Sunday, October 31, 2010

Go (1999)

Some movies are to be tasted; other to be swallowed and some are to be devoured. You like or dislike a movie depending on its entertainment value. Art house films are completely a different story. I’m talking about mainstream cinema here. In most cases, you approach a movie with certain level of expectations and you expect to be at least partially satisfied with what you wanted to see in the movie. This is not a lot to ask but most of the time you return disappointed and sometimes they exceed your expectations.
The Only reason I watched “Go” because I was looking for movies employing nonlinear narrative style. I googled and zeroed in on this Doug Liman flick and didn’t have to think twice. Doug’s previous works like “The Bourne Identity” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” were really cool movies that impressed me with its style.
The Movie was a joyride telling the story of 3 supermarket clerks and a gay actor couple whose lives crisscross on the eve of Christmas. It begins with the story of Sarah Polley’s character. She badly needs money to pay her rent. Simon, the British guy, her coworker offers his shift as he’s leaving for Vegas with his friends. She takes his shift and is approached by two men who were expecting to meet Simon there. They tell her that they wanted to buy Drugs and whether she could help them out.
Simon is on his way to Las Vegas with his 3 other friends. He gambles in a Casino, has sex with two women and hits a titty bar with his friend where he run into trouble with the bar bouncer for touching the dancers. He shoots the guy with a gun he got from a car his friend stole from the Casino and flees to LA, escaping the Bar men who wants revenge.
Two struggling actor who are in a homosexual relationship, is forced by a cop to help him in an undercover operation to nab a drug dealer. They are Adam and Zack. They give in to the crooked cop’s persuasions which include a super sexy wife and Amway products. But things get messy when the dealer, Simon at the shop, is replaced by Sarah’s character who is ready to help them “hook up”. When they finally pedal their plan to the floor, Zack’s character undergoes catharsis and tells Sarah’s character to scram. She backs out from the deal. After the set-up goes nuts, the cop invites them to his house for Christmas dinner. He offers them to be a part of his Amway business. Adam and Zack decline his offer and goes to the party. On their way, they confess to each other that they were having affairs with the same person. At the party they confront the guy and attacks him. On their return they hit Sarah’s character to the ditch who was about to be shot by Timothy’s character.
Katie Holmes’ character is followed in the final story. After she splits with her friends at the party she meets with Timothy’s character and warms up to him unlike yesterday. While they engage at physical love at the stairs, two guys come out of his room wanting to know about Simon. At the exact same moment, Simon shows up at the apartment. They agree to settle their differences amicably.
Go, just like the word, gets going right from the start. In its implausible energy it takes the audience to a ride through the worlds of different people whose lives are intertwined with each other that leads to a vicious cycle of their own actions. Actions that ripple through with bitter consequences. Doug Liman, the kinetic director has maintained the movies momentum which makes it all work. The BGM is also really good,in tune with the movies nature and keeps up with its course. “Go” is fun, cool movie that’s unpretentious of its character.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Schindler's List (1993)

