Monday, June 30, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) - Action

WOW! What a blunder this one is - I just don’t get this that why the quality of sequels keeps going downhill with almost every sequel they make in today’s time? When the first of the series came – I was totally in love with a lot of things about that one – first being the way robots turned into cars and vice versa, second was of course the hawtie Megan Fox, third Shia LaBeouf’s vulnerability and excellent character portrayal. Second part took everything one notch higher (This was a first for any movies sequel for me) and damn! Megan was even hotter in second part and they had shown greater attention to details in transforming the robots into cars n trucks plus superb action sequences plus Josh Duhamel as bonus. Third of the series was just about ok for me – a good time pass of course but the downhill journey for Transformers started with this one and unfortunately Megan Fox too was gone by now. Then came the fourth part - Although initially I was excited about one of my favorite actors (Mark Wahlberg) being the part of the series now onwards but oh my god - I was shocked to see the character he plays (“Dad” that too of a not so hot chick). From what angle he looks like her dad? C’mon Michael Bay – Dude he looks more like an elder brother at max. And what was with the never ending action sequences? Running time close to 165 minutes was another turn off. Unfortunately I never read reviews before watching a movie so had no idea as to how long it’s gonna last after the half way mark and had a can of Pepsi mid ways (thanks Akkiba) – that played a spoilsport as my bladder was bursting by the time it ended as it took them close to hour and a half or may be more to end the final action sequence. The hugest plusses of this part were of course Mark for one and Stanley Tucci for two – totally loved his character – was a big surprise to me as I had no idea of him being a part of this movie. Mindblowing action sequences (unfortunately too long) but attention to detail and camera work is simply outstandingly superb. This one as far as cinematography is concerned – I will call it the best of the franchisee so far – too good. It’s a must watch for Transformer franchisee lovers and simply can’t be ignored but I will give it a below average 2.5/5 for offering nothing new and the very usual story. Hope that changes with the remaining two part of the new trilogy they have started with Mark in lead. Do not miss it but do visit the washroom in break without fail.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ignited Minds (Book) - APJ Abdul Kalam

Ignited minds is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read - a book written by scientist-patriot Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, who was the President of India and the best part is that he wrote this before becoming the President. I guess a whole book can be written or dedicated to the man’s achievement and ideas – the way he has lined them up here in the book is simply mind blowing. I wonder why this book isn’t publicized or marketed the way it should be – I read it almost after a decade and a couple of years more after its publication and feel like it should be made “Mandatory” for all the schools to add it as a part of extracurricular activity if not like a proper subject to study. If the young generation as Dr. Kalam claims is made aware of his thought process, ideas, theories backed by superb examples – we would have seen a different developed India in almost two decades (by 2020). It is indeed no surprise to me or to anyone what our country achieved under his superb guidance when it comes to Defense, Technology, Science, Agriculture etc and what more we could have achieved if all of his ideas were to put to use in real life would have been insane growth. Almost each chapter of the book works like an eye opener and made me wonder how in the world others couldn’t think of those simple ideas what he mentioned in the book. It’s a brilliant book from all standards and a breeze to read – I almost finished it (200 pages) in two sittings – highly recommended to all.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Love, Films And Rock N Roll (Book) - Swayam Ganguly

I have now finally finished it and it turns out to be one of those rare unputdownable (if that word exists) book that connected so well with me. It was tuff to put it down but I must tell you this that – it is indeed a fantastic read – totally hooking right from the very start and with the mere mention of Satyajit Ray (One of my favorite Directors / Writers) had got me glued to it. Oh my god! I had no idea what it was based on other than what the title suggested of course and as I have a habit of not reading reviews of books or movies especially the ones I plan to read or see respectively. But as the title suggests – if you’ve got anything to do with Music (As a hobby) especially Rock n Roll or with Movies – you are bound to love this one. Even the references and explanations are simply superb. I cannot claim that the writer is a friend but yes I can certainly brag that he is indeed a Facebook friend at least and I’d been fortunate to have couple of interactions with him on Facebook especially on our Bookaholics group. The way the characters talk, discuss and throw off the “Rock / Song Lines” from so many of my favorite rock stars is amazing – if you know what I mean? It’s totally out of this world experience and one more thing I should mention before I miss out – it became another of those rare books which didn’t send me fetching the dictionary as the author uses so many of those words we speak in our daily life – two of them deserve a special mention as I use them a million times a day – One is “Unfuckingbelievable” and second is “Kickass”. If you’ve read the book – I am sure it’s going to put a smile on your face and if you haven’t – time to pick up a copy and read it. Do not miss it at any cost. Highly recommended to Movie freak friends, especially the ones who love music too and have been in and out of love too at one point or another.

The Book: Story of three strangers Dipsy, Sunil and Sam who meet in a train journey to Kolkata and hit it off so well that they become friends for life. They all have their own separate stories to tell too and on top of that the set of friends that they have or family members itself makes up for quite an engrossing, hilarious, interesting, emotional, dramatic and thrilling ride too. Dipsy gets thrown out of IIT for possessing drugs which unfortunately doesn’t belong to him, inside he is a hardcore rockstar (Musician) who wants to make his own band and go national or may be international in due course of time – how his journey (And love story plus tragic family background) turns out is the rest of the story. Sunil is a FTII pass out who wants to make it big in meaningful cinema that too in Kolkata, how he goes through his topsy turvy ride makes up for another fantastic story (I totally loved this one as it had so many movie references from all over). Sam is an NRI working in the silicon valley in US of A – who comes to India as his family wants him to settle down (read get married), how his love marriage gets arranged is another fantastic story. There are so many superb characters in the story that I wish I could name them all here and even share what all they do but I guess that will be a little too much to disclose. It’s a commendable job by author to call it a first book – he has written it in such a wonderful way that the whole narrative was actually running like a superb visual on the back of my mind all the time. Especially that movie making part with Sunil at the helm of the things with a Superstar in lead and the way Dipsy’s band finally gets made and they start recording their songs etc – I could actually very easily visualize the whole thing as it was happening right in front of me.

The book also gives us quite an insight in the daily life of Kolkata – unfortunately I’ve never been there but wasn’t that tuff to imagine. I guess Swayam Ganguly (The Author) has fantastic knowledge of music as well as the way he has covered the whole “Baul Music” thing is totally commendable, I had no idea before I read his book about the same but now I know. I will call it a brave attempt to mention the famous casting couch of our film industry in his very first book and the references are solid – I wonder how they real people will react when they are told of this story. Although it’s a work of fiction but I am sure even the author won’t deny the people he has pointed out as its too obvious who he is talking about (but it does makes the story more interesting and keeps the reader smiling ear to ear). Also he is a big big Rock fan and so I am – almost all of the names and songs that he has mentioned in the books are a permanent part of my rock collection hence it made more sense to me, some of the lines that he has quoted – I literally sanged along aloud to which my wifey called me “crazy to have found a perfect book” with lyrics. I can go on and on and on about this one but will end it here with a note that you’ve got to read it big time. I am going to share it with couple of my friends who have those things in common with me and am sure that they are going to love it too – just the way I did. Also, I will look forward to his next whenever that may come out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brick Mansions (2014) - Action

First things first – yes it’s a remake of an outstanding action thriller almost a decade old and yes it is or isn’t half as good as the original for sure – but it still works big time for me as I am big big action movies fan and it qualifies as a high adrenaline action flick for sure. Two reasons – one the protagonist Leno (Outstanding David Belle) who is regarded as one of the 8 founders of Parkour – is totally out of this world guy and does the same sequences as he did in the original District 13 earlier and two – of course apna Paul Walker as super cop Damien – he is good but nothing great. I guess by the time he started doing good movies to come to lime light – unfortunately he was destined to leave us a little too soon. I can vouch his last three movies have seriously changed his fans opinion about his acting skills but as I said unfortunately this one is his last movie. Everything remains same – same writer / producer, even the protagonist too – the only change is – it all is happening in Detroit this time. One minor change is that Leno and his partner Damien are saving the district by defusing a bomb and saving Leno’s Ex Girl friend and not his sister like in the original. Rest all is almost identical (mind-blowing start) but somewhere around the half time – it loses steam and goes almost nowhere hence a big big let down. Action is superb, background score is equally good, camera work is excellent and cast – the less I say the better as they were both good in their respective roles still it didn’t have half the magic “District 13” had on me almost a decade back. I guess they should have bettered in this much of time but they screwed it somehow – still it does qualifies as a good one time watch action flick for sure, again as the fate had it – we almost saw the last day first show with only a dozen people in the auditorium including us three. I will give it a 2.5/5 (that’s when I get confused whether I liked it or not) but still will call it a good one time watch.

