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Dazed and Confused... Brilliance!
26 March 2011
I have watched this movie 6 times, now. It's not a great movie with any great story or brilliant acting. It is just a simple movie that you will always love to watch again and again. The story just spans around half a day and it is like going through a compilation of great records with life happening around. This is one of the greatest high school films of all time for me. The events that happen just after the school closes for the summer form the basic plot of the movie. Well, nothing much happens, story wise, but at the end of the movie you will definitely want to watch more of those high school punks, jerks, stoners, geeks and freshmen and their talks. I mean, that is exactly what the people behind this wanted. This movie is neither a dramatic experience nor one in which you will be laughing your asses off but this movie will bring out some smiles and satisfaction. I will definitely rate this movie 10 on 10 and the director- writer guy, Linklater, is a brilliant storyteller.

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Fish Tank (2009)
A must watch!
4 December 2010
A puzzled teenage girl's life in a world which never gives her anything to smile about summarizes the story of the movie. She tries to live her life among various problems that include bad parenting, terrible sibling hood and even worse relationship with other kids of her same age.

Fish Tank is movie that is well shot with some decent acting and great screenplay. This movie stands out as one of the all time good teenage movies which stick to reality. With simple and few characters each with its own distinction, the movie turns out to be an interesting watch throughout. Even the dialogues that do not go overboard at all and remains as realistic as possible helps the movie to remain clean.

The director has handled this movie in a very unique perspective and she has excelled in her work. Andrea Arnold, the director, is also the writer of the movie. The screenplay is the highlight of the pint which makes the movie flow 'naturally'.

Katie Jarvis who has played the lead has also given a wonderful debut performance. Rest of the cast also provides with decent acting especially the girl who plays the little sister.

Overall, this is not a usual teenage drama, a coming of tale. This movie does not fill you with hope and energizes you with positivity about the future. This is a well-written movie which portrays the life of a troubled, confused, ordinary adolescent in the most simple and realistic but a different way. This movie is 'must-watch'.

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Tirador (2007)
A Good film
23 August 2010
Tirador is a good film in all aspects. The movie depicts the life of petty criminals and common folks in a colony in Manila who has immense faith in the local politicians. We see varied images of the colony from middle aged men, the youth and the teenage whose lives are intertwined with each other. What we see is not the jaded characters with exaggerated plot around them but realistic characters with ordinary problems surrounding them.

The film opens late into the night and a raid is ongoing in search of illegal products in the colony and sometimes we can only see through the light from the flashlight. The director has cleverly used this entire opening sequence to show the various kinds of people in the society and their lives. And what ensues in the film is about these people tackling the tensions and troubles in the colony.

Another thing I have to mention about this movie is the cinematography. Not even in a single shot is steady and that is not a bad thing. It suits the movie in all respective. It is as if we are glancing through the lives of these people in the colony. I think, that is brilliant way of communicating with the viewer. I have seen several movies shot in similar way but it suits this movie the most.

Tirador is an interesting watch.

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Inception (2010)
Inception - Nolan has won again...
18 July 2010
Inception is a movie that needs great attention while watching; just a moment's distraction can make it hard for you to understand what is happening. But that is not a bad thing; the whole movie is like a cubical structure with blocks being inserted every minute. If Nolan had placed one block in a wrong way, the whole structure would have been destroyed. But Christopher Nolan had succeeded here in creating that structure with utmost seriousness and care. All the blocks are safe and at the right place. Here is a movie, with mind-boggling story, jaw-dropping visual effects, brilliance in stunt coordination and Nolan with superb skills of making a film. At the end of the movie, we are in a trance - wow - it has totally bowled us over and it is not the actions or effects that make this movie great but the STORY. Nolan has won again.

There was a Dark Knight, a few years back and the brilliance with which a batman movie was handled was greatly applauded and enjoyed. But Inception is better and has come out with double the perfection of Dark Knight. The idea for the latter is much greater. But with a great story and weak script we would have been disappointed. But that does not happen and the script is just awesome and must congratulate Nolan for developing such a fine script.

The story revolves around Cobb who is the greatest extractor ever and to help him there is Arthur. They are literally thieves who steal ideas from others when they are dreaming in sleep. Then they get an assignment to do the exact opposite they are trained to do. This time they have to plant an idea not steal it. If Cobb does so what he is offered is what he wanted the most, to go back home to his country with no charges against him. Watch the movie to know exactly what happens and what it means to him to go back home.

