Ice Age Collision Course English

Back in 2002, we saw the release of a rather touching film ICE AGE that told the story of a woolly mammoth's journey across the pre-historic landscape in search of another from his species. While the film caught on with the critics and the audiences alike, we soon saw sequels being developed turning the subject into a franchise. Now years on we see the release of the fifth film in the series with ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE hitting screens this Friday. But will the fifth film live up to the ones that have released or will it be just another run of the mill animation film, is the question.

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE starts off with the ever so funny character Scrat accidentally activating a long abandoned alien ship that takes him into deep space. Not comprehending what is really happening around him while solely focusing on retrieving his lost acorn, Scrat unleashes a cosmic disaster the size of which threatens to annihilate life on earth. Meanwhile, Manny is worried about the upcoming marriage between Peaches and her fiancé Julian, while Sid is dumped by his girlfriend Francine, just as he is about to propose to her. During Manny and Ellie's wedding anniversary party, some of the asteroids strike the place and the herd barely escapes with their lives. On the other hand, deep underground the plucky weasel Buck who is fighting off a trio of Dromaeosaurs, discovers an ancient stone monument that speaks of the impending doomsday. Taking this stone to the surface, Buck explains to the herd that according to the monument, the asteroids that have been set in motion (by Scrat) are heading towards earth and will cause an extinction level event. However, after studying the stone, he has devised a plan to avert the cataclysmic event and eventually save the planet. From here on, the film follows the heard on their journey to the expected crash site to understand what is attracting the meteorite and figure out a way to launch it back into space thus drawing the meteorite away.

To begin with, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE still manages to retain the charm of the original film keeping the story close to the central protagonists while at the same time involving a plethora of other characters who help take the story forward. While the characters of Manny, Ellie, Diego, Sid, Peaches and Julian are highly relatable instantly developing a rapport with the viewer, the overall story comes across as a bit predictable. Here a special mention need to be made for writers Michael J. Wilson and Michael Berg who have done a good job of making the characters relatable, while at the same time developing a larger than life story that is interspersed with humour that reminds viewers of the first film. However, though the original character from the previous films still remain as the main protagonists around whom the film revolves, the addition of a host of other characters draw attention away. The sheer number of characters vying for the limited attention of the viewer is distracting causing more confusion than a raving stampede, while the older characters that seem to be getting tired, get regaled to the sidelines. Apart from this the plot of the film, though well executed, will mainly appeal to 5-10 year olds. However, despite this, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE does keep you entertained. While the story does drag on in parts, the makers have managed to infuse an underlying message about accepting change and moving on as well as letting it go and growing up very well. Though this message might not be fathomable by the film's target audience, teenagers who have grown up watching the previous films will certainly get it.

Coming to the animation and visuals of the film, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE has certainly come a long way since the beginning of the series in 2002. Though the film features slick, fast paced visuals that catch your eye, the makers have managed to add incredible detail to the proceedings. Since the on screen happenings are fast paced with a few breathers (read slow moments), kids will definitely be hooked.

On the whole, ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE is not one of the big ticket, story-heavy Hollywood animation films we have seen in recent times. It is a light entertainer mainly targeting younger audiences but is worth a watch.
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Great Grand Masti

While it took a decade for makers of MASTI (2004) to continue the franchise of sex comedy with its sequel, it has hardly been three years that the third installment is all set to release. With controversies regarding its untimely leak followed by the bold and explicit content, does GREAT GRAND MASTI deliver what it promises - couple of hours of absolute rib tickling joy ride, let's analyze.

