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The Ultimate Bond Girl

Skyfall has brought me back to blogdom. A fitting finale to the ultimate bond girl, M.

My favorite hero and none does it better than Daniel Craig. IMHO, he is the best bond till to date. We have had more handsome ones in Connery , but Craig fits the bond profile, the ruthless, cold agent. I first liked him in Munich  and has been a fan ever since. And Skyfall has some cool moments , just like any other bond movie. It always surprises me how one can deliver dialogue ( Ex: “Welcome to scotland”) after shooting five guys. And only a Bond entertainer can get away with it. Skyfall, as a movie, for the first time,gives an insight into Bond’s childhood. Also shows the warm side of Madam M, a rare sight to behold, so much so that even Javier Bardem calls her Mother. In my eyes, she was always the bond girl , who would never flinch to take a tough decision. And, she holds her dignity till her last breath.

Watching skyfall brought back memories of “The Golden Eye”, which starred Pierce Brosnan as the bond. Did I say Sean Connery was the handsomest… let me take it back , it was Brosnan. When it was announced he was going to be the next Bond, I was ecstatic and waiting for the movie eagerly. Knowing my excitement, dad booked two tickets and surprised me one day with a call to my office, asking me to meet him at the theater and we watched Golden Eye together. Sigh!! No one can beat Brosnan and his smile though… not even Craig.

Take away dialogue – ” Being young doesn’t guarantee innovation” – Bond to Q , when he meets the young kid. Yes, it is my middle age talking.

Saw the preview of Tarantino’s “Django”. Waiting eagerly for that too, next one after “Inglorious Basterds”. ( My review of the same)

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on November 17, 2012 in movies

 

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The Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Apes ruling the world and humans used for experiments. Ridiculous concept, I agree but one I liked watching, again and again with all the reruns of the classic “Planet of the Apes” on TV.

Storyline: The Rise of the planet of the Apes is by far, the best prequel I have seen. Little Caesar, who is born to “bright eyes”, a lab chimp being treated with Alzheimer’s drugs that could create new channels in the brain, is adopted by Will(James Franco). He is smart, wants to be like neighborhood kids , looks after his grandfather(Will’s father) suffering from Alzheimer’s and so on. Because of the drug being passed genetically, he ends up thousand times smarter than a regular ape. Simple, yeah? Growing up, he gets confused when his ape instincts kick in and he angrily hurts a neighbor who is rude to his grandfather. Put in an ape jail, he suffers like any other high school newbie. What we should not forget here is that Caesar is smart and in typical hero fashion, conquers the inmates in the jail with his cunning, smart antics and becomes the leader.

After tasting a little bit of power, he refuses to go home and plans his escape to Muir woods. During his fight with the evil jail keeper, out comes the first word “NO” and you thought only kids learnt that as their first word. Till the last scene, Caesar’s speech progression is kind of slow( I think the ape instincts kicked in again) and you see him pretty much saying “NO” whenever a zealot ape tries to kill a human. Btw, all this happens in our own SFO. Finally, Caesar thinks he is home in Muir woods. If you are thinking, “OK, so the apes call Muir woods their home and live a peaceful life, with maybe the elders forming a panchayat, building schools and teaching the ape kids how to speak, assuming Caesar would have somehow learnt all the words without much interaction with humans, the smart ass..oops ape that he is, how did the humans vanish and get annihilated as shown in “POFA” ?”, here is the killer. The latest virus AR3 that are injected into the apes to test their brain stimulation, are harmful to humans, but the apes are immune to it. Cool, huh.

Bottom line, good vs evil, a classic regular old concept in a new bottle……I mean movie. Not a moment of dullness. I loved it.

The tie-in:

I loved this prequel as it ties in all the loose ends in “planet of the Apes”.
The spaceship which crash lands in “POFA” is shown in the background.
Now, you know what Caesar was up to as a kid and how he became the king. It might have been better if they had shown him wearing a wreath and riding a Tonga into Muir woods.
Of course, it explains the talking apes ( assuming Caesar learnt lot more words) in “POFA” though makes you wonder why the humans were not talking in “POFA”. Maybe, I missed something there.
The last flight which the virus infected neighbor takes , is to “New York”. Remember the “Statue of Liberty” that Charles Heston sees in the last scene. Suresh had a valid question about this though. How did the apes go to NewYork from SFO. Suggestions, anyone?

