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The Bridges of Madison County : The eternal quest of life

Love is something peculiar . . you think you have felt it  . . you think you know what it is . . but when you experience it you would have the feeling that it is something entirely new and never in your wildest dreams you could have thought the magical things that love could do to you.

Finding the love of your life is the canvas on which Mr.Clint Eastwood has painted this beautiful picture. The film stars Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Streep received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 1996 for her performance in the film.They both transport the viewer to theIowa country side of the 1960’s.

 Love does not require time to establish. Maybe it does in some cases, but the most beautiful ones are those which happen in a minute or in a day. I do feel that way at least about on screen romances. Titanic is one example which immediately comes to my mind. Here in BOMC Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of Francesca Johnson, who is a middle aged house wife living in a faraway Iowa farmhouse. The time span for this kind of a story to unfold and make the audience believe and get emotionally moved by the characters is small. The entire episode between Robert and Francesca happens within four days. But that is love. Ain’t it ? You are in search for it your whole life and when you happen to meet the person whom you think is made for you, you don’t need much time to pounce on the opportunity.

But that is where the catch lies. Francesca is already married and has two kids. She has made a lot of sacrifices in her career as well as in her personal life, but all said she does love her husband and can never leave. Robert on the other hand is adventurous and has not had an ever lasting love for any person in his life. But he says to Francesca that this is it. He asks her whether she thinks that this, what he has with her is just another fling, whether this happens every other day to any random person that they happen to meet. He says that something like comes only once in a lifetime. That piece of conversation where Robert and Francesca decide on which is the right thing to do is truly delightful.

Letting it go just as passes by would be the worst thing to do, but to leave her family would be an unpardonable sin. The dilemma the main characters face is very intriguing indeed. Meryl Streep as a middle aged unsatisfactory house-wife just steals the show. She expresses the pain she endures when having to make the most difficult choice of her life, in a very subtle way. Her accent in the movie definitely deserves a special mention.When you close your eyes for a moment and hear Francesca speaking you will think that it is some hard core Italian speaking.

The cinematography for this movie by Jack.N.Green is very soothing to the eye. It beautifully brings out the calm feel of the exterior to complement the torment inside the minds of the characters. The sidetrack involving the grown up children of Francesca is also very interesting. The story goes from the children hating their mother for her affair to the point where they understand the nature and the magnitude of love they had for each other. Eventually they appreciate the decision they took and begin to gather how difficult it would have been for them.

The film ends on a poetic note with the scattering of the ashes of Francesca in to the Roseman Bridge where the remains of Robert have also been scattered. As an epilogue we are shown that the children are more in love with their families and try to set right the estrangement in their lives after experiencing such an intense and true love story.

Verdict: Watch it . . This movie would not fail to bridge an emotional bond with you.

Watch the trailer here.

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Warrior (2011)

Picking my first movie for this year to blog about was a lot easier. After watching few good movies like Moneyball , The Adjustment Bureau and Real Steel early this year, i have got a special mention which i really want to talk about here. I cant say overlooked but this is one of the least marketed ground-breaker from 2011.

Warrior (2011) directed by Gavin O’Connor is the story a family torn apart fourteen years back and reunite only to see it kind of breaking again. Nick Nolte plays a father role as Paddy Conlon who is a former alcoholic. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton are his sons Brendan and Tommy. After a family dispute and disappearance of his sons, Paddy lives a loner’s life. Tommy returns back to his father after 14 years and he wants his father to train him for martial arts combat.

Brendan lives down in Philadelphia with his wife and three little girls as a Physics teacher. Due to his economy and family burdens, he is forced to go back into the cage for a living. Though his wife wouldn’t allow, he has to fight for his family. After a fight at a parking lot near a strip club, Brendan gets suspended from his school. This makes him approach his former friend and a famous martial arts trainer to get an entry into a big event that would offer 5 million dollars to the winner.

Tommy whose past remains as a mystery, becomes an overnight YouTube sensation after he slams down a serious contender at a gym in a warm-up fight. This earns him an entry into the tournament as well. Later everyone including his father realizes that Tommy was a marine and a real war hero who has saved his men from a trap and walked out with a trace.

Fate puts them head to head. Brendan hates his father for his past. Tommy isn’t ready to accept Brendan for his past. While the whole mystery behind their family fight remains unknown, the conversation between the father and his sons slowly uncovers them. Still not ready to accept his brother, Tommy wants to be in the cage for a different reason which is explained as the story proceeds.

