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Mischief Night (2013)
A Very Weak Endeavor at Being Scary With a Painfully Derivative Script
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 1.5/5 stars
A mediocre, run-of-the-mill horror film, with a done-to-death plot, flimsy back-story, and completely derivative scare elements, which we can now conjure up ourselves even in a state of slumber.
This weak endeavor at chilling our senses might have encountered some moderate success 10 to 15 years ago, but now with the gargantuan influx of myriad horror films that have flooded our cinema halls and DVD shelves, such a derivative film must at least be treated uniquely and the characters need to be given some depth to make it enjoyable for the viewers.
A Nonsensical Farce
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK)
Rating: 2/5 stars
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is back to his pretentious, self-indulgent, pseudo-psychological best. Deepika as usual tries her level best but just about passes muster. What does the make the movie bearable to a certain extent are Supriya Pathak's and Ranveer Singh's sterling, rustic, Gujrati turnovers. Supriya Pathak gives ample proof why she's one of our industry's most underutilized prized performers.
While Ranveer Singh displays oodles of unbridled confidence, silken chutzpah, inescapable charm, relatable earnestness, and raw emotions to convince us beyond doubt that here's a thoroughbred leading man come to entertain us for a long, long time. Unfortunately, "Ramleela" is a classic case of two superlative acts trapped in a very mediocre film.
A Gut-Wrenching, Emotional, Unpredictable Thriller
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 4.1/5 stars
An edge-of-the-seat thriller in the truest sense of the term. You'll keep guessing right till the end and will never be able to see the shocking plot twists coming. Credit needs to be bestowed upon the Director and script writer. Supplementing their vision to great effect are the superlative skills amply displayed by the editor and cinematographer. What we get is a tense, somber, atmosphere with palpable tension and despair.
And finally down to the performances. "Prisoners" boasts of an ensemble cast and boy do they deliver the goods. Viola Davis and Terrence Howard bring a sense of grit and fortitude to the hopelessness they face in their concise roles, while Maria Bello is a picture of grief in her limited screen time. Paul Dano is a past master at playing complex characters and he pulls of yet another winner. Melissa Leo was all but unrecognizable until you realize it was her once the credits start rolling. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a sound and assured performance meriting an Oscar nomination in the supporting category.
But it's Hugh Jackman who acts the hell out of his portrayal of a desperate father driven to a frantic edge. It is without question the best performance of his career and so far the performance of the year too. I think the best accolade that can be give to this fine actor is that his act in "Prisoners" literally makes us forget his iconic role of "Wolverine" in the "X-Men" series and spin-offs.
Along with being a nail-biting ride from start to finish, "Prisoners" also succeeds in being an emotional roller-coaster and even involves the viewers by making us relate to the moral ambiguity of the protagonists, and the lengths to which they are willing to go to save a loved one.
A Flawed Visual Extravaganza
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 2.5/5 stars
All hoopla and no real steam. Don't care who found it astounding, or spellbinding, or whatever superlatives are being used to describe this over-indulgent soporific mess of a sci-fi drama. Now the film isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, It's just not as great as it's being made out to be, and that's what peeves me.
In fact, after ages I actually felt like walking out of the cinema hall midway, and I usually don't do that for even worse movies than this. The reason being, that this movie is, plain and simple, boooooorrrrring as hell. The biggest drawback of this film is that it becomes all to predictable and static after a certain point, and that point arrives all too soon.
If it wasn't for Sandra Bullock and her amazing performance, which somehow managed to salvage the disintegrating remains of "Gravity", I actually might have walked out on the movie. Sandra Bullock is the life and soul of "Gravity", and along with the stunning visuals, the only good thing in the entire movie. George Clooney also manages to get your attention in his surprisingly brief appearance.
The visuals, while exemplary, are not worth your time and effort to sit through the lethargic proceedings. So if you do wish to catch "Gravity" just because it's being pushed down our throats as something so cool, and contemporary, and the biggest spectacle since "Avatar" (an infinitely superior film), then watch it for Bullock's performance and her performance alone. Sadly, even her mesmerizing and captivating act cannot make us care in the end if her character actually manages to survive the ordeal or not, only because of the painful ordeal the film itself inflicts upon us.
A Decent Akshay Kumar Entertainer
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 3/5 stars
Harmless fun. Thankfully the fun is not numbed down by being all too brainless - just the sporadic instance here and there, mostly interspersed within the action scenes. Akshay Kumar enjoys himself in a role he can sleep through and he succeeds in involving the audience in his revelry. We even get to see him doing some real action and stunts after a long time.
Shiv Pandit just passes muster, while Aditi Rao Hydari literally has nothing to do. Sadly Mithun forgot his acting chops at home, and Danny's acting chops are criminally underutilized. But above all, the real scene stealer from the very first frame he enters till the last is Ronit Roy, who essays his first complete negative role with sublime malevolence.
