Friday, December 31, 2010


A heartbreaking film of the year from the director who knows how to portray intense, disturbing and rather shocking personal tragedies; his ‘Requiem for a Dream’ is intolerable nightmare for many of viewers. Director Darren Aronofsky’s protagonist is not Black Swan; but the opposite. She’s a young uncorrupt and innocent ballet dancer named Nina. She’s dedicated and disciplined dancer who’s working too hard to meet the challenge offered by her demanding director who needs a face of ‘Swan Queen’- a performer who embodies both white and black swan for forthcoming new season of his show. Playing pure part of White Swan is quite natural for her but she constantly failed to portray the darker part. She has a rival too who knows how to manipulate men compromising with morality. Guided by ambition of perfection she slowly starts embracing her darker side along with her own downfall.

Aronofsky’s this film has texture of classical tragedy. Like those Greek or Shakespearean tragedies, it has element of hamartia- a protagonist blinded by ambition of perfection and on the other hand it represents world of fantasy where the clapping of audience comes with personal sacrifice. It’s not an easy character to carry; as it demands lot of practice playing perfect ballerina and on the other hand requires intense introspection. Without exaggeration it’s hard to see anyone except Natalie Portman. She is the muse born to play this part. Her metamorphosis from white to black swan is really heart wrenching one driven by ambition, jealousy, rivalry, hallucinations breaking her into physical-psychological trauma. Throughout the film Portman remains so effortlessly natural in expressions. She has only one guardian angel- her caring poor mother who finally witnesses in the climax how her sweet girl transformed into something so hostile. Along with so many others who’ve seen this, I must say that Portman is sure bet for this year’s Best Actress award. Supporting performances were impressive too and the amazing classical piano background by Clint Mansell surely deserved trophy.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


This year's quite unnoticed small budget surprise fun package; all bundled with pure desi tadka humor. The theme of the film is last year’s recession turned world where US economy caught cold and whole globe starts sneezing, including UP’s small town extortionist gang. They kidnap an NRI luring big ransom bounty. But the poor fellow is broke and came home to sell his ancestor’s haveli to save his home and family. As the guy revealed his misfortune, we see not one but several other gangs including a corrupt minister dealing their own share from smart chap and dollar dreams. Had it been released last year, it would get more audience and praise!

Writer-Director Subhash Kapoor has deserves pat on his back for gifting some of the most hilarious lines that you’ve ever heard, honestly speaking it just made me laugh out loudly. The second most amazing thing about the film is its authentic portrayal and characterization of America obsessed small town India in pure northern accent and gags. Most of the actors are quite unknown except Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia and Sanjay Mishra-the man who most often seen as comic sidekick. But the man to watch here is Manu Rishi as Anni. Remember the guy who played Abhay’s partner named Bangali in OLLO! There’s fine support from Brijendra kala, Amit Sial & wild Amol Gupte whom we’ve noticed as Bhopa Bhau in ‘Kaminey’. the only eyesore and misfit in the film is Neha Dhupia playing female Gabbar but that’s not a big heck since her role comes much later and its too short.

I promise you that you will love to repeat some of the most crackling laughter here. Watch that ‘English shikho, America Jao’ scene where local English coaching tutor Tyagi is firing his local students in kickass angrezi. The second priceless fun is FBI-Saddam-Bush connection gag and then we see laugh ride whole bureaucratic extortionist department run by kidnapping king minister. Yes, there’s black humor, some of it is rude and over the top but the attempt is hundred percent honest to make you laugh in the time of crisis. I think this one of the most pathetic year of Bollywood where Hindi film industry is seriously and terribly lacking original and creative ideas, the film like this is a ray of hope for new talents who’ll shape and redefines it in coming year.

‘Don’t miss it’ is the final verdict.


Sunday, December 26, 2010


At the time of its release, The Beatles already established as cultural icons of 60s. The short hairstyle was raze even after a decade and the hysteric craze all over them is just phenomenon. There’s freshness in their melodies like no other, innocence and fun in their simple lyrics and their clone like presence express joy and freedom in all its impulsive rhythm. That’s the reason enough why they’re still timeless and ruling on No# 1 position of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Shot and edited by Richard Lester, this B&W semi documentary style film is a day in The Beatles lives. As film starts with title tracks, we see John, Paul, George and Ringo running in streets chased by surging crowd of girls. We see them on train, on road, in studio, at press conference and finally the concert. Their screen presence is impromptu, natural in all youthful energy and fun and though they’re more than celebrity then, they seem so unpretentious and down to earth. We can hear their easy go funny reply to fans and reporters and their recklessness on/off screen putting their manager and TV director constantly in mess. But the spirit of the film lies in their invocation to ‘do what you feel’ kind of freedom.

