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Whats the point of 3D?

I just came back from watching Avatar a second time tonight – the special edition version.
In my opinion, Avatar is an extremely boring film in which Steven Spielberg James Cameron has spent a good 95% of the reel showing off cool, computer rendered, phosphorescent scenes. Watching it a second time has just solidified this opinion.
Anyways, the more I watch 3D films, the more I realise that there is no real point to it.
3D is perfect for gimmicks and it really makes it difficult to concentrate on whats happening in the film.
I was having a casual discussion of 3D film technology with a friend (who also hates 3D) and we tried to figure out – which film would actually require 3D to make a point in the cinematography or the story. We couldn’t think of any.
While watching Avatar, the answer to that question dawned upon me.
“3D will be useful to only films shot in first person view.”
Think about it. Human beings perceive their world in 3D – in first person.
Hence it is extremely distracting when we are forced to see a 3rd person 3-dimensional view of the story progressing. It is like you are the camera guy and don’t really relate to any of the characters. 3D also has a lot happening and hence makes it extremely difficult to concentrate on whats really happening in the scene.
Maybe, this point of view would be restricted to us older guys who have grown up watching most of the stuff on the 2D canvas that we find 3D extremely distracting. Maybe the younger kids who grow up watching stuff in 3D will make no bones about it.
But my contention is the same – 3D has absolutely no point – unless you are shooting a first person roller coaster shot or maybe a plane landing or flying about in first person. Watching a plane fly around in 3D in third person does nothing for me.
The best 3D film I have seen so far would be Despicable Me – which sticks to what 3D does best – gimmicks!
The movie has plenty of those (including a decent roller coaster shot) and is entertaining.
Avatar on the other hand is over-kill. Not only is the 3D annoying, it is so overdone at some places that it makes you nauseous.
Add to the fact that 3D tremendously reduces the brightness of the film – making it much darker and even more annoying.
However, the studios which decide to make a film 3D after it has been shot in 2D are the biggest culprits. (Clash of the Titans was such a disaster and a waste of money!).
Here is me hoping (and praying) for the 3D craziness to wear off soon and let movies be made  the way they are meant to.
Also, looking forward to someone who can re-ally put together a 3D film which makes sense to make it in 3D!

The Band's Visit …

After all these years, I have come to realise that blogging is a lot like going to the gym.

You start with all the gusto – only to find that you have a blog space somewhere and you don’t feel like writing anymore.

One can always try again .. right?

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The Band’s Visit

Anyways, I am sorry about writing another movie review out here – but I just wanted to get the word out on this movie which I just caught.

It’s called – The Band’s Visit and it has to be one of the simplest and sincerest movies I have seen in such a long time!

The movie is for most parts in Arabic — and is about an Egyptian police band which comes to Israel and ends up in the wrong town. The movie has an extremely high rating on Rotten Tomatoes (98% critics) – and that is how I came to know about the movie.

The movie is advertised as being a comedy – but it does not have many ha ha moments. On the contrary, it is pretty sad at places. However, the characters are extremely endearing and five minutes into the movie and you know you have gotten a winner. Once the movie was over, I could not believe how something so simple could be so enjoyable and captivating at the same time.

The way the characters interact with each other and the social situations that they get themselves into is extremely heartening and a pleasure to watch. You can relate to the movie at so many different places!

The movie is by director Eran Kolirin and he does a marvelous job at it. It also happens to be his directorial debut.

The runtime of the movie is about 1 hour 20 minutes — and if you are into foreign films and don’t mind sub-titles, this will be an extremely refreshing change to the mind-numbing, fast action paced movies out there.

Two thumbs up from my side 🙂

Om Shanti Om :)

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I have been wanting to write a couple of blogs since some days now …

But have had to put that off for more important work (read writing Requirement Documents :p)

Anyways, its 1:54 A.M. right now — and I am back after watching one of the most enjoyable films that I have watched in a while – so I am just going to go ahead and gush about it in this post.

I don’t know what reactions other people had about Om Shanti Om – but I absolutely loved the movie!

It makes me want to put on my music full blast at 2 A.M. in the night, get creative and do some loud, colourful design work!

Initially, I was expecting the movie to delve into a deep reincarnation love story by looking at the initial promos.

However, thanks to a few early reviews that I read, I dropped all such expectations.

In short – Om Shanti Om is a complete entertainer!

Do not expect a complex story out of it – or any story whatsoever.

It has all the right ingredients — which make hindi movies what they are.

