Month: September 2013

Blue Jasmine review: Jasmine is truly Blue in Woody’s latest bid for another actress Oscar

Oh so blue

A Woody Allen movie, despite the annual appearance, is always an event.  Upod casts its eye over Blue Jasmine, his latest release.

Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is a former New York socialite, broke (although still travelling 1st Class), homeless and a widow. She’s also a mess of prescription drugs and booze in a bid to cope with the nervous breakdown she’s going through in the aftermath of her life shattering. Moving to San Franciso to live with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins), this re-connects Jasmine (nee Jeanette) with her past and forces her to confront things she still doesn’t have the capacity to deal with. Her sense of denial is truly astonishing and it seems like she is incapable of moving on with her life. As the movie unfolds, we see through flashbacks exactly what happened to leave her in such a position.

Leaving university early as she was swept off her feet by financier Hal (very nicely played, Mr Alec Baldwin) she turns her back on friends and family, living high on the hog, all the while turning a blind eye to Hal’s incredibly dodgy business dealings and his pretty blatant affairs. Safely tucked-up in her world of Fendi bags and other pointless bagatelles, she also draws her sister’s husband into Hal’s murky financing, losing the family their $200 000 lottery winnings and causing the break-up between Ginger and Augie (Andrew Dice Clay).

As Jasmine’s present situation lurches through the various stages of better, worse, bad, good, rock bottom, positive, so we see more revealed about her past life. Whilst we know Hal is eventually arrested and sent to prison, we see their son walking out on his education (and his mum) in shame. He will not be able to stand the embarrassment of going back to Harvard and so leaves everything behind him. It is only later on that we see a woman truly scorned and after Hal confesses he’s in love with an au pair 20 years his junior, Jasmine calls in the Feds.

Ordinarily, that might not be considered a bad thing, but in this case our character cannot reconcile what she’s done with the consequences. We see her in an almost constant state of denial about everything she’s responsible for; brushing the means of her lifestyle under the carpet as we might if we bought a TV that “fell off the back of a lorry”. The reality she has constructed for herself is too painful to confront and so she clings to her past, blithely thinking all will get better. The superlative example of this being the diplomat she meets and wants to marry – it does not even cross her mind that her past cannot escape her.

Woody Allen has delivered us a fascinating look at the lives of others; in this case the filthy rich and socialites of Manhattan. In Jasmine we have one of the more selfish characters to grace a movie-screen, but we never sense it in a purely deliberate or hurtful way. Credit for this goes obviously to Cate Blanchett who, without wishing fall back on cliché, delivers a tour de force performance that will surely earn her the Best Actress gong next year. Blue Jasmine draws together themes such as sibling rivalry, keeping up with the joneses, family, snobbery, money & wealth, social mobility and finally and most simply of all, happiness. The ensemble cast is great and worth a mention absolutely, but such is the brilliance of the central performance they all but serve to further her role. The unpleasant truth for Jasmine and the matter she can’t get over is that she created her own mess – either through turning a blind eye or for reporting Hal to the authorities. She just can’t understand her son wanting nothing to do with her or that her sister can find happiness in a man who repairs cars for a living. There is plenty to take away and Blue Jasmine will get richer with repeat viewings. I already want to watch it again.

Blue Jasmine is released in cinemas across the UK today, Friday 27th September.  Enjoy the trailer below.

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Besharam UK Press Conference Upodcast

The team of Abhinav Kashyap’s Besharam came down to the UK to talk about their fortcoming release.

Our good friend Sujoy Singha from Bollypop, attended and managed to even liven up the proceedings at the press conference.

Here’s the audio of the event with Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda as well as Rishi and Neetu Kapoor.

The podcast is below but here are some of the things they talked about typed out by the friendly people at Sterling Media.

 

From the Press Release:

The media were then treated to a special welcome from the man himself Ranbir, who said: ‘I am delighted to be here in the UK. This visit is even more special this time as I finally have my parents with me. Besharam is very much a family entertainer, so it is fitting that I should come with my father and mother.’

The floor was then opened up for a lively question and answer session. With the interest garnered by the fact that the Kapoor clan have acted together for the first time, the media asked the trio questions about how it felt to act together, to which Ranbir said: ‘It feels great. Both my parents are an inspiration to me. My father and mother are fabulous actors and my father has been passionate about his craft for over 40 years. I have learnt so much from both of them.’

