Sunday, August 8, 2010

the countdown finishes

This is just update on my previous post. The goal is exactly on track. I will be in chennai from now on(from aug 6th)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Boys from Brazil

This is a movie directed by Franklin J.Schaffner and came out in 1978. Based on a book of the same name by Ira Levin. It is the story about an Ex-Nazi Hunter who learns about a sinister plan to start the fourth Reich. This plan is conceived by Joseph Mengele, the chief doctor of the Nazi concentration camp Aushwitz. His plan is to kill 94 civil servants of age around 65 in the next two and half years. See the movie to know more.
This is an old school thriller were the thrill is mostly in the atmosphere and not in the visuals. Movies nowadays aim for it cheaply by retreating more to visual gore and cheap thrills. But this one is a very good example of atmospheric thriller. There is hardly much going on visually other than guys talking for the most time, but for the climax(a very interesting climax).
I watched this movie mainly for the wonderful star cast, and the academy award nominated performance of Laurence Olivier. The acting is pure delight. Gregory Peck as the psychotic Joseph Mengele gives the creeps. Life long he played all good characters and this is one movie through which he balances all that. Laurence Olivier plays the austrian Ezra Lieberman, the Nazi Hunter, uncovering the plot. It is another one of his brilliant performances(not close to SLEUTH though). James Mason comes in a small role as the security officer for the operation.
The book would have made a real good thrilling read. For the movie, watch it mainly for the brilliant performances. Rating – 8/10

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The scented trail

Happily surviving encamped, in the cosy comforts,
Good food to eat, even better to ponder upon,
A shelter that sways not, not in a downpour,
Not in a heavy wind, persistently insisting me,
Not to leave, assuring me that I am safe within.

The woods outside, deep and dark, damp and bleak,
The moonlit stream, sparkling, cool and clear,
The mind vividly contemplating, those not seen and felt
Mildly seeking an escape from the familiar refuge.

A faint laugh, from outside; a figure shrouded in mystery,
Standing by the door, she walks towards me, her gait graceful,
Her smile enigmatic, her lips full and moist, her looks mischievous
And her glances beckoning, she nears me, caresses me kindly,
Whispers in my ears,'Do u realise that I have been waiting for you?'

A stare, obscure and penetrating, disturbs you more, I can vouch,
Swiftly she glides to the door, only to turn back and
Tempt me even more, the dusky light fills in as she moves out,
The misty forest, the scented trail and the full moon,
Sprawling Vividly as imagined, I move forward.

Running behind the ever so elusive, smitten by her charms
Her pace, fast enough to let me follow her flowery trails,
I come to a stand still, there she stands, by the moonlit stream,
The rustling water, the thumping heart, a thousand screams inside

'Did you come for me?', coyly she asks, with eyes sparkling
'Oh fair maiden, oh sweet thing of beauty, who might you be?'
The water still, the wind stiller, a thousand screams inside
She leans across, holds me near, a dulcet voice in my ear,
With a mystic smile, she says 'I, my dear, am your unwritten life'.

This is my maiden venture in poetry. By the time I completed writing this, I decided that I should not be attempting this any more :) Unless I come across another movie like 'The Brothers Bloom' by Rian Johnson and get inspired by it :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Iranian Cinema is one area where I have swam less compared to other world cinema streams. Recently I happened to watch BARAN by Majid Majidi. I found it very endearing.

It is the story of a construction worker in Iran, Lateef. He is not much of an active worker there, but just helps the workers around there. He is short tempered and cheeky. There are lots of Afghans immigrants working in the construction site illegally. One day, one of the Afghan worker falls from the 2 nd floor is hurt very badly. The next day his son Rahmat comes over to take place of his ailing father. Rahmat does not speak, and finds it very difficult to cope up with the physical work there and so is handed over the work done by Lateef till then. Making tea, cooking food and the rest which Rahmat does with ease. Lateef is made to do the hard work now. Lateef hates Rahmat as he lost his easy work to Rahmat. He fights with Rahmat every now and then. One fine day, he learns a secret about Rahmat, which changes his entire outlook, and the rest of the movie is yours to watch.

Lateef is one of the best characters written for a movie. Rahmat is brilliantly portrayed on screen. Lots of other brilliant characters including the head of the construction site Memar, the afghan worker Soltan who wants to return home and so on. A few scenes are magical, to say one, the scene where Lateef learns the secret about Rahmat is lyrical.

I was thoroughly impressed by the simplicity of the movie and the brilliance of the director Majid Majidi. Later on more googling I found that this is the same who directed "Children of heaven" another beautiful movie, one of the most simplistic movies that I have ever watched.

If you like simple stories, real lovable characters and if you want to try your hands at Iranian cinema, both these movies are must watch. 8/10

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

LSD - movie review

Love Sex aur Dhoka is intelligent, captivating aur inspiring. Intelligent in the techniques employed to narrate the story, captivating in the impeccable emotions(considering the established norms of emotions in a commercial Indian movie) and will definitely be inspiring to the many wannabe film makers like me. Watched it yesterday night. I remember reading about a movie that was in the make long time back (when i was in my higher secondary)  in tamil called as "Nilaikannadi". The movie was supposed to be made with the point of view of a mirror with the characters coming in and out of the frame and the story would unfold. It never materialized as the idea was too novel to make an interesting feature film length movie without boring the audience with a limited camera perspective. Though LSD is not exactly the similar, the story unfolds as a series of clips shot by amateur movie maker, cctv(only 5-6 camera angles for this entire section that spans around 35 mins) and a spy cam. The movie is in three parts each one talks about Love, sex and betrayal. The movie was very impressive and its the direction by Dibaker Bannerjee that has made this such a refreshing movie experience and now I have to catch up with the other works of the director(Khosla ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky lucky oye).
Dont miss this one. 8/10 

P.S And one definitely has to give a round of applause for the interesting poster(pic above)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Top 50 films of my choice

Its been more than a year, since this list was published. I had been trying to create a list like this for quite some time. It is usually very difficult to create such lists. When you love the things being listed, to restrain yourself to limit the list count to such a paltry number is a hard task.This list was originally created for a fellow blogger Iain Stott, who was compiling the top 50 movies of all time. The list is a compilation of the favorites of 187 cinephiles, film theorists, lecturers, amateur movie makers, movie bloggers and so. I was happy that I was invited for this poll. A few of the other voters have even degrees in film studies... a few have even published books on movies.

My top 50 movies of all time (my picks-the original list)

The 50 greatest films (the final list after compilation)

To view the entire list of participants click Fellow Voters. You can also view their lists in that link.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Yesterday, I watched the relatively less heard of dutch psychological thriller/horror movie "Spoorloos - The vanishing". It was one of the best thriller movies that I have ever seen. The thrill comes entirely from the plot and not from the visuals as is the case with many movies nowadays.

The movie is about a young couple who come from Netherlands to France to see tour-de-france. The husband slightly irritated by the wife's constant childish behavior, leaves her alone at night against her constant pleas not to leave her alone, to get gasoline for the stopped car. He comes back to see her crying and feel remorse at his own behavior and promises her never to leave alone.After a few minutes she goes to the store to get something to drink and never returns back. We see the husband searching for her wife in vain. He suspects that someone has kidnapped his wife. He searches for days together without any clue.

In the mean time we see the other side of the story unfold, a thirtyish chemistry professor married and with two daughters, meticulously planning the evil act. He is an ordinary man contemplating this. It is the minutiae that makes this eerie. He chloroforms(not the right word, i know) himself and measures how long he remains unconscious (this is shown in a detailed shot about two minutes). He practices with invisible women, the actual kidnap. He talks to them and asks for directions, asks them to get in the car and chloroforms them. He tries talking to random women in town to see how their response is and measures his pulse rate when he talks.

He sees that the husband relentlessly pursuing this for more than three years, and this intrigues him. He periodically sends postcards to the husband asking him to meet at certain places. The husband is on the wild goose chase. His new girl friend does nt like this and wants him to stop this. But he desperately wants to what happened to his wife.

On one fine day, the professor follows the husband and tells him, that he is guy that the husband has been looking for(reminds me of the confession of John Doe from Seven). And he makes an offer. If the husband comes with him immediately to france he will tell all the information to him. The husband goes along with him. The rest is up to you for watching. It is one hell of an spooker with brilliant performances from all the leading three. 10/10. A must watch.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Oscar Predictions

Only predicting those categories that i could appreciate for now.. not going for sound editing, sound mixing and the other categories..

Inglourious Basterds
BEST ACTOR: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia (but this is a very close race and sandra bullock could win it)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz,Inglourious Basterds
BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker (should be QT but thats kinda impossible now)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Up In The Air (An education had a very good screenplay by Nick Hornby)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Inglourious Basterds (all the other nominees are very deserving)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Avatar (the white ribbon comes close)
BEST FILM EDITING: Inglorious Basterds, Sally Menke

Best foriegn language film : have seen only the white ribbon and it was very good. might win.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A heavy black bolt out of the sky

I went to chennai last weekend, as we were shifting our house when an unexpected, shocking, painful, revealing and an enlightening incident happened.

Not much of a shift as we were just moving from ground floor to the first floor of the same house. But the shift was definitely tedious. Only two guys had come for packing and moving and I had to help them on moving a few things. I was being hit from every side. Mom calling me to help her get a few things from attic. Sis calling me from first floor to discuss on where to keep the fridge and the movers calling me occasionally for some help. It was then that it happened.

I was trying to get a few things down from the kitchen attic. Since the wooden stool that I usually use to get things down from there was already shifted above, I started getting the things down one by one without the stool. I took two card board boxes down, and when I was taking the third one down, a heavy black cudapah stone, the ones they use to make chappathis, that was kept above the third box, slid down and fell on my head.. BANG..

The stone would have weighed a minimum of 3-4kgs. More than the excruciating pain, it was the shock of realising that such a huge thing fell on my head that occupied me. In a span of a minute or two, I was surrounded by my Mom, swearing at the guy who had initially kept it there against her wishes, the two movers, who were weighing the stone with their hands and gave a reaction of pain and spelling out OUCHS as it the stone had fell on their heads.. it was not bleeding. one of those guys told that it is bad because it is not bleeding and the concussion might be more serious and we should see a doctor immediately. The other guy told that we should be thanking god that it didn't bleed.

I was bowled over by what had happened. I sat down for five minutes as I felt dizzy and was staring at the white spot on the wall.. I shouted at my Mother for sometime to vent out my anguish. Then I stopped. I continued with the shifting job again. It was still paining and my head had bulged like the ones that you see in cartoons.

In the evening I went to the doctors. My mom was lamenting to all the patients before and after us saying, 'Yen payyan thalaila chapathi kall vilundhuduchu..' After a moment of imagining it in their heads, they mostly gave weird looks. I was finding all this comical as the pain had subsided relatively. I was still a bit nervous thanks to all the 'nalla irukkiya thambeee.. thalela kallu vilundhuduchu pola..' from the neighborhood aunties.

The doctor felt my head and then asked me to take an xray, just to be sure.. the situation no longer felt funny.. The guy in the lab took two x-rays, one a profile and one in which I was lying supine.. I was sitting outside in the lab, when the guy came back and asked me where exactly the stone fell on my head. I showed the location. Then he took out one of the x rays and started observing that standing in front of me. I could see a big crack running through my skull in that x-x-ray. Then I took those x-rays to the doctor who switched on the panel where they see the xrays. The light on that didn't work. Impatiently he took out the xray and observed it. After seeing that xray, he gave an expression which roughly translated to an emotion that i had seen in many movies, where the doctor doesn't know how to communicate to the patient about his incurable disease. He rotated it and viewed it from different angles. Then he told, 'A few people do have this (pointing out the crack in the xray), which occurs at the point of joining of the frontal something something.. with the something something.. But I am not sure if this is that. I have to see this clearly and tell you.. This panel thingy is not working due to low voltage.. Come after an hour. I ll check and tell you by then".

It was very difficult to sit through the next hour. I was thinking 'Thats it!! its over, and i havent even started to do what i like.. and its over even before it is started.. Thats it! I am gonna die.. Just like in the movies.. and that too how.. chappathi kall thalaila vilundhu.."..

At this point i will digress into an analogy that came to my mind at that time. It was so very odd for this to come to my mind at that time.. but it did..

It was from the movie Hannah and her Sisters by Woody Allen, wherein there is a character Mickey played by Allen, who is a hypochondriac. He goes for his routine check-up and after the check-up is over he tells his doctor that he thinks he has developed a hearing loss in his left ear. After some tests the doctor confirms that there is indeed a significant loss in hearing in his left ear. Knowing that he does have the hearing loss, Mickey becomes defensive and says to the doctor who tries to probe him more, that he usually imagines things.. But the doctor who now doubts something, suggests him to a friend of his to do a complete audiometry test.. Mickey is distressed.

Being a hypochondriac, he calls up another doctor of his for a second opinion who tells that the symptoms might be due to a normal flu or the dark side of the spectrum., it might be a brain tumour. After this Mickey is panic stricken. He starts thinking what he will do if it turns out to be a brain tumour. He starts imagining things. Finally he goes to take the audiometry tests. The doctor who is not satisfied with the ENG or BSER, does a tomography. He says, finally pointing to an x ray, " you see that gray area over there.. That gray area there is what i had hoped i wouldnt run into. I would like you to come on monday morning for a CAT scan".

Mickey is devastated now. He tries to compose himself in vain..

Mickey(getting up disturbed from his sleep):
I'm dying! l'm dying! l know it! There's a spot on my lungs!...All right, now take it's not on your lungs, it's on your ear... lt's the same thing, isn't it?Jesus, l can't sleep!...God, there's a tumour in my head the size ofa basketball! .... Now l keep thinking l can feel it every time l blink!
Oh, Jesus!He wants me to do a brain scan to confirm what he already suspects...Look, l'll make a deal with God.Let it just be my ear, OK? l'll go deaf, and blind in one eye, maybe.

But after the final analysis it miraculously turns out that it is nothing. At first Mickey who is overjoyed, later realises that if its not today, how long is it going to be before he comes to this situation again. He suddenly realises how meaningless everything in world is. He searches for something that could give him an answer to his questions.. He feels that he doesnt want to go on living in a god less universe..

Now, he happens to own this rifle that he loads and presses against his forehead, one day when he has hit bottom... He is confused whether to shoot him or not...he clearly doesn't want to live in a world where nothing is certain.. All of a sudden the gun goes off.. He was so tense that he pulled the trigger, but since he was perspiring so much, the gun slid of his forehead and nothing happens to him..

His mind is racing a mile a minute and comes out running for fresh air. He wanders for hours together to put things into a rational perspective... not knowing what to do, he goes into a theatre and watches the duck soup by the Marx brothers.. then he realised how stupid it was to even think of shooting himself.. he thinks what if the worst is true.. What if there's no God and you
only go around once and that's it? Don't you want to be part of the experience? l should stop ruining my life, searching for answers l'm never gonna get, andjust enjoy it while it lasts.

Now coming back to my story, the doctor called me after an hour and it finally turned out to be nothing.. He prescribed some pain killers. Since the stone had fallen obliquely i was not that hurt. In the meantime my heart was racing. Am I waiting too long to secure my life from the possible danger that could come in the haphazard future career of mine.. I realised that whatever accident I had was an eye opened that I should stop being so calculative(whatever little i am) and jump in and take the plunge..