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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The A-Team


Medium : English
Starring : Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Jackson, Jessica Biel
Director: Joe Carnahan


Usually Hollywood films are notable in our country in the name of the popular actors who did
the main role in it. In the case of a movie like 'The A-Team', such things are not easy. Even then while traveling, when I saw the promotional posters of this action movie, it caught attention due to its unusual title featuring four actors. The good thing was that I was able to identify a couple of faces who acted in well known movies like 'Taken' and 'Hang Over'. The revolution happened in the internet medium is so relevant in this century that it will help us to get each and every updated information in any field in our finger tips. Thus the name of the two actors were easily known as Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper respectively. Another information is that 'The A-Team' is the remake of a hit television series which happened in US almost 25years before.

The main
incident of the movie is happening in the last day at the US base, who are leaving from Iraq with in hours. The military general had given an un official mission to the members (Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley and Quinton Jackson) headed by Hannibal (Liam Neeson). They have completed their job successfully, but the end reslut was not a good one for them. They were caught, court marshaled and sent to various prisons. To prove their innocence and to capture the real culprits, they escapes from the captivity. How they succeeds in the new mission, is shown here.

The performance of every one in the team are good. The introduction scenes of each characters are done well. The highlight of 'The A-Team' is the action scenes especially the sequences in the war plane and also the way in which the A team escapes from the prison. Sharlto Copley is playing the person who is mad of flying air crafts. The contrasting nature of the angry young man role (Quinton Jackson) when it comes to the action side creates laughing also. The planning of the final mission and its execution are also notable. How ever the explosion of too many cargo containers in the shipyard towards the end is unbelievable, but we are adjusted to such things happening in Hollywood since olden times.

Those who love action packed movies in English should watch 'The A-Team' also.


Rating : 7.5 / 10





Sunday, June 27, 2010

Angaaditheru

Medium : Tamil
Starring : Mahesh, Anjali, Paandi, A.Venkitesh

Director : Vasantha Balan

Music : Vijay Antony, G.V.Prakashkumar


Director Vasantha Balan, who has given the romantic family story in his debut hit movie 'Veyil' (done by Pasupathi, Bharath and Bhavana, produced by director
Shankar) has come up with new project named 'Angaaditheru' meaning Market Street. This time Ayngaran International has produced the movie, new comer Mahesh and Anjali (she did some films in telugu, kannada and tamil, but didn't get a break so far) comes in the lead roles. The story is happening in the background of a big shop in T.Nagar, the biggest commercial street in Tamilnadu. The distributors has not yet taken steps to release 'Angaaditheru' in Kerala, even if it has been released months before and caught many positive responses there, I waited patiently for weeks, then found my own ways to watch it.

Linkam (Mahesh) is a bright student living in a poor family in a village near Thirunelveli. After the death of his fa
ther, he moved on to Chennai with his friend (Paandi) to work as a sales men in a big shop. The free accommodation and food were given to all laborers by the shop owner. They all adjusted with in the very limited environment provided to them. Mahesh meets Kani (Anjali), a sales girl who is a native of Thiruchendur. Though they quarreled each other for simple things in the beginning, circumstances make the way to become close to each other. The manager (A.Venkitesh) was very strict at the shop proceedings and behaved rudely and even slapped the workers there. At one stage Mahesh had to fight with him for the sake of Anjali. How the lovers survives in such a situation is shown in the later portions of 'Angaaditheru'.

We usually blame for the lack of a good stories in our movies. You look around, the is life in each and every individual that can be converted to a good story, this is what director Vasantha Balan has done here. We all do shopping and met many sales persons in our day today life, but nobody had tried to think about the sort of life these workers are spending. The incidents happening in the stre
et are realistically done by the director. The behavior of the manager, the incident happened when the love letter was caught, the intimacy in relationship between Anjali and her sister, the shooting of the shop advertisement, the pathetic condition of an ex salesman, the happiness of the street lady when she gave birth to a son who looks like his handicapped husband, how the poor shabby person finds his own job as the in charge of the public toilet, the motivation done by the blind sales man etc. The director might have given an exaggerated picture of the mess environment, but since we are not aware of the real situation, no negative comments on it.

The melody numbers done by music directors Vijay Antony and G.V.Prakashkumar are good. Back ground score by Vijay Antony is excellent. Debutant cinemat
ographer Richard Maria Nathan and Sreekar Prasad (editor) have done commentable jobs. Mahesh, Anjali and Paandi have done their job well. The surprise peformance came from director A.Venkitesh ('Bhagavathy', 'Kuthu', 'Aye', 'Chanakya', 'Vaathiyar' fame) who comes in the negative role of the shop manager. The created sets and the real outdoor locations of the street have been so neatly blended in such a away that it is difficult to differentiate between the two.