The Family (2013)
Dark Humor at its Finest
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 3.8/5 stars
A terrific crime comedy in the league of such classics as "Fargo", "The Big Lebowski", "True Romance", and "Delhi Belly", among others. "The Family" is about a New York mobster who's family goes into hiding when he chooses to testify against his former associates. However, because of their actions in the French Riviera they are now being relocated to Normandy as they can't stop being "in the game". It seems that the Giovanni Manzoni (De Niro) has turned on his "mob family" and so his real family is now in the Witness Protection Program and is being guarded by Robert Stansfield (Jones) and two of his agents. Between Giovanni wanting to be a writer and starting his novel about his life to his wife Maggie and his kids Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo) they can't seem to stay out of trouble and stop drawing attention to themselves.
Director Luc Besson, maintains a steady equilibrium between the gritty, gory, violence and the caustic, black-humored dialogues. Robert De Niro is in familiar territory and brings out his A-game as a leading man after ages. Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones are reliable as ever, and even Dianna Agron and John D'Leo, who essay the roles of De Niro's kids, do a fine job. This R-rated gangster mayhem is ridiculous fun and provides an extremely entertaining ride.
A Heartfelt Documentary That Leaves an Indelible Mark on Your Psyche
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 5/5 stars
Anybody who loves animals, or even cares for them moderately, or even those who just have a shred of humanity in them, simply have to watch the documentary film - "Blackfish" - that released a few months ago.
You'll be disgusted at the heinous acts perpetrated on the innocent, sentient, and supremely intelligent whales by the most ruthless creature to ever walk this planet - "Man"! It's an emotional, sad journey, which is sure to make a morally conscious person question the sanctity of the human race, and perhaps be appalled at the absolute apathy and callousness with which so many humans lead their lives.
One last thing, whatever you do, if you ever visit America, or plan to settle there, or are currently residing in the country; please never buy a ticket to that despicable cesspool masquerading as an aquatic themed marine-entertainment park - "Sea World".
The Flash and His Buddies in All Their Glory
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK)
Rating: 3.8/5 stars
DC and Warner Bros. seem to make much better animated direct-to-home videos than they do full-length feature films (with the rare exception of the "Batman" films). Another grand entry in the legacy of DC home videos and a treat for all the DC superhero fans that is sure to resonate across diverse age groups.
With the plot particularly emphasizing on "The Flash" as the central character of how the story unfolds, this one promises to be a special treat for fans of the red-suited speedster like me; who've only ever been treated once before (a riveting T.V. show back in 1990) to a worthy visual medium of the fastest man ever.
Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (2013)
If Rajkumar Santoshi Doesn't Make a Great Film He at Least Makes a Decent Film
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 3.1/5 stars
Partly funny, somewhat emotional, intermittent witty dialogues, a couple of peppy songs, and sporadically wonderful scenes. Therein lies the inherent problem of "Phata Poster Nikla Hero" - it might entertain you throughout, but it never comes together as a wholly cohesive unit. Though it is better than most other mediocre Bollywood films this year, it never comes close to scaling the heights of Mr. Santoshi's erstwhile laugh riots - "Andaz Apna Apna" and "Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani".
Lastly a word must be put in about Shahid Kapoor's, who surely surprises many with his performance. He's in full flow and in complete control of his act, displaying his entire range from comedy, to emotions, to conventional Bollywood hero. After ages, he successfully carries an entire film on his shoulders, albeit with some help from Padmini Kolhapure (great to see her talent on display after so long), Darshan Zariwala, Sanjay Mishra, Saurabh Shukla, and Zakir Hussain. Ileana D'cruz is a total let-down.
Krrish 3 (2013)
Finally We Get Our Own Superhero and Boy He's Awesome
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK) Rating: 3.9/5 stars
Bollywood's first really good superhero film. Admittedly more than a few of its characters are inspired or amalgamated from their Hollywood counterparts, but they have been portrayed in a way that ultimately makes us warm up to their home-bred avatars. And truth be told, even though it mightn't be in the league of "The Avengers", "The Dark Knight Trilogy", most of the "X-Men" films, "Thor 1 and 2", or the first two "Iron Man" movies, it's still way better than overblown, mind-numbing CGI turds such as "Iron Man 3", "Captain America", or "Green Lantern".
The VFX are totally indigenous and a landmark for Indian cinema. Hrithik, Vivek, and Kangana pack a real wallop with their characters and Roshan Sr. has meticulously carved their story arcs. Priyanka, like in most of her movies, goes overboard with her sometimes helpless, sometimes confident act. Many of the action scenes stay with you long after you've exited the movie hall, and the climax, especially, is something to be marveled at.
If you can just tune off your senses during the the unnecessary and corny songs, (there are only about three of them) then you'll definitely be entertained to the highest levels by the plot, drama, and mind- blowing action of "Krrish 3". Ultimately, it's a movie that effectively conveys and permeates a overall aura of good triumphing over evil in the end, no matter what the odds. You'll end up leaving the theater with a loft, pepped-up, inspirational, and just a good feeling all round.
Watch our first, very own, superhero for what it show itself to be - try not to unduly and unfairly draw comparison with it and some superior Hollywood fare - and you'll end up warming up to what might be India's initiation into its first, bonafide superhero franchise.