Closer

Closer

Rating: 3/4 (Confusing plot, but splendid acting)

Usually Julia Roberts hogs the screen in any movie she appears in. Not so in Closer, a romantic drama based on a play of the same name. In Closer, the principal characters (2 males and 2 females) prevaricate on their love and switch many times. Dan (Jude Law) runs into Alice (Natalie Portman) in London and falls in love at first sight. Just when their relationship is maturing, Dan meets Cameron (Julia Roberts) and starts to secretly love her. A gimmick by Dan brings Cameron together with Larry (Clive Owen) and they too fall in love, after Cameron decides to forget Dan. Things do not go according to plan and Cameron breaks up with Larry, Dan breaks up with Alice and the heartbroken Larry tries to woo Alice. In this game of musical chairs, one couple finds longlasting love and the other do not.

Jude Law and Natalie Portman easily overshadow Julia Roberts and bring a magnetic appeal to every scene they appear in. Jude Law is especially notable in the opening act when he falls in love with Portman. Clive Owen has actually acted in the Closer play, but I found his delivery quite heavy handed. The viewer is also left confused if Larry (Clive Owen) is genuinely in search of love, or he is just playing the maniac villain wrecking the lives of those around him. The plot is a bit confusing, I could not really see why people would play around like in the movie. Still, Closer is intriguing and packs great acting prowess.

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Sillunu Oru Kaadhal (சில்லுனு ஒரு காதல்)

Sillunu Oru Kaadhal

Rating: 3/4 (Fantastic music, a star couple, an imploring romantic plot and still a letdown!)

I must have listened to the sweet songs from Sillunu Oru Kaadhal (சில்லுனு ஒரு காதல்) countless number of times! Introduced to it by my flatmate, I fell head over heels in love with New York Nagaram and Munbe Vaa. These easily rank as some of the best creations of A. R. Rahman! Add to that the star couple Surya and Jyothika and you have an enticing movie. Due to my dependence on English subtitles for Tamil movies, I could check out this 2006 movie only recently.

Sillunu Oru Kaadhal is a romantic movie starring Surya, Jyothika and Bhoomika. Goutham (Surya) and Kundavi (Jyothika) are thrown together into a wedding planned by their elders. They are both not interested in it, but settle down and in 6 years are a happy loving couple settled in Mumbai, and the parents of a charming little girl. Their cozy haven of love is rocked when Kundavi discovers that Goutham had loved and married another girl Ishu (Bhoomika) in his college years. This wedding was ripped apart by Ishu’s dad, who sends her away to Australia. In Goutham’s college diary Kundavi discovers how madly in love he was with her, poignantly asking that just one day with Ishu would fulfill his life. Wrought by love for Goutham, Kundavi seeks out Ishu and gives the college couple a day together to rekindle their love.

Though backed by fantastic music and a stunning star couple, Sillunu Oru Kaadhal disappoints. The plot is engaging and has lots of potential, but is squandered away in all departments by bad editing, cinematography, acting and sloppy dialogues. Except for New York Nagaram and Munbe Vaa, both of which have poetic lyrics and are slickly shot, I could not even stand watching the rest of the songs. The movie at a length of 3 hours, is far far too long. There is a strong chemistry between Surya and Jyothika, but their acting is nowhere close to what is demanded by their roles. Jyothika implores the viewer to connect to the plight of Kundavi, but is not supported by anything else from the movie. SOK shows lots of potential to be a romantic classic, but in the end is a letdown.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Rating: 3/4 (Meaningless, funny and fast paced)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a 2005 comic take on the film noir movies. The film is narrated in flashback by Harry, the character played by Robert Downey Jr. A small time thief, destiny lands Harry in Los Angeles as a candidate for a detective role in a movie. He runs into his childhood sweetheart Harmony (Michelle Monagan) who is also an aspiring actress. Completing the trio is Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), a homesexual detective whose job is to prepare Harry for his role. Much like in a detective book, these three are thrown into a spree of mysterious murders being committed by someone, they need to figure out who and why.

Directed by Shane Black, Kiss Kiss Black Black strongly reminded me of Burn After Reading, by the Coen Brothers. Similar to BAR, strange events and people are thrust upon Harry and Perry without warning or reason. Robert Downey Jr. looking decades younger than in Ironman, shines through with brilliant acting and sarcasm. Val Kilmer thoroughly enjoys his role in KKBB, but Michelle Monagan sticks out like a sore thumb for bad casting. The movie has a relentless pace, nothing on screen makes much sense, but is funny. A good entertaining watch.