THE GREY (2012)

cast:  Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Joe Anderson
Director Joe Carnahan
Studio: Open Road Films
Based on Ghost Walker by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers
release date: Jan 27, 2012 (wide)
running time : 1 hr 57 mins

In The Grey, Liam Neeson leads an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling mortal injuries and merciless weather, the survivors have only a few days to escape the icy elements - and a vicious pack of rogue wolves on the hunt - before their time runs out.-official synopsis


The film has opened to some strong reviews and for a January release, these are certainly impressive. One will have to wait to see if these positive reviews will help the film to rake in some big bucks at the box office. 

The Grey is an exciting tale of survival, populated with fleshed-out characters and a surprising philosophical agenda. RottenTomatoes   6.6/ 10  (75%)

The computer-generated wolves have more personality than any of the dull characters in The Grey.   Claudia Puig/ USA Today 

Despite some cliches, it’s a mostly gripping survival story, expertly shot and anchored by Neeson’s powerful performance. Frank Swietek / OneGuysOpinion B

I sat regarding the screen with mounting dread  Roger Ebert  3.5 /4 

Call "The Grey" "Deliverance" Lite, with snow, and wolves. And call it a solid January surprise. 
Michael Phillips/ ChicagoTribune  3/4

PLAYERS (2012)

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin, Bobby Deol,OmVaidya, Sikander Kher and Vinod Khanna
Direction by Abbas Mastan
Music by Pritam
Hindi,  Jan 2012

I never thought I would say this – but with Players, Abbas Mastan has come up with a better heist movie than what several other big shot directors and stars were attempting in recent past. Make it –very recent!

Oh boy, after the disappointing way a highly anticipated ‘chase’ movie fizzled into a ridiculous heist flick a few weeks back, I was ready for the worst. And it did look like exactly that, when we get introduced to the burglar, Charlie (Abhishek Bachchan) in action with his lady accomplice Riya (Bipasha Basu) in a laughable jewelry robbery. Then it gets even worse when we get to see Aftab Shivdasani make a special appearance and get chased down and shot at, somewhere in the landscapes of Russia, making you wonder how many non-performers have the ‘men in white’ managed to stuff into this one single movie.

Thankfully the film begins to find a footing from thereon. With the tip off from the dead friend in Russia, Charlie gets to discover about a gold bounty that is soon going to be transported from Russia to Romania. Charlie now has to come up with not only a plan to get the gold in his kitty, but also need the best team of specialists that he can (or ‘Players’ as they annoyingly keep referring to themselves throughout).  For this Charlie goes to his mentor Victor Dada (Vinod Khanna) who seems to be an acting consultant for the police force while serving his jail sentence.

Victor Dada, though reluctant at first, decides to help out Charlie (as it all for a worthy cause, you see). Thus Victor dada recruits in an illusionist (Bobby Deol), an explosive expert (Sikander), a make up specialist (Om Vaidya) and bombshell with some automechanical skills, (Bipasha Basu). Now all they need is to locate the best hacker in the world – code name Spider (Neil Nitin Mukesh). However thanks to Victor’s ‘computer science post graduate’ daughter (Sonam Kapoor), they manage to locate Spider with relative ‘ease’.

Now with a team in hand, Charlie sets off to pull off what he claims to be ‘the biggest robbery in world history’. And boy, the team does achieve it and would have made off with the booty had it not been for one small problem…..

First things first, Players is an official remake of an otherwise average heist movie in the early 2000s, Italian Job which in itself is a remake of a ’69 British flick by the same name. So it is not like they have got an awesome script as the original base. But yet, they have managed to weave out a 170 minute yarn of good harmless fun as a truck load of gold bars keep changing hands.

Be brave and try not to get deterred by the cameo from Aftab Shivdasani. If you endure it bravely, you will be ready for more predictably inconsistent performances, as expected.   Abhishek Bachchan still seems to be in a Dhoom style persona, playing the man under control without exuding much charm or substance. Sonam Kapoor , clearly a misfit, plays her role pitching it to rather annoying levels. Neil Nitin, Bobby, Om Vaidya, Sikander Kher may put in a good scene here or there only to follow it several scenes later with an equally disappointing display of awfulness. Vinod Khanna and Johnny Lever are passable.  Bipasha bares a lot through the movie, displaying even her limited acting range. It does not help much either when her skills in the team is to keep a watch on the timer and to keep narrating the  oh–so-obvious happenings onscreen – ‘Guys! There is trouble ahead!  ‘ Guys! This could be dangerous’, Guys, this ….’   Oh stop it already.

The villain of the piece not only gets something to chew on but plays it deliriously over the top making all Bollywood purists proud. He even gets a Mogambo-like hi tech lair where he can mouth his threatening lines. Little coincidence then, that Li’l Mr. India is the one who gets to walk into the lair first.

Abbas Mastan’s style of approach is quite obvious, post Race. While other directors try to sneak in maximum songs into their narration, these two are content shoving in maximum ‘twists’ into the same. They do run the risk of over-cooking it like ‘Race’ but eventually this time they get more rights than wrong. The film did not feel its length and the writers keep you engaged with one twist to the other.

The writing isn’t exactly out of the world, but at least it does not treat the audience as complete dimwits either. In fact it is a mixed bag. The writing team throws in many a blunder and smartly goes about cleaning up that mess by revealing later it as all deliberate and part of a bigger plot twist. And this twist within a twist game goes on for nearly three hours. So I guess the editor too was on vacation with the crew, shopping away instead of chopping away when required. The soundtrack from Pritam is a total disappointment and deserves to be snipped away as they merely serve as unwanted speed breakers.

