Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Hollywood takes the best and converts it into a mash so even the mentally challenged can enjoy it. A noble act of social service. Having watched the rather standard mushy remake "City of Angels", watching Wings of Desire was truly an uplifting experience. It is poetic. Slow and meandering. A patient walk through emotions.
The movie seems to start in black and white. Only later do we realize that this is the angel's perception of the world. Colourless. Also lacking the ability to enjoy any sensory pleasures. The angels are invisible, only silent observers to the world. They move around humans listening to thoughts and watching human drama unfold. Once in a while they 'touch' a human, comforting it.
We follow two angels (Damiel and Cassily). Wise and mature. Reflecting on the world. On the past. One falling in love with a trapeze artist and wanting to be human. The other emotionless but we can sense its hidden frustration. And interspersed with all of this are thoughts, of an old man recalling the holocaust, a young man contemplating suicide and others. Amongst all the beautiful imagery, there is poetry. The subtitles in English can move you, so I can only imagine that the original lines in German would have been special.
"When the child was a child, it was the time of these questions. Why am I me, and why not you? Why am I here, and why not there? When did time begin, and where does space end? Isn't life under the sun just a dream? Isn't what I see, hear, and smell just the mirage of a world before the world? Does evil actually exist, and are there people who are really evil? How can it be that I, who am I, wasn't before I was, and that sometime I, the one I am, no longer will be the one I am? "The movie is special. A take on war. On boundaries. And even if the movie teaches nothing, it is truly a creative spectacle of image, poetry and sound.
Rating - 8/10
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I had not planned to go to this concert; it was a spur of the moment thing. I called up some friends on Friday morning – S p a c e Reddy, Ozzy and Prathap. All of them had some or the other reason for not being able to make it. So I thought I should call my friend Antony_Mallu_Kutty_Boob_Marley_Francis (also known as ‘abuse or be abused’ Anto) as well, and see if he was up for it. It was a slim chance, but I thought I should try anyway. So I called him, and surprisingly he said yes. I bought the tickets on Friday evening on the way back home from work. We decided to go for the 1800 Rupees one, rather than the 1200 one.
On Saturday evening I reached the venue (Palace Grounds, of course) at about five fifteen, which was fifteen minutes before the gates were scheduled to open. Anto showed up ten minutes later. There was a pretty big crowd outside the entrance, we decided not to join the queue, and sat on the grass nearby, waiting for the crowd to clear. Anto was bringing me up to speed on the scene in
The crowd had, in the mean while, cleared to some extent. We decided to go in. This involved getting frisked by some dude who had no better thing to do that evening. The security was pretty lax, the aforementioned dude asked me what’s in my pockets, I told him I had my cellphone and my wallet. He asked me how come I did not bring ‘anything’, with a wink. After that we had to walk through a metal detector. It was very crowded; there were a lot of people walking through the detector. If it beeped when any one person passed through, the third guy after him was caught.
So we were in. The first thing I noticed after entering was that there was no carpeting on the ground. There usually is carpeting at all big (international) concerts – it was there at the Maiden as well as the Roger Waters concerts. That was quite surprising and disappointing. Because the crowd can kick up a lot of dirt while jumping up and down. It is quite irritating. Surprisingly though, nothing of that sort happened – there was very little dust kicked up during the concert. Anto and I moved towards the stage. It was high as usual, must have been 10 feet or so in height. This stage had a runway extending into the crowd, which was good. Anto got really excited upon seeing the stage, because we were very close to it. It was not that crowded inside at this point of time, which was why we were able to get so close to the stage. We decided to move back, however, for better visibility. We took a spot towards the right of the runway (viewed from our side), and a little farther away. We must have been twenty or so meters away from the end of the runway. There was a camera and a couple of microphones mounted on the edge of the runway, the mics were pointing in the direction of the crowd. I suspect they were recording this show with the intention of making a live album or something. There was a large screen at the back of the stage, and this was not a projected one as usual, it was made of LEDs, which were very bright, and had pretty good clarity. The images were not that sharp, it did not have good enough resolution. But even so, it was great. This was a first for me – I had not seen this before. As usual there were two projected screens on either side of the stage.