It has the following in ample proportions:

  1. One of the best hindi music scores I have heard in a long time!
  2. Sharukh Khan (for some, Sharukh Khan – topless!)
  3. Cliche’s
  4. Deepika Padukone (She is sooooo pretty !!!!)
  5. Shreyas Talpade
  6. Ample of jokes, gags and intelligent parodies.
  7. The 31 stars song!

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Om Shanti Om is all loud music, decent humour, larger than life sets and plenty of colour.

Something western audiences go to hindi movies for — and I am dead sure its going to do as well abroad as it will in India.

The songs are lovely and if nothing, go and watch it for Deepika Padukone. She looks absolutely gorgeous in the entire film!

Even though going for a movie at prime time nowadays, costs a sizeable fortune, I felt this movie was complete worth it – total paisa vasool.

If you wanna know, the first “half” lasts for one hour and is completely fun to watch.

The second “half” lasts for around an hour and forty-five minutes — pegging the runtime of the entire movie at around two hours forty five minutes.

But at no time did the movie drag. It was always fun and though in the middle I felt Farah Khan was losing it, she managed to pull it back with a decent ending.

Even the rolling credits in the end are fun to watch and lets you leave the theatre feeling good about the entire experience.

In short, a complete fun, enjoyable, masala movie!

Bombay to Goa (new)

I’m a guy. There have been occasions (while playing sport) when I have
been hit in the (you know where) and let me tell you – the experience
is one of the worst any guy could go through …
Well, that was until this movie came along …
The reason I turned up at Inox on a Thursday night for a special paid
preview (to a movie I didn’t know even existed) was because my brother
was unfortunate enough to win two tickets to watch the movie due to some Idea contest.
Below is my experience with the movie …
For those of you who don’t know what the movie is about, its about a trip
from Bombay to Goa (duh!) which involves the entire cast from the Great
Indian Comedy challenge.
It has Sunil Pal, Ahsan Khureshi and Raju Sreevastav in the leading roles …
I am utterly sorry, but none of these people could act even if their life depended on it.
Vijay Raaz (Raghu Romeo) is the only guy who actually acts – and I really
feel sorry for him that he has to suffer due to the rest of the cast.
He is extremely talented – and it really pains me to see such talent go to waste …
The plot is completely non existent – so I wont waste keystrokes trying to describe it.
Stuff has been literally thrown in – just to make some extra jokes …
Like, the entire Indian cricket team gets on the bus – just so the comedians
can make some Greg Chappel jokes (which aren’t even funny)
The movie drags on from scene to scene – with pathetic editing.
You can clearly make out the cuts during the retakes and editing.
The acting is completely non existent and the dialogues are twisted and
turned just so that they can get some more jokes in (which are again
not funny – and not at all contextual)
In brief, I had to gnaw my leg off to maintain my sanity while watching the movie.
If you manage to put a brick in a sock, keep rotating it from one end of
the sock — till the brick at the other end gains enough centrifugal
force and then hit yourself with that brick — on your head – the
experience would still be more bearable ..
I have no idea how such films are even made. I mean – do even real, adults
sit and discuss the plot and think it makes sense — or is the Indian
audience so stupid that they’ll buy the crap these guys dish out???
Please don’t go for the movie – even if it is free !!!
(Which I think is the only way people will enter the halls)

Silent Hill

Introduction
In the recent barrage of films inspired from video games, Silent Hill – the movie comes as a very pleasant surprise.
I had played the second game in the series (Silent Hill 2) on the XBOX and had fallen in love with the game, so was naturally excited when I heard they were making a movie on it.
The game itself has a fantastic story line and for the time you are playing it – does the job of transporting you to another dimension perfectly. The game is based on the survival / horror genre and is a lot of fun playing.
When I popped in the DVD and played the movie, I was shocked to the see the amount of resemblance to the game. Everything, down to the names of shops in the street were painstakingly reproduced and the environment created was the exact same that you’d experience when you played the game.
A brief overview of the story as follows…
A small girl called Sharon (played by Jodelle Ferland) has repeated nightmares and she sleepwalks and calls out the name of the “Silent Hill” town.
Her mother – Rose (played by Radha Mitchell) decides to take her to the town to see if she can cure her of her nightmares. On their way, they meet with an accident and on waking up, Rose finds her daughter missing.
So begins the story with the explorations and uncovering of the towns eerie history.
Silent Hill is actually a ghost town in which a massive fire broke out 30 years ago, killing most of its residents…
The cast of the movie do their jobs well, and everyone plays their part to instill into you – that particular emotion, which makes the entire experience of watching this movie very, very, worthwhile.
Sean Bean (Boromir – Lord of the Rings, National Treasure) plays the father of the child. The movie comes off as one made with a lot of passion and the director Christophe Gans and his team should be given a lot of credit for the effort taken.
The movie is really well made and besides being a tribute to the game series, brings out the entire experience of this franchise to even people who have not had the chance to play the game.
The sets are really well done and like I said, I was astonished at the resemblance to the entire game.
The music has been taken off the game itself and adds to the authenticity of the experience. The monster and creature design is again well done, and I would also like to mention the brilliant camera angles used throughout the production.
However, the movie is pretty eerie and might not appeal to everyone. There are a few really gory scenes which many people may find disturbing…
Saying this, the movie is not your run of the mill horror flick – it has a lot of psychological and mythological themes explored in the film and if you watch carefully, you will enjoy the movie even more.
If you want to get away from the drudgery of romantic comedies and action flicks into a dark world and at the same time not be petrified, Silent Hill is the place to go!

