Sunday, 21 December 2008

A movie I liked.:p

(I'm tired of ranting - I'm going to talk about a movie I liked for a change.:)

Kung Fu Panda [* * * * *]

Ok, now ... what's Not to like in this, right?:)

It's a story about a cute panda who follows his heart (and stomach) to become the greatest kung fu fighter of all time. Along the way we learn some lessons about living. How much cooler can it get in movie making!

Just like a hindi movie it has a dishoom-dishoom fight sequences, no romance, but lots of trees and a lot of advice on HOW TO BE in a very patriarchal kung fu environment.

Unlike the usual movies of bollywood or hollywood it's got no sexism, ageism, weightism or speciesism. Just a lovely lesson in living and learning simply to be yourself as the highest art.

The panda didn't really catch my eye as much as Tai Lung, the son who's adopted father betrayed. [Betrayal is a fascinating theme - in real life and in movies. It has a cataclysmic quality of tipping over long unresolved issues beyond retrieval.]

In the end, after 20 yrs of incarceration he escapes 'by the same road his father seeks to escape his destiny' . The father apologizes and says that he feared his love overcame his judgement of the boy's capacity. Outraged, the son, Tai Lung, says to the father, "I don't want your apology. You knew I was the best, but when someone else criticized me, you didn't trust what you knew. Everything I did and became, I did it for you."

Ah! Such a tragic truth about Love. The very people you love will betray you because their love overpowers their judgement. You can't forgive them. You can't forget that they took away the very thing you had built, in a weak moment. Yet you must live on and act without resolution, without closure from that moment on.

How many times this takes place in real life - in families, lovers, friends - and how perfectly this movie expresses the endless karmic cycle a betrayal sets off!

This one's for you, the Tai Lungs of the world.:)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Rab Ne bana di jodi [ * ]

If there's a movie to dislike from start to finish, and an audience I'd have happily seen murdered, it would be this. In an almost all-male theatre of hooting, whistling local freaks, I watched the bollywood justification of our primitive, barbaric arranged marriage system. Fine, they made it for the 'masses', but this is a gold-class, fatcat 'masses' in theatres these days.

Here's a girl who's been callously forced to marry a perfect stranger on the day the love of her life dies. A typical arranged marriage of convenience results - such everyday people that they didn't even need two bollywood stars to make it into a movie.

On top of it all, this educated girl is so lacking in self-esteem she apologizes for being in mourning and proceeds to wash, clean and care for his house while the babu comes home only to eat at night.

When she meets a guy who's willing to dress up as well as she does and meet her halfway in dancing, riding, etc. she chooses him over the self-centered unchanging hubby. But in a [duh] radical decision she decides to keep the moron-hubby over the more jazzed up version. [The audience went crazy with joy at this dutiful daughter preference.;]

What makes me angrier is that so many women (who have probably had an arranged marriage) thought it was a terrific movie too - not just those guys. I guess arranged marriages are here to stay for a few centuries yet.;s

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Dostana [* * * *]

It was total eye-candy. Two pumped up guys pretending to be gay and this one naive and trusting girl in skimpy clothes. (I mean ... Indian guys can't really *actually* be gay, right? lol. Such hypocrisy.)

The entire movie was about flesh, flesh, flesh. And not too unpleasantly either - youth is just about skin, and there's plenty of it available, both male and female.

That being said, I think John Abraham is just the grooviest guy EVER! for his work for the animals, his incredible eyes and sweet shy smile. *drool*!!:)))

Monday, 17 November 2008

Fashion again

[I've been troubled in my mind about the state of the world w.r.t. me. But then I'm always troubled when the moon is full.:]

I saw Fashion again. My mom wanted to see it. I'm always amazed by how clued in milady is. I understood the movie better this time around.:)

Here are some things she noticed that I hadn't:

* That fingerbowl scene (where a bf asks the girl to 'prove' her love by drinking out of his fingerbowl in a restaurant) was a true-life episode in Aishwarya's relationship with Salman-the-awful-khan; fortunately she quit suffering his 'manliness' [lol!] and chucked him over for a sweeter man because of it.

* Salman's brother was ... o.O ... the Panache manipulator male in the movie

*Karan Johar (my mom's fav) was in the movie as was Madhubandarkar.

* Finally, my mom concluded that girls really shouldn't go into the fashion industry - it's too dangerously destabilizing of self-esteem. And that Priyanka Chopra should have listened to her dad at the start. End of story (heh)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Quantum of Solace [* * *]

While I'm very fond of Bond and Bond movies, I must say the trend towards stacatto images in those films are a big letdown. 'Cutting edge' if it's too edgy is just incomprehensible. Bah!

This Bond is very gay, the women are very butch and all the acting is wooden and billboard.

