Finally watched The Boy in the Striped Pajamas after months of wanting. This movie was being aired at an independent theater, but I missed it then. AT&T U-Verse recording system came to my rescue.
You must be thinking: Oh, another movie dealing with WWII and Nazi Germany. Another movie that highlights the sufferings meted out against Jews. Another movie showing Hitler. At the risk of sounding cliched, the movie is a “different” take on WW-II. It tells the story of a Nazi family from the eyes of an eight year old whose father is stationed near one of the concentration camps. The boy, Bruno, thinks men in striped pajamas are farmers. He is upset over the way an old Jew who serves them food is treated by his father. He’s much surprised to learn that the vegetable tending man was actually a doctor by profession.
There’s so much of meaning to everything that happens in the movie: A kid’s conscience is so clear compared to that of an adult. How as parents, humans try to protect their kids from the harshness that surrounds us. Yet it is this unequal and filtered information that might sometimes harm the kids. A mother’s instinct is so strong. She realizes the danger that her children face. It’s hardly suitable for them to live only a couple of yards away from a concentration camp. And at the same time, the father thinks it is his duty to stand by his countrymen. The movie doesn’t delve much into the actual propaganda and atrocities surrounding the era. All of us very well know what happened. The father, who is referred to as a “brave soldier” by his son, learns a very important lesson in his life the hard way. The mom suffers.
So the crux of the movie is this: Bruno’s Jew friend who stays in a concentration camp comes to work at his place. He is busy cleaning silverware. Bruno offers him some food which the Jewish boy gladly accepts. One of the Nazi officers stationed in the house catches the two boys talking. He reprimands the Jew and asks Bruno if he knows the Jew. Bruno denies knowing the Jew. The Nazi officer takes the Jew boy away and punishes him. The Jew boy appears several scenes later with a purple eye. I thought he would have been dead. Anyway. Bruno is guilt ridden over the fact that he let his friend down. He wants to make up to him. See, it’s his clear conscience that brings his downfall. If Bruno were a 35 year old, he would have still been alive. The Jew boy tells Bruno that his father has been missing since the past couple of days. Bruno offers to help him find his dad. Both devise a plan to smuggle in Bruno into the concentration camp. Now you’ll wonder, why would Bruno agree to enter the forbidden area? This is where “unequal and filtered information” is to be blamed. A couple of days ago, Bruno sees a propaganda movie spearheaded by his dad that shows Jews living very comfortable lives beyond the bloodied fences. The documentary makes him believe the Jews have a cafe, play area and everyone is one, big happy family. When the time comes for him to join his Jew friend, he gladly agrees. In the mean time, Bruno’s mother learns what goes on in the concentration camp just a couple of yards away from her house: the smoke emanating out is that of Jews being burned alive. Visibly distressed, she convinces her husband that they need to move their kids somewhere else. Before she can do this, her son manages to escape and join his Jew friend on the other side of the fence. A search follows. However it’s too late and the boys have been gassed. The new gas chambers promise to be more efficient and were masterminded by Bruno’s father. Cruel way of learning an important lesson, huh?
The movie is based on a book with the same title, written by John Boyne. I haven’t read the book. My biggest regret is the authenticity lost because of the main language. I wish the movie were in German with English subtitles. The direction and acting were all up to the mark. I did wonder a couple of times how a pair of eight year olds managed to escape the eyes of Nazis while they sat facing each other across the fence, exchanging thoughts and chocolates.
I remember visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC last December. It was a humbling experience. I got to walk through real coaches that were used to transport Jews to concentration camps. I saw the actual bunk “beds” in which they slept. There were striped uniforms, mountains of real shoes, and other personal items of the deceased on display. This June, there was a shooting outside the Museum. Neo-Nazis still live on this Earth. Each one of us is a Nazi as long as we, as common people, don’t realize that everyone has a right to live.
Maria Elena used to say that only unfulfilled love can be romantic
- Juan Antonio
Woody Allen almost makes me ashamed of wanting normalcy and stability in my life. He also seems to propound that sex equals love. As in, unless two people are having lots of sex, they can’t be in love. Maybe I’m getting it all wrong. I enjoyed the madness and the Spanish scenery. I enjoyed feeling inspired to love, to paint, to create music and to live like an artist. I wish I’d watched this movie sooner. Perhaps I would have done something about what I didn’t intentionally want to happen.
Oh, Penelope Cruz looked very pretty. But I’m not sure if she deserved the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. I think Scarlett Johansson did put up an equally impressive performance. I’ve seen Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall together in The Prestige and it was a pleasure seeing them again in this romantic comedy. Javier Bardem looks delicious.
