Posts Tagged ‘Murder’

Khiladi misses his mark!

To all those who know me, would know the amount of effort it takes me to part with my money for a Bollywood movie. It is not snobby, it is just that there is a limited amount of song and dance I can take in a movie.

So in this case something went wrong!

We are all (at least by now) aware of the whole Nanavati shooting case and the resultant media hyperbole. So when Rajiv Bhatia aka Akshay Kumar decided to make a movie about something this fascinating, I admit I was caught in the wave. Throw in the fact that Akshay K. has been critically acclaimed for his recent string of movies like Baby, Airlift, Holiday, Special 26, Oh My God etc., curiosity got the better of me and unfortunately it is this curiosity which killed the cat/my brain.

Bollywood can’t do without extras. Be it in dance sequences, where random girls wear short clothes of the same color and dance behind a female lead wearing even shorter clothes (but always of a different color), or action sequences, where big guys try and fight the lead but their punches land a mile from his body or (alas) a “true” story, where despite the story already being written out, writers have to go and muck up the truth to make it more appealing for the masses. (Or this is the excuse I have read/heard each time)

Rustom had all the elements needed for a brilliant movie. A story of love, betrayal, murder, the armed forces, courtroom drama and no “mein tumahre bachche ke maa banne waali hu” crap. Then where did it all go wrong?

……

Rustom Pavri (the infallible Akshay Kumar) is a decorated naval officer who finds out his wife Cynthia Pavri (the glycerin addicted Ileana) is having an affair with his friend Vikram Makhija (the man with limited talent, Arjan Bajwa).  Upset, but still able to think rationally (Naval training you know!) Rustom, heads to Vikram’s house and shoots him with the revolver provided by the Indian Navy. Rustom turns himself in and the movie moves to a courtroom drama and media frenzy ensues mixed with a wee bit of regionalism. Now despite the disclaimer (which is what gave the director the reason to muck up the picture) the movie is still got the basics right and somehow this is what makes it worse.

The movie at the end of its two and a half hours, doesn’t leave you with a feeling of satisfaction but more with a “Why did I watch this? Reading the story on Wikipedia was more interesting”. And if we all believe that books can never be as good as the movie, then how bad a director are you when your movie is worse than a Wikipedia page?

Akshay Kumar is the only saving grace! He is the Will Smith of Bollywood. Movies starring him are made…FOR him. I would assume he takes about 80% of the screen time whilst the rest of the cast act as puny cogs working in the shadow of the behemoth. Ileana, I think has about 3 dialogues in the first 90 min and probably 20 more in the last 60 min. Her time is spent in trying to wear clothes that give her the look of a 1950’s stylish woman and based on her crying, is ready to OD on glycerin. Esha Gupta who acts as Preety Makhija (Vikram’s sister), on the other hand thinks she is dressed for a Tim Burton meets David Lynch movie, but her look is more 5th Element mixed with the Hitchhikers Guide. In her attempt to appear as a 1950’s flamboyant socialite she ends up forgetting to act. (No! Pouting all the time is not acting). I can only think that she wore those clothes as a favor to her friend who is a failing fashion designer because, real people don’t wear those clothes, not in 1950 and judging by what Priyanka Chopra wore, not in 2050 either. Also kudos to Arjan Bajwa, his acting skills are horrible and he was one of the very few people who did not disappoint. He was shot early saving him the frugality of being a part of this movie for longer.

The weakest link in the movie is the writing and it is so bad that I’d start a petition to have Vipul K Rawal’s desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile, pen, papers, and chalks all taken away from him just for OUR safety. I would go a level ahead by recommending highly pressurized acupuncture procedure to kill his nerve endings and hence his ability to hold a pen, but then I guess this review would be moving to a dark place. Thus for now I’d just recommend we break all his keyboards and pens!

