Monday, December 31, 2007

Courage to Change

Conversation with imitiaz-partII

The search continues...to continue and never stop.

DARKNESS WITH EYES OPEN
LIGHT WITH EYES OPEN
LIGHT WITH EYES SHUT


THE DIAL OF LIFE
"How to live in a world with which you disagree? How to live with people, when you share neither their suffering nor their joy? When you know that you don't belong among them?"

Imtiaz misses the rhythm among the people around him which he surprisingly finds only in his guitar. I fail to find symmetry in his life, but find his fluctuations in the harmony of his guitar. He tunes and tunes and strikes a new tune every time the plectrum greets the strings of his guitar.

Like he struck a great deal with loneliness!
Most of his compositions are incomplete. He fails to explain this strange phenomenon. But perhaps he needs that loneliness which he desires to complete his compositions.




"Ah!! That phone call from Production Control regarding tomorrows shoot shatters my rhythm"

……pulls me out of my loneliness and brings me back to the world. A hideaway in our hometown is better, sitting among the oil drilling pipelines in the left over drilling wells. Constantly visited by unknown friends, who bring over some new ‘stuff’ that can blow you away.

Well I was already away, until the phone rings again.

refer to composition two from last.fm widget

He motivates me...not by the sheer fact of his rightness about people and the world in general, but he manages to express it. When I feel my voice is stifled by situations by unreasonable people, his compositions incomplete yet meaningful, seem to play out of my skin and my screams explode the veins of my throat. I puke delirious dreams of an insane world.

I don't have a guitar like Imtiaz to express my displeasure of the mobile phone called life which wakes me up whenever I seep under the ground of solitude.
I keep searching for that instrument to show my displeasure and a wall to write my angry graffiti on. Perhaps the people don't have the time to stop and read the graffiti, or they are too used to people puking on their first ride in double-decker bus!

Where can the insane run-away from the madness of the world? His psyche is far too sane to understand what the guitar is singing in these incomplete verses.

O Lord! Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


Amen!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Compositions & Lessons in life

IN CONVERSATION WITH IMTIAZ- part I

Angshuman left his guitar in Delhi; he had no time to pick up his life from Delhi. Dispatched like a Registered post to his home town with no return address. Well, that's how he left, or (is it?) he left us!!

The guitar en-route found a new connoisseur in the form of Imtiaz, a perfect companion for a loner like him. Imtiaz, a self-professed non-idealist and probably the most cynical person I have ever met in my life.

After a conversation with him, I sometimes simply don’t like climbing down the stairs, he lives on the 3rd floor, and the flight down the balcony seems like a better proposition.

One such night, Imtiaz made me listen to one of his compositions... Here's a snapshot of it. If you understand Assamese, sail along sailor:



refer to the last.fm widget to hear the compositions"If you have cotton stuffed in your ears
You listen to distant voices
Why do you still panic and look for an escapade?
What do you listen to?"
------------------------------------------------------
"On lofty branches hangs a ripe fruit
Still I can't get a grip on it
Even though I have strong huge palm
I can never get a grip on them
What a price for innocence..."

Imtiaz normally during these moorings takes-off on a tangent, a little difficult to hold on to. I constantly churn my stomach with new ideas, twist and turn and imbibe them into my blood-stream and return smelling like burnt tyres.

A high voltage running on a slim fuse wire.
My shameful grip of Assamese literature takes its toll, and Imtiaz transforms himself into a patient teacher explaining to me the simplest of Assamese 'dat bhonga' (tooth-breaking!) words.

"On Floor tiling I taste of a comfortable bed
I slip down below and the smell of the earth insinuates me
You cover me with earth so that I can't see the darkness of the night"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"you walk on the earth soiled by the late showers
mud flips past your slippers
and you feet accepts them claiming it is yours
soon its gets warmth, the mud dries off and fall off your feet
you look back and they are gone
finally you try to trace back your steps
the earth stuck to your feet which you called yours is gone
its gone and you can't finish romanticizing about it"



How ironic and how true!!
Our bygone days which we protect as our own with sole proprietorship
We keep romanticizing our past memories
Nostalgia overcomes us and we become its slave
It’s like that mud once that dries off, peels away from our feet
When we are busy enjoying the emergence of the sun after the rains
We forget, and we no longer can claim it’s ours
Coz it’s gone...

It went past us and what remains are just us...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

ALL SHE WANTED WAS LITTLE ATTENTION


Narrative of a film is what always interested me, and particularly "to die for" exemplifies my concern on the fact that sometime a filmmaker have to reinvent old methods to put up an argument. At first look, the first 15 minutes of the films almost seems like a TV documentary patched together with 'video booth' style interview of the prime characters. Nichole Kidman is so believably insane in her portrayal of the character. she retains the quality when she is inacting her role and when she is speaking to the camera, the positioning of the audience just changes from inside the film to the theatre seats.

Audience positioning is what is confusing in the film, and half way the film, you will wonder "If the film makers wants you to judge Nichole's character and only after your approval, she recieves her cold end under the snow, over which Illeana Douglas playing the role of Matt Dillon's sister rollerskates as the credit roll by.

Nicole is absolutely great and proves that the role is written keeping her in mind. Other actors shows their early promise so early in their career notable Joaquin Phoenix. Looking at his acting in this film in 1995, no wonder a decade later, he receives his Academy Award Nomination.
As a audience, you will be busy piecing clues and character information due to the disorganized pieces of the "actual story". So, much to make a comment on Television Programming.

my rating: 7/10


to die for(1995)Director:Gus Van Sant
Writers (WGA):Joyce Maynard (book)Buck Henry (screenplay
Cast:

Nicole Kidman
Matt Dillon
Joaquin Phoenix
Casey Affleck

Basic Plot
Suzanne is a single young woman in the town of Little Hope, New Hampshire. She has the looks, but not much intelligence to go with them. Despite that (or perhaps because of it), she catches the eye of local hunk Larry Maretto (Matt Dillon), an all-around nice guy and the son of a reputed mobster. Larry falls head-over-heels, and there is soon the nuptials, with Suzanne wearing an exact replica of Maria Shriver's wedding veil. Not long after that, Larry has been transformed from "Van Halen to Jerry Vale" and is beginning to bore Suzanne with his desire to become a father, especially now that her career is taking off with a daily job as the weathergirl at a local cable station.

CHANGE YOUR OUTLOOK, CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Jim tells his brother ""You're divorced, with a shit job in a lumberyard, and live with Mom and Dad. I'm a fucked up but you're a damn tragedy."

Casey Affleck has a paste board in his room filled with poets, novelist, musicians who died ranging from putting their head to the oven to drinking spurious liquor to plain boredom. Hemingway putting up a brave face standing out amidst others.

