Archive for the ‘Movies’ category

Paiya

April 24th, 2010
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WARNING: spoilers ahead!

Watched Paiya yesterday. Was a draggy movie with ridiculous fight scenes. I wonder if the quality of pipes in India is that bad because getting whacked few times with metal pipes also still can fight strongly. And what’s with twisting people’s neck all the time? Linguswamy need to come up with better stuff.

Karthi is trying hard to act. All his actions reminds us of Surya, Barath, or even Vijay. Worse still it just brings back memories of Paruthi Veeran or Ayirathil Oruvan. Just the setting is different.

Tamannah had to look pretty, and she did 🙂

The story is about I guy Shiva (Karthi) who is jobless because he botches the interviews one way or another. His friends try to help him get a job. Along the way to an interview, he sees Charulatha (Tamannah) – love at first sight.  Oh yeah, this happens in Bangalore.

By coincidence, he ends up becoming driver for Charu and her uncle who are heading to Madras. Along the way, Charu asks Shiva to ditch the uncle, and escapes in the car with Shiva. The rest of the story is about Shiva, Charu, and the Mitsubishi Lancer. Sigh!

You get the typical story – girl is being forced to marry someone, so she flees to her grandma’s place; guy secretly in love with the girl he is helping out, guy has some previous problem with gangsters.

To cut the story short, Shiva manages to bring Charu to Bombay where her relatives live. Unfortunately, she is not so welcomed there. she leaves the house and meets (again) with Shiva. Both sets of bad guys (remember, some bad guys are looking to settle score with our hero, while the girl’s side are still searching for her) converge and Shiva has the simple job of bashing up about 40 people.

Story ends when Shiva’s friends spill the beans on his secret love, and Charu reciprocates.

Direction: Standard story with some nice scenery settings. Director dragged the movie, could have saved about 10-20 minutes.

Story: Predictable, drags around. Typical boy loves girl-with-a-problem story.

Acting: Tamannah acted well (but I still like her in Kaloori). Karthi seriously need to improve on his acting. Everyone else did OK.

Songs: This is where to movie tops. Super songs by Yuvan Shankar Raja – Thuli Thuli Mazhaiyaai, Poongatre Poongatre, Adada Mazhaida, Suthuthe Suthuthe Bhoomi, and my favorite: En Kadhal Solla.

Conclusion: Watch this for Tamannah or for the songs.

Cast: Karthi Sivakumar, Tamannah Bhatia, Milind Soman, etc.

Genre: Romance, Action.

Acting : 5/10

Story : 5/10

Special Effects: 6/10

Cinematography: 6/10

Overall Oomphness: 5/10

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

February 19th, 2010
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Note: Spoilers ahead! Read at your own peril!

After Wolfman, we caught Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief.  I’m not sure if the movie looked fake. Maybe too much of Harry Potter in the last few years had affected the movie industry and the movie goers (not to mention having same director – Chris Columbus). I couldn’t help but make comparison between the two. And The Lightning Thief came off worse. Percy Jackson series has five books, and Lightning Thief is the first. I guess few more movies is in the pipeline.

Remember characters like Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Minatours, Medusa etc.? These are gods and mystical beings in the Greek stories, along with Hercules, Perseus etc. In this movie, the Gods exist, and their offsprings (demi-gods) roam the earth as human beings. King of Gods, Zeus had decreed that the parent God can never make contact with their demi-god children, so our hero, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) grows up with his human mom – a regular college going student. The movie starts with a gigantic Poseidon rising from the sea and having a meeting with Zeus (Sean Bean). Seems like some stole Zeus’ weapon, his thunder bolt (thus the title) and Zeus promises war if the bolt is not returned (one wonders how the theft occurred in the first place). Zeus accuses Poseidon’s son since according to him, only a demi-god born of the 3 powerful gods Zeus, Poseidon or Hades would do such a thing.

So the race begins. Rest of the celestial beings believe Poseidon’s son Percy has the bolt and tries to grab him, while Poseidon tries to warn his son. Anyway, Percy has a protector, a Satyr (half human, half goat) named Grover (Brandon Jackson), who is incidentally his best friend in college. As with most demi-gods, Percy has dyslexia and ADHD, so he goes to a special school. During a trip to the museum, A Fury attacks Percy, but he is saved by his teacher Mr Brunner (Pierce Brosnan). Percy gets suspicious and wonders what is going on. Mr Brunner asks Grover to take Percy home and inform his mother. Once home, Grover tells Percy’s mother that its time to go. The three of them get into a car and drive off, with Percy having thousand and one questions. As they approach the destination, a Minotaur attack them. Percy manages to ward off the creature, but his mother is taken away, and he thinks his mother has been killed.

