Sunday, 30 January 2011

4th Week of Jan

New in Town (2009) [* * * *] This was fairly good - about a modern woman corporate climber who's sent to a Minnesota factory to shut it down. She gets to know the workers and wants to save their jobs. She stakes her career on an inspiration and saves the factory. It was slow though and the romance was just too tawdry for my liking.

Righteous Kill (2009) [* * * *] I've seen this before and remember being sad that Robert Di Niro and Al Pacino have grown so old. It is about two older cops, one of which has turned into a serial killer, good especially for the twist in the end.

War (2007) [* * * *] Jason Statham and Jet Li are FBI and Jet Li is killed. Jason goes after the rogue assassin and destroys two Tokyo mafias, only to find that Jet Li is still alive.

Crook (2010) (Hindi) [* * *] I rarely watch any hindi movies, but decided I needed more downloads and should look at a few. This one's interesting because of the reference to the Australian racial attacks on Indians. Otherwise it had too many songs and too much violence.

Legend (1985) [* * *] You'd think Ridley Scott could do better than a vague fantasy film, but no. Even with Tom Cruise, he had to ruin it with his dark imagery and quite a dull storyline.

Sunshine Cleaning (2008) [* * *] Very interesting twist to a family story. Two sisters take up cleaning after murders, suicides and accidents to make more money. Usual drama around their personal issues.

Madea Goes To Jail (2009) [* *] An old black lady is a repeat offender and gets to jail. It isn't all that funny, but its directed to a largely black american audience so that's understandable we don't get it.

The Code (2009) [* *] You know what?... I don't even remember what this was about!:p

Due Date (2010) [* *] A desperate father has to race cross-country with a schmuck for the birth of his child. The usual accidents.

Unleashed (2005) [* * * * *]

I realise I must have grown bloodthirsty in my old age since I give a high rating to action flicks.:)

This is an interesting underdog film - a man, Jet Li, is trained to be a dog to fight and kill for his master and knows no other life. He begins to explore softer feelings through a chance meeting with a blind piano tuner, Morgan Freeman, and develops a passion for music which makes him look back and try to figure out his past.

This was interesting for several reasons: There's a very clearcut racial tone to the whole movie.
1 - The white men are the 'masters' - every colonized country in the world can identify with the cruelty of enslavement inflicted on them by the whites.
2 - The rescuing blind man is black - once again an eastern perspective of the black man as innocent, gentle, cultured and emotionally balanced. Very unlike the hollywood image of black = violent savagery.
3 - The idea of innocence and ignorance being manipulated. This seems to be a common theme of male-oriented movies and appeals to me very much, since it is very real. The real world rests its profits and excesses on the existence of those two virtues. Men, in this respect, see the world clearer than women.:)

Saturday, 29 January 2011

3rd Week of Jan

Gulliver's.Travels.(1996) [* * * *] Funnily enough, I've never read Gulliver's Travels even though its a classic, so it was very enlightening. But it definitely isn't a story for kids - it's a story for arrogant adults, making fun of human foibles. (I think Jonathan Swift, like Hans Christian Anderson, Jules Verne and R L Stevenson, wrote for adults or very cruel children.)

Dinner For Schmucks (2010) [* * * *] This would be a good movie except for the absolutely irritating schmuck, which was probably the point of it. Whoever wrote this has really understood annoying people!:)

Jonah Hex (2010) [* * *] John Malcovich - so should have been awesome, but mostly shot in the dark. And something was off - probably a story without a moral like most cowboy tales.

The Last Song (2010) [* *] Quite a sweet story about a divorced couple and their kids and how they cope with cancer in the family. But I'm not really up for sad movies these days.

Dead snow (2009) [* *] Holiday Horror and very gory about college students on a haunted hill full of Nazis.

Dogma (1999) [* *] Funnily enough it wasn't good. It was supposed to be a comedy about god and angels, even had two of my favorite actors, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and non-movie stars like George Carlin, Alanis Morrisette, etc. but it did nothing for me.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (2009) [* *] Another american teen movie for limited iqs.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A Ward man at home

It is one of the difficult times when ones papa is affected with a stroke, my dad lost his speech.
with help of friends he was taken to salem and he is convalescing.

This is the first time i have taken my dad to a doctor, he is 82, the last time he was with chicken gunya, and he got well with homoeopathic medicines from our cabinet.

This time we had him in admitted and my lady and me were with him, now he is at home and we are nursing him back to his normal self, he is walking with a bit of help and taking food.

I am playing the ward man and his nurse, and my lady is my support.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Social Network (2010) [* * * * *]

This is a movie I had such mixed feelings about that it changed me - I have to give it 5 stars.

The story is a fictionalized version of the creator of Facebook. I was intriqued, appalled and finally impressed by this very complicated human story. Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg, an antisocial undergrad computer geek, a social climber who loses his girlfriend and creates this site to prove himself.

