Category Archives: Movie Reviews (International)

Dark. Twisted. Funny. Fucked Up. Gone Girl. #Review #GoneGirl

As I sat watching Gone Girl and the movie unravelled one of its incredible plot twists, I could sense a feeling of dread settle into couples throughout the theatre. I was transfixed at what was happening on screen – and how staggering it was – yet, I was distinctly aware that a quiet unease was creeping its way into the psyche of every couple, married or otherwise, as the theatre slowly fell into an uncomfortable silence. Perhaps this was the paranoia that the movie had projected unto me manifesting itself into a dark, perverse fantasy about the lives of others, or perhaps, Gone Girl is, in fact, the kind of movie that will make every couple momentarily reassess all that is right, and certainly all that is wrong with their relationship.

To say that Gone Girl is a thriller about a the hunt for the missing wife of a seemingly sociopathic man (or look at it as a thriller from the angle that you’ll see when you watch the film) will be a gross misjudgement of what director David Fincher and screenwriter Gillian Flynn have attempted to do with the movie, and will be a much too simplistic – and inaccurate – reduction of what is undoubtedly one of the most twisted and murky deliberations of marriage on the big screen.

That marriage is not easy is a fact that has been explored through several prisms in many a great films of our times, and of that before, from Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? to Blue Valentine. But just how f**ked up marriage, or for that matter, relationships can be, has arguably yet to be dissected in a manner in which Fincher and Flynn together do through the movie.

Gone Girl takes any and all expectations a viewer may have aligned himself with when going into the movie, and then smashes them to pieces, much like it does to every thought we may have had about the institution of marriage, or about what it means to be in a committed relationship. What the movie may do to couples watching it together is entirely dependent on just how seriously they take the movie or for that matter, just how mature or happy they are, because at its best, Gone Girl is a movie that can save a troubled marriage; and at its worst, it is the most horrid and unpleasant date movie of all time.

On the other hand, and in a most brilliant contradiction to the theme of the film, Gone Girl is also a first rate black comedy and satire. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions through the film, because its meditation on the bizarreness, incredulity, ridiculousness, stupidity, ethical and moral ambiguity, and the complete and utter disregard for professionalism that has become the media, is top class and should necessarily be seen and taken with a very big salt of pinch by everyone who works in the profession themselves.

David Fincher has used the plot of the movie to deliver a scathing diatribe on what has come to be called the ‘media circus’, where (no spoilers, don’t worry) people are put on trial and verdicts are passed without evidence, facts or even logic, where the convenient outcome is passed on the news as the right outcome, and where the consequence could be immense and tragic and yet no individual person has to take the fall – and which is why this unfortunate trend continues to grow, unabated.

Cinematically speaking, there’s nothing I can tell you that you wouldn’t know already: Fincher’s direction is outstanding, the music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is fantastic, Flynn’s screenplay is far too superior for being her first, and most other things including editing (Kirk Baxter), cinematography (Jeff Cronenweth) and the cast are near-perfect. But if there are two elements that stand tall among equals, they are the acting performances by leads Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

It’s funny how Matthew McConaughey’s McConaissance is spoken about with much ferocity all over the internet when Ben Affleck underwent a McConaissance, or Benaissance, if you may, much before he did. This is an actor whose performance does not rely on histrionics or dramatics but on subtlety – and Affleck betrays the confidence of an actor who could be, at this stage of his career, unbeatable at his game. This is a performance worthy of many rewards, and oh man, I can’t wait to see Affleck as Batman now. He’s going to fucking kill it! Since I can’t say much about Pike because of spoilers, let me say this: The greatest actress you didn’t know of so far has arrived, and how. Her performance is the stuff of legend (and I believe it would’ve been amplified if the film were to be shown without cuts).

Since I don’t need to convince you any more to go watch the movie, let me say this: I don’t think it was a perfect movie because the end didn’t go down well with me (I will write why after everyone’s seen it). And I still think Fincher’s best films are The Social Network and Fight Club. But if you are a fan of movies, and particularly of movie experiences, Gone Girl is as unique an experience as you’d get at the movies. Do not miss it.

