Movies to look out for this week

127 Hours [IMDB]

A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive

Cast: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara

Direction: Danny Boyle

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji [IMDB]

Madhur Bhandarkar's attempt at a romantic comedy showing the extent to which three lonely men will go to avoid love or achieve it

Cast: Ajay Devgan, Emraan Hashmi, Shazahn Padamsee, Shruti Haasan, Omi Vaidya

Direction: Madhur Bhandarkar

Burlesque [IMDB]

A small-town girl ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer

Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Alan Cumming

Direction: Steve Antin

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In case you didn’t know, Tangled is Disney’s 50th animated feature film. It has been a long journey since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, all the way back in 1934. And I really hope they go on to make another 50 of their fabulously entertaining movies which always seem to paint the world in such optimistic colors. The world could definitely use some of that good cheer

And there is plenty of good cheer in Tangled – from the delightfully cute Rapunzel and the roguish Flynn Rider to the animals Maximus and Pascal. Maximus and Pascal star as the amazingly funny yet cute animals that abound in all Disney movies in the last decade. There are too many to count – Bartok the bat in Anastasia, the cricket in Mulan, Louis the alligator in The Princess and The Frog and many more.

The Disney version of Rapunzel has her as a sassy, spunky teen who yearns to get out of her tower prison. For company, she has her chameleon Pascal and some magical lights which seem to float up in the sky every year on her birthday. Till one day, a thief on-the-run climbs into the tower to hide.

What follows is the typical Disney extravaganza of song & dance, color and laughter. The renderings are gorgeous and 3D adds a special flair to the visuals. The humour is integrated extraordinarily well in the screenplay – much to the joy of us moviegoers. Soundtrack duties are in the hand of 8 time oscar-winner Alan Menken – and results in two standout tracks. “Mommy knows best” and “I have a dream” are picturized memorably and will have you laughing through them or at least smiling widely

Very few movies get a ovation from the audience at the end – even fewer if they are animation movies. Yet the crowd at PVR Phoenix Mills on a Tuesday night saw fit to applaud this movie when the end credits rolled up – for being such a fabulous entertainer. If you are looking for a dose of good laughter and happiness this week at the multiplexes, give Tangled a watch. You wont be disappointed.

If you are planning to watch it in 3D, definitely do try to watch it in a PVR multiplex. The plastic 3D glasses they provide are of much higher quality than the disposable stuff provided at other multiplexes and provide a dramatically better visual experience
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Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries)

Over the last few years, Aamir Khan movies have become an automatic must-watch - so great has been his knack in picking the right scripts/directors and his dedication to his art. Dhobi Ghat though, is being sold more as a Prateik Babbar movie - with Aamir Khan and some other new faces in the other roles. My first instinct was that he probably has a minuscule role in it – and that is why he is appearing more as a producer rather than an actor. (There was also the male chauvinist in me who contemplated that maybe wife Kiran Rao coerced him into lending his name to the movie)

So it was without much expectations that I entered the theater to watch Dhobi Ghaat. Not quite sure what to expect from a 95 minute movie without any interval – but the implicit assurance was that if it is indeed terrible, the torture wouldn’t last long.

Yet, 10 min into the movie, I was engrossed in the beautiful cinematic rendering of four lives in this teeming city – from distinctly different social classes, backgrounds and stations in life – whose lives intersect in a short frame of time, changing much, and yet nothing. In those 95 minutes, Kiran Rao has sketched Arun, Munna, Shai & Yasmin in amazing clarity and details - yet all this she does with commendable subtlety. There is a lot that is not spoken in Dhobi Ghat – yet reading between the lines is never too hard.
(the contrast to Ashutosh Gowariker’s terrible characterization in Kheley Hum Jee Jan Se couldn’t have been more stark)

In the course of the movie - Arun the painter, Munna the dhobi, Shai the NRI tourist and Yasmin the young housewife – cross each others lives in ways they don’t quite fathom, precipitating certain events which become lifechanging. And yet, by the time the movie ends, you are not quite sure if anything did change. The slight tinge of melancholy throughout the movie is accentuated by the use of black and white frames in some places. And Kiran Rao shows her skill by making the ending bittersweet – but not without hope

For a debut movie, Dhobi Ghat has managed to strike an amazing balance between the four characters – giving each of them an equal amount of space – and importance – in the movie. However, Prateik Babbar definitely carries away the acting honors, showing what genes are all about. He is a fantastic natural actor, fitting into his role such effortlessly, he is bound to have a few people sit up and take notice. While he will never have the looks and flair of Ranbir Kapoor, he can give any of the young brigade (the Kapoor scion included) a serious run for their money as far as acting is concerned

The other two debutantes, also do a fabulous job – as the rich NRI kid taking a sabbatical in India and a newly-married housewife having just moved to Bombay – both Monica Dogra and Kriti Malhotra are very convincing & apt in their roles. And Aamir Khan delivers his flawless work as usual, his face telling you as much as his spoken dialogues. You just have to see the scene where he gets frightened and freaks out – without speaking a word of dialogue.