Casey's character Jim is a man perfected in boredom and looks million times stoned, I mean its wont be wrong calling him "stoned as ever". Its difficult to imagine, how Casey prepared for this role, or did he prepare for this ever. The film looks atrociously low-budget, almost most of the low light scenes had millions of grains. No wonder it was not surprising to find out that the original studio financing the film backed off and InDigEnt, a New York-based, Mini-DV movie company, came on board, the budget was reduced from $3 million to $500,000 (there goes one trivia)

It is but natural for film critics to criticize the film on the unnatural levels of moroseness and pessimism ingrained in the film. But you can't help notice the changes in Jim and how dangerously honestly he accepts his flawed view of the world. The pacing of the film works for the film and you have to get adjusted to the pace as you are watching it. Don't expect a visual treat, but this film seeps into the ground when nobody is watching. Liv Taylor is unnoticeable in the film, and given her aura, its a commendable job. So believable and so small townish temperament.

Dogma Style camerawork, and right after the film ended, I turn to my girl friend and say "We can also make a film like this...looks so easy to make"...Ya Right!!

my rating: 7/10

Lonesome Jim (2005)Director:Steve Buscemi
Writer:James C. Strouse
CAST:
Casey Affleck

Kevin Corrigan
Mary Kay Place
Seymour Cassel
Liv Tyler

BASIC PLOT
Casey Affleck's Jim, on his trek back to Goshen after failing at an undiscussed artistic professional endeavor in New York City.His family, which includes a taciturn father, Don (Seymour Cassel of the old John Cassavetes stock company), a determinedly cheery mom Sally (Mary Kay Place), bouncy nieces Rachel and Sarah (Rachel and Sarah Strouse, the writer's relatives) and a quiet, trapped-looking brother, Tim (Kevin Corrigan), who keeps suffering mysterious accidents that are probably suicide attempts.Liv Tyler as nurse Anika, a perfect small-town beauty. The other is from an unfamiliar source, old Buscemi acting partner Mark Boone Jr., who plays Uncle Evil, a drug dealer working at Don's factory.














Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Poster for Film by Women film makers


Gone with the Wind (1939)








Director:Victor Fleming
Writers:Margaret Mitchell (novel)
Sidney Howard (screenplay)

Review:
A little unknown actress who was found after a lot of search for the role of the leading lady - Scarlett O' Hara: Vivien Leigh against the already establish idol Clark Gable. Their love hate relationship I believe is the most likeable part of the film. They fit together perfectly, and, while their chemistry isn't as overwhelming as that of Bogart and Bergman, it's pretty close. As with all couples, their glances and body language say as much or more than their words, and, especially in Scarlett's case, are always more truthful.

Although many believe this film to be overated, but still the lifelong dream of David O. Selznick is a masterpiece woven together with the help of four directors, over a dozen uncredited screenwriters, and several cinematographers. This film speaks volumes of the passion of film making and how dreams do come true in Technicolor even after over 75 years now.

I believe, in the ways in which American myths, particularly those related to sex and gender, are both referenced and then violated in this film, particularly in the character of Scarlett O'Hara is worth mentioning. Rhett holds Scarlett, her face upturned and upper body partly exposed, in a classic pose and poster from the film. The message is clear: male dominance and female passivity, the model for heterosexual romantic love in America (and elsewhere). In Rhett's dreams, maybe, but never completely in reality, and this is precisely the point: Scarlett loses Rhett because of her inability and/or unwillingness to do more than feign the role of submissive wife. While Scarlett at times denies reality, or at least puts off thinking about it, she is the most real character in the story. Caught in America's powerful masculine/feminine gender myth, she also exposes its fallacies by violating it throughout.

Many believe she changes her character too fast and too much in the 60 min epic, but the vivacity of the leading lady is amazing and unthinkable today.

The film is divided into two equal halves spanning civil war to the soap opera style treatment in the second half. If the film today is made into episodic soap opera, it can run for ages before all your hair turns grey.

There are a number of noteworthy supporting players. The two with the most screen time (aside from Gable and Leigh) are Leslie Howard and Olivia De Havilland. Both portray low-key characters, but do it so well that we develop a deep sympathy for them and their plight.
The film is surprise and contentitous on the way the slaves are treated, it almost glamorizes their role in the film. I find it highly disturbing and annoying. The Land serves as a backdrop for all the closing sequences and leaves the lead actress with renewed energy to serve the next sequence.

Death, Women & Stereotypes are the hallmark of the film, and its so long and has so many things to talk about. A review on the film is just too trivial.

My rating: 7/10





Monster's Ball (2001)





Directed by Marc Forster
Writers (WGA):Milo Addic (written by) Will Rokos (written by)
Cast:Billy Bob Thornton ... Hank Grotowski Halle Berry ... Leticia Musgrove

Review:

("Monster's Ball" is an old English term for a condemned man's last night on earth.)
Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry star as Hank and Leticia, in two performances that are so powerful because they observe the specific natures of these two characters, and avoid the pitfalls of racial cliches.

The characters are given equal weight, and have individual story arcs, which do not intersect but simply, inevitably, meet. There is an overlay of racism in the story; Hank's father Buck (Peter Boyle) is a hateful racist, and Hank mirrors his attitudes. But the movie is not about redemption, not about how Hank overcomes his attitudes, but about how they fall away from him like a dead skin because his other feelings are so much more urgent. The movie then is not about overcoming prejudice, but sidestepping it because it comes to seem monstrously irrelevant.

The overcoming of desire by need are the strong points of the film, the famous hungry sex scene of the film is a overshadowing statement of the above argument. The characters comes off age during the movie and you stop looking at their color of skin and that is what is the real beauty of the film, that pain and longing has no color of discrimination and that's what works so greatly for Mosters Ball.

Students of screenwriting should study the way the film handles the crucial passages at the end, when she discovers some drawings and understands their meaning. Here is where a lesser movie would have supplied an obligatory confrontation. Leticia never mentions the drawings to Hank. Why not? Because it is time to move on? Because she understands why he withheld information? Because she has no alternative? Because she senses that the drawings would not exist if the artist hated his subject? Because she is too tired and this is just one more nail on the cross? Because she forgives? What? The movie cannot say. The characters have disappeared into the mysteries of the heart. "Monster's Ball" demonstrates that to explain all its mysteries, a movie would have to limit itself to mysteries that can be explained

My Rating: 8/10

Saturday, September 15, 2007

We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004)





Directed by John Curran
Writers:Andre Dubus (short stories We Don't Live Here Anymore and Adultery)
Larry Gross (screenplay)
Cast:
Mark Ruffalo ... Jack Linden
Laura Dern ... Terry Linden
Peter Krause ... Hank Evans
Naomi Watts ... Edith Evans

Review:

Director John Curran and writer Larry Gross bravely attempt to adapt not one but two Dubus stories into an interwoven whole, but it's clear while watching We Don't Live Here Anymore that—try as they might—Curran, Gross, and their cast can't quite capture what makes Dubus' studies of love and desire so achingly vital. Instead, the movie plays like an inept domestic drama as two New England couples rail, brood, drink, and cross-fuck through the final acts of their unhappy marriages.

