Archive for August 2014

Ek Villain [2014]: not really disappointed, definitely tolerable

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh. Remo Fernandes

Directed by: Mohit Suri

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

I will admit that the trailer of Ek Villain was intriguing and I wanted to know what this film is all about. I liked Siddharth and Shraddha in their previous movies and was looking forward to see how they will fair in something that looks intense and way too serious.

Later I found out that it's a remake of a Korean film called "I saw the devil" which I watched only  a couple of years ago and is one of a couple dozen Korean films I have watched. Yes I am no veteran when it comes to Korean films.

Let's not talk about the film's plot and performances. It's totally pointless to talk about a film which is unoriginal in every sense, I will end up talking about "I saw the devil". So, I watched this film and I know Mr. Mohit Suri shamelessly remade a classic. But.
But I am going to be lenient on this remake. Why?
Because our popular cinema has reached a post apocalyptic era where 1 guy fights 100s of bad guy and just doesn't sweat, they fly, jump into a flying helicopter, blow a dozen SUVs in the air like toys and god knows what.

In the name of Masala Bollywood action film, brainless action film have become a trend and the ticket to earn good money, with a 40 plus man playing a superhero kind of character, an insignificant heroine who is only there to dance and sing at regular intervals, a raunchy villain and a plot you don't even need to know.

This on the other hand is a weak copied version of a great film but I still prefer Ek Villain over an original film Singham, sometimes being original is not enough, you also have to make a watchable film, Ek Villain is that watchable film.

So, I appreciate Mohit Suri because even though he knows what is selling these days, he chose to steal a good film and tried making his version, which is not really awful but lacks finesse from every corner of the movie. Plus Mohit Suri's film do not bore, you can watch it and think of little polishing his films need instead of yawning. He engage the viewers for sure.

I won't trash it for being too ambitious to remake a classic, instead I will give it some point to let the ignorant viewers watch a Korean film. I still believe Zinda was the reason, I got introduced to Oldboy and other Korean films because I was unaware of foreign films then, I was ignorant.

However, the makers of the film could have given credit to the original, a little mention would have sufficed. [there goes your half star]

To my fellow movie freaks, I think you guys hated this film a bit too much, but yes, opinions can differ.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★

About "the departed" and relatively other things

I watched The Departed only yesterday. It reminded me of "Ocean's Eleven" Because Ocean's Eleven and The Departed, are two of some of the most star studded films. 

Ocean's Eleven had George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia and so many other important actors. On the other hand, The Departed has even bigger stars, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon [being the commoner in both these film], Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg. 

Both the films are equally "enriched", however the latter, is obviously a greater film. 

A pleasant surprise in "The Departed" was seeing Matt Damon playing the bad guy, he seems a very nice guy like Martin Sheen. Can't think of these two men being unreasonably harmful . But Damon did surprise me. Loved this change.

Now lets talk about Jack Nicholson, he was not playing Jack again. The last two Jack Nicholson film I saw, he played Jack in "The Shining" and "Batman". Remember the sentence on the  letter pad "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Now he is what we call the perfect bad guy. I just love him seeing as an antagonist. Even in 1980, in "The Shining" he looked as ferocious as in 1989 in the Tim Burton's "Batman" and the intensity was no less in "The Departed" in 2006.

The Joker aka Heath Ledger was a legendary portrayal of a villain and truly he is the most anarchic and one of the most loved character of all time. But I find it really discomforting, when some people simply thrash Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker in 1989's "Batman". Truly he was no less and people do love him for it.

Okay, getting back to "The Departed", Leonardo Di Caprio may be the protagonist of this film [or may not be], but I loved the Matt Damon part more than his. Just loved the corrupt form of him, it was a wonderful experiment, 

The Performances by Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen are good too, this was the first time, I could really appreciate Mark Wahlberg. He had more expression this time, I think the credit should also go to Martin Scorsese for making him act. 

The Departed beat "Babel", "Letters from Iwo Jima", "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Queen" to win the Academy Awards for the Best Picture. However another great film which came that year and Academy totally ignored it was "The Prestige."

I am really disappointed with the way "The Prestige" was treated that year at Oscars. It wasn't even nominated. It had the quality of what makes a movie get nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. 

