The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta)

US Presidential hopefuls take RVs, Che went on a motorcycle. The point is you need to go on a road trip to become a successful leader of the people

Ee Adutha Kalathu (Recently)

Strange and familiar make an appearance together for the first time in Malayalam cinema and the pair is a hit

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl

Four feisty ladies, upbeat music and a handsome conman. Anushka gets Ranveer. Bollywood gets Parineeti

Das Boot (The Boat)

Best WWII film ever, in fact the best war film ever. In true German fashion, restraint is applied by shooting the entire movie inside a U-boat

Neelathamara (Blue Lotus)

Blue lotus shares the same stature of blue moon in Malayalam, so do good remakes. This one bucks the trend.

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Feb 13, 2006

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

(Repost from Sep 2003) If there ever was a competition for a poetic western, this Sergio Leoni spaghetti western will win hands down. Spaghetti westerns were low budget westerns produced by Italian directors, shot extensively in Europe(Italy,Spain etc) and aimed primarily for Italian audience. Leoni was one of the few such directors who rose to fame in Hollywood. The behind the scenes disc is as interesting as the movie itself.

The film stars three protagonists - Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and lee Van Cleef, riding across the arid west and the American civil war in search of a loot of money buried in a grave someplace hard to say which of them is better than the other. As a typical western there are lots of gunshots, slick tricks, dirty cowboys and an all pervading machismo, but what sets it apart is the direction - almost operatic, the camerawork - sweeping landscapes jumping in to the close up of expressive faces, poster perfect and finally the music by Ennio Morricone- which was so unique at the time of its release and which has been copied million times over since it was first made - in other movies, TV serials, commercials and what not. This is one Western every one should watch(the other one is Unforgiven).

Feb 6, 2006

Das Boot

(Watched in July 2003) A good war movie after a long time. Good is an understatement, it has to be one of the best. Das Boot (The Boat, in English) is one of the perfect war movies and the best submarine movie I have ever seen. This is not the first time someone is bringing the story of other side to silver screen. 'All Quiet on the Western Front' was one of the successful war movie which brought the triumphs and tribulations of the Germans in WW1.

What impressed me about Das Boot is the reality as viewed and lived thru' by each viewer of this movie. No other war/submarine movie that I've watched, not even the latest one K19 - The Widowmaker, is anywhere near, inspite of the technological advancements which lets Hollywood produce slicker and more believable movies. Das Boot takes the crown despite its age. It was made in 1981. I watched the remastered version, which had more than 60 minutes of added footage from the original German TV series of the same name.

German U-boats, were considered technological marvels - that was what history books taught us. After watching the latest Hollywood flick K-19.., which was about a Russian submarine during the cold war years, the truth of that history lesson has been substantiated by Hollywood. Comparing the submarines, the German one in Das Boot in WW2 and the Russian one in K-19 which is operating a good twenty years later,(both stories are real) one can't, but admire the technological superiority of Germans, years ahead of their time.

For the entire length of the film, you are inside Das Boot, the U boat, cramped into its narrow confines with the rest of the crew, their anxieties, their triumphs and also their unhygienic conditions. Serving in a U-Boat is not as glamorous as it might have appeared to German youngsters of the time. Wolfgang Petersen did an amazing job with this movie, the cinematography and the script are also above par. If you haven't watched any war-time submarine movies till now, this is the best one to start with, it couldn't get any better (not yet).