Praveen Nayar's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Wolverine
½

This will once again divide many, as in my opinion, the non-comic book reading fans wouldn't like this as much. I, on the other hand loved it! Very dialogue driven & story based.

Logan is tested emotionally & physically in this movie, and Jackman is once again in his element, it is as if, he was made to play Wolverine. There is lesser action & special effects compared to recent superhero films, which is refreshing.

The absence of mutants apart from Wolverine & Viper though is a small letdown. The treatment & ret-conning of The Silver Samurai is also somewhat a bust, as they take a totally different route as opposed to the original source.

However, I'm pleased by the film on the whole, in fact I would rate this as the best among the 3 superhero films released this year, yes even above Man of Steel.

Do wait for the credits to roll as the post-credit scene is a doozy. Many who were silent throughout much of the film were cheering and whooping while I let out one too many vulgarities!!

Overall, I give it a 4.25/5

Maryan
Maryan(2013)

Maryan - A breathtaking visual & aural experience that is let down by a rather slow, disjointed and overall weak screenplay

First off, without a shadow of a doubt, I'm going on the record and saying that Dhanush is the best actor of his generation bar none. This film further highlights his acting prowess (which we, the Tamil film audience have grown accustomed to) that began with 'Kadhal Kondein' and continued with superlative performances in 'Pudhupettai', 'Polladhavan', 'Aadukalam', 'Mayakkam Enna', '3' & the recently released 'Raanjhanaa'.

He carries this film on his fragile shoulders through scenes of joy, love, hate, anger, despair & helplessness. We laugh with him during his fun times and we anguish with him when he suffers.

The story itself had the potential to be superb (it being based on a true event that saw four Indian oil platform workers abducted and held for ransom in North Africa), however Bharat Bala did not do justice with his extremely weak screenplay.

This is his Indian feature film debut (having previously directed a short film, a documentary, a foreign film & a few ads and music videos) and it is glaringly evident that he has a long way to go. His screenplay fails to sustain the viewer's attention, to be honest if not for the lead pair, many would not have watched till the end. The pace is extremely slow, which is fine if the scenes are not disjointed, however it feels like there one too many unnecessary scenes. The African villains were poorly conceived as neither were their motives explained nor were they engaging. They were basically cutboard cutouts of continental African caricatures. 'Kadal Rasaa' song felt out of place, the idea was great but could have been explored differently. The notion that a fisherman is at his strongest only in his element, the sea, is fantastic and proves to be the plus point in the climax.

The lead pair has performed excellently, their chemistry is very prominent. The slow build up of their love is refreshing and funny. Parvathy Menon's acting deserves praise, and she looks great as a village belle. Dhanush really tugs at your heartstrings in certain scenes especially the second half when he is a hostage. That phone call scene will leave you reeling. You will know what I mean when you watch it, I wouldn't want to spoil too much.

The rest of the cast have been grossly underused except for Jagan & Appukutty. It is a shame to see Salim Kumar's talents wasted as the father of Parvathy's character. After all, he also won the National Award for Best Actor for his heart wrenching performance in 2010 Malayalam film 'Adaminte Makan Abu' (incidentally he was a joint winner with Dhanush that year).

A.R. Rahman was at his ethereal best as both his songs & background score was pure aural ecstasy. Although all the songs were great, the best was saved for last, as 'Nenjae Ezhu' coupled with an amazing visual spectacle could not be topped by the rest of the songs.

A big kudos to Mark Koninckx, a Belgian who is pretty well known in his country but whose only previous claim to international fame was the unheralded 2008 Franco-Liberian film 'Johnny Mad Dog'. His framing and angles were evocative. Be it the fishing hamlet that is beautifully hugged by the blue sea or the harsh dry dessert that is both arid & stunning to look at.

On the surface of it all, this is just a love story that could have been brilliant if it had been supplemented by a better plot twist.

I give it 3/5, mainly for the lead pair's performance which was complimented superbly by Rahman's magical tunes & Koninckx's visual feast

Man of Steel
Man of Steel(2013)
½

The newest silver screen reboot of one of the most popular superheroes of all time has divided fans and critics alike. There does not seem to be a middle ground here. You either loved Man of Steel or you hated it. I absolutely loved it, the reason is because there were logical changes to the source material yet it did not veer far off the tangent.

Now after the disaster of 2006's Superman Returns, I felt that the Last Son of Krypton just could not be played by anyone but Christopher Reeve, and that Superman II was the last good film in this series. Thankfully, with Christopher Nolan's guidance and David S. Goyer's story (he also wrote the Batman reboot Batman Begins which incidentally is my favourite film of that trilogy), this installment starts off the right step towards what I hope is a Justice League film in the near future.

The best part of the films was sans-action for me. The lengthy prologue scenes on Krypton (hugely influenced by similar scenes in 1978's Superman) were fantastic; the repartee between Jor-El & Zod was great. It showed that both of them ultimately strove for the same goal yet had diametrically opposite routes to get there.

