DiCaprio and Oscars

I love Leonardo DiCaprio. The guy guarantees great movies. His selection of movies is exceptional and he performs consistently well. I admire Leo in that sense, but not for his acting prowess.

You heard me right folks.

Every now and then I hear DiCaprio fans cursing the academy awards or belittling it stating the apparent missing of academy awards from Leo’s trophy cabinet. Outcries are in plenty:

“One of the greatest of this generation has not yet received the Oscars!! Shame on you academy”

“A lobby is working against him in the Academy”

“Oscars doesn’t deserve Leo”

“Leo doesn’t need an Oscar to prove his greatness”

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Soundtracks For Life

My tryst with the western(mostly english) movie world was facilitated by my brother. Till then all I used to watch were those odd Indian(mostly malayalam) movies which became big hits.

So when I got to watch films like ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Lord Of The Rings’, I was taken aback, especially by the eargasmic background scores. They were nothing like what I had heard in all those Indian movies that I had watched till then and have watched ever since.  I was instantly drawn to that and eventually got sucked into the west.

Now I watch more English movies a year than in my mother tongue, Malayalam. The music of western movies still amazes me just like it did when I began watching it almost 10 years ago(not a really long time, still). In fact I have cultured a habit of collecting those soundtracks that are so beautiful and haunting that I play them several times a day in my mind for inspiration or peace.

Soundtracks can lift the emotions to a different level. It can make a poorly crafted scene look wonderful and average, or even bad, movies memorable.  There is nothing like magical music that can move you into a world of your own in a split second.  So here are some of the most amazing  soundtracks that I’ve heard.

A Window To The Past – Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)

As of now, my personal favourite. The genius of John Williams knows no bounds . All the magical emotions and wonder of JK Rowling’s creation packed into something which will haunt me forever.

Across the stars, Force Theme – Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the clones (2002)

Star Wars is the one movie which will etch the name ‘John Williams’ in the history books of music. The soundtrack has been played by several renowned orchestras around the world in the past and will be played 200 years from now. There are several star wars compositions worthy to be in this list of mine. But I chose these two. Simply two of the most amazing tributes to “Love” and “belief”, I have heard till date. ‘Across the stars’ is beauty, suffering and pain of blind love, all rolled into a single piece.

Drawing – Cashback (2006)

One of the most beautiful (highly underrated) movies that I’ve seen. The background score by Guy Farley took it to another level. A piece of music which reminds you, how beautiful life is.

Rohirrim Charge – Lord Of the Rings(LOTR):The Return Of The King(2003)

No matter how many times I watch this scene, it still sends chills down my spine. The sheer epicness of this scene alone is far greater than that of many so-called ‘epic’ movies. Howard Shore’s musical craft for the LOTR series  (more than 10 hours) will remain, forever, as one of the  greatest soundtrack works of our time.

Das Leben Der Anderen(2006-German) main theme

Easily the best non-english movie I’ve seen. A poignant drama about human connections and freedom. The soundtrack by Gabriel Yared and Stéphane Moucha portrays the beauty and sorrow of the tale perfectly.

J’y suis jamais allé – Amélie(2001-French)

Amélie is all about ‘happiness’. If you can’t find happiness after watching this movie, then you won’t find it anywhere else. It’s so full of life and joy. The musical ecstasy by Yann Tiersen tells you all about the wonderful Amélie Poulain.

Lost But Won – Rush(2013)

Rush is all about inspiration. The incredibly talented Hans Zimmer gives exactly that all through the movie. His background score is as inspiring as the story itself.

Claudia’s Theme – Unforgiven(1992)

Unforgiven deals with life and more importantly, taking of life(murder). Even though the theme is gruesome, it has an inherent beauty. ‘Claudia’s Theme’ by Lennie Neihaus is up there with some of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in my life.

Main theme(extended) – Interstellar (2014)

There won’t be a movie like ‘Interstellar’ that drowns us in awe of the universe, its many mysteries and our existence as emotional beings in it. The soundtrack, Hans Zimmer’s masterpiece, is a work which can craft those emotions that we would never experience in this life, otherwise, or on this planet.

The window

It is happening outside and I am resting on my armchair, scribbling in my green notebook. There is a soft cold light in the living room from the four sets of open windows. As a photographer, I love window lighting. It is one of the most attractive kinds of lighting, especially for portraits and still life. So during daytime, when I am home, I switch off all the other lights and keep the windows open and curtains drawn apart

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Munnnariyippu(caution) : film review

Numbness; that was what I felt after watching Munnariyippu. It was not my body but my brain that got numb. I could see or feel myself smiling and shaking, in awe, at the end of that movie. It was such a unique feeling which I have felt only on rare occasions. I would call it “pure awesomeness”. I felt that way for almost an hour or so. I couldn`t remember anything from my bus journey from city to home. I even struggled to pay for the bus ticket; I couldn`t pull together my senses and find the purse in my back pocket. I was hooked to the climax.

I think I am overreacting here, may be because I was so into that movie. But, I don`t care. I got to watch a Malayalam movie so special that I feel like placing it place it beside those cult classics like usual suspects or fight club or seven. If I describe exactly what I felt, I would be spoiling the climax for those folks who have not yet seen the movie.

 I felt that there were a few unanswered questions at the end or may be, the filmmaker hopes the audience to assume or use their imagination, I don`t know. But the thing is, after watching it you won`t really care about the unanswered questions, at least for a while. All credit to Venu for a brilliant movie    (or, story and climax) and cinematography (nothing fancy, kept it very simple). I am not a screenplay expert, but I think R. Unni has done a good job. On the whole, the movie is very real and entertaining in my opinion. Likewise, performances of the actors & actresses were also highly convincing. Bijibal has done a great job with the background score.

Mammotty is back with a bang. His subtle expressions were tremendous and so engaging, at times. Last but not the least, Aparna Gopinath was simply amazing. Given her inexperience at this level, I would say she narrowly trumped Mammotty in performance. I look forward to see wonderful performances from her in future.