Tag Archives: review

Review: Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets


In Space No One Can See You Puke

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

The aliens are awesome. The gadgets could be awesome. The story is valid. But the 'marry me' refrain from a hero to the heroine is so badly done, it overshadows everything. It takes a small character called 'Bubble' played by Rihanna to save the film. A disappointing offering from the great Luc Besson.


Main Review:

AWESOME ALIENS

Love the idea that aliens who could be intimidating in appearance - like the radioactive Marmakas, or the Taglians - are brilliant psychologists and theologists respectively. There are shapeshifter too, and I will elaborate on them in a separate para. Love the introduction to the aliens in the film: the human handshake to aliens who stare at the offered hand then adapt quickly. It's meant to make you smile, but the graphic novels tell more than the film does. The humans are presiding over the council this time around, and the humans want to slap their own ideas of duty and order and chaos... 

The aliens on planet Mül are beautiful, empathic, and live on the beach, giving back to nature what she gives to people with the help of a magical creature called 'Converter'.

One day on their planet, the peace is disturbed by two alien forces who are battling in Mül airspace and their planet is destroyed because one of the aliens uses a weapon that not only destroys the other aliens, but also the planet over which the battle is taking place. Of course the aliens who bomb the planet are humans, who know the planet is inhabited, and still... Of course a bunch of aliens escape and land up on this floating city.  

THE GADGETS ARE AWESOME, THE HERO IS AN ASSHOLE

You will love the goop aliens shoot at humans to immobilise them. You wonder about the pearl that is pure energy. 

You become a tourist of an invisible city, visible only under the special VR headsets. And you can buy real things! Who wouldn't love this technology! Of course the Jabba the Hutt type alien is selling contraband which the hero Valerian needs to confiscate for the government. The guns are attached to the arm (they look like you put your arm into a trap and couldn't get it out. so unwieldy!) and work on genetic footprint. There is paint like substance that makes you invisible when brushed on. You wish the director had brushed the invisibility paint on the hero all through the film. 

Valerian is a cocky young man with a 'playlist' of girlfriends. He is now flirting with his partner (on a mission in a space-ship) who is way better at work than he is. This is officer Lauraline played by Cara Delevigne's eyebrows (could not get over her hairy caterpillar dark eyebrows under a blonde head). Why should she even like a bumbling hero who does not follow a single instruction, endangering his mission? Why should girls be shown that they must fall in love with someone who has no sense, no? Every time Valerian opens his mouth he sounds like a petulant ten year old who wants a toy and is denied it.

Is this really Luc Besson who gave us The Fifth Element? Thankfully there is a freakishly amazing shape shifter called Bubble. The character is played beautifully by Rihanna (and her endless costume changes), who does a marvelous cabaret number. 

PLEASE HOLLYWOOD, NO MORE 'POWER OF LOVE'

Harry Potter dropped the mic on the 'love can save Harry from evil like Voldemort'. And when you see 'love can heal planets' and 'love can make interplanetary peace possible' and 'dying for love' in this movie just feels smarmy and as sticky as alien goo...  

Valerian comic books may be very popular with the kids. But the movie...




Review: MOM


Sridevi Shines In The 3rd Revenge For Rape Movie This Year.

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

Sridevi is a high school biology teacher and has a perfect life with a loving husband and two girls. Her illusion is shattered when her older daughter goes to a party and is raped. With the law unable to find the perpetrators guilty, Sridevi takes on the role of an avenging angel, and teaches each of the four rapists a lesson they will never forget. It’s a terribly long-drawn out film and even though horrendously cliched and predictable, Sridevi shines.

Main Review:

A strict biology teacher, Devaki (played beautifully by Sridevi) confiscates a cell phone from a male student. He has just sent a sex video to a female student in the same class. She throws the boy’s phone out of the window (what?! No teacher will ever do that!) and keeps the girl student’s phone.

We see her at home serving dinner. Oho! The girl student from class is her older daughter. There’s some strange thing going on because she does not call Sridevi, ‘Mom’ but ‘Ma’am’. Aah, the stepmom angle. Sridevi’s husband (Adnan Siddiqui, very competent) assures Sridevi that he will fix everything between the mother and daughter when he comes back from his New York trip and they take their annual holiday.

