Tropic Thunder: The line between action movie and spoof action flick blurs wildly in this, though it pulls out just ahead in the spoof column. I suppose it’s only a commentary of our times when you wonder whether the product placement in this is intentional or whether it’s there to be parodied. While there aren’t any stand-out performances, the movie does chug along nicely enough, and it’s worth a few laughs. ★★★
Dhrona: Zero out of Five. Zip, zilch, nada. No redeeming features what. so. ever.
(I mean, if you can make Priyanka Chopra look frumpy, you’re most certainly doing it wrong.)
Australia: Australia, the country, deserves better than this, if only because there is such talent that it could have had better. Australia tells the story of Lady Sarah Ashley, newly arrived in the Territory to try to sell off a cattle ranch, Faraway Downs. A series of unfortunate events sees her staying, and a love story, a tale of hardship and a snippet of war are all told in the backdrop of early World War II Darwin.
You know it’s an “epic” because (a) the running time is 2 hours and 40 minutes (interval? what interval?) and there’s at least three or four points throughout that you think “Is this the end yet?” (at least before checking your watch).
Baz Luhrman certainly starts off with a hyper-realistic style that is intriguing, but this very quickly degrades into a by-the-numbers play, every twist to the plot well sign-posted. This belies the talent of the acting, barring Nicole, with unsung Aussie heroes such as Bryan Brown and David Wenham in particular standing out from the crowd.
In the end, if it wasn’t for the little kid Nullah, this would be a dull epic hardly worth slogging through. Despite all this, it is after all your patriotic duty as an Australian to go watch this. ★★☆
Dostana – Now, this is how you make Priyanka Chopra look smokin’. The story here is that two guys (John Abraham and Abhishek Bachan) living in Miami have to pretend to be a gay couple to get an apartment, and they end up being housemates with The Hot Girl (Priyanka). Who they inevitably fall for, but comedy gets in the way of telling her that they’re not, etc.
Genuinely funny and not-half-bad rom-com, though inevitably overdoes the songs. ★★★★
The Namesake – well constructed and largely on-the-money portrayal of an Indian migrant family. Meera Nair directs a story that’s almost a series of viginettes that move along the timeline in jumps. Each jump is appropriate, and the tale is told with a minimum of fuss or superfulous material.
Kal Penn demonstrates his ability to act is not limited to stoners a la Harold & Kumar, and Tabu & Irfan Khan prove most excellent in the roles of the parents. A brilliant movie, but perhaps limited in its target audience. ★★★☆
Madagascar – Escape 2 Africa: Brilliant! While the first Madagascar was a bit meh, a bit by-the-numbers, it looks like the producers went back to it and said “how can we make this better?”, and they actually found the right key elements. The penguins are in fine form, as is the lemur King Julian (Sacha Baren Cohen, a.k.a. Ali G, Borat) – you get the feeling that there’s an element of ad-libbing going on to make it all the more brilliant. The main plot moves along at a tight clip, with only a little sentimentality. Good laughs make it well worth it for young and old. ★★★☆