Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Trumping Victory

It’s not a review per se, well… nothing much I do is not that per se. While I was watching it and V was broadcasting his message from TV channel, dad was commenting ‘Anniyan Avatharithuvitan’. True. I feel that we are currently in revolution mode, we are on verge of something new, verge on breaking the shackles. I don’t know whether we are fed up with whatever happening or whether it’s because of boredom. People want to break free.

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Now that TASMACs in highways are being closed, people associated with it are trying out new means to open it like having a long barricade more than 500 meters, which would make it fall under the Supreme Court rules. I actually liked the clever thinking there but when I got to know that in my locality a local plot could be used as for opening TASMAC, that’s when I was agitated. My father highlighted few ladies who had broken a wall were TASMAC was supposed to be opened in a residential area. If it happens in my area I want to do that. So we revolt only if it happens to us right. So what should V for Vendetta be, R for Revenge or R for Revolution.  As it eventually happens for a larger cause I feel it should be R for Revolution.

Wachowski’s are such great writers. Don’t know how much of action sequences they were involved because it had a certain ‘Matrix’ effect to it. In spite of being folks from US their writing really worked for UK premise. Excellent English. Even though I didn’t like the all ‘v’ dialogue, the other dialogues were really good. The ‘v’ dialogues looked like a bit overdone.

The opening of the film when the Voice of London, Lewis Prothero (Roger Allam) reminded me very much of Trump. May be they could predict the future. I loved the intentional/unintentional references of Hitler through Sutler. Hitler, Sutler, does it ring a bill. The camera angles, the way Sutler is positioned on stage and the flag bore a lot of resemblance to the Nazi party.

Natalie Portman above all was an excellent choice. She has a very likeable face, a genuine smile where we’d feel that we should protect her. So when a girl with history gets affected we naturally would sympathize with her. That’s what happened here. We become ‘V’ for her.

I loved the scene where she goes as a little girl. I don’t know what was done to achieve that look, there was something different about the camera angles. She indeed looked like a little girl.

The symbol ‘V’ couldn’t have been more perfect, a man from cell five ‘V’, a story from Valerie and finally E’v’ey, a ‘V’ in making, all standing out for one ‘V’ – Victory.

In the TV station incident I felt that Hugo Weaving did pass through unmasked and another ‘V’ came – does that symbolize the quote “But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I’ve witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I’ve seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them… but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it… ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love…”And what about the climax, we see everyone alive. What does that mean.

In a film filled by a number of quotes, my favorite was “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” What was yours?

An uninteresting military diary

Post watching the movie, not even a single emotion had caught my attention. If feels very blank even now to think what was there in the film. This must have been the least impactful films I’ve seen in recent times. Even if there had been movies which I had not liked I would have at least hated it but this movie was as bland as Thukpa.

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I loved the title but it hardly made any sense. Yes of course VC (Karthi) is a super confident fighter pilot who says ‘to your left’ instead of just ‘left’ during crisis, his instincts work. Says Bharathiyar’s verse while coming out of hospital, an ode to the title but what post that. Karthi in this film is the exact problem I had with Suriya. A bad actor is better than an over rated one. Karthi is a limited actor, the boy next door looks suit him the best. He was probably trying too hard here, may be even desperate.

When he wears the Ray Ban ‘n’ number of times it doesn’t add to the style, when he shouts at his dad it doesn’t make us angry, when he says that he wants a single malt for getting Leela back it doesn’t show his villainy. Just imagine how beautiful all these scenes would have looked if it had had Prithviraj in it or even may be Mani’s pet Madhavan. And what’s worse, in many scenes he reminded me of Surya. When he said they’ve a terrific chemistry, it was a total disaster, I don’t know how the crowd could keep mum without howling. Are we forgiving all this just for Mani’s sake? Mani is said to be a director who doesn’t give each and every instruction to act. So would it not work for people who don’t have spontaneity. Classic example is the on-the-jeep song. It could easily have been the best moment if he had acted properly.

