Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Beware of the cornered tigers!

While the tennis world is abuzz with the longest and most strenuous grand slam final that happened on Sunday, there would be two men who would be thinking they ought to have been there that very day clashing against each other in a repeat of the 2010 Australian Open Final. That was how close they came to reach the final at Melbourne. Murray, in his semi final against Djokovic dug deep in the decider and even had a break point at 5-5. Federer didn’t get that close in his semi final against Rafa but the way he started the match would have made people feel – ‘slam no.17 is on its way’. But, with the result of the semi-final going against them, with two better gladiators surviving their onslaught, it is time for some reconnaissance for the Swiss and the Scot.

Talks of a Djokovic Calendar Slam, Calendar Golden Slam (with the Olympics about to happen in July this year), Novak Slam (which he will do if he wins the French title) and a Novak-Rafa Slam (if he defeats Rafa in the French final, he would have slammed Rafa in the final in all 4 slams) are already on! Rafa is not far behind the radar. As the clay season gets underway, he would be the toast of tennis paparazzi. That leaves behind the two men behind them. How will they fare? Will they somehow throw a surprise and take the limelight away from worlds No.1 and 2.? We will try to get an answer to these questions looking at how good or bad they have done in the past few months.

1. Andy Murray
His 2011 campaign started off with a bang where he came second only to Novak Djokovic at the final in Melbourne. But a third final loss in a slam took its toll on him and he faced shocking early round losses in the masters at Miami and Indian Wells. He came back on track at Monte Carlo, where he surprisingly took Rafa to three sets in the semis – A place where Rafa is yet to lose (He is a clean 35-0 there). He came tantalisingly close to breaking the Nole streak in Rome but succumbed in a third-set tiebreaker. At Roland Garros , he fell to eventual champion Nadal (again in the semis) in three straight but intriguing sets. Another shuddering semis loss at the same Majorcan hands at Wimbledon did him no good.He ended up losing a first round tie in the follow-up masters event in Canada. After a better showing in Cincinnati (where he won the title owing to Djoker’s retirement in the final), he did well at US Open but nothing prevented him from losing to Nadal in another semi-final! Then came the Asian swing where he was the man on the roll; He went on to win titles at Thailand, Japan (where he defeated Rafa in the final – a consolation to all his heartbreaking losses to the Spaniard) and Shangai. He came to London’s World tour final as one of the contenders but fizzled out with an injury.

His new year 2012 started with an association with one of the greats of the game Ivan Lendl and the results are already showing it seems if tennis pundits are to be believed. 
Djokovic  said “Yes.  He was more confident on the court.  He was taking his chances.  He was being moreaggressive.  I think he was playing better (than last year’s final)”.

Key Take-aways: 2011 hasn’t been all that bad for Murray. If not for Rafa, he might have been a slam winner. He gave himself the chance by being there at least in the semis in all slams. The later part of the year was good. He has started off 2012 decently. If only he doesn’t let a concentration lapse, with better outings at Miami and Indian Wells (where he defends too less points) he can go past Roger to No.3 and that will do him a world of good in addition to the Lendl potion that is getting brewed and served!

2. Roger Federer

For Federer’s lofty standards, 2011 was one of his bad years. The first year since 2002 when he went slamless. After a terrific start to the season with a title at Doha, he succumbed to Djokovic for the second time in a semis clash at Melbourne. He followed that up with routine losses to Djoker in the final at Dubai and in the semis at Miami. At Indian Wells, his semis loss was at the hands of nemesis Nadal. A poor showing in the clay masters at Monte Carlo and Rome ( defeats to Melzer and Gasquet) threw him off the limelight and he came so close to getting back when he took a set off Rafa in the semis at Madrid. But that was all he could as Rafa improved his H2H against Roger to 16-9. At Roland Garros, Federer became red hot news for breaking the 41 match winning streak of Djokovic in an epic semi-final classic but he couldn’t cross the final mile against Rafa in the final. Back to back Wimbledon and Montreal losses to Tsonga and a thumping whacking by Tomas Berdych at Cincinnati took Federer still down but he came back well at Flushing Meadows where he nearly did the Roland Garros trick against Nole but eventully couldn’t close out. A break during the Asian swing was much welcome and back to back titles at Basel, Bercy and London’s World Tour Final put Roger right back on track to be the favourite for this year’s Australian Open. But Rafa again, a loss again and he must be kicking himself somewhere in the Swiss Alps pondering on how he can solve the riddles posted by Djoker and Rafa.