Neetu Kapoor added: ‘For me, I took on this role in Besharam for two reasons. Firstly, it was a very unique script and concept, and secondly I could act with my family. It was nice, it felt secure and I was in my comfort zone.’

Attention then turned to beautiful leading lady Pallavi Sharda. The Indo-Australian actress spoke of her association with the Bollywood industry and of how Bollywood is perceived by the Indian community in Australia. ‘When I was growing up I was fascinated by Bollywood. I used to wear a Bindi on my forehead whenever I went out. I love Bollywood; it formed a big part of my identity when I was growing up in Australia. Australian Indians really identify with Bollywood as it acts as a way for them to connect with their roots. Indian Cinema is increasingly more cross-over nowadays in the type of films that are being made.’

She added: ‘I have had a great time working on this film. The Kapoors have been very welcoming to me during the making of this film. I had a great time.’
When asked about the key messaging behind Besharam, Ranbir Kapoor said: ‘Beshram is not about embarrassing anybody. Besharam is an attitude. It’s about listening and following your heart.’

Speaking about the evolving of the Indian film market, Rishi Kapoor said: ‘We are evolving by each film. We are making technically better films. Few films offer a message to society.’

In response to a question on what Mr Sanjeev Lamba, CEO of  Reliance Entertainment’s expectations are from Besharam, he said: “Reliance Entertainment distributes and produces both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. With a strategic global outreach, our films are going over 65 – 70 countries. Besharam is a movie for all. Besharam being the most commercial family entertainer, we want it to be liked by all.”

Mr Mahesh Ramanathan, COO of  Reliance Entertainment added: ‘There are 200 countries in the world. And Bollywood has gone only to 35 countries of the South Asian population. There are wonderful markets who are on the lookout for Bollywood. It is about taking the infrastructure, funding people with passion, to take the films to various markets. Reliance has one of the biggest distribution structures from India.’

Speaking about his involvement in the production, Himanshu Mehra, Partner at Movie Temple said: “I was part of Abhinav’s team with Dabbang. We realised that we could form a company and work together. We then approached to Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Ji with the script and went ahead with Besharam. Our like mindedness has helped us work in unison.”

‘Besharam Press Conference footage and star cast interviews courtesy of: Sterling Media’

You can find more of Sujoy’s work on BollyPop or OneKnightStands or Follow him on twitter on @9e3K.

Enhanced by ZemantaBesharam releases worldwide on 2nd October 2013.

Riddick Upodcast Review: Please sir, I want some more

A mini-podcast dedicated to Vin Diesel’s Riddick return.  Asim and Martin take a look at the latest blockbuster sci-fi to hit screens worldwide.

There are mercenaries and bounty hunters, space dogs and beasties, the odd bit of nudity and much swearing.

We won’t reveal too much before listening, but count on us to tell you about Riddick’s bad day at the office.

A short and snappy Upodcast episode, do let us know if you like this format.

Listen/download/subscribe below

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Ram Leela Trailer: Romeo And Juliet through Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Lens

Like most Bollywood fans, we have spent the morning refreshing our social media feeds for the launch of the Ram Leela trailer and finally the wait is over.

Rumored to be an adaptation of Romeo And Juliet, Sanjay Leela Bhansali sets the story in contemporary Rajisthan. Some of the visuals do remind you of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam but adding fire brand actor Ranveer Singh, the movie just seems a lot more fun than anything we expected from Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Deepika has been picking some great roles and it’s paid off at the box office this year, and she seems to have amazing chemistry with Ranveer, which make me hopeful to see more of these 2 on screen together.

The trailer is quite extensive and a welcome change to the stupid marketing ploy of 30 sec teasers. I’m looking at you Dhoom and Krissh 3, this might be that we are pretty sure we know the major story beats so we can are allowed to see more of the lush world that they have built.

