Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rustom | The corny movie review by Navin

Rustom - A movie whose sole premise revolves around salacious details of a crime and the way justice was maliciously subverted a few decades ago.

Akshay Kumar stars as Rustom Pavri, a highly decorated Indian Navy officer, who returns home to realise his young and gorgeous wife Cynthia Pavri (performed by Ileana D'Cruz) is in love with Vikram Makhija (Arjan Bajwa). 
Rustom goes on to kill Vikram and the plot start coagulating thereon. 

Akshay has always been prone to typecast. Until a decade ago, he used to play the almighty kung fu action hero. Perhaps age has forced him to choose movies that are factually incorrect, dramatised for maximum effect (aka Bollywoodised). He is the righteous protagonist, fighting for his ideals, is flawed but can't do any wrong, sleepwalks through much of this movie.

I found the movie painfully slow, with the scene where Rustom leaves Cynthia for London at the port being repeated at least 6 times (okay, we get it!), the subplot of the scam, the off-the-cuff insinuation that the Navy is corrupted all the way up, and adding the 36 minutes of songs in a 2 hour 30 minute movie, you tune out after the 3rd song. 
I thought the twists weren't masterly rendered. 
So while there has been considerable attention to detail which I liked, I found the errors in Akshay's uniform unpardonable. For a 'prop' that was used throughout the movie, did the movie-makers assume no one else would recognise the mistakes? A cursory google search will tell you about the many glaring technical, and factual errors in this movie.  So I'll spare you the litany here.
I think Illeana did a decent job. She played the remorse-filled, bored Navy wife sufficiently well.
Esha Gupta is eye-candy. She should probably take meatier roles so that she is not typecast in the future.
The courtroom drama was too predictable at times. 

Would I recommend it?
This is a celluloid version of The Blitz, the actual tabloid that created and swayed public opinion, at the time of K. M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra.
Like his previous movie - Airlift, many cinematic liberties have been taken. 
Prepare to unlearn facts you've read about KM Nanavati if you want to watch this movie. 

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

Monday, August 08, 2016

Kabali | The corny movie review by Navin

*Begin fan moment*
Highlight of my weekend: Kabali
Now, I may not look like it, but I'm a massive fan of the Rajnikanth of yore. Padaiyappa, Pokkiri Raja, Thalapathi and Baasha are in the Top 10 of my favorite South Indian movies. 
*End fan moment*

So what's common between Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth? 

Both of them have had a very similar cinematic lineage. Both of them have done what millions of aspiring actors can only er.. well.. aspire.
Both of them are known to be very personable offscreen and have gone through some personal lows and incredible highs too. 
But that's where the similarities end. 

Amitabh has aged like fine wine, reinvented. He has chosen his movies carefully. He gets deep into the skin of his characters and that results in performance that scintillate. Some of his recent movies have him portraying characters that were age-appropriate and relatable. 

Rajnikanth. Not so much. After working in movies as epic as the ones he has, his recent choice of movies is like a failed denouement of an otherwise spectacular book. 

Enter 'Kabali'.

It is supposedly 'based on true events' and is supposed to capture the turf war between gang lords Kabaleeswaran (Rajinikanth) and Tony Lee ( Winston Chao) in Malaysia. 
Like any other film, this guy has been a part of, Kabali has been put through a well-oiled PR rigmarole. The makers whipped up so much publicity froth that the froth at the Bellandur lake looks tame. 

Now, before I go British and pick the holes in Kabali, I must tell you things that I loved about this movie. 

