Monday, February 20, 2012

iMovies - 1

I know you have listologies, IMDBs to recommend you with movies. This is my own list of movies that I like and what I liked in them. I might add in few movies which I totally detest too.. And the list is of no particular order. It's just as random as my thoughts right now.. and why do I want to create this? - I have no idea!

1. Its a Wonderful Life  - Who are you really?

Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like It's A Wonderful Life. 

Does it take me back to that place in my heart, that makes me long for everything that once was great and it could be again? Does it remind me of my childhood, my home? No. Maybe it's just simply what I always wanted from life and every man I want to be. 

Everything about this film is well, for lack of better words, perfect. No question to it any longer, the best performance by an actor I have ever seen. It's more than just beautiful, timeless or fair. All of Stewart is revealed. Everything coming together for Capra. 

Sometimes I think there is a reason why somethings happen. And I'm pretty sure there is some magical reason why this film was made. I was 21 years old and saw it for the first time, when I was going through the roughest patch in my life, during Christmas time of the year 2007, when I searched for the best feel good christmas movie. Every website which google could crawl pointed at this one. I've watched it 3 times since. The only movie to ever make me feel my presence. I probably wouldn't have all the answers for you, if you asked me why. I'm still trying to figure Stewart out and just how beautiful was Reed.

What can I say? This movie is a life changing experience. I have recommended this movie to all my friends and this made one of my best friend cry, after a really, really, long time. :)

Makes me feel good to be alive. What a wonderful little world it is. And if I waited my entire life, it would not be a waste of time.

Don't miss this movie. Just don't.

2. Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (or just Amelie) - How on earth could she smile like she did?

Through out the years of cinematic history there are pivotal stories of romance that will stand the test of time. There is Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, From Here to Eternity, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Annie Hall…and then there is Amelie. 

The film follows the story of Amelie, a Parisian waitress who journeys through life on a whimsical cloud of dreams in love and passion while improving the lives of others around her. Amelie is quirky, eccentric, uplifting, and will reduce you to tears through the beauty of finding love in the most unique way.

It has some of the most gorgeous cinematography and sound track I've ever seen/heard in a movie. The editing, camera angles and shots are outstanding in this drama. Amelie often has flashbacks or visions and the direction is breathtaking. Sometimes the film is sped up extraordinarily fast to capture a fast shocking scene where as some scenes are slowed right down to capture the different moods of the characters. There is one particular shot I found outstanding which was when Amelie was standing alone at a train station. The camera is in a bird's eye view position and is looking at length towards the central protagonist which gives such a deep meaningful sense of loneliness, a fantastic moment in the film.

Audrey Tatou is perfection as the title character. Pleasing, enchanting and sweet!

A human comedy, about love, of course. A slice of heaven right here on earth, "Amelie" is a joy to behold.

3. Memento - Nolan's Magic!

Christopher Nolan is one of the best director/screenwriter in contemporary cinema. No doubt. I loved Prestige, Dark Knight and Inception. Still I consider Memento to be his best film. Sure Inception had my brain buzzing, Dark Knight gave us Joker, and Prestige was a delightfully dark, still I think Memento is his best film. Its darker than Prestige. Mightier than Inception. The greatest mind screw ever!

Memento has two time-lines, one in black and white and one in color, and they are alternated throughout the film. In no other movie has use of time-lines or alternating visual themes have been more justified. Even when I saw the movie for the first time, mu brain was working overtime, but after watching the movie I was aware that I had watched a really amazing film. But it was the second time around that I was able to connect all the dots and grasp the genius behind the movie.

Many critics criticize Nolan's movies saying that his movies don't have an emotional core. I think that is totally wrong. Maybe they are criticizing just because it is their job to find faults. Nolan is one the finest directors and he chooses the finest actors. Actors like DiCaprio, Cotillard, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Edward Norton etc are the finest actors around and they wouldn't have starred in his movies if they though they would not be allowed to show their skills to full extent. Besides the twisting plots Nolan's movies have strong emotional core, whether it is a bewildered Leonard Shelby of Memento or Cobb of Inception we can see them fighting the world and fighting themselves at the same time. They are distant but we can stil connect with them. As a matter of fact, I find the crux of Nolan's movies emotional and philosophical.