'Angaaditheru' is a simple subject done in the best way it can. It is also a part of the big experimentation in finding unique themes, happening in the tamil movie industry in this decade.


Rating : 8 / 10

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nalla Paattukaare

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Jagathi, Bheeman Raghu, Vijayaraghavan + some familiar faces from reality shows

Director : KS Sivachandran

Music : Sharreth


A week before, seeing the (non attractive) posters of a
new malayalam movie 'Nalla Paattukaare', featuring some faces from the reality shows, a friend of mine asked, 'do you watch it ?', my reply was 'of course, since i have to write about it...' in return he commented in an interesting manner 'then you should be honored...!', I thought it was an usual response that came from a person who is not at all interested in (un)reality shows.

The director is also not popular, heard the name KS Sivachandran, when enquired it was known as he is having an experience of 20years in the field as the director of few C grade flop films (i am keeping the decency by not mentioning their names). The only name familiar in the technical area was the music director Sharreth, the songs that released months before also didn't attracted me. Even though the promotional posters of the movie pulled me
back, without a single percent interest, I decided to flow against the wind.

'Nalla Paattukaare' is based on a music reality show and its related incidents. The art work of the stage where the majority of songs and incidents are happening, showed the 'standard' of the movie. A singer sings and all other participants also joins to dance with him, in the end as per request from the anchor (duplicate Ranjini Haridas), the judges (Sharreth, Ouseppachan and Soumya) tells comments. This is the pattern followed till the end. When judges ask something to the participant, they will tell his flashback accompanied by crying where poverty, diseases, unemployment, disliking of parents regarding music field etc are highlighted. In another story the problems happening between father and mother of the participant were there, in a different case you are also shown the cruel behavior of uncle who is not interested in such competetions, in another area a lady even commit suicide when she heard that her daughter is out of the competition, like that it goes. In the end, when director Rajasenan is shown as the special guest, the 'forum' is complete...

In short, hopeless and unprofessional direction, inadequate story situations, pathetic comedy scenes, placement of too many extra artists, amateurish show by all the new comers, unattractive locations, art works done 'cheaply' to save money, poor visuals and dance steps with bad performances from many in the song sequences etc have made the whole environment dirty and polluted...

The scenes involving Jagathi and Bheeman Raghu (in a female make up) as teachers for the participants are good enough to lose the temper. The decoration using posters on the wall in such a location is 'notorious' (it might be the rest room of the water theme park where majority of portions are shot). The scenes of a 'rich' participant bearing lot of money in his pocket is a miscasting an
d the comic comparison of the fat guy with an elephant has been shown in the 60's itself. The placement of Kozhikkode Santhadevi in the negative character shows the 'brilliance' of director. Other than five or six characters, the director had managed to given majority of the roles to extra artists / new comers...

The participant at his young age singing, after seeing the mental imbalance of his mother, is another unwanted area to be noted. The anchor praising the performance, comments of the judges and the reaction of the participants for it are all equally intolerable. Music director Ouseppachan and his companions have also delivered different 'expressions' in their acting at this area ! At one stage, we are shown a participant screaming towards the audience for not sending the sms. The placement of the prayer song towards the end will only be helpful to elaborate the movie length. The negatives projected there are endless, the space and time won't be enough to specify...


Any vulgarities and non sense done by ex-'reality show figures' in a feature film cannot be accepted at any cost. 'Nalla Paattukaare' is one of the worst movies ever happened in the malayalam history. Instead of blocking the release of movies like 'Oru Naal Varum' and 'Nallavan, the people concerned should have taken necessary steps to ban movies like this that can spoil the name of the whole industry...



Rating : 1 / 10


('half' mark would've been enough, but there is a chance for 0.5 to be misinterpreted as '5'...
the mark is only for showing the stills of some legendary musicians, singers and lyricists along with the title credits, but that too is incomplete and not arranged properly)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Raavan

Medium : Hindi
Starring : Abhishek Bachan, Vikram, Ravi Kishan, Govinda, Aiswarya Rai, Priyamani
Director : Maniratnam

Music : A.R.Rahman


Though watching films and reviewing them is a passion for me, sometimes writing will felt like a burden. It will happen in the case of bilingual subjects like 'Raavan', as its tami
l version which i watched before was not having big positive reports as expected.

A majority of the viewers still don't know that notable director Maniratnam has made his directorial debut in tamil after making a kannada movie ('Pallavi Anupallavi') followed by one in malayalam ('Unaroo'). He was caught attention through hit films like 'Mouna Raagam', 'Nayagan', 'Agni Nakshathiram', 'Anjali', 'Dhalapathi' etc. He entered the bollywood industry in the late 90's through 'Dil Se' starring Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala. Seeing the national market for his movies, in 2004, he made a bilingual subject like 'Yuva' ('Aayudha Ezhuthu' in tamil). His latest hindi-tamil venture 'Raavan' ('Raavanan' in tamil) distributed by Reliance Big Pictures, is shot in the thick jungles of south and north east India. His previous hindi venture 'Guru', based on the life story of business giants, Ambaani group, has also got Abhishek Bachan and Aiswarya Rai in lead roles.

