Monday, 28 November, 2011

Movie Review: Desi Boyz

Plot
Jerry (Akshay Kumar) and Nick (John Abraham) are two friends living in London. Both of them lose their jobs during recession period. Unable to find anything else, they end up working as male escorts with 'Desi Boyz' as Rocco and Hunter. Nick's fiancee Radhika (Deepika Padukone) soon finds out about his job and dumps him, and Jerry loses custody of his nephew to a foster home. Rest of the story is about how Jerry and Nick accept responsibility and find better jobs.

Actors Performance
After delivering series of flops for the last 3 years, I dont know what better I was expecting from Akshay Kumar's movie (other than the loud cheap comedy and double meaning dialogues that is). On the scale of pathetic acting, he scores a perfect 10. He's a 44 year old guy, why doesnt someone tell him that he should start acting in sensible movies now at least. He's a good actor, but I dont understand why he's wasting his talent by acting in such second grade movies.

John Abraham scores even better than Akshay, for he cant even act. As in Force, his body looked a little too beefed up. He seriously needs to go train at an acting school before its too late. Deepika is alright as Radhika, but even she needs to find better scripts to work on. Chitrangda Singh had no major role, and looked horrible in the film. Anupam Kher and Omi Vaidya are wasted. The kid couldn't act for nuts. Rest of the cast was mediocre.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
David Dhawan was very famous for his cheap comedy, but his movies did make sense even if they were too loud. But his son, Rohit Dhawan (story, screenplay and direction) seems to have forgot to use his brain while scripting and filming this movie. The story made no absolute sense. The best part is that Jerry doesnt lose his job because of recession, but because of his careless attitude. But then, he's good enough to become male escort. Nick joins him because he doesnt want to leave his friend alone (I have tears in my eyes). I dont wanna talk of rest of the movie, cos it will take forever for me to finish. To nail the coffin, direction is pathetic. Forget John, he couldnt even make the kid act. Screenplay was mediocre.

Other Departments
Barring two songs (Desi Boyz and Hero), music by Pritam is nothing great. I liked 'Hero' song quite a bit. Background score by Sandeep Shirodkar is alright. Cinematography by Natarajan Subramaniam is pretty decent. With so many films being shot in London, he dint have anything new to capture. Editing by Nitin Rokade was alright. Production values could have been much better, for the sets used in the film are worse then the ones used in 1950's (a very bad painting of a skyscraper at the window is supposed to make us believe that the courtroom is in London).

Verdict
Unless you are jobless like me, or unless you have a thing for cheap senseless humor, please avoid this film at all costs. Its an absolute waste of money. The story is pathetic, direction worse, and acting mediocre. I wish Akshay Kumar would stop acting in such 'ghatiya' movies.

If you want to watch this film even after reading this review, go watch this film with a group of close buddies so as to have a laugh at least.

Dumbo's Rating: 4.5/10

Friday, 11 November, 2011

Movie Review: Rockstar

Spoiler Alert!!

Plot
Janardhan Jakhar/JJ/Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor), a middle class Haryanvi guy is a wannabe Jim Morrison. His college canteen owner, Khatana bhai (Kumud Mishra) philosophizes that a person needs a heart break to create awesome music. Going by this, JJ tries to woo the heartbreaking chick of the college, Heer (Nargis Fakhri). After a series of comic episodes, they become very good friends, and JJ helps organize Heer's wedding. The rest of the story is about how JJ and Heer realize their love for each other, and how the heartbreak makes JJ a Rockstar!

