Casino[1995]

30 11 2010

In 1983, Sam “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro) exits a restaurant and gets into his car, which explodes when he turns it on. Sam then narrates the story, and flashes back to the beginning.BOOM!Yes,the movie starts with a bang and this isn’t the only bang involved especially because of the violence involved in the film!Thanks to Nicky Santoro[Joe Pesci],the ultimate badass in town who happens to be a childhood friend of Sam Rothstein now runs an A-list casino named Tangiers in Vegas.

Some mob bosses wanted Sam to be the casino boss so they could “skim” off the money that is flowing in through the casino.Sam does his job well and money starts flowing across the Las Vegas desert towards the gangsters.All was well until the hot-headed Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro makes an appearance at the “sin city”.I havent seen any other director of Scorsese’s class stereotyping his own characters in a movie.The only time I have seen Joe Pesci[as of now] is in Scorsese movies[with an exception of a comedy film],and every time he is the same bad ass gangster in all Scorsese movies and he helps in getting the movie into “most uses of the word fuck in the movies” list.

Sam Rothstein’s trouble starts when Nicky Santoro begins an organised gangster roll in the city.Whenever nicky gets in to trouble Rothstein’s name is also dragged into the news due to his long time association with Nicky.In the mean time Sam falls for a call girl,Ginger and makes her to marry him by showering her with expensive  jewelery,clothes and all other stuffs of the luxury kind.Finally Sam and ginger easily became the “happily married” couple in Vegas.But the happy times soon comes to an end when Sam realised that his wife still maintains contact with her Pimp boyfriend back in town.All hell breaks loose in their marriage life.The role Ginger McKenna played by Sharon Stone fetched her the Academy Award.And she deserves it because every time she is on-screen she defines the word “bitch”.The funny thing is Ace knows that Ginger is a bitch and he even admit it through his narration,but he just cant shut his world to Ginger because he is madly in love with her.So madly in love that he  buys millions worth of jewelry just for her and puts millions of dollars in cash in a bank under her name.Through out his narration,he says that he is doing all this because he trust his wife as though he has a doubt in his mind.De Niro effectively evokes sympathy for Sam, and Pesci and Stone does their best to evoke hatred!

Casino is full of Voice over narration of its lead characters.Just after the opening sequence the narrations start explaining how the mobsters skimmed money off the casino.The information is in very fine tuned detail that I found it very hard to comprehend how the system worked.Maybe that’s the point,Scorsese just wanted us to understand that gangsters looted money from the casino.Maybe he just wanted the audience to get the feel of how fast system works  and how complicated it is.Scorcese brings a lot of energy into the movie through the rich and well contained dialogues in the pacy screenplay.The 3 Hour running time just felt like a whiz as the movie was entertainment at its best.Robert De Niro once again proved that he belongs to the list of class actors.Joe Pesci still remains god to the real life gangster.No one is better than Pesci when it comes to Bad Ass gangster!

Casino,for me is one of the best works by Scorcese,it is on par with Taxi Driver and The Aviator.The movie has such ferocity and momentum which makes it one of the best American Crime movie made till date.To pay tribute towards the number of “fuck” and its derivatives used in the movie I must say that this a Fuckin great movie!

P.S-Many critics say that “Casino”  is the final chapter of his Gangster movies.But i don’t think so,”Gangs Of new York” is a gangster movie based in  19th century.Gangsters are always gangsters,Knives and guns are the only difference!

 

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Kites

25 05 2010
Kites

Kites’ opening scenes made me remember the good old Sergio Leone’ Spaghetti westerns with its land scape and set art.But instead of Clint  Eastwood, Kites has Hrithik Roshan with an almost cow-boyish attire.Hrithik is strikingly similar to  ‘Man with no name’  star that i sometimes mistook him for Eastwood.But Hrithik’s acting skills made me feel the difference.Its a great example to exemplify the fact  that charm and good looks is no match for acting skills.

