Thursday, October 22, 2015

Shaandaar - Falls short of being Shaandaar but...

A story of two insomniacs played by Alia and Shahid who happened to meet by accident (literally). Jagjinder Joginder, [Shahid Kapur (or Kapoor)] is a wedding organizer for Vipin's (Pankaj Kapur) daughter Isha (Shahid's real life sister, Sanah Kapoor), step-sister of Alia (played by Alia Bhatt). It not a wedding, it's a business deal with the (funnily called) Fundwani's represented in the film by Sanjay Kapoor.
Directed by Vikas Bahl (also directed Queen), screenplay by Anvita Dutt, Shaandaar starts off on a high note with the Sindhi-Punjabi pre-wedding hullabaloo. The 1st half has more bling than Bappi Lahiri has ever worn in his life till now. A nice Sindhi-Punjabi cocktail of comedy and jokes. But could've been better.
In the department of acting, Shahid and Alia nailed it. I liked Alia's acting in this more than any other film. Pankaj Kapur's acting as always puts life into the scenes he's in and helps the overall film. I was hoping to see more of Sanjay Kapoor, but he's been underutilized. Karan Johar has a cameo. But the surprise came in the form of Sushma Seth and more than anyone else - Sanah Kapoor. Although I don't believe in awards but, Sanah Kapoor may win some for her debut. Sanah Kapoor is cute and funny.
Getting to the music, Amit Trivedi's music doesn't disappoint and the songs, even though too many are not boring. For this film I thought I should pay attention to the lyrics of the songs, and must tell you Amitabh Bhattacharya's (and Anvita Dutt's) lyrics really get stuck into your mind. The song 'Gulabo' has to be the best among the lot.
Coming to the direction, Vikas Bahl returns to directing with this one, after giving us the hit in 2014 (Watch 'Queen' if you haven't yet). Comparisons have already started pouring in and it isn't looking good for both Shaandaar and Vikas Bahl. No denying that Shaandaar has its own share of flaws and lows, but those are negligible if considered as an overall part of the film. Shaandaar is a very different take on destination weddings (other films include Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani). Screenplay and dialogues by Anvita Dutt are not bad. A lot of acronym talk and lot of inspiration from the current lingo of the millennials (current trend visible in most Bollywood films).
This could definitely be a parallel universe story of lives of Sindhis including the weddings. Overall it's ABS (A Big Sindhi) wedding, full-on Bollywood masala film, with lots of body talk (fat, gyming, etc.) with a tiny bit of reference to other films including Top Gun, with a lot of Microsoft product placement and a message worth learning from. I liked it and for those yet to watch it, it's a one time watch for everyone's acting.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon - Surprise hit of the season from Bollywood

The films starts with a guy lying to his three (accidental) wives and a girlfriend about each other. The drama ends with all 4 meeting at the end and knowing the truth about everything. Sounds a lot like No Entry, doesn't it? But this is different in almost every aspect.
Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon (KKPK) stars Kapil Sharma, Elli Avram, Simran Kaur Mundi, Manjari Phadnis, Sai Lokur, Arbaaz Khan, Supriya Pathak, Sharat Saxena, Varun Sharma, Manoj Joshi, Jamie Lever, and others. This film marks the Bollywood debut of Kapil Sharma, Sai Lokur, and Jamie Lever.
I must say I'm completely surprised by this film. I thought this was going to be just like Comedy Nights With Kapil (CNWK) and have all those stupid jokes and over-the-top acting. But it wasn't. It had some genuinely good jokes, funny moments and surprisingly good acting by everyone. Everyone just fits the character and plays their part really well.
Music is good (Good to see Dr. Zeus back). The songs don't bore at all. This is not a typical Abbas-Mustan film. But a really good attempt by them to try something new. The last time someone tried their hand at comedy by moving away from their usual genre of films, it didn't do well even though it had big stars. I'm talking about Madhur Bhandarkar (who also has a release along with KKPK) directed Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji. But getting back to KKPK, you can ignore the inexperience of the debutants and the bit shaky script & direction and just enjoy and have a good laugh with the family.
This film is way better than Welcome Back, and way ahead and above the usual Kapil Sharma stuff. Many actors have to wait to make their mark in Bollywood, get a good director's film, get the perfect actress cast opposite them. Kapil Sharma gets not one but two directors, he gets to work with not one but four actresses, and well he has always had a great fan following after CNWK.
It may be for the script, it may be for Abbas-Mustan, it may be for Elli Avram, or it may be for Simran Kaur Mundi that you watched this film. But it is definitely Kapil Sharma, for whom many have watched this film and many will watch it. Not the Abbas-Mustan film you would expect but definitely something you can enjoy.
I spent Rs. 250 on the movie ticket and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. If you want to have a good laugh, jokes that are better than CNWK, want to watch something with the entire family, then this is the film you can watch. Also watch out for Johnny Lever's daughter Jamie Lever, who is funny and good with her expressions.

