Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #97

Movie: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

  • Amazing Graphics & unbounded creativity continue in this second edition of the Star Wars saga & the revelation in the climax creates grounds for an exciting extension.
  • Harrison Ford's charisma takes the film at light speed - the one defined for/in the film.
  • C3PO continues to entertain with the witty one-liners of his.
  • The mission lags behind,in quality,the one in its prequel.
Overall Score: 9.3/10

Two Line Reviews - #96

Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

  • A feel good film that explains how rotten it is to be prejudiced on grounds of colour and creed.
  • An apt title - Both the characters Tom Robinson & Boo Radley are mocking birds.
  • Gregory Peck shines as a gentle,caring father of the motherless kids and as a lawyer of clarity with his moving speech in the courtroom.
  • The kids Jem,Scout & Dill make this film an even pleasing watch.
  • Nothing that I could see.
Overall Score: 9.4/10

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #95

Movie: Apocalypse Now (1979)

  • Probably the most strenuously made film I have ever seen till date. Vietnam War captured to unassumably realistic proportions with the scenic locations acting nature's allies to the makers.
  • There are too few actors who can live up to a 2.5 hrs MASSIVE build-up for a 45 minute screen time and Marlon Brando surely is at the top and he proves that with a subtly played cameo.
  • Martin Sheen & his boat crew take us through an intriguing pursuit of Col.Wurtz.
  • All credits to Coppola for using his Godfather duo of Vito Corleone and Tom Hagen in totally contrasting roles here.
  • Forget it.This one is a 10 on 10 stuff!
Overall Score: 10/10

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #94

Movie: Rashomon (Japanese,1950)

  • Such an ingenious screenplay in 1950 by Akira Kurosawa! No wonder it inspired Kamal Haasan to give us Virumaandi.
  • The smart 4th narration that includes portions of the narrations of all the first three,meaning,everyone had partly said the truth.
  • The climax that smartly ties the incident portrayed with the practical ways of the human race in general.
  • Like in Shichinin no samurai,here too the background music is prominent & ToshirĂ´ Mifune excels.
  • All three versions of the story seem to have untied loose ends.
Overall Score: 9.7/10

Monday, September 27, 2010

The cheerful voice of Chinmayi

An immensely talented singer, she has to thank Rahman for giving a dream debut ,a springboard which not many singers would get. For some reason, I didn’t want her to do well then – Can’t comprehend why! But, her sensible stint as an RJ at Aaha FM’s morning show changed my views. I was a daily patron of a part of that show through my strenuous morning journeys. Only after that did I feel like giving the credit that her singing deserves. Now, after her latest rendition, I am a self-proclaimed fan of her singing. As a tribute, let me list some of the wonderful renditions of the cheery Chinmayi.

Oru Dheivam thandha poove (Kannathil Muthamittaal)
 Like I said earlier, a dream debut . A difficult song set in the arresting  Darbari kanada raagam provided her a brilliant platform and she came up trumps – That too, the improvisations in the final portions were impressive even though Jayachandran would have done a better job in the other version.

Enna idhu enna idhu (Nala Dhamayanthi)
Here again, she scored with the fine rendition of a soft melodious number,pleasing to the ear in Ramesh Vinayagam’s composition. The effortless high pitch singing was a highlight in this particular song.

Sandhipoma (E20 U18)
My personal favorite among her songs. Complemented well by Unni Menon, the magic of Rahman & Chinmayi’s faultless singing took this song to a higher pedestal. The association that Chinmayi’s voice had with Trisha was the icing on the cake. That is probably one reason why Trisha’s role in Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya looked agreeable (Chinmayi dubbed for her there) despite the volatile & maddening character she played in it!

Tere Bina (Guru)
When we think this one is Rahman’s show all the way, he suddenly gets Chinmayi to render a humming and a stanza and a sudden low pitch Tere Bina towards the end. The ability to sing low-pitch stuff is one area where she scores over most of the other singers,except,probably Shreya Ghoshal who is as good at low-pitch stuff as Chinmayi is & that is exactly where Rahman uses her to perfection.

I Miss you miss you (Sakkarakatti)
In this experimental song of Rahman, Chinmayi too experimented with two voice modulations - A blend of soft and crude versions in the same song.Her experimentation relatively succeeded against Rahman’s in the attempt!

