The Adventures of Tintin – TSOU | Movie Review

Plot
Tintin (Jamie Bell), a young journalist, happens to buy a model ship named Unicorn. Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) tries to buy the model from Tintin, but fails. The model is stolen from Tintin’s possession, and he soon discovers that there’s more than meets the eye. He goes on about an adventure trying to solve the puzzle, and meets Captain Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis) through his journey. The rest of the story is about how they solve the mystery together, and discover the lost treasure of the Unicorn.

Artists Performance
Honestly, it was quite difficult for me to judge the artists performance, as it was motion/performance capture film. It was also hard to imagine most actors in their respective roles. Jamie Bell was alright in the lead role. Andy Serkis was brilliant as Capt’n Haddock. His comic timing was superb. Daniel Craig was good as the sinister. He was the most difficult one to imagine (James Bond playing a negative role!!). The true star of the movie though was Snowy. He was a brilliantly created traditionally animated character.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Based on three of Herge’s original comic books (The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure), screenplay by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish was very well written. Ive never read the comics myself, but do remember watching the cartoons as a kid, and I thought these guys did a pretty good job of combining the three to write an effective screenplay. I did feel that it was a little too long at times, but with a running time of 107 minutes, it actually wasn’t. Direction by Steven Spielberg was again very difficult to judge. Id say that he did a pretty good job. I thought a couple of scenes in the movie were brilliantly shot: the one where Haddocks recalls the story of the Unicorn (running in parallel to reality), and the scenes after Haddock  blows the dam in Bagghar. Though he dint direct the movie, the motion capture work by Peter Jackson does deserve a mention in this section.

Other Departments
Music by John Williams was a disappointment. For a franchise of such magnitude, I expected a haunting theme music. Cinematography by Janusz Kamiński was excellent. The zoom out shots were really good.  My only problem was with the 3D. Except in a couple of scenes, there were no 3D effects. It looked like a 2D film being screened on 3D. Editing byMichael Kahn was pretty decent. The animation was of top notch quality, and every character and location looked very believable.

Analysis
First thing Ive realized after watching this movie is that its very tough to review an animation film (at least, this one was made using motion capture). Though everything seemed to have worked really well for the movie, I somehow wasnt totally satisfied when it ended. The spark you expect in an animation was missing. The story also seemed a little complicated. It is a adventure film with its share of fun moments. Overall, a pretty decent watch, but not a classic!!

Verdict: 7.5/10

Real Steel | Movie Review

Plot
Set in the future, where robot fights are a craze, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer, who survives on unsanctioned robot fights. He comes to know that his ex-girl friend is dead, leaving him his 11 year old son Max (Dakota Goyo). To clear his debts, and buy robots, Charlie gives Max’s custody to his ex’s sister Debra on payment of 100 grand. Max stays with Charlie for a couple of months before Debra can take him along. During these two months, Max discovers a obsolete scrap robot Atom, and pesters Charlie to train Atom. The rest of the story is about how Max changes Charlie’s life, and how Atom goes on to become ‘The People’s Champion’!

Artists Performance
Hugh Jackman is excellent as the careless, indifferent father, who isnt serious about anything in life. He plays his character to perfection. The true star of the movie though is Dakota Goyo. He brings in a lot of innocence to his character while thinking very maturely, and was really really cute. His expressions while talking to Charlie are brilliant. Evangeline Lilly has a limited role in the movie, and was good. I would have loved to see more of her on screen.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
The story of the film is very very predictable. Its got a Rocky Balboa kinda theme to it, but instead of boxers fighting out, its robots. Story byDan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven is pretty decent, but director Shawn Levy couldn’t get everything right. The story seems to drag many a times. He tried to play with a number of emotions, instead of sticking to one thread. He handled the scenes involving the kid very well. He was able to generate subtle humor through the father-son relationship. Screenplay by John Gatins could have been better, but I have no qualms.

Other Departments
Music by Danny Elfman is alright. I liked a couple of soundtracks. The sound effects weren’t as great as Super 8, but were pretty decent. The Animatronic robots used looked very real and believable (Tom Meyer). Cinematography by Mauro Fiore was excellent. The scenes involving shadow fighting were shot brilliantly. Editing by Dean Zimmerman could have been way better. As already mentioned, the film dragged in parts, and a lot of scenes could have made the cut. Production values by Dreamworks are good.

