Senna, The Movie.

20110820-102812

I never knew Senna except for the fact that Michael Schumacher kept getting compared to him a lot. Bogus. There is no comparison.

During my early introduction to Formula 1, I kept hearing about this legend who was a wizard on wet tracks and a genuinely good guy who jumped off his car mid-way during a race and helped a fellow injured driver.  Problem with Star Sports in the late 90’s was Formula 1 was mostly live and hardly had any footage of era’s gone by. And with Ferrari winning and all (including my bias), whenever I would hear of Senna being the greatest, I always thought it was these McLaren-ites mouthing-off as most of them could not have seen anything more than a montage here and there.

The movie I thought did a good job to refrain from attaching too many adjectives to Senna like the best, the greatest, the fastest which was refreshing, a change from many of the tribute films that are out there. The limited presentation of his life in and outside the sport can only be attributed to the fact that there was a lack of material as the whole fim is either from home videos or tv footage. For that kind of editing and writing, Asif Kapadia & Manish Pandey – hat’s off. I can only imagine how many months these guys must have sat before hours and hours of raw footage!

I left the film feeling bad that I did not get a chance to see this guy live in action. Probably those were really amazing days when there was much less perfection and cars did blow up all the time and there was a chance for other teams/drivers to catch up. Or I could be wrong and this era maybe really one of the best. Look at 2010. 5 Wins for Alonso and Vettel and 4 points is all that separates the two.

That Senna was loved and a genuinely good guy is beyond question. That he helped a lot of poor, needy people in his home country is without question. But isn’t that a matter of chance/fate? Is MS less deserving just because he cannot help a lot of poor people in Germany? Is it for Alonso in spain?

Nevertheless, decent watch. More racing action would have been good. Awesome to see Ron Dennis and Frank Williams speaking so highly of Senna.

2010 Fav Movies

Finally done with the quota of December films so here it goes – my favorite films of 2010:

  1. Winter’s Bone
  2. Exit through a gift shop
  3. Soul Kitchen
  4. Kings Speech
  5. 127 hrs

Still have to watch biutiful which I am told is Javier Bardem’s best performance to date. Am sure I missed a few foreign language films but to get my hands on those DVD’s will take a while.

There will be very few hardcore fans of Aaron Sorkin than me but I still contend that he missed the point on Social Network. It just does not match up either as a movie or as a story about facebook. Is it the case of these old journos/jurists riding the hype to get these awards to appeal to the younger generation?

And honestly except for a couple of scenes with Justin Timberlake, the screenplay was dull!

Dev.D – The Invisible Trip

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

devd

Chanda: It’s good to talk when in Pain.

Dev: What do you know about pain?

The arrogance that is inclusive in all souls battered because of boredom and heightened state of desires manifests in this one form  – PAIN. And the idea that pain is only caused to a chosen few and that the person who understands other’s pain is but a jerk. And what  a jerk Dev is,,, throwing all that is dear to him, all that has loved him, possessed him, butchering all souls who cared to wiff at his pathetic existence to see the kid that wants to candy and is ready to move the mountains for it.

Dev’s story is what I took away from this film, yeah yeah the women, yeah their desires and their prerogatives but cliché’s be dammed, here is the story of the guy that resides in all, just that we all hide it under layers of cushy materialistic baubles that are made objective by societal morals! I love Dev, his existence, his way to sustenance, his eternal lust for love but not knowing what to do with it, his caricature reduced to pity in the eyes of the few that standby and take solace that they are not him and his failure to see till the very end that life has a twisted way to give you everything to just take it away and that’s when it dawns – yeah you don’t need all that.

It pours when it thunders and rains and emotions pour down in the film shrouded less in heady monologues than in soulful background ballads that shout out the emoticons in pentameters… ohh what a soul shouting “Dammed happiness” – but ye olde fool – you have no fucking clue what to do with happiness cos you are not wired for such feelings… all you know is to consume and get consumed,,, to lit the pyre and then jump in, to bend the stick and then collide with it. Why the thrice you ask, cos when you are hit thrice, the numbness just befriends you and that ends all the suffering and sweet pain becomes the elixir. Crap? Yeah… then go tripping!

