Train to Busan: Movie Review

m-traintobusan

In an age where language is becoming less and less a barrier to the geographical reach of films, Train to Busan is a Korean film that has got immense universal appeal. Because, off the bat, Train to Busan has a very simple premise: What if you are travelling in a train and there’s a Zombie apocalypse? Add to that a bunch of characters, who the audience can relate to, and ding ding ding you have a winner!

Sure, there were a few moments where logic does take a backseat and the sentiment does feel over the top at times (for a few), but if one doesn’t fret and whine over it, and concede ground for cinematic liberties, you have at your plate, a meal that is going to leave you satisfied.

Most of us have watched Zombie films before and many good ones at that, with films like I am Legend, Resident Evil and Zombieland being the more memorable ones, and Train to Busan can comfortably join that list. It surely isn’t the best but it does have lot of things going for it.

We surely remember that emotional scene from I am Legend where Will Smith almost makes us cry whilst he is sitting on his kitchen floor tendering to his dog, and likewise TTB too has couple of such teary eyed moments that make this more than just another zombie film (though not as powerful as I am Legend. Because THERE IS NO WILL SMITH IN THIS ONE!!!!!!!)

This movie should remain a testament to what good writing can do to basically any subject out there. The movie makes you feel and care for the characters which translates into an exciting thrill ride for the audience. This is despite having CGI that isn’t up to Hollywood standards and couple of plot holes (logics amiss). But I sure did not mind them as I was too busy enjoying the film for what it was worth.

The movie, like the Train in the film, chugs along at a fine pace because of its brilliantly written screenplay and there isn’t a dull moment that I could remember. The performances in the film too were surprisingly extremely good for a film of this genre (surprised especially because I did not know what to expect from a Korean film and its actors). And one of the other brilliant aspects of this film is its old school background score. It certainly pushed the intensity higher right from the beginning.

Though it is being distributed as a horror film, it is hardly anything but that. It doesn’t scare you. Definitely. The zombie make ups were far from being bone chilling and I think that works in its favour and opens wider market for this film because people who usually find this whole genre of Zombie films to be creepy can actually go and watch this film as more of a thriller than a horror film and enjoy it.

There are a lot of Zombie films out there and comparisons are inevitable but as long as comparisons are with other films and not TV series, this film is worth watching. I am sucker for sentiments and emotions in films (like most of us, Indians :P) and this film falls right into that zone. But if you are not and if you have watched many other films and TV series, you might not be able to enjoy this film as much as this might seem less ‘intense’ and ‘bone chilling’ that them.

Rating: I’m going with 3.5/5
Verdict: This Film is Worth Buying On Blu-Ray 😀

Check out the trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rTKsTIq9J0

Inferno – Movie Review

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Inferno is brought by the same actor and director combination of Tom Hanks and Ron Howard that brought us the runaway commercial hits (but critically ridiculed films) Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Treading along its predecessor’s footsteps, the films takes us through yet another tour of the museums and churches of Italy, making us wish we were down there in the streets of Venice, Paris, Florence and the Vatican (from the previous movies) instead of sitting in a theatre that is near empty. Don’t mistake this longing of ‘wanting to be there’ for a good film, it’s just that the cinematography and the locations are stunning to say the least.

As is the tradition, our protagonist, Robert Langdon, a professor and a genius, who deciphers patterns and symbols from ancient texts as if reading the texts from a five-year old’s social textbook, releases a stream of mythological jargon that is tough to keep up with. Though, in its defence, this third instalment, thankfully, has less of it. It is precisely what works for this film as it is much more simplified (and does not require a re-run to fully follow them :P) and tries to move a bit away from the hardcore conspiracy fiction of religious texts of the last two films.

The film has Langdon moving from pillar to post of museums and churches following clues and solving puzzles, like a treasure hunt, that is ultimately the key to saving the world. And to be honest, that is kind of stuff that I immensely enjoy. And to be fair, who doesn’t enjoy a treasure hunt? Except that these films have always bordered on the tone of being condescending to the point of being irritating, yet remaining entertaining (not for all though). Phew! That’s a paradox.

Overlooking over-the-top arrogance that these films project because of the needless flashbacks, cuts, lengthy dialogues and chopped screenplay writing, there is still enough going for this film simply because of its premise: Solve the clues and save the world.

