MELANCHOLIA (2011) – A Hymn to Depression

melancholia.jpegWe are all going to die soon. So throw away your dumb rituals, your make-beliefs, your unfulfilling career race, your pretenses of aesthetic refinement and classiness. Embrace the despondent wait. Be like Justine. Lose control of your life. So that when the time comes you won’t be caught unawares. You will have known it was going to happen anyway. You can say then, “Because I know things. I know what the answer of the lottery is, I know that there is no god out there, I know that humans are all alone on a despicable planet, the only one in the universe that contains life, and that if it is destroyed nobody cares because nobody is there to care or know about it.” It’s like having the upper hand over surprises, like you know your friends are secretly plotting a surprise birthday party, and when they yell surprise, you think “yayyyy, whatever”.

Lars von Trier’s second film Continue reading

Idealism and its Aftermaths – ZOOTOPIA (2016)

Zootopia.jpgIt appears that I’m simply against animated film produced by mainstream, popular animation studios. So I found it hard to ignore the hardened prejudice that gloated maliciously at the premise of American-Dream-turned-sour-but-yet-somehow-managed-to-save-face-due-to-the-individualism-of-the-hardworking-underdog, or precisely, the hardworking bunny rabbit. While the story was one of empowerment and social mobility, and therefore, the same-old, I was delighted at the meta-generic Godfather spoof and the Sloth bureaucracy. The Fox is charming and suave, basically the same-old Flynn Rider, with an adorable suave shrewdness, bad only due to circumstances, and not incorrigible; the Bunny whats-her-name naïve and optimistic like those rote female protagonists representing a better future and converting the beast into prince–in this case, good cop. Continue reading

Munnariyippu (2014) – “Fair is foul,” or A Warning against Nagging

Munnariyippu“So from that spring whence comfort seem’d to come
Discomfort swells”

(Spoilers ahead)

The film is both spoiled and saved by the near-farcical ending which is near-farcical simply because the surprise end was out of the jack-jumping-box for me–and if it has been able to flabbergast me, me who is considered rather talented when it comes to predicting ‘surprises,’ then there is no saying about the average audience out there.  Somehow, I had taken it for granted that Raghavan the protagonist was not a criminal. After all, Mammooty would’t be acting in such a heinous role as that of a criminal unsmart enough to get caught, imprisoned, and more appallingly still, to live out out his years in obscurity. Had the role been played by someone less known and therefore less typified, you would have given him the benefit of doubt and so, the ending would not have been as grotesque, so to say.

Raaghavan turns out to be neither victim nor armchair philosopher, but a “man of his word,” a man ruthless (or brave, according to how you choose to look at it) enough to practice his idiosyncratic philosophy of freedom. In a fundamental sense, this freedom is the freedom away from nagging people, Continue reading

Unquestionable: Review of DANGAL (2016)

Dangal, the new Aamir Khan production in collaboration with Disney studio, is in the tradition of Pink (2016), made under the ‘girls are great’ banner, but with lesser didacticism and better cinematic sense. Dangal is directed at the crude, patriarchal, institutionalized mindset characteristic of the average Indian man or woman, and, this is important, not at the enlightened, highbrow, nitpicking intellectual, like you or me. It is, first and foremost, an entertainer. And does it’s job well. 

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The Art of Dying: Review of THE FOUNTAIN (2006)

teh-fountain_poster

Certainly philosophical and quirky, but the film seems somewhat too personal. It’s like a private experience, intimate and passionate at core, but when viewed from the outside, trivial and perhaps ludicrous. The audience (me) is in a disadvantaged position, unable to critique a work that attempts to depict what is obviously a personal struggle — namely, coming to terms with death — and simultaneously unable to participate in the struggle without overlooking the artifice of the narrative.

The film is all about death. Death as disease, death as release; death as termination, death as sweet beginning; death as adversity, death as peaceful embrace. Continue reading

PULIMURUGAN (2016): Review

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( CAUTION: This review contains spoilers. I advise you read this only if you have seen the movie or are not planning to see the movie at all. )

Brilliant so far as the cinematography, action, tiger scenes and sound effects go, “the complete actor” Mohanlal’s newest film is nothing new but an ode to the rote über-man movies of our cinema. The ‘perfect man,’ with brains and brawn, able to deliver punch lines while confronting adversaries, speak smoothly and tactfully to women, escape unscathed from any inextricable situation, and all of it done with a suave, mimic-able, ‘style’.

You don’t go to a commercial film expecting arthouse stuff, sensitive portrayals, emotional depth, or for that matter, even logical sense. Continue reading