Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Even the excellent performances of Sam Rockwell and Hilary Swank can’t save this absolute farce of a film. Conviction is such a drag. There is nothing interesting about the story. But just the fact that it’s a real story about a brother and sister, who spent most of their childhood in foster homes, fighting for justice managed to attract a lot of good actors. Once they’re on board, director Tony Goldwyn lets them do all the work. He just sits by and watches them work while translating the screenplay in a color by number fashion. The pace is steady only because the director makes no attempt at capturing your attention. Depicting real events hardly matters when what you see on screen isn't the least bit believable. Not worth your time. Just skip it.
Rating - 4/10
Friday, January 14, 2011
Critics didn’t treat Easan very well. Many reviews mentioned that the second half of the film wasn’t related to the first, that there could’ve been more time spent in the editing room cutting down the time duration and that eventually, it wasn’t worth watching. I’m a person who trusts critical opinions over trailers. Since I watched Subramaniapuram free of cost and loved every bit of it, I decided to pay my respects by watching Easan at the theatre. It would be difficult to disappoint me since I had little expectation.
As soon as I came out the theatre, I felt something strong surge through my head. The last part of the film was so unsettling that I really didn’t know what to say. But I could feel something. The film was powerful enough to create such strong emotion in me without meaning to do so. Easan is a film that has so much substance that it can be appreciated more in retrospect. The more I think of the film, the more I see its brilliance. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to keep you thinking. It’s the film maker’s brilliance I’m talking about. The amount of importance he gives to little details is astounding.
Easan’s a film that carves a niche for itself in kollywood. I’ve seen nothing like it. The screenplay isn’t something that comes from a lucky brainwave but something that is a product of great insight, something that’s been studied for a long time with interest and attention. It has a plot, but the film isn’t plot driven. The plot while being complex in itself is told with such authenticity that it keeps you engaged the whole 200 minutes. Before you get to the plot, there’re a lot of culturally relevant aspects that are focused on. Once you get to it, he still retains some of the focus on Chennai culture.
The film maker, Sasikumar has studied Chennai, its people, how they think, how that thought translates to action and how society reacts to it. Besides, he doesn’t take sides or tell you what to think. He just shows things for what they are and gives you the freedom to decide how you feel on issues that we know of but hardly talk about. There're some strong themes that have been dealt with very subtly that I'd rather not mention, but you'll know it when you see it. He knows that films aren’t about stories, but about storytelling. And he’s a damn good storyteller. By adding new characters, one at a time, the story is unraveled, bit by bit. Easan, he narrates with brutal honesty- it has gore in the right amounts and at the right time to make you feel just the way you would if you saw it happening right in front of your eyes.
This is not just another Tamil film. Heroes and Villains don’t exist. There’re so many characters and not one of them is neglected. Sasikumar decides to treat them as characters and show them for what they are. They don’t do what they do because they’re ‘good’ or ‘bad’. You see their wants, their motives and their actions. The actors who play them, retain their characters in their shoes as long as they’re on screen. You understand the characters by what you see, not by watching them tell you how they feel.
James Vasanthan has done a good job scoring the music for the film. Most people are bound to compare it to that of Subramaniapuram, but they compare it not by its use but how the music tracks stand out, alone. Instead of being present for the purpose of entertainment, it has been employed purely as a device for storytelling.
The main stand out of the film, is the camerawork. My sincere appreciation goes to Sasikumar for expoiting cinematographer Kathir and to Kathir for letting himself be exploited. This is just why calling Sasikumar a film maker would be understating. That isn’t what his definition limits to. He’s an artist. I’ve seen the film twice in the theatre, spent almost seven hours watching it and I plan on watching it again when it gets a DVD- release. Yes, it is that good. For what it is, I believe it’s a flawed masterpiece. There're a few parts of the film that were rushed. Has it outdone Subramaniapuram? I don’t think so. Subramaniapuram had more raw ferocity to it. Easan, covers so much more but doesn’t have that grit and it isn’t supposed to. Subramaniapuram is as great a debut film as Easan is as a second film. The former was clearly a labor of love while the latter shows Sasikumar’s evolving maturity as a film maker.
Rating – 9/10
Sunday, January 9, 2011
I'd been waiting to see Machete after I saw the fake trailer of it in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse. I enjoyed both parts of Grindhouse, Planet Terror and Death Proof. While I liked Death Proof more, I felt Planet Terror deserved more appreciation.
But Machete? I can't find one reason to recommend this film. It's not so much of a misfire or a disappointment. It's too dull to be given even that much of importance. A movie like this isn’t one I expect to satisfy my intellectual appetite, so I don't pay much attention. Its entertainment value is supposed to grab my attention. Does it do so? Not one bit. I won't tell you what it's about, there's nothing special about it. There's gore, in amounts that neither entertains nor provokes you. The film's a snooze.
In trying to recall the film, I remember it ends with nuns, priests, rock n roll stars(who've picked up a trait or two from 50 cent) and Mexican parasites in blood lust mode, all of them spraying away bullets hoping to reach orgasm. It's a blood bath, sadly, not of the holy Christ. The screenplay is laughable with dialogues that are caricatures of already existing catch-phrases. "You Just Fucked With The Wrong Mexican." Woah! That did send a shiver down my spine. Jessica Alba gets on top of a car and screams “ We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” A crucified priest decides to say “God has mercy, I don’t. You go to hell.” Cool? Smart? Maybe, if you’ve just reached adolescence.
Danny Trejo is lethally magnetic but nothing that Machete does is even close. Machete's a guy with enough scars to prevent his dead body from being recognized, constipated expressions that'll make you restrain your laughter(Out of, not fear, but pity), a cartoonish raucous voice and a weapon belt with a lot of knives that look like they were stolen from some old lady's kitchen at midnight.
If anything, I'm glad I watched this cheap gimmick because it's been on my hard disk long enough, now I can free 1.22 GB. But you don't have to sit through 100 minutes watching it, just to free your hard disk, you could take my word and delete it right away. I know, there's a lot about the film I haven't talked about. Those aspects just exist, they are not worthy of criticism.
Before the credit rolls, we're asked to look forward to sequels. Machete Kills. Machete Kills again. The missing object in the sentence is Robert Rodriguez' reputation.
Rating - 4/10