Here are some images, posters, synopsis and of course the awesome trailer:

Ram : Born in the land of guns, goons and hardcore enmity, RAM – the local village romeo, is a raapchik, cheap, dramatic vagabond. The lover who fights the whole world for his Leela and yet the man who stands by his clan even at the cost of his own love

Leela : In love with her enemy, a beautiful, young, spicy, fearless gujrati belle, born to an underworld mistress and yet far removed from the violence that surrounds her. Her life is only about her faith in her lover , her tireless wait for him, her sacrifices for him and ultimately her’self’ against him

When the two see each other for the first time, worlds collide, wars are fought and destinies are written in blood, forever. The Jadejas and the Rabaris are sworn enemies since the past 500 years and their own kin falling in love with each other is worst than any storm that could have ever come by. Set in the present day, magnificent vibrant landscape of Gujarat, woven with song and dance, Ram and Leela fight the world to live their own dreams. What will happen when they declare their love to the world? Will their families relent or will Ram and Leela carve their own destiny?

 



Ram Leela is in theaters on 15th November.

@asimburney

 

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Girl Most Likely Trailer and Poster

You’d expect that after the massive success of Bridesmaids, we would be seeing a lot more of Kristen Wiig on screen, unfortunately that’s not been the case.

Even Girl Most Likely which was previously called Imogene and premiered last year at Toronto International Film Festival is only getting a release date now.

From the press release:

Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Darren Criss and Matt Dillon headline in Girl Most Likely, a hilarious comedy about Imogene, once a promising young New York playwright whose promise has fizzled, thanks to a crisis of confidence. Heavily in denial about being dumped by her high society boyfriend, Imogene uses her skill for drama to stage an elaborate meltdown as an appeal for his sympathy. But her attempt backfires when she’s put into the custody of Zelda, her estranged gambling addict mother (Annette Bening), and must return home with her to the Jersey shore. Desperate to get back to her Manhattan circle of so-called friends, Imogene must finally deal with her family, including her unique brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), Zelda’s new boyfriend The Bousche (Matt Dillon), plus a cute young lodger (Darren Criss),who together help Imogene find her place in the world.

 

GIRL MOST LIKELY is released in UK cinemas on September 27th

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Robocop: The New Trailer

Dead or alive, you're coming with me

The long-awaited (?) Robocop re-vamp has finally come to life with this trailer for the 2014 release of Paul Verhoeven‘s mid-80s sci-fi cult classic. 25 years or so really is a long time, so we can’t begrudge a re-make on these terms (unlike say, Spiderman). But the original, much like Total Recall, is held in such high regard that it does beg the question of whether audiences need the remake at all.

At first glance, this looks great – clearly so much more can be done with a budget these days – so there won’t be that old-fashioned feel to the movie. And secondly, the cast is of course impressive: Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish and even Miguel Ferrer. I’d watch it just because of Michael Keaton – a criminally under-used actor.

But what of the rest of the take-home from this trailer? A couple of things stand out for me right away: the more prominent role of the family and that he seems to know he’s human rather than robot, the inverse of the original where he has to figure out he is in fact human. Quite how these will affect the story, we can only speculate. There is also scope for comment on the military-industrial complex using machines in place of men.  You only have to look at the recent wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan to know how real drones are and how much their use could increase in the future.  How much this theme will be addressed may well have changed since the director gave a very positive interview back at the end of 2011.  We can only hope he has retained a lot of control over his movie.  Perhaps these will give the film a new dimension and give us something the original didn’t. On a basic level, I have to say I’m disappointed with him being painted black and riding a motorbike.  But in the interests of a fair and balanced report, silver Robocop did end up looking pretty awful in some of the merch.

Streethawk IS Robocop?

Don't forget, original Robocop didn't get mangled by a chemical spill, unlike one of the bad guys

Oh and the retractable visor really ought to have been a no-no from the very start – what were they thinking?  Director Jose Padhila, has form in the police sphere, having given us the Elite Squad movies. Both address police corruption, incompetence and bureaucracy (not that Robocop didn’t), so the omens are good. Possibly lacking however, will be a social commentary. The charm of the first is that there is more to it than meets the eye, lending itself to repeat viewings and making it so enduring.

This ad for the 6000SUX still makes me laugh.

I think it’s important to ask what a remake really can bring to the table – regardless of what is being re-made. Possibly not a fair comparison, but I’ll point out that operas / stage plays are typically only ever “revived”, not entirely re-worked. Sure the setting may change (e.g. Coriolinus a few years ago) and new directors and producers will bring their own touch, highlighting say one characteristic over another, but if Mozart wrote the music it won’t be replaced with a new score and if Noel Coward wrote the play there won’t be new dialogue added. So perhaps there is something to be learned from this. And maybe, just maybe, with such a great movie as Robocop, we could have had a restored print and Blu-Ray release on its 25th anniversary, celebrated with a “revival” on screen and in cinemas nationwide. Now I’d buy that for a dollar!

