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I've just watched Devil for my review thread horror section and i really enjoyed it. I thought it was quite scary, and the concept of the movie was very simple yet very entertaing.
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The life of pi



Its jungle book all over again.....but with a story more like that of Robinson Crusoe.....

Its a world of nature that the director creates....

A world of the rolling sea and the vast ocean.....

Of water all around as far as the eye can see.....

Of thunderstorms and lightening and rain that soaks the body till it becomes bonechilled......

Of schools of flying fish that move like a wave hitting you like hail in a hailstorm.....

Of dolphins and giant whales that splash around with all their force resulting in mighty ripples.....

Of fluorescent fish whose light looks like a magician's dream silhouetted against the dark sky......

Of the sky gleaming with the billions and billions of stars at night.....

Of a remote island with unknown dangers the like of which you have never seen before.....

Of raccoon like creatures moving over your body in the thousands on the island.....

Of mighty carnivorous animals and predators and prey....

And above all a mighty tiger.....

Its the world of Pi....

And who's Pi ?? He's a person with an incredible story about being marooned alongside a lifeboat on the high seas along with a royal bengal tiger for company.....

An astounding tale of survival against all odds.....

And you do get amazed and enchanted by the special 3D effects that go a long way in making the movie pleasurable.....

Its the second half that holds the movie together and silences the sniggerring that the audience was doing at the end of the first half.....

For in the second half Pi learns to tame the tiger , crush his own fears , raise his hopes where there seem to be none and try to reach the realms of land and shore and civilization.....

And while doing so he looks more and more like a modern day mowgli from jungle book....

But does he succeed in his quest ??

Go and watch the movie for that.....

It wont be a bad outing....

Verdict---Good .



The man who captured Eichmann ( 1996 )



After the German defeat in world war 2 , many of Hitler's top brass ran away to south America . Both Josef Mengele ( who had committed horrible experiments on bodies of live jews ) and Adolf Eichmann ( who had helped in transportation of jews to death camps ) fled to Argentina , where the far right wing government offered them a new identity and a chance to live .

But the Israeli spy agency ( MOSSAD ) was on the lookout for them and not all of them were able to lead peaceful lives . This movie is about the capture of Adolf Eichmann by the MOSSAD in 1960 and his transportation to Israel to face trial . He was eventually executed for his crimes against humanity .

But as the movie shows , identifying Eichmann was not a easy thing as he had acquired a new identity . He was first suspected because the father of the woman his son was dating repelled him as the father of the woman had the serial number of a nazi death camp on his wrist ; the number being a sign that he was a jew . The father contacted the Israeli authorities and they were not sure because the father was blind . But eventually a team is sent to try identify Eichmann , led by MOSSAD agent Peter Malkin ( played by Arliss Howard ) . This team keeps a close watch on the activities of Eichmann and hits pay dirt---for the person they are watching celebrates his marriage anniversary on the same date as Eichmann's marriage anniversary , thus confirming his identity .

The capture of Eichmann is planned to be a relatively simple affair ; just overpower him while he is walking towards his home after alighting from a bus that he regularly alights from , and bundle him in a car and speed off....but the plan almost misfires as the target does not alight from the bus that night and heavy rain starts pouring . But the MOSSAD agents are nothing if not patient and wait till Eichmann alights from another bus later . Luckily by this time the rain has stopped . And the agents succeed before Eichmann's waiting wife can raise a hue and cry .

In the safe house where Eichmann is kept as a captive , the Israeli agents take turns to guard him . And they make him confess his real identity . In the beginning some kind of rapport develops between the captors and captured . But as they talk over food and wine Eichmann tries to deny his culpability in the holocaust . His rants touch a raw nerve and the agents guarding him are utterly repelled from the task of guarding him ; no one wants to give him company .

As arguments start between Eichmann and Peter Malkin , a powerful scene in which Peter goes away from the room to cry his heart out brings out the difference of the jewish experience from the life experience of normal people like us ; Peter cries because he has lost much of his family to the holocaust and hence can't bear Eichmann's rants , and similarly all the other members of the capturing team have lost their families . In effect , they are torn and uprooted people....not a single one of them has led a normal life of security and comfort like us....One wonders why the jews are such a hated people and why have so many atrocities been committed on them ?

Capturing Eichmann is one thing , but taking him out of Argentina is another....for Eichmann's son has contacted the Argentinian police and they are on the lookout for the Israelis ; the police has promised Eichmann's son that all exit points from Argentina are being watched and the Israelis won't be able to take Eichmann to Israel to stand trial .

So how do the Israelis manage take their prisoner out of Argentina to Israel ? Watch the movie for that....

Robert Duvall has put up a good performance as Eichmann and Arliss Howard is good as Peter Malkin . Towards the end the movie comes close to look like a thriller....but it being made for TV , it is hampered by it's low budget . Still it is an okay watch .

Verdict---Okay .
Two and a half stars .