6 Million Jews were killed in Holocaust. All because one man thought that they were infecting his country. Blinded by hate, which eventually led to his downfall, his actions reverberate in World history. I think Hitler did a big favor to humanity by being the personification of pure evil and providing us with a benchmark to gauge evil men. Stephen Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” will leave you, on different levels, a different man for the story it has to say. It helps you understand how hate breeds hate that mutates to Holocausts.
Based on an adapted screenplay Steve Zaillian from Thomas Keneally’s book “Schindler’s Ark”, it’s the real life story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, who bought Jewish prisoners from Nazi camps to work in his factory saving them from death, torture and Auschwitz. He along with his Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern, with the help of the money from Jewish investors in the Jewish Ghettos starts an enamelware factory, employing hundreds of Jewish prisoners saving them from being sent to concentration camps. He makes a profit in his business owing to cheap labor since he employed Jewish prisoners. When the brutal S S Colonel Amon Garth, comes to Poland, for the purpose of setting up a prisoner camp in Krakow, things turn out much worse for the prisoners. Schindler, with his charming personality and money, bribes Amon to lend him prisoners for his new Armaments factory in his hometown of Czechoslovakia, in return for favors and valuable gifts. There’s also a brief confrontation of him with Amon, regarding his ways of dealing with the prisoners, telling him real power is the power to forgive and control is power. But Amon Garth; the sadistic son-of-a –bitch he is, refuses to amend his ways, and continues with his torture and killing spree. Schindler throws away all his fortune to bribe Nazi officials and procuring more Jewish slaves and transporting them to his plant in Czechoslovakia. In the end, when the War is over, Oskar flees to German as he may be prosecuted for running a Jewish work camp. His workers present him with a ring with a Hebrew inscription on it which means ‘One who saves a single life saves the world’. Schindler breaks down crying before them saying that he could have saved more people. But Izhak reminds him that he has already saved 1100 people and generations of Jews that will follow them. Oskar Schindler leaves for Germany with his wife. The next day a messenger informs the prisoners that they have been liberated by the Soviet forces.
Stephen Spielberg’s glowing tribute to his ancestors is a milestone labor of love. The Black and White cinematography is renders the colorless barren world that was during the War, bleached in atrocities, crimes and millions of lives. It was a right choice because it gives a periodic feel to it and narrows the audience attention more into the atrocities of war and the brutal acts of Genocide. The Girl in Red , the only “colored” character In the movie, according to Spielberg, represents the blood that was being spilled in Europe by the Nazi’s and how the supreme powers of the world stood there doing anything even though it was crystal clear what was going on in Europe. It’s a giant Red blot in the history of Humanity, referring to not only the blood spilled but also the error in judgment of the powerful Nations who could have prevented it. Janusz Kaminski, a frequent collaborator of Spielberg, won an Oscar for his work which he deserved. The Screenplay by Steve Zaillian efficiently capture, rather than sticking on to the main plot, the horror of Holocaust by bringing in notorious elements like Auschwitz, Gas chambers etc. to illustrate a full scale depiction of the Genocide. John Williams background score, comprised of Jewish sermons and some classic music recaptures the mood of the era.
I think if there was a time machine to go back in time and make Hitler watch this movie before he started butchering people, help him understand the true extent of his actions, maybe he would have abstained from committing the crime of the Century. Hell who knows!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Fall (2006)

Some movies charm you with their innocence and beauty. A Story told in pictures not in words that leave a lasting impression in your hearts and minds. Visually stunning and emotionally touching, “The Fall (2006) leaves you flabbergasted with what it has achieved with the medium of Cinema, the Art of the 20th Century. I came to know about this film while I was looking for some movies with outstanding Cinematography and stumbled upon this gem in the American Cinematographer’s website. I was dubious about Tarsem Singh, whose previous work “The Cell” with Jennifer Lopez was not that good. But I still went on to watch this, intrigued by its storyline, a mixture of fantasy and reality, which is always magical. I loved “The Princess Bride (Dir: Rob Reiner)” and I always wanted to see “Baraka”. This movie is pretty much a fine mix of these two movies and doesn’t fall in its composite structure.
A Remake of an old Hungarian film, this the story of a girl from a migrant worker family hospitalized in a Los Angeles hospital in the early 19the century. She is befriended by a Stunt man who has severely injured himself while performing a stunt and is abandoned by his girlfriend. Shattered, he decides to end his life. He coaxes the little girl to steal Morphine from the dispensary. In order to do that he tells her a colorful, magical tale about 5 persons who sets out kill a ruthless governor for reasons of their ranging from murder of brother to murder of butterfly, Americana Exoticana. In their quest for revenge they face numerous challenges and witness wonderful things, kidnap the governor’s fiancĂ© who falls for the masked man. As the fairy tale proceeds in the surreal, the reality intertwines itself into the events in the story diverting its trajectory, with bitter consequences.
This is a must see movie if you want to witness some breathtaking shots so beautiful that some frames equals a painting in its finesse. This has to be the best work of Cinematographer Colin Watkinson. The Costumes blends in with the elaborate and exotic nature of the story by using bright colors and traditional designs. The Music by Krishna Levy prominently uses Beethoven’s 7th symphony rendering it a mindscape of grandeur to the audience that magnifies the visual feast before them. The Movie indulges in its own surreal world, using the story being told by the stunt man as an excuse to lavishly paint a world so beautiful that rises up from the mystics of imagination once we open up our hearts. Shot on locations at a variety of beautiful places across the world that includes Bali, Rajasthan, Leh etc. This movie is a journey to a whole new world while taking you nowhere.
The Child actress, who portrays the 5 year old protagonist in the film, has to be the most talented child in the history of Cinema. It doesn’t seem like she’s performing but living. Her performance was enhanced by the director by shooting her scenes discreetly to obtain a naturalized reaction of hers to situations envisaged in the story. I was completely blown away by her performance, watching it again not for the lush scenery but this child’s performance on par with talents far senior than her. This is one prodigy to look out for. Rest of the actors also did their part well even though their roles are a bit subdued by the nature of the story. The Screenplay could have been a bit more exciting given the excellent setting. A lot of elements could have been added to the story to make it more sensitive and intelligent. But overall, it doesn’t affect the movie in a troublesome way but could have made it more appealing to a wider audience.
You don’t want to miss this movie for any earthly possible reason because as Roger Ebert pointed out there is not going to be another one like this.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kontroll (2003)

