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Archive for May, 2008

Indiana Jones 4 -An adventurous Travelogue!


17 years ago, the third movie in the Indiana Jones series was released. Ever since then nobody has seen Mr.Jones or his comrades except in the American television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles which was broadcasted from 1992 to 1993. Now, this summer, Steven Spielbergh comes forward with the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones series, baptised “Kingdom of the crystal skull” with the same old Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Though the bottle is old, the vintage wine is fresh and lip smacking. Like any other Indiana Jones film, this one rocks and rollicks but with a change. This time the man with the hat brings his son home in a 1957 adventure. Steven Spielbergh has once again successfully visualised the ‘Indiana Jones sensibility’. In a time when the Nostalgia for Professor Jones is almost dead, he comes back and proves that he has become a name in the fictional world and time can’t rot him out. Commendations to Steven Spielbergh for his decent family entertainer

The plot unleashes nothing different from its predecessors when Colonel Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) breaks into hangar 31 a military base in Nevada, where she press-gangs Professor Jones(Harrison Ford) to lead them to a box containing the remains of an alien which landed ten years ago in Roswell, Mexico. Though Indy’s partner George “Mac” McHale (Ray Winstone) betrays him by being a Soviet agent, he manages to escape. After a short while, when he is seen teaching in the university, he is forced to go on leave since he is under the surveillance of the FBI for his friend Mac is a traitor. When Jones is about to leave a young man named Mutt Williams(Shia LaBeouf) bumps into him and makes him aware that, Harold Oxley (John Hurt) an old friend of Jones has disappeared as soon as he found a crystal skull in Peru. As usual Indy and Mutt go on a mission to Peru to look for Professor Oxley and there the duo visit a lunatic asylum where he was locked up before being kidnapped by the Russians. But his empty room provides Jones with a bagfull of clues, which lead him to his next big adventure. Want to join him? Follow his skull closely!

Another clean, neat and witty Indiana Jones adventure not only for ultra-conservative Indiana Jones fans but for the whole movie going lot. The movie gratifies the rules of the old Indiana Jones black book as well as the expectaions of the present audience. Harrison Ford has once agained Donned his favorite role to the maximum extent. The 21 year old Los Angeles star Shia Labeouf has worn the motley of Mutt Williams well and poses out as a smart, innocent and vibrant youth. Since most of the plot involves Ford and LaBeouf, other characters have very little to do. Beginning from the cast to class, everything aptly fits into the story.

Normally Indiana Jones series is filled with Colonial and racial ideas such as ‘the white men are the ones who shoulder the responsibilty of civilising the so called barbarians’ ,this movie is also not spared. If one does a Post colonial analysis of his films, Spielbergh may pose out as a crafty villain, suppressing the sentiments of other races, very similar to Shakespeare’s Prospero. Though he might take a French leave by arguing that the controversial elements are his characters’ and not his own, still he can be put to task with references from his films. In the second place, Logic which was a missing man in the previous Indiana Jones films is missing in this one too. However, based on the factor “willing suspension of disbelief” this movie falls into the fantasy category and cleverly justifies the murdering of logic.

At the end of the day, Spielbergh has successfully come out with his fourth Indiana Jones movie. Though John Williams‘ music is not hi-fi it gently sways across this story, which takes place in the late 1950s. Janusz’s cinematography and Michael Kahn‘s editing work offers this film the required momentum.So ultimately, Indiana jones says “Collisions, clues, adventure, mysteries and chivalry make me a complete ‘man’ forever!”

-Spontic

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Scarface- A flamboyant tragedy!


A year after ‘Blow Out’, Brian De Palma loosely remakes the 1932 film of the same name and this time his script is penned by Oliver Stone. Al Pacino and Steven Bauer play the leads of this passionate but powerful movie. With a historical background, the life of Tony Montana, a ruthless Cuban refugee is narrated to us. The main plot of the movie appears to be modelled on a Greek tragedy, where fate ultimately wins. But if we apply A.C.Bradley’s idea of ‘character is destiny’ the movie seems to be a Shakespearean tragedy. Similar to the life of Tony Montana, the film begins passively, rises steadily, reaches the crisis narrowly and falls into the end mercilessly. But what makes this movie different from other gangster movies is that here we see the values and passions behind the blood stained faces of darklings and drug lords. Graphic sexual language and bloody violence have forced the MPAA to give an ‘R’ for this movie. The Director and Writer can pride their finished product, which has come out like a red pearl from a red sea.