The Gift



A couple ( played by Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall ) moves into Los Angeles from Chicago and they run into an old schoolmate ( played by Joel Edgerton ) of Jason , who begins to regularly drop in their house . Everytime he comes he comes with a gift . Soon his visits get creepier and the gifts become creepier too and the couple soon begins to feel uncomfortable with his visits .

But the really creepy experience is when the two are invited to his house ( I am not telling what is so creepy ) . Jason warns Joel not to ever visit them again . Jason is satisfied with this , but Rebecca is worried and keeps thinking about this whole thing again and again . She steals pills from her neighbour and begins to wonder if someone is constantly in her house watching her every move . Sick with worry , she faints for a prolonged period one day .

After this , the couple receive one last gift with a letter with from Joel in which the Joel says that he is willing to 'let bygones be bygones' . Soon Rebecca become pregnant and the couple forget the whole thing in their happiness , until Rebecca sees Joel watching her in a supermarket one day .

Intrigued by all the events , Rebecca begins an investigation into events of the past and soon secrets begin to tumble out . Rebecca has to soon confront facts about her husband that make her thoroughly uncomfortable about him .

So who is the hero and who is the villain of the story ? What are events of the past that Joel is raking up ? What does he want ?
Watch the movie for the answers....

Joel Edgerton pulls off the feat of looking menacing and a victim at the same time ; a man thoroughly wronged but also doing wrong villainous things....you don't know whether to sympathise with him or to be terrorised by him . For a long time the movie moves smoothly with small hints given of what is going to happen ; subtly the terror descends upon the couple and the audience . Everytime Rebecca is alone in the house is a nerve racking time for the audience ; you feel relived that nothing happens to her when her husband returns from work to give her company , but just as you begin to think nothing has happened to her suddenly your worst fears for her are realized at the climax .

Violence is largely underplayed in the film , but what happens in the climax is worse than violence . An atmosphere of fear is constantly kept in the film , but no garish sound effects or flamboyant visual effects are used . I was rooted to my seat throughout the movie watching experience .

Verdict---Good .




The Jungle Book



Sigh....years of watching Discovery channel and National geographic have really taken it's toll on me....
That is , taken it's toll as far as watching 'Jungle book' movie is concerned....

In 1985 , I watched the animated version of 'Jungle book' that had been released in India that year....and I enjoyed it with gusto....
The sights and sounds of animals of the jungle were new to me at that time and that's what made watching the animated movie so special....

Or maybe I enjoyed because at that time I was just a little kid....
But now after years of watching channels like Animal planet etc , watching the new version of 'Jungle book' is like watching the wildlife centred TV channels again....

At least the animated version looked different....
But the fact that the animals have been made so life like in the latest version of 'Jungle book' makes it appear more like a episode of National geographic and Discovery channel....

The only difference from the TV channels is the presence of Mowgli , and he does make a lot of difference....
He is the kid whose father was killed by the tiger Sher Khan and was rescued by a black panther and raised by a group of wolves....

And Sher Khan wants him killed too....
At the pond where all animals gather to drink water he declares his intentions to kill....

But Mowgli has protectors too---a loving female wolf mother who looks tenderly at him with such expressions that only Disney can create on an animal's face ....and a stern but kind wolf father who takes charge of him with fatherly concern....

To save him from Sher Khan they decide to send Mowgli back to where he came from---the humans of course....
But the journey to that destination takes up Mowgli on many adventures....adventures that Rudyard Kipling cleverly imagined in his book....Of coming close to death in the knots of a giant python , of stealing honey from bees for his bear friend , of bowing before tusked elephants and saving their little one , of being kidnapped by monkeys and brought before a giant monkey , of swinging from tree to tree....

But instead of reaching his destination , Mowgli is called upon to complete a mission of revenge....
So what is that mission ??
And is he able to elude the mighty Sher khan ?
Watch the movie for that....

The special effects are undoubtedly great---of rivers flowing with speed , of waterfalls gushing with ferocity , of fires raging to destroy the forest....
The animals seem human , with real feelings....almost .
And Mowgli is all too comfortable with them .

But the whole thing is for kids ; and indeed many children had flooded the cinema hall....
I for one , was out of place---for I am not a kid nor am I the father of one....

Mowgli is the only real actor in the film , and he is played by Neel Sethi . The rest are just voices behind special effects created characters of animals . But the voices have done their job with aplomb , and so has Neel .
So if you have a kid , go take him or her to the nearest theatre to watch this movie...it will be a treat for the children...

Verdict---Good .




Pele , Birth Of A Legend



Footballer 'Pele'---meaning 'black diamond' in portuguese , the national language of Brazil . The man justly declared to be the national treasure of that nation . But as the movie reveals , the name 'Pele' was actually a kind of racist slur on his black colour---a slur by his white master's son , for his mother worked as a servant in the house of a white man .

That is how Pele grew up---facing challenges of poverty , racism and the high crime rate of Brazil . He and his friends ( most of them blacks ) grew up in slums and had to steal peanuts in order to get proper shoes for playing football on equal terms with the team of white boys including his white master's son---but the shoes didn't work and they decided to play shoeless anyway ; and 'shoeless ones' was their team's name . But he lost his best friend when the men whom they stole peanuts from chased them and his friend got buried in a swamp---so he was no stranger to tragedy....