Awwwwwwwwesome moments:
When Caesar, though sulking himself, helps his Alzheimer affected grandfather hold a fork. A very touching scene that also shows how his intelligence is steadily growing.
When the apes escape is shown by falling leaves.
And, of course, when Caesar shouts “NO”, his first word.

Contrary to what the promos show, the Apes don’t want to destroy humankind and rule the earth. They just want to be blissfully happy in Muir Woods , sitting on top of trees, looking nostalgically at the Golden Gate Bridge. If you think James Franco is the hero of the movie, you would be far from truth. Andy Serkis, yes, the man who gave the “precious” emotions and expressions to Gollum in “Lord of the rings”, is the true hero. His portrayal of Caesar, from the expression of an innocent child to the fully mature human-ape in the end. MARVELLOUS !

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in General, movies

 

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Moo to Man

1982,there was this little kid, who wouldn’t leave the theater after watching “Moondaram Pirai“, crying ” Kamal..ku ippidi ayiruka koodahu.” ( this should not have happened to Kamal) after seeing him go mad in the last scene.Something she gets teased about , till today, by her sister. The same girl tried talking to Kamal’s brother, to somehow get his autograph though it didn’t materialize.If she was not an ardent fan, I don’t know who is.

Yes, the girl has blossomed into a woman, not fanatic anymore, though she cannot resist watching a Kamal movie till today. And so, Manmadan Ambu happened , despite warnings from friends who had bad reviews. Who cares?Any movie with Kamal & Madhavan is good for me.

I would rather watch a Tamil movie which has some good looking men,however old they maybe than one where the hero is a self proclaimed udhavakarai( good for nothing) , trying to woe girls with his blood shot eyes.

I would rather watch a movie which is a laugh riot in the climax than one which starts all funny but ends with everyone dying.

I would rather watch a movie which has some poignant moments with a very realist cancer patient than one where diseases are simplified or over complicated.

I would rather watch a movie set in a cruise ship and beautiful locales than one with too realistic village belles .

Yes, there were a couple of gaping loopholes, but, the movie was very entertaining. Everyone crossed their t’s and dotter their i’s. And, Surya in the first song was an added bonus.. Drool..

My main plus point with the movie is that it was realistic, in certain scenes. Just because one’s friend has cancer doesn’t mean one cannot have fun or laugh. I loved the fact that Kamal breaks into a song , once he gets the money for his friend. That is what life is all about. Happy and sad moments.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2011 in movies

 

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Inception

One word. Exhilaration.

For someone like me who is fascinated with dreams, this was a dream come true. Have you ever noticed that when you have the urge to pee, you dream of water. If not, make a note next time.

I wish I could summarize the movie in a few paragraphs, but that would not do due justice. Even Christopher Nolan just lets you feel it, understand on your own, without giving any explanations. A movie that is complicated , yet is simple enough once you grasp the premise of the story, one that can be told only in this way.It makes sense.

A dream in a dream in a dream. As the protagonist says, “you need at least three layers of depth for inception.” It is brilliant to watch how the time extends in every layer. 30 seconds for the Van to fall from the bridge is 3 minutes in the next layer of dream and is 60 minutes in the 3rd layer. Simple enough, hey?? I wish. The last 45 minutes of the movie covers the 30 seconds of the van falling, making one bite her nails, sitting on the edge, wondering if people would survive or fall into limbo land. And all this dreaming to implant an idea into the mind of a rich heir, an idea so subtle that he thinks its his own.That is inception.

Leonardo has grown from Titanic days and there are comments that he looks the same as in Shutter Island. Matt Damon might have suited the role better. Well, call me biased but I love Matt. Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon, Tom Hardy all fit their roles to a T.

My favorite scenes were the bending of the roads by Adrianne and how water gushes in his dream, when Cobb is dunked in the water. See Para 1 and you will understand why it made perfect sense to me. The last scene, while I waited with bated breath, tears in my eyes(no, I am not kidding) and sighing loudly. Ha!! Magic.

Interestingly, Partner didn’t appreciate the movie as much as I did. He lost it somewhere and started dreaming on his own 🙂 . Yes,you would have to watch every frame and follow the screenplay close enough to enjoy and appreciate the nuances. If not, rent it and watch few more times.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in movies

 

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Raavanan

MOVIE:
Well, we all know Ramayan. Girl gets abducted, hero goes after Villian and rescues her, with help from others. Except that this movie portrays Raavan as a man with heart, which he actually was and Ram as ruthless, which he was too, IMO.

