Wednesday, 31 August 2011


2000 by Denis Villeneuve - French movie from Quebec, Canada

I was searching for Villeneuve movies, after watching Incendies and found two. I am convinced this director is a maestro, a real genius in movie making. May be after a couple of decades, movie lovers will talk about him like we do about Kurusova, Fellini et all.

A woman cannot get over her guilt, after an abortion. To make it worse, her car runs over a man. All is not over and she meets the victim's son. 

This movie begins in a bizarre way. A big fish, on the butchers table, is telling a story. It is extremely brilliant how water and fish is incorporated into this movie. Through the fish and the various images of water, this really takes us through the turbulant mind of the woman, Bibiane. This gives a surrealistic feeling at least in the beginning. But then towards the latter half, the movie turns into blunt reality and it is brilliant and beautiful. There are some cliches here, but we would not even notice them actually.

It is bit difficult watch in the beginning, as it looked more like a low paced art house movie. But soon we are into the mind of Bibiane and the movie is quite different experience from there on. The gradual relation ship between Bibiane and the dead man's son is kind of expected, once they accidentally meet, but it is told in a very nice way.

This is one movie where we can question the story, the lady is never caught or questioned for her crime, in many ways, but nobody, I think, will question the way it is told. Excellent script and director, supported by a brilliant camera. Add to it the brilliant performance by Marie Josee Croze as Bibiane. It is a wonder that, a French actors, irrespective of which side of Atlantic they are from, is always brilliant.

I cant wait to watch Polytechinique, the other movie I have from Villeneuve.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Kynodontas - Dogtooth

2009 by Giorgos Lanthimos - Greek movie

When somebody told me that Greek movies are on a much superior level to general cinema, I was not sure. Couple of movies later, I am quite surprised. At least in my country, when people discuss movies, seriously, nobody seems to talk about Greek movies. I have only seen a few now, but from what I have, its incredible. They are not the entertainment kind. (Am very curious as to how these movies fare in their box office though) But they are quite different and definitely will make the viewer think and wonder about what is happening on the screen.

Three children are bought up by the parents in a confined territory of their home. 

It is as simple as that, but this is a kind of shocking movie. When I read the synopsis, I too made the same mistake, thought it must be children. Only when the movie begin do we realise these children are actually past their teens. We do not know their exact age, but they are definitely around the twenties. And to think that, they have not seen the outside world is unbelievable, strange and scary.

The parents are able to give them different meanings to words, can trick them to fight for a toy plane, as if its the original plane which has fallen down from the skies. Everything about this movie  plot, is strange and unbelievable. But the script and the director has done a brilliant job that it make us curious about these people and will make us live with them. It is like we are watching some alien family performing their drama in a home with high walls. Nothing happening inside will never occur in an ordinary family, but still we are deeply engaged in this family. It is shocking, it is disturbing and thought provoking and even explicit.

I am not saying this movie deeply moved me or anything like that, but I will always say that this is kind of thought, film makers need to have so that cinema as an art form will prosper and inspire more people. I cannot cover my excitement when I say, the man behind this movie owns a truly brilliant and extra ordinary mind of thought.

I do not love it, I do not hate it, but it is definitely, may be, the most different cinematic experience. I hope I can say that. 

Monday, 29 August 2011

Mensonges et trahisons et plus si affinités

2004 by Laurent Tirad - French movie

It is high time, French movies are released in India, dubbed or subtitled. I would prefer the latter. It is such a pity that Indian movie lovers are not able to watch these movies. Mensonges.... translated in some ways as My love story.., is not a classic or a master piece. But..

Raphael is a ghost writer, he writes biographies for celebrities. He is assigned to write for the French football team captain, and his girl friend is known to him. In fact, he had a crush for her and had failed to attract her. His present girl friend, Muriel, wants him to write his own book, but Raphael cannot. 

This movie could have been made as a very serious movie. But, the makers decided otherwise and made it like a simple funny movie. But inspite of that, it raises many questions. It is presented in such a way that we can either ponder over those questions, or just ignore it and enjoy the fun being offered.

Raphael is a brilliant character, so are Muriel, the football captain and Claire, the old friend of Rapahel. Through all these main characters, we actually go through a very nice ride, with occassional sentimental scenes thrown in.

Edouard Baer as Raphael carries the movie through out. Alice Taglioni is charming too.

I am still laughing, thinking about some scenes. An excellent funny ride. 


2010 by Sasikumar - Tamil movie

Kerala always look down upon Tamil, may it be their people or movies or what not. I dont have any idea why this happened. 2 decades back, Tamil movies were really poor and we could understand why people used to talk about Tamil movies, only with a kind of contempt and sarcasm. But Tamil movies made a big leap from the beginning of this millennium, but the attitude of Keralites to Tamil movies remain the same even now. Most Malayaalees still watch only the big entertainer productions from Tamil Nadu, which are typical entertainers of course, and ignore the good ones from Tamil Nadu. The movie distributors in Kerala, who bring in Tamil movies, I think are very well aware of this trend that most good movies from Tamil Nadu are not shown in Kerala theatres. There are so many brilliant movies, to my knowledge, which are never shown in Kerala yet, forget that they never are released. The list of such movies include even the movies which inspite of being different and classy were even super hits in Tamil Nadu. Kalloori and Yudham Sei being the best examples. Easan was released in Tamil Nadu last year, and it got only an average response. However, it is surprising that the movie is playing in Kochi now.

Group of rich youngsters, lead by a minister's son, enjoy their life in the city, girls, drugs and rave parties and what not, but they dont have to worry at all by the law with the kind of political back up one of them has got. The ministers son is kidnapped and a police officer investigates. 

Sasikumar, the director's second effort after the much rated and successful Subramaniapuram, directs and produce this movie, should have been enough reason for this movie to find some response in Kerala. But still it takes about an year to get released in Kerala. But the movie is brilliant only in parts, especially for some sections of the second half, and it is very average for most and there are some moments, when it can hardly manage the standards of those C rate porn based movies of the 80's.

There was a very good plot but the script is a huge failure for most parts and the director seems to have ignored this, nor did he try to make it up. But still, there are moments when we will wish, why did not he try to better the script and the movie. This could have been a real thriller, a very different entertainer...

What was shocking is actually the terrible scenes of violence towards the end, raising questions that if Sasikumar is also going the Ram Gopal Varma way. Is violence going to be an integral part of his movies? Subramanyapuram did have violence, but the movie was a brilliant revenge story and it was supposed to be that way. After all it was a rustic revenge story. Only towards the second half do we know that Easan also is a revenge story, but the violence in the last minutes could have been avoided.

The movie ends up as a pretty ordinary one, unfortunately. It could have been much better. Whatever, Samudrakani, as the police officer, promises a lot. He is an excellent actor and I hope he gets nice roles and he gets noticed.

But the highlight of this movie is a song, brilliantly choreographed and shot. It is very Indian (Tamilian) and very much adhering to Tamil folk steps. But the master stroke is the use of the dress as a kind of prop, in its choreography, occassionally. I love this song and its choreography, that I cant help pasting a link here.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Topio Stin Omichli - Landscape in the Mist

1988 by Theo Angelopoulos - Greek movie

The UEFA super cup between Barca and FC Porto was to start at 0015 hrs, so I really wanted the movie to finish well before. But, but but.. I had picked up an acclaimed master piece movie, a real art house production from a maestro, and there were moments when I really felt, I might have to stop the movie some where to not miss my Football show. But there were also moments when I even felt, whatever happens with Barca, I am not going to break this movie, for any football. There it is, its pace is quite slow like in most art house movies, but it is quite a bewitching cinema, cinema at its artistic best.

Two children, a very young boy and an adolescent girl, are told by their mother that their father is in Germany. They elope their home, north wards to the Greek border, to Germany to meet their father. 

This is master piece of a road movie, with two children as protagonists. We are told quite early that there is no such father, but the desire of the children to meet him takes us through a stunning journey. They travel by train, treks, bus, bike and even walking through never ending roads, coming across various things in life, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I would call it as  surrealism at its best some times, with some incredibly brilliant stunning images. Towards the first half there are some scenes and frames with brilliant juxtaposition of contrasting senses or matters, which was brilliant. And at other times, it is reality at its best. There is a terribly painful and touching scene with a trek driver, which was unbelievable. It was like somebody just killed someone very dear to you, right in front of your eyes. We feel terribly sorry for these children but we continue travelling with them.

