In the age of Twlights, Dark Knights and those so many animated features, its surprising to stand in line and buy tickets for a houseful film whose theme is 1970s CIA exfiltarion mission. A surprising fact was, I had no idea what the film was about until I actually saw it and I went for it only because it was directed by Ben Affleck. (I had assumed, looking at the line for tickets, that maybe twilight has a special screening here, or ARGO might be comedy).
ARGO, is an amazing thriller which will push you to the edge of your seats by its climax. Whats even more interesting is that its based on a true story. Ben affleck plays a CIA agent who goes to Iran to rescue 6 US embassy workers and bring them back home in the disguise of moviemakers from CANADA– all that when IRAN and US were almost at war–during the 1979 Iran Hostage crisis.
The film works on many level. It shows you the situation of a CIA agent and what goes through his head when the lives of 6 people depend on him. It shows the emotional condition of both the people who seek refuge in a foreign country and of those who give them that much needed helping hand. What I liked about the film most was that it didn’t judge or take sides..Ben Affleck gave ample consideration to both sides and the reason for cause and effect.
The most complelling thing about ARGO is its thrill element…the rescue operation.. the fake movie making ..the whole fake identities..its all very well shot and directed.. The actors did their part really well and the audience will go tend to go into that era through the movie and very well enjoy it.
Karan Johar, for example, recently received a special invitation from the British Tourist Authority to attend the event. He has apparently halted filming for his next film ‘Student of the Year’ to attend the games in London.
Another star who will be attending is Anil Kapoor. Kapoor was invited by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. Boyle is the director of the Olympics opening ceremony, and Anil will be his personal guest!
We’ve also heard unconfirmed rumblings of Deepika Padukone and Abhishek Bachchan attending the Games. Deepika, who’s always said that her first love is sports, will probably check out the Badminton matches. Wonder what the other stars fancy?!? To learn more about your favorite Bollywood stars visit www.spuul.com/stars.
Here’s a download on what happened this week in B-Town
Veteran superstar Rajesh Khanna passed away on Wednesday, and Bollywood mourned the loss of a legend. The stars took to the web to pay their respects, sharing fond memories on Twitter, while Amitabh Bachchan dedicated a heartwarming blog post to Kaka.
The trailer for Son of Sardaar released on Friday, starring Ajay Devgn and Sonakshi Sinha. The action packed trailer has nearly reached 20,000 hits in les than a day! If you can’t wait to catch Ajay and Sonakshi in SOS, you can watch their films online on Spuul at http://spuul.in/JmGkAh
Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra celebrated their birthdays on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Facebook and Twitter were overflowing with birthday wishes for the two stars, as fans showed their love. The celebrations for the birthday girls continue on Spuul! Watch Katrina and Priyanka’s latest films instantly online at http://spuul.in/LkKllL
The Bollywood experience online just got better with Spuul! Spuul is a new online streaming service dedicated to Indian movies. Now you can instantly watch the latest Bollywood movies online at www.spuul.com
A review of the site revealed that Spuul offers free and subscription based movies. And there’s no credit card required to get started. A few clicks and you could be watching Saif romancing Deepika in Love Aaj Kal free!
Rajjo sat in between Harry and Aayat in a line and followed Harry’s eyes that turned back to behold Aayat.Aayat smiled back.Rajjo looked back at Aayat and could see the happiness on her face.She looked back at Harry whose eyes were fixed for moments on Aayat. The circle was complete but she was out of the desired line of sight.The disappointment on face on her face was evident and the awkwardness soon set in and the last traces of expression was of a volcano being prepared deep inside her soul that had been bruised by that line of sight between Harry and Aayat.The “Green Eyed Monster” had gripped Rajjo and she was captured by the sense of loss that seemed all the more impending,thanks to that one evidence provided by the warmth in Harry and Aayat’s eyes!!
