Junglee Home Video, Rs 299
It’s natural for you to want to pick up this DVD. The IPL is on and it’s a cricket movie; it’s about one of the most controversial characters of the game Hansie Cronje; and it’s got the irresistible tag line: ‘How do you start over once you’ve betrayed a nation’s trust?’ But, friend or foe, don’t watch this bio-pic. This film could make you lose whatever faith you have not only in cricket but also in cinema. What could have been — should have been — a classic morality tale of a hero at the height of his powers and beloved of his countrymen, succumbing to greed, turns out to be film that seems written by a 14-year-old schoolboy, with actors more ham than that in the omelette I’m now having. Cronje is played by the well-meaning South African actor Frank Rautenbach. But he is as effectively believable as another human being as a cardboard ripped from the side of a box. The blame for this unendurable two-hour movie lies squarely on the shoulders of director (sic) Regardt Van Den Bergh and writer-producer Frans Cronjé — who happens to be Hansie’s brother. Hansie’s Christian beliefs, especially after his ‘downfall’, could have been an important element. Instead, was have a cheesy string of ‘Jesus’ moments. Rajit Kapur is a mini-Mogambo as a bookie kingpin. And that’s the least worst performance in the movie. Avoid Hansie. Stick to Lagaan.
Wealth for few
We saw the acting potential of pop star Justin Timberlake in The Social Network where he played the role of Napster founder Sean Parker with creepy slickness. In this sci-fi thriller written and directed by Andrew Niccol, Timberlake takes the centrestage as factory worker Will Salas who ends up being a revolutionary fighting not for equal distribution of wealth like his radical predecessors but for the equitable distribution of time. For since 2061, genetic alteration has made it mandatory for people to stop ageing at 25 — but after a small ‘free quota, people have to ‘earn’ time or die. A reverse stopwatch visible on one’s arm counts the months, weeks, days, hours left before one must top up, either by exchanging time or by buying it for barter. The phrase time is money has become literal in this film. Salas is on the run, and accompanying him as a willing hostage is the daughter of a time-loaning billionaire, Sylvia Weis played by the stunning Amanda Seyfried. The storyline is taut as is the visual narrative. Timberlake is so successful as an actor that we forget he is Timberlake, a hard thing for a music star to do. Coming especially at a time when wealth creation is no longer just a happy, aspirational story all over the world, this is an intelligent, stimulating movie on which your time is worth well spent on.
ET go home!
Reliance Home Video/Universal, R599
And where there’s science fiction, science fiction comedy can’t be far behind. From the same universe as Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comes the less ambitious but quite entertaining Paul, an armpit-tickling funny alien movie, especially enjoyable for its digs at the ‘lovable’ ET and other Speiberg movies. Written by and starring the Brit duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost — who rip-roaringly showed the funny side of zombie movies in Shawn of the Dead — this film directed by Greg Mottola has dollops of Brit-com sensibilities in American settings. Seth Rogen provides the voice of the title character, an alien with a motor mouth and not a shred of cuteness quotient. Our three heroes pass through one redneck country after another, pursued also by FBI agents (of course), and barring a very close encounter with Mulder and Scully, we meet all types of X Files-types but with a lot of Y-fronts showing. Yes, aliens can be hilarious.