Zeher / Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Movie: Zeher
Actors: Emraan Hashmi, Shamita Shetty, Udita Goswami
Director: Mohit Suri

I have no idea why the Bhatt House tries to potray this man called Emraan Hashmi as the seducer high on libido and eager to jump into bed with any female allergic to clothes. Though he does the smooching act with a mad man's frenzy, he is far from being any woman's dream guy.

So this movie is about three non-actors. The police chief Emraan who is adept at breaking bottles, chairs and tables and has neither the wits nor the composure that befits such a designation. His ex-tough-cop ex-wife Shamita Shetty who is too stiff to say a dialogue and the movie doesn't give her a chance to dance. She gives up her career first for a family and then gives up her family for the career. And finally the sexy siren Udita Goswami who lusts for Emraan and/coz has a bad husband who beats her up.

This is supposedly a thriller wherein Emraan and Shamita play the estranged married couple still very much in love with each other but love this alienation phase better. Emraan thinks of Shamita when he climbs into bed with Udita and tries to gain the audience's sympathy as to being loyal in love. And finally a murder with all evidence pointing to Emraan as the culprit who finds himself increasingly falling into a trap. And it is his ex-wife trying to handle the case and untangle the mystery.

Lets not forget to mention the soulful rendering of the song "Woh Lamhe". Newcomer singer Atif does real justice to the melody.

As for the movie, the only good point is that it ends.


Movie:Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Actor:Jim Carrey

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is the story of three awfully clever children, Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken) and Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman) who are orphaned and forced to live with their closest relative Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), who plans to do away with them in order to seize the vast fortune they have inherited subsequent to the tragic death of their parents in a suspicious fire that burnt down their house.

If you get lost in children’s flicks, like me, then go for this one. The plot has all the possible ingredients of the last two centuries of children’s books charmingly mish-mashed together. That includes Dickensian England's set and costumes, the loving family bonding that reminds you of The Railway Children, rich kids who suddenly lose their parents and are subject to the mercy of strangers (A Little Princess).

The Baudelaire children are intelligent, well-read, and like the narrator mentions, reasonably attractive. What might force you to suspend disbelief are the following : (a)The Dickensian setting is juxtaposed with the naughty usage of gadgets like car remotes, possibly a deliberate incongruity (b) the obvious inclusion of contemporary American slang in the script, not to mention the accents (c) Jim Carrey, who did another weird evil-semi-evil character in Dr.Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie.

Count Olaf is the ever-present wicked uncle who pursues the children through their search for a trustworthy guardian and a safe haven. Aunt Josephine, played by Meryl Streep, drowning in a lake of Lacramose Leeches was a nice touch, wish they had more of those. Thus they are swept from one unfortunate event to another, from one adult to another, who just never listen to children and are never worthy of their trust. Much like the real world.

Together with the use of common sense and ingenuity, and amazing communication skills, the three Baudelaire children extract themselves from several life-threatening situations. What is particularly cute is the youngest Baudelaire, Sunny, with her garbled baby talk, perpetually dragging along with the skirt of her little dress billowing behind her. The ending is mildly weepworthy when you listen to the narrator (who sounds suspiciously like Jude Law) praise the bravery of the Baudelaire children.

Incidentally, Lemony Snicket is the pseudonym for Daniel Handler, a young American children’s book writer, which would explain the mish-mash of costume, set, and script. This isn’t exactly Jumanji with its SFX and heart-thumping excitement around the corner, but like I said earlier, charming feel-good children’s movie, and not all that tragic as the narrator implies. Plus, personally, Tim Burton is the king of the morbid creepies.

-rhea daniel

karam/socha na tha

karam: John Abraham
director: Sanjay F. Gupta

Karam is a fairly watchable action flick which would have done better without the elements of romance which destroy the movie's pace and mood with awful sugary dialogues and a pathetic performance by priyanka chopra. Other than those few bits of trash, the movie does shine in its cinematography, action sequences and of course John Abraham as a mentally torn hitman.

You can definitely find traces of Quentin Tarantino especially during the opening shots with a animated sequence (Kill Bill), scenes of three hitmen sharing jokes as they go on a kill (Pulp Fiction) and the ebb and flow of colour. The action sequences too remind us of John Woo's films and John Abraham does a pretty good Tom Cruise from MI2. Despite such obvious inspirations the director has done a good job of putting it all together and tailoring them to Indian settings. Only that he fails to let go of Bollywood mush and hence spoils what would otherwise have been a good movie.

socha na tha: Abhay Deol, Ayesha Takia
director: Imtiaz Ali

After a long long time, a romantic college flick that instead of building a lot of hype actually delivers! A wonderful story of love that enthralls with its simplicity, down-to-earth "today"ish dialogues and performances that everyone of us can relate to, this is one movie you shouldn't miss.

Abhay Deol is good as the confused guy who says no to the bride (Ayesha Takia) that his parents chose for him ( thereby leading to a lot of tension between their families) but slowly finds himself drawn towards her. So he ends up bringing sorrow to his family, his girlfriend and her family and her newfound love (Ayesha) and her family too! But don't you worry, the director Imtiaz Ali sees to it that all's well at the end; and he does a damn good job of it. The songs though not superhit material, gel well with the situations. This movie is as fresh as it gets and a wonderul refreshing experience. Here's looking forward to more of Imtiaz Ali.


