The Beauty Of Paris

When I first saw Midnight In Paris, the one facet that amazed me the most was the cinematography. It was incredibly beautiful as it showed how Paris really is, magical.  The opening montage can be watched over and over as it beautifully shows the varied delights of Paris. It is easily one of the best Woody Allen films in the recent past. A lot of people have never really seen Owen Wilson in this kind of a role, but the fact is that not only does he make it work, he makes his character completely convincing.

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The plot of the movie has elements of fantasy which makes it a little different from the usual romantic comedy. The movie succeeds with its wonderful sense of humour, characters that are so likable and a city that has a mystical persona. The performances are delightful, and Darius Khondji (Director Of Photography) manages to portray the different eras with ease. A particular highlight is the scene where Wilson’s character enters 1920 and meets the literary greats of the era. It is captured with innocence and a sense of playfulness that is alluring.

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Essential to the flow of the film is Wilson’s mind. Is it real? Is it imaginary? The point is that Allen has left it for us to decide, which is a wonderful thing. It clearly shows how we like to romanticize the past. Would you like to be in a different era, the era you consider to be the ‘Golden Age’? Since I am familiar with the artists and the writers shown it was memorable for me to see those great people being brought to life. If you do not like that era you may not enjoy the film as much as I did. The ending left me feeling satisfied with the film. With this effort Allen has taken us on ride that is heartfelt and fun. Sometimes, that is all we want from a film.

Until next time, bye.

Love Blossoms

The Apartment has one of the most sweetest love stories that I have ever seen. A major reason for that are the performances of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. It is genuinely heartening to see the way their love blossoms. From the beginning till the very end, there is a gradual progression. Nothing seems forced or hurried as the film is paced correctly. It is safe to say that the film’s reputation as one the greatest of all time, is well and truly deserved. There are many aspects of life that the film comments on but I feel that its most profound statement is on our need to be loved. Just the mere thought that someone likes or loves us, is enough to be cause for celebration. Today, I would like to talk about one scene in particular. It is when we see the two characters together in the office lift.

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In this frame alone, we learn so much about these two people. The way they feel about life can be perceived from this one image alone. MacLaine’s Fran does not like the way life is treating her. And while Lemmon’s Bud feels the same way, he does not show it. His attitude towards life is much more upbeat than that of Fran. Even when things are not going his way, he does not lose his cool. This is a valuable trait for anyone to have. As for Fran, initially it looks like she is not doing what is right for her. But over the course of the film, we learn more about her and why she is the way she is. And through this, she earns the viewer’s empathy and sympathy. A lot of love stories do not work for me because I feel disconnected from what’s going on. This is not the case with The Apartment. And for that alone, I would recommend all of you to watch it irrespective of whether you like love stories.

Until next time, bye.

Ranjith vs. Rajni

Let me begin by saying that I liked Kaala but wasn’t captivated by it completely. It is always a tricky task to make a film with someone who has transcended stardom as an actor. The big question with Kaala is how it would have been received had Superstar not entered politics. In my opinion, the reception would surely have been much better. The film also asks a fundamental question regarding its director. Is this a Pa. Ranjith film or is it a Rajnikanth film ? The problem with making a film with such a huge star is that sometimes, it may not be possible to put forth what you want to say. And, we all know the ideology that Ranjith has and it is quite evident in this film compared to Kabali. In the earlier film, it was merely hinted at whereas here it forms the crux of the story. And it seems to be more of a Ranjith film in this case. Ideally, when a director and star combine, you should be getting the best of both worlds. But, something seemed to be missing.

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In my opinion, the duo and their sensibilities worked for the most part but I was left with one particular feeling. That would be the urge to see a film that is completely Ranjith or something that is out and out Rajnikanth. But therein lies a major problem with the audience and their expectations. As an actor, we have started to expect a certain a kind of film from the man himself. There are those who want him to experiment but when he does, do not seem to be appreciate it all that much. Whenever this happens, there is always talk of the vintage Rajni and how he’s missing. Perhaps it is a case of someone reaching a mythical status and that we have started to project our own expectations on the man. While the latest Ranjith-Rajni outing seems to have had a better reception compared to their first, not everyone is satisfied. Yes, it goes without saying that you cannot satisfy everyone. One can only hope that Karthik Subbaraj can come up with something that will appeal to almost everyone. All we can do now is wait and watch.

