Run Lola Run

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Written on 12:20 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Run Lola Run (English)
Lola Rennt(German)
Language: German (Original)
Year of Release: 1998
Director: Tom Tykwer
Awards: The film was nominated for 41 awards, 26 of which were won. These included the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival, and seven separate wins at the German Film Awards
Verdict: 4/5 (Awesome! Must Watch)

Have you ever wanted to change your destiny? What happens when you alter some things in your present? How does that impact your future? How far can you go to save the one you love? Is it possible to earn $100,000 in 20 minutes?! Sounds impossible...but it's not so. Check out this awesome German Flick, "Run Lola Run" for all the possible answers. And you will end up admiring much more than you will realise.
The story begins with Lola receiving a call from her boyfriend Manni who tells her about an impending danger to his life. And to save himself, he needs $100,000 in 20 minutes which has to be delivered to his boss. Lola forseeing a possibility of Manni making some stupidity warns him from doing anything and pleads him to wait for her. And she drops the phone and runs....runs....runs.

Probably that's the maximum story I can divulge, anything more would be stupidity and anything less doesn't serve the purpose of this post. Coming back to the story, its divided into three parts which each ending in a different way. So, the movie is all about, what happens when Lola arrives after 20 minutes, just before 20 minutes and right at 20 minutes. The story brings forth an important perspective that the road to your destiny is paved by your present actions. The brilliance of Run Lola Run lies in its ability to surprise you at every stage. The style of film-making, soundtrack, editing and narration are awesome and mind you calling it "awesome" is denigrating the fast paced action and the adrenaline it boasts of. Of all the people associated with this film, Tom Tykwer(director and writer), Franka Potente (Lola) and Mathilde Bonnefoy (Editor) need special mention.

Tom Tykwer relies on the pace and narration of the story, so much so that, the entire story rests on Lola and her bumping into several people. With a clever mix of animation and themes like time limit, Tom scores the maximum in leaving a great impact on the audience. Honestly, I wouldn't have stopped raving about this film, had I seen this 2 years ago while I was in college. I say so, because you rarely get to such a film where there's no threat of a terrorist attack or someone threating to blow up a bus/building! It's a concept driven by love and doing anything for the ones you love.

Franka Potente (who later appeared in "Bourne Identity") is more than good in her role. She captures your imagination with her bleached hair and a zeal to earn 100 grand in 20 minutes. Watch her in one of her runs when she manages to get the money from the bank, it's possibly one of the best shot sequences in the flick. She's what I would call a perfect diro's actress! And at the end of the day, the most important thing is, she delivers a stunning performance!

Mathilde Bonnefoy, the editor of the movie is another asset. It's not easy to show three acts back to back with the same beginning but a different ending. With her brilliant editing, Mathilde makes sure that we as audience, don't fret about the repitition of certain scenes.

I have always wondered why our Indian film-makers don't make such genuine fast paced action flicks. Although they have over the past few years, it's still a long way to go before they reach a stunner! Perhaps some sensible people should watch this "Run Lola Run" over and over again....I would hate them to the core if they rip the entire movie and give it a local name, but some budding sensible film-makers, I believe have the conviction to do what's right. And hopefully we will get to see a truly stylish and genuinely good action flick sometime in future.

Watch this film over and over again....it won't fail to surprise you. One of my favourites!

Quantum of Solace

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Written on 6:15 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Quantum of Solace
Language: English
Year of Release: 2008
Director: Marc Forster
Actors: Daniel Craig, Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko, Judi Dench
Verdict: ***

First things first...What happened to Bond, James Bond?! To put into a proper perspective, the iconic character of our age seems to have been slowly stripped off his panache. Of course, the new interpretation of James Bond is enthralling for those who bask in realism. But where is his wit?! Where are his jaw-dropping gadgets?! Where is the charm which women find irreristable?! Where did his Tuxedo go? What happened to his own Martini?! There are way too many questions than this if you have just walked out of the latest James Bond flick, "Quantum of Solace". Having said all this, I will not take any credit away from this. Despite all its shortcomings, including a theme which is very unBond like, wayward editing and total absence of everything what we have known Bond for, "Quantum of Solace" is still a movie which has loads of energy and edge-of-the-seat action.


Daniel Craig stars as James Bond, tracking down the people behind Vasper Lynd's death with vengeance in his heart. The movie begins with a stunning car chase in Italy as Bond tries to escape from the henchmen. In Siena(Italy), M awaiting Bond to bring forth Mr.White tries to know about the organisation for which Mr.White works for. And sooner she finds out that the organisation has infiltrated even Mi6, she's caught unaware when her own aide shoots at her. Back in Mi6 as the forensic experts successfully tracks down some of the key people associated with suspicious money transfers, Bond is on his heels. His voyage to track down those responsible for Vasper's death takes him to Carribean and later to Bolivia, Austria. Dominic Greene, the chief of Green Planet, and as a member of Quantum, the organisation behind some of the most heinous crimes across the world. How Dominic tries to dictate terms to the governments in South America? Who helps Bond in his path to redemption? Does Bond successfully tracks down those behind Vasper's death? All this form the basic theme of Quantum of Solace.


Quantum of Solace originally is a short story adapted from Ian Fleming's "For Your Eyes Only", and it really is SHORT! With a running time of around 105 minutes, the film hardly has time to lay down the plot for the convenience of its audience. It's stuffed with as many action sequences, car chases, hand to hand fights ., etc in those 105 minutes. And we end up getting a half-baked plot which could have been a much better one to talk about. When you clinically look at this movie, you will realise that, despite some great cinematography and action sequences, the editing is so wayward that, atleast I had no clue what was happening in that scene. The frames change faster than you can gaze, the scenes and the acts are just too short to give much of a thought and in the end, the void is so clearly seen. Daniel Craig as the Bond, looks as good as any other action hero, but isn't it the charm which the likes of Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan once displayed which makes Bond, the Bond?! These are the moments when I truly miss Brosnan, the erstwhile Bond, who despite not having the muscle, had unparallel charm and wit. Olga Kurylenko as Camellie is good in her role, but with zilch chemistry between her and Craig, it's as good as not having her in the same frame as Bond. And what happened to the "Other" Bond Girl?! She's supposed to be the hottest chick in the flick; and they had to choose Gemma Arterton, of all the beautiful women in the world! Phew, if this is what the hotness parameter has fallen to, God save Bond! (She supposed to be the one who can surge the adrenaline levels when she's on screen, but watch Gemma on screen, and you will realise why I am fretting so much!). Dominic Greene(Mathieu Amalric) is perhaps the worst antagonist of Bond I have seen in ages. It's not that Mathieu hasn't done a good job, but his character in the film is so weak that you will realise that the purpose of his existence is to wait for Bond to kill him!!!


The only reason why you cannot walk out of the cinema hall is because of some stunning action sequences (however incongruent they may be), the conversations between M and Bond, and a new theme which takes us to places where no Bond film has ever gone before! And Thank God, the antagonist is not from a country which US and UK always has on their blacklist. He's not into building nuclear weapons or any other such thing to create havoc. Judi Dench as M, shows why no other woman can usurp that role atleast for the next few years. She's almost perfect to her role and delivers a commendable performance. This film was said to be most jinxed in the history of Bond flicks. You will realise why stunt drivers lost their lives and others ended up with broken bones when you see the first 5 minutes of the film....don't miss the beginning!!!

