Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Belated 'Batman Begins' Bulletin

  • Best Batman movie so far!
  • Best adaptation of a superhero comic so far!
  • Batmobile: Love it or hate it! I loved it!
  • Brilliant back story. Loved the way it explained how Batman got all his funky Bat-toys (Ans: They are prototype designs meant for military applications), how all the weirdos in Gotham City came to be (Ans: They escaped from Arkham Asylum), how the Batsignal came about (Ans: It was set up by Jim Gordon) and what essentially drives Bruce Wayne to be Batman (Ans: No simple answer!).
  • Bale was great as Batman! Took his role seriously and was virtually unidentifiable when in Bat-costume.

Overall, the movie had a nice feel to it with a solid supporting cast. Gary Oldman was once again unidentifiable in his role, this time as Sgt. Jim Gordon, while Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman managed to bring about the right balance of humour and warmth into their roles.

One bad thing about the movie was the pretty terrible fight choreography! In numerous close-quarters fights, it was hard to tell who was doing what to whom! Which is a pity because Batman is supposed to be an incredible fighter and his fights against multiple opponents could have made for some great visuals!

This movie also didn't have too many spectacular set-pieces, standard in these comic book adaptations, which has led some to term it 'slow moving'. But I think director Christopher Nolan has done that deliberately so as not to divert attention from the main point of the movie: how Bruce Wayne became Batman and what established him as the guardian of Gotham. In that respect, this movie tries to, and pretty much succeeds in being, story-driven, which is very commendable for a superhero movie! Thumb up!!

NOTE: Looks like The Joker is going to be the main villain in the sequel. Having just recently seen the old Star Wars movies, my vote goes to Mark Hamill for landing the role!


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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ashraful proving a handful

It's been a week of turmoil in sports. Ok, not that dramatic, but at least cricket and F1 have been going through a phase. I decided to do a no show at Indy this time for the US Grand Prix 'cos I really haven't been following this season that closely, no particular reason. Turns out that the seven teams using Michelin tyres decided to follow my lead and not participate in the race too! But jokes aside, what happened there was disgraceful! Get this: the said-seven teams apparently even agreed to race for NO points, just to make sure there was a race on! NO points! And still the FIA refused to agree to add an extra chicane at the offending turn thirteen (which, in case you didn't know, was causing Michelin tyres to blow, for reasons unknown). I think F1 racing has sunk to its lowest yet! This sort of behavior on their part has got to be universally and vocally criticized to get the FIA to change.

Coming to cricket, what's up with Bangladesh, y'all? The worst team in world cricket beats the best, and in some fashion too! I wish I'd followed the match live on cricinfo or some such place, I'd have been blown away by the six hit by watshisname against Jason Gillespie (Ok, his name is Aftab Ahmed, I just looked it up). The last time I had the fortune to 'witness' such a spectacular end was when the Windies imploded to South Africa by giving Charl Langeveldt a last over hat-trick. That was something, but this is way better!

Looking at Bangla's three big matches in England (wins against Worcester and Australia along with today's loss against England), it looks likes Ashraful is turning out to be the key guy! He scored a quickfire 40 against W and that terrific run-a-ball century against the Aussies. Add to that today's 54-ball 92 and you have a batman who is having a super-duper time, definitely a contender for 'Man of the series'. And let's not forget Habibul Bashar who seems to be the Dravid of Bangladesh, keeping his head and guiding his team through the middle overs.

Could this be the start of something special or will it just be a temporary bright spot in the sordid history of Bangladesh cricket? This series should anwer that question!


Blogger sumant said...

hey santosh
u can watch bangladesh beat aussie including aftabs famous hit(that brought a tear to my eyes) here

and i also got highlights of eng vs aus..The must see in that is collingwoods catch of the century and pietersens afridi like knock.Its 19MB .Mebbe i shud split the file and send it to u?

Truly awesome matches especially the bangla one.I think I mailed u in ur gmail accnt sometime back.let me know if the mail didnt reach u

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Santosh said...

Excellent! I'm downloading the highlights as I type! Man, how DO you get these links?

Yes, please email the eng-aus match to my gmail account. I dont know if you need to split it, but do so if you have problems...

And I hardly check my gmail to tell the truth...I just realized that I've listed that in my blog as my contact address. Will start checking more regularly!

And awesome idea for tam movies blog! Put up 'Anniyan' soon!

7:56 AM  

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

The original Star Wars were Fun

That's with a capital 'F' in case you didn't get it ;)

My friends and I had this semi-Star Wars-marathon in the weekend, watching Star Wars and The Empire Strikes back and boy, did we have a good time?! Those movies, especially, Empire, were almost like Indiana Jones in space, just jumping from one set-piece to another, without getting weighed down by stupid plot points like trade federations and mitochlorians!

I think the differences between the prequel trilogy and the sequel trilogy is best illustrated by the romances that develop in each one: Consider Empire, when Han Solo is about to be put into deep freeze by Darth Vader - a situation of peril, one might say! Princess Leia chooses that moment to tell him "I love you" to which Han replies "I know!", in classic Han Solo way! Brilliant!

