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The Insider January 18, 2007

Posted by Priyanka Varma in drama, History, LAN, Mood: Thrill me, Reviews.
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“60 Minutes” investigative television newsmagazine on CBS is popular for responsible reporters and producers uncovering the truth before its audience. Many topics center on allegations of wrongdoing and corruption on the part of corporations, politicians, and other public officials. The show has been praised for landmark journalism but also got involved in some controversies. One of the controversies was when it aired an interview with Jeffrey Wigand, ex-VicePresident for R&D dept. of the tobacco company Brown and Williamson(B&W) with altered content and deleting some of the important evidences against B&W.

Michael Mann‘s The Insider is based on this true story. The movie starts with Jeffrey Wigand, played by Russell Crowe, being fired by the CEO of B&W . But before being thrown out he is ordered to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to receive his severance pay and benefits. The Insider60 Minutes ” producer Lowell Bergman, played by Al Pacino comes across Wigand and after too much prodding Wigand tells him that B&W was involved in enhancing the effects of nicotine in cigarettes.

Despite the discontinuance of his severance pay, death threats and attacks on him and his family and breaking marriage, he agrees to go for Mike Wallace, played by Christopher Plummer, interview and reveal the evidences against the tobacco company. Unfortunately, the CBS corporates decide not to air the controversial interview for the fear of being sued by B&W.

The second half of the film shifts from Wigand to Bergman as he fights against CBS to have Wigand’s story heard and made public while Wigand takes the job of a Chemistry teacher in college. Bergman has to struggle alone because Mike Wallace also doesn’t support him.

Russel and Pacino has given a wonderful performance. Wigand is an interesting character who makes the right decisions amidst the troubles he faces. He puts everything at stake to bring out the truth. Pacino as Bergman has proved that he is an excellent actor. Christopher Plummer is also excellent as Mike Wallace.

The movie was a great success because of the good plot, strong cast, superb dialogues and a skilled direction. The film also has a strong message that “Always be with the truth, no matter what the cost “. It also comes out with the message to all smokers and non-smokers that “Smoking can endanger your health“.

And also Hats off to the power of Journalism!!!


Waking Life December 18, 2006

Posted by ujj in LAN, Mood: Thrill me, Reviews.
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Just had an awfully horrific dream. Till today I belived that dreams were manifestations conjured by the subconscious. Freudian theories meant nothing more than a mad guys work for oscar (fields medal ..uhm nobel may be). In my dream I remembered a friends advise who said if you want to find out if your dreaming try finding a light switch and try turning off the lights, if they dont turn off, you are dreaming. I tried to do that and realized that I was dreaming, I can fly my way back to home. wait a second I dont know where I live, doesnt matter its a dream I can roam around a bit in a dream.
I met someone who can drop me somewhere, but where. Says he will drop me on the second street on the next block. where is that. dont know, but its somewhere and its going to decide the course of my life. My life. what the heck is my, what is I? why what is so wrong about the concept of individualism. A man says
“the most stupid argument against existence of god is the inability of people to believe in the idea of free will. I mean if God has already decided whats going to happen to us, wheres our free will. They fail to understand that the same argument can be implied to science. If everything is so causal so rationally defined then every decision that we take is a result of somethings, again wheres the free will?”
I see an old man on the top of an electric pole, refuses to come down, doesnt know what hes doing up there but doesnt want to come down. I know, Im still dreaming. Someone walking with me says hes no worse than us hes all action but no theory, wer all theory no action. I am in my bed, I see the time but my digital clocks screwed up. I think Im still dreaming or am I..watch Waking Life, trust me.. itll change the way you dream. I kid you not. Richard Linklaters first rotoscopic genius. Up next A scanner darkly.

technorati tags: rotoscopy, waking life, film review, richard linklater

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 !

the Thing October 26, 2006

Posted by ujj in horror, LAN, Mood: Thrill me, sci-fi.

