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

January 13, 2012

Hrithik Roshan wants to do a small film next

Filed under: Video Vault — Rajeev @ 10:30 pm

In this interview, Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan explains why he’s been doing few films lately, and reveals that he wants to do a small film next. The Agneepath star says he was against working in this remake of the popular Bachchan starrer, and also admits he’s got comfortable with the idea of singing on screen.

(This interview first aired on CNN-IBN)

January 6, 2012

Fools gold

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:33 pm

January 06, 2012

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Sonam Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sikander Kher, Omi Vaidya, Vinod Khanna

Directors: Abbas-Mustan

There’s an uncomfortable truth about Abbas-Mustan’s latest film Players that few critics will admit to – it’s not all bad! This fast-paced khichdi of two previous Italian Job movies and the director duo’s own last film Race has so much going on all at once that you’re left with little time to dwell on the gaping plot holes, the laughable dialogue, and the wooden performances.

The story’s centered on a team of thieves, led by Abhishek Bachchan’s character Charlie, who successfully steal a gold consignment traveling from Russia to Romania, but are double-crossed by one of their own who makes off with the loot. As hard as it is to take seriously, the team is assembled by a retired master criminal (Vinod Khanna) who helps Charlie in this mission because – here it comes – he wants to build the country’s largest orphanage with his share of the booty.

Abbas-Mustan, who’ve successfully delivered some engaging thrillers over the years, know a thing or two about pace. Players is packed with relentless car chases and plot twists, and the directors throw in their usual stock of skimpily dressed babes and seductive item songs. What they grapple with, unfortunately, are the little details.

Sonam Kapoor’s character, we’re told, has done a thesis in ‘ethical hacking’, so she traces the world’s most notorious computer hacker with only a few clicks of the mouse. Bobby Deol is a celebrated illusionist wearing a permanent scowl because he maimed his little daughter while performing a magic trick. In one of my favorite scenes in the film, a seasoned criminal looks at photographs of a scene of crime, and deduces that a woman is behind the robbery because a flower vase that stood carelessly in a corner of the room before the crime, appears to have been placed more aesthetically in a post-theft photograph. To be fair, there’s lots of unintentional humor in the film, but that contributes to the appeal of Players.

Unlike Don 2 recently, which openly aped action scenes and the very look and feel of polished Hollywood blockbusters, Players is a distinctly Bollywood-ised remake that celebrates its corny humor, and even throws a love-triangle into a heist plot. Johnny Lever shows up as an Indian in New Zealand whose gori wife speaks only in Hindi and invites guests to attend a Satyanarayan ki pooja at their home. It’s cheesy beyond belief, but you’ll laugh.

What fails the film after all, is the over-enthusiasm of its makers, who overstay your hospitality by dragging the film on for an unforgivable 2 hours and 45 minutes. Also, harsh as this may sound, the film suffers considerably on account of its dull cast.

A stylish action thriller that involves as much posturing as Players, requires compelling actors who arrest your attention when they’re on screen. Abhishek Bachchan is earnest, and thankfully dials down his trademark smugness to play the ringleader of the team. Bobby Deol and Sikander Kher have no screen presence, but Neil Nitin Mukesh gets some interesting scenes to sink his teeth into. Bipasha Basu fills out a bikini nicely, but poor Sonam Kapoor changes her costumes and her hairstyle more frequently than her expressions. Together this team has the appeal of a pack of drained batteries.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Abbas-Mustan’s Players. What could have been a satisfying entertainer doesn’t quite achieve its potential.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

Cold, dark place

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:31 pm

January 06, 2012

Cast: Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella, Olivia Thirly, Rachael Taylor

Director: Chris Gorak

Tired of wreaking havoc in New York and Los Angeles (really, how many more CGI shots must we see of a deserted Times Square or a ravaged Staples Center?), aliens set their sights on Moscow in The Darkest Hour, a new end-of-the-world thriller that’s as much fun to watch as a 90-minute ultrasound video.

Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella play buddies who travel to the Russian capital looking for funding for a new social media service they’ve invented, but find out early on that their idea’s been hijacked by a would-be partner. (Incidentally this is the second time in two years Minghella’s playing the same part; remember he was in The Social Network playing the Indian guy who came up with the original idea for Facebook with the Winklevoss twins?) While drowning their sorrows at a local bar, they befriend two female tourists (played by Olivia Thirlby and Rachael Taylor), when suddenly a blackout strikes the city. Pretty soon countless floating, sparkly orbs descend from the sky, soaking up all electricity and turning anything and anyone that comes in their way into a pile of dust. What follows is a dull adventure in which the foursome must desperately try to stay alive, and even defeat the enemy, while struggling to make their way to the American embassy through what resembles a war-torn wasteland.

The film’s single smart idea is that it’s about humans fighting semi-invisible aliens – an enemy they can’t really see – but instead of playing on that paranoia and treating it as a struggle for survival, the filmmakers quickly turn it into a saga of courage and bravado, which simply isn’t as much fun.

The film’s special effects are inconsistent, there are no performances to speak of, and the dialogue is particularly cheesy. More than half the film unfolds in the dark, which gets tiring after a point, and the characters themselves are so dumb, you really couldn’t care less if they make it to safety in the end or not.

I’m going with one out of five for The Darkest Hour. It packs few thrills and barely any scares. No reason you should waste your time or money.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

« Newer Posts

Powered by WordPress