Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Movie Review - Babel

A multidimensional story that explores what happens when love is ignored, squandered, or annihilated by anger, alienation, hatred and violence. One of the best films of the year...

I am going to write my own one line review for this movie. Maybe i can make it big in that business.

An intricately woven mesh of incidents spanning three continents, seamlessly integrated with a single piece of thread as thin as an ant's pubic hair. The story of a nanny, teenager and goat herd all knitted into one magnificent magnum opus.

An epic production that explores the molecular compound of glass shards borne out of exploding cartridges, protein poisons and abandoned love, which can easily be dissolved by using kevlar reinforced windows in airconditioned tourist buses.

A well rendered tragedy of circumstances insinuated by extreme indifference to scientific-geopolitical parleys among deaf mute girls inJapan and their effect hencewith on inebbriated Mexican field hands taking business vacations in heartland America.

An ambitious project to delineate flaws in character among high school students and nannies in America with a sharp emphasis on the state of affairs among African goat herds and jackal hunters... that delivers from the second reel on.

A movie that sharply brings to focus the essential irregularities in the construction of sub-Saharan village hospitals without proper medical amenities due to the high prevalence of uppers and downers near Tokyoesque fountains and juxtaposing it with Buchanesque alienation back at home.

A movie classic with a remarkable storyline thought about while in a quickstop restroom, at the same time without alienating any language, creed, caste or breakfast cereal popular across the globe.

A reel delight about the extent ignorance among Morocon cattle farmers to the sensitivities and tribulations of naked Japanese teenagers brilliantly explored through an incident of cataclymic proportions spanning three pseudo random time zones.

A movie phenomenon revolving around copious amounts of goat milk and blood which teaches us the importance of not spending well earned money at Sathyam theatre.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Movie Review - Water

Water... the recent nomination for the Oscar.... (Not the Indian nomination) is one of the worst movies of all times top have been given that honour.

Now that I have got your attention, let me tell you why I think so. I hope you already know what Water is all about. If not,... it is about a group of widows who live in penury and out of just the alms from the people of Varanasi. Their travails and tribulations.... etc...

1. The first thing that irked me was the invocation of the movie with some outdated text from Manu Smriti. It outlines how women were meant to be treated in a disresctful and unimportant way in Hinduism. That is not the case. The Manu Smriti actually holds most women in very high esteem as seen from these quotes from Wikipedia.

2. The biggest misconception among people was the the Manu Smriti was the all important Hindu law book. This is actually not the case and that idea about the Manu Smriti was propounded by the western writers to demean the Hindus (Check out guys like Dalrymple). The common man does not invoke the Manu Smriti to justify his wrong doings... as shown in the movie. The Manu Smriti also, often and regularly contradicts the Vedas blatantly in every aspect of society including the treatment of women.

3. Terrible casting with John Abraham and Lisa Ray playing a Calcutta returned writer and a young widow respectively. They could not have been more out of the place in the movie... John Abraham looked like he was modelling for a hair gel and Lisa ray... I had last seen her in those Bombay Dyeing ads.. now she is modelling for wet Khadi. Neither could act... and neither could pass of as their respective characters. The kid widow had the best performance followed by that of the parrot.

4. In one scene in the movie, the dialogue by Kulbushan Kharbanda's character where he keeps saying women are supposed to be only of service to men and once they lose their status as 'wives' they have to be sidelined to the fringes of the society. WRONG !!! Indian vedic texts even talks about widow remarraige and the acceptance of a remarried widow into mainstream society. Also, there are specific guidelines on treating widows with respect. It is stupid to then quote the Manu Smriti out of context at the beginning of the movie and go on to talk about the plight of widows in India. It is like any one of us quoting a popular book such as "The Da Vinci code" to make a movie about Jesus 1000 years from now and call Jesus a philandering SOB. (I am not equating Manu Smriti to Da Vinci code now... but i hope you get the idea).

5. The problem lay ONLY with the people who changed the law and found loop holes and NOT with the entire Hindu law itself, as the director would like us to believe. That is the biggest flaw in the movie and which incensed the Indian government to ban the movie in India. It had identified bad propaganda and veered away from it for the public good. Completely justified in banning the movie.

What did the movie achieve? Yes Indian society has been backward as every other society had been. This particular case of widow treatment is the most often used theme in Hindu bashing. This movie puts it that idea on the big screen... and does not even attempt at providing strong arguments for its claim of the entire society being unequal. (There was abolutely no necessity to invoke the Manu Smriti... it could have just been a normal movie about the plightof a few women in Varanasi).