The main difference happening between the two versions is that the title role in hindi is done by Abhishek Bachan (in place of Vikram in tamil). The heroine in both the versions is Aiswarya Rai; it is a fact that
she has entered the movie industry through the tamil film 'Iruvar', directed by Maniratnam. National award winning tamil actor Vikram ('Pithamahan','Anniyan' fame), who did the lead role in the tamil version, is also doing an important role (in place of Prithviraj in tamil). He is making his debut in hindi as the pair of the former Miss World. Senior artist Govinda is an unexpected casting (in place of Karthik in tamil). Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan ('Welcome to Sajjapur' fame) is also acting (in place of Prabhu in tamil). National award winner Priyamani ('Paruthiveeran' fame) has done the same role in both versions.

Though Manikandan ('Om Shanthi Om', 'Main Hoo Naa' fame) started working as the cinematographer in 'Raavan', due to other assignments he moved out and the majority of the portions are later handled by Santhosh Sivan ('Dil Se', 'Asoka' fame). Songs are penned by veteran writer Gulzar. Choreography for a song featuring classical steps has been done by south indian actress Sobhana. Director's favourite composer A.R.Rahman is in charge of the music.

The movie starts when Beera (Abhishek Bachan), kidnaps Raagini (Aiswarya Rai), the wife of the police officer Dev (Vikram). Ragini is kept as a hostage in the deep jungles under the vigilant watch of Beera's gang. The police troupe headed by SP Dev, searches for Beera's hide outs with the help of a forest guard (Govinda). Raagini tried many times to escape from the custody, but all of them ended in failures. She came to know about the motive behind the kidnapping. What happens to Beera, whether Dev succeeded in catching him and how Raagini escapes from the custody etc are told in the later portions of 'Raavan'.

Abhishek Bachan is doing a character having psychic nature. His role is not stable and he is not fully fit to such a role. His eccentric behavior has even fall into over acting in many areas. Aiswarya Rai is charming, she had adjusted maximum to be suited in such a character. Vikram, with such a body language is good in appearance, but the problem in handling the language has affected his confidence level. Anyway this project is going to give big name for him since he handled characters that needs contrasting behaviors in both the versions. Priyamani has delivered her best in the debut role in hindi, even if it is small. Govinda has also done the role well. Ravikishan and many others who comes here doesn't need any comments as most of them are coming in a fraction and go.

In one way it is true that 'Raavan' is adapted from the epic Ramayana, but the style of relationship developing between the villain and the lady cannot be accepted in such a sense. The scene in the end in which she imitates the villain's 'buck buck...' voice, doesn't felt realistic. The family scenes of the hero and the cause of attack etc are not registered well.

The fight sequences that leads to the emotional scenes in the climax are d
one well. The visual effects involved in the jumping scenes are also the best. Cinematography by Santhosh Sivan (Manikandan also) is the highlight of this movie, he did an excellent and tough job to capture the rainy jungles. Editor Sreekar Prasad also gave some neat cuts. The music section of Maniratnam movies are also getting the hype unnecessarily these days, his association with A.R.Rahman in hindi has not given many hit songs as expected. The re-recording of 'Raavan' is also not the best, like the songs.

Controversies are accompanying 'Raavan', the latest one being Govinda supported by few actors complaining about their roles being cut down in the editing table to a greater extend; it happened after Amitabh Bachan criticizing the editing done on the title character, few days back. Such things has to be answered by the director, but it is evident that 'Raavan' still has got many unanswered questions in its story line...


Don't expect much from 'Raavan', it is a typical Maniratnam movie which is different from the usual bollywood style of making. Comparing both, the tamil version ('Raavanan') felt better.


Rating : 6 / 10


Irumbukkottai Murattusimham

Medium : Tamil
Starring : Lawrence, Nasser, Saikumar, Padmapriya, Lakshmi Rai, Sandhya
Director : Chimbudevan

Music : G.V.Prakash Kumar, Sabesh - Murali (bg score)


Chimbudevan, a student from the school of directors like Cheran and Murugadass, had directed notable movies like 'Himsai Arasan 23aam Pulikeshi' and 'Arai En305il Kadavul' (both produc
ed by director Shankar). Those films became notable due to the uniqueness in the theme it handled. It looks like the director is still not having belief in the star oriented subjects made in conventional style. His new movie has got actor-choreographer turned director Raghava Lawrence ('Muni', 'Style' fame) in the lead role and the subject titled 'Irumbukkottai Murattusimham' is also a different one, as it discusses the cowboy type spoof subject which happened in the olden days. Azhagappan ('Kazhcha', 'Chaandupottu', 'Manassinakkare' fame) is the cinematographer here.

