Category Archives: hollywood

Movie Review : Due Date

Just yesterday we did a short road trip from St.Louis to Kansas City, a 4 hour drive, to take part in the Diwali celebrations and watch the fireworks in the temple. It was a nice trip with some of us enjoying the music in the front seat, while guys in the backseat were playing cards. We had our stop-overs for food and drinks. But what we did not have is crazy fun because we did not have an Ethan Tremblay who would stopover for marijuana and spend all the money on drugs rather than money for gas or take his dog Sonny around in his lap or sleep on the wheels and fly off the freeway or drive into Mexico border mistaking it to be Texaco.

Since Hangover-2 is due in 2011, let me call this movie Hangover-1.5. This is really a worthy successor to Hangover and Todd Philips has directed this movie with the same energy and effort that he had put in Hangover.

The movie has all the elements of any road trip, but it has the zaniness which very few movies have. Robert Downney Jr as Peter Highman and Zach Galifianakis as Ethan Tremblay are people from two different worlds; one is a suave handsome gentleman and the other a slob, sloppy and mindless buffoon. Both of them get on to the plane for LA, then why the road trip? That in itself explains what comical situations have been weaved into the movie.

Ethan: My father always had a saying “When a day starts like this it’s all uphill from here”.
Peter: Uphill? No, it’s all downhill from here.
Ethan: But nobody wants to be down, everybody wants to be up. It’s all uphill from here.
Peter: But it’s easier to go downhill. So your dad had no idea what the fuck he was talking about.

This is a fine example of what their conversations are like, and the difference of opinion. Its 90 minutes of fun ride, with nice touches of emotional sequences. In fact, the movie begins on an emotional note. Peter’s wife is pregnant and her due date is in a few days while Ethan has to bid goodbye to his dead father’s ashes. And both are forced into staying together for a cross-country drive from east to west, Atlanta to LA. How the emotional start turns into a howlarious movie is fabulous, sometimes amounting to black comedy.

By the end of the movie Peter ends up with a fractured arm, bullet in the abdomen, torn shirt and trouser, banged up face while Ethan is scratch-proof, still bubbly and sloppy and a little more mindless than he was at the beginning of the movie.

The strange thing was that after the movie got over, we first couldn’t locate our car. After we located it, the GPS was conked and we could not get directions to find an eat-out. Actually, the map in the GPS was not updated and some new roads were constructed. Hence, we were lost. Then blackberry cell came to our rescue with all the maps and directions. This was probably the perfect way to end our day after a wonderful movie about a road trip. Let me end this with words of wisdom from Ethan: You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Enjoy the movie, its a great watch.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 8, 2010 in hollywood, movie review


Tags: , , ,

kahani mei twist …

The movie went well past the 90 minutes mark, and I was wondering how is this movie gonna end? A lovelorn magician whose lady-love is killed and he has nothing to look forward to in life. All he wants is to bring the Crown Prince to justice, but what chances did he have when the officer-in-charge, Inspector Uhl, was hand-in-glove with the prince. A tale that started as a lost and found lovestory; a young boy meets a sweet innocent girl whom he gifts a geometrically magical pendent. He loves her and next thing we know, she is gone; he loses her. As the movie progresses, he goes onto become a magician of repute with fantastic shows like the orange tree which leaves everyone baffled. Accidentally, he finds his lady-love again, but in the arms of the Prince who is her betrothed. Having met her after so many years, old flames of passion finds new wind and this makes the Prince jealous and suspicious. The suspicion finally leads to her death. And now, Eisenheim seeks justice/revenge. But is that all?

I was not done wondering yet, when a strange turn of events took place that left me dumbfounded. How did I not see that coming! I was swept over. It was one of those Oh My God moments, when the realisation dawned upon me as much as it dawned upon Inspector Uhl. Heck!, both of us were taken for a ride. Eisenheim was the best illusionist ever. But all credit should go to the screenwriters and the director of the movie. They set us in from the very first frame, beguiling us into the lovestory and then showing a heartbroken lover so all our sympathies are with him. The build-up was very believable, the slow pace and the archaic royal backdrop just added to the eerie and melancholic feel of the character of Eisenheim.

