Warcraft ** ½
Dir: Duncan Jones
Starring: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell
Based on the mutli-player online role playing game of the same name, Warcraft is an odd and decidedly mixed bag. It is sometimes more engaging than it has any right to be but it is also too often reminiscent of old B-grade sci-fi and fantasy films with dodgy special effects (the CGI FX also runs the gamut from very good to very bad).
Not being familiar with the game I have no idea whether the story director Duncan Jones (he is David Bowie’s son, believe it or not) and his team (Jones, himself, being one of them) have crafted is faithful to the original source and to what extent. What there is on the screen is full of fantasy genre tropes – humans battling orcs with the help of elves and dwarves (no hobbits in sight, though), wizards in flowing robes and conflicted loyalties, a young novice and an older master, inter-species romance, a darkness taking over the world – but there is no particular depth to these familiar elements. The one thing that is new is the emphasis on making the orc characters more fully realised beings than has usually been the case and which is where you become a little more interested in the movie. Also, certain plot points do come as a surprise so there’s always that.
There’s not much in the way of resolution at the end of the movie as basically the producers have a franchise in mind with as many sequels as it can bear. So everything is kind of left for future Warcraft films to resolve. At least one sequel is almost guaranteed because Warcraft is currently making a killing at the international box-office even if its reception by American cine-goers has been lukewarm.
Cut to chase: Only if you have nothing better to do.
Dir: Ribhu Dasgupta
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidya Balan, Sabyasaachi Chakraborty, Padmavati Rao
Te3n is an official remake of the Korean film Montage but probably borrows its title stylings from the Hollywood thriller Se7en while referring (I’m guessing) to the three main characters. Amitabh Bachchan plays John Biswas, a septuagenarian struggling to overcome the loss of Angela, his granddaughter, as a result of a kidnapping eight years ago and is intent on unveiling the identity of the kidnapper who was never caught. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is Martin, the ex-cop who handled the original kidnapping case but is now a Catholic priest and Vidya Balan is Sarita, the police detective in charge when a new kidnapping occurs that is oddly reminiscent of the Angela case. Has the original kidnapper returned?
Director Ribhu Dasgupta does a reasonable job of keeping things taught enough (though the pace slackens here and there) and using Kolkata as an atmospheric backdrop. His cast is generally very good too. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is incapable of a false note and Vidya Balan says more with body language than most actors can with reams of emotive dialogue. Amitabh Bachchan has, of late, gotten a second wind and is doing varied and interesting characters (he was excellent in Piku) and so is the case here. Like Balan he uses body language as his most effective tool in communicating his grief and his desperation but he also falls back on a familiar crutch as well – his low, raspy growl – which can be irritating and distracting. But the plot is stretched a bit too thin and suspension of disbelief becomes increasingly tenuous even as the mystery reveals itself.
Te3n brings to mind Kahaani, due to its overlapping cast members (Balan and Siddiqui), Kolkata setting, genre and storytelling techniques. However, while the earlier movie was very tightly plotted and brilliantly told Te3n – despite being an interesting watch – isn’t quite of that standard.
Cut to chase: Moody thriller but it stretches disbelief.
Kmumtaz1@hotmail.com; Twitter: @KhusroMumtaz
* Not on your life ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only *** Good enough for a look see ***½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection