Utpal Borpujari

November 5, 2012

DVD Reviews: The Three Musketeers, J.Edgar, War Horse, Captain America: The First Avenger

By Utpal Borpujari

The Three Musketeers

This is a modern retelling of Alexander Dumas’ classic. Treated as an adventure film, befitting the novel’s tone and tenor, it stars Logan Lerman, Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich and Christoph Waltz. The film has some breathtaking special effects as it tells the story of Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Porthos (Ray Stevenson) and Aramis (Luke Evans) — the three warriors serving the king of France. They, along with a young understudy, embark on a dangerous mission to foil a plot to kill the king. Full of action, this is a film that keeps one on the edge of the seat.
Dir: Paul W S Anderson Language: English Reliance Home Video; Rs599

J. Edgar

This one is right up star-turneddirected Clint Eastwood’s alley, with a gritty story about a real-life hero who has his own demons to tackle. J. Edgar Hoover was one of America’s most powerful law enforcers for nearly five decades as the head of FBI, who did not bat an eyelid to bend the rules if it was needed to uphold the rule of the law. He was equally admired and despised, but was someone who could never be ignored. Eastwood creates a gripping drama about the man’s personal and professional lives, and has the always-dependable Leonardo DiCaprio essaying the title role with the elan required to bring out the character of the man he portrays. With a stellar cast comprising Naomi Watts and Judy Dench, J. Edgar is a biopic that keeps one glued to the seat.
Dir: Clint Eastwood Language: English Reliance Home Video; Rs599

War Horse

This is an animal film with a difference, and the difference is that it uses a horse who witnesses the tumultuous events surrounding the World War I as his gets owned by various men. An adaptation of British author Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s novel, ‘War Horse’ is visually stunning as all Steven Spielberg films are guaranteed to be. But the film’s emotional chord wavers as the story goes on and on. Perhaps a shorter duration would have made it a much more compelling viewing, but nevertheless, it is a commendable effort to understand the devastations brought about by a war as ‘seen’ by a horse. This critically acclaimed film had received six Academy Awards nominations, two Golden Globe Awards and five BAFTAs.
Dir: Steven Spielberg Language: English Reliance Home Video; Rs599

Captain America: The First Avenger

As superheroes come, Captain America has been quite different than the others of his ilk, thanks to the fact that he is the one who woke up after a long hibernation that he accidentally finds himself in during the World War II. But that is where the dissimilarity ends vis-à-vis other superheroes. Ultimately, he is the American superhero out to save the world from various super-villains and the certain doom that they threat to bring about. Indeed, this one even comes wrapped in the American flag, so there is no ambiguity that his creators intended to project him as the super-citizen of the earth. Like all superhero movies, it is fun as it lasts, but it’s no patch on the X-Men, Iron Man or Batman series.
Dir: Joe Johnston Language: English Reliance Home Video; Rs599

(Published in Seven Sisters Post, http://www.sevensisterspost.com, 27-09-2012)


July 1, 2012

DVD Reviews: Land Gold Women, Buenos Aires 1977, The Mahabharata, Viva Cuba, The Ides of March

By Utpal Borpujari

Land Gold Women

Behind the façade of modernity lie the ugly realities of life — more so in
the societies of South Asia and other nations with significant expatriate populations. Take the UK, with a huge population of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans, where the action of this film is set. This directorial debut by Avantika Hari has under focus a small British Asian family caught between their traditional past and tumultuous present. Shot in Birmingham, the film holds a dark secret at its core, which shockingly unfolds towards the climax in a story that revolves around a fatherdaughter relationship. A powerful and relevant film that unfolds idyllically, it has been the winner of a clutch of awards, including the National Award for the Best English film.

Dir: Avantika Hari, Language: English, Junglee Home Video; Rs 299

Buenos Aires 1977

Nominated for the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this thriller is a superb example of edge-of-the-seat cinema. Set during the fascist period of Argentina, it is the story of Claudio, a goalkeeper in a Bleague soccer team who is kidnapped by the military government and tortured at a detention centre known as Sere Mansion. The detention exposes Claudio to a world of nightmares and he has to fight for survival every minute. As everything points to the likelihood of his execution at the hands of the fascists, Claudio makes a desperate bid for escape one stormy night along with three of his co-prisoners. A grim story that spellbinds the viewer, it will keep you glued to your seat till ‘the end’ sign comes up.

Dir: Israel Adrián Caetano, Language: Spanish, Shemaroo World Cinema; Rs 349

The Mahabharata

If you love theatre, grab this. This Peter Brook play, adapted from the great Indian epic, comes with Hindi as its language — probably the only dampening feature as the play actually has a multinational cast who speak English in the original play. Nonetheless, this recorded version of the famous play still is a collector’s item, especially for Brook’s grandiose production and interpretation of what is perhaps the world’s most engrossing epic. The DVD comprises a six-hour abridged version of the original nine-hour play that was developed over a period of eight years by award-winning writer Jean-Claude Carriere. The recording of the Emmy Award winner for the best performing arts programme has been remastered and restored for this DVD.

Dir: Peter Brooks, Language: Hindi, Shemaroo; Rs 499

Viva Cuba

Considered the first children’s film to come out from Cuba, this Grand Prix Ecrans Juniors Award winner at the Cannes Film Festival has equally interesting stories both in it as well as in its making. It is the story of Malù and Jorgito. Malù comes from an upper-class family and her single mother frowns at the idea of her playing with Jorgito. Jorgito’s mother, a poor socialist, also forbids him from playing with Malù as she is too proud of her family’s social standing. But the power of innocence that is inherent in every child is underestimated by both the mothers. The story develops further as the children find out that Malù’s mother is planning to leave Cuba for good, and to prevent it, they travel to the other side of the island in search of Malù’s father, a lighthouse keeper, to persuade him against signing the requisite forms. The real names of the kids who played the characters were actually Malù Tarrau Broche and Jorgito Milò Avila, and many scenes in the film were played out by them purely out of their imagination.

Director: Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti, Language: Spanish, Shemaroo World Cinema; Rs 349

The Ides of March

An adaptation of Beau Willimon’s 2008 play Farragut North, this political
thriller has a power-packed cast led by George Clooney, also the director of the film. Starring Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei, the events of the film happen during the days running into the heavily-contested Ohio presidential primary, when an upand-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. How he is able to come out clean forms the crux of the story. A good weekend viewing it is.

Director: George Clooney, Language: English, Reliance Home Video; Rs 599

(Published in Seven Sisters Post, http://www.sevensisterspost.com, 16-06-2012)


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