And the Cinematography, this is classic brilliance. There are so many frames which looks like, they have been just shot as told by Ansel Adams or Cartier Bresson or such great masters of Photography. Absolutely brilliant and Classic, confirming to text book rules of photography. And there is brilliant music too.

However, as I always feel when I watch great master piece's from art house maestros, it does have all those moments or situations which you would expect only from these kind of great artistic works. At least in few scenes I was thinking, isn't this kind of pretentious, like I feel often with art house movies.

- a lack of reality in the plot when two children can travel like this day and night, with not even one character asking  them why or what or how?

- characters who doesn't want to talk at all. Except a young man, every body who is coming across this children seems to, like to keep mum and understand everything, all  are intelligent - even the very young boy seems to understand certain moments, the feelings between the young man and the older girl, which I wonder how he can at all?

- typical situations when you, I mean me, dont understand what it is, why, for what?, like the lady saying something, sitting on a bench, outside the police officers room, repeating it.

In spite of all the above , the movie is soooooo captivating, definitely speaks volumes about this movie. In spite of its slow pace, it can keep us really engaged worried and wondering about these children.

Anybody who is interested in Photography, I strongly advise, must watch this movie. Even if this movie is not your kind of movie, you need to complete watching it. And dont forget, it was shot in film, without the help of the digital screens from which you can immediately see what you just shot and improve it if needed. This comes from those good old days, when the man behind the camera needed to be intelligent enough to understand everything. Even otherways, this is a classic example of classic photography. 

Friday, 26 August 2011

The 11th hour

2007 by Leila and Nadia Conners - Documentary in English

I was a very happy man before I sat down for this one. Leo Messi was declared the European player of the year by UEFA. Well that was expected, but what was the icing on the cake was the margin of votes, by which he went ahead. Leo got 38, Xavi 11 and Christiano just 3!!! Those three who voted for Christiano - a journalist from Portugal, a woman journalist from San Marino (for obvious reasons) and then another journalist from Armania. Well, his newspaper is called Armanian Soccer, may be the only one to call Football as soccer in Europe. So its all an easy guess. Even Leo and Xavi might not have guessed such a huge margin. Anyway, it is only a question of months, before little Leo will be declared the FIFA world player, the first player to win the most prestigious individual honour in Football, consecutively for 3 years.

Also, the Champions League draw for the season was done and my beloved Barca only will have AC Milan as a major partner in our group. Watching AC Milan now, I think it will not be a tough job for Barca to go to the round of 16. Every prospects for a rematch with Arsenal and Chelsea is ahead though.

Within a few minutes from the beginning of the documentary, I forgot completely about Football and started to worry about our nature.

The 11th hour is yet another documentary on climate change. 

It is created, produced and narrated by Leonardo De Caprio, which is quite interesting. No words to appreciate a star like De Caprio coming out to make such a documentary.

Though it talks about Climate change and the horros awaiting human kind, it is still looking at the whole issue from a kind of American perspective. Also, it bombards us with information, quite important and scary ones, in a consistently fast pace. Even before we have realised one issue, the next personality is telling us an even scarier thought. Sure, this is all serious and it is really an excellent effort, but I thought the pace could have been a bit slow to allow the viewer to digest what he is told. It rather is a documentary with the pace of a Hollywood thriller.

But whatever, it is an excellent documentary warning us about the problems we are looking at, because of all what we did to our nature in the last 100 or 200 years. One scientist tell us that 99.9% of species in the Universe will get extinct one day and human beings are digging its own grave.

Home is way ahead as a brilliant documentary in all its aspects, but 11th Hour definitely manages to convey its message. And it is heartening that it comes from a Hollywood star. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

La Doublure - The Valet

2006 by Francis Veber - French

It is not easy for me to remember names, even the ones from daily life. When discussing films, if at all people ask me for the names of directors and all, I wont be able to answer immediately in most cases. And especially when it comes to names outside USA and UK, when the names are not easy for me, it is even difficult. But I dont think I can easily forget the name of Francis Veber. I watched La Diner de Cons (which was remade in India as Bheja Fry) and Le Closet, and felt this man is a maestro in making classic comedies. He just substantiates my belief with La Doublure.

A billionaire CEO has a super model mistress. One Paparazzi photographs them together, an ordinary man too got inside the frame by accident, and the CEO's wife is out to prove the story. To save his marriage, the billionaire picks up the ordinary guy and pays the supermodel too, to act as couples, to convince his wife. The ordinary guy, working as a valet, in fact is let down by his old time girl friend, who rejected his marriage proposal. 

An incredible plot for a romantic comedy. As it progress, it only turns brilliantly funny.

I would say, it is actually a study of men. There is a man who is cheating both his wife and also his mistress, the way he cheats them both is typical of rich men. He is quite confused about whom to keep but what he is sure about is his love for money. His final preference is weighed down by his goal to remain a billionaire CEO and husband. At the same time, there is also this ordinary man, a pure example of man who loves his girl than anything. He has got this unbelievable opportunity to live with a supermodel, a beautiful woman for whom any man would do anything, but he still remains loyal to his girl friend, without any hope of her accepting his proposal, but still is nice to the super model. It only adds to the brilliance of this script that there are two occassions when through actions and dialogues he is shown as an ordinary man, not any saint. Also there is this friend of the Valet, who is a perfect example of a male friend, jealous, creepy and everything. This character was really funny.

At the same time, it is also brilliant with its female characters, especially the wife of the billionaire. Her happiness in giving any sorts of pain to her cheating husband gives us some wonderful laughs. The girl friend is quite typical, but the supermodel is quite different and is brilliant. In fact, she is quite a revelation. Of course, it is clear it must be only money what attracted her to a much older billionaire, but she behaves quite normal and her relationship with the guy is really nice. There is also this hilarious scenes involving a doctor, who ends up taking treatment himself, at the patients home, and still charging the patient.

Of course, this could be considered an out of the world plot or unbelievable one, but the script is brilliant and Veber ensures that all this could be quite happening. The movie is quite fast and sleek. Just that, it ends even before you have not had enough of these wonderful characters. Yes, to be frank, I really felt the movie could have been a bit longer. It is only once in a blue moon I wish oh, this movie should not be ending. Doublure is so nice and charming.

Daniel Auteuil, as the billionaire, reinstates his acting prowess. For Gad Elmaleh, the role is only slightly different from that of Hors de prix, but he is nice. I was quite charmed by Alice Taglioni as the super model. Agreed, she doesn't have much to act here, but her presence is brilliant.

A very funny movie indeed. For me, it is not just a funny movie, because it is very rare for me to wish a movie didn't end at all. I loved this movie.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


2011 by Jaume Collet- Serra - English from Hollywood

I am definitely not a fan of Hollywood. Yet, sometimes I end up picking up the same kind of movies, which I believe is routine Hollywood.

Mr. Harris and wife arrives in Berlin for a conference and upon arrival at the hotel, Harris has to go back to the airport to find his missing bag and ends up with an accident. When he wakes up at the hospital, after a few days, he does not remember everything. Somebody else is acting as Harris. 

This is routine Hollywood, with typical turns and cliches through out.

It is thrilling in parts but by the end of the movie, we just realise that this is nothing special, just the same things repeated, old spy, fake passports, killer men, some GREAT invention which is good/bad for the world, a prince (Muslim of course), car chase, comments against communists, explosion, some innocent dead bodies, an angel to help and a perfect fine end that it looks really ordinary, especially towards the latter half.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

La Rafle - The Round up

2010 by Roselyne Bosch - French movie

Second world war has always offered a lot for movie makers, especially for European movie makers. The mass killings of the Jews by the Nazi's has been told umpteen times that we seem to have a new story at least once in a decade. This one is again based on true events and the script depends a lot on the memoirs of one woman who survived this particular pages from French history. The script features many real life people.

German occupied France. As per agreement with Germans, French police make a massive arrest of all Jewish people who had come into Paris, before the German occupation, about 24000 of them on the 16 of July 1942. They didnt manage the agreed number as many French people hid and helped the Jews. Those arrested, together with the children, are transferred to different camps. 

This movie is special, because the script uses a lot of time to see the happenings through children. The script concentrates on one particular family, but there are also other families involved. The efforts of French to save their neighbours and the problems in the camps, including an initial stay in a Parisian Velodrome, are all picturised here. During all this parts, children occupy a big presence and all the sadness, anger and disappointment we feel for these innocent people, are felt through their children.

One of the most brilliant aspect is the recreation of the Velodrome. That was quite stunning and stood out for me. The innocence of some of the children was very touching too.

