Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) - Movie Review

Supposed to be the best of the Star Wars, “Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back” is a hesitant approach towards dealing the concept of right and wrong. This entitlement of “Force” being the synonym of the God power is used as the tool to invite the young hero kid Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) into the claws of Darth Vader (David Prowse). In between that stands the Yoda (voice of Frank Oz) giving some of the best sequences in this otherwise scared film in taking a fierce step in the drama of galactic existence.

There is a good judgment call by George Lucas in sketching the story which is to understand the characters than the mere dependency on the uber-hi-tech visuals. When the spectacular photography skis us into the cold planet of Hoth, Luke is sprouting out into the realms of manhood. He has taken responsibility of being the leading soldier in the rebel group and in one of his regular patrol to monitor the surroundings, he is wounded and captured by bear like animal. Seeing the death on the jaws of this beast, Luke witnesses Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness) in spirit advising him to reach out for Yoda to become the Jedi Knight. Being Jedi Knight is being ridiculously powerful without using it. That is the nature of Zen. Maintaining that control over the limitless power is the art of a wise master. It is a formula but has ample opportunity to enforce the maturity of the film. Thus they do it through Yoda with Luke. Those scenes work and see the direction the film wants us to take through. The rest though is nothing new from the first part except with some more outstanding graphic work.

In this part we see 3PO clearly addressing Han (Harrison Ford) and Luke as human beings. What that explains is uncertain. There is a tension which is projected as a clinical approach between Han and Leia (Carrie Fisher). Han maintains his charm for arrogance and love for smart lines in this with Ford doing his sleep walk over the role. I was informed that this is where we learn about the dark side of Darth Vader. Other than choking remotely, in person and through mind of his Admirals and Captains, there is nothing in depth of Vader to be attracted to the dark side of the force. He is desperate to get Luke alive. He wants him on his side as he knows the capability of the kid. That hunt is what the film is all about. The players in bait and rescue and again bait are Han, Leia, 3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2. Another addition to the list of betrayals and friendship is Lando (Billy Dee Williams).

Luke the charismatic kid follows Ben’s spirit like a puppy dog. He takes his course towards an unknown planet to hunt for Yoda. Yoda a small suspecting looking creature begins to nag Luke and then reveals the true self once Luke has ridiculed enough. Begins the lesson of control and “free your mind” style advices for Luke to get seasoned with the force. Yoda looks like the inspiration for Morpheus in “The Matrix”. Yoda also commands the respect being a puppet over the screen effortlessly. We do not see much of him though. Seems like getting trained as Jedi Knight is a one week crash course which our friend Luke cuts short to rescue his friends. Ben and Yoda literally begs Luke which is of no use. Yoda and Ben both capable of seeing the future do not see this because they could have saved lot of energy. But wait Luke also by that time gets a glimpse of selective future. May be that is the reason he was being that stubborn kid and wastes their time. Anyways, when the power goes to peek in the eventuality, it gets confusing and unnecessary.

There will be nail biting flight scenes and one or two clever choreography in slaying down giant Imperial Walkers. And along with it you would know which fighter pilot would get hit when he gets more than one line of dialogue. If some one is going to play the card of “for those times”, please save it for something really classic. Movies like “Serpico” or “Three Days of Condor” of “those times” did not take that excuse. Nor did the old and gold sci fi “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

Anyways, directed by Irvin Kershner, this Star Wars sure takes a bold step in to seeing these characters. They understand the bar they set in the previous film and the need for thick personalities. Yoda is the trump card but they do not utilize him to the fullest extent. Instead we are thrown in to the cockpit of Falcon every other minute and wondering when will it really get fixed for taking off to its super high speed. And oh, 3PO and R2-D2 still have a very good chemistry as they had in the “A New Hope”. Han and Leia too develop a good rapport and makes believe of their love when Han enters as Darth Vader’s test subject for Carbon freezing. While there is no wonder it is thoroughly a cult status in following up a B movie entertainment of the first, it could have been a far better film and more importantly the mature film it attempts to be if the creators would have boldly handled it with iron fist..

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Chop Shop" (2007) - Movie Review

Ale (Alejandro Polanco) in “Chop Shop” reminded of the small kids working in an old torn up automobile shop back in my native. They all had an universal trait of wittiness, shrewd and would sell you the crappiest product as the best in no time. They work hard and some how learn the attitude to cherish and enjoy to find the solace in the little money they get. Some become so loyal to their master that they soon take over the shop or may be move out to open their own and compete better. The strangest though is that “Chop Shop” happens in the near by neighbourhood of New York. If they have not showed the high buildings in the initial scenes and roaring “Mets” cheer from Shea Stadium hiding this place, it could have been mistaken for another country with people speaking accented English.

Ramin Bahrani the director of this film takes through the life of this young boy growing up as his surrounding demands to. He works his way out and finds a job as the errand boy in an automobile shop. Low labour and a night guard to live there puts him out there. He sneaks in like million times to get his things done. He jumps in to the office of his boss for making calls for locating his sister (Isamar Gonzales). He steals tire plates from the stadiums, sells pirated DVDs, markets as the kid trying to go school and ride on the wave of sympathy in subways and almost does everything possible to get the bits and pieces of dollars. He has been saving up for quite a while now and hopes to get a van with his sister to open up a fast food shop of their own.

He is industrious and Bahrani builds up a different sense of appeal in this tough life. As Ale we are elated on the day he goes through. Running around and understanding the possibilities and environment he has been put in, he rises up for the challenge. In such an young age he is pushed to accept the reality of what he is in and begins to swim in it as fast and as effective he possibly could. In that his only closeness in fun and love is his sister who in her teens has been hanging out with friends Ale does not like. He ridicules her friend’s aspiration of going to Florida and have a better life. He knows he can keep his sister at her happiest and make a living together. In between them is his buddy Carlos (Carlos Zapata) whose Uncle owns the torn up fast food van. That is his destiny.

We see the place of another world lying by the sides of riches and luxurious. It is the world hardly any one is aware of. It is the market to get the fixes done reasonably cheap but also need to street talk to get that part of “reasonable”. Ale has the job of convincing the passing cars to lure them into the shop he is working. He competes with adults who he steps in front to say that this car is his business. I could not stop wondering how familiar Ale is for me. In the native where these shops are covered with asbestos to increase the scorching heat to another level are kids like Ale. If there are two kids working in some cases, one definitely will be the calmest and obedient than the other. The other though would be equally astute but mouths off. Both helps in this business because work is everything. They are destined to be the next in line automobile shop owners.

There are no plots other than the quest for this van. From the looks of it, no one needs to inform us of the tragedy it heads to but not the usual. Because Bahrani does not put up sadness like films which haunts in the destitute generally fails to. While Ale is some one knowing the street smart skills, he still gets his hands burnt. After all he is still a kid. He is angry and disappointed with his sister when he finds out her reason for late night stay but does not know how to talk to her about it. Or may be he does not want her to stop as the money is good. He is conflicted and look at me how I evaluate him as an adult.

“Chop Shop” is a unperturbed view of this kid’s life no one knows near the most liveliest city. It focuses how different a few miles away to deviate from a social atmosphere sparsely aware of. In that place we find the breathing busy bee Ale and how he is building the life around it without spending time on the unfairness he has been put in. But again he is a kid learning and seeing around to accept the way of existence. He practices it to stay in the game. He grows up fast to talk eye to eye with a seasoned work fellow. Bahrani while informs us of this unknown universe does not exploit it for melodrama or sympathy. He simply takes those characters and makes us like them, care them and brings a calm smile when they put the darkness behind to proceed towards the dawn of another day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Dasvidaniya" (Language - Hindi) (2008) - Movie Review

The garish assortment of the current Bollywood films have numbed any movie goer to be uncontrollably happy for a calm film. Even if the calmness actually becomes a movie with bland characters never reaching its peak though showing hopes of it. And when the slowness has woken up, it begins hurrying to wrap up before it reaches a resolve. “Dasvidaniya” is a one man with “The Bucket List” which is again a sappy tutorial with no fun. There are patches of originality with wide gaps of nothing but inability to embrace the graveness of the death with a smile, not laughingly but with full of heart.

A text book definition simpleton Amar Kaul (Vinay Pathak) lives in the middle class caricature flats in the busy Mumbai. He is the silent destroyer of himself. His boss (Saurab Shukla) is always in the look out for another couple of hands to grow up so that he can plunge into his food is an epitome of the dreaded bosses and uses Amar as his work horse. With a mother (Sarita Joshi) buried in TV serials, this 37 year old lonely man has nothing but boredom in his life. Adding to this comes the film’s pet disease while reality’s worst of worst, Stomach Cancer. If anything needs to be said very concretely about in a Bollywood film then it is the relentless effort to establish a point by known facts, well Bollywood facts. If a character must and should die without any visible ailment, it has to be cancer. It is the single most forgivable fault any director can get by in the history of cinema.

Anyways, our man drenched in sorrow and pity deflowers his alcohol chastity to invoke his dual personality. He comes and kicks the lethargy in moving the ending life of Amar. Hence he formulates wishes as he goes by to fulfill before his time says enough of him. Vinay Pathak is perfect for this dull and slow moving Amar. His innocence which would win him sweet guy title with girls would only go till that. Amar’s crushes and loves end before it starts and begins as soon as it ends with the next woman coming right across him. His mundane chores of writing “Things to do” every morning has driven him to madness of being stuck in a day. In fact his cancer is the most lively thing ever happened to him. He gets a reason for being unreasonable. He leaves his job (gloriously embarrassing his boss), buys a new car, takes an abroad trip, visits friends and tries to reunite with his distant brother (Gaurav Gera).

