Archive | July, 2013

BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013) – ENGLISH

28 Jul
I sincerely believe, an honest conversation between a man and a woman is the purest form of romance. 
This one is a sequel to the beautiful movies, “BEFORE SUNRISE” and “BEFORE SUNSET”. 
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) have grown to their early 40’s and they go through the relationship and phase. Celine has twins from the relationship with Jesse. It’s Greece and a whole new level of conversation takes up. If “SUNRISE” in 1995 made Jesse and Celine meet. “SUNSET” in 2004 got them closer by another chance meeting. “MIDNIGHT” in 2013 depicts them as they were together since “SUNSET”.
It’s a pastiche of romance, their love making, arguments and even silences . There are many conundrums in the talk and they surprised me as ever like the earlier two movies. If in SUNRISE, love blossoms, then in SUNSET it settled down, now in MIDNIGHT it darkens. It’s better to talk to crib to argue than to be silent and that’s exactly how it is depicted. This is more personal though than the earlier films, but as a “BEFORE” franchise fan, I loved their connect and the basis and reasoning of their argument seemed good, though at times kiddish but that’s how adults behave. Arguing for petty things. serious for the unimportant and jovial for what they have got already. 
The cinematography stands great, the art, the costumes, everything is perfect, But it’s not for these aspects, I watch this film, it’s only for the conversation that the couple have. Kudos, once again to Richard Link later, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for having written such lines. For things the talk fluid and simple and connecting. For most in their prime 30’s or early 40’s this may seem like their daily talk and for those who have not got into a relationship, this is a taste of how things may turn out. But all is fair in Love and that’s exactly how this film ends. Richard Linkalter is one of the most underrated directors I believe.
Ok, now a word before I complete my review, I am appalled by our Indian Film Distributors, they put a date of July 26th for release, then postpone this to August 23rd, while the movie was released long back in March in USA and other parts of Europe. So instead of waiting for a theatrical release, I just downloaded and saw it. I badly wanted to catch this in theatres, but am happy coz I caught it and am so delighted.
It’s another 5/5 to one of the most beautiful romantic movies ever. Together, this trilogy stands above all others in the Romantic Movies genre and will always be close to my heart. 
My reviews of BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET here.

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AN ODE TO THE SHIP OF THESEUS

22 Jul
Delved into allusions
Derived that life is a mere illusion
There are doors leading to the tranquil paths
Setting us free from the worlds wraths
Yet, peace may be another cage
That might bring upon another rage
So now is the time to seek
To walk before the knees become weak
As I passed out from a door
I paused and stood, for I understood
That I have transformed from bacteria to a human
Now I shall decay into ashes or dirt
So before such metamorphosis,
Why don’t I lay emphasis to just end up human
And even then, a query remains
Before I pass out, all it was “Ship of Theseus”
But once I perish “Is it still the same ship?”

SHIP OF THESEUS (2013) – HINGLISH

22 Jul
This film demands our attention and rewards us uncompromisingly. Those, who are unwilling to heed to the film please be away, coz it will be a big bore. And those who crave for good intellectual film, please please please see this.
What is the purpose of life? Is it to love? Get married and have kids? Have a job or business and with the money we get, feed our kids and facilitate them to grow before we perish from the world? Or is there a better purpose? Those living merely for love, family and kids can be considered as “average beings” and I am still one among those, but to be a “better being” I suppose there has to better purpose. The purpose is debatable and personal too for each. This film shows people who have a higher purpose.
There are few films that make us ask questions, that trigger our thoughts. This is one such film. How many times, before doing our daily prayer, daily ritual, be it Namaaz or lighting a lamp or a candle, have we asked, is this the one that we must do? What if I do not do it, what if the one who is meant to be there above, does not exist? And if he does not exist, then the rituals are made by men and are thrown to us to follow, so should we follow men? Did we ever ask such questions? Are we supposed to ask? Are we supposed to ask what is life after death? Is death such a tragedy or can we embrace it equally as we embrace life?
Too many questions were triggered in this film, be it of belief, the way of life or even on the thoughts of existence. And I am glad that it rewarded me immensely not by answering but making me ask questions. It jolted me well enough that it just goes on in my mind as I write this. 
This is not a film, where you just seek entertainment, this is a philosophical film and the best part is never this film is preachy. I love the conflict within the characters, their questions can be derived into acts and these acts determine their characters. 
Of all, Neeraj Kabi stood out and I am not revealing names or anything of other actors, because whoever they are, I love them in this film. Technically, cinematography is just top class and I am astonished that such a rich film was made in a meagre budget of 2.5 crores.  I am also astonished by Anand Gandhi, the man who wrote serials like “Kyu Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki” can write such a piece of art and execute it so well. 
I do not think this is a review of any sort and I rather refrain from reviewing it. I just put my thoughts, my questions, to seek is the only thing one can do. I am spellbound and this is by far one of the most thought provoking films I have seen. Thanks to everyone. 
I wish, I did not rate this, coz as u mature, ratings disappear. Nevertheless, a 5/5 and still it would mean so less to a film that has given me so much more. 
Note that the film is in both Hindi and English in parts, thus Hinglish.