  • I loved that Rajnikanth can still deliver a dialogue with such fervor and character. Kabali is peppered with patriotic quotes and he delivers it in true style. I absolutely loved it when he said 'Karupa powerada' (black is powerful). Whistle Podu
  • I loved how he still has a certain 'aura' about him. I loved how he still shows how he can still get into the skin of his character and emote reasonably well. 
Now, the flaws.
  • Rajnikanth plays the protagonist with Radhika Apte as his wife (!). We must really allow Rajnikanth to age gracefully. Letting him have a bride who is less than half his age is just so wrong on so many levels!
  • We mustn't have him performing gravity-defying stunts. Even if it was just a stunt double who did it. The stunts, like any other regular Indian movie, are exaggerated and almost comical. 
  • Movies like Kabali, tend to revolve, quite literally, around Rajni. And this is what kills this movie. There is a lot of emphasis on Rajni and how he is portrayed, and on his makeup/prosthetics and so on. In Kabali, what astonished me is how Radhika Apte's character doesn't have the attention to detail. For instance, Rajni's character meets his long lost wife, after 25 years, and apart from a tuft of graying, there aren't any other signs of aging. After Kochadaiyaan, I've begun to feel they run out of money budgeted for the other actors after they've taken care of the SuperStar and the PR froth.
  • The 'suspension of belief'. While Hollywood movies aren't always stellar either ('Independent's Day' is an excellent example of how a popular movie is ripped off and remade into a C-Grade action flick with E-Grade stunts), some of what you see on in movies like Kabali is beyond ridicule. Rajni gets his chest pumped with bullets and 10 seconds later, we see him sitting upright at home, with just one teeny-tiny bandage as if he just had a flu shot. 
  • At some points, I found myself nodding off because of the pace, and at some other points, I felt like the director wanted to tell us something epic but got distracted and then decided to move on. Alas!
So, what ails Rajnikanth? 
Spoiler Alert: Rajni should stop playing a gangster because this could be the death of him (no pun intended).
We mustn't expect him to give a catchphrase for every movie he acts in. Even then, I doubt if anyone even caught the 'Karupa powerada' line. 
We refuse to divorce the man from the actor. The internet is filled with superhuman memes and legendary accounts of his humility, charity / largesse and approachability. 
Over the years, we have elevated a simple man with an exceptional talent in dialogue delivery and great screen presence into a demi-god. 
So this isn't about Rajnikanth. All the frothing is only possible because ordinary Tamilians have latched on to their next 'actor turned Chief Minister-in-waiting'. Don't believe me? Look at the political lineage of Tamil Nadu and you'll agree. 
No matter how bad his movies do, we won't allow Rajni to fail our dreams for him. But does that make him a great leader? 
I digress...

Would I recommend it?

The makers of this movie wanted us to believe this movie was based on a true account of 2 gangsters. 
The truth is there wasn't a man called Kabaleeswaran but there was a Tamil fighter called S.A Ganapathy, who campaigned for the rights of Tamils in Malaya. 
If you really want to enjoy Kabali, empty your mind, suspend your logical thought, dress the part, and watch the movie in the company of a dozen other equally lunatic fans (no pun intended). 
Kabali isn't a Jason Bourne, a Godfather, or even a Shootout at Lokhandwala. Rajni doesn't have the charm of a do-gooder Robin Hood nor is suave enough to pull off a ruthless mafia boss. 

So, there you have it. Kabali. One of the highest grossing Indian movies of all time isn't really even a movie. It is the World's most expensive PR campaign for Tamil Nadu's next politician. One where the makers are already sashaying their way to the bank. 

In the meanwhile, Kabali isn't doing much for Rajni's true fans, like me. 

My Rating: 5.5

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

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Sultan | The corny movie review by Navin

Sultan : Salman Khan has yet another reason to wear lesser clothes than his female co-workers (or Deepika Padukone in her movies) this year.

This movie is about how Salman Khan's character Sultan Ali Khan becomes a wrestler to win the heart, love and respect of the only hot belle in his village - Anushka Sharma's character Aarfa (who incidentally has her make-up always on and no bad hair-days and not a single pimple/grime from all that mud wrestling) and the story takes you through some twists and turns of the egotistical yet emotional Haryani village lad former Greco-Roman wrestler turned MMA wrestler.