The movie jumps out of the hat with a few archive videos regarding Fidel Castro’s Mariel Boatlift and the migration of Cubans to Florida USA. We are being indoctrinated that 25% of those migrants have criminal records. Tony Montana (Al Pacino) and his close friend Manny Ribera (Steve Bauer) enter the scene when they are enquired by the officials in Florida because of their criminal records. Soon they are thrown into Freedomtown where Cuban refugees without green card live. Very soon Manny pulls Tony into the assassination of Cuban communist Emilio Rebenga, which gets them green cards and opens their gates to America. Tony and Manny start working in a fast food shop, but Tony is seen disgusted about it. Once again Omar Suarez (F. Murray Abraham) who gave them the ‘kill Rebenga’ project, meets the duo for another drug deal as per which they have to collect cocaine from a Colombian dealer named “Hector the Toad”. In their very first meeting itself, Tony and Omar rub shoulders with each other but Manny puts them off and convinces Tony to take up the task. With a small team Tony and Manny visit Hector, but a few things go bloody wrong. Consequently one of Tony’s friends gets killed but Tony and Manny manage to collect the cocaine after finishing everybody in Hector’s house and take it to Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia), the Big boss of Omar. Frank is impressed by Tony’s frankness and forthright attitude and appoints him and Manny as dealers in his dope business. On the other hand Tony is impressed by Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer), Frank’s girlfriend. Also Tony’s sister Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and mother (Miriam Colon) are introduced to us when Tony pays a visit to them. Everything in Tony’s life changes when he takes off to Bolivia to meet Alejandro Sosa (Paul Shenar) a drug Lord as a representative of Frank, along with Omar. Very soon Alex kills Omar for his betraying past but he has something really nice in store for Tony. To know what happened after this, you must take a walk down the lane of Tony Montana.

Tip-top characterisation and performances as sound as a bell make this movie a real classic. Al Pacino has acted as though he has lived next door to the fictional Tony Montana at least for a 100 years in the world of Scarface. His looks, strange body language, Cuban tongue and sniffing style has put him in the forest of undeletable fame. If Al Pacino leaves the screen for a while or if he is mute for a few minutes, we realise how charming and vicious Steve Bauer is. Steve Bauer, right from his first scene amuses us, playing a friend, a womanizer, a felon and a husband. If Al Pacino scores in a single ball like a football player, Steve Bauer amuses us with a number of balls like a juggler. The plot is efficiently modeled on a Greek tragedy except for the fact that a Greek tragic hero comes from a noble family. The Director’s efforts to put even the minuscule elements in style has given him fruits of success. The portrayal of Tony’s other side adds strength to his character and makes it complete unlike a few other stories where the two sides of a man are depicted in an imbalanced manner, dragooning it to be technically incorrect. The tragic flaw of Tony Montana and the fashion in which it causes his downfall are flawless. Tony faces and dissipates the outside conflicts with ease but when a conflict is ignited inside him he faces the ‘perepetia’, recognises his error in a ‘catharsis’ of pity and fear
and ultimately dies. Commendations to the Scarface crew!

The movie’s screenplay falls into a lethargic abyss now and then leaving the audience in darkness. Except the leads other characters fail to impress, but they manage to travel through the story helped by the leads. Despite the fact that this movie is lengthy the story lumbers in the middle disgusting the viewers. The diction of the movie is down to earth but at times it becomes too crude. The Director’s attempt to be original and fresh protects him against all these flaws.

Technically, John A. Alonzo‘s cinematography work lags behind. Certain frames in the movie are shown without any focus and we are pressurised to find out where the hero of the scene is. Similarly Gerald B. Greenbury and David Ray hold responsibility for the dragging screenplay and scenes of the same kind. Giorgio Moroder‘s music adds a mild harmonic flavor to this film. The sound effects of this movie, especially during the gunshots raise it to the level of a Hitchcock movie. On the whole Scarface tells us ” Decisions, deeds or death, they’re all yours!”

– Spontic

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Sexy Beast- Movie Review

Sexy Beast- Sexy as well as skanky!