The Intern – Feel good film that deserves an audience of every generation

A 70 year old guy who is retired, has done everything from learning Mandarin, to doing Yoga, to travelling across the world, but is still bored in life, and so takes up an internship opportunity at an online fashion retail start-up in Manhattan. What follows is the best that can come from Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway.
The story is really simple and a heart-warming one. Anne Hathaway as a start-up founder, juggling many roles, trying to do right by everyone, will definitely melt your heart, if you are an emotional person. Robert De Niro is at his best. There is nothing to hate about this film. The relationship between a boss and an intern, between other employees and the new joinees is presented in a way that you feel connected to it.
Nancy Meyers knows the subject well, her team has researched on the start-up ecosystem and the controversies and situation surrounding women entrepreneurs.
Anne Hathaway will bring back some of the memories of The Devil Wears Prada, not that her character is anything like Meryl Streep’s but just the whole fashion scene and the chaos and the pressure of delivering.
Robert De Niro as the intern will make you laugh, cry, may bring back memories of your internship and may even make you think about what you are gonna do when you are 70? Rene Russo plays Fiona (the masseuse) and Anders Holm plays Anne Hathaway’s husband in this film. Although, they both don't have much roles, they are still good for the time they are on screen.
Nancy Meyers has directed films like What Women Want, Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated, and others. You see her touch in this film as well. A lot of scenes are based on true events that have recently occurred in the Silicon Valley and the tech start-up ecosystem.
Overall, I would say this is a fun, and a must watch film for all ages. There is nothing to not like about this film. Definitely will be nominated at The Oscars for atleast a couple of categories.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Black Mass – Johnny Depp’s best performance till date

Black Mass stars Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson. Based on true events, Black Mass is a dark mobster / gang wars movie, but with less bullets flying around. It’s more of a drama which involves relationships between friends, families, business partners, alliances with FBI, ratting out your enemies.
The film starts off with a promise but falters a bit in the second half. Music by Junkie XL is good, goes with the flow of the film. The dark setting of the film with a lot of f-words, and blood will be uncomforting for some. Johnny Depp as James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and Benedict Cumberbatch as William ‘Bill’ Bulger have done an excellent job. Even Joel Edgerton as John Connelly sometimes overshadows Benedict Cumberbatch and his character.
I’ve read few reviews which say there is nothing new in the film, boring storyline and nothing good from Johnny Depp. But I would say this has been Johnny Depp’s best performance till date. This film proves his versatility as an actor, the films that he has done including Pirates of the Caribbean series, and the film The Rum Diary and many more just prove that he is best at what he does even if the film flops. I think Johnny Depp will be nominated for the Oscars.
Scott Cooper has directed films like Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges, and has also Out Of The Furnace starring Woody Harrelson. I haven’t seen any of those films but with this I think he’s a done a pretty good job. Although he may not be nominated for the Oscars but the treatment that he’s given to this film will work in its favour, plus the big star line-up should bring the crowd to the theatres.
I didn’t know that this film is also based on a book, and I think will also be nominated for the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ category at the Oscars. Other stars like Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson have very little screen time when compared with Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Joel Edgerton, but they play their part well and don’t let the film lose its pace.
Overall, Johnny Depp as the South Boston mobster and crime boss of the Winter Hill Gang is definitely worth watching in this film and so is Benedict Cumberbatch (Cumberbitches are gonna love it). If you think this film will have bullets flying around throughout, then you’ll be disappointed. If you want to watch a film based on a mobster’s life with a good storyline and actors, then this is the one.
I liked the film and I would definitely recommend watching this one.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Katti Batti – Imran and Kangana surprise us for different reasons

A poor guy can’t get over a fact that a rich girl dumped him after being in a live-in relationship for 5 years. He can’t stand the fact that the girl is marrying another guy and so desperately wants to stop her from marrying, the entire drama thrown around with few songs thrown in as well. And there’s a movie made around the whole situation. Tell me where’s the originality is this?
The transition of going into the flashbacks is good but it is messed up when transitioning back to reality. Imran Khan really surprises with his role and acting. His character feels like a matured version of the character he portrayed in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. The scene where his character is seen running at the airport will remind you of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Kangana on the other hand has nothing new to offer. She is good as usual but now that we are used to seeing her play different characters that totally take everyone by surprise, this one will actually disappoint.
The film also stars Aadaar Malik and Vivaan Bathena. I was expecting substantial acting but I think the characters they played didn’t require that much of an effort. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy isn’t bad and the songs don’t bore. I liked the comic book treatment given to the song ‘Lip to Lip’ and it’s also fun to listen. Apart from a few good moments here and there, this film has nothing new or substantial to offer.
At 2 hours 19 minutes, this feels like a long watch, especially in the last 30 minutes which could have been easily cut down by 15 minutes. When I think of Nikhil Advani I always think of Salaam-E-Ishq. I liked Salaam-E-Ishq even though it was long (ok way too long). But the point is, even though Salaam-E-Ishq was long it had something good in terms of acting and story. Katti Batti disappoints on those fronts.
Nikhil Advani has also directed films like Kal Ho Naa Ho, D-Day, Patiala House, Delhi Safari. I think Kabir Khan and Nikhil Advani wanted to make it their year at the movie theatres since they both return to directing after quite some time. But Kabir Khan had one hit (Bajrangi Bhaijaan) and one miss (Phantom), whereas Nikhil Advani had two misses (Hero and Katti Batti).
I was expecting Kangana to surprise once again with her acting. Well, she did surprise by not having a good character and a disappointing role. Watch Katti Batti only if you are an Imran Khan or Kangana Ranaut fan.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Welcome Back - The other worse movie after 2 States