The film then delves in a Nolan-esque non-linear narrative with constant flashbacks. The flashbacks were also a good way of showing Clark's childhood instead of having an origins prologue that included Clark's beginning on Earth. In fact, the scene of Clark first discovering his powers in his elementary classroom was one of my favourite scenes of the film, with the child actor really portraying how a kid who thought he was normal was actually different. More than any other Superman film since the 1978 one, Man of Steel reminds us over & over that Superman isn't human, yet the Clark Kent in him is as human as us.

The action scenes were somewhat repetitive, but I liked it nevertheless. It also made me wonder, if Zack Snyder could be the right man for a Dragon Ball Z reboot because of the fight scenes in the air!

Snyder's touch is very apparent in those action scenes where Faora & Nam-Ek first wrecked Smallville in the battle with Superman before General Zod & Superman literally crushed Metropolis into a heap of rubble. This is derivative in all superhero films of this era i.e. New York was destroyed in The Avengers. Now, Zod unleashing his World Engine to terraform Earth into a new Krypton and in doing so destroys much of what is in its way; is totally understandable as he is a villain. Why Snyder in all his wisdom decided to allow Superman to annihilate Metropolis in the guise of battling Zod is a puzzle to me. It was not needed; perhaps something different could have been done. The ending was not a big surprise to me, as Superman has killed before in the comics & even in Superman II, and in that scene, it can be clearly seen how much it pained him to resort to that. It may be, that this was the act that made Superman swore off killing his enemies in the first place.

The absence of John Williams's signature Superman theme was somewhat alleviated by Hans Zimmer's fantastic uplifting score. His new theme was great and the score throughout the film was fantastic.

Henry Cavill shines as Kal-El, showing his struggle between his real self and his shadow on Earth, he also looked the part when he first donned the cape too. It is only as Clark Kent where he falls slightly short of emulating the amusing antics of Christopher Reeve or even the small town charm of Tom Welling. Since it's his first outing and we didn't really see Clark Kent that much, I'll give it a pass (hell it was thoroughly better than Brandon Routh).

Michael Shannon is suitably cast as General Zod, menacing in his stare and steadfast in his aim to see Krypton be born again. Russell Crowe & Kevin Costner played their father figure roles fantastically well surpassing their counterparts from previous iterations. It was strange to see Goyer dispensing away with the canonical death of Pa Kent (he died of a heart attack in all previous adaptations) instead going for a more harrowing death scene, which I'm sure shaped Clark's psyche. Amy Adams needs to convince me that she can be a Lois Lane, while Diane Lane did well as Ma Kent.

I loved the fact that they took a different direction with regards to his costume, the Fortress of Solitude and the 'S' symbol. It is not as if they deviated totally, as the costume (Kryptonian Armor) has appeared in The New 52 comic series while the 'S' being the House of El sigil appeared in the Superman: Birthright comic series. I also loved the easter eggs that littered the film, hinting at the future of this series, and maybe even a Justice League film in the making. The most prominent seems to hint that the sequel's villain will be Superman's arch nemesis, Lex Luthor. This included the Lexcorp logo appearing on the top of tower, a Lexcorp truck drops Clark off at the barn, the side of a tanker bearing a Lexcorp logo during final fight between Zod & Superman and the appearance of a Lexcorp construction site.

Those that hinted at a broader Justice League were the Wayne Industries logo on the satellite when Superman & Zod battle in outer space, the empty pod in the Fortress of Solitude that hinted that it could be Kara Zor-El aka Super Girl who was the first to arrive on Earth, the presence of Captain Farris who shares the same name as Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern's girlfriend & finally Dr. Emil Hamilton who would go on to head S.T.A.R Labs (which will be instrumental in the creation of Cyborg).

On the whole, this is not for those that loved Iron Man 3 which was witty & charming. Man of Steel was moody, cerebral & very intense and that was what made it great for me. It was a triumphant return to the silver screen for Kal El, and I hope this is the beginning of wonderful journey for future DC films.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness was the kickstart that I needed for the summer film season, especially after the underwhelming Iron Man 3. JJ Abrams second outing started off with a bang, the initial sequence was breathtaking, considering that I watched it unfold in glorious IMAX 3D (and I hate 3D, wanted to watch it in IMAX 2D, but my cinema only showed the film in IMAX 3D)!!

And the fun did not stop there, as the film continuously thrilled me with its fantastic action sequences and humour. The CGI was amazing as is expected from the geniuses at ILM. At times, I was wowed by what I was watching, the volcano scene, the bombing of Section 31 & the Vengeance crashing. The music was a major plus point for me, I was humming the theme (Enterprising Young Men) as I walked out of the cinema.

