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24 Mar - 30 Mar , 2012
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KahaaniThis Week MAG Recommends

Kahaani
In Kahaani, Vidya Balan, plays Vidya Bagchi, an NRI who lands in Kolkata heavily pregnant and immeasurably distressed by the disappearance of her husband, Vidya Balan doesn't hit a single false note in the entire graph of her character's fascinating journey. Kahaani is not an ordinary thrill-a-minute film about a search for a missing person, it's a lot more. The film actually strikes a balance between realism in art and the art of courting realism without losing the sheer entertainment quotient of the plot. Within a few of minutes of Vidya Bagchi's landing on Kolkata we know her search for her missing husband is not going to be an easy cake-walk. The narrative doesn't whip up a lather of anxieties and the end-game is shot in an exquisite eruption of colours, is so unexpected, it is bound to leave even the most diehard cynics with a sense of satiated suspense. The director's masterful storytelling and Vidya's portrayal of grace under pressure is laudable. Enthralling, absorbing and engaging the narrative never resorts to italicised emotions to get the audience's attention. Audiences will be hooked unconditionally from scene one without a choice.

21 Jump Street 21 Jump Street
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill – some pairings shouldn't work, yet somehow the result is delicious – and in 21 Jump Street's case it's a hilarious surprise. There are so many reasons this buddy comedy shouldn't work, but it earns an A in practically every subject. 21 Jump Street finds recent Police Academy graduates Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) fumbling through their first assignments, landing them in a resurrected undercover program from the '80s: enter Tom Hanson's (a.k.a. Johnny Depp) old stomping grounds. Like Hanson before them, Schmidt and Jenko go undercover at a local high school in an attempt to ferret out a teenage drug ring. The problem is high school isn't exactly what they remember; forcing Schmidt and Jenko to undergo those growing pains all over again. Watching Hill and Tatum's characters fumble through their first few days in this alternate high school universe offers decent, but expected laughs. And while keeping things light and funny would be enough to arrest audiences for an hour and a half, 21 Jump Street puts forth a little more effort.

A Thousand WordsA Thousand Words
A Thousand Words stars Eddie Murphy as Jack McCall, a selfish, manically verbose literary agent whose incessant type-A striving leaves little time for the consideration of others. He neglects his wife (Kerry Washington) and infant son, browbeats his overtaxed assistant (Clark Duke), and regularly bends the truth to suit his needs. Jack's reprisal begins in earnest during a trip to a new age ashram, where he attempts to recruit a popular non-denominational spiritual guru named Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis). While making his transparently smarmy pitch to handle Sinja's next book deal, he cuts his finger on a nearby tree. The following day, the tree abruptly sprouts in Jack's backyard, bearing the seeds of a potential life lesson: for every word that Jack speaks, a leaf will fall from the tree. When all the leaves disappear, suddenly Jack, a man who prides himself on his ability to "talk anyone into anything," is forced to rely entirely on physical gestures and facial expressions (writing words on paper makes the leaves fall as well) to get his message across. A Thousand Words' entire comedic script is built around this rather dubious device, and it fails, repeatedly, over the course of the next torturous hour.

John CarterJohn Carter
John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a civil war veteran with the entire Confederate army on his tail, finds himself mysteriously transported via a magic cave, to smack dab in the middle of a Martian desert. As Carter overcomes the planet's gravity, a physical difference that allows him to leap tall structures in a single bound, he runs into one of Mars' many races: the eight-foot tall, four-armed green Tharks. As their prisoner, John Carter takes a back seat to the unique world of the Thark world, full of clockwork architecture and airships, archaic customs and political strife. The Tharks are in the midst of a 1,000 year battle with the humanoids of Zodanga, led by the villainous Sab Than (Dominic West) who is, in turn, manipulated by the occasionally-invisible shape-shifter Matai Shang (Mark Strong). The Tharks have teamed up with the residents of Helium, but doom is impending and quickly the Spartacus-esque Thark fighter Tars Tarkas turns to Carter for help. Unlike Avatar, which introduced its fantastical world using the safety net of a simple story, John Carter has no reservations bombarding its audience with plot and intrigue.

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