Categories
cinema cinema:tamil

2.0: Hollow Spectacle

2point0

 

Shankar’s sci-fi sequel begins in twilight.  A wonderfully constructed suicide; it could very well be a testimony to the director himself.

 

Is the Shankar sun really setting?

 

If it is, then it really wants us all to remember the previous glory.

2.0 is an oddly stitched together film of mostly “Shankar elements”, who knows this movie can give rise to an ‘Ultimate Shankar Movie Checklist’

 

Here goes an initial draft:

Shankar’s main vigilante will want to kill people to make things right because no one listens to him- Check

He might use some ancient text/symbol/martial art to justify/aid his killing- Check

Vigilante will compete himself & previous Shankar films in devising improbable deaths- Check

Using common folk to convey the confusion about what is happening on the ground or “public pulse” shots- Check

A set piece in a stadium- Check

Amy Jackson’s ….never mind – Check

Corrupt businessmen and politicians- Check

 

Ok, yes there is a lot more which we left out including the minister’s secretary wearing safari suit (Check).

Directors tend to repeat themselves, happens all the time man.

We understand that people can run out of ideas and would very much recycle existing works; marketing has a fancy name for this called “re-purposed content”.

The beauty of such content is in making it feel like a whole new experience, in 2.0 the opposite happens and the regular stream of Shankar references also do not help.

The film reaches fantastical levels of unconvincing-ness when Akshay Kumar turns up as prosthetic Pakshirajan or bird-man who somehow has summoned the dead spirits of sparrows to take away cell phones from humans. He believes that humans+cell phones have caused the caused the sparrow deaths and they must be punished. He also believes in wearing a sweater in Thirukazhukundram (70 Km from Chennai).

Dr. Vaseegaran on the other hand believes no man is match for bird-man and summons up Chitti ( The robot from Endhiran). Yep, that’s it; very simple.

Shankar and his team of writers (including Jeyamohan who is writing the Mahabharata in modern form) have gone to the Keep It Simple School of Screenwriting.

If there is a problem, then there is an immediate solution and the protagonist knows what it really and exactly is and hence there is no real tension. Even when a gigantic metallic bird threatens to destroy the city.

Let alone the story, 2.0 refuses to engage in complexities in its science too; everything is reduced to positive and negative. This reductive science approach undertaken to cater to the breadth of the audience ends up hurting the film which after a while feels like a hollow assemblage of well rendered visual effects.

Immediate wow-factor not withstanding 2.0 also overstays its welcome, so eager it is to show us this spectacle that it forgets that the film is pretty much over before the titular 2.0 appears.

2.0 is again Rajnikanth who in the absence of good writing and an effective BGM makes those scenes work with ‘that’ trademark laugh and quips, but by this time it is difficult for humans to really feel connected for the final forty minute action display.

Very early on in the film, an engineering student falls ‘immediately’ in love over the immaculate beauty that is Nila (Amy Jackson) only to fall immediately out of love when he comes to know that Nila is in fact a humanoid robot.

Good to look at, but nothing much beyond that.

Oh wait, that’s the movie too.

 

Categories
cinema cinema:tamil FRS Uncategorized

FRS: 24

A note on the Fawlty Rating System (FRS)

*Initially thought about in 1934, it came to fruition only in the late 2000s.

*It is the only movie rating system in the universe to be based on a Buddhist scroll that was actually written by an Irish traveller who had been an assistant director in the movie “Birth of a nation”, the scroll was curiously titled “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari to make a Baahubali”

*The rating system is now named after the Irish Traveller, a small portion of the proceeds from this review will go to a bhel puri vendor in an undisclosed street corner for secret reasons.

*All numbers and words are arbitrary, mostly imaginary. They do not mean anything

A note on the Fawlty Rating System Ends

suriya_24_20012016_m

Let’s just get this straight, this is not an A for Attempt, E for Effort kind of review.

+89: The watch.

So this is a concept, the watch makes you go forward and backward in time, we like it; honestly we love it, there are immense possibilities that one can do with time travel, like say unite lost lovers, prevent wars or do something like Netru Indru Nalai. (which had a full blown time machine).

We like good concepts, so what do you do when you can control the uncontrollable viz. time?

The watch is also well designed, in fact that would be the next rating

+22: Attention to detail

Right so everything from the watch, the lab of Sethuraman which looks like one imagined by an author of steam-punk novels.

-231.455: Mismatch

I really get it that the writers and the director have re-imagined 1990 Tamil Nadu, which has an English castle, harry potter train and maple trees and Mad Max type bike racer henchmen, but the 2016 of Tamil Nadu is just like how it is now? Dei, i mean, dei!!!What happened to the Harry potter train?

