Sunday, March 27, 2011

Halla Bol

I'm reposting this from another blog of mine that I've deleted. So it is old from 2008

2008 starts of with 2 flops, Anthony Gonsalves & Halla Bol. Halla Bol is a Ajay Devgan starrer and directed by RajKumar Santoshi - a winning combination disappoints at the box office.

The Promos of this movie hinted "weak" all the way somewhat looking like a Yuva kinda script. Very rarely does a Ajay Devgan starer fail at the box office immediately specially when the role is author backed to suit his angry intensity in the skin of the character.

The movie starts of with the hypocrisy and deceit in the Film industry almost rubbing shoulders with Madhur Bhandakar's "Page 3"

Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan it seems are also upset with indirect criticisms of their personal lives.

Three real life issues are tackled here:
- The Jessica Lal murder case: How the rich get away with murder with power and money
- Aamir Khan's Narmada Bachao Andolan- How political parties use their force to any person they target.
- Sarfdar Hashimi who was killed by goons performing Halla Bol in 1989

Halla Bol is the story of a man fight with his conscience and sacrifice for the truth at a very heavy price.

The Director- Raj Kumar Santoshi
RKS is a brilliant writer and director whose had hitting scripts and fast pace movies are always successful. Halla Bol is well conceived and well packaged to those who want to watch this type of cinema of the weak common man standing up to fight the system, goons and powerful politicians, the problem is it caters to a small number of viewers.

Why the flop?
Take a look at the script less Om Shanti Om, which is a super duper hit. The audience wants large sets, dream locations, fantasy lives and music to dance too.
Halla Bol is reality that people live everyday and in real life can never encounter goons or powerful politicians- so why watch it? That being the formula to the flop.

The Actor -Ajay Devgan
is a small time street play performer who makes it big in Bollywood changing his name from Ashfaq to Sameer Khan. His star life includes casting couches, false promises and betrayal to his family, it shows how fame can change a person.
Sameer Khan witnesses a murder at a party by some powerful people and like all the party attendees he too denys seeing anything- Jessica Lal murder case?

Soon he is pressured and threatened by politicians to withdraw from any involvement in the case. His effigies are burnt, Cinemas running his movies are attacked- Aamir Khan NBA Case?

The problem why the movie failed: We expected this acting from Ajay, it was nothing new.

The Actress- Vidya Balan
is Ajay's wife, she has practically no role. She has been given one important scene where she lashes out at the reporters.

The Powerful role: Pankaj Kapur
Pankaj plays a reformed Dacoit, his character is a Sikh named Sidhu who is fearless.
RSK has packed all the dynamite into Sidhu's role, Pankaj Kapur after Dus as Jamwaal is flawless and proves his mettle here and he has the hard hitting dialogues too.
Pankaj's acting is so intense it leaves Ajay Devgan weak in many parts.
Pankaj should probably get a supporting role award for this strong performance.

The music- Sukhwinder Singh
Nothing really worth mentioning except two slow devotional songs- Shabad Gurbani & More Haji Piya.

On the whole I enjoyed it, I'm a fan of Ajay's intensity and RSK's work. Too bad it failed at the Box office.

Verdict: 7/10

Tirza- Dutch excellence

Tirza tells the story of Jörgen Hofmeester, a middle-aged man who is desperately looking for his missing daughter Tirza who has gone to Namibia with her Morrocan boyfriend and since then not contacted of her whereabouts or her present condition.

Hofmeester's elder daughter hates him and his divorced wife curses and insults him at every given moment. His prized daughter Tirza is his 'sun queen' as he amicably likes to call her, the apple of his eye who he raised by himself after his wife abandons the family. The elder daughter has moved away with her boyfriend and his wife now decides to come back into their lives.

Hofmeester disapproves of Tirza's new boyfriend of Arabic origin (Morrocon) named Choukri who Hofmeester names Mohammed Atta; after one of the 9/11 bombers.

Hofmeester decides to go to Namibia and find Tirza himself after calling her endlessly for many days to hear her voice-mail only, he also receives no email.

He meets a 9-year-old child prostitute named Kaiza who follows him everywhere and accompanies him around the city in search for Tirza. Kaiza represents the ugliness of our planet and the poor conditions of the third world countries where children run after foreigners or tourists asking them "Sir, you want company?"

The good:
Surely one of the best dramas to come from the Dutch cinema, I thought though that suspense or even perhaps thriller (to a small extent) and even crime must be added to the genre too as it is one of those movies that keeps you on interested and you cling onto you seat to know what's going to happen next. Although a drama; the director ensures a medium paced movement of one scene to another which does not bore at any point.

The editing of this drama somehow added a touch of thriller to it in some parts, the clever use of flashbacks and well-integrated ghost-like appearances by a younger Tirza further flesh out the backstory before the script to its main location that is Namibia.

Actors in this small country come from strong theater academies, and Tirza is a strong and powerful drama that almost missed it's foreign Oscar despite it's heavy acting and cinematography.
The cinematography by Gabor Szabo is magnificent to the core, the Namibian desert is a glorious beauty.

Tirza on the whole is is brilliantly constructed, unpredictable and unsettling.

