May 31, 2016

Airlift | The corny movie review by Navin

Airlift
Akshay Kumar does what he has learned to do best since the last couple of years - Play the savior of the masses. 

Airlift is about the (plight and) evacuation of the Indian diaspora when the Iraqis invaded Kuwait in the morning of 2nd August 1990. 

As a person who was personally affected by what happened during this period in Kuwait, I can tell you this movie is 30% fact, 70% fluff/fiction

Of course, Airlift wasn't made as a documentary nor is it going to win any awards for authenticity, yet the shameless and inaccurate way historical facts were omitted/edited does a lot of disservice, especially to the memories of all those made the exodus and those who couldn't. 
Here are some realities that the movie conveniently omitted - 
  • Iraqis didn't go about looting individual homes.  There were some sections of elite streets that were protected by well-trained armed guards and many of these homes were not touched by looters. Infact, I know lots of Indians (who were stranded there simply because they couldn't afford the journey back to India) who looted unguarded homes of people who left Kuwait once the Iraqi armed forces' were engaged by the coalition during Operation Desert Storm/Sheild.
  • Iraqis didn't have the patience to interrogate you. The way the Iraqi soldiers rough up Akshay's character in the beginning of the movie is very tame considering the reality. They will kick the sputum out of you and you will be lucky to walk upright if you don't end up dead. If you were a Kuwaiti, you would either be raped (if female) or shot in cold blood (if male). Period. A general exception to the rule was if you were an Indian, some in the higher ranks were genuinely curious and polite to you. 
  • Iraqis did rape and torture a lot of men, women and children. Thousands of Kuwaitis were taken POWs and the 'Save the POWs' movement after the war was a national effort that paid off many years later.
  • Hotels, museums and other public places were looted and vandalised beyond belief. Priceless Picassos and the finest Italian marble floors were stripped and trucked to Baghdad within the first week of the invasion. So were exotic and expensive cars and other treasures. You could not imagine driving around in anything beyond a Toyota and if you were driving in a Rolls Royce, you'd be really lucky if you didn't die while being 'relieved' of your car. 
  • Torture camps were set up at local football grounds where Kuwaiti men were 'treated' to Iraqi 'hospitality'.
  • Many people (read Indians) took this opportunity to make a quick buck. Gullible expats were extorted off their valuables for a safe passage out of Kuwait. 
  • The ruling family (The Al Sabah family) fled the country minutes before the first tanks rolled into the city. One of the brothers of the royal family was killed and his 'martyrdom' was celebrated after the Iraqis retreated.
  • The country's infrastructure was completely wrecked and devastated and beaches and deserts remained out of bounds for many months after the invasion because of mines. 
  • Fuel was a premium and many people would abandon their vehicles simply because they couldn't get fueled up. How a gas-guzzling Rolls Royce and the many buses managed to tank up in that crisis is a work of pure fiction. 
  • Checkpoints were ruthlessly guarded and unless you were part of the Iraqi army, you weren't going to get through those check posts without getting shot at by a tank. 
  • Iraqis didn't speak English or Hindi. Most were just illiterate, young men forced into the army.
  • After the first month, Iraqis were getting ambushed by the local resistance in Kuwait. So there were a lot of Iraqi soldiers who were getting killed and living in fear.
  • Iraqis would never address Saddam Hussein the way the General did in the movie. And for the same reason, Iraqis would never even think (let alone utter) something or say something against the 'Knight of the Arab nation' or a member of the Baathist party. Mere rumor of such a thought was enough for Uday or Qusay Hussein to kidnap, torture and execute the originator of such a thought and his/her entire families. 
  • The roads leading out of Kuwait were not as smooth and obstacle-free as it appeared in the movie. There were human body parts, abandoned cars, mines, burned out trucks, fire from oil fields, ominous presence of Iraqi patrols, and absolute anarchy. The Highway of Death wasn't fiction and the roads leading out of Kuwait was bad much before the coalition rained on the Iraqi parade.
  • Nothing is mentioned about their passage through Baghdad (which itself was a very modern city at that time) into Jordan. 
  • And finally, why isn't IK Gujral ever mentioned as being pivotal to this exodus? Perhaps, pandering to the fragile whims of the current regime. I'll let you decide.
And the list of inaccuracies could go on.

