Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

October 30, 2009

I dream of Genie

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 9:57 pm

October 30, 2009

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Jacqueline Fernandes

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Few films encourage you to free your mind and unleash your imagination. Say what you will about the Amitabh Bachchan-Ritesh Deshmukh starrer Aladin, but you cannot complain that you’ve seen this kind of Hindi film before.

Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, Aladin is set in the make-believe city of Khwaish in Northern India, where a puny boy named Aladin Chatterjee (played by Ritesh Deshmukh) has been bullied all his life and forced to rub lamps by his classmates because he shares his name with the character from that popular fairytale.

On rubbing one such lamp, a genie does appear. This one’s named Genius; he’s played by Amitabh Bachchan in a gawdy wardrobe, and he wants to quickly grant Aladin his three wishes so he can retire in peace.

Aladin’s nursing a crush on the pretty new student in class, Jasmine (played by newcomer Jacqueline Fernandes), but knows it’s unlikely she’ll return his affections. Determined not to use the help of magic to win her over, Aladin urges Genie to help him woo her the old-fashioned way.

In a parallel track, the film’s villain, an ex-genie named Ringmaster (played by Sanjay Dutt) wants to get his hands on that lamp so he can take over the world.

Ghosh uses superlative special effects to bring this fable to life, even if the narrative itself is occasionally choppy, leaving you befuddled over important plot-points like a comet whose reflection must be caught to gain genie powers. The film’s often too-simplistic, going for light-hearted jokes and gags but it’s still a welcome relief from the crude humor we’ve been subjected to in the name of entertainment lately.

Aimed squarely at the kids, Aladin is a spectacle of sweeping sets, lavish dance numbers and never-before-seen visual effects including a stunning sequence in which Genius is raised to the skies, his chest ripped open and his powers snatched away. Not all is perfect, though.

The editing is abrupt in places, with Ringmaster’s scenes appearing almost forced into the narrative on more than occasion. The screenplay lacks smoothness, and leaves the audience to fill up the blanks themselves.

Of the cast, Sanjay Dutt leaves a strong impression as Ringmaster, his look and his wardrobe contributing as much to his performance as his menacing delivery. Amitabh Bachchan is consistent, if a little OTT as Genius, but it’s his scenes with Ritesh’s Aladin that are the heart of this film. First-timer Jacqueline Fernandes is easy on the eye and appears confident, but has precious little to do.

In the end, Aladin, belongs to Ritesh Deshmukh whose endearing performance pins you to your seat even when you’re craving a loo-break after three back-to-back songs test your patience.

I’m going with three out of five for director Sujoy Ghosh’s Aladin; it’s a worthy watch, especially for the kids. It’s also a rare reminder that you can have good, clean fun at the movies. Beneath all the special effects however, it’s a noble story about standing up for what’s right.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Wembley warblings

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 9:35 pm

October 30, 2009

Cast: Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan, Asin

Director: Vipul Shah

London Dreams, directed by Vipul Shah, is a frustratingly foolish film about foolish people. It’s the kind of film whose central conflict could be instantly resolved if the characters concerned simply sat down and had a chat. Ajay Devgan plays Arjun, an aspiring pop-artiste obsessed with performing before a cheering crowd at London’s Wembley Stadium. He becomes jealous of his devoted best friend and band-mate Manu, played by Salman Khan, who is evidently more talented than him, but nowhere near as focused or ambitious.

Arjun decides to sabotage Manu when the latter’s popularity threatens to outshine his own. Now here’s where a heart-to-heart might have helped. Had Arjun explained what this Wembley fixation meant to him, Manu would have graciously backed off and let Arjun fulfill his childhood dream, and we’d have been spared the agony of watching the rest of this uninspiring drivel. But director Vipul Shah and his writers are in no mood to do us any favours.

London Dreams is packed with unintentionally hilarious gems like that back-story involving Arjun’s grandpa who committed suicide out of shame for getting stage-fright at a packed Wembley concert. Or the ridiculous incident at a show where Manu must take over vocal responsibilities after a blast of confetti practically chokes Arjun into silence.