I loved the film, the 2nd half especially… with no jokes, no intrepid references, no raunchy women… just rowdy existence waiting to self destruct. Dev has the ballz to do it, we don’t – atleast I didn’t. What you are is not when what you become or shine in the world… what you are is what you think and do in times of absolute charring of heart and mind… Dev was charred… once, by a help – by a worthless 2 piece penny that dreamt to snide the queen – he let go of his world then and it took him a long time to become sane again but how the trip is, how the life becomes when you kick away the love is painted in layers. And no one has done it so well in ages like Anurag did. Yes my friend, your genius has come to the forefront… savor it like no other day cos peace is within reach.

Anurag – all the times I heard you regale tales of fiction and passion alike, I stood calm and quiet to make sense. Your pain and angst that we thought we shared through this platform is but a tip of shadow to what I see through Dev and his destruction. Yes you are artist and your art of con is what it is all about (the films I mean) but this time I am drunk in your mastery of art and form that has paraded before my eyes in a giant wave that I never connected to with the voice and words. I am distraught at how easily you did this work in 7hrs (per vasan) and struggle that I will to comprehend the talent that it takes but for now, peace out dear friend. I think you have made the mark with this one and it will be alright from now. The haze will clear and you have’d overcome – drink it up one last time as like Dev did – “Bach gaye yeah zindagi mein ab”!

Aronofsky’s The Wrestler – Review

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

wrestler1_400

Passion, Pain and Loneliness – that’s the order that a man is driven when dedicating a life to an Endeavour. A passion grips you when you are young, when you are able and when you can conquer the world. Pain hits you when you realize it’s all but a gift that is cruelly snatched away from you time and again when the body & mind start slipping. And loneliness hits you when you are left with bitterness about your life’s work… when the best that you have done is all but a piece of paper or a sporadic haze of recognition on someone’s face. It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

The Wrestler is a movie, true to its hype, comes along once in a while. It’s a movie that has a heart and a soul that shadows a pro-chap wrestler who is trying to regain his life by getting into the ring to do what he is born for – wrestle. Hell-O-Yeah, the body slams and the make believe top rope jumps, they are all there. What is also there in the film is what it takes to do those stunts. What is there is what really happens in the back-room of wrestling arenas. What is there is the pain, the agony that takes to perform what is commonly dismissed as a manufactured sport. What you see in the movie are the humans behind the devils in the spotlight.

Almost 3 yrs since The Fountain which for some was a let down, Darren comes back strong with this one. Some will walk out of this film touched by Mickey Rouke’s performance and for those who know him; you will be TOUCHED by the way he probably portrayed his own self on the screen. Randy “The RAM” Robinson was once a great wrestler, heck, he still is. Only difference is there is a life that he leads too and that ain’t all the velvety.

wrestler3_400235

Mickey Rourke’s acting is the one thing that for once surpasses even Aronofsky’s’ vision. It’s his film, it’s his body, and it’s his pain that carries the film to connecting with viewers at a very personal level. What Mickey has done to himself all through the film is nothing short of absolute brutality and submission to the character of a wrestler and for that, he is my choice for this years top honors. True, it may not be his true acting poweress that carries the film, but what he has achieved by putting the character first is nothing short of brilliant.

If the movie’s half job was achieved by Mickey, the other half was done by Darren’s amazing sense of locations and setting. It’s New Jersey, the hard New Jersey. Run down towns, cheap strip bars, low-level wrestling pits, community deli’s. A setting that fits the kind of profession that is chose by men living in such hard-places. I lived in a town like that once – gangs, discount stores and gambling dens – retrospectively, I began to think how I survived then. It’s tough in those places and movies in such setting’s really hit you – hit you hard.

Technically speaking, the film hides the effort in that department very effectively. I think I did not see even one stead shot and most of the fights had close-up’s that are technically so difficult to shoot. Clint Mansell does not disappoint especially during the Mickey’s constant battle to cheer himself up during tough times. There is this one scene where Mickey and Marisa Tomasi (Mickey’s stripper confidante) talk about golden 80’s and yucky 90’s. The close-up’s make all the difference.

All in all, The Wrestler is a movie that will over time attain the cult status like most fighter movies. But it’s a relief to see Aronofsky coming out of his comfort zone and making the most brutally honest film of the year; a year that had an overdose of extremely hyper-imaginative films. This will be loved over time till it attains its well deserved cult status. Hopefully it will be sooner. But a watch if you want to see the real and the fake side of rings in which battles however fake, still break the minds and the bodies of those who choose to duel and test their boundaries of their Passion, Pain and Loneliness.  