Yes, I talking about movies that twist your guts, pull your tongue and eyeballs out and push you back on your seat, leaving you in total disbelief over what just happened on-screen. Movies that have a weird twist to it. And no, I am not talking about whodunnits! I am talking about movies with a twist which is visually impacting and gives new dimension to the story/characters.

Three fortnights from the release of The Illusionist came another movie in the same genre. A story about two competitive magicians who are trying to pull a fast one on the other, trying to spoil the other’s game show and outsmart the opponent. The movie did have some aggressive twists and unchartered turns, and it had a mindblowing end. The Nikola Tesla figment was beautifully incorporated in the movie. Robert meets Tesla in a bid to get a machine which will help him duplicate a living being. He brings home that monster of a gadget but till the very end, he really did never know how Alfred had managed to do the act without the use of any such mechanism. A simple end to a complex and convoluted story and plot-line. One of the finest movies ever to be made, The Prestige. The movie cannot be easily classified as belonging to a particular genre because what it deals with falls in realms of mystery, suspense, fantasy, science-fiction all rolled into one. And yet, there is that X factor that makes it such a fabulous watch.

Another movie thats close to my heart is The Shawshank Redemption. The movie took its own sweet time to unfold. It did start with a brutal murder, gunshot from point blank range, a crime of passion; but it soon turned into a story of realization and repentence. And just when you thought that the movie would end on a philosophical note about destiny and fate and finding inner peace, Andy comes up with a different plan. It was like, you throw a boomerang into the sky and wait for it to return, it does not return and you cant seem to spot it any more. And just when you turn your back, it comes and hits you like a bolt. That’s exactly how it happens. In the first few scenes when Andy requests for a pick-axe, he makes it amply clear that he will be using it to create stone sculptures and not boreholes on the wall. And just when everyone had forgotten about it and went along with Andy’s tax saving schemes for the jailor, no one even cared to see what shoes he walked out in, from the jailor’s chamber. Who knew what desperation and craving for liberation can do to a man. Andy showed us just that, in this amazing movie filled with some brilliant dialogs. Dufresne, the guy who Red thought would be the first to vince and roll because of his white collared stature, actually turned out to be a guy with grit and determination. Hope is a dangerous thing, indeed.

David Fincher is one of the masters when it comes to making movies and giving it the twist. The movie The Game, which starts off as a simple fun and harmless entertainment goes on to harass Nicholas no end. His younger brother Conrad gifts him a small entertainment package from a service provider called Consumer Recreation Services to add some spice to Nicholas’ boring life. But Nicholas gets more than what he had bargained for; he gets trapped in a game which he cannot quit in-between. Let me just say that quite a bit of this movie was ripped-off and pasted in Abhishek Bachchan’s Bluffmaster, especially the last half hour of how the game comes to an end. This was a thriller in the true sense, to the last minute. Michael Douglas as the banker Nicholas and Sean Penn as the addict out of rehab Conrad played their parts really well. Although I know the climax, I still enjoy watching it for the sheer suspense and drama.

Se7en was another movie that had a kick-ass twist in the last half hour. The tricky part was that the character who provides the twist was not credited in the beginning of the movie. A series of murders and each marked by one of the seven deadly sins reveals the killer’s moto. But the gruesome manner in which the crimes are committed and the ravaged bodies are found along with deliberate clues left behind, makes it really absorbing. Even after introducing the character, his true intentions are never known till the very last minute. John Doe delivers a twist, literally and figuratively, in the middle of a no man’s land, a deserted highway. It was quite a disturbing sequence which I couldn’t forget for a long time. The general apathy with which he justifies himself leaves no room for mercy; the unmaking of a twisted mind.

