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Casino Royale November 18, 2006

Posted by ujj in action, Reviews.
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Daniel Craig is newly promoted to double 0 status and M as usuall feels this is a mistake but as double Os have a very short life expectancy her mistake is apparanetly going to be short living. For those who have followed the Bond from Dr No to Die Another Day, Casino Royale would seem to be in a completely different plain with little similarities to the other Bond films. Like all Bond films, everyone (including the audience) recognise the real backstabbing “bitch” but he doesn’t. Like all Bond films the BMW looks as gorgeous as that “bitch”, but thats about it. Take these things out of the equation and we have a hardly interested in sex bond who actually looks Greek God enough to look like an assasin. If you havent seen this film and I told you that Bond actually takes a shower in this film with Eva Green (spoiler coming), fully clothed trying to calm her down, I know youd have second thoughts if its the same Bond, but after four decades of seducing and being seduced, Bond finally fell in love (awwwe).

Right! lets get back to the film. A Russian looking terrorist known as Le Chiffre is the guy Bonds after. The story is linked to the after-effects of the 9/11 on the stockmarket. Le Chiffre has put some wild bets with huge odds in the market which he tries to pull of by a terrorist act, failing which he has an opportunity to make up his loses through a game of high stake poker, needless to say, Bond is there as well, and  here I leave the story hanging in the thin air.

The story is a little unclear at times and at times the background score screws up. The gadgets hardly show up and theres just one beautiful woman. The only thing that worked was Daniel Craig. Hes the first Bond who actually looks like hes had some physical training other than french lip excercises. A twenty minute Poker game made the few minutes in the middle boring, I didnt get much (any) of it, but when the crowd clapped I knew Bond did well. Craig fits the model of a cold sly hit man and to give the other people (director and co.) some credit, hes been used very generously in that sense. Possibly the best action Bond film, Casiono Royale is worth betting hundred bucks.

my rating –> 8.5/10.

favorite aspects –> action and Daniel Craig.

Saw III November 9, 2006

Posted by ujj in Mood: Thrill me, Mood: WTF, Reviews.
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Saw III is probably the only film Im waiting for.. after a long long long long time.
Reasons–> Saw I was the only psycho thriller after psycho and se7en that actually got me stuck to my seat. Saw II lived upto its expectations like Saw I and finally because just the thought of not having seen a complete trilogy(ies) gives me physical pain.

The difficult thing about making a psycho thriller is that you dont have too much to innovate, as a matter of fact all you can do new is make the psycho look more psycho or the poor victims look poorer. Or you can choose to do the tough task, add a storyline that grips the audiences. Psycho, Se7en, Saw I, Saw II, Hannibal, Red Dragon and now Saw III all have brilliant story lines. Its not just gore and blood and gross man slaughter that gets them money, OK those are the few things that get them money, but they have to work a lot on their psycho, cause hes the one people are spending their money for, they want to know about his childhood, his ex girl friend, the sources of his weird ideas about the punishing the intricacies of human nature among other details. All these aspects are to be craftily woven into a storyline so that an acceptable explanation for the existence of such a human being in the society of the audience is provided.
The main theme of Saw is a man suffering from Cancer who like everyone else had the hopes of living forever but like everyone else is very close to realizing and confronting the utlimate fact. In excruciating pain and suffering, he discovers the solution to death.Saw “Immortality”. By continue to living in the memories of people after hes gone. His theory that people have lost the survival instinct forms the basis of his ingenious “games”. Needless to say these games are not everyday sports, these games are specially designed puzzles to test the reach of human endevour when a loss would mean painful death. Several ordinary American citizens find themselves trapped in the game specially designed for them. Most fail and did I mention that nobody has choice to play these “games”. If your trapped in the game then you gotta play. Just to give you a hint of what your game could be like, you could be wearing an iron helmet that will crush your head in 30 seconds, unless you pop your eye ball out with a knife to get the key that unlocks the mask, specially put behind your eyeball after a surgery while you were unconscious.
Dont think too much. You gotta watch it to get a feel of it. Like I said, a lot of innovation goes into making films like these. I completely advise against watching Saw II or Saw III without having watched the first one. Theres a definite story that youll associate with every scene in the later parts of trilogy. Arguably the finest shot in a room films of all times, most of the action hardly requires any change in space or locale. If you love thrillers and psycho thrillers, its one of those films that give you one of those feelings that cannot be described. Yes that feeling. You know what I mean !

