Reviews written by registered user
simian_ninja

10 reviews in total 
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Don 2 (2011)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not as good as the first one, 3 March 2012
7/10

An entertaining enough film that cannot make up it's mind what it wants to be.

First off, the music - as a key ingredient in Bollywood cinema, there is nothing that is too memorable about the soundtrack of 'Don 2'. There is one particular sequence that is supposed to remind the audience of the 2006 remake but doesn't come close to that film's "Main Hoon Don".

One of the biggest peeves I have about this film is the writing, for a professional film that is trying to distance itself away from the usual Bollywood standard and emulate Hollywood - simply falls flat due to twists and turns that are not exciting in any way or form. I cannot say much without revealing spoilers but jaw dropping moments simply become "Meh" shrugging moments.

The direction & cinematography are worthwhile and show the skills of Faran Ahktar (who is probably one of my favorite Bollywood directors) and Jason West. What helps the film work is that the locations aren't simply there to say "Oh look where we are" but work strongly to become apart of the film itself.

The acting. Not a lot to go on this one. Shahrukh sleep walks his way through this one with a confidence that I have yet to see matched by any other actor. He is Don. And it is easy to fall for his charm - you want this Don to win - Vijay is nothing more than a mere distant memory. Priyanka Chopra looks amazing but she's not given enough meat to chew on. Wasted potential. Unfortunately Boman Irani and Om Puri seem like they were a part of the film for a paycheck. It's a shame because both of them are on my favorite actors list.

All in all, Don suffers from not knowing what it wants to be yet carries with it a confidence that knows that people are going to watch it (and of course they would). The film could have been a marathon but doesn't go the mile - I wanted to like it but it simply is not engaging as the first one. Also, the creators are sitting on a Goldmine of ideas - it's a shame that they took an easy way out.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Mystic River Lite - Confused execution - 6/10., 28 February 2012
6/10

Just watched the film and I have to say overall this entire film felt like it was Mystic River lite. Like it really wanted to have a riveting twist with an incredibly emotionally moving story but didn't understand how to go along with it.

Acting wise, the only person that seemed to show any emotion was Katie Holmes who was seemingly doing her best to show people that she is not "Mrs. Tom Cruise" and that she did do something called acting before Scientology took over her life. Pacino and Liotta are wasted in what should have been a dynamite combination. The only saving grace in Pacino's performance is that this is possibly the first film I've seen of his in a while where his voice doesn't rage for no reason, it's calm, collected and somewhat nuanced. Channing Tatum works well with what he's given, which is to remain stoic and internal. Tracy Morgan is not quite the revelation that he should be but given time he could possibly develop into a competent dramatic actor.

The music literally falls flat on its face and is overused. A constant repetitive structure that literally begs the audience to notice how serious the tone of it is. Strange to think that it took two composers to come up with it.

Story wise, the film works alright at best. Concerning a cop who receives letters about two unsolved murders some 16 years earlier. As mentioned before, the film wants to emotionally moving and mysteriously engaging but as a viewer there is a sense that the director knew what he wanted to do but not how to execute it. A couple of re-writers and another director might have saved this film.

Overall, not that bad - but not that good considering the film somehow boasts the talent of Pacino, Liotta and Juliette Binoche. 6/10 at best, something worth catching on TV but nothing to run to the video store for.

Agneepath (1990)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Lighthearted Scarface, 2 July 2008
6/10

If familiar with the source material of Scarface, it's pretty hard to understand where exactly Yash Johar and Mukul Anand saw Tony Montana as a tragic hero. Agneepath stands well on it's own but it's inspiration shows direct laziness on account of the filmmakers - they had the story there and could have worked with it without having to include anything to do with Scarface. Once again, this leads to a film that could have been but is shamefully a wannabe.