The very idea of using a 7 year old poor kid as a poster child for Hindu bashing reeks of cheesiness. The cliched screenplay with each ecene completely predictale and in the lines of erstwhile exploitation movies. Bad casting made the screenplay worse. The characters could not carry their roles at all.

The good aspect was ofcourse the music by Rahman. The man delivers even in the worst movies. The child widow's acting was interesting... and the innocence has been exploited to 'pull at our heart strings...'. The movie was shot in Sri Lanka... the rain and the lush greenery was appealing to the eye.

I am seriously not sure why this movie has been nominated to the Oscars. Seriously I do not know.

Note: I just read through all the reviews abotu the movie by the informed western media !!!! They have said this movie is a 'gentle prod at the sensitivities of entire India to stop such cruel practices in thename of religion' WHAT !!!! The DVD version of the movie that I watched did not have this. Apparently the director has said "Such practices still happen in India to date"...

THEN I HAVE ONE QUESTION TO AS HER... Why pray did she base this movie in the 1930s???? Just for Mahatma Gandhi to come by and give a solution to the problem at the end ???? What a whore this director is !!!!

If she is sure such practices are still rampant in India.. she could have done a contemporary movie based in Bombay... like she did in Fire. This movie is blatantly anti-hindu. The Indian government was completely justified in banning the movie in India.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Movie Review - Guru

Define Irony... paying 10 % service tax for a movie about a guy who evaded tax worth 12,000 crores... and ended up victorious because of a 4 and a half minute self righteous speech.

I would really like Mani Ratnam and Shankar to be in the same room and watch Anniyan and Guru back to back. That would be an experience. One produces movie after movie that makes people wonder what would happen if everyone in India started following the rules and paid taxes dutifully... while the other makes a slip-shod effort at justifying/chronicling a blatant tax evader's life story... and makes him win at the end.

Mani does not attempt at including even a semblance of logic or legitimacy into the storyline. It just moves on.. jumps 10 years in one song.. then spends 30 minutes on an unnecessary item song... characters that go nowhere are introduced all the time... on the whole the movie gives you the feeling it is no different from any other tripe being produced (Veyyil included).

Mani keeps you guessing about what Guru is all about... if it is about the love life of Guru... yes.. there are enough lust and teenage love scenes that Mani is famous for. (Why do manly characters act 'cute'... in those love scenes? Does Mani commission a 15 year old girl to write those scenes?) The elder Guru especially after the stroke relies more on Aishwarya... some of the most contrived scenes... Aishwarya at her hamming best.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Ok I got it out of me.. there are no words to express how affected her acting is. Why couldnt she just have been a pretty face on those giant screens ?

If the movie is about the businessman in Guru... Mani has seriosuly messed it up here. The way he climbs the ladder is shown in horrible cliches... I mean if this is how Guru made his money there must be atleast 350 Gurus in each Indian language that has a movie industry... every year... That is how cliched it is... and every sequence has either Nayagan (going to the collector's house... poor Prathap Pothen... or Thalabadhi... written all over it. Oh those horribly hackneyed dialogues...)

What is Guru? Do you dare to ask?
Imagine a biography of a person... in the hands of Schultz or Bill Waterson.. what is he going to make of it? Caricatures for characters, 'cuteness' for screenplay... and an ad flim without a semblance of logic. Yes that is what you will get in Guru. Take your girlfriend to the theatre... and put some economics fundae while you are at it.. she will marry you the next day. Yes some girls actually liked the movie :-(. (alt.humor.tasteles... here I come)

Movie Review - Apocalypto

This is not a Mel Gibson movie. This is just a completely different from ordinary movie about a man caught in situations most of us cannot even imagine. This feeling is further reiterated because we all know this is how life could have been at that time... maybe a thousand years ago. I think this movie is the best possible example of a 'period' flick. It is dated in time and thought.

It is a story of a man... who wants to escape pure tyranny and torture.. does everything humanly possible to escape his captors.. including killing them in some of the most gory ways. This is where you realize that this is a Mel Gibson movie.. the unadulterated way he has 'fleshed out' the action scenes... bloody awesome. You see people eviscerated, gouged, pierced, hammered, nailed, tonged... skewered.. malletted, awled... sheeted, ironed... I know I can keep going on... bu the point is... every single mechanical tool we use now... has been tested on a human subject in this movie.

