Away We Go

Apologies for no posts last week – last weekend was spent with family in Goa and this weekend was Durga Puja

Away We Go has been labelled a lot of things – road movie, coming-of-age movie – but if you ask me, it was one of the sweetest romantic movies I have watched in sometime. Its got no recognizable stars – infact the female lead is kinda ugly – but the two lead actors produce some wonderful tender moments in the movie.

A geeky insurance salesman and his 6 month pregnant girlfriend find themselves up a creek without a paddle when Burt’s parents announce a surprise move to Belgium. Finding no reason to continue living in Connecticut and dreaming of an outdoors life for their soon-to-be-born daughter, Burt and Verona decide to relocate. Away We Go covers their journey to find a new home for themselves, while discovering some facets of life.

While filmed like a roadtrip movie and introducing new characters at every city they visit, it is the relationship of Burt and Verona that catches your eye and that’s what you carry out of the movie. The movie starts where most romantic movies end – the hero and heroine are already in a long term relationship. And neither are they facing a crisis – they are very happily in love with each other. But as they meet relatives and friends in different cities, they question their ideas of a family and what it means to be parents …

Very sensitive but in a happy way – and diametrically opposite from Revolutionary Road, director Sam Mendes’ last work. And it has its fair share of quirky characters – the alcoholic, husband-abusing lady and the crazy indie-karmic Maggie Gyllenhaal will have you holding your sides in laughter. But cutting through all the dysfunctional families, is the resolve of Burt and Verona to give their daughter the best shot at life …

A must watch for all people in a relationship atleast.

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Movies to look out for this week

Whats Your Rashee [IMDB]

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Harman Baweja

Direction: Ashutosh Gowariker

Vicky Cristina Barcelona [IMDB]

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz

Direction: Woody Allen

Orphan [IMDB]

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Direction: Jaume Collet-Serra

Away We Go [IMDB]

Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph

Direction: Sam Mendes (director of Revolutionary Road)

100 Feet [IMDB]

Cast: Famke Janssen

Direction: Eric Red
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Movies to look out for this week

Wanted [IMDB]

Cast: Salman Khan, Ayesha Takia

Direction: Prabhudeva

Dil Bole Hadippa [IMDB]

Cast: Rani Mukherjee, Shahid Kapur

Direction: Anurag Singh


Cast: Edward Asner (voice), Jordan Nagai (voice)

Direction: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

Blue Oranges [IMDB]

Cast: Rajit Sharma, Rati Agnihotri, Harsh Chhaya

Direction: Rajesh Ganguly
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Sometimes you have no clue what to make about a movie - you like it, don’t like it ! And 9 is one such head-scratcher !

The movie is an animation movie first. But then its also a thriller – and a sci-fi movie. And a Matrix like man-vs-machine plot (sans the acrobatics). And a couple of other plots that I cant remember. The characters are also type-cast – the weak leader, the strong & adventurous woman, the friendly side-kick, the dumb muscleman etc. Basically, I was continuously nagged with a déjà-vu feeling that I couldn’t shake off. But because of the unique visuals, I couldn’t place exactly what I was reminded of.

The imagination of the maker is vivid and you cant help admiring his doomsday vision. A brilliant scientist makes an AI (artificial intelligent) robot under the direction of a dictator (the German inspiration is quite obvious). The machines goes berserk and kills off all the humans. The doomed scientist’s last action is to create this tiny creature – out of jute gunny bag (it actually looks a lot like the gingerbread man) – before he dies. And paints the number 9 on its back – hence the name.

9 comes to this world with no memory and no clue who/where he is – and the movie is his story of figuring out the world and his place in it. He discovers that he is not alone - there are others like him. Others who help him realize what he is meant to do. The background setting is unique, but the rest of the movie seems unconsciously inspired from the movies the director has watched before.

The feel of the movie is the early part of the century – the machines are all steam driven and there is no mention of any electronics. The clank and hiss of steam make the machines more fun to watch – in a cartoony way. The city itself is completely ruined and overall very dark and desolate.

The storyline is however not the strongest and the climax was a little too arty. The first part of the movie has a few exciting moments, when something is lurking in the shadows – but as the story unravels, the ending is guessable. The runtime is perfect at 79 minutes – any more and it would have become boring!

The movie is based on director Shane Acker’s 10 minute graduation movie – which the producers liked and decided to make into a feature film. And yes, this is his first proper movie. The movie obviously has high production values and it shows in the visuals – but the story needed some strengthening to make it into a full length movie. So a middle-of-the-road rating for 9.

