Friday, October 29, 2010

SERPICO (1973)

A definite cop film of it’s time starring firing Al Pacino as Frank Serpico. He’s an honest New York cop who took his solemn oath to wipe the crime out of the streets when he joined the department and soon discovered that honesty is not expected to be part of his job. He got scorn, mistreatment from his fellow officers while performing his job with utmost sincerity and integrity. Ultimately he has to pay the personal prize putting his own life in jeopardy.

The film is based on a true story and Lumet portrays the ugly face of reality where the whole system is rotten and corrupt from top cops to the mayor of the city everyone have their own share of cuts. And it’s damn difficult for a cop who single handedly challenged the authority. It’s also a fine character study combining elements of establishment and counter culture from closer look. The film has Al Pacino’s tour de force performance and like ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ he’s all exploding dynamite in the later part of the film. As an undercover cop who’s constantly shifting his attire and features on face with moustache and beard, Pacino looks less like a cop and more like a man belongs to seventies cult hippy culture. He got his second Oscar nomination and first for Best Actor Oscar that year but that year Jack Lemmon got it for ‘Save the Tiger’.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


“Carpe Diem lads, Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary,” proclaimed an unusual and charismatic English teacher Mr. John Keating played by maverick Robin Williams to the impressionable young students of his class. While quoting great poets from Whitman to Tennyson, he’s trying to prove a single point to his dear students: break the dangers of conformity. They’re in the institution ruled by tolling bells of strict disciplinarian Principal. Keating is sweeping the boys on his tune like that pied piper and preparing them for what they really want from life and not what their parent or institution expecting from them. But soon no longer they remain able to swim against the stream.

From scene to scene and dialogue to dialogue Aditya Chopra had ripped off this film to gift mass Indian audience crowd puller ‘Mohabbatein’. He highlighted the confrontation part between Big B and SRK with love story as subplot culminating it’s end with emotionally charged up lines whereas in this original it’s relationship between teacher and students is highlight. The ending is memorable showing us one of the most subtle farewell scene for any teacher without dialogue or emotional drama.

Robin Williams delivered another award deserving performance and he is the strongest reason to watch this film apart of Peter Weir’s sound direction and story telling.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


“There’s nothing wrong with the blueberry pie. It’s just people make other choices; you can’t blame the blueberry pie. It’s just no one wants it.”

Nothing is great about that line except watching its sublime context in the initial scene where two strangers conversing and sharing their late night food in a café by just a co-incidence. One is the owner of the cafe; the other is a girl who recently broke her heart. There’s bunch of unreturned keys kept in a jar in that café and every single key has its own story to tell! Guess who the storyteller is!

Extending his tale of unreceived love and its melancholy of ‘In the Mood for Love’, Wong Kar Wai shows us another naïve and weary modern lovers left with their agony of separation and then their loneliness is reciprocated by the other stranger. Why it just happens that feelings just went away soon after the initial instinctual driven feelings encounters with two poles apart maps of minds? How do you say goodbye so suddenly to someone you can’t imagine living without? This man has so many sublime things to tell and show like no other. Oh! Watch that beautiful unexpected slow motion kiss reciprocated with silence and tinge of mysterious smile and guys it’s one of the most sublime kiss I’ve ever seen in any film so far. It’s these little things which make Wong a gifted director to the world of cinema.

The plot is nothing but few disjointed pieces of characters connecting and disconnecting with each others lives. The film was shot at night, Wong’s fixation with smooth and intoxicating background score corresponding to beautiful cinematography with his penchant for slow motion moments. The part of Jeremy and Lizzie is the highlighted one with two natural performances played by Jude Law and Norah Jones. With their natural expressions both of them leads to those sweetest and subtle moments of love and it’s longing. As compulsive gambler but smart woman Natalie Portman is just amazing in her short but memorable role. She completely remain in her puzzle like character of a girl who doesn’t trust anybody or anything, guess I’ve seen more of her than quite stretching track of Rachel Weisz.

Absolutely must watch for anyone who’s able to love.


