Wednesday, August 01, 2007

TBOWM - 200707

"We are in The Business Of Watching Movies." - Shimjith Ambali

20070715 Ordinary People
Superb. Oscar-winning (Best Picture, Best Direction) effort from Robert Redford. The movie is about a young boy who has difficulties overcoming the loss of his brother in a boating accident. A familiar theme but explored to great depth are the boy's relationships with his father, mother and his shrink.

20070714 Heaven Can Wait
A delightful comedy from Warren Beatty who gets a second chance at life after being wrongly killed. Beatty who is a footballer chooses to go back in the body of a millionaire. Though it is a familiar theme, some memorable scenes such as when the millionaire's wife is caught cheating redhanded. By a strange coincidence, my second movie for the day also had two

20070714 Bee Season
Though the bee in the title alludes to the spelling-bee competition, this Richard Gere starrer is more about the things people do to connect with God. Control-freak and deeply religious Gere's family's attempts to interpret and apply the Kabbalistic concept of "tikkun olam" or "repairing the world, reuniting its shards." The movie has not one but two directors - both engaging in tikkun olam themselves! Attempts to alleviate the gloom and repetitiveness with psychedelic renderings of words spelling themselves out!

20070711 The Birdcage
Robin Williams runs a gay/crossdresser nightclub (The Bird Cage) and his son falls in love with the daughter of a senator. Scenes of slapstick comedy unfold as the household attempts to cover up their true selves when the Senator comes visiting to inspect the suitability of his daughter's suitor!

20070710 Honeymoon In Vegas
Nicolas Cage falls for the crafts of a wily gambler and ends up losing his fiancee to his conqueror for the weekend. But is he gonna be losing her forever as well? Can the seemingly omnipotent millionaire trick the maiden out of Cage's hands?

20070709 Cool Hand Luke
Paul Newman plays the unflappable Luke, indefatigable and irrepressible in his quest for freedom and to be himself. in this prison flick. Memorable scenes include the egg-eating challenge, the explanation of the rules of the prison and Luke's escape'ades. Also features the famous(for me) quote "What we've got here is failure to communicate" in the song Civil War by Guns'n'Roses.

20070708 Tootsie
Watchable cross-dressing comedy. Dustin Hoffman is an out of work actor who finally lands a role when he cross-dresses and auditions for a role in a sitcom. Tootsie becomes a rage and Hoffman struggles to maintain his regular life. A useful side-effect is that he gets closer to one of her/his costars, but complications arise when the costar's father proposes to Tootsie!

20070707 The Bridges Of Madison County
Clint Eastwood, an ageing Nat Geo photographer, and Meryl Streep, a bored housewife have a brief affair while Streep's family was away for the weekend and Eastwood shows up to shoot photos of the Bridges of Madison County. The story is told as Streep's grown-up children shamefully reading about their now-dead mother's romantic liaison with the ace photographer.

20070707 Catch 22
An adaptation of Joseph Heller's classic is pretty much different from the book. Perhaps director Mike Nichols' intention was just to capture the horrors of war, the essence of the book, rather than reproduce it scene-by-scene. All in all, I felt it was darker and was less funny than it should have been. Does not do justice to the book.

20070707 Intersection
Richard Gere faces a midlife crisis, he is at the intersection or the crossroads of life. Does he stick with his wife or go with his newfound lover. The movie takes us along with Gere on a drive through the countryside and tells us the story through a series of flashbacks and incidents that help him make up his mind. Surprise, surprise it was somewhat artsy too.

20070618 Walk The Line
Johnny Cash biopic, Joaqim Phoenix puts in a decent performance as the country crooner. Primarily about Cash's involvement with his co-writer and other family problems (dad, wife).

20070618 Mayavi
Mammootty plays an ex-con who has the power/secret ability to bash up the bad guys, but only while it's dark and he is out of sight! Plot follows familiar lines, village-girl charmed, buddies turn foe - but definitely worth a watch.

20070618 Big B
Slick action flick from Mammootty. A Malayalam movie in true (well, almost) Hollywood style! The story is not much to write home about and there are no "unexpected" twists in the tale. Good, refreshing style though!

20070617 The Quick And The Dead
Sharon Stone and Russell Crowe sizzle in this Western-style, multi-starrer revenge-flick. Gene Hackman is the sherriff holding a shootout challenge to eliminate all possible challengers to his office. A young Leonardo DiCaprio too features among others. Expected a tedium of shootouts but different threads are woven in rather well.

20070617 Chota Mumbai
Mohanlal stars in this laugh-a-minute, feel-good movie. Was a pleasant surprise as I had gone to watch the movie expecting a blood-and-gore, goonda movie.

20070616 The Parallax View
A dark and paranoid thriller about the assassinations and conspiracy theories surrounding them, in the 1970s. It's a satire - there being a Parallax Corporation which is in the business of assassinating senators. A bit ahead of its time, the style followed by director Alan Pakula requires intense concentration to follow. Warren Beatty is the confused hero. I felt the footage in the Parallax test, the psychiatric test the recruit assassins have to take could have been more significant and poignant.

20070616 Boys Don't Cry
The true story of Brandon Teena (Teena Brandon), a transsexual in love with a girl. However things turn awry when her friends discover the truth, that Brandon is not who he claims to be. Hilary Swank plays the boy-girl to perfection.

20070616 The Sting
Paul Newman and Robert Redford play con-men planning to pull off the biggest job of their careers. A bit predictable but interestingly laid out as chapters! Robert Redford reckoned this was his best role ever, I read somewhere. Couldn't help but wonder how much the younger Redford resembles Brad Pitt (should be the other way around!). I think Viggo Mortensen resembles Michael Douglas too.

20070615 Blood Diamond
A pseudo "true-story" style movie, with more than its fair share of propaganda and gossip! The sheer amount of coincidences involving Solomon Vandi take the sheen out of it. Superb performances from the lead trio (DiCaprio, Connelly and Djimon Hounsou) however keeps the movie afloat, as do the fantastic scenery. The movie could have done with either a disclaimer or a true story notice - to lend it a bit of authenticity!

20070615 The Out Of Towners
Enjoyable comedy about how things go wrong for Jack Lemmon and wife when they make a trip to NY. There's non-landing flights, missed baggage, mugging, kidnapping and much more! Everything goes wrong! Was later remade, starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn.

20070611 Any Given Sunday
Al Pacino plays the coach of a "loser" football team in this Oliver Stone film. Cameron Diaz features as the new owner of the team and Jamie Foxx plays the star quarterback. The confrontational scenes between coach and don't-wannabe-protege are, well, tiredly inspirational!

20070611 Marathon Man
What would you do when your whole world turns upside down and the people who you thought you knew aren't who you thought they were? Dustin Hoffman, as a cute wannabe-Marathoner student, faces up to the tough guys. The "Is it safe?" torture scene is memorable. The athlete shown in the recurring clip is Abebe Bikila.

20070607 Pirates Of The Caribbean 3: At World's End
I thought this was a bit too long and detail-ridden. And everybody comes back from the dead! Dozed off towards the end, which my friends told was the best part of the movie. Anyways, I thought it was better than the second part.

20070605 American Gigolo
Richard Gere plays the titular role, a gigolo framed in a murder-case. Pretty decent stuff.

20070601 The Milagro Beanfield War
Surreal film from Robert Redford which tells the story of a town which is facing a water-crisis because of a big real-estate project. The hero decides to face up to the biggies and rebels by taking water for cultivating his beanfield. Becomes the talk of the town - featuring popular, legal and even divine interventions. Charming at times, overdone at others.

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