Quite A Disaster
Film: The Hurricane Heist
Cast: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Duration: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: * 1 / 2
When the posters declared “From the director of The Fast and The Furious”, there were enough reasons to doubt this film – after all, that car chase flick is not exactly a benchmark for good cinema.
But The Hurricane Heist directed by Rob Cohen plummets to new depths of clumsiness and ineptitude – last year, it looked like Geostorm would be hard to beat but this hurricane is one up on that Gerald Butler disaster film. So much so, that after watching this film I had to do a Wikipedia check to find out how on earth this film got made. The effort was futile but it boggles the mind to think that such a lame script was actually green lit by the studios –it was produced by America’s biggest cinema chain and going by the evidence, the people running the show don’t watch films themselves.
Two brothers see their father die during a hurricane when they were kids. Will (Toby Kebbell) becomes a storm chaser/weatherman who roams around in his weather, bullet and accident proof beast of a vehicle while his brother is a soldier turned mechanic.
The heist in the title is planned by a bunch of crooks from inside and outside – they want to do good with $600 million in old notes which are due for shredding at a treasury in a remote village. Maggie Grace plays Casey, a Fed agent in charge of looking after the money – she is just coming out of a crisis where she was responsible for a death. A category 5 hurricane is strikes the place and instead of saving their lives from Mother Nature’s fury, they go out to invite trouble – not surprisingly, many end up dead.
At times, the film is so bad that some shots become entertaining moments but not quite in the way the director envisaged them to be. Being the director of The Fast and The Furious, we get to see a truck chase during the climax on a road that is so broad that it can accommodate three big trucks parallel to each other. Barring some of the hurricane scenes which have also been done to death in Hollywood films, there is no redeeming factor here – this is a category 5 disaster. Now let me find out more about the suckers who put in money to make this film.
The Hateful Four
Film: Hate Story 4
Cast: Urvashi Rautela, Karan Wahi, Vivan Bhatena
Directed by: Vishal Pandya
Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins
Sample this line from the Hate Story 4, which I hated with a vengeance – “Bedroom mein ki gayi promises boardroom mein nahin laate” (Don’t bring up promises made in the bedroom to the boardroom) – that is just one of the many ‘howlarious’ lines penned by Milap Zaveri for this film directed by Vishal Pandya whose only claim to fame is the previous two Hate Story movies.
Why they did so is a mystery but it appears that the film was made with the sole purpose of destroying the audience’s sanity.
“I am somebody who can get anybody, but I only want your body”, goes another squirm-worthy line in this ‘erotic’ thriller which is neither a thriller and certainly not erotic. Rajveer (Karan Wahi) and Aryan (Vivan Bhatena) are two brothers and their Papa (Gulshan Grover) and they have as much money as diamond merchants who have fled the country. Of the billions of women on the planet, they both fancy Tasha (Urvashi) and try to win her over.
She, meanwhile, has her own agenda – “Tumne jism nahi liya hota toh aaj mujhe waqt dene ki zaroorat nahi hoti” she says mouthing another Zaveri gem. Prior to the intermission, she is a different lady but then changes colors very quickly – not that you care.
To cater to sections of the crowd there are heaving bosoms and close ups of certain parts of the anatomy are highlighted time and again, all in vain though. Then there’s also a remake of a Himesh Reshamiya song, in case you haven’t heard enough of it already and the manner in which the film is shot makes you wonder if it is a lingerie advertisement. In two words, the film is eminently avoidable.
Not so Crafty
Film: Tomb Raider
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West
Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Duration: 1 hr 58 mins
Rating: * * 1/ 2
A good 17 years after the father-daughter duo of Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight teamed up for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, the action heroine returns with Alicia Vikander playing the lead role. The Jolie film was no great shakes but did gain some popularity prompting the film makers to give it another shot.
That film was based on a 1996 video game and this film looks like an updated version of the game and not a particularly impressive one. Video games ideally should not be made into films because they don’t translate into good cinema.
Directed by the Norwegian Roar Uthaug who is no stranger to action/adventure films, this one is based on a 2013 game. Lara (Vikander) is wasting her life after the disappearance of her father but refuses to sign any papers accepting his death till she has no choice. Even then, she comes across a message from him about Himiko the all powerful mythical queen.
She embarks on an adventure to the Yamatai and soon Vogel (Walter Goggins), the bad guy takes her as a prisoner. The run of the mill action follows as she bumps into her father and pretty much becomes a one woman army who can climb mountains, run like a hare, jump across a chasm, shoot arrows like Katniss Everdeen, swim in a raging river, put her I.Q to good use and beat up the bad guys as and when necessary, reaffirming that she is a computer game character – many of the scenes were a part of the game.
There is very little that comes across of Lara except for the above mentioned skills. Yes, we know that she loves her dad but that’s about it, her character is not explored any further.
Alicia Vikander is earnest and convincing in the lead role but apart from that, Tomb Raider has very little going in its favor.
Twist in the Tail
Film: 3 Storeys
Cast: Masumeh, Renuka Shahane, Sharman Joshi
Directed by: Arjun Mukherjee
Duration: 1 hr 39 mins
Rating: * * 1 / 2
3 Storeys is one of those films that you want to appreciate for attempting to be different, successfully so to some extent. It doesn’t leave you fully satisfied because it is uneven in both the story and the story-telling as well.
One of the three stories in the screenplay by Althea Delmas Kaushal is more like a Jeffrey Archer short story and that is a compliment. The other two are okay’ish – there is nothing out of the ordinary. Set in a chawl in a place called Mayanagar in Mumbai, the three stories have characters that are all exorcising demons of the past. Flory Mendonca (Renuka Shahane, delightful) wants to sell her house and retire in Goa. She quotes an exorbitant sum putting off all potential buyers but a young man (Pulkit Samrat) shows interest and they sign on the dotted line but it doesn’t end there.
In the neighborhood, there’s Varsha (Masumeh) who is dealing with an alcoholic abusive husband and if that is not enough trouble, her ex (Sharman Joshi) lands up next door with his family – a wife, a kid and another one on the way. The third is a love story about two young adults, where a Muslim boy (Ankit Rathi) wants to marry a Hindu girl (Aisha Ahmed) much to the chagrin of their parents. One particular scene gives enough clues in advance as to how that love saga is going to unfold.
The direction has its highs and lows – some of the flashbacks don’t add much value and there are songs that have no business being there. There are times when the execution is deftly handled, particularly the manner in which it was shot. As for the writing, you do care for characters –they are well-etched, the story though doesn’t have the same zing, not like the first take especially. But at 100 minutes, it is a fairly crisp film which is a welcome change from those overdrawn dramas.
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