Category: Movies and Media


Kick Ass v2.0

It is an emotional obligation for me to right this review. After all, the first movie that I had reviewed was the first instalment of kick-ass series. But this one is an improvement, because unlike the first one where I reviewed it a couple of years later, I am writing this 3 days after I saw the recent instalment. If you haven’t read my review to the first movie, or haven’t seen it, this piece of writing will appeal little to you. You can however make amends with a small step here: https://jayant1212.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/kick-ass-2010/

On a lot of levels, it is still Dave and Mindy story but a lot of things have changed in the kick-ass world. The story is a continuation and evolution of a lot of plots that were opened in the first movie. While Chris D’Amico is trying to be able to kill kick ass to avenge his father’s death, Dave tries to team up with Mindy and carry his streak of vigilantism. Kick-Ass inspired the Red Mist in the first movie as another superhero in town and now he has inspired a zillion others. Marcus was hell bent on keeping Mindy a normal girl, and he grills her to her bed inside his house and even sends her on a date. Eventually, Dave  finds some more wannabe superheroes like him to team up with and make a gang. But like a perfect spoof, the evil in D’Amico, like Sauron, was growing every day.I liked the fact that the growth of characters and their human bodies hasn’t been neglected. Aaron Taylor Johnson as Dave has made himself a formidable looking guy whereas the swearing girl Mindy of first movie is getting pangs of adolescence.

Long story short, Dave tries to group his superhero buddies, while Chris tries to create an army of villains. In the meantime, Mindy tries to behave like a high school bitch of her own age. The movie moves in a slightly nauseating manner which it attempts to handle with pangs of fun filled moments. Jim Carrey is another of the kick ass inspired wannabe superheroes and has an interesting role. For almost 60% of the movie, there isn’t any end in sight. Until, every character gets a motivation.

Chris unleashes the demonic side of him, and Dave loses his father. Mindy has realised that dating isn’t for her and says a formal euphemism of “fuck you” to Marcus and gets on team Dave. In a climactic sequence which spooves the battle at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, Mindy, Dave and Chris measure each other in one of the most emotionally charged moments of the movie. Three characters, all driven by the loss of their fathers, enter in the duel. And with some of the most improbable stuff on this planet, team Dave is able to exact the revenge and stop the gang created by “the motherfucker” Chris D’Amico. Yeah, that’s right, that’s his evil moniker in the movie.

The movie is neither driven by emotions nor by strong writing. It manages a fun filled ride because apart from the wannabe superheroes on the celluloid, humans like to imagine themselves as a superhero. But the relevance of such dreams of anyone can come if the individual actually tries to give a damn about things that are wrong. And once that is done, I can agree with Dave in the last moments of the movie, that you don’t need to don a mask to help someone. Kick Ass will be loved by fans like me, not so much by many others.

Rating: 3.5/5

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1650554/

Advertisements

This movie will be adored by kids till eternity, by elderly as well for its light-hearted full filled approach, and by a lot of adults alike who went to the theater to have a laugh. However, it may get panned by critics for being too shallow or being full of unrealistic nonsense. I guess that they are more of cynics, yes you read that right: cynics, not critics, than the ones who can enjoy a movie.

Despicable-Me-2

Gru has changed from a villain to someone who is fussy about Margo, eldest of her three adopted daughters, having crush over boys. He dresses like a fairy for his youngest daughter Agnes and stares at her another daughter Edith turning into a Ninja. Moreover, he has started to prepare jams and jellies for his living and employed his assistant minions and Dr. Nefario in the work. He is called by the Anti Villain League to track a big bad man who has stolen a pretty wild chemical formula which can turn living organisms into “enhanced” zombies: who can eat, other than other zombies, metal as well. While on his job, Gru has a partner, Lucy. That is all there to the story.

Gru and LucyGru and his family

I guess that tells what happens between Gru and Lucy. Anyways, on emotional level, the movie doesn’t offer much. The innocence of Agnes is heart touching and Gru does a solid role as their father. We get to see little bit of childhood of Gru and the ending of the movie has a nice touch with Agnes getting her wish for a mother.

The real show is that of the minions, they carry this short junk of story on their zippy zappy French-Spanish-Murmurs-Gibberish-What-the-hell-they-said language and amazing comic timing. Their silliness and amazing facial expressions work a lot of magic. The 21-fart salute was an amazingly hilarious and so were the minions on a beach. The movie is introduced by minions, they are the core of the fun and they leave smiles on the faces of audiences as the credits roll up.

