Friday, July 1, 2011

Buddah Hoga Tera Baap - Movie Review!!

A geriatric hello, FreEk fellows!!

It is with fond remembrance, that most of us remember handcart driven chinese-outlet next to our college or first work place. These joints more often than not called "hungry eyes" or golden dragon" , having the nepali cook, to give us that "chinese-chef" feeling, served food in the filthiest of plates and surroundings, and quite of a few of us probably had a run to the loo after one of these meals, and yet such days are now remembered with fond nostalgia.

South director Jaganath Puri's masala flick starring none other than Amitabh Bachhan (AB) is somehow reminiscent of those meals!!

What it is: Buddah Hoga Tera Baap (BHTB) tells the tale of a retired gangster (AB) who returns to Mumbai to settle some scores, and kick -ass, all the while romancing much younger women and wearing enough blinding outfits to put an entire Manish Malhotra wedding collection to shame!

What works: Needless to say, this is AB's show all the way, the movie unabashedly recaptures his angry young man image, and dialogues, song tributes from his previous films are scattered throughout. Other actors such as Hema Malini, Raveena Tandon flitter around the screen in inconsequential roles. Perhaps the only inspired casting seems to be in Sonu Sood ( a dead ringer for the young AB) as an inspector, possibly as a tribute to AB's "cop movies" such as "Zanjeer".

What Doesn't: For a movie that doesn't pretend to provide anything other than unabashed AB adulation, BHTB certainly delivers. Yet having witnessed AB's acting forte in his recent works such as Cheeni Kum, Black and of course PAA, one wishes the character would have been better nuanced!


Three Freekies!!

Chutney on the side: As a child of the 80s, one vividly remembers the rise of AB into a one man industry. The biggest sign of his superstardom was the larger than life characters that he played in self-titled films such as "Toofan", "Ajooba", "Aaj Ka Arjun". As the the cine-world grew tired of the larger than life credo, his stardom failed, with "Mrityudaata" being the nail in the coffin. To his credit, and unlike recent aged Bollywood stars such as Dharmendra who still attempts to cavort nubile starlets (remember Tinku Jiya?) AB accepted his age limitations and churned out some modern day classics such as the above Cheeni Kum etc. BHTB, then is like a visit to that old chinese food stall, it brings back many memories, but you know why it is that you had chosen to move on.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Dark Knight 2 - Bane Revealed!!!!

A Batty hello frEek fellows!

Shortly after last week's expose on the shooting of the Dark Knight Rises in Jodhpur Fort, comes this Bat-errific update:

Warner Brother's has quietly launched the website for the Dark Knight Rises , the website features a strange chanting going on, which probably has something to do with the "birth" of Bane from the Lazarus Pit.

The clincher however, is the first look at none other than BANE as portrayed by Tom Hardy...feast your eyes!

BANE baby!!

You heard it first here folks!!!


Monday, May 9, 2011

India - The Home for Superheroes!!

A Mid-Week hello, frEek fellows!!

It seems of late, that our India has become home-ground to the shooting of the hottest upcoming superhero movies.

First up are set-photos (from Mehul Gohil) from the Jodhpur Fort of none other than "The Dark Knight Rises" being the latest in Christopher Nolan's acclaimed Batman Trilogy. Check them out..

The pictures of the "lake" below are being rumored to be the "Lazarus Pit" which gives R'as Al Ghul his immortality and power.

Set reports have also indicated that the shooting of a scene where a "bald headed" boy rises from the said lake. This boy probably grows up to be Batman's nemesis "Bane" who is trained by R'as Al Ghul. FanfrEeks will recollect that Tom-Hardy is scheduled to play Bane in this upcoming movie.

Actor Tom Hardy who will be playing Bane

The below photo shows Actor Tom Pence ( who plays the younger R'as Al Ghul) roaming around Jodhpur (India).

As if this wasn't enough to have us fanfrEeks wetting ourselves, come these set pictures from Alberquerue, where Marvel's super-hero extravaganza "THE AVENGERS" is being filmed.