Acting wise, Amitabh Bachchan steals the film as "Vijay" - a child who grows up to be a gangster seeking to redeem himself in the eyes of his mother. The film's major let down is his co-hort played by Mithun Chakraborty, who gives one of the most insulting stereotypical roles captured on film that is downright infuriating because of his constant smile and jumpiness - one wonders who the hell wrote such a character into a gangster film - regardless if a comic was needed or not. Danny Dezponga (sp?) plays a stereotypical villain by the numbers and doesn't really add anything.

The dialog is the film's key strength, apparently derived from a poem "Agneepath" written by Amitbah's father - the film desperately tries to showcase a man's journey from evil to good. One of the best moments is an injured Vijay carrying his mother to their former home at the end. Perhaps it was the sub-title translation, either way, what was being said and how it was said added buoys to a sinking ship.

Once again, I honestly feel that the producers and writers had a good story with a child's journey into evil and redemption as an adult. They don't need to show the child's journey but they need to in order to showcase why the individual is such as an adult. That is fine, but the lifting of certain scenes and themes from Scarface degrades what could have been a fine film on it's own.

6/10.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Wish the rain would have washed this idea away..., 2 June 2008
3/10

The film bills itself as being a tribute to Mumbai, a tribute to the people that pulled together to face the dark side of mother nature. The film is obviously made for Mumbai, however, the film does not function as a tribute. If anything it serves as a reminder that where there is tragedy - there is money to be made. What the audience is presented with is the loosest of scripts, confused and lacking logic and it is these two major faults that cause the film to fall apart.

The film concerns a group of people who are trapped in a coffee shop during the storm. The majority are involved in the arts, with one man being from the financial sector. When the storm starts to kick in, some choose to flee while the others stay behind after the futile realization kicks in that they are trapped within the coffee shop.

Sharma obviously wants the audience to reflect on the power of Mumbai and it's citizens - and what we get are half baked dialogs on spirituality and philosophy courtesy of the films writer, Rahil Qazi, who desperately reads as if he is trying to salvage a potentially good idea into anything that will make the audience feel, unfortunately his failed manipulation is only too evident through Sharma's lack of direction. The idea of bringing characters together is lost on both as awkward cuts take the audience to the characters families who pray that their loved ones will reach home safely, not only that, but they attempt to create a love story that makes no sense and leaves us feeling cold.

That is not the worst of it. The film bills itself as a tribute to the fighting spirit, but what we get are a collection of scenes of people crying and praying to God with two awkward subplots that appear out of no where (not including the love angle). In one, a police officer shows up to interrogate the trapped (?) people about a bank robbery that has taken place during the storm, the officer in charge more hell bent on making the situation more miserable than previously while people are dying outside. In another, a prostitute with AIDS comes by and blames the storm on herself because of her profession only to be told that the city has failed her.

The characters are what should make this story work, after all, it's a film about people. However, they are all caricatures and stereotyped to such an extent that there is no sense of togetherness - the characters awkwardness (which can also be blamed on mediocre performances) doesn't help to unite the audience or even make the audience consider the triumphant spirit of Mumbai on that fateful day. Instead all we are left with are hollow vessels in a hollow film.

3/10.

Kaafila (2007)
12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Awful action film that is an insult to the audience, 14 January 2008
1/10

Though Kaafila parades itself as being a tribute to immigrants who have to go through human trafficking in order to reach destinations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, it is anything but. In fact, the film is a down right insult to those that are found dead in containers and those that have managed to find peace and asylum in the aforementioned countries. Mann is neither a great technical director nor is he a good writer nor does he have the maturity to handle such a sensitive subject with the sensitivity that is required to handle such a topic.

The story has potential but it has no dignity, the characters that are introduced through out the film while having reasons to want to immigrate do not go beyond the surface of clichéd understanding of what it makes people want to immigrate to other countries. Obviously the director feels that there is no need for people to immigrate overseas in order to find fortune and whatever else they need in order to make their family's life in India easier, from the get go it is understood that without your family there can never be true happiness. With an attitude like this, there is little room for the story to flourish so Mann then introduces an action adventure that makes little to no sense what so ever.