Analysis
I didn’t like the trailer, and therefore was planning to skip watching this movie. But I finally did after a number of people told me about it (and in fact asked me for a review). And thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. But I wasn’t too happy either (mainly because of the Dolby turning on and off during the movie in the theater, Inox). It was a pretty decent movie which had its moments. The climax of the film was brilliantly shot, and makes up for most of the flaws in the movie. Plus points are Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo and the shadow cinematography. But on the downside, I could see similarities to a number of hit flicks. I actually felt like I was watching a Bollywood film because of the drag and sentimental scenes.

Its Rocky Balboa, but instead of Sylvester Stallone, you have Atom fighting the fights.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Super 8 | Movie Review

Plot
Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) is a 14-year-old boy who recently lost his mom in an accident. His dad, Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) is the Police deputy of the small town they live in. Joe and Jackson are going through a tough phase with the recent death. Joe, his secret crush Alice (Elle Fanning), and his friends are shooting a Zombie movie at an old train depot, when a huge train crash occurs. The event gets recorded on their camera. The rest of the story establishes reason for the crash and its consequences.

Artists Performance
Every artist in the film was absolutely brilliant. Joel Courtney was excellent as the lead kid. His expressions were good towards the climax of the movie. Kyle Chandler was good and fit the bill perfectly. Riley Griffiths was fantastic as Jack’s best buddy, and the director with a secret crush on Alice. I loved the scene where he asks Jack if he could manage things without him. The best performance though, is by Elle Fanning. I was absolutely spellbound by her act as the heroine (like everyone else), and even as the zombie. She looked really mean and scary while dressed as the zombie. Other friends of Jack were great. It was a perfect ensemble of cast.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Written and directed by J.J. Abrams, Super 8 is one of those freaky, sci-fi alien movies which makes an impact. It was like watching a Steven Spielberg’s film, but with a different take on things. I loved the screenplay. The way he scared the living hell out of the audience, without actually showing us the alien was brilliant. Also, I liked the way he established the animosity between Jack’s and Alice’s dads as the story progresses. The direction was spot on. He was able to generate the best out of the kids, while infusing subtle humor throughout the film. The movie never lost its momentum. The Zombie movie during the end title credits was brilliant.

Other Departments
I’ve seen quite a lot of movies, but I’ve never watched anything which literally made me jump of my seat for its sound effects. This film did that. Credit goes to Michael Giacchino for the mind-blowing music, re-recording and sound effects. CGI effects house Industrial Light and Magic are really good. The train crash scenes had the best effects, and was very well canned. Cinematography by Larry Fong was excellent. As already mentioned, the way the alien was never shown properly in any frame until the climax was brilliant. Editing by Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey was perfect. The film never dragged. Production values by Amblin Entertainment (Spielberg), Bad Robot Productions (J.J. Abrams), and Paramount Pictures are excellent.

Analysis
Its one of the best movies I’ve watched in recent times. It was spooky, freaky and humorous, all at the same time. The actors fit the bill perfectly, and did an awesome job. I felt that the movie had a message infused into it. Plus points are the casting, brilliant screenplay, direction, and the sound effects. I cant think of any negatives. It’s a film to be watched in a theater. I absolutely loved it, I hope you do too.

Verdict: 9/10

PS: The film released about 4 months ago in the U.S, but released just a couple of days ago in India. I’ve been waiting all along to go watch it in the theater. And it was worth the wait!!

Oosaravelli | Movie Review

Plot
Oh boy, this is gonna be tough. Tony (NTR) and Niharika (Tamanna) are kidnapped by terrorists in Kashmir. They somehow manage to escape from there. Tony follows Niharika to Hyderabad, and makes her fall in love with him. At the same time, he is also plotting to destroy a gang of goons. The rest of the story deals with establishing why he is after the goons, and how Niharika is involved in all of this.

Artists Performance
NTR is good in the lead role. As the tittle suggest, he is a Chameleon in the movie, in all aspects. He is brilliant in few scenes, and sucked in a few others. You think that he’s looking good for a second, and immediately there is a fatso in the next frame. He looked terrible in the last song. But otherwise, he was pretty decent. His comic timing was good, and he was pretty much the only one to provide laughter in the movie. His dances for ‘Dandiya’ song are really good. It would be great if he could lose some weight and maintain his figure (sheesh, never thought I would say that for a guy!!).