Constantine / Sins

Constantine : Keanu Reeves

Two hours and 65 bucks I'm never going to get them back. And to think all I expected from this movie was a decent, slightly mind-numbing action flick with a good Heaven vs. Hell plot. The plot's gone all to hell, right enough. God save anyone who tries to sit through this movie, the patience required is worthy of a Zen master.

John Constantine is a man who, due to some quirk of nature, has become a vigilante sending half-breed demons back to hell. He now faces death by lung cancer and the inevitable fate of a cop being sent to sing-sing into the general population. If he dies, he goes to hell and meets many of his deportees, who of course will be mucho happy to rend him limb by limb for all eternity. If he lives, he wants a chance to get back into Heaven. However god wants much more from this wayward sheep than simple demon deportation. He wants a real change of heart, which our angsty Constantine is not capable of. Such is the basic dilemma of our protagonist. On with the plot.

The movie is slowly leaching out of my mind as I write. I have a wonderful defense mechanism against such experiences, I forget them instanter. Let's see. We have the spear which pierced Christ found somewhere in Mexico, we have a beautiful cop who's also a psychic in denial, we have a family conflict in hell. The Son of Satan wants control of earth, unbeknownst to papa Lucifer; God has other ideas, the Archangel Gabriel is planning to turn into a conscientious objector. I don’t blame the esteemed reader for his current expression. But I warn you, I am actually putting the plot forward in a more coherent manner than the movie does. The movie meanders aimlessly around trying to make itself understood, unveiling bits and pieces that are supposed to shock and awe. Vain, vain attempts. You get the feeling there's something there, something the director's trying to say, and you keep hoping that the key is hiding behind the next frame. I strongly advise against holding your breath. The effects are quite all right, not really earth shattering. The dialogue is stinted. Keanu Reeves is incapable of saving his character. The rest of the cast is not worth much mention.

Don’t watch, please don’t watch Constantine. I hate to do this. I'm mauling a Keanu Reeves action film with a Heaven-Hell theme. I never thought I would have to. There is so much one can do with such a combo. But I have no choice. John Constantine may never repent enough to get into heaven, but after watching this movie, repentance comes naturally enough to me.

-suraj kamath


Sins: director- Vinod Pande

Priest takes fancy to girl. Priest and girl enter clandestine relationship. Priest becomes jealously possessive of girl, doesn’t want to leave the priesthood so he marries her off to some poor fool
while he continues to have his way with her. Girl and husband try to get away as the priest becomes
progressively nuerotic and murderous. - that's Sins in a nutshell for you.

The subject of a priest breaking his vows and fornicating has been explored time and again by filmmakers. Vinod Pande doesn’t exactly take the plunge here; Indian cinema’s favourite subject usually is forbidden relationships, only in this case the protagonist is a priest. Something different you would think...and then you actually see the movie, which follows every possible Hindi movie stereotype. Their might be a sincere effort here to show the hypocrisy of the Church like the affair between the priest and the girl is commonly talked about, the Church congratulates the priest with a promotion, every reason for the Catholic Church to protest against that one. (They have got an image to maintain too, right?) They needn’t worry though, Shiney seems to be the only ‘Father’ to be seen for miles, makes the clergy he belongs to even less believable. Besides, the Malayali community are a conservative lot and wouldn’t have ‘you may now kiss the bride’ as a part of its wedding ceremony when Father Williams marries Graham (Nitesh Pandey) and Rosemary (Seema Rahmani).

Rosemary’s mother stands by and does nothing as her daughter sells herself to the priest, however her
newfound concern for her daughter's welfare in the second half of the movie makes the weepy goodbye scene between them altogether unconvincing. The couple manages to flee the the clutches of the neurotic priest. She is cleansed from her sinful past, clad in a white sari and coyly telling her husband that she is pregnant, which brings to mind how Indian women normally dress after fornicating or being assaulted in the movies.

Also annoying are the attempts to authenticate the Malayali culture, the Malayali accents are confused, Seema Rahmani’s American "r" s slip out in the emotionally charged scenes, the actors themselves don’t seem too comfortable with the English language. Nitesh Pandey blusters unintelligibly through most of his part. Shiney’s raging tantrums are jerky and earsplitting.

The protagonist herself is a weak character and masochistically drawn to the priest's violent nature. She takes a quite a beating which makes you feel sorry for her. She is swung this way and that, first by the priest, then by her family, and does nothing to improve her situation until her husband comes to the rescue and shows her the way out.

The movie itself is marketed typically, the cross hanging in the poster is glaringly obvious but hey,
Sins, Jurm, Rog...all pretty much the same marketing. ‘Forbidden love’ is supposed to make it all the more alluring. So you walk into the theatre and see only half a dozen guys who probably mistook it for porn. They must have been disappointed because Seema Rahmani is leggy and thin, inpite of the blouse ripping scenes, of which there are plenty, there ain’t much to see. The soundtrack is all surprise-thriller oriented, the choir reaching crescendos during the love-making scenes.

This movie does nothing for women, has annoyed the Christian community for the ‘sensitive' portrayal of ‘forbidden love’(honestly what did the director expect?), and most certainly has done nothing for New Age Indian Cinema. If for nothing, go and see how badly it’s made.

- Sarah Bernhardt

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