Monthly Archives: April 2012
A chance channel surfing expedition on a Sunday morning got me hooked to this documentary on HBO today. Something that drew me towards it initially were the attributes that goes into making a world class documentary from its first shot. But eventually ended up being a piece of history that should do well in drawing a perspective of the what’s and why’s of the 2008 economic debacle, for anyone who has a knack for “money”. Which I’d like to think is all of us. Narrated beautifully by Matt Damon, “Inside Job” tells a story for what its worth without resorting to dramatics or kneeling on fabrications. The fact that its entire runtime lacked a single hint to a government propaganda, should serve it in good stead for a long time to come. If not as a guide on how to terminate a civilization; atleast as a reference on how to avert the possibility of one.
Having said that, what really stayed with me long after I’d finished watching it though, was a reality check on how ill-represented the knowledgable of the world’s strongest democracy is. I’d not be delineating from the truth if I assume the one’s we trust with our money & future are as susceptible to personal greed and are as misinformed as were the cavemen from once upon a time. The authorities we elect to represent us, to secure and protect us from the evils of the very society we live in, are the ones who are nonchalantly eating into our future, spewing out the remnants of what was rightfully ours. And then you include the prestigious institutes that shapes the great minds that will lead us tomorrow like Columbia University & Harvard into the mix and what you have is “fear” instilled in your minds, almost bordering on depression. While the economic downturn of the late last decade, was a bastard child of some “designer suit clad” but “shot sighted” go getters of the far west, the global economy of today ensured that its impact was far and wide spread. Anyone who buys and sells to another nation irrespective of bi-lateral trade policies is fated to be a part of it’s collateral damage. As such everyone I know or work with, had borne some degree of brunt from this downturn. Point in case is me. I work in a developing nation in the South East of Asia for a company that headquarters in California and is the world’s biggest IT company. Go figure
The feature starts with a panoramic shot of Iceland and its lush green covered undulating landscape that suddenly cuts into a few shots of it’s man made concrete infrastructure which I think was intended to represent progress and development of an urban society. It’s a short retrospection at what transpired in this Nordic European island nation in the North Atlantic ocean that is strategically placed between North American and the rest of Europe around the same time. It involves the collapsing of all three of their major commercial banks and their inability to refinance their short term debts. They eventually were dependent of the run ins from Netherlands & the UK. Relative to the size of its economy, Iceland’s banking collapse is the largest suffered by any country in economic history. In the documentary, this piece works as a preamble to the main chapters that follows right after. A large group of men from Wall Street across its food chain, twisted and turned the laws of finance to yield immediate and exponentially high results that were mutually exclusive and with almost no regard to morality or limitations. It gave way to a world of illusion, which under the garb of rapid financial progress was in reality infested with lies, deceit and cover ups for the common men which sadly was to be only found out after much destruction to the system itself. So much so that, even the most revered thinker of the trade cannot put a timeline to its complete recovery. My bet is, no one can even tell its true meaning anymore. The then Bush government’s initial buying into the same school of thought as those greased mouth scavengers is as much revelation as realizing that the one in power i.e. Obama has not been able to to extract much result from all the promises of his presidential campaign that got him elected. I mean what else do you expect when the apples of discord who deserved to be trialed for treason are appointed heads of initiatives that are formed to eradicate the very evils they inculcated in the first place. That in gist is what “Inside Job” is all about. It is told through interviews of the who’s who from the various factions within the financial world that calls the shots, sometimes at the expense of our tomorrow.
Some pundits would make us believe that although the tax paying men suffered a great deal, the final storm was averted and that we should thank a handful of them for their disaster recovery plans. A movie named “Too Big To Fail” that followed right after in HBO, tends to elaborate on that notion. But for both reasons technical and factual, “Inside Job” is a documentary heads and limbs above any that I have seen in the past few years, including HBO’s above original feature. For a piece of history that is both compelling in its taut execution and for its relevance to our future and that of our children, watch “Inside Job”.
Listen more from the makers about “Inside Job”
I walked into the theater with very little expectation, besides a dormant penchant of some cheap thrills and chills. But the one thing that kept coming to my mind, while going through the pre-show commercials, was what Total Film called it in one of their past month editions : “reinventing the horror genre“. While that may not mean much or anything at all, my subconscious self was yearning for something interesting, minus the torture gores of Eli Roth and his counterparts, that I detest.
The Cabin In The Woods, through its trailers, shouts out aloud that here is a movie that you’ve seen it all before, and just like what you’ve come to expect by now, we too have twists, and turns and surprises along the way. In the movie though, what does stand apart by almost a telling yard is that, these twists and turns come to life in the narration, a lot earlier than you’d have anticipated and follows a coherent motive of surprising the viewer, the moment conventional wisdom looked to be the order of the day. Drew Goddard and Josh Whedon wrote a good story but the former, directed it even better. The acting was a well oiled support group that left no stone unturned in exploiting every given opportunity at pulling off histrionics, that such scripts provide. Special mention to the Fran Kranz, who I am told has been a regular in Wheddon’s past works. As a nerdy, dope head, his weed act is the catalyst of this experiment and serves the flavour sumptuously with a long ending after taste. There is also no doubt that post Thor and the soon to be released pre-summer blockbuster “The Avengers”, Chris Hemsworth‘s stock price is on the rise. & that will do a world of good, in pulling the Youtube demography into buying cinema tickets for this cabin.
