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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May 29, 2009

Youth without Youth

Looks to me this is the kind of film a seasoned director makes in his old age. Peppered with metaphysics, memories and music, after dispensing off the standard norms of film-making (because he has the experience and the power that comes with it.) First film Francis Ford Coppola directed after his 1997 movie, The Rainmaker, Youth without Youth is based on the novella of the same name by Romanian author Mircea Eliade.

It is surely not a film for the main-stream audience, a hit or miss with the intellectual types because confusion is often interpreted as a sign of higher intelligence that the commoners are unable to decipher. It starts off intrestingly, a seventy year old struck by deathly lighting becomes thirty years younger - that certainly sounds fun to me. After that it gets murkier and aimless - women, love, the protagonist's life-long quest to find the beginning of language etc clog up the scenes. Wonder what a Roland Emmerich or a James Cameron version of the same would have looked like?

May 25, 2009

Thalappavu

Thalappavu is a thought-provoking take on an issue - dead and forgotten now, but thirty years ago had defined the political climate of Kerala (and certain parts of India) - the Naxal movement. This is Madhupal's debut venture as a feature film director and he definitely shows promise.

It is a neatly made movie as well as an educational experience for a generation who are clueless about the history of their own land and its people. The story is adapted from the real-life relationship between a prominent Naxalite in Kerala, Varghese and a constable in Kerala Police at the time, P. Ramachandran Pillai. Prithviraj and Lal plays the roles of these two pivotal characters and have carried them off with the ease that comes naturally to good actors. Kudos to Madhupal, producer Mohan and writer Babu Janardhanan for bringing this buried snippet of history to today's audience.

May 21, 2009

Nanny Diaries

I was impressed by the book, one of the very few in the chick-lit world I could finish reading. I had abandoned Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Shopaholic series after a couple of pages into them, but Nanny Diaries was a sociological revelation. The style of authors Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus also played a major role in sustaining my interest.

The movie didn't disappoint either. Mainly because I didn't have much expectations, it was a Hollywood movie from a successful chick fiction product and I kind of like Scarlett Johansson, if she doesn't sing. Johansson and Laura Linney were impressive in their respective roles as Nanny and Manhattan Socialite Mom. The presentation or rather the narration from an anthropological perspective added a quirky appeal to it. The frustration and the helplessness of the Nanny's situation was more evident in the book, whereas the movie was not able to fully deflect the question, "why don't the Nanny just get up and leave?" with a satisfactory answer. Oh well, the book readers always find a lot of lapses in a movie adapated from a book, this one is not that bad.

May 14, 2009

Veruthe Oru Bharya

Veruthe Oru Movie - that'd be a good title for this movie. It was touted as one of the better films to come out in Malayalam in the recent months. Except for a plausible plot and reasonable characters it has nothing that we haven't seen before.

In fact it reminds me of so many movies from yester-years, yet in terms of quality it is nowhere near them. Films like Adaminte Variyellu, Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala, Kattathe Kilikoodu - in general many of the older films associated with domesticity come to my mind. None of them is related to Veruthe Oru Bharya in any other way other than depicting the role of women(or housewives in general) in contemporary Kerala culture. But Veruthe Oru Bharya, IMHO is a recyled product - old story in new cover. It is just a predictable re-hash of all the better movies on similar themes made before in Malayalam.

Jayaram and Gopika play the married couple in the spotlight in this moving marriage melodrama directed by Akku Akbar. To tell the truth, Gopika looks too young for the role, but I understand the director's predicament to find a 30+ year old actress in an industry populated solely with 20-22 year old heroines and 50+ year old heroes.

Another drawback(again it is a personal opinion like everything else in this blog) of this movie is how it tries to define and set rules for marital bliss. A set of unbreakable guidelines if messed with which will cause intense suffering to the parties involved as depicted in the movie. It tries to teach you a lesson for the price of your ticket. Well, I'd have gone to a school for that not to a movie theater.

May 13, 2009

The Visitor

An interesting low-key film from Thomas McCarthy, the director of Station Agent. A college professor arrives in his New York city apartment to find that it has been rented out by some stranger to an 'illegal alien' couple.

Aliens should be correctly understood in the context. Remember the Sting song, "Englishman in New York," which goes like, "I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien,
I'm an Englishman in New York." Here Sting as you know, is not talking about his extra-terrestrial parentage but rather about his US immigration status. Same with this movie.

The clash of cultures is interesting - you have a laid back Connecticut professor who floats thru' his life aimlessly accidentally dragged into the lives and travails of a set of illegal immigrants trying hard to gain their foothold in the US. Here's a movie about a cause, carrying a message where you first identify with the characters, then live for them and in the end it converts you - mission accomplished!

May 1, 2009

Atonement


I thought I had read Ian McEwan's Atonement sometime in the early 2000s. If I had, my forgetfulness is fabulous. I didn't remember even a wee bit of the story when I saw this movie based on the book except for one certain fact,that it was set in England. Anyway, the movie has an interesting plot and successful casting of actors including Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and three who plays various stages of the character - Briony Tallis(Saoirse Ronan, Ramola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave.) The movie is presented mostly thru' the eyes of Briony. That way it could be labeled as a coming of age movie. It is an emotional triangle involving two siblings and outsider which takes place before,during and after WW2.

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