Showing posts with label English. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English. Show all posts

Monday, October 27, 2014

Her, Love Recently

It is an interesting movie, funny and entertaining! It is quite beautiful to watch, too! But it did disturb me. You see as human beings, we are always worried how our future is going to be. There are many movies which have envisioned it for us. Often, they are in the sci-fi genre. Though I enjoy them, it is difficult to relate to them.

But on the other hand, Her seems more realistic. Though it does seem to be in future, maybe a near one, the movie to me seemed more like a statement on the present. I know Bicentennial Man has a similar story line and is equally touching but somehow Her felt more real.

Her is love story between a man and his computer's operating system! But then the operating system is not a simple operating system either. It is based on artificial intelligence. It keeps learning and become more human-like. And eventually ends up more evolved than its creators, the human beings. Once I settled to the thought and accepted the voice as a person, the movie made me smile, feel a bit of pain and, at times, angry.

As I said the movie, in my opinion, is not set in future. It is the state of affairs in our lives, today. We are glued to our laptop or tablet or mobile phones. Though our devices are still not like "Her", we do spend more time with it than other human beings. Our every emotion, today, is connected with these devices. We are more occupied with it than spending time with either others or with our own self.

I loved watching the movie. If you have watched it, let me know what you thought. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

What's In The Name?

What was the last movie you watched?

Can you recollect the lead character's name? The hero, the heroine or the villain. Chances are, as hard as you may try, you will not be able to remember the name of the characters. 

I had never given any thought about name of the characters until I watched 12 Angry Men, a film that tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant. One of the alibis provided by the defendant is that he had been out watching a movie when the crime was committed. But when questioned, he is not able to recall the names of the characters. When this point is discussed, Henry Fonda, one of the jurors, asks other members if they remembered the names of the characters in movies they watched last. Guess what, no one is able to recall the names! 

Though it is not the absolute truth. For example, I remember Guna or Virumandi, or say Veera, Muthu or Basha. I also remember some villain's name. Gabbar Singh from Sholay or Mugambo from Mr. India. Interestingly, I am not sure if I remember Anil Kapoor or Sridevi's characters' name. But then I can never forget that Hema Malini in Sholay was Basanti. These are probably exceptions! 

But in general, why is it that the names of the characters are forgotten so easily? Are the names of the character not an important element? Why is it that some character names get etched in our memories while others don't even leave a scratch mark in our "hard drives"? Well it maybe a factor of how our nervous system is hard wired. 

Which movie characters' name do you remember? Mention it in the comments. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street, Self Help

Long ago, when I was employed with Twenty Twenty Media, I along with few managers attended a Time Management training program. That was my first exposure to the world of life management and personality development. Before getting into the tricks and tools to manage time better and become efficient, the trainer who was a Russian lady introduced us to the concept of different pies in the circle of life.

  1. Health 
  2. Wealth 
  3. Social 
  4. Spiritual 
  5. Family & friends 
To lead a holistic and meaningful life, one has to look at life as a sum of all the parts. One could also find these lessons in self help books such as Road Less Traveled, Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, First Things First et al. Not that I have achieved any balance, in fact far from it, but just the awareness of the pies can help bring sanity. That's for the majority of normal people.

Based on Jordan Belfort's biopic The Wolf of Wall Street it is about his spectacular rise and fall. It is the story of a man who focused only on one pie - Wealth. Jordan's life is filled with his passion for money and entertainment. The movie can give you nausea.

Is it a bad movie? No, absolutely not. There are amazing performances. Leonardo is brilliant. I loved Mathew McConaughey in his cameo appearance as "guru" who probably "shapes" Jordan's actions.

Once you have seen the movie, also read this very thought provoking article by Sudhish Kamath in The Hindu on "WHY DO our films toe the moral line?

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Darkness, In Good Light

Recently I went to a school as a volunteer. The task was to talk to students there and mentor them. Since it was my first time, I decided to sit with other mentors while they spoke with children. Though I don't consider myself an expert in English language, I decided to help a young Muslim girl with an essay she had written on Joy of Giving.

It needed bit of editing which I helped her with. While reading it, I was quite impressed with what she had written. I can't vouch that it was original thought. But that such a young girl used it aptly in the essay was commendable. Not the exact words but this is what she had written.

"...We often say we don't have anything to give to others. We have smile, which we can offer to others. We have love that we can share with others."