Kontroll is a bizarre film. I made the choice to watch the movie after having been acquainted with its maker’s other works like “Vacancy” and “Predators”. I was disappointed beyond expectations after having been put through a mess of plot holes, poor script and too much void. Symbolic in its settings, Kontroll tells the story of ticket inspectors and their mysterious underground where they inhabit.
Everybody hated the ticket checker. The Checker’s life is a miserable one as he is hated by the commuters of subway for being the “pain in the ass”. The film in its half sketches the lives of these wretched one as they go on with their professional lives and the things they have to go through. The Protagonist doesn’t even leave the underground. The Underground is his abode. The Plot unfolds as series of mysterious suicides occur at the tracks in succession. The Authorities are concerned that this might hamper the reputation of the underground and wants the ticket checkers to be more vigilant. Meanwhile the hero develops certain emotions for the girl in the bear suit who happens to be the daughter of the engine driver he is acquainted with. At the end the hero happens to witness a hooded figure that pushes a punk the hero has been chasing onto the tracks. Everybody suspects the Hero as the serial killer and he quits his job. But he is beaten by the rival group of ticket checkers and is rescued by the engine driver who leaves him on the station bench. When he wakes up a party is going on the Metro station and stumbles upon the real killer. They bet into a fight and the hero starts run into the tunnel , Rail running as previously shown in the movie ,followed by the killer ,and he barely makes it to the next station, avoiding the oncoming train whereas the killer is presumably killed by it. The Hero finally decides to leave the station with the Engine driver’s girl and takes the elevator up.
The movie is entertaining but it sinks in its own mess. It’s funny and thrilling, but it does not tie up well at the end. The BGM is good with its electro sound and the cinematography, which is the reason that I kept on watching. The whole thing is symbolic in the sense that the Underground is the world and the world up is salvation. There isn’t much explanation given in the movie like why the protagonist doesn’t leave the station or who or what the killer is. The Heroes Bunch gets beat up intermittently and they all walk around with their wounds as If there is a shortage of hospitals in Hungary. The Beginning was promising, the middle was funny and confusing and the end was disappointing. Much of the characters are cartoonish with no sense or feelings, they make us feel the whole thing was a build up to nothing. The Climax leaves so many questions but some movies are like that, you don’t get the answers coz that’s not the point.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

It was an unintentionally ironic decision of mine to watch “Cool Hand Luke” after “The Conformist”. While the “The Conformist” tells the tale of a Fascist spy on a mission in France, “Cool Hand Luke” tells the tale of a war hero who refuses to confirm to his life in prison.
Paul Newman, at the beginning of the movie is shown cutting down parking meters and is caught by the Police. He is sent to two years in prison where he becomes part chain gang road workers. He soon befriends the other inmates at the person with his cool, tough exterior. He is closer to Dragline, a tall well-built inmate, who runs the gambling ring inside the prison and they get along well. Soon Luke is rises to be everyone’s hero with his crazy antics and fearlessness. He garners reputation as the tough man.
While in prison, one day Luke’s mother visits him and tells him that prison life ought to change his erratic lifestyle. She informs him that she is really sick and will die anytime soon. Soon after she leaves, she succumbs to her illness and Luke is sent to confinement aka “the box” as the warden explains that prisoners with dead mothers have a tendency to escape. Luke being the naturalistic world changer does exactly the same and escapes the prison with help from his friends only to be captured again.
But his unquenchable spirit ignites another escapade which too ends to the same fate. But this time he has the prison authorities on their nerves who makes him dig a grave and fill it up again after a tedious day in order to break his spirit. They succeed as Luke finally falls at their feet begs them. This submission of Luke’s is received with hostility by the other inmates and they abandon him. Having become loyal and closer to the prison guards he gains access to the chief and the prison truck, which he one day out on work, hijacks along with Dragline and tries to escape. But instead of trying to escape, Luke confronts God, whom he have been shunning for a long time, at a church and asks him what he wants him to do. Meanwhile, Dragline who has been captured by the Police enters the church and asks Luke to surrender to the Police peacefully, who otherwise are going to kill him. Luke looks out the window and shouts “what we’ve got here is failure to communicate” the same line uttered by the Captain at the beginning of the movie, portrayed by Strother Martin (who plays Chong’s father in Cheech and Chong Up in Smoke). He is immediately shot down by the chief of guards, No Eyes. The Police take him to the Prison clinic instead of a Hospital located near, giving ample time for Luke to succumb to his wounds. As he sits in the car, waiting for his destiny, he faintly smiles in his typical style to Dragline as they drive away into the night.
Cool hand Luke is the product of then growing grudge of people against establishment; sort of an artistic rebellious outcry representing the people’s resentment against their government in the vicinity of the Vietnam War. It is similar in themes with other movies that had grown or rather matured in their handling of violence like Arthur Penn’s Bonnie& Clyde, signaling the start of the New Wave of Hollywood Cinema. It is symbolic in its travails that of one man’s constant fight for freedom and his longing to escape the claws of his oppressors. It also raises questions about faith as Luke who in the beginning is an atheist and at the end turns to god for answers.
Paul Newman is brilliant as the eponymous character. The role was originally offered to Screen legend Jack Lemmon, who after reading the script, suggested the name of Paul for the role and chose to stay on as the producer on the project. George Kennedy’s performance earned him an Oscar for actor in a supporting role. Screen writer Donn Pierce had actually some time in Prison and in a chain gang for safe breaking. His real life experience has been realistically transferred to the silver screen. All in all this movie is a spirited one depends the way you see it. At the end of the movie we really don’t know whether Luke survives or not but my guess is he survives that too just the way he kept getting up during the boxing match , just the way he ate 50 eggs, just the way he escaped the prison 3 times because

