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Movies Ashdoc's Movie Review - Couple Of Old Movies I Saw On DVD

Discussion in 'Theatre, Movies & Cinema' started by ashdoc, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc India
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    Memoirs of a geisha ( 2005 )---

    The setting is Japan , where Geishas have their own place in society .

    Narration of the film is done in the wonderfully old voice of a Geisha who has been through the ups and downs of life . And as is typical in the life stories of fallen women ( and a Geisha IS a fallen woman , no matter how sophisticated she is ) , she has been sold as a sex slave when she was a child along with her sister by her father who desperately needs the money .

    The first 45 minutes of the movie are tragic and are filled with heart rending moments , like the moment when the leading actress and her sister are separated from each other permanently to go to different brothels . And as is inevitable in these stories , their attempts to escape from the hell they are in are unsuccessful .

    To be honest I can't make myself see these stories of women sold into sex slavery for giving pleasure to men , for to me human trafficking is the worst crime on the planet . But something made me hold on to seeing the rest of the movie---maybe it was the atmosphere of the mystical orient that the movie creates . Even though I am an oriental myself ( I am from India ) , this was a different variety of orient I was seeing---the Japanese form .

    And the film certainly recreates the society of Japan on celluloid , and it also wonderfully recreates the era of the 1930s in Japan . Photography is good too , though the film looks like it has forever been shot in the dark ; maybe that is because it deals with ladies of the night....

    Or maybe that is because the film deals with a dark theme---the life of a Geisha , which is filled with many moments of sorrow and others of despair....

    But our heroine ( here I revert to the Indian practice of calling the character played by the leading actress as 'heroine' ) is a lionheart , trying to survive through all the heartbreak and trying to triumph against the odds . And heartbreaking moments are many , brought about by a jealous rival older geisha who fears that our heroine may outclass her in the profession one day , and also brought by those whose ambitions are destroyed by our heroine's march towards success .

    However in her march towards success , our heroine breaks one golden rule of a geisha---that as woman born to give pleasure to many men she cannot fall in love . For love demands fidelity to one person and her profession is such that she cannot remain loyal to one man .

    Instead , our heroine has one outstanding desire in among all the trials and tribulations in life---to get as close to and be a part of the life of the man she has fallen in love with . And she is ready to strain her wits and renounce her pleasures to reach her goal . But her enemies come to know about her secret desire too , and use it to give her further heartache . How long will she hold on to hope....??

    The second world war interrupts this world and temporarily the life of our heroine is turned upside down . And at the end of the war comes a new phenomenon---the American occupation of the country . Along with the occupation come American soldiers flush with dollars and also flush with unbridled lust....

    So how does our lovely geisha cope with the new situation ??
    Does she get the love of the man she has dared to love for so long ?? Does he even know about it ??
    Does a woman of her profession and in her situation have the right to fall in love at all ??
    Can a woman sold as a sex slave in childhood ever dream of happiness ??

    Watch the movie for the answers....it will be a good watch....

    The whole world loves a lover.....
    And like a hopeless romantic I found myself rooting for the heroine to get her love and her happiness .

    Or maybe that was the effect of the film....
    .....For the director has woven tapestry of romance wonderfully over the setting of the film in the magical orient . And he has created a bygone era peace and war with practiced ease on the silver screen . It would be hard to resist seeing such a tale on celluloid....

    Verdict---Very good .
     
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  3. ashdoc

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    Re: Ashdoc's movie review---couple of old movies i saw on DVD

    Passion play ( 2010 )---

    Sometimes it's good to read reviews panning a bad film before you actually see it . You don't expect anything from the film , and when it is somewhat better than what the reviews suggested , you feel great !!

    That's what happened to my program of watching Passion play on DVD .

    I found that this odd movie had something to hold my interest ; maybe I found it's very eccentricity to be interesting....

    The leading actor Mickey Rourke plays the role of an oddball character in a movie which has been made---most probably---by an oddball himself . He actually is stupid enough to sleep with the wife of a notorious gangster , and in revenge he is going to be bumped of by the gangster's hitman in the desert . But is saved just in the nick of time by some native Americans , or so it seems....

    As Mickey wanders back , he stumbles onto a circus that crops up from nowhere . How come a circus springs up in the middle of the desert ?? As I told you , the whole movie is as odd as it gets and it keeps getting odder....

    .....For in the circus , Mickey finds a beautiful girl ( Megan Fox ) with wings !! Yes , real wings !!

    Is she an angel or just a freak of nature ?? Wait for the answer to this at the end of the movie.....

    Anyway , Mickey wants to help Megan run away from the drudgery of the circus and it's owner who is exploiting her . But the owner of the circus finds this out and is about to kill Mickey with the bite of a poisonous snake . But Megan saves his life ( once again Mickey is saved at the door of death !!...or is he ?? ) and together they run off....

    And the inevitable happens---the two fall in love and make love , the considerable impediment of the wings in lovemaking not withstanding . But what is more eccentric than watching a man make love to a woman with wings is the oddity of the pairing between the fifty plus aged Mickey Rourke and the 20 something Megan Fox---the two look horribly mismatched from the word go....

    ......Or maybe Megan who has seen only exploitation all her life finds something real and pure in the love and care that Mickey showers on her , and falls in love with that . There is something intriguing even in the corny parts of the movie , and I found myself wanting to know what lay ahead....

    However the death threat of the gangster who originally wanted him killed ( played by Bill Murray ) hangs above Mickey's head , and Mickey decides to let Bill Murray earn money by displaying his winged girl at shows---a freak that is bound to attract crowds . In return Mickey wants Murray to spare his life .

    But once Murray lays his eyes on her , he wants to keep the beautiful Megan for himself .

    And when Mickey loses Megan , he realizes the depth of his love for her and wants her back at all costs . And he is willing to die for that....

    The slogan of the movie is---'Love is stronger than death' .

    So will love prove to be stronger than death ?? Will the star crossed lovers be able to get back together ?? And do girls with wings really exist , or are they stuff of fictional stories like mermaids ?? Watch the movie for the answers....

    The colours of the movie are rich and vibrant , and the photography is excellent .
    The background music has real depth and feeling and is worth hearing .

    Inspite of these factors , what works against the movie is the inability of the director to decide whether he wants to make an art movie or a commercial one . There are some movies which straddle both sides but the director cannot make this one like any of them .

    Of course , there is something intriguing about the story of an elderly former heroin addict ( Mickey Rourke ) and a girl with wings who fall in love . And something more intriguing about a gangster ( Murray ) who throws a spanner in the works . Also the same about the circus owner who is searching for his girl and for some revenge on Mickey....

    Mickey Rourke plays the role of a man who always stumbles in life , and is always on the way of stumbling out of it....
    But somewhere I could empathize with the love he feels for the beautiful but god forsaken girl who has wings , and I thought that he was the man to play an oddball to perfection....

    Megan Fox looks confused in some scenes , and Bill Murray is only okay....
    But it is not a regular film and does not depend on the acting of it's star cast . Rather it is film which is attractive because of it's 'strangeness' .

    And the strangeness I thought , was attractive enough....

    Verdict----At least I liked it...
     
  4. ashdoc

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    Re: Ashdoc's movie review---couple of old movies i saw on DVD

    The ending of the above ( 2nd review in this thread ) movie did give me a high .

    Megan unsuccessfully tries to fly with her wings in earlier parts of the movie with Mickey Rourke's encouragement---but to no avail....Her wings seemingly do not have the strength to help her fly . Her wings just seem to be freaks of nature---destined to be for show purposes .

    At the end , as Megan and Mickey are trying to flee the gangland boss Bill Murray's clutches , they have to run to the top of a building . As Bill Murray and his men are following them , there seems to be no escape from here---except to jump from the top of the building to a certain death....

