Friday, August 30, 2013

Madras Cafe - Shoojit Sircar

Had gone in with zero expectations.. ( if anything, with negative ones, thinking perhaps it would be like ek tha tiger or something). So overall was pleasantly surprised.

Its mostly a somewhat simplified story of the LTTE, Prabhakaran and culminated with the Rajiv Gandhi assasination.

Its a strangely uneven movie though.. some pretty bad acting and scenes that could've just been chopped off. A strange and convoluted story.. unnecessarily vague. Nargis Fakhri, gaah the woman just makes me want to slit her throat, even in the very few scenes that she's there.. The unnecessarily Arun Govilish smile of the guy playing Rajiv Gandhi and the constant hero - worshipping.

But overall , its still a decent watch, specially the second half which picks up considerably pace, even though the story is hopelessly lost and muddled by then. It also does try to avoid too much simplification in terms of heroes and villains, although a bit more nuanced background of the causes of the strife, and Indian's own ambiguous role might have served the story better than the silly wife. I did love the unexpected cast members though, Siddharth Basu, Dibang, Prakash Belawadi.

Not sure if its worth a watch overall.. maybe just barely if you are prepared for its unevenness.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Before Midnight - Richard Linklater

Was nice in parts but didn't leave the overwhelming love I had for the previous two.

Mostly because I just couldn't identify with Julie. Sure I was rooting for some of the lines, (wiping the toilet seat comes to mind!) and yet she just seemed too contradictory, and Ethan not self absorbed enough, assuming that those were the two stereotypes the movie was aiming for.

But mostly I just felt like giving her a hard shake during the crucial final argument. She was far too unreasonable. Ethan was far too reasonable. I also couldn't get over the fact that Ethan looks old , while Julie doesn't look old enough. I do realise that it just me, since there's not a single review out there which says that. Sigh I've heard this a lot lately.. I'm wierd!

In a way that is a pity, because I really thought so much else in the movie was quite perfect. The whole argument for example was a great idea. Meeting a stranger in a strange city is all very well, but anyone who's been married knows that there are arguments about fairies who do the dishes and an uncertain job suddenly becoming a dream job. I loved Ethan in many ways, unwilling to say the obvious, trying desperately to reason, struggling with food and sex, and yet struggling to fight against becoming what he most feared, struggling for his son. I also loved the changed tone.. while the earlier movies bristled at the edge of the possibility of 'will they' , this one lays bare what can end up happening, even for a dream come true couple who are obviously very much in love.

Overall it still a movie I'd not have missed, and the trilogy is worth seeing. I do hope, a decade or two, or three later, we'd get to see this couple with such awesome chemistry. I do wonder that they'd call it then though, sunrise, sunset and midnight, all done! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A delightfully heart- warming book. Thanks m for the reco!

Its set in the 40s, with the war just over, and people still reeling from its after affects. Its written in the form of letters that are exchanged, between a writer in London, and various people in her life.  These include a publisher, a school friend, her not-quite-fiance, and most importantly a group of people who were members of a literary society from Guernsey, which was an island occupied by the Germans during the war.

I loved the general tone of the book, letters written with humor and passion. Some familiar, some formal. Tangentially touching so much that we mull about in life, about love and passion, and war, and god, of right and wrong... and of course, of books and authors. I loved the constant references to books and their authors, almost as if they were family members, and living breathing things, rather than some academic mind improvement exercise.

Since I read this one for our up-coming book -discussion, I did something I'd not done in a long while.. I actually jotted down words and page numbers that struck a chord.. something that I used to do back in school, but hadn't done in a long while. It was strangely satisfying to  reread the passages, to smile and ponder.

Here's one that definitely stuck a chord.

' I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect reader. How delightful if that were true.'