Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Oru Indian Pranayakatha review

'Oru indian Pranayakatha' or OIP is the latest creation from one of the most admired directors of Malayalam Cinema, Mr. Satyan Anthikad. Mr. Anthikad has been a familiar name around many of the family audiences, as his movies usually concentrate on the bonding and morality of kerala relationships and families. In OIP, he has struggled to create the same magic that he usually brings. Here he has tried something different, as this film is not situated in a house in a village as the central location. He has wandered a bit and used several locations, which is normally not his style.

An aspiring youth party member in a big political party looks forward to his standing in the elections as an MLA, but various politics inside his group foils his plan. Now he has to look forward to something else, and that is when he meets a lady documentary maker from Canada of Indian origin. Now hearing this we might think the movie is about politics and its satire, or about making  a documentary about our state and its experiences changes the protagonist. but nothing like that. the story is something else, and it starts only by the second half, and it is boring. What constitutes the first half is the directionless storyline with some comedy and establishment of the characters.Well, if i had seen a couple of his earlier movies, i could have compared those with OIP, but i can't. I feel so sad to see that Malayalam movies can't concentrate on one topic for the whole 2-2 and a half hours. The scripts are loaded with unnecessary subplots and plots itself as fillers. (Of course, there are exceptions.)

The major attraction (the only one) in this move is Fahadh Fazil. He is not the guy you saw in 'Amen', or '24 Katham', but a lit up energetic party member, with all the qualities and cunningness of the world. His mannerisms and presentation of the character is so unique, and funny. His performance and certain dialouges are the saving graces of this movie.

On the other hand, Amala Paul as the documentary maker is very disappointing. She is totally out of place in a Satyan Anthikad movie, which usually produces natural actors. She can't even sit expressionless without looking fake, and not interested in the happenings in the movie. I don't know why i felt she was a decent actress in her tamil movies, especially 'Kadhal Sodhapuvadhu Eppidi'.

There are a few songs also in this movie, that could irritate you, but maybe the majority won't find it disturbing. Innocent does a major role and he is funny in most of the scenes. As i mentioned the dialouges in the first half, with the satires is beautiful, and helps the storyline, but the writer seems to have forced the storyline in the second half, with nothing special coming out of it, except some loud bgms. And well its supposed to be a 'Pranayakatha'(love story), but since i have not mentioned about it anywhere you can understand how much 'Pranayam' (love) is there.

 I would give it a 2/5, only and only for Fahadh.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Prisoners review

Prisoners directed by Denis Villeneuve, and featuring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall, is one of those movies, which unravels slowly and takes you for a spin. Hugh Jackman plays a loving father, who finds his little girl kidnapped along with his neighbour's daughter. 

Jackman suspects a mentally unstable man behind all this and when he sees no action from the police, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Is he right about this man, is the question, isn't it?

This performance driven, suspense drama holds you back onto your seats till the very end of its 150 mins duration. Jack Hughman must have had academy nominations while doing this role, and so must have Jake Gyllenhall. Jack's countryside middle class father, who loves his family and god alike, and believes in punishing sinners. He is ruthless and paranoid at one point as he believes he is doing god's work. Jake on the other hand keeps his calm althrough the film, even as the character's personal life is in a turmoil. The neighbours played by Academy award nominee Viola Davis, and Terrence Howard, have a justified role to play. They play an alter ego to Jackman. While Maria Bello plays Jackman's wife. Paul Dano as the unstable man who is suspected of kidnapping the kids is a delight to watch. His quiet mumblings and unspoken mannerisms make him a worthy performer. Melissa Leo as his adopted parent has her own issues to fend to.