CAST:

Raavan – Vikram steals the show, despite all the non sensical mumbo-jumbo and wee bit of overacting. A man, ready to kill without thinking twice, a change of heart due to love while revenging his sister’s death.

Ram– Prithvi Raj looks dashing and handsome. DROOL…. Thank Mani that the mallu moustache has been shaved off. He is good as Ram, with a shade of maniacal obsession.

Sita— Sigh !! Yes, she is beautiful even when she climbs rugged mountains, gets drenched and looks achingly ( which is mostly the expression you see on her face in every movie). Got to give her due credit for the physical effort.

Extras– Karthik as Hanuman… Good acting, but Seriously !! Mani, we know you are making Ramayan and Karthik represents Hanuman, but that doesn’t mean he should be jumping around in trees!! Konjam Maha Kevalam..
Prabu as barrel Kumbakarna is good with Ranjitha as his wife.
Priya Mani as Shurpanaka also steals her part of the show. The girl has talent and looks pretty too.

STORY
Story?? What? Everyone knows Ramayan, including the abduction and the way Ram behaves as a wuss and suspects his wife.Remember Agni Pravesham???

LOCALE:
Awesome, amazing, just lovely. Movie worth a watch just for the locale.

Lets say, I am not exactly elated.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2010 in General, movies

 

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MNIK and VTV

There was a time when we rarely watched Indian movies in theaters. In this month and past, it is already up to four. Watched MNIK(MY name is Khan, a Hindi movie) last week, when our friends were booking and we did not have much to do that night and again, VTV(Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya, a Tamil Movie) this week , just because we got free tickets..I have a feeling this might continue for the next few months, with parents visiting. But, I was not disappointed with either one.

MNIK(My name is Khan):
Storyline: An autistic man meets an immature old lady( Yes, she looks really old), falls in love and gets married. They lose a son to a racist attack and the path taken by the heroic,innocent,man with a good heart to meet the president and declare “My name is Khan.I am not a terrorist” forms the rest of the story.

Strength:
Sharukh Khan- I have never been much of a fan, but I think in this movie, for a change,one gets to see the character than Sharukh.I would say, this is his best so far.
Story – Movies around the 9/11 theme are not rare nowadays, but this one had a personal touch. Coming for Karan Johar, a big surprise. I hate hate his movies, usually.
Music – Some songs were good and no unnecesary dancing… Again, Karan Johar might be growing up.

Weakness:
Kajol- Hyper, Shrieky , Old Kajol. One almost feels like shutting her up.
Story – Stretched. Lot of unnecessary drama.In spite of my crying, I didn’t feel embarrassed as the lady next to me could have had a river named after her 🙂

My related thoughts:
Due to Asperger’s syndrome, Sharukh doesn’t look at people in the eye. It is very similar to the way blind Kajol looks at others in Fanaa. Just shift your sight to the right or left of the object and you are pretty much blind in all Indian movies. 🙂

This movie should be watched in DVD , with popcorn and some dips and tissues for the sensitive people.

VTV( Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya):

Storyline:
Boy meets girl. Hindu meets Christian.Karthik meets Jessie. A Director’s assistant meets a software engineer. Parents don’t approve and what happens in the end forms the story.Sounds familiar ??Yes, it is. Very much. But, old wine in a sweet bottle.

Cast:
I used to get nightmares watching TR. And, I avoid his son’s movies , even on DVD. The free tickets lured me to this. Should say, not disappointed. Gautam Menon has made Simbu tone down a lot, though his characteristic mannerisms pop out in certain dialogues. But, should hand it to this guy. He has acted well and suits the role.
Trisha looks refreshing, with her classic duck walk and amazing cotton sarees and chudidhars. Wow, what a collection.Simple and elegant. Her character is quite annoying,indecisive and almost stupid.
Instead of the usual sidekicks, Karthik’s friend ( I don’t know who that is) is very very refreshing , especially the one liners between them. Brings a laugh and a smile in most of the scenes.
Music:
The movie is called A.R.Rahman’s Musical and it is. Amazing songs.Hosanna and Vinnai thandi , Manipaaya are my favorites. BGM is jarring at places but follows the mood through out the movie.

