Archive for the 'Film Reviews' Category

23
Jun
14

Movie Review: Jon Favreau’s Chef

CHEF_MOVIE_POSTERAs a young boy I wanted to learn how to cook the vegetarian meals my mother made. As I grew older I tried and loved and began to relish meat outside home, at cheap eateries and in swanky restaurants. As other interests like music and writing took over, the enthusiasm to learn the art of cooking dimmed, and now I don’t give a fuck about cooking and only want to be fed. I want to sit at the table, or on the floor, with a fork and a knife and a spoon, or ready to attack with my bare hands. I certainly mind standing, because that’s no way to eat. That’s how you eat at weddings and receptions and other occasions where you can’t stuff your face with the buffet spread, no matter how delicious the food, and even if no one’s watching.

Chef, besides being a sweet little film, is absolute food porn. The movie can make a fully stuffed anorexic struggling model want to dig into a steak.

oliver platt chefOliver Platt will remain etched in my memory as Ramsey Michel, the city’s top food blogger, who pans chef Carl Casper’s skills. Ramsey Michel was thrilling to watch because he reminded me of myself: a person who loves to eat and is hard to please. Casper, played by Jon Favreau (who has also written and directed this movie), doesn’t take kindly to the restaurant critic’s scathing review. Hurt at being called needy and uncreative, and unfamiliar with how social-networking sites work, the chef unintentionally starts a flame war with his freshly found foe on Twitter.

It’s a change to see an ex-wife who isn’t a bitch, and it’s even better that this nice woman is Sofia Vergara. With her accent and in all her hotness, she convinces the chef to get a food truck. Having lost his job at the restaurant, and having become the latest viral laughing stock on YouTube, Casper goes on a road trip in the food truck with his 10-year-old son Percy, and his friend Martin (Jon Leguizamo, delightful). The father-son relationship is your typical one, and so, a bit of a bore, even if it’s about them bonding over running a mobile eatery.

chefBut thankfully, Chef is about a man out to prove a point to himself, and about food. It’s about a man’s passion for cooking, a chef who’s lost in the moment when he’s at it, and at his creative best when no one’s telling him how to do it. What I’m taking from Chef is the scene of a father telling his son that the boy can have just one sip of the beer he’s been handed, and every scene that has Oliver Platt / Ramsay Michel. Jon Favreau’s Chef will make a lot of you want to start cooking, or become better at it, or do more of it. It makes me want to watch more movies, eat more food and watch more movies about food.

RATING: 3/5

SOFIA VERGARA on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

21
Mar
14

Film Review: Ragini MMS 2

Hot Ragini MMS 2 PosterSunny Leone is as bad at acting in Hindi films as she is at fucking in porn movies, and the rest of the cast is worse

Ragini-MMS-2-Movie-Horror-PosterLook, you can’t possibly hold anything against sexy porn actresses except a throbbing cock. It takes a lot of courage to have sex with strangers before a whirring camera, and it’s admirable that a hardcore-porno star is doing something about her Bollywood aspirations. It shouldn’t bother us that Sunny Leone hasn’t yet learned to act; we have male superstars who haven’t acted in years. What we should care about is the horror genre, even if we can only helplessly watch it slowly being pulled inside an open grave by hands that want to count money.

raginimms2-sunny leoneRagini MMS is, by all standards, a perfectly alright scary movie. It has a relatively unknown cast which drags you into its terrifying setting. A couple gearing up for kinky sex in an isolated house haunted by a Maharashtrian ghost. Funny as that may sound, you can’t laugh, because the Marathi-speaking spirit is pissed-off and effectively scary. Ragini MMS 2, the sequel to the sleeper hit, has Sunny Leone, who is as bad at acting in Hindi films as she is at fucking in porn movies, and the rest of the cast is even worse.

Sunny-Leone_blackThe hot babe looks extremely fuck-able in Ragini MMS 2 but watching the film is a bumpy ride. You’ve seen her suck dicks and get banged and take cocks up her ass, so how can you pretend for even a nanosecond that she’s got the lead role in a horror movie?

The makers of Ragini MMS 2 understand this very well, so this is the clever plot they came up with: A filmmaker wants to make a movie based on the true story of Ragini and Uday, the couple who went away for a sex-packed weekend. The director, exactly like some of us, knows that movie stars ruin horror movies and make them seem fake, so he’s roped in… Sunny Leone – the famous porn star! That’s right, Sunny Leone plays herself: an adult-movie actress who wants to make it big in Bollywood. Now, isn’t that clever?