The movie starts with the description of the director regarding the different c
ow boys happened in the past in different languages countries. The hero Singamuthu (Lawrence) is about to be hanged by the court for being involved in a diamond robbery. At that time, a group (Mouli, Ramesh Khanna, Vyapuri, Ilavarasu) reached there and saved him. In return, they need a help from him. Singamuthu has to act like Murattusimham (a courageous local leader, who is no more), as both of them are having identical looks. Thus the ordinary guy decided to act as the brave hero when the group promised him to give the diamond that is necessary to prove his innocence in court. The group given him training and thus he decides to fought against the cruel leader (Nasser) of the next village and his assistant (Saikumar), who had kept some of the villagers behind the bars. They will be freed only when Singamuthu and others bring the treasure by traveling a long way using clues obtained in the map. The search for treasure is shown in the later portions of 'Irumbukkottai Murattusimham'.

Such a different attempt should be appreciated, but the film is not the best when co
mpared to the previous films by the same director. The locations used here are good. With the immense support of art director Muthuraj, costume designer Sai and cinematographer Azhagappan, the director had succeeded in creating the environment required for implementing the story. The editor Raja Mohammed had also done his job well. Though G.V.Prakash Kumar has not given memorable songs, Sabesh - Murali compensated it by giving the bg score that matches the mood to the best way it can. Some of the areas should be noted like the name given to different villages in the form of Jayashankarpuram, USApuram, Vegeterianpuram etc, the references of actors Harrison Ford, Amitabh Bachan etc, the behaviour of the translater character, the description regarding the shadows of the hero, the song sequence before the hanging, the horse riding sequences etc.

The lack of stability in the story side is evident. The area where the treasure hunt happens in the later portions, lags here and there. The performance of Lawrence in the lead role is average only, the comic behavior of the telugu actor Saikumar sometimes doesn't suits. Padmapriya and Lakshmi Rai have done their role well.

'Irumbukkottai Murattusimham' is a different attempt which can be watched keeping in mind about the kind of theme it handles.


Rating : 6.5 / 10

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavanan

Medium : Tamil
Starring : Vikram, Prithviraj, Prabhu, Karthik, Aiswarya Rai, Priyamani
Director : Maniratnam
Music : A.R.Rahman


A majority of the viewers still don't know that notable director Maniratnam has made his directorial debut in the early 80's through a kannada movie, then did a malayalam movie ('Un
aroo', starring Sukumaran, Mohanlal, Rathish etc) and later only started making movies in tamil. He caught attention through the film 'Mouna Raagam' followed by super hits like 'Nayagan', 'Agni Nakshathiram', 'Anjali', 'Dhalapathi' etc. He entered the bollywood industry in the late 90's through 'Dil Se'. Seeing the national market for his movies, in 2004, he made a bilingual subject like 'Aayudha Ezhuthu' ('Yuva' in hindi). His latest tamil-hindi venture 'Raavanan' ('Raavan' in hindi) distributed by Reliance Big Pictures, is shot in the thick jungles of south and north east India. This movie has also got the extra media publicity, as he receives (unnecessarily) for every project started from the time of 'Bombay'.

A brief regarding some of the persons who are in front of and behind the lenses will he
lp us to know, how big is 'Raavanan'. National award winning actor Vikram is doing the title role here. He has grown to great level, with the experience he got by doing films like 'Sethu', 'Pithamahan', 'Saami', 'Anniyan' etc. The heroine is Aiswarya Rai; it is a fact that she has entered the movie industry through 'Iruvar', directed by Maniratnam. One of the luckiest young star in the south industry is none other than Prithviraj, who is pairing with the former Miss World in this movie. Another thing is that senior artists like Prabhu and Karthik, acting together under the director, after 'Agni Nakshathiram', in a gap of around 22years. National award winner Priyamani ('Paruthiveeran' fame) also joins this group.

Though Manikandan ('Anniyan', 'Om Shanthi Om' fame) started working as the cinematographer in 'Raavanan', due to other assignments he moved out and the majority of the portions are later handled by Santhosh Sivan, who got a tamil entry through the director's mega venture 'Dhalapathi'. Dialogues for the movie are written by senior actress Suhasini Maniratnam and songs are penned by director's favorite writer Vairamuthu. Choreography for a song featuring classical steps has been done by actress Sobhana. It is a coincidence that Maniratnam had worked with Musical maestro Ilayaraja in his first 10 projects from 'Pallavi Anu Pallavi' to 'Dhalapathi' while 'Raavanan' is the 10th movie for A.R.Rahman-Maniratnam combination starting with 'Roja'.

