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LEAGUE OF ORDINARY (NOT-SO) GENTLE-MEN

My favourite moment in Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam is when a cow falls into a well and how the hero along with the fire service rescues the bovine and literally wins back love form all around, as usual the hero gets more credit than the fire service; the point however is that there is some cattle connection to the coming together of the lead characters.

I would not be making much of an assumption when I say our comedy writers write the ‘jokes’ first and try to put in something of a story behind it,  sometimes it is not even something of a story; but just the punch lines. Thankfully VVS is not that kind of a film, it has something of a story; but only just.

Sivakarthikeyan and Soori play founder and secretary of a loafer’s club in the village; also in the same village is Sivanandi played by Satyaraj, the proverbial man who is feared and respected by all. Needless to say that the heroine is his daughter, ok I just said it.

Satyaraj must have the record for being the most underused actor in all the generations he has been part of, even the mildly interesting initial moments do not make up for the 100 mile long post interval section; the milestones being  the songs, which are neither good nor do they have any place near the vicinity of the film. But then nobody cares, they laughed, I laughed. I don’t remember for what I laughed, but I do remember laughing.  I even ignored a racial remark by the hero, and hence I spill my guilt here. Ok so guy drops into a well to save a cow but makes fun of a girl based on her skin colour.

Ok fine we shouldn’t notice such things or else they will try and make fun of us in the next film.

To try and list out the good things in the film is to describe in detail the garlands on a corpse in procession, but then a procession must have garlands.

Have a good time.

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cinema cinema:tamil

Caustic Kumar and Moderate Manohar at the Movies: Thalaivaa

 

In the darkness of the theatre the bespectacled Manohar, known to many as ‘Moderate’ Manohar; the appropriate prefix denoting his stand on most issues including the movies that he gets to watch could see the white brightly brushed and polished teeth of his companion Kumar.

Kumar clenched his teeth in irritation, the ones (teeth) which came into contact feared for their life.

The movie ended and with clenched fists Kumar knocked down the paper cup which had so rightly fit in the container custom made for popcorn, he wasn’t called Caustic Kumar for nothing. We wait till we speak.

Caustic Kumar (CK): What a bad film, I mean…

Moderate Manohar (MM): Which film have you ever liked?

CK: Don’t accuse me of cynicism, I have my favorites; besides this is not one film but a bedroom curtain made of multiple cloths

MM: Every director has a right to be inspired and to pay homage

CK: Absolutely, the only problem is when every scene in your film becomes homage for another

MM: Clearly the director is a prisoner of fancy of the directors mentioned in the title card…nostalgia…

CK: yes yes, I saw that too. That is the easier way out. Title card thanks.

MM: I have problems with how you see things; AL Vijay might really have deep respect for the films Thalaivaa alludes to.

CK: Note that the keyword is ‘might’; while you are speculating moderately; I wish to speculate with some force that’s’ all.

MM: Apart from what you feel as lifting of scenes, I could see that the film was quite straight forward; nothing too bad to harbor hatred.

CK: My point is the whole movie is a collection of scenes from other movies, that also is my problem

MM: I thought that how the later stages of the film became a whodunit, rather than how he dunnit.

CK: Hmm

MM: So you agree? <smiles>

CK: Doesn’t make it a good film. Also everyone could see the ending from a few miles away.

MM: <sighs> the performances…

CK: Don’t joke

MM: OK, let’s do what we always do. Tell me what your heart feels; don’t listen to your caustic mind.

CK: I didn’t like it. Your turn and be honest and not moderate.

MM: I don’t know, I think I have forgotten how it feels to see a good film anymore and my moderateness keeps coming in the way.

CK: Ok, I have an auto to catch. I don’t see why anyone would want to see this film when they can see Nayagan instead.