Touted as a sexy and provocative drama, We Don't Live Here Anymore is an ensemble piece that strains the attention span as two couples engage in a musical beds tango. The actors are seriously exploring how to make it fresh and meaningful, but the soapy, voyeuristic writing binds them to the prosaic as it focuses on sex, confusion and values that change to match the impulse.

Jack Linden (Mark Ruffalo) and Hank Evans (Peter Krause) are professors on a small campus in Oregon; Jack is married to Terry (Laura Dern) and Hank to Edith (Naomi Watts). Jack thinks Terry drinks too much, and Terry agrees. But Jack isn't cheating with Edith because his wife is a drunk; he's cheating because he wants to, because he and Edith have fallen into a season of lust. Hank, meanwhile, is not particularly alarmed by his cheating wife, because he's a serial cheater himself. His philosophy, explained to Jack: Sure, you should love your wife and kids, but it's OK to fool around sometimes "just because it feels good."

As for Jack's wife, Terry, she tells Jack that she and Hank have had sex, and Jack's response is not the emotional reaction of a wounded man, but the intellectual combativeness of an English professor, who wants details of their conversations because he thinks somehow he can win this battle on a logical level. Hank, for that matter, also seems to prefer the theory to the practice of sex, although he confesses to Jack that he cried after breaking up with his last mistress.

Of course, the pent-up emotional and sexual fires that smolder among this foursome eventually blows the roof off their barely contained tranquility: Terry, out of desperation, fucks Hank and, in a perverse, roundabout way to facilitate the divorce he craves for, Jack needles her about it. The point of all this is that we deserve the life we make, or un-make, for ourselves, and that often means we end up alone. But where Dubus resolves his narratives with a quiet, confident devastation, We Don't Live Here Anymore suffices with platitudes about unfaithful couples, never getting at a deep and distinct understanding of what drives them to unfaithfulness.


My Rating: 5/10

Friday, September 14, 2007

THE PIANIST (2002)



Cast: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann
Director: Roman Polanski
Producers: Roman Polanski, Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde
Screenplay: Ronald Harwood, based on the book by Wladyslaw Szpilman
Cinematography: Pawel EdelmanMusic: Wojciech Kilar

Review:

This motion picture takes a steady, unflinching look at the plight of Jews in Warsaw during the years when Poland was occupied by the Nazis. This is not a thriller, and avoids any temptation to crank up suspense or sentiment; it is the pianist's witness to what he saw and what happened to him. That he survived was not a victory when all whom he loved died; Polanski, in talking about his own experiences, has said that the death of his mother in the gas chambers remains so hurtful that only his own death will bring closure.

And it's a film whose every moment bristles with the weight of these events on Szpilman's psyche, thanks to a devastating performance by Adrien Brody, an actor naturally adept to characterizing bottomless depth with minimal outward manifestation. Brody is on screen nearly every minute of this two-and-a-half-hour film, and the walking-wounded state of shock he portrays permeates the screen in a way that sneaks into the senses and rattles the soul. His speech has been reduced to grunts, his shaggy hair and gaunt appearance recall images of those dying in the not-so-distant extermination camps, and his goal of survival has devolved into two things: a hunt for food and a flight from predators (the Nazis).

The closing scenes of the movie involve Szpilman's confrontation with a German captain named Wilm Hosenfeld (Thomas Kretschmann), who finds his hiding place by accident. Forced to play a rubble-caked piano for the officer, he pours all the energy and life he has left in him into this performance that he's almost certain will be his last.

The extent to which Polanski and Brody (who was already skinny but lost a great deal of weight for the later scenes) immersed themselves in this story comes through most completely in this scene. It's clear from the long, single takes -- which include pans from hands to face and back -- that the actor learned not just to play piano, but to play well enough that he could express both immense fear and harmonious grace and splendor all at once in both his acting and his playing.

The terrible beauty of this moment is the movie's every emotion in a nutshell, and the astonishing results a testament to the humanity that can be found in the worst circumstances of dread one can imagine.

My Rating: 8/10

THE DEER HUNTER (1978)



Directed by Michael Cimino
Screenplay byDeric Washburn
Cast:
Robert De Niro ... Michael Vronsky
John Cazale ... 'Stosh'
John Savage ... Steven
Christopher Walken ... 'Nick' Chevotarevich
Meryl Streep ... Linda
Review:

The emotional weight of The Deer Hunter is staggering, in part because it blends the expected and unexpected. In the extended, intricate wedding, the historical links that bind the inhabitants of Clairton are set down.

The film's Russian roulette sequences constitute an arresting metaphor for the random cruelty of death in war and, thanks to the care which Cimino has taken in building up the viewer's investment in his tormented characters, these scenes are as involving, upsetting and unbearably tense as anything that has ever appeared in cinema. Superficially it ties in with the joy that these working men feel when they go hunting, beyond which there is the similar mindset that both activities possess. Each is highly ritualised, a macho path whereby the soul can become purged and the thoughts calmed, preparation for death. Unfortunately, when the hunters become the hunted, the facade of their "sport" becomes apparent. The mindless pursuit of Russian roulette comes to represent war as an entity, in all of its random futility and psychologically devastating consequence.

The story of three young working-class men from the heartlands (De Niro, Walken, Savage), whose lives are all forever changed by their tour of duty in Vietnam, is a harrowing reflection of America's experience in the first half of the 1970s; but the film's final, ambivalent sequence, in which the two survivors gather at a wake for the third with a small group of friends and lovers and find solace in the words of 'God Bless America', instead looks forward to the future.

The De Niro character is the one who somehow finds the strength to keep going and to keep Savage and Walken going. He survives the prison camp and helps the others. Then, finally home from Vietnam, he is surrounded by a silence we can never quite penetrate. He is touched vaguely by desire for the girl that more than one of them left behind, but does not act decisively. He is a "hero," greeted shyly, awkwardly by the hometown people.

In detailing how war destroys individuals, relationships and communities, the story is moving, disturbing and sad. The waste of life is almost too much to bear, which is exactly why it's important to watch a film that takes this sort of approach - it leaves nowhere to hide.

