Thursday, February 16, 2017


But this time, probably just for personal microposts. a sentence here, a paragraph there. Just as a journal I will be able to come back to later to see what I was thinking in the past. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My wish list for today

Wish list.. not predictions. I have somehow forgotten what was the point of prediction. :P

1. Picture: Haven't seen Les Miserables yet. The ones I enjoyed most among the nominees were "Silver Linings Playbook", "Argo" and "Django Unchained". Most of the others were pretty good too. My favorite: SLPlaybook.

2. Actor: Joaquin Phoenix and Daniel Day Lewis were the two great performances here (again.. not see LesMis yet). It will be a really pleasant surprise if JP wins it, though I don't have anything against DDL. He was brilliant as he always is.

3. Actress: Not seen The Impossible yet (but heard really good things about Naomi Watts there.. will see this soon). Favorites: Jessica Chastain and Quvenzhane Wallis. Wallis winning would be awesome! though surely not going to happen.

4. Supporting Actor: All of them are really great, other than perhaps Alan Arkin who had the least substantial (but still really enjoyable and fun) role among the 5. Christoph Waltz and Philip Seymour Hoffman are my favorites. I am such a huge fan of Hoffman that I am in danger of jumping around in joy like a teenage fangirl if he wins. :)

5. Supporting Actress: Not seen The Sessions and Les Mis (and apparently Anne Hathaway is great here). Among the other three, perhaps Sally Field.. but really no real wish here.

6. Directing: my favorites: Ang Lee, David O. Russell and Benh Zeitlin. Perhaps Ang Lee's job was the most difficult and his vision for the movie made it really memorable. Having said that, Zeitlin's vision was also similarly unique in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

7. Original Screenplay. Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom were the most fun. though the award is not necessarily about "fun". still, would be nice to see one of them get it.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Not having read any of the books, it's difficult to say anything about how good the adaptations are. But in terms of enjoying the writing, SLPlaybook and Argo are probably the top ones. Though, considering how difficult it must've been to translate a story like Life of Pi from book to screen, perhaps Life of Pi is the biggest achievement here.

9. Animated Feature: Oh! What can I say? first time that I have seen only a single movie among the nominees. and that is obviously the Pixar movie. So, no real wish, but it is always nice to see Pixar win. I have heard really good things about all the other nominees too.

10. Foreign Language Film: Only seen A Royal Affair and Amour. No real wish. In any case, Amour might be the favorite by a long way, but this category is very frequently a surprise. Because it almost always consists of 5 really good movies, some of which only get wide exposure after the oscars. So, perhaps one of the other 3 might win. I'll be happy if that happens, not because the ones I have seen weren't good. Because that'd mean that there's a possibility an even better movie will soon come to theatres for us to see.

11. Animated Short: All of them were pretty good in their own way. (one is most beautiful. one is most innovative. etc.). But the most charming for me was Paperman. Hopefully they'll win.

12. Live Action Short: Again, all were nice and there are no real wishes here either. Perhaps I liked Curfew, Death of a Shadow, and Henry slightly more than the other 2. Probably Curfew just a bit more than the others. :)

Monday, February 04, 2013

The man who ate the banana...

I have my weekly group meeting on monday noon. This means that I am quite busy preparing my slides on monday before noon AND there is no time for the usual going out for lunch.. so, I try to take something that keeps me full till 2pm, when I can think about proper lunch.

Today, I decided to take a banana.

I came in, put the banana on the shelf above my computers and started to work. There was a lot of work. 2 things were being juggled together. Results were being calculated and slides being made simultaneously. Absolutely no time to even stand up, let alone thinking of the banana, even though the tummy had started to grumble. Finally, at 11:45, I found some time for the pre-lunch snack that was waiting for me in the shelf above the computers.

I looked up.

There was no banana.

"hmph! that's funny! I could've sworn that's where I had kept it!
Maybe on the other shelf?...
Nope! Not there either..."

It was then, as I sat there wondering where exactly my notoriously bad memory is failing me this morning (Did I forget to get it from home? Is that distinctly visual memory of keeping it there just a reconstruction from  what I expected, rather than real?)... so, it is then that I felt a slight banana-ish taste on my tongue. It took me aback!

