Sunday, February 22, 2009

We want to thank the academy...

In a colorful function in the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood, we were presented with the Oscar award for the best couple. :))

In other news Slumdog Millionaire sweeped the Oscars with 7 awards including the Best Film, Best Direction, Screenplay and Music. I was glad to see a Keralite, Resul Pookkutty getting Oscar for best sound mixing for Slumdog Millionaire.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My top 11 Movies of 2008

This list was arrived at using a scientific and psychological method.
1. Check lists of all movies released in 2008 in English, Hindi and Malayalam.
2. As soon as i see one movie i liked, note it down.
3. Tear the paper into slips so i have one movie name on each slip.
4. Wait for sometime. Do some actual work.
5. Comeback to the slips.
6. Take one slip at a time, give the movie a score out of ten.
7. Now list them according to the scores.

Originally i had wanted a top ten list, but by the way the scores appeared, It became a top 11 list.

I learned some things from this excercise.

The top grossing films of 2008 in Bollwood- I havent seen most of them, I was not interested in most of them, and I am truly shocked at some of the entries - Race, Jodha Akbar, Sarkaar Raj, Jannat!

English movies of 2008- Some of them i sadly missed-
Australia by Baz Luhrman (previous film 'Moulin Rouge') with Nicole Kidman,Hugh Jackman.
City of Ember - DVD still sleeps in my laptop. Supposed to be good.
CJ7 - Supposed to be another laughter riot from the team of Shaolin Soccer.
Frost/Nixon, Milk, Gran Torino - Oscar nominated films.Never got around to see them.
Spiderwick Chronicles, Wanted

Some films conspicuous by absence:

The Happening: First time around, i liked it for the PA landscape and frights. (I was supposed to goto PA for onsite). Second time, the silliness of the plot and Mark Wahlberg's unintentionally funny expressions were too much.

Dark Knight: Heralded to be the best film of the year, biggest grosser in history etc.Lest i had missed something, i saw it in IMAX too. I feel the best description for the movie is 'murky'. There were some good things about it. Christian Bale (not his fake batman voice) Heath Ledger's Joker. Bad things were Maggie Gyllenhall, badly choreographed action and the plot.Looking back again, may be the only good thing was the Joker.

Not appearing in the list, but still good: Get Smart, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Pineapple Express, Semi-Pro, You Don't Mess With The Zohan

Never see: Disaster Movie, Cloverfield, Meet the Spartans, My Best Friend's Girl, One Missed Call,Pathology, Punisher: War Zone, The Strangers

Now to go into the list:

Slumdog Millionaire (7.5)
It may be over-rated, but it has a good story, synthesis of good english filmmaking and feel-good bollywood-ian story. Gains extra points for making an 'Indian' film in the Oscars.

Yes Man (7,5)
May be not as good as Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey looks a little old, but still the movie cracks me up. Extra points for beautiful/crazy Zooey Deschanel.

Wrestler (7.5)
I dont like to watch Wrestling. But still this film made me watch it (in it).A film that makes you care for its characters. You wish they somehow find redemption. Extra points for the scene where the wrestler and stripper meet outside their 'jobs'.

Kung Fu Panda (8)
Damn Funny. The opening dream sequnce has me hooked. And it has Jack Black. extra points for being a film about a fat person saving the day.

Transsiberian (8)
Taut thriller. Edge-of-seat. I totally abandoned Nithya one evening to see this on DVD.

Bachna Ae Haseeno (8)
I kept wondering-Can Hindi Cinema do this? Yashraj production values bring a movie that is actually enjoyable for once. And i am a little fan of Minisha Lamba.

Vantage Point (8)

Another edge-of-seat movie with lots of twists thrown in. But its not the 'Race'.

The Incredible Hulk (8)
I am a fan of comic-book-hero movies. But i have never read any Hulk books. This film was pure adrenaline thrill. And an appearance from Iron Man? Man oh man.

Bolt (8.5)
Enjoyed it thoroughly. Old-fashioned themes like friendship, courage and faithfulness. Lots of comedy. Great animation. And there is a cat who shows the way.

Definitely, Maybe (8.5)
It achieves the impossible. A chick-flick which can be enjoyed by guys. A great leading man, 3 gorgeous ladies, a story which keeps you guessing.

Iron Man (8.5)
Great Superhero movie in a long, long time. I am a fan of Robert Downey Jr Now. This man can do any role. First he is super hero in this movie. Then he goes and does super comedy in Tropic Thunder. Who is this guy? For extra points this movie has the charming Gwyneth Paltrow.

Honoroble Mentions:
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (7)
Cycle (7)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (7)
Be Kind Rewind (6.5)
Tropic Thunder (6.5)
Kadha Parayumbol (6.5)
21 (6)
Aamir (6)
Twenty Twenty (5.5)
Wall-E (5.5)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day

Valentines Day

Had a beautiful valentines day..full of love. Hope it was the same all over.

Manu & Nithya

Friday, February 13, 2009

Must Watch: Coraline 3D

Brilliantly animated in stop-motion, and filmed in 3D, Coraline is a visual treat. Me and Nithya saw this movie last weekend. We both enjoyed the movie very much.

Newly arrived in Oregon from Michigan with her mother (Teri Hatcher) and father (John Hodgman), she feels ignored by her stay-at-home, workaholic writer parents. Father, hunched over his PC, is a mild, preoccupied sort; but Mother has no milk-drop of the maternal instinct.