By this time, Grover is revealed to be a Satyr and their destination is a camp for demi-gods. Its run by Mr Brunner who himself is a demi-god, a Centaur (half human, half-horse) named Chiron. Here, Percy undergoes some fast-track training, and has time for a blossoming romance with Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), a demi-god of Athena. He then gets a warning from Hades – return the bolt and rescue his mother (yup, she was kidnapped, not killed). Even though Mr Brunner advises him to go to Mount Olympus and talk to Zeus, Percy decides to take matter into his own hands and venture into the underworld. He is aided by Grover and Annabeth. Before they leave the camp, they met Luke, another camp member who provides them with some tools – shield, flying shoes, and map for pearls for underworld travel.

So, begins a journey for the pearls (3 in total). First was in the care of Medusa (Uma Thurman). They managed to kill her and retrieve the pearl. Second was in a museum, where they faced a Hydra. Final pearl was in a casino, where they had to overcome drug laced lotus food. Finally, they enter the underworld and meet Persephone (Rosario Dawson!), wife of Hades. Some small talk with her and Hades appears. Percy tries to convince Hades that he did not steal the bolt, but everyone soon notices that the bolt is actually hidden in the shield (given by Luke earlier). So, the trio realised Luke was the one who stole the bolt.. Hades is angered as he thinks Percy lied to him. While he is punishing them, Persephone takes the bolts and strikes Hades. Hades faints. Persephone then tells them to escape with the bolt (and she has some crazy reason for that). Unfortunately, there’s 3 pearls and 4 persons (three youths plus one mother). Grover volunteers to stay back, something that Persephone relishes as she’s attracted to him.

The three go back to the living world and was about to enter the gateway to Olympus when Luke attacks them and steals the bolt. Luke admits to stealing the bolt because he wants the Gods to fight so that the younger generation can take over (yeah, another corny reason). Anyway, to cut a long winded battle short, Percy retrieves the bolt and goes to Olympus along with Annabeth. They return the bolt and also ask for a favor – to get Grover from the underworld, which Zeus grants. Poseidon also gets a chance to talk to his son for a while. Story ends with Percy going back to the camp while his mother says goodbye to him.

So, you can see the similarities with Harry Potter story. This movie is from a book series as well, so there’s probably another 4 movies. I feel the movie failed to excite. Maybe its meant for kids, since its a simple, linear storyline.

Story: A “seen that” feeling prevails at times. Maybe due to the subject – Greek mythology. Simple and easy to understand, caters for kids.

Direction: Seems to have some disjointed parts. Not smooth flowing.

Acting: The young actors did well considering their age. The veterans like Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean had small roles but acted well.

Conclusion: Watch this for time passing or if you are into teenage adventure stories.

Cast: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon Jackson, Uma Thurman, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan.

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Acting : 4/10

Story : 4/10

Special Effects: 7/10

Cinematography: 6/10

Overall Oomphness: 4/10

Note: Saw this movie in East Coast Mall, Kuantan.

Wolfman

February 18th, 2010
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NOTE: Spoilers ahead. Read at your peril 🙂

I managed to catch 3 movies during the holiday season recently (well, its Chinese New Year AND Valentine Day, nothing much happens). First of them was Wolfman, a remake of the old classic movie made in the 1940s. This one stars Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins, and the Matrix-voiced Hugo Weaving.

Story is quite straightforward – about werewolves or lycanthropy. The hero (del Toro) returns home after his brother’s disappearance is notified by the fiancee (Blunt). Alas, he is too late, as the brother’s body was found, horrifically mutilated. It was the 3rd or so death in the town. He investigates, and on a visit to the Gypsy camp, the campers along with town security is attacked by the wolf. Hero is injured (you know what that means in werewolf-world). Hero’s father (Hopkins) seems to be cool about it (hint, hint). Cop (Weaving) comes to town to investigate. Hero is prime suspect as he is a stage actor, had witness mother’s suicide when young, and was admitted to an asylum subsequently.

On a full moon night, a trap is set, but the werewolf escapes, leaving trails of massacre. The next day, a bloodied hero is found and caught by the cops. He is sent to to asylum in London, under the impression that he is mentally affected. While in prison, his father visits him and reveals that he himself is the werewolf that terrorised the town and killed both mother and brother. Hero swears revenge.

On the next full moon night, the doctors display him to fellow researchers, saying that once the patient realises he doesn’t turn into a wolf, he will be cured. But, we know what happens when the full moon is revealed. Hero-cum-werewolf kills a few people and escapes into the night, chased by the cops.

