Friday, January 31, 2014

Masterclass by Global Film distributor and Oscar winning Producer, Marc Baschet at Navi Mumbai International Film Festival

Masterclass by Global Film distributor and Oscar winning Producer, Marc Baschet at Navi Mumbai International Film Festival

Mumbai: January 2014: Oscar winning producer for No Man’s Land and co-producer of  Lunch BoxMr Marc Baschet, will conduct a Master Class at Navi Mumbai International Film Festival (NMIFF) on 1stFeb 2014 at 3.00 pm at the DY Patil Hospitality College, Nerul.

Mr Marc Baschet will address the aspiring film makers on the topic , “ How to market and distribute independent films globally. The master class will describe the various ways and methods used in the past to take the independent films to a global platform and the changing scenario today. Various films in India which have been distributed globally successfully are Lunch box and Ship of Theseus.
Through this master class, NMIFF aims to cultivate the innovative ideas of film making and to provide talented filmmakers a wider attention and space by showcasing their art to the global audience. Navi Mumbai Film Festival is determined to provide the film-goers, a repository of fine movies of different taste & calibers from across the globe, to enjoy under the sky of this beautiful city.

The registration for passes can be made online on the film festival’s website at

The Master-class will be held on:
Date: 1st February 2014, Saturday
Time: 3.00 pm
Venue: DY Patil Hospitality College, Nerul

A decent start to the 1st edition of Navi Mumbai International Film Festival (NMIFF)

A humble  start for the 1st edition of
Navi Mumbai International Film Festival (NMIFF)
·         Mr. Sachin Pilgaonkar felicitated
·         Opening film Titanic Love was screened

Mumbai, January 31, 2014: The very First day of the first NMIFF extravaganza started on a decent note. The excitement was palpable as the emcee welcomed Mr. Sachin Khanna, Festival Founder and Chairman of the 1st edition of the Navi Mumbai International Film Festival. Applause continued when Mr. Ashok Purang, Festival Director, Capt. Samir Walavalkar, Director – Business & Finance, Salim Arif, Director of Cultural affairs, NMIFF  were invited on the stage to address the gathering.
Displaying Marc Baschet and Rakesh Bedi at NMIFF.JPG
Ceremony kick started with felicitations to the reputed face of Indian Cinema, Mr. Sachin Pilgaonkar by Mr. Pramod Hindurao, (Chairman, CIDCO). Onbeing prodded to speak, Mr. Pilgaonkar said, “I am extremely thrilled to receive this honour from Navi Mumbai International Film Festival and I would like to thank everyone associated with this fantastic festival. It is a great initiative and I wish you all the very best. “
Displaying Mrs. Manda Mhatre, (Ex-MLC, Navi Mumbai) with Mr. Sachin Pilgaonkar at NMIFF.JPG
The auspicious lamp was lit by Mr. Sachin Pilgaonkar and Mr. Pramod Hindurao along with Shri Sagar Naik, (Mayor, Navi Mumbai)Mrs. Manda Mhatre, (Ex-MLC, Navi Mumbai), Actor Rakesh Bedi along with jury members Mr. Marc BaschetMr. Imtiaz Hussain and Ms. Rohini Hattanagadi.
Displaying Sachin Khanna Founder NMIFF with Marc  Baschet at NMIFF.JPG
Shri Sagar Naik, (Mayor, Navi Mumbai) said, " I am very happy that a festival of this stature is taking place in Navi Mumbai.  I am happy to know that NMIFF has received films from across the globe and am looking forward to a fantastic three days of the festival.” he also promised to help this festival gain greater stature in the years to come by providing greater support from next year onwards.
Displaying Sachin Pilgaonkar being felicitated by Mr. Pramod Hindurao, (Chairman, CIDCO)..JPG
Mr. Sachin Khanna, founder, NMIFF said, “After attending several film festival across the country, I always wanted to do something for Navi Mumbai and that is how NMIFF was born. We have received great support from Manda tai, Pramodji, Sagarji and from the people of Navi Mumbai.

Mr Hinduroa, CIDCO Chairman, also promised easier access to CIDCO properties for the coming editions of the festival. 

The day moved ahead with the opening film Titanic Love, Directed by Mark Pressdee starring Susannah Felicity Wells, Alex Edwardson, Loxley Logan, Ryan McKen . Titanic Love is about how Lucy has found a Titanic Love cruise and wants to relive the Hollywood dream. Jack does not, they can’t afford it and Lucy is furious. Their relationship hits rough waters and Jack calls on best friend Delroy for advice and a cheap alternative. The film has a talented and emerging cast from the region. The film had been produced by some of the regions finest filmmakers.

The first day saw a great line up of 15 movies like the Mahesh Manjrekar produced film Satnaagat, Directed by Raju Parsekar in the feature film category,  L'appuntamento, a film by Gianpiero Alicchio from Italy in the Professional Short Film category and Jash ne Daawat by Karan Asnani in Student Short Film Category.

I,Franenstein, Hollywood English Film movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * 1/2

English Film Review
Johnson Thomas
Lush but boring Gothic fantasy
Film: I, Frankenstein
Director: Stuart Beattie

Rating: *  * ½

Mary Shelley’s literary creation comes in for yet another cinematic revamp, this time titled ‘I, Frankenstein,’ a film that appears to have been styled much like the ‘Underworld’ series - which promises much but delivers precious little.  The choice of Aaron Eckhart  sits well-  as the titular character, an undead immortal creature of horror lore,  a character that seems just a shade greyer than the one he so successfully portrayed (Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent who is eventually disfigured) in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight.’

Shelley’s creation has survived through countless large and small screen incarnations but none so pitifully woebegone as in this film. But that is not because the leading man was unfit but despite the fact that Aaron Eckhart lends credence and ripped muscle to the legend. The battle is drawn out between vampires ,  werewolves, demons and gargoyles and Frankenstein appears to flit around like  a pawn.

The intro, with narration from the monster Frankenstein(Aaron Eckhart) showcases him as  all tormented, he took a life for a life, he's alienated and doesn't trust anybody.  Adam as he is initially introduced as, is strictly on a diet and looks impressive enough to turn both male and female heads. Naberius’ chief scientist, comely electrophysicist Terra (Yvonne Strahovski) is assigned by her boss with the task of figuring out how to reanimate life.  She soon forms an alliance with Adam and eventually becomes the reason for his immortality. The film ends with Adam astride a massive Gothic cathedral, promising (in voiceover) to dedicate himself to fighting the demons that threaten to obliterate mankind. That’s of course a clear signal that I, Frankenstein, is reaching for a franchise.  

 I, Frankenstein, is clearly not much different from dark superhero flicks but it has the added ambition of trying to generate a fan following from scratch. The script from Director Stuart Beattie and Underworld scribe Kevin Grevioux has silly, unwittingly funny dialogue  and combined with fight-to-the-ashes CGI aided battles, appears a little too far-fetched and clearly unimaginative.  The film has crusty looking, dark, architecturally enhanced cinematography but the performances are so dismally unaffecting that the characters remain mere card-board cut-outs even onscreen. The severity and lack of humor makes the entire experience boring and un-enchanting!

12 years a slave, English Hollywood film movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * * *

English Film Review
Johnson Thomas
Agonizingly Real

Film: 12 years a Slave
Cast: Chiwitel Ejiafor, Michael Fassbender,Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Lupita Nyong’o
Director: Steve McQueen

Rating: *  *  *  *

Steve McQueen directs from a script he co-wrote with John Ridley, based in part on Solomon Northup's memoir(true Story) about his life as a free man in the 1800’s , subsequent kidnap and enslaving and finally ending in his rescue by a Canadian abolitionist.
It’s a rare first hand account of a 19th century memoir written by Solomon Northup, (who is the central character in the film), a free black man from upstate New York who got kidnapped on a lure and was subsequently sold off, under a false name, Platt, and papers attesting to the fact,   for slave labor in Louisiana. It’s an account that even the most vilely depicted(in the memoir), Edwin Epps, couldn’t find fault with. The everyday drudgery and misery of enslaved plantation life have been depicted with raw hurtful intensity. The scenes depicting the torture of slaves are like a punch in the gut. It’s definitely not meant for the faint hearted.
British director Steve McQueen, born of West-Indian parents ensures that the audience feels the pain of his lead characters. Every whiplash leaves a raw, bloody and excruciatingly painful welt on your subconscious mind. Of course it’s not all torture and pain. McQueen sweeps his camera around the countryside capturing pastoral beauty replete with stunningly picturesque cloudy skies, old gnarled tress, cotton fields , Spanish moss and majestic homes. But the people inhabiting those homes and owning those lands are not as beautiful. They are the ones who inflict hurtful wounds on those enslaved. 
The story begins from 1841 when Solomon Northup (British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor), a violin player living free in New York with his wife and children, gets tricked into a circus job in Washington, D.C., and then winds up as human chattel in the Deep South. The subsequent 12 years of inhumanity and courage forms the basis for this well-written and structured script which McQueen co-wrote with African-American John Ridley.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is absolutely mesmerizing as the enforced slave who stays alive on a thin thread of hope that he will eventually be re-united with his family. It’s a sublime performance that is certainly worthy of an Oscar. In fact, the film is littered with stunning performances- Lupita Nyong'o gives the tortured, raped and perennially abused slave-girl Patsey, heart-wrenching honesty, Paul Giamatti lends gruffness to his slave trader persona, Benedict Cummerbatch as Northup’s first master brings out the contradictions in his persona to vivid life, Paul Dano is nasty and conniving as plantation overseer John Tibeats and Michael Fassbender makes Edwin Epps look vile yet driven by psychological turmoil. Hans Zimmer’s masterful musical strokes ebb and flow as required of by the inhuman drama unleashed on screen. Production designer Adam Stockhausen, costume designer Patricia Norris and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt make the engagement visually authentic and the experience completely heart-felt.
This is a somber, hurtful  almost poetic film that delivers the horrors of bondage with true grit!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