Remember remember … (V for Vendetta)

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah! Hip hip hoorah!

V for Vendetta” is an excellent movie.
Apart from the brilliant acting, direction, cinematography and everything else which made it such a treat to watch, it had a very, very strong message …

“People should not be afraid of their governments … The governments should be afraid of their people …”


PS: The following blog contains references to the movies “V for Vendetta” and “Rang De Basanti” … Though the references might be obvious to the plot of the movie, it may turn out to be spoilers for the majority of the people who haven’t seen the movies.

So, if you do intend to watch the movies, I must sadly ask you to skip this post … else, please carry on …

Though, we as Indians cannot relate to the movie a lot, I think most of the americans will be able to …
Michael Ironside who does voice acting for Sam Fisher – an NSA agent in the game “Splinter Cell” says that there are only two primary emotions that every animal understands : more so human beings – “Love and Fear”
What America is going through or went through (atleast from what we hear or see here) corresponds in some way the Britain in the movie “V for Vendetta” is going through …
I remember – after the 9/11 attacks, people were petrified beyond belief …
In the movie, “V”, which is an analogy to the Guy Fawkes incident, V (Hugo Weaving) successfully bombs the parliament building (without killing innocent people).
Though actually blowing up a building does not solve much of a purpose practically, it does bring hope and faith to the people and shows the government that people are not to be taken for granted.
According to him (V), its not the act of destroying a building, but the ideology behind it and what it (the building) stands for that you are destroying.

Strength through unity! Unity through faith!


Anyways, the problem with the government in the movie was that it was bullying its people and using fear as a method of controlling them.
That got me thinking whether a similar scheme of things would work for our country …
The problem with India is that its not bullying its people in a way that blowing up a building (parliament maybe?) would solve .
The problems that India faces (from its government) is mainly of corruption and apathy and having incompetent fools who don’t know what they are supposed to do.
Unlike the U.S, there is no restriction on the number of times someone can come to power, so the main agenda of the politicians is to please the majority voter bank before the elections so that they can be elected again.
A prime example is the government trying to impose another 27% reservations for the OBC (Other Backward Classes) (taking the total reservations to 49.5%) in the Education sector. The main reason for doing this, as blatantly mentioned by many of the politicians is to please a section of the society.
Thanks to the election commission, this matter has been halted for the time being and now the government is giving thought whether the move would be politically feasible for them.
In such a scenario … another movie comes to mind which I recently caught – “Rang De Basanti”.
In the movie, some college students go and assasinate the defence minister of the country because he was corrupt.
Again, the movie was brilliantly made and a treat to the eyes.
In the movie, after they have knocked off the defence minister (which is a relatively easy thing to do) – and not get caught, the government puts the assasination blame on terrorists (India has plenty of them to pass the blame around) and work of Pakistan’s ISI.
However, our protagonists go to a radio station and broadcast saying that it was them and not some terrorists who knocked off the minister – also giving complete reasons as to why they did it. This is the best part of the movie and apparently brings the government down to its knees.
However, unfortunately, these unarmed students are gunned down by the special task force with orders from higher authorities that there should be no survivors left.
Again, though going and knocking off corrupt politicians one by one may seem to some – an excellent method to rid the country of idiots, it will take a very long time and is not at all feasible. (because India has just so many politicians … we are the largest democracy in the world)
Besides, you also run the risk of getting killed soon…
This actually got me thinking and being the conspiracy theorist that I am … what if … just what if … the Parliament Attacks on Dec 13, 2001 were not actually done by millitants, but a couple of kids who just wanted to change something …
(some sort of a Rang De Basanti meets V for Vendetta)
But the bottom line is … change by the constitutional means … going to vote, electing a new government, etc etc … takes a very long time …
We need a V 😉

