Thursday, May 31, 2007

Shootout at Lokhandwala: Shoot yourself instead

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi, Arbaaz Khan, Tusshar Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
Genre: Pure Horror
Storyline: Events that led to a shootout at Lokhandwala.
Bottomline: Shoot yourself instead

There is a difference between being objective and sitting on the fence, faking concern.
Dishonesty creeps out of every frame in this C-grade potboiler that hides behind Ray Bans, Sanjay Gupta-signature-swagger-shot of heroes walking in a row to slo-mos and DVDs of Ram Gopal Varma’s gangster films that director Apoorva Lakhia seems to have watched in fast forward mode.

Imagine how terrifying a movie this is if baby-faced Tusshar Kapoor, in an attempt to look mean, uses language like ‘Teri Ma Ki,’ sounding like Tendulkar, and not only expects people to be scared of him but also wants us to believe that he kicked Suniel Shetty’s bottom.

The only thing worse than watching Tusshar and Suniel fight is the duo engaging in a verbal duel. It was a close call to figure out who’s bad, not in the evil sort of way, but purely from the point of view of acting honours. Tusshar may have just outdone record-holder Shetty here in this ham-fest.

Vivek Oberoi is the biggest disappointment of the film. Wasted potential. Maybe he’s forgotten his ‘Company’ days as an actor where he brought alive the crude gangster with simmering raw intensity and gritty menacing presence. Here we see Vivek Oberoi, the star. The guy is in total awe of himself, regularly smiling to showcase his dimples like he’s doing ‘Saathiya’ all over again, dressed in clothes and jewellery stolen from Mansoor Khan’s ‘Josh’ set and mouthing cheese-coated gems like: “Bhagwan ne hamari Supari Yamraaj ko di.” Not to forget his slick moves on the dance floor choreographed to numbers like: “In the Mumbai, all over India, we are the Bhaiz… Shake your A” or the jilted lover’s cheap shots at Ms. Rai in the ‘Ganpat’ song.
Only that ‘Ganpat’ is no ‘Kallu Maama,’ the gangsters here are as real as Huey, Dewey and Louie. Sitting ducks surrounded by cops in an apartment in Lokhandwala.

But it’s not before the climax does the shootout actually begin. The film plays out as the version that the police officers responsible for the shootout give their lawyer. So the character to immediately strike a chord with the audience is the lawyer, played by Amitabh Bachchan. Especially, when he asks bad actors Suniel Shetty and Arbaaz Khan to shut up and let the ever-convincing Sanjay Dutt talk.

The problem with the film is its obsession with style and stylisation. More so because it is based on a true incident and this exaggerated stylisation makes it impossible for us to empathise with either sides. The good guys walk in a row in slow mos, the bad guys walk in slow-mos too. Then, there’s this TV journalist who tells us the cops are bad and there’s the lawyer, who was echoing public sentiments earlier in the film, now changing colours to defend the cops. This sort of moral ambiguity arises because the film insists on hero worshipping the cops and the gangsters, and tries to con us into believing that this is what objectivity is all about.

“What everyone saw was real. What no one saw was the truth,” say some of the posters. And some others say: “Based on true rumours.”

Mr. Gupta, Ms. Ektaa and Co, you guys ought to have made up your mind BEFORE you started on the script. It is too late to fight over it at the poster level and in any case, the film is far away from realism or anything connected to the word “true.”

The only truth about this film is that it is flimsy enough to insert itself into an episode of ‘Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi,’ showing the gangsters in positive light – a shameless promotional exercise by co-producers Balaji Films (also the reason Tusshar Kapoor gets to beat Mr. Body Builder Shetty).

Small mercy that Vivek Oberoi didn’t insist pulling the trigger on Abhishek Bachchan himself.

Cheeni Kum: Drama Extra!

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu, Paresh Rawal
Director: Balki
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Storyline: 64-year-old boy meets/loves 34-year-old girl
Bottomline: A flawed ode to consumerism and a world without boundaries

"What is this O-K? It's neither here nor there. Neither good or bad," the 64-year-old perfectionist chef tells his staff, lashing out at mediocrity. If the first few minutes of the film are any indication, it is evident that debutant director and advertising maverick Balki sets his standards high. Like his protagonist, he wants to make sure his film has all the ingredients of a winner, in exactly the right quantities.

The lines sparkle. Look at them individually, they make great copy, at least in the first half of the film. Flawless. The characters are impeccably well fleshed out. And, delivered perfectly by the finest Indian actors in any part of the world.

R. Balakrishnan, popularly known as Balki in advertising circles, seems to have no problem whatsoever in making us fall in love with his lead characters and them, with each other. That would've been the most difficult part for most directors. But then, the ambitious filmmaker finds himself in tricky territory as he tries to pit a new-age product of consumerism and globalisation, the Indian chef at a London-based restaurant, a Versace-sporting Buddadeb (Bachchan) against the khadi-clad old-world senior citizen (Paresh Rawal) who lives his life by Gandhian principles of Swadeshi and satyagraha (only selectively though). Now, for many this Versace-versus-Khadi conflict would be sheer blasphemy.

Like Hindi cinema has often tried to do since Raj met Simran's parents in 'Dilwale Dulhaniya,' the later part of the film is all about manufacturing consent for love.

Which is where the advertising maverick succumbs to formula and loses his way. The final act is a disaster.

Post Dil Chahta Hai, Hindi films have unabashedly celebrated the self, the individual and one’s right to live life in one’s own terms. While making a shameless ode to consumerism (it is quite amazing how many products Balki manages to sell in the film but we will come to that later) and while dealing with more than grown-ups, there is very little need to try to manufacture consent. Spare us the family drama, Sir. That is clearly a step back.

It's not entirely downhill though. Balki finishes with a nice touch hinting that the twain, Mr. Versace and Shri Khadi, might finally see eye to eye. Cricket, the biggest product of consumerism, with its ability to whip up pop patriotism, serves as the perfect bridge.

Where Balki succeeds is in successfully placing products, ideas and solutions for a world without boundaries or barriers. He sells the idea of insurance for the security of life, plugging it shamelessly in the final speech, Sugar-Free (He actually manages to make that the tag line of the film – a Sugar Free romance), gyms for keeping in shape (as his 90 year old mom keeps telling him) and condoms for safe sex.

As a screen-writer Balki gets the brief right, sneaks in the back-stories effectively and sets up the right kind of characters to illustrate that life expectancy has nothing to do with age, contrasting the 90-year-old perfectly healthy mom (Zohra Sehgal infuses the role with her infectious zest and spirit) with the cancer-afflicted nine-year old confidante (Swini Khara, a little stilted sometimes, is largely convincing). In an attempt to resolve stories of all characters, he mistimes one terribly that it only further affects the final act.

This brand of melodrama seemed too out of place in a film so light and young at heart. In the histrionics department, Bachchan is top-notch exuding the quintessential charisma needed for a role like this. One moment he's the supremely confident chef running the restaurant, another minute he has butterflies in his stomach. One moment he goes through the angst of love seeking advice from his nine-year-old philosopher and guide, the other moment he has the boyish nervousness of facing a father-in-law younger than him. It is very unlikely that any other actor his age would've convinced us for a 34-year-old falling for him.

Tabu lends the character ample solidity and substance to turn on the thinking man, living the role with her razor-sharp repartees, holding her own against the veteran. Paresh Rawal is a comic delight as always, reveling in a role tailor-made for him. Watch him in the Satyagraha scene as he clasps his daughter like a kid holding a toy. Endearing.

Ilaiyaraja's score borrows from his earlier works, jazzes it up a little perfectly to suit the mood. The new lyrics are sure to sound a little odd for fans who can't get 'Mandram Vandha' out of their heads.

Overall, the film that could've been among the most perfect pieces of cinema created this year ends up watered down by a forced sense of drama towards the end. The film ends up Okay.

Probably, a little better than that too.

But then, we didn't lecture on the importance of perfection. The film did.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ek Chalis Ki Last Local: Pulp Fiction before Sunrise

Cast: Abhay Deol, Neha Dhupia
Director: Sanjay Khanduri
Genre: Black Comedy
Storyline: A call centre executive who misses the last local (train) ends up making two and a half crores in two and a half hours.
Bottomline: Tarantino-meets-Coen Brothers outside Kurla Station

Hindi cinema arrives at yet another brand new destination this year with ‘Ek Chalis Ki Last Local.’

For starters, since the story can be written at the back of a platform ticket (or your movie ticket), the filmmakers decide to put it right on the poster. Because, it’s not about the story as much as it is about the story-telling.

So even before you enter the hall, thanks to the poster, you know that Abhay Deol makes two and a half crores in that many hours. Okay, how?