First part of the movie is a lot about building the characters. Each and every frame conveys something very calmly like a Beethoven’s score. The second part takes it all over like a dynamo. You will be on the edge of your seat watching the climax. By far, this is the best sports movie i have seen in years since Raging Bull.

This is an absolute playground for actors. There are scenes for everyone to prove their worth. If Nick Nolte can do it with his dialogues, Tom and Joel have done it with their expressions. No mistakes, beautiful acting, sharp dialogues, clean screenplay and stunning fight sequences makes me give it a nine on ten. This is top notch.

Warrior - “Once you start watching this, there is no tapping out.”

Catch the trailer here.

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The Devil’s Double (2011)

How many times you watch a movie and dig into the internet in search of something ?  This movie does because History is definitively an interesting topic. To begin with, Who is Saddam Hussein ?  Is he good or bad ? If Bad, how Bad he was?  Why US had to kill him ? Whats all the mess ? Is this what our future generation will be asking one day ? Definitely YES.

US claims to have Saddam killed. And of course the whole world believes that. But how many Saddams is the question. The reason for such a stupid question is the word ‘DOUBLE’. Saddam is said to have many of his look-alikes around him just in case to confuse his enemies. But this one is not about Saddam, but his son Uday Saddam Hussein.

Lee Tamahori, the man who gave us Die Another Day is back with a controversial topic and he has proved it again. Latif Yahia, the guy who claimed that he was the double for Saddam’s psychotic son Uday Hussein has given us the base of the story. Lee has come up with a great adaptation of Latif’s best-selling novel The Devil’s Double.

Without exploring much of Uday’s early life or his death, this film shows this psychopath’s atrocities through the eyes of Latif Yahia. Dominic Cooper who has acted and lived the roles of Uday and Latif is a great rediscovery. Though he has acted in few other roles before, this one speaks a lot. The Devil’s Double is not more of a movie, but a great insight into the lives of Uday Saddam and his body double.

I personally found the background score very moving. Such a fast and slow paced score plays a vital role in keeping the momentum. If you are an avid listener who wants to know the past and future of everything you come across, do not miss this.

By the way, Uday Hussein died in 2003 along with his brother Qusay Saddam. They were killed when US forces attacked a villa in the Iraq city of Mosul.Latif Yahia is still alive. And he was in the news for his infamous bond with Uday. The rest is history !!

The Devil’s Double –  ” Troubling  & Thrilling “

Catch the trailer here.

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விண்ணைத்தாண்டி வருவாயா

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The bitter sweet nature of modern romance:

Love is like dope. Once you are bitten by the love bug, you become addicted. All your thoughts seem to be involuntarily associated with love.

Love is like a dream .When you are truly in love, you live in a whole new world – a world made of just two people, you and the person you are in love with. And, that is exactly  the reason why it hurts like hell when you fail in love, you are suddenly left all alone and there is no one who can console you. When you finally come out of this dream world, you realize that all along you have been played and cheated by none other than your own self.

This is not the usual cinematic review or an objective analysis of the movie but rather a subjective analysis. A self analysis post watching VTV. This review deals with the masochistic emotions which have been instigated in me after watching VTV.

The eternal question in this movie is “Of  all the girls in the world why did i have to fall in love with Jessi? “. Like all eternal questions this remains unanswered. Perhaps love is the most perfect subject for posing eternal questions, because the whole concept of love in itself is unexplainable. The basic definition of love changes from person to person but the feeling that humans get when they fail in love is pretty much the same. But where they differ again is the way they deal with the failure.

The movie makes us question a lot of things. Why do we cling on to every little remnant of a failed love affair even after we move on, even after every thing is different and nothing about that love affair is relevant  anymore. Why? Is it the yearning of the mind to relive those lovely days again? No one can say for sure. There is a reason why I call VTV a therapeutic experience. The climax is an example of what could have been for so many of us. Of late, we have seen many over–the-top movies which show the protagonist having a psychotic breakdown or developing suicidal impulses after love failure. But this is where VTV stands out. It shows that failure in love does not mean the end of life. This film shows the ideal way of dealing with a failed affair.

