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Sunday, February 27, 2011

83rd Academy Award predictions.

Best Picture-
Will win: The King's Speech
Should win: The Social Network
Should've been nominated: The Ghost Writer

Best Director-
Will win: David Fincher- The Social Network
Should win: David Fincher- The Social Network
Should've been nominated: Roman Polanski- The Ghost Writer

Best Actor-
Will win: Colin Firth- The King's Speech
Should win: Javier Bardem- Biutiful
Should've been nominated: Edward Norton- Leaves of grass

Best Actress-
Will win: Natalie Portman- Black Swan
Should win: Natalie Portman- Black Swan
Should've been nominated: Julianne Moore- The Kids Are All Right

Best Supporting Actor-
Will win: Christian Bale- The Fighter
Should win: Christian Bale- The Fighter
Should've been nominated: Edward Norton- Stone

Best Supporting Actress-
Will win: Mellisa Leo- The Fighter
Should win: Mellisa Leo- The Fighter
Should've been nominated: Milla Jovovich- Stone

Best Original Screenplay-
Will win: The King's Speech
Should win: The King's Speech
Should've been nominated: Stone

Best Adapted Screenplay-
Will win: The Social Network
Should win: The Social Network
Should've been nominated: The Ghost Writer

Original Score-
Will win: The Social Network
Should win: The Social Network
Should've been nominated: The Ghost Writer

Original Song-
Will win: Toy Story 3
Should win: Toy Story 3

Will win: Roger Deakins- True Grit
Should win: Matthew Libatique- Black Swan
Should've been nominated: Anthony Dodd Mantle- 127 hours

Will win: The Social Network
Should win: The Social Network
Should've been nominated: Inception

Sound Editing-
Will win: Inception
Should win: Inception

Sound Mixing-
Will win: Inception
Should win: Inception
Should've been nominated: Stone

Visual Effects-
Will win: Inception
Should win: Inception

Art Direction-
Will win: Alice in Wonderland
Should win: Alice in Wonderland
Should've been nominated: The Ghost Writer

I won't be predicting the categories of animated film, foreign film, documentary, costume design and make up because I haven't seen all of the nominees. Even If I did, I wouldn't be sure.

EDIT: Result- 14/16. Didn't expect Inception to win for cinematography and The King's Speech to get more praise than it deserves.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

127 hours (2010)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yudham Sei (2010)

The general consensus of Yudham Sei: “An edge of the seat thriller.” I agree with the choice of words. I was actually on the edge of my seat contemplating on walking out of the theatre. That was thrilling, compared to the film.

Yudham Sei is self-indulgent pretentious garbage that I wouldn’t watch even if I was to get paid for it. Homeless beggars would rather sleep on the streets than sleep in an air-conditioned theatre that screens the film. Director Mysskin has tried too hard to make a powerful film by playing with the audience’s emotions. With the film he shocks, provokes, inserts twists, milks sentiment as and when he wishes.

The lead character is J.Krishnamoorthy. He runs fast, he takes on eight people with a penknife and wears leather shoes. The man is labeled as a “good” guy. That’s how the central character of the film is written. He has hardly any depth. All you know is that he is “the best police officer” and that he wants to find his kidnapped sister. How are we to understand him and his wants? He is glorified by making every other character around him seem insensitive. This is the limit of Mysskin’s talent. He might be able to capture and invert beautiful shots of cobwebs, cardboard boxes, watermelons, snakes, skies, lampposts and water, in various colors of light, but a consummation of all that doesn’t qualify as a film. It’s no more than a power point presentation of google image search results.

You know right from the beginning that it’s a talented crew and they could be good at what they do. Unfortunately, they’re in the wrong hands. Mysskin uses them in all the wrong ways. He has an eye for detail but not the honesty of an artist. He goes to the extent of making a direct reference to Rashomon by using the film’s name. It wasn’t a tribute or a token of appreciation; it was a shameless attempt at letting the audience know that he’s someone with international exposure to films. As if we’ve forgotten about him not giving credit to the original material that Nandalala was adapted from. Mysskin has low self esteem, he doesn’t have faith in his script and therefore he tries to get the music to drive the film. Newcomer K certainly has talent but it’s the truth, everyone has to start at the bottom.

The screenplay is laughable. It’s so horribly contrived. Half the story is narrated by a nearly dead man who laughs and drinks despite having two bullets lodged in his intestine. The characters keep doing things that are out of character. Mysskin, the director should never hire Mysskin, the screenwriter again. From Mysskin’s films, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a film-maker only because he wants to be one, not because he enjoys making films. It’s shabbily overdone and the visual metaphors just make it worse. Yudham Sei is like eating a burger filled with just mayonnaise. You’re going to feel like throwing up. I could write another thousand words about why the film sucks so hard, but I’m going to spare you of that. It’s poison. Stay away from it.