Minions

Watch it for the fun filled moments.

Rating 3.5/5

Lootera: Movie Review

I will start with what it is, a great movie. Ten minutes coming out of theatre, the worst I could think was the predictability of the ending but that too isn’t a criticism, as the movie wanted that end. And I will clarify that it is not a period movie. The core of movie would work equally well if it was set in modern times which revolves around a mighty zamindar who starts to lose his possessions as the result of abolition of zamindari system in India. This can be replaced in modern times to something else and the same story can be executed in a different era but I am not complaining. This movie works and that is all which matters for makers and the fans alike.

I am happy that Sonakshi has done something other than being a showpiece item in a movie. She fits well in the role of the daughter of zamindar. Ranveer Singh has performed well too, although I liked the performance of his side kick more. I loved the way love “happened” in the movie between the two lead actors instead of extrovert and in-your-face methods which usually woos Sonakshi in a movie. Pakhi (Sonakshi) gets into an accident with a clean and well dressed Varun (Ranveer) and is attracted to him when he comes to work as an archaeologist in the land owned by her zamindar father. Slight flirtations, painting lessons build a great comfort level between them which becomes more important for them than what they are or what they do. And that’s the rub of the life.

Lootera

Varun has to betray her trust after getting the trust of Pakhi’s dad to marry her and leave her robbed of all emotions. Pakhi was his way out of his life into something new which he couldn’t take and in the second half of the movie he pays for his mistakes. Pakhi, in the meantime, finds out about her terminal illness and counts her days while looking at leaves of a tree in a blizzard. She protects Varun from police in his soon to be tomb house while he takes care of her till the end of the movie.

The movie highlights many fine points about human emotions: love, weakness, depression. It has solid emotional content which is quite ably demonstrated by the two leading actors. Varun is a man who has a weak soul because his life has been full of mistakes and he cannot trust Pakhi’s love to come out clean and elope with her. Pakhi’s is a betrayed woman who loses every hope from life. The feeling of betrayal is a tough one to handle and the ensuing depression is even worse. So is the situation of a heart full of lies inside a man with a life dabbled with wrong moves. But the moments of happiness etched into memory lanes aren’t lost either. One just has to convince the heart that the happy moments before betrayal weren’t fake. And that love forms the basis of catharsis of twisted lives. The movie has a slow pace but proceeds with mighty confidence to deliver the ending it deserves in form of the rejuvenation of a sad heart and a black heart.

Totally worth the time. 5/5

Man of Steel: Movie Review

No Major Spoilers in this, because there was no suspense. I mean, you see a building in the movie, you know that it is going down.

It could be named Blitz Blitz Bang Bang. This was my first superman movie ever and I have neither read the comic books. So, I cannot comment on the relationship between the product and the source. Coming to my reactions about this, I enjoyed the first half of the movie. If they had made the second half shorter by say 20 minutes, the movie would have been awesome. Instead, we get to see a demolition spectacle. Big hollywood action sequences are obsessed with destroying glass paneled high rise structures. And after a building split in half in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, this was coming. A Forbes article puts the estimate of destruction in the range of $700 billion to $1 trillion. But, that is an amount we would pay for saving the entire life on earth, wouldn’t we?

Superman’s biological father, in every sense of the word, protects him via sending him to Earth. He is raised by the Kent family who teach him to control his powers and learn to make sacrifices, because they believe that he was sent to do something bigger than saving a few odd lives. As an adult, he lives the life of a nomad and changes his location each time he has done something extremely conspicuous. The lady of the movie, Lois Lane, finds him and accepts Clark’s decision to keep the side of the secret.

The story emanates emotions, through flashbacks, Clark’s internal conflict. Lois Lane doing the detective work to locate Clark is beautifully done. Clark making the ultimate sacrifice to honor his father’s ideas about him is emotional. Life on earth is normal, except for Clark’s display of prowess then and there. Then, comes General Zod. He was created with a purpose of protecting the race of his planet and Kal-el, holds the key to it. He wants him. At this moment I was on the edge of my seat for some amazing stuff to come.

