Thursday, 29 December, 2011

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadow


With rotten status on rottentomatoes.com (59%), I was not so eager to watch the movie. But finally decided to give it go for Guy Ritchie, and Hanz Zimmer's music. And I am so glad I did. Brilliantly shot, great acting, awesome direction and great music make this movie one of the best I've watched in 2011. 

With its twists and turns, Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows is a typical Guy Ritchie film (If it weren't for him, the film would have barely made it to the theaters).  Plus points are direction, music and ya, Robert Downey, Jr., who comes up with a really good performance. I thought is was way better than the first installment, for it had a much simpler story-line. Only drawback for me was the length of the movie.

I would definitely recommend you to go watch the movie. I happened to love it for I went without any expectation, so do go watch it without any expectations!!

Dumbo's Rating: 8/10

For a detailed review, read on...

Plot
Miscreant from the first installment, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) makes Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) deliver a package for him. The package happens to be a bomb which is diffused on time by Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.). Holmes discovers that Moriarty is responsible for a series of murders and terror attacks across Europe, but has no proof to prove his case. Holmes is trying to solve the case while his best friend Dr. Watson (Jude Law) gets married and is off on his honeymoon. To avenge Holmes's intervention, Moriarty first poisons Irene, and then tries to kill Dr. Watson and his newly wed wife Mary (Kelly Reilly). The rest of the story is how Holmes saves Watson, and solves the case with his help.

Actors Performance
Robert Downey, Jr. is really good in the lead role. His antics and body language make you fall in love with his character. He generates ample amount of humor with his stupendous comic timing and one liners. His performance in the climax is really good. Jude law is good as Holmes's long time friend Dr. Watson. He supports Robert Downey, Jr., while never overplaying his role. Rachel McAdams has a limited presence and is good. Kelly Reilly and Noomi Rapace are perfect for their respective roles. Stephen Fry was excellent as Mycroft Holmes. His comic timing, again, was superb. I thought Jared Harris could have come up with a  better performance, for his face lacked expression on most occasions.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Even since I've watched Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, I've been a big time fan of Guy Ritchie. His films, similar to Quentin Tarantino's, are very different and intriguing. Though not a caper film, Guy Ritchie makes this movie look like one. The story written by Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney is very simple, and there's nothing really great about the script, but with his typical style, Ritche gives the film the punch required for an action detective film. I loved the way he shot the train episode, and the climax. The last scene of the movie just happens to show his brilliance. Except for but the fight scenes towards the beginning, I thought that the screenplay was really good.

Other Departments
Music by Hans Zimmer is a definite asset to the film. I loved the theme score of the first film (it's one of my favorites), and he doesn't disappoint on this one either. The sound effects were alright (maybe could have been much better). Editing by James Herbert is alright. I don't know if its something wrong with me, but again I felt that the film was a little too long, and needed trimming. Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty decent. I thought that most shots lacked enough lighting and were snowy, but I have a feeling that it was intentional. The CGI team did a pretty good job of recreating Europe of 1890's. Production values are really good.

Friday, 23 December, 2011

Movie Review: Don 2

Did I go to watch the Don return, or was it Mission Impossible 5?? There were car chases, buildings being bombed, hi-tech bank robbery sequence, 300 feet jump off a building, a mask involved.. did I miss anything?? In one word, it was a potpourri of say all the MI, Ocean's Eleven, and every other Hollywood action film of similar genre put together into a 2 hours 26 minutes film. But wait, it doesn't end there; unlike all other films, this one has the bad guy playing the lead role.

Directed by one of my favorites, the film is very stylish, but is also long and disappointing. I expected something more sensible from Farhan. I never thought I would say this, but go watch the film only for Shahrukh. He's perfect for such kinda roles, and he sure delivers. He tried to carry the entire film on his shoulders, but its the script which fails him. If you aren't too fond of him, wait for the DVD to release.

Dumbo's Rating: 6/10

For a detailed review, read on...

Plot
With the European mafia planning to kill him, Don (Shahrukh Khan) surrenders to the Interpol in Thailand. He  is sentenced to death, and is sent to a Malaysian prison where he meets Vardhaan (Boman Irani). Don and Vardhaan escape from the prison and reach Berlin. Together, they plan to rob a bank while Interpol officer Roma (Priyanka Chopra) is trying to chase them down. The rest of the story is all about how the robbery is executed, and Don's real motive behind the robbery.