The idiocy, however, doesn’t end there. In his attempts to shame Manu publicly, Arjun uses his connections to get Manu hooked onto drugs. A buxom groupie urges Manu to down a couple of tequila shots with her but replaces his salt with cocaine. Before you know it, Manu has acquired quite the appetite for the addictive white powder, practically chomping it down like dinner.

If that isn’t silly enough, there’s a crude scene later in which Manu chases after the said girl to find out who she’s been taking orders from. The pursuit ends in a dark London alley where the girl gets down on her knees pretending to do the unmentionable so as to mislead Manu’s girlfriend who’s been secretly following after them.

Wait, there’s more! Expect to howl hysterically when Arjun snaps off his belt and whips himself mercilessly to banish all thoughts of romance or lust towards the band’s lead dancer Priya (played by Asin) because nothing and no one must distract him from his musical goals.

Too generously inspired by Milos Forman’s Amadeus for it to merit any comparison with last year’s Rock On!, Vipul Shah’s latest is a clunky melodrama that’s as loosely directed as it is scripted. The film goes for broad humor, over-the-top emotions, and basically chooses loudness over subtlety. That works for Manu’s character, with Salman Khan playing him all loutish and lovable, but in the case of Arjun, Ajay Devgan comes off too passive with a performance that is mostly internalised.

When Arjun does reach boiling point however, it results in an awkward pre-climax scene in which he lectures a packed concert hall and is understandably pelted with plastic bottles as punishment. Of the remaining cast, there’s not a kind word I can say for Asin, who practically lit up Ghajini with her ebullient charm, but disappoints here with unnecessary over-acting in a thankless role.

Ranvijay Singh and Aditya Roy Kapur, reduced to mere sidekicks in the band, show up at regular intervals, usually to utter some inane dialogue like, “We’ll rock it dude!”

For its dim-witted writing and sloppy direction, London Dreams is ultimately a tiresome watch. I’m going with two out of five and at best an average rating for director Vipul Shah’s London Dreams.

If you must, watch it for Salman Khan who’s turned buffoonery into a bonafide acting style. It’s the only thing that’ll make you smile in this sad, sad film.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

The final countdown

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 9:16 pm

October 30, 2009
Director: Kenny Ortega

So much has been written and said about Michael Jackson’s apparently exhausted condition while rehearsing for his London concerts prior to his death in June that you instinctively find yourself looking for signs of an impending collapse in the documentary, This Is It.

The film, which has been assembled out of nearly 120 hours of rehearsal footage, shows Jackson in pretty good shape for a 50-year-old, and in fact nothing in this documentary even remotely suggests he was pushing himself tirelessly, or that he was too weak or drugged to go on tour.

The Michael Jackson you get a glimpse of here is an entertainer in full control of his performance. He matches steps perfectly with the half-dozen dancers on stage who’re younger and highly trained. He gives detailed instructions to the musical director, corrects timing, sets his own cues, and more-or-less stage-directs the production himself. There are disagreements, but none that get ugly or even loud. He requests changes gently, almost whispering out the words so you need captions to follow him.

This Is It, directed by Kenny Ortega, is really chunks of behind-the-scenes B-roll that’s been artfully stitched together to create complete song sequences. Combined with the finest pyrotechnics, special effects and production design, each sequence is a stunning treat both for the eyes and the ears. For a performance of Smooth Criminal Jackson is inserted into black-and-white footage of a 40s film starring Humphrey Bogart and Rita Hayworth that ultimately climaxes in a live finale by the entertainer.

For Thriller, a pre-filmed video featuring witches and ghosts at a cemetery plays out before Jackson makes a live appearance. The set itself involves trapdoors, massive cranes and fireworks which are tried and tested and rehearsed by Jackson and his crew several times. The truth is, even without the gimmicks, it’s one hell of a watch.

How can you not tap your feet as Jackson belts out The Way You Make Me Feel while rehearsing the steps with a female dancer? How can you not smile when he repeats the famous crotch-grab? Almost everything seems to hint it was going to be one spectacular show.

Even if Michael Jackson didn’t get the chance to present that “one final curtain call” he promised his fans at a London press conference, this film is a good enough goodbye present. An hour and fifty-one minutes is a long running time for any documentary, especially one in which the protagonist has barely any speaking lines.