    But while Mickey is jumping Megan tries one last time to fly---and such is her desperation to save her lover that her efforts succeed and she can fly !! And she holds the falling Mickey and carries him along with her away from the building and the gangster's clutches towards freedom !! Up and away they fly far off over the desert....

    Admittedly the sight of the damsel in distress suddenly developing the strength to fly in order to save her lover and carrying him to safety was one the more uplifting moments I have seen on celluloid in a long time . Maybe I liked the movie because of that....
     
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  5. ashdoc

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    Re: Ashdoc's movie review---couple of old movies i saw on DVD

    Luther---

    It's the early sixteenth century and religion is the dominant force in the world . People are steeped in superstition and dogma .

    ......And it's the same even in what is supposedly the world's most advanced continent---Europe....
    The church is fleecing people in the name of getting their sins written off for money and the priests are awash in debauchery....

    One brave German---a monk---has the courage to stand up against all this not only because he is fearless but also because he believes he is a true believer in God . His name is Martin Luther....

    He is shocked by the sale of indulgences for money to write off sins and by the whoring done by priests and by the sale of useless trinkets and by the corruption and the luxury of church officials while the common people are mired in poverty . And he has the chutzpah to post his views on paper and hammer the paper on the door of the church---thus going into open rebellion....

    As his views are printed all across Germany he becomes a rallying point for people who want to revolt against the catholic church . He is asked to recant his theses and when he refuses , he is excommunicated....

    But it is too late as he has set alight the reformation , and events have moved so fast now no one can set the clock back....

    To some he is a hero fighting against injustice , while to others he is a zealot who has divided Christiandom at a time when the Turks are knocking on the gates of Vienna . But love him or hate him you cannot ignore him....

    Luther has a powerful protector in Frederick the wise who is the elector of Saxony , but an even more powerful enemies in Pope Leo X and Charles V who is the Holy Roman Emperor .

    Luther is brought to trial at Worms where he will have to summon up the guts to stand up to his beliefs .

    So does he have the guts ??

    And what is his reaction to the slaughter that his dividing beliefs have created ??

    Do the German princes side with him or against him ??

    And does he achieve his goal of translating the Bible into the German language and make it accessible to the common people ??

    Watch the movie for the answers....

    Joseph Fiennes has put up a fine performance as Martin Luther , bringing out his passion for reforming his religion all too well . Peter Ustinov has clearly enjoyed playing his role of Frederick the wise by injecting a touch of humor even in serious situations .

    Luther's marriage comes almost as an afterthought in the film , as the entry of his wife ( played by Claire Cox ) is towards the end of the movie .

    And the movie ends well before Luther's life did....

    Music is the strong part of the film , as classical music blends with holy hymns---it is always in the background and is a powerful presence without being loud , making the movie more likable .

    All in all , I was pleasantly surprised to get a free and interesting history lesson in a VCD which I had got free with my DVD of 'Dr Zhivago' .

    Verdict---Very decent .
     
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  6. ashdoc

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    Re: Ashdoc's movie review---couple of old movies i saw on DVD

    Dr Zhivago---

    The movie tells the saga of the Russian revolution through the story of Dr Zhivago---a doctor and a poet....

    It's the story of Russia through those turbulent times....

    A story of lives torn apart....

    A story of peoples' existence buffeted by the giant winds of history....

    A story of human privacy extinguished and finished....

    A story of personal feelings and ambitions crushed by the power of the state....

    And amidst all this , one man ( Dr Zhivago ) tries desperately to hold on to his life and his dignity and his freedom....

    And amidst all the horror around him , he finds time for love and passion and romance....

    But those sweet moments of love and passion and romance come all too briefly for Dr Zhivago....

    They come too briefly for him because all around him the revolution is destroying lives and putting an end to freedom....

    Yet in getting those tender moments of love and romance , Dr Zhivago is an exceptionally lucky Russian....

    Yes , exceptionally lucky because all around him people are fighting and dying and killing....

    That's the condition of Russia in those stormy days....

    A condition that is brought about magnificently in this film....

    The film brings about the Russian revolution to life in all it's glory and suffering and pity and devastation....

    But it's a film....

    And as films go , it's main concentration is on an individual's life and his triumphs and his tragedies....

    Sadly , there are more tragedies than triumphs in the life of Dr Zhivago....

    And the same is story of every Russian....

    Indeed , your heart goes out to every Russian male and female to have gone through so much grief....

    And you salute their endurance to endure it all....

    So what about the story of Dr Zhivago ??

    It's long and convoluted and full of coincidental encounters of people in the most unlikeliest of places---encounters that propel the story forward....

    And what a story and what a film....

    Embellished with superb photography showcasing the incredible vastness of Russia....

    Photography of the Russian landscape full of massive plains and swift flowing rivers and snowcapped mountain peaks....

    And a film with a scintillating and heartstopping musical score known as Lara's theme which one listens to in awestruck silence.....

    Geraldine Chaplin plays Zhivago's wife and the stunning Julie Christie plays his lover , and together the form a love triangle that never explodes into confrontation....

    But what explodes is the history of Russia as Russians' peaceful lives are disrupted by the first world war....

    As the Germans invade Russia , the communists are hoping for a Russian defeat---for defeat will bring about the revolution they want....

    And as revolution comes , the lives of Dr Zhivago and his wife and the woman he eventually falls in love with go topsyturvy like a seesaw as they are thrown from one place to another....

    From Moscow to Siberia they are thrown in a cattle train being transported like animals....

    From the train to a lovely dacha hidden in the snowy mountains--- a dacha which forms a love nest for Zhivago and his wife and later for Zhivago and his lover....

    But Dr Zhivago's services are needed by the red army and he is forced to abandon both his women to serve in the army....

    And when he escapes , he returns to find his wife deported to a foreign land....

    And Lara ( Zhivago's lover )---what about her ??
    A beautiful woman like her has too many admirers and she has a past of being raped and later of having a husband who is a bolshevic.....

    The stories of Dr Zhivago and his wife and Lara and her husband and rapist are all twisted and churned by the tidal wave of Russia's history....

    First the world war and then the revolution and then civil war...

    As they are all brought together and separated and then brought together again by the turns in the story , the main question is---can they survive it all....??

    And is survival worth it ??

    Has life any meaning at all in all the horror ??

    Watch the movie for answers to all this....

    I guarantee that your money wont be wasted....

    Verdict---fabulous .
     
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  7. ashdoc

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    Re: Ashdoc's movie review---couple of old movies i saw on DVD

    Sheen ( 2004 )---

    In the Kashmiri language Sheen means snow , and it is a popular name given to girls there too---for their skin is as fair and white as snow .

    It is also the name of the film's heroine....

    And by showing the story of a fictitious beauty called Sheen , director Ashok Pandit tries to showcase the story of the Kashmiri hindus---a minority who have become refugees in their own country . May be the film will confirm to the English meaning of it's name ( sheen means to shine in reflected light in the English language ) and throw some light on the plight of the hindus of Kashmir.....

    It's a plight that the nation seems to have forgotten , and is a fitting reminder to the fact that people who are non violent ( like the Kashmiri hindus are ) have no voice or weight in the world....

    Those whose voice carries weight are the ones who have taken recourse to the gun , and the booming guns have changed the destinies of the Kashmir valley forever.....or so it seems....

    The story begins in the late eighties when our heroine Sheen lives a carefree life in Kashmir valley . Her father is the local school teacher and teaches in an open school set in the midst of a sylvan countryside . She falls in love Mannu who is son of her dad's friend .

