Saturday, August 18, 2007

Firewall

The title for the movie is not clear - despite technology being involved.

This is a very believable plot, yet one may question the probability of the occurrence. Having said that, Harrison Ford is a near perfect choice for this role. It almost feels tailor-made for the "truly innocent guy being harassed" role. I will never forget his facial expression when, for the first time he is threatened at gun-point.

One of the reviewers in Digg pointed out the impossibility of taking an iPod, severing the optics from a fax machine and linking them to form an optical scanner. May be, for the common man. Harrison Ford is being projected as a computer expert and the screenplay doesn't exactly say how long he spent on this task. I would write this off as not being a plot hole. Also, the other areas where computers are involved, real scenarios are used. Typically, the screens are tailor made for Hollywood for dramatization purposes. If an email arrives, an envelope flies into the screen notifying the message. The filmmakers have kept everything real consciously, and admirably.

The ending becomes very tame and dramatic at the same time. It would have been a surefire punch if Harrison Ford had truly outsmarted the bad-guy using his brain than brawn. Overall, with all factors accounted for, this will be a "watch-once" film.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Score

Wow! What an underrated movie - and what an ending!
I found out about this movie from Roger Ebert's movie review on Ocean's 11. While I love the Oxx series, what they accomplish with so much starpower, this movie accomplishes effortlessly.

Impressions...

I remember a few days back taking a picture of myself through a mirror. Several minutes past that, when I closed my eyes, I could still see the flashlight - bright as ever, distinct inside my head. What struck me most was how effortlessly the mind picks up impressions like these. We have little or no control over what we pickup like this. And what is in our mind affects the way we behave, think - all of which sets a cycle. Another exercise which many people suggest - before going to sleep, repeat a mantra - it can be anything - say "monkey, monkey...." and if you can go to sleep with this, this will be the first thing you remember when you wake up. The subconscious mind latches on to this impression and runs it all through your sleep as a thread. Now we know why ads work!?!

Which brings to the second topic - TV. With a device like this spewing up video and audio together seamlessly with content tailored specifically and precisely for the audience, it becomes a great tool for making impressions. Unfortunately what sort of impressions do we choose on a day-to-day basis? It's easy to find out - pick the most popular programs, see the "selling" news content or pick a "hit" movie. Yikes! Eckhart Tolle, specifically mentions in his book "A New Earth" to minimize or avoid television - especially programs that blast images in rapid succession. Also, importantly, he stresses NOT to go to sleep watching a television program for the reasons mentioned in the first paragraph. Yet another thing he stresses, do not go to sleep immediately after watching television. Wait for 5-10 minutes before going to sleep.

Sometimes, it amazes me how little it takes to gather so much! How something so innocuous looking is capable of so much!

PS: I think I should follow a little of the above advice myself :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Winged Migration


On the surface, the movie is nothing but video clippings of birds flying - frame after frame after frame. But I am tempted to replicate the quote on my home page - "What matters is not the way things are - but the way you see them. The very change in perception changes the quality of the situation". What elevates this movie to be outstanding (or perhaps beyond) is the way the camera "sees" the birds. It gives wings to the viewers. We see the world as the birds see them - and are part of their world. We fly with the birds - if only for a brief while. Flock after flock, they travel on an adventure - across thousands of miles. What drives them to such distances and such feats no one knows. We learn through birds, what it means to be in tune with nature. With no special effects going into these videos, it is all the more amazing to watch. They dance in tandem, the fly in tandem - as if these birds know they are part of a big symphony. Only, the orchestrator is invisible, but the movie makes it clear there is one! This movie hits the mark by truly and spectacularly capturing the spirit of the situation.

The birds are absolutely at home with all natural disasters. An avalanche, they deftly move aside. As always, there is only one disaster the birds cannot cope with - that is when humans enter. We see some birds being shot while we are flying with them. The camera pictures this in a way that is heart wrenching and not gory at the same time. Humans are the only animals that hunt for pleasure. We are so screwed up on the inside, that we need to search for pleasures like hunting birds down to keep us going. To quote a wise man - "Most people are living such a miniscule portion of what they are capable of. They are not exploring so many dimensions. It is every human being's birthright that he must know who he is before he dies. If human beings realized the immensity of what is to be a human being there wouldn't be so much god talk in the planet."

We are such a small speck in this vast existence, and yet we are part of it. In the end, what remains is the feeling of a great privilege for being here. And if a movie ends up making you feel like that, it is no mean feat!

PS: David Hawkins calibrates this movie at 490.

Effortless Ease...

During one of my drives, by coincidence, I happened to hear several Vidyasagar songs on radio - in sequence - one after the other. What struck me most was the effortlessness with which the songs flowed. It amazed me how easily he manages to hide his immense talent in favor of simplicity and melody. It slightly saddens me that he takes the easy way out with orchestration. The demand for prolificity causes this compromise, I think. Despite this, his songs are melodious, natural and simple. I cannot help but contrast him with Karthikraja, who seems to struggle with his immense talent again. He frequently gives into over-experimentation and ends up making the songs complex.

Of course, there is only one musician I have seen who is the embodiment of quintessential perfection of music. The height of simplicity and complexity both at the same time. And this without losing his stamp of individuality on the music. And this without failing to cater to the needs, moods and depth of the song. Of course, this outcome of pitch perfection is the result of years of fiery intensity and focus to his work. An intensity that is probably matched or exceeded only by Yogis and great Spiritual Masters. Indeed his music is his Sadhana.

Overall, TFM is in good hands :)

Run Lola Run


They named the movie "Run Lola Run" - and boy does she run! The only times she stops are for catching her breath. Prior to watching the movie, I never expected a German movie to be so deep. There is no bias, I just didn't expect it. Another notable thing was the accuracy of the voice-over. It almost feels like the actors are speaking in English.

The movie explores the fact that seemingly trivial decisions we make affect our lives profoundly. There was already a Hollywood movie that explored the same aspect, but in a different screenplay. "Run Lola Run" tells that a decision made in time, depending on what the decision is, has it's consequences for your life. It goes a step further - a decision you make affects the other in very subtle ways. The movie actually tries something novel - by extrapolating the life sequences of several people for different scenarios of decisions Lola makes while she runs. I am deliberately being ambiguous so that I don't give the plot away.


Between Run Lola Run and Sliding Doors, I feel the latter is more accurate. However, Run Lola Run makes a very important point. A decision made in time alters the specifics of your outer world. Again, you affect your surroundings in very subtle ways. Something that is a fundamental premise of Spirituality. In that sense, this movie is very deep. Sliding Doors says that the overall direction in towards which your life moves depends on the orientation of your consciousness. Watch both movies - you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dr Dolittle 2

Basically, most of the comments for Dr Dolittle apply to this movie as well. The movie picks up from where the earlier movie left off. Here, it actually goes one step further. The animals are virtually human characters in animal shapes and forms. CGI does most of the work. Though it IS funny, it is sort of a put-off to view animals as conscious decision makers. Again, DDL's interactions with the animals - the surrounding people's inability to comprehend these interactions form a fuzzy line. This is not depicted clearly. One dialogue here or there and we are left to infer this. This movie also sets up the stage for DDL 3. Eddie Murphy is not going to be on this - I guess he had enough. Me too!
 
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