-18: Suriya

Like OK, we realise we will mostly be killed by fans after this, but FRS committee has always held the view that there are limited characters that this actor can pull off, we know that we could be wrong entirely but consider us for one moment.

Suriya plays three characters

  1. Mani: ok this is the ‘normal’ guy we are supposed to identify with, he is exactly the same as ‘Ayan’ Suriya or the non Bodhidharmar ‘7am’ Suriya, in fact..never mind…what we are saying is…ok…not working…see there is a difference the way Kamal played PP Raja from ‘Savaal’, Raja from ‘AS’ and PKS from ‘PKS’ all three speak the same dialect but….ok..not going to go further on this point. Just saying Suriya plays the same guy, hence limiting.
  2. Sethuraman: this is the old Suriya from Varanam Aayiram who didn’t die but borrowed Stephen Hawking’s wheel chair.
  3. Athreya: coming to the much talked about character, who himself proclaims that he is a hard core villain, so that ends there.

That’s it not saying anything more about characters and all.

-20: Naming

Ok so, this Inventor Sethuraman has a brother named Athreya??

Like mean they seem to have been born in a royal type family(they have castle in the woods) which consults extensive naming books before naming twins like for example (Arpan-Darpan), this Sethuraman-Athreya naming convention, we dunno not working that’s all.

Another character named Mani, to drive in the ‘Time’ theme of the movie.

-58: Saravana Stores on my mind

Product placement!!! And whenever Suriya smiles it looks exactly like the one where he invites all our family members to visit the store.

 

-25: Ladies

This is in line with existing traditions only, mothers will be sacrificing and will only be worried about getting their sons married.

Girls will believe whatever hero says, especially in the time of google-android-shizz at your fingertips, like if the hero tells that there is disease you are suffering from, girl will believe, no questions asked; yeah yeah it is very cute and all.

And they fall in love.

-5: Poovum, Pottum (flowers and bindi)

Again concept, girl becomes divine with this and all heroes will force this on all heroines so that they become divine. Later they will rise to heaven.

+78: Malinga made fun of.

-300.9: Watch-mechanic as a lucrative career option

Like sir, what’s the time?

Man takes mobile phone and tells us the time, see NO WATCH. So in these no-watch times, the protagonist runs what seems to be a really successful enterprise here and he also rides a Royal Enfield Cafe Rider, also more points would be deducted for not even mentioning that it was bought on loan(was it?).

Think about the EMI, guys.

-100: Every time hero mentions one phrase, full theatre resorted to collective sighs, the air released during these sighs caused more suffocation and a near death experience

-40.9: Generic songs, generic bgm disappointing when visually the movie has so much to show, the music does little to heighten the experience.

Even more so on the supporting actors, they have little or no space to play.

+120.003: But wait! It ain’t that kind of movie!

No it isn’t, we are nitpickers.

24 is bang on track when it keeps to its time travel concept. The interval and the initial portions are absolutely well done, which kept us guessing on what could be the next move, similar scenes were observed in the second half as well; but then the deviations were too in the face to ignore,for example the whole love and family track.

Like if you think an entire family going on ‘moun vrat’ for a single day is cute, then you can erase all the minus ratings that we have put out.

Also if you are irritated, think that this is not film criticism, we suggest you to scroll up to read a short note on FRS.

Thank you.

 

 

Categories
cinema cinema:english

CONTAGION: DEATH BY UNKNOWN CAUSES

Wash you hands.

Contagion directed by Steven Soderberg occupies a small corner in the apocalyptic movie genre, death by bio hazards. The idea of mass destruction and the fears of its aftermath are favorite topics of American filmmakers, which in a way reflect the fears of the US of A. The thought that we might all die someday is evident, but to die without knowing what we all die off is indeed scary.

Wash your hands. Again.

So when reports of an epidemic come about , the first thing that the homeland security department can think of are a plot against America but later realize their folly when MEV-1 spreads all over the globe.

This unknown agent of death first attacks Beth played by Gwyneth Paltrow an American returning from Hong Kong and from there to the rest of the world. The utter brilliance of the movie lies with its actors just because that not for even a moment they appear to act and are their characters right from the start. Take for example Soderbergh regular Matt Damon who looks very much the ‘at home dad’ who is immune to MEV-1, Kate Winslet as the selfless Epidemic Intelligence officer and Laurence Fisburne as the guilt ridden chief from the center for disease control.

Jude Law gets to play the best part in the movie and he does it with ease, the movie written by Bourne Ultimatum writer Scott Z Burns blends science with fiction to present a taut race to find a cure for the epidemic.

Contagion in my opinion is a good science thriller which is realistic at the same time dealing with human emotions and fears. Chances are you might think twice before you touch your face again.