But then again, it was Christopher Nolan. Is this only me or do you also think that "Christopher Nolan" is never taken too seriously by the Academy. He is one, gem of a filmmaker. People love his films. Oscars doesn't really show much love.
PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?
Friday, 29 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar
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Sunrise: A song of Two Humans [1927]: An overlooked masterpiece

Cast: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston

Directed by: FW Murnau

This is one of the best films of the 1920s. Directed by German filmmaker FW Murnau, who also made classics like "Nosferatu [1922]" and "Faust [1926]" and others.

I don't have any hesitation saying that I love this movie a bit more than I loved watching Metropolis, as it is also a 1927 film.

Sunrise is a collaborative work and not just the lead actors trio but everyone who got a chance to be on the screen even for a single scene did their part exceptionally well and that includes the Dog and the little pig as they got to do one important scene each.

It is one of the earliest silent films I saw where the actors were not intentionally dramatic in their expressions as they used to be in the 1920s. For example: Metropolis and The Passion of Joan of Arc, however that doesn't diminish their value in cinema at all.

Sunrise is the story of the man who plans to kill his wife and run away with this other woman from the city but circumstances change and different shades of human emotions unfold between the characters.

Sunrise won 3 Oscars at first Academy Awards in 1929 including "Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production" Best Actress in a leading role" for Janet Gaynor for the 3 films she did during 1927 and 1928 [7th heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise] and "Best Cinematography"

It is a masterpiece that many of us failed to notice. It is one of the finest piece of cinema I have watched.

It is available on YouTube. You can also watch it here below.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★★

PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?
Monday, 25 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Mardaani [2014]: Movie Review

Cast: Rani Mukherji, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Sanjay Taneja

Directed by: Pradeep Sarkar

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Remember 'Taken' ? The 2008 cult action movie which starred Liam Neeson in the lead role. It seems like it is still ruling the minds of film lovers in all corners of the world. Taken portrayed the story of woman trafficking, and it was well received by both critics and audiences alike. Even after six years of its release, many directors are still in its hang over, and they are all trying hard to make a movie just like the Liam Neeson thriller. A recent attempt to make a thriller based on human trafficking is done by Pradeep Sarkar. His recent movie 'Mardaani' which portrays the same old story of sex trafficking has Rani Mukherjee in the lead role. Now let us see whether the movie has lived up to the expectations.

The movie can be described as the lonely fight of a brave heart woman Police Officer against the sex trafficking rackets. Her name is Shivani Roy, and she lives in Mumbai along with her husband and niece. She is deadly daring, and is not at all concerned about the worst outcomes of beating up the baddies. One day, Shivani takes up a case which changes her lifetime. She takes up the case of Pyaari, a young teenage girl who gets kidnapped. Shivani tries to take down the baddies with her full fury, but she has only 30 days to complete the task as she challenges with the mafia kingpin. The ruthless mafia king pin is much powerful, and he has all the measures to tackle the moves of the Police. And from here starts some breathtaking chases and unbelievable stunts.

The proceedings of the movie is just like any other thriller which unveils the mystery in a sequential manner. The director has succeeded in creating some fine moments, but he failed to carry this edge of the seat ambiance throughout the running time. The moment which portrays the challenge of mafia don and Shivani may provide some goosebumps in the initial moments, but later it feels like a kind of sledging. The movie is completely filled with insane language, and there is no surprise that this movie got an A certificate.

Mardaani is an in and out Rani Mukherjee show. She was excellent in the role of the daring Police Officer, and her movements was a real visual treat to watch. She delivered the dialogue with finesse, and stunt scenes were done with perfection. Jisshu Sengupta, who plays Rani’s doctor husband, has nothing much to do, and if my memory is powerful, I remember him uttering less than two dialogues in the movie.

Mardaani is a movie which has good intentions, and the story is racy too. But the weak script derails all the plan, and in most probabilities, you will not rate this movie more than an above average thriller. It is just a one time watchable movie with a fine performance by Rani. 'Go and watch Mardaani only to see the scintillating screen presence of Rani Mukherji'.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★
PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?

Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]: Visual extravaganza in the space

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Directed by: James Gunn

Super hero movies are of huge demand in all the corners of the world, and the case of India is no different. Indians have a rich history of making Super Hero movies block busters in the box office, and this past have compelled the distributors of Guardians of the Galaxy to hit the film in Indian screens just seven days after its United States release. The speculations of the movie distributors are now slowly proving to be right as Indian audiences welcomed the movie with open hands and a warm heart. Most of the theaters are packed especially with the educated youth in the country. The initial reports about the film are positive in nature, and this James Gunn film is showing all evident signs of emerging successfully in the Box Office. The movie which has the capability to boast about its ensemble star cast has Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace and Micheal Rooker in the lead roles. The director has succeeded in extracting the maximum from the actors, and he was amply supported by the technical crew members. The movie will impress all kinds of audiences, and it will not let you down in any manner. Now, let us discuss the movie in detail.

Image Source:
Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' can be considered as the right blend of super hero movie and space action adventure. The movie tells the story in the back drop of space, and this premise it self is a huge point of attraction. Peter Quill, an American pilot and adventurer gets trapped in the Galactic prison, and from here the movie begins. Soon, he join hands with some other abducts, and forms an alliance called 'Guardians of the Galaxy'. The alliance soon start their war against the dreaded baddie, Ronan, and this forms the remaining part of the story. 

The movie is completely filled with high octane action sequences, and breath taking visuals. The film is crafted perfectly by the director, and there is not even a second of boredom in the 122 minutes running time. The filmmaker and his crew has shot the film in such extravagant ambiance which will provide you the real life feel of entering the space. All the actors have done their role in the perfect manner. Chris Pratt was excellent as Peter quill, and he showed up an impeccable performance. But my pick among the lots is none other than the mesmerizing Zoe Saldana. 

The movie is brilliant in all areas of film making. The film is perfectly etched, and it has some fine elements which will glue you to the seats till the end. The story telling style is pacy, and it is a perfect epitome of making super hero movies. All the characters have given equal importance and screen space, and this clearly shows the crafting finesse of the director and screen writer. This movie will not disappoint you if you are an ardent lover of super hero movies. 'Watch Guardians of the Galaxy and enter a new world filled with thrill, adventure and action'. 

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★

'Kick': Strictly recommended for hardcore Salman fans

Cast: Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Randeep Hooda

Directed by: Sajid Nadiadwala

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Kick, the new movie directed by Sajid Nadiadwala with Salman Khan in the lead role hit the theaters today, and the film is opened with packed houses throughout the nation. Like any other Salman movie, Kick is also getting tremendous initial pull, and all the theaters are overflowing with unimaginable crowd. The movie is a direct remake of a Telugu movie with the same name, but the class is not maintained when Salman made this film in Bollywood. The film is strictly recommended for hardcore Salman Khan fans who wish to see their hero doing the impossible action sequences. The movie is undoubtedly unimaginative and unoriginal, and the story telling is not up to the mark. Now, let us analyze the movie in detail. 

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The movie portrays the story of Devi Lal Sing, a young crazy lad who wish to unleash some thrill in everything he does. He love to call it 'Kick', and sometimes, this 'kick' overboard the elements of reality. The attempt to generate laughs sometimes fails miserably, and some audiences were howling when Devi Lal tried to generate Kick by walking with hand cuffs on while going to jail. Our beloved Sallu doesn't like to walk like a normal man, and he wish to wear handcuffs to get that extra kick. The same way, he beats up some poor lads in the bar for eve teasing. Remember, Salman have one or many reasons to beat baddies to pulp. 

In the meantime, Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandes) tells the story of her ex lover to Himanshu (Randeep Hooda). Himanshu is a Police Officer, and Shaina is meeting him due to the compulsion of her dad. The flashback of Devi and Shaina will surely evoke some laughs in the initial moments, but as time passes, it will surely make you scratch your heads. The quest of Devi to unleash Kick will compel you to kick the director, and it is high time for Salman to say a big adieu to remake movies. The story takes a new turn when Firoz (Nawazuddeen Siddique) enters the scene, and the remaining parts of the movies are filled with some high octane action scenes and chases. 

All the actors in the lead roles have performed their best in the movie. Salman Khan as always rendered a decent show, but some of his efforts to evoke laugh was quite mediocre. Jacqueline was hot to the core, and her screen presence was impeccable. Mithun Chakraborthy who acted in the role of Salman's father was apt, but Nawazuddeen Siddique tested the patience of the audience by giving the character a caricature touch. Randeep excelled in a small yet decent role. 