The Fascist Conformist

I used to have a video tape of Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic film “The Last Emperor” which I never cared to watch for the reason that I hated Art House movies. For me those movies are like mathematics which doesn’t make sense unless someone explains to you the meaning of what you’ve just watched. Movies should be entertaining first and everything else rest. Art house movies are Visual Philosophy, contemplative and self-indulging, slow paced and dramatic.
I had no idea about what to expect from the movie. It was listed in the Entertainment Weekly’s 100 greatest cinemas of the World. Since I have heard the name of the director before, I thought I would give it a shot. It isn’t that boring and it isn’t that interesting. The Italians always have an interesting yet boring way of shooting films. The film is beautifully shot and the story is not that bad, but the craft of storytelling is a bit boring at least in my opinion. I know I’m in dangerous territory here by discrediting the work of one of 20the Century’s greatest filmmaker. Hell, I don’t give a damn.
It’s the story of an Italian Fascist Spy, who is sent to France to kill the leader of the opposition of the Fascist regime, falls in love with his target’s wife and finally denounces his evil regime when they are thrown out of power.
The film is unraveled in a series of flashbacks leading up to the events shown at the beginning. This unconventional, nonlinear way of storytelling is what keeps you interested in the movie. If it was shown in a normal timeline it would have made you realize how slow and shallow it is.
The Movie incorporates the protagonist’s memories, his attempt to have a normal life by having a wife, his confrontations with his parents and his past. It primarily discusses the connections between sex and violence. In his childhood, he has a homosexual encounter with his chauffeur which ends up in the death of the driver at the hands of the boy. He also falls in love with the beautiful wife of the professor and tries to subdue her. But she and her husband are aware of his Fascist connections and are concerned with his ominous presence. His newly wed wife is a bimbo whose concerns of life are limited to fashion and sex. Mostly dialogue driven,which is deep with philosophical inundations and not much of action going on, this movie gets interesting only when the heroines shed their clothes. The Two leading actresses are simply stunning and you can’t wait for them to put down their dresses and even, in one instance of the movie, have a lesbian encounter.
One thing that stands out is the poetic cinematography and the flawless editing. A must watch if you are a serious movie buff and forgettable if you are in just for the goods. Bernardo Bertolucci’s work are known for (and sometimes notorious, like in the case of Last Tango in Paris) their erotic content. But he’s also known for his epic other movies like the Last Emperor and Siddhartha, the biopic of Lord Buddha.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Know Who You Are !