Until next time, bye.

The Fight For Power

Iruvar is without a doubt one of the finest films ever made in India. It is a perfect mix of art and entertainment that is sure to leave one feeling awestruck at its brilliance. There is so much to talk about with a film like this. One of them is the historical significance of the story it depicts. And if you know anything about the history of Tamil Nadu, you know how important the two protagonists are. Today, I would like to focus on one scene in particular. It is the scene where Mohanlal’s character goes to the office of Prakash Raj and asks to be made a minister. In other words, it is for the fight for power. Not only is it key to the development of the story, the two actors are able show what acting is in just a few minutes.

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This expression, I feel, is acting at an incredibly high level. What we see is a man who has his pride damaged but does not want to show it. He did not expect to be rejected for the minister’s post. The scene also manages to show the distance that has grown between the once great friends. Where we usually see them close to each other, the table in the metaphorically shows the distance among them. Though there is only one expression in this picture, the whole scene has the both of them portray a range of emotions with such subtlety that you may miss it. This is not an easy thing to do.

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A fascinating aspect of the relationship between Tamizh Selvan and Anandhan is the love and respect they have for each other till the very end. Though their political ambitions end up making them rivals, they remain friends rather than foes. There is a constant shift in power throughout the film. At the end, one feels that Tamizh Selvan’s monologue shows the feeling of powerlessness. Without his friend, he feels lost. This is how the movie ends but we all know how real life turned out to be.

Until next time, bye.

 

The Unlikeable Protagonist

When you make a film about someone who is not likeable, it can be a bit tricky to pull off. If the character is a villain then it’s easier but if it is someone more relatable, it can be a little off-putting for some. This is the case with Young Adult, the 2011 film directed by Jason Reitman. While it was a success commercially and critically, not everyone was too taken with it. To be fair, it is completely fine when this happens. But why does this happen ? Is it not possible to make films about people whom we do not like or do we have to relate to the characters to like the film. If you are like me, you do not care about whether the film is relatable or not and just enjoy it for what it is. Now, let’s talk about the film.

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The second collaboration between Diablo Cody and Reitman produces interesting results. In my opinion, Juno is the superior film but there are many things to admire about this film as well. Firstly, it has an absolutely incredible performance by Charlize Theron. She manages to make this kind of a person feel sympathetic. The writing by Cody is another strong aspect of the film that works. And not to mention, it has great supporting work from Patton Oswalt. If you look at the film as just cinema, it becomes easier to enjoy it. I guess what I am trying to say is that, you do not always have to relate or like something to enjoy it. If you loosen up a bit, you may actually end up having a good time even with a film like this. Though it may seem dull at certain points, there is a lot of truth that is being said and that alone makes it worth watching. I’m not sure if what I said is exactly what I wanted to say. Anyway, thanks for reading.

Until next time, bye.

What Is Love

Let me start this by saying that Juhi Chaturvedi is one of the finest writers to come out of India. With just three films under her belt, she has managed to carve a niche for herself. October is another feather in her cap. But to my delight, she is not the only winner in this film. Varun Dhawan emerges as an actor who made me forget that he’s a star. I could only see Dan on screen. A special mention has to be made for Banita Sandhu and Gitanjali Rao for different but impactful performances. Making a film about a story such as this is a little tricky. You do not want to make it too sentimental because people might feel alienated. The script by Juhi and the direction by Shoojit Sircar is able to strike a balance between emotion and realism. As the film’s trailer says, this is not a love story but rather a story about love. But what is love ?

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This I think is the central theme of the story. It is never made clear to us if Dan is in love with Shiuli. But there is some strange attraction that he has for her. I say strange because generally no one would do what Dan does but it never feels cinematic. You are convinced by his actions even if you do not approve of them. Coming back to what love is, is it being with someone even when they can’t be with you ? Is it sacrificing something for someone else even if you do not get anything in return ? What Dan gets is a purpose and maybe that’s what he was looking for. Love means different things for each person so what is love can only be answered by what your definition of love is. Till you figure that out, go and watch October. It is something to be felt rather than analyzed.

