Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Le Violon Rouge (The Red Violin)

I have been thinking of writing about "The Red Violin" since i saw it. I saw this movie by chance. Yes, i am really happy to have stumbled upon it.
This movie is about an epic journey of a perfect musical instrument, The Red Violin. Some might say the movie is a collection of small stories and I wouldn't disagree. The movie shows us the journey of the beautiful red wooden piece for over three centuries around the world and several owners, eventually ending up in an auction .
The movie begins with the tension filled auction in contemporary Montreal, where "the red violin", a famous Nicolo Bussotti violin, is being auctioned off. It is also attended by New York-based musical historian (Samuel L. Jackson). But instead of staying with the auction all the time, we flash back to the creation of the violin in 17th century Italy and then follow it as it makes its way through an 18thcentury Austrian monastery/orphanage, a violinist in 19thcentury Oxford and China during Mao's Cultural Revolution. Each time it brings the person who owns it a lot of fame, but also bad luck and despair, often resulting in the death of the owner or someone the owner really loves.
It is not just an ordinary drama or thriller, 

The story is as original as it can get. The physical setting, the background score and the superb acting only authenticates the movie. So we might feel uncomfortable with the subtitles, but it only makes you feel the movie more and draw you into the story more.
Enough about it, I will not give away any of the plot in hopes that when reading this you will take my advise and see this film and judge it yourself. You will not be disappointed.

Happy watching :D
Trivia: According to wikipedia: The film was inspired by one of Antonio Stradivari's violins, the Red Mendelssohn (1721), which is currently played by Elizabeth Pitcairn, heiress to the PPG fortune, whose grandfather purchased it for her 16th birthday for $1.7 million at auction at Christie's London. She is one of the few soloists who performs the Red Violin Chaconne composed for the film by John Corigliano.

Monday, April 25, 2011

OMKARA: Vishal Bharadwaj's adaption of Shakespeare's "Othello"

Omkara is an adaption of Shakespeare's  Othello. We all are aware of the story of Othello either by reading the original or by word of mouth, but watching it on the big screen is a different experience altogether, and mind you when the director is Vishal Bharadwaj then the experience becomes all the more memorable.  I still remember when i first watched this movie i was awestruck but the sheer magic he created on screen.
Omkara/Omi (Ajay Devgan) heads a band of outlaws in a semi-lawless rural area in Uttar Pradesh. Bhaisaab's (Naseer's) election win promotes Omi, leaving his "Youth Leader" seat empty. In a logical political move, Omi selects Kesu Firangi (Vivek Oberoi) as his successor ignoring his loyal right-hand-man Langda Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan). Green with envy, Langda slowly poisons Omkara's mind against Kesu leading him down a path too dark for anyone's good. Kareena, Konkona & Bipasha play Omi, Langda & Kesu's love interests respectively.
When Vishal is directing the movie he makes sure he takes the actors whom he can either mold or are just exceptional. Ajay Devgan is brilliant as usual, though on the flip side, his U.P. dialogue does come across as forced. Nonetheless, Devgan made a fine Omkara. Kareen showed that she can perform too. Well, with Vivek Oberoi, Vishal made him act this one time. Konkona Sen, she is a beautiful actor with genuine talent, she was a treat to watch, she commands her scenes and takes control of her fantastic dialogues, making the rest of the cast look like amateurs.

Saif Ali Khan was the soul of this movie. He did in this movie what Pankaj Kapoor did in Maqbool with Abba Ji, which is to re-invent how a character is portrayed, it can only be achieved by legends. Langda is a bit of Jack Sparrow and Bill the Butcher at the same time, which means quality. The best thing was, for the entire movie Saif killed himself to become Langda. Where Dil Chahta Hai gave Saif Ali Khan a new life in the industry, Omkara showed his versatility. Omkara proved that he could be more than just a comedy or second lead actor. He won Popular Award and Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role.

Another character who made a mark with this movie is Deepak Dobriyal who is simply perfect, providing the appropriate and realistic relief from the intense proceedings of the plot. His idiocy and pining for Dolly are laudable.

The opening scene of the movie was one of the best i have seen in recent times. Another scene that was really scary and haunts me till date is the scene with the eagle on the wedding day.

Have you seen the movie? which one is your fav scene?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner is one of the rare movies which does justice to the book. The best thing i did was reading the book before watching the movie, which is so masterfully written by Khalid Husseini.

The Kite Runner is a multilayered story about friendship, family, betrayal, guilt and redemption. The story takes place over three separate time periods in 1978, 1988, and 2000, with the two earlier periods presented as extended flashbacks. It is a story of two childhood friends Amir and Hassan. Amir comes from a wealthy family in Kabul, he worships his gruff father, Baba (Homayoun Ershadi) and Hassan is an illiterate who adores Amir. Hassan's father has worked for Baba his entire life. Amir loves his younger friend in his selfish fashion, but because Baba favors Hassan, Amir also betrays him.

The start of the movie shows Amir a young, just-published novelist who lives in California with his wife. One day he receives a phone call from an old family friend, Rahim Khan. He asks Amir to come see him and tells him "there is a way to be good again".
I prefer not telling the whole story, so go watch it yourself, even if you have read the book it will be a great watch, you wont be disappointed. 
Every major and minor characters acted well, i was especially floored by Ahmad Khan Mahmoodcada, who played young Hassan.
My favorite line of the movie is "For you, a thousand times over"

Happy watching :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Temple Grandin...different, not less!