Clint Eastwood

Kites in its core is essentially another Typical Masala Film but with a great deal of freshness.I would like to put it as “Old Masala Tea in a ‘made in US’ tea cup”.It has all essential ingredients to be classified as a masala movie.A Macho star,bikini clad hottie,killer dance moves,action scenes,chase scenes[car,bike and even a balloon!] etc…But the good thing about kites is that all these ingredients have been brewed right to a great exent.

J&Linda

Now onto the story,In Las Vegas, a dance teacher known by the single letter J(Hrithik Roshan). has a side business marrying illegal immigrants in order for them to get green cards. When spoiled casino heiress Gina (Kangana Ranaut) decides she wants him, J. sees another kind of green and goes along. But when Gina brings him home to meet the family—the kind of well-connected kings of the Strip who can torture and kill casino cheats while police and judges look the other way—J. makes a stunning discovery: The fiancee (Bárbara Mori) of Gina’s brother Tony (Nick Brown), who’s going by the name “Natasha,” is actually Linda, the last of his fake wives. Sooner than you can say “love quadrangle,” J. and Linda are on the run, with the homicidal Tony pursuing them across the Southwest as the star-crossed lovers attempt to hide away in Mexico.

Hrithik’s acting can be termed great when compared to his earlier works.Barbara plays a crucial role in supplementing the charm shown by her male lead.But the supporting cast is a junk that they takes away the substance movie has to offer .The  hot headed villain ‘Tony’ played by Nick Brown happen to the worst among them.He is yet another stereotyped badasstic Bollywood NRI villain.Kangana with her brief role has nothing much to offer in terms of acting as it seems that her role in the script is heavily underwritten.Kabir Bedi as Gina’s father looks flat at all the scenes he appear.The worst thing about the film is casting.It seems like Anurag Basu has gone for the ‘perfect looking villains’ rather than skillful actors.

Dance sequence in the film marks a new change in the Bollywood film industry as it doesn’t have any “we all look the same” extras.Even though it cant be called as a musical as it has been claimed by its film makers,music in the movie is apt to its situation.Thankfully there is no lip syncing as the music plays in the background with out cutting drastically into the dramatic scenes.Director has tried to add some melodrama into the story by adding over-sentimental back-stories about leads’ dead parents and of course it hasn’t worked out very well.

The chase scenes seems good considering that it is an Indian production.I dont know how every chase scene in every action movie manages to get some big vehicle[In this case, it is a huge truck transporting a dozen cars] to play a part to make the cars coming in the back to jump and explode in mid air.Director seems to have dumped his high school physics classes explaining Newton’s laws of motion.In a scene Hrithik successfully jumps between two trains which are moving at fast pace.whatever happened to inertia!?.

Since this movie is cited as a romantic action movie,first half seemed pretty much dull and we couldnt experience any chemistry between the leads.But second half becomes more exciting with the film delivering what it promises and only then we sense a believable romance.There isn’t much humour in the movie except the one in which  they squabble in a bank where things have gone horribly wrong.

Now into the technical side,Cinematography seemed like an ill fitting mixture with when it comes to the Las Vegas sequences and a lot care has been taken to make the desert scenes look like a reminiscent of leone’s “Once Up On a Time In The West”.Editing seemed crisp enough when it comes to the chase sequences.Anurag Basu’s direction was above average by trying out a different mode of narrative especially towards the end.But as usually like most desi directors he has certainly copied some stuffs from the west.Especially that ‘shoot out in the rain’ sequence which makes us remember Tom Hanks starring “Road to Perdition” directed by Oscar winning Sam Mendes.

A scene from "Road To Perdition"

Kites as a whole is a must watch for any one who is looking for some breath of freah air among the ususal B grades coming out of the bollywood film industry.The film maker must have put a lot of effort to bring out this really ambitious movie and we must respect that hard work.Roshans and Basu has painstaking tried to craft a trendsetter ,both in terms of substance and style but has fallen short.Kites is far from a brilliant film but definitely is a must watch.
PS
1-I went to see this movie with really low expectations and that situation might have influenced my review.
2-I just visited Rotten Tomatoes websites and found that nearly all US based critics have praised kites but when it came to Indian reviews,critics panned the film outright.I dont Know if it has to do some thing with cultural difference.But I think it maybe due to difference in movie exposure.







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