Like a friend said, some of the dialogue was good - about forgiving oneself. But it couldn't save the movie, imo.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Porn and it's rightful place

I've been on the net since '92 but too busy with communication with fellow beings to notice that ... well, the primarily male audience meant that the internet is really, really great ... [for porn]. ( a popular song about it! Credits: G.:)

Well, a friend of mine from IRC opened my eyes to how the average male sees the net. Other male friends then helped me check out the finest and grossest porn on virtually every existing server in the world through eMule (many thanks to IPU for all his help!:)

Wonders never cease at blinkered male vision for a woman coming of age in the Interweb Age: I realised 99% of the 25 yr old males had never EVER read a fairytale like Sleeping Beauty - most of them asked, "Who's that? Is she pretty?" lol!:D

So I made a quick trip to Wikipedia's Sleeping Beauty to enlighten them mornos and ... guess what I found? A porn version 'The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty' by Ann Rice! I read the trilogy to understand what made a respected woman author attempt it, albeit under a pseudonym. I gained several insights into porn through her conclusions.

And my conclusions, convictions even, as a woman, have grown stronger and more sure: a century from now, men will be ashamed at having used girls this way. The viewer will have to account in his place all the silence and the voyeurism. People will look at this age and the evidence of an abuse of privilege by dimorphic males of an economically/socially suppressed gender. They are the exploited however they were convinced or forced into the unnatural records of their suffering [convinced/forced/drugged/flattered/brainwashed].

The suffering of a 'weaker sex' is morally no different than the suffering of animals, german jews in ww2 or the loss of dignity suffered by a minority under racism/castism. No different, and therefore the guilt of the silent participants, the willing consumer, will be no different from that of the animal abuser, the nazi and the priest/ruler/racist.

And one day, men will be ashamed to flaunt it in the face of women online, the sufferers of the abusive industry. Maybe today we are too few online to be heard, but I hope I live to see that day when it's illegal and enforced because it's wrong.



I forgot to add women to the list of sufferers!! (Sometimes I think I fail to make my case as a feminist... OR there are way too many cases of wrongs-been-done in the world that it's distracting!;/ <-- it's got to be the latter! lol.:)

Sunday, 2 November 2008


... with a godwin twist that ... fails. hehe

The whole world's villainy can be accounted for by this one simple truth: those who abuse their privilege betray people they needn't have let down.

Villainy = An Abuse of Privilege.

They can't resist exploiting the advantage: of being in the majority (to a minority), of being human (to an animal), male (in patriarchy to a female), of being rich (to the poor), educated (to the uneducated), or magnetic and desired (to the ones drawn to them/who desire them). They never explore a resistance to the apriori givens, and eventually gorge on it until they disgust even their apologists.

There are 3 levels of villainous abuse:
1. The lone villain - he's ineffective from his isolation and not having gathered social approval for his work. eg. Norman Bates in Psycho, the Terminator or a lone serial killer

2. The usual suspect - he has power, he's learnt to justify his method and he's now working on polishing it up with practice. It's villians like Darth Vader or Hannibal Lecter, Hitler, Idi Amin/Musharraf where they've gained some public support for their abuse.

3. The mob rule - When there's widespread villainy or abuse of privilege, a sameness in the disregard for the object of their hate - usually a minority. eg., The Nazis exploiting a national blame into extermination policy like in Shindler's List (and innumerable Nazi movies) resembles the Iraq war propaganda against Islam; the hatred of the new media/IT/callcenter migrating to Bangalore which got community dogs exterminated; the IITian versions of saffronized nation-building spreading through orkut/blogs - it's the spread of a poison called Privilege - resist it.

[pic 1 - Darth Vader who was based on the Nazi stormtrooper;
pic 2 - Hitler in church in an extremely christianised Germany]

Friday, 31 October 2008

Fashion [* * * *]

I went from vacuous men to vacuous women viewing Fashion but I must have two standards because I identified and empathized with this movie.

The story wasn't bad at all, and when it drags at least it does so on heavier emotional content that's hard to explore visually.

For example, when the smalltown girl tries to show humility or gratitude to the bigwigs of the fashion world who treat her like a brainless clotheshorse, it's confused and boring. But when the moviemaker covers something real, like the women losing their sense of identity from the demands of the profession and ambition ... gosh, it's so believeable.

get lost so often when I'm trying to go-git and suddenly find I've left my compassion or basic humanity somewhere along the way, and I have to stop to regret and return to it or lose my entire ambition.

I really liked how that was portrayed. It was genuine, identifiable experience for girls with a modelling dream - torn between who they are and who they have to be to succeed in patriarchal, image-driven, avante garde. [wait ... did I just blame patriarchy again!!?! it's alright, all that skin sells modelling, fashion and shows to another generation of glamgirls and confused boys ... and ... what was with the product placement, Madhur? lol]

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Reviewing reviews

I met a 20+ at the movies. The first thing she said was, "So ... you must be prejudiced?" when I said I reviewed movies. Yes, if 'prejudice' is the only word she has for 'opinion'. (I mentioned the reviews as my excuse for watching movies alone and so many of them. If she'd been on the blog I'd have mentioned movies as my excuse for blogging. I'm flexible about interpretation.)

