Categories
cinema FRS

FRS: Penguin (2020)

And we are back! 

So everyone here knows what an FRS is right? Right? 

+2: No narration and we all sigh in relief

-3: Movie begins with a statue by a lake in Kodaikanal,the statue has so much of the art department’s fingerprints on it that none will mistake it for a real statue. Small fail. 

-45: Oho so killer in this movie will wear Charlie Chaplin mask. 

Exclusive extract of excruciating moments from the story discussion room 

“Sir, apparently clowns are very scary, in US and all, children get scared by seeing clowns, they have also made movie based on it recently”

“We should also have clown face villain to creep out audience”

“People will find out…”

“Oh then what’s next to clown…maybe we should try Charlie Chaplin” 

“Wow, done deal” 

“Let’s also add one yellow umbrella so that it becomes very iconic” 

<End of exclusive extract> 

Sorry but lol, we could never associate any kind of fear with the Chaplin Killer, no the music also was not helping, sorry. Also he has a yellow umbrella like a CSK fan and so anyone in Kodai should have spotted him by now. 

-32: Movie is set in Kodaikanal types just because our characters can wear sweaters. Yeah please there are lakes all around Chennai, please summa don’t say lakes and all. 

Also also, we can see this trend in which Amazon is picking up tamil movies for release, both Ponmagal Vandhal and Penguin has the following

✅Female protagonist

✅Movie location is hilltop town

✅Murder and kidnapping involving children

✅Drone shot over car, lake and mountain

✅Sweater people and mist

So if you’re writing and selling to Amazon, have the above somewhere in mind. 

+23: One guy (not telling who) will do one morning call for ten minutes to tell what happened in the life of KeeSu so that audience can catch up, this is also aided by some photographs etc

-23: for that 20 minute intro call, KeeSu will reply with just “miss you too” #hmmzoned 

-80: Heroine goes into flashback mode suddenly so that we can know exactly the things that we need to know to progress with the movie. 

-71.2: Heroine will rapidly tell a penguin story to her kid, so rapid that we are sure that the kid didn’t follow, we were not sure if we should follow it ourselves, later we got to know that it’s not the full story even, then why so speed?

-11:Heroine then comeback to “present day” because someone call her name cliche

+34: Lady doctor gives good advice about pregnancy but of course none of this will be followed by our heroine, points for timely advice being timely. 

+101: Understanding husband is too much understanding 

-53: Kodai police are not going to like this film, especially when the inspector seems to have made the right connection at first. 

-56.9: If it is a slasher film involving a kid, then two definite elements will be there. One kid will be allowed to draw random things and characters will get puzzled over this, also said kid will sing some nursery rhyme. 

Supposedly all this is fresh and spooky. 

-23: Something something happens and we suddenly see ourselves watching Silence of the Lambs, no we mean not that movie within this movie, but something like that. Out of the blue surprise. 

-42: Movie really doesn’t progress beyond a set of characters and since the main slasher is also Charlie Chaplin costumed, most of the genre trappings like setting, sound design and the misty cinematography are not effective. 

So we know where they are going, before they get going. 

Also then they say the movie is about motherhood. Yeah, another addition to our hill-top horror series of films which has been giving diminishing returns. Yeah. 

Team FRS

Subam

Categories
cinema:tamil Parking Lot Notes

Parking Lot Notes: Psycho (2020)

Mysskin’s Thupparivaalan sowed in me the fears that the director is not really interested in genre but more interested in using the genre to speak about larger themes, something I should have feared even earlier, when he released his reimagining of a ghost story in”Pisasu”. Sometimes I am late to these insightful fears and that hurts when I am sitting inside a theatre watching the movie unfold. 

Psycho is a continuation, it is really a different take on the serial killer or slasher sub genre, to the extent that it is devoid of any suspense and does not evoke any fear ( apart from my fear of this not being a true genre film). It does not even pierce into the psyche of the psycho and it is nowhere close to being a serious police investigation film. 

It paints a generic picture,oversells humanity. So now you see how far Mysskin has come away from the genre.There are still instruments from his flourish box- the calmness in the dark, the rustling of the trees (oh I wish there were more of this) but very little more. 

To understand my pain,then let’s start at the beginning. There is a serial killer on the loose in Coimbatore, he stalks, kidnaps and before our characters could enter, has killed 13 women.Our characters are introduced via a radio show discussing the recent spate of murders-one is Dahini played by Aditi Rao Hydari who somehow has the knack of finding herself in angelic roles in boring films, the other is of course Gautham played by Udhayanidhi Stalin who is introduced as her blind stalker but goes on to become the detective who solves this case. After a point, the movie becomes less and less about solving the murder and more about hero finding the heroine. 

