Infernal Affairs Vs Departed

Watching the original after watching the adapted or remade version is difficult, especially if you love the latter. That was the case with Infernal Affairs from which The Departed was remade. Same story with a little modification here and there, same screenplay, you can see most of the scenes in Departed that were there in Infernal Affairs but with a slightly different ending. Say the body count is less in the original. But what lacked in Infernal Affairs but was present in Departed was the intensity that was required for the story.

Actors, the respective moles on each side are brilliant in their execution of characters. But i think it is difficult to compare Jack Nicholson’s character with the Chinese peer. Jack Nicholson was brilliant. Period. Then my opinion is DiCaprio carried his character better than his Chinese counterpart.

There were scenes and dialogues in Departed that stood out but were clearly missing in Infernal. Although you can find same dialogues in both films, the extra ones are the one that steal the show. The 10 odd minutes interaction between DiCaprio and the psychiatrist had brilliant dialogues in it. Wait, actually the dialogues in Departed is better. Not because they were in English and not Chinese, because they were really brilliant. I assume the subtitles provide exact translation. Sample these:

Costello: “I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.”

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Madolyn: Why is the last patient of the day always the hardest?
Billy Costigan: Because you’re tired and you don’t give a shit. It’s not super-natural.

The following one is kind of big, but still IMDB does not have the initial part of the conversation which is equally good.

Madolyn: What do you expect coming in here?
Billy Costigan: I have to come here.
Madolyn: I know you have to come here, but now that you’re here, what do you want?
Billy Costigan: You want the truth? Valium.
Madolyn: You know if you lied, you would have an easier time getting what you wanted.
Billy Costigan: What does that say about what you do for a living?
Madolyn: I just think we should have a few more meetings before we even talk about prescriptions.
Billy Costigan: Look… look, I’m having panic attacks, alright? The other night I thought I was having a fucking heart attack. I puked in a trash barrel on the way over here. I haven’t slept for fucking weeks.
Madolyn: Is that true?
Billy Costigan: Yeah, that’s true. Alright? I said it was fucking true. I want some fucking pills and you’re gonna what? You’re gonna close my file? Is that what you’re going to do?
Madolyn: No, I didn’t close your file. I…
Billy Costigan: [angry] I thought I was supposed to tell the truth here, if only fucking here!
Madolyn: You are! You are!
Billy Costigan: Christ. I mean, a guy comes in here against every, every instinct of privacy and self-reliance he has and what do you do? What do you do, huh? You send him off on the street to score smack, is that what you do? You’re fucking ridiculous!
[Madolyn hands Costigan some Valium]
Billy Costigan: [picking up the pills] Two pills? Great. Why don’t you just give me a bottle of scotch and a handgun to blow my fucking head off! Are we done here with this psychiatry bullshit?
Madolyn: You know what? You can leave!
Billy Costigan: What the fuck did I just put myself through? I’m fucking out of here. And what if that was a legitimate threat? Think about it fucking hotshot!

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Oliver Queenan: Do you know what we do here? My section?
Billy Costigan: Sir, yes, sir. I have an idea…
Dignam: [interrupting Costigan] Let’s say you have no idea and leave it at that, okay? No idea. None. Zip. If you had an idea of what we do here, we would not be good at what we do now would we? We would be cunts. Are you calling us cunts?

Well Infernal Affairs rarely had a swear word except for ass. That is not much of information. But these dialogues really rake up the intensity level that is more suited for the film and striking the right note for the audience. Whereas in the original version, the dialogues are more serene and sophisticated may I say.

But hey there is actually one more character who really really rocked in the movie, that of Mark Walhberg’s. Dignam appears not more than 4-5 scenes in Infernal affairs. But very time he appeared in the english movie, he really stole the show with nonchalance and gung-ho attitude.

Departed tells the way as to how to take a brilliant movie and make it something more than brilliant by having couple of better actors in the cast , better dialogues, better background score and adding more style over it. But infernal affairs has given a brilliant original story and screenplay. See it.

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Children of Men

Children of Men

Children of Men could’ve gone 2 ways. The sci-fi story, adapted from a P.D. James novel, would have been perfect for a Jerry-Bruckheimer-produced-Michael-Bay-directed ‘this summer (dramatic pause) get ready (pause again) for the end of the world’ kinda movie.

Fortunately, it isn’t that. Directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuaron(Y Tu Mamá También), Children of Men has a human edge to it that we never see in sci-fi thrillers. A human edge that makes it so engaging and chilling to watch, making it succeed both as a nightmare thriller and as a sophisticated human drama about how society would react to a situation like this. The ‘situation’ here, is when mankind mysteriously loses its ability to procreate. Women have been infertile for 18 years. Every part of the world has already disintegrated, decayed into war and craziness. We are shown a fascist Britain, intolerant to immigrants, and filled with activist groups fighting each other, with agendas of their own.

I am not going to go into the details of the plot here, but I have to tell you how Cuaron has gone about it as a filmmaker. CoM grabs your attention in scene 1, and keeps a vice grip on it. Not resorting to the temptations of dramatic slow-mos or aerial shots, it throws you right in the middle of all the chaos, and leaves the rest to you. You are not told how terrifying it is, you are left to feel it. Stunning, to say the least.

And the action sequences. Oh my. Complicated single-take sequences that blow you away. Unforgiving, violent, and starkly real, the action in this movie leaves an indelible impact on you, moves you, and is a device of drama rather than the conventional form of entertainment it’s used as. Sensational stuff.

