Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Ghost That Walked

I have a lot of time and nothing important to do. I'm done with my work and am officially on vacation, starting now.
To celebrate the beginning of my holiday, I'm listening to fabulous music that I've downloaded from the Net, and have actually taken off my shoes and put my feet up on the desk. It's a wonderful feeling. Try it sometime.

I'm confused about my motivation for blogging. I've been blogging since January 2005, so that's proof I don't blog because everyone else does. Fact is, many others started blogging well after I did.

When I first started blogging, I wanted a place to publish my amateur poetry and publish occasional articles on. I wanted a place that gave some meaning to the stuff that I wrote from time to time and the things I wanted to write. I used to write these poems on the back pages of my notebooks during boring classes and it seemed like a waste to see them lost after the class ended. Were they no more than mere reliefs from tedium for me? I was not motivated by a need to share my thought process with the world. I simply thought it a waste of all the interesting things I did, said, wrote now and then if they were to be lost each time their immediate purpose had been achieved. There were several times when I thought of something and told myself it would make for an interesting anecdote in the novel I would never write. Sometimes interesting things happened. I got locked out of my room at 1 am in the night. I had my battles with technology and with IIT, and I usually ended on the losing side. These weren't without their funny side. And I could see the funny side of having to pound my hostel door for two hours to get into my room, or of being repeatedly cut off from the Internet in the middle of interesting chats with friends. Writing about the lighter aspects of certain otherwise painful experiences (it is NOT fun to have to break open your hostel door at night for example, and I've done it twice) was a way of getting the poison out of my system. Sometimes I felt strongly enough about certain issues to pontificate, such as my views on rhyme in poetry. I realize now and I knew then that my views were immature and vague, but I felt strongly all the same!

I blogged when I felt like blogging and about what I wanted. I experimented a bit and wrote posts on Raveena Tandon's rain dance and poems on suicide, on my future as I saw it and on life in IIT. My blog was a place I went to when I wanted to say something and didn't know who to say it too or even who would understand what I wanted to say. The comments were a bonus.

Lately, however, I have started feeling the weight of my blog. Instead of the blog waiting patiently for my wanting to write something, I find myself worrying sometimes that I haven't updated for a long time. I'm not afraid of losing audience. I'm not afraid of the comments drying up either although I often joke about that. Sure, new comments feel nice but comments are secondary to whether I feel happy about my blog or not.

Moreover, I find that increasingly I have nothing to write about on my blog. It's not like I don't say or think things anymore but a lot of what I think are things that I feel need not go on my blog. I no longer see the point of speaking my mind on many things on my blog. That reveals a lot about me and I don't want my blog to become a free peep-show to my emotional striptease. A lot of what I sometimes want desperately to say about love, life, friendships, the future, the past, the present, Life falls in the category marked “Personal”. Even if I don't have anyone to share gyan with I feel blogging about it would reveal more about myself to a careful or regular reader than I'm prepared to reveal. There are many things I don't want you to know about me, and a lot of what I earlier wrote would now qualify as no-go territory. My blog shouldn't be my best friend.

That is why I've taken to blogging about movies, books (I keep bunching books with movies, but do I ever blog about books? I think not.), casual experiences – neutral posts that are sometimes interesting but are not revelatory. These posts are harder to compose than ramblings on my life that I can write on autopilot but are just as much fun to write. I will continue to blog but the blog may follow its current course by continuing to be about movies I like and dislike (mostly dislike, they arouse greater passion), about books I read and books I have to abandon from time to time, about IIT, only occasionally straying into forbidden territory.
In other words, unlike this post.

From movies to trailers

I've been watching a fair bit of TV these days. The reasons are that I don't have a laptop or a PC at home I can surf aimlessly on, and that watching TV is easier than reading. Reading a book requires me to concentrate fully on it, TV on the other hand can be and often is, watched on autopilot.

My favourite part of TV fare is movie trailers. I have tried to develop an interest in news but I can never stay on a news channel long enough for it to develop any news story in full. That's one reason why when everyone was making fun of Headlines Today and its start anchor Jhujhar Singh who had a massive lisp that somehow was ignored when he was signed on as a newsreader, I actually liked the channel. It did not think of itself as a serious news channel devoted to upholding high journalistic standards and gave little more than headlines in two-minute quanta. I was also captivated by Jhujhar Singh's delivery. In fact, my father and I marvelled at how Headlines Today could have employed a newsreader who found his own name a tongue-twister and how in spite of his clear and pronounced lisp, Jhujhar Singh dared to dream of becoming a newsreader and was able to realize his aim in style.

My Headlines Today days are long past. Now I limit myself to flipping between Channel [V] and MTV and assorted Sony's, Star's etc with a dash of VH1 now and then unless there's a great movie on, which is never. I like Channel V's 'Bai' and MTV's “Sorry for the Interruption” although I find “Bakra” offensive or/and irritating at times. Between them, these channels, with the honourable exception of VH1 which seems devoted to Hip Hop for which I have no patience, show movie trailers nearly through the day.

I like movie trailers because they showcase the best parts of movies and are short and snappy. I've often marvelled at how movies that I know I will hate if I get down to watching them have such great teasers. I believe that although the level of Bollywood films is definitely on an insane slide down, the quality of packaging, production values, and especially the quality of trailers, teasers and the entire publicity and post-production machinery is world-class. Our movies often have excellent art direction (Lagaan), brilliant teasers/trailers (Mangal Pandey), posters and marketing (Bunty and Babli, or any Yashrajland movie). If only the movies themselves were as good! But I suppose one can't have it all.

The above paragraphs are simply a background to what I really wanted to say: I've been watching lots of movie trailers and while I would normally enjoy them in the way that one can enjoy advertisements knowing fully well that the products being advertised can in no way match the glitzy ads, I have started to get irritated by one aspect of movies that is often given prominence in trailers. That aspect is the presence of tens of scantily clad white models gyrating in inane videos along with our heroes. That these videos are completely irrelevant to the storyline is expected. How many scripts actually need yet another song on the beach with imported extras in bikinis?

As long as the import of white women was limited to a couple of songs, they were an effective way of breaking the clutter of mediocre songs. Now, however, every film has these nubile nymphets dancing to Sanjay Dutt's laughable (as opposed to funny) flute antics, Himesh Reshammiya's soulful nasal melodies or even Paresh Rawal's grating number in Naseeruddin Shah's directorial debut. Speaking of which, if the overplay of the song is anything to go by, the film can only be horrendous. Someone wrote somewhere recently in a review of Krrish (or is it Kkrish?) that the government should pay Naseeruddin Shah some annual salary so he doesn't do tripe like Krrish for money. I hope for his sake Shah's film is a success. Surely Shah knows Paresh Rawal, despite his talents as an actor, does not make for a pretty picture. Surely he can see that every film has twenty white women dancing around the hero to words they can't understand but repeat. In fact, the better ones among what must be a limited East-European talent pool must have been booked because the women around Rawal are sadly, at best plain.

I was watching trailers the other day and in about five minutes saw four different films all with near-identical trailers. Each had a hero or heroes lip-syncing rubbish and utterly unremarkable white scantily clad women dancing suggestively around them. They don't break the clutter, they contribute to them.

Yana Gupta was a novelty when she just came in. Today, however, every unemployed white woman willing to shed some clothes for Bollywood's hypocritical camera can walk into a Bollywood studio and earn a bit part in a Bollywood film. This hypocrisy is age-old. We can lust after (and simultaneously bemoan the lack of morals and inhibitions of) white women but will react with shock and thrilled outrage when Rakhi Sawant does the same on TV. Our heroes can romance (with all attendant meanings) all the white women they want, but Indian girls come in only two varieties – the easy and the chaste. Maybe it's time Indian women proved Bollywood wrong. :)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Superman Returns, with a whimper

The Usual Suspects was better. The X-Men movies were better. I saw Spiderman-2 a day before and that was a lot better. I came back to see LOTR-2 playing on HBO and that was a whole LOT(R) better.
Bryan Singer achieved the impossible with Superman Returns. He made it boring.

Everything I thought about the movie was turned on its head yesterday night. When I had first seen teasers and trailers I had been thrilled. When the first full-fledged trailers came out I was left open-mouthed. “This is going to be a great movie” seemed to be the buzz everywhere. I had watched X-Men and enjoyed it, and had later watched X2 and been absolutely blown away. X2 remains one of the best comic-book adaptations on screen, and I include Sin City and Spiderman 2 in the comparison. The other great adaptation is V for Vendetta. Sin City was a faithful adaptation but was hardly a movie. It was, in the director's own words, a comic-book put on film. Anyway, I found it a bit boring although its art direction was brilliant. I had found Spiderman too juvenile and Tobey Maguire's acting equally juvenile when I had first watched it (when I was more juvenile too) but the movie had redeemed itself with a brilliant last shot when Peter Parker walks away with his boyish jaw set from a doubly grieving Mary Jane in the cemetry because being Spiderman, he can't afford to get involved with anyone, even if she be the love of his life. The Green Goblin with the permanent hideous grin was laughable, but the movie was for younger audiences than say, Batman Begins which was targeted at a much more mature audience and which was dark and brooding. I liked Spiderman 2 because it was funny, sad, full of action and had its emotional moments, featured better acting and a better storyline and an infinitely better super-villain in Doc Ock. It was a great package.

All these movies were entertaining and Singer's unfortunately is not, which is criminal after all the pre-release hype and publicity.

The following is a random list of the things that were wrong with the movie:

1. Apparently the crew camped in Sydney or somewhere and transplanted five feet high corn for acres and built a barn and a house that resembled the original Kent farm in every way and of course spent a whole lot of time and money doing all of it. But what did the movie do with it? Kent crashes home, his foster mother puts him to sleep, he wakes up magically rejuvenated, alert, impeccably shaved and combed and goes to stand outside. His eyes glaze over and he thinks back to the time when he jumped like a toad on serious performance-enhancing steroids around his corn farm and discovered he could lie suspended in air, without his glasses to boot. The young Clark falls through the roof and covers his face at the moment of impact and lo and behold! He's still. In the air. And then he stares at his hands and his feet just to make sure he really is afloat on nothing and then he stares at his glasses for a full minute and we peer back through his glasses at Superboy. All of this takes a minute and a half of Superman's flashback time, and coupled with a night shot of his mother driving to see which alien spacecraft has crash-landed in her life yet again, is all they built the whole friggin' farm for. The night shot could have been done just about anywhere and the Superman-discovers-to-fly sequence could have been imported from the original Superman or better still, left alone. The trailers misled us because we thought we'd see Supe's back story but that is not the case.

2. Minor spoiler, although I knew this before I saw the movie and almost everyone else does too.
Is it ever made clear that Supe's relationship with Lois Lane goes into the super-physical realm? Has he slept with her in any comic book? Lois Lane lives in with her boyfriend and has a five-year old son. The son kills mommy's attacker by crushing him under a flying piano. He's Superson. The obvious interpretation is that Superman has made love to Lois. In fact, there is a particularly witty sequence (and there aren't many of them in this movie) in which Lois, on being asked to do a feature on Superman by her editor (who is absolutely no match to Spiderman's counterpart) says “I've done Superman”, quickly correcting herself to “I've covered Superman”.
Having established that their relationship did indeed span the physical realm, one is forced to ask whether it is physically possible for Superman to love without hurting her? After all, he is the Man of Steel, is he not? It is an intriguing question that I'm sure has been asked and perhaps, answered before. (Lois was of course hurt when Supe flew away to search for Krypton, but that was different, and besides she got a Pullitzer out of that.)
Another thought and one that I think is more original: Isn't Lois Lane now the only person in the world who knows whether Superman wears underwear under his blue tights or not, or whether the red one his only piece? Also, when he is in office, since he always wears his costume to work (including the cape?) how does he pee if he has to take a leak? Tough questions those, and ones whose answers can earn another Pulitzer for LL.