Lets hope that someone who's thinking about the next Bond film's script sees what Bond has missed in this flick. Bring back his gadgets, his tuxedo, his style, his wit, his way with women ! Put the sex back into Bond!!! You don't feel like having seen a truly genuine Bond movie unless we see all this on screen and hear his iconic line....Bond, James Bond!

Amen!

Coming Soon...

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Written on 6:31 PM by Hemanth Kumar

Woah...been a long time since I wrote about a movie! Not that I haven't been watching any, in fact, I have been watching quite a few over the past one month. Multiple reruns of "Infernal Affairs" has been the best so far! Fashion was the last Hindi movie I saw, and I don't feel like blogging about it here, but nevertheless shall blog about it on my other blog...http://isawthisflick.blogspot.com.

These are some of the movies, which I will be blogging about soon....

1. Infernal Affairs-I(Cantonese)
2. Run Lola Run- (German)
3. Quantum of Solace- (English)

And many more...

Till then....Adios!

Kotha Bangaru Lokam

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Written on 6:16 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Kotha Bangaru Lokam

Language: Telugu
Year of Release:2008
Director: Srikanth Addala
Actors: Varun Sandesh, Shweta Prasad, Prakash Raj, Jayasudha, Ahuthi Prasad and others
Verdict: 3.75 / 5 (Don't miss it!)

2008 has had its share of ups and downs for Tollywood. There are no huge blockbusters to talk about... the success of Jalsa, Ready, Krishna, and other movies may be the only so far which has the rung the cash registers. But I wouldn't be surprised if the audience complained of some void which arises for lack of fresh stories or atleast something to talk about incessantly! Finally, the wait seems to have ended...atleast in most quarters. And it's once again from the production house of ace producer Dil Raju, who has Addala Srikanth as the chief bastion to his reputation of producing good movies! The team has definitely come up with a winner which will draw in the famillies and more particularly the teenagers and youth.

Kotha Bangaru Lokam (KBL) is the story of Balu (Varun Sandesh) and Swapna (Shweta Prasad), who meet in a Residential Junior College. Balu is the kind of guy whom you would associate any teenager...the happy go lucky guy, who believes that anything is possible and for whom life's a beautiful dream which can be led as one pleases. His life takes a new turn when he bumps into Swapna in college and is compelled to know more about her. As time progresses, love blossoms...the only problem is, they don't know if it's love or attraction. When they come across their Physics Lecturer who believes that life's all about the decisions you make at different levels, they are compelled even more to question themselves as to what exactly is the funny feeling they are enduring. After a short while, they realise that it's the love for each other which makes them restless...all's well so far! But how can life be so smooth??! Obviously, the girl's father discovers the affair and takes his daughter away from the college. Now that, with the girl gone and him being sent out of college, what will Balu do? Will he confess all this to his parents ? Will he be able to meet Swapna again? How does all this end??!--To find answers to all these questions...you must watch the movie!

It's just not the question of what happens in the latter part of the story, but the movie on a whole is an earnest attempt to portray the lifestyle of a teenager and what he thinks and does. The steps to discovering oneself are sometimes the longest and the hardest to walk. If leaving your parents hands (in a strictly Indian Sense) was so easy, there would have been no question of a struggle of conscience. At every step of your life, you have this going in your mind...how would my family react if they find out what I have done? Will my family support my decision? When will the society realise that I am mature enough to make my own decisions?!....yada...yada.

Probably a dozen more of such questions have always plagued us sometime or the other. And after having seen the movie, I can say with my hand on my heart that the writers and the director understand what it's to be like a teenager....watch out for that physics class where this concept is explained as XYZ axis! Coming back to the movie, Varun Sandesh is here to stay! He's got another good role which he performs with ease after his role in "Happy Days". Of course, his American accent doesn't seem to have completely veered of him, especially for a film where he's portraying a Konaseema lad. He has shed lot of weight...and has that funny looking mush...hehe...pretty much like how most of us used to look like back then (Of course, I personally cannot claim to be thin at any stage of my life!!! :-P...). He looks a bit like Danush in this flick...check it out yourself if you don't believe me! Shweta Prasad, the girl who earlier played the role of Iqbal's sister in Nagesh Kukoonoor's "Iqbal" is the find of the year! She's just perfect for the role and has a remarkable innocence etched onto her face all the time. No wonder, her smile and the catchy phrase "Ekkada" will stand out in the movie. Ahuti Prasad is content in his role...he's got some really funny lines. Jayasudha and Prakash Raj team up again...and leave no place for any shortcomings. Although I would say, their roles don't have much footage, but the entire film owes it to their presence and the impact which they leave in those scenes in which they appear. Another big asset to this movie is the set of friends which the hero and the heroine have! I haven't laughed so much for such spontaneous lines...and the Konaseema accent adds to the sparkling humour!

Mickey J Meyer's music is another asset...couple of songs, Nijanga...Nijanga...and Nenani will continue to be among the chartbusters for a long long time! Chota K Naidu's Cinematography is probably the strongest pillar to this movie...all those wonderful scenes across Godavari, the songs and the general scenes between the hero and the heroine are wonderfully captured. The colours are rich and they exude such brilliance...one thing in particular...most of the scenes have been shot amidst the most brilliant of the sunlighting! The golden rays of sun and the soft music are probably more than enough to make you belief that you are feeling good within for some odd reason. Kudos to the director for bringing in such a wonderful team together and bringing out a genuinely fresh product. The direction is particularly brilliant towards the final act in the movie, and I truly hope this talented director comes up with something more consistent. A final word for the producer, Raju...he seems to have got the knack of finding good talent most of the times. Have got just one thing to say-"Your Bank Balance just got multipled!!!"....:D

There might be plenty of reasons for watching this movie, but probably the most important thing would be....go for the sweet romance, sparkling comedy and some beautiful music and cinematographer. Don't miss this flick...you never know when you might come across another truly genuine piece of work like this one!

Welcome to Sajjanpur

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Written on 7:52 PM by Hemanth Kumar

Title: Welcome to Sajjanpur
Language: Hindi
Year of Release:2008
Director: Shyam Benegal
Actors: Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao and others
Verdict: **** (Don't miss it)

The movie is a complete laugh riot right from the scene where Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade) appears on screen, something which takes you by surprise especially given the fact that it’s by Shyam Benegal. If you are among those who always crib that the quality of our Hindi films especially in terms of the story has gone down drastically, then undoubtedly this is one of the finest films you will see this year.

To read the full review of this movie....click here

Announcement!

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Written on 7:42 PM by Hemanth Kumar

The last weekend, has been quite an eventful one. Covered some movies which I had kept in backlog for quite sometime and I did watch a beautiful movie by Shyam Benegal called "Welcome to Sajjanpur". More on that later....
I came across this invite to write on Veresh Jain's site http://movies.newscrux.com which primarily caters to those who love Bollywood movies. It is with great pleasure that I announce to all the regular readers of this blog that I would be writing on Veresh's blog as well from here on. And most of the reviews of Hindi movies would be posted there, while simultaneously posting a link here as well...just in case you don't miss out anything if you like my reviews...:-)

Thank you all for your continuous support and I hope you will continue to encourage and criticize what I write.