Hero finds brother’s fiancee, who is now unattached and is on a rebound (hint, hint). Tells her that father is the cause and that he will take care of it. She vows to find a cure for him. He leaves for hometown while cops raid the fiancee’s shop.

Climax is in the town. Both werewolves fight, and the father-turned-werewolf gets killed. Hero-turned-werewolf chases after fiancee-turned-heroine. Fiancee pleads and we can see realisation in the eyes of the hero-turned-werewolf. Heroine shoots the werewolf and gives redemption as she “frees him’ out of love.

Oh yeah, the cop gets scratched while chasing after hero-turned-werewolf, so …part two maybe?

Story: Simplistic.

Direction: Nothing much to shout about. It lacks the thrill/suspense factor.

Acting: Hopkins is melodramatic as usual, while I feel Weaving can’t let go of his booming  Agent Smith voice. Emily Blunt and Benicio were OK.

Conclusion: Not so appealing as storyline is known. I think it fails to excite the viewers, and we are able to guess the plot and ending easily. The transformation from man to animal was cool though.

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, Emily Blunt.

Genre: Horror, Period,

Acting : 6.5/10

Story : 5/10

Special Effects: 8/10

Cinematography: 8/10

Overall Oomphness: 7/10

Note: Saw this movie in East Coast Mall, Kuantan.

Tamil movies 2009

December 31st, 2009
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2009 saw the release of some interesting Tamil movies, but that’s usual for an industry that spews out movies non-stop.

I managed to catch some of the movies and present a very, very short report of those movies., in alphabetical order.

Aadhavan – Surya’s second release of the year. Not so strong as Ayan, since it had a similar story track. The songs and action scenes are OK, but the main plus point is comedy track with Vadivelu and sidekicks. Oh, and of course a better looking Nayanthara.

Achchamundu! Achchamundu! – A story tributed to the sexual abuse cases that is happening in India and elsewhere, but funnily, the story takes place in US. Prasanna and Sneha act as a couple with a kid. The movie is quite short, and the ending predictable. Nevertheless, it’s a bit different from the run-of-the-mill stuff normally found in Tamil movies.

Ayan – One of the top movies for 2009. Glamour, sophistication, comedy, songs, scenery. Surya scores a hit in this movie. The storyline focuses on smuggling and piracy industry. Heroine Tammana had nothing much to do, other than the usual heroine stuff.

Eeram – Another movie with good reviews from the public. Seldom does a horror movie manage to enthrall the audience. The actors Adhi (his second movie I think), Sindhu Menon, Saranya and Nanda performed well. The director also made use of the water and color elements creatively throughout the movie.  The plot is about a revengeful spirit that kills those people that caused its death. The investigating police officer was ex-lover of the ghost.

Kandaswamy – One of the highly anticipated and underachieving movie for 2009. I’m still undivided if this is comedy or action movie. Kids seem to enjoy the rooster routine, while youths enjoy Shreya scenes. Songs were catchy, but Vikram’s role is wasted here.

Kunguma Poovum Konjum Puravum – Another movie based on love, this time with actors who are not famous (yet), Ramakrishnan and Tananya (she’s a med student in real life). Set in typical village setting. Sad story but lovely song or two. Not suitable to watch if you want to relax or have a fun time.

Malai Malai – Prabhu’s getting some decent roles in his twilight years. Acted well in Ayan, but average in this movie. There’s Vedika for eye candy, and hero is Vijay Kumar’s son Arun Kumar. Story is normal love+action+ rowdy stuff. Some nice songs. Watch if you have nothing much to do or  ardent fan of Arun or Vedika.

Maasilamani – Well, what can you say – Nakul movie. Style, dance, dialogues – usual stuff. Famous for its songs, but nothing much on the acting. Again, watch this if very free.

Modhi Vilayadu –  I had high expectation for this movie, and boy, was I disappointed big time! Vinay and his funny voice was irritating. Kalabavan Mani was at his usual crazy antic stuff. Heroine Kajal Aggarwal was the standard eye candy. She was OK in Arjun’s Bommalattam, but not in this movie. Story is about a rich businessmen who raises an orphan as his own son, and his own son as the “pretend” son’s friend.  Reason? To protect his real son from any harm from business rivals or bad guys. Too bad, the real son actually dies when assassin attacks. How the “pretend” son handles the truth forms the rest of the story. Skip this if can.

Newtonin Moondram Vidhi – A different fare from SJ Surya. Its about a lover’s revenge with the clock ticking away. Can’t really remember the heroine. Story has some loopholes and the ending was copied from English movie, if I’m not mistaken.