In his efforts to paint a hyper unreal love story- Mysskin just drops the aforementioned 13 murders of women-just like that- it leaves a bad taste when the serial killer is almost portrayed as a saint by the end of the film. (breathe in deeply, hold, breathe out) 

I always return to my musings on genre, because that is what constitutes overwhelmingly to how I receive a film (also the mood) and I am amazed how uniquely Mysskin manages to make my favourite type of films dull and completely devoid of excitement. 

He did it to the detective thriller before with Thupparivalan, but Mysskin was not like this, he used to understand how important a thread is, a line of thought is, what is it to uncover a clue and how one thing leads to another- for that I should have just stayed home and watched Yuddham Sei. 

That film too had an underlying social message, but the movie by itself worked because of the right push given to these genre elements including one of Tamil cinema’s best portrayal of the obsessive detective (by Cheran). 

But am I really doing a disservice to Psycho by comparing it with other films and pushing it down by my own expectations of genre elements? Maybe I do not have the maturity to accept “subversion” in genre. 

Maybe I have begun to realize that I watch movies from the experience of watching other movies.

(Pause for reflection). 

True. There could be many reasons why the movie did not work for me at all, maybe that’s why I waited with ‘this’ languishing in the drafts for 15 days before putting out a Parking Lot Note (usually these are quick, I mean relatively). 

Honestly, I felt nothing really happens on the screen and with great difficulty I tried to keep my attention on the screen- even the later attempts at a horror thriller did not evoke my required response and I was asking myself again and again, why is it important for this director to sell this concept of “humanity” again at the cost of the story itself? So boring. 

That’s when I try to disassociate myself from the character and look for breaks in the story thread or logical holes. I couldn’t help myself but. 

But what really worked me up was that this thrill-less movie begins with the lines that they say that it is a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, it was like dedicating a movie without dialogues to Visu.  

Fin. 

Categories
cinema:tamil FRS

FRS: Vivegam

vivegam3

So we all know what an FRS is right? right?

-100: To us, we haven’t changed this boring intro, even with 14 writers on our payroll the fact that we can’t write a decent opening, shows the levels at which incompetence has seeped into the Laureate.<SHAME>

+5: Movie has no narration, a virtue especially when the last film we saw was Taramani.

-5: Whenever minor character says that they have x levels of security means mega security failure will happen within x minutes (Mega Security Mazhuppal Rule)

+30: Two eastern European uncles have been cast in such a way that just by looking at them you will know that they are villains, one has cigar also

-51.25: When confronted by assassin, victims will state their name, age occupation, designation and aadhar number(liberals no need to provide) so as to make life easier for the assassin.

Assassin is of course our AK

+21: hero’s name is AK!! hero’s character name is also AK!! how cool is that, i mean how inventive #AK25.

+101: How the movies have changed, like actors used to ‘play’ characters like villain, spy, doctor, minister etc; but in Vivegam it is what critics will call ‘turning-genre-by-the-head’

Wait buddies, we will explain.

Like Vivegam is not a story about a spy, it is about Ajith Kumar (AK) if he had chosen to become a spy instead of an actor. Yes that is the story.
+34: Writer-Director has embarked on toughest task of making every dialogue that AK speaks as punch dialogue.

Even when AK asks for sugar it is so menacing that you will not let children go near AK. More about children later
-54: Story? LOL what story?

-129.07: Messaging: Like this is not a movie this is AK’s personal videos to his fans,

+21: Serbians are not going to like this film

+50: AK’s super power is that no bullet will hit him unless he wills it himself, much like Mahabharatam Bheeshmar.

+112.33: When facing an entire army, always look at the camera and speak with optimism in tamil, this itself will confuse them. (AK’s escapism rule)

-34.5: As expected, dutiful AK will have cute family life

-11: GVM school of non-ordinary heroine naming, here it is Yazhnini, and of course she is a carnatic music teacher in inteeerior Serbia.

Hi to Cleveland Thyagaraj+ Death Metal Thangaraj

Oh wait, they also run cute tamil organic food restaurant which is popular among the locals. <Yeppa Dei Nativity>

-379: However cute, children must not be allowed in cooking area, safety reasons.