Vaarayo Vaarayo (Aadhavan)
Chinmayi & Unni krishnan’s renditions brought freshness to this otherwise mundane song which seemed to have been inspired by a lot of songs from the past. There again, Harris used her for Low-pitch and Unni Krishnan for the high-pitch stuff – Quite a contrast to the way male and female singers are used in most of the songs – Testimonial to her low pitch talent.

Anbil Avan (Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya)
One song where the composition scored over the singers! An implausible arrangement of instruments, medley of Thavil,drums,nadhaswaram,church organ and what not! This song gave Devan a much needed break and it was Chinmayi at her content best supporting him.

Maiyaa Yashodha (Jhootha Hi Sahi)
This particular song is probably the reason for the emergence of this blog. A wonderful composition this, of Rahman, which on the outside might seem quite a regular for a Hindi film song but a careful listen will make one realize why it is much much better than that. Once again Javed Ali takes care of an exuberant high pitch singing and Chinmayi brings a lot of cute & charming effect with her glad rendition. My admiration of the faultless and precise positioning of her ghamakams and the way she meanders wonderfully back and forth between low pitch & high pitch have made me pen down this blog.

– A fan of the voice of Chinmayi among others'.   


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #93

El laberinto del fauno or Pan's Labyrinth(2006,Spanish)
  • A fabulous film on a fairy tale & a civil war set in the milieu of a fascinating forest with some wonderfully conceived scenes(the climax being one such scene).
  • The locations,music & terrific cinematography - The camera doesn't remain stationary even for about 10% of the film. The style of making is a definite source of inspiration for films like Raavanan made in this style.
  • The cute & beautiful girl who plays Ofelia - She emotes wonderfully well & the role of the villanous army captain.
  • The initial focus on fairies shifts to the civil war & the fairies' fable keeps coming and going at will.

 Overall Score: 9.5/10

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #92

Movie: Rosemary's Baby (1968)

  • A Polanski film that matches Repulsion,his previous work, in the eeriness and weirdity it offers. I didn't think it was possible but he repeats it in this horror/thriller film.
  • Mia Farrow,who plays Rosemary.She's the heart and soul of this film and she carries the role with elan.
  • The screenplay - You don't know what you are going to see,till you get to see,even though clues are given during the course of the film.
  • The final 5-10 minutes. I have never been as perplexed watching a scene as I was while watching this climax!Haunting with no gimmicks!
  • Nothing

 Overall Score: 9.7/10

Friday, September 17, 2010

Farewell 'Freddie' Flintoff

Au Revior Andrew Flintoff

He came in as a lanky young middle-order batsman into the English cricket side in 1998. His initial performances fetched him no more credit than being regarded as one of those English county cricketers who get to represent the international side for a few matches.During a subcontinent tour came the moments that changed his destiny! With injuries to major frontline seamers, England had no other option but to choose whoever could bowl medium fast from among those available in the squad and that’s how the red cherry got to the hands of Flintoff. Even he might have got surprised by the kind of transformation he went into from being a gangly part-time bowler to a gigantic prime bowler who could bat too.

Just like the dynamicity in his personality, his match performances were great in spurts. He was a match-winner – A rarity in an English squad since the days of the Allan Lambs & the Graham Gooches. With over 225 test scalps, 170 odi scalps and over 3000 runs in both forms of the game at a decent average Flintoff was undoubtedly the best all-rounder England could have dreamt to have. Infact, he is a genuine contender for the category - ‘the best international all-rounder of the first decade of this century’. Another tremendous aspect of Andy was the aura he possessed when he did his best. As Strauss says, Flintoff was a High-impact player whose performances had the ablility to inspire others in the team. That fits him in the lot that people like Steve Waugh, Ganguly, Akhtar (of the old), Cairns (to quote some) are part of. Who could ever forget the Ashes series of 2005 which England won after 18 years?!

Flintoff had his dream match in 2005 with a literal one man show with both the bat and the ball, with scores of 68,73 and reverse-swing hauls of 3/52 & 4/79 in the Edgbaston test (regarded as one of the best tests ever) to help England get a historic 2-run nail biting triumph over the Aussies. The over he bowls before getting rid of Ponting is one I can watch over and over again. He nearly repeated that effort with a wonderful showing in the 2009 Ashes as well when he helped them win a very important match despite having an inner struggle with his operated knee.