Dharmendra Desai who also worked with Akshay Kumar in Special 26 is somehow unable to recreate the magic here and he has no one else to blame but Vipul. When there is an existing story, why would you write something equivalent to Great Grand Masti? When you have a courtroom drama and you could have made something of the quality of ‘A Few Good Men’, why would you write something that is worse than Jazbaa! (Sorry Ash fans, but you know that movie sucked too!). The courtroom scenes were horribly sketched, making Tareek Metha’s pitiful show seem like Seinfeld.

For those calling this a courtroom drama…shame. For those calling this a murder mystery ….shame and for those rating this movie more than 4/10…..shame …shame (rings the bell).

 

Star Trek Beyond CRAP

Thou’ must ruin a good thing and that’s for sure.

After two stupendous movies where Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto literally flipped the entire Star Trek fan base for doubting them as Kirk & Spock, it has all come crashing down in the end. Money can’t buy class and this movie highlights that. How else could you explain the fact that Paramount spent something to the tune of $185 million and gave a guy who made Fast and the Furious to make a movie with a history spanning back to 50 years?

Justin Lin (director and main culprit responsible) has taken his brand of shiny cars driven really fast by guys wearing their pants way too low and put that in the suave USS Enterprise. The result is something that makes a Chunky Pandey flick look like Schindler’s List. Lin was probably a step below painting the Enterprise red and having yellow flames on its side! Its unimaginable how someone with so little talent can be given the reins of a movie franchise which established its fan base while he was still potty-training. Mr. Lin, Star Trek is a lot more than fast cars and women wearing short skirts dropping their handkerchiefs to kick start a race, and you’d know that if you bothered to see it yourself.

Star Trek is about exploring science fiction concepts and themes through great storytelling, to borrow a quote “To boldly go where no man has gone before”. To help open our minds, to think of the possibilities and widen our imaginations and not watch a video game in 3D.

The story is lame, but with this being a review and all that….. It’s Star Date 2263.2 and Kirk (Chris Pine) is into the third year of the “5 year mission” and is emotionally ‘Lost in Space’. Spock (Zachary Quinto) also receives some unfortunate personal news and that unsettles him. Spock and Uhura are also “on a break”.  Kirk, Spock, Uhura etc. all are in need of a vacation, and Starbase Yorktown appears to be able to offer them that. (Throw in special effects to show an unbelievable location in space.) The reverie is rudely interrupted by the arrival of a frantic alien called Kalara (the gorgeous Lydia Wilson) from the other side of the galaxy. Her crew has been stranded on a remote planet and she needs help to rescue them. Kirk agrees but as most rescue missions go, this one comes up with a roadblock, mainly in the form of the warlord Krall (the brilliant Idris Elba who I feel is wasted in this movie), whose presence as the bad guy in the movie is literally as important as asparagus in a salad! Kirk and his crew now have to rescue themselves and the crew, throw in some more special effects, a random motorcycle and you have Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek is much more than just a big spaceship racing another spaceship at warp speed and Justin Lin needs to realize that. Star Trek deserves better than Justin Lin. He is definitely not worthy of handling a franchise of this magnitude. For those making me think I am directing too much hate at him….please remember that he didn’t even make the good Fast & Furious movies!! (He made the 3rd, 4th and 5th one!)

Second comes the writing. Simon Pegg writing movies works well ONLY when he stars in them. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul…all brilliant, all silly, all have Pegg as the lead character. They are funny short stories with little, to no brains required and this is Pegg’s niche. Star Trek needs more capable and able bodies to work through its storyline and not a stand-up comic who can write about a zombie infested city which the lead can clear with a baseball bat.

To give an example of the poor writing…THERE IS A MOTORCYCLE ON THE SPACESHIP!!! There is no rhyme or reason for that. Logically thinking, why would there be a motorcycle in OUTER SPACE!!?? Is the captain thinking,” You know we have never been that far out in space…screw the oxygen tanks and probably travel through thick jungles, let me just keep my motorcycle on board…you know….just in case an alien challenges me to a drag race!”

With poor direction and even poorer writing, the movie just falls apart. There was no character development in this movie, which I personally feel has been the best part of the franchise till date. The complex equations between Kirk and Spock, Ka’an and Kirk, Kirk and Bones, Spock and Uhura…etc. are all part of this wonderful science fiction adventure. Unfortunately, in this movie, there was neither a flow nor any character evolution and you do not learn more about anything really. Instead of Kirk, Spock and Scotty you could stick just any name over the protagonists and the movie would have flown the same. The story is loosely tied and the characters are thinly created and I have seen Barbie Dolls with more back story.

Sorry folks, but this movie is literally a waste of time and money.

 

 

 

Thoughts: The 5th Wave….of disappointment!

If there is anything to prove that our future is bleak, it is watching our next generation grow up. Right from their music (that God awful Beaver and his donkey braying!), to reading horse shit like Twilight, the future is clear and it is depressing. All forms of art will soon die and their collapse is imminent, and future historians will probably pin down this decade as the trigger of our civilization’s cultural collapse.

However I digress and that too, is because I have just seen what can only be classified as the pivot in our cultural downfall and it takes its roots in the wormhole that is young adult science fiction. From the genre that gave us masterpieces like the Divergent series, the Maze Runner, I am Number four, Eragon and many such ‘gems’, comes yet another mind blowing crap fest; The 5th wave. The movie is based the first book in the trilogy written by the ex –IRS collector Rick Yancey. The book was a big hit (sigh) and having not read the book I will refrain from making assumptions here.

Seeing that this is a review, I shall delve into the basics and try and explain to the best of my ability how this movie goes. Average high school girl crushes on boys, aliens come, mommy dies, Army takes over, brother is captured by army, daddy dies, girl fights to get her brother, aliens are good guys, army is bad guys, Colonel (or is he a General?!) dies. Girl kisses alien. Ka-BOOM! (Everything explodes).The End!

There I saved you a couple of bucks!

The saving grace in this movie would be Chloe ‘Grace’ Moretz (see what I did there,:)) as the lead. She does a decent job of acting like the confused sap of a teenage girl, who crushes on her class boys, loves her family and dotes on her little brother. Alas, she has dropped a long way from her kick-butt-first-ask-questions-later avatar of Hit Girl (Ref: Kickass), but well, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do! So here we see her in a pretty different role, albeit not a good role, but she does a decent job in it.

The rest of the cast, not so much!

As with all Young Adult Sci-Fi movies, the visual effects were something that could make or break them and somehow I think this one broke. J. Blakson (Director) is pretty new to the scene of movies (I believe it is his 2nd foray as a director of full length motion picture) and on the bright side, he can only go up from here. But he has a long long looooong way to go up, and even then he might just make the tail end of the average director’s herd.

The story of the movie is flat, and there is nothing (and I do mean nothing!) interesting about it. It is so predictable, that you feel you have already seen this movie earlier. And of course logic takes a back seat here, I mean it deals with an alien race which can cause earthquakes and tsunamis and spread viruses and yet need children to kill adults as a way to take over the planet. Most inefficient bunch of morons I’d say. Heck! Paul and ET had a better chance of taking over our planet and don’t even get me started on what would happen if the aliens from Independence Day saw these guys and their attempt.

The movie works well on one level (assuming we have the attention span of a goldfish) and that is some of the individual scenes (very select few) work well on their own. If it weren’t for the bad writing, the gaping holes in logic, the horribly developed characters and the completely unnecessary romantic “tension” crow-barred-in the movie, this has the potential of competing with some of the better B-Grade flicks like Sharkando, or Megashark vs Crocosauraus or even Humshakals.

However for a majority of the roughly 112 minutes, there were instances where I was hoping to stick the straw from my coke up my nose and flood my brain with the cola!

Much like the 5 stages of dealing with grief, there are 5 waves depicting the demise of our culture here and these are:

  • The decline of the music industry
  • The death of Literature
  • Twerking
  • The remorse of seeing our youth icons
  • This movie!