Lallopallo tagged me for a movie meme a couple of days back. I started off by writing a blog post, only to realize that I am wasting my time. No, not wasting my time doing the meme, but wasting my time re-listing all movies that I’ve mentioned in the Cinema page of my blog. But thanks to this meme, I’ve made a couple of adjustments: I have removed the categories (Action, Drama, Foreign, Documentaries etc.). Categories restrict the art of movie making. At least that’s what I feel. A movie is so much more than just drama or action. Instead, I’ve re-arranged the movies that I like based on their first names (A, B, C, D…etc).
Lallo, I know you wanted me to add why I liked each movie. I’m sorry I haven’t done that because it’s difficult for me to sum it up in a couple of sentences. I have linked each movie to the IMDB page, which gives ample information (the movie outline, main characters, quotes etc.). In any case, IMDB does a better job that I will ever do. Some of these movies have been previously reviewed on my blog and I’ve inserted the links next to the names of the movies.
I’m not tagging anyone particularly. Anyone who wants to take up this meme is free to do so.
Absolutely loved this movie! The first part of Slumdog Millionaire was extremely good and actually has a very Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay kind of touch to it.At one point, I felt that by the end of the movie, I’ll probably walk out with a heavy heart. The second half of the movie is a little less intense…if you know what I mean. Overall, it’s a good watch for sure. Dev Patel plays the main protagonist and has done an amazing job.
Not sure if the movie will win an Oscar nomination or a win. But you never know! People are saying that it might win an Oscar. A.R. Rahman, the music composer has won a Golden Globe nomination. I love the OST of the movie, O Saya. In fact, I’ve listened to it more than 20 times in one evening. Yeah, I’m a bit of an extreme case. You can listen to the song on my tumblelog.
I watched this movie in an independent theater here and was pleasantly surprised to find the theater PACKED! There is this one scene in the movie where the main actor, as a child, falls into a pile of shit, and runs all the way to Amitabh Bachchan to get his autograph! The entire theater was roaring with laughter. I was no exception. The scene was very well crafted. Kind of silly, but it did the trick!
Anil Kapoor as the game show host is quite bearable. Nothing spectular, but good enough. Irrfan Khan was definitely a surprise element for me. I’m a huge fan of his and loved him in movies such as Maqbool and The Namesake.
Danny Boyle has made a phenomenal breakthrough by directing this movie Bollywood style. You won’t even know that the director is not Indian! I liked the fact that he showed the slums of Mumbai with an uplifting tone. Whenever Indian slums are shown in International movies, I always get the feeling that the movie makers are trying to cash in to India’s poverty. However, this movie is quite an exception.
I would like to think that this is the story of a boy who wins “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” because he’s lucky and because he knows how to differentiate between right and wrong. His circumstances are not stellar, but he knows how to get by his day to day life. And of course, were it not for the love of his life, he wouldn’t have done anything. The movie has a very strong undercurrent of love and loyalty. If I write more, I’ll give away parts of the plot. But you’ll know what I’m talking about once you watch the movie for yourself.
Within the first five minutes of the movie, Hindi slangs such as “Chutia” and “Madarchod” will make you feel completely at home. While Indians like me laughed out loud, Americans clearly missed the joke. Weird that not all Hindi dialogues (especially the slangs) had English translations…which brings me to this- I wish the director had let the dialogues remain in Hindi for most part. The 20-80 Hindi: English ratio didn’t go down very well with me and I’ll tell you why. First off, even I had trouble understanding the English accent used in some parts. Not sure if British/Americans etc. will understand. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t! Dubbing all the dialogues in Hindi (with English subtitles) would have given the movie an authentic feel. I didn’t like the way some of the dialogues were delivered. Dev Patel, however, was excellent with his Indian English pronunciation.
The movie has been released in the US with limited prints- it seems like the Producers were having trouble finding enough distributors.
It is a feel good movie towards the end. Not sure if this was a conscious decision made…but it seems to work this time.
I watched three great movies in the past week- The Prestige, The Silence of the Lambs and Changeling.
1. The Prestige- I like movies that deal with illusions, magic, wizardry etc. This movie stars Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Michael Cane primarily. Another masterpiece by Christopher Nolan. I don’t know how I managed to miss it the first time around. If you haven’t seen it, then you’re really missing something here! The movie is based on two magicians and how they become professional rivals- how one is naturally gifted (Christian Bale as Borden) and how the other one (Hugh Jackman as Robert Angier) will do anything to triumph and in the process, lose almost everything. It’s refreshing to see Christian Bale in a role other than that of Batman. He’s such a wonderful actor. Click here for the plot summary from Wikipedia.
2. The Silence of the Lambs- I wanted to watch this one since such a long long time. It was almost embarrassing! I managed to get the DVD from a local Walmart store. The story revolves around two serial killers and an FBI agent (Jodie Foster) who is a student in the FBI academy and it trying to complete her assignment of convicting one serial killer with the help of the other (Anthony Hopkins). The movie won lots of Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Hopkins), Best Actress (Foster), Best Director (Jonathan Demme) and Best Picture (Edward Saxon). It has also been rated as one of the Most Scariest Movies of All Times. Click here for the plot summary from Wikipedia.
