Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PK - Hirani is still the king of satirical comedies

PK is funny, full of satires and message loaded. But that was expected of the director whose previous masterpieces included the unparalleled 'MunnaBhai' movies. Then again, he also had the highest grossing movie for the longest time with '3 Idiots'. But I think the ordinary audience who jump into movies like "Happy New Year' didn't know that. Therefore, it started slow in the box office. But for movies like these (of course other than the ardent Aamir followers), there is the scope to grow with the passage of word of mouth. It did just that.

PK questions the idea of god that has grown into a large scale business and a weapon for terrorizing the common man. It questions the pea sized human brain which would believe that a god who sees his creation as children will force upon ideas like jihad and conversions and difficult painstaking rituals. He also questions god men and priests and others who blindly follow them. Everybody in the audience were laughing and nodding every time Hirani creates over the top, but beautiful situations where the main character confronts these so called beliefs, but I am sure, it is out through the next ear the moment they are out of the hall.

Another point Hirani touched upon was a topic that I have always wondered about. His character says that earth is a special place. Things that propagate love and bonding like kiss or even sex has to be very private, but you can openly fight and kill and riot. In a perfect world, that would be something to think about. The former is a very harmless thing, but everybody makes a big hue and cry about those. But riots and fights, which hurt people are always justified with some or the other meaningless means. PK successfully puts out those questions in our minds on to the screen, without too much preaching and lot of fun.

It does go on the melodramatic side, but that is Hirani's strong point and he plays well with it. He got a little sidetracked trying to put in a romantic angle into Aamir's character. But, he gets Aamir to do another role that challenged the actor - this time he performed it without even a blink of an eye, literally. Aamir puts away the debacle of acting in 'Dhoom 3' and reminds us that he is still in the business of quality cinema. Anushka, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani and Sushant Singh supported the main character in all possible ways giving way to quite some laughs.

Music was cool, except for the love song in between that Aamir dreams of, which kind of was unnecessary. A little bit of appreciation for the CGI guys too. All in all, a good time pass. But, if someone actually understands the satire and changes, the better the impact of this movie.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hobbit 3 : Battle of five armies has it all...except

Now for those who haven't watched this movie and are following the LOTR and hobbit movies, even lazily, then all you have to read is this : Go, watch it!

Those who have seen the movie can continue and share in my impression about this movie.

It was amazing all the way. Hobbit sequels started off very childishly, expanded its territories in the next and set up the great battle of amazement for the end. All through the movie I was only having a bad feeling; why is this scene(any one for that matter) so short. There's going to be a lot of complaints in here. Spoilers. Why did Smaug die so fast, why was Bolg killed so easily, why Azog wasn't let to live for a few more minutes? Why did this movie have to be just 144 minutes. Well, these are my serious concerns. Knowing Peter Jackson who is famous for making 4 and a half hour movies, deciding to cut out the final hobbit movie into just under two and  a half hour film is outrageous.

Peter Jackson is a master when it comes to heroic action filled epic battles and this time around he did just what he was good at. The movie doesn't waste time to kill of Smaug, which, now i think should have been an apt end to the last movie. The movie does work a lot on Thorin's character inconsistencies, and the moments that leads to the war are all gracefully done. The action sequences that followed and the thrilling war is a master piece. But what was not done gracefully was tying the knots and smoothing the end. It was very abrupt. The war ended very abruptly. He concentrated more on the one on ones, which is sad. We know what Jackson could do with a handful of people and CGI. I wanted more, and I am sure there was more. A lot of scenes from the trailers never made it to the big screen.

There was little Benedict Cumberbatch. There was more of Cate Blanchett, but we could have had more. The action on top of the Necromancer's hideout, was quite the fun, but too short. In the beginning when Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee made their appearances, I really thought Peter has gone the extra mile to tie a few knots linking this to LOTR, but I was so disappointed in the end. There was no Smeagol. There was no Frodo. There was just the mention of Strider. Maybe Peter took some people's complaints of adding more to Hobbit, seriously. But I am one of those who liked what he did with the additions, in the case of the previous two films. But in this one, I would take the other direction. Legolas and Tauriel visiting Angmar, made no sense. Hugo Weaving and Lee was wasted. To an extent even Ian Mckellan was wasted here.