Would I recommend?
Airlift is yet another proof of how Bollywood doesn't have the maturity to recreate historical facts with accuracy, and this could because they don't have the money to do it or the willingness to say the vanilla truth. Airlift clearly isn't a Green Zone or even a Argo.
The Director lacks the technical finesse to tell a story like this and it shows. Who hires an actor who has a very thick South Indian accent to play an Iraqi General?!!!

Airlift is Bollywoodised and the many songs and a totally inappropriate dance (that never happened) compromised the integrity of what could have been a great movie.
Stay away if you know what really happened during those dark months in Kuwait. Watching this movie made my blood boil with outrage at how facts were misrepresented. 

My rating: 1 (and I'm being really generous here..)

What does the rating mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 30, 2016

Wazir | The corny movie review by Navin

Wazir
Farhan Akhtar and the Big B have come together to create a movie about vengeance  - served fresh and masterly cooked.

The movie is about the grief and retribution, first of Farhan's character (Danish) when his young daughter is killed in a shoot-out and then about Big B's character (Omkar) who has been stewing in the grief of having lost his beloved daughter in a mysterious way.
If you have a critical eye, you'll notice that there are countless silly mistakes, glaring continuity and technical errors peppered in the movie. For instance, for anyone who has been drenched in torrential rain can vouch, a wallet won't stand a chance and you will have to dry-clean the contents before you are even capable of folding it, but Omkar's wallet appears to fall to the ground still folded and even when Danish finds it, the wallet is perfectly dry and limber. Ditto for the John Abraham's bit role, where he provides a sniper backup to Farhan in the climax. A professional sniper will never scope from a window opening. How a movie as meticulous as this misses a finer detail (which is also the point where the plot thickens) is what will make this movie just another try at being the best.

However, if you are willing to oversee these mistakes, the movie is a gripping tale and easily one of those movies you can watch to whittle-away 2 hours. 
Farhan appears to have a perpetual angry frown and looks every bit the cop who is out to get vengeance. That said, I doubt if our police and intel agencies have protocols that are as fluid as was portrayed in the movie. 
Big B looks devious and plays the treacherous villain disguised as the hapless pawn in the movie. 
No one else gives a performance worth a mention. 

In case the title/poster hasn't given it away already, Wazir is an amateur chess-lover's movie. 
Like any other movie of this genre, many loose ends are tied by the time the movie ends and Farhan's character gives a very tepid smile and an equally lackluster hug that Aditi Rao Hydari's character (who plays Ruhana, Danish's wife) gives him.

Would I recommend it?
This isn't a Jason Bourne movie. It isn't even close to that.
It doesn't have the technical and story-telling finesse of a Hollywood thriller. 
Songs! It has 27 minutes of songs in a 107 minute movie! Songs have been used as a movie tool to fast-forward through the movie. 
Wazir definitely is an above-average movie. It doesn't get the 'Just Pass' grade, but makes it through to 'First Class', but this movie doesn't deserve the acclaim and pomp it got. For audiences who have been fed on scripts that are a lot tighter and gripping, Wazir is like a balloon that deflates even before you get to the car.

My rating: 4

What does the rating mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.

8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience.

May 27, 2016

The Trust | The corny movie review by Navin

The Trust
Nicholas Cage and Elijah Wood come together to create The Trust and there are fireworks.

The Trust is a heist movie with a twist. Nicholas and Elijah play two underpaid cops who get a little idea to become rich. 
Cage is an incredible actor and shows his mettle. As a huge fan of Cage,I've enjoyed all of his movies. 

Elijah shows why he is in a league of his own.

The plot thickens towards at midriff and then plateaus. This is one of those movies where you cannot afford to blink and makes you wonder. Wonder if you missed something in that nanosecond it took to blink. There are parts where I felt the script was not airtight and then there are parts where you realize why Cage is still Hollywood royalty just because of the way he delivers a sentence/gesture.

Would I recommend it? 
If you are into Cage or Wood, hell ya.
If you are into heist movies, maybe. There is just enough nudity and drugs to label this one. 
That said, The Trust is a good way to spend 2 hours on an idle Wednesday night.

