Tag Archive: Cowboys


Continuing the DVD films, brought from Down Under, that I watched last month. I would have worked on this sooner, but since the arrival of little darling  in our lives, all my blogging got a tad delayed.
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The Long Tensed Wait – High Noon

On Monday night, the 24th of November, 2014, watched the Gary Cooper/Grace Kelly classic directed by Fred Zinnemann, High Noon (1952).
High NoonHigh Noon, made approximately in real time, deals with a Marshal, Will Kane (Cooper), who is forced to face his arch enemy alone; a man he sent to prison, Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), who has been pardoned and released, and vows to take his revenge; on Kane’s wedding day. Grace Kelly plays the nervous, newly wedded, bride, from out of town, a Quaker, who has no knowledge of the historic enmity between her husband and Frank Miller.

The movie is a mixture of Noir and Western. Majority of the film deals with the long, nerve wrecking, tensed, wait. The drama between the two men is to erupt at 12 noon, thus we sit through 85 minutes of suspense, constantly watching the clock on the screen. It’s so beautifully filmed, that we become part of plot, as we watch the tension in all the lead characters of this little town, nervous about the noon fight, as Frank Miller is suppose to arrive by the noon train. High Noon has less to do with dialogues or physical action, but more to do with psychological tension and emotions. Especially for the Marshal. We see him try and gain his townsfolk to help him fight off Miller and his gang of three (which include Miller’s brother and two others, who wait patiently, for Miller’s arrival, at the train station), to no avail. We see Kane’s desperation and fear, hidden under his hard exterior. Even Will Kane’s closest friends, people at the towns bar, the church, everyone refuses to help. They might support Kane, but they fear Miller more.

The film won four Academy Awards and four Golden Globes, including for ‘Best Actor’ (Oscar & Golden Globe for Cooper), ‘Best Supporting Actress’ (Golden Globe for Mexican actress Katy Jurado, for her performance as Helen Ramírez, Kane’s and Miller’s ex lover, making Jurado the first Mexican actress to receive the award), and Best Cinematography – B/W (Golden Globe for Floyd Crosby). And High Noon was nominated in many other categories, in various Award Ceremonies, including Oscar nominations for ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Picture’, and ‘Best Screenplay’. In the late 80’s High Noon was selected by the United States National Film Registry (NFR), as being “culturally, historically & aesthetically significant”, entering the registry during the NFR’s first year of existence.

Among the finest Westerns ever, and definitely the best blend of Western & Film Noir. A Commercial, yet Art House, movie, long before Art House Films came into existence. I have known about this movie since the mid-80’s, the long wait was worth it. Excellent 10/10!!!!!

çççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççççç

A Man going Homicidal – The Shining

The Shining

The Shining

On Tuesday, 25th, watched the weirdly excellent Horror flick by Stanley Kubrick, with Jack Nicholson as the homicidal maniac, The Shining (1980).

The ‘Overlook Hotel’ is closing for the winter, and a caretaker Jack (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer, along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and six year old son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), head to take care of the Hotel for a frozen holiday. Whilst residing there, apparently due to a supernatural event, or a purely psychological one, Jack starts to go insane and tries to kill his wife and child.

An amazingly horrific feature film, set in the fictional, isolated, ‘Overlook Hotel’, in a scenic, yet foreboding, location. The whole mise-en-scène; with spacious interiors, which ironically adds a sense of claustrophobia and entrapment, the contrast of the classic building with the modern furnishing, the way the steadicam follows little Danny’s tricycle within the long endless corridors; is brilliant. The atmosphere created at the hotel and it’s surroundings, with It’s breathtaking scenery, has something very eerie about it. The movie is so deeply engaging, that the audience, would want to both leave, yet be stuck to chair, hoping to get the on-screen mother and child to safety.

Jack Nicholson is brilliant as always, naturally looking evil, with raised eyebrows. Shelley Duvall, seems realistically frightened, through the claustrophobic entrapment she feels, both by her husband and the snowbound, yet spacious, location. The little kid, is superb, especially in his ‘shining’ moments. Specifically the ‘Redrum’ scene (an anagram for ‘Murder’), which gets the sickly looking mother agitated even more, and tries to save her child, if not herself. While shooting the film, little Danny Lloyd, wasn’t aware that it was supposed to be a horror film. Yet Lloyd is pure perfection, when it comes to frightening scenes. The maze scene, interchanging the feel of loss and hope, through illumination, and gloom, towards the end, between the father and son, is splendidly depicted, representing a scope for triumph of good over evil.

Jack Nicholson’s evil male persona is also subject to, racial hatred, sexism and an egoistical, narrow minded, sense of masculinity. The movie has a bizarrely frozen ending, with the 1920’s photograph, making us question the representation of the ‘Jack’ character, as an animalistic human, or unsettling spirit, or a reincarnation. Jack is the embodiment of male chauvinism and pure evil, to come out at the height of feminism of the 70’s. He can’t stand his wife, which only surfaces after being trapped in the ‘Overlook Hotel’, through his own imagination or actual past ghosts.

This DVD, also contained the short documentary, Making ‘The Shining’ (1980), directed by Vivian Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick’s daughter. A very enjoyable, behind the scene, insight into the making of a classic.

No doubt, The Shining, is the best horror movie, after Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Simplistic, and almost static, in movement, with a horrifying atmosphere, the movie is a masterpiece of psychological horror, thanks to the genius that Kubrick was. Excellent 10/10!!!!! 

öööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööö

In Love with an Edwardian Lady – Somewhere in Time

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Friday, the 28th, watched the period piece, Somewhere in Time (1980). A science-fiction romance, where a man travels through time, by transporting his body and soul, psychologically, through hypnosis, to be with the love of his life.

Ever heard of a science-fiction movie, specifically dealing with time-travel, that had no use of special effects, to showcase thus. Well now you have. In this heritage, sci-fi, classic, Somewhere in Time, a playwright, Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve), uses the method of self-hypnosis, by disengaging himself with anything related to the 1970’s, to travel through time, into the Year 1912, after seeing a framed photograph of a famed stage actress of the Edwardian era, Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour). This takes place, eight years after he met an old lady (Susan French), in 1972, who hands him a pocket watch and asks him to, “Come back”, to her. Eight years later, after being infatuated with late Elise McKenna’s picture from 1912, he discovers, the old lady he met in 1972, was the one and the same the person. Since then he’s is obsessed with meeting her again, who’s dead and gone by now.