But above all the biggest reason to watch this film is great melodies. It’s just fun to see them performing with all irreverent fun. Watch their loose madness on track and field in ‘Can’t buy me love’. The real fun comes from Ringo who just before the climactic show ran away from theatre to street enjoying his carefree freedom. His messy fun continues on road, in restaurant and even on muddy potholes to win a gentle lady’s heart. The magic moment is concert coverage with melodies back to back and as they played ‘She loves you yeah…yeah…yeah’, camera pans to cheering, shouting, jumping frenzy of young girls with tears in their eyes. The way they drive orgasm to audience with their music, I must say ‘with love like that, you know you should be glad.’ And before it ends, do watch those classic black & white artistic images rapidly changing on screen along with ending titles.

Kudos to Richard Lester for bringing this nostalgic timeless experience.



“A man can lie, steal and even kill, but as long as he hangs on to his pride, he’s still a man. All a woman has to do is slip once and she’s tramp.”

However contrary to the catchy title, the real hero of the film is Vienna played by Joan Crawford in her outstanding tomboyish strong act of self made owner of the saloon. She didn’t have angelic face but no one can deny her strong presence as she’s the real hero of the film overcastting all macho men including her returned love Johnny Logan/Guitar played by Sterling Hayden. “Never seen a woman who was more a man; she thinks like one, acts like one, and sometimes makes me feel I’m not,” said one of his loyal worker.

First twenty minutes drama in Vienna’s bar reveals almost everything from plot, characters and drama and conflict that push the film forward. Apart of Crawford and Hayden’s impressive acts, there’s fine supporting role played by Ernest Borgnine as Bart. Nobody can play pushy sidekick in westerns as he played here. Watch his crackling provocation in ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ or Peckinpah’s ‘The Wild Bunch’. Director Nicholas Ray’s this classic western has a bit of melodrama and strong feminist text too; quite unconventional to notice in western. Ray made reversal in the climax too showing shootout between Emma and Vienna. The film has strong use of fluorescent colors especially yellow and red. Nevertheless a Classic western.


Saturday, December 25, 2010


‘You got a body of the hippo but the brain of a rabbit. Don’t overtax it.’

A stranger, mysterious guest named Mr. Macreedy arrives by train at countryside small town of Black Rock. He’s got unwelcome hospitality from people of the town. The only aim of this outsider is to visit a place called Adobe flat, looking for a man named Komako. Nobody is providing him any information sniffing him strange suspicious guy. Slowly it reveals us the status of plot and characters filling the drama with enough conflict.

The film was made by John Sturges, the man who gave us epical ‘The Great Escape. Quite contrary to that this is a film with duration of just eighty minutes. It’s a fine cocktail of western meets noir giving you enough thrilling pleasure. This single day thrill story of one man reminds me Fred Zinemann’s classic western ‘High Noon’. Sturges finely brought the picture of godforsaken lawless small west town controlled by a man named Smith (Robert Ryan) and his loose sidekicks. I haven’t seen much of Spenser Tracy but as far as this film is concerned it’s one of his most memorable performances. He’s an old man keeping his one hand in pocket throughout the film and wearing no comment like attitude towards bunch of obstacle baddies until that tense filled provoking scene with duel at hotel bar. Tracy is just gentleman you love to watch. Shot in color it shows us splendid country side Wild West with fine cast and brilliant lines what you expect from classic Hollywood.

Highly recommended to classic fans.


Friday, December 24, 2010


It seems that Director Anton Corbijn is highly influenced by Jean Pierre Melville’s classic minimalist noir ‘Le Samourai’ starring mysterious and dashing professional assassin Alain Delon, here played by Hollywood’s gentleman star-actor George Clooney. He’s assigned professional who assembles and makes specialized assassin weapons for his patron’s clients. He is a professional who doesn’t pay heed to anything else than his assigned task and keeps all-time alert about his presence. There’s a stranger who follows him, a woman who called him ‘Mr. Butterfly’ and a prostitute with great body and like most men his only flaw lies in love.

