Wednesday, April 27, 2005

House of the flying daggers - Movie Review

Zhang Ziyi looking psychedelic in pink in pink in pink in pink in pink in pink.....

If you want to watch a Bollywood movie with better visuals, even more spectacular stunts, extremely cheap sentiments and an equally bad storyline, you could watch the House of the Flying Dagggers. Since I want to cut out euphemisms, it is only possible either to praise or pick at this movie. I dont want to pick on this movie... it shows genuine effort and after being cheated by Mumbai Express, any movie that shows atleast a decent bit of effort seems like it is worthy of praise. (Even AYYA).

Well... really you wont have to look very hard to praise this movie. The director Zhang Yimou has made the camera the most explosive element in an action movie. Colours assault you in this movie. Every frame has all the colours of the VIBGYOR. It looks as though the entire movie was shot as a cartoon and somehow the human characters were included. If the surrounding scenery is a forest.. you see yellow leaves...(lime yellow... not the brownish yellow that you would associate with the fall leaves), blue sky (you could almost pick it of the 'azure' pallete in Nerolac Paints brochure), green leaves (seriously.. the leaves are THIS green). You feel like you were slapped HARD in the face... you see so many colours. Psychedelic is an understatement when it comes to describing the cinematography.

The action effects were also beautifully choregraphed. In one sequence we see two characters running through a bamboo forest, (can you even imagine a Chinese movie without a bamboo forest fight sequence now) you are astounded to find later in the special features on the DVD, that everything including the bamboo poles used as weapons were entirely digitally created. The actors just have to swing empty hands and run along a pre determined path.

The fight sequences are also equally vibrant. The movie is replete with fast panning close up shots of intelligent daggers slicing and weaving through the air following a torturous path to unerringly strike their target, and shirt sleeves and cloth strips that seem to have the ability to strike, grab, twist around anything at the flick of the owners wrist. It is like the cloth pieces have a life of its own.

Coming back to the story and the movie... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... .......... ...... ...... ...... ....... ..... ..........

"Thats all I have to say about that".
Watch the movie.... its a trippy experience.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mumbai Express - Movie Review

You were missed... Kamal is NOTHING without you.
If you respect yourself... dont watch this movie.
Kamal has his set of loyal fans from the educated class who seem to think that his movies always have something for them. These people would feel cheated and insulted on watching Mumbai Express. Kamal seems to have thought.. "Idhu Porum da Ungalukku..."(Losers... this is enough for you) when he made Mumbai Express. Infact the fans would feel a formless hatred and anger after watching this terribly scripted, badly directed, under funded movie. The movie reeks of apathy.

Kamal as usual had given lofty interviews where he called Mumbai Express a dark comedy and had bragged that even though none of the characters are funny, the situations they are in make the movie funny. Let me tell you one thing. The only dark thing would be your mood which would make you want to forget the minuscule amount of comedy in the movie because you feel bilked of your time and money.

Kamal shows you his lack of a decent sense of humour. Makes you wonder if all the jokes in of Vasool Raja, 5tantram, PKS were solely from the kitchens of Crazy Mohan. Mohan truly is a genius when it comes to writing humour. Kamal is not. Infact Kamal I feel is a depressed cynic and a self-percieved under-achiever(shows in his interviews). The fact that he has publicly humiliated himself by making such a movie does not help him in anyway.

The rest of the factors.. music (Illayaraaja I think has become deaf... and no that does not make him Bach), cinematography (the movie was shot in a digital format... I wish there had been a 'dumb content filter'... I would filter out the entire movie) are more reasons to avoid this movie.. . if you have not already decided to not go anywhere near the theatre that is playing this movie.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Chandramukhi - Movie Review

Paisa vasool !!!.. is what you would think coming out of the theatre... the exit poll would obviously be.. "Paravaala saar, Arimaya irundhichu, oru dhaba paakalam". This movie is a an Rajni-optimized remake of a Malayalam movie starring Shobhana that won her a national award. This movie though is completely thalaivar-centric which is understandable... and welcome.

Also the movie has a very decent script (obviously the good sequences from the original script were maintained) and is unlike other Pervert Vasu movies. It comes as a relief that there are no scenes like the pukable ones in Chinna Thambi and Walter Vetrivel.

Rajni looks 10 years younger than he looked in Baba. He has also cut short his excessive political references and concentrates on his strengths... comedy and dialogue delivery. Talkng about Rajni and politics... I think this is testing the limits of patience... dont you think ?