Welcome released in 2007, just a refresh that it starred Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Feroz Khan, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Mallika Sherawat, Paresh Rawal, Supriya Karnik and others. Directed by Anees Bazmee, it had a run time of 159 minutes and has an IMDb rating of 6.4/10. The reason why we need to refresh this is because to compare just how bad Welcome Back is against Welcome.
Welcome Back stars almost everyone from the prequel except Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Feroz Khan, and Mallika Sherawat. The new additions to this sequel have been John Abraham, Shruti Haasan, Ankita Shrivastava, Dimple Kapadia, Shiney Ahuja and Naseeruddin Shah. I mean just look at the cast and on the other side you have the stupid script and that botched up ending.
The film is set in United Arab Emirates and looks like its tourism ad. John Abraham is good at action but needs to work on his comic timing, and Shruti Haasan needs to work on her acting skills. Every actor right from Dimple Kapadia to Shiney Ahuja to Naseeruddin Shah have been wasted. The only ones to look out for are Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, and Paresh Rawal.
Anees Bazmee has directed films like Ready (2011), Welcome (2007), and even, No Entry (2005) among others. He returns to directing after 4 years and this is what he has to serve people. The 2nd half is where Welcome Back starts to shake and the last 30 minutes are so bad that it looks like that part was written and directed by a 5 year old. The way Naseeruddin Shah gets his eyesight back reminded me of Amar Akbar Anthony.
There are way too many songs and way too many pakao jokes, double meaning jokes and it feels like punches being thrown at your face. The background score isn't great, the script lacked originality, and was way off the mark when compared to Welcome.
This was supposed to be Shiney Ahuja's comeback that would have got him other Bollywood projects, but looks like it will take some time now for him to do so. This film has such good senior actors who have been wasted in such a way that you feel bad for them.
If it didn't have the end it has and was a bit different in the last 30 minutes, then Welcome Back would have deserved some points. But I don't recommend watching this one and instead do something else.
At 152 minutes, this feels way too long and during the time of writing this post it has an IMDb rating of 5.1/10, which I think is way higher than this film deserves. Disappointed with what director Anees Bazmee had to serve and if it gets a sequel, I would think twice about watching it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fantastic Four (2015) - A build up with a slow and shaky start

Fantastic Four (2015 film) is nowhere close to a Marvel film, with no quirkiness, almost no humour, no rogue superheroes, no insane / wow action sequences and not too long run time. The good thing about the film is the acting by all the actors - Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Jamie Bell. There are a few scenes that add a bit humour and a Marvel touch to this otherwise very meh storyline. Like seriously inter-dimensional travel? How many films that have released in the past 2 years have had this thing called "other dimension". I think the subject has been exploited enough to just give a break.
Director Josh Trank (Wikipedia tells me he directed Chronicle - sci-fi film) has done justice to the script that was given to him and he could have done worse but thankfully not. It lacks every other element of the Marvel film thus ruining it.
But if you check history, Fantastic Four films have always received negative reviews and low ratings and the franchise has been one of the lowest grossing in the Marvel Entertainment saga. I think more than anyone else 20th Century Fox should take lessons from this fiasco and in future not arm-twist creative individuals to create something that the former has no idea about.
I have absolutely no regret of watching this film because the performances were good even if the story lacked the punch. It lacked everything, from action sequences that will make the audience go wow to dialogues which lack originality.
It is still not clear whether Fantastic Four will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe (I think it should join), but if it does, then it will be awesome and then watching this film considering this as a build up to the big event in the future isn't bad at all. This is the 3rd time the character of Doctor Doom has been portrayed although the 1st film never released in theatres, and I think there's a lot that this franchise deserves and it can be better with the sequel.
(Surprisingly, this film has an even lower IMDb rating than this week's Bollywood release All Is Well)