But his father ( a former footballer who was deeply affected when Brazil lost the 1950 world cup match ) helped him hone his skills by patiently giving him tips on how to play ; and he wanted his son to escape the drudgery of the menial work of cleaning toilets that he himself did . The son's skills drew the attention of an important football selector , and he decided to send Dico ( Pele's real name ) to a proper football camp for real training .

In the football camp Dico realised that his way of playing football was frowned upon by the higher authorities and the coach ( all whites ) as being primitive , and as the cause of Brazil's defeat in the 1950 world cup . And for a nation in which football is religion , the defeat stung like nothing else .

So what was Pele's version of playing football ? It was known as 'ginga'---based on a martial art that had been developed by african slaves who had escaped into the jungles centuries ago . The whites in higher positions may frown upon it , but it is what is the unique quality of Brazil's game---the way which has made Brazil's football playing so different and flamboyant .

So when will the higher authorities realize that 'ginga' is the Brazilian way of playing football , and playing it is the way Brazil is going to achieve success . But to realize that , the whites have to get it out of their heads that they are no longer europeans that they think themselves to be---that they are Brazilians and their destinies are tied with that land . And watching that happen is an emotional journey in itself , something that made the experience of seeing this movie so special . For the higher ups are made to realize the truth in a non confrontational manner---the Brazilian way ; Brazil is the country where racism has been tackled without major problems between the races , and the movie shows how the white members of the team finally integrate with the non whites without any major confrontation erupting out .

And this integration results in a world cup winning performance , the star of which is the 'black diamond'---Pele . He is just sixteen when he is selected in the team , and does not even play the first few matches of the 1958 world cup as he is ruled out by injury . But when he does play , it's sheer magic---if football played poetry , then Pele would be the poet . And Brazil goes on to win the next world cup too in 1962 , and again in 1970 . The world celebrates the Brazilian way of playing football as the 'beautiful game' .

I particularly liked the flow of the film , which showed Pele's story in an understated manner without any major drama erupting out . It only on the football field that Pele and his game creates drama--- drama that has the world enthralled . Acting by everyone is most satisfying , and music is appropriate for the situations . The film has some sentimental moments---of Pele's parents' joy when he is selected for the national team , and the joy that erupts in Brazil when it wins the world cup .

The highbrow critics have not liked the movie , but who cares....the common people like us will like it . That's the way Pele , a common man who came from the underclass himself , would have preferred it to be....

Verdict---good .




Money Monster



George Clooney plays a financial guru who gives advice to people about the stock exchange on his show 'Money monster' . Julia Roberts is the director of the show and George repeatedly asks her out for dinner only to be refused by her . George has advised people to invest in a company called IBIS global capital , but suddenly the company loses 800 million dollars due to what is claimed to be a glitch in a trading algorithm . Obviously that is a story not everybody is willing to buy....especially those who have lost money by investing their money on IBIS .

One day as George is hosting the show , a man ( played by Jack O' Connell ) who has lost his entire life savings on IBIS because he took George's advice comes disguised as a deliveryman and gatecrashes the show with a gun aimed at George . He seems to be a looney who forces George to wear what he claims are explosives and holds the trigger in his hand . He holds George responsible for his misfortunes and threatens to blow him up . Julia takes charge of the situation and along with George tries to clam the man down . The man has forced the camera to telecast live proceedings of all this and soon the spectacle which is unfolding is being watched by millions .

But the CEO of IBIS ( played by Dominic West ) is nowhere to be seen and he has left his communications officer ( played by the svelte Caitriona Balfe ) to answer everything . Caitriona is totally baffled for answers and begins to search for her own answers . All this while the matter has snowballed into a major crisis in the TV studio with the police coming in and planning to take a gunshot at the receiver of the bomb attached to George Clooney , thus potentially threatening his life . And they bring the looney's girlfriend to try to talk to him , but she verbally attacks him so spitefully that the looney is left teetering at the edge of hopelessness in which he could set off the bomb , thus killing everyone in the TV studio .

So how will the crisis end ? Most importantly , where is the CEO of IBIS and what fraud has he done ?
Watch the movie for the answers....

As the crisis snowballs into a bigger confrontation , the director ( Jodie Foster ) does take some cinematic liberty in showing the whole thing escalate from the studio to the streets . The movie is a thriller that does give you some on the spot entertainment as there is never a dull moment in the film . Acting by everyone is decent enough and the sense of crisis is kept looming on throughout the film . But in the end you come out of the theatre feeling that the whole thing was a bit frivolous . Not to a remembered as anything great...

Verdict--decent .




Me Before You



William is a wealthy young man who wants to live life to the full , indulging in adventure sports and hard work in equal measure . But his life is turned upside down in an accident that leaves him paralysed . He loses his girlfriend to another man , and also his will to live .