But for MJ fans, indeed, this is it. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Michael Jackson’s This Is It. It’s not a typical concert film, and it’s not exactly the story of Jackson’s last few weeks alive. It is in fact, a permanent reminder of the fact that a star is gone.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

October 23, 2009

Nut so funny after all!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:15 pm

October 23, 2009

Cast: Cyrus Broacha, Mahesh Manjrekar, Boman Irani, Dia Mirza

Director: Kunal Vijayakar

How many times can you repeat the same joke before it stops being funny? That’s a question Kunal Vijayakar ought to have asked himself before unleashing on us his occasionally-funny-but-largely-silly directorial effort, Fruit & Nut.

Cyrus Broacha inadvertently sits on Mahesh Manjrekar’s fractured leg while visiting him in hospital. Funny? Yes. But repeated four times in the span of one minute, you’re no longer laughing. The same logic can be applied to a gag in which a car door whacks a character in the groin. It’s comical when they do it the first time. Ceases to be when it’s done over and over again.

Fruit & Nut stars television’s funny-man Cyrus Broacha as Jolly Maker, a bumbling idiot who becomes an accidental hero when he rescues pretty architect Monica Gokhale (played by Dia Mirza) from the clutches of eccentric Harry Holkar (played by Boman Irani), who claims he’s the Maharaja of Bombay city. Holkar enlists the help of corrupt builder Khandar Jhala (played by Mahesh Manrekar), and threatens to blow up the city because he’s unhappy that it’s been turned into a concrete jungle.

The film’s core idea is interesting and has the potential to make for an engaging satire, but Fruit & Nut settles for pratfalls and slapstick humour instead of the smart writing it so badly needs.

There are a few gems though, like the track involving the two ageing hitmen from Dubai — Salim and Suleiman — who miss their target because one’s got a cataract condition and the other Parkinsons. To be fair, there are also some clever one-liners sprinkled throughout the film, like most of the dialogue uttered by Manjrekar’s character Khandar Jhala, who speaks in a strange cocktail of Hindi and English. Spoofing every pop-cultural figure you can think of, he makes comical references to films, film-stars, television shows and just about anything that is popular or revered. Like that Kaun Banega Swargvasi game show he concocts with a mad scientist in the film’s climax, for example.

The real problem with Fruit & Nut is that beneath all the fun and jokes, the film’s plot is more-or-less incoherent, and its tone never consistent. As a result, it doesn’t quite succeed as a social satire because it’s far too silly to be taken seriously.

Of the cast, Boman Irani and Mahesh Manjrekar steal the show with their broad humour, while Dia Mirza fails to grasp the tone of the film, and Cyrus Broacha is sadly straitjacketed in a part that doesn’t really tap into his mad, wild side.

Despite juvenile jokes like peeing on open electric wires, Fruit & Nut is mercifully not the sort of vulgar comedy we’ve got used to seeing at the cinemas these days. It’s best suited for those who don’t have a problem with silly, childish humour. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Kunal Vijaykar’s Fruit & Nut. For those expecting anything more, it’s possibly the longest ninety minutes of your life .

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Bon appetit!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:10 pm

October 23, 2009

Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina

Director: Nora Ephron

A rare treat of a film that will appeal to both foodies and fans of good acting, Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia stars Amy Adams as Julie Powell, an unsuccessful writer in 2002 New York who starts a blog describing her attempts to tackle all the recipes in celebrated American cook Julia Child’s landmark book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Julie gives herself the target of 524 recipes in 365 days.

The story of how she accomplishes this is intercut with the story of Julie’s heroine Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep). The bored wife of an American diplomat in 1950s France, Julia Child weathered all kinds of disappointments before emerging a culinary expert who introduced Americans to French food through her revered tome.

Switching back and forth between the two narratives is an effective device that allows us to understand the differences between the two women’s lives in the two eras. The attitude of Julia’s supportive friends as against the bitchy, competitive gal-pals of Julie. More importantly, the attitude of their respective partners. Julia’s husband (played by Stanley Tucci) is a doting, worshiping darling, while Julie’s husband (played by Chris Messina) starts off supportive, but at one point walks out of their apartment and disappears for days when he’s threatened by his wife’s obsessive interest in food.