Perhaps many of you won’t like this one, especially if you’ve not seen Melville’s stylish and minimalist film. Mind well it’s not routine assassin thriller. It’s slow, it’s stylish, it’s more frames and less dialogue and no background score and negligible plot. Corbjin successfully brought the rare touch of minimalism, quite a rarity in today’s commercial Hollywood but he ended it without giving us enough jolts or element of unpredictability. Clooney is fine but he seems too dry and serious compared to awesome Delon. The fine reason to watch once is it’s stunning cinematography portraying a remote hilly village in nature’s lap of Italy with fine extreme wide shots and aerial angles.

Recommend it to those who’ve seen Melville film and it’s another brilliant inspired version ‘Ghost Dog: The way of the Samurai’ made by Jim Jarsmusch starring awesome Forrest Whitaker.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


“I’m talking about the idea and I’m saying that it’s never finished.”

It’s classic theory- the well made film has surprise beginning, captivating middle and tangled end. David Fincher’s one of the most talked about film of the year has all three in right amount and it tells the story of world’s youngest millionaire at 18 with his own made friends and foes. It all begins with Harvard undergrad nerd’s messy date ended with split up. She called him ‘asshole’ at dating table and infact she’s right! He diverted his energy and started hacking pictures for Harvard’s social networking site ‘facemash’ with ranking hot girls of campus, raised the traffic overnight that crash Harvard’s whole network. And before we land up to the gain-facebook story, we see the pain- the lawsuits faced by Mark Zuckerberg.

So far the film has bagged 6 Golden Globe nominations in all major categories and will surely rule in upcoming Oscar race too locking horns with ‘Inception’. Fincher is the man of thriller and I was just wondering before watching this that how he could turn a biographical story of a programmer on screen while keeping intact the thrilling part. Credit must go to his colloboration with Aaron Sorkin’s award worthy screenplay writing skill that getting us all hooked from very beginning to the end.

The narrative shift plays brilliantly between two lawsuits Zuckerberg is facing- one from Winklevoss duo and Divya Narendra for stealing their idea and second from his close friend and partner Eduardo Saverin and then there’s all overshadowing personal story of Zuckerberg and his obsession to make ‘facebook’ a phenomenon success and common expression/almost a synonym of social networking leaving all rest of rival sites behind. Besides that the film has cheesy lines and not so often we find such awesome lines popping up in the film throughout from various characters- “They came to me with an idea, I had a better one,” said Mark; “When you go fishing you can catch a lot of fish or you can catch a big fish,” said Sean Parker to Mark on their first meeting; “Internet is not written in pencil mark, it’s written in ink,” said Erica to embarrassing Mark.

Film portrayed Mark Zuckerberg as role model hero; the face of 21st century youngest billionaire and tech geek entrepreneur driven by personal instinct and obsession then fame and money. He is impulsive nerd and arrogant fellow messing up his personal relations but he’s brighter genius who knows his might lies not in working for Winklevoss brothers but either with close pal (Saverin) or visionary dream merchant like Sean Parker. Zuckerberg is a dream entrepreneur for many who fathom the limitlessness of idea and than expand and nurture it with leadership and boon of technology along with getting right connections but then the coin has its flip sides too and Sorkin-Fincher have finely managed to bring that indirect voice too! The creator of social network giant is paralysed in his own relationship status!!!

Worthy to mention stellar performances from all young cast. As Mark, Jesse Eisenberg represents a face of genius trapped in his own whims and impulses and he truly deserves nomination for best actor. It also fine supporting acts from two other young men- Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. I like the soundtracks too. With Fincher and Sorkin’s topnotch work, there’re enough reasons why it becomes mustn’t miss film of this year.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


One of the blunt, forceful and captivating British gangster-noir made by Mike Hodges starring scene stealing Michael Caine as Jack Carter. To investigate the cause and avenge the death of his brother, he returns to his hometown. Once landed there he gets involved in complex series of incidents of local goons all setting up his fall in company of his mobster boss’s damsel.

