Magnolia

A bad film, it is not. A good film, it definitely is not.

Magnolia can’t be called bad due to the sheer certainty with which the director seems to be telling his tale. He never seems to be at a loss for words at any point of time, having too much to say on most occasions. What it turns out to be, is a long drawn, arduous exercise in showing us how pathetic the lives of a bunch of LA folks are. It talks about coincidence and unexpected turns that life can take, but there is not a single moment in the mish-mash of helplessly ‘intertwined’ stories that would qualify as a great moment of fate. You keep waiting for that grand climax where these individuals would seem like small pawns in the greater scheme of things, but it never comes.

If you want to watch a much better movie in the lines that Magnolia promises to be, watch American Beauty. It is much more eloquent in its explication of modern American society, funny in the absurdity of its issues, and tragic in its realism. You get something much better than a couple of old jackasses dying of cancer, making useless deathbed confessions and croaking just when a million frogs fall from the sky. Bah!

It’s time to give ‘a mosaic of American life woven through a series of comedic and poignant vignettes’ movies a break, don’t you think? It’s been done very effectively a few times, like in Crash for instance. We really aren’t up to watching any more pointless lives intertwined by fate, or worse, frogs.

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He’s back.

It’s called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Wonder what ol’ George was thinking when he came up with that!

The iconic franchise is still iconic, however shitty the latest title might be. Check out the official website.

Mad Men

There aren’t a lot of TV series out there with this good acting, great production, noir-toned visuals and vignettes in every other scene. Its set in the smoky stylized 60s. And its about an advertising guy this time. And its made by Mathew Reiner who made the one about the mafia boss last time.

You won’t be embarrassed to say you’re watching it. Good stuff.

The poor man’s Brad Pitt

21 grams

That’s what I like to call Benicio Del Toro. He has always reminded me of Brad Pitt; a less polished, more intense version of him. Intense, that would probably be the best way to describe him in a word. I’ve never seen Benicio disappoint. He’s been fantastic in all his roles – be it in The Usual Suspects, Traffic, or 21 grams. Wow, 21 grams. As a Christian who recently reformed his ways, Benicio was stellar in 21 grams, to say the least. In the scene after the freak accident, he brings such sorrow, remorse and shock to the moment, it’s unbelievable. In Traffic, Benicio plays a Mexican cop with a golden heart, and endears the audience to him without any sugary scenes, but just his sincere goodness.

I can’t forget Franky Four Fingers, can I? A testament to Benicio’s felicity, he’s awesome as the diamond thief with a gambling problem in Guy Ritchie’s hilarious Snatch. He’s done many brooding, complex roles that suit his persona, but it would be really cool to watch him in a romantic comedy or something. I’m sure he’d be every bit as good in Hugh Grant territory.

Benicio as Che in Guerrilla

Benicio plays the legendary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s next two movies in succession, in Spanish – The Argentine and Guerrilla. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play Che, as it’s almost certain he’s going be brilliant. And it would be interesting to contrast him to Gael Garcia Bernal’s(who deserves a tribute post himself) Che in The Motorcycle Diaries. Keep going, Benicio.

Sunshine

I like Danny Boyle. He did a great job with Trainspotting, which was humorous while being an uncomprimising story about addiction. I specifically remember the scene where Ewan McGregor is on the bed, dealing with withdrawal hallucinations, when he starts imagining his dead baby crawling on the room’s walls. Scary as hell. He again stood out in 28 days later, which wasn’t a great movie overall, but had style and was scary for sure. I liked it.

What I was coming to is, I picked Sunshine just because it was a Danny Boyle film. And it has everything that I was looking for in it – stylish, modern film making, with a great atmosphere to it, and as always, scary in its own way. And yet, it isn’t a great film, just like 28 days later isn’t. It is pseudo, or rather quasi sci-fi, the kind which has some plausibility to it. And for something in that genre, Sunshine has a few faults that cannot be easily ignored. I don’t want to go into the details of the plot, but for a crew of astronauts on a mission to save the world, this bunch seemed juvenile and unprofessional. And there are a few more things which we could talk about once you’ve seen the movie. So go watch it, and we’ll catch up.

Project Mayhem. What if…

Read in wikipedia that Russel Crowe and Matt Damon were in running for Tyler Durden and Narrator. Wonder how would it have been? Durden->Pitt->Narrator->Norton->Durden. Argument over. Btw check out this cool video, I have known this song for some time but never seen this video till today.

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel is hitting movie theatres soon! The trailer is here, and it looks good to me. Check out for yourself, here.

Releasing Nov 2nd in the US. I wouldn’t miss it!