Your Fellow Movie Buff,
Hemanth

Good Bye Lenin!

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Written on 12:54 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Good Bye Lenin!
Language: German
Year of Release: 2003
Director: Wolfgang Becker
Actors: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Alexander Beyer
Verdict: **** (Must Watch)

There is a general feeling I have that when God created life, he had chalked an elaborate sketch of how it would take shape. And one day, when it was time for the evolution of humans, he must have thought of who all around a human being's life would be of great influence upom him/her. He's been so generous that (or maybe I should say very sly to relieve himself from doing more work!), he didn't give himself the pinnacle position, rather he seated a lady there and named her Mother. How else can you explain the hierarchy with which we recognise the four most important people...especially in Indian Tradition....it's always...Mother, Father, Teacher and God!...it's always like that! Most of the babies seem to say "Ma" first than any other word...and especially in my part of the world, people shriek "Amma" or "Maaaaa" when they are in pain. Maybe we all owe it to her for the unconditional love, care and support she's showered on us all throughout her life. From time immemorial we have celebrated the phenomenon, which some poets have termed as "God's Greatest Gift"...Mother. Under this premise, Cinema has depicted the role of mother in various shades...sometimes she's the all caring, love, sweet and at times she's the feiry being who will do anything for her loved ones and so on. Out of all those movies from Hollywood and rest of the world that I have seen, there have been three movies so far which changed my perspective of how the West interprets emotions like Love, Marriage, Family.

The first movies about Love...was "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset". The second about Marriage was "Two for the Road", and the third about Family relations is this German flick which I saw couple of weeks ago named, "Good Bye Lenin!". I don't declare that these three are the landmark movies which changed everything, but at some level they did have a great impact on me. Now that you have an idea of what I am about to say, let me get into the skin of this movie...."Good Bye Lenin!".

Directed by Wolfgang Becker, Good Bye Lenin is set in East Germany when it was still a Socialist nation . The Socialist party in German Democratic Republic (GDR) enjoys a huge following in its populace and as it progresses towards the new millenium, even crossing a milestone of sending one of its citizen into space, Sigmund Jähn. Christiane is the mother of two, Alexander Kerner and Ariane living in East Germany. One day, Government agents storm into her house and enquire about the whereabouts of her husband, since the party suspects that he might have escaped to the west. Slowly Christiane dedicates herself completely to her children and to the cause of upliftment of the poor in the neighbourhood which earns her laurels from the Government. The younger generation of the country vexed by the growing distance with the outside world decide to protest against the Government. And this protest march is dealt with some strict force by the Police resulting in several youth being arrested, Alex being one of them. When Christiane happens to witness all this infront of her eyes, she suffers a heart attack and slips into a coma. She continues to be in that state for the next 8 months, during which some striking changes take place in East Germany...like collapsing of the current regime, people breaking the Berlin Wall, West German currency and lifestyle sweeping the whole of East Germany and so on. When Christiane finally manages to wake up, Alex suffers a serious setback when the doctor tells him that she has to be protected from the outside world because she cannot withstand anything which can excite her. All these results in a series of funny, yet warm incidents depicting a desperate trail which her son takes to keep his mother in a stable state and more importantly happy.

The reason why this movie is so remarkable is, it's got a delicate charm in its own way. It's extremely clever in its depiction of transformation; and the fact that this transformation has to do with Germany gives it a compelling authenticity. The world has seen the rapid rate of transformation happening with the fall of Berlin wall...but the theme of a son slogging along with his confidants to recreate a country and life which his mother was so fond takes you by surprise. Before his mother had gone into a coma, he approved of the luxuries which the consumerism of the west provides, but with the drastic turn of events he dreams of that life which had once existed...whose ideals were so honest, yet it wouldn't fall into place of the new age of development.

Watch the movie for some beautiful background score, brilliant story and direction...and more importantly to see how far can one go to keep his loved ones happy....trust me, if you feel what I feel...it will compel you to think a lot about the age of innocence which we once had and that special person who taught you how to interpret things and see the world with your own eyes...I am lost in my dreams...my own Nostalgia. One of the brilliant Foreign Flicks I have seen in recent years...never knew that tragic comedies could be so beautiful.

Tahaan

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Written on 5:43 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Tahaan
Language: Hindi
Year of Release: 2008
Director: Santosh Sivan
Actors: Purav Bhandare, Anupam Kher, Sarika, Rahul Bose, Rahul Khanna, Victor Banerjee
Verdict: ****

There's a poem by Oscar Wilder titled "Panthea" and one of the stanza's goes like this
"....White lilies, in whose cups the gold bees dream,
The fallen snow of petals where the breeze
Scatters the chestnut blossom, or the gleam
Of boyish limbs in water, - are not these
Enough for thee, dost thou desire more?
Alas! the Gods will give nought else from their eternal store...."

A verse which describes about the beauty of things around us and our never ending quest for a little more than what we need. If only, life could be as simple as it exists in Ruskin Bond's books! But on the contrary, life's anything but that. This is probably why, "Tahaan" impresses you right from the beginning. Fiddling with an age of innocence to an unflinching friendship between a boy and his donkey, "Tahaan" is probably one of the most endearing movies to have hit the theatres in recent times.

It's the story of a Kashmiri boy named Tahaan (Purav Bhandare) who can't imagine without being with his dear friend, the donkey named "Birbal". His family consists of his mother Haba (Sarika), his sister Zoya(Sana Shaikh) and grandfather (Victor Banerjee). His father has been missing for over three years - and ever since the family has been in deep financial crisis. One fine day, when Tahaan's grandpa passes away, his mother decides to sell all the valuable items in the house and pay off the debt to some extent. In this process Tahaan's "Birbal" is sold off to the moneylender who inturn sells it off to another old man Subhan Darr (Anupam Kher) who carries supplies across mountains. What follows is a young boy's heart warming and persistent effort to get his friend back...there is no point in telling the story in two lines, it would be a blatant injustice to this visually brilliant poem.

The first thing about the movie is that it's one of the first films to have been entirely shot in Kashmir after a gap of 18 years. (Source: Wikipedia). And since it's one of the most respected Cinematographers of contemporary Indian Cinema, Santosh Sivan handling the camera, you could definitely expect some breath-taking shots. And he doesn't disappoint...:-). I wonder how much of research must have gone into a movie of such beauty...the reason why I say is, the environs in which this movie is set brings back some painful memories. It's a question of your convictions and ideas which are at stake. If ever your heart goes out to the people of Kashmir who are caught between the crossfire of India and Pakistan, there's a lesson to be learnt from this movie. Every time there's a scene where people are lined up by the army under the premise of investigation, you begin to think...is is right to suspect everyone with a beard or anyone who reminds you of some miscreant! And to mercilessly beat up innocent people under the pretext of suspicion....:-( ....With this as the background, if there's someone who brings a smile to your face, then imagince the impact of that character....this is exactly what's going through my mind right now. Disconnecting himself from the reality to a large extent, all Tahaan cares about is his Birbal. And he wouldn't tolerate being away from him even for a moment. So, when the very thing he cares and loves so much is under the danger of being taken away from him, he embarks on an extra-ordinary journey and doing everything and anything he can, to get his Birbal back.