Rajjo describes the greatest and most addictive emotion of jealousy in her entire portrayal. She is a very prominent spoke of the wheel of ” Mausam”. She acts as the perfect “outsider” to that developing “perfect” world of Harry and Aayat. She portrayed the “without” in the “within” of a world that she detested developing. Note the scene where later in the movie she agrees to help Aayat to find Harry and also allows Aayat to use her telephone and we feel that since Rajjo is married,she has long forgotten the jealousy that she once harboured…but the scene where she burns the letter from Aayat to Harry in the fire makes a very emphatic statement–The Romans and Women never forget.They might forgive but they never forget. One cannot miss the way her hands crush the paper and thus signify the “remembrance” of the loss that meant a life to her.Rajjo clinched her hands,the paper got crushed and then burnt in fire.I personally have not seen a much better description of jealousy in recent times or even in the past few years with such strong metaphorical grammar.
Don’t rub your eyes. In fact, prepare yourself to be left wide-eyed. Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist, the fifth installment in the increasingly tiresome and repetitiously unimaginative series of the Fast & Furious films, hits the ground with such ferocity that one can’t help be caught absolutely unawares and left gobsmacked. The sometimes Vin Diesel headlining, other times Paul Walker top billed Fast & Furious films have always been low on content, high on thrills… and it is the same case this time around as well. After all, the objective of the films in this series is not building characters that we grow to care about or weave a story that we are invested in; but to fetishize the sweet smell of burning rubber and the bass drone of a car engine being revved up at top speeds. This is video-game animated on screen; sequels are like levels.
Inspite of having Dilip Saab’s pic as my gravataar,i never dare write on him,firstly because his stature is way above any actor born in Indian Cinema and also because i am not such an endowed writer to express my views on the ‘Legend of Legends’.
Mughal-E-Aazam remains what i call the ‘Citizen Kane’ of India. Both showcase the life of men,who had everything and yet had nothing.An emptiness in the vast ocean of wealth and power,a surreal patch in the bitter world of reality. But the comparison is not only in terms of a similarity in the ‘expression of character’ but also in the influence on the ‘cinematic culture’. If Mughal-e-Aazam showcased the masterly scene of reflecting Madhubala in a large number of mirror-pieces,then take back your memory to the starting scene of ‘Citizen Kane’ where the shot is of fences with ‘K’ marked on them and the forthcoming scenes are superimposed on the current ones. In those times,this ‘series of dissolves’ was a feat to be accomplished. Both movies are colossal in terms of the ‘cinematic refinement’ they carry.
Coming back to Mughal-e-Aazam, i have always regarded it as one film where Dilip Saab let Prithviraaj Kapoor overshadow him. This is to negate the usual criticism about Dilip Kumar that he was the weak link. I take this as an intentional approach to let his character–weak yet strong in love, obedient yet defiant in life– stand against the man of principle and greater objective,Prithiviraaj Kapoor. This contrast is the canvas on which the ‘eternal,fictional love story of Salim-Anarkali’ is depicted. Prithviraaj Kapoor can be taken as an ‘enemy of the state of love’ by the worshippers of love and at the same time can be revered as the ‘man of principles’ by the Chanakyas of the state. Undoubtedly,Prithviraaj Kapoor was the most emphatic character of Mughal-e-Aazam and the pathos naturaaly gets attached to Madhubala.So,the question arises–What did Dilip Kumar do? What he did,was an important link,infact that link that made the movie the best ever. He depicted the conflicting emotions,and essayed the most important vehicle of expression – sometimes erotic love,sometimes anguish,sometimes defiance – perfectly. Mughal-e-Aazam did not provide him with the author backed role,it provided him with the beam of the building,the part that no one notices but it bears the maximum weight. Dilip Kumar was near perfect portraying a lover and a prince pitched against a father who rather acts as a judge in ‘matters of heart’ rather than a father ‘with heart’.