As you all know, the first choice heroine for the movie was Sai Pallavi. I’m not only saying this because I’m a fan of her but how lovely it’d have been to see her in Saree in Vaan Varuvan. I’m sure most of you would have noticed that jump into the hands of Karthi. Such beautiful scene. But ever since Dr. Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari) enters the frame by peeping through the window she disturbs our personal space. Most of her shots with Karthi were close ups and camera on top of her. One way of showing how Karthi dominates her. We see her giving ratish-poking-your-nose-out smile, in one way it’s cute with those pink noses but in another it’s annoying. She does it way too much time intruding into one’s body bubble. So you don’t really feel for her when she cries. The scene where she breaks up with Karthi and he goes for the fight should have shattered us but it hardly makes any impact. In a film with so many close ups she had done a sincere job by giving proper lip sync. But every time she talks you feel as if she’s fearing whether she’d lip sync it wrong in the next part. In fact, the only time she seemed to be herself was during Saratu Vandiyila song. Am I the only one who thought Rukmini would have been better choice for heroine than Aditi Rao. That’s some serious miscasting.

Miscasting doesn’t end there. RJ Balaji, I don’t know for what reason was put into the movie. Except for his last scene with Rukmini, nothing was good.

Music was jarring, the BGMs especially. Every time they escape, the same old guitar music. ARR should seriously start doing better BGMs. Even for songs I wasn’t interested much except for Saratu Vandiyila, that was the single brightest moment of the movie be it for music, performance, situation, colors, camera (oh how naughtily it lingers around Aditi’s waist during the start), the scene leading to it, the setting, the scene post it and more importantly lyrics. Only Mani could show marriages in so many different ways. I know everyone would have noticed that line in lyrics “Aanukko Paththu Nimisham, Ponnukko Anju Nimisham”. In Azhagiyae, “Thuli Kaalam Kaettaen, Thuli Kaathal Kaettaen, Thuli Kaamam Kaettaen” Some may call it provocative but this is the liberty only poets have and the way Mani and Vairamuthu so delicately deal with lust is beautiful. “Kaathal Konjam Kammi, Kaamam Konjam Thookal, Manjathin Mael Ennai Mannipaya”.

With respect to ARR I haven’t found any song to have similarity to other songs or older songs of his but here I found it way too many times. Saratu Vandiyila was like Chandiranai thotathu yar, Climax music was like Kadhal Ara Onnu Vizundhuchu, Azagiyae was like Mei Nigara in certain stanza.

Ok so auteurs repeat, that’s fine. But shouldn’t it bring joy to the film viewers. The picturisation of Vaan varuvan reminds of En Uyire from Uyire, Saratu Vandiyila reminds us of Yaro Yarodi, Karthi knowing about her pregnancy reminds us of the scene in Guru in front of the mirror (And how did she pregnant all of a sudden, give some clue Mani Sir), Aditi talks just like Tara, I don’t know whether it was the same person who dubbed. Even though her lip syncs there was absolutely no emotion. The movies structure is similar to Ravanan but at least shot better this time even though the jail parts were a total disaster. Heroes needless to say are clean shaven diplomats. Names are always in full Leela Thompson, Varun Chakrapani and most of the time you get to know about their cast too. Nadar, Thevar, Vanniyar etc.

The hospital scene post Saratu Vaniyila was well made, it came close to the parents talking scene in Alaipayuthey. Needless to say Mani’s eye for details is terrific. Look how Aditi Rao’s lipstick would be smudged in that scene. Lucky girl got superb costumes. Every girl would have loved to wear them. When she comes for the flight in that brown dress I was thinking why Karthi was taking so much time to give her his jacket. Some scenes can never get boring right. That was a good move to show him about her liking to him. Otherwise who wears a sleeveless dress in Leh. The thought process behind the shouting scene in flight was good. That was good acting. First she asks about shouting (typical Mani), then she opens her mouth, turns to his side, then shouts. Terrific. When the flight takes off it feels great. I’ve this fascination but I guess other too would have loved it.