Train to Pakistan (Book) - Khushwant Singh

I had never read a book by Khushwant Singh before I decided to pick this one up as my next – only a couple of his short stories – I had read that too long back while in college. And let me tell you this in advance – right like the title suggests – it is one mind-blowing read. Although after close to 60+ years it is one of the most beaten to death subjects – so much have been written, made into movies, documentaries and stuff yet it was one of the most important (read horrible) part of history being made in our part of the world. Now after reading this one – I’ve got to ask some of my good friends who have read more of Khushwant Singh – about his best five works after this (Let me know your suggestions). I am more inclined to read some more of him now – as I totally loved his attention to detail and the way he takes his story forward – keeping the reader totally glued up to the very last page as if reading a perfect thriller. It is indeed tough to believe that it was written and published in the year 1956 – I am sure if you have read this – you will agree with me on that. Looking forward to some of his works big time now.

The Book: Is based on the life of villagers of Mano Majra at India Pakistan border on and after the partition of 1947. What they witness and how it all changes their life upside down is the story all about. The village has its own story going on too in the meantime as a local money lender gets murdered by a local gangster Juggut Singh who in place is in love with a muslim girl. Then we have another character as a corrupt magistrate who has his own ways of handling situations. It’s totally amazing and so damn true to see – once close friends (Sikhs and Muslims) become enemies in no time as the situation changes but its again heartening to see how it ends. How the villains become heroes and vice versa is so damn good. Another important line I would love to quote here which in reality sums up the whole situation as well as the story in the book is “Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped”. Another important character in the book is of Iqbal (Mohammed or Singh) who is well education and but an atheist social worker, well travelled and from Britain who thinks politically. What they do in the end is what we readers expect from them is totally fundoo stuff – it was beyond my expectations and I am sure no one can guess its ending that easily.

The story raises so many questions and offers so much food for thought. I really wonder how the public would have reacted to this one then – got to find it somewhere as what exactly the critics wrote about this one. Khushwant Singh gives us a superb understanding of human actions and makes it pretty clear that everyone was responsible equally. And isn’t it amazing that even after almost 70 years the difference is still very much there and visible big time. It is indeed a must read for all – a different perspective altogether which does not talk of politics much but it’s after effects on the society. I will definitely give it a 5/5 for sure – if I have to rate this book.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2 States (2014) - Drama / Romance

I will call it a way below average drama and unfortunately the Director is the culprit here – a story of this caliber should have got a Director like may be Adi Chopra or someone from Rajshri banner to do justice. Fortunately what works big time in this movies case and still keeps it watchable is the excellent cast – in that department this movie is Superb! Barring of course the man in lead (Arjun Kapoor) who kept precisely two expressions on his face during the entire narrative – Happy and Confused.  I assumed after a couple of movies (good ones) to his credit – he should’ve matured enough to take up this fundoo character which he isn’t able to do justice to (my personal opinion). Alia Bhatt fortunately is in superb form right from her first movie – now I can definitely say that and I must confess that I am hopelessly falling in love with her right like the way I was madly in love with her sister Pooja Bhatt while I was graduating. The rest of the cast is simply outstanding in their respective roles, like the two mothers played by Amrita Singh and Revathy respectively are simply too good. And so are the dads – especially Ronit Roy as Arjun’s dad was simply terrific – he continues to play the same character he enacted awesomely in “Udaan” – and was simply Terrific! I kept looking for an opportunity to see his smiling face at least once but no ways – he lived that character till the very end. Songs as per me were totally unwanted in this movie – I guess they should have skipped the songs and rather adjusted a little more drama but it’s a love story after all so I think songs are justified. Overall it qualifies as a good drama for sure and I will definitely give it an average 3/5 but I am sure some people will find it too long to their taste. If you have seen it – do let me know if you liked it? And by the ways – did you notice the movie starts with Arjun narrating his story to a psychiatrist but where does it end? Did I miss anything?

Comparison with the Book: Again, I guess it’s the same story every time they make a movie based on a book and the audience keeps on expecting justice which unfortunately never happens. Of course it’s a tough job to adjust a book of 270 pages into a two and a half hour long movie and still keeping it watchable but is it really that tuff? I am sure Chetan Bhagat could have done more justice to his superb story (in the book) while adapting it into a movie – but let me tell you – it isn’t half as good as the book was. The problem I feel now is that if you have read the book – the movie is never at par with it but if you haven’t read it and you plan to read it after you watch the movie – it becomes futile as you already know what’s going to happen next and how it all ends. In this particular case – in comparison to the book – movie is totally haphazard – it goes from one chapter to another just like that and there was so much left behind untold. Take that very first scene of the movie where Ananya takes Krish out for lunch – on their very first meeting and she is shown keeping her hands on his while asking if he was from IIT too? I mean, c’mon – that was a little superfast for a girl from anywhere to do that. No mention of his Boss at Yes Bank, No mention of Manju (Ananya’s Bro) other than that Krish teaches him, not much background on his father either and totally no nothing on the girl he sees on his mother and her cousin’s insistence. So in the end – I can say the book was way better, if you haven’t read it – I will say – go ahead and read it, you are going to love it more than the movie.

Revolution 2020 (Book) - Chetan Bhagat.

Chetan Bhagat: Is such a smart writer that I will not be shocked or surprised if someday “Madhur Bhandarkar” picks up this one to make a movie on corruption going on in our Education System. More than that what shocked me totally was the use of the names of so many institutes as well as the organizations like AICTE whose name he has used in the book – so far I haven’t heard or read anywhere that they objected to what he had to say about them in his book. If this is a work of fiction even then too – it’s simply WOW to see all those real time names in the story and the way author point’s fingers and calls them corrupt. As all his other works – this one too is definitely totally filmy – with so much going on all over at breakneck speed that it’s hard to tell if it’s a book or a movie going on (visually in readers mind). No doubt, one has to agree with what he says (at least most of it) about the education system in our part of the world – how exactly everyone is just making money and nothing else in the name of education, which end of the day is hardly of any use. As the book says – there will be a Revolution by 2020 and people will finally wake up to make a change in the system. I seriously hope it happens as how long one can just sit in the living room having a cup of coffee and say “This system just sucks and nothing can be done”.