Jean Reno, as a Jewish doctor, Melanie Laurent as Ms. Monod, a red cross worker whose memoirs were so important for this script and Gad Elmaleh, as the young father of a few kids, together with the many children performed very well.

But I do felt that, this movie could have been more touching. There is some brilliance lacking in many moments, which could have made it even more heartening. In spite of all efforts by the team, I still thought, may be they did not put their 200% into it. If not, this could have been a movie as deeply touching as Life is Beautiful. Instead it ends up as just a nice movie.

World has seen enough of the sufferings of Jews, I think. I am wondering, when will Europe make movies which will show the sufferings of the Palestinians and those countries around Israel?

Monday, 22 August 2011

Not a Love Story

2011 by Ram Gopal Varma - Hindi movie

I made a promise to myselves, after watching No one killed Jessica, that I would not attempt to watch another Bollywood experiment of a true crime story. I knew this one was based on the infamous Neeraj Grover murder case and it was directed by the once brilliant RGV, but I wanted to ignore my promise, just because of Mahie Gill. Here is an actress in Bollywood, who can really act, Dev D had proved it to me so I really felt I must not miss this one.

Anusha has a possessive boy friend in Robin, who quite obviously, as any Indian with some common sense have some idea how things work for a Bollywood entrance,  is not receptive to her idea of trying out to be an actor in Bollywood. But his love for her, lets her leave for Mumbai and give it a try. Obviously, Anusha meets those who wants to try her other talents than acting and is almost disappointed, when finally, she is offered a real chance. She calls Robin, shares her joy, and then goes for a party with all her friends and the casting guy, who accompanies her to her apartment, drunk obviously, and both have a very late night sleep. Robin, wanting to congratulate his would be, flies into Mumbai and knocks at the door. Anusha can only behave as if the casting guy is just trying to rape her. Robin, does what every man would do, kills the man. 

Mahie Gill is good, but she still looks a bit over age for this character, for me at least. But to be frank, I cannot imagine a single different actress from Bollywood who can do all those, repeated a lot, close shots of crying out loud scenes, with even half the results as hers. She could still have been better, but I thought, she has done it much much better than any contemporary Bollywood actress would have. Others might have looked comical with so many of such shots, that too with a camera so close. The actor, who really stood out for me, was Zakir Hussain, who did a brilliant under play as the investigator. This kind of underplay is achieved by Bollywood only rarely.

The unbearable part about this movie is its camera. I really doubt the intentions when RGV use this kind of camera angles, always having Ms. Gill's legs on the fore ground. (There is even a shot with a bra in the fore ground!!!) Until the second half of the movie, when it is into the investigation and court, Mahie has to do a lot of cleavage shows and the camera is always in a low angle. What for? And such angles are nearly absent in the second half. Add to this the horrible camera movements, which can even create some pain for ones eyes, together with some horrible back ground score, the movie is a little bit of pain actually. But it is still watchable, only because of the shock and seriousness of the plot. I really wish there was a camera, the presence of which would not have been noticed, for this movie. There is a touch of realism for many scenes, until the advocates walk in for each party. And the final scene between Anusha and Robin, is truly brilliant. If I would remember this movie after a couple of years, it would be for that single scene. Brilliant.

I really had many questions during the movie.

Do girls in our country still believe, that they can fly into Mumbai and look for an acting career, without show casing their talents outside acting, at all?

Dont our women smell something bad, when our men want to come to their apartment, late at night, drunk or not?

Having a possessive/ non possessive boy friend, who keeps calling every hour or not, how can a woman not take his calls, especially late at night, and think all will be allright?

All what is required to bed a girl, is just two drinks and a sad story at late night?

How the hell can a man walk into his girls apartment, in the morning, sees a man naked there and can still believe the word of his girl that the naked man is trying to molest her? How stupid can a man be?

Even after all the blood shed, there doesn't seem to be a single word from this stupid man to his girl about how the hell this man ended up naked in his girls apartment?

How can an educated man and woman be so stupid to decide that one can say the other never came to Mumbai at all.  (Investigation for this crime, I thought, is so simple even a college student could have done this, so foolish were the acts, how the two lovers carried it out. )

All these questions does not have anything to do with the movie, as it might be what really happened, but I find it quite amusing. Are all our men and women really stupid like this? During the investigation, Robin asks the officer, what would you have done, if you were in my place? Good question, but ... sounds really strange for me.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Layer Cake

2004 by Matthew Vaughn - British movie

I think many people I know consider James Bond films as the best they know about British films, except for an occassional Gandhi or others. I consider British movies almost in the same wave length as those from rest of Europe, much better than from the Americas. Watching Layer Cake, I am quite impressed that their entertainers are excellent too, not going over the board always, like in the Hollywood ones.

Our hero is a cocaine delaer, very successful but is planning to retire from his nasty business. But then his chief gives him an important assignment. There is also a huge ecstacy deal, he needs to settle out, which was infact stolen from Netherlands, from a neo Nazi sect. 

It is interesting that the hero doesnt have a name in this movie and we do not realise it until the very end. The troubles he seem to be in are so nicely woven together that the movie looks like an absolute thriller, without any over the board action scenes at all. This is what I consider as the biggest high light of this movie. It is thrilling to the hilt and it has great sense of an under current of action, but there are hardly any action at all.

This is a brilliantly scripted and executed thriller movie. The climax especially is brilliant, though we feel bad about it, it is quite realistic and the whole movie is brilliantly realistic. Nothing over the top, anywhere.

This is a classy entertainer, something in the path of Goodfellas, Casino etc.

In the beginning, when our hero is narrating the mafia world, he says something like - note that one day all this drug business will be legal, once the system realise how much money is to be made from it, not millions, but billions. 

Friday, 19 August 2011


2008 by Bouli Lanners - French movie from Belgium

Some movies are quite different that at the end of the movie, we are perplexed about it, what to say about it, was that good or bad or average or was it too intelligent for us to make something out of it....

A man finds a burglar at his home, but instead of reporting to the police, decides to ride him to his home. 

This is one movie, which can be easily called a road movie. But, honestly, I could not make out the ending of the movie. The movie has a brilliantly funny beginning and as they both set on their drive, getting to know each other better, facing minor obstacles through out, the movie is simply good with occassional hilarious moments. The character, especially of the young 'burglar' is brilliant that we cant help laughing at everything he does.

Then there is this scene when they both reach the home of this 'burglar', where the movie take a different turn and this scene, very hard and touching, is may be the best in this movie.

But thereafter, it seems like something was missing. And this culminated towards the end. It is like as if there were soooo many options for us to decide what happened. I dont know, may be I did not understand the whole thing at all, or there was something I completely missed. But it is like we are in absolute dark about what happened to one person, who was keeping us really focused for the whole journey.

Anyways, I felt a bit disappointed towards the end, for the movie was soo brilliant till the final 1/3 rd.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Barcelona begins the season with Super Copa (3-2)

I had few movies ready to watch. But I was so tensed about the match, the second leg of Super Copa final, between Barca and Real Madrid, that I decided to not watch any movie. Normally, super copa finals is not this tense. Last season, Barca even lost the first leg to Sevilla, 3-1 I think, but still I wasnt worried about the second leg, which we won with a Messi hatrick. This time it is different. Being the Copa del rey winners, our opponent is Real Madrid and they had a better preseason than Barca and played a really brilliant game in the first leg. And that had prompted for a media lash across the world about a beginning of the end of Barca's supreme reign and made this second leg really an important El Classico.

Real Madrid, definitely is much fitter than Barca and played a really brilliant match, especially in the first half. They were pressing so hard, so high up in the Barca half, man marking each and every Barca player, it looked almost impossible for Barca to pass the ball up. Of course, it was impossible for them to do it for the whole 90 minutes, but they did it for a very long time, demonstrated their fitness and also the determination to get on top of Barca. But, what makes a champion team, a real champion team is their ability to stay hold under immense pressure and still produce moments of brilliance which will see them through. Even half fit Barca team managed a win against a firing on all cylinders Real Madrid  is really incredible. What normally ends up as a typical pre season match has paved way to be the best El Classico match between April and August, an excellent start to the season.