The rumours that Jyothika replaced Simran as Prabhu's wife because Simran did not go well with a few explicit scenes are unfounded. Infact the only actual sex in the movie is during the dialogues replete with double entende' that Rajini has with Swarna whom he calls his 'sister'!!!(These scenes have P Vasu wriiten all over it). Jyothika is pretty good and impresses us with her two styles of dancing Bharathanatyam. 9Thara looks her name. I dont know how she makes it big. I believe she is going to act in Telugu movies too. Thank you :).

The rest of the cast "is there"... and thats that. The evil matriarch present in ALL Rajni movies these days is remarkably unaldylike.. no I mean she really looks like a man. Anyone know who she is? There could have been a discussion about split personalities... and the psychological representations... but Pervert Vasu... the director is an idiot and so we should not talk about intelligence/research in his movie.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hotel Rwanda - movie review

The man... and da man.
Hotel Rwanda gives the opportunity of a lifetime for Don Cheadle to play Schindler to a few hundred Rwandans who are being relieved of their life at every chance the Hutus get.The death toll in the Hutu-Tutsi (during 1994) clash reached a million and some ofthem were saved at the Des Mille Collines Hotel, that is being managed (very effeciently) by Don Cheadle. He plays an amazing cool-headed character who has the ability to lie, bribe, praise, blackmail whenever he has to and uses his diplomat skills with the effeciency of a diamond cutter. He is always composed, wears a tie even while being bombed and breaks down always in private.

This movie is very unlike the other genocide (read Jew-killing) self pity trips such as The Pianist and The Schindlers List. This movie is extremely positive, does not attempt to pull at our heart strings with a few 'maudlin scenes' but has a very realistic and practical approach to the problem. We dont see cheap gimmicks like cruel Kamp Kommandants shooting their guns off their bedroom at naked people, nor do we see the single red dress moving about searching for a doll in an otherwise black and white movie. The acts of kindness (which are a plenty) and the acts of violence (which are minimal... the movie is rated PG-13) are shown in a very offhand way.

The importance is given to the strong characters and how they react to the seemingly unending violence around them. This movie made me think about what Schindler would actually think of 'Schindler's list' after watching that obscene Hollywoodization of a noble man's noble deeed. Probably explains why Hotel Rwanda did not win the best movie Oscar... but then there were no Jewish reference in a genocide movie. How can it ever be complete?

Coming back to the Paul Rusesabagina, the amount of sacrifice that that person had endured is remarkable. His selfless act was more impulsive than pre-planned like in most real-life scenarios. And Don Cheadle.... what can I say ? It seems as though has become Paul Rusesabagina. (from how this interview goes). He even mentions that the Hollywoodization has been minimal. He has recieved the award of Immortal Chaplains but turned down the civilian award from the current President Kagame.

Before Sunset - Movie Review

Before Sunrise... childish.................Nine years later... introspective
This movie joins the unique club of sequel movies that are not cartoons, sci-fi flicks, horror, thrillers or action adventures. This is the only romantic movie sequel that I know of. (Dont call Havana Nights a sequel). This movie is the continuation to Before Sunrise, a movie shot almost 9 years earlier. That movie ended on an extremely upbeat but alas... incomplete note. Before Sunrise was probably the only movie that inspite of imitating real life to the maximum extent possible, maintained originality and interest in depicting love.

The characters of Celine and Jessie (Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke) talk in real time and spans the 139 minutes before Jessie has to get onto the plane back to America. The movie is as good as any thriller because you are constantly reminded of the time ticking away and Jessie keeps on extending his stay.

They talk througout the movie and like you would expect them to do (if you have watched Before Sunrise), and never during the conversation are you bored since both the characters have palpable <........> between them and both are above intelligent with opinions about everything. The conversation ranges from their lives over the 9 years, their relationships, their career paths to the general politics, social commentary, but it constantly keeps coming back to that fateful day 8.5 years ago when they had promised to meet... and ofcourse the painful realities... both feel their lives would have been miles better if at all it had happened. Some startling revelations later and after a few brief emotional outbursts... we are provided one of the most beautifully refined endings for a movie.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sideways - Movie Review

What is that expression? Helpless amused frustration?

This is one more of those sad and sensitive movies that claim fame because the effort that has gone into making the characters is very evident and hence instantly distances itself from the other hackneyed movies and characters. The dialogues are beautifully unique and the actors are even better. The plot is a middle aged version of the teenage sentiment of breaking free just before commitment.This movie is about 2 middle-aged guys on a bachelor party trip through the wine county in California. Miles is recently divorced (2 years back for an alcoholic is still the Day after Yesterday), and Jack is a regular guy who wants to devote his last few days of bachelorhood to debauchery. (He is really serious about having fun).