The Book: Again, I will call it an amazing book and a fantastic story on top of that, of a handful of interwoven characters in the name of Love, Corruption and Ambition. Superb story of three school time friends mainly, Gopal the narrator who belongs to a very poor family – wants to become an engineer just because his dad wishes him to be. It’s heartening to see the way his father not only spends all his life’s savings in making him an engineer buy also takes up a loan and the way his own brother ditches him for property. Gopal’s best friend Raghav who is not only intelligent but also belongs to a rich family and becomes an engineer by default whereas he desires to do something else. He wants to clean the society of corruption even if that means losing everything that he had in the quest – still he never gives up. And then we have a love triangle with Aarti in between (these two) who belongs to a very affluent family who wants to become an Airhostess but his family won’t allow her to go out of Varanasi where all these things are happening. Daughter of an IAS officer (DM) whose Grand Father was the Ex CM of the state. And then we have another character - MLA Shukla - who is the face of all the corrupt people especially political figures we come across in our daily life. What happens with all these characters is the story with so many twists and turns that the villain becomes the hero by the time it ends or is it the other way round? 

Exactly like all his previous works even this one too is narrated by one of his characters (Gopal) – he actually meets the Author and narrates him his life story and we read it as a flash back. Chetan Bhagat is totally filmy – no doubt about that, he is big time inspired by our movies and hence writes in a way that I guess it becomes easier for the makers to adapt his stories into a movie. But it’s totally commendable the way he captures so much in one book that too in totally convincing way – as it happens in real life. Also, it is fantastic the way he uses various cities as characters in his narrative i.e. Varanasi in this one as one of the oldest cities of the country and whose people have now modern aspirations or Kota as the educational capital of India where almost everybody is related to the business of providing coaching one way or the other. How we humans manipulate and use other humans to the most of our advantage is shown in the story in the most amazing way, yet every villain has a positive side too. All in all it makes up for a fantastic read – no doubt on that and I hope someone like Madhur Bhandarkar – makes it into a movie one day. Let’s see if that happens anytime sooner. Till then I will be waiting for his next book which I guess will be out in Oct’ 14.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Captain America The Winter Soldier (2014) - Action

Finally, fortunately we saw the movie today – thanks to my friend – we planned to see this one on First Day First Show and somehow managed to see the Last Day Only Show. Thanking God and my stars to let me see it finally, as this one turns out way way better than “Captain America” which didn’t impress me that much. This one had a serious story to tell with some real good twists and turns and especially with some superb action sequences thrown in (that too on 3D) made up for an excellent and a little over two hours well spent. Although 3D just gives it some depth and nothing else – it would still be as good on 2D as well. Chris Evans as Captain America was as usual wooden throughout the movie (I guess that’s the demand of the character too) – I have no issues with him as I was more looking forward to the ravishing Black Widow (Hawtie Scarlett Johansson) in superb form – I almost love everything about her, looks, physic, attitude and especially her sexy voice, I wish the cinematographer had done a little more justice with the beauty – it would’ve been better but still it works big time. Initially the story confused me a little but later they clarify everything as SHIELD this time around is compromised and my heart came to my mouth when I saw the much loved Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) dies in this part – I was like “WTF, first they killed M in James Bond Series and now Nick Fury in this one”. But what to do! How Captain America takes the revenge and sets the records straight with the help of Black Widow and Falcon (Awesome Anthony Mackie) makes up for some mind blowing action. Robert Redford as Pierce and Sebastian Stan as Bucky were two fantastic shocking characters which kept us hooked throughout. Especially Sebastian – I had no idea who that guy would be inside the mask and totally loved him. Hope he gets up in the next upcoming installment and kicks some asses with Captain America in a more positive role. All in all it’s an awesome action movie better than my expectations and will highly recommend it to action / super hero lovers. I will definitely rate it a damn good 3.5/5 with two thumbs up recommendation.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The 3 Mistakes of My Life (Book) - Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat has a unique style of writing – more or less almost all his books are either inspired or the basic idea is definitely picked up from real life situations or people. I can say that for sure after reading his four books back to back but must add that they are pretty good rather very good to hold readers interest and keep him hooked till the very end. His first book “Five PointSomeone” was his IIT story, “2 States” is his own marriage’s story, “One Night @ The Call Center” is again his cousins at work and here in this one a businessman on verge of committing suicide emails him and he goes ahead to listen to his story – makes it into a book. Although you can’t deny the filmy treatment for sure and it does feel at times that he has deliberately written them all keeping the big picture (Movie Adaptations) in mind. I have no issues with that as long as they are entertaining and as my mom always said “it’s better to read (books) than watching a movie as books keep increasing your vocabulary and every book offers you so many things to learn”. No doubt on that front – the one word that struck a chord with me in this book was “Agnostic”. For almost two decades or more – I’ve been telling my friends that I am not a god fearing guy but neither am I an atheist – so who am I? Chetan Bhagat says I am an Agnostic. What does that mean? You’ve got to read the book to know that or go ahead pick up a dictionary and see what it means. Also, the way he uses real life situations, real cities, restaurants, places etc is commendable – if you’ve lived in any of those cities and gone to those places – It really helps a lot as well as connects you in a fantastic way with the narrative. Fortunately I have seen the movie based on this book by Abhishek Kapoor (Kai Po Che) not so long ago and it kept the visuals going in back of my head all the time but I must say that the book is too good (again) in comparison with the movie based on it. It definitely adds up more value to the characters than they could do the same in a movie (2.5 hrs). it is no doubt a fantastic book again from him as it unfortunately refreshes the horrific memories our generation will always live with and that is one reason why I was able to connect with it big time.

The Book: As I mentioned earlier – this one starts with Chetan Bhagat getting an email out of nowhere from a businessman in Ahmedabad (Gujarat)  – who is on the verge of committing suicide because of some of his grave mistakes and huge business losses. Since he had his sources in Ahmedabad (remember IIMA pass out) – they help him in tracing the guy and that’s how the story starts with a flashback. This businessman is no one but Govind and the whole book is narrated as his account of the “3 Mistakes” that he makes in his life and how they change is life upside down. Plus all that Gujarat / India goes through during that period, the Bhuj earthquake (which shook almost the whole of India) and the Godhra Train tragedy as well as the Ayodhya Ram Temple episode are all very important part of the story. It is an amazing story of three inseparable friends Govind, Omi and Ishaan, each one of them has his own separate story going on too. It has everything, action, suspense, comedy, masala, emotion, struggle, success and failure even a love angle too. What I loved about this as well as almost all his previous stories is that he does his homework pretty well – like the way these guys travel to Australia on a short trip – the way he has covered those days with authentic Aussie treatment – its seriously commendable, I wasn’t expecting that in-depth details which he actually did and it’s too good to be true. Author’s technical knowledge too comes handy in all his books but the interesting way he incorporates it in the story is too good.

As his other books – this one too is quite a racy one and kept me hooked till the very end. Although I wasn’t too happy with the three mistakes – barring one which of course was a big one – remaining too I guess weren’t that big (my two cents) – I was actually expecting some grave ones – I will surely not commit suicide for similar ones. Still it makes up for quite a read – I picked it up on Friday evening and finished it by Sunday night – to tell you something about its pace. I will recommend it to all book lovers especially for those from this part of the world – it makes more sense to us and is definitely a very good read (Twice as good as the movie was).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rio 2 (2014) - Animation / Comedy