    And what could be more fit for falling in love than the gorgeous countryside---all magnificent snow capped mountains and stunningly beautiful valleys and superb forests of Chinar trees and rivers and lakes flowing with ice cold water.....not for nothing is Kashmir known as the Switzerland of Asia , a destination for a life long romance or at least a honeymoon....

    It seems the rarefied air of Kashmir and the beauty of the countryside can breed nothing but pure thoughts of tranquility ; and the Kashmiri people are indeed a gentle people---a world away from their formidable martially inclined neighbours in Punjab and the Pathan regions .

    But the scientific and technological advances of the 19th century brought contact with these very neighbours to the formerly isolated Kashmiris , and the 20th century brought the clash of civilizations---one civilization being hindu and the other being muslim....

    And into the vortex of this 20th century clash is caught our heroine Sheen....

    Actually she wants to do nothing but lead her life along with her family and her love in the midst of the sylvan countryside , but can an individual resist the tidal wave of history ?? Especially when the history is being created by that scourge of the 21st century called Islamic fundamentalism....

    Director Ashok Pandit does make a brave attempt show the world the trials and tribulations of the Hindus of Kashmir valley---a minority driven away from their land by islamic terrorists trained and abetted by Pakistan . Their tragedy is shown in all it's glory and it's pity.... It's a story of near and dear ones killed , of women's honour defiled by rapists , of administrative and police callousness towards them , of homes lost and futures destroyed , and above all of the pain of being driven out of the lands in which their ancestors had lived from thousands of years....

    And Sheen has to bear this pain in all it's solitude and with fortitude---She has to bear the sight of her nation's flag burnt by traitors , and Pakistani flags raised in it's place....her lover is kidnapped by terrorists , her father is forced to close down his school to give way for a madrasa ( islamic seminary ) , her brother is brutally killed by militants , and she and her family have to leave the comforts of home to lead a life of destitution in a refugee camp in another part of the country....

    Her own Hindu co religionists from other parts of the nation look down upon Kashmiri hindus , and she and her family have to live off packets of food thrown at them from trucks like they throw dog food to dogs . Worse , policemen try to prey upon her beauty with lecherous advances , reducing the life of a lady from a respectable family like herself to a den of dispair....

    Yet she remains bold and courageous and outspoken among all her sorrows , just like a her father....and above all she remains a patriot---never loses her love for India....

    This very courageousness sets her on a final mission---to try to reach the man she loves and who is in the clutches of terrorists , who are led by his childhood friend Shaukat , a Kashmiri muslim who has turned to the path of revolt against India . It's a mission in which Sheen is about to risk her very life....

    So does she succeed in reaching and freeing Mannu---the man she loves ?? Watch the movie for that....

    The story of Kashmir is tragic , and therefore the story of the film is bound to end in tragedy ; tragedy above all for the home grown Kashmiri terrorists---who do not realize until too late that those who live by the gun ultimately die by the same weapon , and do not realize that they are just an expendable tool of war for their Pakistani masters .

    Music of the film ( by Nadeem Shravan ) is good , and so is the photography . Acting is decent---by everyone . The film has certainly been made with purpose if not passion.....and the purpose is laudable without doubt.....

    Verdict---decent enough .
     
  8. ashdoc

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    The gift ( 2015 )

    A couple ( played by Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall ) moves into Los Angeles from Chicago and they run into an old schoolmate ( played by Joel Edgerton ) of Jason , who begins to regularly drop in their house . Everytime he comes he comes with a gift . Soon his visits get creepier and the gifts become creepier too and the couple soon begins to feel uncomfortable with his visits .

    But the really creepy experience is when the two are invited to his house ( I am not telling what is so creepy ) . Jason warns Joel not to ever visit them again . Jason is satisfied with this , but Rebecca is worried and keeps thinking about this whole thing again and again . She steals pills from her neighbour and begins to wonder if someone is constantly in her house watching her every move . Sick with worry , she faints for a prolonged period one day .

    After this , the couple receive one last gift with a letter with from Joel in which the Joel says that he is willing to 'let bygones be bygones' . Soon Rebecca become pregnant and the couple forget the whole thing in their happiness , until Rebecca sees Joel watching her in a supermarket one day .

    Intrigued by all the events , Rebecca begins an investigation into events of the past and soon secrets begin to tumble out . Rebecca has to soon confront facts about her husband that make her thoroughly uncomfortable about him .

    So who is the hero and who is the villain of the story ? What are events of the past that Joel is raking up ? What does he want ?
    Watch the movie for the answers....

    Joel Edgerton pulls off the feat of looking menacing and a victim at the same time ; a man thoroughly wronged but also doing wrong villainous things....you don't know whether to sympathise with him or to be terrorised by him . For a long time the movie moves smoothly with small hints given of what is going to happen ; subtly the terror descends upon the couple and the audience . Everytime Rebecca is alone in the house is a nerve racking time for the audience ; you feel relived that nothing happens to her when her husband returns from work to give her company , but just as you begin to think nothing has happened to her suddenly your worst fears for her are realized at the climax .

    Violence is largely underplayed in the film , but what happens in the climax is worse than violence . An atmosphere of fear is constantly kept in the film , but no garish sound effects or flamboyant visual effects are used . I was rooted to my seat throughout the movie watching experience .

    Verdict---Good .
    Three and a half stars .

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The man who captured Eichmann

    After the German defeat in world war 2 , many of Hitler's top brass ran away to south America . Both Josef Mengele ( who had committed horrible experiments on bodies of live jews ) and Adolf Eichmann ( who had helped in transportation of jews to death camps ) fled to Argentina , where the far right wing government offered them a new identity and a chance to live .

    But the Israeli spy agency ( MOSSAD ) was on the lookout for them and not all of them were able to lead peaceful lives . This movie is about the capture of Adolf Eichmann by the MOSSAD in 1960 and his transportation to Israel to face trial . He was eventually executed for his crimes against humanity .

    But as the movie shows , identifying Eichmann was not a easy thing as he had acquired a new identity . He was first suspected because the father of the woman his son was dating repelled him as the father of the woman had the serial number of a nazi death camp on his wrist ; the number being a sign that he was a jew . The father contacted the Israeli authorities and they were not sure because the father was blind . But eventually a team is sent to try identify Eichmann , led by MOSSAD agent Peter Malkin ( played by Arliss Howard ) . This team keeps a close watch on the activities of Eichmann and hits pay dirt---for the person they are watching celebrates his marriage anniversary on the same date as Eichmann's marriage anniversary , thus confirming his identity .

    The capture of Eichmann is planned to be a relatively simple affair ; just overpower him while he is walking towards his home after alighting from a bus that he regularly alights from , and bundle him in a car and speed off....but the plan almost misfires as the target does not alight from the bus that night and heavy rain starts pouring . But the MOSSAD agents are nothing if not patient and wait till Eichmann alights from another bus later . Luckily by this time the rain has stopped . And the agents succeed before Eichmann's waiting wife can raise a hue and cry .

    In the safe house where Eichmann is kept as a captive , the Israeli agents take turns to guard him . And they make him confess his real identity . In the beginning some kind of rapport develops between the captors and captured . But as they talk over food and wine Eichmann tries to deny his culpability in the holocaust . His rants touch a raw nerve and the agents guarding him are utterly repelled from the task of guarding him ; no one wants to give him company .

    As arguments start between Eichmann and Peter Malkin , a powerful scene in which Peter goes away from the room to cry his heart out brings out the difference of the jewish experience from the life experience of normal people like us ; Peter cries because he has lost much of his family to the holocaust and hence can't bear Eichmann's rants , and similarly all the other members of the capturing team have lost their families . In effect , they are torn and uprooted people....not a single one of them has led a normal life of security and comfort like us....One wonders why the jews are such a hated people and why have so many atrocities been committed on them ?

