Sunday, December 29, 2002

All of Me (1984) - Funny, with a weird concept for the storyline. Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin. Plot (imdb): A dying millionnaire has her soul transferred into a younger, willing woman. But something goes wrong, and she finds herself in her lawyer's body - together with the lawyer.

VHS. 93 mins. 7/10. E3. Q2. R1.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) - One of the better Bond fares by one of the better Bonds - Sean Connery. Dir by Guy Hamilton (I).

TV-TNN. uncut-125 mins. 6.5/10. E3. Q2. R1

Hyderabad Blues (1999) - India from the eye of a young Indian returning from America after 12 years. Cliched, prejudiced, confused, and worse with a pseudo-intellectual air. The film was received well and is said to have ushered a new era of low-budget English films in India. Thoroughly disappointing though. Falls apart technically. Cinema is a different medium and has its own language and just because one *thinks* that one has something good to say doesn't mean one can make good cinema. That Nagesh Kukunoor doesn't have anything worthwhile even to say is another matter. Avoidable.

DVD. 4/10. E0. Q0. R0

Honey, I have Shrunk The Kids - 7/10. E3. Q2. R1
Bhoot Bangla - 6.5/10. E3. Q1. R0
Sound of Music - 8/10. E3. Q3. R2

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Anubhav (1971) - Dir by Basu Bhattacharya. Sanjeev, Tanuja, Dinesh Thakur, A.K. Hangal. Expected a whole lot better from a Basu Bhattacharya movie. A rather poor fare which stands nowhere in comparison to the quality of even its own songs. Surprisingly, the BGM by Kanu Roy (with an assistant like Kersi Lord) is one of the worse things about it, along with the camerawork, editing and direction and what not. Sanjeev disappoints while the rest of the cast is just okay. Better listened to than seen. Wonderful songs. DVD. B/W. 3/10.

Auntie Mame (1958) - Played by Rosalind Russell. Plot: An orphan goes to live with his free-spirited aunt. Conflict ensues when the executor of his father's estate objects to the aunt's lifestyle. VHS. Technicolor. 143 mins. 6.5/10

Ever After (1998) - Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston. A modern day story of Cinderella about a girl who finds her Prince Charming. Dir by Andy Tennant. Wonderful and enjoyable. VHS. 121 mins. 8.5/10

Deewangee (2002) - Akshaye Khanna, Ajay Devgan, Urmila. Akshaye continues his excellent form that he gained with DCH. I just can't believe that he is the same guy who did so pathetically in Taal and before. He has got it just right now and simply by being himself. Also I think, he understands his weaknesses and strong points much better now. Looks like he is slated to be the next Aamir. The movie is different in the way that unlike other similar fares it keeps a grip towards the end. However, it is miserable in the first half, where it unabashedly copies 'Primal Fear'. Still better of the current lot, especially because of Akshaye and his confrontational scenes with Ajay, who has done okay in his Ranjit-avatar. Urmila, as always, is highly irritating. Written (?, copied) and directed by Aneez Bazmi (he wrote the slick Govinda's 'Aankhen' too). And oh yes, I skipped the songs. DVD. 6.5/10.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar (2002) - 3.5/10
October Sky - 8.8/10

Friday, December 13, 2002

Fiddler On The Roof (1971) - A Fantabulous musical. The movie, an adaptation of a very famous stage musical, is very compatible for a "Bollywood"-regular. Though generally a musical in itself is highly consumable to this kind of movie-goer (incl. me), the identicalness of characters and situations makes it even more home-like. Even the length of the film (a notch above 3 hours) will vouch for that :). Dir by Norman Jewison. The film carries a delightful music score with classics like "If I were a Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset". Topol plays the protagonist (Tevye) and reminds more often than not of older Dilip Kumar. Joyful.

Some lines from the movie:
Tevye [Talking to God]: I know, I know. We are your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't you choose someone else?

Tevye: As the good book says, when a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick.
Mendel: Where does the book say that?
Tevye: Well, it doesn't say that exactly, but somewhere there is something about a chicken.

VHS. Color. 181 minutes. 8.5/10. imdb

Monday, December 02, 2002

Three wonderful movies this weekend (after a tiring yet suprisingly smooth move to the new apt, thanks mainly to Somendra)..

One Fine Day (1996) - Fun. A film of moments and fine performances. And some good lines. George Clooney, Michelle Pfeiffer. Dir by Michael Hoffman.