Enter Louisa , a young woman who comes from a working class background and who takes up the job of William's caretaker because she needs the money . She has no training to take care of a paralysed person , but is confident that her cheerful bright personality will help her in her job . And this fact is proved true beyond her expectations . For using her charm she manages to strike a good relationship with William , who is ill tempered with her at first but soon warms up to Louisa .

Louisa decides to bring the spark back into William's dark life , and takes him out to outings like music concerts , to vacations , to her birthday party , and to his own girlfriend's marriage with another man where she openly flirts with William . She begins to entice William by wearing enticing clothes exposing her body , and cheers him up by doing the things he loves like seeing non english movies with subtitles along with him , and giving him tub baths . And William again begins to laugh and feel better and begins to yearn for her company .

And soon Louisa's relationship with her own boyfriend begins to feel the strain of her outings with William . Very soon Louisa is in love---with the paralysed William !! She begins to care for him deeply and wants to share her life with him and dreams of everlasting romance , and he too seemingly reciprocates her feelings .

But William has actually come to a terrible decision , and unknowing to him Louisa has come to know of his decision !! She is hoping against hope that he will change his decision , and that her company will help in that . It is romance at it's very best , but with a heart rending twist....

So what is the terrible decision that William has taken ? And will Louisa be able to change it ? Watch the movie for the answers....

The movie rests on the good performances of the lead actors , and on their good looks . Sam Claflin who plays William looks too good as the tragic wheelchair ridden hero of the tale---just boyishly handsome , and Emilia Clarke looks and acts wonderfully as Louisa the small town girl with limited ambitions who finds her horizons widened by her association with William and hopes to genuinely bring light in his life . She has such a toothy smile and such infectious laughter , and you smile and laugh with her in the good times and there is a tear in your eye when she is having her bad times .

Janet McTeer and Charles Dance act well as the hapless parents who have seen their young son become paralysed in his youth , fraying relations between even themselves as they struggle to help William . Music is nice too , and is more sentimental than romantic---appropriate for the situations . Photography is good too---of a lonely castle , and the sea and the rains . Women will especially appreciate the sentimental moments in the movie , but men won't be unaffected too---just like I was .

Verdict---Good .




Before the rains ( 2007 )



i bought this DVD because the movie is shot in some of india's most favoured tourist destinations in the south indian state of kerala---the hill station of munnar situated at the height of 5000 feet above sea level amidst magnificent coffee plantations , and athirapally waterfalls . and the photography and colours of the film are superb indeed , just as i expected .

so what conflict could be emerging in this sylvan bounty of nature ? in fact , it is not conflict but appropriately in the lovely settings it is love....love between a british plantation owner ( linus roache ) and an indian woman ( nandita das ) , during colonial times when the british ruled india . but the love itself is of the kind that inspires conflict , because both are married people who have spouses .

so an illicit affair is on between two lusty people , and it leads to some red hot kissing and love making scenes in the green settings of vegetation and waterfalls . but there is a difference between the positions of the two ; while linus is a scion of the master race the british , nandita is a servant belonging to a conquered race the indians . above all , linus is a man and can get away with anything but nandita is a woman and women are never forgiven for their perfidies !!

so nandita's husband discovers that she is cheating on him , and beats her up . she runs for shelter to her lover , but he proves to be a man of straw . he asks his loyal indian friend ( rahul bose ) to send nandita off and rahul does so , but she returns back . linus refuses to take her , fearing the wrath of his wife ( jennifer ehle ) who loves him dearly and dotes on their son . out of sheer dispair , nandita shoots herself dead with a pistol that linus had given to rahul . linus and rahul dispose off her body in a rivulet despite rahul's misgivings that not giving her a proper hindu cremation will force her soul to remain unreleased from her body .

linus and rahul return to their work of building a road that will help export their plantation's spices to the outside world , and they hope to earn enormous profits after that road is built . this even though whether the road will hold after the onset of the heavy rains that plague this part of india is open to question . however all is not placid in the world around them ; an independence movement is gathering storm to drive the british out of india , and rahul has to resist calls to join the movement . he is torn between his friendship with linus and the call to drive linus's people the british out of his motherland . rahul's father accuses him of forgetting the traditions of his motherland and becoming a slave of the british ways and customs .

the situation comes to boil when nandita's brother asks his villagers to search for her , and her body is found with the bullet that matches the caliber of the gun that linus has given rahul . the villagers drag rahul in front of the elders because they suspect him of having killed nandita . and they ask him to undergo trial by fire to prove his innocence .

so will rahul come out of the trial by fire unscathed ? will he blurt out the truth of the affair of linus and nandita which led to her suicide ? will the real culprit ( linus ) be brought to book ? as the whole drama is being played out just before the onset of the rainy season ( hence the name of the movie ) , will the coming rains destroy the road that is being built or will the road survive ? watch the movie for the answers....

the movie is brought to life by director santosh sivan's great cinematography of the lush greenery of kerala , and some stupendous acting by rahul bose and linus roache and nandita das and jennifer ehle . linus roache particularly has a difficult job to do---play a person committed to his wife but also unwilling to be able to let go of his sexual attraction for nandita for whom he has begun to care , and being forced to dump nandita because he does not have the guts to face the consequences of his actions . music is beautiful too , though there are no songs despite the film being set in india ; it is an english movie after all and not a bollywood film , though some dialogues are in malayalam which is the language of the state of kerala .

the climax has some real meaning but will be disappointing for some viewers ; it will be liked only by those who like art films . the director has managed to create drama throughout the film and help maintain audience interest . but again the drama will be of interest only for the art film buffs .

verdict---decent .

three stars .