Let's call the movie for what it really is - 'Sultan' is a crowd-pleaser and will definitely earn its makers and star several 100x of what it cost to make. It caters to his legions of female fans who will drool at the mere mention of his name. 

There is nothing new about this movie that you haven't already seen in a dozen other 'underdog' movies before. Off the top of my head, I can quote the 'Never Back Down' & 'Rocky' series, 'Karate Kid', 'Cars' (!) and a bunch of others. 
Salman Khan has probably reached that elusive 'Sunny Leonne' point in his career where his performance doesn't matter as much. No matter how trashy the plot is, people will flock to their movies. Women can't wait to see him in spandex and six packs. The movie-watching populace, fed on tales of his philanthropy and bad-boy/'virgin at 40' image, will propel this movie to the ₹500 crore club. 

For starters, Salman should be allowed to play his age. Dating and marrying a lady roughly half his age, even onscreen, is a major turn-off. 
There are a few extremely sexist jokes his character makes ('women are born to be hotheads' etc) but that will probably slide off the backs of our feminists. 
What the heck was Randeep Hooda doing in this movie? He is either munching something or mouthing something foul. 

I found the script very kitschy and the acting (bar a couple of rare instances) even worse. 
Starting a blood bank?! Yes, that is exactly what the village needed. 
I doubt if MMA fighters could be taken down by a slam, and the movie glosses over a lot of other technicalities. 
There is a flashback within a flashback and you see Sultan grinning like a love-struck idiot every time he glances upon Aarfa. Sure. That look might have sold Maine Pyaar Kiya a million years ago. At the wrong side of 40, I found this look on his face so brilliantly retarded, I now believe him when he says he is a virgin. No lady worth her pasty white skin would fall for that look.

Would I recommend it?
This is a movie that would have been hailed 'inspirational' if it was made 20 years ago. 
Today, movie-goers are exposed to better 'underdog' movies where their characters are truly inspirational. This isn't a Forrest Gump for sure. This is a 'Houseful' masala movie, catered to feed masses. 
In a matter of speaking, Salman and SRK make movies that are beneficial to our psychology. They encourage you to practice 'Suspension of belief' every time you watch their movies. 

My Rating: 2 (and I'm being 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

Friday, July 01, 2016

Udta Punjab | The corny movie review by Navin

Udta Punjab: Yet another proof that any publicity (even unwelcome publicity from senile old uncles and aunties at the Censor Board) is good publicity.

Put simply, Udta Punjab is about how ingrained drugs are in Punjab. This is old (cheap) wine repackaged in new plastic bottles. There are a couple of songs and Alia running and braying (aka crying) and then Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. You'd be forgiven if you see similarities between Jab We Met and Udta Punjab. 
While I'll give brownie points for even making a movie like this, I think there is a lot of reasons why this will be a movie that you can wait to watch when it comes on the 'Worldwide Television Premiere' on Hindi cable TV. 

The most important of them is - they have got the technicalities so wrong, anyone who has worked even remotely with deaddiction and rehab centers will cringe at how drug addiction is portrayed. Heroin/cocaine and its sister drugs are extremely potent and evil. Getting addicted to these will affect the way you appear, speak, think and basically function. Withdrawal is even worse. Alia's character is shown to be addicted to the drug but when she is 'hunting' for it, there isn't the craving and the 'urgent insanity' that addicts will go through. She looks disheveled and bruised and that's about it. Shahid looks dapper and fit and while he does the part of the raving drug addict well, where he fails miserably is the post-jail/rehab. For a guy who couldn't perform if he wasn't coked up to his cock, one night at the slammer does what years at a rehab cannot do - Kick the habit. His 'clean' act fails so bad, I feel pity at the guy for even trying. 
This movie has so many other glaring inconsistencies, continuity issues, and factual errors, I doubt if they even tried to edit. 
Kareena Kapoor was only there to add some glamor to the movie. For an actress who could carry a movie on her shoulders, Udta Punjab was definitely the wrong choice.