Brad Anderson is a talented filmmaker. I had seen his "Session 9" after i found it listed in all the best horror movies of the 2000's. This earlier work of his equally good in giving the creeps. His debut movie "Next Stop Wonderland" received the Audience award at Sundance. His movies have an Hitchcockian quality to it. Christian Bale, as the Protagonist, is unbelievable. He's so thin ,i mean he scares you with his looks. The lengths to which perfectionists like Bale go to give their character life is astounding. I read somewhere he brought down his weight to 50 for the role of Reznik,while he really wanted to bring it down to 45. The film makers didn't allow him as they were concerned for his health.
Trevor Reznik works as a machinist at National Mechanics. He is suffering from insomnia for the past one year. He also suffers from malnutrition.His coworkers are concerned and suspicious of his deteriorating health. They suspect that he's taking drugs. Reznik finds solace in his prostitute friend played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and also the Airport Coffee shop waitress Maria where he's a regular customer. Things start to deteriorate when Trevor accidentally causes to start a machine on which another worker was performing maintenance. The worker loses his limb in the accident.Trevor claims he was distracted by the new worker Ivan at the welding section ,but the shop manager informs him that there is no worker by the name of Ivan working in that factory.Confused,Trevor falls in to deeper paranoia,as he receives anonymous notes on his refrigerator and is the only person aware of Ivan.He's also feels weird every time he presses his lighter receptacle in his car.The movie begins by showing Reznik rounding up a dead body in his carpet.Later he tries to dump it at sea.When you read this you yourself would be confused and that's exactly how you will feel when you watch the movie.It is told in non linear fashion accompanied by a menacing soundtrack that keeps the tension alive till the movie folds.It's one masterpiece that somehow went unnoticed.You've got to watch and i can guarantee you that you won't be disppointed.

Paul Rusesabagina

Killing is an easy thing to do. To steal someone of his life is just plain simple. Genocide is the plural of killing, killing in numbers. Africa has always been in the turmoil of ethnic clashes. People killing of each other for the sake of the Nation and preserving the bloodline is total bullshit. The Horror of watching an entire nation turning into blood soaked hunters is chilling than all the horror movies you have seen. It’s like Zombies, the only difference being that they don’t eat you bur it’s certainly contagious. How else could they possibly fight such evil! Hotel Rwanda (2004 Dir: Terry George) starring Don Cheadle tells the horrific tale of Rwandan Genocide where one man’s actions saved scores of lives of others.
Set against the backdrop of the Hutu-Tutsi clashes in Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina who works at the Belgium owned Des Mille Collins Hotel is marries to Tatiana, a nurse and has 3 kids. As being the manager of a 5 Star hotel, he meets and befriends a lot of powerful people including the General of the Rwandan Army. Rwanda is on the verge of signing a major political peace deal between the Hutu controlled regime and the Tutsi led Rebels coming from the North. The Hutus are concerned about the Tutsi’s rising to power; so they begin to attack them with the Government on their side which gives rise to the Rebel movement of the Tutsi’s. They are finally able to reach an accord on a peace deal so that they can work out their differences mutually. Things go wrong when the Hutu President’s Plane is shot down before the deal is signed which sparks of an ethnic genocide of the Tutsi’s at the hands of Hutus.
Paul Rusesabagina, concerned about his wife and children, takes them to the safety of the Mill Collins, after trading them for money with a Hutu Army General, who had captured them for execution. Also along with his wife and children, he buys the lives of his Tutsi neighbors with the money from the safe of the Hotel he used to work before. He takes them all to his hotel, which is under UN Peace Corps protection. The White manager, who leaves the country entrusts the Hotel with Paul and manage it until all the foreign visitors has been evacuated. In charge, Paul has more Tutsi Refugees coming into his hotel for safety. When his coworker refuse to work under him, he calls up to Belgium and requests to give him full control of the hotel until the killings are over.
Paul efficiently manages the incoming, ever growing influx of refugees by allocating them rooms and providing them with enough provisions to stay alive until the West intervened for the better. But the UN General, who’s in charge of the safety of the hotel, informs Paul that no help is coming because the Whites don’t care for the African Blacks. This leads Paul to make call his powerful, white friends seeking their help and urges the other refugees to do the same. Meanwhile the T.V. Crew stationed at the Hotel airs the Tutsi massacre footage which puts the event on international conscience.
Gregoire, a Hutu man, working under Paul informs the Interhamwe, the radical group that’s spearheading the genocide about the Tutsi’s at the hotel. Paul holds on his Ark by bribing soldiers and Hutu leaders. When help finally arrives as they are granted asylum in other countries, Paul sends his wife and daughters with other refugees, to the airport, while he stays back with the refugees, against the wishes of his wife. On their way airport, their vehicle is intercepted by the Interhamwe Militia and they are forced to return. Gregoire, the Hutu has betrayed them to the Militia Radio, which offered money for the heads of Tutsi’s on the truck. They barely escape from the hands of Militia and returns to the hotel.
Over 800,000 Tutsi’s were killed in the genocide. The International community responded only after the damage was done. Some critics refer to this movie as the African Schindler’s List. Director Terry George doesn’t capture the audience the attention not by the brutality of the massacre but the helplessness of the victims. Don Cheadle excels in his role but Denzel Washington would have been better as Don wasn’t cast for his physical resemblance either. Sophie Okonedo was terrific. In my opinion her performance overshadowed Don Cheadle. Her image as the grief stricken, terrified mother sticks with you even after the credits roll. It was like she was living the life of Tatiana right in front of our eyes. I couldn’t believe she lost out to Cate Blanchet at the 2004 Oscars. “Aviator” sucked balls and Cate wasn’t top notch either. But it doesn’t matter, who cares about the Oscars anyway?(Not anymore!). This is one movie that shouldn’t be missed for its necessary for men to remind us of the Beasts that we could turn ourselves into once we forget Love and Compassion.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let Me Go!

