Book Review : The Hobbit By J.R.R Tolkien

6 Nov

An unlikely hero,a powerful friend,group of travelers,dangerous adventures,dragon,strange creatures….sounds interesting right?

Do you want to read a book which has all the above mentioned ingredients,but is still not complicated : The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien offers all ,in reasonable number of pages.

The Hobbit

The story is set in Shire( in Middle Earth ) – and starts at Hobbiton village.Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who loves good food,comfort of his home and his usual luxuries.He is sitting and smoking while he spots a tall old man with a staff.The old man introduces himself as Gandalf and then informs Bilbo :

I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.

Note: If you want to read about the races and Middle earth people – read this.

Bilbo remembers that Gandalf has created fireworks during holidays at hobbiton.Bilbo refuses but invites Gandalf for a tea.Next day door bell rings and Bilbo reaches the door,but it is not Gandalf who he sees, and soon his house is crowded with 13 dwarves and Gandalf.Now he learns that Thorin (Leader of dwarves team) wants to reclaim his gold which rightfully belongs to him from a dragon named Smaug and they would travel to Misty Mountains to do so.

I will leave the rest for you to discover as you read the book.For your information this book serves as a prequel to the mighty Lord Of the Rings (LOTR) Trilogy written by J R R Tolkien.LOTR was huge in scope and much complicated( I read LOTR #1 and watched movie trilogy) – The Hobbit is rather simplistic in its approach but consistently entertaining.

It is as much about the friendship between Bilbo,Gandalf,dwarves as it is about how an unlikely hero Bilbo does things he never imagined and from a burglar he becomes the leader of the pack.

The book is packed with action,adventure,surprises,riddles and even songs,poetry.There are lot of fascinating characters and amazing events which keeps the reader engaged thoroughly.The villains are superb and evil – the hero simple,gentle and courageous.As a reader we discover how luck,chance and occasional courage can sometimes set you for an adventure of a lifetime and transform you into a hero.

Some outstanding scenes from the book :

  • Bilbo gets the ring and meets a weird creature Gollum (one of the best characters for sure) – and the riddle game between them (Watch the movie and read my review).
  • The team v/s the ORCS ( another set of villains)
  • Bilbo’s first meeting with Smaug the dragon.
  • And many more :)

Few amazing lines i loved and i am sure you will too once you are done reading the book:

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.

You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.

Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight corner.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Hats off to J.R.R Tolkien for writing such entertaining,thrilling story with wonderful characters.

If you are looking for a book which children and adults can read and enjoy alike – look no further this is an adventure book you must read.

Rating : 5/5

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Movie Review: Lunchbox(2013) : Is A Delicious Break From Dreamy Love Stories

24 Sep

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Lilette Dubey, Nakul Vaid, Bharati Achrekar

Director: Ritesh Batra

Seldom do we get to watch a movie where a common man is sitting in his office cafeteria ,relishing his lunch – no dialogues, no dream sequences – just satisfaction and delight on the face,depicting the joy of food in every bite.

Ritesh Batra’s Lunchbox is primarily about the moments similar to the one mentioned above and at times you don’t even realize that you are watching a movie.Documenting the life of Mumbaikars in trains,unbeatable dabbawala service,old songs and nostalgia are part of this brilliant movie.

The story is simple – A neglected wife Ila (Nimrat Kaur) cooks with the expectation that her husband would love the food,constantly consulting with Aunty ji (Bharati Achrekar). The lunchbox is taken by Dabbawala‘s and is delivered but reaches the wrong person (never read about Dabbawala’s making a mistake but for the sake of fiction it is fine) – an old officer on the verge of retirement – Mr Saajan Fernandez (Irfan Khan). When the lunchbox is returned,Ila is surprised that cooked meal was devoured by someone else as her husband mentions another dish- she sends a thank you note on advice of Aunty ji to the person who ate the meal – which kicks of a delicate,sensitive romantic event in both of their lives.

For your viewing pleasure – enjoy the trailer to get an idea about the movie:

The beauty lies in the interaction between the characters and their simple reactions to the events happening around them.There are plenty of scenes worth remembering.