I see no particular threat to my freedom to hold strong and definite opinion as a woman: If she'd shown more curiosity rather than a desire to slot, I'd have said that I just like movies, I have opinions and I hold my opinion of the movie up for peer review when I blog about them.

That's all there is to critical thinking: opinion that builds on a flexible (and strong) foundation of values.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Body of Lies [ * * ]

I've grown to dislike the vacuous DiCaprio and Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott. None of them seem to get anything right beyond empty posing. Guys, you really ought to try living a real life before you make movies. ;(Leo, try to feel ... something, k? Or else empty male lives comes through and we know that you've run away from dealing with emotional choice. Sometimes I wonder how much more mature Hollywood would have been if it was alcohol, drug and tobacco-free - the three great escapes.:)

That said, there wasn't a plot to begin with, so these bimbas can't be blamed for alternately overacting and underacting scenes.

There was a handsome devil playing Jordanian cop (Mark Strong) who kinda made it worth watching. For the guys the charming woman cast as a nurse (Golshifteh Farahani) would have made it worth a while (not quite 'worthwhile':). It's altogether worth a miss. lol! Don't waste your time seeing it - just read the more educational Time review.

Monday, 27 October 2008

How scarred are you by images?

Were you traumatized as a kid with entertainment-gone-wrong and unable to express it?

Ha ha!:) ... lol, you're among friends.
The 10 Best Animated Movies for Traumatizing Kids is a critic's treat for a sensitive adult who remembers the inarticulate suffering of childhood!

When I was a child I ran out of the 'free movie treat' in the school auditorium and didn't watch Bambi until I was 40. I wasn't sure I could handle the hunters' killing Bambi's mom and then his dad.;(Cried buckets last year when I finally saw it.)

This is true for so many movies I'd rather not see, like Shindler's List, because they represent too much trauma - I can't bear movies about Nazis and WW2. There is vivid imagery associated with ethnic cleansing from that weirdly modern-savage, unethical, mind-game-of-a-war (I even have past-life memories of being a really frightened nazi myself! I guess there were wusses like me back then, too afraid to do the right thing. Not any more - Speak up for what's right!:)

Remember when you were too afraid to tell your dad you were shell-shocked by the cruelty of a circus? It took me months to recover from his cheery ignorance/ignoring of animal suffering. (kids have to learn desensitized living to become tolerant of casual cruelty.) He didn't communicate enough for us to refuse to go with him either - I dreaded the arrival of Gemini Circus in the city ... I'd walk to school with knots in my stomach when I passed the posters on walls. I wished Mr. Gemini, his kith and kin, dead before my dad saw them. (So very glad circuses are banned today!!!!)

Don't miss the ... lol ... review of Jessica Rabbit and the magical racoon solution to getting rid of builders. Japanese tankui exists!!:D

Friday, 24 October 2008

Flashbacks of a Fool [* * * *]

I'm surprised this movie even made it through the censors in India. It was based on the same edgy art deco style as tv or a 60s lifestyle movie.

An aging actor goes back to his hometown and we see the path he chooses that takes him from being a sweet young boy to a jaded cynic, some in his control, some out of his hands.

The actor was reasonably good-looking (and faded men are so romantic) and very gay (and how I love gay men!:) so well worth a watch for me.

I dislike this style of film-making though for complex reasons - most esp. the unfinished nature of the storytelling. It's like they keep forcing you to finish their sentences - I hate this kind of affectation in girls, hate it worse in men, and most of all when it's premeditated!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Stuck at home with no range ;(

It's been raining too much for me. My bike's broken down on the street and I had to abandon it. It's too much effort to get to the movie (theatre) - but I've been watching Disney Classics at home.

The creativity in them is mind-blowing - I often wonder if we'll ever see the same quality again as in Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Snow White or Bambi, or even those that aren't so well remembered like Lady and the Scamp or Basil of Baker Street. They're really masterpieces of music, colour and idea. These days they seem to be simplifying and masculinizing the stories to Bush standards. ;s

I just saw Home on the Range. It was an unusual feminist theme (for Disney) with a woman rancher and her 3 cows who capture a yodelling cattle rustler - beating a bunch of male chauvinists to it too.:) I'd give it five stars just for being ... modern in a texan way towards acknowledging womanpower. Maybe a generation of kids will learn to live with self-empowered women.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Catch Me If You Can [* * * * *]

A Spielberg movie, so it was well-paced. It's the strange [true] story of the 16 yr old Abegnale who posed as an airline pilot and defrauded Pan Am of over 4 million dollars. He also posed as a teacher, an emergency doctor and a lawyer (he even passed the bar exam after studying for it for a week! :O).

