Magnum Opus by Sujoy

Copyright 2007 | No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission. Mail me at :sujoy.singha[at]gmail[dot]com

Index of Movies

I have been reviewing movies for quite some time now. Here I have the index of all those which I have reviewed on this website.

Magnum Opus Index of Movie Reviews.

As you all know, I have moved to my new website

It also has movie reviews, and the Index page is given below.

OneKnightStands Movie Review Index.

Hope you enjoy reading them.


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Too Much 4.0

Geeks Free for Dry Fart
That is what I would like to call it.Doesn't make sense, but it rhymes!Anyway, going back to the movie,the good thing is it is worth all of the 60 bucks I spent on it on a Saturday morning. But was it worth of me waking up on a Saturday morning , hungry and sleepy, rushing to the multiplex,braving the rain of Pune, which left me drenched .Well to some extent yes,coz it was money's worth. Now that I have started sounding like a baniya, lets just tell you, that this is a movie solely for those who swear by the Masala Hollywood Potboilers, and for those who go to the theatres to watch a piece of magnificent moviemaking, I'd rather recommend them to stay indoors, get hold of a Spielberg DVD instead, and just get cozy with their remote. For others like me, its nostalgia revived and its time to say hello to 'Detective' John McClane(Bruce Willis, did I actually need to mention it),well for the 4th time.

The plot: based upon an article from Wired entitled "A Farewell to Arms"by John Carlin,is as simple as one could be.It's actually about confusing the entire audience about how technology can take a toll of the entire functioning system of a country and how crooked minds ( moles in FBI and hired Russian chamche) can use it to blow up their bank balances.Hmm, sounds quite original.Lost in this digital chaos,is our very analog ,good old McClane who is trying to make sense of it all,with the help of a Hacker,Matt Farell(Justin Long) and fatty accomplice Warlock(Kevin Smith) to save America from the wrath of ex-Fed Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant, last seen in Girl next Door, remember the guy who planned about the shooting of prom video Version ahem.ahem!!!).

Anyway,assisting Gabriel is hot chi(n)ckie Mai Lihn (Maggie Q) who kicks some serious McClane Ass ,kung fu style, while deploying some serious code simultaneously.I never knew geeks( Geeks here do not necessarily mean people who are "Geeks",you know, more like a Techie)could be hot as well.Well, none that I know of. At the end of it, McClane manages to save the day, and after a whooping 2hrs and 40 mins roller coaster ride,McClane survives with a few scratches and a shoulder shot and also manages to find a Techie(won't use Geek this time)future son-in-law .See, who said only Karan Johar said "It's all about loving your family".

The problem: I personally enjoyed every bit of every green dollar spent on this movie. Because it all showed on the screen.Cars banging each other, Old-school, bare-knuckle, wham-Bam sequences, Fighter Planes exploding , our Hero and his sidekick being hunted down in Dark Tunnels, Cars being thrown on them,SUVs on a Lift, Concrete Bridges breaking, Cars bringing down Choppers, and of course John McClane bringing down armies of assasins with just a handgun.

But after a while, it stats getting on you. Simply put, you start drawing parallels between McClane and our very own Mithun Da or Rajnikanth Anna (no offense). It is too much action happening around you, and McClane still manages to survive through each and every obstacle as if hopping through turtles in Super Mario.
And well, not to mention ,the many cliches attached to this genre.The geeks know it all,the villains are supergeniuses and also have been trained in combat fighting, Russians are always bad hackers, carrying MP5s ,no matter what, there is always a good hacker who can encrypt everything up and show an "up-yours" in a decrypted way,Hackers always type on the keyboard very fast and never use their mouse,the FBI is dumb and arrives late, Operating Systems of the Computers have lovely User Friendly interfaces to make even Macs burn with envy et al. But well, perhaps , I am too much complaining.

John McClane is supposed to be like this,and so is Die Hard. The amount of hair on Willis' scalp has seen a downward trend , but the action, the charisma and the power of John McClane has been sailing the skies. The chemistry between the Brute and the Brains in the movie clicked, and well , I do miss the Rupa Banyan Look of John McClane, but I am happy about one thing and that is, the Geeks/Techies have still a way with the ladies... :P
My Rating: 3 on 5

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Surf's Up!

Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer. I don't know who made this movie, except for the fact that Stan Lee has been having cameos in almost all the Superhero Movies lately. Just as I had started getting cozy in my seat , I could see the fast turning of pages of Marvel Comics, and of course the Trademark 20th Century Fox Studios Opening. Okay, I don't need to go that level of detail. The point is, with movies like Fantastic Four, or X-Men or Spiderman, we do not expect Award-winning performances. All we expect is money-worth entertainment and trust me, I got more than just that.

Silver Surfer delivers every bit of it and much more. The plot ain't very complex and any child would be able to predict what would happen next. Something that looks like a meteor is flying all over the world, confounding weather patterns. In Japan, the sea turns to ice, and snow falls over the pyramids in Egypt. Electricity goes out all over Los Angeles, and everywhere this energy ball goes, it creates craters. It's strange enough that people start thinking this might be the end of the world. Come to think of it, that's not a bad guess.Meanwhile, everything is cozy with the Fantastic Four. Mr.Fantastic is about to get married to Elasti-girl(is it?). The Thing is happily engaged to his blind love and the Torch is enjoying the life of a New York bachelor.They are urban dwellers, like all superheroes, and so when Reed and Sue opt for an outdoor wedding, they hold it on a rooftop. Or maybe they do this out of plot convenience.

Before the rings are exchanged, the meteor flies by -- only, on closer look, it's not a meteor. It's a silver man on a silver surfboard, who looks like an Oscar statuette in motion. He has access to a seemingly unstoppable supply of energy, and he's sowing destruction everywhere.The actions involved are definitely noteworthy and enjoyable, and well the transformation is spellbounding and very easy on the eyes. What can I say, the illusion is done!