I wish it was not a TV movie. If released theatrically it would have surely won an Oscar.
The movie is an excellent biopic of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who in the 1960’s through 1980’s revolutionized the stockyard / slaughterhouse industry.This movie places us inside Temple's brain and lets us view the rest of the world from her point of view. This film gave a different view of the character in a way many other films of this sort often fail to do, it enabled us to appreciate the fact that this person is an intelligent, nuanced human being who simply sees the world differently than a "normal" person. To see Temple battle her own inhibitions and logically formulate solutions to situations which might be simple for most people but which are tremendously challenging for her is both thrilling and intensely affecting. One of the most intriguing elements of the film is the manner in which it accentuates the fact that many problems those with autism have are generated by the often inconsistent, illogical, exasperating way in which "normal" individuals conduct themselves. It's both infuriating and mind-boggling to see the manner in which Temple's masterful mental processes are dismissed as goofy, weird, and stupid by so many of her peers.
Claire Danes plays the title character and I was amazed how well she acted, she did such a convincing job that I forgot I was watching Claire Danes on screen it was as if I could see/feel what Temple Grandin is going through, this is what we call getting into the character or being the character.
Mick Jackson’s direction is brilliant, he so amazingly shows us how Grandin is able to picture things in her mind. Catherine O’Hara is great as Aunt Ann and Julia Ormond is phenomenal as Temple’s mother who is sometimes frustrated, sometimes angry and sometimes helpless watching her offspring doing something strange and blaming herself for the child’s condition.
My only complain in the movie is that they should have focused a little bit more on her growing years and shown more about her sibling and her father rather than just mentioning them once. Still its a great watch.
Do yourself a favor go watch this movie.
Happy watching☺

Watch Temple granding receiving Emmy Award:

Emmys: Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Directing, Actress (Danes), Supporting Actor (Strathairn), Supporting Actress (Ormond). Golden Globe: Best Actress (Danes).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day is here...

What if you are stuck in one day?? Yes, thats what happens to a weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray), who finds himself living the same day over and over again.
He is a self-obsessed weatherman and imagine how painful it is for him to relive the same tedious Groundhog day in a lame small town Punxsutawney, PA.  He doesn't like anything about his job, isn't fond of his co-workers, and is forced to spend the night in the same town due to heavy snow. However, when he wakes up the next morning he finds its the Groundhog day again and the events of the previous day are happening all over again. The same thing happens the next day and the day after and so on.  The whole movie is how differently he lives each day.

You might think it would be boring to watch a movie which plays one day repetitively but Groundhog Day is full of ingenious ideas and successfully throws up new developments and delightful twists at every opportunity. The fill has some memorable dialogue. Its not just another comedy it has a much deeper meaning to it, it will make you think of some serious questions.

Even when i watch this movie today i enjoy it thoroughly, it is as fresh as it was in 1993 its only because the theme underlying the humor will never go out of fashion.

Watch this movie if you haven't already and please let me know whether you liked it or not.
Happy watching:)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sunshine Cleaning: Two sisters and their messy lives.

SUNSHINE CLEANING shines all the way.

Wow! I avoided this movie while it was in theater based on certain negative reviews it received, but couldn't keep my eyes off from it. Watched it and realized how real reel life can be. From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine but except for the word "Sunshine" and presence of Alan Arkin there is no other similarity. 
Sunshine cleaning is a story about two sisters, Rose (Amy Adams) and Norah (Emily Blunt). Rose, whose life is not very rosy after her head-cheerleader days, now she is a single mom struggling to look after her troubled seven year old son, Oscar (Jason Spevack). She has a long-running-futile relation with her married high school sweetheart Mac (Steve Zahn). Norah is more or less a general screw-up, still living with her dad, a salesman with a lifelong history of ill-fated get-rich-quick schemes from selling Shrimps to selling Popcorns. After Mac's suggestion, they start a business cleaning crime scene for much bigger money. As they climb the ranks in this very dirty job, they find new respect for each other and he closeness they have always craved finally blossoms. By building their own improbable business they open the door to the joys and challenges of being there for one another-no matter what- while discovering personal healing in the most unexpected way. 

The Focal point of this movie is Rose and her crushing self-doubt. The portrayal of Rose by Amy Adams is brilliant. I cant imagine anyone else doing what Adams did to this character. Even Emily Blunt played Norah equally brilliantly. All other supporting casts are good. 

I wouldn't say this movie is for everyone, its not a sweet and cute movie, watch it only if you have a taste for movies whose dark and bittersweet coating hides a slightly gooey, feel-good soft centre. 

Happy Watching :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sliding Doors.

There have been times in life when we look back and think.."what if..?" Many filmmakers are fascinated by this concept of destiny, the road not taken. Sliding Doors is not the first movies which touches the concept of destiny, this issue has been fodder for several movies. But what makes it a special movie is the concept's treatment. It was rather a brave step for Peter Howitt to make his directorial debut in an uncharted territory in 1998, but paid him off well.

The movie hovers around two versions of Helen's life (Gwyneth Paltrow) after she catches/misses a train. How the destiny of two Helens unfolds is the movie plot. Paltrow, i would say is the heart of the movie and is a delight to watch. For me SLIDING DOORS is a quiet romance that entertains as well as makes you think. A lovely fable about fate, love and life. For me this movie has romance, humor and infinite possibilities.
Worth mentioning scenes are when she almost catches her boyfriend cheating, the boat scene and of course the climax.

Happy watching :)

How many boxes of popcorn will you give this movie (out of 5)??