It was still very bright, and there was a long time to go… so we waited. It gradually got more and more crowded, more and more people started taking places ahead of us, and we got pushed back a little. One very good thing here was that there was no opening act, only Aerosmith were to perform
We waited for a really long time, from about six to past eight. Their last-minute checks seemed to go on for ever. But finally, the lights dimmed, the screens came alive with images of the band from the past years, and then when all of a sudden the lights came back on, the band was on stage. Steve Tyler was instantly recognizable, with his hair and the mic stand with scarves tied to it… as usual. Joe Perry was with a fender Stratocaster, the opening song was taste of
The fact that we were close to the end of the runway meant that we could see Steve Tyler from up close – even Joe Perry, when he came down the runway for the guitar solos. It’s only when you see these guys from so close that you realize why they still have long hair – even after thirty plus years of rocking – it is to cover their wrinkles. Seriously, these guys are probably grandfathers by now… it shows when you look closely enough. Steve Tyler is a good showman, and Aerosmith has great stage presence (big surprise).
Joe Perry and Steve performed one acoustic number, where Joe used a black twelve string guitar. For this song, they sat on chairs placed at the end of the runway and the two of them were almost in the middle of the crowd. It was a great performance. Over the course of the concert, Joe used many different guitars; among them were the fender Stratocaster, the fender Telecaster and the Gibson Les Paul. He also used an Epiphone guitar and one with a transparent body – dunno which one that was. The guitar sounds were very easily distinguished from one another, with the telecaster sounding especially crisp and clean. The Gibson Les Paul had a fatter (thicker) tone, with unbelievable sustain. As a band, Aerosmith uses a lot of base guitar on their songs, with the base guitar work not always simple, it takes some doing. The base guitarist was good, it was a treat to hear the base guitar work.
Steven Tyler’s voice was as distinguished and beautiful as ever, but age is starting to catch up with him, it becomes apparent when he tries to hit the really high notes (like when he screams). And in a concert setting, the sound is not optimized for best voice performance, and so it was hard sometimes to hear his voice with full clarity. Even so, his voice was as striking as ever.
The lighting was pretty good, and the sound was also good. Nothing, however, still comes close to the sound and especially the lighting in the Roger Waters concert in
The crowd was very posh, all the chicks were hotly dressed. All of them. Not one exception. The chicks were very hot. Really. Hotness was all around. Anto remarked that this was a pretty good crowd if you were desperate. (You’ll have to ask him exactly what that means.) I was just wondering why we don’t see such a crowd normally in Bangalore. But then later I realized that majority of them were from
And yes… I almost forgot… there were so many posers there … it was hilarious to hear what they were saying. Here are a few samples:
“kyon be, tum headbanging karte ho kya?”
“yeh Steven Taylor aadmi kaun hai?”
“they are not going to play ‘jenny has got the gun’ kya?” – This was when they overheard some others wondering why the band had not yet played ‘jamie’s got a gun’.
“we paid eighteen hundred bucks to stand here for five hours”
“yeh concerts hamesha raat ko hi kyon hote hain?”
“in logo ne ek hi jagah pe itne saare chootiyon ko khada kiya hai…” (referring to the crowd)
“yeh log acche kapde pehen nahin sakte kya?” (yeh log = the band members)
About half of the people were there just because it was cool, or because there was someone they knew who was going to go and they didn’t want remain uncool. They all had that familiar look-at-me-I’m-so-cool-I’m-at-an-aerosmith-concert look on their faces, not knowing anything about the band. But here there was also that look-at-my-girlfriend/boyfriend-she/he-is-so-hot-aren’t-you-surprised-how-she/he-landed-up-with-me look.
Anto dropped one of his pearls of wisdom here, he said that most of the women were insecure, and that they would rather show up here and be seen with an ugly dude, than be seen alone. So I think that would answer the age-old mystery “how did this dumb guy end up that hot chick?”
