Archive | August, 2014

THE MAGICIAN (1958) – SWEDISH

31 Aug
Its a film I was disappointed with. 
The acting was overboard by  and the direction was wayward. I thought that the director Ingmar Bergman sought to offer us a mystique spell and took the help of Magic and illusions in this.
The visuals are nice but there is haphazardness in the placing of scenes. The characters seem to have been half baked and not fully evolve. There are not enough reasons presented as to why anything happens. The climax makes the whole film comical, gesturing that we can get away with whatever crime we did, if the intentions are for good.
It’s not about the realities we live with but more-so about the imagination of director. I really if the story was about the magician or is it it about something else called the imagination of the magician. Why he goes after people who are not for him, how he gets selected suddenly by the king at the end? Questions left unanswered do not satisfy the hunger of watching this, and rather left me in lurch and disappointment. 
The acting was mediocre considering that it was Max Von Sydow, arguably a great Swedish actor who played the protagonist. I did not understand his angst nor did I get to know what the silences meant. The others (I do not remember their names) are just OK. 
The sound track is great, the guitar was used generously and creates the mood nicely. The cinematography was just right. The art direction is extravagant perhaps adhering to the need of the period in which the film was set. The editing could have been way better. The moments where Grandma speaks some lines could have done in a better way or better chopped off. 
It’s an average watch and not a fully satisfying one for me. A 2/5 for this. 

दुनियादारी से रश्क

31 Aug
हमने ज़ाहिर किया और कबूल था उन्हें भी ये इश्क़ 
पर दस्तूर-ए-दुनिया से परहेज़ कैसे रोक पाते अपने अश्क़ 
रो रोके बिताये पल कई, और रोकर होगये आँखें खुश्क 
अब बैठे है हार कर, है तो है बस इस दुनियादारी से रश्क 
जो मेरी आशिक़ का दिल जीत गया, और हमे दिया सूखे अश्क़

1 (2014) – TELUGU

24 Aug

Disastrous beginning to a year with this Film. I have no inhibitions in saying that only rot can come out Garbage called Telugu Film Industry and this is one of the dirty things.

A man who made a sensible feel good film last year makes an attempt at something different. Sadly he failed miserably.  Also, he failed me as an audience.

You can have a psychological problem but transferring that to the audience does no justice to view the film. The first half has so many uncalled for repetitive scenes that after an hour into the film I was scratching my head. Oh, god save me from the pain is what I was praying.in the interval break I was even thinking to quit the theater but stuck there to see what might happen. 
The second half is more confusing and it did bother me a lot. The good part comes only in the last 10 minutes where the protagonist Gautam (Mahesh babu) becomes emotional. 
The acting was purely OK by Mahesh babu who showed a range of emotions in his earlier films. Whenever the heroine spoke, my ears were cringing. Terrible her voice is and the dubbing artist could have done a better job. All others were merely OK.
Technically, cinematography is good but considering the huge budget of 60 crores, I am disappointed. Editing and Music just did not work for me. 
The screenplay just tried to be different and it does not do enough. It’s lazily written and edited. It’s purely a half hearted attempt. Else, who could have inserted an item song called ‘johnny johnny yes papa’ in London with the protagonist himself being a rockstar. 
A 1/5 just for camera work and the last minute emotional scenes else a pure zero for this. Telugu Film Industry you are capable of great stuff but you succumb to the needs of fans and hence give only dumb films. 