The movie starts when Veera (Vikram), kidnaps Raagini (Aiswarya Rai), the wife of the police officer Dev (Prithviraj). Raagini is kept as a hostage in the deep jungles, where Veera's brothers (Prabhu and Munna, 'Gowrishankaram' fame) kept guarding the area. The police troupe headed by SP Dev, searches for Veera's hide outs with the help of a forest guard (Karthik). Raagini tried many times to escape from the custody, but all of them ended in failures. She came to know about the motive behind the kidnapping. What happens to Veera, whether Dev succeeded in catching him and how Raagini escapes from the custody etc are told in the later portions of 'Raavanan'.

Vikram's character is having a psychic nature. Though he has done well, sometimes his eccentric behavior reminds us of his roles in 'Sethu', 'Pithamahan' and 'Anniyan'. Aiswarya Rai is charming, she had adjusted maximum to be suited in such a character with the help of actress Rohini, who gave voice to her. Prithviraj is ok, he doesn't have much to add on the performance side. Priyamani has delivered her best even in such a small role. Prabhu also gave a good support.

Almost all the Maniratnam movies has got one thing in common, the lead characters won't talk straight, they will speak poetic or philosophical type of stylish dialogues, there will also be a pause or silence between sentences. A good observer might understand about this phenomenon. I personally think that it is not a good custom to follow, such a thing is repeating here also. In one way it is true that 'Raavanan' is adapted from the epic Ramayana, but the style of relationship developing between the villain and the lady cannot be accepted in such a sense. The poetic dialogue between those two characters in the beginning area and the scene in the end in which she imitates the villain's 'buck buck...' voice, doesn't felt realistic. Karthik is not fit for such a humorous role, placing any comedians instead of that would have been given a better result (Maniratnam should learn lessons from director Shankar in that area). Nobody should be blamed for the 'controversial' actress Ranjitha, who gets some negative clapping from the viewers, her presence in a couple of scenes reduced the required seriousness.

The fight sequences that leads to the emotional scenes in the climax are done well. The visual effects involved in the jumping scenes are also the best. Cinematography by Santhosh Sivan is the highlight of this movie, he did an excellent and tough job to capture the rainy jungles. Editor Sreekar Prasad also gave some neat cuts. The music section of Maniratnam movies are also getting the hype unnecessarily these days. May be his association with A.R.Rahman in the beginning has given some hit songs, but after 'Alaipayuthey', you can't have many notable numbers coming from this combination. The re-recording of 'Raavanan' is also not the best, like the songs.

Don't expect much from 'Raavanan', it is a typical Maniratnam movie which can be watched for its technical brilliance (making style).


Rating : 6.5 / 10



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Robinhood

Medium : English
Starring : Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Maxvon Sydow
Director : Ridley Scott


Even in the middle of rainy June, some of the issues happened in the film industry like the relea
se of other language films has still not solved. I moved to watch the second English release of this week, which is a rare phenomena that has not happened in the recent past. Every week, we get a couple of new releases from different languages, as we are lucky enough to be in the capital city where there are 13+ releasing centers in a locality of around 2kms.

We have heard the name Robinhood since our younger days itself, we don't know the chara
cter was a real one or whether it is a fantasy. But he is always a lovable guy among the crowd, as he is also known as the 'prince of thieves' (with the title 'Robinhood', a malayalam film has also been released last year). Now the latest English film, 'Robinhood' has got notable star Russell Crowe in the title role. He is the one who did the lead character in the Oscar winning movie 'Gladiator'. The director of that project, Ridley Scott is also happened to be the director of 'Robinhood'. I asked many, but majority of the people didn't know any other projects of Russell Crowe, excluding 'Gladiator'; I read somewhere about the crime thriller 'L.A.Confidential' in which the actor did a notable role.

The story happens in the 12th century England. Robin (Russell Crowe) is a soldier in King Richard's army. The King is killed by the French soldiers
and as per the last wish of the King, Robin and his companions reached Nottingham with the crown and handed over it to the Royal family. The new King sworns in. Robin meets the widow lady (Cate Blanchett) and as per request from her relative, the old blind man (Maxvon Sydow) in the region, he decides to stay back. At this time, the King is making hidden friendship with the warrior that belongs to the enemy country. The warrior was appointed the new Chancellor and granted him the full freedom to collect extra taxes by attacking the regional kingdoms. Thus the small kingdoms with in England now became an enemy to the King.

The warrior secretly gave shelter to the French soldiers who reached there through sea to prepare for an attack. The former Chancellor and the leaders of the local kingdoms gets united, they gives the real picture of the current situation to the King. Robinhood also reaches there. and they all fought against the French and succeeded in throwing them out. The King acts like a dictator and is not willing to accept Robin and his companions who fought for the country. In the climax, we are shown, Robin followed by his lover and other companions decided to fought against the injustice by staying within the country.