Aman, one of the traveling immigrants stops his friend from getting attacked in a club (since when do poor people have enough money to go and drink in a club? Let alone the fact that even if they did, they would probably be sensible enough to conserve and hide what they have in case they come across thieves or people who wish to use them). There he encounters an old love. After that the group are placed on a boat where they proceed to party it up in a song sequence on top of the boat in the middle of a gigantic storm, there are few survivors (mind you, I had already lost sympathy for the characters after seeing them partying in a club). After washing up on shore, they magically encounter Aman's love once again. In a scene that makes no sense, she is attacked and killed after discovering that her husband is selling 'liquid plutonium' to the Russian mafia. From then on, the Russian mafia and a gangster are chasing after the group in order to get back the plutonium. They then bump into Sunny Deol's character, an ex Pakistani military officer (now a human trafficker) who will guide them through their journey.

The writing is sparse and not thought out well, just as the story it has no dignity and is very loosely tied together. Obviously Mann feels that Indian audiences are stupid and will lap up anything because of the concept of family and good old action sequences that are not full of action or suspense.

The music, while alright, is also used horribly. It is just a means to sell the film because as we all know...Indian audiences and whoever else watches Indian films just love to get their intellect assaulted and denied, but as long as there is song and dance - everything is fine. If somebody really wanted to take such a journey for a better life, there's just no way I can believe that they would be buying alcohol or partying in a club.

This film is nothing more than an insult to people who have done what they can to find a better life overseas, it is nothing more than an insult to the people who have lost their family members who have sacrificed themselves either by leaving them or by undergoing such a journey without the proper means of immigration.

1/10: I would spit on Mann if I ever got the chance.

I See You (2006)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not that great, 3 January 2008
4/10

"I See You" is a remake of the Reese Witherspoon/Mark Ruffalo film "Just Like Heaven". While the film does have its flaws, it is not by any means the worst film to come out of Bollywood that has been 'inspired' by a Hollywood film. Arjun Rampal stars as Raj Jaiswal, the host of the successful NRI show British Raj. He moves into a new apartment but soon finds that it is being haunted by a ghost, Shivani Dutt (Vipasha Agarwal) that only he can see, the catch is, she's not a ghost but a doctor who is in a coma after an accident. His friends ponder his senility, but his close friend Akshay (Chunky Pandey) supports him as much as he can. Shivani informs him of a plot that involves doctors stealing and harvesting organs of healthy patients at her hospital.

The story has it's flaws, for one, the added story line of the harvesting of organs isn't really needed and doesn't contribute to the story being a romantic comedy. It actually does nothing for the story overall. If they had stuck with the original story, the film would have worked more. At certain points, it is unclear which story line is the central plot.

The location and setting is a tired one. The film is set in London but it could have been pulled off in Mumbai or any other Indian city. There is little charm in the way London has been used and the location never fully comes alive.

The acting is far from perfect and very flawed. Arjun Rampal manages to carry the film but because the film is heavily flawed and unnecessary, his character tends to replicate that fact. He has persona and charisma, but not enough to make this film work or enough to make it a pleasurable experience. Vipasha Agarwal sleepwalks through her performance and isn't worth a second glance. It is because of her that the film suffers, there is little chemistry between her and Rampal even though he tries his hardest to make it work. The supporting co-stars don't do much but the stand outs are Chunky Pandey as Akshay who is Raj Jaiswal's best friend and Michael Maloney who plays Inspector John Smith, the English Hindi speaking detective investigating Shivani's accident.

The writing is un-inspired and the direction is useless. This film joins the ranks of other cheap knock offs that help hold back Indian (or rather Bollywood) cinema rather than allow it to flourish. The high point for some will be the ten second cameo's by Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan, but at the end of the day, it is their cameos that are selling the film. Not the story, not the writing, not the director and certainly not the actors.

