Double Feature: Knight and Day (2010) & Bang Bang (2014)

Welcome to another double feature!

This time we have a deliberate pair-up. Knight and Day was released in 2010 and is a through and through Hollywood production with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. According to Rotten Tomatoes (and a few people that I mentioned to), it isn’t really that well received. Which makes it weird that it was turned into a Bollywood film in 2014 called Bang Bang! starring familiar faces like Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, both of which I’ve seen movies of before. You’d think that I saw Knight and Day first but I actually saw Bang Bang first and then decided to give the original a shot to see how they compare.

Knight and Day (2010)

Knight and Day

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano

A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name. – IMDB

Knight and Day is pretty much and action comedy with hints of romance. Its a fun ride with some awkward moments. You can never fault Tom Cruise for not delivering on action but how can we be satiated when we have the last two Mission:Impossible, right? With that said, there seems to be forced dialogue and some things that don’t always flow well along with characters that try to be deep but never quite hit the potential. It might simply be the fact that Tom Cruise has always been a cool dude so when he is doing the passive thing or saying some sarcastic or some misplaced encouragement or whatnot to Cameron Diaz’s character June, there is the rare moment that it works but mostly, it doesn’t seem to fit the character too well or maybe its because its Tom Cruise and it doesn’t fit him. Always a danger of this happening when using huge stars.

Knight and Day also has some familiar faces like a cameo by Gal Gadot. Viola Davis is the Director who is the head of the good side, aka managing the spy and her mission is to catch Roy who has gone rogue. Then you have Paul Dano who is the nerd kid who invented a powerful something that everyone is after. Possibly, the most fun is in the final act particularly after a truth serum is used. Cameron Diaz has always been a hit and miss. For example, I didn’t like Bad Teacher but I love The Holiday.

Overall, I honestly don’t have much to say about Knight and Day. Its good for a watch and it was fun and entertaining but something didn’t feel right and the more I think about it, it might just be awkward dialogue and my not seeing Tom Cruise as this character.

Or it could be that I saw the remake first…

Bang Bang (2014)

bang bang

Director: Siddharth Anand

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Pavan Malhotra, Danny Denzongpa, Javed Jaffrey, Jimmy Shergill, Vikram Gokhale

A young bank receptionist gets mixed up with Rajveer Nanda, a man who has a mysterious background. – IMDB

Some of you know that with Netflix having more foreign films, I have opened up my world slightly and slowly to Bollywood films. They do take up a ton of time but its usually a decent experience so far. I am a fan of Hrithik Roshan since Dhoom 2 (review HERE). The man is like the whole package and some and in Bang Bang, he proves that he can also be almost like Tom Cruise. Knight and Day being a Bollywood remake is the perfect fit. The corny dialogue and the serious and fun but over the top action: it works here so well. The key here is that Bang Bang keeps a tone that is very light-hearted. To be honest, the Bollywood singing and dancing parts are used quite sparsely in comparison to other films so it makes it possibly even an easily entry point for those that feel less inclined because of these usually odd transitions. I always find Bollywood musical segments appealing to watch. This one is absolutely no exception especially because both Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan got the moves.

Bang Bang only changes the story a little as in its stealing a diamond Kohinoor and that its a more personal affair than the original. At the same time, Bang Bang also remakes some of the scenes almost exactly the same. In fact, some of the dialogue is also incredibly similar. If you went into Bang Bang having already seen Knight and Day, a good at least 70% of this will look familiar. Bang Bang definitely does lack originality on that front. There is no denying it, especially in many scenes like the beach scenes where only the escape is different or how the attack was constructed. Same applies for the final scene that I loved so much in the original.

However, what Bang Bang makes up for is the charm that it has with Hrithik Roshan playing Rajveer and Katrina Kaif playing Harleen. Somehow, the music and dance and their personalities truly shine and match with this story. Its a much better fit for these characters. There is some cheesy moments but it also comes with the expectations and Bollywood films that I’ve seen tend to be structured in this way tonally. It just blends very well together with what this type of story tried to achieve. Of course, Indian cinema has changed now and there are horror films and other more dramatic entries and especially more action which is void of the whole Bollywood musical thing.

With that said, I like Bang Bang more than Knight and Day. I like Knight and Day for its finale whereas Bang Bang was much more of an overall experience.

Have you seen Knight and Day and/or Bang Bang?
Also, if you did see it, I made a little banner for this double feature. What do you think about it?