The art work, costume and the make up departments have delivered their best output to give the flavor required for this periodical film. The war episodes and the location with the hero in the horse, some times resembles director's previous hit 'Gladiator'. The title character needs more clarity. Though the war scenes featuring bow and arrow fights are done well, they are not best compared to films that belong to the same genre like 'The Last Samurai', 'Brave Heart' etc. The climax war scene needs more home work in the creativity side and it shouldn't have happened in such a location. The base voice of Russell Crowe is sometimes too hard and it is not easy to follow also. Cinematography by John Mathieson is excellent. Though Ridley Scott will still be remembered as the director of 'Gladiator', his boldness to create another historical subject should be appreciated.


A regular follower of hollywood movies can watch 'Robinhood' also.


Rating : 7 / 10

The Karate Kid

Medium : English
Starring : Jackie Chan, Jade Smith, Taraji P. Henson
Director : Harald Zwart
Music : James Horner


In his late 50's, Jackie Chan, the most popular Asian s
tar in the last three decades has come up with his new project named 'The Karate Kid'. As the name suggests it won't be a hero oriented film usually done by him in the past, here the central character is done by a young child, Jade Smith. He is the son of notable hollywood actor Will Smith ('Men In Black' fame), who is also the producer of this film. Jackie Chan did a maturated role in 'The Karate Kid', which in turn is a remake of the film that had released with the same name, almost 25years before.

The story of the film happens in China. The 12 year old k
id (Jade Smith) with his mother (Taraji P. Henson), is relocated to the new place from Detroit, USA. The kid finds difficulty in adjusting to the new surroundings. He finds comfortable in the company of a girl in the locality. At the same time, he is being bullied and beaten up by a member from the local gang. The kid come across Mr.Han (Jackie Chan), who is in charge of the maintenance facilities in the apartment where the former stays. One day, Mr.Han fights and saves the kid from the notorious gang, who were cornering the kid near the apartment. The incident leads into a close relationship between the kid and Mr.Han. They both went to the kungfu school, where the gang members studies, as a matter of solving the issue. But the teacher provoked Mr.Han and in return Mr.Han promises to 'see' them in the kungfu tournament happening later. Thus Mr.Han started teaching the kid in martial arts and what happens in the tournament is shown in an exciting climax of 'The Karate Kid'.

The films bearing martial arts themes has got a simple formula to follow in general since the olden days. The strong enemy attacks the weak hero, the weaker one in turn reaches the person who can taught fighting techniques to him for survive, then he wins the enemy in the end; this is what we see here also. The characterization and the environment differs. The way in which the kid is taught (scenes like jacket removal and wearing, snake and woman combination etc) by practical experience, is good. The climax tournament is also created attractively, though there are cinematic touches in the middle. Since the kid is learning kungfu, the suitable tile for the film was 'The Kungfu Kid'. The outdoor scenes at the kungfu teaching center shown in the film is a colorful sight. The scene where Mr.Han revealing his past felt lagging, even with a better performance from Jackie Chan in such an area we don't want to see such realistic things in an action oriented movie like this.

Jade Smith, in the title role gave an excellent performance. His body language and actions are suited well for such a role. The black lady, Taraji P. Henson, who comes in the mother's role is also good. The attraction of the film will be none other than Jackie Chan, who took the serious role with ease. The character is apt for the legendary performer, who is reaching his 'old' age. James Horner who did music for big films like 'Avatar', 'The Mask of Zoro', 'Brave Heart' etc did a good job here. Cinematography by Roger Pratt is excellent. The action scenes in the film are done well. The director Harald Zwart has made this film in an universally format that is usually needed for such a subject.


If you like watching films bearing martial arts subjects, then you should watch 'The Karate Kid' having the combination of experienced Jackie Chan with the young new comer Jade Smith.


Rating : 7.5 / 10




Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kutrappirivu

Medium : Tamil
Starring : Sreekanth, Prithviraj, Kamalini Mukherjee, Sanjana
Director : Manmohan

Music : Vishwa


In the early 90's, many telugu films featuring Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Venkitesh etc which are
dub
bed into tamil and it were released in our theaters. Later, when films like 'Aye Hero' became a big hit, a new trend started by dubbing telugu films directly to malayalam. It lasts for few years only. There after, dubbing films have lost its market value in our state. In the mid 2000 period, after the arrival of films by young telugu star Allu Arjun, such a trend once again started. It still continues and seeing the popularity of it, even tv channels are acquiring the dubbing rights of many telugu - tamil films. I prefer buying the dvds of telugu films available in the market rather than watching the dubbed version. We have discussed all these, as the new tamil film 'Kutrappirivu' is the dubbed version of the telugu film, 'Police Police'.