The plot sounds pretty juvenile, yet it’s filmed so romantically, believably transforming us into another era, with some great costumes, along with Collier, that one can’t not enjoy the love affair between the two era’s. This Heritage Film also stars George Voskovec, Bill Erwin, Teresa Wright and Christopher Plummer. ‘Superman’ Christopher Reeve, is well built, tall and handsome. ‘Bond’ girl, Jane Seymour is bewitchingly beautiful. Especially in the scene where she loosens her Edwardian bouffant, and gives herself to man she loves and might lose. Very moving. Very Romantic. Very Good 8/10!!!!

/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/~~-/

The Flight to Heaven – Always

Audrey Hepburn in Steven Spielberg's 'Always' (1989)

Audrey Hepburn in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Always’ (1989)

Legendary Audrey Hepburn performs, as an angel, Hap, in a special appearance; in her last cinematic role, before retiring from cinema altogether, and lending her services completely to philanthropic work; in Always (1989). Watched it on Saturday afternoon, 29th November, 2014.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Always, tells story of a daredevil aerial forest-fire fighter, Pete (Richard Dreyfuss), who gets himself killed, and meets the angel, Hap (Hepburn), who guides his soul to help another young pilot, Ted (Brad Johnson), as well as help Pete’s devastated old girlfriend, Dorinda (Holly Hunter), get over him, and start afresh with Ted.

It’s not a great Spielberg movie, but not a bad flick either. It has some very interesting sequences. An OK venture. 6/10!!!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The Rise of a Singing Sensation – King Creole  

Elvis Presley and Michael Curtiz on the sets of King Creole

Elvis Presley and Michael Curtiz on the sets of King Creole

Watched this Elvis Presley classic, directed by Michael Curtiz, and based on a novel by Harold Robbins, King Creole (1958), on Sunday afternoon, the 30th of November, 2014.

This musical showcases one of the rare better performances by, the legendary King of Rock n’ roll, Elvis Presley, as an actor. The story is about a young club singer (Presley), who out of desperation, falls into bad company, and finds it difficult to get out of it. The deeper he gets, the messier and complicated things get for him, in turn risking the lives of family and friends.

Excellently filmed by Michael Curtiz, director of great classics like, Casablanca (1942) and Mildred Pierce (1945), yet as a Curtiz movie, it’s not good enough, for he was an exceptional film director. The camera mostly moves around capturing the most bewitchingly beautiful creature in the movie, with a great voice, from every angle possible. Of course I’m talking about Elvis Presley. Presley, who’s not much of an actor, does a reasonably good job here, as Danny Fisher. Walter Matthau, is pretty good, as the villain of the piece. Danny Fisher’s two love interests are quite pretty. The music is superb, the songs are pure heavenly.
Elvis Presley in King CreoleSupposedly, this was Elvis Presley’s favourite, among the films he worked in. Thanks to the music, this makes for an enjoyable viewing. Overall, a Very Good movie. 8/10!!!!     

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

P.S. Also see my post DVD Films From Last Month PART-I.

Adelaide & Hahndorf

Cowboy Down Under Hahndorf, Australia

Cowboy Down Under
Hahndorf, Australia

On the 2nd of November, 2014, afternoon, I left Colombo, along with my mother, sister and brother-in-law (my sister’s husband), for a trip to Australia. We flew in a well spacious Emirates (code-share with Qantas) flight, to Singapore, and from Singapore in a congested Qantas Flight (with good enough service though) to Sydney, and from Sydney in a, comparatively better, domestic, Qantas flight to Adelaide. Thus, after almost two days of travel, we arrived in Adelaide on the evening of 3rd November, 2014. I was half dead, by the time we reached Franklin Central Apartments (where we had rented an apartment for the duration of our stay in Adelaide) in the city centre, after all I hadn’t had a wink of sleep in the three flights to Adelaide from Colombo.

It was nice to be back in Australia after 6½ years, though it was my first time in Adelaide. Back when I was living in Sydney (New South Wales), between June 2006 and June 2008, I had covered most of the Australian Eastern coast, from The Great Barrier Reef, Cape Tribulation, Cairns, Kuranda, Townsville, Magnetic Island et al up North East (Queensland), to Melbourne (Victoria) and the Great Ocean Road tour through Bells Beach, The Grotto up to see The Twelve Apostles, South East. But this was my first time in the state of South Australia. And I’ve never ventured towards the Western territory of Aussie land till date. Plus, this was also the first time I travelled down under with my family. My sister and father, had visited Australia (Sydney), back in September-October 2011, but this was the first time for my mum and my sister’s husband. And the first time for all of us in Adelaide (SA).

On the Emirates Flight I watched most of Boyhood (2014), and latter part of it in the Qantas Flight to Sydney. I mostly read Ben Okri’s The Age of Magic in the flight to Sydney, a book I bought at the Singapore (Changi International) Airport, whilst on transit. Coincidentally, it was a novel related to travel. A philosophical look at a train journey from Paris, France to Basel, in Switzerland. I couldn’t complete it though. In the third flight (Sydney to Adelaide), I tried to watch Magic in the Moonlight (2014), a Woody Allen flick, which I switched off, as I was too tired.

On 4th morning, though still a bit tired, I started to feel better, and we headed off to Hahndorf. An old German town, founded in 1838, by Captain Dirk Hahn, in the suburbs of Adelaide. Hahndorf literally means Hahn’s Town. I fell in love with the small European Town, and it’s friendly atmosphere. We walked around the streets, had a great lunch at ‘The Hahndorf Inn’. I even had some beer. Being a person who doesn’t enjoy drinking, especially alcohol, it was a pretty big deal. The last time I had any alcohol was six years ago. So it’s that rare I’d taste alcohol. I am not anti-alcohol, I just don’t enjoy drinking, I never did. Otherwise I have a sweet tooth and love desserts, and most of the ones I love have alcohol in them. Thus it’s not for any moral or religious reason that I don’t drink, but simply ‘cause I don’t like to. Beer even less so, as I generally give more preference to sophisticated liquor, like wine, cherry, champagne, and chocolate based liqueurs. But I can’t go to a German inspired habitation and expect to taste classy drinks and not taste their Beer. Otherwise, in lieu of beer, I ought to taste nothing at all. Along with the Beer we had a great pork based meat platter. The three of us really enjoyed it, and my vegetarian mother, enjoyed her Pretzel Bread appetiser.