3. This is a pertinent question only for Indians celebrating the steady march of our compatriots to Hollywood. Why is Kal Penn in the movie? Is he the token 'brown' guy? No one else as far as I can remember is remotely non-white except the villain's technical right-hand man, and he's mute. It's almost like it's an inside joke. He doesn't say a word throughout the movie and then gets crushed under Kryptonite with other henchmen in a completely inglorious manner. It crashes down, they become dust. Lex and Kitty closely escape in the long standing tradition of super-villains and their molls.
Now that we are on Indians in Hollywood, why is Aishwarya Rai in any movie (Holly or Bolly) at all since she refuses to act although she's not completely incapable of it? I find it silly when people claim Aishwarya Rai is stupid. How can a woman who hasn't given two hits in her acting career in two film industries over the last decade still have a stupendously successful career if she's not intelligent? Manipulative perhaps, but stupid certainly not. This is almost immediately followed by praise for the intelligence of Sushmita Sen. Now there are many issues in this analysis that deserve discussion and one of them is that we often confuse articulation with intelligence. They aren't completely unrelated but sometimes stupid people speak great English and intelligent people give poor interviews. That, however, is not to say that Sushmita Sen is unintelligent, or indeed, that Aishwarya Rai necessarily interviews poorly.

4. Superman's theme charges you up like an Energizer bunny. I've been humming it, whistling it, singing it since yesterday. It's beautiful the way it starts off slowly, building up to a crescendo and then an expansive, grand tune befitting the stature of Superman. Sort of like the Bond theme. Sadly and inexplicably, the same theme music that the trailers employed so effectively has been nearly dispensed with in the movie.

5. There are bound to be comparisons with Spiderman, so let's compare Spiderman's upside-down kiss-in-the-rain-by-smitten-damsel with its Superman equivalent – when Superman takes his ex on an aerial tour of Metropolis. The Spiderman kiss had passion, warmth and promise. It became an iconic scene. Superman's love sequences are depressingly cold.
Lois goes up to the roof to smoke. Superman blows away the light. She tries again, Superman blows it away again. Subtle message on how Superman disapproves of smoking having hopefully permeated to kids, he says he wants to show her something. She takes off her shoes revealing pretty painted nails, gets on Superman's feet, he takes her up, amid corny dialogues like “Richard takes me up all the time”, “Not like this”, “Oh! (clinging to Superman). I forgot how warm you were”, Superman tells her he can hear voices that are crying out for a saviour and hence the world does indeed need Superman, never mind the Pulitzer committee that concurs with LL on Why the World Doesn't Need Superman.
In Spiderman, Spidey rescues MJ and swings with her holding on tight, first afraid, then secure, and drops her safely. His exuberance when he goes away with a loud “Whoopppeeee!” is infectious.
Superman simply glides back with LL and puts her back on the roof. Awkward should-we-shouldn't-we non-kiss is followed by Superman silently gliding away. It's almost irritating how Superman is so unspectacular, so quiet when he's landing or flying away. Even when he falls in the end from the sky having saved the world again from the evil designs of Lex, he falls with a gentle thud that makes you want to scream in the theatre just so there's be some excitement, some noise. What's this nonsense with understating everything? Bring on the bloody fireworks and the big guns. This is Superman! Everything should be super, larger than life, exhilarating, adrenalin-pumping. Almost nothing is.

6. Not only is there no sex, there is very little action. Unforgivably for a movie that dares to call itself "Superman", long portions of the movie are tedious, silent building-up pieces with no action to relieve the tedium. In LOTR, the comparatively boring but extremely important Frodo and Sam story moves in parallel with the exciting war sequences, achieving a clever mix whereby the action stands out because of the preceding silences and the quieter story stands out among the surrounding chaos. Like RGV in Sarkar (I wanted to link my review on rediffblogs here, but couldn't. The frustrations heaped on me by rediff are a running theme in my posts, so let me add by saying that rediff probably has the worst and the most imbecilic archiving system imaginalble.), Bryan Singer takes understatement to a whole new level by not showing potentially exciting scenes not because he can't show them but because Superman's story is big enough to be understated. Unfortunately that doesn't work. I went to watch a barrage of action and I was amazed to be confronted with scenes of museums and libraries and toy trains and whatnot. Superman was conspicuous by his absence.

