Monday, December 01, 2003

Calcutta Mail, 2003 (*) - Hard to believe it was directed by Sudhir 'Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin' Mishra. Or was it the ill health and death of Renu Saluja -- his wife and one of the most wonderful and prolific film editors that Hindi Films have seen?

The only bright moments of the film are provided by the lead actors Rani Mukherjee, Satish Kaushik and Anil K, though even these guys add their share to the mediocrity at times. Manisha Koirala is 'unjhelable' as always with her highly irritating, whispering dialogue delivery. And what is with the children in Hindi movies these days.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Movies in Oct-Nov

Deconstructing Harry, 1997 - Superb. Allen ensembles an impressive star cast - himself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Billy Crystal, Tobey Maguire, Judy Davis, Demi Moore. Tagline: Harry Block wrote a bestseller about his best friends. Now, his best friends are about to become his worst enemies.

Harry Block: What? You have air-conditioning in Hell?
The Devil: Sure! Fucks up the ozone layer!

Doris: You have no values. With you its all nihilism, cynicism, sarcasm, and orgasm.
Harry Block: Hey, in France I could run for office with that slogan, and win!

Harry Block: Tradition is the illusion of permanence.

Harry Block: Between air conditioning and the Pope, I chose air conditioning.

Harry Block: I'm a guy who can't function well in life but can in art.

Harry Block: [to his brother-in-law Bert] I think you're the opposite of a paranoid. I think you go around with the insane delusion that people like you.


Bullets Over Broadway, 1994 - Woody Allen time again for me. In this one he is not in front of the camera. John Cussack plays a young playwright. As with almost every Allen film, this one is also filled with innumerable great moments. Not his finest but still a fine work.

Sheldon Flender: Let's say there was a burning building and you could rush in and you could save only one thing: either the last known copy of Shakespeare's plays or some anonymous human being. What would you do?

Sheldon Flender: [bragging] I have never had a play produced. That's right. And I've written one play a year for the past twenty years.
David Shayne: Yes, but that's because you're a genius! And the proof is that both common people and intellectuals find your work completely incoherent. Means you're a genius!

David Shayne: You're gonna write it?
Cheech: What am I? A fuckin' idiot? They taught me how to read and write in school before I burned it down.
David Shayne: You burned down your school?!
Cheech: Yeah, it was Lincoln's birthday. There was nobody there.


The Spanish Prisoner, 1997 - An okay suspense drama. At times becomes unconvincing but carries through. Plot Outline: An employee of a corporation with a lucrative secret process is tempted to betray it. But there's more to it than that. (**)

Miller's Crossing, 1990 - Coen brothers show their mastery over crime drama and their usual flair for interesting ideas. (****)

Flirting with Disaster, 1996 - Ben Stiller. (*)

The Cheap Detective, 1978 - A spoof on The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. Funny in parts but falls flat most of the time. (*)

The Maltese Falcon, 1941 - The film that made Bogart a star and Sam Spade a classic character. Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman is also impressive and has some good lines. This classic film noir is an interesting suspense mystery.

Kasper Gutman: "I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously, unless you keep in practice. Now, sir, we'll talk if you like. I'll tell you right out, I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk."


The Conversation, 1974 - Coppola made this just after his grand Godfather successes. Well made. Gene Hackman is very good. Raises some interesting and thought-provoking privacy issues. (***)

The Shining, 1980 - Kubrick's trademark long shots, visual grandeur, use of background score are very much the things that make this movie. Nicholson is brilliant. based on a Stephen King's novel. Horror. (***)

Trainspotting, 1995 - Wonderful British cult classic. Tagline: "Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future. But why would anyone want to do a thing like that?" (****)

The Usual Suspects, 1995 - Second Viewing. Still look excellent. (*****). Directed by Bryan Singer.

