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5/10
Might be a fun watch for fans but could've been a hell of a lot better if it had any story.
10 September 2010
Foremost, I like Milla very very much. Also I like the Resident Evil movie series.

Coming to this movie,

1. The 3D is very very neat. (Probably because they didn't converted it from 2D to 3D in post production). 2. For the 2nd & 3rd movies of the series, you may say the story was poor. But here you can't even say the story was pathetic because how can we use an adjective to describe something which is non-existent. If you ever wondered how can anyone make a movie without a story, watch this. 3. The fights and gore are less compared to the previous movies. 4. It feels more like watching someone play Resident Evil game rather than watching a movie. 5. The fans of the game would enjoy this immensely because the movie has some of the game's creatures. But if you didn't play the games & only like the movies, then this will be a definite disappointment. 6. There are a few good scares. A 30-something guy who sat beside me jumped at 2 or 3 occasions. 7. Milla is looking hot & younger as each movie progresses. 8. Overall acting & writing are not very stupid but the lack of story really hurts.

On a final note, 1. If you like the Resident Evil game series, you may like the movie. 2. If you never played the games, but like the Resident Evil movie series, this movie will slightly disappoint you. 3. If you don't fall in the above 2 categories & if you don't like Milla Jovovich, please don't watch the movie.
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Raavan (2010)
4/10
One royal disappointment. Mani's worst movie in the last 25 years.
18 June 2010
From the trailer and the general talk, you might have guessed the basic premise. Raavan (Abhishek Bacchhan) kidnaps Sita (Aish). Ram (Vikram), with the help of Hanuman (Govinda) tries to get Sita back and kill Raavan. Of course, the motivation for Raavan's abduction of Sita is the insult of Surpanaka (Priyamani). What if this basic premise constitutes the entire movie with nothing else? The movie is going to suck & that is what Raavan is. What makes the original Ramayan interesting is the many many interesting characters and subplots without which even it would be uninteresting. This is where Raavan fails.

The plot is as thin as a razor blade. Screenplay is one jumbled mess especially in the 1st half. Mani Ratnam is my most favourite Indian director & it is really really hard for me to digest that he had directed this mess.

Abhishek Bacchhan was absolutely irritating as Beera. Since his only good performances were in Yuva & Guru which were directed by Mani, I thought he will be good as Beera. But what an irritating interpretation of the role! Aish's only duty in the movie was to look beautiful and scream at regular intervals which she does greatly. Vikram has nothing much to do. His character was badly written. Priyamani is good in her brief appearance. Govinda and Ravi Kishan are the two bright spots as far as acting department is considered.

The locations and cinematography are breathtaking to say the least. Raavan is a heavy contender in the next award season as far as cinematography is considered. The same goes for music. Rahman gave a great music and background score. But since general public wouldn't be interested in only photography and music, I can see empty theaters and a doomed future for the movie. I will be happy if I'm wrong. I really can't believe Mani Ratnam has directed this entirely from his heart.

I've seen each one of Mani's movies of the last 25 years & without doubt Raavan is Mani Ratnam's most uninteresting movie. The first half is as dumb as you can get. The entire 1st half is like one long personal holiday photo-shoot of AbhiAsh with some exotic background views. The 2nd half is slightly better but on the whole, Raavan is a 140 minute advertisement for the beauty of Aish & India's forests.

I also wanted to see Villain (Raavan in Telugu) because of Vikram who plays Raavan in this version. But after this experience, I neither have the patience nor energy to do it. May be some time after the DVD comes out.
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Vedam (2010)
9/10
One of the best all-round Telugu movies you would see
5 June 2010
In 2 months time, Allu Arjun gave one of the worst movies and one of the best movies of this decade in Tollywood.

Vedam has 5 independent stories in it which are taking place parallelly, and the characters of all the stories converge at the big climax. In my limited memory, I can't remember such a movie being made prior in Tollywood. This could be a risky subject but director Krish (Gamyam fame) pulled it off with great aplomb. I won't brief about the 5 stories but they are very different from each other and there is believability to each one of them although in various degrees.

If an award for the best performance by an ensemble cast in Tollywood is introduced next year, Vedam would be the leading contender. Nobody in the movie messed up there roles. Allu Arjun is an excellent fit in the role of Cable Raju. His performance & emotions at the end where he has a change of heart is the best that he had done until now. After the movie Arundhati, Anushka has become a clear crowd favourite. The whistles and shouts during her introduction scene were only matched by the entrance of Arjun. Anushka has nailed the role of Saroja going from funny to angry to angst with ease. She definitely is one of the best actresses in Tollywood right now. This is my first Manchu Manoj movie. He was an apt choice to play the music loving wannabe rock-star Vivek. Manoj is not only a better actor than his brother Vishnu but he is also choosing his scripts wisely. He created a good first impression on me. I haven't seen Manoj Bajpai fail as an actor and the same goes here. He gives good performance as the victimised Muslim Raheemuddin Qureishi. All the others in the movie performed really well. Deeksha Seth is used for her glamour.

Since there are 5 stories, there are a lot of characters to be introduced. So in the first half, we are introduced to the characters and their motivations. With a conflict in each story, the first half ends. So it may appear to some people as if not much has happened as a whole in the first half but that is only an illusion because we are dealing with 5 stories here. The second half is absolutely gripping.

Generally in our industry when you have a drama with superb performances, the technical aspects are grossly neglected. But Vedam is technically a very well made film. Right from your editing to cinematography to art work to sound effects, this is a wonderfully made film. Dialogues & direction by Krish are great. Krish proved that he is not a one film wonder. Let's hope that he is not a two film wonder. (Am I being greedy?)

Background score by Keeravani is very good but I would have been more happy if every thing is original. Coming to the songs, the songs fit in the movie very well but I don't think they would work outside the movie.

After the break, for a few minutes the movie tends to be slow. They could have cut a song there. Story & script wise, the tussle between Manoj & Sikh lorry driver was too superficial. To develop the conflict in Manoj's character, a more natural setup would have been very good. Another one is when Manoj Bajpai, who initially tries to escape without even warning the hundreds of people in the hospital about the impending danger, has a change of heart when he sees a pregnant lady. Agreed that he has some past scars regarding unborn babies but still it appeared a bit forced. One more thing is when some body dies at a huge explosion, I think that the faces should not be recognisable. But the above points are very minor, and by the end of the movie this is a very satisfying experience.

http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com

All in all, this is a must watch. This is going to win a lot of awards next season. The general perception is that an award winning movie tends to be a boring art movie. This is true in many cases but once in a while there comes a really good drama without boring you and this is one of those. I was absolutely thrilled by the time the movie was over because of mainly 2 reasons. One reason was because the movie was very good & the second one was because I rarely see such well made movie in Telugu. So my humble request is don't miss this.