Strawberry Fields, Hahndorf, Australia.  (L-R) My Sister, My Mum, My Sister’s  Husband.

Strawberry Fields, Hahndorf, Australia.
(L-R) My Sister, My Mum, My Sister’s Husband. PIX: Nuwan Sen

The highlights of Hahndorf, were being able to see a Museum related to Sir Hans Heysen (a German born, Australian, pastoral artist, that I wasn’t that well aware of) at the Heritage Museum & Art Gallery (which was also the information centre for the town), and of course the strawberry picking. My mum, did the most picking, and I the least 🙂 . Hey, I was busy taking pictures of the beatific strawberry fields, not that I didn’t pick any strawberries, I just picked comparatively very little, while she filled up a whole box. Of course my sister did the second best, but I doubt her husband did much picking either. I saw him ordering everyone around more and less picking. Ha!! None the less we did have fun. Next day Mum & I went to the shops, at Rundle Mall. That evening my father joined us in Adelaide. He left SL, two days after we did.

With Matthew Flinders, in Adelaide, Australia.

With Matthew Flinders, in Adelaide, Australia.

On the 6th, it was my day, my lone day. Thus the lone wolf, scavenged through Adelaide, towards ‘The Art Gallery of South Australia’. On the way I saw some interesting sculptures/statues/busts of famed people, including Mary Lee; a 19th century, Irish-Australian, social reformer and a feminist of the suffragist movement of South Australia; and Matthew Flinders (pictured above), English navigator and cartographer, the first person to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent. The art gallery wasn’t that massive, and housed very little amount of works, compared to many a galleries I’ve visited in Europe, Asia and Australia itself. There were very few famed Australian artists, the likes of Grace Crowley, Sidney Nolan and Martin Sharp. But one of my favourite Australian Artists, Brett Whitely (see my post Beatle News #8 …& Brett Whiteley), was missing. Of course I’ve seen some of his works earlier, at ‘The Art Gallery of New South Wales’, in Sydney, when I use to live there (2006-2008). And I had seen a Sidney Nolan Exhibition, in early 2008, at ‘The Art Gallery of NSW’, as well. But I wished more Ozzie artists were hung at ‘The Art Gallery of South Australia’, as well. They did have some European works too, including Impressionist artist, Camille Pissarro, whose works I had seen at the Museé d’Orsay in Paris, France, when I lived there back in 2008-2009. There was also an interesting exhibition of etchings by G.B. Piranesi. Plus a post-post modernism exhibition by recent artists, using cut glass and lighting. Post the Art Gallery I checked out the ‘University of Adelaide’ and visited the ‘South Australian Museum’ briefly. All in proximity to each other. Along all these walks I met some really interesting people to talk to, which I hardly get out here. After the Museum closed I headed back to the Rundle Mall, and shopped for some books at Dymocks , and then headed to the cinema. Palace Cinema. And ended up watching Fury (2014), starring Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman. After the movie, it was late night, I walked back, met some French and German Rickshaw wallah’s. Had a nice chat with them as well. T’was a nice long day, by myself.

Cowboy in a Rickshaw With a German Rickshaw wallah

Cowboy in a Rickshaw
With a German Rickshaw wallah

On the 7th was my sisters MBA graduation ceremony (from the Australian Institute of Business), the main reason we went Down Under, in the first place. The Ceremony took place at the Adelaide Town Hall, and there was formal dinner post that at the Gallery on Waymouth. My sister did her degree in Colombo from AIB, but she had her post-graduation ceremony down there. Gallery on Waymouth was an interesting, purposely Kitsch style, Art Gallery style, café, with a Graffiti wall at the side entrance. Inside, I loved a couple of works inspired by Andy Warhol and an old Australian Matchbox cover, by an unknown artist, bringing Pop Art to the 21st century and giving it an Oz twist.

MBA Graduation Ceremony @ Adelaide Town Hall (Left to Right) Me (Nuwan Sen), My Dad, My Mum, The Post Graduate (My Baby Sister - Sachinta), The Chairman of AIB (Prof. Selva Abraham), and Sachinta's husband (Umesh).

MBA Graduation Ceremony @ Adelaide Town Hall
(Left to Right) Me (Nuwan Sen), My Dad, My Mum, The Post Graduate (My Baby Sister – Sachinta), The Chairman of AIB (Prof. Selva Abraham), and Sachinta’s husband (Umesh).

On the 8th of November, 2014, we left Adelaide for Sydney. On this Qantas flight, I was planning to check out Magic in the Moonlight (2014), which I couldn’t on the way to Adelaide. But this Qantas flight didn’t have any screens per seat. Thus I lounged back in my chair and got back into reading Ben Okri’s The Age of Magic.

Nuwan Sen n’ Travel

For my own Blogathon, I decided to work on the famous/infamous 60’s piece of satire by Stanley Kubrick, Dr Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), made at the height of the cold war, about an accidental American nuclear mission to blow up the then communist Soviet Union (USSR).
Dr. Strangelove pix 3The plot
Dr Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was made and set at the height of the cold war, a time when there was no actual physical warfare, but political and military tensions arose between the communist countries of the Eastern bloc and the Western powers (NATO headed by the United States); hence known as the Cold War. A crazed general, Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) secretly orders a surprise nuclear attack on Russia (USSR). Everyone, from the President of the United States, President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) to General Ripper’s aid, RAF exchange officer, Group Captain Mandrake (Peter Sellers again), fruitlessly try to stop the bombing. A bombing which may cause a Doomsday scenario, ridding the entire planet Earth of it’s inhabitants. Which is a fact confirmed by, the very sinister looking, Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers yet again), the President’s advisor. Thus ensues a hilarious battle of the wits.