N N Sippy passes away November 8, 2006

Posted by ujj in film makers.
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Producer-distributor N N Sippy passed away at Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai on Tuesday. Sippy (75) was suffering from cancer for a long time but the immediate cause of death was jaundice. He was instrumental in launching many personalitites of the Indian film industry like Subhash Ghai and Jaya Prada. Some of his well known films are Woh Kaun Thi, Kalicharan, Sargam, Fakira and Chor Machaye Shor.

Sargam one of the most successful films by Mr Sippy introduced Jaya Prada in Hindi films. Jaya Pradas role of a dumb and deaf girl who loves to dance is perhaps her best appearances on screen. A collection of some memorable songs of his films have been collected by Kamla here.

The Big Lebowski November 4, 2006

Posted by ujj in LAN, Mood: Need 2 laugh, Reviews.
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Believe me all “The Dudes” wanna watch this. Our big Lebowski is the most eligible dude to ever hit the big screen. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the big lebowski is a ..funny.. hilarious.. fall back laughing and break your butt film. Completely different from the earlier works of Coen bros that includes film noir dramas like Fargo . The Dude with Walter and DonnieJeff Bridges plays the dude or the unemployed, bowling, broke, Mr Lebowski. He is mistaken by some men to be some other Mr Lebowski of the same town who happens to be a millionaire. These folks urinate on the dudes rug which in the words of the Dude “really held the room together”. The dude’s friend Walter hates nihilists, its not what he and his freinds fought in the Nam (Vietnam) for. He wants the Dude to get the rug compensated by the real Mr Lebowski and so the Dude tries but finds himself stuck in something thats worse than losing a rug that really held his room together. Just have a look at the screenshot (The Dude on the left), does he look like someone who will let his rug be pissed upon becaue of mistaken identity?

Its like a week in the life of a man who hardly has the time to care about anything other than his drink. Careless, lazy, dumb, bum, lousy undermine his personality, you can do justice to it only by referring him as the Dude, not a dude but The Dude. The Dude infact does not mind being called dude or His Dudeness or El Duderino but hates being called Mr Lebowski or Sir. Theres one instance when hes being interrogated by the real Mr Lebowski about some task that he entrust upon him, the way The Dude replies to his questions reminds me of all those times in college when you want to speak for long but dont have enough to day. He blathers for five minutes when actually he just wants to say that he has some information and “new shit has come to light”. People enjoy watching it, people like me feel like were watching our own stories and how deplorable our life seems to us, but then were justy dudes, Jeff is the Dude.

Jeff Bridges is more known for the film Fearless, a film about a near death experience of a person in a plain crash. A completely diagonal role to the Dude. I wont blather about it any further, Fearless deserves a dedicated review.

Namesake November 4, 2006

Posted by ujj in previews.
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Mira Nair’s latest film Namesake based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel of the same name was the opening film of the IAAC film festival in New York. Namesake is a story describing the good ol cultural shock a Bengali family faces when it moves to foreign land. The story is very different from other “desi” stories that we get to see these days. Infact the novel is itself very different in that sense. I mean it does not treat the problems or dilemmas faced by the family abroad as comic in any way. It gravely delves into the mixed identity of an individual born to desi folks in foreign land. Gogol born into a houselhold thats striving hard to keep up with their dilapidating values is himself trying hard to survive between two conflicting cultures to fit in the one in which he will spend the rest of his life. The novel is a wonderful read for people aiming to do higher studies abroad where they might face this confusion of whether to keep their identity as an Indian and hope to be accepted as that or, to mix in at the cost of dilution of ones own values, or do a little bit of both.

The screenplay has been written by Sooni Taraporevala (Salaam Bombay). Kal Penn, one of the most typical definitive desis in the hollywood plays Gogol. His earlier films like American Desi and Harold and Kumar go to white castle have both showed the light brattish side of him, this would perhaps be the most challenging role hes done till date. Irfan Khan and Tabu playing the parents of Gogol need no introduction. With this caste and team, Namesake obviously demands expectations.

One of my favortite bloggers has already had a talk with Mira Nair and Kal Penn. You can hear them here and read more about it here.