Though the pace is slow, it builds the tension gradually. Hodges paid no concessions for morality and shows the seedy and stark naked face of underworld with style of modern noir and yet we don’t notice bloody violence that we expect from gangster flick. The film has fine camera work showing some of the unnoticed London locations with classy angles and shots. Casting is impressive too and Caine made his strong presence felt from beginning to end in one of his finest screen performance. Like every great gangster film there are several distinct and original scenes that stay in mind- Caine walking naked from his bed holding a gun, mob boss thrown from a multi storey high-rise parking garage or the climactic rough justice at deserted beach. The end is shocking and disturbing one but that’s what well made gangster films are!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

CLERKS (1994)

“Every time I kiss you, I’m gonna taste 36 other guys.”

Writer-Director Kevin Smith’s low budget black and white debut film is a day in the screwed up life of two neighborhood shop workers named Dante manning the grocery store and Randal handling video renting store. We witness different oddball customers coming and screwing their heads with moments of hilarious adult fun. Poor Dante always bitching about her stuck up existence while facing personal relationship problems and trying to remain straight forward with customers than bored, porn watching and customer insulting smart crook Randal. The chemistry is just amazing.

It’s queer to know that Smith had worked in the same Quick shop grocery store since he was 19, and where he edited this film each night after the work hours. The fun is dark, adult but without being over the top it shows us the moments of real life screwed up situations over the counter culture fun. The characters are just awesome and the dialogues are full of witty and infectious humor. Watch those other naughty outsider pair too-Jay and Silent Bob (played by Smith) pasting that ‘I eat cock’ poster on the door. There’s lot of unpredictable adult laughter here and it’ll surely make up your Sunday afternoon.



One of the most brilliant and impressive debut film by the man who remains one of the most exceptional writer-story teller-filmmaker of this decade. The architect who keeps challenging the viewers and redefining the ways films are conceived, written and narrated- ‘Inception’, ‘Memento’. His second remarkable skill lies in refreshing story telling ability- ‘The Prestige’ ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. Does Christopher Nolan need any introduction?

The film begins with first person narrative by the protagonist-a mysterious lonely and bored man who for unknown reason starts following strangers. He is struggling writer who maybe tries to seek characters from life around. He has an important rule too-‘never follow the same person twice’. The trouble starts when he broke the rule. Next is surprise package of twist and turn unfolded in jigsaw puzzle kind of thrill in a way and manner what you expect from Nolan. His films represent smart complex and vigilante heroes who most of the time end up being victim of the set trap created either by outsmart antagonist or by the illusory web of their own minds. Check out which force works here.

There’s no exaggeration saying that one should compare Nolan’s this debut film at par with any auteur directors’ debut film ranging from noir thrillers made by Polanski to Kubrick. The movie is surely Nolan’s net practice for ‘Memento’ (non linear puzzle like narration) and the seed for ‘Inception’ too (watch the mysterious intruding burglar named Cobb who steals too personal things). It’s small budget independent film made with black and white print and unknown actors. The length of film is just one hour and ten minutes and shot at normal city locations of London and still it’s absolutely gripping thriller. The strength lies in his absolute control and command over all technical matters of filmmaking whether it’s script, screenplay, innovative story telling and it’s brilliant proof why script remains the most creative and powerful part in filmmaking if you want to make your film immortal one. Nolan is all one man show here with helm of story writer- cinematographer editor and director. Needless to say Nolan is unchallenged master craftsman from very inception of his career!


PS- With this I’ve done with all Nolan films, I’ve to wait for two years for his upcoming ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

Friday, December 17, 2010

THE HOST (Korean) (2006)

Along with ‘Oldboy’, this is one of the most profitable and popular Korean film of this decade that turned world’s serious notice to the Korean cinema. Not so often we find such comic, melodramatic and dark elements in usual Hollywood monster films. Writer-Director Bong Joon- Ho played wonderfully with sound and images to bring chaos where fear not only comes from ‘in your face’ but from blend of unpredictability and surprise.