In the end, if you are not a girl aged between 11-15 years old …. Or you are Jaden Smith, you should definitely avoid this movie like the plague.

 

Thoughts: If It Bleeds, It Leads – Nightcrawled

Right up front, here’s the disclaimer. The only reason I wanted to watch the movie was due to its nomination. I have a special place for “Original Screenplays”, as according to me this shows true talent and something that defines a movie as a work of art. Woody Allen, Ben Affleck, Quentin Tarantino are some of the famous names that have won this award and their ability to spin a yarn is renowned and well recognized. I am not a Jake Gyllenhaal or Rene Russo fan and I couldn’t tell a Dan Gilroy story from a fairy tale, thus Nightcrawler falls under the category of “Oscar nominated hai, must be good”

So going ahead, as already established, the story is its selling proposition. The movie is set in the seedy dark and unhinged part of modern-day Los Angeles. Lou Bloom (a masterful performance from Jake Gyllenhaal), is an ambitious young man desperate for work. His initial frank conduct shows him as a no holds barred, I’ll-do-whatever-it-takes, kind of person and with his grit he is desperate to find his way ahead. In his lone mission to find purpose, he stumbles upon the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism and finds his calling in “Nightcrawling”. For the uninitiated, Nightcrawling involves filming crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem all without the “warning graphic footage” label and selling it to anyone who will pay for it. As you can imagine, the more the gore, the more the money!

Lou, muscles into the cut-throat and highly dangerous realm of Nightcrawling – where each police siren equals a possible bonanza payout and the pain and blood of the victims are directly proportional to dollars earned. Now filming the pain aside, Lou needs a television station willing to air his creatively shot footage; Enter Rene Russo as Nina. Nina is a trouper of the blood-sport that is local TV news. She is struggling to make her ratings and Lou with his Quentin Tarentino-ish gore captured on camera makes her see the money! However, the longer Lou delves into his victim chasing ordeal, he begins to blur the line between observer and participant and aims to become the star of his own story.

This movie was both fun and terrifying. Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as Lou Bloom could even have earned him a nomination. His frank demeanor and cool as cucumber aura will definitely frighten, thrill, impress and worry you. What this film does best is not make you particularly like Lou Bloom but it make you wonder what he is willing to do next. His entire persona coupled with the amazing monologue style rants written for him make him easily the cream topping in this ice cream sundae.

Keeping in mind that the movie revolves around a strong male protagonist, makes the work for the remaining cast all the more formidable. Rene Russo as the “humane” element; the hard working, back to the wall but never backing down television producer delivers a stellar performance. Even Riz Ahmed playing the overworked and under-appreciated assistant to Lou holds his own vis-à-vis his mentor and boss.

Dan Gilroy has made a genius first film. This dark comedy has beautifully captured not only the landscape (easy-peasy) and the action but even the finer aspects of the emotion and the feelings of the characters. Dan Gilroy most definitely understands fear and comedy and has amalgamated the two brilliantly in this 2 hour ride. As an additional mention, the cinematography is also fantastic, night-time LA has not looked this good since Drive. (Ryan gosling starrer in 2011)

Just to add a new perspective to the story, “Nightcrawler” also showcases the contemporary exploration of journalistic ethics and how news channels, who were competing with each other for eyeballs and are now competing with the more rapidly-updated social media websites, are trying to manipulate news in the name of ratings. News programs, like sitcoms, reality shows, and sports events, are a game of numbers and those numbers are ratings and it is these ratings that makes the wheels go round – something that “Nightcrawler” makes depressingly clear to us.

All in all, this is a film filled with sheer and raw velocity and keeps you gripped to your seat for its entire gallop. It is not only an impressive first film but an intense and imposing story all around and although it might have missed out on the Oscar nod, I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this masterpiece.