My Rating: 6/10



Tuesday, August 21, 2007

..And justice for all (1979)

Director:Norman Jewison
Writers:Valerie Curtin (written by) & Barry Levinson (written by)
Cast:
Al Pacino ... Arthur Kirkland
Jack Warden ... Judge Francis Rayford

John Forsythe ... Judge Henry T. Fleming

Lee Strasberg ... Sam Kirkland

Jeffrey Tambor ... Jay Porter

Christine Lahti ... Gail Packer


Review:
Pacino screaming, "You're out of order! This whole trial is out of order!”, will resonate in you long after you stop thinking about this film. A powerhouse performance by Al Pacino and you were so much expecting it. This film shows how much Al Pacino loves acting and as one trivia on this film goes, the last courtroom scene which seems to be more like a self-contained scene in the film was taken 21 times, until al pacino was convinced there was no better way to do that scene. This clearly shows the passion and that he will stop unto nothing.

Now, talking about the film, looks like it was a bit too early a film for the times it was made in. Infact, even today it is difficult to make such a moving and fearless rebel movie. If you are angry with the judicial system and have a lot of stories and statements to make, this movie has it all and all these without losing the prime story in the film.

The character set is interesting, the camera peeks, snipes and hides under the bench and can be seen across the courthouse picking up various threads to the whole story of a shame of the prevailing judicial system. Al pacino's immediate inspiration is a judge named Fleming (John Forsythe) who rather unexpectedly becomes his client. Forsythe looks marvelously like a judge. He has the razor-cut grey hair and the tired, thoughtful eyes and the gentleman's vague sneer when addressing a lawyer in his courtroom.

Pacino has a client who has been in jail for months because of Forsythe. The client, as it happens, is innocent but sentenced to over a year jail term as he was found in the wrong time and at the wrong place. A victim of the system, and is not able to come out until Pacino and Forsythe can agree on several meaningless technicalities.

They cannot. Forsythe seems to take a quiet sadistic pleasure in frustrating Pacino while his client goes through a crack-up in jail. But that is not the only thing that makes Al Pacino's life easy. There is a girl friend, and a neurotic law partner, and another nutty client, and a stark raving mad senior judge (Jack Warden) who indulges his suicidal impulses by eating his lunch on a fifth-floor window ledge and seeing if his helicopter will fly without gasoline

All these are thrown into the main plot, finally Al Pacino is left to decide to choose between humanity or the technicality of the case given under his preview. A final choice which mightthrow him out of the profession but standing for it, will upheld his faith in justice and truth. Are we ultimately given to choose as well, or will you leave your faith in the hands of Al pacino.

As far as the ending is concerned, it reflects Norman Jewison's real intention with the film, he ends the film with a joke. Simply because, he made a joke out of the system, and we have no choice but to laugh with him. Can you please drop this DVD to our desi rebel director Madhur Bhandarkar, perhaps a better inspiration, please!!

My Rating: 8/10

Thursday, August 16, 2007

THE PRESTIGE (2006)

Written by: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, David Bowie, Scarlet Johansson

Genres: Drama, Thriller and Adaptation
Rating: PG-13 for violence and disturbing images.
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Running Time: 135 minutes


Of all the magic films you might have seen, this film will make you sit up and start taking magic seriously. And yes, Christian Bale's acting will surprise you; completely non-methodical and he fits his role like a glove. Scarlet Johnson is more like a distraction and fails to add anything to the film. But this is not what we should be talking about, we should be talking about the world created by the magical duo of Christopher and Jonathan Nolan. And if you have read the novel on which the film has been based on, you will not take long in realizing this duo's potential. Not only did they add more details to the plot but created a cinematically intriguing screenplay.

"Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The first act is called The Pledge: the magician shows you something ordinary, but of course... it probably isn't."

Perhaps you may find it very whimsical, but the narrative of the film is like the above quoted text, the film is itself like magic; you won’t know the secret until the end, the film makers take a pledge, and as the film wraps up, you still are left with hardly the rightful answers. Did they trick you!! Deny you the truth and made you believe, may be you were on the wrong track from the very beginning.

The major dilemma I faced while watching the film, is whose side should I be taking - Hugh Jackman (Robert Angier) a born showman and consummate entertainer or Christian Bale (Alfred Borden) a creative genius who lacks panache. Particularly Christian Bale is his usual mix of deep emotion and explosiveness. The audience can really feel his mind at work, giving his
character a unique amount of depth. All this aside, Michael Caine is the anchor, providing the air of wisdom and neutrality needed from a mentor-like character in a film like this. On a whole, the cast works very well, especially together.

"The second act is called The Turn. The magician makes his ordinary something do something extraordinary."


The narrative is complex and hardly the mastery of it can be ignored when you have duo at work. I would assure you; however, that what follows the film’s unusual setup is as vividly performed, compelling and surprising as any screen narrative in recent memory. Nolan mixes period detail about the performing of illusions with intriguing ideas about the frontiers of science and the complexities of human relationships; the film is as intoxicating in its depiction of trickery as it is evocative in its examination of loneliness and deceit.

"Now, if you're looking for the secret... You won't find it. That's why there's a third act called, The Prestige. "

This is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance and you see something shocking you've never seen before.

The end will shock you but like any magic, when the secret is revealed, you will laugh it off saying: "I knew it all from the very beginning"

Don't fool yourself in believing that.
There will never be a greater movie about the art of magic.

My rating: 8.5/10

Quicksand (2001)


Director: John Mackenzi
Writers: Desmond Lowden (book)
Timothy Prager (story)
Cast:

Michael Keaton ... Martin Raikes

Michael Caine ... Jake Mellows

Judith Godrèche ... Lela Forin (as Judith Godreche)

Rade Serbedzija ... Oleg Butraskaya (as Rade Sherbedgia)


Plot Summary: The workaholic head of the compliance section of a New York bank flies to Monaco to investigate unusual deposits from an offshore bank and gets embroidered as a murder suspect including money laundering.

Review: Sometimes it's just fun to see the run of the mill stuff and does make you realise, there are after all films just made for plain entertainment. Where you get what you expect, last I heard that was why we started the Genre system after all. A man who has the least interesting life lands in the middle of a land mine and soon he is dodging bullets with a sultry siren following him around.

I had never doubts that Michael Keaton can pull it off, and am sure, he would still fight his way to make this film more interesting no matter how mundane the writer or director has come up with while putting their little heads together. Of course, Michael Caine can just about act anybody and still come out unscathed, whereas the action sequences I must say were just too bland. The Russian ruffians plot with low budget explosions just made it enough unbearable but there was something quite interesting. Apparently, the preferred method of execution in Monaco is shooting people in the eye. Just a little nugget I picked up from the movie.

