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

November 8, 2010

‘The Social Network’ star Jesse Eisenberg has a cousin who works for Facebook

Filed under: Video Vault — Rajeev @ 7:43 pm

In this excerpt from an interview with Jesse Eisenberg — who plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network — the actor talks about his cousin who works for Facebook.

November 5, 2010

Robert Downey Jr & Zach Galifianakis on Due Date

Filed under: Video Vault — Rajeev @ 8:29 pm

In this interview recorded in Los Angeles, Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis talk about their new film Due Date, and about how their not-so-great first-impression of each other became the foundation for a firm friendship – both on-screen and off it. The actors also talk about the hilarious masturbating dog sequence in the movie.

(This interview first aired on CNN-IBN)

Strike three

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 5:54 pm

November 05, 2010

Cast: Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemu, Mithun Chakraborty, Ratna Pathak-Shah

Director: Rohit Shetty

Well into the second half of Golmaal 3, there’s a scene in which two sets of step-brothers sitting across from each other, play a game of miming what they’d like to shove into each others’ backsides. From candles and fruits to big lamps and potted plants, this gag goes on for a few minutes, just long enough to amuse you. It’s the funniest scene in the film, because nobody says a word throughout, and because the expressions of the actors are priceless as they react to the pain that must come from being sodomized by foreign objects.

Golmaal 3 has even less by way of plot than 2008’s Golmaal Returns. In this film, Ajay Devgan and Shreyas Talpade are brothers who constantly find themselves clashing with another set of Goa boys: Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor and Kunal Khemu, until both rival groups find themselves thrown together under the same roof when their single parents – Mithun Chakraborty and Ratna Pathak-Shah – decide to get married.

Following a pattern set by Golmaal Returns, this film is not so much about story or plot as it is about stretching a joke till breaking point. How many cars can be destroyed in a single set-piece? How many junior artistes can you beat up in a slo-mo action scene? How many hi-speed entries can Ajay Devgan have?

The few genuinely comic moments are provided by Mithun Chakraborty and his willingness to spoof his own popular 80s films. There’s a hilarious Disco Dancer back-story to his character, complete with snatches from Bappi Lahiri’s musical hits of the day.

The rest of the cast, including Kareena Kapoor who plays the neighborhood tomboy, spends the greater part of this film contorting their faces and delivering silly lines. The humor is strictly low-brow and slapstick, with repeated jokes about disability and speech impediments, and a running gag in which Ajay Devgan twists any finger that’s pointed in his face.

A few jokes are inevitably funny, but none are as smart or unpredictable as that spoof on Black by Arshad Warsi, or the retro love song between Paresh Rawal and Sushmita Mukherjee, both from the first Golmaal film.

Only Tusshar Kapoor appears to be having any fun with his character, returning as the mute Lucky who must be interpreted to be understood. However, the film’s single dramatic scene in which his character reveals a shocking secret he’s stumbled into, ends up being unintentionally comical instead of emotional.

I’m going with two out of five for director Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal 3. This is pedestrian comedy that evokes desperate laughs. If you must, watch it for Mithun, who shows us he’s still got his mojo!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Past imperfect

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 5:45 pm

November 05, 2010

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Om Puri, Kirron Kher, Ranvijay Singh

Director: Vipul Shah

In director Vipul Shah’s Action Replayy a 20-something fellow uses a time machine to travel back into the past, so he can make his parents fall in love, in order to save their marriage in the future. Before you can say Marty McFly – or settle into your seat even – the opening credits of Action Replayy claim the film is based on a Gujarati play, thereby absolving the makers of charges that they’ve plagiarized the cult time-travel comedy Back To The Future.

To hell with what the credits claim. Director Vipul Shah and his writers rip off the most pivotal subplot of filmmaker Robert Zemeckis’ enduring hit, and deliver a soulless, charmless picture that is nothing short of a punishment to endure.