Key Take aways: Like Murray, Federer too had a terrific end of season last year and was up there in at least the semis in 3 slams in 2011. But, with Murray about to surpass him as world no.3, it would get mighty difficult for Federer to break back to the top and sail his 286th week as No.1. That goal has to wait for a long time it seems. But he would be looking forward to the US Masters events to see if he can break the semis jinx against the top 2. If he can, he might well be on his way to week No.286 at the helm!

Wounded tigers lick their wounds for some time, ponder on how their hunt went wrong but they don’t just stop there. They come back stronger & hungrier at the unexpected moment. Beware Rafa and Nole – Watch out for some high decibel roars from Dunblane and Basel! If one of them turn it around and get into the top 2, that would change the entire dynamics opening up different possible semi final and final clashes (witthin the four of course!) which would make the men’s game even more interesting.

Lessons for life from the 6 hour epic!

I am wondering if there is any other sport that can keep one engrossed continuously for hours together! There’s no sport like tennis in that regard and the duo of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal just proved that displaying athleticism, true grit and passion for the sport in style and in the process, they have added a glorious chapter in the ‘book of rivalries’ that the sport of tennis has given us over the years. In addition to the entertainment that the two gladiators offered, there were lessons for life – of immense value – that was intrinsically part of the 6 hour saga at Rod Laver Arena. Shown below are 5 distinct lessons that I could decipher from the contest that kept me engrossed to my television set and even dumbfounded me at some crucial moments.

1. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over
“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” goes the tagline of Stallone’s Rocky! A tennis crusader who has an unmistakable resemblance to the Rambo actor showed exactly that after Rafael Nadal went 4-2 up in the decider. He churned out a comeback that was miraculous given the fact that he had exceeded ten hours of marathon tennis in the last 48 hours prior to reaching that score line! Anyone else in the ATP circuit would have faltered (whether or not they would have stretched Rafa to five sets is a different question) if Nadal was at such a commanding position in the fifth set in such a humdinger but not a certain Nole from Serbia.  The fact that Djokovic proved the Rocky verse in the US Open ’11 semis against Roger Federer when the Swiss was serving at 5-3 40-15 match point is another startling point!

2. Your past has got nothing to do with what you are/ what you will be.
Novak Djokovic was once a bunny of the likes of Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. There was even a time when he used to retire prematurely from grand slam matches. He was the last name one would associate with fitness.

“Isn’t it both of them? And a back and a hip? A cramp, Bird flu, Anthrax, SARS, Common cough and cold” – Roddick would quip on Djokovic’s fitness before their quarterfinal clash at US Open in 2008. But when Djokovic nearly pulled off a victory after battling 4 hours with Nadal on the dirt in Madrid in 2009, there was enough evidence that a turn of tables was around the corner. Yesterday, after battling out the defense of Nadal (arguably the fittest of them all) for 5 hours and 53 minutes, there is no doubt on how brilliantly the Serb has turned his fitness around in the last few years.  Even Roddick knows it now. He tweeted after the epic “Djokovic-Rafa. Absolute war. Physicality of tennis has been taken to another level in the last 5 years. 6 straight hours of power/speed”

3. Defeats need not always be the worst of things. One could feel ‘happy’ about defeats that follow struggle.
Nadal, in his post-match presser (where he used the word ‘happy’ 9 times in the conference) said “I am not happy to lose the final, yes, but that’s one of the losses that I am more happy in my career.” Need I say more! Pearls of wisdom these from Rafa.

4. Seize the opportunity that comes your way; Else, the payoff could be huge.
Ask Djokovic how he would have wished to play better if given another chance when Rafa was 0-40 down at 3-4 in the 4th set. You may get second opinion from Rafa on how he rues the missed pass when he was 4-2 30-15 up in the deciding set.

5. Never,ever give up – Even when what you are up against is a mountain of trouble.
The point that explains this – the 31 shot rally at 4-4 in set 5;
The mountain – Novak Djokovic who came up with at least 4 potential winners in the course of the rally;
The one who gives the lesson on not to give up – Rafael Nadal who defended with immense determination and made Nole fall down.
Who knows? On another day, such a point would have sapped Nole’s confidence and Rafa might have broken in the next game to win the slam. The way Nole bounced back after the rally is another proven elucidation of the fact that one must never, ever give up!