Who is Amar? As I defined a simpleton right? Well that can be numerous billions of Amar’s in different forms in countless cultures with same routines of days. Yet there is an individuality in their similarity. Our Amar never gets out of his comfort zone even in his jump start to break his string of file filled work. A person like this gets to slice the shell of shyness and go out to enjoy his life. He does so and in an unexpected surprise from his friend Rajiv’s (Rajat Kapoor) wife (Suchitra Pillai) suspects his sudden arrival as a free help for his cancer treatment as they are both doctors. Hurt and let down, he gets out in an unknown land and develops a three day relationship with a sex worker (Manoyla Svitlana). What happens between them is a script scribbled unexplained band-aid. It is utterly unconvincing and a blatant laziness in not taking an effort to properly tell a story of this given up man in finding a love (and getting laid).

I might crib about the simplicity being the grandeur in the current Bollywood industry but the film actually rides on the laid back wave to sooth the story without stress most of the times. While that indeed helps, it becomes a loose cannon in getting complacent. “Dasvadinaya” not only suffers that but takes a good solid lunch and relaxes when there is so much demanded from it.

Director Shashant Shah takes the cue card proposal to his friend’s new wife from “Love Actually” into dumb charades in drenching rain to his child hood sweet heart (Neha Dhupia). Then he even uses the yellow paper from “The Bucket List” with a proper “Things to do” title at the top. In these unneeded plagiarism without which the film could have survived comfortably never summates to its emotions. Its central character has hard time becoming this individual for whom we begin to care not because of his illness rather for his character. In the very end of the film it comes a close touch to it. He sits on the balcony and tells his brother the reason for buying this particular property. He explains the hours he spent and the small details he got out of it which has completed his life. Unfortunately it seems too late for Amar and for us towards the film.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The Soloist" (2009) - Movie Review

What is the relationship of being a friend? The knowing of another person apart from the loved one is important. In schools and colleges, it happens to belong somewhere. It scatters when the roads takes different exits. Many depart and dissolve in the newly found things, grow apart and basically become different person. But sometimes it exists and travels beyond those territories where both the person growing differently acknowledge that and nourish their friendship in the process. Few thus become very best friends not on the ranking system but on the level of being unbelievably comfort in saying the worst of worst and best of best with the equal stature of gravity. But there are friendships which becomes beyond an expectation from each other. Not the basic communication and hanging out but a disappointment in their friend’s life decisions. It is about believing the rightness in stretching from help to demand in their friend’s life style. When there is something clearly wrong with our buddies and we try to do everything possibly we could and they disappoint us, we depart and distant. “The Soloist” tells a story of such nature, often clueless but few times getting right precisely.

It is formed upon the true story of Los Angeles Times newspaper Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) discovering the homeless Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a gifted musician. He becomes his column and then the help extends. Lopez does what he could and is awed by the homeless people scenario and wants this lost musician to find a better life. The problem is Ayers chose this life style. Because his mind was losing its way and he did not want to bother his sister Jennifer (Lisa Gay Hamilton). He has lines repeating and memorizing his new found friend, Steve Lopez in those.

Lopez is played by Robert Downey Jr. with the hurried mannerism for a journalist. He fits himself nice and easy with simple T-shirts and a flowery shirts to be in his elements. Comfort and cool, he writes the encounters of his day to day life close with the city and the political system based on it. That is how he finds Ayers playing a violin with two strings. Ayers mentions his drop out from Julliard school and with a few calls, Lopez writes his column. After that his relationship with the troubled Ayers vacillates with the partial role of journalism and a provider. This oscillation forms his problem in placing this man in his life.

Having a responsibility of taking care of some one is not easy. Your conscience wants to but letting the other disturb the balance of the every day activity surmounts a troubling dilemma. Thus it would become this half baked attempt. Many of us suffer through that tenure of disturbed guilt. This guilt erases itself as the avoidance of seeing that person. But in the case of Lopez, it is a deal of Ayers providing material for his job and hence this responsibility becomes something he takes when he wants to. This screws up the expectation of what Ayers want and vice versa.

Bringing out this is where “The Soloist” suffers. It explores into this dreary and despair of the homeless existence. That exploration while has the sadness and shocking image of that livelihood needs a more explicit approach. The rawness of that place carries a painted portrayal in the film. The objective of making it edible for the regular movie goers betrays the reality. Similarly there is no hold on this attempt of Lopez to do the good will with expectation. He constantly wants to help with a reward in the end and that does not come through. This is the grasp of the situation but the film is far from it. It slips away every time it has the control.

But there are some beautiful scenes of music and images interlacing the screen mesmerizing us into the same trance Ayers resides. Especially when he is taken by Lopez to a rehearsal Orchestra. The screen turns into this kaleidoscope of levitated state in the viewers. The music jumps the image and to be fair while we have seen these kind of dancing patterns of pictures, lighting and fountains, this is the closest you can draw on someone’s elated mind on hearing those notes of purity. In that Joe Wright finds those because the music is captivating and it is no surprise that inspired him to put that out there.

“The Soloist” has good actors playing their calibre and being that person. The chemistry in between Downey Jr. and Foxx flames here and there with the major absence of it in the rest of the film. Catherine Keener as Lopez’s ex-wife would have needed more than couple of drunken accusation and mild smiles to support the personal crisis he goes through. This is a film needing alterations. The agony of Lopez to not clearly reach out Ayers as the way he supposed to is what we feel about “The Soloist”.

"Fighting" (2009) - Movie Review

“Fighting” is another form of “Redbelt” a focus on the art of fighting only though it is not about discipline in this film. It takes the deception and the simplicity of that David Mamet film along with the twists towards a character driven fight film. The movie works for various reasons, one being how Terrence Howard as the hustler and then the agent Harvey with Channing Tatum’s Shawn McArthur. That connection between them which grows upon the film makes it a believable film. And the kinetics in the four major fights are intense but not “Fight Club” bloody, unexpected and forceful but not a glorification. It does not argue or take stands of this underground fighting, rather uses it as the plot device and works on its characters with utter ease. Dito Montiel who did a strange balanced feel in his debut feature “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” has a mature eye.

The back ground of this young and tough fighter Shawn is a slow process of discovery and that is used not as the trigger for the plot but an aid in to see a purpose for his existence and doing what he does. He is hustled by Harvey on the streets and shows his fist capabilities which in escaping the con catches Harvey’s attention. In the busy corner of the New York City, it seems to be unlikely for these two meet again but they do. Harvey knows he is cornered, hands over his money and proposes to get him into the high class fights to get paid hefty by punching people to pulp. Money is large and fast which lures the man and thus the ladder up procedure to that final fight where the characters have more stake than ever happens to end the film. If it appears cheesy it is not and if you think things have been figured out, you have not. And if you think it is going to be big time suspense, twists and turns, it is not. It in its pastoral presentation of the high lighted New York City lines up its story out the platform neatly and nonchalantly.

Harvey is the know all person. The connective submissive with petty games personality amongst the big gamers in the big money arena. He came up to the city with high hopes along with his buddies Martinez (Luis Guzmán) and Jack (Roger Guenveur Smith) but he has been stopped long road away by them. When Harvey sees Shawn, there is a potential he sees but still not the one he gets. In the first fight he gets, Harvey does not have much hope for his boy and he does not do good either. What he does is that he can take punches and stand up tall. He gets the chance proper and strike that opportunity solid to knock down his opponents. Montiel is careful in what he is showing in the fights. They rip off each other with bare knuckles and it is not a pretty sight. But the choreography and camera placement is such that the brutality gets muddled in the shaky camera and resurfaces for a clear view of an effective but much less blood. Hence it is as real as the actual fight with the sword sharpness in pulling in the audience of its unpredictability.

What is the driving factor for Shawn is unclear. True that his history has some revelations for his likings in fighting but money feeding his need seems to be sufficient enough for this film though. Fighting as a sport is a tricky nature which I have always had tough time to comprehend. Boxing, Karate or other arts of fighting for a winner wonders whether emotions are hidden once the punches have vanished among the blood and sweat. But the enmity in any sports is given and this is an open invitation for a brawl to vent out. The rules though are present if not followed. It at least is enforced by a referee. Here though there is none. The only presence is the group of people cheering for their man. Which makes them scarier than the fighters because to realize such ardent drool for violence is hiding among them is unsettling. But the spectators in this films are the big players for the big money. Generally films about fighting have an obligation of the decision to enter the ring. Boxing does not need to as it is the most closely watched and conducted sport, yet the current trend of street fight and high bets with us following the lead man demands moral clearance especially when reality is stressed. And it is surprising that “Fighting” never has one and we the audience have no problematic feelings about it. May be it is because they make their case of such fighting very early an acceptance as that of boxing. It worked.

Terrence Howard and Channing Tatum are very effective in this. Howard being that low key who has strings to pull by leaking into the gaps of persistence, acquaintance and annoyance make us root for his behaviour. Tatum is casual and carries a transparency into his character of being truthful and expecting that sort from others. He is struggling in the streets to make a living and Howard accommodating is nicely shot. When Howard’s Harvey asks something more from Tatum’s Shawn of throwing a match, there is a subtle drop from Shawn to jump agents and at that time Harvey explodes with a slow escalation of anger. Those few of the scenes make “Fighting” one of the films with a very carefree, easy on its plot and characters with an effective story telling.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Glory Road" (2006) - Movie Review

Are we all getting tired of underdogs succeeding in the films? That is the question I asked myself while watching “Glory Road” which is another journey into the life of one Coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) recruiting black players during the times when racial emotions were on the high and open. So they crawl through their differences, fights, racism, personal emotions and everything a sports underdog success story films consider of. It has come in shapes, forms, curls, twists with the core of the film, inspiration as the running mantra for the film. Sure it is a feel good film with evening to pass in the couch munching snacks. No, I am not going to give it up so easily on it because it had characters which in a very developed fashion could have been a great film. It is a run of the mill film with lot to crave for.