We have seen the skills of Nolan as a director in Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins and Dark Knight and he has gone several steps ahead in Inception, creating an astounding movie. I think this is Nolan's best work to date. He has created here a masterpiece that should be watched in the big screen only. He has easily converted a complex idea into a great script and has transported it into the silver screen with flawlessness.

There is a scene in which Cobb, the character played by Di Caprio, explains to the Ariadne, character played by Ellen Page on dreams and creating dreams when she suddenly realizes that she is inside a dream and everything explodes. The explosion is so slow and the scene gets us a close up of Ariadne, showing her realizing that she is inside a dream. In one word, I will say this scene is just brilliant. Then there was the action scene in zero gravity by Gordon-Lewitt, another wonderful piece of direction. The movie is about an idea and is full of vivid ideas that keep the viewer so gripped into the movie. The idea for this movie will be probably Nolan's greatest idea for a movie.

Leonardo Di Caprio was good as Cobb and was the right choice. Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard also provide stand-out performances. Joseph Gordon-Lewitt as Arthur, the second-in-line to Cobb, has also given commendable performance. Tom Hardy and Ken Watanabe are good in their respective role. Michael Caine was just a hype not needed at all. He was just there for two scenes and I felt like he was cast just for being in every Nolan film.

Inception is a MUST-WATCH. It is so engrossing and interesting. Nolan has created one of the finest screenplays. The highlight of the movie is the well executed detailed script and Nolan's excellence in crafting a movie.

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"The World is Big..." is a Wonderful Movie!!!
9 July 2010
A young man who has lost his memories and parents in a car accident is guided by his charismatic grandfather to regain his memories by travelling around Europe, retracing the path the young man and his parents once took when they had illegally migrated from Bulgaria to Germany for a new life. This is the premise of this movie.

This movie was the Bulgaria's official entry into Academy Awards 2009 and it was also shown in many film festivals winning many awards.

I simply loved this movie. With a wonderful and simple story this movie captivates the viewer with the brilliant acting by Miki Mnojlovic and his inducing dialogues. Stephen Komandarev is a wonderful director who knows how to visualize a story. But the story rises above all these and makes the movie a definite must watch.

The movie tells the story of the journey of Bai Dan and his Grandson Alex in search of the real self of the latter. In a parallel story line we witness the plight of the young Alex and his parents for a new life from Bulgaria to Germany. Both the stories go well simultaneously and do not make the viewer bored. This is because of an intelligent and well written screenplay.

I really liked the characterization of Bai Dan, an experienced man whose life is all about the game Backgammon and even his dialogues relate around the game. He once says to his grandson "life is like the dice in our hand, fate is determined by the skill and luck of the player." He has a simple solution to all problems. He never pushes Alex to revoke his old self but with his own innovative techniques he tries to get back his old Alex. He realizes that sitting idly in the hospital can never make Alex any better and he takes him on a cross country trip across Europe and playing Backgammon occasionally.

But this is more than a tale of two people on the road to self-realism. The movie explores into the political situation of Bulgaria during the 1980s. Alex' father, Vasko, gets into trouble with a local communist who wants him to spy on Bai Dan, his father-in-law. He refuses and worrying about the consequences he decides to leave Bulgaria and flee to Germany with his wife and son. We get to see the troubles that they face during their migration and the problems they and the other immigrants from different countries face in the refugee camp.

Backgammon had been given much importance throughout the movie. The movie starts with backgammon and ends with backgammon. Bai Dan's life revolves around backgammon. In Vasko's life also backgammon plays an important part. The game plays also an important role in bringing Alex back into his original life.

The movie talks about the hopes of a small family and their dreams of having a better life somewhere. It tells the forgotten memories, dreams and life of a young man who learns more things when he regains his memories. It tells about a grandfather with full of love for his grandson. It tells how a small game like backgammon can stir the life of people.

I strongly recommend this movie to everyone for the brilliant acting of Mr. Manojlovic, an interesting story, good direction. At the end, everyone wishes for a grandfather like Bai Dan and that's the success of this movie.