That exactly is what In Darkness is about. The Polish movies is based on true incidents. Set in Lwow, the story is about the transformation of a man. From a burglar and sewer maintenance worker to a man with a noble heart, Polish Catholic Socha agrees to help out a group of Jews fleeing persecution by Nazis by hiding them in the sewer. He extracts a price for his services.

Being a man without much education and sophistication, he is not moved by any great principles. Money is his only criterion to help. As he helps the families, at some point, he under goes a transformation. A person who doesn't like Jews to start with has a change of heart. He risks his life to ensure their safety. He becomes part of his extended family living in the sewers and participates in their sadness and happiness. In this process, he loses his friend. He frowns upon his daughter. He discovers Jesus was a Jew. At some point, he forgets his motive to make money.

But what is impressed me more was the perseverance of human life. Imagine living in sewers for 14 months. When the circumstances force, the human life adapts. In fact, there is even a child delivery!

Out of the three movies that I have seen with similar backgroud, World War 2 and persecution of Jews, this one is the best. The other two were - Schindler's List and Sophie's Choice. They were good, too. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Captain Phillips, Pirated

You must have read about it and seen it on TV. Somali pirates taking ship-jacking cargo vessels, taking crew as hostage. Here is the true story of Captain Phillips and his ordeals as he is taken hostage by Somali pirates. The movie is good and certainly keeps you tied to your seats.

Two things that impressed me were:

1. The fightback: Surprisingly, the ship doesn't have any arms to fight armed attacks. Captain and his crew neutralize the attack with some tactical thinking.

2. The role of Navy Seals: The coordination and execution of the release plan.

Worth watching! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gravity, Death in Space

Death is the only certainty in this world. And we are scared to die, almost all of us.

While everyone has to die their own death, dying alone with no one around you feels more cruel. What if you are let to fend for yourself and fight to keep yourself alive? With all the odds stacked against you.

How would you feel?

Gravity is about the fight for survival of an astronaut stranded all alone 600 kms up above mother earth. A mission that goes wrong leaves Sandra Bullock fighting one disaster after another that seem to be attracted to her like she is a magnet. Does she survive is the story. The movie is brilliant from the perspective of the way it has been shot. Will remind you of the film that is played at a planetarium.

Why are we so scared of death? In this movie, Sandra Bullock, in fact, has nothing to look forward to. While reasons could be obvious, why do we feel for the characters who die a lonely death? Is it because there is no chance of their bodies ever getting a burial or cremation? Is it that they do not get a chance to say a good bye to their loved ones? Or because they probably have no opportunity of seeing their loved ones before life is sucked out of them?

While I did like the film and felt very bad for George Clooney, I probably thought it wasn't as touching the other two movies that I have seen with pretty much the same core - Castaway and Life of Pi.

Tom Hanks' brilliant performance that moves you in Castaway takes you on an emotional roller coaster as he tries to survive and connect with the rest of the world. While Sandra Bullock has just one day to ensure that she survives, Tom Hanks has to find ways to kill his days and also try surviving. From a sophisticated urban professional to a cave man in an isolated island, he has to acquire new skills and keep himself sane. The most touching scene in the movie was when he loses his only friend in the island while he attempts to survive.

Life of Pi on the other hand is spiritual. About God. Yes, it is also about survival of young Pi Patel at sea. If loneliness and sea were not enough, he also has to deal with Richard Parker, "ferocious tiger". He discovers God and himself in his quest for survival.

In terms of visuals, Gravity and Life of Pi are delightful treats. But probably Castaway is more emotional and painful fare.

Death is the only certainty in human life. Be it on sky or land or water, we have to face it. And we have to fight for our lives, till the very end. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Conjuring, Christian Horror

My friend told me that there was nothing horrifying in the movie. She said she laughed through it.

I am a person who loves horror movies and then get scared after watching them. So her statement came as some sort of encouragement.

Conjuring was entertaining. And as my friend told me there were loads of comic scenes which made me and the rest of the movie goers burst into laughter. But now it makes me wonder why would we laugh when we were supposed to be wetting our pants. The scenes were supposed to be scary, afterall.

I realized that in many ways Conjuring had nothing new. Actually almost every movie in this class has very similar story line and "scaring" scenes. We probably have been fed on such scenes all our lives.