Lift me up,
Let me go...
Linkin Park's new single "Catalyst" says it all;the difference being the context.There it was fear of Nuclear holocaust,here it is a son's fight against his father to pursue his dream of becoming writer.It's rather a common topic that we all come across in hoards of other movies.But it's a fresh one in Bollywood.After putting ourselves through lengthy ordeals of songs,dances & fights,Udaan is a breath of fresh air.Directed by Vikramidtya Motwane ,screenwriter of Dev D and produced by Anurag Kashyap,Udaan is the story of One boy's struggle to overcome his oppressive father to become a writer.Set in the Industrial city of Jamshedpur ,the location adds to the pale and grim shades of confinement.The movie was good,but it could have been great.What is lacking is mainly in the script.It was shot beautifully,reminds you of a cool Latin flick,with handheld camera movements and pristine images.Some scenes suffered from poor lighting,notably the scene where the Uncle consoles the protagonist after his father manhandles him.The Uncle is virtually in Dark during his dialogue delivery.Such small mistakes can question the quality of a movie that has been selected to big platforms like Cannes Un Certain Regard.The lead boy's performance was good and sometimes below par.This fluctuation hampered the emotional effect of the film especially in some feel heavy scenes.But the performances of Ronak Kapoor and the Senior,whom the boy befriends at a bar,was stellar. Ronak did well as the straight faced,emotionless,cruel,tyrant of a father embodying pure evil.The Senior was flawless in portrayal of a reckless,care free boy who likes to get into fights.The Uncle also deserves an applause for his work.The peacemaker between the father and the son,he too gets hurt by his insensitive brother.The Cinematography deserves mention too.Amit Trivedi is the next big thing in the Indian Music Industry scene after A.R.Rahman.Whenever he teams up with his buddy from the old band 'OM',Amitabh Bhattacharya,they make some incredibly good songs(Eg.Dev D).My favourite one is "Kahaani khatam hey,yaa shuruvaad" which is a haunting melody with some great lines.
I have been through similar situations in my life too.It's like being drowned every time you come up for some air.Parents in India are the worst in the world.Their interference in the lives of their children hampers the child in a unrepairable way. Brainwashed,the children inflicts the same amount of control like a pretty noose over their children too.The cycle goes on and on ,unhindered as nobody wants to mistake of going against the will of their parents.Leaving their Dreams behind, as if it was some fantasy that could have never been realized ,they all dissolve themselves into the rushes of this Crazy world.It's not Compromising your dreams for the sake of a SAFE life but it is SACRIFICE.We all have let go of something that we wanted the most at some point in our lives and regretted it later.
Udaan is the wake up call to all those who have been sleeping.The Father character is an allegory of all that things that come between you and your dream.And if you're going to overcome it,it's only by standing up and fighting for it,no matter what you have to suffer,because the suffering is exactly what makes it all worthwile.

TheBang 2010 (Dir: Abhinav Singh Kashyap)

I'm an absolute hater of the Khans and it's not merely for the reason that they have been ruling Bollywood for a very long time. It's during their reign that films of Bollywood became a mess of songs,dance,heroisms and recurring themes. If you ask what has been the contribution of the Khans to Bollywood,there wouldn't be much of an answer.They have been churning out pile of garbage movies even sometimes a rehash of their own past material.In a Country like India,where movie stars are worshipped you can't expect high class material from film makers as their primary concern is the satisfaction of the audience.Who's to blame is not the question here ,so it's better unanswered.
Dabangg is the debut of Anurag Kashyap's brother Abhinav singh Kashyap.Stylistically ,the movie reminds me a lot of 1995 Mexican Spaghetti flick "Desperado" another debut by Robert Rodriguez. A lot of flying in the air is a direct lift off of Desperado which is one of the greatest action flick ever made. The Story is better not to be mentioned as it could be summed up in one line.What stands out is the action and Sonu Sood. Salman's comic timing has never been able to make me laugh but there are some good lines that stands on it's own & not it's delivery.A Salman movie for Salman fans it's full of Salman and nothing less.The Whole flick has a Southy touch to it;most of the special effects and the action came from namma Chennai.So a movie goer from here wouldn't find the action to be that exciting because we have came over such Gravity Free action multiple times before.Over all ,the movie was a feast if you leave your brains outside and lick the frames with your eyes.That's all there is to it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This is WAR!

