Thursday, February 10, 2011

2010 in film: Part 2 - the best of the lot

In retrospect, there's not a single film in 2009 which I now think will be remembered several years from now (not even Inglourious Basterds or Up in the Air). But as far as 2010 is concerned, I think (I maybe wrong here, I'll know next year for sure) there maybe several which will be remembered long after their blu-rays come out. And that, according to me, is the hallmark of a truly great film. That being said, its really unfair that conventionally there is a list of only 10 best films, so I decided to take a leaf out of Roger Ebert's book and award the films outside of this list with a 'Special Jury Award'.

10) The Fighter: Okay first up, this movie isn't as brilliant as everyone is making it out to be. But make no mistake, this movie is really good, largely on account of the outstanding performances by the entire cast. Mark Wahlber, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo and Christian Bale in his career best (so far), make this boxing drama cum comedy a good addition to the likes of Raging Bull, Rocky and Million Dollar Baby.

9) The Town: Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and give it up for Ben Affleck. The man who started his career by penning and starring in Good Will Hunting, became the butt of Hollwood jokes for the longest time, and then finally paved the way for the greatest comeback since Robert Downey Jr. With this gritty, set in Boston, crime thriller (which incidentally had a strong, emotion core), Affleck has proved that Good Will Hunting and Gone Baby Gone were no flukes. Along with Nolan, Affleck is one of the most exciting new directors today.

8) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1: A Harry Potter film on a 'best of' list, insane isn't it? Not so much when you've seen the film. Being split into two parts, it could cover much of the story, had some excellent performances (especially Rupert Grint), great music and cinematography, fine direction and was probably the most emotional of all the Harry Potter films. Ultimately it made one realise why we love this particluar franchise, and why we're gonna be so sad to see it bid farewell.

7) Black Swan: Darren Arnofsky is probably the most divisive directors around. You either love, or hate his work. I for one love his work, even more so after Black Swan. Its a psychological thriller about a ballerina trying to get into the role of a character, losing her sanity and herself in the process. Add to that Natalie Portman's Oscar worthy performance, and you have a work of art and a visual feast to serve your eyes on.

6) True Grit: Man oh man, don't you just love the Coen brothers. They seem to churnt out at least one brilliant film a year, but this year, they have definitely surpassed themselves. While essentially being a remake of the John Wayne film, and a more faithful adaptation of the book, the two brothers have added their trademark screwball humour to give us the best western since their own, No Country for Old Men (not to mention the most successful one after Dances with Wolves)


5) 127 Hours: How can the true story of a man stuck between rocks for 5 days and finally cutting his arm off to get out ever be made into a film. But 127 Hours works on account of two primary reasons, and one supplementary reason. The first one of course being an astounding performance by James Franco. The second one being the visionary direction by Danny Boyle. Forget Slumdog Millionaire, this is Boyle's best film till date, and truly shows his directing prowess. (The supplementary reason of course is A.R. Rahman's music).

4) Inception: In retrospect, this is not one of the best films every made. But one of the best blockbusters ever made? Certainly. One of the most memorable science fiction films? Definitely. This mind-boggling and emotionally wrenching sci-fi baby of Christopher Nolan is one hell of a film. Forget the Oscars, Nolan is definitely gods gift to Hollywood.

3) Toy Story 3: Pixar, thou have done it again. Easily one of the most beautiful and emotionally satisfying films ever made, this was the perfect end to a perfect triology. This is absolute proof, that animation is not a childrens genre. While every kid on the planet can enjoy this movie, only adults can understand the strong themes of adulthood, loneliness, fear, and growing up that are so beautifully interwined in this film. And if you don't feel like crying like a baby at the end of this film, something is definitely wrong with your tear glands.

2) The Kings Speech: Everyone loves a good inspirational film, so rest assured, this is the best one to come out in years. The simple story of a king trying to get over his speech impediment, being assisted by a speech coach, and the friendship that develops is both cheerful and heart warming. Colin Firth gives a masterful performance, while Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are not too far behind. One of the films greatest achievements is that humanizes the characters, and makes you feel for them. Oh its very traditional, almost predictable. But hey, everyone likes to end up with a smile after watching a film.

1) The Social Network: Despite what you may have heard, this movie is not about the creation of Facebook, not about computer geeks and the silicone valley. No, this film is about basic human emotions, love, friendship, greed, jealousy, simply set in our times. The rapid-fire dialogues by Aaron Sorkin, the performances by Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer and the music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross make it so much. And David Fincher take a bow. You've put your own 'Fincher stamp' on a film that was all about the screenplay, and given us Citizen Kane for the 21st Century. How will you ever top this? (Something tells me 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo')

So thats the top 10,but now for the Special Jury Awards to the films that didn't make it to the top 10:

How to Train Your Dragon: I'll never be able to decide whether this should have replaced The Fighter or not. If only Pixar hadn't come out with Toy Story 3, this would have been the best animated film this year. This epic story of a boys friendship with a dragon, is truly a work of art.

The Kids are All Right: Funny, emotional and then funny again. This film is not so much about a family formed by lesbian partners, but about family in general, which makes it all the more great.

