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Saving Grace (2000)
Light hearted, laugh out loud and very upbeat
It's a light hearted, fun to watch movie. It's a typical British comedy in that it's incredibly funny despite the tragic premise on which the story is based. However it's not a dark comedy, something movies coming from the Isles are renowned for; to the contrary, it's distinctly upbeat and light. Situations are somewhat exaggerated at times which is kind of expected given that the movie is pretty much in the farce/crazy comedy mould and the purpose is chiefly to amuse people rather than making the story seem believable.
A big factor that prompted me to give the movie 10 stars apart from the sheer laughs and the fact that I'm generally very generous while rating movies I like was its heart warming portrayal of the good side of the human nature. It was endearing to see how everybody (mostly) did their bit to help and protect the lead character during a crisis phase in her life without having any personal interests involved. This emotional aspect made the overall experience all the more whelming for me and well worth all the 10 stars I gave.
It's a must watch refreshing comedy movie that is sure to help lift you up if you are upset about something. Not to say it's one of those movies where you need to be upset to be able to appreciate it properly, even if you are not, it'll leave you a much happier person with a greater belief in the inherent goodness of human nature(till the next setback which will not take long, I'm sure).
Phoenix Nights (2001)
I've come to develop a liking for British humour because of it being very real, not necessarily with regards to the situations shown but the characters, who are mostly common and identifiable people. This liking has turned into a fixation of late and this show does nothing to put me off it. It is a very special show in its setting and style of humour, and Peter Kay's brilliance shines through as it progresses.
It might take you a couple or even more episodes to come to terms with the show's approach, but once you do, you'll find it rather enjoyable. The humour is mostly very subtle and clever, requiring keen attention at all times to get all the jokes but at the same time there are also a lot of hysterical moments where you'll find yourself rolling over the floor laughing. Every episode is like a bubble gradually filling up till it eventually bursts and things spiral out of control turning the show into a laughter riot, but even the build up to this chaos is gripping, witty and equally enjoyable.
This show would appeal to anybody who likes comedy with a bit of taste and is one of my strongest recommendations to those who were left awestruck by the likes of Black Books, Father Ted, Spaced and the Peep show.
A breath of fresh air
Woof! Where did that come from? That was my initial reaction upon watching this movie. Its a welcome reprieve from the typical bollywood movie overflowing with bemusing action scenes and a distorted bedtime story for a storyline. It is not quite as rebellious as many other offbeat movies which seem to be as critical of the society as they are of the film industry. This movie however follows a milder, more artistic approach if you like in portraying its satire. From what I could observe, it seems to have taken inspirations from a lot of sources, some pretty famous ones as well; Charlie Chaplin's movies, mute movies and old Hindi cinema to name a few, but instead of aping them like tonnes of Indian movies have over the years, this movie builds its own story using them, and does quite a commendable job of it, which is fine by me for it maintains its originality while doing so. I've seen some of Charlie Chaplin's works and Amelie as well, and I don't think its blatant copying or plagiarism.
Its a story essentially of love that knows no limitations, something that everybody fascinates of and also regret of failing to draw the courage to take the all important life changing decision, something we are all familiar of. Therefore most people can readily identify with the story and be encouraged in their endeavours by the way the central character Barfi stays unflinchingly upbeat despite all odds and hardships at hand and struggles through them to make a right fist of his life. Backdrop, screenplay and acting, everything fits the bill.
Though some might argue there are a lot of extraordinary situations for a movie that intends to stay practical, the overall story is still conceivable in my opinion. The humour is subtle and clever and considering the subject of the movie, most of it goes around in gestures, so the viewers might need to apply themselves a little bit more than your normal rom-com thing to pick up all of the jokes, which if you don't might end up spoiling your experience a tad, hence the complaints from few quarters of the movie being stretched or boring. Overall, if you don't go in there expecting melodramatic romance or vile humour you won't be disappointed by the touching, refreshing and immensely entertaining treat on show.
