Wednesday, October 3, 2007

'Johnny Gaddaar'

The film fraternity rarely showers praises on films they’re not associated with, but Sriram Raghavan’s JOHNNY GADDAAR seems to be an exception. Although the film has under-performed at the several respected film-makers are extolling praises, calling it one of the finest films to hit the Indian screens in a long, long time.
“It’s an incredible film,” NO SMOKING director Anurag Kashyap tells me, “One of the finest thrillers to have come out of Madhur Bhandarkar cannot stop praising the film. “It swept me off my feet. Sriram has done a fantastic job. And Neil is a star. Not only is he blessed with great looks, the level of performance is rare for a first-timer,” Madhur states.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kabir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) plays the role of the Coach of the Indian Women's National Hockey team. The team is made up of players with their own agenda are not playing for the fun of the game or for the country. The story is built around the coach who is trying to build a winning team.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

BAMAKO (2007

Who's in It: Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré
The Basics: A trial is being held in Bamako, Mali. Lawyers and defendants and plaintiffs and witnesses all gather to do their thing. On trial is the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and Western capitalism in general, as well as African corruption and complacency and how all of it conspires to keep the continent in a state of chaos. But then there's the part where it's not a trial in a court. It's a trial in a courtyard. So everyday life intrudes: Chickens are roaming around, people are getting water from the town pump, wedding parties stop the proceedings. It's kind of an experimental film.
What's the Deal? Most movies about Africa that I've seen are all about making you feel sorry for how awful it's turned out to be there. Genocides and civil wars and corrupt Western businesses coming in and making a literal killing. Then one man stands alone to make a difference, and you leave and still feel helpless and think, "Well, at least someone's doing something somewhere. And then there's Bono." This one is the opposite of that. It's not a sweet protest song; it's a deadpan rant against injustice that covers all the bases — and even chastises itself at times, too.
Why You Should Check It Out Even Though It Sounds Like a Bummer and/or Homework: Because it's not like anything else out there right now. It defiantly jumps around, ruins your ideas about storytelling and is completely weird and cool and even funny in its own bleak way. You can't accuse it of being dull.
Celebrity Backing of: Executive producer Danny Glover, who appears in it for a little bit as a character in a bizarre western movie-within-the-movie.
Who Should See It: Guilty liberals, film-festival programmers, people who like it when movies don't care about narrative, people who have zero interest in summer blockbusters and all my friends who say stuff to me like, "You couldn't pay me to go see most of the movies you have to sit through."

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Godfather

Few movies have captured the attention of an audience and left as many lasting memories as The Godfather. Little needs to be said of the movie, its prestige and renown precede it. It is simply a classic, a masterpiece of American filmmaking. It’s raw, it’s brutal, it’s deadly, and it’s still oh so much fun to watch.

Paramount Pictures has released a pricey but well worth it DVD collection of the Godfather movies appropriately titled, “The Godfather DVD Collection.” It’s can’t get much more straightforward than that, and if you want to live, you had better be straightforward with the Corleone family at all times. The movies all together on the DVD weigh in at a hefty time of 700 minutes, that’s over eleven and a half hours for the mathematically challenged, meaning that you might want to put aside a weekend if you plan on watching all the movies at once.

The DVD captures all of the excellence and gritty drama of the crime family epic in great fashion. Most of the movie has been digitally restored and the quality is quite good, however certain parts of the movie still reveal the age of the movie. There are a few specks and particulate here and there throughout the movie, and a couple scenes look like they might be able to use a little more work and were a little behind in terms of quality, but overall the movie translated to DVD form extremely well.

The extras are what really ices the cake for this DVD collection of The Godfather. The Francis Ford Coppola commentaries alone that are included with the DVD weigh in at over 9 hours. That is absolutely unheard of, but the DVD still offers much more material than that. A family tree, galleries, behind the scenes, and more are all included as bonus features. There are also quite a few deleted scenes that were included for the viewer’s pleasure. Needless to say, all of this bonus material only enhances the experience known as The Godfather.

The Godfather DVD Collection is definitely a bit pricey, coming in at just over $100 in most cases, but considering that includes over eleven and a half hours of film and even more bonus footage and materials, the DVD is well worth it for The Godfather fans. For anyone looking to revisit The Godfather and enjoy all that the classic has to offer or even for those who never had the joy of watching all of The Godfather movies, this DVD is a great choice and is highly recommended.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Lion King

Winner of two Academy Awards for Best Music, both Original Score and Original Song, The Lion King would have won Best Picture had it not been an animated film. Arguably the greatest full-length animated Disney feature of all time, The Lion King is a drama of epic proportions, and a film that forever extended the boundaries of the animation genre. Hans Zimmer creates an original score that is second to none in cinematic history, and Elton John’s hit single “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” swept the nation upon the film’s release. With powerful and often mesmerizing visual sequences, the use of a timeless plot device, and brilliant direction, the film will stand the test of time as one of the best movies ever produced.The Lion King takes place in Pride Rock, a serene jungle paradise on the African plain. In Pride Rock, every animal lives as part of a harmonious ecosystem, ruled by the greatest animal of all, the strongest and wisest lion, King Mufasa. When Mufasa’s wife gives birth to the lion cub Simba, the young heir’s Uncle Scar begins plotting the overthrow of his brother and the taking of the kingdom by force. Forming a conspiracy with a pack of wild hyenas, Scar’s evil plan is to lure Simba and Mufasa into a valley where the hyenas stir up a herd of wildebeests which end up trampling Mufasa and leaving him clinging for his life on the edge of a cliff. With his Mufasa’s life hanging in the balance, Scar seizes the opportunity to send his brother hurling to a bloody death.With the king gone, and Simba too young to defend the kingdom, Scar and the hyenas ascend to power. Pride Rock is soon reduced to a desolate wasteland as its newest rulers ravage the landscape, while Simba is forced into exile. Fleeing to a faraway land free of predators, Simba befriends Pumbaa and Timon, a warthog and meerkat who live carefree lives feasting on grubs and insects. But as time passes, a chance encounter reunites Simba with his childhood destiny. Can Simba return to Pride Rock and reclaim his rightful position as king, or will he succumb to the temptations of an easy life, free from conflict and responsibility?Widely considered the greatest animated film in Disney’s arsenal, and certainly the best of the computer-generated era, The Lion King is a cinematic masterpiece in any medium. If you tend to shy away from animated films as childlike or simply just not your cup of tea, you would be well advised to make an exception for The Lion King. It’s quite simply an extraordinary epic, replete with dazzling choreography, well-blended musical scores, and characters the audience loves to root for. In one particular scene, the Disney animators’ use of Leni Riefenstahl’s patented camera angles to capture the hyenas marching in lock-step under the singular review of Scar creates an abundance of subconscious images reminiscent of Hitler and the Third Reich. This illusion plants a manifestation of evil in the mind of the viewer that is instantly connected to Scar and his evil intentions… That’s the type of symbolic and all-engrossing power Disney utilizes in this wonderful masterpiece – loved by children, yet a deeply probing and breathtaking film for adult audiences. A perfect 10 of a movie…