The grand CGI and admirable fight scenes makes this movie a must watch, but from the script side, Peter Jackson did make a lot of sacrifices. Hoping to see a better version when the extended storyline comes out.

PS: Do watch it in the biggest screen you can find. It's worth it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Exodus : Gods(Viewers) and King(Ridley)

Exodus tells the story of Moses and Ramses and how they turned against each other. Well, I didn't put how they grew up together, because the director doesn't waste anytime explaining the back stories. He's more interested in showing the heavy damage that god bring's upon Egypt. Ridley Scott, known for his award winning "Gladiator", and many others, tries to take the 'Michael Bay' road this time with this epic. But sadly, he was not only unable to create a meaningful script out of the very famous story of Moses, but also was unable to capture the audiences' imaginations too.

The story dragged out till the middle, and any excitement, if any, was gathered after the interval when god starts punishing the Egyptians. He filled the big Imax screen, where I saw the movie, with disasters. One after another, Egypt met with plague and suffering, and Scott left no stone upturned to get the maximum result. The bloody river, the humongous crocodiles, the jumpy frogs, and the flies and locusts, filled the screen with dread. But, again sadly, it doesn't remain in your thoughts (Loved the crocodiles, though).

The biggest trump card for him was the red sea scene, and it was promoted with a huge tantrum. This he had to get right, no matter what. He did succeed, and to say that it was less than awesome, would be too much of a scrutiny, but I would take that chance. I believed it could have been done for a better amount of time, and given the viewer more satisfaction than it had already given. He anyways never planned to dwell in the story or give any kind of interpretation, as Mr. Aronofsky did with 'Noah'. His full energy went into making it glorious.

My biggest disappointment was the use of 3D, or rather, the lack of it. There were so many opportunities presented to give a cool 3D experience, but they preferred making it 3D just for the namesake. This film can be seen in 2D with no shortcomings. The large part of the screen was mostly out of focus or rather shoddy on the big screen. There were a couple of imaginative shots by the cinematographer, but for the most part of it, the shots were ordinary. So goes for the edit. There were couple of scenes where you would wonder why the edit is bad.

Nothing special to expect even from the cast, though it is packed with power performers like Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton. Sigourney Weaver was just wasted away in an insignificant role, while Ben Kingsley was given a lot to talk , but not to act. Aaron Paul comes in a new avatar as Joshua.

For people who wants a story, well, as obvious as it is, there is nothing new in this flick about Moses. For those who see more than a story in a film, will get only as much as promised in the trailers. A movie that could be avoided if you feel like it. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

How old are you (2014) - Malayalam Movie Review

'How Old Are You' is a 2014 Malayalam movie directed by Rosshan Andrews which was slated to be the comeback of one of Malayalam's most adored actors, Manju Warrier. If Manju had wished for more, it could not be better than having the story written by the most popular duo of Screenwriting in Malayalam, Sanjay-Bobby.  She is joined by Kunjako, in the role of her husband. 


Manju is Nimmi, a regular housewife with no life other than her husband and kid. She is a lazy government staff  and has high blood pressure because of her present lifestyle. Rosshan Andrews carves up a story about a 'nobody' who realizes her potential and becomes the 'somebody' in a linear storyline with no heavy plot-twisting. The focus therefore lies in how he does that without the tried and tired routines. Rosshan and his team of writers concentrated on several current topics in Kerala, and he did it so carefully, unlike many others, by not swaying away from the scope of the film. Every relevant information was closely knit into the perspective of a working house-maker. Poisonous vegetable markets, bringing up kids in the internet age, role of women in family and society and health took the prime slots in this social drama about women empowerment. He also got to take a dig on the 'highly-opiniated' individuals on Facebook. All this encapsulated in a story that was not much of brain teaser. But, it got his work done.
The film gained much by the popularity of Manju Warrier, and rightly so. This movie paved a way to create more opportunities for women leads who are not in their sixteens. New directors are trying newer and bolder stories with matured women in lead, which reminds me of the malayalam movie industry of the 90's with 'Manichitra Thazhu's Shobana, or 'Kakkothikavile Apoopan Thaadigal's Revathy...Why, Manju in her last movie 'Kannezhuthi Pottum thottu'.
 In here, Manju was not only convincing as the undermined housewife, but she also brings in her charm that would grip your melting hearts during her scenes of confrontation with her husband. Kunjako Boban on the other hand doesn't mind being over shadowed by the protagonist most of the time, but still does justice to his role. Smaller roles of Kanika, Vinay Forrt and Devan were important too. Though stereotypical, Thesni Khan donned the role of the jealous co-worker to viewers satisfaction.
The movie promised to be a engaging social drama on women empowerment and it does just that without being too much conscious about the logic in some places. This movie is not a limelight on intelligent plot creation and suspense, which seems to be the norm for malayalam movies these days, but a simple non-pretentious attempt at bringing the women in the homes to the centre. A lesson in creating a respect towards them. The background music was loud enough and repetitive, but it was jelling with the story. Cinematography is commendable; especially the aerial shots of iron bridge in Willington Island and the Marathon.