Sunny-Leone-Hot-Sexy-Unseen-Pics-collectionThe Marathi-speaking ghost’s backstory is solid as hell, and whoever thought that up should have scripted all of Ragini MMS 2, because the movie itself is a mess. The film unit goes to the haunted house, and people start hamming it up and getting killed. You can imagine how lousy the acting is if I’m telling you Sunny Leone’s the finest performer of the lot.

Not scary at all, this movie. Despite its cleverness, you still can’t believe Sunny Leone can be possessed. If you think the movie’s original, nope – the climax of Ragini MMS 2 is a ripoff of the climax of The Conjuring, which was pretty shitty anyway. Director Bhushan Patel and producer Ekta Kapoor know the kind of thrills the audience wants from Sunny Leone’s “Ragini MMS 2” and deliver them by the bucketful. Alas, the audience wants to be entertained and titillated but not scared.

RATING: 2/5sunny-leone 

14
Mar
14

The Darkness That Embraces Indian Horror Films

A week from today the sequel to Ragini MMS will be upon us, overhyped because of Sunny Leone in the lead role, the presence of item numbers and the former porn star gyrating to those songs. I’m not sure which is worse, but she looks very hot and one of the songs is catchy. A surefire way to get anybody who watches Hindi movies to jog their memory is to ask them which the last Bollywood horror film that scared them shitless was.

Those who have some understanding of quality in cinema will cite Ramgopal Varma’s Raat as the scariest one, and then they’ll go silent. Raat is brilliant, of course, but not the only horror classic Hindi cinema can brag about. My heart lies buried do gaz zameen ke neeche with the Ramsay Brothers and goes out to you if their films weren’t a part of your growing experience. I won’t even start naming those spook-fests (I already named one, for your information), but even their titles emphatically show their love for horror. Hell, even Zee Horror Show was bone-chilling; you can scare people of all ages in broad daylight just by humming that otherworldly tune.

sunny leone ragini mms 2 baby dollThe last many years of Bollywood horror have been embarrassingly funny because of directors employing half-hearted measures to make scary movies. RGV has himself turned into a joke of sorts, and his own affinity for the genre has not translated into anything eerie. The best thing old boy Ramu did for the style in recent years was getting Milind Gadagkar to not just write but also direct Phoonk 2. I was perhaps the only film critic the movie got a positive review from and you can read it here. Then there’s Vikram Bhatt, another filmmaker who loves horror but always manages to screw it up. Vikram Bhatt suffers from the need to either justify everything or solve the unearthly problems with the help of… wait for it – God. In one of his movies, the ghost kills a Catholic priest but flees when the protagonist chants the Hanuman Chalisa. In another of his films, the demonic force suffers a setback when the hero hides in a dargah. In yet another attempt of his, one that released around Ganesh Chaturthi/ Ganpati Visarjan, the ghost gets killed by a bleeding man who has drawn power from a mangalmurti to kick ass like a leading man. The use of religious angles isn’t a problem (certainly not when crosses are inverted; they look best that way), but you can tell Vikram Bhatt has been doing it on purpose to excite a certain section of people at that time, and that’s no fun.

aniruddh agarwal saamriThe Ramsay Brothers’ offerings, deliberately exaggerated as they were, with the bad songs and poor acting, were wholly enjoyable. The Ramsays were masters of their craft great at what they did because they had embraced the genre and were madly in love with it. They wanted to scare the hell out of you and were successful every time, and what’s amazing is their movies terrified everyone who watched them. My guess is that it always worked because those filmmakers weren’t nursing a latent desire to make a wildly commercial film and focused only on petrifying us all.

Sadly, the latest Ramsay horror releases today (You didn’t know that, right? It’s called Neighbours) and is relegated to seedy theatres, while Sunny Leone’s film will open across multiplexes next Friday. Ragini MMS 2 is destined to be a hit. Manufactured in every way that can be thought of to appeal to audiences that don’t even want to be scared and can be pleased with anything that keeps them entertained for two hours, it makes one think of the tapori crowd that attends metal gigs nowadays. Having no idea what Brutal Death Metal/Goregrind is, they’ll still hop to some slam band because it allows them to stop thinking and simply have fun. Not that that’s wrong, but to somebody who does understand the music, it is very absurd. “Samajh mein nahi aata lekin mazaa aata hai na, buntai!”

