Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #201

Movie: The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Plot: A young girl and an old lady are companions in a train journey. Suddenly the old lady disappears and what's more! The other people in the train say that the young lady was alone and never had a companion. When she nearly comes to accept that she had hallucinated, a man who's charmed by her looks tries to help her out and win her and he does them both!

  • Another film that stands as an example to Alfred Hitchcock's queer methods and the power of his screenplay writing partners.
  • The lead pair, as always the case in Hitchcock films, share great rapport and act well with a decent dose of humour too.
  • The way the suspense is maintained till almost the end is marvelous.
  • The two cricket aficianado characters and the way they keep joking around are funny.
A superb film in a relatively less trodden genre 'comic-suspense thriller'!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #200

I couldn't have chosen a more appropriate film for a milestone number - 200. A film that I have seen only in parts, a film that I have longed to see for a long time, now gets happily into the 'Seen' list.

Movie: Gandhi (1982)

Plot: The film traces the silent revolution that the unbelievably stubborn Gandhi led to inspire and unify an entire nation against the British Raj. It focuses on his redemption work in South Africa and how he took cues from that experience in the herculean task of inspiring the uncomparably huge India by reaching ther hearts of masses with his amazing grit and simplicity.

  • Richard Attenborough's tribute to probably the greatest leader to have ever existed (just for the no. of loyals he seems to have inspired) is clean as a slate and records the popular events in Indian freedom struggle during Gandhian period. The fact that he was able to make crores of people follow and worship him is mystifying & baffling.
  • Ben Kingsley, as the Mahatma, essays his role with utmost conviction and he epitomises Gandhi to the fullest extent possible.
  • The artwork,camerawork,dialogues and costumes clearly explain the amount of hard research that must have happened for making this epic film.
  • The final post-independence riots and misfortunes as shown are pitiable and ironic to the future Gandhi had envisaged for the nation.
A must-watch epic; If the Simplicity & Determination of Gandhi, as depicted, cannot be inspiring, nothing else can be!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Look - #14

EYE OF THE NEEDLE by Ken Follett
Plot: Towards the end of World War II, a thoroughly professional German spy gets information on the phoney plans of allied forces regarding their mode/route of attacking the Germans in France. He encounters difficulties (he's chased by British officials; gets ship-wrecked & gets rescued by a couple in a secluded island) when he attempts at passing the potential war-prospect changing information to Hitler. Whether or not he weathers the storm to send the info across makes up an intriguing climax.

  • This one , regarded as the best work of Ken Follett, is probably not exactly his best when it comes to the depth in which characters are described and analysed. But, it is definitely his best work when it comes to the sheer pace and excitement offered.
  • The prime character Die Nadel - The Needle is classily etched and the way he transforms from an adorable protagonist to a detestable antagonist is remarkable.
  • Creating a pivotal powerful Lady character has been one of Follett's trademarks and the one here - the Storm Island woman Lucy - is one of the best of such creations of his.
  • The vivid descriptions of the scenic Storm Island and the quickfire romance are other highlights.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Two Line Reviews- #199

Movie: Boys Don't Cry (1999)

Plot: A born-as-a-female male wannabe youngster undergoes the tumults of sexual identity crisis and when the 'he/she' falls in love with a 'she' and things get suspicious, friends of the girl find out the truth and torment the already battered and confused soul.

  • HILARY SWANK as the transgender! In an absolutely tough and controversial role, she shines with all her typical boy antics and then with her portrayal of guilt and sufferings, she betters the boy part.
  • A completely unique story and a pretty strong screenplay make this film watchable.
  • The mid-portion sequences where the clan interrogate her are gripping.
Too harsh on the eyes at times; could have done away with some of such scenes.

An 'unbearably crude' film; Watchable only for Hilary Swank's shocking role!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Look - #13

THE FIST OF GOD by Frederick Forsyth

Plot: Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait hoping for a retaliation aided by the USA and UK allied troops. He wants to humiliate the westerners by killing their soldiers in huge numbers with his secret nuke project Qubth-ut-Allah - The Fist of God. The allied forces send in Mike Martin, an SAS official, disguised as an Arab to Baghdad and they learn Iraqi inside information through exchanges between Martin and a mole 'Jericho' in the Iraqi core political circle.

  • Forsyth does it again! 600 odd pages of impeccable information is what is in store in this book. There is abundant information on the Iraq war of 1990s; the reasons, the results and all.
  • The Jericho-Martin-Base station exchanges and the revelations they offer make this book an irresistible read.
  • The parallel work in the bank at Germany to identify Jericho, the presentation of Saddam Hussein's conniving nature & details on the war aircrafts & nuke weaponry are the other major highlights.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Two Line Reviews- #198

Movie: The Notebook (2004)

Plot: In the summer of 1940, the love that happens between a hard-working labourer and a well-bred rich lady fails because of reasons of social status. His repeated attempts at reaching her fail & after years she falls in love and gets engaged to another man and exactly at that time the old lovers meet. The events are narrated in a flashback mode.

  • The character of the poor lover man. His is such a passionate, soft and honest character that leaves an impact.
  • The performances of the lead pair - They emote well with flare.
  • Some wonderful shots in nice landscapes and the duo who play the old characters - they are nice.
The entire subject is cliche ridden and is easily predictable.

Isn't as good as it should be for the rating it has garnered.