JJ Abrams does a solid job yet again, he does not disappoint. The screenplay though might irk some longtime Trekkies due to its similarity with The Wrath of Khan, in fact some might even consider it a poor rehash. I am not a big Trekkie, in fact I have only watched Abrams' 2009 reboot & a few episodes of The Next Generation, so I loved how this film was handled in terms of storyline. It had some socio-political undertones which mirrors our current state of affairs.

Moving on to the cast, for me, Benedict Cumberbatch was head & shoulders above the rest, playing his character with ease and menace. Zachary Quito was excellent as well, with Spock showing a wider range of emotion. The rest were adequately used as each had their individual story arcs fully fleshed out. Plus I also loved the new look of the Klingons on their planet, here's hoping we get them as villains for the 3rd film.

I would give this a high rating as I thoroughly enjoyed, best movie of the year thus far for me.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3(2013)
½

Now that most of you have probably watched Iron Man 3, I can safely give my review of this film. Do take note, that there are Spoilers ahead for those who have not watched it yet. I'm reviewing this both as a comicbook/animation fan, so my views will be based on that.

First off, let me put this out there, Iron Man 3 is in my opinion the worst of all the films released thus far as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Let me tell you why, this film left the Marvel fan in me utterly disappointed at the direction it took.

I walked into the cinema hall fully enthused about Iron Man 3. The ingredients to make it an amazing movie were all there. Post The Avengers, our hopes with regards to superhero films have definitely been increased. What more, that this, the 3rd of the Iron Man series, had Shane Black helming it. He is of course famous for being the screenwriter of several buddy cop films like "Lethal Weapon" and its sequel, "Last Action Hero" as well as good story based films like "The Long Kiss Goodnight" & "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"

This would be the film where we finally meet Iron Man's nemesis, The Mandarin. Bear in mind, Iron Man's rogue gallery isn't really great when you compare it with the rest of the Marvel superheroes, however if there was one villain that I wanted to see adapted onto the big screen for Iron Man, it was most definitely The Mandarin. Especially since, we had a pretty poor villain in Whiplash & Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 (which wasn't a bad film, but it was rather underwhelming). The promos & posters had me pumped about Black's interpretation of this famed villain. When Ben Kingsley was announced as the man to play The Mandarin, my enthusiasm rose tenfold. I thought this could be the best villain we've had since Heath Ledger's Joker in "The Dark Knight".

Iron Man 3 however failed to live up to its expectations. Although I enjoyed the first half of the film, doubts started creeping as soon as Eiffel 65's annoying "Blue Da Ba Dee" started playing at the beginning. I mean remember how Iron Man started? AC/DC's "Back in Black" booming through as the US Air Force convoy drove through Afghanistan and ending with Black Sabbath's classic "Iron Man" as the credits rolled. Then in Iron Man 2, Tony Stark sky-diving off the plane as AC/DC's "Shoot to Thrill" accompanied him. The film then ended with Stark and Rhodey being presented with medals as yet again AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" plays. Brian Tyler who wrote the soundtrack for Iron Man 3 is a far cry from Ramin Djawadi or Tom Morello who composed for Iron Man & Iron Man 2 respectively.

Yet, I still harboured hope. It was going well, the action sequences were top notch yet again. The attack on his mansion was great. Seeing the new suit in action was fantastic as well, now that Tony Stark is able to remotely control the Mark 42 suit via the microchip implants he has injected himself with. I was even ok with him then losing his suits and having to go MacGyver in rural Tennessee.

However, I lost all interest in the film as soon as the so-called twist occurred. The reveal of The Mandarin as nothing more than an actor hired to play the part, absolutely deflated me. The Mandarin is Iron Man's arch nemesis as I stated earlier. He is The Joker to Batman, General Zod to Superman, The Green Goblin to Spiderman & Sabretooth to Wolverine. It was a total cop-out, a middle finger to all the fans of Iron Man.

The reveal that Aldrich Killian is the man behind The Mandarin was ridiculous as it totally butchered the pre-established continuity from the first two Iron Man films. The Mandarin in the comics wields a mystical power in his ten rings, which in Iron Man 1 & 2 had a presence via the terrorist unit called The Ten Rings. I am fine with removing certain aspects that would seem out of place ala what Nolan did for his Dark Knight Trilogy. Having Trevor Slattery, a drunk, dope addicted & washed up Cockney accented actor from Croydon, South London (who ridiculously cheers when Liverpool score against Chelsea, what the hell was that about?) play a role created specifically for Killian to control the war on terror was bordering on stupidity. Killian is a minor character in the Extremis comics so why elevate him to another in the line of techno-terrorists like Obadiah Stane (Iron Man) or Justin Hammer (Iron Man 2)?

Up to that point, I must say that Ben Kingsley simply stole the show as The Mandarin. His vocal inflections, menacing stare and a believe that he was meting out justice; all of that was great. Then, that twist happened, and I sighed out lout in the cinema.

Moving on to the rest of the characters, I really wanted to see the Iron Patriot (who is actually Harry Osborn aka The New Goblin, in the comics, but since all Spiderman characters belonged to Sony, they changed it here). James Rhodes was reduced to bit-part character here which is sad considering the calibre of Don Cheadle.

Gwyneth Paltrow took on a heavier role, in fact we got to see a glimpse of Rescue (Pepper Potts in Iron Man Armour) which was ok, although having her infected with the Extremis virus was a tad much. The Extremis soldiers were minor characters in the comics, but it was nice to see Eric Savin (Coldblood), Jack Taggert (Firepower) & Ellen Brandt even if they were adapted for this storyline and are never called by their alter-egos.

Aldrich Killian was played pretty well by Guy Pearce, but him having the dragon tattoos and breathing fire was confusing. Was he supposed to Fin Fang Foom? Or Firebrand? And why would they make him the founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics? We all know that AIM is an offshoot of HYDRA, so why not have that in the new Captain America movie? If would have been great to see Baron Wolfgang, Baron Zemo & MODOK!

Robert Downey Jr, meanwhile, excelled as Tony Stark. Indeed, it is the role he was born for. He shows good emotion as he suffers from PTSD from the Chitauri invasion (slight forced but I was still ok with it). The comedy throughout the film was up to the mark, and we got to see some buddy cop humour between Stark & Rhodey. As for the end, I did not like the fact that Tony had his chest arc reactor removed. What does this mean for Iron Man in The Avengers sequel? The post-credit scene although slightly funny was absolutely irrelevant to setting up or teasing Phase 2 of the MCU.

The few things I liked about Iron Man 3 were as said earlier, the action sequences and some minor easter eggs/cameos like Dr Yinsen (from the first film) & Dr Wu Chen Lu (who would go on to be Radioactive Man in the comics, which could have nicely segued into the Ant Man film since they're archenemies), mentioning of Roxxon Energy Corp & seeing the Iron Legion in action (the different types of Iron Man armour in the climax fight).

On the whole, I would give this nothing more than a 6.5 out of 10. And to quote Nolan (blasphemy I know, but I'm a fan of both DC & Marvel, sue me), The Mandarin was the villain that we fans deserved, but not the one that Shane Black gave us. Instead, we got a derisory, fire-breathing Extremis infused maniac.

Oblivion
Oblivion(2013)
½

Visually stunning and nothing more. Parts of the story make you stop and wonder, "Now where have I seen that before", Tom Cruise is his usual overacting self, the rest of the cast including Morgan Freeman are forgettable. Watch this only if you're a Cruise fan and an extra RM10 to spare.

Paradesi
Paradesi(2013)
½

A brilliant film yet again from Bala & team. He takes us on a journey of hardship through the eyes of tea plantation slave workers in pre-independence India. As always, the characters are great and fleshed out, often making us, the audience, feel part of the suffering. All the actors & extras are great. Camerawork was fantastic with its sepia tones. G.V.P's music was a massive letdown, Isaignani's touch was sorely missing. The only minus points would be the rather wooden, 2 dimensional characterization of the Britishers and the unnecessary proselytizing song towards the end. The film ends rather abruptly, but it does so to show the never-ending lives of these workers. Based on the 1969 novel Red Tea, this is in my opinion Bala's best work since Sethu.

Olympus Has Fallen

All out action flick with very low substance and a simple screenplay. I found myself thoroughly entertained. The only thing missing was Jack Bauer or John McClane, but Butler did a decent job!

Django Unchained
½

As usual, Tarantino comes up trumps with his take on Antebellum-era of USA. Di Caprio steals the show with his over-the-top portrayal of slave owner Calvin Candie. Samuel L Jackson and Christoph Waltz portray their roles well while Foxx & Washington are adequate. The action sequence as it is with all his films, are slow-mo and all gore style of John Woo ie unlimited bullets & unlimited blood. The film is peppered with comedic moments and is definitely a must watch!

Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom
½

Interesting story told in a very simple yet entertaining way!! Kudos to the team of newcomers!

Looper
Looper(2012)

Looper: A time-travelling, philosophical, intelligent mind-bender of a film

I entered the cinema not expecting much, which in hindsight was probably a good thing. Looper is in essence a brief study of man's constant dilemma of fate vs. choice. What if I had taken the other path, what would be life be like? Writer/Director Rian Johnson takes this simple yet convoluted premise and adds in some action and a whole lot of science fiction that results in an excellent film.

Time-travel plays a massive part of the film's storyline and this means you just have to not think about the paradoxes, lest it causes your brain to melt. Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes on a different tone as he is not his usual charming self that we are used to seeing in his previous films. Instead, as Joe Simmons, he portrays a ruthless contract-killer known as a Looper; and he does not flinch a muscle when he completes his assignments. In 2074, time travel has been discovered but outlawed and when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past to be killed by the aforementioned Loopers. However, when it's time for the Looper to go, they are sent back in time to be killed by their younger versions, in what is called 'closing the loop'.