VC is a proud guy who doesn’t want Leela to interfere. Even I didn’t like her wearing his pilot hat but he’s a bit more chauvinistic person. Even though the snowstorm scene didn’t work for me, the hand twisting scene was good, just forceful exhibition of power and he immediately changes into a romantic. Not to the liking of Leela but. When she gets her back and asks for Single Malt, again a scene showing his power was well made but he going to her house to woo her didn’t work. Leela singing and not answering Delhi Ganesh was good but imagining her as a singer didn’t work. More Piya was good but it didn’t look as natural as Malargal Kaettaen, she putting her hand down to tease Karthi in Saratu Vandiyila song was naughty but not as effortless as Shalini having her hand on her friend’s shoulder and saying ‘en mapila matikitan?’

In all, for every good scene there was a bad scene, every good scene reminded of a better scene same like it in some other movie of his. Thus making it as a totally un-impactful movie. Generally, we’d be curious to know someone else’s story, that’s why cinema thrives but here when we think that we’ve got a bumper prize by getting a Warrior’s diary. All we see is an uninteresting note about his self-obsessed take on life.

There is a general phrase saying a bad Mani film is better than many good films but a bad film is a bad film no matter who makes it, whether its Perarasu or Kubrick.

Light at the end of the tunnel

This expression has become quite frequent isn’t it? But how better to describe the film which even makes our regular Vikraman climax trick epic.

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The best part about this movie is that it doesn’t trudge on morality for name sake. Yes the kid gets saved, the pregnant lady gets saved but if it had been any other film there were lot many places where they could have made the morality mistakes. The point where the baseball player dies, he could have retorted, the place where the protagonists come back to regular coach, everyone could have turned against the COO and what best, when the COO escapes in engine I thought that he would get the worst of all deaths, rather when you see him in the driver’s seat he’s already a zombie, in turn affecting the kids dad as well. In fact he’s the only character who looks like a negative one, but he too has a point at most part, like asking to start train from the station and not allowing the other folks to enter the coach. It’s a practical method but only when he gets slapped his ego gets hurt and he becomes a different person, he’s a zombie already.

If any had watched the movie without knowing what it’s about, may be it’d have been terrific. But it stores enough surprise even for the one who watch it knowing it’s a Zombie movie, right from the point where an affected person enter the train. That was superbly shot but even if the signaler hadn’t seen, wouldn’t he have heard the sound of someone entering in. She enters with a thud isn’t it?

Having known that it’s a zombie movie the initial scenes about a distorted family was a bit of drag. You know what’s going to happen with the kid and his dad towards the end. Of course the cliché was made in an engaging way but cliché is still a cliché. Why couldn’t a normal without-any-crisis family get into trouble? Why should it be an overtly happy or sad family getting affected always? Points to ponder…

Funnily the RT rating of the movie is higher than that of IMDB but it doesn’t look like something which only critics could appreciate. It’s a very good commercial film, way better than many zombie films made without emotion, not made with false emotion etc. Shaun of the dead still remains my favorite zombie film even though it’s a parody, the style was truly amazing and further it was Brit.

 

Mad about Madras

While the Madras song ‘Chennai vada Chennai’ gets played in FM Radio city, Sri sitting in night cab tells the driver Charlie “amuthunga sir adha.” And usually crazy crowd which would go crazier when hearing anything related to Chennai stays mute while this scene happens, either it should have been an elation or depression but both doesn’t happen here. They are dumbstruck and continue watching the movie. Although the opposite of this scene where Sundeep says that he belongs to the city was bad, this pretty much sets the mood. I loved the scene where they both unite to take Charlie to hospital. That link! Beauty!

maanagaram

The film sets the tone right from first. A dialogue which Sri utters would obviously be liked by everyone alike. Then there is that miscommunication and an extremely well shot Acid scene and the link to it. Look how intelligently the director Lokesh Kanagaraj has made that scene. It could have been a scene with which a lot of built up to raise the image of hero and intrigue audience but rather it happens at a very critical juncture in the life of the hero (safely considering Sundeep as The Hero as he’s the one who fights) The director makes us think like Sundeeps friend who thinks that he’s waiting for Regina. But only after he gets into bus we get to know what he’s up to. Also post that, apart from an onlooker’s comic act we get to know the seriousness of the acid scene when Sundeep’s friend hurts his finger. So that moment he puts the acid bottle there and smashes it, Ouch! It indeed would have hurt.

