Monday, April 4, 2016

Birdman (2014)

Birdman (2014)

The Tale of a former superhero star trying to stage a theatrical adaptation of a Raymond Carver play is both explosive and philosophical. Watching the movie for a second time made me appreciate it more for it's storytelling style. 

The One take illusion adds a sense of dreadful spiraling down quite similar to what Riggan Thomson has to endure in this movie as he battles with various elements that compound him one after the other. The film also dives in the psyche of Riggan Thomson and make the audiences question his sanity with scenes where Riggan Thomson displays his birdman like powers and when he ends up in the Hospital in the end after having blown off his nose during a scene in the final preview of his play his bandages do resemble a beak!

I never thought of Michael Keaton as a great actor probably because i haven't watched any of his older movies or it could be a problem with my memory. I do remember him as a psychotic person in Pacific heights but i am not sure i watched the movie till the end. One particular moment of his acting brilliance in this move is when he recounts to Edward Norton's character a false account of parental abuse  and for a moment we understand his pain until he reveals it to be a display of his acting chops.

 The Movie is primarily about ego and how we destroy ourselves in our pitiful efforts to maintain our own facades and things that mean nothing. The Primary driving force of the movie and for it's characters seems to be redemption. Every one has their own fair share of bittersweet emotions and fears. I believe the final act is just an imaginary sequence of the main character who just committed suicide by jumping off a building. 

Even though told in a realistic way the film blurs the reality by interjecting the narrative with fantasy and surrealism. The Movie critics explicitly the superhero blockbusters and how it has left the audience in a cultural limbo and everyone else whose job is to be a critic themselves.

Emma stone simply knocked it out of the park with her excellent portrayal of a recovering drug addict who is the estranged daughter and personal assistant of Riggan Thomson as he tries to bring her close. Amy Ryan impress me in everything i see her in with Win Win and  The Wire to name a few. For god's sake, she is McNulty's girl. She is a good wife who ends up getting divorced after Riggan throws a knife at her for making fun of his new comedy film.

 When the critic thereatens to kill his play that's when we realize that it is a reality in modern movie times which somehow narrows down the perception of movies with an addiction to recognizable patterns. Hollywood is,was and always will be a moneymaking beast churning out sequels and universes rather than original, moving works that mirrors to a questionable future. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Memories (2013)

A Drunkard cop who is not dismissed from Service even when he is drunk all the time and runs into people,gets beaten up in bar,is always drinking in the fucking park and carries his poison everywhere even when he is investigating a serial Homicide.
Apparently he is in some sort of guilt trip as he lost his wife and daughter to an avenging terrorist and the loss of his loved ones have driven him to this drinking drive and has no intention pursuing his job or care about his loved ones. His brother is ashamed because of his behaviour and requests him to stay away from his wedding.
A Serial Killer is on the loose who hangs the bodies of victims in a Jesus Christ Crucification style and carves letters in Aramaic on their chest which is in fact phrases and prayers from Bible.
It's a pretty linear story with the final resolution being the Hero redeeming himself from his tragic past and looking forward to bright new life with his loved ones and also the orphaned cousin sister of the serial killer himself.
What's different from Jeethu Joseph's previous Movie "My Boss" is the fact that he is movie is looking much better than the last one. There are some pretty juicy moments from the Cinematographer Sujith Vasudev whose work in Suresh Unnithan's Avar also deserves appraisal. The Dialogues are pretty serial lingo but there are some pretty witty retorts from the Drunken Cop retorting to his mother,priest and boss who all wants him to return back to normal life. Instead he wants all of them to let him be.
It's a neatly told thriller with some chroma work especially when travelling in car sequences where the smart application of this wonderful tool has delivered some pretty eye candy sequences. It's sad that in a malayalam movie the characters depending on English language to express verbally and some time it's  absolutely cheesy especially in the climax.
The Red Herring concept is neatly visible in this one especially with the assisting cop and post mortem doctor who all adds up to the whodunnit of the story but even if you are smarter than Einstein you can't predict the killer since he is totally kept from being seen and only makes a prominent appearance once the film is riding towards it's end.
The End scene where Prithviraj is firing the gun in the leaking gas through a fish tank as the bullet is coated with water it insulates it from the gas that's leaking efficiently into the room. If you imagine how a gun works, the gun powder in the chamber ignites a combustion process once the trigger goes off and the minor explosion in the gun chamber generates heat and thrusts the bullets through the barrel. What Prithviraj is actually doing with the Fish Tank trick that he is water coating the muzzel flash from igniting the fumes while the entire gun chamber combustion ignites enough sparks to sparkle the gas in the room or am I being naive and I have the wrong ideas about the facts that I mentioned here.I don't know.
I also can't help but notice how Jeethu Jospeh names his films. It's all in English and it all has something to do with the alphabet "M". Mummy and Me, My Boss and now Memories. Basically he is telling the same old stereotyped stories in a new packing resdesigned to deliver exactly the way the audience dig it in a simple way. No Hoohah, Just plain Old stuff!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Traffic (2011)

I saw a program on Kairali channel when this movie was in the production stage and was surprised to know that this movie's producer is only 23 years old. He looks like a +2 student and back then i thought he was making the biggest or expensive mistake of his life.I was wrong.