Arrigo Saachi, the great Milan coach, would say when you press hard it is important that the defence and forwards lines must be compact and should not be more than 25 meters apart. Real Madrid pressed well, but they were not compact enough and it was just a question of moments when Barca would pass through. When there is strong one on one marking in your own half, all it requires is a player of amazing quality to dribble out and send a pass through to the front lines and Barca has Messi. Messi really made a great run through the RM players and send in a pass, a synonym of the perfect assist, from which Iniesta found acres of space before him and the RM goal keeper, Casillas. Most people are crazy to watch Messi goals. But I am more crazy about his assists. I would say he make the most brilliant assists and like he did for the 4th Villa goal in the first classico of last season, this was a magic pass which required only a single touch to find the net.

In the second goal again, Messi proves what a player he is, with his first touch, by chest, defeating Carvalho and at the same time making it through to Pique, who in turn made an intelligent back heel pass back, may be the only centre back in the whole world who will try such a pass in the opposition box, and that was enough for Messi to do what he does best. Make opposition players look ordinary and score. It was so funny to watch Christiano Ronaldo, tyring to stop Messi during this goal and sliding on his knees, like in a celebration, but failing.

Well, Real Madrid managed to level the score with two cheeky goals, only because Barca defense is poor in defending set pieces. I strongly doubt, the first one had a hint of off side to it. And with just 10 minutes left and all players looking to be really tired, Pep introduced the prodigal son, Fabregas in. It was so clear why Pep needed him in the team for the last two years. Messi, Fabregas and Pique played in the same '86 team at La Masia and the understanding they have was quite clear. Fabregas was part of the last minute Messi goal too.

Real Madrid definitely have improved a lot as a team and they can really fight with Barca. This season is going to be real tough. But the difference between these teams is Messi. That was quite clear yesterday. His vision, intelligence, balance, ability et all is at least 2 levels above any other player in contemporary football. Little Maestro.

Some journalist in Argentina wrote that, Leo, Xavi and Iniesta are really out of the world class, that they can make even average players around them play 50% above their normal ability. And Iniesta, in pure techinical quality, this man is the best in the world, only if not for the little Leo. Dani Alves also had a brilliant game, defending Ronaldo so well, that Ronaldo was clue less. Another brilliant player was Mascherrano who looks like an excellent central defender, playing out of position though. But I thought it was the presence of Sergi Busquests, that really helped Barca play better than in the first leg. He almost nullified Ozil, even if he was only half fit.

Barca can only improve from here and as always, should reach their peak by end of November, in time for the first El Classico. Real Madrid is already playing great and I am kind of scared how they will be playing by November. Mouth watering games awaits ahead.

Such a pity that the match ends with a bunch load of red cards after a melee at the end of the game, when Fabregas was fouled by Marcelo. It is surprising how Marcelo and Pepe finishes their game. Anyways they are players. But it was really stupid and brutal for Mourinho, to walk across to Tito, Barc's assistant coach, and poke his eyes. He is a disgrace to football and he is also harming the image of Real Madrid.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

London to Brighton

2006 by Paul Andrew Williams - British movie

To my knowledge, there must be only a few films which have dealt with the terrible theme of child prostitution. I dont remember seeing any serious movie actually. This is quite a serious topic and it does definitely have a ' handle with care' sticker, may be the reason, why there is hardly any movies on this topic. Mr. Williams, definitely wanted to make a thriller, but puts in the issue of children being used, in a brilliant way. Gem of a movie, for sure.

Joanne a 11+ years old girl runs away from her home, to escape from her father, and is met by Kelly, a prostitute, who has been asked by Derek, a pimp, to find a little girl for a pedophile millionaire. Kelly and Joanne, then have to run for their lives. 

That's how I would look at this plot, but it is told quite differently in the movie. It begins with Kelly and Joanne, Kelly injured and Joanne petrified, trying to run away from London to Brighton. We might even take them for a mother and daughter escaping from some crazy father or villains. And only through brilliantly placed flash backs, does the whole story come into light and that was brilliantly structured. The script, I must say was extremely brilliant. The whole drama is done within about 24 - 48 hours, I think, inlcuding all the flashbacks and we feel like we have lived through the whole period.

Towards the climax, we do get some feeling about the intentions of the millionaire's son, but the climax still is brilliant. Because, even if the movie is like a thriller, it is actually looking at the mind sets of two females. One a grown up who is already a prostitute, and one a 11 year old who just tried to attempt the job for some money. Their relationship is brilliant in the movie. Kelly is quite aware about the dirt behind her job, but is still forced to do it, but she tries hard for the girl, inlcuding selling herselves a couple of times to make some money for their expenses. And one of those scenes, which is edited so fast, makes us really feel sorry for her.
Joanne, being interviewed by Derek, pushing her into the job  is one of the best scenes in this movie. We can only watch it with a deep fear, knowing that a little girl is about to be thrown into prostitution. This scene alone sends in a lot of messages against child prostitution. I think, I was watching most of this movie with an open mouth, with a kind of fear in my eyes and mind. It is definitely a hard watch. But it is a gem of a movie. Very successful in crossing the bridge, from the script to the viewer.

The performances of Loraine Stanley as Kelly and Georgia Groome as Joanne were truly brilliant. There is not a moment when you dont feel for them. But towards the end, they really touch us deep.

A brilliant plot, brilliantly scripted and directed. A real thriller, with a message.

I would rate this as one of the best British movies, I have seen.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tournee - On Tour

2010 by Mathieu Almaric - French movie, with quite a good amount of English dialogues

India has a really colonial influenced, hypocritical, way of looking at nudity and sex. And because of this there is a very strict censoring system in India that, watching some of the International movies in India, is a disaster, as they will be so badly censored. The only exception, as some say, is when movies are screened during the International film festivals. I am not sure whether movies are permitted to show in these festivals without any cuts by Indian censor board. The after effect is that, movie lovers in India really miss certain movies, which will never be played in India because of lots of nude scenes, even if they are not intended to create any sexual feelings in the viewer. La Belle Noiseuse is a striking example, which I think Indians will never be able to watch. And Tournee is yet another one.

Joachim tours in France with some middle aged Burlusque dancers, performing in small towns and cities across France. But he is unable to find a place for performance in Paris. 

For me, this movie is a master piece, a master piece from the latest times. And to know that it was written and  directed by the same man, who lived the life of a failed man in the frames, only adds on to my reasons to credit more stars to this wonderfully brilliant movie.

Joachim is a brilliant character. He was some TV producer in Paris and only earned foes than friends during that time that he had to leave his home for US. And then he makes this promise to these amazing middle aged artists for a performing tour of France, which will include a grand show at the very artistic Paris. He does manage everything for them, well attended shows every where, but in Paris. All his attempts to find a theatre  hall in Paris fails and he is as disappointed as his girls. What makes us really sorry for this guy is that he is a real failure with his family too. Even his kids, who are introduced into the plot to the latter half, a master stroke by itself, doesn't find any reason to love and respect him.

It is difficult to not be amazed by this plot, character and execution. If one needs to look at it as a road movie, you can. Or as a movie about some burlusque dancers, you can. Finally it is the movie about a failed man too. The movie does not focus specifically into any of these, but it still retains its focus as failed man touring with some burlusque dancers. The effort and bohringness of their repeated travels is effectively transmitted to the viewers. The real sadness, pretentive joy and the disenchantment in being nowhere in life for some middle aged woman who has to sing, emote and strip tease to please the crowd is brilliantly felt and so is the realisation of a man that he is nothing in life, personal or professional.

Some of the best moments of this movie involves the discussion between Joachim and his 'girls', before and after their shows. It is more like peeping into some dressing rooms of some dancers. And the script and the camera is not shy at all of what is happening there, the camera has access to almost anywhere. This middle aged dancers are all old fashioned and yet are not shy in front of the camera and they all are brilliant characters too, especially Mimi who is the person through which we are told that behind these smiling, dancing bodies, there is sadness personified.

Brilliant script, wonderfully shot. It is difficult to believe that Almaric directed this movie, while giving his best performance of life in front of the camera. I salute you sir.

This is definitely modern cinema at its best. I will stop just short of calling it a poem or verse on celluloid, just because it is a kind of real dry movie, differently styled.

French cinema is really incredible. 

Seconds Apart

2011 by Antonio Negret - British movie

I am not really fond of science fiction or those horror movies which mix ridiculous science aided thoughts onto it. But somebody guided me to this one as a must watch. Well its different, or as British would say, Interesting.

Some prominent Football players of the University have used a gun to kill themselves, while at a party. The detective is dragged towards the presence of twin brothers, Seth and Jonah who looks special.

The beginning of this movie, the scene where the players kills themselves, was brilliant. In fact the basic idea behind the plot, twins with some special powers, who can induce their thoughts onto somebody else's mind telephathically is brilliant too, as a novel idea. And the structure of the movie, how everything happens and how things turn out are all nice as well. But , but, it still didnt make me think oh this is very good or excellent or something like that.