Roger & Me, 1989 - Documentary. Michael Moore attempts to confront General Motors then-chief Roger Smith. It's actually about a town losing its livelihood. Not even nearly as good as his latest one (BFC) but his trademark humor is present. (**)

The Big Lebowski, 1998 - Coen brothers. Very different and original. Wonderful performances. (****)

New York Stories, 1989 - Three short films directed by New Yorkers Woody Allen, Coppola, Scorcese. Interesting. (***)

Friday, October 10, 2003

Woody Allen week

Annie Hall, 1977 (*****)

[After sex with Annie.]
Alvy Singer: That was the most fun I've ever had without laughing.

[In California.]
Annie Hall: It's so clean out here!
Alvy Singer: That's because they don't throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows.

Alvy Singer (about Los Angeles): I don't want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.

Alvy Singer: Love is too weak a word for what I feel -- I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent, of course I -- I do, don't you think I do?

[Alvy has killed two spiders.]
Alvy Singer: I did it. I killed 'em both.
[Annie starts crying.]
Alvy Singer: What's the matter? What are you sad about? What did you want me to do? Capture 'em and rehabilitate 'em?

Annie Hall: Alvy, you're incapable of enjoying life, you know that? I mean you're like New York City. You're just this person. You're like this island unto yourself.
Alvy Singer: I can't enjoy anything unless everybody is. If one guy is starving someplace, that puts a crimp in my evening.

Alvy Singer: I remember the staff at our public school. You know, we had a saying, uh, that those who can't do teach, and those who can't teach, teach gym. And, uh, those who couldn't do anything, I think, were assigned to our school.

Alvy Singer: I'm so tired of spending evenings making fake insights with people who work for "Dysentery."
Robin: "Commentary."
Alvy Singer: Oh really? I had heard that "Commentary" and "Dissent" had merged and formed "Dysentery."

Alvy Singer: I though of that old joke, y'know, the, this, this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, "Doc, uh, my brother's crazy. He thinks he's a chicken." And, uh, the doctor says, "Well, why don't you turn him in?" And the guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs." Well, I guess that's pretty much how I feel about relationships. Y'know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd and, but, uh, I guess we keep going through it because, uh, most of us need the eggs.

Manhattan, 1979 (****+)

Isaac Davis: This is so antiseptic. It's empty. Why do you think this is funny? You're going by audience reaction? This is an audience that's raised on television, their standards have been systematically lowered over the years. These guys sit in front of their sets and the gamma rays eat the white cells of their brains out!

Isaac Davis: She's 17. I'm 42 and she's 17. I'm older than her father, can you believe that? I'm dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father

Isaac Davis: Why is life worth living? It's a very good question. Um...Well, There are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. uh...Like what... me, uh... ooh... I would say ... what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing... and Wilie Mays... and um ... the 2nd movement of the Jupiter Symphony ... and um... Louis Armstrong, recording of Potato Head Blues ... um ... Swedish movies, naturally ... Sentimental Education by Flaubert ... uh... Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra ... um ... those incredible Apples and Pears by Cezanne... uh...the crabs at Sam Wo's... uh... Tracy's face ...

Play it Again, Sam, 1972 (*****) - Directed by Herbert Ross. Written by Woody Allen.

Nancy: My lawyer will call your lawyer.
Allan: I don't have a lawyer. Have him call my doctor.

Allan: That's quite a lovely Jackson Pollack, isn't it?
Museum Girl: Yes, it is.
Allan: What does it say to you?
Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.
Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?
Museum Girl: Committing suicide.
Allan: What about Friday night?

Allan: I wonder if she actually had an orgasm in the two years we were married, or did she fake it that night?

Allan: I have met a lot of dames, but you are REALLY something special.
Linda: Really?
Allan: [to Bogart] She bought it!

Allan: I love the rain - it washes memories off the sidewalk of life.

Allan: If that plane leaves the ground, and you're not on it with him, you'll regret it - maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
Linda: That's beautiful!
Allan: It's from Casablanca; I waited my whole life to say it.