The Ruling Class (1972)
good movie, brilliant Peter O'Toole
I found the movie peculiar, at times it was simply enthralling, at times; it was a bit underwhelming, which makes it difficult for me to form a decided opinion of it especially as somebody who's not that familiar with that age or society. The charismatic Peter O' Toole shines gloriously through the course of it however; both as the frowned upon schizophrenic who believes he is Jesus Christ and as the revered headstrong aristocrat who secretly believes he is Jack the ripper.The movie which gradually becomes more and more satirical as it progresses symbolically connects the indifferent ruling class to the rise of such evils as Jack the ripper. A commendable acting performance from Peter O'Toole makes this symbolism all the more persuasive. Also, it shows how all the scheming manages to turn a harmless buffoon into a psychotic serial killer to the detriment of the perpetrators and his well wishers alike and how, upon this transition, he ironically gains acceptance into the society which had ridiculed him earlier.
I would not go ahead and say its a 10 on 10 for me for there were instances where I felt a lack of continuity in the storyline, though its difficult to recall such incidents in particular, overall the movie didn't leave me as awestruck as some other movies which I've voted as a perfect 10. Its difficult to say how much of it was due to my lack of knowledge of that age or society and how much of it was due to gaps in the storyline itself. That said, the movie is definitely worth a watch, in fact, a second watch would be worth considering for somebody from outside of Britain, you might just pick up the odd joke you missed in the first viewing.
Withnail & I (1987)
Its the castle of comedy's dark realm
One has to free words from all obligations to do justice to the beauty of this movie. The praise this movie deserves is absolute and incomparable. I never knew that a comedy movie could be so hilarious and yet force you to think so seriously about life at the same time. Withnail and I, imo is the castle of comedy's dark realm.
This film started my obsession with British comedy movies, an addiction that continues to prosper and thrive ever since. Right from the opening scene where the narrator and Withnail are moaning about the mess they live in to the one towards the end where the latter recites a soliloquy from Shakespeare's hamlet; the movie, and in particular, Withnail mock the world so aptly that its hard to find fault. People often say that losers like to moan and don't try hard enough to get their lives back on track. When this movie began, I thought it'll reiterate this point but the character of Withnail so tellingly reproached the ways of the world that I ended up siding with him. I knew Withnail will offer the bait at some point, and I knew that it'd be wise to refuse it, but when he did so, the offer seemed too good to resist. It made me laugh at really serious stuff, some of it was miserable enough to make me cry normally.
That's what I feel it does to you. It makes you learn how to laugh at your own plight. There's no doubting the quality of humour on display, it comes right from the top drawer of the British comedy reserve. Sarcasm is the essential word here, if I miss it, the review shall not be complete. The movie was rife with quick witted and smartly disguised sarcasm and is bound to auger well with everybody who loves satire genre.
Shakespeare used to say that every play/movie etc. can be classified as either comedy or tragedy, but I find myself in a dilemma while trying to classify this as either of those. Words escape me and its not possible to write any further, so I'd like to end by quoting Withnail from the movie itself. "We've gone on holiday by mistake. We're in this cottage here. Are you the farmer? "
3 Idiots (2009)
Good, not great
This movie is very much in the DCH mould, but not nearly as good. It begins very impressively but gradually begins to stray off and by the end goes way overboard.
It may come as a disappointment to those who pride it as a movie that pinpoints what's wrong with our society that the extraordinary nature of events in the movie do not strike a chord with real life regardless of the country or society under consideration. For those who look up to it as the beginning of a trend of quality satire movies in bollywood, I am afraid its a false dawn.
I've seen and thoroughly enjoyed many zany comedies, but those movies are different because they don't try to simulate real world situations unlike a movie based on a serious subject like 3 Idiots. The seriousness of the movie's theme was not reflected in the storyline and/or direction of the movie.
Having said that, it is enjoyable to watch, being full of lighthearted humour, which makes it worth a watch and I wonder had it stuck to a saner storyline, it could really have been the masterpiece that many have made it out to be anyways.
Also, since its focused largely, if not entirely on Aamir Khan and the other two so called central characters don't play enough of a role, the movie doesn't seem to warrant the title 3 Idiots.