These are among the lessons that the final, in particular, and tennis, in general, have taught us time and again. Whether we take it in or not is a question that is best left to personal pondering.

Having born in the 80s, I am glad that I was born in an era that has allowed me to watch and appreciate the rivalries of Edberg-Becker, Pete-Andre, Roger-Rafa and now Rafa-Nole, each special in its own distinct way! As I had mentioned earlier, with the Australian open final of 2012, a new chapter of epic proportions just got added to a classic book and the lessons these chapters have brought forth are worth remembering and reminiscing for the years to come!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Look - #34

JACKDAWS by Ken Follett

Plot: A Chateau acting as a telephone station is a target that is pivotal for Germany's control over the French resistance. After a missed attack by a lady Major Flick, she goes back to UK to assemble a team for a repeat of the attack and the 'Jackdaws' get back to France with the watchful eyes of German Major Dieter being their single large problem.

  • Ken Follett's love for a lady protagonist goes one step further and here, in this huge essay, he also adds a lady team to play the title role! And he succeeds quite effortlessly.
  • The individual characterisations of Flick, Dieter are heroic; The ingenious and clever ways of torture adopted by Dieter are interesting to read.
  • Narrative, as ever, is classic with some implausible analogies (Arlington kids' prayers compared to agents' morse codes! etc.), humour and romance thrown in.
These Jackdaws fly long & fly fast!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #344

Movie: Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

Plot: The film digs controversially deep into the formative years of the founders of two of the software giants ruling the roost - Steve Jobs of Apple & Bill Gates of Microsoft.

  • Full marks for the bravado of the maker Martyn Burke and also to the writers of the book the film is adopted from. It's a daring take on the 'below the surface' profiles of two of the most successful leaders of our time.
  • Noah Wyle with remarkable semblance to Steve captivates interest and Anthony Michael Hall, substitutes the lack of striking resemblance to Gates with some nice body language imitation. The guys playing the other big names - Wozniak, Ballmer etc. do well.
  • The scenes that show how conniving the duo have been and how craziness is needed to create something fresh (explained in the bulldozer scene) are actually nice tributes to the two big names.
  • The level of detail the film gets into is too shallow; It doesn't go deeper into the specifics.
  • There appear to have been a few deviations from the actual record but they are acceptable.
An Interesting but incomplete account of the dynamic duo!

Two Line Reviews - #343

Movie: La piel que habito (or) The Skin I Live In (Spanish, 2011)

Plot: A doctor specialising in plastic surgeries uses a person as an experimental rat for his pathbreaking research on creating skin that can withstand and resist many issues. Why he chose his specimen forms an interesting flashback in this thrilling ride.

  • Pedro Almodóvar gives shocking surprises at different points of time in the film and those make this qualify as being 'pretty suspenseful'.
  • Antonio Banderas shows his obsession for the research specimen and the loathing quite well and the girl who plays Vera is good with her quizzical expressions.
  • Jan Cornet who plays the guy Vincente is good with his role in the few scenes he appears.
  • The background score with the loud symphony is apt and helps build the tempo up.
Psychotic in places, Thrilling overall.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book Look - #33

THE OUTSIDER by Albert Camus

Plot: A french man who, after attending his mother's funeral, goes through his life in the immediate aftermath as if nothing has happened. He experiences love, routine work and a kinship that turns his destiny. After the life turning event, the exposure of his unperturbed and conveniently indifferent nature even after his mother's death is a rude shock to people when he is tried on court. He retires as how he had lived he life - an outsider from the conventions that please the world.

  • The author impresses and blows the reader out with such a short but intense work that explains wonderfully the paradox of the inconveniences of being completely perfect!
  • The afterword at the end of it one that ought not to be missed. Captures the essence of the entire book in a page.
  • The narration with contrasting stuff - absurd observations, wry humour, hard-hitting truths - make it the classic it is.
Truth that is practiced by none & one that is hard to swallow!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #342

Movie: Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (or) A Separation (Iranian, 2011)

Plot: A couple are in the process of getting divorced. When their only point of influence is their daughter, as if existing troubles were not enough, the family is made to face an extreme situation where they get involved in a court case over the miscarriage of the house's maid servant.