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The Counsellor Character Posters and Clips

Quite looking forward to The Counsellor, beside an amazing cast of Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt. It’s a return for Sir Ridley Scott to a smaller story based thriller written by Cormac McCarthy, so im sure we can expect some gut churning surprises.

 

Synopsis – The film tells the story of a lawyer (Fassbender), who finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
Here are some new Character Posters and a new clip.

 

The Counsellor, coming to cinemas across the UK November 15th.

@asimburney

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Besharam Media Interview and New Song Promo

We’ve been having a hard time understanding what Besharam is all about. From the throwback promo to having Abhijeet sing Dil Ka Jo Haal Hail, it seems the team has been stuck in some sort of time warp where the 90’s never ended.

 

Here is the new Song Promo:

The entire Cast inluding Ranbir Kapoor and new comer Pallavi Shadra as well as Mom and Pop Kapoor and direct Abhinav Kashyap did a Media Q&A in India, and here is hoping to shed some light on what this movie is all about. Be warned though the interview is so generic that your eyeballs might fall asleep whilst reading it.

Ranbir Kapoor Q&A

What prompted you to sign Besharam?
It was several things that made me sign for Besharam. I am a big fan of director Abhinav Kashyap’s work. Abhinav knows how to tell a simple yet very interesting story. This film has it all; it has romance, action and comedy. It tells a simple yet effective story. I was also drawn to my character. It is a very different type of character to play and it allowed me to express myself in a new and creative way.

Were there any particularly special moments whilst making the film?
The entire film was a blast to work on. My character ‘Babli’ has very few hang-ups and inhibitions, he more or less does as he wants and so this was fun to portray. Also, I had fun working with my co-stars and my parents.

What was it like working with your parents for the first time?
It was fantastic working with my parents. I am a great admirer of my father and I’m in awe of my mother. They are both such professionals and great actors. They never once dictated to me during the shooting of this film, in fact I gave them suggestions on how I thought their characters should be portrayed. We had a lot of fun working together and it helped me to overcome a lot of inhibitions.

Do you feel pressure to have the same success as your famous parents?
Overall, I don’t feel that it has been a hindrance to come from a famous family. I have been exposed to cinema from a very young age and I absolutely love watching my family’s films. I wouldn’t say I have pressure on me to succeed, but it has been a bit of a struggle at times because of who my parents are. There is a ‘celebrity kid’ label attached to me that I have had to overcome to prove myself as an actor and as an individual.

Tell us about your character in Besharam?
I play a character called ‘Babli’, who is an orphan and petty car thief. He is a guy with no inhibitions; he lives life by his own rules. Babli is a very flamboyant and loud character, but underneath it all he is a good hearted kid. His main priority is to get money to help the children in the orphanage. It was an amazing experience to play this type of role, as I could take the character to new depths and have fun with it too.

Did the film allow you to let loose and have some ‘Besharam’ moments?
Of course! There are certain things that I could get away with that I wouldn’t normally be able to. My character is really shameless and so he does some pretty weird and gross things. One example that comes to mind is that in the film my character is obsessed with playing with his chest hair all the time, this isn’t something that I’d normally do in real life!

The film has a powerful message about doing good for others. Do you support many charitable causes?
I strongly believe that charity comes from within you. You can be charitable wherever you travel to; charity comes from the heart and soul; it is found in the little things we do every day to help someone and make their life a little better. I do support some charities, but I still feel that there is much more I can do and so I intend to support more charities in the future.

In Besharam your character loves football. Are you a football fan?
I’m a big football fan! I have always loved football from childhood and used to play when I was in college. I am the Indian brand ambassador for Barcelona Football Club and I’ve been lucky enough to see them at different stadiums. In the film I insisted on my character playing football whenever possible! If I wasn’t an actor I would have been a football coach I think.

