Monday, December 10, 2007

The best review of Titanic I've read

This one was recorded on January 28, 1998, by P.D James in her published journal, Time to Be in Earnest. It pithily hits the nail on the head in a way that most film critics couldn't manage.

"It is over-long but the special effects are certainly memorable and will no doubt achieve an Oscar. I didn't believe in the young lovers and was irritated by the usual Hollywood anti-British bias. The Englishmen all wore evening dress to demonstrate their upper-class unfeeling arrogance, even on the last night of the voyage, when they would not have changed for dinner, while the Irish were happy innocents dancing their jigs below deck. One of the crew, who in real-life had behaved impeccably, was shown as a murdering coward, which I thought unforgivable. The young hero, Leonardo di Caprio, clung to the wreckage on which Kate Winslett was elegantly lying to deliver a poignant valedictory speech before sinking slowly out of sight. I felt the energy required for this could have been better spent in swimming to a similar piece of wreckage and keeping himself alive. But I have no doubt the film will be an immense success with adolescent girls all over the world."

Why I love P.G Wodehouse

Who else can come up with a gem like this one?

(The reference is to a pretentious poetess, who's also an imposter. The story is Leave It To Psmith)

"She was alone. It is a sad but indisputable fact that in this imperfect world Genius is too often condemned to walk alone - if the earthier members of the community see it coming and have time to duck."

Aaja Nachle

Objectively, I give 6 stars on my scale to this one.

Subjectively, I'd watch the movie again for Madhuri alone. The soul she puts into her performances, and particularly her nritya, is a rare treat for a dance lover. Like many other crazy fans in this country, as long as she's dancing, I'm sure to watch.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Movie Rating Scale...

that's maybe less arbitrary than the rest.

Despite online booking, ticket home-delivery, phone booking and the other paraphernalia of the multiplex experience, the pulsating thrill and racing heartbeat of getting a movie ticket remains unchanged for me. The magic of watching a movie on the not-so-big-any-longer screen is that for those few hours, you're in the film's world, you're consciously choosing to share the experiences and tribulations of the characters that inhabit this world. It's only fair to expect that this world live up to its hype, unlike the real world, which has very little hype and even fewer expectations riding on it.

Here, therefore, is a completely personal movie-rating scale devised after watching many of the much-hyped movies. In each case, a * is the existence of the attribute; no stars allotted for non-existence.

1. The film moves you or makes you think or makes you laugh (with it, not at it) (an extra * if you're still thinking about it favorably the next day)
2. The characters resemble human beings you may know or like to know (and I don't mean six-pack abs or perfect10 figures alone)
3. The performances make the characters believable
4. There is an interesting story, which is well-scripted and well-told (an extra * if the story is exceptionally different)
5. The film carries you along; there isn't a moment where you wish you hadn't spent all that money and effort to watch this one
6. The song-and-dance routines, if included, are foot-tapping or heart-warming
7. The dialogs and lyrics are non-cliched and add to the characterization/songs
8. The film explores some new ground, whether in story, direction, music or any other aspect

On this 10-star scale, my ratings on the last five movies I've seen:
Saawariya: 6 stars
OSO: 5
Dor: 8
Bheja Fry: 7
Dhamaal: 3

What are your ratings of your recently watched movies?