4/10: "Just Like Heaven" is far superior over this tripe, even though it is quite a mediocre film itself.

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Probably one of the worst films ever made., 30 December 2007
1/10

"Fool'N'Final" represents the worst in not only Bollywood film history but the history of cinema itself. There are far too many films like this that are made or rather 'remade' in Bollywood without rhyme or reason. There are no saving graces for the film, unlike other remakes that directly rip off the story and give it an 'Indianize' it as American remakes tend to do, this film doesn't which leaves it as an empty and hollow commercial shell. The problem lies within the fact that this film is nothing more than a 'get rich quick' scheme concocted by it's producers, Base Industries Groups which is owned by the Nadiawala's. The film that they ripped off is Guy Ritchie's 2000 Hit "Snatch". One has to scoff at B.I.G.'s mission statement which can be located on the "Hera Phiri" website where they state that they "believe that the fountainhead of film making lies at the confluence of creativity, talent, technology & technique. In the quest for entertainment that appeals to the heart & mind, the entity considers itself as a medium where the flourish of imagination journeys to the senses of the entertained." (which can be located at this address http://www.phirherapheri.in/base.htm. Obviously just like other film producers, what they say has little to do with what they mean.

The film boasts what can be considered a star cast. At the helm is Shahid Kapur and his lady love interest (in a story that is never explored but only hinted at) Ayesha Takia. Their support comes in from Vivek Oberoi, Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Johnny Lever, Gulshan Grover, Arbaaz Khan, Chunky Pandey and Sharmila Tagore. With solid experience like that behind it, you would think that the performances would be at least entertaining, not mind blowing but at least entertaining. But you would be wrong and for this, you can be forgiven. Not one actor manages to entertain. Shahid Kapur is Shahid Kapur which is nothing special because the only reason he is allowed to exist in Bollywood is because millions of teenage girls fawn over him. Ayesha Takia, who managed to spark interest with her role in 'Dor', does nothing with her role leading her to quickly becoming the most un-interesting fairly new talent of the next generation. Oberoi, who at times has almost gleefully recalled his training at NYU continues to spit out roles that incline viewers to believe that he didn't actually learn anything while in training. Deol, Shroff, Puri, Pandy, and Tagore are all wasted in roles that are needed because...well, their roles were in the original and there are character spaces that needed to be filled. However, it is Pandey that gives a stand out performance even though his role is mediocre and pale in comparison to Benicio Del Toro in "Snatch".

Though there are snippets of originality that come in the form of the directorial technique, they are pale in comparison to the quick editing techniques and framing that is used by Ritchie in "Snatch". The film is laid out like a comic strip, however, this wanes quickly when there is no need for it when it starts to become over used.

The writing is uninspired almost as much as the direction is, this is what causes the overall production to suffer. The actors look uninterested and the viewer quickly realizes that the actors are doing this either because their careers have faded away or because they needed a paycheck to sustain their high flying Bollywood lifestyles (which according to interviews consists of sitting at home and listening to their parents).

The soundtrack, which is an integral ingredient in a Bollywood production, is uninspired commercial bird droppings. The picturization of the songs are even worse with actors running around in 'bling' gear pretending to act cool not realizing that a lot of people don't actually by into the 'bling' factor. Oh, and Mike Tyson appears during the end song. Why? Because the producers felt that he could help to sell an appearance that consists of him throwing shadow punches at the camera while inter cutting to the rest of the cast dancing in their 'bling' gear - that and the fact that Tyson needs the money right now.

A waste of space and time.

1/10.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Only if it's on TV., 26 December 2007
5/10

This film was a hit, it's supposed to be a no brain popcorn entertainer but there are far to many times that this film fails to do what it set out to achieve. The problem lies within it's writing, direction, and to a lesser extent - it's acting. But there are a few positives, there are certain scenes that may induce a chuckle but not a laugh and there are also moments where the actors shine. Unfortunately, the script never allows for the film to reach it's full potential.