Now take Attack of the Clones! My memory is a bit rusty, but I remember the situation is somewhat similar: Padme and Anakin Skywalker are in a bit of a hiccup and out of the blue comes the "I love you" from Padme. She then follows it up with some sappy " you madly, deeply" and other yadda-yadda! Utterly unconvincing, especially given the chemistry that never existed between the two of them!

Anyhoo, that's my 'dho paisa' on that...

On the same subject: after watching the two prequels, I was almost tempted to buy the 3-pack DVD of the prequels...almost! What put me off (other than the hefty price tag) were the numerous changes His Highness, George Lucas had made to the original trilogy. For me, the most execrable of these was replacing the ghostly image of the original Anakin Skywalker with that of Hayden Christensen at the end of Return of the Jedi, as discussed here in Roger Ebert's website!!! Come on! Imagine how the original actor (whose name is Sebastian Shaw which, I admit, I knew only after reading the above article) must feel! Forget maintaining continuity and all that, Mr. Lucas. What you did here was unfair to Shaw!

Another change that has become a hot-button issue among Star Wars geeks (myself NOT included) is an extra bit added in a scene where Han Solo is confronted by Greedo, a bounty hunter trying to capture him for Jabba. In the original version, Han shoots Greedo as he is talking, following the old maxim of "Don't talk when you can just shoot!". In the 'Special Edition', Greedo shoots first, misses from one foot away and then Han shoots back and kills him! This was done supposedly to show that Han Solo was really a peach of a guy and would never ever, in a million light years, shoot some poor dangerous bounty hunter when all he's doing is talking. In the original version, the point was that we never know until later on what sort of a person Han is.

To me, this change shows how George Lucas is trying to make everything about Star Wars one-dimensional. Characters are either completely good or completely bad; Jedi are good, Sith are evil; Anakin was a nice chappie while Vader is a bad baddie! And so on... He also seems to be saying to the fans, "This is my creation and I'll do whatever the hell I want with it. So there!". Which is all fine, but come on, what's his problem with releasing an unedited original version. Would it kill him to be a little nice? Fingers crossed hoping that the six-pack DVD, if and when it comes, has the option of buying the unchanged original. Then all is forgiven! But, until then...


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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A good Matrix video game and a good Batman movie...


Ok, first the game! I found this page at previewing a new Matrix computer game, The Matrix: Path of Neo, that's releasing in November. Previous Matrix-based games like Enter The Matrix have been more about the convoluted Matrix storyline than the gameplay itself. Not this one. Inspite of the cheesy name, this is kinda like a "Best Of..." collection of the numerous action set-pieces from the three Matrix movies (The trailer seems to show The Burly Brawl as well as the final showdown between Neo and Agent Smith, among other things). Also included in this game is the "shootdodge" technique that was executed so beautifully in the Max Payne games.

The graphics in the game don't seem to be that great, though, going by the three screenshots available. But still keep your gaming fingers crossed for what might turn out to be the ultimate Matrix game!

Next, catch an early review of Batman Begins at The verdict from Ebert and Roeper is that its ABSOLUTELY FABULOSO! "Gets it absolutely right", "...the Batman movie we've all been waiting for" and " of the best movies of the year" are some of the plaudits Ebert's thrown around at this one! But I'd definitely take this with a pinch of salt. This is the guy who called Spider-man 2 "the best superhero movie ever made" and that movie sucked so bad, it was scary!


Blogger Anantha said...

dude, I really think that the movie was more hyped than anything else. Agreed it captured the essence well, but it was not something that was entirely unexpected/new/mindblowing. It was what you were expecting. And that batmobile looked more like a armored personnel carrier in wars more than anything else. Could have been more creative with it. I would prolly give it a 6/10 overall.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Santosh said...

will agree/disagree after seeing the movie in a few hours...

11:15 AM  

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Enjoy this movie... with subtitles!

There is something about the British accent that defies definition, no offence intended. Here are the people who supposedly (or is it supposably?) invented/developed the English language but watch a British movie or a movie filled with British characters and chances are a lot of the dialogue will go over your head...Interesting?

The movie I'm talking about right now is Robert Altman's Gosford Park, touted as an Agatha Christie style murder mystery but in reality is a not-so-subtle satire of the class system in England in the early 20th century. We have all the right ingredients for a murder mystery though: a gathering of friends and relatives in the manor of a wealthy Englishman who is, of course, murdered by the end of the evening. Everyone has a motive, whether it is money, hatred or jealousy. Whodunit?

But the murder is more a distraction than the focus of the movie as we see how the lives of the 'upstairs' people (the aristocrats) differ from that of the 'downstairs' people (the maids and the butlers), including the way that they react to the murder. The people 'upstairs' are worried about how the murder is going to affect their daily routine while those 'downstairs' are worried that they'll have more work to do if the guests are forced to stay on because of the murder investigation!

The movie is populated by a veritable who's-who of British cinema with the likes of Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Stephen Fry, Helen Mirren...and has so many British accents and characters that either a rewatch or subtitles is called for! But once you get into it, this movie is very absorbing and a lot of fun!!


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