Watch it, for god’s sake!

Trailer: Click here.

of Sivaji and the armchair critic

I find it very funny that people actually go about doing a traditional review of ‘Sivaji’. They obviously take themselves too seriously! There are some things we just react to, which is just an emotional reflex, without any intelligent thought going into it. ‘Sivaji’ is something I’d definitely put into that category. More like a festival, like Deepavali, where you just enjoy the fireworks. Nothing cerebral about it, no-one’s complaining ‘they all sound the same’ or wishing there’s more to it than a burst of color.

As one who strongly opposes the argument that cinema is just to entertain and that it needn’t do anything more, I seem to be contradicting myself when taking this stand. Actually, I’m not. This doesn’t apply to a Rajni movie, as it never tries to be something more than the all-out glitzfest that it is. I’m sure you guys agree. It’s never pretending to be a meaningful drama or never trying to ‘convey a message’ like most other movies are.

Sit back, and just watch the movie. If it excites you and entertains you, it worked for you. If it didn’t, please don’t walk out saying something like ‘there’s no semblance of a script’.. the joke’s on you then!

(post primarily in reaction to this.)

Perfect!

I had my doubts when I saw the trailer of Sivaji. And even was doubting whether I should watch this film spending 20$, this early. But, in words of Jack Sparrow, Capt. Jack Sparrow, “Couldn’t resist mate”. And was that a good decision? Hell yeah!

The leading lady was shown at her hot best, no overdone comedy by Vivek, he was brilliant with his one liners and of course then there is Rajini!  Rajini had his style and persona written all over in this movie. A perfect foil for a perfect entertainer. A.R.Rahman’s songs got the deserved credit in the film. Everyone will have something to like in it for sure, and I liked it better than Padayappa and Basha.

My only complaint is that I did not see the movie in Singara Chennai. First time I ever felt like “I want to go home, my place!”. I want to watch this movie back home dammit! And I want to watch it there, NOW!

Bring on the Confetti

Sivaji was a very fine piece of clothing for Rajni. Great material. Well knit. Fitted him great. All he had to do was slip in and walk around. But he decided to do better.

We all went berserk!

American Psycho – Watch closely

Psychotic. Sadistic. Yes. But there is a difference. At the risk of repeating it too many times, “Are you watching closely? “. Set around the late 80’s, early 90’s, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a high society, well educated Vice President of a company in New York. A typical highly sophisticated guy with the best and the most expensive things in and around him. A guy who is highly conscious of his looks and his body, and believes that no one can be better than him in any damn way. A highly intellectual person. But he has a bad habit, he kills people, random people, mostly women, most of them whores, for fun in a grotesque way. If he finds someone is better than him, kill him. Highly demented. But if you have read any of Chuck Palahniuk’s novels you would be used to this as others say to you “You are psychotic!”. It is easy to get dissolved in the noir nature of the film and miss the plot completely. I say this because I saw people doing that, and some people who had seen before saying “it is just a film about a psycho”.

After seeing this film I feel Christian Bale is one of the most under-rated actors. The way he switches between his suave, urbane manner to a demented killer is brilliant. No one else apart him in the film requires any mention because he’s in almost every frame of it. As the movie nears its end, he expresses our own ambiguity in absolute desperation wonderfully. Well you guys have to see the film yourself to feel this.

It is not like “The Prestige” where you are told repeatedly to watch closely (No disrespect to Prestige. It is in its own league). An ambiguous film. But hey, it is supposed to be ambiguous. Watch it.

Ocean’s is low on the Quotient

Pacino and Clooney in Ocean’s 13

Ocean’s Thirteen is enjoyable if you choose to enjoy it, much like a mainstream Indian movie. Definitely not bad for a ‘threequel’, going by Spidey 3, Pirates 3 and the likes. But, it totally defies logic, is as linear as a movie can get, and leaves you wondering if there was a finale to it that you missed.

George Clooney and his cronies are at it again, and this time its casino-man Pacino they’re against. One of the best things about the movie, this Mr. Pacino is. He sizzles as the egoistic Willie Banks who double crosses one among Ocean’s 12, Reuben. And hence, Clooney’s back with his assortment of multi-talented crooks, and this time, their last victim Andy Garcia is with them too.

The one aspect of the movie that irked me the most was the narrative style. The best thing about Ocean’s 11 was how the whole task seemed impossible at first, then they went about planning it and doing it, and they saved the best darn twist for the last. This one has no such thing. From scene 1 till the end, we’re just relentlessly fed with small problems that they’re facing with their plan, and ridiculously far-fetched solutions to each. You’ve gotto see it to believe it. In one bit, they’re actually diggin’ a friggin’ tunnel under the Las Vegas Strip, and generating an earthquake that shakes up just this one hotel. Yea right.

What makes things worse is the unimaginative dialogue. Even though the fantastic jazz soundtrack makes up for it, you’re looking for some nice funny lines in this ‘threequel’(damn, I hate that word!), just like you did in Pirates 3, but no luck here either. One or two laughs, but nowhere near enough.

I’ve noticed this with all franchise movies made for the sake of making one (more). They all take the audience to be very stupid, and expect them to lap up anything that’s served in a format resembling the successful original. Soderbergh resorts to that too, and that’s very disappointing, coming from the man who made Traffic.

You could watch it for: The high glamour quotient, the soundtrack, and the fact that it’s better than the terrible Ocean’s 12.

Otherwise, you’d be better off watching Knocked Up.