Finally, a triple thumbs-up (if such a word is there) for the director Krish and the producers Devineni Prasad & Yarlagadda Shobhu.

p.s I didn't understand the crediting of Manchu Manoj as Guest appearance because I felt his role was of a proper protagonist.
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Kites (I) (2010)
3/10
An enormous bore with Hrithik being the only ray of light.
22 May 2010
My review is for the 130 minute Indian version.

Some of the reactions that I observed in the theater. At the 80 minute mark, the person adjacent to me is whispering in a tired voice "Oh my God! how much more time is the movie going to last?" At the end of the movie, I saw a group of friends waking one of their friends. There are uniform sighs of disappointment from the audience by the time end credits started rolling. You may guess now in which direction this review is going to be.

I saw the trailer of Kites a couple of months ago and was not at all impressed by it. So I went to the screening with a bit of low expectations. But the movie was worse than my already lower expectations.

If the purpose of the movie is to entertain the audience, then the movie failed miserably. The romance between the leads appeared very forced to me. I love love stories but this romance didn't touch my heart at all. Baring a couple of scenes, the comedy too appeared as if it is placed because it has to be there. As far as the actions sequences goes, I don't know how many of my fellow movie lovers felt they are good but I felt more thrilled while playing NFS than watching these action pieces. Since when does American police cars have become crackers which explode at the slightest crash? Every day you can see at least one movie in HBO or Star Movies whose action sequences are better than these. Are there many dance sequences in the movie? Nope. There is one at the beginning which by now should have been present at YouTube or some other such site.

I couldn't believe that 4 people are involved with the story and screenplay. I can guess their initial thought process here. Rakesh Roshan got the idea about a love story where the lovers don't understand each other's language. Then he commissioned others and they wanted to make this love story an epic with great romance and great action. But neither of them, especially the romance part is not at all interesting and the worse thing is that it is boring. I think that on every page of the script, there is only a poster of Hrithik and how to cash his name and nothing else. Basically what you have in the movie is a romantic scene - action scene - romantic scene - action scene. After a while it really is a torturous experience to hear the dialog between Hrithik and Barbara and I was thinking "Oh no! not another romantic dialog please".

You know your supporting cast acting was bad when Kabir Bedi gives a robotic performance. It is also time for Kangana Ranaut to say no to such repeat roles of psychologically damaged woman. This is some serious talent caught in an image which is damaging the career.

So what are the good points of the movie. Undoubtedly Hrithik Roshan. This is a Hrithik show allover & he is fantastic. Nobody in his generation in Bollywood has his screen presence. In the single dance sequence of the movie, he dances superlatively. His performance is also very good. Much has been written about Barbara Mori. She is beautiful no-doubt and she is good in her role. The music is average fare but the cinematography is good.

I strongly think that it is high time Hrithik comes out of his 'khandaani' films (films that have anything to deal with Rakesh Roshan) and select some good subjects outside. It feels bad to see the wastage of such a talent. Most of his films depend on his style but style is temporary. I'm very sure that Mithun Chakraborty was a style icon in 80s but who cares about his films and style now except the judges and contestants of Dance India Dance. The style of Hrithik is going to be outdated in 20 years and so would be films such as this or Dhoom series because by then more trendy movies and some other cool hunk will appear. One should admire Ranbir Kapoor for his job as far as selecting the movies is considered.

This movie is strictly for girls or gays who are absolutely delirious & crazy about Hrithik. Since I am neither of those, Kites didn't work for me at all. A movie could be anything but boring which Kites sadly is. I really hope that the 90 minute international version being released next week isn't as boring as this although I'm not very optimistic about it.
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Iron Man 2 (2010)
7/10
Iron Man + extra charisma - Novelty - Initial charm = Iron Man 2
9 May 2010
Not difficult to guess the best part of the movie. Sometimes you feel that a particular role was destined to be played by a particular person. You can't separate the role and the person. Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark. He is so convincing that if not for the backlash of the fans you may very well change the name of Tony Stark to Robert Downey, Jr. He is absolutely enjoying this role and it shows on the screen. Also Mickey Rourke is an excellent casting choice for Ivan Vanko / Whiplash. He is really cool. I read that it was Downey who initially proposed Rourke's name for Whiplash.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts is good. But I thought the cheeky romance between Stark & Pepper in the first movie was not so great here. They could have improved the dialogue between them. Sam Rockwell plays Justin Hammer, the rival weapons manufacturer to Tony Stark. On one hand I was seeing Downey, Jr. absolutely enjoying his role but on the other hand I thought Rockwell was somehow not into the role and was somewhat disinterested. Rockwell is such a fantastic actor and especially after last year's Moon, I think it's time for the studios to make better use of him. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black widow is arresting as usual but her fight scene is the only action piece in the film that was rather boring to me. It was there to please Scarlett's fans but the makers should have taken more care about it and made it a tad more interesting. And Don Cheadle is brilliant in his role as Lt. Colonel James Rhodes / War Machine.

The Iron Man was such a fun movie because it was novel and also there was a cute charm to it. Iron man 2 repeats it, so somewhere the novelty is lost and this is not as charming as the first part. Nevertheless Iron man 2 is a very engaging watch. All the action sequences are cool especially the piece on the race track. Once again, I hated Scarlett's fight sequence. When I saw all those drones at the climax, I was afraid for a while that this might turn out to be torture to ears like Transformers 2 but thank gosh there is not much metal clanking. The final showdown between Iron Man and Whiplash was surprisingly a low key affair, I mean they could have put a few seconds more there.

All in all this is a really fun watch & you won't regret spending money on this.

There is a special clip at the end of the credits which shows the discovery of Thor. If you didn't knew by now, check this on Youtube. For the fans of Thor, this would be thrilling.

I'm seeing a full blown invasion of the screens by the Marvel characters in the coming years. With Thor coming in 2011 and Avengers probably in 2012, Marvel fans would be licking their lips. I don't know what else will be coming in the next 10 years. The coming decade could very well be a decade of superheroes if DC also joins the fray.

I've actually got a crazy weird idea for a movie whereby Marvel heroes attack DC headquarters with the help of DC villains and in the sequel DC heroes attack Marvel headquarters with the help of Marvel villains. Just imagine Team 1: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Whiplash, Galactus, Dr. Doom vs Team 2: Spiderman, Ironman, Hulk, Lex Luthor, The Joker, Thor. Anyone's interested?

Love to know your thoughts about Iron Man 2 or about my crazy idea, http://tiny.cc/gtcz9
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9/10
The stuff that dreams are made of & the stuff that started an amazing style of film making.
25 April 2010
I won't give any plot details here except that this is a wonderful crime mystery that started the classic film noir period of Hollywood. The movie starts with these lines scrolling. "In 1539, the Knights Templar of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels ----- but pirates seized the galley carrying this priceless token and the fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day ---". So we know that we have to find the falcon & in the process we deal with lies, murders, characters full of deceit & cunningness. You know the typical film noir settings.

The Maltese Falcon is the first movie directed by John Huston who in his illustrious career was nominated for 15 Oscars. The beauty of the film is that there is not a single waste line nor a single waste shot nor a single waste performance. Everything is so perfect & each character is very well developed. I felt Huston has filtered the movie like water, over & over, until it became so perfect.

