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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Apr 28, 2010

Up in the Air

If you are a frequent flyer, you value your miles more than many things in your life.In Up in the Air, George Clooney is Ryan Bingham, who lives more than fifty percent of his life, mile high and loves it while going on with his everyday job of a down-sizer (down-sizers are hired by companies to lay-off people, because the companies themselves cannot bring themselves to do it, in other words he is their dirty laundry man.

It is a chick flick trying to capture it's ever elusive audience - men, flipping the gender of the main character. Nice movie if you are a chick or like George Clooney (or is that a tautological situation?) I liked it except in certain places where the new-preppie recruit breaks-down or when Clooney is let down by his mile-high fling.

Apr 20, 2010

Idiocracy

Idiocracy is what future holds the world, or more specifically America, if you consider America as the beginning and end of the world in general. With a precise observation of the current social fabric of the US of A the film-makers start thus, "As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species."

It might be said that Idiocracy is more of a skit than a movie, the chocolaty presence of Luke Wilson notwithstanding. I consider it as a commentary, a warning of sorts, the way the script and the director captures the cultural nuances of the current age and extrapolates it to a dumbed down universe, five hundred years into the future scores a bull's eye in my book. Let's go to 2505 where Costco is like a city state, in terms of geographical coverage. There is no water, even plants are irrigated by something like Gatorade called Brawndo which employs half the human race, that is if they ever get off their butt.


This is a movie about quotes, perceptions and ideological visualizatons of the future, I cannot say it any better than the script, I leave you with another quote from the Idiocracy, "Unaware of what year it was, Joe wandered the streets desperate for help. But the English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valleygirl, inner-city slang and various grunts. Joe was able to understand them, but when he spoke in an ordinary voice he sounded pompous and faggy to them."

Apr 15, 2010

Inglorious Basterds

Tarantino never disappoints. With Christoph Waltz in tow, it makes watching the movie all the more worthwhile.I read an interview with Tarantino where he says that if he was not able to find an actor fluent in German, English and Italian he'd have scrapped this project all together, which seems pretty plausible considering the fact that the whole movie kind of rides on the shoulders of Christoph Waltz. I came to know that he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar 2010 for this role, so much for my current affair awareness.

Brad Pitt is Lieutenant Aldo Raine, leader of a secret squad of Jewish American soldiers deep in the enemy territory with a mission to scalp all the German soldiers they come across, with their ultimate aim as Der Fuhrer. I loved Pitt's impersonation of an Italian, a la Corleone with a forward protruding jaw and a grating voice to match, comically entertaining. 


As always Tarantino's pick of music is highly commendable, it looks as if the movie is made around the sound track. He has also used some of Ennio Morricone's(one of the greatest living composers in my opinion)tracks. Tarantino's Hitler is a funny guy, not funny in the usual funny sort of way, but subtly funny. There are tributes to older movies(not his) hidden in frames, try fishing them out if you can or google. 

Tarantino is one of the best directors to come out of Hollywood in the recent times, every one knows that. Every movie of his is a consummate product - script is articulate and unpretentious and beyond words, frames flawless and sound track an extraordinary compilation of tracks which otherwise would've looked odd together but perfectly suits his film. Take a bow, quirky Quinten, you've done it again!





 


Apr 13, 2010

Twenty Twenty

This movie is a buffet lunch for Malayali - all the various dishes for the price of one dinner. Although how much of a dish each Malluwood actor is, is a question of debate. You get to see M & Ms , Dileep, Suresh Gopi, Mukesh - all in one movie. Of course there are female actors included for the sake of inclusion - like Bhavana, Kavya Madhavan, Gopika and a bone in the form of an item number thrown to the Generation Y of Malayalam cinema viz Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Kunchako Bobban and Nayantara. There, that took care of them, most of the movie belong to the mighty M & Ms - Mohanlal and Mammootty, the Generation A or B or something which has not exited Malayalam cinema even when they have completed half a century on the screen of life.

A mega hit in Kerala, all the actors play the part they are now assigned to in Malayalam cinema, not the one assigned to by the script, not that the script was very different. It was written with the signature elements of each actor and their place in Malayalam filmdom. In that way you can say the actors were not really acting, just living their real life roles in film industry.

20-20 was produced as fund raiser for AMMA by Dileep and directed by Joshi.Mohanlal is Devaraja Pratapa Varma, a character he should by now play in his sleep after doing a slew of such roles in the nineties and noughties. Mammootty is the astute lawyer with a conscience and a sister, Bhavana. Siddique and Sai Kumar are their devious villian selves, again playable in their sleep. There is the usual coterie of comedy characters composing of Kalpana, Salim Kumar, Innocent etc.Suresh Gopi gets to do his cop act, peppered with his usual cache of English swear words. Dileep's natural comic sense is the only thing I could tolerate in the movie.Again, if the box office is any indication the average Malayali movie-goer is at the other end of the spectrum compared to me.


Apr 10, 2010

Ritu (Rithu) :

If you ask me (a big mistake, because I don't stop speaking in the blogging medium), Ore Kadal was good, Ritu is better. Not a popular opinion shared by many in this virtual world of no-name movie reviewers. The reason may be because I could associate myself to Ritu or Rithu, coming from a similar academic and professional background, and could not find many personal parallels in Ore Kadal.

Shyamaprasad has beautifully captured the beautiful friendship of the three characters during their college days in some flash-backs and a song. The three musketeers - Sarath Varma(Nishan), Sunny(Asif Ali) and Varsha(Reema Kallingal) have done work comparable to many of erstwhile acting powerhouses, despite this being their debut film.

The atmosphere of an IT company has been realistically captured, after having worked in a few in India and in the US, I can vouch for that. The trials and victories of  ITstartups, the pragmatic idealists that the new generation of information technology workers are and the presence of an older leftist leaning society have all been truthfully captured in Joshua Newton's original script. Shyam Dutt's music provides a fittingly melodic framework to this contemporary film. The art work and the photography is above par, rising above the flotsam of present day Malayalam cinema.

It was indeed a welcome change from Shyamaprasad's part to go with an original script rather than adapting a famous novel or play which itself might have undergone numerous adaptations in different media before it reached Shyamaprasad. Ritu proves that he is definitely getting better at his art.

Apr 1, 2010

Sunset Boulevard

There were a lot of others like Sunset Boulevard - the premise of an aging star, a struggling new comer, both at different corners of the ring and the beast they've to fight is the same - the movie industry, but they all came later this is the grand original of all those scripts.

For all the lovers of movies about movies, Sunset Boulevard should be a staple. You get to see the Hollywood right after WW2, those b-w streets of LA with little or no traffic, the grand mansions of the yester-year's stars with Sullivenisque architecture and those struggling to make big it in the movie industry (same then as now.) William Holden and Gloria Swanson are the two pillars which hold this movie named after the most famous road in Hollywood, thereby the iconic of tinsel town dreams of many a man and woman, together and they do a fine job at it. A fine movie to take trip down the memory lane to 1950s with distinguished director Billy Wilder.

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