Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More movies and more summer plans!

My IMDB adventure continued last week with three more top 250 films: Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, a 2002 Brazilian film, City Of God and a golden oldie, Some Like It Hot (which coincidentally came on cable just a week or so after Samanth recommended it to me).

But, let's talk about
City Of God...What a brilliant movie! It deals with life in a impoverished Brazilian city which gives the movie its name (Cidade de Deus is the original Portugese title). This is a city where little kids, let alone teenagers, are the gangsters and the drug dealers, quintessential "boys with toys". The story is narrated by this one kid who wants to break away and become a photgrapher. How he does that is told in a very matter-of-fact way with a lot of shocking moments which almost pass us by because no one in the movie seems to react to it! There is also a lot of humour in this tale and it ends up being very touching without seemingly ever trying to be.

By the way, check out the trivia section for this movie at IMDB. Lot of clever bits!

Rear Window made me realize that I haven't watched too may Hitchcock movies! That'll change soon...

Finally, saw Mumbai Express (had been lying untouched in my computer for more than a month). Entertaining first half and I thought Nasser was briliiant in the otherwise sucky second half!

As this summer (vacation) chugs along, I have added a couple more things to my "To Do" list. One is Mr. and Mrs. Smith, for which the trailers look seriously slick. The second one, rather obvious, is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Here's
counting down to the witching hour!


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Monday, May 23, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

The Force ends with a BIG BANG! Oh... and Yoda rules!


In one of the scenes toward the end of this movie, Yoda (voice of Frank Oz) mouths, what is now, my favorite piece of dialog in the whole prequel trilogy. The situation is a high stakes lightsaber duel between Yoda and the evil Sith Lord, Darth Sidious who says something like "...the Sith will rule the galaxy once again!". Back comes Yoda: "Not if anything I have to say ABOUT IT". And then he does his stuff!!

Doesn't sound like much, admittedly, but by the time he takes to get to "...about it" I had a horrible thought that, maybe, Yoda had actually been defeated (not killed) by Sidious. I breathed a sigh of relief when he said that, while people around me jumped in joy and applauded for who is definitely their favorite character in this movie.

Revenge of the Sith is irrevocably Yoda-powered, however else George Lucas might have wanted it to be. He's the person everyone's rooting for; you yearn to see him in every scene with his 'Zen-master' attitude and his carefully crucified English. This CGI creation out-acts everyone around him, possibly with the exception of Ewan McGregor, as Obi-Wan Kenobi, who along with Yoda manages to bring about a certain dignity to the whole movie.

Also in this movie, Lucas continues the destruction of Natalie Portman's character, Padme, who, of course, is the secret wife of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). Gone is the strong willed Queen Amidalla from The Phantom Menace. Instead we have a woman who ends up blubbering in pretty much every scene... (I would, too, if I had to say the dialogue she does while watching Christensen try to act). Sadly, the dialogue and the acting take the sheen away from what is undoubtedly the best of the prequels.

The story, for anyone who's been asleep/comatose/dead for the past few years, charts the transformation of Jedi Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, the evil Sith Lord who torments our heroes in the original Star Wars trilogy. Anakin's temptations are a result of some malicious manipulation by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who's character seems vaguely Bush-like in his dealings. Lucas does a great job in bringing the story full circle to Episode IV. In fact, this is probably the most plot driven of all the six movies - it strides purposefully towards it inevitable conclusion, throwing a few nice suprises on the way without punching too many holes into the overall plot bubble.

The special effects, as expected, are awesome. And as always, there are a slew of new characters and species, including a brief period spent with Chewbacca and the Wookies. There is a sensational new villain, the alliteratively named General Grievous, who outdoes Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace with a quadra-lightsaber configuration. And the final showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan in "Mount Doom"-like surroundings acts as a fitting finale to lightsaber battles as we know it!

At the end of the day, this movie works because it makes you want to watch the original trilogy again. Its evocative closing shot (I'm not giving it away!) makes your heart heavy and brings a lump to your throat. To quote the cliche of cliches: It is the end of an era!

PS: Wanted to end with a Yoda-ism but couldn't think of any!


Blogger sumant said...

ennada enga escape for so long...what happened to ur movie watching spree..?Or have u taken some wild west trip?

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Santosh Sankar said...

Actually, didn't watch too many movies after Star Wars... till the next weekend, atleast, when I watched three!! Just posting something now...

8:08 AM  

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Have been out of it for a while now!

Well, my exams got over a week or so back, and I really haven't felt up to major blogging since. Saw quite a few good movies though. I'm trying to work my way down IMDB's top 250 films list. Recently saw Goodfellas, Citizen Kane, 12 Angry Men, Life of Brian, The Sting... Wow! A lot of great movies. Really difficult to see anything as innovative as those nowadays.

Quite a lot of movies now also seem to be suffering from what I like to call 'The-Sixth-Sense-Syndrome', you know, the ones where they try to blow us away with a surprise ending. What these movies fail to realize is how careful they have to be with the script to pull off something like that. See the 'Sixth Sense' DVD people! There's a 'special features ' segment in that one where the crew explain how painstakingly careful they were while filming to make sure there are no plot holes. And of course, they also put in these little clues which most people would look for only in a second viewing! My favorite one among them is, I think, something most people know: the chairs don't move whenever Bruce Willis sits on one of them (for instance, when he's in the restaurant with his wife). Really smart stuff!!

Anyway, the reason I got reminded is because of this movie Narc I saw just a couple of days back. This is one of those rivetting cop thrillers shot with dark and greyish filters to let us know that it's a serious movie, dammmit!!! And then comes the ending. Don't want to spoil it, but it was soooooo unnecessary and undermined the whole plot.


Anonymous sumant said...

Awesome! should get around to watching some of these movies that you have mentioned.Till now just been working myself up on barrage of tamil new movies and needless to say everything is just as mediocre as the previous.So you get all ur stuff on dvd from the rental shops or ur library.?If thats ur univ library then they seriously do have a pretty good collection.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

Yup! I know what you mean about new tamil movies...but I hear 'Aniyan' is expected to be good and its directed by SHankar, so it can't be bad!!

And btw, all these DVDs are actually from the local city and county libraries, not the university and they definitely have a great collection. And best part is, they're all freee!

7:50 AM  

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Is it just me...

... or do these stills from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire look TOTALLY OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD?!! I love the vibrant colour scheme here, especially the bluish-vapor-thing wafting about the goblet of fire. And the dragon looks pretty mean too!! Good stuff, Mike Newell!

...Ooooh! And I just came across the teaser trailer here. Looks pretty wicked! Especially like the background music!

And what about the Batman Begins trailer, available here ? Absolutely mind-blowing! Looks like movie directors are learning to spend their millions wisely these days!


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