Wednesday, December 28

My Review - Barney's Version

What's not to like about Barney's Version, really? Paul Giamatti, one of my very favourite actors, playing the title role of Barney Panofsky, a funny looking jewish guy, smoker, drinker and hockey lover. A man who admires art, is a total wreck, and yet somehow keeps landing these HOT women every now and then.

An adaptation of a novel by the same name by Canadian writer Mordecai Richler, Barney's Version is essentially a lifestory of Barney's(Giamatti) adventures in love and marriage to three beautiful(and out-of-his-league) women. Minnie Driver and Rosamund Pike(the Bond Girl from Die Another Day) play the two wives for whom Barney is married for the longest time. His beautiful relationship with Miriam(Rosamund Pike) is one of the highlights of the film. Giamatti is absolutely brilliant as the bumbling Barney. Easily one of his best performances;at least from the ones I have seen(Cinderella Man, Sideways, Lady in the Water). Dustin Hoffman plays an excellent supporting role as Barney's father, friend and guide and has some of the best one-liners.

Four stars and a Must Watch recommendation! 

Giamatti received a Golden Globe for this one.

Friday, December 16

My Review - Funny People

From the opening credits itself you get the feeling that this one would be a great watch. Directed by Judd Apatow and starring Adam Sandler and Apatow regulars like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann etc, Funny People starts on a good note.

George Simmons(Sandler) is a successful stand up comic slash movie star diagnosed with a rare life threatening disease. Simmons has no family or friends, GF or otherwise, leads a pretty lonely life sleeping with random women here and there and is seemingly, selfish. Ira Wright, played by Rogen, is a struggling stand up comic looking to make his mark while his roomies are making decent money with dim witted TV shows. They meet by chance and George takes Ira under his wings as an assistant slash confidant. George gets a friend and Ira gets to write jokes for him and learn from 'the best in the business'. Ira is also introduced to Laura(Mann), George's ex, who is married with two kids. She lets George know that she misses him and her husband(Eric Bana) also cheats on her just as George used to do. Meanwhile, the twist in the story comes from the fact that George starts responding to medicine and is on his way to recovery.

I had a lot of expectations from this one. I like Sandler, however low-brow and crass his movies might seem to be. But this one doesn't make the cut. Sandler is unconvincing as the womanizing George. He does not have 'that' personality. A 'Robert Downey Jr' would have been perfect here. The dialogues have an overdose of the word 'big cock' which get annoying after a point of time. The only saving grace is Seth Rogen, who in a stark contrast to playing a foul-mouthed guy in most of his movies, goes reserved and subtle here. Some of the moments he has with George, his roomies and 'the girl he likes' are the high points of the film. 

At 2 hours and 35 minutes, its too long as well. 

2 stars for the movie and 1 extra for Seth Rogen. *Rajeev Masand style*. Dissapointing!

Friday, December 9

My Review - 50 50

Tagline  It takes a pair to beat the odds.

50/50 stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as Adam (Leonardo Di Caprio's assistant/partner-in-crime from Inception) and Seth Rogen as his best friend Kyle (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People, Kung Fu Panda). Adam on a routine visit to his doctor learns that he has a rare form of cancer which he may or may not survive. This, in a nutshell, is the story. 

What happens from here is how Adam copes with the disease, with his girlfriend walking out on him, demands from his mother to let her take care of him, Kyle's ridiculous and supremely funny suggestions on how Adam should hit on girls in bars, his friendships with fellow cancer patients and his awkward and unique relationship with Katherine, played by the lovely Anna Kendrick(George Clooney's newbie assistant in Up in the Air). 

Some moments in the movie are heart-wrenching, like when Adam discovers the cancer healing books Kyle has been reading, or when he hugs his mother not wanting to leave her, seconds before his surgery or when he has a nervous breakdownThe best part of the movie is that even though Adam's pain is visible, the suffering is never overdone(Sanjay Bhansali, some tips for you). 

Subtle. Funny. Emotional. 4 stars. 

P.S. - Bryce Dallas Howard is a total waste in the role of Adam's girlfriend.

Tuesday, December 6

My Review - World's Greatest Dad

This was probably my first Robin Williams movie. Ahh I know. Sad. I always thought of him as a funny guy. But this recommendation for the 2009's 'World's Greatest Dad' from Mihir Fadnavis introduced me to a number of things - Robin Williams, the serious actor, Bobcat Goldthwait, the cult movie maker and a whole new style of Black Comedy. 

Williams stars as Lance Clayton, a single father and high school English teacher. A kind of softish guy, who has his own dreams of becoming a successful writer. His son, Kyle, a 15 year old sex-obsessed sociopath, hates him and repulses every attempt made by his father to bond with him. Kyle only has one friend, Andrew, who spends his evenings at the Clayton house due to some issues at home(parents again). Andrew admires Lance for what he is what he is trying to be even as Kyle does not leave any opportunity to demean his Dad.

Lance's life is torn apart one fine evening when he discovers that Kyle has accidentally killed himself while ....emmm.......masturbating. To avoid embarrasment, he disguises the death as a suicide along with a (suicide)note that he writes himself. The unexpected twist that the story takes from here gives Lance whatever he has ever wanted in life, until it starts to suffocate him. 

Williams gives a brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT performance as Lance Clayton. They way he portrays his loneliness, hesitation and love for his hostile under-achieving son is absolutely spot on. Refreshing story, perfect screenplay, apt dialogues and some fine performances by the entire cast make for a great watch. 

Hats off to Bobcat Goldthwait for the brilliant direction!!! 5 stars and a Must See rating on this one.