3. Changeling- Clint Eastwood’s new flick and was released in the US on Oct 31st, 2008. I saw it in the theater today. Stars Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich among others. It’s based on the true story of one Christine Collins and her struggle to find her missing boy. The director, with great expertise, reveals the bureaucracy that was prevalent in the Los Angeles Police Department and the State Asylum. This movie had also created a lot of interest at the Cannes Festival this year. I’m not really a fan of Angelina Jolie, but she’s done a fabulous job in this movie. I remember seeing her in “A Mighty Heart” and almost cringing. I have a feeling that this movie will be nominated for lots of Oscars and will probably win some too. This is just the type of movie that the Academy Awards jury likes. The plot and the general atmosphere of the movie is extremely dark and depressing. So if you indulge in movie watching only for light entertainment, then I would advise you against watching this. The main plot of the story sticks to the real story almost everywhere, except for a couple of dates here and there. I don’t want to reveal the plot and spoil the fun. But please go watch it if you are a Clint Eastwood/Angelina Jolie fan. Click here for more details from Wikipedia.
I have no idea why Quantum of Solace is releasing only next week in the United States! I can’t wait to watch that and Milk- a movie that deals with Gay Rights…especially after Proposition 8 got passed in California.
Sunset Boulevard is the story of a yester year movie star, Norma Desmond, who dreams of making a come back to the screen. She entraps a young, unemployed writer, Joe Gillis, by making him financial dependent on her. Her loneliness and insecurity makes her fall in love with him. Feeding her vain ego is her in house servant cum driver, Max, who continues to mail her fake fan letters. The ambience and the general set up of the movie reminds me of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Norma Desmond’s character is quite similar to Miss Havisham’s, in that she stays in an old, crumbling palace, and is extremely detached from the reality of the outside world. Her fear of finally realizing that the world has moved on and that she’s no more a star has made her set up a mini theater at home, where she watches re-runs of her silent movies. Her house is decorated with tons of frames carrying pictures of young Norma Desmond.
What’s interesting about the movie is that the lead role of Norma Desmond has been played by Gloria Swanson, who was a famous star during the silent movie era. She lost her foot hold in the movie industry with the advent of “talkies”. This was touted to her come back movie and what a come back it was- the movie was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, out of which, it won three- Best Music, Best Art Direction- Set Decortation and Best Writing.
One of the best scenes in the movie is the one where Joe Gillis walks into Norma’s room for the first time- Norma has mistaken him to be a coffin dealer and shows Joe the dead body of her monkey. Gloria Swanson’s acting as the old woman who’s gone mad couldn’t have been better. William Holden, as the struggling writer is a treat to watch too.
One of my absolute favorites so far!
The Other End of the Line claims to offer more insight into the lives of call center workers and how they struggle to merge their Indian and American identities. The movie stars Shriya Saran as the call center worker, Jesse Metcalfe as the guy on the “other end of the line”, Tara Sharma as Shriya’s confidante at the call center, Anupam Kher as Shriya Saran’s father, among other stars.
The plot of the story is not very realistic: Shriya is helping Jesse Metcalfe (high flyer, advertising business, hot, suave, good looking) sort through his credit card bills which have gotten over blown because of identity theft. Jesse, instead of canceling the account (under real-world-ideal-scenario) continues to use the card. Shriya calls him up every time she sees a charge on the account, to make sure that it is legitimate. Now, come on! Which call center employee is that good? I would really like to come across such a loving sales rep. Instead, I cringe every time my call is picked up by a call center employee. Shriya Googles up Jesse and realizes that he the rich, unattainable guy. All this while, she hides under the name of one “Jessica” and purports to be from San Francisco. Jesse asks her out on a date. Shriya turns him down initially. But you see, she’s also under going a personal crisis: She’s getting married to a mumma’s boy! To escape from her marriage woes, she decides to take up Jesse’s offer, hops on Air India and arrives at San Francisco! When she sees Jesse for the first time, she doesn’t have the nerves to go up to him and tell him the truth. Instead, the director makes them collide in a hotel lobby, fall on top of each other…Bollywood ishtyle. What follows next is a lot of song and dance, long walks on the beaches, and no touching please!
Finally, Jesse comes to know about Shriya’s true identity. Tempers fly, lots of bad mouthing, Shriya gets back home, ready to marry mumma’s boy. But America has taught her some stuff: Live for yourself. Do things that make you happy, blah blah. She goes to the boy’s house and tells him exactly that (as if it’s a sin to do things that make you happy). She breaks off and resigns the rest of her life to her call center job. She’s soon promoted. Jesse flies to India to woo her and everyone lives happily ever after.