It is a coincidence that Prithviraj reached the tamil industry as a co-star with Sreekanth through the film 'Kana Kandein' directed by K.V.Anand, now when he did a telugu film, there also he got the company of Sreekanth in the lead role. The notable thing about the projects is that the young malayalee star had shown the boldness to do negative roles in both of them. Kamalini Mukherjee, who came as Kamalhassan's pair in 'Vettayadu Vilayadu' is the heroine of this police story.

Ravidas (Sreekanth), the ACP is a sincere and energetic police officer in the force. His deputy Ravikanth (Prithviraj), on the other hand is a selfish guy who takes the law in his hands for making money. He makes friendship with the criminals and with their support he engages in all illegal activities and successful in destroying all those who come across his way. To get fame, he had killed few terrorists who were getting ready to surrender and he even killed a senior police official who was aware of his negative attitudes. At one point, Ravikanth even tried to finish Ravidas, but the latter survives. Ravikanth got transfered to another city, Ravidas rejoins the force in another department. After a gap, Ravidas is appointed on a mission in the city where his former deputy is working. How the real criminals are caught is shown in the climax of 'Kutrappirivu'.

Sreekanth is good and stylish in his role. Prithviraj did well in the negative character. Bg score by Vishwa is rich and noisy also. Cinematography by Bharani.K.Dharan ('Puthiya Mukham' fame) is excellent. Editor Sreekar Prasad did the fast cuts. Director Manmohan had tried to make the action packed movie without much lagging.

Though the dubbing and lip sinking is neatly handled, the feel in watching a dubbed movie is still there. Prithviraj's hair style changes from time to time in few scenes; the director's team should have noticed the fault happened. The story demands some twists and turns; as we are shown the bad police officer in the beginning itself, the only thing remaining is that how the evil will be destroyed in the end.


'Kutrappirivu' is an action film showing the two contrasting sides of the police force, those who are very particular about such types of masala entertainers can watch it.



Rating : 5.5 / 10

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ring Tone

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Suresh Gopi, Bala, Rajan.P.Dev, Saikumar, Megha Nair

Director : Ajmal

Music : Shaan


'Ring Tone', an usually used word in the day-to-day life, is the title of the new malayalam film by new director Ajmal. It has got Suresh Gopi and Bala in the lead roles, with a new face Megha
Nair coming as the heroine. The film is a delayed release as we can see late Rajan.P.Dev also coming in a lengthy role here. Shaan, who has given notable theme music for films like 'Chinthamani Kolacase' and 'Tiger', handles the music section of this action film.

The story open up by showing the police lathi-charging the local protesters who are fighting for their basic needs. The old lady
(Zeenat) who lead the march is brutally beaten by the police officer (Baburaj), there arrives Rakesh (Bala) to the scene in order to save her mother. As per request from his mother and the friends (Manuraj, Machaan Varghees), Rakesh leaves the town in a lorry, where the heroine (Megha Nair) was also traveling. On the way the lorry met with an accident and both of them were admitted to the hospital. They were later given shelter by the local landlord (Rajan.P.Dev), pretending that both of them were lovers. At this time, Nainan Koshi (Suesh Gopi), an officer from the central government, reaches the village for investigating a murder case. Later, the family members (Saikumar, Tara Kalyan etc) of Megha reaches there to take her back. Nainan thinks that the lovers are linked with the murder and takes them to custody. Megha reveals her story and about the people who came there as her relatives. Nainan and Rakesh engaged in acting against the mission of the baddies, is shown in an action packed climax. (the name used here for Bala and Megha are fake, as I am unable to recollect the original ones).

The in experience and un professionalism of the creators are evident in many areas in the film. The artist who comes as the police commissioner gave a very poor performance. The hospital scene in which the bomb blasting and associated things taking place is treated like a childish manner. The extra artistes who were placed a police constables substantiates the fact. In a running shot, a constable even nodes the commissioner by mistake. The chasing at the hospital is apt for a home video only. The doctor character (Jagannath Varma) is not flexible and he is also repeating the word 'oh my god' many times.

The over acting by the driver (Abu S
alim) while drinking alcohol in the lorry, clearly shows that the vehicle is not moving and their singing was dominated by bg sound. The servant (Anoop Chandran) who is shown as a foolish character trying to create comedy, is too horrible. The heroine reveals about the opening scene where the person who does the crying 'act' at the check post, as a big suspense, the body language and performance of the particular guy at that time itself showed that it is not real. There is no use in putting the lovers in a room and over hearing their talk through a microphone, as the officer can question them directly. The relevance of the first song in such a situation is questionable. The heroine jumping from a top, lands on a tree and later to the water below, can be considered as an accident, but if the same sequences are repeating for the hero also, then it should be called as 'unrealistic'.