However a closer look at the set pictures reveal that the shop signs are in Hindi, which leads to speculation on whether a portion of the film will be set in India, however it could well be Pakistan or Afghanistan as fan-frEeks will remember the capture of Tony Stark in the first Iron-Man movie by the terrorist Raza in Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, it's fun to see an "Adarsh Mithaiwalla" billboard in a superhero film!!

Till next time...stay freEeked!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

THOR - Movie Review!

A Nordic Hello, FreEk Fellows!

The latest offering from the studios of Marvel comics "THOR" hits the theatres this weekend. Following in the footsteps of previous Marvel Films such as IRONMAN, and being a precursor to Marvel's Magnum Opus superhero movie "THE AVENGERS".

yeh reshmi zulfein.....

What it is?: Thor, being perhaps the most "difficult" of comic books being brought to cinematic adaptation, as it tells the tale of the Norse God Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who is punished by his father the almighty Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to earth. Stripped of his powers, Thor learns the meaning of selflessness,sacrifice and courage as he battles monsters unleashed upon earth by his evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston)


What Works?: Set between the heavenly abodes of ASGARD and earth, THOR is perhaps the most lavish of superhero movies in a long time, and it utilises its CGI well! Chris Hemsworth lights up the screen as the macho yet disarming THOR. There abound surprise cameos from various actors including Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) make things more interesting

What Doesn't: Despite all its lavish settings and CGI Brouhaha, THOR never manages an emotional connect with the audience, Natalie Portman fails miserably in the role of astrophysicist Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston's LOKI looks convoluted and never and Anthony Hopkins barely passes muster as an out-of-shape ODIN.

Verdict: Thor comes about as a necessary link between Marvel's superhero movies such as IRONMAN and the forthcoming Captain America, in the aforesaid runup to the Avengers, THOR comes about as a weak link, quite knowingly then the end credits mention that THOR will return in the Avengers Movie; as the chances of the character having its own sequel are very thin!!


a dismal two FrEekies!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oscar 2011 - Our FrEeking View!

An Academy hello frEek fellows!

Tomorrow, the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars will be handed out to apparentlythe best in western cinema. Here's a freEking look at the possible winners..

I. Best Lead Actor:

This year features a whole melee of actors from the seasoned Jeff Bridges (True Grit) to the newbie Jessie Eisenberg (the Social Network), the charismatic James Franco (127 hours) and of course Colin Firth ( the King's speech).

And the winner is:

While Bridges delivers a great performance in True Grit, he comes fresh of an Oscar win last year, and the chances of him winning are slim, similarly Eisenberg is too new on the horizon, and it will be very un-Academyish to award this new an Actor. James Franco has been chosen to host the Awards this year, and it would indeed be cheesy for the host to walk away with an Award (these are the Oscars, and not the Filmfare awards!!). We thus zero down on Colin Firth in the King's Speech to hoist the statuette this year!

II. Best Lead Actress:

From previous oscar awardee Nicole Kidman (the rabbit hole) to the overlooked talent of Anette Bening (The Kids are all right!), the gritty Michele Williams (Blue Valentine), the subtle performance of Jennifer Lawrence ( A Winter's Bone) and of course the tumultuous Natalie Portman (The Black Swan); this year features a vast pool of female talent wanting to fondle the naked golden man ( The Oscar statute of course!!)

And the winner is:

While Michele Williams delivered a gut wrenching performance in Blue Valentine, it may be too hard hitting for most, Nicole Kidman's weepy turn in "Rabbit Hole" may be overlooked as she is a past awardee, Jennifer Lawrence will go unawarded due to the small (indie) nature of her film, leading to the tussle between Annete Bening and Natalie Portman. The Academy often awards aging actresses for their body of work, knowing that their body of work may not get them nominated again (yes, like Sandra Bullock for the Blind Side!), and by this logic, Ms. Bening should be honoured, but if the hype (and justified performance) are to be believed, it could be Portman's year for balancing this very difficult role, and making the otherwise incredulous "Black Swan" seem notches better than it actually was!