'The War Room'

‘The War Room’

The Art Décor
The set designs are beyond impressive. Especially the ‘War Room’ at The Pentagon in Washington D.C. (Arlington County, Virginia), USA, where the President and his men discuss how to avert the impending crisis. The room is so well designed, futuristic in style (also remember the movie was made at the height of the Space Age, which brought about an important facet towards the Cold War), it feels like a space station. And supposedly when actor Ronald Regan became the President of the United States in 1981, he had wanted to see the ‘War Room’, which existed in the movie, Dr. Strangelove. Alas!!! was he disappointed to find out that such a thing didn’t exist.
Added to that, the interiors of the flight is very impressive, as is the mirrored bedroom of Miss Scott (Tracy Reed) and the offices at the Air Force Base. Though set in the States, this British-American film was entirely made in England, United Kingdom.
Besides the art décor, the cinematography is an added bonus with beautiful aerial shots of snow capped mountains to the ice bergs on the ocean floor.

PETER SELLERS TRIPLE ROLE Top Left: as President Merkin Muffley Bottom Left: as Dr. Strangelove Right (Top & Bottom): as Captain Lionel Mandrake

PETER SELLERS TRIPLE ROLE
Top Left: as President Merkin Muffley
Bottom Left: as Dr. Strangelove
Right (Top & Bottom): as Captain Lionel Mandrake

Trio of Sellers
Peter Sellers does a triple role of three very varied characters in Dr Strangelove.

(i) Sellers plays President Merkin Muffley, the President of the United States, the only serious character is this dark comedy. Ironic, considering the fact that Sellers is known more as a comedian than a serious actor. Though President Merkin Muffley is a very serious character, with a slight (non-comical) cold, his tongue in cheek name suggests otherwise. The bald president is named  Merkin, and a merkin is actually a pubic wig. Added to that he does have some interesting dialogues, like “Gentleman, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room”. Peter Sellers improvises a lot of his dialogues with the three characters he plays.

(ii) Sellers plays Captain Lionel Mandrake. This the most recognisable Sellers character, as a Brit, serving the British crown and country. Added to that his appearance, with his famous moustache intact, he feels more Peter Sellers than any of the other characters he plays.

(iii) Last but not the least, Sellers plays Dr. Strangelove, the presidents scientific advisor, an ex-Nazi scientist. Most probably recruited through ‘Operation Paperclip’, through which many a German scientists, technicians et al, from Nazi Germany and other countries, were brought into the United States, post World War – II, for employment beneficial to the United States. Dr. Strangelove is the most intriguing character, as the name suggests. His actual German name happens to be Dr. Merkwürdigliebe, which he apparently changed to it’s literal English meaning, i.e. Strangelove, when he became an American citizen. He is a proper avant-garde sinister character with a disability. We see the menacing Dr. Strangelove to be wheelchair bound, which adds to his sinister character. Sellers modelled this character after the character of ‘Rotwang’ from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), my favourite silent film without sound, and my favourite film from the Roaring 20’s. Adding to the appearance of this disturbing character, Sellers is seen wearing one glove, a black glove that belonged to director Stanley Kubrick. Recognising the connection to Lang’s work, Sellers borrowed one of Kubrick’s black gloves, which he felt naturally menacing. Dr. Strangelove is by far the best interpretation of a evil comical genius by Sellers in the movie. The character has a unique German accent that adds to his threatening appearance. And the character slowly losing the control of his gloved hand, due to ‘diagnostic apraxia’ or ‘alien hand syndrome’, a rare neurological disorder that causes hand movements without a person having control over it’s actions, adds to the hilarity of the situation at hand (Pun intended).

'Dr. Strangelove'

‘Dr. Strangelove’

The rest of the lead Cast & the characters they play
Besides Sellers, George C. Scott is hilarious as the very childish, immature and the heavily bellied, General Buck Turgidson. His surname itself suggests his pompous and pretentious personality. He also has false pride and a fake sense of patriotism, which finds him jubilant at the prospects of bombing down the communist nation.

Sterling Hayden is superb as the eccentric, paranoid, extremist, ultra-nationalist. His charcter genuinely believes in a conspiracy theory by the communists to impurify the “precious bodily fluids” of Americans, through Water fluoridation. Apparently it’s a Russian conspiracy to pacify people so that they would easily trust authority. The name Jack D. Ripper is an obvious synonym to the notorious Jack the Ripper of 19th Century England (London).

Major T. J. “King” Kong, Piloting the Air Force flight, was initially to be played by Peter Sellers himself, but was replaced by Slim Pickens, once Sellers, who had been reluctant at first at the work load anyway, sprained his ankle and could not work in the cramped cockpit set.

Keenan Wynn as a clueless Colonel Bat Guano, with a permanent horrified look on his face, is funny character himself. One interesting scene is, when he has to shoot off a coca cola machine in the bullet riddled Air Force building, he initially refuses stating it’s “private property”.

Also check out a young James Earl Jones in his debut performance as a Lieutenant Lothar Zogg, the B-52 bombardier.

'Miss Scott'

‘Miss Scott’

Sexual Connotations
The movie is filled with some really interesting sexual innuendoes via man made devices portrayed in very suggestive modes. One of the best sexual imagery is right at the beginning, as the credits role in. One plane is shown fuelling another, with very romantic music going on in the background. It literally looks like two flying insects mating up in the air. Could be a metaphor on the two heads of states trying to get on well together, a bit too intimately, during a crisis. Then there is a bomb falling towards it’s orgasmic end, with a man riding on it, waving his cowboy hat. Pretty homoerotic, to see a man riding a phallic shaped object hurling downwards. It’s hilariously intended to look overtly sexual, and apparently Stanley Kubrick confirmed it.
Ironically the bikini clad Tracy Reed (in her introductory role), as General Turgidson’s secretary and mistress, the only female character in the entire male oriented movie, is the least sexual impression in Dr Strangelove, besides her semi-nude centrefold, aptly nicknamed ‘Miss Foreign Affairs’, shown through a Playboy magazine.