7. The movie could have expanded boundaries and it instead chose to remain confined to the unidimensional interpretation of Superman. Perhaps Superman's story is just too fantastic for adults to appreciate but frankly it's faintly irritating to have to see Superman confront seemingly impossible crises and then overcome them with ridiculous ease. I felt like an idiot when, after having concluded that Superman would have to do something really special to reverse Lex Luther's latest doing – that of creating a mini-Krypton on the ocean floor near Metropolis' coast, Superman bored into the ocean bed and simply lifted the whole goddamn city-state out and then flew up with it to throw it into (presumably) the sun or perhaps into orbit, so that now Earth has two moons.
I know Superman is not about the plot or the story, and picking holes (even if they are planet-size) in its plot isn't in keeping with the super-spirit, but really, how is the script/story written? Random day in the life of the Superman scriptwriters follows.

People come together to brainstorm.
Boss: Alright, so who's come up with the most fantastically impossible evil scheme that Lex Luther can hatch?
One guy raises his hand.
Hand-raiser: Lex gets a crystal from the Cave of Silence (this by the way also gives us the chance to show our technical wizardry and satisfy fanboys by recycling Marlon Brando's Jor-El footage), gets a piece of Kryptonite from a museum, fuses them together, fires it in the ocean, and starts the crystallization of a continent-sized piece of land that displaces the water enough to completely submerge all of America, not to mention a lot of the rest of the world, killing billions in the process.
Applause follows stunned silence.
Boss: Alright, so what can Superman do about this new continent threatening billions of people, the future of the world and of the Daily Planet, and the American Way of Life?.
No one is able to think of a way out of this gigantic mess, and a perplexed silence follows the Boss's challenge. Then he shows just why he's the boss.
Boss (nonchalantly): Why, Superman will just lift the whole continent clean off the ocean floor and shove it out of Earth's atmosphere. After all, he once circled around the Earth fast enough to turn time back because Lois had died. And he neutralized the Sun-man in Part IV (although we're ignoring Parts III and IV) by carrying the moon to effect an unscheduled eclipse. We're only following in that grand tradition. Get to work then!
Much appreciative chatter and the apprentices get working.

People say you shouldn't think too much when you watch a film. I don't normally, and I enjoy my X-Men and Armageddon, but I can't scoop my brain out and keep it in my lap, no?

8. On the plus side, the casting isn't as bad as the reviews made it sound. Since the role of Superman requires the actor playing him to look the part more than act it brilliantly, Brandon Routh fits the bill. While no one can quite convince you that a man one-hundredth the size of an airplane can bring it to a mid-air standstill from a free fall thousands of feet above even if he does where his underwear out in addition to a red rubber cape, Routh makes a sincere effort. With help from Singer and his team, he might even have succeeded. He's not a great actor, but the acting is a bonus over the special effects and the breath-taking action sequences that you go to watch Superman for, and Superman fails to deliver on fundamental counts.
Kate Bosworth is pretty good. She's pretty, she's suitably sentimental, strong or snappy when the occasion demands. Again, she's not good enough for you to be unable to imagine another actress playing the role, but she does well enough.
Kevin Spacey is sadly wasted. He does what he can but he's given these pregnant silences through which you wait for a devastating witticism and it just doesn't come. He is an actor with such great comic timing of a sarcastic and malicious quality that it seems a shame to simply make him bald and let him be. It's like having Paresh Rawal in your movie and giving him PJ's to get the laughs from when he can do so much better, which is what happens all the time.

To end the tirade, I believe Bryan Singer is blessed with a fine sense of what is exciting in a movie and what isn't, so I'm sure even he must have realized when he saw the first cuts of his movie it wasn't going to be great. The X-Men movies don't put as great a burden on Singer's shoulders as the LOTR movies did on Peter Jackson's. Peter Jackson was able to follow his stupendous feat of adapting LOTR to film by remaking King Kong fabulously. King Kong wasn't as successful as it deserved to be but it was a worthy follow-up to LOTR. Superman Returns, however, does not do justice to the director who made the X-Men movies. It does not just lack some kind of a mysterious X-factor, it's simply a boring movie. Atlas indeed yawned.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Monday, July 03, 2006

The National Market plug

I went to the National Market on Saturday and bought eleven movie DVDs. Saying that it was a great experience would be inaccurate. It was a fabulous, wonderful, AWESOME experience. I went with a much older friend who watches a lot of movies and who I'd spent a wonderful weekend some time back with discussing movies interspersed with the general lives and times of Bangalore, India and the world. I had seen Heat on that weekend and the experience of watching the movie was magnified many times because of the well-informed and articulate company I was in.

He led me to a small hole-in-the-wall shop that looked like it couldn't possibly hold any more than the latest commercial films. If I had been alone, I would even have given it a miss altogether. My friend asked the shopkeeper to show me his collection of 'Art/European' movies and the shopkeeper placed a medium-size suitcase in front of me and unzipped it. From that suitcase emerged movies I wouldn't have dreamed he stocked – European films, Iranian films, Chinese, French New Wave, old Hollywood classics... I sorted out a few and wondered whether that was it.
And then he placed the second and then the third and then the fourth suitcase followed by piles upon piles of goodies, and I whispered a silent prayer. Here was the best bounty I had ever seen anywhere, and selecting movies amid the crowding and the mild jostling and with the knowledge that if you left your place at the counter someone else would take it made it an experience to rival that of browsing second-hand bookshops.

Now my peculiar problem is that I have these eleven DVDs and no one to show them (off?) to, no one to discuss them with. They're lying at the bottom of my suitcase and I can't watch them at home here because some are a tad explicit (which is also why home (the real one) is ruled out. In fact, I'm going to encounter some raised eyebrows when my Mom sees the back cover of Cat People, or worse, realizes what the hand in the tasteful black and white photograph on the front cover of Hiroshima Mon Amour is covering. It took a while to strike me. The picture, for the interested, is on Wikipedia's page for the movie.) and I don't want to watch them with people who aren't interested anyway. I have no interest in introducing people to high-brow cinema. We like things best when we find them ourselves.

This, then, is the list:
1.Wild Strawberries – Ingmar Bergman. I've only seen The Seventh Seal, and have always wanted to watch the film that has a title as evocative as 'wild strawberries'.

2.Blue White Red – Kieslowski. I wanted The Decalogue, but it wasn't available in full, so I bought just this collection. Collections and omnibuses exercise a peculiar attraction, they give us the feeling that we're buying a complete experience; not just a segment of the body of the universe but the entire mythos, lock stock and barrel.

3.Hiroshima Mon Amour – Alain Resnais. I hadn't heard of the movie or the director, but the blurb claimed that this was one of the cornerstones of French cinema and the cover looked artistic enough, so I bought it. I looked at five minutes of it later and it does seem promising.

4.Jules and Jim – Francois Truffaut. I've obviously heard of the director and the French New Wave but haven't had occasion to sample any of its products, so I couldn't have left a movie that was one of the most celebrated of that period by one of its most celebrated directors. I just hope it isn't too dated. Good movies never age well. Only campy ones do.

5.Nayakan – Mani Ratnam. I've wanted to watch this ever since I've known about it. The Godfather is a powerful story in itself, and the story's elements adapted to the Indian context makes for what has to be a great watch.

6.The Hustler – This made me truly ecstatic (silently, of course) because I had just finished The Color of Money which was the sequel to the novel The Hustler and wanted the movie if not the book to complete my experience. The others I might find boring and might take some getting used to, but this is bound to be an entertaining watch. I watched the first five minutes, and they deliver.