Any  person who fails in love would be at the most crucial crossroads of his life. He would have two choices-either to keep obsessing over the past and about what could have been if things hadn’t gone awry or to get on with his life and career and achieve what he had initially set out to do and  keep  the beautiful times he had with his loved one as cherished memories. This film helps people make that decision. After all the pain that the love has given you, you may ask yourself if it was worth all the pain. That’s where VTV is healing in nature. The movie says that love may have been a draining experience, may have come at a high cost and you may still be paying for it, but life would have been poorer without love. The movie shows the two protagonists making two different choices and tells us that life is all about making the right choice. Yet the last few moments of the movie still make us believe that it was worth it after all–“Intha vali enaku pidichuruku”. So whether VTV is a healing experience or a hurtful one is in itself an eternal question!

The reason why people could connect with the movie was that nothing in the movie seemed made up. Right from the emotions of the actors, the dialogue, the frustration, the pain and the music everything seems so natural, soulful and from the heart. The director has effortlessly painted the blues of modern romance on a commercial canvas.

Simbu’s performance has so much reality in it. He has beautifully essayed the role of  Karthik and shows maturity, restraint, honesty and most importantly the pain of the protagonist so well. Trisha fits the role of an indecisive girl, who does not know for sure what she wants so perfectly. Takes guts to play a role knowing there will be a lot of wrath against her. Gautham Menon proves his calibre once again. He has extracted aesthetic performances from all actors. He has shown in this film a love story need not be over the top to be hard hitting. This movie has something in it which goes deep inside your soul and sinks it in pain. Maybe it is because the movie reflects reality as it is.

The music by Oscar Indian A.R.Rahman, is at its melodious and haunting best- especially Hosana, aaromale and Mannipaaya .The BGM in the climactic park bench scene deserves special mention. I am reminded of this sequence from the movie Fountainhead where Gail Wynand asks Dominique Francon “Was the building as beautiful as the statue?” to which Dominique answers, “the statue was almost worthy of being in the building”. In VTV,I am unable to decide this: between the film and the music, which is the building and which is the statue.

I truly hope that Gautham Menon keeps shelling out gems like these in the years to come.

VERDICT:

VTV is a waste of time for those who think love is a waste of time.

It is a Candy floss romance flick for those who have not fallen in love.

It is a beautiful love story for those who are lucky in love.

It is a painful trip down the dreary memory lane and a chance to reminisce for those who have failed in love.

Vinnaithandi Varuvaya – “ONE WAY TICKET TO HEART-BREAK CITY”.

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மயக்கம் என்ன

I don’t remember the last time when i saw a movie worth the ticket price. After hearing so many differing reviews, i watched the movie two days after its release. I just went there without any expectations. All i could say now is “This is what i was waiting for”.

Written and directed by Selvaraghavan, Mayakkam Enna is definitely not a movie for immature audience. A movie with zero vulgarism. You need to be of certain age to understand this beautifully crafted movie by selvaraghavan. I cannot say it is flawless. But flaws have become add-ons to it’s beauty. This movie will make you laugh like hell at first half, make you sob silently in the middle and smile at the end with big sigh of relief.

The movie revolves around the life of  a freelance photographer, Karthik (Dhanush) who is struggling to get a break through in his life and career. This review may be a spoiler for those who haven’t seen this movie yet. Still, i will try to say what it is all about without pitching into the complete story.

After their parents demise, Karthik and his sister are taken care of, by their friends. One day, one of his friend Sundar brings a new girl to their group and introduces her as his date. Yamini (Richa Gangopadhyay), the girl brought by Sundar doesn’t seem to find him as a great person to spend her life with. Instead, she falls in love with Karthik.

After several struggles in making a lead, Karthik becomes desperate. His inspiration and role model, who is a well established wild life photographer denies Karthik’s request to accept him as an assistant. At the end of first half, both the lead roles fall in love for each other.

Karthik happily gets married to Yamini. Now this movie starts to deliver. The deep consciousness of a human mind is tested and reality is uncovered. This is a movie which is going to get buried in my mind for days to come. Karthik becomes a failure in his career. After a shocking incident, followed by surreal accident Karthik looses his mental stability and suffers from something which makes him a total loser. His wife, beyond all his frustrations towards her, supports her husband like an iron lady. Then this movie leads to the success path of Karthik and his profession.

The female lead’s characterization has been carefully worked out by Selvaraghavan. I think he is one of the very few directors in Tamil industry who can handle and play with intimate human emotions very easily and beautifully. If you are guy, am pretty sure that this movie will make you look at women in a totally different way. In short, after watching this you will have more respect for the woman who is so close to your heart. Be it your Mom, girl friend or your wife. You will treat them in a different way.

