posted 03 Jun 2012, 05:44
141.Rowdy Rathore (action) ***
Cast: Akshay Kumar. Sonakshi Sinha, Nasser, Yashpal Sharma
Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Language: Hindi U/A
* Low-life thief Shiva and top-cop Vikram Rathore are identical. Vikram's killed by foes, but his daughter thinks Shiva's her dad — can this Rowdy win respect?
In case I get a spelling wrong, that's because my ears are still ringing I with all the seetis and taalis at Rowdy Rathore. The film's an unabashed, gunpowder-hot, sambar-spiced star-vehicle, which runs along energetically most of the time because its star — Akshay Kumar, essaying a double role as Rathore and Shiva — is worth it, something that's emphasized often. At one point, a girl asks Shiva, pursuing pretty Paaro (Sinha) from Patna, "Na turn mein Hrithik ke looks hain, na Shah Rukh ka charm, na Aamir ki cuteness, na Salman ki body — what's so cool about you?" Akshay drawls back, "Lagta hai Khiladi ko bhool gayi aap." Cue for crowd — erupt in rapture.
Multiply that moment by 100 and you have Rowdy Rathore, a peppery potboiler brimming over with action, slapstick comedy ana romance, dynamite lines and Akshay Kumar — lots of Akshay Kumar, channeling vintage heroes Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, adding a dollop of Jeetend-ra, topping with his trademark flair as he snarls, tongue deeply in-cheek, "Don't angry me!"
A lull in its second half aside, Rowdy's mostly quick-stepping, moving from Mumbai's malls to medieval Bihar where Baapji (Nasser) and his hamming henchmen terrorize Devgarh's townsfolk through pillage, beatings and rape. Till cop Vikram Rathore (Kumar) arrives on the Shramjeevi Express, assaulting local yokels with handy gannas, infusing new meaning to 'sugar-cane'. With terrific overhead shots capturing his exploits, the fearless Rathore even bumps off Baapji's vicious beta Munna, so Baapji won't rest till Vikram is killed. Despite an injury to his brain (which the doctor says causes 'ham-mo-rage'), Vikram and his little daughter Chin-ki reach Mumbai. Here, their paths cross with Shiva who adopts
Chinki when Vikram's felled. And goes to Devgarh where he tells Baapji, "A village can have only one Rowdy" It's time Baapji — or 'lemon-chus', as Rowdy addresses him — shoved off.
This involves toe-curling violence though. A guy gets stabbed in the mouth, a head's crushed on a rock, swords slash through navels. Against the gore, Shiva's dancing with Paaro provides breezy relief, but the music itself is unmemorable. In a Prabhudheva picture, expectedly the dances are eye-catching, some moves like sweet caresses, some sexy little bites. Sonakshi glows as Paaro, a spunky Indian beauty showing flashes of her star-father's confidence when she snarls at the villains, "O saand ke bhes mein kukur." This Patna girl's stepped out in style with Rowdy. But the same can't be said for those playing Devgarh's dread-struck. Apart from Yashpal Sharma (sincere as a junior cop), the rest are unconvincing, as is the villainous set-up itself, located somewhere oddly between feudal Bihar, accented Andhra and Sholay's bandit lair.
Indeed, Rowdy Rathore pays homage to iconic filmi characters — identical heroes, golden-hearted chors, brave men in brown beating evil people to pulp. However, it pays most homage to its own star, Akshay Kumar, who pulls off Shiva with style but Vikram less so, possibly because all that violence overwhelms acting itself. Not that the crowd seemed to mind. As Shiva exhorts a woman raped by Baapji's son to beat him up, the girl next to me cried, "Why doesn't she?" Her neighbour replied, "She will." And she did — much to the crowd's Rowdy delight.
Tip-Off: Fans will love Akshay's mooch-twirling masala-act, but be ready for hardcore action too—some pretty gruesome.
142.Snow White and the Huntsman (adventure) ***l/2
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth
Direction: Rupert Sanders
Duration: 2 hours 7 minutes
Language: English (U/A)
* The evil Queen longs for a life without death. But the only way she can have it is being destroying the fairest of them all — Snow White. She needs to rip off Snow White's heart from within her body, literally. But the only place where she can reach Snow White is the forest — just where her evil powers do not work. Can the Huntsman, chosen by her, do the needful?
Is it right to tamper with tales we have actually grown up on? Yes. It's okay to experiment with fairy tales as long as it's gripping, racy and, if need be, deadly And the level of experimenting could range from anything between twists and turns in the storyline to making the evil Queen look much more conniving... much more dangerous... much more larger than life. Believe it or not, the evil Ravenna here overshadows Snow White in every sense of the word. Talk of the character and Queen Ravenna comes across as the epitome of the woman who wants everything — money, fame, kingdom, beauty forever and immortality — at the cost of anything. Talk of the actor and Charlize Theron leaves no stone unturned when it comes to executing that power, passion and utmost greed. She is sometimes seen doing what she ought to do with watery, fiery eyes, sometimes with powerful speeches and monologues... and sometimes with the help of special effects.
The very first shot and you know Snow White and the Huntsman is going to be a jolly good visual treat, often brought out through contrasts. There are three stunningly red drops of blood in the white, snow covered landscape right in the beginning; the end has the same three drops of blood against the backdrop of the stony castle. And in between lies the chase through the forbidding Dark Forest full of black shadows, ugly creatures, hissing snakes, followed by the seven dwarfs and their magical Fairy Land full of colourful butterflies, sparkling streams and birds singing here and there. In fact, there are times you are left wondering how this would look in 3D, specially when the chase and battles get more gloomy with horses, the Black Army, swords and shields.
