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.