The film moves in almost real-time, after the opening scene introduces the protagonist walking off with the bagful of money at 0410 hours. The clock at the station then rewinds back to the moment he misses the train. 0140 hours. Yes, the numbers have reversed his luck too.

In no time, debutante director Sanjay Khanduri establishes our down-on-luck hero, Nilesh, more like Mr. Zero with 67 rupees in his wallet, with no means to go home to Vikhroli. If missing the train wasn’t bad enough, he finds himself in a sticky situation literally with a bubblegum on his bench, gets thrown out of the station, finds himself without an umbrella during a storm and no autorickshaw willing to take him home. Nothing seems to be going right until he bumps into the mysterious Madhu (Neha Dhupia).

Ek Chalis… starts off like a Richard Linklater tribute (with the romantic knot of a couple having to spend the night, walking around the city, till the train in the morning), but then this is no Vienna or Paris. This is Mumbai, home to friendly neighbourhood gangsters, good-hearted eunuchs, trigger-happy cops and dons who are into kink.

The dark comedy, then takes the ‘Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin’ route, once in a while reminding you of ‘Waisa Bhi Hota Hai’.

Sanjay outscores ‘Is Raat Ki’ and ‘Waisa Bhi’ by successfully marrying Tarantino’s brand of stylistic violence, razor-sharp lines laced with pop-culture references and wickedly funny dark humour to the realistic absurdity of the kidnapping-going-wrong associated with the Coen Brothers signature, in an authentic, contemporary Indian milieu, without really moving too far away from the romanticism of Hindi films. The free-flowing narrative here walks many worlds, all in a night, quite effortlessly.

Because of the late night setting and real-time narrative, the film does make you restless here and there but overall, it is a largely fulfilling experience, if you appreciate the offbeat.
Interestingly bizarre. You may actually like it if you go with an open mind. More than anything, watch it for one big reason: To support irreverent cinema.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The last 10 films!

I'm not sure if I'm becoming lazy to review films or addicted to TV shows. Before there are more films overdue, here's a quick look at some of them I saw recently.

1. Chennai 600028: Finally, here's a Tamil film that's actually 'Game' in every sense of the word. It is ground-breaking effort and surely deserves a full-fledged review but like I said, I've become incredibly lazy. Not for a moment does Venkat Prabhu's film take itself seriously nor does it treat cricket like a religion, like most movies made on sport here do. In Chennai 28, it's just a game where anything is possible and then you live.
Also, making an ensemble film is one of the most challenging things for any debutant filmmaker and Venkat Prabhu pulls it off like a master. I mean who would've had the balls to make a film with a bunch of absolutely new actors, a plot where there's absolutely no room for heroism or sentiment or melodrama. Just good old fashioned street-cricket hanging out with the guys.

2. Ek Chalis Ki Last Local: I caught this a few hours ago on Baddy's recommendation. And boy, I think I'll just put off watching Miller's Crossing by a day. I want to believe that we've finally managed to crack it. Marrying Tarantino-ish stylisation of violence to the Coen Brothers signature of the realistic absurdity in an authentic contemporary Indian milieu, without really moving too far away from the romanticism of Hindi films (It's as much a nod to Raj Kapoor as it is to Linklater). Yes, I did find myself restless a few moments here and there but overall, it was a largely fulfilling experience. Interestingly bizzare and you may actually like it if you go with an open mind. Like I told another friend a while ago, watch it just for one reason: To support irreverent cinema. If you can spend 150 bucks to watch all the assembly line trash that's been coming out of Yashraj, please spend 85 on this poor offbeat film that's been sidelined to a single night show.

3. Life in a Metro: Surprisingly fresh. This is probably what Karan Johar would've wanted to do with Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna after watching Closer. A 'closer' look at relationships in a contemporary cosmopolitan metro. We haven't seen such a free-flowing ensemble in recent times and all the actors, even Shilpa Shetty, come out with convincingly credible performances. You can't help falling for the Konkana Sen-Irrfan Khan track, though Sharman Joshi is particularly effective as the unconditional lover. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it, but Anurag Basu does seem to plug in a couple of Cameron Crowe tributes... For a second there, I saw the suicidal Kangana Ranaut as Penny Lane in the middle of all that rock (in a Hindi film!!) sutradhars and also the trivia about the fish, specifically, the Pacific Northwestern Salmon, travelling hundreds of miles against the current, with a single purpose (the line also features in Elizabethtown). Yes, there are a couple of nods to 'Closer' too. I haven't seen 'The Apartment,' so can't really say how much is borrowed. But the thing is, Basu underlines most of these things we've seen before with his own signature, in a way that would only make the original filmmakers smile.

4. Periyar: Though it did start off with a jerky narrative with isolated incidents tied together for the sake of establishing character, the transitions turn smoother towards the middle, setting the stage for an almost credible biopic on the man considered to be the "Father" of the state. Satyaraj turns in a pretty underplayed performance and is easily one of the best things about this film that tries to stay true to the spirit of the man and his ideology. It did turn out to be engrossing attempt at that, especially, given that I was in no mood to watch a film after being horrified at the sight of the dirty, bug-infested, paan-stained seats at Rupini theatre, in Rohini complex. Just as we were wondering if we should leave and try to get to Abhirami (a
marginally better theatre), the credits came on and there were only a dozen people in the hall when the film started, including a few drunk and the homeless who had showed up for a few hours of air-conditioning on an extremely humid summer night. The only thing to put me off was the literally last-minute attempt to lick the Chief Minister's ass clean. The extra seconds could've surely been done away with for it takes away from the credibility.

5. Ta Ra Rum Pum: There were a lot of scenes I liked in the film until the director, desperate to win our sympathy for the kids in this fantasy film, resorts to cheap tricks like making them eat food from the trash. I can understand this in an early nineties Vikraman film with S.A.Rajkumar music to boot but in something that tries to be refined and sophisticated... excuse me, Siddharth Anand, whatever happened to your sensibility? Even if you excuse the 'Days of Thunder'-meets-'Life is Beautiful' plot, there are a lot of things that irk. First, that Saif Ali Khan, who created a new type, the uber-cool critic of Hindi cinema corn with that song in 'Dil Chahta Hai,' is now getting slotted so consistently into that type ('Hum Tum,' 'Salaam Namastey,' 'Kal Ho Na Ho' and now this!) so much that it is turning into a stereotype. And, why is Rani who has never ever looked slutty now appears so? She too, like Saif, has done this role many times before (Saathiya, Chalte Chalte, Hum Tum and now again this!). But despite all this, the film will work for kids. Come on, Indian kids are one of a kind. Only they could have made 'Koi Mil Gaya' spawn a sequel and honestly believe that Krissh is better than Batman and Superman.

6. Marie Antoinette: I loved Knight's Tale. So it's not like I have a problem with stylising a period film with contemporary influences of music and costume. But I surely expect a little consistency in style and pattern that justifies the stylisation. Sophia Coppola's take was beautiful. Period. Apart from looking good visually, there's not much the film actually achieves. Or maybe that was exactly what she wanted to tell us about the Queen. The only thing that kept me going was Kirsten Dunst needing help with change of clothes. But seriously, what's with Kirsten Dunst and transparent clothing? Not that I'm complaining.

7. The Hills Have Eyes 2: I'm just gonna cut and paste from my draft for the official review that was toned down.

The Hills have eyes 2?

Well, if only they could fill the movie halls too.

The thing about an immensely forgettable film is that your memory fails you every passing moment as soon as you’ve left the hall.

To his credit, the director compensates by giving you a storyline that’s impossible to forget. A bunch of soldiers all die one by one.

This marathon of bad acting is flagged off by a Training-Day Denzel Washington Wannabe, a possible second-grade school play reject, who plays the no-nonsense Sarge, screaming the corniest orders in predictable Black American slang.

In a landscape so barren and dry of any talent whatsoever, the mutants emerge out to be the best ‘actors.’ Yes, ‘actors’ because they do the right thing – they kill this bunch of bad actors one by one.

So purely on the basis of acting talent, it is easy to guess who would die next. When there’s just one watchable face in the pack, the quintessential blonde, you know she would hang around till the very end.

There’s a scene right at the beginning that warns you of what to expect. A cadet goes to empty his bowels when a mutated hand shoots out of the potty. Holy four-letter word… Exactly!
That kind of failed because the girls were too grossed out to even look and the guys, veterans of the Grindhouse that they are, have seen better stuff.

The film, thereon, just played out as a long bland ordeal where you had to wait for them to be done, one by one. The only thing left to see was how, and in which order. But since you knew they would save the pretty young thing for the end, even that wasn't so nail-biting.