Buried: A thriller set in the minimalistic setting of a coffin, this Ryan Reynold's thriller gives me hope that The Green Lantern may not be all bad. True story.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's that time of the year again..2010 in film - Part 1

Aah, this is it, the big one, the long awaited (for those who know me of course). Ladies and gentlemen I present to you a complete break down (in the humble opinion of yours truly) of the cinematic quality in 2010.
For a year filled with sequels, bad adaptations, sub-par star vehicles and some terrible 3D, it felt great to see some truly great work. Of course there were rotten eggs, some worse than rotten eggs, and some films which truly made you feel like clawing your eyes out. Surprisingly the latest in the Twilight saga wasn't that bad. Of course the three main characters are dumb and irritating, but the supporting actors weren't half bad, and there was some decent direction. Though of course, after the bad experience of 2009 (Transformers 2 anyone?) I decided to read the reviews of most films before I went to watch them. Of course curiosity did get the better of me once in a while, and hence here's the list of some terrible, terrible films. I'm warning you, do not watch them!

5) Sex and the City 2: Wasn't a fan of the show, disliked the first film, and couldn't show my face to anyone after seeing this one. This wasn't even a movie, just a 100 minute compilation of the worst women oriented television shows in history. So apparently it turns out that the middle-aged women go to Abu Dhabi for some sort of vacation, someone gets arrested for making out in public, something, something, some Arab dudes. And apparently women empowerment means dressing fashionably. Go figure!

4) Clash of the Titans: I wish they had attempted to make a spoof, because it surely would have worked that way. But since it was an attempt at a dramatic fantasy, it crumbled into tiny bits and pieces of Greek shit. There was no coherent story, sub-par special effects, weird music and the acting seemed as if each of the actors had been turned to stone by Medusa's ugly head. Thank god I didn't see it in 3D, 'cause I hear its even worse with that. Honestly, I don't know how.

3) The Tourist: A romantic thriller starring Johnny Depp and Angelica Jolie, how it can be bad? Well it's probably the most boring film I've ever seen. Forget the cliches, and the absolutely predictable storyline, the director managed to make every single scene in the movie mind-numbingly dull. Right from roof-top chase, to the ones in the boat, everything was yawn inducing. And I've had better chemistry with my shoe, than the actors had with each other.

For the number one position I couldn't decide between the following:-

The Last Airbender: I truly believe that in the future, this film will be shown to film students to learn how not to make a film. Directing, acting, writing, plot, screenplay, dialogs, all these were missing. There was no coherent plot. Instead of exploring the characters, our dear M. Night Shyamalan, made them say the story instead. Yes, they literally spoke the story. The acting was non-existent, and the dialogs made you weep in your seat. There were times when it actually felt like there was no director, rather a cameraman going mad. Okay so the visual effects weren't bad, though I'd rather watch a sound a light show.

Skyline: I mean seriously what the f***? This movie failed to meet even the extra-low, rock bottom bar of expectations that I had set for it. The effects were decent, especially considering the budget was 10 million, but what the hell happened to everything else? This is the worst alien invasion movie and the worst sci-fi movie I've ever seen, and I've seen Transformers 2.

Of all the godforsaken films coming out last year, these two were the only films where every scene was painful. I actually thought my brains would leak out by the end of it.

Special Jury award: Grown Ups (stand-up comedians in their worst act yet)

Now that this is out of the way (I'm pretty sure I'm going to get nightmares about them), I can go on to write about the great films which came out last year. In a couple of years, theres a good chance I might say after 1994 (Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump) 2010 had the best films. But since this part requires a lot more thinking, lets say its 'coming soon'.
Patience dear, the best is yet to come.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

those wretched things they say in movies

Aah fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck! I'm getting slightly obsessed with this whole blogging for no one thing. But still I like penning my thoughts down, its like hearing myself think.

So I thought I'd write about movies. I am in fact a self-professed film critic and movie junkie, but for the first time I guess, I'm not about to write a film review or a 'best of' list. But sometimes I hate movies, especially the warm, sentimental ones that make you laugh and cry at the same time, the ones with those utterly romantic or the amazingly inspiring dialogs. They make you feel grossly inadequate, for the simple reason is that you know that no one is ever going to say those to you. But thats why we see movies like these. Not simply to get away from the real world, but make the real world more liveable.

Here are some of those aww inducing quotes which I can think of at the moment.

I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” - Harry Burns (Billy Crystal), When Harry Met Sally

I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you're always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it that you're not around, and the fact that you didn't call. But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all." ~ Katarina Stratford (Julia Stiles) in "Ten Things I Hate About You" (1999). (see even mediocre movies have good quotes)

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.
American Beauty

And then there are movies in which almost every single goddamn line is quotable

The Shawshank Redemption
Sometimes it makes me sad, though... Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit.

Get busy living, or get busy dying

Forrest Gump
Jenny, I don't know if Momma was right or if, if it's Lieutenant Dan. I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. I miss you, Jenny. If there's anything you need, I won't be far away. (yes this shit always gets me all teared up)

Life's a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're gonna get.