The brightest point of these films has always been the presence of Tom Hanks. Accept it, we all fell in love with him from Forrest Gump and anything he does is pure gold (Yes, I know, I’m exaggerating, but at least his performances are always Gold! Damn I am a huge Tom Hanks fan). Of course there is Irrfan Khan in the film too and he plays a very important role in a Hollywood film for a change rather than just a blink and you miss appearance. He gives out a decent performance for his part. Also, for me, the surprising part of the film was noticing the name “Hans Zimmer” as credits rolled up. From the man who brought us that iconic background score of The Dark Knight, you cannot expect the music to be a let-down, and it doesn’t, as it fits and seams into the film enhancing it on the whole.

Inferno is not an edge of the seat thriller but has enough to keep you engaged. It is a bit two paced, as it does slow down a bit in the middle and demands your patience but picks up from there towards the end.

Inferno - Dan Brown.jpg
Inferno – Dan Brown.jpg

Overall, I’ll put this plainly. I have not read Dan Brown’s books. But I did like the previous two films and this one. Because I am a sucker for conspiracy theories minced and chopped with elements of following clues, solving codes, deciphering symbols and patterns. So if you have liked and enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, you are sure to like and be entertained by this film too but if you haven’t, then refrain from watching this one.

I’m going with 2.5/5 for this one

Rating: Probably a good time, if you are drunk

Premam – Movie Review

There is a particular reason why I loved the Malayalam Premam so much. It has probably got to do with the fact that I enjoy reading novels. Because like most well written novels, the original takes it time, slowly unwraps, sucks us into the character of George (Vikram in Telugu played by Naga Chaitanya), his world and his love life. It is simply put, beautiful. The locations, the dialogues, the acting, the cinematography and especially the music, all contribute towards the director playing with the heart strings of the audience all the while.

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And remaking a film with such rich following across linguistic barriers is no easy job. But Chandoo Mondeti (the director of the Telugu version) pulls it off decently well enough. Remakes usually are susceptible to receiving some harsh takes from the audience (as was evidenced by the reactions of public during the trailer launch 😛 Damn they were funny though :P). So when somebody like me who is a huge fan of the original says that this was really good, I should tell that I consciously put aside the original film and looked at it as a standalone film catering to the needs of a different set of audience who aren’t used to the art films of Malayalam film industry.

First of all, Chandoo cuts down the movie from a three-hour length time to a little over quarter and two hours. Thus effectively compromising on the ‘Film that is like Reading a Novel’ category but securing the attention of the Telugu audience all the way through with a well written, tight screenplay. This movie has quite a few original scenes in it and is not a copy paste of the original (and that is probably why even those who enjoyed the original can afford to watch it: PROVIDED YOU DON’T DRAW COMPARISONS AND SULK IN THE THEATER)

Naga Chaitanya too was in his element as Vikram. And so were all the other actors. This movie had fine performances from almost everybody. I love Sai Pallavi in the original (I mean who doesn’t? :P) and cannot see anybody else playing and owning that role, but saying that, Shruthi Hassan was watchable and the trolls have been too harsh on her. She does a very fine job. She plays the role in her own sweet way and doesn’t try to do what Sai Pallavi does and that probably swings this in her favour saving her from the possible wrath of die hard fans. So Kudos to Shruthi as well (Y)

One of the most endearing aspects of Premam, both original and this one, has been its music. The music complements the film exceedingly well and gives that additional impact to the story telling process. On the downside though, there were a few scenes in which Premam falls short of giving the punch as much as the original did. It might be because of hasty screen transitions that were required to cut down the length of the film (I know I shouldn’t be drawing comparisons but my subconscious expectations works against this here) But don’t fret about this too much. The film overall has a lot going for it in carrying its central theme and carries forward the aptly captioned tale of ‘Love Stories end but feelings don’t’.

Comparisons with the original are inevitable but putting them aside, Premam (Telugu) stands on its own to be a finely made remake which has enough going to satiate the palate of both sections of the audience: Those who have not watched the Malayalam one and even those who have. It is downright simple, sweet and falls into that ‘absolute feel good’ movie category complimented by great music. Go watch this one and you wouldn’t be disappointed! 

I’m going with 3.5/5 for this one with that additional 0.5 rating solely for the amazing music! 

Rating: Worth Buying on Blu Ray