Saturday, February 18, 2006

Birthday Boy of the Day!

Yes, I don't believe in furniture.
Yes, I still am partial to blue.
Yes, the cake was dellllicious!
And no, this isn't my 42nd b'day. Trust me. Sometimes things aren't as bad as they look.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Picture of the Day

Lahore Fort in all its glory. Pic taken from IndiaUncut.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Movie Quote of the Day

from 2046....

Love is all a matter of timing. It's no good meeting the right person too soon or too late. If I'd lived in another time or place..... my story might have had a very different ending.

(pic courtesy Sony Pictures Classics and mongrelmedia)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Coming soon....

comments on The Constant Gardener, Sarkar, North Country, Match Point, For a Few Dollars More and Twelve Monkeys.

Hold your breath...

and try not to die...

Movies Update - 6 (Page 3)

Page 3: A very engrossing script which nevertheless suffers from some highly cartoonish characters/situations and - as far as I am concerned - is highly irresponsible in the manner it shows 90% of its characters in absolutely black shades. Bhandarkar also overdoes the evil-society bit by trying to stuff in anything and everything that came to his mind, from riots to drugs to child prostitution.

For all the chest-thumping assertions of this being a hard-hitting realistic movie about page 3 culture, the best parts of the movie were actually the scenes that didnt have much to do with any of those things. There were only 3-4 well written characters but they were done so well that any interaction between them was always interesting. It didn't hurt that these characters were played by some superb actors. Konkona Sen sharma was perfectly cast as the page 3 reporter and was very impressive. Atul Kulkarni was great in the role of the reporter (as he always is, in whatever role you give him). Boman Irani and Sandhya Mridul were good too. But some of the other actors were truely horrible. Anyway, its not very easy to hold audience attention for a 2.5 hour long movie and this one does it quite well. 7.2/10 probably. which means - watchable, good overall but not great. It wasn't even the best hindi movie of last year in my opinion. Hazaaron Khwaaishein Aisi was much better for me.

Movies Update - 5 (Capote)

Capote: The movie that will get Philip Seymour Hoffman his oscar. Again, nice overall but didn't really leave ANY overall impact on me. In fact, after watching this movie I had begun to wonder whether I am slowly losing my taste/passion for movies. Because, when you think about it, the movie has an interesting story to tell and it tells the story in a very efficient manner with the help of some truely remarkable performances (Catherine Keener is very good in a small-ish role and Clifton Collins Jr. is extremely good in what is practically the second lead of the movie) and yet there is absolutely no aftertaste to the movie. Maybe "efficient"is the key term in the last sentence. There really is nothing that grabs you and moves you. And for a movie whose goal is to discuss the relationship between a writer and his subject who is fighting against capital punishment for a murder in cold blood, that is not a good thing. a 7.8/10, this one...

Movies Update - 4 (Brokeback Mountain)

Brokeback Mountain: A nice movie. But it really didn't seem as great as the hype seems to suggest. It might be because of the slightly sentimental tone (only slightly... not anything of the level of a Bhansali movie surely.. yet, its probably more than just being "sensitive".. ). I think the reason it is being given the sort of attention that it is getting has a lot to do with the fact that the protagonists happen to be of the same sex. Even though its just a love story that is striving to show two people who love each other and yet can't express it openly in front of the world because of some reason. That "some reason" is probably the main factor in the movie's relative popularity, rather than the story itself. Performances are great, though. Heath Ledger is top rate and Jake Gyllenhall is probably going to be the next generation's best actor. Michelle Williams is specially impressive as Ledger's wife. However, the movie's pace is a bit too lazy and that got to me on a couple of occasions... Quite watchable overall... 7.8/10 maybe...

Movies Update - 3 (Charulata)

Charulata: My first Satyajit Ray movie. I have probably seen Shatranj ke Khiladi but that was long ago and all I remember is just one chessboard with two people sitting on the opposite sides. So, Charulata is pretty much my first Satyajit Ray movie. Its a pretty good movie even though I can't pretend that I understood the motivation behind every scene and every piece of dialogue. But it was quite engrossing (and even entertaining in parts) and was acted out very well. I need to see some more of Ray movies to really form an opinion about his style (assuming there is something consistent about his movies that I can call "his style") and this movie has only increased my curiosity about Satyajit Ray's work. 7.75/10 IMO

Movies Update - 2 (2046)

2046: Second viewing. Had seen it in theatre a couple of months back and was completely blown away! Easily the best pure cinema experience I had last year. Nothing outstanding about the story, but some of the performances were superb. Specially Gong Li, who is easily one of the best actresses I have ever seen performing, even though her role in this movie is not more than 10 min long ( I have now seen 4-5 of her movies and she consistently amazes me by her acting). Then there is Zhang Ziyi in all her glory, and even though she is not known for her acting abilities, she is cast extremely well here. Faye Wong also does very well once again (I have talked about her role in WKW's Chungking Express here). And Tony Leung is absolutely top class and easily carries the movie. But then, acting is not the point really. Not even close to why this movie was such an exhilarating experience. Its the visuals and the music that are out of this world! If you haven't seen this movie (and In the Mood for Love, which is a prequel of sorts to 2046), then you have no idea what you are missing! This is 8.8/10 for me.....

Movies Update - 1(The French Connection)

After a couple of months of movie draught when I was watching only about 2-3 movies a month, this last month gave me the opportunity to catch up a little on all those movies which I wanted to see but wasn't getting the time to do so. Not that I am back to my 2004-2005 rate of 6-7 movies a week, but 6-7 movies over a month isn't too bad either.

Anyway, its valentines day here, so what better way to celebrate it than by continuing my love affair with the movies! Here are the movies that I got to see since that "top 10 movies of 2005" post and quick comments about each of them in separate little posts.

The French Connection: An early 70s movie about two cops trying to stop a french durg smuggler from getting his drugs in the US market. Quite thrilling. Some of the sequences were absolutely rivetting. There's a car chase scene which was probably one of its kind when it came. I don't think I have seen a better car chase even today except in a couple of movies (Bourne Supremacy and Matrix Reloaded come to the mind). I'd say a 8/10 movie.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pakistan Uncut

I know I am not supposed to have enough time to read blogs right now. But once in a while, during the inevitable breaks in work, one DOES roam around in blogosphere to see what the rest of the world is up to.

Amit Varma (of IndiaUncut fame) is currently in Pakistan, covering the cricket series. This has meant that the frequency of posts on IndiaUncut has plummeted, but fortunately whenever he does get some time to post, he makes up for it with some very interesting posts about his days in Pakistan. The posts cover his trips to food places in Lahore to political discussions with Pakistani journalists to cricket related issues to qawwali and sufi music. And almost all the posts come with pics taken by him.

So, head to IndiaUncut (allow some time for the main page to load as it is filled with a lot of pics), and read any post after January 7. Or just look at the pics and read the story next to any pic that you find interesting. Don't miss the amazing night pics of Lahore!

Highly recommended.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Wong Kar-Wai update

Wong Kar-Wai, one of my favorite directors (though I have seen only three of his movies, and can't say I understood everything in all 3 :P ), is this year's Cannes film festival jury president. Also, this news story says that he intends to work on a movie about Katrina disaster after his current Nicole Kidman project "The Lady from Shanghai". Knowing WKW, I don't think there is any guarantee that any of these movies will come before 2010, but I'm sure they'll be worth the wait. :)