Sunday, July 28, 2013

4 duds and a classic

I've not been to a cinema-hall for a long time but these last 2 weekends have been a little easy on the work front so managed to catch up with all the recent "hits" and I must admit that I felt a little let-down. If I had to make a straight choice between like and dislike, I "liked" just 1 and "disliked" 4 - 20% just means I don't seem to be missing much.

Ethir Neechal
When a director zeroes on the name of the hero as the premise of his film, you know fully well that the movie has no lofty ambition. All they hope to do is provide a few laughs and pray that the audience does not feel cheated of the Rs 100 and 2.5 hrs they have just spent. Ethir Neechal just about manages this but what made me double up with laughter more than Siva Karthikeyan's character's name or even him winning the marathon against the Africans (has that ever happened anywhere in the world?) was the way Anirudh's sound track was worked into the film. It just did not fit - there is such a thing as mood and setting - and the less said about Poetu Dhanish, the better.

Thillu Mullu 2
A pale imitation when compared to the original. I will not even get into comparisons with Rajinikant but suffice to say that Shiva is passable and he is the best thing about the movie. The rest of the starcast is very weak - I personally prefer watching Prakash Raj doing his millionth typecast villain role like in Singham (Tamil, Hindi and Tulu versions) as compared to his Vasoolraja or Thillu Mullu 2 type of roles. Kovai Sarala is a shocking bit of casting which has now opened my eyes to that under-stated genius called Sowkar Janaki and Isha Talwar is not fit to be Madhavi's make-up girl. Changing the setting from football to IPL was a master stroke but the idea's potential was somehow lost in execution. YSRs music was *puke*

Theeya Velai Seyyanum Kumaru
A message to Siddharth - please stop giving/trying to give us that "I am so Paavum" look. It so resembles the "I have cancer and I am so anguished" look you so unsuccessfully tried in 180 and the two are VERY DIFFERENT EMOTIONS.... and you suck at them anyway. Sundar C returns to doing what he is best at - making extremely unfunny comedies. If there was an Oscar category for Best Facial Contortion, we can declare Hansika STR (Sorry, Hansike Motwani) the de facto winner till people FINALLY realise Kushbu could actually act and this one is not a patch on the previous version. We Tamilians are not stupid to build temples for just a pretty face. SANTHANAM - TAKE A BREAK, MAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Singam - 2
My intelligence was insulted and my ear-drums assaulted by this horrible monstrosity of a summer blockbuster. What Karthi with Siruthai + Saguni and Surya With 7 Aum Arivu + Maatraan + this sorry excuse of an entertainer have done is to erode all the currency and goodwill that I had for the Sivakumar family. Enough is enough - no more movies of this duo for the next 18 months till they learn their lessons and dish out decent fare. Having watched Singam 1 in telly a few times, when I look back now, even the original wasn't that great. Of course, I loved the movie when it was released but am beginning to suspect it was more the company with whom I saw it. sigh. How I miss those days.

PS: Since when did Surya's family entertainers have so much vulgarity and crass jokes? Double thumbs down.

Finally a movie I wished I had spent Rs 180 (gulpp) and watched at the theatre. Sheer poetry. Golly, who thought Sonakshi Sinha could actually act? Anyway, I could never see beyond her forehead so maybe I need to go back and revisit Dabangg 2 and Rowdy Rathore... or, maybe not :-) Ranveer Singh proved to the world what I knew all along - that he could get out of his loutish, playboy image and actually rein himself in to play a soft, subtle character....and he is fast raking up a reputation for some awesome onscreen kissing :-) Yes, the O Henry ending is gimmicky and the thotha analogy literally had me in splits but this is a movie well worth spending 2 hrs of your time....and I don't want to sound orgasmic (again) but Amit Trivedi's background score and sound track are just mindblowing - the Album of the year for me so far. Highly recommended.

Coming soon: Maryan, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Pacific Rim and the masala film of the year.....wait......wait..... not Chennai Thalaivaaaaaaaa

The sorry state of Summer sales

I am just back from my 2nd (and hopefully last) visit to the Summer sales and I have to admit that I've been very disappointed this season. There are very few "great deals" to be had and some of the sneaky tactics I've seen retailers employ clearly tell me that they are desperate and will stop at NOTHING to show both top-line growth and profitability.  Majority of the half page ads with FLAT 50% off are downright misleading since most of them are valid only on MULTI-BUY (Buy 3, get 50% off) and then there is always the 5% VAT to add :( Also, some of the sales had stock as old as Manufactured in Dec 2011 which leads me to believe that we, in India, are probably also going through a phase of cautious consumer spending. Considering I have sworn NEVER to pay full price for clothes in India, I still left with enough to last me till January or even next July so can't really complain, can I? :(

Crossword bookstores was the final pit-stop for today and I was bemused to see them advertise 15% off on books as "Massive savings". That's the bare minimum available on the net, even at places like Flipkart (who have completely lost the plot btw), so unless you don't have an internet connection at home or simply have loads of loose change  to blow, there is no reason/excuse to buy at the store. Yes, Crossword have woken upto this trend and their store's real estate has dramatically shifted to 30-40% books, 10-20% music & movies and the remaining is now all Toys and Games - yet, I saw a typical DICW1CBA1LAB buy books worth INR 6000 odd during their short 20 mt detour into the shop. There was none of the opening the book, flipping through the pages, reading some stuff, liking it and dwelling on the "to buy or not to buy" idea.... It was just like a department store - they came, they saw (the cover, and recognised a few authors), they picked and they paid. Whew !!!!

The saving grace of the whole outing was eating pani-puri (or golgappas as my Northy friends would call 'em) outside the mall despite the slight drizzle. They were so yummmmmm... and they cost me just 10 bucks for 7 pieces. Now, that's a deal that I get all year around  :-)

PS: DICW1CBA1LAB - Double Income Couple With 1 Cute Baby and 1 Loud, Annoying Brat

PS1: There was 1 awesome deal in the DVDs sales section. The Master was available at 50% off - I deliberated a lot but finally ended up not buying it. Much as I really like Paul Thomas Anderson (and you SHOULD see Punch Drunk Love) and have a crush on the gorgeous Amy Adams, Philip-Seymour Hoffman in a serious movie is an absolute no-no. Remember DOUBT !