Infact I felt the makers confused drug addiction with alcoholism because none of the people who are seen taking drugs in the movie resemble what an actual drug addict would do, say or think. 
I found the part where Kareena's and Diljit's character go snooping around in the godown in the middle of the night unbelievably amateur and without any foresight. I find it unbelievable drug lords would let their godowns unsecured the way it is being portrayed. I found the many songs and the hint of romance between Kareena's character and Diljit Dosanjh's character distracting. 

Would I recommend it?
Udta Punjab is a wonderful example of what happens when its makers (and actors) don't do their homework. 
Apart from growing a mane and working up a leaner body, Shahid doesn't seem to be getting inside the skin of his character. Apart from Prabhjyot Singh, who plays Diljit's brother, none of the other actors appear committed to the cause. Diljit appears authentic but gets watered down with too much gooey stuff 40 minutes into the movie. Some of the metaphors are deep, like the one where Alia is falling and then swimming towards a light. Technically, this movie is a bust and didn't deserve one bit of the publicity it got.
Udta Punjab doesn't tell you anything different that other movies of the same genre haven't told better. Any premise of promise is diluted to the point where you can guess the climax of the movie right by the time you are packed off for popcorn at the interval. 
This is a bad waste of good money but hey, you get free air-conditioning and an eyeful of Shahid's abs, so the girls won't be complaining. 

My Rating: 2

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Te3n | The corny movie review by Navin

Amitabh Bachchan is a fantastic actor. Fact.
Proof: Te3n

If you've already watched Wazir, you might start yawning about 40 minutes into the movie.

This is a movie about how 3 people's persistence in solving a crime that happened almost a decade ago pays off. 
Amitabh revels as the persistent grandfather living with the guilt of a crime that hasn't been able to wrap his head around. I particularly love the way he portrays the guilt physically. 
Nawazuddin Siddiqui brings an other-worldly intrigue to the entire plot. His mannerisms are down to the wire.

Vidya Balan is mostly frowning, whizzing past or barking out orders. She is an excellent actor and if any of her previous work can testify, it is that she can hold the fort all by herself. Yet, Te3n isn't a Vidya Balan movie. It is an Amitabh Bachchan/Nawazuddin Siddiqui movie. I wish she had a meatier role but that's the way it is.

A remake of the South Korean movie Montage, Te3n is almost exquisite, if it weren't for the pace. 
Upto the half-way mark, Te3n is as gripping as Kahaani and Wazir. Once you are back with a fresh bucket of popcorn, things start plateauing. The intrigue is still there, but I thought Bachchan's gruff low tones was a little too low, Balan looked perpetually pregnant and Siddiqui looked like he was the out of touch detective. How a church pastor can get so much time to solve a crime is a lesson in time management our pastors must learn. 

Would I recommend it?
Hell ya!
This is one of the best whodunnits Indian cinema has and deserves to be watched twice. 
The makers couldn't have chosen a better city and the casting was spot on. 
I won't reveal the plot but Te3n is one of those movies where you will be at the edge of your seat and one where you will kill anyone who causes an interruption during the climax. 
Over the last few movies starting from Piku, Wazir and now Te3n, Amitabh has proven why he is the best grumpy old man Indian Cinema can ever have. Like fine wine that has been aged in the right conditions, Bachchan brings Te3n alive.

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

Friday, June 10, 2016

13 Hours : The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi | The corny movie review by Navin

There are 5 things Americans are really good at -
  1. Cross-continental car chases
  2. Shooting the sh*t out of stuff/people
  3. The All American Cheeseburger
  4. Invading countries, and finally,
  5. Making blockbuster movies about the wars they've fought in the countries they invaded.
Enter '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi'
Based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff's '13 Hours', this is not an average Michael Bay movie. But he has taken a story that had a lot of potential and by playing it too safe, he stripped it of glory.