Facebook's amazing success leads to lawsuits, charges of theft and losing his only friend. His isolation is very real and touching, yet you're pushed to disliking the cocky nerd. I loved it for the very human dilemma of isolation through net relationships and how suffering follows any success story. It transformed my indifferent use of Facebook because I quit it the very next day. lol!

The Expendables (2010) [* * * * *]

I'm going to take my time and review those movies that I liked separately - more to figure out what I liked and didn't like about them.:)

In The Expendables, I was wowed by the lineup - Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Dolf Lundgren and Jet Li ... all the hunks in one movie! Yum.
The story is simple - a guy movie - bunch of mercenaries who finally find a cause (woman in trouble) and turn into knights in shining armor.

Very entertaining except for how unhappy Jet Li looks in it. His role is minimal with a lot of anti-Asian jokes and he needs to be saved - I thought that was an unfairly western condescension towards all things eastern. Also the women are just props, but hey, that's what makes a 'guy-movie' - stereotypes - so we can live with it.:)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

2nd Week of Jan

One of the biggest problems with the opportunity to watch more movies is the number of duds go up.:) I find myself growing weary of feature length films that were made poorly. I guess more people are able to find the money to make movies these days. Makes me glad they have the opportunity and sad that they waste it.

The Sorcerers Apprentice (2010) [* * * *] This one had potential until it was just a vehicle for a scene from the mickey mouse version by the same name in fantasia. Gad, I hate it when disney sells us recycled ideas.:( This is the second Disney movie with Nicholas Cage in it - I'd have hated him as a child so I'm not sure what they're up to.

Wall Street Money Never Sleeps (2010) [* * * *] Gordon Gekko is back from jail for insider trading and his daughter is dating a wall street guy. Gekko gives him advice that turns out to be right and wins their trust.

Life As We Know It (2010) [* * *] A couple dies and leaves their baby to two single friends. This is about their relationship. A lot of rapidfire american repartee, if you like that sort of thing.

The Other Guys (2010) [* * *] A comedy about two cops who're trying to be heroes. Quite entertaining, but over-the-top.

The A-Team (2010) [* * *] The old A-team redone with modern references and a new story. Alright for guy-movie fans.

The.Town.2010 [* * *] Ben Afleck made this watchable. Its about bank robbers and how their network keeps them doing the same thing over and over again.

The Twilight Saga Eclipse (2010) [* *] Vampires and werewolves, really boringly slow and affected, which is perfect for teens and twenties that it is made for.

Machete (2010) [* *] Another guy-movie - lots of violence, blood, gore and naked women.

You again (2010) [* *] About meeting your own school bully in later life.

Brooklyns Finest (2009) [* *] Another movie shot in the dark - I wonder why so many directors are doing it these days - saving on sets? Anyway, the story is forgettable.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Legend of the Guardians (2010) [* * * * *]

Some really good animated feature films coming out of Australia. First The Rescuers Down Under now this lovely heroic tale.

Two owlets are playing outside their hollow when they're kidnapped, along with many other babies. The owlnapping owls indoctrinate the babies to their own values of purity and superiority (a la nazis). They plan to train them to take over the world.

The two brothers react differently - one stays and the other resists. He takes the punishment to protect another owlet and, with help, escapes to find the guardians.

Its been given a very poor rating by RT critics which is a mystery. One possible reason could be that european and british values and humour often escape american audiences. I remember how a few american friends didn't crack a smile reading Tintin and Asterix while the rest of us were in splits. The other might be the republican 'family values' theme of all disney movies which this questions - here two brothers are on opposite sides of a war because of their choices. The story doesn't go into too many whys, like Japanese movies, which tend to frustrate american critics.

Anyway, such a good watch for anyone.:)

Saturday, 8 January 2011

First Week of January 2011

Here's a bunch of movies I didn't much care for:

  • Inception (2010) [* *] - Leonardo diCaprio is trying to implant an idea in a dreamworld into a billionaire's mind. Annoying actor, that one.
  •  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One (2010) [* * * *] - The movie is entirely shot in the dark. Oh well, just being a J K Rowling fan makes me give this 2 stars more than it deserves.:) The book isn't too good either, so the movie just follows. She was being honest when she said she was tired of Harry Potter.
  • Easy A (2010) [* *] - A college girl lies about a date and the gossip makes her out to be a skank. It ruins her reputation, loses her her friends and finally breaks a marriage. So forgettable.
  • Devil (2010) [* *] - Night Shyamalan's been making a bunch of duds these days. This is one more of them. 6 people trapped in an elevator by the devil who wants their soul. All but one die for their sins.
  • Salt (2010) [* * *] - Kurt Wimmer, the director, I thought could have done better. A russian sleeper agent in the US turns anti-russian in an action drama. Um, not very interesting though I'd hoped for more. 
  • Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) [*] - Don't watch this unless you're below12. Your IQ, I mean.:d