Bollywood recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. How do you think the industry has developed?
I think it is a very proud moment for the Indian film industry to celebrate such a milestone. I feel honoured to be a part of the Indian film industry. My family has been in the industry for 80 out of the 100 years and this is a wonderful achievement. I think Bollywood is now attracting global audiences in a more engaging way. There is a healthy blend between the typical ‘Masala’ film and mainstream elements. An example I would give is the film Barfi, which was India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars.

Is there a set format for a successful Bollywood film?
There is no set format. People just want good entertainment. A Bollywood film entertains you; it is three hours of music, drama, romance, action and comedy.

Who are your role models within the Indian Film Industry?
There are so many people I admire. I look up to Amitabh Bachchan. I also think Shah Rukh Khan is a good ambassador for the industry.

Do you see yourself making the transition to mainstream/Hollywood cinema?
At the moment I am very happy doing what I’m doing. I think the Indian film industry is booming and is a great thing to be a part of. I truly enjoy my work and the roles I’ve played so far. A good film is often one that takes elements from its own culture and tradition rather than trying to just incorporate a mainstream/Western format. For example in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee took inspiration from his own culture and created a fantastic film.

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        Rishi Kapoor Q&A

Did you enjoy acting together as a family?
Yes very much so. We are all very busy people and do not always get time to spend together due to our separate professional schedules, so it was great to be able to spend time together on set and to work together.

How did you end up being cast for your role?
It was actually Ranbir who suggested to Abhinav that I play the role. After confirming his own commitment to the film Ranbir was discussing who could play a middle aged cop with Abhinav and he suggested me as I have rarely done it before.

The film’s trailer has received excellent comments, why do you think this is?
The trailer really captures the spirit of the film and manages to tease audiences with short clips showing the diversity of the action and comedy.

How much influence do you have over Ranbir’s choice of films?
He is an actor who has taken a less travelled route. He is choosing different films and doing films that are not the staple diet of film heroes. For that I give him credit. The choice of his films are totally his, all creative decisions are his, I have no contribution to that at all. People feel I chose his films, but it’s not so. I am just his father, not his manager.
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   Neetu Singh Q&A

How did it feel to act with your husband and son in a movie?
I was overwhelmed when I heard we were going as a family to act in Besharam. My acting scenes came naturally from the start, as it was easy to act and be myself in front of them.

Can you tell us some details about the film’s narrative?
Of course. Babli (Ranbir Kapoor) is a street smart car mechanic living in a Delhi orphanage. He is charming and lives life to the fullest. He also steals cars to support his orphanage. He has no sense of right or wrong until he unwittingly hurts the love of his life, Tara (Pallavi Sharda). Babli realises that there is no right way of doing the wrong thing. Babli sets out to fix all the wrongs in his life and he continues to be shameless about it.

Your son, Ranbir Kapoor plays a very different role to his previous films, why do you think he was interested in playing Babli in Besharam?
I think Ranbir has done a fantastic job in his previous films and has managed to win many awards for his portrayal of a traditional Bollywood hero. However, I think he was keen to stretch himself as an actor, to explore new territory and to challenge himself rather than become too comfortable. His role as Babli is a very diverse role and requires a portrayal of many different emotions on screen, I think this appealed to Ranbir as he is always keen to try something new.

Is there a scene in the film that is particularly close to your heart?
I think the performance of the title track was a lot of fun for the cast and crew and is definitely a highlight for me. Ranbir suggested that we include the director and choreographer in the sequence, and even choreographed the sequence himself. It was a lot of fun to see Abhinav Kashyap get involved in the film in front of camera for a change. I think everyone got the chance to be a little Besharam that day.

What role do you play in Besharam?
Myself and Rishi play bumbling cops on the trail of Babli, trying to deal with his shameless acts.

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Abhinav Kashyap Q&A

Talking about the film’s songs, why did you pick Ranbir Kapoor to take the lead in singing?
When the concept was formulated, there were no second thoughts about Ranbir singing this song as it is almost in verse form and no other sound would have worked.

What are your Box Office predictions?
Of course I do hope the film enters the new ‘Crore club’…but this isn’t my sole motivation.