When a team event like basket ball is the focus of a story, we need to know the players and no time for their relationships and side runners. But what I have the greatest concern is that not knowing their oppositions. Generally they turn out to be the perfect jerks because you got to root for the team in pursuit. Hence in the limited time, we are asked to dislike the other team, especially a coach reigned as the champion. His team has worked, struggled and matured as much as Haskins’ team Texas Western Miners. The sorry coach in this film would be Adolph Rupp (Jon Voight). When Haskin, the nice guy introduces himself, Rupp has that look of disdain but still the controlled courteous to leave a bitter feeling with Don. Yet in the minutes of his team getting hit hard by the underdogs, we learn a little bit about Rupp through the performance of Voight. He is human too and not some caricature for the film’s convenience.

Well I am getting way ahead of myself. Rupp’s team are the tough champs Miners face on in the final match. Before that is the recruitment process where of course being crippled of the luxuries and consideration, Haskin goes on to convince and get black players in to his team. They are Bobby Joe Hill (Derek Luke), Harry Flournoy (Mehcad Brooks), Willie Worsley (Sam Jones III), Nevil Shed (Al Shearer), Willie Cager (Damaine Radcliff) and David Lattin (Schin A.S Kerr). Along plays the typical Missouri farm kid Jerry Armstrong (Austin Nichols) who is the only real other player we get to know. Of course the film is about the men making it out there against the odds fighting hate in and out to get cheered and groomed by the man, their coach.

Don was a high school girls basket ball coach before he gets hired on by Texas Western College for which he gets a tiny bit of scoff from Bobby Joe to get the entire team a run till their last water molecule out of their body gets out. The pedigree are fed as a cruise control and you do not know how did you get here. You have trees on the road which seem to repeat itself as its twin siblings till the destination you reach. You hardly notice the thing you pass by you never cared for in the route to the place you have been thousand times. Such becomes the middle part of the film.

“Glory Road” has those silver stroke times. The times when a particular character says something with the scene and situation together providing a sudden wave of unsatisfied agony that how the director, in this case James Gartner could have done better having the ability to produce that scene. One such comes some where in the middle of the film when the team vacates a particular motel after they get racial epithets slain inside their rooms. The assistant coach Ross Moore by Red West comforts Coach Haskins on how he needs to be happy to bring in these kids into the team and then tells a line “Shame on us” which beckons more of him in the film and also the director to replicate true moments like this.

I would like to know the University of Kentucky team. What did they think of these players who clearly travelled the rough roads than them but still it is a game worked hard from both sides? The rage to win and plant their stand in ego would have been insurmountable, more in the case of the Miners to prove the point. What was running through Adolph Rupp and even if he really thought that his opposition had no chance, how did he come to accept the challenge he faced in the court apart from throwing hands in the air and saying “There is it” more than few times? The real events are undeniably to feel a bit happy of the achievements and growing up the people did in a totally unfavourable environment but why cannot we learn something about the long time winners being thrown hard down the floor startled, upset but possibly learning the greatest things of humility, respect and reality.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Katrathu Tamizh" (Language - Tamizh) (2007) - Movie Review (in Tamizh and English)

(Review in English at the end of Tamizh Review)

"கற்றது தமிழ்" படத்தின் விமர்சனத்தை தமிழில் எழுதவதே தகும் என்று தோன்றியது. ஒன்பதாம் மற்றும் பத்தாம் வகுப்பில் ஏதோ ஒரு ஈடுபாட்டில் தமிழ் எனது முதன் முழியாக எடுத்த ஞாபகம் வந்தது. பிறகு பதினொன்றும் வகுப்பில் உருப்படியான +2 மதிப்பெண் வேண்டுமென்றால் எளிதான (இங்கு இதற்க்கு அர்த்தம் எளிதாக மனப்பாடம் செய்து சில்லறை பரிட்சியயை ஏமாற்றுவது) ஸமிஸ்க்ரிதம் எடுப்பதே நன்று என்று எல்லாரையும் போல் நானும் மாறினேன். தமிழ் படித்த பொழுது ஈடுபாட்டோடு இருந்தேன் என்று சொன்னால் அது பொய்யாகும். ஏன் என்றால் படிப்பின் மீதே எனக்கு ஈடுபாட்டு இருந்தது கிடையாது, இதில் தமிழ் வேறு அல்ல. இது எனது முதல் தமிழ் ப்ரியர்த்தனம் என்பதால் சில குறைகள் இருக்கும் என்பதை இப்போதொழுதே சொல்லி விடுகிறேன். பிறகு நமது படத்தின் கதாநாயகன் போல் "மானமுள்ள" தமிழ் மாணாக்கள் என்னை சின்ன பின்னமாக சிதைக்க போகிறார்கள்.

இந்த படம் மிகவும் முக்கியாமான மற்றும் பிரதானமான வடுவை சுட்டிக்காட்டிகரது. இன்று உள்ள நிலைமையில் தமிழில் உயர் படிப்பு என்பது சமூகத்தின் கூத்து அறையில் தரை சீட்டிக்கு டிக்கெட் வாங்குவது போல். நேராக வருங்கால முன்னேற்றத்துக்கு உயில் எழுதி விட்டு உறங்கிவிடலாம், தவிப்போடும் கொந்தளிப்போடும். அப்படி பட்ட ஒரு நிலைமையில் தான் பிரபாகர் (ஜீவா) ஆக படுகிறார். இயக்குனர் ராம் முதல் காட்சியில் தனது பார்வயளார்கள் குழம்பி மற்றும் வியப்பில் இருக்க வேண்டும் என்ற ஒரே காரணுத்துக்காக, பிரபாகர் தற்கொலைக்கு முயற்சிக்கும் தருணத்தை காண்பிக்கிறார். மிகவும் தவறான செயல், பிரபாகர் மற்றும் ராம், இருவருக்கும். இந்த தருவாயில் இவருது கடந்த வாழ்க்கையை சிறு வயதில் இருந்தே ஆரம்பித்து இருந்தால், மிகவும் சிறப்பாக அமைந்திருக்கும். அதற்க்கு பதிலாக, இன்னொரு தினசரி நடப்பான காவல் துறையின் அராஜகத்துக்கு பலியாகும் வாலிபராக காட்டியது எதிர்பார்ப்பை குறைத்தது. பின் பிரபா இந்த மான பங்கத்தின் கதறல் தாங்காமல் தற்கொலையின் கதவை தட்டி மீண்டும் தவறான தருவாயை தேர்ந்து எடுத்து தோல்வி அடைகிறார். இதெல்லாம் பிறகு தன்னுடைய கொலை பயணத்தை தொடரும் தருவாயில், இது ஒரு கடினமான மற்றும் தேவையற்ற தொடக்கம் என்று நொந்து போனேன். ஒரு படத்தின் மீட்டல் மற்றும் அதற்கேற்ற பதத்தை ராம் தர முயல்கிறார் என்பது புரிந்தது. ஆனால் அதற்க்கு ஏன் இப்படி ஒரு இருட்டின் பகிரங்க வெளிச்சம்? அதுவும் இந்த கதாபாத்திரத்தின் முக்கியத்துவம் தெரியாமல்?

இதேயல்லாம் பொறுத்து கொண்டு இருந்த போதிலும் கதிரின் ஒளிப்பதிவு தனியாக தெரிந்தது. இந்த தருவாயில் இசை பற்றி கூறி விடுகிறேன். பின்னர் மறக்க வாய்ப்பு உண்டு. யுவன் ஷங்கர் ராஜாவின் பாடல்கள் இதற்க்கு மேல் ஒரு படத்திற்கு அமைப்பாக மாறாது. பின்னணி இசையிலும் மிகவும் கூர்ந்து பட்டும் படாமலும் தனது ஆற்றலை தெளிவாக செய்து இருக்கிறார். பின் கருணாஸ் தனது கேமரா முன் பயந்து கொண்டு இருக்கும் பொழுதுதான் படம் தனது நிலை கண்டுகொள்கிறது. பிரபாவின் சிறு வயது காதல், இறப்பை தனது நண்பனாக தூக்கிக்கொண்டு போவது மற்றும் சகித கடினங்கள் ஒரு மனிதனுக்கு நடப்பவை ஓய்ந்து போன கதை என்றாலும், இங்கு ஒரு வித நேர்த்தி இருக்கிறது. குறிப்பாக தனது தந்தையின் நண்பராக வரும் தமிழய்யா (அழகம் பெருமாள்) இயக்குனரின் தெளிவான புரிதல் மற்றும் அழகம் பெருமாளின் சாதரான நடிப்பும் இறப்பாக அமைகிறது. இந்த சிறு இடைவெளியில் ஒரு வித வெளிச்சத்தை காட்டிகிறார்கள். பின் மறுபடி நம் கைய்யை பிடித்து பிரபாவின் தோல்விகளின் ஊர்வலத்தை மாறி மாறி வருகிறோம். தமிழ் படிக்கறேன் என்று சொன்னாலே மிகவும் கேவலாமாக பார்க்கும் சூழ்நிலை அவரை வாடிகிறது. இதனால் வரும் தாழ்வு மனப்பான்மை அவரை ஒரு தனி மனிதனாக மாற்றுகிறது. கல்லூரி வளாகத்தில் தனது அறையில் வரும் இன்னொரு மாணவன் வளர்ந்து வந்து படத்தின் பின் பகுதியில் பிரபாவின் பொருமல் மற்றும் கோபத்திற்கு பெட்ரோலாக ஆகின்றான்.