For :

It really takes something to make some good music for this kind of film. And G.V.Prakash has done some sensible music. Really sensible. Ramji who worked in RaamParuthiveeran and Aayirathil Oruvan has scored himself a ton with his cool cinematography.

Against :

The goodness in this movie makes us to forget the flaws. After all, what we take from a movie is not the bad animation or unsuitably written songs at unsuitable places. All that will run in your mind is the love of your life and her true love for you, in whatever condition you are. Love your wife !

Mayakkam Enna : ” Follow your Heart. It delivers, … A Lot.”

Catch the trailer here.

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Best Soundtracks from English Movies [ in my opinion ]

Music is one of the driving forces that helps a movie to walk on its pace. The way in which the music is used in a movie has changed over the recent times. Some movies borrow tracks from famous albums to make their feature look even more better. Few movies demand their own versions and composers had to create a whole new score. The following are my favorite soundtracks which had touched my heart for different reasons. Now, I will leave it to you. Click on the title to watch it in YouTube. Comments and track suggestions are welcome.

1. Kill Bill Vol-1 – Battle without honor or humanity

The original score was composed by Tomoyasu Hotei. It is an instrumental piece which was also used in Transformers. Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol-1 trailer with this score is just awesome.

2. Kill Bill Vol-1 – The lonely shepherd

This score composed by James Last features an exquisite pan flute by Zamfir. In a thriller like Kill Bill, this score tries to put the tigress at peace.

3. Pulp Fiction – Misirlou

This popular Greek song rearranged as a solo instrumental guitar piece by Dick Dale is the intro song for this movie which appears after a stunning dialogue between a Pumpkin and a Honey Bunny.

4. Sunshine – Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor)

This stunning slow score composed by John Murphy can make any film look epic.

5. The Departed – I’m Shipping up to Boston

If you ever feel low and if you want to get pumped up, this is the track for you. Scorsese used it pretty well. This song by Dropkick Murphys appeared in their 2005 album The Warrior’s code.

6. The Departed – Gimme shelter

Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones. Scorsese’s film. Whats more ? The song became a signature theme in his gangster films, including  GoodfellasCasino, and The Departed.

7. The Social Network – In the hall of the mountain king

Norwegian composer Edvard grieg composed this orchestral piece which later got well re-baked by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, earned them an Academy title for Best Original Score 2010.

8. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Trailer Music (Immigrant Song)

Led Zeppelin‘s version of the Immigrant song has been revamped by Trent Reznor for David Fincher’s new flick. Hands Down !! It is already a hit.

9. Fight Club – Stealing fat

David Fincher needed a band who has not scored for a film. He found Dust Brothers. And then fat was stolen.

10. Revolutionary Road – End title

This is total nostalgia. Thomas Newman at his best. After listening to this, you will never ever want to miss listening to it again and again.

11. Road to Perdition – Road to Chicago

Another masterpiece from Thomas Newman. There must be a reason why his scores are epic. And this is it. He has played Piano like a GOD himself.

12. Road to perdition – Rock Island

No words. God on you Mr. Newman.

13. Pay it forward – Possibility

Yet another notable piece of music by Thomas Newman. The whole score moves inline with the movie.

14. American Beauty – Dead Already

Another Newman’s work. Smart as a Whip.

15. A Beautiful Mind – A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics

James Horner never fails. This music is the lead to the movie right from its start. I always feel like a geek whenever i listen to this. Brilliant Score Ever.

16. Twilight – Supermassive Black Hole

I am not a big fan of creepy vampires except for a cute one. Yet, this song by Muse which appeared in their album Black holes and Revelations is always headbanging.

17. Twilight – Eyes on fire

Originally composed by Blue Foundation for their album Life of a Ghost, this song was featured on the 2008 film Twilight.

18. RockNRolla – I’m a man

Written and recorded by Bo Diddley in 1955, this song got a schaffel beat by Black Strobe which was used in Guy Ritchie’s RockNRolla

19. 500 days of Summer – There is a light that never goes out.

Do you know the meaning of Classic ? This is it. The Smiths rock forever. The Queen is never Dead.

20. What women want – Bitch

I never realized the existence of Meredith Brooks until i heard her song which got featured in Mel Gibson’s What women want. Good use of music.

21. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – Main theme

The best spaghetti western i have ever heard. Ennio Morricone, a frequent collaborator with Sergio Leone did not make any effort to put this awesomeness into my mind since my childhood.