Artists Performance
Ranbir Kapoor is fantabulous in the lead role. Its clearly visible that he had put in a lot of effort into this character. He has about five different get ups in the movie, and he carried all of them with ease. The only problem was his characterization (Il get into that later). Nargis Fakhri is a good find and looks really beautiful (though I thought that she looked very very lean). On acting front, she aint that great. It looked like she tried to imitate a number of actresses through the film. She's definitely got talent which can be probably be put to use in better films. Shammi Kapoor has a very small role, and was good. Kumud Mishra is excellent as JJ's manager. Aditi Rao Hydari was good as the journalist, who later becomes JJ's ***. The rest of the cast was relatively new, and alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Boy oh boy, where do I even start?? After roaring success of Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal, director Imtiaz Ali seems to have lost his head. With Rahman to support him on music front, all he could churn out was a pathetic story; a married woman suffering from cancer, who cant even stand on her feet, sleeps with the lead actor, gets pregnant, and then slips into coma. And this forms the core story around which our loser becomes a rockstar. Seriously dude, WTH?? I dont even want to get into rest of the details. The first five minutes of the film had brilliant screenplay and so I was hoping for one hell of a film. Even the first half of the film actually turned out to be good. But post interval, everything went down the drain. The guy sitting in the next seat kept repeatly asking his friend "Why is he doing this???". We all need an answer Imtiaz!.

Being titled Rockstar, there is nothing rocking about the script. All the characters were very badly scripted, worst being Jordan. This guy seriously doesnt know what he wants. He initially cant even pronounce Prague properly, but then becomes perfect at everything. He is supposed to be in love with Heer, but is more than happy to kiss and play around with other girls. There was absolutely no conflict point in the movie for Jordan to actually go through pain, cos Heer is more than willing to sleep with him (forget constantly kissing him backstage, while her husband is sitting in the front row). The most disappointing part was the lead up to 'Sadda Haq'.

Imtiaz was able to get awesome performance from Ranbir, and even from Nargis in parts, but with such a weak, draggy script, Rockstar/Imtiaz disappoints!!

Other Departments
The pre Slumdog Millionaire Rahman is back, and he absolutely mesmerizes us with his music (though it aint exactly Rock music). The background score is very good as well. I loved the way he mixed the tracks for the bg. I was disappointed on the fact that my favorite song 'Sheher Main' was missing in the film. Lyrics by Irshad Kamil are a lil too complicated to figure put, but good. Cinematography by Anil Mehta is excellent, but most of the shots in Himachal looked similar to the ones in Jab We Met. Editing by Aarti Bajaj is pathetic. The story itself was such a drag, and on top of it, there are like 'n' number of scenes which could have made the cut but dint. Production values by Eros and Ashtavinayak are excellent.

Verdict
Ive been waiting for this film for a long time now, and was really hoping that it would do well. But alas, it competes with Ra.One on the level of stupidity (actually, ignore that, nothing can ever be compared to Ra.One). As mentioned, the first of the film is pretty decent and promises a good film, but the interval bang and post interval episodes are pathetic. I really couldn't understand why Heer would sleep with Jordan in the first place, and then scream her lungs out after everything was done. And this leads to 'Sadda Haq' (listen to it lyrics, then you'll  probably understand why I keep saying that). The audience started clapping when Heer slips into a coma, which proves how good the movie was. And later when she steps onto the stage for 'Tum Ho', followed by the end credits, I could hear at least ten people scream 'What the ...'.

So that basically sums up my Rockstar experience. I got out of the theater with a nice head ache. Except for the music, this film doesn't even deserve a one time watch.

Dumbo's Rating: 5/10

PS: Go get a DVD of a Telugu movie 'Prema' which runs on a pretty similar but much better story line instead of watching this!!

Thursday, 10 November, 2011

Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin - TSOU

Plot
Tintin (Jamie Bell), a young journalist, happens to buy a model ship named Unicorn. Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) tries to buy the model from Tintin, but fails. The model is stolen from Tintin's possession, and he soon discovers that there's more than meets the eye. He goes on about an adventure trying to solve the puzzle, and meets Captain Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis) through his journey. The rest of the story is about how they solve the mystery together, and discover the lost treasure of the Unicorn.