The art director had tried to show the place Warangal in Andhra by a name boa
rd and writing few telugu words on the wall, but he should know have noticed that correct spelling of the place is not 'Varangal' as shown in the board. A board in tamil regarding the public telephone, is the last method to convey that the young hero is now in Tamilnadu. It was good that the board on the bus with places in tamil letters were not easily readable. Like wise, the place in which Nainan's introduction scene is shown as he does the attack in Karim Nagar in Andhra, looks similar to the one where he investigates the case later associated with the young hero and heroine in Tamilnadu. It might happened, as both of them were shot in the hilly outskirts of Kerala. (If cheating has to be done, it should be executed without being noticed by others).

Cinematography by Bijoy Vargheese is good. Editor Rathish Ravi might have suffered a lot, as the timing in cutting the frames were not proportionate in most of the scenes. Songs given by Shaan is ok, but the bg score d
one by him is not good and the loops were mismatching in majority of the areas. Such a kind of rap sounds used for shots featuring the officer and his team was not at all needed. Police roles are like tooth brushing experience for Suresh Gopi these days. Bala is as usual. The new heroine, Megha Nair's looks are not the best in some angles. The story of the film is not bad, but the script by Sathish Kumar and the presentation of the film by the debutant Ajmal happened to be the main problem. The creators are promising, so they should do their home work and come up with a better project next time.


The content of 'Ring Tone' is not attractive as its title, hence it is not a promotable one.



Rating : 3.5 / 10

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Raajneeti

Medium : Hindi
Starring : Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan, Ranbhir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Katrina Kaif
Director : Prakash Jha
Music : Wayne Sharp, Aadesh Srivasthava

Irrespective of the language, most of the multi-star projects is always a visual treat for the viewers. Though the content ma
y decide the success of such a project, placement of many stars in the promotional posters is good enough to give the initial pull in theaters. New film 'Raajneeti' has got many artists like Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan, Ranbhir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Katrina Kaif and even Nasrudeen Shah also comes in a guest role here. You will be curious to know about the creator of such a mega project, it is none other than Prakash Jha. Those who have seen political thrillers told in the backdrop of Bihar, like 'Gangaajal' (Ajay Devgan) and 'Apaharan' (Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Bipasha Basu), knows the capability of the director. UTV along with the director has produced the high voltage political drama, 'Raajneeti', made in a mega budget of around 75crores.

The film tells the story of a rich family which has got most of the members holding a prominent position in politics. The elections are in the pipe line, the leader of the party who is also the elder member of the family is critically ill and
his younger brother now takes the temporary leadership. The two cousins Prithviraj Prathap (Arjun Rampal) and Veerendra Prathap (Manoj Bajpayee), are fighting each other to gain the leadership of the party. Veerendra got the support of Sooraj Kumar (Ajay Devgan), a lower cast rebel leader for the fowl plays. At this time, Samar (Ranbhir Kapoor), the younger member of the family returned after his studies from abroad. He was not interested in politics. Situations became worse, Samar has to stay back since his father is killed.

Prithviraj is taken into custody for attacking the police, a rape case is also registered against him as per fowl play by Veerendra. Samar, under the guidance of the party's senior leader (Nana Patekar) succeeded in taking Prithviraj out of the jail. Samar's love story goes parallel, Prithviraj's marriage happens, Samar takes revenge against those who cheated and killed his father, a couple of members from the political family is also killed later and thus goes the incidents of 'Raajneeti'.

Some of the incidents happening here is adapted from the epic, Mahabharatha. The scenes in which Soorja is supported by Veerendra in the party meeting, Sooraj's mother visiting him towards the end, the climax gun shot situatio
n etc are some of the examples. The quarreling inside the family featuring Veerendra has got the flavor of the hollywood hit, 'The God Father'. The rich political family in the film also resembles the Nehru family, which played the vital role in the country in the post independence era. All the artists in the film have done exceptionally well, their costumes and make up along with the art direction of the movie needs special mention. The huge crowd gathering in the meetings has been neatly handled by the director. Music by Wayne Sharp is also good. Sachin Kumar Krishnan's cinematography and Santhosh Mandal's editing helped the frames, featuring a couple of stars in every scenes to be rich and colorful. Prakash Jha needs special appreciation for making such a mega movie in the political background.

Ranbhir K
apoor is matured and has emerged as an excellent artist here. Nana Patekar is silent, but his eyes are filled with emotions. Ajay Devgan and Arjun Rampal have done their part well. Manoj Bajpayee has also got some dramatic behaviors to do. Nasrudeen Shah should have been given a lengthy role. Nikhila Tirkha, in the mother role is good, but her performance in the anti climax area, needs more professionalism. Katrina Kaif is an artist that maintains her star position only by glamor, her dialogue delivery in the beginning is a problem as usual, but later on it is adjusted and her appearance towards the end resembles a real life portrait also. The non popular face who comes as the police officer is good in his action and gestures.


'Raajneeti' is a political entertainer made in a mega budget; It reveals the political plays that exists in the system to grab and maintain the power.


Rating : 8 / 10