Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: English«

The captain of the ship

February 11, 2017

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Sensing the director’s touch, at the recently concluded Bengaluru International Film Festival. At a film festival, the brochure is invaluable. It gives you a plot synopsis of the films being screened. It gives you a note about the filmmaker. This not only helps in deciding whether you want to give this particular film a shot, […]

“Allied”… A silly melodrama barely made watchable by its stars

January 6, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… It’s 1942. The French Morocco. A man parachutes into the desert. This is the opening of Robert Zemeckis’s Allied. But we quickly see that this is not your average spy thriller. For one, the dull roar of planes gives way to flutes and strings. Romance is in the air – and in the […]

Notes on song-and-dance cinema

December 17, 2016

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Musings on ‘La La Land’, a musical film that leaves us with thoughts about the musical genre. There’s a stunning stretch in Damien Chazelle’s La La Land – which I caught at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival, on a gorgeous big screen, in a theatre that looked like a la la land itself, with […]

An inglourious wish list

November 19, 2016

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Idle (and admittedly wild) ruminations on Quentin Tarantino’s next two films, which he’s announced will be his last two films. At the Jerusalem film festival this year, in July, Quentin Tarantino announced that he would retire after making his tenth film, which meant he’d be making two more. If the number suggests he has made […]

Movies, memories and everything in between

September 24, 2016

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Watching old films on the big screen is a form of travelling through time. Why don’t we have revival theatres? The US has them. Among the coming attractions at the Texas Theatre in Dallas is a screening of The Fly, to commemorate its 30th anniversary. The point isn’t that the film can be seen on […]

Box-office blues

August 6, 2016

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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

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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 […]

The games city people play

July 16, 2016

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The recent Malayalam drama ‘Ozhivudivasathe Kali’ is the latest in a line of films that involve game-playing in the wilderness. I caught Ozhivudivasathe Kali (An Off-day Game), Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s acclaimed Malayalam drama, when it was released in Chennai last week. The story is set during an election day, a dry day, and it’s about […]

What do you do for an encore?

June 11, 2016

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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

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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

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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 […]