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Old 09-19-13, 10:40 AM   #476
flixtime
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While I don't really have much interest in awards-type stuff...maybe...well, maybe things are lined up fairly well for India to get shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at the next Oscars...just a gut feeling...unless India bungles their selection like they usually do. But if they submit THE LUNCHBOX or SHIP OF THESEUS maybe they get shortlisted like LAGAAN did over a decade ago. India will announce their selection in a few days.

Pakistan actually submitted a film to the Oscars...first time in fifty years. The title is ZINDA BHAAG...Naseeruddin Shah is one of the actors.
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Old 09-21-13, 08:04 AM   #477
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Wow...okay, why should I be surprised at this point...but still...wow...India picked the Gujarati-language movie THE GOOD ROAD as their Oscar submission. Now, it did just come out on English-subbed DVD and when I checked the trailer at that time it looked certainly good enough that I put it on my list to purchase in my next order. And I realize that the next leader of India very well might be that Narendra Modi guy from Gujarat, so that likely came in to play. But, in terms of the politics/clout/money/etc. to actually win the Oscar, THE LUNCHBOX - especially with Sony handling it - had a lot working in its favor on the International scene. Again, I don't think too much of these awards things because of all the politics and such involved...they aren't just about merit and such...but if that is the way they are then you have to play that game. And THE LUNCHBOX and SHIP OF THESEUS seemed better positioned to do that on the International stage. Again, THE GOOD ROAD does look pretty good to my eyes...from the trailer...more suitable a selection certainly than other stuff India has submitted these past years...but still...it seems it'll have less breeze in its favor...while the other two selections might've been smoother sailing.
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Old 09-21-13, 12:07 PM   #478
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I wonder if there will be any talk of trying for an independent submission. I don't recall the rules/requirements for that, but I seem to remember it was discussed back when DHARM was bypassed for submission. DHARM didn't have the resources to make it happen, but maybe this time there is enough in place to make a strong push. Perhaps you spin it as...the voting process was influenced by a shady politician who the U.S. won't even allow into the country.

Note: Yes, the above is a result of too much exposure to the dumb and dirty dealings on SONS OF ANARCHY...I am currently watching Season 5.
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Old 09-21-13, 06:35 PM   #479
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

so The Lunchbox is good then?

I have been meaning to watch Lootera too, just havent had the time.

And speaking of SoA, worth watching I assume?
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Old 09-21-13, 09:03 PM   #480
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nitin, haven't seen THE LUNCHBOX yet...the trailer seems solid and it seems to gotten impressive reviews from the festival circuit and places like filmbiz.asia and such. Again, I'm not so much discussing the films on merit...again haven't seen them...but more talking about all the other stuff that (unfortunately) goes into winning awards. THE LUNCHBOX coming from Disney-UTV and with Sony handling the U.S. release, along with positive reviews from Westerns critics/festivals, and now positive Indian reviews, the Oscars maybe being ready for a change of pace as the foreign film category has been Euro-centric lately, and other reasons too...just speculating that the stars might've been aligned for India right now. SHIP OF THESEUS too seemed a suitable candidate.

I'm waiting for the releases of LOOTERA, BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG, and ENEMMY...then I'll be kicking off a twenty-eight film slate of recent North Indian movies...twenty-six Hindi, THE GOOD ROAD (Gujarati), and SHABDO SOUND (Bengali).

With regard to SONS OF ANARCHY...I'd advise against it. I sort of dove into the deep end so it is too late for me. Have you watched THE SHIELD yet? If not, there is absolutely no doubt that you should watch THE SHIELD before SONS OF ANARCHY. I've mentioned somewhere around here that I was love it-hate it with regard to SONS OF ANARCHY...I'm approaching the end of Season 5 and the show is more hate it than love it. I can't even call it a guilty pleasure anymore...it's a dumb show...and I watch it...so yeah I hang my head in shame. What is wrong with it? The characters are complete losers, hypocrites, bullies...there isn't a single likeable character on the show for me...in the sense, well, if every single character ends up dying at the end that'd be supremely fine with me. The fact that there are people who think these characters are cool and macho and such...that is a frightening thought...as far as I'm concerned the male characters are about as poor an excuse for "men" that I can think of. It's a moron show...and again, yes I realize I'm watching it too...but it is a moron show...but I do take some pleasure in the train wreck nature of things. The writing too has major issues...the show feels drawn out...they just seem to keep making up whatever they want to keep the show going since it is (I assume) doing well in the ratings...every time you think the writers will take some sort of stand, they just find a way to cop out and extend things again (aka the end of Season 4). A lot...which I can't mention specifically for spoiler reasons just doesn't make much logical sense...the characters react with extreme violence over some minor issues yet don't react against extreme betrayals from their inner circle.

The show is fast-paced and often does move along quite entertainingly...but it is super dumb. I actually have a big issue with Season 5...one of the early episodes show a mysterious group of individuals doing home invasions, and they show one of the guys has a metal prosthetic ankle, and from things later I expected the mysterious group to be working for a particular individual, but that didn't happen, and when they do identify the mysterious group...it just makes no sense because they just never come back to the prosthetic ankle at all...again like the writers changed their minds with regard to the identity of the person responsible for the break-ins...I don't know maybe things clear up in the next few episodes.
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Old 09-23-13, 04:16 AM   #481
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

thanks for that, might skip it for now then. There's too much good tv around for me to invest in shows that I might like (as opposed to trying ones I know I will like to some degree).
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Old 09-23-13, 04:18 AM   #482
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

also havent tried The Shield yet. Like Homicide, another show I want to watch at some stage, there are too many seasons for me to commit to right now.
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Old 10-03-14, 09:14 AM   #483
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Haider (2014 - Hindi) - Director Vishal Bhardwaj's latest entry in his Shakespeare-inspired trilogy - following on MAQBOOL (Macbeth) and OMKARA (Othello) - opened in U.S. (and India, UK, etc.) theaters yesterday. HAIDER is based on Hamlet. The early reviews have been quite positive...you know what that means...it didn't do a whole lot for me...fair-to-average maybe, and the weakest of his Shakespeare trilogy for certain.

The first half plays, more or less, like a standard "issues in Kashmir" type of movie...all well and good as that is certainly rich material to mine, yet at the same time this territory has already been covered a number of times already. So for the most part the first half just felt like a retread of things already seen in LAMHAA, HARUD, etc.,...I really didn't feel like HAIDER added much new with regard to this specific sub-genre. Also, I thought the film was sort of dull, the storyline not quite expansive enough, and, especially in the first half, the runtime felt overlong (a total runtime of approx. 160-minutes). I also wasn't captured by the casting of Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, and Kay Kay Menon in the roles of the central trio of Hamlet, his mother, and the uncle...it was just too underplayed and lacking some "verve"...and it made me appreciate the SONS OF ANARCHY Hamlet trio of Jax, Gemma, and Clay.

Things start to look up at the interval with the introduction of Irfan Khan's character, and this leads to a post-interval section that does feel more Shakespearean (and less issues-oriented)...a couple of the musical sequences also add to this feeling. However, storytelling issues came into play for me in the second half. I quite liked the actress who played the "Ophelia" character but the writing was weak with regards to why her character makes a couple of decisions that she makes...I found her actions headscratching as the motivation for her actions wasn't properly developed. Similarly, the "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" duo didn't come across as believable in their behavior...you seem them as Haider's (aka Hamlet's) friends but then the rationale for their later behavior isn't well developed (while they are tasked to be friendly, they are introduced as such a dumb-and-dumber duo that I couldn't quite buy that they would become deeper involved in the later intrigue). Outside of those criticisms, even a scene involving the ghost of Haider's father doesn't impact nearly as well as it should have. I might even have wished that maybe Shahid Kapoor and Bhardwaj had taken a slightly different approach to Kapoor's performance in the second half.

The end text after the film again returns to a feeling of the issue-driven first half as it simply mentions some points about the situation in Kashmir. In general, the film had a mixed identity as an issue movie and as a Shakespearean film, but I didn't find the mix to be a successful approach.

Though not quite as much as others, I do carry a measurable amount of enthusiasm for Bhardwaj's MAQBOOL and OMKARA, unfortunately HAIDER in comparison left little imprint.

Last edited by flixtime; 10-03-14 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 10-03-14, 11:23 AM   #484
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And...youtube links to a favorite song/video and favorite item number (not from HAIDER, but from other recent Hindi movies)...and both are "remakes" in one sense or another:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ERAFwcBbxo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-9aocWE-fc
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Old 10-04-14, 06:49 PM   #485
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
Haider (2014 - Hindi) - Director Vishal Bhardwaj's latest entry in his Shakespeare-inspired trilogy - following on MAQBOOL (Macbeth) and OMKARA (Othello) - opened in U.S. (and India, UK, etc.) theaters yesterday. HAIDER is based on Hamlet. The early reviews have been quite positive...you know what that means...it didn't do a whole lot for me...fair-to-average maybe, and the weakest of his Shakespeare trilogy for certain.