If you bored on a weekend and don't really want any movie to tickle your mind, but just something which give
you company when you making an omlette to go with your boring food. You can step out into the kitchen, complete your dinner with no sweat and still be in loop with this movie. Wiping your hand in the towel and walking in to the living room from your kitchen and still be sure, you are not at all lost.

Isn't it great!! No surprises and a plain healthy dinner too. Just pass me on that salt will
you?

My Rating: 4/10




FALLING DOWN (1993)

Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Ebbe Roe Smith

Stars: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Frederic Forrest

Genre: Drama
Length: 112 minutes
Cinema: 1993


Plot: On his way to work, Bill Foster gets stuck in a traffic jam so decides to abandon his car and walk home. But when a Korean convenience store owner overcharges him for a can of Coke, the mild-mannered Foster erupts into violence. Picking up a bag of assault weapons dropped in a drive-by shooting, Foster walks across the city violently venting his frustrations with the petty rule-makers and the lazily self-interested who make his life a misery.

Review:
The opening sequence is a lesson in film editing. Parallel editing with elegant use of sound and deft camera work. The first shot starts with wide angle shot continuing to Medium shot of Michael Douglas to a macro shot of a fly on this neck and finally ends with a Long shot behind his car revealing the claustrophobic traffic jam he finds himself. The relentless cross cutting continues until he jumps out of his car and runs away from the traffic. A man calls out to him

"Where the hell are you going mister?"


"I am going home..."


"Going home" is that what the film is all about, you will ask yourself. But the next sequence with the Korean shop-keeper will prove to you, it is not after all just about going home. Although this film received a lot of flake from various minority groups particularly and quite understandably from Asian-American communities, and was decried everywhere as a wholly irresponsible pandering to the redneck element of audiences.

But what it seems to me that critics and film goers were just scratching the surface because at no time of the film, I could distance myself from the main character. Michael Douglas manages to reveal such an inane character of the ordinary that, you would empathize with him even after he takes out the bazooka and fires at the construction site.
This film doesn't only speaks out the urban reality, it takes snipes at homo-sexuality, freedom of expression, mass consumerism and of course justice. The relationship he shares with his wife and daughter will reveal the unnerving side of Michael Douglas and only then, you will start realizing that he is not ultimately the average guy you were identifying yourself with for so long, he is actually a nut case pretending to be an average guy who snaps.
He is not under any cathartic attack whose duty today is to show you the real state of a average hard working guy who is meted out puffed hamburger when the menu shows a fat over sized one or how America used to be a free society allowing various communities across hundreds of different nationalities giving them equal opportunity. But then, what is this film all about?

These are questions that Michael Douglas character 'D-FENS' manages to raise? On the other hand, we have Michael Duvall at his very best, trying to wade thought his last day of premature retirement. The film is harsh and unforgiving, if the filmmaker wants a take a snipe at "equal opportunity" given to the blacks, it does so without any grimace, while it shows an Indian selling a gift to 'D-FENS' in that very street. The climax is believable and understandably so, as the past of D-FENS is revealed to us in stages, we don’t feel remorse at the end, as it a character we identified in the beginning and disowned towards the end. So, you betray D-FENS in the end and do feel guilty about it too. That is the mastery of the script and not to mention Michael Douglas.

He is brilliant
and "FallingDown' is a film, I guess every filmmaker wants to make, make a passing statement on everything you hate, even if you looking through a cheap telescope and very sure that the stars might be in the wrong constellation.

Make a note...and let the believers in you feel the guilt at the end.
Absolutely marvelous pretense of a great movie...still it managed quite well in doing that
so.

My Rating: 7/10


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Shop Girl (2005)


Director:Anand Tucker
Writers (WGA): Steve Martin (novel)
Steve Martin (screenplay)
Cast:Steve Martin ... Ray Porter
Claire Danes ... Mirabelle Buttersfield
Jason Schwartzman ... Jeremy Kraft
Bridgette Wilson ... Lisa Cramer (as Bridgette Wilson-Sampras)
PRODUCER: Ashok Armitraj, Jon J. Jashni, Steve Martin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Suschitsky
EDITOR: David Gamble
MUSIC: Barrington Pheloung

Review:
She stands behind the gloves counter of Saks Avenue, after a glamorous entry of the camera floating over the paraphernalia of the Saks Avenue Shop skipping over a lot other shop girl finally resting on one. what is so special about this shop girl? She is lonely, she is an artist trapped behind the non activity of that counter, she is waiting for her better half?Who will it be - will he be able to provide her security and be a perfect companion? Will he be a wealthy old gentlemen, who is ready to trade love for love or a innocent struggling dreamer who keeps all the pizza boxes in the front seat of his car so that he can finally make out a table of them. will the shop girl be practical and prudent and opt for a non-committal relationship.

Shop girl based on a novella by Steve Martin is being made into a thoughtful film. A film which will make you see different shades of love and a never before seen Steve martin. There are no usual Steve martin histrionics. For a good no. of shots, the camera tracks back on Steve Martin, while he is staring at the camera, and he seems to be impregnable of the stare he is giving you back. Steve martin plays this character, which seems to convince him of not falling in love with Claire Danes, the shop girl and that their present engagement is only arrangement of convenience, where he believes she is fine with it.

On the other side of the story, is scruffy and gauche Jeremy, who does everything you should not be doing on your first date, but still there is something very innocent on the way he does it? Like begging for a kiss, borrowing two bucks for the split movie tickets on their first date. And picking up a mint instead of condom when Claire Danes call him over for it?? There are quite a few comic moments, but Steve stays away from it. There is a strange kind of truthfulness in the film, which drop every pretence to make the point finally at the end of the film?

The script is handled masterfully and small details makes this film a must see. You need to rest your guards and look for the minuscule details which makes the love come around at the end of the film. The sex scenes are made to seem a great deal in the film only to nullify them completely during the course of the narrative.

Filled with subtleties, this bittersweet love story is ideal for thinkers. Thinkers, lovers and dreamers who want to connect.

A beautiful film with no pretence, Claire Danes is brilliant as ever. Steve Martin is in a new avatar and Jason Schwartzman add a great charm to the film. It will affect you in a strange way and you will definitely love it.

