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Moview Review: Queen - A Film Not To Be Missed

Queen - A Film Not To Be Missed

Star cast: Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Lisa Haydon

Director: Vikas Bahl

(4 / 5) : Very Good                    

Life's not always good to those who live by the book and Rani (Kangana Ranaut) learns her lesson much too late almost when she gets dumped by her fiance Vijay (Rajkummar Rao) just a day before her wedding. Having yearned to witness her D-Day going perfectly, Rani is left shattered as her world comes crashing down. She locks herself in her room, hoping to escape the situation and the pain of being dumped. And her escapism only makes her stronger, she decides to go the unthinkable, set off for her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam alone. What initially turns out to be a nightmarish idea, turns into a journey of self-discovery as the free spirited Rani tastes independence for the first time.

For a woman laced in the Indian garb, one who's saved herself for her husband and is proud of her virginity, Paris is a culture shock and just the contrast she is looking for to leave behind her life. However, the city turns out to be incomprehensible, ruthless and unaccommodating till she holds on to her reservations and miseries and the moment she lets go of it all, all thanks to her new found friend in Paris Vijaylakshmi (Lisa Haydon), she discovers a whole new life.

Vikas Bahl's Queen is an uplifting, bitter-sweet story that transports you into the film to become one with the author-backed character. The filmmaker doesn't work too much on the story but on the character and her experiences for that forms the backbone of the film. The way Queen simply addresses the stereotyping of women in India and chauvinistic behaviour of men and the social pressures is commendable. It's that very innocence of her character that's infectious and strikes a chord with the masses.

There's never a dull moment in the film and though the movie treads on the predictable path in few instances it's the actor again that keeps you going but what's also impressive is where you expect it to go the typical filmy way it beats you and gives an ending that's befitting the plot.
The ace in Vikas Bahl's Queen is the Queen of course. Kangana Ranaut sinks completely to become one with her character. She breathes life into Rani, a character that has the power to make you laugh or cry. Her innocence mixed with the childlike inquisitiveness to try anything new is infectious. There couldn't be a better Rani than Kangana Ranaut who gives a pitch-perfect portrayal.

Rani stands tall all thanks to the many characters that come along in her story. Right from her family including the likes of her father, mother, younger brother and grandmother, all of whom might just be exactly like your parents to the ebullient, full of life Vijaylakshmi, all the characters aide Rani towards self-discovery. Lisa Hayden is a complete surprise package who not only looks jaw-dropping gorgeous in her Indo-French role but also plays her part to the T. Rajkummar Rao though in a bit role is spot on. All the other actors who Rani meets on her journey too absolutely flawless.

Music by Amit Trivedi deserves a special mention for composing tracks like London Thumakda, Ranjha and remixing the yesteryear track Hungama Ho Gaya. The music actually plays an important part in the film and refreshingly so, doesn't get used for the sake of it.

To sum it up, Queen is one of the finest films this year that with all its simplicity strikes a chord with the mass.

Moview Review: Ragni MMS2

Ragni MMS2: Right mix of sex, sleaze, fear and  thrills

Rating:   (4 / 5)  : Very Good (Very Good )          

Star cast: Sunny Leone, Saahil Prem, Parvin Dabas, Karan Mehra, Sandhya Mirdul, Divya Dutta

Director: Bhushan Patel

The film starts off from where its prequel Ragini MMS ended which revolved around a young couple Ragini and Uday who went to an isolated house for a dirty weekend and the creepy and paranormal happenings that took place to them there. Uday had planned to make an MMS scandal of Ragini in that house. But the MMS shot goes viral, Uday goes missing and Ragini after that incident became lunatic and ended up in a mental hospital. The Ragini MMS scandal catches the attention of a filmmaker who plans to make a film on it. He casts a Bollywood actress in his film to play the lead, Ragini. The film crew goes to shoot the film in the same house where the MMS scandal took place leading to further horrible and creepy happenings.

Ragini MMS 2 is a thoroughly enjoyable, full paisa-vasool film in the best tradition of B-grade horror flicks from the haunted house of the Ramsay Brothers. It has the right mix of sex, sleaze, fear and cheap thrills. It titilates, has dialogues spiked with funny double entendres and shows enough self-gratification to warrant the Adults Only certification.

Right at the beginning of the film, director Rocks (Pravin Dabas) announces that he’s making a “horrex” film, horror plus sex. That’s his film. This film, Ragini MMS-2, by director Bhushan Patel and writers Suhani Kanvar and Praveen Bookwala, is more than that. It is a “ho-ho-horrex” flick. And is served Sunny side up, for your pleasure only.

The story is simple. Failed film director announces a new project starring a porn star, Sunny Leone (played by Sunny Leone, of course), in the lead role and an ensemble of TV actors. The film, based on the story of Ragini whose MMS went viral three years ago, is to be shot in the same haunted house, Patwardhan Villa, where Ragini’s MMS was shot. Ragini, since who has since been the inmate of Room No. 26 of a mental institute, either scratches the walls of her room, or sits on her bed rocking and mumbling to herself.