The performances in the movie were of the highest order.

Brigid O'Shaughnessy is not your typical film noir femme fatale as this is only the start of bigstudio film noir. I felt that Brigid O'Shaughnessy was the perfect template for the future femme fatales such as say Double Indemnity's Phyllis Dietrichson or Vertigo's Madeleine Elster. Although Brigid was responsible for the deaths of 3 people she never appears as a threat to the protagonist Sam Spade. Astor was very good in the movie. She keeps her best for the climax confrontation with Bogart.

Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo gave an amazing performance. You can see the power of his performance in the climax where he goes from delighted look while opening the package - exploding on Gutman after knowing the truth about Maltese Falcon - controlled dialogue & expression after Gutman says that they will revisit Istanbul. Simply brilliant.

Sydney Greenstreet enters the movie only around the 50 minute mark. He was 60 years old, this was his debut performance & he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. His years of stage experience shows in his portrayal of Kasper "Fat Man" Gutman. Those subtle expressions & gentle laughs. Simply wonderful. Elisha Cook Jr. in one of his early roles as Wilmer "Little Boy" Cook, the cold assistant to Gutman is good. Do the words Fat Man & Little Boy ring anything in your mind?

Bogart lived the role of Sam Spade. That he didn't even get an Oscar nomination for this is quite a puzzle for me. Either the real nominees have given all-time greatest performances or the Academy is dumb. Bogart's Sam Spade is one of the meanest, ruthless heroes that you will see. I heard that the original Sam Spade in the novel was a 6 feet heavy built figure. Bogart is not a big person physically but he more than makes it up with his voice & mannerisms. See that scene where he mocks his partner's widow by saying "You killed my husband Sam. Be kind to me". His clap, his smile & his subtle expressions in that scene were as mean as you could see anywhere. Or that scene where he says "Ya with $10000 insurance, no children & a wife who doesn't like him" about his dead partner. Or the scene where he says "When you're slapped, you'll take it & like it" and slaps Joel Cairo. Bogart's Sam Spade is arguably the most ungenerous & masculine character until Marlon Brando gave that tour de force performance as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar named Desire. In a way, even Sam Spade was not a complete film noir protagonist because he was always in control of the situation except for that one scene in which he is intoxicated. Even there I didn't felt that he could be harmed.

Think about the fact that Bogart was not even the first choice to play Sam Spade.

Cinematography is by Arthur Edeson, who has worked for almost a 100 movies prior to this & he also did Casablanca later. He used some very innovative angles. You can observe that for most part of the film, the position of the camera is at the waist level. So we have a lot of low- angle shots which were made more famous later in Citizen Kane. The low- angle makes the already sinister characters more sinister.

Max Steiner gave good background score for the movie. Editing is one of the key things for a crime mystery. Owen Marks did a fantastic job with editing. I only found one bad cut in the entire movie where Spade sends off Iva Archer before he gets a call to meet Gutman.

All in all with one of the best ensemble performances that you would see in a film noir, superb script & directing, great technical achievements this is one of those films that you shouldn't miss.

In fact, I was so engrossed & immersed in the story & the performances the 1st time I viewed this that I completely forgot about the other aspects of the film. I rewatched this immediately to concentrate on the other technical aspects. For me the movie, the protagonist & the femme fatale are not the ideal film noirs but rather the initial models which were developed into more defined figures for the next 2 decades of film noir.

So, in a line, what is The Maltese Falcon? The stuff that dreams are made of & the stuff that started an amazing style of film making.

If you are interested in film noir, see my brief review of the BBC program The Rules of Film Noir at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1498172/
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The Rules of Film Noir (2009 TV Movie)
9/10
A very good programme from BBC which will bring nostalgia to film noir lovers
22 April 2010
The music in background is the nostalgic classic jazz. Everything is in black & white. Matthew Sweet gets out of a car & says this "Dark, isn't it? You better get used to it. For the next hour, this is how the world is going to be. THIS IS THE WORLD OF FILM NOIR. It's a dark American place with a fancy French name. A place where the sun has died & people get buoy with Neon, where the only pleasures to be had are from bourbon & the satisfaction of knowing that life is a cheap little game in which everyone plays dirty". I immediately knew that the next hour is going to be a superb fun ride & boy! Am I delighted by the end of the programme.

This BBC programme, narrated by Matthew Sweet, deals with the wonderful world of film noir. The word film noir invokes different things to different people. If I have to say 3 things that flash in my mind in a nanosecond, they would be unbelievable shadows, tobacco smoke & Put the blame on Mame. Isn't Rita Hayworth ravishing in Gilda? I would love to know the 3 things that come to your mind first when you hear the word 'film noir'.

In the programme, we get a brief history of film noir & the things that make a film noir unique. Some of the people involved with film noir telling about their understanding & also walking through few of their memorable scenes. You could see the names of the people in the programme here. Matthew Sweet sure loves talking about film noir.

Also in the one hour, there are scenes from a minimum of 25 films which makes you completely nostalgic after seeing this. I actually wanted to mention all the names of films in this but saw no point in it because this covers almost all of the classics.

Coming to the title of the programme, most of the people have their own rules for film noir. What we have here are the following 5 rules of film noir according to Matthew Sweet.

1. Choose a dame with no past and a hero with no future 2. Use no fiction but pulp fiction 3. See America through a stranger's eyes 4. Make it any colour as long as it's black 5. It ain't what you say, it's the way that you say it

Matthew Sweet's ending lines for the programme were "In film noir, life seems to get cheaper by the minute. It's every man & woman for themselves and that's horrifying but it's intoxicating too because maybe a little part of us believes that that's how the world really is & that's why we can't tear our eyes from the shadows & why more than half a century later we keep on staring into the dark."

This is a must see programme for all film noir connoisseurs. Seeing most of the stars of the film noir in 1 hour is really great. Even if you don't know anything about film noir, you could learn a few things about the wonderful style of film-making that is film noir.

Warning: Since the programme contains many clips from so many films, some of the clips may act as spoilers for you if you haven't watched them. In fact I'm yet to see many of these movies. So I skipped when they were showing scenes from the movies that I'm yet to see. So watch with discretion.

You know what I'm going to do now? I'm going to watch The Maltese Falcon.
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Serendipity (2001)
9/10
A good love story set amongst unbelievable probabilities.
20 April 2010
How many of us doesn't like a good love story with some humour & some melancholy. I think the rom-coms of the 30s, 40s & 50s are amongst the best in Hollywood history. We have such precious gems such as Adam's Rib, Roman Holiday, It Happened One Night, My Man Friday & the list goes on. The next 3 decades saw a decline in this genre save some rare exceptions such as Annie Hall. But the last 2 decades saw a revival of sorts. I think the success of When Harry Met Sally & Pretty Woman has a lot to do with this.

