Kurbaan

Kurbaan is a love story combined with a thriller. It is an Indian film but there’s a good mix of English as well as Hindi spoken. You see, what begins as a whirlwind love story in Delhi, India, transforms itself into a conspiracy/terrorist thriller set in New York. Yes, New York.

We’ve seen a similar film called Fanaa, which I reviewed here, only that one was set entirely in India. That was a 2006 release and this one is a 2009 Release which opened in both India and the USA on November 20th, 2009.

Kurbaan was directed by Renzil D’Silva and this was his first effort as a director. The Producer is Karan Johar, and he is nearly royalty in the world of Hindi cinema. He’s produced, directed, written, and acted in films and has been nominated in various categories for awards for film excellence in India 11 times.

The story begins with the gorgeous Kareena Kapoor as Professor Avantika Ahuja hassling over a cab with a man. This man turns out to be one Ehsaan Khan and is played by Saif Ali Khan. With no surprise to anyone, Ehsaan turns out to be a newly hired professor/lecturer at the same college where Professor Avantika is employed.

Though she repels his advances initially, he wears her down with his persistence. After what is supposed to be just a single date for coffee, a whirlwind courtship begins. Of course some of this is shot with many of Delhi’s most picturesque settings as backgrounds. Quite breathtaking, of course, but I expected no less of a filmed courtship.

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Beast Stalker

Calling all action film fans. Especially if you favor or love the Hong Kong style which basically hasn’t a lot of dialogue, and is often quickly paced.

Beast Stalker is a 2008 release and about the worst thing I can say about it is that the title is a bit misleading. Dante Lam previously co-directed, with Gordon Chan, the excellent Beast Cops in 1998. That film was nearly unanimously acclaimed, so using ‘Beast’ in this title might be an attempted marketing ploy for knowledgable film folks.

Nevertheless it has all the style and chops that Lam is noted for – gritty and tense situations which are amped up by a jittery hand-held camera, strong characters who are both good and bad, and some very fine use of lighting and slow motion.

The story is a bit hum-drum as it starts: A well-connected criminal is convicted and being driven to prison. His gang engineers a way to spring him out of that car. Then a massive multi-car crash occurs involving a number of vehicles. One car is the one in pursuit with Sgt. Tong (Nicholas Tse, Hong Kong’s version of Johnny Depp). Another is the car driven by Prosecuting Attorney (what we call an A.D.A. in the States), The third car is the one driven by Hung (a hoodlum for hire played by Nick Cheung). And of course, the first car with the convicted but escaped criminal.

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Robin Hood

Ask me nicely...”

This was a line that Director Ridley Scott and his screenwriter Brian Helgeland loved so much, that they used it twice in the just released Robin Hood. Both times it was spoken by Robin played by Russell Crowe.

But no matter how nicely they, or anyone else might ask me – I’m not going to be able to come up with a positive review.

To begin with, this is not your grandfather’s Robin Hood. And if you think you’ve read something similar from me before, you’d be right as I made the same stylized reference about last December’s Sherlock Holmes. The bad guy in that one was played by Mark Strong (below)who is the bad guy in this one too. Continue reading