Sunday, October 24, 2010


Well made martial arts films not only show just mindless action but also tends to tell you the lessons worth to learn about self discipline guiding you to overcome your mental and emotional weaknesses. ‘The Karate Kid’ is film belongs to that category teaching that the secret of Karate lies in mind and heart, not in hands.

It’s a simple tale of a teenage boy living with his divorced and working mom, shifted to different town and school. He made crush on girl but soon became constant victim of school’s bully gang that challenged his strength. The cheerful boy loses his confidence in life and love ending up with everyday frustration of inferiority. That’s where an old Japanese neighbor comes to his rescue teaching him lessons with unusual training offering menial tasks to perform. It’s not only about teaching him karate but right attitude to balance his life and fix the problems of his life with self reliance. Don’t expect great action like watching Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan films because it’s an inspirational film for transformation aimed teenage audience.
Though a decent watch for mature kids too.



Based on Agatha Christie’s most famous mystery, the film is a fine screen adaptation by Sidney Lumet. Monsieur Hercule Poirot is one of my favorite detective characters, on screen played by Albert Finney accompanied by ensemble multiple star cast of Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins and many other suspicious passengers on the board.

Though Finney seems quite loud and dramatic of Poirot, he finely represents the idiosyncrasies of his characterization with his queer methods of investigation. The denouement of the suspense in presence of all passengers with connection of number 12 is the highlight of the film. Recommended watch for all suspense lovers but don’t expect Hitchcock thrill. Though I strongly believe that reading ‘Queen of Mystery’ is addictive fun than watching any of her adaptation.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


Vengeance is back on Indian screen with a baggage of excessive violence. After making one of the worst film of his career, Ramgopal Verma is back with a big bang. He returned to his fort of crime, violence, power, politics and thrill with the original real life story of Andhra criminal cum politician Paritala Ravi. This is his striking and desperate attempt with a punch with all his capable might and madness which either make you hate or just praise him for his daring effort showing you never before unthinkable violence and bloodshed on Indian screen. Though in showing reality of dirty nexus between crime, politics and shifting volatile power and portraying some of his character too diabolic, he crossed the limit of Indian audience and orthodox censor board but while doing it in his limitless frenzy he made another ‘original’ and ‘cult’ film for his fans.

This is the only Indian commercial film shot and made with a length of more than five hours and the reason enough why it has to be released in two parts. The first installment begins with impressive shifting of power that gave birth to revenge and bloodshed with mind-blowing treatment, brilliant ensemble cast and striking performances all with what one can expect from RGV’s diabolic dark mind. The film is saving grace and praiseworthy comeback not only for RGV but also for Vivek Oberoi and he’s the extension of fire what we witnessed in his debut ‘Company’ with the same mentor. Apart of him, the film has fine ensemble and supporting presence of many RGV loyal cast with certain new entries. The prominent among them is Shatrughan Sinha, who has short but impressive presence with his moustache less face as popular film star cum politician Shivaji with dialogues and attitude that suits his aura; this time his ‘Khamosh!’ is replaced with ‘Topic is over’. Abhimanyu Singh who blew our minds in his short but terrific presence as Ransa in ‘Gulaal’ has performed one of the most heinous and violent villain you have ever seen on Indian screen as Bukka. It’s in portraying him as ‘Rakshas’, RGV showed certain objectionable violence crossing all possible barriers. But the intensity of Abhimanyu Singh's act is visible in some of the striking scenes with his bloodthirsty rage in expression and pervert body language. Watch the scene where he continuously slapping the lady cop repeating ‘Touch nahi karna’ or another where he’s showing his temper when his brother comes to meet him in prison. Without a doubt he’s the villain of the year.

Technically film is almost flawless and has gripping editing with few avoidable distractions and a song. Cinematography, background score and production deserved clapping. The only complain is too dark portrayal of characters shedding their part of violence on screen. It would have been better if Ramu had explored multiple dimensions of their charcterization like 'Satya'.
He ended the film on interesting turn with showing you rushes of his second part releasing 19th on next month with the entry of South Indian superstar Suriya to give Vivek enough fire. I’m desperately waiting to see the second part and I’m sure that Ramu won’t fall short of my expectations in making this epic bloodbath of his career.