MALLELA THEERAM LO SIRIMALLE PUVVU (2013) – TELUGU

20 Jul
An appealing theme but appalling execution. For those craving for good telugu cinema, this is not good cinema just clean cinema. 
There are no item songs no fights which is good. But does it have content enough to be made? I really doubted that. For almost all of the time, I was mostly commenting at each and every dialogue.
The dialogues are cliched infact its tough to hear such dialogues which are so fabricated. I just could not understand why each dialogue was so elaborate. The only few good dialogues came from the father character played by Rao Ramesh.
Sorry, I did not discuss the theme yet. A girl marries a boy. The boy marries her only coz there horoscopes match and does not show any concern. The girl finds another man and falls in love with him. The girl stays with her love and leaves the husband. This theme is a bold one for telugu coz in our hypocritical society we are always told to be contented as it gives peace than seeking true happiness. This film dares in thought to seek happiness. But the sad part is the goodness is only in thought its neither in writing nor in depiction. 
The cinematography too is just Ok and shows us characters faces and not their emotions. The performances are way below par Sri Divya just was there and uttered her lines. Kranti seemed to be more feminine as he indulged in taking care of nails by rubbing them often and even his walk and sitting posture seemed  awkard to me. George as the insensitive lacked the arrogance and just tried to act and failed many a time. Rao Ramesh showed experience as father and was saving grace in otherwise lackluster cast.
I feel upset for both the director and editor for making the scenes too lengthy. Also, sad that they did not cut them too and for killing my time.
I am sorry but we as telugu audience do not understand the true purpose of cinema. It’s an art form thats looked only as business by us and that’s why even clean cinema is rare. When one like this comes along it gets acclaim but not audience coz critics like clean cinema which is a rarity in telugu but audience likes entertainment and not art or purpose.
I am going with 1/5 for this. A good thought turns bad when not done well. This is an example for that. 

BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG (2013) – HINDI

14 Jul
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist that is all – Oscar Wilde
Milkha Singh lives and he truly lived against all the odds. Salute. Please, go watch this film and then judge it.
I always believe that sportsmen and artists are the ones, who truly live. They have a purpose to do something. All others, merely exist. Now existence means, since we are born, and have to do something we just exist till death and then die someday and nobody except the family and friends remember us. While sportsmen and artists, live even after death and that’s the kind of life, we must aspire for. 
Now, this film raised some very pertinent questions, do we Indians, love sport? When was the last film based on a true sportsperson and how many are made? Do we know sportsmen apart from the cricketers, who take part in Olympics? How many who are reading this, know Milkha Singh?
India is in a sorry state in Sports and except few folks, no one is passionate or serious about sports in our country. A country of 120 Crores does not have 120 medals from last 120 years. Such is the state of the nation in sport, just very sad. 
OK, now coming to the movie. I just loved it, and it was flawless for me. Yes, there are evident flaws, but all were surpassed by supreme performance of one man, Farhan Akhtar and his commitment to the role shall win him sublime acclaim. Though all other performances were good. Divya Dutta excelled as Milkha’s sister and brought tears to my eyes. 
The cinematography was superb, the color toning used, the way the races were shot, wow it was just exemplary for me. The songs, so apt to situations, I would have still been happy with couple of songs less, but it’s okay. The editing would have been better considering this movie is 3 hours but never did I feel all along that this was so very long. In fact I cherished every moment of it. I cherished it because of the honesty of purpose, it’s one of the most purposeful true story that has come out in a long time in our country. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Prasoon Joshi have done an exemplary job in executing a story that’s nothing short of an epic. 
That take away is this this “Hard Work, Will Power and Dedication, for a man with these qualities, sky is the limit’ 
It’s a 5/5 for this, nothing less. I just loved it. 
Mr Farhan Akhtar, I loved you as director, then as an actor, then as a singer and then as a TV host too. Now, I love you as Milkha. You are a prime example of a man who knows his strengths and his limitations. But when stop doing the stupid ads of Intex and Tata Motors, you will be fine. You are the man who gave us “Lakshya” and Dil Chahta Hai” just don’t desecrate by becoming less.  I still see you as a sanctified being.