இதில் எல்லாற்றையும் தாண்டி பிரபா ஒரு தமிழ் வாத்தியாராக பனி புரிகிறான். ஆனால் சென்னை மேன்சனில் சக உறுப்பினர்கள் மேலும் அவனது தனிமை மற்றும் அவனது இன்னல்களை ஏற்றி விடுகின்றன. இந்த உலகத்தின் இப்படி ஒரு வர்க்கம் ஏன் இவ்வளவு செழிப்பாக வாழுகிறது என்று கேள்வி கேட்டு பதிலில் எறிகிறான். இந்த தாங்க முடிய வழியில் தன்னையே இழக்கிறான். இது மெதுவாக அவனை வேறு ஒரு இடத்திற்கு கொண்டு செல்கின்றது. அது அடுத்தவர்களின் உணர்ச்சிக்கு மதிப்பி இல்லாத இடம். தனது சீற்றத்தின் தாகம் அடைக்கும் இரத்த ஆறே அந்த இடம். அந்த பழக்கத்திற்கு அடிமை ஆகிறான். இது கேட்க மிகவும் ஆழமான மற்றும் பார்வையாளர்களை பாதிக்கும் படமாக தோன்றும். ஆம் மற்றும் இல்லை என்பதே எனது பதில்.

ஆம் - ஏன் என்றால் படத்தில் வரும் இந்த மேலோங்கிய கருத்து உண்மையே. கணிப்பொறியின் ராஜாங்கம் இந்திய வாழ்கையை ஒரேயடியாக மாற்றி விட்டது. அதிலும் தமிழ்நாட்டில் வேறு திசையில் செலுத்தி கொண்டு இருக்கிறது. இதில் பிற படிப்புகள் நசிங்கி சாகின்றன என்பது ஒப்புக்குள்ள வேண்டிய உண்மை. வரலாறு, பூகோனம், பொருளாதாரம் போன்றவை இன்று உள்ள IT யின் செம்மையான வாழ்க்கைக்கு ஈடு கொடுக்க முடியாது. இதனால் அந்த படிப்பிற்கு மதிப்பு இருப்பது இல்லை மற்றும் அந்த படிப்பு படிப்பவர்களை பிரதானமாக படிக்க தெரியாது தற்குளிகள் என்று பேர் சூட்டப்படிகிறது. இது இப்படத்தின் மூலம் வெளியே வந்தது நன்மையே. ஆனால் இதோட ஒரு மிகவும் கொடூரமான இன்னொரு சிந்தனையும் புகுதப்படிகறது. நன்றாக ஆடை அணிவது மற்றும் பெண்கள் தங்கள் விருப்பத்திற்கேற்ற உடைகள் அணிவது ஏதோ கலாச்சாரத்தின் கற்பழிப்பு என்று சொல்வது எல்லாம் மிகவும் கொச்சைத்தனம். அதிலும் அதை ஒரு சாக்காக எடுத்துக்கொண்டு பிரபா கூறுவது மிகவும் கேவலம். இதற்க்கு எல்லாம் பிறகு "I am not justifying" என்று சொல்வது படத்தின் நேர்தியயை சந்தேகப்பட சொல்கின்றது. இந்த தருவாயில் நம் பிரபாவிடமிருந்து விலகி செல்கிறோம்.

ஒரு சிலர் இந்த படம் தமிழ் சினிமாவின் முக்கியமான படம் என்று சொல்லும் பொழுது, 1980 இல் வந்த "வறுமையின் நிறம் சிகப்பு" ஞாபகம் வருகிறது. அதில் வரும் கதாநாயகனும் தமிழ் படித்து விட்டு டெல்லியில் அல்லோல படுகிறான். அதில் அவன் படும் இன்னல்கள் அவனுடைய மனதின் நேர்மையையை சோதிக்கின்றது. அவனும் பாரதியின் வெறியன், ஆனால் அவனோட வழிகள் நமக்கு தெரிகின்றது. அவன் சமுதாயத்தை வெறுக்கிறான், ஆனால் அதற்காக தன்னுடைய வழியயை தன்னால் முடிந்த வரை நேர்த்தியாக செய்கிறான். இறுதியில் அவனோட மனதோடு ஒரு ஒப்பந்தம் போடுகின்றான். நிம்மதியாக வாழுகிறான். "கற்றது தமிழ்" முதலில் தன்னை நேராக பார்க்க பயப்படுகின்றது. அது தனது குறைகளை அடுத்தவர்கள் மீது எளிதாக போடுகின்றது. பின் அதற்க்கு இறக்கம் காற்ற கேட்கின்றது. பிரபாவை போல் மக்கள் இருக்கிறார்கள். வாழ்கை போரை கடினமாக நடத்துகிறார்கள். அவர்களும் கோபத்தோடு இருக்கிறார்கள். அதற்காக நவீன அங்கி அணிந்திருக்கும் மக்களை பார்த்து பொறாமை படுவதில் கொந்தளிப்பே மிஞ்சும்.

தனி மனிதன் தனது தனிமையில் வாடி தன்னையே இழப்பது புதிதல்ல. "Taxi Driver" யில் Travis Bickle இதே போன்ற உணர்ச்சியயை தாண்டி தத்தளிக்கறான். இங்கு தமிழ் என்றால் அங்கு சமுதாயத்தின் சாக்கடை தெருக்கள். மக்கள் சக மக்களை சதை பிண்டகலாகவும், செல்வத்தின் அடிமைகளாகவும் இருப்பதை கண்டு கொந்தளிக்கறான். அவன் மனதில் உள்ள வேதனை சமுதாயத்தால்தான், ஆனால் அதற்கும் மேல் அவனே அதற்க்கு காரணம். பிற மக்களிடம் தன் மன நிலையை பேச மறுக்கின்றான். தனக்கு என்று ஒரு கொள்கை மற்றும் நெறியை நோக்கி நடக்கின்றான். Scorsese அதை ஒரு சோகம் மற்றும் பயம் தரக்கூடிய சிற்பமாக வடிவமைக்கிறார். இங்கு பிரபாவை ஒரு சில நேரம் புரிய நேர்ந்தாலும் (முக்கியாமாக தெருவில் ஒரு ஐந்து நிமிடம் நண்பனுக்கு தேடி செல்லும் நேரம் மிகவும் சிறந்தது), அவர் ஒரு masochist ஆகத்தான் இறுதயில் காண நேருகிறது. இயக்குனர் ராம் இன்று உள்ள "கலாசார" பாதிப்பை அம்பலமாக ஆக்கி விட்டார் என்று நினைத்தால், அது முற்றிலும் தவறு. தமிழ் மாணாக்களை இது வரை தாழ்மையாக பார்த்த மக்களை பயப்பட செய்து இருக்கிறார். ஒழுங்காய் படிக்காதவர்கள் என்று தவறாக கூற படும் தமிழ் பட்டதாரிகளுக்கு இன்னொரு தவறான அபிப்ரயாம் வர செய்து இருக்கிறார். இங்கு நல்ல கதை இருக்கிறது, ஆனால் தவறான எண்ணங்கள் மற்றும் சோகத்தை ஒரு குறிக்கோளாக எடுத்து கொண்டு படமாக்கபட்டத்தின்் நிலைமை "கற்றது தமிழ்".

Review in English

I wrote a tamizh review for “Katrathu Tamizh” both as a symbol of the film’s content and also as another way to present my reviews. Of course my friend Mathi was the one who strongly recommended to write tamizh reviews and he is the patient guy who has been laboriously reading all of the postings out here. And following it up with criticisms and lauds (if there were any). I am digressing. Well, this is not a one on one translation of the tamizh review. It of course resonates the points I mentioned but due to have written more in this language, I would be more specific and might add some more things.

The tale of a lonely man comes in “Katrathu Tamizh”. Lonely man angry at the society for putting his life in the dark paths due to the studies he did. That would be the language of tamizh my native and the protagonist Prabhakar (Jeeva) does find a job of being the tamizh tutor in a school. That does not translate into a great luxurious life of TGIF parties and the irresponsibility of cherishing the financial strength at the ripe age. He suffers and suffers hard. His teaching profession earns just enough to accommodate a one room mansion and work with the simplicities of tea, cigarette and little bit of relaxing sits in a busy congested and corrupt Chennai streets. What does he do apart from teaching and developing a slow wrath towards his surrounding is unclear. He has that child hood love Aanandhi (Anjali). And for a tamil film which has passed through these phases of over written routine, this one appears fresh and mainly with a soul than a piece of melodrama. But after that it is a ritual and exhibition of Prabha’s disappointments and his failure with the society to embrace his stature of losing mind and sporadic schizophrenic.

