Friday, 11 August 2017

A Wednesday (2008)

A Wednesday does a hypnotic audience grip in its final act. The point it makes is instantly powerful and debatable.

The first hour though is an irritating mix of cliches, jarring background music, and some unintentionally laughable dialogue. The pace slackens in bringing various characters to the mix. The screenplay needed a serious fast forward for breathless, memorable impact. 

Naseeruddin Shah's excellent portrayal of the main protagonist binds us. So does Anupam Kher's restrained act. Jimmy Shergill's angry cop needed meat and reason. 

Though A Wednesday doesn't build up craftily, it hits the ground running, making it flawed, but solid entertainment.  

2012 (2009)

Why do we visit the movies so often? Everyone has their reasons. Sometimes, we all yearn for a sense of disbelief and an enlarged, impossible perspective. 

Like, who wouldn't want to die in epic style, with millions of fellow earthlings? Watch a whole island turn into a mammoth volcano and jump in manic glee. Scream like forever, falling into those mega earthquake cracks.   

Nobody dies the usual way in a template-ridden, mega-budget, end of the world (yes it's time of the year again!) Hollywood disaster movie 2012

Predictably, the lead characters survive to save the day. So it is left to the VFX team (hail the visual effects people!) to make it all fun and convincing, even as cities fall apart and world-famous monuments are reduced to rubble. The loud soundtrack does the rest.

Don't look for a story, expect emotional pep talk on universal brotherhood, Asian mystic talk and have fun. 

2012 is a movie to be enjoyed and forgotten, to the unhealthy crunch of tub popcorn and in dreading a fatal asteroid attack that will burn up, along with other unimportant things (like your life), that eyeball-weary, inseparable companion, your iPhone... 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Gurgaon (2017)

Preet (Ragini Khanna) is back home from abroad to her ultra-wealthy family, with a degree in architecture. She wishes she wasn't home. Preet soon brutally discovers why.

The whiskey guzzling monarch Kehri Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) stands for Gurgaon's sudden shift, from a sleepy farmer's belt to a concrete demon. Swimming in wealth, Kehri has bequeathed his mammoth property to the adopted daughter Preet. The disregarded elder son Nikki (Akshay Oberoi) resents impassively while splurging in self-destructive angst.

Based on true events, Gurgaon sheds a cavern dark, nightmarish light on stubborn traditions and human nature. Debutant director Shanker Raman hits with silent gloom, conveying numb hearts, greed, lust for power and a family built on real estate boom and bloodshed. 

Chauvinists, child murderers, desperate kidnappers. Gurgaon could have punched into audience hearts with reminders of unforgettable cruelty. Instead, it attains a disinterested, distant rhythm, leaving us less shocked at the end. 

Gurgaon is still a decent alternate watch for the haunting, fiendish night scenes, top-notch performances, and for conveying how greed and animal instincts detonate across generations.  

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young woman, wakes up after a car accident with her leg chained to a wall and locked up in an underground bunker. 

A bulky old captor Howard (John Goodman) turns up, narrates how he saved her from a large-scale attack by either Martians, Russians or North Korea. That the air outside is not breathable and they will have to live underground for one or two years at least. He assures her that nobody is alive out there. Michelle suspects otherwise.  

Building up consistent nerve-wracking suspense, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a high-quality sci-fi thriller. The final act holds up, despite a much-visited premise, for the dark execution and grit. Highly recommended.

Titli (2014)

What would you do if you were born into a family of carjackers and robbers? Titli, set in Dehli's dark, discarded underbelly is a stark, gritty engaging film. 

Titli (translated 'butterfly') is the hapless younger brother, scheming to flutter away for good. His brothers get him forcibly married instead. Soon, the new bride is a terrified, unwilling accomplice to the family business.

Watch it for the unusual story arc, splendid performances (Ranvir Shorey is shout out terrific) and intoxicating whiffs of cinema.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Cloverfield (2008)

Making a found footage monster/disaster movie like Cloverfield is a tricky affair. How much to accidentally show and how much to conceal?The film gets it breathlessly right in bits and parts. The Statue of Liberty's beheaded debris stays with you.

Keeping up the tension with an amateur camera shoot feel takes some doing. Some lame direction and a distant relatability for the main protagonists negate fear and unpredictability to an extent.

Culminating events into a unraveled love story and somber deaths dull impact. What is a monster movie if the characters don't die magnificently. Eh?

Cloverfield is mitigated, very effective in parts, worth a watch for the exciting narrative medium.