Movie Review: Arjun Reddy

After a long time, 10 years to be precise, I watched a Telugu movie- Arjun Reddy and enjoyed it quite a bit. As a person who doesn’t have too much fluency in the language, scratch that…I can make do if I have to, else I nod my head along to pretty much everything; I didn’t feel like the movie was beyond my reach at all. The only reason that I even ended up watching this movie is because the Lord&Master suddenly announced his wish to watch it and wanted me to come along. That alone was enough to pique my curiosity.

It’s very visceral and quite emphatic; possibly due to being an out-and-out drama and here’s my 2 cents worth:

  • Vijay Deverakonda– total hottie and does justice to the persona of a hot head who always wears his heart on his sleeve and is unapologetic for his emotions, especially when they run wild!
  • Everyone looks so bloody normal, it’s such a refreshing change! The hero doesn’t sport a V or an 8-pack, the lead actress isn’t so-called glam-down…she looks like a normal girl in college. There are no superbikes, no signs of being impossibly wealthy or anything that’s remotely unbelievable. Just normal, whimsical, idiosyncratic and occasionally damaged people.
  • The angst of love- it bites, it rips you apart and it makes you behave with just a touch of madness but the audience laps it up because at some point we’ve all felt a twinge of the same.
  • Rahul Ramakrishna– as Shiva aka the ultimate best friend. His unabashed support, despair and love for his friend forms a mainstay in the movie and despite it being all about the titular character of Arjun, Shiva has a huge role to play and Rahul Ramakrishna does it with aplomb!
  • The music- it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the words, you feel them! The score by Radhan is edgy, it’s soft and it’s imminently hummable. Telisiney Na Nuvvey is stuck in my head although when I try to sing it am sure the words are being mangled horribly! The background score totally works.
  • The supporting cast- the dads on either side; grim, conventional or just biased…are stereotypes to be true but very believable because stereotypes exist for a reason. The grandmother, the friends- everyone fits well barring Kamal Kamaraju as the older brother trying to broker peace and shield his wayward younger brother.
  • The whole energy of the movie- it’s big, it’s dramatic and it’s very unapologetic! And that’s what makes it work.

I’m glad the director decided to use subtitles so people could keep up. There’s only so much you can deduce from body language and nuances alone. But the reason this movie works, despite the running time and at times overly dramatic posturing of the lead character, is due to it feeling real.

The lead actress isn’t a wallflower neither is she very prominent. Except that she is. Even when she doesn’t speak much, or just flits in and out of a scene, her impact on Arjun Reddy is what takes the story ahead. I’d read that Shalini had dubbed all her own lines…commendable given how different the Southern languages are for native Hindi speakers.

At the end of the day, every movie is made to tell a story. It’s made to entertain. And this one does…in spades! Despite all the controversies over the non-issues like liplocks and being tagged as misogynistic. On one hand if Arjun Reddy tells his girlfriend that she should be friends with a fat chick because a pretty girl and a fat girl are an equation that work, he is equally dismissive of a friend’s sister being married off to an NRI who outright objectifies women and demeans them without any provocation.

Everyone who saw this movie, found something they wanted to in it…I was entertained and got good music out of it…not to mention total eye candy! *wink wink* It should be left at that…a story about a brash man who feels deeply, loves deeply and takes on the world and screws up only to get back up again. Nuff said.

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

I’m going to lead with: my experience wasn’t wondrous at all.

I have a bad habit of reading the Wiki and IMDB posts thoroughly before watching a movie, rather than just going with the flow where most movies are concerned. When I read that Wonder Woman received critical acclaim as well as mass approval, my curiosity was stoked because my benchmark of superhero movies was done solely by the first Avengers roll out. And that’s a movie I can watch (and do) again and again.

So what can I say about Wonder Woman? Well…those were 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back. *wipes tears surreptitiously* Let’s list it’s less than stellar qualities, shall we?

  • Chris Pine hasn’t been eye-candy material since The Princess Diary days. He’s adequate in this movie. Nuff said.
  • Gal Gadot- I wouldn’t have picked her in the role of a Amazon…she looks too confused about the world around her; constantly! And has a case of botoxy lips which never seem to close…giving her a perpetual perplexed-fish look. That was an alliterative mouthful, wasn’t it?
  • Robin Wright Penn- gone before she could do anything.
  • Zeus&Ares- better depicted in the Percy Jackson series. A washout here.
  • Danny Huston- had more screen time in Wolverine and a better role too.
  • The aura of the guy in the role of the God of War needs to be spot on. David Thewlis…naah…he didn’t do it for me.

The intent here isn’t to trash the movie. It was adequate as a one-off watch. I guess I have issues with it being promoted more as a movie about a woman, made by a woman. Even if it is path breaking in that sense, it’s still boring. And that’s wherein lies the rub! It’s not interesting and I watch all sorts of crap that’s out there even sampling the tripe called the Sharkansas Womens Prison Massacre.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman doesn’t possess enough of a personality to be captivating. Gal Gadot as an actor needs to emote more and look beyond eyebrow twitches in lieu of acting. Give me the Black Widow with the deadpan and her kickass moves.

Rating: 2/5

 

 

Movie Review: The Shallows

I know why this movie got good reviews:

  • Pretty girl wearing bare minimum required to avoid censorship.
  • Gorgeous locales and alluring waters.
  • A creature that everyone loves to hate viz The Great White.
  • The mysterious solitary seagull.
  • No bizarre sharky behavior barring well…being too chomp-chomp-chomp!

Eloquent wasn’t it? But snark aside so many things are based on location, location, location! And of all the shark movies I’ve ever seen (I’ve seen my share is all my saying), this one had the best location of them all!

This movie is minimalistic and has Blake Lively breaking out of Gossip Girl and the yawn-worthy Green Lantern mode; showing that she too can act and not just be a pretty prop on some guy’s arm. And channeling some snark back in…that swim wear of hers had to be glued onto her chest the way it didn’t move no matter what kind of a beating she took in the water. All hail the the new Wonderbra!

The way the shark is dealt with in the end is an interesting twist from the perpetual blowing up that Hollywood does whether it’s JAWS, Deep Blue Sea, Sharknado or even the utterly forgettable Dam Sharks! Almost like they got a good deal on TNT.

I won’t be revisiting this movie the way I did Ghost Shark and Sharknado#1 or even Jaws 3 but as a one time watch it was entertaining and the ending scenes before the credit rolled were lovely with Sia’s Bird Set Free setting the perfect tone. And it made me wish I could surf….sigh.

I’d give it a 3/5.

Movie Review: Dam Sharks

Damn! Is what you’re left to utter because you’re otherwise chortling helplessly at sharks performing gymnastics in a murky lake somewhere in a podunk town when geeks and their asshole-y boss ( Jason London in an unforgivable role)gather for an offsite. Say hello to DAM SHARKS!

Add a small town sheriff, with a customary ornery old guy and a bunch of people who were hired to get killed within a few minutes of the movie starting and you have Syfy’s latest atrocity on the human civilization. And just in case you still wanted to watch it, here’s the spoiler- there are these sharks, we don’t know where they came from. We don’t know why they came. We don’t know where they’re going but they’re killing people  and building a dam with the body parts. *FACEPALM*

Syfy’s fare seldom gets to the “it’s so bad it’s actually good” stage. It’s languishes at “that’s very darn pathetic but am too lazy to change channels and let’s see what the shark’ll do next”.

The actual victims here: the sharks! Jaws made them look menacing, helped tremendously by John Williams’ score; Deep Blue Sea had a few flinch moments and also had Saffron Burrows as eye candy for the men and Thomas Jane similarly for the women. Sharknado was a laugh-a-minute riot with people trying to remember why Tara Reid and Ian Ziering looked kinda familiar to but not enough to spark an instant recollect. But movies like the Sharnado sequels, and this dam(n) one (‘cuse the pun) just relegate these amazing creatures to ridiculous props in a movie which could have also been a bloodbath, scream fest but just turns out to be replete with stony-faced actors, painfully spewing out their dialogues and not much else.

Creature movies don’t *have* to make sense. If it did, Jaws couldn’t have gone beyond the first movie and created vengeful great whites seeking out the Brodys no matter where they roamed in the world. But a creature movie that makes you laugh, totally defeats the purpose and then some!

One of the worst scenes in the movie: a wanna-be Katniss Everdeen who mouths Roy Schneider’s classic line, “Smile you SOB” and then shoots a paintball arrow into a shark causing it to….wait for it….explode!

But I was bored and I often test myself to see what’s the worst I can watch and for how long…today proved to be a watershed day…I can truly watch tripe. Beginning to end. Doesn’t say much about it now does it?

DAM!

Guilt-Free Goa

We have our own version of Vegas in India…G-O-A…what happens in Goa stays in Goa and Goa seems to be built for everything you’d do while you’re away from home, boundaries, restrictions and the humdrum of the everyday.

How else can one explain the most prim and proper of “aunties” who is carrying enough weight on her hips and belly to feed a colony of starving cannibals, strut around very confidently in rather iffy outfits that leave nothing to the imagination whatsoever!

Or the sudden craze the biggest beer bellies get for wearing Speedos and jiggling their way along the beach, without a care in the world? Or the most hirsute of men jumping into crystal clear water where the hair on their bodies is practically at par with the sea anemones one might expect from the fathoms? Those are some sights people were not meant to see and be able to unsee.

It’s not just about being more daring with attire, people leave their food dos and don’ts behind…way behind I might add! Stuff doesn’t have to be kosher, in a manner of speaking…it just has to look and taste good. And nothing tastes better than the forbidden fruit or the bacon!

This isn’t a critique, mind you. It’s interesting to see how people loosen up with their inhibitions and just enjoy themselves in a way that they normally wouldn’t on any other holiday destination…unless it actually was Vegas or the French Riviera maybe.

Years ago when I was working with a B-School, I remember the spring break-like fever descending on the students. The senior class wanted to go to Goa together but they also had exams coming up and had to prepare for the campus interviews for the placements etc. My job was to prepare them for those interviews and wouldn’t you know it? I had to do it during the time they were in the Go-Goa mode! So little by little excuses started coming my way…suddenly a whole bunch of parents had silver wedding anniversaries that their loving children just couldn’t afford to miss. So many grandmothers fell sick and apparently a glimpse of their beloved grandchild is what the doctor had prescribed above all things! It was quite fun to watch and I didn’t have the heart to say no to any of them because this too is a right of passage.

When I took a mini-vacay with some girlfriends I went to Goa. We ate, drank, slept, gabbed and frolicked in the utter Goa-ness. And that’s the beauty of it…it’s not just the beaches..it’s the place. It’s where you head to get drunk, it’s where you head to for a romantic weekend, honeymoon even and it’s where you take your hyper kid to cool off while you sip cocktails by the pool in the am without a thought for time of day!

Goa was made for relaxation- be it quick or a long-drawn one. It’s for gorging on seafood, eating spicy stuff your stomach can’t stomach and still having a great big smile on your face because it’s satisfaction all the way! So if you want to get high on sun, fun and the occasional dram…this place is a surefire fix!

Cheers!

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All My Pretty Possessions

I love my stuff. I love getting new things. I like discovering how they work, am ecstatic when they work the way they’re supposed to and most of all I love how it makes me feel when I use them.

My all time favorites have been books and cameras…of course I keep buying knickknacks that I don’t actually need either but we’ll tackle that in a different blog post.

Red, bless his patience and general I don’t-really-care-what-you-buy-as-long-as-I-don’t-have-to-be-responsible-for-itness, bought me an action camera- a GoProHe’s rather indifferent about photography and prefers not to have to pose or scan through 200 pictures but appreciates a “pretty picture” and generally images of MLM in all his joyous glory aka whopping it up like a monkey or the occasion smiles.

Given that our travels, spare time and overall recreation seldom is a still activity, I’d been hankering for something that gave me the tools to capturing a child in motion and images where getting wet was the norm rather than the exception and GoPro was the answer.

And with the particular one I have, it’s easy enough to tote it around in your pocket and not have to deal with lens changes, filters yada yada yada!

And it’s been a JOY to use this. Very few things make me as happy as something working the way it’s supposed to work, without quirks and too much thought going into figuring things out.

I’ve just started capturing some trial shots of the offspring and other friends in the pool and with a holiday just around the corner, I should be able to do justice to some images in the sea as well.

*picture a chubby woman skipping and clapping her chubby hands in utter glee*

This is a feeling nearly incomparable and I’ve also been heard telling the offspring to handle the camera with care because I like it more than I liked him!

Happy happy days!

P.S: Images from the pool session are uploaded in my photoblog…here.

P.P.S: technology amazes me to no end!

The Malady of Summer Holidays

I’ve noticed that there’s a strange and inexplicable condition that happens to kids, especially mine over the summer holidays. They become deaf, louder, motor movements mimic being like marionettes with their strings cut or like mini Boomerang videos. Polar opposites but somehow they seem to be able to switch between them effortlessly enough.

The specific keywords that they don’t seem to comprehend are these:

  1. Get up.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Enough.
  4. No more (pool time, t.v., iPad, laptop, playing with water…till infinity)
  5. Get out of the pool.
  6. It’s late.
  7. Come home.
  8. Go away.
  9. SHUSH.
  10. GO. TO. SLEEP!!

Barring that it’s the same ol’ symptoms of childhood+boredom+curiosity all rolled into one delicious little buck-toothed package of silliness!