Thoughts on Life Itself

A realization has dawned upon me that all the words in English language, or for any language for that matter, fail to express even the minuscule of what one actually feels, for they are nothing but sounds designating concepts and these concepts are more or less frequently recurring and associated group of sensations, basically – just arrant commonness and our emotions happen to be beyond that. Another duly realization is that through incessant use and reuses, the phrase ‘life-changing’ has lost the ability to refer to anything but itself. So when I thought to open this piece of writing with the words ‘Roger Ebert changed my life’, I realized it was an obligation on my part to point out the trappings of language my feelings would be inscrutably confined to. Words cannot possibly let you, my dear friend, to fathom the love and admiration and gratefulness I have towards the man. Yet try the best I must, fully knowing that only failure awaits me at the end of this endeavor, for as Ernest Hemingway once said ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down and bleed’ and all this bleeding for cinema in this blog would be an exercise in utter futility if not to have bled for the very man who inspired me to start this blog in the first place. So, having made a daft effort to confirm that all the inadequacies you will find in the article set to follow are legit, I conclude this prelude and begin :-

Roger Ebert changed my life. Not how I live it obviously, but rather how I look at it, which I believe is far more important. And having warded off from using hyperbole for some time now for the fear of getting indigestion later from eating my words (which has happened more often than I care to admit), I have made hell sure that this statement holds irrevocably true and I believe it does, for whenceforth I have discovered them, movies have been my life and Ebert has changed how I look at them. I still remember that me from three years ago, teary-eyed, prancing around with a never-before experienced euphoria after just having finished watching Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation at two in the morning. That was the first Ebert review I read, and believe me, Roger made sure with it that it wouldn’t be the last. The ending lines of that review were, and I can still quote it from memory ‘Do we need closure? This isn’t a closure kind of movie. We get all we need in simply knowing they share a moment private to them, and seeing that it contains something true before they part forever’. I remember clenching my fists after having read it, trying helplessly to stop the inevitable downpour of tears set to follow at the realization that someone had the exact same experience at that scene where Bob and Charlotte part which I had felt previously was only privy to me.

That’s what made Ebert a band apart. I have come to read multitudinous pieces of film criticisms in my life, with quite a few of them possessing apodictic prosaic beauty. Yet all of them seem to be centered on what is ‘right’ and what it is ‘wrong’ in a movie. Now as important that may be to some, in the bigger picture, I cannot think of something of lesser significance for what is ‘right’ for me may very well be ‘wrong’ for you. It isn’t what the movie is that forms its appeal, but rather what it invokes and no one knew that better than Ebert. Every review of his was like a portal of the sorts found in Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich (a movie he so dearly adored) for it lead us straight into his mind, engulfing us in every minute emotion which flooded into his brain while watching the movie.

There was a beautiful sentence with great truth to it that I came across and has stayed with me every since in Micheal Cunningham’s The Hours which said ‘One always has a better book in one’s mind than one can manage to get onto paper’. And when I ponder on that, I wonder what would have that piece Roger wrote for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (in his Great Movies collection) sounded like in his mind ? Whenever I read it, and I do that quite often, it means something different for me every time, yet every time it always means something to me. It is as if he poured his whole heart in it with a child’s breathless disregard of the consequences.

It so often happens that the greatest events and thoughts are comprehended last, the generations which are their contemporaries do not experience such events – they live past them. It is in this respect that Ebert becomes truly epoch making in the literary circle, for in most cases genius turns out to be incommunicable and reluctant, blowing cold on the passerby. Yet, with Ebert, even the very naive was aware of his unparalleled mastery of his craft and lapped it up wholeheartedly.

Film criticism from the heart is like the Penrose stairs. We seem to be eternally damned with the failure to express what we truly feel at the end of a great movie, so we are clueless on where to start or end, ending up rummaging around our ideas, as if separate paragraphs can shed light on each other and form a comprehensive whole. Roger Ebert, an indisputable giant of American letters, came as close as one possibly could to describing the indescribable.