I like many rom-coms from the last 2 decades but if you ask me to name 3 movies that I absolutely adore from the last 21 years, I would say 10 Things I Hate About You, My Sassy Girl (not the English version but the Korean version Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo) & Serendipity.

I actually saw Serendipity for the 1st time only a year after its release. At that time I haven't seen many rom-coms & also I wasn't thinking about movies in a critical way analysing their good, bad & ugly. It was just some rom-com which I was seeing to waste some time. But by the first 15 minutes, I started to love the movie. Partly because of the interesting start but more importantly due to Kate Beckinsale about whom I never heard of before & who will always remain my 1st Hollywood crush.

Serendipity is directed by Peter Chelsom & written by Marc Klein. While shopping for Christmas, strangers Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) & Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) try to buy the same pair of gloves at a store. After Jonathen gives them to her, they feel some kind of attraction towards each other although they already have their lovers. So they spend some time with each other by eating & skating. When the shamelessly flirting Jonathan proposes to exchange their numbers, Sara has a better idea. She makes him write his name & number on a $5 note & gives that note in a shop. She says that she will write her name & number on a book that she will sell the next day. So if they are destined to be with each other, they will find other's contact someday. They leave each other after this AMAZING BRILLIANT idea.

After a few years, Jonathan is engaged to Halley Buchanan (Bridget Moynahan) & Sara is about to get engaged to Lars Hammond (John Corbett). All these years they do think about each other but they don't even know their full names to find each other. After seeing some 'signs', both of them decide to try for one last time to find each other. Jonathan has his friend Dean Kansky (Jeremy Piven) to help him & Sara has her friend Eve (Molly Shannon). Do they find each other? If so will they leave their respective partners who are such good people? See the movie for answers although I know anybody could guess what happens at the end of a rom-com.

John Cusack & Kate Beckinsale have very little screen time together but whenever they do share a scene they share good chemistry. Their roles are not meant to win an Oscar & they deliver what's required. The best part in acting comes from the supporting cast. I loved the role of Dean Kansky. Molly Shannon as Eve was also very good. Eugene Levy has a very funny cameo as sales man in the movie.

Another thing for which I like the movie so much is its score. It is composed by 2 time Academy award nominated Alan Silvestri who is one of the busiest in the business. This is not his best by any means. He has given background to such movies as Forrest Gump, Back to the Future series, The Polar Express amongst others. But the music in Serendipity is different & it caught my attention.

If at all there is one thing to improve, it is the dialogue of the movie. It is kind of mishmash wherein some scenes I like it & in some other scenes I hate. Some of the dialogue at the start is so sugary that you wouldn't eat anything sweet for a few hours.

Coming to the story, the only problem with the story is the probability of its occurrences. It's all fate fate fate fate in the movie. In fact IMDb has this movie under fantasy genre & rightly so. You would never see so many coincidences in a story to move it forward. They could have mentioned in the movie that the main purpose & existence of the universe is to somehow unite Jonathan & Sara. If you don't give much thought to the improbability of the story, you will definitely enjoy this.

Many of you may disagree with my rating, but it's like a first love to me where the good things always appear magnified & the faults diminished.

Love to hear what you have to say about Serendipity, http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com/
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Horizon: Most of Our Universe Is Missing (2006)
Season 42, Episode 15
8/10
An interesting episode from BBC Horizon
17 April 2010
Most Of our Universe is Missing is another episode in the long lasting series BBC Horizon. This episode is narrated by Academy Award nominated actor Sir Ian Holm.

I will give a brief intro about what this episode deals with.

Do you know that around 96% of our universe is missing? And I'm not talking about the vast emptiness that we see. All the galaxies with stars, planets & other debris that you see has a total mass of only 4% of our universe.

Prior to 1970, everything in our universe is accounted for. Or that is what most people thought. But in the 1970s Prof. James Peebles & Prof. Jeremiah Ostriker, who were working on the stability of the galaxies & universe, found that with the notions of total mass existed at that time, the stability of the galaxies is difficult to achieve. They were thinking of some missing matter that is unknown to us & they came to know that forty years earlier Prof. Fritz Zwicky had the same ideas about missing matter. Thus our Dark Matter was discovered in theory. But the problem for others to accept this is that neither dark matter could be seen nor it was discovered practically. So, many of the others dismissed it as speculative.

The key breakthrough was given by Dr. Vera Rubin. At that time when most of the cosmologists are working on blackholes, she was working on the rotational curves of galaxies especially the outer parts of galaxies. You see, generally the farther a body is from a heavy object, the weaker the gravity & the lesser the speed. For e.g., in our solar system, Sun exerts more gravity on Mars than Pluto. The greater the gravity, the more the speed of the rotating body. So the speed of Mercury is larger than Pluto. If Pluto has a speed of Mercury, it will escape Sun's gravity. By the same principle, the stars at the end of the galaxy should have very slower speeds compared to stars at the center of the gravity. But Vera Rubin found that the stars at the end of the galaxy have almost the same speed as other stars. So something else was helping them & this was a massive shot in the arm for dark matter. In fact it is established now that not only the stars but Hydrogen clouds at the end of galaxy are also travelling at the same speeds.

So why is it difficult to find dark matter. The reason is that although it has mass, it is not made up of atoms. In a simple line, it is everywhere but can't be seen (atleast until now). Many scientists are trying to find a particle called as neutralino which might be the dark matter. In fact there is a group led by Prof. Tim Sumner who have been working for the past 16 years to find this. Hope they will soon crack this.

The episode also shows some of the view points of the doubters of the dark matter theory. A key person among the sceptics is Prof. Mordehai Milgrom. I've included his screenshot (http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com) because I love people who question authority. You would be bewildered if I say what he is questioning. He is actually questioning Newton's gravity laws for very very heavy objects such as galaxies. The beauty of science is that you may face opposition from your community if you are a rebel & contradict the existing rules but you are never stoned to death nor you are scorned upon. (I remembered a small incident happened to Prof. Dawkins which I will post at the end of this article). Prof. Mordehai Milgrom has his sound logic too for his arguments.

A few years back it was discovered that our universe is continuously expanding & this requires enormous amounts of energy which is now called as Dark Energy. So we now have a cosmology standard model (pic below) which is being accepted by a vast majority of cosmologists & scientists.

The only part that I disliked in the episode is when they showed that segment related to the computer simulation & the minor debate around the effectiveness of it. That runs for around 6-8 minutes. If they have cut that & instead showed something regarding the current experiments & research being done for dark matter & dark energy, it would have been great.

Coming to the incident which happened to Prof. Dawkins, once when Dawkins was a biology student, his professor has been working upon a research for almost 15 years. But his research was not coming to any conclusions. Then another professor from another place visited his University & gave a seminar on the same research which he has successfully completed. Dawkins' professor's research for the past 15 years has all been wrong. Imagine what you will do when you know that 15 years of your life's work was for nothing. 15 years, people, is an enormous time in a person's life. But Dawkins' professor stood up, went to the other professor & said with tears in his eyes "I'm so proud & glad that you did this & proved me wrong." I've heard this a long time back. So please excuse me if any minor discrepancies have crept above.

