Monday, March 29, 2010

12 Angry Men

Quite a fascinating movie. I remember watching the hindi copy few years back, and being quite impressed. Had been waiting to get my hands on the original for a while now.

The basic setup is quite simple, a poor delinquent boy is accused of murdering his father. There is circumstantial evidence and some eyewitness testimony go against him too. It looks virtually like an open and shut case, and a jury of 12 men is asked to return an unanimous verdict. The movie is shot almost entirely in the single room where the jury debate the case.

There are a handful of interesting psychological insights one gets as the movie progresses. Of course the first one is, how our own thinking and background color whatever we see and express an opinion on, even when we think we're being objective. Then the interesting bits about our "mob mentality", how a thing as simple as a vote can depend so much on who goes first, whether its secret, etc etc. Then there's the point about how things work out differently in a team where you get different skills, even if initially you thought they were skills that aren't needed. There's quite a list of things which makes it interesting.

Definitely worth a watch!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bikhre Bimb @rangashankara

I really liked this play. I think it was well written, with the right level of dramatisation, sub texts and build up.

It starts with an author who's always written in Kannada, writing an English novel, which becomes world famous and of course earns a lot of moolah. She gives a short tv talk, taking a few pot shots about the whole english/kannada debate. And then just as she's leaving, the TV screen comes to life, and you seen another pratibimb of the author, talking back to her. As the focus seems to shift away from the language questions, to her own life and the novel, a lot of things shatter/scatter. You get the feeling that perhaps the question of language was after all tangential. In a way it is, although it connects up in the end.


I think Arundhati's acting left a lot to be desired, going rather over the top in most places, - I understand that some places needed to be over the top, but I thought most of it overdone. That was a bit disappointing since I'd heard rave reviews about her performance.  The technical aspects could also have been a bit better perhaps, the screen resolution was wrong, and the sound could've been better.

However , all said and done, I still think it was a damn good play, keeps you engaged, and also leaves you with enough to mull over!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Love Sex aur Dhoka

Another one coming from the maker of Khosla ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky. I had loved the previous two , so was quite looking forward to this.

Overall, I'd say I quite liked it.

Its covers three sub-stories, the first covering a ddlj-not-quite type "love", the second takes on the trickier and the sleasier "sex", and the final part focussing on "dhoka". In a way however the three themes run subtly throughout the gritty movie, shot entirely with a handheld cam, or cctv style cams. It suites the tone of the movie , and its well utilised, although I'm not a big fan of the shaky jerky handhelds.

I don't think its as good as the his previous movies, but still worth a watch. For one thing, bits of "delhi" are again caught amazingly well, the way oye lucky did. Then again, I thought the second part was pretty good in isolation. The third was so so. 

The first part where he hits out at ddlj most savagely, and cinematically pretty ineffectively was something I loved nevertheless. No matter that it is a pretty poorly made sequence, I personally hated DDLJ so much, that I was just waiting all these years for someone to take it apart, even if in a shallow manner the way its done here. I remember writing in my diary then ( gosh its been a while! - 15 years ago), and trying to analyse why the sachchrine sweetness irritated me. Why expecting parents to come around sounded silly then, and still does. They don't come around, they sit there under the weight of all their prejudices and egos, wasting the best years of your life, and sometimes it can get much much worse. It was sad that hindi movies tended to take simplistic views about "running away" ala QSQT style or "obeying parents", as if life is that simple. The whole problem of course ties in with our concept of parenting, which I disagree with. But lets leave that topic for another day.

All in all , worth a watch, but be prepared, its rather hard hitting, and a shallow look can even leave someone thinking ( and yes there were a bunch of people like that in the hall) - "abe, aise to main bhi camera le ke ek movie bana lun!

Friday, March 26, 2010

What I talk about when I talk about running - Haruki Murakami

Quite liked this book.

Its basically just a collection of random thoughts from a writer who's also a long distance runner. He writes about some of his runs, his writing, and a few bits about life in general. Some parts tend to get a bit boring.

But the 2 parts that I really enjoyed were some of the descriptions of the runs. Although I've never managed to keep up a regular running routine, somehow long distance running always fascinated me. The second part was somehow his perceptive and rather practical thoughts about aging. Thats something I totally loved, how he's treated it as something inevitable, which brings changes you might not always like, but which is nevertheless ok.

Nice to read something like this once in a while.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Downloading Nancy

A rather dark disturbing movie. Although I found it engrossing, when I thought about it later, I realised it could've been much better, if they'd made the characters a little more nuanced.

The movie basically centers around a rather unhappily married woman, who'd been badly sexually abused in her childhood, and the lingering scars that leaves. The pain motif runs through most of the movie, and the various forms it takes.

While I loved the direction and editing, I really thought the characters could've been etched better. A few more layers to the two men, would've made it a much more thought provoking movie than it was.

Worth a watch, but only if you can stomach that kind of genre.

Anger.

I guess anger comes in a bell curve, suddenly peaks and then subsides. But sometimes it leaves you with questions, which keep nagging long after the anger is gone.

I guess part of the anger began with the conversation with a friend yesterday. The realisation of the fact that you might kick up a storm for using the swimming pool in your housing society. ( which presumably is for swimming , but then who knows. Maybe its meant for breeding fish.). 

The anger had probably had time to simmer down, when a recipe dumped on me left me more frustrated. I don't enjoy cooking. I tell myself to do it, the same way I tell myself to understand taxes and work on finances. These are things needed for survival, and so,  against my instincts, I try to learn about them. However I don't enjoy anyway giving me recipes when I'm not in a mood to listen to them, specially when its obvious I'm the victim by virtue of my gender. Why aren't the same recipes stuffed down the throat of the menfolk around? Even when its obvious they enjoy cooking more than me?

And yes, the onslaught remained on today. This , I could barely even believe. I have to check this , it just can't be true. All this running around, simply cause I'm married? WTF, I shouldn't have been.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Live In vs Marriage

I guess having had an experiance of both, here's my recommendation.

Live Ins. Any day. Every day. Marriages don't give you shit. Not unless you are a traditional woman, willing to pay the traditional prices for the traditional safeguards.

If you're looking for parity, wtf avoid marriages anyway. Why is the tokenism needed for the man you love anyway?

Of course one only realises things in hindsight.Too late then.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Before Sunrise, Before Sunset

Loved both the movies! Its kind of hard to nail down the genre, I guess romantic comedy.. hmm comedy? perhaps not. Found it described as a drama somewhere on the net.. drama ?

At any rate, the story is probably the easiest to state , a guy and a girl meet and stroll all over a city ( vienna in the first one, and paris in the second) and talk. And I guess thats all the movie shows.

But what makes a movie where the two characters just talk, so engrossing? I don't know, somehow the things they talk about, the pauses, the whole subtle tension , of time, of attraction, of uncertainity... It just struck a chord.

Definitely worth a watch. Its like evesdropping into your own brain.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Blind Side

Saw this yesterday, thought it was ok. Worth a watch, but nothing exceptional, no not even Sandra, though I like her in most movies. 

A white lady adopts a black boy, almost accidentally, and of course there's a journey you take from there. As far as the depiction goes, it was rather touchy feely, and I have nothing against that. I enjoy my share of such movies, but I can't say they leave me feeling 'wow'

As an aside, perhaps the circumstances of the screening left a bit to be desired. Much ribbing happened about how it was illegal and stuff. I don't think I gave much of a damn about that, I mean come now, you can't have gradations of rights and wrong, and we all know we're in the wrong. What I found a bit more irritating was the whole idea putting up a "womens day" screening for "women". And I think thats where a lot of the ribbing was coming from, although I'm sure no one would say so. Perhaps if I felt so strongly about it , I shouldn't have gone. But then maybe I didn't feel that strongly about it. I've skipped meals for movies when I was on a budget. This was just a small feeling of this whole setup being wrong. No matter, I relieved my conscience by asking the fellow why, which he obviously couldn't answer, and then went ahead and watched it anyway !

Chasing dreams

Managed to run most of the 5 k, yipie! totally hadn't expected to be able to do it, considering that i had not run even 200 metres in the past 2 months! Not to mention that I've never really been able to pick up the morning running in the past 8-9 years. Too many excuses, and too much of irrelevant stuff cluttering up life.

Anyway, self pat on back is in order. And much gratefulness for the yoga classes, ( even if interrupted for more than a month) and the inspiring kids, some of whom were actually running in bathroom slippers.

Hopefully this won't be a flash in the pan, and perhaps next time I can better my timing.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Up in the air

This was a really funny movie, and was thoroughly enjoyed. George Clooney was great as the miles collecting, relationships hating guy,  who flies all over the US, firing people, and giving the occassional lecture. The first 3/4ths of the movie was fast paced, witty and funny. 
The movie took a bit of a dip towards the end, as the usual cop out of trying to make everything right began. Luckily it didn't go too far, and it was still good to see that at least the ending retained at least a bit of the original flavor. 
All in all worth a watch, with a special reco for anyone's who's shared that special relationship with airports!