Rating – 0/10

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who has directed three award worthy films in the last decade with Amores Perros, 21 grams and Babel, now delivers his fourth. Just that Biutiful follows a linear storyline could give you the idea that it'd be a notch under its predecessors, however, its narrative stays steady. The main character Uxbal is described as "Devoted father, tormented lover, mystified son, underground businessman, ghost seeker, spiritual sensitive, consumer-goods pirate, guilty conscience and urban survivor." All personified by actor Javier Bardem whose face expresses a multitude of emotions just by the slightest twitch of a muscle. He nails every nuance of the role. What he embodies is more a human being than a character. You're in his state of mind when you're watching Bardem's visceral projection of a man who eventually concedes to the bitter truth that his end is near and it's all over, but still remains someone who's trying to keep everything from going to pieces.

Every minute you're watching the screen, you're not in your seat. You're right there, in the film. You're in the world the Inarritu has created. The film tells you little about Uxbal, nonetheless, he seems familiar. The time capsule of the film comprises just a slice of his life which is penetrated with shrill humanity. Biutiful lives up to its title in every way. The streets of bedraggled tenements in Barcelona are turned pretty by cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto's magic touch. You might be unable to connect the dots after the first watch, but it won't matter. It's the heartfelt journey that counts. If there's something terrific about the film, it is the film itself. When I think back on what was good about the film, I don't know what to put my finger on, although its greatness is one that can be sensed early in the film. Nothing stands out; everything seems to have been channeled through a pipeline. What comes out is something that is experienced with palpable melancholy and leaves you in emotional shambles. You're in for a work out.

Rating- 10/10


I happen to agree with the general consensus on Aadukalam: Thumbs up. It is certainly worth the price of your ticket.

Pettaikaaran and inspector Rathnaswamy are rivals in the cockfighting business. Pettaikaaran trains his roosters exclusively for tournaments. He has three accomplices in the business- Dorai, a bar owner who invests in Pettaikaaran’s cocks, Karruppu who positions the cock before every battle and Ayug, the medic who helps the cocks rejuvenate so that they’re back in action. When Rathnaswamy can take no more of the losing streak, he sends his men on a raid and arrests people involved. Pettaikaaran’s men refuse to submit to the situation, so they hit back. A series of battles ensue and they finally settle on the ultimate cockfight tournament. While the story is hinged on the cockfighting business, the film examines the minds of the characters in it, through which it deals with dark themes such as power, jealousy, disloyalty, greed and the human ego. The love affair between Karuppu and an Anglo-Indian girl works as breezy humour even at times where the film intends to be serious.

Director Vetrimaaran has wrapped everything into a single unit with crisp direction. With Aadukalam, he surpasses Polladhavan, his debut film. Splendid acting by the cast is what the film mainly benefits from. The characters might not be complex, but they’re credible. The music is a perfect fit, including the godfather soundtrack being played at regular intervals for which, credit hasn’t been given.

The film isn’t without its share of flaws. Cockfights are more interesting than watching Dhanush bash up five guys. What the film lacks is in the aspect of storytelling. You get the arc of the story, but it is told rather plainly. The ending? It sucks. Don’t let that stop you from watching it, it takes away little from the film.

Kollywood gives us hope by opening 2011 with Aadukalam.

Rating- 7/10

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Ghost Writer (2010)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mar Adentro - The Sea Within (2004)

A film about a man who narrowly escaped death but survived to be a talking vegetable could’ve moved the audience to pieces. As toneless as the film may be, the quadriplegic is one of the many people in the film, whom we don’t care about let alone empathizing with. He’s treated neither as a survivor or a sufferer. After hiring a hypersensitive lawyer, he hopes to be killed, mercifully. Just as you’re expecting the case to start, the lawyer ends up as a quadriplegic herself. They’re both lust for each other but sadly they can’t have sex. So, they talk about it, visualizing it with their eyes closed. The guy can’t feel a thing, which includes his penis yet he manages to two-time and has multiple (visual) sex partners. Those in the film that aren’t disabled fight with each other, over shaving and bathing him. The acting is terrible except for that of Javier Bardem who does what he can to give the film, well, something; although, his inanimate presence (mostly with a pencil in his mouth) isn’t something you can sit through for two hours. Every scene without him isn’t worth watching and every scene with him is repetitive. A priest comes to convince him that life is worth it and guess what? He’s a quadriplegic too. If there’s anyone you can empathize with, it’s the cameraman who makes it a point to move the camera in every scene. There’re about half as many wheelchairs as people and they’re more interesting to observe. The screenplay is a recorded debate on euthanasia, which reaches a ‘living is a right, not an obligation’ verdict. Two hours of babble to get to this? You won’t get past the first hour. I wholeheartedly agree with the message. This quadriplegic film should’ve gone where it deserved to be- in the waste basket.

Rating- 3/10

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