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Imagine an apocalypse happening right in front of our eyes. We are a part of it, and we are gonna be consummated by it. What will it look like? How will it be? The answer is 2012.
When we look at the director Roland Emmerich's previous attempts, he tends to be a director who believes in disasters, in general. All of the movies which made him famous, were basically disaster-oriented ones. Take for an example Independence day, or Godzilla, or Universal Soldier, or the most recent ones, The day after tomorrow or 10,000 BC. He directed a good drama , The Patriot, in the midst of these disaster oriented films. I can remember Madhan interviewing Roland Emmerich during the release of Godzilla in Philippines, and the interview came in Vikadan. In that interview, Emmerich had mentioned that he loves destroying New York with all those disaster movies he films, and has expressed a child-like joy in doing so.
Now, I saw 'The day after tomorrow' keeping in mind these facts, and it did disappoint me. That movie was a total goner, and it was boring, without a proper story. Hence, when 2012 was announced, I vowed to myself I'm not gonna see this film, as it will be an extension of the day after tomorrow. But, when I saw the trailer for the first time, it impressed me. All those CG scenes with huge earthquakes and tsunamis, were realistic, and so I decided to give it a try.Off we went to this film last Saturday in Bangalore.
The movie begins in the year 2009 with Adrian Helmsley, an American scientist coming to India to meet his friend satnam (now, this is one name I see frequently in American movies and books!), who has made a discovery that the minute particles called neutrinos, which emanated from the sun by means of a huge solar flare (solar flares are nothing but large flares of energy from the sun's surface which are caused by the sudden explosions on the sun's surface. The length of a solar flame equals to thousands of kilometers), have reached earth. It's a common thing for these neutrinos to reach earth, but then, in his discovery, these neutrinos have caused the earth's core to heat up, there by resulting in a chain reaction of events, which will end in the world getting destroyed. And, it has already started to happen. The scientist Adrian Helmsley travels to US and he informs about the impending danger to all the authorities.
It's 2010 now, and all the leaders of the G8 countries are informed about the danger. A plan is evolved, which is about constructing huge ships which can contain four hunderd-thousand people inside them, so that they act as an arc (remember Noa's arc ?), and these people can be saved to kickstart a new world, after the disaster. This is meant for rich people only, and it involved billions of dollars.
The year is 2012, and we see Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), a literaturist, whose books sell only for a few hunderd copies, decides to take his children to a trip to yellow stone national park. His ex-wife Kate(Amenda Peet) lives with her boyfriend. Jack's son Noah hates him, and he likes his mother's boyfriend.
At the park, there is a lot of military activity around, and Jack meets Charlie Frost, who runs a radio show. Frost tells Jack that the park will be the center of a giant volcano very soon, and he advices Jack to return. Jack doesn't believe Frost, but tends to believe everything when he hears about an earthquake at California, from his ex-wife. Frost had already told Jack that he knows about the government's huge arc building process, and he also has a map. Now, Jack returns, takes his ex-wife, her boyfriend and the kids back to yellow stone to get the map from Frost. There starts the adrenaline rush.
Jack hires a private aeroplane to safeguard his family, and is able to save his family, flying away from an earthquake hit Californis, which gets completely destroyed.
By the time Jack reaches yellow stone, the volcano starts to erupt, and he is able to recover the map, when the Volcano starts to engulf the area. Jack & family successfully escape (!!) from the volcano too, and through the map, they travel to China, to reach the place of the arcs. What happens during their journey? Did they reach China? Did the world got destroyed? The questions are answered in the movie.
As usual, this is an Emmerich film which you gotta see, without asking questions. You gotta remove your brain, place it outside the theatre and then should see the film. I mean, what else can you expect from an Emmerich film?
I liked the film. The graphics are exceptionally good (except for a few scenes which clearly gives us the impression of the 'Partha mudhal naale' song where they show the road at the background on a screen). This movie was definitely interesting to watch when compared with 'The day after tomorrow'. It's a huge adrenaline rush throughout.
