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citizen_kane_1

Citizen Kane: Very few people I know disliked Citizen Kane. Even fewer could exactly tell me just what it is they liked about the film. Some only pretend to appreciate it because their movie geek friends would judge them if they didn’t. I have watched Citizen Kane a couple of times and I’m yet to find something even remotely justifying its apparent spot in the upper echelons of cinema.

Personally, I’d like to think that Citizen Kane is one of those films, which is dwarfed by the musings that followed its appreciation. So many people have written so splendidly about it that everyone else just assumes that it is perhaps the greatest film ever. And then there is the ‘oh but it was magnificently edited’ argument flaunted by others. If technical aspects of a film can propel it to greatness then by its logical application on the theories of music, Joe Satriani must be the greatest guitarist ever. In fact, Orson Welles’ so-called epic is a lot like the bald man’s music. Soulless, gutless, with minimal touch and only passable because of its obvious superiority in flaunting the finer nuances on the technicalities of art.

Well, I’m no filmmaker; as a voyeur, I prefer George Romero over Orson Welles any day of the week. Hell, I’d take Kirk Hammett over Satriani in my sleep…buuuut, that’s just me. As for the Rosebud mystery, I (and many others) think it is the name of the sled, which the protagonist rode as a child. Something to do with innocence fading away in the midst of ambition, I think.

Dam. There goes the space for my reviews on Donnie Darko, Kingpin and Mister Lonely.  Greatest film ever..hmpfff…my ass.

alltheboyslovemandylane

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane: Now that’s how you make a slasher film. I really really enjoyed this film; mostly because it lacked any pretension of what it intended to do. Think clever, have fun. In fact, so coy Jonathan Levine’s All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is about its slasher status that it almost gives the entire story away every five minutes for the first thirty minutes. You’d be a fool not to identify the killer by the one-hour mark.

You can reconstruct the twin towers twice with the sheer number of times I have felt like a fool over the past two decades, but I must say this has been one of most rewarding. When details are finally revealed, I was as surprised as when Verbal Kent literally straightens his handicaps out and lights a cigarette in the final scene of Usual Suspects. In Mandy Lane, the director peppered the film with so many moments of genuine silence that I almost felt like swaying to the smell of blood that swallows the lives of six teenagers in a creepy farmhouse by the river. These distractions cleverly set me up for the climax as I wasn’t even sure if I completely understood the killer’s motive, by the time the end credits rolled. Having said that (because I just did), I’ll wager a fine sum to anyone who enjoys misfit cinema and who can stomach a bit of violence (some excruciating even) to actually give a shit about climax. No no no…that’s not how bad the climax is, that’s how friggin fantastic everything else is.

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Here’s the premise…so, all the boys in high school love Mandy Lane (a steely performance by Amber Heard) and she doesn’t. You may not be entirely sure if she could, but you are more than likely to believe that she doesn’t want to. Five other teenagers invite her to a farmhouse party and before they can fall in love, they fall down…dead. Mutilated and put through a great deal of suffering. Now, everyone…please watch more indie films.

tupac

Bullet: I was disappointed that Tupac Shakur once again played a raving lunatic in front of the camera. Well, you might say it just was the way his character – Tank – was mapped out by the director, but the Pac enthusiast inside me wants to see the Machiavellian one act with subtlety; not just the maniacal vigour that could either put the fear of god on a ten-ton bull on crack or make it die laughing since crack kills a lot of people anyway. His music thrived on exploding in the faces of both fans and critics, which meant it sometimes crossed the line between silly machismo and the justifiable kind. As an MC, he had the talent to make us ignore it by rapping it out in a way only he could; as an actor, he just doesn’t. If indeed he is alive and partying with ODB and Ronnie Zant on some remote Island, I’d love for someone to sober him down and beg Michael Mann to redo Collateral with Pac instead of Jamie Foxx. There, I needed to get it off my chest.

bullet

Coming back to Julien Temple’s Bullet, it is Mr Burns-excellent. One of lost classics of the Nineties, if you ask me (and since you did). And by classics, I mean – slightly demented, gritty urban dramas about how men go insane in the face of their preconceived disposition about life. Mickey Rourke has always been a fantastic actor…he just wasn’t nominated enough to be noticed until The Wrestler.

In Bullet, he plays the lead role – a fallen son, an erstwhile brother, a hardened criminal and a worthy nemesis who goes to war with local druglord Tank. His brothers – a painter (Adrien Brody) and a Vietnam vet gone horribly mad (Ted Levine) – deliver some of the best lines in the film with their troubled lives acting as silhouettes to Mickey Rourke’s unabashed callousness. Special mention to Ted Levine for the greatness; very few actors can convincingly go insane for our pleasure. He did it twice (he also played Buffalo Bill in Silence Of The Lambs).

Oooh and if Joker had not said, “Madness is like gravity, all you need is a little push” for the tenth time on my DVD player this year, I would have gladly nominated Bullet for having the most satisfying closing sentence ever in modern American cinema.

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Greg's pet raven

People create things all the time. Tall tales, cocktail drinks, promises, problems, cellphones. There is no dearth of the urge to create. But seldom are these creations worthy of a second look, touch, listen, experience, whatever. The creators themselves lose track of what they wanted and often create paler versions of what was intended.

Not this guy.

Not this work of art.

I am sure as fuck proud to present Gregory Matas Suresh’s Raven – Chennai’s most inspired bullet.

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