Actors Performance
Shahrukh Khan is brilliant as Don. He suits such kinda roles to perfection. I cant think of any actor from the current generation who can do a better job than him. Hrithik Roshan just proves that in his brief cameo as Don (oops, sorry!!). SRK looked really stylish all throughout the film. I liked his antics (which are very decent unlike his regular films) and dialogue delivery. Priyanka Chopra has a limited role in the film. She tried too hard to get into the character, and failed miserably. Kunal Kohli was alright in his brief role. Strangely, both Om  Puri and Boman Irani looked out of place. The guy who played the role of Jabbar, Nawab Shah, was pathetic. Lara Dutta was pretty good in her cameo.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Written by Farhan Akhtar, Ameet Mehta and Amrish Shah (also credited for the screenplay), the film, as mentioned, relies too much on other films of similar genre. The first half of the movie was well written, and made sense, but the second half was like a half-baked cookie. The whole episode of the bank robbery, which forms the crux of the story, just doesn't make sense. If anyone could walk into a bank and get into its safety vault so easily, I believe there would be a robbery every other day. And ya, why did Don need Vardhaan with him exactly?? The best part was Don going back into the bank with Roma in order to save the hostages. Even better, what's with the bomb blast after Roma was shot?? The whole episodes involving Don and Roma seemed entirely ridiculous. The screenplay was decent, but too haphazard, especially towards the climax. For the first time, Farhan Akhtar fails as a director. Except for SRK, I thought that everyone looked out of place, with blank/straight faces for most of the movie. He shot the film very stylishly and even brilliantly in parts, but failed to generate performances from his artists.

Other Departments
The usual's of an Excel production film are all here. Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is a definite asset to the film. There are only three songs in the movie though. More than the music, its the background score and the re-recording which make an impact. Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, and dialogues by Farhan are good. Editing by Anand Subaya could have been more crisp. Cinematography by Jason West is again, fantastic. The action sequences were alright, but a little to much to handle. With the 3D, I could neither make head nor tail of most of the action sequences, cos everything happened really fast. Otherwise, the 3D effect was alright. Production values by SRK and Excel Entertainment are pretty good. It is apparently the first Indian film to be shot in Germany.

Verdict
Inspired from a whole bunch of movies, Don 2 lacks the punch of the first Don. Its not that MI - Ghost Protocol dint have its flaws, but it managed to cover them with the action and direction. But for this film, except for SRK, nothing else holds. Plus points are SRK, music, cinematography and a couple of action sequences. But its the senseless script script and mediocre direction which pull the film down.

Wednesday, 14 December, 2011

Movie Review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

It's not a great film, period. But thanks to its adrenaline pumping action sequences, a decent story, direction, and acting, it delivers to its expectations. The awesome cinematography just helps the case. I would have loved to hear better use of the MI theme though. It’s a lil boring in parts, but you’re too engaged to notice these flaws. Its without doubt the best film of the series so far.

Watch it for sure, and if you do, watch it on IMAX (I've watched it both on IMAX and regular screen. The regular screen just doesn't do justice to the film, there is no adrenaline rush!!). Ive never seen the audience clap without any particular reason, but they did today for the spectacular sequences shot using the IMAX camera. They left me spellbound.

Dumbo's Rating: 8/10 + 1 for IMAX

For a detailed review, read on....

Plot
The Kremlin is destroyed, and the Russians believe that the IMF is responsible for it, following which the US government disavows the IMF. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) takes up the mission of trying to find the guy responsible for the blasts, and stop him from starting a nuclear war. But he has to do it like a ghost, with only three team members, and without any kind of support. The rest of the story is about how Hunt, along with his team, accomplishes the mission: impossible.

Actors Performance
Tom Cruise is absolutely brilliant in the lead role. He looked old, yet fit, and performed the stunts with great ease. It takes real guys to perform the stunt on the Burj Khalifa without a double. He gets a close to perfect score on acting front as well. Jeremy Renner was very good as the ‘helper’. He looked really dashing, and at times, better than Cruise. Simon Pegg was excellent, and created quite some humor in the film. Paula Patton was alright. She has great body. I hate to say this, but Anil Kapoor was pathetic as Brij Nath. I don't even understand why he took up such kinda sleazy role, which lasts less than 5 minutes (I don't think an actor of his caliber should do such kind of roles, just to make a mark in Hollywood). Rest of the cast was alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
The story of the movie is very simple. Someone blasts a building in Russia, the Russians want to attack US, but our hero (or rather his team) tries to stop them and evades the nuclear invasion. Actually, now that I am typing it, it sounds very familiar to X-Men: First Class. But writers AndrĂ© Nemec and Josh Appelbaum did a pretty good job with the simple script. They added quite a number of twists and turns, or rather challenges to our team. But its Brad Bird (director) who makes this simple script look amazing on screen. Having directed animations like Ratatouille and The Incredibles in the past, he uses all his experience from the Incredibles count on this one. His take on the movie was absolutely superb, and I don't think anyone else could have done a better job. His persistence on using the IMAX cameras really pays off. The shots are out of the world!! On the downside, there were a couple of dull episodes (the climax especially), and unrealistic scenes which could have been handled better. Screenplay was excellent. (I am now eagerly waiting for 1906).

Other Departments
Music by Michael Giacchino was pretty decent. He did a good job of the original MI theme composed by Lalo Schifrin, but the punch was missing (I wasn't quite satisfied with it). He did a horrendous job with the Indian music though. Editing by Paul Hirsch is pretty neat. A few of the scenes could have made the cut on the final print. After 2 hours 15 minutes, you don't feel bored, but you want the movie to end. Cinematography by Robert Elswit is absolutely brilliant. The IMAX shots in Dubai are spell-binding. Production values by Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are really good, but I wish they had shown real India instead of a set somewhere else in the world. And when you say Mumbai, shoot it in Mumbai, not Bengaluru.