Denis' slow and intense treatment with too many emotional placements, work out in a way that the film looks to be too moody to be stated as a thriller. But we have seen slow investigative movies like 'Zodiac' and 'Insomnia', and therefore would find the patience to wait until the story works itself out. The tone and edit is very sombre as the theme of the film, and the film at no point feels the need to rush into any checkpoints soon. It brings in one character after another and keeps us guessing for the right answer. The film has already got rave reviews from the festival circles, and many of them were looking forward to seeing it in the big award nights. It's in line to get a nod for the Academy Awards too. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Hobbit : Desolation of Smaug review ... Soars high

I am a non-reader of the Hobbit books (i think its wiser to read after watching the movie, so that you enjoy both), and therefore the storyline and events were completely new to me; except for what has happened years later in the Lord of the rings timeline. Even then i thought the first movie in the 'Hobbit' series was a bit too prolonged and had less of content. All that happens in it was the introduction to the middle-earth, which we already were familiar with, having seen three 4 hour movies about it ten years back. Then there was the hobbit who we already knew, again as Frodo's grandfather. The movie was about how he got into this company of 13 dwarves and their quest to regain their kingdom, how he got a magical ring and an introduction about a problem maker called the Necromancer somewhere far away. Well, I didn't think that needed 3 hours on screen. But you know Peter Jackson. He is in awe of things awesome. Now, he is back again with the second instalment, and he wastes no time in any introductions here.

Now that we are all tucked in, he straight away begins with the chase of Wargs and Azog, who are summoned soon by the Necromancer for a new mission. The company continues their journey into the dark forest, and battling wild beings. Then the meeting with the 'Wild elves' who have not been in good terms with the dwarves since, you know, the desolation of Smaug. Its interesting to know that one of our favourite characters from the 'LOTR' series is back in this one, though his character never appeared in the actual book. Legolas, the elven prince, is swift and young as he has always been and was having a grudge against the dwarves which we know he carried till he met Gimli in 'LOTR'. Well Gimli does get a mention about him in this movie. Watch out for that ;) Along with Gimli is the Elven king, Thranduil, who abandons the dwarves during the seige by the dragon as shown in the first film, and a she-elf of lower heirarchy played by Evangeline Lily of 'LOST' fame. This character too was created by Jackson to add more flavour, with a bit romantic spin (well there is Legolas of course, but a triangle might soon be possible. Well, did you expect that?).

For those who thought Jackson was OK, in the first movie bringing in a few sequences of falling goblins on rope walkways and dwarves jumping off the cliff onto eagles, they will be treated to a more charged up Jackson treat with arrows flying around everywhere (yes, in 3D), and dwarves and hobbit driving hollow barrels through a steep current while orcs follow them, and some astonishing action happening all this time in the very persistent Jackson style; don't be surprised if you love it. Jackson is a master with such sequences, especially chases and escapes and wars, atleast in the Middle World.

Another character that comes to the fore is the Bard of the Lake-town, a trade city on the waters that lost its glow after the coming of the dragon. He helps the dwarves to cross the town to reach Erebor. But does he have a backstory? Yes, and I'm sure there's more of him in the next movie too. Played by Luke Evans of let's say 'Fast n Furious' fame, The Bard is an important character of the Hobbit.

Well, the movie is named 'Desolation of Smaug' and till now you thought it might just spring up sometime near to the climax, then you are wrong. You get a full visual treat to the 'Smaug', who is voiced by none other than many people's current favourite Benedict Cumberbatch. Smaug spreads its wings and stands up tall, and soars high. You are amazed by the enormity, as the Hobbit, and you look in awe of one of the reel versions finest, biggest and most detailed dragon ever. Its spews fire all across the Great Halls of Erebor, as the dwarves and Bilbo try to evade it, and you wish it never stopped. But it does; atleast in this movie, and it was sudden and unexpected of Jackson to have ended at a places where people are most attentive. Now you have to wait a full year to see this mighty dragon again.

Elsewhere, our beloved Gandalf the Grey is brought to notice of evil powers stirring and he goes a different path in the very beginning of the movie (as he always does) to enquire about the news. He faces disturbing facts and meets with the Necromancer, finding a huge army ready to fight the world. Well, we already know (even the non readers) about what's to come next, but we still have questions that need answering in the next movie. We know that after this, when 'LOTR' starts many of these characters do not appear then. We have seen what Erebor becomes. We do not know what Arkenstone does in the movie, though we have an idea about the ring. Desolation leaves us on a cliffhanger and the wait will surely kill us.

For those who thought Hobbit might not be a worthy successor to 'LOTR' movies after watching the first one, i recommend you watch this one anyway. You might e surprised what somebody like Jackson can spring onto you just when you think that you have seen it all. So whoever has seen Hobbit 1, i say, must surely catch this one too.