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 23, 2012

Melancholia

In Melancholia, Lars von Trier is dealing the dope of depression as the fate of the Earth hangs in balance, under the threat of a planetary collision. Another movie where people get married for all the wrong reasons. The marriage is not the focus though the film starts with the wedding of its main character, Justine played by Kirsten Dunst and spends a fair amount of time dragging through the wedding ceremonies while adding depth to its characters. As all these events slowly proceed on the moody blue marble of ours, outside, in outer space a rogue planet Melancholia is hurtling towards the earth.

What vexes me is, why do these people have to hold a crude hand crafted loop of wire to chart Melancholia’s progress towards the earth. Don’t they have internet? We can even track Santa (a totally imaginary creature), so can’t we track Melancholia – a real planet(for the purpose of this story) in a way befitting 21st century homo sapiens rather than doing it like cavemen. The movie is not at all scientifically accurate from the inter-planetary collision perspective, which is beside the point, the planet is there to add to the magnanimity of visuals and to act as proxy for depression.

The beginning of the film with its Wager overture showcasing a tableaux of extremely slow moving images reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so does the structure of the film set in parts. The opening scenes lets you know this film is serious, it requires your hundred percent presence on the couch/ or your seat to understand it fully, not something you can watch while cooking dinner. If you are in the mood for heavy stuff and some retrospection or in the mood for art check out Melancholia.

Apr 18, 2012

Limitless

Limitless is my kind of Hollywood movie. I don’t watch Hollywood movies for intellectual stimulation or art, not to see the gritty reality of life or break my teeth on cold hard facts although every once in a while Hollywood goes above and beyond its call of duty and brings out movies like Fargo, Lost in Translation, Punch Drunk Love, Melancholia, Requiem for a Dream, Full Metal Jacket etc. That is all well and good, but I don’t want Hollywood to make it a habit.

Hollywood is at its best when money, power and technology comes together with some good looking faces and a decent script. Matrix, Gladiator, Avatar, Babel, Memento, Castaway, Kill Bill(s), Forrest Gump are all examples of unsurpassed entertainment only Hollywood can provide. Limitless might not make it to the top rung of these entertainers, but it is highly watchable.And of course it has Hollywood's the other most handsome Brad.

Apr 17, 2012

The Help

The Help is  a Civil Rights era chick flick, if ever there was one. By calling it a chick flick I don’t mean to demean it, I just mean that most of the characters are ladies, it tells the stories about the lives of women – black and white in the Deep South in the middle years of last century. Engrossing, in the way we all secretly cater to gossip without admitting and informative from a historical perspective.

It’s kind of unsettling to me that the most of pop fiction best sellers, which later got labeled as classics showcasing African American life are/were written by white people. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sue Monk Kidd and now Kathryn Stockett (whose novel is the basis of this movie) joins the ranks of non-black writers telling the tales of oppression and struggle of the black community with black characters in their books.

Except for Alex Haley’s Roots(a phenomenal book, thank God this Bible of African American fiction was indeed written by a black man), I cannot imagine the general public making a beeline for a single book of fiction written by an African American author at airport kiosks or at the beach. Of course there is Tony Morrison, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston and many other talented African-American writers, but their impact on the general public who are hard to be enticed to read serious fiction is almost nothing outside high school English classes, compared to the ones penned by white writers I mentioned in the paragraph above.

Stove, Monk Kidd, Stockett all have produced extraordinary absorbing novels, whose movie rights were probably bought long before the books hit the stands. I wish there was an African American novelist, you know I like it straight from the horse’s mouth. That said The Help is a highly watchable film, especially for women – thus my label Civil war chick flick.

Apr 7, 2012

Shor in the City

Shor in the City a portmanteau movie about Mumbai with its eyes trained on the city’s under belly. It has a Mumbai noted by the absence of Parsis, Malabar Hill, Bollywood starlets and Lokhandwala complex. It is not quite Slumdog either, Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru are in the right place – the slums. But there are no millionaires in this one, only people with dreams of making millions. Each trying to make it with  his own honest effort through guns, bribes, counterfeit products, bank robbery or other countless ways you can make a million in Mumbai.
 
The best reason to watch this movie is its assembly of actors. After a long while it was good to see Tusshar Kapoor in a different but good role. Somehow Ramakanth, the aspiring director in The Dirty Picture didn’t register with me. Another delectable find is Sendhil Ramamoorthy, US born Indian actor who is a perfect fit as an American of Indian descent trying to set up a business in India. Pitabash Tripathy as Mandook, a small time crook and Tusshar’s friend is a find.
 
Although the story line is tense, the script by Sita Menon and the director duo add touches of compassion and comedy that go with the flow. In the end it is a feel good movie which imparts a certain humanity and the sense of triumph of the good along with a couple of hummable songs.

Apr 5, 2012

Sangre de mi sangre (Blood of my blood)


Sangre de mi sangre (Blood of My Blood) narrates the story of two young Mexican illegal immigrants in Nueva York locked in a battle of survival. Director Christopher Zalla’s debut venture, this Mexican story of existence, endurance and identity theft in the mean streets of New York is dark and gritty.

The four main characters, which include two protagonists РPedro(Jorge Adrian Espindola) and Juan (Armando Hernandez), the undocumented young workers who arrive in New York hidden in a truck and two supporting roles played by Jes̼s Ochoa and Paola Mendoza pretty much carry the film on their shoulders. It gives the audience a view of a different Brooklyn, away from the brown stones, dark, trapped spaces where souls suffocate and die, where hope is buried behind bricks only to be taken out when lives are on line. A forceful movie from a first time director, maybe a sign of things to come from him.