Category Archives: Hollywood

Movie Review: Jobs: A Complex Man, A Complex Story

jobs movie review

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, and Josh Gad.

Introduction: Steve Jobs was a complex man as long as he lived, the film is no different.

Premise: JOBS is a competent retelling of Steve’s life till he took control of Apple Inc. in the nineties.

Plot: The film opens in 2001 at the launch of the iPod. And then traces the journey of the greatest innovator from his formative years in college to his wayward actions to his making of Apple. Likewise an apple product the movie keeps moving to one big aspect one after another.

Technical Insight: The background score in the opening scene, through its speakers is one of the best to be heard in recent times. The make up of Ashton Kutcher is a very believable Steve Jobs. The editing disappoints as the director tries to squeeze in too much of everything in one movie.

Acting: Ashton Kutcher plays the role near perfectly, the star in him is not visible as he plays Steve Jobs just well, the supporting cast is good but the man who takes home the honors is Josh Gad who slips into the role of Steve Wozniak beautifully.

Kela moment: The direction overall. Too much has been squeezed in.

Citizen Kane moment: The opening sequence.

Brownie points: 2.5 out of 5.

Madras Cafe Review: Dark, Deep And Exemplary Storytelling

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By Ankush Kumar

Cast: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, and Raashi Khanna.

Introduction: Coffee apart, this one filters bullshit as well and presents an engaging political thriller; get off the train baby and head right into ‘Madras Cafe’.

Premise: This is a story about a hero who fails to save the Prime minister. It’s built around the incidents leading upto the assassination of the Prime minister.

Plot: ‘Madras Cafe’ is a dark, deep and exemplary film about the politics of separatism. If you have a penchant for history and know a little about the LTTE struggle, the connect will be instant. For the naive, it still is an engaging entertainer. Even though no names are taken its quite obvious that the story is about Prabhakaran, LTTE and the killing of Rajiv Gandhi.

Technical Insight: The cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi captures the right tones throughout, the music is unconventional but has a double play value, the editing and sound designs is the stand out aspect of the film. But what puts a cherry on the top is the direction of Shoojit Sircar.

Acting: John Abraham plays a RAW agent, and for a change looks and behaves like one. Nargis Fakhri essays the role of a war correspondent and does it brilliantly. Raashi Khanna is promising but the stand out one is is Prakash Belawade as John associate who takes home the honors.

Kela moment: Jaya speaking in English and Vikram answering in Hindi.

Citizen Kane moment: The climax of the movie.

Brownie points: 4 out of 5.

Chennai Express: Finally An SRK Film With A Story

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By Ankush Kumar

The last interview I read on Shahrukh Khan, he said two things. One ‘ Deepika Padukone is the soul of Chennai express’. Two ‘ he wants to be remembered as an actor who constantly tried’.

Chennai express is an example true to his latter statement. The man has definitely tried. SRK has always been your boy next-door actor, whenever he has tried hardcore action, the Baadshah has looked stupid. But here in this journey he has balanced the genres of romance and action perfectly well.

Add to this the comic elements Rohit Shetty style and ‘you would want to get on this train baby’! His former statement that ‘Deepika is the soul of the film’ also holds true. She plays a South Indian girl whose dad is a don and gets the accent and mannerisms spot on.

Rahul played by SRK gets on a train and witnesses the death of a ticket checker, hence Deepika escorts him to her house till matters calm down, and how Rahul escapes the clutches of the goons forms the crux of this Southern sojourn.

The cameraman has captured picturesque Kerala beautifully. The editing of the movie though is a huge let down. The first half of the movie is crisp until Deepika and SRK escape from her home. Post interval though the film drags on endlessly. 

Every time a Rohit Shetty film is filled with amazing car related action sequences; this is no difference except for the fact that Ajay Devgn possibly looks better doing those stunts. As long as SRK plays the quintessential lover boy Chennai express is a joyride, but beyond that the movie falters!

The saving grace though is that the movie atleast has a story, and for a change the item numbers have the fun element than the vulgarity.

I am going with 2.5/5 stars with this movie; die-hard SRK fans relish the character of Rahul yet again. Till then Eid Mubarak!

Review: The Wolverine: The Best We Saw Wolverine on Screen

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By Ankush Kumar

The Trailer and the Movie are worlds apart. This movie feels like a wolverine movie. Do some of the characters come off as cheesy? Yes. Viper is hard to take seriously. But… does the movie deliver?