Unlike other sci-fi horror films that try to stimulate you by using frightful slimy, large clawed, multilegged predatory creatures, the Thing actually scares you by using the impostrous alien that can take the shape and form of any living object it comes in contact with, so in reality it scares the shit out of you using living creatures you see around you. Metaphorically this is more thrilling as in the film none of the characters can be assumed to be any way less dangerous than the other, not even a ski-dog!
A group of scientists in Antartica is confronting a strange organism of alien origin that can imitate any living thing that comes in its proximity. The Alien cells of the imitated body so formed remain active even when it is killed, that is the dead bodies are not really dead. This discovery starts a paranoia in the group as everyone alive is a possible alien in human form. The only way to prevent this spread is to burn the tissues and hence every one suspected to be an alien has to be burnt alive!
Though some of the copy book horror scenes like an alien strangulating a dog with its tounge are there, the Thing has some really creepy kick-ass stuff like an alien organism coming out of a human by splitting his face and then eating another human, really unique I must say. If you liked Ridley Scotts Alien, youll cherish this one, better sets and the use of icy environment of Antartica and ..ahem.. has a story too  🙂

Invasion of the body snatchers October 23, 2006

Posted by ujj in LAN, Mood: Thrill me, Reviews, sci-fi.
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Paranoia.!. run for your lives..

the pods are coming.. no one is safe..!!

One of the early films about alien invasion, it is by far one of most fast paced tense black & white films I have seen till date. A doctor finds several patients complaining of not recognising their near ones claiming them to be imposters. As the number of such people increases, he assumes it to be mass hysteria but as he finds a corpse in his friends house, his view of the situation begins to change. He realizes that some of his friends and him are the few remaining humans in the town. Others have been replaced by identical organisms of outer space that are born out of some large pods. He and his friends have to run for their lives to survive ans slowly everyone except the doctor are left. The doctor somehow escapes to the city and finds trucks loaded with these pods, he tries to tell the authorities about it who not suprisingly take him to be a lunatic. Something happens though, that makes the authorities believe hima and take evasive action.
The film is based on the idea of the dangerous communism coming to raid the streets of America after the WW-II. The undertones of “no ones safe” are barely suppressed and brings back memories of the weeding out of traitors by Senator McCarthy. A must watch for sci-fi lovers. For a 1956 film, it is way too fast and action packed.

Pet Sematary October 23, 2006

Posted by ujj in horror, LAN, Mood: Thrill me, Reviews.

I know its been a while but we’ve done some work too. Our very own LAN crossed the 12 Terabyte mark a few days back and we realized that have so many films to watch and such a short 4 year campus life to live, some of us from now on have taken up the duty to write about every film we see (which, if I may be allowed to say, would be many). IPet Sematary recently watched Pet Sematary.

It Starts with the original Zee horror show background music (strange co-incidence). A typical Stephen King shocker with a little more shock than I was used to. Creed family moves to a new town along a highway which is regularly alive by the passing huge gas trucks. Their roaring will not be the only problem for the family. Near their house is a broken path that leads to a pet cemetary where broken hearted children bury their pets. The family has a pet cat which dies apparently being hit by a speeding truck. The pet is burried in a strange ground beyond the pet cemetary and heres where ‘it’ begins. The strange burrial ground was where the Micmac Indians burried their dead. Writing what happens next would be spoiling the fun of goosebumps.
The filming is superb and without the use of creepy background music, the environment it sets is a not_watch_alone one. The use of the friendly ghost Pax-cow is brilliant. The film has some memorable dialogues like “the heart of the man is stonier” and the image of Zelda a girl suffering from spinal meningites is very disturbing. The end though becomes a little too predictable, but a wonderfully scary watch nonetheless.

If you’r a horror fan you might also wanna try out The Shinning also by Staney Kubrick based on the novel of the same name by King. It has the kubricks characteristic loud and long music with amazing use of silence to create a chilly environment. Though pet sematary is a better and more complicated story, Shining is a far better film. Jack Nicholsan is brilliant and the story explains itself in the last few minutes of the film which just comes as a bang. To know more about horror films try our horror tag.