Von Doom shows up, like someone too mean to die, oozing menace and that very word called "kamina-pan"(English is too fancy a language to have a synonym to it).There are oblique attempts at making the film topical: For example, the Army brings in a torturer to interrogate an alien, because the alien has no "human" rights. Anyway, where was I? Yeah, I was here to praise the movie, so here I go. Its all about popcorn and edge of the seat action sequences. The ones which should be mentioned:battle between the Torch and the Silver Surfer,battle in London, which endangers the Millennium Wheel, to the outer-space scenes,and the ultimate climax in which a creeping darkness threatens to cover the earth.

At 92 mins, its much crispier than the previous average attempt on the Marvel franchise, and of course to a huge extent a better one.Well, to say more, Jessica Alba has definitely stopped doing that thing she did throughout the previous "Fantastic Four" movie. You know, that thing in which she'd speak a line and then look around nervously to see if she'd fooled anybody? Alba doesn't do that anymore. She's just fine now -- and so is the new "Fantastic Four" movie.To say that "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" is better than the original isn't enough.

Of course :FF3 would be there. Von Doom isn't gone yet. My rating: * * * / 5

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Sugar Free

Adman R.Balki's directorial debut "Cheeni Kum" is ,as the name suggests, less on sugar-coated entertainment and high on satire, unlike mainstream Bollywood cinema, and for a change, treats the audience maturely, which is a welcome change , by not spoon feeding every detail about the characters, their relations, and their emotions . Cheeni Kum tells us a story about Budhha( Amitabh Bachhan) , a perfectionist chef of Spice 6, an authentic Indian restaurant in London. Budhha takes pride in his eye for details, and in his work, and also claims his restaurant to be the best and the most authentic Indian restaurant, unlike other fake ones, which serve Indian food, directly copied from Indian recipe books.

Budhha lives with his old mother(Zohra Sehgal), has a deep affection for his 8 year old neighbour whom he calls Sexy, and his life sums up between his restaurant and his home. The main plot starts when Budhha is challenged by a customer, who sends back Hyderabadi Zaffrani Pulao back to the kitchen, complaining it to be "sweeter" than it should be. Buddha offended by the act, goes up to the table , and says that his recipe is authentic , and rudely tells the customer to ask their parents back home in India about the recipe of Zaffrani Pulao. The customer here, is Neena(Tabu), who is very much offended, and to prove her point, sends back a plate of Zaffrani Pulao, the next day. Buddha discovers that the fault was of his chef, and to apologise to his customer, asks her out for dinner.

But Buddha is so much surrounded by his own ego and self-righteousness, that he fails to say " I am sorry". What begins as a bittersweet acquaintance between Buddhadev and Neena soon transforms into mutual attraction and love blooms . Meanwhile, Budhha's mom keeps nagging to him about joining the gym. The irony in 'Cheeni Kum' is that the romance and the love angle between the main characters is often met with the contrasting story line of the tragic leukemia patient Sexy who keeps asking Budhha to bring A-rated DVDs. Budhha and and Neena finally decide to get married , but circumstances forces Neena to get back to India.

This leaves Budhha with no choice , but to ask Neena's father's (Paresh Rawal) permission for them to get married. The catch here is, Neena's diabetic father is 6 years younger to Budhha, and the eternal struggle between the two and how they come to terms, is what forms the second half of the movie.

R.Balki's treatment with the entire narration of the plot is absolutely fresh, almost something unseen in Hindi cinema. The satire, specially with the Sardar chemist, " Chacha ko Chatree Chahiye" was well thought of which left the entire audience roaring with laughter. Of course, not to forget, the dentally challenged waiter with his wonderful rendition of " Hyderabadi Zaffrani Pulao", and also his categorisation of chatree as" dotted,ribbed, strawberry, al". The movie is filled with likeable moments like the ones when Tabu discovers that Budhha is a vegetarian and calls him "Ghaas Poos", and in return Budhha calls her "Tangdee Kabab". But well, some scenes could have been done away with , like the Tree Chase scene, and well, the subsequent scenes that followed, where Bachhan tries to pursue Tabu to "do it". I mean, c'mon, who are we kidding? Mr.Bachhan , you are a wonderful actor, but you are no Kevin Spacey, or Al Pacino. Please act your age, and remain a respectable role , and please do not show us shades of Sexy Sam. It almost disgusts me sometimes. Paresh Rawal as the Gandhian diabetic is just ok. We have seen much better performances from him, so this is just passable. Tabu as Neena is nothing brilliant nor ordinary. The role seemed to easy for her in fact. The only character that made a deep impact on me , was Zohra Sehgal's .

It was such a wonderful protrayal, especially in the scene when Neena reveals that she wants to get married to Budhha. The smile on her face, and the way she says," Do din Gym gaya to usse tu mila hai."( He just went to the gym for two days, and he got you. )And of course the scene at Qutub Minar, when she starts singing a Bhangra number filled with claps and merry making. Simply brilliant. Swini Khara, however as Sexy comes across to me as the extra smart, Sayanee Ladkee who has riped before age. I just do not like such kids, who know their meta physics before revising their rhymes. Illayaraja's comeback score of the movie is very easy on ears, but that is it. The title track "Cheeni Kum hai..Cheeni Kum hai.." keeps lingering every now and then, and you start thinking, whether your ears are echoing or is it that the filmmakers did actually put it in the soundtrack.

All in all, R.Balki's "Cheeni Kum" is praise-worthy for its overall entertainment value, its wonderful writing, and its narration. I will wind up with 3 out of 5.Check it out at a theatre near you. If not, wait for the DVD to be out soon.

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