How lovely it was to see Regina in a film again, I had noted her down during Kanda Naal Mudhal days itself. A fine actor, ok, a beautiful actor who acts fine. Even though her role was limited she fitted the character to tee.

Music was fabulous. Be it the song ‘Yendi unna pidikithu’ or the climax BGM. Most of the songs were rightly placed. Except for the one bus stop song, I didn’t feel any song to have intruded the flow of the movie.

Special mention to Sundeep, this guy effortlessly acts as an action hero. I loved the bus stop scene where post the fight he holds his neck and asks the kid, “va da”. The kid gets scared and doesn’t come. He nonchalantly asks him to come again. That’s a mark of good actor to induce emotions effortlessly.

In Agni Natchathiram when Karthik and Prabhu finally unite, it gives sparks. This film beat it in the climax. That’s quite an achievement with two relatively newcomers at the fore.

 

Death Sentence

The film happens in Ayer, Massachusetts. Now don’t forget that, it’s an important piece of evidence in decoding how bad the movie was.

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That’s how an everyday Hollywood movie’s template is made off. Absolutely nothing whatsoever, no fun, no drama, no emotion, no nothing. You’d fine even Sathyam popcorn stale while watching this one. I had a huge respect for Hilary Swank but not after this one. I guess she was even a joint producer for this one, seriously. That’s some desperation to give a hit.

Ok, here comes the story. Someone kills someone, the first someone is Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) who goes into jail because of his other notorious acts previously. He’s such a cool guy that during the trial he shows how his hooker girlfriend gave him a blow job. Then he gets acquainted with life sentence. DNA test, hello? So if that ringed the bell in your ears during that scene then it’s pretty much going to be the same story as that of mine during climax.

During climax they find a truly extraordinary revelation called DNA test and guess what Kenny Waters gets free to go. Of course not before some so called drama which doesn’t evoke any sympathy for him. Even a tele commercial about DNA testing could have been done more interesting.

So let’s see what all were the irritating parts of the movie. That strip tease in bar by Kenny. Oh man, you might be cool but that’s just not cool enough. He gets into all sorts of mischief trying to get out of constantly fighting parents. His sister adores her because he had saved her many a time. So she finally sacrifices her life and gets Kenny out of jail. Wohoo! Now that’s a story.

Ok her daughter was hot, but not before Betty (Hilary Swank) spoils my looking at her by saying that her dad would have been dead by now if Massachusetts law had capital punishment. Now you see the evidence I was talking about in the beginning?

Not willing to waste any credit for it, she gets a friend she doesn’t deserve, she has twin boys where one asks other whether they’d do that, she nails a police woman for being fraud. And what’s best, there is one policeman who says he actually liked Kenny. With the horror everyone undergoes in jail, here is a guy who fools around policemen and prisoners alike. For a change he should be put in jail instead of Edward Norton in American History X, to know what jail really is.

If all this is not enough, in climax you get to hear the data of people released after DNA test and the second someone’s killer seemed to have never been found out. Oh, what a pity!

Kenny might have escaped the life sentence but it sure was a capital punishment for us.

 

Pork Chops

I thought I titling it as Bon Appetite as it’d sound a little classier but for some reason Pork chops looks the apt title.

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The opening of the film sets the tone on the place. It doesn’t do a ‘Manhattan’ but it’s not Manhattan to do a ‘Manhattan’. It’s Angamaly, so they do a perfect Angamaly Diaries, the title cards were not subtitled in the theatre I watched. Whether it was missed or there were no subtitles at all I don’t know. But as I couldn’t read Malayalam, the only English words that caught my attention was Angamaly. There were various ways it was used right from hoardings to name plates to store names to bus route to everything. And needless to say, food… hmm lip smacking it was. I guess majorly beef was shown out there but the whole film deals with pork. Don’t know whether my eye to identify meat had gone this bad. My bad!

If people who had watched the movie without knowing anything, they’d have thought it would be a culinary treat. On the contrary, it was not in the mainstream level. But we do get to see a lot of food, talks about food and making of food. Those were great moments.

