Tuesday, December 10, 2013

'Riddick' - a masterpiece of ridicule


Even before Paul Walker died, 'Fast and Furious 6' was screened twice at Majestic City cinema in Colombo's Bambalapitiya ward, with the phrase 'BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND' posted on the billboard the second time it was erected on Galle Road in Sri Lanka's busy main street. But now I understand why no cinema in the whole island was interested in screening the definitively named 'Riddick' - though however outrageous Vin Diesel's testosterone filled films usually are, they are thronged by millions of females attracted to an alpha male like moths to a moon.

But calling Diesel's latest vehicle riddick-ulous may be giving it more credit than it deserves because sometimes the more outrageous a film becomes, you could actually enjoy it - like I having watched 'The Core' more than one time. Sure, the third film still has retained its classic inter-planetary look but, call it a cosmic coincidence, the big budget 'Riddick' suffers from a lack of credible visual effects that, if the movie was any brighter, I am sure it would have revealed the defects of his improperly rendered pet which itself is an undecided crossbreed between a wolf, a tiger and Ridley Scott's alien planted with Avatar-esque ears.

Whenever I list 'Pitch Black' as one of my all-time favorite movies, my "intellectual" friends always joke about it but then that film had an engaging quality not least because of Diesel's gigantic presence. But the one-liners/monologues/soliloquies of the third sequel is so sickening that you wonder whether this was a world record attempt to make a Razzie-deserving worst movie of all time. Only a true artist could come  up with a textbook case like this film which should be taught to budding filmmakers and students in all film theory classes of the 1001 Things To Avoid When Making A Feature Film. Diesel may be perfect as Riddick because his glow-in-the-dark eyes have an arresting ethereal quality to them but anyone who ever had any respect for a thing called a 'screenplay' should definitely avoid a crash course with this runaway engine.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Savoy "3D"...misleading marketing?

Krrish 3's poster at "Savoy 3D" cinema in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has that "3D and Real D" written in small letters at the bottom. And a huge billboard near the Wellawatte petrol shed on Galle Road states that Krrish 3 will be released "at Savoy 3D and worldwide in November".

And my point? Don't be duped. The film being released at "Savoy 3D" doesn't mean that all those films get a 3D release - as I found out recently to my inconvenience. It seems that "Savoy 3D - Wellawatte" actually seems to be the name of the cinema! Read more


Sunday, August 25, 2013

MADRAS CAFÉ: A rare engaging political thriller from Bollywood

REVIEW by Hilath

It’s not every day that you come across from Bollywood what could be called a political thriller. But MADRAS CAFÉ, which was released worldwide on Friday, despite its flaws, is not one that disappoints its two-hour run.

Much in the director’s skill in execution depends on the compactness of the screenplay, to-the-point dialogue, the complementing gritty cinematography and fast-paced editing with a score that keeps you glued to the screen without aware of the frames – or time – passing.

And for once, John Abraham mercifully does not take off his shirt, even once, to distract us from the otherwise very-serious plot, perhaps because, as he said in his interview, he had to lose some muscle as Indian army officers are not necessarily beefed up and look like your average regular guy – and perhaps also because this is the first time he got the opportunity for some serious acting rather than emanating star power from his good looks. Though I have no complaints against him, I still wonder whether an actor like Ajay Devgan would have been more fit for a role like this.

While the film claims it is fictional, there is no doubt that, even if the name Rajiv Gandhi is never mentioned in the film, this is about the Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger plot to assassinate the former Indian Prime Minister. Perhaps, like Katherine Bigelow’s ZERO DARK THIRTY on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, which has the interesting tagline ‘The Biggest Manhunt in Human History’, MADRAS CAFÉ should have copied Bigelow’s “claimer” that the film was “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.”