Ila asking Aunty(terrific voice over) about what to cook,and getting tips from Aunty on what’s missing in the dish without even tasting it.Mr Fernandez’s process of waiting and eating the meal,reading the handwritten note with care and admiration and then sending notes back.

The main characters Ila and Mr Fernandez are generally quite serious, but there are light moments also offered – as they share an event – “Things are never as bad as they seem (watch this scene and you will have a smile on your face) – or the third character Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui ) – a young officer about to get trained by Mr Fernandez before he retires. Shaikh is careless,full of lies,secrets but is always energetic. Nawazuddin plays this character effortlessly.He irritates and admires Mr Fernandez consistently.

Imrat Kaur as Ila is brilliant and gives a performance which is controlled,effective and very real.Its great to see someone new ,deliver a performance like that.Wondering where you saw her : Check it out:

Irrfan Khan is the life of the movie and he literally lives this role on screen,He doesn’t speak much,but lets his eyes,smile,body language do the talking.The painting scene,reading letters,remembering his wife by watching old serials and travelling – he is just perfect and it shows what a powerhouse of talent this guy is.He is consistently part of Bollywood and Hollywood’s acclaimed movies. Irrfan has always made sure his roles were different and the performance magnificent – if there is something you will carry back home after watching the movie – its most likely the glimpse of Mr Fernandez smiling.

English: Premiere of Goodbye Bafana

Irrfan Khan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A movie like this deserves viewers attention and love – a simplistic tale of simple people using the simplest way to communicate – letters and notes.It is mark of a great movie that you leave the theater but the movie stays with you.Director Ritesh Batra has written and directed a beautiful movie and he deserves the praise showered at him.

Lunchbox is a delicious break from dreamy love stories – watch it – i bet you will have a smile on your face.

Rating : A must watch.

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Movie Review : The Conjuring : Is A Brilliant Horror Movie

20 Aug

Director : James Wan
Cast : Patrick Wilson,Vera Fermiga

Story :
Red and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Fermiga) are paranormal expert investigators and are approached by a family terrorized by a dark force at their house. When the investigation starts they realize this would the toughest case they have handled.
Note : It is also based on a real story/event.

Considering recent trend in horror movies, Conjuring is a pleasant surprise. These days horror movies are more about blood, gore and psychotic characters doing sadistic tortures. This is where conjuring beats the trend and instead uses silence, music, closeups, basic effects and amazing cinematography to seduce the audience into this scary house.

Another plus point : the movie is brilliantly enacted and directed – and the atmosphere keeps you completely engrossed in the events.

Director Peter Wan scores again after SAW,Death Sentence,Dead Silence,Insidious and gives us an engrossing scary and highly captivating horror flick.

If you love horror movies this is not to be missed and please make sure you watch it in theater as it is double the fun.

Highly Recommended :4/5 : A Must Watch.

Movie Review : Stoker : Dark But Brilliantly Presented

11 Jul

Director  :Chan-wook Park

Stars : Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode

Story : IMDB

After India’s father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.

There are movies which are genuinely different,not in terms of story but storytelling.In case of this movie as well,it is the magic of the director that with using minimum dialogues, and spellbinding cinematography,he keeps you guessing and questioning the whole experience.

Triumph of the director lies in the presentation and maintaining an environment of suspicion throughout the movie with the un-usual characters of the movie.The characters,in the span of two scenes are sometimes honest,suspicious and in other outrageous and evil.

English: Mia Wasikowska at the Independent Spi...

Mia Wasikowska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman, two leading women are in terrific form as they deliver equally with dialogues and with the lack of them.Uncle Charlie played by Matthew Goode is brilliant too and has that artfully cunning look in one and in the very next scene he seems very relaxed and calm.

Actress Nicole Kidman at the 2011 Santa Barbar...

Nicole Kidman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are absolutely brilliant scenes when it comes to visuals.The opening sequence when we hear India (Mia Wasikowska) narrating her ability to hear sounds others can’t hear and the scene moves to the birthday cake. Another scene worth mentioning is when India is combing her mother’s hair and director chooses to run the camera through the length of her hair which turns into a farm – showing us an incident in flashback.