Its pretty gory for a movie trying to sell toys. It really sets Wolverine up to be almost a zombie. In a sense that if he has his healing factor, you better get creative on how to kill the Mofo. Because it aint going to be easy. We see wolverine dealing with a lot more than he has ever had to deal with in this movie. Losing his healing factor is just one of the many things. PTWS is another.

Jean plays a great role in showing us that Logan is dealing with suicidal thoughts after killing his lover and seeing his professor explode. I guess they actually try to get you to see his personality. Which is hard to do, because at Wolverines truest, he is an IMMORTAL GYPSY.

There is a scene in the beginning of the film that deals with a grizzly… it really makes an effort to get you to understand Logan’s character.

Now… what fans will complain about. Never suits up. Silver Samurai is a Mecha and totally butchered the origin. Some fight scenes are cut short while some drama character developing scenes seem to drag on (which is one of my favorite parts about this movie). And the movie just does not feel like a superhero flick. It feels like a superhero drama, which is something I will not fret about.

Darren Aronofsky was suppose to direct this originally.. I am not sure if he had any influence on the script but… I could see him directing this movie. It was dark, and violent, there was blood on claws! (Never thought I would be excited about that).

So… this was the best Wolverine we will get on screen for a while. Hugh was pushing for this kind of a movie, he has wanted an almost R rated Wolverine forever; it was his push for Darren Aronofsky to direct it. I have to give Hugh credit for knowing that the fans think Wolverine is a violent, Clint Eastwood type of wander and trying to figure out to be that on screen and still sell toys to kids for Fox’s greedy execs. I think if that is the goal… the team nailed it. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Review Ramaiya Vastavaiya: The Story Brings Back A Real Rom-Com

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So I heard a dime and dozen critical reviews of Ramaiya Vastavaiya. The critics left no stone unturned to tell us that the film is crap. Unfortunately we all know the story behind these reviews. So as a fan of motion cinema I never take these seriously. They are flawed mostly and are myopic. The same critics went gaga over porn and poor taste comedies like Delhi Belly and Masti ( a super semi-porn sequel is about to come). Just goes to show the quality that we have in town.

I went and saw Ramaiya Vastavaiya for myself and though I must admit the film has bits and pieces picked up from Maine Pyaar Kiya and Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kiya, still it kicks of the humour inside you and gives you a great watch of 2 hours and some odd minutes. The performances, especially from Girish Kumar, the male lead was fabulous and Shruti Hassan was as usual refreshing. The other cast that completed the film was ensemble including the likes of Poonam Dhillon, Randhir Kapoor and Sonu Sood and we all know their capabilities as actors. Keeping all this in mind here are two reasons why such films need to be made.

1. We live in an era where comedy is restrained to either semi-porn or poor taste. I gave a couple of examples above and both were monstrous hits. In times like these, a film like Ramaiya Vastavaiya is fabulous to watch with your parents. I know I call upon the wrath of the modern folks here who would call me backward but so be it.

2. Who do we make films for and who do these reviewers talk to while reviewing a film? Big questions these. Frankly, even though a huge chunk of revenues have started to come from multiplexes audiences, we all know films last longer than a week still at single screen theaters in small and medium sized towns. The film completely grasped these audiences mind and hats off to Prabhu Deva for this. He has produced a classic and if you want to test just go and watch the applause in a theater in Tatanagar when Girish wins in the end against his brother-in-law Sonu Sood or when comic scenes happen. Not that these audiences don’t get titilated easily with Masti and Jism but the moment you produce vegetarian comedy like this, you strengthen the life of your film in a theater and increase audience base too.

The review would be incomplete unless we speak of Prabhu Deva. The man chose the script perfectly. Ramaiya Vastavaiya is a remake of his own 2005 Telugu film, Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, which was a remake of the 1989 Salman Khan starrer, Maine Pyaar Kiya. Then he made sure we all loved the lead actor because if the battering and abuses that were hurled upon him. He completed the film with a lot of finesse and in a film with so much inspiration from everywhere else, a lesser mortal than Prabhu Deva would have surely failed. The way he makes sure everything in the film is made larger and than life is astounding. Colors used are awesome and the village landscape used is also brilliantly shot.

Overall a good watch with the family and I would go in with 3 out of 5 for this one. Frankly one more point for the director Prabhu Deva. 

Ship of Theseus: Movie Review: Story Sails Into The Hearts Of Film Lovers

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By Ankush Kumar

Once in a while comes a man who does not even try to be part of the crowd? There are many who believe they possess certain inherent qualities that will help them be part of the masses easily.

