Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: English«

Box-office blues

August 6, 2016


Thoughts on a summer season where a new ‘Star Trek’ movie or a new Spielberg movie no longer guarantees a blockbuster. Early on in the new Star Trek movie, Captain Kirk is in an existential funk. It’s the third (or maybe fourth) year of a five-year mission, and life on the Starship Enterprise has become […]

Deconstructing Woody

July 23, 2016


Thoughts on Woody Allen as he completes half a century as filmmaker. And why ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ is his defining film. It’s hard to believe, today, that What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, Woody Allen’s first film as director, began with a series of James Bondian action scenes (flamethrowers! murderous discs with serrated edges!). Harder to believe […]

What do you do for an encore?

June 11, 2016


Thoughts on ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,’ ‘X-Men: Apocalypse,’ and sequel fatigue. J upiter Ascending, the sci-fi mega-flop from 2015, left me with quasi-philosophical thoughts. Had it actually been a good movie, these thoughts would have come from inside it, from what it’s about, from how it’s been made – but these were outside thoughts. I […]

Lights, camera… and action!

May 14, 2016


Thoughts on fight sequences that are more than just… fight sequences. I sat glumly through the new Captain America movie. It was too long, and it took itself too seriously. There’s probably something to the theory that no post-9/11 superhero film can afford to be, you know, light and fun and nothing but escapist entertainment, […]

Still talking to us

April 30, 2016


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


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


‘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


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


… 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


‘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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 […]