Thursday, 30 June 2011


July arrives...

1) Okay, so I had been talking about going all tear-jerky and sentimental and awesome for the end of the Harry Potter movie series for ages now. But honestly, I'm at a loss. I don't know what to do. I've been brainstorming for like a month now, and nothing. I had been all like July will be my HP month, except my college starts tomorrow. I have to return to the world of studies soon, and I just can't think of anything HP-related. The only thing I've done so far is make Harry Potter banners. Help, anyone?

2) This week was a great week for trailers. Steven Spielberg's Warhorse, Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy and my newest favourite thing in the whole wide world, Pixar's Brave- all released teaser trailers this week. I'm in love with Princess Merida...she's even my Facebook profile pic. The story though looks more Dreamworks-y than Pixar-y. Dreamworks' animated films are larger than life, while Pixar's are about extraordinary things in the seemingly ordinary. I think only The Incredibles was the exception, but Brave looks epic. Warhorse looks very beautiful, and though I am not a fan of animal-films (Black Beauty, with the horse talking...I had nightmares) I think this might just be good. Also I am so in love with Emily Blunt post-Breaking the Waves! And Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy looks super-cool. I have a lot of faith in Alfredson; he single-handedly made me proud of being a vampire-fan-person. Let's hope the fantastic Gary Oldman FINALLY gets the Oscar attention he deserves with this.

3) June was officially the month in which I blogged the most. I just hope to keep getting more prolific at this. I had a weird confused start, and didn't know about film blogs till about a year after I had started this blog. I am glad to call myself, with much humility and gratitude, a part of the film blogging community now. It is fun and oh so very educational.

4) Finally, I found the COOLEST THING EVERRRRRRRR on my Tumblr the other day. I would totally pay money to watch a film about the creation of this.

"Flip your Goddamn hair"- Alex, Charlie's Angels (2000)


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Morality- No Thank You

       Now I really thought that I would be the last person, in the whole world, to take part in this blogathon by Filmplicity and Dirty With Class. Why? Because I don't really believe in morals.WHAAAT? Seriously, I have difficulty believing in this whole concept because I don't really understand it. And well, one of the biggest contributors behind this non-belief of mine are the films that I watch. Books are also to "blame", but I have watched way more films than I have read books. And though my film knowledge is still pretty deplorable, I am going to write what I know and think about this topic.

         Morality. The only conclusion that I have come to regarding morality is that it depends on a person's choice. And that's where it goes all hazy. Remember in Donnie Darko, when that freak of a teacher asks Donnie to answer a question by marking it on the lifeline and he says that life isn't that simple? That is me for everything deemed as morals. I have this slightly frowned-upon habit of looking beyond things that are "good" or things that are "bad". Even murderers or terrorists or sexual predators... I always want to know what made them that way. For instance, Lord Voldemort, who is so evil and love-less because he was born out of unnatural love. Or Clarice Starling who is always after justice because of her childhood. There is always a reason, and while I don't go as far as empathise with the characters, I do try somehow to understand why they are the way they are. And in this understanding, the morals go out of the window.

         Just a couple of days back I saw Lars Von Trier's Breaking the Waves. It is about a woman named Bess who starts having sex with other men because she believes that is the only way of making her nearly-paralysed husband better. The church in her little Scottish village condemn her to Hell, but we see that her Lord sends her to Heaven, bells and all. I have not stopped thinking about this film since I saw it. And luckily, it is the perfect film required for my morality argument. The Free Online Dictionary defines morality as "virtuous conduct". Here is a woman who has sex with lots of men like a prostitute, commits adultery, breaks the church's law, practically goes to her death willingly, with the total conviction that God is on her side. And her actions do, coincidentally or not, result in what she had wanted- her husband's recovery. Now I'm not suggesting that people should start sleeping around to save their loved ones, but the fact that Bess did exactly that does not make her a bad person. She's someone who is so full of love for her husband, that virtuous conduct or morality ceases to matter completely. What is right? What is wrong? There are more important things to consider.

           This is where I think I will answer the big question- Do Filmmakers have a Moral Responsibility? No, I don't think that they do. I do, however, think that it is their job to show the more important things, and it is the viewers' jobs to make their minds about them. We can revel at a bank heist gone right or a bride taking revenge. We can mourn the death of a godfather or a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing vigilante. It is our choice.

"Don't you see, Sophie? We're dying."

      It was Meryl Streep's birthday few days back. As clichéd as it sounds, she really is one of my most favourite actresses, if not the one. She can do all sorts of things, all sorts of roles- from a distraught mother to a devilish fashionista, Holocaust-survivor to iconic chef, and now she'd gonna be the Iron Lady. And whatever she does, she is just so good. But I, myself, had not understood her true greatness till I finally saw Sophie's Choice. I had anyways been in my Holocaust mood since I finished The Book Thief (oh what a book!) and so I sat down on 22nd June, 2011- Meryl Streep's 62nd birthday, and watched what is often said to be one of the greatest cinematic performances ever.

         The film is set right after World War 2, when a Southerner named Stingo decides to venture out to Brooklyn, New York, in hopes to find inspiration and solitude to write his novel. He rents a room in a great big and rather odd-looking rose-colored house. The first day in, he's invited by the tenants living on the floor above his- Nathan and Sophie, for dinner. Except the first meeting does not go as planned, when he sees a hysterical Nathan screaming at the sobbing Sophie, and when Stingo tries to cut in, he and his Southern accent gets mocked too. After sometime, Sophie comes to give Stingo his promised dinner. When he goes to return it, he sees a distraught Sophie sleeping on a chair. Then he hears Nathan quietly creeping back up, and he and Sophie reconcile...he whispers to he “Don’t you see Sophie, we're dying." Nathan and Sophie decide to befriend the very inexperienced Stingo, and Stingo finds out that Sophie was a Polish immigrant who had been rescued from dying painfully by many a deadly disease by Nathan, who is apparently a brilliant biologist, and his doctor brother. Something in him tells Stingo that he should flee from this odd couple, but he remains and they all become the best of friends.