We can sense the unpredictable danger from very beginning of the film where an old doctor ordered his apprentice to pour down the toxic chemicals in drain. The apprentice warned him that from drain this highly toxic stuff will go to river and it’ll contaminate the water and its biodiversity. But then he has to follow his boss’s order. Soon we see a strange monster creature rising from the river and turning the city into chaos of unpredictable danger. There is a deadly virus and its infection faux too. A father lost her dearest daughter to the beast but surprisingly she is found alive and next is all hunting search and struggle of a family against all odds. The film has awesome tense filled climax with majestic look to hunt the beast giving its instant cult monster movie status. However we can’t deny the influence of Spielberg’s master work ‘Jaws’ here.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

SISTERS (1973)

Brian De Palma made some of the smashing psychological thrillers in the early phase of his career much before he made those commercial crime thrillers with Hollywood biggies that churned him name and fame. ‘Sisters’ is one of his quite off beat psychological thrillers that remain underrated for many of De Palma fans. One can easily guess the De Palma’s Hitchcock influence as soon as the film begins. Hitchcock’s long collaborator composer Bernard Herrmann’s scored the background of De Palma’s this film with same jarring opening score as ‘Psycho’.

The plot is about Siamese twin sisters, a murder, an intruding stranger who claimed to be a husband and investigation by one of witness lady reporter. The diabolic split personality of one of the twin is quite usual De Palma trait heightened in another fine thriller ‘Carrie’. The tension of dead body, voyeuristic peeping shots from apartment windows is again Hitchcockian but then De Palma has brilliant sense of camera; watch his split screen technique when the screen is divided in two parts during murder and we witness simultaneous intriguing action in two different windows on screen for few minutes. Quite unusual to De Palma films it has bizarre climax left open ending. Is dead body still in the couch???

More than mystery it’s a well made psychological thriller. Interested fellows should also checkout De Palma’s other equally entertaining thrillers like ‘Blow Out’, ‘Body Double’, ‘Carrie’ to name a few I managed to watch.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


‘Without the truth, his letter would be worthless he thought, just as without the letters their twenty years as couple would amount to nothing.”

A Bengali school teacher living in the remote Sundarban village and a young Japanese girl meet through letters. The medium of their letters is English which is again a foreign for both of them. Still shedding the barriers of language and culture they fall in love with each other over letters and even get married through letters! They have been married for 20 years but have never met each other for a single time!

Director Aparna Sen adapted Kunal Basu’s tender and thin short story on screen by the same name. The relationship is quite improbable one and conflict is missing and so it’s challenging to show the bonding of characters just through letters as in original story. Having read the story prior to watching this film, I’m so excited to see its screen adaptation but it seems quite a dragging ordinary in the first half. Infact It failed to appeal me initially, even the narration of the film gets stuck in just voice over with exchange of letters and gifts that clogs the space for character development and fails to connect emotionally with the drama in the first thirty minutes.

But then Sen made certain necessary insertion in the original story which is just 14 pages affair. She enhanced and added fine colors to the character of Sandhya played by Raima Sen and she is the real breath of fresh air here as all hushed up shy young widow with a son living in Bose’s home. She’s the one whom he rejected to tie knot years ago. Her return being widow with a boy to his home seems embarrassing for him but slowly her caring approach like devoted woman breaks the inhibitions between two. Rahul Bose is convincing as always but his desi English pronunciation seems quite irritating compared to his competent urban flair but then one has to keep in mind that he has to seem probable as small town school teacher. Chigusa Takaku remained in the shadow throughout the film, it’s in the end she made her presence felt not as Japanese but Indian Wife!

Above all, I do believe that it’s improbable but innocent love story with moments of unphysical love and its unfulfilled longing, with those momentary shades of life’s joy and sorrow, loss and gain. Unlike Basu’s O Henry kind of sudden unexpected ending, Sen’s screen version seems more convincing and she gave it different height while maintaining and adding to the essence of original.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE SEA INSIDE (Spanish) (2004)

A tetraplegic patient lying on a bed, listening Wagner on record. Suddenly we witness the slow movement of his paralytic hand; now like a miracle he’s on his both feet trying to walk. Then all of sudden he starts running and jumps out of the window to see the world outside, he's desperatly longing from long. Camera moves sweepingly towards the lush landscapes corresponding to Wagner’s symphony reaching high tones. He lands up at a beach to meet the woman he secretly starts loving on his bed after 27 years. The passionate kissing and hugging of two lovers on the beach slowly punctured when the Wagner record stop and with this ends the beautiful dream too!

