Movie 11/75 – Paan Singh Tomar

Posted in Movies with tags , , , on March 21, 2012 by moviepursuit2012

'Paan Singh Tomar' leaves many behind in the race

Date :- 12/03/2012

Rating :- 4/5

What works :-

  • Irrfan Khan. No matter how much one praises his stupendous performance, one still falls short of words. To see him transform from a 20-something young army recruit to a famed athlete to a fearsome dacoit is pure joy & near flawless. Being in almost every frame the onus of the film to work completely rested with him & he not only does justice to it but in fact raises the bar a notch higher.
  •  There’s a very strong & pertinent emotional core that is at the heart of the story, of exactly what transpires in the life of a person who won accolades for the country to cross over & pick up a gun to become an outlaw. It’s a raw & unhinged portrayal of how ruthlessly the system (which “we” are very much a part of)  treats athletes who’ve brought glory to the country once their careers are over, & the movie doesn’t waver from it even once.
  • Apart from Irrfan even the bit players like Vipin Sharma, Mahie Gill give terrific performances & Brijendra Kala is simply superb as a scared-to-wits journalist.
  • Director Tigmanshu Dhulia competently lays bare the chasm that exists between the “2 India’s” by taking us into the hinterland of the country & smacking us right down with it’s gritty habitat & crude conflicts.

What doesn’t :-

  • In the second half, once the internal conflict that the plot is dealing with is resolved for a little while the movie seems to wander aimlessly.
  • The shoot out sequences get slightly repetitive towards the end.

Final Word :- ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ tells a riveting story of an individual & has a strong message at its core. Without being preachy it makes us ask ourselves the important question of how we should treat those who bring glory to the nation.


Movie 10/75 – Chronicle

Posted in Movies with tags , , , on March 20, 2012 by moviepursuit2012

'Chronicle' doesn't quite soar to the skies

Date :- 25/02/2012

Rating :- 2.5/5

What works :-

  • The film is pretty effective in displaying a nearly apt & accurate portrayal of how things might unravel if a bunch of teenagers obtain superpowers, minus all the comic book-y razzle dazzle.
  • The acting by the relevantly unknown cast is impressive, (especially Alex Russel as the responsible experienced hand) & they don’t waver even in uncharted territories.

What doesn’t :-

  • The “found footage” technique that the film employs does not add any value to it & instead makes the film seem gimmicky.
  • There are logical loopholes owing to the “found footage” treatment . For example, during the climax where all hell is breaking loose & we see news camera’s & window panes being smashed into smithereens one can’t help but wonder why hadn’t the camera shooting the sequence shattered to pieces?
  • All the excitement & build up that the first half succeeds in creating is crashed down by a drab second half.

Final Word :- ‘Chronicle’ starts off on a high but unfortunately over the course of the next 83 minutes ends up on a bleak note. Still it scores brownie points on an original concept & I’d say download it & watch it on a lazy saturday afternoon if you’ve got nothing to do.

Movie 9/75 – The Descendants

Posted in Movies with tags , , , on February 4, 2012 by moviepursuit2012

'The Descendants' adeptly tugs the heart strings

Date :- 1/02/2012

Rating :- 4.5/5

What works :-

  • The themes & stories being told here are quite complex but they’re written so beautifully that one flows effortlessly like the breeze with the narrative
  • All the characters are distinctly human & you will actually start caring about them & their lives & their beliefs.
  • Every actor shines on screen. It’s a pleasure to watch Clooney strip himself off his star persona & actually become Matt King, a man torn between the tough choices in life all the while trying his best to maintain composure. Shailene Woodley as the troubled yet understanding teenager is astonishing , 10 year old Amara Miller is a dynamite, & Judy Greer despite having just 3 scenes in the film makes an indelible mark on our minds.
  • To say the visuals of this film are breathtaking will be a gross understatement, let’s just say you would want to pack your bags & fly to Hawaii as soon as you’re done watching the film.
  • The lines spoken by the characters don’t seem rehearsed or artificial at any stage, they’re achingly real in their nature.

What doesn’t :-

  • The film gets just a wee bit melodramatic towards the climax.

Final word :- Alexander Payne has made a movie that is gentle, funny & moving. It’s one of those that hovers in your mind long after you’re done watching it , & ultimately becomes a memory you cherish forever. Watch it, it’ll make you smile with a tear in your eye.

Movie 8/75 – Haywire

Posted in Movies with tags , , , on February 2, 2012 by moviepursuit2012

'Haywire' is style without substance

Date :- 30/01/2012

Rating :- 2/5

What works :-

  • Gina Carano is a firecracker on screen, a sensuous siren with the agility of a cat & the aggression of a crocodile.
  • The cinematography. Everything from the streets of Barcelona to the rooftops of Dublin to the beaches of Mexico to the plush 5 star hotel ballrooms are a treat to watch.
  • Action sequences are well choreographed.

What doesn’t :-

  • A weak plot that fails to tie up the loose ends comprehensively.
  • Stalwarts like Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, & Antonio Banderas don’t bring much to the table. Frankly any actor with considerable experience could’ve fit into the roles they portray.
  • The film starts off brilliantly but fizzles out by the time it approaches the end–this despite the tight running time of 93 minutes.
  • Trying to be a cross between a spy movie & an action thriller, the film hangs in between & ends up being neither.

Final Word :- If one scratches the glossy exterior of ‘Haywire’ they would unfortunately not find much substance underneath. Watch it only if you’re a hardcore fan of Steven Soderbergh or those semi-potent heist movies from the 90’s.

(P.S :- if you really want to get your thrills I recommend Soderbergh’s tense thriller ‘Contagion‘ from last year. That one had a stellar cast AND a splendid storyline)

Movie 7/75 – Arthur Christmas

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on January 28, 2012 by moviepursuit2012

Arthur Christmas is an absolute joyride

Date :- 24/01/2012

Rating :- 4/5

What works :-

  • The innovative  concept of the mantle of Santa Claus being passed on as a familial heritage is something that has never been explored before.
  • Excellent voice cast.
  • The humour is marvelous. Genuine roll-in-the-aisle stuff for kids & adults alike.
  • The animation is breathtaking in the flight sequences & I personally liked the fact that the animators have maintained the conventional “cartoony” look.

What doesn’t :-

  • Although the film is thoroughly enjoyable it does not give any memorable character to take back with you in the veins of let’s say a Carl Fredricksen, or a Shrek or a Buzz Lightyear

Final Word :- Don’t miss this wondorous sleigh ride, it’s bound to delight the kid in you

Movie 6/75 – Good Night | Good Morning

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on January 26, 2012 by moviepursuit2012

Good Night | Good Morning is like a breath of fresh air

Date :-  23/01/2012

Rating :- 3.5/5

What works :-

  • The dialogue. As a film which revolves around one long telephonic conversation throughout the movie it was essential the conversation keeps us hooked, & it does. All the while also feeling very casual & effortless.
  • The script is extremely well crafted, cursively cruising back & forth between alternate realities, flashbacks, & the present.
  • The acting by the 2 leads Seema Rahmani & Manu Narayan is mint fresh & clearly carves out the drastically different personalities of the two central characters. Raja Sen & Vasanth Santosham work well as comic relief too.
  • The black & white visual look of the film is pleasing & despite being shot mostly in just 2 settings  i.e.  inside a car & a hotel room the monotony is broken thanks to the split-screen, clever shots & camera angles.
  • The slick, composed 80 minute running time.

What doesn’t :-

  • For a brief while near the half way mark the flashback of a painful past seems slightly long drawn & interferes with the flow.
  • The film does not entirely do justice to its tagline – “The phone call that changed their lives”. It’s effective sure, but life changing? That sounds dicey.
  • Not for the impatient viewer.

Final word :- Do not get bogged down by the “experimental” tag that’s been stuck to the film. Sudhish Kamath’s ‘Good Night | Good Morning’ is a charming little film that deserves a dekko & it feels good to see there are Indian film makers doing something different, original & engaging.

Movie 5/75 – Coriolanus

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on January 23, 2012 by moviepursuit2012

Coriolanus proves the Bard's work is timeless

Date :-  20/01/2012

Rating :- 3/5

What works :-

  • Fiennes nails it by setting the classic Shakespearean play in a modern setting. During the war scenes the film echoes of gritty war flicks like ‘The Hurt Locker’ while at other times it provides the intensity of a notorious political drama.
  • By keeping Shakespeare’s dialog intact the film resurrects & reconfirms the pristine power of his words.
  • The acting is top notch with the who’s who of experienced stage hands packing one powerful punch after another. Ralph Fiennes has an undeniable energy onscreen which makes it impossible to not be drawn in & among the supporting cast Vanessa Redgrave in particular is a powerhouse.

What doesn’t :-

  • Gerard Butler. Although his role is small it had the scope to be very impactful. Unfortunately he spends most of the screen time blabbering in his quasi-Irish accent sounding more like one of those caricatures out of ‘How to train your dragon’. He should’ve been given more of the 300 style ‘SPARTAAAAA’ stuff to do.
  • The third act could’ve been made crispier, it ends up making the film a wee bit too long.
  • For the non-patient viewer the iambic pentameters would be too much to bear.

Final word :- Once you get past the innate grandiosity & purity of the prose one realises that  Ralph Fiennes’ commanding directorial debut has proved once again that William Shakespeare’s works are as relevant today as they were back in the 1600’s.