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Mar 282014
 




By Madmax673

Noah director and writer Darren Aronofsky is pretty clear about two things.

He doesn’t want all his audience to feel comfortable with his flick.

He is resolute to make you squirm.

Hey, he wants to make a statement too.

And for that, he has taken to the Bible, his own version.

Story

Following a few title fade-ins that most of us know, we are introduced with the branches of Adam and Eve – the descendants of Cain (Evil) and Noah, the descendant of Seth (Good).

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Apparently God is fed up with Earth and decides to destroy it.

Unlike what Genesis says director Darren Aronofsky curses us oops presents us with VFX hints to Noah that the world is going to end in the form of a flood.

Now Noah has to create an Ark that will carry his family, animals, birds, snakes etc.

But Noah needs some form of support. That comes in the form known as “Watchers”.

Instructions are given and Noah starts building the Ark.

Complications arise when “Tubal Cain” and his group seek a place aboard and Noah denies them. Tubal Cain looks like a good guy. I guess this is where the director might have thought right out of the box.

While these so called complications are escalating along with the deadline for flood, Noah sons, Ham and Shem’s, (excluding Japheth), sexual urges are at stake.

Poor fellas need a partner for reproduction after destruction of Earth. So they keep running around. Shem has a girlfriend in the form of “Ila”. Unfortunately she is barren out of a wound early on in the story.

So how all these get fixed and Noah makes his Ark and ride forms the rest of the story.

Here is a list of what I noticed.

* The “Watchers” are easily one of the ugliest, least imaginative creatures I’ve seen for a while. The director looks clueless.

* There wasn’t a single moment where I rooted for Noah.

* Shem and Ham’s libido takes center stage for a fair bit of screen time and I found myself rooting for them instead. Unfortunately it’s a PG 13 movie.

* Even Noah’s wife, “Naameh” (Jennifer Connelly) is devastated about the fact that the flood is gonna mess up their sons’ sexual future.

* This whole Shem, Ham and Naameh sub-plot takes too much screen time. Continue reading »

Mar 012014
 

Put God First and Everything Else will Follow.
- Jesus in the movie Son of God

If you ask me, Jesus of Nazareth was either a blithering idiot, clueless about key concepts like balance of power, or had more than one screw loose.

Most likely, a combination of two loose screws and a feeble intellect ended up unwittingly creating the world’s greatest religion with a huge following among those with three screws loose (for the record, all religions are nonsense).

Now no review about a Jesus film can start without a brief introduction to the Son of God himself.

By scholarly accounts, Jesus of Nazareth was illiterate and a daily wage coolie (most likely a woodworker/ carpenter) in the nearby town of Sepphoris.

If Jesus were in present day America, the Whites would label him a Mexican and seek to deport him. ;)

It’s possible Jesus was also a bastard, born to Mary when she willingly spread her legs for a Roman soldier named Panthera or unwillingly had her legs parted (raped). Take your pick!

Historical evidence about Jesus is scant beyond the delusional Jew’s existence and crucifixion for leading a movement that the occupying Roman force led by Pontius Pilate likely considered a minor irritation.

Jesus was not someone unusual in those days. After all, with “apocalyptic fever in the air” (read Reza Aslan’s book Zealot), Jesus was only one among several whackos (Theudas, the Samaritan, the Egyptian, Hezekiah, Simon of Peraea etc) in that era who anointed themselves with bizarre titles like Messiah, Son of Man or Son of God and were ultimately beheaded or crucified for their zany antics.

Son of God – Junk

A tedious, tiresome, fawning, unimaginative movie utterly lacking in any drama, Son of God is a curse on all viewers except the most devout Jesus acolytes.

The pictures of Jerusalem and the Temple are amateurish graphics, the acting of Jesus (the Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado) and some of the minor cast pathetic, the writing hopeless and the overall effect one of a dilettante taking a shot at the movie business.

Christopher Spencer ‘directed’ this epic farce and along with three others butchered the screenplay. Continue reading »

Feb 232014
 

(Thanks to SI Blog reader rvasam who first alerted me to the lift)

Let’s get to the big question right away.

Is Bollywood film Highway a lift of the 1994 Hollywood movie The Chase?

The short answer – Yes, to a significant, unignorable, inexcusable, unpardonable degree.

There are far too many similarities between Highway and The Chase to be dismissed as mere coincidence.