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The Ugly Truth

Do you want to know The Ugly Truth ?
Push-up bras can work wonders !! Ok that’s not what the movie is about, but you do have to marvel at the results they produce …

The Ugly Truth is not too far off though – it’s a risqué comedy about the battle of sexes – with enough sexist humor for you to wonder why it didn’t have an ‘A’ rating. But then it is also supremely entertaining movie for it. Gerard Butler shows he has great comic timing in him apart from his uber-manly persona and Katherine Heigl is damn good as an anally-retentive control freak.

Abby (Katherine) just cant stand the sight of Mike (Gerard), who’s been signed up to boost the ratings of her morning show. Mike’s segment is titled The Ugly Truth where he cynically analyzes relationship dynamics between men and women – and Abby sees herself going to ‘broadcasting hell’ because of him. However, Butler bets Abby that he can help her get her man of her dreams – her new neighbour – if she does exactly what he says.

And I really shouldn’t have to tell you what happens next. Slightly predictable, but with great performances, and some very raunchy laughs. Just watch out for the dinner scene with the panties. The movie is your regular sweet romantic comedy with a slightly tangy coating – good for a change - and equally enjoyable for both sexes. So all the boyfriends/husbands – you wont be bored when you accompany your partner to this movie. And girls you dig romantic comedies like these anyway, right ??

3 star
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District 9

An alien spaceship comes to halt over the city of Johannesburg. The inhabitants of the ship cant seem to operate the ship anymore, so they are housed in a separate colony called District 9 in the city – which soon becomes a slum. Twenty years into the future, the aliens – nicknamed prawns for their appearance – have become unpopular with the Johannesburg residents and are to be moved to a new colony 200 km out of the city. The multi-national giant MNU is given the task of evicting and transporting the prawns to their new home.

Even though it seems like a perfect setup for a massive aliens vs. humans battle, its anything but that. The story will continually surprise you as you follow a MNU officer Wikus Van De Merwe serving eviction notices to the prawns. The movie begins with the documentary format and there are lot of sound-bytes style commentary throughout the movie which enhance the realism of the movie. The cinematography is equally gritty and you just don’t get the feeling that you are watching fiction.

And that is the movie’s biggest achievement. It presents the fictional tale of aliens co-existing with humans in such a realistic way – you soon forget that whatever if happening on the screen is improbable. The story is immersive, engrossing and you are completely involved in what happens to Wikus, as he does his best to survive in the face of really adverse circumstances.

If I had one word to describe the movie I would call it exhilarating !! Really crisp editing and an awesome script make it a taut thriller set in a sci-fi environment. There is no overdose of CGI, as the movie is shot mainly in Soweto township in Johannesburg – full of tin shelters and strong African heat. The prawns thankfully are not caricatures - there are some well rounded characters, especially Christopher and his son. The battle sequences are fabulous as well and I honestly cannot think of anything out of place in this movie.

Brilliant effort, balancing an intelligent story with cool visual effects gets it top rating. Plain Awesome !!

PS - The movie is produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of The Rings).
And its already ranked #49 in IMDB all-time high list

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Movies to look out for this week

District 9 [IMDB]

Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt

Direction: Neill Blomkamp

The Ugly Truth [IMDB]

Cast: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl

Direction: Robert Luketic

9 [IMDB]

Cast: Elijah Wood (voice), Jennifer Connelly (voice)

Direction: Shane Acker


Cast: Soham, Mithun Chakraborty, Urvashi Sharma

Direction: Ashu Trikha

I Cant Think Straight [IMDB]

Cast: Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth

Direction: Shamim Sarif

Vaada Raha .... I Promise

Cast: Bobby Deol, Kangana Ranaut,

Direction: Samir Karnik


Cast: Rajveer Sharma, Smita Jaykar, Megha Chatterjee

Direction: Mohan Sharma

The Unforgettable

Cast: Raji James, Sofia Hayat

Direction: Arsala Qureishi & Sabrina Louis
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Vals im Bashir : Waltz With Bashir

Think animation movie and we usually form images of Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and maybe Wall-E in our head. But there is a school of filmmakers that use animation as a medium to depict darker themes – it provides a distinctive visual experience compared to the regular celluloid. And I am not talking about graphic novels like 300 or Sin City – you need big money bankrolling animation studios for those.

Instead Ari Folman directs a partly autobiographical movie documentary about his efforts to exorcise the demons of his military past – Ari Folman fought for Israel in the Israel-Lebanon war of 1982. A war, which among other things, is principally remembered for the Shatila massacre in Beirut. It was a massacre of Palestinian refugees by right-wing Christian Lebanese militia to avenge the murder of their leader and President-elect Bashir Gemayel, while the occupying Israeli army turned a blind eye.

