movie reviews...and more
without giving the movie away
Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety,
Pradeep has rated 10 movies,
and has posted 47 comments.
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moviebhakt and jj: The review is very clear about the fact that the film is terrible, the writing is terrible, the music is terrible, the VFX are terrible, the regressive manner in which women are treated is condemnable, the direction is slipshod, so please don't waste your time on it. My ratings confirm the same. Anything else in particular you were looking for? Do let me know, I'd be more than happy to comment.
@jj: I did watch Drishyam. I thought it was a highly mature attempt; especially when I compare it to Jeethu Joseph's earlier film, Memories, which was also a fair thriller, but where he attempted a bit of flashiness. And of course, Mohanlal sir was terrific. Haven't watched 1983 though. Worth a watch?
If this film is a frame by frame remake of the original, Thuppakki - which it probably will be, because Murugadoss has directed both - then I can tell you that it is a story that had potential, but was written out and treated so moronically that I suffered from temporary brain damage. At least the Tamil film had Vidyut Jamwal as villain, and he has a magnetic screen presence. The villain of the Hindi remake seems like a softie in comparison.
@TimELiebe: Sherlock is my favourite fictional character of all time. I've read the complete collection over and over and over again. I don't mind adaptations, but this one was quite a travesty!
Off the top of my head there aren't very many good Holmes adaptations here. Can't think of any mediocre ones either. But have you ever watched an old TV series called Byomkesh Bakshi? Not quite Holmes, but definitely India's most famous on screen detective!
@Mahesh Mohan: Thank you for reading, and for the detailed comments. You make some interesting points there. Yes, I do like how Marvel seems be working on so many things all at once, and all interlinked in the way they are. Agents of SHIELD is definitely on my list of things to watch soon.
As far as the superficial bit is concerned, I was talking specifically of the espionage angle to the plot. As a theme, it is extremely relevant to the world we live in today, but it was used as merely a plot device. Not a problem, really, because obviously the film is set in the Marvel universe, where the characters are more important. But still, perhaps there could have been a way to make it have more heft. Just a thought.
I must say, finally, that these films make their billions from primarily the general audience, so reviews of the film must be aimed primarily at them. That's my personal thought while reviewing films based on iconic books or characters, which everyone may not be exposed to.
@Divya: Glad you enjoyed the film, and thank you for the kind words on the review!
@guddu: I suppose it was my loss, then, that not once did the film intrigue me with any suspense. All the twists were quite predictable, right at the outset. Also, the handling of the Winter Soldier aspect was exceedingly disappointing.
As far as the action is concerned, there is no such thing as CGI-less action in big studio Hollywood productions anymore. They don't shoot any of their action, no matter how it is, on live locations. It is all shot on a chroma soundstage, with background plates, and VFX embellishments added later. I did mention that some of the scenes were imaginatively executed, however, so I suppose those were the ones you liked.
Chris Evans' performance was superb, I agree. I didn't mention it specifically, because this is his fourth turn as Captain America (if you include his bit appearance in the Thor sequel), and third full role as Cap. He's been solid all throughout, and has grown with the character each time.
For me The Avengers, the first Thor film, and the Iron Man trilogy in totality are a wee bit better than this film. More importantly, in terms of story and setting, the first Captain America itself was a notch higher than this one, even though this film ranks way higher as far as scale and execution is concerned.
I completely agree, however, that this film is actually good fun on the big screen. Just that there have been Marvel films that were equal or more fun than this one.
@Anup: You know, I'm glad that you could connect with the character of Solomon Northup. Because I was under the impression that you need to be American; to actually feel a little bit of the devastating effects of racism and slavery, to feel for him. I guess this proves that, on some level, the story is universal.
As far as Django Unchained is concerned, the two are very different films, to be compared. True, both talk about slavery. But then Tarantino's point wasn't so much the slavery as it was the story of Django itself. The two films just can't be compared, in my view, even though on the surface it feels like they both talk about slavery.
I suppose the real reason I was a tad disappointed by this film is the fact that Steve McQueen chose a more vocal narrative than he usually does. 12 Years a Slave isn't a bad film at all. I wish he had stuck to his own style while narrating, that's all. But then, I've always maintained - saying that a director's 'choice' is wrong, is the wrong approach to studying and understanding cinema!
PS - I hope you've watched Steve McQueeen's Shame. If you haven't, then I highly recommend it. So silent, but so powerful. It is one of the reasons why I like British filmmakers a little bit more than American ones, in general.
Anuj, Adam and the rest: Umm... Just so everyone is aware, I'm to blame (or otherwise) for that review of YJHD, because I wrote it. And if I read it objectively, I think it is the most balanced review of the film that you can find on the internet. The key flaws have been pointed out, the key strengths have been highlighted, and a larger conclusion in context with the filmmaker's earlier work has also been included.
Anuj, Adam and the rest: Just so everyone is aware, I'm the author of that review of YJHD. And now that I have some distance between myself and that review, if I read it objectively, I think it is the most balanced review of the film that you can find on the internet. The key flaws have been pointed out, the key strengths have been highlighted, and a larger conclusion in context with the filmmaker's earlier work has also been included.