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

Cinderella Man

Ron Howard has a knack of making brilliant movies …
If you loved a Beautiful Mind for the lovely Princeton settings and Russel Crowe acting, you are in for a treat.
The movie is based on the life of James Braddock – a boxer from the late 1920s to the earlier 1930s who was named ’’Cinderella Man’’ for his fairytale rise to fame from a local boxer to the heavyweight champion of the world.
The movie wastes no time as it puts you up with Braddock in a local match. It is still the pre depression era and people are well to do, Braddock is winning matches and is pretty doing well himself.
You notice, at once – the authentic 1920s setting which makes the movie such a treat to the eyes. It has the buildings, the cars, the works.
Not to mention, the camera has that sepia kind of tone to add to the overall experience.
The movie soon fast forwards to the depression era, where Braddock isn’t doing as well as he was (his license gets revoked) … and this is the setting the rest of the movie is based on.
The settings again, reflect the era and the viewer is drawn into empathizing with the people of the time.
The movie also highlights, Braddocks lowest moments of this time – and the scene in which he removes his cap and puts in front of the people he once worked with, begging for some 18 dollars, so that he can pay his electricity bill and bring back his children, is very heart wrenching.
Throughout the movie, Russell Crowe has acted beautifully, both in the ring and out of it. Renée Zellweger who plays his wife, supports him very well.
Paul Giamatti who plays his agent and friend (nominated for Best Supporting Actor) is another great addition to the already existing pool of talent to the movie.
The boxing bouts throughout the movie are very excellently done, especially the last one, and you’ll find yourself being pushed to the edge of your seat every time.
This is not just another boxing movie …
But though the movie about the man – James Braddock – and what he stood for, you can also watch the movie for the boxing bouts (for the ones who are more into the action bit of it). The commentary, setting and the adrenaline are what makes it worth watching more than once.
The background scores and the music are very well done and complement the movie nicely.
All in all, a very good watch. One of the best movies of 2005, one of my favourite movies of all time – and time very well spent.

Aeon Flux



Was unfortunate to have ended up going for the movie today.

What could have been our only solace that it had Charlize Theron – wasn’t worth it …

Spending a hundered bucks on the film still hurts and will do for sometime now …

Will have to watch a couple of good movies just to wash the bad taste down …

Just goes to show that even Hollywood can churn out utterly crappy movies …

This one, just had a lot of budget to add to it the slickness (and also Charlize Theron)

Which makes this movie, in one sentence – “An utterly crappy, slick flick which also happens to have Charlize Theron” :p

Catch my review of the movie here.

Aeon Flux

The following review has been rated R for strong violence, nudity, blood and gore. Viewer discretion is advised
Monday, April 03 2006 – 1237 hours – present