The film is strictly no, no to family audience and achche ghar ki bahu-betiyan. It’s all loaded for RGV fans who’re as mad enough as him. Watch it at your own risk, it's quite hard to digest for all.


PS- "I am like a hardcore porn dvd. You might hate it, love it, look down upon it or get disgusted by it but if it is in the room you can't resist watching it."
- RGV's interesting comment on his blog.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

LEON (1994)

There are two things which make this hitman love story exceptional one. First is French director Luc Besson’s freshness of story telling using all popular ingredients in an engaging way with his unique shot selections of action running with quite unusual pairing between the hitman and teenage girl Matilda who has disturbed childhood. The second is performance of all three players- Jean Reno as Leon, the professional and disciplined hitman clad in John Lennon goggles is really impressive. Gary Oldman is absolutely awesome and he filled the screen with enough tension every time he turns on to screen, it’s surely his one of the career best. But for me the film belongs to the teenage girl Natalie Portman. She brought to screen a disturbed twelve year old girl seeking freedom from her damned family and its low life. She is protected by her next-door neighbor hitman in most critical situation of her life and then onwards having the playful company of the man under whose shadow she breathes as human.
For her Leon is savior, companion, desirable man and religion all in one and she wanted to be like him to get revenge of his younger brother. Portman remains so effortlessly natural and confident in her expressions and act that it’s hard to believe that it’s her debut film. For me she’s even more impressive debut than Jodie Foster in ‘Taxi Driver’.

Bollywood had made poor rip off ‘Bichchu’, starring Bobby and Rani and watching this, it seems so irritating experience.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MACHETE (2010)

Robert Rodriguez who gave us some of the stylistic action flicks like ‘Desperado’ and ‘Once upon a time in Mexico’ returns with no brainer action flick fully loaded with action, violence, bloodshed, macho man and sexy seductresses typifying completely B genre action film. The violence this time is excessive with unimaginable weapons and gross bloodshed and the influence varied from Quentin Tarantino to Takashi Miike films.

Surprisingly the lead of the film is Danny Trejo, the man with criminal background in real life and whom we have seen as the dangerous man with many knives in Rodriguez’s earlier mentioned films. He’s having bad company of Steven Seagal, Robert Deniro with sirens in variety- Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan and Michelle Rodriguez showing their assets. The film pokes fun to Uncle Sam’s land and double face president’s policy towards cross border illegal immigrants confronted with Mexican rebel army of She (read ‘Che’).

The hospital massacre scene showing slaying of intestine and the church shootout sequence with kickass climax are just matchless to resist for action lovers and I’m sure that in a long run it will surely gain ‘cult’ status. I am eagerly waiting for its franchise since Rodriguez promises in the end titles-Machete will return in ‘Machete Kills’ and ‘Machete Kills Again’.

Mindless entertainer with return of violence in all sorts of excess.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

JONAH HEX (2010)

Not every comics hero turns out triumphant on screen. Jonah Hex is DC Comics new screen adaptation starring Josh Brolin as half disfigured scar face (freaky make up) western drifter and bounty hunter super hero. He is being hired as the last hope by US military to nab Quentin Turnbull, his old due revenge and now wanted terrorist. Watching its trailer, I was expecting a cool western stuff with company of Brolin and John Malcovich as Turnbull but its all thumbs down crap. Even Megan Fox is utter waste even in her oomph factor. The plot is zilch, action and gunfight is replaced with heavy CGI, score is just cacophony and summing up as B grader trash stuff. Better watch any B grade South Indian flick; it will give you at least some sort of entertainment.


Saturday, October 16, 2010


The man who made one of the most expensive silent masterpiece and Hitler’s favorite film ‘Metropolis’ and introduced the first chilling face of serial killer to screen in ‘M’, made another brilliant crime drama in film noir format. This is my third Fritz Lang flick and he keeps on impressing me this time too. It begins with a suicide shot of cop. The investigation is lead by cop named Bannion who confirmed the medical reports and widow’s statement that it was suicide but than a strange woman’s call stated that it’s not. As soon as he approached the woman, she got killed. It’s a challenging case for Bannion, who is an obsessed cop to find straight facts no matter it cost him what. This is just a beginning of thrill ride which continue to involve you in the case and drama with murder, scheming, blackmail and revenge.