Purav Bhandare is a revelation, certainly among one of the best child artist's to have hit the screen in recent times. His expressions, dialogues, innocence, vulnerability make him a big asset to the film. Check out everything he does to convince Anupam Kher to let him be with his donkey and that brilliant sequence of the race is sure to bring a smile onto your face. Anupam Kher is as good as he usually as, with almost a father like figure to those around him but at the same time nudging Tahaan and Zafar (Rahul Bose) who work for him. Underneath that stiff looking personality lies a soul which has taken a beaten with all these years of violence, a fact which is best described in a scene when they go to meet a old friend of his, a Kashmiri Pandit, who's hiding himself from the world around him. Coming to Rahul Bose, I must say, it's kinda hard to play the role of a duffer...but Rahul Bose does it with ease. Although one would expect him to have a longer footage, but this film isn't about him...it's about Tahaan. Among other roles,
Sana Shaikh impresses with her ever complaining attitude, but at the same time the warmth she shares with her brother leaves a good impression upon the family dynamics during testing times. Sarika (she's mute in the flick) as the mother of Tahaan, emotes a lot more with her eyes, radiating a lot more things than what she expresses through her hands. Check her out in all those scenes when she has to go to the police station searching for her husband...and you will realise what I am saying.

The film has some breathtaking shots of various locales of Kashmir, although most of the sequences are shot in snow (which quite a few of you might find repetetive), but kudos to the team who's scouted for these locations...it provides a great deal of authenticity to the whole story. The snow covered mountains, trees covered with snow, frozen lakes, mountains filled with fog and mist, and sun which throws the snow into a blinding glaze...it's all there, in almost every frame. Adding to that is a good background score which is in a way funny...not sure if there's any other way to describe it...maybe you can suggest me after you see the movie! The film also packs in good message about hope, dream and conviction to be good no matter how much life tests you....oh! just in case if I have missed saying the main point in the flick...I didn't wanna reveal how a ticking time bomb feels like...go check it out yourself.

A good story with some great acting and stunning cinematography make it a compulsive watch. I highly recommend this movie to all those who like good cinema, and if are among the ones who don't have a taste for plots which aren't fast paced...all I can say is, you are missing a gem of a movie..a true Made in India...one!...:D

Again another stanza from Oscar Wilde's "Panthea"....
"...O we are wearied of this sense of guilt,
Wearied of pleasure's paramour despair,
Wearied of every temple we have built,
Wearied of every right, unanswered prayer,
For man is weak; God sleeps: and heaven is high:
One fiery-coloured moment: one great love; and lo! we die..."

I think that's what life's about...we expect too much out of it...and end up doing so little! Time to buckle up and do everything thing we can to right every wrong...we could start with ourselves...lets work with our own thoughts and ideals...ask ourselves what if things are not the same?! Would all this be still the same? I don't know what the answer will be...but I see Hope...I see a life...I see Tahaan. It means Merciful. God.

P.S: For Complete version of Oscar Wilde's "Panthea" click here.

A Wednesday

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Written on 2:52 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: A Wednesday

Language: Hindi
Year of Release: 2008

Director:
Neeraj Pandey
Actors: Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Shergill and others...
Verdict: ****1/2 ( Must Watch!!!)

There is a Chinese proverb which says "星星之火可以燎原" (it means..."A spark can start a fire that burns the entire prairie.") Quite similar to the "Butterfly Effect" which says that "A butterfly beating it wings in America can start a hurricane in China." The reason why I quote this has got a lot to do with this spellbinding movie I saw on Sunday titled "A Wednesday".

"A Wednesday" is the story about a police commissioner and his tryst with an anonymous caller on a Wednesday. The caller has no name, he can't be traced, there are no records of him...almost a phantom like figure. He demands the release of 4 dreaded terrorists in exchange for information on the locations where bombs are planted across Mumbai. To give a jist of how serious the demands and consequences (if demands are not met), the caller informs the commisioner about the bomb which he had planted in a Police Station right opposite the Commissioner's office. When the bomb squad does infact find six kilos of RDX, the entire team realises the gravity of situation and are on tenterhooks every moment. The commissioner who sees a clear picture of the vulnerability of the situation convinces the Chief Minister and others that the release of these terrorists is in the best interest of the denizens of the city. And dancing to the caller's tunes he sends his best men to finish the job which he's been told to. What follows is a edge of the seat thriller which is both compelling as well as thought-provoking turn of events leaving a definite mark in your heart of having seen a genuinely brilliant movie.

I find it hard not to use some superlatives for this flick, because it's among the rarest and the first of many things. If my memory doesn't fail me, Hindi movies over the past several years have stuck to the genre of Romance and Slapstick humour. But thanks to some film-makers who are fiddling with some naive subjects, we now can look forward to something different from seeing the landscapes of Europe or Australia...where characters are always named as Raj and Priya and the likes of them...And "A Wednesday" can be credited with several things which have been missing over the past few years. This is the kind of movie which needs to be shown in every multiplex across the country...with a running time of around 100 minutes, it's in a way tailor made for the multiplex crowds. And that running time means the editing has to be so crisp and to the point leaving no room for additional stuff just to please the audience. Thank God!!! I feel finally at peace for having seen a movie which's made without including any songs (item songs!!!) or fights, romance tracks just for the heck of it. For some odd reason all these elements have been used to prove the existence of characters other than the hero and in most cases he's depicted as the blue-eyed macho man who will have the last laugh!

Coming back to the story, the film belongs to Anupam, Naseeruddin, Jimmy Shergill, the music director Sanjoy Chowdhury, the editor Shree Narayan Singh, and most importantly the director of the filck, Neeraj Pandey. Almost all the protagonists in the flick deliver their best but when it comes to Anupam and Naseeruddin, this flick is another example why these two are among the finest actors of the contemporary cinema. Each frame with them locking horns with each other produces a spark and as the film progresses and the motives behind everything is revealed, there's no way you can find fault with one person. Both of them are right in what they did...it's like two sides of the same coin and you end up liking both of them. Anupam Kher is brilliant as a helpless cop who will do anything to maintain law and order in the city at the same time conflicting with his conscience when he lets go his fate to someone's control. On the other hand, Naseeruddin Shah who starts off as a cunning and compulsive strategist who will go to any length to get his work done does a complete turn-around towards the end of the film. His explanation behind why he has done all this is truly one of the best monologues about fear, agony, and to what extent a tortured soul can retaliate. This is where you see the "Butterfly Effect" spring into action. I really can't give you out further details about the plot..you should go and check it out yourself.
Among others, Jimmy Shergill impresses and so does all the other characters who appear throughout the flick...if only they had worked on Deepal Shaw's accent!!! Also note the brilliant efforts by the people behing the screen, a fabulous background score by Sanjoy Chowdhury runs through the entire length of the film. And what can I say about Shree Narayan Singh, the editor of the flick, his style takes the film to a whole new level. Dialogues are brilliant, there are absolutely no cliche's targeting any community or religion. If Anupam and Naseer are two pillars of this movie, then the third one is its director...Neeraj Pandey. A compelling debut, heralding a new age of film-making which I certainly hope will continue in years to come....am eagerly looking forward to see more of Neeraj's work and others like him. The final pillar of this film is the story itself...the premise that it doesn't take an angel to solve the most dangerous problems around us...all it takes is an ordinary man who's resolved to do some extra-ordinary things. And what better impact can it be, if that ordinary man was someone like you...someone like me....we are proud of what we are...who we are...we run through the blood and veins of life, enduring life as it takes us, there's nothing common among us, but when we stand up...the world sees us as the one...who knows what he's doing. We are the new age super-heroes and we are more in number than the total ammunition ever produced...it's our spirit which takes us beyond the realms of our boundaries....we are..."The Common Men" of the world.