Thanks for reading this.
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8/10
Your best family bet this summer
16 April 2010
How to Train Your Dragon directed by Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois is a big budget CGI animation film from the DreanWorks Animation stable.

The story is set around the ancient & mythical Viking land where the glory of a man lies in becoming a dragon slayer. Dragons occasionally raid the Vikings & take the livestock & any other available food which invariably results in a fight. The protagonist of the movie is Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), son of the chief of Vikings (Gerard Butler). As with any other Viking, Hiccup wants to be a dragon slayer but is constantly discouraged by his father because he is 'different' read not muscular. So at one of the dragon raids, when Hiccup injures a most feared dragon called Night Fury, no one believes him. He goes to the adjacent woods to find & kill it, but when the time comes he couldn't do it because he realizes that it is as much afraid of him as he is of it. So he releases it & an unlikely friendship is forged. Gradually Hiccup finds that dragons are not harmful unless provoked & he tries to change the perceptions of Vikings especially that of his father. With the help of his lady love Astrid (America Ferrera), how he achieves his goal & brings peace between Vikings & Dragons forms the rest of the story. By the way, the intro of Astrid is hot, literally. There are enough action pieces & fights with a lot of . The Big Daddy at the climax looked like a hybrid between T-Rex & Archaeopteryx. Imagine a T-Rex breathing fire.

The basic structure of the story is not at all new. In fact after watching the movie, you would feel that you seen this kind of a story a 100 times where a misunderstood teenager/kid meets a misunderstood character/animal - they become friends - with the help of allies they make a difference in their surroundings - you know it. So what differentiates such movies? The characters & the settings which are new in "How to Train Your Dragon" & what more, they are beautiful. The tale is touching with enough thrills to keep you engaging although in the middle, for a few minutes, you feel that the pace has slowed a bit.

As far as animation goes, the level of detail is unbelievable. In fact if there are no animated characters in the movie, you would think that the movie is not animated at all. The shadows & the colours are superb adding amazing depth to the animation. Since it's entrance, Pixar has been walking with major revenues as well as acclaim leaving Dreamworks in its trail. With only Toy Story from Pixar in 2010, this got to be one of the leading contenders at the Oscars 2011. Already this has got the highest score for a Dreamworks Animation film at Rotten Tomatoes. Come on DreamWorks, we need some good competition to Pixar. Bring more movies like this.

All the voice cast is good. I think Gerard Butler is a Viking in his previous birth as his voice somehow suits it well. John Powell's score complements the movie well. Technically a very well made film.

If you are one of those, who felt cheated after watching the 3D versions of Alice in Wonderland & Clash of the Titans, this movie will not disappoint you. I've mentioned in my Clash of the Titans review to not see it in 3D, but How to Train Your Dragon is a movie which you should see in 3D. The movie is also being screened in 2D version but there is no point in seeing this in 2D. Although the 3D is not as superlative as say Avatar, this has some cool scenes & definitely ranks in my all time top 5 3D animation films.

If you have kids or you want to impress kids, take them to the movie & wouldn't regret your decision. They would absolutely love this. In fact I would say this is the best family movie this summer I actually beg you to take your kids to "How to Train Your Dragon" if you haven't already done so. Since I'm stressing on kids, don't think that this is not for adults. If you have a kid some where in you, you would enjoy this.

Love to hear what you thought about the movie or my review, http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com/
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Horizon: Do You Know What Time It Is? (2008)
Season 45, Episode 5
10/10
An immensely funny and interesting programme
14 April 2010
"What Time Is It?" asks Prof Brian Cox at the end of the BBC Horizon program "Do you know what time it is?"

Some of the answers given by physicists are

Prof Irwin Shapiro: That depends. Are you talking about Universal time? Are you talking about Eastern time? Prof Steven Beckwith: It's 13.7 billion years. That's what time it is. Dr Dennis McCarthy: It's not an easy question to answer. Dr Fay Dowker: A great time to be a physicist. Prof Saul Perlmutter: Just about time to go home & have dinner. Prof Max Tegmark: It's a great question although some great questions actually turn out to be trick ones. Prof Neil Turok: The time today is something we have no idea about. Prof Brian Cox: We might not be in a position at this moment in time with our current understanding of nature to even understand what it is that we are asking.

& the greatest answer of all

Prof Dr Amar V: See the bottom right of your monitor if you are reading this in Windows OS. If you are using other OS change it to Windows & then see the bottom right corner. (Oh commooooon, I took a lot of time for this line & my effort deserves at least a smile.)

In this BBC Horizon program, Prof Brian Cox meets various physicists & tries to explain several questions such as what is time, how is it calculated accurately (quasar, atomic clock), is it even possible to calculate it, etc,. Along the journey to find answers, Einstein's General Relativity & Quantum Physics are also slightly brushed.

This is a very very interesting & fun programme from BBC Horizon. The graphics are very impressive & editing is good. There are some cool scenes such as the one where Brian is shot with an ultra slowmotion camera or the one showing Hubble space telescope's picture of our universe when it is only 700-800 million years old. I felt very thrilled seeing that early universe picture.

A highly recommended program. If you got any time to spare, google this title & watch it unless you hate physics or astronomy.
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9/10
one of the better crime mysteries that you will see
14 April 2010
The movie is rated R with nudity & some violence.

In "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" directed by Niels Arden Oplev, is adopted from the 1st book of the hugely popular "Millennium Trilogy" series written by Stieg Larsson. Spare a thought for Larsson because he died before any of the trilogy books were published. The movie is the biggest ever Scandinavian movie & the highest grossing movie of Europe in 2009. There are 2 more sequels to this film which have been already released in Sweden & will be released in U.S in the coming months. I didn't read the novel but as the movie is gradually unfolding, you can actually feel like reading the book. The literal translation of the Swedish title is Men who hate Women.

Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) is a retired former head of a business empire as well as the head of a big dynasty. 40 years ago his niece Harriet has disappeared & her body was never found. Henrik, for whom Harriet is like a daughter, is convinced that she is murdered by some one from his own family & he employs a tainted journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) to find the murderer. Mikael gets an unlikely partner in the form of the antisocial computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) who is fighting some demons from her own past. They form an unlikely detective pair & together they must find the murderer before they themselves became the target.

For a movie to be a good crime thriller, in my opinion, you need good screenplay & editing along with great story & performances. DEcent music doesn't hurt either. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a perfect package of all the above.

The plot is not as simple as I've mentioned above. There are many layers to the story. Characters in the movie are not some simple caricatures but are filled with real meat & flesh. Michael Nyquist as the disgraced journalist has done a very good job. All the supporting cast are good.

