Billa-Ranga the movie, Coffee vs. Limca(?), and Possibly why Naseeruddin Shah loves Dara Singh movies
During a humid winter in the mid 1980s, in a small town in the remote Indian North-East, many people waited for a movie named Billa-Ranga to arrive. The memory of the rape-murder of Geeta and Sanjay Chopra was still relatively fresh, and Billa-Ranga were the epitome of evil for most people. Finally, the movie arrived, and lots of people, including many senior citizens covered in shawls or blankets, flocked to the cinema hall, which were screening it only for the night show.
Interestingly, though, this was a South Indian movie dubbed into Hindi, where Ranga And Billa sang and danced, wooed women, turned out to be undercover cops and ended up getting special Police medal for bravery and achievements.
While watching Aarakshan, I had deja vu; it was as if I was re-watching Billa-Ranga (which, to me, has been a cruel joke played on us poor fellows!).
This movie could as well have been named "Infrastructure Problem in the Chambal Region" or "General Theory of Relativity" or "Autobiography of Idi Amin" or the "Health Benefits of Yoga" or anything one may think of the top of one's head. This is because Aarakshan has as much to do with the issue of reservation in India, as with any of the titles that I have at random mentioned.
Probably Jha was aware of what was going on, and that is why the waiter brings two glasses of Limca (or some such whitish thing) when our hero clearly orders two cups of coffee.
You do not get what you expect to be delivered!
This also reminds me of a couple of interviews of Naseeruddin Shah, where he steadfastly proclaimed his love for movies of Dara Singh; after watching Aarakshan, I have a gut feeling that I understand why!
Good movie with lots of logical incoherence and too many coincidences
I vote 9 out of 10, because for a Hindi movie, this is really very good.
***Now spoilers begin***
1. Megha's family lives in Delhi, Afia is looking for a sperm donor in Calcutta and Abhimanyu works in Bangalore. Yet the latter two meet for coffee with Afia. How? Where do they meet? In Calcutta (Afia speaks in Bangla to the taxi driver)? Why would a Bangalore based filmmaker run to Calcutta to get his web designed?
2. When Abhimanyu meets Afia, one sees a photo of the first page on her laptop. He has not yet gone to Kashmir, as Megha talked about going to Kashmir to sell her house later.
(You may say that the scenes are non-linear. But that is not the case. Afia talks to both of them about sperm donation, meaning Afia meets both of them at the same/similar time).
Now, only later you see the picture/ frame through the lens when Megha in in Kashmir, and Abhi has gone there to make his documentary. If that is the case, how came the photo appear before that time?
3. Both Abhi and Mega are close friends of Afia, and yet, they have not met each other. Mind you, those two are non Bengali in Calcutta (since Afia is looking for sperm donor in Calcutta, it should be Calcutta, I would presume), both are Afia's friend, and yet do not meet each other.
4. It could be that they all work in Bangalore, and so they met in Bangalore. If so:
5. (If Afia works in Bangalore) Why would she go to Calcutta to find a sperm donor? Is it to make su re that the kid will be Bengali (just like people who oppose gay union, claim that kids growing up in a gay household will turn out to be gay)?
6. Juhi Chawla's facial expression is wooden at all time, Rahul Bose seems uncomfortable playing a gay guy, and Anurag Basu, (in my opinion) with the physique and the facial expressions of a professional executioner, was totally misfit in his role of a doctor.
As a heterosexual male who a) supports gay rights, b) personally knows people who were sexually abused as kids, c) having a woman friend whose life-story is very similar to Afia's, as far as committed relationship and the decision to have a child goes, I think this is an important movie.
Realistic Cinema At Its Best: Cinematic Achievement of the Highest Order
When the name of the "Honorable Thalaivar", Superstar Dr. Rajnikanth is associated with a film, realism and logical coherence become the cornerstones of the film. Sivaji is just another example of that.
For example, a formula film would have got overzealous and the hero would have gone after corrupt people of the foreign countries, once he cleans up India, but Not the Honorable Thalaivar! He knows that, in spite of his character possessing a US Green Card, he would have to get visa of various countries to go there; surely a man of his workload can not afford to do that, as this would be a total waste of time. Instead the Honorable Thalaivar spends the time founding colleges and medical institutions in various parts of Tamilnadu. This is real cinema at best! Similarly, when a kid gets electric shock, the Superstar scolds his parents, but only after the kid is cured by the Doctor; a non-realistic cinema would have shown the hero saving the kid himself, but not Rajnikanth. This is what realistic cinema is all about! Shivaji is the story of a noble human being, someone who worked in the US for many years, made billions of rupees (yes, billions with a B), and then has returned to his motherland Tamilnadu to do good for the people, to establish college and medical colleges/hospitals for free service to the poor people. However, he has not neglected his poor parents, he has not remembered his past, when he spent days without food and roamed without shoes. To compensate for that, he bought a huge mansion for his parents, bought them expensive car and every luxury that money can buy.