P.S: I never thought, I would recommend a bollywood movie to the rest of the world. But there is someone who loves Indian Cinema and doesn't like his time wasted by utter nonsense then this is a must watch! And please do yourself a favour....watch "A Wednesday" on any given day.
P.P.S: The last sentence has been copied from Rajeev Masand's review on ibnlive.com
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

WALL-E

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Written on 5:26 PM by Hemanth Kumar

Title: WALL-E
Language: English
Year of Release: 2008
Director: Andrew Stanton
Production House: Pixar Animation Studios in association with Disney
Voices: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard

Ladies and Gentleman, now that you
have clicked on my page, I assume that you are reading this. On this auspicious day, I am here to propose a theory, something which has been reconfirmed for the past 13 years. My apologies for what you might read here, this is something which will shake the very grounds of our existence. So, here is what I propse to the World...

God Doesn't Exist Anymore!!!

Well, don't strike this statement off just yet as just another hoax; I have more than enough evidence to prove it. I am not an atheist, but I strongly believe that God doesn't exist anymore...in Heaven! He has a new address and I recently stumbled across his new home....

Ha....Gotcha! Does that site look familiar to you? It is where God has shifted his base to. Located in Emeryville, California-USA this place has become a synonym for some spectacular work of art over the past several years, forcing God himself to lend in a word of advice and some creativity to the Humans who habituate this place.

How else can you explain the creation of characters like, Sherrif Woody (Toy Story), Sulley (Monsters Inc.), Marlin and Nemo (Finding Nemo) and the latest WALL-E and EVE (WALL-E)? How else can you explain that these works of art have continued to amuse you day after day and everytime you look at them, some sort of adrenaline is shot through your entire body forcing you to instantly fall in love with them!! Maybe I could go to an extent to quote that they are our new age versions of what was born once from the hands of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and other great artists...I shall soon be devoting my time to understand what makes all these characters so lovable!....

Till Then,
Adieus Amigos.

Hey...Hey...wait...wait...I am not done yet. That was just my conscience beating me in the race to express itself. Now that it has finally come out, lets get down to our usual business and here's my latest rambling of truly, one of the greatest works of Animation I have seen in my life so far. It's called "WALL-E" (an acronym for, Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth class).

WALL-E is the story of a waste disposal robot which has somehow managed to keep itself active even after 700 years of its inception. And while building skyscrapers of garbage, it has developed a keen interest in finding things which amuse it, and ends up collection several items, like an electric bulb, small toys, lighters, a iPod, a tape of "Hello, Dolly!" etc. One fine day, it even finds a cockroach which becomes its wingman and after sometime a small plant which has been hiding itself from the world outside inside a refrigerator. WALL-E, after several re-runs of “Hello, Dolly!” teachers itself to dance and yearns for a touch with someone whom he could fall in love with. And luck smiles upon him one day, when EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) is sent to Earth. WALL-E instantly falls in love with EVE, but realizing that something is sneaking around itself, EVE tries to destroy it. After several narrow escapes, WALL-E confronts EVE directly and takes her to his hide-out and after several attempts to impress her, he ends up showing his most loved things, like the lighters, “Hello, Dolly!” and finally the plant. As soon as EVE sees the plant, its mission is accomplished and upon seizing and storing, it deactivates. A spaceship from the Cruise Liner, “Axiom” is sent to Earth to retrieve EVE, forcing WALL-E to embark on an extra-ordinary journey to win EVE’s heart.

*Note: This part of the review contains some spoilers and certain things whose beauty can be understood well only after seeing the movie. So, if you haven’t seen the movie already, I suggest you to go watch the movie first…but if you are curious about it, then….

There are many around us, who haven’t fully understood the scale of awesomeness which Animated flicks can take you to. I can’t remember an animated movie which has got its soul in the wrong place. Of course, the sequels of several movies haven’t struck the right chords to be in your memory for a long time; since the cynosure of all eyes here is Pixar, I will stick to the movies and characters they have come up with. Their main USP so far has been the themes they have selected for all their movies and the characters, sets seem to magically take shape once that premise is set. For instance take “Monsters Inc.”, it was really a heart-warming story about friendship between Sulley and Boo, the concept was terrific and the characters so adorable, it was an international rage in 2001. Let’s fast forward to 2003, when “Finding Nemo” was released. Nobody till that time had done such a detailed work of art about the life in the depths of ocean…sure we have been watching innumerable episodes of “The Little Mermaid”, but “Finding Nemo” took it to a whole new level of believability. Further, it’s by far among the most touching renditions of a Father-Son relationship. Then came Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille each beautiful in their own sense. All of them have been reiterating the fact that Animation Industry has come a long way from what Walt Disney had created in 1928 in the form of Mickey Mouse. Animation flicks are no kids thingy now…

If you still haven’t bought my argument, go and watch WALL-E and you will realize what exactly I have been saying. The interpretation of how universe looks like is even more beautiful than the pics which NASA publishes from time to time. The post-apocalyptic setting of a city on Earth, the eeriness which is ubiquitous, garbage neatly piled up as Skyscrapers and loneliness to battle with; what do you expect a lonely robot WALL-E to do in such a setting? What would anyone want to do if one’s confronted in such a situation? The point is, 5 minutes into the movie, you will realize why you cannot take WALL-E as just a robot. Those binocular lens kinda eyes convey a lot more meaning that you may expect. And the way he looks around for items which amuse him…my favourite one is when he finds a small box with a diamond ring (check that out…and you will realize why you can’t stop yourselves falling in love with him!!). One day, he comes across a Cockroach whom he decides to take care of (I have a feeling that they have been particularly carefully in selecting Cockroach as WALL-E’s wingman…they should have referred to this theory by journalist Richard Schweid). The brief time the roach spends with WALL-E has its sparks. And then there’s “Hello, Dolly!” the musical film which induces WALL-E to yearn for a touch. It serves as a motif to suggest the extent of loneliness which our protagonist endures day in and day out. Somehow I see a WALL-E and that eerie setting all around me…in a way each one of us represent WALL-E. His daily schedule of mechanically labouring day after day, doing the same kind of work (that hilarious scene of WALL-E waking up to put on the conveyer belts) delves into the day-to-day lives of Humans. Perhaps, searching for things which amuse him is one of the most fascinating thing which WALL-E does on any given day, much similar to what we do to bring a smile by experiencing the little things which life offers us. The entry of EVE and the subsequent events which WALL-E endures to grab her attention are sure going to be some of the most endearing moments in this flick. I had heard this quote in a flick called “Girl Next Door” and it says a great deal about how WALL-E feels about EVE….it goes like this…

“…I think moral fiber's about finding that one thing you really care about; that one special thing that means more to you than anything else in the world. And when you find her, you fight for her. You risk it all, you put her in front of everything, your future, your life, all of it…”

EVE on the other hand is introduced as a ruthless robot sent to Earth to evaluate the possibility of life…this until she stumbles across WALL-E. Moved by his innocence and down to earth nature, she develops a soft-corner for him. And when she realizes what an extra ordinary journey he has embarked upon to be with her she’s determined all the more to save him from any untoward incident in the alien land (this when they both go into AXIOM). Among other characters that you will absolutely adore is a decontamination robot named M-O. This bot is obsessed with keeping the surroundings clean and it’s confrontation with WALL-E will have you in splits…:-P.