Nadodigal – The scenes where the friends help the girl to escape from the parents is still vivid in my mind. One can empathise with the guys (one who broke his leg and the other who went deaf). A different take, but probably the acting skills could have been better. A must watch movie.

Pasanga – a different story indeed, focusing on children rivalry, a funny love story and a friendship between two families. Vega Tamotia’s second movie after Saroja (She’s a model and resides in Australia it seems). May not be your cup of tea, but I enjoyed this movie.

Pokkisham – Another good movie from Cheran, with one of his (and my) favorite actress, Padmapriya. Tale of love in the 1970s between an Hindu guy and Muslim girl. Sad story, told in flashback. Worth watching during those nostalgic moments.

Sarvam – Directed by Vishnuvardhan, so you think it will be a wee bit different at least. And it was. A wee bit different. Guy loves girl routine, but girl dies. Heart donated to a small boy. And someone is planning to kill the small boy. Our hero turns protector to protect his love’s heart. Arya and Trisha star in this movie. The movie had potential, but somehow fails to deliver. I wasn’t particularly enthralled with this effort. And yeah, Maestro sang a song for this movie.

Siva Manasule Sakthi – Entertaining love story between a delivery guy and a Radio RJ. Movie is corny, irritating, and even funny, but I enjoyed watching it. Ending was a bit unexpected. Stars Jeeva and new actress Anuya. Movie turned out to be hit as well.

Thoranai – Strictly for Shreya fans. Co-stars Vishal. Enough said.

Unnaipol Oruvan – Another of the highly anticipated movie for 2009 due to the actor – Kamal Haasan. A movie with no duets or songs, no heroine (well, there’s the chain-smoking reporter Anuja Iyer). Well taken movie, crisp, direct and great dialogues as expected of Kamal movies. Mohanlal acts as police officer. Story is about terrorism. Its adapted from the Hindi movie A Wednesday.

Vedigundu Murugesan – A super comedy movie starring Pasupathy (Veyyil, Kuselan). It’s about a poor guy who sells water to shops, and his brush with some local bad guys. Love comes in the form of local police constable Jothirmayi. A funny movie.

Villu – strictly for Nayanthara’s fans. And Vadivelu’s too. It also stars actors like Vijay. Some nice songs and scenery. Don’t ask about the rest, I barely paid attention.

Yavarum Nalam – A ghost story starring Madhavan! I think its a remake, but not sure. Its about a family that moves into an apartment. Later things that happen on a TV show depicts the real things the family goes through. A scared Madhavan investigates and story unfolds. A bit slow moving and short movie.I kind of enjoyed it because it was not the typical story. Watchable.

Movies I have not seen yet:

Adhe Neram Adhe Idam
A Aa E Ee
Ananda Thandavam (heard this is a good one)
Laadam
Naan Avan Illai 2
Naan Kadavul (heard this is a good one)
Ninaithale Inikkum (stars are Prithvi Raj and Priyamani – two of my favorite actors)
Padikathavan (heard this is a good one)
Peranmai (heard this is a good one)
TN 07 AL 4777 (remake from English movie?)
Vaamanan (heard this is a good one)
Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu
Vetaikkaran (been asked to avoid this)

My vote for best actors for 2009 (s0 far): Kamal, Santhanam, Cheran, Padmapriya, Surya, Nayanthara, Jeeva, Vega Tamotia, Tananya.

List of movies for 2009 can be viewed here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_films_of_2009

Unnaipol Oruvan

September 22nd, 2009
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NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD.

This movie is a remake of an Hindi movie – A Wednesday, starring Nasseruddin Shah and Anupham Kher, which was released in 2008.  I did not watch the Hindi version, but it seemed that the Tamil version followed it closely, even the movie length was similar, with no songs and comedy tracks. What sets apart this movie is that it had the “Ulaga Nayagan” Kamalhaasan!

The movie opened on a public holiday weekend in Malaysia, and also without competition from other Tamil movies, so it should get a good run. The downside (for some)  is that there’s no skimpily dressed heroines, Vadiveloo jokes, or dreamy songs. And yeah, its a short movie, about 2 hours only. But what a two hour it was!

One won’t realize time passing by, as you will be living the moment – tensed just like the police, anticipating like the journalist, plotting like the protagonist.

OK, let’s start with the storyline – its all about terrorism and the ‘Common Man” (people like you and me).  How a  man takes the  laws in to his own hands and punishes the terrorists. Terrorist for the terrorists. Oh, and its a bit like short version of the series 24, covering only about 6 hours of time (from noon till 6pm or so) on the same day.

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