Miles automatically converts this into a journey devoted to just drinking which had been his only means of escape from his bad divorce. He pathetically steals from his own mother to sponsor the trip and they embark on their of week. The mood and their camaraderie during the first few scenes makes you think that there could be nothing worse than watching two middle aged guys having a bachelor party, but I urge you to trudge along with the movie... Sideways.

What follows is surprisingly funny and thought provoking alternatively. The character of Virgina Madsen(dont remember her screen name) adds the twist in the tale and you never cease to wonder how the powers of depression can screw your mind up at the worst moments. You never ever lose interest in the story and you really start caring for the characters... something movies rarely ever do.

The best part of the script is that you laugh when the director wants you to laugh and fret when he wants you to. Never during the movie are the emotions displaced. Inspite of the obvious ending, you switch off the TV after the movie with a general.. Ok.. nice movie.. Enjoyed it feeling.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Doordarshan's SCAMmentary

don't you think we deserve better ?

DD's guide to cricket coverage Ball-by-ball.

1. The number of deliveries in an over are 5. Four regular deliveries, the last half of the first ball and first half of the last ball. It is lesser in the event of a wicket.

2. Fielders are non existent except when there is a close up shot of the bowler wearing a Pepsi/Sahara ad, adjusting the field placing . The viewer should not be shown what the field change is since it is a state secret.

3. Whenever a close up shot of a fielder is shown featuring the Pepsi/Sahara ad, his position relative to the field is never shown because it is unwanted information.

4. The commentary should be state of the ART. For example if a flag of a playing country is shown, the talker has to amiably inform us as to what country's flag that is. The viewers are also informed if there is a wind or not from whether the flag is drooping or not.

5. The direction of the wind... whether it is aiding the bowler or not is never mentioned since that might help terrorists trying to guide missiles into the ground.

6. In the event of a good shot, the ball has to be shown in close-up without showing where the ball is relative to the boundary or the nearest fielder. The boundary or the fielder appearing on the screen should come up as a surprise to the viewer and the talker(commentator).

7. When a fielder is trying to do his job, it is imperetive that he flashes the logo on his shirt. If not the picture is cut to the best other shot of the logo. Usually it is that of a fielder who is biting his nails watching the ball as our talkers would amiably assure us for the nth time... "Cricket is a mind game".

8. Talkers always look at the television (not the playing field) and talk. So in the event of a skier, the camera closely follows the ball and once we see the catch being taken, we are informed that the catch has been taken (very amiably... not to forget).

9. In the event of statistical data (in english) being shown, it is the duty of the talker to read out the statistic in english so that the illiterate people who cannot read English can make sense out of it aurally.

10. If a few players refuse to show their cricket prowess, their acting skills are atleast tapped in the ads.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite - Movie review

Pedro with the cake he 'makes' for Summer
A really nice movie.. her eis quick list of reasons for watching the movie.
1. You watched and enjoyed movies like The Big Lebowski. You think that it is one of the funniest movies ever made? You enjoyed the comedy in “Trainspotting”?
2. You like dark comedy. You like it if a clich├ęd storyline is presented completely honestly and devoid of “Hollywoodization”… like for example you like it if a teeny bopper movie like “10 things I hate about you” is presented minus all the jazz and the boobies and is presented through the eyes of the class nerd?
3. You have known people who use words like ‘dang’, gosh’ and ‘flipping sweet’?
4. You can imagine the life of a poor nondescript teenager who does not have any ‘skills’ and has to tackle bullies in school and irritating relatives at home all the time?
5. You like small time low budget (Indie.. Independent) movies about very normal people living their painfully normal lives?
7. You like watching movies and average at-least 4 – 5 a week. You would start praising ND sky high if you are all the above.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Raam the Movie

I am yet to see the movie and have been hearing quite a lot about this movie. The hard work of the director is evident from the interviews and the promos. The characterization is also brilliant from the looks of it. Some fine earthy yet unique characters in a murder mystery is bound to pique anyone.

I would like to highlight on something that not many people have questioned. I find this extremely heartwarming that in a country that has people like Bal Thackarey, such a movie with such an interesting logo and an questionable unnecessary name could do so well without being banned. When the promos came out, the shape of the logo… (a crescent and a star), the name and the saffron clad hero made people think the movie had religious connotations. This could have been the only cheap gimmick of the director of an otherwise excellent movie.