Sunday, 27 November 2011

"If my films make one more person miserable, I'll feel I have done my job." ~ MY FAVOURITE WOODY ALLEN FILMS

              I think every person who watches films, and certainly every cinephile, has those selected directors whose films impress and inspire them beyond all others. We just get what is being shown to us. We follow their quirks and specialties and thrive at our knowledge of them. Now specifically for me, a few directors do spring to mind whose works I follow and revere faithfully and almost blindly, but my ultimate film maker is the bespectacled, jazz-loving, psuedo-intellectual-hating, nervous, fast-talking, ever-so-humbly narcissistic, and inconceivably charming comedic genius- Mr. Allen Stewart Konigsberg, better known as Woody Allen. I love this guy, really do, and whichever day I manage to finish his gargantuan filmography, I will throw a humongous party in which everyone will be dressed as characters from his films, so we'll have the Woody doppelgängers and the beautiful, interesting, slightly troubled women. Ouie?

              But until then, I will make a list of my top 10 Woody Allen films, from the 20 that I have seen properly. This is my entry for the LAMBS in the Director's Chair for this month. Sit back, put on some Cole Porter, kill a lobster, and enjoy.

Woody shows the life of the self-professed best guitarist in the world, Emmet Ray. Ray is played by Sean Penn, and he is rude and slightly violent, but oh so good. The best part of the movie, however, is the splendid performance by Samantha Morton who plays Ray's mute lover.

Woody's parody of Frederico Fellini's  is nothing short of wonder. He plays Sandy Bates, a funny man who has fans just dying over him and his jokes, and all he wants is to be taken seriously, because let's face it, life is not only fun and games and gimmicks. Shot in glorious black and white like the film it parodies, the most stunning part of the film ends up being the divine female leads in the form of Charlotte Rampling, Marie-Christine Barrault and Jessica Harper.

Only Woody can manage to make a Greek tragedy-esque film funny, while also making it oh so sad. Stellar performances from Allen himself and Mira Sorvino who won an Oscar for her hilarious portrayal of prostitute/porn-star/Woody's character's baby mama Linda Ash.

Up until recently, I had always called this the sexiest film that I have ever seen. While it doesn't hold the proper title anymore, it is still one of the sultriest films of all time. This is because of the gorgeous actors in it, the music, the setting, and just the dialogue. Love Penelope Cruz in this, and her Oscar was so well-deserved.

This film depicts the lives of three sisters and their relationships with each other and the different men they get involved with. Again Woody shows his mettle of choosing beautiful real women in his films and make them give great performances. Diane Weist won her first Oscar for this, as did Michael Caine. This film has one of the best monologues that I have ever seen in which Woody's character Mickey talks about how he got over his fear of death. Inspiring stuff.

Easily the most famous of Woody's films, and the one that bagged him the Oscar, and also for his leading lady and my favourite Woody muse, Diane Keaton. The nervous romance of Alvy Singer and Annie Hall will live on as time goes by.

I saw this today, and described the experience to a friend of mine as having "movie-gasms" throughout the film. It almost ousted my number 3 film, but yeah I controlled my feelings. Still, it is bloody brilliant. Diane Weist got her second Oscar for this. It's a crime-comedy, and after watching this all I want is for Woody to direct an episode of Boardwalk Empire. Okay, I won't speak anymore! (That was a reference to the film, in case you didn't get it :P)

I didn't even remember that this didn't have a title card like the others. But, what an opening! That opening alone guaranteed a spot in this list, but it is such a funny, sweet, wonderful, dazzling film. A must-watch for anyone who loves Woody, or loves New York the way he does.

Ugh, nostalgia and me go wayyy back *snort*. This was so lovely and magical. To be able to visit your favourite age, meet your idols, all while being in the most beautiful city in the world- ain't that the dream? And Woody shows it resplendently.

It's number 3 in my favourite 100 films list. This film truly awakened the film-fanatic in me. I don't relate to most people as well as I relate to Mia Farrow's character Cecilia in this film. It's the most enchanting, fantastic film, and it just goes to show how wonderful the magic of cinema really is.

My final word on well, I'll just quote him I guess-
"Love is too weak a word for what I feel - I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent, of course I - I do, don't you think I do?"

Saturday, 26 November 2011

This is a Poster-Appreciation Life- 2011 edition

Last year, and I think everybody will agree with me, Darren Aronfsky's Black Swan had the most beautiful posters, and of it were a competition, it would've emerged as the obvious winner. 

Case in point-


I will now attempt to review some of the posters from 2011 (I might have forgotten a few :P)-

Despite the vigorous poster campaign from the Harry Potter group, none of the 500 million posters were actually that brilliant. 

Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris was the most enchanting film of the year, and it cleverly uses what might be my most favourite painting ever, Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, as part of its poster.

I think Ryan Gosling films had pretty good posters, especially with all that hot pink in Drive, and one truly ingenious The Ides of March poster.