         One evening, after a failed date, when Stingo returns, he finds Sophie all worried about Nathan, who is hasn’t returned from work and it’s very late. She calls him to have a drink, and while they’re talking, she reveals to him that she was married once. She says that her professor father was completely anti-Nazis and this had resulted in him and her husband, who was her father’s assistant to be taken away by the Germans and get executed. Also her mother had died from tuberculosis and for trying to save her by bringing in some smuggled ham, Sophie had been caught by the German soldiers and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camps. She also tells Stingo on how after hearing her story, Nathan, who was Jewish, had become obsessed with the Nazis. While they are discussing this, Nathan returns, in a bit of a haggard state, much like the first night and starts to get angry at both of them, but Sophie controls him.

          Nathan steals Stingo’s novel from him one day and reads it, while Sophie takes Stingo out. He then takes them to the Brooklyn Bridge and, with champagne, declares that his friend is the next great novelist. After a few days, he tells them that the project that his team had been working on has been completed, and it is so great that he will win the Nobel Prize for it. He gets a beautiful dress and shoes for Sophie and a coat for Stingo as gifts. That night both of them get dressed up and wait for Nathan to return, so that they could all celebrate his triumph. Except when he does come, he’s in one of his “moods”. He harasses Sophie and when Stingo tries to stop him, he starts to demean his novel. When Sophie runs away the next day, Stingo goes to look for her, and meets a professor who had previously known Sophie’s father. He reveals that the man was actually a ruthless Anti-Semite. Stingo is stunned to find this out and when later Sophie returns and he confronts her with this information, she says she lied because she didn’t want to be hated and left alone.

       Later she tells him her story- about how she revered her father, and translated a speech for him in which he proposed the total extermination of Jews, but it had made many mistakes, causing her father to get disappointed in her. She revealed that she had a lover, and his sister, who was a Resistance leader, had asked her to translate some stolen Gestapo documents, but she had declined the offer to protect her children. Her lover was later killed, and she was taken to Auschwitz with her son Jan and daughter Eva. Jan was sent to the children’s camp and Eva was exterminated. Because of her qualifications, Sophie was sent to intern for the German commander Rudolf Höss. She tried to woo him with her Aryan looks so that he would send Jan to the Lebensborn programme, and he promised to get him to meet her, but he did no such thing and instead sent her back to the camps.

        Nathan returns and everything seems to go back to normal. Stingo is then called by Nathan’s brother who reveals the truth about Nathan. Nathan is not a part of any research group, or a biologist. He simply works in a pharmaceutical company, and all his brilliance and lies are because he is in fact a paranoid schizophrenic. He tells Stingo to keep an eye out for him, especially when he is on drugs which he can easily obtain. Sophie knows nothing of this. Nathan proposes to Sophie, which she accepts, but has an attack again and starts believing that Sophie and Stingo are having an affair behind his back, and threatens them with a gun over the phone. Sophie and Stingo flee and take refuge in a hotel where he asks her to come to his father’s farm with him and marry him because he loves her. It is then that Sophie reveals her biggest secret...about a choice she had once made.
         Now as usual I have revealed all of the story but the ending. I kind of already knew about it because of one of the four Modern Family episodes that I have ever seen, but it was still very shocking. Bloody were they so cruel?

          The story has three main aspects, each connected to the three chief characters. Stingo's story is that of a wide-eyed kid who comes to New York for a great adventure, and in many ways he does get one, though not exactly of the kind he had in mind. An older Stingo is the narrator of the story, so we understand that as time has passed, he has made peace with the whole experience. The younger Stingo reminded me of Michael Pitt's character in The Dreamers- someone desperate to make friends, and when he finds the friends of his dreams, he is bedazzled by them so much that he overlooks their overbearing flaws. In all the innocence of youth he falls in love with them- with Nathan because of his eccentricities and Sophie because of her beauty and then sorrows. He is the only one who knows both their secrets and he accepts them, and as he is the eyes of the audience in a way, we accept them too. His is the "coming-of-age" story.

          Sophie's story is about her previous life in Poland and in the Auschwitz concentration camps. The oppression and torture by Nazis is infamous throughout film history, and this is no exception. Schindler's List had the good German POV, The Pianist had the Polish Jew POV. Sophie's POV was of a woman- a daughter, a wife, a mother, who endures a fate worse than most. She is puzzled by, yet in awe of her father's Anti-Jew feelings. She regularly wants to do the right thing, but she keeps avoiding them to protect the people she loves, which is not exactly wrong. I am always amazed by the Nazis; I mean I get that people were sad in Germany and Hitler tried to make things better, but how is it that almost an entire nation of people are reduced to such an extreme form of hatred and cruelty? I like my villains, but they have some class, and Nazis were just...  JEGEGN(&$#@VKL*@GNVWJLB!@$%#GOFLEN%(&GFLBG
God they infuriate me so! So Sophie's was the Holocaust story.

         Which takes me to the final story, and my favourite one- Nathan and Sophie's crazy, turbulent, sadomasochistic even, love affair. It just made so much sense to me. Ofcourse Sophie needed someone like Nathan- while he made her laugh and happy, he was also the punishment she inflicted upon herself. And obviously Nathan wanted someone like Sophie- a survivor, a sad soul, a beauty, like a fallen heroine from a story that he had read, and he could almost let his wild imagination run with her. Nathan and Sophie's love was contagious and deadly- they were a very striking couple to look at and even a more striking one to know. Stingo had to fall in love with them...who couldn't? They are the happiest pair one moment, and the very next moment Nathan is calling Sophie a disease. Lady Gaga's Bad Romance- right here people! And I am one of those who loves a story of over-consuming love, and that's just what this is.

        The story is adapted from William Styron's novel of the same name by the writer and director Alan J. Pakula. I thought it was well-written and directed. I liked the parallel storylines- Stingo's narration of his encounter with Nathan and Sophie and Sophie's tale. One of the things I really enjoyed, and I thought was quite novel, was the happier parts of the story. I had known this to be a Holocaust-related film, and I was quite surprised to find myself smiling when Nathan and Sophie dance or when they all go to Coney Island or Stingo's date with Leslie Lapidus.