My rating: 8/10


Legends of the Fall (1994)


Directed by Edward Zwick
Writing credits Jim Harrison (novella)
Susan Shilliday (screenplay) and William D. Wittliff
(screenplay) (as Bill Wittliff)
Cast (in credits order)
Brad Pitt ... Tristan Ludlow
Anthony Hopkins ... Col. William Ludlow
Aidan Quinn ... Alfred Ludlow
Julia Ormond ... Susannah Fincannon Ludlow
Original Music by James Horner
Cinematography by John Toll
Film Editing by Steven Rosenblum

The name is a grand one, the first few shots of the film are a precursor to the film that is going to follow: The American west! The wild frontier! Sprawling landscape, sky that stretches on forever and Indians who can talk only wisdom but wisdom over a bonn fire, while two unknown people gauge on whiskey and beef.

At the center of Susan Shilliday and Bill Wittliff's script are the three Ludlow brothers: Alfred (Aidan Quinn), the oldest and most straight-laced; Tristan (Brad Pitt), the middle child with a special affinity for nature; and Samuel (Henry Thomas), the youngest and most idealistic. The family's patriarch is Col. Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins), an officer who left the U.S. army when he disagreed with the treatment of the Indians. The four men, along with an assortment of friends, live in the Montana Rockies, away from the trappings -- if not the presence -- of civilization.
Towards the beginning of the film, two events happen which are destined to turn each of their lives upside down. The first is Samuel's arrival home with new fiancée Susannah (Julia Ormond). Susannah seems delighted with her new beau, until she spots Tristan: unshaven, sweating, caked in dirt, mullet billowing in the wind and almost certainly ponging a fair bit. What woman could resist? The second is the outbreak of the First World War, news of which stirs all three braves into joining the army and heading for Europe to help battle Gerry.

Legends of the fall has all the ingredients for a great film, the cast is excellent with the making of a great tragedy with three brothers falling for one girl. The acting although completely unnecessary is over melodramatic, with overly manly hugs, rolling around in the dirt. I particularly disliked the tasteless passage of time shown during Brad Pitt's search for the inner voice in the middle of nowhere where he becomes a "hunter" and in doing so, embarks upon an unknown continent coming back with mementos of an unknown world. This sequence could have been a little creative. The music reminds you of Dances with Wolves and cinematography looking pathetic especially during World War I sequences.

Brad Pitt and all the other are brilliant actors but wasted in this film. There are too many clichés' and the film just never seem to end. There are many stages in the film where it looked like it was going to end, but the Indian just went on with the story revolving around Brad Pitt and his search.

But after the over melodramatic death of Samuel and Tristan failure to get him back home safe, brings upon the burden of death and dealing with it, makes the film a bit more interesting. The burden of Samuel death plays heavy on both Tristan and Susannah. And this inner conflict is what I found an interesting aspect which pulls the script forward. Only if the disenchantment of Government policies which made their father leaves the army was highlighted more, but although that was not the focus of the film, still the film failed at various stages and the loose script made it worse.

My inner voice says, you should avoid the film...and I can see the Indian nodding in agreement with me.

My rating: 4/10

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cinema Talk - Walking the Dead (2000)


Running Length: 1:45
MPAA Classification: R
Cast: Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly, Molly Parker, Janet McTeer, Paul Hipp, Sandra Oh, Hal Holbrook, Lawrence Dane
Director: Keith Gordon
Producers: Keith Gordon, Stuart Kleinman, Linda Reisman
Screenplay: Keith Gordon and Robert Dillon, based on the novel by Scott Spencer
Cinematography: Tom Richmond
Music: tomandandy
U.S. Distributor: USA Films

Plot Summary: Fielding Pierce lives the life of an aspiring politician - in 1972 he's serving in the Coast Guard (trying to avoid Vietnam in the most honorable way), and by 1973 he has entered law school. Along the way he falls in love with Sarah, a fiercely idealistic woman who devotes her life to helping others - unfortunately she's killed in an explosion while assisting members of the Chilean resistance. Nine years later, in the middle of a congressional election, Fielding is suddenly flooded with thoughts and visions of his lost love.

Review: There are a very few a times you wonder that is it necessary to pull up your magnifying glass and gloss through a movie looking for a mole. Can it be possible to not look at the transition point, the bald expression in an actor's face, a loose end in the screenplay and inept editing to spill the beans or yes a director's obsession with only a few characters and other characters looks faded with no space in the script?

Sometimes you just don't want to raise them in a film review, because, while going through the course of the movie, it manages to stir such emotions within in and moves you to tears that you stop looking in the craft that might have gone wrong and still it is balancing on the emotional quotient that has captured your attention.

WAKING THE DEAD skips back and forth in the life of Fielding Pierce (Billy Crudup), a young Coast Guard officer who yearns for political office. In 1972 New York, he falls hard for Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly), whose leftist activism clashes with his driven image making. The pair become passionate, quarrel, split apart and reunites repeatedly over the next two years, as Fielding’s star rises and Sarah’s quest for social justice becomes more specific and dangerous.

The film uses the most often used transition method to flip back to history, the frame washes down to pure white and takes you 9 years back in Fielding's life. But soon, you stop noticing it as Billy gives a great performance where he definitely looks a different person during the time he was with Sarah played beautifully by Jennifer Connelly, her performance reminds me of Rachel Weitz in her role in "The Constant Gardener". But the chemistry that Fielding and Sarah build between each other will touch you in a strange way. There are many a times when two people know that they are made for each other and still wonder if their inner beliefs will act as a barrier for a peaceful life ahead. "Soul mate" is word that is often used when we go back into nostalgia in Fielding and Sarah's relationship, and their performance just reinforces it, although we see in them brief interlude and most often their engagement is not always resolving.

During the last days of Fielding campaign where he builds up a phantom or a supernatural spirit conjured by Fielding’s fervent need for closure? The films places you in Fielding place and for a moment for the great soul mates that they seem to be, you start believing in his false visions. The only thing in the film which didn't work for me is the character of Molly Parker who seems to be as fine as a brittle trophy girlfriend; her character is flatly conceived and badly executed.

Rest will just breeze you through, an amazing film which talks about relationship like I have seen very few a film managing to portray yet. Jennifer Connelly is brilliant and though her screen time seems to be fairly less, you will not realize that, and constantly yearn for her to appear again.

My Rating: 8/10

Friday, July 27, 2007

Double Bill - City by the sea (2002)

"Doube Bill" is what it is called, two films back to back, stretching to the wee hours of the night. Where, at the end, you can think about the film, fidgeting with it, rolling in inside you head, while you puff out the insanely mesmesmerising WILLS NAVYCUT cigarrete into the cool misty air of my hometown on top of our newly built mansion, I prefer to call it a mansion, in view of my present studio apartment in non-hip Qusais, Dubai.