-150: Cute children

-29: As usual, hero looking at heroine playing with rain drops scene, hence love shot

vivegam2

Pokkiri Pongal and all ok, have you seen Serbian Pongal? #Internaaational

+17: Yazhini is so the dutiful wife that even Valluvar’s Vasuki will have to take morning tuition from her.

-600: AK-Yaazhini level ideal couple pressures will seep into real life for couples after seeing the film.

Not ruling out divorce based on this pressure.

-89.12: Anti-Terror Squad head-office looks like one IT company with reception and all, I think they might have pre-sales division also, if free please put out JD at naukri boys!

+109: As expected head of Anti-Terror Squad is played by one person who will believe whatever people will say

+45: Hobbies: apart from being a top class spy, killer, assassin, strategist, husband, organic food chain owner AK is also a New York Times best-selling author

-300: War as photo-op: no seriously if you are army uncle in Serbia you will have lot of time to stand on tanks, do circumambulation to fighter jet, go to picnic, take and remove sun-glasses.

Yes, in slow motion.

-6.7K: Everyone talks about AK, every single character will talk about AK in the film, AK also talks about AK.

+23: Director believes hackers can do anything in life. ANYTHING

-56: If you are low ranking/new recruit in the espionage business you will be treated as a comedy piece (Arumaiprakagasam)

+902: Main Job of main villain is not to break the world into pieces but to praise AK, second job of main villain is to take over the world.

+15: Dei, in this movie everything is one hologram, even things you can do in simple PPT these villains will show in hologram.

Yeppa sci-tech-death

+15: Level of data analytics is MAX. eg: villain will shout: find the total number of running trains in Serbia, in that how many people are watching hot star in that how many people are eating lays chips type questions and his data team will give the answer within seconds.

Add to this, you will see 456 types of tracking and hacking #scitechdeath

We asked our data analytics team in Pune a simple question, how many people visit our blog nu. Still these fellows are giving reports.

 

-433: For our data analytics team

AK does data analytics in his mind only, so he does not need team.

+9: Phoenix paravai!

-213: Mind numbing mind games AK and villain will play for three hours, at this point we shouted “VARENNNN MAAAA!” into our phones and recorded the same for future use

Also all fights become tiring because anyhow you know that AK is phoenix paravai and nothing will happen to him.

-0.98: Analysts are telling that running time of the movie increased…..because….of….the….way…..AK…………spoke………………the……….dialogues……..given to…….him…..

-75: Spy uncles think that shutting down satellites is like switching off fan while leaving classroom

+101: Carnatic-mixed-martial arts based climax fight. One of its kind in Indian cinema.

AK’s T shirt rule: quality of t shirt will deteriorate towards the end of the movie so that it can be torn to reveal torso

Yes they have promised sequel and all.

Till then….

NEVER.EVER.GIVE.UP.

 

Subham/Ungal Naam

The FRS Team

Vanakkam

 

 

Categories
cinema cinema:tamil

They Who Need Not Be Named

Parking Lot Notes 2: Maanagaram

Maanagaram

Adhavadhu(that is…),
humanity’s greatest achievement is not the great wall of china or moon landing or the moon landing tapes, but cities.

We weren’t meant to live in caves, or in forests or spend our lifetimes working with crops and pests and pesticides, notice how we came from all that into this density of human life, simply called the city.
(Density, city rhymes, +5 marks, self evaluation as they say in some industries)

But not everyone, mostly not those originally from a city seem to like life in one, they prefer rural silence to urban violence, the slow pace to a rat race. Also non-citizens (here meant to denote those not from a city) tend to think that there is some sort of moral loss that happens in a city and that this loss is communicable.

Mainly this idea has been spread by Tamil(also others?) cinema.

Innumerable movies talk about the helping tendencies of the rural-ites, their hardworking-ness and their ever helpful nature. Cities however are the polar opposite, if a village can be compared to the character of a hero, then a city is the serial rapist villain who has bald thug named ‘Peter’ who spits Pan Parag in railway ticket counter corners.

Nevermind.

Like all things in reality, cities are inescapable, for me they represent human life at its aggregated best; a place where differences blur because everyone is pushing against each other towards an unknown center.

Without cities, we would be even distant islands of self image and comfort. Without cities we would still be somebody. See, because one of the best things that a city offers you is anonymity!

Like rain water, sewage etc etc making it to the sea, we all make it to the city.

It doesn’t matter who we are and where we are from.