Lights Out



This horror movie I saw today . Predictably , the ghost in this movie can attack only when the lights are out and it's powers wane when the lights are on . So the trick to keep the ghost away is to keep the lights in the haunted house on permanently . But the ghost ( it's a female spirit ) of course is all too desperate to resort to any measures to turn off the lights .

So what do the persons / victims do ??---they keep all sorts of flashlights and torches with them in case the lights go out...and they do go out !! ( remember the name of the movie ) . But the beam of torches and flashlights can be directed only in one direction and in the other direction there is darkness...and in the other direction lies the ghost ( you guessed it ) which is waiting to attack...and attack it does , for it is quite a murderous spirit .

There are scenes in which the evil spirit is seen in the darkness and disappears when the light is turned in that direction . But when the flashlight is turned off or in other direction the spirit is again seen... but this time it is closer !! terrifying....for it gets closer every time the torch is switched off....

So who is the spirit ? It's a lunatic woman's spirit ( she had a strange skin disorder too ) ---a woman who was killed in some experiment in the lunatic asylum , but her spirit managed to latch on to another female inmate of the asylum who was released later . And the evil spirit keeps the woman imprisoned , and sets it's evil eyes on destroying her family too....a family consisting of the woman's husband ( whom the spirit kills in the opening of the movie itself ) and her luscious blonde blue eyed daughter and her young cute son and the daughter's boyfriend . The police who come to investigate are not spared either .

I got some jolts watching the movie , and did enjoy it .
Will you get the same enjoyment ? Depends on how much you enjoy horror movies like I do---I am a fan of the genre .




A visual artist of some kind
This made for a very interesting read, mainly because of what it reminded me of. In Doctor Who in recent years there have been the Weeping Angels, who are 'quantum locked' and can only move when not being observed. Their debut, Blink, established the fact that if a person blinks when confronted by an Angel, it can get closer and closer to them at lightning speed. In total darkness they can move at will, and one scene in their second appearance showed soldiers opening fire on them in the dark, each time partially revealing the Angels' static forms as the light exposed them. It's a brilliant, visual idea.

This also reminds me a little of Entity, which I would recommend.



Secret in their eyes



Julia Roberts plays a CIA agent who along with her partners is investigating a mosque which may have islamic radicals . But one day her own daughter is found murdered near the mosque . Julia is totally shattered by this , and looks haggard throughout the film---of course , she will probably look haggard in all her films after this unless she does some surgery...she's become old . Nicole Kidman ( her CIA boss ) on the other hand still looks good even at this age---so good in fact that her black colleague hits on her .

Julia's friend ( the black actor who played slave in '12 years a slave' ) decides to track down the killer , who is a psychopath who come from the mosque . He is a serial killer rather than an islamic radical . In fact , he is the contact who is going to give proof to the CIA about the islamic radicalism in the mosque . So the CIA decides not to arrest him , for tracking down islamic radicals ( whose information the man is giving ) is more important !! There are major showdowns over this in the CIA office .

In the midst of this the man escapes to nowhere . Julia is distraught . Her black friend vows to track him down and for 12 years searches for him , finally thinking that he has zeroed down on him . But trying to get to the man costs the CIA some men . In the end the whereabouts of the man all these years are a major surprise to us all---the viewers . That is the major shock at the end .

The movie is based on an argentinian movie , and the argentinian movie is supposed to be much better . This english copy has a 'tired' flavour to it---does not pick up pace . The premise is good , but the movie is slow paced and sloppy .



The gallows



The movie begins with a play gone horribly wrong in a school---the actor is to be shown to be hanged , but the base on which he is standing crumbles abruptly and he gets stuck in the gallows and gets really hanged to death .

Decades later , the same play is to be enacted again in the same school . All the sets are placed in position , including the gallows of the hangman . But the night before the play , a group of disgruntled students decides to play havoc with the sets .

The students have discovered that a door to the interior of the school has a broken latch and they can enter the school at will in the night . So they enter and find that some attractive female students also want to come in .

Having created havoc with the sets , the students decide to get out---only to discover that the door through which they came in is now firmly closed and they can't get out . To be honest I was expecting this---what else could happen....?

Once trapped inside , the students try to search ways of getting out---only to go deeper and deeper into the quagmire of evil...for predictably , an evil spirit is out to get them inside the school ; indeed , it has haunted the school for ages....