 

Thoughts: God Bless Us All

There are times we feel alone and to an extent that no one understands us. Alone, unadorned, misunderstood and probably aloof, but then lighting strikes and you see something and realize, you are definitely not alone and there are if not millions at least a few thousands going through the same thing as you do. The stupidity, the insanity, the sheer trash that is the world around us exists as you believe it does and you realize that people agree to your point of view. God Bless America is that lighting that parts the dark skies and shines the light of reasoning which would resonate with your for a long time like that piece of  meat stuck in the upper echelons of your teeth after you have had that heavy steak dinner.

Saying anything more about this movie might be giving away its selling proposition, but since this is my attempt to revive my movie review ‘career’ I will continue to take a stab at it. GBA is about a person who is sick of this world in general. Frank (Joel Murray, bit part actor, tones of talent) is without love, without a job and possibly without much time left on earth (he is diagnosed to be terminally ill). With pretty much nothing left in his life to look forward to, Frank is now looking to vent his frustrations and the downward spiral of America fuels his enragement. Thus he decides to take matter quite literally into his own hands and he begins to ‘off’ the stupidest, the cruelest, and the dumbest and most repellent members of society. (The scene quite literally bought a tear to my eye). Along the way he finds an admirer and an accomplice in 16 year old Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) who also is sick of the existing state of affairs and plans to hitch her ride with him.

Bobcat Goldthwait is one of the lesser known directors in the industry and with movies like Shakes the Clown and World’s Greatest Dad he definitely isn’t winning an Oscar anytime soon. Yet, despite his modest budget and his low star power ensemble here, Bobcat (of Bobby if you are close to him) gives us a hilarious comedy that perfectly satirizes our self-centered, celebrity-obsessed, devoid of common sense or any semblance age. His sarcastic critique on our existing star adorned and star struck culture is vicious, unapologetically ugly and truly riotous (wipes another tear from his eye). The movie is a dark comedy and if I wasn’t so over the top in its praise I would compare it with something along the lines of Dr. Strangelove though I fear Kubrick (Cubby for those who are close to him) would not take too kindly to that.

The star cast as mentioned previously is not exactly the A-listers of tinsel-town. In fact apart from the lead Joel Murray who’s strongest presence on screen was as a supporting cast for Dharma and Greg (a sitcom in the late 90s and Chuck Lorre’s first real hit), the rest of the cast barely have their names sorted out. Joel delivers a perfect performance as one of the last thinking men, who has grown weary of life and of living in the sad society we have and is one of the strongest aspects of the movie. Tara Lynne Barr also does a decent job as the accomplice of the enraged ‘mass murderer’ and the chemistry between the two is nice, realistic and somehow just works.

For those of you looking for a Dumb and Dumber or Hangover type comedy please stay away. This is a very dark movie and there is more murder and blood than Robocop, Rambo and Commando combined. Yet the viciousness is moderated with humor that seamlessly keeps this movie always heading in the right direction. Watching this movie is as satisfying as playing Unreal Tournament in God Mode, point and shoot!! The meetings, the presentations, the excel sheets just seem to melt away after you allow yourself to be caught up in this epic.

GBA shows you the disturbing layer of American shallowness and cruelty and after watching this, you will realize that the whole statement of shallowness is not restricted to the “Western World”. With reality shows like Big Boss and Roadies to serials like Kyunki Saans … and Baalika Vaadu; With our sense of humor being dictated by pioneers such as Sidhu and Kapil Sibal to the junk shown on our news channels, you will realize that this movie depicts all too clearly the cultural cancer that people nowadays consider entertainment and it knows no boundaries. It is simultaneously hilarious and morbid. This movie is the antidote our “reality show,” celebrity-obsessed, know-nothing-and-proud-of-it culture.

I’m sure not a lot of you would have heard of this movie and I fear that it may fly under the radar since the typical mainstream audience is pretty much the targeted subject material here, but I feel this movie has the makings of a cult classic. The film’s eccentric behavior is I guess perfectly captured by H. Walpole’s epigram, “This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.”

For those of us who feel, weep for the tragedy we are going through and watch the movie for the smiles it will bring, and for the rest, I guess Big Boss 8 is starting soon!