Oscar Rejects

Of the three movies I watched over weekend, two, I am told, failed to reach the Foreign Language category at the Oscars.

One, The Band’s Visit, failed to get nomination because more than 50% of the dialogues were in English! I found that rule silly – how else will Egyptians talk to Israelis? It is a simple story of how a police band from Egypt, invited to play in an Arab cultural porgramme in Israel gets stuck in a wrong town for a night. Brilliant direction, considering the bleak situation with a bleak desert background. It should have got an entry. Well, Oscar isn’t everything, right?

Second one is Akin’s ‘The Edge of Heaven‘. Interwoven stories of Turkish immigrants in Germany, and some German folks in Turkey all of them are connected by some thread. Sounds like Babel? Not so overdrawn, this was a bit smaller. The movie revolves around 3 families, and mainly about parent-child relations. The characters were beautifully developed, and the most interesting aspect of engaging audience in the story was the chapter titling. It plainly said, A’s death or B’s death. And in the chapter, we get introduced to A or B, and since we know their fate, the entire sequence becomes a little edgy. B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. The third chapter is the title of the movie, were the parents/ children realise that ultimately the bond transcends across languages, or cultures, or fate!

Dont miss either of them.

Ah, the third, another not to miss movie, is a new French thriller, Tell No One. Finally, a good thriller with an original story. Will write later about that. Check the link for details. Or may be, just catch it up. The more one reads about a thriller, less intriguing it becomes, right?

The Counterfeiters

Die Fälscher or The Counterfeiters won the best foreign film at the Oscars, so decided to take a look. It is a WW2 movie about how Germans took the help of some counterfeiters to print money to fund the war, and how a few of their deeds influenced the war and its ending (How overwhelming!). But for this unknown/ unheard story, or link to history, probably there is nothing here that has not been said before. That doesnt take away anything from this well directed, well written, well acted, movie. If you like indies, this is definitely worth a watch.

Darabont + King = Magic?

Absolutely! How can one forget Shawshank Redumption (an all time favorite)? Or Green Mile. But not this time. This stuff has been done so many times that The Mist is disappointing. If made in 70’s, it would have rocked. Ending is brutally shocking, but was very deliberate. There was no “pressing” reason to do that. It didnt feel like cornered and end of the road scenario. It still is shocking, but in a stupid way.

What I really liked about the movie is the elaboration into the mob characteristics. The only place where I felt it was a Darabont movie. The spiritual lady acted so very well that it got irritating when she came on the screen. Should add her (along with Garner in Juno) into the missed the Oscar nominations list.

Dreaming of the making

I used to keep a paper and pencil at the bedside to write down whatever that I may remember of an early morning dream. This was more than a decade ago, and the paper has stayed blank all this time. (I vaguely remember converting a dream into a poem, I think it turned out to be horrible)

Yesterday, I had a dream about making a film — choosing the story, script writing, the casting, the narration, shooting locations, well, almost all the aspects of film making in a very detailed way. Even the film. This time when I woke up, I didnt have to write anything down, I had remembered most of it. The film is about a middle class woman whose husband one day doesnt come home from work. The story revolves around her search for husband, and what she discovers. The story needs some more work. But it has kind of given a fillip. Is this the definitive thing for life?

I am budgeting for, er, more dreams. Let’s see what comes in tonight 🙂

Shilpa Sh*tty

I was not going to waste pixel space or my time on this so-called racist incident (and the aftermath). Any sane person can see that this was a gimmick. Who knew what Big Brother was before? Who cared where Shetty had disappeared (but for some front benchers who missed her supple hips and elastic waist)?

But it defenitely helped me gauge which are the better reporters, channels and newspapers. Something which I realised I always knew. It is an inherent human nature to be able to separate what is good and what is bad. Aaj Tak doesnt fall into either — they have created a new definition for ulterior trash, so far the worse of the lot. If you watched for the whole day the pictoral drawings depicting when and where Aishwarya and Abhishek got engaged, you would know what I am saying. The nation best news channel it seems! Bah! Oh, BTW, NDTV/Barkha, et tu?