VHS. 8.2/10. imdb

Lion King - VHS. 8.5/10

Aladdin and the King of Thieves - VHS. 8/10

Friday, November 22, 2002

In the Bedroom (2001) - Brilliant. Dir by Todd Field. Very real characters, great performances, superb direction and some outstanding cinematic moments, all together make it a great movie. The end seems a little stretched and a little lame for such a well-told movie otherwise, but it still makes a point. Tom Wilkinson (I) is excellent. Others include Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl and Marisa Tomei. Plot (imdb): A New England couple's college-aged son dates an older woman with two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband. Then something terrible occurs in this wrenching, emotional drama.

DVD. 130 mins. 8.5/10. imdb
A Walk to Remember (2002) - a movie to forget. If there's one hollywood movie, which can be said to be the most close in several ways to a typical Hindi fare, it would be this. But that's not the reason why one should forget about this. It's just that it is a bad movie. I even forgot why I decided to rent this.

DVD. 101 min. 5/10. imdb

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Se7en (1995) - Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt. Dir by David Fincher. A disturbing tale of a serial killer. Mostly predictable. Raises high hopes, but not always lives up to them. Good performances. Good pace.

DVD. 127 mins. Rated R for grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings, and for strong language. 7/10. imdb

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) - A wonderful movie about small things. Drew Barrymore surprises with a great performance. Dir by Penny Marshall. Based on a book of true story, it had screenplay with some very good lines by Morgan Ward. Plot Outline: A single mother, with dreams of becoming a writer, has a son at the age of 15 in 1968, and goes through a failed marriage with the drug-addicted father.

HBO. 132 mins. 8/10. imdb

East is East (1999) - One of the better movies on the expatriate South Asian community in UK. Funny, honest and not pretending to be great. Om Puri is good (nothing great), Linda Bassett is better as his wife. Dir by Damien O'Donnell. Okay time pass.

DVD. 96 mins. R-L2V2S0. 6/10.

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) - An experimental black and white movie written and directed by Coen Brothers. Plot Outline: A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong. Very good performance by Billy Bob Thornton. Nothing great to offer otherwise.

DVD. B/W. 116 mins. 6/10. imdb

Fifteen Minutes (2001) - Slick thriller with touches of sarcasm on American media and culture in general. The movie contains many subliminal messages. Good entertainment too. Robert De Niro, Edward Burns (I). Dir by John Herzfeld. Plot Outline: A homicide detective and a fire marshall must stop a pair of murderers who commit videotaped crimes to become media darlings.

DVD. 120 mins. R-L2V2S1. 7.5/10. imdb

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

The Assignment (1997) - Aidan Quinn, Donald Sutherland, Ben Kingsley. Crap. DVD. R-L0V2S0. 5/10
Monster, Inc (2001) - DVD. 7.5/10

Monday, October 28, 2002

Behind Enemy Lines (2001) - Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman. DVD. 5/10.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

10 must-have DVDs for home theaters -

Any home-theater enthusiast knows that there are certain discs that make your home theater really look and sound like one. Unfortunately, all too often the movies themselves aren't as captivating as the visual and audio pyrotechnics that they deliver. But who cares? We love them for what they are: awesome test discs that push the limits of our systems.

Here are current favorites, culled from numerous titles. We've listed them by release date along with our preferred test scenes from each disc. We update this list monthly.

Star Wars--Episode 2, Attack of the Clones (Fox)
Monsters, Inc. (Disney)
Panic Room: Superbit Edition (Columbia Tristar)
From Hell--Director's Limited Edition (20th Century Fox)
Jurassic Park III (Universal)
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Warner Home Video)
Pearl Harbor--Vista Series Director's Cut (Buena Vista)
Black Hawk Down (Columbia TriStar)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Warner)
Fifth Element: Superbit Collection (Columbia TriStar)

Monday, October 21, 2002

The Birds (1963) - Hitchcock's. A strange film, which so often touches the level of a masterpiece and yet ends up quite feebly. Most of the film is enchanting, except the climax which makes one feel kind of cheated. Performaces are of mediocre level too.

DVD. Color. 119 min. 6.5/10. imdb
L.A. Confidential (1997) - Wonderful entertainment. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger. Excellent performances all, esp. by Kim and Spacey. Dir by Curtis Hanson. Plot Outline: A shooting at an all night diner is investigated by three LA policemen in their own unique ways.

DVD. 138 min. 8/10. imdb

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Sense and Sensibilities (1995) - A wonderful, beautiful movie. Based on Jane Austin's famous novel, it has screenplay by Emma Thompson who also starts in the main role. She is brilliant and is ably supported by Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant. Kate Winslet is little irritating in some parts, but carries out well in the end. Dir by Ang Lee. The lush green british locales are a treat to eyes. Good entertainment. Tagline: Lose your heart and come to your senses.