Best Director:

Ooh boy, is the Academy stuck for choice here! From the mind*ck cinema of Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) to David Fincher (Social Network) previous winners the Coen Brothers (True Grit) and Tom Hooper ( King's speech)

And the winner is: The Coen Brothers have been Academy darlings, with 3 wins between them, the real tussle is between Tom Hooper and Fincher, with Fincher having that slender edge due to Social Network's "cool factor"

Best Picture:

described above, there is no clear winner in this year's list, but I am going with the King's Speech, given its build up as the crowd favourite, and has peaked in curiosity factor, at the right time!!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

127 Hours review: Filming the impossible!

A high altitude hello, frEek fellows!!

British wonder-director was ushered into the collective psyche of Indian cinegoers through "Slumdog Millionaire", Slumdog's global success resulted in Boyle taking on a film which he had been planning for over four years; based on the book "Between a rock and a hard place" by mountaineer Aaron Ralston. The resulting movie was of course, 127 hours.

What it is: 127 Hours recounts the life of adrenaline junkie and free-spirit Aaron Ralston (played by James Franco), who while traversing the canyons in Robber's Roost - Utah, falls into a deep crevice, resulting in his hand getting lodged underneath a boulder. What follows, is a gut wrenching tale of courage, as Ralston desperately tries to dislodge his hand from the boulder; resulting in him spending the titular 127 hours in a mountain crevice! With dwindling food supplies and very little water, Ralston is forced to take the horrendous decision to amputate his lodged arm; things take a turn for the worse when he realises that the pocket knife tool he has carried with with him, is not sharp enough to cut through his arm!

What Works: Danny Boyle described his screenplay as an "action film that goes nowhere". Truly,the plot faces several disadvantages in that it focuses for the most part on one character, and that too stuck in one location; even so, Boyle lets his creative genius shine in this impossible film. At the very onset, we are made to understand Ralston's free-spirit and his willingness to be with nature, as the story progresses on to where Ralston is trapped; Boyle uses innovative cuts to give the viewers a glimpse of Ralston's imagination. This movie, marks the global heralding of actor James Franco who dials in a brilliant performance as the free-spirited Ralston; In a performance where the camera solely focuses on his face, for a major part of the film; Franco brings an easygoing charm, that never lets go of the viewer's attention. Truly, an Oscar worthy performance!

What Doesn't: 127 Hours, is a film that lacks Slumdog's larger-than-life canvas; even though it far vividly portrays the triumph of the human spirit. There have been known cases of audience fainting during the "arm-amputation" sequence - hence if you are the queasy type, be advised!!

Verdict: Film Critic extraordinaire Roger Ebert called 127 hours, "an exercise in impossibility" and I cannot think of a better term to describe this movie, that despite it's constraints, manages to herald the triumph of the human spirit, and in so doing, never once lets go of its vice grip on the viewer's emotions!

A Full Five FreEkies - A modern masterpiece!

Chutney on the side: A.R. Rahman provides a melodious score, but his duet with Dido; tries hard to do an "Enya" from Lord of the Rings but fails!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

DHOBI GHAT review: Half - Slice of life cinema

A lazy weekend hello, frEek fellows!

Slice-of-life-cinema, in bollywood has tilted from the extremely schmaltzy genre such as "Life in a Metro" to the gut-wrenching such as "Mumbai Meri Jaan". Kiran "Mrs. Aamir" Rao's directorial debut, "Dhobi Ghaat" promises to be a slice-of-Mumbai-life film like no other. Does it deliver, or does it end up getting "washed up" (Dhobi...washed? get it?). Read on to find out:

Woh Dekh...Critics Award!!

