Let's Talk Films!

Sex and the City (2008)

145 min – Comedy | Drama | Romance –  6 June 2008 (India)

Director:

Michael Patrick King

Writers:

Michael Patrick King, Candace Bushnell (book)

Stars:

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon

Turns out we are not the only movie buffs out there. Today we are featuring a review by Sanhita Sinha Chowdhury who loves to watch and write about chick flicks. She is our guest-blogger for today. hope you enjoy her post!

Plot Synopsis

“Year after year, 20-something women come to New York City in search of the two L’s: Labels and love.” That is the opening line of Sex and the City (2008), a movie which earned a record-breaking $55.7 million on its opening weekend. This one liner perfectly sums up the pre occupations of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her girlfriends Charlotte York (Kristen Davis), Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), and Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall). While Carrie is forty and single and on the lookout for big love, Charlotte’s search for “The Perfect Love” ended when she tied the knot with her Jewish husband. Miranda on the contrary is a disciple of tough love and juggles her job, kid and husband. Samantha’s love is sex, lots of sex.

The movie revolves around Carrie and her “man friend” of 10 years who arbitrarily decide to tie the knot after moving in together. Carrie goes a little over board with the wedding preparations and this scares off Mr. Big, who after two failed marriages was apprehensive about the wedding from the very beginning. To add to his fears, Miranda makes a comment about how marriage ruins everything, in distress, when her unfaithful husband Steve turns up to apologize on the eve of the wedding. A perturbed Mr. Big jilts Carrie at the altar, leaving her humiliated and depressed. Carrie turns to her girlfriends who are her salvation. The four journey to Mexico and live in the hotel where Carrie was supposed to come for her honeymoon. Thus begins the Healing process which continues even as the four get back to their lives. Carries hires an assistant who also plays a crucial role in helping her to get back on her feet. A year, a confession and lots of introspection later, Mr. Big and Carrie meet at the house they had moved into and had subsequently moved out off and they realize each other’s value and decide to get married, this time, they keep things minimalistic.

Analysis

Indian women today definitely do lust for the two L’s: Love and Labels. However not everyone is probably familiar with all the big brand names referred to in the movie and most cannot afford them. The four dimensions from which this movie has explored love are quite accurate and relevant. With live in relations becoming increasingly popular with young men and women, the idea of a forty year old woman living in with her boyfriend of ten years should be quite perceivable to women.

Once the wedding arrangements kick off, women might fail to identify with the movie. The way most Indians prepare for weddings is starkly different. However women would again be able to identify with the movie once Carrie gets jilted (there was a similar scene in Bachna Ae Haseeno).  The numbness, hurt and the sadness felt on account of betrayal are universal emotions.

Carrie’s assistant Louise would be a character that women in India would identify with more easily. She is an ordinary girl who aspires to look a part of the “elite” society flaunting designer bags. Unable to afford one, she rents them. When Carrie gifts her, her own new Louis Vuitton on Christmas she squeals with joy.

Though the movie has a lot to do with fashion and places most Indian women might not have been to, or the kind of money they might not have been exposed to, but the dilemmas the protagonists face, the female bonding they share, their search for true love, going out for girly brunches, undertaking retail therapy, all these are experiences which most Indian women would be able to identify with.

To say that I love dancing would be an understatement. To say that I dance well would be an overstatement. Let’s just say watching people dance simply gives me a high! Add to that a romantic angle and high stakes and I’m sold! Apart from dancers though, dance movies usually find an audience even with non-dancers. Perhaps, the reason for this is, like in any other movie, the main protagonists of dance movies have a lot at stake (getting kicked out of college, being forced to relocate) and they somehow manage to save the day. The awe-inspiring dance movements take the place of stunts. The main concept being, dance saves the day! I wonder if that would work for any other art form. Singing, maybe. Can a painting save a day? The concept of dance movies isn’t old. In fact, Dirty Dancing is my favourite dance movie.

Although the premise to dance is pretty flimsy, most of the dance sequences in this movie are breathtaking. I wish I dance like that someday! More than dancing though, I like this film for its romance. A film that I purely enjoyed the dance in was Step Up. The first one. There was so much at stake there. The main protagonist’s feeling of being different, not fitting in, merging street dance with ballet, a heady mix of emotion and dance.

