

Here it is folks, Robert Downey Jr. , Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle and a whole lot of metal suited badassery...

Following what have been minor sneak peeks into this mega- movie, Marvel today unleashed upon us grateful souls the much awaited trailer, feast your eyes:

Iron Man 2 Trailer: A Furious Display of Awesome - Film School Rejects

yes, we will be keeping you posted on more developments, but for now, a deep breath of gratitude will do!!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Rocket Singh .....Raju meets Jerry!

A wintery hello, frEeky fellows!

For all its claims to be a professional and global industry, Bollywood is at the end of it, a mom and pop shop; with only the laadla star beta / betis that get launched every so often. One such privileged star kid was Ranbir Kapoor, who has probably turned out to be the surprise flavour of the year. With back to back successes such as "Wake Up Sid" and "Ajab Prem Ki Ghajab Kahani" Ranbir has found his groove as the simple/naive do-gooder whose charm prevails over all his obstacles; much like Ranbir seems to be winning over the audience these days! Ranbir returns yet again with Shimit Amin's "Rocket Singh - Salesman of the year!

What it is: Shimit Amin who gave us Bollywood's second best sport film "Chak De India"( I would rate Lagaan as the best) returns with another underdog tale featuring Ranbir as Harpreet Singh, a naive, yet simpleton (coincidence 1: Harpreet is then the same character that Ranbir has played in his previous films Sid and Ajab Prem...)who dreams of joining the big bad world of sales, upon graduation. Brimming with good worldy advice received from his grandpa played effortlessly by Prem Chopra (coincidence 2: Ranbir's character name in his last movie was, you guessed it : Prem Chopra!)

the Yaays: Ranbir, is effortless in his by now second nature performance as the kind hearted do-gooder. Disheartened by the unethical ways of his employer, he decides to start of his own little set-up in a manner which reminds one of Tom Cruise's Jerry Maguire. Ranbir has great screen presence, and Shimit in recognising this, keeps the melodrama to a minimum and chooses instead to focus on the antics of his lead. Although there are some interesting ( and true to life) office characterisations, such as the overtly made up office receptionist and the techie who secretly surfs porn while in office, this is essentially Ranbir's tale; who to his credit delivers!

the Naays: For the cine-going crowd that expect foreign locales, melodrama and a Paresh Rawal as their dose of entertainment, this movie will be a letdown. Shahzan Padamsee is quite the looker, but she and the other newcomer Gauhar Khan make earnest, yet almost there attempts to impress. The story in itself is nothing new, with the tale of the underdog been well documented in Shimit's last film itself.


Thoda Jerry + Thoda Raju = Rocket Singh!

While in no ways a path breaking film, Rocket Singh, like it's title character is a simple film, and is told endearingly well by Shimit Amin. It is perhaps this millennium's version of Ranbir's grandfather Raj Kapoor's "Jis Desh Main Ganga Behti Hai" with a dash of Jerry Maguire thrown in for good measure. While one comes away satisfied with the end product, one really hopes that Ranbir would attempt to break away from the "do-gooder" image that he is fast heading towards being typecast in.


theek-theek 3 freEkies

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Even Better Than The Real Thing..

A Wintery hello, frEeKy fellows,

This year's finest (bollywood) performance has finally arrived! With the release of R. Balki's PAA, Amitabh Bachhan treads into hithertho untested territory playing not only a "special" child ( read here my previous post about how actors playing special people are a shoo-in for the awards). In all seriousness, R. Balki's acerbic script, dripping with lighthearted humour combined with stellar performance by the Big B, make this a definite watch, even a notch better than the Hollywood original "JACK" that it was reportedly inspired from ( read up on my post about that here).

PAA thus joins an elusive league of desi movies, that I daresay, surpass the original film that they are inspired from. While Bollywood as we all know, shamelessly borrows liberally from its foreign film counterparts, and makes unforgivable desi versions that are too many and to bad to name here. There are a few gifted enough to borrow from the original and seamlessly integrate into Indian sensibilities ; join me tonight fellow frEeks in looking at some remakes that truly are,
even better than the real thing!!..

a) Dombivili Fast:

Directed by Nishikant Kamat, this 2006 marathi movie, was heavily inspired by the 1993 Hollywood movie "Falling Down" starring Michael Douglas. While Falling Down depicted the travails of a laid-off NASA employee - William Foster, played by Douglas. Foster's character, having just received the news of his unemployment, goes into depression and then into a self righteous rampage at the unequal distribution of wealth in the American society. Along the way he also dispenses his vigliante brand of justice to drug-dealers and the like. Dombivali Fast, made several years laters transposes the lead character to the bowels of Mumbai (i.e. Dombivali) and pulls no punches in showing his bleary life; from the mornings spent outside a water tanker waiting for his daliy quota of water, to the streetside cuppa tea that he has by the vendor outside his office, Madhav Apte ( played brilliantly by Sandeep Kulkarni)'s life is one monotonous day after which the director depicts thus..

Fed up by his wife's barbs about his self righteous anger, Madhav's rage boils over when a cold-drink vendor demands more than the regular price of a cola, leading Madhav to destroy his stall, and thereafter go on a righteous rampage much like Douglas' character in the original. While Falling Down created a few ripples at the time of it's release, it is to director Nishikant Kamat's credit that he has seamlessly integrated the theme of righteous anger, to perhaps an even more apt setting - the life of the Mumbai middle class man. Dombivali fast in exposing the stench of Mumbai's corruption, crowds and the rat-race which passes of as daily life; ultimately makes a far superior product than the movie which it was inspired from.

b) Chachi 420:

Chachi 420 a 1998 comedy film, by the legendary Kamal Haasan who also starred in the film as the main character, the movie was in no small measure by the brilliant Hollywood comedy , Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams. While one cannot measure the brilliance of Kamal Haasan's performance against that of Williams in the original, Kamal Haasan once again borrowed from the original and threw in some desi spic for good measure. What makes this remake as good or perhaps even a tad better than the original is the inclusion by Haasan, of perhaps India's greatest acting talent. Take a look at this brilliant scene..

By intertwining characters such as Amrish Puri ,who plays Kamal's father-in-law and who falls in love with Kamal's chachi avatar, Om Puri,as Amrish Puri's lecherous Bihari assistant; Johnny Walker,as an alchoholic make-up artist who disguises Kamal in his female avatar, Paresh Rawal,as Kamal's landlord who also has a crush on Kamal's female avatar, the script takes on some hilarious twists and turns all in no small part due to the inclusion of this brilliant ensemble cast!

extra frEeky: Kamal Haasan also starred in another remake, which matched the brilliance of its original inspiration "Nayagan"


Related Posts with Thumbnails