Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum: Movie Review

The Premise:

Jason Bourne, an ex-undercover-agent for CIA, somehow lost his memory. The CIA is hunting for him, considered a
potential threat for the agency. Why? No idea. He wants to know. He is the hunted and the hunter as well. In the previous installment, CIA guys aimed for him, missed and struck his girlfriend instead. Bourne is determined to unearth his past and find out....Who IS Jason Bourne? ( Sounds like 'Antony kaun hai?', which is a great movie, though I didn't understand anything. Errr.....I digress).

Bourne's enquiries and the things that he accidentally finds out definitely have a high impact on the CIA. There are secrets that shouldn't come out. He is on the run.....and what a run! It takes us across nations. Guns fire, bombs go off, people fall dead around him. At least one thing is sure, he is on the right path.


1) Matt Damon IS Bourne. I love this actor.....underrated may be, but definitely not underachieved. He doesn't falter
anywhere. The looks, the moves, the reflexes....If this isn't a perfect act, I don't know what is.

2) It is a solid movie on its own right. You don't have to watch the other Bourne movies to enjoy this one. Just know the premise and you are all set to be taken for a rollercoaster ride. Oh yes, it is a rollercoaster ride. I mean, the action sequences. (But, I prefer the other kind of rollercoaster - The one they subjected me to in The Departed... Playing the guessing game with the movie-makers and losing it with pleasure....Pure bliss. Err....I digress again)

Coming back to Bourne, the camera work
enhances the realistic action sequences. A car chase, a chase across the roof-tops of Morocco (?); everything just makes u hold your breath. Well, may be not up to the mark that Casino Royale has set. But, still worth your money, and some more.

3) Have to salute the director and the editor. START-ACTION-FINISH. No excess fat in this one.


1) The camera work, that made action-sequences so brilliant, gave cringes in some other scenes. I felt that the trick was a
bit over done.

2) My partner said that the best thing about Bourne series is that it's a believable story...compared to other spy-thrillers.
I wouldn't know about CIA and their work-culture (?!). And I don't care if a movie is pro-CIA or ant-CIA. But, hey, give them some credit man! They are THE Agency, after all. The movie is like...the whole CIA is a bunch of dim-wits. Getting into CIA deputy director's office, taking some top secret documents and getting out of there without any harm??? hmm...we are talking about Bourne...Like Pamela says "This is Jason Bourne, the toughest target that you have ever tracked",right? Right.

3) The dialogues and even some sequences were very predictable. There is even a very-bollywood-style dialogue.....

Bad guy (in car, on cell phone): Perhaps we can arrange a meet.

Bourne (On phone, from Bad guy's office): Where are you now?

Bad guy: I'm sitting in my office.
Bourne: I doubt that.

Bad guy: Why would you doubt that?
Bourne: If you were in your office right now we'd be having this conversation face-to-face.

The sucker for dramatic lines that I am, with glee I cheered along with the whole theatre.

4) For all the shrewdness he displays, Bourne does some extremely stupid things. Like, walking beside a person whom the CIA is following. Well, those CIA agents doesn't recognize him? Well, we know that. The CIA know that. But, how does Bourne know that?

5) The climax: I mean the part where Bourne finds out his felt hastily put together. This is what for all this
time he has been running around?! The feeling: Dud!

MY ADVICE (how I love doing this!):

Drop your work, get the ticket and watch this action packed entertainer.....only in a theatre please.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Code: Movie Review

By the time I got to read Dan brown's The Da Vinci Code, it was already in controversies. But, I didn't know what this hullabaloo was about and just bought it from a road side vendor. It started with a murder and I was hooked. I'm not a huge fan of religious believes in any forms. But I do love to read stories. So, I knew a lil' bit about Christianity and a controversy always thrills me. Telling that Christ was a saint or that Christ was an ordinary human being doesn't hold much difference to me. (Same for any other religious figure)

But, when you bring in a hugely popular belief and thrash it with seemingly solid oh my! How I love it! If a story is presented as a conspiracy theorem, you love it or hate it. But, you sure see it to the end.Yup....Da Vinci Code was a racy read. But, if you can read it without a break, you must be Dan Brown. Because any other mortals would have some doubts and with google just a click away you can always clear it. So, yes. I did some Googling like any other reader. And found that there are a lot of facts, bended facts and lies in this delicious creation. What is fiction with out lies! As long as you aren't thrashing Amitabh Bachchan, anything goes for me.

