Tuesday, December 20, 2005

King Kong

I recently saw King Kong. I must say I was surprised.. till I found out who directed it (Peter Jackson of LOTR fame, for the uninitiated). I had expected a lot of things, after all I think certain fragments of popular culture (King Kong, Godzilla etcetera etcetera etcetera) are so embedded in our minds like relics of a not-so-distant past- huge and undeniable ad unavoidable - that we cannot revisit a reconstruction of them without some form of prejudice or biased expectation. I had expected a lot of things from a Blockbuster and that too, one with such a history, but POIGNANCY! Never.

Blockbusters have become a sort of derogatory tag. At least for me, the name conjures up visions of overhyped mediocrity. A cleverly packaged and publisized pandering to the least common denominator. Take Spiderman, I have nothing against him or the movie, I rather liked the second installment but once again, what I had liked in it most were the parts that did not scream blockbuster, the slow parts, the internal battle as opposed to the climactic Good vs Evil which is essential to any blockbuster.

Which is why I loved War of the worlds. Because I did not have to suffer "And meanwhile, in the White House.." sequences. The almost voyeuristic approach to an event in the life of an insignificant man, an event so enormous as to almost infuse claustrophobia at having to watch it unfold through one narrow perspective. But It is without the trappings of the formulaic mutiple-angle, sweeping big-picture treatment that one can immerse oneself in the tribulations of a character, it is there that we mirror his fabricated emotion captured on the big screen with our real ones- fear, anger, hate, ecstacy.

There are genuine moments of fear (it would be a gross injustice to call them moments, rather large chunks of time) where one is shocked and petrified and gripping the edge of the seat and yet simply cannot tear one's eyes away from the screen. The scene in War of the worlds where the young girl looks on as bodies float past in the swift current of a bloodied river, THAT was authentic shock and horror. Moments like those leave a lasting impression long after the credits roll. The same can be said for the sequence in KK where the film's protagonist(s?) are confronted with the island dwellers. It's been a long time since I've felt genuine fear while watching a movie.

The film IS slow-moving at first, but the rest is a whirlwind despite the three hour long duration and the final moments are quietly heartbreaking. I strongly recommend anyone to watch it. One of the best movies I've watched this year, right up there with Revenge of the Sith.
Well, I had originally intended NOT to write a review. This post was supposed to be about something else! But then again, I promised myself I will not spend too much time updating my posts..

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Stairway to St Pauls

Today is what is supposed to be the 4th day of the India vs Sri Lanka test match. The last 3 days were rained out and we did have a wet one last night too. In short, here's another test in this wonderful city of ours that's been rained out. This time however, I did NOT buy any tickets at all which means I can point and laugh at the 2000-odd poor SOBs who showed up on the first rained out day, umbrellas and all.

Right, Thats that for sadistic revelry. Moving on.. Last wednesday I went to Beats‘N’Bars & Air Guitars - A celebration of contemporary British music through film. Basically, they aired eight short films. Except for this documentary on the rap scene in the UK, I think the rest were under ten minutes.

But here's the thing that really caught my attention. We're all sitting there in the dark at the courtyard and the title "The Stairway at St.Pauls" appears on the screen and Led Zepp's Stairway to Heaven starts wafting thru the speakers. Directed by this chap from the Netherlands, he puts the camera in place and stands in front of St Paul's Cathedral while Led Zepp plays on. You immediately realise that all his movements, the ppl in the background, the entire video is going backwards. Well, so far so good. And then he starts to sing.

This is the brilliant part. It's not Robert Plant but the words and the tune is unmistakable, it's the song alright but his singing sounds horribly mangled in someway as though he's sucking in all the air instead of singing. And then it strikes you, its being sung backwards and then played in reverse so you can hear it the right way again!

It's marvelous really, this guy Jeroen Offerman, actually spent three months learning this song and its words backwards. And then he tapes it (it's a live continuous shot) in front of the stairway to St Pauls cathedral in London. Google it, there's a clip of the video available on the net.. Of all the short films, this one really stood out.

I suppose I will be going for this wednesday's event at the BCL too. Some form of word music. Get the passes from the library and pop in if you live in Madras and you're free. From time to time, there are some really wonderful events.

In other news, I have FINALLY joined GMAT classes.. I have a tremendous mental block against Math. But the first weekend went without a hitch. The woman who's handling verbal seems very 'together'. Reminds me of Ms Soans's English classes in the tenth. She's not going easy on us which is a good thing.

Sunday mornings are quants (which is prob the worst way anyone could possibly spend a sunday morning) but the guy who handled it was VERY good, jus fast enough and challenging enough so that you dont get complacent and not so dreadfully primitive that you find yourself nodding off. I think everyone who turned up for class had already spent a fair amount of time studying on their own, they seemed quite familiar with the material and all the short cuts (which is kind of a bummer seeing how I haven't done ANYTHING yet). Ah well...

So thats it.. I don't really lead a marvellously exciting lifestyle