Director Raam starts the film with the protagonist standing on the edge of his life to commit suicide which of course ends in an unsuccessful note. He wants to question this personality standing and wants us to be curious why he is there. And we learn in a short flash back of his run up of the police brutality in action followed by the burial of his self esteem. Then that further erases his recognition of his little existence getting dismantled seems to push him to the extreme of breaking free of the illness. Illness of the world wherein he is that person with the knowledge of the great language, tamizh. But that does not create any empathy for him rather confusion and wonderment since we do not really know him at that point. Once the character of Karunas as the anchor man running the camera puts the perspective, the story begins. We see how Prabha navigated his child hood with death as a companion and also as a recognition of who he is. The way he is treated in college and rest of his life as this tamizh guy being judged as this not too bright and illiterate attitude is an existing issue. What is even more bothering is that the plain straight forward shot of informing the reality of the career not being an option at all for the students in sociology, psychology, history, economics and the arts group seen as this “beggars with no choice” was strong and needed to be told.

At this moment I have to mention the beauty of Kathir’s camera work and Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music as the passion they have for this film. The director of course has the same passion but with a very misguided view. Suddenly a film which was full of this character becomes into this desperate cry for pushing depression for the heck of it. It turns into this chaotic presentation where the story takes a route unlike to the tamil cinema but very much into the other world cinema. It falls into the cliches of depression and tries really hard to extend the envelope of the extremities one has to suffer. What it really tries to do is the loneliness of a man denying or becoming to subconsciously like his suffering state. And he begins to blame the society’s partiality which has denied his financial status which indeed is true but what happens is that he loses his mind into sociopathic behaviour. A character of such darkness and dangerous capability is not something I am against. In fact you need much more emphasis to understand them and may be apply some of those in our near and dear to assist them in getting that phase of their system. What is cruelly wrong in this film of this character is that he provides an audience justifying his action. Karunas as this anchor man who starts as a fearing common person seem to be fine with the killings Prabha has done and how cheap it is to attribute the people he killed as “bad”. He becomes to have his personal justice who himself had involved in so many acts inhumanity.

I can understand why he is so vexed seeing his college room mate earning more than his capability. I can also understand his terrible frustration of attractive women floating around the Call center with their independence of wearing bold slogans. What I cannot understand is that the director taking a stand saying that these are all wrong and deserves such a treatment. So he seem to basically stamp that any one jealous of others and takes an association to the culture they like needs punishment. And the tamizh students and various other career less groups of people have the right to offend the rest of the people. While the character of Jeeva does say that “I am not justifying anything”, the film takes that position. It becomes crooked in its approach and a film which might have been at its height of integrity disintegrates rather cheaply.

Seeing “Katrathu Tamizh” obviously brought the memories of seeing K. Balachander’s “Varumayin Niram Sigappu” which is a clearer and solid film of an ambitious young man suffering from the flaws of the society’s terms. There he is bothered by the wrongness of the externality towards his righteous path. He begins to learn about his academic degree that it is far away from the realities of survival. In the end he makes a pact with himself and begins to live in his terms of happiness. It does not mean that I liked that film because it ends in happiness but mainly due to the belief in the character. Here Prabha never attains a prosperous nature even in his darkness. I did love his desperate attempt to find a five minutes friend which is more of an harassment and ragging of an innocent by passer.

The pain what Prabhakar goes through is remotely a representation of Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver” encounters with himself. The similarities while widely different in back ground has the concept of solitude and the rejection of extending a hand for help outside. Bickle is a walking time bomb and so is Prabha even more dangerous. But I can see where Bickle is coming from and his anger but with Prabha it sticks with the screen morphed into a rage of the creator rather than a character. Director Raam adds another misconception to the tamizh graduates, serial killers. There is a great story here but not the one we see over the screen.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" (2007) - Movie Review

There are certain conflicts which will be the only clearest thing in it, that there will be conflict forever. Atheist or Theist, Pro-life or Pro-choice. These are things which will be argued for no resolution when it comes personally. Everything are just statements and some one else’s fodder for words. The ideology as it stands crumbles when the reality comes banging into the door. One such is watching the Romanian film “4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days” giving in details you do not want to see of a student Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) going through abortion and her friend Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) helping her undergoing the trauma.

The film is not an advocacy of pro-choice or pro-life. It documents the two days in to these two girls encountering the worst of their emotional melt down and the fear of getting caught in the 1987 Communist Romania. They are room mates in the university and we see the dawn of the decision for Otilia to help Gabita in something. Gabita begins to pack while Otilia goes around getting stuffs like cigarettes, soap etc. for the procedure. Clearly both of them have not realized the gravity of the act they are getting in to which are the early scenes. Otilia visits her boy friend Adi (Alexandru Potocean) and they have a fight about the evening Adi has invited her for. It is his mother’s birthday and thus meeting their parents along side their friends. They make up of course as any couple and the day proceeds with Otilia going about doing the errands in setting up the hotel and meeting the guy (Ion Sapdaru). We do not know what the heck these two are planning till that point.

When the guy who actually is the doctor performing the abortion rattles the absolute horror of the reality Gabita is facing and Otilia in the middle asking the questions are the times the speculations in our mind gets the face. Gabita has lied of so many things that we are surprised by the patience of Otilia to help her further. She has lied to the doctor over the phone that she is two months pregnant instead of four or more, assumed the money as 3000 lia and did not tell any of this to Otilia. She with her naive eyes make the condition even more tenser than it actually is. The doctor played by Ion Sapdaru is the man who puts down any one by pure intimidation. Having done and encountered so many of this, he gives the bitter taste of the things ahead for Gabita. He scares because it is scary and he does it being the snob and having the attitude expected out of him. We think of him as the genuine sensible person and he shocks us in the end.

The cinematography by Oleg Mutu follows the characters around and stops as if they need their privacy from us. In the hotel with the receptionists and managers born to irritate their customer, Otilia’s job reaches its peak when she sits down for dinner with her boy friend’s parents and the bonus of their friends. That continuous shot of the dinner is a statement of the sociological and societal opinions, a traditional generation scoffing and scorning at the easiness the current generation gets through and of all the heart beat of Otilia racing through with this and the worry of her friend lying lonely in the hotel room.

Writer/Director Cristian Mungiu does not use music to elaborate the distress and tension of these two people. They are hit hard by the event that they act with the will and strength they have. Gabita knows it is the problem she created and ruined further but Otilia is thrust into the position of such stature by her friend. The whole ordeal makes her question what happens when she takes the place of Gabita due to circumstances? That brings in the whole personal encounter of the conflicting terms of right and wrong in the world of conscience.

If there are some times to smile, that would only be the smirk we drop when the doctor dictates the terms of the situation. When we are up to do something predictably risky and nerve wracking, the boldness to gear up takes a while and once made up especially if we are unaware of the reality, the hour following to it is a regularity with a concealed fear. When the objective becomes clear to the audience, one might wonder how casual they were before they arrived to this, but the truth is no one is casual and even if they are openly tense, what is that going to help in this?

“4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days” is a stressful film. It takes you through the unsettling feeling throughout the time and we are surprised at certain times of the clinical nature of the characters. We doubt their mercy and emotions. That comes to one’s own personal opinion towards the choices of an individual. Yet pro-life or pro-choice, at the end of the film everybody are in the same state of shock and sympathy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Crank: High Voltage" (2009) - Movie Review

I never try to leave a show. I consider it rude for the effort been put on by many of the people. Yet I sometime stop some DVDs, for which I do not write review and politely accept that it is not my cup of tea. Some films offend me but even in that I can see their boldness and candid idea to put it forward. I came close to walking out of “Crank: High Voltage” which may be the worst film I have ever seen. It is disrespectful to the medium of art and it violates, abuses and giggles while doing it over the faces of the audience. It offended me as a film goer and I have no feeling of any kind for the aspect the directors Mark Nevedine and Brian Taylor (wondering it takes two people to make a crap like this) put forth in a known debacle of a sequel. Let me not talk about their previous venture.

When the trailers for this film came, one wonders how it is possible because at the end of the first film, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham in an unforgivable role again) falls from a helicopter, lands on a car and lay dead on the roads of Los Angeles. And hence when I enter the theatre with the idea of what to expect, I plainly was in the ride for some good brainless entertainment. This film managed to fail beyond the wildest and freakiest imagination for a viewer with such an expectation.

He is scraped off the road and then his body parts are used for some organ trading. Then to keep him alive till they extract the other parts, they put an artificial heart which gets triggered by electrical charges thus the title. You see the brainless entertainment I was talking about. The film is a horrendous celebration of violence, sex and abuse. Supposedly high on gore and curse, it bores you every single moment it gets. It is a grind house film which boasts as something else. It does not have the honesty to even accept that and advertise as surreal portrayal of mindless action.

And the characters if there are one, pops up one by one from no where in a Los Angeles full of bad streets and shooting gangs. This is torture. It is bad, It is gloriously bad. It is not so bad to be good. It is bad. I hated the film. There was not a single frame that I remotely and subconsciously liked. It may be one of the stupidest and ridiculously boring film I have ever seen.

Seeing films like “Crank” getting a funding for sequel makes me cringe on the state of the film industry. The studio are ready to venture on a business basis for something so openly offensive about the work its doing. There are many budding and aspirant film makers who crave for an opportunity. Even if they get and get their films made, their films hit some film festivals and limited release with a week running in a desolated theatre in the cities. And here is “Crank: High Voltage” getting wide release and I am sure would run amok for several weeks. It is a depressing state.

"State of Play" (2009) - Movie Review

A Congressman, a young lady killed, an experienced journalist, a rookie journalist, a commanding editor and a nice typical political king maker. You know what it is, the journalistic political thriller mastered in the “All the President’s Men” is taken as the inspiration for “State of Play” which is again developed from a six hour TV series ran in BBC. There are things which audience know of and expect of and are also ready to make the compromises for. That will be to swallow some spoilers of for the performance and shooting dialogues . Russell Crowe as that been-there-done-that journalist and an old friend of the Congressman (Ben Affleck) in the center of investigation is in his elements. We see him as the lousy junk food chunking pen man driving a car to a crime scene and his dealing with the cops and others. Then as the obvious of the suspenses comes out, it is like a long left chilled beer. We drink with the remembrance of its fresh chillness and the mind kicks us into the reality of its luke warm. And oh. you still drink the beer.

