Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Perarasu (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Vijaykanth

I swear to god I saw this movie a day or two after Manathodu Mazhaikalam and Casino Royale and I am a little late (one month) in writing the reviews and I don't remember what Perarasu is all about. I am raking my head and I kinda sorta remember that it has something to do with double acting Vijaykanth.

I used to like this actor...once upon a time, when he did decent movies...but now...I am not even sure why I watch his movies. Here is what I remember from it:

1) The heroine was just a doll who would sing and dance. She had no role at all. Wonder why they even need a heroine...we know that Vijaykanth is not gay so they can spare the torture of making us watch him in songs!

2) The movie is all about him. His being a cop or something and how he is so righteous and smart and intelligent and cannot make mistakes and how he loves his people and so on and so forth...

3) Vijaykanth has a twin brother who actually kills all the bad guys and the blame falls on the othe rbrother who is the cop dude.

4) The murderous V.Kanth is killing because bad guys who are now popular politicians were responsibile for their honest father's death and for orphaning them.

5) End of Story!

Is it worth watching? NO!

Manathodu Mazhaikalam (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Shaam, Nitya Das, Samiksha
Director: Arpudan
Music: Karthik Raja

The quality of the movie print, music, camera, etc are all just average. Nothing great shakes there. But the story is nice and so are the casting and acting. It is the story that defines that true friendship is beyond physical attraction and that a girl and a boy can share a platonic relationship.

Siva (Shaam), a very naughty college student makes friends with Sathya (Nithya), a level headed student. Siva and Sathya spend a lot of time together and hang out in college and outside all the time. This leads to a lot of people suspecting their platonic relationship as love. At the same time Shruthi (Samiksha), a fellow collegemate falls in love with Siva and openly expresses her love for him throughout the movie.

Farewell day comes and everyone moves on with their life and so does Shruthi. Siva and Sathya are in touch with each other and their parents assume that the two of them are ready to marry each other. When they propose the alliance hell breaks loose...What happens next is very predictable but nevertheless handled very beautifully.

Shaam as an old guy is not very convincing. He does not play it well and seems to be put on. But him as a college student is perfect and so is Nitya. I wish Samiksha could underplay her characters a little bit, over acting is not acting...

The movie can be described as a simple story narrated with ease. There are no high priced sets or extravagantly shot songs. In fact I can't even remember what the songs sounded like but the story still lingers in my mind. It is worth a watch with the entire family and certainly an eye opener for kids who think that a girl and boy cannot be friends.

Varalaru (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Ajith, Ajith, Older Ajith, Asin, Kanika, Sujatha
Director: K.S. Ravikumar
Music: A.R. Rehman

Young Vishnu (Ajith) is a very pampered child of ShivaShankar (old Ajith). He is very careless and irresponsible. To teach him a lesson Shiva sends his son to Thothapuram to do some social service. He does no social service but falls in love with Divya (Asin). The circumstances he falls in love with her are unbelievable, but hey it is a Tamil movie so anything can happen!

Shiva has his son engaged to Divya easily but the events that follow has everyone confused. Vishnu seems to have a multiple personality. He does few things that he would not do usually. Like, for example, get drunk and go to Divya's house to abuse and beat up her parents, try to kill his father, etc. Under suspicious circumstances Vishnu is admitted in the hospital and is made to undergo shock treatment.

The second half of the story is interesting, if I tell more than what I have said above I might give away the suspense. The Old Ajith has a flashback and a few new characters are introduced in the story. The movie is very gripping right from the start. Ajith is very convincing as father and son. The father's character which is that of a Bharatanatyam dancer seems a little over done but nevertheless convincing. Since I have been learning Bharatanatyam myself I dont understand what category the dance Ajith does falls under. Seems like a fusion version.

The movie is a wholesome entertainment. It has mother sentiment, father sentiment, brother sentiment, girlfriend-boyfriend sentiment, angry, murder, love, romance, sadness, tears, etc. Very good for family viewing and the background score as well as the music is certainly very nicely chosen!

Casino Royale (2006) - English Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

We all expect a typical Bond movie to have loads of action...at least Mr. B should be smart and see beyond the girl he is in love with...After seeing so many Bond movies we seem to be more smarter than Mr. B himself. More than once in the movie I was able to solve the plot and I am sure most people around the world would have had the same feeling like me...Is the BOND a dumb blond?

