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If only this wasn't so long...., 3 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw The Deer Hunter for three reasons

1. It was on IMDb Top 250 List 2. It is a 70s film starring De Niro when he was at his absolute best in every role he played 3. It had 5 Oscars including the Best Picture

4 Oscar nominations thrown in for good measure too.

It was a good film but I was not totally satisfied with it to be very honest. It had no business being so long for starters. The first act and the third act could have been trimmed for about an hour more in the former than the later(40 in the first 20 in the third I guess would have made the film a world of good). Especially the first act was not doing much and in its entirety it shows the bonding between the friends amidst of a overtly long wedding scene at the church. True, the camaraderie and their relationship needed to be established, but an hour devoted only for that aspect of the film is a little demanding on the patience all the time promising of better things to come.

The second act was brilliant and is dearly and deservedly remembered by everyone who saw it. The acting, direction, cinematography were absolutely top notch and everyone was in command of their craft. This segment itself might have won this film all its Oscars. It culminates at a point where the three friends at different stages of exhaustion, escape from the prison camp and were rescued.

The third act traces their life back to their home town in Penssylvania where Mike who survived the war is welcomed enthusiastically back into his friends' lives but he has no idea of his other two buddies. He learns of their survival ,meets one of them(Stevie) who got his legs amputated and brings him back to his family. He finds his other friend Nick (Christopher Walken in an Oscar winning role) to be somewhere in Saigon and leaves to rescue him true to his word. The ending shows the survivors and friends singing God Bless America. Somewhere among this, there was Linda (Meryl Streep), Nick's fiancée with whom Mike seems to develop a relationship.

The direction and acting are quite flawless and deserve all the accolades. There were some real poignant moments in the film but they were not few but certainly far between. Also, the film occasionally seems to spell out the emotions for its viewers specially towards the end of the first act. The film has a large heart and important things to say, and I wanted to like it better than I had but sadly it did not have the kind of brilliance, intrigue and drama that I was expecting out of a film that has achieved what it had. A 6 out of 10

Kahaani (2012)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Kolkata and Bob Biswas Stand Out, 28 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Half the battles in making Kahaani were won when Director Sujoy Ghosh chose to set his film in Kolkata. Wise move that Sir. The film starts paying a 'spicy' homage to the city where the author feels that the city's ambitions and desires are amalgamated into a pickle (Kolkata Armano aur Khwayishon ka Achaar hai). With a supremely confident Vidya Balan, Perfect Parambrata and a decent story, we have a winner in our hands and the character and the actor who played Bob Biswas is just an icing on a delicious cake.

The film starts with a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband, not one of the most original beginnings, but the pace picks up instantly as soon as she lands in Kolkata. She heads directly to the Kalighat Police Station and en route we are treated to visual brilliance and vignettes of Kolkata. The scenes at the police station are the dysfunctional Indian Government Office stuff, cynically comical and laborious but importantly Vidya Bagchi befriends Rana and the two embark on a journey of intrigue.

The film has enough twists and turns to keep the audience hooked through out and whenever the film hits a dull moment, the director sought rescue from Kolkata and the city never played a spoilsport. But, the major concern is that at crucial moments in the film, it asks for more suspension of disbelief than we think it would case in point being the locks being opened with a hairpin, twice that too. Now in regular Indian Cinema, we wont tch tch for that sort of thing but we tend to judge good films on harsher scales. Also, towards the end of the film everything fits in magically into the pieces, so there's no complaining even though we would like the film to play itself a bit more and sort the things clearly than in the hasty fashion that it was wrapped up.

Insomnia (2002)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Neither Nolan..Nor Pacino, 17 June 2011

I had great expectations from Nolan and Pacino collaboration but those were never even acknowledged, let alone met by Insomnia. The film is neither a Pacino drama, nor a Nolan brainy thriller and in fact the props like insomnia and the Alaskan landscapes rather than the story itself, are what make the film bearable. Pacino, as we all know has got bigger teeth, but Nolan does not give him much to dig them into as he manages a meek film, its visual splendor and Pacino's intense, brooding performance notwithstanding.

Nolan's mark was conspicuous by its absence much to my chagrin as the story unfolded in a linear format, which was entirely unexpected. That was when I had a look at the credits and found that Nolan did not write this and he was just a director on this. Apart from Pacino, no one leaves a mark including Nolan. Robin Williams, after Good Will Hunting is particularly unconvincing (at least to me) in the role of a lousy writer while Hillary Swank was not needed and was never defined what she was supposed to do.

Dialogue was never one of Nolan's characteristic abilities, which was painfully evident with this film, as we never root for any of the lead characters. By the time of its denouement we no longer care what happens to anyone in the film. It is a pity that the Nolan-Pacino combination ended in something like this which is kind of fitting, since they were never masters in each other's genre. If not for Pacino and breathtaking cinematography which pops in rather inadvertently, this movie would be unable to sit through.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining Cinema....Thank God I now know Meyer, 3 June 2011

This is without a doubt one of the most entertaining cinema i have seen and I'm glad i have known Russ Meyer after all these days. I could actually see why Tarantino wanted to make a homage to this genre as I myself felt to do a homage to this film in particular. I felt that Death Proof a fitting tribute to an obsolete genre thereby reminding us of the kind of cinema that would not actually take itself too seriously and focuses on entertaining people.

Watching this film is an incredibly exciting and endearing experience that I enjoyed a movie a lot after a long time. This is the sort of movie which asks its audiences to join the fun it is about to deliver at its very outset by a cantankerous voice-over. I loved the dialogue, particularly the references to Columbus and Einstein and the dialogues by the old men in the film are absolute crackers.

The girls are busty with a lot of oomph and cocky attitude and I loved each of them except the little screamer kid. I can never tolerate girls who scream but the other performances are also too good and I would never have thought this to be a B movie if I wasn't told so earlier. Certainly there was nothing in the movie remotely substandard except the plot and the amount of cleavage shown which made it a contender for a B movie. The background music was so loud and over the top that after a while it became quite exciting and set up the tone for the film. I had not seen Meyer's other works so I could not comment on his legacy, but as far as this movie is concerned, it is a genuine masterpiece in its genre.