Monday, April 2, 2007

Eight movies this weekend

Watched eight movies this weekend.

(1) Turistas

What is it about?

A bunch of American teenagers, backpacking in Brazil, gets stranded. They fall under the trap of a vicious Doctor who kills tourists and then sells off their organs to rich westerners who flock to the country because the wait for transplants is much less there than in USA.

I noticed a "Scarier than Hostel" blurb on the DVD jacket and picked this up for my Friday evening before dinner watch. The movie started fine, but lost the track exactly where the suspense was about to be built up. The doctor was not evil enough, the 'traps' were flimsy, underwater photography was too dark.

When should I see?

Exactly when I watched it. After a long week, on Friday evening when you are too tired to go - have a couple of beer with Wasabi peas, recline and let the torture begin. It will wear you good enough for the dinner. Go for it if you like exploitation movies or just teenage horror / thrillers. I do.

Trivia -
  • Apparently a lot of Brazilians are pissed off thinking this movie may do a lot bad for their tourism. They even have started voting this down in IMDB (got only 2.x, deserves at least 5).
  • First half an hour has pretty good amount of classy nudity. Watch out for ex GUESS jeans model Beau Garrett flaunting her near perfect body in blue Brazilian water.
  • is a fake promotional website. Pretty cool concept though!
(2) Switchback

What is it about?

An above average thriller. A FBI agent's (Dennis Quaid) 2 year old son gets kidnapped by a serial killer. The killer leaves a lot of cryptic clues for Quaid. Quaid sets off in the trail and finally nabs him, but only after some usual plot twists.

This is probably Danny Glover's best work till date. His glances were especially spine chilling. Speeding scene in Colorado Rockies in an old Ford was very tight and probably would be one reason I could possibly see this movie again after a few years. Quaid was very determined and reminded me of his role (later) in Alamo. R Lee Arney (he was Leatherface's adopted dad in the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre) was simply splendid as the Texan Sheriff.

When should I watch?

Don't spend money to rent it right now, especially if you're paying high mortgage. But do watch it if it's ever shown in cable. If nothing there are so many great actors in it and I bet you are a fan of one or more of them!

  • I am a sucker for good old-fashioned train action sequences (like, Sholay) in movies and Switchback has a lot of it! Most of the Colorado scenes were shot in Pinecliffe. Sadly, the same location saw a pretty big train accident in 2004. You could identify some of the places in the pictures from the movie.
  • Western Pacific Railroad trains were used.
(3) Captives

What it is about?

Bad, bad storyline. A PYD (Pretty young dentist, Julia Ormund) does part-time in a Jail where she meets and falls in love with a convict accused of killing his wife (Tim Roth). She gets embroiled in some low-grade conspiracy by IRA. Stupid movie.

When Should I watch it

Don't! Unless 'prison romance' is your cup of tea. Honestly, I watched Julia Ormund's "Barber of Siberia" in a lonely Saturday evening in Edinburgh years back and became a fan. She hasn't done many movies, so when I saw this one in the DVD shop I could not resist.

  • Tim Roth has an unusual gait. I noticed this in "Rob Roy" too. He was really good in that movie. Apparently, it's a physical defect.
(4) Crimson Rivers

What it is about

Watching French action thrillers are like watching a leopard who is also a poet. It has unique European slickness coupled with Hollywood wham-bam moments. Jean Reno plays Commissioner Niemens ("Who do you think you are, living legend?") who tries to solve a series of gruesome murders in the oldest European University. Watch out for some great shots of French Alps.

When should I watch it

Anytime - if you are either a French movie fan OR an avid action movie watcher.

(5) Hart's War

What is it about

A World War II movie. Colonel McNamara (Bruce Willis), imprisoned in a German POW camp with thousands of American soldiers, leads charge to free his soldiers. Hart (Colin Farrell), a senator's son, tries to redeem himself after he sold information cheaply to German when caught.

There is a wonderful cinematic parallel between the racism in Nazi Germany and racism in US armed forces. Tremendous race politics between White and Black American soldiers during
the war has been extremely well documented while documenting a different track.

When should I watch it

Chances are you are already tired of Bruce Willis playing yet another "cop" type role. It's easy to be tired of him - he is not exactly a 'method actor' You watch five minutes of "Die Hard" followed by five minutes of "Lucky Number Slevin" and I bet you won't be able to differentiate.