I dislike DiCaprio for his choice (and he just looks ... so greedy and well-fed at times. lol), and Hanks always makes tear-jerkers that I can't watch (I hate his ringing, accusing nasal intonation).

Ethically, it was so believeable - the whole movie, the whole time. This is why: I've begun to understand how the teens and twenties are a time for youth to make themselves in words and by imitation. They lie, cheat and steal quite without any apparent conscience or emotion - the least sign of approval (a smile, a laugh, eye contact) esp from a hero can fix that into their tabula rasa. It substitutes for experience in the 'personality' of reading, movie-watching people.

[I knew a bunch of 24 yr olds on irc and orkut who didn't know the truth from a lie and for 2 years maintained a series of unresolved personas that varied from Godfather to James Bond, rock star to psychopath *with no judgement or preference* depending on their alcoholic mood. It was fascinating and frightening to see the process of personality formation in action. None of it was good because none of them were real.]

If ever they change, it's from getting caught. And socially being punished as liars, frauds, impersonators. That's the only time, if ever, when they evaluate who they are and what they've become. At one time the boy, Frank is begging his dad, "[If you love me/are my father,] tell me to stop" but his father refuses. He misses the son's plea for tough love/authority. He's too caught up in his own life, his cons and games and the glamour of his son's to see it's tackiness and his son wearing down from the stress of upping the ante.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

No Country for Old Men

I've got a bunch of movies downloaded off eMule and this was one I thought would give me insight into older thinking.

I was wrong. It's movies like this and Fargo (review linked) that I'd like to leave unrated simply because it doesn't fit into my world (not because I can't rate it, but because it's from a genre of it's own). There are no heroes, no villains, too much blood and violence, and most similar to accidents - sometimes you can see them coming but can't do anything fast enough to make them stop. And you live on by forgetting.

I had to watch it to the finish but now I'm watching another to forget it.

Hello [* * *]

Ok, I broke through my revulsion and saw a hindi movie again: Hello which is based on One Night @ a Call Center.

I can't say I'm really impressed, but it was watchable (probably because the bollywood scenes stuck out like a sore thumb - somehow the moviemaker just _couldn't make them fit in_!! haha. I must say the ballet dancing to a thundering hiphop beat was surprisingly good, even if outre.:)

I really hate Salman Khan, so I've got nothing to say about his fat face, but he really didn't have a role, so it's ok. The movie dragged on a bit in a text-heavy fashion, so you could see it's bookish origins, and the excess of masala sat like mascara, so alien to the skin below.

That's it. Oh, I forgot to give it points. 3
Entertainment was fair, Ethics were mostly good (except when one of the guys breaks an advertising billboard and they giggle - very dumb male blonde equivalent).

Friday, 10 October 2008

Moulin Rouge

Well, what do you know - yup, Moulin Rouge was based on a Bollywood movie, Lol!

Sometimes we don't appreciate what we've grown in our own backyard. (I can't bear to watch any more just yet, I just wanted to share a positive sentiment w.r.t. Bollywood movies after that bilious bout of criticism.:)

Straight from wikipedia about the origin of it's glitter ...

When asked about his inspiration for Moulin Rouge, Luhrmann remarked:

"... We went out one night and there was a big poster up for a Bollywood movie. I said, "Let's go see that." We did - 2,000 audience members, high comedy, high tragedy, brother kills brother, [they] break out in some musical numbers, all jumbled up together in 4 hours of Hindi. We thought that was amazing. So our question was, "Could we create a cinematic form like that? Could a musical work?" A musical must be able to work in western culture again, and could it be comic-tragic? So then began this commitment of moving toward "Moulin Rouge."

There was also a play within a play, "Spectacular Spectacular," which itself may have been based on an ancient Sanskrit play, The Little Clay Cart.

We're unkind because we're immunized to the kind of magic we grew up in. Seeing a bollywood movie from the point of view of an industry that works, and that the machinery churns out more movies than any other place in the world, employs more entertainers than any other legit business ... it's unbelieveable. Kind of mind-blowing to reflect on it.

I just checked that stat-counter ...

My goodness, these hit counters can tell you so much these days ... I'm amazed at the spying and counter-spying possibilities on the internet!

The thing is I recently stopped giving a damn after being paranoid about it when I was on orkut and irc. (Sometimes hanging around with kids in their 20s and their companion young-moms means that *you* get to listen to everything *their moms* have dumped on them - including internet 'security'/paranoia-country.:)

If you aren't using a credit card online, dropping your namecard in every site, I think you're secure enough like we believed in the 90s.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Reading a book.:)

I'm reading the new posthumous Harold Robbins "Blood Royal" a fiction based on Princess Di's life. Or Harry Potter in the 7th book. I bought both. I think the market and Drona have shaken me up.