Saving Private Ryan is the best War movie ever made. The Movie takes you right through D Day at Normandy and it ain't a pretty sight. Legs blown off in the air, Soldier looking for his severed hand, bullet holes in helmets, soldier's guts spilled out while he's crying for his Mama, it's RAW WAR without any holding back. When the movie was released , back in 1998 , the War Veteran's group even set up a helpline to people traumatized by the on screen depiction of World War, itself is clear example of how graphic the movie is. The Last War movie (American) I saw was Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now". Except for the Helicopter attack accompanied by Richard's Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries" and some actions here and there in midst of an "Aguirre Wrath of God" inspired ride into the Heart of Darkness aka Vietnam, it was an emotional account of the casualties of war rather than physical."Saving Private Ryan" on the other hand doesn't waste screen time by probing over the ethics of War ;hell the first and last 30 minutes went to the war sequences only,takes you right into the action.
The Story ;as the name indicates a find and retrieve operation of the eponymous character ,who has already lost his 3 co siblings in the war. So the Chief Staff of the Army wants him back with his mother as a consolation for the loss of her other sons. Tom Hank's character Cpt. James Miller and his team his given this rather inconspicuous mission ,confused over the ambiguity of sending 8 soldiers right into the middle of the war for finding one. Their journey right through the debris of war becomes our too. The Choice of consoling one mother with the possible depriving 8 other mother is not that believable even though there are real incidents that inspired the movie indirectly. But the team move on with their Herculean task of finding a needle in a stack of needles because as Cpt.Miller says If this what gets him to his wife ,then that's his mission.
Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore (originally offered to Michael Madsen),Adam Goldberg,Vin Diesel,Giovanni Ribisi portrays the soldiers who don't seem to remember the last time they felt good about anything. Caught up in the emotional and moral whirlpool of war they brave the hostile environment and the ever impending doom with the clarity of their mission and memories of their loved ones. Against all the odds,they set out to find Pvt. Ryan(Matt Damon,role offered to Edward Norton). But as every War's fate they too suffer losses that divides the team over the sensibility of the mission. That's when Cpt.Miller reveals he's a High school English Teacher who just wants to get back to his wife. He has been fighting the war for a very long time now and he's sick and tired with all off it.His leadership and strategies keep the team together but still prone to losses. Finally when they find Captain Ryan and inform of his loss,he refuses to return home with them as he didn't want to abandon his troop and loose the only brothers he had left.So they decide to stay and fight along with him ,help them safeguard the bridge until reinforcements came,while keeping Ryan alive.
Stephen Spielberg is a true legend. You will not be any disappointed with any movie with his name on it. Same is the case with this movie which laid the benchmark for future war movies and video games. WAR movies portrayal of WAR became more intense with handheld cameras and right in the middle of the action camera attitude(Remember Call of Duty and Black Hawk Down).In it's violence,the director has infact enlightened us on the wrath of war and it's first casualty,Innocence.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The role of Media in our social and political situation is in many ways identical to that of a referee in a boxing match.
In this match ,the contenders are the Government and the People.
In this fight,it's their duty to maintain law and order which include

1)Warning the Government when they break the rules there by serving as a Vigilante.
2)Reminding the people of their rights there by empowering them with knowledge.

But in my country, the referee is not contented with his job. He has begun to realise HE AIN'T GOT NO GAME IF THERE AIN'T NO GAME.

If they can keep the fight go on ,their position becomes more crucial and they become more powerful.

So powerful that they can strangle a government and brain wash a Nation.

So our Referee here, has slowly retrieved himself from the ring and has been making a little something for himself from the blood spilled in the ring.

There ain't no end to this dogfight cos the referee has been
1)taking sides (when they should be impartial)
2)blowing things out of proportion (when they should be truthful)
3)working for himself (when they should be working for the People)


Monday, October 18, 2010

My Friend Totoro - Hayao Miyazaki (1988)