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Robin Hood (2010) [* * * * *]

I've seen so many Robin Hoods by now that you'd think I'd be sick of it, but apparently not.:)  This version is slightly different, and, I felt, more realistic (though most reviews say its historically inaccurate, but I'll get back to that). What I liked about it is that it made a believable story out of a myth, apparently after many years of rewriting the script. 
The myth of Robin Hood is that he had his own way of fighting tyrannical authority, that of King John (yes, the same one who was forced to give up the 'divine right of kings' in a Magna Carta 16 yrs later and form the modern English Parliment:). He robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, and hunted the king's sheriff and men in Sherwood Forest.

This is the story of how Robin Hood came to be - which is never talked about in the myth. Russell Crowe and Kate Blanchett, both not my favorite actors, did a fantastic job in this movie. Russell Crowe is, what I like to call, a man's man. He's very appealing to men, and therefore women like him, the way girls like popular guys in sports that they don't play. lol!

Robin in the movie is a lowly archer in King Richard the Lionheart's army, disgusted with the murderous crusade (The guilt of the West finally showing up in movies!). He chances upon an ambush after the king's death. He's sworn into returning a dying man's sword his father and the crown to England. The father asks Robin to take the dead son's name and masquerade as Miriam's husband to save their property. In time he begins to fight the exploitation of the village by church and king and return it to the people.

The historical inaccuracy is essential to the story, unfortunately. Robin Hood is supposed to have suggested outline of the Magna Carta in exchange for helping King John rid England of the imminent French attack. Later King John, true to his spiteful and jealous nature (historically true), goes back on his word and outlaws Robin (fiction).So, even though fact mixes with fiction (the Magna Carta has a different history dating years into the future) it is very well done.:)

I usually hate Ridley Scott movies for their pompousness (eg., Gladiator) but I liked this one. Robin is popular because he's a humble and deeply honest man with little regard for man-made laws before higher ones. This makes authorities dislike him which is just like in real life. So believable.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The sound of the gong- at midnight

The invitation was on phone and the occasion was the midnight dance at the new year eve.

we dutifully made arrangements for the travel, to Salem with a few like minded individuals, each finding excuses to escape to the special get -together.

We met up at 9 pm and the floor was carpet laid and we sat among children and parents, and a musician with his tabla.

The programme started with a troop of 4 happy children dancing to the tunes of a tamil movie, shaking and moving around, followed by other children and film songs and prayer songs.

i even managed to sing a few lines of " i married a female wrestler..... as massive as could be .."

Some party games got the sedentary elders moving too and by 11.15 pm we were ready for the dances. the lights were dimmed and the audio was turned up and bingo, there were all of us shaking to the tunes to our hearts delight, young and old alike sweating and twirling,as 12 neared we sat quiet and let the master of the event take us into meditation.

His words waving bye bye to the passing year, and welcoming the new one, leading to the silence at the midnight, we listened to the gong of the bell and let it sink into us ushering in the new year.

Humane rats and ratty humans

Ever since i came to know that our chemical medicines were tested, before being prescribed for us humans, i felt we were given the results of hard work and safety measures, taken for the welfare of the sick.

Now getting to know things more deeper, i have started to have doubts, from simple cooking up results of the high managements ,with lots of money being spent to get pre-planned results, and the next being the subjects tested upon.

The rats and guinea-pigs are the trial subjects, and now we have the prisoners and the armed personnel who have to sign up to all things, that they know or do not know, which is as good as being rats.

so the result, are the rats able to express their feelings, or are the humans who are subject to such inhuman practice able to express theirs?

It is time testing of medicines be limited to willing humans only, and safe medicines be put on trial.

we can learn this from other systems.

The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) [* * * * *]

At a time when golf was only for gentleman, a working-class caddie called Francis Ouimet (the boy who carries the bag) goes on to win the US Open overcoming all odds - the jeers of the rich club members, the obstacles of class, his father's disapproval and the disbelief of the world.

Amazingly, he beats his idol, the world golfing champion, Harry Vardon. The only caddie he could find was a 10 yr old boy called Eddie Lowery and together they make history.

Very inspiring especially for children to see, since you see each of them struggling with their demons as they face the pressure of the game. And the plucky 10 yr old Eddie keeping his head as all others lose theirs!

My cup runneth over ... with Vuze!

I've discovered a torrent downloader that's 10 times faster than emule called Vuze - since then I've been watching so many movies that its beyond me to review all of them individually. So I'll stick to reviewing the good ones (5-*****) and leave the 2-, 3-, 4-star for a single list.

Sometimes I think I'm blogging to be able to store outside my memory banks.:)