Well, two films, both connected either by the genre they belong to or share the same lead actor or may be the same bigshot director. I remember "True Lies" followed by "Toal Recall" and how can i forget Robbin Willians special "Jumanji" and "Mrs. Doubtfire". So, while I got yet another film from my college library and one from my DVD parlour in Qusais. One day, out of pure curiosity, I asked my seemingly ignorant DVD parlor guy, if he is a member of Cannes Film Club, I gave me first a good hard look and said "Kann!!Wo kya hota hai", I said nothing and picked up City by the Sea this time.

I promised I won't act so hurridly like this ever, probably he can also hardly explain the phenomenon, the fact of the matter remains, how on the earth does foreign titles like "Ebrahim Monsier and the flowers of Quran" or take for instance "The wind that shakes the barley" find themselves in English film shelf. And I knew it for sure, so did he, that this would be first and last time, someone had showed interesting on those film, the entry card was blank except for my name - shabbir. "God!! they misspel my name every time"

So, much for a double bill, well, time I really cant smell the misty cool air, but a hot wind blowing to my face, whispering nothing in arabic.

This time the "double bill" is The Departed (2006) and City by the Sea (2002).



Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Writers (WGA):Mike McAlary
(article)Ken Hixon (screenplay)
Cast:


Robert De Niro ...Vincent LaMarca
Frances McDormand...Michelle
James Franco...Joey "Nova" LaMarca
Eliza Dushku...Gina
William Forsythe...Spyder



Plot Summary: New York City homicide detective Vincent LaMarca has forged a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, making a name for himself as a man intensely committed to his work. But on his latest case, the stakes are higher for Vincent--the suspect he's investigating is his own son. He and Joey have been painfully estranged ever since Vincent divorced his wife and left the decaying boardwalks of Long Beach, Long Island for the anonymity of Manhattan and a successful career with the NYPD. He lives his life in solitude, keeping his girlfriend at arm's length; But this murder investigation is drawing Vincent home to Long Beach, the self-proclaimed City by the Sea, where the past has been waiting for him to return. The agonizing memory that has tortured him all his life--the death of his father, a convicted murderer who was executed when Vincent was just a boy--still plagues him.



Review:Before I started the DVD of City by the Sea, just wanted to gauge the mood of the film, so I went about to see the trailer of the film. It sometimes fun to locate the high points in the film after watching the trailer, if you remember when digital technology and effects hooked on the trailer making industry and every other film out of the stable looked like some Fantastic Four films or every film looked like a gangster thriller Godzilla movie, great gun-fights, chase sequence or Drugged overdosed movie like "Requiem for a Dream"

City the Sea, is nothing what the trailer looks like, may be, no one bothered to check on the Director's filmography before setting out to make the trailer. But we are not here to talk about the trailer, but the film, so here we go.

Robert De Niro, a police detective who have gained an extra 5 Kg, its a stormy night, and his girlfriend living on the 3rd floor, he lives on the 4th, is a little scared and needs his company, she need him. He has just came from his office, had a beer, made dinner for himself and yes, walking down the stairs to give company to his girlfriend and 40 yr old spinster. A great chemistry seems to be building up between them and you start wondering if the story is about them. But leave the details, she is just an anchor to the great emotional disengagement Robert De Niro shares with his estranged boy played by James Franco.

This film is not about drugs let me tell you that, not about two old people trying to connect to each other, and nor about two police man sharing a great working relationship, this is just the opposite to the film "Road to Perdition". A man not willing to sacrifice his embittered past to face his future and fight for his son. When Robert De Niro confesses his story to his girlfriend whom he has kept in dark, he tells her "That was an old me, and I didn't wanted you to know it". His son in his last days of a convict, tell his father, "Ya, I killed the man, but it was the good me, not the real me".

You see the connection, City by the Sea, is a great emotional story whose sloppy pace will at no point act as a hindrance towards its possibly tragic ending. The drug dealers but looks like some paper tigers and don't really scare you, infact, it disappoints you a bit. James Franco gives a great performance, I really like what he does, when he is not talking, and same goes for Robert De Niro, his controlled performance will what reinforces the fact that he has always something different in store for you.

I like the whole decaying feel of the film, and the over emphasis on the emotional strain both the father son goes through in the film. A highly emotional drama which will leave you high and dry throughout the film. It doesn't try to stylize or waste any efforts in glamorizing the setting of the film, hardly any efforts seem to go in that direction. Had any other director goes this script, could possibly make a stylized drug infested neighborhood, but what remains out of Michael Caton-Jonen's film, is the drama, so well told and so cleanly depicted.

Yet, no thrills, no frills, just a tearful fatalistic film of a man, turning his back to the past and feeling sorry for his lost chances.

My Rating: 7/10

Cinema Talk - The Departed (2006)




Directed by Martin Scorsese
Writing credits (WGA) William Monahan (screenplay)
Remake of "Infernal Affairs"
Suit Fai Mak (2002 screenplay Wu jian dao)
(as Alan Mak) and Felix Chong
(2002 screenplay Wu jian dao)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio...William 'Billy' Costigan Jr.
Matt Damon...Sgt.Colin Sullivan
Jack Nicholson...Francis 'Frank' Costello
Mark Wahlberg...Sgt. Sean Dignam
Martin Sheen...Capt. Oliver Queenan
Ray Winstone...Mr. French
Vera Farmiga...Madolyn Madden

Plot Summary: The movie is violent crime drama about a local mafia crime boss, and an undercover agent trying to bring him down, and a dirty detective. It was the fun “double identity” theme where each character has to struggle with concealing his hidden identity and coming to terms with the stress and drama the situation creates. Although the material is all stuff we’ve seen before, the “hero” undercover agent who wants his identity back, the dirty detective and the over-the-top hedonistic crime boss ala soprano style.
Review:

Since I treat every Martin Scorsese film to be lesson in film making, I infact, wanted to sit with a writing pad, or a pause control, the 2nd time, I drove the DVD in. But, down the line, I lost in touch with my 2B pencil or the remote, because I kept thinking, may be just now, Scorsese stay on a little longer with this character and may be I can find mypencil back.

My first reaction to the film was hurried; a film which was originally may be four hours old and very clinically Thelma Schoonmaker created another chapter in Editing training, one another film edited with no loose ends, but if that is the case, how about the scene with Jack Nicholson and Leonardo. Jack smells his tonic, and says "I smell a rat!”, cut to Leonardo's MCU, in between we see Ray Winstone, smirking, Scary isn't it. Does Jack already know about him, what will he do now, cut him to pieces? You don't know? Did Damon manage to find out his identity by punching? in the Social Security ID? As these questions rage you indefinitely, Leonardo turns on the heat to Jack Nicholson. You start feeling, you have seen this before, may be in "Good Fellas" or "Casino", no, is it different these times or may be not?