Akshay Kumar heads the ensemble, he works competently with what the script and the direction have given him. But he by no means shines, he is the Akshay that we have seen before. He is suited for physical comedy but has not been able to harness the magic that could possibly help elevate him in the eyes of others. There are certain scenes he manages to reach beyond the script and entertain but ultimately the is dragged down by poor direction and a poor script. Govinda, however, manages to work well with what he has and dare I say it, manages to outshine the rest of the cast which includes Jackie Shroff, Lara Dutta, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadev and Shakti Kapoor. The problem with the acting is there is almost no direction given to the actors, it's almost as if Priyadarshan has given free reign to them but they are not capable of handling that freedom.

The script is ludicrous and has no rhyme or reason to it. Even if the film functions as a no brainer popcorn flick, there still has to be an underlying aspect to the story for it to function properly. The film contains shades of noir but is to hollow to be regarded as noir and instead we get a mystery that is never fully explored and a comedy that doesn't live up to it's potential. Granted, I had low expectations to begin with - and this film did not even live up to that, barring a few amusing scenes (which included the film's climax), but not once did I laugh. Instead I groaned, moaned, and continued to watch because I'm the type of person who sits through a film all the way through.

The music is horrendous and like the film - has potential but does not live up to expectations or go beyond anything sub par.

The direction is horrible and unrestrained, even for a comedy there needs to be restrained in the direction - one singular vision that can help bring everything together, but Priyadarshan does not live up to the hype that once surrounded his name and because of his direction, he manages to bring the entire film down with his fledging career.

5.5/10: The film has it's moments but in capable hands it could have used several re-writes as well as another director for it to succeed.

Darling (2007/III)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Comedy? Horror? Drama? Where did RGV's talent go?, 24 November 2007
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I kind of like Darling, I love it when direction and writing is so shoddy that I can tell what's going to happen and instead of insulting my intelligence the director makes me feel special by doing everything that I thought would happen (ie the ending). RGV has lost the plot, he needs to go into hiding and think of something special and even when he does that, his film will still tank simply because the audience isn't going to trust him anymore. It's going to take at least two or three films (even if they are all good) before the audience touches his films once again.

The film itself is dreadfully slow paced. I have no idea what genre the film is (even after watching it) so I think I'll view it as a comedy/horror/drama. The writing is rushed beyond belief and is hindered by the non-acting of Esha Deol and Fardeen Khan (they should stop and find something else to do), when they look like they're supposed to be passionate and kissing each other they come off looking as two drunken teenagers stumbling around. Another thing is that Esha's character is hardly established, so – there's no real reason for the audience to feel anything for him. Khan's character is a boob that cheats on his wife (without any reason, so without providing one – there's no room for him to be a sympathetic character, why even bother if you're not going to have at least one sympathetic main character?). Though the film starts to pick up pace once Deol's character is re-introduced in the film as a ghost.

Break down is like this.

Deol is pregnant but Khan is married. Khan wants an abortion. Deol wants the baby and attacks Khan in a rage. Khan protects himself by shoving her, yes by shoving a pregnant woman. She trips and falls, hits her head and dies. With her eyes wide open.

End breakdown.

I didn't mind the music; the videos are introduced through fairly interesting but used ideas such as a dream and watching a film within a film. Either way, they brought nothing to the story.

The writing makes me wonder what the person was smoking. It kind of reminded me of some play by Noel Coward that I can't remember (in which a man is haunted by his dead wife, so if you know what I'm talking about please say what it is). There are a couple of hilarious scenes such as Deol's ghost hiding under the table and touching Khan's new secretary on the leg making her think that Khan's character is …well…molesting her. Other than that, the laughs come from the dismal direction and awful writing and horrendous acting.