I dont think there is anyone in the world who can make a bad movie cinematographically.. set in the Amazon forest. "The visuals are breathtaking".. maybe P C Sriram would find the place interesting.. because the forest is really awesome... the darkest place is just two feet away fromt the brightest place.. the canopy... and all.
There are a few problems with the names. Zero Wolf ? I always thought it was the Indians that came up with the concept of Zero. So.. how does the name Zero wolf tranlsate in Mayan?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Movie Review - Desamuduru

Allu Arjun is the only south Indian hero with a six pack. Do I sound gay saying that? I don't mind admiring the hero even if I do sound gay for I have now become even more of a devout follower of telugu movies. This masala makes every other telugu movie that I have watched... something like rasam made for a recovering jaundice patient. In other words, if other movies were my previous comment... this movie is Abe calling his opponents arguments "as weak as a soup made by boiling the shadow of an Ethiopian pigeon that had died of starvation".

Action !!!! Mohammad must have seen Allu Arjun before he said the human body has 360 joints. And Gray must have seen some partisan Thamizh hero before he drew up his charts... no way a human with around 60 limbic joints do what Allu did on screen. Mohammad would have also said the human body has around 142 million gallons of blood and it shoots out at 35 cusecs. Also, Mohammad would not have bothered to dictate the Koran... for he would have seen God in Allu and retired to doing what he was second best at... (I hope I am blaspheming now :-) ).

Comedy? If normal movies have 1... there are 5 comedians in this. One for each pin code the movie takes us to. Every house has a comedian who can talk so loudly that he tries to drown the other comedians in their respective pin codes... sometimes the pin codes are even located in different hemispheres on earth.

Music! My ear drums started dancing. Every integeral frequency, pitch, tone and decibel level has been selected on the basis of equal opportunity (Mandal Commission for the unitiated...). The softest song had Lars Ulrich on a screamer getting creative in a hotel kitchen.

The story? Pardon me for bringing in a food reference once again... but it is like boiling all the left-overs in Andhra meals home, Ritz Carlton and a Japanese sake bar (copious amounts of wasabi included..), in a earthen pot and burying it under a palm tree for 2 years. There is a resounding kick to medula oblongata every time the scene changes. A curious mixture of unpredictability and incredulity that leaves one with a slice of the brain missing at the end of the movie.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Music Review - Paruthi Veeran

Ariyadha Vayasu :

After a really long time this is one great song from Uvan Shankar Raaja. THe album in itself is refreshingly differrnt from the regular city slicker music that he is known to produce. This shows how good and close he could be to Illayaraaja. If tamilbeat.com had not told me this is not an Illayaraaja movie, I would have tended to believe so.

This song has one of the best interludes in contemporary music. The flute... and somehow Uvan has included the piano into it. (and also the sarodh). Do not mind if this song reminds you of another Illayaraaja song (from Avatharam) and begins like one of those Lagaan songs. This song has the charm to guarantee a few listens. This is the best song of the album.

Iyaayoo :
The voice that stands out is oviosuly Manicka Vinayagam's. Nice slow tune... maybe the second best song. Where this song falters is in Uvan SHankar Raaja's unnecessary humming that goes on for too long and unnecessary instruments in the inteludes. It does nto sound great to have such a song in a village movie with a lot of western/northern sounding instruments. The song would sound good alone... if removed from the movie...

This reminds me of this guy who used to play the nadaswaram outside our house in Bangalore in 2 second breaks. No tune, no coherance, no charm... maybe it is like that in the villages.. but this song has absolutely nothing to write about apart from a loud thavil and a louder urumi

Sari Kama Pathani:
I am interested in seeing what this song is all about in the movie. It sounds completely out of the movie... like Paruthi Veeran and everyoen had suddenly gone to brothel with whores trained in classical music. I am not sure if there are such brothels in deep interior south India.

Oororam Puliyamaram:
Ok one more 'Nadhaswaram' type of song.. but this time the song has been sung by eunuchs. The voice in the middle.. if it 'Karthis's', sounds unnervingly like Surya's. There is nothing
interesting in this song its the same as 1000s of 'Naatupura Kalaigal' songs.

Tanku Dunga
This song has completely convinced me to watch this movie. Not because it is nice... but it has piqued me enough to know what this movie is about.

If you want to download... do not waste yoru bandwidth any other songs. Just the first two. get it.. and listen away. Do not get teh CD/tape. Not worth it. You already have other Illayaraaja songs that sound similar. You also have other Uvan shankar raaja songs that sound similar.