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Showing posts from 2008

Subramaniapuram

Subramaniapuram is a political thriller set in the 80's in Madurai.M. Sasikumar does not come up with a refreshing subject but works on a completely fresh treatment. Though the movie is set in the 80's the movie works much like a new movie. Whether it is editing, cinematography or the brutality, Sasikumar has made it sure that things don't look outdated. The actors have a terrific screen chemistry. Jai and Swathi gives one of the best on screen romances I have seen in sometime. Their expressive looks and geatures are more than a treat to watch.  The make up, production design and costumes have also been shaped well for the 80's. The songs are pleasing too. With a running time of just around two hours and a

amores perros

Watching amores perros a second time, the feel and the intensity in the film is never lost.
Watching a second time, I enjoyed some moments to an even greater depth. The screen romance of Gael Garcia and Vanessa Bauche is really nice. The hand held movement of the camera during their scenes has much impact. The lively feel in their life is excellently reflected.
Alejandro's true class is evident when he shifts the atmosphere of the film to a more serious issue of love in the second story. He builds up every second of the section with such beauty. Even the tone takes varied shapes at the point.
The final part belongs to Emilio Echevarria who plays El Chivo. His make up is top class. His expressions and body language is above perfect! His presence as fragments in other plots also creates much impact.
Guillermo Arriaga Jordan's writing is still highly inspiring. Having known that he writes just a single draft, I'm even more impressed. (He writes from the beginning every time he wr…

Olive

On the 12th of July, a nursing home in New South Wales, Australia marked the death of the 108 year old woman, who gained much reputation as the the world's oldest blogger.
Olive Riley, who is believed to the oldest blogger, had over 70 posts to her credit. She was said to have a wonderful memory and an amazing zest of life. She shared thoughts on modern life and experiences of her living through the two world wars.
She was born on 20th October, 1899 in a town called Broken Hill. She had to take up various jobs in her long span of life, when she also raised three children. Mike Rubbo, a documentary filmmaker (who also happens to be the person filming her life) introduced this old woman to blogging. This exercise is also said to have kept the mind of this no more Riley very fresh.
Visit the link below and see what Olive had to say when she lived.
http://www.allaboutolive.com.au/

Plot and Story

The writing that follows may look weird to many. But this is a small article on how I learned about two key words that are often linked with movies and prose.
Plot and story are two words that I have used too many times in my writing and talking. It is quite surprising to me that I found it difficult to differentiate between the two when Malayalam filmmaker Jayaraj questioned me on this. Definitely he did have the right answer at hand. Many people in the film industry itself could not differentiate these two commonly used words, adds Jayaraj.
I thought it would be interesting to share a write up on this in this space of mine as I have failed to watch a single movie for the past two days!
The story or the narrative could be defined as something that tells the course of events. Plot could be defined as the logical structure which connects the course of events.
Here goes an example given by E. M. Forster:
The king died and then the queen died.
This is a story. The plot of this story could look…

Duel

Duel is not just an early work of Steven Spielberg but one of his best.
(Duel has been edited and re-edited to two versions and what follows is a writing on the 90 minute version rather than the 74 minute original. This version has a few additional scenes and more scope to write further!)
Richard Matheson has written the screenplay of duel based upon on his own short story. Dennis Weaver playing David Mann is dragged into a duel by a 40 ton truck. The build up of the duel between the car driver and truck driver has been written excellently. When most of the additions have added sharpness to the movie one of them stands out. The telephone conversation between David and his wife seems to be distracting. As of the information I came across, this sequence was added since producer George Eckstein wanted to make the runtime of the movie to 90 minutes.
The photography and make up for the truck has played a very significant part in the movie. The generation of evil character is portrayed with t…

L4yer Cake

Layer Cake falls in the line of Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels and Snatch.
Mathew Vaughn directs this Craig movie which is more serious than the Guy Ritchie movies which has a tint of comedy to it. (Ritchie was the man chosen in the first place to direct this feature but dropped out later.) J. J. Connolly writes the screenplay of his own novel just as slick as it can be.
Daniel Craig fits the bill as the man who plans to retire from the cocaine deals. The others in the cast also work effective.
The cinematography and editing in the film works big time with director Vaughn. Ben Davis the director of photography creates striking imaginary with ease for a crime thriller of this sorts. John Harris' cutting on the table is top notch. The blend between the scenes is masterly for a movie on crime framework.
Layer Cake is a riveting thriller set in the drug underworld of UK. Where fun and thrill in double crossing is surely well played. Also evident is the craft of film…