While critics talk about the “All the President’s Men”, there are couple of other successors in that league to provide that experience of journalism with the flair and failure it possesses in its passionate workers. “The Paper” will be the one which strikes me as this zeal it has for the profession and how it portrays it. It is in their nerves to prep some one for stories. Jobs which surface so closely and be a spectator and some time in the part of the system of horrendous crimes, it seasons the mind for that growing satellite for information and wariness. Journalism tops that chart and when there is such a surplus of information going through the congested and cellulose inflicted offices, there will be a day for a definite conflict of interest. Such is one for Cal. Cal shares a painful history with his buddy Congressman and his wife (Robin Wright Penn).

Hence when the rookie journalist blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) comes in for information, he brings ego and care with the corrected precision for being a jerk to her. After that his door is knocked by his buddy for a crashing place as he is in the middle of the chaos of being accused of sex scandal whilst his passion for conducting an investigation in to the “evil” corporation handling the outsourced defense projects to become thick and rich.

So it is a no brainer right? The corporation plotting against this hero figure Congressman but we also know that such an apparent thing means things run deeper than that. This figure of thought does not run for Cal. He gets stuck now and then to expand the creaks of his freedom to his buddy. He in fact puts the whole investigation under the stains of the presence of Affleck’s character who is the subject of their investigation. The strains in their relationship is something which does not get clearly ventured on. The placing of a major cast as Congressman’s wife is another indication that things were happening between these three people of interest. The judgment of Cal in that should be nudged rather there is nothing of an enlightenment in between them. The idea to have those scenes to reflect the state of their mind in their day to day job is good but the execution of it is nothing less than a flat line.

“State of Play” of course is a film which would melt the times of the sitting people with dicy camera shots and close encounters with the chilling killer. It has the sleek and clinical approach towards its story which is of course a character for a conspiracy film. And with Russell Crowe being that seasoned worker who has been muddling the lines of good and evil, you see the good side of the evil. But that becomes a flaw. There are several instances where in the multiple interest of personal gain, media and corporate requirement to conceal and reveal information. The characters has only lines to express their discomfort but when the truth comes out, it rarely occurs for us that Cal would do the right thing. He holds the story but does not have the weight on the shoulders which generally characters like this carry around.

And who made Jason Bateman to take the role of sleazy PR pimp man? When I did not know who he was, his performance as the stoned disoriented but entertaining lawyer in “Smokin’ Aces” was the only saving grace for that horrible flick. He tries to pull something like that out here which is neither entertaining nor a serious twist to the story. He is the key to the puzzle and when it unlocks, the compromise for spoilers have already been used up. “State of Play” would definitely be a watchable film but does not take the heavy responsibility of character reflections in it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Star Wars" (1977) - Movie Review

So I did it. I finally watched the “Star Wars” or its new regenerated title “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”. Apparently it is the cult status of the American culture and all the Television series I have watched so far always has a reference to it. I have seen the film through bits and pieces in a garbled fashion in the cable channels back in India but never had the motivation to see the full feature. With my boss providing the first three of the franchise, it is long due and expectedly not great, yet was an interesting view. Because it has become more than a film and wandered as an element or gag for the conversations. It has become a common language and a bridge for the vacuous silence in different cultures and despite its suffocatingly cheesy ending, this was fun. This would also be a tough film to review as it has attained an enormous status than an ordinary film. But I sure had tons of issues with it.

Going through the story is a wasteful exercise. I am sure there are only few of my kind existing in this universe who have not seen this film. Anyways, to cruise through my qualms and the experience of connecting through the dots of zillions of Star Wars references till this time, I need to venture into the scenes and stories a little bit. So this young dude called Luke (Mark Hamill) is the farm boy been chosen to deliver this droid R2-D2 which has the information of the “Death Star” destructive ship to the rebel force. Rebel force is good as the preface for the film says. Galactic force which owns this weapon is “evil”. How one word suffices to create a villain is mind blowing but understandable.

The greatest thing about this film was the breathtaking effects. Hands down one of the best effects in those times to witness. It is purely a fest for the viewers. The down side though is that it is the only greatest part of the film. It has characters which typically are droids. They do their roles of active kid, outlaw self consumed warrior Han (Harrison Ford) and a spirited lead lady Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). To complete the circle of these standing machines of roles are the deadly killer villain Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones) and the wise man Jedi Knight with “force” on his side Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness). The fun element for the film are the one liners which I believe seem to have stemmed and planted so strong by the presence of Ford. His molded character does not stop him from wiping that smirk of his face. His arrogant and stubborn pilot would have been a prototype for many many characters to have come after this film.

The Rebel force soldiers are bad shooters with a far more advanced laser gun while the Galactic force fighters are worst shooters. Thus Rebel force wins. But having Keanu Reeves do some of the incredible summersaults while shooting the “Matrix” security guards as he was rained with bullets from twenty people did not bother me. It of course biases me but it is way more cooler than the shooting in this film. It is also unfair to compare a scientific piece with a much more advanced technicality in the graphic department. I do that because “The Matrix” was the most influential science fiction film which bolted me through immense depths of concept in science and philosophy. “Star Wars” has no time for speech. It is an unadulterated piece of entertainment. It is a cookie in chocolate chip. Delicious but sugars you crazy.

George Lucas had a thorough imagination for this distant planets and the inhabitants in it. The planet of Tattooine where Luke gets his new droid friends is like our earth. Which brings me to the question of whether Luke, Leia and Han are humans? Or what are they? That would get many of Star Wars fans to flood my comments but will leave it out here to fill me on my ignorance on this.

There are amusing and reptile creatures loitering amongst the streets of a space port and a bar with strange looking creatures talking, bullying and of course not allowing the droids inside the facility (like not allowing pets). Then they talk money and how does that work? Again, let me leave it to the avid fans of the film to let me know that. The thing though is that it is a film carrying enormous imagination with the effects bringing it out to the screens with perfection. Of course there is nothing for the characters to do than go on with their mission with hollow souls and charged guns. Thankfully the romance track is played subtle. The duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO had the best chemistry visible in the film. Funny and for droids, they are way too close.

All said and done, it was fun. As a film it was not up to par for any classic. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” which came twenty six years earlier to this is a far more better Science fiction film than this in terms of story and depth in the details of the personas. But for the effects of something unbelievably novel and breathtaking, “Star Wars” is the film. It has limitless abundance on its screen with richness in colour, creation and care for action. I liked it for that and I could see how this would have been to be seen in the theaters. Some films are purely great for its experience. “300” was a shallow story but an experience to be seen in theatres. “Star Wars” is something like that. “The Matrix” is both an experience and a great film.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Two Lovers" (2008) - Movie Review

Here is a film which approaches the identities of a day to day romance without inhibitions of the right and wrong in it. Its main man Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix) with troubles from his past wants to have his options open. Thus he acts on impulse and never stops doing it. The dilemma’s on the certainties of relationships are pestering seeds of tempt and desire. And having been broken once, Leonard does not care about the consequences. This is “Two Lovers”, a film by James Gray which is an odd story of love and the deceiving feeling of it in its players.

We see how indecisive Leonard is as he drops himself into the bay and in struggling minutes rises up to ask for help. He comes home dripping wet to his home where he lives with his parents Reuben (Moni Moshonov) and Ruth (Isabella Rossellini). They know what he has attempted because it has happened before. He cuddles in the depressed state of letting down himself in his room. In the cycle of coming out of depression, he is still in state one and he needs another woman, and in this case may be two. In his Jewish family circle a relationship is prospected within through family friendships change to business collaboration and thus obviously forming new bonds in between them too. Here it is his father’s friend Mr. Cohen (Bob Ari) and he has a beautiful daughter Sandra (Vinessa Shaw). They are set up by their parents and Leonard has the mystique to attract her. She tells she wanted to see him because she saw him in an attractive cuteness in his father’s dry cleaning shop inviting his mom to dance with him.

Leonard then encounters a blonde neighbour Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) and begin to wonder prospects with her too. Now he has two women and does not want to lose either because he is afraid. He wants to be right in his feelings. While he likes Sandra, there is a clear commonality with Michelle who we later find out is a mistress. Leonard has his depressing past of his fiance leaving him for some odd issue. Until the culminating scene where Leonard openly declares his love for Michelle and explains why, we have no clue on what feelings he is acting upon in juggling this two women.

Joaquin Phoenix brings an unparalleled face to Leonard. His Leonard is shy but a slight encouragement of his theatrics would cut him loose. He gets into the car with three women going for clubbing and within no time pulling that string of innocence and cuteness even at his age, he is the center man in the car. Phoenix does not let the audience inside his head but takes us comfortably through his convenience in concealing and sneaking around. We never understand where his heart is even though he makes extra effort to follow through Michelle. Sandra though is set up tactically by her parents and he does not mind her and in a way sympathizes her for being trapped in this family routines. But she is an alternative for him whenever he gets defeated with Michelle.