‘Films or commercials, Whatever you do, do it in style’, seems to be the motto of Jonathan Glazer who has directed this Sexy Beast written by Louis Mellis&David Scinto. We admire this Pocket sized dynamite as soon as we see it, we are awe-struck when its ignited by Ben Kingsley and when once everything is over, we enjoy the warmth of it. Kudos to the writers and the Director. A lot of blood and a few drops of saliva sprayed all over, resulting from the mouthing of unprintable dialogues may make this movie too squeamish to watch for certain people. Title to credits, there is style and sadism in this film drama as per its name. The story begins in the middle of nowhere, probabilities of a thriller and an action movie come rolling in, but the outcome is fresh and different. Surprisingly, action part of this movie is not shouldered by guns or girls but by unique characters and dialogues.

The movie begins with the portrayal of Gary “Gal” Dove (Ray Winstone), a retired criminal known for his safecracking techniques, who now ecstatically lives in a spanish villa with his wife Deedee (Amanda Redman). He is often visited by his friend Aitch (Cavan Kendall) and his wife Jackie (Julianne White). Gal makes the best use of his paradise by cracking jokes, making merry along the poolside and hunting. His paradise is polluted when Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) a callous criminal visits them inorder to enlist Gal in a London bank robbery. Though trembling with fear, Gal lets him know that he is retired and he is happy with what he has. After a hallabullah, Don Logan leaves Gal’s place and takes his seat in the returning flight. Unfortunately for Gal and Company, he is thrown off the flight for smoking. With his rich experience in handling situations and unlocking deadlocks, Don eclipses the officials and comes back to Gal’s villa. This time his intentions are different. He wants to turn up Gal’s toes. When he tries to convert it into action, the movie reaches its prime. To know what happened next, keenly watch sexy beast.

The uniqueness of this movie is that, it creates mixed effects among the audience. A few may like the background of the story and not the story at all. But people with an open-mind and a wide taste may applaud the move for its intensity and class. Every single character walks close to the audience’s idea of such a character, but after a point of time, they fly beyond the audience’s imagination and leaves them baffled. The writers have precisely understood their characters and the director has recreated them on screen by appointing the right cast. Ben Kingsley, in the skin of Don Logan walks tall with his devilish eyes and venomous tongue. He sets the viewer’s pulse on fire everytime he says ‘Fuck’. The writers can be proud of Don Logan, their brainchild who speaks, looks, walks and threatens in a way which is never seen before. Ray Winstone, a big man scores a lot with his looks and body language. Amanda Redman and Julianne white are the perfect choices for their sexy and serious roles and they sustain the weight of their characters till the very end. All the other actors have played and scored as directed by their coach. The most crucial facet of the movie is the narrative technique where a crisis is split into parts and shown amidst the pieces of another crisis. The movie has more than one crisis and the plot moves from one to the other. Also the transition of Gal’s Spanish Villa from a God’s own house to a Godforsaken place and vice versa is amazing. The director’s attempt to give us more of a visual film than one with too much of dialogues, proves to be successful.

The foregrounding of Don Logan’s character at a point of time appears to be a hype rather than a natural one. Also the movie lacks a consistent tone, shifting from one to the other. But from a different perspective, this is a movie with a variety of tones. This movie’s ordinary denoument seems to be the odd man out and it fails to stick to the rules of the movie. For a first bench movie goer, this movie has only a run of the mill story and nothing extraordinary. The director would have tried to make this movie suitable for all.

The soundtrack of this movie played by various artists is amzing. Especially the “Lujon” track by Henry Mancini is stupendous. John Scott & Sam Sneade have given this movie an artistic shape with their scissors. As mentioned earlier, the Director and writers turn this beast a sexy one. So Sexy Beast roars, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, your voice is so sweet, like the dying cadence.”

-Spontic

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Kuruvi-Movie Review

Kuruvi- Fails to take wing


Red giant movies proffers us this big little bird created by Director Dharani. This is nothing different from the recent commercial cocktails of Vijay. Front bench movie goers are the victims of this movie but they are happy about it and they seem to enjoy it. Three years ago Dharani was the trendsetter of commercial celluloid and other minor directors mimicked him atrociously. But they have mimicked him ‘so well’ that Dharani inturn is forced to create a movie out of the movies which are nothing but distorted models of his own creation. Vijay can’t afford to continue acting in movies which are nothing but gobbledegook. He is a potent actor bestowed with some great talents but squanders them over rotten movies,blinded by success. Despite these factors there are some satisfactory aspects which are worth discussing. The grand sets and dance choreography play a vital role in the course of the movie. It should not be taken on board that commercial cinema is everytime something sick and senseless but commercial movies with a top-notch storyline and clean screenplay are always welcomed.