            What I think really drives the film is the cast. Oh Meryl, Meryl, do you do such things? The first time she speaks in that Polish-accented broken English, and I have already forgotten that this is the same Meryl Streep I had seen so many times before. She is so beautiful as Sophie...she glows like how the actresses of old used to. I love the desperation with which she tries to stay happy. For instance the scene when they're all at the piano and she's telling Stingo about her mother, and she gets sad for a second and then starts laughing at her silly grief. The Polish she speaks sounds perfect I believed that she really was a native. The director shows the two periods of her life in two shades- the present in bright colours, where she is healthy and almost always with a smile, and the past in dull greys, where her she is almost catatonic because the concentration camps had wrung out every emotion from her life and she had become a like non-human. Meryl manages to excel in both these parts. Her narration is so unique...I've never heard such an accent ever, and her sadness is so apparent in her voice. And my god...the choice scene, it's so heartbreaking! Her chemistry with both Kevin Kline, who plays Nathan and Peter MacNicol, who plays Stingo, is great. Especially with the former.

        I loved Kevin Kline in this film. Nathan had to be over-the-top because of his mental illness, and he acted it all out so perfectly. From the mean-spirited screaming and ridiculing to the exclamations of love and praise, he totally won me over. And he was so handsome and Meryl was so beautiful...they looked like such a power couple except for the craziness. I knew MacNicol from Bean, and it was so surprising to see him in this role. But he too was very good- the naivety and the thirst and the wonderment of youth, he was all of these things. His relationship with Sophie was like a teenager with his first crush, and as their relationship evolves, so does he.

          So in the end I will say that if you are like me, an eternal Nazi-hater, and Holocaust-movie lover, and a messed-up relationship-admirer, and most importantly, a Meryl Streep fan, you should definitely check this film out.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

My Eternal Struggle With The Sound of Music

        The Sound of Music is one musical that everyone, who speaks any remote form of English, has seen. I can personally vouch that it's the most famous English musical as far as Indian people go. This is because the songs are lovely, and (I think) the whole nun-meets-seven-children-and-father-and-sings-songs-and-falls-in-love-with-father-and-then-becomes-the-children's-mother-thing is something that Indian audiences will eat up.
       I am one of the very few people I know that didn't think the world of The Sound of Music. I had only seen it a couple of times as a kid, and it didn't really enamour me the way it did everyone else. This feeling of discontent only grew as I grew older. A couple of days back, I had a stupid argument with one of my friends because she kept on calling Maria a chimney-sweep and yeah...poor confused girl. Oddly enough, this whetted my curiosity about whether I still find the film silly or not. And so I watched it after many many years last night.

Things I liked about The Sound of Music:

1) The introduction to Maria- I think this has to be one of the loveliest introductions to a character ever. The film opens with images of the scenic Austrian town Salzburg, and then it brings us to this place- the greenest mountain top with the sapphire sky above it and this woman twirling with her arms wide open and taking in all its glory before breaking out into the song "The Sound Of Music". And the oddest thing is, I can actually imagine that the hills have sung this song for a thousand years. A place this magical...anything can happen.

2) The nuns- Screw the children; how cute were the nuns? Maybe it's because of my religious convictions, but whenever a person of God does something totally uncharacteristic...I love it! Whether it was them singing or bitching about Maria behind her back (in song and prayer of course), or kicking out the kids from the abbey, or just the ending when the super-bitchy nun and the nice one say that they have sinned- it just gives me too much joy. Peggy Wood, who played the Reverend Mother, was actually nominated for an Oscar for her role.

3) The songs- I think we've all grown up listening to these songs. My mother actually used to sing "My Favourite Things" to me to make me feel better as a kid. I liked all the songs, but ofcourse some of them can be a bit annoying to listen to constantly. Now one song that I didn't remember at all, and has sort of become my favourite since yesterday was "Edelweiss". And one of my friends had long ago used "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria" to describe me, and after yesterday that makes me very happy :)

4) Julie Andrews and her voice- I love Julie Andrews! So very much!! She is so sweet and funny and kind, and noone could have played Maria but her. One of my favourite parts is when the super awesome and bitchy nuns are singing "Maria" and she comes running in and then sees them and shrugs at her obvious and predictable clumsiness. But nothing compares to when she starts singing. Julie Andrews's singing voice is what I expect to hear when I enter the gates of Heaven (IF I got to Heaven, that is). I can't help but smile, and really smile big, whenever she sings. Her voice is one of the most beautiful things that can ever be.

5) The unbelievably sexy Christopher Plummer as Capt. Von Trapp- Good God! How did I not notice this? Christopher Plummer is still a very fine-looking old, old, old man, but he was so glorious in his youth. I am partial to men in uniform because well, they just look sexier, and I think Capt. Von Trapp may just become my favourite ever. The discipline, the hint of humour, the singing, that divine smile, and his pairing with Andrews...dazzling.

6) This shot- This film had beautiful quaint locations, and there was an incredible amount of wideshots, for example when Maria and the Captain dance the Laendler. But this one shot was just breath-taking. I love silhouettes, and as clichéd as it looks- the shadow and the kiss on the forehead, I think it's enchanting.

Things I didn't like so much about The Sound of Music:

1) The ending- It was so stupid. They just walked about the mountains and became mountain-folk or what? And even if they went to Switzerland, what the fuck happened there? Did the Captain finally sell out and made money from his children? The film is inspired by the real Von Trapp family, but the stories are still very different. One of the reasons I disliked the film as a kid was because of the dumb ending. I mean, how is it a happy ending? How can one be sure that the Nazis didn't get them still? With such a happy film, the ending should have been a clear cut one- not a vague one like this. It almost pisses me off as much as Gone With The Wind's ending (don't even get me started on that one).