Similarly, when he is sent the video of the villain conspiring with the police, he does what is best for him and the people around him. Instead of sending the video to the court, thus dragging the judiciary into lengthy legal proceedings, and wasting a lot of tax money and time of the judiciary, he conceives of an ingenious plan to escape and expose the culprits. The director shows how a person tied and locked inside a room can still use the power of electricity to rescue himself. This is the pinnacle of realistic cinema. This movie is a great achievement for Tamil cinema and the Honorable Thalaivar; with this movie both of these surpass all their previous achievements and milestones!
Not only that, but the hero has not lost his heart either, in spite of all his busy schedule and troubles; he has filled his cupboards with the most expensive of jewelry for his beloved and arranged for a house full of luxuries that his future wife may need. This is the story of a man who has not lost his innocence. The way he charms his heroine, is pure brilliance and romantic cinema at its best.
Great movie, great dance numbers, great love/romance sequence, great action. Everyone must see this movie many times.
Highly recommended. Not to be missed at any cost!
Your comments may reach me at pinchashodi and the domain is yahoo.
The Greatest Movie of all time (at least 25 Stars out of 10)
Note: If you read my review, please vote so that I know if you found my review helpful (or not, for that matter). Thanks.
This movie has Rajnikanth - this statement alone should suffice, but for the sake of humanity, I will try to elaborate.
Many years from now, if the World is destroyed by Nucular Holocaust, Global Warning or some such calamity, and then an Alien ship lands on Earth, and them Aliens get to watch Endhiran (most probably on Blu-Ray with surround sound), they will regret not reaching the Earth earlier. They will also have to accept the fact that they could never reach the level of mankind. After watching this movie, they would laugh if someone told them that Marlon Brando and Lawrence Olivier were probably some of the best actors.
This movie proves that Tamil movie industry is million miles -- no light years -- ahead of Hollywood movie industry. If you just read the end credits, you will know that my statement is true. Never has Hollywood been able to have so many Indian names in their credits, whereas this movie alone has screens full of Hollywood CGI guys. If this trend is continued, after sometime Hollywood will have no technicians to work with, and have to give up movie-making altogether.
Some jealous people have mentioned that this movie is a copy of Bicentennial Man, which is an outright lie. Endhiran is absolutely, fundamentally different from Bicentennial Man: For example, the scientist in Bicentennial Man does not wear glasses; also the robot there is not called Chitti Babu!
For those others, who say that Endhiran has borrowed from I, Robot and Transformers etc., I say only two words: CIA Conspiracy (Oops, I so sound like Kevin Trudeau!). I strongly believe that CIA used some covert technique, such as staring at goats, to extract the thought-waves of Shankar (as he claimed, he has been planning for this movie for the past 10 years) and then has given those ideas to Hollywood movie makers to diminish Indian (read Tamil) achievement.
One of the greatest scenes in this movie involves the Robot and a bunch of mosquitoes. Even when Hollywood makes a movie entitled "Dances with Wolves" there is no Wolves dancing in the movie, and that alone shows, how far ahead the Tamil film industry in comparison to Hollywood is!
Some reviewers have stated that this movie would win all the Oscar awards; one has also mentioned Cannes. Since movies such as, Terminator, Godzilla, I, Robot, Transformers and others -- all of which are made based on concepts stolen from parts of Endhiran, by a method I mentioned earlier (hint: CIA was involved) -- have won so many Oscar and Cannes awards, Endhiran is bound to surpass them all by winning in all categories at the Oscars and Cannes.
Negative points: The only negative point of this movie is its short length. This movie should have been at least 6 hours long for detailed character development and other aspects. If simple movies such as Once Upon a Time in America, which neither had songs nor CGI, could be 4 hours long, Endhiran, the greatest movie ever made, surely should have been at least 6 hours long!
On second thought, I also think that the number of songs is too less for such an epic movie with the "Honorable Thalaivar" (sorry if the spellings are wrong; I learned this phrase here at IMDb only today) Superstar, Dr. Rajnikanth.
Note: If any of you would like to say something personally to me, you may please write to pinchashodi at yahoo com. Thanks.
I watched this movie on a Saturday night on a TV channel, which claims that the movies they show on Saturday night are so Bad that they are Good. I like to watch garbage movies and so I sat down for this.
However, contrary to my expectation, this movie turned out to be not one with lots of unintended humor, but rather a funny one with intentional humor. I'm a man in my 30's and yet I must say that what captivated me most were the dinosaurs. They are made of plastic or something, and yet they are not just a piece of plastic but rather characters. One especially appears to be pretty amused and enjoying itself, with eyes rolling. (I know, it sounds weird for an adult to find a plastic dinosaur enjoying itself, but I am ready to say it under oath that I am not under the influence of any controlled substance, suffering from sleep deprivation or being held at gunpoint by the makers of this film). This dinosaur even joins in a war between two groups of cavemen. Most of the dinosaurs seem to be chasing the humans for fun rather than with any serious intention of harming them.
This movie has something for everyone: "Bikini"-clad beauties for us male population, cute dinosaurs for kids, even a demonstration of simple harmonic motion (or the conservation of linear momentum) for students of physics in a scene that involves a big egg and a group of cavemen, as well as some romantic elements for the romance-minded and a war for the action movie fans.
I must say once again that I will not forget the amused look on the face of the dinosaurs for quite sometime now. If you want to know how men knew, before they domesticated rooster, when the night was going to be over, you must see this movie.
This is another excellent piece of work by Anurag Basu, who is following the footsteps of Vidu Vinod Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Mahesh Bhatt of post-Saransh era. I guess, you know what I am saying!
I wanted to give this movie a score of 7/10, as it disappointed me a bit initially, in that acting here is better than that in Hawas. However, as long as, everyone -- from the police inspector to the dentist's assistant in a foreign country -- is somehow Indian and speaks Hindi, I cannot rate it a mere 7/10. Add to that the wooden and constipated look of the Hashmi fella, and there is no way one can rate it anything less that 10/10.
Great movie. Highly recommended (though in my book, Hawas is the better of these two, as Hawas is more entertaining, with absolute lack of acting capabilities or diction).
I've watched only the first 25 minutes of this movie until this moment, and it has already seem to be a strong contender for one of my all-time favorites. There is a possibility that this would even replace my all-time top favorite, Loha.
I came to watch this movie after another of Karan Razdan's masterpieces, Ei8ht: Shani (Surrender to the power of Shani). That is also a great movie, but this is way better. Extremely bad (over)acting, ridiculously idiotic dialog delivery, poor script!! Wow! So bad that it is good. No, it is great.
PS. OK, I am done watching it. I loved the acting part the most. Meghna Naidu's acting is excellent; one loves the stop-animated way in which her emotion changes: She talks, waits for a few seconds and then suddenly outbursts if she needs to change into another mood, be it happiness, sadness, coyness, excitement or whatever. She has only two facial expressions: one is smiling, and the second is squeezing her face. Needless to say, it is a fact that Karan Razdan did not make her a heroine for her acting capabilities, but rather for her bodily assets, which he then somehow does not fully utilize. The other two central characters also have only one expression each: the husband has the expression of a robotic assassin sent from the future, and the lover is perpetually euphoric and carefree, probably a result of excessive and habitual intake of fine grade cocaine.
One good story (that was not developed properly), one bad story and one no story
The Akshaye Khanna/Dimple Kapadia story was fresh, as far as I can see. I do not remember a hero falling in love with an older woman in Bollywood. (The Assamese movie, Brishti, handled this issue way back in 1974; but that was an 'Art' movie.) If properly developed, it could have been a nice 90 minute movie, based on this segment alone.
However, it was ruined by the million-times recycled Amir Khan story, not to mention the non-story of Saif Ali Khan. There is absolutely nothing new about the Amir Khan segment; no, actually the Opera was new! That segment is absurd; in real life that does not happen. And if it does, it is as rare as the life-style led by our heroes, at least in real life of real people in real India.
Statutory Warning: Watching this may cause nausea, suffocation, self-loathing, regret, worthlessness, self-hatred, and other such symptoms.
I watched many Mad TV skits making fun of stereotypical movies and TV shows, as well as many Hustler XXX video parodies of TV series. This excuse of a movie ()or TV series or whatever could have possibly been watchable as either of those, but as a full-length feature, this is absolutely horrible stuff!
Horribly bad acting, never-ending story, pathetic dialogs, an exercise in triviality. Even before the trip begins, I could predict who all people will die, and who would possibly survive. My prediction was wrong only in the case of the heir; all others that I predicted would die, did die. My guess regarding the survivors also was correct.
Does that mean that I'm a genius? Hell, no. I am just a lonely loser, who watched huge number of such trash, and so there is nothing even remotely new or unique about such work.
This was torture porn for me. I mean, I was invited for a dinner at a colleague's place, and since I ran out on excuses (I had declined 2-3 earlier such invitations), I had to go. Her and mine tastes in films are mutually exclusive, and so when I arrived there and this movie was playing, I was rather sure that I was there for 90 minutes of pain and agony.
I was wrong! I was to be tortured for 4 hours or so by a meaningless, painfully bad excuse of a movie. This movie is so bad that it does not even qualify for "so bad that it is good" category. It's like how Tyler Perry would make Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I mean, why else would Nancy Travis be trying so hard to look and act serious in her role, while she possibly knew that she was the absolute wrong choice for it? Imagine, for example, Marlon Wayans, trying to act a Marlon Brando. That is what I am talking about.
To make matters worse, I was surrounded by 3 enthusiastic people determined to watch it till the finis (even when I reminded that it would drag until 1-30 AM), and my colleague, the host, kept on mentioning how this was originally made as a TV documentary. Yes, she used the word "documentary", really. If this is documentary, then I am Rockefeller.
