2008 has so far turned out to be an annus horribilis for fans of Tamil and Hindi movies.
If you are sick of crappy movies like Dasavatharam, Sarkar Raj, Tashan, Bhoothnath, Kuruvi and Azhagiya Tamil Magan coming out of the Augean pits of Bollywood and Kollywood we don’t blame ya. So are we. Sick to the stomach.
The blundering buffoons of Bollywood like Ram Gopal Varma and Abhishek Bachchan and the know-nothing knuckleheads of Kollywood like Kamal Haasan and Vijay have heaped rubbish on the heads of fans this year even as they extort hefty sums in ticket prices.
But despair not, film buffs.
If the Bollywood buffoons and the Kollywood knuckleheads can’t deliver, there’s plenty of fine foreign films out there, if only we are willing to expand our sights.
Here are a few nice foreign movies that the Bollywood buffoons and the Kollywood knuckleheads can’t hope to match for many, many years. Some of them are old, others very old and a few relatively new.
The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (2006, Portugese): Set in a politically turbulent moment in Brazil’s past (1970) that coincided with football player Pele’s heydays, The Year My Parents Went on Vacation is the moving story of a young boy Mauro (Michel Joelsas) who accidentally lands in the care of an unwilling and orthodox Jewish old man Shlomo (Germano Haiut). The little girl Hannah (Daniela Piepszyk) also turns in a noteworthy performance in a brief role.
Cinema Paradiso (1988, Italian) – (Watched this Italian movie based on the recommendation of a SearchIndia.com blog reader. Available at Blockbuster and Netflix in the U.S.)
Cinema Paradiso is a notable classic that puts Bollywood and Kollywood to shame and exposes our desi film-makers as impostors. In this Academy Award winner, the little boy Salvatore Cascio and the late Philippe Noiret deliver a virtuoso performance that should be an eye-opener to Indian movie buffs who are under an illusion that stars like Shahrukh Khan and Ajith (Tamil) are actors. If you are renting fromÂ Blockbuster, do not forget to watch the other side of the DVD for a slightly different version. An added attraction is the fine montage of kisses at the end. Progress always comes too late, says the projectionist Alfredo in a touching scene in the movie. How true.
Kontroll (2003, Hungarian with English sub-titles) – Kontroll is one of the finest movies we’ve seen in recent years. Filmed completely on the Budapest subway, the movie follows a bunch of misfit employees. Every single actor in Kontroll has delivered a knockout performance.
Mafioso (1962, Italian, Black & White) – Featuring the great Italian actor Alberto Sordi, this is yet another classic. Sordi delivers a powerful performance as a Milanese worker back home in his beloved Sicily on a short vacation. Just when you think that Mafioso is a nice comedy, you realize that there is so much more here.
Central Station (1998, Portuguese) – This is a moving story of a middle-aged letter-writer for illiterate folks at the Rio de Janeiro train station and a nine-year-old youngÂ boy yearning to locate his father.Â In her marvellous portrayal of the letter-writer Dora, Fernanda Montenegro shows so-called Indian actressses like Aishwarya Rai, TrishaÂ and Kareena Kapoor what acting truly is.
La Vie en Rose (2007, French) – This is a fairly new movie and earned Marion Cotillard the Oscar for Best actress for her brilliant portrayal of the singer Edith Piaf. The movie nicely alternates between the present and past. Awesome.
In the Mood for Love (2001, Cantonese) – Director Kar Wai Wong delivers a winner in this story of two adults, both with unfaithful spouses. Tony Leung is simply superb and richly deserved the Cannes Film Festival best actor award.
You can rest assured that in a millennium our Bollywood Bozos and Kollywood kunckleheads won’t be making movies like this. Our hunchback artists in Bollywood and Kollywood are too busy patting each other on the back for a job shoddily done.
Forget making good movies. That bozo Ram Gopal Varma can’t even do a decent job of copying a classic movie like Sholay…what a pathetic mess that Ram Gopal Varma ki Aaag was, Abhishek Bachchan can’t act to save his life despite exposure to movies since his birth and Kamal Haasan is utterly clueless about makeup or writing a story.
i tell you what the problem is that today in bollywood most of the movies of big banner are not made keeping the story in mind but by the intent of making money and these are the movies that release in us and uk. You go and watch movies from small banners that are made with good stories like aamir, shaurya, mithya, halla bol and many more and you will see the difference.
ajayrocks u r completely right..These big banners completely kill creativity and originality by giving us big budgeted ostentatious movies with huge star casts and horribly plotted stories…Aamir,shaurya,Johnny gaddar,Manorama six ft under are some examples of movies with lesser known actors but very good stories..See those movies to encourage them instead of wasting your time on cliched and narcissist movies which manage to run at the box-office due to their star power..Can anyone point out some other movies of this kind where the plots are good?
