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Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly : Review

Posted by Syed Aamir Zaheer

Directed by an Italian, shot in Spain and starring only three English speakers The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is somehow the greatest western ever made. Sergio Leone’s final instalment of his Fist Full of Dollars trilogy is a step up in class and it leaves anything John Wayne has done in it’s wake. As it is European made, Leone’s efforts are outside the remit of the American produced Westerns and so avoids all the usual clich├ęs (and look, no Indians!).
The story follows The Good (Eastwood), The Bad (Van Cleef) and The Ugly (Wallach) as they go in search of a stash of gold stolen from the army. The three shady characters double-cross and fight their way across deserts, abandoned towns and through the brutal American Civil War before arriving at the graveyard where the treasure has been hidden.The climactic graveyard scene is the most perfect of film events. Close the curtains, turn the volume all the way up and let the fusion of epic score, masterful camerawork and escalating tension give you goosebumps. The rest of the film is also a film technician’s dream with long panoramic shots of desolate deserts, Ennio Morricone’s memorable score and grand civil war battle scenes.
Clint Eastwood is at his moody, silent best as he casually struts around in his trademark poncho, looking and acting as cool as ice, and Lee Van Cleef is excellent as the snarling bad guy who’s easy to root for. Eli Wallach steals the show as the lovable thief-rapist-murderer-bigamist cowboy turned treasure hunter. The rest of the cast are made up of an international menagerie of comically dubbed cannon fodder but they snarl and then die and do their job ably.

Rear Window: Review

Posted by Syed Aamir Zaheer

Hot-shot photographer L. B. Jeffries – or “Jeff”, as he’s known to his chums – is at a bit of a loose end. You see he’s stuck in a wheelchair, having broken a leg in a car accident whilst working on a Grand Prix circuit (perhaps a bit of a touchy subject considering Grace Kelly’s in the cast). So, passing the time in the only way he can think of, he’s started spying on the neighbours through his big ol’ telephoto lens.

The trouble is, Jeff’s hobby becomes more like an obsession when he starts to suspect the silver-haired bloke across the street (Raymond ‘Perry Mason’ Burr) of murdering his wife. Is his idle mind playing tricks on him, or is poor Mrs Thorwald really buried underneath the family flowerbed?

James Stewart dumps his trademark “aw shucks” demeanour and takes on a notably darker persona as the crime-sniffing cripple in this absolute masterpiece from Alfred Hitchcock. Jeff’s visitors – nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), ladyfriend Lisa (Kelly), sceptical police ‘tec Tom (Wendell Corey) – at first have him down as little more than a sticky-beaking nosey parker, but as the evidence becomes tougher to ignore, so too does Hitchcock up the suspense levels.

If you’re after an example of textbook Hitchcock, this is without a shadow of a doubt the film to watch. Instead of attempting to scare us with repeated shock tactics, the film builds up in tension until, by the time it reaches its one climactic pay-off, it’s become almost too much to watch. Yet, at the same time, it’s virtually impossible to take your eyes off the screen. This is quite simply sheer cinematic brilliance. Hats off to you, Alfred.

The Godfather: Review

Posted by Syed Aamir Zaheer

Marlon Brando is Vito Corleone, also known as “The Godfather”, who is head of one of the most powerful mafia families in America. Don Vito is a fair but ruthless man who runs much of his business by doing favours and expecting favours in return. The Corleone family are drawn into a bitter and violent war with other mafia families over their refusal to participate in the lucrative but dangerous drug trade. Don Vito is shot but the attempt on his life does not succeed – he is seriously injured rather than killed. While Don Vito is in hospital, control of the family passes to his eldest son Sonny (James Caan). Sonny is a hot-head, and with his contributions the war continues to escalate.

Don Vito's youngest son is Michael (Al Pacino). He has stayed outside the family business, and his father had aspirations of him holding some legitimate position of power, perhaps through politics. When Don Vito is shot, however, Michael returns home to do what he can to help the family through the crisis. He protects his father against the killers trying to finish what they have started. Michael starts to show promise in this violent world. He takes his revenge against those trying to kill his father, shooting them during a meeting at a restaurant. Ultimately, Sonny is shot and now it is Michael who finds himself with all the responsibility.

It may not be possible for a film to be faultless, but this certainly comes close. The ensemble cast are wholly convincing, and there are a string of well-known names involved who weren't at all familiar until this film. The story progresses at perfectly measured pace, moving almost gently between moments of calculated violence. The cinematography and direction are picture-perfect, with immaculate attention to detail. Every aspect of life in those turbulent times is faithfully recreated with great accuracy. “The Godfather” is a credit to all involved.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2012- Wouldn't you rather die?

 *Spoiler alert*

So i sat through the entire 2 hr 38 min long movie. Yes! that is loooong!... But surprisingly it was only after the movie ended and i looked at the time did I realise how long I had actually been staring at the screen, sitting at the edge of my seat, scared out of my wits thinking about what the end of the world would actually be like!
Did i like the movie?... Im not sure...
Yes..even though it held my interest throughout, afterwards I was left wondering what exactly was I interested in? I wouldn't say that it isn't worth watching though. Go ahead.. Watch it.. Gasp, cringe, clap!
And after you're done talk about how unrealistic it was.. The whole ark thing at the end? Isnt everyone supposed to die when the world ends? The day of judgement and all that!...The ark thing has already happened once.. Do we really need to repeat history ALL the time??
But getting to the actual title of my post.. I wondered if I was in such a situation would I actually want to struggle my way to this "ark" that I have no idea how I would get on, even if I do reach it, while the whole world is collapsing around me... or would I prefer to die with the rest of the world..? And let that be the end of my suffering? And I came to the conclusion... I would DEFINITLY want to die!! And even if I did somehow have a place on the "ark" and i knew I could live while the world is completely destroyed.. Would I actually want to start building the WORLD again???? All the comfort I know in this world is gone.. Back to the beginning of time.. back to 0001!!!! Maybe i give up too easily.. But I really do like my comforts!.. The whole its-the-people-you-are-with-that-is-important-and-not-the-place.. I really dont believe in it.. Yes people are extremely important!! and yes they probably are more important than places.. But the place and things matter as well!!.. Afterall it is the little THINGS that make a life!!.. Starting all over must be hard!!! And I hate change as it is..
But is that just me?... Would the rest of the world actually struggle through this:

and this:

To get to these really ugly arks:

And then build the entire world from scratch!!
Or is there somebody else out there who, like me, would just simply die than go through all that?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Poll #1

 Which of the following do you think has been the most disappointing film of 2009 so far?

Dead Man Running - 0 votes (0%)
Funny People - 0 votes (0%)
G.I. Joe - 6 votes (66%)
Imagine That - 0 votes (0%)
Land Of The Lost - 0 votes (0%)
Love Happens - 1 vote (11%)
Surrogates - 0 votes (0%)
The Taking Of Pehlam 123 - 0 votes (0%)
Terminator Salvation - 0 votes (0%)
Transformers 2 - 2 votes (22%)
The Ugly Truth - 0 votes (0%)
Year One - 0 votes (0%)

Result: Most disappointing film of 2009 is G.I. Joe