Friday, October 23, 2015

Movie Review: The Walk

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'The Walk' is the jaw-dropping true story of French high-wire artist Phillippe Petit's daring act of walking between the two then-not-quite-finished Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in 1974. The film pulls the audience into Petit's passion, dream, fear, failure, moments of success, anxiety so craftily that it becomes experiential in the glory of Imax and 3D.

Petit calls his act an artistic coup supported by a bunch of friends who believes in his talent and conviction. What happens in the course of his artistic coup and what awaits him and his co-conspirators due to this illegal act is interesting to watch.

Robert Zemeckis, the director has done a remarkable work in setting this crazy dare-devil act in motion. The film was dedicated to the victims of September 11 attacks in 2001.

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levit (Philippe Petit), Charlotte Le Bon (Annie Allix), Ben Kingsley (Papa      Rudy), Clement Sibomy (Jean-Pierre), Cesar Domboy (Jeff), Ben Schwartz (Albert), Benedict Samuel (David), Steve Valentine (Barry Greenhouse

Genre: Biographical Drama

Direction: Robert Zemeckis

Produced By: Tom Rothman, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke

Production Company: TriStar Productions, Image Movers, LStar Capital

Written by: Robert Zemeckis, Phillippe Petit, Christopher Browne

Based On: 'To Reach the Clouds' by Philippe Petit

Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski

Music By: Alan Silvestri

Distributed By: TriStar Pictures

World Theatrical Release: 9th October, 2015

Language: English, French

Duration: 123 minutes

Country: USA

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Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Robert Zemeckis has made 'The Walk' extremely spectacular that it become so palatable for the viewers to savour every thrilling moment frame by frame with the dare-devil Philippe Petit on the tight-rope balancing on it mapping the void between the twin towers.

Philippe Petit's  story is legendary by now and no actual film footage of the real act exists. 'The Walk' gives us an opportunity to be right up there with Petit and see down the whole New York become a beautiful miniature painting.

On the morning of August 7, 1947 the New Yorkers saw a man walk in mid air on a tight rope harnessed carefully around the edges of the twin towers and secured around wooden bulwarks on either side. He walks a distance of 110 ft not once but repeatedly as if he was not done with his joy of his feat and that too at a height of 1776 ft above ground. When he walks he walks and when he does his act the viewers are there on the edge of their seat with their heart in their mouth, eyes wide open, biting their nails not knowing what awaits next for Philippe Petit and for them as viewers. Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb Mount Everest, rightly said, "It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves".

Joseph Gordan-Levit has slipped into the skin of Petit with so ease that he becomes admirable, inspirational, and a true hero on screen. He is  remarkable in emoting all those feelings a high-wire walker of Philippe's stature goes through.

Ben Kingsley as Papa Rudy Omankowsky Philippe's mentor is superb. His astuteness in seeing something in the seed (Philippe) makes him a genius and sets the path for the world to witness a great high-wire artist bewitched by his artistic coup. Papa Rudy's experience and knowledge clubbed with Philippe's grit and conviction sets the tone of the film.

Petit's girlfriend Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon) and the other co-conspirators along with Petit go through ambiguities,  hurdles, last moment betrayals, execution failures and what not to deal with the existing system and brilliantly execute their illegal act. Their act as a team proves once again to human kind that the alchemy of collaboration can do wonders to one's own and the world's destiny.

There are some beautiful moments that makes you want to freeze them viz: when Petit assures Annie that he never encroaches the space of another artist, their romance and their camaraderie; Petit's first encounter with Papa Rudy in the circus tent, their respect for each other;  the D day and the night of risk they undertake as a team to execute the plan on the twin towers; and finally the repeated walk between the twin towers by Philippe keeps your heart beating loud and makes you keep your fingers crossed when you look down along with Petit to find New Yorkers cheering him down on the street.

