Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Some movies I saw last month

With 3 weeks of raging flu movies and some internet rants kept me going. Here are some movies that I saw

Kanna Laddu Thinga Aasaiya: This movie was funny, very engaging and had interesting characters. I would have given it 2 thumbs up if it did not blatantly copy  Indru poi Naalai vaa. Indru Poi Naalai Vaa is one of my favorite movies. Santhanam's career arc takes me back to a movie in 1990s where Goundamani acted as a hero. Goundan was at his peak before he acted as hero and that movie where he tried this hero business started his downfall. For some reason I feel Santhanam has peaked. This movie puts Santhanam's career at risk. I wouldn't be surprised if its all downhill for him after this point. It just feels like too high too soon for him. Both Vadivelu and Vivek gestated for 10-15 years before they hit their golden era.

Alex Pandian: what a bad movie! Seeing first day of Aayiratthil Oruvan and seeing the charge Karthi managed to create in the theater, I genuinely thought he had a great shot at becoming the next big thing in Tamil cinema. Maybe, almost reach Rajinikanth levels. He had that charisma. I must've been on dope to have made such a poor prediction. Karthi has gone down the path of choosing movies with crappy storylines that comes with 3rd rate sensibilities and it is hard to see where his next good movie is going to come from. If Sirutthai was a turd, Saguni was vomit (it was certainly not satire or even on the same planet as satire, it didn't have a single element that could be called as satire) and now Alex Pandian is diarrhea.  Karthi has wasted his great start by (a) personally not becoming muscular or athletic hero and (b) by choosing repetitive roles and piss poor movies. While I think Karthi firmly believes in not being elitist and wants to do simplistic time-pass movies that C center people will appreciate, I sometimes can't fathom his strategy of choosing movies and where he wants to go. Right now he seems to flushing himself down the toilet. One can also safely say that hhe can be stereotyped as a rowdy C center hero like Thiagarajan of yesteryear or Sundar C of today.

Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom: There is a lot that is awesome about this movie. This is certainly a good movie. The way its taken and the way it has been presented to us. I can sing praises about this movie all day long. But I'll also say this - the director has been lucky with this movie. It remains to be seen if he can deliver another good movie. The reason I say 'lucky' is because the movie relied too much on a 'one trick pony' of a story. Its the same joke played over and over again. There are  no awesome dialogs or variety in situations that brings the house down with laughter. I'd hesitate to categorize this as comedy genre, which was he expectation I went with. The novelty element of the story made this circus trick work. Balaji better have some other trick up his sleeve as well. 

Neerparavai:  Now this is a fantastic movie. I loved every second of it. Manirathnam should join as an assistant director to learn 'authenticity' from the guy who made this movie. I saw this movie the day after I saw Kadal and this movie is an outstanding example of great casting. Kadal on the other hand is an outstanding example of Manirathnam's consistent poor casting choices. Look athe the hero of neerparavai, the hero's father and all the other characters who support these two. They look authentic. they look like people from that society. Take one look at the church father who appears in Neerparavai. Thats believable. Manirathnam's vision of fisherman society is 'Abercrombie and Fitch' Gautham, Arvindh Sami and Arjun. None of them look like they've even seen a fisherman in real life. Thulasi and Lakshmi Manchu seem like models or convent school girls who wandered off the ramp and were accidentally teleported into this fisherman's place by Scotty. Although I am not 100% sure, it seems like the most un-authentic Thoothukudi/Nellai accent of all time & the worst ever dubbing artist (Suhasini) has dubbed for Lakshmi Manchu. The wonderous aspect about Neerparavai is the way it shows a love story, a comeback-in-life story in a kuppam with beautifully etched out characters. It doesn't overtly mention the unjust shooting down of fishermen by Srilankan army. But that notion is hanging there like a elephant in the room. Its all about it but never about it. Its a story about an epic struggle by a man to make a life of his own that is casually swatted down by events we ignore on a daily basis.

Monday, February 04, 2013

When it comes to dealing with Conflict of Interest

"indha avinaasi oru viswaasi"

p.s: I'd like to collect funds for a social psychology research project that surveys why such an abnormally high number of criticized bloggers resort to this (or why they feel compelled to use the word "really arrived"). 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Maniratnam's Kadal : Movie Review

There is an episode in Seinfeld where George says "I don't have anything to say to anyone". I think Manirathnam should take a cue from that. He really doesn't have anything left to say anymore. Kadal is by far the most boring movie I have seen in the recent past. You get the usual things that the 'The Hindu' newspaper people mention in all their reviews - like great cinematography, good technical aspects, good soud engineering, good back-lighting, good light-boy effects, good still photography and that kind of stuff. But in terms of story this movie is the biggest araicha maavu, I have ever seen. I really wanted to see a good movie. I was hoping I'd get to see a good movie after a long time. However, this movie has absolutely nothing going for it. It has no subtlety or any layers (unless you are Baradwaj Rangan and you are making stuff up as you interpret the movie ;-) ).

The problem with the movie is its poor story and poorly paced story telling. A good movie maker is generally expected to say a good story and say it in an interesting way. If you are Manirathnam you probably need to raise the bar by saying new stuff in new ways. This movie is Thalapathy with a few modifications to the Mamooty character. Arjun plays the Mamooty character and plays it as totally evil person with no shades of grey (He reminds us every 20 minutes or so that he is Satan). Arvindh Samy is the Arvind Samy of Thalapathy (his acting hasn't improved an ounce either) and is a Saint (no I am not kidding). Manirathnam even gives them black shirt and white shirt for fanboys to over interpret. Gautham plays the Rajinikanth character with zero ounce of subtlety or acting ability. The group, I went with concluded that after Maniratnam saw Thulasi act, he probably changed the mental condition of the character to match reality. All-in-All Manirathnam has flogged the 'Nallavana Kettavana' theme until the public begs to Yesu for forgiveness.

Lastly, and I cant stop myself from writing this, the tone of the movie makes me super curious. I have not gone to a mainstream movie and seen this much Jesus (or for that matter any other Kadavul) sshown in a movie (While I havent seen them I excluded the Amman, Ayyapa type movies as non-mainstream propoganda movies). I may have short-term memory loss. But Manirathnam - a professed atheist - making an out and out Yesu propaganda movie is very strange. I guess any director can choose the subject he wants. But if you asked me whether I saw this coming - I didn't see Manirathnam resorting to religion to preach morals coming at all. And make no mistake this is a 3 hour preachathon. The pace of the story was incredibly boring and made one want to shout "enakku thandanai kodunga" like Sarkarai Gounder. On top of it there was this religious thing repeatedly shown on your face. Sometimes its nice to show a cultural aspect of a society but over doing it makes it tiresome. The characters kept using a sanskrit word to say 'hi and 'bye'. This is probably a word that the missionaries in fisherman's society have appropriated (I thought Sanskrit word was Sthothram - but they kept saying it differently). Those things could've been a decent 'culture' tour if they didn't over do it. One could probably appreciate the research Manirathnam has made to make this all sound authentic - but for that the movie needed to have something.

Retire already Mani!