Realm Of Randomness

June 26, 2008

Once you go Indie …

Filed under: Movie,Review — Randomizer @ 2:10 am

Hollywood just doesn’t cut it anymore. Ever since watching Pan’s Labyrinth last year, I’ve been feeling the urge to watch more and more foreign films and independent movies. I’ve watched tons of them already, so many of which I’ve absolutely loved, and an equally good number of them that were flat out boring. So here are some good movies to watch, when you’re done with the Hulks and the Batmen( Batmans?) from this Summer… movies that are real, no graphics, no fancy effects, just stories of people and things that happen around them… movies dealing with simple things, complicated people and mostly fantastic acting… movies that perhaps need wine rather than popcorn, that are more for a Sunday afternoon than a Saturday night… movies that give you something to think about instead of an escape from it!

Before introducing the countdown, I just had to say – Avoid watching trailers at all costs, or reading the back of DVDs … these things spoil a good half of the movie, and in some extreme cases possibly even the entire movie itself! Also, Indie flicks don’t guarantee you a happy ending all the time, so if you’re one of those who goes by the ‘I have enough problems in my life already’ philosophy, this list is best left unread!

So here goes..

(10) Martin (Hache): This is a Spanish movie, based in Argentina and Spain. The dialogue is quite witty and the acting is pretty great.

(9) Water: Our very own Indian movie (which we banned and so later had to be entered as a Canadian film!) directed by Deepa Mehta is the story of a young widow in Varanasi. No matter how much we desis cringe at the exoticization of India in western media, there are stories that still need to be told, and this is one of them.

(8) The Diving bell and the Butterfly: Winner of tons of awards this year, this French movie is essentially a story of survival. It’s pretty motivational and you feel grateful for so many things once you’re done watching it. I read the story of this man in Reader’s Digest maybe a decade ago. This was the film adaptation of that true story.

(7) After the Wedding: Nominated for the Oscars for best foreign film but lost out to the ‘Lives of others’, which I will be talking about shortly. This was a Danish film, quite a Bollywood-ish story with all the twists and turns, but nevertheless quite entertaining.

(6) Bella: A sweet Spanish story revolving around two people, set in New York. It’s a nice watch, emotional at times, and very good acting.

(5) Half Nelson: The story of a teacher and one of his students, both with their own problems and pasts, and how they deal with their presents and futures.

(4) The Visitor: One of the few movies that has crossed the 90% barrier on Rotten Tomatoes (which is what I use for Movie ratings), it was the first movie that I cared to actually watch in a movie theater rather than use the DVD player at home. This is the story of a Professor in the US and his experience with an unexpected ‘visitor’… it’s in English, and is a pretty nice movie to watch.

(3) City of God: Wow, this movie was crazy. It’s raw Brazil, with the gangs, the poverty, the drugs and the crime. A must watch foreign film.

(2) The lives of others: Jeez, what a fantastic movie. This was the Oscar winner for the 2007 Best Foreign film award. I highly recommend this one. It’s a German film, set in East Germany, 1984. I’m not giving away anything more.

(1) Nobody Knows: It’s been 5 days since I watched this movie and I just can’t stop thinking about it. This movie is intense and long, so if you are the type who needs actions scenes more than subtleties, this isn’t for you… though I would still strongly suggest trying it out just to see. Set in Tokyo, this Japanese movie is about the lives of 4 children … and that is again all I am willing to give away. The direction is amazing, the scenes are fantastic, and the movie just grips you from start to finish. The actor who played the eldest of the kids won the Best Actor at Cannes in 2004… an award he definitely deserved.

… well, there you go. If you have any suggestions for good Indie or Foreign films, please do add them in the comments! Happy watching!

April 15, 2008

Let sleeping dogs (and movies) lie

Filed under: Humour,Movie,Rant — Randomizer @ 3:16 am

I have this habit of reminiscing too much. I often think about how it was, growing up in the 80’s and the early 90’s and love thinking about all those shows and movies that defined those wonderful years of my childhood. To name just a handful, I was crazy about the Knight rider, the Ninja turtles, the Terminator, Home Alone, Back to the Future, Perfect strangers and countless other movies and shows that to this day, bring back fond memories every time I hear some tune from their respective soundtracks.

Well, ever since YouTube and online video hit the scene, and I mean really became a part of everyday life, I have been constantly tempted to re-visit some of these old shows. Not just movies or shows that I watched and enjoyed, but even those that I missed that I wish I hadn’t when growing up.