But if you are not, by all means watch this. The portrayal of racial politics itself is a very good cause.

(6) Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd

What it is about

A nice romantic comedy by a young first-time female director. Six couples on their honeymoon trip start off for Goa in a bus. A couple of marriages turn sour within just a couple of days. Other marriages survive their own share of ups and downs, doubts and peaks, fun and gloom. Some compromise or change to stick to the relationship. Some don't. Some reveal deep and hidden secrets, others just hide it and go along with it. In the end, most inhibitions break and they start back for the 'middle order' batting.

Most of the actors are really fluid here, but I do want to give an honorable mention to Kay Kay Menon. He has already amazed me by his performance in "Black Friday", but I was waiting to see a comic role from him. After early movies of Amitabh Bachchan (Adalat, Mr Natwarlal) - I have not seen such good comic timing from anyone in Bollywood.

Menon played a somewhat withdrawn and conservative Bengali husband. His couple of scenes in the bus to pacify the crestfallen Gujju husband had me in splits for several minutes.

When should I watch it

If you have not already taken your spouse to the local Multiplex, rent this DVD to watch it after a hard day - either at work, or at home.

If you don't bother about the marital chemistry (or physics) -- Vishal-Sekhar's Sajnaji Vaari Vaari will surely amaze you.

  • If Dil Chahta Hai was college goer's Goa, Honeymoon is Goa for married folks. Honeymoon's director Reema Kagti was also an asst director in Dil Chahta Hai.
  • Apparently, the director wanted a 'doormat' theme in the lyrics of "Sajnaji Bhari Bhari" (watch the DVD extra for this 'revealtion').
  • Shabana Azmi's first on-screen kiss. Remember the peck she gave to Nelson Mandela and the controversy it created in early 90s?
  • Kay Kay has done MBA from Pune University (OK, who's the other famous MBA actor in Bollywood?). People could have missed his tiny bit of role in "Naseem", but that's where he debuted.
(7) Red: The Dark Side

What it is about

Yawn, yawn! Some "21 grams" (heart transplanted patient looking for the donor); quote like "
I am ready to die in love. I am ready to kill in love, but I am not ready to be a fool in love";
Himesh; some (actually, a lot) Celina cleavage; Vikram Bhatt -- you get the idea?

Celina plays a widow with negative shades. OK, I just spoilt the suspense for you and saved you Rs 100. I know actors often say things like "the character I played is actually me" -- but I never expected Amrish Puri to say similar thing about his Mogambo role! Celina, however, did exactly say that about her character here -- "The character I play is MOST me". Can you be dumber than that? Apparently, Celina can!

She also thinks widows dress like this. She thinks "Red is the turning point in her career". Really? If that was a turning point, I would very like to see how a STOP sign would look in there!

If I were Celina's manager, I would advise her to apply here for a job after such a big turning point!

When should I watch it

You already heard / seen the "Afreeeeeeen Tera Chehra"? That's good enough. Just go and watch some more Celina interviews in every channel that's interested in her. Those will be more interesting, seriously, than the movie.

  • Apparently, "after a few unsatisfactory takes" for the scene where Aftab kisses Celina -- she was "injured" in her lips. Who determines these things? I mean whether the shot was OK or NG? I hope it's not the hero (folks like Aftab, Imraan Haasmi). I would be very mad as a producer if that were the case!
  • Celina has two puppies named "Budweiser" and "Heineken". I wonder if they always keep peeing! Bipasha's dog, BTW, is called "Posto".

(8) Shooter

What it is about

Mark Wahlberg as a can-do-all ex-marksman whom every single federal agency is looking for a charge to try to kill president. He, of course, finishes his job by killing everyone who wrongly involved him. He gets a totally hot southern chick - who looks and more, speaks like Jessica Simpson - after everything is over.

When should I watch it

Like me if you suddenly get a Monday off because you "worked too hard for last couple of months" (seriously! My boss on Friday asked me to take the day off on Monday) and you have not much to do in the nice spring afternoon go and buy a ticket.

  • Wahlberg is on a high after 2005 "Four Brothers" and last year's "Departed". Surprisingly, he is pro gun-control!
  • He spent quite sometime behind bars when he was very young.s in my career