Winning that ticket, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me… it brought me to you … You must do me this honor, Rose. Promise me you’ll survive. That you won’t give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise.”

I'm the king of the world!

Jerry Maguire
You… complete me.”

'You had me at hello'.

The Pursuit of Happyness
You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can't do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it.

And this is one quote that is neither inspirational, nor romantic, but no list of quotes can ever go without it.
No. I am your father.

Guess which movie that is from ;)

Random thoughts about lack of girlfriend at 11pm

So i just saw this movie called High Fidelity and had vague thoughts, so decided to blog about them. Yeah, seeing a movie, thinking about your life, cliché right? But hey, clichés are calledclichés because they're true. So anyways I was watching High Fidelity, great movie by the way, and it had some amazing music (no I'm not gonna blog about it), and it got me thinking about relationships, yada yada.

I've come to a hopefully premature conclusion that I'm not destined for followers, which frankly speaking is alright since it allows me to write all the personal nonsense I come up with. Yes, Anish Singhvi, ever the optimist. But I deter, so like I said I was thinking about relationships and girlfriends and stuff. And like always, the self-pitying self that I am, came to profound realization (for the 30th time, I guess) that there's a high degree of possibility that I'm going to die alone (I know its cliche, but again, its only because its true).

I've had one girlfriend in the 19 years of my existence. That's exactly one. And to be honest (lets face it, I'm just writing this for myself) that was a terrible experience. I think deep down I'd always known that it would end badly, but still, I wish it hadn't, and more importantly not so soon. Not because I particularly like my ex (in fact I think she's a slutty bitch) but I like the concept of a girlfriend, and because in the biography of personal relationships there would be something substantial to write under the space marked 'girlfriends'.

So why don't girls seem to like me? Frankly speaking, I have no fucking idea? It could be my height. I'm an odd 5'3-5'4. And recently one of my friends rated me a sucky 6 on 10, with the worse 7.5 on 10 'if only i were taller'. But how can an entire race be so, well, superficial? Isn't that what us guys are supposed to do? Okay sometimes it was my fault, I aimed to high. But later on I saw the same girls date people who in my opinion were worse off than even I was. And its precisely shit like this, which gets to me. And yes I do want a girlfriend. Not for the obvious reasons. But for the smaller, cheesy and totally cli·chéd reasons. Like not having to spend hours trying to convince friends to come for a move that I really want to see, and ending up waiting for the torrent to come up on Piratebay (great site!) or not having to eat alone/order in, when everyone else is to broke to come out. To be honest, in the three months that I did go out with a girl, I was trulyhappy. Hey isn't that what everyone eventually wants? But no, I'm stuck with blogging about this at 12 in the night. And I can't face any more rejection.

Heck maybe I should get a t-shirt with this on it:

Or maybe I can just watch Fight Club again. That's always a lot of fun :D

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Strange Dates

Just realised the date was 1/1/11 exactly a month ago. I know, I'm late with this post, but it just came to me. Strange dates like these don't mean for squat but everyone for some reason gets cheap thrills out of them. Of course I do wish dates like these meant a lot more than random, coincidental numbers, but they turn out to be like every other day.

So the last time I actually got excited about some date was some 5 years ago when the date read 06.06.06. Yes, the date on which the Bible (or was it the New Testament, I have no frickin idea about religions) said the Anti-Christ would arrive. I remember getting thrilled at the possibility of the end of the world. Common, wouldn't it be cool to see the son of the devil and the son of god go medieval on each other, while the rest of us mortals scream in agony. If any Christians out there are reading this, please don't go all 'Hail Mary/Sweet Jesus!' on me, I mean no disrespect.

Oh and if anyone is planning upon watching the Omen, please watch the original Gregory Peck one and not the 2006 remake. The remake was plain awful. You actually rooted for the kid, because everyone else was so lame.

My Law school aka NUJS

A friend told me that if one keeps writing regularly, one will get an audience. So I'm gonna try it out. Either ways, even if I don't get an audience, my future, unnamed biographer will have a database to work with. So as I sit in my seemingly 2 by 2 cramped up bedroom, using the ultra-slow college net, there is no better topic to write than college. This is hopefully the first of many rants.

So welcome to my college. NUJS- The National University of Juridical Sciences. Before coming here, I actually thought someone must have been drunk when he gave such a ridiculous name to it. But after staying here for two years, my opinion is that he must have been drunk and stoned.
The above photo is of the academic block. The same stoned fellow named it Ambedkar Bhavan. So let me explain to you the position of college in India. Officially, we're the third best law college in the country, the second best (better than NALSAR) on account of self-proclamation and definitely no. 1 when it comes to drinking, smoking up and procrastination. Common, its in Calcutta, what else do you expect?

Of course there is a small chunk who actually give the college its esteemed position, and manage to get recruiters always ready to give over-paying jobs. But the majority is too busy drinking and partying every week. As for me, well, I haven't had anything to drink in over a week, and life seems incomplete, so you can guess what I do in college.

Now I'm actually bored of writing, so much for my ambitious plans.

PS: I actually thought about advertising on my blog today. Then I realised 'who'd want to advertise here?' :P