Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham (TAMIL)

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Starring: Jai, Sathyan, VTV Ganesh, Rajkumar, Nivedha and many more
Editing: Suresh
Cinematography: Anand
Music Songs: Prem    Music Background: Kannan
Written and Directed by : Chandru

Titled as just Saraswathi Sabatham in the beginning which was later added with Naveena, this film just triggers your brain what it contains. Teasers showed it as comedy. Songs were good. But 4 friends, Bangkok if this is in the film then obviously all will be thinking of a hangover, which is also a no no as per one of the character. Then why such a title for a comedy flick. Thats where the director has used his creativity. He scores full marks for his creativity on this ascpect.

Jai, Sathyan, VTV Ganesh, Nadula konjam pakkatha kaanom Rajkumar – 4 friends, who is from different parts of life, travel to Bangkok for Jai’s bachelor’s party and what happens then & next is the plot. The introduction of all these 4 characters and how they are getting caught by Lord Shiva of Kailayam makes you smile but wait its not staying till the end of the film. Lord Shiva played by Subbu Panchu, Parvathi played by Devadarshini, Naradhar by Manobala all talks very casually like how a current generation of family will be. Naradar showing videos of the main characters to Shiva on iMac! Parvathi using an iPhone, and Muruga playing Temple Run on an iPad (I family) and even Ganesha has a run in treadmill to burn the calories. Interesting.. But the 4 characters are caught in the Shiva’s game where the second half takes place, which is directly opposite to the first.

There is a dialogue in the film where the Naradhar tells Lord Shiva, that please try to finish off the film soon, else the audience will tweet in Twitter that the first half is good and second half is little mokkai. Even though the director thinks he is good in his creativity thats what the real situation for the people as the audience. Editing, Suresh, could have been better in the second half where the film just keeps on going.

Prem has scored very good numbers and Kannan’s background score gels well with the film. Anand has showed the islands of Bangkok as how it should be and the art department has worked tremendously to show the modern day Kailayam. Chandru has worked as assistant to Venkat prabu, for which Venkat also appears in a cameo as how he is and makes his appearance felt. As the film is about telling about a message to the society, thank god that it did not come all of a sudden at the end but which has been showed from the beginning.

Its also one of the film which starts and progresses well but the tide which rises in the first just goes down in the middle and tries to rise again but not upto the mark. Go for this only when you want a time pass and just for some fun with your gang.

Vidiyum Munn (TAMIL)

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Starring: Pooja, Malavika, John Vijay, Vinoth and many more
Editing: Sathyaraj
Cinematography: Siva Kumar Vijayan
Music Songs: Girrish Gopalakrishnan
Written and Directed by : Balaji K Kumar

Tamil cinema is seeing a lot of experimental films and new attempts these days, and debut directors play a vital role in it. One such try is Vidiyum Munn which can be labeled in thriller genre which is a very great attempt for a debut film. Hats off to Balaji for his thought. The tagline says 4 Men, 3 Reasons, 2 Women and 1 Day. How all of these has been connected.? All these are answered in just over 2 hours of incidents which takes place mostly in the darky time zones which sets the way for the thriller.

The film revolves around Rekha (Pooja), a sex worker and a 12 year old kid Nandhini (Malavika) who tries to escape from four men who are looking for them for three different reasons. The story happens in a single day, and the film examines their connection, the reasons and the fate of these disparate women during its course. Vidiyum Munn explores the darker side of life and the emotional imbalance it can create in the hearts of those who succumb to it. It’s not the usual thriller flick that you watch and forget as you walk out of the movie hall. Vidiyum Munn lingers on in your head for a long time. The twist and turns keep you hooked through a minimal characters.

Pooja has done a brilliant job, but it is child artist Malavika, who steals the show. John Vijay plays a smart, tricky baddie and he did his best as always. Vinoth, for sure will be reaching places with this flick. His character is moulded with minimum in dialogues and more at expressions. Job very well done by him! Amarendran who plays as a suffering and searching pimp gives some laughs in a otherwise serious film. The director avoids too many characters and throws the spotlight on only those that are linked to Rekha and Nandini.

The film has many perfects viz, casting and technical crew. Perfect Casting for all the characters. Girishh Gopalakrishnan gets full marks for his hypnotic tracks. His background score is good and suits the film to the T. It will be more awesome if one watches the film in Auro 3D enabled screens. Sivakumar Vijayan’s cinematography is apt given the mood of the film and the time the things takes place. Sathyaraj’s editing is good, particularly in the scene where the story of King and Dog was told, but he could have done a bit better, given the fact that the movie is a bit lengthy.

One of the concerns of the film might be its slow narrative that runs a little over two hours. The film could’ve been shorter, considering its genre and the not-so-popular star cast, but Balaji’s grip over the screenplay cannot be underestimated over the length factor. He focuses only on the plot and never wastes time to explain the circumstances that led Rekha to turn a hooker. Overall, Vidiyum Munn is an astonishing thriller, which could be best enjoyed by a true cinema fan than regular audience, who love commercial movies.

Ram-Leela (HINDI)

336747,xcitefun-ram-leela-posterStarring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Richa Chadda, Supriya Pathak and many more
Editing: Rajesh Pandey
Cinematography: Ravi Varman
Music Songs: Sanjay Leela Bhansali    Music Background: Monty Sharma
Written and Directed by : Sanjay Leela Bhansali

If Sanjay Leela Bhansali is to be believed, Gujaratis are the most colorful, passionate, violent, loud and lusty community in this country. So everyone in the fictional village of Ranjaar is permanently brawling, killing, drinking or loving. The film is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in Gujarat. The film opens with a weird gun battle between some trigger happy people and that’s what sets the ball rolling. Fire arms are easily available in this village where Ram (Ranveer) and Leela (Deepika) live. They belong to two different clans, Rajadi and Sanada that have live together but are at war and have been for the past 500 years.

Naturally, Ram, a Rajadi, falls in love with Leela, a Sanera. Ram Leela is Shakespeare on steroids and, for the first half, works wonderfully. As in his past films, Bhansali creates a hermetically sealed fictional world that has little connect with reality. But unlike in Saanwariya or Guzaarish, here he injects a robust humour and creates a gorgeous love story.

Certainly the stand-out aspect of Ram-Leela is the acting department. The second line of defense – the support cast – Richa Chadda, Gulshan Devaiah, Barkha Bisht Sengupta, Abhimanyu Singh, and Supriya Pathak as the matronly mobster Ba, are all pitch perfect in their comprehensively defined roles. The women, especially, have really understood their bits to the last detail. But the canvas belongs to Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone who match each other’s energy and conviction with relentless chemistry, making it look easy and natural.

Cinematographer Ravi Varman bathes each frame in rich, lush colours. Bhansali himself has given the music and maybe that’s the reason you see one song after another from the start till the end. But the songs are not bad and they are so beautifully shot that you enjoy them. Deepika’s dance performances in most of the songs are breathtaking. The plot becomes clumsier and clumsier and the joy we had found in the key characters is snuffed out by violence and ugliness. Which is when you start to notice how ridiculous the scenario actually is — these folks are some sort of underworld dons but you never see them actually doing anything except killing each other. Mobile phones abound and at one point there is talk of Twitter, but the village and its feuds seem to belong to another century.

Bhansali keeps you glued to the screen, gets terrific performances out of most of the actors and keeps the plot together. The film has a lot of moments that stay with you, Ram and Leela’s passionate attraction that draws them to each other is very well done and that’s what makes the kissing scenes just a part of the big picture. It’s well hyped and still surpasses all expectations. For me this Ram-Leela is a masterpiece, but with a little bit of over action and bad ending..!

Krrish 3 (HINDI)

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Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, Kangana and many more
Editing: Chandan Arora
Cinematography: S. Thiru
Music Songs: Rajesh Roshan    Music Background: Salim – Sulaiman
Written and Directed by : Rakesh Roshan

Superheroes have been around in Hindi cinema for decades, but huge technology jumps have made Krrish 3 the slickest of them all, special effects-wise. The rest of it is marred by tackiness. When Krrish is doing his derring-do stunts, we watch, even if we’ve seen Superman do this 30 years ago. But when he delivers maudlin dialogue about fathers and mothers and bravery, we are pulled back to the ground with a thud, with the superhero the Roshans made.

The soppy but sweet Koi Mil Gaya‘s socially challenged but brilliant Rohit begets Krishna, who finds his super-powers in Krrish. Both the ageing Rohit and Krishna star in this film, and both roles are played by Hrithik. Priyanka, playing Krishna’s TV reporter wife, has to look on admiringly as Hrithik does his standard dance number.

The climax, which includes Kaal, the chief baddie played by an unblinking Vivek Oberoi in white-washed makeup and a tin-can ripped suit, has everything from Transformers: Dark of the Moon to Superman’s tussle with Doomsday. One of the better turns, however, was Kangana’s Kaya – a shape shifter femme fatale with a woman’s heart. While Ms. Renaut, or the rest of the cast, propose nothing new, Rohit and the family in trouble angle is enough to help whiz the nearly three hour slot away in a jiffy.

The songs could have been avoided and background score is good, but unable to amp up the magnitude of the film. For sheer vision, bravado and superlative execution, this one soars to new orbits. The two final actions scenes of the film – one in the villain’s lab, the other over the city of Mumbai – leave behind loads of rubble, emotional and physical. Mercifully, the film doesn’t. It passes muster because of the consistently high quality of its CGI and the undeniable power of a known franchise. In Krrish 3, familiarity breeds an easy connect. Latch on to this cape for an exhilarating ride. You might not like this film if sci-fi, fantastical films are not your scene.

Irandam Ulagam (TAMIL)

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Starring: Arya, Anushka, Venkatesh Harinathan and many more
Editing: Kola Bhaskar
Cinematography: Ramji
Music Songs: Harris Jayaraj    Music Background: Anirudh
Written and Directed by : Selvaraghavan

Love is everywhere. It is here and also in the unseen worlds. The thought of love itself is beautiful and Selva’s latest movie takes it to the next level. But let me warn you that it is not an ordinary work which could be a trap for regular audience! Having said that it has an alluring magic of visuals that will enchant you. The film starts with a quote that tells us that there are many worlds in this universe, and people like us could exist in any of these worlds, and people who die do not necessarily depart us.

The film’s plot involves two romances — one that is set in our world and the other in a fantasy world. How one of these love stories inspires the other and what true love can do to a person is what the film is all about. In the real world, Anushka plays Ramya, a doctor, who is in love with Madhu Balakrishnan (Arya), a college professor. While in the fantasy world, she plays Varna, a high spirited, warrior-like character who deeply values her freedom. She is desperately pursued by Maruvan (Arya again), who is madly in love with her. Alternating between both worlds, the story progresses smoothly, like your average love story, until just before the interval, when the director introduces a dramatic twist.

Selva is a genius and you can only acknowledge it when you keenly observe the reason behind his lead characters. In Irandam Ulagam, he creates two extremely opposite characters played by Arya and Anushka. While Anushka is a simple girl with middle class aspirations in the real world, she plays an independent warrior in the alternate fantasy world with extreme hatred towards marriage. The contradiction in the characters only points out that women are most independent when they are single and marriage weakens them.

The biggest drawback could be slow narration of the story in the first half. While the imaginary world raises curiosity, Selva’s other plot struggles to keep you engaged. Arya and Anushka fits the bill perfectly where Anushka takes an upper hand. The visual experience created by cinematographer Ramji is truly spectacular. He deserves full credit for bringing to life a beautiful new world, a magical place shrouded in mystery and filled with brilliant colors.  Graphics are pleasant but not so bad when compared to other recent flicks. The music heightens the atmosphere and Anirudh has done exceptionally well in BGM’s. The songs, scored by Harris Jayaraj, the lyrics, the picturisation as well as the vocals, everything fits beautifully.

Selva preaches love and he makes us realize that it comes with pain and separation even in an imaginary world. He reiterates that love remains pure even in a fantasy world, but human race is not and never will be. Irandam Ulagam caters to a different set of the audience but not for the masses. It takes a viewer with higher intelligence to decipher what the story is all about. Hats off to the entire team for such a tremendous work. If you have a liking for love and
pure love films, you can be ready for a fantasy ride.

