Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: English«

Still talking to us

April 30, 2016

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Forty years on, ‘Taxi Driver’ remains a stunning example of what a great director can do with an already great script. For a film that’s become all kinds of iconic, Taxi Driver has entered its forties with very little noise. It wasn’t until The Hollywood Reporter rounded up cast and crew for an “oral history” […]

Stalking point

April 23, 2016

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While celebrating ‘Fan’, let’s not forget Kamal Haasan’s ‘Uttama Villain’. Or the fact that these films can be made only in India. Watching Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan, I kept recalling Kamal Haasan’s Uttama Villain. Both films are not just about the characters these actors play (within the movie) but also about who these actors are […]

Old is cold?

April 16, 2016

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‘The Jungle Book’, like ‘The Revenant’, is a showcase for new technology that’s making it increasingly difficult to watch older films. Let’s begin with a quiz. You just have to name the film. It features an attack by a grizzly bear. The victim is a Caucasian man making a living in an unforgiving, inhospitable, bitterly […]

Stupor Men

April 2, 2016

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Another superhero movie. Another opportunity to complain about how humourlessness has come to define the genre. I’m not exactly a comic-book nut. It’s not that I know nothing. If you dropped the name Frank Miller, for instance, I’d know you’re not going on about a blunt-spoken flour-maker. But I wouldn’t be able to keep up […]

Chris rocked…

March 5, 2016

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… but what about the rest? aka, the award for the show most in need of revamping goes to… I didn’t expect much from the Oscar show. I missed the live telecast, and by the time I sat down for the rerun, I already knew who’d won the big awards. So I was surprised when […]

Berlin Diary: Local colour, universal stories

February 21, 2016

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‘Goat’. ‘Little Men’. Ghana’s ‘Thevar Magan’. Plus, a great sight gag about Gérard Depardieu’s weight. The puzzling thing while watching Andrew Neel’s Goat – which is being advertised as a “frightening image of reality on American campuses” (hazing, in other words; or as we call it, ragging) – is that Brad (Ben Schnetzer) gets into […]

Berlin Diary: Sketches of pain

February 20, 2016

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Mapplethorpe. Miles Davis.And an eight-hour epic from Lav Diaz. A photograph about a man in a polyester suit sounds innocent enough until you see what’s peeking out of the suit. And then it becomes a question not just about evaluating art but also your own response to it. Are you intrigued? Offended? Physically sickened? Turned […]

Berlin Diary: Eyeing the exit

February 19, 2016

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Festival fatigue. Thomas Vinterberg’s latest. Plus, the green-card soldiers of ‘Soy Nero’. Festival Fatigue. You won’t find it in the medical books, but it’s a real condition, whose symptoms include (a) the gentle drooping of eyelids some 30 minutes into a movie, (b) the mild panic that you have an hour (or three) to go, […]

Berlin Diary: The complex web of life

February 18, 2016

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Brief notes on ‘24 Weeks’, ‘Being 17’, ‘Death in Sarajevo’, and… ‘The End’. When Astrid (Julia Jentsch) learns she’s going to have a child with Down’s syndrome, she storms out of the doctor’s office. Luckily, her boyfriend Markus (Bjarne Mädel) is a good, strong man. “I’m getting two pieces of Danish. One for you, and […]

Berlin Diary: Two worlds

February 17, 2016

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A powerful, non-hectoring documentary about the refugee crisis. Plus, women in trouble. Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) must have begun filming much before the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, but the recent events – those stories, those images – make us feel that this isn’t documentary, this is actually live footage. The question before […]

Berlin Diary: Only you

February 16, 2016

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A love story about a gay man and his family. Plus, the love story of a straight man in war. Sometimes, the synopsis in the festival brochure doesn’t tell you the real story. Take the Israeli documentary Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, directed by the brothers Barak and Tomer Heymann. (The title refers to the […]

Berlin Diary: Myths and genre mash-ups

February 14, 2016

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Art cinema with arty touches. Plus, art cinema with blockbuster touches. And the award for the best opening shot goes to… Denis Côté’s Boris Without Béatrice. A tall, lean, bald man stands in a meadow, looking at… something. And then we see, over the trees beyond, a helicopter. Is it coming to pick him up? […]

People power

February 13, 2016

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Watching a movie with an audience makes it a very different movie. During the latter half of Sanam Teri Kasam, which was released about a week ago, we’re told the heroine has a brain tumour. Ailments are always so lovely in the movies. At home, a cold means red eyes, sneezes that can blow the […]

Berlin Diary: The ties that bind

February 13, 2016

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A middling contender for the festival’s top prize makes you wonder if quality is the only criterion. You can understand why some films of iffy quality find a place at a festival. Like the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar!, which I missed due to a late flight into Berlin. But everyone said it was nothing special […]

Berlin Diary: Hail, Clooney!

February 12, 2016

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Notes from the opening day’s press conference at the Berlinale, when George Clooney lost his cool. There are signs in the press-conference room that something big, something international is afoot. On one wall, there are clocks displaying the time in Los Angeles, New York, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo. At the other end are booths, […]

Not a black-and-white issue

February 10, 2016

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The racism controversy around the Oscars cannot be addressed by just nominating a few black actors. When Mary Kom was released – actually, right from the point the film was announced – a lot was said and written about Priyanka Chopra playing a Manipuri boxer. “Why not cast someone from the North East?” was the […]

Those makers of magic

February 6, 2016

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In the third Oscar-season piece, a look at the directors. Just how mad is Oscar madness? I’m not talking about the ceremony that’s a few weeks away. That’s so… 2016. I’m talking about the fact that, on January 27, vulture.com, the pop-culture web site of New York magazine, published a feature titled “Which Sundance Films […]

The women in waiting

January 30, 2016

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More Oscar-season talk. This week, about the actresses. I know people are going on about the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars – as opposed to all those other years when people of colour hogged all the nominations, resulting in howls of protests from the whites – but the real scandal may be that […]

All signs point to Leo

January 23, 2016

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In the year of DiCaprio, some thoughts on acting and this year’s Oscar for Best Actor. One moment during this year’s Golden Globes left me misty-eyed. It was when an actor, long overlooked, took home a prize. Clearly, others in that glitzy hall felt the way I did, for they gave the actor a standing […]

On the watch

January 9, 2016

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Looking back at my vacation viewing, which included heavily intellectual entertainment like… um, ‘Downton Abbey’. What does a film critic watch while on vacation? I was surprised people even thought this was a question worth asking, but then someone explained why. With “normal” folks (a category I clearly do not belong to), holidays are a […]

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