So the story starts with some good action scenes that bought me to the edge of the chair because I knew more would follow as the movie proceeded, but to my luck as soon as the handsome hunk took the train to Casino Royale the action scenes ended and the dialog accompanied with a game of card that I did not understand started. Of course you know how that would end...Bond wins!

Bond was of course chasing the bad guy who was using the Queeny's stolen money to make more money by throwing out the big gambling challenge at the Casino Royale. Bond did have an American accomplice without which he might loose a few of his viewers. So he wins the money and survives getting poisoned by the villain due to the help of his beautiful accountant who of course is appointed by the British Empire to keep track of Bond's spendings in the gambling.

Of course he falls in love with the very ordinary looking heroine and becomes totally enamored by her after she saves his life. He tells her all his secrets and guess what...Surprise!!! She robs him naked...ya! now like you did not guess that to happen...

Well there are smaller plots in the story but the entire movie was just above average. Bond is pouting handsome and does his stare throughout the movie. The heroine is very ordinary. Despite the clothes she did not manage to catch my attention. No wonder Bond looked beyond her looks and fell in love with her heart!!!!

The movie was decent but it could have done with a lot more fun stuff like cigarettes that were bombs or watches with cameras!!! But there were no cheap thrills. It was more of a WYSIWYG kind of a movie. If you have a dull day then this will be a perfect movie to watch...a hot cup of tea on a rainy day!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Protector (2006) - English Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Tony Jaa
Director: Prachya Pinkaew

I saw this movie quite some while ago and hence don't remember the character's of all the cast in the movie. So please bear with me. It is so much like a desi movie. I really liked it and enjoyed watching a Thai movie dubbed in English. It was a pleasure to see Tony Jaa's stunts which are done using no ropes or stunt doubles. He uses a Thai fighting technique called Muy Thai.

The story is about Kham (Jaa), a young boy growing up in Thailand under the influence of his grandfather's wisdom. Kham and his grandfather rear elephants and take great care of them (mom and son elephant). Kham also learns Muy Thai (Thai martial arts) from his grandfather. He enjoys nature and lives as one among it with his elephants.

Kham and his grandfather take their big elephant to display it to the King but they get duped and instead their big elephant is stolen from them for the tusks. When his grandfather questions the authority he gets shot and in the confusion Kham looses the baby elephant too to the bad people. Kham has lost everything he held close to himself in one single moment, his grandfather and two elephants.

Kham traces the bad guys to Australia where there is a whole group of people that eat elephant and other exotic meat and also trade women among many other bad things. Kham gets in the thick of the racket and with the help of a Thai policeman in Australia helps uncover the truth.

The ending is sad and disheartening and Jaa does a great job of showing emotion when he sees that his big elephant is no more and the stunt scene that follows it is simple breathtakingly bone breaking.

There is a lot of violence in this movie. It is like a typical Rajanikanth or Vijaykanth movie. The hero is uneducated but is in a different country trying to save his only known family. How many desi movies we have seen like this one! But the beauty of the movie lies in the fact that Jaa like J.Chan does his stunts himself...and with no rope or cinema tricks. So this movie is a fun watch for everyone who love great stunt scenes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pokiri (2006) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Mahesh Babu, Illeana, Nazar, Prakash Rai, Sayaji Shinde, Ashish Vidyarthi
Director: Puri Jaganath
Music: Mani Sharma

There are four parts to the movie that come together towards the end. One with Mahesh Babu as Pandu, one with Sayaji Shinde as the Commissioner, one with Ashish Vidyarthi as the Sub-Inspector, and one with Prakash Rai as the villain. So let me explain the movie in parts!

Part Pandu: Pandu is a mercenary who is ready to kill for bills! He is a free agent and the whole movie he is killing hoards of people everywhere in Cyberabad! Pandu falls in love with Shruthi who is an aerobic instructor in his friends father's (Nazar's) school. Pandu and Shruthi lands up becoming friends because he keeps helping her out from all her male fans. Shruthi eventually falls in love with Pandu but she is not sure of his origins. So when she confronts him about it she is privy to a bloody battle between Pandu and his enemies where Pandu single handedly kills many people! Shruthi still goes ahead with her love for Pandu...