I rate the movie a 4/5, and strongly recommend it to viewers.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

'Gotham' pilot review

The 2014 fall TV premiere season has started and the newest and one of the most promising entrant in TV this year is 'Gotham'. It is based on the pre-life in the city of Gotham before Batman incarnates, as in the DC comics. The series had garnered a lot of attention after its announcement due to the huge success of yet another DC based TV show, the 'Arrow'. The pilot was premiered in San Diego Comic con too, where a few fans got the first glimpse of the forthcoming series.

The pilot was rated not so favorably then. Some people felt the series missed the charm of the other DC adaptations. Now as the pilot has been released to viewers, we can now see it for ourselves. The first impression for me was similar, but before you stop reading and concluding about the show, I would like to note that there could be a silver lining in the end. The episode races against time to establish its world. It starts with a couple (exactly a couple) of shots of the city Gotham, and rushes off to bring in the characters of the show. Before you know it, Bruce Wayne's most important turning point in life is over and done with, and there enters the main character of the show, Det. Gordon. Then comes Riddler, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Fish mooney, Gordon's partner Harvey, Alfred, and by the end all the characters have been not just established, but most of their origin stories have been completed. Yes, in just one episode.

Now the silver lining I was talking about was in the realization that what has been promised in the trailers and  other promotions have already been delivered. Now that leaves you with a season full of the 'unknown'. You thought this was all the season was about but, you have mistaken. Obviously now there has to be more, and each of these characters have more important roles to play; some will bring more menace, while some will save the city.

Back to the pilot, if the acting and writing were any indication for the future episodes, I would say without any doubt that this will be the single season of 'Gotham'. An episode that dashes to the finish line has writing so bad, that you could yawn in between certain scenes. The scene where Gordan tells little Wayne that he will capture the killer is one such moment. Gordon's love interest is equally lame, but of course she has secrets of her own(for the sake of the show). So is the background music. Too loud and unnecessary in most parts. For a show of this concept, why hasn't anybody felt concerned for some good music??? The show in great measures lack originality.

The show clearly indicates that it won't be focusing on Wayne or Batman at all. If it had, it wouldn't have messed up the scene where young Batman's parents are murdered. We would have seen why that moment was so life changing for Wayne. It would have touched upon the relation of his with his parents. The pilot doesn't do that, but I hope future episodes do. I have a feeling Det. Gordon wouldn't be able to carry the show on his own for long.

The acting side has also been terrible. The only saving grace according to me was Jada-Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney. Even if her lines were not good enough, she salvaged it from ruining her character. But the same cannot be said of any of the others. I look forward to more from Robin Taylor as Penguin, but bad writing can destroy him too.

But as I mentioned I am ready to give 'Gotham' another chance, and so waiting to get a peek on the next episode. Here it is, the trailer of episode 2 'Selina Kyle'.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

'Crossbones' on NBC seems stale and outdated

The new series that opened on NBC the last week, based on the pirate legend BlackBeard, managed very few good reviews. The content was old, and the making proved to be abysmal. The series named 'CrossBones' seemed to stagger from the very beginning, with the screenplay racing towards an invisible finishing line, gulping up almost enough content that could have made a season worth of stuff on TV. The introductions to the characters were bad, only to be saved the shame, by even worse use of actors. Imagine a man of John Malkovich's demeanour, delivering a threat to someone, and we as audience feel nothing, but ordinary words coming out of a bald man's mouth.