The market is eating up paper money unbelieveably. The money is not _just_ disappearing ... it's going into someone's pocket. All that hard earned capital will finance someone else's future, not the one who earned it. How dreadful.

Drona was a disappointment, even an embarrassment, and those emotions are black holes ... for a while I don't want to do anything related. Anyway doesn't look like there's a good movie around just yet.

The combination of film-making and the market reminds me there's a bollywood movie I'm going to force myself to see - it's on the Sensex (Saas, Bahu aur Sensex) which promises to be fun (grr, if it isn't!). In the current market situation it will probably be a good laugh. So well-timed.:D

A couple of good market jokes from an email I received from Tim:

"I want to warn people from Nigeria who might be watching our show, if you
get any e-mails from Washington asking for money, it's a scam. Don't fall for it" - Jay Leno

"Do you have any idea how cheap stocks are now? Wall Street is now being called Wal-Mart Street" - Jay Leno

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Star Wars again

In using philosophy, movies must keep it simple: Good and evil; black or white.

Complexity doesn't come through too well. Then too, the primitive mind is designed for simple action, yes or no solutions, which is why we're so deeply affected by stark movies.

The Star Wars hinge on one basic (eastern) philosophical tenet and its corollary. That there is a Life Force Energy (Chi/Ki) and that it has two sides, the dark and the light.

In the Revenge of the Sith(2005) we see it articulated so much more confidently than 30 yrs ago:

PALPATINE: Remember back to your early teachings. Anakin. "All those who gain
power are afraid to lose it." Even the Jedi.
ANAKIN: The Jedi use their power for good.
PALPATINE: Good is a point of view, Anakin. And the Jedi point of view is not the only
valid one. The Dark Lords of the Sith believe in security and justice also, yet they are
considered by the Jedi to be. . .
ANAKIN: . . . evil.
PALPATINE: . . . from a Jedi's point of view. The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost
every way, including their quest for greater power. The difference between the two is the
Sith are not afraid of the dark side of the Force.That is why they are more powerful.

Here they articulate the essential difference between the Sith, who use
their passions, and the Jedi who master the passions - power vs. control.

ANAKIN: The Sith rely on their passion for their strength. They think inward, only
about themselves.

PALPATINE: And the Jedi don't?
The Jedi are selfless . . . they only care about others.
PALPATINE: Or so you've been trained to believe. Why is it, then, that they have asked you
to do something you feel is wrong?
ANAKIN: I'm not sure it's wrong.
PALPATINE: Have they asked you to betray the Jedi code? The Constitution? A friendship?
Your own values? Think. Consider their motives. Keep your mind clear of assumptions. The
fear of losing power is a weakness of both the Jedi and the Sith.

But from the point of view of a n00b, both appear the same -
this is the point of balance, and there's room for exploitation
of Anakin's uncertainty, youth and angst. Material for a movie.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

The Star Wars muse

Just as dreams are a negative of the stresses we're presently undergoing, fantasy is the template of how we will act in the future. Our choices are created and molded by fantasy and myth, esp our self-image.

My favorite series for deep thought is Star Wars. (And yes, as you may have guessed, Yoda remains my favorite character of all time - he's based on a real Zen teacher.:)

The story of Star Wars is actually lifted from Akira Kurosawa, a Japanese film-maker's extraordinary work on Samurai warriors (most of the Westerns/cowboy movies of the 60s and 70s are copies of the same source).

More to follow on the positive use of Indian mythology in Drona.

Friday, 3 October 2008

No Kidnap

In fact, no more hindi movies for a long time - my enthusiasm for reviewing has blinded me to the pitfalls of movies like Drona and Buchna ae Hasina. I can't bear to watch another. My braincells melt from overdrive.:)

Droning on with Drona [* * *]

Rating: 3/10
Entertainment value: 5/10 (if you're under 12 or have the IQ of a minkey)
Ethics: 8/10 (because it's got the right idea - we should be using our own mythology to make movies]

Yes, it was so bad. Boring. Made me wonder why I was at Rex watching the movie instead of shopping in Viva in Mota Arcade next door (they had a festival offer of 2 for 299/- on jeans and casuals ... how much better to have spent 3 hours there!;]. To get completely side-tracked, the parking attendant at Rex has the same idea. He demands Rs. 10 if you want to watch a movie there and Rs. 5 if you want to go shopping elsewhere!! grrrr.... lol!)

But ... under the total wasteful staccato drone of the movie, esp the unnecessary use of digitized fantasy (an inexplicable trend ... are they pandering to some politician invested in those studios?) ... there was the underlying mind which was sound.