One by Two, Hindi Bollywood Film Movie Review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * *

Hindi film Review
Johnson Thomas

One By Two Film/Movie review: You’ll get pakaoed!
Film: One by Two
Cast: Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai, Rati Agnihotri, Jayant kripalani, Lillette Dubey, Anish Trivedi, Darshan Jariwala, Geetika Tyagi
Director: Devika Bhagat

Rating: *  *

This Abhay Deol starrer aims for quirky and interesting but ends up disastrously tedious, unfunny and entirely disengaging!

The concept was interesting no doubt. Meant to be a  coming of age romantic comedy for the two, thirty( meant to be 20) something protags who go through life’s struggles trying to find their innate selves and end up meeting each other. Do not expect any chemistry or sparks to fly,  or for that matter, any passion, because the two only become really aware of each other towards the end. Don’t know what purpose that was meant to serve(maybe a sequel expectation?) but for this cinematic experience it appeared like a gross miscalculation.  This is a feature that has three-fourths of it’s runtime devoted to tedious, exasperating and entirely un-invigorating exposition- which in analytical terms is an unviable imbalance in content.

The title in fact says it all. Right from the opening credits which are played out on screen in two distinct halves, we are left with no doubts as to where this film is going. Amit(Abhay Deol) is an IT geek hopelessly in love with Radhika. But she doesn’t appear as enamored and before the credits end, she has dumped him for a hot-shot TV dance show producer, Ranjan. Amit though, is desperate to win her back and right to the very end exploits this desperation to unbearable limits. Playing out parallelly is Samara’s story. Samara(Preeti Desai) , the London returned, love child born out of an illicit relationship between a stinking rich Industrialist, Mahtani(Anish Trivedi) and his alcoholic mistress(Lillette Dubey), has issues of abandonment and is yet searching for a stabilizing factor in her life.  Dance is what makes her whole but the manner in which it is displayed we wonder at her colossal self-delusional ego. The choreography credited to Ashley Lobo is just not the kind that showcases grace, agility or flexibility. It’s uninterestingly pedestrian and makes you wonder why anyone would choose Samara as a competitor for a much publicized and extremely popular dance show.
 The story flits between the two somewhat parallel universes, that intersect superficially from time to time and after about two hours plus of unbearably stretched out runtime, comes to a common meeting point. And fortunately for the viewer, it also signals the end of a miserable, disengaging display of flatulent quirks and shabby talents. The add-on subplots are even more exasperating. Amit’s two friends with  their carpy witticisms and his mother’s brother(Jariwala), a singleton, who happens to be a high ranking cop given to delusional and crappy shayari(poetry), pile up the misery full-on!
The narrative takes you through a series of uninteresting set-ups that should have at least been a little bit funny. The writing is distinctly ordinary.  Less said about the un-sequestered story and dialogues the better. The helming is a little too loose- Doesn’t feel like Devika Bhagat had any control over the material she was trying to film. Abhay Deol and Preeti Desai have screen presence and try valiantly to rise above the woefully constructed material. And the music by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy is the only distinctive factor in this otherwise horrifyingly disappointing fare  which just ends up feeling like too many losers were making merry over something that was well and truly just not meant to be!