Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Vincent Cassel helps teenagers deal with complex problems

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Character: Joseph, the caretaker

Actor: Vincent Cassel

Film: Sheitan (2003)

Kim Chapiron’s Sheitan is a gawky, pimpled and post-pubescent teenager with Internet access. Teenagers want sex and the Internet knows it. They feel terrible about it and the Internet knows that too. There are virtual wastelands where they can explore the extent of their perversions; vast arenas encouraging free rides into the shallowest depths of convoluted physiological issues. However, gratification comes at a cost. After wiping unborn generations off dirty handkerchiefs and unwashed towels, crippling discomfort sets in. The soul is ridden with shame and it asks the brain to tell the limbs to check the fridge for junk food.
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There’s a place in their hearts and we know that it is love

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Film: Sightseers

Director: Ben Wheatley

Year: 2012

Country: UK

Normal people, about 99.9% of the world’s population, look at dark comedies like the malnourished probably look at breakfast cereals without even a thimbleful of milk in sight. With confusion yet contentment. At the core of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers is two hearts beating as one. Chris (Steve Oram), an aspiring writer and Tina (Alice Lowe), a knitting aficionado. They are an adorable couple on a road trip. They love each other very much. So much that it hurts. It even murders people.  Lots of people. Chris has had problems with stability for a long time. He just needs to deal with them in silence and with the solace that he finds only in his love for Tina. He was bullied as child, ridiculed as a teenager and stepped on while grappling with adulthood and facial hair. He loves Tina because she is damaged too. She is drunk on melancholia. She too distrusts people because she is wary that they may rip her wings off. She is fearful that she may never be able to fly with hummingbirds and learn the songs they seduce honeysuckles with.
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Pratap Pothen is a man who knows too much

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Character: Pratap, the theatre director

Actor: Pratap Pothen

Film: Varumayin Niram Sivappu (1980)

Pratap Pothen is the Talented Mr. Ripley. He doesn’t act as much as he steps into the shoes of his characters. He tells stories with nuanced expressions and carefully-planned gestures, not laboriously dictated dialogues. He shares screen time and space with his fellow actors, outshines them and spurs each of them to perform better. This is unlike the modus operandi of so-called “great actors” who hog every frame they are in under the pretext of pleasing audiences. Actors such as Kamal Hassan and Prakash Raj romanticize their characters so much that we instinctively step back to politely applaud.

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Malcolm McDowell is a glorious bastard

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Sometimes we are introduced to certain characters who stay with us long after their stories end. We invite them to partake in our sleepless nights and midsummer dreams. We talk to them, we listen to them and we share our lives with them. We connect to their lives. We accept them with the purity in which we accept the very worst in ourselves.

Character: Boad, the car dealer

Actor: Malcolm McDowell

Film: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2003)

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Sticks and stones may shatter my bones…

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Haute Tension (High Tension or Switchblade Romance)

Director: Alexandre Aja

Year: 2003

Language: French

Many slasher films, in their lovable eagerness to make us squirm, forget that human bones are as strong as cement blocks. It takes a lot of force and velocity to smash one to smithereens. Filmmaker Alexandre Aja and his team of sound mixers/re-recorders want us to feel queasy too but their love for gore aficionados is rooted in a fierce commitment to realism. For every skull that is crushed, every neck that is broken and each time a part of the human body snaps, cracks and pops out, it is accompanied by a visceral sound effect that hands out front-row seats to our earlobes. The home invasion sequence that introduces us to the antagonist, in particular, is the absolute best. It’s the top of the pops, especially abusive, alcoholic and couch-potato pops. It has a three-second scene with a curb stomp that sounds like the cruelest act in the world. The credit also goes to Philippe Nahon, a gentleman that graces the screen with the ease of a slap on the wrist yet bearing the complexities of a well-timed kidney punch.
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