Bruce Willis plays the older Joe who gets sent back but with a small twist, he escapes the younger Joe. Older Joe then goes on his mission to hunt down the Rainmaker, the man who controls the mob in 2074, only he is just a kid in 2034. What happens next forms the crux of the film that sees it ending with a great riposte to that age-old paradigm of fate vs. choice.

Gordon-Levitt continues to show why he is hell-bent on being his generation's best actor as he undergoes a total facial change to look like a young-ish Bruce Willis. His portrayal as frayed, fragile yet strong junkie is fantastic. In fact, in the diner scene, he goes toe-to-toe with Willis in the way he speaks down to cadence and slight Jersey accent that Willis naturally has.

Willis meanwhile is solid in every single frame he is in, displaying his emotional range as well as his undoubted action credentials. Jeff Daniels looked like he really enjoyed himself playing Abe, Joe's present day boss who was sent back by the Rainmaker to keep things on a leash in 2034. Emily Blunt as Sara is sufficient although to be honest that role could have been played by anyone.

The person that almost steals the show is the young Pierce Gagnon who displays a maturity in his acting that is far beyond his age. It is astonishing to think that he was only 5 at the time of filming. As Sid, Sara's son, Pierce shines as boy who is unable to control who he is. I'm not going to give much more, watch the film to know what I mean.

This is without a shadow of a doubt the best Sci-Fi film of 2012 (well at least until I watch Cloud Atlas, which looks pretty good as well). In fact, I would go as far as to rank this in the Top 5 Sci-Fi films of the 21st Century (Inception, Donnie Darko, Looper, District 9 and Moon in that order)

Catch this ahead of any overhyped drivel (yes I'm looking at you Total Recall, Dredd etc.) that is showing in cinemas now

The Dark Knight Rises
½

The Dark Knight Rises ‚" A Fitting End (SPOILER ALERT!!)

After waiting for about a week, I am finally writing a review for what in my opinion, is the biggest movie of the year. Given the significance of the plot and reveals, I chose to wade out the time so everyone could watch it first. Plus, I have also been suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

Yes, Nolan‚(TM)s Dark Knight trilogy-saga has finally come to an end. The man himself has said that he will not direct another Batman film, confirming his earlier promise that he will tell the story of how Batman began, fell & rose.

Let‚(TM)s get straight into it then, first off, The Dark Knight Rises is definitely not the best movie in the series. The popular opinion has always been that The Dark Knight will be the stand-out film in Nolan‚(TM)s trilogy; now based on early reviews and fan reaction, that does seem to hold true. I, on the other hand believe that Batman Begins just edges the other two, purely because it not only set the tone for the latest incarnation of the Caped Crusader but also firmly placed it back where it truly belongs.

The Dark Knight Rises is inspired by the 1993 graphic novel, Knighfall, Gotham City is free of crime no thanks to the events of The Dark Knight, Batman is basically retired, and Bruce Wayne is shadow of his old self. He is then forced to don the cape & cowl again as a new menace threatens his beloved city.

Nolan includes has references to real world problems like the 99% movement & terrorism. Selina Kyle; portrayed surprisingly well by Anne Hathaway, is at first a foe to Batman, then a friend and finally a lover to Bruce Wayne. Catwoman‚(TM)s background is explained very subtly, she is the 99%; she takes from the 1% of Gotham City. Yet, as a bigger terror dawns, she join forces with Batman.

Bane is the formidable foe that is visceral yet cerebral in the same frame. This is shown to full effect in many sequences throughout the film, none more so than in the excellent prologue and the fight ‚that broke the bat‚?. Tom Hardy‚(TM)s brilliant portrayal is amplified mainly due to the mask that hides most of his face. His vocal inflection and his eyes and body language are impactful.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman are efficient in their respective roles, while Marion Cottilard is average as Miranda Tate, until she takes an excellent turn towards the climax as Talia Al-Ghul.

Christian Bale continues to show why he is by far the best Batman while Michael Caine & Morgan Freeman impress in their minimal scenes.

Massive props to the DoP Wally Pfister & Hans Zimmer, whose cinematography and music respectively lend a hand in invoking emotions for the whole duration of the film.

Jonathan Nolan‚(TM)s writing is par for the course, but twists towards the end with the reveal of Talia Al-Ghul and John Blake‚(TM)s first name received applause in the cinema. Many of us suspected that Cottilard was indeed playing Talia, but the manner in which it is revealed is riveting. ‚Robin‚? John Blake entering the Batcave can be seen as a massive hint at what might come in the future. Who knows, we might see Nightwing instead of the Boy Wonder. I for one am very intrigued!