P.S.: If you liked the film, you are going to love these alternate posters of Gone Girl: http://goo.gl/qe98H3


If you liked/disliked the piece, do leave a comment below 🙂
Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /
tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoononTwitter:
@tanejamainhoononInstagram:@tanejamainhoon,
onYoutube: /tanejamainhoon

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Reviews: D-Day, Ship of Theseus, Red 2, White House Down

4 Movies. 4 Theaters. One Day. Achievement UNLOCKED! Here are my thoughts:

1. D-Day Movie: Very, very pleasantly surprised by the movie. It’s like a less fun, less cool, less well-made version of Inglorious Basterds (and that’s a compliment!!). The entire cast is great, and Nikhil Advani deserves a National Award for getting National Awardee Arjun Rampal to act for the very, very first time. They should’ve done away with the songs (and hence, Shruti Hassan), but one reason more than enough to watch the movie is: Irrfan Khan. Man! It’s like all other actors in Bollywood are operating on one level and this guy *is* a level in himself. Hat tip to Nikhil Advani for managing to make an original Indian thriller, and for the fact that he is not Abbas-Mustan.

Ship Of Theseus: You’ve probably heard from 15,342 people (or 15,342 times from the same 3 people :p) why Ship of Theseus is a must-watch but really, this film is more than just cinema, and honestly, the ‘cinematic’ parts of the films were the only ones that actually distract from its philosophy. This is an intelligent movie about powerful ideas and it plays out like having an interesting and engaging conversation with a very smart friend. And this is probably the ONLY time you will have at an Indian theater where people will not be jeering or snickering, because the tickets are too costly to afford not paying attention!

RED 2: MARY. LOUISE. PARKER. IS. SO. FUCKING. HILARIOUS! And John Malkovich is such a dude! And well, Bruce Willis! Do you really need more of a reason to go watch the film? Okay: Helen Mirren with big bad guns. This film is like Expendables with even older people, so basically, WATCH!

White House Down: I will never understand America. Pacific Rim is a flop but Man of Steel is a massive hit. White House Down is a flop but GI Joe: Retaliation is a massive hit. Go home America, you are drunk! Agreed, White House Down is no Independence Day but it is solid fun and perfectly well worth your money and popcorn. Channing Tatum is no Bruce Willis but for a man with a name like Channing Tatum, he can do jokes, he can fight, dance, he can look pretty, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT AMERICA? WHAT MORE DOES WHITE HOUSE DOWN HAVE TO DO FOR YOU TO LIKE IT? It even has a Black President who beats a guy with his cool shoe and says: “Don’t play with my toys!” 

To sum up: D-Day: Great. Ship of Theseus: Great. Red 2: Great. White House Down: Great. This is a rare week at the movies. Go nuts!

 

Note: This post was first published on July 21, 2013

Link: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151711270793618&set=a.374244683617.158953.500158617&type=1&relevant_count=1

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Review: Kick Ass 2 (2013)

Kick-Ass 2 is only somewhat Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass 2 is not as kick-ass as Kick-Ass but it is somewhat kick-ass too. Now that I have obviously dazzled you with my superior wordplay, here’s a fact: If you replace Matthew Vaughn, the director of epic films like X-Men: First Class, Layer Cake and Stardust (who is also the producer of Snatch and Lock, Stock Two Smoking Barrels, by the way) with Jeff Wadlow, the director of Never Back Down and ‘Cry_Wolf’ (I have never heard of this film before but yes, it does have an underscore in its title),  things are not going to be the same. And they clearly aren’t.

Kick-ass 2 is not as funny, as smart, as original, as cool, as quirky, as shocking, as violent or simply as good as the original film. But if you view it as an independent movie, it is still an enjoyable enough romp, and for one reason only: Chloe Grace Moretz.