The movie is a vision of a director,who thought much ahead of his time. The towering personality of Prithvi Raj Kapoor ,the beautiful expressions of Madhubala- her poise,her dignified silence and eloquence both, her erotic yet completely non-vulgar expressions , Dilip Kumar’s strikingly impressive weakness yet an underlying tone of an emphatic and vocal resistance– all are so beautifully captured on screen and with such diligence that it has enchanted the viewers since 1960. I have always maintained that a film must be layered in terms of character development,and fortunately this magnum opus had a marked character exploration with all the three characters. Prithvi Raj Kapoor’s stern stance on his son’s love,a son whom he had received after four years of prayers and then sentencing the same son to death on account of ‘uprising against the state’ and finally letting optimism rule when he shows a heart full of emotions while letting Anarkali go away in exile is such a wonderful graphical representation of character that the attraction value becomes tremendous. Madubala is the best of the lot. While Prithvi Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar are embattled in a strong and exclamatory exchange of words that are ornate and magical, Madhubala is a perfect picture of a woman who is in a forlorn love yet she is highly and deeply convinced that she is in love. Her approximation to Salim’s chest,the platform for the expression of her love,when Akabr rushes in the room to find Salim and Aanarkali together and the breaking of pearls is a scene where silence further exemplifies the gravity of the situation. It is a love story where the intensity of love is directly proportional to the distance between the two lovers and the ‘causative agent’ is the man who is widely regarded as the greatest emperor of all times,the Mughal-e-Aazam. He not only came across as a man who would bow down to a greater objective rather than bowing to the fragile human emotions. It becomes evident when he says to Anarkali at the end that he is not against the love in front of him but he rather chooses the future of India above anything else.
The nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards will be out tomorrow. This past year has been a rather fulfilling one at the cinemas (Hollywood and Foreign), and so the nominations in any case will not read an embarrassing or unworthy inclusion. Here then, are my predictions for the Oscars this year.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
THE KING’S SPEECH
THE SOCIAL NETWORK
TOY STORY 3
[This category has become rather boring to predict with the ten wide field, but if there were to be any spoilers it will be either 127 HOURS or ANOTHER YEAR, the former in fact seems very likely to make it to the final ten]
I remember writing -A Very Short Note on SRK! That was when Ra.One was in nascent stage.Today,as heard the film is near about completion and screen-test would be run amongst children[primarily Aaryan and his friends].
I don’t know how does the man feel after having woken up from slumber and discover everyday that he is the biggest superstar of contemporary Hindi Cinema . That newspapers carry an article on him,negative and positive both…that Bal Thackrey is himself interested in demolishing him over any trivial issue that might have irked him…that every other day a new star is born and SRK is deemed to be dethroned or out of the race or mauled or bulldozed or finished. Now ask me,how do i feel when everytime the man proves it eveytime that the battle is far from over!!
The man has lost much of his energy,energy being the prime driving factor behind his success. The kinetic [by his own admission,he is kinetic,not potential] energy that he exudes now is just an archaeological remnant of what used to be in his efflorescent days!! Still,its remarkable that he carries each and every role with a fervour unmatched. What has actually transpired is that SRK has metamorphosed into a much better actor..one can compare him to Sachin of 90′s-aggressive and dominating to Sachin of 2000′s-calm,poised,relaxed and more mature. Everyone has a favourite pick.I maintain i loved SRK of 90′s more! The maturity in acting,that is still refuted by many, has been at the expense of his energy. Now SRK seems to have sacrificed his energy and has solidified it into a less energetic yet highly emphatic acting.It’s more like maintaining an equilibrium and sometimes with age on the wrong side,one needs to sacrifice attributes that would certainly not help in the long run any more. Logically,SRK is at a juncture where he has reached the pinnacle of success,zenith is below him,and nader is out of question.But still one can clearly see the man evolving or trying to evolve.Now that’s certainly a sign of longevity when you sustain to innovate and evolve,where success does not gratify you and closes any doors of excogitation.