Together with other things, I was not especially impressed by how a drift was created in the twins using a girl in between. And even before, the moment the twins appear, they do not look normal at all. There is something too straight or manipulative with them and even with their parents. So the suspense created is not really that good.

Yes, it is a different kind of thought for a movie and it has its moments. But overall, it ended as pretty average for me.

The best thing about this movie was its cinematography, which was really brilliant. And then the performances, especially of the twins were really good. . To find real life twins for this role and getting such a performance out of them, definitely has to be appreciated. 

Monday, 15 August 2011


2011 by Gokul - Tamil movie

Angry young man is one of the most favourite theme for Indian movie industry. Even the public loves it. There is no Indian super star who has not done at least one angry young man role and some became synonymous for this role. Yet another Angry young man from Tamil movies, but the difference is, here there is a debutant director who has tried to do it differently.

Shiva learned martial arts from his grand father who asked him to live like a man, ie to die only once in your life. Shiva hence always attracts trouble and he has a family who is worried and a girl friend turned wife who is supportive. 

The story in fact is nearly the same as all such entertainers. But I must agree that the debutant director wanted to make it look different. Hence unlike in the regular entertainers, scenes are not always going overboard and the hero himselves looks quite restrained, except when he is angry. He promptly irritates a feared criminal and has to wage a war with him. And here is one of the highlights of this movie. The action scenes are simply brilliant, may be the best after Jnan Mahan Alla, but it is quite different from that too. Definitely, I can watch this movie once again only for those scenes. And especially in the first half, there are some really simple light hearted fun too.

However, in his attempt to try to be different, Gokul seems to have made a big mis judgement of the ordinary people who decides whether a movie is successful or not. Gokul built a crescendo towards the climax, between the hero and the villain, but then he seems to have dropped it there. For me, I would love to see different kind of thoughts to our entertainment movies. So I am allright with the ending of this movie, which is more in tune with the reality. But for the ordinary man, who wants to see a start and a finish in between the sprints, they will be terribly disappointed by the climax. And this I am afraid, has seriously prevented the chances of Rowdiram becoming a hit. I am not saying, if not for the climax it would have been a nice entertainer. The first half was really good, but the script loses its tauntness in the second half and the movie look like a bit too stretched there. But inspite of all this, if the director had built up on that final crescendo, ordinary men would have forgiven the faults in the second half and would have loved it. They just didnt get to see that final punch in the end and that will make this movie suffer at the box office.

Gokul definitely proves he has talent and with a better script he can make better movies. It is definitely heartening to see new movie makers coming out with such out of the box climax thoughts. I would definitely give credit to him for that. But may be not the producer..

Jeeva really steals the show as the angry young man. This is an entertainer where the director has demanded restraint from every artist, be it the actors or the technicians and Jeeva has been excellent. Such a pity that this one will not earn as much as his previous box office topper Ko


2011 by Prakash Jha- Hindi

Whenever there is a movie from Mr. Jha, Bollywood centered media come out craving for a great movie, as if a very genuine director is making a film with a great theme and message. For me, I liked his Gangaajal as a good entertainer, which was different from typical Bollywood movies. Bollywood normally does not want its viewers to think. Prkash Jha gives something to ponder about in his movies, though it has never been great. However, this time he has taken a theme, Reservation for backward castes in Governmental higher educational system and jobs, some theme, the mention of which even can lead to heated discussions and even petty fights and sometimes even riots. I have to say, he is really bold to base his new movie around reservation and through his protagonist, air some views which is definitely not going to please the upper castes and the great Indian middle class. No wonder that the theatre was almost empty.

Professor Prabhakar Anand is the principal of an ideal philosophy of education and of such an institution. He does not care for caste or family background to encourage a needy student. But as he too is surrounded by those who run the education mafia, he has to get out of the institution and run his own system. 

Mr. Jha is quite a bold person in the first half of this movie, when there is this strong battle between the view points of two groups, one group against reservations and the other for the reservations. And this half definitely is the better half, inspite of having two unnecessary songs taking their time within the first 15 or 20 minutes. But in the second half, it takes a different turn and the politics behind the reservation is almost like lost and it turns out more like the battle of sustenance between two individuals who took two sides in the first half. And it is this second half, which made Aarakshan look pretty ordinary. In the first half, we see a director who is bold enough to take a hot theme and clearly takes a stance through his protagonist. So the first half is commendable, as it airs many questions and should make us think. But the same director chooses a path in the second half, which we have seen in so many movies from across India, in which the good finds some ways, mostly quite easy, to get over the bad. At the end it all looks pretty ordinary.

For once, here is a Bollywood movie which happens almost in some North Indian town. But still, there is a scene which happens somewhere in America. America seems to be such an integral part of every thing in India now, at least for Bollywood. And for the first time, I think, Saif Ali Khan comes out looking like a pretty ordinary man and tries to convince in that role. He is not excellent but still it is a good performance from him as he has tried his best to not go over board. And then there is Mr. Bachhan. But I doubt, with the kind of talent he has, if he really had to put in a big effort for this role at all.

Finally, a different effort which decided to end up normal. Still congratulations to Mr. Jha to raise some serious questions in the first half. But he should have known that, his pertinent questions must be quite irritating for the majority of that class who are biggest promoters of Bollywood. At least if the upper castes, who also form the chunk of the Indian middle class, if they would even care to think about the issues arised in the first half, Mr. Jha must be a happy man. But I doubt so. For, Indians only like to point fingers at other nations when there are racism issues in the west. Their own mirror never reflects them. Or they dont like to see what they are and the result show in the theatres.

The Bank Job

2008 by Roger Donaldson - British movie

Normally, to know that Jason Statham leads a movie cast deters me from watching that movie. The only hope here was that this is a British movie and so there must be some difference.

An old time friend and model offers Terry an opportunity to make some money by robbing a bank. Martine is actually set up by the secret agencies as they would like to seize some photographs that can defame some royal personalities. Only once the job is done does Terry is aware about the waves of troubles he is to be engulfed with . 

Now, this is a true story from the 70's. And hence we really cannot blame that there are lots of typical cliches in this movie. So that means, extra ordinary drama in real life too is full of cliches.

However, the movie is a good one time watch with lots of 'allright' thrills through out except towards the end when it looks a bit clumsy. But still I must admit, there is a kind of difference to British movies. I mean this is a plot which is always fit for the Hollywood. But British talents have made better scenes of a script, which Hollywood would have exaggerated and blown off. The team has managed to make it an ok heist movie.

And for the first time, for me, I think Jason Statham seems to have acted. He does have scenes where he has to have some expressions on his face rather than on his physique. I cant remember him in a better role.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Dead Man's Shoes

2004 by Shane Meadows - British movie

From the few British movies I got recently, this definitely sounded the best and so far it looks so.

Richard comes back to his home town with a clear plan. He wants to take on a local gang who abused his mentally impaired brother Anthony. 

Basically it is a revenge story, which could have been a run of the mill revenge story. But it isnt. It is definitely much classier than most revenge movies we have seen for some excellent reasons.

- The way the plot unfolds, the reasons for which Richard is after this local thugs. An excellent script it is.

- Though it is a revenge story, majority of the scenes are dedicated for the thugs, who know there are reasons to be scared about. This I found quite brilliant and novel.

- The unique climax, which is completely different from any revenge movies I have seen. The final reason for the revenge is quite a shock and surprise and the final revenge method itself is a result of a very different way of thinking

- and finally it establishes an excellent love story between two brothers with minimal scenes.

Wonderfully directed and shot, cinematography is brilliant, with some beautiful music, this movie has some really good realistic performances too. The one who really impressed me was actually Toby Kebbell, who played Anthony. From the subtle body language even in long shots to facial expressions, I thought, he stole the show even if he has only few scenes.

An excellent sophisticated entertainer, with a classic touch, a must watch for anybody who like revenge dramas. I was just wondering, how this movie would have been shot by Hollywood or by our own Bollywood.

God will forgive them and let them into heaven, I can't let that happen.... brilliant. 

Friday, 12 August 2011


2011 by Kris McManus - English movie from UK

Yet another case of a beautiful synopsis, but..

Four young guys take a motorbike ride to the country side and enjoy a night of camping. Then they come across an abandoned looking caravan and a prank by one of them puts them into real danger, a run for survival. 