Violence can be enthralling, as Tarantino has often proved. This movie, however, tries its best to make you throw up, with that last-ditch attempt of the mutant rape scene. But by then, chances are, you would have left the hall.

If you were among the kind fans of the original, you would wish upon the makers a death at the hands of the mutants. But since the mutants here just looked like a bunch of deformed retards with no essential powers like the ability to snatch one's intestines through the throat or grind the writers into a fine pulp, you are out of options.

So now, they are at it again. The end was the beginning of all horror actually – a set-up to yet another sequel. Be scared, very scared.

8. The Last King of Scotland: If you don’t feel too bad for Will Smith losing out on the Best Actor at the Academy Awards, it’s only because Forest Whitaker creates a frighteningly powerful persona that will haunt you till death as he brings to life one of the darkest dictators in history and the most colourful villains of contemporary cinema.

If movie buffs had to vote for the best villain in recent times, this portrayal of the ‘Cannibal’ President Idi Amin will only lose to Hannibal Lecter and, maybe, Kaiser Soze. Knowing pretty well that a role like this comes only once in a lifetime, Forest Whitaker gives it everything he has.

But hang on, his performance, worth every gram of the statuette, is not the only reason you must watch ‘The Last King of Scotland.’ There are many.

Director Kevin MacDonald crafts an edge-of-the-seat riveting thriller from a fictional account of a biopic that begins slowly and smoothly, introducing us to Uganda through the eyes of a young Scottish doctor, Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), whose casual, carefree life changes forever when he befriends the President.

The film is essentially about the bond between Amin and Nicholas as the makers put us into the shoes of the physician quite early in the film. Through the film, you get to know the President, through the eyes of Nicholas. In the beginning, you, like Nicholas or the people of Uganda, begin to actually like him, given his sense of humour and child-like affability.

Like the doctor, you mistake the psychotic quirkiness for harmless eccentricity, underestimateing the childish arrogance. So when Nicholas tells the President “You’re just a child. And that’s what makes you so scary,” he’s actually speaking out your observation of the man. Performances perfectly tuned to the intention.

Which is why this is such an effective film born of out a brilliant script (Jeremy Brock wrote the screenplay based on Giles Foden’s novel.)

Whitaker’s greatest histrionic achievement lies in his seamless transformation from a charismatic leader to a murderous monarch. So even when you see his dark side, you still can see its origins and the traits of the person you once liked. Whitaker’s presence looms so large over the film that poor McAvoy, who probably clocks more screen-time, is reduced to a support act. It has to be said here that McAvoy manages to pull off one of the most complex and under-rated roles in recent times, as the epitome of vulnerability, a man faced with a moral dilemma of what he values more – loyalty towards his friend or the country and the people he has come to serve.

As the tension builds between the two main characters, the director capitalises on the mood, steps up the pace and sets the stage for a dark, gripping finale.

It’s not just the lead performers, McAvoy and Whitaker, who deliver their flawed characters with flawless execution and conviction. The support cast is terrific, the score rocking with African rhythms and the cinematography, vividly haunting.

Surrender to ‘The Last King of Scotland.’ He rules.

9. Bheja Fry: Not everyone's gonna like this. For starters, the word has spread that it is a rip off of a French film. Also, the kind of humour employed in the film is subtle, the pace laid-back, the setting (and the set) very sit-com. But despite all that, I loved it for Vinay Pathak. The actor has a ball, making the character his own, fleshing it out to great detail, nuancing it with nice touches of body-language, making even the most ordinary lines funny with sheer timing. The film's sorest point, for me, was that there is not even an attempt made to explain the exact reason why his wife (Sarika) leaves Rajat Kapoor. Come on, if you are going to base your entire film on the premise that the wife left the guy, then we need to know more. Why exactly? But for the sake of Vinay, let's just let that pass. Like I said about Ek Chalis, if you can go watch any film out of Yashraj just out of curiosity, why not extend support to small films that can really do with your support.