On the 35th wedding anniversary of his permanently squabbling parents, Bunty (played by Aditya Roy Kapoor) hijacks a mad-genius scientist’s tacky time machine, and is transported back to the 70s when men wore flared pants and women dressed in polka-dotted skirts.

His father Kishan (played by Akshay Kumar) is a buck-toothed geek who hardly stands a chance with Bunty’s mum-to-be Mala (played by Aishwarya Rai), a feisty tomboy who lives next door. In Hitch style, Bunty must turn his dad into a dude, and get his mum to fall for him.

Sorely lacking in drama and genuine humor, Action Replayy is mind-numbingly dull because there’s no conflict or plot progression, and everything seems to fall into place too conveniently. The dialogues are clunky, the music unimpressive, and the performances indifferent – except for Aishwarya Rai who gets a chance to show off her mean side for a change. The one smart joke in the film is a character who sings in both male and female voices, but that’s not enough to save this sinking ship of a film.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Vipul Shah’s Action Replayy. The only use for a time machine after watching this film, will be to wipe your memory clear of it.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Odd couple

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 5:38 pm

November 05, 2010

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monoghan, Jamie Foxx

Director: Todd Phillips

Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr and The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis is structured as your standard comic road-movie. But it’s the livewire chemistry between the men and the steady stream of dirty jokes that makes it so watchable, despite how familiar the movie feels.

Straight-laced architect Peter (played by Robert Downey Jr) has an annoying encounter with chubby nut-case Ethan (played by Zach Galifianakis) while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Peter’s desperately trying to get home in time for the birth of his first child. Ethan’s an aspiring actor headed to Hollywood, traveling with his pug under one arm, a coffee can containing his dead father’s ashes under the other. A baggage mix-up and a painful run-in with an air marshal results in the two of them being thrown off their flight. Now without passport or wallet, Peter has no choice but to carpool to California with the unpredictable man-child Ethan.

Much in the same vein as John Hughes’ classic road-trip movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, this film relies on the thankfully terrific chemistry between its leads to keep you enthralled as their journey lurches from one outrageous mishap to another. These include a detour to acquire Ethan’s ‘medical marijuana’ from the home of a drug-dealer, a violent encounter with a handicapped bank clerk, a road-accident caused due to Ethan falling asleep at the wheel, and a daring escape from the Mexican border patrol.

Directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips, Due Date isn’t nearly as ballsy as that film, but there are enough uncomfortable situations between the characters that throw up plenty full-throated laughs. One of them involves the unappetizing misuse of Ethan’s father’s ashes, and another the self-pleasuring secret to a good night’s sleep. But to be fair, there’s more to the film than just this crude humor. In fact, it’s peppered with sentimental touches in the scenes where these mismatched co-passengers find themselves slowly becoming friends.

Even when the script fails them – which it often does, like in that ridiculous Mexican hold-up sequence – it’s the actors who keep the mood buoyant. As the permanently scowling Peter who can’t believe how things are going for him, Robert Downey Jr is spot-on funny, his mean streak serving as the perfect foil to Ethan’s endearing stupidity. In another performance sure to win him many fans, Zach Galifianakis stands out with a hilarious turn as the oddball schlub alternating between silliness and genuine sweetness.

I’m going with three out of five for Due Date; it’s a gross-out comedy invested with a surprising amount of warmth. Look out for that scene in which Sonny the dog delivers the film’s most outrageous, unexpected joke. This is the film not to miss this weekend!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

November 3, 2010

Director Todd Phillips on Due Date & what to expect from The Hangover 2

Filed under: Video Vault — Rajeev @ 11:23 am

In this interview recorded in Los Angeles, Todd Phillips, director of 2009’s smash comedy The Hangover, talks about his new road-trip comedy Due Date starring Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis. Currently filming The Hangover 2, he also explains what one can expect from the much-anticipated sequel.

(This interview first aired on CNN-IBN)

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