Allan: I'm so excited, I think I'll brush all my teeth today!

Bend It Like Beckham, 2002 (***)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Movies in September

Leela, 2002 (**)
Misery, 1990 (***+)
Barton Fink, 1991 (***)
Central Station (Brazil), 1998 (***)
The Jungle Book 2, 2003 (**+)
Boys Don't Cry, 1999 (*)
Blood Simple, 1984 (****)
Murder by Death, 1976 (****)
Nine Queens (Argentina), 2000 (****)
The Cider House Rules, 1999 (****)
Yojimbo (Japan), 1961 (****)
Comedian, 2002 (*)
All About My Mother (Spain), 1999 (***)

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Austin Powers in Goldmember, 2002 (*)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002 (****)
The Count of Monte Cristo, 2002 (***)
Sweet Home Alabama, 2002 (****)
I Am Sam, 2001 (***)
Bowling for Columbine, 2002 (*****+)

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Chicago, 2002 (*****+) 9/10
Movies in August

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, 2002 (**)
Phone Booth, 2003 (*****)
A Guy Thing, 2003 (***)
Magnolia, 1999 (*****)
Rashomon, 1950 (****)
Bloody Sunday, 2002 (***)
Real Women Have Curves, 2002 (***)
Red Dragon, 2002 (***)
Dancer in the Dark, 2000 (****)
Yi Yi, 2000 (*)
The Son's Room, 2001 (****)
25th Hour, 2002 (****)
Lost in La Mancha, 2002 (***)
Shanghai Knights, 2003 (***)
Bad Company, 2002 (***)
The Guru, 2003 (***)

Monday, July 28, 2003

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) - 6.5/10

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - Gregory Peck, Ruth White. Dir by Robert Mulligan. Bright, nostalgic southern small town moments are the most memorable. Very good performances. Gregory Peck is at his gracious best except in some courtroom scenes, where he tends slightly towards the ham-osphere. One can also see where Dev Anand (often called Gregory Peck of Indian films) got some of his popular mannerisms from. The girl who has played "Scout" is amazingly charming in some scenes. I especially liked the one where Gregory Peck reads a story to her at bedtime. The chemistry of the characters and the casualness of the scene is rare.

Narrator (older Scout Finch): Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o'clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There's no hurry, for there's nowhere to go and nothing to buy...and no money to buy it with. Although Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself...That summer, I was six years old.

Narrator (older Scout Finch): Neighbors bring food with death, and flowers with sickness, and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a knife, and our lives.

Narrator (older Scout Finch): There just didn't seem to be anyone or anything Atticus couldn't explain. Though it wasn't a talent that would arouse the admiration of any of our friends, Jem and I had to admit he was very good at that, but that was all he was good at, we thought.

DVD - the accompanying documentary on the DVD about the making of the movie is wonderful. No less enjoyable than the movie itself. B/W. 130 mins. 8/10.

Narc (2002) - Dir by Joe Carnahan. DVD. 6/10.

Analyze That (2002) - DVD. 7/10.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Two Weeks Notice (2002) - Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock. Dir by Marc Lawrence.

Helen Wade: Would you like anything?
George Wade: I could really go for some Milk Duds.
Helen Wade: We don't have any, I could send out for one.
George Wade: Oh no, don't be ridiculous. If you're going to send out, get a whole box.

DVD. 8/10.

The Devil's Backbone (2001) Spanish - Dir by Guillermo del Toro. DVD - subtitles in English. 6/10.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Movies in May 2003

Singin' in the Rain (1952) - 7/10
The Truth About Charlie (2002) - 5.5/10
Unfaithful (2002) - 6.5/10
Frailty (2002) - 7.5/10
Primal Fear (1996) - 8/10
Shallow Hal (2001) - 8/10
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) - 8/10
White Oleander (2002) - 6.5/10
The Ring (2002) - 5.5/10

Friday, July 18, 2003

The Hours (2002) - I think the movie tries to look more intelligent that what it is. Nicole is good (but again not an awardable stuff, IMO). The idea of running three stories together is interestingly done (not new of course) and works. It is the stories themselves and the characters which make little sense. The expressions of Julianne are even confusing at times. The character also looks trying to say a lot while saying nothing. I think it works better in a book (the movie is adopted from a novel by Michael Cunningham) than it does in a movie. Plot Outline: The story revolves around three women in different eras who are all profoundly affected by the works of Virginia Woolf.