Kick is undoubtedly an entertainer with some fine moments. But, if you are the one who wish to see realistic cinemas, then it is wise to stay away from this movie. You should keep your brain at home while watching Kick. Whatever the case, this Salman movie have all the chances to reach the 200 crore milestone in Boxoffice. 'Watch Kick if you are a hardcore Salman fan'. 

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★

Life of Pi [2012]: A Cinematic Achievement

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain, Tabu

Directed by: Ang lee

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

So I thought of writing a review this morning, there were back to back conflicts in my mind while selecting the film to review. It happens when you have a young movie blog. You have so many films to write about, you just can’t settle on a particular film. So, I opened my watch list on IMDB and laid my eyes on all those movie posters of the films I have watched, suddenly I saw “Life of Pi” on one side of the web page and instantly all the doubts vanished and I started watching Life of Pi for the 2nd time.

I don’t like missing the high points of a film when I am going to write about it, so I had to watch every film once again just before I start writing about it. Life of Pi is a tough film to review, as a viewer; one may get carried away by its adventure or the fantasy element or the VFX. But above all, this is an inspirational film on life. 

It was one of the best films of 2012, among other greats like “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Argo”, “Lincoln”, "The Master" and others. I haven't watched much of Ang lee's work, Life of Pi is only his 2nd film I watched, the other being “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. Just 2 films and I have become an Ang Lee fan. 

Now coming to the movie right away, the story is being told by the ‘grown up’ Pi Patel, played by Irrfan Khan to a writer played by Rafe Spall, who is looking for a story. 

Life of Pi is the story of Pi Patel, played by Suraj Sharma, who is ship wrecked and left alone on a boat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a royal Bengal tiger who is called Richard Parker. 

Pi Patel is an Indian boy who lives in Pondicherry and his family owns a zoo with many exotic animals inside. As Pi becomes a teenager, his family decides to move abroad. They left on a cargo ship with their zoo animals for Canada. A deadly storm while the cargo ship was on the Pacific Ocean changes everything. 

It is the journey of Pi Patel reaching the coasts of Mexico in more than 200 days on a life boat in the company of the Bengal tiger “Richard Parker.” It shows the friendship which was there all the time but never shown directly. It also show the attention Richard Parker had Pi, so much that he could hardly think of surviving in the sea and was rather worried about the tiger himself.

There were some unexplained fantasy element which the director or the Author of the book leaves for you to interpret. I read some reviews, a few months ago about Life of Pi, which questions the protagonist’s relationship with god, I strongly feel offended with a remark like that. That was a fantasy element, which is not the most important thing this movie is all about. 

This movie is about the conversation between Pi and Richard Parker, though this conversation has no words to it, this is about the friendship which is not to be seen but to be understood and this film is about how one can be responsible for saving your life even if he/she was not particularly kind at any moment.

I really loved a quote told by Irrfan Khan later in the film, he said "I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye."

Life of Pi is an achievement in cinema, there are many great films made every year, but some sticks to the timeline of Cinema and when we talk about cinemas of the century or the millenium, a film like this is always remembered.

Movie Geek's Blog Rating: ★★★★

Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

#Trivia: About Heath Ledger, Coen Brothers and Josh Brolin

When great actors and great filmmakers collaborate, we get to witness a great film. Be it the Marlon Brando-Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather, Brad Pitt-David Fincher's Fight Club, Clint Eastwood-Sergio Leone's Dollar Trilogy or any other pair. The list is endless.

However there is one actor-director duo, who never worked together, which I always wanted to see; Heath Leadger and  the Coen Brothers. Ledger worked with great directors like Ang Lee and Christopher Nolan, but couldn't work with Joel and Ethan Coen before he died in January 2008.

But, the fact is that Heath Ledger had his chances to work with the Coens. He was offered the role of Llewelyn Moss in "No Country for Old Men", but he refused to do the role to take some time off from work.

This role went to Josh Brolin, he was more than happy to win the part for Llewelyn Moss. 2 days later he broke his shoulder in  a motorcycle accident.

Later in an interview with a magazine, Josh Brolin recalled the moment when he was hit by the car at the time of the accident. He was saying to himself  "Fucking Shit, I really wanted to work with the Coens."

