Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Where is the friend's home?

Abbas Kiarostami's Where is the friend's home? is a lovely little film. It has a fabulous little story and made without any kind of gimmick or show off. I know quite a number of people who ask for realism in movies. I wonder if those souls could actually sit through a film like these because this is beyond the realism that they can imagine. Where is the friend's home? is a slow film. It is slow but it is also a picture that grows. The progress of the film is slow for a reason and that is connected with the kind of story that Kiarostami narrates. I wonder how Kiarostami  has managed to execute the classroom scenes in the film and make that child perform so well. The characters, the setting and everything about the film manages to carry so much life and the conclusion of the film is no less wonderful.

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau is an engaging film. It's beautifully shot and tells a beautiful love story that was refreshing. The characters are great and their performances even better. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt share such great chemistry. The individual scenes of these characters never seem to have the power of the scenes which feature these two splendid performers. The first scene where the characters of Damon and Blunt meet is among the best in the picture. Director and screenwriter, George Nolfi, takes time and carries the film almost brilliantly until the near-end. However, the film deserved a better ending. The last few minutes left me unsatisfied. The film has some fabulous visual effects sequences as well.

Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs is Quentin Tarantino's debut film. It's full of talking, cursing and gore. It's a heist film where its before the heist and after the heist and not the heist. A non-linear film with a brilliant writing back up, great shots that are smartly edited and one film that would hook its viewer even without a background score.
I'm not a great fan of dialogue driven film but something about the dialogues of Tarantino works here. It's clever and its got energy. Besides the fact that the film uses a terrific narrative structure the intelligent use of color to name the characters is also something that I truly loved.

The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan's so-called epic conclusion to his take on the Batman. The Dark Knight Rises is the third part of the trilogy that Nolan began with Batman Begins, which then continued on to The Dark Knight before finally reaching here. The Dark Knight Rises is a spectacle. It is definitely the biggest of the three pictures in its grandeur. But quality and grandeur has a lot of difference. I haven't seen the IMAX version of the film yet but I can't wait to catch up with that because I'm certain that there is a lot more to the experience than the one I just had. It would have been a few months since I saw the first few minutes of The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. The feeling that I had then was something hard to explain. The very same footage when I saw it this time seemed to have a lot lesser impact. And I'm certain that it was not because I had already seen it but because it was not as big as the IMAX experience. I believe there is almost an hour of IMAX footage in…

Detachment

Detachment is a film that comes from the director of American History X. That was an awesomely shot film that was in Black and White about black people and white people or dealing with racism! Detachment is completely different from that film. This is shot in a manner that literally drove me crazy in its opening minutes. But the treatment was having its share of hook. Something made me sit through the entire film. I'm not certain if I understood the film completely. But I liked certain things about the film and that makes the viewing worth it. Beyond the way the film was made, something that grabs the attention in detachment would be the performance of Adrien Brody. He is indeed a fantastic actor and his performance is just as good as how it was in the Roman Polanski film, the pianist.

The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a film that follows the George Lucas film. The story continues to happen in a galaxy far, far away and there are major developments happening in the story in this part. It was only just as interesting as the earlier part for me and the visuals had some bit of additional brilliance compared to the earlier part. I think a few of the effects were achieved using stop motion in the film. It does lack perfection but for 1980, I think it was pretty decent work while not depending on CG. I loved many of the matte painting used in the film. It was given the picture a whole new dimension. I would say, Irvin Kershner has managed very well to take this George Lucas story forward in this installment. Watching this second Star Wars film, I'm also getting used to the ideas and creations of Lucas.

The Amazing Spider-Man

The amazing Spider-Man from director Marc Webb is a disappointing watch. Caught up with the Spider-Man in 3D and the even then things dint seem to be going in a very positive direction. There is some stunning 3D visuals towards the end of the film but a film isn't completely about the 3D experience but a totality. The amazing Spider-Man fails in this totality. The writing is slow and emotional there is no shit that works. There are a new set of actors, technicians, plot points, and even a new villain. But rarely can all these department give such disappointing an output. It has happened here. Even certain visual effects shots looked in complete and weak which is a surprise for a film like this! I feel Marc Webb should go back to making romance films. He was so good with 500 Days of Summer.
I found myself the time to revisit the Sam Raimi version of Spider-Man as well. That film seemed to work a little more with me than this so-called Amazing version even now! But there was always…