There are a few cliched scenes, though. Like showing a huge structure getting destroyed (this time it's 'Jesus the redeemer' statue from Brazil), a monk looking at the huge trunami, the bad guy dying, the hero safeguarding his family through massive destruction-he flies his aeroplane amidst huge-collapsing buildings , without even getting a hair burnt, getting saved at the final moment, the hero's ex-wife's boyfriend getting killed (so that the hero can be united with his wife again), Everyone dis-believing the disaster theory from the hero until they actually see it, US government spearheading the 'safeguarding' mission (as if the other countries are like clowns), The US president getting portrayed as the 'I'll save everyone-I'll give-my-life' kinda angelic man, The guy who flies a huge plane without even knowing the basics of piloting . . etc etc..
Overall, this a time pass film. Go to the theatre and experience the world getting destroyed.
PS:- The one plus point of seeing this film, was that, I happened to see the trailer of 'Avatar' a James Cameron flick-the return of Cameron after Titanic. It was excellent, to say the least, and I'm looking forward to see Avatar in Dec.
See the trailer here.
Well, that was exactly how Robert Rodriguez's career began as a filmmaker. During his seventh year, when his father bought a video casette recorder (what is called as a VCR – you remember right? People from the seventies.. that was the only entertainment with respect to movies, as far as we were concerned during our childhood), Rodriguez started to use it. After a few years, when at highschool, due his prowess with the cam, he was asked by the authorities to film the football matches which happened during that particular year, and what Rodriguez did, absolutely enraged them to the core, and they fired him out of the job straightaway!
Yes. Till that time, filming a football match meant, recording the match ONLY, and nothing else. But what Rodriguez did was to record the ball flying high in the air, and the instant reactions of people seeing it! Typical cinema style! That cost him his job as a video recorder in the match, and he didn't worry at all. By this time, he was well aware so as to what will earn him his bread.
When he went to the College of Communication at Texas University to study filming, his marks were 'low', to their standards. Hence he was unable to join film lessons straightaway. But then, he found a way out to join the classes, by impressing the authorities. He discovered something which amused the lecturers and the students alike, which got him a seat at the college. Rodriguez invented a comic strip which was on the lines of a 'Charles Bukowsky' style, inventing characters based on his own life incidents. The leading character was a girl, which was based on his younger sister. That comics – 'Los Hooligans' (he later named his production company as 'Los Hooligans'), was a hit among the college people, and it ran for almost three years in the college magazine.
In the college, Rodriguez was making a number of short films. One day, he decided to participate in a local film making contest, where he made a comic movie about a girl getting repeatedly annoyed about her brother's hairdo, which absolutely looks like medusa's hair - a total mess! The movie was titled as 'Bedhead' , referring to the brother's hair which is a terrible mess. While getting teased by her brother, she tries to beat him and falls down, and gets hit in her head. In so doing, she suddenly picks up a telekinetic power which makes her extremely powerful. But, while avenging on her brother, she gets hit again in the head, and gets admitted in a hospital. There, she decides to use her power in a good manner, but at the same time, also decides to be a constant threat to her brother.
This movie garnered awards and prizes , which made him to finally choose his road . The road more traveled by a lot of veterans so far. With as little as 7000$, he made his first movie 'El Mariachi' - which was originally supposed to be a home video in Spanish, but went on to become a hit and was marketed as a feature film in Hollywood. The movie also garnered the audience award at the Sundance film festival - a film festival dedicated to the independent film makers. The founding chair person is Robert Redford whose 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' was an inspiration for the inception of the film festival.
Robert Rodriguez followed his first hit with a few TV episodes of a series named Roadcrackers, and then released one of his signature movies - Desperado (one of my favorite movies)- which was a mixture of the latino style with explosive Hollywood action. It starred Antonio Benderas and Salma Hayek. It had the typical Rodriguez style of film making written all over it , with sudden cuts, close ups, funny dialogues, outright action, seductive females and a nice music (all these, a part of Quentin Tarentino films too).
Between Desperado and From dusk till dawn, he directed an episode among the four episodes in the film, 'The four rooms' (The other three episodes were directed by Quentin Tarentino, Allison Anders & Alexandre Rockwell). It is a comical movie about four stories happening in a hotel, in four different rooms, where the assistant in the hotel (Tim Roth) witnesses all the four stories. Rodriguez directed the episode named 'Room 309 - the misbehavors', which starred (again) Antonio Benderas and Salma Hayek (as a girl dancing in the TV). The story is all about a couple leaving their two kids in the hands of the assistant, while they go out. Many comical incidents follow, which creates the whole episode as an interesting one to watch.
The next movie was 'Faculty', a science fiction thriller, which was not that successful. The movie following it, though, was a major success, which spawned two more sequels. It's 'Spy Kids', a thoroughly entertaining series of movies about two kids, whose parents are spies, and their adventures. The third part had Stallone as the bad guy, which was also a 3D movie.
Between spy kids 2 and 3, Rodriguez completed his 'El Mariachi' trilogy with 'Once upon a time in Mexico', which marked the return of the guy with the guitar. Antonio Benderas starred in this flick, with Salma Hayek. It starred Johnny Depp too. The movie was named so, as a tribute for Sergio Leone.
After the spy kids movies, Rodriguez returned to his familiar action packed foray with 'Sin city', originally a graphic novel series by Frank Miller, the famous storyteller. Since Rodriguez had a wide knowledge about the comics and stuff (as he himself had a successful comic strip to his name), he was able to convince Frank Miller, who was initially unwilling to give his comics rights to this movie. As a result, Frank Miller too co-directed the film which went on to become a huge hit.
The whole movie was a high quality digital film, shot entirely in rich color and later converted to black and white, using state of the art techniques. Although the entire movie was in black and white, selected things and effects were in color, giving the film a complete graphic novel effect. As usual, Quentin Tarentino guest directed a scene.
Sin city was followed by another movie for children, the adventures of sharkboy and lava girl, which was also a 3D movie. After this film, Rodriguez joined hands with his long time buddy Quentin Tarentino again, to direct a movie called Planet Terror, a part of the two part series Grindhouse. The movie Grindhouse contained two movies, Planet Terror and Death Proof, which was directed by Tarentino.
Robert Rodriguez is a man of multi talents. He can direct, write screenplays, compose music, edit, and can handle the camera very well. Infact, in all of his movies, in the titles, to denote his editing, it will be displayed as 'chopped by Robert Rodriguez'.
Currently, Rodriguez is filming the sequel to Sin City. No matter what kind of movie he is making, one thing is for sure. There will be absolute entertainment from Robert Rodriguez, and it will be one hell of a ride !!!Here are a few of his movie trailers . .
When we become nostalgic with our childhood memories and the things we loved during the days we grew up, we will reminiscent those days for a while, and then will carry on our work. At the most, we will visit a neighboring bar (or a park, for teetotalers), will gulp a few larges with old friends, and then walk away to our home to continue with our day today work. Okay. What will happen when a famous director gets nostalgic with his favorite movies from his childhood? It's unnatural to expect him to walk away just like that, and the result is 'Inglourious Basterds'.
Imagine the feel and effect of great spaghetti (can anyone suggest a different name, for a change?) westerns like 'Good, bad and the ugly' or 'A fistful of dollars' or 'Once upon a time in the west' (incidentally, all are Sergio Leone flicks). To me, watching one of these (and many more quality westerns) is like heaven. The effect it gives after watching these movies is terrific, with the mind brimming with happiness. The same effect is achieved from watching 'Inglourious Basterds'.
Saw the movie very recently in Bangalore, as it was released just now in India. I didn't want to see this one in internet or in DVD, as Quentin Tarentino is easily my most favorite director. I watched his Pulp Fiction long ago, and was astounded. From then on, started to see all his movies one by one, and he easily became the kind of director a movie buff would prefer. I mean, after watching a Tarentino flick, one would get what he wanted from the movie.
The movie begins exactly like 'Good, bad and the Ugly', where Angel face (the talented Lee van Cleef) walks in to the house of Stevens to enquire about the hidden treasure, and kills the family soon after. In fact, the first few minutes never had a single dialogue in that film (and in many other Leone flicks). The same way, we see Colonel Hans Landa walk in to the house of a frenchman and kills a family which had seeken refuge at his cellar. The only girl Shosanna, who escapes from the massacre, later on tries to avenge for her family's death.