After the concert we waited outside for a while, waiting for the traffic jam to clear. We were just sitting outside the concert area, watching the babes walking by, not quite believing our eyes. Then we said our goodbyes and left. There was a little bit of traffic at the junction just outside the entrance, but after that the roads were clear. It was a great ride home. I enjoyed that almost as much as I enjoyed the concert itself.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
1.Movie 1: Taxi Driver
I haven't watch many Martin Scorsese movies before,in fact the only one I saw was"The Aviator",which I felt was well researched but not quite a classic.Leonardo De Caprio came nowhere close to the actual Howard Hughes,whom I got to see in History channel.Since then my curiosity in Scorsese receded gradually. But then yesterday I saw "Taxi Driver"(1976) starring Robert Deniro and Jodie Foster,and since then my respect for Scorsese has increased considerably.The movie plot is basically about a Vietnam-veteran turned taxi driver in Manhattan,New York,Travis(Robert Deniro),who undergoes a series of experiences(chronicled in his diary) ,which turn him into a would be assassinator.The beauty of the movie was in its narration and screenplay.The way in which all the thoughts-facial expressions were shown was simply mind boggling(especially the rear-view mirror shot of Deniro).
From the first frame to last frame ,the movie was gripping enough.I think the ending is debatable,I guess it depends on how the viewer comprehends it,and I think it was sarcastic joke on the American media by the story writer .Performance wise,Its Deniro at his best,what awesome voice,especially the dialogues -"Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man." and "You're only as healthy as you feel." are memorable.The lady who played Betsy ,the spokesperson for a Presidential candidate was good.She looked attractive and adventurous,and the way her eyes expressed her ego was pretty good.A young Jodie Foster as Iris ,comes only the latter part of the movie,as a teenage prostitute.Much to Travis' shock she enjoys her profession and Travis takes upon himself to set her on the right path.The climax,however,takes a violent turn(can be described as extremely gory by certain audience).The reason for Travis turning violent is kinda still unclear to me,maybe its go to do with his loneliness or sheer desire to add some adventure in his life or the realization that he had achieved zilch in his short life,I am yet to to understand.Overall,I would definitely recommend this movie to those who can with stand lotsa bloodshed,swearing (i have added a few to my dictionary) and dark side of the society.Its definitely not for faint hearted,who enjoy romantic comedies and all that.
This movie was something I wanted to see since long time.I had no clue on what the movie was all about,but just had curiosity in it.It did pop sometimes in Dumb Charades/Pot Pourri competitions during the fests (didnt it?) during my undergrad years.But it was only today that I finally got to see it.Boy! was I in for a surprise.The movie had all the ingredients of a cult movie.Like Taxi Driver,the lead character is fascinated with evil.I am not qualified enough to critic the movie.Man! the sets were so out of the world type,especially the room of th lead Character Alex and that of one of his victims .They were truly ahead of the movie's time.I thoroughly enjoyed the background music in this movie.Though it was mostly western classical, with psychedelic stuff in between,they brilliantly gelled with the scenes on screen.
The story is about a 14 year-old Alex who loves committing crimes(read beating up the helpless and raping the vulnerable) and is addicted to Beethoven's music.Alex is the leader of a gang of thugs ,who prowl on the city's streets during night and commit these crimes.His image back home is however that of poor old weakling who is used to giving excuses to avoid school. It is during one of those nefarious pursuits,that he mistakenly kills a woman ,much to his shock his gang members ditch him and he is caught by the police.Alex is sentenced to 14 years in prison,much to the dismay of his Parents.The movie then shows how Alex is forced by the government to reform,so that he can be set free sooner than sentenced period.One of the techniques involves the utilization of Ludovico technique,in which the patient undergoes violent and macabrely treatment.The result of the treatment leaves Alex unresponsive to violence and sex.Though the government goes boisterous over its achievements,Poor Alex's life becomes pitiable.The events which follow after his release from the prison leave him aimless and homeless.I am sorry but I can not reveal the ending, though its something worth watching again and again.