Probably an hour of demolition later, I was done. I wished I had crossed the edge and went to my home. Russel Crowe as Jor-El comes and goes, acting as a motivator of sorts to various things. I was happy that he was finally relieved by Zod which ended his ambiguous presence throughout the movie. Everything beyond the point where Superman surrenders to Zod, is demolition. It can put all the Transformers movie combined to shame. But what is the point? Zod wants to destroy the planet and people, he could use his guns or bombs from the beginning of the movie instead of destroying buildings. Oh yeah, he didn’t like the Vaastu of planet earth.

Beyond first half, the movie isn’t driven by the director but the animators challenging their contemporaries working on Transformers or Avengers. They surely have had a party. Man of Steel was fathered by the creators of the Dark Knight trilogy and I expected better than the concepts of rebuilding a generation on earth or shipping Krypton on earth.

The story: 2.5/5

Effects: 4.5/5

Clark Kent transforming to Superman: 3.5/5

Superman’s costume: 5/5

An Unexpected Journey

Well, I have a special affection with this story. Perhaps the two of my longest running nicknames, although self-given and proclaimed, comes from one of the most skillfully created movie character of all time, Smeagol. I had a natural excitement towards the movie but in the almost three hour running, of first part of, “how-on-earth-they-made-a-trilogy-out-of-250-page-book”, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I had most of my excitement in the four-legged rock-caressing crawl and in the twisted language of Smeagol. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie because even if it looks ridiculous to make a trilogy out of such a small book, I had my worries answered by Peter Jackson. And, in complete grandeur.

I have read the book, The Hobbit, but I could never complete The Lord of the Rings. The subsequent trilogy, a some sort of logical evolution of the story of  The Hobbit, for good reasons, has overshadowed its prequel. The various foundations laid in The Hobbit, viz. the enmity of the elves and the dwarves, the story of Gandalf, the story of Smeagol, were followed in the eventual trilogy and there are numerous references to these old stories in The Lord of the Rings cinematic adaptations as well. But the movies were all about defeating Sauron. It didn’t have time to address Tolkien’s mind while he was crafting and knitting those maps and stories and now, it seems, Jackson has taken up that task to himself. This movie isn’t about adapting The Hobbit, its about completing every story that Tolkien had ever imagined while writing those books.

The plot is familiar to every LOTR fan. Bilbo is a Hobbit of the Shire, who has settled into a life and loving great food is all the excitement he has got. He could simply smoke his pipe-weed for his entire life. That, of course breaks down, when Gandalf, the gray, a wizard, chooses him to be an important cog in the quest of the dwarves. He promises him a new sort of excitement and Bilbo buys it. Rest is an adventure which one should buy a ticket for.

The Hobbit

The 170-odd minute running show explores various stories. The wizards present in middle earth, the elves, the mighty kingdom of the dwarves, the orcs, trolls, goblins; each contribute to the evolution of the central character from a scared little Hobbit, to someone who would dare to take on a mighty foe. Another story is that of the leader of the dwarves, Thorin, who is leading the quest to conquer the home, which was lost to a dragon. And we have the architect, Gandalf who pulls the strings and is always present to save the day. Every character has been handled well, the grandeur, the timing of courage of Bilbo, the valor of Thorin, the wisdom of Lady Galadriel have all been demonstrated with great skill. Jackson is perhaps the best creator of such an era, its visually stimulating and stunning at same time. At times, it looks like a surreal flow which combines the soulful music of  Howard Shore with footage from BBC Nature show in HD and the story dwells on the stuff which would be usually found in DVD extras. But the story develops nicely in the idyllic backdrop of some of the most stunning places on earth and every character evolves in the most natural way.

Make no mistake, this is a grand stage in the making. And it is the beginning of a new legacy. My guess is that Jackson wants to challenge the legacy of The Lord of the Rings with a smaller work for inspiration. The story of The Hobbit (book) is gripping, and enthralling and by the look of the first movie out of it, Jackson has done a Nolan with the LOTR and has brought full circle to every story that was started in the trilogy. We can expect some great excitement with the next movies and my heart beats to ask “What has it got in his naaasstee litttlee pocketsesssssssss?”