Rio was such an amazing movie that we all loved big time – adventures of Blue with Jewel and his awesome set of friends – all happening in the beautiful city of Rio. It had everything in it for kids as well as for adults – totally engrossing movie with solid entertainment value with some great learning. Rio 2 takes the story of Blue and Jewel forward, who are now parents and have three crazy kids – it was a laugh riot to see their life style – especially Blue is such a lovingly awesome character that whenever he spoke – Jesse Eisenberg’s cute face kept coming to my mind. Rio 2 is their adventure trip to the jungles of Amazon to help their human friends to find more similar birds like them. The hilarious part was that their friends from Rio too offer to come along – I love that cute little birdie with a bottle cap hat and his friend – they are too good (and so is their preparation for carnival). Even the villain (Evil Cock) from the previous movie returns in this one with a cute girl friend (a poisonous frog) – their chemistry and evil plans are worth a laugh. What I missed in this one is that cute little drool dripping dog, looking forward to him big time in part 3 – if they ever make it. Blue faces some tuff times in this one and even has some solid competition with Jewel’s x boyfriend; watch out for the family reunion and how they come out winners in the end. All in all – it was a damn good time pass – although never comes close to the prequel in quality of entertainment but wasn’t that bad as my kiddo approved it saying “Papa, Rio 2 was better than Bhoothnath (Returns)”. Unfortunately as per me 3D wasn’t that much effective – it could have done without it as well – even the Amazon as I expected wasn’t captured that well that my eyes would pop out in amazement (Remember the stunning shots of Rio in prequel?). Still I will give it a good 3/5 and will call it a good one time watch especially for kids. If you loved the earlier part – do not miss it as it connects well with that one and I will be looking forward to the third part now, whenever that happens.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bhoothnath Returns (2014) - Comedy

Bhoothnath Returns was a must watch right from the day they announced its sequel as we totally loved Bhoothnath and I still remember it was one of those initial movies that we saw on big screen after landing in Mumbai. My daughter was hardly two years then but she as we totally loved Banku Bhaiya, Big B as Bhoothnath and Banku’s mother awesomely played by Juhi Chawla. Bhoothnath was one movie that we must have seen a couple of dozen times for sure hence this was a first day first show affair for us. As the prequel was – we imagined this one too will be a laugh riot and made for kid stuff but it kind of opened our eyes big time. Not only kids (initially) but later it made too much sense for us adults – I didn’t expect that kind of treatment and sensible stuff from the makers – hats off to them. Plus the timing is so damn perfect – right when the country is going through parliamentary elections – they released this movie – it made all the more sense in our countries today’s situation.  Superb! More than Amitabh Bachchan – I end up loving the confidence and fantastic performance of Parth Bhalerao as Akhrot. The little guy is so damn good in the character that it was indeed tuff for me to take my eyes off him and concentrate on Big B – that’s too much for a young guy – totally amazing. Story is pretty much simple – Bhoothnath goes to Ghost World and the other ghosts make fun of him that he wasn’t able to frighten one small kid – so he takes a challenge and comes back to prove that he will do it this time round. How he ends up with Akhrot, their friendship develops and they end up doing some real good stuff and how all that catapults him to fight an election against the corrupt politician Bhau (Amazing Boman Irani – yet again) makes up for the rest of the movie. But commendable is the way they have done it – keeping it entertaining yet making so much sense – although a little after half time the movie stops making sense to kids and I could sense that a lot of them were not much interested in the story anymore as too much serious stuff was going on. Still the movie is too good to be missed and I will recommend it to everyone with two thumbs up. I will rate it a way too good 3.5/5 with a must watch recommendation. Do not miss it and please do vote in this election.

One Night @ The Call Center (Book) - Chetan Bhagat

Finally, finished 3rd book of Chetan Bhagat in a row and this one became the one that I could co-relate (big time) in reality as I actually worked inside a call center for couple of months that too in Gurgaon. We had a fantastic time working inside a call center about a decade back when I joined a US based consulting firm then which didn’t have an office in Gurgaon – we tied up with a call center for only two seats and had a blast working in the night. Even today I work with a US based consulting firm, not in a call centre but it’s a graveyard shift that ends precisely at 3 AM IST. The story may be a little over the top, farfetched especially for people who have no experience working in a call centre or who have no friends from that sector. But not for me as I have fairly good idea of how life goes inside one and we actually used to walkout to take brisk walks after dinner, even had couple of drinks (not regularly) but at times and even went on long drives (all in working hours). The fun didn’t end there – if I am not wrong, a couple of my friends actually learnt driving with the help of those cab drivers and the vehicle that’s most used were Toyota Qualis, so it didn’t actually sound like something impossible in the story to me. One more thing which I should mention and love doing even today is whenever I hang up a call with any vendor / client or consultant – it ends with a biggg byyyyeeee that I learnt from a friend who used to sit right behind me – although he was from a different company and process but I loved the way he used to say bye as if bidding bye to his girl friend – it used to go like “Alright Mr. Samson it was great talking to you, looking forward to your order, you have a good day! Byyyyyeeeeeee”.

The Book: The story of this one starts in a train journey between Kanpur and Delhi as Chetan Bhagat is travelling after the success of his first book “Five Point Someone”. He meets a beautiful girl while travelling in almost an empty train and she offers to tell him a story with a condition that he is going to make it his second book. It is almost based on the real characters and what they go through during the course of a night in Connexions call center where they all work. The story is written from the point of view of its protagonist Shyam who is an employee of Connexions with his five colleagues and each of them too have their own stories to tell. It keeps going into the flashbacks too and makes up for a very interesting read – no doubt about that – just like Chetan Bhagat’s other books. Unfortunately I have seen the movie based on this one so had a rough idea as how and where it’s going to go but the movie sucked big time, it was awful and I remember somehow I finished it. But the book is again very engaging and it was very tough for me to put it down, had to finish it in flat two days, and I just couldn’t resist the suspense. Shyam the protagonist is about to lose his long time girl friend Priyanka (another character) who is about to get married to Mr. Right working with Microsoft in US of A. Vroom is his colleague who gets cheated by their boss Bakshi – while he and Shyam work on a project and the boss takes the credit. Esha is another of their colleague from Chandigarh who wants to become a model and is struggling for the same, while Vroom has a crush on her. Radhika is married and has her own story of uncaring husband with troublesome mother in law. Plus there is this Sr Citizen - Military Uncle too – whose son and daughter in law have thrown him out of the house – who indeed wants to unite with them again and live with his Grandson (Shifted to USA). What happens with all of them in one troublesome night in the call center is the rest of the story – quite convincingly told, superbly engaging. If you are from up north or specifically Delhi / Gurgaon – it will take you on a visual journey back to the city, I could actually visualize almost all the roads, malls and places they go through and it was a kind of movie running inside my head as the story progresses.

The characters are all almost real and you will have no issues in associating with any or one of them for sure. The best part of the whole book is what the author tells you to do right at the start – I totally liked that, you’ve got to read the book to know what I am talking about here. I wonder how and what would be the reaction of a typical American be – if in case they read this book, I am sure they will be furious to read this one. The way they have openly screwed and criticized the Americans, but somehow I do not disagree with all that after working in the US Consulting Industry for almost a decade and a half myself. It is another of his book which I will highly recommend to all and will rate it very high myself – not that it’s a best seller hence we have to but even otherwise – it makes up for a superb read. If you haven’t read it – I will say go ahead and pick it up. You should know what a generation of young Indians goes through while working in a call center - day in - day out for their foreign clients.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Five Point Someone (Book) - Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat’s first best seller and my second book from him that I finished in flat two days yet again.  One week back I had no interest in his writing and now I am totally hooked to the way he had written these books – doesn’t even feels like I am reading an acclaimed writers book (If I may call him that). In general if you ask anybody about the best period of their life – the usual response which I feel is the time that they spent from Junior College (+2) to Graduation, I am sure most of you will agree on this and so does the author. The most insane yet the most cherished days of my life were the same – when we were free birds, no responsibilities, never cared about anything but just had a great time with friends followed by some studies just for the heck of it. I guess our generation had no idea where we were going and what will be the end result of all our education but we indeed did good and landed somewhere as I see most of my friends / classmates almost well settled in whatever they are doing right now. The only difference between “Five Point Someone” and our real life is the background (Read IIT) otherwise its exactly same stuff. Getting ragged on the first day, hooking up with friends, making some best of friends for life, falling in love, getting drunk in hostel (reminds me of my SBI Colony Flat which was usually our adda), finally getting graduated and landing a job too in the end. It was as if my own life was being written but by someone else, a little change here and a little change there and that’s exactly the same reason why we the readers connect with most of his stories so far. I am yet to read three of his other books but now after reading two of his works – I can definitely tell that much.