Highway Robbery

Imtiaz Ali claims to have “written and directed” the Bollywood film Highway.

I will throw a sop to the Bollywood Cerberus and concede that Highway is directed by Imtiaz Ali.

But “written” by Imtiaz Ali?

Now, that’s a delusion so bizarre it can only be matched by yours truly claiming to be Alexander the Great!

Don’t make me laugh, kiddo.

Highway director Imtiaz Ali is a shameless thief and Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda are his two accomplices in crime.

In retrospect, I should have been more Argus-eyed with Imtiaz Ali.

Remember how the hit song Yeh Ishq Hai in his 2007 film Jab We Met was stolen from Anggun’s Etre Une Femme.

Imtiaz Ali is like a car thief who after purloining a two-decade-old jalopy paints it in a different color, changes the license plates, rolls back the odometer, sprays some car freshener and peddles it as new.

In short, Imtiaz Ali has stolen the plot of The Chase and Indianized it as Highway.

Also, keep in mind that Highway producer Sajid Nadiadwala is a big-time criminal who stole the plot of the French film Trois hommes et un couffin (Hollywood version: Three Men and a Baby) and regurgitated it as Heyy Babyy (Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan).

Highway – My Anguish

Rarely do I like a Bollywood movie.

Most Indian movies are unwatchable trash made by talentless scumbags for the viewing pleasure of degenerate philistines.

So when a SI blog reader mentioned last night that the new Bollywood movie Highway, one that I greatly loved, was lifted from the Hollywood film The Chase I found myself in deep anguish. Almost, in extremis!

Oh, not again, I told myself! :(

I wanted to find out if Highway was one more instance of Bollywood dickheads overcoming their poverty of imagination by stealthily stooping to deep-throat Hollywood.

And I decided the best way to determine if Highway is the nullius filius of The Chase was to see it for myself rather than rely on hearsay.

A short while ago, I completed watching The Chase and here’s my considered verdict.

Too Many Similarities – No Coincidence

Here are a whole bunch of damning similarities between Highway (2014) and the two-decade old Hollywood film The Chase (1994):

1. In both films, the basic backdrop, against which all other events happen, is the kidnapping of a young girl.

2. In both films, the kidnapping happens without intent, meaning that the crime is not planned.

3. In both films, the kidnapping happens as a result of another crime (in Highway while Mahabir is fleeing after attacking a gas-station and in The Chase when Jackson Hammond, a prison escapee, panics after the police question him about the car he’s stolen).

4. In both films, the kidnapping happens at a gas station.

5. In both films, the kidnapper is unaware he is snatching a girl from an extremely wealthy family.

6. In both films, the kidnapping is believed by outsiders to have been done for ransom though money is not the original intent. Continue reading »

Feb 172014
 
The road to power is paved with hypocrisy….and casualties. Never regret.

- Vice President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) in House of Cards Season 2, Episode 9

House of Cards Netflix TV Series

For less than the cost of a Bollywood movie ticket, once again I got to watch 13 episodes of a top-notch political drama – House of Cards, Season 2.

Darker, More Cynical

If ever the lotus eating Americans get out of their stupor and rise against their oppressive rulers in a second revolution, the TV drama House of Cards can lay claim to at least some minor credit.

Season 2 of the political series from the Netflix Instant Play streaming service debuted Friday and I quickly binged on it, completing it by Saturday evening.

Like its predecessor, the new season proved to be a riveting delight.

Solid acting, decent writing, good photography. All in all, classy stuff.

With only a bit of dramatization, House of Cards Season 2 shows America’s leaders in Congress (mainly the House of Representatives) and the administration for what they truly are – A bunch of hypocritical, self-serving, lying, corrupt, vengeful, petty bastards and thugs who’ll stop at nothing in their relentless, reckless pursuit of power and pelf (campaign contributions).

Some of the events touched upon in Season 2 – Trade war with China, illegal campaign contributions, a naval stand-off near Japan, impeachment, a deliberate murder, an accidental murder (intended victim escapes), wheeling-dealing, chicanery of a high order, lobbying and more lobbying.

One of the disappointments of the new season is that there’s absolutely no mention of the massive NSA surveillance over the American people.

Although whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations on illegal mass spying came to light as early as June 2013, there’s not a pipsqueak about the NSA shenanigans in any of the episodes. Continue reading »

Jan 162014
 

Think of an idea to change the world and put it into action.

