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588 reviews in total 
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"Yudh" (2014)
9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Interesting. ♦ 60%, 15 July 2014

That is the only single word I can relate the show with, as of now. The pilot seemed to understate what it has in store by revealing very little. Although, Yudh looks sensible and more like a solution finder (or at least promises to be) for India's greatest real-time problem, "graft."

Yudhisthir Skarwar (Bachchan) is a diseased, righteous and honest man, yet his reputation precedes him among the bureaucrats and city-runners. His familial life is also not pleasant. The righteous attitude of his plays against him as he plans to shift to mining business, which is marred with the g-word. The storytelling is fine, but I am still not satisfied with the editing and this is not in comparison with international TV shows. I was expecting a polished start (last we saw in Anil Kapoor's 24; it wasn't perfect but superior), since we have Anurag Kashyap and others in the creative team. Also, the sound mixing and editing sucked big time. I couldn't hear a single word Bachchan was pronouncing. It wasn't my TV set, I am sure because others did fine.

Also, the sequences were not completely credible for a pilot. The first episode has to cause an intrigue and Yudh disappoints there. But we cannot decipher anything before we see 2-4 more episodes. If it enhances, I'll update this review. If not, Yudh is just a pretentious potboiler, existing to rake in moolah from Bachchan's first time TV appearance, further energized by his matchless fame.

BOTTOM LINE: Have a look for few episodes and if it continues to follow pretence, skipping won't be harmful.

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES

9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
The Most Ridiculous Plot Of 2014. ♦ 27%, 11 July 2014

If you have watched DDLJ, then do not even bother considering this potboiler. It looks like it is ripped-off from DDLJ, but mind you, it is an awful rip-off.

The story makes no sense at all, where characters come, make their point and dash off with the speed of light. An engaged girl falls in love with a boy who knows about her engagement. Still cajoles her and purportedly makes her fall in love. The father of the girl then puts up a competition between the boy and her fiancé. I know this sounds uncanny and we last saw it in Heropanti. I have no love for people who base their film on such hackneyed plot.

The performances are fine: Bhatt's cuteness may charm you, Dhawan's slapstick is fine but he seems to have jumped out of the nearby Main Tera Hero sets. It was real pleasure to watch Ashutosh Rana again after a long time, but then he too succumbs to the director's sloppy skills.

If you try to make sense of the film, then you will involuntarily commit suicide inside the theater. The main problem with the film is that characters appear when the director asks them to. It is easily predictable what the climax would be, so it cannot be termed a spoiler alert if I say that the fiancé is nowhere in picture in the climax. And then there are unbearable songs (what, 5?) stuffed between the rather narrow storyline.

The film actually is a money-generating strategy by the producers. Bhatt & Dhawan are youth icons, so the youth may have a look, curious of the songs and the rom-com genre. I wonder why Yo Yo Honey Sing was not roped in for the music; the makers may have earned a crore or two more. It also makes potshots at Punjabi community, homosexuals, NRIs, et cetera.

BOTTOM LINE: I might have chuckled few times but that's all. If you skip this film, you will not lose anything. Rather, use your 140 minutes in doing something productive.

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES

The Raid 2 (2014)
1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Action? Check. Crime? Check. Boredom? Check. ♦ 61%, 9 July 2014

I have never been so eager for a sequel.

It starts off brilliantly and I can still experience vibrations in my ear, after watching the 150-minute long bang bang. The story resumes from where it left off and hits a point where the plot stops to make sense. Questions come to your mind like the bodies pile up in the fine screenplay. The cinematography will keep you at the edge of your seat and martial arts will again make you fidget. The mixture of the police and gang worlds and the corruption involved in them is the crux of the plot, which failed to make a punch, in my opinion.

The narration is a bit faulty leading to the climax, which is open to many interpretations. The rendition and execution is better than the prequel. Gareth Evans seems to be a perfectionist because in departments of art, CGI, SFX, VFX, costumes and style, this film gets 10/10.

I tried hard to derive pleasure from watching it but in fact, found myself in a state of ennui-driven stagnancy. At the end, I felt an unease stroke of pain in my mind, caused by calculating the happenings in the film.

BOTTOM LINE: You are bound to enjoy it for it is high on action and crime and suspense. But, the greatest action movie ever made? No, that requires a credible and fathomable story. Die Hard has it. The Raid 2 doesn't. Watchable!

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO

Violence/Gore: Infinite | Smoking/Alcohol: Strong | Vulgarity/Nudity: Mediocre

Thanks Maa (2009)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Okay, It Speaks Volumes. Period. ♦ 44%, 9 July 2014

I don't understand the fuss over this film. While it successfully conveys a social message about abandonment of infants by their imbecile producers, this is shoddy filmmaking under the disguise of art.