There have been some movies like this before too and still I was misled by the synopsis. But to be frank it is not something to be like Ken Park. Once the group meets the country gang and the real thrill starts, the movie definitely is a thriller. But still it fails to really get us engaged. For me, I really did not understand the group who is against the bikers and especially their bare knuckle fight game, involving an injured nobody. The most interesting aspect of the movie definitely was about the real villain. That was quite interesting though.

But it is surely produced with a minimum possible budget. In that ways, it deserves some appreciation.

Just a watch. Nothing extra special, nothing extra bad too. 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Ken Park

2002 by Larry Clark & Edward Lachman - English

Sometimes synopsis and some reviews can really fool us. Well, I really looked like a fool watching this movie.

Some teenagers, in some small town in US, all having problems at family.

Well, this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It looked like it spoke about the problems of teenagers. But sometimes it felt like one or two of these character themselves were real problem. Whatever, one of the worst movies I must say.

Watching this, I felt even American Pie, looked like a classic. It had lots of fun and it was an entertainer.

This movie will make American Pie look like a restrained effort. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


2010 by Denis Villeneuve - French movie, from Quebec , Canada

I am having some really busy days that I find it difficult to write. Even if I had, I am sure I will not be able to write exactly what I feel about this movie. Sometimes you come across master pieces when you least expect it. The synopsis sound interesting so I just took this one. I didnt had any idea at all about what I was going to experience.

A mothers' will asks her twins (a girl and boy around 20 years) to find their hitherto unknown father and a brother, somewhere in Lebanon, and handover a letter. The girl sets out to fulfill her mothers wish, joined by her brother later. 

If I make a list of 10 best international movies, right now, this one will definitely be there. An absolute master piece, may I say. Within a few moments after the beginning, the movie makes you so curious about this journey and it goes on until in the final moments we come across the truth. And what a bloody, mind boggling truth it is. Brilliant, bloody brilliant. Forget about the cinematic values or everything, even if we just look at this part of the movie, it is so shocking and will keep haunting us for so long.

Once the girl sets out on her journey to find her brother and father, the scenes overlap with the mother's own journey in her homeland, when she was young, in search of her son and it is so brilliant and beautifully done that at the same time we feel like looking at the journeys of two women. The script and the director was so good here that it was unbelievable how they had placed these 2 women's journey from two different eras, in search of the same boy, son for one lady and unseen brother for one.  In fact, in the whole movie the script is brilliant with scenes going back and forth between the two periods and it has been so well put on the screen.

There is one scene in this movie, during the journey of the mother, when she ends up in a bus carrying Muslim refugees in war torn Lebanon and the bus is stopped by some Christian extremists or terrorists. The whole episode was so beautifully and brilliant shot that when all those Muslims are massacred, we sit dumb founded. Can any director picturise this scene better, I would doubt it.  Similarly there is again the scene when the mother kills a leader, for which she ends up in jail and finally had to flee to Canada, which was so brilliant. I just mentioned two scenes, but the whole movie is brilliantly shot. For long periods, it feels nearly like a thriller in fact, even if the whole movie is actually something else.

I am really short of words to explain this movie. It reaches a level which is reminiscent of classic Greek tragedies, I would say. I cant say anything more actually. Truly brilliant piece of cinema.

Brillliant, Script, Brilliant Actors, Brilliant Cinematography and Editing and an extremely Brilliant director too.

The whole world should see this movie. They ought to know what unimaginable things can happen because of the unjust world.

A truly cinematic master piece. Canada must be so proud about this movie. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


2010 by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - Spanish

The director of Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel.. - his new film - oh Yes.. and who is acting - Javier Bardem - oh, cant wait , will watch it right away. I am sure, just like me, any movie lover would jump out for this movie. This movie proved beyond any doubt one thing - Javier Bardem is amongst the best 10/5/3 contemporary actors of the world. He is outrageously brilliant.

Uxbal is a father, living with his two kids. His wife, Marambra, is a depressed woman, still not knowing what she wants, lives seperately. Uxbal lives using the underbelly of Barcelona, placing himself in risk of being caught any time, working with illegal migrants, corrupt policeman and so on. He also has this ability to talk with the dead, earning some money sometimes. And he also finds out that, out of cancer, he only has a few more months left. He needs to find a way out to ensure his children will be taken care of after his death. 

Well, from that brief, especially the last sentence, it sounds similar to many movies, am sure, many would want to say repetitive. But dear friends, this is simply a brilliant movie and is quite different from all what we will expect. It does have its own problems, along with a bit too much of length, but all that is forgettable to enjoy this movie, which for me, is definitely an outstanding movie.

Here is a father, who only has problems around him, with his wife and kids, police, poor migrant people depending on him and to add to it, he is also asked to meet dead bodies, before the cremation, to see if the passing soul has some message for the dear ones. I mean, 99% of his time he is around a negative aura. Occassionally he gets some good time with his children. And when his own death is peeping at him, it turns out as a touching love story of a father, for his kids. He tries to see if at all his abnormal wife can be trusted and there is a scene when they all have dinner together, is one of the most touching and deeply joyous moment in this movie.

There were few things that actually takes some credit away from this movie, some of the sub plots, like that of the brother of Uxbal and the two homo sexual immigrants and all.

But still the script and the movie, I thought is brilliant. It gets a bit lagging towards the second half, is something that Mr. Inarritu would have wanted to avoid. A bit more pace would have helped him. However, this must be his most linear film to date. Except for the beginning shots, the movie follows a straight path. Still, how the three unconnected scenes, with which the movie begins, completes the whole movie towards the end is really brilliant. So was his portrayal of the shady regions of Barcelona, scenes which I thought were reminiscent of some scenes from the Tamil film Angaaditheru, in which he was ably assisted by his camera man. By the way, Cinematography of this movie is truly brilliant.

There might be people who might not agree with the whole movie, but nobody, yes nobody, will want to take away anything from Javier Bardem. What a different role as a man who is walking with trajedy always, living by any means to survive, but still being empathetic and helpful to the poor and unsupported, and loving his family like anything. And his has performed it like it is reality. I thought, this role could be a study material for acting students, for he acts not just through his expressions, but the whole body seems to convey facts about the character and the scenes. Even the air around him might be performing. This man can

I definitely want to watch this movie again. I am not a believer and dont like this 'talking with souls' kind of things, but still, this is quite touching though it is dark and sad to the hilt.

Biutiful is a wrong spelling by Uxbal, for beautiful, as he helps his child. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

2004 by Michel Gondry

I went to watch a new Malayalam movie, Veettilekkulla Vazhy, and found that in just two days after its release, the movie is not playing anymore. What a pity. I will have to wait till the dvd release now for this movie. I couldnt believe that within 2 days, they had removed a new movie, supposed to be good, which won many awards et all... So just came back to my apartment. Nothing to do, I knew there was no football match on TV, couple more weeks for La liga to commence, but still looked and there wasn't any. And then saw this cd, lying behind the pile with the stupid hollywood movies, which I had bought long back but never watched. Its perplexing, how I didnt watch this movie for so long.

A guy and lady, both quite different that they have problems with relationships and breaking into new ones, enters into a relation and soon takes scientific help in erasing each other from their memory. But then they slowly come back to the reality that they indeed like each other so well. 

To be very frank, this movie is very original and genuine. It is of course a mix of romance and science fiction and neo-realism and all. But still there is something very attractive about this movie. I normally don't like science fiction movies. Here, there seems to be a clinic where lots of people take help to erase somebody from their memories. Except for this factor, this movie is all about two very interesting characters. The girl can never carry long in any relationship and the man loses his partner even without knowing the reasons and then finds it impossible to even make eye contact with any female. But the beginning and ending of their relationship here, is portrayed really nicely.

In fact, the movie is best in its beginning and ending. In between there were moments, when the past and present is mixed too swiftly and sometimes even strangely, for me, when I didnt like the movie. But it regains its nicety towards the end. I just want to forget about the science fiction part, even if its possible or not possible, and admire the romantic aspect of the movie. In fact the science fiction side of the movie just reinstated the fact that it is when we are about to completely lose somebody or some thing that we really recognise the value of that person or thing in our lives.  The guy reaches, almost, the stage when he is about to completely forget the girl but then he realises the sweetness of those good moments with her. That was really genuinely shot.

Normally Jim Carry movies are a kind of strange ones in which he is over expressive, for me at least. I still enjoyed some of them as good entertainers. But in this movie, as Joel, he gives a wonderful performance. And Kate Winslet as Clementine is brilliant. Their performance should be one of the highlight of this movie. And the next favourite would be definitely, the script. A brilliant piece of work, I must say.