Some quotes from the movie:
Mama: If you can't think of anything to say you will please restrict your remarks to the weather.

John Willoughby: Brandon is the sort of man everyone speaks well of, but no one remembers to talk to.

Marianne Dashwood: Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and dignity and honour. Elinor, where is your heart?

Colonel Brandon: Give me an occupation or I shall run mad.

DVD. 136 min. 8.5/10. imdb
The Bone Collector (1999) - A time-pass suspense thriller. Some unconvincing things makes it a little less reliable than what a serial killer movie should strive for. Plot Outline: "Denzel Washington plays a quadriplegic homicide detective. He and his female partner track down a serial killer." He does good.

DVD. R-L1V0S0. 118 min. 6.5/10. imdb
The Thomas Crowne Affair (1999) - Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo. Dir by John McTiernan. The movie was a remake of a 1966 movie with the same name. Plot Outline: A very rich and successful playboy amuses himself by stealing artwork, but may have met his match in a seductive detective. It's a slick heist movie. However one thing which sometime irritate during the movie is its pretentiousness. The movie tries to show itself as of a great character and substance which it is not. Yet, thoroughly enjoyable.

DVD. R-L1V2S0. 113 min. 7/10. imdb

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

The Trouble with Harry (1955) - Hitchcock succeeds with comedy too. A delightful comedy providing some splendid visual (Falls colors of Maine) treat. Shirley MacLaine shines in her debut with wonderful support from Edmund Gwenn.

DVD. 99 min, color. 8/10. imdb

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001) - 7/10
Such A Long Journey (2001) - Roshan Seth, Naseer, Om Puri. And yet a highly annoying movie. 3/10
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - 6/10

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Gross Pointe Blank (1997) - Fun to watch. The movie has an attitude of its own. Dir by George Armitage. John Cusack, Minnie Driver. Plot: Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

Some real funny lines (check more at imdb):
McCullers: You got any ideas how you wanna wax this guy?
Steve: Can't you just say 'kill'? Ya always gotta romanticize it.

Dr. Oatman: Martin, I'm emotionally involved with you.
Marty: How are you emotionally involved with me?
Dr. Oatman: I'm afraid of you.
Marty: You're afraid of me.
Dr. Oatman: And that constitutes an emotional involvement, and it would be unethical for me to work with you under those circumstances.

Marty: You don't know my cat. It's very demanding.
Debi: "It"? You don't know if it's a boy or a girl?
Marty: I respect its privacy.

Debi: So, what have you been doing with your life?
Marty: Professional Killer.
Debi: get dental with that?

DVD. R-L1V2S0. 107 min. 6.5/10. imdb
Monsoon Wedding (2001) - 5/10
Lajja (2001) - 6.5/10
The Terrorist (1999) - 2/10

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Il Postino/The Postman (1994) - Italian - May be not a great film but not far from it either. Plot: Simple Italian postman learns to love poetry while delivering mail to a famous poet; he uses this to woo local beauty Beatrice. The film is remarkable for one of the very best performances I have seen, by the Italian actor Massimo Troisi. Philippe Noiret as the famous poet Pablo Naruda is also wonderful. The camerawork and the soundtrack also add to the feast. Dir by Michael Radford (was a surprise to know that he was born in New Delhi).

Memorable lines:
Pablo Neruda: "Man has no business with the simplicity or complexity of things."
Pablo Neruda: "When you explain poetry, it becomes banal. Better than any explanation is the experience of feelings that poetry can reveal to a nature open enough to understand it."
Pablo Neruda:"Even the most sublime ideas sound ridiculous if heard too often."

DVD. 108 min. PG-L1V1S0. 8/10. imdb
The Century of Films

by Derek Malcom

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - This is what I would call a work of brilliance. Close to life and so very unpredictable. The characters are so much more identifiable with all their weaknesses and yet elusively mysterious because of their individuality. The subtleties of the movies are easy to get missed in the first viewing esp. if you are busy enjoying New York. Dir by Blake Edwards, the film is an adaptation of a Truman Capote novel. The screenplay with some terrific lines is written by George Axelrod. Again Audrey steals the show, even though George Peppard's performance does a lot for the character of Paul/Fred. However one feels that the caricature character of the Japanese could have been done without.

Memorable lines:
Paul Varjak: "You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You're chicken, you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, "Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness." You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself."

Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul: Sure.
Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away

TV-AMC. As part of "Absolute Audrey Marathon". 115 min. Color. 8.7/10. imdb
Wait Until Dark (1967) - 3rd time watching and it still amazes me. There are few films that can capture your mind and heart together at the same time, in a better manner. Adapted from a stage play written by Frederick Knott, the movie is a fine example of wonderful direction (by Terence Young) especially considering that there was not much of a story to tell. The gripping screenplay is written by Robert Howard-Carrington . Brilliant performance by Audrey. Also liked Alan Arkin as Mr. Roat.

TV-AMC. As part of "Absolute Audrey Marathon". 107 min. Color. 8.5/10. imdb
Roman Holiday (1953) - This delightful romantic comedy won Audrey an Oscar. Directed by William Wyler, the movie made everybody fall in love with Audrey and Vespa scooters. Gregory Peck spends the lovely holiday with her in Rome.

TV-AMC. As part of "Absolute Audrey Marathon". 118 minute. B/W. 7.5/10. imdb

Friday, September 20, 2002

The Third Man (1949) - Classic Film-noir. Dir Carol Reed. Plot: Arriving in Vienna, Holly Martins learns that his friend Harry Lime, who has invited him, recently died in a car accident. Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard.

Memorable line:
Harry Lime: "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

DVD. 104 min. B/W. 7. imdb

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Psycho (1960) - Quintessential Hitchcock. Written by Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch. Great camerawork (by John L. Russell). Great direction. Filmed in black and white. Presents extraordinary visuals and good screen excitement. Aided by a very good performance by Anthony Perkins as the motel owner Norman Bates.

Bonus materials in the DVD include several interviews for "the making of".

DVD. 109 minutes. B/W. R-L0V1S1. 8.5. imdb

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Almost Famous (2000) - The film has the same flavour, which is constituted by romance, light comedy, drama, emotion - all in subtle amount, that was present in the previous venture of Cameron Crowe - Jerry Mcguire. A very uniquie and refreshing style. This autobiographical film (of Crowe himself) boasts of some good lines, moments, performances (for one, by Kate Hudson) and a very pleasing soundtrack.

Memorable lines:
"The only true currency in this bankrupt what you share with someone else when you're uncool."
"They don't even know what it is to be a fan. Y'know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts."
"Of course I'm home. I'm always home. I'm uncool."
"I don't make the rain. I just have the best umbrella"
"Adolescence is a marketing ploy"
[Finally getting his interview with Russell Hammond]
William Miller: "So Russell... what do you love about music?"
Russell Hammond: "To begin with, everything"

The DVD has behind the scenes, production notes, and other goodies.

DVD. 122 min. R-L0V1S0. 7.5/10. imdb

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Aakhri Khat (1966) - Brilliant work by Chetan Anand (story, screenplay, dialogues and direction). Rajesh Khanna, Indrani Mukherjee and a decent performing Naqi Jahan starts in this "Bunty"-dominated film. The child character is one of the very best portrayals in Hindi Films and a treat to watch. And then Kaifi/Khayyam raises the film with beauties like mere munne, aur kuchh der Thahar, bahaaro.n mere jeevan bhii sa.Nwaaro and the one in which Bhupendra plays himself (Singer with a guitar) in the beautiful song ??. Jal Mistry is behind the black and white camera.

Memorable quotes

Police: ye bachchaa ro kyo.n rahaa hai? ये बच्चा रो क्यों रहा है?
Nana Palsikar: peenaa to manaa hai. khaanaa bhii manaa hogaa. ha.Nsanaa to apane aap manaa ho jaayegaa. par ronaa kyo.n manaa hai? पीना तो मना है. खाना भी मना होगा. हँसना तो अपने आप मना हो जायेगा. पर रोना क्यों मना है?

DVD (WEG). B/W. 8/10

Andaz Apna Apna - Classic. 5th or 6th viewing. 9/10.

Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972)- Pancham makes the mood with the title song that runs along with the credit and when music director's name is shown, he screams "hey, that's me, baby!". A little more to see than what you would normally expect from a Ravi Nagaich movie. Yet the saving graces are the amazing songs like deewanaa kar_ke chho.Doge (my fav of the lot), the sizzling Asha number aao naa gale lagaao na, the ultimate 'car' song chala jaata hoo.N, the soft deewaana leke aayaa hai, the brightening kitne sapane kitne armaaN, the soulful Kishore bhajan apanoN ko kab he shyaam and of course the most popular o mere dil ke chain. Tanuja is the better of the acting lot. DVD. 5.5/10

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

There's Something About Marry (1998) - could have been a better movie. romantic comedy. dir by farrelly brothers - fall way short of what they could achieve in Dumb and Dumber. mediocre performaces by cameron diaz and ben stiller. matt dillon saves the show a little bit. seems forced humor at most times. okay for light viewing. TV - Fox. 6/10. imdb
Never Been Kissed (1999) - a youth romantic comedy with a good amount of bollywood-ish expression of emotions. dir by raja gosnell. drew barrymore surprises with a decent performance. Plot: A journalist enrolls in her old highschool as part of her research for a story. TV - 6.5/10 . imdb
The 39 Steps (1935) - a true hitchcock classic. a comedy thriller. among his best as far as cinematic technique is concerned. Plot: A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent, and is soon finding himself in one jam after another. DVD - 7.5/10. imdb
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - classic. dir frank capra. memorable performances by jean arthur (loved her), james stewart. Plot: a naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. DVD - 8.5/10. imdb

Saturday, August 24, 2002

The Insider (1999) - TV - 7.5/10. imdb
Rising Arizona - DVD - loved it. 8.5/10.
La Femme Nikita (1991) - French - slick spy movie without much substance and logic. TV - TNN. 7/10
Some Like It Hot (1959) - the original 'rafoochakkar'. marilyn munroe, jack lemmon. 6.5/10. imdb

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Color of Money, The (1986) - Sequel to The Hustler (1961), 25 years later. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Paul Newman ages as Fast Eddie. Tom Cruise is the new kid on the block. Interesting, even if you have never played pool.
DVD. 6.5/10. imdb

Awaara, Paagal, Deewaana (2002) - akshay, suni shetty, aaftab. the real hero though is paresh rawal. he provides some hilarious moments. okay timepass.
VHS. 5.5/10

Bada Kabootar - Deven Verma produced. A C-grade venture throughout. Ashok Kumar plots a plan and form a gang to make it work. could have been interesting if the makers were interested. disheartening to see RDB gem like 'haay re haay re' getting wasted in movies such as this.
VHS. 2.5/10.

Yahi Hai Zindagi - sanjeev kumar, utpal dutt. typical south Indian family fare. sanjeev excels. rest are mediocre. the idea of the movie is fine, yet the assumptions and results are cliched. very predictable and soon gets boring.
VHS. 4/10

Friday, August 16, 2002

Fargo (1996) - A homespun murder story which actually happened. the tale is weird and fascinating. excellent performance as the pregnant cop by Frances McDormand.
DVD. 7/10. R-L1V1S0. imdb
The Hustler (1961) - paul newman. DVD. 6/10
Nine to Five. DVD. 5.5/10

Monday, August 05, 2002

Minority Report (2002)

Loews Cineplex. 7.5/10
The Chamber

TV-USA. 6.5/10
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) - what a movie!. . great chemistry between newman and redford. directed by george roy hill. this story of the real western bandit duo is written by william goldman.

DVD. 8.5/10. imdb

Friday, August 02, 2002

Chandni Bar (2001) - good story, brilliantly told. madhur bhandarkar shows a lot of promise as the dir. the efforts to maintain authenticity is heartening to see, for a change (in a bollywood movie). the penchant for authenticity can be seen in sets and even the songs selected to be played in the bar. also quite uniqely, even the film used seem different for 80s and 90s, as both the image and surroundings get a polish as the story progresses into 90s.

The flaw remains in some loud performances by the supporting artists. may be it was just too difficult to match tabu and the contrast gets striking.

the movie achieves what it wants, that is to tell a bar-girl's story by walking on the thin line that divides the glamourisation and disregard of the profession. kudos..

DVD. 8/10. R-L2V1S2. 241 mins.
High Noon (1952) - a western without fights. the thing which makes it unique amongst its genre is that it focusses more into a man's dilemma than the typical stuff. very low-key affair. prod by stanley kramer. dir by fred zinnemann. gary cooper gives an oscar-winning performance. start grace kelly in a low-key role. watchable.

DVD. 6.5/10. -L0V0S0. b/w. 85 minutes. imdb

Saturday, July 27, 2002

Escape from Alcatraz (1979) - clint eastwood. dir by don siegel. intresting for the most part. based on a true story of a 1962 escape from the jail. nothing much to note.

