Jodi Foster At Golden Globes

Why cannot anyone look and see this speech and think that it was a most poignant and astonishingly brave speech! She came out by saying she always was “out”, why she fiercely protects her privacy, thanked her mom with very moving words that had everyone crying and said she looked forward to the next 50 years.

Good for her. Great speech! Hope to see more from her in the coming years no matter how quiet she tries to stay.

An Update On Movies I Have Been Watching

Who knows when my next job would start so better to pack my time with a refresher course on .Net and SQL Servers and catch up on all the movies I can. So without further preamble from me here is what I have watched.

(Warning I have tried to keep away from revealing too much in the movies but it’s a slippery slope and I may have slipped once or twice)

1) Creation

My fascination with the science of evolution continues unabated. The idea that life and beauty we see around is a product of a simple yet a powerful mechanism is astounding! I have tried to follow the intricacies of evoutionary science but, man, it’s really tough. So I concentrate on the human side of evolutionary sciences. And the life of Charles Darwin is always so very fascinating.

As part of the 150 year anniversary of Darwin`s birthday, the movie Creation (starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelley) was released .

The movie works on three different levels. The relationship between Darwin and his pious and religious wife who is convinced Charles will go to hell. The relationship between Darwin and his dead beloved daughter. And Charles’s relationship with his literary supporters who are pushing him to finish his book. To me the movie was a wonderful interaction between these three story threads and Bettany does amazing job portraing the struggles of Charles Darwin as he tries to balance these three issues in his life. The most moving, of course, was his relationship with his dead daughter and the scene where he finally forces himself to confront the room where his daughter died while he was narrating her favourite story was heartbreaking.

The movie did have some flaws. I mean, why would an ”anti-religion” movie have a walking talking ghost/hallucination in it? That was a little over the top and I did not like that part. Other than that, there were a few scenes that were obviously fake (i.e. they never happened in Darwin’s life) and that put me off a bit too.

But overall, I loved the movie and I would give it 8 out of 10 stars!!

2) In The Loop

Aah, the Iraq war of 2003. What a wonderful time it was when everyone was backstabbing everyone else, when everyone was bullying everyone else, when decorated soldiers where licking the boots of kid politicians. And this movie portrays this period perfectly and with such sharp wit that I had to pause it a few times just to catch my breath.

The movie is about the how the burreaucrats and minor politicans play a crucial part in passing the UN resolution condemning Iraq and basically giving the US President and the UK Prime Minister the go ahead to attack Iraq. The back ground shenenigans illuminated in the movie are so funny and so hilarious that you wonder if it’s actually true!!

By far the funniest movie I have seen in a long long long long time!! 9 out of 10 stars.

3) Rocket Singh Sales Man Of The Year

Bollywood has transformed over the last few years and here is another example why. An excellent portrayal of the chronic corruption in Indian private sector which is always said to be the “saviour” of Indian economy. As everyone in India knows nothing is “non-corruptable”. So this is a refreshing movie where the lead character refuses to act dishonestly and eventually wins. The important part of the movie was bringing up other vital issues like sexism and racism (please, making fun of Sikhs IS racism). Which is why making the lead character a Sikh (in a serious movie, Sikh lead characters have been portrayed in mainstream movies as goofy fun loving guys), is a break through.

The major flaw of the movie is that the lead character tries to win honestly by un ethical means. By that I mean, if you have going to use the current company`s resources and clients for your own gain, then it`s unethical and wrong. But the directors and writers smooth that over by the lead character maintaining ”an account” of the resouces used so that he might pay back at a later date. Fortunately, the director and writers redeemed themselves by making sure that the law got hold of the lead character before the situation resolved itself.

8 out of 10 stars.

I will be watching An Education and Coraline soon and will be posting on these movies.

Sherlock Holmes

Went to see the new Avatar movie on Wednesday but it was sold out (still selling out after 3 weeks!!) so decided to see Sherlock Holmes. Because I am a big (huge) fan of Sherlock Holmes (I have visited the 221B Baker Street Museum in London), I was not sure what kind of justice Guy Ritchie would do to this legendary figure. I was pleasantly surprised!

First of I would say that the movie is just an interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. The story is not by Arthur Conan Doyle but the screenplay does follow some aspects of how Doyle would write the story. The biggest difference that I saw was that Sherlock Holmes was portrayed as some macho figure. And in the books and TV interpretations, that’s not the case. Rather the Sherlock Holmes that I know is more feminine than the one in the movie.

Then there are little differences like Sherlock Holmes obsession of Irene Alder. In the movie she comes back after going on a marriage spree and Sherlock Holmes has a picture of her and articles on her from various magazines and by the conversation between the two characters, it seems they have spent time together in a hotel room. In the books, however, Irene Alder features in only once and Sherlock Holmes admired her for outwitting him. That’s it. She goes off to marry the love of her life and that’s the end of that. I guess it’s hollywood and they want a romantic angle no matter what.