The older daughter Arya (Sajal Ali, shows flashes of brilliance) is to go to a Valentine’s Day party at a farmhouse with her friends. Sridevi asks her to come back in good time. The kids go to the party where the same boy who sent Arya the sex clip on the phone tries to dance with her. Arya rebuffs him and his older cousin and decides to get home in a cab because her friend who has the car cannot be found anywhere and the girlfriend is very drunk. She gets kidnapped by the boys she has rebuffed and is raped and thrown into a ditch and left to die.

Sridevi is frantic when Arya does not come back home and the police assure her that they will try and find the missing daughter. A creepy man at the police station says he can help. But Sridevi says no. He gives his card to the mom. When Arya is found by a morning walker Sridevi goes to the hospital…

Arya is alive, but barely. A case is registered on her complaint but as you saw in Kaabil and Maatr (both released earlier this year) the law is unable to bring the perpetrators to justice and they go scott free. And as it happens in the two earlier movies, the onus falls upon the protagonist (Sridevi in this film) to extract revenge. In Kaabil, Hrithik Roshan (he’s blind, hence his revenge is empowering too) knows the rapists and plots each death one after another. In Maatr, Raveena Tandon is also raped by the bunch along with her daughter and against all odds, she plots and carries out the death of all the rapists. In this movie, revenge is given divine blessing by dialog like ‘God made mothers because he could be everywhere at the same time’. But Sridevi is helped on her revenge journey by the creepy detective and the police officer assigned to Arya’s case. The creepy detective is played by none other than the ‘lemme-ham-it because balding head with long hair isn’t ‘cool’ enough’ Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

The baddies are tackled one by one, and the ever-suspicious cop played by Akshaye Khanna seems to arrives too late to every crime scene. It takes the awful hamming of ‘I’m a villain, watch me be villainous’ Abhimanyu Singh and his very cliched anger against Sridevi for Arya to realise that Sridevi is really the mother of all mothers.

The director probably does not need to tell Sridevi how to be in the scene. She is simply stupendous. Her backing off from a screaming Arya and going to the balcony to prevent herself from breaking down is a scene that is masterclass in acting. Sridevi’s helplessness at discovering that her relationship with her daughter is now irretrievable is goosebump inducing. But everything else in the film seems to be so long drawn and tiresome, that you wish she could kill them a la Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.

A R Rahman’s music is not phenomenal and you begin to question why in songs does the word ‘doooor’ (far, in English) is always sung out long drawn… The cinematography is good (especially in Kufri, shown in the last segment of the film). It seems tedious simply because Bollywood seems to think women (and blind man) wake up to revenge only of their wives or daughters (or themselves) are raped. That’s a sad way to make woman-centric films.


P.S. Is Nawazuddin Siddiqui overdoing the humor? Is his 'wanting to get laughs' overshadowing the role he's playing? The legendary Pran apparently wanted song sequences after Zanjeer... Is Nawazuddin going the same route? I wonder...



(This review sans the postscript appears on nowrunning dot com)



Review: GUEST IN LONDON


Trash Smells Better Than This Farty Production

Zero stars

Mini Review:

Kartik Aryan works for a software firm in London and is attempting to get married for citizenship when his uncle and aunt show up to stay. Looks like they’re never leaving. Oddly, he doesn’t remember having met them, ever. But culture demands, he be respectful. It’s supposed to be comedy, but with his uncle farting all the time, you don’t really care for anything that happens to any character. It’s plain awful.

Main Review:

So when people from India show up at your office, claiming to be an aunt and an uncle, what does a Punjabi lad do? Takes them home, of course. Doesn’t realise that he is living with a girl who is to marry him so he can get British citizenship. The uncle and aunt are played by Paresh Rawal and Tanvi Azmi and they call the Kartik Aryan (Pyar ka Punchnama fame) ‘kakka’ (‘son’ in Punjabi) with every sentence that you don’t really know (or care) what his screen name is. And Paresh Rawal farts. Every two minutes in the film.

And the ‘overstaying guests’ thing is so badly done, and the jokes about Pakistan and Kashmir and African American babies are so offensive you wonder who thought they were funny. And between that are the farts. There is a funeral song which is a sung to the tune of ‘Baby Doll Main Sone Di’, and a ghazal about farts.