Lets get out of dark and distrubing themes and talk about a funny movie. Adam Sandler is mostly known for his comical portrayals and one such movie was Click. I know I shouldn’t be bringing up a comedy when talking about Nolan and Fincher. But yet, this movie surprised me. Sandler’s visit to the local electronic store, in search of a universal remote, changes his life by 360 degrees. Now, he is able to fast-forward the parts of his life that he dislikes, mute a conversation, setup an auto program so it performs the same task routinely etc. This gives him the ultimate power to control his life and while he climbs the ladder of success in a hurry, its actually leaning against the wrong building. And that he discovers a little too late, but soon enough that he can correct it. Watch it for some nice funny moments and a moral towards the end. Really humorous but drags towards the end, and then ends like one of the Jeffery Archer stories.

This piece would be quite incomplete without mentioning The Sixth Sense. Manoj Night Shyamalan’s first big movie featuring Bruce Willis as Dr.Crowe, a psychologist who gets shot by one of his patients within first few minutes of the movie. Haley Osment as Cole plays the child who can see people beyond the grave, the same symptoms that Dr.crowe’s ex-patient, who shot him, sufferred from. Dr.Crowe begins the treatment of Osment’s hallucinations and delusions as the young boy goes on to interact with the ghosts. All the time that Dr.Crowe interacts with the child, he also goes back home to his cold wife who just does not acknowledge his presence. The movie had a cunningly hidden twist and only in the end we understand the behaviour pattern of Dr.Crowe’s wife and Cole’s mom. I know a lot of people who watched the movie several times to understand the climax. And of course there were a few ones who claimed that they had guessed it all along.

Anyways, there are so many movies that I want to talk about like Unbreakable, Fight Club, Usual Suspects etc. I shall leave the rest for the discussions. So, please bring up your choice of movies which have kahani mei twist.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2010 in hollywood, movies


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Movie Review : A Serious Man

I fucked your wife, Larry! I seriously fucked her!” says Ableman to Larry Gopnik. So, how is Larry supposed to react when his wife’s lover mutters something so disturbing in such a casual manner. He remains cool, calm and composed. That’s Larry for you. He cannot even cry out to the Almighty because he is agnostic at heart. And this is just first of the many problems that he would go onto experience.

Here is a man, so full of problems, that he has no time for himself. He believes in karma, and thats demonstrated by the fact that he keeps asking why these things were happening to him when he has not done anything. His wife is not in love with him, his son is a marijuana addict, his daughter only wants to stylize her hairs, his brother is a gambler and he himself is facing professional problems as his tenure at the college is about to expire and he needs good reccos to have that tenure extended. So, what should he do? How is he supposed to handle his life!

Larry is a physics professor in a university and is shown teaching students about Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty. But the irony is that, the joke is on him.

The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can’t ever really know what’s going on. So it shouldn’t bother you. Not being able to figure anything out.

Larry himself doesn’t know what’s going on and not being able to figure it out bothers him. For all his problems, the only advice he gets from everyone is to ‘visit a rabbi’. But agnostic that he is, he wonders if a rabbi will be of any help. His disbelief in God and religion is also established in that scene where he repeatedly says to the person on the phone, that he did not ask for Santana’s Abraxas gramophone record. The allusion here is to God, as in Abraxas, which he has no need for.

But after much self-convincing, Larry plods his feet to meet a rabbi. His brush with the various  rabbis makes for some engrossing watch. One of the rabbi narrates to him, a story of a dentist who while making dentures noticed hebrew characters in the tooth of the patient and the words inscribed were ‘help me, save me’. The dentist was really worried as he did not understand what this meant. His inquisitiveness brought him to the rabbi. So, was the rabbi able to help the dentist? What does the story imply? Will the rabbi’s wisdom help solve Gopnik’s problems?

In another encounter, a junior rabbi points to the parking lot and says that its all about the perspective. If he changes his viewpoint and sees the parking lot from a fresh perspective, he maybe able to see/feel God and his presence and that may solve his problem.

As already stated, Larry is a man who believes in karmic cycle of life; but that’s where he could be wrong. It may not be his ‘karma’ thats bothering him, it could be an age old curse which was played as an epilogue to the movie. The first few mins of the movie builds a fable wherein a family gets cursed for mistaking a living being for a wandering spirit/ghost and harming it. So, has the ghost of the past caught up with the descendents of that family? Its never explained. The fable could just have been played out to set the tone of the movie. Yes, its plain black humor.

When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joys within you dies

The speciality of Coen brothers is that, they put people in tumultuous situations and unfold the character’s response to the stimulus. Gopnik of Jewish descent is a man with multiple problems, all pounding on him in a multi-prong assault. When he tries to concentrate on his wife, his job comes back to bite him. When he is at work, he is constantly thinking of his wife and her lover. When he is with his lawyer, he is thinking of his job and his wife.

The epilogue at the beginning of the movie and the dentist-rabbi interactions are the most interesting parts; the former scene gives a nice start to the movie while the later gives it the much-needed boost else the movie would have become boring, slow as it already is.

The movie is not just about Larry and his despicable life but is also about religion and its importance or the lack of it. Will religious heads like rabbis and gurus help us solve our problems? Not sure. The movie almost borders on atheisim because it shows a dutiful and responsible but an agnostic man not being happy. And the agnosticism makes people feel that if Larry visited a rabbi and believed in existence of God then his problems would be resolved. So, is it important to be religious to have a happy life!  I think the Coens can make another movie with the contrarian view of a deeply religious man being swarmed with problems and leading a life of dismay and sadness.

The Coens have shot the movie beautifully, bringing to life Minnesotta of the late 60′s and early 70′s. Beautiful houses, clear skies, the empty streets, the lifestyle [dressing and clothing] of the jews has been very well re-created and captured. Its an indepth study of a conservative jewish family and their culture and religion, be it the reference to bar-mitzvah or hashem or dybuk or gett.

But what stood out was the acting. This movie deserves a serious look from Coen fans for the sheer emptiness of Larry Gopnik’s life and the way his character is brought out, always in a self-conflict, always self-consumed. The only time he gets out of character is when he spots his neighbor sunbathing. That pulls a few strings of his losely wound life. Michael Stuhlbarg as Larry is just perfect. He brings out the vulnerability and helplessness of the character very well. All other minor characters have done well, but its Larry all the way.

The movie starts with a bilzzard in the fable as mentioned earlier, and ends in a tornado which stormed Minnesotta in ’67. Fantastic portrayal of a life full of confusion, a great satire of a man who wants nothing but a few moments of peace and joy.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 25, 2010 in hollywood, movie review, movies


Tags: , , ,

mtv awards : nobody going gaga over this lady

MTV Awards - The good, bad and ugly

MTV Awards - The good, bad and ugly

MTV Awards - The good, bad and ugly

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 15, 2010 in AWARDS, hollywood


Tags: ,

Tape … brilliance of Richard Linklater

This is third of my favorite Richard Linklater movies, two others being Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I just loved this movie for the amazing content and his handling of characters. As usual, he has very few characters but heavily loaded with conversations. This movie came sometime between Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and he cast his favourite hero and fellow texan Ethan Hawke.

The movie takes place in real time, but unlike the use of steadicam in Before Sun…, there is heavy usage of a handycam. The movie has a very amateurish approach with the handycam moving from one face to another, trying to capture immediate reactions to the lines spoken. But the content of the movie is very mature and the story idea is delicate/sensitive.

The entire action takes place in a motel room in Michigan. Vincent is in Lansing to attend the Lansing Film Festival. He is not a movie buff, he comes to Lansing to give moral support to his old buddy John Salter whose movie has made it to the fest. But he has an ulterior motive of coming all the way to Lansing. He brings back fresh memories of an incident from the past which revolves around John and Vince’s ex-gf Amy, while all 3 were in high school.