Should I explain more? The Da Vinci Code holds a special position in my altar of select thrillers. Naturally, I should be waiting with baited breath when the book is made into a movie as everyone knew would be done, right? But, no! From the moment Tom Hanks was announced as the hero of Ron Howard's movie, I lost interest. Don't get me wrong, Tom Hanks is one my favorite actors and ranks very high in my listing. But, as Robert Langdon? Err.....well, doesn't seem right.

So, what's this much talked about story? In entry level the curator of the Paris Museum Louvre is murdered inside the museum. While he was slowly dying he arranges his body like Leonardo Da Vinci's famous work Vitruvian Man. He also manages to leave a coded message with a note that tells to find the famous symbologist Robert Langdon.

Unfortunately the appearance of Mr. Langdon's name in the death note lands him in the wrong list of French police. But, the curator's granddaughter Sophie Navue, who also happens to be an official cryptologist, doesn't think he has anything to do with the murder. In fact, she knows that her grand father had left all these clues so as to reach her and get Robert Langdon's assistance to solve the riddles. What awaits them is a series of tough riddles. What was the curator trying to tell her? Who killed him? What historic/religious secrets did her grand father know?

Now, the story within the story. Heard about Jesus H Christ? World's most popular religion at this point of time, Christianity, happens to have its origins in Christ. Jesus Christ is popularly believed to have lived with out any spouse till his end. The Da Vinci Code makes controversy by playing with the idea that he had a spouse and his successors still exists under camouflage. What's more, his spouse is touted to be Mary Magdalene, who is popularly known as a prostitute who finds peace in Christ. If you don't think this is enough trouble, you are blissfully unaware of how maniacal people can be about religion!

Honestly, if I don't compare the movie with the book (which, no one should in any of such cases) it was an above average Hollywood fare. It is hard to put all those code
breaking, religious symbolisms, crash course in history and a dash of mathematics into a movie. So yes, a lot of editing had to be done.


1. No film maker can adapt a book surpassing human imagination.

2. Tom Hanks doesn't seem much interested in the proceedings. At best, he looks confused.

3. Silas, the serial killer, was one of the best characters in the novel. In the movie his characterization is half-baked.

4. An exciting riddle solving sequence in the book becomes confusing in the movie.

5. Dialogues like "That means you’re related to Jesus" sounds laughable on screen.

6. An average movie-goer will find it difficult to follow the proceedings (Even after reading the book so many times I had a tough time)


1. Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing gives the much needed sprint to the movie.

2. Jean Reno as Captain Bezu Fache gives a well measured, restrained performance.
3. French actress Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu looks noble if not divine.

4. The way historical flashbacks are picturized.....blending past and present....

So, have you seen it yet?

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gangster: Movie Review

It is easy to review a movie, which I liked or hated. (It’ll be tough if I liked it too much). The real tough thing is when I don’t feel either way! Don’t get me wrong. Gangster is a nice movie. I’ll recommend it only for the sake of Shiney Ahuja and some great music. Of course you must have heard a lot about Gangster from the fabulous reviews it is getting.

Aakash (Emraan) loves the georgeous booze-addict Simraan (Kangana). Behind her emotional wreckage is the story of a gangster Daya (Shiney). The Don whom the whole Indian Police is hunting. He meets the bar-dancer Simraan and falls hopelessly in love. The tough criminal starts to love life, an unwanted complication for a gangster. As is the fate, he is always fleeing from the encounter specialists of India. While he is ‘taking care of’ someone in Dubai Simraan is kept safe in Korea where she meets Aakash. The caring Aakash slowly gets into her lonely heart. Thus begins the deception……

It has the Bhatt formula alright – crime, love, deception…….Lust is suspiciously absent, unless you count the song Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai…… Though it’s a love making situation, it is soft and romantic….Open space…..picture perfect landscapes…..maple leaves falling all around the couple….You get the drift.