Star Wars

I had watched the first Star Wars film by George Lucas a few years back. I wonder how I felt it then. But I thought I would revisit the film again before I catch up with the other parts. I dint like the basic idea of the film. In a galaxy far, far away... Civil wars... Robots that speak English... People that speak English light years away! But then, the story is rather simple. It good versus evil. Now, that is okay with me. The film moved at a brisk pace for a while but then slowed down. But the film continues to be watchable for the two hour duration. Even when I don't like the premise of George Lucas I admire him for the kind of work that he had managed to pull off in 1977. The film has visual effects and complex shots that have been effectively done. The transitions in the edit do go a bit overboard at times but some of the wipes work well with the narrative. The music is pure John Williams and it would evoke a sense of deja vu!

Unforgiven

Clint Eastwood films are one of a kind. They are never the same. He is such a great filmmaker to be not caught up with any kind of material in particular. His 1992 film, Unforgiven, is a western. It has a neat little story and it has been narrated with immense ease. This is a revenge tale but one that is slightly different from other familiar revenge affairs. The film moves at a slow pace. But turns out to be quite gripping in the second hour. The performances are wonderful and the dialogues are great as well. I hated Gene Hackman. Now that should be because his performance and writing of his part was done so convincingly well.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

First things first. I don't actually like the idea of talking monkeys. I watched the Tim Burton remake of the planet of the apes thinking that it would come in handy when I watched rise of the planet of the apes. But I was wrong. The Tim Burton picture was a remake and the Rise of the Planet of the Apes a reboot of the series. The franchise already had five films made before these two. Wonder what is so interesting about these talking chimpanzees. The Tim Burton remake was a very hard film to sit through. The writing was just too lame for my senses. The makeup might have had some real hardwork but I don't care. I really dint like this picture. I'm sure that the crazy creatures and sets of the other Tim Burton films would have made a far better experience than this. The reboot, Rise of the planet of the Apes, was almost awesome considering the hard time I had completing the remake. This time the team doesn't rely on make but advanced visual effects for the creation of …

The Descendants

The descendants is a feel good film. It is a comedy for a major part. It is this humour that works best for this picture that has been directed by Alexander Payne. The film has been neatly shot in the locations of Hawaii and moves at a leisure pace. The films story is rather simple but there are lots of details in it as well. The screenplay focuses on the character of Matt King and others through his eyes. The writing brings out humour from the conversations of his children to an extent. The children performed by Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller are a delight. The little girl, Scottie, played by Amara, reminds me of a less violent Mindy from Kick-Ass. I wonder how these writers manage to write such brilliant lines for the younger members in the cast.  But the film rests more or less on the shoulders of George Clooney. He is very natural and totally convincing as the Matt King. Judy Greer who appears in a short role was also wonderful. The film did not give a strong emotional feel or…

The Artist

The Artist is an interesting piece of film. It's a film from France that tells the story of an artist (or actor) during the times of Hollywoodland in black and white and mostly in silence, except for the music. I saw the film twice, once during the International Film Festival of India that happened at Goa, when the film hadn't won the Academy Awards or nominations, and once again a couple of days back after the film was screened with all the Academy Award glory hanging on it. The film is a delightful watch and its terrifically made. It's like watching a film like Sunset Boulevard that's far more lighter and without the burden of words. I loved the plot of the artist and the way Michel Hazanavicius has treated it. I don't think the film could have been such an effective watch if it was made in the more contemporary of manners. It is a film that deserves to be seen for the disciplined making the director has followed which replicates the old era in a manner that see…

The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn was a delightful watch. I loved it more during my second watch largely because my first watch was in a poor theater and couldn't really follow all the dialogues clearly. Steven Spielberg's first animation film is indeed different from all the other animation pictures that I had seen. The experience is different because even as the film is animation, Spielberg seems to have treated it just like a live action picture at times especially with his shot divisions that captures the actions so seamlessly. I haven't completely read the comics of Tin Tin by Herge but whatever I had read and the animation adaptions I had caught up with on television, I was certain that it had scope for a great movie. Spielberg has utilized that advantage to the fullest in making an engaging adventure film. Having Peter Jackson also on board to be the second unit director should definitely have helped the film a good deal. Besides the shot division…

