Tag: 2019 films

Speaking of Endings- Star Wars:The Rise Of Skywalker

So yeah. 

When I came to the very end of the end of “The Rise of Skywalker” which is the end of this new trilogy of Star Wars films, but it is also the end of the end of all the Star Wars films so far (yet). 

Only one thing struck me, they had ONLY planned the end of the end. 

So the rest of the movie was just to get to the end of the end? 

At least they could have been honest. They could have put in a slide saying, “you know we think the best ending for this Star Wars is Rey doing a Luke and watching the binary sunset, we just don’t know how to get there”, but of course honesty is that value which is quite in shortage in this world, can’t expect much. 

They should have gotten our email address and just mailed the ending. With consent and all for GDPR.

Instead I was treated to more than two hours of lessons on finding the self, being a good leader, not seeking revenge, standing up for brethren and more importantly, never losing hope. In short the movie was trying to emulate a good twitter account and wait for the RTs to ring. 

Look now, I’m not opposed to hope; let me just make that clear,I am just tired that it is being sold again. Yeah people fall for it, deep down everyone feels they are special, of course that is why a character of Rey would appeal to everyone, a nobody who saves the universe- the last jedi- our last hope. 

I have seen this. Next one please. 

Movies can be about anything, it can be about hope, it can be about despair, it can be about friendship, it can be about tiredness; but a film about hope should evoke hopeful qualities not make me tired and a movie about tiredness should not make me hopeful.

The Dead Speak! The Audience Yawn!

The Dead Speak! Screams the familiar opening crawl, as though to make us forget the ending of the previous movie, the entire galaxy has now heard a broadcast, obviously it cannot be someone new, someone whose story we have to build from the start, someone whose exploits we need to follow over time so we get accustomed to their behaviour and then decide whether to fear him or not. 

No no no, it must be an old and familiar face whose appearance might bring some amount of excitement back into the fan bloodstream. So yeah let’s get the old main villain and try and sell the “i’m the puppet master behind everything that happened till now” narrative. 

I paused. So this is where they went a little bit like Infinity War, although without the infinity stones- they just had two-pathfinders-to the villain’s lair. Umm nothing dramatic, I have seen enough movies to know what will ultimately happen in a villain’s lair. 

Irresponsible Expectations 

Partly I am to blame, where did I think they would go with it? 

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy With More Of The Same

On the Laureate, we try to write about genre a lot, but we skipped franchises. Yes they are deeply steeped in genre lore, but also deeply bound in risk. A franchise exists only to make money. Yep. 

It’s not enough if just the fans see it, it should appeal to everyone and in the end, add more star wars fans. The movies themselves are made timed to not allow enough time for the fans to figure out why they liked it in the first place. They have to see the next one and be disappointed until they announce another series, a few years later- another series where someone’s grandson is now leading the resistance against another black robe clad father figure, I mean Vader figure. 

By this time, another enthusiastic innocent generation would have been pulled into the fandom, this fandom which will include buying t-shirts, dolls, plastic light sabers, theme parks and voice over gigs for Vijay Sethupathi. 

A new paste of slimy culture over mine, made to make me feel how my slime (now hardened) was actually better. No it wasn’t. . 

For some like, it is now a habit. I have seen the films. They are more of the same. I don’t even have the mind to say, “but in the original trilogy…” Nevermind. As someone said, these movies are about space wizards intended for children. 

Good sunset. BTW. 

FRS: Bigil


So you all know what an FRS is right? Right? 

+2: Movie is without narration. Always a good sign (or so we thought). 

+5: Movie puts itself into porali category immediately as it begins with students protesting against change of the college building from a heritage building to a new building outside the city. (actually in Arakonam).

We feel the government is in the right here, since in-city colleges and their buses actually contribute a lot to city traffic. But of course it is not a Tamil movie, unless it opposes the government.

Even heritage buildings will breathe better without the trouble of students <umm…where are we going with this>

Heil Democracy and all that. 

-41: Predictably politician character is played as a mixture of being clueless and ruthless. Politico uncle orders a riot on protesting students, of course this is what is going to set-up the hero introduction sequence. 