Glass Story

Jackie Chan's Police story is an interesting action entertainer.
Jackie Chan not only directs, but also takes the lead as Jackie Chan (or Kevin Chan in the original version.) It's not only a good action movie but also a very good comedy. Working on a simple plot and an engaging writing, police story is throughly entertaining.
Police story is even complex at certain levels. The superb stunt sequences have an extremely intense construction. The opening fight which includes a bus chase is one of the most memorable fights I have ever seen. The fight in the climax makes much use of glass. The use of too much glass made the crew call the movie, Glass Story.
The use of an apt cast, especially Brigitte Lin, has also helped in the successful creation of this unforgettable action movie. The use of humour in regular intervals by writer Edward Tang has served as an enjoyable part. My favorite scene in the movie is when Chan attends multiple phone calls at the same time.
I strongly recommend t…

Knowing Stanley

Stanley Winston is popularly known as Stan Winston. He could be called a special effects and visual effects artist or even a creature creator!
Stan, who was born on the 7th of April, 1946, died on June 15, 2008.
I'm not sure how make people would have bothered to see the end credits roll with the name of Stan. But Stan has made visuals and effects that kept many (including me) at the edge of their seats. Winston had been a frequent collaborator with filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron.
Stan wanted to be an actor. He became a painter, a sculptor and an artist. Everything to him was creating characters that tell stories in films.
Stan Winston was a man adored by Steven Spielberg. How could Steven not adore a man who made dinosaurs that shuck the whole world. Stan was the creator of live action dinosaurs in the film, Jurassic Park. He was also the man behind the terrific makeover of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator series.
Stanley has won four academy awards in h…

The Boss

First things first. Shankar is one of my most loved filmmakers in India. But Sivaji according to his standards is in a way a disappointment. The publicity itself said AVM's Sivaji and not Shankar's!
Starring Superstar Rajnikanth as Sivaji, the movie only ends up being just another action entertainer. This could be Shankar's most (or only) meaningless effort. It is due to the fact that this movie does not tell anything new than what he told with his own Mudhalvan.
Shankar bases his first ever Rajnikanth movie on black money. Like every other Shankar movie, he too adds some subplots that blends with the flow which this time includes child labour, education and more. The basic presentation of the film is no different from Mudhalvan. The cutting pattern of Antony is far from his normal style and takes more of director Shankar's stamp. The other crew of the movie is also the same people who made Mudhalvan. This may be because Shankar had first opted to make Mudhalvan with Raj…

Non-Stop Way

Infernal Affairs is the Hong Kong crime thriller that inspired Martin Scorsese to make the Departed which won him his first academy award.
In one way infernal affairs could be said to have a very simple one-line. It's about two people who sacrifice their identities. A cop who fakes to be a crook and a crook who fakes to be a cop. But then this is an emotional crime thriller with more value to emotions than the crimes they will commit.
The use of identity is my major attraction to see this film. The style, performance and the making is only the second. The movie stretches through a span of more than 10 years. With time both men will have to come over loyalty, honor and betrayal.
The film has been well executed by Alan Mak and Andrew Lau. The writing of Mak and Felix Chong is both clever and complex. What I did not enjoy about departed was it's excess use of abuse. But then, the makers of this Hong Kong version is clean in it's language. Andrew Lau, also the DoP of the film, h…

Listening to Secrets

The Lives of Others is a German movie with a very straight forward cinematic approach.
The Lives of Others traces the life of Captain Gerd Wiesler, a highly skilled officer who works for the Stasi, East Germany's all-powerful secret police. It is a story set in the world where there is no justice! To be more specific, East Germany in 1984. The film shares two genres, namely that of a political thriller and the other of human drama. It should be added that at both these levels The Lives of Others almost sets a perfect example.
The tense and tight atmosphere of the plot is transfered beautifully to the screen. Ulrich Muhe as Wiesler is top class. His face communicates with such ease that watching him alone would serve half the success of these Lives. It is good to note that the director and writer, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, even chose the perfect extras for his film.
The basic colours of the film are mostly green, grey or brown. The director and production designer's idea o…