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014) – ENGLISH

23 Aug
Stylishly made fun film that is engrossing every moment.
It surprises for a good part of the film and that’s the best part. From the time we enter the Budapest Hotel, it is an fun ride, the characters are interesting and have their own little stories that are comical yet emotional and thoughtful.
The story of lobby boy (Zero Mustafe) or that of Gustave, or of any character, they are not very great to say the least but are interesting. They all together shape up this well made set piece that is mostly confined to the setting of the Hotel. The acting by Ralph Fiennes is a treat and Tony Revolori as the lobby boy is a revelation. 
The interesting part of the film I found was the use of varied aspect ratio. It differentiates the time frames intelligently. Wes Anderson is a director who oozes out fun in his films. His films are more about fun and the camaraderie between the characters. The shots are slick, the art direction is generally awesome and the cinematography is superb. The film is very appealing visually and all his films thus far have been stylish. 
There is enough substance in this fun story There is action, chase, fight, enough drama and even suspense. It’s all well stitched and made the whole film an engaging experience. Of course, the script is the hero followed by superb art direction of the hotel.
I am not sure, if this was shot on location or whether they erected a set, but it was just beautiful. The hotel, interiors, the painting of the exteriors and even the locales. 
This film shall be a 4/5 for the acting and the art direction alone. Thanks to Wes Anderson for giving us a good time at the movies yet again.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (1997) – ITALIAN

23 Aug

A wonderful Tragicomedy on the most inhuman act of 20th century, the Holocaust of Jews.

How far can you go for your family is what the apt tag line will be for this film. From protecting the wife from inhuman creatures to protecting the innocence of his only son, Guido Orefice does it all for his family and even sacrifices his whole life for them.

Roberto Benigni is affable as Guido, a wonderful human being who knows to take everything with a sense of humour. There are turbulent times, the world has changed for him, he is put in the most awful circumstances, even he is caught and will be executed. In all the places, all he does is smile. It’s heartening to see a man go through dire circumstances with liveliness and smile. But that tragedy that is to come is fatal and that’s where hearts melt for the audience. A happy family is shattered for no fault of their own.

In the second world war, Jews were condemned as sinners and executed, it’s on of the most insane things ever done, on this planet. Hitler will never be forgive for his sins for centuries.

The story is simple, the portrayal is wonderful, the art direction is superb and the other aspects are right. The 2 hours are fun for the first half and heart rending in the second. But all is well in the end. This film is simply beautiful.

Loved Roberto Benigni, his wife Nicoletta Braschi (she played Dora, the wife of Guido) and Giorgio Cantarini (he played the role of 5 year old Joshua, son of Guido). The other performances were wonderful too.

There is not a frame or scene that’s boring or out of place. This film deserves a 5/5. Humanity means something, see this to know that. It’s all about bringing smiles to others.

DROPS ON CAR GLASS

20 Aug
Rain Drops on Car Glass. Taken at Ananthagiri, near Vikarabad, INDIA.

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) – ENGLISH

20 Aug
One of the greatest Western Films ever made that stands tall even today.
There is an element of thrill right form the first frame till the last in this film. Mind you, this has a running time of nearly 3 hours (177 minutes to be precise). Thus, the greatness can be attributed to the fact that this film keeps a viewer engaged for such a long time. I watched this film a couple of time before and was always awed by the technical aspects of this film. When I finished watching it just now, I was thinking how a small story can be made into a grand script and then into a magnum opus too. It takes the vision of a director and his team. Sergio Leone definitely had that.
The music is iconic from Ennio Morricone and the theme music is great and the soundtrack is just terrific. The cinematography which was done as a cinemascope film in the desert and wastelands of New Mexico state is just amazing. Technically this film is flawless I must say and there is a touch of greatness too. Yes, this is taking forward the good work done in an earlier film “For A Few Dollars More”. But the grandeur is something that’s enticing. 
The characterisation is slick and straight, it’s not complicated but very simple. Good plays good and Bad plays bad while Ugly struggles to be something in between. Ugly is perhaps the most interesting character in the three who does a wonderful job.  Eli Wallach as Ugly is just impeccable.
Clint Eastwood, who plays the Hero is a master of style and he shows it here. With minimal dialogue and mostly through the looks of his eyes, he conveys a lot. From the way he lights his Cigar to the way he triggers his gun, his style is unmatchable and indeed inspiring. I suppose, his style is replicated by many actors later.
Sergio Leone, has given one of the best cowboy films indeed. Also, he has given one of the finest films in terms of characterisation, style, cinematography and music. I loved it and this film will be there and watched over by many generations. A 5/5 for this.