    Capturing Eichmann is one thing , but taking him out of Argentina is another....for Eichmann's son has contacted the Argentinian police and they are on the lookout for the Israelis ; the police has promised Eichmann's son that all exit points from Argentina are being watched and the Israelis won't be able to take Eichmann to Israel to stand trial .

    So how do the Israelis manage take their prisoner out of Argentina to Israel ? Watch the movie for that....

    Robert Duvall has put up a good performance as Eichmann and Arliss Howard is good as Peter Malkin . Towards the end the movie comes close to look like a thriller....but it being made for TV , it is hampered by it's low budget . Still it is an okay watch .

    Verdict---Okay .
    Two and a half stars .
     
    #7 ashdoc, Apr 18, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  9. ashdoc

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    Prahaar ( 1991 )

    Nana Patekar is known to be one of the most eccentric persons in the film industry . But for this very reason when he makes a film it is truly from the heart---no commercial considerations hamper the making of the film . This film is an offshoot of the personality of Nana Patekar---it shows his idealism in it's full eccentric glory , and it also shows the reserves of violence that are within the depths of his crackpot persona .

    He plays a an army officer ( Major Chauhan ) who trains some of the finest commandos for the Indian army . But his past and his life have been tainted by the memories of his illegitimate birth and the fact that his mother was later kidnapped by goons who sold her into a brothel . Thus he plays a person with a traumatic past which has left him emotionally and psychologically scarred . The injustice he suffered as an illegitimate child who had to bear the taunts that society throws at illegitimate children and the fact that his mother was forced into prostitution , makes him a person unwilling to ever bear any injustice again . He has joined the army to become an ace commando because it makes a person physically fit to fight against injustice , an injustice he has resolved never to suffer again .

    And he forces the men who train under him to undergo a really gruelling training regimen . Soldiers fear to train under his command . In such an atmosphere comes to train commando Peter D'Souza ( Gautam Joglekar ) . Peter is an idealistic young man who has high dreams of fighting for his country and has joined the army in opposition to his fiancee's ( Madhuri Dixit ) and father's opposition .

    The training of the commandos is really exhilarating and shows the regimen of the commandos with breathtaking detail . This part is really the high point of the movie . How boys who are initially scared of jumping from heights convert into real men who can climb high obstacles , kill snakes for food , can march for miles on end carrying huge luggage on the shoulders , can fire deadly weapons , and can undertake combat with their bare arms and legs---all this is superbly shown in the movie . The glory of army life and the way that Chauhan instils discipline into his men is something you watch with pride . There are plenty of lighthearted moments too in the training , which keep you entertained . At the end of the training Peter is awarded the best commando award .

    But just as training is complete , Peter and Chauhan are selected to thwart a terrorist attack . They do so successfully , but in the fight Peter loses both his legs . He is honourably discharged . Shirley ( Madhuri Dixit ) still insists on marrying him inspite of his lost legs . Peter invites Chauhan to his wedding .

    But when Chauhan comes to Bombay to attend the wedding , he finds that Peter has been murdered !! The murder was committed by goons who wanted 'protection money' to let Peter run his bakery , but which Peter refuses to give .

    Chauhan tries to get witnesses to tell the police of the murder , but no one comes forward fearing the goons . When he fights the goons himself , common people throw stones on him because they fear that his activities will bring the goons' wrath on them !!

    But Chauhan stays at the home of a widow ( Dimple Kapadia ) who helps him , and he sets about reforming the society around that part of Bombay . And that reforming is done in true Nana Patekar style---by dollops of extreme violence . He literally starts killing all the anti social elements in the area , including Peter's killers . However , given the vast number of anti social elements this is clearly a hopeless task....

    Patekar has tried to bring out the necessity to fight the 'internal enemy'---the criminal mafia that erodes the inside of any nation . This he shows by showcasing the tragedy of Peter---a soldier who had fought the nation's external enemies and wanted a life of honour and dignity , but had to suffer a dog's death at the hands of the mafia .

    In the end Chauhan is shown to be brought to court , where he is asked to be kept under the supervision of a psychiatrist---for the court feels that though he had good intentions , his methods were flawed and his ideas came from his unstable mind . He dreams of building a new society of courageous people who have the guts to stand up and fight for their rights .

    The movie was acclaimed by the critics for its straight-from-the-heart performance by Nana , and for the real pain which he showed at the inability of ordinary people to stand up to the tyranny of criminals . But women from all walks of life panned the movie for it's showcasing of violence , and the brutal methods shown to cure the ills of society . To some people , the fact that the new society that Nana wanted to build was so pure that it consisted young people who were completely naked reeked of his real life madness . But the film will remembered for it's superb showcasing of army life and commando training , it's fine acting performances , great photography and technical perfection , and decent music .

    However , the film remained destined to be hailed as a good film only by reviewers like myself....for it failed at the box office . Another irony is that it was funded by the mafia itself ([​IMG] ) , for the producer of the film ( Sudhakar Bokade ) was well connected with the mafia . It remains a matter of debate as to whether the movie can be classified as art or commercial , because it had elements of both .

    Verdict---Great .
    Four stars .
     
  10. ashdoc

    ashdoc India
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    before the rains ( 2007 )


    i bought this DVD because the movie is shot in some of india's most favoured tourist destinations in the south indian state of kerala---the hill station of munnar situated at the height of 5000 feet above sea level amidst magnificent coffee plantations , and athirapally waterfalls . and the photography and colours of the film are superb indeed , just as i expected .

    so what conflict could be emerging in this sylvan bounty of nature ? in fact , it is not conflict but appropriately in the lovely settings it is love....love between a british plantation owner ( linus roache ) and an indian woman ( nandita das ) , during colonial times when the british ruled india . but the love itself is of the kind that inspires conflict , because both are married people who have spouses .

    so an illicit affair is on between two lusty people , and it leads to some red hot kissing and love making scenes in the green settings of vegetation and waterfalls . but there is a difference between the positions of the two ; while linus is a scion of the master race the british , nandita is a servant belonging to a conquered race the indians . above all , linus is a man and can get away with anything but nandita is a woman and women are never forgiven for their perfidies !!

    so nandita's husband discovers that she is cheating on him , and beats her up . she runs for shelter to her lover , but he proves to be a man of straw . he asks his loyal indian friend ( rahul bose ) to send nandita off and rahul does so , but she returns back . linus refuses to take her , fearing the wrath of his wife ( jennifer ehle ) who loves him dearly and dotes on their son . out of sheer dispair , nandita shoots herself dead with a pistol that linus had given to rahul . linus and rahul dispose off her body in a rivulet despite rahul's misgivings that not giving her a proper hindu cremation will force her soul to remain unreleased from her body .

    linus and rahul return to their work of building a road that will help export their plantation's spices to the outside world , and they hope to earn enormous profits after that road is built . this even though whether the road will hold after the onset of the heavy rains that plague this part of india is open to question . however all is not placid in the world around them ; an independence movement is gathering storm to drive the british out of india , and rahul has to resist calls to join the movement . he is torn between his friendship with linus and the call to drive linus's people the british out of his motherland . rahul's father accuses him of forgetting the traditions of his motherland and becoming a slave of the british ways and customs .

    the situation comes to boil when nandita's brother asks his villagers to search for her , and her body is found with the bullet that matches the caliber of the gun that linus has given rahul . the villagers drag rahul in front of the elders because they suspect him of having killed nandita . and they ask him to undergo trial by fire to prove his innocence .

    so will rahul come out of the trial by fire unscathed ? will he blurt out the truth of the affair of linus and nandita which led to her suicide ? will the real culprit ( linus ) be brought to book ? as the whole drama is being played out just before the onset of the rainy season ( hence the name of the movie ) , will the coming rains destroy the road that is being built or will the road survive ? watch the movie for the answers....

    the movie is brought to life by director santosh sivan's great cinematography of the lush greenery of kerala , and some stupendous acting by rahul bose and linus roache and nandita das and jennifer ehle . linus roache particularly has a difficult job to do---play a person committed to his wife but also unwilling to be able to let go of his sexual attraction for nandita for whom he has begun to care , and being forced to dump nandita because he does not have the guts to face the consequences of his actions . music is beautiful too , though there are no songs despite the film being set in india ; it is an english movie after all and not a bollywood film , though some dialogues are in malayalam which is the language of the state of kerala .

    the climax has some real meaning but will be disappointing for some viewers ; it will be liked only by those who like art films . the director has managed to create drama throughout the film and help maintain audience interest . but again the drama will be of interest only for the art film buffs .

    verdict---decent .

    three stars .
     
