27 February 2008

Why do you want to be scared?

I can understand why a new couple would want to watch a horror movie in a hall. But otherwise, why do we watch horror or thriller movies? (I don’t mean the murder mysteries, but the serial killer types. You know he’s out there and he’s gonna kill you. And mostly, we know his modus operandi, too.) Movie channels keep beaming them like nobody’s business. So, am sure they have some idea about what their audiences want.

So, why do we like to be scared?
1. Just too bored with the daily crap of our lives?
2. Get a kick out of seeing scared people running, getting hacked, mutilated, and the blood being sucked out of them. We just like to see blood? Just curious to see in which of the above ways will people die?
3. Because, it’s akin to what you feel when you see an accident on the road. You know it’s a gross scene, something you shouldn’t be keen to see, yet everyone crowds around, and you vie for a good view?
4. It’s way better than watching mushy stuff?
5. Helps you show off your sound system?
6. Fear turns you on? (Even better, being near a scared person turns you on?)

As is perhaps obvious, I don’t watch too many horror or shall we say supernatural movies. Serial killer types? No way. More than being scared, I find them so predicable. I did love The Sixth Sense, though. It’s sense of horror was so subtle, a quality you would never associate with a horror movie.

Was mighty depressed when I saw that my favourite channel BBC Entertainment too is going the scary way. They had such a good mix of shows, and now, of all things, they have shows like Primeval!!! Help!!

Sigh. Maybe it’s just God’s way of telling me to get back to reading. Yeah, Hollywood can even make the Devil boring.

15 February 2008


It almost hurts when Lolita calls Humbert a pervert. Oh, doesn't she realise he loves her so? But then she is just 12 (in the movie she's 14) and he is way older and you shouldn't think it's love. He's obviously taking advantage of her. It's just lust. Right? If he's a pervert, let's call him so, eh? But it's obvious we've been carried away by Humbert's fantasies, and 'to be carried away', by definition, means that you aren't thinking, .

The one scene from Lolita that will stand out in my memory is the one in which she is reading a comic book and giggling to herself. And suddenly, she shuts her eyes, throws her head back and lets out orgasmic moans. The camera zooms out to show Humbert lying back on the rocking chair with Lolita on his crotch.

So, isnt she an adult, or well, at least almost there, the movie seems to ask. For a moment there, you had us, Mr Director.

[Thanks, M, and keep them coming :)]

Hotel Rwanda
The plot reminds one of Schindler's List. It makes its point by playing down violence as far as possible, except when it turns up at the doorstep of Hotel Rwanda. When Rusesabagina's jeep goes off the road and he steps down from the vehicle to see what's wrong, he simply cant take a step without tripping on a human body. Very strong scene that.

It's the story of five assassinators recruited by the Israeli government to track down and kill the perpetrators of violence at the 1972 Olympic Games. Action is standard stuff, but this movie is not really about action. As there is one killing after the other, the assassinators arrive at the inevitable questions: will the violence serve any purpose? When will it end? Why should we as Jews do like the Arabs? What then does it means to be a Jew? (“Jews are supposed to be righteous.”) What does it mean to be killing for one's country?

When Avner (Eric Bana)'s mother tells him she is so proud of the work that he's done, Avner just stares back at her with blood-shot eyes. And I think he's thinking, “You mean all the blood... all the devious ways in which we killed people... the children I orphaned, the nightmares that haunt me, you mean you are proud of all that? How could you possibly be? You dont know what you are saying, woman.”

On a different note: Eric Bana is so so intense. Ahem.

I had seen bits of this movie just a month ago under extra-ordinary circumstances. Coincidences don't cease, it seems.

05 February 2008

Second life anyone?

Have been wondering about the kind of virtual social lives we lead. No, I've got nothing new to report, but I keep getting amused by it. About how we detail our lives online, put them on display, have status messages inform people what exactly we are feeling, thinking or doing right then, etc.

The internet helps or even gets most people to express themselves. People, who otherwise dont write or sing or paint. Has the Internet created this urge in us or did people always have it and just needed some sort of medium to express it?

Am not saying everyone's blogging or anything but almost everyone you know who has access to computers and internet is on some or the other social networking site, with their photos, travelogues, list of their favourite everythings, etc. We are more eager to talk about ourselves, to build some kind of public interest in our personalities, and also feel at perfect liberty to know about other people's lives.

Something like this was so unknown till recently. Like, for instance, it's a bit difficult for someone as old as my parents to understand the point of creating a profile, say, on Orkut, putting your pic there, 'adding' friends, and then 'scrapping'. They rightly ask, when you can e-mail or chat or text, why scrap or write on someone's 'wall'? Well, I dont know. At least as far as social networking sites are concerned, it's peer pressure, herd mentality... you get the picture.

I do most of the internetty things I mentioned above, and more. It's been close to ten years now I think that I began to use the internet. And it still overawes me, when I stop to think of it. Will I still be so attached to the net ten years from now? Or will I be disenchanted and have a more enriched offline life? But the internet does help you beat the problems of time and space: it's easier to catch up with people digitally. Many a mind-blowing conversation has happened online.

So, I do treasure my online life. And even if the power's gone, the modem disconnects and I connect back to the here and now, the virtual reality is intact in my mind.

03 February 2008

Time off

Two movies I watched recently: Taare Zameen Par and Mungaaru Male.

What drove me to watch the first one was Uber's high praise for it. It's definitely a good movie, but wouldnt quite put it in my list of all-time greats. It's just that it's so rare that Bollywood does anything out of the routine, that we cant help being thrilled.

In TZP, the parents are made out to be villains, which they may as well be. Blood cruelty, in this rampant sense, is a much unexplored subject though yes, we do have the exploitation of young love depicted in umpteen movies.

But the transformation from a child debilitated by dyslexia to one who's successfully managing it is a little too sudden, a little too 'filmy'. Yet, I'd say I have no complaints. Aamir, the director, may have a lot more to say than Aamir, the actor.

Mungaaru Male: Elru heldru chennagide antha, adakke nodide. The numbers were good. But was disappointed. The dialogues become a little too smart, and the twists a little too abrupt. What I did like though was the fact that a Kannada 'hero' could be chubby and cute and not dripping macho, and also not be a 'Rajkumar'. Yes, that needs to be celebrated.