No wonder that Stanley Kubrick has got such a cult following.The weird sets,the still camera visuals ,and the way he focuses in and out of a small object and the object's pertinence to the whole scene is so mesmerizing .However,his stress in depicting hardcore reality scenes,especially the ones involving rape and beating can make many go - "Shiva Shivaa' and do the 3 bandars of Gandhiji [;P].SO anyone watching beware of nudity and mental torture,can leave some nauseated(nope it didnt leave me bcoz I am a complan boy :p) .
So,overall its been an eventful week :P
Friday, April 27, 2007
This pretty much summed up the scene at Palace grounds.
There was news about people, those who had come from neighboring countries just for the show, and those who had traveled across the span of the country coming from distant states in rented buses and vans who had supposedly camped outside the venue from early hours of the day. We guys had decided to go around 15:30 so that we could escape the initial tide of eager juntha trying to barge into the venue at the very sight of the gates being opened around 15:00.
Some of us were skeptical about watching the opening acts but were worried about landing up in a place too far from the stage if we were to go just for the main show. We finally reached the venue around 16:00. The vibe and buzz was omnipresent right from the gates. The atmosphere seemed festive, almost like a miniature replica of the Woodstock or Ozzfest. The area was swarmed by people clad in printed black Tee and jeans. Petty shops, darshinis, juice shops, booze shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, virtually every place in a 1km radius around the venue, was packed with the black T army.
After, what seemed to me a pretty lenient, check and frisk, we were finally inside the venue. The area right in front of the stage was already packed and we decided to settle down about 50mts from the stage where we found enough place to sit down. Just five minutes of sitting and the heat and dust already got into action, and we knew we had a long sultry wait ahead of us.
The event was a get-together of sorts. Schoolmates, collegemates, old-apartment pals, old-house-gully buddies, office colleagues, friends’ friends, cousins, cousins’ cousins, distant relatives… and then… meeting, greeting, hugs, high fives, hand shakes, abuses…. there was as much nostalgia in the air as was the dust. Black T seemed to be the dress code for the day with prints ranging from maiden, Sabbath, megadeth to linkin park, limp bizkit and cockroach…err sorry paparoach.
The stage, perched at a good height from the ground level, looked plain and simple upfront. On a closer look, some parts could be seen hidden behind drapes (after all it was a maiden concert and there had to be props and effigies decorating the stage). At regular intervals, people could be seen standing up and walking towards the stage assuming it was Maiden’s entry, but it would turn out to be one of the technicians adjusting the sound system or making some alterations to the light settings! The buzz would then settle down in disappointment and the wait would be on again!
It was around 6:00, when the show finally kicked off and by then the venue was almost full. The opening acts included Indian bands FTN and Parikrama and Lauren Harris.
FTN, who started off the proceedings, were supposedly the winners of Campus Rock Idols, but their performance turned out to be a super blooper! They committed the sin of dishing out lifeless, dirt-level, new-age stuff that put off the eager crowd completely, who successfully managed to boo the sinners off stage in just about 15 mins. Possibly the worst beginning the evening could have had, it was surely one big blunder by the organizers.
With the audience in a state of utter disappointment and anger, seemingly unforgiving, it was Parikrama’s turn next. The message was clear, play good music or face the music! And fortunately for the organizers, Parikrama came up with an excellent, face-saving performance. They played an all-original set of songs and managed to set the crowd back in full enthusiasm and life. The jubilant crowd even sang along some of the already popular songs. Worth making a special note is the violinist who stole the show with his impeccable control over speed and alaaps (modulations). Some sections of the crowd were already getting wild, pushing each other, causing disharmony that could have triggered off a catastrophe in a stampede or alike. “People please do not do crazy things like these. We all have come here this evening for one thing and that is to see maiden performing live. Please stay calm or the whole f***** show will be called off. Please enjoy the music peacefully” pleaded the vocalist trying to bring in some order.