"Surely, I haven't eaten the banana and absolutely, completely,entirely, as-thorough-as-is-possible-ly forgotten it!..."

And then it struck me! Aha! If I had eaten the banana, where's the skin, eh? (Let's not think about the taste on the tongue for a while.. it is too traumatic to go near the possibility that I really might've eaten it and forgotten it) There was clearly no sign of the possibly-eaten-but-more-likely-vanished-into-thin-air banana's skin as far as I could see (which isn't much when you sit in what can only quite generously be called a cubicle).

This was a riddle, the only solution to which was that not only did I completely forget eating a banana, I also had no memory of getting up from my seat to throw the skin in the small trashcan in the corner of the office. So I, reluctantly, and very apprehensively (along with perhaps Bernard Hermann's music from a Hitchcock movie playing in my imagination) got up and took 3 steps towards the trash can.

There it was on the top. The unmistakable skin of the lonely banana from my fridge that should've been on the shelf above my computers covering the banana that I clearly had eaten but have no memory of eating.

What will happen to me when I am 60? or even 40? *shudder*

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The obligatory oscar post

Last year I had published just 1 (yep... One...) post on this blog. That was because I just couldn't not make my obligatory oscar post. With that sort of history, and my recent claim about reviving my blog, there is really no way out this time either. So, here goes... as usual a hurried post, but an oscar post nevertheless.

Only writing about the categories about what I have any opinion one way or another. Bold is for "probably going to win", italics are for "my choice among the ones I have seen" while * means "still have to see this movie".

Best Picture: The Artist, (The Descendants or Hugo could also win.. though The Artist is the frontrunner), Hugo (Loved it!), *Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Best Lead Actor: Jean Dujardin (though I won't be surprised if Clooney wins... I'll actually be pleasantly surprised if Oldman wins, but perhaps that's not going to happen). *A Better Life

Best Lead Actress: Viola Davis (Streep might win it too.. I haven't seen 3 movies here, so no strong opinion anyway) *The Iron Lady, *My Week With Marilyn,  *Albert Nobbs

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (I'm not sure if she is really the frontrunner, but she really elevated The Help by her performance.) *Albert Nobbs, *Bridesmaids

Best Director: Hugo (Perhaps The Artist is the frontrunner.. but i don't know... maybe they WILL give it to Scorsese.. if the do, I'll be happy.. I actually will also be pleasantly surprised if Terrence Malick gets it for The Tree of Life, but that is probably not going to happen)

Original Screenplay: A Separation (I don't know who will win. haven't seen Bridesmaids, and I didn't think Margin Call was THAT good.. any of the others won't be a big surprise but I REALLY want A separation to win, as you might've guessed by my last post :) ) *Bridesmaids

Adapted Screenplay: Moneyball (perhaps this will go to The Descendants, and I won't mind that too much. Though Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was pretty good too) *The Ides of March

Cinematography: All beautiful movies here! But I prefer The Tree of Life and War Horse  over others. Maybe they'll give it to The Tree of Life.. or perhaps it is going to be the day of The Artist.

Original Score: The Artist had to breathe through its score, and it was really good. Though all the other contenders were really good too.

Foreign Language Film: A Separation (though I haven't seen any of the others.. still, a movie will have to be awesome to beat A Separation, and that can only be good! Another great movie to see! But I really do think that is probably not going to happen.) *In Darkness, *Footnote, *Bullhead, *Monsieur Lazhar

Animated Feature: Rango (not seen 3 of the contenders, but I'll be surprised if Puss in Boots beats Rango.. and mildly surprised if even Kung Fu Panda 2 wins.. no idea about the other two. They might actually be good enough to win) *Chico & Rita, *A Cat in Paris

Live Action Short: No personal favorites really. All were nice. Though perhaps Tuba Atlantic and The Shore might be more 'oscar like' and might win.