The first half plays, more or less, like a standard "issues in Kashmir" type of movie...all well and good as that is certainly rich material to mine, yet at the same time this territory has already been covered a number of times already. So for the most part the first half just felt like a retread of things already seen in LAMHAA, HARUD, etc.,...I really didn't feel like HAIDER added much new with regard to this specific sub-genre. Also, I thought the film was sort of dull, the storyline not quite expansive enough, and, especially in the first half, the runtime felt overlong (a total runtime of approx. 160-minutes). I also wasn't captured by the casting of Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, and Kay Kay Menon in the roles of the central trio of Hamlet, his mother, and the uncle...it was just too underplayed and lacking some "verve"...and it made me appreciate the SONS OF ANARCHY Hamlet trio of Jax, Gemma, and Clay.

Things start to look up at the interval with the introduction of Irfan Khan's character, and this leads to a post-interval section that does feel more Shakespearean (and less issues-oriented)...a couple of the musical sequences also add to this feeling. However, storytelling issues came into play for me in the second half. I quite liked the actress who played the "Ophelia" character but the writing was weak with regards to why her character makes a couple of decisions that she makes...I found her actions headscratching as the motivation for her actions wasn't properly developed. Similarly, the "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" duo didn't come across as believable in their behavior...you seem them as Haider's (aka Hamlet's) friends but then the rationale for their later behavior isn't well developed (while they are tasked to be friendly, they are introduced as such a dumb-and-dumber duo that I couldn't quite buy that they would become deeper involved in the later intrigue). Outside of those criticisms, even a scene involving the ghost of Haider's father doesn't impact nearly as well as it should have. I might even have wished that maybe Shahid Kapoor and Bhardwaj had taken a slightly different approach to Kapoor's performance in the second half.

The end text after the film again returns to a feeling of the issue-driven first half as it simply mentions some points about the situation in Kashmir. In general, the film had a mixed identity as an issue movie and as a Shakespearean film, but I didn't find the mix to be a successful approach.

Though not quite as much as others, I do carry a measurable amount of enthusiasm for Bhardwaj's MAQBOOL and OMKARA, unfortunately HAIDER in comparison left little imprint.
Hopefully catching this at the cinemas tonight, really looking forward to it. I know we have disagreed in the past about Bhardwaj and I really do think his use of language is not captured by subtitles so hopefully that aspect shines again in Haider.

On a side note, I have only seen season 1 of Sons of Anarchy so far. Does the writing get better? That was the weakest part of s1 for me.
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Old 10-04-14, 09:00 PM   #486
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Pleased to see you again, nitin!

Hmm...I don't really think the writing gets any better on SONS OF ANARCHY. If anything things get (annoyingly) repetitive...I can promise you that you will start to cringe at hearing another utterance of "Jesus Christ!". I've finished six seasons, Season 6 was actually pretty good...I mean it is still SONS OF ANARCHY, but within that standard it was pretty good. I know when we last "spoke", I mentioned that THE SHIELD would be a far superior entry...and I'll reiterate that point - unless one has a thing for the motorcycle gang aspect - there really is no way that one can say that SONS OF ANARCHY is better than THE SHIELD. Also, many of the performers who played on THE SHIELD, also appear in smaller guest appearances over the course of SONS OF ANARCHY's run...there is a fun factor in that regard...seeing these performers we know so well from THE SHIELD tackling sometimes different roles in SONS OF ANARCHY. I don't think that same charm works as well if you do it the other way aka watching SONS OF ANARCHY before THE SHIELD. I know THE SHIELD may seem daunting at seven seasons but once you get past a little hiccup that is the first half of season four, THE SHIELD is pretty much a hotrod to the finish.


With regard to HAIDER - granted I wouldn't know - but my sense is that it wasn't really a "language" driven entry as compared to some of his other work...but again that is just a total guess on my part.
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Old 10-04-14, 09:17 PM   #487
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

The Shield is on a list of shows I would like to get to eventually but my unwatched pile of movies and tv is already beyond ridiculous.
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Old 10-04-14, 09:56 PM   #488
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Had better try something more on-topic...hmm...let's see about 2014 so far...

Favorite so far...
Miss Lovely - a magnificent success in terms of transporting you to that particular time and capturing what is must have been like...incredibly satisfying in terms of atmosphere and such...I'll take MISS LOVELY over AMERICAN HUSTLE any day of the week. If you watch the brief "Making Of" or whatever it was on the DVD...MISS LOVELY was an entire success in terms of them making the type of movie they set out to make.

While ISHQIYA didn't register that much with me, I did find Dedh Ishqiya far more impressive...though I was disappointed when it drifted off as more standard light caper fare in the second half...but the start was great.

Jai Ho is what it is.