Up next was Lauren Harris, about whom most of us had no idea. There were two big hoardings containing a silhouette of a shapely female holding up a microphone, which made way to the stage. (To me it appeared like one of those things that are generally seen at a Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears’ show!) A sense of suspense spread across the audience, who remained patient as loads of time was burnt making modifications to the stage set up.
(There were a few folks who had a big doubt on who this mysterious “Laurel and Hardy” were!!!) After a long boring wait, the band showed up on stage, which comprised of a lady guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. But who the hell is Lauren Harris here? The question still remained. An announcement was made “Presenting Steve Harris’s daughter… Lauren Harris”. (Ah…. A legendary rocker’s daughter! Curiosity increased further!) Suddenly, out came running, a young teenage girl (clad in tight leather pants and a navel revealing top) and grasping the mike and screaming “Hello Bangalore”. Phew phew…. whistles went up in the air from a bunch of overjoyed guys. Mobile phone cameras and digi-cams zoomed in to their max limits to get a close up view of the lass. And then tragedy struck for the show no more was a rock show. The band along with this lil girl trying to sing rock songs was just a farce; reminded me of the saddest shows on TV, American Idol. It will go down in history, as one of the deadliest curse of one of the Gods of metal on his disciples. But Lauren was not spared either. The crowd openly expressed their hopelessness and irritation. It went up in unison singing “F*** you” during one of the songs which had a very similar sounding chorus!!! (Mr. Harris… you thought we would spare your daughter…. Ha ha ;-) never) The booing was almost non-stop, but the band kept going on and on and finally the thundering chant of “Maiden… Maiden” managed to put on the brakes and the show stopped! (A loud round of applause went off at the sight of the band leaving the stage!)
So, after almost two and half hours of a little pleasure and immense pain, the much awaited moment arrived. Lights on the stage were turned off and Maiden’s platform was made ready for the launch. Energy levels in the crowd reached the zenith and the roaring ‘maiden’ chant became the perfect BGM for the situation. Everybody seemed to be moving forward, trying to reach as close as possible to the stage, wanting to catch the first glimpse of the gods when they appeared.
The band straight away started off with a song from the same album, no intros … no talking. Dickenson gasped for breath as the first song ended and the crowd resumed the chant. It was only then that the greeting happened and Bruce surely seemed to be over whelmed by the sight. The next one hour was of pure musical ecstasy and high voltage electricity. The backdrop kept changing as the show proceeded and the crowd went up in a big ‘waaaaoooo’ every time the change happened.
Overall… a high quality music display from one of the best metal bands.
Technically the show was pretty decent, a pat on the back for the organizers for the sound quality and light effects. The stage settings, although kinda gimmicky, was well organized.
And then there was the dirtier and darker part of the show. Security checks not matching international standards (not even up to those of Strawberry fields and some other local shows), dope was in free flow, cigarettes almost in every other lips. Let go the effects of passive smoking, the amount of passive doping that any guy would have done that evening would be alarmingly high. So many were so engrossed in rolling the joints, almost for the whole duration of the show, that it made me wonder whether they even bothered of the bands presence on stage!
Other glitches included congestion at the narrow exit at the time of coming out, (some ‘very sober’ junta trying to break down the barricades in impatience) and non availability of drinking water.
As we squeezed our way out and hunted down the bikes, my legs were almost on the verge of giving up. Thirsty tongues craved for water, exhausted bodies yearned for rest…. but in the mind kept echoing Bruce’s voice…
Friday, March 16, 2007
"IRON MAIDEN - LIVE IN BENGALOORU, 17 Mar, PALACE GROUNDS"
this headline has injected a fresh dose of life into all the craving souls.
for all the rock fans (add in the 'yo-yo cool dude'...the 'u-have-a-fag? rock chik'... the heavy-pocketed, lancer-driving, pill-popping high school kid) the mantra has been one 'have you got the maiden passes?'
there are several reasons for the true music lovers to be awestruck...maiden will be first international 'heavy-metal' band to perform in India.india has had a taste of soft-rock(bryan adams), classic rock(deep purple, scorpions, roger waters, jethro tull), jazz, pop,etc, but never has it had any of the 'heavy' bands performing here. this would be the biggest reason for jubiliation for all head bangers.