I've nothing good to say about this movie or whatever, except for the fact that the food was good; she really cooked well. I lost 4 hours of my lie, and a Saturday evening watching this. I could have much more enjoyed sitting in my apartment all alone drinking cheap wine and watching COPS and Cheaters and all that trash!
This is the best movie so far that I have seen, or hope to see in my lifetime.
This movie reflects truth as it is. For example, it portrays how in a city, as populous as Bombay, the police goes relentlessly after one guy, who they suspect of cheating in a game show. This is very important, because usually one would expect Indian police to be corrupt and extract some money from the kid and not do anything more (Bollywood taught us that), but police going relentlessly after a "Slumdog" to investigate the possibility of corruption. Now that is what would one call a News!
This movie also portrays India as it is: Filthy, poor, hungry and violent. This is something that seems to be very popular theme among the (majority of) Westerners and it exactly fits into their mental picture of India. For example, Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy was quite popular (and highly regarded) in the West (at least, among the Intelligentsia), while his Charulata, where people wore clean shirt and discussed literature, is not very well known. This movie also touches upon another very important and popular issue of the present-day India, as seen by Western eyes: The indiscriminate and ruthless victimization of the Indian minorities (such as Muslims) in the hand of the majority Hindu (most of whom are fanatics anyway!). This movie also, for the sake of reality, adds a nefarious, vapid and insulting game show host to the plot (it feels good to see the big-mouthing Anil Kapoor, who said that "stars" like him could not just accept a supporting role in a Hollywood movie, even if offered, now acting in an insignificant role in a Western/American/"Hollywood" production. O, how the mighty have fallen!)
This movie could, however, have added a few improvements. For example, the game show could have been shown to be held in the West, and the kid being insulted for being non-white. (This would have sold the movie even better in India, going by the Big Boss/Shilpa Shetty affair.) Also, the title of the movie could have been "Jamal M. In Da House".
If you have not yet got what I am trying to say, this movie is for you. Go watch it today.
I just saw this movie a couple of hours ago at the USC, Los Angeles, and am now writing this review. I went to see this movie because the USC website promoted this movie as the first one of the first feature length movies to be shot entirely using Red One Camera.
Sure enough, Red is amazing! The picture quality is far beyond what one expects from HD. However, the movie would have been excellent even without the use of Red One.
I never heard of the actors in this movie, and I am not much exposed to Australian cinema either, except perhaps for The Castle and The Babe. But this movie was really a good experience (the wine & refreshment after the movie did not hurt either). This is a very nice movie with an explosive (yes, that is the word they used) ending. And they say, it cost them only $400,000 to make this movie (If I heard correctly what they told in the Q&A session).
I really enjoyed the story and the superb acting by the cast. In fact, the acting was often so good that it made me think at times that they were non-actors (sorry Martin Dingle-Wall, I did not mean to insult you, when I asked what your primary occupation was; it was an off-handed complement!). The cinematography was also excellent, though 80% of the movie happens under the claustrophobic atmosphere of the inside of a factory, whose glory days are a thing of the past. Perhaps I could connect more with the movie, because some of the evens depicted in the movie either happened to me or my neighbors.
I saw this movie more than 3 years ago at a free screening at the USC film school, and this was the first time I saw (or came across the name of) Bruno Ganz on screen. This was prior to his glory days as Hitler (in, The Underground). His acting fascinated me the way Toshiro Mifune did in Seven Samurai. Since then, I have seen a few other movies with Ganz in it, but this is the movie that I always associate with Ganz, in my mind.
Needless to say, this is a very good movie. The theme is probably not as original as some would claim (Lord of the Rings has a similar episode in it: Immortality vs. Love. Neither is the story of a fallen angel is something truly original; Leo Tolstoy had a short story, or a novella, about a fallen angle working with a cobbler in a remote, poor village), but the execution is superb and so is the restrained acting. This is a very humane movie, just like Steinbeck's books are!
Them Iranians never cease to amaze me, because my list of favorite Iranian movie-makers continue to grow. Every few months, I seem to come across the name of another Iranian, who makes excellent movies. Starting with Mohsen Makhmalbaf, my list grew through Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi, Zafar Panahi, Samira Makhmalbaf, Bahman Farmanara, Bahman Ghobadi (OK OK, I know, he is Iranian Kurd) and now Marjane Satrapi. Damn, I hate them! Interestingly, I did not even know that this movie existed until about 72 hours ago, when I was chatting with a friend over the net, and who told me that she was going to watch this movie that day, a DVD of which she got that very day. I have faith in her taste and so went to IMDb, and found the info, and then rushed to get a copy of it.
It was a very rewarding experience. I was really so fascinated that after a while, I stopped noticing that it was an animated movie. It tells the story of Fifty years of Solitude for Iran, through the eyes of a small girl, who is forced to disown her personal God and then is forced to leave her country, to live a life that somehow resembles her dreams. This movie, like all serious Iranian movies,is full of subtlety and witty, smart dialogs. In Iranian movies, they do not go with submachine guns to mow their oppressor, but expose the situation through subtle hints and calculated nonchalance.