Too squeaky-clean and feel-good to actually make you care for its characters, Julie & Julia sucks you in anyway, because the cooking scenes are so lusciously filmed, you’ll find your mouth watering more than once.

The film’s real trump card, however, is Meryl Streep’s performance as the French cooking guru. Streep nails Julia Child’s distinctive high-pitched voice, her literally towering personality, and most of all her infectious enthusiasm. It’s impossible not to find yourself smiling ear-to-ear each time she perfectly impersonates Julia Child’s trademark sign-off “Bon Apetit” in that unmissable voice.

Amy Adams, playing a character that’s less likable than Julia, nevertheless succeeds in shaking off Julie’s grumpy self-centredness by making her feisty and vulnerable.

Packed with humor and affection, Julie & Julia is a charming film about food and marriage and about doing the things in life that give us happiness. It’s an easy watch that’s bound to make you hungry.

Three out of five for Julie & Julia; you’ll never look at butter in the same way again!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:03 pm

October 23, 2009

Cast: Voices of Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, Sam Rockwell

Director: Hoyt Yeatman

If your kids have been naughty lately and you can’t think of an appropriate punishment, take them to watch G-Force. It’s an unimaginative action adventure in which a team of super-spy guinea pigs save the world from a mad, controlling billionaire who wages a war against mankind by programming every coffee-maker, juicer and grinder manufactured by his corporation into turning against humans.

There are less than a handful of laughs provided by the animated stars of the film, despite such solid talent as Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz and Sam Rockwell doing the voices. Meanwhile, The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis plays the handler of this team of crack rodent commandos, and Bill Nighy takes on the role of the electronics tycoon.

Because there is nothing that even remotely resembles a script here, you’re expected to make do with all the silly wisecracking and farting that goes on between these talking animals, and the occasional overblown set-piece, like that bizarre attack of home appliances which seem to blend into one another and eventually resemble a Transformer!

Released in 3D in select cinemas, G-Force is unfunny and unexciting, and believe me, the 3D doesn’t make it any better. I’m going with one out of five for G-Force; this one’s not even clever enough to appeal to the youngest fans.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

October 16, 2009

That sinking feeling

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 11:00 pm

October 16, 2009

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Zayed Khan, Lara Dutta, Katrina Kaif

Director: Anthony D’souza

Blue, directed by Anthony D’souza is a brainless, forgettable action-thriller that quickly sinks without a trace. Let me say this right away: anyone expecting anything other than the sight of Lara Dutta in a skimpy bikini, or indeed Akshay Kumar with his shirt off, is going to be very disappointed.

The film’s hare-brained plot involves a coveted treasure buried at the bottom of the ocean, and a reluctant Sanjay Dutt playing Sagar, a working class, regular-Joe in the Bahamas who refuses to seek it out even though he seems to be the only diver in the world who knows where and how to find it.

No amount of coaxing from his friend and employer Aarav (played by Akshay Kumar) will do the trick. But the out-of-shape Dutt – whose unsightly man-boobs suggest he’s been bunking too many sessions at the gym – finally agrees to take the plunge when his kid-brother’s life depends on it. Sam (played by Zayed Khan wearing a single expression throughout) is in trouble with some goons who must be paid $50 million immediately.

For a film that’s titled Blue, most of the action here involves bike chases and car explosions, while the underwater portions are gorgeously filmed but evoke no real excitement. To be honest, in fact, the tension never heightens to the point where you worry about the protagonists. How can you, when you notice even the sharks are swimming peacefully around them, oblivious and uninterested even when underwater brawls result in blood being spilt!

Blue suffers from a dull script and inane dialogue, and is cursed with characters that are as shallow as the waters they paddle. You want to burst into laughs when Lara Dutta (playing Sagar’s girlfriend Mona) slips into Miss India mode and complains that they have no money to realise her one dream of setting up a marine research facility. The lady does not show so much as a passing interest in fish, by the way!

