Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Great Gatsby (2012): Trailer

Just watching this trailer makes me salivate. This is my must-see film for this year; and I have to wait for the next seven or eight months before I could catch this on the big screen. I love the book, I love F. Scott Fitzgerald, I adore the roaring 1920s, and I love Jazz! And I am excited to see Carey Mulligan together with Leo DiCaprio in the same picture. I would be re-watching the trailer over and over again just to satisfy my need and hunger for Baz Luhrmann's much anticipated dreamy adaptation.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Auteur: Orson Welles

"Citizen Kane has been dubbed by many as the greatest movie of all time and the genius behind it was regarded as the best filmmaker of all time, too. Of course, if you've never seen Citizen Kane and have no idea who is Orson Welles then you would go with the counter response towards the aforementioned statements. The pseudo-intellectual film critics I’d come across with from time to time have their reservations and are likely to feast on the undesirable and would fare on the negative rather than to celebrate his astonishing contribution to cinema. I could rundown a “Before Orson Welles list” but it would not be enough. His work on Kane has done so much that it became a curiosity to me. That one motion picture leads me to reading about his life, his other works behind the camera, on stage, film and radio. I’ve learned that he is a voracious reader who had started his work as an actor in Dublin’s “The Gate”, he has no college degree, has traveled all over the world, worked as a magician, and was a self-taught filmmaker. In short, he enrolled in the best university of all, the University of Life. Welles’s film Citizen Kane is a perspective on curiosity itself and a study of life in general. It works on the foreground about man’s ardent need to be loved by taking the most prosaic cliché of all that “money cannot buy happiness”. He transformed that idea into an epic film of ultimate auteur-ship, from its Academy award winning screenplay, striking cinematography, technical achievements and believable production set, Orson Welles was a man ahead of his time.” 

Auteur: Tim Burton

“To me, a Tim Burton film is a universe filled with wonder and delicious delight. It is a universe that I would wish to co-exist because of magic. Not in a Harry Potter way, but in a crazy and weird Tim Burton way. You could always tell what a Tim Burton film looks like. Dark and eerie, odd costumes, strange places, pale faces, weird characters, and Johnny Depp. He appeals to both the young and the old – because instead of electing towards the common – his depiction of stories were fantastical and out of this world. It has an escapist mode to it and yet it constantly brings us back to what is real. His body of work is a reminder that life could be live extraordinarily and magically even if we live in a universe called reality.”

Auteur: Woody Allen

“If there is a more faithful servant (or subject) famous for portraying the big apple on the big screen (besides Carrie Bradshaw) only one person comes to mind: Woody Allen. Within the playground of New York City the best films of his career were produced. Nowadays, Woody has gone European. Two films made successfully from this sojourn were Match Point and Midnight in Paris, with the latter winning him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The traveler in Woody also gave the inopportune ones (including moi) a chance to see their favorite cities up close and personal in all its celluloid glory. What remain for certain, after all these years, in spite of his hundreds of miles distance from his beloved NYC, is that he still writes the best script and the most interesting and the most humorous “neurotic” characters that keeps me laughing to and fro."

Auteur: Steve McQueen

“Fearless and true are the two perfect words to describe this auteur in the making. Steve McQueen does not sugarcoat reality, nor over exaggerate his stories in order to gain mainstream appeal. He lives by the truth, may it be harsh or brutal. In a world where complicated people and circumstance exists McQueen’s brand of cinema gives us a macrocosm of stories that would endure into our hearts and minds for a very long time. I would be looking forward to his next work with a hope that it would continuously push the envelope, shake our core, and without fail - enable its viewers to look past the surface and examine life underneath one’s skin.” (18 May 2012)

Auteur: Quentin Tarantino

“Pulp Fiction is probably the first film that I have seen once we got cable. And that is like, fifteen years ago. I always remember that guy in a pink bathrobe talking funny – because he seems to be everywhere. His name is mentioned all the time on MTV as if he is the next best thing. He played as George Clooney’s brother in the movie “From Dusk Till Dawn” and he was that chatterbox guy in a black suit in “Reservoir Dogs”. Back then I knew him as an actor, but I never pegged him as the same Quentin Tarantino: the director. I mean, at the age of thirteen or fourteen, I couldn’t care less about Quentin Tarantino. But that all changed throughout the years; I love Pulp Fiction and I’ve been hooked to it since we got cable…and that is like, fifteen years ago. Of all the filmmakers in this world, dead or alive, Tarantino is my emblem for the ultimate auteur. He is my secret professor. I’ve learned things about movies and film making all because of him. FYI, he did not attend college and he learned his trade purely by watching movies and working in a video store. He is an inspiration and a valid proof (to the argument) that you do not need to spend four years or more in the close confines of a university to become a filmmaker. His impressive list of incomparable and unbridled ouvre is a reflection of his vast knowledge in film making and the world around him, gained not through the four corners of a classroom but via his relentless passion and obvious love for his craft, life and above all, art.” (18 May 2012)

Auteur: Charlie Kaufman

“As weird as it gets, one cannot help but wonder what goes on with Charlie Kaufman’s mind. Although for now he had made only one film as a director, he had penned more than five screenplays to boot. His out of the box ideas never cease to amaze me. There is that eponymous film about a fictional portal of John Malkovich, a clinic that specializes on erasing the memories of a forlorn lover, doppelgangers, Jungian psychology, solipsism and vice versa. Some films made by other filmmakers end after the credits flashes, but a Kaufman film continues to daze and haunt us long after the curtain falls; as there is always something new to discover beyond what was digested firsthand. Kaufman is an intrepid filmmaker that constantly requires his audiences to work as hard as they have to. I guarantee that you would find the experience rewarding if you take the route to view his films more than twice. For what is worth, his unique style of filmmaking is a renewing force itself into the world of art. Surely, it feels less lonely knowing there is a Charlie Kaufman around.” (18 May 2012)