I don’t know whether it’s the Premam and food effect or Malayalam cinema and food effect. It’s just some rich lip smacking retreat. Great to watch. Now I’ll never miss a chance to go to Angamaly if I visit Ernakulam and more than that I’d never miss an opportunity to eat pork chops, in what’s that shop? Jacobs? Oh boy, I should go eat, pork the first thing.

The film takes tones of various films but prime suspects would be City of God and Premam. The former might be intentional, I’m assuming it to be so as the director had already made a movie with that name and his affinity towards gangster films is quite evident. The opening scenes were very similar to favelas and chicken in City of Good. If it was Favela there, it was Angamaly here, if it was chicken there, it was pork here. We get to see a lot of slaughtering too. Thanks to CBFC, the director couldn’t dare to share the whole one. It’d have been lovely to see one though. The next thing I don’t know whether the food part was taken from Premam, it was done subtler there, also the fight scenes where he takes steps first and the pre interval scene, all reminded me a lot of Premam. You can easily take that song out, put Kalipu and get an equal amount of awesomeness, if not more. But I’m not entirely sure whether it was due to directors liking of Premam or the Premam effect on me on its just plain simple Kerala.

The movie’s tone slightly changes from its rustic bloody standpoint to underlying humor every now and then. If the guy in scooter gives you a serious tone, the guy in bus drinking liquor defies it, if the team who come to see them a serious tone, the teacher slapping the guy for stealing python defies it. So it takes you a while to define the film which defies a particular genre without really knowing which path it’d take. The scene is followed by a great bar fight and the introduction of hero, ‘Jesus’. Kartharae… cigarette kudu. Lol. Excuse me for not taking their names, it’s not really easy to remember all of them. Trust me!

Once it goes to flashback, we tend to forget that we were left hanging in the middle. I don’t know how the directors achieve that, making us completely forget the first few minutes of a movie. So when the red scooter shot appears in the movie, everyone was damned. Damn it!

The movies story is similar to that of many unimposing movies that we’d have watched. Hero worship, jobless people, crime, blood etc. But the take here is different. These people don’t take violence too seriously and they themselves know their range. Every time a fight happens, you see Rajan getting irritated with is Brother-in-law, rather than supporting him blindly, he doesn’t involve in a fight as Pepe takes goods from him. But he’s the same guy who throws bomb in his shop. So it’s all a matter of living. They could easily apologize and take a 10ml. I again had a confusion with that. Did you guys seriously think it was a 10ml, I thought it would definitely be a ‘Small’. If not correct that camera angle Lijo Jose, you’ve an experienced campaigner speaking.

These people go to their home and take care of family, they roam at nights, they carry on with their work. Thank god the jeep which crossed Lichie (the only name that I could remember, thanks to the nice little explanation) and Pepe didn’t have a goon hitting them. It’s that liberty they had with their lives. They are not constantly threatened. They live their life too in a fulfilling manner.

What was the best scene for you? For me it’d be the scene where Pepe takes her sister to church and his mind voices. That was totally me, may be totally us. I laughed my hell out inside.

P.S: Don’t go in with a hungry stomach

P.S.S: Is Pepe’s sister the one who appears in Premam? Who sits in the row in front of George’s gang (Damn Premam) I found both the ladies equally pretty though.

 

T(D)amed

If I had had a video blog I would have started by humming opening tune of Urvasi and said, “well… that’s the only good part of the movie”. If I had written this review in Tamil, I would have titled Asingam, assuming that the film would have been named as Singam. Even though it was quite injudiciously used for the latter case, still I would have gone ahead and used it.

lion

I guess this film would add to the list of horrible films that I would watch this year. Somehow I have a gut feeling that this year is going to be a horrible year for my movie watching. And thanks to time constraint I’m watching more and more films in mobile. Lion was again a movie I watched in two uncomfortable sittings in mobile.

I don’t like the term ‘pathutu iruken’ (currently watching) when it comes to movies. It’s not a series where you currently watch. Movies ought to be watched in one sitting, no matter how boring it gets. So this movie I was ‘watching’. Generally when I watch a movie I would feel restless to complete watching the movie, at least to get done with. But here I wasn’t thinking about watching the movie at all. Such was the impact of the film.