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cinema:tamil Music

WHAT’S MUSIC DOC? #2 POETRY MECHANICS 101

neethaane-en-ponvasantham

There are some non-communicable songs, ok not some but many; it is because of these songs that many people in the song suggesting business have shut shop and gone to the comfort of their secret playlists. No one can make anyone exactly experience what one experienced, but there also some songs which go into your head from the mouth of another.

“Kaatrai Konjam” from Gautham Vasudev Menon’s Neethane En Pon Vasantham (You are my golden spring!!!) never registered in my head at first, but was forced to unconsciously memorize the lyrics from a friend who somehow managed to pass it on.

As with the purpose of writing this ‘series’, the song is placed at an important point in the film, the lovers have split for some reason and have gone their own ways, they aren’t the giggling collegians now but in their own way mature individuals, this song is the junction where the separated lovers are going to meet. Something like a ‘what you learnt in this chapter’ type segment from a textbook.

What I know of love, I know from movies; which is not much but I am able to understand the insecurities that the hero faces, the song can be divided into a long drawn rehearsal of what he is going to say when he is going to see her.

Thus as every lover who tries to impress the other he begins poetically (Kaatrai Konjam…)

“I had asked the wind to make garlands (for you),

Weave a mattress of clouds, so I can think (of you)”

It is not new for the lovers to steal excessively from nature, but then he realizes that she might be angry after all; probably the engineer in him sprinkled some practicality into him. Maybe she wants to know why he ignored him and not want him to stop the world.

Going a little on the back foot, our man provides an interesting statistic as a reason

“Many out of a 100 lovers speak face to face, but the divine (us) speak through the hearts and that alone will remain”

Then he opens out truly to how even with the distance not withstanding all he thought was her and pulls a hook to bring her into his future. They must make up for lost time.

The third stanza is perhaps the most shocking, from butterflies in his stomach prior to their meeting, his tongue suddenly is split and the song ends with snake like accusations as to how he has lost himself in the search for her (and in turn himself)

Whatever be my views on the film, this song successfully summarizes the trials of the protagonist in the film, this is not some ‘introduced’ song completely out of context, the song in effect is the scale model of relentless indecisive love.

And they say there is no use for song in films.

<What’s music doc? is an occasional short column to be put together on the influence of film music or the inability to explain the influence of film music or some such thing>

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cinema:english

REAL STEEL: THE WOLVERINE

<Ok, I know they are made of adamantium>

the-wolverine-movie-poster-4

Just for amusement sake, let us imagine that this year of our lives is running parallel to a super hero film.

<Close your eyes and list in your mind the super hero films you have seen or heard about in the last 10 months, suggest you to leave out Iron Man 3>

<Now open your eyes and list in your mind the number of super hero or related films that is going to open in screens in the coming months>

Horror!

Personally, keeping with the life-movie parallels I had given up hope entirely after seeing Man of Steel. I felt that even quick cash thumbing loan sharks would have more consideration to my time <which im already wasting by seeing summer blockbusters- suggest Chris Nolan to come up with a hi-fu time wasting within time wasting type film>

In a world where everybody is hopeless and are going to die (summer of 2013)

When I say James Mangold’s The Wolverine is not your average summer blockbuster, I mean it is a brilliant film considering the times.

Considering the times because the superhero is the Santhanam of Hollywood< he is a comedian that we deserve but also the one we are forced to see in every film>

I reiterate myself, I was pushed off the cliff of cinematic fun after seeing Man of Steel, my whole world was being filled with hope I did not need, with villains trying to destroy my world with a bore-well, with governments so inept that all they do is stare at plasma screen. Death which seemed nearer now, was more welcoming; until the kind adamantium based claws of wolverine grabbed me and he said to me in a soft but scary deep voice “Wait! We are not after your 120 Rs”

That of course was a white lie, what wolverine meant was “We are not ONLY after your 120 Rs, we have some stories to tell also”

If you think Man of Steel was an amazing comic book adaptation which brought the comic panels to life, so close that it touched your butter popcorn smeared lips; you should have stopped reading this article a long time ago.