The Book and the Movie: The book is based on the most important four years in the life of three friends – Hari Kumar (The Narrator), Alok Gupta and Ryan Oberoi. What they do and how they pass out of one of the most prestigious institute of India – it is indeed their own way of telling “What not to do at IIT” as the title suggests, makes up for a hilarious read but also gives you some serious food for thought too. I like the way he starts his stories and later connects all the dots. Slow and subtle progress plus the background coming in parts, like in this one – the reader keeps asking and looking forward to Hari’s background but it comes way too late, connecting the episodes to another of his book. It’s simply outstanding. I guess once I read all of his books – it will start making more sense – dunno if they all are connected in one way or the other. But this one is surely connected with “2 States”. The comparisons are inevitable of course, as who hasn’t seen the movie based on this book but they both are poles apart. You can call it cinematic liberties taken by the makers as they always said that it was “loosely adapted” and “not based on” the book. I found the book to be more of a subtle version and movie to be more dramatic but I guess a movie based on this book wouldn’t have been a commercial hit and definitely not the highest-grossing Bollywood film at least. Since I saw the movie first and read the book later – it had its own impact and was a little difficult to visualize – it will definitely be an awesome read for someone who hasn’t seen the movie. Now I exactly know how and what they do to a book while they convert it into a movie and I guess I am a little heartbroken because I know precisely what to expect from “2 States”. I must say this – if you have ever studied in a college (that I am sure you did) and stayed in a hostel – it’s a must read. It will take you back in time and works like a time travel machine – I had a superb time reading the book and it again made me realize how far we have come from those rocking days of our life that it’s indeed tough even to meet once in couple of years.

If you haven’t read this one or any of his works – trust me – you’ve got to pick it up ASAP and finish it. You are going to love it. Do not miss it at any cost.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Main Tera Hoon (2014) - Comedy

Movies like this one make me feel that either age is catching up fast with me that somehow I end up getting irritated with them or the former masters of the arts are failing big time to make a movie worthy of even one good laugh. This is definitely not the David Dhawan I knew – I am sure this one is directed by one of his Jr. Assistants and he ends up taking the credit just making sure that his fans will enjoy the movie and not trash it. Believe me, it’s that bad – it is indeed not even 10% of what we know of the David Govinda combo – somehow I felt before watching the movie that this could be a great start for the Father Son duo – but it’s a disaster. The only guy who will feel the pinch if this one makes a name (or money) will be poor Shahid Kapoor as Varun Dhawan does nothing in the movie but copies all his moves back to back, right from dialogue delivery to dance moves to comic timing. Unfortunately it has no story to be told, pedestrian comedy, total waste of talent (I mean Anupam Kher and Saurabh Shukla), on top of that monkey face Arunoday Singh is the only saving grace as he did made me smile at least a couple of times, two hotties too weren’t able to hold my interest and so does the hero. Twenty minutes into the movie and I was praying that my kiddo shouldn’t pick up those words that they were using frequently – I guess that’s a first for David Dhawan movie, although she had a great time laughing out loud with the movie no doubt on that but that’s where age comes in picture I guess – I may have liked this movie ten years ago but not now. It falls flat on the ground for me and unfortunately I will have to give it a way below average rating of 1/5 and will call it an opportunity lost for Dhawan duo. What little he indeed achieved with SOTY is resolved with this one and look at the quality of work his counterparts have done after that movie and what he is doing. But it’s too early to rate him – let’s wait for a couple of more of his movies to assess his talent. Give it a miss if you haven’t seen it – you will miss nothing but if you have seen it – do let me know how you liked it.

Monday, April 07, 2014

2 States (The Book) - Chetan Bhagat

Confession:  36 hours before this moment – I had never read a line written by Chetan Bhagat and really assumed he was over rated. My opinion (unfortunately) was mostly based on my own friend’s opinions / ratings /reviews of the guy and I never took a pain of picking up any of his books exactly for the same reason. But it had to change as wifey picked up a copy of “2 States” last week which she targeted to read before the movie released and I announced right while paying for it to the Flipkart “Cash on Delivery” guy that – this 180/- is definitely gone in vain. How freaking wrong I was – as she went on an official picnic this Saturday and I had nothing much to do – hence took a break from movies and picked up this little book with a plan of reading a couple of chapters before trashing it. I guess a couple of you know my reading habit too that it’s a record that I have never kept a book down once picked up and this was one heck of a read anyways – seriously, I skipped lunch on Saturday (ate thepla), almost skipped evening beer with friends and woke up on Sunday morning at 9 am (that’s a record – unless I am driving) and finished it before wifey came back home and declared “Chetan Bhagat, is a freaking awesome writer, with so much Indian blood, I love him big time and he is a damn great inspiration for any budding writers in our part of the world”. She is stunned and shocked to know that now I am looking forward to watch the movie on Friday morning (First day first show) with or without her. Imagine – the book is THAT amazing, totally loved the narrative / characters / story / twists / turns and almost every other thing about it. If you haven’t read it – I must say – you’ve got to read it ASAP and I bet – you will not be able to put it down and take a break while reading it.

The book and the story:  As the top of the cover itself says “2 States – The story of my marriage” – you can imagine what it’s all about. I still have no idea about him and his life yet but  but I can tell you one thing about him after reading this book that I guess this is his own life story and I am sure Chetan Bhagat is one hopelessly romantic guy, who is madly in love with his wife – so much so that he just can’t stop bragging about her and this book is nothing but the same story told in a typical filmy way but it’s simply amazing. People who have read the book especially the guys and those who love their wives big time will totally understand what I mean here. It’s a simple story of a Punjabi  IITian as well as an IIMian who falls for a Tamilian girl while they complete their Post Graduation from IIM Ahmedabad. Story starts from Ahmedabad (Post Graduation) and falling in love, Moves to Delhi, from there it goes to Chennai (Jobs) and reaches its conclusion (Almost) in Goa. Now I have lived almost a decade in Delhi, have visited Ahmedabad on short trips n number of times, Chennai I worked for almost 3 months and Goa as per me is a must go destination once a year. And I must tell you this – the locations used in the story are all real and you will be able to visualize almost all of them if you know where they are happening – while reading the whole 270 pages – it was totally unbelievable experience as my mind kept visualizing Arjun Kapoor as the guy (Krish) and Alia Bhatt as his beautiful girl friend (Ananya) plus been there done that backgrounds. Almost everybody comes with his own bag and baggage in life and so are the leads of the book – they have their own set of ups and downs – problems and solutions, happy moments and heartbreaks too. But the situations as well as characters are so life like that it isn’t hard to imagine and connect them with your own life. This almost is the first book of my life which indeed made me laugh out loud (Actually), made my eyes go moist, gave me a lump in throat, made me sit straight and read fast as to what happens next, shocked me towards the ending and finally made me smile from ear to ear with tears in my eyes. That and I seriously mean THAT never happened earlier EVER. Krish is from a typical up north Punjabi family, his father is a retired army officer who gives a rat’s ass about his family whereas Ananya is from a typical orthodox Tamil Brahman family. How they meet, what they go through and how they finally achieve the balance with their respective families and even extended families with professional commitments is the whole story all about.

