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|29 reviews in total|
This film is a technical milestone for cinema because it's one of the first films shot with a 4K digital cinema camera, the Dalsa Origin. The result when projected digitally in 4K is an extremely clean and sharp picture that looks like grainless 70mm film. It's wonderful. Clearly a glimpse into the future of film making when such cameras become easier to use and more widespread as digital cinematography replaces 35mm origination more and more (in sync with digital projection replacing traditional film prints). If you have a chance to see it in 4K do so. It looks like 8 Megapixel still frames coming alive. The story is about Indian culture being lost by Desis in US to the degree that a white man has to remind an Indian of his roots and how to solve a problem the way his Indian heritage and culture would deal with it.
Saw this as world premiere at Locarno festival. In 2K DLP projection on 27m wide screen. Looked very good apart from some aliasing at times. The film borrows visually from "Dune" (sandworms) and some others but it's quite interesting with its mix of not photo realistic and more realistic CGI elements. Will look great on Blue Ray HD disc. The story is about a Japan of the future which has shielded itself from all foreign surveillance for 10 years so nobody knows what is going on. There are suspicions of illegal production of androids by a mega corporation with unclear goals, potentially dangerous to the human race on a global scale.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dhoom 2 is a mindless popcorn flick that asks for your brain at the door and hands it back 3 hours later when you leave, hoping you had a good time in between. I was amused more than once and I can appreciate several things in the film. But in the end the hard reality and number one rule of good film making is and always will be (and that really needs to sink in more in Bollywood): A GOOD FILM STARTS WITH A GOOD SCRIPT, EVEN IF ITS ONLY AIM IS CAREFREE ENTERTAINMENT FOR 3 HOURS. Dhoom 2's script is simply very half baked, full of plot holes so big the usual disclaimers for fantasy action fare are stretched too thin here and it becomes annoying. What should be a gripping tale of the psychology of cop and robber sprinkled with sleek action and display of technology (in the film and making the film) degrades into standard formula fare with unnecessary songs, forced comic routines, abrupt and unmotivated sight seeing orgies, and replacement of a main character. Let's ignore the heavy inspiration from many Hollywood films. That's not the main problem. The interference of the Bollywood formula and weak script is. Not all is bad, though, some parts are well done and in a better film would fit in very nicely. The Russian roulette scene is the emotional core of the film and delivers, ending included (bravo for going against the formula here). The statue scene is cool as well (unrealistic but in a way one can smilingly accept, l'art pour l'art). The Queen act at the beginning, unexpected, hilarious (the action afterwards less so). And this of course brings us to the main asset of the film, this Indian A list actor (and I mean international A list as far as potential is concerned) whose publicly announced goal is to lift commercial Hindi cinema to an international quality level so it can cross over, stuck in another local B grade effort (by international standards) limiting his impact: The one and only HRITHIK ROSHAN. He carries the film from start to finish and it hurts to see him work his ass off and exude more charisma with one finger than the whole cast of most films do with all they got, just to be let down by shoddy scripting and stylistic choices that might impress in some quarters but definitely not at others where international product is well known and fighting it out for market share with Hollywood. The rest of the cast is OK. Aishwarya and Hrithik are eye candy of the highest caliber. Abhishek, Uday and the rest have not really got roles though. 2 of the songs should be cut right away. 3 others are good. Film is well shot, stunts are OK although highly unrealistic most of the time and the fact many of them are really done by Hrithik himself is not obvious enough. He trains for 3 months and it's over in 3 seconds. Hm. See it if you like Ash and Hrithik, do not expect much and you will likely be impressed by some of it. 4 points for the film and 2 extra for Mr. Roshan. (By the way, Hrithik is NOT playing his first villain in this film as claimed in the promotions. He's not anymore a villain than Robin Hood. He's the hero of the film which you cheer on and want to succeed. If Robin Hood is a villain then Hrithik was a villain before in Fiza and Mission Kashmir).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is basically an Austrian remake of "I Know What You Did Last Summer". The basic story idea is the same, some plot details have been changed. Technically it's competently done and the cast is OK. But inventive or original it is not unless you consider that it's the first time this kind of genre film (horror slasher film but not (very) low budget) has been done in Austria. Which was the main motivation to do it anyway as the producer readily admitted at the press conference at the Locarno festival. The film is likely to do well with the Austrian/German youth as they can identify with the teenagers in the film acting out a fantasy usually only available from Hollywood. The film is gory at times but not excessively so.