But I really wood like to see this movie once again. It is quite a different movie from Hollywood and feel a second watch would make this one a more nicer movie to me. 

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo - The Gospel According to St. Matthew

1964 by Pier Paolo Pasolini - Italian, Black and White

It was rather because of the documentary on the Church, Deliver Us from Evil, the last day, I decided to watch this movie. There has been so many versions of Christ's story and hence this must have been yet another repeat actually. But there were two points, unlike most Bible movies which are Anglo Saxon productions, this comes from Italy. The poster of the movie, which had a close up shot of Christ was starkingly different from any Christ we have ever seen in any movies.

The story of Jesus Christ, since his birth to his resurrection, based on the Gospel of St. Matthew. 

For the first few minutes, to be honest, I thought I may not complete this movie and might fell asleep very soon. Black and White frames which look older than 60's, a style and pace which are reminiscent of some of the art movies from India in the 70's, oh this looks like a waste of time, I thought. But then, there was this scene where Mary, with the baby in her hands, looks gently at the visitors, and that single shot was brilliant, bloody brilliant and shook me up completely. Soon Christ is grown up and here is a Christ who looks quite different, not like an Anglo Saxon, but somebody who is from the middle east. So are all other characters, they are all amateur artists and doesnt look at all like those from the typical Hollywood world of Bible actors.

For a really good part of the movie, the camera is fixed on the face of the Christ who gives rather fierce looking speeches. And when the camera is looking else where, it looks brilliantly realistic. No mind boggling sets or costume dramas, but you can feel the barren countryside around the lands where Christ lived and the rustic people with whom he interacted. It all looks brilliantly realistic.

Christ is presented in this movie more like a revolutionist. Of course, I have always thought if there every lived a man called Jesus Christ, then he was the first Communist of the world. And this movie treats him like one too. He speaks harshly about what his followers ought to do and the whole dialogues in this movie are more like verse, so that it just adds more to the tone of the harsh speeches of Christ. I am told Pasolini received a medal from the then Pope, after seeing this movie. And, for the first time (yes I have never heard any Christian telling this, or read anywhere in any texts that preach Christianity), I hear this brilliant words - It is easier for a Camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Sure Jesus was the first Communist.

And unlike all other Christ movies which places Romans under the blame, Pasolini focuses on the betrayal by the Jewish leaders, leading to the crucifying of Jesus.

I think this is the best realistic picturisation of Jesus Christ, may it be the settings, costumes or even the actors, who are picked from around the Mediterranean, no Anglo Saxons here. Add to it the stunning music that accompanies.

I wish everybody, especially my Christian friends, watch this. This is more realistic than the best Hollywood depiction of Bible, for me. And be sure to watch a very slow paced movie. It does not hold any surprises or effects or sets or any kind of grandeur that you may expect from a Bible movie. But you will be surprised that it is actually a Marxist, an ethiest and a homo sexual Pasolini, who has made the best , for me in many ways, movie on Christ.   

Friday, 5 August 2011

Deliver Us from Evil

2006 by Amy J Berg - Documentary in English

Mostly people look at film makers as heroes. In fact it is the documentary film makers and thousands of social workers who should be called the real life heroes. I am finding it quite perplexing that these minority never get their real due from the normal public. How many ordinary people get to see the great documentaries which speak shocking truths. It is a real pity. Here is yet another documentary with an in your face honesty that I can only salute the brilliance and boldness of its crew.

This docu is about a priest, Oliver O 'Grady who sexually abused, molested or raped so many number of children while in America, between the 70's and 90's. He was Irish, and after serving a 7 year term in jail, he was deported to his home land where he still works with the church. Still amongst children.

What a work this is. The church authorities knew that O'Grady had a problem, but instead of acting upon him, they just transferred him to a different Parish, where he could continue with his activities. And finally when he was really reported and send to jail, after serving his term, he was deported to Ireland where he continues to be a priest. He continues to work with church and most people with whom he works now, may it be the church or even the fellow followers of Christianity, are completely unaware of his past and problems. He still works constantly with children. What the hell is wrong with the church.

The most stunning aspect of this docu is that, O'Grady himselves appears before the camera and clearly agrees he does have a problem with children, which he recognises but is unable to control, given an opportunity. And this he says, after his jail term.

There are some interviews with some of those children, grown ups now, and their parents and that is really touching. Most of those parents had completely trusted this man and let him be free with their children, girl or boy. And almost in all cases, the children were afraid to report it to their parents.

Some of the striking facts given by this docu is simply shocking. Just a few which I can recollect are here:

* There were more than 100000 victims of sexual abuse (Church's clergy involved) from the USA alone and a good percent of the cases are never reported.
* 10% of graduates from the biggest seminary in US West coast are Pedophiles !!!
* And even the present Pope was involved in the cover up of these abuses in US. He even got Mr. Obama to rule against the prosecution of his office!!!!

Simply BOLD and Brilliant. That is all what I can say. It is also nice to know that the makers of this movie are still alive (considering the infamous acts of the Church in the past centuries)

I wonder how this movie was accepted by the general followers of Christianity in the West. I am curious how the ordinary Christians in India will react. Fortunately for the church, docu's are not watched by a big majority.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Tourist

2010 by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck - English

Johnny Depp is one actor to whom we can never deny attention, may it be he is acting in a Spanish or English or whatever language. A wonderful actor with an extra ordinary charm. And when he joins the director who gave us Das Leben der Anderen, one of the modern master piece's it is difficult to ignore this movie, even if I find it difficult to bear Angelina Jolie in ordinary Hollywood movies.

Elise, a British woman in Paris, is being followed by Police in their efforts to track down a man called Alexander Pierce. Elise has to pick a man who resembles like Pearce on her way to Venice and she falls on Frank, an American Maths teacher, touring in Europe. 

I think the makers wanted this to be a Romantic thriller, but it is neither a romantic movie nor is it a thriller. Its romance do not reach the viewers, except for some beautiful expressions on Mr. Depp and it cant even emulate the cheap thrills that we got from the 70's or 80's average Hollywood flicks.

Forget the fact that we get to know what the end is got to be, but the movie reach to this end, painstakingly, in a bohring way. I am surprised, how of all the actors, Johnny Depp agreed for this movie. I can understand Angelina Jolie, who looks quite pale except for the extra artists staring at her whenever there are some men in the frame and the script saying - she has a nice ass - there are hardly any curves, accepting this movie, but why Mr. Depp.

And even more than that, how the hell can a director who gave an absolute master piece with Das Leben der Anderen, make this kind of a horrible movie.

Sheer waste of time. A forgettable Hollywood flick. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


2003 by Yukihiko Tsutsumi - Japanese

At times we come across movies which are quite strange but brilliant. We would find it difficult to agree with the plot or the characters but we would strongly feel that the movie is brilliant. It could be quite opposite too, we would find everything adorable, but would not want to say this is a great movie. 2LDK is one such movie in which there are many factors on which I want to disagree, but there is no question on the fact that it is simply a unique and brilliant piece of cinema.

Two aspiring actors are sharing a flat. Both have been shortlisted for the role of a wife, after the audition and are awaiting the final call. Both have quite different backgrounds and characters, that petty feminine disagreements and jealousy brings out their envy out and turns into a ridiculous fight. 

There are only 2 characters here. One a city bred, brand user and spend thrift, the other from a rural region amused by the lack of 'life' in Tokyo. Looks like the agency who is conducting the auditions put them up in this luxurious flat, which makes the village girl feel a little bit alien. The first half of the movie when both these girls spend their time together, doing evening chores, talking to each other is brilliant. For every dialogue of one girl, we have this dialogue from the other girl, which is like her mind speak. That was extra ordinarily brilliant. It felt nearly like a case study of 2 females, about their jealousy, envy, meanness and everything. Then shortly they start fighting and it really gets physical and will shock us.

This second half is stunning. Even if it is not a sudden change, how they get physical, when they start getting physical it is almost like rude shock and before we realise it, it gets really bad. For me, it felt like the plot was intended to have this violence and hence it turned so. Especially the village girl getting violent and destroying things, which she quite knew for whcih they might be accountable for, was a bit over board. But still its beautifully shot and we would want to forget such questions.

Excellent performances by both these actors and this is clearly a directors movie. This movie was shot as a challenge to complete a movie within a week, with only 2 characters ending up in violence with at least one dead. If not for this challenge, I doubt if anybody can imagine this kind of a plot.