DVD - includes Lifesketch of Virginia Woolf. 114 mins. 6.5/10. imdb

The Pianist (2002) - The film has recreated some extraordinary visuals of the Hitler-era but often is cliched and even melodramatic in its narrative of the period. A very fundamental problem of the movie lies in the fact that though it makes you drop your jaw at some times, it fails to touch the sensitivity in any striking way, which the director seems to striving for and for which the movie had more than enough scope too. I am not sure if the performace by Adrien Brody was good enough, certainly not enough to be awarded. The music score is wonderful. Directed by Roman Polanski.

DVD. 150 mins. 7/10.

About Schmidt (2002) - Not much to say about. Some good lines, good performances and a lazy casual pace. Okay for a lazy afternoon.

DVD. 125 mins. 6.5/10. imdb

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Talk to Her (2002) - Spanish (Hoble Con Ella) - subtitled in English. Sensitive, fascinating, thoughtful, introspective. Plot Outline: Two men share an odd friendship while they care for their girlfriends who are both in deep comas. Directed by Pedro Almodovar.

DVD. 112 min. Rated R for nudity, sexual content and some language. 8.5/10.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Gangs of New York (2002) - 6/10
Spirited Away (2002) - 8.5/10

Monday, May 19, 2003

Matrix Reloaded (2003)- The special effects are dazzling. But that's basically all about it. The rest of the parts seem to be there just to separate the sfx scenes. There is a very clever pattern about the special effects though. The film tries to incorporate all kind of computer graphics technology used hitherto in the sfx movies, which though makes it all-encompassing, yet leaves a lot to be desired from a movie that is sequel to the awesomely innovative and original one. It "uses" effects from Aliens, Terminator, Crouching Tiger.., Mummy and the Matrix original itself. However, there are a couple of sequences which are indeed executed like never before and worth a view. One is of course the already-popular fight scene of Neo with multiple Smiths and the other is the bike chase. But unfortunately, what could have been a classic with such good technical base, has been turned into an unconvincing and often confusing tale with many unjustified responses and absurd theories which justify ghosts as non/wrong-functional programs. As if to complete the pointlessness, movie ends abruptly without explanations, and the unexpected and even offending line - "to be concluded". The lines are unnecessarily complicated mostly. It also fails to stand on its own and be comprehesible. One needs to see the original Matrix to have a grasp of it, which is a definite failure especially when even this part is not completed in entirety. But all said, if you can keep aside your logical wants for a while, go ahead and see it. It still has some awesome visuals never seen before on a screen.

Multiplex. 7/10. R (for violence).

Friday, April 25, 2003

Much Ado About Nothing (1993) - An enjoyable movie for a relaxing evening at home! The wordplay and acting of Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, starring as Benedick and Beatrice, two marriage-phobic rivals unsuccessfully trying to escape love somewhere in an idyllic Italian town several centuries ago, give the pleasure of the movie. However, Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard) is a very unconvincing lover showing no emotions to the news that his false accusations killed his beloved Hero (Kate Beckinsale). The other oddity of the movie is Keanu Reeves as the bastard(ly) brother of the prince(ly) Denzel Washington -- why would anyone (and particularly Kenneth Branagh) cast Keanu Reeves for a Shakespeare comedy is beyond me. Michael Keaton is an entertainingly talkative nutcase whose verbiage is all non-sense in reverse order. Of course, the sumptuous Tuscan scenery is as idealized as possible, but then again this is not an Italian movie about Italian lovers -- it is Shakespeare for the masses!