22. For a Few Dollars More – Main theme

If the above track speaks rawness, this one is purely magical. The best title track ever. Period.

23. Inception – Dream is collapsing

Hans Zimmer knows what to give and where it is needed. Inception needs this master track. Hail Zimmer !

24. The Dark Knight – Why so serious

No arguments. You gotta be serious. This is pure madness. And i like it.

25. Titanic – My hearts will go on

If i had ever known Celine Dion, its because of this. Love at heart. The best romantic song ever used in a Hollywood movie.  This song will be loved by thousands of generations to come.

26. Psycho – Main theme

Alfred Hitchcock insisted Bernard Hermann to write the score. This will scare the hell out of you. Brilliant horror theme ever.

27. Saw – Hello Zepp Final theme

Composed by Charlie Clouser for the first installment for the Saw Series, this theme is a chill thriller.

28. Sin City – Cells

The instrumental version of the song “Cells” by The Servant has been used in this movie widely for promos.

29. Blood Diamond – Solomon Vandy

James Newton Howard composed this original soundtrack to the movie Blood Diamond. This song is purely African. Go Africa !!

30. Pirates of the Caribbean – He’s a pirate

Captain Jack Sparrow’s kick ass epic was re-written by Hans Zimmer with his score. And this one is bind blowing.

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ராமின் கற்றது தமிழ்

Hi.This is Mohan  . . Am a movie maniac. Watching movies and savouring them has been the greatest interest of my life.

This is my first post and when the thought of the movie that i should discuss first came to mind,I could not but give first preference to this wonderfully crafted ,masterpiece of a movie. This is my all time favorite movie.Hands down!!

Kattradhu tamizh is directed by Ram. This is his debut feature (can u believe it !!). It stars Jiiva, Anjali,and Karunas in major roles. I happened to watch this movie in  theatres when I was in my 12th grade. Almost six years down the lane, having watched scores of other movies, I have not found one to match the complexity, the beauty, the lucidity in story telling, the music, the variety of issues handled as Kattradhu tamizh.

I am not going to explain the plot as I am much more eager to tell you about its intricacies.

Let me take direction first. Ram has pursued his M.A in Tamil literature in Madras Christian College. He worked as an assistant to Rajkumar Santhoshi and Balu Mahendra before going on his own to make this gem. He has scored with every thing in this movie. The non linear style of narration is difficult for a simple story let alone a movie describing the life history of  the protagonist. The director has handled this style beautifully. The dialogues in the movie are so natural and do not seem made up. The director shows his intense distraught against the society and the way the world works (especially in India). He shells every bit of his frustration in this movie and that is why it is SOUL STIRRING because it is FROM THE HEART. According to me this movie is the most original and the most novel tamil movie in several years. Ram is sure to take tamil cinema to a whole new level.

Now the acting. The role of a lifetime comes not too often for actors and this is one such role for Jiiva. He has lived the role of Prabhakar. The role is very intense and the slightest bit of over acting could have ruined it entirely. He must have gotten much more recognition for this role as this is one of the best ever showcasing of  acting. Anjali who made her debut in tamil with this film also proves her mettle and has gone from strength to strength from here.She was awarded the Fimfare Award for the Best  Debutante for her role. Karunas fits into his role perfectly as the petrified newsperson.

The cinematography makes the film even more poetical especially the sequences in Maharashtra are so beautifully picturized .S.R.Kathir does a brilliant job.

The music …… It just reflects the mood of the film so effectively. Each and every song strikes a chord with the audience and stirs up the exact emotion that the director tries to convey. In a single sentence Yuvan, like Jiiva has understood the character of Prabhakar so well and that has enabled him to give his best score till date. The BGM also blends beautifully with the film. And special mention to that great man Ilayaraja who had me floored with his voice in Paravaye engu irukirai. My god . . He is the GOD.

There is a torrent of parallel meanings in this film. The film shows the life of one person where nothing has gone right. However optimistic he tries to be, the situation he faces, the society he lives in, slap him on the face and bring him back to reality. At one point in the movie the protagonist tells that for his whole life, death has been chasing him. But at last it is he with his loved one who chase death to attain peace. I think the director says  that death can be a curse when things are going on well. But it can be the greatest gift that God has given to Mankind when things are bad. Mortality is the best example for blessing in disguise. And what can be more satisfying than dying hand in hand with the love of your life? The ending of Kattradhu Tamizh is truly poetic.

Verdict: The movie has everything and everything it has is of utmost beauty.

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