I was warned about Dev Patel’s inefficiency to act. Not that he is a bad actor, he didn’t have much to do in Slumdog Millionaire, and it’s the same here too. But there are comparisons between the two films, which I find to be absurd, apart from being shot in India, I don’t see any reason to compare the film. Even if compared, Slumdog was a far more superior film which was stylishly made. It would have had a profound impact in countries apart from India, like how we praise City of God here. It would have worked here too to few people who could get detached from the environment and watch the film. Worked for me brilliantly. I felt most didn’t like the film just for fame and for pseudo intellect.

In a film which lacked absolutely anything, the only plus point of an otherwise insipid acting cast was Nicole Kidman. She shows us why she’s such a wonderful actor. She is the only one we could sympathize with, in the whole film. Rest all the story looks plain boring. This film, even though happens to be in a familiar turf, could have been shot in a million ways but the director fails to do so. All we get to see was Saroo (Dev Patel) trying to be a Michael Scofield and miserably so.

Everything looks fake in the movie right from childhood to the end. I found the sibling love to be too artificial, mother looked fake and his longing to get back to home too wasn’t shown well. How beautiful it’d have been in Swades where we would really want Shahrukh to get back home. I somehow felt that Ashutosh Gowariker would have done a great job directing the film.

Sad thing was, even bad films would have moments, and this film didn’t have any. If not for one scene, if not for that one scene which I mentioned in the beginning, I would have never forgiven myself for watching the movie. That was the only moment of genuine joy in the film for me. When the music comes and the heroine hides behind the post, does a crazy dance and both laugh at each other, well, that’s how to make a movie. It gave me a joy of reading those girly blogs which only English Literature girls could write.

And in the end when I was thinking, of all things, why the hell the film was named as Lion, we get a reason. If that’s any consolation.

 

Love War

How can a man achieve this in every film of his? A film which has a duration of 2.45 hours, which I had to re-plan to such a time that I don’t wouldn’t get disturbed, didn’t feel like a 2.45 hour film at all. The film moved with such effortless ease. Actually I wouldn’t have got up even if I had to, in between. That’s his mastery over filmmaking. Spielberg, you genius.

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You see a person entering a memorial. The way the patterns merge from the present to past and thus making a change in pace was brilliant. We cut to the chase instantaneously and see how Miller Company make their first breakthrough, thus proving us their proficiency. Funny thing was, even though English, half of the words mentioned in the movie weren’t understandable except fire in the hole, thanks to Project IGI and Counter Strike.

The only problem with the movie was, it being so pro American. May be little bit of brown could have been better. Characters as usual were superbly etched. Right from Miller (Tom Hanks) to Ryan (Matt Damon) everyone were their own and each of them acted their part brilliantly. Well it’s needless to talk about Hanks for which it would have been a cakewalk but it’s film like these which are tough to act, rather than Forrest Gump or Terminal where it’s easy to showcase your acting. But here being a tough guy and to inspire folks around him, he was phenomenal.

Apart from Tom Hanks, my favorite person among the cast was the Sniper Jackson (Barry Pepper) but later it turned out to be Reiben (Edward Burns) who effortlessly makes us hate and love him through his acting. Even though simple, look at the way he protects Ryan in the climax and helps Miller. But the real joy was the introduction of Ryan, may be it was a heroic way of introducing him so that we don’t hate him. But that comes as a shocker, it’s all so sudden and makes us so happy to see him. That’s a unique joy which only Matt Damon can give, what a charmer he is.

I loved the scene where Caparzo (Vin Diesel) gets killed. Got to know that snipers don’t kill a person immediately so that he could kill people who come nearby him. That was a great piece of knowledge, look how much people take effort to make a good film. So like Jackson says, Sniper has got talent, indeed! Why I loved the scene was not because of that. Caparzo takes the girl which a German family request him to take, which I first thought – thanks to psychological war movies that I watched – was because to molest her. But it was not. You don’t know what the sniper would have thought, maybe he thought the same and shot, I mean wounded, Caparzo. Loved that angle.