It’s scene like this which makes the motion picture a visual experience like no other art form. Director Alejandro Amenabar without using any artistic gimmicks narrates the film so simply, so genuinely and so being human, it touches and invokes those sublime feelings to us- the audience. Here’s breathing human story of a man named Ramon, who wishes to end his 27 years suffering life on bed by Euthanasia. His public declaration and appeal to death puts him and his family in more embarrassing situation. There’re religion, government, judiciary and on personal front an older brother who always there to oppose his freedom to die. But this is just surface, the heart of the film lies in its sublime love story. Ramon’s close bonding with his lawyer and relationship with a frustrated woman who frequently visits his home is the soul of the film. I must say SLB has killed that most beautiful part of the original in his recently released poor remake ‘Guzaarish’ by shifting the bonding from lawyer to nurse. Watch the scene where sharing the cigarette, she lets him open up emotionally-‘Has any girl kissed you in past 27 years?” The bonding is natural and empathetic because she’s also experiencing the sea inside him.

Javier Bardem is an actor to watch here, see how just with facial expressions he wins your hearts. I must say he has a great range and he’s an actor who truly avoids conformity. Watching him in his Oscar winning ‘No Country for Old Man’ or Woody’s ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ are 360 degree different from what he has done in this film. Watch the hug he got from his symbolic unborn son to whom he dedicated his poem, his intimate moments with both women and his climactic expressions after consuming potassium cyanide. And not only Bardem but Belen Rueda too and almost all other supporting cast remain dedicated to their characters.

Amenabar, who along with writing the script and direction also brilliantly helmed the touching background score of the film surely deserves standing ovation. Though the subject of the film is about death, he not even in a single scene emotionally manipulate his audience. Infact the emotional tone is so well restrained and subtle, dialogues so contemplative and characters seems so lifelike contrary to the stuffed and emotionally manipulative one as in SLB’s poor remake ‘Guzaarish’. There’s no past or flashback of Ramon in the film except a momentary scene showing his suicidal dive into the sea and few snaps to reminisce about. Remember it’s a Spanish film, where one has to read the English subtitles to follow its meanings and still it touches the right chords of your heart compared to all messed up Indian version by Bhanshali. Original always remain unbeatable. So true. I can’t resist quoting the last floating words on the sea in the film.

“The sea inside, the sea inside
and in the weightlessness of the bottom
where dreams come true
two wills come together
to make a wish come true.
Your look and my look
like an echo repeating, without words
deeper and deeper
beyond everything through the blood and bones
but I always wake up
and I always wish I’d be dead
to stay with my mouth
entangled in your hair.”

Ratings- 9/10

Thursday, December 9, 2010


What would you do if you stuck in a time? What if your every day is exactly the same day as yesterday? How about reliving the same day and its experiences every new day? No, it’s not the happiest day of your life that you chose but one which is most irritating and annoying one that keeps you hooked and trapped in the day which is your yesterday, today and tomorrow for ever!!!

It’s February 2nd the Groundhog Day where once in a year the eyes of this small northern hemisphere town turn to watch the master squirrel Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous weatherman that as by legend can predict an early spring. Here is another Phil who is a TV News Weatherman on the spot to cover the moment with crew. Unfortunately he is stuck in the same day repeating the same morning, same events, same places, same human encounters so his every day ends up with same experiences getting repeated like déjà vu vacuum. Soon he starts manipulating his experiences and starts romancing with his lady producer too but it’s hard to win woman in a day and so he finally decides to commit suicide. But even that can’t work out and the next morning once again he wakes up to his 6’o clock radio alarm like an immortal soul cursed to live.

It’s amazing screenplay where fun comes from déjà vu flux! There’s romance, fun, fantasy, emotions, drama all keep rolling on platter from that and result is fine entertainment. Writer-Director Harold Ramis deserved praise for using terrific conceit and the one which left unexplained. The other strong reason is to watch irreplaceable act by Bill Murray in one of his memorable and the best screen performance. So far this is my second Murray film along with ‘Lost in Translation’ and I must say he’s one of those terrific actor who remains underrated one. “Don’t you keep open the lines for emergencies and celebrities? I’m both. I’m celebrity in an emergency,” he said once. See how from his sarcastic, egocentric attitude driven guy with all those tongue in cheek expressions he transformed into a genuine angel like fellow getting most adorable man of the town.

Comedy rarely so genuine and fantasy never so full of life!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


‘Who’s the boss between you and mommy?’
‘Who’s the boss? You have to ask that? I’m the boss…Mommy’s only decision maker.’