The immediate comparison to Starz 'Black Sails' would make it more difficult for this series. 'Black Sails' achieved the status of moody pirate tale, with plots that delivered its darkness to the audience, unlike 'Crossbones', which linger in a space between comedy and stupidity. The actors are almost pathetic, and nothing they do seems to work.

Its upto the writers now, to change the fate of this new series, else we might not really want it to return again.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

'Crossbones' coming on NBC on May 30

The above is the trailer of NBC's new pirate show based on the character of BlackBeard, the legendary pirate king. It is called the 'Crossbones'. It feature John Malkovich as the pirate.

If you loved this year's previous pirate outing with Starz's 'Black Sails', then you are more or less likely to love this premise too. While some of the pirate characters have been already introduced to you in 'Black Sails' and the other pirate movies we got before, 'Crossbones' is more likely to follow only Blackbeard.

The trailer looks more bright and funnier than the dark 'Black Sails', but I wouldn't put it as a good thing here for 'Crossbones'. Lets wait and see if John can bring in fresh approach to this pirate saga. We will get to see it on May 30, when it premieres on NBC. Until then, wait patiently.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

'Gotham' comes this fall on FOX network

After DC's ground breaking and successful outing with their 'Arrow' series, now they have extended their hard-hitting tv arena from Starling city to Gotham city. Introducing 'Gotham', a series based on the pre-Batman times in the crime-ruling city of Gotham. The main focus of this series would be on Detective Gordan, and his relationship with the boy who lost his parents, Bruce Wayne. The first season trailer has already come out, and we are promised more than just Batman and Gordon. We also see the earlier versions of Catwoman, Penguin and Riddler. I promise you, this trailer is more than enough to get your pulse racing. Come fall, and they would come to you on your television sets. Until then, brace yourselves for this riveting trailer.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Game of Thrones : Two Sword s04 e01 review


Finally, we are back at Westeros, and the fun has already begun. Starting with a beautifully edited recap, with the climax having Ned Starks head sliced with his sword, just leads us to the marvellous start this season has just made. The sword of Ned Stark is the beginning, and is the first sword as mentioned in the title. We see Tywin Lannister melting the blade to forge two new ones. He presents one to his favourite son, Jaime, but is clearly unhappy with the turn of events, where he got his sword hand severed (in the last season). The crowd favourite Tyrion is brought in very next, giving an impression, that he is there to stay.

This episode does bring in a load of new characters. To begin with, as the Dornish men marches in to attend Joffrey's wedding, they bring the hot headed brother of the king of Dorne, Oberyn Martell. Now he is not a big fan of the Lannisters and he is come with a heart for revenge. Along with him, the beautiful paramour of his, Ellaria Sand. As Tyrion puts it, "It means more trouble".

Danearys marches to Mereen with her huge army and her dragons. The dragons flutter and growl dangerously, as Danaerys wonders if she would be able to tame these beasts. Her romances with Daario Naharis continues, and we therfore get to see the man who has been recast. Well, lets say he is an upgrade.

Sansa is traumatized, and tries to hide away from the world, but meets a new friend. Shae is getting irritated with Tyrion, as he restricts her advances, and this reaches the enemies ears. Cersei is looking for chances to get the thing she loves most, Power, and Jon Snow faces a trial in front of the crows where he reveals Mance's attack plans.

The wildlings are gathering, and a new group has joined Tormund. Enter Thenns, and their leader the Magnar. Down south, the preparations for wedding is going on with grand enthusiasm. But not to forget, the hurt wolf, the little Arya riding with the Hound. They see a group of King's people vandalising an Inn, and one of them has got Arya's blade. Yes, the second blade in the title, The Needle. As they attack them, Arya grabs her blade back, and with cold eyes, and vengeance in her tongue, puts the blade through yet another name in her checklist.

Who was missing this episode was, Bran, Theon, Asha and the Stannis battalion, along with the two masterminds of King's landing, Littlefinger, and Varys. But you can see them coming soon. Watch the next episode's trailer.