I'm sure, Persepolis will not be so appealing to many people. My colleagues laughed when I told them about it today. But then, they have no clue about the Iranian political scenario of the 20th century, or most such other boring and useless stuff.
Needless to say that, I am a self-proclaimed and self-certified weirdo, and my love for subtitled movies grows by day. Over the years ,I have constantly shifted my loyalty from Hollywood to Western Europe to Eastern Europe to Iran/Cuba/Argentina etc., as far as movies are concerned, and I loved this movie too. I also strongly believe all my weird friends, who loves subtitled (and subtle) movies, and movies that make them think, would love this movie.
Bollywood Ne Jahnu Barua Ko Kyon Mara: Disappointment & Apology
When I say disappointment, I mean by Jahnu Barua's standard, and not by Bollywood 'standard', if there is any such thing as standard in Bollywood! Undoubtedly, by the yardsticks of Bollywood, Jahnua Barua's "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara" is a masterpiece, but....
...by Jahnu Barua's standard, this movie is sub par. Jahnu Barua had won awards in Fribourg, Locarno and other places for his movies, he had been one of the pioneers of serious cinema in Assam (after Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia,and also, to some extent, Padum Barua, Deuti Duwara and a handful of others) probably the best known Assamese name to the moviegoers outside Assam (after Bhupen Hazarika and maybe, just maybe, Begum Parbeen Sultana); he showed that someone like Indra Bania, otherwise known only as a comedic actor, could deliver serious performance, he has used the talents of Bishnu Kharghoria, the best Assamese actor of all time (in my subjective opinion), in all his movies, he used theater personalities such as Dulal Roy, and has made many Assamese persons think (and to appreciate serious movies).
Of course, the pitfall of making serious movies in a society plagued by cheap Bombay formula movies is that Jahnua Barua had real problems arranging even Rs. 15 Lakhs (that is, Rs. 1.5 Million, or equivalent of USD 35,000), the minimum amount he needed to make a movie in Assamese. I read this in an interview, where he said that, he would give up making movies in Assamese, as it was too much waste of his time and effort to keep struggling to arrange the money. I also read a letter to the editor by someone in Guwahati, who said that when he arrived to watch a Jahnu Barua movie, the manager of the cinema hall declined to run it, not because he was an idiot, but because even after 30 minutes of the scheduled time, there were only 2 (yes, two!) patrons at the box office!
And as a result, someone as dedicated as Jahnu Barua has to make a movie in Hindi in Bollywood style, where a retired college professor gets to live in a huge mansion (in Bombay, of all places!), and the movie has to end with an absurd courtroom drama!
I do not mean that this is a bad movie; this is not. This movie is yards above the usual Bollywood stuff, 99% of which is stolen from Hollywood (and now also European Cinema: a case in point being Bheja Fry). This movie contains the same sincerity of Barua, that made his movies in Assamese excellent. But this movie does not belong to Jahnu Barua; it was obviously handicapped by the terms of the producers, who made it have some of the tell-tale elements of Bollywood escapism.
So, in a nut-shell, between mutation of the Assamese brain and Bollywood, Jahnu Barua is the casualty.
My "sorry ass" comments (brought to you by Carl's Jr.)
Disclaimer: We do not guarantee that you would like our "sorry ass" comments, because my brain may or may not have all the electrolytes.
Having said that, I like satire and smart comedies. And this movie is a smart movie. The premise is not original ("The Marching Morons", the original story with very similar theme was written was back in the 1950s), but the execution is fresh and interesting. Also it sure takes a lot of guts to make a movie that most may fail to appreciate. Just the other day, I was explaining the movie to an intelligent colleague of mine, and his comments were, "So you had enough free time to sit through this movie, you mean?". Maybe I am just another moron, but that does not mean that this movie is moronic. It is a smart black comedy.
What is its basic premise? That, due to the selective nature of the smart people, after a while smart people will cease to exist, and the world will be filled with morons. Sounds outlandish? If you look at most families, the sibling with the best income and comforts of life has the least number of offspring, and the one who is the worst of the lot has the maximum. This is not a 100% rule, but it works pretty much that way, and it works across the continents.
What about the world being filled with morons? Actually, in my life, I already see it happening (and I'm sure, may of you do as well). Many people with high degree and successful career, never reads a book, have no clue about anything (except maybe about the evil trio of Paris-Lindsay-Britney, bought to you NOT by Carl's Jr. but by TMZ), do not give two hoots about what is going on in the world and are very happy with their life. And I see it constantly going in a downward spiral. I grew up in a poor country, and I can see that before the advent of TV (like some malignancy spreading to every sphere of our life), we used to read and learn things, but now all we know is what the TV shows us (things such as, brought to you by Carl's Jr.). and anyone hooked to TV has no "second opportunity on earth", because what TV generally projects is blatant consumerism and commercialization of anything and everything.