As a director could you have changed a few things in Besharam’s production?
No, this film turned out exactly as I would have wanted it too. I’ve written over 14 drafts of scripts before finalising the last piece and undergoing production

If you don’t mind me asking, why so many drafts?
I’ve worked exceptionally hard on this film. But it isn’t like I had a hardbound script. I wrote 14 drafts because every time I gave the script to a friend, to my star cast, or even to my brother Anurag, they all made suggestions towards it. All of them asked questions. I incorporated all those changes in my final draft. I believe that if a script has to deliver then it has to answer the various questions that people who hear the script ask. A good script has to flow smoothly. And since I have followed that philosophy, I’m confident that Besharam will deliver.

Is it true you will feature in your own movie?
Yes, but only as a cameo appearance, as it was Ranbir’s idea to have both me and choreographer Remo D’souza to groove on the title track with him. Not only did the young actor suggest this idea to me, he also choreographed the dance routine. We had an amazing time shooting for the song. Ranbir told me he thought that featuring me and Remo would just enhance the fun quotient of the song. And I totally agreed with him.

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Pallavi Sharda Q&A

Before the TV industry, what were you doing?
I was a famous Indian dance instructor in Australia then I changed paths when I came to India.

What was your experience of working with director Abhinav Kashyap?
It was great working with Abhinav; he’s put his foot down to choose me for this role and so I wanted to do my best to impress him while we were on set.

What was the hardest element to shoot for this film?
The hardest element during the shoot of the film for me was the dancing parts of the film, as we did so many takes until Abhinav was happy with what we had. Also, I had to really get in close contact with Ranbir during our dance scene and it was really hard to keep those same emotions throughout that many takes.

Why should audiences see this film?
Audiences will want to see Ranbir’s new side, as an on-screen Besharam!

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zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz

God that was boring…The Besharam team is coming to the UK to promote the movie so we hope to be able to ask some sensible questions. I wonder if the jounalists asking these questions have any sense of sharam….

Besharam releases in theaters  worldwide on 2nd October 2013.

@asimburney

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Kochadaiiyaan Teaser looks choppy!

When we met the Kochadaiiyaan team for a press conference back in April 2012 producer Murali mentioned: “Kochadaiiyaan is going to be a very different animation film with Indian and international technicians. Even better than Tin- Tin. And first of the kind to use photorealistic technology., making it more realistic”

Since then we haven’t heard too much about Kochadaiiyaan and today the first teaser has dropped and is frankly quite dissapointing.

Animation has never been of too high a standard, because most of the times it is still seen by Indian audiences as something meant for children and not adults. And even though there have been collaborations with even with Disney, it has never been an attractive proposition on the box office.

But what no one can’t, Rajni- can (t)! or that’s what we hoped for.

 

 

According to Producer Mural the movie is “a fantasy film with an indian subject, which has been carefully done to attract international audience”. Director Soundaryha (Rajnikanth’s daughter) added that Photorealistic Animation was used because: “It immortalises my father and everything is really created. He plays a warriorin the movie. And we wanted him to do something that we as a fans would want to see. Everyone wants the sound and vision to be spectacular”

We know this is just the first shots we are seeing but they are quite dissapointing shots, the realism spoken about still needs quite a bit of work and what we see doesn’t look much better than a video game (an old and cheap video game for that matter).

Deepika Padukone, who we don’t see in the teaser, is paired opposite Rajnikanth, which i hope looks less creepy than it sounds and one place where having the movie animated migh pay off.

Here is the press release which next to the actual teaser looks like someone talking about an entirely different movie:

Film aficionados across the world are gearing up for the futuristic fantasy event of the year with the release of the eagerly awaited film Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend worldwide in cinemas this December 2013.

Poised as the grand finale film of the year, Kochadaiiyaan will rival and transcend the CG capabilities utilised in such Hollywood masterpieces as Avatar, Tin Tin and Beowulf. The avant-garde film features the unique visual mastery of Photorealistic Performance Capture technology, a first within the realm of Indian film-making.

Kochadaiiyaan is an epic dramatisation of good versus evil starring South Indian megastar Rajinikanth who is cast as the archetypal superhero in a dual role. Also starring in the grand production are Indian A-listers Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff and South India’s leading stars R. Sarathkumar, Nazzer, Aadhi, Shobana and Rukmini.

Providing the musical score is maestro and Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman, whose list of credits includes a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards for his outstanding musical compilation for the multi-Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire. The story, screenplay and dialogues have been penned by K S Ravikumar and the lyrics by National Award Winning lyricist Vairamuthu.