The creator's vision was brilliant - of using the story of Drona and the myth of Immortal Nectar in a modern setting. We really could use more story ideas from him - jez plz sum1 aks hym nt 2 mek a movie - hez 2 yng!! :(

Some reviews are giving it a lower rating (just so you know I've been kind.:)
Indicine -1/2*: "Strictly avoid"
- * *: "Overall, Drona could easily be placed a notch or two below some of the worst movies I have ever seen. I would never advice anyone to waste one's hard earned money to see this senseless film.- Alok Hisaria (SAMPURN)" <--- Har!Har!Har!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Jez ...

... one small image that keeps coming to mind: If the creators of this movie had only seen Misery before they made it, they'd realise patriotism doesn't, or shouldn't, save it from being classified as insane. No one really should go insane and act on their rage with a city police and demand action against a few terror-accused awaiting trial.

I hope you don't take the rating of the movie for approval of the behaviour - if you can see the similarity between Misery and A Wednesday you'll understand the disapproval.

Stephen King's Misery is the story of a fan who forces her favorite author to write a sequel by holding him captive, just the same as aam admi Shah holding Kher to ransom with bomb threats.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A Wednesday! [* * * * *]

Rating: 9/10
Entertainment value: 9/10
Ethics: 8/10

There's something empowering about the values espoused by this story. You came out thinking, "hell yeah! I can change the system if I put my mind to it!"

I mean, it had *me* laughing that small, superior laugh of a patriotic 'aam admi' who is finally heard [ok, aam aurat in my case, though if I was in the movie I wouldn't have had a role except as a cliche ... but *sigh* lets not quibble about details like sexism during these dangerous terrorist-ridden times. Now is when men can really play men again in the movies, I say! lol ;]

How I loved that there were older men, playing thinkers - so sexy! the men who called the shots - for once. They did have a couple of young men beating people up dishoom-dishoom style (such pretty boys too) and a lovely dusky girl who's ambition makes her an easy pawn ... but it was realistic somehow in it's fiction, the wild kind of appeal that gives hope in a hopeless world.

The movie was based on a fine definition of male power -- as patient, purposeful, silent, unassuming and relentless. Portrayed with clarity by both antagonists - Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah.

Such a show of maturity in Indian scripting! It's sudden twists and it's deeper emotional and intellectual stimulation of a self-defined citizenhood.

It's unfortunate that this movie virtually ignores women - it fixes the woman into the usual prototypes and brushed them aside. (Oh well, easy to punish it here - unlike the real world - by knocking a couple of points off a perfect ten.) But I will grant that the crime was of omission, not commission; they didn't twist the ladies into caricatures, like bollywood movies do - thank god for small mercies. The women were all different and added variety and colour, vaguely, to the he-men around.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Sold on Peter Sellers!

I find him fascinating. Sexy, hilarious, intelligent and irrelevant. I wonder why he has such appeal to the women (he was known to be a casanova) - maybe cynicism is interesting.

[Note: When I was a child, unaffected by the hormonal soup of womanhood, I thought he was disgustingly ugly and used to ask my mother why she thought he was good-looking. I didn't understand how a woman falls in love with the proud, uncompromising, egocentric fool she can pin down rather than the cleverer, adjusting, humble survivor who evades her.]

I've watched nearly every movie made by him from the Hollywood Party, Murder by Death (both in spanish ... this is the result of an infatuation;), Girl in my Soup, the Pink Panthers to What's new, Pussycat? (re: the latter, I'd sworn never to see such a blatantly sexist MCP movie, but alas! I've been struck by cupid's celluloidic arrow! So anything Seller makes, Seller sells ... to me at least.)

Ah, But a woman can lose herself in those upside-down eyes!! Nm that nose.:p

Saturday, 27 September 2008

The Pink Panther, 1963 [* * * * *]

I hate to be a pedant about movies, but really can't beat the series of Pink Panther for good classic elements of movie-making: good taste in all details - music, actors, scenes, script.

I've been downloading and watching the Peter Sellers movies because they're so well-made compared to what we're forced to see in theatres today. The values are for a very european audience - so it's wine, women and male humour - but even with the colonial snobbery, the excesses of satire and overdone, repeating elements of slapstick, the Pink Panthers are exceptional.

Compare the original Blake Edwards versions with the Steve Martin version for shock value. Not only do we accept poorer acting these days, we're taking poorer scripting and setting in our stride as well.

I'm always surprised by how much is lost in art over a period of time. Making a movie probably requires a few skills that are hard to find: patience and finding a good team to work with.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

hm ... I need a plan.

First of all, I've got to find a way to get over my shyness so that I can film other shy ppl and animals and terrorize them.;(

How to go about this ... big problem. aaaargh!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

resources galore for movie making

Since I discovered the filmcamp and their "grassroots film-makers grant", I've found a hazar resources to plunder. And I'm discovering story ideas from both heaven and hell.