Ravi Yadav’s cinematography is praiseworthy, taking us on a package tour via Amsterdam, Russia, Goa, New Zealand.

Though Players , like Don, takes on a world of gadgets and face masks from a Mission Impossible world, and even a plot line from a Hollywood flick, director Abbas Mastan with the writing team of Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma, manages to keep things ‘desi’ in spirit. That eventually works in the movie’s favour. Those already familiar with the original film and such similar heist flicks might find it under whelming, but the film holds enough thrills for the rest of the folks out there.

The action sequences are noteworthy and one can see that there has been lot more pains taken to make the action play out more convincingly. Be it the masks, the voice modulations, the director duo does go about explaining it. I was also impressed to see a variant of the projection technique, used recently in MI4, make an appearance here.

Eventually not all the twists manage to bowl you over, and not all the performances are going to be a hit out of the park. Yet in spite of going beyond the playing time, Abbas Mastan has put on offer a good game laden with twists,  and the Players have certainly stepped up to the challenge!

Rating:   3  outta 5 

(originally published at Mad About Moviez)

Bolly Buzz This Week

Tabu shall feature in Bejoy Nambiar's next 

Like of hate Shaitan, you cannot ignore the man behind it - Bejoy Nambiar. The director has now announced his next project , David and it already has created a lot of buzz by having South sensation Vikram as the lead man. Now another biggie casting announcement is that Tabu shall feature in a very important role to the film. Two more male leads shall be announced in the coming days, and Isha Sarvani has been signed on as the lady opposite Vikram's character.

Vikram-Tabi-Bejoy Nambiar : The combination is getting deadlier!

Hashmi is the man for K-Jo

Dharma Productions's next project, to be directed by Rensil D Souza has finally roped in Emraan Hashmi to play the lead.  This is certainly big news considering the fact that many wrote off Hashmi as a Bhatt boy who will find no luck beyond the Bhatt production house. However 2011 saw him featured in a Madhur Bhandarkar production and an Ekta Kapoor production. And now, he has certainly moved up the ladder associating himself with Karan Johar's Dharma Production. 

I am sure he would like to seal his good fortune with a kiss, as always!

Devgn sets up clash with SRK this Diwali

Ajay Devgn has decided to take SRK head on. It was widely assumed that the Yash Chopra-Shah Rukh venture would be the star attraction this Diwali. But now Devgn is so confident of his home production, Son of Sardar that he has decided to push the release dates to clash with the SRK release, giving the media enough to speculate on the rivalry between the two.

I can see the buzz going overdrive by this move from Devgn. But I believe as the date approaches closer, Devgn might just back out! Anyone wanna place their bets?

CHILLAR PARTY sequel for an all -new cast

Director of Chillar Party, Vikas Bahl claims that though they have the scripts ready, the sequel might get delayed as the original cast has grown up over the years and now he will have to look for an entirely new set of cast members to fit the characters. Supposedly the film was shot two years prior to the actual 2011 release and the original cast seem to have outgrown the characters they play.

Vikas....don't ruin the fun...get the original cast members back. So what if they grew up a little?

KKRISH 3 slated for Diwali 2013

Rakesh Roshan seem to be in no hurry to get his ambitious Krrish installment out any time soon. The third film in the series, that follows Koi Mil Gaya and Krrish, will wrap up principal shooting by late 2012, they are putting in a year's worth of post production and FX into the final product. The makers are looking at a 2013 Diwali release date as of now.
The film stars Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra and Vivek Oberoi in lead roles.

Shahrukh to do a remake ?

Shahrukh Khan is reported to have agreed to do the Hindi remake of the 2002 hit tamil film RAMANA which starred Vijaykanth. It has already been remade into Telugu as the Chiranjeevi starrer TAGORE and in Kannada as VISHNU SENA. 
The rights have been acquired by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and he seem to have got Shahrukh's approval for the film. The original director Murugadoss, of Ghajini fame,  is slated to direct this remake.  MID-DAY


Teaser for Ridley Scott's new film  PROMETHEUS 


Catch the teaser for the new film from Vidhu Vinod Chopra films - Ferrari Ki Sawaari.


Watch the trailer of Peter Jackson's prequel to the Lord of the Rings saga - The Hobbit! 

DON 2 :The King is Back : The Review

Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Om Puri, Boman Irani, Kunal Kapoor
Music by Shakar -Ehsaan - Loy
Directed by Farhan Akhtar

It was back in 2006 that Farhan Akhtar came up with a remake for the Amitabh hit, Don, which according to me, was just a gimmick to sell off a climax which Akhtar Jr. presumed to be a smart one. Not many agreed with Farhan back then, but everyone did seem keen to have the director and his star Shahrukh back for a Don sequel to set things right.
Don 2 therefore, is not only a much anticipated sequel, but also a film which many would believe would be the perfect Xmas gift to an industry that is still waiting for that big hit that would please the fans and the critics alike.

The story picks up nearly five years after the events of the earlier film, where the dreaded ‘Don’ (Shahrukh Khan) finds himself in a tricky position. Not only is he still on the ‘Most Wanted’ List of the international police, he is also put up on the ‘Want Him Dead’ list by the rest of the mafia cartels as well. So our man decides that he needs to scheme out a plan, just enough to get rid of both these problems, and be rich (and also something that would make audiences interested in a sequel)!

Read the full review at MadAboutMoviez 

Rating :  2.5  outta 5