February 24, 2009
February 23, 2009
February 19, 2009
February 18, 2009
January 18, 2009
November 30, 2008
Two for the Money
We watched National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Bachna Ae Haseeno yesterday and both were entertaining, at least 🙂
Of course, Book of Secrets was a bit too predictable and had a bunch of large plot holes. Like the one where they are all stuck in an underground cavern and there’s water pouring in. They got to that place by figuring out that the water from a cavern above had to drain out. So they stopped the water in the cavern above, get to the one below and then when the water starts flowing again in the cavern above, discover that the water does not go anywhere in the new cavern unless a door (which is closed) is opened. So where was the water going to earlier? Confused yet? I was!
But it did have some neat historical points which had me scratching my head wondering if the facts were real or made up. It looks as if at least some of the facts were real – there were indeed three copies of the Statue of Liberty and the Resolute Desks actually exist. Of course, there are other minor items which were altered, or created out of whole cloth, to drive the story. Overall, Book of Secrets was entertaining but nothing special.
Bachna Ae Haseeno was, on the other hand, a gem because it’s an atypical Hindi/Bollywood movie. It’s a movie in three parts and the first part does seem to draw some inspiration from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge while it also makes fun of some of the items from DDLJ. But overall, the concept of the movie seems to have a marked resemblance to Autograph but unlike the usual Bollywood "adaptation", which simply copies other movies scene for scene, all the events in Bachna Ae Haseeno were totally different. So I’m left wondering if this was actually a case of coincidental resonance or if the writers for the movie did start with the core of Autograph but then went their own way.
An interesting factoid about Bachna Ae Haseeno is the title song. Like Unforgettable, where Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole collaborated across the divide of time, Bachna Ae Haseeno (the song) has Kishore Kumar posthumously collaborating with his son Sumeet Kumar. But the interesting thing about this particular song is that there’s another father-son collaboration (or pairing) at work here. The song was originally used on a movie starring Rishi Kapoor, the father of Ranbir Kapoor, the lead actor in Bachna Ae Haseeno 🙂
The story? I won’t spoil it for you. It’s worth watching the movie to enjoy the whole thing completely 😀
February 22, 2008
In recent times, I’ve complained vociferously about the lack of originality in any offering from Hollywood. Heck, I’ve said that their totally bankrupt of any imagination since what we got out of Hollywood has been consistently dreck. Imagine my surprise then to find not one but two great movies over the course of just two days 🙂
The movies couldn’t be any further apart even if somebody tried. One shines for great writing, great plot and very few plot-holes. The other has a plot so wafer-thin that it is almost invisible. Probably a good thing since otherwise the gaping plot-holes would have made it look like a swiss-cheese that had been machine gunned :p But both were great movies.
The first, Stardust, surprised me because it turned out to be a Neil Gaiman novel which was adapted as a movie. To be honest, I’ve never read any Neil Gaiman. But that’s mostly because the vibe I got about his books wasn’t something I really liked. So I was surprised to see this beautiful, sensitive, brilliantly plotted movie and to learn that it was based on a book written by Gaiman. I was determined to get the novel and read it after the movie but then I learnt that the movie is considered to be more "kid-friendly" than the book because the book is supposed to be an "adult" fairy tale. That kind of killed my enthusiasm to read the novel but I’ll still probably read the novel just because I’m curious as to how true the novel remains to the storyline in the movie.
The movie itself is wonderful. It’s magical. It’s romantic. It simply scintillates. I won’t give away the plot or any story elements here but suffice it to say that if you love fantasy and movies, that this is a must see.