Wait till next week,to carry on with their exciting journeys through Westeros.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

'The Flash' displays his full costume

Since Grant Gustin appeared on the CW's hit series 'Arrow', based on the DC comics character the 'Green Arrow', as Barry Allen, there was an excitement in air about the new show CW was churning out. This new show will be fully based on the heroics of another one of DC's comic superheroes; 'The Flash'. Two episodes were dedicated to the establishment of this character in CW's TV world, where he disappeared after being hit by a lightning.

A few weeks later, CW came out with the first photograph that shows Gustin in the mask. The mask of 'The Flash'. Internet was buzz with talks about this new look, and there were many feedbacks given. Now another photo has been revealed which shows Gustin in his full attire. The one big long shot of 'The Flash'. Right below!

What do you think? This guy will be hitting your screens soon. So get ready for some super action.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Om Shanthi Ooshana review

By now, we have seen quite a formidable number of malayalam movies where the main characters are in first-person narration mode through out the film. This one too, though starts with Salim Kumar narrating in his typical 'Kath(ththth)a Presangam' style, has Nasriya interrupting him in within five minutes, asking him to let her tell her own story. She talks about how she was while growing up, what she thought of love, how she met her dream boy, and as the posters show how she 'vallachufy' the guy.

When you ask what exactly is the story, if the above line doesn't satisfy you, then all I can say is 'Entoro Ento'. But if you are OK with it, then you would be interested  to know what else drives this movie. Since youtube has given a fair advantage to short film makers, and the exceeding popularity of these kind of simply funny stuff, based on some lost love, or how girls dump guys, your college love, or similarly cliched short films gain lot of interest among youngsters, today's movies also shamelessly try to imitate these films. While a lot of the comedy which drives this movie is similarly based, and is funny too when you watch them, the sad part is it doesn't linger enough for us to rethink and laugh while you are sleepy in your classroom, or wandering on the road.

Nasriya as the main lead, is everything Nasriya should be and always has been. The bubbly, froward child with charms and innocence that us malayalees like. Has she been any different the whole movie would have bombed. Nivin Pauly on the other hand, shed his innocent face, and returns to his debut look in 'Malarvadi Arts Club', threatening people on the road who looks at girls. This extra macho guy with a sense of righteousness steals our heroines heart, and from then its her vain attempt to get this guy to love her back.

Nasriya's father character is an open minded Christian, who believes Christ died for everyone in this world, not just the Christians. He also records his own songs and listens to it. Don't know why I mentioned it. Actually don't know why the film mentions that because it doesn't come anywhere in the film again. But then there is the short film style impact I was talking about. Some random joke in narration that is not important to the story.  Aju as Nivin's old friend turned foe, is decent, but he has done much better roles before, especially in 'Thattathin Marayathu' which made me a fan of his.

There is VijayaRaghavan, Vineeth Srinivasan, Vinaya Prasad, some new girls, etc in small roles. Well, there is Lal Jose too, but why was he in that role is the question. Also it seemed too forced a role. Sometimes it bothers when you see the same people again and again in movies made under the same banner.

The movie is simple, and in some ways funny. But I have seen better attempts than this one, which banks on Nasriya to do their job. Well, watch it for her anyway. I know you will :P

Thursday, January 30, 2014

August : Osage County Review

I felt terrible when Merly Streep was once again nominated for this year's Oscars for best Actress, when the performance of Emma Thompson for 'Saving Mr. Banks' was ignored; but then i hadn't watched this insane and scorching movie. Merly Streep has that command over the character that we have seen over and over again and again, where she just sucks you into her characters head, and make you believe that if you were her(the character), this is exactly what you would find yourselves doing.

She is unbelievable as the highly melodramatic mother who is internally dealing with abandonment issues. She has cancer and she is living on pills. The death of her husband brings her three daughters home, where there is a constant fight among the four, about who is responsible of this whole mess.

Merly Streep swoops the whole area from her counterparts in all the scenes she makes a nod. She rants continuously about her abandonment, about her daughters lives, and about her husband. I have never seen Meryl so high pitched since 'Mama Mia' . She is bossy and a boastful know-it-all, that she doesn't notice who she hurts in order to make her statements.

Julia Roberts as the eldest daughter, has also earned a nomination in the supporting actress list for this years Oscars. She portrays a control-freak, who is on the verge of a divorce from her husband and has no idea how to deal with her disobedient daughter. She tries to come into this house and set straight all the mess made by her mother. Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis are the other two daughters who, like anyone else in this dysfunctional family have a lot going on.