Part Ashish Vidyarthi: So AV is a bad cop. He goes around harassing all his constables and has ties with all underground war lords. He is a wheeler dealer and works with all the dons and hence has too much power in the society. His eyes fall on the beautiful Shruthi and he starts to harass her and her family. He wants to make her his keep and also sets up a fake rape scene near her house so that no one from around will marry her...Get the point? He is a BAD MAN!

Part Sayaji Shinde: A good cop. He is singlehandedly trying to fight the underworld dons in Cyberabad. Ever since he has taken charge the crime rate has completely reduced. But he has a weakness and that is his daughter who is in love with the son of a MLA.

Part Ali Bhai (Prakash Rai): Ali bhai is the all feared Don who lives around the globe and runs his operation from Hyderabad. He has about 100 goons who work under him and now he wants to employ Pandu in his team having heard about his killer instincts! This is where all the characters in the movie come together.

Ali bhai gets arrested by Sayaji and is kept in the lock up deprived of sleep. To get Ali bhai released the goons use Sayaji's daughter's boyfriend to make a porn video with Sayaji's daughter and get it published all over the internet. Sayaji releases Ali bhai but is dying to take revenge.

When Ali Bhai talks to Sayaji's daughter she tells him that there is a cop among Ali bhai's goons...in search of the goon Ali Bhai kills Nazar. What does Pandu do? What is Pandu's role in solving the crime? Does he punish the bad criminals? And if so what does he do? What happens to Shruthi? Wow so many questions! To get answers to them please watch the movie!

Mahesh Babu as Pandu shows two emotions, anger and not so angry! He poses most of the movie and keeps running in most scenes. Well, I guess this movie does not demand any more from him for the role I guess. He looks really good and he carries himself very cool in the movie.

Illeana as Shruthi looks pretty and acts well for what her role demands. She looks very young and one can wonder how her mother is staying home allowing her daughter to work while she herself is not all that old and can at least get the job of a receptionist or a secretary. Had they shown a mother who is disabled or sick or old the plot might have been more convincing.

Brahmanandam as the nosy software-engineer neighbor brings in the lighter moments of the film and surely is funny! He does get loud at some points but it is a welcome change from rowdies and gundas!

Prakash Rai is now a staple part of every Tamil and Telugu movies. He, I believe is getting repetitive. I can close my eyes and see how he would do a certain role, be it a brother, a father, an uncle, a villain, a doctor, or whatever he plays. It is now getting a little stereotypical plus he is getting over exposed. And as for Ashish Vidyarthi, he is a good villain and he does the same villain act in every movie...so again I would start searching for new villains.

The rest of the cast come and go and don't create so much of a stir to grab your attention. But on the whole the movie is a good effort at entertainment and is fun to watch. It feels like you are watching a remix of one of those popular late 80's and early 90's movie with Rajnikanth, Kamal movies. But it is fun nevertheless. The dialogues are funny, effective, and smartly written. A good movie to watch with friends and family alike.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Em Magan (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Bharath, Nazar, Vadivelu, Gopika, Saranya, Gajjala
Director: Thirumurugan
Music: Vidyasagar

Krishnan (Bharath) is a college student who also works for his father's provision store. His father is nick named Emdan (Nazar) due to his ill-tempered nature. Krishnan's mom Kalyani (Saranya) is also afraid of her husband and so is her entire family. Every night Emdan finds a new reason to beat Krishnan up. The whole family is under constant terror from Emdan. Kalyani's younger brother Ayya Kannu (Vadivelu) who stays with Emdan and works with him keeps the humor in the film going at a constant pace as he gets beaten or verbally abused by Emdan.

Krishnan on the other hand is a soft natured boy who loves his family immensely and is putting up with all the torture by hearing the sweet words spoken by his childhood sweetheart in his mind every night before he sleeps.

Krishnan's grandfather (Kalyani's father) passes away and the entire family visits his maternal home for the funeral. There Krishnan gets to meet his childhood sweetheart Janani (Gopika) and their relationship blossoms into love. But this is not to be because their families do not get along and they are caught kissing by the entire family.

