Showing posts with label Hollywood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hollywood. Show all posts

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Pixels | The corny movie review by Navin

Chris Columbus (director of movies like Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire and Night at the Museum 2) returns with a movie that he should've taken more time to conceptualize and create.

Playing at a theatre near you - 


Produced by Hollywood A-lister Adam Sandler's home production - Happy Madison Productions, Pixels is like popcorn and candyfloss. You are sure of the calories you will pile on, but it has absolutely no nutritional value at all. 

Spoiler alert!
So aliens got a time capsule which has images of arcade video games and believe they are being attacked. So what do they do? They launch a world-wide counter-offensive and the Americans launch a counter-counter offensive and (predictably and fortunately for the rest of us) win.
That is the entire premise of the movie. 

Adam Sandler shows flashes of comedic brilliance. The key word here being 'flashes'.
Kevin James (and may know him from movies like Paul Blart and Hitch) is POTUS. Yes, that's right! We have a tea-seller Prime Minister and they have an illiterate President. 
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) is sparkling but under-used, considering how capable he could have been.

Pixels has all the CGI brilliance $80 million can buy, but won't make sense to you if you haven't played arcade-style games (which is possible if you grew up in some of the poorer parts of the world). 
The movie is visually-crowded with both CGI and guest appearances. Martha Stewart (!)

Would I recommend it?

Sure, after your lobotomy by the street quack. 
Avoid it like the Plague. But sure, if you just wanted an evening with mindless gags and one-liners, walk into the nearest multiplex. 
Maybe Adam Sandler thought this was a fun script and went on a vacation after that, or he just did this for the money. 

My Rating: 3

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ant Man | The corny movie review by Navin

So being a Marvel fan, I caught the movie on the day it released in India.

Ant Man

Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has discovered that his protege has been trying to steal his technology. Hank gets fired. Just like that.

Cut to present day, Hank has realised that his former protege and his estranged daughter are close to having their own shrinking suit  - the Yellowjacket (how very creative!)

Enter  Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a 'reformed' cat burgler just out from jail and looking for a clean break. 

I won't give away the rest of the movie but I guess you already know where this is headed. 

Paul Rudd is a fabulous comedian and is in a league of his own. 
Michael Douglas has aged fabulously. 
Michael Pena has comedic timing.

The good thing about Marvel movies is the continuity and the way all the other movies are connected with eachother. The bad thing are the intermittent references to Iron Man/Tony Stark. Well, I won't blame them because if something works really well, why not piggy back on it. 

The VFX is good, as usual. 
There is a fair amount of geek-speak so that will appeal to the geek in you. 
Intrigue? Strip this movie for all its tech wizardry and it is just another movie where an over-ambitious co-worker steals your tech (because he wants to take over the world) and fights you in the end and dies. Sounds familiar? 

Would I recommend it? 
Sure, if you are a Marvel fan. Its a nice outing with friends on a lazy evening. While humor will keep you yawn-free, it would have been better if there was a better storyline. 
I do see the potential for a sequel but so are most of the other Marvel superheros. Ant Man is here to stay, atleast for a while.

My Rating: 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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Inside Out | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

'Have you ever wondered what went on inside your head'.. Ahh. The timeless question we have always been seeking answers to. Hundreds of movies have tried to answer this question, in their own inimitable way.

Ladies and Gentlemen! I present to you - 

Inside Out

A young girl Riley is born in Minnesota and with that 5 different manifestations of her emotions. 
We see how different experiences in her life make up her memories and personality. 
When her family relocates to San Francisco, there is an inexplicable event that changes everything else in her life.

Disney and Pixar have come together to create another masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come. 
The animation is par excellence. We see a young girl's journey through emotions portrayed in a way that is as realistic and believable as it is imaginative. 
The movie is warm and the storyline is like fine french wine. The longer you think about it, the more you appreciate it.
Kudos to the makers for being able to translate a complex theme as this and making it appealing to audiences of all age. 
The script is watertight and the one-liners fresh and witty. 
The climax and the way the movie ends is spectacular. 

Should you watch it?
Well, let me put it this way - Unless you are a brain-dead douchebag who doesn't want to laugh, you need to have watched this by now. There isn't an excuse to not watch it. 
This is the kind of movie that needs a sequel. 