+5: Hero has mastered the art of throwing bijli vedi in a manner that it explodes just before the thug’s face. Also this is a way to wish the audience “Happy Diwali Nanba”

-5: Hero hits at least 20 people within the first 20 % of the movie, means ki you can comfortably say that for the remaining 80 % of the movie any such hitting will be surely tiring and you will not experience any exhilaration. 

-2: If hero is from gully, then surely he must be the most popular guy with all the thaaymaargal’s and kutties love and affection. We will never understand why this is so, apart from the fact that he is the hero.. 

-11: Since it is written in the Kollywood Shaastram, that the  best way to end a semi-comedic intro fight would be to convert into an intro song. We now have an opening song which is shot in all shades of red available. 

-24.5: Yogi Babu is in this movie, that means a “moonji” joke is always around the corner. We have to face it. <We mean…>

+6: It’s not a big hero tamil movie, if it does not have a chief minister reference; althought this seems to be a new virus; such a thing was never said in the Kollywood Shaahstram

-90: Kollywood continues to exploit gansgterism without even for once explaining the mechanics of it. 

-91: Kollywood heroes continue to exploit cooling glasses by wearing them for 90% of the movie, so we can never see them act. 

#ItsNotCoolToWearCoolersAlways

-12: When in hospital, supporting characters will regain consciousness only to reveal entire back story of character. 

-30.8: Surprise! Father of gangster hero is also gangster, but with white hair and all. That’s about it. All pazhaya scenes only. 

+30.8: But he is well meaning gangster, because of course he is played by hero only. 

<Pause for reflection> 

Rayappan believes that his son becoming a national football player will encourage more people to move out of their gully by taking up football. 

While this is an inspiring thought, since there is always only a limited number of people who can be part of a national football side, the idea itself might not scale. 

There is a possibility that those who don’t make it to the national side either return to their rowdy roots or become sports followers on twitter who tweet GOALLLLL while following matches. 

Neither will help the overall ecosystem. 

Rayappan should have thought better. Won’t scale. 

</Pause for reflection> 

-05: No girl in the football team had the slightest doubt that Michael indeed looked like ex Tamilnadu captain Bigil. Because….hmm…

+11: Nayanthara is playing an empowered heroine in a movie about woman empowerment

-11: Empowered heroine does not tell father that she is not interested in marriage right now, this would have cut some 20 minutes of attempts at a comical church wedding. 

-3: Convenient team physiotherapist is extremely convenient (for hero)

-24: When movie transforms into sports movie, so all sports officials transform into villains and hero can become coach. 

+33: For a few minutes we actually thought this would be a women’s empowerment film, points for those minutes.

When issues are watered down so that the hero can take a stand on it, then ultimately the issue only suffers. 

Here in Bigil, while women empowerment is treated with allowable care; director offers no apology for violence and rowdyism.There are at least 300 people being thrown here and there by the hero. 

That rowdyism itself is a threat to women’s safety never occurred to the director. 

Hmm of course, hero is rowdy because rowdy is cool/wants to be etc. 

-33: For a full second half which is supposed to be about the girls, barely their names registered and most don’t have any role or character. 

+6: Director firmly believes that scoring goals is the only aspect of football he will concentrate on. 

-78: Movie relies heavily on stereotypes, but also does some baavla in the name of dismantling them. 

-101: Movie is not over yet. 2 more football matches to go. 

+3: One police station sequence which seems was directed by ARM during Darbar break. 

-5: Director sneaks in outtakes from Adidas ads for SIngapennay song, we hope people found it inspiring, or atleast to do some Diwali sports shoe shopping

<Use code BIGIL50, wherever you want, you never know> 

+5: Everyone in football team is wearing Bigil jersey, but we expected them to turn to camera and say “I am Bigil” like “I am spartacus” , no such luck.

-41.8: A team in full form will suddenly play like they have never played together before in THE FINALS of the tournament, just so our hero can go to locker room and motivate them. 

+11: Hero fulfills everyone’s wishes, including the wishes of his dead father and his father and their friends and their uncles and their gullies and the whole world. 