Haan, bhamai, haan. The future of everything is scary.

03
Mar
14

Film Review: The Good Road

the good road posterthe-good-road-stillsThat it was India’s official entry to the Oscars should make those mad about movies go out of their way to watch The Good Road. If that isn’t motivation enough, think of it as the Gujarati film which upset the makers of The Lunchbox. Having watched both the films, I think it’s a shame that I have to think of Ritesh Batra’s brilliant Hindi movie as ‘offbeat’ only because The Lunchbox happens to be one of those rare Bollywood movies that exhibit a different sensibility.

Good Road 2Gyan Correa’s debut film The Good Road relies heavily on Amitabha Singh’s cinematography. As I have traveled to the remote villages of Rajasthan, views of highways and the interiors of any part of India hold much charm for me. As a fan of everything minimalist, I feel the film breathe through the few dialogues there are. Three stories cross paths in/on The Good Road, and poor acting doesn’t come in the way of gorgeous shots of the Gujarat highway. Shamji Dhana Kerasia, who plays the truck driver Pappu (and happens to be a truck driver in real life) and his companion Priyank Upadhyay are the only two in the cast who effortlessly act.

stills the good roadMoments of despair turn to utter desolation in the Rann of Kutch, and Gyan Correa keeps you engrossed in this surreal piece of cinema. Not a minute from this Gujarati film (my first, by the way) is spent getting melodramatic, and even the harsh realities depicted nudge you subtly. Subtlety, yes. This subtlety is what I crave in Indian cinema. This subtlety is what I found missing in The Lunchbox, despite its delicate story and nuanced performances. This subtlety is what The Good Road has in abundance, despite its grim story and incompetent performances.

It’s the unhurried pace at which the story is told and the breathtaking visuals of the rural landscape and all that the movie says by way of saying very little that do it for me. Here’s to more films down the Gujju road.

RATING: 3.5/5

the good road stills

21
Feb
14

Film Review: Darr @ The Mall

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Pavan Kirpalani’s previous outing Ragini MMS was a triumph of sorts; a found-footage film that did build up decently but didn’t make you defecate in fear, it is still very different from what Hindi horror movies have been. You might have just been glad to watch another scary movie from Bollywood that dared to not have songs, I was overjoyed to see people actually act in it. Even with Ragini MMS 2 being helmed by another director, it’s still a sequel I look forward to, and with Sunny Leone in the lead, we’ll certainly enjoy a few laughs, if not the chills, but that’s a few months from now.

Darr @ The Mall veers towards the commercial side of Bollywood horror, with an item number and other songs, and an amateur cast hammy as can be (it’s good when they’re this annoying; you wait for them to be done away with). Jimmy Shergill, a fine actor who deserves better, is helpless in this horror flick the way he was in Bullett Raja (read my review of that unbelievably bad Tigmanshu Dhulia film here), and he looks bored out of his mind while experiencing occurrences spooky enough to unsettle anyone.

Nushrat-BharuchaBut get it right: Darr @ The Mall at no point manages to even interest you. Pavan Kirpalani takes a horror cliche we don’t find offensive and attempts to make it abstract. (Dude, we would’ve never guessed the damned mall was built on where an orphanage used to be. It could’ve also been a mental hospital or a cemetery, but we movie watchers are incredibly dumb, right?) Still, the problem remains that Kirpalani sacrifices scares because he’d much rather confuse you into thinking the plot (the story, not where the mall is) is deeper than it is. Despite the many deaths, there isn’t one moment that shakes you out of your boredom. Ask the couples who made-out throughout 2014’s first Bollywood horror film.

Who throws a grand bash at an allegedly haunted mall with inadequate security measures? Who attends a party at a mall which is currently all over the news because there have been nine unexplained deaths in it only recently? Along with the apparitions (ghosts of children) is the angry spirit of a nun, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the owner of the mall and his crony have perpetrated one of those crimes that unfailingly get every villain in Bollywood the punishment due.

Too bad that I expected Kirpalani to repeat his successful act; now all I can do is wait and see if Sunny Leone has gotten any better at emoting with her breasts.