2) The scene after the intermission- I don't understand why it annoyed me so much, but once the film resumes we see all of Salzburg again. We already saw it when the film started, with the scores of all the songs playing in the background, and then they do it all again after intermission. Why would one waste time like that? There are better ways of showing time lapse, I'm pretty sure.

3) The fact that EVERYONE can sing- Okay by rule of thumb, everyone in musicals can sing. But all of Austria could sing in this. And not in a happy way...but in that annoying harmonious high-pitched way. Maybe I'm just jealous, but seriously how can EVERYONE be so musically don't make no sense to me, I'm sorry.

4) The fact that Liesel is the world's weirdest teenager- Okay kids in films like this are generally annoying, but how on earth can a teenager be this sweet? No teenager likes to play with their SIX siblings all the time. And sing songs with them. She's a little bad-ass with the whole Rolfe thing, but still they spend their time singing and choreographing. Even Friedrich was super-fake.

5) Maria and the Captain suddenly falling in love- I do not understand how people just fall head-over-heels in love with each other overnight. Love at first sight is something else, but out of the blue both the leads realise that they are made for each other-that is shit! Especially when the Captain keeps chatting up the ravishing Baroness and Maria looks happy for them. I didn't personally think anything till the Captain sang "Edelweiss" and the super-alert Baroness gives that look. And boom- they're in love! It's ridiculous.

6) Rolfe- What a fool! The whole Brown Shirt thing has never gelled with me. Liesel was stunning, albeit unrealistic...screw Hitler! I just think he was an unnecessary added layer, to make the film look serious, when it obviously wasn't.

        On the whole, I think I have now warmed up to this sweet and sappy classic. I suddenly really love the songs, and man...Christopher Plummer *heart*. And Julie Andrews is just so contagious in it, how can one not fall in love with her? I think upto the wedding, the film is fine. If they had focused more on the courtship between Maria and the Captain, and not so much on the Nazi-issues, it would've been much better. And I guess the extraordinary number of shots of the scenery was to show what a pretty place Austria was before the war, but it's still a tad bit too much. And ugh, EVERYONE singing. But still nice.

        I'm sure everyone's seen it, but give it a go again if you were like me all this while.
Auf Wiedersehen for now.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


This is a whole blob of thoughts and feelings-

        I finally got into college. Woo-hoo! Okay not the college of my dreams, but I will have a lot of free time in which I can do a bazillion things like learn to drive or bake or tap-dance. I can also start feeling literate again by some point...going back to the wondrous world of books (oh Mr. Dahl is going to be so happy!). I will even squeeze in 500 movies or so (I dunno where to set my target at actually). So anyways, I've been super-lazy this week. I saw some pretty spectacular films: Double Indemnity-sexy film noir, Fish Tank- rather Fass-tastic, or fass-Fass-tic (on a side note, which sounds lamer, 'cuz my best friend refuses to "put up with this idiocy"?), Monty Python and the Holy Grail- and my life just seems a little more complete now. I saw Sherlock Holmes for the second time finally, and it was so brilliant this time! Still I just could not get myself to write a word on any of them.

        On movie news, the world has been torn apart by Keira Knightley's ridiculous Russian accent in the much anticipated A Dangerous Method's first trailer. The story looks great, the casting otherwise is a dream- Fassy, Viggo and Cassel. But only Joe Wright ever manages to make Knightley slightly bearable. And does anyone else feel concerned by how much thinner she looks in this? It might be for the role, but something tells me she will remain like that forever- I dunno...emaciated people just freak me out. Next, Burberry model Douglas Booth has been cast as Romeo, opposite Hailee Steinfeld. On the basis of just looks, and the romance of it all, I like it. But Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet has only grown stronger and stronger for me. As long as this isn't a lame remake or something, I guess it will be fine. Also I have officially lost all interest in the animated films of this year. I slept in Cars, and Cars 2 doesn't seem like anything better. And as much as I love Antonio Banderas and Puss in Boots, his eponymous film does nothing for me. There's Tintin, but never liked the books (something about his hair just didn't click with me). Lastly there is still no buzz about Super 8 in India, and I am getting closer and closer in desperation to go to the dark side- the much-detested, yet highly-convenient online movie-watching world.

        I have a couple of review planned, and Saving Private Ryan is coming on the telly...but I think I'm gonna go sleep now.

PS. I didn't look for this. It came on my Tumblr dashboard.

G'night now.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

"You are literally like my musical soulmate."

        I have a list of films that I, without fail, watch once a month since the first time I saw them. These are Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Boat that Rocked and The Social Network. And well a Tarantino film, but they are on like a revolving basis. Apart from TSN and the QT flick, the others are not exactly great works of art. But they make me happy, and I think films that one rewatches a lot should do exactly that.

         Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist follows the adventures of one Nick and one Norah when they go to NYC one night to see the secret show of their favourite band Where's Fluffy. Nick has been heartbroken over his ex Tris for a month now, and his band The Jerk Offs/ Shit Sandwich/ Fistful of Assholes/ undecided, consisting of Dev and Thom, who are both redonkulously gay, want him to move on. His salvation comes in the form of Norah, a smart-mouthed girl whose dad is a big music producer, and who goes to the same school as Tris and is best friends with the very attractive, but generally very wasted Caroline. When Nick's band is performing at a club, Tris comes to show off her new conquest to the depressed Nick, while also taunting Norah about her messed-up lovelife. So Norah, who had previously noticed the cute Nick, goes up to him and asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes to ward off the evil little Tris, and kisses him. Thus begins their infinite playlist, and night. Nick's friends see that there is an obvious attraction between him and Norah, and decide to take the drunken mess, aka Caroline off their hands while they go find Fluffy, and perhaps true love. Amidst all this a lot of things happen- Nick gets over Tris, Nick's Yugo is used as a bedroom by Seth Meyers (!!) and some equally drunk woman, Caroline gets lost and finds Jesus, Norah comes to terms with her relationship between her and her somewhat boyfriend Tal, and they do find Fluffy.