But the performance of the movie goes to the girl with the dragon tattoo Noomi Rapace. Hers was the toughest job. She played the role of a young woman who has been abused since childhood by society & most of the people that she knows. So she develops a kind of apathy towards the society. Even when she finally finds a man whom she loves, her troubled past means she can't trust him. Also she is afraid to take the next step & can't express her love. Lisbeth Salander is one of the more complex characters that you will see this year. In an interview Rapace said that she knows Lisbeth in & out. It shows in her performance. After the movie I googled Noomi Rapace & I was astonished with the difference between the real Rapace & reel Lisbeth. If I give you the pictures of Rapace & Lisbeth, you would think they are completely different persons. A double thumbs-up for Rapace. Of late, I've heard that some idiots are remaking this. Whoever takes her role has a really huge shoes to fill in.

Nikolaj Arcel & Rasmus Heisterberg have done a good job in adopting the screenplay to the big screen. Anne Østerud has done an exceptional job with the editing. With appropriate background score & good cinematography the movie was very well made.

Niels Arden Oplev has handled the 150 min movie very well without letting loose the grip anywhere. Of course the screenplay definitely helped him.

I was dangling whether to give this 8 or 9 but since I'm not witnessing the release of many good crime mysteries these days, I went with a 9. Without a doubt, this will be one of the best crime mysteries that you will see this year.

For more reviews visit http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com/
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Date Night (2010)
8/10
There was not a single dull moment & the grin never left my face.
12 April 2010
Date Night is directed by Shawn Levy whose previous credits include The Pink Panther & Night at the Museum movies amongst others.

I've been waiting for this movie for quite sometime & the movie didn't disappoint me at all. There are many good things about the movie. First & important one is that Tina Fey & Steve Carell are absolutely perfect as the bored couple. As the Fosters, they are made for each other. Performances of everyone involved in Date Night are pitch perfect. Like the scene at their initial date night where Tina Fey looks for a second at a kissing couple & her expression says everything about their current relation. In fact every time a new character enters, rest assure laughs guaranteed. The whole intro scene of Mark Wahlberg is super funny. I didn't know that James Franco was in the movie. His & Mila Kunis part & that whole scene was one of the best parts of the movie. There was one good lengthy action piece involving two cars attached to each other.

Even in the scenes which are supposed to be calm, the leads made sure that there is not a dull moment with their earnest performances. Their conversations come through honest & interesting in serious scenes & absolutely funny in the comic scenes. Credit & thumbs-up to both director Shawn Levy & the writer Josh Klausner.

The only bad thing about the movie was that based on the promos I thought this would be a romcom with slight action but this turned out to be an actioncom with romance. Might be my fault to have a wrong expectation. In an Indian movie, generally you have an interval around the 75 minute mark. Date Night runs for around only 85 minutes & I felt the movie was over in 40 minutes which shows how much I enjoyed it.

Oh, I forgot to mention the line which was in every headline about the movie. There is a talk that without this line you can't mention Date Night. Here it comes. Mark Wahlberg has no shirt in the movie. Now my review is complete. You want to target teenage girls. Make Taylor Lautner shed his shirt. You want to attract young women. Make Wahlberg shed his shirt. You want to attract old women. Make ________ shed his shirt. You can fill in the blank in the comments.

There was not an yawn inducing moment in the movie & the grin never left my face right from the very first scene to the last kiss scene at the end credits. Gosh! I would love a sequel.

My advice to the couples. Go to the movie. You'll enjoy this unless you hate Tina Fey. Then go to a restaurant & start imitating the people there.

Finally I have a couple of messages. Tina Fey, if you ever read this, I love you (sorry Jeff). Oscar organizers, let Tina Fey be the host next year, pleeeease.
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Jesus Camp (2006)
10/10
If you didn't get a chill out of this, I will stop watching horror movies.
10 April 2010
This is one of the most terrifying horror documentaries that I've seen in the recent past. Leave aside your exorcists, grudges & halloweens. I've seen Gin gwai 2 a couple of days ago & as far as horror is considered, Jesus Camp actually beats it. If this documentary doesn't send even a single chill through your brain, I promise I will stop seeing any horror movies in the future.

A couple of quotes from the documentary.

Becky Fischer: It's no wonder, with that kind of intense training and discipline, that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam. I wanna see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I wanna see them as radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all those different places, you know, because we have... excuse me, but we have the truth!

(If I erase "The Book" from your mind Becky, Where/What is the truth that you are talking about?)

Becky Fischer: I can go into a playground of kids that don't know anything about Christianity, lead them to the Lord in a matter of, just no time at all. They are so usable in Christianity.

(Usable! Since when did Kids became some junk stationary.)

Jesus Camp directed by Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing is a critically acclaimed documentary film which received an Oscar nomination but lost the award to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

In a nut shell the documentary is about a radical summer camp for Evangelical Christian kids run by Becky Fischer who is a Pentecostal children's minister. While showing the various activities being carried out at the camp, the documentary mainly concentrates on three children 13-year old Levi, 9-year old Rachel & 10-year old Tory. It also gives the views (which are very fundamental) of Becky & shows how children are systematically brainwashed into submission to god.

A few minutes into the documentary, I saw my 1st shocking image which is of a 5 year old kid crying while praying. What kind of an intense brainwashing should make a child do that? When Becky was watching the tape and said the following words about the crying/praying child "She is not in a trance. She is well aware of what is going on. She is just hooking up with the spirit", I really wanted to cut Becky's tongue. I mean, Come on! What does a 5 year kid know about spirit? What does she know about sin or deliverance? My foot. You actually have to see the documentary to know how the above mentioned 3 kids talk & think. Their views & thoughts are unbelievable for a person of that age. Another disgusting image is the distribution of small plastic pieces of unborn fetuses to children. You can see how far they are going in order to destroy the minds of kids. In the righteous government scene, I dearly hoped for one of the kids to use the given hammer & broke the head of that idiot instead of a cup.

If you are thinking that I have something against Christianity, you are wrong because I follow no religion & more importantly I think every person on the planet is related to every other (including me) albeit by a distance.

One more reason the documentary was so shocking for me is that while watching it I couldn't stop thinking about the simple yet systematic brainwashing of kids that happens in every home of every religion of every country. Is only radical brainwashing dangerous? I think indoctrination of any kind is harmful because no matter how much you shout that your particular belief system teaches "love everybody", at the end of the day it only acts as another layer of separatism among people.

See my other short note regarding the same subject. - http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com/2010/04/no-title-for-this- post.html

After the release of Jesus Camp, that summer camp was closed. But you really have to think above a single summer camp because this is not the question of a summer camp. This is the question of corruption of a young mind which happens in most of the homes.

I have another thing to say. People, WE are in a right time of human history where we can see what is true & what is false. In 1800 a.d there is not much against religion to disbelieve. If I was born then, I would have been a strong believer. In 2200 a.d, there will be nothing going for religion & very few will be believers. But 2010 is at the centre, with the choice in your wise hands or should I say wise brains.