Finally, it is the sharp contrast to Julia Roberts' recently released Mirror Mirror that works in favour of this one. If that was funny, crazy and not-so-serious, this one is dark and vicious. However, it's the length of the movie
and-tested fairly tale formula (of the happily-ever-after kiss) right in time. And all logic be damned... for there are two men — The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and Prince William (Sam Claflin) — trying to woo the Princess. Wonder who gets to kiss Ms. White?
For now, over to Snow White, her (fairy) tale, the thumping background score, the visual treat, the fact that you know it (the story, we mean) all... and of course, Queen Ravenna....
Tip-Off: Watch it (for you will like it) only if you are ready to undo the spell that has been cast on you since time immemorial. Don't ask 'Who's the fairest of them all?'. Ask 'Who's the darkest of them all?' Definitely, Snow White and the Huntsman.
143.Horrible Bosses (comedy) ***l/2
Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston
Direction: Seth Gordon
Duration: 1 hour 38 minutes
Language: English (A)
* What binds three friends together is their urge to kill their respective bosses....
Bosses! Good bosses. Great bosses. Inspiring bosses. Chilled out "bosses. Buddy bosses.... Mean bosses. Selfish bosses. Humiliating bosses. Manipulative bosses. Sexually starved bosses.... The world is full of different kinds of bosses. If you are lucky enough, work can be Cakewalk; workplace can be fun. But if your leader is a horrible boss, just as the unlucky three in Horrible Bosses, the five-years-down-the-line planning is pretty obvious—getting rid of that boss. But how?
That is just the point where this movie scores considering we have had our ultimate good-employee-terror-of-a-boss ordeal in The Devil Wears Prada. Here, more than the evilness of the boss (it is there in aplenty), it's the how-to-get-rid of the boss ideas that makes every moment a funny one. Not just brought out through (rather adult) one-lin-ers, but also through various incidents. Add to that some oh-I-can-relate-to-that-stereotypical character, good performances, crazy situations... and you are sure to laugh your way to theatres.
Sample this: Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) takes pride in being the 'Yes Man' at work, even if it means a forceful gulping down of his boss's eighteen-year-old scotch at eight in the morning. His boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), simply trusts his own self when it comes to taking on that extra portfolio... for 85 per cent of the total salary. Next is the cool Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) coping with Thomas (Steve Wiebe). He can't understand why his new boss refuses to stick to old ways. The new way means turning workplace into one full of heroin and heroine. Finally, it's Jennifer Aniston as Julia Harris, the dentist, who 'does not mind an extra drill or two' as long as the one doing it is Dale Arbus (Charlie Day).
So do the three poor souls really get to win over... and kill their respective bosses? Well, can't really say that here though we do get to learn the secret mantra to success at work: Be your own boss. Now, they don't teach that at B-schools! Do they?
144.The Cabin in the Woods (horror) ***l/2
Cast: Kirsten Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams
Direction: Drew Goddard
Duration: 1 hour 36 minutes
Language: English (A)
* Nothing could be a more happening vacation for five happy-go-lucky youngsters than taking off to the woods. But then the woods have never really been that safe....
The Cabin in the Woods is more about the 'why factor' than the 'how factor': Why do the lambs (a group of bubbly teens) cross the gates and reach the killing ground (a haunted cabin in the middle of nowhere) in almost every horror
movie? Why do the lambs choose to part ways to combat the evil dead in almost every horror movie? Or for that matter, why do those who usually coochy coo in almost every horror movie choose to do it in the most deadliest of spots? Well, that's how it's meant to be in the scary world. Period. But before that, here's the not-so-good news for horror buffs: Except for a very few genuine scares—heads being separated from bodies, a woman whispering in the dead of night, blood and gore everywhere — The Cabin in the Woods has nothing much in store when it comes to giving you the real jeebies. But then the movie has loads of the guessing games that could leave the same horror fan pretty satisfied. After all, horror works till victims make their free (and often wrong) choice... till they keep on suffering... till the cliches are in place.
Cliche 1: Five teens want to get a little wild in the woods during their vacation time. They are the typical horror Victims — Curt (Chris Hemsworth) who thinks he is all cool and hot, Miss Perfect Dana (Kristen Connolly); Jules (Anna Hutchison) for whom looking blond is the in-thing, the ever-swearing funny guy, Marty (Fran Kranz) and Mr Sober Guy Holden (Jesse Williams). Cliche 2: The destination they choose is a place that does not show up on the GPS, where traffic cameras do not exist, where the last fuel station does not accept credit cards. Cliche 3: What follows next is perhaps easy to guess: a two-way mirror, a painting of blood sucking creatures , a cellar ; perfect to play truth or dare, a basement full of strange and weird items, and finally a disturbing journal of ! Anna Buckner, which when read has | the dead rising from their graves.
So far so good. But then as the i gruesome killing of teens continue, | what keeps you on the edge is the question the movie actually began | with: the why factor. Why can't hor-I ror movies live without its cliches? Is it about controlling the outcome? Or is it about ritual sacrifices—that of the ancient gods, that of fate, and that of new-age viewers (the betting game and reality shows)?
For answers, get to the basement of the cabin in that dark wood—for there's something diabolic cooking down there.