One reason that Gangster didn’t move me much is the dialogues. Most of them are from Emraan. Then some from Ahuja. Dialogues like I’ll die without you doesn’t hold much appeal to me, though there may not be any better words to describe the feelings. But, for Ahuja’s character, words betray the deep emotions. He could have stayed sans any dialogues and have, may be, a stronger impact on us.

Anurag Basu’s direction is fine. Story and screenplay from the Bhatt-duo is all right. Gangster has a rather soft look than the slick and polished effect I expect from underworld-movies. But this is a love story after all.

Emraan Hashmi’s acting is strictly average. Wearing spectacles doesn’t make him look any less stupid (should have asked me!). Kangana Ranaut is gorgeous, graceful and non-plasticy (what a fresh change!). She has got promising acting skills and played the part of Simraan with élan. But I feel that her character was badly etched. We are supposed feel sorry for her, right?

Now, this space is inadequate to praise Shiney Ahuja. He doesn’t have any dialogues. But he says it all with his eyes and body. I’ve always thought that good actors are those who can cry without being awkward. But, when Ahuja cries it’s awkward and out of character. Yet by that exact awkwardness it is soul-wrenching. One man – Mr. Ahuja. One word – Fantabulous!

The other delicious part of this movie – songs.

Yaa Aaliii…Raham aali……You haven’t heard this song yet? Where the hell are you living yaar? When I first heard this song, I thought it had that Emraan Hashmi style. (Don’t know how to describe it). But once I’ve been through it in the theatre, there is no stopping Shiney Ahuja's intense look coming to my mind whenever I hear it. This man has got some real charisma!

Then there is the ultimate song of my choice, which starts Bheegi Bheegi………

Is it the
words or the tune! Or is it the emotionally charged singing from the Bangladeshi singer James! Or is it just the Ahuja effect!

'Na jaane koi…… kaisi hai ye zindagaani……

Hamari adhoori kahani……’

If you have ever loved, at some point of time you have felt like this. A love that was never meant to be….

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Mistress of Spices: Movie Review

I went to watch Mistress of spices because, will you believe this, Bangalore has become too hot and we needed to be somewhere cool. What better place than PVR ! Aishwarya Rai is an actress (really?!!) I love to hate. (Okay….I loved her in the ad for Nakshatra jewellery). So there were no expectations…but, I still hoped that it would be tolerable.

Here goes the story…..Tilo, as a child, had some magical abilities due to which she was abducted by some bandits. But she somehow escapes and is found in a beach by an old lady and her disciples who take care of her. The old lady teaches her disciples the magical powers of spices and how to use them to help people. After they have learned everything they are sent to far away lands where they will run spice shops and help the local people.

Tilo ends up running Spice Bazaar in San Francisco. She runs the shop and lives by the rules that her teacher had told her to abide by. She should not step out her shop. She should not use spices for her own personal use. She should not touch the skin of anyone else.

Thus goes her life….through which passes a few people with their problems. All this while she is adamant on teaching us the qualities of spices. For example, did you know that blue peppers taken with black jeera would cure you of the obsession of making miserable movies?

Then the ultimate problem comes in the form of an attractive architect Doug. Tilo falls in love and breaks all the divine rules one by one.

Oh! Okay! Even I don’t want to recount this miserably tedious movie.

Plus points: Santhosh Sivan’s cinematography and an instrumental rendition of one of my fav songs aap ke nazron ne samjha pyaar ke kaabil…..

Negatives: Aishwarya Rai and, if you need something more, Dylan McDermott. His acting was as wooden as Aishwarya’s. And ooh yeah…what a chemistry! When they appear together the temperature dropped below zero. You wouldn’t believe that this man is the same one as in The Tenants (I didn’t). May be Aishwarya has that effect on her co-actors.

Don’t even ask me about the director (Paul Berges)….And whoever wrote those dialogues….strangling would be too good for them.