This movie is supposed to be based on a true story. What disturbed me about the movie was the scene where the priest hesitates to perform exorcism because the children in the family have not been baptized. Do Gods bother about that? Do Gods help only those who abide by the policies of their institutions. Imagine, a Hindu or a Muslim family was living in that house, would Christian institution not perform exorcism, if required? Or other way around, would Hindu or Muslim institutions not help a Christian family? That also makes me ponder if the Ghosts or evil spirits also follow religions.

I was watching Kanchana, Tamil horror flick starring Lawrence and Sharathkumar, on TV other day. Looks like ghosts in Indian movies are as secular as the country itself. Sharathkumar's spirit responds to Hindu and Muslim exorcists! Could that be because Sharathkumar was born in to a Hindu family and then raised by a Muslim? Strange are the ways of these ghosts, I say!

But looks like American Christian Ghosts are consistent with American superhero, Superman! Alas, Steel Man is protector of American interests not the World. Unlike his father had envisioned him to be.

Whatever it maybe, Conjuring is enjoyable American Ghost story. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Now You See Me, Abracadabra

A very fast paced movie. Thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of twists and turns till the very end, a bit dramatic.

Four magicians come together to perform acts before large audiences. And instead of audiences paying for the show, they get awarded. For they are not just performing magic tricks, they are working on a mission set by the "Eye".

On their trail is cop who tries to bring them to justice but keeps failing miserably. To support him, there is an Interpol officer from France, and an ex-magician.

The movie is intelligently made. At times reminding me of Breaking the Magician's Code, the TV series.

Very entertaining.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Man of Steel, Little Brittle!

The movie wasn't that bad.

But couple of things really irked me.
  1. American Superhero or World Savior: Right from the start we are led to believe by Superman's biological father (Russell Crowe) and adopted father (Kevin Costner) that Superman is destined for something really big. He is proclaimed as the one who will save humanity (we the earthlings). Then at the end, Superman claims to be as American as anyone else in the US of A. And more importantly he promises that he will act in the best interest of America, at all times. 
  2. Why was Lois Lane summoned by Zod? Beats me. Why was the Daily Planet reporter and the love interest of Superman summoned by Zod? Probably Zod wanted her to play the spoilsport and jeopardise his plans to recreate Krypton on Earth? 
Isn't it nice to know that we have so many saviors? The Avengers and, now, the Justice League! These guys save us from aliens all the time. After watching a series of movies on Earth savers, I felt little bored. They all have almost similar story lines, amazing graphics, some human emotions.

Wish there could a superhero who could help us deal with with road rage, rape, urinating in public, spitting...The problems from within and not outside Earth. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Adjustment Bureau, Freewill

Was it a romance movie? Was it a thriller? Or was it a sci-fi?

Actually, Adjustment Bureau is a very intelligent movie. If you think about it, the movie delves into the issues that everyone faces. Should one take life as it comes or follow one's passion.

Matt Damon acts as a young politician on the verge of making it big when he falls in love with Emily Blunt, a dancer. And then there are these suited men with hats who represent the bureau. The men strive to ensure that these two don't get to meet each other.

When Matt Damon accidentally discovers the bureau, he is informed that the bureau is working to ensure that he has a successful political career and that his marriage with Emily Blunt would compromise their careers. After that the movie is about the struggle between the heart and the head.

If I gave you an impression that this is a very heavy film, no it is not. Watch it, the movie will entertain you. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Inglourious Basterds, Very Glorious

Now if you have watched Kill Bill, you would know what a stylish director Quentin Tarantino is. But the real strength of his movies is the depth in the script and the performance that he extracts from the cast.

Inglourious Basterds is certainly a must watch. Don't be deterred by the fact that it is another movie about World War 2 and that it is as much French and German as it is English, it makes a great watch.

The movie is about two parallel plots being hatched by disconnect groups to assassinate Hitler. While one is hatched by a French Jewish girl whose family is executed by Germans, the other is led by a team of Jewish Allied soldiers. Incidentally, both plan to assassinate Hitler and important German officers during the premier of a German movie at the theater owned by girl.

I personally loved the movie because of Christoph Waltz. He plays the role of SS Colonel Hans Landa who also was responsible for the death of the girl's family. Waltz excels as a The Jew Hunter. While one can easily hate the person, it is an actors nightmare, as Tarantino himself has acknowledged. As mentioned in Wikipedia, "...character who is courteous and speaks four languages but is self serving, cunning and callous, Tarantino feared he "might have written a part that was un-playable".