The worst thing about Thanks Maa is its uncensored & insensitive dialogs. You will find expletives in every other dialog and it plays against the movie-watching experience. Let me remind myself that I am not watching a documentary here. I understand authenticity but the plot often mixes authenticity with non-glamorous audacity and the latter is not what a film samples while touching a topic so raw. It is independent cinema at its vulnerability because the writing is pretty pure, directly coming off the streets of Mumbai.

You may relate with the outright, on-your-face themes, the story so honestly depends on but as a film, it lacks many a points like cinematography, direction and most essentially, the narration. While it manages to deduce elements out of multiple themes (abortion, orphanage, humans in denial, Samaritan-ism, insensitivity, etc..), the cohesion is ineffective. And I see no reason why Indians, with their conservative attitude even when it comes to films, will want to see it.

BOTTOM LINE: The National Award was deserving but as it may seem, Thanks Maa is just a hyped up drama. Watch it if you love documentaries.

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO

Profanity: Very Critical | Vulgarity/Obscenity: Strong

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Entertainment. Entertainment. Illogical. ♦ 59%, 4 July 2014

The realization you gather that the whole film could've been done without the title character is ironical. But then the makers would have been jobless and also, the people behind other departments of this film wouldn't have got the opportunity to showcase their talents.

The film is built on a make-believe story: an aspiring female detective finds herself defying odds and in between a mystery where a rich boss hires her to find three specific people. The climax succeeds in disclosing this mystery but it is foolish enough for the audience to actually believe it; the story I mean. That is where Bobby Jasoos stumbles.

The first half is brilliant, funny and entertaining. It creates an aura as Bobby (Balan) spearheads her character with blink-and-you-miss multiple characters, donning various colorful costumes and masquerading as a beggar, astrologer, peon, what-not. It is evident that the film was written with Balan in mind. Rest of the cast are equally supportive of the narration. The screenplay is sweet: while the first one hour is used up to narrate the life of Bobby & her family and her acquaintances, the second half is averagely gripping. It never bores.

Art dept., costumes, make-up, locations & technical dept. all are top- notch. I couldn't bear the songs but they are negligible. There are at least 3 scenes that can be counted in some of the best films sequences in Bollywood this year.

BOTTOM LINE: I hate to sound equivocal. So, Bobby Jasoos is a definite recipe for entertainment, but falters when thinking movie-goers find and deride and ridicule and debate the pretentious story it so heavily depends on. Balan fans rejoice. Watchable!

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES

Law Point (2014)
Drama Founded On A Poor Premise. ♦ 44%, 3 July 2014

The film hardly has any relation with the subject of law, other than the first few minutes. It quickly jumps into a drama where a girl commits suicide after her boyfriend breaks up with her.

At least that's what the story talks about, initially. But then the plot advances to a merry-go-round and a load of twists start stumbling out of the premise. A con game is exposed where the lead character, a witty lawyer (Boban) is taken for a ride by a girl (Pramod). The first half is pretty boring: the rather serious lawyer is hobnobbing with a girl who is under depression. Then the second half attracts our attention, if at all you manage to sit through.

The twists hit us directly on our faces as the film turns into a thriller genre. Even though the premise and plot is illogical, it sorta entertains. The actors play fine, but I am tired of the montage and irritating background hymns. And at last, there is this homage to Indian cinema, yet the makers gave prominence to an American classic (Casablanca) in the end.

It is evident the makers did not put in enough imagination in the making and cook a story that is filled with clichés and boring sequences. The film's title could be rephrased as "Love Point," as the final recipe is about 2 love-birds who take full measures to stay in love.

BOTTOM LINE: Nothing much to gather here. If patience is one of your good quality, then have a look because it does has its moments. Otherwise, for people who think the film is about law and its practice, skip!

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES

Gangster (2014)
A Film With Exaggerated Use Of Special Effects. ♦ 30%, 2 July 2014

Maybe this is the first Malayalam film with heavy CGI and special effects that has the power to numb its viewers. It even samples animation at the start and end of the film, probably inspired by Tarantino's Kill Bill & Grand Theft Auto styling. For these, I give it 3/10. For the story, well, it sucks.

It is basically a revenge story set in the gangster world. While the over-styled characters move around in their palaces in slow-motion and trance background music, the writers fail to realize that the slow- motion scenes are playing against the film and in fact, dulling the whole premise. Had the plot been fast-forwarded to 2x, the film might have been better. The story is about some guy for whom I have no sympathy because he kills for a living. When another guy who snorts coke and bangs chicks in BDSM style for pleasure, introducing himself as a masochistic vagrant, comes to power through his godfather, he fights for prominence with our title character and all hell breaks loose.

The women in here are either sex dolls, pimps or soon-to-die wives. Mammootty is average although his English skills need to be tested. In fact, all the English dialog in the film seemed like they were being spoken by Desi amateurs. Sekhar Menon is fine but he was not vindictive enough; having a fat bod and bald mane doesn't count. Supporting cast is fine. While the direction is good, the screenplay is to be blamed. I don't know how I sat through the 2 hours of unenthuastic slowness; maybe it was the use of style and glamor, although I hate to admit that. Frankly, Gangster is high on elegance and null on intelligence/logic.

