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Krrish 3 (2013)
18 out of 58 people found the following review useful:
Best visuals in Bollywood history, 1 November 2013

Creating a world of superheroes on screen isn't a cakewalk. And, the exercise turns immensely trickier when there's no comic history to fall back on.

Clearly, those challenges are quite visible in director Rakesh Roshan's third installment – 'Krrish3'. He has, however, obediently stuck to the fundamentals of spinning a superhero movie that centres on the battle of the good versus the bad, but it's his decision to limit the visual effects that makes his effort rather unimaginative.

The script has all the elements an exciting superhero film must have. A vulnerable masked crusader, a malevolent super villain, who's as far away from redemption as heaven is from hell. A revenge story. And the ultimate battle – the triumph of good over evil (wait for the climax!). The best part? It isn't an all-indulgent film that focuses only on the greatness of Krrish. Sure, there are scenes that display his absolute power and goodness but hey, what the hell, aren't these what we all really crave to see in this kind of a film? While the first half is mainly to establish the characters, it's the second half that holds your attention till the last frame. Considering 75% of the film has VFX, the graphics seem a bit sketchy in a few initial scenes. But where it matters the most, like the climax, its bang on!

Among the songs, Dil tu hi bata is definitely the pick of the lot. Coming to the star cast, this is Hrithik Roshan's film all the way. He dons the roles of Rohit, Krrish and Krishna with ease. His performance evokes all the right emotions. You love him as Rohit, you desire him as the doting husband Krishna and you want to see him triumphant as Krrish. HR is India's only superhero. Period.

But it must be said that Vivek Oberoi lends ample and more support to HR. If HR is a superhero, VO is the perfect super villain. It is a towering performance. From his menacing entry right up to the end. The leading ladies have equally fleshed out parts. While Priyanka Chopra is good as the love of Krrish's life, it's Kangana Ranaut who stands out. Besides looking her part, stunning and sexy, she's also managed to work on her diction and speech problems. You will see a new and improved Kangana in this film.

Hats off to Rakesh Roshan for dreaming big and actually pulling off this risky proposition. Krrish 3 is spectacular, blockbuster entertainment. The scenes that are heavily inspired from hit Hollywood superhero franchises notwithstanding.

For sheer vision, bravado and superlative execution, this one soars to new orbits. Latch on to this cape for an exhilarating ride.

Note: You might not like this film if sci-fi, fantasy films are not your scene.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A disaster, 15 August 2013

Why is The Lone Ranger such a huge flop at the box-office? According to the Ranger code: "Never Ask a Question You Already Know the Answer To." And the answer is really that obvious. Because the movie sucks, that's why.

Your expectations of how bad The Lone Ranger is can't trump the reality. The wild, wild West is actually more of a thundering bore than it was in 1999's Will Smith fiasco, Wild Wild West. The sad part is that it takes down what could have been its saving grace – a subversively funny Johnny Depp who plays Tonto, the Ranger's Indian sidekick turned mentor, as a means to explode every cliché of the American Indian ever cooked up by racist, "me scalp-em-white man" Hollywood.

Unfortunately, this two-and-a-half hour obstacle course of cinematic horse turds resists redemption even from Depp. Harsh critics insist it's the film's tonal shifts that destroy it. Ha! Can you imagine a group of nine-year-olds bitching about "tonal shifts"? The fatal flaw in Jerry Bruckheimer's monumentally monotonous production is that it forgets it's duty to entertain. Director Gore Verbinski, working from a DOA script by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio and Justin Haythe, keeps trying to show how much smarter he is than a filmmaker who would simply wallow in tradition. He and Depp did a better job of that in the animated Rango. Here they're just putting Pirates of the Caribbean in a saddle and pretending we won't notice. Burn.

There's a big action scene involving a train. Then another one. Then a ton more of exposition, about how Tonto and the masked man buddy up. But, in truth, they hardly do. Hammer and Depp never develop a rapport. This is Tonto's show. But when you've seen one scene of a Native American conning a dumb white dude, you've seen them all. When the rousing William Tell Overture (the Lone Ranger theme on radio and TV) finally thunders on the soundtrack, you're too pummeled to care. Captain Jack Sparrow would have swanned away from this dullness the first chance he got. But Tonto, the noble savage, has to stay and represent. Don't make the same mistake.

A Farhan show, 19 July 2013

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's film is a tribute to the legendary sportsman. After having made films like 'Aks', 'Rang De Basanti, 'Delhi 6', Mehra succeeds in pulling off BMB; a feat that speaks volumes about his passion for the subject. Not that the film doesn't have any drawback. But it surely leaves you with feelings that you may not be able to describe in words.

Farhan Akhtar as Milkha is an absolute treat to watch. None could have reprised the role of the athlete but him. Sonam, though has very little screen time, does her bit quite well. But the actors who add colour to the film are- Pawan Malhotra, Prakash Raj and Yograj Singh. They have pulled off stunning performances worth loud applause. The film on the whole is entertaining but has certain glitches that could have been avoided. Had the run time been a little shorter, perhaps it would have been a lot better. Prasoon Joshi weaves the story with various emotions. But the one that stands out is Milkha's love for his country- India. The music by Shankar-Ehasaan-Loy is like breathe of fresh air, but Mehra could have avoided lip-syncing songs.

A handful of films sprint that extra mile beyond providing meagre entertainment to its spectators. BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG is one such cinematic experience. However, director Mehra and writer Prasoon Joshi encompass pertinent episodes/chapters from the icon's life and create a film that makes you salute the sports person, besides evoking the spirit of nationalism in the spectator.

"Fringe" (2008)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Ingenious, 16 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I missed the first few episodes of Fringe when it launched five years ago, but it didn't take long for me to find out about it and get caught up in it. The premise, of an FBI agent (Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham) assigned to investigate paranormal incidents with a team of civilian scientists, had a lot of potential. It bore some surface similarity to The X-Files in its concept, but the execution was different, because Fringe made no bones about what was going on. If there was a cover-up, the Fringe team wasn't in the group being kept out of the loop. In The X-Files, "the truth (was)out there". In Fringe, the truth was right there, and probably trying to gnaw your face off.

It made for an exciting and intelligent show. In the first season, it mostly kept to a "monster of the week" format, where the Fringe team would investigate a different threat each time, all of them apparently unrelated. But even then there were hints that there was something underneath it all, as too many of the cases seemed related to Walter Bishop's earlier research projects. It's a quandary that a lot of shows, particularly genre shows, have to face: the question of whether to stay as a "threat of the week" show, or to start adding a "myth arc", where an overriding plot line starts shaping the seasons. The former means that viewers won't get lost, and it's possible to maintain the same level of quality — a bad storyline will only ruin one episode instead of a whole season. But it's hard to maintain viewer interest without the ongoing story arc, and Fringe, as with most sci-fi shows, started introducing arcs with the second season. This initially took the form of the threats unleashed by David Robert Jones, and his mysterious agenda regarding otherworldly invaders, but was eventually sidelined by the alternate universe.

If there was a point where the series stumbled a bit, it was in the fourth season. It felt as if the writers had painted themselves into a corner with the alternate universe, and wanted to hit the reset button in a lot of ways. They altered the time line, brought back David Robert Jones (Jared Harris), and even revisited a lot of the plots from the earlier seasons. While it was still interesting, it couldn't escape the feeling of familiarity. But perhaps most importantly, while the season was still fun and interesting, it felt separate from all the previous seasons. The first four seasons sometimes went in different directions, but they felt like the same show; season five felt more like a sequel series, the same characters in a new show. This is not to say that it was bad; just that it didn't feel quite like Fringe any more.

After five seasons, it was probably time for Fringe to go. But I'm going to miss the intelligent writing, and the numerous respectful nods to science fiction and fantasy greats; I remember one of the first ones I caught being when they referred to "the Zelazny building". I'm going to miss the creative and downright freaky ideas the writers came up with for fringe events. And I'm going to miss watching a character as fun and fascinating as Walter Bishop.