Kirsten Dunst looked absolutely beautiful in the stunning albeit extremely depressing, Melancholia. The same  goes for the poster.

I just searched for this film, and a lot of "Young Adult" book reviews came up. So witty.

Steve McQueen's follow-up to Hunger has an equally minimalistic poster, which I think truthfully captures the essence of the film, and keeps you wanting more. Also, I love the naughty French poster.

Roman Polanski's multi-starrer had an awesome colourful poster.

Another gem was the poster of Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy. The film is set in the Cold War times of codes and deceit, and that's exactly what we get.

Steven Spielberg brought to screen a most iconic character this year, and the posters just go to sow how even the shadow of Tintin immediately resonates with us.

The original poster to Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In was a beaut. Too bad it got changed.

The most eye-grabbing poster of this year was the teaser poster for David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. *Love* Fincher's guts so much!

Martha Marcy May Marlene had some very alluring posters too, and I think is thus far closest to Black Swan status. See especially the moving one.

But finally, the most gorgeous and dazzling poster of them all, which I think single-handedly beats Black Swan and almost every other poster that I have ever seen, is the one and only *cue drum roll* The Tree of Life, from master filmmaker Terrence Malick. You just cannot look away from it.
 Absolutely amazing.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


And it's time to flex my brain muscles again (are there muscles in the brain? Idk)! Woo hoo! Which is great because they seem to have died in my attempts to study for my upcoming exams next week. WOO HOO!!

1) This week I saw When Harry Left Hogwarts, i.e., the documentary made about the filming of the last two Harry Potter films. It was so sad. I have been obsessing about how my life has ended with the end of the film series, but there were so many people whose lives actually and completely depended on it. As much as I was the kid cast to succeed, I really hope all of the enormous cast and crew get jobs too. One of my favourite parts in the documentary was about all the dwarves who played the goblins, and one of them was an original Oompa Loompa, and how Warwick Davis's kids too got to be a part of it. The fears of the kid cast, especially the trio, as voiced by them and the other cast members, was scary. As such, it was a slightly random documentary, but still necessary. Needless to say, I wept a lot in the end, especially when they showed Daniel Radcliffe crying so much. Then I read my own tribute and sobbed even more. If I may say so myself, I am quite proud of it.

2) I did not know that this was happening- Wes Anderson's next, Moonrise Kingdom, has THE MOST AHMAZING CAST ASSEMBLED EVER! Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel. NIFNVHLIJHLKMCFEXBHJBNKXIMDIO!!!!!! So much brilliance! I could die. I can not wait for this enough. Another amazing cast is that of Ridley Scott's Prometheus- Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace, Tom Hardy and Fassy himself. Sexy. It is the prequel to Aliens, so I must watch all the Alien movies before watching this, as I have been planning to do for a while now. Still, Accio 2012!!

3) I really want to write something about Woody Allen for LAMBS in the Director's Chair this week, but as expected, I am drawing a total blank. The exams are to blame, and my braindead-ness. *Sigh*

4) Trailers- Woody Harrelson's new drama Rampart has a trailer out. I think it looks very good, and again, brilliant cast. I have seen parts of The Messenger, and I can just imagine how fantastic Harrelson will be. Also, the music is cool. I'm quite looking forward to it. Beauty and the Beast 3D is being released, following the success of The Lion King 3D, which I did not watch unfortunately. I love the original, but it's not exactly the thrilling 3D tale, unlike in the case of The Lion King. Still Belle is my original Disney princess (though I already love Merida the most). The Woman in Black has released a third trailer, and this one too is pretty good. I hope they aren't showing all the good scares in the spooky-licious trailers.

5) Awards season is here and people are starting to put up their prediction charts. As I haven't seen many of the films yet, I am not doing any such thing for now. What I will do is talk about whatever "Oscar buzz-worthy" films I see and what I think of their chances. This week I saw 50/50 and Albert Nobbs. The first was quite good, and I would love to see JGL get nominated for his role, but this is one heavy year in the Best Actor category :-(. His future is bright though, and this is only the beginning for him. I do think he'll get Golden Globe attention, like his much-deserved nomination for (500) Days of Summer. Now Albert Nobbs was tricky. The only thing good about it was Glenn Close, and she was very good, but I think the lack of appeal in the film will hurt her cause. Also it's a Streep year, so Best Actress can go any which way. Mia Wasikowska and Janet McTeer were nice, though I highly doubt they will get any recognition whatsoever. I saw Like Crazy the week before. Felicity Jones was very good but I think the AMPAs will fill the young actress spot with the more daring performances by Rooney Mara and/or Elizabeth Olsen this year. For Anton Yelchin's chances, well if they think about him, they really must think about JGL first.

6)Two Harry Potter related posts, 'cuz the men of Potter are fabulous-
(Aww. C'est la vie Tom. Ryan Gosling just spreads disappointment all around).

(DanRad is my dancing queen).


