Category Archives: Film Review

Where the heart is- Film

We watched Natalie Portman’s ‘Where the heart is?’ with many ‘awww’s and ‘ooh’ and other such exclamations at what was one of the cutest story telling in movies that I have seen in recent times.

Novalee Nation grows right in front of your eyes from a bubbly, extremely naive pregnant teenager to becoming a young woman with a profession, a worthy man in her life and her beloved baby, Americus plus and an impressive social status as a photographer right in front of your eyes in a span of 2 hours.

The film is beyond touching and Natalie’s character wins you over with her charm, her simplicity and her ability to care for others despite the many tragedies she had to undergo.

Through out the film, as an audience I felt myself getting anxious for this beautiful yet simple girl and her lovely baby. When the handsome Forney enters Novalee’s life as a baby sitter,you know for sure that Novalee cannot have a better husband and can’t but chide and feel frustrated at Novalee’s attempts to push him away.

Novalee feels that she is some what lesser and that she doesn’t deserve Forney even when he acknowledges his love for Novalee Nation and Americus Nation over and over again.

Finally it takes the advent of her runaway boyfriend to remind Novalee of her love for Forney.

All is well when Novalee meets Forney and accepts that she too loves him.

Ashley Judd as Lexie, Novalee’s friend, does well as the woman in search of eternal love and forever failing.

Stockard Channing as sisterhusband comes to Novalee’s rescue and sort of becomes Americus’ god mother with her acts of kindness and compassion.

Sweetly engaging, the movie makes one believe in love and also think that it is not such a bad world after all.

Well, there is hope for love, we sigh together , the daughter, I and Andrew , the cat!

Don’t they say ‘love begets love’!!!
The charming duo!

CAtch me if you can: Movie

To watch a Leonardo Di Caprio movie is always a delight but watching a very young Leonardo charming essaying the role of an absolute con man was more than delightful.

With Tom Hanks as FBI agent Hanratty at his heels, the young supremely chameleon like Frank Abagnel Jr changes his colors leaving even the experienced FBI agent stunned into stupidity a few times.

To know that it is a biographical tale is even more interesting. I mean that is pure genius, no wonder Charles Shobraj has many women swooning over him!

Anyways the digital art in the trailer was pretty impressive too.

The movie is a feel good watch, where one is torn between admiration for the talents of Frank Abagnel, sympathy for his rather unfortunate upbringing and of course a suspicion of con artists.

What is very endearing is the friendship that develops between the cop and the Frank. When a young Frank Abagnel calls Carl Hanratty the FBI officer chasing him on a lonely Christmas night one really feels for the lonely souls around the world, who cannot share their joys or sorrows with another soul.

Catch Me If You Can 2002 movie.jpg
The real Frank Abagnale at Google

Unda: Malayalam Movie

The word ‘unda’ in Malayalam a variety of things but using it to refer to ammunition was to me a novelty.

Well, as usual these days this Malayalam movie revolves a single plot, a singular idea, and like the precision of a short story dwells right into the center of the story i.e. the availability of ammunition for the police men of the Kerala police force sent on election duty to the far away Bastar .

From thoughts about what is really naxalism, are the tribals who are said to form part of it so dangerous as they are made out to be?, does anyone really care about the police men to making us wonder in these COVID 19 times, that really don’t we really take the government,i.e. whatever of it that is there for granted and paint the whole machinery with the same paint ignoring in the process the honesty and dedication of many individuals who make this sort of invisible yet huge entity.

Unda has as its protagonist, a police officer who is but a faint memory of his perhaps more colorful youth, a misnomer in the police force with no experience of ever holding a gun and one whose sole weaponry included the good old lathi and the bamboo defense handle!

The story narrates as to how this lackadaisical officer put in charge of his small battalion in a dangerous life threatening situation, on the verge of losing his self respect rediscovers his true strength as he rises up to the challenge thus not just saving his face but also earning some respect for the Kerala Police Force in an alien territory where the lavish Kerala style bath is a true luxury.

How varied is the Indian landscape! It is beautiful when cultures try to reach out and understand and that is what this movie does, a bringing together of lives from across this vast nation we call India.