My rating: 7

What does the rating mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 26, 2016

Zoombies | The corny movie review by Navin

Zoombies
I agreed to watch this movie on DVD only because I lost a bet and had to watch a movie that is out of my league. And that's the story of how Zoombies happened to me.

This movie is about a 'strange and mysterious' virus that turns animals (within a zoo) into zombies. That's about it. 

First of all, what were the producers thinking when they reference Jurrasic World in the title poster? Surely, there have been better zombie movies and even the worst movie in the Jurrasic Park franchise was light-years ahead of this concussion. 

There aren't any actors you'll recognize and equally inane conversations you wish you didn't have to hear. On the plus side, you'll know how the story will end in exactly 4 minutes into the movie. The special effects in this movie is a blasphemy. The way the lions chase the jeep at the end of the movie is a joke!


Would I recommend it? 

Unless you are a sucker for cruel and unusual punishment, here's what I would recommend you do - 
  1. Make a list of people you absolutely hate. Easy Ranger. 
  2. Now narrow it down to the Top 10. 
  3. Trick them into watching Zoombies.
Punishment Extraordinaire
I would caution you not to watch it yourself. Never, not in a million years. And 30 years after that (just in case).
Zoombies is the Hollywood equivalent of a C Grade Bollywood thriller. The only differentiator is - Hollywood has slicker marketing than Bollywood.

My rating: 0.5 (and I've been really generous here..)


What does the rating mean? 

0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 25, 2016

Zootopia | The corny movie review by Navin

Zootopia!
Walt Disney has always given us movies that are timeless. So whether it was Toy Story, Wall-E, Cars or Maleficient, when you walk into a theater to watch a Disney movie, you can be sure to walk out with a lot of admiration (if you are an adult) and an epiphany (if you are a child). 


Zootopia is about how new recruit Officer Judy Hopps stumbles upon a larger conspiracy by people she never suspected. Zootopia (a play on the word - Utopia) is sprawling life-life metropolis that has separate habitats for different ecosystems. 

If this movie tells us something, it is this - there are no superheroes. What matters is how we put our prejudices aside and rise to the occasion. Without giving away the story, I can say Zootopia does not have a completely original story and as you watch the movie, you begin to remember bits and pieces of many other movies that had the same premise and plots. Nonetheless, Zootopia is wonderfully made animated movie that deserves better sequels. 

Like Inside Out, a lot of thought has gone into this animated extravaganza, yet sometimes, I felt the pace lagged behind. 
Spoiler Alert: The scene at the DMV was hilarious for the first 10 seconds. Overall, the pace of the movie appeared to pick up only after the first 'bust' and when Officer Hopps puts her papers down. 
Like Cars and Planes, Zootopia humanizes animals. Many of the characters are stereotype-casted and easy for young kids to digest and laugh. 

Would I recommend it? Sure. Zootopia is primarily aimed towards kids judging by how 'simplistic' much of the storyline is. It's a great movie to watch once. There aren't any pathbreaking things to talk about Zootopia but it is a great movie, in that there is a moral to learn - Like real life earth, Zootopia, is a place where 'no matter what you are, you can be anything you want to be'.

My rating: 8

What does the rating mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 23, 2016

Kapoor & Sons | The corny movie review by Navin

Kapoor & Sons is standard Bollywood Karan Johar fare. There is some amount of bonhomie, drama, and a fair share of out-of-place songs and dances. Meh!

What Karan Johar outing is complete without Alia Bhatt and where Alia Bhatt is, there you'll find Sidharth Malhotra. Karan surely knows how to cast the right amount of eye-candy in his movies. There is a certain amount of realism in Kapoor & Sons with the standard dose of simmering resentment, hidden angst and this movie is all about how everyone in the big Indian dysfunctional family discovers and then deals with each of their flaws. 

There are moments in the movie where you are right there among the characters. Feeling their frustration and their anger. And then there are moments when you are done with the movie because the plot is too predictable. 
Kapoor & Sons is every bit an emotional rollercoaster ride and be sure to bring your tissues along.  
The car crash is quite evidently the point where things boil over and where the drama peaks. 
I can understand why the other characters were cast (stereotypical grumpy grand-dad included), but what the hell is Alia doing in this movie? Probably to sell the posters.

Would I recommend it? Hmm, I am on the fence here. If you are craving for a good old-fashioned tear-jerker from Bollywood, you have to watch Kapoor & Sons. You won't be disappointed. I felt the movie had a consistent pace and there are parts of this movie where the acting was pure gold. 
Don't expect to have an epiphany and you can leave your logical brain at the parking lot. 
I am not a fan of Bollywood family dramas, yet I enjoyed the way the story unraveled. But would I watch it again? No. 

My rating: 7

What does the rating mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 22, 2016

Special Correspondent | The corny movie review by Navin

There are certain movies where you go because you are 'lured' by the poster/trailer. Special Correspondent is a movie that will rank at the Top 5 of such a list.

This movie is about how a fading radio journalist and his technician fakes being kidnapped and stranded in war-torn country in Ecuador (Gee! no surprises there) and how they finally bring the entire drama to a 'logical' end. 

There are some parts which are genuinely witty but huge parts of the movie where you just want to bludgeon the actors (or yourself for watching) with whatever you have in your hands. 
Ricky Gervais (known for his role as the stuck up Museum director in the 'A Night At The Museum' franchise) took what is a fantastic story, hired some really good comic talent and then forgot to mould the film into a worthy comic masterpiece. There are so many loose ends, untied sub-plots and technical inaccuracies that you are left wondering what really happened to the scriptwriter. 
This is a movie that is made for people who don't know how international diplomacy works or how volatile certain South American countries really are. There are parts in the movie where I was chuckling in anticipation of what could come later in the movie but nothing that could have made this movie great really happens.
Special Correspondent is neither a Dumb and Dumber nor a Hot Shots. Eric Bana and Ricky Gervais, are both incredibly talented actors. They do show sparkes of exquisite comic timing but after a while, you begin to see a pattern. Eric's character is either berating Ricky's character or seconding his devious plans. Blah!

The plot is wafer thin and like a badly made vegetable soup is something you chuck down the recycle bin of your mind. Midway through the movie, I couldn't bear to sit anymore and wanted to fling myself off the roof of the same cafe they were hiding. Now, don't get me wrong. I liked the plot, but I really think it deserved better direction. Like a carnival, there is a lot going on and by the time it is over, you are neither satisfied nor looking for more. 

Would I recommend it? Gosh! How do I put it lightly? 
This is a movie you watch on an idle Wednesday afternoon when you're bored out of your effing mind. Modern movie-goers don't deserve to be conned by what turns out to be a very long episode of an improv skit on Saturday Night Live.
Watch it for the mindless gags and side references to (Columbian) drug wars. 

My rating: 5

What does the rating mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 21, 2016

Neerja | The corny movie review by Navin

Neerja.

By now, this name evokes a strong sense of national pride for an ordinary person who rose to an extraordinary challenge that saved hundreds of 
people. Yes, there are countless other brave people who have done far more courageous acts away from the spotlight but we'll let all that pass and 
focus on Neerja.

Neerja isn't a documentary (like its disclaimer says) but a Bollywoodisque-version of what transpired onboard the Pan Am flight 73 in September 1986. Sonam Kapoor, otherwise known as one of the most over-rated 'actress' of our times, plays the young and effervescent Neerja, a loving daughter, a dutiful wife who endured emotional abuse, kind friend to total strangers, budding model and a passionate air-hostess.

This biopic begins with a lot of promise. As viewers who already know what happens later, there is a special sense of dread and foreboding.
The characters are as real as it gets. The violence, the emotions, the panic and the trauma is real without any of the drama that most other hijack movies feed us. 

Where the movie excels is its storytelling and its ensemble. 
Individually, every actor in the movie were the perfect choice for the character they played. Together, they made this movie come alive. 
Neerja is one of those movies you watch before you read the Wikipedia article. 

I would have wished the movie didn't have as many songs as it had or if the ending wasn't as it was but that's Bollywood for you. Neerja dies a good 20 minutes before the movie ends, but the story of how the Bhanot family copes with the tragedy is poignant. 

Would I recommend it? Definitely. Neerja is Bollywood fare that shows you the cinematic magic that only Indians movie makers can weave. 
Watch it for the stellar performances, even if you aren't into weepies. 
While the plot is thin on the actual hijack but the story of Neerja, the person, resonates with today's middle-class and shows how human we all are, yet in that moment of pain, we are capable of great courage and selflessness. 
'Life isn't about how long you live, but about how wonderfully you live it'. The real-life Neerja may not have said it, but the reel life Neerja surely embodied it. 

My rating: 9

What does the rating mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 20, 2016

How To Be Single | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

How to be single
Sometimes, Hollywood runs out of inspiration and googles for self-help and comes up with gems like 'How to lose a guy..' and then the other times, it comes up with inane chick flicks like this. 

How to be single is a rom-com of how (newly) single women in the only place worth living in the world aka New York have carved a lifestyle being single and loving it. 

There are plenty of sexual innuendos, side references to Sex and the City and Bridget Jones

According to the director, to be happy single, you must learn to balance drunken one night stands that are fueled and paid for by your active daytime jobs. 
If you have been freshly dumped, you'll find some semblance in Alice, who just broke up with her college sweetheart (Josh) of 4 years, to discover solitude and some 'alone-time' in her life, only to find out that she has been replaced by a new girl in his life. The pain is real indeed. 
After a bit, it gets a little too predictable and you'll find yourself yawning at the pace. 

Would I recommend it? Well, let me put it this way - Watch this only if you are low on estrogen and morale. How to be Single is like watching a spin cycle in a washing machine. You know its pointless but you still can't help staring at it. 
While the movie tempts you to go single because YOLO, I think I would have loved it if it didn't borrow so heavily from SATC.
The movie is crowded with many characters, all with their unique personalities and agendas. Dakota Johnson is best known for her role as Anastasia in 50 Shades of Grey (and the series) and the TV series Ben and Kate.
Rebel Wilson is best known for Bridesmaids.
Leslie Mann, best known for playing Ursula (the damsel who got rescued) in George of the Jungle, is a veteran of movies of this genre and probably needs to steer clear of sweet-as-corn-syrup movies like this.
Alison Brie is best known as Trudy Campbell in Mad Men and is otherwise a relative newbie to this genre. Individually, each of the 4 main characters are very talented but are wasted in multiple sub-plots and a story that becomes too tiresome to watch.

How To Be Single is a good example of 'How To Stop Making Movies Like This', because like so many other movies in this genre this one fails to tug at your heart strings.

My Rating: 4.5

What does the rating mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 19, 2016

The Boss | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

The Boss
Take a deep breath folks, because this is going to be as hard as on you to read as it was on me to watch it.
Melissa McCarthy (best known for her roles in Spy, Hangover 3, and the TV series Mike and Molly) plays Michelle Darnell, an orphan who kept getting dumped by foster parents that ended up scarring her. She is an excellent example of an over-achiever with a Borderline Personality Disorder because of traumatic events in her childhood.

The movie begins in a flashback to her days at a Christian orphanage/convent, where she was constantly being 'returned' by mortified foster parents. As an adult, she is the '47th wealthiest woman in the world' and a ruthless, emotionless tyrannical tycoon. When she is sent to prison on charges of 'insider trading', and later released, she starts from square one, and plots her revenge against her former lover Renault (played by the uber talented Peter Dinklage, and is also the guy who put her in prison). 

The Boss is over-hyped, under-played and grossly over-done. It is a poor hybrid between My Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and a dozen other forgettable movies. 
Would I recommend it? Hell No!
The otherwise incredibly witty and comic McCarthy sleep-walks her way through this movie.
Dinklage should probably stick to the Game of Thrones for now and resist the temptation to do movies like this. His last outing in Pixels was equally terrible. 

My Rating: 5.5

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 18, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Superman vs Batman Or is it Batman vs Superman?
However you choose to call it, this installment of the most famous characters in the DC Comics franchise isn't anything you'd come to expect out of superhero movies. 


The movie does start with a lot of premise. There is plausible cause why the caped avenger should take on the crime-fighting bat. Their reasons - Justifiable. The 'regular' human in us is compelled to take sides. 
The gore and the violence that punctuates the movie is something that would have made us sit attentively a few years ago. Not anymore. 

Maybe DC Comics realized they could duplicate the success that Marvel had when they teamed/pitted their superheros against eachother. And why not? Batman vs Superman promised to be the epic showdown of the century because it is two of the most recognizable brands in the superhero universe. But director Zack Snyder just doesn't have the technical or storytelling finesse of a Christopher Nolan at the helm. 
Ben Affleck is no Christian Bale, a George Clooney or a Val Kilmer and Henry Cavill is certainly not a Christopher Reeve. 
Batman with his childhood trauma issues has been played and stretched thin for too long and Superman can't seem to break out of a mould of being a 'fixer/rescuer/do-gooder'. Surely, there are fans who will vye for each but the fact that DC Comics is nothing beyond a Batman or a Superman is reason why it will never be a Marvel. 

Would I recommend it? If you aren't a fan of either, please stay away. This isn't how Superman or Batman is supposed to be like and I wouldn't want you going away thinking how 'un'superhero-like they were.
If you are a fan, please stay away. This movie is an excellent example of how weak direction can whittle away an excellent opportunity. None of the characters are super or heroic. Surely there is a lot of CGI and VFX to see, but we are way past the point where only that could impress us. Movie-goers demand a plot that's well-made and makes you want to come back for a sequel.

My Rating: 4.5

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 17, 2016

Dirty Grandpa | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Dirty Grandpa
Now, don't ask me how but I knew the coupling of Zac Efron and De Niro was going to be epic. And boy, do I like it when I am proven right.

But that is as epic as Dirty Grandpa is. 

Shortly after Uncle Dick's (De Niro) wife dies after a long battle with cancer, he and his grandson undertake road-trip to Florida. And guess what? Grandpa isn't really the senile ol' sober man that everyone else thought he was. And the two unravel (pun intended) each other. 

There are so many under the belt jokes, salty limericks and crudely crass one-liners peppered through the movie that you will be forgiven if you think De Niro wasn't the star he was. It almost appears like a cruel joke to play on a career that illustrated but after movies like The Intern, I am beginning to think legends like De Niro are sometimes forced to take whatever that comes their way just to stay employed long after retirement. 
Zac Efron is just being Zac Efron. Somehow I didn't see either of them do a good job and I am pretty sure Dirty Grandpa won't be on their Wall of Fame reel. 

Would I recommend it? Dirty Grandpa isn't a movie you will pay a couple of hundred rupees to watch in a theater. Heck, it isn't even a movie you'll buy the DVD or download the torrent to watch. Maybe if you didn't have anything else to do and you've never watched movies where its characters have an epiphany over a road trip in your life, and if someone gifted you the DVD, then maybe, Dirty Grandpa would be the movie you'd watch. 
Dirty Grandpa is an older and less graceful version of the American Pie, The Hangover, Euro Trip or just about any other nonsensical teenage coming-of-age movie. It has neither the epicness of American Pie nor the freshness of Euro Trip nor the adventure of The Hangover.

My Rating: 1.5

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

***************************************************************************

May 16, 2016

The Way Out | Manna for your Soul

Recently I lost my way within a multi-level parking lot. Twice. 
First, I couldn't find my car and when I did, couldn't find my way out of the massive labyrinth. After a futile search for an exit, I came close to panicking until a friendly parking lot attendant guided me out.

Life is a lot like this. 
It is really easy to get lost amidst the lawlessness, chaos, and busyness of our times. It's easy to fall into temptations and thanks to our frailties, there are many who choose the status quo than the right way out. 

It's night-time and you are in a hurry and you see empty roads and you want to jump the red light at the intersection. Do you stop for the lights to turn green or do you jump the red lights? While I've always waited for the lights to turn green, there were times when I felt I was being sucked into temptations. My mind tells me 'Go ahead, there aren't any cops around and no one's watching you'. I've seen many people proceed but there are people who watch me stop and choose to wait. 

Ofcourse, there are bigger temptations in life and falling into one can test your faith, and many people don't want to pick themselves up. It's far easier to go where the wind takes us and assume that God has forsaken/forgotten/given up on us. But it is equally easy to inspire other people to follow your good example(s). 
When good things happen, it's because of God's favor. However, when we lose our way in life, it feels like God has gone for fishing. 

In 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Paul reminds us that God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape. 

Everytime, I've had a dilemma in my life, I've asked God in prayer to sort it. In the beginning, I would ask Him what I wanted Him to do, but then I ended up getting even more muddled. Now, I only ask His will in my life. 
I know I can't see far ahead to understand how the situation can be fixed, but I now know He will. I know He isn't taking a break and hasn't abandoned me. Rather He is untying the knots I made just so that I can find a way to endure and survive it. Sometimes, there are just too many knots to untie!
He isn't waiting to punish me because He knows how stubborn I am. And like a patient parent, He never tires. He has allowed me to repeat my mistakes as many times as I needed before I finally learned from it. 

Today, you may think you are stuck or that you deserve to be stuck. You may think you don't have the inner strength to pick yourself up. Maybe it's a job that isn't taking you anywhere or a financial tight spot. Then maybe, it could be something in the past. 
Whatever it is, here's the truth - You don't deserve to be stuck and if only you calm your unsettled mind and ask yourself, you'll have the answer you seek. Because no matter how impossibly tough your situation is, God has already built in that strength and grace you need to get yourself out.
How do I know? 
Because if He could create someone like you and me - who according to the Psalmist, was fearfully and wonderfully made - then everything else is a walk in the park for Him. To me, those words are all that we ever need to feel reassured that we are not an accident but a very carefully planned creation. One that was built with everything we need for everything we might face.
The instructions are simple: Resist temptation at all costs, but if you did yield to it. Fret not and trust in God and yourself, for He knows exactly what you're going through and has just the perfect exit strategy for your worries!

In closing, I'm reminded of a story a pastor once told at a sermon.
One day as I was walking in my garden, I saw a beetle on the ground. It somehow landed on its back and was struggling to right itself. Its tiny legs were scrambling for solid ground, clawing at the air and as I stood there for a few seconds watching it, I realized it was tiring. Then I bent down and flipped it over and the beetle scurried away like nothing had ever happened. 
Surely, you and I are a heck of a lot more valuable to God than a beetle. 

May 15, 2016

Captain America : Civil War | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Captain America : Civil War

Movies from the Marvel stable have a larger than life, endearing grandiose about them. Perhaps because most of the movies are adapted from very popular characters in their comic books.
I've never been a fan of adaptations, because by the time they are made, a lot of the essence of what made the book a cult is frittered away in creative liberties.
Marvel however keeps its superhero-inspired movies surprisingly close to what we are all familiar with.


With Captain America, Civil War, we have the sequel to The Winter Soldier and the Age of Ultron. Again, both brilliant movies by themselves.
This movie talks about the frailties of their characters and strengths of their personalities.

Visually, this movie is captivating because of the sheer brilliance of their sequences. The characters are endearing and if anything, you are left wanting for more by the end of the movie. Maybe you'll see the Hulk and The Thing fighting it out in a future movie. Who knows.
Civil War will appeal to both sets of fans. It has enough backstory in Star Sprangled glory for the Captain fans and the gadgetry and technical brilliance for Iron Man fans. The face-off at the airport is probably the one that every fan is drooling for.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Watch it in 3D or 2D, it really doesn't matter. Just stock up on your popcorn and soda because this movie is an absolute audio-visual page-turner.

My Rating: 8.5

What does the rating mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

***************************************************************************

May 14, 2016

London Has Fallen | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

London has fallen
After Airforce One, White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen, you'd think that we've seen enough movies where the POTUS is being hunted, alas director Babak Najafi doesn't concur. 
London Has Fallen is a terrible terrible movie that rehashes the same vomit in a different travel sickness bag. 

Gerald Butler, multi-faceted actor of many movies, plays the role of a Secret Service Agent in the Presidential Security detail and is about to resign when he is tasked with one final assignment and the cliches never ends. 

Don't hold your breath, because Gerald is the poor-man's John Maclane and like an under-cooked cupcake fails to raise your spirits. 
After countless dreary one-liners that Hollywood movies are now famous for, xenophobic statements and some really pitiful fight sequences later, we realise that there really isn't much more to the movie. I wonder what Morgan Freeman was doing in such a movie. The money must have been good. 

Would I recommend it? This is one of those multi-starrer that lack the finesse of a Bond movie and another that you must avoid like the bubonic plague. I regretted paying for this movie and will always remain one of the most forgettable movies I've seen this year.

My Rating: 2

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 13, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Kung Fu Panda 3
For those who missed it, the previous movie had a spoiler alert at the end-credits - His 'real' family.
The third installment tells us about his long-awaited family reunion, and Chi.

Kai, former friend-turned-enemy of master Oogway, is on a quest to steal Chi's of famous masters and the evolution of the Dragon Warrier to that of a Master teacher. 
Po is as endearing as ever. After mastering inner peace, Kung Fu Panda 3 is about threading the path to enlightenment. There is plenty of kung fu and nimble-footed flights into the stratosphere. 

Like its previous editions, KFP 3 gives us a lot of thought to chew on. My personal favorite is - 'If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than what you are now'. Through personal frailities and battles, KFP 3 shows us a more deeper insight into the personalities. 

Jack Black and the expansive world of celebrity voices have done justice to what has proven to be a heart-warming franchise.

Would I recommend it? Definitely. Watch it in all its glory in 3D. It's a movie that you take your parents and (your) kids to. The storyline is tight and leaves no loose ends and among the 3 movies in the franchise so far, Kung Fu Panda 3 like its main character has a lot of charm and is the kind of movie that will bathe you with a warm gush of seratonin.
Because everybody will be kung-fu fighting..

My Rating: 8.5
What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 12, 2016

The Jungle Book | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is a like a good trek on a virgin trail - It has lots of adventure and you end up taking away memories for life. 
For most Indians (and some westerners), the movie is on familiar ground and brings back fond memories of our childhood. It touches that sweet spot in our hearts with a heady cocktail of adventure and animation. 

Without giving away the plot, I'll tell you the movie is built around the story of a young boy who was raised by pack of wolves, The Jungle Book skillfully tells a tale that Rudyard Kipling wove centuries ago. 
There is a certain Indianness to this movie that makes it endearing and breathtaking at the same time. Where this movie excels is the storyline, which is crisp and persuasive and the casting is spot on. With this movie, Jon Favreau sets himself firmly in the league of incredible movie-makers. 

Would I recommend it? Definitely. Disney's The Jungle Book is a cinematic experience (like The life of Pi and Avatar) that you must watch in every mesmerizing detail at an IMAX 3D theater. Anything else would be an unpardonable sin to this incredible movie. 

My Rating: 9.5

What does the rating mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 11, 2016

Deadpool | The corny movie review by Navin

Deadpool
This movie was advertised as a movie you must watch with your significant other on a romantic outing. But the trailers didn't have anything romantic about it. So I had to see what the fuss was all about.


Deadpool (an unlikely name that Ryan's character chooses off the fly) is a result of an rogue experiment gone awry. Loosely playing on the 'Now I have lost count of the mutants on X-Men' franchise, Deadpool breaks the fourth wall to tell us how he was created and why he does the things he wants to do.
What follows is a elaborate, yet slightly messy choreography of flying bullets and random car parts. The initial fight sequences are a gore-filled mix of Kill Bill, Kick-Ass and X-Men, coupled with enough dick and butt jokes to make your conservative girlfriend/boyfriend (or your parents, if you were silly enough to bring them) squirm.

Make no mistake, Deadpool isn't a Mrs Doubtfire. It is a movie you watch once and chuckle about for a few hours later. It isn't the regular Marvel fare in that it doesn't have a 'Life as we know it is going to end and we have to save humanity' sort of calamity.
While the plot is very 'down-to-earth', and it is a movie that you will admit watching and wouldn't recommend others to watch. Infact Deadpool is that movie you will want to watch on DVD (or torrents for the thrifty among us) and then regret having spent precious money (or bandwidth).

Ryan Reynolds is a good actor. I've watched him in Two Guys and a Girl, Definitely, Maybe, The Proposal and the very forgetful Green Lantern where he did a fairly good job with comic timing and oodles of charm. Maybe choosing a guy who was once voted Most Beautiful to play a character whose face has been mutilated and scarred beyond recognition was a gamble but it appears to have paid off in the movie.
As the remorseless villian, Ed Skrein does an excellent job at most times. I just hope he doesn't get typecast as the villian and gets to do other kinds of roles as well.
For Ryan, this was a much better outing than the Green Lantern but for the folks at Marvel, it could be a franchise if played right.

My Rating: 5

What does the rating mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...