Conclusion: Lesson learned – never judge a book by its cover and never make an opinion about a writer or a person without knowing / reading any of his or her works. And hereby I certify Chetan Bhagat, an awesomely amazing writer whose flow is just impossible to beat. Yeah! I have no issues in agreeing that he is a little filmy but what’s wrong in that? Aren’t we all? There is no denying that his earlier as well as this one too – are blockbuster hit books plus two of the movies made on his books were too equally great movies. More than that – he is seriously an inspiration for people like us – who keep writing one page reviews here, there and everywhere with a hope in heart that someday – we too will write our own story. Hats off to him and his style of writing, it’s as smooth as a chilled pitcher of draught beer which is hard to resist and can only be gulped down in a single sitting. I have the rest of his three books in my book rack and there is no denying that my pen drive (Full of movies) will take some more rest while I pick em all up one by one and read them back to back. Looking forward to the movie (2 States) big time now – I am sure he would have surely taken care that they pick up the best of the book while converting it into the movie and will do total justice with all the characters – I am seriously dying to see a lot of them onscreen and hope big time that their casting department does picks up the right people for the job although wifey differs about “Kai Po Che” that they indeed changed a lot as well as ending too, dunno – going to read it next, after I finish “Five point someone” and “A night at a call center first”.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Priceless (2006) - Comedy / Romance

The second movie from my collection of Audrey Tautou movie which confirmed way before it finishes that I am absolutely stunned by her beauty and talent – what an amazing love story this one is. Straight forward simple story of a beautiful young girl Irene (Audrey) who uses her beauty and talent to attract wealthy businessmen for her lavish lifestyle moving from a star hotel to another in exchange for her company and sex. All hell breaks loose and the twist comes in form of Jean (Superb Gad Elmaleh) who actually is a bartender but is mistaken by Irene as a millionaire (in a freaking hilarious situation). The real fun starts once they realize their mistake but by that time Jean is madly in love with Irene and almost screws his savings to keep up with her style and expenses (too funny and heartening too). It’s a total breeze and one of the best love stories that I saw in a long long time which is so smooth, engaging, funny as well as heartening to say the least. The two leads are in superb form and do full justice to their characters especially Audrey who is not only gorgeous but looks stunning in those fantastic branded cloths she gets to wear in this one, totally out of this world stuff. Movie is so much fun with hilarious situations thrown in and some amazing characters thrown in – sheer delight. I will definitely rate it damn good 4/5 and will look forward to some of her other works. Highly recommended for Comedy / Romance lovers – should not be missed at any cost.

Robocop (2014) - Science Fiction

In todays if not more, at least half of the movies churned out by Hollywood make me feel that they have seriously run out of ideas. First it was Spiderman (Reboot) which broke my heart and now this one – one of the most loved Robocop movies of our times had to be messed again in the name of a remake. Twenty minutes into the movie and I precisely knew where it was going, how its gonna go there and where exactly it’s going to end, of course it’s a remake so it has to be same isn’t it? I kept wishing that they must have done something better this time what they missed almost three decades back but it was futile, they even removed the stylish way he used to remove his gun from his side pocket. And then to my amazement and shock – what the fuck (Forgive me for using that word) was Samuel L Jackson doing in this movie? Couldn’t believe my eyes and then came another shocker – the scientist who made the Robocop was none other than one of my favorite actors in a thankless role – Gary Oldman, oh my god! What a blunder and the tycoon behind all that was none other but Michael Keaton – now that trio will make me this movie give at least a one star rating for sure – if nothing else worked – they were definitely the saving grace. There is no action whatsoever to impress anyone and I am amazed the sound Robocop makes even in 21st century – I guess hydraulics should make less noise and they have made so many grave mistakes that I stopped noticing after one point. It is in the end a forgettable and tiring affair – been there done that formula of a cop getting injured while on duty, gets turned into a Robocop (half machine half human), machine takes over the control but in the end humanity has to win anyways. Sheer waste of time, money and talent – this movie is and I will rate it 1/5 and will highly recommend my friends from staying away from this sheer crap. I would rather recommend its original – if you haven’t seen it yet, give it a shot and I guarantee you that you will love it.

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Best Offer (2013) - Mystery / Romance

Geoffrey Rush is one heck of a guy that you can definitely put your money on him and will come out a winner 9/10 times and that’s exactly happened with me while watching this movie. At times it is very difficult for me to tell what I liked in a particular movie with him playing the central character – did I like his character what he enacted here of a reclusive Auctioneer Virgil Oldman or did I love the actual Mr. Rush playing the same? It’s confusing but the end result is amazing – it indeed is an amazing, mysterious romantic movie with him in a solid form. My eyes were almost popping out with the stuff he was auctioning and taking them back into his personal collection through his confidante Billy Whistler (always reliable Donald Sutherland), check out the hidden room where he keeps all his antique paintings and other stuff – I guess someone with a keen eye on Arts and collectibles will have a ball of time loving this movie. Totally loved the way he interacts with his buyers while auctioning especially the way he sells the stuff, oh my god that was totally terrific – it kept me thinking that who else could pull of this character with that ease and style but I am sure no one can come any closer to what he did in this one. The movie is quite engrossing with well written characters like that of the heiress Claire (Sylvia Hoeks) whose face isn’t visible till almost an hour into the movie, not only Oldman but also as an audience I too was in awe with the voice behind the wall. How he helps her sell off her parents collection, falls for her and keeps working parallely with one of his young friend Robert (Jim Sturgess) on the restoring and reassembling a kind of a mechanical robot. Where it all leads him makes up for an excellent engrossing watch with some real awesome scenic background and fundoo performances. This became almost very few of those movies where I wasn’t able to guess neither the twists nor the turns and let alone the ending. I will definitely rate it a damn good 4/5 and will recommend it to all – watch out Geoffrey Rush in solid form, not to be missed by mystery / romance lovers.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Youngistaan (2014) - Drama

Jacky Bhagnani is another one of those lucky guys who were destined to be a Hero (read Actor) in Bollywood since born in a filmy family and unfortunately no one can predict how many times he will be offered roles (read crappy movies) again and again till he succeeds in making some space for himself. This is his third movie which again seriously falls flat. It is indeed an unintentionally funny attempt at a very serious subject and I am sure with a better director and lead cast – it could have done wonders – even if they will keep the same script and screenplay, but it never works with the cast they have in hand barring of course Farukh Sheikh – who was the only saving grace other then Neha Sharma (Cute and the only reason movie had some light moments to cherish). On a lighter note – I must say this that the movie actually shows us the other side of a Prime Ministers life in a democracy – it’s a kind of a first I guess in Hindi Cinema that we get to see. The only drawback of the movie is its cast which unfortunately isn’t something which will pull in the crowd and the people who saw it initially didn’t find it an average entertainer that’s something which surprised me as in reality the movie isn’t that bad that it should be totally trashed. Unfortunately Jacky sincere, serious and earnest performance worked against him and hence fell flat on public, something which wasn’t expected from him. The film follows the highs and lows of Abhimanyu kaul’s (Jacky) life – From a young boy, living an ordinary carefree life in Japan with his live in girl friend and friends (Kayozi Irani), to the designated Prime Minister (after his father’s death) of the biggest democracy in the world. I will definitely give it an average 2.5/5 for sure as it wasn’t that bad on entertainment quotient and really gives quite an insight in the life of a PM. Out of that one star belongs to Farukh Saab and second to Neha Sharma for her superb light hearted performance. It’s worth one watch for sure.