Artists Performance
Honestly, it was quite difficult for me to judge the artists performance, as it was motion/performance capture film. It was also hard to imagine most actors in their respective roles. Jamie Bell was alright in the lead role. Andy Serkis was brilliant as Capt'n Haddock. His comic timing was superb. Daniel Craig was good as the sinister. He was the most difficult one to imagine (James Bond playing a negative role!!). The true star of the movie though was Snowy. He was a brilliantly created traditionally animated character.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Based on three of Herge's original comic books (The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure), screenplay by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish was very well written. Ive never read the comics myself, but do remember watching the cartoons as a kid, and I thought these guys did a pretty good job of combining the three to write an effective screenplay. I did feel that it was a little too long at times, but with a running time of 107 minutes, it actually wasn't. Direction by Steven Spielberg was again very difficult to judge. Id say that he did a pretty good job. I thought a couple of scenes in the movie were brilliantly shot: the one where Haddocks recalls the story of the Unicorn (running in parallel to reality), and the scenes after Haddock  blows the dam in Bagghar. Though he dint direct the movie, the motion capture work by Peter Jackson does deserve a mention in this section.

Other Departments
Music by John Williams was a disappointment. For a franchise of such magnitude, I expected a haunting theme music. Cinematography by Janusz KamiƄski was excellent. The zoom out shots were really good.  My only problem was with the 3D. Except in a couple of scenes, there were no 3D effects. It looked like a 2D film being screened on 3D. Editing by Michael Kahn was pretty decent. The animation was of top notch quality, and every character and location looked very believable.

Verdict
First thing Ive realized after watching this movie is that its very tough to review an animation film (at least, this one was made using motion capture). Though everything seemed to have worked really well for the movie, I somehow wasnt totally satisfied when it ended. The spark you expect in an animation was missing. The story also seemed a little complicated. It is a adventure film with its share of fun moments. Overall, a pretty decent watch, but not a classic!!

Dumbo's Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, 7 November, 2011

Restaurant Review: Palace Heights

Place: Palace Heights
Location: Abids, behind Taj Mahal Hotel
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine
Meal: Dinner (with a couple of friends)

Place/Ambiance
Palace Heights is one the oldest restaurants in the city. Its located in a small lane behind the Taj Mahal hotel, on the 8th floor of Triveni complex (It can be a pain to find). The interiors and decors are very well done, and the elevation gives us an exquisite view of the city.

Its been a while since I last came to this place and I was kinda excited to be here. My friends wanted to go to Santosh Dhaba, but I somehow convinced them to come here, promising them awesome food.

Menu
They have a huge menu, right from Punjabi, Chinese, to Mexican food and Sizzlers. They even serve drinks. We ordered Vegetable Gold Coin and Chilly Panner for starters, Malai Cheese Kofta and Panner Khurchan along with Kashmiri Naan, Masala Kulcha and Stuffed Paratha for two of us, and Chicken Biryani for the third.

Food
It took forever, and I mean forever for the starters to arrive. After 30 minutes, and reminding the guy a couple of times, the Gold Coins and Chilly Panner were finally served, with Schezwan sauce and some kind of chutney.


The Gold coins were crispy and very well baked. They had few cashew nuts here and there, the bread was good, and the stuffing was tasty. The Chilly Panner was excellent. Its probably the best Ive had in recent times. Even my friends loved it. The Panner was fresh, and well fried. It wasnt too greasy though. Not so spicy either.

Though we were miffed because of the long wait, perfect start to the meal. And then came the rest of the stuff we ordered.


The Panner Kurchan was alright. Ive never actually tasted Kurchan before, so had nothing to compare it with. It pretty much tasted like a blend of Panner Butter Masala and Kadai Panner. I thought that it was pretty dry with not much gravy to it. 


The Malai Kofta according to me was really good. It was very very creamy, and the kofta ball was very very soft. I couldnt feel any cheese, but there were quite a few nuts in there. 

The Kashmiri Naan was pretty good. There were three huge pieces of it. It was a little sweet, but no so much to spoil the taste of the subzi. The first two pieces were well baked, but the third was a little too crispy. The Masala Kulcha was alright, and the Stuffed Paratha was excellent. 

My friend was happy with his Chicken Biryani.

Service
For a restaurant of such high reputation, the service was pathetic. About three guys were rushing us to place the order from when we were seated, but no one bothered to respond after the food was ordered. We actually dindnt know who was incharge of our table, cos there would be a bunch of them when food was served, and they would disappear into thin air thereafter. My friend had asked for paper napkins, and each guy would point fingers to the next one to get them.

Verdict
Having pulled my friends from a cheaper, better place to this one, I was almost thrashed when we got out of the place. The food was alright yes, but the prices were exorbitant. It wouldnt have mattered so much if each of us enjoyed our meal, but thanks to the horrible service, we were quite disappointed. The starters were great, and the rest of the food was alright. The quantity of food served was pretty decent (we had leftovers packed up). The ambiance was definitely a plus, but the place was too loud at times. 

Overall, a pretty average meal.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Service: 4/10

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10

For more reviews, do visit Zomato.com - India's biggest online food & lifestyle guide

Tuesday, 1 November, 2011

Movie Review: Real Steel

Plot
Set in the future, where robot fights are a craze, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer, who survives on unsanctioned robot fights. He comes to know that his ex-girl friend is dead, leaving him his 11 year old son Max (Dakota Goyo). To clear his debts, and buy robots, Charlie gives Max's custody to his ex's sister Debra on payment of 100 grand. Max stays with Charlie for a couple of months before Debra can take him along. During these two months, Max discovers a obsolete scrap robot Atom, and pesters Charlie to train Atom. The rest of the story is about how Max changes Charlie's life, and how Atom goes on to become 'The People's Champion'!

Artists Performance
Hugh Grant is excellent as the careless, indifferent father, who isnt serious about anything in life. He plays his character to perfection. The true star of the movie though is Dakota Goyo. He brings in a lot of innocence to his character while thinking very maturely, and was really really cute. His expressions while talking to Charlie are brilliant. Evangeline Lilly has a limited role in the movie, and was good. I would have loved to see more of her on screen.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
The story of the film is very very predictable. Its got a Rocky Balboa kinda theme to it, but instead of boxers fighting out, its robots. Story by Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven is pretty decent, but director Shawn Levy couldn't get everything right. The story seems to drag many a times. He tried to play with a number of emotions, instead of sticking to one thread. He handled the scenes involving the kid very well. He was able to generate subtle humor through the father-son relationship. Screenplay by John Gatins could have been better, but I have no qualms.

Other Departments
Music by Danny Elfman is alright. I liked a couple of soundtracks. The sound effects weren't as great as Super 8, but were pretty decent. The Animatronic robots used looked very real and believable (Tom Meyer). Cinematography by Mauro Fiore was excellent. The scenes involving shadow fighting were shot brilliantly. Editing by Dean Zimmerman could have been way better. As already mentioned, the film dragged in parts, and a lot of scenes could have made the cut. Production values by Dreamworks are good.

Verdict
I didn't like the trailer, and therefore was planning to skip watching this movie. But I finally did after a number of people told me about it (and in fact asked me for a review). And thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. But I wasn't too happy either (mainly because of the Dolby turning on and off during the movie in the theater, Inox). It was a pretty decent movie which had its moments. The climax of the film was brilliantly shot, and makes up for most of the flaws in the movie. Plus points are Hugh Grant, Dakota Goyo and the shadow cinematography. But on the downside, I could see similarities to a number of hit flicks. I actually felt like I was watching a Bollywood film because of the drag and sentimental scenes.

Its Rocky Balboa, but instead of Sylvester Stallone, you have Atom fighting the fights.

Dumbo's Rating: 7.5/10