Friday, November 26, 2010

Raavan: moralistic message or visual treat?

If it wasn't for the overall average camerawork, direction and editing, Raavan is a visual stunner whose adapted story employs a noteworthy thought-provoking concept.

After Ragini re-locates to a distant settlement called Lal Matti with her husband Dev, the head of the police, she becomes entangled in her husband's case to apprehend a bandit named Beera. In an attempt to seek revenge against the police, Beera kidnaps Ragini and intends to kill her. After seeing that Ragini is as fearless as he is, he keeps her in captivity, but releases any intention to kill her. Throughout the fourteen days that they are together the chemistry between the two characters boil just enough for the audience to understand and enjoy the presence of an underlying love between Beera and Ragini. As the passion subtly but powerfully buds, the plot becomes atypical to the original story when Ragini is finally simultaneously released by Beera and rescued by Dev. It is during these moments that the portrayal of Ravana (demon) and Ram (God) flip back and forth between Beera and Dev. The climax hits these points brilliantly.

Though the first half of the film was a bit slow, it establishes a strong foundation for the audience to better understand the chemistry of the ending. The beginning helped me define the characters in terms of good and evil, but as the story progressed, we felt Ragini's experience as the lines between Ram and Raavana blurred in and out between Beera and Dev.

Acting: 7/10

Yes the movie boasted one of Bollywood's most popular couples as the protagonists, but one proved better over the other.  Aishwariya had a decent performance, using a lot of facial expressions to complement and better express her character's feelings.  Abhishek on the other hand, didn't come off as convincing as a monster, but rather as a fool at times.  I feel like he tried hard to portray a maniac monster, but didn't live up to par.  With a deeper connection with the Beera character there were times where he didn't take advantage of potentially great scenes and fell short of a magnificent performance.  His character's brother definitely proved as himself as the best actor overall in the film though.

Visuals: 10/10
If this film would be recognized for anything, it would be for it's stunning sets, backgrounds, and overall visuals. Besides the setting, the camera work often caught the essence of the character. Examples at the top of my head: Provided she didn't have the longest dialogue, Aishwariya's eyes often expressed her character the most. Beera's reflection in the broken mirror in the camp was also a good visual.

Sound/Music: 7/10
Few songs were worth listening to, the others were useless and forced into the movie, often wasting time. Also, Mani Ratnam's attempt to dramatize Beera's evil presence by adding melodramatic clips of music was unnecessary; subtle, mild low undertones would have done better. 

Camerawork: 4/10
Honestly, I was disappointed by the camerawork of the movie. I was expecting to be blown away, but there were only some moments in scenes that were noteworthy. Otherwise the direction was average; I expected more precise angles that better captured a moment/symbolism better. (Example: when Ragini was injured on the tree branch looking at her reflection in the water we couldn't see Beera's reflection and his expression clearly. Obviously Rutnam intended for the scene to capture the two reflections in the water, but it didn't pull through).

Overall: 6/10
Though the film had disappointing camerawork, editing and direction, its strong core of an adapted-original story and concept along with excellent, original visuals (in all aspects) makes it a movie worth watching at home especially if you are in a philosophical mood.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

shawty got swagg

So just like any other normal evening after class, i was briskly walking to the parking garage to jump into the minivan and speed (psht, legally of course) onto home to satisfy my raging hunger for my mom's amazingly-amazing home-cooked indian food.  As I was walking I noticed that there was a guy behind me who even though was walking at a slower pace was still catching up to me.  Unless he was taking big strides or lunges, the rate of his treads on the pavement did not explain his progression.  Then it hit me:

Shorter people have to walk faster to keep up with the pace of taller people.
..How did I not realize this earlier?  Haven't I spent time walking, running, jogging, etc. with physically-taller company before?  The good confidence I had for the day had slightly slipped and what I immediately thought of as my "inferior" physicality surmounted my conscience.  After luxuriating in my mother's food, I decided to make a list about the advantages and disadvantages of being short to help my minute insecurity of my height.  Unfortunately, being a slight pessimist, I thought of many disadvantages before I could think of advantages:

- Shorter people usually have shorter legs, thus they have to walk faster.  We have to "scurry" to keep up pace with a much taller person.
- Some of us look a lot younger than our age unfortunately
- You have to sit on a pillow in order to see comfortably over the steering wheel
- You often find yourself asking for assistance to reach things on higher shelves, whether they're in stores or your own kitchen
- You sometimes run risk to not being able to go on an amusement park ride with your friends
- Unless you have a special physical ability to jump super-high, basketball is a much more difficult sport for you than it is for your peers