The second movie was good too. A wayward child who’d rather cut school and be part of an illegal street dancing troupe, gets admission to a prestigious dance school. Her eventual ouster from the street troupe leads her to form her own street dancing troupe at the college with like-minded individuals who hate being confined to a dance form and just want to express themselves. Along the way she finds love and her reason for dancing.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of all 3 step up movies is that they’ve got a wonderfully choreographed couple dance. I’d rate the one in the second movie to be the best. Somehow I didn’t like the concept of the third movie. Why did the central protagonist want to be a director? What an insult to dancing!

Purely for the passion of dancing and the energy, I’d say Stomp the Yard deserves a mention. As also the innovative choreography. Being a huge fan of couple dancing, I hope a movie is soon made with sexy Latin American dances. So far, its been a disappointment with Shall We Dance and Dirty Dancing 2. Is there any dance movie that I should watch?

Thoughts on dance movies please! Don’t forget to mention your fav 😀

 

Image source: http://noellelynn.wordpress.com/

Whether u r marveling at the friendly neighborhood Spiderman swinging across buildings or Batman racing across town in his batmobile, these superheroes, before being turned into money churning box office successes, had humble beginnings in a comic book.

While the movie industry has been taking ideas from the comic industry (remember the 1st ever superman movie?..), for some time, the pace of adapting comic stories to the big screen has been given a real impetus in recent times with the success of many a comic to movie title: The Hulk, Iron Man, Spiderman, Fantastic 4, X-Men are but a few of the successful comic to movie franchises and stand as a testament to the creativity and dynamism of the comic industry. The merger of the static comic medium with the dynamic movie segment has allowed both industries to reap the rewards – comic fans would become loyal movie fans whereas folks who saw a comic-movie for the first will be tempted to pick up the comic and check out the background story and characters represented in the movie.

However rosy this picture is, there are a few, noteworthy. imperfections as well. There are times when, for many a reason, a comic turned movie might not work at all (The Spirit anyone ?). . Not only does the movie remake turn out to be a flop by itself(because of a combination of bad scripting, atrocious acting, sub standard visual effects …..), there is the issue of  the movies sometimes adhering to a completely different storyline than the original comic. While this might add to the overall “freshness” of the story, it doesn’t take all that much for the new ‘story’ to turn stale.

A good example would be the upcoming “Priest” movie. Having read the manhwa (term for Korean comics. FYI Manga is the term for Japanese comics), and having thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the artwork, and stroyline, I was totally psyched when rumors of a movie adaptation started doing the rounds. Alas, the enthusiasm all but vanished when I saw the trailer. The manhwa, by Hyung Min-woo, dealt with a supernatural theme involving angels and demons and the timeline while mostly set in the wild west also features the medieval times (crusades) and modern times. The movie, directed by Scott Stewart, on the other hand, despite laying claim to the same comic Title, is set in the future and is based on the fight between humans and vampires. ………

Despite these setbacks, the collaboration between the film and comic industry is bound to grow. However, I am of the opinion that turning the comics into animated movies instead of actual movies might help resolve many of the problems inherent in converting a comic into a movie.

What are you thoughts on the comic to movie transformation?

Awesome

Why ?????

Image source: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/BrentSprecher/news/?a=22684

Image source: http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/12/17/priest-finds-its-director/

 

This is one movie that I think everyone has liked and disliked. And the confusion is that, everybody liked and disliked different things about the movie. When I was done watching it, I felt something. Something that was extremely indescribable. So I went online to see if anyone else was able to untangle the mess of emotions that one encounters at the end of this movie. After sifting through a variety of reviews, I came across this one on rhythmmoviejhatkas. I instantly connected when I read this:

Some films can bring about a change; a revolution too (case in point Aamir Khan’s earlier Rang De Basanti) but Dhobi Ghat is not that film. It is a film that will affect you, more so if you are a Bombayite (Mumbaikar, if you prefer!) The characters in this film are believable, not like those just handpicked out of one’s cloud of imagination and put onto the drawing board.

And that is exactly how I felt! I really suggest that you read the entire review, coz not only is it well written, but one of the most well thought out reviews of the movie that I have come across. After staying in Mumbai for about 7 months, I think I’ve pretty much become a Mumbaikar (or Bombayite as Runcil put it). And this well-made film appealed to my sensibility as a Mumbaikar. Each and every character is extremely believable and what’s more, the script has been written in a way that you empathize with all of them, even when they’re being “bad”.

But is it a good film? Is it an awesome film? Will it bring about any change in the way movies are made in Bollywood? Would WE like to see more of such films in Bollywood? Well that’s the discussion I wish to throw open here.. Let’s talk art cinema!

Image source: http://www.newbollywoodmovies.in/2010/10/dhobi-ghat-movie-exclusive-pics/

I’m a huge fan of chick flicks.. Most importantly, chick flicks in which the female lead is shown with a strong career focus, as opposed to a useless bimbo with no ambitions or career aspirations. I mean that just heightens the chick-flick watching experience for me. If I see a chick flick with a career-less bimbo in it, I simply can’t relate to it, you know what I mean? Who has the TIME to go out and have an affair! So here’s my list of fav chick flicks that I absolutely love and can watch a million times! Do share your list in the comments section 😀

Movie: The Princess Diaries

Director: Garry Marshall

Year: 2001

Cast: Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway and Hector Elizondo

Based on the novel by Meg Cabot, “The Princess Diaries” isn’t exactly a profound movie nor did it intend to be. It is quite predictable. The movie has few too many scenes of Mia being clumsy. However, it is a thoughtfully crafted film that is full of messages about family, friends, and loyalty. Some are in subtle undertones of the movie and others just obvious. Mia’s journey from being a plain-Jane to being the princess of Genovia, may not be every girl’s life story but Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews (grandmother) make it all so believable owing to their excellence in their profession. The characters almost seem carved out having kept them in mind.

The Movie: The Devil Wears Prada

Director: David Frankel

Year: 2006

Cast: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt

Meryl Streep plays Miranda Priestley, editor in chief of Runway magazine.  Her character is based on Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue magazine.  The story is from the point of view of Miranda’s junior personal assistant Andrea “Andy” Sachs (Anne Hathaway) whose ambitions land her the apparently glamorous job, only to realise later how swiftly it took over her life. The movie has shown Andy’s personality and image transformation, so it fits her job profile. Anne Hathaway has pulled off the ‘clumsy at first, confident later’ girl character with élan.

The entire look of the movie is very suave and slick and there’s powerful display of hi-fashion and glamour, relationships and dilemmas. The character of ‘Andy’ is convincing and at most levels, easy to connect with.

Movie: Eat Pray Love

Director: Ryan Murphy

Year: 2010

Cast: Julia Roberts, James France, Richard Jenkins

The adapted film compares with best-selling autobiographical work that it is based on by means of an aesthetic narrative, covering three locations, three different cultures and her explorations through her entire journey. The movie is as well made as it could’ve been with the best angles of the three exotic places captured in frame, showcase of a kaleidoscope of cultures, their cuisines and people.

After reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller in paperback, I almost couldn’t wait to watch the movie and hoped that the film version—full of lush shooting and delicious international cuisine—would do justice to the book that had made me fall in love with each of its pages. The movie conjures up the same emotions and aspirations the book does, only the elation and the ‘Good’ feeling eludes faster and doesn’t stay as long.

Julia Roberts plays Elizabeth Gilbert effortlessly and that according to me was the strength of the movie.

Image courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Princess_Diaries_2:_Royal_Engagement

http://www.shoeshoeonline.com/the-devil-wears-prada-shoes

http://www.yogadork.com/news/yd-eat-pray-love-5-point-review/

Lebanon is a war movie as much as it is an anti war movie. Directed by Samuel Maoz, the movie tells the story of an Israeli tank crew as it navigates through hostile territory at the onset of the Lebanon war – the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Interestingly enough, the director himself had taken part in the Lebanon war.