Trailer Link

Sasirekha Parinayam – Krishnavamsi is BACKK!

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

Ok, I am a hard-core fan of Krishnavamsi. Ever since the day he made Ninne Pelladutha in ‘96 (That’s the time when I turned 12 & started understanding films and another of the first amazing film’s I remember released – Prema Desam) I have remained an ardent fan. I started taking a fancy ever since he made this movie about Seenu and Mahalakshmi. Ever since he decided to cast Tabu in saris and make her shout in her coarse voice – SEEENUUU… Dyamm, pure pure bliss. Even today his movies transport me to a dreamland and makes me remember all those times when I dreamt of walking on the streets of villages in Andhra and hoping to see beautiful girl in half sari calling out my name… burp, ok my real name is just not romantic, its will be like Brooke calling Ridge but … KV (alrite, not as great as K.Vishwath) is one director is I can go watch without absolutely caring who the actors or what the story is.

See, Krishnavamsi makes movies for people like me. He makes telugu films which are well, for telugu middle class every day audience. His music and treatment is very down to earth and ordinary which makes it a joy to sit and watch his story telling time after time. His movies have a magic to them. Think Murrari – Hum Aapke Hain Kuon of Telugu but so so different. So real, so absolutely dreamy. The guy speaks like some of his characters. He names them so matter of factly, no brainstorming needed, no angles… just, Radha Krishna, Sai… so easy.

sasirekha

So I saw this banner today of his latest in a desi restaurant and digging a little more on it made me sit up and actually decide to wait for the release and watch the film on the d-day. I just got sold with the name. Sasirekha – another classical name! The title comes from the theme of the eternal great Telugu film – Maya Bazar which deals with the very theme of the title – the marriage of Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu (ANR) to Sasirekha(Savitri – aaah!). Who can forget ANR rowing those paddles to that great Laahiri Laahiri laahiri Lo! So Tarun (hero of the new film) is no ANR and Genelia is no Savitri and this film is no Maya Bazar but somewhere in the posters and the promos and the stills, somewhere there is a hope that maybe, maybe after long long time, here could be a film that will reignite the magic of old days, of days when telugu movies used to be about illogical parallel comedy tracks and innocent love. Before factions and cellphones overtook simple brazen love stories where boy would invade girl’s exclusive celebrations (think Na Mogudu Rampyaare) and when running in paddy fields along coconut trees used to be so real cute (think Seetharamayya gari manavaralu!!!)

The rumors about the movie is that it a remake of Jab We Met and instead of saying there you go… I am, WAY TO GO! I was puzzled watching Jab We Met. Wrong casting, Illogical ending, bad bad actress! But see, the casting here makes total sense. Tarun has only one expression, of a drunk serious dude. Genelia has a natural flair to be a tomboy. The story is how a successful actress tries to find the balance in her life. And you have a film shot in Andhra and you have Krishna Vamsi peppering it with regular fare of dishum dishums and atta pinni jokes. What else do you need to spend 10 bucks and 3hrs?

On a serious note, Krishna Vamsi is one of the few telugu directors apart from Ramu and Trivikram Srinivas who have(had – you idiot ramu) the flair to capture the mood of the target audience when its needed. Going back to Ninne Pelladutha, 12yrs later, the movie is still a benchmark for quality family fare. Modern, hell Mazda Miata’s pop-up lights never looked so good again on the screen, sauve – Tabu in her classical shyness, and delicate – “kannuloni Roopameeee”, K.Vamsi has a knack of telling a story while leaving a feeling of having the audience want to dream about their fantasy’s, not not just for the front bencher’s. Ramu on the other had the craft and technique – Action Shoes and Purani Haveli roads and boom – the chase is on. Trivikram is younger and he has a tact to combine story telling with swift cuts of dexterity. All in all these guys made my world of watching Telugu films in the last 10yrs.

So the songs of Sasirekha Parinayam are out and on the ride to work today, a particular song “Bejawada” caught my fancy. Slick guitar strings with modern/classical tones mixed, the songs going places. The soundtrack is decent but I will leave it to Tushar, our PFC resident music critic to judge the virtues but all in all a great package.

Yes, I am selling it for Krishnavamsi but I will never forget his method of handling the concept of GOD appearing before a devote in Sri Anjeneyam. For a writer, its extremely tough to dissect that thinking onto a screen and Vamsi was just a genius for those few shots. So you never know, maybe he found some talent in Tarun. Maybe he finally channeled Genelia’s exuberance into a powerful performance. But this one for sure raises my hope for a fun watch!