I have seen kontroll, well yes its a good movie. seems to have inspired from some of the David Llynch movies. And i have some questions for you,1. who or what do you think the pusher in the movie kontroll? 2. Have you seen “requiem for a dream” and “Mulholland drive” ?
You write above: who or what do you think the pusher in the movie kontroll
Not sure actually. We think the director NimrÃ³d Antal wanted to leave a cloud of uncertainty.
Was it BulcsÃº’s alter ego?
And what about the final chase in the dark tunnel…was it real or a metaphorical battle between good & evil?
Sometimes, these kinds of ambiguities add to the allure of an already-good movie.
Three things stand out here in Kontroll
a). A very offbeat story
b). Powerrrrful acting by literally every single person
c). The fact that it was filmed in the subway ..not in a village…or by the lake in Geneva or in the Alps
2. You write: Have you seen “requiem for a dream” and “Mulholland drive”
No..will add them to our Netflix queue
my recommendation is to see them, those movies are timeless classics and Kontroll cant even come near these.
Also, I think the pusher is not any alter ego or some metaphor for anything, he is a person , must be close to Bulcsu, may be even mentally retarded and he might be the reason for ” fear of sun ” of Bulcsu, and one thing, no director never leaves an ambiguity in any film,there must be a reason we have missed.
You write above: no director never leaves an ambiguity in any film,there must be a reason we have missed
We are skeptical of the above point. Doubt that we missed anything.
For some inexplicable reason, from almost the beginning (even before investigators ask him about it) we thought it was Bulcsu himself doing the pushing on the platform. He is forever on the platform, sleeps there on occasion, and as one of the investigator says, Bulcsu knows the camera movements.
dont miss “400 blows” by francois truffaut, also “cinema paradiso”
Will add your recommendations to our Netflix queue or the instant Watch it Now feature with the Roku box.
Based on your recommendation, we recently watched Cinema Paradiso and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks.
For U.S. visitors to SearchIndia.com, we strongly recommend the Roku box ($100)…lets you watch up to 10,000 movies/TV shows instantly from Netflix directly on TV at DVD quality.
Do you use Roku with a wireless connection? Does it work well?
I read somewhere (last year) that it doesn’t play 5.1 audio.. not sure if it is still the same. But I see the HDMI, optical output etc. in the picture, so I guess it is upgraded now. How is the surround sound experience.. is it as good as DVD?
1. Yes, we use Roku (only) with a wireless connection.
2. It works amazingly well.
3. We use HDMI cable from Roku to TV.
4. Surround sound is good too (not sure about 5.1)…we use a Panasonic surround sound system connected to a Samsung LCD (better than watching Tamil/Hindi movies at Indian theatres in U.S.).
5. You write above: I read somewhere (last year)…
Roku was released only recently, in May 2008
6. Overall Effect – as good as DVD.
7. They have about 10,000 movies/TV shows for “instant Play” including 20 or 30 Hindi and maybe 1 or 2 Tamil movies like Kannathil Muthamittal
I am pretty sure I read about Netflix’s online ambitions last year.. and I think that article mentioned Roku too as one of its probable partners.
Looks like it is selling nearly as much as Wiis. Got lot of hits.
http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/99078 says there it will upgraded soon..
http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/63338.html says that the sound is not 5.1 yet.
http://review.zdnet.com/digital-media-receivers/netflix-player-by-roku/4505-6739_16-33018087.html also seems to suggest that we need to wait for some more time.
I’ll wait for some more time.. I am thinking that the resolution flaws will be very much enhanced on a 60″ TV.. How fast is your internet connection.. I am getting 5-7 mbps.. Not sure if that will be sufficient if netflix starts streaming HD!
1. You write above: How fast is your internet connection..
Average around 10 Mbps
2. On a 40-inch Samsung, quality is decent. Don’t know about larger screens.
3. Upgrade could be a software upgrade to let users get content from others like Hulu (??)
4. HD might take some time
5. Other Netflix partners include LG
Yeah thanks for comparing Hancock[92 min movie-Budget more than $150 million] and Dasavatharam[150 min movie-Budget around $15 million]. You paid 15$ to dasavatharam and paid only 9.50$ to Hancock? Thats great. Very happy to hear that the ticket of a kollywood film is greater than the ticket of a Hollywood’s superstar’s movie.
How many times Hollywood genius movie makers take superhero stories? When will they stop? Sick and tired of these superheros flying and saving the world. Heard another superhero is coming shortly.. Batman. Ufffff.. All kiddish.. Cant your hollywood movie makers take some movies which could be belivable and watched by people rather than kids????
Ask your Hollywood Movie makers to invest 150$ million for a single kollywood movie(walt Disney and warner bros is already coming up, i dont know why they are coming here). I assure,We will reduce the movie ticket price from 15$ to 6.5$, and will give effects more than yours Hollywood. But the sad thing is, we cant pay more than 20 rs for a hollywood movie here in India. I paid 100rs for Dasavatharam and 15 rs for Hancock( But i should have used this 15 rs for Shaving my beard)
You write above: How many times Hollywood genius movie makers take superhero stories
You are right. And we made the point that the Hancock story wasn’t all that great. As we wrote in the second paragraph of our review: Itâ€™s Will and Charlize – with their amazing performance – aided by the solid special effects, of course, that rescue the not-so-great Hancock story into a nice entertainer.
You write: But i should have used this 15 rs for Shaving my beard
If you let us know when you intend shaving all the hair on your head (Motta), we’d be happy to sponsor that Motta-look. 🙂
Thanks for your reply. U are right about the Bollywood films. They are nowhere compared to the foreign films. It’s mainly becoz in India, films are made only for the sake of it; filmmakers feel proud to say that India churns out 3000-4000 movies a year. Apart from a few, every filmmaker dishes out movies just to fill in his pockets and enjoy foreign tours. Only if they realized that the content is the soul of films ; not a Shahrukh or Hrithik danding around in an item number.
Regarding this article I will surely try and watch the movies especially Kontroll & Mafioso( as I am more keen in comedies) will reply to you soon….
well, sure you would have enjoyed cinema paradiso,
here are more- Rashoman, rear window, reservoir dogs.
” I had not seen MOMENTO myself untill then and was very curious to see it. On seeing it I thanked my stars that he had not seen MOMENTO before having written his script. I preffered GHAJINI any day. Momento I just couldn’t understand.”..
We can pardon the spelling error, but when he “preffer”s GHAJINI over MOMENTO, we know that bollywood has NO CHANCE to get better.
We read the complete post in the lagaandvd link you provide above. But we don’t believe much of that baloney. Aamir is a decent actor but an even better self-promoter.
The concept of original is alien (with stray exceptions) to the Indian psyche, be it the software industry, the movie business, popular culture or even fast food.
Like you, we too (sometime) think Bollywood has no chance because of the sheer paucity of talent in every aspect of film-making…acting, story, screenplay, editing, music, lighting, special effects, the whole works.
Tamil film industry is a joke for the most part but alas no Joker calibre actors.
We watched Memento last year on DVD. Interesting but we’ll probably see it again before the Hindi Ghajini releases. We watched the Tamil version but didn’t think too highly of it.
If Aamir (dumb) and Kamal (deluded) are considered two of most intelligent movie stars in India.. situation is pathetic.
— Enough of whining, let’s say some good things about bollywood —
Not sure if you watch SYTYCD on FOX yesterday.
It was fun.
Previous week, they did OSO.. http://youtube.com/watch?v=Sj8saHoY7yY … the black dude made bollywood look African.
Interesting videos. Seems like a parody of the graceless dancing we see in our Hindi & Tamil movies.
Anjaathey/Anjaadhae is a decent movie. Could have been trimmed down to 2 hours from it long 3 hours, but a very different tamil movie. Some of the acting looked amateurish at times, and there was some lack of logic in some places.. but a lot of positive things going on for this movie.. definitely better than Dasavatharam.
You can probably rate the movies in the index (like…link deleted) so that readers like me, who rarely watches Hindi movies, can pick only the watchable ones instead of going through all the reviews.
We missed Anjaathey/Anjaadhae, probably because it didn’t make it to the North East.
You write above: You can probably rate the movies in the index
Guess that’s we’ve been doing without the *** business. Most of the time our headlines leave no doubt as to where we stand on the movies.
my point was to provide an easy way out for lazy users… even before reaching the headline phase.. in the index (http://www.searchindia.com/search/bollywood-movies/).. to avoid http://www.searchindia.com/search/bollywood-movies/manorama-movie-review.html getting drowned.
kollywood movies have never(mostly) been for noteworthy for acting and direction .. they are mostly expansive music videos.. And that’s exactly why we watch most of the movies.. My rating meter is usually different from what I use for Hollywood..
listening to the Agni Natchathiram songs now.. Getting swept away yet again.. Where art thou Illayarajah!!