Starting off in its usual manner of establishing a premise of three sexless marriages, the Masti boys namely, Meet Mehta (Vivek Oberoi), Prem Chawla (Aftab Shivdasani), Riteish Deshmukh (Amar Saxena) are trying to add some spice to their dead love lives but their attempts are foiled by the kith and kin of their respective wives' families. Self-proclaimed godman, Antakshari Baba (Sanjay Mishra) and Amar's mother-in-law (Usha Nadkarni)'s faith in him is a hindrance for Amar who is on a lookout for some fun with his darling wife Sapna Saxena (Pooja Banerjee). On the other hand, the childish and immature sister-in-law (Kangna Sharma) of Prem and her clingy nature to her sister and Prem's wife Nisha Chawla (Shraddha Das) is a menace for Prem. Going ahead, the cross connection or rather the Judwaa experience between Vivek's wife Rekha Mehta (Mishti) and her body builder brother (Ketan Karandhe) makes him stay away from his wife. Prem, a real estate broker by profession, decides to take a break from the mundane life and decides to visit the village, Doodhwadi along with his two best friends to get some 'masti' under the pretext of selling off the so called haunted and heritage bungalow of Amar. As the trio set out on this crazy journey, they encounter the sexy Shabari (Urvashi Rautela). As the three men try to woo her and gain her attention, they realize that this time their Masti is not with a human but a ghost who is longing for love and lust. As the three guys are trapped in the clutches of Shabari aka Ragini, the tale gets even further twisted when the wives of the trio decide to give a surprise to their hubbies. Will the three guys be able to escape or will they lose their life to the lustful desires of Ragini is what forms the rest of the plot.

The third instalment of MASTI as proclaimed by the makers, sort of resonates with the first film of the franchise where three guys are trapped by one girl's charming ways. However, besides the basic plotline, the film doesn't match up to the comedy quotient of the franchise. The biggest flaw lies with the script and its basic premise of a ghost running after the three guys. Also, while the reasons of husbands staying away from their wives seem bizarre, it fails to evoke laughter making this supposed to be spicy dish seem bland. However, a few scenes like the one where the trio mix Viagra in their food does manage to add some fun element that will make you smile, but the film fails to retain your attention span succumbing to predictability.

Whether it is subtle sex comedy of MASTI or the brutally explicit ones in GRAND MASTI, Indra Kumar managed to tickle your funny bone. However, the third installment which falls in none of the categories fails miserably. Flawed script and average direction add to the woes but the dialogues do manage to do the trick in a couple of scenes.

On the other hand, we must give it to the Masti boys, namely, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani and Riteish Deshmukh who seem to have mastered the art of playing Meet, Prem and Amar respectively. The trio's comic timing is probably the saving grace of the film even though their humour seems to be over-the-top in certain scenes. However, none of the actresses manage to match up to their co-stars' talent. Mishti, Pooja and Shraddha who play the wives fail to live up to the expectations and their acting seems to be little forced at certain points. On the other hand, while this was a great opportunity for Urvashi to showcase her comic side, her performance is strictly average. Certain other characters like Sanjay Mishra and Usha Nadkarni have delivered interesting performances. While Sonali Raut in her cameo too is average, Shreyas Talpade as Babu Rangeela does a decent job.

As far as the music (Sharib Sabri, Toshi Sabri, Superbia) is concerned, the title track is hummable but the other tracks including the sensuous Urvashi Rautela number 'I Wanna Tera Ishq' fails to register. The cinematography by Nigam Bomzan is average and the editing by Sanjay Sankla could have been crispier.

On the whole, GREAT GRAND MASTI fails to capitalize on the strong franchise value on the account of poor script which hardly offers any masti or entertainment to the audience. At the box office, its prospects appear extremely weak.
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Sultan

Only his mere presence sets the cash registers ringing and when it's Eid, the stardom of Salman Khan just grows by leaps and bounds. Last year, the actor saw immense success worldwide with the blockbuster film BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. And this time around, coming from the house of one of the most renowned production house Yash Raj Films is SULTAN - a touching tale of the rise and fall and rise of a wrestler and his quest to win back his true love. Whether the film has been able to live up to the expectations or not, let's analyze.