TV-AMC. 6/10. -L0V0S0. imdb
12 Angry Men (1957) - brilliant screenplay. the movie was (unofficially) remade in hindi as 'Ek Ruka Hua Faisla' starring pankaj kapoor and k.k.raina among others. produced and also acted in by henry fonda. story and screenplay reginald rose, who very recently passed away. tagline: Life Is In Their Hands -- Death Is On Their Minds. wonderful performances, captivating dialogues, very well directed (by sidney lumet).

DVD. 8.5/10. -L0V0S0. b/w. 96 minutes. imdb
Das Boot (1981) - Director's cut. 209 minutes. long, epic tale of the 2nd world war seen from within a german U-boat submarine. the view though is from a german side for a change, the viewpoint still is american (or more correctly non-german). one of the most authentic war movies. melodramatic characters and performances. superb camerawork. dir by wolfgang petersen. both engrossing and boring at times. successfully evokes a feeling for futility of what happened. dubbed from german.

DVD. 6.5/10. R-L1V1S0. imdb

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Amelie (2001) - French - enjoyable. very refreshing. the theme reminds one of a typical basu chatterjee/hrishikesh mukherjee movie (bawarchi for one). interestingly narrated story. refreshing frames.

DVD. 8/10. R-L1V2S0. Yahoo!

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - A film unlike any other. See it with time on your hand and peace in your mind.

DVD. 6.5/10. -L0V0S0. imdb

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

an rmim post

Master Directors : List of Best of Indian cinema

Monday, July 22, 2002

Devdas (2002) - Sanjay Leela Bhansali's.

disclaimer: The points made below should be seen in the light of the fact that i have not seen any of the previous devdas movies, neither have read the novel so far. so there are basically no comparisons drawn here. the movie is anlaysed in its individuality, which is what I beleive it should be, too. the film does not claim that it is an *exact* adaptation of the novel. the titles say 'it is *based* on Sharat Chandra's novel' and the screenplay credits are given to slb and another person.

the failures:
* the film. as a whole the film fails miserably, as when it is supposed to be tragic and touching, all it evokes is laughter(on the characters themselves). The movie is not able to create even a soft corner for any of the characters, let alone the pathos that all three main characters would have deserved.
* the director. the only thing he seems hell-bent to prove in the movie is some showmanship and that too his own version of it. He doesn't seem to have a clue of his characters, doesn't care at all about continuity, and seems too engrossed in cosmetic details to have any focus on the overall picture. Also his fascination for 'Aishwarya' continues and reaches to the extremes that the movie could have well been called 'Paro' instead of Devdas. it could be interesting to see how one can fail even if handed over the largest sum for a movie ever (Rs. 50 crore) and one of the best love-triangle novels written to date, to film.
* the screenplay. devdas keeps singing, dancing and enjoying (oh, you have to see the joy on SRK's face) with his booze-buddy 'chunnilal' at the time when he is supposed to be brooding over paro. paro invites chandramukhi to his home on durga-pooja, so that they can sing a duet together about their 'aashiq'. bhansali chooses to add the very elements to the novel (i know that the girls don't meet in the original), which would kill it.
* devdas. Devdas is anything but Devdas. Mostly it is Shahrukh Khan. And you know all about him already. In the first half yet, he contains himself and shows a new 'poise' in the dialogue delivery, which makes him almost acceptable. But as soon as the drama arrives, the 'pol-patti' comes out in the open. as unbearable as ever.
* chunnilal. jackie plays one of the most irritating characters filmed lately with his ridiculous word-wizardry(!) and even worse she'rs that he keeps mouthing.
* the supporting cast. the less said the better.
* the cinematography. binod pradhan seems overwhelmed by the sets. in a couple of scenes in the beginning, he starts with a tilted angle. when you start thinking of it as a style comment, he completely forgets about it. for the most part of the movie, his camera is admiring the surroundings than charecterizing the scene. and towards the end, there are some very unpleasant 'pans' too.

the triumphs:
* chandramukhi: madhuri shows that she is far ahead of the current lot and easily one of the all-time great actresses. that she gets the shortest footage is an irony of the movie.
* art direction: definitely breathtaking at times. though there seems to be no logic for such extravagance for the script, but giving the art director the benefit of the doubt that it was the director and producer who decided on the economic status of the characters, the sets are magnificient.
* music: the background score goes well with the movie. most of the songs are enjoyable too. esp. the narula song and madhuri's introductory 'maar Daala' are very well picturised and adds value. however, the male duet 'chhalak chhalak' by shahrukh and jackie is absolutely unnecessary, besides the fact that it kills the character of devdas. same for the female duet by madhuri and aishwarya. goes against the characters and the story.