Synecdoche, New York – Review

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AND PUBLISHED AT PASSIONFORCINEMA.COM

People are boring. 

You, are boring. You get up with a foul smell in your mouth. You do stuff when people are not watching. You are confused in public and act macho in private. You are always thinking how it would be to be the guy with the girl. You sing the opera in the confines of your car. You steal glances at the price-tags and buy the unnecessary out-of-budget excess because you want to impress someone pretty who you in all mathematical probability will never ever see again.  That you escape from the ‘now’ and the ‘then’ conveniently to sing the chorus and and never the song is anything but the ultimate victory of banal surrealism that is as chronic as the ability of a man to “think” itself. Yet, inspite of all this knowing, the one constant feeling that a man cannot rid himself off , inspite of thinking this a hunderd or more times in a life time – why do I see what I see as me. Why is the “me” seeing this and not the ‘he/she’ beside me. How would it feel to see the world from his/her eyes? 

The daily clichés, the very food for everyday existence, are tailor made in this film to play out what it means to watch yourself being played by charecters who over a period of time become – well, you! The film is one huge drama, one huge set that Caden, played to expected perfection by Philip Seymour Hoffman, dreamt, designed and put life into where for years on end, the quest to perfect charecters takes place. There are roles assigned to each person who follow their “real” charecters and the director expects these charecters, over a period of time, behave the way their real conterparts behave so much so that after a while, the “charecters” do the thinking for the real people. Confusing? Aah well, you have to watch it to see what I mean. And un-surprisingly, there are very few reviews of this film for that very reason.

As expected from any Charlie Kauffman film, the movie has tons of layers, tons of subtle reflections on the parody of life. Whether you choose to see it or ignore it is totally upto you and very conveniently, it does not impact your take away from the film. In my book that is very compelling screen-writing and when it’s Kauffman, so you can’t expect anything less. But to be fair to the average viewer, the film is tad too long and very very boring in most parts. For an avid writer or a serious movie enthusist who wants to explore every frame, there is probebly more meat than the whole of the star-wars episodes but for most, one sitting is way too taxing.

Some of the most brilliant episodes in the film happen very early when the roles of Caden and his family are defined. The mediocre lives they lead is sketched in a way that is least pretentious as most movies about average families do. The bottomline when watching this is – the movie is Charlie’s most laborious work. It’s his offering to the art that he is born for. A screen-writing that comes along once in a while! It’s his temple to films like Roark’s for Human Spirit. It’s his ultimate creation of a soul to take form on a film screen. It’s his attempt to make bare the self of a human in the ways that can be put in terms of words and images. They say writers are some of the most complicated people in the world. They are because they have all these thoughts that go cross out each other all the time and to define all this in the form of a film take a lot of effort. This film is made from a litmus test of conflicting thoughts and the effort shows and speaks for itself.

Charlie Kauffman, all through the 130 mins, makes his charecters dance to what tunes play in his mind. The tornado of thoughts spiral out on to the huge set in front of him and permeates into Caden and into Hazel and into Sammy and into the guy who practices how to walk natuarally. The set-men do what they should, the light comes from where it should because inside Charlie’s mind, like my mind, like your mind my dear reader, the reality of things that we so comfortably choose to dismiss – exists, shrouded with peels of imaginative bliss that over time becomes the external us in the company of an audience that is inturn full of the same synthetic exterior that it becomes part of your, mine & charlie’s huge set – a play of constant moments of loudness that the rest of the silent actors take notice and then forget. Such is the vanity of the fame, fortune and social brightness – it all is but a moment of anticipated glory bred by years and years of longing.

Synecdoche, New York. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Watever! That’s my way for accounting for the title.

Note: The review was written in bits and drabs as the film is not easily digestable. So the commentry is random and incongruent mirroring the film.

Cutting Chai – A Friend’s Debut Film!

A dear friends debut film. He wrote and directed this. 15 days of sweat and blood for 3mins.

In his words – “Its my first effort and there are loads of mistakes and improvements to be done.
There are parts which are real tacky in between. But the entire point was to get to know the difficulties here. Well atleast i can now confidently say that i am more aware of them.
donot ask abt the plot and meaning the mov is supposed to convey, coz there is none.”