Wednesday, 23 November 2011


"Ken, if I had killed a little kid, accidentally or otherwise, I wouldn't have thought twice. I'd killed myself on the fucking spot. On the fucking spot. I would've stuck the gun in me mouth. On the fucking spot!"
- Harry, In Bruges

         I don't actually remember when it was exactly that I discovered this about myself, but I cannot watch films in which children die. And if I do, I tend to like them less for the same reason. Now In Bruges isn't really an exception to the rule as the characters feel the same way as I do.

              I guess it must have started when I was a little kid myself and I expected all kids movies to be like Home Alone and Baby's Day Out, in which the child is the father of the man in the sense that he kicks ass of the big bad guys. I cannot recall exactly which film it was that first affected me so; possibly a Bollywood film called Mr. India (who is the only Indian superhero in my opinion) where the death of a girl causes our hero to fight for the good. It was inconceivable that someone so young can be gone just like that. It frightened me then, it frightens me now. Also, things like Child's Play which freaked out the kid in me.

           Right now, I was catching up to what I thought was my long-overdue viewing of the Holocaust movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. For those who know me, I quite like Holocaust movies, but for me it is all about the hope that survives. *SPOILERS* So can you imagine having had watched this film almost till the end, only to be told by my friend that the children die?!!!! I mean, how can this be? I literally just sat throughout the film calling darling little Asa Butterfield my imaginary adopted child, and this! I am devastated. Why would they kill the children? In Sophie's Choice, it is all in the past tense, and we never really meet the children. But Asa Butterfield, with his big blue eyes and that way he says "Shmuel"? Ruined, traumatised, forever.

Do you have any strong feelings like this? Will I ever recover? Must see Hugo ASAP!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

INTERVIEWS FOR LIFE! ~ Seventh Installment

As annoyed as I am with what he is doing with his career right now, the fact is that I still worship the ground that Johnny Depp walks on. There is none cooler than him. And for once I don't want to punch Ricky Gervais on his face...well not all the time.

Just listen to him talk about meeting Hunter S. Thompson for the first time, making bombs, getting caught by airport security for stuffed piranhas and vampire bats and so on. And that lucky bitch Brooke!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mini Reviews- The Art of Getting By, La Belle Personne, Submarine, Like Crazy

"Young love" is the theme of this mini reviews post. Different views on it, but all are essentially romantic films based on the young and the impressionable. There are a few spoilers, but I think one can live with them.

The Art of Getting By (Dir: Gavin Wiesen, 2011)

Basic Plot- George is a high school senior who is disillusioned with life and death and has figured that in the grand scheme of things, homework just does not fit. All his teachers and his principal are tired of trying to make him mend his ways. In all this he befriends the beautiful and popular Sally, and his life starts to change.

       No, I could have not written a more generic synopsis. That is because this film was really that unoriginal. I was originally on-board with the homework idea. Seriously, it is true- if we are all going to die alone in the end, why bother doing homework? This question has been asked by students for centuries. I say Kill Homework! Woo-hoo!! I was slightly cynical towards the film, I admit. But seriously, if someone tells you today that "Since the dawn of recorded history, something like 110 billion human beings have been born into this world. And not a single one of them made it," will you not ask them "What about Edward Cullen?" (Breaking Dawn and head-board breaking non-sex FTW!) Then there is Freddie Highmore. His expressions, or lack thereof, killed me. First of all, his face still looks like that of a ten year-old, or rather like Charlie Bucket. Second of all, he was just not believable. Mopey teenagers are played by most actors, especially child actors who want to break out into "more serious roles". Yes they are aloof, but there is a stubbornness to that, or a sadness, or something; see Kieran Culkin in Igby Goes Down, see Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club, heck see Joel Courtney in Super 8 who wasn't mopey but so real. Highmore was just bland and stupid-looking. I thought Emma Roberts was pretty good. They make a cute couple, no doubt about that, but it was all so obvious and clichéd, that I was quite irritated by it all. Also, Alicia Silverstone played like a catlady. As if!

       The film in general looked quite beautiful and gave us a quite calm and serene looking New York instead of all the glamour and glitz. I thought that if Sally had gone in the end, the way their relationship would have ended in a more ambiguous and slightly novel way would have made me like it more, but yeah, they didn't do that. I also wish that George would have stayed stubborn and not done any of his homework ever, but then I realised that this is a film in the end, and we must give out good messages *snort*. I suppose it is a good date movie.

Rating- 4/10

La Belle Personne (Dir: Christophe Honoré, 2008)

Basic Plot- Based on the seventeenth-century French novel La Princesse de Clèves, the film follows the beautiful Junie as she moves to a new school after the death of her mother. At once everyone wants to be friends with the pretty and mysterious girl, but she chooses cute and sincere Otto amongst them and they promise themselves to each other. But then the handsome Italian teacher Nemours comes into her life, and they both instantly fall for each other, but Junie cannot be unfaithful to Otto.