13 Hours is based on the story of a siege of the American mission by Islamic terrorists and the battle to defend a top secret CIA compound within Libya. 
Michael Bay's movies are always a lot of noise with things flying into you, bullets whizzing past, cars (tanks/random vehicles) exploding, limbs being torn apart, heads being splattered, fire and all-round anarchy.
But 13 Hours failed my expectations out of a Bay movie.
American soldiers, both the official and the covert ones, are perhaps the most ruthless 'killing machines' today. They are unstoppable, and like superswarms can overrun and out-last their enemy and for this reason the American soldier is feared and hated with a vengence.
Over the years, we have seen similar movies getting better with a lot of technical details in place. Many of the movies try and stay close to the truth, but Bay movies tend to do better in India because it resembles a very expensive Bollywood movie. 13 Hours have enough edge of the seat moments to keep you hooked until the very end.

One thing I found extraordinary was how Bay never really developed any of the characters
and for a movie like this, you need to have a 'favorite' guy/gal you can identify and feel sorry for. Any attempts to create a backstory feels sloppy and contrived. 
The movie starts with a lot of promise and you begin to mentally prepare yourself to watch the finest army in the world on celluloid. But the opening scene at the airport and then the standoff at the blockade frittles it all away. I yawned in disappointment. 
I found some technical errors in the movie completely unbelieveable. Like one of the things most people (especially in the armed forces) are taught is to stay close to the ground and to stay together in the event of a fire. Second, I wonder why they chose to 'burn' diesel instead of petrol, which would have been easier to obtain. 
Security teams/units in countries like this are normally accompanied by a translator and are pretty adept at identifying friendlies versus the hostiles. The 'soldiers' in 13 Hours doesn't seem to subscribe to this. 
There are a couple of loose ends and you come away without a closure.

Would I recommend it?
I like Bay's movies for its action and if you do as well, you won't be utterly disappointed. There is plenty to drool over. 
But this isn't going to get the folks at the Academy too excited. This movie doesn't have the soul of a Black Hawk Down (inspite of the reference) and is far from a Hurt Locker. 
I haven't read the book but I doubt if it did justice to it and I don't think it is a movie you'll see in a collector's edition DVD anytime soon.

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

Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Angry Birds: The corny movie review by Navin

Angry Birds
It's a PG-rated movie that is totally inappropriate for kids and is a snooze-fest for their guardians.

Angry Birds is about.. er.. well, if you've played the mobile phone game that was wildly popular eons ago, birds who fling themselves towards the hutments of pigs. 
This movie tells you why the birds are so angry at the pigs. Duh!

There is too much foul language for my liking but I am old-school. And when I was in the darkened theatre watching this movie, there were noisy kids screaming and asking their parents what every 3rd sentence meant. There was this particularly noisy and bratty girl who would scream like a banshee every time the birds were shot through the sling. 

After my last outing at Pixels, I'd promised myself that I would never watch another video game-inspired movie. Blame it on the lack of a better option, Angry Birds: The Movie is a video game that has been stretched to its maximum length. 
The official trailer reveals many of the gags and jokes in the movie and that is a dampener. But there are still enough fart jokes and ridiculous puns to get you cracking up.
There are too many loose untied threads, perhaps left to create the plot of a future sequel. 

Would I recommend it?
The game was addictive for a few reasons. The movie not so much. What is the fun in watching a movie that you can play instead at a tenth of the cost of a ticket?
That said, Angry Birds is an average movie where you can walk in, in the second half of the movie and you wouldn't have missed much. 
Whatever you do, make sure you aren't surrounded by unruly, brats/young adults.

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Airlift | The corny movie review by Navin

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

Friday, 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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Zoombies | The corny movie review by Navin

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Zootopia | The corny movie review by Navin

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

Sunday, 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

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Neerja | The corny movie review by Navin


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

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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

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