What it is: Dhobi Ghaat, apollogetically publicised as the "the movie without an interval" tells the tale of a reclusive, divorced painter; Arun (Aamir Khan), a slum-teen; Munna (Prateik Babbar) who makes a living doing odd jobs from a Dhobi during the day, to a rat-catcher at night, and an NRI expat; Shai (Monica Dogra) who is on sabbatical in India. In very subtle strokes of circumstance, these characters from differing aspects of life are thrown together. Thrown together in this mix, is the video footage of Yasmin Noor (Kirti Malhotra); which Arun accidentally discovers and becomes intrigued with.

What works: Steering away from the above mentioned cliches, Dhobi Ghaat uses that long lost art of subtlety in telling its tale; Aamir Khan, known for his larger than life portrayals (Lagaan, Mangal Pandey, Ghajini) is refreshing in the role of the reclusive, temperamental artist. Monica Dogra displays earnestness, but the undisputed scene-stealer is Prateik; in his role as the odd-job Munna who lives in a shanty near the railway tracks, but earnestly harbours dreams of being a movie star.

What Doesn't: No Munni, No Sheila, No Interval: NO WAY!!

Rang De Basanti!!

Verdict: Shahrukh Khan in Om Shanti Om delivers a line which goes "Kahani ke end tak sab kuch theek ho jataa hai." Audiences in Bollywood are habituated to seeing a logical (mostly happy) end to their characters. Dhobi Ghaat steers away from this and other from melodramatic cliches, does a brilliant job in character study; while standard Bollywood characters are painted in borad strokes of black or white; Dhobi Ghaat allows each of its characters to display a wide range of emotions - and this is probably its greatest success.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

BLACK SWAN - movie review!!

A lazy weekend hello, frEek fellows!!!

While 2010 wasn't a great year for cinema, with many hyped up biggies both in Bollywood (Tees Maar Khan) and Hollywood (TRON: LEGACY) failing to live upto expectations. There was momentary respite through brilliant films such as PEEPLI LIVE and INCEPTION. Closing out the year came the much hyped Darren Aronofsky's "BLACK SWAN"

What it is: As previously covered by yours truly, BLACK SWAN is Aronofsky's (Requiem for a Dream, the Wrestler and the Fountain) darkly told tale of a ballerina played by Natalie Portman, who egged on by her overbearing mother played by Barbara Hershey vies for the lead role in a new ballet production, by the leading ballet producer portrayed by Vincent Cassel, coping with her mother's ambitions, the director's sexual advances and the threat of another ballerina (Mila Kunis) usurping her role, Portman's character slowly slips into delirium and starts seeing terrifying visions..or is it all true??

What Works: Aronofsky who arrived on the global cinema circuit through the eery, claustrophobic "requiem for a dream" and inched closer to Oscar Glory last year when "the wrestler" got nominated, uses his trademark, mindf*ck style with claustrophobic camera angles, eery lighting, and did-i-just-see-that shots; and makes it all work! Black Swan plummets into the ardurous lifestyle of a Ballerina as we see Portman suffer broken toes, sleepless nights and anorexia to put up with her schedule. Barbara Hershey as her overbearing mother reinvents creepiness, and will make kids lock their doors from their mothers for a long time! Mila Kunis playing a sexually adventurous ballerina, sizzles with the right amount of oomph on screen and Vincent Cassel, thrives in his role as a lecherous ballet producer.

Me Fair....You Lovely??

What Doesn't: Aronofsky's cinema thrives on putting its protagonists in situation where their psyche is tried, tested and ripped apart. To this effect, he has often used the above mentioned camera angles and brooding lighting; and for someone who has followed his other movies, this comes across as a tad repetitive. But really, I am just nitpicking here.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall..

Verdict: The Black Swan was a great way to cap off the cinematic year, and we may well see Portman, up on stage, come award time!

Four FrEekies!

Chutney on the side: Aronofsky, first intended to have the Wrestler as a love story between a wrestler and a ballerina, however as that was considered too complex a plot, the Ballet story was hived off into..Black Swan


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