Gunday was a disappointment and grades as a skip it...I used to like Priyanka Chopra but now find her rather annoying. The most interesting point about GUNDAY is likely what is going on over at IMDb...check out the rating...and more importantly the number of votes (more than LAGAAN)...basically a specific group of people are upset about its historical accuracy (or lack thereof)...and there was a coordinated effort to drive down the film's rating at IMDb...some people really need to find a new hobby...GUNDAY is a total commercial mass-market film and to get that bent out of shape over historical accuracy in a friggin movie.

Gulaab Gang was entertaining...Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla seemed to savor their roles...too melodramatic to take it too seriously but it was a cool girl power movie and there were some cool scenes with the pink sari brigade kicking butt.

Highway...pleasant enough but generic road movie, romance, and something else which escapes me right now...nothing new under the sun but enjoyable enough I suppose.

Dishkiyaoon...because I watch every Indian crime film I can get my hands on...and I really like Prashant Narayanan.

Dekh Tamasha Dekh...for those who enjoyed PEEPLI LIVE...nicely done though fairly low-hanging fruit in terms of satire.

Revolver Rani...enjoyed this one too...like with most of the above, too long ago to offer any long-windedness (and too my recall isn't reliable given the gap in time).

So yeah I think that might be it in terms of 2014 Hindi cinema so far...

Maybe I'll go back and offer some 2013 thoughts tomorrow...I can say that I thought India (especially Hindi films) had a tremendous year in 2013...by far the best since I started putting forth my long-windedness here in the forum. In some years it might have been stretching things a bit to do an Indian Top 10...no such issues at all in 2013...a lot of entertaining films to choose from. And if I were to be stranded on a desert island tomorrow and I had to choose between a library of Hollywood 2013 or India 2013, India would be my clear pick...easily. And as much as I've enjoyed something like Korean cinema in the past, India would be my pick over them too. So, yeah, an update tomorrow...and - believe it or not - I actually liked pretty much everything in terms of Hindi movies (at least in terms of what I consider "real" movies). And I still have some catching up to do in terms of 2013 releases...notably LUNCHBOX, BOMBAY TALKIES, maybe another half-dozen tier-2 type Hindi movies and a half-dozen or so South Indian entries...at least I think I'm clear in terms of the Bengali movies I wanted to watch.



To close with off-topicness...HOMELAND S3 kind of stunk (especially the first two-thirds). And I know I've mentioned that I wasn't a fan of THE RAID...well, I absolutely loved THE RAID 2...not only that, it was so good that I actually repositioned the first movie in my mind...and I now consider it simply as sort of an appetizer or extended prologue to the real movie that is THE RAID 2...so in that sense the sequel was so good that it made me kind of like the first movie better now (again looking at it from a different perspective).
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Old 10-05-14, 04:30 AM   #489
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
[...]Dishkiyaoon...because I watch every Indian crime film I can get my hands on...and I really like Prashant Narayanan.

Maybe I'll go back and offer some 2013 thoughts tomorrow...I can say that I thought India (especially Hindi films) had a tremendous year in 2013...by far the best since I started putting forth my long-windedness here in the forum.
[...]
"Long-winded" is another way of describing comprehensive, informed and useful so I would just say keep up the good work!

A bit cheeky of me to ask, I know, but if you were able to pull together an Indian crime film thread, maybe cutting and pasting earlier reviews from various threads, I think that would be a useful addition to the forum in its own right.
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Old 10-05-14, 10:38 AM   #490
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benedict View Post
"Long-winded" is another way of describing comprehensive, informed and useful so I would just say keep up the good work!
Very kind of you to share that thought...I extend my warm thanks for doing so.

Quote:
A bit cheeky of me to ask, I know, but if you were able to pull together an Indian crime film thread, maybe cutting and pasting earlier reviews from various threads, I think that would be a useful addition to the forum in its own right.
Just curious, do you have any experience with watching Indian crime films? On first thought, if I were programming an introductory course as part of say a festival sidebar, I might go with something like this:

Ardh Satya (1983)
Nayakan (1987)
Parinda (1989)
Satya (1998) - if you are only going to do one movie, this would be the one
Vaastav (1999)
Company (2002)
Hathyar (2002)

I like the idea of starting sort of midstream...though others might start further back in the 70s with Amitabh Bachchan and his ZANJEER, SHOLAY, DEEWAR (or maybe a later entry such as AGNEEPATH (1990)). If someone expressed further interest after my initial program, I'd continue with DROH KAAL (1994) and SHOOL (1990) too. And then of course after that I'd move forward aka post-2002 where choices are more plentiful (and perhaps too they are more comfortable points of entry to the genre as opposed to something like PARINDA which, especially in its first half, can come across as quite dated (like how I feel about some 80s/90s Hong Kong crime fare)).

