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Critic's review: Raja Sen

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    Chennai Express

    Rating: Chennai Express critic rating: 2 out of 10

    Six years ago, Deepika Padukone made a celebrated debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in a rollicking entertainer Om Shanti Om, that marvellously spoofed his stardom. At the time, her acting inabilities were cannily masked by the director giving her little to do except look staggering, and by Khan himself, carrying the film on the muscles of his tremendous charisma. Chennai Express is, in a way, full circle for that very lady as she — enervated by box-office success...full review

     
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    B. A. PASS

    Rating: B. A. PASS critic rating: 7 out of 10

    I love the word Taut. One of the finest words to describe films about crime, it’s a delicious word, evoking images of a tightrope yanked to within inches of breaking point, a tensed muscle coiled for action, a narrative stretched like cling-film. Unfortunately, it is a word we Indian critics get to use less, since far too many of our films (our thrillers, especially) meander on -- choosing to hem and haw and sing instead of getting to the point...full review

     
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    Chor Chor Super Chor

    Rating: Chor Chor Super Chor critic rating: 4 out of 10

    As a Delhi man, I’m this close to taking umbrage. The template of the Delhi-based con-man movie -- with Haryanvi coppers, and crooks putting on their most exaggerated Jaat or West Delhi accents -- is fast getting old. This is mostly because even the most good-natured of these efforts try to mask a lack of ingenuity with too much texture. As if overblown accents can make up for originality. Chor Chor Super Chor, however, has a pretty nifty idea...full review

     
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    The Wolverine

    Rating: The Wolverine critic rating: 4 out of 10

    When we eventually look back at The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman's latest snikt-and-sideburns adventure, it may prove to be a turning point in the increasingly cluttered superhero movie genre. It is a sparse, stark film -- focusing on a critically-acclaimed storyline that is anything but comic -- with long, dialogue-less stretches as the story unfolds slowly, in its own time. It also feels like less of a blockbuster event than we're used to...full review

     
  • Issaq critic review on rediff.com
     
    Issaq

    Rating: Issaq critic rating: 2 out of 10

    Back when he was making his Othello adaptation, Vishal Bhardwaj almost titled the film Issaq -- a take on the Hindi heartland's pronunciation of Ishq. Leading man Ajay Devgan's love for that title aside, better sense prevailed and Bhardwaj went ahead with the alliteratively correct Omkara. This week a film called Issaq releases across the country, and it's yet another Shakespeare adaptation: Romeo And Juliet, this time, set in Benaras...full review

     
  • Lootera critic review on rediff.com
     
    Lootera

    Rating: Lootera critic rating: 10 out of 10

    "Once upon a time." Those are four magic words, four words that promise us the world, adventure and romance and fantasy and drama. The starter's pistol to any fairytale, they offer up immediate escape: "a time" is never now, you see, and we're instantly whisked away from the humdrum of our everyday. Our imagination, like a suddenly alert hound, perks up its ears and begins to underscore even ordinary narratives with flourishes the narrator...full review

     
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    Ghanchakkar

    Rating: Ghanchakkar critic rating: 4 out of 10

    The finest, most fascinating mysteries are the ones where we find the red herrings stashed away in plain sight all along. In Raj Kumar Gupta's Ghanchakkar, the true clue to the proceedings is barely hidden. It's in the song playing in every trailer, the song over the opening credits of the film: it's fiendishly smart to say Lazy Lad and make us assume the filmmakers are talking about the protagonist when in reality they mean the screenwriter...full review

     
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    Man Of Steel

    Rating: Man Of Steel critic rating: 5 out of 10

    You’ll believe a man can sigh. That’s what the godlike alien in Man Of Steel frequently does as he looks around, before he glowers and scowls and, perhaps most importantly, poses. There is very little of the winning, geeky smile we associate with Clark Kent -- indeed, the eager yet shy journalist we know and love appears for one scene in the new film -- and for a character named Superman who’s just turned 75, this feller doesn’t even have...full review

     
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    Now You See Me

    Rating: Now You See Me critic rating: 4 out of 10

    Imagine a magician. Tall, charming, wreathed in mystery, and wearing a top hat that looks like it was woven from the shadows of ravens. Striding purposefully to a big red box in the middle of the stage, he tells an immaculately picked anecdote, an ancient but fascinating old chestnut cleverly made contemporary, and proceeds to stuff the box with ochre and black strips of silk he peels nonchalantly out of his sleeves. He talks of his time in the jungles...full review

     
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    Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

    Rating: Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani critic rating: 4 out of 10

