Inception is like...

Inception isn’t impossible. It has been done effectively by filmmakers and novelists for ages and now it has been done by Nolan. Modus Operandi is quite simple. Be an architect, construct an elaborate dream world with certain rules. Be a dreamer, let your subconscious project your imagination and tell a story. Be the forger and create believable characters by stealing from the collective or individual psyche. Be the point man and see that your task is carried out and you don’t get interrupted during your work. Now steal the show in the mind of the audience. The visuals and words are just your tools.
Nolan does exactly that. He seeded a fascinating idea into the minds of the millions of people and wowed them with extraordinary storytelling, breathtaking visuals and spine chilling thrills while feeding rich material into their grey matter. Now they are all raving about it; calling it the best movie in a decade, his best work and putting it (collectively) in the top 5 movies of all time.
Inception is a spectacular film which had me captivated for all its 148 minutes. It had all that can be expected from a summer blockbuster and because of all the points I made above made a compelling and brilliant film but it isn’t so brilliant that it deserves all the unparalleled praise. Inception is actually like several other films we have seen in the past in the emotions it evokes and ideas it plants. But then it is not.

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Review: Sin Nombre

We are not born free. We are born into our culture, religion and the environment. Almost everyone gets carried away with the tide that has been around forever. You take whatever is handed out to you and do not question. Life is hard and relentless. Always brings you down. In some places it is more than the others. If you want to rebel, it stamps you down. If you want to run away it hunts you down. If you want to break free. It destroys your soul. Off the millions there are a few thousands thinking of the fight, a few hundred start it and eventually a handful might win. Now if one is among the millions or the thousands or the hundreds or the handful victors one knows not until the struggle is over. Only to start out a new struggle all over again.

You are born in a place where you are easily sucked into a criminal gang with a violent subculture and find yourself deprived of a life you want to live or deserve. Your loved ones are snatched away from you and you know that any form of dissidence and rebellion will only end with definite punishment. Yet in the spur of the moment when the deepest of your emotions overcome your resolve to stay sane to stay alive, you commit the ‘unforgivable’ and live with the dire consequences.

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Review: The Time Traveler's Wife ('s cheap knockoff)

heTime Traveler’s Wife, the book by Audrey Niffenegger is a decent book. Not great, not bad. It starts out slowly, becomes really good and drags on with some intermittent good scenes and ends. The only reason it stands out is it being a good concoction of science fiction and romance with neither being affected. Neither are really great again but I have never seen a plot so intricately woven together that is clearly both. It was a good read.

However the movie takes is a 10 foot dive into a pool of blunt hollywoodness. All the complications in the story are removed. Forget the fringe characters, some key characters are eliminated for the same reason. The plot is trivialized and the focus moves onto the romance. The science fiction aspect of it is lamented and ignored or abused to a point of regret. Key incidents are deleted. The point of critical character building sequences and the emotions gone through by the characters is lost. With the sharp edges of the story and characters shaved off, this might as well been a Disney movie if it had some jokes put in. They dint forget to make genuine characters clich├ęs!

They got two good actors, who were tied down by a lame script and requested to just look good and act troubled and pained throughout. That should be enough the crew must have thought. Why spend unnecessary energy on making something more personal and emotional? They must have have thought, ‘as long as we are pulling the audience’s heart strings portraying pain and suffering it doesn’t matter if there is logic and a sequence to it.  Put in a nice colour tone, neat settings and stereotypical soundtrack and we are done! No need to explain why suddenly the characters are brooding over something.’

Well if you didn’t read the book, you might have just yawned and said ok and walked away. But I did. What I found was a super crap adaptation of a mediocre book. Stepping out from the betrayed skin of the one who read it, I see the technical aspects of it were all on par and try to imagine how it can be any worse than Its Complicated. It isn’t. But how can anyone forgive a movie this bad which had decent source material to begin with.

May be decent is decent enough? I don’t know. I have seen great movies emerge out of mediocre books. They just dint try hard enough I guess. Once the book sunk into Hollywood pool it couldn’t be saved and had to go through all the punishment.


p.s: The only good thing about this movie is the poster! It is mesmerizing.

