Thaana Serndha Kootam Review – Thaana Serndha Kootam is a Tamil heist movie released in 2018. Iniyan aspires to become a CBI officer. When he is denied the opportunity due to a corrupt CBI officer, he becomes a con man to teach to teach a lesson to the CBI officer.
The movie is based on true incidents that happened in 1987. It is adapted from the Hindi blockbuster Special 26. Director Vignesh Shivan after his much successful outing with Naanum Rowdydhaan chooses a plot that can guarantee success. However, he is seen too uncomfortable to step out of his comfort zone which spoils the engagement factor that is required for a heist script. His choice of cast is quite interesting one including Suresh Menon coming back to the screen after a long break, Karthik, Ramyakrishnan, and Senthil. The movie has the right set of cast, technicians, music composer needed make it an interesting and engaging tale.
Although Vignesh Shivan has teased the audience with the usual cliches that they would normally see in a movie and changes course, he has still recreated the same cliches at the later point in time. The romance portion between Suriya and Keerthy is an interesting one in isolation but it doesn’t fit well into this tale. He has also mixed comedy into the movie akin to his previous outing. Only few comedy scenes make you laugh. The biggest minus for the film is the lengthy and boring climax.
Why do Tamil directors have the pressure of justifying everything a hero does and create the character of the ones who would oppose the hero as a tainted one?
High Points: Ensemble of cast, background score, romance portion between Suriya and Keerthy Suresh
Low Points: Cliched sequences, a comedy that doesn’t work always, climax.
Overall Thaana Serndha Kootam aspires to be an improved version of Special 26 but just ends up to be a mashup of Naanum Rowdydhaan and VIP. You can watch this when played on TV/DVD.
Wait for TV/DVD
The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review – The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an English action comedy movie released in 2017. A professional bodyguard Michael Bryce is assigned to escort a notorious hitman Kincaid as he is the only physical evidence who can testify against the dictator of Belarus.
Action Comedy movies are bit tricky as you may either like it or not like it. Everything depends if the comedy suits your taste or not. The movie definitely has some very good action sequences and thrilling moments. However, the comedy involved may not please everyone. Ryan Renolds and Samuel Jackson use their star power to advance the movie. The action sequence involving the chase sequence in the climax has been shot very well. The contrast in the characters of the two lead men has been written very well where Michael believes boring is good which means everything should be uneventful while Kincaid lives dangerously.
There is never a dull moment in the movie and always there is something or the other happening that keeps you engaged. Given the plethora of superhero movies coming out this one doesn’t have the necessary gas to blow you off your mind.
High Points: The plot of the movie is a very interesting one, the lead character’s star value, the character sketch of Michael and Kincaid, the climax chase sequence.
Low Points: The comedy sequences may not have worked for all. The love angle of Michael seemed very cliched.
Overall if you love to watch mindless action movie then this one is for you. If the comedy in the movie connects with you then you would enjoy this more.
Wait for DVD/TV
Lipstick Under My Burkha Review – Lipstick Under My Burkha is a Hindi Black Comedy released in 2016. The movie revolves around 4 women of various age group living in Bhopal. Each one of them has a dream that appears “Rosy” to them.
First and foremost this is a very bold movie and many of you may not like what you see on the screen. Although deep inside it reflects some of the true facts in an overly dramatic fashion that needs to be done to drive the point home. The movie captures the conservative background the four women live in and how contrasting wild their dreams are. A college-going girl Rehana wants to free herself from her Burkha. She idolizes Miley Cyrus and loves Led Zeppelin. Leela, about to get married wants to become an entrepreneur and start a honeymoon package for couples. Shireen, a mother of three kids living with an insensitive husband is a successful sales women and wants to grow in her career and a 55-year-old lady Usha who had lost her husband very young finds solace in fulfilling her desires by reading a soft porn magazine.
The events build up and the transition between the lives of the lead characters are filled in with the description from the book Usha is reading. Rosy is the lead lady in the book and it talks about her dreams. Rosy is a metaphor for the dreams these women wish for. The rosy picture in the dream is not so rosy in reality. There are very brilliant moments in the screenplay subtle yet powerful that exposes the stereotypical nature of the society. The scene where Usha introduces herself as Buvaji and then realizes she has a name. Another scene where Rehana steals items from the shop to look fashionable.
The problem with the plot is not everyone would be able to relate to every woman. But definitely, they would be able to relate to one aspect of it.
High Points: The plot and the premise is an interesting one, the narration style of using text from the book for the transition has worked well, The lead characters have performed well, in particular, Rathna Pathak’s performance.
Low Points: The story touches some sensitive subjects which many might find hard to digest, Due to the content this is an Adult movie.
Overall Lipstick Under a Burka is a bold movie that paints the picture of various stereotypes women are subjected to. Not all that one dream is as “Rosy” as the reality is.
Worth a Watch
Very Big Shot Review – Very Big Shot is a Lebanese comedy film released in 2015. Three brothers who are into drug dealing business take up one last job before they set out to go clean and straight to open a restaurant business.