Overall, if entertainment was the yardstick to a film’s success, The Cabin In The Woods, is an assured and comprehensive winner. Its a shot in the arm to the horror genre. It’d be a crying shame if the most cynical follower of such movies would have anything to complain about this one. In my attempt at not giving too much away, I’d just say that the elaborate climax and all the mayhem that the proceedings give into, all mixed at a tastefully timed pace, should keep you glued to the edge of your seats for minutes that seem to be never ending. The humour quotient is immaculately placed in the entire narration and is never used as a tension diffuser. Such was the balance between perception and truth of the premise, that I had people in my cinema guffaw and shriek in the same scene in a matter of seconds. And I consider them both, bloody genuine reactions. As a film enthusiast I can only imagine the kind of fun the makers and everybody involved in the project may have had. Speaking of which. A homage, although sometimes projected as unintentional, has rarely missed my sights. The opening credits have a subtle touch of Tarantino’s flair about them. & the look of the cabin itself and a few other sequences will remind you of Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead. Now you know what we’re talking
As you can imagine, being compared to past classics that have done their bits in reviving a genre that sometimes produces overdose of solemn and mournful, can be a great thing. There are times when we tend to take going ons far too seriously and forget that its actually just a movie. If you’re one of them, the likelihood of you coming out of the theater feeling shortchanged is very high.So my word of advice, in the words of Mr. S from “School of Rock” is that loosen those hinges on your shoulder, go loosey – goosey, grab your popcorn & soda and find the time to go watch this hilariously frightening piece of work, that has cult written all over it. Look, if not now; than at least in another 10 years perhaps ?
Recommended for the Horror & Thriller lovers. 4/5
Here’s a TV spot :
Although I am yet to watch it, the premise through whatever it is I have seen or read, cuts straight to the core of a social evil that has long been, either dismissed as trivial or ignorantly garbed under frivolity. The characters in the story are largely American but I am certain to a large degree that these ill-fated habits are prevalent everywhere in the society. Considering kids are everywhere. Sadly it took one such kid with a gun and several innocent deaths to trigger the minds of the learned. If anything, the fact that the documentary was initially rated R only stresses on the issue at hand, that respected society of the 21st century has a long way to go before the act of bullying someone, is legally accepted to be an offense. This piece of work is a noticeable stride towards that destination. Bravo and my support to everyone involved with the project
Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, The Bully Project is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of Americas bullying crisis. The Bully Project follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children. As teachers, administrators, kids and parents struggle to find answers, The Bully Project examines the dire consequences of bullying through the testimony of strong and courageous youth. Through the power of their stories, the film aims to be a catalyst for change in the way we deal with bullying as parents, teachers, children and society as a whole.
A red band trailer coz it deserves nothing less
Stifler, Jim, Oz, Finch, Kevin, Heather, Michelle, with Stifler’s Mom & Jim’s Dad from the original are back for a reunion that promises a healthy dose of some embarrassing nostalgia and a trip down to the unabashed lane tastefully garnished with potty humour. Barring the first sequel and “the wedding” version, the name’s been borrowed by a dozens of dishonourable B grade wannabes. But all that’s history now. The class of 99 is here to have some.
On a personal note, this should be one heck of a ride, reminiscent of my mates from school in 99. What a year that was !!!
Having made to wait an eternity is neither a concept new to me nor any more excruciatingly painful, specially when its fate has a delectable prospect along the lines of an opportunity to watch Steve McQueen’s latest work in BluRay. A respite of sorts as in the meantime I bid my leisure hours, (which btw were very few and far between) watching some garbage and some not so. The long winding road to nowhere ended with a chance visit to my very friendly pirate lounge and VOILA…. there was “Shame”
Long story short, most likely one of the best experiences of watching a tastefully shot, sumptuously written, awe-inspiringly acted and a masterfully directed piece of work that was neither presented to please the popcorn laden crowd nor the wise pundits who tend to pounce at the slightest given opportunity of waywardness. It defied common logic of a story that demands a start and an end and went straight about reflecting the mood of a butchered soul in the form of a repentance devoid of guilt. Michael Fassbender as much as the actor that he is, didnt look like hinting on a powerful charade nor was he inclined on underplaying the violent sufferings of his twisted mind. A man that could be easily looked down upon as a wretched dog who constantly needed another living body to quench his mortifying cravings of lust and self inflicted gratification, co existed amongst the vapid and was accepted in all social gatherings just like you and me.
By the end of it all, the going ons didn’t bring upon the need to empathize with the protagonist as most well written proses do, but instead told a tale of a mind that was far from rational but was conspicuously alarming. The bottom-line that the men could be anyone you always knew although stressed on the hypothetical, never hinted on the non tangible and that to me was a cause for honours for the main cast and creative unit, mostly the writer.Some stories thrive on narration and some on treatment. A very few walk the coveted path of acceptance laid on solid foundation of the both. Shame to me is one such rare production that relied heavily on emotions while telling a story that lacked it. The frames, the mood, the sudden burst of ill tempered cries all concocted in measured dosages made “Shame” a taste to savour.
Go watch it.