The movie begins with the portrayal of three ruthless villains in Cuddapah who torture construction director Singamthu(Manivannan) and his crew, who work as gofers in a quarry. Singamuthu roars that his son will come someday to ignite a revolution. Vetrivel(Vijay) is a kaput boy who lives near Koovam river with the families(three wives of his dad and a large number of kids) abandoned by his father whom they think ditched them and ran away for his debts. He goes racing encouraged by Aaps(Vivek) and emerges out successfully with his good for nothing car and then he goes dancing with Malavika. Straight off one day a group of hooligans visit his house and start clearing it. When enquired, their boss tell him that his father is indebted to him and the cheque which he gave had bounced. After getting a week’s time from him Vetri and Aaps go to Malaysia as kuruvis to meet Gotcha(Suman) who originally gave the cheque to his father. kuruvi is a person who takes goods from India to foreign countries and vice-versa. But Vetri realises the fact that Gotcha is a big shot and not likely to give his money back. Gotcha proclaims that he is digging out blood diamonds from Cuddapah in India without the knowledge of the government.So after a big pandemonium Vetri steals one of such blood diamonds and blackmails Gotcha. While stealing the diamond he also steals the heart of Devi(Trisha) the sister of Gotcha,who is engaged to Bhavan. When Vetri comes down to India with the diamond, Devi comes with him in the same flight unknowingly that Vetri is the Kuruvi who stole her heart to look for kuruvi in Chennai. After this Gotcha traces Vetrivel to his hideout and takes him in custody. He makes him aware of the fact that his father hasn’t gone far and staying with him as a slave in Cuddapah. Before thrashing him to death, he challenges Vetri to come to cuddapah. As usual Vetri succeeds death and goes to Cuddapah. The rest of the story is a open secret, want to know it still? watch Kuruvi.

The first half of the movie is well made, straight from Dharani’s kitchen and becomes the biggest forte of the movie. Vivek’s comedy track which is blended within the main plot is exceptionally well done. Lollu sabha Jeeva, who occupies very little screen time makes a good impression. Though the
songs are not to the mark, their visualisation shoulder them to climb on to the ‘hit’ platform. Vijay’s grace and speed along with his amazing get down talents provide a great feast to his fans. The dance choreography is perfectly made and neatly worn by Vijay. Trisha is cute and luscious than ever and the audience are glued to the screen when she comes on screen though she has nothing serious to do. The movie makers’ attempt to develop this film as a grand and visually graceful one proves to be successful.

The movie is well begun. Seeds for an unrivalled commercial movie are sown, but they fail to grow fulfilling the conjectures. A group of villains- a badmash, a money hungry politician and a cut-throat smuggler but a single hero-a middle class boy and a big fight. This is what we get if we look at this movie’s plot critically, for most of the time, Vijay kicks, punches, rolls and rolls throughout the movie, consequently when the movie is near it’s close, it gives us the feel of watching a Vijayakant movie. Except for the scene sequence and dance, the whole movie is in a big mess. The first half of the movie propelled by Vivek and fancy songs is the lifeboat which saves the breath of Kuruvi. Trisha, Saranya, T.K.Kala, Suman, Ashish Vidyarthi, Bhavan and Manivannan play nothing but brainless dolls, trying to do something around one superman, Vijay. In the next place this movie indirectly, is propaganda stuff. Dialogues like ‘who is the man?’, ‘My son will come for sure’ and scenes portraying the emergence of a revolution and the freedom of people makes this hype even worser. Adding to this, dialogues which add fuel to the fire that exists between Vijay and Ajith are found scattered throughout the movie.It is extremely painful to sit through the latter half of the movie. In this movie Dharani is seen only in flashes forcing us to say that this is more of a Red Giant and Vijay product rather than Dharani’s. Dharani, who has given us steady and stylish commercials like Dhil, Dhool and Ghilli has slipped, stepping on Kuruvi. For instance the title is very feebly related to the plot. Definitely Kuruvi spoils the expectations of the film connoisseurs despite it’s distribution record.

Raaki Rajesh‘s stunt sequences are exceptionally well done making him the real hero of the movie. If not for his stunts Kuruvi is not worth watching. Vidyasaagar‘s Background score tries to breath life even into lifeless scenes. With a variety of instruments and exotic sound effects Vidyasaagar adds spice to this commercial movie. Editing, particularly in the second half is loathsome. Right from the title to credits, something is wrong with Kuruvi. So Dharani at his worst. Kuruvi says, “I’ll shout and fight my way out”.
-Spontic

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