There are just too many characters and aspects which one could about this flick, but I would like to throw some light on couple of things here…

I cannot imagine how the director Andrew Stanton and the creators could weave such a magic with less than 30 minutes of dialogues. And what’s even more impressive is the fact that the only thing WALL-E and EVE talk is pronounce each other’s names!!! It’s splendid in a way that so many emotions are conveyed in the way their names are pronounced. And the way how WALL-E yearns for a gentle touch from EVE is heart touching…I never realized that a gentle touch had so much power. (Too bad…I couldn’t try that with the people sitting on my either side…both happened to be uncles!!!..: -P…:P…hehehe). The music by Thomas Newman is a major asset for the movie. It’s in a way the soul of the movie, filling up the vacuum which one might experience while watching the movie. Don’t miss the bits of music which you will hear during EVE’s trip on Earth and the one when WALL-E and EVE dance in the space outside AXIOM…pure symphony throwing you into new levels of ecstasy.

I bow to the CGI department which has come up with some jaw-dropping imagery of a futuristic world. (Check out the massive interiors in Axiom!!!).And there’s a perfect story that you cannot find fault with, which brings several themes like consumerism, dependence on machines, pollution, destruction of environment and how Governments put their citizens in an illusion to completely blanket them from reality. But more than anything it’s a beautiful love story. It’s a pure rendition of what a love story should be like with no clichés which otherwise you will normally end up finding in countless ‘romantic’ movies like “A Walk to remember”, “Notebook”…etc.

Last month I had written about “Dark Knight” and claimed that it’s the best action flick I have ever seen and among my all time favourites. If I were to take a scale and put it on for measuring the awesomeness of a movie, I would rate Dark Knight a -10…and WALL-E a +10. I don’t mean that Dark Knight is any less when compared with WALL-E, but it’s at the other end of the spectrum. It is dark, sends a chill down your spine and hits you in your guts…yet you come out with that feeling of awesomeness with your head reeling because of some spectacular action sequences and of course The Joker. Whereas WALL-E, is inspiring, cute beyond imagination…if you aren’t much of a fan of E.T., then WALL-E is the best thing to happen to you. I have already rated Kung Fu Panda as the second most entertaining movie of this year with Dark Knight occupying the number one position…and I still stand by that, with a small inclusion. So, here’s how I put it…WALL-E stands at number one position, jointly with Dark Knight.

20 years from now, I can see myself sitting with my kids to talk about movies…and I already see myself telling them that the summer of 2008 has been one of the greatest ever for movie buffs, because we had the Awesome Trio of…WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda and Dark Knight. And that ladies and gentlemen, is no accident. I think nature is trying to tell us something…that’s it’s time that you buckle up and be awesome!

Here’s recommending you again…if you want to see what magic the hand of God could bring forth, please check into your local theatres and watch “WALL-E”…it’s an adorable flick oozing with romance. And as you enjoy this flick with your loved ones…I get back to my business of finding my EVE….

I look up in the sky and shout…..

EVE….EVE….EVE…..EVVVVVVVE………………EVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEE....

Kung Fu Panda...

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Written on 5:53 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Kung Fu Panda

Language: English
Year of Release: 2008

Director:
John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
Actors: Jack Black Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan

"All you people out there...put your hands up and praise the brand new Dragon Warrior, an unlikely hero in the land of Kungfu who's out to save the world... the Panda"- I am sorry for the corny introduction to possibly this Summer's second best entertainer (No offence...but "Dark Knight" is still Numero Uno!!!). I know, I know...Po (The Panda) wouldn't wait a minute to use his "Wuxi Finger Hold" Technique had he known that this is how I introduce the greatest kungfu warrior of our times. (Good for me...he doesn't know that I exist!!...:-P)...

So, naturally a question arises, why is it I have chosen this boring way to write about such an "awesome" (you are gonna hear a lot of that!) flick of this year? Huh...you got it! I am as boring and lazy as a sloth can be! Although I don't make noodles nor do I dream about saving the world, there's an uncanny resemblance between me and Po. We seem to love Food...(Yum!), and gobble down whatever and whenever we feel like eating...and the most striking of all, there seems to be an awesome psychic understanding that being "BIG" isn't that bad at all...(More of this later...I wouldn't want the Dragon Warrior to doze off, if at all he chooses to stumble across the Blog!)

Directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne from the house of "DreamWorks Animation" comes an awesome flick, animated actually, which straight away blows you away with its style. Probably the last time you had seen something this beautiful, touching, inspiring...this Awesome, would be "Finding Nemo". The flick has already been declared a smash hit across the world, and India, I hope is no different. You will hardly find someone who hasn't come out of the cinema hall with a huge smile spread across the face after watching this movie. The reason being, not only it's incredibly funny but also it takes you along for a joy ride, and leaves you with a feeling of awesomeness by the end of it. Another thing I must add is the genuine respect for the Chinese Culture which is quite evident from the film, where there's hardly any cliche' when it comes to characters.

"Kungfu Panda" is the story of Po, the Panda (Voice Over by Jack Black) who assists his father, the goose (for some odd reason!!!) in running the restaurant preparing noodles. But he always dreams of becoming a Kungfu warrior, something which he's unable to express to his father. And one day, when Master Oogway (The Tortoise) reveals the prophecy that Tai Lung (the Snow Leopard) will escape from the prison, it drives his student, Master Shifu (Red Panda, VO by Dustin Hoffman) crazy. He orders the security to be doubled at the prison, but the over confident and reluctant commander of the armed forces doesn't heed to Shifu's request. After an unusually awesome escape sequence, Tai Lung manages to escape from the prison and claim his rightful position. In the meantime, it's announced that the next "Dragon Warrior" will be chosen, who will be capable of protecting and bringing peace to the valley. When the whole valley's waiting for Oogway's decision about the next Dragon Warrior, Po-the Panda, falls from sky all of a sudden. And to the dismay of Master Shifu and his very skilful students, Po is chosen the new "Dragon Warrior". After some unsuccessful attempts at disparaging and making Po quit, and upon the advice of Oogway, Shifu finally relents and decides to train Po to become a pro at Kungfu....the rest of the story has to be seen on screen to bask the actual awesomeness!