Tamanna has a very very good role in the movie, and is excellent. She should be really thankful to have bagged such a meaty role in a Telugu movie. She was actually brilliant in few scenes, especially the flashback episode. She looked gorgeous in the songs.

Prakash Raj has a relatively small role, but is excellent. Jaya Prakash Reddy was really good, and so was Raghu Babu. Vidyut Jammwal (Force fame) was absolutely wasted. The girl who played Tamanna’s freind, Payal Ghosh, was good. The rest of the cast was alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
It was one hell of a story by Vakkantham Vamsi. It in itself was a Chameleon. It apparently is inspired from a Chinese movie ‘Vengence’. The first half of the movie made no absolute sense. It was only in the second half that the motive was established. The problem is that the motive aint strong enough. As mentioned, its a story which changes colors. A small girl sitting in the next seat couldnt make head or tail of the movie. But even though it looks so complicated, it is actually not. Its the screenplay which makes it look so. Director Surender Reddy did a decent job. Only glitch was that he tried to hold the main plot till almost the end of the movie, which made the audience feel uncomfortable, as they (me included) couldnt understand the motives behind what was happening. But otherwise, the screenplay and direction were alright. Unlike Dookudu, the movie didnt have much comedy, but makes it up with a better story line.

Other Departements
Music by Devi Sri Prasad is good. I loved the first track of the movie ‘Brathakali’. The background score, especially the theme bg score is excellent. Dialogues by Koritala Shiva are pretty neat. There were a number of words which made the cut during sensor, which was a little irritating. The climax set work (Art by Ravinder) looked really fake. Otherwise, it was pretty decent. Fights by Ram-Laxman are decent. If you thought that Dookudu was shot beautifully, watch Oosaravelli, cos the camera work by Rasool Ellore is absolutely brilliant. Graphics by Cgtrix are of top notch quality.  My friend who works for them just happened to mention that they they really had to work hard for this movie, and it shows on screen. Production values by BVSN Prasad are good.Thought he didnt spend a lot, he made sure to mint money by releasing the movie in record number of theaters.

Verdict
Its one hell of a movie. Whether you take it positively or negatively is your choice. It was a different film, alright, but could have been dealt with in a much better way, A strong motive in the flashback episode would have done wonders to the film. Its good to see a heroine oriented film in Telugu. Though its all and out NTR film, the narrative is based on Tamanna’s character. Plus points are NTR (not the fatso), Tamanna, good music and excellent cinematography. Though the movie was long, it dint feel long. On the downside is the complicated looking screenplay. Its a pretty decent watch, but everything depends on how audience reacts to such different story line. In my opinion, it is better than Dookudu (by a wafer thin margin), but am sure not all of you would agree with me.

Verdict: 7/10

Force | Movie Review

Plot
Yashwardhan (John Abraham) is a tough police officer working for the narcotics control bureau. He keeps bumping into a social worker Maya (Genelia D’Souza) often, and eventually falls in love with her. On job front, he kills a drug lord Anna (Mukesh Rishi). Anna’s brother Vishnu (Vidyut Jammwal) kills Yash’s team member to avenge his brothers death, and is after the rest of the team. The movie ends with an wrestle fight between Yash and Vishnu.

Artists Performance
“I don’t want to do action like that because it does not look real, but the masses like it and the film becomes a hit. Maybe sensible people don’t like it, I don’t know. I am comfortable doing realistic stunts.”
–John Abraham in an interview with Rediff.

Oh John, what was all that about?? He himself says that sensible people might not like it, and still goes ahead with the project. That’s fine, but I really dont understand why he had to look so beefy in the movie. He looked more like a goon or the villain than the hero. And in which country does a police officer walk around wearing a vest while on duty?? John is not a great actor, period. His assets are his body and good looks. But since they aint enough for a movie to work, he needs modulate his expressions in a better fashion. In certain scenes, it was like, as my friend put it, watching a piece of furniture act. He was alright, but could have been much better. I cant think of a better choice than him for this remake, but he was no where close to match up with Suriya (Tamil).

Genelia needs to realize that Bommarillu (Telugu movie) is a thing of the past. Yes, she is great while portraying such bubbly characters, but I believe this was a more serious kinda role. After watching Jyothika (Tamil) and Asin (Telugu) do such beautiful job in the regional versions, it was quite difficult for me to watch her. She was good in parts, and a little irritating in few other.