You might have noticed the Suniel of KHKN,to be loving and charming.Paradoxically the Rizwan or the Suri seems as much charming and loving as Suniel,just that the frame of reference with respect to age,persona and repertory has changed completely. Now drawing comparison with any other star in particular would be disservice to the calibre of both stars. He has carved out a niche for himself.He has poignantly poised himself on a pedestal from where one and last flight of the falcon would just take him beyond any comparisons with contemporary stars. Recently,he has been on wet ground,a bit shaky,a bit hesitant to go for the kill and that is natural keeping in mind the quality of competition he faces.He is apprehensive,might be in between the horns of dilemma,might be anticipating,might be formulating,might just be scripting something that always has put him ahead when any competition has presented itself to him. SRK,going by his recent interviews has become less aggressive.Some say,the new found humility is because of stiff competition he faces.I would rather comprehend that sometimes age imparts that humility to you.Of Course being a public figure,he is choosing words carefully but the hypocrisy factor is limited to what one can behold on daily basis in normal social frame of reference. He has become more spiritual,as is evidenced by his interviews,remembers his parents always indicative of thae fact that he might just be asking them for the strength to sustain where everyone seems to be calling his day finished. They say,fighters never give up,i say…SRK is the perfect example.
1) Tintin & The Secret Of The Unicorn (US Release – 23rd December India- 11th November)
Director- Steven Spielberg (collaborating with Peter Jackson)
Starring- Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Jamie Bell & Andy Serkis.
Two words- “can’t wait”.
2) Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part-2 (15th July)
Director- David Yates
Starring- Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes & Helena Bonham Carter.
I watched this Italian movie, made in 1949 with English subtitles recently. I wanted to watch this movie because (if I am not wrong) this is THE movie which made Satyajit Ray. Ray had a habit of watching almost every movie when he was in London, but it was this movie which changed his vision about movies.
I had read innumerable occounts about this movie, and how it has inspired thousands of film makers across the world.
After watching the movie, I can see ‘bicycle thieves’ in Bimal roy’s movies, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies and also in Rajkapoor’s movies.
For me, the story is on ‘Kannada navodaya’ time scale. The story is simple, personal, non-melodramatic, and without any symbolism. Every shot, every character, every scene is done with dedication and devotion. The movie is non-political without any isms. As a critic, one can call this working class film stuck in poverty, but that is not what the film is about.
The twelfth edition of the Mumbai Film Festival concluded last Thursday in Mumbai after it had kicked off a week prior to that with David Fincherâ€™s critically acclaimed drama about the birth of the social networking site Facebook, The Social Network. Fincherâ€™s film was just one of over two hundred films that was showcased at the festival. The emphasis this year was on Japanese cinema, with a separate section entitled â€˜Celebration of Japanese Cinemaâ€™ that featured over forty of the best Japanese classics and contemporary films. There were eight other sections that the lineup of movies were divided into; the International Competition section with its Rs. 50,00,000 cash prize generating the maximum interest.
The jury to decide upon the best of the fest this year was uniquely an all-woman one. Only the second woman ever to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, New Zealand born Jane Campion (The Piano) headed this jury that also included internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf (The Apple), celebrated South Korean actress Yoon Jeong Hee (Sorrowful Youth), Head of the UK Film Councilâ€™s Film Fund & producer of the Harry Potter films Tanya Seghatchian and National Award winning Tamil actress, writer, director, stylist and better half of filmmaker Mani Ratnam, Suhasini (Sindhu Bhairavi).
Like the last edition, the organizing body of the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image had planned the Mumbai Young Critics initiative which scouts for 32 young critics from the colleges of Mumbai who get to see the films at the festival and decide upon their favourite. This year, there were also additional attractions like the Master Classes on Direction and Acting, conducted by Jane Campion. With Reliance Big Entertainment backing the festival this year as well, the week long festival looked cinematically promising.