But, still I cannot tag it as a bad film because I got to appreciate the art department, the western vibes that are clear in every single frame of this new-gen flick that depends on an old formula. It is not appealing as a narrative, but for the sake of art, I give it a nod.

BOTTOM LINE: Screenplay, cinematography and editing are the culprits of this chic flick that unfortunately considers glitter as a celluloid factor and solely depends on it, resulting in a tasteless recipe. If you get hold of a DVD, seek through the plot-line.

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO

Profanity/Vulgarity: Mediocre | Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking: Strong

An Unappealing Narrative. ♦ 40%, 29 June 2014

Jayaram's last film I liked was Ginger, a lowbrow comedy. His other recent movies suck to the core because they all have this specific scent of foolishness in them. Onnum Mindathe is such film.

The movie is very slow and long. What could've been told in about 90 minutes is dragged and loosened to 145 minutes, numbing its niche audience to death. And not that it tells a different story. We last saw in Vedivazhipadu, how married men try to find sex outside their four- walled homes. This film uses a similar plot where Jose (Jayan), a womanizer cajoles family man Sachithanandan (Jayaram) in committing adultery. The highly irritating drama unfolds when wife Shyama (Jasmine) learns about his little escapade. Now, this happens only in the second half; the first half is terrible, showcasing the family life in a native setup.

Editing, as I have said, is bad. Direction and cinematography is fine. Performances are cringe-worthy. Jayaram acts like a fool, though his characterization is genuine. Jasmine is fine, Jayan acts like a 16-year old teenager. Few songs are thrown here and there, as the screenplay jumps from characters' homes to offices and offices to homes.

There is a valid continuity in the whole drama, yet the sequences reveal little as the plot moves ahead. After sitting through more than 2 hours, what we receive as climax is a predictable cliché.

BOTTOM LINE: An unappealing family drama. If you get hold of a DVD, skip through the film for it does has its moments. 4/10.

8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Brings Out The Villain In Its Audience. ♦ 28%, 27 June 2014

There are movies which do not have a story. Then there are movies which have a story, but are make-believe often depicting fabricated elements. Then there is this new, third type of movie in Bollywood that boasts off of a brilliant story but is actually just a gimmick. Ek Villain is one such movie.

Starting off with the irritating character of Shraddha Kapoor, the film talks about her childish escapades. She meets rowdy Guru (Malhotra), who kills for a living and they fall in love. Now, you have to wait for the gimmickry to enter the scene. Welcome Rakesh (Deshmukh), the only credible character in the film, who also kills out of exasperation. It is only destiny that these twain shall meet. But, unfortunately there's this Almighty element that the film deciphers: God is watching us and it is His work, that the plot of the film is so ridiculous. It also speaks of philosophy and a weeny bit of religious takes on life. I really don't care for such idiotic cinema and it makes me sad (after last week's Humshakals) that Bollywood is lagging behind.

The climax will finally succeed in bringing out the villain in you. It has all the backing of a thrilling revelation being introduced, but the audience already figure out what it is; the elements of surprise backfires. You will want to go to the projection room, find a screw-driver in the projector man's tool box and go on a rampage to find and at least threaten the makers to stop mixing romance & crime & thriller, resulting in an awful recipe.

Deshmukh is brilliant, Malhotra is fine, Kapoor still has to learn. Moreover, I hated her performance. Kamaal R Khan should have never been casted; he is another reason you will want to skip this. Supporting cast is nothing appreciable. Direction is bad (what can one expect from Suri?) and the screenplay adopts non-linearity but fails to form a crux out of it. As a result, the screenplay falters. The goofy sequences constitute more of dull ones than good ones to the ratio 70:30. So, there's only 30% of the whole film that you are bound to enjoy and that includes the unending stream of romantic songs and hymns.

BOTTOM LINE: Ek Villain is a gory musical and that is the worst combination a film can carry, to entertain. Avoidable!

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO

Violence: Strong | Gore: Strong

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Lesson In Film-Making. ♦ 84%, 27 June 2014

Martin Scorsese has always charmed with his style. Although his crime films are way too bland for me, his experimental works are in my favorites list.

Shutter Island is terrific: the story, the performances, the cast, the thrills and what-not. But I will focus on the two main aspects: music & cinematography. Every budding film-maker must go through this film first for the use of music here is what sets it apart from other films in the genre. I sat up on my chair every time Robbie Robertson sampled old classics in the score. The cinematography manages to capture out attention and throw it on screen. That was enough for me to be enthralled.

The photography is beautiful. Special nod for art department. The story is a bit complex and you might want to re-watch it to understand completely.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly Recommended!

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO

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