In the movie, both Sherlock Holmes and Watson are portrayed as young men with old men experience. How that’s possible, I have no clue. But they both fight at the drop of the hat and are have great wit and come off as happy go lucky friends. But in the books Sherlock Holmes is completely aloof, indulges in opium when he is bored (a glaring omission in the movie), has no time for frivolities like fighting (there are only 2 occasions I can think of when Sherlock Holmes actually throws a punch), does not indulge in any physical activities and loves to play the violin.

On the whole I think the movie was an excellent introduction to the younger audience and both Robert Downey and Jude Law have done a masterful job. I like the aggressive and brash Sherlock Holmes. And I also like that Guy Ritchie let the tension build without explaining each mystery and let Holmes handle it at the end (like every good Sherlock Holmes novel). And the next movie is already set up. Professor Moriarty has been introduced and Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have already accepted the case. Game On.

BTW, what’s with the warning signs everywhere at the theatres about carrying recording devices into the cinema halls? Is there a recording epidemic in Canada that I am not aware of?

Men Who Stare At Goats – No Spoilers

*This is my first review of a movie so please excuse the cliches!!

So, I was able to get away from my routine on Saturday and, with nothing much to do, I decided to go for a movie. I really wanted to see The Invention Of Lying but it’s not playing in too many theatres (- why?),  so it was either some new horror movie (a genre that I cannot stand) or the new Clooney movie. I chose the later.

Thank god I listened to my inner self. What a fantastic movie!!

The synopsis of the movie is : back in the cold war days, the US government started a secret program to train soldiers with telepathic powers.The movie is about how the program started in the 80s until the beginning of Gulf War II.

The story is excellent and written brilliantly. But the way it’s told as a movie, falls short of the great cinematic experience it could have been. Up until 15 minutes before the movie was going to end, I thought it was one of the best anti-war movies I had seen in a long time, then, it fizzled. It almost seemed that the director/producer/who-ever-was-in-charge-of-the-movie could not decide what was the best way to finish the movie so they probably shot a few endings and let a popcorn-munching, happy-ending, crowd decide how the movie should end. The ending just makes the movie fall flat on it’s face.

George Clooney was excellent in the movie, a guy seeking meaning to his life through his “psychic” abilities. I thought he played a whimsical version of the character he played in Syrianna. Ewan McGregor plays a run of the mill journalist who happens to “fit into” the designs of these psychic soldiers. He plays his role excellently, as usual, and when there is a reference to Jedi Knights in the movie, you can almost see the twinkle in his eyes!

On the whole highly recommended but on DVD.

Gotta Love Science

I knew, I knew, I knew there was a reason why I detested romantic moveis.

LONDON: Planning to go for a romantic comedy with your boyfriend this weekend? Well, scrap all your plans, for according to a study, ‘rom-coms’ can ruin love lives.

The study has found that romantic comedies such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill give people unrealistic – and potentially unhealthy – expectations about real-life relationships. Unlikely happy endings, improbable plots and faux philosophy are to blame, they say.

Ladies, I rest my case. And please never insist I have to watch some x, y, z movie because it will make you “believe in love” again.

Rock On

In the last few years I have been very impressed with the movies coming out of Bollywood. My favourites this year have been :

» Johnny Gaddar

» Dharam

» Page 3

» Bheja Fry

» Chuk De India

» Eklavya

» Mithya

and so on. I know some of these movies have been from 2007 and 2006 but what the hell. I saw them this year.

But the one thing I think all these movies lacked was “listenable” music. I mean, don’t get me wrong. The music in some of these movies has been outstanding but none of them had the kind that I would listen to while I was at work or on my commute (which is a kind bellwether of how much I like music from a band i.e. if I play it in the car or not). The music in all these movies without exception has been the kind to put on at parties or in the background at home while I am tinkering about the house so that I don’t have to pay attention to it.

But lately I have been listening to music from the movie Rock On. I have no idea what the movie will be like and frankly I don’t care. But the music from that movie…….wow!!!

Finally, finally some good Hindi/Urdu rock. Something I can listen to while working or while driving around. So far I have been really impressed with the music. Not with the lyrics, though. I mean, could the lyrics on some songs be more juvenile? The best songs have the worst lyrics. Oh well.

There have been commendable attempts at making rock music from India and Pakistan but I have always thought that what lacked was production. The music either sounded like it was being made in a corner tea stall or in a big open air stadium where you had to push the ear phones into your ears to hear a drum beat.

Another problem I had with the rock music from South Asia has been lack of raw power of music. The desi rock music has always been “melodious” which just makes me want to smack my head to the wall. But as evidenced by “Zehreelay” from the album, the music packs a punch.

Even the harmonious numbers have this “looping” that blends really, really well with the music. “Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein” is a prime example of this, kind of reminds me of Yo La Tengo, who use feedback loops and construct songs around the loops.

All in all, I really like this album. Even my 5 year old daughter loves this album although she likes to stick to the opening song “Socha Hai” which kind of leads to our which-song-to-play fights.

UPDATE (16th Sep 2008) : I have been informed that I have been a little overzealous in comparing music from Rock On to Yo La Tengo. I totally agree with that statement. Hindi/Urdu rock is a few light years away from Yo La Tengo. My apologies!!