Rocks, Sunny, Rocks’ film writer Satya Kumar (Sahil Prem), a failed novelist who takes all this chudail business seriously, and the film’s two other actors, Monali (Sandhya Mridul), a sidey actress in search of the casting couch, and Maddy (Karan Mehra), a horny TV hero, land up in the house despite the warning put up by the ASI about staying away from the area after sunset and before sunrise. As the shooting of Rocks’ film begins, we are in the company of interesting and believable characters. And while we while we laugh at and with them, we also see a shadow lurking behind, or the sudden, quiet appearance of a child. We are privy to much more than them, and that's part of the thrill. The story, as it unfolds, is predictable. A romance, some possibility of sex, extras dying brutal deaths, and the chudail gaining power and taking posession of the most precious entity. Till, Dr Meera Dutta (Divya Dutta), a psychiatrist, arrives on the scene and the real story of the Marathi-mumbling tadapti aatma begins to unravel.

Ragini MMS 2 is a very clever collaboration between people who were obviously enjoying the tasks assigned to them. Director Patel has very cleverly mounted on screen a script which is packed with jokes, ghatiaya dialogue, dirty talk and even a female orgasm.

Ragini MMS 2 has the standard plot of film within a film. But it’s been used to great effect and impact here. Has just the right amount of mambo-jambo to carry the conceit of horror films forward.

The direction is all controlled, not allowing the bhoot business to go out of control, as it usually does, beginning with the soundtrack. The film, in fact, has a fabulous song to which Sunny Leone sways seductively and even flashes.

Sunny Leone has never been used more effectively and sensibly than she has been used here in the proper exploitative way as a hot actress is used in a B-Grade flick. She gets to wear all the sexy lingerie you wanted to see her in, and thrusts her stuff repeatedly. Luckily she’s supported by the very able team of actors, Sandhya Mridul and Karan Mehra, without whom the film would have been a big bore

'12 Years a Slave' makes history with best picture Oscar.
'12 Years a Slave' makes history with best picture Oscar.

The slavery drama "12 Years a Slave" won the Academy Award for best picture on Sunday, making history as the first movie from a black director to win the film industry's highest honor in 86 years of the Oscars.

British director Steve McQueen's unflinching portrayal of pre-Civil War American slavery won two other Oscars, including best supporting actress for newcomer Lupita Nyong'o and best adapted screenplay based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a free man tricked and sold into slavery in Louisiana.

"Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup," said McQueen in his acceptance speech.

"12 Years a Slave," prevailed over space thriller "Gravity" from Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, which nevertheless racked up the most Oscars of the night with seven, including the best director honor for Cuaron, a first for a Latin American director.

The film starring Sandra Bullock as an astronaut lost in space swept the technical awards like visual effects and cinematography, a reward for its groundbreaking work on conveying space and weightlessness.

Referring to the "transformative" experience he and others undertook in the four-plus years spent making "Gravity," Cuaron, whose hair is graying, said, "For a lot of these people, that transformation was wisdom. For me, it was just the color of my hair."

In one of the strongest years for film in recent memory, the 6,000-plus voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences scattered golden Oscar statuettes among the many acclaimed movies in contention.

It was a good night for the scrappy, low-budget film "Dallas Buyers Club," a biopic of an early AIDS activist two decades in the making that won three Oscars, including the two male acting awards.

Matthew McConaughey, in a validation of a remarkable career turnaround, won best actor for his portrayal of the homophobe turned AIDS victim turned treatment crusader Ron Woodroof, a role for which he lost 50 pounds (23 kg).

His co-star, Jared Leto, won best supporting actor for his role as Woodroof's unlikely business sidekick, the transgender woman Rayon, for which he also slimmed down drastically.

Australia's Cate Blanchett won the best actress Oscar for her acclaimed role as the socialite unhinged by her husband's financial crimes in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine."

"As random and subjective as this award is, it means a great deal in a year of, yet again, extraordinary performances by women," said Blanchett, who beat out previous Oscar winners Bullock, Amy Adams, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep.


The big loser of the night was director David O. Russell's 1970s crime caper "American Hustle," which walked away empty-handed despite earning 10 nominations, the same number as "Gravity." Martin Scorsese's tale of financial greed, "The Wolf of Wall Street," also failed to take home Oscars.

But it was also a night of predictable wins for heavy favorites.

The tale of Nordic princesses, "Frozen," won best animated film, a first for Disney Animation Studios since the category was introduced in 2002, and its girl-power anthem "Let It Go" won best original song.

For best foreign language film, Italy took its 11th Oscar in that category with "The Great Beauty," a visually stunning film about life in Rome and a writer in crisis.

Comic and talk show star Ellen DeGeneres returned as Oscar host on Sunday, bringing a deadpan affability, and pizza, to the Academy Awards show while still poking fun at Hollywood royalty.

In her easy breezy style, DeGeneres mixed with the crowd like she did back in 2007, taking a star-studded selfie with the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie that broke the record for retweets on Twitter. And she largely avoided the ribald humor that landed her predecessor Seth MacFarlane in hot water last year.