Studio Ghibli's handmade masterpiece is a treat for the eyes but it also touches your heart. Hayao Miyazaki, the auteur of Anime, showcases one of the heartwarming animated tale ever told. Set in Post World War Japan, this story of a 10 year old and a 4 year old sisters who with their father comes to live in a countryside house. As the two girls explore the house ,they discover a Black Soot like thingy that inhabits dark and secluded places. Their Mother is suffering from Tuberculosis ,who is admitted at the hospital. But the director doesn't stress much upon mom's illness and doesn't treat it like a tear-jerk situation. Instead he handles it with maturity and hope. As they settle in their new home exploring it ,the director treats us to some well drawn images of rain clouds,lush greenery,rice fields and the ever beautiful countryside. I have to admit that this is one Gem of animations where you dream of diving into that world and live the rest of your life. What's more exhilarating is the fact that these are all hand drawn, which is an excruciating task. But the pay off is this magical piece of art. There isn't much of a plot but it's driven by situations and emotions. Some times it feels like the whole Totoro thing is the figment of the two kids imagination. For instance, in the first encounter with Totoro, the younger child Mei, who follows little Totoros into the forest ,goes down a tree hole (reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland) and falls onto the giant Totoro ,where she falls asleep. Later she's found asleep in the thick bush by her sister and father and when she follows the same trail ,she finds herself at the same mouth of the same bush ,a little further from where she went in, indicating that she might have dreamed the whole thing. Later in the Bus Stop scene, when we see Totoro standing beside Satsuko, the elder sister, if you watch closely ,is drawn with droopy eyes , making us once again question the reality of all this. That's when all the truth comes to light when Totoro gives them the small leaf bag with tree seeds, cementing his existence in reality. Also in the end Cat Bus ,that we first saw at the Bus Stop, helps Satsuki find her sister and takes them to their mother at hospital and putting their minds to ease regarding their mother's condition. Totoro plays out as Modern Fairy tale , a well made mixture of emotions,suspense,mystery and magic that rouses the child in you with all the spectrum of emotions that we kept inside as a child, that made us all one ,Once.....

Long live the Queen!

I'm a big fan of Humphrey Bogart. Have been one ever since I took an interest in the pictures from the Golden Age of Hollywood.From Alfred Hitchcock to John Huston, I was enamored by their artistic vision. These films are plain entertainers that plays out to the players like a well written novel. Even though that makes these movies a bit predictable but it still interesting as hell.I also make it a point to search the net seeking out suggestions from the net community to not miss any classic."The African Queen" is one title that keeps popping up.It's in the IMDB 250 list and also in the Yahoo Movies to watch before you die list.One other reason being I've never watched Bogey color movie before,so it made sense to watch one.
As far as my opinion is concerned the movie is a tad bit slow paced. It's the story of a couple ,who is brought together by the circumstances,who otherwise are two extremes apart,one a sailor and other a pastor.At the dawn of the first World War,in the continent of Africa , zee Germans are hunting down the natives ,recruiting them to the Army ,to make them serve in the war.Katherine Hepburn's character Rosie and her Brother are running a missionary in the midst of the Jungle and Bogey's the boatman who brings them the supplies and their letters, serving as their connection with the Outside world. He informs them of the war between the Germans and the English.Soon after he leaves,German soldiers move in ,capturing the natives and burning down their homes so that the natives would have no place to return to.Kathy's brother tries to stop them but he gets beaten up. Soon he suffers from kind of mental shock and dies leaving Kathy all alone in the middle of the Jungle.
Luckily Bogey shows up returning from his trip. He is moved by the sights there and asks Kathy to come with before more Germans showed up. So they both sets out into the river ,and Kathy formulates a plan involving a Torpedo and escape from a German Patrol boat that's keeping them from freedom.Bogey,at first reluctant ,agrees to go on with the plan as there wasn't much of an option. So as they make their way to the freedom they slowly fall in love ,overcomes treacherous ordeals like the rapids and reeds and swamps and leeches and zee Germans and mechanical troubles with their wits and will.Their feelings for each other grows stronger and stronger with every onset of troubles.There's even a gentle push from the almighty in their quest for freedom at times of utter despair and hopelessness.
The Movie plays out in a simple manner,nothin fancy.Being in Technicolor and one of the first movies in color (It's probably the Oldest movie in color I've seen)it's beautiful as it was shoot on locations in Africa.They braved the bulky Technicolor camera,hostile environment and dysentry to make this beautiful movie. The Movie opens up with the shot of colorful lush of green trees accompanied by the cries of monkeys and elephants ,immediately transporting you to Africa.Humphrey Bogart received his one and only Oscar for Best Oscar for his portrayal of Charlie Allnut and the rest were nominated for one. I think it's one of Bogey's most natural performances outside of the Film-Noir genre.He's more of a goof ball type than hero material and Kathy is sharp and polished in the beginning and slowly transforms her to a more loose,free Rosie.John Huston has always delivered with Humphrey Bogart with previous films like "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and this one stands on par,up there with them.