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"Barfi!" speaks directly into our hearts
Barfi!, the story of a deaf-and-mute young man experiencing the harsh realities of life, has very little dialogue for a movie almost two-and-a-half hours long. But who says you need dialogue to speak? Here is a movie that speaks volumes directly into the heart.
Director Anurag Basu's close shave with death (he was diagnosed with acute leukemia) may have been the reason why he made a movie so different from his normal style (his former films include 'Gangster' and 'Life in a Metro'). And what a movie he has made! It is filled with enough moments to make you burst out in laughter, and a couple of truly tear-jerking ones as well.
"Barfi" stands as a prime example of how far Indian movies have come. This movie will touch everyone with a heart. After all, who needs a language, when you have the language of the heart? Go watch this one. 10/10
The way forward
It's been a long long time since I've been excited about watching a Bollywood film. After hearing so many good reviews about this film I wanted to ensure I watch this on the big screen. And I just did. And I can safely say my hopes for Bollywood cinema have finally been rekindled.
The film, from the outset, establishes itself as significantly different from any other Bollywood movie around. Different in a very good way. What I loved about it was the lack of unnecessary songs which only take the focus away from the main plot. Of course there was a lot more to love.
Vidya Balan for starters. A friend of mine mentioned to me that she is the only Indian actress who delivers hits while portraying characters realistically. She was, for the most part of Kahaani, a pregnant lady with minimal makeup and wearing nothing but (don't get ideas) an ordinary saree. Something quite rare nowadays in Bollyworld, eh? Unlike many in the industry, her status in Bollywood as an actress is justified.
The background score was another great plus. I would describe it as understated but consistent. At no point did it seem to steal the show, and suited the mood of the scenes very well. The supporting cast delivered excellent performances too.
Kahaani has honestly rekindled my hopes of Bollywood contributing something to the world of cinema sometime in the near future. Watch this! 10/10
OK - could have been better
If I had a wish, it would be that I had seen this version before the Swedish version. That isn't the case however. After having seen the Swedish one, I have to admit I wasn't hooked for the first hour. And we rarely say that of a Fincher flick. I liked the second half of the movie a lot though. It was fast-paced, gripping and played out well. Rooney Mara was very good in my opinion, and Oscar-worthy too; I found more than a handful of reviews that said she was 'boring' but that isn't the case, it takes a lot of boldness to shoot those more-than-usual explicit scenes and she did them with almost a Lisbeth-like quality. But Daniel Craig was quite disappointing. He didn't seem involved enough. Seriously I don't know why Fincher wanted him or the role so badly - I was against it from the very beginning. Good but I expect more from the sequel(s). 7/10
Seinfeld: The Switch (1995)
Again, its all in the dialogue!
The highlight of this episode is the four-five minutes in the middle, when Jerry and George draw up blueprints of how Jerry can successfully perform "the Switch". It's four-five minutes that do more than an entire season would in other shows. And again, it all comes down to the dialogue! Remember the scene when Jerry goes through the final plan with George? "...even as part of her cannot help but feel somewhat flattered by her inclusion in the unusual request!" I mean, its things like these that really got the show to the heights it ultimately reached. Not taking anything away from the actors.. but anyway fantastic episode. Definite 10/10!
Its the little things that count
To be very honest, I have never liked the movies but read the books dozens of times. From the point of view of a hardcore fan of the books, this was a disappointment. But, I looked at the movie in perspective once I got home from the theater, and realized it wasn't so bad after all.
The first half of the movie was exciting and fast-paced. Loved every minute of it. Snape's death especially was very touching, and what I would say was one of the high points of the movie.
Then I watched The Prince's Tale (for people who haven't read the books, that's Snape's memory segment). It was so short that a chapter that many would agree was the best in the entire series deserved a LOT more than just 5 minutes on the screen. So much so, that by the time it ended, some of my fellow viewers hadn't even taken their seats after the interval.
It's the little things in the movie I was disappointed with. Over the last 4 movies we have seen a trend wherein the jokes are the main focus. So when a movie of the importance of HP&DH2 came along, a serious affair such as a war against Voldemort ended up having moments of humor at the end of every scene, which I felt was quite inappropriate.
My favorite part of the movie would have to be, hands down, King's Cross. It did complete justice to the book, when you consider that they decided to leave out Dumbledore's past completely out of the movie.
My rating: 6/10 (hardcore fan of the books). Otherwise I'd have given it a 7.
Friends: The One with the Embryos (1998)
My favorite Friends episode of all
TOW the Embryos was one of the earlier Friends episodes I watched, and it went a long way in getting me to watch every episode ever since. This episode is in my opinion the best candidate for "laugh-out-loud" moments in what is probably the greatest "laugh-out-loud" show ever made.