Our clap goes to Woody Allen and his legendary Groucho Marx, his big inspiration to coin few of great woody gags. The film is partly based on Oedipus myth and we witness both drama and story runs parallel to the film with common Woody trait where characters break and enter into both dramas puncturing the narrative. He brilliantly explored it in ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’. After adopting a child, the curious father (played by Woody) trying to trace the biological mother of his adopted kid and knows the ugly truth that she’s not just a dumb porn star- hooker. The flipside of the film is its too mediocre and thin second half where Woody tried to get the hooker mom settle respectively in society.

Though many of its fault lines and routine drama, there’re certain sheer Woody moments and scenes which make all his fans completely drooled to laugh. The nervous and embarrassing Woody lands up at hooker’s apartment is one big chill moment. Watch the objects showcased in her apartment- esp. that clock pendulum! The other one where the ambitious actress expresses her first shot for the film. Here are few great Woody one-liners from the film-

‘Every marriage goes valleys and peaks’. To that Woody replied, ‘I don’t mind going through a valley. But I don’t want to sink beneath sea level here.’

‘Curiosity’- that’s what kills us... Not muggers or all that bullshit about the ozone layer; it’s our own hearts and minds.


Friday, December 3, 2010


It’s like watching double Hitchcock films in a single one! How? Read this- Jack Scully is a struggling actor working for B grade Hollywood films, frustrated husband who caught his wife sleeping with a stranger and starts living at friend’s luxurious home without any company. There’s a window with the telescope that can show him the neighborhood apartment’s provocative rich seductress where he let loose to his voyeuristic tendencies. Slowly his peeping eyes watch few other strange and mysterious things too that put her into peril. Seems like Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’, isn’t it? Not only this it has bit of ‘Vertigo’ too where the protagonist has his psychological flaw of being claustrophobic. There’s a murder, there’s a voyeur and but there’s not ‘a woman’.

Now if you’ve already seen those two absolutely must watch psychological thrillers made by Master Hitchcock, the plot here seems like know it all. Though the reason worthy to watch this is the stylistic treatment of Director Brian De Palma who blended cocktail of thrilling tension and sensuous voyeurism side by side with cleverly hiding the suspense. He used certain graphic violence and explicit provocative skin show but they’re just his props or common traits partly to hide the unknown actors. He had his queer inclination towards ingredients of B grade horror films too, watch the beginning and end of his this one along with ‘Blow Out’.

His experimental shot selections including his favorite panning shots is the treat. The way he filmed that tense filled drilling machine murder sequence is just awesome! Watch out those multitudes of brilliant shots and angle selections, the reason enough to suck into De Palma films. It was the time before he made his much appreciated ‘The Untouchables’ and ‘Scar Face’ with Hollywood’s two iconic actors. It was time, he’s heavily inspired from Master Hitchcock, Godard and Antonioni to name a few and made some of his cult creative films along with his contemporaries like Scorsese, Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg and Ridley Scott who shaped New Hollywood Cinema during 70s and 80s. Though among all these giants he was vindicated by critics either for being too much commercial or for representing kitsch Hitchcock; I’m sure many of them will agree today that he has done fair justice to all those Hitchcock inspired thriller films with style of his own.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BLOW OUT (1981)

While recording actual wind sound at late night, a sound effects recordist working for B grade horror flicks accidentally records a bang of bullet and witness a car accident. He manages to save the girl in the car, the next day he come to know about Governor’s death. Suddenly a photographer jumps up and proclaimed to media that he covered the whole accident at night and sold it to a leading news magazine. Here onwards starts the thrilling journey of bugging sound recordist to meet the loose end with sound and images to unveil the truth behind the assassination.

‘Blow Out’ is an edge on the seat thriller made by Brian De Palma starring young John Travolta and Nancy Allen. Though it’s inspired by Antonioni’s masterpiece ‘Blow Up’ and though it’s not one of De Palma’s best, it surely has De Palma’s firm grip with stylish touch and treatment both in writing and direction. Where Antonioni’s ‘Blow Up’ gave us intriguing feel about the photographer’s penchant to scrutinize the truth, this film intrigues us not only with images but sounds too. Unlike the queer open ending of the inspired one, De Palma made it all arresting thriller, strongly backed up by matching background score and some of the Hitchcokian camera takes and brilliant high angles.
Worth watching once if you love thriller/mystery.