Speaking of fantasy, the other movie, Shoot ‘Em Up, is a true work of fantasy :p The situations are improbable, if not downright, impossible; the action scenes out-Matrix the Matrix; and it all looks like something created by John Woo on speed 🙂 But if you’re having the kind of day where you just want to punch somebody in the face, this movie will work wonders for you since you see people being killed right, left and center like so many bowling pins. It’s just so much fun to see so many people being killed in such amazing ways 🙂
In fact, the movie felt a lot like Kill Bill in a way but was a much more fun ride. The action sequences were to die for because they seemed to have the best action sequences from most movies made down the years. There are classic John Woo scenes as well as ones I might have seen in a Bollywood movie or a Hong Kong flick. But all are a treat to watch and it’s mostly action all the way. This is wonderful and fun ride as long as you’re willing to leave your brain behind 🙂
August 12, 2007
I had been looking forward to watching "Next" – it was touted as another "Philip K. Dick story" and since science fiction movies again seem to be becoming a bit scarce, I wanted to see this. Of course, the trailers seemed to indicate that it might be another one of those recent crop of "our freedoms are being trampled by the government which is evil and corrupt" and that was putting me off from getting to it immediately. Enough already with the whole terrorists and civil liberties crap – don’t these American’s have anything else to moan about in the land of the brave and the home of the free? :p (And that rant is something I should have one of these days – US entertainment has become so sickening in the way the same theme crops up over and over and over and over in all the recent movies, TV shows and even comics)
Anyway, watch "Next" we did. And all I can say is, if that’s next on your list, just say "Next!" and move on :p Let me tell you, this is no Philip K. Dick story – so don’t be fooled by that one. They took one tiny premise from a Philip K. Dick story, "The Golden Man", and then created a hodgepodge of a movie that defies all logic, reason and the laws of attraction. Seriously now, Jessica Biel falling for a Nicolas Cage with a head of hair that looks as if it was stolen off a doll and stuck on his head with crazy glue? Who is gonna believe that? :p
The most surreal thing I found about the whole experience was reading the reader comments for the movie on IMDB. A lot of people seem to think that this was a great movie with a philosophy, humour, action and excellent special effects! I can’t help but wonder if I saw a different movie because I can tell you, we watched it on DVD and I could still see the cheesy special effects. So how could those who watched the movie on the big screen have missed that? There are a lot of stunts with big logs rolling down mountains and boulders missing Cage by inches or vehicles tumbling down around him a la "Die Hard 4.0" – but you can plainly see that these are just CGI creations because they look utterly fake. But maybe that’s just me …
But I digress. The core of the story is that Cage’s character, Cris Johnson, can see two minutes into the future. This is all that they took from the original Phil K. Dick story. That, and the name of the protagonist, which was Cris in the original as well – I shudder to think where the Johnson came from :p To this, they add some nameless (and apparently organization-less) terrorists who have stolen a nuclear weapon and want to detonate it on American soil – again for no specific reason. The terrorists make no threats, don’t seem to have any specific goals except to blow things up.
The next twist is that Cris can suddenly see much further into the future about a girl. No explanation as to why he can do this or why the girl is important. In fact, none of this is resolved when the movie ends. It just is. Sounds like a good way to set things up but if you’ve got at least half the brain of a red-ant, you’d probably want to know they why of things – not just that they are.
Then things get really sloppy as Cris’s abilities are used to move the story forward and he does a lot of things which make no sense at all. Yes, some people on IMDB claim that those who didn’t enjoy the movie didn’t understand the complexities of the movie because it didn’t stop to spell things out 🙂 But that’s not my issue. I’m a science fiction buff – I understand how time travel and precognition is supposed to work. What I don’t get is how this darn story is supposed to hang together if you look at it logically. But then again, in this day and age, logic is highly overrated, right? :p
March 5, 2007
Eragon or Hero Gone?