The movie gets very repetitive after the Interval, though the final twist makes it worth, I suppose.. Am not sure, actually. People might walk out towards the end, getting bored with the redundancy.

I wouldn’t say this movie should be watched in the theater, but it can be.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2010 in movies

 

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Ayirathil Oruvan(2010)

Since this movie was touted as a turning point in Tamil movies and a forerunner for the mystery genre, we decided to watch it with our neighbor. And, I am a sucker for dark mystery movies like Pirates of the Carribean, , 2000 BC etc.. Give me some savages, tribal people or pirates with booties, I am hooked even if it is a crappy movie. It is always an added bonus if Johnny Depp is the hero. And, thus, ladies and gentlemen, I watched Ayirathil Oruvan with limited expectations after reading all the reviews.

Storyline:
Three protagonists, one foul mouthed coolie (Karthik), one wannabe glamorous, try my best to show something archaeologist/officer (Reema Sen) and one reasonably good looking archaeologist(Andrea) are on a mission to find a missing archaeologist. Apparently, the guy was supposed to have gone in search of the location of the last Chola prince,one who escaped the Pandya’s wrath and gone into exile in 13th century. The first half of the movie has some great visual treats and lots of people with bows and arrows, talking some nonsense language like Hoohah, kam cho, bar larta ,so on so forth. Yes, happy me. 🙂 After interval , once they find the archaeological site of the lost kingdom, the movie takes a totally different, dark turn and I mean literally dark too…you find people with faces darkened with coal , the whole second half. A very nice twist to the story happens right after the intermission , with the language changing to literary Tamil and some of the insane incidents in the first half fall into place. Our friend A, who barely manages spoken Tamil got totally lost in the second half and my friend L’s dad started snoring. It does get dragging though. If the second half had been cut by at least half an hour, this movie would have been excellent.

Strong points:
The novel story line. Though totally fictional , the concept is definitely worth applauding. Having seen Tamil movies that are getting crappier day by day with stereotypical angry heroes trying to woe girls, this one was a big break.

The Visuals. Kudos to the cinematographer. Some of the graphics like the snakes were really good.

The Cast. Karthik as the coolie has done an excellent job. This is the first time I am seeing his performance and should admit that he has a fruitful career ahead. Reema as usual shows off her sexuality,but the thighs…God save me.. Andrea does due justice to her role. Mediocre.Parthiban as the Chola king who aches to go back to his motherland sparkles in certain scenes.
The literary Tamil in the second half.. Nice on the ears. Hey, if one can get away with saying “En Linga Darisanam” for showing his organ, isn’t that something.
The songs are hummable. Un Mela Aasathan – neat. “Nelladia nillam enge” – by Vijay Jesudas has lot of emotions and gelled with the movie very well.

Weak Points :
The graphics. Though some were good, some were atrocious especially the jelly fish like thingys that come in the very first adventure.
The storyline… Cholas were supposedly an artistic,religious and well educated lot. My chola history comes from “Ponniyin Selvan” , which was a literary fiction based on some real events.Even assuming the guys shown in the movie are banished into caves, they should have been shown to be smart than as savages or cannibals. Doesn’t make sense. If they were good enough to create all those hurdles to protect themselves, they should also be smart to overcome them.

Obviously, the script writer or the director has been inspired by ancient Roman movies, where one gets to see barbarism. He copied even the gladiator arena, just making it visually far worse.

Length of the movie….Looks like the director wanted to capture as much as he can .The soldiers misbehaving with the cholas could have been easily cut. SNORE..

And the boobs..Even though it is a local lady with a kid, spurting blood from her breasts, wonder how the censor board let it go even for an A-rated movie.

Agreed Dravidians are dark skinned people, but when showing people who have not seen much sunlight for centuries, it is not wise to apply black paint all over their faces…..or..were they living in coal mines.. Beats me.

Well, I would say definitely a B-rate movie.As my FIL says,”Adhellam, C-center movie..ma”. The raw sexual tension between Karthik and the two girls was real. One might expect it in real times , but the coolie Karthik is no gentleman and be ready to hear lot of beeps in the movie( I guess the censor board cut it out) Not that I would have understood them anyway. The concept is original, but the movie could have been lot better. Worth a watch though.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2010 in movies, Tamil

 

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