They rarely make them like this anymore in Bollywood. Meaningful cinema with a message but presented in a highly entertaining and artistically solid way with great song numbers and characters you care for. The cast is first rate, the direction inventive and technically the film is well done. Just two examples: The use of a ghost image to express Vidya's dilemma of having to condemn Raj while still loving him and the use of rain/smoke in the love song. The rain/smoke patterns are subtle but wonderful. The songs are among the most popular in Hindi cinema and not one is weak or a filler. A timeless classic that will never become outdated. Unfortunately there is no good DVD around and the film needs restoration (as practically all older Bollywood films (and most newer ones too)).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Krrish sets new standards for stunts and special effects in Bollywood. And probably also for dedication of a Bollywood actor to acquire the necessary body control to do very difficult stunts himself. But that's about it. The story is an assortment of old Bollywood clichés and masala galore. Lots of borrowing motives/ideas from Hollywood films, damsels on the verge of a nervous breakdown (I wonder if Almodovar would love it), an infantile sound effect for the comic sidekick and exaggerated emotional outbreaks. Rakesh Roshan knows how to tickle and milk the Indian masses and laugh all the way to the bank. I don't know if he knows how to make a better film, though. His own "Koi Mil Gaya" was more satisfying despite less money and worse special effects. Let's not be too harsh, though. Some scenes are very well done. And even more work some way or another. The circus sequence is technically solid and with a good score underneath. When the lead couple falls from the tree there is a moment of poetry only Bollywood can achieve. The Matrix-Style Neo (I mean Krrish) versus the Smiths (I mean Singapore hoodlums) has Matrix quality shots. No doubt, Hrithik would have been a great Neo. He masters the technical difficulties with apparent ease and even as an actor he is allowed to go a bit beyond the standard routines: His old and sick Rohit is a glimpse of how much more he's capable of if only he got a more sophisticated script and team to work with. A director whose vision does not stop at doing something new within the rigid conventions of formulaic Bollywood potboilers but breaks free of these conventions altogether and does something really new. If Rakesh Roshan were this director he would probably not laugh on the way to the bank afterwards, or maybe even more so. The risks are high. No longer appealing to the Indian mass market and not yet to the lucrative international/Western market is a real threat. No Bollywood film has yet mastered the art of pleasing these two masters at the same time with a box office result that measured up on both markets and would allow spending 10 Mio. $. And Krrish will be no exception. It does not even try. The effects are somewhat uneven. Some are great, and some are second rate with obvious artifacts/fakery. The fly/jump thing gets somewhat repetitive. Photography is mostly OK. Some shots are out of focus. The cast is strictly OK as well with the exception of Hrithik who carries the whole film on his shoulders and makes even the most far-fetched and corny moments believable or at least tolerable, and N. Shah with an above average villain act. Not really classy (that requires a better script) but also not as hackneyed as your typical Bolly-Baddie. Rekha isn't bad as well but how often can you cry your heart out till it's once too often? The 4 dance choreographies are on the mediocre side with the circus number coming out on top. The melodies are nice though. Overall let's say if your idea of superior Bollywood cinema are films like "Dil Chahta Hai", "Pyaasa", "Lagaan", "Lakshya" or "Rang de Basanti" you will likely be underwhelmed. On the other hand Krrish is quite successful at indianising the superhero concept and marrying it to the typical Indian values/ingredients for an entertaining potpourri of 3 hours, offering something for everyone from kids and teenagers to grannies. With the film on the way to become the biggest grosser in India this century so far the main goal of the Roshans has been achieved: Successfully launch the superhero genre in Bollywood and lay the basis for a franchise. 6.5/10 (extra 2 points for the stunts and Hrithik)
A year and a half ago I commented on "Lakshya": Don't expect a rabid anti war or anti establishment film. The time has not yet come for this in Bollywood. With "Rang de Basanti" Bollywood has made a film that clearly does not shy away from pointing a finger at the holy cows 'army' and 'government' and dares to suggest that corruption and infamy extend up to the highest ranks and most respected institutions of Indian society. While the opening offers the usual disclaimer (fictional story bla bla) the end draws clear parallels to reality. And what the characters in the film think and say reflects what young Indians actually do think and say. This is not Bollywood fantasy land, running around trees and you know the drill. It's nonetheless a genuine Bollywood film. Just a far better one than the usual kind. Good performance from an ensemble cast all around, no superstar shenanigans, catchy music, an inventive visual style, technically sound execution and a quite realistic script make this one a winner not to be missed. Go see it on the big screen.
Parineeta is one of the best Bollywood films this year. The story is nothing new with its familiar basic building blocks centering around such melodramatic stock items as a father-son-conflict, a greedy bad guy trying to lay his hands on what is not his and one of these contrived misunderstandings with final twist involving a badly suffering heroine and her out of line and abusive lover. Sounds familiar? Sure, it's in every other Bollywood film. The reason that Parineeta is nonetheless one of the finest Hindi films in 2005 is the execution which is most of the time very tasteful and does not resort to the formula masala shenanigans (over the top humor, fights, sound effects etc.) that may please the masses but are poison to any serious work of cinema. The cast is very good. Newcomer Vidya Balan is a discovery and Saif Ali Khan competent. Technical standards are high. The occasional slip such as the piano playing scene(s) (Khan is faking unconvincingly when in the picture while a professional's hands and arms during close-ups are correct and obviously someone else's) can not change the overall verdict: very good. The DVD is a technical milestone for Bollywood with its (almost) flawless picture quality and a DTS track. Well done. Stay away from rip off pirate discs! The original deserves to be purchased.
There is hardly a shot in this film that lasts longer than 2 seconds. MTV style plus plus. A formal choice made to stress the hectic and crazy world of tabloid journalism. The cast is good, but when people get so much visually fragmented and reduced to mere short visual and aural stimuli it's difficult to care at all for them. Foul language is omnipresent and the ending is ludicrous. At least some of the film is funny as absurd headlines for tomorrow's edition of the "Rag" are discussed and a battle for power and control between the chief editor and management breaks out. A big headache is more likely what you take home from this experience than insight, concernment or merely a good time. Textbook example of style over substance.
This is a disturbing and powerful first film from a woman director who did no other films before that and went to no film school. You can't tell from the film. It looks like the work of an experienced professional who knows exactly how to direct the cast and use the language of film to get the desired effects. Two teenage boys meet and strike up a friendship in a short time. They are caught stealing in a supermarket by an employee, a young woman. They are thrown out by her. They follow her home... In no time the boys and we, the audience, enter another world as Jeffrey does in "Blue Velvet". A disturbing world of the human mind where the lines between victim and perpetrator, right and wrong, the normal and the abnormal start to dissolve. The film is deeply disturbing because it goes to extremes, but stays believable, even plausible till the end. The cast is excellent throughout. No doubt this film will be controversial which might cost it the main prize here at Locarno. But on day one we have already seen what might be the most important film in the competition this year.
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