What I loved the most about the movie was that everything was not cut and clear, even after you have seen it twice a certain uncertainty remains which is deliberate on part of Nolan as we are sharing that uncertainty with the movie's protagonist Leonard Shelby.

One of my top movies any day!  A dark journey through a lost nightmare.

[I dont know why I cant talk about any Nolan movie, without talking about other movies of his. Are they someway related which only Cobb or Leonard would know? Have you ever felt it that way?]

4. Hey Ram! - Wait.. Is Saketh Ram real?!

There are really very few movies that make us proud. And if Hey Ram is not one among those few, I judge you. I really do! I think less of you :) May be I am arrogant - and I have every right to be! 

I have seen this movie at least fifteen times. Not once, I could find any flaw in the movie. Be it direction, screenplay, acting, music, sets, cinematography, costume design or dialogues!

"என் தாத்தாவுக்கு எல்லாமே first person singular தான் தெரியுமோ? ஒரு ஊர்ல ஒரு  ராஜா   இருந்தார்னு சொல்ல மாட்டார். நான் இருந்த ஊர்ல ஒரு  ராஜா   இருந்தார்னு சொல்லுவார்"  ஒரு சோறு.

Can a movie be so simple and complex at the same time? Well, Hey Ram is! The plot is very simple. What if a common man turns assassin to kill Gandhi? Yet the journey it takes you through is mind blowing. It can bring a quirky smile to your face, it can astonish you, make you feel insecure, terrified, arrogant, angry, humane, violent, inspired, warm, responsible, patriotic, empathetic, lonely, enlightened, confused, guilty, friendly, dark, compassionate and every emotion humanly possible - all in just 3 hours! 

If you haven't seen the movie, there is no way you are going to believe what I just said. I can see Krishna and Nikhil (if he is reading this) beam with smile right now! This is supposed to be Kamal's directorial venture. Considering that, just as a fact, he is probably the best debut director in the entire movie fraternity around the globe, across time! :) Well, that's how well the film is made

People who really know and understands the true Hindu philosophy, consider this as celluloid baghavat gita. For those who just know the lines from  "Geetha Charam" hung to your wardrobe doors or fridge or framed as a portrait where the charioteer Krishna preaches Arjuna, try to relate those verses to the movie... you will be amazed! 

Hey Ram! demands multiple viewing to appreciate the amount of hard work and preparation gone into the production. Raja's sound track is just right – you don't even notice it, but it draws you in – especially Aparna's theme and the way the lavani marathi folk number turns into a semi-western classical piece. Raja captures the mood of the film without resorting to heroics. Excellent, restrained effort from Raja.

Over the years, Tamil cinema has continually numbed its critics and audience to blindly accept the usual and the predictable, all in the name of art. So much, that people are yet to learn the difference between 'good' & 'bad' cinema. Hey Ram! enters the scene as an art form forcing the masses and the critics to feel, to think deeply, and to question almost everything that we have accepted as the 'truth' for so long.

Having said that, I have had this question ever since I saw the movie. Naseeruddin shah, utters "Hey Ram!" as Gandhi's last words. What if thats not what actually Gandhi said. What if he had said "Ya Allah!"..What if Gotse was a non-Hindu? Would these have changed the history or our perspective? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions will continue to elude us for a long time to come.

Be glad if you are able to appreciate this masterpiece!

[I have been waiting to pour down my feelings towards Hey Ram. All these thoughts/feelings were digged from memory. One more watch of Hey Ram might give me one more sleepless night and a long post for you guys to read :).. So I guess I'll stop here.]

..will be continued... iMovies - 2...