  11. ashdoc

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    secret in their eyes---

    Julia Roberts plays a CIA agent who along with her partners is investigating a mosque which may have islamic radicals . But one day her own daughter is found murdered near the mosque . Julia is totally shattered by this , and looks haggard throughout the film---of course , she will probably look haggard in all her films after this unless she does some surgery...she's become old . Nicole Kidman ( her CIA boss ) on the other hand still looks good even at this age---so good in fact that her black colleague hits on her .

    Julia's friend ( the black actor who played slave in '12 years a slave' ) decides to track down the killer , who is a psychopath who come from the mosque . He is a serial killer rather than an islamic radical . In fact , he is the contact who is going to give proof to the CIA about the islamic radicalism in the mosque . So the CIA decides not to arrest him , for tracking down islamic radicals ( whose information the man is giving ) is more important !! There are major showdowns over this in the CIA office .

    In the midst of this the man escapes to nowhere . Julia is distraught . Her black friend vows to track him down and for 12 years searches for him , finally thinking that he has zeroed down on him . But trying to get to the man costs the CIA some men . In the end the whereabouts of the man all these years are a major surprise to us all---the viewers . That is the major shock at the end .

    The movie is based on an argentinian movie , and the argentinian movie is supposed to be much better . This english copy has a 'thakela' flavour to it---if you understand the hindi word 'thakela' . The premise is good , but the movie is slow paced and sloppy .
     
    #10 ashdoc, Aug 8, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  12. ashdoc

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    The gallows

    The movie begins with a play gone horribly wrong in a school---the actor is to be shown to be hanged , but the base on which he is standing crumbles abruptly and he gets stuck in the gallows and gets really hanged to death .

    Decades later , the same play is to be enacted again in the same school . All the sets are placed in position , including the gallows of the hangman . But the night before the play , a group of disgruntled students decides to play havoc with the sets .

    The students have discovered that a door to the interior of the school has a broken latch and they can enter the school at will in the night . So they enter and find that some attractive female students also want to come in .

    Having created havoc with the sets , the students decide to get out---only to discover that the door through which they came in is now firmly closed and they can't get out . To be honest I was expecting this---what else could happen....?

    Once trapped inside , the students try to search ways of getting out---only to go deeper and deeper into the quagmire of evil...for predictably , an evil spirit is out to get them inside the school ; indeed , it has haunted the school for ages....

    As the body count piles , you wonder if anyone will get out alive . The scares in the movie are pretty routine stuff , but you do get the jolts every now and then . But then , I am a aficionado of horror movies---primarily because I don't get scared much of them and can sleep well at night even after watching them ; yes , not being able to sleep well after watching a horror movie is a major reason for people not watching them . But for me it is not an impediment .

    In between the jolts old secrets tumble out and the doomed students realise why everything is happening ; nice to know the reason why you are going to die...

    The ending is bad and the director should have thought of some way better to end it .
     
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  13. ashdoc

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    The way we were ( 1973 )

    The common saying is that opposites are attracted to each other , but this love story will make you lose belief in that saying . The story begins in the 1930s and moves in the 1940s .

    Barbra Streisand is a committed communist , making fiery speeches in college espousing communist causes in various wars like the Spanish civil war inspite of fun being poked at her by her college mates . She is a jew . And with curled frizzly hair , she is no beauty . The one thing about her personality is that she is driven for her causes , and has a passion for them that others don't have .

    Robert Redford is the the opposite---a person with a laidback lifestyle and no strong views politically , but with a talent for writing . He is a protestant of English ancestry and comes from an affluent family . Above all , he is conventionally handsome with blond hair .

    Naturally it is Barbra who is attracted to Robert in college , as he can get any girl he wants . But she is not just attracted to his looks , but also to his writing skills . But they lose touch as the second world war interrupts .

    They meet again after the war , and Barbra makes the first move . Opposites attract , and they are soon in a relationship . Barbra irons her hair in order to look conventionally beautiful .

    But she begins to have strong arguments with his friends over what they feel are trivial issues for them---political issues , what else . Robert feels rightly that Barbra is does not have the temperament for becoming part of his circle , and tries to cut off . But Barbra is too deeply in love to let him go , and agrees to change herself in a desperate attempt to cling on .

    Robert begins to write for TV shows and gets some real money , which allows the two to live a lifestyle . But once again Barbra wants him to do serious writing , and her driven personality clashes with his laid back lifestyle . As suspicion grows in political circles that Hollywood has closet communists , Barbra finds that she cannot keep herself away from politics which is her first love . This bring Robert in trouble .

    Barbra is pregnant , but Robert has a one night stand with another girl . This pains Barbra greatly . Robert is however frustrated by her meddling with politics . Finally , they both realise that they are not made for each other . He is never going to realise the potential of the writer that he can become ( and that Barbra wants him to be ) and is satisfied with writing for TV . She is never going to quit politics . They agree to part ways after their daughter is born .

    When they meet again years later , they both remember the way they were....and they remember with nostalgia . She has her curled frizzly hair again , and is again fighting for communist causes . He is with a conventionally good looking girlfriend .

    And yet they both acknowledge that there was something special in the way they were....he was at his creative best , and that was due to her !! And remembering those times fills her with tears of nostalgia....'the way we were' will be forever in their memories....

    Looking at Robert Redford's personality , I was reminded of myself---with some writing skills but not willing to go into serious writing ; instead writing frivolous movie reviews....When will I meet the Barbra Streisand in my life , who will egg me on for serious writing ? [​IMG]

    I liked the emotional tone of some scenes , and was impressed by the music . The song 'the way we were' ( presumably sung by Streisand ) is simply beautiful , and so is the background music . A fine romantic movie full of nostalgia for the bygone times . But don't see it if you are in the middle of a break up with your partner [​IMG]

    Verdict---good .

    Three and a half stars .
     
  14. ashdoc

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    Obsessed ( 1992 )

    This movie I saw on youtube recently .

    It's about a young woman ( Shannen Doherty ) who falls in love with an older man . She goes crazy over this man , to the point of trying to sacrifice her own life over him---attempted suicide what else....

    She is in her early twenties and he is in his mid fifties . He even has a daughter who is probably older than her !! But she quickly latches on to him , and they make love on satin sheets several times . But she cannot adjust in his older circle and he decides to end the relationship .

    On hearing this she is shattered and refuses to end it , forcing herself into his living quarters and his group of friends again and again in sexy clothes....and soon she resorts to increasing violence....

    To me the whole idea of a sexy hot young woman falling so quickly in love with a man much older than her was corny to say the least . How many men in their mid fifties get to bed and have a full scale relationship with a much younger woman unless they have a fat account book---nobody I guess , and this guy is not that rich even though he is financially well settled .