  • If the phrase "making a mountain out of a mole-hill" can be used in the positive sense, it can be apt in few places than in defining this film by Asghar Farhadi. The simplicity & the 'caught-in-a-cob-web' characterisations are amazing!
  • Performance from the actors are terrific; Those of the father,the daughter & the husband of the maid stand-out!
  • The way the blame-guilt game shifts sides backed by nice situations and hasty,tempered conversations is interesting to watch .
A brilliant lesson on how to make a good film from an one-liner!

Two Line Reviews - #341

Movie: The Help (2011)

Plot: The black helps (maids) of 1960s America parent small white kids who only grow older to treat them roughly when the same blacks help their kids. A second generation white girl and a resilient black help join hands to write the story of helps at Jackson, Missisippi - A story that is as brutal as it is devastatingly true and embarrassing for all white homeladies who had meted out poor treatment on their black maids on just the baseless grounds of RACE.

  • Tate Taylor - Haven't heard anything about him before but with this film, he packs a punch and delivers a morally sound film that is also racy!
  • It is the combination of the ladies who play Aibileen & Minny (both of them perform stupendously!) that forms the cracker in this film creating an emotional impact/connect with the viewer.
  • The character of Skeeter - the writer, Lilly & Celia - the desolate amateurish white have been created nicely.
  • Dialogues are terrific in places - touchy, sensitive and crisp.
Black Upliftment story that is highly Impact-ful!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #340

Movie: Vettai (Thamizh, 2012)

Plot: A tale of two brothers in which the meeker elder one becomes a police and uses the bravado of his younger sibling to nab and keep a check on the local rowdy factions.  When the villains get to know of the team play, they target the soft guy who, after a dose of goonda-beating and inspiring brother-talk, joins his thambi to finish the rowdies off completely. In between, the brothers are fortunate enough to get a dashing sister duo to give them some romantic company!

  • The casting and the usage of the main 4 is what the director Lingusamy scores with. He uses them quite well in this oft-repeated intentioanal & non-intentiaonal funny script.
  • Arya's timing in comedy, his looks & costumes make him score well in the film; Madhavan has not tried to indulge in any form of image build-up/protection (a smart move) and that has paid off well for him. He seriously needs to rediscover his neck and reduce his waistline if he wants to continue acting as a hero!
  • The sister duo - Sameera Reddy & Amala Paul form a dashing sister pair.Right from their intro song till the very end, they keep the viewer engaged whenever they are on screen.
  • Passable stunts by Silva, some touchy scenes to evoke fun and twist expected cliches are other pluses.
  • Worrisome negative is the form Yuvan is in. Songs were already dreary; The background music is repeated probably 129 times (and that too is a slower version of the 'Villadhi Villaingal' song bit from Rajapaatai). Only positive way of looking at it - He's saving his best for Billa-2!
  • The serious scenes (thanks to Madhavan's acrobaticism or the lack of it & Arya's voice modulation) end up becoming extremely funny
  • The 'America Maapilai' and his accent are irritating to the core.
Acceptably funny.

Two Line Reviews - #339

Movie: The Ides of March (2011)

Plot: A governor running for President in the elections has to win a decisive battle at Ohio. A talented staffer in his clan is sought after by the opposition. A glimmer of coveting is enough to spoil the political career of the budding talent or does he get a second-chance to play a trump card?!

  • This film directed by George Clooney is high on political drama and an action of words, dialogues; The conversations are intense and attention-grabbing.
  • Ryan Gosling has the meaty role which he plays well and Philipp Seymour Hoffman gets a good scope to show skills as well; Surprisingly, Clooney restricts his role to a smaller one.
  • The twists on the tale around the offer made to Ryan are good and accompanied by a brisk background score,carries the film forward at a good pace.
Intense political drama.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #338

Movie: It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

Plot: A stressed out school-goer gets suicidal instincts, enrolls himself into a psychiatric hospital & after a week's experience with the characters there, he gets mentored into how better he can handle life and even discovers some inane talents he possesses.