Skyfall

Skyfall has garnered its share of praise for its approach towards a Bond movie. In my opinion it has earned it. The flamboyant, weird-gadget-man has been replaced by a driven yet charming, a cold assassin yet human James Bond. Bond movies have followed a tradition and this change of character is unprecedented. These movies have a few ingredients: the British Intelligence MI6 headed by M, action sequences full of absurdity to challenge Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana fights, a couple of Bond girls to be charmed by 00(7) and the villain motivated by money/ revenge/ extremism. The actors who play those roles aren’t just James Bond, Vesper or Silva; they are more than that: Bond, Bond Girl, Bond villain who have been cultured since 1962 to flaunt suits, legs, gadgets, and stunts. And each movie was a pasta made in the same sauce of scenery, sex and action.

Skyfall brought them alive by asking questions on each of the pillars of a typical Bond movie. The existence of MI6, the troubles that each of the characters face in doing whatever they want to do with their lives was laid out bare in Skyfall. For once, a Bond movie was more about bonding than breaking things with gadgets. For once, the movie appealed to our ability to understand the characters than provoking adrenaline. And in my eyes, Skyfall delivered answers to those questions. Bond had always flaunted his 00 status, but he didn’t just have the license to kill. He could destroy millions of pounds of property and could get away under the aegis of MI6. The world however operates on dick praising diplomacy which comes back to bite M and question the relevance of MI6. The decision making of their commander in chief is heavily scrutinized through the lives of Bond, Silva and the agents they lose in a deadly attack on MI6. The sauce of this pasta is made from the guilt of M, whose decisions give us two broken men, who rise out of death. One wants vengeance over M and the other wants to prove that he is still an asset to count on. Both having been the trusted lieutenants of M, are heavily skilled in espionage, planning and most importantly, daredevilry.
The movie of course has a predictable end with Bond coming out on top. But he doesn’t come out without a menacing fight which tests everyone from Bond to his enemy to their common creator. After 50 years on the celluloid, James returns to his home in Skyfall village and comes back as good as ever. Watch it for giving us the new Bond.

A Legend is Made

Probably, you want to harp on the title of this blog, when the official tagline of movie is, “The Legend Ends”, but I think the tagline is from the team Nolan standpoint. From the audience perspective, it is creation of an unprecedented legend in the genre of superhero movies. For a long time it has been an adaptation of stories craved by geeks and kids alike where a character derives some freakish superpower to overcome great threats. However, the elements of the game remain largely unrealistic in any such movie. Suppose two adventurous people go for roller coster rides for a day, certainly the rides would be the highlight of the day. Certainly, a diary entry would describe the rise and the fall of the machines. There would hardly be any mention of the emotional aspect of the company of two people enjoying that time. Superhero movies are usually built around this very “superpower” highlight where the human behind the power gets shelved. Christopher Nolan had a different take on the Batman story. He found the human and wanted to see him grow into a silent guardian of the Gotham City. He has always kept the Bruce Wayne alive with bruise marks on him, or by keeping the pain of losing his loved ones as his motivating factor alive. And the upcoming movie is going to be on similar lines where this time, he will be broken, his will shattered by his toughest nemesis, Bane; but most importantly, he will learn again and RISE. Whether he will lose one of his three father figures: Lucius Fox, Alfred Pennyworth or Jim Gordon, is open to debate, but certainly, Batman and Bruce Wayne both are going to be tested to their limits.

In Nolan’s edition, Bruce Wayne is much more important than the daredevilry of the Batman. Batman gave Christopher a great chance to explore the human part of a superhero because he has no superpowers. I wonder what he is going to do with Superman, I wish it is great. But I digressed, sorry; yeah, with Batman there are no superpowers. It is perfection through attrition. And Nolan is gifted in capturing the toil, the little emotions, the nits and picks, that converts something ordinary into completely extraordinary. His every work, is centered around the art of magic, where every magic trick has a third and final part called Prestige: Making things disappear is not enough, You have to bring it back. This has been evident in all his previous creations where a single simple line at the end of his movies, (“I knew inception was possible because I had done it myself on my wife. That her world was not real”) ripples profoundly through the entire past of the film and re-evaluates the complete meaning of celluloid drama.

