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18 reviews in total 
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Secret (2009)
4 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Whatever....., 2 July 2010

Interesting is the part that comes at the end. But to wait nearly a hundred minutes to get there, that gets somewhat tedious. Clues thrown in, trivial suspects brought into the central plot and action sequences that come across as clumsy rather than gutsy you may want to give it all a miss. But then, if you've nothing better to do (only so), maybe endure because even though you know what exactly happened and who exactly did what, down to the t, to watch the leads finally getting socked by the other courtesy the same trivial characters (damn..just not worth actually) how it hits them....that climax where there will be no 'happy ever after'...redeems, even though just so slightly...

8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
King of the hill....goes downhill....., 29 December 2009

A film that builds on pretty well through the first forty five minutes or so just does downhill by making that one distinct narrative shift - revealing the identity of the assailants. Till then its a motley group desperately struggling to outwit some faceless gunshooters knowing only that if it exposes itself in that deep jungle it'd be dead meat. When the numbers dwindle, the camera moves on away from the hunted to the predators (this is so funny as though making an announcement that the arena is set). I just know its who v/s who and what the outcome will be. In fact disturbing as it seemed when I found out what the killers were upto and their movies per se , the straightened out revenge take isn't what I wanted. But it seemed all laid out. Disappointing!

10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
The lookout...for a good story., 19 April 2009

As much as I wanted to like this film, once I watched it, I was quite disappointed. The premise of how a teenager suffering from brain trauma inflicted because of his own unaware rashness tries to redeem himself makes for a quite an interesting premise for a story. In this film, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and three others collide head-on into a truck leaving his friends dead, girlfriend injured and him brain-damaged. So then follows the aftermath of this life altering accident. The film begins when Chris is shown to be living in an apartment with a much older blind man, Lewis (Jeff Daniels) and attending special classes that aid him to get his sensory and motor skills back to normal. He also works as a janitor at a local cooperative bank at night. Unable to perform daily tasks normally or think through clearly, Chris manages to stay sane and hope for the better. Until Gary arrives on the scene. Low on self -confidence with handicapped social skills, Chris immediately takes to Gary and his friends because they seem to accept him with ease. It doesn't take much to realize the true intentions of Gary. We just wait for it to unfold. It does but in quite a predictable manner. Chris works at a bank that Gary and company would be robbing obviously with his help. What is Chris' role and how he help them forms the remainder of the plot. No questions are too hard to answer and we very well know what will eventually happen. What irked me was the questions that kept popping in my head. How come there isn't any security guard at the bank. There seems to just one police officer on patrol who drops in to check on Chris. How come the bank is all glass-doored with the safe staring right out into the open? What about Chris' very wealthy family? Why isn't he with them? Why the hostility shown by the parents and Chris? The plot wouldn't have been the same then if these were answered. These holes kept rankling in my head through Gary's plan and Chris' actions leading to the climax that was just waiting to be run through before the finale. I knew it beforehand. The End. Gordon-Levitt is an actor who can externalize his angst and pain of the past very poignantly. I've watched few other films of his (Brick, Mysterious Skin apart from 3rd rock....) and he is indeed very talented. Supporting cast do fill up the blanks but yet are not sufficient to overcome the gaping holes in the story. That, was a letdown for me.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
In the mood for love for good cinema, 17 August 2008

It's been nearly 5 hours since I saw this movie but I am still thinking about it, about the lead pair, about the story, about the ending. Not sure what this is leading too. But never have I seen such dignity in a love relationship - especially an extra martial one. It's not even right for me to label this as an 'extra martial affair'. This just so limits and in a way kills the kind of relation the lead pair - Mrs Chang and Mr Chow has.

Mr Chow, a newspaper editor and Mrs Chang, a secretary, are neighbours who have just moved into the same apartment complex with their respective spouses. But her executive husband is always on tours and his wife is hardly ever to be seen, working in multiple work-shifts. All seems pretty normal at the outset, Mr Chow and Mrs Chang leading their respective lives waiting for the spouses to return, hoping that all is OK with their marriages even though the signs said otherwise. Loneliness becomes a more constant companion for both of them and yet they just acknowledge each other's presence whenever they meet - at one level knowing what it is like to live alone, to perform simple daily chores alone - like having dinner by oneself most of the days - when they should be at home eating with their partners. At such instances when the characters are alone, even if they are with other people, the scenes are done in slow-motion just so gently emphasizing this fact to the audience. I could feel it within me. There is no simmering sexual tension or physical attraction ever between the two; just mutual understanding of how lonely the other is. What gets them to interact is when one day they find out that their spouses are having an affair. Devastated, they slowly seek comfort in the other - not by getting into a fling and getting physical at the first opportunity - but by lending a hand of support, listening, helping out in the daily chores, eating together, just being there for the other.

Slowly both begin to realize that they too have got on the same track as their partners - the path of having an extra marital affair. And this is the point where the film becomes what it is - both vow never to "do anything like their partners; never get involved" - else what's the difference between them then? It is this maturity of the characters that to a large extent helps them to be there and care for the other and yet not cross the line of getting into a full-blown illicit relationship. But how long can this restraint last? What happens then? Ever action of the two is like a layer being peeled to reveal their inner strength and character. Even when Mr Chang admits how tough it has become for them to be like this, that scene is so charged even though there is no physical touch involved (expect for a handshake that said it all). Very poetic and painful to watch this. Even deep emotions like sadness, anger, the slight urge to get even are handled like as though these had to be just absorbed within, not lashed out at the other. I thought otherwise worked but this film showed me that I could be wrong. It hurt.

The director sets the perfect ambiance for the subject - the background colours, the outfits that Mrs Chang always wears - high collared - I felt that it suited her character more - the kind who maintains her respect and position, no matter that she could be crumbling inside. The music was such that it was in a way wailing and mourning for the sadness and pain that the two had to go through. There had to be some form of outlet and here its the background score that does this. Dialogues are short and convey the feelings aptly.

But what takes this film to another level altogether (apart from the story and the script - even though this took shape as the film was being shot) is the lead pair played by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai. To say that they had an amazing chemistry is quite erroneous I feel. No, this isn't it. Both seemed to have such an amazing understanding of the characters that they just knew what it is like to be betrayed by a spouse, what it is like to fall in love again, what it is like to show restraint and navigate through the pain all by themselves and to make that final decision that then defines the future for them. They just knew it. And when this happens what we get on screen is pure magic. Nothing less.

Beautiful film. It's a work of art.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A really nice film....., 3 August 2008

Never expected this film to be so funny and touching at the same time and Zach, for his first film, truly manages to accomplish this.

For all of us, at some point or the other in our lives, each one is made to go back to his or her past, face the unforgettable disturbing truths and incidents that we so want to forget, reconcile and then finally and hopefully, move on.

For Zach's character Andrew, it is his mother's untimely death that forces him to visit home and thus, his past - all that he had left nine years ago. What happens next is what the film is essentially about. For the first few days, Andrew is literally so out of place the whole time. His expressions say it all - just asking questions - Why am I here, why is all of this happening to me? Why am I not feeling anything? Should I be feeling at all? Nobody welcomes him back with open arms - because Andrew is returning home to no-one - no family, no close high school friends, no girlfriend. Nobody. But slowly he meets his long lost friends (no close high school buddies), meets a girl Samantha(Natalie Portman) at the doctors clinic and starts hangs out with them just so that he can avoid being at home and bumping into his father. But then the past does catch up with you sooner or later and Andrew realizes this as days pass. His friend Mark and girlfriend-in-the-making Sam, through their own small but significant gestures help him tide through this. But it is Andrew who has to take charge and get his life on track for the first time in his life by letting go of the past and most importantly forcing his father to let go off the same.

Not an easy subject to deal with for a debut movie but Zach makes this possible with a great script. The dialogues are so well-written; witty, touching almost making you laugh aloud in one scene, making you smile in another, almost cry in others. Obviously it helps that the lead characters are very well chosen for their parts - Zach with his eye-rolling expressions, barely opening his mouth while talking and when he does its like he's in a permanent daze; Sam's character of a chronic liar but good-at-heart girl-next-door was brought alive so well by Natalie Portman; Peter Saasgard as Mark too left his "mark" not being outright there for Andrew but being there alright, helping him in his own little way.

The background score and songs are beautiful and aptly chosen. Its not often that the songs depict the characters moods well. The lyrics describe just that.

I really liked this film, it made me feel good - that however messy our lives can be, I guess, we can come through the mess, slowly, one step at a time.

Dogville (2003)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
What is this?, 3 July 2008

This film does re-define the craft of film-making in a way but I found it really tough to sit through it completely. In fact I haven't got through the first 20 minutes in my few attempts of watching it till now. Dogville is a film that is completely enacted out on stage just like a play. The movie begins, the characters, places etc are introduced but I can't feel a thing. Nothing seemed real because everything is happening on a stage. However much I tried to persuade myself to watch it I couldn't connect with it at all. I know Lars Von Trier makes his movies that in some way or the other shake the insides of the audience (I've seen Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the dark and I doubt there are many film-makers who can not only make the audience feel the pain of the characters but also carry it with them long after the movie is over. Its like - if I want to depict how much pain one can undergo I might as well go the whole way to show it. In fact more. It's torture in a way).

But Dogville in a way is making me question my interpretation of what a movie is; or rather should be. This is a remarkable achievement on the part of the film-maker, but does it work with the audience? Not so, at least in my case. But I am so surprised that so many people have embraced the film so willingly.

As for me, I guess I should watch it sometime.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
When darkness falls.......dawn isn't far behind,hopefully...., 8 June 2008

'I am so grateful that I have such a safe life and I hope I dot experience any incident of physical violence ever'. This is what I felt after watching this film. Hard-hitting and such realistic portrayals of violence among normal working class people like us are what makes this movie gripping. Ably supported by the cast, at the end all I was praying for was justice for the victims in the 3 stories. Hoping that all will be fine. It was so unsettling.

Even though I've rated this movie at 8, it isn't for everybody. Because its not pure entertainment that's playing out here but a disturbing story that will make one squirm in the seat. Good film.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good as long as it lasts..., 30 May 2008

I just saw this movie now. Cool one, I must say. Didn't expect such a low rating here. It is predictable fare but Nicholas Cage and his gang's histrionics makes the watch worthwhile. I enjoyed every moment of it. Angelina's just the babe here but I couldn't think of any other girl for her part. That itself speaks about her on screen presence - even though there is nothing much that she does. Cage, as usual, is tailor-made for such roles. He is very good...

This movie isn't for my collection but I wanted to see it since long. Saw it today and enjoyed it. That's about it. Purpose served. Nothing more.

The River Streep and Bacon, 14 May 2008

I was browsing through this site and just got led to this link. I saw 'The River Wild' a few years back. Reading about it now still gives me the thrill and edginess I felt when I saw this movie the first time. I loved it - didn't know which way the movie would go and what would happen in the end. A roller coaster ride across the river indeed. Kevin Bacon gave me the creeps while Meryl Streep made me desperately hope that all will be fine eventually. I guess this itself speaks about their acting here. The supporting cast suitably filled in the remaining blanks of the characters.

It's been ages...I am going to watch this movie again.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The New World: A new experience, 11 May 2008

I really don't know what to make of this movie. Lot of mixed feelings I had after watching this and I guess the movie was like that too - a mixture where the story/narrative couldn't blend completely with the place / world where it is based in. I mean, I didn't find anything extraordinary in the love story of Captain Smith and Pocahontas. Neither did the introduction of John Rolfe (Christian Bale's character) make this any more interesting. I felt it predictable enough. But the settings / backdrops of the story and manner in which the director uses the characters' body language to express their deepest thoughts and feelings make this film an unique experience.

To say that TNW is a visual treat is just gross I feel. Each scene was just so pristine. Terrence just unobtrusively painted every scene with his camera and I had to sit back and take in everything that was shown. I just felt it within me, allowing the movie to take me along at its own pace. Standing in the grass swaying to the gentle winds, staring at the still river, may be bending down and touching its waters, feeling the raindrops on my face when actually its Pocahontas's contented face getting wet and the drops just flowing across her cheeks, looking above at the open sky, at the sunrise, at the sunset - I felt I was there, part of it all. Every body movement of the lead actors, however minuscule, added so much more meaning to a scene. Naturally, dialogues were just few and far between. And thoughts were expressed as voice-overs in the background, so gently said that it was like as though the actors were whispering to themselves. And that's exactly the way it should be.

I really wish that the story had been more interesting - the love story was so familiar; whether actually the natives despised and felt threatened by the arrival of the English settlers was not shown convincingly enough. And this actually pulled down the film. But I don't regret watching it at all. The journey was indeed an unforgettable experience. Hence 7/10 from me.

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