Vidyut Jammwal is a cool hunk. Similar to all the guys with the great body, he cant act much, but can do much better if he works on it. He gave a tough fight to John in the climax. Mohit Behl, Mukesh Rishi, Raj Babbar were alright. Sandhya Mridul overplayed her role.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
It is very tough to remake a film. There are a number of factors which help a film work, and you cant get all of them right every time. The original will always be better (and mostly work better) when compared with the remake. Keeping all this in mind,  I deem Nishikant Kamat did a pretty good job. He stuck to the original Tamil plot while making very few changes, but he could have worked a little more in fine tuning the script to suit Hindi junta. The screenplay was really good. I loved the way where in he showed multiple fights at multiple locations in parallel. Direction was good in parts. He should have tried to generate more from John while extracting little less from Genelia.

Other Departments
Music by Harris Jayraj  is good. He used two of his old tracks, Uyirin Uyire from Tamil original and Manasa from Munna (Telugu). Other than these two, the rest were nothing great (He should have used Ennai Konjam as well). Background score by Sameer Phatarpekar was mediocre. The sound mixing and recording was good. Action by Alan-Amin was fine, but went overboard at times. Cinematography by Ayananka Bose, and editing by Aarif Sheik was alright. It was comparatively low budget film.

Analysis
Frankly, I liked it better than the Telugu ‘Gharshana’ according to the story line. The Telugu one was a drag in the second half, but this one had better screenplay and left out lot of unnecessary senti crap. Acting wise, Tamil ‘Kaakha Kaakha’ wins the trophy hands down. Both John and Genelia could have performed better. Music is a plus. Overall, a gory but neat film, and a decent watch.

Verdict: 7/10

Dookudu | Movie Review

Plot
Shankar Narayan (Prakash Raj) is a responsible political leader, who wants his son Ajay to follow his footsteps and become a politician in the future. Shankar is hurt in an accident and goes into coma. Ajay (Mahesh Babu) grows up to instead be a police officer, and is put in charge to track down a mafia don Nayak (Sonu Sood). Shankar recovers from his coma after 14 years, and to satisfy his father’s wishes, Ajay dons the role of a MLA. The rest of the story is about how Ajay hunts for Nayak, and takes revenge on the people responsible for his father’s accident.

Artists Performance
It’s a tailor made role for Mahesh Babu. He is absolutely brilliant in the movie. He looks dashing all throughout and I loved his styling (I believe he is one of the best dressed actors in the industry). I thought his dialogue delivery was a little awkward in few scenes, especially the use of Telangana dialect. Having said that he was brilliant, I feel that he could have done much better in senti scenes. Probably because of his films being dubbed into Hindi by Salman, he used a number of punch dialogues.

Bramhanandam and M.S. Narayana have better roles and more screen time than Samantha. They are outstanding in their respective characters. Bramhanadam once again proves his mettle. His portrayal in the scenes where Mahesh describes the requirements for the reality show, and where he talks to Nagarjuna over the pen cam is terrific. M. S. Narayan entertains us with his show reel.
Samantha is alright as the female lead. There is no proper characterization to her role, and had less than 30 minutes of screen time on the whole. I believe Samantha suffers from the same problem as Vidya Balan and Kamalini Mukherjee; after essaying a beautiful, deglamorized roles in their first movies, it is quite difficult to accept them flirting and romancing with the hero. It looked quite odd. She also looked very lean.
The rest of the cast was alright. Sonu Soon had a different get up and was good. I felt that Prakash Raj’s character went a little over board. Bharani, Chandra Mohan, Suman, Nazer, Naga Babu, Ajay, Subbu Raju, Bharat, Sayaji Shinde, Kota, Dharmavarapu, Shafi, Vennela Kishore, Sonia, Parvati Melton, and the list goes on – this movie had them all. It was like watching a mini Maya Bazaar.