The movie is very much a performance based one, based on the dark comedic play by Tracy Letts, who has also written the screenplay for this movie. When you think of this movie with a Merly Streep as its poster girl, we would cease to look any forward for decent performances. But in here, we are shocked to find some excellent scenes where the supporting cast holds its own. With a genius actor in Benedict Cumberbatch who had a relatively easier role in here; but then when you see this on-screen arrogant mad genius play a humble and socially awkward character, you would stand up with a hearty ovation. The other surprise among the cast was Chris Copper and Margo MartinDale. Margo, an amazing actress who is very used to doing supporting roles, kicks in with a one-scene firework, that has her morph from the amiable fat old lady to an angry dark bitchy girl. It was Whoa!! The movie also features Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney and Abigail Breslin.

One very amusing part of the movie is that the main plots unfurl in two or three really big scenes, which happens around the dinner table. The characters talk about themselves, and others, and try to clean up their good slates, finding only more and more guilt and pain. The director John Wells, deliberately but yet subtly brings around engaging conversations, as if right out of a play, and delivers some really good moments for you to like about.

August Osage county, moves up my list, because of its engaging screenplay and intelligent performers.

Friday, January 24, 2014

'Her' is all about him...Joaquin Phoenix

We had just seen and wondered where he went wrong last year, to not have been able to stand on the Oscars podium with the golden statue in hand. In fact, he didnt receive any of the major awards for his jaw-dropping performance in 'The Master'. This year again this man arrives with another exceptional performance, very much in contrast to his awkward character in 'The master' in 'Her'.

Spike Jones futuristic, surreal in some ways romance of a man and his artificial intelligence, is simply a bizarrely likeable movie. Theodore played by Joaquin, is lonely after his divorce, and finds comfort and support in a modern OS which talks to its users after understanding the psyche of the user. It goes very well for long, and he is convinced that he has fallen in love with this OS in the way that he would have loved a human. Things change and the movie tries to subtly put across the challenges of human and technology interactions. A little surreal in the way Jones has characterized the AI (with Scarlett Johanssens voice), but able to convey the meaninglessness of not having a real relationship. The movie does at times encourage the possibility of a love story with machines and AI, but doesn't go overboard with the idea. Can love thrive without a physical body? This theme though approached by many in different ways, like love through letters or through phone, now finds a new interpretation here. He does successfully bring out the emotions though the protagonist was in love with an OS. The movie moves from being just another smart or an intelligently written futuristic drama, to a touching and warm love story.

Joaquin Phoenix has always been in films where performance will always be the highlight. Him , and yet another impressive performer, Amy Adams, who was with him in 'The Master' too, have given admirable but subtle performances for this movie. Amy Adams would be more happier with her work in 'American Hustle', but her small but consistent act, gives the movie more amp. Rooney Mara as the divorced wife, and Olivia Wilde as a date, justifies their roles too.

With just two main characters and an exploration to find love in a age where people are more connected to machines than the person sitting a palm away from you, 'Her' raises a few questions and in a way, answers many of them too, which come out to be food for thought for the viewers. Even after being a post-modernly tech and highly fictional futuristic drama, it touches all the right notes of human emotions.

Monday, January 20, 2014

New series on Starz 'black sails' pilot on Machinima

This is what i read today

"Machinima has debuted the premiere of the new Starz show, Black Sails, today – a week before the show hits your TV screen!"

...and in a moment i was online to look for this new episode, which i thought would debut only on 25th on Starz. I was excited because i loved the 'Pirates' from the 'POTC' series till the third, and then I had really thought that the writers and story makers went out of steam for anything new about pirate lifes. Its then I see this show name, and I thought that this was a good way for the Pirates to regain some popularity again. So with that hope, i started watching the first episode.

The 'Black Sails' takes place in 1715, which is two years before the famous, R L Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' s storyline. Captain Flint is in search of this huge ship from Spain, which carries an amazing treasure. They are followed by the Navy, and enemy pirates alike. Moreover, there seems to be a mutiny within their ships too. The first episode gets to all that, and makes the premises clear. We, from next episode have more interesting twists and turns to watch out for. The journey is ready, and now the captain should be well starting to recruit. What are your choices?? From the executive producer Michael Bay. So do not 'not' expect fireworks.