But individuals like Anand Gandhi choose to wait relentlessly for their time to come, and today it’s his day. The day ‘Ship of Theseus’ sails into the hearts of many film lovers. This movie instills pride in you for being part of a humble but subtle audience that craves for true cinema. It shakes up the inner core of your emotions and guides you into a spiritual journey. 

The story is set in Mumbai about three individuals and the impact on their lives after certain circumstances. The name of the movie comes from a Greek philosopher’s musing ‘ if a ship is changed plank by plank, log by log, will it be the same as it started out to be’? Anand Gandhi’s film goes through a similar pattern of fate.

The first story is of a photographer whose life changes after a cornea transplant,
the other one of a man who is against animal testing in India and third of a man who has just been donated a kidney. It’s a movie where the actors have put in their hearts and soul in bringing forth the dilemmas of their journey.

The cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is outstanding keeping in mind that most of it is done hand held. A special mention has to be of actor Neeraj Kabi who stands out amongst others. His performance will draw comparisons with Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.
Lets celebrate the courage of Anand Gandhi and his cinema.

Rating: 5/5

4 Reasons You Must Watch World War Z

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Rohit Sakunia just returned from watching World War Z and could not restrain himself from penning down 4 reasons why it is a viewers delight. Read on

1. Brad Pitt is brilliant: Needless to say this but still the fact remains that Brad Pitt can make even an ordinary flick seem like an extraordinary. He is fabulous, creates scenes which only he can, and travels the globe to find out the answer to a virus which could bring the next apocalypse, or has it already. The zombies look feeble in front of him (which they should considering the great looks of Pitt) and he perfectly settles into the rugged look that he has been crafted in. Considering he is also one of the producers of the film, he definitely has put all in it.

2. Zombies, Thrill, suspense and the Apocalypse: So you just returned after watching Go Goa Gone and have no mental strength remaining to watch yet another. Don’t worry, this is a Hollywood thriller and would look much more realistic and magnanimous then anything you have seen on zombies in your life yet. The scale on which the film has been made and the fact that it has been portrayed as a global apocalypse makes it a must watch for all Armageddon followers.

3. It’s a smart film: When I say its a smart film, it means the script actually makes sense vis-a-vis other Zombie films. It actually makes sense to say that this film goes beyond the normal senseless fun that zombie movies are related to. Its a mystery where the protagonist actually picks up clues to solve a problem which could lead to the end of the world. And lastly

4. It will make you jump and grip the next seating guy tightly: So even though the film makes sense it still gives you moments when you’ll jump off from your seat in sheer fear and thrill. Like all Zombie thrillers, this isn’t a full-time jumping jack film but it has moments where it can scare. Director Marc Foster instills wonders just when you least expected and just when you think the moment is not close comes a thrill that throws you out of the seat. The good thing is it’s not gory but still curls you up in your seat in anticipation of what is to happen next. Its not the classic horror movie, but in its moments, it surpasses all you have seen in the best horror flicks.

Overall a must watch. 

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The Lady: A Pale Recreation Of The Original – Review

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For anyone expecting The Lady to be a epic recreation of the life of Aung San Suu Kyi would be disappointed by the film, though it must be said that it was an honest attempt. 

The Lady is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband Dr. Michael Aris. It is also the story of her peaceful fight against the oppressive military regime of Burma. Despite such long distance and failure to meet each other often, the film portrays the love of the two protagonists living across continents for most parts after Kyi’s fight begins.

Plot: The film opens up with Michael’s (David Thewlis) discovery that he has cancer. From here it unravels how Suu (Michelle Yeoh) could not visit him in Britain because of the fear that she might never be allowed to return back in her quest of fighting to get back democracy to Burma. How she begins her fight after landing in a disturbed country and how her husband backs her in the entire fight, doing all that he can to make sure the lady wins her battles are the elements that complete the film.

After travelling from Britain to Burma to look after her ailing mother, Suu Kyi, the daughter of a prominent Burmese general, is asked by a group of activists to lead a pro-democracy movement. First she declines and reasons her responsibilities of being a mother and a wife to be not able to take up the position but then after considering and thinking over it, she accepts and from their begins her conflict against the regime.

Characters: Brilliant performances by both Thewlis and Yeoh make the film watchable except the fact that some more detailing on the fight against the oppressive regime would have made the film more moving. The brilliance of Yeoh cannot be hidden and she takes away everything on screen during her presence. The two kids play their parts well but it is the Burmese baddies who look pale in their respective roles. Considering the fame they reserved for being oppressive, the performances could have been much better.