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Two thousand five hundred tons of awesome, 13 July 2013

Just by seeing the trailer of the movie Pacific Rim, one must have anticipated a lot of great action. Such giant robots have never been seen and the best thing is that it has been directed by Guillermo del Toro who is phenomenal when it comes to visual effects. The first look of Kaiju, the monster will let you know that your decision of watching it in a theatre is nowhere wrong. Two thousand five hundred tons? Well, it looks like that and when it roars you know it is an enormously giant monster. So is the impression hen these monsters fight and make global destruction.

To fight them, we have equally giant and titanic proportioned robots in Pacific Rim movie. The metallic skyscrapers makes us believe they can definitely fight with equal ferocity and kill the monsters. The best thing is that much effort has gone to make the audience feel the enormity and gigantic size and density of these robots. It is done marvellously and one may feel it as they move slowly and ominously conveying their enormous power.

Talking about the cast of Pacific Rim, Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket is really good in his character. The entire movie is crafted out in a manner that it is his story on an entirety. Idris Elba as the Marshal Pentecost is believable in his performance. The motivational speech he gives in the movie to his troops is really well delivered as well. Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori plays the new partner of Raleigh. With the looks she has been given, she personifies Anime and it was well enacted by her. There is a plenty of other supporting cast and mostly everyone has given a decent performance.

Overall, Pacific Rim is no doubt clichéd. The script is not remarkable but it is the direction of Guillermo del Toro that makes it special. For obvious reasons, no one will want to skip this movie or keep it for later stages home viewing. Thus there is no reason you are missing such an enormous violence on screen.

Another thing is that Pacific Rim offers a big relief from what the Transformer series have become lately. We seriously hope they do not end up making never ending installments for this movie as well. It is better off with just one installment only. The movie is stunning visually no doubt and that is why it is a must watch. Also, leave your brains outside of the theatre and go in just to visualize some impossibly sized monsters fighting ruthlessly and doing global destruction.

Guillermo del Toro has definitely achieved that much in Pacific Rim movie. You will not get bored in the 131 min runtime and it will keep you thrilled till the end.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Now, that is called 'brilliance', 4 July 2013

Laced with massive heists, prestidigitation, and a stellar cast, "Now You See Me" is a must-see this summer. Be sure to "look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see".

The film as a whole was generally satisfying. The casting was absolutely wonderful; I wouldn't have changed a thing. They all brought something to the film, and didn't take away from the storyline. The cinematography was very effective. Like watching a magic trick live, your attention was brought to various places. As soon as you thought you caught up and were one step ahead of the supposed con artist, they were really three ahead of you. "How did he do that?" was a constant thought throughout various scenes for me. Although camera angles were constantly changing and some may argue it can distract from what is really happening, in this type of film it was very effective.

Although the ending to the movie was slightly predictable, the moments leading up to it on the silver screen were impressive. The special effects were fabulous. The action going on keeps the audience on their seats, and whenever the characters would explain what really happened as far as certain tricks go, a wave of "oooooh! I get it!" washed over the theatre. Anyone who enjoys the "Ocean's" movies or "The Prestige" would enjoy this flick.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A gauntlet-clad fist of a movie, 4 July 2013

About 10 minutes into "Man of Steel" I've pretty much forgotten that this is a Superman movie. Instead I'm completely enthralled by Russel Crowe's Jor-El and his fight to save his planet, which ultimately becomes his fight to save his son's future. Part origin story and part continuation of the mythology, it's a smartly structured blend of Superman and Superman II that flashes to Kal's childhood, filling us in on adoptive parents, the Kents who bring him up as Clark. It's this that gives the film a real emotional depth, as Clark struggles with who he is, coming to terms with his powers in a film about choices and decisions on a massive scale.

Steeped in the classic Superman iconography and acknowledging but not overplaying Kal-El's status as a god among men, Man of Steel is respectful to its cinematic predecessors without the need for the suffocating reverence that blighted Superman Returns. A properly menacing Shannon facing off against the perfectly cast Cavill is the backbone of a rousing adventure, while Amy Adams adds layers of strength and intelligence as Lois Lane.