The ode to the comic book universe of Batman is completed by Batman‚(TM)s rise from Nolan‚(TM)s version of the Lazarus Pit. The decision of not trying to explain Joker‚(TM)s absence makes you respect Christopher Nolan‚(TM)s vision more. He probably understood that the late Heath Ledger‚(TM)s Joker was the ultimate villain, and therefore chose to leave it that. While the Joker was an anarchist, hell-bent on random chaos & internal destruction, Bane was a flat-out pure terrorist, calculating, deliberate & absolutely physical. Nolan pretty much summarized all his films main villains into 3 profound words that mean a lot; Fear, Chaos & Pain.

Personally, I have been a massive fan of Tim Burton‚(TM)s duology, in which Gotham City was painted as a dark dystopia that bared a very close resemblance to how the world was back in the 80‚(TM)s and where the villains were campy yet menacing. In both Batman & Batman Returns, you were fully immersed into a brand new Batman, who up to then was left to our imaginations.

Then, came the over-the-top, homo-erotic nonsense, Batman Forever & Batman and Robin which truly killed the franchise. In fact, the animated film, Mask of Phantasm was a way better film compared to the tripe that Schumacher churned.

And so, when it was announced that the man who blew my mind with Memento would have the unenviable task of breathing life back into one of comic‚(TM)s greatest heroes, I was wary but hopeful. Nolan did not disappoint, Bob Kane, Frank Miller & Alan Moore can be very proud of all 3 films.

Christopher Nolan‚(TM)s trilogy-saga will forever be entrenched in the minds of comic book fanboys and moviegoers alike as the definitive portrayal of Batman. The Nolan brothers & David S. Goyer deserve all the praise that come their way, watch all 3 films back-to-back and you will understand what I mean. The 10 hour trilogy can actually be a standalone feature and still give you all the travails of a graphic novel. This is by far one the greatest trilogies in film history.

Batman Begins revitalized a dying franchise which reached its zenith in The Dark Knight and delivered a poignant farewell in The Dark Knight Rises.

Billa 2
Billa 2(2012)
½

Billa 2 - The Rise of a Don. Being a massive fan of 'Thala' Ajith since Amarkalam days, it is only natural that I entered the cinema with mountainous expectations. And as the film opened with Thala surrounded by goons, and he utters the now infamous dialogue of how he carefully crafted each and every single second of his life; my expectations skyrocketed. However, as a self-confessed connoisseur of gangster flicks, admittedly, the film fell short on certain aspects. I left the cinema with a tinge of could-have-been better in my head, although my heart thoroughly enjoyed it. The question though is how do I write this review, with my head or with my heart? I decided to go with a bit of both, so here goes. The prequel to 2007's Billa lives up to a few things of its predecessor. In fact, I would go as far as to say the technical aspect of Billa 2 is simply brilliant. The fantastic cinematography of RD Rajasekhar, with his quick changing shots during the action sequences and the tonal changes the film goes through which perfectly essays the changes that the protagonist/antagonist David Billa experiences as he climbs the ladder towards what he sees as ultimate power; are cinematographic magic. The action sequences, choreographed by Stefan Richter & his team are well done; knives take centre stage in most of the early fights, while bullets take over later on. The stand-out scene has to be the helicopter stunt, where Thala hangs off the edge of the helicopter as he fights one of the baddies at an altitude of 3000-5000 feet. BGM by Yuvan is a massive highlight, as in many scenes it conveys emotions otherwise not seen on screen. Sudhanshu Pandey is very convincing as the Big Kahuna, his looks suited the character of Abbasi very well; plus him dubbing in his own voice was a plus point. Yog Japee as Ranjeeth does well and he proves to be David Billa's right hand man from the get go and their relationship from 2007's Billa is well established here. The other smaller characters performed sufficiently with Rahman appearing briefly as Jagdeesh. On the other hand, the characterization of Dmitri is one-dimensional, although Vidyut Jamwal does well in his action sequences. Bruna Abdullah's Sameera is stunning in every frame she appears in, but adds very little value to the film, while Parvathy Omanakuttan's Jasmine wasn't really needed except for the added emotional quotient. The two lead actresses' roles could have been trimmed to one singular character instead. The bevy of beauties that appear in the item numbers ooze glamour all out. Chakri Toleti shows his creative side in two great scenes, the intro and also the picturization of "Unnakule Mirugam"; both of which were amazing. The montage shot as the song plays was one of best picturizations of a mass song I have seen in a long time. One small qualm though, that the "Gangster" & "Unnakule Mirugam" songs had their places swapped instead. Having the montage of Billa at the end would have been more impactful for sure. Chakri does have a future in films if he continues to be experiment with shots, montages and action scenes. However, he could have made the screenplay more tauter. Despite its relatively short running time of 2 hours 7 minutes, the film lags a bit just before the interval, but then it's non-stop action as David Billa completes his journey and finally becomes Don Billa. Thala Ajith Kumar, what can I say, he is a tour-de-force. Be it the action sequences or his dialogue delivery, I can safely say that there will never be a more convincing don in Tamil films in the near future. Thala's mass was apparent in the cinema, every single time he appears; he captures the audience's attention. Overall, the film is a stylishly done gangster flick although, not as entertaining as the rip-roaring masala-laced Mankatha or as polished as 2007's Billa, yet it carves a niche of its own. Billa 2 - Paisa Vasool, Thala Marana Mass!!!