Interestingly, the central satirical theme of the movie is that, and that is why it appears so fresh to people like me, who are otherwise used to usual Hollywood (and others) crap. Where the movie fails is, in my opinion, in the last 20 minutes or so. This part is abrupt, and kind of not carefully scripted or executed.
If you like a smart movie, I think you will like this (and also probably Clerks II). II.
Nothing Unexpected (just like many other Iranian movies)
When I say "nothing unexpected", I say it in the sense that -- just like many other Iranian movies by the Masters of the trade such as Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Majid Majidi and others -- this movie too does not have big protests, shouting, shooting, killing, car chase, lots of emotionally charged dialogs, confrontation, climax.....nothing of that sort. To be honest, nothing unexpected, nothing out of turn ever seem to happen in many Iranian movies and also in this movie. Most of those movies are actually pretty mundane, bereft of extremes and simple....just like real life. And their strength is what Master Kiarostami has honesty pointed out: Minimalism.
I wonder if many people can make movies with a small budget and without any action, special effects and what have you and can still make a nice movie. Some obviously can, and Jafar Panahi is one of them.
Jafar Panahi is one of those master movie makers, who can make one think with his apparently simple and dull movies. I have been able to watch a handful of his movies (this being my 4th) and each time I pat myself for having watched another of his movies. Subtlety, the central ingredient of many Iranian movies, is also something you will find in abundance in this movies. Characters in these movies simply talk, and in their talk, very subtly the movie touches upon the most important issues of their society. If you are used to, and expect to, seeing someone to go with a machine gun and mow down all the oppressors, these movies won't hit the spot for you. But if you want to learn about the Iranian society and the problems (it's like what Master Kiarostami said, "Good cinema is what we can believe and bad cinema is what we can't believe") they have and how traditional orthodoxy clashes with modernity, probably you should watch the movie.
Forget the football (Soccer for the land, where they play football with hands!) part; this movie is not about football (per se). This movie is about many other things and important ones.
No, it does not deserve a 10 if you talk in absolute terms (probably not even an 8!), but it's a very light-hearted nice movie which makes its point in a non-over the top way. Of course, I did not pick this movie up to laugh, but rather because I saw the faces of Khaled and Cheb Mami on the cover of the DVD. Khaled is probably the most well-known Rai singer all over the world, ever since his 'Didi' became an international hit. For me, however, the most captivating Rai singer is Cheb Mami, the prince of Rai. I have been a big fan of his ever since I heard his "Desert Rose" with Sting, which was only reinforced since I heard him with Zucchero in "Cosi Celeste".
This movie is both humorous and satirical at the same time, and that is the most vital ingredient of the movie. It's more like a long-running sitcom with many episodes that rely heavily on, more than anything else, situational comedy. I do not mean anything negative by it though! Many of the episodes shown in the movie are stories one hears about any tough neighborhood in a major city, anywhere in the world. Khaled is definitely not an actor; he is stiff and he often smiles (or tries hard to suppress his smile) on camera, and Cheb Mami also looks visibly uneasy trying to act, but those are minor points.
I would have liked to see Sting as the Social Security Ispector and Zucchero as the band manager, but that is probably asking too much. So for the time being, I am satisfied with the movie.
I never heard of this movie or its director until I picked it up; but after watching it, I must say that I loved it. It has a simple story just like in real life, without big drama or confrontations and yet it works out. There is not much suspense involved either; actually, well into the beginning, one gets a hint of where exactly the movie is going.
Real life is - unlike the drama depicted in many movies - pretty mundane. It revolves around routine chores and monotony, and yet certain problems spring up at times that baffle us and leave us disturbed. The main theme of this movie is the search of a mother to locate the father of the child that her daughter gave birth and to christen it before the Christmas, which is fast approaching. Her quest, guided by the ever-changing mind of her immature daughter, takes her to different places at times with devastating consequences. And yet, at the end of the movies, things are settled, sins forgiven and promises kept.
The acting of the actors in the movie is very good and their controlled performance keeps the movie real. Thus, the movie, in spite of having enough scope to be so, never turns into melodrama. The editing is succinct, thus keeping it within just 73 minutes.