Animated Short: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Though Pixar's La Luna was pretty cute too, and might win.. all the other 3 were nice enough actually.. but TFFBOMMLessmore (phew!) was easily my favorite among all 5. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Separation

I had almost completely given up on my blogs. Every once in a while something would make me think of writing a post, but the more time a blog is dead, stronger is the reason that is needed to revive it. After a while, almost nothing seems strong enough. Not even year-end lists. I actually did make a "best hindi songs of 2011" for my own amusement, but even that didn't get me to finally publish something here.

And then, I saw "A Separation".

I saw it on 18th (my birthday), but waited for some days because a) I wanted to give myself some time so that the initial euphoria can die down and b) GG has been asking me to start blogging again, so now this can also count as her birthday gift! :P (Happy B'day GG!) :)

Anyway, for those of you who don't know about this movie, A Separation is an Iranian movie about a couple in contemporary Iran and some extraordinary circumstances that they find themselves in. You can see the trailer below, and it will tell you enough about the movie's plot and genre etc for you to decide whether this sounds like something that you'd want to see.

I was quite looking forward to this movie because it was easily the best reviewed movie of the year (95 on metacritic! no. 1 on Roger Ebert's year-end list..). The trailer increased that excitement. This was obviously the kind of movie that I normally like. When we found out that it is releasing in St Louis the day before my birthday, we really didn't have to think twice about what we were going to do to celebrate my birthday - Go and see if "A Separation" really is as good as we were hoping it to be.

It was. It really was. A lot of times when I go to see a movie with high expectations, there is a danger of me underrating it just because it didn't live upto the expectations. This movie not only lived up to them, it surpassed them. I was quite excited after watching "Hugo" recently, and "Black Swan" last year, but I really don't remember feeling THIS good about a movie after watching it for the first time since, probably, "The Lives of Others".

The movie is quite verbose. And completely devoid of any background score (which made me think of Satyajit Rai.. apparently he didn't like using music to guide and enhance emotions in movies.. a sign of inadequate storytelling skills). If you look at the trailer, it essentially seems to be about a family's troubles. Perhaps a tragic family drama, one would think. But it is really about much more than that. At times, it plays like a mystery and keeps you hooked because you want to know what the truth is. Then again, it raises Rashomon-like questions about truth itself. About morality. About letter and spirit of the law. About right and wrong and most things that are neither. And it touches you because you really do care about all of these characters. You think about those big questions BECAUSE they impact the lives of these people who really are trying to do their best given the situation they are in. The overall feel of the movie also made me think of Dekalog. Perhaps because while the movie is about big questions, it never feels that way because those things are translated so incredibly well into the lives of simple, ordinary people with seemingly simple lives.

It really is a triumph of storytelling and performances. If the trailer makes this movie seems anything like the sort of movie that you like to watch, then DO NOT miss it whenever you get an opportunity to see it. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar Nominations 2011

The nominations were announced about half an hour ago, so here is the obligatory 'reaction post' (even though the equally obligatory 'my wishlist post' never made it beyond my facebook status message).


- for A R Rahman, of course. Twin nominations, once again! And this time it feels even better than 2009 because that year those nominations were almost inevitable, unlike this year. 127 Hours lost a lot of steam because a lot of people just weren't interested in watching it (the theme/story doesn't really make it an audience magnet). Also, right at the fag end of the year True Grit released and sort of pushed around some of the not-so-sure nominees out. I was afraid that 127 Hours might've missed the bus. But it didn't!!! :) Now I'm getting greedy. I actually am hopeful that he'll WIN one of these. Perhaps not for original score, but If I Rise must stand a very good chance!

- for Pixar, as usual. Best picture and Best animated feature were a given but I didn't think the screenplay would get the recognition. Moreover, I had completely forgotten about Day&Night being in the run for the best animated short.. so that was a pleasant news!

- for Jackie Weaver. Animal Kingdom was a movie well worth watching, and Jackie Weaver's performance essentially carries the movie through the extremely engaging last hour or so of the movie. Ben Mendelsohn was actually really good too, but one can't have everything!

- for Winter's Bone. 4 of the biggest nomination categories!! Picture, actress, supporting actor and screenplay! It was a pleasant surprise to see that people remembered this small movie even though it was released way back in the summer. (unlike The Ghost Writer, which released pretty early in the year and was completely forgotten)

- for The Kids Are All Right. see 'Winter's Bone'. except that this actually did release closer to the oscar season, and hence wasn't really a surprise.