The Director
Director Rudolf van den Berg's ambitious work has a natural flow to the book that it is adapted from; Arnon Grunberg's novel of the same title.
The movie is highly literary and philosophical in non-aesthetic and non-sentimental ways. Rudolf van den Berg delivers surrealism realistic in every moment of his main character's portrayal.

The Actor
Hofmeester is middle-aged, retired, sexually frustrated, divorced, left alone with bitter memories of his elder daughter and taunting ex-wife. He is empty inside and has nothing in his life except the love for his daughter Tirza, Aschat he director conveys every emotion, his deteriorating sanity in a credible way.

The depressed tale also has graphic depiction of sex exploring
human psyche with a unexpected ending.

Verdict: 7/10


Gijs Scholten van Aschat - Jörgen
Sylvia Hoeks - Tirza
Johanna ter Steege - Alma
Abbey Hoes - Ibi
Titia Hoogendoorn - Ester
Nasrdin Dchar - Choukri
Keitumetse Matlabo - Kaisa

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Shoot Shoot & Shoot

Movie: Shoot em up
Year : 2007
Genre: Action
Starring: Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci & Paul Giamatti
Written by: Micheal Davis
Directed by: Micheal Davis
Plot: Not revealed, not discussed.

Mix Heavy Metal soundtracks with a hard core action shoot out- no counting bullets and you end up with "Shoot em up".
To me this looked like an RPG game where you keep firing away and there is no account of how many people you kill. (Though there is a
game of the same name too, no connections to the movie though)
I wonder how many blanks (bullets) and stuntmen were required for this movie.

The Director
Nothing credible to mention, this is probably his biggest movie to date, and as his first action movie he does a reasonably good job with the action yet a weak script.

The Actor
I don't seem to remember any great movies of Clive Owen's that I've liked as the main guy except perhaps Inside Man. His last Children of God was outright boring and substance less though I'm surprised it was nominated for the Oscars in some categories.
Clive plays Mr. Smith. He has no expression in this movie, he's portrayed as a tough hero who obviously has no job, no family and lives in a deserted factory of some sort- plus he's constantly munching on carrots.
In one scene he actually sneaks up on Paul (the bad guy) and says "Wat's up doc?"
I would say he plays his role well as given to him, but his character lacks "Beef".

The "Baddie"
The Beef is in
Paul Giamatti's role, he is purely entertaining and bundled with entertaining liners. My favourite line from this movie is:
"You know what's the difference between a woman and a gun?
You can put a silencer on a gun"
This line resulting from his wife calling him constantly to remind him to be home on time for his son's birthday.
Paul proved his acting skills in
Lady in the water, though the movie was a dud (it definitely deserved the Razzies) He's one of those actors who have a second role in every second movie but you never bother to even remember this actors name, even me I looked it up for this blog.
I think this is where Paul might get roles with more meat, just as Philip Seymour Hoffman was a second role actor too, but as the bad guy in
Mission Impossible 3 he rocked !
Paul's character is well thought and implemented. His dialogues are funny, bitchy and off the edge. His actions, gestures and cool personality make up for the comedy in the movie.

The Actress
Monica is superbly sexy in the movie, playing the role of a lactating hooker (I didn't even know people had such gross desires), she sounds even sexier cursing away in Italian all the time. She doesn't have much of a role, Clive is everything in this movie.
Clive and Monica have a love making scene, and in the midst of that too there is shooting- he moves around the room as she clings onto him and he shoots and shoots and shoots

The Action
Clive kills hundreds of baddies in just one of many such scenes and the rescued baby is constantly clinging to him in one arm, he flies, jumps fires, rolls over with the baby in one arm.
Micheal Davis keeps you glued to your seat though with high pitched super fast action his pace between scenes is fantastic. If you wanna watch an action movie without judging and criticising the unbelievable body count and the fact that with so much shooting going on around the city in 48 hours, there are no cops !
You want action- this is it, the action scenes though are off the edge stuff, this is just a Lone ranger cum Arnold Schwarzenegger's commando in the modern day.
He just shoots and shoots and shoots.... how appropriately titled.
At one point the baddie Paul Giamatti even calls Smith (Clive) the Energizer bunny coz he keeps going and going....

The Action director's probably put all he had in this one movie, the action in this movie is on Steroids !

I, for one; enjoyed such action (leaving my logic aside) after a long time, the last I think was Running scared. I like action movies to be really fast paced. Though Die Hard 4 does come into account too, but it too was a little far fetched on the action and overdone CGI. But then shouldn't movies be larger than life?
Davis tries his best to imitate John Woo's classic
Hardboiled in which Chow Yun-Fat rescues a baby in the midst of a gunfight, but he somehow overdosed the action. I wonder what John Woo say to the scene and John Woo's action.

What I couldn't digest:
Clive's unaccounted bullets firing and dodging and body count.
Clive's Carrots that penetrate a person's mouth to back of head.
Clive's carrot that shoot.
The jump off the plane and the shooting. Paul comes straight to Monica's brothel and Clive's residence.

The verdict
If you could see Die Hard 4 and accept John Maclain killing endlessly then you can enjoy this action movie too.
Surprisingly there are no car chase scenes, which usually come with the 'package'

Special Mention:
Interesting lock on Clive's residence, he uses a rat as a key to open his door, watch it to understand.

Action: 8/10
Plot: 4/10
Overall: 7/10