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Bollywood Double Feature: Dil Chahta Hai (2001) & Dostana (2008)

Movie reviews have been scarce on here and I apologize deeply for it.  Its just I’ve been trying to get a life outside of the internets going, like getting certain priorities straight.  Don’t get me wrong though.  I still watch movies and I have a ton backlogged.  I just can’t write as fast I used to.  But, the review for the first of these two Bollywood features have been sitting in the back of my mind for a little while (a few months maybe) and I just felt like they deserved a little review so here we go with a Bollywood double feature.

Bollywood or any Indian cinema takes time to watch.  Nothing short of 3 hours to spare in your schedule is needed and it really sucks when it doesn’t really even give the slightest of entertainment value.  That’s something that makes me hesitate to watch it sometimes but when the crushing deadline of Netflix appears threatening to expire them, I cozy up with some tea and clear out my schedule and that is how I ended up seeing these two: Dil Chahta Hai and Dostana.

Let’s check them out!

Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

dil chahta hai

Director: Farhan Arhtar

Cast: Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni, Dimple Kapadia

Three inseparable childhood friends are just out of college. Nothing comes between them – until they each fall in love, and their wildly different approaches to relationships creates tension.- IMDB

Dil Chahta Hai is a movie on friendship and love, but mostly on friendship.  The beginning leads us into backtracking to how two of the three friends haven’t seen each other in a few years and now one of them is sitting in a hospital for some unknown reason.  It peaks the interest in getting us intrigued for one, who is in the hospital and in a seemingly serious problem and two, who is this third friend and why is he refusing to come even in an extreme situation.  What is the falling out so serious that could cause this, right?

This is a powerful movie if anything.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the songs themselves but other than that, the story was really well in developing each of the characters.  The friendship was something that was so strong and well-emphasized and it gives somewhat of a good look at how the dynamic of friends and each of them balance each other so that their friendship thrives.  Most of this is by giving each friend a good amount of their own time to tell each of their own stories and their feelings and that helps us to understand of each of them and connect deeper to the characters.

I don’t want to go too much into detail here but Dil Chahta Hai is an impressive drama about friendship and it was done so well that by the end of it all, I was pretty touched at the end and got a little misty. That was pretty much unexpected for me and in such a good way.

Dostana (2008)

dostana

Director: Tarun Mansukhani

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Bobby Deol, Boman Irani

Two straight guys pretend to be gay in order to secure a Miami apartment. When both of them fall for their roommate Neha, hilarity ensues as they strive to convince one and all that they’re gay, secretly trying to win her heart. –IMDB

 Dostana is a fun, lighthearted comedy done in absolutely the most hilarious ways.  I have to say, it charmed me quite a bit.  I personally don’t think Abhishek Bachchan is all that handsome but somehow I managed to even see some charm in him.  In fact, for the first bollywood movie EVER, I knew all the main cast.  Its something to be proud of, okay? Dostana had me laughing so hard throughout the whole movie plus as cheesy as some of the music usually is, and it has that whole opening song to start the movie (which usually is a sign of extreme cheese), this one redeemed itself really quickly.  John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra have the best chemistry and they are all extremely charming characters.   Plus, the whole pretending to be gay thing works out to make this even more laugh out loud and there’s just so many of those.

There aren’t enough compliments I could give this one because it swept me off my feet unexpectedly.  I truly expected it to be just a really ridiculous concept but the way they did it was quite smart.  I don’t have all that much to say about this one because it was just so fun and hilarious.  The characters are charming and it never gets too dramatic.  There is really no better way to spend 3 hours than to be constantly laughing and knows how to do just that 🙂 As much as this is about love, its also about friends so it makes this quite a memorable movie.

Overall, two very good Bollywood movies.  They are both worth your time.  If you’re looking for a good drama (with a few laughs), Dil Chahta Hai would be your choice and if you want to just turn off your mind and downright roll off your chair laughing at the hilarious situation two guys pretending to be gay while living with a pretty girl, Dostana is a sure fire! Its rare I get back to back winners in these double features but both of these boast a pretty great cast and a very well executed storyline.  If you cross paths with them, you should definitely give it a chance! 🙂

Have you seen either of these? If you have, did you like it?

Double Feature: Don (2006) & Je Crois Que Je l’Aime (2007)

While I was just about to hatch a schedule to get some Academy Awards nominated movies for this year within this next month, Netflix has decided to rule my life.  So many movies expiring.  I had about a week of break before it all started up again. Although, I’m working on reviewing everything I watch, I might just end up saving a few of these next few Netflix for the future while I get the more urgent issue done.