Now, we cut to Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), recruiting a pack of Jewish – American soldiers – to kill and create panic in France by killing every German soldier who they see – in fact, every one of these soldiers must have to kill at least a hundred Germans and scalp them. They carve a Swasthik - the Nazi symbol – on the forehead of one soldier whom they decide to leave away as a survivor at every killing – to spread the terror among the Germans.
A perfect plot, where on one side, there are a pack of angry ruthless soldiers who would stop at nothing, and on the other side there is the lone survivor from a massacre, throbbing to avenge the death of her family. What will happen if both these plots collide at one common goal during the course of the film? Well, it's Inglourious Basterds, in a nutshell.
As usual, there is the elegant touch of Quentin through out the film, and he doesn't cheat his fans. Right from the tight close-up shots showing the little things (spoons, guns etc), to showing in balloons what the characters think, and showing in animated pointers the names of the characters among a crowd, Quentin pleases his fans. As usual, we see the chapter names among the scenes. We hear witty dialogues and we see the splash of blood all over.
It's an outright Quentin flick both hands down. I read in a few reviews that Quentin has lost his gifted story telling prowess, and this movie is not like his Pulp fiction or reservoir dogs. I don't think so. When a fantastic story teller becomes nostalgic about his favorite flicks, the output is a movie like this, and we must see the movie keeping this fact in mind.
The one guy who stands apart (Sounds like 'A band Apart', rite? Quentin's production house) is Christopher Waltz, who plays the role of the Nazi colonel Hans Landa. I was astonished to learn that this is his first major film ! A fantastic performance indeed. The fact that he is fluent in German, French and English adds up to his excellent performance. The character of the German colonel is not a completely sadistic one, as we see in the beginning, but is a mixture of emotions combined with a good taste and a dashing confidence, with a touch of feminine grace (might be termed as charm). Waltz has really done a waltz in the movie- the one character which makes the movie worthwhile to watch.
I remember that before a few years, I first read the movie's title in the internet, and it was gossiped that Stallone and Schwarzenegger are to star in the title roles along with Michael Madson and Mickey Rourke. I was eagerly awaiting all these years for this movie, and it didn't disappoint me. I simply loved it.
Tarentino's take on this movie - 'You know somethin', Utivich? I think this might just be my masterpiece' – Just might be Mr. Tarentino. . But never mind. Ultimately, it's the fun ride which we need.
Inglourious Basterds – Vintage Tarentino.
See the trailer here.
Ernesto Guevara. A name which is otherwise known as ‘Che’ to the millions of people who live with the fire of revolution in t heir hearts. A very important personality of the twentieth century. A name which can never be erased from the history of the world’s revolutions. A godly figure to the Cubans worldwide. A devil to the American citizens.
We see these days many people wearing T shirts which carry the image of Che. But I wonder how many of them know the role he played to liberate Cuba from a dictator named Batista (Nope. Not the one who features in WWE’s wrestling shows, but a real dictator) and the charisma he had among the Cuban people who considered him as a liberator and the role he later played towards the Bolivian revolution (which, of course failed). I’ll advice these people to try seeing the movie ‘Che’ first.
Well, before we review the film, let’s take a look at the details of how the movie was made. Talented actor Benicio Del Toro bought the movie rights of Jon Lee Anderson's 1997 biography Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life. But, while he and producer Laura Bickford were trying to get a suitable writer for the movie, the rights expired in two years. But, Benicio Del Toro had begun researching the role, while they were searching for a writer. He did his research for seven long years, in which he read every possible book on Che Guevara, met most of the people who were associated with his life (including Fidel Castro), touring all over Cuba to see the places where Che lived and studying Che’s body language and mannerisms. After a certain period of time, when Del Toro felt he is ready to carry the role of Che on his shoulders, asked Terrence Malick to pen the script, as he had been to Bolivia as a journalist during 1966. But, due to shortage in funds, Malick moved out. It was then decided to ask Steven Soderbergh to direct the film, and to ask Peter Buchman to pen the screenplay, due to Buchman’s interest in researching historical personalities. Thus, the movie began to take shape.
Initially, the decision was to film a movie on Che’s unsuccessful attempts to thwart the government of Bolivia, but then the stakeholders realized that there was no reason or a context which made Che to go to Bolivia, and so, they decided it would be better if the movie talks about the Cuban revolution first and then Che’s decision to go to Bolivia. But, after finishing the script, it was so huge that Del Toro and Soderbergh decided to cut the script in to two parts. The first part must be about the Cuban revolution and the second part about Che’s days in Bolivia.