Auteur: Paul Thomas Anderson

“When you watch a PT Anderson film it gives you some sort of insight ‘that our fates are intertwined’. For the record, he wrote and directed two exceedingly good ensemble-cast films, there are some who followed, but failed to deliver, but PT, he always gets it right. Movies that make me feel less lonely hits home all the time. In his films his characters are insecure, envious, angry and selfish; even those girls with perfect skin and hair is flawed beneath their seamless veneer. He puts aside the beauty and place the hurt in front laid bare. PT shows us that we are imperfect because we are human and for that we lead an imperfect life; may it be an actor, a rich oilman, a drug junkie, or a porno star, (our being human) is the chain that links our lives together with our joy and pain felt as one.” (18 May 2012)

Auteur: David Fincher

“Before Fincher, everything seems like a pastel colored dream. Before Fincher, procedural investigations on movie and television do not exist. Before Fincher, techie infused rock orientated music scores were out of the question. Before Fincher, Brad Pitt’s filmography is all about him looking pretty. Before Fincher, Andrew Kevin Walker is just an employee fromTower Records. Before Fincher, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is just a story printed on paper. Before Fincher, I have no interest in cinematography. Before Fincher, my movie taste is nothing but trite, confine and dull. Se7en and Fight Club reinforced my interest towards a broader cinema. I owe David my boarding pass, so I thank him very much.” (18 May 2012)

Auteur: Alfred Hitchcock

“The irreplaceable master of the macabre always put me in sheer awe. So much that he never gets ousted from the number one spot. Though I strive hard to watch his complete ouvre, it is ‘Rear Window’ above all else that keeps me going back and forth. True to my Hitchcock fan girl ways, I find time to regularly dedicate a whole week or a month to watch his movies on DVD, an activity analogous to what an artsy cinema does with their retrospective screening.” (18 May 2012)

Auteur: Jean-Luc Godard

“Godard is a true pioneer and innovator of cinema. While everyone is doing the same usual thing with it he experimented, make films about hopeless romantic men (and their love for fickle minded and sly women), a Sci-fi society, communism vs. capitalism, adventure gone wrong, prostitutes and vice versa. Godard set a standard, created memorable scenes that were copied, parodied, and his work is a subject of homage by the younger filmmakers of today. And in my opinion, he would always remain cool and fashionable, yesterday, today and for the years to come.” (18 May 2012)

Film Roundup - March 2012: Thirst

Thirst (2009)
Directed by Park Chan Wook
Grade= A-

Korean filmmaker Park Chan Wook reinterprets a vampire story in his own way. No kitsch, no mawkish teen delight, just pure gore, pure macabre. When a priest survived a dangerous medical experiment that killed hundreds of volunteers before him – the townspeople believe that he had become a saint or God’s miracle healer on Earth. However, the priest is now highly sensitive to sunlight and is suddenly craving for the smell and taste of blood. Thirst depicts the cruel reality of vampiric power and the loneliness of a bloodsucking immortal; that in spite of their extraordinary cunning ways they remain greatly dependent on humans. Take for instance is the pitiful attempts and desperate methods of the priest to acquire blood from the sickly and the suicidal, rather from the healthy and alive just so he could continue co-existing with humans without a hint of suspicion. However, his normal routine was ruined when he decided to become involved with a quiet but tricky seamstress. Thirst looks at the nature of evil that is both present not only in the blood hungry vampire but also in the hunger of man for power and eternal youth – regardless of the place or the nature where it could be obtain.   Park Chan Wook’s spine tingling work is not for the faint of heart and not for viewers who crave the mediocre teen fazed that is Twilight and The Vampire Diaries.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Film Roundup - March 2012: Another Earth

Another Earth (2011)
Directed by Mark Cahill

Grade= A-

Not all Science Fiction films are made with high-flying special effects. On the contrary, some of them were quite minimal and simple; just barely choosing to focus on the emotion of the character and the story behind their conflict. Personally speaking, Sci-fi is a varied cathartic outlet that helps a writer branch out the unfeasible into something that is probable. To some, it may be a past mistake that one longs to be corrected or a comfort from hopelessness.  In “Another Earth”, Rhoda, a beautiful and smart incoming MIT student suddenly finds herself cut off from the comforts of her almost perfect existence after she unintentionally killed a mother and a child from a vehicular accident. Released from prison after four years, with a burgeoning remorse over her past action, she feels isolated from the people around her and the life that she used to know. Racked by guilt, Rhoda chose to work as a janitress in a school during the day as to escape from her own familiar world, whilst in her free time she poses as a demo in-house cleaner to John, the widower of the woman she killed from the accident, in order to atone to her crime and to eventually, apologize. “Another Earth” is set against the discovery of Earth 2, a living planet parallel to Earth that somehow promises an opportunity to everyone of finding a different self and a different life. The dramatic context of the story with its subtle but powerful Sci-fi twist homogenizes the sorrow and the renewed hope of each character as the sighting of Earth 2 begets them their losses and the anticipation of travel to Earth 2 restores their chances to live again and love.

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