I had watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2016. How I wished Tamil movie Jigarthanda’s second half was something like this. Anyways that is my personal views which many may differ to agree. Without getting into that argument let me talk about Very Big Shot. The movie is a gangster drug lord flick at the outset. However, there is a very sensible humor throughout the script right from the first shot. Once the gangsters figure out that film roles are spared from being screened at the airport, they decide to become a producer of a film. The movie gets very interesting from there on and it is a ride filled with loads of laughter.
The screenplay has been done very nicely to ensure there is a logical flow to the whole story. The characters have been created and established the way they fit into the situations well. There is no point it looks force fitted. Usually, comedy movies suffer from the phenomenon of force fitting humor into the script.
High Points: The scene where Ziad (eldest of the brothers) decide to make a movie to smuggle the drugs, the filmmaking scene where the Bhurka clad lady is stopped and the onlookers jump in to create a commotion without realising it is a shooting.
Low Points: As the humor is built around the movie making process, this humor may not work for all.
Overall, Very Big Shot is a wholesome entertainer that would make you laugh and keep you engaged throughout the movie. If you get a chance to watch this one do give it a try.
One Man and His Cow Review – One Man and His Cow is a French comedy movie released in 2016. Fatah a peasant from Algeria travels on foot with his Cow Jacqueline to compete in Paris International Agriculture Show.
Yet another gem I had seen during the Bangalore International Film Festival. The movie is a joint collaboration between France and Algeria. This easily is one of the sweetest feel good movie I had watched recently. The best part of the movie is its simplicity. They have used the resources available to them very economically to convey a heart warming story. Fatah and his cow steal the viewer’s heart right from the first scene where he gives a motivational speech to his Cow on how she would win in the competition. The characters in the village are also naive and very realistic.
There is also some excellent screenplay construction of tracking his journey through lessons in a classroom where its everyday task of the students is to point the place in the map where Fatah and his cow are currently. Usually, filmmakers cover it with a cliched map and a red line going through it. But hearing it through the class makes it very interesting. The class stops tracking him after crosses the border which I believe is a sarcastic indication of how the developed nations are so clueless about the life outside. The introduction of Lambert Wilson’s role as Philippe adds a very interesting dimension to the tale. The interactions between Phillippe and Fatah draw the contrast between the two worlds they belong to.
High Points: The overall feel good factor, The peach drink scene, the scene in which Fatah tries to write a letter to his wife, the climax scene.
Low Points: There is not really a low point in the movie as it is sincere to its screenplay.
Overall One Man and His Cow will make you laugh, touch the soft corners of your heart and bring a big smile on your face.
A Man Called Ove – A Man Called Ove is a Swedish comedy-drama released in 2015. This is based on the book by Fredrik Backman. 59-year-old Ove decides to end his life and join his late wife in the other world. But ending his life doesn’t seem so easy.
This is yet another gem of a movie which I was able to see at Bangalore International Film Festival 2017. The movie is nominated for the Academy awards 2016 under the foreign language films and best hair makeup and styling category. I haven’t read the book yet. The movie was as enjoyable like reading a book. The simplicity of the tale and the reaction of the characters to the day to day problem is a great strength to the movie. There are no larger than life incidents or characters.
Rolf Lassgård’s performance as Ove is the best part of the movie. The other characters in the movies are also sketched beautifully. Director Hannes Holm has maintained the naivety of the tale in the movie as well. This makes it a very pleasant watch. The movie has good humor that arises out of the characters, situation and the interaction between them. The portions where Ove’s obsession for Volvo cars is involved were hilarious.
High Points: Simple story line, the innocence of the tale is a strong point, Performance of Rolf Lassgård is a big strength for the movie, The romance sequence between husband and wife is picturized well. The humor in the screenplay works very well to keep the audience engaged throughout.
Low Points: For the love of Ove you would tend to ignore any low points.
Overall the movie appears to be a sincere attempt in getting the book to real life. Combined with great visuals and stunning performances the movie is a pleasant watch.
Kills on Wheels Review – Kills on Wheels (Tiszta szívvel) is a Hungarian comedy film released in 2016. Two disabled teenagers find a reason to live when they get associated with a wheel-chaired hitman.
This is yet another movie I had an opportunity to watch in Bangalore International Film Festival. This is the first Hungarian movie I am watching. Right from the main title card, the movie kept me engaged. The plot line looks very simple and naive but a number of layers added to the screenplay and the characters have been phenomenal. There was always something waiting to surprise you. The hitman assignments have been shot very well and many of them have been gripping. In particular their final assignment. When you are already blown away by the story you had witnessed so far, the director surprises you with yet another beautiful twist in the movie to leave you elated as you leave the hall.
If you are film student then this is a movie you should watch for many aspects, the layers you add to a screenplay in terms of characters and situations, the background score, mise en scene to name a few. I can’t write too much about the plot and their twists as it would spoil the movie for you. This one happens to be the official nomination from Hungary for the Academy awards but unfortunately did not get nominated.
High Points: The characterization of the lead characters. In particular the boy with autism and the hitman. The final assignment of the hitman set out to kill Toni. The twist in the climax sequence. The title soundtrack.
Low Points: I did not find any low points for this one. If any had been well covered by a great execution.
Overall, the movie works well in entertaining the audience and leave the elated. Don’t miss this one.