DVD. 8/10

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The English Patient

DVD. 7.5/10

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Do Dooni Chaar (1969) - The film is based on Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors and is scripted by Gulzar. Gulzar, as he confessed himself later, was not very happy with the direction (by Debu Sen). This prompted him to create his own version later as 'Angoor' - arguably one of the best comedies in Hindi films. Back to DDC, Kishore and Asit Sen both play double roles. Rest of the cast include Tanuja and Iftekhar. Iftekhar (police inspector) incidentally is the only person to appear in both DDC and Angoor and that too in the same role. The music by Hemant Kumar adds no value to the film and otherwise is dull too. Gulzar also seems out of sorts with his writing. However, another role that he plays in the movie as the voice of the 'suutradhaar' is interesting. Asit Sen is good, at least in one of his roles. Kishore is way off the mark. The lady who plays Kishore's wife is surprisingly very natural though lacks cinematic appeal. Tanuja is ok. On the whole, a rather poor and chaotic effort. Not even close to what one would expect from a Bimal Roy banner.

VHS. 5/10

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) - Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexandar. Writer/Dir Robert Benton. The movie has good pace and packs some wonderful lines. Dustin is brilliant. Apparently he was going thru a similar phase in his own life when he accepted the movie. And the challenge, according to the producer Stanley R. Jaffe, was one of the most difficult an actor can have - to play himself. Plot Outline: A just divorced man must learn to care for his son on his own, and then must fight in court to keep custody of him. The film was remade (of course, without authorization) in Hindi as Akele Hum Akele Tum with Amir and Maneesha as the lead pair. In an almost customary manner, the Hindi counterpart lost the essense of the movie and went astray with a lot of unwanted stuff (e.g.: music piracy - how ironic). Absolutely irritating performace by Maneesha made the pain insufferable.

DVD. Features "making of." 105 mins. 8/10

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Far From Heaven (2002) - Julian Moore

DVD - 6.5/10

Monday, April 14, 2003

Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988) - Italian. Tagline: A celebration of youth, friendship, and the everlasting magic of the movies. A masterpiece.

DVD - Uncut (with additional 51 minutes). 8.5/10

Monday, April 07, 2003

Movies in March

Bridget Jones Diary (2002) - 7/10
The Contender (2000)- 8/10
Goodfellas (1990) - 8/10
E.T. (Re-release 2002) - 7/10
Three Kings (1999) - 5/10
Pyaasa (1957) - 7/10
A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - 6/10
The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) - 7/10
Time Out (2001) - French. 8/10
The Fast Runner (2002) - 3/10
The Full Monty (1997) - 7/10
Short Circuit (1986) - 4/10

Monday, March 24, 2003

Chicago Tribune | Kidman wins best actress; many surprises in low-key Oscars
By Michael Wilmington
Tribune movie critic
Published March 24, 2003
With a world at war and nations divided, Hollywood turned out in force for the 75th annual Academy Awards Sunday night -- a muted but still glamorous and sometimes witty spectacle that saw most of the top prizes bestowed on the breezily cynical and glitzy musical "Chicago" and the devastating Polish Holocaust chronicle "The Pianist."

With host Steve Martin helping the Kodak Theatre audience put on a temporarily happy face, the evening's big winners were led, as expected, by the high-stepping, sexy movie musical adapted from the late Bob Fosse's 1975 Broadway hit about crime and celebrity in Chicago's Roaring '20s and unexpectedly by the somber "The Pianist." Winning a total of six Oscars, the surprise critical and audience hit "Chicago" -- seen by many as marking a definitive resurgence for the long dormant genre of the film musical -- took a best picture prize and a best supporting actress nod for Catherine Zeta-Jones, plus Oscars for art direction, editing, sound and costume design.
Complete List of Oscar Winners