Most of the film takes place inside a tank, and the film does a very good job of depicting the claustrophobia of a closed dark space. The dark, smoky, wet interiors of the tank are the temporary habitation for the tank crew: Shmulik (the main gun operator), Yigal (the tank driver), Hertzel (the ammunition loader) and their commanding officer, Assi. The other main character is Jamil, the leader of an accompanying paratrooper unit who has overall command of the tank.

The movie deals with the moral and ethical issues of war in a direct and indirect manner. When Shmulik is repeatedly ordered to shoot at an incoming vehicle, he hesitates after seeing the faces of the occupants – they turn out to be terrorists – through his viewfinder.  In the ensuing gunfight one of the Israeli paratroopers dies. Shmulik sees the dead paratrooper being attended to by medical staff through the viewfinder and this drastically effects Shmulik. Within minutes there is another car approaching the tank, and Shmulik is ordered to directly shoot at the vehicle’s engine without firing any warning shots. Shmulik fires this time, only to look through his viewfinder and see that the occupant was just a chicken farmer.

This scene shows that in times of war, the lines between what is right and wrong sometimes blur, and at the end of the day the priority is accorded to personal survival. Even the camera view, which either shows the inside of the tank or allows us to view the outside world through the tank viewfinder, provides for a narrow and  – after a series of attacks – broken perspective. A poignant reminder to us that in war, everything is not what it seems.

The movie is well worth watching once, even if one doesn’t appreciate all too much the regular doses of anti war messages.

Image source: http://blog.80millionmoviesfree.com/in-theaters/lebanon-movie-2010-fire-beside-eyes

As Tapshi posted very recently, a lot gets lost in the translation from a novel to a film. With Eclipse, the latest installation of the Twilight movies, raking in millions of dollars in Box Office earnings, not to mention, an award for Kristen Stewart, I thought it would be a cool idea to compare the books and the movie franchise.

The first difference that struck me was, well, Robert Pattinson. It is, of course, impossible to live up to the expectations that Stephanie Myers has built up in her book. I mean, if we go according to the book, Edward is like a living (or dead actually) version of Adonis. However, to give Pattinson credit where its due, he has mastered the surly personality of the brooding vampire.

As I watched the movies in this franchise, I just felt that they got Bella totally wrong. Bella is supposed to be this really immature, whiny, self-absorbed teenager who feels miserable about her life. Somehow, that doesn’t come across in the film. Stewart is extremely restrained, to the point where one can say she isn’t acting at all (not in a good way). I am very glad though, that the scriptwriters gave “teenspeak” dialogues to all the cast members. Myers’ aim was to portray Bella as a Ms. Know It All, so she has used some pretty big words in Bella’s head. But hearing the movie Bella speak like a normal teenager, helps us relate to her better.

The Cullens were pretty apt, but somehow I’m imagined them to be much taller than other people. That’s what reading a book is all about I guess. Good writing gives you a few specific details. You picture that in your head and automatically fill in all the gaps.

The biggest disappointment in the first movie is the lack of setup of the romance between Edward and Bella. However, the second and third movies, make up for this by way of Jacob’s character *drool drool*. The journey from friendship to love between Bella and Jacob has been handled beautifully in the movie. Somewhere, I feel sad that he had to beef up so much at the tender age of 16. But then of course, his acting is so apt that you forget that he is still a kid.

When I finished reading the book I thought, if this is ever made into a movie, will the special effects do it justice? Overall, I would say yes. Especially the scenes in which Jacob transforms into a werewolf. That is just so believable! The wolves are good, but the vampires are tacky. Yellow/red lenses and white makeup.. That’s all they could come up with? A little bit imagination would have helped.

The movies have also taken liberty with a few scenes and the order of events in the main story. This makes it more fun to watch the movie after you’ve read the book, since you can compare. For instance, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the second half was almost completely different since it used the concept of time travel in a unique manner. A few similar tricks have been pulled in all 3 movies. However, they’ve done well to stick to the overall original plot. Most importantly, they quickly realized that the main draw of the movie was the romance and hence New Moon and Eclipse have a lot of well-charted mush in it.

Finally, I would suggest, read the book and then watch the corresponding movie. Each one has its own charm.

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