At 16, Moretz has had a career of ten years already with directors like Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Kimberley Pierce, Marc Webb and Matthew Vaughn, and more often than not, she is the best thing about the movies she stars in. In the first movie, Kick-Ass, her character of Hit Girl, a foul-mouthed 11-year-old supergirl, caused a lot of controversy, but also made most fanboys over the world count the days until she turns 18, so they could legally have a crush on her. Because that’s how awesome she is.

And she steals the show in Kick-Ass 2 again and it is only the weight of her awesomeness that carries the film through. She is undoubtedly the spunkiest superhero that’s ever been conceived, and possibly the best female superhero that’s ever made it to the big screen (though Chris O’Donnell as Robin came really close in Batman & Robin).

But wherever Moretz is absent in the film, there is a gaping void. Jim Carrey is phenomenal as Colonel Stars and Stripes but his role is a glorified cameo, and had he been given a central role, this may well have been the turning point in his declining career, and would certainly have made this film far better.

Though the rest of the eclectic cast has some fantastic actors, right from Donald Faison (Turk from Scrubs) to Steven Mackintosh (British TV’s go-to character actor) to Clark Duke (Greek), their characters are given with very little to do. I’d have *loved* to see the origin story of Dr Gravity (Faison) or how Night Bitch (Lindy Booth) transformed into a vigilante, but instead the focus is on the internal strife of Hit Girl. The problem is that the premise of the strife is absolutely ridiculous and there are points at which you feel like you’re watching a Zac Efron-starrer high school movie (not that I’d know anything about how that looks, *ahem*).

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the titular character is likeable enough but just doesn’t match up to his own performance in the first movie. Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s ‘The Motherf**ker’ is supposed to be the mockery of a supervillain, but he makes a mockery of himself. And the absence of the actors of the calibre of Nicholas Cage (He is awesome, and you know it) and Mark Strong is acutely felt.

The biggest problem though is that the stakes in this film are just far too low for anyone to really care. The supervillain in this doesn’t take over the world, or annihilate the human race, or destroy our civilization, or even blow up some buildings in the city: he just wants to kill Kick-Ass. And since Kick-Ass himself isn’t much of a superhero who           could save the world at some time in the future, it’s all quite pointless, isn’t it?

Having said that, think of this as B-superhero movie or a R-rated high school flick, and you’ll definitely have fun. But if you want to watch a genre-bending, outstanding superhero film set in high school, then watch the original Kick-Ass and pray that Hit-Girl gets her own franchise soon.

 

Note: This review first appeared on Firstpost.com on August 26, 2013

Link: http://www.firstpost.com/bollywood/kick-ass-2-review-chloe-moretzs-hit-girl-deserves-her-own-franchise-1060741.html
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Review: Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim cancels the apocalypse!

It’s here! Neither Iron Man 3, nor Man of Steel, nor Star Trek Into Darkness can claim the accolade for being 2013’s unapologetic big screen summer phenomenon. Because the crown for the first bonafide, adrenaline-pumping, awe-inducing, badass, massive popcorn spectacle of the summer of 2013 is won hands down by Guillermo Del Toro’s new ‘Robots vs Godzillas’ flick, Pacific Rim.

And for good reason too. Pacifim Rim is one of the few movies this year that delivers exactly what it has promised – chills, frills and loads of thrills. Unlike other 2013 summer movies that had their share of strengths but in trying to be both arty and massy, never really came together as a whole, Del Toro’s latest works – and how! – because it’s all kept so very simple: Giant sea monsters (Kaiju) want to destroy our world, and gigantic robots (Jaegers) created, and piloted, by humans must defeat them to save the world.

There is no preaching on how humans have been naughty, no complex scientific, psyschological or ecological explanation on why the Kaijus hate us, and save for a few odd instances, no sappy melodrama because, really, when the world is on the brink of obliteration, you man the hell up and beat the s**t out of whoever’s trying to end your civilization.