Screening Delay
A private screening of the film was scheduled for the 22nd of November, 1963, the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The film was just weeks from its scheduled premiere. But due to the assassination the release was ultimately delayed until January 1964.

Award Nominations
The film was nominated for four Oscars. For ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ to Stanley Kubrick, for Peter Sellers a ‘Best Actor’ nomination, and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for Stanley Kubrick, Peter George and Terry Southern. The movie won none. After all My Fair Lady (1964), well deservedly garnered the top three awards; for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ for George Cukor, and a ‘Best Actor’ win for Rex Harrison; that year. And the historical epic Becket (1964), definitely deserved the award for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’.

None the less, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) is among the greatest movies ever made. And it’s definitely worth checking out.

My Rating
Excellent !!!!! 10/10.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
60's c

60's dTo my fellow Bloggers,
Do check out my previous post The Essential 60’s Blogathon. There is still time to take part in this blogathon, if you are interested.
Thanking you
Yours sincerely
Nuwan Sen

Iconic Hollywood starlet of the 40’s, Lauren Bacall, passed away earlier this week, on Tuesday, 12th of August, 2014, aged 89, after suffering a stroke.
Lauren Bacall 1942With hardly any legends, from the age of film-noir, still alive, it’s an end of an era. Especially with the death of Lauren Bacall, one of the most modern minded, sophisticated, innocently naughty and sultry stars of that period. She started her career as a teenager, as a fashion model, for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Soon she was discovered, by director Howard Hawks’ wife Nancy (a.k.a. Slim), when she spotted Bacall, on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Bacall was offered to act opposite either Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart. Though a superb actor, Bogart didn’t interest Bacall much, but she was exited about starring opposite the very tall and handsome Cary Grant. But when she met Bogart in person, sparks flew. Soon Bogart and Bacall appeared in Hawks’ To Have and Have Not (1944), an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s worst known novel of the same name.

To Have and Have Not, is a movie I studied, in my first semester, for the module ‘Film Analysis’ (which was on Howard Hawks), for my MA in International Cinema (2002-2003), from the University of Luton, Luton, UK. I did a presentation, comparing and contrasting Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca (1942) to Howard Hawks’ To Have and Have Not (1944); a step-by-step scene evaluation of To Have and Have Not, and a 2,500 worded essay comparing the book by Ernest Hemingway, and the movie by Howard Hawks, where my ultimate conclusion was that the movie belonged completely ‘to Hawks and Hemingway not’.
Lauren Bacall collageBacall was a hit in her debut performance as ‘Slim’ (Bacall’s character in the movie was named after Nancy Hawks’ pet name, in the book such a character does not exist). One of the most iconic scenes in To Have and Have Not is where Bacall teaches Bogie how to whistle. Normally books are known to be better than the movie, it’s a clichéd fact. But in the case of To Have and Have Not, this is a rare instance, where the movie is definitely better than the boring book it was adapted from. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ernest Hemingway is a great author, but To Have and Have Not, is no where near among his best works. Howard Hawks has managed to edit, change and re-polish it into a beautiful movie.

Soon Humphrey Bogart married the much younger Lauren Bacall, in 1945. Known as Bogie and Bacall, the two were the most romantic couple that existed in Hollywood in the 40’s and 50’s, until Bogart’s death in 1957. Bogie and Bacall starred in many a famous Film-noir films of that period, including The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948). In 1957, they were to appear in yet another film together, but that project never materialised, due to Humphrey Bogart’s demise due to cancer.

Lauren Bacall with Humphrey Bogart in 'To Have Have Not'

Lauren Bacall with Humphrey Bogart in ‘To Have Have Not’

Bacall was distraught after the loss of her husband, she re-married once in 1961, to Jason Robards, but that marriage didn’t work out. Then onwards she lived a single life, with her children and gave herself completely to the arts.

Her great film credits are endless, and span two centuries. Besides the Bogie and Bacall films, mentioned above, she starred in many a famous films without her beloved husband, including, Confidential Agent (1945) opposite Charles Boyer, Bright Leaf (1950) opposite Gary Cooper, Young Man with a Horn (1950) with Kirk Douglas and Doris Day, How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, Blood Alley (1955) with John Wayne, Written on the Wind (1956) with Rock Hudson, Designing Woman (1957) opposite Gregory Peck, North West Frontier (1959) with Kenneth More, Sex and the Single Girl (1964) with Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood, Harper (1966) with Paul Newman and Janet Leigh, Murder on the Orient Express (1974) with an all-star cast, The Shootist (1976) with John Wayne and James Stewart, The Fan (1981) with James Garner and Michael Biehn, Appointment with Death (1988) with Peter Ustinov, Prêt-à-Porter (1994) with an all-star cast, The Mirror has two Faces (1996) with Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges, Dogville (2003) with Nicole Kidman, Birth (2004) with Nicole Kidman and Cameron Bright, Manderlay (2005) with Bryce Dallas Howard, The Forger (2012) with Alfred Molina, and Bacall was rumoured to be working on a new project, Trouble is my Business, to be released next year.

(Main Pix) Lauren Bacall with Jeff Bridges in 'The Mirror Has Two Faces'  (Inset) Bacall with Film Director/Actress Barbra Streisand in the same movie

(Main Pix) Lauren Bacall with Jeff Bridges in ‘The Mirror Has Two Faces’
(Inset) Bacall with Film Director/Actress Barbra Streisand in the same movie

Lauren Bacall, has won many a awards, but she’s been nominated only once for an Oscar, in 1997, for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for Barbra Streisand’s directorial venture, The Mirror has two Faces (1996). In 2009, she was given an Academy Honorary Award in ‘recognition of her central place in the golden age of motion pictures’.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

(P.S. See my post 6° with Lauren Bacall from last year as well)

My Favourite movie by decade, My Favourite Oscar Winner per decade (Oscar 2014 Special)
RH NS
Back in April 2011, I made a list titled My Favourite movie by decade, and in November 2012, I made a list titled Why I love …., comprising of my TOP-10 all time favourite movies, and critiquing on each one of them, on IMDB.
This evening, prior to watching this years Oscars, which will be shown live tomorrow early morning (i.e. tonight in the United States), I decided to do a post, both about my Favourite movie from each decade and my Favourite Oscar Winner per decade. For my Favourite movie from each decade is not necessarily the Best film of the decade, neither is it necessarily an Oscar Winner for ‘Best Picture’.