          Ugh, the French and their beauty! Everyone is so beautiful and delicate in this film. None more than the leads Léa Seydoux and Louis Garrel themselves, who play Junie and Nemours respectively. I thought this film was like a dream.  Everyone loved one another. Ofcourse there was the pretentiousness of being a teenager, but more than anything, it was all the maddening desires that hormones bring along with them. It was a very good modern adaptation of an old story about duty versus love. The dialogue was lovely and poignant, as was the use of the music. There is a scene where the enticing Seydoux just sits and listens to a sad French love song, and her face is just so emotive- god learn something Highmore! Garrel, who is only two years older than Seydoux, has been a favourite of mine since Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers. He has that Romantic lead look down to the bone, but I could not easily accept his position as a teacher who constantly is after young female students and no one cares. It's probably because of my background, as both my parents are teachers, but yes, that did bring out some of my reservations. I also felt the film was a bit dull, and I didn't like the twists so much while watching, but they've grown on me. Especially Otto's twist, which I was horrified by at the time, became touching when Junie later remarks "Otto is the only man who'll love me all his life."

        All the actors, especially those who played the teenagers, were very good and they were all honest portrayals. I am so in love with Seydoux, just like everyone else. I know it is a given to compare any and every French actress to the sublime Anna Karina, but I think Seydoux really is like her in the sad, bewitching way. Garrel too was very good, almost cute in his love-sickness and I adored Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet as Otto. I think this film will be an excellent double feature with Amelie, as it is almost exactly its opposite, but really is quite well-made.

Rating- 7/10

Submarine (Dir: Richard Ayoade, 2011)

Basic Plot- I am tempted to write that this is the film The Art of Getting By tried so hard to be. Oh wait, I just did! It follows Oliver Tate, a teenager living in Wales during the 80s, who is a loner and thinks very highly of himself. He starts going out with slightly outrageous Jordana Bevan, but in the middle of all their romance, starts suspecting that his mother is having an affair with his neighbour, a new-Age guru, Graham. He is also worried about what this would do to his already boring, and evidently prone-to-depression father. Oliver must save the day now, but things don't exactly go as per his plans.

        I loved this film! Ayoade has made a sweet little gem of a coming-of-age film adapted from a novel of the same name by Joe Dunthorne. Let's start with the beginning in which Oliver imagines the kind of sorrow that would waft over his family, classmates and essentially everywhere if he dies. Then when he thinks about what it would be like if a film-crew follows him around all the time, seeing him do and say clever stuff. Also  the way the beginning of his relationship with Jordana plays in his mind like Super 8 film. OH MY GOD- words cannot explain how much I relate to all of this. We teenagers are a self-important lot, aren't we? Despite all of this, the film never really takes itself that seriously to show us crucial life-lessons that can be learnt through Oliver's chronicles in understanding himself and the world. It's just a fun film about a boy who is a bit different. 

        I thought it was really funny. Not in a HA-HA way, but the kind that leaves you giggling throughout. Craig Roberts as Oliver is so hilarious and kooky, yes that is exactly the word for him, and genuine. He did remind me of Bud Cort from Harold and Maude a great deal... he has the same slightly morbid expression on his face all the time. His narration was very good, and real. I loved Yasmin Paige as Jordana too. She was really the yin to his yang, or rather the red overcoat to his blue. One of the main reason the film worked so well was because how endearing and charming the leads were, together and separate. The supporting cast too was brilliance, with Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine, especially Taylor with his "wild" stories. Another thing I adored about the film was the soundtrack by Alex Turner. It was perfect, and I am quite addicted to it. The backdrops and views used in the film were just gorgeous, being set in the beautiful scenic city of Swansea. The whole look of the film, which cleverly dodged all the digital camera stuff, made this story so much more warmer and happier. A great directorial debut by Ayoade!

Rating- 10/10

Like Crazy (Dir: Drake Doremus, 2011)

Basic Plot- When Anna and Jacob meet in college in L.A., it looks as though they have met their soulmates. But due to a reckless overstay in order to be together, their perfect romance gets riddled with immigration problems. A look at modern cross-border relationship between two young and idealistic lovers.

      This is slightly grown-up as compared to the other films, and well, me. Quite honestly, I think it should be used as a propaganda film for arranged marriages. It was just so sad. I really wanted to like this, but I could not relate to it at all. I know relatability isn't, and shouldn't be a factor in liking films. But I could not wait for it to get over because it just seemed to drag on. I suppose I find it easier to like the more whimsical things than the real "real" stuff. For example, Jacob builds her a chair. What? I am sorry but I do not find that romantic at all. It wasn't even a funny-looking chair, or a comfy one, or a throne. It was a wooden chair with "Like Crazy" written on it, and not in a *insert Jeff Spicoli's voice* "Dude this wooden chair is totally like crazy," but in a serious way. And he gives her a bracelet with "Patience" engraved on it. He was like a grandpa. 

          But apart from that both the leads- Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are great. They are sincere and sweet and their feelings really transcend the screen. I get how immensely difficult it must be to find one's own footing in the world while being apart from the one person who can give you all love and support you need, and Jones and Yelchin pour their hearts out in portraying this lovely young couple. The supporting cast had Jennifer Lawrence, who is just beautiful, and Alex Kingston AKA River Song from Doctor Who AKA one of my favourite characters of all time, who played Anna's mother. I really felt bad about Lawrence's character Sam. She was such a nobody, along with Simon, played by Charlie Bewley. Even though the film revolved around Jacob and Anna, these characters were just cast away like garbage.

          I thought it was directed well and the story was a simple, nice one. It is sort of like this year's Blue Valentine, just much sweeter and less devastating. But the devastating bit is what made Blue Valentine so memorable. Like Crazy does no such thing, and that chair was just annoying. Too real for me, sorry... 

Rating- 6.5/10

Thursday, 17 November 2011


I have so many thoughts, I know I will forget some. But moving on:

1) WTF of the Week- Did people know this? Saoirse Ronan will be starring as lead in Stephenie Meyer's The Host, AKA Non-Twilight book somewhat. What? Why? I mean I was depressed when I found out that Max Irons, who is Jeremy Irons's son, will be there as he will be subjected to all the madness like Robert Pattinson and never be taken seriously. But Saoirse- how can she do this?! She has worked with Joe Wright and Peter Jackson and has an Oscar nomination...she stands to lose all the respect she has gained over the years. I mean all publicity cannot be good publicity when it comes to adaptations of Stephenie Meyer's books! Look at Kristen Stewart...I think she's a good actress (not as good as Saoirse, but still) and people are just sick of her. Meyer is like a curse to all that could have been more brilliant.

2) Harry Potter-director David Yates is going to make a Doctor Who movie. Without Steven Moffat and Matt Smith. Again, why?! I sort of understand if he wants a new Doctor, but I just love Matt Smith's portrayal and look of the Doctor. There is something so poetic and sad about a 900+ year old man who looks so young. And Smith is just so naturally funny and proper and brilliant. But not more than Moffat. Moffat is my new bonafide genius, and I love the way he writes. What is Yates to do without him? I do want to see it, but I don't want to lose this new found-love of the beloved and geeky series. Also, I don't really want Smith to get into the main Hollywood industry, where he might be made to star in crappy stuff. His look is so unique, he should stick with the British industry, or do plays and stuff.

3) J. Edgar sucks it seems... I think only Roger Ebert liked it. But then again, he is a very old man, no matter how hip he usually is. Poor Leo, though I still think the AMPAs will shower him with love and affection. I was going to watch Moneyball this week, but couldn't due to random problems. In the year thus far, I don't think I have seen a truly brilliant performance by an actor. Um, I liked Ryan Gosling in Drive, Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris and Joel Courtney in Super 8- none of which will, most probably, get any Oscar love. Supporting actor-wise, Brad Pitt and Hunter McCracken (he's more of a lead, but I don't know) in Tree of Life were good, as was Albert Brooks in Drive.  Kirsten Dunst is a clear shot for Best Actress nomination for her role in Melancholia, and maybe Viola Davis for The Help. Speaking of which, why is The Help getting so much Oscar buzz? I do not understand. It was not that good. I really liked Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, but that also seems very improbable for a Supporting actress. Finally, there is always Andy Serkis for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but that seems too avant-garde for the AMPAs to nominate him for anything. I don't remember what else I have seen.

4) many trailers!!!!!! Okay so first, The Iron Lady, in which Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher. It does not do much for me, this trailer. I love Meryl, forever and always, but I just have such little interest in this film. All I like are her Tardis-blue clothes and the pearls. The first proper trailer to The Hunger Games has come out. This is the next big franchise after Harry Potter (Twilight is bull crap and I do not consider it as anything, except crap). I love Jennifer Lawrence in the trailer, and the whole mood has been set for what seems to be an excellent film. Also, it is directed by Gary Ross, who made my beloved Pleasantville, so yes, I am quite excited for this. Pixar's Brave has a trailer out. I don't know about this trailer. It didn't fill me up with bubbling excitement the way I expected it to, but I cannot get over how brilliant Princess Merida looks. She's voiced by my Boardwalk Empire-darling, Kelly McDonald, and I like the Dreamworks-esque look, though as this is Pixar, it will have something much more heart-warming in store for us. I will overlook the trailer and wait anxiously for the film. Mirror Mirror, which is the mad, colourful and slightly terrible alternative to last week's Snow White and the Huntsman, has released a trailer. I hate it, but it seems like fun. And Evil Queen, Julia Roberts this time, is still the best part. Well almost as Armie Hammer as the prince is one great piece of inspired casting. Finally, Titanic 3D has a trailer out to the same film as the one released 14 years back. It got James Cameron his Oscar and the first couple of billions, even though he thinks blue people from Pandora got him more acclaim. Also, that song. I don't know what my emotions are telling me about this film.

5) I absolutely adore them, but it's just not fair how gorgeous the Fanning sisters are. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh!!
This just makes me think about all the inequality and injustice in the world.

I'm still furious. And bye.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

"How's your thirst for adventure, Captain?"

            There have been many a time when I have tried to explain to non-believers about the magic of animation and how watching cartoons is not a childish thing, but a way to watch scenes and ideas that would be too difficult to show in live-action. It is a burst of limitless imagination, that is what animation is, and having just returned from watching the new Tintin movie, I could not emphasize this point more.

               For starters, no person could ever play Tintin in real life- that hair style alone is an impossibility. Or Snowy with his brilliance. And don't forget Captain Haddock and Thompson and Thompson. Even someone like me, who was never really into the comic books, knows these characters. This is how iconic the characters and stories are. Millions of people have been fans of them for decades and decades, and to make a film with them, that must have been a huge risk. But the whole gang, headed by the one and only Steven Spielberg as the director have made such a comedy-action-adventure treat, in animation, that I am absolutely blown over.

                 The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn starts with Tintin buying a model of an old ship, the Unicorn, and almost immediately being approached by two men- the first a hassled American who warns him of some peril that is to befall him now that he owns the ship, and the second a slightly mean-looking Mr. Sakharine, to sell the ship to them. Tintin declines both these offers, and goes home with the ship and his trusty canine sidekick, Snowy. Being a journalist, he is instantly curios about this ship and starts looking up on its history, only to soon find himself into trouble with Sakharine and his henchmen. In all this, he meets the drunk and awesome Captain Archibald Haddock, and enlisting the help of the bumbling, but endearing Inspectors Thompson and Thompson, Tintin is on the way of unearthing the lost secret of the Unicorn and Haddock's ancestors.

                The film is in the motion capture format. Jamie Bell plays the feathery fin-haired Tintin. I thought his voice suited the character perfectly- the youth, the instant love for an adventure. But as I had anticipated, he was not my favourite (what is his hair?). My first favourite was Captain Haddock, voiced by Andy Serkis. Serkis has officially become a veteran in his ability to portray characters using motion picture, but Haddock was such a departure from his usual more primitive roles, but no less amazing. He based it on a Monty Python-esque idea, which makes sense. He was funny and adorable and just heroic. Although I think the most heroic person, or well dog, was Snowy. I am a person who is terrified of dogs in real life, but even I wanted Snowy. He was so good and a true best friend. Serkis joked about playing him, but Snowy was a proper animated character in all this, and he had some truly incredible stunts in the film. My world revolves around Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, when they are paired up. And they played one of the most famous, stupid but sweet and somewhat competent, pairs in fictional history- Thompson and Thompson. How could I not love them? Daniel Craig was the baddie in this, which was very cool, I thought. Sakharine was a proper twisted villain in my eyes. Finally there was Toby Jones as a pickpocket giving both the Thompsons a lot of grief, and Cary Elwes was there as a pilot. I say that because I love The Princess Bride and try to bring it into any conversation/post/whatever possible. Hurrah for the cast!

           I have never been more excited by writers in a film ever like this. So there is Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat. Wright is responsible for films like Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and he wrote Hot Fuzz with Cornish. I think these are some of the funniest, most original and in one word- epic films of recent years. Last but not the least, there is Moffat. In case I haven't spoken about this enough, I am going through a massive Doctor Who-craze right now, and I started with the latest Doctor, played by Matt Smith and written by, you guessed it, Steven Moffat. Moffat also wrote Sherlock, which is also a brilliant series about another iconic fictional character like the Doctor, and well our boy Tintin. It is funny now that I think of it, but I explained my reasons for liking Doctor Who as the same for liking Indiana Jones, who is one of the truest Spielberg heroes. I honestly think of Wright and Moffat as geniuses, and I think they handled the script very well. There was even a "GERONIMO!" from Haddock, which is a Doctor expression. It was funny and witty, and I suspect filled with Tintin references because the Tintin enthusiasts sitting behind me had their "Ooos" and "Aaaas" moments. There was never a dull moment, or well one to take a deep breath once the action started. And it was fun.

          Finally we come to Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Jackson is a man who I revere for his passion and ambition. I never really understand the proper role of a producer, except that he must have really been thorough with everything that went on and was an integral part of the process. I touched upon Indiana Jones before, but seriously, I don't think I have ever felt thrill like this since having seen an Indiana Jones film. Yes there is Pirates of the Caribbean, but the many films chose to focus on the other characters too much. I am of the opinion that if Tintin, Snowy and Haddock were one person, minus the drinking habit, they would have been Indy. But that's just my thought. It was very exciting, and had those sequences that no one could premeditate where they would finally end. Or atleast someone like me who hasn't read the comics. There were fantastical action scenes, which were such a joy to watch. It made me get lost within the film, and Spielberg is one of the only directors who can manage that. And this is only the first animated venture of the celebrated film maker. 

          I must talk about the total experience while watching the film. I honestly did have inhibitions about not liking it a lot as I am not a fan. As brilliant and thrilling the film was, I had one of those rare cinematic experiences where the reactions of the rest of the audience enhances the whole viewing process. The last time that happened was when I saw Inception, but in that the audience only clapped right at the end, with the top spinning (or stopping?). In Tintin, first people were a bit noisy and I was getting a ever-so-slightly bugged. But once the lights finally dimmed, everyone was so full of glee and having so much fun, it was hard not to be affected by it. The Tintin enthusiasts were enjoying themselves the most I think, but all the comedy bits and the extraordinary sequences had everyone laughing and clapping and cheering. It was delightful!

        Concluding, I urge everyone to go watch it. I don't know if the Academy will give this an Oscar nomination for Best Animated feature, but if any film deserves it, and the statue too, it has to be The Adventures of Tintin. I was no fan, but I was completely enchanted by the adventures of the boy reporter and his excellent friends. I think being a fan will be only so much better.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

It's Ryan Gosling's Birthday!!

"I’m not that good looking. I’m a pretty weird looking guy. I know that but that’s the magic of movies. If you play somebody who’s the romantic lead, it casts that spell and people believe that about you but it’s not true. Every role I got up until The Notebook was the weirdo freak psychopath nerd outsider character guy. I was playing Neo Nazis and gay football players and doing a bunch of weird kids’ TV."
Lies. He's so pretty. I know I should talk about what a great actor he is, which he is, but man this-

What sort of question is that?

Live long and prosper Mr. Gosling. Always be this sexy, do wonders with your career as you are a fantastic actor, and just be my earthquake man forever.

Friday, 11 November 2011


Yes...thoughts and big announcements:

1) So Brett Ratner resigns from his producer job at the Oscars, then Eddie Murphy steps down, and here I am thinking about Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris, or even Ricky Gervais after this year's fiasco at the Oscars, but my chain of thought hasn't yet gotten over when it is announced that Billy Crystal will be hosting it. Now I love Billy, really do, and he has done it 8 times before, but I thought this was such an opportune time for someone like Ricky Gervais as anything, even his brand of insults, will seem brilliant after the Franco-fiasco (I am holding Anna Hathaway blameless- she really tried, and looked very pretty). Also, this might be the big Harry Potter year.

2) Speaking of, those FYC booklets do appear a bit daft, but man, I really need the film to get a Best Picture nomination. I only just realised that the Academy's new rule regarding the BP nominees will prove most fatal to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. If the 10 nominations rule still applied, it had such a good chance. I am just praying that the Academy voters are all fan-girls and fan-boys even though in my head they somewhat resemble those evil priest people in 300. I don't care if it is a pity vote, my childhood and those of millions around the world deserve this!!

3) No trailers this week except the supremely awesome one of Snow White and the Huntsman or as I like to call it- Charlize Theron's Supremely Epic Portrayal Of The Evil Queen Movie. This looks so good... inconceivable! Theron does have that old school va-va-voom thing about her, and I love how she's using it here. I always thought Snow White, and her name, was idiotic, so the fact that Kristen Stewart is playing her and is "destined" to surpass Theron's beauty does not seem all that incredulous. Oh I am such an Alvey Singer in all my love for the Evil Queen. But it's hard not to love her. Chris Hemswort is being a big burly man again, and Cheekbones, or Sam Claflin from Pirates of Caribbean 4, is the prince. The other Snow White film with Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen looks much more whimsical, and she has the Red Queen shades about her. We shall see who will be cooler (I vote for Charlize).

4) Since there are no trailers to show, I will show a Bollywood trailer of this film called Rockstar which releases today. I can't find one with English subtitles, but if you can then please watch. It stars Ranbir Kapoor, who is one of the best young talents in Bollywood right now, and is directed by Imtiaz Ali, who was responsible for the always entertaining, and quite lovely Jab We Met. I don't exactly understand as to how such a premise is set in India. I don't think the whole mass fan-base thing is very innate to Indians, except in the case of religious gurus and political leaders. And such madness for one person is not even that prevalent in the world anymore, save if you are someone from Twilight or Justin Beiber. Oscar-winner A. R. Rahman is the one doing the music, and the songs do sound as rock-ish as I would expect an Indian rock song to sound like. I might see this now, or wait for it to come on the telly in like 2 months. This week is Tintin week!

5) I have done it- yesterday I got an impulse for making a top 100 films list, and very uncharacteristically, I have followed through and wasted a perfectly good holiday. Being impulsive does not work for me. I will probably make another one beginning of next year when I have finished watching some more of the films in my list, but this is it for now. I hope you like it, and you are totally free to not read any of the crap I have written under the titles as they were written between the hours of 12 to 3 in the morning.

6) I was reading this post by Stevee Taylor of Cinematic Paradox, and one of her answers gave me an impulse (again with these impulses!) to create an ecard from someecards. This is for her, and me, and for any man or woman who has loved, and quite rightly so, the marvel that is Ralph Fiennes.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

"In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield."