Great artists incite an interest towards appreciating their body of art, while the greatest incite an interest in mastering it. I know of no other who has inspired such a legion to love movies and write about them than Ebert. He was and is and will be, for me and countless others, the greatest of them all and the only rating I can possibly give Life Itself if two thumbs up. The tragedy is that the thumbs are mine, and not Siskel and Ebert’s. The reassurance comes from the fact that all those who love movies do consider it a tragedy.

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Gone Girl Review (Spoiler Alert!)

 

I have watched Gone Girl twice now. Once as a thriller and once as a drama. Needless to say, it passed both the tests with flying colors. Gone Girl is not a movie for the faint-hearted, which should be palpable from the movies Fincher has given us the privilege of watching in the past (Se7en, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Zodiac). It is as much as a character study with the disintegration of a marriage as the stimulus and a complex criminal case.

Rosamund Pike is brilliant (or should I say amazing) in this movie, playing her character with a flair which I think can only be emulated by Carrie Ann-Moss. Ben Affleck is stupendous as Nick and so is Carrie Coon as his sister, Margo.

This movie is fabulous and here’s why :-

1.Representation of media :-

One of the main focus of the plot is on how media molds incorrect public opinions. The reason why it becomes impossible for Nick to get justice is because of the media’s shameful eagerness to ostracize and sham any individual for ratings. Many have criticized this movie as anti-feminist, however this very thought shows how correct this movie is. No one is talking about Nick getting wronged. It is a brilliant take on how on the surge of the noble feminist movement (which I wholly support), the media so as to cash in on anything of relevance, has begun masquerading as staunch feminists. I think it would have been okay even if within those fake masks they were hiding misandrist tendencies, but these assholes are in it just for the money and this finds an unabashed portrayal in Gone Girl.

2. Structure of the plot :-

David Fincher smacks us right on the face with his unreliable narrative. This is true film-making genius because the narrative remains the same, however the reliability of the narrator changes throughout the movie. The plot isn’t at all black-and-white, it’s all grey. All the characters are at fault here, yet in the end, Fincher makes us you still sympathize with one. THAT’S DIRECTING !

3.Rosamund Pike :-

Brilliant. Just wanted to say that again

4.Screenplay :-

Gone Girl is exactly the kind of script I would want on my table if I was a director. There are enough twists and turns to engage the audience for its run-time, and more than that, the intrigue stems off from the deceit and dual-nature of the characters, just like Game Of Thrones. It has some really funny one-liners, but what I found the most impressive is the fact that the writer exerted her control. Most of thrillers nowadays pick up on one fascinating thread and bind it with various unnecessary ones. In Gone Girl, the plot is compact, fast-paced and intelligent. The end of the movie is absolutely perfect, as if holding a mirror to realities of male-shaming by mislead misandrists and the frailties of modern marriages. And if you argue that this movie is anti-feminist, I have a pretty good case for Room being anti-meninist.

Gone Girl is a stupendous movie, which has enough twist and turns to engage you through the course of its run time and enough character revelations to engage you for your lifetime.

RATING :- 9. 3 / 10

THANKS FOR READING. IF YOU HAVE LIKED/HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS / HAVE ANY  DOUBTS, PLEASE SHARE. I WILL RESPOND TO IT AS SOON AS I CAN. AND PLEASE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE. YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011549616628 YOU CAN ALSO E-MAIL ME ON castlebang786@gmail.com OR favebook2011@rediffmail.com

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Copyright : All written content on this site, unless otherwise noted, has been created by the website owner. As such, the content is the property of the website owner. This content is protected by Indian and international copyright laws. If you wish to reproduce, re-post, or display any of our content on your own site please only do so if you also provide a link back to the source page on this website and properly attribute authorship. Our preference is that you seek our permission before doing so. If you see anything on this website that has not been properly attributed to its originator please contact me. In response, I will attempt to correct the attribution of the offending material or remove and/or replace it. All material on this website is posted in accordance with the limitations set forward by the Information Technology Act, 2000. If a documented copyright owner so requests, their material will be removed from published display, although the author reserves the right to provide linkage to that material or to a source for that material. As a website devoted to discussing and reviewing movies and television I will at times, for illustrative purposes, present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always be specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available  for purposes such as criticism, comment, and research. The website owner believes that this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material because the articles published on this website are distributed for entertainment purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An In-Depth Analysis Of Whiplash ( Spoiler Alert !)