    But the idea of him tiring of her was even cornier , and I wondered why he wouldn't give even his arm and leg to date a woman so young and hot and sexy . How come he wants to cut off from someone who gives us the hots....??

    Who cares anyway---Shannen looks good enough to eat , and shows enough of her body to keep us interested . Her cleavage , her thighs , her legs , her face---all are good enough to not shut off the film . There are one or two love making scenes .

    In the end she goes totally bonkers over his rejection and blows off his luxury boat by gasoline . Tries to kill herself and when that fails , to kill his daughter . That fails too---the director was sensible enough not to convert this into a tragedy....

    She is admitted to a mental institution by the authorities , and on being released ( how come a person who has committed crimes gets released so quickly ?? this the director only knows ) she latches on to another older man !!....does she not have interest in young men , who would presumably make a beeline for her if she gave them the chance....?

    Verdict---film with a stupid premise of a young woman going mad over an older man , but reasonably well executed . Maybe it is for letting old men indulge in their fantasies about bedding young women .
     
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  15. ashdoc

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    Warrior ( 2011 )

    Spoiler alert

    A lethal dose of action mixed with real emotion---that's what this movie is all about...about broken family ties and loss and pain and about recovering from it all---but a lot of sweat has to go , a little bit of blood spilled , and a lot of punches traded to make everything all right in the end....

    Nick Nolte's family has splintered long ago , primarily because of his heavy drinking . His wife left him long ago , and her younger son ( Tom Hardy ) chose to go along with her . She was sick due to a fatal disease , and Tom had to take care of her alone---because his father and his older brother ( Joel Edgerton ) never knew about that .

    Joel too broke ties with his father , but chose to remain in town because he was in love with a local girl ( Jennifer Morrison ) and he married her . He became the more stable of the two brothers because his life was settled by domesticity . But misfortune struck as his daughter was having a heart condition and he had to mortgage his house for treating her . So he decided to earn money by taking part in professional fighting . However , the news reached his school where he has a job as a teacher and he was suspended .

    Younger brother Tom Hardy however has been emotionally shattered by his mother's death , which he had to face alone when he was young . He becomes an ace marine who is a real hero because he saves the lives of other soldiers , but is too emotionally distraught to try get a medal for his brave act . He is further emotionally wrecked when he and his comrade are attacked mistakenly by his own country's warplanes in Iraq and his comrade is killed . He deserts the marines and gets a new name because he feels forsaken even by his country . But he decides to help his comrade's wife , and decides to fight in a mixed martial arts tournament to win 5 million dollars and give the wife that money . And whom better to train him than his father Nick Nolte , who was an ace trainer....but as his father ( who has given up alcohol now ) tries to make a bond with him , Tom rejects any personal feelings and refuses to rebuild their relationship .

    Nick Nolte now tries to reach out to his older son Joel , and Joel is not ready at first and refuses to let him meet his daughter and wife . But being the more stable of the two brothers , he finally forgives his father . His more pressing concern however is to earn money by entering the mixed martial arts tournament himself .

    So both brothers are destined to meet in the ring . It is Tom who is the more powerful of the two , as his life's experiences have made him a meaning killing machine....without emotion , rentless . On the other hand Joel is more capable of taking a beating without backing down and then persisting and beating the opponent . And soon news spreads about Tom's heroism during his marine days and the marines turn up as spectators to cheer him . Joel's students ( whom he taught at school where he was a teacher ) too come to know of his new career and they turn up to watch the tournament to watch him . So both brothers have their own supporters . But whoever of them wins , it's all going to be in the family....or is it ? For there are other fighters in the tournament as well including the unbeatable Koba from Russia .

    As the movie gets more violent with what the punches being thrown and kicks landed and wounds inflicted , it also gets more emotional as the three ( father , brother and brother ) grapple with their feelings for one another . But out there in the fighting ring , it's a cruel world where the one who can take maximum punishment can survive . The climax is a gem where inspite of all the animosity that Tom has with Joel for not choosing his mother over his girlfriend , the two estranged brothers are able to make a connection in the ring---but not before we are treated to some real action of mean fighters having a real go at each other .

    The acting of all concerned makes the film worthwhile to watch , and so does the fighting in the ring....what is emotion if not mixed with sizzling action after all....

    Verdict---Good .
     
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  16. ashdoc

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    Kundun ( 1997 )


    This film tells the story of his holiness the Dalai lama , the spiritual and the political leader of Tibet who is affectionately called 'Kundun' by his people . Regarded as the living manifestation of the Lord Buddha , the Dalai lama is regarded as God himself in Tibet . The film was made by Martin Scorsese with co operation of the Dalai lama and his family along with other Tibetans . It tells the story of the Dalai lama while he lived upto his youth in Tibet , but ends at his self imposed exile into India . It does not tell how the Dalai lama spent and continues to spend the rest of his life trying to work out some solution to the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet .

    The film begins with monks coming to the Dalai lama's birth place , first in disguise and then openly to identify him in childhood . He is just a toddler when he is given things to pick , and when he picks out things which were property of the previous Dalai lama then he is identified as the next Dalai lama . He is taken to the Potala palace in Tibetan capital city Lhasa , where his education begins .

    Frankly , this first part of the movie was somewhat boring , for it showed us the wonder that the young child felt at the new things around him ; the story simply didn't seem to get a start . Of course , real care has been taken to show tibetan traditions and customs , but to westernized persons these must look like a morass of superstitions and otherworldly traditions . And who cares for the customs of some godforsaken place that is inaccessible across the mighty Himalayas....

    What held me however was the enthralling music in true and rich Tibetan style , something that was present throughout the movie . The blow of the Tibetan horns somehow seemed to convey a sense of impending doom , and the doom arrived in due course in the form of the invading Chinese . This was the reason why I was watching the movie anyway , and the reason why it was made ; had Tibet remained an independent country , no one would have made or seen any movie on it---it was the Chinese invasion and rape of that land that made it such a cause celebre.....

    From being immersed in some ancient rituals and hanging out among animals like peacocks in his palace , the Dalai lama is rudely awakened to the fact that his country is under foreign occupation and that he can do nothing about it . At first the officers of the Chinese army are respectful to him but as the movie progresses they become more and more rude . Chairman Mao , whom the Dalai lama goes to visit in Peking / Beijing , is outwardly friendly but to him religion and any person practising it is poison .

    As his own people tell him of horror stories of Chinese persecution and he comes to know of them being killed by the Chinese , the Dalai lama feels himself in danger . One night he and his entourage flee across the mountains towards India . The last shot of the Dalai lama in Tibet is truly heartrending . He turns to say goodbye to the soldiers who escorted him to the Indian border and has a vision of them bloodspattered and shot dead by the Chinese , for that is exactly what is going to happen to them as also the the rest of the Tibetan people . There is little hope of him ever being able to return to his homeland again....

    Of course , given the immense human tragedy of the destruction wrought by the Chinese in Tibet , the necessity of making such a movie is obvious . This is especially true because the Tibetans are a gentle people , wedded to the arts of peace rather than war---one of the few peoples on earth to be so .

    As an Indian whose country has given refuge to the Dalai lama and hundreds of thousands of Tibetan refugees , my sympathies invariably lay with the Tibetans....and as the movie progressed I could not help but be moved by what was unfolding on the screen . This despite the fact that I had waited shamelessly for the Chinese to emerge on screen to get the story really moving .

    Photography and picturization of Tibet is really perfect , and you get a authentic glimpse into Tibetan culture if you are interested in it---though actually I wasn't to be honest . Every cloth , every frame has been carefully constructed , and is rich with colour . But in the end all the colours are swept away by the hand of fate....for as predicted in the movie , he and his entourage are reduced from kings to wandering people who are saved only because the Indians agree to give refuge to them at terrible price to themselves ; the Indians have to incur the unending enemity of the Chinese for that act ( the last part of the sentence is not shown in the movie , but as an Indian I have to say it ) .