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man was not too bad, considering my pretty low expectations. Lizard, wow never imagined I would see him on silver screen, and they stayed true to Steve Ditko's original humanoid imagining of Lizard. Rhys Ifans did a great job. Not much to say about Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone, they were adequate. I still don't understand why the need for a reboot though. Watch this just once and then wait for the true summer blockbuster TDKR!

Marvel's The Avengers

Avengers - Awesomeness Assembled!! One of the most anticipated films of the year does not disappoint in any way. The wit and banter between the team is highly apparent and funny, the story does not lag and the screenplay from Joss Whedon is engaging. This movie is definitely aimed at Marvel fanboys, of which I am one myself. If you ever wondered how it would be to see Iron Man and Thor fight or any one them going toe-to-toe, well your dreams will be fullfilled in this film. The ensemble cast does a good job and the absence of Ant-Man and Wasp are quickly forgotten. In fact, I would say that Ruffalo has done a great job in portraying the depression and apathy of Dr. Banner. The action here is exactly the opposite of Transformers 3, with The Avengers being more character driven than the cog-smashingly shite-fest that was Bay's baby. This is proven in that mindblowing tracking shot at the end that shows each of the hero fighting in one flowing camera shot. The post-credit reveal points to a sequel with lots of promise, which can only be a good thing. Favourite scene of the movie were definitely the Hulk fight scenes in the climax for me!!

3
3(2012)

3 - Much more than just 'Kolaveri Di'. In essence, 3 is a love story, however, there is a much darker side to the story. It has been the norm of recent Tamil films to tread the path not taken by their peers. Aishwarya Dhanush tries extremely hard to walk that line and succeeds, albeit by on a very small scale. They are weaknesses in the film, but this can put down to first-timer mistakes, she can only get better from here on. Her screenplay could have been more taut, a pacier narration in the second half would have helped. Minor details such as the absence of Prabu when things start getting tough should have been explained or at least hinted at. Where she does excel though, is the art of nuanced storytelling and dialogues between the primary and the secondary characters offer more than just mere conversations. Her knack of angles and shot-taking are great, DOP Velraj proving his mettle here as well. Anirudh definitely has a future based on this film, the songs are all great but the BGM was par-excellence. Dhanush is a tour-de-force in the film, emoting well throughout the 3 stages of his life. Shruthi continues to show that having 2 National award winners as her parents runs in the genes. A good showing by Aishwarya on her first attempt. People who are disappointed that the 2 biggest legends in Tamil cinema did not have heirs to their thrones will walk away knowing that Rajni & Kamal's legacy will live on in their daughters. As evidenced in the cinema I was in, 3 will divide people into two camps, those who loved it and those who hated it. I for one was firmly in the former. Standing ovation for Aishwarya and team!!

Nanban
Nanban(2012)

Nanban is thought-provokingly funny. I went into the cinema with low expectations for this film (as I always do for Vijay's recent movies), however my opinions changed as soon as the words "Ilaya Thalapathy" were missing from his name in the opening credits. Having seen and thoroughly enjoyed 3 Idiots, I have to put my hands up and admit, the feeling was the same for Nanban as well. Extremely funny and moving, Shankar's remake is definitely up to its original mark; bear in mind this would have been an impossibly tedious task, as 3 Idiots is still one of the biggest grossing and critically acclaimed films ever. Kudos to Shankar as his touch is clearly felt in what is an otherwise frame-by-frame re-viewing of Rajkumar Hirani's cult film. Ileana is a breath of fresh air, as she is gorgeous in many scenes (especially THAT song). Jiiva has showed his acting chops while Srikanth is average. Sathyaraj evokes too many similarities with Boman. The highlight though is Sathyan, who almost steals the show with his rib-tickling antics, watch out for his speech. It is equal nay supersedes Omi Vaidya's. Vijay definitely begins his second innings with this film as he has also done a great job. Overall, it is worth catching this movie in the cinema even if you have seen 3 Idiots. In closing, "Nishabdam Pranasangadham"

Rockstar
Rockstar(2011)
½

Rockstar is a Ranbir Kapoor driven vehicle all the way. The young actor continues to prove that he doesn't want to be recognized merely by his surname but by what he does on the silver screen. And as JJ/Jordan, he imbibes and lives the life of a troubled youth with big dreams of rock-stardom. He sets out to get his heart broken so he can be a great but emotionally fractured musician like his hero The Doors frontman Jim Morrison, but he ends up getting much more than he bargained for. Nargis is a beauty but she really has to go for acting classes especially to portray emotions. The look and feel of the film is stunning but Imtiaz disappoints with the wafer-thin plot. Screenplay and editing give the film a disjointed feeling but Ranbir's powerful performance and Rahman's music and BGM is the major plus points of the film. Ranbir has made me a fan with this film, and looks he is the heir-apparent of Aamir.

