Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘crash’

million_dollar_baby

Million Dollar Baby: I hate the second and third sections of Hotel California. Don Henley and the gang hardly do anything to break up the monotony of the rhythm that gets tiring after 2 minutes. When the song eventually does take a turn, it is in the form of THE lamest solo ever. Clint Eastwood gets the audience nodding to a pretty decent groove  for about 75% of Million Dollar Baby; neither spectacular nor terrible, just a bland sports film about a working-class heroine. The last half-an-hour of the film is cringe-worthy. I’m talking about “Step Mom” bad here, people. I wanted to rip that dam respirator tube out of Hilary Swank and throw it at Paul Haggis. First Crash, now this. Have a heart, man.

Ordinary People: I think Ordinary People won an Oscar in 1980 because Kramer vs Kramer had won the previous year, beating out Apocalypse Now and someone in the jury thought this would make for a really funny extended joke. David Lynch’s Elephant Man and Scorsese’s Raging Bull shared the same ignominy in 1980 as they lost out to Robert Redford and this bore-fest of a movie. Many of us still don’t get the joke.

Saving Private Ryan & ET: Guns don’t kill people, Steven Spielberg kills people. Only Paul Haggis and the irritating couple sitting behind us in the theatre would enjoy this sort of crap.

Mel Gibson South Park

Braveheart: At least for national security purposes, the last scene in Braveheart with Mel Gibson screaming “FREEDOM” needs to be kept in a top-secret vault. With more and more people binging on  hallucinogens and sedatives these days, it is only a matter of time before the truth serum becomes impotent; either that or terror mongers will start realizing how well it goes with whole grain bread and start becoming immune to it. Don’t panic, Mel Gibson has given us a secret weapon.

Which embassy are you planning to blow up tomorrow?” (Silence) “I said, which fucking embassy you fucking planning to blow up tomorrow, you terrorist fuck?” (Silence) “Play that last scene from Braveheart again” (Noooooooooooooo)

dead-poets-society-1

Dead Poets Society: Giving Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society an Oscar for best screenplay is like giving one of those dudes who design gnarly cigarette packets a Nobel Peace Prize for promoting cancer awareness. Some of the dialogues involving Robin Williams waxing whimsical about transcendentalism are so awful that I got the shivers. The torment continues with his pseudo-rebellious students attacking conformism by vying for a spot in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Are you friggin kidding me? We should have known that the once great Peter Weir had lost his mind when he chose Harrison Ford for a lead role. Twice.

shrink_kevin_spacey

Shrink: Kevin Spacey has been misconceieved as one of most talented American actors of our generation. Maybe it has to do with all the really cool characters he gets to play. Just to set the record straight, he neither ad-libbed the final speech in American Beauty nor did he impulsively straighten his limbs and walk out of the police station as Kaiser Soze. If you ask me, both Chris Cooper and Gabriel Byrne acted circles around him in those films. Yes, he was good in Seven; I’m sure the staleness of Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman did wonders to his confidence. In Shrink, the character he plays brings out the worst in him. Awkward, boring and full of chicken soup for everyone’s soul. Jonas Pate’s film about the quasi-tragic life of a celebrity psychiatrist/ best-selling author isn’t any better. It swallows any semblance of talent that its actors might have and spits out the bits that matter. Then there’s Dallas Roberts playing a second-rate House MD-type guy and the desecration of Mary Jane. Please stop the pain.

Scent Of A Woman: I’ll let Tony Montana handle this one.

Tony_Montana

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ogden NashThe Collected Works Of Ogden Nash by Ogden Nash

Have you ever wondered if it would be possible to write something funny without delving into the realms of satirical social commentaries, absurdist views of cultural flaws, vitriolic trashing of populist beliefs and just plain mean criticism of art? Is it just possible to say something funny for the sake of humour and not an opinionated comment? A tickler: The firefly’s flame is something for which science has no name, I can think of nothing eerier than flying around with an unidentified glow on a person’s posterior. Let me introduce to the deliciously wacky world of Ogden Nash. A sprawling madhouse where rhymes meet nonsense halfway in the corridor and giggle incorrigibly at everything else. Another tickler: Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long. While Ogden Nash also dabbled in writing for Broadway musicals, his passion, time and patience were saved for “humorous poetry”. One more tickler: The cow is of bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other is milk. Decorated with some of his finest one-liners and limericks, The Collected Works Of Ogden Nash is a perfect companion during those lonely train journeys. Even when the humour takes a breather and the rhymes get all Hemmingway-ish on us, it still makes for pleasantly introspective digestion. Last tickler: How pleasant the salt anesthetic…we vegetate, calm and aesthetic, on the beach, on the sand, in the sun.

Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe

patrick mccabeFor almost an entire year when I frequented British Council library at Anna Salai, I got myself hooked on to Irish literature. Iain Banks’ Wasp Factory put this thought in my head that Irish writers, much like Korean film directors, were a messed-up lot who suck the light out of day and save the rest for the night. Ultra-talented writers who craft barbaric forms of art only to lull unsuspecting readers towards fear and insecurity. Despite the flimsy basis on which these notions were formed, I desperately kept an eye out for such novels. My sense of delirium also had a role in my fortunate ‘stumbling upon’ of Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, the harrowing tale of Francis ‘Francie’ Brady. With the troubles of a broken home working overtime on young Francie’s mind, he often retreats to his “violent fantasy world” where pigs go beyond bacons and sausages; matter of fact, they give the Iain Banks’ wasps a good run for their money in terms of being truly fucked up living, breathing literary metaphors. The scene involving the killing of a piglet at the abattoir is somewhat of a personal landmark. I flinched for the first time while reading a novel. Read The Butcher Boy only if you like being disturbed (if don’t. you could watch Neil Jordan’s film adaptation).

The Crystal World by JG Ballard

jg ballardI grabbed this book from the counter at Blossoms (Bangalore) only because a little voice told me that it probably inspired Jim Morrison to write my favourite Doors’ composition – Crystal Ship. Before you slip into unconsciousness, allow me to talk a bit about JG Ballard, the writer. His vision, as evidenced by the new wave, sort of science fiction-ish stories he writes about, is apocalyptic and dreamlike at once. There is also a hint of discomfort in most of his novels; something that he uses against the readers and quite naturally, for the readers. Whether it was the sexual fetishism in Crash (no not that shitty Oscar-winner), the scathing brevity of The Atrocity Exhibition or the sheer weightage of psychoanalysis in The Drowned World, something has always crept up in JG Ballard novels to cause a slight disorientation of our senses. In The Crystal World, he weaves a story around an English doctor (Edward Sanders) who lands in Port Matarre (Africa) to meet his friends at a secluded leprosy treatment center. To do that he must cross the treacherous jungle in Gabon, which for some apparent reason is slowly crystallizing itself and the inhabitants. I must warn you, this is not a page-turner; it moves slowly like a mythical beast, as Ballard describes in detail the process of crystallization and the pop science that governs it. Thankfully, more of the latter than the former. I later found out that Jim Morrison wrote Crystal Ship for his first love, Mary Werbelo. I can’t seem to find an intelligent connection between the song and the book to summarize this review, so I will tell you this …you should totally give Ballard a try if you share equal fondness for science fiction and the English language.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Keseykesey_ken1_med

Fewer movies have done greater injustice to literature than Milos Forman’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Not in an aesthetical sense since it was a decent movie; I mean, it was a relatively fresh breath of cinema in 1975 and also kudos to Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif for tuning in average to sort of great performances during the course of the movie. Unfortunately, having read the book and imagined the scenes that took place within the walls of the Oregon State Hospital in Salem from the brooding Chief Bromden’s point of view, I was disappointed with the way the director told the story from the perspective of rebellious loudmouth Patrick McMurphy. Wait a second, this is not a film review. Ahem. My train of thought has wrecked itself beyond redemption, I’m going to let someone else take the reigns and opine about this fantastic novel.

iCE cUBEUhmmmm thank you, Mr Ice Cube…but I think I was talking about The Brothers’ Judd review of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Read it here

Read Full Post »

In 2005, with America on the throes of being engulfed in its own xenophobia, something remarkable happened. Director Paul Haggis witnessed an act of racism at a local pub that would change the landscape of blaxpoitation films forever. A Chinese kid was caught jabbing his arm and asked politely to leave the premises. Despite his protests that “the heroin was (r) leal mellow”, the bartender, a white man, insisted that he should leave without a fuss.

Haggis, unwillingly to let such blatant racial discrimination slide, smashed a beer bottle over the bartender’s head and ran out to the streets, covering his face with his palms and sobbing. “Why, God, Why,” by-standers heard him scream. “It’s been over two decades since Beastie Boys released their seminal Licensed to Ill album…an album, which I thought cross-pollinated hip hop and punk rock in an effort to bring races together….Oh God, Why!!” he mumbled on, apparently. After wiping the snot off his face, it struck him like something lighting quick. He realized how he felt when confronted by acts of discrimination. Paul Haggis wanted to smash racist fucks.

smashSet in fictional suburbia, Smash follows the lives of random people who randomly have inane encounters with each other and randomly share random facts about how NOT random life actually is. Starring Denzel Washington as black dude #1, Morgan Freeman as older black dude #2 and John Woo, making his on-screen debut, as irrelevant Chinese dude # 11, the film broke racial barriers as much as it did box office collections. In fact, it even broke Bruce Willis’ face for no apparent reason. The film, however, was not without controversy as many questioned the rationale behind casting a cardboard cutout of Sydney Poitier as older black dude #1…considering that Mr Poitier was still alive. But with the complete support of Hollywood and NCAAP, Smash was released promptly and within three months, became one of the year’s biggest grossers and its director Paul Haggis was no longer referred to as that Canadian-American moron who co-created Walker, Texas Ranger (which he did, by the way).

bhaskar-awards1The Bhaskar Awards proudly features the critically acclaimed Smash for smashing misconceptions about how tear-eyed, melodramatic, redundant and sentimental bullshit will no longer be tolerated by the masses.

