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24 reviews in total 
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Raincoat (2004)
A hugely depressing yet bittersweet experience which will haunt you with its tender beauty, 14 August 2016

I've just finished watching it and I don't think I've ever love-hated a movie more than this. I feel horribly depressed because of it. I feel like I need to reach out to someone, anyone, and give them a hug.

This is partly because the film is actually very painful and awkward to watch. It has this very wretched way of not showing what's actually going on but just shows the characters either being very emotional or very cryptic. Plus you get these fade to black transitions just when it looks like characters are about to open up to each other. The visuals are also intentionally depressing.

But it's all very well-crafted. And once you are prepared for the emotional tone of it, it is very rewarding to see the finer details in the acting and the story. And like similarly depressing yet cathartic films such as The Crow or The Road, this film makes you connect with the human beauty expressed within it such that it will haunt you with thoughts of what the characters are going through. This is no doubt thanks to the acting of one Aishwarya Rai, who is maybe at her career best here, portraying a living, breathing character like she's done never before or since. Ajay Devgan is good too, though the amount of restraint he imbued the character with is more infuriating rather than sympathetic, he almost comes across as the antagonist in this story. Something you might not agree with, but gives you something to think about as you come to terms with the story.

The rest of the cast is great too, bringing realism and gravity to the story and helping round out the main two.

In terms of being an emotionally wrenching experience, I'd put this film up there with Graveyard of the Fireflies. If you give it a try, you'll never forget this film and will feel an emotional wrenching wherever you remember it. This is art of the highest order.

EDIT: On further reflection I have to add that Ajay Devgan is actually also great in this movie. I found his character harder to appreciate because I wasn't prepared for it in the first viewing. As a fan of his work I was expecting him to play a more stoic, even aggressive character, so it was difficult for me to accept the more emotionally vulnerable character he was depicting so well in this film. I will have to make the time to watch this film again just to better appreciate the more delicate depth of it.

Predators (2010)
7 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Take away the mask of nostalgia, and you see this is an ugly mother-..., 13 July 2010

I just got out of seeing this and feel very disappointed. If this movie had come out a year or two after the original, then fans would be decrying it as a cheap, rushed sequel to cash in on the original. It's bewildering to see how they got the same result after all these years. The problem with it is it's too much of a sequel. If these were videogames, then this movie could be termed a mission pack DLC. It brings nothing new and the only way you could enjoy it is you want to feel nostalgic about the first movie while keeping your brain switched off. There's so much they could have done to make it a movie of the same level as the original, but whether out of reverence, or being chickenpoop, they've chosen to just rehash everything you've seen in the original Predator.

It's starts off very good and the characters are very well defined, with a solid cast. But they are not given enough to do, and only some sparse lines of camaraderie pass for character development and hence you don't get a feel for wanting to root for any of them to survive. Brody is solid with his role, but he is nothing to compare to Dutch. An Oscar wining actor, he is given nothing to do expect look hard. The rest of the cast is good too, but similarly wasted.

What really comes out bad are the predators themselves. This is the first proper sequel to the original and the alien villains of this movie still have the same features and flaws as before. The whole movie is a waste of potential, and the predators themself are indicative of this.

There are some very bad effects in one scene, and show what overall lacklustre effort went into it.

Good for a one time viewing, but I don't see myself coming back to it in the same way as the original. It's definitely better than the AvP movies, but still not good enough.

8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
His Name is Karan Johar & He Loves Making Cheesy Melodramas, 22 March 2010

This movie has a very grandiose ambition of touching upon the hurt and disenchantment caused to people of a certain colour, who are mostly American by nationality. It also touches upon the self-alienation brought upon many by the events of September 9/11.

At the core of the movie is a story and a script with deep and universal symbolism with characters that represent innocence, mistrust and hope.

Caked over that promising central basis of the film is unfortunately a lot of bad direction, loose screenplay and a wholeheartedly bad, unnecessary and wretched use of music and emotional drama. What could have been a resoundingly powerful journey of poignant cinema, instead comes across as a commercial hijacking of sensitive issues.

At its heart, it is still a film with a positive message from the production company, but in terms of execution it shows all the limitations of the cast and crew behind it.

It is nevertheless a bold venture in it's scope of spelling out a genuine emphasis on the morals of unity and hope by weaving the different issues and obstacles depicted in the story into one cohesive whole that might take audiences a long time to be endeared to, on the same level as the previous films from Karan Johar.

The movie is in many ways similar to the main character, who can apparently learn to fix anything. He is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. And as such, is the movie. There is too much scope on covering all the different issues, and not enough emphasis on a coherent narrative with steady characters.

There is none of the fun factor of the 90's Dharma movies. The music here is dry and dull, possibly to infer a sense of the austerity of the faith of the main character.

Overall, a movie not to be missed because the story here makes it unmissable. And that's a line which is too cheesy even for this movie.

Dhoom 2 (2006)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Interactive Entertainment comes to Bollywood, 11 November 2009

This movie is a milestone in Hindi Cinema. It shows that Bollywood can match Hollywood in terms of churning out vacuous yet big budget action flicks. Nevertheless, while for now the audience may be divided as to cheering or jeering it, in years to come it will be celebrated in the "So Bad, it's Good" category, with an inane script and dialogue that draws out uninvited laughter. The only way to be entertained by it is to make fun of it to entertain yourself.

But the stars have made the most of it and look their glamorous best here. Hrithik Roshan's charisma and looks carry the movie while Abhishek Bachchan's stoic hero gives grounding to the extravagant set-pieces. Aishwarya Rai gives the most atrociously misjudged performance of her career. What should have been more of a hot Michelle Pfeiffer-as-Catwoman role became a Halle Berry-as-Catwoman role. That's if Halle Berry mixed up her notes with Alicia Silverstone's for her role in Clueless. Bipasha Basu lends a hand in disposing of any credibility left to the story. Both look amazing though and Bipasha especially gets credit for not glamorising anorexia.