As to the idea of a dedicated Indian crime thread...it is actually something I considered, well more like a dedicated International crime films thread, but that was a few years back and unfortunately participation in this sub-forum (in terms of talking about movies (versus tech/specs stuff)) has...I think we can say flatlined at this point. A few other factors also play into my thoughts...while I have indeed watched a lot of Indian crime cinema...I certainly didn't post my comments on everything I've watched in that regard so an attempt to peel of relevant comments into a dedicated thread would be very spotty...and relatedly trying to offer useful commentary on say a film I watched even six months ago could be a failure...I maybe average watching a movie per day and then two seasons of TV per month so even trying to comment on something I've seen a week ago can sometimes be a challenge. And, well there are a number of other factors too...but, yeah, I really don't know, in terms of a cost vs. benefit analysis (again given the dormant nature of this sub-forum)...starting a new thread and seeing no participation...I don't know. Heck, it seems like you are the first in years to even suggest/ask for maybe a little more in terms of Indian crime films (or any other type of Indian movie for that mater)...and it really is something that I've kind of wondered about...for example, the interest in other world cinemas with regard to the crime genre, yet a broad disinterest with regard to India's output...but that is a whole other topic and a much wider discussion.
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Old 10-05-14, 12:26 PM   #491
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One note with regard to DEKH TAMASHA DEKH, it contains a nicely done reference to the "mamacita, let me in" scene from THE LEOPARD MAN.

Anyway, back to 2013, again I've forgotten a lot in terms of thoughtful details, so it has to be sort of brief and relatedly perhaps not as precise and accurate as I would wish for...maybe best to go with a "favorites" aka "I'd watch it again" type approach versus "best"...

Favorites:
LUCIA (Kannada) - can't expand really without spoilers but a nice usage of this type of storyline while tailoring it specifically to India

THE ATTACKS OF 26/11 - questionable horror/exploitation approach is entirely successful as it generates a great deal of viewer empathy...and besides, getting caught in something like that is horrific. And it also tries to impart some message. A bone-chilling watch.

D-DAY - maybe the ballsiest movie of the year...I don't know that I'd be too keen on making a movie about trying to capture Dawood Ibrahim...they never actually mention him by name...but the guy is entirely Dawood Ibrahim...reminded me some of the Korean film 26 YEARS, in the sense that that too was about going after a still living person. Actually, 26 YEARS was interesting...you could feel the anger radiating out from the screen...but it had a flaw of getting too melodramatic at the end. Back to D-DAY, the film starts with an action scene that chronologically occurs pre-intermission...in hindsight I wish they had just started chronologically with the action scene saved till that later point. But outside of that, this movie was terrific. Also, parts (not the sucky ones) of HOMELAND S3 had me recalling D-DAY. And I even liked Shruti Haasan in this...and she can sing too...didn't know that...interesting how much better people seem when they get away from mass market Telugu (and often Tamil) movies.

MADRAS CAFE - solid genre entry from Shoojit Sircar (director of the under-appreciated Kashmir film YAHAAN).

AURANGZEB - age-old storyline but it was done so well that it played as fresh and highly entertaining

GO GOA GONE - zombie comedy...not much I suppose in terms of zombie thrills but I enjoyed the characters, and the comedy - especially the Desi/Hindi/English/Russian stuff - made me laugh...and that is tough to do as I'm not a funny guy

RAANJHANAA - don't really remember much except I liked it

SATYAGRAHA - Prakash Jha films tend to run together in my memory, but I do remember this is one of the better ones

BHAAG MILKA BHAAG - long biopic consistently kept me interested and entertained.

LOOTERA - liked it especially the first half, and I didn't even mind Sonakshi Sinha so much

GOLIYON KI RASLEELA RAM-LEELA - another Romeo and Juliet movie, not as good (but more consisent) than the previous year's entry ISHAQZAADE...I generally don't fall for Bhansali's eye-candy, high gloss approach...but this movie was simply gorgeous.

SHABDO (Bengali) - if the Film Federation of India had wanted something off-the-track (instead of a Hindi film), this would have been a reasonable choice for Oscar submission (though don't know if this fit within the release date guidelines).

Timeout....I'm secure enough to again say that John Abraham (MADRAS CAFE), Arjun Rampal (D-Day) and Vidyut Jamwal (COMMANDO (listed later)) are three incredibly handsome fellows.

Okay...a break before continuing...and I might edit this post too once I give it some more thought...

Last edited by flixtime; 10-05-14 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 10-05-14, 01:53 PM   #492
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Some other comments:

THE GOOD ROAD (Gujarati) - for a low-budget, indie type entry, it had a fair amount of charm...but the Film Federation of India selecting it for Oscar submission...invade Russia in Winter why don't ya?