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Ebert is a four letter word !

This post is in response to Roger Ebert's piece on movie critics and movie criticism. The article can be read here.

Roger Ebert is considered one of the most prolific movie critics of all time and in my opinion, that statement stands as the biggest oxymoron I have come across in my life. I occasionally read his reviews, especially to get his opinion on certain movies that I found delightful, and have found myself at times sharing the same opinion and sometimes contradicting his view completely. With this premise I venture into response to Ebert's piece on movie criticism and the clear undertones of high-handedness in his writing, a quintessential quality of a critic that conditions him/her to behave the way they do. 

Ebert cleverly chooses to play the devils advocate of his profession and starts off by stating all the typical invective thrown at critics and their job. He even makes a gracious mention of a quote that I have come to appreciate from the movie Ratatouille. It goes : "In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends... Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."

Without divulging or digressing into the situations that preceded this quote in the movie, I wish to have the readers attention on the importance of the quote! "in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." While Ebert nonchalantly rubbishes this by claiming that junk movies are only successful in conditioning the audience's mind to watch more junk movies, he conveniently fails to focus on the grand scheme of things. Movie criticism is a high paying job for Mr Ebert and he makes his living from a cinema hall. The grand scheme of things could well mean defending his reviews and criticism but to many others, it values differently.

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Oscar Invisibles

Staying with the Oscar fever this week, we have a simple quiz for our readers. The quiz images are courtesy filmwise.

The images have the characters turned invisible and you have the simple task of identifying the movie the following images are from. In tune with the theme, all the movies are either Oscar winners or Oscar nominated flicks.

It's a sitter fellas!

All things sweet
All is not well in this land?

Greatest movie intro?

Comment with your answers and if you thought this was a sitter quiz, click agree at the bottom of this article. :P


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Could you double-check the envelope please?

The 82nd Annual Academy awards are around the corner and we will witness yet another page in cinema history take a glamorous turn. Take the best of world cinema over the year gone by, have a gallery of movie veterans judge them and give the world something to cherish for another year. This is the Oscars story that has lived on for decades and has stood as the single most awaited awards ceremony in the calendar. The desire to claim the golden statuette drives a lot of artists in the film fraternity and while some are blessed with it after one tremendous performance, many have come a long way to win the coveted prize and the name that first comes to mind when one thinks of the latter is the director Martin Scorsese.

"Could you double-check the envelope please?", this was the rhetoric that Scorsese gave the world as he picked his first Oscar for The Departed in 2006. Having been nominated 5 times before, the 67 year old director from NYC is a classic example of making cinema for cinema's sake and nothing more. One look at the director's record of movies and its global reception and we are swiftly reminded of audiences and critics who have showered more praise and honor on him than the belated Oscar. So I guess the question I am asking myself is, if I look back at Scorsese's career and his cinematic achievements, should Oscar glory really mean much to him or any other artist of the film fraternity?

Now a 23 year old, my fascination with Marty's movies began with his 1976 classic Taxi Driver. Straight after the success of Mean streets, Taxi Driver established Scorsese as a prolific film maker who brought European influences to Hollywood and renewed the film noir. Contemporary cinema during the 70's saw the likes of Brian De Palma, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese who enjoyed a sense of freedom in film making. That freedom was translated into great story telling for Scorsese. Teaming up with Paul Schrader as the movie's writer and Robert De Niro (who would become Scorsese's life long friend and screen muse), Taxi Driver was beaten at the Oscars in that year by the insufferable underdog classic Rocky. An interesting observation that was made on the difference in film making of the then directors from the West coast like Spielberg and Lucas and in Scorsese's East coast movies was the assertiveness and confidence that Scorsese possessed in giving his audiences what he felt like giving while Lucas and Spielberg were more careful yet experimental in trying to understand what the audience wanted and then giving it to them. This difference sometimes stands out for me as to why the Oscars ignored his earlier classics.

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