 - We can crawl, ANYWHERE....Okay, that may have been a handy trait if we lived in caves, but as the gene is still inherent in our population, isn't it just funny to know we have the physical convenience to crawl into short spaces?  I guess that means we can have smaller houses?  Hello slightly cheaper housing!
- King-Size beds are more majestic to us.  That doesn't mean we need a king-size bed in order to feel comfortable because we can comfortably manage with a full size length bed.  But the king-size does what it's titled for - it makes us feel like a king in a perfectly-huge-sized bed; considering our height, the grandeur of its large size becomes even greater when we can't reach the edge of the bed with our feet.  (That also means we can be warm with smaller, shorter blankets=no cold feet)
- Hmm what else, unless you've built the tolerance, you can get wooooozy faaaaast, if you catch my drift ;).  Okay yes that can be a negative thing in some situations, but in almost most every other situation, it's a positive because it's quicker, faster, and frankly, cheaper
- When you find yourself asking for assistance to reach things on higher shelves, you have a genuine reason to start a conversation with a possible cutie? or just someone :)
- If your feet are proportional to your height, then you have small feet, and can sometimes luck out by purchasing the kid's size of the same shoe for a much cheaper price..
- You can date a guy of any height :)
- The ceiling is never too low

Look at that, more advantages then disadvantages...shawty got swagg

wanna know which celebrities share your height?

i'm as tall as audrey tatou, jessica simpson, pink, and drew barrymore, but am 3.5 inches shy of being as tall as jessica alba (5.6 feet).  ugh why is she so perfect?!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

still a virgin!!!...????

How fascinating is it to think that only 1000 years, heck just even 400 years ago retaining your virginity before marriage was what society deemed as a necessary sacrosanct virtue?  And look at society now, kids trying to LOSE this once-sacred value as soon as they can "score," even if it takes a one-night stand.  Boy has society really changed..but that's irrelevant.

Pondering that, this question popped into my head..
When do you lose your virginity?  Personally I agree with most people - you lose it when you do the big one (for the prude i'm talking about sexual intercourse)....but I've also heard otherwise - oral sex and other sexual activities take away your virginity.  So then a big, hugely-worldwide-controversial question popped into my head:

Is it bad to lose your virginity before marriage?

Desperate for an answer, 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Toy Story 3

Who would've thought that you would ever cry over a bunch of plastic toys?
Toy Story, you succeeded to capture my heart again.

A true veteran fan of toy story as I grew up with "Andy" and my favorite, Buzz Lightyear, Pixar has really succeeded to top off the series with a story that touched the deep reaches of your heart, vicariously bringing you back and reminding you of the pure innocence, imagination, and love of our beloved childhood.

Andy is all grown-up now and is off to college.  He decides to pack all of his dear toys (save for Woody, whom he intended to take with him to college) and keep them in his attic. However, through a mix of events the toys are taken to the local daycare. Welcomed warmly, all the toys are...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Unity and Genocide: One Continent

Watching the opening presentation of the FIFA World Cup on ESPN always mesmerizes me and gives me chills.  The whole world is practically coming together to enjoy a universal game.  Something about that truly fascinates me.  Call me out if I may be ignorant by saying this but while encapsulating the excitement and enormity of the event, I feel this year's presentation, especially the tv theme intro captures a part of the beautiful African essence and nature.  
While flipping the channels, I saw a brief image of a map of the African continent.  When I flipped the channel to ESPN the map was still in my head and immediately I remembered the genocide occurring in DARFUR.  300,000 people are already murdered and another two million are living in death's danger.  

Here's some food for thought:
Everyone is celebrating world unity to the extent of a practical vision of temporary world peace in South Africa because of the World Cup.  3,000 miles north however, 500+ people are dying PER DAY, not including being raped, abused, stolen and injured in DARFUR.

So are we really all coming together for "world peace?"  Or are we just palming the idea for good looks?  I'm not saying the World Cup shouldn't happen;  we need it times of war like this to provide us distraction as well as faith and patriotism for our country and faith in the world.  I just find it ironic that millions of people are coming together for a world event on the same continent that is suffering one of the worst genocides in history.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

dexter is cool, but he's not AMAZING - Season 1

I started watching Season 1 of Dexter and I'm on the seventh episode.  I have to say, though this show is pretty good, it still hasn't gotten me hooked.  I consider attributing that to my lack of interest in crime-television shows, but I think the bigger factor is the lack of strong romance-drama in the show...which I must admit, as much as I outwardly abhor drama, just a bit of it spices up the story.  (I'm also not even completed with the first season so I have to watch more before I can judge this show wholly).  Regardless, Dexter still stands high as a good show to watch that has an original and engaging storyline.  Dexter is like a tricky, level-hard sudoku puzzle that makes you antsy every time you use your pencil to scratch a number down into the paper.  The gore is quite graphic and requires a stomach and a mind to handle the images.  On another note I have to give credit to Michael C. Hall's performance in his role so far, he plays the perfect Dexter, looks included!
Apparently this show won an Emmy and Golden-Globe award...I guess I'll have to finish season 1 at least before I judge it wholly to see if I truly disagree with the world's critics and public.


Pakeezah is the epitome of simple, beautiful cinema that illustrates an original, curiously strong love story of two pure-hearted lovers.  Fully living up to its name, the film's simple plot harmonizes beautifully with its gracefully delivered poetic dialogue.  It is truly one of the most beautiful films i have ever seen.  Though old, the classic film illustrates universal emotions and symbols as well as societal conditions still relevant to today.  The climax also takes a powerful presence.  Illustrating love at its strongest and purest that is restricted by the societal pressures of old Indian society, Pakeezah is a masterpiece that redefines love simply and it cannot be missed by any audience.