Coming back to the Shetty girl. What tipped me off was her statement after winning the show (Yes, I am jelous that she made 5cr from the show; I am more jealous that the entire nation gave her one week of attention than 15 minutes, forget the book deal and movie offer from Fox). Anyways, she says:

“I really dont want to leave England putting anyone in trouble. This country has given me so much. I just want to thank all of Great Britain for giving me this fanfastic opportunity to make my country proud”

What? I dont believe this. What is this girl made of? What does she think of herself? England has given her so much? She made India proud? Can somebody put an end to this nonsense? She has made her millions, so has the show organizers, the whole of the nations were fooled, the mission accomplished. Now please stop this.

Thankfully, only Aaj Tak reported the proud winning moment. Was that a live feed? Probably. They anyway seem to have nothing good to do. I pity the guy who makes those animation graphics for Aaj Tak. Poor guy. When someone asks him, he has to say that I do trash for a living. Poor guy.

Taking my word back

Well, I take my word back. Leonardo may have acted pretty well in Blood Diamond. I just finished watching Half Nelson. Leo’s acting in Blood Diamond (or Departed) is almost nothing compared to Ryan Gosling’s lead role. It was simply awesome.

Makes my wait for the Last King of Scotland even more exciting. If Whitaker’s is *the* performance of 2006, I would like to see how he betters Ryan, for he was almost perfect. Full marks to the director, even a two scene character — the ex-girlfried — acted so well. What detailing!!

The movie was obviously shot with a minuscule budget, from the lighting and camera work it appears so. But in terms of content it is very rich. A must watch in any scale. BTW, it is about a peculiar friendship that develops between a school student and a drug-addicted teacher in a junior school.

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine is a simple family comedy that pokes its nose at American society. Olive is the best child character I have seen after the brothers in Millions. Must watch.

This small movie will be the dark horse at the Oscar/ Globe/ AMG awards without any doubt. I can see nominations for the best screenplay, direction, actress, supporting actress, supporting actor and even the best movie!

Poor Leonardo

The guy gets one great (usually the rough, negative types) role in the year, and someone else steals the thunder from him at the Oscars. This year he has two great movies — The Departed and Blood Diamond. Both must watches.

But it looks like he will be unfortunate again this year. I still havent got my hands on “The Last King of Scotland”, but apparently Whitaker’s acting is mind blowing and a sure shot Oscar winning performance.

Cast Away meets Jaws

Open Water: A couple on vacation goes for a scuba dive in open waters, along with a bunch of other tourists. They get left behind, unnoticed. And drift into the ocean and are lost. The movie has no other characters and is entirely shot in the ocean. It isn’t as elaborate as Cast Away, or dramatic as Jaws, but is stark, realistic, simple, and brilliant!!

M for Maggi

Casino Royale is being claimed as the “Batman Begins” of 007 movies. Going back in time, rediscovering the early stages of the career of the agent. It does have more emotions than the last 5 of them put together, and Daniel Craig proves lot of people wrong with his acting – this Bond at least show some signs of heart. The hairy chest is missing as some one said, but he is near perfect.

But for a normal fan, lots of things are missing: the gadgets, the chases, the sidekicks, the dames, the theme music – *all* of it. All of it. Screenplay is pretty boring and loose for its story line (which itself isn’t very compelling), and even worse than those ones that didn’t have any. But action sequences are more raw, and you have to see to believe. As usual, the opening stunt (5/5), and the one on the stairs stand out.

But at the end, you don’t leave the theater in awe like after Batman Begins, where also the hero was dissected and explored through the action sequences. First day first show is expensive, add to that the caramel corns, and the what-ness of the movie made me cancel the dinner plans and settle for a pack of Maggi. M was good.

(The world say 4.5/5, I say 3/5)