Thursday, March 22, 2007

A bunch of movie reviews

Ok, I am bored and I tend to watch a lot of movies when that happens. Over the last two weeks, I have been to the theatres thrice and have seen as many movies. I was contemplating to go to 'The Host' sometime but haven't gotten around to doing that. So, the movies that I saw are -

300

A friend of mine recommended and since me and another friend had nothing much to do, we walked into this theatre in LA and saw this movie. Turned out to be the biggest waste of six dollars ever! The movie is entirely shot in front of a blue screen (much like the disastrous 'Sky Captain and the world of tomorrow' which gave the film a unrealistic PC game feel. But that wasn't the worst of it. I can't even begin to explain how lousy this movie was. The other day, I was watching 'Cool Hand Luke' again and I felt that they have stopped making films like those in Hollywood. The best movies of the contemporary world come from Latin America or Iran. No, not even Europe is making them anymore!
Anyway, 300 was by far the most bloated, over-hyped movie that turned out to be so goddamn lousy that someone in the crowd (in the theatre) said aloud, "that was horrible" at the end of it.

The Namesake

Based on the novel by the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri, this movie is directed by Mira Nair, a director whose works I have loved over the years. I did not like the book probably because I did not relate to its characters. Even though, I did not relate to the characters in the movie version too, I liked the film and I felt that it was probably the best Indian American movies I have seen. All the other 'Desi' movies are things I have found very shallow with caricatured parents and silly storylines but this was refreshingly different. For one, it does not ridicule the parents but portrays them with dignity and even though they do not express their love for each other in the way the Americans do, their love is hard to miss and more harder to not appreciate. Also, it does not go to the other extreme of disparaging the American culture as immoral but shows them to be different. One gets some idea of why ABCDs are called so. Caught between two different worlds and cultures, it might be hard to balance the two.
A film that is worth seeing, though there is nothing great about it, unlike Salaam Bombay.

Pan's Labyrinth

After an Indian crossover film, I saw a Mexican film (Spanish with English subtitles). I liked the film because I thought it mixed fantasy with reality (of the setting it was set in - the Spanish Civil War) quite well and is paced very well. The Americans suck at creating fantasy in their movies and they usually resort to things like princesses and queens and kings and princes, which is fairytailey and quite unoriginal. The Japanese animes have gone to whole other world of fantasy, creating the most incredible worlds and amazingly complex stories (see any Miyazaki's films and try not falling in love with them). This film is somewhere in between because even though it deals with a central character who is supposed to be a reborn princess of the underworld, we never see the kind of princess worship that we see in the American films. Also, it deals with pretty adult themes and has some scenes that are fit for children (the villain stabbing a boy in the face with a broken bottle is one).
I liked it for its emphasis on its women characters and a nice suspenseful story. Would definitely recommend as a movie to be watched in a theatre.

9 comments:

Shashikant said...

Thumbs up for 'Pan's Labyrinth'.

'The Namesake' release in India this week. Will catch up.

Anonymous said...

Didn't like 300 at all? All this LGBT stuff is destroying your sensibilities ;-)

On an unrelated note - dude, you put my photo on your other blog - wtf?!! I should probably sue you...

Madhat said...

@shashi: see the movie. it is really good.

@'slut': dude, the movie is horrible even without all the homophobic issues with it.
he he... well, you do like it, dont you? maybe I should send it to your ex. She might come running back to you! :D

Reel Fanatic said...

I've loved all of Mira Nair's movies, but, even with Kal Penn as the star, it's somehow not playing wide enough to reach my little corner of the world .. oh well, at least there's DVD!

Madhat said...

@reel_fanatic: Kal Penn may be the central character in the movie, but there is quite enough emphasis on the others in the tale and Irfaan Khan as Ashok Ganguli has done a wonderful job. Do catch it on DVD.

kuffir said...

'The movie is entirely shot in front of a blue screen (much like the disastrous 'Sky Captain and the world of tomorrow' which gave the film a unrealistic PC game feel.'

i grow more and more disgusted with the use of technology in the movies. and i even think the animation movies were better earlier. as for the stunt/action fare....the chinese have properly screwed that genre...
but you didn't touch upon the politics surrounding '300'..

Madhat said...

@kuffir: I am not against technology in movies. They could be used very tastefully to effectively create things that cannot be created (the best example is that revolutionary film that started it all, Jurassic Park). But when people become so enamoured with technology so much that they try to create everything in a film with it, they lose it completely.
And the reason why I am not going to dissect 300 in depth is because - 1. I do not want to go over that movie in my mind again, 2. others have done it already.

Shashikant said...

Thanks to you putting Ubuntu logo in the footer, I jumped on this post again.

I watched The Namesake when it released couple of months back. YMMV, but, I found this to be a fine movie. Yes, there is something great about it. I guess, simplicity! This movie deserves a post.

Madhat said...

@shashi: I will do more than that to promote this distro. I think you will agree when I say that it is fantastic!
Yeah, The Namesake is a good movie. It works because of good direction and some good acting. The more movies of Irrfan Khan, the more I want to watch him on screen.

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