In spite of that, his injury didn't hamper his role in the film as the character he played was shot in the shoulder very early in the film.
PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

"Director's Cut: 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era" by MK Raghavendra: Book Review

I love films, not only watching it but also reading and knowing it. I can read anything that has Cinema as the background. This is what attracted me to MK Raghavendra's "Director's Cut: 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era."

Director's Cut is a take on the film making styles of the greatest directors of the modern era. The book starts with an introduction section,which explains the pattern using which Mr. Raghavendra chose the most influential 50 directors among all the great filmmakers we have ever watched. 

The Pattern is actually very intelligent, he chose 1960 as a cut-off date as he believes the french new wave, which is one of the most influential movements in cinema commenced around this time and cinema became Modern only during this era. 

Since the title of the book contains the term Modern Era; we shouldn't have any grudges with the Author for not including legendary filmmakers like Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles as their greatest works was witnessed before the 1960s. Instead he put the spotlight on directors like Luis Buñuel, Werner Herzog and Béla Tarr. 

There are 50 chapters in this book, each dedicated to a director. Beneath the name of the director, there is a tagline defining the basic theme they have followed in almost all of their films. For example, below Steven Spielberg, you will see the words "Family Matters." 

Spielberg always portrayed family as a valuable entity in most of his films like there was a family that struggled together in "Jurassic Park", hundreds of Polish families were saved in "Schindler's List", a mother and son was reunited in "Saving Private Ryan". A Mecha [Robot] was given the love of a mother in "Artificial Intelligence" and a man returns to his family in "The Terminal." 

MK Raghavendra also included legendary directors Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, David Lean, Satyajit Ray and many other legends. It's good to see inclusion of acclaimed regional film directors from India such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan from the Malayalam Cinema and Ritwik Ghatak from the Bengali Film Industry.

This book does ignore great filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola and Roman Polanski and contemporary talented filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson and Richard Linklater but still the 50 that it talks about are very aptly chosen and you will love understanding the approach with which they make/made films.

This Book Review is also Published on my Personal Blog
PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?
Monday, 4 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

#Quote: The Shawshank Redemption

It was said by 'Red' [Morgan Freeman], when the "Sisters"; a group of homosexuals in the Shawshank Prison, led by Bogs, beats Andy [Tim Robbins] 'within an inch of his life'. Andy was sent to the infirmary, and that's how Red and the boys plans a welcome for Andy.
PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog..? No registration required
Sunday, 3 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Birdman: Trailer Preview

Birdman is the story of "A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory". [Source: IMDb]

So, who is playing this washed up Actor..?

It's Michael Keaton, who played Batman/Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's Batman [1989] and is still the most loved Batman actors for many, including me. Though I equally love the Nolan's version but I love Michael Keaton much more than I love Christian Bale as Batman, Period.

So, the plot of the movie sounds pretty much like the real story of Michael Keaton, he played an iconic superhero once, and though he is not a washed up actor, he had a pretty mediocre career of late.

Whatever the case may be, the trailer of Birdman looks very promising and since it is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, we can expect great results out of it.

Among the cast, Keaton will be accompanied by Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Zach Galfianikis.

Here is the Trailer, do let us know what do you think of this trailer.

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Locke [2013]: Quick Review

Cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott.

Directed by: Steven Knight

Locke is the story of Ivan Locke's 2 hour journey as he drives to London as the woman he "once" slept with is going to deliver a baby. He had a plan to watch the football game with his wife and kids. He also had a historical project at work, the very next morning. But he decides his priorities and plans to be with this "other" woman in London. Not caring about the consequences, he believes that doing the right thing is more important in life.

Here are some important life lessons, we can learn from Ivan Locke:

  • You decide something, you stick to the plan
  • You finish what you start. No matter what, you don't run away from your responsibility.
  • Your responsibility is sometimes beyond money or any profit.
  • You only say the truth.
  • You need to be calm, composed and positive.
  • There will always be something to look forward and something to upset you, but you can't get carried away either way.

Ivan being a construction director shows at all times his constructive ways to handle life's problems. This is an essential film, every person going through any kind of crisis (or not) must watch.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★

PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog..? No registration required
Friday, 1 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

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