Take the Star Wars trilogy for instance, and I mean the original trilogy(4,5 and 6 in the series). I watched it when I was way too young to understand or remember it, and so I lost out on the Star Wars phenomenon… which, for kids of the 80’s is a cardinal sin. At 25, after watching more than a 100 pop-culture references to scenes from the trilogy and failing to understand them, I finally decided to sit down and watch them. And that’s where I am taking you with this post …

Let sleeping movies lie.

There is really *no* way you can put yourself in the shoes of someone who is living in the 70’s, and honestly enjoy all that the movie has to offer. This is 2008, and there is no way you can turn back time. You are not only used to some serious out-of-the-world computer graphics, but even without your knowledge, you have come to expect so much quality from the direction, cinematography and editing. Things just aren’t the same. That which you call a ‘cliche’ today, was at some point perhaps the best line in a movie !

The first of the trilogy was seriously hard to get through, but the next two were thankfully better. Had it not been such a legendary trilogy, I would have gladly abandoned the series after the first one. I should have learned my lesson after watching an episode each of the Ninja turtles and Perfect strangers, both of which I found much less exciting than I remembered them to be, but no – I forgave and forgot. Finally, a week or so ago I picked up this movie, ‘The Running man’, which I must have watched in ’89 or ’90 as a little kid, that I had really found exciting and had always wondered about since I’d forgotten most of the story. It starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in a futuristic action packed reality show…. and boy, right from the opening scene I just couldn’t wait for the movie to get over! It was one of the most horrible movies I’ve ever seen – the cheesiest of dialogues, the most cliche-ridden characters ever, and a story so predictable that anyone who watched it would consider pursuing fortune-telling as a career. It was that bad.

That was the last straw. No more sci-fi movies of the past. Missed ‘2001: a space odyssey’? Well, too bad. Missed the original Star Trek series that *everyone* swears by? Too bad, I missed that too. Don’t know head or tail about the characters in the ‘Wizard of Oz’? So be it. I choose ignorance over a waste of 2 hours.

And I will definitely choose the gradual waning of my fond memories over the complete erasure of their beauty. These movies shone at some point in time, and unlike books or even songs, they have an ‘expiry date’ whether you wish to believe it or not. Feel lucky that you tasted it while it was good, but don’t ever eat a ten year old apple.

April 11, 2008

An inconvenient truth

Filed under: Movie — Randomizer @ 4:13 am

So I *finally* got around to renting out the ‘Inconvenient Truth‘ DVD and watching it earlier this week, and I must say, I felt like kicking myself for not having watched it earlier. If you are one of those people who still think that the terms ‘debate’, ‘exaggeration’ or worst of all, ‘myth’ are associated with Global Warming, then do yourself a favor and watch this movie. I know there is a certain amount of appeal in being a ‘skeptic’, but trust me, this is not one of those cases where its cool – its just plain ol’ ignorant.

The movie does shake you, for what it shows is not a bunch of subtle hints or vague patterns establishing this phenomena, but graphs and statistics and facts that just scream into your face. I found the explanations and the evidence very convincing, and I’m sure you will too.

I am honestly embarrassed to admit that up until last week, I was of the misguided belief that global warming was an issue that was of importance in the long run, and not one that needed immediate concern. I thought it was one of those ‘if-this-gradual-process-goes-on-for-another-50-to-100-years, then so-and-so will happen’ things. Jeez, how wrong I was.

I am sure most of you have watched this by now, or if not, have at least done a better job than I had in finding out the facts by reading up on it yourselves. If not, please consider this post as an alarm bell, and watch this movie as soon as you can.

January 24, 2008

Assorted movie reviews

Filed under: Movie,Review — Randomizer @ 2:51 am

Here’s a movie round-up from the last couple of months. I think it’s fair to say that I have averaged at least a movie a week not including my DVD rentals :-P. There are NO SPOILERS in the following reviews, and the rating should hopefully only serve as a guide to whether or not you should watch this particular movie.

Juno A+

I watched this movie twice already. The lead actress, Ellen Page, has been nominated for an Oscar for this role, and this movie is already an Oscar nominee for Best film! Witty from start to finish, the dialogue is like a game of pro-level table tennis, quick and sharp. It’s not only hilarious but heart warming as well, with the familiar Michael Cera playing what is becoming his standard character these days, but no one’s complaining. A must watch by all means, and definitely my choice for the Oscar’s best movie.

Cloverfield A- This movie was a masterpiece in directing/cinematography/visual effects . To really enjoy it, you really need to try not to step away and be skeptical or over-analyze it when you watch it. If you do, it might come across silly at times, but otherwise, it’s a real gripping film. It was directed by the creator of the hit TV series Lost, so you can expect some high quality scenes in this movie.