In short, The Walk has everything that can keep you glued to your street and also to walkout of the theatre inspired to experiment some of your wild dreams. It also conveys that we are either born to realize our own dreams  or to be instrumental to make others realize their dream. So look within and hear your voice and decide which role you are ready to play. The Walk is for those who have a dream and also to those who are still trying to figure out what their dream is. So go and watch.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 4/5

Monday, October 19, 2015

Movie Review: Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2

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Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 is a sequel to the 2011 hit movie with the same name. This movie directed by Luv Ranjan hovers around three love-struck Delhi-NCR boys and the consequences and complications they face in their journey of love.
Cast: Kartik Aaryan (Gogo), Omkar Kapoor (Thakur), Sunny Singh (Chauka), Nusrat Bharucha (Chiku/Ruchika), Sonnalli Seygall (Supriya), Ishita Raj (Kusum), Manvir (Sunny)

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Direction: Luv Ranjan

Produced by: Abhishek Pathak

Written by: Rahul Mody, Tarun Jain & Luv Ranjan

Cinematographer: Sudhir K Choudhary

Music: Toshi Sabri, Hitesh Sonik, Luv Ranjan & Clinton Cerejo

Film Editing by: Akiv Ali

Theatre Release: 16th October, 2015

Language: Hindi

Duration: 136 minutes

Reviewer's Thumb Mark

PKP2 (Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2) is definitely going to earn the ire of the female community for showing women in poor light as not so trustworthy lovers. PKP2 is released as a sequel to 2011 hit Rom Com film Pyaar Ka Punchnama.

PKP2 is brutally hilarious and has a very unpleasant, misogynist outlook towards women's approach on love, relationships, marriage and life. They are portrayed as manipulative, self-centered, gold-diggers and spineless. The story and its plot has close resemblance to its prequel and therefore, for people who has seen the first one the film is predictable. Like in the prequel the three heroes are flat mates and best buddies in the world. They slog in their workplace and party hard. They love booze, girls and party. And amongst the three Thakur  (Omkar Kapoor) earns a fat pay package.

The story is about these three Delhi boys (Gogo, Thakur, Chauka) and three beautiful girls (Chiku, Supriya, Kusum) and how they meet and then what happens after the initial excitement dies. They meet and fall in love with each other at different places - one in a party, second in a wedding, and the third in his gym. 

The movie definitely generate some laughable moments but then the girl bashing and the dialogues and the puns becomes repetitive. The much talked about monologue by Gogo (Kartik Aryan) is too long and fizzles out soon.

The movie fails to portray a balance outlook towards male and female approach on love rather it forges ahead and gives a generic statement on how bad women are in terms of love and men so innocent and trustworthy in love. May be Luv Ranjan and his team at the fag end of the movie may have felt guilty for the whole female bashing and so they suddenly deicide to make their heroes say that only Mommy loves unconditionally.

The female actors are all shopaholics, tantrum queens, pushy, fashionable and also party animals. Chiku (Nusrut Bharucha) comes from a rich and affluent family stays alone in a swanky flat and she expects her boyfriend to understand her even when she plays the agony aunt to one of her best friends and ends up sharing her bed with him.  

Kusum (Ishita Raj)is a girl believes in equal rights and for her sharing the expenses equally is one of the values she holds high and is non-negotiable. But as someone has said it is easy to choose values in life but people often fail to practice and that's what is with kusum too. She ends up owing more than eight lakhs to her all understanding and mature boyfriend.

The third beautiful lass Supriya (Sonnalli Seygall) keeps her boyfriend on tenterhooks guessing whether she will marry him or not. She is busy in love but doesn't have voice at home and makes her boyfriend end up doing her household chores from buying provisions to buying a printer for his would-be-father-in-law.

Pyaar Ka Punchnamma is one-sided and God knows what happened to Luv Ranjan to hate women. Well, that's his film and his take on love and women. If you want to hear how female bashing is done uninhibited go and watch. And if you want to give the film-makers a piece of your mind for their bias towards women, still go and watch and write and speak against them through your comments, review, views on the social media.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.5/5

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Movie Review: Talwar

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Talwar is based on the infamous 2008 double murder mystery case of Arushi, a 14-year-old DPS girl in Noida and Hemraj, the domestic help in her house. The film revolves around three contradictory versions of the investigating teams and hovers more over the innocence of the parents allegedly involved in the murder. The story becomes a medium to revisit the most sensationalized case of the nation and also one which rocked and questioned the conscience of parents of the nation.