Overall: For someone watching the film after watching The Iron Lady, this one is a dampener except the performances by Yeoh. The film could have gone inside the fight of the protagonist more and here I think it lost the plot. She is shown at the Piano more than fighting against the Militia and that leaves questions unanswered. Someone who does not know Aung San Suu Kyi and would start knowing her from this film will never be able to know about her intense fight against the regime because of the pale portrayal. The Lady tries to show both the sides (personal and professional) of the protagonists and for the lack of focus on either fails in both to certain extent.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Hangover 3 – The Madness Gets Reviewed

Kartik Kannan reviews the Wolf Pack’s last adventure! The hangover does not seem to have lasted this time!

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Get Drugged, Wake up in a strange place with an animal, one of your comrades missing, and re creating your night story through a treasure hunt with clues, in the underbelly of a hedonistic city- That’s the Hangover template, that after passing through Vegas and Bangkok, decided to chart a different path ( or so we heard in the reviews).

To get prepared, we downed 3 Kamikazes in an hour before we rushed to the theatre and started watching the flick. It helped us do the ROTFL act more naturally, but somewhere deep down, the movie meandered away without a serious plot, and ended pre maturely.

The movie starts with the demise of Alan’s father, and how the family wants Alan to move to rehab, so that the chinks in his brain get ironed. The wolf pack convinces Alan,and accompanies him to the rehab facility, when the predicted twist happens( Its already 15 minutes into the movie, and its about a twist was manufactured). A gang kidnaps the 4 musketeers, and want them to locate Chow, in connection with some unfinished business. 3 days of time to go find Chow, else one of their partners get killed(who’s held hostage).

To find an international criminal in 3 days, that the FBI and Interpol could not, our wolf packs set themselves on this mission, which is as tough as the Indian Cricket team chasing 300+ totals in England. Chow keeps messaging Alan, and they end up finding Chow. Chow takes them on a trip and deceives the trio and that forms the core of the movie. In between there’s time for Alan to meet some one like minded, and a few LOL moments, but just when you think its time for take off, its touch down time, with a mild hint of what looked like a curtain raiser for another wolf pack adventure. That’s what keeps you happy, as you leave the cinema hall.

For a movie that featured Bangkok, in its sequel, you’d expect a ‘happy ending’ to the 3rd part, but you’ve got to do some self service (like get 3 Kamikaze shots nursing a mild hangover) to really get the ‘happy ending’ that the movie should have given!

The Only Problem With Gangs Of Wasseypur

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Joybrato Dutta writes why the problem with films like Gangs Of Wasseypur isn’t with the script or the language. It’s the same as ‘first impression’. It mostly stays to become the last impression.

Wasseypur, a place unheard of suddenly becomes the most talked about town in the country. A town filled with gangsters and corrupt politicians. Ask the fans and they will vouch for what I just said. But ask the residents and they will deny instantly. It’s the danger with a single story. We believe that’s the only story worth knowing.

American teens do drugs, Chinese teens know martial arts and kids of Uganda become vigilantes. Follow Hollywood movies blindly and you will start believing what I just said.

For a kid who was born and brought up in Bihar I really know what the scenario there is like. No, it’s not what they showed in the movie. I understand if you are disappointed. A few months back during an interview my interviewer was disappointed hearing that I hadn’t used a gun in school. It took me a lot of time to make him believe that every guy in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh don’t carry guns. The only time I used a gun was when I had to burst balloons in a stall during the Durga Puja Mela.

Delhi

The problem is, India is a vast place and none of us have seen every corner. So we start assuming things. Assumptions that are fuelled by books, news channels and mostly movies. Kashmir is about shikara rides and bomb blasts, Delhi is about brats and rapists, Mumbai is about celebrities and mafia, Goa is about beaches and drugs and so on. That’s not the complete truth. There is more to every city than captured in a movie.

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I am a small town boy and I have seen the fear in my parents’ eyes the moment I told them I wanted to move to a bigger city. Bollywood had instilled fear in their hearts. They thought I would get robbed in Delhi and murdered in Mumbai. But once I moved to a bigger city I understood the dichotomy of the cities. There is no difference. Big town people aren’t richer than the small town people and small town people aren’t more rooted than their big town counterparts. They are all the same.

Filmmakers will create what they feel will entertain us. So you will never see 3 men going for a road trip in Somalia and you won’t find Faisal Khan and Ramadhir Singh fighting for their life in Manali. Good movies are meant to have a long lasting impression but it shouldn’t last long enough to inculcate assumptions.