Some of my favorite moments were: Chandler's imitation of "Michael Flateley, Lord of the Dance"; that wonderful entrance of Chandler and Joey on that dog; "I can't believe we live here!" (told by two poles-apart situations by people in two vastly different ways); and, probably the best of all, the priceless reaction by the four competitors after time's up!
The only thing I'd have changed is to somehow get Phoebe into the competition. She had severely little to do. But the other five more than make up for the absence.
According to me, nothing beats this episode of Friends. TOW Everybody Finds Out is the only one that comes close.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
"You know the funny thing is, outside, I was an honest man. I had to get into prison to become a crook" It is lines like this, that can effortlessly just make me shut my mouth, and marvel at this work of art. Morgan Freeman plays by far the most under-appreciated supporting roles in film history, and deserved the Oscar in my opinion (just watch the fifteen minutes after his prison sentence, particularly in the end, at Buxton, (I am being very subtle so I don't spoil anything!) and you will know what I am talking about). Take nothing away from Tim Robbins; sometimes, that one acting performance defines a legend. And honestly, if you are reading this review without having watched the movie yet, ...well, Go get it!! As far as rating goes, I would say "Let all other ratings be relative to Shawshank"!
Lost for words...literally
And don't take the words in the summary in the wrong way. 'Cause I mean it. I really am lost. Because the movie evoked such feelings in me when I left the cinema hall.
For starters, I thought it was a fairly decent film, definitely one of the best in the series till now (though not my favorite; that will always be HP1... unless HP7.2 can do something about it!). But Daniel Radcliffe didn't work well in this film according to me. I am not saying they should have changed Harry or something, (...wait a minute, what if they did!? I'd appreciate the movies a lot more, thats what! And so would a lot of others out there), but the book portrays Harry as someone who 'takes charge' from the moment he hears of the Hallows. But the movie doesn't show him coming to the sudden and ingenious conclusion that "Hallows must defeat Horcruxes" (one of the best moments in the book). Here is where the movie failed in my opinion. But the part preceding it, that was just magnificent. The Tale of the Three Brothers - truly a feast for the eyes. Do keep an eye out for that. Also that dance scene in the tent at the Forest? 1 word - Why??? And worst of all, they put that scene in place of the "Potterwatch" radio bit in the book.. Bad mistake. Honestly, had I gone in with an open mind I may have enjoyed the film more, but I just couldn't.. I am too attached to the books! So all in all, considering the special effects and CGI (which plays a huge role in getting movies into the IMDb tops list), I settle for a 7/10. Okay, that doesn't mean I am not waiting for the 2nd part though..
I watched this movie when I was 7 yrs old, in a theater here in Bangalore, and - you guessed it - nothing went into my head. I remember even asking my dad what the round thing was during the "nude" scene! The only thing I remember was seeing my dad in tears when it ended.
I watched it again just yesterday and I was moved to tears by the end. Everything just seemed to fit with this movie: the score, the visuals, the performances and the dialogue, all seemed to fit smoothly like a glove. OK, some of the dialogue was cheesy and made you go "oh come on!" but others were memorable even to the point of quoting.
This movie was divided into two halves which differed so much that you'd be surprised they were parts of the same movie. But I have to say the second half showed a side of directing and storytelling I haven't felt in the fifteen years since this movie came out: it showed strength.
James Cameron, I know now, kept Avatar on the back-burner, completed Titanic and then continued work on Avatar. I mean, what can I say. You gotta hand it over to him for making two of the most popular movies till date, and that too back-to-back. Titanic went on to sweep the Oscars with 11, and although Avatar managed just the 3, visually it was as stunning and marvelous as this one was.
Fittingly the movie ends with Celine Dion's "My heart will go on". By then I was shivering and this song at the end brought all those bottled-up tears out! Titanic will be in my Top 10 movies of all-time for years to come. Nothing can beat its sheer storytelling power. Must watch. 9/10
A feast for the eyes
James Cameron's Avatar was by far the most awaited movie of the 2000's, and has certainly lived up to its expectations. But wait! Not everything was ooh-aah-wow along the way...
OK, first off, taking nothing away from what this film delivers, visually it's just BRILLIANT. Personally I could have waited ten more years if they promised to bring something like this out. The action scenes were exciting, CGI top-notch, and some performances eg. Signourey Weaver were worth mentioning. Zoe Saldana, though never shown as a human, delivered a memorable performance vocally as well as providing some facial expressions for the Na'vi character.
Now the bad. What I didn't like about the movie (and I am talking about ten years' time they had to improve on it) is its story. Wasn't cutting-edge for me. Considering that his earlier projects were strong stories, I thought Cameron could have delivered better. That said, it didn't matter in the end, did it! The box-office tells us another story.
All in all, Avatar was a very enjoyable experience, and I am not gonna hide anything from you, honestly I couldn't resist watching it a second time! 9/10