The Wolverine has no superfluous concepts of alien attacks or end of the world by numerous means; it is a simple story of a different man stuck in turbulent times told with the easy uncut charm of its protagonist and interesting characters.

The action this time is almost entirely set in Japan with locales bringing out flashes from Logan’s long past. Pitching the famously erratic wolverine against the clockwork type martial art masters is interesting to watch, it also helps to see that this film works even better as a stand-alone adventure, almost noir-ish in its treatment of the abducted and the protector(also a recurring theme in Japanese lore and lit).

On a different level, it deals with the solution of being alone and the extent of damage a single act of kindness can cause.

While not completely opening its heart to the talented stunt generators usually over used in these summer films; Mangold and co use them as a necessary tool while not detonating half of Tokyo unnecessarily; just to create a spectacle.

It is more about spectacle rather than a few magic moments that used to permanently register in the retina of your mind, these days. The spectacle is fast losing its effect on me, they have only made a more tired individual who once sought the comfort of theatres to laugh and cry a little.

And it is this same individual who is saying that ‘The Wolverine’ is a great film, considering these dark times.

 The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman is out now in theatres

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cinema:english

WATCHING BUILDINGS CRUMBLE

Man of Steel can easily be divided into two films, the quiet epic and the mindless summer action outing. It is the case of the quiet epic losing out to the cash register.

The story of this hero’s birth is very well known, a certain genesis chamber in the planet Krypton can be compared to the more famous in Bethlehem. The baby of Lara and Jor-El, a natural born after many centuries in a planet that is not so slowly eating into itself, Krypton would not survive.

Krypton, far away in a distant galaxy accommodated a far evolved civilisation completely devoid of choice where every new born has his entire life charted out before him slash her <something equivalent to the sons and daughters who choose engineering on our planet #notsnide>

Understanding Krypton is essential to understanding its chosen one. The chosen one is the chosen because he has no choice but to accept the heroism thrust upon on him. A hero due to circumstances, Kal-El son of Jor-El is mostly at odss with himself whether to embrace his greatness or sweep the floors of merchant ships on his foster planet.

Foster planet and foster parents, Kal-El’s childhood now called Clark is seen as a sequence that have been borrowed out a Terrence Mallick teaser, high resolution nature shots of wheat fields, sleeping dogs, slowing filling buckets, women putting out dried clothes etc. This is the phase of hiding the hero, till he must reach ‘that moment of reckoning’.

The moment of reckoning is fast tracked by manic co-planetary military commander General Zod played by Michael Shannon, closely resembling a futuristic version of the villainous character played by Prakash Raj in the films of Hari.

Man of Steel: Unfeeling origins

Then there is the usual understanding love interest, mildly advising and understanding parents, the journey to self discovery, hopeless military agencies inept in handling humongous dung beetle shaped extra planetary objects.

Then comes the unending fights, extremely controlled to the extent of which debris should fall where, the third act of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel goes into ‘look i know you love explosions’ mode and super powers of both the main characters demand these fights, making earth look like a boxing ring. There are sequences in mid air, ice sheets, alley ways and sky scraper tops. The movie descends into video game madness.

Adapting the action from comic books is no mean task people tell me, but I do not read comic books and I really want to know if we are to be amazed at buildings being blown up to the tune of Hans Zimmer’s addictive percussion for an hour.

In these battle of fists, Man of Steel loses its heart and with sketchier supporting characters there is really nothing to root for. Henry Cavill looks like he has trained alongside Hercules and makes his run in the suit likeable.

With shallow thought of hope<Hollywood’s biggest export> and overtly reminiscent plotlines, Man of Steel mid-wifed by Christopher Nolan from a script by David S Goyer takes off well, but gets lost in the turbulence, which makes wonder and appreciate how great Batman Begins really is.<which they wrote together>

<Batman Begins is the greatest super hero film ever type quote>

Mostly it is just watching how buildings crumble.

Yes yes, there is promise of Justice League also, ok quite boring