Early reviews were broadly positive, but Variety's Brian Lowry noted that the opening monologue by DeGeneres "screamed of a desire to dial the show back to safer terrain."

Kenyan actress Nyong'o was one of the big stars of the night, not only for her winning pale blue Prada gown on the red carpet, but also for her touching speech.

In accepting the first award of the night for "12 Years a Slave," Nyong'o, 31, paid homage to her character, who picked more cotton than anyone else but suffered at the hands of her besotted yet evil master.

"It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey, for her guidance," a tearful Nyong'o told the audience.

Sunday capped an unusually long awards season, extended by the Winter Olympics, and for "12 Years a Slave" it spells the end of six months of both high acclaim and uncertainty over awards stemming from the perception that it was a hard film to watch.

The film from studio Fox Searchlight compelled Oscar voters to go see the film with the ad 'It's Time," fearing that they might skip it and throw their weight behind "Gravity." It has earned nearly $140 million at the worldwide box office, a fraction of the $700 million for "Gravity."
Meet the Best Actress nominees : Oscar 2014

The Academy awards are scheduled to be held on March 3.

With just a few days left to the Academy awards, anticipation and excitement has reached its zenith as film bloggers are busy making predictions and potential winners.

Here, we take a look at the five exceedingly talented actresses stars nominated in the Best Actress category.

There's Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), who has been widely hailed as a shoo-in for the trophy, regular fixture Meryl Streep (August Osage County), Dame Judi Dench (Philomena), onscreen con woman Amy Adams (American Hustle) and lost astronaut Sandra Bullock (Gravity).

Box Office: ‘Lego Movie’ Scores $31.5 Mil, Demolishing ‘Pompeii,’ ’3 Days to Kill’

There were two new releases in the marketplace, neither of which impressed. Kevin Costner returned to “face on the poster” status with Relativity’s Three Days To Kill. The Luc Besson-produced. McG-directed action comedy earned $4.01 million yesterday and will likely end its first weekend with over/under $12 million. The good news is that the film cost Relativity and Eurocorp just $28 million, so the usual over/under $30 million here and over/under $30 million overseas for Luc Besson productions should be enough to break even during the theatrical run. I’m sure we’re all shocked that Kevin Costner is no longer the huge movie star he was in the 1990′s, but also keep in mind that his glory days were during a period when $20 million was a massive debut. His biggest opening weekends as a lead were Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with $25 million in 1991 and $22 million for Waterworld in 1995.

The next opener was Sony /Tri-Star’s Pompeii. They did spend a dime producing this one, allowing Constantin Films to produce the $80-$100 million “Titanic Meets Gladiator Meets Dante’s Peak” hybrid and merely received a distribution fee. Film District handled the marketing. All of this is a long way of saying that Sony doesn’t care too much that the film made $3.4 million yesterday. The Paul W.S. Anderson film should end the frame with over/under $10 million and be a distant memory by next weekend. But the film is debuting overseas in 30 markets this weekend, and that’s where the film may actually make a few bucks. Paul W.S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers earned $20 million in America back in late 2011 but earned $111 million overseas, one of the biggest spreads on record.

In holdover news, all three of last weekend’s “romantic films” dropped by around 82% from last Friday. Warner Bros.’ A Winter’s Tale earned $670,000 yesterday compared to $3.6 million last Friday. The much-discussed artistic misfire (which at least was apparently trying for something different) has now earned $9.7 million and will end the weekend with around $1.7 million and $11 million total. Endless Love, earned an estimated $1.3 million for Universal, down from $7.3 million last Friday. The $20 million romantic drama will end the weekend with around $4 million and bring its cume to $20 million.

And yes, even Sony’s About Last Night went from $12.7 million last Friday to $2.28 million yesterday. The ensemble 80′s remake (which I incorrectly labeled last weekend as being PG-13, it’s actually R) will pull about $7 million in its second frame and bring its cume to over/under $38 million. At $12.5 million-budgeted, it’s still a big hit with $33 million today. Sony’s Robocop earned approximately $2.6 million on its second Friday, down 62% from last Friday which is almost leggy for this weekend. The $100 million remake has thus-far earned $36 million domestic and should finish the second frame with $7.5 million and $42 million total. The good news is that it’s doing much better overseas, where it has earned $80 million as of Thursday. This may be a Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters situation, where the film fails to top $60 million but ends up with over $200 million worldwide.

Monuments Men held up okay in its third Friday, earning about $2.25 million (-53%) and aiming for a $7 million third frame with a resultant over/under $57 million cume. It’s at $52 million domestic as of today. Walt Disney's DIS +1.19% Frozen earned an estimated $1 million while Universal’s Ride Along earned an estimated $1.2 million. In limited release news, Walt Disney debuted an English-dubbed version of Hayao Miyazaki’s alleged swan song The Wind Rises. The film opened on 21 screens in advance of its 450 screen release next weekend and earned an okay $82,140 yesterday. Of course, the film has already earned $112 million overseas, so Disney’s domestic releases generally amount to the Mouse House doing a public service.