Lang told crime story straight with tight editing, avoiding any unnecessary distractions. His penchant for investigation and surveillance highlighted in ‘M’ is more personal and individual one in form of cop’s struggle inside and outside the law in a city which is strangled by gun and money power of baddies like Lagana and Vince who kept even the system of Police department in their pockets to keep their syndicate running.

As Sgt. Dave Bannion, Glenn Ford retained complete charge of main lead; surely a reference material for De Palma’s ‘The Untouchables’ to portray Kevin Costner as cop who jeopardize his family with his reluctance to solve the case even when his above officers told him to shut the file and even suspended him for being unexpectedly blunt and adamant on his mission. Gloria Grahame as Debby is impressive and memorable for that splash of hot coffee on face. She’s being the perfect woman for smart Bannion to get things done his way costing many lives including herself. Lang’s expressionism is visible with sets, shadows that reflect character’s personality traits. The only less convincing part is the typical routine ending unlike stimulant one in ‘M’.

Worth watching for all film noir classic fans.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (Cantonese) (2000)

For some unknown reason, I avoided two fine and timeless pieces of art from long. The first is reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s classic ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ and the other is watching Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’. Transcending the differential boundary between the medium, language, culture and plot both of them follow the universal and eternal theme of ‘Love’ touching all our strings at right chords. Where Marquez’s epical love story follows fate of unrequited love with a period of fifty one years, nine months and four days between Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza , Kar Wai’s cinema just like a short story follows fate of restricted love with pairs of lovers ending up playing those myriad expressions of LOVE and its hide and seek…so sublime and subtle to put in words!

Two people living as next door neighbor realize their spouses having an affair with each other’s spouse. Fate has put both of them in the same boat; feeling hurt, dejected and angry they slowly starts liking each other’s company. They resolve not to tread on path of their unfaithful mates but who can chain their hearts? “Feelings can creep up just like that!” said Marquez.

The film is not just a piece of serenading romance but the most personal tragedy and the opera of heartfelt emotions and its disturbing vacuum. The struggle of virtue to stay apart when destined by vice to be together both of them gave the immortal resonance to love and its longing. Both Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung looks so elegant and enigmatic pair of lovers corresponding restraint act in the most sublime way possible. With unpredictable twists and turns of tangled and tugging emotions the narration of film invokes magical feelings for anybody watching it first time. I just can’t resist tears watching the separation rehearsal scene.

Both Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle deserves standing ovation for capturing the emotional pitfalls of modern day lovers never filmed as ‘a piece of poetry’. Doyle’s slow motion camera captured the aesthetic high capturing moments that last forever; each frame seems like witnessing luminous art gallery with brilliant use of color and effects. Musical interludes combined with piano and violin heightens the emotional echoes.

My eyes and ears craving more of Wong Kar-Wai cinema.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

ROBOT (2010)

On opening Friday last week, with 84 shows in Chennai’s Mayajaal cinemas alone the film has created a history. Such was the demand that tickets for the first couple of days sold within minutes of its opening. Bombarded by requests, office bearers of dozens of Rajni fan clubs across the city went underground. This fact is the proof enough why those 165 crore (if I’m not mistaking Asia’s biggest film budget ever) are worth to burn for the man who is unsurpassed phenomenon of Indian screen.

Enthiran/Robot is Rajni Vs Rajni and not only this; he is in multitudes- the scientist, the lovable robot Chitty and destroyer robot (version 2) with plethora of Rajnioids. As they say in south, there’s nothing Rajni can’t, one has to accept the myth while watching his films but above all Robot is an absolutely value for money entertainer with lavish spectacles and some of the never before seen special effects in Indian film. The first half is more fun to watch than the second half which is quite drag especially when machine fall in love with Aishwarya. Poor Chitty, she looks so irresistibly beautiful!!! The story is cliché sci-fi repeated in many Hollywood sci-fi with android humanoid which in first half shows the bliss and in second half the curse of uncontrolled destruction. The special effects of Cameron loyal Stan Winston & team (the man who create ‘Terminator 2’ and ‘Avatar’) not needed to compare with those Hollywood entertainment backed up by giant Studios but as far as Indian screen is concerned this is the biggest special effects extravaganza I’ve ever seen.