  • The film is positive, the narration is peculiar and stylish, the accompanying camerawork & editing are experimental and all these make this a nice film to watch.
  • The guy Keir Gilchrist who plays comes up with a mature performance & Galifianakis' unperturbed acting too steals the show.
  • The characters in the hospital - Muqtada, Noelle, the "It'l come to you" guy, the guy with sensitive hearing are as interesting as they are weird.
A deliciously made positive fun-film.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #337

Movie: Contagion (2011)

Plot: A virus breakdown spreads across continents killing millions in the process. A speculating blogger on the social network has a field day compounding the headache of WHO and Disease control officials in the U.S.A. accusing them of striking deals with pharmaceutical cos. to delay the release of a vaccine. How the virus spreads, shaking the human instincts of people making them turn barbaric in a demand supply imbalance forms the rest of the plot!

  • This bio-medical sci-fi film from Soderbergh is pulsating, even a tad better than 28 Days Later, and what makes this click well is the different angles from which the situation is depicted.
  • There are big names in the cast right from Kate Winslet to Matt Damon to Fishburne to Jude Law to Cotillard, all playing small and neat roles.
  • The background score by adds to the momentum the film's screenplay carries.
  • The scenes explaining the spread of the contagion (especially the final scene) is worrisome for it can happen anytime for real!
Contagious film indeed! (Couldn't avoid the cliche)

Two Line Reviews - #336

Movie: Umberto D (Italian, 1952)

Plot: An old pensioner struggles for existence with improper government sanctions on pensions, with a cruel landlady who wants to evict him. His only companions are his dog Flike and the servant of the house Maria. He does all he can do to win his battle with his landlady to stay in his beloved portion.

  • Coming from the director of Ladri di Biceclette, the quality of the touching emotional & sentimental scenes on offer is no surprise!
  • The man who plays Umberto Ferrari shows the pride of the character marvelously - the scenes where he tries and fails to beg, where he gets his lires together to pay his debts are of top quality.
  • The cute girl who plays Maria and the dog Flike create a connection with the viewer and that makes the climax special.
An Inspiring perseverance tale!

Two Line Reviews - #335

Movie: Cache (or) Hidden (French,2005)

Plot: A family gets video tapes by post indicating that their home is under surveillance. With some clues that the miscreant sends, the husband relates the act to his childhood servant whose past he had troubled. He has trouble with his wife, their confused child and a suicide makes things worse. The video tapes do what they were intended to do - give him pill enforced sleeps!

  • The apt casting (especially the kid, the servant's son), completeness in terms of the performance of the cast, the making of scenes etc. make this a classic that it is yet to become.
  • With the suspense element intact throughout, the way the screenplay moves makes it tactful.
  • The scenes where the wife talks about trust and the scene where the husband feels for his kidnapped child in the kitchen are places where the actors score the maximum.
  • The suicide scene is a shocker!

The way the film ends is incomplete. An open-ended finale is not what best suits the film's plot.

Hidden treasure among classics!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #334

Movie: Moneyball (2011)

Plot: The General Manager of Oakland Athletics Baseball team, after a heart-wrenching loss at a season finale is gutted by the transfer of his top players to rich ivy leagues. He comes back not by buying new big replacements but by buying a sports analyst and the duo reform a team with a strategy that is viewed suicidal by others. After a bad start, they go on a streak that puzzles the baseball world!


  • This biography by Bennett Miller evokes admiration for the real duo Billy Beane & Paul DePodesta and that makes his work a success!
  • Brad Pitt, showing sheer attitude and a body language that is marvelous, takes the applause for epitomising Billy Beane in a fine fashion.
  • The priceless expressions of Jonah Hill when he sacks a top player and when he signs off a super deal are enough to show why he plays a great foil to Pitt's role.
  • The dialogues are powerful in places - like the ones on the first through the wall getting bloody!
  • The touchy anti-climax and the video tape on the man who hits a home-run without realising it are decorative.
Impressive,interesting and hard-hitting!

Two Line Reviews - #333

Movie: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Professor Moriarty deals with guns and ammunitions and he anonymously sets european countries for a world war to let his business flourish. Holmes is as determined and witty as ever in trying to stop the professor from doing that!


The positives regarding the unconventional and explosive treatment that Guy Ritchie gave to the firts part in the Holmes story holds good for this one as well!
Robert Downey Jr. does enough justice to the marvelously created Holmes character and even the mundane looks special when he makes fun of and puzzles his dear friend Dr.Watson.
The chase scene in the woods with the slow-motions and the descriptive stunts are as good as Ritchie gives but might have been overdone in the climax, but the final touch makes up for it.


Bringing down the roof at the German ammunition centre was unbelievable to the core; Something else might have been good.

