Kuselan

Naanga azhudhutom, neengalum azhudhuteengala?

High!

Humans have always been better at expressing ideas. Better than say, most contemporary animals. And some humans have toiled to express them so good that they turn out to be artists. Today sitting in the theater, I could sense three. Not sense. More like they pounded it together, put it on a spoon, heated it on a candle, dipped a cotton swab on it and filled up a syringe full of it and shot it to me intravenously. What a cinematic high! From Nolan, Ledger and the combined geniuses of Howard and Zimmer, The Dark Knight.

Shoot ‘Em Up

Shoot ‘Em Up                                                                     $8.00
The perfect potboiler, Owen baked with smoky Belluci, served hot.

The Indian film goer is definitely familiar with the term ‘masala movie’, which essentially means, like the exciting mixture of spices that a masala is, the movie too is a mix of popular elements – outlandish action, glamor and punchy dialogue, with a totally acceptable suspension of disbelief.

Say hello to Shoot ‘Em Up, masala movie par excellence, a feather in this genre’s cap. Where Paul Giamatti shines like never before, and Clive Owen does his familiar class act to satisfaction. This Tarantinoesque action-comedy has everything the average Mr. Smith loves: lots of shooting, innovative ways to kill, Monica Belluci the call-girl running around in her work-wear, and tons of witty lines straight out of a Frank Miller graphic novel.

Outrageously enjoyable.

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.

Frantic. Frenzy. Breathless. Bourne Ultimatum.

Free falling objects tend to have pitch, yaw, roll. Bourne Ultimatum is one such piece of film with its pictures moving in all three dimensions at such breathless speeds that they might break free out of the projector running off in a thousand directions. Here’s when they almost did –

  • When Bourne swerves left on the steering wheel when his cop car is being scraped across a median.
  • When Bourne jumps across the last roof, shown in slo-mo not super slo-mo, to crash across into the window in the opposite building.
  • “He just drove off the roof!”
  • The entire Simon Ross episode.

And here’s when they did –

  • Julia Stiles breaks into a smile. And the soundtrack kicks in to a shot of Jason Bourne… in fact, the whole epilogue was great.

Bourne Identity would still be held highest of the Bourne series because it has a high book-to-screen-ness quotient and the story stands good on its own. One the other hand, Bourne Ultimatum is one book-to-screen adaptation where there is absolutely no relation between the book and screen. And the screen doesn’t even inch towards a semblance of a story what with all the action taking the place of the story. But who cares? When the action is this mindblowing.

“He just drove off the roof!”

Bourne Tribute

The first bit of dialogue, just dialogue without an action sequence, is at an hour and ten minutes into the movie. I know cos I actually looked down at my watch and smiled.

2007 is the year of the action movie. After John McLane and Optimus Prime, I would like to introduce you to the King, Jason Charles Bourne. In The Bourne Ultimatum, we are witness to the perfectly made action movie. A good sequel is a marvel by itself, but a spectacular 3rd movie is nothing short of a miracle. And wait a minute; weren’t these adapted from a series of books? Goodness! Respect, as Ali G would say.

The plot is very simple. It’s pretty much what the tagline states: This Summer, Bourne Comes Home. That’s about it. I don’t need to delineate events, but just need to describe the experience. I remember someone term 300 as one big action sequence, and I agreed then. But today, sitting there in the cinema hall, with my heart pounding every one of those 111 minutes, 300 paled in comparison. Ultimatum is an action sequence, and you’re in it. It grabs you in the first scene, and throws you right in the middle of it all. Bourne is on the run, retracing his steps back to where it all started for him, and you are just a step behind him throughout. You feel the danger in every moment, and you feel the urgency to keep moving. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where its brilliance lies.

Everyone who had read the Bourne books would agree with me that Supremacy and Ultimatum did not match up to Identity’s class. It is very impressive that screenwriter Tony Gilroy chose to eliminate the core storyline of the books, that involved the rival assassin Carlos, and decided to spin a yarn of his own. He decided to tone down the story, and spunk up the screenplay, giving us the three roller coaster rides that take the screen chase to a new high.

I don’t want to end this review without mentioning Matt Damon. His dedication and great talent transform him into Bourne himself. An incredible performance. Don’t miss it.

Transformers

What a ride! WHAT A RUSH! I take back everything I’ve ever said about Michael Bay. When it comes to thinking big and making it bigger, no one does it like he does. Period.

Transformers is terrific. I’m actually too excited to type here, and definitely in no condition to say anything coherent. This movie puts the faith back into mega budget Hollywood flicks, comic-book movies, and creature movies all at once. Yes, you can do a bloody good job of it if you try hard enough. This is jumping up from your seat, pumping your fist in the air and screaming with joy good!