As the body count piles , you wonder if anyone will get out alive . The scares in the movie are pretty routine stuff , but you do get the jolts every now and then . But then , I am a aficionado of horror movies---primarily because I don't get scared much of them and can sleep well at night even after watching them ; yes , not being able to sleep well after watching a horror movie is a major reason for people not watching them . But for me it is not an impediment .

In between the jolts old secrets tumble out and the doomed students realise why everything is happening ; nice to know the reason why you are going to die...

The ending is bad and the director should have thought of some way better to end it .



The way we were ( 1973 )



The common saying is that opposites are attracted to each other , but this love story will make you lose belief in that saying . The story begins in the 1930s and moves in the 1940s .

Barbra Streisand is a committed communist , making fiery speeches in college espousing communist causes in various wars like the Spanish civil war inspite of fun being poked at her by her college mates . She is a jew . And with curled frizzly hair , she is no beauty . The one thing about her personality is that she is driven for her causes , and has a passion for them that others don't have .

Robert Redford is the the opposite---a person with a laidback lifestyle and no strong views politically , but with a talent for writing . He is a protestant of English ancestry and comes from an affluent family . Above all , he is conventionally handsome with blond hair .

Naturally it is Barbra who is attracted to Robert in college , as he can get any girl he wants . But she is not just attracted to his looks , but also to his writing skills . But they lose touch as the second world war interrupts .

They meet again after the war , and Barbra makes the first move . Opposites attract , and they are soon in a relationship . Barbra irons her hair in order to look conventionally beautiful .

But she begins to have strong arguments with his friends over what they feel are trivial issues for them---political issues , what else . Robert feels rightly that Barbra is does not have the temperament for becoming part of his circle , and tries to cut off . But Barbra is too deeply in love to let him go , and agrees to change herself in a desperate attempt to cling on .

Robert begins to write for TV shows and gets some real money , which allows the two to live a lifestyle . But once again Barbra wants him to do serious writing , and her driven personality clashes with his laid back lifestyle . As suspicion grows in political circles that Hollywood has closet communists , Barbra finds that she cannot keep herself away from politics which is her first love . This bring Robert in trouble .

Barbra is pregnant , but Robert has a one night stand with another girl . This pains Barbra greatly . Robert is however frustrated by her meddling with politics . Finally , they both realise that they are not made for each other . He is never going to realise the potential of the writer that he can become ( and that Barbra wants him to be ) and is satisfied with writing for TV . She is never going to quit politics . They agree to part ways after their daughter is born .

When they meet again years later , they both remember the way they were....and they remember with nostalgia . She has her curled frizzly hair again , and is again fighting for communist causes . He is with a conventionally good looking girlfriend .

And yet they both acknowledge that there was something special in the way they were....he was at his creative best , and that was due to her !! And remembering those times fills her with tears of nostalgia....'the way we were' will be forever in their memories....

Looking at Robert Redford's personality , I was reminded of myself---with some writing skills but not willing to go into serious writing ; instead writing frivolous movie reviews....When will I meet the Barbra Streisand in my life , who will egg me on for serious writing ?

I liked the emotional tone of some scenes , and was impressed by the music . The song 'the way we were' ( presumably sung by Streisand ) is simply beautiful , and so is the background music . A fine romantic movie full of nostalgia for the bygone times . But don't see it if you are in the middle of a break up with your partner

Verdict---good .

Three and a half stars .



Obsessed ( 1992 )---




This movie I saw on youtube recently .

It's about a young woman ( Shannen Doherty ) who falls in love with an older man . She goes crazy over this man , to the point of trying to sacrifice her own life over him---attempted suicide what else....

She is in her early twenties and he is in his mid fifties . He even has a daughter who is probably older than her !! But she quickly latches on to him , and they make love on satin sheets several times . But she cannot adjust in his older circle and he decides to end the relationship .

On hearing this she is shattered and refuses to end it , forcing herself into his living quarters and his group of friends again and again in sexy clothes....and soon she resorts to increasing violence....

To me the whole idea of a sexy hot young woman falling so quickly in love with a man much older than her was corny to say the least . How many men in their mid fifties get to bed and have a full scale relationship with a much younger woman unless they have a fat account book---nobody I guess , and this guy is not that rich even though he is financially well settled .

But the idea of him tiring of her was even cornier , and I wondered why he wouldn't give even his arm and leg to date a woman so young and hot and sexy . How come he wants to cut off from someone who gives us the hots....??

Who cares anyway---Shannen looks good enough to eat , and shows enough of her body to keep us interested . Her cleavage , her thighs , her legs , her face---all are good enough to not shut off the film . There are one or two love making scenes .

In the end she goes totally bonkers over his rejection and blows off his luxury boat by gasoline . Tries to kill herself and when that fails , to kill his daughter . That fails too---the director was sensible enough not to convert this into a tragedy....

She is admitted to a mental institution by the authorities , and on being released ( how come a person who has committed crimes gets released so quickly ?? this the director only knows ) she latches on to another older man !!....does she not have interest in young men , who would presumably make a beeline for her if she gave them the chance....?