Maanagaram is what knowledgeable people call a hyperlink film in which multiple characters pursue their own stories but are united in the core theme of the film, which is ofcourse about the city.

But wait, this is not Ayutha Ezhuthu, this is better( hi to all Madras Talkies), with much likeable characters, pulsating music, open your mouth in amazing disbelief kind off opening titles, swear words and their social context, broken beer bottle into your neck kind off action and generally Chennai by night( which is the biggest plus)

Underneath all this is a thread of that of the kindness of strangers, how far will someone go for another man(or woman); invisibly connecting all the characters that inhabit this city, I mean film.

Maanagaram, one of the best films out there this year ( coughs and says Gaudam, “what does your instict say”) not only because of its extreme filmmaking and exciting characters but also because Maangaram gives the best that every big city offers: anonymity

Untill next time.

 

{Parking Lot notes initially appeared as a Facebook post somewhere}

Categories
cinema cinema:english

Holy Mackerel!

A note on De Palma: the documentary
BaradwajR in his review of the Tamil film Thoongavanam cried out that what that film really needed was the styling of De Palma, not workman like direction; but that is just reducing De Palma to a stylist, Thoongavanam on the other hand got the workman like director it needed (just a flat out thriller), it certainly did not deserve the twisted visual brilliance that a De Palma film is expected to have.

It also reinstates the prevailing notion that De Palma is just a stylist, which he isn’t, just.

Like the people who I know who love Mission Impossible, I fell in love with the De Palma film without actually knowing that it was his film, and when I did and later re-watched Mission Impossible (my permanent laptop lock screen is the cyclical staircase from the film), I went “holy mackerel!”
Obviously when I heard that a documentary was being made, it went right to the top of my ‘to watch’ list of the year and I finally saw it yesterday.
De Palma, the documentary is a very straight-plain-just-the-director-talking-about-his-movies kind, of course interspersed by clips from his films, but it doesn’t have the admittance of peers or future admirers like the documentaries of Kubrick or Orson Welles or even Woody Allen, which is sad because De Palma deserves more than just a talking head documentary, the least is to have arranged for the rest of the New Hollywood to say few words about him.
Maybe BDP wanted it this way. His life, his work, his words.
bdp
<Idea Suggest: one big round-table with Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese and De Palma>
Even among New Hollywood, De Palma stands a little away; he has never got the widespread admiration of the others (which itself is enough reason to re-look DP films) but somehow managed to stay commercially relevant. The bright spot of this documentary is De Palma himself, to use the often cited “he carries the film on his shoulders” expression, but here there is no other option, you just have an aged film maker being very matter-of-fact about his films, there is no romanticizing or bowing down to any of the greats, very avuncular.
DP also realizes that he was fortunate to have worked in a time when studios were more genial towards filmmakers.
The stylistic flourishes that have now come to be known as the De Palma catalogue: the long takes, split screens, character juxtapositions, ominous music or the general feeling of accentuated darkness are not mere add-ons(as they have been written about in every style vs substance argument), these are the tools of a director who thinks visually, a director whose stimulus comes from walking through art galleries, a director who know holds the same thread that Hitchcock had; these aren’t just gimmickry (well but some are).
Let us just say that De Palma uses style like how a writer uses words, well but then he uses them lightly without pretense so that you don’t have to run and look-up a dictionary every time.
I think it is very difficult to un-see a DP film, a part; ok that is too much, a moment or the visual experience always remains, like say the fireworks in Blow-Out (my favorite DP, possibly one of the best tragedies in cinema), the church in Obsession, the staircase in Mission Impossible, the opening of Snake Eyes, the ending of The Untouchables; with only great difficulty that a person can lie about forgetting the above.
It is the paranoia that he creates which just comes out of the film and surrounds the audience much like the atmosphere, to keep me thinking about the places that I’ve never been to and situations I’ve never been in. In this way even the below-average De Palma thriller is cut above your everyday thriller and holy mackerel, entertaining as well.
Proof of what a thinking mind can do a medium.
(insert Brain De Palma joke here)
De Palma films have divided people and critics, thumbed down on many efforts, even the critics who adore him only see him within Hitchcock’s shadow, clouding him from adulation are his dubious distinctions including sharing shoulders with Michael bay on the number of Razzie nominations for Worst Director.
If not for nothing, De Palma the documentary would be a good place to start or revisit a wonderful director.
Because the real life of a movie only begins when it has been removed from the theaters.