With none of his airs of a super star, Mamootty essays his role with ease as he grows from a discredited police officer to a man of the moment, but so does every single artist on the screen whether it is the army officers or the villager, Kunal Chand and his grandson or the rest of the crew.

Its a thoughtfully made movie of the beauty of the human heart beneath the police uniforms which we can come to ridicule and humiliate on public platforms all too often!

Mammootty is outstanding in this genre-defying thriller- The New ...
Unda Movie (2019) | Reviews, Cast & Release Date in - BookMyShow

oh! baby! Telugu Film

One of the most delightfully entertaining films that I watched recently is Oh!Baby which has Samantha Akkineni in the lead and boy! does she not own it!

Reminiscent of 13 going on 30 but standing on its own two feet proudly, the film has erstwhile ‘Julie’ fame actress Lakshmy whose younger self is played with great finesse by Samantha as Swathi.

The story and its depiction on the big screen, ensures that it is a total roller coaster of emotions with a totally charming Samantha leaving the audience in splits of laughter, empathy and even a fair share of teardrops.

Rajendra Prasad, Lakshmy and Samantha clearly hold the fort and your total attention in the movie.

When was the last time I enjoyed a Telugu movie this much! That looks sometime far in history.

Anyways, Oh! Baby is not a movie to miss for sure.

What the movie does is to hold a candle to the unaccomplished dreams and aspirations of the older generations!

Seriously,when I see my mom actively and enthusiastically participating and preparing for her Akshara Shloka classes and events, I see in her the child that would have topped the class or pursued higher studies if only her parents had thought it worthwhile to allow the girls in the house to study as they did with the boys!

Samantha in Oh! Baby
Samantha rocking it in Oh! Baby
Jennifer Garner charming us in 13 going on 30

Capernaum :More than just a film

What makes him act like that mom? asked my girl after watching the movie ‘Capernaum’.

I am not usually ready to watch movies of violence and if it involves children, I almost dare not watch it.

But sometimes you give in to public demand and join for a good movie watch time.

I am glad I did.

The intensity of the suffering, the absolute misery of the people and more so that of the children, strikes your heart too hard.

Capernaum - Cornell
More than just another a film

BEgin Again

Well, I always consciously look out for feel good movies, feel good experiences etc.The thrillers and the psychos are not my kind, well mostly, unless of course the story is compelling.

So there we were catching up on Begin Again starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley.

Right from the start, the movie gave positive vibes and I was pretty excited about how it was going to turn out. And for sure, it more than met my expectations.

Sweetly yet subtly the movie brought out the niceties of not losing hope and going on in the search of one’s own happiness whether it is in relationships or realizing one’s life goals.

Mark Ruffalo is handsome yet somehow the accessible everyday man you would run into in life and Keira with her toothy smile,lights up the screen with her effervescent presence.

If you have not caught up with this gem, please do so without any further delay. Trust me, you are going to enjoy it every bit.

So, does this movie remind me of Arthur Ashe’s dictum to ‘Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can’, it does absolutely!

PS: Arthur Ashe” Start where you are, use what you can, do what you can”

Tumbbad, ho jao barbaad!

When you meet your dearest girl after a long time, how do you celebrate, what we usually do is to catch up on a movie , with some pop corns and other celebratory items for the feel of it and so we sat down to watch Tumbbad and I told my daughter, it feels so good to have you back and to be able to do this’. We smile as we crunch popcorns.

Well, Tumbbad is what Indian cinema never had so far. A horror flick with a sound story line , not a moment of drudgery and gripping till the last scene.

What makes the film interesting is its very Indian concept. the setting, the social milieu as reflected in the film.

A treasure hunt is not alien to no Indian. We have all grown up on stories of treasures hidden in palaces, temples, homes, under ground and what not. In fact, even to this day, the greed for the boon of treasure is what drives a whole lot of us to our all-knowing babas.

I can’t help recall the urge of one such to meet babas who will answer all his existential queries and how it destroys what he had altogether. Sounds too familiar right!

The casting in Tumbbad is so perfect that the actors live their roles and the effect on the viewer is stupendous. This makes it difficult to pick up a favorite actor from the movie. It is definitely movie that is class apart and worth more than one watch.

I was reminded of how achan had taken me and my younger brother to Palakkad to watch My dear kuttichathan. We were staying in Ottapalam and movies were not so much our thing, but achan is an avid lover of arts and used to watch movies regularly and even attend all musical concerts, especially when we stayed in Vijayawada.

I remember the awe with which we watched huge bowls of ice cream, magically manifested apart from various adventures of kuttichatan and his friends in the movie.

Definitely, My dear kuttichatan was a path breaker in Indian cinema, the first 3D film in the country.

A good film is a story well told, let’s hope for more well made films from India.

But I should not miss mentioning Rangi Tharanga, a Kannada film which attempted something similar and perhaps equally successful.

Thank god for movies and those who know to tell a story well, how poor our lives would be without them!

Bariwali – The Landlady

Loneliness is apparently an epidemic, so I read. World over there are millions and millions of people who count themselves as being lonely and yet there is no way most of them are going to find company or companionship, rather ironic, isn’t it?

Tinder or no Tinder, some among us are going to hit the bucket alone.

Well, Rituparno Ghosh’s award winning film Bariwali or The Landlady deals with this rather delicate subject with a tenderness that makes the movie quite the classic it is.

The land lady of a large aristocratic looking mansion was widowed in her youth. She has led a lonely life and is a nervous woman who does not entertain connections with the outside world. Her slow uneventful life is thrown out of its mundane routines when a film director approaches her with a request to shoot his film at her home.

Though initially hesitant, Bonolatha is taken in by the charismatic ways of the director and agrees. Bonolatha’s maid servant is a flutter of excitement as is her manager, an old man.

While Bonolatha is drawn to the charming ways of the director, the shooting proceeds and the director even casts her in a small role. This life changing moment brings back music to Bonolatha’s soul and she is delighted.

However, after the unit packs off, Bonolatha receives a letter from Debashish a young member of the unit informing her that her role was cut off the film.

With no financial compensation paid to her for the use of her property, Bonolatha realizes that she was exploited by the director who she took to be a gentleman. Her pride is hurt and her life returns to its old drudgery of load shedding and her struggle to meet the ends.

Kiron Kher effectively essays the role of the tragic heroine, Bonolatha.

Emotional weakness often lends man to become a victim of exploitation and Bonolatha’s character well depicts this awful truth of life.

Control Tower : A Japanese Film on growing up

Takahiro Miki’s ‘Control Tower’ is an interesting film on the angst of growing up.

Set in the icy town called Wakkanai, Kakeru is a lonely adolescent who doesn’t get along well with others. In fact, he positively shuns company and has his ear phones on to shut off any possible contact. His mom admonishes him for sleeping cramped up in the closet. His life takes a positive turn when a new girl from the city, Mizhuho or Mimi joins the school. Mimi befriends him with great difficulty and sticks with him. She does not like others and slowly Kakeru is drawn to her infectious vivaciousness.

I almost thought this could have been a slow Bengali, or Malayalam movie which sort of lumbers through long silences.

A refreshing take on blossoming of young love, the fierce protection of self, and various others issues related family and growing up, the movie is worth more than a watch.

Especially endearing is the song that Kakeru composes inspired by his friendship with Mimi. Mimi’s struggles reminded me of the young Jenny Curan who never wanted to go to her home in Forrest Gump.

Worth a watch, surely!

Get Out – The Thriller

I catch up with most movies late, does that make me sound lazy…perhaps I really am.

But watching ‘Get Out’ did get on to my nerves. Literally!

The last time I had sleepless nights after watching a movie was after ‘The Great Debators’. It did strike a few chords and ask a few uncomfortable questions.

I mean everything about the movie, the premise, the casting, the setting and slow but eerie surprises the story line you tossing and turning in the bed, unable to catch a wink.

I liked how Daniel Kaluuya walked into a death trap in a different twist to honey trapping. It is amazing how Alison Williams plays her character and her mother played by Catherine Keener. Goodness! I am suddenly suspicious of anyone who stirs a tea spoon too long and too slow here after.

Get Out

Somehow it eerily reminds me of the numerous instances of child kidnapping we read about in the newspapers and in the social media. Is it really impossible to do any thing about it?

Are our children to grow up fearing for their lives constantly? Is it possible that continuous updates on social media of families boasting of their pretty, handsome, smart children is somehow driving a demand for such kids?

I don’t know maybe, I am just getting a bit lost!