Tuesday 30 August 2011

"Maybe that's what hell is, the entire rest of eternity spent in fucking Bruges."

            A few weeks back the trailer of upcoming film Coriolanus sparked, or rather re-sparked, my love for one of the coolest, most versatile, incredibly good-looking, and gargantuanally talented actors working today- Mr. Ralph Fiennes. The first film of his that I saw after this was In Bruges.

             I had only seen In Bruges once before, and that was when it first came on the telly about 3 years back. Having seen it again, I realise how much they had censored it- nothing censors quite like Indian HBO. Still, I had thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it very funny and violent and Irish. These were the only ideas that had remained with me since then. Seeing it now, the film felt like so much more, and it meant so much more to me than I could have imagined. But I'll get to that part later.

              In Bruges starts with Ray's (Colin Farrell) narration explaining how he had gotten a call to dump his gun and go to Bruges at once, and he was following orders. Ray is a young, slightly restless and well, tasteless man, who is accompanied by an older, calmer, relatively well-spoken man Ken (Brendan Gleeson) in his little exile in Bruges. Ken seems to really like this "fairytale" Belgian city; Ray, however, is another thing all together. He hates it there, thinks it is a shit-hole, and is really miserable all together. We later find out that both of them were marksmen for this man named Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and Ray's real misery came from his first hit-job, in which while successfully killing a priest, he accidently killed a little boy. He is ridden with guilt, and while he seems to find temporary solace in a beautiful, drug-dealing Belgian woman named Chloë (Clémence Poésy), Ray is out to "top" himself. We soon find out that Harry has similar plans for him, with the help of the sympathetic Ken.

                  I think I am getting slightly better with making vague summaries, though I have given out a major spoiler. Ah well, also know that there is a midget-actor called Jimmy, some very angry Canadians and alcoves involved.

               Acting-wise, the main three men are glorious. Since this started because of Fiennes, I'll talk about him first. Though Fiennes has made a name for himself playing villains, I think Harry was one of his most iconic villainous roles. During the first two-thirds of the film, we only hear him couple of times, and rest of the time he is spoken about by Ray and Ken. Still, he has already made quite an impression in our minds as an impatient, foul-mouthed crime boss with some idealistic principles. When we actually meet him, he proves to be exactly that. He is funny and dangerous at the same time, which is something few actors can do as well. One cannot hate Harry because we know that in all that anger, he still makes sense, and despite being a "cunt", is a bit of a softy. I think this was the most hilarious character that Fiennes has ever played, though the glare of his eyes is still as scary as ever. The climax for his character was one of the most ironic things I have even seen onscreen, and it was absolutely perfect. Moving on, Brendan Gleeson as Ken was adorable. If Harry was the more crueller side of a human being, Gleeson was the sympathetic one. He too was right in his own way, and believed in forgiving and forgetting. His final act in the film is nothing short of heroic and is shot so beautifully and poignantly, that it will remain with me forever...especially that last line. I think I have only seen Gleeson's work in Harry Potter apart from this, and he just seems like such a talent- sort of like a Paul Giamatti who can do the clever dramedy bits to perfection. Colin Farrell in this film never fails to amaze me. Honestly, I had always thought of him to be like Keanu Reeves- an actor who can make a career on being expressionless, with the right roles. Ray was a revelation. I think his character is so tragic, and still he manages to put so much humour in it. But his humour is of the pathetic human kind; the kind we only have at times of great distress and sadness when we keep trying to act normal. I love it when he is full-on Irish, and Ray was so drunkenly, rudely Irish. He was just fantastic, and rightly deserved that Golden Globe.

                  The film was the directorial debut of Martin McDonagh, who also wrote the film. I didn't know this before, and I think it has now become my favourite directorial debut ever, alongside Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides. The dialogues, the look, the acting, the idea, the concept of such darling dangerous men, the sort-of prophetic ending- brilliance! This film has some of the most hilarious lines ever...some which would be a dream to quote. I love the setting- Bruges really does seem some kind of unrealistic place, which is yet to be tarnished by humans, and that makes the film all the more effective because we have some great scenes of violence in such a place. These two equal themselves out completely. 

              Now the following are the things that stood out for me this time round. Firstly, the music. The score is composed by Carter Burwell. I must admit that it has been a relatively recent development when I started caring about film scores. The first film I remember, whose score had a profound effect on me, was The Hours. In Bruges's score was something like that for me this time. From the dreamy "Medieval Waters", to the crescendoing "Shootout", and the few folksy songs like "St. John, The Gambler" and "On Raglan Road"- they all heartbreaking and beautiful. I am officially obsessed with them now.

           The next thing is much more personal. I am, at this juncture of my life, sort of like Ray in Bruges. And I personally was in love with Bruges throughout the film, and it just gets to me that that is how everyone else sees my Bruges, and I can't. So you understand how In Bruges, in this random viewing, became one of those films that transcended the screen and become part of my life in a way that I will never be without it now. I will always remember it, not only for the humour and the cusswords, but for the heart and the poignancy and the ideas it presents us with.

          My final thought is that In Bruges is a lovely film which presents a very human side to all the "bad" people of the world. I love things like The Godfather etc., but I think I like the idea of a gangster shown in this film so much more. Ouch...that's gonna come bite me in the arse later. But who cares- you're all inanimate fuckin' objects! Bruges, the fairytale and the hell, is all that matters.

Monday 29 August 2011


My hard disc just stopped working. The hard disk with over 150 movies and lord knows how many songs and ebooks and whatnot.

So right now I am this-

Soon I will be this-

And then-

I have/had all these films in my hard disc. Why? Why me?

Saturday 27 August 2011


1) So I saw Robert Redford's Quiz Show this week and went nuts over Ralph Fiennes's sublime looks. I have been thinking...as much as I love him in his crazed baddie roles (and I really do), he should  play one of those dashing men roles again...with hair. Maybe it's a girlie wish, and Coriolanus looks epic etcetera but gah, why can't hot men do hot roles once in a while?! It's like how Leo Di Caprio should do a romcom next. And I do not mean Maid in Manhattan

2) Good week for trailers- CarnageThe Artist and The Rum Diary. I can't decide which one is the king of the trailers. First we have Carnage, directed by a great favourite of mine, Roman Polanski, and supporting an splendid cast of Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reily. I think it looks damn fun, and since I haven't seen the original play and have no idea what it's about, based on the trailer all I can understand is that it's two sets of parents who meet up because one's child beat the other and all hell breaks loose...probably. I think Winslet stands out in the quartet in the trailer, but Waltz is my funny scary man. The Artist is stark contrast to this. It's a modern day silent film about a silent movie star who falls in love, starts losing his status while his love interest starts becoming famous. I think it looks absolutely fabulous. I am not particularly familiar with silent films, but this looks so promising that I cannot be excited enough! Now The Rum Diary- I love Johnny Depp, period. And he looks damn sexy in this. I remember when the casting news had first started and Josh Hartnett was being considered, who was my Andrew Garfield at the time. I had been so excited to see him and Depp together, and though that hasn't really happened, it still looks pretty incredible. I had tried watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when I was 12 or 13 and it had made no sense. Still I am shivering with excitement at the prospect of seeing my favourite leading man create some movie magic- the kind that has nothing to do with pirates or Tim Burton (what can I say- bitter truth).

3) Haven't you always wanted to go totally John Malkovich in a brilliant director's head? Personally, my number 1 is Quentin Tarantino, but this guy doesn't seem so bad. Or the film he is working on:

I like the "HIT HARD AND BLOODY", "Hitchcock" and "HIS FORK FROZEN MID-AIR" parts best.

Your thoughts now :)

Thursday 25 August 2011


Sir Sean Connery (81 years)

Gene Simmons (62 years)

Elvis Costello (57 years)

Tim Burton (53 years)

Claudia Schiffer (41 years)

Alexander Skarsgård (35 years)

Blake Lively (24 years)

MEEEEEEEEEE (19 years)

I'm gonna go watch Duck Soup now...don't you just love birthdays?!

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Death of a Fan

             So tomorrow is my 19th birthday, and I was completely ready to bunk my college and have the best birthday ever. But instead I was told today that I have to go to the college at friggin' 7:25 A.M. tomorrow morning for a debate tryout. And not only that; my topic is about social networking being bad. Me, Nikhat Zahra, who spent all of the last year championing The Social Network! Also, I needed something to watch tonight...for my last night ever as an eighteen year old.

          So I finally thought what better than the film itself- The Social Network...it will give me random debate points and also the fact that Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he created Facebook might give me some sort of inspiration.

              I put in the DVD and am grinning like bloody Joker at the first scenes. Then suddenly I have this urge to watch that part of the Special Features DVD when they show David Fincher introducing the Jewish party hat-concept to Andrew Garfield. And I do...lol. And then I am all ready to resume the film, but something keeps stopping me. And I realise that I cannot watch The Social Network completely again...or atleast for a very long time from now.

         You may think that I am judging quite harshly, or over-exaggerating, but I am all too familiar with this feeling of mine. Generally it happens with songs I get obsessed with, and finally feel nauseous afterwards. I still cannot listen to "Incomplete" by The Backstreet Boys because that was the only song I heard all of the year it had come out. And yes I know what a terrible comparison that is, and it's making me all the more sad.

            I really love The Social Network, and it's definitely one of my most favourite films ever. But it is not the kind of films you watch too regularly, i.e., twice a month (not counting the first few months it came out in). And that is what has driven me to this state of non-fan-ness. I literally know the script by rote now, and as happy as it makes me, my brain is too full of it. Plus the Tumblr obsession with it is irritating.

(I can hear them chanting this in my head...like I will get sued for getting over it)

Has this ever happened to you? Have you watched a film you love so many times that you have grown sick of it? And how horrible did that feel?

Tuesday 23 August 2011


...is what happened to my thought process when I saw this-

and this-

and all of these-

and my final thought was-


Saturday 20 August 2011

"I’m good at self-deprecation… I think." -Andrew Garfield

(Excuse me while I gush...)

"There would be a lot of really nice people saying a lot of nice things. But then I get to the one person who would say, ‘His eyebrows look big. He ought to shave his eyebrows. He looks like a freaking Neanderthal.’ I thought, ‘That’s so mean. I can’t help my eyebrows, dude.’"


(He's gonna marry me someday.)

Friday 19 August 2011



1) This is my last week ever as an eighteen year-old. And quite like the Potter month-dilemma, I don't know what to do with it. The excellent Stevee Taylor of Cinematic Paradox is doing a 16 Days of Birthday series of her blogposts till her 16th birthday, which is very cool and enjoyable. I, on the other hand, have nothing. What can I write about a 19th birthday? JBNVJJRHCAJWKLKLCGKJAWGAHHHHH!!! I'm so annoyed. The only thing I have decided upon is to watch the DVD of Duck Soup, which I bought about a month back, on the birthday- I think that's pretty awesome. Any other films you think I should watch on this auspicious and slightly random birthday? Or do something? Should I finally download all of I Love Lucy episodes? Or watch all the James Bond films 'cuz Sean Connery is born on the same day as me? Decisions decisions decisions.

2) Trailer-wise, my most-favourite boy-wizard-playing actor is back, with The Woman in Black. I really love the look and feel of the trailer. It is pretty spooky, and the Victorian setting has a nice gothic atmosphere. Daniel Racliffe looks damn good if I can say so myself...he's playing like a father which is still (see: HP8 Epilogue) pretty unbelievable. But I really really hope for his sake that the film is good, and he is able to break through the Harry Potter-persona and show that he can act as any type of character. If I had it my way, I dunno if I have written about it before, he should do really cool supporting roles in British gangster movies. Like an In Bruges part 2 with 'Arry and the gang ("Your Horcrux is an inanimate fuckin' object!"). Daydream delusions much? Anyways back to The Woman in Black, I hope it is like The Others a bit. God that was a great horror film, and Nicole Kidman can do those stern mother roles so well. Which brings me to the next trailer, the craptastic (lovely word, that) Trespass. Oh dear lord. Why? This looks horrible. It does not even look like Panic Room; it just looks like another Nicholas Cage film which Nicole Kidman somehow signed for and is going to fall down the same shithole of shame. And it has Cam Gigandet...ugh! I really feel like punching that guy's face. He plays like the same scantily-clad, buff and tattooed, baddish teenager-man guy in all his films. I have a feeling that he will play the same role and look the same way for the next 20 years and then one day he'll wake up and be an old, wrinkled, fat man. And you know how those tattoos look on wrinkly skin...

3) This-
Sounds totally believable right? Guess we'll never know...

See you next week, when I'm all 19...and old.

Monday 15 August 2011


         That is a very famous song from my childhood. It was either that or "East or West, India is the Best!" I know what you're wondering- why this sudden patriotism, that too the kind celebrated with really cheesy 90s tunes? It is because today, the 15th of August, is India's Independence Day. The 64th to be exact.

         Obviously this one is the most apt- it's India's National Anthem Jana Gana Mana, being performed by some of the most prominent musicians from all over India. Non-Indians will probably only recognise A.R. Rahman, and even I don't know all of them. It is pretty incredible though.You know despite all of India's problems with politics and poverty and population, it's quite a great country. No other country has so many cultures living all together...every region has its own beliefs and traditions, and food (!), and it makes me quite proud really- being an Indian and all.

        Anyways, since this is primarily a film-blog, today presents with itself the perfect opportunity to make my favourite Indian Bollywood films, i.e.- films made by Bollywood regarding India.

Honourable Mentions- The idea of terrorism in Main Hoon Na, when all fingers didn't point to Pakistan, thank god.

10) Karma, directed by Subhash Ghai

The story follows a police officer who captures a deadly terrorist and then the terrorist breaks free, killing most of the officer's family and secretly kidnapping his wife and his youngest son. The officer makes a team of three felons to take revenge from the terrorist.

9) Border, directed by J.P. Dutta

This is a war epic about the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. We see the soldiers, their lives and families back home and their bravery and love for their country on the field. This had one of the biggest ensemble casts ever, and some great songs that are sung till this day.

8) Sarfarosh, directed by John Matthew Matthan

The story of an honest and able cop, with a tragic past, who fights against cross-border terrorism. Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah were truly brilliant in their roles.

7) Naya Daur, directed by B.R. Chopra

This released a decade after India gained its independence and originally in black and white, it was released in  colour a few years back. The film is about Industrialisation slowly making its way into the villages of India. Horse-cart drivers in a village face competition from a bus service, and their fate is decided by a race between one particularly free-willed "Tangawala" or horse-cart driver played by Dilip Kumar, and the owner of the bus service- Bus versus the Tanga. This film can be regarded as the fore-runner for films like Lagaan.

6) Mother India, directed by Mehboob Khan

The first Indian film to get an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film in 1958. This film is about a woman from the rural India, who despite her poverty and family problems, lives her life by her morals and ideals. I personally think it is too idealistic a film, but the cultural significance is just enormous.

5) Chak De! India, directed by Shimit Amin

This film simultaneously uplifted our actual national game Hockey, empowered female athletes, and put Shah Rukh Khan back on the map as a serious actor. It is pretty kick-ass, this film.

4) Rang De Basanti, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

The story follows a British filmmaker who comes to India to make a film on Indian freedom-fighters during India's independence. She gets a group of carefree college students to act in her film, but as tragedy strikes, their lives start to parallel those of the freedom-fighters.

3) Swades, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker

The film follows an NRI who returns to India to his childhood nanny in an Indian village. Here he sees the conditions- the widespread discrimination, educational backwardness and other such social evils that still exist. So he decides to change things. Another stellar performance by Shah Rukh Khan and one of the most progressive, and important Indian films that I have ever seen.

2) Lage Raho Munna Bhai, directed by Rajkumar Hirani

Probably the most important film that has released in the last decade or so, in my opinion. This film follows a goon, Munna Bhai who adopts the doctrines of Gandhism with his own twist in order to impress the girl of his dreams. The "Gandhigiri" started by this film is so pivotal in the world right now. And the humour and heart in this film is to die for- a masterpiece.

1) Lagaan, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker

I must tell you that I absolutely despise cricket. More than anything else in this world. And inspite of that, this film is absolutely stellar. A true Bollywood film in my eyes. It has all the elements- the true Indian village, the freedom fighting, the love triangle, the underdog story, the great Hindi songs and ofcourse the cricket. Very few films make you feel hopeful like this one does, and it is the perfect story about independence from the heart of India.

Hope you enjoyed it. Happy Independence Day people!