Immortals
Immortals(2011)

Immortals, less said about this film, the better. It is basically a CGI-loaded, story/screenplay-void gore-fest. You know the film is bad if you only liked the "look" of it. That was exactly how I felt as well, the CGI was the best part of the movie, lots liberties were taken with the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur etc which spoiled it for me. You will leave the cinema wondering, damn I could have used that money on something else. If Clash of the Titans (2010) was a failure of epic proportions, then Immortals is a colossal disappointment.

7 Aum Arivu (7th Sense)

7aam Arivu, a novel attempt. Surya may be the main name in the credits, but Murugadoss's story is definitely the star of this film. The fact that nobody even knew who Bodhidharman was until the trailer first shed light; is testament to Murugadoss's research. On the whole, the overdose of certain songs did not help the flow, two less songs would have rendered a tauter screenplay. Bodhidharman scenes are excellent. Surya is solid as always and in Johnny Nguyen, we finally have a villain who doesn't just scream and shout dialogues. Shruti has performed commendably, showing that acting chops also passes through genes. She shines in many scenes and has a bright future ahead of her.....skin-showing heroines beware, a real actress has arrived.

Warrior
Warrior(2011)

Although not on par with its genre-sharing greats such as Rocky (the first only), The Wrestler & The Fighter, Warrior does have its great moments. Nick Nolte's powerhouse performance in a supporting role almost steals the spotlight from Hardy's edgy, afflicted loner and even Edgerton's moving, down in the doldrums family man. We all know what the end result is in such films, yet we watch it till the end, because these films admit it or not, give hope to all the underdogs in real life. I found myself rooting for both brothers to win, each with their own reason for fighting. Watch this if you're a big fan of character driven sports dramas and be prepared to have the last image of the film etched in your minds.

Contagion
Contagion(2011)
½

Contagion is a typically Soderbegh-style of filming a serious subject. It is sans action, gore etc; all the formulaic crap that Hollywood dishes out frequently. And solely because of that, this film works. The narrative style of numerous subplots based on the central theme of how a contagious disease evolves into a pandemic, keeps us entrenched to the screen for the duration of almost 2 hours. Due to the many subplots, the lead actors have limited screen presence but they excel in their given roles; especially Damon and Law. To say Soderbergh scaremongers viewers about infectious disease in the same way Spielberg did for sharks/bodies of water would be unfair. Go watch this if you like intellectual films that make you think at the end. And see if you end up like me as you leave the cinema hall......resisting to touch the exit door knob and the staircase railings...

Mankatha
Mankatha(2011)

Mangaatha - What a great entertainer!! From the first scene of Thala's intro to the last scene of the climax, it is a non-stop roller coaster ride with Venkat Prabu. There may be many loopholes in the screenplay, with all the loose ends seemingly tied together nicely to fit the twist but you will not realize any of it until you are back in the car on your way home. Kudos to VP and team. The sentence "This is my fucking game!!" could not carry a different meaning. It is indeed Thala's and only Thala's game. Ajith + Mass + Simple/Action-Packed Story = A different game - Mankatha da!!

Super 8
Super 8(2011)
½

Super 8 brings back memories of Close Encounters & ET, with great characterization and emotions. Only difference is Super 8 is a lot more scarier and loaded with CGI. It had its great moments, the young cast is one to watch for in future. Well done JJ, and no, it wasn't the Smoke Monster ;-)

Cloverfield
Cloverfield(2008)

Felt like I was in the thick of the action...Don't take my word for it...You gotta see it for yourself to know why its good!!!

The Godfather, Part II
½

One of the, if not best ever sequels. Many memorable scenes esp Fredo's murder....WOW!!!

The Usual Suspects

This film started its own new genre...Really Good Film...

Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump(1994)

A simple tale that proved to be one of the biggest tearjerkers ever

Training Day
Training Day(2001)

Denzel was rocking in this movie...Possibly his best role so far...

Identity
Identity(2003)

Pretty good considering the B-grade cast.....defo for fans of the mind*uck genre....

Unbreakable
Unbreakable(2000)

Not Many People Like This One...They Are SO WRONG....LOL
This film was brilliantly written....

The Sixth Sense

You Gotta Love It For The Mind*uck Aspect of The Movie....He's Dead?
DAMN......

Scarface
Scarface(1983)

Say Hello To My Little Friend!!!
ABS-OLUTE-LY LOVE IT!! HOKAY.....

Nayakan (Hero)

Mani's n Kamal's Best To Date... No Doubts At All

The Godfather

The Best Movie I've Ever Seen...The Baptism Scene Was Just BriLL!!