Interestingly, When the camera stays on with them, Leonardo doesn't know, what happening behind him, you see that vulnerability behind him, in his face, in his expression, he weights on every word he is hanging on to. But, he gathers himself together, and stares at Jack and says "I told you before, and I tell you again, I am not the rat". You almost believe him.

Had i seen the script before and got stuck on this page, I may be not so impressed, but seeing the scene in the film, I know where the magic began, and how just a few faded lines can be turned into a masterpiece. How a remake remains no longer a remake, what follows are more intricate network of inciting sequences and more defined and rounded characters. When Leonardo and Vera Farmiga does it, as she says "I can’t stand your vulnerability anymore", you get to know the heartbeat of the film, the vulnerability of the storyline, its emotions, its characters. The cat and mouse chase genre transformed into a masterpiece, and just look at the supporting cast, Mark Wahlburg and Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin character just makes you feel sad and funny about the Investigative Team, how lame and unprepared they look before Costello's gang. so, what will take Costello' gang, you keep wondering?

I particularly love the way, when Leonardo asks him, "why do you do this? For money", Jack replies, "The last time, I stole money was from Johnny, when I was four, and far as Cunt goes....” You seem to question the motivation behind Costello's madness?

The fractured Identity crises seem to bind both Leonardo and Matt Demon in the film. They both have places of their own in the film, and whenever they meet, you feel uncomfortable, almost as if you don't want them to converse with each other, as if you want to be buried for ever.

There are so much more, we can discuss about this film like any other Scorsese film, may be next time, if I could find my pencil while watching the film.

Oh yes! I heard Martin finally got an Oscar for this film, I can hear everyone saying, "It was long deserved".


My Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cinema Talk - The Salton Sea (2002)



Director:D.J. Caruso
Writer (WGA):Tony Gayton
Cast: Val Kilmer ... Danny Parker/Tom Van Allen
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Pooh-Bear
Peter Sarsgaard ... Jimmy the Finn
Deborah Kara Unger... Colette
Chandra West ... Liz

Plot Summary: After the murder of his beloved wife, Danny Parker (Val Kilmer) is set adrift in a world where nothing is as it seems. On his journey He befriends slacker Jimmy the Fin (Peter Sarsgaard) and becomes involved in rescuing his neighbor Colette (Debra Kara Unger) from her own demons. Danny is antagonized by undercover narcotics agents (Anthony Lapaglia and Doug Hutchison) and sadistic dealer Pooh Bear (Vincent D'Onfronio)

Review:

"Who am I?", he asks in breathy narration as he surveys the flames licking at his feet with a detached nonchalance, "Avenging angel? Judas Incarnate? Prodigal son? Loving husband? Trumpet player? Speed freak? You decide."He gives away both his names, I am Danny Parker or Tom Van Allen, and you are so mesmerised by the visual that you nearly miss out the real truth as he is giving away both the names, and why did he choose to be Danny Parker - the low rug rat.

Van Kilver voice-over is intense, sober and it creeps under your skin looking in for answers to his questions. An intense performance from the very first shot from the towering ceiling to the floors as his apartment is on fire, and Van Kilmer playing one of the Miles Davis's trumpet numbers.

We enter to the world of drugs and the search of gak (Methamphetamine), which Poor Danny is addicted ends with Chemical Brother’s "Let Forever be". "Requiem for a Dream" meets "memento" and they both meet "Train spotting".

Kilmer is greatly supported by Peter Sarsgaard, and we meet some amazing characters in their loosely unreal world of four day drug fiesta or it was three, as Danny can hardly remembers.
You dip in and out of the plot but still seem to miss some links, you seem to get hold of the threads Danny is loosing for you but at the same time, feel them around your neck. Although, it can be said, the film plays to the gallery - I mean the stylization, the suspense build-up and production design of film - noir lighting just makes the film too correct. The sleek treatment of the visuals makes the film too finesse to portray the drug industry or mechanism.

From the mesmerising gun dealer to pooh-bear's portrayal by Vincent D'Onofrio, the performances in the film are worth rooting for. DJ Caruso, took all the chances but at the same time, didn't take any.

Art director Douglas Cumming and cinematographer Amir M. Mokri have combined to stunning effect to realize screenwriter Tony Gayton's vision, creating a dreamscape mood that stylistically blends normality with the hallucinogenic haze of the addict.

So, Dive in to the dark world put together by Curoso, and yes Van Kilmer will not stop short of surprising you, every time you try and settle down.

My Rating: 9/10

This film has steamrolled into my favorite film list, well, after a long gap, a new entry, I am excited!!

Book Mark - The Ambler Warning


In Short: THE AMBLER WARNING opens at a clandestine psychiatric facility on a restricted-access island just off the coast of Virginia, within spitting distance of Langley. The facility ostensibly treats intelligence agents who may know too much or who are too dangerous to leave wandering among the general populace. One of these patients is Hal Ambler, who is kept heavily medicated and guarded at all times. When a hospital worker helps him escape, Ambler doesn't think twice before jumping, and almost immediately reverts to form in utilizing the training and skills that ultimately got him hospitalized in the first place.

Ambler's immediate goal is to determine who caused him to be hospitalized, and why. There's one problem, however: Ambler does not exist. There is no record of him anywhere. Worse, when he looks in the mirror, he doesn't recognize the man he sees looking back. What Ambler does uncover, though, is that someone is attempting to frame him for the murders of foreign heads of state, with a most significant one being ready to occur within a rather short period of time. Ambler, with the might and majesty of the U.S. intelligence service hunting him, finds a couple of unlikely allies, including an agency number-cruncher who is able to extrapolate conclusions from raw data with extremely accurate results.

THE AMBLER WARNING comes at a time, when a lot of Hollywood flicks have been made based on Ludlum stories. The novels kicks off the suspense from Page2 itself and the relentless action continues to the last pages.

The principle character Hal Ambler's failure to understand "Who he is or was" and the constant failure to connect to his past remains the bedrock of the novel. He often ends up saying "Madness...Complete Madness"

However, the Chinese backdrop seems to be the renewed interest of authors after the chilling cold war.

What I particularly liked in the novel and which makes it immensely a must-read is the special gift of Hal Ambler to read people, he is virtually a walking lie-detector, and his interesting vibes on people walking on the busy street and among which he could point out a waiting assassin makes him an interesting character for the novel.

A great read...just that I found the ending a little cliché' not that I have any complains. To be honest I thoroughly enjoyed the cliché'...an enjoyable read

My rating: 6/10

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