Final warning to the person who decided to make this movie:

Kutte....Kameene.....Mein there khooon pee jaungaaaaa!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

V For Vendetta: Movie Review

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

I couldn't help a feeling of déjà vu as we watched the socio-political-thriller V For Vendetta. After all it isn't long back that Rang De Basanti weaved it's magic over me. Why do we applaud revolutionaries? Is it because they are our alter egos? Is it because they react true to their hearts, in a way we won't dare in real life? I don't know about you guys, but I would rather stay with Bhagat Singh than with Gandhi. Whatever be the majority feelings, bloody revolutions are what works for a movie.

V for Vendetta tells you what is wrong with the world and what the solution might be. No symbolism for this one. The story is set in a dystopian London. It is that time of future when England Prevails and the former super power USA is reduced to a leper colony. More importantly, it is that time of future when England come to resemble the present government of USA, with a few more hard measures added for a better effect. The government keeps the people under control by the stories of impending terrors. It freely snoops around their people.... even the private conversations are not spared. People don't care or they don't dare, as the media keep on feeding them the sensationalized terror stories.

Need I say more? Welcome to London when England is ruled by Chancellor Adam Stutler - A unidimensional, bad character. Minorities are treated without any sympathy. Homosexuals, Muslims, people who dare to voice their opinion.... you are different? You are gone!

When Evey Hammond, employee at a premier telecasting company, walks out during a curfew she is assaulted by two policemen. From the shadows emerges our hero - man in the mask - V. After an impressive and easy-looking fight the policemen are reduced to a bundle and the heroine is rescued. V further impresses her and the viewers with his chivalry and Shakespearean dialogues.

V invites Evey to a music concert at the end of which the London court explodes in a fabulous firework. Confused and horrified, Evey parts way with V. But the person who is going to alter your views and life can never be kept out. Her resistance not withstanding, Evey's life takes a non-returning journey forced by V as he finds a Protégée in her.

We come to learn in bits and pieces that V is a victim of some experiment that the government secretly carried out which distorted him beyond recognition, along with thousands of other people, on a 5th of November. Ah, vengeance! That bittersweet fuel for the act of undoing the wrong. Come to think of it, with out a personal tragedy would anyone care for a revenge?!

V has got a simple and daring plan. On November 5th he will blow Westminster Abbey as wakeup call for the sleeping citizens of England. An act that will pull at least a few roots of the dictatorship. In his journey to this finale, he eliminates a few high ranking, official personnel and is called a terrorist by the government and popular media. Even in the present world, isn't our definition of a terrorist a horribly one-sided one? Think about it and in the mean time watch this movie.

Wachowski brothers (makers of Matrix) did a wonderful job with screenplay. It is fast enough, without making you gasp for air. I heard that it made by a first-time director James McTeigue. If true, I don't have any words to praise him. As for the performances, Hugo Weaving prevails! It might be tough to do any acting when you are always wearing a mask. But, he does! Watch his slightly exaggerated body language. It's amazing what you can convey using only your body. Natalie Portman as Evey becomes dear to you with her always-slightly-confused expression. John Hurt as the hate-mongering Chancellor Adam Stutler is looks bad enough.

V for Vendetta is an elegant movie without any gory scenes. It has enough action, but it doesn't slip into an action-movie-mode. It rather asks a lot of questions. It states a lot of facts. It forces you to view the world as it is with out any rosy glasses. I give it an A+ rating.

PS: To know about the inspiration for V: Read about Guy Fawkes >>

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders...tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." : Herman Goering

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Being Cyrus: Movie Review

Who you let in can change your life!

Being Cyrus is the story of a somewhat crazy guy called Cyrus. Oops! Wait a minute. The movie is full of crazy people. you and me. We 'appear' normal as long as we don't express all our thoughts, right? Well, that is my opinion for the moment.

Important declaration: The readers are requested to think about the characters mentioned here as 'whacko' unless mentioned otherwise.