TRANCE (2013) – ENGLISH

8 Jul
Thanks  to torrents and as soon as the Blu-ray was announced, I got a torrent and when I saw this, I was so very happy. Not because the film was great, but because I wanted to watch this ever since I saw the trailer and I felt like I accomplished a task. 
The reason for intrigue is Danny Boyle, who gave me some wonderful movies like “127 Hours” and “Trainspotting”. Nah, I did not like “Slumdog Millionaire” much. Apart from Danny Boyle, the trailer in itself is so surreal and pacy that anyone who would have watched it and seen an earlier Danny Boyle would just dive into the theatres, the day it released. Sadly, I am in India and this did not release here, and thus the wait and thus the happiness. 
Now, is it worth the wait? Partially just yes, coz I liked many parts of it. Partially no, coz the screenplay was familiar. If you have deciphered “Inception” then this one shall be piece of cake. The cinematography was good as ever but not just great as 127 Hours. The CG was so much that I started to dislike it after some time, I just wanted the real thing, real men do some real action. The editing, ah, I love this bit in a Boyle’s film. I just loved those sharp cuts, those intercuts and everything, I suppose that Danny Boyle rewrites the whole script by using the editing superbly. 
The writing in itself is razor sharp indeed so busy that lot many things do happen often in a psychedelic way, that we tend to be in trance to see the whole film in a surreal world and there are points where I was made to leave my belief in suspension and determine myself what is real and what is the dream. 
As I often stick to it my no plot revealing stuff, I am not saying much either here. But I can say this much, Trance leaves you in Trance. Now, that neo-noir for you, if “Inception” left us to interpret if the climax was a dream or reality, a similar thing happens here too. I am drawing parallels to “Inception” coz I found something similar, not just in the dream part, but the taking too seems similar. 
Performances are super, by James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel. Indeed, there is hardly any time to take notice of the nuances of their acting, such is frenzy and the pace of the screenplay. It just makes you sit all along. The music by Rick Smith is one that I shall keep for some time to come. It’s electronic and fast and even here, I found some “Hans Zimmers”
Sure, this is a kind of movie that will make anyone go for a review as and when you watch it. I just jumped out and wrote all the above in state of trance,. Yet, there are few things I disliked, one is that it’s not something completely new in every way, second is that it falls way below my own expectations. Perhaps, expectations are bad but they are good too, as they drive you to see a film, more often than not. 
I am going with 3/5 for a definitely good film, just that it’s not as great as earlier Boyle films. Thanks Danny Boyle yet again for giving me a fun ride. 

GULABI (1996) – TELUGU

8 Jul
Applaud the premise but I am appalled by the taking specifically the climax
In the climax there is an escape of grand scale from air port to air line runways of the heroine from the clutches of our villain. The moment they get together they make fun again. Now, there is no concern what so ever shown by our super hero who just saved the girl and vice-versa.
Ok, so there is a film based on girl trafficking. Now, is love story the backdrop of issue or the trafficking back drop of love story I could not make out. For first half you have love story and for the second who have the trafficking part. Though, there are first few scenes I am still not convinced yet. I will rather consider this to be love story where as always the super goes and saves his girl. Just for this film, the villain seems to be a trafficking agent. 
The sound effects which seemed so real when I saw the film in theatres I was amazed but now when I saw in home, it seemed so old-age. Perhaps, I have grown up with technology or the film is too old. The cinematography is good in capturing locales but very bad in capturing emotions. The director seemed too deliberate in characterising the actors . The villain seemed to be a rapist more than a trafficker.  The girl seemed to be out of place in cast. The hero J D Chakravarthy (Chandu) seemed to be a ruffian too. Ok, into these how does one embed the characteristics lies in the hands of the director. I must confess that the director Krishna Vamsi has failed miserably there. 
The editing seems slick at the beginning but that pervades to let the drama seep in make a fluid river into a stop and flow canal. The drama is let loose without any scissor to cut it and that’s where the film fell apart. 
The music is good when its fresh and even that seems to have aged out with time. The movie thus stands anachronistic and I am going with a generous 2/5.