7.Cat People – This is a movie that doesn't fit its company. Being idle some time ago, I had been reading Roger Ebert's reviews of his selection of the 100 greatest movies of all time and had loved the one for Cat People. I asked the shopkeeper whether he had the movie and he said he didn't. However, to my pleasant surprise, I found it in one of the final piles and immediately decided to keep it. However, Ebert's Cat People is the 1942 movie, while the one I have is directed by Paul Schrader and is the 1982 remake. All the same, the one I have was a hit and is a landmark of sorts for its eroticism and its cinematography and isn't smut (although smut's welcome too once in a while. I wouldn't buy DVD's though :).).

8.The Bicyclist – Mohsen Makhmalbaf. I wanted to buy an Iranian movie because the cinema of this little, conservative country is so well-regarded at film festivals. The only director I'd heard of was Makhmalbaf (although I can never pronounce his name right) so I bought one of his, having to leave plenty of other equally promising titles.

9.Kolya – I had to take this. It has the credentials – Best Foreign Film Oscar, and although the Oscars routinely pass up better movies for the Big Five, the Foreign Film prize is for a film from a much larger pool, viz. that of films in all languages other than English and some in English as well, and hence has a much lesser chance of being given to an undeserving film.
Aside: There is an interesting anecdote about Kolya. Apparently, Shah Rukh Khan was woken up at night (early morning, no?) to inform him that his film had won the Best Foreign Film Oscar. His bewilderment was explained when it was realized that 'Kolya' had won, and not 'Koyla' which had been released the same year, to a vastly different reception.

10.Possession (1981) – Andrzej Zulawski. This just seemed like a good movie, and I've liked Sam Neill since Jurassic Park and later Bicentennial Man. Wikipedia says it's a horror film/thriller. I love thrillers (who doesn't, after all, they thrill) and am afraid of horror, so I don't know what this one's going to be like, which is a good thing.

11.Death and the Maiden – Roman Polanski. I had to pass up Rosemary's Baby for this. Also, I think Rosemary's Baby might be available on the IIT LAN while this certainly isn't. I heard of this movie when I read that a movie released sometime back that had a beautiful poster but found no watchers, Dansh, was based on the play by this name, and the play had been filmed earlier by Roman Polanski with Ben Kigsley as the evil Doctor and Sigourney Weaver as, well, the 'maiden'. On Sigourney Weaver, what is wrong with her? Why is she so amazingly unsexy? Even Tabu is sexier, at least now. Or maybe there's something wrong with me.

I had a great time yesterday with DJK. Apart from concurring on the aesthetics of smoking and our liking for Roald Dahl, and discovering the happy coincidence of both reading the same book presently, we also agreed that blogging was at least partly an exercise in vanity. I admit, therefore, that I publish the list partly because I want you to appreciate my eclectic taste in movies. But there are other reasons too.
For one, it's been a long time since my last post. The last post wasn't really a post. I wanted to publish something and didn't feel like writing much, so I wrote a short poem, which by the way I think came out not too badly (There I go again! I'm a Leo, what do you expect?). Since I make it a point to stress how jobless I am I think I should be writing frequently, and therefore I thought I'd use the influx of new stuff in my life as material. Secondly, I want to tell everyone that National Market is a wonderful place for movies. If you are an anti-piracy campaigner, however, please ignore these as delirious rantings of a terminally bored and movie-starved man. The third is a completely selfish aim that this is my best chance at fulfilling, but that I don't have much time remaining for, and that will remain unannounced unless it is realized.

PS: It is maddening to have to add HTML tags to hundreds of words individually to italicise them or make them bold or underline them. Blogspot used to allow simple one-click options earlier but now the clicks mutilate the text in the making-post box beyond recognition. Also, italics etc in an .odt document don't import to blogspot. Why? Are you listening, blogspot? I've shifted blog once, I can do it again. Wordpress, they say, is good, and (arrgh! more pain!) it lets you take all your posts when you go. Think, my friends, and consider.

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