The film was screened in Toronto International Film Festival on 14th of September, 2015. The film is written by the versatile filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and the director of the movie is Meghna Gulzar. The film is produced by Junglee Pictures a division of The Times of India Group.

Cast: Irrfan Khan (CDI Officer Ashwin Kumar), Konkana Sen Sharma (Nutan Tandon - Mother of Shruti Tandon), Neeraj Kabi (Ramesh - father of Shruti Tandon), Sohum Shah (ACP Vedant Mishra - Second-in-command of Ashwin), Tabu (Reema - Ashwin's Wife), Gajraj Rao (Inspector Daniram), Prakash Belawadi (Swamy - Boss of Ashwin), Sumit Gulati (Kanhaiya), Atul Kumar (Paul - The new CDI Officer), Shishir Sharma (JK Dixit - The new Boss of Ashwin who replaces Swamy)

Genre: Crime Drama

Direction: Meghna Gulzar

Produced by: Vinet Jain, Vishal Bhardhwaj

Production Company: VB Pictures

Written by: Vishal Bhardhwaj

Cinematographer: Pankaj Kumar

Music: Vishal Bhardhwaj

Film Editing by: A Sreekar Prasad

Distributors : Junglee Pictures

Theatre Release: 2nd October, 2015

Language: Hindi, English (film titled as Guilty)

Duration: 132 minutes

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Reviewer's Thumb Mark

The CID boss Mr. Swamy (Prakash Belawadi) asks his protégé  Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) the investigating officer of the Shruti Tandon murder case that have he ever observed the statue of justice? He continues saying that people often look at the blindfolded statue holding the balance scales but miss out the sword it wields. The sword depicts the role of the police force.

Well, here in the Arushi Talwar case the whole case was botched and goofed up by all the investigating team, leaving the nation to speculate and live in suspense. The 2008 double murder case rocked the whole nation and the media, as usual, lapped up the whole story adding more spices and served them to us. The voyeuristic media in the name of seeking justice made all the people directly and indirectly involved in the case go under the media trial mercilessly. To add more spice the first investigating team and the following two CBI investigating teams came up with contradictory versions and claims about the whodunit theory. Finally in 2010, after a string of investigations one after another the CBI appealed for a closure of the case due to lack of evidence against the sole suspect Rajesh Talwar identified by them. However, the court rejected the plea and initiated criminal proceedings against the Talwars and the couple were convicted based on circumstantial evidence. Both are still languishing in jail while their appeal is pending in the Allahabad High Court.

It seems that the movie's screenplay writer - Vishal Bhardwaj- intentionally directs the viewers focus on the possible innocence of the parents involved and thereby giving them a benefit of doubt. The film very craft fully depicts different versions of the investigating teams and the various suspects under the scanner. The movie ends with an emotional happy family video recording done on a camcorder of the deceased to portray that everything was well before the brutal murder. The movie leaves the viewers to decide who deserves justice.

The film is good and is a onetime watch for those who would like to see what they already know on screen. It would be a bit disappointing for those who want to know the mystery and would like to reach the core because the film fails to do so.

Neeraj Kabi and Konkana are not in their element and probably their caliber is not explored to the hilt. Tabu as Reema and her marital discord with Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan) is an unnecessary add on and definitely a distraction. What was the compulsion of the filmmakers to bring such an angle is difficult to decipher. Irrfan Khan as the hard-nosed investigating CID officer plays well in his role in every frame - be it his sharp intelligence, his dark humor, his helplessness with authority - touches the viewers.

The real show stealer is Gajraj Rao as the Paan-chewing inspector Dhaniram. He stands out as an actor by his commendable performance. His lackadaisical attitude gets on your nerves. Sumit Gulati as Kanhaiya (compounder of Dr. Tandon) also has given an impressive performance.

Songs like : Jis din aakash bedaag honga, chehera chaand ka saaf honga and Lagta hi woh zinda hi moves you.

In short Talwar, doesn't offer much and I doubt whether it has been successful in garnering support to change the public opinion about the Talwar couple. A movie from the stable of Vishal Bhardwaj could have been more intense and intriguing.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3/5