’’Excuse me … coming through …’’
Three 20 something guys rushed up the stairs, bumping into people as they went along …
’’Hey! Watch it!’’ someone yelled …
’’Sorry …’’
The three of them made their way up the stairs, into the strategically placed college library on the third floor of the building.
As they barged into the library, a few people looked up from the books they were reading – completely interrupted … until what had been a lazy monday morning.
The three scanned for the newspaper stands and rushed in that direction.
’’I’ll cover Express …’’ one of them yelled .. trying to keep his voice as low as possible.
’’I’ll take times’’, ’’and I’ll check out Herald’’ the other two pipped back .. as they made their way to the Newspaper stand.
Monday, April 03 2006 – 1235 hours – 2 minutes ago
’’Ma’am … would you be seeing our project today?’’ said one of them to their project guide.
’’Hmm … is it okay if I see it tomorrow? I am not feeling that well now’’ came the reply.
Monday, April 03 2006 – 1238 hours – present
’’Oye … V for Vendetta was at 10:30 … next is at 6:30 … wanna go ?’’ asked one.
’’Negative … we need to work in the evening … it has to be now …’’ came the reply
’’How about Aeon Flux? Its at 12:45 at Adlabs …’’
’’Hmm … hows the movie?’’
’’Supposed to be good. Its got Charlize Theron man … supposed to be a sci fi super hero kind of movie’’
’’Hey .. I read a review today. She’s supposed to be an assassin. Though the newspaper review wasn’t that great’’
’’Hey … we need to take a decision in 1 minute. Either we go now or then tomorrow’’
’’Ok .. lets do it …’’
’’I think we’ll take 10 mins to reach Adlabs if we take it via KP … what say?’’
’’Done …’’
’’Okay cool … lets do this’’
I’d like to bring to your attention here, that this is how bad decisions are made. I was unfortunate to be one of the ’’three’’
The Review, Finally
So in the next 10 minutes (if you’re still here), we were at Adlabs … comfortably seated.
The movie had just started – and all we had missed was the National Anthem and the opening two minutes.
Aeon Flux the movie, is a pretty much waste of time and money.
The movie, as the posters will blatantly read out … is all Charlize Theron.
So, from the first shot to the end, its Charlize all the way …
One shot of her close up, then a wider angle, then her eyes, then her telepathic vision, then she kicking butt, then she flying then she …. etc etc …
You might be wondering, but it’s Charlize you idiot ! Whats wrong with that?
I had thought the same thing too, but by the end of the film, with 100 bucks down (out of which 50 bucks was for a freakin coke !!!), I realised that even that wasn’t worth it.
Okay, back to the movie
The movie tries to be very slick (it being set 400 years in the future … so it has to be)
The movie is a mixture of (all the bad things) of all the previous Sci fi movies …
In the end, there is no ’’sci’’ in the ’’sci – fi’’
You’ll find traces of ’’The Island’’ (a lot of it), ’’I, Robot’’, ’’Minority Report’’, etc etc.
The Script … and the thing you call editing
Unfortunately, the movie does not have any of it.
Its like they hired Charlize Theron, got her an acrobatics trainer, gave her a tight suit and asked her to jump around while they shot her.
The editing is non existent, with shots following one another which have no connection between them …
Most of the plot is very masala hindi movie-ish … and with pretty ordinary acting, turns out to be very corny.
Till the end, every shot is very predictable … and you’re left wishing for something wacky to happen (like Charlize being the main mastermind villain or something) so that you could say .. ’’Woah .. never saw that coming’’ and probably losing 100 bucks wouldn’t sting that much …
But guess what? No such thing happens and by the end of the movie, when you step out of the theatre, you’re left wondering whether a law should be made to jail good actors for acting in crappy movies.
The background score was not noticeable … it had more or less the qualities a sci fi movie should have.
The two best parts of the movie were no doubt the interval and the end credits.
Please don’t go and watch the movie if your life depended on it.
Maybe if someone kidnapped a loved one and threatened to kill them if I didn’t watch it, then maybe I would consider going for it …

Million Dollar Baby

That’s how life is really – and thats what the movie aims to tell you and does a pretty good job at doing it too …

You fall down, you get up and then you get back at what you were doing
Thats what the Million Dollar Baby is all about.
I admit that I caught this movie pretty late, and am extremely glad that I did it.
My first impression after seeing the promos and stuff was that its going to be another boxing movie, well … I couldn’t be more wrong.
The movie tells us a story of a girl (Hillary Swank), a waitress from more than 20 years, who has nothing in the world except her dream to be the best female boxer there is … and of a man (Clint Eastwood) who gives her a shot at getting there.
This movie has many, many layers to it – and I bet everytime you see it, you’ll learn something new from it.
The film is directed and produced by Clint Eastwood and he also stars in it, along with Morgan Freeman. Hillary Swank plays the main role and she won an oscar for best actress for her role in the film.
The film is not just another boxing movie – though the fights are pretty intense and a lot of fun to watch (though they don’t compare to the adrenaline pumping rocky fights), they are still brilliantly choreographed.
The rest of the movie plays pretty slow, but is nevertheless very engaging and I never found the movie to lag anyplace.
At two hours, ten minutes, it is the perfect length to watch – and keeps you hooked throughout.
The movie is actually based on three short stories from Jerry Boyd’s book: ’’The Monkey Look,’’ ’’Million $$$ Baby’’ and ’’Frozen Water.’’
As such, the screenplay is very well written and is one of the reasons that you should watch this film.
The Morgan Freeman narration throughout the film, gives it a ’’Shawshank Redemption’’ kind of feel and helps take the story forward and connect the pieces together.
All the cast perform brilliantly, the direction is superb and the movie is inspirational and very multi dimensional.
Therefore, a must watch according to me …
End Note
The movie won 4 oscars in all including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Hillary Swank), Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman) and best direction (Clint Eastwood)