No wonder, Christoph Waltz won the Oscars in the Best Supporting Actor's category. Very nice!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ninja Assasin: Disgruntled Employee

Blood on the dance floor. Errrr...sorry, blood all over the screen. People get cut as if they were birthday cakes and blood splashes as from an exploded undersea oil well.

A visual treat, this movie is nothing else. Raizo, an orphan, is raised in a Ninja training centre. The godfather is strict task master with no heart. Interestingly, this movie starts with reference to a heart and ends with a similar note.

Disgruntled by the attachment-less life, brutal life and watching his girl-friend die in the centre, Raizo chooses a different path.

It's strictly for martial arts and graphic fans.

3:10 To Yuma, Miss It

3:10 to Yuma (Widescreen Edition)
Unless you are a fan of Russell Crowe or Christian Bale or love Western, you may conveniently miss it.

Ben Wade (Crowe) is a famous outlaw. Dan Evans (Bale) on the other hand is an impoverished rancher and Civil War veteran who is seeking some honor.

Upon Wade's capture, Evans joins a group of men to deliver him for arrest on the 3:10 to Yuma. The movie is about Wade's attempt to flee and Evan's resolve him to deliver. Both fight and save each other from different difficult situations.

Finally, emotionally attached Wade helps Evans redeem his honor.

Usually, I would have cried, but I kept wondering why did everyone have to go through so much difficulty. Either the concept of encounter killing was unknown in that period or common sense was missing. Despite the fact that Wade kills two of the group during their journey, he still has almost complete freedom. Were people so naive, then.

The movie has received positive ratings, I am not sure why. Watch it without any expectations.

Monday, June 28, 2010

'Crash' Course On Racism

Directed by Paul Haggis, Crash was release in 2004. The subjects mirrors the reality of life. Discrimination and the divide in the society. A strong lacing of Racism that intertwines the lives of all the characters in the movie. Brilliant!

There are these two young black boys who are on the streets to teach the white a lesson. Mugging, car jacking. It doesn't seem that they themselves would have been subjected to racism, but are skewed by legacy effect.

There is a District Attorney who like a good politician wants to keep his vote bank intact. Going an extra mile to ensure that 'minorities' are happy. His wife on the other hand is very uncomfortable with the minorities to the extent that she despises them.

A cop who finds it difficult to get his father, suffering from Urinary Tract Infection, treated thanks to a very unaccepting black HMO administrator. Upset, the cop molests, in the name of enforcing law, a black lady right infront of her Director husband.

The Director, though black, has grown to be accepted by the 'white' society. His wife unable to bear the humiliation caused to her, chides him that he has forgotten his 'roots'.

Then there is this Persian family (not Arab). With a probable risk of their store being looted the man buys a gun. When the locksmith advises him to change the door instead of complaining about lock, he abuses the person only to find that his shop has been looted in the night. As insurance company rejects his claim sighting negligence, he wants a revenge on the locksmith.

The locksmith probably has been a criminal, though reformed now. He is very attached to his family, his daughter in particular. They have recently move out of a bad neighbourhood but the daughter is scared of the experiences. I loved the scene where the father to comfort his daughter tells a story about fairy and invisible impenetrable cloak.

And then there is this black detective who while being successful professionally loses his mother's love as he is not able to find his younger brother. While he is upright, he does make compromise for personal reasons.

Despite so much of intertwining, the plot is very clear and the movie moves symmetrically. I told Savitha after watching the movie that while the movie was good, it wasn't great. But overnight the movie grew on me. Having written a blog on racism, myself, I realized that I wasn't wrong in my observation that everyone practices discrimination, in some form or the other. Our experiences as an individual or as community defines our actions. By the way the movie isn't negative. In fact, it is very positive. It's about human behavior.

Watch it and feel it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

GI Jane, lovely and brutal!

G.I. Jane is an American action film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Demi Moore. The movie held my attention from the start till about the end. But the end doesn't matter much and it is in quite expected lines.

The movie is about the first woman to undergo training in U.S. Navy Special Warfare Group. Fictional, of course. The movie deals with the experiences of the lady. It's also about how overconfident men deal with a beautiful woman thrown in their midst. And to their astonishment, she outperforms them. If not outperform, at least, is as determined as they are.