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Not So Great!!!!!!!
5 July 2010
It was odd for me to watch this movie as I was completely unaware about Slovenian film industry and movie culture. Considering the above fact I have to say I was not much impressed by the whole affair.

The story is set in a town in Slovenia, bordering Austria and centers around the workshop of Gajas - an auto mechanic and his assistant, David, who at the starting of the movie moves to the town in search of job, played by Vlado Novak and Primoz Bezjak respectively. The story mostly happens in the auto mechanic shop and house of Gajas and the movie is rich with different kinds of characters that revolve around Gajas.

When the story moves ahead, we find that David getting into a serious affair with Bronja, the wife of a thug-like man, Lepec, a strip club owner. Unknown to him almost throughout the movie, they have a passionate affair that suddenly turns very serious. While Gajas have a not- so- good relationship with Lepec as the latter does not pay immediately for the works done by Gajas. Meanwhile, Gajs comes to know about the relationship between his assistant and Lepec's wife yet he does not disclose it with Lepec.

The love story is so lamely written and visualized. The director has done it in a much too cynical way. The audience does not see any connection between the couple. The only things we see between the couples are they making love that too three to four times. We don't see them talking or we don't see them looking at each other with understanding. Yet towards the end we see both of them completely into each other and missing each other. Even the acting of Bezjak and Zemljic was any good.

The direction also falls flat with nothing outstanding to give with a plain old story in the same old pot. Another important thing about this movie is that, the cinematography is really good and has really shown great shots of Slovenia.

But I have to say I have to say the movie was in some way watchable, thanks to Gajas and his lines. Vlado Novak's portrayal as the aging drunken enthusiastic mechanic was a clinical one who is all gung-ho about the old days when Tito was alive. He falling for the Croatian pop singer Severina and her voice and he being desperate to meet her was all nice to watch. And his dreams and the rooster's breakfast (watch the movie to get it) he has with "Severina" all leads to a better climax to the whole movie that the love story alone could not have done. Mr. Novak was indeed brilliant in enacting the role as the mechanic in love with the celebrity with all the great lines in the movie given to him. When the movie in the whole as David as the main character and is all about his life in the town and how it affects the life of people there, Gajas gets all the applause for his innocence and a brilliant acting.

But on the whole, the movie fails considerably as the audience has not understood why Bronja and David are in love, why nobody noticed them together when they were walking around the town all the while, why Lepec's cars are constantly in repair.

It's not a great movie, a onetime watchable movie just for the awesome acting of Novak and the cinematography. But as I said in the beginning I don't know how movies are made in Slovenia and this might have biased my views on the movie.

P.S. Heard that this movie was one of the biggest hits in Slovenia and had received numerous awards. Hmmmm!!!

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A definite One-Time watch!
4 July 2010
When the movie was released two years back I was not able to see it. I had heard that it showed a novel change in the Malayalam film industry with some fine acting and good story. But it was a failure in the box office. Later I came to know that Mohanlal had won multiple awards for his performance for this movie. And when this movie was aired the other day on television I sat down to watch it finally.

Watching this movie, I realized this too was just an attempt to make a good movie where the whole crew failed to produce anything worth watching apart from the good acting by Mohanlal and a fine story line. The main reason for this movie to fail was a weak script. This movie as a mystery never keeps the viewer guessing what is to happen next. Moreover, there are so many characters in this movie that the viewer gets easily confused who is who and how he is going to affect the story line; especially those characters that appear as the Siddarthan's (character played by Mohanal) friends. Most of these characters seems one sided that linger around most of the movie without any impact or by providing silly comments that does not move the movie forward. They seem to be there just for being in a film and their acting seemed plain boring. Anoop Menon who had handled the writing department appears to have heightened his character with unwanted intellectual lines that he speaks.

The director seems to be nowhere, with mediocrity shown in each shot and the story never moves forward and it hangs around the same point till the end with a fine climax which could have been better.

The narrative pattern made me remember about the TV Chandran film 'Kadhavasheshan', with even the plot being similar to the movie.

This movie never evokes the viewer to engage into the movie due to several reasons: Characters seemed to pop out from nowhere, speak something interesting blandly and then disappear suddenly.