the goofs: (i may be wrong about a couple of them, but then i am not going to see the movie again to confirm)
* continuity. madhuri's hair gets considerably shorter in the male duet song (when she dances along jackie), only to be back to their longer past in the next sequence.
* continuity. shahrukh's 'nazar ka Teeka' on aiswarya's lower lip gets erased by Aishwara, but is right back there in the next scene.
* continuity. similar thing happens with the 'blood mark' that shahrukh makes on aiswarya's head as 'nishaani'.
* lip sync. shahrukh falters on his lines during 'chhalak chhalak'.

v & r. Loehmann's. 4/10.
Memento (2000) - mind blowing. a story told backwards. superbly directed by christopher nolan. shot in 25 days. guy pearce gives a wonderful performance. tagline: "Some memories are best forgotten". to be watched closely, alone is better.

Leonard: [Running] Okay, what am I doing? [Sees Dodd also running] I'm chasing this guy. [Dodd has a gun, shoots at Leonard] Nope. He's chasing me.

DVD. 8.5/10. -L1V0S0. imdb

Friday, July 19, 2002

Life Is Beautiful / Vita � bella, La (1997) - simply beautiful. A glimpse of how Chaplin would make a film if he was alive today. a work of real genius. roberto benigni pays tribute to his hero chaplin in a still very original and ingenious way.

DVD. 8.5/10. -L0V0S0. imdb
Black Hawk Down (2001) - with several great war films behind including Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now, it seems there's very little scope left for innovation. dir by ridley scott. yet the film is able to capture the spirit of the war in the modern era, with the latest killing machines. can be watched if there is nothing else to do.

DVD. 6/10. -L1V0S0. imdb

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Taxi Driver (1976) - pure cinema, scorsese style. great performance by robert de niro.

DVD. 8/10. R-L2V2S0. imdb.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Rear Window (1954) - CLASSIC. hitchcock at his best. brilliant performances by james stewart, grace kelly, thelma ritter. excellently written by john michael hayes. subtle humor mingled with suspense and a wonderful use of the medium. a masterpiece.

Stella: We've become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change. Yes sir. How's that for a bit of homespun philosophy?

Lisa: Today's a very special day.
Jeff: It's just another Wednesday. The calendar's full of 'em.

Lisa: I wish I were creative.
Jeff: You are. You're great at creating difficult situations.

Lisa: preview of coming attractions.

more memorable quotes..

DVD - July 16, 2002. 8.5/10. -L0V0S0. imdb

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Vanilla Sky (2001) - a mix of simple and complex. the film suffers from inconsistency in the complexity and level of thought. yet a watchable experience. very unique. melancholic. memorable. tagline: "LoveHateDreamsLifeWorkPlayFriendshipSex". pen�lope cruz steals the show from still brilliant cruise. dir cameron crowe gets fascinated by and remakes a 1997 spanish movie Abre Los Ojos. as crowe puts it in an interview, the movie is to be watched closely. though a long movie this, yet for 135-minutes it puts too many images into the head. another tagline: "forget everything you know, and open your eyes".

"A trip worth taking" - E!Online
"..aims high, but falls short" - USA Today

DVD - July 15, 2002. 7/10. R-L2V1S0. imdb

Monday, July 15, 2002

Jerry Maguire (1996) - delightful. the underlying humor of this tale of a football player's agent is just delicious. very well written and directed by cameron crowe. tom cruise is a little over-the-top at times (yet brilliant at others), but ren�e zellweger and bonnie hunt's excellent performances more than make up for that.

'There is a sensitivity thing that some people have. I don't have it. I don't cry at movies, I don't gush over babies, I don't buy Christmas presents 5 months early, and I DON'T tell the guy who just ruined both our lives, "Oh, poor baby." But I do love you.'
Jerry Maguire: Have you ever gotten the feeling that you aren't completely embarassed yet, but you glimpse tomorrow's embarassment?
Dicky Fox: I have failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my life. I love my wife. And I wish you my kind of success.
Dicky Fox: If this [points to heart] is empty, this [points to head] doesn't matter.
Dorothy: I'm sorry, I'm just not as good at the insults as she is. Marcee Tidwell: No, that was pretty good.
Jerry Maguire: I hated, I hated my place in the world.
Jerry Maguire: That's more than a dress. That's an Audrey Hepburn movie.

more memorable quotes..

TV-ABC - July 14, 2002. 7.5/10. imdb
The Net (1995) - below average. a little oversimplification of hacker-dom, yet more closer to the truth than many other computer-related flicks. bullock is not very impressive. dir irwin winkler.

