September 18, 2010

Offbeat Movies I Love Part-II

Its due for me to continue with my offbeat movies list. Actually I love so many of these kind of movies that the sequels will be endless. Like any blockbuster movie the sequel of which is made and milked until in the end it flops big time :D. I have compiled a list of 10 movies, which altogether can be considered a bit dark movies, even the so called comic ones. In short "dark movie" edition, talking in movie terms :D.

1. 1408 (Director's Cut) (English)

Nowadays horror movies are nothing more than comic movies which was not intended in the first place. There are a few selected movies which actually spook you out and this is surely one of them. This movie is based on Stephen Kings novel staring John Cusack and Samuel Jackson. Movie starts with Cusack a paranormal activity hunter and author who is in search of anything spooky and comes across a legend of a particular room in Dolphin hotel. Despite the repeated request by the hotel manager (Jackson) he is adamant to rent out that room. From here starts the ride. It can be termed more of a psychological horror than normal slasher movies. Also insist on a Director cut version, since it is a lot better than the happy Hollywood endings the movie studios force on us.

2. Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (Hindi)

An utter flop movie and I had no intention of watching this movie until a friend of mine recommended it to me. And boy I was impressed. A completely unexpected movie staring Abhay Deol (the flagship actor of Indian Offbeat movies) and Neha Dhupia. The character of Abhay misses the last train to his home and is forced to take odd means to get back. He meets a hooker (Dhupia) whom he takes to be a damsel in distress.And his journey back home is through corrupt cops, underworld dons, gambling and finally 2.5 crores :P.  Dont miss the "Laree Choote" song. Simply superb :).

3. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly (French)

A true story of  Jean-Dominique Bauby, an editor of the french ELLE magazine, who suffers a lock-in syndrome resulting in a complete body paralysis except one single eye lid. Now completely cut out of the outside world because of his inability to communicate he is left with the only choice of using his eye lids for the communication. Using this mode of laborious communication he tries to even write his memoirs and how he feels captured in his own body. Expect the french to make such a sensitive and beautiful movie.

4. Groundhog Day (English)

How would you feel if you have to relive the same day again and again possibly thousands of time. That is what this movie is all about. Starring Bill Murray a weather guy of a news channel, who is sent to a remote town to cover Groundhog day (where a Beaver is made to predict how long the winter will last :D :D ). He plays a selfish person who doesn't care a damn for others. But when he is made to relive the same day again and again he changes to good. Arguably Bill Murray's best performance.

5. The Hunting Party (English)

Based on the Bosnian war , this movie is loosely based on true events. Starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard this can be termed as a total entertainer. Movie starts with Gere, a failed reporter and Terrence his buddy planning to chase the most wanted war criminal of the Bosnian war. Also a son of the Network vice president joins them in the search of this prized possession. Their total lack of experience in capturing a criminal in his own backyard leads to some hilarious situations.

6. No Mans Land (Bosnian)

A hard hitting movie about the Bosnian war.Three soldiers of the opposite side(2 Bosnians and 1 Serb) are caught in the No Mans land while on a routine patrol duty.Even though they are enemies they are put up in a situation where they are not able to kill the other with one Bosnian booby trapped with a deadly personnel mine. This leads to full scale media coverage and also brings in the peacekeepers, the UN.  Has a pretty tragic ending , a bitter truth whenever humans fight among themselves for reasons which makes no sense to others. Winner of the 2001 Oscar  Best Film in Foreign Language.

7. Cloverfield (English)

Story wise this movie offers nothing new. You would have come across so many of this "Aliens/Monsters Invading Earth" type of movies. But the factor which makes this movie so special to me is the first person visualization. It feels as though you are a part of the group which is surviving and escaping from the marauding monsters. There is no background music nor the wide angled view of the monsters which makes it a lot more  eerie, fear of the unknown i presume.  For maximum effect watch alone on a darkened room late at night. You surely will get thrilled :).

8. Butterfly Effect (English)

One of the more popular movies which most of them have seen. The movie is a example of chaos theory , illustrating how the effect of one small change leads to a complete different outcome. Movie follows the story of Evan who is having regular blackouts, right from his childhood of which he has no recollection of. After he discovers the method to travel back in time he relives those few blackout moments completely changing the course of the future. Even though few moments like him traveling in time doesnt make much of a sense, its a good entertaining movie.

9. Black Book (Dutch/German)

A world war II movie following the life of a female  protagonist who is a Jew and is basically hunted down in the German occupied Netherlands. After getting all her near and dear ones getting executed by the Germans she decides to join the resistance and infiltrate the German side by using her seducing power on the local German Commander. But she is betrayed by one of her own and her position as a spy gets compromised. The lead actress Carice Van Houten simply looks stunning in the movie.

10. Howls Moving Castle (Japanese)

We dont actually associate an animation movie to  be weird and "hatke". But expect the Japanese animation king Hayao Miyazaki to come up with such sort of movies. The movie starts with Sophie who is a down to earth girl and works in her hat shop. But her life changes when she meets a handsome wizard(Howl) and takes a liking to him. This does not go down well with the a witch who curses Sophie to become a old woman. So she runs away and ends up in Howls castle, hopeful of ending her curse.Was nominated for the best animation movie in the 2006 oscars. 

To be contd....

September 8, 2010

Kane And Abel

Now here's a classic from Jeffrey Archer which is worthy of multiple reads. After reading not so impressive literature's from the same author this 3 decade old novel really came as a surprise. The real classic which will pull people towards it,  to read it again and again.  “The ultimate novel of sibling rivalry” as described by Dan Brown.

The story starts with 2 protagonists, who are equally balanced out in the entire book. On one end is the polish born supposedly orphaned Abel Rosnovski who has to endure extreme poverty in his childhood. And on the other hand is William Kane a person born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Having been born on the same day they have their life's interleaved till the very end, the absolute end. Abel has to fight for everything he wants in life, right from the Germans, Russians and the American Capitalistic society, he is the one for whom nothing comes easy. He builds a huge Hotel empire with his hard work and determination.

William Kane on the other hand has to live up-to his fathers legacy. He is the one who is constantly compared with what had already been achieved by his father. If he achieves it nothing special , if not few eyebrows are raised. Raised to be a banker right from his childhood by his grandmothers and he becomes really good at it. The tragic demise of his mother leaves him in pieces , but he picks up those broken shards and moves on his life, taking charge of it. Both of them being achievers in their own right.

At one point of their youthful life their paths crisscrosses each other , but not on pleasant terms. From this point onwards starts the scheming of one person to completely destroy the other and vice-verse. Also their life is affected in a good way from the other person without them being aware of it. Back and forth this continues till at one point of their life their offspring's fall for each other. From here on starts their internal struggle to end the grudge. My view from this novel is that the character of Abel comes as a more aggressive person, but I am pretty sure with one having such a rough childhood, you cant expect anything better. Kane on the other hand is comparatively defensive in his life, never having lived in the streets, never having to fight for one's survival and not as toughened up as the former.

The way in which the author has written alternate chapters for each protoganists childhood is a pleasure to read. You don't just get to read one story but two of them simultaneously which are world apart. Especially the tale of Abel's tragic childhood caught between World War I and extreme poverty and his rise from rags to riches is real treat for the bookworms. My verdict is a true must read classic. If you haven't read don't miss this :).
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