I have not read Christopher Paolini’s "Eragon". However, we did watch the movie yesterday. I don’t know how similar the book is to the movie (the synopsis on Wikipedia seems to suggest that there might be major alterations to the story) but as soon as the movie started, I had but one thought – "This sounds a lot like an adaptation of ‘Star Wars‘" 🙂
That was my impression on seeing the first five minutes of the movie and the rest of the movie did nothing to dispel this impression. A world ruled by benevolent dragon riders and all of the dragon riders being killed by one of their own who then became the despotic dictator of the world? Years later, a young princess stealing a valuable object belonging to the dictator/king and running off to hide? When she’s caught, she sends off the valuable item elsewhere? The item ends up in the hands of a young farm boy who lives in the boondocks with his uncle? Any of this starting to sound familiar? :p
Having not managed to get my book sold at all, you might ask "Who are you to talk?" I might even be accused of jealousy. I’m not jealous of Christopher Paolini. He made it and the more power to him. Given that he was fifteen when he wrote this, you can actually understand the inspirations and the sources behind the story. Of course, according to another Wikipedia entry which lists no source, Paolini has said that his inspiration wasn’t "Star Wars" but Joseph Campbell’s "Hero’s Journey", which has been credited by George Lucas as his own inspiration for "Star Wars". Looking at the number of similarities between the "Star Wars" storyline and "Eragon", I find that a little tough to swallow, but whatever, dude 🙂 We are not talking about Paolini and his source of inspiration.
What I do find fascinating is the complete lack of originality on the part of Hollywood. Why would they take a story which so obviously is "Star Wars" on dragons and create a movie out of it? Did they think the success of the book would guarantee the success of the movie? Are we so bankrupt of ideas today that we think just taking any successful book series and creating movies out of them is the way to go? Or is it just that every Hollywood studio wants a series of their own that they could milk for several years? It all seems so silly if you look at it logically but then again, logic seems to be in even shorter supply than ideas in the world of today ….
January 11, 2007
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Decadence of dreams
I’ve said this before – maybe my tastes in movies are changing or Hollywood is totally bankrupt in the ideas department. Or maybe it’s both :p I still have to see a totally satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable Hollywood movie in months. About the only US/Western entertainment that I’ve found to be enjoyable lately has come from TV. Maybe it’s the longer length, or the shorter episodes but there is some good stuff on TV that really works.
Take for instance, "Prison Break". While I have yet to see season 2 and am curious as to how they can maintain the same level of novelty and interest as the first season, I nevertheless found it to be a gripping and entertaining drama. Then there is "Lost". Sure the second season sagged a bit down the middle and I do hope that they tie everything up neatly in the third season (which I hear is the final season) but it’s still damn interesting. I also hear good things about "Heroes" though I’ve yet to see it.
On the other side of the coin, the Hollywood side, you have trash like "Miami Vice" :p We watched it yesterday and it is the worst excuse for a movie that I have seen in a long time. It appeared to be more of a soft-porn movie which had somehow stumbled into the area reserved for the more upstanding citizens of the movie world. I kid you not, the first part of the movie was mostly shower scenes and bedroom scenes and what not. Considering that you had at least five sex scenes in a two and a half hour movie, there wasn’t much room for story :p
Not that there really was a story, mind you. It appears as if Michael Mann decided to go experimental on this one (or maybe you should drop "experi" and you’d be closer to home :p) You get dropped into the story in-progress and at the end you are yanked out without any satisfying conclusions. The story was supposed to be about finding a mole in the FBI but at the end of the movie, we still have no idea who the mole is. The woman that Sonny Crockett risks everything for, goes away into the sunset on a boat. Life just drags on. No satisfaction, no emotion, no connections – basically, a big old zero. The only good thing I have to say about this movie is that we only paid $2 for a local DVD copy – my sympathies to anybody who paid full price for this garbage 🙂
The second movie that we watched yesterday, "Children of Men", was much more satisfying and engaging. The movie started off slow and I was beginning to think it was a dud too. I love science fiction movies but this was way too close to home to be entertaining – it was just depressing. However, as the story progressed, I became more and more involved with the character of Theo Faron, who goes from your average guy who just wants to make his own corner of the basket safe and nice while the world goes to hell in a handbasket, to a knight in rusted armour :p Of course, the high point in the movie, for me personally, has to be when I suddenly heard cries in perfect Sinhalese from a wailing woman standing by a slain boy, towards the end of the movie 🙂 Overall, it was a good piece of cinema though not something I’d want to watch if I wanted pure entertainment – it’s just too gruesome and hits too close to home for comfort of mind.