Shankar made a pure paisa wasool entertainment with all spicy Indian entertainer ingredients of fun, romance, action, emotions, drama, thrill with company of Aishwarya’s eternal beauty and above all Thalaivar, the boss himself who’s not just the star but the religion with equal numbers of fans and fanatics. Rahman’s score bears lot of electronic sounds and too mechanical lyrics, though I love listening ‘Pagal Anukan’ and ‘O Naye Insaan’ but as far as song picturization is concerned all of them are visually awesome one even though stuffed one like that stunning ‘Kilimanjaro’ track filmed on Machupichu.

Go watch ‘Robot’ on big screen near you if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an absolutely guaranteed ENTERTAINMENT of this year.

If I rate anything less than 10/10, Thalaivar fans will kill me!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

UDAAN (2010)

An absolutely impressive and one of the best Hindi film of the year without any exaggeration. Writer-Director Vikramaditya Motwane and co-writer/Producer Anurag Kashyap deserve hug for gifting one of the brilliant film treading and breaking inhibited territory of routine Hindi cinema. After finishing script, Motwane ran from pillars to post seeking financial support from producers and ended up with Kashyap who told him that he would not only support and help but also finance the film even though it will be claimed flop at box office. It’s hard to say How long Kashyap-Bhardwaj-Benerjee led Indian New Wave Cinema will survive but if they’ll help the other individual voices like Motwane, it will surely see the brighter sun for long.

Somewhere I read that ‘Freedom teaches discipline best with its own permanent way’. Here’s tale of sixteen year old boy yearning for freedom from his imposed life and trapped existence and grow from boyhood to manhood. The film begins with Rohan and his adolescent hostel mates secretly running away from hostel to watch late night C grade flick named 'Kanti Shah ke Angoor’ and get noticed by the warden in cinema hall. Next morning they’re expelled from school. Rohan lands up to industrial town of Jamshedpur, where lives a dominating authoritarian father and a surprising kid brother from his father’s second marriage. His teenage freedom and wish of being a writer are severely butchered at home. Against his will he has to join his father’s family business of small steel factory in the morning and attend afternoon engineering college when his heart lies in poetry. So what’s surprising about that? It’s not story but story telling that did tremendous and convincing justice to its theme which perhaps no director has explored with such aplomb.

Its rare thing to find in Indian cinema where the story was told from point of view of those directionless but memorable personal moments of adolescent age where anyone of us relate ourselves to those golden moments. Bunking the hostel, smoking cigarettes secretly, directionless life, hang out with close buddies and at the same time growing slowly from a boy to man. The whole film was told from point of view of an adolescent age/angle without any unwanted distraction. This is not the first time ever that we see the face of authoritarian frustrated face of middle class father but Ronit Roy brought one of the unique horror face of middle class father and deserves award for his praiseworthy performance. The film has almost all new, unknown cast and believe me all of them are so convincing including that small kid brother. Rajat Barmecha is as revealing and as promising as Shreyas Talpade in ‘Iqbal’ and he surely deserves the best male debut trophy of the year for giving us that unthinkable tight slap with that cruel smile of satisfaction on his face!

There are many moments in the film which balanced the sublime emotional scenes with striking ones. Rohan’s first day of in the steel factory, calling his hostel buddy after a long, throwing his frustrated anger damaging the car. However stealing car key, a cigarette and money from father’s purse to enjoy late night drink in a bar ending with ragging of ‘shit ups’ and sharing drinks with sparkle of intoxicating fun of poetry and prank of ‘Motu master total disaster’ or one where intoxicating father asking some embarrassing questions to his son or forcing him to smoke in front of him seem more from pen of Anurag Kashyap than Motwane.

