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Archive for January, 2010

Ah Those Moral Dilemmas !!

January 23, 2010 3 comments

There are films that wow us and then there are those that make us all go quiet…oh, for those first ten minutes after they have ended…forcing us to look into our inner selves, making us do some soul-searching of our own and having us think!!  They pose a moral dilemma that leads us to question ourselves and our actions, had we found ourselves being confronted by a similar situation.

 There are four such movies come to mind instantly, even though I’m sure that there are plenty more of the likes.  The first one is “The Accused” starring Jodie Foster in an Oscar-winning performance.  Here was a chilling movie about a rape victim whose goes back to court after her culprits are let off with light sentences due to questions raised by the defense on the victim’s character.  But this time, she goes after not her rapists but the onlookers…the “audience” who were present in the bar when the heinous crime was being committed…the people who either stood still or cheered, but never intervened or did anything to stop it.  Yes, what the rapists did was a ghastly deed but what the folks who were present did NOT do was unforgivable.  I would ask you the same question I asked myself when the movie ended: What would I do if I was caught in such a situation?

 The next film that had me thinking was Rob Reiner’s wonderful “A Few Good Men” — where Jack Nicholson’s “You Can’t Handle The Truth” virtually brought poor Tom Cruise to tears. 🙂 This is a film that has been seen by a fairly wide audience…a tense courtroom drama, where layers after layers are peeled as more and more characters are questioned regarding the death of a Private First Class (Pfc) on duty.  But its the revelations at the end of the movie, made by Nicholson’s Colonel Jessop that make you sit up and ponder over whether the “Code Red” action was justified or not.  Of course, the Private died during the procedure, but that was never the intent.  The intent was to just “teach him a lesson”.  We have all heard stories about how “pride and punishment” are dealt with and how paramount discipline is, in the armed forces.  The question is:  When is it too much and too far?

 Then comes Russell Crowe’s depiction of Jeffrey Wigand in Michael Mann’sThe Insider“….that amazing true retelling of the story of a Big Tobacco man who became a whistle-blower because of what he saw at the tobacco company and did not like.  The issues brought up in the film are as real and topical today as they were when the Jeffrey Wigand story unfolded on CBS.  He was fired, his family was threatened, he almost backed off like a broken man…but then regained the strength and went ahead and appeared on TV.  He did, however, lose a lot in the bargain.  Which begets the question:  Was it the right thing to do?  What would YOU do when confronted with such a dilemma in your life?  Will you continue to be part of it, as a silent spectator?  Will you turn into an Informant (and be prepared to face any downstream consequences)?  Or will you simply walk away..quietly?

 Last but not the least comes my personal favorite…Ben Affleck’s directorial debut “Gone Baby Gone” starring his brother Casey Affleck, Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman.  What a great picture!!  And its based on the book by Dennis Lehane who also wrote “Mystic River” and the upcoming Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio thriller “Shutter Island“.  Here is a film that unfolds at its own pace….its about detective Casey and his partner investigating the disappearance of a four-yr old girl in a gritty Boston neighborhood.  I won’t discuss the film any more….all I would say is that “Go Rent it and Watch it !!”.  I have my opinions on the culmination of the story and on the choices made by some of the characters….but I would love to hear from some of you as well.  This one is truly a must watch!!

 I’m sure that there are lots of other films that I have not discussed here….from the likes of “A Civil Action” to “Erin Brokovich” and “Rendition“.  Surely films are meant to entertain us, to make us have a good time…maybe not far, but definitely away from the “maddening crowd”.  But I personally have the most fun at the movies when it tickles my mind and my handful of brain cells…when I discuss it later with the likes of all of you and say “Now that was a darn good story…masterfully told !!”.  Don’t get me wrong…I still enjoy watching the “Spidermans” and “The Hangovers“.  But give me a choice between an “Avatar” and a “Michael Clayton” and I know exactly where I’m going.

 Until next time…

Categories: Hollywood

Will Miss Melody Rule Again in 2010? Hmmm…

January 6, 2010 2 comments

2009 is history (and it was a fairly melodious year, I must say…) but listening to the first few soundtracks of 2010 doesn’t give me the urge to unravel the mystery that is 2010!!  Here’s my view on what we’ve had this year so far:

Pyaar Impossible:  A wannabe Hinglish soundtrack with eminently forgettable tracks.

Chance Pe Dance:  An overall sloppy effort.

Veer:  Shows traces of some promise. Maybe music directors Sajid-Wajid remembered that it is Gulzar who wrote the lyrics after all.

So what about 2009?  What do I think about the year that was?  Here’s my quick synopsis:

Song of the Year:  “Iktara” from Wake Up Sid

Class-y Soundtrack of the YearDev D.

Mass-y Soundtrack of the yearLove Aaj Kal

Funk-y Soundtrack of the yearQuick Gun Murugan

Honorable Mentions for SoundtracksLuck By Chance, Gulaal, Kaminey, Wake Up Sid, Delhi-6, Ajab Prem Ki Ghajab Kahani, London Dreams, Tum Mile, Straight, 3 Idiots

Why don’t you tell me what you think about the year that was and see how close we both are?  Now I’m sure THAT’S not impossible!!

Categories: Bollywood

A King-Sized Performance

January 5, 2010 2 comments

I finally managed to watch “There Will Be Blood” last week…the 2007 film by PT Anderson that earned a Best Actor Oscar for Daniel Day-Lewis.  And what a glorious performance it was!! Daniel’s portrayal of oil magnate Daniel Plainview is something seen to be believed.  It is an astonishing role, played to perfection by a wonderful actor.

PT Anderson is the same director who showed us the actor within Mark Wahlberg in “Boogie Nights“.  He forced the Academy to nominate a venom-spewing Tom Cruise for an Oscar in “Magnolia“.  He proved that even Adam Sandler could act, in “Punch-Drunk Love“.  And with “There Will Be Blood“, he confirmed that Daniel Day-Lewis is amongst the best actors we have in Hollywood today. 

And I used to mistakenly think that it was “Gangs of New York” that showcased Daniel Day-Lewis‘ true calibre!!

Be warned that this is not your average summer flick that earned millions at the box-office.  There are no big special effects…no slam-bam action scenes.  In fact the movie does test your patience at times, with its feverish pace.  But the payoff is huge.  And as a viewer, one cannot help but marvel at the way Daniel the actor becomes Daniel the character.  This is an epic film in its own class, thanks to just two people — the director and the lead actor.

Watch it, if you haven’t already.  And see for yourself what legendary performances are made of!!

Categories: Hollywood