Be it the scene, where Po tries to get inside the palace, or that when Tai Lung escapes from prison and the stylishly shot chopsticks fight between Shifu and Po...there's a uncanny style which mesmerizes you, sucking you into its brilliance for the entire 90 min footage. I should confess that I was watching this flick in my room with some friends...I so wish I had seen the Imax version in the first place! Coming back to the characters...the flick belongs to Po and Shifu. Po for his overbearing personality (he's awesomely cute in his knickers...:-P!) and striking sense of humour who has the potential to turn around any serious or grim discussion into a funny and witty one. Thank God, the writers realised that he should be the way he is throughout the movie...otherwise a scene of the Panda stretching to build a six pack, would have taken quite a few pounds away from his awesomeness...:-). All hail Jack Black, who's given a stunning voice over for Po...I somehow have this feeling that they might have drawn Po's character after seeing Jack Black in Nacho Libre and otherwise!...hehehe...wouldn't you agree??!:-D....and Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu completes Jack Black with his performance at the other end of the line. He scorns, hisses at almost everything Po does, but at the same time he's genuinely caring and guiding light to his students. The rest of the star cast, the Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper, Mantis, Crane are cool...they have got the kicks and moves of a brilliant Kungfu Master. A special word for Tai Lung, the Snow Leopard whose character is so well developed that it's hard not to empathize with him.
But then as one expects...Good always has the last laugh in the fight with Evil. This is what's so predictable in the flick...you know that Po's gonna beat Tai Lung in the final battle...you know that he's gonna save the world...but you can't walk out. You can't choose to move your eyes away from the screen...I guess it's an obligation for most of the animated flicks to end on an inspiring and good note, this is what exactly makes them a worldwide rage. And "Kungfu Panda" is already among the finest flicks you would see this year...

And the final battle cry
Prepare for Awesomeness!!!...Because he's coming to steal your heart...his name is Panda, Kungfu Panda...the Dragon Warrior.

P.S: My second recommend of this summer after....Dark Knight! Hope you have liked what you have read...and as you bask in awesomeness, I most probably would be watching the flick right now!

The Dark Knight

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Written on 10:37 AM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: The Dark Knight
Language: English

Year of Release: 2008

Director: Christopher Nolan

Actors: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman.


For the past 8 years of so, ever since I switched my loyalty to Star Movies, HBO, I have tried to ask myself what is it about Hollywood flicks that makes me watch more and more? For the past 8 years I haven't been able to understand why I have fallen in love with movies so much!!! For the past 8 years, I have tried to compare one movie after the other and come to a conclusion which is my favourite movie of all...I think, my search ends now and on 20th July, 2008 I got the answer for my quest so far. I saw "The Dark Knight".

Before getting into the details of the story, a little bit about the reviews I had read before watching the flick...Rottentomatoes gives a 90% fresh rating, IMDB ranks it at no.1 among the Top 250 movies of all time, atleast for now...and among the Indian Critics, Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gives a 4 star rating out of 5. And added to that little reviews from my friends added to my curiosity. Too many good things...huh?! I guess the best was yet to come and the IMAX version of the flick (I somehow managed to get a ticket for Sunday) made the "best" a little better!!!..

Sitting in the 5th row from the screen amidst a packed crowd, the story unfolded. The flick opens with a bank robbery which the antagonist, Joker (Heath Ledger) carries out along with others. The nemesis of the criminals in Gotham, Batman (Christian Bale) has been largely successful in controlling the crime rate along with Lieutenant James Gordon. But as the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent(Aaron Eckhart) vows to put every lawbreaker behind the bars, Batman is forced to reconcile his resolution to save the city all alone. He finally decides to give up everything and let Harvey take control. But before he would do it, he's confronted with Joker, the lip smacking, greasy, pyschopath, whose main aim is to spread chaos across Gotham forcing everyone to madness. He demands that Batman must come forward and make his identity public, saying that the city needs the hero with a face.

The rest of the story...well, I am gonna leave it to you to watch it on the Big screen! Because to reveal everything would be like trying to explain how Leonardo painted his "Mona Lisa"....[:-)]

I find it rather difficult to not use any superlatives/adjectives for the spectacular work done by each and every department and each and every character associated with the flick. But have got two words for Nolan and Ledger, Fuckin Awesome!!!!!! I don't know what it takes to be a genius at something, I think it's only after you see the product that you appreciate the creator. Christopher Nolan, who's directed films like, Memento, Prestige, Batman Begins pulls off another masterpiece. Never reeling into boredom, this 150 min+ flick packs a powerful punch especially in terms of the pace of the storyline; the characters just keep getting better and better and the same with the action.

I think the initiative to do away with "Breaks/Intervals" for an English flick is one of the good things which has been introduced. Popcorn and Cool Drinks, will be sold anyway!!! But it's the experience to watch a English flick uninterrupted for this long which pays off eventually. Never giving you a moment to ponder upon any possible loopholes, everyone around is sucked into the mood of the film. Dark beyond one's imagination, you cannot help but gaze with a feeling of awe at Joker's evil mechanisms. To masterfully spread havoc across a city requires either a genius or as Joker would put it, someone who just does it without any plan!!! He's evil beyond one could fathom to an extent which leaves a lump in your throat at the end of it. My favourite scene from the movie is that 5 minute scene where people aboard a ferry have to decide who lives....what a scene!!!

To cater to your adrenaline, there are enough fights, guns, bombs, chases, I love the Batpod!!! But it's not gory where you find blood spilling around...I think the lump in my throat had to do more with the fact that, you are actually trying to understand what Joker would do next, who's the next to die, how will he carry out his evil plans, for a moment, you are one among the denizens of Gotham. Watch out for that scene where Batman chases Joker in his Batpod and eventually flips the truck at a 180 degree angle, and his own Batpod doing a 360!!!!....Stunner!!! Truly one of the several "Woah" moments in the flick...

I have always wondered, how writers create a character; and my curiosity just got increased after seeing Joker and Harvey Dent! Such variations in their characters, your heart goes out to them in both ways, sure they are both dark and evil in the end, but the reason why they have turned that way and they would end up doing; you cannot take your eyes off them and at times you want to see them more than Batman! Probably for the first time, it's a villain who overshadows a superhero...the menacing, lip smacking, man of the moment is the Joker, portrayed so brilliantly by Heath Ledger. Truly a performance which is worthy of Oscar and almost every other award imaginable. For a moment, I suspected that his facial expressions might come close to "V" in "V for Vendetta". But Heath Ledger completely takes you by surprise with his awesome portrayal of Joker. His versions of how how got a big smile on his face, the simplicity with which he drives everyone around him into confusion, chaos sends a chill down your spine. And kudos to the writers who have given him some memorable one-liners. Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart is another surprise package. He's sincere, focused as the DA, but equally scary as the "Two Face" who would stop at nothing to exact revenge.

You must be wondering why I haven't put a word for Christian Bale who's donning that Batsuit for the second time in a row! Well, that's what he does through most part of the flick...with Joker around, he doesn't face the camera as the charismatic Billionaire Bruce Wayne for long, except when he's conversing with Alfred, his Butler (Micheal Caine) and Fox (Morgan Freeman) or partying with some blondes and meeting Rachel (Maggie Gyllenhaal). If at all, I have a problem with this film...then that would be the voice modulation of Batman once he gets into that suit...somehow, he sounds like Sylvester Stallone with a sore throat!!...:-P...but that doesn't matter, because he's got this awesome Batpod this time...and performs some death-defying stunts, whether he's flying across Hongkong skyscrapers or in Gotham. And everytime, he dives from the top of a skyscraper, you wish you had that suit with you!!!

