Archive for May, 2014

Mastram

mastram-poster

Mastram
Release date: May 9, 2014
Directed by: Akhilesh Jaiswal
Cast: Rahul Bagga, Tara Alisha Berry, Istiyak Khan

Do you know: Sex is a simple and primary form of interaction between one, two or more humans. Or dolls, toys and bionic hand simulators. Yeah, you knew that. Now it may be simple, but how one gets around to it and the perceived complexity that surrounds it is what makes me interested in films which deal with sex as a subtheme. How sex is supposed to be serious, life-altering and how I shouldn’t even be writing about it–makes me all the more interested and irreverent towards it.

Mastram isn’t a film that ‘deals’ with sex upfront; it’s originally a story of a failed writer trying to get his literary works published. Rajaram (Rahul Bagga) is a reticent, young man who has aspirations of making it big in a small town in Himachal. His writings are too idealistic and they are restricted to that. No reason to cheer or jeer for his works is ever established. You can’t decipher what exactly is his writing style and nor are you supposed to care about it, apparently. He gets talked into marrying Renu (Tara Alisha Berry) and now he has a family of his own, and a bank job that he detests.

When he tries to sit down and ‘write’ a story, he couldn’t get anything in his mind, and that’s when one old chap at the tea shop (local cafe) advises him to just keep his eyes open and keep looking around. Throughout, he’s been looking around, sometimes at his neighbour’s wife Savita or at his own wife Renu. He keeps his ears open while his barber makes small talk. Even in an inebriated state, while walking home from the bar with his friend Mahesh (Istiyak Khan) he looks for the ‘masala’ that he’s been asked by the publishers to pepper his work with. This looking for inspiration part turned out to be my favorite up until the halfway mark.

Extra posters because they are awesome.

Extra posters because they are awesome.

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In search of ‘masala’, he discovers what the publishers need and he gives it to them. Masala their knickers can’t handle. And from here on, his metamorphosis from Rajaram to Mastram initiates. He takes ordinary tales of lust and turns them into lore of erotica, which never emphasize on sex, but are all about “feelings”. Or so Rajaram claims. He gets to dance with success, but not with his serious works as Rajaram. This makes him depressed and consumed by excessive pride simultaneously. He turns desperate and wanders close to home for his inspiration.

The proverbial downfall comes knocking along, but not how you expect it to. This is where the excessively simplified plot seems lacking, a more stinging punch could have been better. The dichotomy created in the writer’s life by the double standards of his own readers was good for me, but the execution let off some major steam. Rahul Bagga puts up a stoic face for most of the duration of the film, which is confusing and aversive at certain points. The build to each escapade that he fantasizes about, however amusing, comes undone in front of that final conflict.

Baniye Ka Lollipop, Nurse Ki Suhagraat are fun, and cater to what they promise, Mastram’s own story could have been more. Is it a disappointment then? Not at all. I liked it in spite of its shortcomings.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Amazing-Spider-Man-Poster
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Release date: May 2, 2014
Directed by: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Sally Field, Felicity Jones, Colm Feore

I AM BACK! And so is Spider-Man! The first installment of this franchise came out in 2012  (here’s the review if in case you wanna know what I thought about it https://blastatrumpet.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/the-amazing-spiderman-review/)

Andrew Garfield is Spidey, Emma Stone is the racy, Gwen Stacy (not exactly racy) and Sally Field is Aunt May. Denis Leary keeps leering in as Gwen’s dead dad and that’s just one of the awful parts of the film. After a certain interval of time, Oscorp’s has moved on, there’s no mention of the Lizard or any other incident of the past, except the dreadful promise that Spidy/Peter Parker makes to Stacy Senior. This is what they chose to inherit from the first part, seriously?

Peter keeps struggling with himself because he gets FLASHES of Stacy Senior appearing in front of him randomly, reminding him of how he promised that he won’t see his daughter after his death. I cringed just about 5 times while typing that line twice. Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a nobody electrical engineer who works at Oscorp is obsessively in love with Spider-Man. No homoerotic undertones though, sadly. Max is caricaturish about his attachment with the web-slinging vigilante. There’s more of campy, clubbed along with fluff that makes you cringe.

Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) is also back to helm the boss’ chair at Oscorp after his father Norman (Chris Cooper) tells him that the Osborn’s suffer from a hereditary genetic retrograde virus and Harry will also fall to it, which starts his frantic search for antidote. Max is involved in a freak accident, which has nothing to do with Spider-Man, and transforms into a living electricity generator. Harry discovers that Spider-Man’s blood could be his antidote.

That’s the plot. This time around, we get slightly influential antagonists, but our hero never takes them seriously. Why should you feel that the protagonist is threatened? Only the final showdown of both sides presents a real threat to an otherwise dull and uninspiring environment. Also, this makes me wonder, how do super-villain choose their names? Max Dillon, out of nowhere claims to be ‘Electro’ when a lunatic doctor asks him what his name is.

The villains are treated with some respect this time around, poor Lizard must be licking his wounds and wallowing in his misery because he never got a fair hand. Their reasoning to go after Spider-Man are flawed nevertheless. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield do what they are asked to do, and if it hadn’t been for the superhero bits, it could have been an equally awful romantic-drama. And now time for another cheap joke, Harry Osborn is quite the king of ‘literally’. Here’s why:

  • When he pleads for help to Electro, “I am gonna make Spider-Man bleed!” he actually wants to make him bleed because he wants his hybrid spider blood.
  • When he breaks in to Donald Menken’s cabin, he does so by violently turning a table and says, “The tables have now turned, Menken.”
  • When Spider-Man asks him to let Gwen Stacy go, he lets her go by letting her fall down from a great height.

The premise for the third film has already been laid and this film almost gave you a showdown between Spidy and a third bad guy. But they didn’t, yet made him look like a complete wimp. Can any super-villain stop Marc Webb and Marvel from making another Spidy film?

My rating: ** (2 out of 5)

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