10. Unnale Unnale: I'm pretty sure that this film was edited even before it was shot. Jeeva went to a DVD library, hand-picked 20 romantic comedies (some Hindi and many English), grabbed all the scenes he liked (or understood) and got an editor to come up with a first draft of the script. So liking this film entirely depends on your moral take on the issue of originality. I interviewed Jeeva recently and asked him why he did it. What he told me was this: "If you are a medical student, you go to the library to read books on medicine. Similarly, when we are making films, we refer to a lot of films. We don't use it completely but are inspired by them. Like how music has only 7 tunes (he probably meant notes), there are only a few ideas." Well, that reminds me of that old joke that spells out the difference between plagiarism and research. Plagiarism is when you copy from one source. Research is when you copy from many.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spider-Man 3: Trapped in its own web

Cast: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rosemary Harris, J.K.Simmons
Director: Sam Raimi
Genre: Action/Drama
Storyline: As fame gets to his head, Peter Parker finds his relationship with Mary Jane and his friendship with Harry strained. When an alien symbiote takes over him, the biggest enemy he has to fight is himself.
Bottomline: Complex overdose of contrived drama and spectacular visual effects.

With great power comes great responsibility, all right.

But the responsibility in this case seems to have taken its toll.

Especially, on director Sam Raimi and leading man Tobey Maguire. If there’s anything wrong with the film, it’s not the lack of effort but too much of it.

Spider-Man 3 spins multiple cobwebs, involving half a dozen characters, that fall apart only because Raimi and Tobey bite into more than what they can chew.

Raimi gives Spidey an overdose of problems just to be triply sure that the superhero is adequately challenged and the audience super-engaged with the proceedings.

First, his relationship with Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) is on the rocks because success goes to his head. Next, his best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) now wants revenge for stealing his girlfriend and killing his Dad. Also, Uncle Ben’s real killer (no, the guy they showed in Spider-Man 1 was only an accomplice we learn) Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Chase) has now become King Kong-sized Sandman, after a freak accident. Then, Peter has to deal with competition from another freelance photographer Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) at the Daily Bugle. To add to Spidey’s woes, even this shrewd human rival transforms into the larger-than-life villain, Venom. And, there’s another damsel in distress waiting to be rescued and kissed upside down in Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). If all this were not enough, an alien symbiote looking for a host decides to corrupt Spidey. Finally, there’s a full-fledged Aunt May-track to give Spidey his dose of moral instructions. Very poorly written, this. Plus, there’s the Bruce Campbell cameo, the Bad Spidey dance, the making of the bad guys and visual effects and action sequences that make time disappear into thin air. All thrust into one movie, like there is no tomorrow. Or another film left in the franchise.

If Raimi goofs up by soaking these sub-plots with the trademark sentimentality and soppy melodrama that the franchise has been associated with, Tobey botches it up with incredibly bad acting. His performance is only made worse with his double-chinned, cherubic, balding presence, and an effeminate demeanor – especially his pansy portrayal of bad Spidey. When the 31-year old actor begins to sob, so do we. Is this the same chap we so adored in the first two installments of the franchise?

Let’s not even get started on how much the film departs from the comics. Wasn’t Gwen Stacy killed by the Green Goblin? What’s she doing in the film much after Green Goblin is long dead and gone?

But hang on, Spider-Man 3 is not a bad film at all, in spite of Raimi’s and Tobey’s collective failure, thanks to the ensemble of actors, especially James Franco, J.K.Simmons, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Chase and, of course, the outstanding ultra-spectacular visual effects. With most of these actors having an electric screen presence, the director decidedly does away with their masks, further distancing the film from the comic book.

It is not easy to make a film on the theme of forgiveness that is both effective and entertaining. The message only becomes effective if Peter Parker finds himself on both ends of the spectrum – as the guy who has to be forgiven by his best friend and the guy who refuses to forgive Uncle Ben’s killer. To personify the inner evil within, Raimi employs the symbiote from outer space and gets the lab guy to explain how it only amplifies the values we stand for. While the intention of the makers is commendable indeed, the creation of such a complex web of character graphs calls for a convincing resolution of their sub-plots too.

Instead, Raimi resorts to age-old tricks like memory-loss and taking a bullet for a friend that seem lazily borrowed from Hindi cinema of the seventies.

That’s quite unfortunate because the first two films transcended comic-book juvenilia.

Hence, the best way to enjoy Spider-Man 3 is to leave your brains home. The child in you will sit back and love every moment of it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Suderman Comics: Sidey Spidey!

Spider-Man 3 Review coming up soon!

Disclaimer: The movie isn't as bad as people/critics say it is. And my review's gonna make up for that mean comic-strip I made up I promise. Spider-Man 3 isn't bad. It's just gay.

The original Spidey theme!

If you got here before I could post the review, enjoy the original theme and come back. The review of Spider-Man 3 will be up shortly.