Isn't this one of the most incredible scenes ever made? I mean it's devastating, but then you think about how it was made, with a one million dollar set and a thousand extras and piecing together it part by part, but all in one shot... and you just feel so inspired and amazed.

I have been contemplating making a 100 favourite movies list, and I am pretty sure Atonement will be there. The whole film is full of gorgeous images, and this one scene certainly does help its rank.

Friday, 4 November 2011


It's November already! Not that I'm sad or anything...can't wait for this wretched year to get over. Anyways, thoughts:

1) The BIG News- Bond 23 has a name now- Skyfall. Not the most gob-smacking of names, but whatever. I am glad to know that it doesn't continue the storyline from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. That got a bit annoying really- I like my Bond smooth and less bridled with care. Also it will focus on his relationship with M, which is very cool. Daniel Craig and Judi Dench will reprise their roles as MI6 agents James Bond and M, and Javier Bardem will play the baddie (I am excited and terrified at this thought). Also there will be Ralph "BrillianceItself" Fiennes, Ben Whishaw- who I love, Albert Finney, and the famous Bond girls in this will be played by Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris. As it has been known for a while now, it will be directed by Sam Mendes. I still don't understand how he is the kind of director to be able to make a Bond film, but I do hope he carries it off and I won't get anything to complain about. Just seeing how so many of the blogs I follow reported this, it is obvious that 007 will always be big movie news.

2) Nicolas Winding Refn is reuniting with Ryan "MyEarthquakeMan" Gosling for an action-thriller set in Bangkok called Only God Forgives. YESSSSSS! I loved Drive, and by loved I mean went bat-shit-crazy obsessed with it. HGFUINHGVIHYJT Too exciting!! And it will also star Kristin Scott Thomas as a merciless godmother of some big criminal organisation in Bangkok. I think she will play his mother, which is slightly weird, but she has that stern British face which I guess will do wonders. Luke Evans is also said to star. I can't wait for this. I haven't started on my Refn filmography yet, but I do expect some stylish brutal shots. And words cannot explain how much I love what Gosling is doing with his career right now. He will also star in one of the 3 new Terrence Malick projects- Lawless.

3) Trailers- I guess it's that time of the year when trailers for next year's films properly start. As a result I haven't seen that many this week. 21 Jump Street has a red-band trailer out. Now I was not around when the TV series of this, that launched the wondrous Johnny Depp, used to air. I don't know if that was a comedy, but the film sure is. Channing Tatum, for once in his life, does not look like a pouty-faced buffoon. Well, not only. And oh good lord, how the hell has Jonah Hill become so skinny and can he please impart us with some tips?! It looks fun enough...might watch this though I won't really fighting for those tickets, inspite of the Depp cameo as I am slightly put off with what he is doing with his career. Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston starrer Wanderlust has a trailer out. I can see this being a wonderful in-flight film

4) I saw Sherlock this week, and it really does make the Guy Ritchie-Robert Downey Jr. films look dumb. Benedict Cumbernatch is boss and Martin Freeman is probably the coolest man ever for having played Arthur Dent, Dr. John Watson and Bilbo Baggins, and having a minor role in Shaun of the Dead. I think the writer Steven Moffat, who also is the head-writer of the latest Doctor Who series, has officially joined the ranks of people like Quentin Tarantino for me because I want to be a character created by him. I know this is probably old news and other must have already freaked about it, but seriously, I cannot get enough of these shows and Moffat's genius brain!!

5) This is just too awesome- Orson Welles's broadcast of War of the Worlds in 1938, which created a lot of chaos in USA.

6) Finally, these were done by a 4th grader and you can see how deep these blessed novels (and the films based on them) by Stephanie Meyers really are:


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Modern Times- Is my generation being deprived?


          I read this news a while back, but from this year onwards, the major movie camera companies are ceasing production and will make digital movie cameras from now on. I am not knowledgeable enough to pinpoint the difference it will make, but I know it will. I love the idea of film reels, especially having seen Cinema Paradiso recently. There's something so unique and true cinema about them. I suppose the change is good, and everything will be in HD, but I don't know.

         It's not just this, but for about half a year now I have been trying to find a vinyl record player in my city, and there seem to be none left. We can get the really old gramophone ones, with the wind-y things, but not the nice electronic ones as no one makes them anymore. Also I desperately want a super 8 camera, but those are obsolete too.

          I know I can order them online, but it's just weird to think I can't find them in a place as metropolitan as Calcutta. I just feel it is sad many of these really cool things are not so common anymore. Then again, is it my golden age thinking getting in the way? Should I take a trip to Paris soon and get rid of all my obsession with the past, or would I miss these things even if I was around when they were in vogue? And do others my age feel similarly? 

        Also, to come around a full circle, is this the end of cinema as we know it, and what are the pros and cons?

So many questions.