Still, here’s a little double feature for two foreign movies…

DON (2006)

DON 2006

Director: Farhan Akhtar

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, Isha Koppikar, Boman Irani, Om Puri

A simple man (Vijay) from the city of Mumbai is recruited by a police officer to masquerade as the Don, the leader of an international gang of smugglers. But things go wrong, the officer is killed and now Vijay is on his own, with only his lover (Roma) and a lame ex con artist to help him to prove his innocence. – IMDB

Don is an Indian action thriller with a runtime with 171 minutes (a little less than 3 hours), it took me about 3-4 evening to finish.  Unlike Kahaani, which was a little shorter, this one had an incredible issue with pacing.  It was just so boring and I kept falling asleep so I had to turn it off.  Its not really a problem with the story because as it is a thriller, the little twist ending was decent.  I’m pretty sure the thought would have skimmed your mind at the turning point of events but if you were like me, you might dismiss it.  The last hour was massively better than the first two thirds.  I am glad that I didn’t give up and just turn on something else. I did have another 2 Indian movies in queue ready to expire.

I’m not exactly sure if there is a hype for Don. Seeing as there was a sequel, I figured the first one must have been relatively well received. This one is definitely far from one I’d ever venture to see again.  So slow, felt extremely long and man, I just wasn’t buying Don as Don.  The songs weren’t particularly appealing to me either. The only actor that saved this movie was Boman Irani who plays DCP de Silva.  That man acted the hell out of that role. By the way, this man was the Professor in 3 Idiots (review HERE) and he was so awesome in that one also!

I’m taking a little break before I check out Don 2 but I’ll eventually do it, maybe when its bordering on Netflix expiration again 😉

JE CROIS QUE JE L’AIME (2007)

JE CROIS QUE JE L'AIME

Director: Pierre Jolivet

Cast: Vincent Lindon, Sandrine Bonnaire, Francois Berleand, Kad Merad

Lucas, a wealthy, 43 year-old divorced businessman, is irresistibly attracted to Elsa, a 38 year old renowned sculptor from whom he has commissioned a piece to decorate the reception at his office. –IMDB

Je Crois Que Je L’Aime (English title: Could This Be Love) is a French romantic comedy.  The only reason this landed on my Netflix queue was because I had previously seen a movie called Queen of Play with Sandrine Bonnaire and she was pretty amazing in that one.  Coming to this one, Sandrine Bonnaire still holds the charm as the female lead as a ceramic artist passionate about her work and willing to give up a job to avoid any trouble of difference in opinions.  Still, being caught where she needed the money, she gave her new employer, wealthy businessman Lucas a second chance.  Sandrine Bonnaire plays the more serious Elsa.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Lucas, played by Vincent Lindon, has a certain chemistry. The story is more mature as these actors are older than the average romantic comedies.  Its a different vibe.  I don’t have a problem with these things, love is love, age isn’t really an issue.  However, the story didn’t really build up from much. Thats not saying that its not good because it has a good bit of fun moments mostly because Lucas is so afraid that being tricked out of his money in his previous relationship, he ends up being suspicious before falling in love but he just can’t help falling in love with Elsa, so he hires a private investigator to check her background and track her and the lack of communication between those two are absolutely hilarious.

There are some funny and sweet moments but the story was not built up properly so it had choppy moments.

Overall… Je Crois Que Je L’Aime was more entertaining than Don. Although both of these are average, beware of Don’s length and pacing before you attempt.  Consider yourself warned 😉

Have you seen either of these? Thoughts? 

Ghajini (2008)

In January, a lot of the non-2013 reviews will be because its going to expire on Netflix.  It seems to be a trend these days.  Apparently, a ton of these Bollywood flicks are going away soon, so expect a few of these ;).  This landed me on Ghajini.  Now, why did I even put this in my list? Well, you’ll see in just a little bit..lets get a little synopsis.

ghajini posterDirector: A.R. Murugadoss

Cast: Aamir Khan, Asin, Jiah Khan, Pradeep Singh Rawat

Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan) has short term memory loss after an incident.  His memory vanishes every 15 minutes but as still, through tattoos and journals, he has pieced his life together with reminders to plot his revenge for the man responsible for his girlfriend’s death (Asin).  However, when a medical student Sunita (Jiah Khan) and his memory gets in the way, will he be able to trace the man and get his revenge?