Coming back to the business of the buried fortune, let’s just say we’ve all participated in school treasure-hunts that were more challenging than this one. We’re told the fortune hasn’t been retrieved in 60 years, and yet Sagar leads the way to the loot as if it’s lying in his backyard.

Neither slick nor fast-paced, this film lumbers in circles before crashing into a moronic finale involving ridiculous back-stories about dead family members.

In the end, despite its travel-brochure look that might afford some momentary National Geographic-style relief, Blue doesn’t have a shred of intelligence, and it sinks in a sea of lame writing and laughable performances. Sanjay Dutt sleepwalks through his scenes, and Akshay Kumar overdoes the smugness. As for Zayed Khan, how I wish the makers had spent the fee they paid him to hire a few more sharks and include a few more thrills instead.

The music by AR Rahman is strictly average; even the item song by Kyle Minogue can’t save this film from reaching its watery grave.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Anthony D’souza’s Blue; beneath its flashy exterior, it’s one dead fish. Watch it strictly at your own risk.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Pati, patni aur woe

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:47 pm

October 16, 2009

Cast: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Sohail Khan

Director: Prem Soni

Main Aurr Mrs Khanna is what they call a “home production” in Bollywood slang. It’s the kind of film a star agrees to do in exchange for a fat salary that pays for his or her dream home. When the deal is so good, you don’t raise questions about the script.

That’s the best explanation, and in fact the only one you can think of to understand why Salman Khan or Kareena Kapoor would participate in a film as lame as this one.

Written and directed by debutant Prem Soni, Main Aurr Mrs Khanna stars Salman and Kareena as Samir and Raina, a Melbourne-based couple whose loving marriage hits the rocks when he loses his job and decides to move to Singapore to pursue a new one. For reasons that are never clearly explained in the film, Mr Khanna decides his Mrs can’t accompany him there, and arranges for her to return to his parents back home in India.

Mrs, however, decides to stay back in Melbourne and seeks out a job at the airport. She’s befriended by Sohail Khan who plays Akash, a waiter at the airport café, who soon finds himself falling for her. Before he can tell her though, her husband is back, now all loaded, and ready to take her with him.

There are dumb scripts and dumber scripts, but Main Aurr Mrs Khanna has got to be the dumbest. You feel nothing for the film’s characters because you cannot understand why they behave the way they do. It’s the kind of screenplay in which every obstacle in the characters’ lives could be overcome by having one sensible conversation which for some strange reason, they never have.

Preity Zinta makes an embarrassing cameo as a Pakistani mujra artiste who’s employed by Akash to seduce Mr Khanna so his Mrs might think poorly of him. Forget how that situation ends up playing out in the film, poor Preity is saddled with a thankless item song and such cheesy dialogue, she ought to demand damages.

Salman Khan in rust-brown hair and sleepy eyes looks like he really doesn’t want to be in this film at all, while Kareena Kapoor at least makes the effort to dress lovely. Neither, however, contributes anything that can described as a performance. A few comic moments are provided by Sohail Khan whose facial gymnastics are probably the only thing worth mentioning about this film, in addition to that one hummable song Don’t say Alvida.

I’m going with one out of five and a thumbs down for director Prem Soni’s Main Aurr Mrs Khanna; it’s a mystery how films like this get made.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Funny side up

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:40 pm

October 16, 2009

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, Fardeen Khan, Bipasha Basu, Mughda Godse

Director: Rohit Shetty

Tucked away beneath those pointless songs and some ridiculous, overblown action scenes is a silly yet surprisingly enjoyable tale of misunderstandings and mistaken identities. Like most Bollywood comedies these days, All The Best is far too long, but it has a winning combination of cleverly crude humour and genuine sweetness.

Directed by Rohit Shetty, the man behind the two recent Golmaal films – the first hilarious, the second not so – All The Best stars Fardeen Khan and Ajay Devgan as buddies Veer and Prem, who owe an awful lot of money to a local don, but have no means to raise it. Renting out Veer’s sprawling Goa bungalow seems to be their only choice, but when Dharam, his burly step-brother played by Sanjay Dutt, shows up unannounced, Veer and Prem find themselves trapped in a mess of their own making.