- Writing in chalk on the green board in Trevor’s 7th-grade classroom in the Hollywood film Pay It Forward

Bollywood’s murderous thug Salman Khan has gotten out of its pen and is busy promoting its new movie Jai Ho.

Directed by Salman’s younger brother Sohail Khan, Jai Ho is scheduled to release on January 24.

If history offers us any clues, Jai Ho will be a blockbuster at the Indian box office a la Salman’s previous films Dabang, Dabanng 2 and Ek Tha Tiger.

I pray for an impossible miracle - Jai Ho should kiss the dust.

But my prayers are unlikely to be answered by Salman’s vast swineherd a.k.a. fans.

Jai Ho – Based on Pay It Forward

Since Jai Ho is a remake of the Tollywood film Stalin, it’s safe to assume that Jai Ho is a lift of the Hollywood film Pay It Forward (2000).

After all, Stalin is ‘written’ and directed by A.R.Murugadoss, who has dedicated his film career to stealing and delivering garbage.

And by all accounts, Murugadoss’ Stalin (Chiranjeevi, Trisha, Kushboo) is based on Pay It Forward.

Murugadoss’ Tamil/Hindi hit Ghajini (stolen from Chris Nolan’s Memento) too was an egregious instance of outrageous theft.

Jai Ho – Mighty Shame

It’s a mighty shame that Jai Ho is based on theft of Hollywood film Pay It Forward, albeit with some modifications.

Because it is one more instance of Salman Khan financially benefiting from a stolen Hollywood film.

Of course, Salman Khan is no stranger to crime. Continue reading »

Jan 092014
 

Venkataramana Govinda, Govinda!

Each time a Tamil film releases, I temporarily regain my faith in God, and send up the above Govinda prayer to none other than Balaji of the Seven Hills seeking divine remission from the plague.

I beseech the Lord to turn crappy Tamil movies into duds.

And each time Balaji unfailingly lets me down! :(

Balaji

Tamil Films – Satanic Rituals

When any Tamil film hits the screens, it’s cause for deep concern.

For rare is the Tamil movie that’s not repulsive to the N+100th degree.

But when the Tamil movie features Joseph Vijay or Ajith Kumar, the picture actually gets alarming and trash reaches its apotheosis.

Both Vijay and Ajith have specialized in churning out utterly worthless, cringeworthy films that only those with an IQ below 75 can enjoy.

Bereft of even the semblance of a story, the hero as an invincible do-gooder, a heroine with no role save to pout, reveal her ‘goodies’ and act like a nitwit, stunt scenes from the 1970s, and noise masquerading as music, most Tamil films featuring Vijay or Ajith are nothing but Satanic curses.

In any sane country, ‘actors’ like Joseph Vijay and Ajith would have been chased out of town, but in Tamil Nadu these mountebanks are worshiped and hailed as the new avatar of Christ or Vishnu.

In the face of such implacable Tamil stupidity even Balaji has turned impotent! :(

Veeram – Lolita Complex

Were Vladimir Nabokov alive, he surely would have penned a sequel to his classic novel Lolita.

In the sequel, the protagonist would be modeled after Tamil ‘phillum star‘ Ajith Kumar, a figure as grotesque, as cartoonish and as weird as Humbert Humbert in Lolita!

With each new film, Ajith’s heroine seems to be getting younger in age.

Ajith, Tamil cinema’s worst actor, keeps diving for younger girls in his films even as the hair on his body starts to turn snow white.

Junot Diaz put it well in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (p.123):

What straight middle-aged brother has not attempted to regenerate himself through the alchemy of young pussy.

At this rate, in a few years I will not be surprised one whit if Ajith’s heroines turn out to be younger than his daughter!

In Ajith’s upcoming film Veeram, Tammannaaaahhh Bhatia is cast as the heroine.

With a penchant for baring her midriff at the first opportunity, Tammannaaaahhh Bhatia’s sole claim to fame is that she’s a few notches worse than Ajith in the acting department.

I’ve just watched the trailer of Ajith’s upcoming film Veeram.

Mon dieu, the Veeram trailer is so asingam (awful) that I ran outside into the icy ‘Polar Vortex’ cold for relief.

Better to die of pneumonia in the snow than to endure such drivel! :( Continue reading »