James Gray’s “We Own the Night” was a film which had various tones of emotions in it. It posed as an action thriller while had this string of family burdens and the guilt of putting them through of one’s actions well with Phoenix and his relationship with Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duvall in it. Here it is a mellow entry in to the minds of this young man beginning to act as his wish. He does not seem to bother about the heart’s he is going to break of Sandra and his family knowing about Michelle. With Michelle though he just hints he has a girl friend as the prospect with her always seems flimsy. What makes him to go beyond that string of guilt? That should be troubling whenever he does the positively definitely the wrong thing in the particular scenario we are not disturbed by it and neither worried. We see it as the mistakes with the care for the story. We particularly do not get fond of Leonard but the way the story is told we like it.

In the end, it is a soft tale of a man on the edge of break down begins to take blind steps . He encounters two gorgeous woman, Sandra especially adores him as he is the perfect match in family, business, religion and her category of taking care of him. Michelle sees him as the outlet of her chaotic mistakes in her own life. In between these two Leonard plays around to get the best and does not hesitate to shift lovers around when needed. Is it wrong? Yes but James Gray makes it a lovable film with an odd touch of truth.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"I.O.U.S.A" (Documentary) (2008) - Movie Review

Economy is not the strong hold when it comes to me in investments, stocks and bonds as I believe few others do too. Like the regular citizens of different age groups interviewed in the film “I.O.U.S.A” of the economic terms and condition of the country, I would not be more knowledgeable than them. I would rather go down below the curve and the very informative and properly used graphical representation of the debt history and the bleak future the film puts in, I was still muddled in this big wheel of finance. But it is simple math. You do not have money, you do not spend. Debt is an addiction and that is clear when the situation of the country in financial trauma is explained.

My dad on the other hand is a smart man. He was careful of debt and when he had one, he made sure to settle it. Most of those basic principles stuck with me, though I am not smart. I am lethargic and immovable. The drive to not have debt has got me decently in the current times so far. Despite my crazy spending on music, movies and travel, it has always been a method of spend what I have. That might be a indirect reason for not buying or owning anything. I spent tons of time in getting a new car and crisscrossing the possibilities and fatalities of having debt. Seeing “I.O.U.S.A”, it scares me a lot to buy anything big, which makes the “committing” items in the unstable conditions a threatening. And I am thinking of buying a small house which worries me a lot now.

What the film does though is to try to explain this big mess bred and brought up early on from the founding times of United States of America. Going through wars through recession through everything else, the current state is how a nation got hooked on debt. A debt which never got repaid and when you owe big and owe as a nation, apparently you can get by for a long long time. The long long time though has ended and it is now current and the next generation getting hit directly on their head with the hammer of the mistakes done for so long. Now understanding the problems requires a film with limited release not reaching the wide audiences and then at the end though even they cannot suggest a solution. Of course they cannot because it comes to the responsibility of each individual.

But what does finance means to one amongst the personal and emotional needs? A lot of course to fulfill those. This huge and complex system got framed and for so many years and decades we have eluded that there are people above taking care even if they were doing the job badly. As long as we are not visibly affected, we can use the offer we are proposed. Credit Cards, the magic of spending came in and it is indeed a great thing in terms of not carrying cash but it also encouraged the slow addiction. And then came lending money for houses and now people in the hopes of a lost future payment understand the irresponsibility of the establishment but more than that their own. Too late for regrets but not too late for the people in stands to sculpt a responsible economic cycle.

“I.O.U.S.A” is a film as passionate as “An Inconvenient Truth” was about its cause. This film though takes inventive steps to acknowledge that since this is not the favourite topic to talk about. Not because of “I told you so” subject but plainly it is boring. In this they separate the deficits the current US has and goes in a calculated depth one needs to know and not get drifted away by the details. It properly lays down that the country is spending more than what it gets, does not manufacture its own resources and of course the leadership has to be pin pointed. But stopping a war and regrouping with stimulus package in triggering this economy alone is not the solution and tells how much of a small percentage it addresses. With the film stating US in 8.7 trillion in national debt, the current figure shows 11.1 trillion. That is 2.4 trillion increase in such a short span of time.

If I talk numbers, then the film has done its purpose. This education on the history of the blunders, slow but definitely effective is something that needs to be followed in the day to day life in handling the currency. Talk whatever on the system, to exist in it there needs a particular form of contribution and responsibility owing to it. Either we do nothing and suffer the trend and more deadly pass it on to the next generation cussing us or do something personal, a little bit to it. “I.O.U.S.A” will educate, scare and point the finger at you to do something. The least is to act a little responsible when coming to spending.

"Observe and Report" (2009) - Movie Review

Jody Hill’s “Observe and Report” is a curious work, fair to say. It has a strong liking to the character it developed and tries very hard in projecting his perception to its audience, and fails by a long yard. Seth Rogen as an actor has built up his maturity for roles like this and worked out pretty well while occasionally comes through does not appeal is the weeping cop doing the deeds after excessive violence and countless inappropriate behaviour. He is the security guard in this mall and takes his job as his values and principles of his life.

He is Ronnie a cop with serious psychological issues and is under prescription. He has his colleagues whom he heads up and assumes the position of head of security probably because his boss gave the title to stop him from coming to his office. Ronnie as he is, disperses orders and conducts his cop like atmosphere in the security office towards his subordinates. His right hand man Dennis (Michael Peña) speaks like a grown up Fez from “That 70s Show”. And there are two Asian twins John (John Yuan) and Matt (Matt Yuan) sharing the enthusiasm for guns with Ronnie. Then there is the kid (Jesse Plemons) who is brought in by persuasion and an odd intimidation by Ronnie. This group establish themselves as the protectors and enforcers of the law in the mall after its customers being put to trauma by a flasher in parking lot.

Ronnie who have been humiliated and seen as a joke for so long really has a case and an opportunity to prove to himself that he is not a nothing. So I sit through when it goes through the positions of embarrassment and ridicule nature Ronnie puts him and others through. Director Jody Hill splashes the screen with the abnormalities stretched in each character. Soon we get into this serious film which now explores the struggles of Ronnie trying to see the situations around turning into ups and downs making him to go the same in his behaviour.

He gets the pinnacle of his enthusiasm when his hot throb Brandi (Anna Faris) gets a peek in to the flasher pleasuring himself in front of her in the parking lot. Things are in the right place for him to take the stand and get everything he has been hoping for. To become a hero. He is while irritated by the intrusion of a Detective (Ray Liotta) in to his territory begins to see himself as cop and enrolls. He kicks ass when dropped in a bad neighbourhood by a set up done by the Detective being fed up by Ronnie’s bothering. And he gets into bed with Brandi while she is inebriated. Anna Faris is strikingly fascinating in making herself this disgusting drunk and making the process a method to show how glamorously pathetic one can put them into.

It sometimes cannot escape the formula of a comedy film resolving into this predictable ending with its bloodiness and offensive nature. “Observe and Report” has tough time finding its position not in story but in its characters. Whether to laugh at them or care for them? The only person we come to care for is the cashier clerk Nell (Collette Wolfe) as she cares for Ronnie and you know how she will be that casual beauty when Ronnie is alone in the end. We also have trouble in whether to be seriously offended to root for a guy who clearly has instability of his mind as the only stable thing in his life. So when his alcoholic mother (Celia Weston) comes and tells him that she is shifting to beer as an effort of change for her son, it seems to make sense both as a funny and emotional scene. The film overall does not work that way.

So this flasher is the running gag for Ronnie’s motivation and when he indeed finds himself chasing the guy, it is beautifully shot. A naked man running with a full frontal amongst the people in a crowded mall with Ronnie running like the world is going to come down with the song “Where is My Mind” by a band called City Wolf, it is the most surreal, funny and motivational thing happening in the film. In a film which I did not enjoy much, this becomes a weird scene of perfect surrealism.

I have not seen the debut film of Jody Hill called “The Foot Fist Way” but this film definitely makes me curious to watch it. “Observe and Report” while often makes you laugh becomes into a rolling ball of teenage confusion of what is happening with me attitude. It goes through a mid life crisis and in the end throws its hand up to surrender for the mediocrity of formula film. It is original in many and has clearly a taste for using excessive violence and random acts of people but it does not fly high enough to make it into the league of the comedies.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008) - Movie Review

I learned a very valuable lesson not a while ago about tackling emotionally tangled issues. Never be proud that a solution you thought is the perfect one for it. Logic is far from it and quite honestly, it is for a good reason. If it is logical, life would be extra boring than usual. These unpredictability of human mind makes a good ride if there is a pursuit to come out of it for sanity. These ups, downs, further downs and depressing downs are the paths not to find meaning but to sustain and endure for a wonderful ethereal memory which melts you for another illogical emotional mistake. Still beautiful though. Such is one what Vicky (Rebecca Hall) in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” makes with the charming artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem).

My first Woody Allen’s flick and it is ease at its best and complexities made crystal. The world of the people Allen takes us through are confused, distorted and quite unsolvable but we see through it. We see through it because of the narration, normally for telling events is used to explain the state of mind, philosophies and outlook of the characters. Not because of the failure to emote it but in this film it is essential. We got to know their emotions well laid out before they speak out to their lovers.

Vicky and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) come to yes Barcelona for summer with a nice middle aged couple Judy (Patricia Clarkson) and Mark (Kevin Dunn). Vicky is an art lover but not too artsy to separate her from the cycle of current structure of society and Cristina badly needs to break out from it. They enjoy the town, wine, restaurant, architecture and finally the same man Juan Antonio. There is no need to tell how voluptuous and a walking lust image Johansson is and when Javier Bardem comes as Juan offering a plane ride to a town they have not heard and openly proposing for a pleasure of food, sightseeing and making love, how much more cinematic and impossible it could get? But well, they are indeed Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson doing a great bit of acting making it casual from director Woody Allen. It works cliched but more than any one could ask for. Vicky of course disapproves of this Spaniard and sticks to protect her friend even so in the societal way of obligation. Secrecy is the last resort Allen opts for in how Vicky will be the one getting seduced by Antonio first. The moment it contrives upon is more than how-to approach because Juan means and says what he really means and says. And with the dark liquid of bold and passion ignites their night while Cristina is recovering from her ulcer.