He has had his share of controversies but with dynamic and powerful personalities these are by-products you can happily take, for, they have loads of pluses which make these sundries look miniscule. It is such a shame and irony that a person like Flintoff who could not be intimidated by an opposition player has succumbed to his own injuries. But he can rest assured that he is one of the pioneers of the volte-face that English cricket has taken in the past decade. Looking at the form they are in with players like Broad, Swann, Morgan, Strauss & KP leading the charge, it doesn’t seem they are going to come down any time soon.

Freddie can now happily retire in his living room,wish luck to his mates and probably watch England retain the Ashes at Australia this year – The first time they will do (There is an ‘IF’ here!) without their beloved Freddie!

Two Line Reviews - #91

Movie: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

  • A Kubrick film on a spoilt brat who serves a deserving 14 yr sentence for the unpardonable sins his psychotic mind lets him commit & a treatment he gets to be set free - being impelled towards good by paradoxically impelled towards evil - What an unusual plot. I'm on the verge of calling Kubrick 'Thalaivaa'.
  • The acting of the lead role player.Everything about him right from petting the snake to his ways of misdemeanours of the highest order to the ways of sufferings he undergoes - is bewildering,shocking & terrific.
  • The simple Casio keyboard music is haunting & is a huge plus.Add to that Beethoven's ninth symphony track.
  • The last hour doesn't keep up the tempo the first 1.5 hrs set. Not an easy task though!
  • Portrayal of disturbing rape & violence scenes makes this one literally a BIG NO for children .

 Overall Score: 9.6/10

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #90

Movie: Paths of Glory (1957)

  • A war-turned-court room film of Stanley Kubrick unusually different from the lot - A film on the politics played by men in power leading to the court-martial of three innocent soldiers.
  • The Ant-hill capture attempt sequence
  • Kirk Douglas's role & performance as the honest Col.
  • Climax symbolising the idiocity & purposelessness of war between nations holding similar cultures/values.
  • The men in high command are shown corrupt,but the reason for them being so isn't touched upon.

 Overall Score: 9.3/10

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #89

Movie: The Killing (1956)

  • A nice,fast,intelligent killer of a Kubrick film on a perfectly plannned heist attack on the cash safes of a Horse Race course - A 'must-watch' film.
  • The screenplay is too good considering the time of release of this film -Makes our new age heist films like the Ocean's & the job films look like kids.
  • Killer of a climax - Unimaginable end!
  • Planning everything else to precision, would he have missed the cabin baggage planning?

 Overall Score: 9.5/10

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #88

Movie: Peepli [Live] (Hindi,2010)

  • Politicians fight for power,Media networks fight for the bigger share of the pie - All when a farmer fights for his death/life. A simple yet hard-hitting film with dark humour on the plight of illiterate helpless farmers in the country.
  • The actors who play Natha & his brother - They bring out the 'we are illiterates & we are exploitable' expressions wonderfully.
  • All credits to the lady behind the film - the director Anusha Rizvi..too good an attempt for a debut film.
  • A bit exaggerative.
  • Pre-climax scene has been shot entirely in the dark - A bit confusing.
Overall Score: 9.4/10

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Unfinished Business - That little bet!

Mr.Sathur & Mr.Anand. I have taken my own time but finally I am here to start the completion of our bet -the unfinished business of watching and reviewing those 6 six films you gifted me when I parted ways!


Directed by Sridhar-regarded as one of the most smartest and exciting directors of his generation, this film is definitely watchable. A story of the ill-fated twist in the life of a carefree college going youth falling in love with his family suddenly facing shudders with the loss of job of his brother, the sole bread-winner . The hero is forced to sacrifice his love, his interests for the sake of his family – Run of the mill stuff. But he gets exasperated of his sacrifices at a point and goes on to question the purpose of his existence. The lively first hour is followed by a pathos filled mega serial type one hour after which the film gets brisk and ends in an unpredictable yet plucky climax.
Gemini Ganesan marvels in his role showing tremendous transformation from a happy youngster employing flirtatious ways to capture the imagination of his lady love to a lost, sacrificial lamb. Other performances of note are those of muthuraman (who plays his brother), the father of the duo(casual acting was at its best display), the heroine and Nagesh.But, it is amusing and makes no sense when the lead pair start conversing in thooyaththamizh after their initial break-up. Funny!

One big plus for the film is the music of the Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy duo. Surprisingly I was familiar with not one, not two but all songs in the film - The most popular ones being Manidhan enbavan dheivam aagalam & Mayakkamaa Kalakkamaa (I didn’t know both were from the same film!).

