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 www.simplyscript.com 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 www.filmcamp.tv 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!