Anupam Kher has been completely wasted in the movie. All he does is worry about his daughter and repeat cliched dialogues (“Stop acting americano and worry about your family also…you need to marry that guy for us”). Tara Sharma doesn’t have much of a role, except play the agony aunt. Shriya Saran acts well, even though the movie doesn’t really offer much. I suspect she took it up hoping that this would be her claim to international fame. Jesse looks hot.
If I were to go by what’s shown in the movie, then call center employees have weekly classes where they are taught the difference between Wendy’s and McDonald’s burgers, where they are taught American slangs, how to tackle abusive-spoilt-rich-American customers (exact words used) and are also kept up to date on Hollywood gossip. Indians have been portrayed as hard working…people who tolerate all the abuse. Americans have been portrayed as ignorant, rich spoilt brats. Oh, and all call center people start from New Jersey (callers from this region abuse the most) and then work their way to the West- San Francisco etc.
The most unrealistic part of the movie is the fact that Shriya’s Indian accent is weird- she doesn’t even pronounce words like “familiar” and “accepted” properly. But her American accent is amazing! I’m sure that some of her foreign accent would rub off on her Indian accent too. This discord between two accents is something that I don’t agree with at all. Any Indian who stays in the US can tell you that much: The way you pronounce certain words changes and it is not even possible that you’ll pronounce “possible” as “phhhoosibl” in American accent” and pronounce it as “paw-sibbble” in Indian.
I saw an American family sitting towards the back of the theater. They seemed to be enjoying the movie. My friend and I hated it. Then there was this other Indian family sitting right in front of us who couldn’t stop laughing either. Apart from us, I didn’t see anyone else in the theater.
You can easily give this film a miss.
I went “offline” in the sense that I completely stopped blogging. It’s not that I got bored of it or anything…just had a lot of other stuff lined up and didn’t know how to prioritize. Thank you all for reading and commenting. It feels nice to be missed. I’m sorry for not keeping in touch though. I can really disappear if I want/need to.
The WordPress page’s layout has changed- quite a bit. Just noticed it a minute or two ago, when I was trying to log in. I wasn’t even sure if I’ll be able to guess my password at one go. Yes, it’s been that long. I started on this new job about three months back and it’s been an uphill battle to try and wake up by 7 am and be in office by 8 am. I’m proud of the fact that I’m almost always on time. And what is my job related to? IT of course.
My folks came over from India for a couple of weeks. I finally took my long, impending trip to New York City. I so wanted to watch Woody Allen perform at Hotel Carlyle. Lallo, you can be happy now. Good enough reason to visit NYC again. I could write pages and pages about my trip. Unfortunately, I really don’t have the words. Some of the places that I visited- Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Queens, Soho, Liberty Island and The Status of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, Wall St, 5th Avenue (did lots of “window shopping”), ate Brooklyn style pizza in some Italian restaurants, walked by foot and traveled by the famous subways all the time, ate honey roasted almonds, learned how to read the complicated subway map, Trinity Church, Ground Zero (site of WTC) of course. It’s only when you are in Manhattan that you realize how easy it is to fall in love with this city and New Yorkers. Woody Allen, this trip was for you.
Also heard that J.K Rowling is releasing “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” for everyone. I’d already predicted this, in fact. Who’s buying the $100 leather bound version?
I did some movie watching too! My top favorites are The Dark Knight (9.5/10), Turtles Can Fly (9/10), Terminator 2 (9/10), and Omkara (8.5/10). And finally, I bought the entire collection of Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieslowski off Amazon.
Now for some NYC pics-
Last weekend was fun! I finally got to watch No Country for Old Men and the new Kamal Hassan movie, …
No Country for Old Men was an interesting watch. Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin were outstanding. The movie really deserves an Oscar. It’s creepy in a good way. Anton Chigurh is probably one of the scariest killers ever seen on the big screen and I can’t think of anyone other than Javier Bardem who could have done a better job.
Dasavathaaram is the first Tamil movie that I’ve watched, thanks to English subtitles. It was a major disappointment in my opinion. There was no script! Looks like the director just came up with something at the end moment, in order to justify ten Kamal Hassan’s.
List of disappointments:
Kamal Hassan’s acting was very subpar. I think he should leave commercial cinema to Rajnikanth.
More time was spent on make up compared to anything else. Not that the make up was any good! The make up looks more like a pancake. In so many scenes, Kamal Hassan could hardly move his head.
The graphics were completely screwed up.
The action scenes were very unrealistic.
The actress, Asin, was quite annoying! She plays the role of this typical village girl, who is extremely pious and only cares about her God. In every single scene, all she does is talk about God and nothing else.
There were quite a few scenes that talked about the caste system, and the color of the skin, that didn’t go down very well with me. I’m not sure if this was even required.
Way TOO long.
All in all, $16 down the drains.