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21 - 27 Jan , 2012
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PlayersThis Week MAG Recommends

Players
They say birds of the same feather flock together: Charlie Mascarenhas (Abhishek Bachchan) and Riya (Bipasha Basu) are partners in conning and daredevil robbery. As a last gift, Charlie's friend Raj (Aftab Shivdasani) reveals through a CD the possibility of a heist. Gold worth 1 billion rupees would be transported from Russia to Romania. Raj warns Charlie that this heist, an improbable feat, is not a one man job. He would need a team to execute it and the only person who can help him put up the team is ace thief Victor Braganza (Vinod Khanna). Victor assembles the players – Riya, an expert machinist, Bilal Bashir (Sikander Kher), an explosive expert who likes foreign cars, Ronny (Bobby Deol), a magician and Sunny Mehra (Omi Vaidya), a make-up artist. Naturally, the captain of this team is Charlie and their aim – the gold. In today's age, with complexity of the internet, the team lacked a hacker. Victor's daughter Naina (Sonam Kapoor) unsuspectingly offers help by suggesting ace hacker, Spider (Neil Nitin Mukesh), to the team. In the show of one-upmanship, what follows the heist is a game of con and deceit at every moment of the film. For humour, there is Johnny Lever and his family. Sleekly made with fine action, crisp razor sharp edits, speeding cars and exciting photography giving you glimpses of scenic Siberia, Amsterdam and New Zealand, the film reminds you of a James Bond film. Technically, Abbas Mastan have churned out a very fine movie, but unfortunately, the film does not deliver emotions. 'Players' is a synthetically made formula thriller inspired by the Hollywood film The Italian Job.

ContrabandContraband
Mark Wahlberg isn't blessed with a wide range of acting talent, but he's very good at beating people up and looking sincere about it. This makes him perfect as the hero of Contraband, a heist movie in which a guy who left the rackets has to take on that inevitable one more job, only to see things get so complicated that there's nothing to do but beat people up. Wahlberg plays Chris, a reformed smuggler now working as an installer of security systems. Chris is pulled back into the life when his brother-in-law Andy — a second-rate relation who alternates between screwing things up and cowering – runs afoul of a local drug lord named Briggs, a thin, sadistic bully and a pretty lousy drug lord. To straighten things out, Chris has to do that one last job. He'll go to Panama on a container ship – manned by a genial group of thieves – leaving his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and two children behind. Contraband doesn't exactly have special-effects explosions or expensive car chases — but it's unremarkable and it's very good at it.

CarnageCarnage
Carnage is a film about four people who hate each other and are unable to leave the room. Sometimes they make it far as the door and once or twice to the lift; though on each occasion they are pulled back by the unfinished business of their exquisite loathing and bitter contempt. Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly respectively play Penelope and Michael, a pair of bohemian Brooklynites whose 11-year-old son was attacked in the local park. Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz are Nancy and Alan, the parents of the culprit, supposedly visiting to make the peace. But with the battle lines drawn across the coffee table we swiftly realise that there are to be no heroes in this war: no one to rally behind and urge on to victory. Not passive-aggressive Penny or the blusteringly insensitive Michael, who blithely admits to having thrown his daughter's beloved hamster out on the street; and certainly not the brittle, mean-spirited Nancy, or Alan, a cold-blooded lawyer on whom the movie lavishes all the best lines. If Carnage has a flaw, it could be the director's apparent sympathy for Alan which at times threatens to throw out the film's delicate, four-way balance.

The Devil InsideThe Devil Inside
The opening credits of the found-footage excretion The Devil Inside include a helpful disclaimer advising us that the Vatican "did not endorse this film, nor aid in its completion," just in case viewers might be inclined to believe the Vatican were in the business of making horror flicks. The story centres on a young girl, Isabella Rossi, whose mother, Maria, murdered three people twenty years prior during what was later revealed to be an exorcism gone awry. Seeking to learn more about the tragedy that consumed her mother, Isabella travels to Italy, where Maria is currently housed in a Vatican-run mental hospital. The doctors prove frustratingly insensitive to her mother's affliction, causing Isabella to see out a pair of young renegade exorcists for help. Maria is one creepy bird, a frazzled cat-lady whose eyes blaze with penetrating, high-octane craziness even under heaviest of sedation. The film proffers a variety of different narrative threads and chooses to resolve none of them. Perhaps it's a good thing, because The Devil Inside concludes with what might be the least-satisfying horror ending in a decade.

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