 

Story-Screenplay-Direction
In the first ten minutes, I thought the screenplay was running really fast. At the end of the three-hour long moving, I realized why Srinu Vytla was rushing through the movie. It’s because he tried to infuse so many stories into one film. Funnily, the stories he tries to infuse are all from his old movies. It was like watching all his movies together, right from Anandam to Namo Venkatesa. Senti scenes, family bonding, comedy bits, marriage song, we’ve seen them all before. But luckily, it works for most of the while. He also inserted a number of unnecessary concepts which made the movie lose its steam in between. Though there is absolutely no freshness in the story line, the strong cast helps him hold the movie together.

I have a lot of qualms regarding the story, but since it’s a Telugu film, won’t complaint much. Most noticeable was the lack of chemistry between Samantha and Mahesh. Except for the first few scenes after they first meet, there is not much happening around them. Also, Sonu Sood, who is shown as a big time scary don, seems to lose his steam towards the end. Him running away from Mahesh in the climax fight made no sense.
The screenplay, as mentioned, though rush in the beginning was fine toward the end. Direction was good in parts. Srinu Vytla’s plus point is his ability to create humor without trying much, and he was able to do that through most of the movie.
Other Departments
Music by Thaman is average. Except for the title song, none of them had any impact. Background score was good in parts. Though the punch dialogues lacked punch, dialogues by Kona Venkat are really good. Editing by Varma could have been better. A number of scenes should have made the cut. Cinematography by Guhan and Prasad Murella is absolutely brilliant.  Thanks to them, people dint notice that Mumbai’s police commissioner had his office on top of a multi storied building. The shots in Istanbul, and for one of the songs in US are really good. The graphics could have been much better. Producers Ram Achanta, Gopichand Achanta and Anil Sunkara spent a lot of money and it was visible. They had most of the Telugu industry cast in the movie.
Analysis
It was a boring, draggy, potpourri of movies which would never end. But still, it had its brilliant moments which makes the movie work. More than being a Mahesh’s film, it had Srinu Vytla written all over it. Mahesh just helped it reach the pinnacle. Bramhanadam and M. S. Naryana’s video clips shall be on almost everyone’s facebook pages in the near future. Actually, its not Mahesh, but them who make the movie reach its pinnacle. Better editing and screenplay could have helped. On the whole, a decent film. Could have been much better, but with the recent dearth of good Telugu films, this movie is something most of us can feast on (count me out!!).

Verdict: 7/10

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan | Movie Review

Plot
Luv (Ali Zafar) breaks up with his girlfriend Piyali (Tara D’Souza) for no particular reason while in London. Post break up (in the next one hour), he assigns his brother Kush (Imran Khan) to find him a bride. Kush relentlessly tries to find a good dulhan fro his brother and finally zeros on Dimple (Katrina Kaif). As expected, Dimple and Kush fall in love instead, and the rest of the story is about how Kush ends up marrying his brothers dulhan.

Artists Performance
Fifteen minutes through the movie, I was starting to wonder if whether I was watching a Yash Raj movie, or if it was a soap on Star Plus!! Cos not a single actor in the movie was acting. Instead, they were all overacting (trust me, that’s an understatement). Imran Khan, high on success post Delhi Belly, seemed to be the only actor who dint overact as much as expected. He was alright. He does look like his mamu Aamir in few frames (With beard on, he reminded me of Aamir in Andaz Apna Apna). Katrina, who played such a beautiful and matured role in Zindagi, was absolutely wasted. I wonder how she even accepted to do such a dumb role. She was good in parts, but I couldn’t watch her plummet so much. And where do I even start about Ali Zafar?? Agreed, he wasnt great in Tere Bin Laden either, but he crosses the line totally in this movie. Right from the first frame, he seems to be in his own world, of over-action. Even talented actors like Kanwaljit Singh and Parikshat Sahni were absolutely wasted in this mindless film.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
First time director Ali Abbas Zafar (Assistant Director of Badmash Company, New York, Tashan etc.) brings to screen a totally mindless entertainment flick, which doesn’t even entertain us totally. Talking about story, there was absolutely none. It is well known (right from the title) that the movie is about falling in love with your brothers dulhan, but seems like Ali Abbas Zafar forgot that he needs to run a thread where in they would actually fall in love. The way Kush and Dimple fall in love makes no sense. Who asked you to flirt around with your brothers bride and get close to her in the first place?? Added to this, there was absolutely no chemistry between them. His direction was totally melodramatic. In one word, it sucked. Big time. Screenplay was alright.

Other Departments
Music and Background score by Sohail Sen was average. Except for “Choo Mantar”, all other tracks made no impact. I liked the way he used old classics for BG. Editing by Ritesh Soni is alright. Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is good. Production values by Yash Raj are excellent. I wish they invested in a better script though.

Analysis
There are so many useful things I could have done on a Saturday night. Instead I wasted two and half hours watching total crap, which did entertain once in a while. Actually, it was the over-action which entertained. Few people around me did seem to have fun (I wonder why). Katrina, though thoroughly wasted, is the only saving grace of the movie. A better script and much better direction, could have made this movie a good watch. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good either. Overall, overacting overdose!!

Verdict: 6/10

Bodyguard | Movie Review

Plot
Lovely Singh (Salman Khan) is a bodyguard working for a security firm. He is hired by Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar) to guard his daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Lovely regards Sartaj Rana as god, for he once saved his life. Divya does not like Lovely following her around, so plays a trick on him by making prank calls. She falls in love with him and confesses her love anonymously. She later fears that Lovely wont accept her out of respect for her father. The consequences form rest of the story.

Actors Performance
Salman Khan is brilliant in the lead role. High on success after Wanted, Dabaang and Ready, he entertains with one of his regular dumb flicks (oops!!). He looked very stylish in the movie. I loved the way he flexed his muscles in the title song. Its a tailor made role for him and he did absolute justice. Looks like Kareena put on tons of wight post the size zero effect, she looked fat in certain scenes (I was shocked to see her with thunder thighs). She was alright, nothing great. I loved the salwars she wore in the film (designed by Manish Malhotra). Hazel Keech plays Kareena’s friends role, and was ok. She wore tons of make up though. Asrani and Rajat Rawail tried to produce some humor. Raj Babber, Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar were adequate. Katrina Kaif sizzled in half a title song.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
In simple words, there was absolutely no story. The consequence of a prank call was dragged and dragged to make a two and half hour movie. I haven’t watched the original Malaylam version of the film, but looks like director Siddique stuck to his original without any changes (he provided the story, screenplay and direction for both the versions). The first half was funny and alright. The second half was a bore. It had its moments, but went on and on. The climax was pathetic. People started laughing for senti scenes, imagine that! Direction was good in parts, but could have been much better. Screenplay was alright.

Other Departments
Music by Himesh Reshammiya was alright (for a change). I loved the title song for its peppy beats (sung by Salman himself). The best track though is the one composed by Pritam (I Love You). Its a soothing melody Il remember for a while. Background score by Sandeep Shirodkar was average. Cinematography by Sejal Shah and Editing by Sanjay Sankla were acceptable. Production values by Reliance Entertainment and Atul Agnihotri are passable. They banked a lot on sponsorship (Blackberry, etc).

Analysis
Its a out and out Sallu bhai’s film, made for the masses with class people in mind. It should be a hit among the B and C center crowds, only if they can sit through the boring climax. It might prove to be his fourth consecutive hit. It has its moments with high energy supplied by Salman. Plus points are a couple of fights, entertainment quotient, and Salman. Kareena had a meaty role, but she dint live up to expectations. Overall, a time pass entertainer. Do not watch the film with high expectations. If you can bear Salman Khan, and dont mind the dismal climax, you might actually enjoy the movie.

Verdict: 6.5/10
Amma’s Verdict: 5.5/10

Urumi | Movie Review

Plot
Krishna Das (Prithviraj) owns ancestral property in Kerala, which he about to sell to a multi-national mining corporation, without realizing the history and heritage of the land. To make him realize its importance, Thandachan (Arya), chief of the forest area, narrates the story of Kelu (Prithviraj), Vavvali (Prabhu Deva) and Ayesha (Genelia D’Souza), on how they fought against the tyrant Portuguese in the 16th century. Kelu’s fight against Vasco Da Gama forms the basic story line of the movie.

Artists Performance
Its been a long time since I saw a movie with so many top-notch actors (reminded me of Mayabazaar). Prithviraj, as the main lead was good. Though his body was well toned, I thought he looked a bit bulky. Prabhu Deva was excellent as Kelu’s sidekick. He provides the only laughs in the movie. I never really realized how beautiful Genelia is until I watched this movie. She looked absolutely gorgeous. Her character though was a very inconsistent. She is angry at Kelu for destroying her kingdom, but at the same time falls in love with him (all in the same scene). Nitya Menen and Vidya Balan have very short roles and are adequate (We get a glimpse of Vidya Balan’s “Dirty Picture” in one song). Jagathy Sreekumar is superb as the prime minister. His is the best performance of the movie. He is rivaled only by Amol Gupte, who is excellent in his role as the helpless king. Tabu and Arya have guest appearances (Tabu looked old!)

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Santosh Sivan happens to be a very talented cinematographer, period. But his choice of films as a director has always been strange. After delivering a period dud like Asoka in 2001, he once again tried to create something similar, but this time on a much larger scale with a bigger ensemble of cast. And to his credit, does a good job this time around. But it is the story by Shankar Ramakrishnan which disappoints. For starters, he tried to relate historical characters with current generation, which I thought was absolutely unnecessary. The mining corporation wanting to buy the land, the NGO, etc were totally unnecessary and helped the story in no way. He should have stuck with the 16th century to develop a much better script. Also, being a movie about Kerala, it seemed like a lot of the story line was edited for the Telugu version, which made the screenplay horrible. Few scenes ended so abruptly that they made no sense.

Other Departments
Music by Deepak Dev is really good for the songs. But when it comes to the background music, he rips off tunes from Pirates of the Caribbean and Gladiator. Something more original would have done better justice to the movie. For a dubbed movie, the lyrics happened to be really good. My favorites were “Chinni Chinni” and “Neevevaro”. The later was brilliantly picturized. Editing by Sreekar Prasad was fine. Being a Santosh Sivan film, it is supposed to be visually extravagant, and he does not disappoint.

Analysis
Now I understand why they dont usually dub Malayalam movies into Telugu. Forget lip-sync, it was as if I was watching a Japanese dubbing movie initially. I heard really good reviews about the film from my Mallu friends and therefore decided to give it a try. But I was actually disappointed. Having such a great ensemble of cast, Santosh Sivan could have made a much better movie. But lack of punch in the script, atleast for the Telugu audience, is a big let down. Great cinematography, good acting, but half baked script and untidy screenplay thwart my expectations. There is absolutely no entertainment in the movie (It was like watching a story from my History book). I would have preferred watching the Mallu version rather than spending 150 bucks on this. I suggest you do what I dint!

Verdict: 6.5/10

Rise of the Planet of the Apes | Movie Review

Plot
Will Rodman (James Franco) is a Scientist working for GEN-SYS, a company which manufactures drugs, first testing them on Chimpanzees. Drug 112 helps improve the intelligence of a female Chimp “Bright Eyes”, but she is shot down due to unforeseen circumstances and the project is put off. Will takes in her child, names him Caesar (Andy Serkis), and raises him. Caesar inherits his mothers genes and is born intelligent. After years, Caeser attacks Will’s neighbor and therefore is put in a pivate facility, where he is mistreated. He develops rage, and with his intelligence, decides to free other Chimps. The consequences form rest of the story.

Artists Performance
Being a CG film, there is not much role for the human actors. Will Rodman is alright as the scientist. Freida Pinto has no role in the movie, and she is ok. Rest of actors are fine, with no great performances. Andy Serkis is brilliant as Caesar (motion capture), and is the undoubted star of the movie.

Story – Direction
Being the foundation film for revive of the franchise, there is not much happening in this film. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (writers) dedicated most of the script to establish the character of Caesar, with very little of a rebellion in the film. I dint really understand the importance of Drug 113, it might be something for the sequel. Caesar avoiding killing of humans is something I liked. I thought the the movie ended very abruptly. Direction by Rupert Wyatt is good. The Screenplay was alright.

Other Departments
Music by Patrick Doyle is forgettable. It was good in parts, but I would have expected a more haunting score for such a movie. Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie is alright. Editing by Conrad Buff and Mark Goldblatt is fine. The motion captured digital apes created by Weta Digital are of top notch quality, but I thought that their faces looked a little distorted. Other than the apes though, the graphics were real shoddy. I expect something much better for such a high budget film.

Analysis
Having heard and read good reviews about the movie, I was expecting something spectacular. Alas, I was disappointed. I am not saying that it was a bad movie, but there was that spark missing. There is no real bond between Will and Caesar, which according to me was really important. Overall, its a decent watch, but nothing you have to run to the theater for.

Verdict: 6.5/10