The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta)

US Presidential hopefuls take RVs, Che went on a motorcycle. The point is you need to go on a road trip to become a successful leader of the people

Ee Adutha Kalathu (Recently)

Strange and familiar make an appearance together for the first time in Malayalam cinema and the pair is a hit

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl

Four feisty ladies, upbeat music and a handsome conman. Anushka gets Ranveer. Bollywood gets Parineeti

Das Boot (The Boat)

Best WWII film ever, in fact the best war film ever. In true German fashion, restraint is applied by shooting the entire movie inside a U-boat

Neelathamara (Blue Lotus)

Blue lotus shares the same stature of blue moon in Malayalam, so do good remakes. This one bucks the trend.

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May 30, 2008

Chocolate

An entertainer that does its job. Shafi's Chocolate has the sellable environment of a college campus as the background. That itself calls for young fresh faces and a lot of color, songs and drama. The youthful cast is led by Prithviraj and Roma, with Jayasurya, Salim Kumar and Samvruta Sunil.

Except for premise of the movie, which is about what happens when a guy is admitted to an all girls college, the story is composed of nuances we've seen many times before. But the treatment of the theme, finesse and the technical quality of the final product makes this movie a winner. Prithviraj is sizzling hot and just the right dude for the role. Roma as the female lead for Prithvi is a good choice because she is one of the few who will not wilt away on the screen in the presence of such super-hot co-star. Salim Kumar's dialogs are witty and he acts well although he feels kind of old for goofing around with college kids, but then again our fifty year old superstars do that all the time, then why not Salim Kumar? Some of the old faces from the past make appearance in the supporting cast like Shari and Vanitha.

Only thing I don't understand is why this name? The mention of this dark gooey substance occurs once in a song, which was probably written after name was chosen. Well, you can't have everything. Review: A good entertainer.

May 29, 2008

Naqab



It was supposedly a thriller, but we were laughing the whole time. Our bad. Bobby and Akshaye won't let us have it any other way even when they were seriously 'acting'. About the movie,bah humbug.

May 28, 2008

Blood Diamond

This was one movie I have been waiting to see. My reading habits over the years had ensured that I was enlightened of the truth about diamonds at an early age which cannot be said of the majority of female population in the United States. Blood Diamond is Hollywood's translation of the evil truth behind the 'forever-diamond' for the masses. Hope it was successful in educating atleast some.

The movie is Hollywoodsy in parts, then again Hollywood cannot escape Hollywood. That can be excused when movie is doing a social service. The three main anchors of the story are Zimbabwean white-farmer's son turned diamond smuggler Danny Archer played by Leonardo Di Caprio, the Mende(an African tribe) fisherman from Sierra Leone, Soloman Vandy(Djimon Hounsou) and an American journalist Maddy Bowen(Jennifer Connelly.)

Coincidentally just before this movie landed in my hands, I was reading African novelist Ahmadou Kourouma's book "Allah is not Obliged" , the novel about a child soldier in West Africa. There were parts of the book which were hard to digest, the inhuman transmutation that ordinary children undergo to become child soldiers. The movie shows that it is the reality in the war-torn regions of Africa, portrayed by the ruination of Soloman Vandy's family. Di Caprio is a good choice for these exotic white man roles.

The film makes a not-so-veiled finger-pointing at the diamond giants De Beers, by calling the main diamond merchants with another Dutch name, Van De Kapp. I do not know whether the exaggerated over priced stone that cost millions of third world lives each year will fall from grace in the eyes of dreamy brides in Western world with just one film. But Edward Zwick, hats off to you, you did put some of Hollwood's money in for a good cause. More than what most people do. Review: Go watch it and remember diamonds are forever once you buy them, they have little or no resale value. You can be fooled once, but fooled forever?

May 15, 2008

Pranayakalam


It is often said that the reason Malayalam movies are made with aging superstars is because they are the only ones who can guarentee a return for the producer. With newcomers it is hard to sell the movie to distributors and there is no assurance that it'd succeed at the box-office either. Or you can go the way of Pranayakalam, use the age-old no-fail formula to win Malayali hearts - lead them to the deepest dens of despair and let them howl their heart out for two hours. A truck-load tears, even in these days, even in a movie with new-comers can give a decent run at the box-office.

But that is not all, Pranayakalam starring Ajmal Ameer and Vimala Raman does have its merits. It has a not-much-nonsense life like script, photography and editing are above par and the director Uday Ananthan succeeds in holding all this together in a nice bundle embellished with some good songs. All in all if you have tears to spare, it is a time-pass movie.

May 14, 2008

Khoya Khoya Chand


Welcome to the Bollywood of the Fifties! Khoya Khoya Chand is a peep in to the lost world of India's early dream merchants in the company of the beautiful Zoha Ali Khan. There have been a lot of scathing reviews about this movie, many of them commenting about the lack of acting skills in Zoha, thrust in to a role too big for herself. For me she was perfect. If Mommy Sharmila Tagore was beautiful, Zoha in this film is close to perfection and I fail to see any glitches in her performance (found out just now that she has a Masters in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, wow!) .

Rajat Kapoor, Shiney Ahuja and Vinay Pathak play the male characters. We follow Nikhat(Zoha), an aspiring extra, then an actress in bit parts and finally thanks to Prem Kumar, the mega-star(Rajat Kapoor) she makes it to Bollywood as a leading lady. It is a story about the rise and the times of Nikhat as the Bollywood star, men she get involved with, the prominent among them Zafar(Ahuja) - another Bollywood aspirant like herself, who becomes a famous writer-director later on.

Love the technical perfection of the movie, the sets, the old Bollywood, the costumes, the music, the sepia-sodium vapor lamp tinted era of black and white stars and their hazy, tangled lives behind the screens. Kudos to director Sudhir Mishra.

May 6, 2008

The Last King of Scotland


I was not able to find Forest Whitaker in the movie, all I saw was Idi Amin. The transformation of the actor in to the dictator was so complete that you forgot Whitaker is your familiar Hollywood actor. Wow! The man really deserved the Oscar.

It has an interesting and captivating story. Told from a Scottish physician's(Dr. Nicholas Garrigan played by James McAvoy) perspective it is easier to digest and sell it for a Western audience rather than telling bluntly about yet another African dictator's blood-letting and inhuman saga. It is based on Gile Foden's novel of the same name partially based on real-life events. Review: Good movie, mind-blowing acting.