SULTAN starts off with Aakash Oberoi (Amit Sadh) trying to save his failing business of Pro-Take Down, a sort of mixed martial arts, freestyle wrestling tournament with a player who can change the fate of his business. His father (Parikshit Sahni) recommends him to go and meet Sultan, a once upon time world champion wrestler, in order to save his disastrous business. As Amit sets out to convince Sultan to enter the wrestling ring again, Sultan's attitude inspires Aakash to further investigate the story of this once upon a time champion wrestler. Sultan Ali Khan, who was once an aimless man dabbling with cable TV business, finds his passion for wrestling when he falls head over heels in love with the fierce and independent wrestler Aarfa, daughter of a famous wrestling coach who teaches the sport in an authentic and rustic Indian akhada. Their love story turns into marriage after Sultan turns into a passionate wrestler who gears up to take down the world with his unique moves and starts winning championships. As pride takes over the mind of a talented Sultan, a loss of his loved one reduces his fame to ashes. In an attempt to regain his lost love and respect in the eyes of Aarfa, Sultan once again takes up a challenge - he joins Aakash to fight against the world champions of Mixed Martial Arts and is ready to go to any lengths to regain everything he has lost.

The story grabs your attention since the start and thanks to the perfect blend of emotions and action, SULTAN turns out to be a quintessential potboiler that packs the right punches that will keep you glued. Here we would like to mention the introduction scene of Salman Khan that will prove to be a treat for his fans. The first half that explores the rise of the wrestler has a blend of humour that keeps you highly entertained. Besides the powerful 'kushti' matches that often leave you wanting for more, it also has a sweet love story that focuses on the romantic side of Sultan. On the other hand, the second half is serious and emotional comparatively. While we must give it to director Ali Abbas Zafar for exploring the deeper emotions of failure, losing his fame and Sultan's aggressive and desperate attempts to get back into the sport in the second half, too many emotional scenes slows the pace of the film. However, Ali Abbas Zafar's directorial skills seem to have grown by leaps and bounds since his last film. A special mention to the way the wrestling matches have been shot in the second half, which are crisp and impactful.

Coming to performances, it is a Salman Khan movie all the way! From his body language to his Haryanvi accent, from a famous wrestler to a helpless man who is struggling to get his life together, Salman's role as Sultan Ali Khan is in wrestling language - 'dhobi pachad'. From his power packed entry to his love for Aarfa, your heart will beat and pray for Sultan. Salman has also worked very hard on his physique and the action scenes look great. Anushka Sharma, who has already showcased an action-packed side of hers in NH10, continues to win hearts as Aarfa too. Not only has she been able to match up to Salman's powerful performance, her presence as Aarfa even in the background leaves an impact. From mastering the wrestling moves to pulling off the graceful side of the Haryanvi girl who dared to dream different, Anushka's role as Aarfa is by far one of her finest performances. Matching up to them is also Randeep Hooda whose role as a martial arts expert proves to be an applauding one here compared. Amit Sadh as Aakash Oberoi, a business tycoon trying to establish his business, too has given a good performance. The casting of the film is apt and even the smallest of roles add value to the film and the actor who plays the role of Salman Khan's friend Gobind deserves a special mention for his role as Sultan's support system.

As far as the music is concerned, it could be called average as better songs would have empowered the film further. However, the peppy beats like 'Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai' has turned out to be a chartbuster followed by the soft and romantic, 'Jag Ghoomeya' which too has gained a fair bit of popularity. The cinematography by Artur Zurawski is excellent and the action choreographed by Larnell Stovall is worth appreciating too. From the training sessions to the actual matches within the ring, SULTAN showcases brilliant wrestling moves with precision.

On the whole, SULTAN comes across as a paisa vasool, seeti-maar unadulterated entertainer which will be loved by classes and masses alike. At the box office, the lack of a credible opposition, perfect release timing [festival period] combined with an extended 5-day weekend will ensure that the film will break records and emerge as the biggest hit of the year so far. The film has got 'B-L-O-C-K-B-U-S-T-E-R' written all over it. Go for it!
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The Legend of Tarzan English

After last week's plethora of releases, this week we see a couple of films hitting the screens. However, among the select few is the Hollywood film THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, a story about a boy born and raised in the jungles of Africa. But will this wild yet loyal son of the jungle manage to take the Indian box office by storm is the question of the hour.

The minute we hear the name Tarzan, we are fast taken back to our childhood when we would hear the story of a young boy who was raised by the beasts of the forest as one of them, until he falls in love with another beautiful girl, who just like him feels more at home in the dense jungles. However, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is a different story altogether. Unlike the popular story, this film starts off with Tarzan having given up his wild ways for a more peaceful and comfortable life in London as John Clayton III AKA Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgard) with his beloved wife Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side. But this time of peacefulness is fast shattered when he is invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of the Parliament, to investigate the activities at a mining encampment. Unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), Tarzan undertakes the journey putting all at stake. Will Captain Leon Rom manage to capture the feral man or will those behind the murderous plot finally realize what they have unleashed… is what forms the rest of the story.

Though THE LEGEND OF TARZAN isn't the standard run of the mill stories about Tarzan, we do get to see the feral human every now and then via flashbacks of Lord Greystoke reliving his old life while on expedition. Here, it must be pointed out that despite a story that keeps looping from past to present back and forth, director David Yates does well to give each timeline equal importance while simultaneously merging the two sans the usual confusion. However, though the premise of Tarzan becoming civilized and living an idyllic life seems untoward, it complements the story well. Another high point of the film is the seamless visuals that manage to convince the viewer that the on screen proceedings are actually happening in a dense forest.

Talking about the performances of the lead cast, Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan does a good job of playing the human with a wild side. However, there are a few instances where Alexander seems not perfectly fit for the part. On the other hand, Margot Robbie as Jane is heavily underutilized; in fact her character seems to be present in the film only to be the source of inspiration for Tarzan to fight. While she does a good job with what little role she has been assigned, she does manage to shine. Christoph Waltz as Captain Leon Rom is spot on. Waltz yet again brings life to a character that would otherwise have been dull. The subtle terror that Waltz manages to instil in his onscreen persona is palpable. Though each of the actors have done well in their limited roles, it is Samuel L Jackson's character as George Washington Williams that is totally out of place. Though Jackson does manage to elicit a few laughs, the presence of his character in the film comes across as an attempt to explain to the audience the proceedings in the film. However, this severely backfires, with the viewer feeling like the makers did not trust them enough to know the story of Tarzan.

On the development front, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN does feature some cutting edge visual effects, that blend into the happenings seamlessly, in fact, certain scenes seem almost lifelike and real. From the creation of the rain forests in the Congo, to the wilder beast stampede, to Tarzan playing with the lions, the visuals stand out. However, despite the use of CGI, the battle sequences that you expect when good and evil clash are few and far between. Furthermore, it does not help that each of these battles are rather short lived and fail to satiate the viewer's appetite for carnage.

On the whole, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN comes across as a film that has started out from the middle of a story and is trying to expand in all directions covering any and every aspect that can be used for future sequels. With a naïve story line, meandering plot, almost absolute focus on one single character and general confusion with the direction in which to take the film forward, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is all but legendary.
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Raman Raghav 20

We all know and are aware of the fact that Bollywood is not new to genre of thrillers. Almost every second or third release in Bollywood belongs to the thriller genre. This week's release RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 also falls in the same category, however unlike the plethora of thrillers that tend to focus on the supernatural this one is a psychological thriller. But will RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 have a 'thrilling' run at the Box-Office or will it lose its fizz, is what we analyze.

First things first, RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 is not based on the life of the infamous serial killer of the 60s, something that the makers of the film establish in the very beginning of the film. The film starts off with a 'musically high' introduction of a young IPS officer Raghav (Vicky Kaushal) and a 'deadly' introduction of Ramanna aka Sindhi Dalwaai aka Raman (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Raghav, who, despite being an IPS officer, is almost always high on drugs; in fact Raghav does not leave a single chance to indulge in substance abuse, even when he is on duty. The film, then, traces its roots with a series of flashback events that establish Raman's character as a serial killer with a history of random and meaningless killings. As the film comes back to the present, Raman gets into confessional mode and says that he kills people because he likes to kill them for no reason. He also goes onto proclaim that he is a 'Godsent gift to mankind', who has been sent by God to kill people after their job is done on earth. What follows from hereon are a series of merciless and inhuman murders. After a gap of 7 years, Raghav visits his sister's place and lands up killing her, her innocent husband and her child. Simultaneously, Raghav also kills his 'girlfriend'. Amidst all this, Raman confesses to Raghav about his 'connection' with him, that really stuns the latter. What was the basic reason for Raman to go to his sister's place, what was the reason for the policeman Raghav to kill an innocent girl and what is the 'connection' that Raman tells Raghav that rattles his senses, is what forms the rest of the film.

The film's writers (Vasan Bala, Anurag Kashyap) on the 'pretext' of creating an edge-of-the-seat thriller in the form of RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0, land up doing a shabby job. Even though their writing helps in keeping the audience and their fears intact (strictly in places), it is the overdose of everything that kills the basic essence of the film. Because Anurag Kashyap has always delivered with his dark films (which majorly forms his home turf), the expectations from RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 were sky high. Coupled with this were the film's gripping trailers, which, only added to the expectations. Unfortunately, despite all this, Anurag Kashyap goes astray with his direction at many places, which greatly undermines what could have been an eerily gripping psychological thriller. In the name of 'cinematic liberties', there are way too many flaws in the film. To cite a few examples, where on earth does one find an IPS officer like Raghav, who is always high on drugs and flaunts his official revolver to have his way with the girls in night clubs? If that wasn't enough, he also lands up killing someone, that too, at the behest of a dreaded criminal. Besides all this, during one of Raman's escapades he manages to free himself from the clutches of the policemen and flee by simply unbuttoning his shirt! The cops in this movie are straight out of the 80's Bollywood films where they basically can't do a single task properly.

While all of the film's characters get established and justified in its first half, it's the film's second half that slips. The film's first half tries to establish a promising plot, but the second half drags endlessly and is filled with meaninglessly gruesome murders. Add to that, Anurag Kashyap continues to suffer from his Quentin Tarantino hang over by breaking the film into 'Chapters' and stretching a scene for longer than expected, but many times it just feels too much to take.

As for the performances, the film clearly and solely belongs to the 'character chameleon' of Bollywood aka Nawazuddin Siddiqui and his antics. Nawazuddin Siddiqui leaves no room for doubt and does a convincing job, despite having a weak and lacklustre script. Be it his 'swift oscillations' between his moods or him mercilessly slaying his victims, Nawazuddin Siddiqui carries the film solely on his shoulders and excels in every department. His flawless delivery of one liners are, as always, a delight to watch and listen. Vicky Kaushal, on the other hand, is decent. While one cannot place Vicky Kaushal in the same bracket as that of Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the acting department, he does manage to do a convincing job, if not a superlative one. While the film essentially belongs to Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal (in that order), the other characters only help in taking the film forward.

While the music (Ram Sampath) of RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 is nothing to boast about, it is the film's background music (Ram Sampath), that, more than makes up for the film's music. The film's background music acts as a catalyst between the film's script and the characters. The film's cinematography (Jay Oza) is spot on and apt. Here, a special mention goes to the usage of guerrilla filmmaking techniques, which helps the film look more realistic. The film's editing (Aarti Bajaj) is loose and scenes drag endlessly. To be more specific, had the film been trimmed by almost 15-20 minutes or so, it would have been a different story altogether.

On the whole, though RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0 promises to be an edgy thriller, the film fails to deliver. It is only Nawazuddin's brilliant performance that helps you sit through this 140 mins long film.
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