I know what you are all thinking: sounds like Memento, right? Just for starters, I love Memento.  Its possibly my first and my most memorable Nolan experience.  So, it goes without saying that with my very new discovery of the world of Bollywood, I had my doubts about this.  But, it is lead by Aamir Khan and he did a fantastic job in 3 Idiots (my review HERE) which remains my favorite Bollywood so far.  And this is my first time watching a thriller suspense drama so I didn’t know if I should be expecting song and dance.

ghajini kalpana sachin

First off, I didn’t hate Ghajini but when you use a storyline so similar to Memento, its hard not to compare.  Memento was genius, Ghajini is just really lengthy.  What really set me off was that I thought that it wouldn’t have song and dance and it did.  I know you’re going “huh?”, right? I know, I know.  But they did do it in a clever way by leading us back to Sanjay and Kalpana’s story and how he ended up where he is now.  So the songs was for when he fell in love and pursued her and just was so attracted, etc.  The love story part of the movie was with that.

ghajini kaplanaNow, I do have to say that, setting it up like this is pretty clever also because it gets us to see Sanjay and just feel bad for his situation. It attaches us to his character, except, I feel like something was missing. I connected to the character but I think I connected more to Kalpana than to him.  I can’t pinpoint what is missing but at a certain point, I got bored and then tired and I think I missed a chunk when I was forcing myself to stay awake. I actually think the length made me lose track of whether I was watching a thriller/suspense/drama or a romantic comedy…And in turn, it gave this little role to the bad guy and the whole revenge thing seemed to go really quickly in a way. 

ghajini bad guys

You know what somewhat angers me a little about this.  They  had a good and engaging characters and a pretty good story layout. Sure, it ripped off a bit of Memento and I didn’t expect it to be epic like that but there was nothing wrong with this except its length. The previous Bollywood flicks I watched: I remember saying that it was so good I didn’t even feel like I had sat through a 3 hour movie because it was so entertaining but somehow this one just didn’t get that.

Overall, I just hate saying that its the length that killed it but it was.  I can’t think of any part of dislike on top of that.  The love story was cute, the song and dance was ok (not as good as the others), the suspense was decent as well and seriously, I loved the characters the most.  Kalpana was awesome, lovable, hilarious and witty and Sanjay was great before and after the memory loss.  With that said, Aamir Khan is on my radar now because he’s just totally awesome! 🙂

Jab We Met (2007)

Another very recent recommendation after my review on Kai Po Che! (my review HERE) during the past month is Bollywood romantic comedy, Jab We Met by a very awesome blogger Nafees at IMDBwords.  He was actually one of the first followers that I had and has stuck around and stops by quite a bit.  I was wondering when he’d start recommending me some movies.  He has pretty cool write-up on movie-related topics and also extends to other topics in his life as well. Definitely head on over to check out his blog!

jab we met posterDirector: Imtiaz Ali

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Tarun Arora

Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) is a wealthy businessman who is depressed due to the recent passing of his father, the overwhelming problems that has taken over a good portion of the company his father left him, an unresolved feelings with his mother and the recent marriage of a woman that he loved.  He aimlessly decides to go away and ends up on a train where he meets the carefree, very talkative and beautiful girl, Geet who is returning home to see her family but also planning to elope to be with the love of her life, Anshuman (Tarun Arora).  However, in a little mishaps, she ends up missing the train and ends up having to chase down the train with her luggage and makes Aditya pay for her way and eventually get her home.

jab we met aditya geet

I’m just going to do the halfway point for this one.  Maybe some of you won’t see this ever but Jab We Met is a pretty charming and sweet movie. I always say this and everyone knows it.  Bollywood movies are extremely long, although in my opinion, Hollywood movies are generally getting pretty lengthy also.  This one had a good pace because it was separated into two parts.  The first part was more of a comedy and getting things in a good pace.  Its like opening up a new perspective for our main guy Aditya and letting us bond with both of them.  The second part I didn’t summarize on the top but its the romantic part.  It was more sweet and cute and really heartwarming to watch.

jab we met aditya geet2

I love romantic comedies and I’m not one to be too picky with them.  Rom-coms are essentially supposed to be fun and enjoyable to watch and this one definitely fits in that category.  Aditya, played by Shahid Kapoor is pretty handsome and charming, especially when he does this look that I couldn’t find on the internet but its like a “I’m in love” look or kind of helpless.  The chemistry he has with Geet, played by Karena Kapoor (who I saw before in 3 Idiots) is pretty compelling.  Kareena herself is extremely elegant and awesome.  Seriously, the character of Geet kicked some serious butt because she was funny, carefree and just so down to earth.  Those two cooked up some pretty entertaining scenes, even if one of them had some very bad CGI background.