Three Centuries, Ten decades (I’ve omitted out the first two decades of the 20th century, for I don’t have a favourite from those two decades so far)

PRE-OSCARS
The 19th Century
1890’s
L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat (1895)
French Film (Silent Cinema)
The very first moving picture made, by the two Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière. It just showcased a train coming to a platform and stopping. Sadly, like the Birth of a child, which starts with a frightened baby crying his/her lungs out, the Birth of Cinema, was marked with tragedy. People had never seen a moving picture before, and when the audience saw a train approaching towards them, on the Big screen, they started to run. So Lumière Brothers’ L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat resulted in a tragic stampede.
I saw this film, most probably somewhere in the 90’s, when I accidentally came across a documentary about cinema, on the telly. I don’t recall the documentary, for it was late one night, and I couldn’t watch the rest of the programme, but at least I got to watch the very first film ever made, and learn about the tragic aftermath. I haven’t seen this movie since, worth checking out for any movie buff.

The 20th Century  
1920’s
Metropolis (1927)
German Film (Silent Cinema)
An excellent German Expressionism, avant-garde, surreal, science fiction, cinematic wonder. I got to watch this classic on the big screen, back in 2007, at the Sydney public library, Sydney, Australia. I fell in love with this movie, set in a futuristic urban dystopia, almost instantly. And in 2008, when I was in Paris, France; I saw the metallic costume worn by actress Brigitte Helm, who played the lead female character, and the female android; when I visited the Cinémathèque Française there.
Metropolis (1927)
POST-OSCARS
The very first Academy Awards was held in May 1929. The winner for the most ‘Outstanding Picture’ Oscar (which was later, after going through many a name changes, from 1944 to 1961, known as the ‘Best Motion Picture’ award, and from 1962 onwards, till date, is known as the ‘Best Picture’ award), went to the silent venture, Wings (1927). Am yet to watch this silent classic, that bagged the very first Best film award. The oldest Best Picture winner I’ve watched is All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), which was excellent. Thus, my favourite Oscar winner from the end of the roaring 20’s, and the best, is All Quiet on the Western Front, which was the first film to win awards for both, ‘Outstanding Production’ (award name for Best Film at the time) and ‘Best Director’.

1930’s
Gone with the Wind (1939), my favourite movie of the 1930’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My second all time favourite movie.

1940’s
Casablanca (1942), my favourite movie from the 1940’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My third all time favourite movie.
1950's
1950’s
Roman Holiday (1953) – My Favourite movie from the 1950’s, also happens to be my all time favourite movie. Audrey Hepburn, my all time favourite film star, bagged the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar for Roman Holiday.
Special mention: Ben-Hur (1959), my Favourite Oscar Winner, and the Best Film, to come out of the 1950’s. (Also see my lists 50-50’s, The Foxy Fifties, These are a Few of my Favourites, Hepburn flicks through pictures and many more on IMDB)

1960’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – My Favourite movie from the 1960’s.
My Fair Lady (1964) is my favourite Oscar Winner from the sizzling 60’s.
Special mention: I think François Truffaut’s, French new wave flick, Jules et Jim (1962), is the Best film of that decade, which also happens to be my second favourite film from the 1960’s. (Also see my lists The Essential 60’s (Top 60), The Late 60’s (1966-1970) öö, My Top 5 Musicals from the sizzling 60’s & 70’s and many more on IMDB)
60's
1970’s
A Clockwork Orange (1971) – My Favourite movie from the 1970’s, and the best film of that decade.
The Godfather: Part II (1974), is my favourite Oscar Winner from the suave n’ sophisticated 70’s. A very masculine decade for film, with a blend of classy and thuggery. The Godfather: Part II, also happens to be my second favourite from the 70’s. (Also see my lists My 70’s Top 5 and The Great 70’s Picture Show on IMDB)

1980’s
Rain Man (1988) is my favourite movie of the 1980’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade.
Special mention: Another Oscar winner, which I feel is the Best Film to come out in the 1980’s, is, the epic scale, bio-pic, of a modern day saint, directed by Richard Attenborough. The British film, Gandhi (1982). The 1980’s were a great decade for British, Historical and Heritage, films.
The 1980's
1990’s
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), is my favourite movie from the naughty 90’s.
Forrest Gump (1994), which also happens to be my second favourite from the 90’s, is my favourite Oscar Winner from that decade.
Special mention: Schindler’s List (1993), my third favourite from the 90’s, yet another Oscar winner, I feel, is the Best Film of that decade. (Also see my list The Nineteen Nineties (Top-5) on IMDB)

The 21st Century  
2000’s (2001-2010)
From the first decade of the 21st century, my favourite flick happens to be,  Closer (2004).
A Beautiful Mind (2001), my favourite Oscar winner from the last decade.
Special mention: Brokeback Mountain (2005), is the Best film to come out of the noughties. The Biggest mistake the Oscars made, this century, was not handing the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar to this gay themed epic.

This Decade
From this decade, which is only just over three years old, so far my favourite film, favourite Oscar winner and the Best Film, happens to be, The Artist (2011), a great tribute to early cinema and the roaring 20’s. One of my favourite silent films with sound.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
(Also see nuwansdel_02 , for the menu page, for all my list on IMDB)

Loving Film

Everybody wants to see GONE WITH THE WIND
Valentine's Day GWTW
I was going through IMDB’s Reader Lists: Essential Valentine’s Day Viewing, hundreds of lists made by many a IMDB readers, but not me. And I was delighted to see how many of my favourite classics had made the cut, in various lists. Some made by readers pretty young, for they’ve mentioned these films came out during their great grandparents era. Gone with the Wind (1939), Casablanca (1942) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), were a common trend in most of the lists I went through.
Altogether, City Lights (1931), Gone with the Wind (1939), Wuthering Heights (1939), Casablanca (1942), Brief Encounter (1945), Notorious (1946), Vertigo (1958), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), West Side Story (1961), Jules et Jim (1962), Two for the Road (1967), Annie Hall (1977), When Harry met Sally … (1989), Titanic (1997) and Notting Hill (1999), were  somewhat common when it came to movies from the last century.
From this century, there were films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Wall-E (2008), Up (2009) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012), to name a few, all of which too I happen to love.