If you read my reviews, you may know about my love for the critically-acclaimed 2014 movie ‘Whiplash‘. Since I live in India, I got to see Whiplash in 2015 after its Oscar glory gave it much required publicity. I lamented on the fact that I got to see this only in 2015 when the whole world had seen and was raving about in 2014. Whiplash was on everybody’s 2014 top 10 movies list, including that of my favourite film critic Chris Stuckmann’s list, in which ended up on the No.2 position. But since I saw it in 2015, I will definitely include it in my 2015 list in which it will most probably get the first position.

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Why ? Because Whiplash, in my opinion is one of the greatest films ever made. If you have checked the  ‘About Me’ feature on my blog, you may have noticed that Whiplash is fifth on my list of the Top 10 Greatest Films Ever Made, and if you haven’t, here’s the link : https://demandedcriticalreviews.wordpress.com/about/ . Now, you may say that I am exaggerating. That I am just a stupid teenager who doesn’t know crap about movies and will include any good movie that he has seen to his ‘Great Movies’ list. With all respect, I am not.

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This is a great movie, from the start to the end. This a movie that people are gonna look 25 years from now and say ‘That is a classic’. This will be on every ‘Great Movies’ list. Damien Chazelle will probably be where Quentin Tarantino is right now. (or where Shyamalan is right now, let’s hope that not happens). This will be helmed as one of the greatest independent features ever made. Reservoir Dogs is considered as ‘The Greatest Independent Film Of All Time’. But, that is the position that Whiplash will occupy after 25 years. And fortunately, I seem to sense it now. That’s why it occupies that position on my list.

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So today, my best friend payed me an unexpected visit to celebrate the first price I acquired in my extempore competition, and since I had nothing to entertain him or me, I turned to Whiplash, the movie that I never get tired of watching. After watching the movie, I looked up my review of  Whiplash, which also happens to be the first movie I reviewed as well. I am sure that many of you will find it very juvenile in its nature, so read it only if you haven’t watched the movie. https://demandedcriticalreviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/whiplash-review/

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So, a short prep. Whiplash is about Andrew Neiman, a jazz drummer who wants to become one of the greats. And when he is selected for a studio band, he thinks it is his first step towards greatness. But it may well become the last step as well if he doesn’t hold up against the psychological torture by the band’s curator, Terence Fletcher.

This film obviously deserves a second viewing, but I gave it its ninth viewing yesterday and I found many elements hidden deep within this movie. So let’s get started :-

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First of all, you may wonder why Andrew was selected. Throughout the film, one thing is apparent, Fletcher wants complete control. That’s why I think he avoids socializing and all that. He has a created a little world for himself where he is the God, where he can impose control over people. He tests his control everyday. When he enters the class, everybody has to stand up. When he moves those fingers and gives those signals, everyone has to start at the right time. That’s what attracted him to Andrew, because in their first encounter Andrew doesn’t listen to him. Nor does he stand up when Fletcher enters the room. He even begins drumming without Fletcher’s cues. He was selected just to grill him and mould him into one of his subjects.

I too in my post regarding the nominees and winners of Oscars 2015 (https://demandedcriticalreviews.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/oscars-2015/) criticized the Academy for giving the Oscar for Best Editing to Tom Cross for Whiplash instead of Sandra Adair for Boyhood. I sill stand-by that statement, Sandra Adair just proves why she is my favourite editor in Hollywood with that movie. But, I can now clearly see why the Academy might have come to their conclusion about this category.