One resource is where I can find virtually every modern movie's script available:
Star wars (romance and the dark side's use of power), Shawshank Redemption (intelligence wins vengence), The Scarlett Letter (a woman's lack of definition, and persecution, in the absence of male courage), The Aviator (the story of a male ego's growth and death in isolation) are all movies that interest me.

Which one would you pick?

Monday, 22 September 2008

I did a course on film-making!


If any of you are interested its and run by Sanjay Nambiar. He ran this single day camp at Alliance Francaise for adults - writing, scripting, editing and screenplay followed by filming and film-editing.

It was a little exhausting because I was already sick and we had a reluctant actor (I'd have fired the guy if I was paying him... really draining to have them fuss about how they'd do the scene - prima dona males being the most draining nightmare I'd like to avoid until the end of my days!)

I grew to appreciate how many woman hours go into making these 3 hour movies (ours was a 1 min scene.;). So much human labour lost if it's not going to capture the public's eye.

Monday, 15 September 2008

* * * The Thing about Grading Movies * * *

Movies can represent two things in philosophical ethics:

1. How things have been done (and haven't changed since Neanderthal times) and the myths used to maintain the status quo - and unfortunately these are 90% of the movies. If by mistake I pick one to see, I would consider it a waste of my money if I didn't include a scathing review of it.

If they promote violence, perverse use of animals to human domination, women in pathetic subjugation to men, violation of the weak by the physically strong - this is what will keep savagery around. Never mind that I can't change centuries of this thinking which is insidious to bolly and hollywoods ... I give these movies 3 stars or less (* * *)

2. A new idea or a concept that can change 'how we view the world' (ontology) or 'how we [learn to] do things' (epistemology): the difference between "living" and "doing" and "where we live" and "how can we know".
After all, cinema is a reflection of a real world like song and story, sometimes including song and story, we learn to see and hear and learn to live. The value is in it's ability to make us approach life differently giving us a greater flexibility. If a movie can add such value, I give it 4 stars or more (* * * *)

The world may or may not change in my time to a life-promoting, just and equitable world across species and gender, but I'll put my back to the wheel of karma to turn it in that direction. :)

Sunday, 14 September 2008

It MUST be said! :)

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull * * * * *

Rating: 9/10
Harrison Ford picked a better movie, better story, better script to bring his career up-to-date. As he grows older, he definitely grows wiser. (Yay, Harry!:o)

Righteous Kill * *

Rating: 2/10 (yes, even being a fan of both Al Pacino and Robert di Niro...)
Entertainment value: 2
Ethics: nil

I love both those guys, k? Every single line on their aging faces, every single greying hair. I love them for being stars even with their paunches and their thinning hair.

But really, what a terrible waste that they're forced to make movies with no plots, little objective and very very poor scripting.

You'd think that as the directors saw the wisdom that comes with their age and their raw sex appeal, they'd offer more than semi-porn with puky, and patriarchal-tradition oozing domination of the only woman in the movie who's not only raped but also left helplessly waiting for the men to finish ... talking to the rapist. [*gag* *puke* *kick the director in his ... scripts*]

I know actors are dumb but seriously, what made them pick this to finish their careers with? I guess after the sick little vignettes at Saturday Night Live, this isn't a bad way to go. About the same level of ho-hum.
I hated the movie. Can't think of a single thing that could have made it worse.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Phoonk * * *

Rating: 6/10
Entertainment value: 7/10 (an Indian remake of the Exorcist deserves at least that much!)

By the end of this movie, I'd realised two things - I'm susceptible to the visual medium and I have an extraordinarily ordinary taste in them.:)

Do NOT expect superior sarcasm about all things here...

I loved Phoonk!! I screamed at regular intervals and chewed off my nailpolish (it was half gone anyway, so not a big loss). I'd say it's a thumbs-up for the director if a 40 yr old can confess to that.

The ethics: Again, I'm seriously astonished and thrilled that movie-makers are BEGINNING their pictures with a reassurance about their not hurting animals in the making of their films. Gosh, times have changed for the better, thanks to all our activism of a decade ago!

There was a crow, and intelligent looking as they are, I thought the film-maker put it to very little use except as an object of foreboding.

There was a great looking hero though... a Kannada star. Something really goodlooking about him. His proportions were quite perfect, which was appealing, and he did the primary south indian male emotions of rage and impatience with women to a T.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Rock On! * * * * *

Rating: 9/10 Excellent
Entertainment value: 9/10

One of the best rock movies I've ever seen, including the Doors, the Who and the Beatles! And why am I so enthusiastic about it? The guys were great looking , the acting was real, the music was good.