On an otherwise usual morning in Panchgani, Mr and Mrs Sethna find Cyrus Mistry at their doorsteps. He has come to be an apprentice of Dinshaw Sethna who is told to be a great sculptor, who has become obscure now. Dinshaw lives in his own world and doesn't care a damn about what the world says about him. His voluptuous wife and highly depressed Katy lives in a world of what-if's. Panchgani is an not at all an happening place and her life is restricted the mundane works of home. She deserves better, and she has no doubts about that.

Cyrus merges with this normally crazy family with ease and plays along with Katy's flirting ways. As we move along the other members of the Sethna family, who are living in Mumbai, come into picture. Dinshaw brother Farokh is married to Tina. Think about a marriage between Amjad Khan and Jaya Bhaduri from Sholay, and you got the idea. Farokh is supposed to be looking after their father Fardounjee Sethna, who is said to be a rich man. But under the beast called Farokh the aged Sr. Sethna is living in a hell. On Katy's insisting, Cyrus befriends this old man and the plot thickens, throws some twists, gives you shivers and makes you crazy.

I stop here guys. Watch the movie for the story. Better, watch it for the performances. Watch it to see a beautiful debut from director Homi Adajania.

Really! Do you expect me to rate Naseeruddin Shah?! When he is in a movie no one else is expected to shine. But, they do...We knew that there is more to Saif Ali Khan than Dil Chahta Hai and Hum Tum. What about Ek Haseena Dhi? So, yes. He did it again. Boman Irani is a wonderful actor. And he excells as the darkly humorous Farokh Sethna. Dimple Kapadia did it right. But, I felt that sometimes she overacted. May be its due to the restrained performances from others. Simone Singh was fine. Honey Chhaya as the Sr. Sethna stole my heart. He just made me shudder thinking about getting old and living like a beggar in one's own home.

Being Cyrus is a part psycho, part thriller movie. People looking for an exclusive genre will be disappointed. The background music complemented the feel of the movie. It doesn't look glossy and cozy. So, Karan Johar fans stay away! Go and watch this movie guys. And have a crazy time!

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

One Night @ The Call Centre - A novel by Chetan Bhagat: Book Review

I've been impatiently waiting for Chetan Bhagat's second novel One Night @ The Call Centre. Chetan's first attempt Five Point Someone was a highly enjoyable light-read. So, I had high expectations.

At last the day came and I returned from our neighborhood bookstore carrying a copy of One Night @ The Call Centre. I promptly dumped the Anton Chekov short story collection and started my journey with Chetan (the story starts with a train journey).

I guess, most of you guys have read the teaser published before the launching of the book. So had I. Hence skipped a few pages to where our narrator starts his.....well, narration. For the kind information of all the blockheads and papads out there, One Night @ The Call Centre tells us what happened to a bunch of call center employees during the span of a night!

So, we have a call centre called Connexions where the employees are facing a layoff...all due to a stupid Boss. Then we have a group of agents who have a particular section of the call centre all to themselves: Shyam, Priyanka, Esha, Varun aka Vroom, Radhika and Military Uncle.

This particular 'One Night' our agents don't have much work due to some technical problems in their network. So, they have a lot of time to talk, think, bitch about their stupid boss Bakshi and in general let us know what was happening in their lives till then. All have their own problems and with the layoff looming in the near future, everything looks bleak to our friends.

I'll stop here and let you be 'surprised' if you are really going to read ON@CC. You won't get any insights to what the real call centre agents are facing daily. Its better to ask those night-birds in your friends circle. The book is aimed at the young generation. Supposedly the so-called 'youth' don't have any clear vision, are chicken-hearted and do everything their friends do so as to appear 'cool'. They just want some bucks, don't think about what they really want in life and simply follow the metropolitan culture (whatever it might be!). many arrows!

The message: listen to your heart! Filmy....veryyy filmy. ON@CC has a lot of flaws, which really dampened my reading. I didn't like it as much as Five Point Someone. May be it is the high expectation level. Or may be because I can predict most of the things as everything sticks to the Chetan-style. But, may be you will like it. So, try it. After all its a light-read and costs only Rs.95!

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