And we don’t talk about how tacky the backdrops created by a special effects team are. Such a shame that Paresh Rawal hams it to the gills. And the connect to the events on 9/11 is in really poor taste. The supposed ‘emotional connect’ fails because the explanation given is: (we tried to get rid of you - the uninvited guests - because ‘We are like fake dog lovers. We say Tommy come, when we want and Tommy go when we don’t want the dog. We didn’t know how to treat you.’

Yes, that’s an actual dialog from the film. If you threw stones at this rabid dog of a film, no one would arrest you.


P.S. The director has made Atithi Tum Kab Jaaoge. Plan was to watch the film after watching Guest In London. But the films turned out to be so bad, I am skipping the Atithi film. The only time I laughed was when Paresh Rawal says Kartik Aaryan looks exactly like Ajay Devgn.



(this review sans the postscript appears on nowrunning dot com)



Review: SPIDERMAN THE HOMECOMING


Rather Fun. Thankfully Nothing Like Earlier Films


2.5 Happy Stars


Mini Review:


Spiderman is so much cooler, and sharper and smarter in this version than five earlier films. He’s not whiny, not mean, and he does not want to make you want to slap him because he’s unsure about who he is. Of course adding the Avengers to the formula makes the film that much sassier. Watch it!


Main Review:


First, a confession. I have hated the Spiderman because he’s a schoolboy who is good at nothing, and is plain rude to his uncle and aunt and MJ. Then Tobey Maguire’s  bulbous eyed awe and Andrew Garfield perpetually sullen expressions did not help.


So went into the theatre with trepidation. I had liked Spiderman showing up in Captain America Civil War. Hopefully this Spiderman would have the same sass.


And he does! Tom Holland who appeared as Spiderman in Captain America Civil War continues to be Peter Parker in this film. He’s under Tony Stark’s wing, his intelligent suit created by Avengers technology, but he’s still not officially an Avenger.


Thankfully, he’s not whiny about it. He’s rebelling and stepping out every night. Mostly stumbling into situations which make you laugh. No, seriously. It is such a refreshing change to see a young lad who has powers that should give him his the superhero status he desperately wants, but is not accepted as one of the big guys for some reason.


The movie picks up where the last Avengers movie left off. With New York destroyed by Loki’s hoards. Ultron’s avatars, someone has to salvage. Enter Michael Keaton. YES! The one and only! He adds the much needed spice to the Spiderman franchise with his vicious vulture wings. Spidey’s school too is more interesting than MJ tripping in the canteen or school kids bullying someone in the halls. Peter Parker is part of the school mind decathlon team. But his mind is not on anything. He’s waiting for that all important phone call from Ironman.


Jon Favreau as Happy is the connect between Ironman and Spiderman, and Marisa Tomei is Aunt May, and you wish there was more of them both…


The pace of the film is quite fast and furious. The story seems stretched in the middle, but then as all superhero films do, the end is swift and wonderful. All in all, a fun watch


PS: It's a Marvel franchise. Please wait for extra scenes after the film ends. Yes. Plural. 'Scenes'.

    

Review: EK HASEENA THI, EK DEEWANA THA


Haseena Moans, Deewana Is Hot Lips

The Funniest Film Of The Year.

½ star

Mini Review:

Haseena Natasha is coming home to an ancestral property to get married to her best friend Sunny. She meets the mysterious Dev and promptly begins to lust after him (Deewana), friend-zoning Sunny. Daddy and Uncle and Rita (a lady whose job is exposition, narrating the backstory to the audience) are against this haseena-deewana lust thing. They are convinced Dev is a ghost of Natasha’s grandmother’s lover. The ghost tells Natasha it’s a plot to kill her. Confused? You'll stop caring about the story and laugh your guts out at the horrendous acting and hilarious dialog.

Main Review:

Haseena, Deewana Aur Lust!

You stare at the rather pink, Angelina Jolie-esque male lips spouting garbled Urdu words that basically are about time, endless love, skies and oceans and gardens of eden... and their love. But he says those words after a daring rescue of a girl who falls down a cliff into a pond. He's wearing Zorro’s leftover clothes shows up to rescue the drowning girl like Tarzan, swinging from a wire (yes! In the middle of nowhere!). And before you know it, he is kissing the girl in the name of CPR. The girl comes to, but only laugh giddily at her best friend who was fixing a broken down car. The stranger vanishes.