Kochadaiiyaan stemmed from the grand vision of the director Soundarya Rajnikanth Ashwin, a talented and forward thinking filmmaker who is well versed with various trend setting film techniques. She says: “My ambition has always been to immortalise my father and bring the legendary Rajinikanth that audiences around the world adore in an ‘avatar’ he hasn’t ever been seen in nor experienced.

During the making of Kochadaiiyaan, I began to realise that through the medium of this film, we had to embrace a much broader aim which had the potential to be a game-changer for Indian cinema on a global level.

I have been passionately involved in film animation techniques and production for the last six years and for Kochadaiiyaan we wanted to do something unique and to create a new cinematic experience for India. To achieve this we decided to use Photorealistic Performance Capture technology which allowed us to have unlimited creativity on all grounds from building lavish sets, directing expansive fight sequences and creating elaborate costumes. Through the film, we will be able to transport audiences back to historic India and provide them with a much broader sensory experience.

Kochadaiiyaan has created not only firsts in Asia but also on a world level through the use of the technology. What we achieved with the support of our technical partners in the UK, USA, India and China, has made this project a truly international venture and we are sure that Kochadaiiyaan will set the path for Indian cinema’s next 100 year journey.”

The British funded project by reputed producers Mediaone Global Entertainment Limited and the AIM listed company Eros International has been shot exclusively at Pinewood Studios in the UK with a team of world-class technical experts including the London based Centroid Studios, a state of the art facility for Full Body Motion Capture, which have worked on various famous Hollywood productions including the recent Brad Pitt starrer World War Z, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ironman 2 and Harry Potter, and Counter Punch Studios from Los Angeles, who have been behind successes such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua. They worked in collaboration with Faceware Technologies, who have worked with The Mummy 3 and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for the Facial Capturing technology. A team of technical experts from South India and China have worked on the animation and the overall completion of the project.

India’s first Photorealistic Performance Capture film Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend is not only set to transcend boundaries creating a market first in the realm of world cinema but will cement Indian Cinema’s place indefinitely within the global film fraternity.

Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend releases worldwide this December 2013.

 

 

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Rush: out this Friday

Rush: it's not the one about undercover Narcs

In cinemas this Friday is the new film from Ron Howard and normally, I’d not be arsed to be honest.  HOWEVER…Rush is a re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between two Formula 1 drivers: James Hunt and Niki Lauda.  And having seen the trailer many times now, in the cinema I’m well and truly hooked.

The epic action-drama stars Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) as the charismatic Englishman James Hunt and Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) as the disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda, whose clashes on the Grand Prix racetrack epitomized the contrast between these two extraordinary characters, a distinction reflected in their private lives.  Co-starring Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy) and Alexandra Maria Lara (The Reader), Rush is also produced Eric Fellner who worked on the brilliant Senna so there is racing pedigree behind the scenes.

Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing (the 1970s) , Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed—handsome English playboy Hunt and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Lauda. Taking us into their personal lives on and off the track, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error. If you make one mistake, you die.

Quite brilliantly, the two leads actually look like the characters they’re playing which will only add to the atmosphere I’m sure.  My only reservation is that the colours in the trailer seem to be off in some way, but hopefully this either won’t be the case for the full monty or it just won’t matter.  That’s my Friday evening sorted then.  Excellent trailer below.

 

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Dhoom 3 Trailer Breakdown

Dhoom 3’s trailer has arrived and finally gives us something to look forward to in 2013, even if the movie releases just before the year ends.

An established and massively succesfull franchise being spearheaded by one of the most bankable actors in India (not Uday Chopra) directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya (of the vastly underrated Tashan) and shot party in Chicago, is going to be break bank when it comes out at 20th of December.

2013 has been such a dreary year in terms of Hindi cinema. The box office earnings have been huge this summer, even setting some records but most of the movies have mostly been mid-budget and just lacking that masala fun at least viewers like me have been craving. During the half way point we had hoped things would improve especially around the end of the year with heavy hitters Krissh 3 and Dhoom 3.

But after seeing the uninspiring trailers for Krissh 3, all my hopes at least are pinned on Amir Khan.