"Jack: Well, we're here. We're sitting on the most perfect beach in the world, and all we can think about is..
Angela: "Where I can hook up my modem?"

TV-HBO - July 14, 2002. 6/10. imdb. Yahoo

Sunday, July 14, 2002

July 12-13, 2002

Swordfish (2001) - john travolta, halle barry. dir dominic sena. good special effects. 4/10. TV-HBO.

Terms of Endearment (1983) - tagline: "Come to Laugh, Come to Cry, Come to Care, Come to Terms". plot: Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. shirley mcclaine, debra winger, jack nicholson, jeff daniels. great performances, great characterisations, very good lines. TV-AMC. 7.5/10. imdb

Fallen (1998) - denzel washingon. inspired amitabh's aks. fairly ok timepass. some good lines. TV-TBS. 5.5/10. imdb

Deception (1993) - TV-HBO. 4/10.

Speed (1994) - aw, you won't forget this. edge of the seat flick. keanu reeves, sandra bullock, dennis hopper. dir jan de bont. TV-AMC. second run. 7/10. imdb

Amadeus (1984) - The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told in flashback mode by Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum. excellent performace by f. murray abraham as Salieri. The tagline of the movie: "...Everything You've Heard Is True". DVD. 7/10. imdb

Friday, July 12, 2002

Apocalypse Now (1979) - visual delight. a coppola film. runs on cerebral level in the last half. martin sheen, marlon brando. some real introspective, honest and sarcastic remarks about vietnam war. vietnam is shown in its splendid visual grandeur. extraordinary war scenes.

"charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500"
"It's a way we had over here with living with ourselves. We cut 'em in half with a machine gun and give'em a Band-Aid."
"What do you call assassins who accuse assassins?"

DVD - July 11, 2002. 7/10. imdb.
Sanjay L Bhansali's Devdaas: Reviews

from Rediff by Sita Menon : Paradise lost
"Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas is an assault on the senses"

from TNT by Anna M.M. Vetticad: D-D-D-D-Devdas
"..Add to that the tedium caused by Khan's hamming, and you will know why the tragedy of this film is not the one in the storyline: it is that Devdas minus Devdas (read: the movie minus Khan) and with a little less of the excess could have been a great film."

"THE MAN: Watching a Shah Rukh Khan film always brings back memories. Like memories of watching Asoka with friends last year. A guy in the row behind us had not forgotten Khan's obsessed-lover routine in Yash Chopra's Darr. "K-k-k-k-kiran," the chappie cried out as the emperor (Khan) romanced Kaurawaki (Kareena Kapoor) on screen, adding "K-k-k-k-kaurawaki", for good measure. Couldn't blame him. Watching Khan play the tragic lover in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas last night, it was tempting to yell out, "P-p-p-p-paro," then "Ch-ch-ch-ch-chandramukhi". O Shah Rukh, can you never be anything but yourself?"

from Outlook India
"However, in an age when the depth of love gets measured by the inane lines of an Archies card, when love can be simulated with the click of the mouse, when it can be bought off the shelf from a department store, Bhansali's Devdas is so entirely apt. Losing in love might be an anachronism in the 21st century, but Bhansali wraps Indian literature's biggest loser in toothpaste glam."

Thursday, July 11, 2002

American Graffiti (1973) - average, even boring at times. dir george lucas. producer copolla - the movie was made around the same time as 'godfather'. musical montage, wall-to-wall music tracks, some classic rock-n--roll soundtracks. has a good feel. the usp lies in the nostalgia for people who spent their life in early 1960s' america. the movie is about car cruising, rock-n-roll, graduating, leaving home, with emphasis on materials than emotions. not much of a cinematic achievement except a different way of storytelling - the story of four friends runs in parallel. ron howard (dir of 'apollo 13' and 'a beautiful mind' among others) stars as one of the lead characters. great soundtrack. made with a low-budget. highly successful commercially.

Netflix - July 10, 2002. 5/10. repeat value - 0. imdb. Yahoo!

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Ocean's Eleven (2001) - slick, enjoyable, great star cast. very well directed by steven soderbergh. the whole movie is like an rdb piece of music - great ride with a lot of pace but no bumps, very smooth. excellent characterisations, considering there were at least 5 major characters (clooney, brad pitt, matt damon, andy garcia, julia roberts) and about 8 minor ones - everyone gets a distinct identity; and mind you the movie's run time is just 116 minutes. julia seems a little off at times, rest are good.

Netflix - July 9, 2002. 6.5/10. re-runable. imdb. Yahoo!