This incident is the crux of the movie, and takes place on the farewell day of the high school. The movie is about different perceptions of the same incident by different characters. A high voltage psyscho-drama is unleashed in the small room where the two friends chat about good old school days. While Amy becomes the focal point of the chat, they build up the tension and paint the character of the 3 individuals.

Vince, out of nowhere, blurts out that Amy had confessed to him something sinister. Vince outrageously suggests that John had forced Amy to have sex with him in high school, which is tantamount to rape. And John goes on the defensive that it was consensual sex. Now, while both the men are on a verbal duel, only one person can say if the allegation made by Vince is true or not; and that person is Amy herself. While John tries to defend his actions of the forced love-making, Vince takes him by surprise when he pulls out a tape-recorder and shows that he has recorded every word spoken by John and that he has invited Amy too; she would be joining them any moment.

Amy makes a late entry, after almost two-thirds of the movie is over. But this is a fantastic ploy, because she brings in a new perspective to the incident. She is the woman in question, and the way she handles herself is fantastic. The tension is palpable as she too does not know the real purpose of this get-together. John and Amy take the movie forward with some brilliantly written dialogues and a tight screenplay. Although Vince has nothing to gain from this, he tries his best to add fuel to fire. He comes up with lots of wise-crack statements which are partly relieving and partly wild remarks. The awkwardness in the room, the way Amy and John interact has been handled with lot of sensitivity.

When all 3 characters are deep into conversation, the manner in which the camera pans from one character to the other is fantastic, capturing Amy’s calmness, John’s initial composure and then losing his cool and Vince’s wickedness of having created the entire ruckus and the way he is enjoying the scene at the cost of his friends and ex-gf’s plight. The movie keeps you totally gripped and you just can’t bat your eyelids.

While I was still wondering how this movie would end, this clever movie got the fine ending it deserved; it started with vile and guile and ended the same way. The story by Stephen Belber is very well written and was actually a stage-play which was then translated on-screen by Richard Linklater with his innovative direction. And apart from the handycam, which assumed the part of the fourth character, the casting was perfect.

Ethan Hawke as Vince was conniving and I feel he is quite an under-rated actor. His performances in Before Sun… , Training Day, Gattaca and Great Expectations is awesome. He is an unassuming guy who just sweeps you off with his performance. Robert Sean Leonard as John Salter was very convincing in the way he played the guy with a dilemma of rape versus consensual sex and the guilt of having been a party to such an act. He was terrific in the movie, last I had liked him was in Dead Poets Society. And finally, Uma Thurman as Amy was marvellous. The way she conducted herself and being part of just one-third of the movie, she handled her sequences with deftness. After this movie, her next best movies were the Kill Bill series. Another noteworthy point about the performances is that, nowhere in the movie did Ethan and Uma show the warmness and the affinity of the married couple they were. They went about the job very professionally, stuck to the character and brought out the rough edges and rawness that the character demanded.

And of course, Richard Linklater, the guy who directed this movie is just brilliant. He makes movies with minimal characters and minimal fuss. He is so focussed that he does not give you a moment to turn your head around. He keeps you glued with those enchanting conversations and real-time cinema experience. This movie is a must watch as it reminds us the importance of story-telling and the art of writing conversations. All we need is a good story/script/screenplay, good actors and of course a brilliant director to make a good movie.

This post was first published on PFC

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 10, 2010 in hollywood, movie review, movies


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trailer : Black Swan

Cast : Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel

Director : Darren Aronofsky

Its a tale of a ballet dancer, Nina (played by Natalie) who is in competition with Lily (played by Mila) for the ballerina spot in a ballet. The contest between the two turns into a psychological game of who gets uner whose skin. This is the next feature of Aronofsky after ‘The Wrestler’. The tentative release date is sometime in December.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 27, 2010 in hollywood


Tags: , ,

Jessica Biel : Fashion Faux-Pas In London Premiere of A-TEAM

Jessica Biel in sheer red dress with black panties underneeth at the A-Team premiere in London - Hot Celebs Home

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 31, 2010 in hollywood, movies


Tags: ,