       That was a gist of what the film is about. I have seen it so many times, that writing out its plot is oddly impossible. The story is based on the novel by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. I've read the book, and I was suprised to find that there are quite a lot of differences between it and the film. For example I would have never cast Michael Cera as Nick according to the character in the book. Sure he's sweet and chivalrous, but there's something very non-Cera about him. He is not exactly the Cera-brand cute... he's old school gentlemanly, and I dunno- Cera just doesn't come to mind.  And Norah is slightly painful; nothing like the super-gorgeous and quirky Kat Dennings. But I am glad that they did cast these two. They are one of my most favourite pairings ever- they are so sweet that they should make one's tooth ache, but the quarreling makes them all the more endearing.

       Cera is one of my top leading men in all honesty. I do love most of his films, even though he has made only a handful. He makes Nick so believeable- in his jealousy, in his desperation, in his honesty. He is funny, but not in a HA-HA kind of way, but much more subtle. Just a few lines here and there, and you know that he has a sense of humour, but not overly so. When he looks at Tris or Norah and whispers that he finds them beautiful, it's not a common compliment, but something quite sincere. Sure one may say that he does the same roles over and over again, but I think Nick stands out in all his quiet sincerity and earnestness. Dennings is just lovely as Norah. The screen brightens up whenever she smiles. Her make-up artist does a simple job on her- a bit of eyeliner and red lipstick, but it just looks so attractive. From her anger to her embarrassment to happiness, every feeling is so clear and well, charming. I can't help but smile at all her emotions, because we all feel like that at times, and if only some of us could look that good. God Tris and Caroline had nothing on her. 

       Speaking of, I also loved Caroline, who is played by Ari Graynor. She was hilarious in all her drunken-ness and did not shy away from barfing or belching or picking out a piece of chewing gum from inside the toilet (okay I skip that part everytime). Also Nick's friends- Thom played by Aaron Yoo, Dev played by Rafi Gavron and "beefy guy" Lethario played by Johnathan B. Wright, they were all very cute and funny in their own careless natures. I want friends like that- gay and funny and caring and at the same time, always after having a good time. The nemeses- Tris and Tal are played by Alexis Dziena and Jay Baruchel. Both are evil, conceited, and selfish. Again in the novel, the characters were different, in the sense that they were nicer and had more dimensions. But still I think that it is fun to have them as the bitchy bad guys, and then see them get served!

        One of my favourite things about the film is all the extras. There is obviously the afore-mentioned Seth Meyers. Along with him there is also Andy Sandberg, John Cho and Devendra Banhart and a whole lot of other people. They are just people from the streets screaming out random stuff, or pant-less alter boys, or creepy street-bums, or omniscient deli shoppers. I love them because that is how I imagine New York to be like- random, profane, mad and funny. 

        Nick and Norah has many of the things that I love to see in films. As already mentioned above- there are a lot of interesting characters. Another thing is the time-lapse. I love films that begin and end in a small period of time. This film gives me just that. Staying out all night, looking for a friend or an imaginary band or just the one, and that one night is all there is. In the book there is a very nice passage about this- 
"I shouldn’t want the song to end. I always think of each night as a song. Or each moment as a song. But now I’m seeing we don’t live in a single song. We move from song to song, from lyric to lyric, from chord to chord. There is no ending here. It’s an infinite playlist.
This is what the film is for me...and it's perfect.

         Lastly, and very importantly, the actual songs in the film are incredible. This film has one of my most favourite soundtracks ever. I literally got into so many bands after listening to the soundtrack, it's ridiculous! The songs add to the feel of the one night...of the magical and weird New York...of finding things and people.

          I think this is the perfect time-pass film. It's funny, romantic, light, musical, and the leads are a treat for sore eyes. For truly this film would have been nothing without the adorable and enviable chemistry between Cera and Dennings. It's a particularly good watch on rainy afternoons (Yaay! Monsoon's here!). Do watch.

Friday, 17 June 2011

INTERVIEWS FOR LIFE! ~ Fourth Installment

First part- My mother made me play some sort of singing rodent in The Wind in the Willows... One of my finest performances.

         Isn't he beyond sexy? I had forgotten about this "feature" of mine. So this isn't really an interview, but it's still damn funny. A friend of mine had suggested that Matthew Goode should play the lead in The Great Gatsby. I agree completely...sure Leo is gorgeous too, but Goode playing Jay Gatsby would have been quite something else.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


These are my weekly thoughts, for this week:

1) The X-Men frenzy continues. I was reading this post at The Film Experience, and it reminded me of this crazy idea I had a few weeks back. Remember how Darren Aronofsky had been selected to direct the new reboot/prequel/sequel/pre-sequel/whatever Wolverine film, but then he stepped down, and there have been talks about other directors being considered for the post like Doug Liman and Mark Romanek. I personally don't really care. I like Wolverine and I like Hugh Jackman, but the Origins film was one of the worst movie-going experiences I've ever had. Still people only seem to be interested in Wolverine, while I think one of the most interesting superheroes ever is Rogue. I don't read comic books as such, and whatever knowledge I have is off a cartoon show- Rogue is beyond cool. I liked what Anna Paquin brought to the role, but she was wayyy too dainty. So anyways the thought was- how about Aronofsky directing an Origins story for Rogue? It's a more crazy character and he can do wonders! Paquin could play the older Rogue...I mean she's kick-ass in True Blood, but Aronofsky would be brilliance for this thing. For time being, he's making the Noah flick, with a Mr. Christian Bale apparently in talks to play the savior of the world and stuff. Excited!

2) The Tony Awards happened. I saw the Neil Patrick Harris opening number and his duet with Wolverine himself. It was lovely! Anyways last week there was this article in the local tabloid about this Indian person who had never cared for Harry Potter and by extension, Daniel Radcliffe and then he/she saw him in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I shall quote what he/she thought of Mr. Radcliffe- "after watching the boy on stage, one feels that he is slated to go the Leo Di Caprio and Ryan Gosling way- pin-up boys of beauty who go on to become solid practitioners of the craft of acting." Okay maybe this is just some random person, but it made me feel like a proud momma. I have always loved Radcliffe, and have hoped that the Harry Potter troupe do end up becoming brilliant actors or whatever else.