Manirathinam is an over-rated director (he has been lucky that IR and ARR have done their best for him)..
IR and ARR (and some other music directors) contributions have been under-rated in many of the most successful tamil movies .. including Sivaji.. Dasavatharam would have been bigger if IR or ARR were at the helm.
I haven’t watched “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”, but have listened to the songs.. I have no doubt that ARR was the main reason for the movie doing so well.. Aamir Khan is another one riding ARR’s coat tail.
Ok that is out of my system now.
True, Agni Natchathiram has some lovely songs. Our favorite is ninnukori. We just watched it thrice on YouTube.
Amala was not a bad actress. She had grace, a quality rare in Indian actresses today. Wonder what happened to her? Alas, we are now left with bimbos like Trisha and Nayantara.
gandhiji, ManiRatnam is one of the finest directors around, who has a theme, a message in each and every movie he makes and conveys it beautifully to the audience… and IR and ARR have complemented him very well.Have you seen Anjali? I feel its his best movie till date. He has quite a few classics to his name as well- Roja, Bombay, Alaipayuthey, Kannathil Muthamittal. Aayutha ezhuthu was also pretty good.
He always has an idea, a message, and uses the movie as a medium to convey it. While other directors make movies to appease fanatic movie-goers, to set stupid records(like Dasavatharam. There was another sick Tamil movie that had quite a few famous actors and that was supposed to have been made in 24hrs… i dont remember the name..). So they combine various elements like vadivelu/vivek comedy, some skin-showing, kuthu song, romance,fights, etc, etc and call it a movie.
Lets damn movies like Dasavatharam, Sivaji, Kuselan that have no substance… but lets not conclude that there have never been movies that showcase good acting, good directing, in Indian cinema.
And, speaking of good Indian cinema, what do you guys feel about the ‘Munnabhai’ movies? I felt both were awesome.
You write above: what do you guys feel about the ‘Munnabhai’ movies
We didn’t think much of them, especially the second. But it seems they found favor with the audience. This is what we had to say in 2006 about Lage Raho Munna Bhai.
It is saddening to see a “below average” rating attributed to the thoroughly enjoyable and meaningful movie that ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ is.
The movie portrayed how certain valuable Gandhian ideals and philosophies (most importantly, the courage of standing up to truth) could be applied in today’s issues. It advocated how old people should strive to achieve their unfulfilled dreams, and exemplified it wonderfully with one old guy marrying his childhood sweetheart. It also touched upon the foolishness of superstition and that people should grow over it.
There were scenes that made a lasting impression – when Munnabhai makes a son tell the truth to his father, when an old guy strips to get his pension, when Munna reveals his truth to the girl.
The movie was not meant to make people laugh their hearts out, but instead to send a message through a light-hearted, feel-good movie.
Please read what director Hirani had to say about the movie..
You had said the dialogs were a big let-down. Could you pin-point any particular phase where you felt the dialogs were drab or boring or not to the context?
The song ‘Pal pal har pal’ was a beautiful, romantic melody. Dint impress you?
It was not without flaws, but certainly not ‘below average’. That was a very dim view to take.
It might not be relevant to be discussing a 2-yr old movie now. All the same, I just read the review and wanted to share a few points…
You write: You had said the dialogs were a big let-down. Could you pin-point any particular phase where you felt the dialogs were drab or boring or not to the context?
As you wrote in your comment, this movie is nearly two-years old and we can’t remember the dialogs now.
But if you read the review carefully, you must have noticed that we did have some good things to say about the movie or at least the actors in the movie.
harry, yeah, mani is a good director.. but as he considered a top director in india, i expect too much out of movies.. like i expect out of kamal..
i liked mouna ragam, alaipayuthae, kannathil muththamittaal.. or in other words his softer movies/romantic comedies.. anjali didn’t work for me because he introduced some forced masala elements into the movie.. although i like the songs , i don’t want them in the middle of a serious movie. in ayutha ezhuththu, madhavan’s character seemed well-etched out.. the other two dots weren’t strong. mani tends to add masala elements like songs and comedy, which don’t seem to blend well with the movie. i also didn’t find nayagan, thalapathi and the roja-bombay-uyire trilogy to be riveting..
i don’t understand hindi well.. so i couldn’t appreciate the jokes/dialogs with the mumbai slangs well
we were talking about kamal’s inspirations.. the page below discusses about ir’s inspirations.. http://itwofs.com/tamil-ir.html ..