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The Bourne Identity (2002)
One Hour Photo (2002) - Robin Williams. good performance.
DVD. 7/10

Signs (2002) - Ordinary.
DVD. 6.5/10

The Color Purple (1985) - Dir by Steven Spielberg. Whoopi Goldberg (debut), Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey. Wonderful cinematic translation of a novel by Alice Walker. Plot Outline: The life and trials of a young African American Woman.
DVD. 154 mins. 7.5/10

Friday, March 07, 2003

John Q - avoid at all cost. trash.
Being John Malkovich (1999) - conceptually good and with a lot of potential that is wasted. with some sparks of brilliance in between, the movie ends up rather ordinarily. good performances by John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener. the puppeteer shows in the early part of the movie are wonderful. also, the idea of getting into subconscious of Malkovich and seeing all kinds of stuff inside was of good potential but is wasted by being verbose and predictable.

DVD. 6.5/10
Road to Perdition (2002) - fairly average chicago mob (of 30s) saga. pales drastically in comparison to other movies of this genre. the screenplay is mediocre and even with names like Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, the movie is unattractive. Hanks plays a mob hitman Michael Sullivan and IMO is miscast. on the other hand Newman is brilliantly cast for the mafia boss and carries it well too. anyway, run-of-the-mill stuff.

DVD. 6/10.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Pride and Prejudice (1995) - wonderful adaptation of the Jane Austin novel by the same name. this 2 DVD length mini-series (originally made for BBC/channel4?) needs some dedicated watching, but is better finished in one go. overall okay performances. Elizabeth is charmingly played by Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth puts in subtly a subdued (and proud) flavour to Mr. Darcy's character. In the 80s, a successful hindi tv serial named Trishna was made on the novel and caught good attention for its bringing together of some beautiful and handsome faces on the box.

DVD. 300 minutes. 7/10 (v). 8.5/10(r)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) - funny, but at someone's expense. it seems another of those quintessential american traits to make fun of other cultures and to pose as balanced by trying to put a couple positive things amodst 100 subtle and not-so-subtle abuses. yet an okay movie. essentially monsoon wedding's greek counterpart. the movie was a surprise blockbuster and has given birth to a new tele-series "My Big Fat Greek Life."

DVD - 6/10

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Yahoo! Movies: 75th Academy Awards

On February 11, 2003, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 75th Annual Academy Awards. And the nominees are...

Best Picture
CHICAGO (Miramax)
A Producer Circle Co., Zadan/Meron Production
Martin Richards, Producer
An Alberto Grimaldi Production
Alberto Grimaldi and Harvey Weinstein, Producers
THE HOURS (Paramount and Miramax)
A Scott Rudin/Robert Fox Production
Scott Rudin and Robert Fox, Producers
A New Line Cinema and Wingnut Films Production
Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson, Producers
THE PIANIST (Focus Features)
An R.P. Productions, Heritage Films, Studio Babelsberg, Runtime LTD. Production
Roman Polanski, Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde, Producers

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Saathiya (2002) - Vivek Oberoi, Rani Mukherji. Directed by Shaad Ali (Muzaffar Ali's son). Story and screenplay by Mani Rathnam. Dialogues and lyrics by Gulzar. Remake of the Madhavan's debut Tamil hit - Alaipayuthey. The movie is good in bits and overall very fresh because of the treatment of characters. The casual way of dialogue delivery by characters coupled with Gulzar's dialogues adds up to the freshness. Rani Mukherji performs with ease. Vivek is also good but tends to be a little conscious sometimes. The screenplay is ordinary but the details, especially of the married life of the two, are very thoughtfully conceived. The movie is also unconventional in a lot of ways including the perspective towards life in general, which is very casual and open. For instance, the ease with which the pair decide to marry and yet live separately for some while is a refreshingly new thought. But still the movie has its share of faults and unconvincing reactions which if avoided could have turned the movie into a brilliant one. It stops well before that though. And yet, what would normally be just an "okay" movie seems like "very good" because of the state of the movies in general these days. Shaad Ali is impressive in his debut directorial venture. A time-pass watch.