So the first hurdle, luckily , was an easily crossable one. Awaiting five more!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #87

Movie: Double Indemnity (1944)

  • A puzzle that involves the murder of a man by careful plans laid & worked out by his wife and an insurance agent,incentive being the insurance amount - Solved in an interesting fashion.
  • The performance of the man who plays Ketes - A livewire on screen & at solving the case.
  • The engaging dialogues & the set of turns that the story takes at the end.
  • Nothing of note.
Overall Score: 9.5/10

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #86

Movie: Casablanca (1946)

  • A nice crisp story on a French revolutionist seeking escape from German forces being protected by a pro-french Hotel Owner at Casablanca with a tale of love acting as the catalyst for his ways.
  • The first Humphrey Bogart film I have seen and I have got the answer to why he is highly regarded as one of the very best actors - What style,what elegance,what subtlety he shows!
  • The limited 3-4 other important characters,riveting and sensible climax & the beautiful beautiful Ingrid Bergman who plays the desperate confused lady.
  • The flashback at France was too small to cause any impact.
 Overall Score: 9.1/10

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #85

Movie: Love,Sex aur Dhokha (Hindi,2010)

  • Claps for the sheer daredevilry of the totally unconventional candid camera attempt that captures love & scandals that news channels love to buy - a good strong dig at the media.
  • The concept of showing three stories in one film - The Amores Perros way.
  • Cam angles used & showing captured moments with timer. Noting down the timer will only give us a sense of the order of the proceedings.
  • The three stories are connected for the heck of it.They weren't cohesive & that was disappointing.
  • Stories 1 & 2 end abruptly.
  • Adult(e)rated content & one gory scene that can be disturbing.
Overall Score: 9.0/10

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #84

Movie: Rocket Singh Salesman of the Year (Hindi,2009)

  • An unusual film on the Sales industry & intricacies involved in it - A thoroughly engaging fare.
  • The idea employed by the under-utilised sales guy that forms the core of the film - I wish something like this happens in the IT service industry as well!
  • Ranbir shows versatility & convinces us that he is asli sardari.
  • Able shows of the supporting cast - the partners & father.

  • There is definitely a dose of dramatic scenes that aren't realistically possible.

 Overall Score: 9.3/10

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #83

Movie: Wake Up Sid (Hindi,2009)

  • This film, again on an ignorant,arrogant,immature young guy, is in stark contrast to Dev D. It is such a positive,feel-good film on a duo.
  • Ranbir Kapoor garners attention with his tremendous screen presence & Konkana Sen is at her usual best.
  • Costumes,Art work & the wonderful music of Trivedi & S-E-L,Trivedi's Iktara being the best.
  • Some very absorbing scenes like the tussle with pop, & clicking pics of the next door child for his mom.
  • Some needless characters are let loose at the end.
Overall Score: 9.3/10

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #82

Movie: Dev D (2009,Hindi)

  • The story of Devdas rehashed and presented in the context of the Y-Gen. But has the Indian Y-gen gone so far? I suppose it hasn't. Still a different attempt.
  • Usage of very little dialogs and conveying a lot through tracks was a good move. All tracks fitted,emotional atyachaar being the best, and were not speed- breakers.
  • Abhay Deol's performance as the lowly loser & the portions of Leni's trauma.
  • The protagonist has nothing positive about him. He is selfish,egotistic,spoilt & hopeless right from the word go. That leaves little or no impact at the end.
Overall Score: 8.7/10

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Two Line Reviews - #81

Movie: Aamir (Hindi,2008)
  • An interesting plot with a gripping narration,PhoneBooth style.
  • The entire bus sequence towards the end - the dilemma brought out wonderfully.
  • Amit Trivedi's apt musical score.
  • The villain seems to know even the timing of each and every move of his pawn, as if he can read his mind.
Overall Score: 9.2/10

Two Line Reviews - #80

Movie: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

  • A Sci-fi fantasy film of such convincing proportions made in 1970s when computers meant to too few!Unbelievable work!
  • The bonding between the robots C3PO & R2-D2, especially C3PO's humourous one-liners.
  • Harrison Ford's casual,rip-roaring role & Obi-wan Kenobi's quotes.
  • Starships & the battle in the outer sphere.

  • Not a blip. A note of caution could be the fact that the first 10-15 can make one go restless as characters are all too strange,but once one gets acclaimatized, there's no looking back.
Overall Score: 9.6/10