Captain Flint is played by Toby Stephens of 'Die Another Day' fame, and for Indians you might be more familiar of him as the English friend of Mangal Pandey in Aamir's ' Mangal Pandey : The Rising'.

A decent take on a pirate's story, and interestingly the ones in 'Treasure Island'. Seems to be a must watch new series of the year. Watch the full episode here (not available in many countries):


Well atleast watch out for the trailers if you are catching it on TV next week

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club Review

Dallas Buyers club is a movie from the indie cinema houses which deals with the familiar area of a regular man going up against the powerful government authorities. But this is no thriller, but a sensitive portrayal of the protagonist, Ron Woodruf, and how he lived through after the diagnosis o AIDS, while fighting with the government for the right medication.

The movie is about the heart-warming struggle of an HIV patient confronting the authorities selling profitable drugs to patients, even though it is known to have adverse effects on them. Ron, smuggles better medication unapproved by the FDA, and sells to people like him, and that gets him into a lot of struggle with the FDA and the law. The movie tries to take in a large issue and sell it through the struggle of one man, and it is beautifully done.

Mathew McConaughey and Jared leto's excellent transformations -  not just into the psyche of the characters but literally into their bodies too - is not justified when I say was 'amazing'. Mathew follows the notes of Christian Bale and breaks down his body into one weightless mass, with nothing but bones tearing out of it. Added to that his charm and emotional range, and his performance skyrockets to incredible levels. A good few years for you now, huh, Mathew?? If i had any doubts on the best supporting actor this year - thats vanished after watching an astonishingly easy work of Jared Leto as a transgender. He lives the role without letting one moment pass by where you can see anybody else but a transgender. Both of them had won a Golden globe in their categories, and no doubt are the front runners for this years Oscars. If anybody else can be as proud as them, it would be only Christian Bale for his transformation as a fat fraudster in 'American Hustle', or the frail brother in 'Out of the Furnace'.

Music was scantily put, but helped the movie in its treatment. Jenifer Garner looked ever so beautiful in her role as a doctor who can't stand the authorities and their bullying.

The movie might not stand out as an 'issue' movie, but can be proud of being a performance powerhouse, and does have a decent script to go about. Selected in the category of Best Film too, this year, 'Dallas Buyers club' deserves the attention it gets.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

12 years a slave review

Steve McQueen's '12 years a Slave' has been doing rounds at the major award nights this year. This tale of a free black man, forced into slavery and made to suffer and work in the most brute conditions, is a story of pain and sorrow. Unlike other films on Blacks, this is not a story of liberation, but the pain of submission. Steve McQueen adapts the biography of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped by businessmen and sold into slavery.

The movie won the Golden Globe last night, for the best film in Drama category. But, i felt that the movie forces the audiences into visuals of violence to garner empathy, whereas otherwise they would have failed to establish anything valuable in the movie. The sufferings of Blacks in those ages were the focus and that was brought about through the experiences of Mr. Northup. I felt 'Daniel Lee's The Butler' had made me empathize and relate to the movement of Black's liberation more than this movie could do.

Chiwetel Ejiofor will get more nominations for his representation of Mr. Solomon and how he falls and survives in the pangs of slavery. A mean and brutal performance, just like his character in the movie, from Michael Fassbender might see him to the stage of Oscars this year. While yet another chance for an Oscar in the performances category could come from Lupita Nyong'o, who plays a young black slave mistreated by the lustful Fassbender character and his jealous wife, played by Sarah Paulson. If the movie tries to squeeze sympathy out of you, its from this character.

Short, but significant roles were handled by Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti. The music by Hans Zimmer, was somewhere in his usual league, sometimes over burdening a movie with this sort of harshness to it.

A movie made typically to woo voters on award nights, it would seem; and it looks like it is working too. But otherwise I wouldn't oversell it to the audience.