Other Hindi movies I enjoyed aka would watch again:

ZILA GHAZIABAD - derivate product but quite satisfying on a pure entertainment level...two nice item numbers including the one linked above...could have done without the gun wuxia

MURDER 3 - remake of Colombian film...actually a rather interesting story especially in the second half

SHOOTOUT AT WADALA - because I like Indian crime films

COMMANDO - fine enough for what it was...derivate, DTV-type fare...a pretty item number

MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN - technically not Indian but it was interesting...needed more focus on the Midnight's Children however

KAI PO CHE - fine but sort of just there early on, but builds to something more powerful in the second half

Good on some levels I suppose but dry, one-time watch types:

SHIP OF THESEUS - I liked the middle story the best, and liked it on a technical level, but I didn't find it as highbrow, profound, and intelligent as some might say

SHAHID - standard biopic

Watchable/entertaining enough I suppose:

KRRISH 3 - I was quite okay with it...even with Priyanka Chopra
PHATA POSTER NIKLA HERO
BULLET RAJA

Meh (missed opportunities):
EK THI DAAYAN - I can see why co-producer Vishal Bhardwaj was attraced to this project as the flashback portion (which I quite enjoyed) recalls his first effort MAKDEE. A re-edit would help, putting things in chronological order and eliminating the three songs...and I didn't care for the curveball near the end...kind of a missed opportunity as a lot was in place for it to have been better

GHANCHAKKAR - started well enough but drifted away

ISSAQ - Romeo and Juliet again

SAHEB, BIWI AUR GANGSTER RETURNS

Lowest ranking:
CHENNAI EXPRESS - sitcom-grade material and a surprisingly small/thin story for such a big budget movie...you need a tolerance for Shah Rukh Khan doing his schtick...would have avoided this bottom tier if it weren't for the ill-fitting and needless action climax

ONCE UPON AY TIME IN MUMBAI DOBAARA - too much Sonakshi Sinha among other issues

R...RAJKUMAR - the South Indian style of silly first half and more serious second half is barely tolerable, reversing that style is far less tolerable.

JACKPOT - didn't come anywhere close despite low, DTV expectations

ZANJEER - the less said the better...Priyanka Chopra again too


Some Bengali comments:
MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON - has its issues but I enjoy the genre, do a double feature with the older Patrick Bergen movie of the same name

TASHER DESH - way too artsy-fartsy post-intermission...with bad camerawork...and in need of trimming that section too...but it was otherwise okay with a nice message

PROLOY - a letdown in many ways, while the subject of this biopic is similar to that of SHAHID...the first half is biopic while the second half is fictional commercial fare...so a tale of two halves...still it reached me on an emotional level a little more than the subject of SHAHID.


And a Telugu 2014 entry...YEVADU was actually quite solid for a Telugu movie...too bad Telugu song/dance is so weak compared to other Indian cinema, this type of movie needs to be stronger in that regard, but storywise it was better than the usual Telugu junk
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Old 10-06-14, 03:11 AM   #493
nitin77
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
One note with regard to DEKH TAMASHA DEKH, it contains a nicely done reference to the "mamacita, let me in" scene from THE LEOPARD MAN.

Anyway, back to 2013, again I've forgotten a lot in terms of thoughtful details, so it has to be sort of brief and relatedly perhaps not as precise and accurate as I would wish for...maybe best to go with a "favorites" aka "I'd watch it again" type approach versus "best"...

Favorites:
LUCIA (Kannada) - can't expand really without spoilers but a nice usage of this type of storyline while tailoring it specifically to India

THE ATTACKS OF 26/11 - questionable horror/exploitation approach is entirely successful as it generates a great deal of viewer empathy...and besides, getting caught in something like that is horrific. And it also tries to impart some message. A bone-chilling watch.

D-DAY - maybe the ballsiest movie of the year...I don't know that I'd be too keen on making a movie about trying to capture Dawood Ibrahim...they never actually mention him by name...but the guy is entirely Dawood Ibrahim...reminded me some of the Korean film 26 YEARS, in the sense that that too was about going after a still living person. Actually, 26 YEARS was interesting...you could feel the anger radiating out from the screen...but it had a flaw of getting too melodramatic at the end. Back to D-DAY, the film starts with an action scene that chronologically occurs pre-intermission...in hindsight I wish they had just started chronologically with the action scene saved till that later point. But outside of that, this movie was terrific. Also, parts (not the sucky ones) of HOMELAND S3 had me recalling D-DAY. And I even liked Shruti Haasan in this...and she can sing too...didn't know that...interesting how much better people seem when they get away from mass market Telugu (and often Tamil) movies.