Batman is coming full circle this time. I am not privy to any spoilers, but I think Batman will have his body as well as legend broken. Bane is a physical force who will shatter Bruce Wayne. But more than that, the lie about Harvey Dent isn’t going to remain secret to the people of Gotham. The legend of Batman will be mocked by Bane and with the lie exposed, Gotham will be ashes and Bruce Wayne will be sentenced to death by Bane. However, Alfred is one character who will never leave Bruce alone. Bruce was never fond of his legacy but he found his attachment to the name Wayne when his nemesis Ra’as Ghul burnt down his house. Alfred saved Bruce in the burning wreckage as well as an emotionally burnt child looking at his ancestral mansion turning to ashes. But he rose, and he took upon the evil and he shall do it again this time. In Nolan’s style, Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up. Brace yourself, The Dark Knight RISES.

Kick Ass (2010)


First off, Kick-Ass is the name of a movie. An unconventional name, truly, and a completely unconventional take on a superhero movie. This movie isn’t about superheroes, who is out there to poach the poachers of social life in a city. It combines the abstract concept of a superhero who is willing to take on crime on the surface of city with the traditional setup of a few people out for vengeance against a criminal organisation.

In Spiderman 2, Aunt May, tells Peter that there is a hero in all of us. In Batman, Bruce Wayne decides to arm himself with training and gear to fight the mob. There it is, the inspiration for the teenager Dave, who simply wants to find that hero within himself and fight on the streets of the Manhattan to bring some good in the city. But sadly, his abstraction of a superhero is that of a suit and a heavy, pretentious voice devoid of any bite of a motivation which drives a vigilante continuously to kick butts of the enemies in his land. Predictably, he messes up in his first fight and in a comical cascade of events, gets branded as a homosexual man. Adding more to the misery, he gets his bones shattered by a car hit. However, he wins his first fight against death and unpredictably earns steel plated bones as the trophy of the victory.

There is another side of the story of vengeance of a cop, who was framed by a crime lord of the city. His pregnant wife attempts suicide following the imprisonment of her husband. She is able to kill herself, but her baby could be saved by the doctors. In one of the most unconventional scenes in a movie, the big daddy trains himself and his little girl of 10 years with guns and knives and swords to prepare for the big battle against the killer of his wife, the crime lord, Frank Damico.

Frank Damico has a son, Chris Damico, who wants to be prove his worth and inherit the criminal empire of his father. But his father always assumes him to be only a child. However, he is not a dimwit and proves his worth in the best of styles later in the movie.

And there is a love story between Dave and Katie. Katie befriends Dave after his accident which Dave assumes to be his chance to woo her. However, Dave quickly realizes that he is a gay in her minds and is forced to foster a one sided love for his friend. Dave gets his shot to stardom when he watches a guy being thrashed by a bunch of other goons. He fights off the goons and takes on the moniker of kick-ass to become a youtube, coffee house, and pencil box cover and teenage sensation. All under a green mask. He valiantly decides to take on an a gangster and an ex-boyfriend of sorts of Katie who owed her some money. He is almost killed by them when Hit Girl and Big Daddy come to his rescue. In a frenzied sequence of sword slashing, the daughter kills everyone of them while her father provides sniper cover. Dave realizes what he had been missing: the true skills of fighting, brute force approach of jumping into a fight isn’t the way to resolve one. The father daughter duo make Dave their friend and meanwhile keep eliminating bits and pieces of the Damico’s empire. Damico wrongly  concludes Kick Ass to be his real enemy. His attempts to track Kick Ass fail and his son, Chris, delivers on his potential to become the heir to the empire.

He decides to become a fake superhero by screwing one of the goons of his father’s empire to win the trust of Kick Ass. Under the name, Red Mist, he befriends Kick Ass and takes him to a warehouse for an impending slaughter. Sadly, the warehouse is burnt before they reach but Chris is able to retrieve a hidden camera from the ruins and uncovers the mystery of the father daughter duo as well. Dave has had enough of superhero and he reveals himself to Katie. Katie, who is initially shocked, is also a blonde. Therefore, they become a couple despite Dave having been a complete ass.

In the final sequence of events, Red Mist uses his friendship with Kick Ass to track Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Hit Girl is shot over her kevlar vest and Big Daddy and Kick Ass are taken prisoners. Through a live streaming over internet, Frank Damico, decides to have his henchmen brutally kill the aspiring superheroes of the city. And comes the savior, the Hit Girl, who is able to save Dave, but not her father. She kills the boy inside Dave with the words, “if it weren’t for you, my father would still be alive”. She decides to complete the vengeance and Dave gets the motivation he had been missing.

And the fun filled climax.

One of the best superhero movies, that I have seen. 🙂