Friday, January 3, 2014

'Saving Mr. Banks' delivers a heartwarming story about the making of 'Mary Poppins'

'Mary Poppins', a popular American musical by the Disney Pictures, was immensely liked by the people and the Academy. But this film was almost not-made; And 'Saving Mr. Banks' tells you how Walt Disney convinced the author of the book, Pamela, (oh! I'm sorry) Mrs P.L.Traves, to agree to give the rights for the movie adaptation.

The movie is not just about the egos that Mrs.Traves had or the prowess Mr.Disney had, but it is about how two people connected to a story. While Mrs.Traves wrote about it, Walt Disney wanted the whole world to see it. The whole film is about their creative differences, and why Mrs. Traves thought that the reel adaptation was a bad idea, and what changed her. It is inter cut with a story of a irresponsible but loving father who is supposed to be the character to be saved, Mr. Banks, and his little daughter, which tells the viewers why it was important that 'Mary Poppins' was made right.

The performances i adored, especially Emma Thompson as Mrs. Traves. She clings
to her dear book with her life. Emma gave life to someone who is intentionally cautious and unintentionally funny at the same time. A performance i would like to be listed as a nominee at the least, at the Academy function. A winner from the performances, I, have seen this year surpassing my previous favourite Sandra Bullock for 'Gravity'. Tom hanks is equally funny and warm as 'the' Walt Disney. I wouldn't have lingered about his role, but for the exemplery performance towards the end where he convinces the lady to make the movie. A monologue that squeezes your heart, and makes you believe how convincing Walt had been.

Paul Giamatti as Mrs. Traves cab driver had a role that he could cherish. He puts his lovable face to the fore and wins your hearts (and also Mrs. Traves'). Colin Farell plays the irresponsible father, Mr. Banks, or who it represents in Mrs.Traves' life.

'Saving Mr. Banks' seemed an odd title for this story until you learn what it is all about. It is about the love for your creations and also for where the creations come from. A dream to show off something you make and show off exactly the same way that you feel, is a difficult task. But the joy, when it is fulfilled is something more than getting results.

'Saving Mr. Banks' achieves the task to convince audiences about the story behind the making of 'Mary Poppins' and justifies both Mrs. Traves and Walt Disney. But more than that it tells you why 'Mary Poppins' had to be made. I would say what 'Gravity' achieved in the area of visual compelling, 'Saving Mr. Banks' does with emotions. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lee Daniel's 'The Butler' reviews the Black American history

Lee Daniel's 'The Butler' sounded like an underdog story, with a black American getting a job as a butler at the white house. But, 'The Butler' is not an underdog story. It is a recap of the vast atrocities faced by the blacks in America in the last century, seen through the eye of a scared and non-participative butler in the country's biggest institution.

Based on real events, 'the Butler' is about Cecil Gaines, who was born amidst chaos where the blacks could be shot at for no reason at all. He grows up to be a house keeper with the help of a few good people and serves the white. He becomes quite popular and soon is invited to the white house to serve the President. From here he watches the world change. He watches the leaders make big decisions. He sees the revolution the blacks bring about and the change of hearts. He serves various President's until he could take no more.

Forest Whitaker is a mature actor and his performance of the butler from a youth to the aged, through various stages in the life of the butler, and the various phase of change in American history is sensitive and subtle. His portrayal of an over-protective dad, and a scared citizen is one of the best this year.

Oprah Winfrey, as the lonely wife who felt abandoned by her husband to his work, plays a strong mother and a dejected character. Oyelowe as the son, who is rebellious towards the father, and against a nation supporting injustice is a performance to watch out for. I would have had him on the top of the support cast list. Then there is a long line up of actors who come as the Presidents of America in Cecil's service period. Robin Williams, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber and James Marsden. I loved James as Kennedy.

The movie is significant in the sense that it takes a non-participative black, and most of the times works with a script where in the character is a silent watcher. He is a person subjected to the horrors of not being to have a say,even in his own life; And he has accepted his fate and wants these horrible things to be absent in his children's life. But his over protective gestures don't help his children who rebel and go out. He never really takes part in the revolution but becomes a great force nevertheless.

Lee Daniel has shown this change through the last century towards black in a seemingly distant and apparently harmless manner, but says a lot even then. It pains your heart, but still reminds you that you were not there. You are just a silent watcher. You do nothing to change the atrocious attitudes in your society.

A good reason to expect this movie at the Oscars, for performances and script.