@Samir: To each his own, I guess. I felt that it was the mature, staid handling of the story that set it apart from a usual thrillfest. There was always something happening, even in the calmest, most bland-seeming scenes.
@TimELiebe: Well, yes. The film is unusual, and if you like experimenting with the kind of cinema you watch, then you could give this a try.
Also, I must say I'm extremely intrigued by this 'Bollywood movie watching group' you keep referring to. I'd love to hear more about it! So, what is the general consensus on the favourite Hindi movie of the group?
(On another note, I'm one of those who finds the term 'Bollywood' extremely uncomfortable to use. You'll never hear me ever type or say that word on my own. I used it here because you use it to refer to your group.)
@Samir: Thank you for the feedback on the review. Yes, you hit the nail on the head there. The film just does not induce you to take that leap of faith. Also, I hope you spotted my reference to one of the films you mentioned in the last line of my review. :-)
@TimELiebe - Hello, Tim! Trust all is well. :-)
I unfortunately haven't watched CQ yet, but your description of it has me intrigued.
As far as Tasher Desh is concerned, the film is nothing like CQ. Review will be out soon, so please do read it! :-)
Considering the reviews Pacific Rim got, as well as the genre and promos of the film, I think it did dismal business in India. In fact, The Wolverine picked up about 15 Cr in its first week in India, which is more than Pacific Rim's total India collection. Even the US BO of Pacific Rim was quite disappointing, I think. If it wasn't for its decent international performance, they wouldn't have spent even a second thinking about a sequel!
@TimELiebe - Considering the global target audience of a typical big Hollywood film, I think Cumberbatch is a far more powerful name worldwide. I mean, for all the talk of SRK being called the biggest star in the world - by someone like Harvey Weinstein, no less - the fact remains that SRK is known throughout the world because there are so many Indians and South Asians throughout the world. But Benedict Cumberbatch has become an exciting name post Sherlock and the mere fact that he's playing Smaug in the Hobbit films. The average American, Britisher, Frenchman or Chinese, I'm sure, wouldn't have the faintest clue who Shahrukh Khan is.
@Anuj: Just notice your interesting comment. But I guess he doesn't really have to look, talk and have a physique like a Sikh. He just has to look, talk and have a physique like Mr. Milkha Singh. I think he has done a commendable job of matching the physicality of Milkha Singh. The promos suggest a striking resemblance. Also, Farhan is known for being a method actor who devotes himself entirely to the characters he plays. So the film might just be a decent watch.
@Jeevan Kuruvilla: Glad to be of service, Sir. Please do visit more often for review of all the latest films!
@Luke: Once again, I must thank you for asking me such pertinent questions, which I don't have the liberty to elaborate on in my reviews due to space constraints.
To begin with, I'm surprised that you've never heard people complain of 3D glasses being an impediment while watching a film. My perspective on this, and indeed many will agree, is that certain kinds of cinema - big action films or films where framing and composition use a lot of depth - lend themselves better to 3D. The point of The Great Gatsby - the text - isn't the decadence of America in the 1920s which was shown so magnanimously in the film. Rather, it was the fact that it was the story of ever-hopeful, almost naive love from a man who is in the midst of it. When you read the book, you don't take away the spectacle of America; you take away rich, descriptive prose and emotional heft of Gatsby's love. When the emotions are so intense and personal, a pair of heavy glasses that you aren't used to wearing either in real life or while watching a film acts as a barrier. I'm amused that you find this statement 'ridiculous'. Well, to each, his own.
The larger question I beg to ask here is, is there any absolute rule that points to what constitutes an epic? Is it the number of pages? Is it how many characters, how many countries and how many years a story spans? Or can even a single word constitute an epic? I'll tell you my personal take on this. My favourite word in the English language is, 'always'. That word, in the right context, to me, is epic. Why I find it 'epic' is a discussion for another day. The point I'm trying to make is, Fitzgerald's text is so descriptively rich, so layered with perceptible texture & flavour, and, at times, so disarmingly deep that it takes careful deconstruction of its narrative to know what lies at the core of the book. Is the book about how Carraway sees Gatsby? Is the book about how Gatsby actually is? Or is the book really about the fundamental essence of human perception; the fact that each human being is prone to perceiving people, places and events differently, and that every single thought felt by every single human being is bound by subjectivity?
Lastly, I'd also beg to differ on another point you made. A voiceover is NOT a cinematic device. The growth of cinema as an independent art form with its own grammar has largely been stunted because of over-dependence on the rules and devices borrowed from literature, photography and theatre, the last of which is where cinema gets the voiceover 'device' from. I'm not saying that a voiceover instantly makes a film un-cinematic. All I'm saying is that a true cinematic adaptation of The Great Gatsby from text to cinema will only be really successful if the voiceover pitfall can be avoided. It may be a directorial choice, which no one can ever fault, but it is, at the end of the day, the easy way out. If you have to use a voiceover, you can just read out the entire book over a black screen. Even that, to me, would be more avant-garde than Luhrmann's attempt, it's visual grandeur notwithstanding.
