Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Movie Wishlist

Ever since Kavya and Karthik were born, our movie watching has been restricted to the small screen except for the high-profile Tamil releases and the occasional Hollywood release. But 'tis the season for wishing (and hopefully, getting!). So in the spirit of the season, here are 4 movies that I wish I could catch on the big screen before the year-end.

Thavamaai Thavamirundhu
Cheran's film finally made to the screens this weekend here in the Bay Area. It has received high praise all around (though my wife and my parents, who have seen it, echoed the similar opinion that it was "slow but good" but still felt that the sky-high praise was a bit too much). I have always been a fan of Cheran and absolutely loved Autograph. So no surprise that this is on top of my wishlist.

Munich
Spielberg's film, on the killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the '72 Munich Olympics and the subsequent attempts by the Israeli Secret Service to capture the Palestinian killers, is opening this Friday. Berardinelli has called it the best film of the year while it is pretty clear that Ebert's review is gonna be an eulogy too, considering that he has ranked it third on his Top 10 list for 2005. Its been awhile since I caught a Spielberg film in the theaters and this looks like a good one with which to break the streak.

King Kong
Hollywood usually reserves some of its big guns for year-end and this film seems to be the biggest gun of 'em all this year. This 2nd remake by Peter Jackson, who more than proved his skill at directing big-budget epics with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has received uniformly good reviews all around. Ebert has it in his Top 10 list and it looks to be a surefire entry in Berardinelli's list. Based on the trailers and the desciptions of the scenes in the reviews, it looks like the small screen just wouldn't do justice to the big ape.

Thanmatra
In his past few movies, Mohanlal appeared to either follow the path of his Tamil peers by playing the larger-than-life dada or attempt to recapture the glory days of the 80s and 90s by starring in silly, slapstick comedies. Going by Sify's glowing review, he seems to be back to doing what he does best - acting - in this film. He is playing a down-to-earth, middle-class man afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and the review has called it his best performance since Vaanaprastham, for which he won the National award. The film is helmed by Blessy, who directed the critically and commercially praised Kaazhcha with Mammootty.

So my stocking's all hung up and ready!

12 Comments:

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous ram said...

i wanna watch all those movies, except the last one...
yeah, everyone who's seem thavamaai tells me the same thing but a few have indeed told me that its just BRILLIANT...
yeah, i think Cheran's one of our best filmmakers...i like him a lot more than i like Bala (another maverick director) mainly coz Bala paints an extremely grim portrait of life everytime he takes his camera out...Cheran's more grounded in reality and his characters i think, are a lot more well-etched...with Bala, it's more of Sparks of Genius rather than sustained brilliance...

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger Babs said...

Have you noticed that Speilberg never advertises much when he narrates a true tragic event (i.e Schindler's List), I guess it's good and this is sure oscar_aimed_release cant get any obvious, can it :-D

I like Cheran too, cant wait for Thavamaai, dunno if it wud release here and hopefully he gives rights for dvd eventually. Like Ram said he is more reality based but tries to potrait some hero in all.

Heard good reviews about King Kong too, I guess we have Speilberg in the making here. Peter J knows how to scare ppl.

 
At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

I think for once, you may differ in your opinion (after you see the film, of course!) from your wife's or parents' opinions about TT.. Krishna and I saw it in the same show as them.. Seriously, both he and I were just blown away with how soulful, meaningful and artistically sound the film was.. Balaji.. don't miss this film on the big screen..

TT and Autograph may very well become films that will not only stand the test of time, but be used in colleges and film institutes as a guide as to how tamil films need to be made.. Honestly, I felt proud to call myself a fellow Tamilian, after watching the film.. I gave Cheran a roaring applause after the film.. I'm sure you will too..

About King Kong and Munich.. Those two are also in Krishna's wishlist.. we'll see if we have any luck watching it anytime soon..

 
At 1:58 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Hey Balaji, a good list. Have ticked off King Kong from the list this weekend. A wonderful watch. Do see it on big screens. I've put in my salutations to the King of the kong, Jackson..

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Raju said...

'Munich' has helped Spielberg appear on the cover of the recent issue of 'Time'. when I saw the ad on TV last week, I was wondering the low-profile nature of it.. I also have high expectations on this one, which is more of what happens post-Munich.

King Kong looks breath-taking.. surely worth watching in theaters.

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Going to watch the big monkey go bonkers this Friday :) Hmmm, the only Spielberg movies that ever impressed me were E.T., Schindler's List and the first Indiana Jones movie. For some reason, I didn't dig Saving Private Ryan (that was a Spielberg movie, yes?). But Munich sounds intriguing. I do remember seeing another memorable movie about that tragedy in '72 on TV which was quite absorbing.

Balaji said...
"So my stocking's all hung up and ready!"

Didn't quite get that one, Balaji. You haven't been playing with chick stuff now, have you?! :)

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ram, i think cheran is a better director who has understood the visual medium's strength. bala crafts a great screenplay but u're right. cheran's films are very realistic.

babs, true. actually i think spielberg's films usually have no hype. 'war of the worlds' sneaked up on me and i didnt know it was coming until i saw the trailers!

sandya, my wife did say she saw u and i was curious about what u thot about the film. she has promised to let me make it to one of the 8pm shows this week. lets see :)

bart, 1 more recommendation looks like :)

raju, looks like he has a segment with footage of the happening at the olympics and then moves to the follow-up.

gopi, those were the only movies that impressed u? how about 'jaws', 'minority report', 'the last crusade'? yep, MR was a spielberg flick...

i thot those things kids hung on the mantelpiece for santa to put the gifts were stockings? no? i thot i'd heard the term 'stocking stuffers'?? u better clear this up fast LOL

 
At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Prasad said...

Balaji, I watched TT on imc6 last friday, immediately came back and wrote a review on it, do check them out!

Now, that I've heard about Thanmatra, i want to watch it too. btw, have you watched Kaazhcha ?

 
At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Ok. I get the stocking comment now :) But still...

Oh, yeah, Jaws! I liked that movie since I have watched it several times. Minority Report was a well-made movie but I have never felt like watching it a second time. Don't remember the Last Crusade. Maybe I will watch it again one of these days.

 
At 6:22 AM, Blogger Arun said...

Balaji, watch King Kong and TT as soon as possible. They represent two different ways to make a movie. One extravagant. The other simple. But both delightfully appealing and beautiful. I would like your opinions on a possible comparison.

 
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