jab we met dance

I can’t really rate this against the other two Bollywood movies I’ve seen because those were very much drama or comedy and less romance.  This one does have song and dance and rather frequently too.  Most of it actually is put in at pretty reasonable parts and adds to the energy of the movie itself, except for that final final ending part.  That felt a tad random.  I probably would’ve enjoyed the end credits just that, but thats okay, its not technically part of the movie.  The one things I do say is that for the first part, it felt a whole lot like Forces of Nature.  You got it, the one with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck ages ago (or maybe it just feels like its been a while) just the second half steers it away.

jab we met train

I would recommend this if you like romantic comedies. I had a good time with it and it was pretty entertaining, funny, and just a fun carefree ride.  Its not really just about love but rather also how to face life in a different way (at least in the first half) and to take things into your own hands before you miss the chance.  The chemistry is great between our leads and the characters grow and learn throughout the 2 hours plus of the flick.  I had a good time and I think its worth giving this movie a chance 🙂

Thanks again to Nafees for recommending this rom-com to me! Remember to go check his blog out!

Kai Po Che (2013)

This weekend has been extremely efficient in the catching up with movies department.  Next recommendation is from Meera Darji who is a student at Coventry University and has recently completed her short film Strum for Hope.  You can check out the trailer HERE. In response to my review of 3 Idiots (HERE), she recommended that I see Kai Po Che.

kai po che posterDirector: Abhishek Kapoor

Cast: Amit Sadh, Raj Kumar Yadav, Sushant Singh Rajput, Amrita Puri, Digvijay Deshmukh

Kai Po Che is a Bollywood buddy drama about 3 friends who grew up together in India and aspires to build a cricket training academy in hopes of finding potential future cricket players.  However, right off we see that things didn’t go as expected when we enter the movie looking at one of the friends Omi (Amit Sadh) be picked from jail by his friend Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav). It is there we backtrack to 10 years earlier when they first struggle with family connections and bargains to get the financial support for the opening of the academy. With the cricket professional player skills of the third friend Ishant (Sushant Singh Rajput), the maths/economic/business expertise of Govind and the loyal and more well-off Omi, we watch as they put all their efforts.  As the business moves along, struggles come as well.  Govind hopes to expand the business quickly while Ishant puts the futures of his young players in the first place.  However, as they progress with their goals, they hit social, politics and environmental obstacles that end up causing changes to their plans and their friendship.

kai po che govi omi ishant

I’m not an expert at Bollywood movies.  This is only the second one that I’ve seen and its very different from 3 Idiots.  This one is completely a drama.  There is no singing and dancing however, if you have knowledge of Bollywood movies, they tend to have a long run time. However, Kai Po Che never does feel lengthy even with a long run time.  It is definitely a great movie about friendship and struggles.  Believable, heartwarming, victorious and many times heartbreaking as well. Its a life lesson of not only friendship and ambition but family, love, religion and beliefs.

kai po che politics

To me, the characters really stood out.  The three friends were a perfect balance for each other as in many good friendships (including my own). Govind was the brains of the operation.  He understood about the technical and financial needs.  During the movie, he is the one that learns to relax a little with a love relationship.  Ishant is the one who is the most knowledgeable about the trade because he used to be a up and coming cricket player and he has a good heart and determination.  Once he sets his goals, nothing can stop him.  That energy puts him as the exact opposite of Govind and they sometimes see things differently.  But, he offsets that with his pure desire to teach new talents and make them reach for higher goals especially with the talented young Ali. Omi is in between and tries to help and settle his friends. He carries traits from both but also does the middle man, however, he also has a negative and thats his personality and the way he fixes situations are sometimes dealt with without fully thinking about it.  Of course, this will lead to consequences.

kai po che ali ishant

Another thing that really captured my eyes was the how this movie was shot.  The location was beautiful.  I know close to nothing about India’s geography and I believe this was set in a smaller town and hence the religious conflicts that rose during the movie.  However, the color contrast in the scenes and the mood and the tone was really nice.

kai po che set

Kai Po Che is an amazing Bollywood drama that I highly recommend.  Its worth every minute of your time and it’ll pull you right into how the situation.  Everything they go through feels real and there’s a special connection to each of the characters and their friendship and struggles along the way as they try to reach for their dreams.  I definitely had a great time watching it.   This one really does have a nice story and beautiful setting to complement which makes it even better.

Thanks to Meera for introducing me to another Bollywood movie.  I don’t know too much and wouldn’t know where to start if she hadn’t.  I urge you to check out her blog and her work 🙂