Supporting cast include Sandhya Mridul (Rani's sister), Tanuja and in a suprise appearance, Tabu and Shahrukh Khan (though he is able to do as much damage to the cause of the movie as his brief appearance could have done, with his terribly self-consciousness).


Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Don't Say A Word (2002)

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Beauty and the Beast
Sum of All Fears (2002)

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Ice Age (2002) - Definitely the best of the this weekend's lot. It goes as high as Shrek in everything except that it lacks a solid storyline. The similarity with Shrek can also be seen in two major characters of the movie. Manfred-the mammoth (Ray Romano) and Sid-the sloth (the talented stand-up comic and actor John Leguizamo) are too close to the characters of Shrek and the donkey respectively of the movie Shrek. The direction credits are shared by Carlos Saldanha (I) and Chris Wedge. Animation is brilliant and definitely amongst one of the best in its genre. The lines are well written and the authentic tid-bits about the ice age makes interesting stuff. An enjoyable watch.

DVD. 81 min. 8/10 (-.5 for the lack of originality in the main characters). E4.Q4.R3. imdb
Gosford Park (2001) - The old Murder-in-the-house story told with a different style. Tagline: Tea At Four, Dinner At Eight, Murder At Midnight. The film is set in 1932's England. The emphasis is more on the details of the lifestyle of the elite and the service class during that era, than the story itself. The film has a good pace and goes on pretty smoothly for an attentive viewer till the real murder takes place. The predictability of the plot, though may bring some restlessness. The story idea and direction is by Robert Altman. Most performances are good, some loud. The cinematography and art direction is impeccable. Overall, an okay watch for a lazy afternoon. Nothing great.

DVD. 137 min. R. 7/10. E1.Q2.R1. imdb
Lilo & Stitch (2002) - The movie starts with a good idea but very soon loses focus and goes haywire. Especially, coming from Disney, it disappoints. (Warning: Spolier ahead) The charactersation is a little flawed and it seems a little too quick for Stitch to turn from a devil into an angel. Chris Sanders (III) takes the credit for the idea, writing, direction and even the voice of Stitch - pretty much a one man show. The music is enchanting and the hawaaiian chorus (by a local children choir) is very soothing. The animation is good and a little different than normal in drawing style, but nothing pathbreaking or even extraordinary.

DVD. 85 min. 6/10. E1.Q2.R0. imdb

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Mandi (1983) - Possibly one of the largest talent assemble for a Hindi movie other than Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (which incidentally has more or less the same cast). It's like a who's who of 70s-80s talented lot of actors and actresses. Naseer, Shabana, Smita, Om Puri, Neena Gupta, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Soni Razdan, Anu Kapoor, Saeed Jaffery, Amrish Puri, Anita Kanwar, Pankaj Kapoor, Ratna Pathak.. hooff.. and a few more. Though many of them are wasted, some shine all the way. And Naseer and Shabana excel. I expected a meatier role for Smita, but she was a miscast and even her performance was not upto her standards. The film, based on a short story called 'Anandi', intends to be a comedy, with some awkward reality as the base, making it a strange mix. Still throughout, the movie keeps the lighter spirit flowing, mainly through Shabana's character. Shyam Benegal shows his flair for humor. Pt. Satyadev Dube provides some very good lines and Vanraj Bhatia makes the music score as closer sounding to the environment as only he could. A good watch.

DVD. 7/10. E3.Q4.R1

Sunday, January 05, 2003

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Film | Polanski film wins critics' favour

Director Roman Polanski's The Pianist has won four top honours at the 37th annual National Society of Film Critics awards in the US, as tension mounts ahead of the Oscars in March.

The film was voted the best picture of 2002 and Polanski won best director. The movie's star, Adrian Brody, was named best actor while the film also won the best screenplay award.