MADRAS CAFE - solid genre entry from Shoojit Sircar (director of the under-appreciated Kashmir film YAHAAN).

AURANGZEB - age-old storyline but it was done so well that it played as fresh and highly entertaining

GO GOA GONE - zombie comedy...not much I suppose in terms of zombie thrills but I enjoyed the characters, and the comedy - especially the Desi/Hindi/English/Russian stuff - made me laugh...and that is tough to do as I'm not a funny guy

RAANJHANAA - don't really remember much except I liked it

SATYAGRAHA - Prakash Jha films tend to run together in my memory, but I do remember this is one of the better ones

BHAAG MILKA BHAAG - long biopic consistently kept me interested and entertained.

LOOTERA - liked it especially the first half, and I didn't even mind Sonakshi Sinha so much

GOLIYON KI RASLEELA RAM-LEELA - another Romeo and Juliet movie, not as good (but more consisent) than the previous year's entry ISHAQZAADE...I generally don't fall for Bhansali's eye-candy, high gloss approach...but this movie was simply gorgeous.

SHABDO (Bengali) - if the Film Federation of India had wanted something off-the-track (instead of a Hindi film), this would have been a reasonable choice for Oscar submission (though don't know if this fit within the release date guidelines).

Timeout....I'm secure enough to again say that John Abraham (MADRAS CAFE), Arjun Rampal (D-Day) and Vidyut Jamwal (COMMANDO (listed later)) are three incredibly handsome fellows.

Okay...a break before continuing...and I might edit this post too once I give it some more thought...
I liked Madras Cafe and actually thought Lootera was the best hindi film of last year despite some issues.
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Old 10-06-14, 03:12 AM   #494
nitin77
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
Some other comments:

THE GOOD ROAD (Gujarati) - for a low-budget, indie type entry, it had a fair amount of charm...but the Film Federation of India selecting it for Oscar submission...invade Russia in Winter why don't ya?

Other Hindi movies I enjoyed aka would watch again:

ZILA GHAZIABAD - derivate product but quite satisfying on a pure entertainment level...two nice item numbers including the one linked above...could have done without the gun wuxia

MURDER 3 - remake of Colombian film...actually a rather interesting story especially in the second half

SHOOTOUT AT WADALA - because I like Indian crime films

COMMANDO - fine enough for what it was...derivate, DTV-type fare...a pretty item number

MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN - technically not Indian but it was interesting...needed more focus on the Midnight's Children however

KAI PO CHE - fine but sort of just there early on, but builds to something more powerful in the second half

Good on some levels I suppose but dry, one-time watch types:

SHIP OF THESEUS - I liked the middle story the best, and liked it on a technical level, but I didn't find it as highbrow, profound, and intelligent as some might say

SHAHID - standard biopic

Watchable/entertaining enough I suppose:

KRRISH 3 - I was quite okay with it...even with Priyanka Chopra
PHATA POSTER NIKLA HERO
BULLET RAJA

Meh (missed opportunities):
EK THI DAAYAN - I can see why co-producer Vishal Bhardwaj was attraced to this project as the flashback portion (which I quite enjoyed) recalls his first effort MAKDEE. A re-edit would help, putting things in chronological order and eliminating the three songs...and I didn't care for the curveball near the end...kind of a missed opportunity as a lot was in place for it to have been better

GHANCHAKKAR - started well enough but drifted away

ISSAQ - Romeo and Juliet again

SAHEB, BIWI AUR GANGSTER RETURNS

Lowest ranking:
CHENNAI EXPRESS - sitcom-grade material and a surprisingly small/thin story for such a big budget movie...you need a tolerance for Shah Rukh Khan doing his schtick...would have avoided this bottom tier if it weren't for the ill-fitting and needless action climax

ONCE UPON AY TIME IN MUMBAI DOBAARA - too much Sonakshi Sinha among other issues

R...RAJKUMAR - the South Indian style of silly first half and more serious second half is barely tolerable, reversing that style is far less tolerable.

JACKPOT - didn't come anywhere close despite low, DTV expectations

ZANJEER - the less said the better...Priyanka Chopra again too


Some Bengali comments:
MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON - has its issues but I enjoy the genre, do a double feature with the older Patrick Bergen movie of the same name

TASHER DESH - way too artsy-fartsy post-intermission...with bad camerawork...and in need of trimming that section too...but it was otherwise okay with a nice message

PROLOY - a letdown in many ways, while the subject of this biopic is similar to that of SHAHID...the first half is biopic while the second half is fictional commercial fare...so a tale of two halves...still it reached me on an emotional level a little more than the subject of SHAHID.