I can well believe it was a true story about a rock band of my generation - in fact, that's the way most rock bands dissolved, from a total mismatch between producers and the small rock audience. But it was a treat to see one that came together again for a performance ... so tore at my heart strings!:)

Anyone who's performed in a college band, or in front of an audience, would identify with the pure joy of a stage, a crowd and the attention. Something the movie captured par excellence.

And these guys were performers! They really threw away their inhibitions and made the movie worth a watch. Good going, guys!:)

My one big criticism would encompass all rock movies - and that's the lowly groupie status of the women in it. If they're not grovelling, vacuously-smiling groupies, they're vampish and somehow "holding the guy back from his dreams" which is exactly how this movie potrayed the women. And all those women were as unhappy as hell -- let it be a warning to all women:

Please remember that indulging men to the point that he thinks he's a rockstar or a cricketter (simply because he forced you to buy him a guitar or a bat) is solely an Indian mom's function in life - not his wife's, gf's or daughter's!

Leave us out of the mindless, frenzied devotion to his ever-immature ego plz. His endless search for himself is always at the expense of a woman's search for an identity. If he 'finds' himself in rock, she's going to have to lose herself in his masculine me-my-myselfness, so gawd forbid.

If anything we women who saw the movie would identify with guys in the band, not their unhappy wives, ty. And they were so very unhappy... Unfulfilled groupie wannabes married to rock wannabes.

And ... one REALLY good theme: NO DRUGS OR SEX to go with the rock 'n' roll! For once, *clean* rock-stars in the tradition of the new straight-edge, vegan, alternative bands. Good music never needed an addiction to drive it forward. Way to go!

Friday, 29 August 2008

Bachna ae Hasina *

Rating: Low
0/10 for humour
1/10 for entertainment

1. The ethics.

The filmmaker is probably a shallow fellow. You can see straight off that he's blind to the beautiful women hired, he can't see past the skin, and it shows.

And btw, script-writers, lecturing the victims of your abusive 'hero' through him and then making them apologize to him for not welcoming his 'pachtap' isn't kewl. That's how bozos confuse themselves.

Think of the end result of these values, if you thought you were moral - we'd all be frenzied party-freaks, break with less-superficial others and get rewarded; more wild oats, more abandonment, more opportunity. A quick and casual 'sorry' will set the karma in balance again ... took 6 months to undo 12 yrs of damage - one of those took just a couple of days. Speed is the key, and it takes hardly any time at all to apologize and look like a wounded doe if the victim doesn't accept it. Right? Wrong. Won't sell your movie.

It's a typical bollywood story of an insensitive guy who sees women as objects to enhance his image with his friends. He loses for a minisecond and develops insight into how his victims feel after his irresponsible abuse and abandonment. At this point we're thinking, "Ah, this movie has some saving grace ..." but NO!

We're subjected to 1.5 more hours of gruelling lectures by this imbecile as he visits each of his victims and gloats over how they benefitted from his abandonment. "Hey, see ... if I hadn't ground your self-esteem into the mud, would you have got the love of your life? the career among the stars? huh? huh?? HUH??"

First of all, the boy is pudgy and ugly with a weak chin and close-set eyes and ye gods! plump cheeks that quiver! ... sigh his eyes don't quite focus; the girls are all too pretty and intelligent for the wet'n'loose-lipped non-looker but -ugh- they HAVE to be forced on film to fall 'in love' with this ... this creature! Worse, he gets to keep wetting his lips and moving on to the next bigger and less demanding girl.

Dream on, dudes and ... I hope *your* karma is different for your luck as a loser. This is the movieflub of the decade. It'll regress you 200 yrs ... wake up! Your boy isn't getting anywhere with women IRL.:)))))) Ha!

[not to be continued, only compared to heap disgust ...:s]

(Disclaimer: Despite sounding like I hate bollywood movies, let me assure you I have enjoyed 'Singh is Kinng' a week before. Read below.:)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Singh is Kinng * * * * *

Rating: High
9/10 for humour
9/10 for entertainment

1. The ethics.

The filmmaker is sensitive to the audience: he begins with a reassurance that there's no cruelty involved - it was graphically generated. It was SUCH a change from cringing all the way to the finishing credits to see if you paid 200 bucks to abuse a chicken for mass entertainment, at which point the director casually throws in a careless 'oh-by-the-by, one of the those humane societies was there for the filming.' for all your breathless wait. Used to make me seethe.

To the concerned filmmaker/producers/director: Thanks, for that thoughtful gesture. It made me relax enough to enjoy every single antic with a clear conscience and a stomach

It's a timeless story of a good guy winning through a combination of good fundamental values, aided by luck, puts it in the genre of Sindbad the Sailor, The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables.

[to be continued]

(Disclaimer: Despite sounding like a crazed fan of bollywood movies, let me assure you I hadn't seen one in 5 yrs before this, and went into the movie reluctantly. :)