3) I had the QT Week this week, which went well, I think. So I was thinking about maybe doing something similar with other filmmakers. Maybe one filmmaker a month, whose filmography I have finished or do finish in the allotted time. For logical reasons, I think I should go in a reverse-chronological order. Newer filmmakers have obviously made lesser films, and the lesser the number of films, the quicker will I finish their filmographies. I have finished filmographies of people like Sofia Coppola and Edgar Wright and have one-one film left for directors like David Fincher and Tim Burton. Like that it goes on. I am yet to make a dent in the filmographies of masters like Pedro Almodovar and Werner Herzog. Yes I know...I should go jump in a well before boasting about film knowledge again blah blah blah, but a gal's gotta start somewhere.

4) Speaking of trying to finish filmographies...I saw Boogie Nights this week. It was nothing that I expected it to be, which by the way, is something I'm starting to expect out of P.T. Anderson films. Very interesting ending. Anyhow, this little screencap from Gilmore Girls caught my attention with respect to Boogie Nights-

Fucking Falling Frogs.

Your thoughts now.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

What lifts you up where you belong?

We all have our blue days. I had an exceptionally bad one today, and like everything else, the only way I cope with it is by watching a film. Sometimes I watch comedies, like for instance The Hangover before my Mathematics exams. Other times I watch films which make me feel good about my life, like Igby Goes Down. Today I watched both kinds- Hot Fuzz, but that was before the depressing thing actually occurred, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly after. I thought the latter would act like a catharsis, but it just made me feel more guilty. Ah well, c'est la vie.

What films do you watch when you want to feel better?

The Harry Potter Post

As of today, there is exactly one month left for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2- the last film of the hugely popular and beloved Harry Potter film series, to come out. I can't think of what this means to me. This is what the cast thinks:


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

" He hits you with his fingertips at five different pressure points on your body. And then he lets you walk away. But after you've taken five steps, your heart explodes inside your body, and you fall to the floor, dead." ~ MY TARANTINO TOP 5

        I first discovered Quentin Tarantino about 5 years ago. His films seemed very different from anything that I had ever seen before. There was obviously the element of violence, but it was shown in a different way. There was always humour or beauty behind a violent scene- that's the first thing I noticed. Another thing was the music. These films were obviously made by a man who knew and loved his music. Then there was the QT woman- she was powerful and worldly. He knew that women were there for more things than braid their hair or shop or talk about men...that they could take care of all "manly" jobs equally well, if not better than their opposite sex. The fairer sex was never the second one in QT films. Lastly I noticed, and this was confirmed by an interview of his in which he talked about working in a cinema hall, that QT was, is and will always be a lover of films. He grew up watching a lot of B, C, D-grade films, that a young foreigner like me has never even thought of hearing of. And through his films, which are like of an A+++ grade, he pays homage to these films and opens a whole new world to his audiences.
These are my favourite Tarantino films:

Honourable Mentions: Kill Bill Vol. 2, Natural Born Killers, Jackie Brown.

5) True Romance (1993)-
Written by Quentin Tarantion, Directed by Tony Scott.
Starring- Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater, Michel Rapaport, Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, James Gandolfini, Tom Sizemore, Brad Pitt.
Story- Call girl Alabama meets comic bookstore clerk Clarence on his birthday during a Sonny Chiba cinema night. They instantly fall in love, but their path to marital bliss is wrought with druglords, pimps, angry henchmen, dopey directors and whatnot.
Why I love it- This is the most recently-viewed film in my list, so one can imagine what a huge impact it must've had on me... I had to bump off a few other favourites for it. And it was worth it. From the chemistry between the leads, to the assorted villains; great face-offs to Arquette's dreamy narration, it's one helluva ride to be part of. This film was funny and sweet and destructive.

4) Reservoir Dogs (1992)-
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring- Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Tierney, Eddie Bunker.
Story- A group of men are recruited by Joe and his son Nice Guy Eddie to rob a jeweler, but one of them is an informant who rats them out and their heist fails. Then they all turn on each other.
Why I love it- Well those of you who don't know, a Bollywood remake of Reservoir Dogs was made a number of years ago. It was infact the first film my younger brother ever saw. So you see technically, I knew about QT before I had even heard his name. I was quite apprehensive to watch the original, but thank god (!), it was the usual case of the Hollywood original being brilliance and the Bollywood one being tripe. This was a clever film. We see the different characters with each other, their own back-stories, their reasons, and we get to form our own opinion on who we think is right. And then QT gives us a totally wild climax, and we leave the film being totally blown away at what had just transpired. And ofcourse, colours don't ever mean the same again.

3) Inglorious Basterds (2009)-
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring- Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Fassbender, August Diehl, Eli Roth, Martin Wuttke.
Story- A group of American and German Jews decide to kill Nazis during the Second World War. At the same time, a young French girl decides to take matters into her own hands, after her family has been killed in the hands of the man known as the Jew Hunter.
Why I love it- QT decided to change the course of history in this film, in order to get a more fitting ending. This he did by picking out the most "Oscar-loved" era, and putting in his own story, about possibly what he wanted to have had happened, but seeing that it didn't made any difference. It was a better story anyways. Also he gave us one of the best and most diabolical villains in recent cinematic history with this film, while also making a multi-lingual film that many people who run away from the words "foreign cinema" found highly entertaining. I must say, damn good stuff sir.