To increase his monthly pocket money, Veer has been lying to Dharam that he’s married to his girlfriend Vidya, but Dharam has never met his sister-in-law. When Dharam mistakes Prem’s wife Jhanvi (played by Bipasha Basu) for Vidya, no one bothers to correct him. So the real Vidya (played by Mughda Ghodse) must pretend to be Prem’s girlfriend Jhanvi.

Confused? Wait there’s more. There’s also the issue of the don’s loan, and the new tenant wanting to move into the bungalow, but Veer and Prem are trying hard to hide those dirty little secrets from Dharam.

An ensemble piece, apparently based on a popular play, All The Best wanders aimlessly for its first 15-odd minutes, only to come into its own with the arrival of Dutt’s character Dharam, whose scenes with Devgan’s Prem are easily the film’s funniest.

The set-up also includes a bunch of madcap characters including a mute gangster who communicates by rattling a spoon inside a glass, a Malyalee housemaid with a deep voice, a crackpot tenant who can’t wait to move into his new house, and a tempo-driver who wants to unload the furniture in his vehicle so he can attend to his pregnant wife.

The humour in this film isn’t exactly smart, but it helps that the makers give you little time to dwell on that fact. The jokes come flying at you from all directions, and it’s hard not to break into laughs when a big guy like Sanjay Dutt participates in the silliness.

Shorter in length – its songs sacrificed, its action scenes trimmed – All The Best might have been a great Diwali treat. As it currently stands, it’s a delicious one-time watch. I’m going with three out of five for director Rohit Shetty’s All The Best; it’s your best bet at the movies this weekend.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

October 9, 2009

Hippy go lucky

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 11:07 pm

October 09, 2009

Cast: Henry Goodman, Edward Hibbert, Imelda Staunton

Director: Ang Lee

Every once in a while you’ll come across a film you’ll wish you could go inside. Whose world is so far removed from yours and so attractive, that you’ll wish you could be a part of that world. Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock is that kind of film.

Despite what its title might suggest, Lee’s film is not about the music festival at all. You don’t see actors playing Hendrix, or Janis Joplin, or any of the 32 acts that made rock music history forty years ago. In fact, you barely get the music either, as most of the concert takes place out of sight of the camera.

The film, based on Elliot Tiber’s memoir, concerns itself with a young man’s unlikely role in the ultimate location and launch of the 1969 Woodstock festival.

Demetri Martin stars as Elliot, a young interior designer living in Greenwich Village, who moves upstate to save his parents’ business, a rundown motel in the small Catskills town of White Lake, New York.

On hearing that a neighboring town has pulled its permit for a planned arts and music festival, Elliot calls the promoter to suggest his community as an alternative.

Soon the concert staff moves into his motel, and half a million hippies descend upon the nearby dairy farm for “three days of peace and music”.

The film’s charm lies in its ability to evoke an infectious communal spirit, and to transport you to that 600-acre farm as a participant in the madness of putting up that festival.

Even Elliot’s hard-ass mother (played by the excellent Imelda Staunton) who has been charging money for towels and hanging up sheets in the rooms to turn them into “triples”, warms up by the end of this life-altering weekend.

Despite its languid pace, Taking Woodstock is a joyous, exhilarating film that neither shies away nor lingers too long on the inevitable scenes of drug use and sexual freedom.

It introduces us also to unpredictable, exciting characters like the muscular cross-dresser (played by Liev Shreiber) who serves as Elliot’s security chief, the Vietnam War-vet coping with depression (played by Emile Hirsch), and the mysterious but charismatic chief promoter of the festival (played by Jonathon Groff).

You could argue that the vital ingredient missing here is the music itself, and you probably wouldn’t be off-chord. But Lee’s film is really about the local impact of Woodstock on a small town. In that, it works perfectly as a coming-of-age drama; a film about change and transformation even — both of the individual, and of society at large.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock; it’s a mellow, graceful comedy oozing 60s nostalgia. Allow yourself to be swept away by its easy charm.

(This review first appeared on CNN-IBN)

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress