Sunday, March 27, 2005

End of March Notes

1) Open Water: Rating – Worth a look but overall, ok

This Independent movie made a splash last year at Sundance and the critics. It is a simple store – an over-busy couple quickly find time for a last minute diving vacation. During their diving trip, they are left behind in the middle of the ocean. At first, they believe a boat will come rescue them. But after a few hours, they begin to fear the worst. And to top it off, the husband notices a shark fin nearby. Sure there are some scary moments, but I was not bowled over as most of the American critics. One thing annoyed me – when the couple are drifting alone in the water and they see a boat in the horizon, NONE of them actually shouts for help. Why? How is that believable?

2) I love Huckabees: Rating – Good and worth a watch.

This is an existential comedy. Not that there is such a genre out there. It is funny movie with lots of interesting ideas tucked away. No point in talking about the plot as that is something one must guess for themselves. But I can’t understand why this movie was slammed by American critics? Could it be that they hated the movie because they have to think what the movie is about? As opposed to singing praises for a movie where one character leads a miserable life and cries and sobs all about it?

3) Alfie: Rating – Good and worth a watch.

The trailers don’t do justice for this movie. The trailers give us the idea that the movie is about Jude Law bouncing around from one woman to another, having fun along the way. Sure Jude Law’s character, Alfie, has fun. But after the first 20 minutes, his life ends up becoming miserable. He is forced to question his life and face to his consequences. One can call the movie a slowed down dramatic version of ‘High Fidelity’. The movie looks at the decisions men make and why men are the way they are.

The camera work in the movie is just great. The camera moves along with Alfie as he is required to keep talking to the camera throughout. I have not seen the 1966 version but going by the clips, the camera work and overall movie is much better than the original. The women in the original were highly boring, which is not the case for this version. The only boring role belonged to Susan Sarandon, who is completely miscast for her role.

In the end, this is a very mature movie.

4) Ring 2: Rating – Terrible waste of time.

I really liked the first Ring movie. It was great but the sequel is a waste of time. There is nothing interesting to add to the story and the characters are not given a chance to expand from their previous role. There are some scary moments but by the end, the movie feels incomplete and forced. If further Ring movies are made, this movie will easily be forgotten.

5) Girl with a Pearl Earring: Rating – Good.

This is a good movie. I didn’t know the story when I started watching it, which was a good thing. Because judging by the first painting I saw in the movie, I guessed the movie must be about Vermeer. I like his paintings – they are so real and full of life. And the movie does give us an idea on how Vermeer made his paintings so life like. Colin Firth, who plays Vermeer, surprisingly does not say much. Scarlett Johansson does a great job in her role though – her expressions are spot on.

6) The Dreamers (directed by Bernard Bertolucci): Rating – Ok, not that great.

This is a movie loved by critics who spent the 1960’s in Paris watching European/American cinema and inhaled the political atmosphere in the city. To others, it may seem like a waste of time. In reality, the movie falls in between. Some parts are really good and others tend to drag on quite a bit.

7) Unfaithful: Rating Good.

For the longest time I thought this movie was going to be plain terrible so I stayed away. But I was wrong. It is not that bad of a movie only because of one reason – Diane Lane. She has acted really well. If not for her, this movie would have been just a run of the mill affair movie. The ending is open ended but there was no other way to end the movie though.

8) Punch-Drunk Love: Rating Very Good, worth a watch

Yes this is a different movie. But one worth the watch! The craziness of Magnolia combined with the dark comedic touch of the Coen brothers (shades of The Big Lebowski). Adam Sandler retains his angry flair (Happy Gilmore) but cuts down on his over the top humor for this one.

9) DodgeBall: Rating – Poor but has some funny moments.

There are some genuinely funny scenes in this movie but overall it is not that great. The good thing is that Ben Stiller is not afraid to keep trying different things with his on-screen characters.

10) Super Size Me: Rating – Excellent!!!

This is an excellent documentary on the evils of the Fast Food World we live in. I can’t understand why there were critics of this movie – Morgan Spurlock does not openly slam the fast food company without some investigation and even some objective view points.

11) Under the Tuscan Sun: Rating – Good

This is a light hearted fun movie. Nothing serious or sad in this one! And Diane Lane looks great in this movie as well. She had to as the entire movie rests on her shoulders.

12) Dark Water (original Japanese movie by Hideo Nakata): Rating – Ok, not that great.

The movie has shades of Ju-On and the Ring but is not that great. The story is streched longer than it should – if this was a 20 minute short, it would have been perfect. The viewer can easily guess what the big mystery is early on.

13) Wasabi: Rating – Good with some fun moments.

This feels like a Luc Besson run of the mill product. After the Professional, we have seen quite a few such movies (the Transporter being one) – bad cop takes on the gangsters. It is clichéd in parts but overall, it’s not that bad.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March scribbles

1) Constantine: Rating Very poor

Comic book movies are always hard to make. Mostly, they translate into action packed movies which are trashed by all critics. And if on the odd chance, the movie tries to put an artistic twist on the comic book, then the audiences stay away. Constantine tries to combine both action and artistic genres and ends up failing horribly on both accounts. The action and visuals have all been seen before and average at best. And then there’s the acting. Or lack of it. Keanu Reeves is the wrong choice for this role. This role demanded a brooding miserable performance right out of a Film Noir movie and Reeves sounds like he is still in the Matrix movies (even some of the scenes and his poses are right out of the Matrix). A real waste of a movie!

2) Beautiful Boxer (directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham): Rating 8/10

An interesting movie, which is based on the true story of a thai boxer who gets a sex change operation to become a woman. The movie tells the story in flash back; the ex-boxer boxer narrates his life story, of how he first noticed that he wanted to be a woman, of how he got into Thai boxing and why he decided to postpone his sex change operation. It is a very well done movie which handles the topic with the right amount of sensitivity and emotion.

3) Bride and Prejudice: Rating – Not worth it.

A horrible horrible movie! It is an example of poor cinema. No words can describe how bad this movie. It pretends to be funny but it is not! The jokes are poor in any language. And the acting by a certain beautiful woman is non-existent – she can’t act. Simple as that!