the rock music scene in india is nothing to be proud about. the quality of music played by just a handfull of bands could be considered as average/moderately good and as for the rest it is just dearth level, a sad and naked truth. even basic elements of live music performance, like pitch, scale, tune or timing are seldom met in many of these concerts. rarely are there good original songs composed and performed, for most of our local rock shows feature just loud music, without any musical substance, heard on big,black boxes labelled 'RAM LAKSHMAN SOUND', where a little music could somewhere be heard in between the feedback and jarring noises(save a few gigs like strawberry fields). this has left us all in a state of yearning, that for good live rock music and who better than Maiden can we get to quench this thrist!
another fact with maiden is that their live performances have always been electrifying and at the same time maintain good musical standards. bands like megadeth, slayer, RHCP come with high voltage, high intensity concerts but if you actually observe some elements, especially the vocals, it can be clearly seen that it is never as good as whats on the album (basic reason being that guys like mustaine and araya are not naturally good singers). But with maiden, Bruce's stage singing has been on par in quality with that recorded on the
albums, reason again being the natural singing talent of guys like bruce or freddie(queen) that just takes their vocals to a different level during live performances.
less than 23 hours to go for Maiden's maiden Indian slaughter.... be there... and do bring your daughter!!!
just 16, i pick up a truck,
out of money, out of luck...
i've got no place to call my own,
hit the gas here i goooooooooooooo!!!!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Dhoom 2 takes the tradition of bad movie making to the next lower levels of mediocrity. While the prequel was remotely tolerable, no. 2 is grossly intolerable and a complete 'pakaau'.
Abhishek Bachchan is the cop, trying hard to catch Hrithik Roshan, the thief who fashions himself as 'A'. And he makes brilliant thefts, right under the nose of the cops. Suddenly out of nowhere, Aishwarya Rai just pops out. So 'A' joins hands with Aishwarya, and they plan to steal together. Eventually it turns out the Aishwarya is working for the police helping them nab 'A'. Smart 'A' realises Aishwarya's true colours and busts her. He doesnt kill her, and wins her loyalties. They fall in love with one another and start stealing together. After several intermediate events(which are not worth recalling or mentioning here), the cop almost nabs them and decides to let them go, because 'yeh pyaar ka maamla hai'. So they lived happily ever after.
Am I forgetting something? Oh yes, Bipasha Basu is also a cop in the first half, and she seems to play a serious role. However, in the second half she plays a new character who just flaunts around her body in a bikini.
Every bit of the movie feels far-fetched and unrealistic. Granted that Hindi masala movies have always assumed the license to be unrealistic, to defy the laws of physics. But unrealism of this magnitude? Sample this. Hrithik Roshan makes the grandiose entry jumping from the sky with a parachute, and lands with pinpoint accuracy on a tiny moving train on a desert which streches for miles. Or this, Hrithik Roshan emerges out of a drain super clean(not smeared with dirt, shit) in a jet of clean water. More to digest, Abhishek Bachchan defies all laws of buoyancy and manages to submerge his water scooter deep within the water, and vroom, throttle and he launches from the water ten feet into air and kills the villain. And again, the Hero is the Supreme, the Invincible, all bullets just seem to bounce off him. For every 100 bullets fired by the villain, one bullet might just scrape the hero.
Aishwarya Rai is at her irritable best. She looks anything but hot, more like a malnutritioned child from Somalia. Her acting reaches a real low when she makes a feeble attempt at swearing(as if she were hoping nobody would hear her). Abhishek Bachchan has all the makings of an obese 60's actor.
The movie has this pre-defined formula. An actor makes this entry, and has a song dedicated to him. So come the positively repulsive numbers.
After all the lambasting, a positive point. The movie has very good special effects and action sequences. Quite pioneering for an Indian flick.
Overall, the movie is miserable. The movie, thus should ideally be titled 'Doom', for the movie watcher its real dooms day.