Once again, a pleasure.
@Harpreet: I suppose, then, that the question isn't what Amitabh Bachchan is NOT playing, but what he IS playing. He is playing a seedy New Yorker, and that strange accent I was referring to certainly doesn't belong to the streets of New York!
@Luke: Firstly, thank you for your constructive, insightful and pointed critique on my review. It is such criticism that makes it a true joy to write about a film after watching it. I really appreciate it.
Well, I never said it is a screenplay masquerading as a book. I said it is a film masquerading as a book. The two statements are miles apart. I did mention that I haven't read the book, so I don't know how the book is at all. However, if the book didn't have the visual scope that the film suggests it had, and it was merely the emotion behind it that led to what eventually became the film, then I would stand by my statement even more. It is a film masquerading as a book. And rather than merely filming scenes straight from the book, it led to an evolved thought process that eventually became the narrative structure and the screenplay of the film. If anything, it would be an even greater thrill adapting the kind of book that you have described this one to be.
You are completely right about the soundtrack of course. It isn't all Sufi. Just that Mori Araj Suno and Kaindey Ney stayed with me way after the film, and they somehow became the identifying sounds of the film for me. Of course, there is a Sufi flavour to a lot of the portions set in Istabbul and Pakistan, but I shouldn't have suggested that the soundtrack is all Sufi.
Lastly, deep apologies for taking the easy way out and dubbing this film as a Hollywood one, when you are indeed right about the consortium that produced it. That is quite inexcusable, and I'll be more careful about that in the future.
Will really appreciate such criticism on every review, because I've always felt that, like film making, film criticism is an art form in itself that deserves to be critiqued too.
@TimELiebe: Haha! I don't know, but I was so pleased with myself for that corny bit of wordplay. Somehow, it was the only takeaway I had from the film! Did you manage to catch it? What did you think of i?
@Anup - This is by far the best 3D post conversion ever. (That is, converting a film that was originally shot in 2D, into 3D.) The 3D has actually added a lot of depth to the frames. It makes for a great big screen watch. Also, for those who've never seen the original on the big screen, this is an absolute must watch. I can go as far as saying that if you haven't watched Jurassic Park on the big screen, then you haven't watched it at all.
@Mohammed Murtaza Ali - Thank you! Yes, Tarantino does have a flair for paying homage to those genres of films he enjoys. By the way, did you spot Franco Nero, the man who played the lead in Corbucci's 1966 Django? Isn't his last line quite delightfully tongue-in-cheek?
@Madhur - Thank you for your kind words. :-)
@Tim: Also, how is that you only seem to read my reviews of the silly films that I watch? :D How about reading my reviews of Django Unchained and The Master and discussing those as well? :-)
@Tim: Did I like this film? Hahaha... No, not really. Just that Gerard Butler had a couple of funny lines which made me smile. But otherwise, it was pretty idiotic!
@Michael: Great that you enjoyed the film. Somehow, for me, this one just didn't ignite the senses like the first three films did. Even the fourth film was at least a bit of guilty fun. True, a Die Hard film is really all about the badass-ery. But somehow, I guess most people just expected it to match up and were disappointed. Which is why so many people hated it.
Also, I guess it has a lot to do with context as well. Perhaps this film has released at a time when people want to see something other than a big budget franchise film. (This last one is just a personal thought that I'm putting out there, of course.)
I agree more with this review than with the others. I must say that despite the engaging pace and eventual cult status of 'A Wednesday', Neeraj Pandey has done something similar in that film as well - intentionally misusing the medium to fool the audience before giving a final twist. With this film, he has gone the whole hog on that. Special 26 is entertaining, no doubt, and far better than most recent 'entertainers' at that. But there are such huge flaws in the screenplay that the near-universal glowing words of praise showered on it by most critics confounds me.
@Dattaprasad: I'm sorry, I guess in the attempt to use words economically, I made it sound quite silly. What I really meant by 'harmless' is that it is of the kind that anyone who is old enough to understand what is going on while watching a film would have already been exposed, in some way or the other, to what they see in this film. In some way it also means that there will be some sort of subconscious knowledge of the fact that what they are seeing 'should not be seen'. Sorry about that.
@Harpreet: Yes, I agree. I liked that they thought of going into a bit more of Bond this time. I liked Casino Royale, but I still think that Skyfall is the best Bond film in a long, long time. That isn't saying much, since the last two decades have seen very ordinary Bond films.
Having watched the film twice, I can now say that this review is a very well assessed reading of the film and its characters.
The film suffers from problems, of that there is no doubt. And most people will be disappointed in the fact that this one does not 'match up' to its rather illustrious predecessor.
However, in delivering a film that deviates from expectations (as opposed to 'does not meet expectations'), Nolan has done what Nolan does best.
@jj: That is a wonderful idea! We'll definitely try to provide our views on some Malayalam classics.@Schindler: First off, nice name. :) If you are a Mammootty / Suresh Gopi fan, you might be able to tolerate this film. When either of them go, "Pha Pulle!", the cinema hall erupts in cheer! :D