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!


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.


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.



I don’t know how many have the experience of reading a biography of a person whom you hadn’t known. I don’t know how many have the experience of reading a biography without knowing that you are going to read one. I don’t know how many of you had combined to do both together. Unfortunately, I answer my questions. I was the one who did both. Now it scares me even more, I’ve exhausted my book shelf with only Mr. Obama’s biography pending. I don’t know how I’m going to read about a person about whom I don’t have much opinion.


For a change I read the preface of the book first, I don’t know why, but I did. I don’t know why I’m using so many ‘I don’t’ know’s’ here. Anways, the preface didn’t get me excited. I first of all didn’t know who Mr. Naidu was. Yes, damn me. And the fact that it’s going to be a biography like that of a son narrating, didn’t help.

Actually the only success of the book was how effortlessly the viewpoint changed from that of Sivasankari to Appa. She had written the preface in first person’s point of view. And in the first chapter as soon as the narrator says ‘Appa uyarnthavar’ and all that, I could immediately imagine a guy narrating a story. That was beautifully done. But narrative wise, nothing great.

  1. D. Naidu was supposed to be a mischievous child who burnt a barn and threw sand on his teachers face. These two incidents were brilliant and could have added interest to a story but as it’s said from his son’s point of view we don’t get to know the details of it, rather than a line or two. I guess that’s where the son telling story becomes a drawback.

In spite of that there were a lot of incidents like the one where he servers his guest with ‘vepan kotai’ sambar. That was hilarious. And he handing out his assets was outrageously awesome. All these great moments were told only in few words and only fatherly advises were given more importance. May be what Sivasankari asked in the epilogue was correct. I guess Naidu’s son would have been feeling guilty that he couldn’t understand his dad much.

His fatherly deeds to be quite honest were irritating, in spite of Naidu’s son telling a million times that that generation was different, this generation is different. Also all his daddy talks were like ‘Daddy’ in Varanam Ayiram. After a point it was funny. I don’t know why, for some reason I’m getting more irritated by him than the writer who wrote it in this way.

With someone as charismatic as G. D. Naidu (from what I know only through this book), one could have done something like Wolf of the Wall Street. But sadly Sivasankari is no Scorsese.

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.



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.


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.

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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.


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.

Sunthara Boomi

I did a terrific mistake by reading the title as Sunthara Boomi and kept on reading it as Sunthara Boomi whenever Suthanthira Bhoomi was mentioned even inside the book. And that seemed to be more apt for the unrelenting sarcasm written in the book. Only after reading the prologue I got to know the title to be Suthanthira Bhoomi.


Well, let’s talk about the prologue first. If Kagidha Malargals epilogue was the best I’ve ever read, Suthanthira Bhoomi’s prologue was one of the best I’ve read in recent times. I have the habit of reading anything apart from the story only at the last but may be for this, this one alone I felt I could have read the prologue first.

The book takes a different tone from any other political drama’s I’ve watched or read. The problem with the political dramas is that they always talk about rise and fall of people but they forget the very fact that they are people first more than the politician or celebrities. Here we get to know how those people will talk and behave at home other than being politicians. Like Sarala says, “kathar sataya kelatitu manusana va, politciana venam.”

The characters were nice, I don’t know whether I could go ahead and call it as brilliant because Indhra Parthasarathy is so oral, sometimes he talks so much that I feel like asking to shut up. I always feel like he overdoes, explaining each and every emotion and what’s worse, I don’t get a wow factor out of it. You see he can’t do what Woody Allen could do in an ‘I luff you’ in Annie Hall. But somehow I ended up reading his novels more than the other.