Archives for posts with tag: anil kapoor

I’m not entirely clear on what happened in this movie. I do know that it starts off with Tom Cruise in a Russian prison, that within 30 minutes the Kremlin has blown up, that Tom Cruise falls off the Burj Khalifa, and that then, for some reason, they go to India, and Anil Kapoor gets involved.

And I do not care. The whole thing is rollicking good fun. Simon Pegg does his Simon Pegg thing, Jeremy Renner does his Marvel thing rather than his actual-actor thing, Paula Patton is… there, and Anil Kapoor– Well, Anil Kapoor made me worry for a little while, that the writing was, shall we say, not entirely progressive. And I still have that concern, but with the proviso that the responsibility for his anomalous behavior is at least 50% on Mr. Kapoor’s own head. I have seen Taal, and he is not less crazy weird in it.

Character development is heavy-handed and/or non-existent, but that’s not what you’re looking for in such a movie. Tom Cruise needs a haircut, but otherwise is his old self, which you like or you don’t. He did his own stunts and some of them are literally (and I mean literally) breathtaking. I dropped my iPad at one point.

Stray notes:

  • There are people that I think you’re supposed to care about from previous M:I movies, but I’ve only seen the first one, so I’m not sure about that. It doesn’t matter.
  • Tom Cruise has a magical jacket that is Russian army on one side and tacky American windbreaker on the other. It’s awesome. Also his disguise-glasses are hot. Not sorry.
  • Russians are such great film villains. I love that we can still do this.

Director: Brad Bird
Rating: PG-13
Length: 133 min.
Score: 4/5.

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Right. So. This didn’t start well, because I got so bored and annoyed about 1.5 hours in that I had to turn it off and watch four hours of “Top Gear” instead. I had had high hopes. I’ve only ever seen stuff in which Akshaye Khanna makes special appearances because he’s such a big star, and I figured his early films might justify this. Aishwarya Rai is strikingly beautiful and I haven’t hated anything with her. (I might be lying; I might hate Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.) And Mola Ram plays Akshaye Khanna’s dad! What could go wrong?

Well, what goes wrong is that Taal is awful. Here’s the set-up. Akshaye Khanna as Manav is a rich young man, raised in London and now coming back to India to enter the firm, presumably. He has the worst mullet you’ve ever seen and falls off cliffs a lot. He is also a total stalker creep and a gatecrasher, but as usual in films this is just adorable. Aishwarya Rai as Mansi is a young woman raised in Himachal Pradesh who dances and sings and teaches yoga and for some insane reason possibly related to my spotty subtitles is not likely to marry. She has weird nightmares. This should be pretty straightforward. With the exception of the exact region in question, this looks like a classic film of the excellent “teach me how to be more Punjabi” genre, in which the young man learns important truths about himself and being Indian from a pure but sometimes slightly sassy young woman.

I wish. An hour in, they’re in love, everyone’s parents seem to be in favor, at least after Mansi’s dad yells at her about the necklace of whoredom she received from Manav. Immediately, of course, a ridiculous incident occurs in which her dad hits his dad and then Mansi gives a patented Aishwarya Rai tells rich people how it is speech. Then she decides to stay in Mumbai and become an international music star who dresses like a lunatic. This is where she meets Anil Kapoor as Vikrant (whose sunglasses are surgically attached to his skull), and Vikrant, Manav, and Mansi embark on a mind-numbingly stupid love triangle voyage. The dance sequences progress from chin kisses and rolling around in rural mud to deranged horrors in the worst leggings you’ve ever seen. They don’t even have the benefit of attractive scenery, because they’re all in a Mumbai studio or a Canadian arena.

The dénouement is even dumber than you’d think, and even more drawn out and full of silent, idiotic staring. And, like, I know, 90s Bollywood. Those are the criteria by which I am judging it, and by which it is awful.

Stray observations:

  • The line between dreams and reality is imperfectly drawn; Manav appears improbably in Mansi’s imagination, but it’s, like, the fifth most insane thing he’d done so far, so I thought it might be real.
  • Manav’s mean aunt wants Mansi to appear in bra ads, because she is evil. This scene is hilarious.
  • Not only does Manav fall off cliffs, he catches fire and is clubbed in the face. I hope they get life insurance.
  • For an instant, you see Shahid Kapoor’s face–he is a nameless and uncredited dancer. It is not worth it.

Director: Subhash Ghai
Rating: U/G
Length: 179 min., which is 179 minutes too many
Score: 1/5. It didn’t actually make me barf.