+32: Hero gets credit for everything by NOT getting credit for everything, wow well played. 

Hmm but..

Haters can hate, because Peace is the answer. Everyone becomes good. Society is happy. World is happy. Sleep well. 

All numbers are incidental and arbitrary, except the facts provided by our data analytics team

Happy Deepavali Nanba.

Subam

Team FRS

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

That Tarantino taught himself movie making from behind the desk at a video store is the stuff of legend. In Chennai, it is not uncommon to have friends who due to compulsions of engaging with popular culture have a tee shirt which proudly says “ I never went to film school. I went to films” or some such Tarantino quote. 

Tarantino is the real life story of the fringe becoming mainstream, the director who launched the career of numerous disciples, the director who within a short time had an ‘esque’ added to his name. The director who has his quotes on t shirts in Chennai. 

It’s what he became.But let’s come back to the first  fact, as a video store clerk- he saw every type of film. Often in the transference of his coolness, the reason for his coolness is omitted.He saw every type of film.  

Has there been any Tarantino conversation without the generous movie name-dropping? To think of it, his tee shirt makes perfect sense, he really figured out how to make movies by just watching a ton of movies- a certified movie nut with unconditional love. 

He just didn’t stream the AFI top 100 to become what he did become(relevant in our time of curated lists and general entitlement of everyone seeking the ‘best’). 

Tarantino went to work, consuming films of all types and sizes, without any notion of preconceived taste.His passion extends beyond just viewing them but to track down and remember every filmmaker. The resultant is a wholly unique person with an extremely specific movie taste. 

Specific to the extent of keeping a close watch on how he will be remembered (the 9th film by Quentin Tarantino is how Once Upon A Time…is marketed), his movies are combos- the ones on a food menu which arrive quick, valuable and consists of enticing items from different pages in the same menu. Each preceding film was a genre version of what Tarantino cooked up. 

But Once Upon A Time is different…it is still a heady mix of genres, it still moves to an assorted pop soundtrack and radio commercials, it does have an obliqueness to violence but this is really Tarantino’s way of giving it back (love) to his industry. 

Although at the same time it is not the “love letter” or the nostalgia driven look of Hollywood- it is authentic but not rose tinted. It is a film about time, a word that features in the title. 

A passage of time, 1969 seems to be year of closure of many things Old Hollywood- the slowing of the studio system- the decline of a certain sort of heroism. 

A man’s man would be ridiculed in our ‘woke’ times, but their careers seem to have ended a long time ago. I can never imagine an ‘environmentally’ aware hero like Leonardo taking up anything remotely similar to Bounty Law ( the TV series that Rick Dalton, his character plays in this movie). 

Tarantino feels for Rick Dalton & his driver-companion Cliff Booth (Dalton himself is based on many leading TV men of the 50s and 60s who lost their way, without a break, mostly forgotten by history) but he is not tied down by the weight of historical accuracy. He wants them to get that one break, that one lucky break which could change a sagging career. 

At the other end of the story is a young Sharon Tate, who at the time represented the Hollywood to come, young with life, till it was horrifically taken away from her. Tarantino cares for her too, doesn’t really care for history. One of the best moments come from Tate getting to watch her on screen in the ‘The Wrecking Crew’. A rather ‘asinine’ film, as Tarantino himself put it while guesting on a podcast. It isn’t regarded as a classic film but means so much to Sharon Tate, thus proving that any movie could make deep impact in a person’s life, irrespective of how it has been ‘regarded’ by society (especially critics). 

The ending, which is sure to shock many, but unlike the catharsis of killing Hitler in Inglorious Basterds, this comes from a sweet place of good intentions and confidence.  The way he juxtaposes fact and fiction in a way that only reminded me of Monty Python’s Life of Brian- a film that follows the parallel lives of the Christ and a commoner.

Clearly my favourite Tarantino and definitely the most re-watchable , a movie where I could endear myself to his brashness.

He knows his stuff, this is his subject, he seems to be having the most fun when without any care following his characters to see where they go-forgetting lines, feeding dogs, folding clothes, watching movies and generally raising hell in the Hollywood of 1969.