One thing to watch out for…Deol's ghosts father comes to pay Khan a visit, he begs him to use his power so they can find Deol's character. And RGV decides that it's an episode of NYPD Blue and begins to zoom in and out of close ups like the world is going to end tomorrow (either that or the camera man had taken some sort of illegal substance before the scene was shot).

Overall…2/10. One star is because you have to vote a one, and the second is because the film provided some unintentional laughs.

So this, I'd actually say watch it if you want to see something so horrible that its actually strangely…passable (hope you take note of the fact I didn't use good).

Dhamaal (2007)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Stay away., 24 November 2007
1/10

Dhamaal is quite possibly one of the worst films that I have ever had the misfortune of watching. I normally say that a person should give every movie at least one chance (and watch it all the way through) in order to make a complete assessment of the film. This is the first film that I wouldn't recommend to anybody, save yourself the time and go outside and enjoy a moment with your friends or something. This film is the first film to make me ever say, don't bother. Quite an achievement.

The majority of the film is borrowed from It's a Mad Mad World, and when I say borrowed I mean copied without any distinction what so ever. Unfortunately, this film is so awful that I have no inclination to watch It's a Mad Mad World because I know the memories of this film will be conjured up. The opening scenes are copied from Johnny English and Mr. Bean. First we meet Deshbandhu Roy (Retish Deshmuk) who is working as a Government agent (this can only be presumed as it is not explained), it copies the opening scene in which Johnny English tells his superior that the area they are in is safe until a car explodes in the background. The scene itself is not even set out that well and provides no introduction to the character what so ever, that and the fact that it has nothing to do with the rest of the film. The second scene involves a character who's name I cannot remember (and an actor who should go back to waiting tables), so we'll just call him Annoying Fool from now on. His first scene is copied from the episode of Mr. Bean where Bean gets his hand stuck in the back of a stranger's pocket and ends up following them into a bathroom stall. To round up the foursome we have Aditya (Arshad Warsi) and Boman Contractor (Aashish Chowdhry).

If you're going to make a light hearted fun family entertainment film, you should have characters that are good and sympathetic that get caught up in hi-jinks and whatnot. After being kicked out of their abode for their failure to pay rent, the foursome come up with the idea of selling to paintings to relatives of the recently deceased, in short, conning people who are grieving. Not the best of ideas for both the characters or the writers. They are arrested for a crime they did not commit (in a scene so shockingly bad the writer should go back to cleaning toilets) and are promptly released in the middle of no where, where a car crashes and out rolls a dying man who informs them that a fortune of INR10 Billion waits for them because they 'are good people'. The journey begins and the copy of IMMW begins. Sanjay Dutt plays a police officer who gets caught up in the proceedings and also involved are a bandit (who does nothing for the script) and Contractor's father (who also doesn't do a damn thing for the film).

The bad: The writing is horrible even though I can safely say that the source material that provided it was fairly entertaining. I don't know much about dialog translation, but the cross between Hindi and English made me question the writer's ability of communication.

The acting is horrible. Arshad Warsi looks uninterested through out the entire movie, Aashish Chowdhry does his best as does the actor who plays the character that I hate but this does not make them entertaining. Both of them have a look of desperation throughout the entire film that says "Please like me, please like me audience!". Ritesh Deshmukh (who hasn't been in the best of films) looks sorely out of place and doesn't look like he's enjoying his role at all. The things some people do for money. Sanjay Dutt adds another horrible film to his resume which is already chock full of horrible films (thanks in part to his friendship with Sanjay Gupta), it's sad because I do think there is talent there that hasn't been properly used or been discovered by an appropriate director.

The direction is absolutely horrible. If you're going to copy a film, at least do it right.

The soundtrack is alright, but once again is forced. The opening credits function as a music video for the film. That's a give away about how bad the film is going to be.

The Good: I can't find anything good about this film. I really didn't enjoy it.

1/10. There's only a few other films that I've given such a rating too. What a dismal film.