This would be a sample conversation in 2200 a.d Person ABC: I always had this doubt. Person XYZ: What doubt is it ABC? Person ABC: I can understand that people of 1800 or before are strongly religious because they didn't know much about say evolution, astronomy or germ theory. But how can most of the people of early 21st century, with all the knowledge at their disposal, couldn't take a proper decision? What were they afraid of? Person XYZ: Oh ya, I too am having the same doubt.

On a finishing note, If someone's sentiments are hurt by this or my previous post, I'm absolutely unapologetic. Once again Please don't brainwash your kids. They are your responsibility not property. If you are unable to come out of your blind beliefs, it's fine but at least spare the kids.
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The Eye 2 (2004)
6/10
You will get your money's worth
9 April 2010
An important observation regarding the title is that there is absolutely no relation between the movie & the title. I felt cheated because going by the title, I thought this movie has some connection with Gin gwai/The Eye which was one of my favourite movies. Since the first movie was a hit, just to cash on the success, the directors Pang Brothers named this movie as a sequel but the story is completely new one. Since the story isn't bad at all, they should have kept an independent tile. The second thing which I hated immensely was the background score in the 1st half. Random usage of heavy music was actually distracting although in the 2nd half the situation improved. As a whole I would say job not well done as far as background score was considered.

The movie stars Shu Qi (from The Transporter) as the depressed lover of a married man. Feeling that she is being rejected/neglected by him, she attempts suicide but is saved in time & finds that she is pregnant. She also begins to see dead people especially a dead woman who keeps on stalking her. She believes that this woman is after her unborn child. Who is this woman? Why is she after her baby? Does what she is seeing are really ghosts? Catch the movie to find the answers.

The movie initially seems to be a simple routine horror flick but as it goes towards the climax, it tries to go into the realms of psychology. In fact the movie scores with its intelligently woven structure. The good thing about original Asian horror including this movie is that they have very good stories. The movie belongs completely to Shu Qi. She is present in almost every frame of the movie & the movie is completely dependent on her. She does a very good job.

The main purpose of a horror thriller is giving some scares & Gin gwai 2 has a few chills packed neatly. All in all a decent attempt. I would have given slightly better rating had the makers not cheated me (I am still angry) by giving a false title to the movie.

If you like horror movies, go for this. You will get your money's worth.
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6/10
An opportunity wasted
3 April 2010
The first thought that came to mind after watching Clash of the Titans was What an opportunity wasted!

Now the movie isn't bad by any means & is an easy one time watch. But it could have been so much more.

The Greek mythology is as rich as the Hindu mythology. Titan is the term for god in Greek mythology. Although the Greek gods are nothing more than a myth now, it would be wise to know that once upon a time they were thought to be real & a great civilization has worshipped them for centuries. There are many wonderful stories in Greek mythology & the story of Perseus, son of Zeus (Zeus like our Indra is the head of gods) is one of them.

Based on the heroics of Perseus, Clash of the Titans was first made in 1981. With the current advances in visual effects, it's a nobrainer to remake it & so we have the current movie directed by Louis Leterrier starring Sam Worthington (Avatar fame) as Perseus, Liam Neeson as Zeus, Ralph Fiennes as Hades (god of underworld & brother of Zeus), beautiful Gemma Arterton as Io (kind of guardian angel to Perseus), Alexa Davalos as Andromeda (princess of Argos) among others.

The movie starts with a brief intro of current Titans & the rescue of baby Perseus floating in a coffin by a fisherman. How & why the son of a god was floating in the sea was narrated later in the movie. For now he grows as a simple man. When soldiers of the city Argos destroy a statue of Zeus thus declaring war on gods, Hades kills most of them & the family of Perseus who were just passing by. Remaining soldiers capture Perseus & take him to Argos. Hades appears at Argos & warns that if they don't sacrifice princess Andromeda in 10 days he will release Kraken (kind of huge monster with tentacles) on to the city. Although initially perceived as an enemy, Perseus was released by the king of Argos seeing his anger towards the gods & realising that they need him to defeat Kraken. Io who has been watching Perseus all his life advises Perseus to defeat Kraken. So Perseus & a small group of soldiers start their adventurous journey in which they face a lot of CGI enemies including the snake haired Medusa which finally ends with the defeat of Kraken & Hades being sent into the underworld.

By the way, I always thought that Pegasus was white. Is it really black or white? Any Greek scholars reading this, clarification would be much appreciated. And why is Worthington having a military haircut? It suits well for Avatar or Terminator. But it is awkward with the skirts that he wears in the movie.

Louis Leterrier's previous movie was The Incredible Hulk which I enjoyed immensely. Unfortunately he could not replicate the same here. At the end of it, Clash of the Titans is nothing more than a few action set pieces. If you only concentrate on the action sequences leaving aside proper story & character development, you can't have a die-hard or an incredible hulk. 300 was an exception but it was very stylish & it works once. Perhaps Clash of the Titans should have been made by a better suited director for fantasy genre.

This is the 3rd heavy budget action flick in the last 2 years for Worthington after Terminator & Avatar. He is alright as Perseus. Liam Neeson in that silver costume & beard was highly misfit in the role of Zeus. But I think he would superbly fit into the role of Lincoln which by all means Spielberg is going to direct in future. Ralph Fiennes is perfect as Hades & I guess his experience as Voldemort has helped him. I couldn't stop thinking about Deathly Hallows. I have a thing for British actresses & Gemma is very beautiful in the role of Io.

All the technical aspects including cinematography & visual effects are very good. The action pieces are good & you will get your money's worth if you see this in 2D.

I saw the movie in 2D although it is also released in 3D. There are 2 types of 3D movies. The 1st type are the ones which are actually shot using 3D technology. Avatar or Up or The Final Destination falls into this category. The 2nd type are the ones which are shot normally but are converted into 3D in post processing at the last minute by the greedy studios in order to increase the collections as 3D tickets cost more. Clash of the Titans falls into this category. So 3D viewing is unnecessary & you are not going to miss anything if you watch this in 2D. An extra benefit is that you will save money.

It feels a little painful when what could have been a potential classic was made into an average popcorn flick. If you like action movies see Clash of the Titans but I don't expect you to remember the movie after a while.

See more of my reviews at http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com/
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Varudu (2010)
4/10
A Great disappointment
2 April 2010
Before giving my review, How can any idiot give a 10/10 for this s**t. I too am a fan of Allu Arjun & because of that I feel it is my duty to properly critique the movie so that the mistake isn't repeated in future. Don't give exaggerated ratings to your favourite actors. Similarily you give 1/10 to a movie if the movie was so bad that you either want to murder the makers or you want to commit suicide. If neither is the case, don't give 1/10 to any movie.

Fine. Where should I start?

Gunasekhar came across an interesting plot point - "What if during an arranged marriage the bride & the groom decide to not see each other until the last moment of tying the knot". He doesn't know what to do next with this point. So he goes in every direction north, south, east & west, searching for all the available movie clichés. He puts all those into a movie assuming that audience are going to watch anyway since your hero is a top star & finally what will you get. Presto! you have the worst movie of Allu Arjun's career "Varudu".