Until next time, bye.

Why Lynne Ramsay Is Great

Lynne Ramsay is one director who always gets praised by many as one of the greatest filmmakers working today. But, there are many who do not think this way. These detractors say that her films are slow with no substance and they don’t really go anywhere. Well, if you feel this way you are missing the point. Let me be clear and say that I do feel that she is one of the best there is today. I came to this realization after seeing her latest film, You Were Never Really Here. Go watch it for Joaquin Phoenix if not for Ramsay. His brilliance has reached a level where we are not surprised when he is amazing. It has become the norm for him. Now allow me to explain why I think Ramsay is a great director.

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There are very few people who make films the way she does. Her usage of imagery and sound is so different from what we see on a regular basis that it takes time to adjust to her style. I feel that if she had made more films, she would have gotten more mainstream attention. Perhaps this lack of attention is what makes her direct her films this way. You cannot take your eyes away from the screen because of the way she packs in details in every frame. Now, this is not on a heightened level such as a Wes Anderson but in a more rooted and realistic manner. She finds new way to look at everyday things. This perspective is what makes her work captivating. You probably will not feel the same way as I do. But if you have not seen any of Ramsay’s films before, I suggest you give this one a try and you may end up learning something and maybe even liking it.

Until next time, bye.

The Joy Of Life

There are many films that can be classified under the feel-good category. These are the films that leave you with a smile on your face. But among these films, there are those which make you smile as well as cry. Are these films really feel-good ? Well, let me put forth my interpretation of this. As we all know in life, there are ups and downs. So, to truly feel an up we need to go through something that brings us down. Only then can true catharsis be achieved. Even if I told you about the end of Anand it wouldn’t be too much of a spoiler as the movie does this in the very beginning. Therefore, I’d like to talk about what the film wants to say.

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To put it simply, the message of the film can be summed up as this: try to find the joy in life. Although this is easier said than done, it is certainly something that all of us could use a little of in life. We spend so much time cribbing about what we don’t have that we tend to forget what we possess. In the film, Anand is diagnosed with cancer and while it seems quite cinematic to make him celebrate life despite his illness, it is what makes the film memorable. Here is a man who lives with such fervor that it seems cruel that his life is going to be taken away from him. All this makes us root for him to recover and when he doesn’t, it hits you like a bullet. Though you are expecting it, you aren’t fully prepared for it just like it happens in life. To quote a famous liquor brand: it’s your life, make it large. This is precisely what Anand teaches us. Whether we follow it or not is in our hands. So, here’s to what we have and hoping we make life just a little large.

Until next time, bye.

The Demon Inside

One of the things that I like the most about any film by David Lynch is the amount of discussion that it inspires. Since his films have many interpretations, you can go on and on about what you feel about the film. His films are like puzzles that can be solved in different ways. This makes him a very unique filmmaker. One such puzzle that Lynch served is Blue Velvet. The most memorable aspect of this great film is probably is its villain, Frank Booth. He is one of the most horrifying characters to ever be created. But I would like to talk about another aspect of the film that is sometimes overlooked.

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During the course of the relationship our protagonist has with the singer, he has feelings that scare him. And this is because he’s scared that he is capable of stuff that he didn’t know he could do. When he hits her for the first time and is upset about it, he fears that he could become into another Frank. In a way, this is what we are all afraid of. The feeling that there is darkness lurking within us and that we’re capable of evil things. In my opinion, this is what the film is about. It is about what goes on beneath the surface. Something that appears to be serene and beautiful from the outside may be harboring something evil on the inside. Well, that’s my two cents on Blue Velvet.

Until next time, bye.

Masculinity And Friendship

In this breakout film for Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, you can find many aspects of masculinity and friendship being shown. It shows us that despite all the bravado and the swagger a man may possess, when it comes to a real friend they really care. This is shown quite beautifully in the scene where Vaughn fights for Favreau’s character. Yes it does explore the stereotype of men not wanting to show their feelings and trying to conceal them. But by showing the contrast between these two friends, we get a better understanding of the male psyche. Swingers is not a film that is funny because of the situations or dialogues that are there but rather because of the truth that is present in these scenes.

Until next time, bye.