    The movie will be liked only by the art film lovers , and also by those interested in history---I am both . But those interested in commercial fare can go for 'Seven years in Tibet ' which tells the story of a German's quest for reaching Tibet and his friendship with the Dalai lama . But 'Kundun' is the more authentic movie , if you are really interested in authenticity .

    Verdict--decent .
     
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  17. ashdoc

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    Unfreedom ( 2015 )

    review has spoilers

    This english film with characters who either live or originate in the Indian subcontinent has been banned in India due to scenes of brutal violence and graphic depiction of lesbian sex---and banning a film is like waving a red rag to a bull as far as I am concerned . The film is easily available on the internet , and I had already been enticed by a clip of the film showing explicit lesbian sex that was circulating on whatsapp .

    It deals with two parallel plots ( one originating in Pakistan and the other based in India ) that never intersect , but are interconnected anyway due to the fact that in both plots the victims have to face brutal violence for believing in their beliefs and living their way of life---and the director's message is that though technically India and Pakistan are both free countries , it is 'unfreedom' that prevails .

    In one plot a muslim leader ( played by Victor Banerjee ) living in New York is kidnapped by a fundamentalist muslim ( played by Bhanu Uday ) sent from Pakistan . He is kidnapped because he preaches tolerance and moderation and he refuses to recant his views in front of the camera placed by his kidnapper . So he is forced to undergo the most brutal torture by his kidnapper using the most sharp and vile instruments---the kind of savagery which will make you puke if it goes on any further on the screen in front of you . The kidnapper himself is mentally tortured by an incident in his past and this results in a bizarre ending to the torture fest .

    The other plot is more tantalising---at least at the start . It is based in Indian capital city Delhi , and here a girl ( Preeti Gupta ) is being forced to marry against her wishes by her policeman father . She cuts her long traditionally Indian hair to short tresses as an act of rebellion . But when her father admonishes her , she tries to kill herself with a pistol . Finally she plucks up enough courage to run away to the the person she romantically loves---another woman , played by Bhavani Lee .

    AAH Bhavani Lee....the start of the movie itself shows her strutting about completely naked painting nude paintings and giving fiery speeches espousing lesbian and transgender rights . Her butts and her boobs are just perfect---butts are shapely and boobs are taut and erect . She is bisexual and Preeti Gupta has to shoot Bhavani's male lover ( they are shown having sex in a parked vehicle when Preeti arrives waving gun ) to kidnap Bhavani . Having kidnapped Bhavani they escape across a river and then Preeti proposes marriage to Bhavani . They marry in front of the sacred fire , and then comes what I had been waiting for---their lovemaking scene . The sight of two beautiful naked bodies entwined and gyrating in pleasure and rubbing each others privates is one of the most hot and sexy scenes I have seen in mainstream cinema---and I have seen a lot of mainstream cinema . Bhavani is more fair skinned , while Preeti is dusky in complexion with heavier breasts .

    But Preeti's father has policemen after her and two lesbian lovers are caught . In the police station he asks Preeti to leave Bhavani and when she refuses , he does what is the most gruesome act I have seen in a film ever---he makes his fellow policemen rape his own daughter in front of his own eyes as punishment for her lesbianism ( which he feels is against Indian culture ) !!

    The director has truly crossed all limits as far as taking cinematic liberty is concerned , and his method of showing the 'unfreedom' in the Indian subcontinent is really too way off....
    Of course , the movie does leave a lasting impact and the director has made it with extraordinary zeal . Inspite of the brutal scenes , you have to credit him with that .

    The film is obviously not a good advertisement of the subcontinent and will make a westerner have the most horrifying image of south asia and it's people . 'Unfreedom' does exist in both India and Pakistan , but to this degree of violence ? Not surprisingly , it is banned in India .

    Acting is good by everyone and the two girls have put real zest in their lovemaking . Photography and music is decent and appropriate for the situations .

    Verdict---No holds barred stuff . I would give it three stars out of five .
     
  18. ashdoc

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    Rajjo ( 2013 )

    Rajjo is the love story of a prostitute---and as expected , it is full of problems for her and the man she loves and marries . But the problems are more the ones created by the director rather than the expected ones . In fact sympathy for the love story pours from the ones who are least expected to be in favour of it---the ones who control the brothel of course . They actually solemnise the marriage between the couple and allow the girl ( who had been sold to the brothel owner in her tender age ) to go !! The movie seems far from real at this point ; why would a brothel owner let go of a girl he has bought without asking for his price ? It is upto the director to prove that he can make a real story beyond this point , and surprisingly he does make us empathise with the love story for a while , failing only at the end .

    Paras Arora plays a young boy who comes from a marathi brahmin household . Once on winning a sports event he is taken to the fleshpots of Grant road in Mumbai for seeing a dance by prostitutes . And on seeing the dance by a beautiful girl named Rajjo ( played by Kangana Ranaut ) he is simply mesmerised . To be honest I was mesmerised too....Kangana's exposed belly looks so deliciously delicate , her navel so attractive , her cleavage oh so inviting , her soft back in backless blouse so fair and lovely , and her movements while dancing so lascivious , that I kept on looking at her slim white body that is so perfect for dancing....

    With the brothel owner being paid to allow him to meet Rajjo , Paras strikes a rapport with her and soon it develops into love . Encouraged by a politician's speech asking young men to come forward to marry sex workers and liberate them from their profession , Paras decides to marry Rajjo especially because the politician promises a job and a house for doing so . But the politician's promises are false , and his own parents predictably throw him out of his house for marrying a prostitute . To make things worse , another politician and his thugs are after Rajjo because that politician ( Prakash Raj ) lusts for her . Even though the couple flees away to a village , the politician and his goons rentlessly harass them there . The brothel where Rajjo grew up also is destroyed by property developers...in short trouble strikes everywhere . How the couple manage to extricate themselves out of this forms the rest of the story .

    Paras Arora really looks innocent enough to not know the consequences of marrying a {censored word, do not repeat.} . But it is Kangana whose charms as Rajjo are delectable enough to make us watch the movie . Many actors in the movie are marathi because the director is marathi . But the ending is disappointing , even though the saga of the couple does hold out interest midway in the movie . Colours of the movie are good , and songs are okay . The highlight of the movie are the three dances by Kangana in sexy clothes .

    The movie majorly flopped at the box office , but interestingly scored at the box office at one theatre even after other theatres had stopped showing it . That theatre was situated in Falkland road , the heart of Mumbai's red light district . Even in failure , the movie was honoured by the people it depicts---some cold satisfaction for the makers of the movie....

    Verdict--okay .
    Two stars .

    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 28, 2016, Original Post Date: Sep 28, 2016 ---
    Star ( 1982 )

    'The only thing that I have liked from Pakistan'---singer Nazia Hassan and Zoheb Hassan.....and I grew up listening to their songs , especially from the movie 'Star' . When one cassette ( it was the era of music cassettes ) broke down from overuse , I forced my father to buy another one...and in the end the cassettes stopped being available in music shops , to my eternal chagrin...
    So when the era of the internet came to my home , the first thing I searched was the songs of 'Star' on youtube...and imagine my joy when I found them...just listened to them over and over again...my childhood fascination with glamour started with the songs---because they were among the first hindi pop songs , some of them fit to be listened to in discos and nightclubs....

    But the movie itself was another thing ; it was a major flop at the box office...the only thing that was worth remembering was the songs....
    However , the movie is available on youtube....and it being available on youtube , one day I was bound to see it....and as I was bound to see it , I was bound to review it....so here it is , the review....