But I am getting way ahead of myself. This seductive man has a seductive and violent history in terms of relationship. That would be Penélope Cruz as Maria Elena. She shouts in spanish and as much as clear she sees Juan that is the same reason she hates the life. She cannot stand the people running away from the truth they are standing right on. This knowledge drives her to hate the world around and of course goes on performing unsuccessful suicide attempts. I will let you see the film to understand how Cristina, Maria Elena and Juan end up together but when Cristina comes up with her news of leaving them, Maria could not stand it. Juan on the other hand as the light headed, cool, laid back and living in the moment guy, well you see what I am trying to say his reaction towards it.

What are these circling thoughts in our head which tells and dictates the values, structure and the habit of living along? We know we could not resist it or stop from thinking but it is a non-stop ferris wheel and we are stuck in it. We say one thing and think another. We are the perfectly flawed machines of emotional wrecks. Yet we survive. We are civilized and we keep the insanity to ourselves believing how much of a freak we are. For some, the thought that every one are crazy is a little consoling and for some it is the denial which helps but for rest it is the inability to control. That scares us. What is this has to do with the film and why am I going on like shrink? The characters in the “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” carry on this different styles of life and wondering on the change they could bring or to end the quest they have been searching. Yet it is a revolving door and depressing it may sound, routine is a part of life we come to embrace for orderliness. We may hate it but that keeps things in control and we want to be in control.

The film is not as serious as I might make it sound but it ignites the thoughts. That is the intention and rightfully so, you got to absorb it. It is funny when Maria Elena speaks in Spanish in front of Cristina which we think she does to irritate her and maintain secrecy but soon we realize that she cannot keep it in her head when she is emotional. Juan and Maria are obviously as the film stresses are the perfect blend of life but also the perfect mistake for long run. They both hate routine and when the pair becomes that chore, it is a catch-22. Woody Allen while concentrates on these four characters - Vicky, Cristina, Juan and Maria takes through the side line parallels of their situation through Judy and Vicky’s fiance, Doug (Chris Messina). They are product of this great human world with complex feelings and irrational logic. Society is the best medicine we could all find to live along but it also defeats the free flow of the living.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

"Hacking Democracy" (Documentary) (2006) - Movie Review

Watching “Recount” was comically entertaining but it also runs the portrait of depressing phenomenon in the system of democracy. “Hacking Democracy” has only the depressing part though it is not documented for entertainment. Most of the home video amateur spy mechanism from the lead championing lady Bev Harris is not for theatrics but for real evidence. There is a genuine attempt in their quest for the truth. They do not want their process to be flawed as the system they are pointing the problem. Hence despite its damp presentation, the effort has an integrity which thankfully put forth the issue properly.

The embarrassing 2000 US Presidential Election is a cry to go through the cracks of this method which failed the boasting democracy of the country. Having worked as a code monkey and just entering the realms of systems, I could see the “bugs” in the secretive software. What amazes is though the haphazard attitude in getting by with it in the name of classified information. In the electronic voting which is prevalent in all the elections which has happened, the company Diebold Inc., has been supplying with an inaccurate and flawed security system as Bev Harris the founder of the non-profit organization Black Box Voting claims to state. The film goes through in analyzing that if not in depth but with computer professors and scientists trying to break it with no difficulty.

Beyond the allegations and the counter arguments of Diebold, there is indeed a problem. The scary and shameful fact is that even after the debacle in the 2000 elections, there is no proper investigation to get the source of this mistake. Clearly something happened to clock negative votes for Al Gore. And in the last demonstration of the film wherein Harri Hursti, a professor from Johns Hopkins University embeds a hacking system in the memory card which records the votes from the electronic system, it is more than obvious of what is happening out here. Irresponsible development and authentication of this machine and since the federal seem to be less bothered, it is more easy for blame and escape. I had to laugh even though it is sad when they open a simple MS Access database to alter the votes for different representative.

The film though could have been more thorough and very importantly sharp. Not sharp as in the unnecessary confrontal acts but the editorial skill of giving this in sequential details. Instead there is a linear single tone narration of this active investigative war run by this self motivated and passionate people on getting to the bottom of this wide gap in the democratic process. While the film is informative, clear and honest, in terms of presenting for the art of medium, it could have been lot better and precise.

While thinking about the accusations, the thought of this humongous and laborious process of maintaining and organizing this event of churning towards the race to decide the fate of the country made me to overlook their mistakes. But no, that makes it the most important and more responsible beckoning program. For better or worst, there should be a fair way of electing the representative of the people. Either its Bush or Gore or Obama or McCain or Cheney or Biden or Palin, there needs a respect for this process and that right for the people getting abused and manhandled is plainly wrong.

In this hunt for finding the root cause of the failure, Bev Harris with her team goes state to state and city to city and dig the trash on the outside of the election departments of the county. Weird and unnecessary as it sounds, they find the disposed official counting tapes signed by the executives of the election which got over a few days back. More so it differs widely from the official counting tapes they were given. More than favouring a particular party, it is an exemplifies the lethargic nature of the officials. But then again there is a disciplined official Ion Sancho, Supervisor of Elections allowing the team to see the optical system failing right in front of him and he is astounded.

Directors Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels empathize with the vigour and agony of Bev Harris and thus use the video in its simplistic fashion to get the points across. Which indeed it does but the flair or spark never gets to materialize. The pain and enthusiasm the people thrive on the film and want the rest of the citizens to share does not transpire and motivate to act. “Hacking Democracy” is very informative but not inspirational.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

"Adventureland" (2009) - Movie Review

“Adventureland” is not the comedy I was expecting from the “Superbad” director Greg Mottola. It has more serious story than the advertisement projects. It happens in 1987 though the colours and disco are the significant props we would be noticing of but it becomes a theme too in a very good way. It follows two characters tied in the fate the parents have generated and fall in love without the whole hunt and ritual of virgin deflowering. The simplest drama comedy is the best thing one could ask for and “Adventureland” is one such done in a very beloved manner.

The seasonal fair as the name implies brings in a seasonal elevation of happiness during the course of time we surf through it. Because every one knows why they are here. To have fun. Bars, clubs might get people to have fun but there are way too many purpose to the visit. Get girls, get guys, wipe their sorrow and may be a little too happy to spoil the scene. Theme park is a different thing. Family brings immediate safety and there is a lot of budding innocence around. The purpose of fun is very clear that the people are levitated in it. But if you are stuck in that environment day after day and worst, work there, how will it be? Suffocating. James (Jesse Eisenberg) has no other choice to do a summer job as his dad gets some career setbacks. This cancels his Europe trip and hopes to get this done fast so that he can pursue his literary academic in New York with his best friend from school.

He begins the job he is already hating and finds that there is a reason to go. Fellow worker Em (Kristen Stewart) begins to talk to him and thus as the desperate guy, hopes to get somewhere with her. Em is an angry girl and unable to stand the societal obligations her new step mother puts through and the father going along with it. She vents out that through falling into the arms of a much older and a married guy Connell (Ryan Reynolds). Connell is the maintenance personnel of the theme park and is the big brother and coolest dude to hang out. And with such a finesse on women and men, it is bound for James to feel privileged when he talks with him and more than that to follow his advice on dealing with girls. Connell is a man of problems with himself and thus routes the game as he wants in subtle and genuine speeches. He makes the wrong seem so right to conveniently blamed on the nature of behaviour. Reynolds in his guest performance does the sleazy guy and when the time comes for James to see the man behind the mask, the scene is with maturity of the actors and especially the director.

Jesse Eisenberg did a terrific job as the kid affected by his attitude hooked on condescending outlook of his father in “The Squid and the Whale”. Here he comes off as the naive and sweet guy wondering what is going wrong with him and woman. He seem to know the signals but it is coming every time he talks with a girl. In the film though except for the first break up, the two prominent ladies in the film Em and the bomb shell Lisa (Margarita Levieva) want him for actually who he is. Lisa though wants to try something different but with Em he begins to feel home and appreciates her. And Kristen Stewart whom I resented in “Twilight” is effective indeed. She brings the maturity and the dumbness for the Em of that age with the anger and silent rage under her lovely appearance.

What Connell says about the wiring up of men to trigger their erotic senses is a serious comment. It is how convenient and inconvenient it becomes to roam around with perplexed opinions about the opposite sex. The delicacy to deal with that feeling to tell or not to screws up for an obvious mistake. It makes James worried on the chances he gets and the opportunities he would miss to finally do something of his romance life. Sometimes the most rightful thing would be the glaze over the eye in viewing the tempting wrong. That is what makes the choice so wonderful to pursue and get it exactly to the horrendous awkwardness. And “Adventureland” a posed comedy actually addresses the tone of that change in both the sexes.

People who expect to see a hilarious raunchy comedy would get some but not as they would love to get. Instead the film gets them inside it through those jokes and then puts them in to the places of these two young people in the verge of seeing their adulthood through in passing cloud of floating chances. It would make the men feeling they are getting out of the shell while women realize that there is a wrongness in the perception towards men and themselves. This is something really wonderful the film attains with a composure questioning whether you witnessed a comedy or a serious drama.