Traffic is surprising. Mainly because the script is good beyond belief. It is not completely faultless but it has it's share of glorious moments. Non linear narrative, intersecting story lines, characters from one story dropping in another, these are all new to Malayalam cinema and that's exactly everyone's talking about.Apparently, the movie is inspired from true events that took place in namma Chennai and i'm surprised that no one there thought of adapting it to the big screen.

Movie begins with director Renjith's monologue about fate and how our lives cross every day with total strangers...blah blah blah...his baritone voice is so good that every movie has it (Best Actor too).What pissed me off is the timers shown on screen which was confusing. Though unnecessary the makers spent too much time setting up the premise to raise the tempo. So they cut back and cut forth to make chaos and confusion which is always good in keeping the interest level up as the audience is eager to know what the hell is going on. Somehow to keep up it's frantic pace the movie falls short in emotional impact as if the characters are somehow not that much moved or cracked up by these unprecedented events. None of them are given any appropriate screen time to deliver the emotional leverage and somehow everything is about the heart that has to reach on time. So many possibilities in a multi narrative and none is explored. But the screenwriters were smart to incorporate some twists just when we thought the movie was about to get stale when it reached the interval.But it's pretty much needed and any smart viewer would see it coming because they have to have something in store for the second half right?

They have an ensemble cast comprising of young actors like Vineeth, Asif,Remya etc and seasoned actors like Sreenivasan, Rahman and Kunchacko. The Dynamics is pretty good but some characters were just part of the mis en scene and had nothing much to do. For example Kaadhal Sandhya's character is in half boiled love with Vineeth's character so the makers doesn't get her too much into the plot and doesn't keep her out either.Her character is in a kind of limbo which wasn't needed. Rahman and Lena's performance are praise worthy as they deliver some quality performances. Sreenivasan is kind of half baked and he doesn't have much lines either. All he has to do is to look helpless, surprised and shocked. Kunchacko proves once again that he ain't all that sweet.Vineeth still needs to work on his acting skill but his performance strikes gold especially after the accident. Asif Ali has huge potential in him. He really shines in his character with sheer enthusiasm and energy. Even though he's kinda sidekick his performance magnifies his character's impact on the audience. Remya looks hot in her pivotal role.

Mejo Joseph's background score has it's own heart that beats with the rhythm of the movie. I'm haunted by the piano theme loop which is sad and sweet. Debutant Shyju Khalid,a protege of "Big B" fame Sameer Thahir, is quite impressive. One scene that is still fresh in my mind is with Sandhya ,Vineeth and Asif at the beach with it's sunburn look, displays his skill with the camera.
The Writers Bobby and Sanjay are growing to be a name to be reckoned with in Malayalam Cinema. They made an impressive debut with "Ente Veedu, Appunteyum" following it up with the Rosshan Andrrews flick "Notebook". What really keeps them apart is their diverse topics and tumultuous storylines that grips and moves you. Heard that they are teaming up once again with Rosshan Andrrews for "Mumbai Police" with Prithviraj in the lead. I bet all the prominent directors is going to run behind these two men for their scripts which i hear is already happening.

Rajesh R Pillai's, the director, debut was a disaster starring Kunchacko and Bhavana. I haven't seen the movie but after reading the synopsis i pretty much know why it flopped. If you know exactly why it flopped, then you have seen "Hridayathil Sookshikkan". To Be Honest, i think his directing was mediocre with such a superb script to back him up. What he did is to just shoot them and edit them up. There is no visual language for the film nor style. It's just plainly did and could have been a thousand times better. I'm forced to imagine how good this movie would have come out if it went into the hands of Rosshan Andrewss or Anwar Rasheed but being his second movie, i'm also compelled to say he has a future in the industry but has a long way to go. You don't get a good script like this to support you all the time and only fresh imagination and visions keep you alive in a highly hostile malayalam movie scene.

Overall, this movie is a sure winner. Producer kiddo Listen Stephen will be able to pay back all his dues in time and still make a profit. The force is with this one.
My Rating:3/5