My Rating: 9

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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

San Andreas | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Ok so we've all seen this like a gazillion times before. Everything from malicious aliens and zombies to the end of world disasters happen in the US. 
Introducing San Andreas. 

Starts with Ray (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson), a rescue copter pilot, in the midst of a cliff-hanger (no pun intended). Ofcourse like most of other movies of the same genre, Ray is one half of a divorced couple and a doting father. 
And predictably, his estranged wife is already with another guy who abandons the step-daughter in trouble. 
Meanwhile, a team of seismologist discover it is time for a mega-quake which will rearrange the West Coast. 

San Andreas doesn't tell you anything that Volcano and 2012 doesn't. This movie probably reinforces the belief that Americans living in America are probably the most afflicted people in the world. 
The theatrics and the scale of destruction is truly astounding. Unrealistic but still astounding. 

Where San Andreas shines is in it's actors. Chiefly Dwayne does a really good job and is really coming of age with San Andreas. Contrary to his previous outings, where he mostly grunts, and flex his over-sized bicep 3 times too many, here he shows emotions without looking contrived. 

Though the movie is filled with disaster/apocalyptic movie cliches, it is always good to see actors try something new, so watch this movie if you are sucker for movies like this and Dwayne Johnson. 

My Rating: 4

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Mad Max : Fury Road

Hollywood is blessed with the best technology money and imagination can buy and movies like Mad Max are children of this gift. 

Apocalyptic films are always tricky. They can get it right and are revered or they go wrong and are reviled. 
Mad Max is a grand spectacle of theatre. There are tons of high-adrenaline vehicular warfare and gore. 

Yes, water will be precious in the future and wars will be waged for the bare necessities of life. But how do you explain women in sheer clothing? 
Mad Max doesn't make sense for most of the movie. Charlize Theron is good, so is Tom Hardy. 
There is a simmering hatred between the two characters and sometimes it gets annoying. 
The pimped up cars and trucks appear like they mated cars  from the Fast and the Furious with Adams family. 
Mad Max is daring and packs a punch. 

If you like to see monster truck derby with pimped up gargoyle-looking cars being driven by equally goofy characters, then Mad Max is the movie to watch.
For me, Mad Max was a sheer waste of good money.

My Rating: 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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Avengers - Age of Ultron | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Starting with Avengers, I'll be reviewing several of the movies that I've watched this year.. 

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Making sequels that can beat the success of its predecessors are a mighty task.
You are burdened with the need to achieve higher and do better. 
Avengers: The Age of Ultron, in many ways gives you your ticket's worth. There is the usual VFX wizardry that Marvel movies have now come to be famous for. 

Tons of action that will make Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk fans happy. There are new demi-Gods and superheros but a wafer-thin storyline. 
Joss Whedon shines in parts. He manages to even squeeze in a meatier role for Romanoff and Banner. 
There is simply too much carnage and concrete mayhem. For 2 hours too long. 
I felt visually exhausted 45 minutes into the movie and I am pretty sure I had to stifle a yawn sometime after that. 

Should they create a Part 3?  There are no strings on me..

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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The innocence of None [255/365]

Religion in movie can be a tricky preposition. I remember how the Mel Gibson movie 'Passion of the Christ' got the churches talking. For those who saw the movie, it was clear Mel tried really hard to portray Christ and Jews as 'non-controversially' as possible. That in itself was a huge triumph.

Movies must depict the truth. It must move the viewer into thinking. Movies must be a medium to transmit the emotions of its characters more than its makers. The debate could go on.

Last week, provocative trailers of Innocence of Muslims, an Anti-Islam movie that was shot with American actors, has flung shit into the fan. Made by an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and promoted by Qur'an-burning US Preacher Terry Jones, the movie showed the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, homosexual and child abuser. The trailers of the movie uploaded on video-sharing site YouTube were 'designed to enrage' and 'anti-Muslim'. The actors and crew behind this movie has since told the press how they were misled about the intent and purpose of this movie when it was made a year ago.

Why would anyone make such a movie and release a provocative trailer online? Tough question to answer.
But the violence that this movie has caused is unspeakable. The losses unthinkable. Several people unrelated to the makers of this movie have since died as a result of this movie.
Where the f*ck is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula? Is he ever going to be held responsible for this atrocity?

By creating a movie like this, Nakoula has erred. But we can't deny the invaluable PR- millions of dollars worth of advertisement- that he got for free. He has got people googling for him and his movie. I can't imagine any other movie in recent memory which has got the kind of publicity the way 'Innocence of Muslims' have. His actions and this movie will be banned and in any country that has a sizable number of Muslims. He would probably be investigated and indicted for creating worldwide protests. But this is only going to make it really tough for genuine Indie film-makers in the future. Hollywood has taken a rap on the wrist, but America has lost much of the goodwill that Obama and Ms Clinton has struggled to create. Six American ambassadors have died and if the radicals have their way, this count could go up. Scores of civilians have died the bloodshed does not look like its going to dry up.

Now, I am no lover of radical Islamism but I agree they had a right to protest but by targeting the Americans, Israelites and Germans (!) aren't they, I dont know, vindicating the violence shown in the movie? None of the victims deserved to be killed for a movie they had nothing to do with.
By killing the innocent they have made naught any of the benefits of the Arab Spring uprising. While not all Muslims are violent, the spate of violence has proved that it only takes a dozen imams and a hundred radicals to undo the good of a million Muslims. If any consolation, had a Bollywood director made this movie, our primitive censor board would have stopped this right in its tracks.

Ironically, YouTube has still not taken the videos down and you should be able to see clones of the original upload online. Some of them High Definition. Countries where violence has broken have been grappling to contain and reassure their Islamic population.
While I know this will pass in a few weeks, I wonder how many Muslims really think what is portrayed in the movie is indicative of what they and their religion really is. Today's Muslims have much bigger issues to worry about than a movie made by one cowardly lunatic.

Whatever Sam and his Qur'an-burning compatriot wants to accomplish, I doubt if they will ever find forgiveness for the violence and hatred they have promoted. I surely wouldn't want to be in Sam Bacile's shoes today or any day soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Movie Review: Ice Age: Continental Drift [211/365]

Fact: I watched Ice Age 4 twice. On 3D.

Having watched all three prequels, the latest outing of Manny and his ragtag 'herd' could have done better.
As in each of the Ice Age movies before, this one starts off with Scrat (Chris Wedge), the acorn-obsessed squirrel (literally) running amuck inside the earth's core. This acts as the premise of the entire plot. As the prehistoric Pangaea breaks apart, we are introduced to Peaches, now as a precocious teenager, and Louis who has a secret crush towards her. Manny is separated from his half mammoth half possum wife and his daughter when the land mass that he, Diego and Sid breaks off.
They encounter an evil ape pirate and his buccaneers and the rest is best viewed on 3D.

Unlike the earlier outings, this movie has a lot of action and none of the story-telling. Entertaining, surely. But I find some parts of the movie comfortably predictable. Most of the action is kid-friendly and the comedy very physical, which is okay when you are aiming to please kids.

I enjoyed this movie thoroughly and so did all millions who watched it. So then, why do I have the nagging feeling that the makers of this movie could have done better? Ice Age 4 is not boring but on the contrary, it is busy.

Would I recommend you watch this movie?
Yes. Not more than once though.
For the only reason that this is not one of those movies that you will remember for it's storyline. For a franchise as successful as this,  this one fails to deliver.

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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Movie Review: Boredom Avenged [133/365]

source: Wiki
Hollywood has always tried to better itself. That might explain it's obsession with sequels and prequels.
And looking at it's BO record, I think they have done a pretty good job.

America's obsession with superheros is legendary.
The past couple of weeks has been a treat for fans of the Superhero genre.

Avengers. Opened a week earlier in India than the US, to packed audiences, broke all BO records. It is set to rake in a billion $'s and is one movie you cannot miss.

Directed by Whedon, known for his supernatural genre with series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, this movie has an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Clark Gregg (Coulson), Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Pots),Tom Hiddleston (Loki) among others.

The movie begins with Loki's encounter with The Other, an extra terrestrial race that has been plundering other planets, to retrieve the Tesseract (which is the source of limitless power) in return for an army with which he can conquer and subdue the Earth. Meanwhile, the Tesseract opens a portal that brings Loki back to Earth. Using his scepter he enslaves a couple of Nick's best agents and escapes. To deal with this crisis, Nick Fury reactivates the Avengers program. The Avengers congregate and are forced to work together. The conflict that their separate egos cause and the way that they come together to fight is a treat to the eyes. 

Strip the movie of its superheros and it is just a movie where the good fights over evil and eventually wins. There is an uncanny resemblance to a dozen other superhero and extra-terrestrial movies but Marvel Comics does a pretty decent job bringing a new twist to this genre.

Technically, it has one of the best action superhero movies that I've ever seen. There isn't any one single actor who outdoes the other, but where all of them excel. Even the supporting cast get meaty roles.
But does this movie really make use of it's 3D? While some of the sequences are mindblowing, I think it could have done better. That said, this is one movie you definitely need to watch in a movie hall in 3D. The climax is cinematic excellence.
It's humor is witty and never stale. Tony Stark with his sarcasm and satire sparkles, Hulk amazes, Thor is fresh. Chris Evans, who many will recall from the Fantastic Four series, brings his own brand of humor to this movie.
'Why can't Bollywood movies have humor that is non sexual and tasteful?'

Would I recommend Avengers?
Hell ya. And I would even suggest that you watch it more than once just for the kicks.

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

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Review: Titanic 3D: Still 'King of the world' [93/365]

100 years ago, the Titanic sunk like a certain Shah Rukh movie.
90 years later, James Cameroon make a ton of money by making the biggest blockbuster at the turn of the last century.
Today, he is preparing to sell old wine in new bottle.

But honestly, does the Titanic really get any more grandiose in 3D than it was in 2D?
Presumably, the scenes at the climax where the ship breaks in half have been left unchanged but much of the remaining part of the movie has been made a cinematic notch higher. After all, one of the greatest love stories of the last century has to be experienced in a theater rather than at home. Titanic 2D was never meant to be screened in your VCR or even your home theater, and so is Titanic 3D.
While Titanic 3D is surely every bit as real as you can get minus the hole in the pocket and the disaster, I am not sure if I'll want to film makers redoing their greatest epics in 3D. James Cameroon could have made an entirely new movie out of the money he spent in redoing the Titanic, but if the movie does (and most probably will) get the cash registers ringing, then he's hit the jackpot.

But why stop at 3D? Where viewers will be able to feel and smell everything that actors in the movie does in a 4D, you could soon have that sinking feeling.

So, can we really review a movie as good as the Titanic? Supposedly no.
An epic as fine as this is something you definitely need to see, even if it isn't for the 'now' mediocre acting of Leo or Kate. Even if you already know how the movie ends, and even if you know how basic some of the special effects now seem. Titanic 3D is surely one movie that you must watch in a theater.

Happy Viewing, everybody.

My Rating: 8

What does the ratings mean?
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theatre.
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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

..And the Oscar goes to [58/365]

The Academy Awards, also fondly known as the Oscars: An annual event where Hollywood actors come together and pretend to enjoy and toast each-other for the wonderful work that they have created in the year that just went by.

You know the Oscars are round the corner when every English movie channel worth its movies suddenly start serenading the 'greatest' movies of all time. Time to bring out those over used movie reels for Saving Private Ryan, Forest Gump, Titanic and the other predictable. Roll out some contests and promise some freebies to keep the viewers interested until last week of February. You know the drill.
So while the movie industry is busy lobbying for the golden statuette that will help them hike their 'fees' if they win, even the nominees get their moment of fame.

Now, everyone loves recognition. We'd love to be recognized for our work and rewarded too. But as today's stars walk the plush red carpet in their crisp Armanis and the Christian Diors, I wonder if this is really all there is.
I am quite sure there wouldn't be too many people who would recognize the stars that walked the red carpet even 40 years ago. But I am very sure we'd recognize Einstein or Pascal or Da Vinci any day.
True, movies are not meant to be a contribution to humanity in the same way Science or the Arts is, so I'll let this argument pass.

Amid the fist bumps and the heart wrenching minutes leading up to opening of the envelope, I wonder how much of the show is scripted and how much is truly rewarding performances.

And the Oscar goes to...

Nonetheless, I'll still root for the climax in Naked Gun 33 1/2 as my all time favorite Oscar moment.
"And they thought I couldn't do drama"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Resident: Evil

Part 4

Concluding part of the 4 part series about events that are changing our world

I love Hollywood (Who doesn't)

But three reasons why I stay away from horror/sci fi and action.

-Everyone, from the Arabs to the Russians, nastiest viruses and generally every convulted force in the universe is always trying to conquer, control or kill Americans.
-Of course they might be better produced and funded, but you almost always need to watch them with a huge pinch of salt.

Out of the hundreds of movies that are churned out in Hollywood and the millions off Bollywood, there will be one movie that'll make the cut.
The one movie that will make you sit up and ponder. 'Hmm, now that is possible.'

One of my favorite series of horror/sci fi/action movies are the Resident Evil Series. Not untypical of Hollywood and definitely not the last zombie to crawl out of the studios, I've watched the trilogy a dozen times on DVD and then whenever it comes on TV.

The movie is based on a virus that mutates the dead into the Living Dead.
Though this could be impossible to vision in real life, reel life is fantastic. (You can always get back to the good life after 3 hours)

In reel life, we've conquered the nastiest aliens and the most diabolic humans. We've battled nature in all her fury and survived. We've overcome global wars and destruction. All in America.
But in real life, we've been pinned down by nature's fury. We've struggled with recession and we're yet to win over terrorists.

We've failed to learn lessons from any of the million dollar sci fi movies that has come out.
With the meltdown in Tokyo, turmoil in Tunisia and a World that seems to be racing to The next Big War, it does look like we could do with some special effects and change in scripts right about now.

-The Third reason why I've stayed away from sci fi horror / action is because I've learned bigger lessons from movies like 'Just like Heaven' and 'Bruce Almighty'. You don't have to have a girl friend who forgets what she did yesterday and lives in the past to realize what a wonderful relationship you've got right now. You don't have to loose someone you've loved in the pursuit of wealth to realize that you've got all you need in your life right now. Life is not always about the money. It is about the people that makes living each hour of every day of every week of every month of every year worth living.

The fall of man wouldn't have happened if Adam had listened to God. The two World Wars wouldn't have happened if we would've been slow to anger and the Chernobyl wouldn't have happened if we'd have listened to instructions. So much tragedy and so much pain.

We all have stories to tell of circumstances that have shown us the need to listen before we speak. We've naturally tempted to come to quick judgments and react angrily. Be swift to hear, slow to speak and slower to wrath.

You and I are not mistakes and accidents that happened. You and I have a purpose.
Life is not a transit between Birth and Death. It is The Event.

'Love People and Use Things. Not the other way round'

Jump to the other parts here:
Apocalypse, Oil, Freedom

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dishum Dishum

Quintessentially, fights in movies are nothing new and most Indian movies need atleast one 'stunt' scene.
Fight scenes usually play to the masculine need to show power and while most Hollywood movies deliver their fisticuffs very convincingly, almost all Indian movies are a departure from all logic and laws of physics.

What amuses me the most is when I see a fight sequence in a Malayalam movie from yore.
Any keralite worth his coconut will know Jayan, a Movie star of yore. With his unique style of acting and speech I would call him the Marlon Brando of Mollywood.
And in many movies from the late 80's and through the 90's, the hero would inevitably make a mash potato of the villain(s) single handedly. Not that I think the Hero should not have done that, or that I am sympathetic towards the villain. But what got me is how the director would think we would believe in a fight when inspite of much bashing up, the dhoti (lungi) of the hero or the shirt of the villain does not tear or come undone!
C'mon! I avoid situations where I have to wear a lungi/mundu just because I have a huge phobia of exposing my modesty. I remember wearing one to a 'Ethnic day' celebration in college. I had to wear a swimming trunk and loop a belt around my waist just to reassure myself.
But what the heck, these guys in movies don't even need to retie their lungi between all the fights!
Every fold and tuck is neatly in place, after 20 cinematic minutes of fights. And the shirts? Not a button comes off?
Where do they make such clothes? I need some.

Now, don't get me wrong. I realise that this is all make believe, and I really enjoy the comic relief in many of the fight sequences in Comedies. But give us more power to the punch, Mr Stunt Director.

Life is filled with so many serious stuff and Cinema is supposed to transport us far from the mundane realities of life into another world where the fine line between a punch and a pow is blurred with a dishum.


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