Amelie (2001) - Romantic / Comedy

One of my movie freak friend who happens to be a big big fan of Audrey Tautou recommended her name to me and I end up getting my hands to some half a dozen movies of her with plans of watching them back to back. I must say thanks from the bottom of my heart (to you Virat) – what an amazing movie this one turns out to be plus Audrey is not only gorgeous but a damn good actress as well – totally in love with her after watching her first movie (from my list). (Wiki): The movie tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation. This movie is almost at par with superb movies made by one of my favorite Director – Woody Allen, I shouldn’t compare but the kind of fun / entertainment / heart touching story / meaningful and more than all that “the connect” that I had with this one – that only happens with almost all of his movies. Ten minutes into the movie and I was totally floored by Amelie’s (Audrey) character, her crazy family, colleagues, lady Diana, people she meets, her discovery followed by the search, the way she touches all the lives and keeps doing the good for almost everyone she keeps in contact with. It’s amazing the way all the characters are written – right from Amelie’s character to almost everyone else in the movie – not one character that I could point out who didn’t made an impression on me and whose story didn’t put a smile on my face which refuses to go away anytime soon. Amelie is such a darling that I just couldn’t not fall in love with her and the way she goes around doing good for people which in the end pays back her too – you’ve got to watch it to know how and what happens – trust me – you will not be able to just watch this movie once and forget about it. I am definitely looking forward to watch it again soon as its such a beautiful movie – a one of its own kinds shot in Paris where we see the Eiffel Tower only for a fraction unlike its counterparts which keep revolving around the tower – this one is top notch in cinematography and its terrific the way they have captured the French locales especially the architecture, totally loved it. Even the background score is too good and keeps setting up the mood, narrative is so good that it kept a permanent smile on my face throughout with more than a couple of moments which indeed made me very emotional but of course with a smile. It came too close to that perfect movie that I will remember for life and no doubt that it got nominated for five Academy Awards – don’t care how many it got. I will rate it a damn good 4.5/5 with a very high recommendation for all – do not miss this at any cost.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Giant Mechanical Man (2012) - Drama / Romance

I love – Love Stories and Romantic movies and there is no denying that I usually end up loving them a little too much and praising them more than they deserve but then who cares – as long as you have a connect with it – it’s all good and it’s a movie after all. This one is a fantastic love story of two people who aren’t cut out to work 9 – 5 like we all do (Almost all of us). How people walk in their lives and walk out of it is totally amazing and like they say “Opposites Attract” so I believe the other way round should be true too, two likeminded people could attract each other as well. Chris Messina is too good as Tim – who makes a living by standing like a Giant Mechanical Man dedicatedly in streets (he continues even after his girl friend walks out on him) and so is Jenna Fischer as Janice whose path cross with our Giant Mechanical Man when they come across working for a zoo to make the ends meet. In between her sister Jill (Hottie Malin Ackerman – for some reason I find her too attractive) tries her level best to fix her up with Doug (Amazing Topher Grace) as a hilarious motivational speaker. How they fall in for each other and how life turns out for them is the rest of the movie. What I loved about the movie is its simplicity – no hanky panky stuff – straight to the point and it’s a total breeze – 90 minutes pass by in jiffy and I didn’t even realize it was over. I will definitely rate it 3.5/5 with two thumbs up and very high recommendation for romantic movie lovers. A must watch.

Dishkiyaoon (2014) - Thriller

Harman Baweja is one of those lucky guys who were destined to be a Hero (read Actor) in Bollywood since born in a filmy family and unfortunately no one can predict how many times he will be launched and re launched till he succeeds in making some space for himself. If I am not wrong – I guess this is his fourth attempt and it seriously falls flat. WOW! What an amazingly sad movie this one is – the most irritating part of the movie as I predicted would be the Hero himself but unfortunately it turns out to be another great actor who seriously needs to retire – Sunny Deol, I guess hightime he retires now since Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and even Uday Chopra has retired (From Cricket and Acting respectively). The problem with this movie is that someone actually thought of making it in the first place and then they found producers like Shilpa Shetty who are desperate to produce anything – she went on to do an item number in the end – which in itself is worse than the movie she produced. The only saving grace of the movie is superb performance by Prashant Narayanan – yet again in a role you love to hate him but unfortunately that too lasts not more than half of the runtime of movie, the remaining half I had to make faces to an earnest performance of Harman (He tries so hard) and irritating Haryanvi accent by Sunny Deol – so much so that I wanted to get in the TV and hit him hard. The story is nothing to write about – everyone wants to be a Don to own Mumbai and India gradually but they look so lousy on screen that it’s hard to believe that they were actually the gangsters and our hero too wants to become India’s best or shall I say worst Gangster of sorts. Action and Thrill in the movie is actually comical and makes up for some seriously good laugh out loud moments. The less said about the song and dances the better. This will definitely qualify as the worst movie of the year so far and I will have to rate it a 0/5. Why I saw it? I just wanted to make sure it is indeed that bad as I predicted it to be.

Divergent (2014) - Science Fiction

Why “Hunger Games” (first one) worked for me was because it was a new concept with so many surprises and turns thrown in – the sequel didn’t work (for me) for the right opposite reasons precisely as it was more action, more drama but was too predictable. Now “Divergent” didn’t work at all as its almost similar to HGs because it has no story to tell in the first place but a beaten to death subject – yeah – some sort of Apocalypse yet again in America and the world (Read Chicago) is divided in five factions, some do this some do that (Who cares) but there is this sixth faction too that no one likes and those are called Divergents (Sounds interesting?) what happened to the rest of the world and why they live inside the huge boundary walls of Chicago will be explained in upcoming (2, 3 or maybe 4) sequels as mentioned on their wiki page. Why did I see this in the first place? Tattooed guy in poster is half of the reason and the rest of half (I mean crowd pullers) were Kate Winslet, Maggie Q and Ashley Judd – who have nothing but thankless roles and so damn bad that I refuse to call them even the support cast. Although what little worked in its favor is the little unknown cast and the way they performed their parts, was surprised to see “The Spectacular Now” guy in a negative character but was good. It was funny to see them doing the same stuff we saw decades back in Matrix series – the movie which started it all. Of course it’s not easy to convert a book into a movie and you have so much of data to process unfortunately when they do not script the book well – something like this comes out which leaves the audience confused and asking for more. Even after its runtime was almost 2 and a half hour, I will give it a way below average 2/5, nothing special and can be missed for sure. Hope the sequel turns out well next year and the crowd pullers too get some meaty character.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Need For Speed (2014) - Action / Thriller

I had no hopes of catching this one up on big screen since it was already in its second week in theaters and we missed the only show on Saturday evening by a whisker as couldn’t make it on time. Since the day I saw Aaron Paul’s interview with Top Gear guys on the show – the makers claimed that they didn’t use any CGI for this one rather employed practical effects, which required the cast to receive extensive driving lessons. Missing this would’ve been a crime for me, finally saw the only show today and trust me – watching a movie on Monday afternoon is double fun. What more could I ask for in a movie which starts with a Shelby Mustang racing at the top speed, moves on to three Koenigsegg Ageras racing and killing one of the guys, sending the hero to jail and setting up a revenge story for us down the line. I would have cared about a story in this one but to my shock and surprise – they indeed had one and a good one at that so much so that I could actually connect with it as well. The whole cross country road trip from NYC to SFO was so much fun that the whole auditorium which was almost full was in splits. Action no doubt is brilliant and I actually mean BRILLIANT, I loved the way these beauties sounded and the way they have shot it all unfortunately they did use some CGI – they may or may not agree but one could tell with the way they were banging cars but other than those little things it makes up for a super fine action thriller – a movie which shouldn’t be missed on big screen. Imagine the end of the movie – I guess its almost a 10-15 minute long race sequence with cars like a Koenigsegg, Lamborghini, Mclaren P1, Bugatti Veyron and two more (Missing those names). I myself am a big big Mustang fan and totally loved the way it ends with the couple driving away in one, I’ve definitely gotta give it a damn good 4/5 and will wait for its BlueRay to get released. Totally recommend to all action / thriller lovers – if your idea of fun is car racing with minimal CGI with some good story – don’t miss this one.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ankhon Dekhi (2014) - Comedy