The Village (2004)

Manoj Night Shyamalan'sThe Village can't be called a disaster as many critics would like to call it.
The Village is an innocent film. The film or the plot is in no way outstanding. But the storyteller in Shyamalan tells this less than spectacular tale with his trademark style. M. Night Shyamalan is one of the very few directors who works on the mood of the subject at hand. The Village is wafer thin in its plot and at times weird in its dialogues, but then it is filled with secrets and more secrets! In a line, it is a tale of an isolated village confronting an astonishing truth that lies just outside its borders. The terrific visuals of the village also tells one beautiful love story in the middle of its creepy atmosphere.
Adrien Brody, newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, and William Hurt give fighting performance to pass the fear and scare that lie in the mysterious woods. The cast looks refreshingly different from other Hollywood movies and it seemed to me for the go…

Gwoemul

The Host, co-written and directed by Joon-ho Bong, is a noteworthy monster movie from Korea.
The Host is a satirical comedy with a very different monster. It does have family drama, sentiments, action, horror and more, all followed by some weird act which without doubt is to make you laugh(atleast once). It is this weird kind of comedy that works best in this monster movie. The visual effects of the monster is definitely worth mentioning due to its mix of unfamiliar nature, (familiar nature) and complexity.
The only major trouble with this flick is in classifying it. It is not complete in any genre. Yet, it has a bit of all the genres. Like every other monster movie made by man, this one too has its own plot holes every now and then. Also, this flick looks way too silly at points and mostly when you least expect it to be.
Despite every fact mentioned above (and considering the facts I have forgotten to write), this Host throughly entertained me. It was not the silliness of the movie but …

Stars On Earth

Taare Zameen Par, written by Amole Gupte and directed by Aamir Khan, will make you cry not because it's bad but because it's really good!
Taare Zameen Par centers around Ishaan Awasti played to perfection by Darsheel Safary. With such a brilliant performance in debut, I could remember only one other person- Ayesha Kapoor, who was mesmerizing as a deaf and blind girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black. Taare Zameen Par does star Aamir Khan, but the movie belongs to Darsheel all the way. But the highlight of the film is nothing but Amole's script which took him seven long years to complete. Definitely the pain he took all those years is fantastically visible on screen.
TZP does have it's shortcomings. Too many songs, though worth hearing and having some really good lines, tamper the narrative to a very large extent. The movie even moves at a snail pace in the second half.
But, Aamir who takes the director's chair with creative assistance from Amole creates a beautiful…

B13

District B13 is a stylized slick action movie from France.
Pierre Morel, the cinematographer turned director, feels that his treatment would work wonders for a plot that is almost hollow. District B13 is top notch before it enters its main plot. By the time the movie starts to reveal it's plot it has actually finished with all the movie has got- the fast moves, the sharp cuts, the CG enhanced visuals and what the makers mean by action! We can see the ending coming once the movie is halfway through.
Still, district B13 without having offered anything new in its writing has made a masterful attempt in creating an action flick not many Hollywood makers would dare to make. B13 successfully manages to create the 2010 scenario with a template that reminds of nothing but video games. And just as in video games are the characters who have very less to speak or act about as they are all busy jumping around (all in the name of martial arts).
District B13 is a smart action flick for all those w…

Loves Dogs

Amores perros is the most inspiring movie to come after the Quentein Tarantino classic, Pulp Fiction. Amores perros is at one level an extension to the QT classic. But at the other level it's all fresh. Written by Guillermo Arriaga and directed by Alejandero Gonzales Inarritu, amores perros is nothing but a gutsy and solid bit of brilliant filmmaking.
Amores perros tells three stories of life along the margins in Mexican City which converges into a gripping thriller with a fatal car accident. The film does have various references to the movies of the past. The non-linear narrative reminds of Pulp Fiction, while the red hoarding of the pretty model, Valeria, is much like that one seen in Krzysztof Kieslowski's classic Red. The character of El Chivo played brilliantly by Emilio Echevarria has references to Leon. The others in the cast, which includes Gael Garcia Bernal, have played their roles to perfection.Of the stories that unfold, the third story is emerges out from the rest …