Layer Cake

Layer Cake is Matthew Vaughn's debut film as director. His close associations with Guy Ritchie might have resulted in his debut being a film of this sort. Layer Cake is a film that has the flavor of a Guy Ritchie film yet different as well. Layer Cake is based on the novel by J. J. Connolly. He has also written the screenplay. It is a crime film but one that is far less funnier than the Guy Ritchie sort of films. I wish it was a little more funnier but then, the making is a little more stylized here. The editing by Jon Harris to the shots of Ben Davis totally backs the film into being a crisp watch. The transitions and the movement of the film from one scene to another is of so much fun here. Also, Daniel Craig is a delightful middleman to watch out for.

The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness is based on a true story. It is a brilliantly made film that has been splendidly performed and equally well written. I had tears on my eyes even as I watched it a second time and that's the emotional impact this film had on me. The film is very neatly made. Gabriele Muccino's execution merely captures the life of Chris Gardener just as it is happening. That is the impression that is got from the way the film has been executed. This kind of a making gives a great believable feel and that definitely helps a narration like this. But the film has been narrated by the protagonist and that is a cinematic device very well used by writer Steven Conrad to evoke the mood of the film.  The performance in the film is actually one that is above everything. The casting is just too good. Thandie Newton in her small role is wonderful. But the stars of the film are Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith. Jaden has been presented in a very tricky way by the director. I…

Swordfish

Swordfish isn't a very intelligent crime thriller. But it is one that has its share of fun and one that might leave you wanting more. Dominic Sena's Swordfish is a wonderful film in the visual sense. Skip Woods' writing has ups and downs. More than ups and downs there is a sort of a lack in clarity with the proceedings. Maybe the makers dint want the film to be very serious and left the details. There are twists and turns that sometimes evoke interest and sometimes not. The film opens brilliantly. It opens to the close up of John Travolta speaking of the mistake done by Sunny, the protagonist in the film, Dog Day Afternoon, while robbing the bank. The film has references to some of the cliches of Hollywood and tries to drift away from them. But in its final form, Swordfish works only in parts. Halle Berry does her first topless scene in this picture and I was surprised to see it as I was unaware about it when I started watching the picture. Like many of the other nude sce…

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Hachi or Hachiko is a film that has a dog in the lead. It's the story about this dog named Hachiko and his master, played by Richard Gere. It's based on a true story that could be summed up in a line. It's an emotional film that has been terrifically made. The film by Lasse Hallstorm has been neatly written by Stephen P. Lindsey. To my surprise the film hasn't won a single award or mention as per imdb. I wonder why this film dint even get nominated for anything. It has a terrific one line and an apt extension to everything from that line. The film is a remake of a 1987 Japanese film. I wonder how emotional that is. It is one of those films that one would expect Disney to bring out but one that Disney dint. It was distributed by Stage 6 films.

Everybody's Fine

I loved the film Everybody's fine. It is a film that has got its heart at the right place. It's just a couple of minutes ago that I discovered that the film is actually a remake of a Giuseppe Tornatore film. Now I can't wait to catch up with that film as well. I'm sure it is going to be no less a great viewing. In terms of a story, maybe the film Everybody's fine is a little too simple. But it is the way it looks in its final form with all those great acting, writing and making that makes the film so damn good. Kirk Jones has made the film real well. Robert De Niro is so real as the concerning old father and Drew Barrymore is no less wonderful in the picture as his daughter. The film has brilliant frames all through but the makers could have shot the film on celluloid. But that isn't such a big issue as it the film still works fine. The film gets real emotional at times and the great acting adds even more feel to it. 

Hitman

I haven't played the game Hitman. The film version of the game is an interesting one indeed. I had listened to the soundtrack of the film even before catching up with the film. The OST was just too good that I was curious as to how the film would be. The film has been terrifically shot and made. But the writing falls short. There are moments but then there would definitely be a sense of Deja Vu at a lot of places. And if you are the kind of guy who can't shut the brain even a little while watching action films then you are sure to encounter plenty of dumb moments as well. Olga looks hot and fabulous. The role of the protagonist has been handled just fine by Timothy Olyphant but I wonder how it would have been if the makers cast Jason Statham as the Hitman. Maybe casting Statham would even have been a cliche by the sketch of the character! There is lots of shooting and but I don't think this is like a computer again anymore. Xavier Gens has managed to make an action film t…

Kick-Ass

I just checked what I had written when I watched Kick-Ass for the first time. I now differ from my own view of the film, ie. with the second viewing of the film. So, here is my new and improved view of Kick-Ass.
Kick-Ass is a fun film. It is brilliantly written and executed with style by Matthew Vaughn. The film follows the nature of a comic book in the beginning but that style seem to loosen up later on in the picture. There is a sequence that reveals the back story of Hit Girl and Big Daddy in the picture and that is one of the most memorable of things in the picture. I truly loved the style that the makers had shown and the execution of the same was just top notch. The film has been neatly performed by the cast and brilliantly edited. The edit and background score of the film have a smart sync just like the well choreographed action instances in the film.

Friends with Benefits

Friends with benefits is a lovely flick. It does not give a great emotional experience by any chance but a totally engaging fast paced relationship story with nice touches of humour. I watched it twice and the experience was no different. The film has been treated in a very dialogue driven manner with an editing pattern that doesn't even give breathing space between the dialogues. I guess this style, that was also seen in the social network, is a reason why this film works so well. The screen chemistry of Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis is simply charming. The performances by these leads also makes this a great watch. The film even has its share of cliches but I dint mind having them because Jamie, the character so well played by Mila, wants them in her life!

Mayakkam Enna

Selvaraghavan has got to be a genius. He is so good at writing films. I haven't thought of him as a filmmaker who got exactly what he wanted filmed for his audience. But watching Mayakkam Enna was different. This would easily be the best picture that Selvaraghavan has pictured in his career till date. The visuals of Ramji and the splendid underdog style tale of Selvaraghavan work with super awesomeness here. The content is driving by music that works just as good as the visuals in the film. The lyrics by Dhanush and Selvaraghvan add so much more life to the tunes of G. V. Prakash. The film works great at the emotional level and is filled with characters wanting to be loved. The performance side is just as powerful as the writing. Dhanush and Richa Gangopadhyay are just terrific in their roles. I wonder who would have done these characters in an even more convincing manner. The scene where Richa controls her anger and bursts into tears is one of the most splendidly acted scenes I …

4th Class

4th Class is a 2009 Korean film. It is sometimes credited as 4th Period Mystery or as Detectives in 40 Minutes. It is a slick thriller that I managed to watch that is neat as long as it runs. I had always wanted to make a thriller of this sort. Something that wasn't bloody serious. Something that had school going children doing all the investigative stuff. Something that was slick, smart and terrifically shot. 4th Class is just that. The film does not run more than an hour and a half but has some splendid moments all over it. Watch this small film that is directed by Lee Sang-youg and written by Sin Dong-yepp for the excitement, fun and mystery that would be unsolved by people in school uniforms! This might not be half as good as the best murder mystery I have read or seen. But the entertainment and excitement that it gave me as I watch the stylish thriller unfold was something totally worth it.

Nidra

I haven't seen the original version of the film, Nidra, which was directed by Bharathan. But the version his son, Sidharth Bharathan, made was lovable for the way it was made. Nidra is a neat film. It has a writing material well adapted by Sidharth and Santhosh. The dialogues from Santhosh Echikkanam are bang on! Loved the visuals of the film as well but it seemed to have an excess of blue all over it. I wonder if Sameer Thahir did that to cover up for the excess of white that he might have had to  accommodate while shooting on the Red camera. The music and background score of the film sounded well with the film. The editing and sound design were no less good. It did feel as though there where a couple of instances when the footages jumped creating a disturbance for a second or two. But, otherwise the editing by Bavan Sreekumar was just too good. I loved the editing on all those scenes that featured the redish look from Sameer and the scene at the dining table that featured one e…

The Cat Vanishes

The cat vanishes is an Argentinean film that works with very few characters. I was curious as to what sort of a film this would be since I came to know about the film's title during the IFFK 2011. But I missed the screening of the film during IFFK and caught up with it just today! The cat vanishes is a well performed and brilliantly made film. My friend, Ritwik, who had seen the film told that I should check it out cause he felt this one to be something that seemed like a Hitchcockian film. I'm one huge fan of Hitchcock and Ritwik's words made even more curious about the picture. Once I saw the film, it  merely dint fall in the Hitchcockian ways of filmmaking but maybe a little of the Staney Kubrick way (of making the Shining) as well!
The film falls in the mystery genre and proceeds with supreme execution. The director, Carlos Sorin, doesn't have a great writing material but manages well with his classy making. The sound design and the shot division of the film adds …

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

The fourth installment of the Mission Impoosible series comes from Brad Bird, the director who made animation films like The Incredibles and Ratatouille. I saw the film twice. First at Cinemax, Ernakulam and later at the Prasads, Hyderabad. I hadn't posted the about the film earlier because I hoped to catch up with this film a second time before I gave away what I thought. The experience that I had at the two viewing where entirely different. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol only has selected footage shot using IMAX cameras but even then the viewing of the IMAX version gave a totally new dimension. Beyond the quality of a film, the experience that it gives you is something that is very hard for me to describe with the vocabulary I know. The viewing of Ghost Protocol in the IMAX screen was one such. Ghost Protocol is a little different from the other films so far in the series. More than the freshness of the cast, the lighter tone that Brad Bird has successfully introduced w…

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

I haven't seen Journey to the Center of the Earth but I definitely dint want to miss this sequel, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, because I dint see the earlier part. It had two reasons. One, it was in stereoscopic 3D and the second was that I was in the Prasads, Hyderabad to see it in IMAX. Before the actual film took off itself I was definitely loving the IMAX 3D experience. It was unlike anything that I had experienced all these 22 years. This was nothing but pure unadultered awesomeness! The 3D animated film called Daffy's Rhapsody was very forgettable except for its show off in stereoscopic 3D. But when Journey 2 began, that was something. Journey 2 is a highly flawed film. I wouldn't have enjoyed it this much if I had seen it in a normal digital projection with glasses. But watching the film in IMAX 3D was so much life. The screen filled my whole vision, well almost! There are some moments in the film when I was literally on the edge of the seat. The content and t…

Second Show

Disclaimer
This post isn't meant to offend anyone. But if you feel that I'm a bitching asshole, I'm sorry. I still want to post this.

Prologue
Ok, this post might go a little too long. This isn't a review for you to decide if you need to spend money to watch this film called Second Show. This is a writing of the director's friend, who later on turned out to be an assistant director in his film and then a movie goer who ended up seeing the film his friend made.

Chapter 1: Build up
Before I write anything about the film that I have seen, I would like a rewind. Like a cliched boy who is about to propose to his girl, I bloody don't know where to begin! Your blogger, that's me, Appu N. Bhattathiri, happened to have worked in this film called Second Show as an assistant director. Yes, I know that line sounds like a self promotion sort of a stuff, but it's the truth! I'm a guy with some complexes which I have to admit. Even though I'm proud that am p…

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is an adventure film directed by Luc Besson. The film was selected by Besson to be one among his five films to be screened for his retrospective at the International film festival of India 2011. Though I missed it during the festival, I was able to catch up with it once I made it home.  Adele Blanc-Sec was an interesting watch. It had a comic nature throughout and proceeded with plot developments and characters that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. The film has been based on a comic book series as far as I can know from the wikipedia page of the film. The narrative does carry that comic flavor very much for the entire duration of the film. It is delightful for most part except that the film runs a little long and could have been better if it was a tad crisper.
The film demanded a good deal of visual effects but the output wasn't quite as convincing. If it was little more brilliant, I guess that the adventure would have managed with a …

Matching Jack

Matching Jack directed by Nadia Tass was my first film at the 42nd International film festival of India. It was a film based on a true story. A film about a mother and her child. A film on her journey to save her child. A film about love and hope.  The premise and the writing carried a sense of simplicity even as it dealt with complex human conditions. The film was a bit too emotional for me but the heart of the film and the subtle humour all through its narrative made the watch an easy one. The characters were made even more powerful by their effective portrayal is what I should mention. There is a great deal of promise in the premise of the film. It is one that would seem light to everyone but the woman who is actually inside the story. The director was present at the screening and something which she mentioned then made me want to like the film maybe a tad more. She did not make the film in Hollywood and made it in Australia after a good deal of struggle since she did not want to …