Some thoughts:

Praise the lord that stupd bowler hat from the teaser isn’t what Amir is wearing throughout the movie, although wouldnt it be awesome if this was some sort of Rene Magritte reference and he wore an apple on his face to hide his identity?

Also, why does Yash Raj Film make Amir Khan recite cheap poetry evertime they work together?

I wonder if the bowler hat and this clown logo on Amir’s desk means there is a circus theme to Dhoom 3? Knowing Vijay Krishna Acharya’s previous work, this totally might be the case.

 

It’s been way too long that Abhishek Bachchan has been on screen! (I am sure Amitabh Bachchan and I agree on this)

Katrina Kaif + kartwheels= YAY!

This face! Just before the money shot!

Dhoom Dhoom Dhoom People!

@asimburney

 

 

 

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Transformers 4 has a name and Teaser poster

Drum rolls please…The title has been revealed as Transformers: Age Of Extinctions. Adding Mark Wahlberg to the cast and rumours of Dinobots, this is probably going to be another massive smash hit and after the success of Pain & Gain, director Michael Bay has redeemed himself in certain critic’s eyes.

Here is the poster:

“TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION” stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz, Sophia Myles, TJ Miller, Han Geng and Chinese actress Li Bingbing in the fourth installment in the hit series of movies based on the best-selling Hasbro toyline. Paramount Pictures will release the film on June 27th, 2014.

Shooting in multiple locations in the U.S. and China throughout the summer, the film is directed by Michael Bay and re-unites the filmmaking team from the hit franchise, including producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy & Tom DeSanto and Ian Bryce; and executive producers Steven Spielberg, Bay, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. “TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION” is written by Ehren Kruger, based on Hasbro’s Transformers™ Action Figures.

@asimburney

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EP 83 Empire State Review, Bat-Fleck and a dissapointing summer of movies- Upodcast

If the Chinese celebrated more than just animals in their yearly zodiac, then 2013 wouldn’t be the year of the snake, it would be the year of The Rock.  Our latest podcast talks about one of Dwayne Johnson’s many movies this year, Empire State.  Also featuring the lesser-spotted Hemsworth (Liam) and a largely irrelevant Emma Roberts, Dito Montiel’s early ’80s throw back about a real life heist in New York is our featured film.  The box-cover promises much, but will it take its place in the pantheon of classic heist movies, such as Riffifi, Heat, Inside Man, or even The Bank Job?  We’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much!

Here is the trailer of Empire State:

Ahmed brings a sad note to proceedings with news of Burn Notice’s farewell season. A great show and clearly the 21st century Magyver. That said, all good things must come to an end…but where will we go now for our fix of funnies, Bruce Campbell and impromptu lessons in how break locks and make bombs from kitchen supplies?

As the summer draws to a close, we start by reflecting on a somewhat lacklustre season of box office smashes. A few have delivered: Man of Steel & Iron Man 3, but instinctively we’re left underwhelmed, despite evidence that Hollywood is in fact up on last summer with its blockbusters AND the notable flops – The Lone Ranger and RIPD. New markets – Asia most notably – have helped score big time, but for how long can the studios get away with releasing the same movie twice? That means you Olympus has Fallen and Whitehouse Down.

No wonder then that Martin has been spending a lot of time at the British Film Institute in recent weeks, this time catching up on the restored silent Hitchcocks.  The Lodger, Blackmail, The Ring etc. – all from the earliest part of his career, in the 1920s.  However, of much more importance, was that Asim talked about the Twitter and Blog shredding news of Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman in the upcoming Superman films.  Batfleck or whatever you want to call him seems to be a uniquely Marmite choice in that you love it or hate it.  Ahmed then introduces us to Graceland – a new US TV show about undercover cops and FBI agents living in the confiscated house of a convicted Elvis-fanatic drug lord.  How does that not sound good?

More cerebral matters are up next with a chat about Keanu Reeves’ excellent doc. Side by Side, which charts the technological evolution of movies from 35mm film, through to today’s multi-platform, lack of common standards digital era.  That ought to be the high point…but Upod is also happy to bring you Mermaids.  Not the Cher/Danny de Vito/Winona Ryder effort from the early ’90s, but a documentary that seeks to prove their very existence.

Author rolls on floor laughing.

You can download/listen/ stream our latest Upodcast Episode below: