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Revolutionary Road March 9, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Every now and then we always love asking ourselves that dreaded question “Is this what I really want to do my whole life?”. Especially if your work involves sitting behind a desk then this pesky question troubles you all the more often. Well, as everyone also knows the answer to that question doesn’t quite amount to the inspirational stories of a few select who “find their calling” in life nor to those people who actually believe/delude themselves that what they currently do is actually what they love to do. And then there are those who don’t give a damn about their “true calling” and steer through life as circumstances warrant.

Revolutionary Road is about a couple who end up epotimizing what can horribly go wrong when each of those answers are adopted at the wrong moment. Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Kate Winslet) seem to have reached a dead end once they move into the suburbs on the arrival of their first baby. Frank is constantly coplaining about his job, posing himself the same question mentioned above while April has nothing to look forward to in her new setting. As a panacea to both their problems, she comes up with the idea of giving everything up and moving to Paris (the place where Frank always wanted to go) and let Frank figure out what he ultimately wants to do while she finds a secretarial job. This rosy plan seems obviously impractical to everyone around except for the “lunatic Ph.D” guy who lauds them for having the guts to rise above their humdrum suburban existence. Frank and April seem to be ready to carry out their plan against all odds when something happens which calls into question everything which led them to this decision in the first place.

If you actually stepped into the movie after a considerable amount of time it would appear to you that Revolutionary Road is just a well made drama about marital discord and that is what you’ve probably heard about the movie too. But this film is much more than that. Although the setting seems to be somewhere in postwar fifties the problem it deals with is more relevant than ever today. The whole essence of the film is beautifully captured in its tagline – “How can you break free without breaking apart?” Frank and April’s answer to that question is well – disturbing to say the least.

The events on screen might seem a bit too theatrical but the powerhouse performances of DiCaprio and Winslet overwhelm everything else so absolutely that you can actually feel the whole thing happen right in front of you. Thomas Newman’s score makes it all the more haunting. Revolutionary Road is yet another amazing offering from Sam Mendes. Apart from being wonderfully unsettling, it is the only movie in a long time which actually made me think. Even if nothing of this excites you, still watch Revolutionary Road because it’s still one heck of a gripping drama even if you strip away the intellectual baggage.

The Day The Earth Stood Still December 22, 2008

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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If you ever wanted to find out how it would be if the Earth stood still, then step right into the nearest theater where this film is playing. And mind you, it is not the doomed earthlings in the film for who the earth stands still but the viewers who paid to sit through this. Honestly, prior to its release no one seemed to have great expectations from this flick and I ventured only with the hope of catching a mindless VFX filled saga. Alas, that wasn’t to be. In fact, it kept reminding me a lot about another awful disaster movie 10,000 B.C which came out at the beginning of the year.

Supposed to be a remake of an old 1951 film, TDTESS is about some alien race who sends their representative Klaatu in human form (Keanu Reeves) to Earth in order to set in motion a series of events which will save the Earth from destruction by humans. He lands on Earth in a giant sphere shaped UFO guarded by a huge Iron Man lookalike. Initially Klaatu wants to address the United Nations but once his request is denied he is quite pissed off. A few more belligerent actions by earthlings convince Klaatu of his mission. There’s one biologist Helen (Jennifer Connelly) who seems sympathetic to him and tries to help but on realizing his intentions she now tries to convince him – with the help of a Noble Prize winning Professor (John Cleese) that humans always change in favorable ways whenever they are on the “brink of disaster”. Klaatu isn’t convinced and meanwhile some mechanical locusts begin their saga of destruction. What is it that finally makes Klaatu change his mind?

To find out the mindblowing answer either watch the movie or if you have been unlucky enough to have seen this film, you should be able to take a correct guess (Clue: Helen has a stepson). TDTESS is such a hopeless film that you don’t even feel like hating it. It does such a wonderful job of not offering a single inspiring moment that you never really make the mistake of expecting something from it. The CGI work also isn’t impressive – especially the UFO and giant robot look quite tacky.

If you’ve noticed, the number of reviews for this film appearing on the web have been less than the number of articles about Keanu Reaves’ limited facial expressions (some Bollywood producer should take a cue and remake this with John Abraham). The other prominent cast including Jennifer Connelly, John Cleese and Kathy Bates are no better either. Bates – used as a stand in for the usual “US President in a Disaster Movie” role looks especially embarrassed being a part of this venture. Watch this only if you are having problems falling asleep.