Verdict---film with a stupid premise of a young woman going mad over an older man , but reasonably well executed . Maybe it is for letting old men indulge in their fantasies about bedding young women .



Unindian



This is an Australian film with a director of Indian origin---for even though the film is called 'Unindian' , it predictably has several Indian characters .

But the star of the show is Australian , and he is none other than Australian sportsman Brett Lee . Brett , who was a fast bowler in the game of cricket was hugely popular in India due to his sporting feats---because India is mad about cricket , which is nothing less than religion for Indians .

The film was released in Australia nearly a year ago , but obviously the big draw of the film will be in India even though the language of the film is mostly english . Thats because the number of Indians who understand english is more than the population of Australia . Brett is hoping to leverage the popularity he enjoys among Indians and Australians to become a film star in India and Australia both .

So how is Brett Lee the actor ? Surprisingly , he has acting talent along with good looks . Women won't fail to be attracted to his natural charm and the way he makes acting look easy . But in the movie he is after one particular woman---dark and dusky Tannishtha Chatterjee , who is not so easy to get . That's because she has parents who frown on any partner for her who is not Indian , and Brett is as 'unindian' as it gets....

Brett's job is to teach how to speak the english language in the aussie way to migrants to Australia , and the setting is Australia's biggest city Sydney . He gets to meet Tannishtha at an Indian celebration of holi ( the festival of colours ) when she throws colours at him by mistake , but then proceeds to colour him up up because that is the way holi is played---you smear colour on each other's bodies . Brett is charmed , and he tries to woo Tannishtha the aussie way---without any hint of subtlety . Tannishtha is intrigued though hesitant , and it takes a little time for her to warm up to Brett .

Meanwhile an Indian suitor selected by her parents for her crops up , and a rivalry begins between him and Brett for her affections . When a chance misunderstanding makes Brett give up , Tannishtha realises that she misses him . As she herself now tries to wean Brett back , it is only a matter of time before kisses ( and there are plenty of them in the movie ) lead to lovemaking in the bedroom....

But will her parents ( and parental opinion is very important among people of Indian origin ) accept Brett---a white man with blonde hair ? More importantly , will her daughter from her first marriage ( yeah , Tannishtha is a divorcee ) adjust to Tannishtha's relationship with another man ? And who is the person who follows the daughter wherever she goes ? Will Brett be able to even keep his job which is threatened by his superior's attitude of not accepting the aussie way of speaking english and concentrating only on Queen's english ? A crisis is building up....

The film has several light hearted and funny moments without making it a comedy ; it remains firmly a romantic film with a mildly emotional ending . The film belongs above all to Brett Lee , and his strength of character is tested as the crisis builds up . Her dusky looks make Tannishtha look sensuous , and she does act properly . Music and songs are more Indian in touch , and are decent to hear . Photography and colours are nice .

Verdict---Nice .



Warrior ( 2011 )



Spoiler alert

A lethal dose of action mixed with real emotion---that's what this movie is all about...about broken family ties and loss and pain and about recovering from it all---but a lot of sweat has to go , a little bit of blood spilled , and a lot of punches traded to make everything all right in the end....

Nick Nolte's family has splintered long ago , primarily because of his heavy drinking . His wife left him long ago , and her younger son ( Tom Hardy ) chose to go along with her . She was sick due to a fatal disease , and Tom had to take care of her alone---because his father and his older brother ( Joel Edgerton ) never knew about that .

Joel too broke ties with his father , but chose to remain in town because he was in love with a local girl ( Jennifer Morrison ) and he married her . He became the more stable of the two brothers because his life was settled by domesticity . But misfortune struck as his daughter was having a heart condition and he had to mortgage his house for treating her . So he decided to earn money by taking part in professional fighting . However , the news reached his school where he has a job as a teacher and he was suspended .

Younger brother Tom Hardy however has been emotionally shattered by his mother's death , which he had to face alone when he was young . He becomes an ace marine who is a real hero because he saves the lives of other soldiers , but is too emotionally distraught to try get a medal for his brave act . He is further emotionally wrecked when he and his comrade are attacked mistakenly by his own country's warplanes in Iraq and his comrade is killed . He deserts the marines and gets a new name because he feels forsaken even by his country . But he decides to help his comrade's wife , and decides to fight in a mixed martial arts tournament to win 5 million dollars and give the wife that money . And whom better to train him than his father Nick Nolte , who was an ace trainer....but as his father ( who has given up alcohol now ) tries to make a bond with him , Tom rejects any personal feelings and refuses to rebuild their relationship .

Nick Nolte now tries to reach out to his older son Joel , and Joel is not ready at first and refuses to let him meet his daughter and wife . But being the more stable of the two brothers , he finally forgives his father . His more pressing concern however is to earn money by entering the mixed martial arts tournament himself .