Emdan is mad at Krishna and his family drives back home only to find Janani in the trunk of the car. Emdan kicks both Janani and Krishna out of their house. Krishna goes to refuge at their family auditor's house who had previously offered help to Krishna to get a job as a poultry manager. The auditor's daughter Divya (Gajjala) had a soft corner for Krishna until he explained to her about Janani. Now both father and daughter along with Ayya Kannu help Krishna and Janani start a new life.

Does Krishna and Emdan ever patch up? What happens to Divya? What happens to the rest of Emdan's family? You know it! Just think it is an Indian movie after all!

The reason I have given this movie 4/5 is because of some brilliant performances from Bharath and Nazar. Saranya too has acted her role very well. The story is tight and the screenplay and script and good. The movie has a satirical comic sense and at the same time is packed with super pace. Can be seen with family and is surely a feel good movie.

I have to give a special mention to Vadivelu for bringing in the lighter moments in the movie as Ayya Kannu, Saranya's brother and Bharath's uncle. I am not a great fan of Vadivelu due to his loud voice and obnoxious humor but in this movie he is simply brilliant.

I strongly suggest everyone who love Tamil movies to watch this movie. It not only has great direction but also great performances and a very entertaining story.

Vallavan (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5

Cast: Simbhu, Nayanthara, Reema Sen, Sandhya
Director: Simbhu
Music: Yuvan Shankar

Vallavan (Simbhu), Suchi (Sandhya) and a group of other friends go to the same college. Vallavan falls in love with Swapna (Nayanthara) at first sight later to learn that she is a lecturer in the same college where he is a student. To win her love Valla dresses up as Palla in an ugly get up (like Kalyana Raman Kamal) and woos her with songs and his love. Swapna eventually sucumbs and falls in love with the Palla. She is extremely surprised to see that her Palla is actually a handsome Valla. They are both happily in love until Swapna realizes that Valla is three years younger than her. She immediately kicks him out of her house and her life.

Valla is very upset and remembers his past affair with his school girlfriend Geeta (Reema Sen). Valla falls in love with her after bumping into her during school culturals and later she joins the same school as Valla and his friends. Valla realizes in time about her obsessive behavior and after a fight dumps her. Now she is back to take revenge on Valla for dumping her after giving some powerful punch lines!

Valla is now struggling to keep Geeta from spoiling his life and also trying to win back Swapna. What wrath does Geeta vent on Valla and Swapna? Does Swapna look beyond age? Yup...you need to watch the movie!

I feel that Simbu has controlled his performance to a very good level in this movie. As a director he has done a decent job although his story is not a complete success. He tends to loose the audience in more than one occasion. I have to say that I love the video for the song Loosu Penne and also the Aracha Maavu song. Simbu should stop idolising himself so much. He should first establish himself as a good actor before posing as a powerful person. He might be the self-proclaimed little Super Star but he by no means is an equal to Rajni and should stop giving the power-punch dialogues. Honestly look at him, his frame, he is so thin that Nayanthara can kick the daylight out of him. But in this movie he looks more decent than any of his previous movies and also he has restrained himself to a few scenes where he calls a girl "di."

Nayanthara on the other hand surprisingly looks gorgeous and not like a road roller at all. In every scene of the movie she is beautiful. She exposes but not using skimpy clothes but in the great sexy sari. Her histrionics can also be much appreciated in this movie.

Reema Sen cannot convince me as a school girl. She looks old, tired, and annoying. There is too much of over action and her whole character seems to be a add on to the story. It almost leads us astray from the main plot. Simbu could have made the movie shorter, simpler using just the age difference factor as the main plot instead of using the Reema Sen sub plot that only throws the viewer off the story.

The music by Yuvan Shankar Raja is surely very enjoyable and the videos do absolute justice to them. Also the camera man needs to be complimented on his wonderful camera work especially the Loosu Penne song.

This is a through and through entertainer. It has a few sexy scenes that might embarrass you should you watch it with family but other wise the first half of the movie is comedy packed and moves very swiftly. If you are not interested in logic and is sitting in a theater for pure entertainment then this is a good choice.