Two Line Reviews - #197

Movie:  Annie Hall (1977)

Plot: A hyper-reactive comedian Actor breaks up with his lover and narrates the incidents that had led to the blossoming of their love and its destruction. How their contrasting likes and dislikes had led to their breakup is what constitutes the major portion of narration in this light hearted film.

  • This is the first Woody Allen film I am seeing and I have been mightily impressed with his skills. He has written and directed the film brilliantly. His dialogs are hilarious, 'nerd'ishly crazy and thoroughly enjoyable!
  • As the fast-speaking Newyork life lover, his performance is unique and cherishable; Diane Keaton, who plays his lover, helps with a nice performance complementing the role of Allen.
  • The way the narration takes shape is worth a lot of appreciation; The way passing characters make a mention of the duo's life etc. are funny.
A cracker of a hilariously narrated break-up story!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #196

Movie: Groundhog Day (1993)

Plot: A TV reporter and his producer leave for a small town to cover a locally popular festive day ritual. The reporter lives,relives and keeps reliving that day in his dream before the day even takes place in reality & in the process realises his love for his producer and with successive dreams, tries to get himself ready to make her find him strikingly similar to her in tastes.

  • There are films with weird plots.Not all are made convincingly,but this one is! A warm and feel-good ride it is and the different repetitive scenes are nicely etched.
  • Bill Murray as the eternal dreamer Phil shows he is one terrific talent with his easy show of a variety of emotions.
  • The alarm clock scenes, the action of the lady who plays the producer and the touchy old-man scene are worth a mention. 
Yours Eccentrically,
A weird feel-good film that shows today can be tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #195

Movie: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

 Plot: They are two horse-bound bandits. They rob banks and run riot in the USA. After being relentlessly chased by an affected victim, they move base to Bolivia. Their robbing stint there is limited to a short time after the chaser reaches Bolivia too. Will they escape this time too?

  • The fun-filled and stylishly shot chase and robbing sequences make this a pretty good entertainer.
  • The duo of Paul Newman & Robert Redford is deadly! As Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, they run the show with terrific ease.
  • The background song & Ilayaraja type music that comes in the Bolivia scene are other highlights.
Another awesome 'west-genre' Entertainer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #194

Movie: Les 400 coups (or) The 400 Blows (French,1959)

Plot: A young school-going kid isn't well attended to by his parents. He becomes a liar & earns the wrath of his parents and teachers alike. He becomes even more rowdy and as this vicious cycle continues to grow, he is sent to a Juvenile centre for rehab but to no avail.

  • The story, in itself, is touching & some scenes showing the boy's incorrigible ways are so typical of a ruined school-kid's life.
  • The person who plays the young guy is perfect and gives one of the best child actor performances you would come across.
  • The scenes where he doesn't lie and still pays for his earlier lying acts & his final testimony to the judge are touching.
The film could have been made to be even more interesting given that it isn't a documentary; It somehow gives a neither here nor there feeling.

Watchable for the kid's performance.

Two Line Reviews - #193

Movie: In Bruges (2008)

Plot: Two hitmen, after an assignment at London, are bossed to take a hide-out at Bruges,Belgium. One of them loves the place & the other hates it. The hatred coupled with the guilt he acquires after a mistake in his last coup makes him suicidal & that's exactly what the boss wants too. And then there are twists.

  • Full credits to McDonagh, the maker. The film covers events over a week or so & it is hugely engrossing thanks to some simple yet soulful scenes.
  • The action of the hitmen duo is top notch. The finesse of Brendan Gleesan is admirable. So is the quirky role played by Colin Farrell
  • Locations (Contrary to Farrell's views, the shithole that Bruges is not) & the music add up to the pluses.
The Simplicity makes this film a stunner!

Two Line Reviews - #192

Movie: Blade Runner (1982)

Plot: In the year 2019, Replicants (a humanoid robot made to near-human perfection) who have caused havoc in outer world return - back to earth to meet their master and correct their only weakness - Longevity in life. Meanwhile, an expert replicant destroyer policeman chases them & gets confused whether or not to kill an accidental replicant.

  • The futuristic plot and techno-making adopted by Ridley Scott fulfill the requirements of an engaging sci-fi thriller.
  • Harrison Ford, in his role as the blade runner, is cool, kicking and presents a super show.
  • The haunting humming & simple casino music play a pivotal role in setting up the tempo.
  • The scene when the replicant supremo meets his maker has absorbing dialogs.
Only one policeman is on pursuit; 'Why not many?' is an instant question.

It is no Star Wars but the film is good in its own right.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Two Line Reviews - #191

Movie: Der Untergang (or) Downfall (German,2004)

Plot: Hitler's Third Reich is about to come to its end. The film captures the final few days of the Fuhrer in his Berlin bunker where he understands loyalty, betrayal and many other things except the reality that the war had been long lost; He doesn't capitulate to the Russians; He commits suicide instead.

  • The maker deserves all the applause for making it not look like 'just another film on Hitler'. He takes a very small timeline and captures details to meticulously elaborate levels.
  • The person who enacts Adolf Hitler. He has done a splendid job; The characters surrounding him too are cherishably etched.
  • The girl who plays the timid,loyal secretary of the fuhrer shines with her action.
  • The brutalities are shown in a way acceptable by all types of viewers.
  • The final scene of liberation of the child & the girl - poetic.
A microscopic view on Hitler's final Act!