The Villa – PIZZA 2 (TAMIL)

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Starring: Ashok Selvan, Sanchitha, Nasser, Pizza Jayakumar, Boys Rajan, Veera Santhanam and many more
Editing: Leo John Paul
Cinematography: Deepak Kumar
Music: Santhosh Narayanan
Written and Directed by : Deepan

First things first. There was much speculation about the film being a sequel to Pizza, which was one of the most original and acclaimed horror movies of recent years. Besides the title, however, Pizza 2 – The Villa has absolutely no connection to that film, the name has been used as a franchise by the producer, who perhaps plans to release an entire Pizza series.

The story of Pizza 2 – The Villa revolves around a young writer, Jebin (Ashok Selvan), who has inherited a villa in Puducherry after his father Nasser’s death. Aarthi (Sanchitha) a painter is his love interest. Although Jebin wants to sell the villa, he moves in temporarily to write his second book. He finds the house full of beautiful antique furniture and paintings. One particular painting, which seems like the blueprint of the house, leads him to a locked room, where he finds still more paintings. To his surprise, Jebin finds that the paintings tell a story, in sequence, which pretty much reflects his own life story, accurately predicting the events happening in his life and ending with his violent death. Jebin feels helpless and terrified as things continue to happen as predicted. The suspense lies in whether he can escape the prophetic end.

Firstly, the credit for churning out a brilliant movie should go to director and newcomer Deepan Chakravarthy. The run time of The Villa is just 1 hour and 42 minutes. Indeed, it is the shortest Tamil movie in the recent years. Deepan has also brought out the best from his technical team and it comes as a big plus point to the flick.

Performance wise, Ashok Selvan and Sanchitha are just okay. One would expect actors to set a perfect mood with their emotions in this genre and the duo, though budding actors, doesn’t emote well but the biggest hero is editor Leo John Paul. His crisp editing stands out as a winner. Santhosh Narayanan has delivered an extraordinary background score for The Villa. And also his songs are short, which doesn’t distract the audience. Deepak Kumar’s cinematography is outstanding. His camera movements and angles are brilliant.

The movie takes a little over 30 minutes to settle down and get to the point. The time taken is vast compared to its short runtime. Second half has some effectively executed scenes like showcasing negative energy, showing the climax destiny effect. Nevertheless, many scenes fail to add up to the spooky factor. The ending, thus, is inevitable. We sit up expecting a twist, revealed with a flourish, but the understated nature of what actually happens is perhaps the bigger twist.

Gravity 3D (ENGLISH)

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‘In space nobody can hear you scream’. This phrase perfectly suits Gravity, a nail-biting journey that’s as nerve-wracking as it is technically impressive. Two astronauts, George Clooney’s Matt Kowalski and Sandra Bullock‘s Ryan Stone, are adrift in space after disaster strikes during a shuttle mission to the Hubble Telescope.

We feel awe from the start. The film opens with a 12-minute sequence of seamless action in which Matt, Ryan, the giant telescope and the shuttle that brought them there float serenely above a vast, floating Earth until all hell suddenly breaks loose in the form of space debris. While seeing the Earth from space is often a fleeting movie experience, the outrageously-long opening sequence here is worthy of its own.

A woman in space for the first time and a spectacular disaster, with the inestimable advantage from a story-telling perspective that it is all make-believe, and can last as long as the director (Alfonso Cuaron) wants. Two decades after Speed, Bullock has found the perfect receptacle for her humor and intelligence where Ryan’s courage is matched by her intellect. Clooney is movie-star charismatic, even in a subordinate role, a feat that he manages almost entirely with his voice, since he’s encased in spacewalk wardrobe from start to finish. His character isn’t there for complexity.

The 3-D photography is effective, sometimes stunningly so, but never calls undue attention to itself. As you sit in the cinema hall, you too will feel the entertainment changes and rippling your face. Thats the effect this film gives. This glorious creation, less sci-fi and more a thriller set in space, makes you breathless with excitement. Guess you will be sighting the sky next time you whenever you see anything over there..!!