My only problem (which in my opinion does not let the movie be a complete 'reality') with the movie is the impeccably clean and apparently expensive clothes worn by the family, who is obviously suffering from hardship.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed: At first there is a gentle breeze And the leaves on the trees Softly sway; Out there, far away, The bells of water-carriers unceasingly ring; I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed; Then suddenly birds fly by, Flocks of birds, high up, with a hue and cry, While the nets are drawn in the fishing grounds And a woman's feet begin to dabble in the water. I am Iistening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed. The Grand Bazaar's serene and cool, An uproar at the hub of the Market, Mosque yards are full of pigeons. While hammers bang and clang at the docks Spring winds bear the smell of sweat; I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed; Still giddy from the revelries of the past, A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep. Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed, I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed. A pretty girl walks by on the sidewalk: Four-letter words, whistles and songs, rude remarks; Something falls out of her hand It is a rose, I guess. I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed. A bird flutters round your skirt; On your brow, is there sweat? Or not? I know. Are your lips wet? Or not? I know. A silver moon rises beyond the pine trees: I can sense it all in your heart's throbbing. I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
For you, my fellow humans, Everything is for you, Nights are for you, days are for you; Daylight is for you, moonlight is for you; Leaves in the moonlight; Wonder and wisdom in the leaves, Myriad greens in daylight, Yellow is for you, and pink. The feel of the skin on the palm, Its warmth, Its softness, The comfort of lying down; For you are all the greetings And the masts winnowing in the harbor; Names of the days, Names of the months, Fresh paint on rowboats is for you Mailman's feet, Potter's hands Sweat on foreheads, Bullets fired on battlefronts; Graves are for you and tombstones, Jails and handcuffs and death sentences Are for you Everything is for you.
Vessels sail along my dreams, Over the roofs, ships in a feast of color, And poor me, Yearning for the sea year in year out, I gaze and weep. I recall my first sight of the world Through a mussel shell I pried open: The greenest water and the bluest sky And the rippliest of lump-fish... My blood still flows salty Where the oysters slit my skin. What a mad speed plunge was ours Into the high seas on the whitest foam! Foam bears no malice, Like lips Whose adultery with men Is no disgrace.
Vessels sail along our dreams Over the roofs, ships in a feast of color, And poor me, Yearning for the sea year in year out.
-- Orhan Veli
I could not have said anything better than what Orhal Veli Kanik said about Istanbul. About this movie, all I have is praise. A very nice and balanced introduction to a city and its music that connected Asia, Europe and Africa at one point of time.
This movie surely does not deserve 8, but I give it an 8, because it does not deserve the 1 that most people gave it either.
The movie lacks basic logic at many points, the acting is not that good, and the whole setting is pretty unreal. However, most people seem to fail to get the happenings in the movie completely. Perhaps the reviewers should read the review by Sixforthehoney to understand what is happening. I quote below the major points he mentioned, with added notes.
1) The religious family killed "The Driver".
2) "The Driver" came back as a ghost and killed the religious family. Note: He does not die even when his truck burns into flames, but rather comes and attacks the girl. (Later, the struck was shown to be fully intact.)
3) "The Driver" then killed people who came to the rest stop.
4) Some of those people (including the girl in the closet) came back as ghosts. Note: The girl disappears along with the blood she vomited, within seconds after talking to the protagonist.
5) The religious family still exists as ghosts to preach their judgment of sinners. Note: they drive the van with the girl in it for a long time, and yet finally the girl is dropped just in front of the notice board, a point where she had started her journey. It's they who take pictures of the future victims.
6) When Nicole is killed, she came back as a ghost at the end. Note: That is the reason the ranger does not see her, but the future victim hears her voice and sees her.
**Note:** The policeman is also ghost. There's no human being on earth (including Arnold and Chuck Norris), who would be able to say, "You missed me" after about 40% of his skull and brains are blown out by a point blank shot. That is the same reason the girl does not see his remains when she climbs the roof.
The "Physics" "They" Do Not Want You to Know About (Kevin Trudeau goes Quantum)
Like many teenagers, I also was fascinated by Fritjof Capra's books; that is, until I encountered his mentioning Shiva's Tandava Dance in Bombay Taxi driver's skills. One does not need a PhD in high energy physics to hallucinate that way; any pothead can imagine that. And that is the worst thing about many such books connecting physics to Eastern mysticism: it's all loads of crap!
Kevin Trudeau, the Guru of infomercials, talks of how homemade food has love going into it, thus making the electrons in the food rotate in a different spin and thereby adding positive energy to our food. Another load of crap!
This movie: another such load of crap! Why the hell people do not do what they can do? Why does someone has to make a strange movie with a weird name discussing something they do not understand? Is not it best that quantum mechanics is best left to physicists? This movie seems like made by Kevin Trudeau!
"This show contains cocaine, hooker and, incidentally, Tom Arnold"
This is a great show with total freshness and innovation. That usual chair (couch for a woman) host, that mandatory band playing monotonous tunes, the same old jokes, the same pattern copied from the days of Nebuchadnezzer ....probably the pattern of Johnny Carson, copied by one and all, Latterman, Leno, Conan... Daly, this show does not seem to have any of these.
I fell in love with this show within the first 10 minutes and I am going to stick to it. Though it's too early to say that, this show seems to be devoid of any intellectual pretension most talk shows try so hard to project, and I hope that that is what would make this show different from all the rest. I hope that this show will last long!
Returning back after months, I still love this show, and I love his self-deprecating humor (For example, his affirmation that only pothead loners would be home to watch his show at Saturday midnight and thus, the jokes are funny only to the stoned guys) which, however, does not involve the usual monkeying of Conan O'Brien, for example (I know it's a cardinal sin to be repelled by O'Brien's antics; but I do really dislike his style and repetitiveness).
I again watched it the other night with Tom Arnold in it. Ferensen's spoof of Trading Spouses (and Nanny 911 in an earlier episode) are hilarious. Idiot paparazzi are fun, especially when a security guard cautions them against taking people's pictures, and (if I am not mistaken) they start taking his pictures shouting "Gary Coleman".
Added on 16th April, 2007: Coming back once again, I am left confused by the neighbor and her dog. I cannot decide if it is a joke or a real thing. Either way, it was funny as hell.
I do not expect Spike Feresten to read these pages, but maybe he does. He is crazier than a bunch of monkeys and so, I would better write down my suggestion here for him: I would like him to do a full 30 minute show with Crazy Gideon, the star of late night TV commercial. I would like Crazy Gideon to have an interview in Spike's talk show, sing a song (and play guitar), do a skit in the line of SNL, and also to answer questions from the audience regarding his potential mayorship of Los Angeles (I know, Crazy Gideon may not be aware of this, but there are websites detailing why he would be the perfect candidate for the post of the mayor of LA).
Returning back on 14th July, 2007: Someone wrote here that the people who praised Spike's talkshow must be bribed by Spike. I confess that Spike really bribed me, but I must also confess that Rockefeller named me in his will and last night I had sex with Cindy Crowford.
What else can I add to the magnificent Al Bundy & Co., about whom everything possible has already been said? Just that my life would never be the same again, since the day Al Bundy happened to me!
Al Bundy marriage, just like a carriage: Al Bundy gives me company in my lonely, desolate evenings and carries me to the land of dream every night. Al Bundy is my hero, my savior, my messiah. I do not care how biased Fox 11 news is; I do not give a damn as to how many paranoid TV shows, such as "Cops", Fox 11 broadcasts; as long as my hero, Al Bundy, is with Fox 11, I'm with Fox 11.
Al Bundy: What a guy! Who won't like to be like him. He is my hero. Al Bundy, the last American hero.
Al Bundy loves Psycho Dad. Actually, he is the Psycho Dad without the gun, the Dad who would have taken Peggy Bundy out, had it not been a federal offense! Al Bundy overshadows Hondo, or even the "great" Al Capone. Al Bundy is Chicago the windy city, and Al Bundy is what sitcom is. What superb dialogs, what acting, what facial expressions, what a depiction of a decadent family. Al Bundy Show: the greatest American TV show ever and possibly the greatest show on earth!
Al Bundy: It's like what Van Gogh said "Paris is Paris; there is but one Paris"; the same can be said of Al Bundy.
A nice, enjoyable movie with a script by someone informative
I watched this movie without any expectation, and was pleasantly surprised. This movie has a decent, simple and believably humane storyline, and reasonably good acting. There is no skin show or any other excesses or exaggeration. There is nice evolution of the characters in the movie, and the way they come to learn from and respect one another is quite natural, just like in real life.
But what impressed me most is that the script was written by someone highly informative. I am used to American movies, where they say/write things which show that the movie makers are totally ignorant of the world (for example, the closed captioning in the movie, Courage Under fire, mentions "whisper in Iraqi" when people speak in Arabic, or in "Man on fire", Denzel explains that Bhutan was the country where there was serious trouble in the Royal family recently. The fact is that, there was a massacre in the royal family of Nepal on June 1st, 2001, and NOT Bhutan, whose king, J. S. Wangshuk, has been in power since 1972), and/or utter contempt for non-American people (a case in point: "Courage Under fire" constantly shifts back and forth between "Iraqis" and "Fuckers"). I do not even need to mention how Hollywood has usually depicted Germans (I'm sure they are totally unaware of the difference between 'German' and "Nazi') for 60 years now, and the Vietnamese in such 'acclaimed' movies as "The Deer Hunter" and "Apocalypse Now" (some of these won Oscars, right?"
Postmark Paradise, on the other hand, is a movie, from which one can learn a thing or two about another country/culture. For example, the lady states that communism in Soviet Russia made education accessible to everybody, including in Ukraine, her country of origin. It's a hard fact. The level of inexpensive education and health-care that Fidel Castro, for example, provides, will never be possible in the United States. I come from a poor country where, due to its alignment with the USSR in policies, we could avail inexpensive and quality education.
This movie also makes it a point to tell that Ukraine is not the same as Russia, that Soviet Russia is not synonymous with Russia, and that not everything associated with Russia is negative. In a time and age, where Russian mail order brides are the butt of joke everywhere, the movie-maker makes it a point to tell that NOT all "Russian" women are waiting to whore themselves out. In fact, the accompanying documentary in the DVD shows interviews with real women waiting to get married to real people for real reasons; it also interviews guys from the USA, who traveled all the way to Ukraine to meet their perspective brides.
I was also glad to listen to Willie Nelson's "I guess, I've come to live here in your eyes" during the credits.
I liked this movie. I think, you would like it too.