Rajat Kapoor is one of those few guys of Bollywood that you can definitely trust blindly – may be when he is a part of a project or the best is when he is at the helm of things. Like the movie in subject – the moment I realized he has written as well as directed this one – I had my hopes and expectations at exactly the right place and he didn’t disappoint me rather made me way too happy. WOW! What an amazing movie this one turns out to be – it actually made me “Time Travel” and sent me 3 decades back to my hometown where every mohalla (neighborhood) had its own “Bauji” or “Ammaji” as we used to call them, without whom none of the decisions will be made and who will be a very important part of society, may it be for people to meet them just like that over gossip, evening tea or time pass. Sanjay Mishra who had been a part of movie industry for so long – finally gets his due in the form of a full fledge movie and what an amazing way he pulls it – superb! Kudos to Rajat Kapoor, his team, his circle of friends in the industry (Almost every one of them has a cameo of some sort). It’s a roller coaster ride of a middle aged man “Bauji” (Outstandingly played by Sanjay Mishra), who suddenly wakes up to his own theory that what he sees is the reality and not what he hears from someone’s mouth. How that theory changes his life upside down or we can call it – messes his life up is the movie all about. But the way it’s all done is hilarious, loving, emotional, inspiring, heartening and a lot of other things that you will surely feel if you watch it. Not for one moment the story feels unconvincing or not even one single character which feels out of place – almost everyone is an important part and makes a great impression too. But the movie belongs to two brothers and their family, at times it made me feel that I was watching my own family drama, location is fantastic and almost feels so damn real that I just can’t explain that in words – you’ve got to see it to believe it. I am sure if not all – almost a majority of us would have lived in a house like that at some point or the other. It’s a must watch for all cinema lovers – may not do well from commercial aspect but will definitely be remembered for a long time and I am surely up for a couple of more viewings. I will give it a damn good 4/5 with two thumbs up recommendation for all.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) - Horror

A typical American done to death topic – this one is the 5th movie from the series again shot in its entirety by a handheld camera which one of the leads of the movie actually buys it in the movie in $200. After watching a dozen of the similar movies which fail to scare me one bit I can definitely certify that almost every second American is an adventurous guy who knows (if not) at least tries to confront a kind of a spirit or a ghost and will definitely screw his own life in quest to capture them in a camera. This one has no story, no chills, no thrills and it’s so goddamn long in length that I actually was yawning throughout its length as it was predictable like anything. By the time the guy gets some idiotic superpowers and they incorporate some crappy CGI with trademark Paranormal Activity background – I had lost all interest in it and was waiting for it to end abruptly yet again – so they could make another movie after it (And that’s exactly how it all ends). To make this movie all they needed is some good for nothing kids (and a chick of course) with a handy cam, roaming around neighborhood, looking for a ghost right below their apartment. Paranormal Activity is another series which kept going down on quality with almost every new movie they made, first one was good, even the second one was worth a watch but after that they started sucking big time and this is how it all going to end now – I guess in a couple of years they will make some 2-3 more movies to finish it off, I am definitely giving it a way below average 1/5 for some special effects and going to ignore the any new releases in upcoming years. Give it a miss and you will miss nothing.

Amour & Turbulences (2013) - Romance / Comedy

One of the best things that I like rather love about movies from foreign lands is that neither I have any clue as to what they have in store for me nor any expectations. And when they turn out to be based on a situation like this one is – two complete opposite strangers meet on an international flight and as I expected that they will fall in for each other by the time they land – I got proven wrong yet again as they actually had a past and were separated for quite a while before they meet again. One of them is going for a job interview from NY to Paris and the other is about to get married the very next day. What works big time in the favor of the movie is that the subject is ripe with so many situations, confusions; laugh out loud moments, engaging storytelling, predictable outcomes, beautiful leads and amazing support cast (not for the first time that I saw a movie of this sort – I am sure I have seen at least two movies from Hollywood with exactly same plot). Ludivine Sagnier as Julie is simply amazing (And stunning) and so was Nicolas Bedos aptly cast as Antoine the Casanova who just couldn’t stick to the same girl more than two weeks at a stretch. What happens when he decides that he has actually fallen for Julie and wants to make it work. How situations go out of hands and the utter chaos that follows to a fantastic finale is simply amazing – if not outstanding it at least makes up for a light hearted comedy that I just couldn’t help but fall in love with. The way story moves forwards and I totally loved the way they walk in from one scene to another – that was something very creative and amazingly shot out stuff. I also loved the support cast – people around them in flight who are totally hooked to the story right like us audience. I will definitely rate it a good 3.5/5 and will recommend to those who like light hearted romantic comedies – go ahead watch it and you will surely like it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

300 Rise of an Empire (2014) - War / Fantasy

Another sequel or prequel or whatever you call this crappy movie – becomes a classic example of how a movie shouldn’t be made in the first place. This totally spoils the taste of 300 and the memory of the fantastic movie I ever had engraved in my mind forever. Disaster of the first order – it is such a boring, lousy and yawn inducing movie that’s very hard to review – all they did actually shot and show is three days of war and tried their level best to match the standard of first movie with more blood, action, drama and even sex (One Topless shot of a female and another fantastically aggressive sex scene with Eva Green) even then it fails big time to impress. I was surprised that even with the runtime of hardly 102 minutes – it wasn’t able to engage me one bit. 100 or more look alikes (at least physically) of Gerard Butler too don’t help much in doing 1/10th magic of Zack Snyder’s 300. Although it can be called out an out Eva Green movie – as it’s an author backed character and she truly shines in the negative character unfortunately that’s the only saving grace of the movie, otherwise nothing else works in the favor of the movie. I am going to go with a 1/5 rating and that one too is only for Eva’s outstanding performance. Give it a miss if you haven’t seen it yet as it is definitely going to spoil the taste of 300 but if you haven’t seen (300) you may give it a shot. I am going to pick up the Gerard Butler movie this weekend to format this disasters memory from my mind for sure.

Ragini MMS 2 (2014) - Horror

I understood the meaning of the word “Contrasting” very well after watching two opposites back to back in a single day, first it was “Queen” in the afternoon followed by the ultimate disaster called “Ragini MMS 2” right after it. Another classic example of a movie which should have never got made in the first place – they have actually picked up a handful (Read Half a Dozen) over the top actors to play some real lousy characters and given them enough freedom to do whatever and however they want – end result – this movie. The only two saving graces for me were Sunny Leone of course (no denying she is fuming hot as long as she doesn’t open her mouth to say anything) and the dude who plays that writers character – he was no doubt good, intensive and what not. Rest all can plainly be ignored with a special mention of Sandhya Mridul – wow – one can stoop to what level to pay the EMIs – she actually plays a character based on Rakhi Sawant and the way she pulls it off is laughable. Another laugh riot character is that of the psychiatrist (Divya Dutta) who returns from US of A to take care of this particular case of Ragini and that gives her a right to wear anything which is 4 or 5 inches above her knees and trust me – not exaggerating – she actually borrowed dresses from Vidya Balan after she was done shooting for “Shaadi Ke Side Effects”, if you don’t trust me – go check out the movie and her outfits. There are so many laughable words in the movie like “Script”, “Story”, “Research” etc, its more of a comedy of errors than anything else. They are rightly calling the movie a Horrex and I am sure that means “Horrible Sex” and nothing else. Barring one scene where Sunny fakes an orgasm in front of the whole unit – guess this was the real movie unit as I actually saw the camera man coming out from behind the camera and wipes off his sweat – nothing else works in the favor of the movie. This one had not thrills, no chills, no sex and let alone any kind of horror either. If you haven’t seen it – I will say - give it a miss as I refuse to rate this one anyways.