Holmes doesn't get better or worse with this edition.

Two Line Reviews - #332

Movie: The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

Plot: A photographer for NGC goes country-side in search of bridges to document. He gets the aid of a home-making housewife whose family is on an exhibition for 4 days. The 4 days and the photographer kindle the urge to live the life she had dreamt of in her childhood and perturb her mind completely!

  • Clint Eastwood makes and shows a poignant tale out of a film that migrated people can best appreciate. A normal movie lover like us too can, for such is the manner in which the scenes are conceived.
  • Meryl Streep comes up with a bowl-out performance and explains her dilemma perfectly.
  • Clint, as ever, is subtle and underplays his role to near perfection as well.
  • The gradual shift in mindset of the children of Meryl in the present is nicely shown too.
Poignance, a wonderful pair - what more would one want!

Book Look - #32


Plot: This books runs the viewer through a series of short stories set in different moods, different genres happening in different parts of the world.

  • Not many stories were as suspenseful and twisting as those in Forsyth's No Comebacks but they weren't lacking in garnering interest.
  • The ones of note were the ones on the Italian tourist, the painter & the man who wanted to live for long!
  • Twists in some were predictable, and of the lot, in some they were appreciable.
A Decent timepass read.

Book Look - #31

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Plot: This fictitious book traces the life of a character in the era of Gautama Buddha - Siddhartha - who seeks the answer to the question on the meaning of life and existence.

  • The work is highly refreshing and the philosophy is not suffocating but interesting! Trying to explain a life analogous yet different from that of Buddha is a smart ploy adopted by the German writer.
  • The part of the book that deals with Siddhartha's stint with the boatman is the highlight of this work and what the river gets to say urges one to listen to nature.
  • The explanation on why even a stone has life in it and why time isn't real are startling and leaves us thinking!
Philosophical & Refreshing and never goes beyond the cut-off!

Book Look - #30


Plot: Four men get conned into a stock investment by a near-perfect conman. The losers plan to exact a revenge on him with his own bread and butter game!


  • 'Revenge is best served when it is cold' goes the KillBill chinese proverb and this book with its classy narration reiterates the same!
  • The parts played by the Oxfordian, the painter move at express speed
  • The fact that even the best in the business can be fooled by a perfect plan is stressed upon well in many places.
A perfect re-con, more or less!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Two Line Reviews - #331

Movie: Krótki film o milosci (or) A Short Film About Love (Polish, 1988)

Plot: A teenager in his Polish apartment spends a lonely life with his mother. He spies on his opposite door neighbour - a beautiful artiste - who he starts loving. When she gets to know of his act, she fumes, he repents - they find things in common and mutual admiration,respect and care blossom!

  • Krzysztof Kieslowski gets into the big picture with this poignant narration of a delicate storyline. Never does it get voyeuristic and that's the beauty of this creation.
  • Olaf Lubaszenko as Tomek shines with expressions of love,anxiety,fear and guilt and Grazyna Szapolowska who plays the lady spied on superbly.
  • The side characters - the boy's mother etc. leave a lasting impression too.
  • Accolades again to the camera work and music.
A loud 'Hello, Here I am' to the cine world from Kieslowski with this poignant tale!

Two Line Reviews - #330

Movie: La double vie de Véronique (or) The Double Life of Veronique (French & Polish, 1991)

Plot: An opera singer in Poland dies of a troubled heart in a freak accident during a concert. Elsewhere in France, a music teacher finds inexpilcable disturbances and in her quest for answers, finds love with a not-the-normal person who captivates her attention and she finds the ultimate answers to her shocks.

  • Krzysztof Kieslowski deserves applause for bringing an ethereal subject to life giving a poetic touch to it!
  • Iréne Jacob has terrific scope for performing and she grabs it with the proverbial net and does an impeccable job! She is lovable as both the Polish Veronica and the French Veronique.
  • Music adds life to the scenes and so do the photography and locations (which could be said for all Kieslowski films!)
Poetic piece from the Polish Ace!

Two Line Reviews - #329

Movie: Trois couleurs: Rouge (or) Three Colours: Red (1994)

Plot: A french girl who aspires to be a model causes an accident to a dog which she attends to with care. She chances upon the dog's owner only to find that he eavesdrops his neighbours' phone calls. Her fury on him gets mended gradually as she gets to know him more & finally she befriends him before leaving to England to meet her disinterested fiancee.

