I have connections in high places a friend who works in media and gets free passes, so I got to see the preview of Duplicity last night at GV Plaza. I went in with no expectations or idea about the movie whatsoever, and honestly thought that this was a romantic comedy that was going to leave a warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the night but satisfy little (like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which I saw last Friday). Then I saw the poster, and it said, “She’s ex-CIA. He’s ex-MI6″, and I thought, “Great, Mr and Mrs Smith 2.0″.
So I’ve been looking forwards to this for months. And by that, I really do mean the better part of the year, since the time they announced it. I was even more excited because this was a JJ Abrahms product (creator of Alias and Lost) as wellas Damon Lindelof (the brains behind Lost). So I organised (a month in advance) a geeks’ outing yesterday to watch this as soon as it opened in theatres here, comprising of a variety of my friends, both trekkies and non-trekkies. I am told I managed to convert at least one of them into a trekkie after the movie.
Update: I am sorry, I made some factual errors in my review. Spock did not originally choose the Vulcan Science Academy over Starfleet, he went into Starfleet, and then went into the path of the Kolinahru after its 5-year mission. I confused his story with that of Tuvok, the other notable Vulcan in the Star Trek franchise.
This post is probably long overdue, but as with everything else, I’ve been too busy to blog about it. I’ve received enough ribbing in my life about Indian movies, Indian songs and everything to do with Indian culture. People making fun of “dancing around coconut trees”, moving their heads and hands in a horrible imitation of what they consider Indian dance, and laughing at music – all of which I am expected to agree with and laugh at. I don’t confront residual racism directly, and until recently, I myself would have been unqualified to confront it [But that is not really the point].
So, with the axiom that knowledge is power, I am giving all my readers a tour of that great Indian institution: Indian films. Before I start, I must disclaim that I am by no means an expert, and I have not seen every movie out there [that would take roughly 100 years], and I am only able to give my point-of-view from three languages. Yes, surprise, there is more than one Indian language – roughly 20 official languages, in fact, spread out over 26 states. But the languages with an active film industry are not that many – Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu and of course, Hindi (popularly known as Bollywood). I am familiar with three of them – Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil. My interest in Indian movies was only recently revived, after having considered most of them in disdain. I still do, but I have learned to appreciate the gems too. Read more »
I went to watch Jodhaa Akbar on Friday night with my parents – completely impromptu. It was the first time in months I actually watched an Indian movie for more than 10 seconds, and probably the first time in a year that I watched it in a theatre, my last one being Water. [Of course, Water is in a completely different class from this, being an independent film by Deepa Mehta, the director of Fire, the famous Indian lesbian film.] Usually I can’t stand most Indian movies – a subject which I’ll expound on another day.
I am soooo gay. I sometimes wonder why I didn’t realise it earlier.
I came out to myself officially about 3 years ago, and from there, it took me about a year or two to be absolutely, 100%, no-looking-back sure. And it is small revelations like this that just adds to the pile of evidence.
What revelation am I talking about? I doubt anyone reading this blog will understand what I am talking about, but today I caught the beginning of an old Malayalam movie, Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, translated literally as “A Brave Western Tale”. It is a tale, set in the Kairali training grounds, of love and loss, of tragedy, of an orphan’s journey of being rejected. This movie is as classic, as enduring, as solid in the Malayali culture and history as you can get.
The film itself was made shortly after I was born, but set in a much olden time where women dressed like this:
[I can't get a better photo, sorry.... this was before the internet age].
They were simultaneously strong warrior women and angel-like beings of beauty and grace. They set the standard for femininity, and captured the imagination of an entire generation. Only now I realise it, but I fantasised extensively about these women at that time [I was six or seven when I was first able to watch and understand the movie I think]. I thought I wanted to be like them… but now I know I really wanted them. Them with their elaborate hairdos, their voluptuous ripe bodies, their grace and passion.
Talking about these women, I might as well take this opportunity to gush about Vidya Balan, who first captured my attention when she played Lalita in Parineeta.
I totally fell in love with the character in the movie… this intelligent, witty, strong woman who is at the same time, a little domicile and soft, a paragon of Indian femininity and natural beauty. I seriously can’t take my eyes off her when I watch her on screen.
But of course, perfect women like this don’t exist in real life – which is why they are called fantasies, isn’t it?
Went with Irene to watch Ratatouille today, after helping her pick out a perfume. It was an entertaining watch, a nice way to wind down after a busy week. The basic premise is fairly original IMO, though in this world, originality is often just a repackaged generic idea.
It is about a rat who loves good food and loves to cook, but has to use a human as his agent. The graphics were well done, but the plot was typically cliche and too far-fetched at many points. Not in the least because the rat could cook and read, but due to characterisation, the boring and unrealistic “romance” between Linguini and Colette, and the yawn-inducing “happy ending”. The moral lessons [there is one in every cartoon] were departed in a didactic fashion. But as people know, I don’t typically like happy endings. Unless the said happy ending is like that of… er.. Happy Endings aka Asian Boys Vol 3.
It was entertaining, but it did not live up to the hype or expectations I had of it. Maybe my standards for G-rated computer-animated movies are just absurdly high after Happy Feet. Even The Incredibles was better, and that’s saying something.