Its kind of disappointing to see people adulating and hailing this movie as something which is class apart, if it is so, we can and will have to raise that class.
incoherent and extravagant drag on
The theme was good, but its implementation in the movie was disastrous. imo was ill directed and senseless with an evident lack of thought put into its script, characters and presentation. Moments of inspiration were few and far between and for the most part, the events in the movie fairly challenged the idea of reality of a deluded day dreamer. It didn't do the viewers any favours when it came to the length of the movie either, it was rather stretched and tedious to watch at times. There were individuals who acted well, but that came to nothing as the movie failed miserably in generating an interest or connection for a sustained period of time. This might seem to be a bit of a scathing, but its my honest opinion aggravated perhaps ever so slightly by the off putting portrayal of this movie by many as a gritty, inspirational and above all, realistic masterpiece.
Realistic but ambiguous
Quite a thought provoking movie. Having said that, I feel it leaves a bit too much for us to think. The viewer can make several inferences as to the messages the movie tries to convey, without being certain about any one of them. In a way, its good, cause it forces the viewers to look back at their own lives and unravel hidden feelings of guilt long buried under the weight of time. Most of us have had such terrible memories, this movie just makes us recall them, or in some cases, makes us acknowledge them in the first place.
However, its difficult for the viewer to have any reasonable clarity as the movie doesn't explore these grey shades of the human character in much detail, only hints at various contributing factors including racism, family issues etc. One such hint that many here have missed out on is the significance of the inherent goodness/badness of one's character. Majid's son, in his discussion with Georges towards the end points out how the orphanage teaches hatred and barbarism, but still his father had(through his inherent goodness) been able to pass on kindness to him. When one draws comparison with Georges, despite enjoying a much better standard of upbringing and education still lacked that basic goodness and apparently disregarded basic tenets of humanity. But can he be dubbed as a racist on the basis of that alone?, Georges was only a child when he made a false allegation regarding his adopted brother Majid to get rid of him, and he was drawn into doing that by his childish jealousy which in his case turned malicious and went out of hand. Back then he was not mature enough to comprehend racist beliefs. Most movies with abrupt endings like this have an irony which renders a sort of completeness to them, which was sadly not evident here.
Also, the movie was terribly slow at times, more focused on expressions than dialogue, an attempt, I guess at making it look more real. Overall though, the movie was still well worth the time spent in watching, but could've done a more thorough job of getting the message across. The acting makes me rate it so high; all characters justified their roles pretty well and played a telling part in keeping the movie believable.
An Indian classic
A must watch movie for all Indians since we're such cricket buffs. An epic colonial tale of a challenge taken by a group of Indian villagers to get away without paying taxes, in the form of a cricket match against a team formed by the British officers.
These rural people are barely acquaint with the basics of the sport, however, a win against all odds happens to be their only chance to battle through a period of unrelenting drought..what else do you want for a reason to like this movie..legendary stuff..
When you look at the storyline which was arguably based on a true story as well, and the way it was directed, it surely stands out as one of them movies, which changed the way movies were made in India, with a greater sense of purpose and motive being instilled in our system to raise the barriers that long denied Indian movies, the international fame. A testament to this is that since then, a number of Indian movies have won hearts abroad, and I'm sure that awards will follow suit..
Nominated for Oscar, and in all fairness it deserved to be, as well, and though the award was nicked by another deserving movie, the adrenaline it pumped into the Indian cinema was a far greater achievement, and the change that it brought about, may win us many Oscars in future..
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry..
Quite a touching movie. Some may find it awfully slow to begin with, and I'd include myself there, but, as it goes on, the interest levels are bound to boost up. Its a story of how a man, who's never really cared about his family, sort of atones for his wrongs, to help his family out of their misery. The long and short of it is that it's quite a different movie, one which might not have broken all sorts of records at the box office, or might not be cherished by many a people as their favorite movie, but I liked it, for it instills in the viewers, a real nice attitude towards life, and even in a sad ending, it ends on a positive note.