    When we can’t stand something a certain way, we’re instinctively prone to wishing it were the other way around, the opposite. This, naturally, is a huge fallacy, since the opposite is hardly ever what we truly mean. When we watch a Hindi film, for example, where the songs get in the way of the narrative and make the film longer than it should be, what we long for is a film where there are no songs, or one where the songs are truly a part of the storytelling...full review

     
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    Ishkq In Paris

    Rating: Ishkq In Paris critic rating: 2 out of 10

    Ah, Preity. When we first met Preity Zinta, we were bowled over by those sparkling eyes, those dimples and that genuinely fresh candour. When, in Dil Se, Shah Rukh Khan choked on his burger as she casually asked about virginity, we could relate. We rooted against the girl his character loved because of the character we invariably fell for, dooming the movie’s fate without realising it. And it felt worth it. What a girl, that fiesty, ebullient, Perk-eating Zinta...full review

     
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    Fast & Furious 6

    Rating: Fast & Furious 6 critic rating: 4 out of 10

    There are clearly varying schools of thought regarding just how much sense the modern Hollywood boom-boom blockbuster is allowed to make: Sam Mendes, for example, takes a 007 film like Skyfall and tries to make it smart and taut; Michael Bay takes his Transformers films and keeps making the explosions louder and the shorts worn by his heroine even shorter. Christopher Nolan miraculously makes Batman movies so beautifully crafted...full review

     
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    The Great Gatsby

    Rating: The Great Gatsby critic rating: 4 out of 10

    A famous Hindi film actor (who shall naturally go nameless here) once told me, while gushing about Baz Luhrmann’s work and cinematic flair, that he “is like Sanjay Leela Bhansali [ Images ], gone right.” I laughed it off at the time, but there are few more astutely drawn parallels than between these gentlemen who insist on creating opera but staging it a la cabaret. Alas, it is with this new adaptation of The Great Gatsby -- in which Luhrmann...full review

     
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    Iron Man 3

    Rating: Iron Man 3 critic rating: 8 out of 10

    It’s easy to forget just how much that suit weighs. And that’s because it looks so, so good. Aerodynamically magical and ergonomically perfect, the suit is a technological marvel in red-and-yellow -- it’s as if Jony Ive worked for Ferrari. Everyone’s favourite sequence in the last Iron Man film, in fact, featured the suit extending itself -- going from a briefcase to sheathing all of Tony Stark’s body in a matter of very sleek seconds. In the latest film...full review

     
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    Commando

    Rating: Commando critic rating: 3 out of 10

    Imagine if John Rambo, while readying himself for First Blood's carnage in the woods, had found a woman instead of a red rag to tie around his head. And not just any woman, but one inexplicably disposed towards non-stop conversation: a Manic Punjabi Dream Girl, as it were. Imagine how pissed off Rambo'd be then. Vidyut Jamwal, the most beefcake-y youngster to make a Bollywood debut in quite some time, takes on the one-note role with dropkicking aplomb...full review

     
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    Django Unchained

    Rating: Django Unchained critic rating: 9 out of 10

    Some slant their glasses as they pour out their beer. Some pour it straight but fastidiously slow. Some others like their brew topped with foam. And then there are those -- like a German dentist working as a highly efficient bounty hunter in the American South -- fill their mugs to the top and then slice off the foam by the neck: in one swift motion, Dr King Schultz beheads his beer. Routinely fascinating, every little thing Schultz does is magic...full review

     
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    Jolly LLB

    Rating: Jolly LLB critic rating: 4 out of 10

    About twenty minutes or so into Subhash Kapoor’s Jolly LLB, leading man Arshad Warsi who plays the titular lawyer is told that he’s graduated to authentic legal status, and will thus be addressed by his surname, Tyagi. In other words, jolly no more. The film here decides to start playing it straight, which is significantly disappointing given the quirks tossed around all over the opening sequences. That effortlessly hilarious actor Brijendra Kala...full review

     
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    Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns

    Rating: Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns critic rating: 8 out of 10

    The title means nothing, you know. Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster was fine, cheeky and homage-y but this added Returns, a grammatically incorrect English word at the end of a Hindi title? (Instead of, say, Saheb Biwi Aur Doosra Gangster?) It is this anything-goes approach that carries itself on to the opening credits -- with oddly tacky graphics of tossed coins and guns, as if to rub the film’s lack of finesse in our faces -- and to the characters...full review

     
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    Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

    Rating: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola critic rating: 9 out of 10

    There are so few consistently excellent creative collaborations in our cinema that we must celebrate the ones that always overreach -- and always deliver. The Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar duo remains one of the most thrilling partnerships in modern-day cinema, between our finest, most cinematic composer and our wiliest, wickedest poet. And make no mistake, their latest -- for Bhardwaj's upcoming Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola -- is as saucy a soundtrack...full review