I am not sure how far the SEAL/CRT (Combined Reconnaissance Team) course depicted is true, bu it must be. Churned my gut. Demi Moore impresses in the role. She equals, if not beats, the Hollywood hulks. The other aspect that is covered very subtly in the movie is the relationship between the husband and wife. How does the husband feel when he knows that his wife may have to be surrounded by some of the toughest and roughest men on earth? How does it feel if wife does something even men don't dare to do? How does it feel when your wife is on the verge of being a celebirty and you are still some unknown guy?

Not being a male chauvinist but does the gentler sex need such training? Do women prefer to get into such roles? The answer may be a big YES! The inclusion of women in the armed forces is not new. Women have proven themselves in the roles which were traditionally believed to be in the men domain.

But yes, the training program depicted in the movie tests the boundaries of human beings' physical and mental strength.

The movie is a good watch.

Monday, June 14, 2010

10,000 BC: Outdated! No Apocalypse About It!

Full of violence and gore, Mel Gibson's Apocalypse is a lovely movie. By the way, Apocalypse means any revelation or prophecy, for those who, like me, didn't know what the word meant.

So, I watched 10,000 BC, yesterday. The only good thing about the movie is Camilla Belle. She looks very desirable. Otherwise the movie lacks anything exciting to hold the attention. The storyline is pretty much like Apocalypse's. David Vs. Goliath. Both movies are set in 'pre-historic' periods though Mel Gibson's movie is supposed to be Mayan era. While in Apocalypse, the protagonist fights for his own survival and helps save his family and clan, 10,000 BC is about saving the loved one and in the process uniting different clans to fight against the 'advanced' society.

The negative camp in these movies are strikingly similar!

While Apocalypse is a brilliant film, 10,000 BC is a cheap B-grade movie that failed to evoke any interest. Wish there was an apocalypse about 10,000 BC before I had ordered the discs!

PS: In addition to Camilla, the other thing that I managed to like about 10,000 BC is the dialogue about how great men differ from good men. Reminded me of Gandhi Ji.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thin Red Line, A Long One

Was it that I started watching it little late in the evening that too after a strenous session of yoga and active game of tennis in the morning?

The movie with an impressive star cast and seemingly good story line, just didn't keep me glued. Just when I thought, it got over, it didn't. Then, finally, I just didn't watch it fully.

The IMDB review is pretty positive but despite having a decent home theatre, many words were missed. Maybe it was some micro-accent.

Set in the second world war, it is about American soldiers fight with Japan to the capture of an island. This island apparently would provide strategic advantage. The movie that way is pretty realistic, as IMDB review put it. The characters had real and varied emotions. Some dealt with the pains of war, others lose it.

I lost it after Americans win the first battle. You can check how long you last!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shrek, No More

Like it is said 'All Good Things Must Come To An End!', Shrek & Gang will also not be seen again.

In the fourth edition Shrek tells Fiona, his beautiful ogress wife, that he understood what he had only after losing it. Holds true for the franchise, too. Principle of diminishing marginal utility derived would have applied and continuously eroded the liking.

One good friend told me that she was quite disappointed by the movie. But for me the brand pull was huge. And I certainly came out of the theatre very happy and holistically entertained.

Actually, the problem with many sequels is that they aren't managed well. But Shrek goes through the life cycle quite graciously. While the first was a love story, the second was about test of relationship and the third about moving to the next level in that relationship (read parenting). The fourth is extension of responsibilities. The resultant mine over I; monotony caused by the daily chores of life. Shrek desires for a break, petty much like the way I dream of a sabbatical.

Ah, there it goes. My wife and that friend rightly captured it. I, probably, was relating to the movie as I, like Shrek, was experiencing mid-life crisis.

Shrek, too, desires in the movie to go back to his old life. When he was carefree and didn't have to bother about anything or anyone. Where life moved at a pace that he set. The movie is about what Shrek does to do reverse his timeline. It is his (mis)adventure, thereafter. As all the previous editions, it has loads of fun and twists. But, of course, the movie ends with the reinforcement of love in life. Shrek 4 is about letting go and adapting to the 'new' change.

Yes, it may not be necessarily a children's movie.  They may not be able to decipher it and analyze it as much as I have done. But it has all the fun to keep them occupied. For adults, it is a must watch.

There is a different incarnation of all the important characters in the movie. Most importantly, Puss in Boots! I loved the scene where Puss begs Donkey to lend its tongue.

Don't miss it! And keep an open mind.