So both brothers are destined to meet in the ring . It is Tom who is the more powerful of the two , as his life's experiences have made him a meaning killing machine....without emotion , rentless . On the other hand Joel is more capable of taking a beating without backing down and then persisting and beating the opponent . And soon news spreads about Tom's heroism during his marine days and the marines turn up as spectators to cheer him . Joel's students ( whom he taught at school where he was a teacher ) too come to know of his new career and they turn up to watch the tournament to watch him . So both brothers have their own supporters . But whoever of them wins , it's all going to be in the family....or is it ? For there are other fighters in the tournament as well including the unbeatable Koba from Russia .

As the movie gets more violent with what the punches being thrown and kicks landed and wounds inflicted , it also gets more emotional as the three ( father , brother and brother ) grapple with their feelings for one another . But out there in the fighting ring , it's a cruel world where the one who can take maximum punishment can survive . The climax is a gem where inspite of all the animosity that Tom has with Joel for not choosing his mother over his girlfriend , the two estranged brothers are able to make a connection in the ring---but not before we are treated to some real action of mean fighters having a real go at each other .

The acting of all concerned makes the film worthwhile to watch , and so does the fighting in the ring....what is emotion if not mixed with sizzling action after all....

Verdict---Good .



Kundun ( 1997 )



This film tells the story of his holiness the Dalai lama , the spiritual and the political leader of Tibet who is affectionately called 'Kundun' by his people . Regarded as the living manifestation of the Lord Buddha , the Dalai lama is regarded as God himself in Tibet . The film was made by Martin Scorsese with co operation of the Dalai lama and his family along with other Tibetans . It tells the story of the Dalai lama while he lived upto his youth in Tibet , but ends at his self imposed exile into India . It does not tell how the Dalai lama spent and continues to spend the rest of his life trying to work out some solution to the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet .

The film begins with monks coming to the Dalai lama's birth place , first in disguise and then openly to identify him in childhood . He is just a toddler when he is given things to pick , and when he picks out things which were property of the previous Dalai lama then he is identified as the next Dalai lama . He is taken to the Potala palace in Tibetan capital city Lhasa , where his education begins .

Frankly , this first part of the movie was somewhat boring , for it showed us the wonder that the young child felt at the new things around him ; the story simply didn't seem to get a start . Of course , real care has been taken to show tibetan traditions and customs , but to westernized persons these must look like a morass of superstitions and otherworldly traditions . And who cares for the customs of some godforsaken place that is inaccessible across the mighty Himalayas....

What held me however was the enthralling music in true and rich Tibetan style , something that was present throughout the movie . The blow of the Tibetan horns somehow seemed to convey a sense of impending doom , and the doom arrived in due course in the form of the invading Chinese . This was the reason why I was watching the movie anyway , and the reason why it was made ; had Tibet remained an independent country , no one would have made or seen any movie on it---it was the Chinese invasion and rape of that land that made it such a cause celebre.....

From being immersed in some ancient rituals and hanging out among animals like peacocks in his palace , the Dalai lama is rudely awakened to the fact that his country is under foreign occupation and that he can do nothing about it . At first the officers of the Chinese army are respectful to him but as the movie progresses they become more and more rude . Chairman Mao , whom the Dalai lama goes to visit in Peking / Beijing , is outwardly friendly but to him religion and any person practising it is poison .

As his own people tell him of horror stories of Chinese persecution and he comes to know of them being killed by the Chinese , the Dalai lama feels himself in danger . One night he and his entourage flee across the mountains towards India . The last shot of the Dalai lama in Tibet is truly heartrending . He turns to say goodbye to the soldiers who escorted him to the Indian border and has a vision of them bloodspattered and shot dead by the Chinese , for that is exactly what is going to happen to them as also the the rest of the Tibetan people . There is little hope of him ever being able to return to his homeland again....

Of course , given the immense human tragedy of the destruction wrought by the Chinese in Tibet , the necessity of making such a movie is obvious . This is especially true because the Tibetans are a gentle people , wedded to the arts of peace rather than war---one of the few peoples on earth to be so .

As an Indian whose country has given refuge to the Dalai lama and hundreds of thousands of Tibetan refugees , my sympathies invariably lay with the Tibetans....and as the movie progressed I could not help but be moved by what was unfolding on the screen . This despite the fact that I had waited shamelessly for the Chinese to emerge on screen to get the story really moving .

Photography and picturization of Tibet is really perfect , and you get a authentic glimpse into Tibetan culture if you are interested in it---though actually I wasn't to be honest . Every cloth , every frame has been carefully constructed , and is rich with colour . But in the end all the colours are swept away by the hand of fate....for as predicted in the movie , he and his entourage are reduced from kings to wandering people who are saved only because the Indians agree to give refuge to them at terrible price to themselves ; the Indians have to incur the unending enemity of the Chinese for that act ( the last part of the sentence is not shown in the movie , but as an Indian I have to say it ) .

The movie will be liked only by the art film lovers , and also by those interested in history---I am both . But those interested in commercial fare can go for 'Seven years in Tibet ' which tells the story of a German's quest for reaching Tibet and his friendship with the Dalai lama . But 'Kundun' is the more authentic movie , if you are really interested in authenticity .

Verdict--decent .