When you walk out of the movie, your head is filled with a torrent of thoughts – as you ponder on how each of the characters go on with their lives. Do Arun, Shai & Munna stay in touch ? Does Imran ever get the messages that were meant for him ? Kiran leaves you without definite answers to most questions. Yet in the course of the movie, she leaves you enough hints as to how things might pan out. The script is engrossing, touching and thought-provoking. And Aamir continues his ways of giving us a must-watch with his every outing.

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Movies to look out for this week

Dhobi Ghat [IMDB]

In the teeming metropolis of Mumbai, four people separated by class and language are drawn together in compelling relationships.

Cast: Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar, Monica Dogra

Direction: Kiran Rao

Tangled [IMDB]

The long-haired Princess Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but when she falls in love with a bandit who was passing by she must venture into the outside world for the first time to find him

Cast: Mandy Moore (voice), Zachary Levy (voice)

Direction: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

Season of the Witch [IMDB]

14th-century knights transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy

Direction: Dominic Sena

Little Fockers [IMDB]

Family-patriarch Jack Byrnes wants to appoint a successor. Does his son-in-law, the "male nurse", Greg Focker have what it takes?

Cast: Ben Stiller, Teri Polo, Robert De Niro

Direction: Paul Weitz


A look at the ugly side of ragging that goes on in Indian campuses. Manish Gupta's last work The Stoneman Murders was a nice little movie.

Cast: Vatsal Sheth, Tulip Joshi

Direction: Manish Gupta

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Movies to look out for this week

Yamla Pagla Deewana [IMDB]

A Canadian sardar suddenly comes to know that he has a father and brother back in India. And when the three meet, mayhem happens

Cast: Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol

Direction: Samir Karnik

The Green Hornet [IMDB]

Following the death of his father, Britt Reid, heir to his father's large company, teams up with his late dad's assistant Kato to become a masked crime fighting team

Cast: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz

Direction: Michel Gondry

Turning 30 [IMDB]

A single young woman decides to take stock of her life when she turns 30. A journey of finding herself and discovering love

Cast: Gul Panag, Purab Kohli, Sid Makkar

Direction: Doug Liman

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No One Killed Jessica

Just before writing this, I was watching the Koffee With Karan episode with Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan. It wraps up a very loud and aggressive promotion for this movie that Rani and Vidya have mounted – appearing on numerous shows (reality & otherwise), on nearly every channel. The promotion had needless sexual overtones – lesbian kisses and erotic thumb-sucking – completely at odds with the serious piece of moviemaking that is No One Killed Jessica. Though it raised the profile of the movie – making it visible to a larger audience (and probably got the single-screen audiences somewhat interested in a movie without a hero), I wished it had mounted a different kind of campaign instead of the regular publicity that marks every big movie.

Promotions aside, No One Killed Jessica is another of the well-intentioned movies that do not quite become great cinema. Based on the famous Jessica Lall killing and the public outrage caused by the travesty of justice, it has a great victory-of-good-over-evil story. But unfortunately that same well-known story becomes an impediment for it because it leaves it very little scope for taking liberties with the script. Although the disclaimers claim that it is a hybrid of reality and fiction, apart from dramatizing a coupe of characters, the story sticks to the original events as much as it can

The movie is divided into two clear halves. The first half belongs to Vidya Balan, the quiet and determined sister who will not give up on her sister’s killing. Running after recalcitrant witnesses and attending tedious hearings of the case that dragged on for several years, Vidya portrays Sabrina Lall with a stoic face and steely resolve – you can just feel that she is someone who you cannot budge once she has made her mind. A role without any histrionics, somewhat diametrically opposite to Rani’s – yet I appreciated her performance far more than Rani’s

Rani Mukherjee gets the bolder role – the abuse-spewing, hard-nosed journalist who apparently loves to be described as a “bitch” (don’t ask why). Her opening scene from Kargil tells us all we need to know about which real-life character she is inspired from. Thankfully, at least she didn’t crop her hair like Preity did in Lakshya. The second half of the movie belongs to her completely – and opposed to what their promos seem to suggest, Vidya and Rani have only two scenes together in the movie. Also, Rani’s loud dialogues seem a tad over-dramatized and distract from the seriousness of the movie.