I didn't understand the purpose of many characters and scenes especially the scene in the beginning in which Nishanth Sagar speaks of his new drama. His character itself is nowhere to be found later. Then there was Lakshmi Gopalasway with no specific purpose but just to listen to Anoop Menon's avoidable and uninteresting dialogues. There are some more scenes in which I didn't I understand the purpose of it in the movie.

The movie is a definite one time watch just because of a really good story, a good performance from Mohanlal, Kalpana, the actor who played the character Uthaman and Anoop Menon in parts but due to the faulty screenplay and ridiculous dialogues we don't get to like the hang of the movie.

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Raavanan (2010)
Raavanan - Not among the best works of Mani Rathnam!!!!
26 June 2010
We know Mani Rathnam can handle epics quite easily and can twist it quite interestingly. Dalapathy starring Rajnikanth and Mamootty is the finest example. That is what I expected when I went to watch Raavanan. But watching the movie, I realized the story was never the center of attraction neither the direction of the maestro. What moved the movie along was the cinematography. Santosh Sivan and Manikandan have so effectively captured the beauty of the southern forests in the most mesmerizing manner.

Coming back to the story, we find nothing new added to the epic except for the fact that the good has now turned evil and vice-versa. At the end of the movie, after witnessing the glorious work of the cinematographer, especially the climax scenes, we sense something missing altogether and the truth beckons on us that there is no credible storyline to the whole affair.

SP Dev (Prithviraj) is on the look out for Veera (Vikram), a notorious tribal lord, a Robin Hood for many. He rules with his own laws and methods and this angers the police but are unable to do anything to capture him. To assist him there is Singarasu (Prabhu) and Chakkarai (Munna), his brothers. But soon something happens (revealed only in the second half) that makes Veera so revengeful that he kidnaps Dev's wife, Ragini (Aishwarya Rai). The rest of the story revolves around the Dev trying to rescue his wife with the help of Gnanapraksham (Karthick), a forest guard. The story moves on when the monstrous Veera starts a liking for Ragini.

There was a time when I watched Nayakan, Iruvar, Roja, Dalapathy all with great enthusiasm and what I received from these movies were really great satisfaction as a movie buff. But watching this film with the same enthusiasm I felt robbed off all my money I wasted on the tickets. This is not a bad film but it is clearly not what I expected from a Mani Rathnam film. His direction has not proved anything with this movie. The old Mani Rathnam had style and substance in his direction but now what remains is just the style. Style alone cannot pace a thriller forward. The new Mani Rathnam has not provided anything interesting in this movie. It seems like the crux of the whole movie lies on the camera work.

The acting of Vikram and Aishwarya Rai has to be applauded. They have given one of their finest performances. Vikram is like a vengeful monster who has kidnapped wife of the God-like figure on earth to settle a personal score. His performance is one of the highlights of the movie and which makes it watchable. It is a wonder we see such talent and beauty together and that is Aishwarya Rai; though her beauty is not of any relevance in the "plot" she has scored with a good performance. Prithiviraj as the tough cop has really matured into a fine actor. He has given a nice performance along with the other big names. Prabhu and Karthick have utilized their time on screen portraying their characters with ease and subtlety. Priyamani with her small cameo has given a memorable performance.

But all this taken, at the end, we find the story to be clichéd and hope that the screenplay would have been better. The screenplay and dialogues penned by Suhasini Mani Rathnam does not show any ease or effectiveness probably because the story line is weak. By the interval time we feel exhausted at all that has happened but still we realize nothing has moved along. Second half proves better because of the short stint of Priyamani on screen and the final 15 minutes of the movie. And those 15 minutes is the only part in the whole movie that show "some" shades of Mani Rathnam direction. The characterization is so weak we never get time to realize the good has turned evil and vice versa or is it because it was so obvious from all the promos.

A note on the music - AR Rahman is not at his best...but cannot say it was bad. It's okay and goes with the film smoothly.

The plus point of the movie is cinematography, acting and the last 15 minutes….

The movie deteriorates because of the absence of a fine story line and a poor screenplay which I believe are the most important materials in a film.

It is not one of the best Mani Rathnam films and it cannot be called a thriller as there is no remarkable storyline to boast off and excite us. Watch the movie to see some good acting. But mainly, watch the movie to witness the amazing locales where the movie was shot through the eyes of Santosh Sivan and Manikandan, especially the last cliffhanging fight between good and evil.

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