    Once you see the movie , it is easy to understand why it was such a flop . While the story has some substance , it is hampered by bad direction , sloppy editing , bad dialogues and bad acting . The fights feel not altogether badly shown , but that is because you compare with the horrible choreography when dancing on the songs . And the dancing is truly horrible . Some of the dance moves look like P T exercises !! Left right up down---the hands go and so do the faces....is this really dancing ? Totally laughable....

    The story is that of a young man ( Kumar Gaurav ) obsessed with music , so much so that he dreams of being the next Elvis Presley . He is kicked out from a job because he is more interested in listening to music on his walkman ( yeah , it was era of walkmans ) rather than working . He tries to get a job as singer at a disco called Club 54 , but is rebuffed by the arrogant owner ( Saeed Jaffrey ) . Then he goes to Charlie's disco and is mesmerised by the singing of the singer there ( Rati Agnihotri ) . Not surprising , because she is singing 'Boom Boom' playbacked by Nazia Hassan , one of my all time favourite songs . Rati introduces him to Charlie , the owner of the disco . His singing in turn mesmerises them both ( he sings 'Ooie Ooie' , another likable song sung by Zoheb Hassan ) , and he lands a job as singer in the disco .

    As Kumar Gaurav's singing attracts crowds in the hordes , so does the popularity of Charlie's disco go up , and the moolah begins to roll in Kumar's pockets . His parents are not happy with his singing in clubs , because it was 1982 and India was mired in the depths of socialism ; clubs and discos were considered symbols of the capitalistic west and it's westernization . But Kumar's brother ( Raj Kiran ) supports him .

    But there is another danger lurking , and that is the growing jealousy of the owner of club 54 ; his disco is running half empty because everyone is flocking to Charlie's for Kumar's singing . Saeed tries to entice Kumar to his disco with greater pay , but Kumar refuses . So Saeed has Kumar beaten up and his voice choked . But Raj Kiran takes revenge on those beat his brother by soundly trashing them one by one . Rati and Raj come close in all this and fall in love , shattering Kumar who is in love with Rati .

    But they all have to unite when Saeed's men come together to attack Raj and he has to be hospitalised ; this happening on the very day Kumar has to sing on national television , something that will make him what he dreamt of beginning---a Star what else...and get the love of another girl who has been angling for him---Padmini Kolhapure , who is more of an afterthought in the film as her role is very small .

    In the midst of all the juvenile direction , I found myself lost once again in the songs....and it seems I will never tire of listening to them again and again....it is as if in the midst of all the socialism in my childhood I was secretly dreaming of a capitalistic liberation !! of westernisation !! of dancing with beautiful babes in the discos and nightclubs !! of grooving to rock and pop music !!...happily , my dreams came true after I grew up....

    However the movie is rank bad , you have to admit that....but as I saw it for my first and only time , I was on a trip of nostalgia....and thanking music director Biddu for all the music !!
     
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  19. ashdoc

    ashdoc India
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    Battle of Kosovo ( Yugoslav film )

    This is a film made in 1989 when the state of Yugoslavia was still in existence , and it was made on the 600th anniversary of the battle of Kosovo . To those who know what happened later in Kosovo , the movie can give some insight into why Serbians hold the ground of that region so sacred---for it was literally strewn with the bodies of martyrs who laid down their lives for protecting Serbia .

    1389---The high noon of Turkish expansion in Europe is yet to come , but already the tremors of their armies are being felt all over the western world . One block to their expansion is the medieval state of Serbia , and sultan Murad sets out to destroy the state with all the power of his terrible armies on the battlefield of Kosovo .

    The movie begins with a lost man asking an old man as to where do two particular roads lead to--and the old man answers that today all roads lead to Kosovo , for that is where the fate of Serbia is going to be decided . And some people within Serbia itself have already decided that fate , for defeatism has crept in Serbian ranks and crooked people are even minting dinars ( Turkish currency ) anticipating the impending Turkish rule over Serbia . Earlier under emperor Dusan Serbia was a great power , but now it has been divided into fiefdoms where magnates rival each other for power . And these magnates are divided and cannot present a united front for defending it against the Turkish hordes .

    One man however decides to fight out with whatever forces are available with him , and that man is prince Lazar---the chief magnate among all the magnates of Serbia . Some other magnates disagree with him and ask him to accept the suzerainty of the Turks , but his wife supports him in his resistance . For as some common people say , even if their suzerainty is accepted the Turks will force their Islamic religion on the Serbs and their forces will trample the land and they will kidnap young girls and even boys to fulfil their sexual lust . Serbs will have to kiss the boots of the Turkish conquerors and Serbs will have to become the slaves of the Turkish overlords . Prince Lazar wants to fight for Serbian honour even though he may lose his life in the coming battle , for only those who fight will be remembered by the common people for centuries as martyrs .

    And the common people heed his call , for an army of more than 70,000 men collects to fight for their nation . But they are divided , for the leaders of various contingents that compose the army are divided . And anyway their army is outnumbered by the Turks , who have an endless horde of more than 160,000 men---all waiting like predators to pounce upon their prey ; there will be no mercy for the Christians as Serbia will be looted devastated and it's people massacred after the battle . As a girl lamenting for her fiance even before the battle begins says after the battle , there wont be any men left to marry and to father children after the battle . Catastrophe is beckoning....

    At the last dinner before the battle begins next morning , one of the nobles ( Luc Brancovic ) who himself is going to abandon the army to it's fate and turn traitor accuses Serbia's finest warrior ( Obilic ) of having colluded with the enemy because Obilic has protected a turkish spy whose intentions he failed to recognise . Obilic is so incensed by the accusation that he vows to kill the sultan Murad himself on the field of battle .

    As the battle begins next morning Obilic surrenders to the Turks by throwing away his weapon . As he is recognised for being Serbia's best warrior , the sultan asks him to come near to pay obeisance to him and the Turkish nobles ask him to kiss the sultan's feet . What they don't know is that Obilic has hidden a dagger within his clothing . As he comes close to the sultan , Obilic murders Murad by plunging his dagger into his abdomen . He is put to death by the sultan's angry soldiers . But Obilic has proven his loyalty to Serbia....

    Immediately a rivalry opens between the sultan's two sons , and the elder son Bayazid has his younger brother treacherously strangled by a cord of silk . Bayazid is then proclaimed sultan and he takes command of the Turkish armies . The battle continues . At first the Serbs who fight bravely have made headway into the Turkish flank , but the treachery of Luc Brancovic seals the fate of the Serbian army as Luc flees the battlefield . Prince Lazar is made prisoner and too late he realises the loyalty of Obilic as he sees his head impaled on a pike . His own fate is the same , and a Serbian man volunteers to let one of his hands be cut by the Turks as price for taking Lazar's and Obilic's heads back to their people for a decent Christian burial .

    Today it is Prince Lazar and warrior Obilic who are remembered centuries later by the Serbian people , for they were men of honour ; and while power on the earth is fleeting , the glory of having fought with honour is immortal !!

    The movie is hampered by it's low budget , for it was produced by a medium sized European country and not by Hollywood with it's big bucks . So the battle could be reproduced on a vast scale . Instead it is shown as a series of local actions . But acting by everyone is good and background music is decent . The emotions on every Serb's face as they face the impending catastrophe are authentic . The old sultan Murad is a picture of calm as he rentlessly carries out his sinister intentions , and he faces his own assassination by Obilic calmly too . In contrast , his son sultan Bayazid is haughty and arrogant as he carries out his task cruelly .

    Those who like history ( like I do ) will be interested in this movie . I would rate it as okay .

    Two and a half stars .
     

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