This is how the movie was made.
The First part is titled as ‘Che – The Argentine’. The film begins with an interview of Che by a female reporter, Lisa Howard, after the Cuban revolution, and through the interview, the flashback of the Cuban revolution is shown in intercuts. The scenes of how Che and Castro meet for the first ever time, how Che joined Castro’s ‘July 26th’ movement, how they travel to Cuba in a boat, how the revolution started, how they gradually started to launch guerilla attacks on the Cuban army, how they successfully attacked the Cuban army barracks, how they were able to move in to the city of Las Villas, the battle of Santa Clara and how the dictator Batista finally fled out of Cuba, there by ending the Cuban revolution, and how Fidel Castro became the Cuban Prime Minister. We also get to see the fierce speech Che delivered in the UN during 1964 and his American visit.
The revolution is shown in rich color, where as Che’s post revolution scenes are shown in black and white, giving the movie a documentary feel.
Although the movie can be summarized in a small paragraph, the realistic scenes add an advantage to the film. The transformation of a young Argentinean doctor in to a fierce revolutionist is excellently portrayed in the film. Although the film starts with the meeting of a young Che with Castro, it has to be taken in to consideration that it was Che Guevara’s Latin American motorcycle journey for six long months which changed his entire attitude and made him in to a revolutionist. Read the review of the movie ‘The motorcycle diaries’ here.
After joining the army of Castro, soon Che gets promoted to the role of a Comandante. He served in the July 26th movement as an inspirational leader throughout the revolution. In the movie, we see Che’s various traits, from being a very compassionate doctor and an inspirational leader, to being a ruthless executor of traitors, a masterful Comandante, a political leader and an author, a disciplined military officer who doesn’t want his troops to travel in stolen cars and instead prefers them to walk all the way to the country.
The movie ends with the battle of Santa Clara and how Fidel Castro became the Prime Minister of Cuba.
The movie was made in spanish and released in the year 2008 in May at the Cannes film festival and Benicio del Toro won the best actor award fro his brilliant performance.
The second part of the movie is called ‘Che – the Guerilla’ which is entirely about Che’s Bolivian struggle which will be posted in a day or two in this blog.
See the trailer here.
‘'All stones in that place [Arunachala] are lingams. It is indeed the Abode of
Lord Siva. All trees are the wish-granting trees of Indra's heaven. Its rippling
waters are the Ganges, flowing through our Lord's matted locks. The food eaten
there is the ambrosia of the Gods. When men move about in that place it is the
earth performing pradakshina around it. Words spoken there are holy scripture,
and to fall asleep there is to be absorbed in samadhi, beyond the mind's
delusion. Could there be any other place which is its equal? “
Watching movies is a really good experience. It might give you new ideas, might totally change your mood and might leave you refreshed. I write mostly about foreign movies, and I have seldom written about Indian films. There are a few Indian directors who match and who sometimes exceed the best of the world’s finest directors. One such director is Rituparno Ghosh. Now, I first saw Ghosh in his ‘Raincoat’, starring Ajay Devgan and Aishwarya Rai. It touched my heart and it still is one of the best movies I have ever seen, in any language. Inspired by an O Henry story, it’s a beautiful romantic tale. From then on, I knew this is a director who can make marks with his quality movies, in the world cinema.
‘The Last Lear’ too, didn’t disappoint me. Nicely filmed, it’s a trade mark Rituparno Ghosh movie. It stars Amitabh Bachchan in a very different kinda role. It has Preity Zinta and Arjun Rampal, again in two offbeat, different roles. I want to see such kind of movies to be taken more frequently in India.
The movie begins when we learn from the leading actors that there is going to be a premiere of a new movie of director Siddharth. The leading lady Shabnam is getting ready to visit someone, and she tells her husband she is not going to the premiere. Her husband always suspects that she is seeing someone, and tortures her and sprays her perfume all over her face. She runs out, and goes to a house.