Foot Note
I really don't understand why these Hollywood films make a mockery of India. I mean, when you say you are in India, shoot in India for God's sake (they did in parts, but not completely). Its not that we don't have the resources or production equipment we are home to the biggest film studio in the world. And I hated Anil Kapoor's role more for the reason that it will now symbolize how Indians are to the rest of the world (just like Slumdog Millionaire did). And again, when you say you are in Mumbai, shoot in Mumbai. Oh btw, for my foreign friends reading this, no, we are not perverts like Anil Kapoor; no, we dont have so many sexy BMW's on road; no, we don't have automated car parking systems yet; no, we don't play that kinda sad pathetic music at our parties; and no, those Indian streets they show in the movie are not real.

On another note, you get to see Allu Arjun, Gopichand and a couple of other Indian stars on screen.

And finally, this is what Wikipedia reads: The first public viewing of the movie across the globe was held in Hyderabad, India at Prasads IMAX. The movie released ahead of scheduled start on the 14 of December and the first show was at 10:30 AM IST.

I was there!!

Sunday, 4 December, 2011

Movie Review: Puss in Boots

Its a story about how Puss turned out to be Puss, far before he met Shrek. Its a pretty decent watch, nothing as great as Shrek. Its got its own twist and turns, but the story lacks the punch. The animation was spot on, 3D effects not so great (definitely not an IMAX film).

Bottom line, its an average movie which will make you laugh, but doesnt leave you spellbound. Watch it at your leisure.

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10

Saturday, 3 December, 2011

Movie Review: The Dirty Picture

Plot
Reshma (Vidya Balan) is a small town girl who wants to make it big in films. She runs away from her house to Chennai a day before her wedding. She tries to get a supporting role in a movie but is insulted for her looks and is rejected. She somehow manages to get the role of an erotic dancer at a later stage. Her act goes viral and she is christened 'Silk' by producer SelvaGanesh (Rajesh Sharma). She continues to act in sleazy film and achieves fame envied by her counterparts. The rest of the story is about how she handles the criticism and responds to it.

Actors Performance
Oh Vidya Balan, you have stumped me!
Its an out and out Vidya Balan film and she oozes out oomph factor in each and every frame. She should be really appreciated for taking up such a role, shedding all her inhibitions. She looks dusky and really good during the first half of the film, and then puts on flab like crazy for the second half (I know how difficult it is to lose those tummy tires, god knows how she managed to lose it so soon). She was absolutely brilliant, and is sure to bag all the awards for best actress in 2012.

Naseeruddin Shah is excellent in the role of the elderly actor who sleeps around with all his female co-stars. I cant imagine anyone else doing a better job. Its one of the best roles Tusshar Kapoor could have got, and he doesnt disappoint. He looked idiotic in his costumes, but he does justice to the role. Emraan Hashmi has limited presence in the film, and portrays a character very different from his usual genre. He was very good as well. Rajesh Sharma (SelvaGanesh) was excellent as the director. Rest of the cast was alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
It is very difficult to make a film based on the life of an actress who committed suicide (Silk Smitha). But writer Rajat Aroraa (story, dialogues and screenplay) comes up with a very good script without going too deep into details on Silk's personal life. The plot of the film is something similar to that of Kalki Koechlin role in Dev.D - people want and watch girls in skimpy clothes doing sleazy dances on screen, but then insult the same girls and label them as sex-sirens off screen. The story revolves around how Silk handles this situation, and how she gives in into it towards the end. Though well written, the story tends to lose steam towards the second half of the movie. Dialogues are brilliantly written and act as the second lead in the movie. Screenplay could have been more effective towards the climax. Direction by Milan Luthria is good. He's certainly improved on his directorial skills since Taxi 9211.

Other Departments
Music by Vishal-Shekhar is alright. Audiance were going nuts for "Ooh La La". Background score is good. The south-Indian track "Naka Muka" is very effective as the BG. Cinematography by is pretty good and editing by Akiv Ali is decent. Production values by Balaji Telefilms are very good. They did a very good job recreating the 80's.

Verdict
As already mentioned, its an out and out Vidya Balan's film. If it weren't for her, this film would have been crap. She has portrayed the best role of her career so far. Brilliant dialogues, superb acting by Vidya and Naseeruddin Shah, effective background score, and the oomph factor are the plus points of the film. On the flip side, since its based of a true story, it might/will bore you. Its not a great film by any means, and even I found it boring at times, but Vidya made sure that I walked out of the theater satisfied.

To quote Vidya, 'Filme sirf teen cheeso ke vaaje se chalti hain - entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.' She definitely was Entertainment!!

Dumbo's Rating: 7/10  + 1 for Vidya :)