The movie doesn't have the same infectious sense of fun that something like Main Hoon Na has but it's worth a watch as long as you keep one finger over the fast-forward button.

Dil Se.. (1998)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Poetry on screen, 11 November 2009

This movie was very well-shot and atmospheric, so it gives a truly emphatic sense of the journey that the main characters go through.

But in typical Mani Ratnam fashion, he takes 30 minutes to establish what could be efficiently done in one scene, or even one line of dialogue. The movie doesn't seem to go anywhere in the entire first hour; SRK's seems to be a simplistic cartoon character, and Manisha Koirala's is enigmatic but one tone. It is only when the action shifts to another location that the characters start to show some depth and the movie gets going.

The movie belongs to Manisha Koirala for her hauntingly powerful performance. She portrays every aspect of her character with a stark realism that few actresses would have the courage or talent to embody. SRK is good but nothing to shout about here. Preity Zinta excels at her role and adds more perspective to the story.

It is good in how close it stays to the characters rather than deviating from them to tackle the issues it raises, and the songs make it memorable.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
When you're living in the fast lane, there's no time for making sense, 11 November 2009

A movie like this could only be made by the Yashraj Studio. But if you're not expecting stark realism then its okay, because on the flip-side only Yashraj could pull off a movie like this, with their slick production values and the star power to make it work. Here, the mix of escapism and relatable characters is just right.

Saif Ali Khan demonstrates good versatility and Rani Mukherjee lends real grace to her more straightforward role. But the real star is the little girl, who upstages both in all her scenes. An amazingly good casting, she is reminiscent of the Award-Winning young Anna Paquin and hopefully she has a bright future ahead of her.

The pacing is very good. Just when it looks like things are about to get too clichéd or boring, it picks up again. The songs meld well into the story and the music is entertaining and upbeat.

Some people are trying to burn it at the stake calling a rip-off of Talladega Nights. It clearly started as such. But I think this is the superior and more enjoyable movie. I'm a Will Ferrell fan but I would recommend TRRP over TN. Consider it a case of fixing what was broke.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not enough black to make the movie look thinner, 11 November 2009

In one word I would describe the movie as bloated. Sam Raimi, no doubt now one of the most empowered directors in Hollywood, has really been let to indulge himself with this one. But though the movie seems to really lag in places, the result is that there's no skimping on character development. We've already got to know most of the characters over the last two movies but it's good to see further development, especially for Mary-Jane who has evolved over the three movies, and Dunst is magnetic with the role. Toby McGuire IS Spiderman as usual and takes the new developments with the character in his stride.

We could have done with less Sandman, more Venom. Though we get to know Eddie Brock very well, Venom was very under-utilized.

The movie doesn't seem to have the same sense of wonder as the previous two, but that seems fitting with the theme as it is more introspective. The ending seemed to abrupt, but at least ties up all the story arches.

Partner (2007)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Completely unwatchable mess, 11 November 2009

This movie is widely admonished as being a copy of the Will Smith feature Hitch. That movie was dull.

This movie isn't so much dull as unbearable. Govinda looks way past his prime. He is not at his best doing roles like this. It is similarly unconvincing as his performance in Deewana Mastana.

Salman Khan is at his eye-aching "best". And that's in the few scenes where he remembers to put clothes on. It could only have been through nepotism that this eye-sore's scenes could be saved from the trash bin of any movie's cutting floor.

Another case of Bollywood embarrassing itself with it's shameless cloning. Another case of the Bollywood audience majority embarrassing themselves by making this a hit.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Dard-E-Fiasco, 11 November 2009

The movie starts off as a charming, witty satire of long-standing bollywood clichés but then fails by expecting the audience to take the same clichés seriously to fill out the threadbare story. Along the way many laughs are to be had but they empty as the script runs out of gags long before the end.

Shah Rukh manages to keep the length of it watchable with his boundless charisma but there is little depth to his character. Indeed the main problem is that the characters are all under-written. Shreyas Talpade is almost entirely wasted. As are most of the other characters, such as Kiron Kher who dazzles in her key scenes, but are then left neglected.

Deepika Padukone impresses in her debut, displaying versatility that could pave a successful career forward. Arjun Rampal also gives a rare good performance. In a role that could have been hampered by over-acting, he gives a well-judged tone to it.

The songs are a highlight, especially the one which utilized slick editing to bring the stars of past and present together. Not quite so much of a highlight was the cameo-filled sequence which runs far longer than it should have.

Overall, the first act could be seen again and again by any fan of Hindi cinema but the full running time would have few watching the movie through to the finish on repeat viewing.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Failing History, 11 November 2009

I haven't seen any of David Cronenberg's film before and this won't help in making me see more.

If there's something artistic in it then sadly I will never know of it. There is violence, there is sex, but there is something missing. Oh yes, the point.

The acting by most of the cast is very good, especially Maria Bello. Ed Harris misses a beat in a few scenes but does a good job. Viggo Mortenssen though only shows the occasional signs of life. At the start when he is meant to come across as a mild-mannered family man he instead conveys the image of someone who's had a frontal lobotomy.

The family scenes come across as wholly artificial though Mortenssen shares a few good exchanges with the son and Bello carries every scene she is in.

The action scenes are the weakest point of the movie. The way that the gun-wielding stooges repeatedly seem to be frozen in awe as Mortenssen's character lumbers around is like some kind of running joke. In fact many scenes had me wondering if they're meant to be comedic.

It is well-paced with a good turn by William Hurt to add some sense of closure but at the end of the day everyone goes home none the wiser.

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