And a Telugu 2014 entry...YEVADU was actually quite solid for a Telugu movie...too bad Telugu song/dance is so weak compared to other Indian cinema, this type of movie needs to be stronger in that regard, but storywise it was better than the usual Telugu junk
Out of these liked Kai Po Che and absolutely loathed Chennai Express. Re Priyanka, I think when she tries to do mainstream standard bollywood actress roles, she does them really badly. But when she tries different stuff, she is generally pretty good.
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Old 10-06-14, 01:21 PM   #495
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
[...] Just curious, do you have any experience with watching Indian crime films? [...]
If truth be told, I have very little experience fo watching Indian films period!

A colleague was telling me how she tended to watch mostly Bollywood-type films at home and I had the thought that this wouldn't be for me!

Just a few days later I saw your specific reference to crime films and thought that this might be an interesting route to take.

FWIW I did read one or to of H. R. F. Keating's "Inspector Ghote" novels in times past, although I'd imagine that Indian crime films are somewhat removed from that style!

It may be that the colleague can point me in the direction of a good local source of such films but for now I'll take a note of your top tips and any consolidated list that you may care to post...

...Thank you.
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Old 10-06-14, 02:47 PM   #496
flixtime
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Yes, the best way to start is to ask your colleague to direct you towards a local Indian shop where you can sample a few movies through cheap rentals...who knows, perhaps said colleague can even let you borrow directly from her, or perhaps pick up the rentals for you if she doesn't have the titles you are looking for.

I think you should start off with some newer titles...maybe not even the pure crime films you might be more interested in. If you are reasonably familiar with who Dawood Ibrahim is, then D-DAY (2013) would be a good entry point. Otherwise...please, please, please try something like KAHAANI (2012)...if the French had made it, it would be even better known than something like the French TELL NO ONE (2006 (based on Harlan Coben's novel)). KAHAANI is an A-grade suspense/thriller...and a comfortable entry point for those who might be a little unsure if Indian cinema is their thing. If not those two, then maybe do try OMKARA or MAQBOOL...the recent Indian takes on Othello and Macbeth...the Shakespeare meets India nature of the films should make them a comfortable place to start.

Do try the rental/borrowing approach first...and at least for very recent films, welcome to the world of anti-smoking warnings. Basically, recently India mandated that any time their is cigarette smoking in a film that there must be an anti-smoking disclaimer printed on the screen. And too there will be an anti-smoking warning (even on the DVD release) before the start of the film...and sometimes it is quite graphic...and they even sometimes repeat the warning at the mid-film intermission.

Once you maybe get a couple of viewings out of the way...and if you enjoy the experience, then maybe proceed with something a little older like SATYA.
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Old 10-06-14, 06:32 PM   #497
nitin77
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

yeah you cant go wrong with Kahaani, Maqbool, Omkara, Satya or Company.
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Old 10-08-14, 04:18 PM   #498
flixtime
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My recent mention of how I haven't really covered everything I've watched got me to thinking, and while I have mentioned this movie superficially, I don't believe that I ever posted any comments really...and I thought that I should really remedy that...so I gave it a quick run-through to refresh my memory and thus:

Bol (2011 - Pakistan) - a family/social drama that plays like a riveting suspenser...it is enthralling, emotionally engaging, highly entertaining, and in terms of insightful looks at a particular culture this is the equal of any. The opening and closing bookends (and too other brief instances) of this 151-minute film are somewhat heavy-handed, but otherwise it is finely crafted storytelling. Unquestionably, no discussion of the best in "Indian" cinema these past fifteen years is complete without mention of BOL. I don't recall details with regard to Director Shoaib Mansoor's first effort KHUDA KAY LIYE, but I am certain that this second effort is the far superior film. In terms of significant filmmaking, BOL comfortably outshines even recent "Oscar's best" fare such as 12 YEARS A SLAVE, GRAVITY, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, and AMERICAN HUSTLE (and don't even ask me about even more headscratching fare such as Denmark's THE HUNT).
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Old 10-14-14, 03:40 PM   #499
flixtime
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Why not...another entry I missed posting about...

Chillar Party (2011 - Hindi) - Commercial and formulaic for sure, but otherwise this is an excellent children's/family film...and it plays just as well for regular old grown-ups too (certainly far more worthy of anyone's time as compared to something like CHENNAI EXPRESS). CHILLAR PARTY is nicely performed by its young cast, and it smoothly sustains its 135-minute runtime. I found it to be amusing, emotional (I readily admit to sometimes being a total sap when it comes to being moved by something so obviously engineered to do just that), and thoroughly entertaining...the movie features warm characters (and a dog)...and you can't help but root for them. Pair it up with 2011's other children's film STANLEY KA DABBA (covered here some time back) for a nice double-feature.
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