The action is truly cataclysmic, fully recognising the fact that these are near indestructible super-beings fighting, so when they hit each other, they stay hit, and entire cities crumble in their wake. It's stunning stuff, with director Zack Snyder gleefully taking advantage of the $200m worth of resources available to him as all memories of the disappointing Returns are wiped clean, and the best Superman movie since the first one in 1978 reaches the stratosphere.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
An epic exploring a fascinating and profound concept, 22 April 2013

In The Place Beyond the Pines, Cianfrance is painting with the same emotional palate as 'Blue Valentine', but on a much larger canvas. Running almost two and a half hours, Pines is a melodrama, multi-generational epic, heist film, and motorcycle-fetish movie all rolled into one. Arguably, it's a bit overambitious, but good God, look at Gosling! He doesn't sing. He doesn't need to. He is a ripped, inked, peroxided carny-cum-bandit, the erstwhile front-man of "Handsome Luke and the Heartthrobs," a travelling troupe of motorcycle acrobats who ride crisscross and upside down in a metal cage called the "Globe of Death." Cianfrance has described Luke as the kind of guy the Shangri-Las used to sing about, and indeed, he radiates tragic gutter glory. In a series of spectacular single-take chase scenes, the film follows Luke's descent. The deeper he goes, the more we mourn the "Leader of the Pack." Be warned that all the action and excitement (i.e., all the Gosling) is front-loaded. Pines develops as a triptych, and its tonal shifts are sometimes disorienting. In part one, Luke learns that his last fling in Schenectady has led to the birth of a son by Romina (Mendes). He quits the carnival in an effort to woo her, and when that doesn't work, he starts robbing banks. With his lovelorn gaze and ill-gotten cash, he comes close to winning her back, but then he gets cocky and bungles a stickup – crossing paths with an ambitious rookie cop, Avery (Cooper), who's the subject of the film's second story.

Without giving too much away, Luke and Avery are mirrored souls (in close-up, Cooper and Gosling look surprisingly alike) celebrated for their courage but beset with secret cowardice. Both feel guilty for their failures as fathers and sons, and both try to correct bad mistakes with worse ones, setting in motion unintended consequences for the next generation. (Dads just can't win in Cianfrance's movies.) Part three leaps forward 15 years to find their teenage sons in a star-crossed showdown.

If Valentine's fractured, nonlinear narrative helped obscure a thin plot, Pines' straightforward chronological march seems to emphasise the same problem. Perhaps Pines would work better as a cable series; I wanted to spend more time riding around Schenectady with Luke and Avery, just watching their day-to-day activities. With so many people and ideas flying around (and the fussy imperative of having to actually end the story), the contrivances start piling up. Yet these flaws seem like mere stumbling blocks for this emerging auteur. The film is so velvety textured and dreamy, I would've stuck around for more. That is Cianfrance's special talent.

Oblivion (2013/I)
7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A Sci-Fi seldom feels this good..., 17 April 2013

Kosinski's directorial work on 'TRON: Legacy' was rapturously received, and earned him considerable attention for his distinctive visual style. He is a student of the films of directors like Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick, especially when it comes to their science fiction work, and while 'TRON' showed him stretching his legs, 'Oblivion' sees him working on his own terms and sprinting forward. Simply put, 'Oblivion' is a visually breathtaking, one of the most beautifully directed science fiction films in years. Kosinski's vision of post-apocalyptic earth is both very familiar and incredibly distinctive, with sweeping deserts and dunes covering the decayed and destroyed remnants of familiar monuments, gorges and rivers where cities used to be, and a planet completely at the mercy of untameable weather. If 'Oblivion' has a protagonist, I'd dare say it is the earth itself, with Jack placed as a tiny, almost insignificant figure against his environment. Just as impressive are the designs for Jack and Victoria's futuristic tower base, slick, clean, modern and highly reflective, and completely at contrast with the nightmare of nature around it. Kosinski and cinematographer Claudio Miranda approach these rich environments with sweeping, epic photography that uses every inch of the widescreen image. The film has a grace and fluidity to its rhythm, a level of elegance that was once commonplace in the science fiction of the 60s and 70s, but now lost under the explosions and monsters of today. Adding to that strangeness and grandeur is the highly anticipated score from Anthony Gonzalez and his French electronic band M83. In a similar approach to that of Daft Punk and their magnificent score for 'TRON: Legacy', their score lends the film an otherworldly quality, distinct but intrinsically cinematic at the same time. Once again, one of the most interesting film scores of recent times has come from outside of the filmmaking world.