And finally, the director of the movie, Christopher Nolan. I bow to the genius and his team who have come up with such dark interpretation of the characters from this comic book. He's really pushed Batman far ahead than Spiderman, who's the closest superhero to Batman who has been brought to life on screen. (Somehow, in all these years, Superman is the only character who's got such ridiculous interpretations...after having watched all these superheroes, I think it's time for a makeover for Superman!). The filming with IMAX cameras is a big asset to the flick, and the CGI is out of the world. Watch Harvey Dent after he turns into "Two Face" if you don't believe me...

I think I can go on like this...but the fact of the matter is, I understand what I have been looking for. I have a perspective that there's no shortage of creative talent and irrespective of what region it comes from, it will eventually find its audience. I bow to the entire team of "The Dark Knight" for delivering this gem of a movie and specifically to Wally Pfister, the Cinematographer of the flick, Zimmer and Howard who composed the music, Christopher Nolan, the Director and Heath Ledger who's delivered a awesomely scary performance as Joker. He's in a way, the very reason why you should watch this movie.

Sometimes, I get this feeling that film critics across the world have been little harsh on the flick. Why rate it only at 4 out of 5?! Its not every time, you end up with tears in your eyes and clap at the end, unless you have seen something overwhelmingly terrific. I am gonna go with 5 out of 5 for this flick and without hesitation, I declare that this is the best Action/Superhero flick I have ever seen...cancel all your plans this weekend and make all possible attempts to get tickets for this flick. Make sure you watch it only in the best cinema hall in your place( the best would be IMAX, if it's playing there), and if you are in the city of Hyderabad, please watch it only in Prasads, IMAX. It belongs to the rarest set of flicks which give a feeling of "Awesomeness!!!".

I wonder if 90% rating on Rottentomatoes is this good, then how would a 97% rating for a flick be!! Watch out for that next...it's the latest from the house of Pixar Studios..and it's called "WALL-E".


Iron Man

0

Written on 5:00 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Iron Man
Language: English
Year of Release: 2008
Director: Jon Favreau


I had never seen the cartoon of the same name, until I heard about it from a friend who claims to have been following it for a long time. I guess it was his recommendation and the promos of the flick that gave me a great impetus to check this one out. One thing which I was wary about was what would be the storyline of this “Man”? To be frank my interest in most of the Superhero movies has been waning for quite sometime. Although Superman has got the steel, there’s not much of variety in what he does (Correct me if I am wrong!!...:-P)…and Spiderman, I loved the first part about a dud turning into a DUDE! Honestly, I am kinda curious about the type of spiders lurking around me…hehehe…. But it turned out to be yet another gyan session on countless occasions…where kids are advised to be good…and how about those scenes where Spidy would come from nowhere to save those who are in danger…..more or less all the superhero movies have fallen under this category, which is what gets so boooooooring flick after flick. I had no clue what to expect from this one…but thanks to some rave reviews, this one promised to be one helluva roller coaster ride.
“Iron Man” is the story of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) billionaire industrialist and the chief of Stark Industries which is one of the chief Arms Supplier to the US Army. Tony is on a trip to the desert of Afghanistan to give a demo of his company’s new weapon “Jericho”, a cluster missile capable of mass destruction. Later his convoy is attacked and Tony is shocked to see that a missile made by his own firm has been used to attack him. His captors attach an electromagnet to his chest to keep the shrapnel from touching his heart. He’s threatened of murder by the Terrorist Group if he doesn’t build the “Jericho” missile for them. After gaining enough insight as to what lays ahead of him, Tony demands absolute privacy while building the missile, but he instead builds an Iron armour powered by an miniature arc reactor which will give the electromagnet enough energy from letting the shrapnel touch his heart. He manages to escapes from his captors and is somehow found by the US Army. Back home, he’s advised by his company’s executive Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) to lay low from the media. Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is Tony’s assistant who is in love with him but doesn’t express it. Tony builds a more powerful miniature “Arc Reactor” and tells Obadiah about his earlier one. He secretly builds a new armour equipped with all the gizmos. (PHEEwwww…..you should check out all that drawings and designing yourself…mind blowing!). When he comes to know about how his own weapons are creating havoc, he decides to take the matter in his own hands…and what follows is a stunning gamut of some terrific stunts, gadgets and a fight for the good to prevail.
What makes it such an enjoyable flick is its story and the absence of senseless action! It’s completely believable the way things go on, especially when a fact that Tony is an inventor, is established. Of course, it’s upto your discretion if you wanna believe all that! But think about it, if you can accept Bruce Willis doing all those stunts in Die Hard-4 and Indian Jones escaping an Atom Bomb explosion by enclosing himself in a lead-lined refrigerator…then all that Tony does makes sense!!..:-P The thing I loved most about the flick was that, it was more of a sci-fi action adventure, rather than a superhero who’s on a mission to save the world! Yes, Iron Man does that eventually…but the way he does is SO different from any of his peers…you want another reason to look upto him?!...He doesn’t wear an undie on top of his pants!!!...hehehe…[:-P]. If you are a gadget freak…then look for his suit which doubles up as his armour and the capability to fly, the weapons, his maneuvers while on a flight ….nothing short of a Visual Orgasm! After checking out at his house on top of rock on the Malibu seafront, can you not dream of such lavish lifestyle?!?!...the garage filled with the funkiest of the cars…some awesome robots, a private jet…multi-billion dollar Business Empire…!!!...Phew!
Robert Downey Jr. delivers a classic…his histrionics as a billionaire industrialist, playboy, inventor are brilliant…but what’s more blatant is this, he’s one hell of a super cool…charming…stud whose heart goes out to those who have suffered directly or indirectly because of his company (Check out his expressions and the intensity he puts in his acting in that village scene where he saves scores of people). Jeff Bridges, who plays the character of Obadiah Stane, the executive of Stark Industries with a mission of his own, stands out in his character, especially from the point where his plan is revealed (although many of us must have sensed it early in the flick), he gets better and better as the story progresses. Gwyneth Paltrow is sweet in her role as Pepper Potts who’s in love with her boss…almost giving the impression of a love story from yesteryears where both the protagonists wait for the other one to confess first. Whoever has designed the iron man’s suit needs to be given special credit…it’s absolutely fantastic.
I guess I have written too many good things about the flick…although there are some weak links which some of my fellow movie buffs have raised…like, how did Stane gain some much knowledge about how Tony’s armour and the gadgets…How does Stane escape from that altitude?! And even the melodramatic climax, a David Vs Goliath fight…looks kinda too much. Above all…however intelligent one might be, creating something that big, how does Tony manage to do everything all by himself!!(Somehow I feel too much of Intelligence is difficult to digest!!!...). This flick will definitely be in the list of Best Movies of 2008…and if you are an action movie buff…then, this one is bound to be on top of that list…atleast for this year!I saw this flick, last month, but I can still remember lots of details particularly those involving Tony testing his new suit, he dodging couple of fighter planes, the robots assisting Tony in building the suit…
Laced with wit and some cool action, this is a must watch for all the action movie buffs…it’s also something you can watch out for, even if you don’t like cartoons…for there is no trace of anything of that sort here. If only, one can lie hands on that suit…and fly away to glory..:-)
check out this teaser of the flick...