In this regard, the film is more Independence Day than Godzilla and more Avengers than Avatar. One can argue that the film lacks ‘heart’ or has characters that don’t go through enough internal strife, but pfffft… why let such things come in the way of having a BLAST! Especially because Del Toro is one of the rare directors who takes his action in movies like Pacific Rim or his Hellboy series as seriously as he takes his art in movies like the Oscar-nominated Pan’s Labyrinth.

As a result, instead of mindless and purposeless action sequences like those in Transformers and *cough* Man of Steel’s climax *cough*, each battle sequence is cinematically crafted, and is like poetry (read: heavy metal) in motion. Each fight between the Kaijus and Jaegers is treated like a Real Steel-esque bout, and is so masterfully constructed in its writing (Travis Beachem and Del Toro), direction, cinematography (Oscar-winner Guillermo Navarro), editing (Peter Amundson & John Gilroy) and music (Ramin Djwadi), that you are not just a bystander to the action, you are bang in its midst, to save the world. I honestly had a braingasm when a Jaeger took a giant ship – a ship! – and used it like a baseball bat to beat the daylights out of a Kaiju!

The above four pillars distinguish the movie from most other summer flicks where the action is pretty much things being destroyed so jarringly and quickly that you are in awe only because you have paid money to be in awe. Djawadi, who, notably, has composed the music for Game of Thrones and Iron Man in the past, is a stand out talent, who, in the film, combines operatic and classical music with hard rock guitar riffs and those sounds of dongs found in every summer movie trailer ever, to create some of the most catchy background music you’d have seen at the movies.

As for the performances of the cast, first, a word about Del Toro’s ba**s. To put $185 million dollars in a movie based on an original idea instead of a comic book or a toy or glow-in-the-dark vampires, and then, to cast niche television actors in it, only reveals that Del Toro has the biggest of them all. To their credit, the eclectic cast comprising of Charlie Hannum (Sons of Anarchy), Idris Elba (Luther), Charlie Day (It’s Sunny in Philadelphia), Robert Kazinsky (Eastenders), Max Martini (Revenge) and Rinko Kikuchi (the only film veteran, of Babel fame), delivers splendidly, and not for a second do you believe that the world is in unsafe hands. Elba, who is spectacular in Luther and The Wire, is the pick of the lot, along with the hilarious Day, and is immensely watchable. Because when the 6’3, 215 lb hunk Elba declares, “Today, we’re cancellin’ the apocalypse!” you *know* that the apocalypse is going to get cancelled.

Though the climactic battle is a little underwhelming with regards to the brilliant face-offs in the rest of the movie, Pacific Rim is an event movie filled through and through with awesomeness. Do not miss the film, and if you can, watch it on the biggest screen possible, especially if you like blockbusters… or are male in general.

Note: This review first appeared on Firstpost.com on July 12, 2013

Link: http://www.firstpost.com/bollywood/movie-review-cancel-the-apocalypse-pacific-rim-is-here-950923.html
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Review: Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Spiel

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s another dark Hollywood film that believes it can be super just by being dark. Except, if that was the only criteria for super movies, then Twilight would be the super-est of them all… The only ‘light’ in that movie came from the glow on Robert Pattinson’s face.

It’s getting annoying, boring, and quite frankly, old, to see movies that pretend to be noir, or in some sincere cases (like this one), try really hard to be, when they can all easily be simplified to being glorified explosionfests, with stray moments of story and emotion, force-fitted into the screenplay to give it legitimacy as ‘cinema’. Or basically, Transformers spinoffs. Okay, before Superman fans come at me with Kryptonite bombs, let me clarify: Man of Steel isn’t nearly as bad, but unfortunately, it too thrives on the philosophy of self-serious popcorn flicks: ‘Weee! Who cares about character development when we get to DESTROY THINGS!’