Taare Zameen Par A-

I’m guessing I’m one of the last people to have watched this movie. I loved it, I thought it was superb, and I’m even happier that it was a box office hit as well. The official site is pretty impressive, check it out. Superb acting all round, and pretty realistic. Could have been a little shorter in my opinion, which is the only reason there’s a – next to the A. If a movie can move you close to tears, then heck, it’s done it’s job of having the viewer totally engrossed.

Beowulf B+

You should watch this in a 3D theater or you shouldn’t watch it at all. If you like fantasy, folklore, and tales of magical creatures, you will really like this movie. The graphics was pretty amazing. Definitely one of the better animated flicks of 2007.

No Country for Old Men B+

This one’s up for 8 Oscar nominations this year! I thought it was a good thriller, excellent direction, and great acting. I’d give it only a B+ though, for reasons we could discuss after you watch it !

American Gangster B+

This isn’t really a ‘theater’ movie, I guess you can wait for the DVD or whatever. But it is a good watch, great performances by Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe.

I am legend B-

Good scenes, good footage, good video effects, good acting by Will Smith. I’d say it’s a mix of Castaway and 28 days later… except it was much less realistic than both of them. I’d say you could wait to watch this on your TV / DVD as well.

Dan in real life B-

Ok I know I must be sounding like the most jobless person on the planet :-P , but going to watch a movie has become quite a habit over the last year, especially since it was my only entertainment during the long months of my thesis. Anyway, Dan in real life was a sweet comedy… a romantic comedy would be more like it I’d think.

Away from her B-

This is a very Oscar-esque movie, and rightly so – it’s nominated the lead actress Julie Christie for an Oscar. It’s pretty ‘senti’, and ‘slow’, but it’s sweet nevertheless.. I’m not sure how many of you would be up for it… especially given that description :)

I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry F

The worst movie ever made. I do not want to waste any more bits of storage on the wordpress servers dissing this movie, so I will stop right here.

Hope to see some more great flicks this year !

July 11, 2007

Summer Movie Scorecard

Filed under: Movie,Review — Randomizer @ 10:17 pm

From best to worst …

Ratatouille A+

ratatouille.jpg

Yeah, I know, I said things like ‘Maybe the Animated/CG movie phase has lost its charm on me’ in my review of Shrek 3. But thankfully, my faith has been restored. As long as I keep away from watching every animated movie (Robinsons, Over the hedge, Madagascar, Robots, Cars ) and stick to only the ones with good reviews, I should be fine. Anyway, about the movie, you’ll just fall in love – with Paris, with Fine dining, with Art. The movie is a masterpiece on every level – the scenes are rich like paintings, the story is clever, the characters endearing, the humour witty, and the french accent unbeatable. Watch in a theater, though, or at least high quality DVD.

Complaints: None whatsoever :)
Transformers A-

trans.jpg

I was apprehensive about watching this movie since I heard mixed reviews about it. But I guess it is all about expecting the right thing. If you go in expecting exactly what is intended as a viewer – a loud action flick with sleek vehicles turning into robots and vice versa, you will get exactly what you ask for.

The graphics were simply mind-blowing, the humour was fun, the action was fast paced, and the story line was just about enough for a mindless action movie.

Complaints: Product placements ! Arrgh !
Knocked up A-

Knocked up

This movie was great. Superb acting, awesome humour, romantic without being corny. A weird love story, but one that is pretty believable.

Complaints: Few graphic scenes that have the director probably saying ‘Gotcha! this wasn’t rated R for nothing! ‘ , but its all in good fun.

1408 A-

Spooky without the gore. Really liked it. Not sure if you horror fans will consider it worthy enough though.

Ocean’s 13 B+

Entertaining movie, had fun watching it.

Complaints: Suffered a little fatigue of being the 3rd installment, but was decent enough.

Spiderman 3 B+

Expected more!

Complaints: Peter Parker spent more time crying than fighting … the movie was too long, and the villains were too many.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer C+

Fantastic four

This movie was as pointless as part 1. When will the directors learn that fancy CG alone will not save a movie anymore? Jurassic Park was more than a decade ago ! CG cannot save a bad movie !

 

The fact that it was converted to a ‘family movie’ and that majority of the crowd comprised of little kids made it less appealing to me. As usual, great graphics but goofy story and very un-witty dialogue. It doesn’t do anything new, there are too many holes in the plot … but heck, if there’s nothing better to do, it’s not that terrible.

 

 

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