While watching the movie there were few moments I thought, this is clearly the heights of imagination.

2LDK in Japanese refers to a 2 bed room apartment with kitchen. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Un Coupable Ideal - Murder on a Sunday Morning

2001 by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade - French Documentary in English

I dont think I have ever seen so many documentaries in such a short span of time. One brilliant docu is leading me to another and what an excellent watch this one has been.

An elderly tourist is shot dead at a Florida hotel and an unassuming 15 year old black kid is soon arrested by the Police. The documentary follows the kid's defense team and the whole trial in which finally he is found not guilty. 

This movie will be a real shock to many who considers that western democracies and their practices are the best. It, so easily, portrays how the police picked out a black kid, even without any basic investigations and charged him with murder, just because he happened to be a black kid. In fact the trials in the court are a revelation of how American Police can come up against their own people, if those unfortunate guys are black.

In one scene when the kid's mother is questioned in the court, the camera focuses on the kid himself. There isnt any kind of expression on his face, but soon you  can see tears flowing down and there isnt any expression on him still. What a moment it was. I doubt if any actor can recreate that scene.

The real trials in the court room are more than just eye opening or informative for a lay man like me. I wonder how the film makers got permission to shoot the whole trial and into many private areas of discussions in this movie. So at one point, even if the movie brings out the lazy approach of the police, it also brings out the positives of their justice system.

As an Indian, I would never congratulate or complain against the American system. I cannot congratulate them because I am aware about what they have been doing to millions of innocents across the world. At the same time I cannot complain against their racial or police practices as I am very well aware that my own homeland is no better, in fact Indian system - on racial cases or police or judiciary or human rights, is pathetic. We have thousands of innocents in our jails, who might not have even visited a court room yet. So..

And will there ever be a documentary like this on an Indian trial. Impossible, it seems.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ala Modalaindi - Angine Thudangi

2011 by Nandini Reddy - Telugu, dubbed in Malayalam

The number of Telugu movies dubbed and released in Kerala seems to be increasing with every passing year. First it was just some Allu Arjun movies, then some pure action and college romance flicks came in and now it looks like almost all big producer has an eye on the Kerala market. On the very first day of its release itself, I was told by some friends near to the theatre that, not that good, dont watch etc.. But I couldnt resist myself from one poster which showed Nithya Menon with a big smile and I promptly ended up at Shenoys.

A girl and boy meets and become good friends. Before they fall for each other, there is a turn every time keeping them away and the number of such turns keep coming like in a bumpy road ride. 

A typical romantic comedy from Telugu movies. The meeting of the girl and boy and the umpteen number of turns are quite normal and different too, but finally the end product is the same. Typical of such movies, there are moments when the viewers are taken for granted and when we too look down at the movie makers. But..

There are some really funny moments in this movie and the time was worth for those moments. It is more like a silly ride, clumsy at times, with some young lovers, with some really good comic moments in between. An Ok entertainer. With a better script and if the director was more serious, it could have ended up as a better entertainer, though.

Nithya doesn't have much to act, but her charm is quite there, really gorgeous and quite tempting. The hero, Nani, looks like a next door boy, and was quite natural with his performance in many scenes. He was the real surprise of the movie.

In between there was a good message too, aimed at the youngsters. The heroine tells her father, who is looking disappointed after a fight with his wife, why he doesn't go for a divorce? And the father replies - when you face a problem, my child, what do you do? go away from the problem, escaping the problem or face the problem and live with it? he very briefly explains it and somebody in the audience even gave an applause there, which was quite befitting the way this scene was told. The best moment in the movie for me, by a debutant lady director. 

Deiva Thirumagal

2011 by A L Vijay - Tamil

Movie makers are always inspired by other movies and some times recreate these movies into their own region or language. How a director recreates an existing movie speaks a lot about the director. Across the world there have been such movies, inspired by other movies and many a time such inspired ones are not a success. But often, when the director manages to successfully replant the same plot from the original movie to a new cultural back drop, it tends to be a big success. Most lovers of Hollywood yet fail to recognise that The Departed, is an inspired remake of the Chinese movie Internal Affairs. Departed was well remade by a master director himself, but yet, when I saw Internal Affairs, I liked it much more than the Departed. There is one more point here, if you see a movie, and you do not know anything at all about the original, you might not find anything wrong with the new movie, as long as it fits the cultural scenario of your language or region. When I first saw, Thaalavattom, the famous Malayalam flick, I didnt know anything at all about One flew over the Cuckoos nest, and I loved it. Later when I saw this Jack Nickolson classic and I watched the Malayalam adaptation again, I still found Thalavattom as a very good entertainer. A western plot was rightly placed into an Indian context, more in the entertainment side of the scale though. Occassionally, there have been many such adaptations in Indian movies where our directors managed to successfully place a western subject in an Indian context. Deiva Thirumagal for sure is inspired by I am Sam but it looks quite Indian and the director has changed the plot in many ways to suit the Indian possibilities and sensibilities.

Krishna, a single father of a 5 year old girl - Nila, is mentally challenged and is matured enough only to be a 5 year old. He brings up the girl with the help of his friends and colleagues at his work place, a Chocolate factory in Avalanche. Nila's mothers family takes her away and Krishna seeks the assistance of some young lawyers to get her back. 

Some of the changes that has been bought into the original plot is quite good making the movie very much Indian. Instead of the Local authorities, it is the family who tries to take the child away from the father for obvious reasons which will easily appeal to Indian crowds. And the way Krishna influences the lawyer and the family is told in minimum scenes too.

The movie is really beautiful in its first half when it tells the story of Krishna and Nila, the wonderful love between a father and daughter who have the same levels of maturity. Many scenes are adorable and we would forget everything and I consider these scenes as the best highlights of the movie. In the second half, when it changes to the legal front, Nila does not have many scenes and we start missing her. Even Krishna here is more like an onlooker and it is the advocates from both sides who have more to do. It is nearly like, the movie has drifted away from the love between the father and the child, even if they are just there and everybody is working for them. Still the final moments in the court scenes were beautiful and I found even some men in the theatre wiping their tears. And there were also some light hearted moments, through out the movie, but more so in the second half.

I think it is the third movie that Vijay is recreating into Tamil and this should be the best for sure. Definitely, this will become his most successful movie. After Madrasipattinam, which was quite a good one but didnt get the acclaim it deserved, he has been successful in touching the hearts of the audience. There were so many moments of big applause, in the theatre, right from the start till the end. That was quite a good sign of how much successful this movie will be.

Vikram has done well and so did that child artist. I felt, Vikram could have been a bit more restrained in some of the scenes, but he really was simply too good in many of the scenes, making it up for the other scenes. Anushka as the lawyer trying to help Krishna, was really good. I think this is her best restrained performance. And the same with Santhanam too. In almost every movie, I felt Santhanam as terrible. But for the first time, for me, he has done it really well. Performance wise, everybody in this movie did really well, augurs well for the director. Yet, he went for a dream song sequence between Vikram and Anushka, was quite perplexing. That song was absolutely unnecessary. Well, it was so nicely shot. No questions about the quality of those shots, but it was quite misplaced. May be he could have shown it during the end credits, giving an impression that the lawyer might go for Krishna.

The cinematography was truly brilliant. Excellent use of soft lighting and the lighting in many scenes really lifted the mood of the scenes too. We do not get to see such support by a cinematographer very often in Indian movies. Hats off to Nirav Shah for his work. I am sure that the production also must have spend good money on the DI to give the beautiful soft feeling for the frames.

With a few more cuts and some more restraint in certain scenes and performances, and of course without that song in the second half, Deiva Thirumagal would have ended as a classic family entertainer. But it is still a wonderful watch and I am sure it will touch the heart of most Tamil movie goers and will be a great success. Tamil movie goers, who have not seen I am Sam, would rather compare it with Moondram Pirai and would claim it as the first great movie in this genre, after Moondram Pirai. Quite a lot of similarities in both these movies actually.

Most people as they left the theatre was humming that cute song - Nila Vandaachu. This movie is going to be a big hit, I think. I am ready to watch it again, just for those wonderful moments between Krishna and Nila.

And after long, I was glad to see some shots of Avalanche and to hear about it. As a child I have been to that place many times as it was very close to Emerald, the village where my father was working. He had good friends in Avalanche and we used to visit them. Avalanche, I was told, was the name of a place in Switzerland or somewhere, dont remember well, the British found this place exactly like the one in Europe, so called Avalanche.