Folman was there, right outside of the Shatila refugee camp – and yet he cant remember any details about it - nor anything about the war itself. And so he sets out to talk to people who were with him in the war – to discuss what they remember, and hopefully help him find his own memories. And the entire movie is a delectable mixture of Ari Folman’s conversations with his ex-comrades, lawyer friend, psychologist etc and the flashbacks of actual events in 1982. All rendered in a graphic style, which is light as well as disturbing, in parts.

Particularly cringe-worthy is the scene with the dying horses – we people have become immune to seeing people die onscreen – even if its gruesome. Yet it was the death of these animals that becomes too much to bear – even animated horses. Ari Folman deftly shows through his canvas, how little sense war makes – and how any race is not immune to performing barbaric acts - without preaching it in so many words.

The title of the movie is derived from one of the interviewees – who describes an ‘insane waltz with a machine gun’ under heavy enemy firing on a Beirut Street with huge posters of Bashir Gemayel. But what is really interesting about the movie is that barring two characters, all the original people have provided their own voices for the movie.

Overall, a superb movie – the kind not to be missed if possible. Watching director Ari Folman’s personal view of the historical events of 1982 – interspersed with a little quirky humour from time to time – is a treat. And it leaves a lasting impression on you as you watch the actual footage of the devastated Shatila camp at the end of the movies.

Waltz With Bashir is playing only in PVR Cinemas
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Final Destination

During a particularly scary moment while driving - when you lose control for a moment or you come really close to crashing - does your mind momentarily conjure up a picture of you all smashed up, limbs bent our of shape etc ? It happens to me for sure and after watching this movie, I am just going to imagine even more vividly :) !!

Coz the fourth iteration of the Final Destination franchise takes pleasure in detailing exactly how you die when, say, a 14 tonne truck smashes into you. Or you get sucked into a malfunctioning escalator, for example. Does your spine break first, or your neck or your limbs … the director very helpfully explains all those things in a x-ray type video. And you get to watch it in 3D, so that you can experience the finer nuances.

Ok, I am being too critical – but this was just to warn off the more squeamish ones – this movie is not for you.

But if you enjoy this sort of thing, then you wouldn’t mind finding out just how many creative ways can you kill a person ! And most of the deaths are innovative but for an overuse of petrol/inflammable substances – a little more variety would have been cooler. In that respect, Final Destination 1 had the coolest sequences and I don’t remember it involving gasoline in a big way.

The director David R. Ellis doesn’t bother putting any energy into modifying the script – a group of people survive a catastrophe because one of them has a premonition about it. Then death goes around visiting each of the survivors, finishing the job in as creative a way as possible. That’s it, story done. The characters themselves are caricaturish – the boorish stud-boy, the freaky girl, the black security guard, the soccer mom, the racist red-neck – and suit their parts just fine.

Overall, a good timepass movie – which will wow you with some of the sequences, and maybe surprise a little at the end. My own view about the movie was definitely altered because of the climax. Just make sure you watch it in 3D – just makes the whole experience really awesome. (Its playing in 3D at Fun Cinemas in Andheri)

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Walking on Broken Das

In a break from the usual, watched ‘Walking on Broken Das’ – standup comic Vir Das’s performance at NCPA. And all I can say that it was really great – he just doesn’t stop making you laugh. Just make sure you aren’t at the front row – he might make fun of you :) !!

Deducting 0.5 star for a couple of westernized jokes – but still a 4 star show. Do try to catch it if its playing in your city Read More!

Movies to look out for this week

Aagey Se Right [IMDB]

Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Kay Kay Menon

Direction: Indrajit Nattooji

The Final Destination [IMDB]

Cast: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano

Direction: David R. Ellis

Chintuji [IMDB]

Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Sophie Chaudhary, Priyanshu Chatterjee

Direction: Ranjit Kapoor

Mohandas [IMDB]

Cast: Sushant Singh, Nakul Vaid, Sonali Kulkarni

Direction: Mazhar Kamran


Cast: Sunny Deol, Arjun Rampal, Udita Goswami, Sagarika Ghatge

Direction: Deepak Tijori

Three - Love Lies & Betrayal

Cast: Ashish Chaudhary, Nausheen Ali Sardar, Akshay Kapoor

Direction: Vishal Pandya

Vals im Bashir : Waltz With Bashir [IMDB]

Cast: Ron Ben-Yishai, Yehezkel Lazarov

Direction: Ari Folman
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