Highly recommended to all those who avoided it till day.

PS-It's finally a piece of cinema which I would like to recommend to those '3 Idiots' obsessed college kids where their savior 'Rancho' is absent like real life. (The pun is absolutely intended!)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


“I used to be somebody but now I’m somebody else
Who I’d be tomorrow is anybody’s guess.”

There are two strong reasons to watch this sleeper underdog of the last year. The first is Jeff Bridges who’s consummate act as ‘Bad Black’, a broke alcoholic country singer/composer in his sixties trying to get his lost charm back. With cowboy hat, guitar and lots of attitude he carried the role with all sincere and honest efforts and deserves Best Actor Oscar of the last year. He’s finely supported by Maggie Gyllenhaal, aged Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell in cameo. The second wonderful reason to watch is its great soundtrack, absolutely a treat for all country music lovers. It compelled me to download the OST of the film and believe me it has some of the simple and fine lyrics ever written; quite a rarity in today’s hip-hop/ alternative rock obsessed world. Don’t care damn even if you’re not much in country music, I’m sure you’ll be one after listening this! Like a seasoned artist Jeff Bridges crooned four classy tracks- ‘Somebody else’, ‘Hold on you’, ‘Brand New Angel’ and ‘Falling feels like flying’. Kudos to Director Scott Cooper for this wonderful and moving debut.

Ratings for Soundtrack-10/10

Monday, October 4, 2010

IRON MAN 2 (2010)

Not as entertaining as first part, nevertheless the sequel is quite fun to watch for its loaded action and special effects extravaganza with company of maverick Robert Downey Jr., sizzling Scarlett Johansson and evil company of Micky Rourke as Russian Ivan Vanko. The enterprise of Iron Man seems promising in the first part, I wonder why director dragged Tony Stark as larger than life to pseudo American political talk and world peace in the first half and then making him dwarf grew weaker and out of control with booze fixation and then all of sudden accompanied by Don Cheadle as helping hand to fight Rourke’s loaded army! Hope next time the sequel will bring entertainment without any unnecessary pretext.


Sunday, October 3, 2010


Denzel Washington is Eli, a solitary man surviving in godless uncivilized apocalyptic world. He’s a warrior guided by power and protecting the only copy of King James Version of Holy Bible taking it to its final destination. The portrayal of Eli seems like inspirational version of Forrest Whitaker in Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Ghost Dog: The Way of Samurai’, where he’s without distracting concerned about his single mission.

The film has fine presence of Denzel Washington who never disappoints me in any of his films so far. He’s accompanied by company of Gary Oldman as bad ass and pretty Mila Kunis. Though the film has dark and lifeless seedy setting, it captures absolutely stunning and aesthetic visuals and graphics with cinematography, surely a treat for your eyes. Action of the film is at time sudden and fast like Tarantino flicks but what is terribly lacking is the conflict part with its snail walking pace and the mediocre ending. May be director Hughes Bros kept their fingers crossed for its sequel!


Friday, October 1, 2010

25TH HOUR (2002)

The man who made ‘Do the Right Thing’ made another intense drama about a man who has twenty four hours to wind up things. Montgomery aka Monty is an Irish man who hooked up with wrong people and now he’s in big mess with a charge of drug peddling and seven years imprisonment and all he has is twenty four hours to finish few tasks before going to lockup. Meeting his father and two close friends Jacob and Frank, handle his loyal dog Doyle to safe hands, sparing time with his girlfriend with a strange name like Naturelle Riviera and finally meet his mobster boss before landing up to dark and ugly world of prison. Spike Lee presented a drama of messed up life where one man is trying hard to end up his all affairs within time but is it possible?

Back in strike is awesome Edward Norton with another impressive performance. Watch his ‘fuck you and this whole city and everyone in it…’ speech; an absolutely awesome firing blast to your ears for a long run. He’s finely accompanied by supporting actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox. The screenplay is too dark and disturbing to digest especially in the second half but the film is recommended to all Norton fans who loved his brilliant performance in ‘American History X’.