In memory of St. Valentine, after all if he didn’t exist, neither would this day. Not that I’ve ever had a valentine in my life.
(Also see my Post St. Valentine’s Death Anniversary from February 2013 as well)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Valentines Day 2014

Logayn Lustman
Today, my favourite youngest actor, Logan Lerman, turns 22.
Whishing him all the best for a fabulous future ahead of him, and may he highly succeed in his further endeavours.

Meet Bill (2007)

Meet Bill (2007)

I discovered him back in early 2009, when I watched Meet Bill (2007). Almost instantaneously I was a fan of his. He was a superb actor. If another kid played that part in this movie, he (the character that is) might not have been that likable. But Logan Lerman, makes this; smart assed, weed smoking, rebellious teenager; with a twisted penchant for women’s underwear and a vocabulary full of swear word; really likable. In the end though, this adorable kid ends up helping the lead character, Bill (played superbly by Aaron Eckhart) battle his mid-life crisis demons.
It’s after watching this movie, I realised, I have actually seen him in many a movies as a child star. I just didn’t know him back then. He had starred in The Patriot (2000), What Women Want (2000), Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), and The Butterfly Effect (2004). I don’t remember him in any of these, for I watched them long time ago. Except for maybe in The Butterfly Effect, I have a vague memory of the younger Ashton Kutcher (who played the lead), for the kid had a pretty prominent role in it, and I watched it back in 2005. Thus not that long before I saw Meet Bill.

3:10 To Yuma (2007)

3:10 To Yuma (2007)

Post Meet Bill, I have seen many a movies starring young Mr. Lerman. From the excellent remake of a classic, that was, 3:10 to Yuma (2007); to the movie loosely based on actor George Hamilton’s trip with his mother and brother to Hollywood in the 50’s, where Lerman played the young George Hamilton, in My One and Only (2009); to the pathetic waste of time, that was Gamer (2009), of which the only saving grace was, Michael C. Hall’s superb portrayal of the villainous character; to the child friendly ‘Oky Doky’ fantasy film that was, Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief (2010).

Post that am yet to see any of his more recent films. Am really keen on watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) and Stuck in Love (2012).

And again whishing this adorable actor, all the best for a bright future.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
(P.S. Also see, my IMDB critiques related to Logan Lerman- Top 5 Nouveau Comedies (2001 – 2010)No Name, from 2011)

Six Degrees of Separation: from Logan Lerman to …

Logan Lerman 6°

…Elijah Wood
Lerman starred alongside Aaron Eckhart (1) in the hilarious comedy Meet Bill (2007), and Eckhart appeared in the magnificent satire that was Thank you for Smoking (2005); a humorous insight into the manipulative business tactics of a tobacco industry; which was directed by Jason Reitman (2), who later directed yet another comical brilliance that was Juno (2007), starring Ellen Page (3); who earlier played a very dark role, of an underaged teenager who has her heart set on castrating a paedophile who she suspects is responsible for the death of yet another underaged teenage girl; in Hard Candy (2004), which co-starred Patrick Wilson (4), who appeared in Little Children (2006) with Kate Winslet (5), and Winslet starred in, the surreal masterpiece that was, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), which also starred, former child star, Elijah Wood (6).

…Tom Sturridge
Lerman did one of the laziest roles ever in the pathetic flick called Gamer (2009), the only saving grace, of which, was the villainess character, excellently portrayed by Michael C. Hall (1), whose most notable role, happens to be, the titular character, of a serial killer, he plays in the television series, Dexter (2006-2013), and in the last season of which Sam Underwood (2) played his young protégé, and Underwood starred in a stage version of the play Equus, a play written by Peter Shaffer (3), and the 2007 West End and Broadway productions, of this same play, starred Daniel Radcliffe (4), who plays famed poet, of the Beat generation, Allen Ginsberg (5) in the movie Kill your Darlings (2013), and Ginsberg was also portrayed by Tom Sturridge (6) in On the Road (2012).

…Rudolph Nureyev
Lerman, as child artiste, appeared, alongside fellow child actor, Cameron Bright (1), in The Butterfly Effect (2004), and Bright played a kid who harassed a widow into believing that he was a reincarnation of her dead husband in Birth (2004), which co-starred Lauren Bacall (2), who was married to Humphrey Bogart (3); and together they were famously known as Bogie and Bacall; and Bogie starred alongside Ingrid Bergman (4), in the much loved tear-jerker classic, Casablanca (1942), and Bergman’s daughter, Isabella Rossellini (5), starred in White Nights (1985); which tells the story of a famed Russian male ballet dancer who had defected from the Soviet Union (USSR), who finds himself back in the USSR when a plane carrying him to Tokyo has to have an emergency crash landing there; the character of the defected dancer was loosely inspired by the renowned ballet dancer, Rudolph Nureyev (6).
Logayn Loveman
…Rock Hudson
Lerman appeared in the excellent re-make; 3:10 to Yuma (2007); of the classic western, 3:10 to Yuma (1957), and the original was directed by Delmer Daves (1), who made his directorial debut with Destination Tokyo (1943), starring Cary Grant (2), and Grant starred in the amusingly crazily splendid farce, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), which was directed by Frank Capra (3), as was the romantic comedy, It Happened One Night (1934), which starred Claudette Colbert (4); who was famous for playing the legendary ‘Queen of the Nile’; in Cleopatra (1934), as was Elizabeth Taylor (5) in Cleopatra (1963), who starred alongside Rock Hudson (6) in Giant (1956).