2) Pulp Fiction (1994)-
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring- Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Eric Stoltz, Christopher Walken, Peter Greene, Ving Rhames.
Story- Two gunmen pick up a suitcase for their boss. One of them takes out the boss's missus for a date. The missus ODs on his heroin. A boxer decides to run, but forgets his father's watch and goes back to get it. He and the boss have a run-in with a few nasty men. The gunmen go to a friend's house with a dead person in their car, but have to get out of the situation before the friend's wife comes back. So the Wolf helps them. A couple decide to rob a diner.
Why I love it- Just look at the story! The fact that it makes no sense, even in the film, until the end when everything falls in place beautifully. Now choosing the top 2 was very difficult for me. Pulp Fiction has been hailed by everyone who has ever loved films and has been alive long enough to see it, as one of the most important films ever. The violence, the humour, the drugs, the dancing- just everything is so unique, and I can't even begin to think about how it came to be. This film changes lives, and what more can a film maker ask for?

1) Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)-
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Starring- Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Sonny Chiba, Chiaki Kuriyama, Michael Madsen, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Parks.
Story- A pregnant bride is shot down, along with her husband-to-be, and a church full of people by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, of which she used to be a member. She goes into a coma, only to wake up four years later, and then she decides to get her revenge.
Why I love it- I know most people will be appalled that this film took top spot, instead of Pulp Fiction. But the truth is this was the film I saw nearly 5 years ago. This was the film that introduced me to Tarantino-verse. This is the film that taught me the definition of awesome. I love every part of this film- the Nancy Sinatra ballad, the Pussy Wagon, Elle dressed as a nurse, the Bride talking to little Nikki after killing her mom, her getting the Hattori Hanzō sword, O-Ren Ishii's backstory, fighting Gogo and the rest of Crazy 88 and the final battle between the Bride and O-Ren. Everything! It's a matter of the heart for me and this film. The Bride is one amazing character, and often when things are bad and disruptive in the world, I like imagining that the Bride can make it all right...since she is immortal and all.
"I put a bullet in her head, but her heart just kept on beatin'."

Also done:
Favourite Violent Scenes in Tarantino Films
Favourite Characters in Tarantino Films
Favourite Villains in Tarantino Films
Favourite Couples in Tarantino Films

         So with this list, endeth the QT Week. I've said it before and I'll say it again, he's a total genius, and I am beyond excited for Django Unlimited and a possible third outing for the Bride. Leo Di Caprio is all set to be the villain in Django, and the thought of it gives me shivers. Add to that Mr. Waltz and Mr. Jackson. It is going to be soooooo good!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, 13 June 2011


      Quoting QT himself, "Violence is one of the most fun things to watch." And no one quite does violence like him. From his famous Mexican stand-offs, to hilarious bloodfests, to just two men facing each other-talking... QT has become the master of modern-day violence.
These are my favourite violent scenes in Tarantino films:

Honourable mentions- Mickey and Mallory break out of prison, Ordell kills Beaumont.

13) The scene when Soshanna, Emmanuelle and the Basterds burn down the cinema on Nazi night- Soshanna's giant burning face, and Hitler dying are my favourite parts.

12) The scene when we see the Bear Jew- Eli Roth comes bearing this big baseball bat, which he uses to beat the truth (and crap) out of a Nazi captain.

11) The scene when Virgil and Alabama fight- The mere size of James Gandolfini is frightening as hell, and he really throws poor teensy Patricia Arquette around...but like all QT girls, she doesn't give up easy and gets back at him- blood and gore and all.

10) The scene where Mr. Blonde cuts off the ear- Listening to "Stuck in the Middle With You", we all watch in horror as the sexy, yet mental Michael Madsen tortures the policeman Marvin and cuts his ear off for his personal amusement.

9) The scene which shows O-Ren Ishii's backstory- A sudden scene which depicts Lucy Liu's character's truly horrific past, in bloody anime fashion.

8) The scene where the Bride fights with Elle- Two super-sexy, super-deadly blondes fight- throwing one another around a small trailer, with a very unexpected finale.

7) The Sicilian scene- Two veteran actors, Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, sit face-to-face, while the latter insults the former's race...surrounded by men with guns. The tension builds up like crazy, and while we all know how this will end, we are just blown away by the dialogue and the chemistry.

6) The scene when Zoe, Kim and Abernathy try to re-enact the car-scene from Vanishing Point- The challenge was to sit on the hood of a white 1970 Dodge Challenger with nothing but leather straps, but a murderous Stuntman Mike comes along and try to foil the plans of these three very determined, very skilled, very strong women. And then they go after him for revenge.

5) The bar scene- Two not-so elderly (and faaaaiiine) actors, Michael Fassbender and August Diehl, sit face-to-face, in a bar full of Nazis and a couple of Basterds, and talk, play, and well- shoot each others' balls. Again, the atmosphere is tensed like hell, and one little "numerical" mistake from Fassy causes a great volient scene to take place.

4) The scene when the Bride fights the Crazy 88- It's one vengeful mother against a whole lot of crazy body guards, including the insane Gogo and expert Johnny Mo. What makes this scene so impactful is how it goes black and white at the right moment, and the night-vision part, and ofcourse the music. I personally think it was a stroke of genius making it B&W, because that just makes it easier for us to understand all the movements, while not being completely overwhelmed by the blood.

3) The original Mexican stand-off scene- This would become a QT trademark in the years to come, but the very first time, and where it is most memorable was in Reservoir Dogs, when Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Nice Guy Eddie and Joe all stand in a circle, pointing their guns at each other. And then the shooting begins!

2) The scene when the Bride fights O-Ren Ishii- Against the backdrop of a serene snow-covered Japanese garden, two of the deadliest women that ever were, fight with their samurai swords. O-Ren's words are often sharper than her sword. I just love everything in the scene- from the snow falling, to the weird tapping of the fountain, to just the amount of power between these two far the best QT fighting scene ever.

1) The scene when Jules and Vincent go to extract a briefcase for their boss- This scene is Samuel L. Jackson (dunno if that made any sense). His standing tall in front of Brett- discussing the Big Kahuna burger, scolding him about the "whats" and well of course, reciting the passage from the Bible, before he and Vincent engage in a total shoot-out. I won't be surprised if this is the most famous QT scene's just that superb.

          Now I know this was a violent scenes-only post...but these scenes are pretty iconic, and synonymous with QT too:

- The Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest- Mia and Vincent dancing is one of the things I love about films. It is so random, yet so historic. I am learning this dance... I really am.

- The entire buried alive scene- From the Pai Mei flashback, to the actual escaping from the coffin, which alone is one of the most uplifting scenes ever, I absolutely lurve this whole sequence.

- The introduction of the Basterds- Lt. Aldo Raine puts together a team of Nazi-killing Jews and gives them a speech about what their job is- unimaginable cruelty to the Nazis and the debt of 100 Nazi scalps that they each owe him. When the film had come out, I could recite the whole speech...bit out of practice now, but I do still adore it.

Also done:
Favourite Characters in Tarantino Films
Favourite Villains in Tarantino Films
Favourite Couples in Tarantino Films

Saturday, 11 June 2011

"That woman deserves her revenge... and we deserve to die." ~ FAVOURITE CHARACTERS IN TARANTINO FILMS

           Quentin Tarantino films are ensemble pieces...we need the supporting characters as much as the main ones to make it the total movie-going experience it really is. These are my favourite characters:

My Favourite Characters from Quentin Tarantino films: SUPPORTING-

10) Earl McGraw (played by Michael Parks)- I love his little cameos. Honestly keep waiting for him to turn up. Maybe Django Unlimited will have his great great grandfather or something.

9) Jimmie Dimmick (played by Quentin Tarantino)- I love the QT characters in the QT films! And Jimmie is my second favourite. His hilarious lines, the irrational fear of his wife Bonnie and that dressing gown- LOVE!

8) Clifford Worley (played by Dennis Hopper)- He is a good cop and a father, and one hell of a story-teller. I still haven't gotten over the Sicilian scene in True Romance, and Mr. Hopper is a big reason why.

7) Mr. Pink (played by Steve Buscemi)- I am an unapologetic Buscemi fan, and Mr. Pink was just my kind of character. From his neuroticism to not paying of tips to sheer luck, he is definitely one of my favourites.

6) Captain Koons (played by Christopher Walken)- The weirdest QT history lesson till Inglorious Basterds. This scene makes me cry with laughter.

5) Gogo Yubari (played by Chiaki Kuriyama)- She's insane, violent, and has the sluttiest outfit ever. Such a legend.

4) Lt. Archie Hicox (played by Michel Fassbender)- Okay...this maybe the result of the Fassbender obsession I'm going through right now, and I may, in retrospect, question this high a position- but Fassy Fever will most probably last for a while. Lt. Archie is dreamy as hell, and this whole scene kicks ass (Nazi or otherwise).

3) Richard Gecko (played by Quentin Tarantino)- QT has never been sexier. I love his stark raving mad persona...and the violence we all know he was capable of.

2) Winston Wolf (played by Harvey Keitel)- The ultimate problem-solver. He's like Jeeves, with a bit of ol' ultraviolence. I need someone like that in my life.

1) Pai Mei (played by Gordon Liu)- He's the ultimate master. And character. I have heard of QT-themed parties... if I ever get invited to one, or if I throw one (slightly more likely), I am soooo gonna dress as him- I have decided.

My Favourite Characters from Quentin Tarantino films: MAIN-

10) Mr. White/ Larry Dimmik (played by Harvey Keitel)- I felt bad for him. He was a good guy, a trusting guy, even among crooks. I mean he was stupid, but the most honourable member of the Reservoir Dogs. And I loved his relationship with Tim Roth/ Mr. Orange- real bromance, that.

9) Alabama Worley (played by Patricia Arquette)- She was so sweet and dreamy and well, peachy in this super-violent film. I loved her narration, her romance with Clarence and just her sunny disposition. So gorgeous.

8) Mickey Knox (played by Woody Harrelson)- He's one crazy motherf***er. Not exactly a girl's idea of prince charming, but he could really punch a hole through the moon for Mallory. Also all the quotes about the messed up state of the world...gah I love him!

7) Shosanna Dreyfus (played by Mélanie Laurent)- One thing QT has in his films is strong women, and Miss Dreyfus is one of them. Not only does she recover from her entire family's annihilation in the hands of the Jew Hunter (stay tuned for that one), she also plans to single-handedly kill all the important Nazis by burning her cinema down. Her beautiful revengeful face on the film screen, being engulfed in flames, is one of the most memorable parts of Inglorious Basterds for me.

6) Jackie Brown (played by Pam Grier)- Speaking of strong, beautiful women, I was so in love with Pam Grier throughout this film. The only QT film with a woman's name as it's title, and with good reason. She owned the film in every shot that she was or even mentioned. One could see all the men gravitate towards her, because she was just so sexy.

5) Mia Wallace (played by Uma Thurman)- I said Goddamn! She is the mob wife, with a fetish for cocaine, shakes and dancing. Her entire segment, is so mundane...from the awkward date to the heroin overdose, that it just gets sketched in your memory forever. I love the way Mia moves...from twisting to just walking. Very interesting woman, this one.

4) O-Ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu)- The little half-Chinese, half-Japanese girl who is driven into the assassin business when she witnesses her parents violent death at the hands of a Yazuka boss and his men. After taking her revenge from him, she only becomes the best in the business, and then joins the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. I loved this character- there was a proper reason why she was the way she was. Liu's ability to look serene one moment, and murderous the next makes this a great character, definitely her best one to date.

3) Jules Winnifield (played by Samuel L. Jackson)- I did say earlier that he was iconic, didn't I? He exudes brilliance every moment he's onscreen, and demands our respect and awe

2) Col. Hans Landa (played by Christoph Waltz)- What can I say? Villains require utter devotion from me...and he wasn't even all bad. He did end the Second World War in all his diabolicalness, so we owe him, and QT ofcourse.

1) The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo (played by Uma Thurman)- She is the modern hero. Deadly, yet nurturing. She wants revenge, and will stop at nothing to get it. Plus QT has made her immortal- shoot her a billion times, have lots of people attack her at the same time, bury her alive- she'll totally survive her ass off. Hats Off to her... such a Goddess.

Also done-