Left on her own, Coraline wanders through the huge old house, now divided into several large apartments, to meet the other residents: Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane), an eight-foot-tall blue Russian who runs a circus of more-or-less trained mice; and Miss Spink (Jennifer Saunders) and Miss Forcible (Dawn French), a pair of venerable theatrical troupers endlessly recounting their glory days in the music hall. Coraline also meets a boy her age, Whybe Lovet (Robert Bailey Jr.), the grandson of the grande dame who owns the place, and a talking cat (Keith David) with dark secrets he eventually spills.

For Coraline, the big secret is behind a small locked door. Like Lewis Carroll's Alice and the Narnia children (and, by now, far too many tyke heroes of fairy tales), Coraline goes through the doorway into another realm. It's a long, oddly uterine passage that leads to an apartment exactly like her new home, and with identical parents — except for two things. The weird news: Other Mother and Other Father have buttons for eyes. The better news: these cheerful folks instantly dote on the little girl as if she were the center of their universe. How lovely to see you! Have some cake! Let us tuck you into bed. Coraline thinks she's lucked into paradise: that she's escaped the loneliness and numbing drudgery of real life, where she's either an obstacle or invisible, and discovered her mirror home, her ideal parents, an Opposite World where she feels wanted, pampered and, for a change, happy.

"You probably think this other world is a dream come true," the Cat tells Coraline. "But it's not." He's right.Soon, Coraline is in terrible danger.

The illusion of depth through the 3D glasses is awesome. It doesnt go for too many gimmicks also, like the insufferable "Magic Magic" (malayalam).

Stop-motion is an exacting form of animation in which puppets are posed in a scene, then photographed for a single frame, then moved ever so slightly, then photographed again — and 100,000 or so frames later, presto, you have a feature film. It's been around from the beginning of cinema, since 1898, and for the patient artists behind the scenes, it must seem it takes about that long to finish a movie.But the patience pays off. The results are movie magical. The fear and terror are real. No way i am going to crawl into a trapdoor leading to some other world.

These days i have begun to put my belief in It's tomatoemeter (the more the better) can really tell you which films are the good ones. It takes the avergage of good reviews/total reviews to arrive at the figure. There is a chance you might like the 40%s and 50% movies (For eg.I liked Yes Man-43%) but its damn sure you would like the more-than-70% movies. Some of these 'fresh picks' recently are: Bolt-87%. Slumdog Millionaire.94% Wrestler.98% Luck By Chance-60% Coraline-87%.

One last word. This film is availble in both 2D and 3D. This review is based on the 3D version. If you want to see the film, search for Coraline 3D.

Trailer on Youtube:(Near the youtube text on the video, select HD for best quality)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Joise

A nice day in Mangalore. I am inside Bharat Mall, noting various offers on sale. Buy one shirt get 2 free! 50% off on jockey! Panataloons end of the season sale! Suddenly the whole building began to shake. Is this an earth quake? Will i be able to get those 50% OFF jockeys?? I wake up to see Joise back from Kerala, in Mangala, waking me up saying "Eneekeda, va chaya kudikan pokam." The only time i am not upset about losing sleep, or losing a great 'offer'.

Our morning tea-drinking sessions at Leela Palace also were stuff of legends. We would savor the tranquility and the clarity of laziness standing in front of the 'swimming pool'. This was the time when we discussed about the big issues of life. Those were the best days of my life.


We had a lot in common. Everday, we were the last to start from the flat in Hariraj to Infy.We were the 'bachelors' in the house.We had some of the same bad habits (no commitments) and good habits.(wine,beer and other alcohol, chicken manjurian from mythri. C&H).

I never hid the fact of the attraction of the fairer gender.But joise took (fake) pride in the claim that he was impervious to those charms.

But soon all that was to change.
feminine cham

Then the #$%@ infy sent him to Bangalore. Judy was the saddest person, i think i was the 2nd saddest person.

I used to take a lot of advice on the matters of life and love from Joise always. He was always resourceful, practical and insightful!

Still, whenever i need a good advice i call him.

While love visited my life, Joise also had come back to Mangalore. During the blizzard of SMSes i used to send/recieve while during curfew, he made up one cheesy sms "he read in my cell" about "a dream nithya had". "In my dream my house was filled with flood. i ran from room to room. Then manu came and rescued me."

After this, he took me to Nithyas flat for me to give her the birthday gift. He is the ultimate wingman.

Funny fact: We are the only room mates in the world with the same pattern striped pants. (It looks like criminals in jail) Once he picked me from office, and we were both wearing those pants. It was a scene.

We had a lot of drinking sessions sitting opposite to the police station in mangala. once it was celebrating his canada trip. then comin back from canada. then getting married. The last drinking session was at his home punctuated by 5 types of wine celebrating life. It is a night i cant forget.

When i was under the belief that i will stay a bachelor for life, I often told Judy and Joise that i will come and stay with them sometime when they are settled.Now by fate, i did it twice, and then over that, a long one week stay as a patient. Sacrificing a lot of vacation they nursed me to health. I could not be as comfortable anywhere else.

We went on some crazy trips together..Posa de gumpe. Manipal on bike. MM Hills. :)He had seen my posts asking about this hills in BB.One day during tea he asked 'would you like to go take a look at it?' It was a working day to boot. Without a care in the world we set off..

Whenever i am helming some skit for ES in a competition I thank god Joise is not in the fray for their PU.He has a ton of ideas up his sleeve. We have brainstormed many Oscar-worthy scripts like "Lamp post". Then Vinayan-style tear jerker about an a guy with no hands/legs, just a thumb. "Room Mate", a suspense thriller which could have been a great follow-up to Survivor! I did make a video on him, about which he was not too kind. We made a lot of M&J Cartoons of which funniest ones were scripted by him.The ability to laugh on oneself is very rare. He has it.

I wish him the very best, fulfillment of his wishes and desires. I wish he remains my friend for life.