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There is a scene in which Fletcher auditions Andrew, Ryan and Tanner for a rigorous 10 hours. So, the general perception we concur from that scene is that the audition lasted for only one hour because our only reliable source of time in those scenes were the occasional shots of the clock. But, Tom Cross put in an extra scene, a completely unrelated scene in the flick with an exterior view of the exit of the Conservatory to show that it was night. Sheer brilliance !

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Now, the first thing that I think attracted Fletcher towards Neiman is that he is a lot like him. Take into consideration the restaurant sequence of Andrew and Nicole. Andrew grills her, in a controlled way, and enforces a superiority complex in their relationship. He wants dominance because he ain’t got nothing from his family which constantly downplays his drumming. He forces Nicole to blurt out the truth that she chose her university just because it was the only one that let her in, while he chose his because it was the best music school in the country. Also, Andrew too considers everyone else lower than him. The standing testimony is when Ryan is given Andrew’s part, and he just vents his anger and calls him Johny Utah while in the next shot, Fletcher too calls him as Johny Utah.

And the ending ! Forget the drum solo, look at the meaning. It gave me a chill when I understood it in its entirety. Fletcher wins ! Now you are like ‘What the fuck is this guy talking about ? That asshole was drummed up his ass by Miles Teller !’ No, he wasn’t. Fletcher never had the potential to be great. But, in his conscious he was already great, he just wanted the world to admit it as well. Since he couldn’t prove this as a pianist, Fletcher employs another method – to be a kingmaker. That is the whole point of the ‘Bird’ story. As you may remember, early into the movie, Fletcher narrates to Andrew a story about how Charlie Parker became the Bird only after Jo Jones threw a cymbal at his head.

That’s what happened here as well. He made Andrew defeat him. He made Andrew great. He escalated Andrew to the position of Charlie Parker, which in turn, escalated him to the position of Jo Jones. He created such a scenario that wherever Andrew’s name will be taken, he will also be remembered.

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That’s what that smile was about. Both, Andrew as well as Fletcher acknowledged the actual truth. It was a paradigm shift in both their roles. But don’t be sad because Fletcher wins, because in a way Andrew too wins the bout.

I don’t know if what all I said is right or wrong, but there is one thing I know for sure and that is the fact that Whiplash is one of the best movies of the decade, and I would say one of the greatest movies ever made. It is an incendiary masterpiece, which I foretell that people, after 25 years will shout and say, ‘ That was THE MOVIE ! ‘

THANKS FOR READING. IF YOU HAVE LIKED/HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS / HAVE ANY  DOUBTS, PLEASE SHARE. YOU CAN ALSO REQUEST A REVIEW OF A MOVIE OR SITCOM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. I WILL RESPOND TO IT AS SOON AS I CAN. AND PLEASE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE. YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO https://www.facebook.com/pages/Demanded-Critical-Reviews/1565666967024477?ref=hl YOU CAN ALSO E-MAIL ME ON castlebang786@gmail.com OR favebook2011@rediffmail.com

Photo Rights : Google Images, Wikipedia

Copyright : All written content on this site, unless otherwise noted, has been created by the website owner. As such, the content is the property of the website owner. This content is protected by Indian and international copyright laws. If you wish to reproduce, re-post, or display any of our content on your own site please only do so if you also provide a link back to the source page on this website and properly attribute authorship. Our preference is that you seek our permission before doing so. If you see anything on this website that has not been properly attributed to its originator please contact me. In response, I will attempt to correct the attribution of the offending material or remove and/or replace it. All material on this website is posted in accordance with the limitations set forward by the Information Technology Act, 2000. If a documented copyright owner so requests, their material will be removed from published display, although the author reserves the right to provide linkage to that material or to a source for that material. As a website devoted to discussing and reviewing movies and television I will at times, for illustrative purposes, present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always be specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available  for purposes such as criticism, comment, and research. The website owner believes that this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material because the articles published on this website are distributed for entertainment purposes.