  • Krzysztof Kieslowski completes the trilogy with aplomb with this intense drama which speaks the truth loud.
  • The characters of the model girl and the eavesdropping retired judge are nicely made and their action is good too (especially that of Irène Jacob).
  • The exchanges between the duo and the justification he gives for his pathetic unethical act  are solid and makes much sense to the film's proceedings.
  • The symbolism to show similarities,contrasts, betrayal etc. are special and touchy!
Not especially a negative, but bringing the three pairs of the trilogy in the final scene was doing a bit too much to me.

A masterpiece trilogy with lessons on film-making ends with this neat work!

Two Line Reviews - #328

Movie: Trzy kolory: Bialy (or) Three Colours: White (1994)

Plot: A marriage between a french lady and a polish man get consummated under delicate circumstances. When the lady dumps him and aggravates his self-pity with a crucial phone call, the man gets serious about life, shines in his business and brings his wife back to Poland with a devious plot - only to dump her back and win his revenge!

  • This is another complete film from Krzysztof Kieslowski that leaves one stunned. He is terrific in bringing out a superb plot into a tasteful film!
  • Zbigniew Zamachowski as Karol comes up with a show that is very difficult to appreciate enough. His Karol role is marvelously etched and he lives it wonderfully.
  • Giving him able company are Janusz Gajos as the sad-faced Nikolaj and Julie Delpy as his french wife.
The escape to Poland and the growth in Poland are sub-plots that get dealt with lightly.

Brilliantly plotted revenge - My favourite one in the trilogy!

Two Line Reviews - #327

Movie: Trois couleurs: Bleu (or) Three Colours:Blue (French, 1993)

Plot: A famous french composer and his little daughter die in a tragic car crash which leave the only survivor - the composer's wife - into a traumatic state. She finds herself back through an independent life, rediscovers her self and after learning a shocking news about her husband, she helps a fellow composer complete the dead man's dream symphony.

  • Krzysztof Kieslowski impresses immensely and brings a touching story to screen through some brillliantly knitted scenes.
  • The performance of Juliette Binoche as Julie is a celebration of the independent woman and provides oodles of inspiration.
  • The winding scenes where only the entities in the frame convey meaning to perfection are examples of the polish director's brilliance!
  • The soundtrack (during the heroine's blanks & the symphony notes) is terrific.
A highly impressive work of art!

Two Line Reviews - #326

Movie: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Hindi,2011)

Plot: Three friends are on a road-trip to Spain to fulfil their pending wish of experiencing 3 adventures - one selected by each of them. During the trip,they undergo more than what they had planned for. A guy gets to see his father while another sees how he has been wastefully running behind money and the third solves the confusion surrounding his marriage.

  • This Zoya Akhtar film might have many cliches but is as refreshing as such films that have been dished out in the recent past. Positivity is everywhere to see and that makes this a pleasing watch in spite of the many 'already seen' scenes thrown over.
  • The casting is inch-perfect. Hrithik doesn't have much to do, his mere screen presence suffices the role he plays; Abhay Deol underplays well and Farhan Akhtar's is the most likeable of the three characters. Katrina & Kalki play good fiddles.
  • The adventure sport scenes where only music expresses everything have been dealt with nicely.
  • Another big plus is the film's dialogues written by Farhan - There are some simple yet powerful lines. One example is the exchange during the bull chase climax when Imran asks Arjun not to think about 'what if i die' but about 'what if i live'.
  • Exotic locales and high aerial shots capturing them make the viewing superb.
The screenplay is easily predictable & with the heroes splashing and enjoying in dashing outfits,cars,hotels - one gets the feeling that the film isn't exactly practical for an average-ly financed person.

One for the holiday season!

Two Line Reviews - #325

Movie: Radio Days (1987)

Plot: A person narrates the influence that radio has had on his childhood and his entire family. He vividly remembers characters from the radio and takes people down a nostalgic trip (if they can connect to it).
  • This film is quite out of the ordinary. Woody Allen takes a different route this time and does a neat job.
  • The characters in the film, as described by the commentator, are nice ones & the entire family with unique characters please the viewer.
  • Some of the satirical scenes shown are enjoyable.
Not generic for the worldwide audience.I couldn't establish any connection with the programmes or the characters narrated. Some impact gets lost there.

Memorable if one can relate to the film.