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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Jul 25, 2008

The Darjeeling Limited

First, get this: There is no Darjeeling in The Darjeeling Limited. Maybe Wes Andersen, the director wanted to make the India connection obvious without having to literally title the film The Great Indian Train Adventure (where India = Rajasthan.) Darjeeling tea is synonymous with quality "Indian" tea all over the geographical vestiges of the former British empire. Darjeeling Tea cannot be grown or manufactured anywhere else in the world. Just as Champagne is indigenous to the Champagne district of France, so is Darjeeling Tea to Darjeeling. Thus the naming proves beyond reasonable doubt that movie was indeed shot in India, although sweet lime not Darjeeling black tea is the official drink of the movie.

To me, Wes Andersen's movies are slow-going, out-of-the-box characters are kept in a box and their interactions are observed. Check out his movies before this one, like The Royal Tenenbaums where a family of child prodigies were assembled in one house or Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou where a bunch of oceanographers were kept inside a submarine. In this latest offering, we have three somewhat-estranged brothers reuniting on a spiritual re-invention trip through India - the mother lode of spirituality on the planet, in a colorful moving train.

Andersen, a Satyajit Ray fan uses music from Ray films through out the movie, his tribute to the master. The film is bright, loud and colorful, the way India strikes a western tourist. Most of it is shot in Rajasthan, the place Andersen fell in love with while he started writing the script in a rainy and overcast Darjeeling - not much scope for color there.

Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody and Jason Schwartzman play the three brothers trying to find themselves and reconnect with each other in a strange land. Since no movie of Wes Andersen can be made without Bill Murray, the opening shot has Murray running to catch an unruly Indian train, he has no role afterwards. It is a slow and strangely funny movie, interesting if you are interested in the interpretations of India or Wes Andersen's style. Being an Indian, I'd count myself in the first category, curious to know what other people make out of my homeland.

Jul 23, 2008

Best of Youth

Best of Youth started as a mini series in Italian TV. It's popularity won the series a spot in BBC4. It didn't stop there, this six hour movie went on to win the prestigious Un Certain Regard award at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. A story of two brothers, it is also a portrayal of the evolution of contemporary Italy, from mid twentieth century to the present. Luigi Lo Cascio and Alessio Boni stars as the two brothers, birds of the same feather yet different as chalk and cheese. The film is a grand procession of faces and places through the lives of the brothers as Italy evolves into a twenty-first century nation.

Jul 11, 2008

Sunshine

If you like an overload of Ralph Fiennes this is the movie for you. A three hour saga of five generations a Jewish-Hungarian family in Europe, where Ralph Fiennes appears as the male protagonist in three successive generations. He plays three roles through the course of the movie, each time from youth to old age. Man, that's a lot of Fiennes! It is an interesting story for 20th century European/Jewish history enthusiasts. The major historical events are assimilated into the evolution of the main characters. Although I found it a little too polished, a bit contrived, maybe not raw enough as Schindler's List.

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