Visuals are all well and good, but 'Oblivion' could never work on images alone. Thankfully, its narrative drive and science fiction concepts are just as arresting and fascinating. Kosinski and Karl Gajdusek's screenplay, based on the comic book also written by the director, is a strange mix of incredibly familiar and wholly original. Most of the concepts in the film have been done before, and often in major films. Very few ideas are truly original, but what makes 'Oblivion' work on its own terms is the manner in which they are executed and weaved together. To say any more would be to ruin many of the surprises, but there's a real sense of legacy with this film, that it understands its place in its genre and the footsteps it is following in. It isn't an act of homage, rather an acknowledgement of what has come before, and how those ideas can continue to be developed and explored.

While the prospect of a film starring Tom Cruise seems to turn a lot of people off (I'm still not entirely sure why...), rest assured that Cruise delivers a fantastic and intelligent performance as Jack, a pared-down version of the action hero we've come to expect from him. Cruise has always delivered better performances when working with directors he trusts, and that is clearly the case here. He knows that the film itself is bigger than him, and the successful execution of the film is paramount to him. It's great to see him at such ease on screen again, but with obvious passion and commitment to his work. Just as wonderful is Andrea Riseborough as Victoria. She strikes the perfect balance of a woman both soft and gentle, and carved from ice; the camera absolutely adores her. Olga Kurylenko isn't far behind. While her performance isn't as confident as Riseborough's, she matches the style of Konisnki's vision perfectly, and provides the right amount of enigma to drive the film forward. Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo round off the cast with small but memorable, and very unusual, performances. Each actor is aware that they are part of something much bigger - a giant cinematic panorama - and it is thrilling to see them fit themselves into it with such trust and confidence.

The more major studios trust in these new distinct voices, the more exciting a place the cinema will become. 'Oblivion' is a stunning return to a memorable era of science fiction, as well as something original and distinct in its own right. Joseph Kosinski has proved himself even further with this second feature, and I can only wait in anticipation for what he will do next. Films like 'Oblivion' are a welcome reminder of how powerfully visual cinema is, how it can take you places and give you experiences no other medium can. Find it on as big a screen as you can, sit back, and become lost in this extraordinary visual marvel.

3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Jessica Chastain shines in a nail-biting thriller, 13 January 2013

With "Zero Dark Thirty," Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") gives us an up-close and personal look at the "the greatest manhunt in history" and the result is a cold, calculated film effortlessly mining the dark world of terror. While the film may not be the best of the year, its true winner is Jessica Chastain's knock-out, Oscar-worthy performance.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is a taut, sometimes menacing thriller, but with an almost three-hour runtime, it is a slow burning movie. The film opens with controversial torture scenes then plods along with interrogation after interrogation until the team discovers the identity of Osama bin Laden's most-trusted courier. Until that time, the film is stagnant, but once it takes flight "Zero Dark Thirty" is a nail-biter all the way to the final raid on Bin Laden's compound.

While the torture scenes and the SEALS raid bookend the film, it is Chastain's mesmerizing performance that is most memorable. Chastain is brilliant showing us the dramatic change of character over a ten year period. The majority of the dialogue in "Zero Dark" is unemotional, centered around data, field-talk and speculation, but Chastain shows all the inner conflict in her tired, exhausted eyes.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is often like a cinematic history textbook as it takes us through some of the past decade's most horrific moments, from the 2005 London bombings to the 2008 attack on the Islamabad Marriot. Each incident propels Maya further down the rabbit hole, increasing her obsession and isolating her within her own department.

But Bigelow's film-making chops are best shown during the action scenes. The Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden's compound really is an incredible piece of cinema.

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