Read Full Post »

will-smith-in-seven-pound-001Seven Pounds: I detested The Air I Breathe for its feeble attempts at feigning intelligence. A lot of film directors feel the need to infuse some sort of pretentious intellectualism or quasi-theatrical drama into their films to give them credibility. But I ask you, since when did we, neanderthals, NOT enjoy stupid films? Remember Independence Day? Big, fun, cool visuals and er… Will Smith. Hell, sometimes even silly dramas find their way into my heart. Case in point, Green Card and Paradise. Gabriele Muccino’s Seven Pounds is a lot like our colleagues, yeah you know, those ones who read a couple of Nietzsche quotes on brainyquotes.com and all of a sudden think of themselves to be connoisseurs of existentialism. “It’s an extraordinary journey of redemption,” scream IMDB junkies. Give me stupidity over pretensions, I mumble.

00092428_The Accidental Tourist: Legend has it that the jury at Academy Awards took time-off from smoking crack in 2005. They put the crack pipes down long enough to nominate William Hurt for best supporting actor for his 15-minute powerhouse performance in Cronenberg’s History Of Violence. He’s one of the most important actors of the Nineties and look no further than Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist to have a peek into Hurt’s virtuosity as a performer. Also starring the ever-fantastic Bill Pullman, Geena Davis and Katheleen Turner, the film revolves around Macon Leary (William Hurt) – a travel writer for corporate travelers, now trying to get his life back on the road after a tragic accident leaves him desperately cynical towards everything furry and warm. Geena Davis, for once, does not suck and does her best “Minnie Driver” impersonation yet. Kathleen Turner and Bill Pullman, well…they couldn’t suck even if they were forced at gunpoint to act in a remake of Casablanca.

2008_changeling_001Changeling: Clint Eastwood would have got the “comeback of the year” award every year since 2000 but the thing is he never went away. In 2003, after nearly three decades of mediocre acting, mediocre directing, spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harrys, Mr Eastwood hit his peak as a director with Mystic River – a riveting drama that boasts of talent such as Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. It won Clint Eastwood two Oscars. In 2004, he made Million Dollar Baby and subsequently became the proud possessor of four more Oscars. His next two films were not as critically acclaimed but nevertheless added to his Oscar loot with four nominations and another gold statuette. Angelina Jolie and Clint Eastwood are probably going to be nominated for the Oscars this year for Changeling – a film that was seemingly made for that very purpose. Now, now…it’s a neat film with no jarring flaws but once again, a thread of vacant emotions – similar to that which destroyed Million Dollar Baby’s credibility towards the climax – rears its ugly head. Jolie cries so much in this film that after a point, you almost find yourself rooting for the prodigal “son” to turn evil and run his mommy down with a tricycle.

Long story short, “Mom loses son. Son comes back. Son not really ‘real’ son. Mom finds out. Evil policemen have other plans.” Oh well, at least more Oscar worthy than “poor boy meets rich girl, screws over Billy Zane, screws rich girl in a different way, everyone falls of the cruise ship and the most annoying person on-board survives”. You want proof of the old man’s talent as a director? Go watch Bird.

zoe-bellDeath Proof. For my money, the third best Quentin Tarantino film behind Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Released in 2007, Death Proof was Tarantino’s tribute to B-grade action of the Seventies and Eighties. A sleazy, gory and stylish nightmare with an opening sequence so preposterously retro and so elaborate that it makes the discourse on Madonna at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs seem like a passing thought. A fitting tribute to non-kitschy influences of liberal thinking, I guess. What many don’t know is that Death Proof is also a tribute to J. G. Ballard’s superb novel – Crash. And to think director Paul Haggis stole some of the book’s best lines, made a corny movie and won a friggin’ Oscar for it. Eishhhh. Remember Don Cheadle saying, “People would crash into each other just to feel something (pause)…anything”. That was so ripped off from Ballard that it almost immediately ceased to be funny. Hmmm…anyway coming back to Death Proof. It’s fun, mindless and a whole lot of Zoe Bell (as Zoe Bell) beating the shit out of Kurt Russell. It’s almost endearing how earnestly Zoe chases Kurt down and opens a can of whoop ass. Now who do I have to kill to see her kick Michael Douglas’ ass?

Read Full Post »