In a recent interview, Allu Arjun said, "Gunasekhar narrated me the story in 2 minutes and I liked 4 scenes narrated in that 2-minute narration". After watching Varudu, I was left wondering what those 4 amazing brilliant wonderful scenes were.

See http://amarsmoviejournal.blogspot.com/ for more reviews.

I generally hate when people go late to a movie. But you can safely skip the first 30 minutes of Varudu as nothing happens there. The usual 'friends of hero' elevating him to 'god among humans' status, hero intro scene where he has gravity defying powers, a hero solo song to highlight his dance. All the routine fare.

There is absolutely no comedy in Varudu. You may find some comedy settings but all are forced situations & I would be surprised if anyone has more than a couple of laughs. I smiled only twice in the whole movie. Watching Brahmi (my nickname for Brahmanandam) never felt so tiresome for me.

The movie is written by Gunasekhar & Thota Prasad. While writing, don't they even think for a second about who speaks such bunkum dialogue in real life. Perhaps the friends & family of the writers. Too melodramatic for even reel life.

I could see a few people banging their heads during that whole scene after heroine's kidnap. I mean just imagine you are the bridegroom & your bride is kidnapped & you are sitting at the mandap and the relatives are advising you to marry another girl. Add to this an amazing lecture from an old man about relation between science & wedding rituals.

I had to specially google to see who is the editor for this movie. It is Mr.Anthony & he has done editing for some very good movies which include Kaaka Kaaka & Ghajini. The editing in Varudu is rubbish with so many abrupt cuts tampering the flow. Suddenly lorry chases the hero from nowhere & after a while hero chases lorry only to be crashed by another lorry. From where does this scene come & where does this go. I can't believe that an experienced editor would have made such rough cuts. I some how suspect that Gunasekhar definitely interfered with him.

It would be a sin not to mention the graphics. What is the purpose of graphics? My understanding is that it is to show some difficult action or scene as really as possible. If this purpose isn't achieved, why use graphics & make the whole scene ridiculously fake?

The climax fight (inspired from X-Men Origins: Wolverine) is one of the worst I've seen. Unless you loan your brain to somebody, the fight is a torture.

The actors include Allu Arjun, newcomer Bhanu Mehra as the heroine, Tamil hero Arya as the villain, Suhasini, Ashish Vidyarthi, Sayaji Shinde, Nassar, Naresh, Brahmi, Ahuti Prasad, etc,. The performances are average with nothing special to boast. In fact some of them are over the top by a mile. I dearly wished for the heroine's mother to have a heart attack in her first scene. Would have saved some agony. Allu Arjun gives a good performance but the almighty dialogue doesn't suit him. Heroine's intro is very unique & novel. She does her job & suits the role. Arya as villain is good but again the dubbing lip sync should have been better.

The music is average at best. We've seen better from Mani Sharma. Devi Sri has given good music for Allu Arjun in the past. Why am I sensing an interference here from Gunasekhar? Nothing super special in dance department too. Arjun being one of the most gifted dancers in Tollywood delivers what is expected of him.

Taking a break from bashing, the only delightful sequence in the movie is the 2nd song "Bahusha Vo Chanchalaa". It is beautifully shot with some great looking art work. After that song, my next delight was when I saw 'Subham' at the end.

After Arjun, Sainikudu & this, somebody should really beat Gunasekhar with a hammer.

There are only two sets of people who might watch this in a theatre. The first set are Allu Arjun die-hards. The second set are miserable people like me whose mother tongue is Telugu but live in foreign places (I live in Mumbai) with no Telugu neighbours & a Telugu movie is the only way to hear nonstop Telugu for 2 1/2 hours and I suppose this is enough Telugu for a sentence.
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9/10
One of the best Bollywood movies from the recent past
2 April 2010
Love, Sex aur Dhokha (LSD) is the 3rd movie directed by Dibakar Banerjee after the hit comedy Khosla ka Ghosla & the entertaining Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. All the actors were newcomers. The movie is produced by Ekta Kapoor ((who, if you are an Indian you would know, is responsible for the daily psychological torture of millions of Indians (mostly males)).

The movie has 3 stories each representing a part of the title. All the 3 stories are shot in a voyeuristic manner. The first story deals with a richgirl-poorboy love story & is shot from the perspective of a hand-held amateur video camera. Most of the humour in LSD is in the first story. The base for the second story is MMS sex clips & is shot from a CCTV camera angle. The third one is about the casting couch & is filmed mainly through the view point of a sting/hidden camera. Although the 3 stories are independent of each other, the characters in the 3 stories are connected. The film itself is non linear in nature as the three stories are running simultaneously.

I generally like innovative opening credits & LSD starts with interesting title sequence. So I advise not to miss the opening. All the actors have done very good job especially considering that this is their debut. Another good thing about LSD is that it has no songs save for one along the end credits. Background score, although not spectacular, isn't bad either. As mentioned earlier traditional camera isn't used here. So the movie is a little grainy at parts & may take a few minutes to get used to.

The end to the 2nd story is a bit forced. Some clarity & development was necessary for the motives of Rashmi for what she does at the end. Also the third story appears a little contrived at parts. Apart from these minor glitches the movie was very well written.

Dibaker Banerjee has tackled a very dangerous & taboo subject in a superb manner. Full marks to him. Bollywood is lucky to have directors like him, Anurag Kashyap & Vishal Bhardwaj.

LSD is a very disturbing movie to say the least. The director has ventured into a risky territory but the movie is definitely worth the risk. Most of the people are not wired to acknowledge the perils of the society that they live in. Generally people tend to ignore & forget the evil or loathsome deeds that they see or hear as soon as possible. They tend to live in their own fantasy lands forcing themselves that all is well. In fact yesterday the front page headline of Times of India is about a 12 year old girl who was repeatedly raped for the past year by not only her cousin but also by another 7-8 people (including a 65 year old man) in her locality. For every couple of weeks there is a news report about an honour killing in Haryana. For every official report there are numerous unofficial ones. But very few people remember these things for this pollutes the general feel good factor that they have towards society (read themselves). It is safe to assume that most of the people will forget the above mentioned headline in a very short time. To tackle such realistic subjects needs a lot of courage. The whole team of LSD should be applauded for their effort.

To remove any apprehensions regarding the word sex in the title, there are no explicit sexual scenes in the movie. A special note regarding the back drop of first story. Actually the love story in it was supposed to have a caste based divide. But the great Indian Censor Board (which doesn't even have a working website & which probably has a rating system from the Ashoka era) has objected to this & forced to change the caste divide into rich-poor divide. A double thumbs-down to the Indian Censor Board. With the caste background the first story would have been more gritty & genuine.

This is the kind of movie where a viewer doesn't have any midway opinion after watching. You either like it immensely or abhor it. I for one am in the former category. Irrespective of what your peers say, I strongly recommend you to watch Love, Sex aur Dhokha at least once.
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