Back at the premiere, director Siddharth is seeing the movie all alone, to check about the scenes and the shots. He finishes watching it when press people want his interview outside the theatre. Strangely, he stays aloof from all the celebration of the premiere. His friend Gowtham comes in to the scene, and through Gowtham, we start to learn about what happened during the movie shoot, in a flashback.
Harish ‘Harry’ Mishra a greatly talented thespian, has refrained himself from acting for a few years. He stays in his home all the time. Once Gowtham, a reporter, goes to interview Harish and is driven out of the home when he doesn’t know the names of the characters in ‘A midsummer night’s dream’, a play by Shakespeare. Harish is a specialist in Shakespearian plays, and has a deep respect towards the celebrated playwright.
Through Gowtham, Siddharth comes to know about Harish, and he decides Harish will be perfect for the leading role in his new movie. So, he goes to Harish’s home and gradually becomes a friend of Harish, since he too is a Shakespeare fanatic. Slowly, Siddharth makes Harish to accept the offer.
What is happening to Shabnam is also shown in intercuts. She has gone to Harish’s home, to see him. Harish is paralyzed and is lying in the bed, without any consciousness. We learn that something has happened in the film shoot which resulted in Harish’s present condition. We meet a lady named Vandana who looks after Harish, and the nurse. The nurse is anxiously waiting for her boyfriend finally to pick her up, so that they can start a new living. She complains to Vandana and Shabnam though, that he at times tortures her by asking stupid questions like where is she, what is she doing in the night etc.. Shabnam too says she has the same treatment from her husband.
Back in the flashback, the film shoot is happening in an outdoor hill station, and due to the harsh treatment from her husband, Preity is gloomy, sitting alone, memorizing the dialogues in a mechanical way, when Harish sees her. He comes to her, talks to her to bring out her emotions, as she can act well only if she is able to bring them out. If she is sad, it will affect the takes and hence, she must get rid of the sadness. He convinces Shabnam and she finally cries out aloud, bringing all her emotions out. From that day, they both become good friends. Harish teaches Shabnam some great dialogues from Shakespeare’s plays.
The film is nearing the climax, and Siddharth is planning to shoot the climax. One night, when Siddharth and Harish are enjoying a drink, Siddharth tells Harish that he has a dupe planned for the climax, and this makes Harish sad, as he says he has never used a dupe in his plays so far and he wants to act in the climax himself. The climax has been written in such a way that the leading actor jumps from a hill top, and hence Siddharth says it might be dangerous for Harry to act in it, but Harry falls in Siddharth’s feet, begging him to grant him the opportunity of completing the climax. Finally, a reluctant Siddharth agrees.
The day arrives. Everything is set for the climax. The climax is shot, and Harry jumps off the cliff. Siddharth notices Harry holding the branches below the cliff, for balance and because of this, the shot has not come well. So, he grabs the mike and orders for a re-take. Being a perfectionist himself, his mind is thinking only about how to film the shoot, and hence he secretly orders people to cut the branches. When no one comes forward, he cuts them himself, and when Harry jumps from the cliff during the re-take, he falls down and breaks his spinal chord and falls unconscious.
Shabnam goes in to Harry’s room, and sees an unconscious Harry. Vandana tells her that Harry stopped acting in plays, since people were commenting about their relationship. They are not married, and are living together. Now, Shabnam slowly starts reading passages from Shakespeare and slowly Harry opens his eyes. He too starts uttering the dialogues, as the movie ends.
Amitabh Bachchan has rendered an excellent performance as Harish ‘Harry’ Mishra. The respect he has towards his plays and his funny comments towards films portray his character well. He has a deep yearning towards playing as King Lear, his most favorite role, and while he was about to play the character, he stopped acting in the plays, Vandana tells Shabnam. The way Siddharth convinces Harry to act in the movies is a touchy, yet enjoyable part of the film.
Amitabh Bachchan has lived the role of Harry, and I would easily say this is one of his greatest performances, if not the best.
Another masterpiece from Rituparno Ghosh, The Last Lear is a very realistic film which introduces us the eccentric as well as the passionate Harry, as the tagline says.
See the trailer here.
‘I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the
greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you
are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with Spencer, "Spence,"
and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and
how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I
think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can
watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just
met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good,