RATING: 1/5

Horror Film Review: Question Mark  | Bollywood Slasher Movie: Hide And Seek

14
Jan
14

Movie Review: The Wolf Of Wall Street

By JANAK SAMTANI

The film is based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a stock broker on Wall Street. The film starts with his career at a Wall Street firm which shuts down and his move to a small time investment firm which deals in penny stocks. It is here where Jordan finds out the profits one could make through commissions from sales of penny stocks. Soon he moves out of there to start his own firm and gets a bunch of known guys, shown to be drug dealers with no banking experience, to join this firm.
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From the start till the end of the film, the investors and Jordan Belfort’s customers are shown as morons, who could be easily cheated and would be sold a story on how the stock would perform. Jordan is shown to be a great salesman who teaches his bunch the trade. The entire success of his company, Stratton Oakmont, which he starts, is based on this. The company starts to grow and make huge profits. With this come lavish parties with drugs and girls, which just do not stop and make the whole thing look unreal after a while. The guys are shown addicted to cocaine and Quaaludes, which they keep popping in every scene and there is just no end to it. Wherever they may go, there is a drug scene involved.

Within no time the company grows from a few people to over a hundred. There is more cursing, shouting, employees going out of control and make the whole workplace look like WWF’s Royal Rumble, which actually looked better. The only time the entire place is quiet is when Jordan is talking to the entire company. They have tried too hard to show how great a salesman he was. Everyone listens to him and gets inspired. All he does is repeatedly sell the idea that by being rich you can solve all your problems. And how do you get rich? By selling lies to people. If you have attended any multilevel marketing seminar ever, in real life I mean, you do not need to go for this film.
DiCaprio+Scorsese+new+Wolf+Wall+Street+trailer+gTt_Ev5PIIXl
The plot is very loose and events just happen; between the drug scenes, the FBI gets on Jordan’s back, he gets the title of ‘Wolf’, the regulators wake up to the fraud and Jordan’s father just emerges in a scene to come and give him advice. The film is made by Martin Scorsese and that surprises me. If you have seen some of his past films and like them then you will want to leave this film midway.

The film is completely hollow, unconvincing and could have been cut down from three hours to just a little over one. Better go smoke a joint and watch Royal Rumble than this film!

Rating: 2/5

20
Dec
13

Movie Review: Dhoom 3

dhoom-3-posterkatrina-kaif-still-from-machale-song-of-dhoom-3Within a couple of minutes of your introduction to Aamir Khan in Dhoom 3, you see him running down a wall of a bank in slow-motion. You’re not sure what’s happening, but there are dollar bills falling like leaves in autumn, and a homeless man is happy.

Right after that there is Uday Chopra, talking to save his life, surrounded by a bunch of goons, till his friend Abhishek Bachchan makes a grand entry in an autorickshaw that smashes a wall and helps beat the shit out of most of the bad guys.

Having skipped Dhoom and Dhoom 2, and having no idea what those films are about, I’m watching Dhoom 3, not to add a movie review to the website, not to trash the film for fun, but for the sole purpose of being entertained. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea, really, for amidst the non-actors are Katrina Kaif, who’s getting hotter with each passing film, and Aamir Khan, whose presence lends some credibility to the franchise.

Katrina-kaif-new-look-in-Dhoom-3But the story grabs your attention only just before the intermission, and a lot of Dhoom 3 is utterly ridiculous, thanks to Aamir’s motorbike that can transform into a speedboat or a four-wheeler, depending on the need of the moment and Khan’s mood, even defying gravity for the sake of Bollywood blockbusters. Uday Chopra looks like a teenage mutant ninja turtle and thinks he’s funny, and I’m wondering how bad those two previous Dhoom films are.

Aamir Khan tries very hard, way too hard, but the unreal thrills of Dhoom 3 keep it from being believable, with the superstar putting on a facial expression similar to his character in 3 Idiots, that other shitty film of his. He does pull a couple of scenes off smoothly, but that’s about it. Abhishek Bachchan is only helped by his quite confidence, affable when not playing the cop, but there isn’t really much for him to do anyway.

Since you don’t want spoilers, let me just say Dhoom 3 will amuse Christopher Nolan; after Memento, it’s The Prestige. A two-out-of-five rating for Dhoom 3 for having the sexiest female actor in Bollywood.

RATING: 2/5katrina_kaif_in_dhoom_3Movie Review: Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a shitty film

Beer Review: Trooper Ale (The Iron Maiden Beer)




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