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)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Manjhi: The Mountain Man - Excitement killed by expectations

The story of Dashrath Manjhi's life is really inspirational. Losing your loved one at an early stage of life and then dedicating your life for cause you believe in (but stupid for the society), fulfilling the promise you made to your loved one. Really inspiring life of beating all odds and overcoming all challenges and being a revolution.
That's a short description of Dashrath Manjhi, who is an inspiration for this film. And to have Nawazuddin Siddiqui play the character of such a man works for the film. Nawazuddin Siddiqui's presence on screen is the strongest point in the film. But Radhika Apte's character as Falguni Devi doesn't have much screen time. But that's just how it is.
I was excited to watch this film for many reasons - Dashrath Manjhi,  hype around the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Ketan Mehta's direction. Everything will work for the film and help it recover its cost and Manjhi will be called a success. But, is it a great film? My answer is - No. The entire film suffers due to Bollywoodization (that is not a word, but you get what I mean) of the story. The 1st half suffers more than the 2nd half. At a little over 2 hours (2 hours and 5 minutes to be exact), I feel there was a scope for a lot that could have been focused on, rather than rushing through his (Manjhi's) life. If not, the run time could have been around 1 hour 45 minutes.
I know people have vivid, weird imagination but Dashrath Manjhi's dreams (in the film) were touching the skies and beyond. Manjhi (film) has a typical Ketan Mehta touch to it, which is a good thing and also bad. Ketan Mehta's touch works for the film's portrayal of the friction between Manjhi and the society (including politics, family and friends). But it goes a bit off track when the film switches to the flashback scenes. The music is good. Just when you try to establish a connect with Manjhi's character, the film ruins it by bringing in the Bollywood element.
My expectations were high from this film, but I was a bit disappointed with the approach taken and the treatment given to this life adaptation. So if you are a fan of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte or Ketan Mehta's films, then you can watch this.

All Is Well - There is a message in there somewhere

I don't know what was going on in the director's mind when he first decided to direct All Is Well. Directed by Umesh Shukla, the film isn't long at all. The run time being just a little over 2 hours (2 hours 7 minutes to be exact), All Is Well is an effort gone wrong. The characters are inspired by real life people, like you and me. And the same can be said for the story. But what went wrong is the simplicity and the whole Bollywood drama in a way that the film presents itself.
Rishi Kapoor plays a character that is someone you'll hate initially but later will start to like. Supriya Pathak doesn't have much dialogues but is convincing and good in her character. Asin's presence on the screen is a little more than blink and miss but again, her character doesn't have much dialogues. Surprise of the film is Abhishek Bachchan, who has acted well and you really connect with the character he plays at some level.
The film has a bit of fun element, few funny and emotional moments but overall doesn't connect with the audiences because of the simplistic nature of the script, at times forced-humour filled dialogues and unnecessary songs. Umesh Shukla also directed OMG - Oh My God! starring Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal. After you know that bit of information, you'll seriously say WTF! for this film. I'm not saying that the direction of All Is Well is bad, but just that he could have just refused to direct it because of the script's nature. Even though it's just a little over 2 hours, it feels boring and a drag at times. The music is good but the songs are unnecessary. The acting by all actors is good and Abhishek Bachchan is the only one to look out for in this film.
Should you watch it or not? My answer would be - you can decide for yourself if you wish to see a film with a message in there somewhere but filled with (at times) uninspiring dialogues, simple script inspired by common daily life with a Bollywood take on it.
(Tell me which Dhaba in India offers you the service of watching someone perform a song and dance sequence while you eat Butter Chicken and Naan. Forget Sonakshi Sinha's song, but try listening to the Hafte Mein Chaar Shanivaar song, I'm sure we all wish we had that many Saturdays in a week.)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Drishyam - The suspense will keep you hooked on

I have to say that I haven't seen the Malayalam film (by the same name) and Papanasam (Tamil film), so I can't really compare the three. But from what I've heard, the Malayalam version was the best.
But this review is about the Hindi film, so lets focus on that.
The film stars Ajay Devgn, Shriya Saran, Tabu, and Ishita Dutta (Googled and found that she's Tanushree Dutta's sister) in the lead. Directed by Nishikant Kamat, Drishyam starts at a normal pace but picks up towards the end of 1st half. The story, the suspense will keep you hooked on. The film has its brains at the right place. The locations, the dialogues, the background score blend in perfectly. Drishyam is Avinash Arun's next film as cinematographer after Masaan and it's a brilliant work with the camera. The suspense is something that does not get revealed till the very end. Brilliant piece of writing and direction.
Vishal Bhardwaj's music also complements the entire story. Nishikant Kamat returns to direction after Lai Bhaari and have to say his direction is brilliant. This film is something that deserves all your attention. If you blink, you'll miss. It's got the perfect blend of every human emotion weaved into it and at the right time. The controversy surrounding the Malayalam version might have helped in this film's promotion as well.
There has not been such a sensible Hindi film in a long time. And I don't think there'll be one in a long time to come. Good drama, thriller, suspense and brilliant acting by the lead actors. We are not used to seeing Ajay Devgn playing a common man and in a role that doesn't involve over-the-top humour and unnecessary stunts and so this is a complete surprise. The last time Ajay Devgn played a common man was in Himmatwala, and we all know what a disaster that film was.
Drishyam is not to be missed, I repeat not to be missed for anything. It's a must must watch.