New York

 

Entertainer with a message…

Picture courtesy: Yash Raj Films
Picture courtesy: Yash Raj Films

Congratulations Kabir Khan, Yash Raj Films, Bollywood fans and Katrina Kaif. Kabir because he has once again delivered a good film but this time it seems that commercial success will not elude him (the docu-maker’s first mainstream film, Kabul Express was critically acclaimed but didn’t make a lot of money). Yash Raj Films for supporting a project that goes beyond candy-floss romance and run-of-the-mill entertainment; also because their dry run seems to be coming to an end as after Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’s success, this film also has opened well. Bollywood fans because after a long-long time, we have a decent film to watch. And Ms. Kaif who finally got a film where she had scope to act and yes, she delivered!

New York touches upon the subject of post 9/11 prejudices and the human rights violations committed by the US government against ‘suspected’ terrorists. The film focuses on the lives of three friends, Sam (John Abraham), Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) and Maya (Katrina Kaif) and how their lives get impacted after the attacks. The film highlights the plight of 1,200 men from religious minorities who were detained after the attacks for suspected terror connect. Keeping in mind a larger audience, the director keeps the torture sequences to a minimal but impactful.

Performance wise, Katrina Kaif and Irrfan Khan (as FBI agent, Roshan) shine; Irrfan because he is a fine actor and Katrina because you least expect her to. Finally, the actress got a film where she had a well defined character; she was not only convincing as an Indian-American (thanks to her accented Hindi) but was also good in emotional scenes. John Abraham is good and handles the changes in his character well. Neil Nitin Mukesh gets a tough character and it seems too challenging for the new actor; he tries hard but it shows.

There are many loopholes in the film and at times it reminds you of other movies (a scene where Katrina is frisked by a cop reminds you of an important scene from Crash, Oscar winning film on the theme of racism and intolerance) but overall the film comes together, thanks to a taut screenplay by Sandeep Srivastava. Cinematography by Aseem Mishra is first rate and music by Pritam is not memorable at all (top it with plagiarism charges).

I definitely recommend New York as an entertainer with a message. For those who would like to watch other films on similar theme, I recommend Shoaib Mansoor’sKhuda Kay Liye (2007, Pakistan) and Gavin Hood’s ‘Rendition (2007, USA). Khuda Kay Liye is a bold film about religious profiling and the contrast between Islamic extremists and liberals. Rendition focuses on the subject of extraordinary rendition where suspected terrorists are secretly and unlawfully transferred to countries known to employ harsh interrogation techniques (read torture). Starring Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Omar Metwally; the film packs extraordinary performances by the cast and a gripping screenplay. Catch these two films on DVD and for now do watch New York at a theatre near you…

My rating: * * * ½ Three and a half stars (on five)

– Shrey Khetarpal

 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

 

Hugh Jackman delivers an entertainer, but is it the best X-Men film? Nah!

Picture Courtesy: www.moviepostr.com
Picture Courtesy: http://www.moviepostr.com

Good, bad, average… whatever critics have been saying, I quite enjoyed myself and so did five others who watched the film with me (leaving one friend who is not exactly an action movie fan). I think a lot of credit goes to the previous X-Men films, which were fantastic and left everyone asking for more. On its own, Wolverine is not a great film but everyone I know was quite excited to know the story behind one of the most popular and enigmatic characters, Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. Packed with a lot of action and special effects, we have an entertainer on our hands.

The film starts in Canada in 1845 where we are introduced to young James (Logan / Wolverine) who is unaware of his mutant abilities. Unknowingly, he ends up killing his father and escapes with his brother Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth, played by Liev Schreiber). Both brothers fight a number of wars as part of the US Army and are finally inducted into a ruthless group of mutant warriors by Colonel William Stryker (Danny Huston). They part ways as James wants to live a peaceful life away from the cruelties that seem to attract Victor. From brothers to enemies, both Victor and James are used by Stryker for his evil motives. The film reveals a lot about Wolverine’s past including how he got his metal claws (the Weapon-X programme), the reason behind his amnesia and how he got his name.

A lot of revelations and a lot of action, the film was fun but I did miss that GOOD vs BAD theme that formed the base for the earlier X-Men films. I was also a bit disappointed by the CGI (computer generated imagery); some sequences clearly looked fake or animated. The climax was one such disappointing sequence where the fight did not look original.

I am told that the producers are making another edition of X-Men Origins, this time focusing on Magneto. It sounds exciting but what I am really waiting for is getting back to the original track and see the follow-up to ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ which ended with the possibility of another edition. Till then, back to X-Men, X-2 and The Last Stand DVDs 😉

My rating: * * * Three stars

– Shrey Khetarpal

 

Bride Wars

 

Chick-flick that didn’t click…

 

 

 

 

 

Bride Wars, poster courtesy: www.movieposter.com

Bride Wars, poster courtesy: http://www.movieposter.com

 

 

 

 

A perfect wedding… Hollywood loves the subject and there are a number of chick-lit and rom-com films dedicated to this theme. Some are genuinely enjoyable (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding), while some are just like stale popcorn (think Made of Honour). Bride Wars, starring Anne Hathaway (Emma) and Kate Hudson (Liv) clearly falls in the second category. A single episode of Sex and the City packs more punch that this ninety minute film.

Liv and Emma are best friends till they get to know that their weddings are scheduled for the same day by the almighty wedding planner, Marion St. Claire (played by Candice Bergen). None of them want to leave the much sought after venue, The Plaza and decide to stick to the date expecting the other to change. Friends-turned-rivals, both brides begin to plan their weddings and sabotage the other’s. The plot seems interesting till here, but the script is extremely flimsy after this point. There are a few funny moments but not enough to keep you away from checking emails or messages on your phone.

Performance wise, I enjoyed Candice Bergen’s (Miss Congeniality, Sex and the City) sugar coated, cold hearted wedding planner act and Kristen Johnston’s (3rd Rock from the Sun), self-obsessed, alcoholic bridesmaid show. Both Anne and Kate disappoint with extremely average performances. You do not connect with Emma the way you did with Andrea (played by Anne in the delightfully funny, The Devil Wears Prada) and Kate reminds you a lot of her mother, Goldie Hawn (not in terms of good acting but in age).

Overall, Bride Wars is a mediocre film by director Gary Winick, whose Charlotte’s Web and 13 Going on 30 were quite enjoyable.

My rating: * * Two stars

– Shrey Khetarpal

 

Hello world!

Hello!
 
For those who have been following my other movie blog  on indiatimes, welcome to my new space.
 
For those who do not know me, I love movies… commercial, art house, Bollywood or Hollywood, it doesn’t matter. I am not a high-brow critic who gets exclusive film previews but am someone more important – ‘a ticket-buying viewer’. I like to be entertained and therefore do not care about movies made just for the festival circuits and winning critics’ awards.  My posts here would be the views of a film buff for other film buffs…
 
Hope you will enjoy reading my posts and please do share your views 🙂
 
Cheers!
Shrey