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!