Some other smaller characters make a super impression though. Shireesh Sharma, who plays the accused Manu’s politician father, does a very interesting job as the brooding, hesitant politician instead of the obviously-upto-no-good netas portrayed in our movies. So is the police inspector in-charge of the investigation, who again has a very interesting take on the corrupt cop. Also, Manu Sharma’s mother plays a hilarious caricature of a filmi-mom, with a single dialogue through out “Dekhiye ji, mere Monu ko kuch nahi hona chahiye”.

Director Raj Kumar Gupta shows some of his Aamir brilliance in No One Killed Jessica, but unfortunately cannot match the same taut tension of his debut movie. It is still a very solid movie, where your anticipation is heightened before many pivotal events – but somehow, he never manages to land a cinematic knockout blow. Even the climactic scene between Rani and Vidya turns out to be a damp squib. It is worth a watch to see how blatantly power can be abused in our country, and maybe give us apathetic young people a little wakeup call, but not for its cinematic genius.

3 star

P.S. - The Dilli track sounds super awesome in the multiplex
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Movies to look out for this week

No One Killed Jessica [IMDB]

A reporter teams up with the sister of a murdered model in order to bring her case justice

Cast: Rani Mukherjee, Vidya Balan, Rajesh Sharma

Direction: Raj Kumar Gupta

Paranormal Activity 2 [IMDB]

After experiencing what they think are a series of "break-ins", a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events are more sinister than they seem

Cast: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

Direction: Tod Williams

Fair Game [IMDB]

Plame's status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband

Cast: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Sonya Davison

Direction: Doug Liman

Life As We Know It [IMDB]

Two single adults become caregivers to an orphaned girl when their mutual best friends die in an accident

Cast: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas

Direction: Greg Berlanti

Impatient Vivek

Poor Vivek is smitten by a girl he meets in Goa. So when she rejects his marriage proposal, he along with his friends, kidnap the girl

Cast: Vivek Sudarshan, Sayali Bhagat

Direction: Rahat Kazmi

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Band Baaja Baaraat

“Bread pakode ki kasam !”, three weeks after I watched this movie, I still look fondly back at it – and wouldn’t mind paying to watch this movie again. An unabashed Bollywoody movie after a long time, full of song, dance, laughter & dollops of “Dilli-ness”, Band Baaja Baaraat is one of those vibrant romantic movies which make Bollywood what it is – a happy-dreams factory. In the process, Yash Raj finally found its mojo again and we might have found two potential superstars of the future

If a month after its release, you do not know the story of Band Baaja Baaraat, then you really have been living under a rock somewhere. But just to humour you, Band Baaja Baaraat is a romantic comedy set in a backdrop of weddings in Delhi – where the lead duo of Shruti Kakkar and Bittoo Sharma form their own wedding planning company Shaadi Mubarak. Their complementing natures make their venture successful, but the attraction of opposites is too hard to resist and love gets mixed with business – with slightly tumultuous results.

While the pace of the movie flags for a bit in the second half when the emotions run riot, Band Baaja Baaraat has a fabulous first half where the energetic and fresh Shruti meets the UP ka launda Bittoo (who is terrified of being dragged back to his dad’s sugarcane fields in Saharanpur). Newcomer Ranveer Singh is a complete natural and does a fabulous job as Bittoo – including his “binnesse” and love for bread pakodas. His confidence and screen presence are something some older actors might be jealous about. Anushka gives her best performance so far, as the bubbly girl from Janakpuri, decked in bright punjabi suits and fits like a hand in glove into the role.

Apart from the slight melodramatic post-interval section and the predictable ending, there is not much to nitpick in Band Baaja Baaraat (and which romantic comedy’s ending surprised you anyway ?). The supporting actors do their parts very well and the weddings are true-blue dilli weddings. The songs have been making waves, especially “chai mein dooba biscoot ho gaya…”

This is obviously not a serious movie, looking for critical acclaim. It is a light hearted movie with joy, laughter and an honest attempt at making you leave the hall with a nice smile on your face. In that it is fairly successful (I quite liked the ending credits). So if for some reason you missed catching this movie in the holiday season, it still has a couple of shows in all multiplexes this week.

(After 3 weeks, I might have selectively remembered only the good things, hence only 3.5 stars)
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Movies to look out for this week

Gulliver's Travels [IMDB]

Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Liliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens

Cast: Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel

Direction: Rob Letterman

Ada ... A Way of Life [IMDB]

Another story of young souls lost in the life of crime. But with A R Rahman's music

Cast: Ayaan Ahmad, Nauheed Cyrusi, Saurabh Dubey

Direction: Tanvir Ahmad

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