This is certainly not a masterpiece by Oldboy director Chan-wook Park but it shows that what he is capable of,even when the story does not have much to offer.

It is not for everyone and most of the audience expecting fun or thrilling moments won’t like it.

It’s for audience who want  a different visual experience and storytelling.

Rating : 3.5/5

Movie Review: Lootera(2013) :Is Gorgeous And Romantic

7 Jul

Director : Vikramaditya Motwane

Stars : Ranveer Singh,Sonakshi Sinha,Barun Chanda,Adil Hussain,Divya Dutta

Story : Set in 1950’s – this is story of Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha),Daughter of Zamindar(Barun Chanda) set in West Bengal.They come across an archaeologist Varun(Ranveer Singh) who believes there is hidden treasure at the temple grounds of zamindar.Pakhi and Varun soon fall in love and Varun tells her that he – one day will draw a masterpiece and the world would witness it.Varun is not all that he seems on surface,story takes a u-turn -what follows is heartbreak,betrayal and a love story between the characters.

Note: this is loosely based on the O’Henry’s short story : The Last Leaf.I read the story after i was done watching the movie – read the story as well – its very good.

Lootera

Vikramaditya Motwane’s last movie was Udaan – which was critically acclaimed and when your first directed movie gets an amazing critical response – expectations from the next movie are always high.But Motwane does not falter with the treatment of this movie,as it was based on a short story- he added his bits into it too.

English: Indian film director, and screenwriter

Vikramditya Motwane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Movie is gorgeously shot and the cinematographer has made sure that he shoots the actors in best possible way.The locations,settings and lighting – transports the audience into a old classic world – with a love story which is simple yet worth remembering.

The stars of the movie are Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha.Ranveer slips into his 1950’s avatar effortlessly and delivers a good performance – especially in dramatic scenes – however his voice(dialogue delivery) modulation needs work (Here is something inspiring- if Saif Ali Khan can do it – he can also). Sonakshi Sinha delivers her best performance(in her past releases she was only found using the words/phrase  Pandeyji or chal Jhootha repeatedly) – she plays her part very well and now we know that she can act( i am not saying this is an unbelievable performance but really well done). Zamindar is played by Barun Chanda ( i have never seen this actor before) – but he is terrific – his presence delivers that authority and his dialogue delivery is perfect – love the way he says : Of-course.

English: Ranveer Singh

Ranveer Singh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Music and background score by Amit Trivedi can be described in one word: brilliant – music compliments the look,feel and the story.

There are a lot of moments in the movie – where the dialogues (by Anurag Kashyap) are very simple but enough to convey the romance and both the characters look great together in those scenes.

First and second half ends brilliantly and director relies more on music and visuals than dialogues.

Any shortcomings – you do feel that the movies drags a bit- but not too much (longer by 15 minutes max).

You might find a lot of reviews claiming it to be classic – well it depends – but this is certainly well done and brilliantly presented.

Note : If you do not like movies which move slowly and lack gliss-gloss romance – you may not like this movie.

This movie has the old world charm and the focus on details and simplicity – the team deserves that we watch this movie.

Rating : 3.5/5 (Not perfect but a must watch – time to experience some old classic style romance)

Movie Review : Man Of Steel (IMAX 3D) : Welcome Back Superman

20 Jun

Director : Zack Snyder

Cast : Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe

If you are reading this and you haven’t watched the movie- i am sure you have at-least read mixed reviews about Man Of Steel – the latest Superman movie.The problem – nostalgia around Christopher Reeve’s Superman – so don’t bother and decide for yourself.

Superman: The Man of Steel

Superman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Movie starts with Superman’s father Jor El (Russell Crowe) trying to convince everyone that Krypton will be destroyed unless he is given access to the codex and he modifies and makes changes to save the planet,which results in a face off with General Zod(Michael Shannon) – who wants to save the planet.

In this process Jor El sends off his son Kal El: Superman to earth to save him and fights General Zod.The vision of Kryton and effects are brilliant and it sets the tone for the movie.

We then see Superman(Henry Cavill) living his life as a normal working man – with flashbacks telling us the story as he grew up and realized his powers.His parents on earth played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane always wanting him not to reveal his powers in-front of everyone.