Here’s a Superman that could easily have been one of two things: frothy, fun and badass like Ironman, or contemplative, intelligent and rousing like The Dark Knight. It had everything going for it, starting with, what is perhaps the best-casted Superman yet: Henry Cavill *is* Superman. In every twitch of his body, every movement, every facial expression, every neatly-crafted cut in his 40-pack abs (he’s so not good for the ego of your mortal, average guy) and in every punch he delivers from his dhai-sau kilo ka haath, Cavill is everything we ever wanted Superman to be, and if there is any one reason that this movie deserves a sequel, it is this man alone.

The support cast is also pretty darn good: Russell Crowe, Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane, Michael ‘Scaryface’ Shannon make for an epic cast for any movie, let alone an epic movie. Even the underlying idea and philosophy of the movie is on song: The movie is not just the origin story of how Kal El became Clark Kent, who became Superman, but about why the world needs saving and why Superman has to be the one to save it.

The problem is, in trying to be *both* Ironman (albeit, an, ahem, Stark-ly humourless one) and The Dark Knight, these ideas and philosophies are never fully realised beyond one-liner didacticism by the Earth father, Jonathan Kent (Bacon), who seems to know the answers to the universe, since he has not a single dialogue that does not preach, or philosophise, or *enlighten*; or from his natural father, Jor El (Crowe), who is, err… a hologram.  Even the very limited emotions that the brilliant Bacon and Lane bring to the table (Crowe brings nothing since he is 3D) are so strong that they could have been the foundation on which the movie is built, but each time we come close to feeling for Kent, director Zack Snyder abruptly cuts away, because he wants to quickly start DESTROYING THINGS.

The film is roughly two and a half-hours long (and I do not use the word ‘long’ lightly), mostly because the climactic battle is as long as a movie of its own. But in the process, important plot points of the backstory are so half baked that you wonder if screenplay writer David S.Goyer replaced his oven with a gas chamber, to try and murder Superman fandom. For example, scenes about Krypton’s introduction and subsequent implosion, the relationship between General Zod and Jor El, the ridiculous and illogical reason for which Jonathan Kent dies, or even the fact that Jor El comes back as *3D* (READ THAT IN CAPS), for crying out loud, deserved explanation, more screen time, or just maybe, a strong second thought!

But the one thing that almost drags Man of Steel down from being an almost-good film to being a snooze-fest is the horribly miscast Amy Adams. Seriously, Jason Biggs and his hand had more chemistry in American Pie than these independently fantastic leads have in this film. Adams is too mature, too old, too plain, too dull, and too boring to be Lois Lane, and even Superman’s natural mom (Ayelet Zurer) and General Zod’s sidekick (Antje Traue) are way hotter, even with all the spandex. Or perhaps, umm… because of it.

Then there’s the thing with the character of General Zod. Like the rest, Shannon gets to mouth ‘epic’ dialogues but his character development is limited to contorting his face in every scene. If we played the ‘If you are angry and you know it, clap your hands’ game, Zod would just be clapping ALL THE TIME.

The Dark Knight trilogy is great because the origin movie – Batman Begins – concentrated on the origin on Batman. Man of Steel producer Christopher Nolan, who directed the trilogy, gave an emotional core to Batman in the first movie, while the big action scenes were left for the subsequent instalments. Man of Steel has more action than the entire trilogy combined, but very little of the drama, which ultimately, is its failing.

The one scene that stood out for me in the movie is when Superman beats the living hell out of Zod for threatening his mother – and if THAT emotional core could have been carried out through the movie, we would have had not just a great Superman movie, but possibly one of the greatest Superhero movies ever. Ultimately, Snyder fails – again – to live up to the complete potential, and promise, of the strong premise of his movie. But thanks to the extraordinary Cavill, and an out-of-the-world background score by the legendary Hans Zimmer, Man of Steel is just about worth the price of your popcorn, although it begs for a sequel that will give us the Superman movie we have long deserved.  