- for Javier Bardem. Haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm always delighted whenever a performance in a foreign language movie gets such attention. He missed out on a nomination for Mar Adentro, but perhaps this will be his year again (after Anton Chigurh got him a well deserved oscar). Then again, Colin Firth (or James Franco) might have something to say about that..

- for all the obvious nominations of The Social Network and Inception. There's no way they were going to miss out on the obvious ones like best picture, screenplay, music etc... Then again.....


- for Nolan. now THIS I didn't see coming. He has never been nominated for direction before (actually, before today he had only 1 nomination.. for Memento's screenplay), but this should really have been his. The guy has had an astounding decade. I think they will soon give him a lifetime achievement award (at age 45!) to atone for all these sins.

- for Inception editing! If anything could be even more disappointing and puzzling than the Nolan snub, it had to this! Inception, NOT nominated for editing! I have no idea what to think. I REALLY need to see those other movies. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trailer Park 3

Let's start with Frieda Pinto... Julian Schnabel... and Bombay Theme!

One for fun....

And the rest.... interesting for one reason or another...

Friday, July 16, 2010

2010... the awards so far...

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: John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Guillermo Francella (The Secret in their Eyes),  and Niels Arestrup (Un Prophete)
special mentions: Pablo Rago (The Secret in their Eyes), Nana Patekar (Raajneeti)

Best Supporting Actress: Priyamani (Raavan/Raavanan) and Olivia Williams (The Ghost Writer)
special mentions: Soledad Villamil (The Secret in their Eyes), Dale Dickey (Winter's Bone), Ellen Page (Inception) (well, she looked great.. and we KNOW she is a great actress... didn't have to do all that much here though.. still, they are my awards, aren't they? :P which reminds me.. I think I'll give one to Marion Cotillard too!!)

Best Actor: Tahar Rahim (Un Prophete)
special mentions: Leonardo DiCaprio (Shutter Island/Inception), Filippo Timi (Vincere), Naseeruddin Shah (Ishqiya), Vikram (Raavanan)

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) and Giovanna Mezzogiorno (Vincere)
special mentions: Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Vidya Balan (Ishqiya), Hye-Ja Kim (Mother)

Best Screenplay: Christopher Nolan (Inception)
special  mentions: Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Park/Bong (Mother), Sacheri/Campanella (The Secret in their Eyes)

Best Director: Christopher Nolan (Inception)
special mentions: Roman Polanski (The Ghost Writer), Debra Granik (Winter's Bone), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Juan José Campanella (The Secret in their Eyes)

Best Picture: Inception
special mention: Toy Story 3
slightly less special mentions: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Secret in their Eyes, Vincere, The Secret of Kells
ohh.. and some more: Mother, Winter's Bone, Ishqiya, The Ghost Writer, Shutter Island

ohh.. wait.. Best Picture isn't the last award here.. I have another...

Master of Rahul's Movie Universe: Christopher Nolan :) :)


After seeing Inception second time....

I'm replacing Ellen Page with Marion Cotillard in best supporting actress... :)

Also... needless to say, Inception takes all the technical awards... Best Editing, Best Sound Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Music Score (a very special mention to Toy Story 3 but, really, Inception's score is something else entirely), and maybe even Best Cinematography (with Shutter Island and The White Ribbon giving it tough competition... perhaps even sharing the award).

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Trailer Park -2 (The animation edition)

Some pretty good trailers of upcoming animated features. All of the movies might not turn out  to be great, but definitely all of them do look promising to some extent.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trailer Park -1

Ok, this is a new series by me. I'll post, for the busy world's benefit, any trailers of upcoming movies that I find interesting. Some of these would be great trailers of movies that will eventually turn out to be crap. Some others will probably be crappy trailers of the movies that I have high hopes for. Hopefully there will be none that even I won't have an idea about why I posted them. Hopefully. We'll see.

So, here goes, sans any comment (and in no particular order of interest)...