Kevin Costner is in great form and it is good to see him in short but good role.

English: Actor and director Kevin Costner whil...

Kevin Costner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We see then reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) who somehow figures out about Superman and wants to share his story with the world.The movie moves on effortlessly between flashbacks and present time – eventually we see General Zod broadcasting that he is looking for Kal El.

Superman finally decides to reveal his identity and fights Zod in top-notch action sequences with outstanding special effects.

Credit goes to director Zack Snyder for re-imagining superman completely with Christopher Nolan(Story) – the movie has a serious tone throughout and it presents superman in a way that now we can expect superman to appear more often in upcoming movies.

The special effects are out of the world and scenes of Superman flying and fighting are absolutely breathtaking.

Performances wise Henry Cavill makes a very good superman and he delivers on every front,acting,physique,good looks – he has everything.

English: Henry Cavill at the Vanity Fair celeb...

Henry Cavill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kevin Costner delivers another good performance but General Zod played by Michael Shannon is the most entertaining – he is brilliant and feels every bit like a villain should be.

My favorite scene: When Zod threatens Superman’s mom and Superman beats the crap out of Zod for doing so :)

The movie however is not without glitches – the buildup takes time – and when action starts it does not stop ( around 40+ minutes of non stop,loud and fast action is on display in second half of the movie).There are no funny moments as i remember.3D is not so great either but its better than most of the 3D converted movies.

Bottom Line : Slightly longer – this movie is a very good comeback for Superman - amazing special effects and the team of Snyder and Nolan has given us the Superman movie we were waiting for.

All i can say is : Welcome Back Superman : we have been waiting for this comeback.

Movie Rating : 3.5/5 ( A must watch for Superman fan and anyone who wants to experience state of the art special effects )

Movie Review:Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani : Rides On Star Power

11 Jun

Director : Ayan Mukerji

Cast : Deepika Padukone,Ranbir Kapoor,Kal Koechlin,Aditya Roy Kapur

If you are looking for pretty locations,lavish weddings,good music,stars with a set formula : you can watch this movie and enjoy it thoroughly.

However if you are expecting something special from ‘Wake Up Sid’ director,Ranbir  Kapoor and Deepika Padukone : this is not the movie you have been waiting for.

Cover of "Wake Up Sid (Dvd) (Bollywood Mo...

Cover via Amazon

It is a movie where nothing unexpected happens,you are neither surprised with anything nor stunned.It is a set formula passed from Karan Johar production house to Director Ayan Mukherji and he makes few adjustments – there you have it : a super hit movie setting the cash registers ringing.

This is story of Naina(Deepika Padukone) and Bunny(Ranbir Kapoor) and their 2 friends Aditi(Kalki) and Avi(Aditya).

Naina who is studious simple girl,Bunny a guy with dreams of travelling to every corner of the world.Somehow their worlds collide and Bunny,Aditi,Avi and scholar Naina as she was called in past go for a trip to manali.

Now during this trip they have loads of fun and then Naina becomes herself (ultra modern in a flash) and Bunny informs the group that he is all set to pursue his dream in US.

English: Face of Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As this happens,Bunny moves on and succeeds in his dream but leaving his friends behind,and Naina who is transformed but pretty much keeps to herself.

Now they are re-united back again when Aditi is getting married ( picture big fat Indian wedding) and they all meet up and resolve their differences.

Now despite of everything predictable what works in the favor of this movie are the performances : Ranbir is believable and Deepika is in full form too.There is no doubt Ranbir and Deepika both are stars and they posses the screen presence and star value which is needed for a good-looking movie.

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Music Launch

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kalki and Aditya deliver sincere performances.Farooq Sheikh as Ranbir’s father registers his presence in merely two scenes and it shows that this veteran has still got his charm intact.

Music by Pritam is very good,locations and visuals are very good : all it needed was a solid storyline it would have turned into an amazing movie.Dialogues also are either cheesy or strictly OK.

Having said that : Riding high on star power – this movie is definitely better than most of the movies which are part of the 100 crore club : it is nothing great but it is perfectly enjoyable movie.

Rating : 3/5

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