These are three main characters in the film. Natasha, the ‘haseena’, Zorro aka Dev aka the ‘deewana’ and Natasha’s best friend Sunny (played by Upen Patel). This film will make you feel sorry for Upen Patel and that is a brand new feeling because he has not made any amazing career choices.

The haseena cannot help lusting after the deewana. And you must be forewarned that you will see an elaborate and unintentionally hilarious love-making scene on a horse. This is exactly how it goes:
Deewana is riding a horse. He meets Haseena who's wearing a chiffon skirt and a practically not there blouse, wandering about the woods.
‘Come ride with me,’ He says.
‘But I don’t know how!’ She croons.
‘You were once the best rider on this estate.’
And that’s all it takes for her impossible high heels to come off and with them, the long chiffon skirt comes off too, and she’s perched in front of the deewana, riding through the wilderness while he’s kissing her bare back, and then in a gymnastic gesture, she turns around to face him and the poor horse continues trotting through the woods…

Hai Haseena! Hai Deewana!

It’s a debut film for both the haseena and the deewana, and they need to go back to a day job once the film crashes at the box office. Neither has any acting chops, not dialog delivery, and they do not heat up the screen but scald it with their presence. The haseena moans more than she delivers dialog. And when she delivers her dialog or looks at anyone in front of her, her neck is raised just a little bit more than natural, and her eyebrows have a special wiggle when she speaks. She remarks: Kahin par sun set ho gaya hai, aur yahan Sunny (daru le kar) set ho raha hai!

Before you facepalm, she calls Sunny 'Sunny Glue' because 'woh chipak jaata hai', and Sunny says, 'Sunny Glue nahi, Super Glue'.

The deewana is made to say, ‘Khushiyaan nahi dard ke kharaashein hain’ (not happiness but scars of sadness). Also brilliant lines like: you are present, I am past, how can we have a future?

Before you choke on that, you realise that the deewana is an ‘atma’ a ghost (everyone in the film pronounces the word as if the word had two letters each of ‘G’ and ‘H’ in its spelling as in 'घोस्ट' ). That’s why he didn’t die when he fell off the cliff rather dramatically (the audience is too busy laughing at the skinniest legs they have seen on a hero). But then, if he is an ‘atma’, a spirit who materialises every time the haseena calls out his name, why did they waste so much time showing him run after the bad guy through the woods? Couldn’t he just materialise in front of the baddie and beat him up?

You also wonder how the ‘atma’ kisses the haseena every time they meet? If he’s just the spirit from the past, and he is actually her grandma’s lover who was killed off for being farm-hand, and he’s come back to life to save her from someone who wants to kill her, why does he kiss her all the time? Lust between grandma’s lover and granddaughter seems to be very weird!

Upen Patel the poor friend who was supposed to marry haseena, is friendzoned and how! You feel bad for the lad, but he sticks around wearing cable knit jumpers while haseena wanders about wearing flimsy dresses. The deewana is eminently forgettable in his gigantic pink lips (envied only by the Blue Groper fish) and stubble and skinny legs.

Hasee Nahi Khatam Hoti!

There are so many songs, and the songs are each at least five minutes long, you wonder if it is the same director who gave us pulp movies of Akshay Kumar and Bobby Deol.  The music of Nadeem-Shravan seems ancient and out of place in the movie.
 
The prize for overacting in this largely hilarious romance goes to the clutching the left pec in comic alarm in the hope of conveying a heart attack by haseena’s dad who looks like a poor man’s Aditya Pancholi. Of course he turns out to be the bad guy who is given a priceless dialog like: For twenty one years I told you bedtime stories, now it time to hear bad time stories.


What?! Yes, daddy dearest wants the property to himself. He killed mom for it and now he wants to kill his daughter. What?! But don’t worry, the atma foils that plan and in the fracas, daddy shoots haseena, Sunny falls in front of the bullet, asking God to unite haseena and deewana and in a shower of stardust god complies. You ask yourself ‘why were you here, why were you here’ as the the united lovers sing, ‘Where were you, where were you, where were you?’