Saturday, December 15, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

USA 2006

Poster and details imdb

Seen 13 October 2007

The blurb says – a family on the verge of a breakdown. Quite true but this family shows that they are still a family after all the trials and tribulations. A road movie in a way with the main focus on the dreams of the daughter to be Little Miss Sunshine and how the rest of the family are linked to that pursuit.

This story proves my theory that a touch can play a big role in any situation. I guess human beings are emotional beings at the core. We need that physical assurance that we are on the right path. No amount of self motivation or lectures can replace that simple touch or hug to affirm that we are supported by those close and near.

Lump in the throat feeling in certain scenes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Turtles can fly

Iraq 2005

Poster and details amazon

Seen 12 October 2007

Unforgettable as Newsweek magazine says. This film centres on the Kurds at the border of Turkey and Iraq during the last days Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq. The story revolves on the children at a village and refugee camp who get paid looking for scrap metal especially land mines planted around the area. A refugee girl with an older armless brother and a baby brother caught the attention of the leader of the children's gang. As the story unfolds, we learn how the girl and her brothers came to the camp. The flashback itself seems like a tiny fraction of the atrocities endured by the Kurds.

This is not a story with a happy ending however much I would love to believe that fate might give a better hand to the children. I do feel guilty since I am blessed ten fold compared to the children in the story. Why do children have to bear the brunt of adults' monstrosity?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shanghai Panic

China 2001

Poster and details amazon

Seen 10 October 2007

The panic starts when Bei thinks he has AIDS. His friends rally around to bolster his self confidence so that he has enough courage to take the test to confirm whether he is HIV positive or not. Bei and his friends can be considered a staple in the clubs of Shanghai who spend their time talking and dissecting the past, present and future besides the good times at night. We see relationships going through ebbs and flow,. while the strength of friendships also goes through myriad tests. This film is a very intimate view of a small group of friends who try to find some semblance of life in the dreary world they have to live in.

Claustrophobic at times.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Butterfly man

Thailand 2002

Seen 8 October 2007

Poster and details butterflyman

A bit disappointing. The film has all the ingredients to make a great movie – reasonable plot, direction and actors, but the x-factor is missing. This is a tale of love gone astray. One night's debauchery, and the whole world goes topsy-turvy. But I just can't root or feel two hundred percent for the the characters, either through their love stage or struggles against the enemy. What a pity, it could have been great.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Men and Woman

China 1999

Poster and details cduniverse

Seen 4 October 2007

The film begins showing a scene of a man broadcasting his own private radio show – The Toilet Times. That in itself, is a good start for me. Toilet humour, maybe.

But the next scene shows a young man arriving in the big city looking for a job. A kind hearted shopkeeper takes him and even lets him stay at her place she shares with her husband. This lady is the rare big hearted woman who tries to help the young man make something out of his life. She even tries to introduce him to a girl in the hope that friendship and romance will blossom.

Unfortunately that scheme did not work according to plan. Instead, there are even some doubts that the young man is even interested in girls. This leads to complications in the relationship between the young man and his benefactor. He moved out of the house and seeks shelter at another friend's place.

The later scenes show how the toilet humor is inter-related to the main story and there is a nice twist to the relationship combinations. The final scene itself seems to be a summary of human relationships as well as a sly commentary on the state of the nation.

Satisfying look at normal lives with an added twist. Do not expect explicit bedroom scenes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A river made to drown in

USA 1997

Poster and details imdb

Seen 22 March 2007

A dying man's last days with two persons he had loved. He was the typical flamboyant rich gay man who had many sexual partners. His feelings for these particular two men brought him back to Los Angeles. We se how he tries to make them realise that life is more than what it seems. A particular dialogue might sum up what he was trying to convey - “If you're terrified of loving someone besides yourself then you're not going anywhere”.
The film did not resort to histrionics but maintained an even keel. I was attracted to the film because it had Richard Chamberlain in the main role with a capable supporting cast which includes Ute Lemper and Talia Shire.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sin Destino

Mexico 2002

Poster and details amazon

Seen 13 March 2007

Disturbing. A street boy's life in the cut throat man eat man urban landscape. We see Francisco selling his body to men to eke out a living of sorts. He also uses drugs to lessen the impact and forget what he has done. The drugs are supplied by his best friend, David who also initiates Francisco to a sexual encounter with a woman. Unfortunately, Francisco's past keeps haunting him. A past that kick started his life as a hustler since he first met a photographer, Sebastian who specialises in young boys' photographs. A hesitant first encounter with a girl that he likes pushes him back to Sebastian. Unfortunately, the downward spiral for Francisco continues from this point onwards.