 

Note: This review first appeared on Firstpost.com on June 14, 2013

Link: http://www.firstpost.com/bollywood/superman-is-super-dark-and-super-humourless-871527.html
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Review: After Earth (2013)

After Earth is not THAT bad

Manoj ‘Night’ Shyamalan’s new film, Will Smith and Jaden Smith starrer After Earth has released in India a week after its international release. If at all you’ve felt that you had a tough week, consider this: In the span of this one week, After Earth has managed the infamy of being one of the worst reviewed movies of 2013 (with Wall Street Journal even questioning if it was the ‘worst film ever’), of opening to some of the worst box office numbers for a massive summer flick in the last decade, and of garnering the worst opening figures for a Will Smith starrer in the last 20 years.

Let’s just say that if Shyamalan still manages to resurrect his career after this debacle – his fourth straight critical disaster in 7 years – he may as well have been the inspiration for his Bruce Willis-Samuel Jackson starrer, Unbreakable (2000).

It’s tough to objectively write about a movie these days with all the ‘buzz’ that’s thrust into your faces wherever you look. But when the internet that’s best known for cat videos and baby noises, takes a movie so personally that it goes out of its way to unleash a hate campaign against it (it’s got cumulative ratings worse than the Twilight movies and has websites lining up to write about Will Smith’s downfall), it really starts turning into a special event in your head that you really long to witness. After all, it’s not every day you get to see ‘the worst film ever’!

You cannot even fathom my disappointment on finally seeing After Earth. My popcorn turned bland and my soft drink fizzled out as I sat in front of the big screen looking for a clue, a design – a ‘Sign’, if you will – in what I was seeing unfold. Where was the ‘worst film’ I was promised? Where was the inimitable movie that managed to will critics into writing insults about the elder Smith, who some people love more than their own privates? Where was the nepotistic, egotistic, anomalistic, propagandistic, fatalistic vanity project that was supposed to an insult to everything from father-son relationships to multiplex pocorn?

Because, hold your breaths, far from being a horrible film, After Earth isn’t even a bad film. It is merely a marginally boring film that may have even been a decent film had it been less lazily written. In fact, you may even go as far as to say that the film, about a 14-year-old who has to journey across a forest to save his father after their ship crashes onto a hostile planet, is perhaps Shyamalan’s best film in years (considering what he’s puked onto the cinema screens in his last few outings).

I’m not going to go into why or how Shyamalan went from being a critics darling after Sixth Sense in 1999 to being one of the most despised filmmakers of his generation, or specifically what it is was about After Earth that made critics the world over want to stab their eyes. The only reason I gave context to this piece is because the negativity around the movie made me wonder if some movies or filmmakers can really be so fiercely prejudiced against that no matter what the outcome, they will be universally hated. Or worse, not even given a chance?

Let me clarify in saying that it isn’t that After Earth deserves a chance purely for the surprisingly vile reactions it has generated for, what seems to me, no fair reason, but for the fact that at the end of the day, it’s a movie that’s got a beautiful emotional core to it. The relationship between fathers and sons is hardly ever explored on screen and though Shyamalan does seem to be trying hard to make a mess of it, it’s salvaged by some pretty solid acting by both the Smiths, especially Jaden, who is probably going to better his father at half the age he broke out .

Yes, the film falters in that it doesn’t have enough CGI monsters or thrills to justify its ‘summer’ tag; the screenplay has enough clichés to warrant a 101 book, and there are enough times it slows down enough for you to count seconds pass by. But no matter how you look at it, there’s something inexplicably sweet about a young boy trying to fight off monsters to save his father, and coming of age amidst a resounding background score and some pretty cool stunts. Go with no expectations, and you may even come out liking the film. 

