Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MovieNotes: Life of Pi

Movie - Life of Pi
*ing - Suraj Sharma, A Royal Bengal Tiger, Irfan Khan, Tabu, Adil Husain
Language - English

Watching "Life of Pi" is akin to reading a graphic novel rather than a simple novel. The movie is more a visual narration rather than a story. A story of how a young boy survives a shipwreck in the Pacific in the company of a Royal Bengal tiger. Its a survival tale with the boy learning how to make best use of the resources available to him to be able to reach land.

The film is a visual treat. The opening scene of the various zoo animals, the wide ocean - sometime calm, sometimes terrifying and sometimes simply magical - are a treat to watch. Its a feast for the eyes to use a cliche. 3D technology has been used to full effect in this film.

Apart from the visual effects, what stands out is the questions which the story raises. Interesting queries on one's beliefs and faith, relationship between God & religion are all posed. The questions have no direct answer. They are all open to one's  interpretation. Like the events of the story. There could be be another version of the events which Pi has narrated.

As for the actors, Suraj Sharma makes an interesting debut. Irfan Khan, I believe appears in every foreign film which requires an Indian cast member. And Adil Hussain has also started appearing everywhere I look, movies, ads, playing the same husband role.

"Life of Pi" is a movie based on a novel which I had heard of but never managed to read. Having watched the movie now, it seems like a good idea to read Yann Martel's work.

Overall Rating - 8/10 - And this one is going to the Academy Awards. Come the award season, expecting lots of media hoopla.

Previously on MovieNotes - Skyfall

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ajmal Kasab: Rot in Hell

Today, November 21, 2012 - Ajmal Kasab was hanged in Yerwada Jail in Pune. With this comes to end the last of the foot soldiers of the November 2008 terrorist squad which attacked Mumbai killing almost 200 people.

Waking up to hear this news gave a certain sense of happiness. I know it was a little sadistic pleasure in seeing a terrorist hanged. But in my mind this was the minimum punishment Kasab deserved. I remember the days 4 years back when the city was engulfed in terror. More than the number of casualties it was the sense of helplessness which overcame the city that hurt more. There was a feeling of shock, pain and anger but the overwhelming one was of helplessness and the inability to prevent such attacks. You wondered about your safety if a city like Mumbai could be held hostage by a bunch of terrorists for almost 3 days.

People's anger turned on to Kasab the only terrorist who was caught alive. The slow (albeit rightful) judicial process finally took its due course and Kasab was hanged.

I only hope that it is recognised that Kasab was only a foot soldier. The real masterminds were elsewhere. They are the ones who need to be hunted down. Find them, track them and kill them, using whatever means available. Only then can we have a little peace.

Thoughts with the families who suffered at the hands of these terrorists. Wonder how they must be feeling today. Also a great work done by the government agencies in hiding it from the "Breaking News"media and keeping the execution a secret.

P.S - Hopefully Kasab will rot in hell where 72 gay, male virgins await him.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

MovieNotes: Skyfall

Movie - Skyfall (or James Bond 23)
*ing - Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem & new Q, New M, new Moneypenny
Language - Her Majesty's English

Skyfall marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie series. It is about James Bond going back to basics. We see details into the Bond back story which hadn't come to light earlier especially in the movies. More information on Bond's background is revealed (e.g. parents, Scottish descent etc.)

There are the customary Bond moments - a thrilling pre-opening-credit scene, the confrontations with M, the menacing villain who ideally shouldn't fit into this world, the Aston Martin, the gadgets (nothing too show-off this time), the Bond girls, they are all there. But the real feel of a Bond movie has gone amiss.

Skyfall represents a complete cut-off from the Pierce Brosnon era and tries to establish Daniel Craig as the James Bond. We get to see a new Q, the arrival of Moneypenny and even a new M. So as the makers wanted, the transition is now complete. All this would have been fine. Quite a few superhero movies get a re-boot (e.g. Batman, Spiderman etc). But Daniel Craig just doesn't seem to fit in the James Bond persona (rather the conventional Bond mould).

Another thought which came to mind were the many parallels Skyfall had with Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Never thought of it earlier but James Bond & Bruce Wayne both had similar backgrounds. Rich parents who died very early, left with a manor house which they don't like (and helped destroy) and a butler who acted as a surrogate father (Alfred/Kincaid). Also the villain in chief wants to create anarchy (Joker/Silva). Both even stage their own capture in order to fufill their villainous ambitions.  Even the background score seemed similar in places. In fact Sam Mendes is quoted to have been inspired by the Dark Knight. So the parallels were deliberate.

A word about Javier Bardem's performance  He adds the right amount of menace to the character who is driven by revenge but likes to wreck anarchy on the world. In a performance as a super-villain I would rank him above Christopher Waltz's Hans Landa but just below the Heath Ledger's Joker.

And lastly, never thought I would hear Tennyson being quoted in a Bond movie. 

Overall Rating - 7/10

Liked the end credits - which announced that James Bond will be back 

Previously on MovieNotes - English Vinglish