The tragedy in the end was expected but the way it makes us feel heavy in spite of knowing the story was fabulous.

 

 

War of Worlds

The film when it got released got me intrigued more because of Cheran than of Mysskin. I love cheran as an actor and he looked perfect for this film, with gun. Even though not being a big fan of Mysskin, this film got me intrigued right from the first. I’ve always had apprehensions about his inhuman characters but here I was fine because it appeared to be within limits.

Yuddham Sei

The opening shots were lovely, tracking something which we think of subject but the attention moves from that object to other. For example, the subject turns from sky to Happy New Year lights to bike to people (legs, to be precise) to finally the box. And if you see those people, they were not normal. We see a group of guys digging their head in something and jumping happily. What was that, porn?

The same thing happens in the park next, where we think the camera follows certain person but the attention shifts from that person to another person to another person. We see a young girl sitting in the bench after walking and panting and we tend to think that the story is gonna follow her, again it doesn’t. There is another box.

Similarly once we get to know the flow of story. In tennis court, two young girls enter the court and we see too old aged men giving a voyourish look while they play, do they also belong to the ‘show watching’ category or are they just humans like us who watch porn and feel guilty.

Look how easily Mysskin could evoke sympathy from us through Cheran. That tea barring scene is one of the brilliant scenes of the movie, framed with an auto window. Also the scene in dark where a policeman takes a watermelon from the closed shop. We tend to like these even more because we’ve had enough from these people from these categories. Also see that Cheran is human and weak when he investigates about his sister (of course he overdoes it when he gets a call, typical Myskkin). Is it only because whether it’s his sister or is it because the case has been closed already. Also I loved the downing of his heroism, he’s the best agent they have at that point. Not the best agent of all time. Not James Bond. He is the third choice as the other two are not available to take the case.

And the investigation part, where they try to search for the wrong doers. A lot of film try to show that they too have a family but it hasn’t worked like this for me any time before. Especially the Rajamanickam episode, the grandma was lovely, she looked like the one who would ask how you are doing whenever you cross her Idly stall. Poor soul, with her innocence she couldn’t even find out who’s doing what. Add to it, you see the scene opening with a number of kids peeping at the door.

Also a lot of cinematic techniques used to a great effect. When Cheran chases a murderer on streets, I loved the way his instinct works while he crosses the steps but doesn’t abide by it, then there was a suddenness after seeing the body, post that we could only see the hazy figure of the killer because Mysskin shows him out of focus, like how we’d have seen a person while chasing. And the panting of Cheran was like that of a cop, not letting the people know that he’s tired, not like us who exhibit how  exhausted we are. That’s how a professional would behave.

Best of the lot would be scene where Cheran comes to police station to investigate, a scene which Baradwaj Rangan talked about in his film appreciation session, how efficiently he uses light as a tool to use the same sequence for both past and present. Such lovely filmmaking.

 

Between the Walls

How much can one’s perspective change while viewing a movie for the second time isn’t it? When I watched the first time I remember viewing the movie like a painting. Nothing really moves, the story, screenplay, frames or even Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler’s (Ulrich Mühe) facial muscles. Of all Haup’s muscle doesn’t move at all.

the-lives-of-others

This is a movie where you could have given a ‘great’ touch by including a self-induced grin from Ulrich Muhe. But to have not done shows the control the director has over the film and Muhe has over himself. Exactly what Nolan needs to learn and more recently while I watched Sshivada in Adhe Kangal where she overdid the grin.

The way Wiesler’s character develops is phenomenal. He remains there, like a stone, camouflaged into the walls wearing grey. In fact most of his scenes are surrounded by different shades of grey/blue. Nice use of colors there. And the transition from being bad to good was equally phenomenal. We don’t really see a specific incident for him to change colors. In fact when he does that, his ego is hurt and he immediately goes to his superior to report but changes his mind. You don’t expect such a change of heart from a man of his stature.

In the end the movie becomes pretty conclusive, may be that could have been avoided. It’s not a complaint but may be an open ending would have worked better.