 

Note: This review first appeared on Firstpost.com on June 12, 2013
Link: http://www.firstpost.com/bollywood/movie-review-after-earth-is-not-as-bad-as-theyre-all-saying-it-is-866351.html
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Review: Hangover III (2013)

Hangover III is best watched when drunk

When the sequel to the awesome and fiercely original The Hangover released in 2011, only a certain kind of audience actually *enjoyed* watching it: the audience that hadn’t seen The Hangover. And since that’s basically no one, The Hangover Part II was a downer to fans because of director Todd Phillip’s philosophy (or should we say… Philliposophy?) regarding sequels. Someone should’ve told him that the answer to “How do you make a sequel as massive a blockbuster as the original comedy” is NOT “You basically remake the first one and add a horny monkey to it.” (For those who haven’t seen the movie, ‘horny monkey’ is *not* a reference to Zach Galifianakis)

While Philip’s Philoposophy towards the threequel may be independent of that towards Part II (and THANK GOD for it, you know?), the fact remains: You’re probably still going to enjoy The Hangover III only if you haven’t watched the first part. It’s not that the Hangover III is not a decent-ish movie, it’s just that it’s a different-ish movie… it’s not so much the annoying identical twin you secretly wish wasn’t born, that was the second, but more the really, really distant cousin who is cool only because of association with *you*, and would otherwise have been growing up inside a dumpster.

The synopsis of The Hangover III reads, ‘This timethere’s no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrongright?’ Well, something did go wrong: They forgot to add the sentence, ‘This time, there’s also no comedy.’ Yes, the biggest difference between the original Hangover and it’s threequel is that this time, not only is there no hangover, there is also no drunken debauchery, no madness, no flashing, no tigers, and – I don’t know why this made me want to cry from deep down inside – no Mike Tyson. So basically, no fun.

Instead, what we get is a storyline in which Leslie Chow breaks out of jail and is on the run from a rival criminal (there’s actually a really smart storyline regarding who the criminal is and how he connects to this series) whose gold he stole. The crime lord, Marshall (John Goodman, in a uniquely unfunny cameo) catches The Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper’s Phil, Ed Helms’ Stu, Justin Bartha’s Doug and Galifianakis’ Alan) to catch Chow instead of finding him on his own, because, you know, international criminals who steal gold from Middle East Sheikhs are cool like that, since it’s only 21 million dollars we are talking about.

So the entire movie is then a Tom-and-Jerry chase between The Wolfpack and Chow, and just like the cartoon, it’s literally something we have seen a bazillion times before. It’s all pretty swell that Phillips wants to go ‘dark’ (WHAT IS WITH HOLLYWOOD THESE DAYS!!) and starts killing people (and a giraffe) randomly and for some reason thinks this is hilarious, but the problem is that as an action flick, there’s not enough action in the film, and as a comedy, there’s not enough comedy in it.

To be honest, The Hangover Part III may have even been a cult-ish indie action comedy had it not been preceded by two R-rated comedy prequels. But coming with the weight of the expectations from the first part, the fact that people are rooting for it to be bloody awesome considering the damage done by the second, and maybe just a liiiiiiitle bit the fact that it’s called ‘THE HANGOVER part III’, so people *assume* there to be drunken mayhem, it just fails to live up.

The limited laughs do work, mostly due to the ‘majestic giraffe-like’ Galifianakis, who is so insanely talented that you crack up simply because he has that face. Cooper and Helms do well enough in their roles, but their characters were designed to be at their funniest only when they had no idea what had happened the night before, and without hangovers, they are about as interesting as my repeated use of the term ‘Philoposophy’. Ken Jeong (Chow) gets the same amount of airtime as The Wolfpack in this instalment, and that’s the biggest failing of this movie: you don’t elevate a ‘Ramu Kaka’ to a ‘Lion’. There was a reason you cast him in a tiny role (pun fully intended) initially, and that’s where he belonged.

You’ve got to give credit to Phillips for going into such a different, unexpected direction with this part, and it may even have worked had he not forgotten that HE WAS MAKING A  COMEDY. But where it stands, The Hangover Part III is a decent-ish action comedy that’s probably only going to seem hilarious when *you* are drunk.

 

Note: This review first appeared on Firstpost.com on May 31, 2013

Link: http://www.firstpost.com/bollywood/movie-review-the-hangover-iii-is-best-watched-when-drunk-831283.html
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.