Of Bears and Bulls
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Dir- Oliver Stone
Cast- Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon, Eli Wallach and Frank Langella
Not everyday can a sequel arrive 23 years after the original and still seem perfectly timed in its relevance. Oliver Stone, facing a phase of diminishing returns in his career this past decade, places his bets rather boldly on taking forward the story of one of his most iconic creations: the Michael Douglas essayed Gordon Gekko character from 1987â€™s Wall Street- the slick, suave and unscrupulous investor whose arbitrage and inside trading mechanics made him the unofficial yet undisputed Guru of the financial worldâ€¦ a character that has since that film assumed a position in everyday conversations at B-schools. So it is with some surprise then that the first time we hear Gekko (Douglas reprising his Academy Award winning role) speak in this film, he is posing a rejoinder to his own famous â€˜Greed Is Goodâ€™ remark from that earlier film, by asking us the question, â€œIs greed good?â€
It is a disconcerting, but a wise and apt move when you look at the movie backwards. When Stone made Wall Street back in â€™87, his intent was to open the eyes of the public, as he was wont to do in his investigative-journalist brand of filmmaking, to an impending financial doom that those suited auditors and bankers behind their ivory towers would bring upon the nation. Instead, the movie ended up spawning a generation of Gekkos- young students seduced by his power and wealth, stepping out of Ivy Leagues and straight into the corridors of your JP Morgans and what-have-you. So when a young Wall Street trader Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf) is imparted a cautionary lesson on the perils of what Gekko calls â€˜Steroid Bankingâ€™, we know that the aforementioned question is actually an astute observation… a wisdom gained after years of imprisonment for embezzlement and tax evasion.
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this is my first advice to all ng’rs.
and i want to start with this, DEATH NOTE.
Due to the word limit of the print edition it appeared in, my review doesn’t really do justice to this rich and layered film. I will try and write a better, longer piece…but until then, this review which appeared in Sakaal Times should suffice.
What dreams are made ofÂ
Dir- Christopher Nolan
Cast- Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard
I have seen Inception only about an hour ago, so clearly this post will be unduly colored because of that. But that’s ok.. we’ll not consider this my “movies of first half of 2010″ post, but a part of my “let me salute Inception” posts..
Note: the foreign Language movies are mostly of 2009, but got proper US releases only in 2010. so….
Best Supporting Actor:Â John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Guillermo Francella (The Secret in their Eyes),Â Â and Niels Arestrup (Un Prophete)
special mentions:Â Pablo Rago (The Secret in their Eyes), Nana Patekar (Raajneeti)
I found the film emotionally gripping; it was provocative, disturbing yet grimly beautiful. The realistic overtones to characters make them engaging and moving. Moreover I was particularly impressed with the cinematography, have not seen any scene so beautifully captured in …
Tom Cruise has been written off more times than the English football team, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too concerned by the brickbats currently being thrown at new comedy thriller Knight and Day, in which he co-stars with Cameron Diaz. …
Was watching ’400 Blows’ in the afternoon (Courtesy: UTV World Movies ). The final scene is a gem.Francois Truffaut’s brilliance at play. Conveyed through visuals and a haunting background score, Antoine’s delectation at the newly discovered freedom that he has …
Summer, to me, meant three movies. Two of them released on the same day and, in a flash, 2/3rd of the summer is over. Verdict? Mixed, so far… Read on…
Toy Story 3 (and Day & Night) :
Out of the three movies, this one I was least excited about. I know I shouldn’t have been. It is Pixar, after all. Still, a part of me was never quite convinced that Pixar could do what Godfather and Start Wars couldn’t – come back after decade(s) to make a worthy sequel. Specially, because this TS3 seemed to be a consequence of Disney taking over Pixar. One could never be sure of what direction things will be going. Is is just Disney forcing Pixar into their usual ‘make box-office-hay while the sequel-sun shines’ model or did the Pixar wizards REALLY have something Pixar-worthy to offer? After all, the other sequel in the pipeline is Cars 2!!! What other reason can they have to go back and make a sequel to the only Pixar movie that seems to be less than adored by everyone other than model-car loving toddlers and the merchandizing-loving Disney execs. If that is not a Disney finance-driven decision, I don’t know what is. And yet, isn’t this exactly what I had thought when Miramax had announced that “Quentin Tarantino’s Fourth Film Kill Bill” was actually going to be “Quentin Tarantino’s New Films Kill Bill Vol 1 & Vol 2″. We were all cynical about it and chuckled when Quentin said “it really makes complete sense. This is a creative decision.” Turned out, they were right all along. How can anyone even imagine combining KB1 and KB2 now? We learned that there are some things we should take on faith. When QT says something, listen. And if there is one thing you can have full faith in, it is that Pixar never fails. It just does not. Nope. Not possible. Having said that I am still apprehensive about Cars 2, but if TS3 is anything to go by, I need not be.