The actor who played Francisco managed to convey the tormented soul of a street boy who is forced to do unspeakable acts in order to survive. The supporting cast lends a hand in giving the film its overall atmosphere of gloom and doom. There is a flicker of hope somewhere but not for Francisco in this lifetime.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Indonesia 2006

Poster and details sinema-indonesia

Seen 11 March 2007

Cliché ridden love story but it works. Two girls and one guy. Rachel and Farel have been good friends since they were kids and one day Farel falls for this girl named Luna. Then and only then did Rachel realise that her feelings for Farel goes deeper than being close good friends. That is the start of her sacrifices in order to see Farel happy with his love. At the end, Rachel confesses to Farel that she has lost her love, her ideal guy to another girl. Farel does not realise that Rachel is referring to he himself. There is another twist at the end which ties up the loose ends. Some of the dialogue can be over the top but taken overall, this method does pull the right heart strings. The film concentrates on the three main characters so the audience is focused on the story line. Good editing helped a lot in putting this tale of romance and sacrifice above the run of the mill output.

Silom Soi 2

Thailand 2006

Poster and details silom-soi2

Seen 10 March 2007

Gentle love story focused on two men, Kaeng and Tum. The film goes through their ups and downs thematically according to the letters of the alphabet. Interesting method. Feels like a documentary. The director does not delve too deeply into the whys and wherefores of love but more of mere touches on the surface. Some scenes deserve a special mention. For example, the scenes where Tum takes care of the sickly Kaeng and how Kaeng tries so hard to avoid physical love making with Tum.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Queen

United Kingdom 2006

Poster and details imdb

Seen 2 March 2007

The film revolves on how the Queen of England, Elizabeth II copes with the death of her former daughter-in-law. Most probably a lot of the scenes and dialogue are conjectures but seems believable if reports that have been published on the English royal family are true. The main thrust of the story is how human the Queen is. Of course, she has her flaws but anyone else in her situation might have buckled under the pressure of being in the public gaze throughout their lives. She has always been under this spotlight, brought up to deal with the situation in the best way possible and the pressure became more acute since she became the queen in her twenties. Helen Mirren who pot rayed the queen did a remarkable job balancing the public and private persona of a woman who has been thrust into public life at such an early age. Revealing inside information on the machinations in the palace as well as the government of the day adds to a memorable tour de force.


USA 2006

Poster and details imdb

Seen 23 February 2007

Four separate stories with a common link. Each highlights the consequences of miscommunication. Feelings of lost, unrequited love, yearnings for the human touch. Each character is laden with their own emotional baggage. Pent-up emotions explode with dire consequences to the person himself and those linked to him. Layers of the human psyche is highlighted. Ordinary people trying to make sense of the world around them but unfortunately certain actions beget an unintended reaction.
Wonderful ensemble cast and the unknowns manage to carry their role well. The director manages to coax the actors to display the emotional undercurrents seething within each person.
One of the most memorable lines "If You Want to be Understood...Listen"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Country USA 2006

Picture and details imdb

Seen 30 November 2006

A back handed treatment on the vagaries of the American society. The story follows a Kazakhtan who is on a study tour of the good old USA. We get to see how Borat is not politically correct in almost every situation – from gender, sexual, race and religious issues to the political might of America as the so-called world’s policeman. This film is made in the mold of British comedies, a homage to the traditions of Monty Python as well as the Carry On series. See it with caution as the whole film can be enjoyed at different levels. A repeated view would be helpful in discovering layers of innuendos thrown throughout the duration of the film.