…Roger Vadim
Lerman played son to Renée Zellweger (1), in My One and Only (2009), and Zellweger starred alongside Tom Cruise (2) in Jerry Maguire (1996), and Cruise appeared in The Color of Money (1986) with Paul Newman (3), who starred alongside Robert Redford (4), in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and Redford appeared alongside Jane Fonda (5) in Barefoot in the Park (1967), and Fonda was at one time married to director Roger Vadim (6).

…Tom Ford
Lerman starred alongside Emma Watson (1) in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), and Watson appeared in My Week with Marilyn (2012), which also starred Dominic Cooper (2), who came in The History Boys (2006), alongside Stephen Campbell Moore (3), who appeared in Bright Young Things (2003), which was based on Evelyn Waugh’s (4) novel Vile Bodies, and Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, was the basis for the 2008 movie starring Matthew Goode (5), and Goode appeared in A Single Man (2009), which was the directorial debut of fashion designer, Tom Ford (6).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense ()
°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Yesterday I spoke about the five films that didn’t work properly. Life of Pi (2012) was one of them. In fact, Life of Pi was the first movie, out of the faulty five, I tried watching towards the end of last month. Finally I did, in one go, this Wednesday.

Life of Pi finally

If Mud (2012) was about a friendship that develops between a young boy and a convict, whilst helping the convict build a boat, in a remote isle on the banks of the Mississippi river; Life of Pi deals with a friendship between a young man and carnivorous Bengal Tiger, stuck on a boat, in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

Yet another much awaited brilliant surreal movie, with a CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) created tiger, for which director Ang Lee deservedly took home the Best Director Oscar earlier this year. Life of Pi also won Oscars for Cinematography and Visual Effects, and was nominated (and won) in various categories for various award ceremonies including the Golden Globes and the BAFTA’s.

The Pi Story
Life with Family
The movie starts off with now all grown up, middle-aged, Pi (Irrfan Khan), residing in Canada, narrating his life story to a down on his luck writer, played by Rafe Spall. From here we are taken back in time to French occupied state of Pondicherry, located in the southern region of India, in the 1950’s. In 1954 the French leave Pondicherry handing it to the recently Independent India. Pi is born into the newer Indian Pondicherry within the same decade, the second child, of a family, that own a zoo. From here onwards we learn how Pi was named after the French word for ‘swimming pool’, Piscine, more accurately the ‘Piscine Auteuil Molitor’ of Paris (now abandoned famed swimming pool of the past). Soon in school his name is changed to ‘Pissing’ by his schoolmates, and from there he soon manages to get people calling him ‘Pi’ (π),the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet, (which was not an easy task for young Pi).
Soon the boy’s curiosity grows to question various religions and religious beliefs. The 12 Year old Pi (played by Ayush Tandon) tests various faiths, beginning from Hinduism, then Christianity, and ultimately Islam.
One of my favourite scenes of the film is this philosophical discussion held sitting round a dinning table, comprising of Pi’s parents, the Patel’s (played by Adil Hussain & Tabu), elder brother, Ravi (Mohamed Abbas Khaleeli) and of course young Pi himself. The father being a practical man, and due various reasons, doesn’t believe in religion, while the mother, who was brought up with modernist views, finds peace and contentment in her religion as her parents cut her off for marrying beneath her. So here we have an interesting discussion of conflicting views, from the two parents towards young Pi. At the same time both have a good argument on their side. Born into the Hindu religion, the father admonishes Pi, not to blindly follow many a religions and stick to one, at the same time he states how science has taught us way more than religion ever has. The mother agrees, but she adds that science teaches us what’s out there, while religion teaches us what’s within us (heart and soul). Interesting argument both managing to make a point, and in the end, to the fathers dilemma, Pi states he wants ‘‘to be baptised’’. It’s hilarious, the mother finds pleasure, more because little Pi dared to oppose the father at the same time seeming to take his advise on not to follow all faiths blindly.
As Pi grows older, it’s interesting to see his relationship with his parents, brother, and Anandi (Shravanthi Sainath); the dancing girl; a teenage crush of his.

Life with Richard Parker
The majority of the plot deals with, how Pi survives a shipwreck, and the close bond formed between man and beast, each needing the other to survive, through this Odysseus journey back to civilization.
A beautifully told story, with a CGI created Bengal Tiger, and a very surreal oceanic backdrop.
Pi’s whole family dies in a shipwreck, and he survives along with some animals. Soon most of the animals die and it’s only him and a tiger, named Richard Parker due to a clerical error, that are stuck in a boat, and have to learn to get along with each other.
In the real world, between 1797 and 1884, there have been three known individuals named Richard Parker, who’ve been involved in three shipwrecks, within those two centuries. But am not sure whether the writer who created this story, intentionally used Parker’s name as an allegory.
In it’s almost entirety, the majority of the film, from the start, is made via the use computer graphics, and one can’t help but get a sense of artificiality whilst watching it. But the story is not necessarily meant to mirror reality. And the computer graphics don’t overpower the story and ruin it, instead it actually blends into the fabrication of this surreal fantastical piece of artistic cinema, and helps it move forward.

Nu Life (ν)  
We see the older, middle-aged, Pi, who has started life afresh in Canada, with his newer family. The older Pi, that’s been narrating his, hard to believe, survival story to a writer.

Top: Scene from the movie. Below: Creating the Tiger

Top: Scene from the movie.
Below: Creating the Tiger

The Director: Ang Lee
Ang Lee has definitely done a superb job, as almost always. Both visually appealing and constantly engaging, with not one dull minute. It’s another among Lee’s masterpieces.
Loved it!! 10/10 rating!!!

The Ice Storm
The Ice Storm (1997), was my introduction to Ang Lee, when I watched it about a decade ago, in Oslo. A film I almost did not watch. Even though I had watched Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1995) in England at the time, a superb period drama, I didn’t know who the director was at the time. I fell in love with this excellent film, The Ice Storm, starring all the famed child/teenage artists of the 90’s, including Elijah Wood, Cristina Ricci and Tobey Maguire. What really impressed me was how authentically 70’s it felt. If I didn’t know the cast, especially the younger cast, I would have actually believed the movie was, not just set in, but made in the 70’s. Of course Kevin Kline and Joan Allen existed in the 70’s, and were pretty young at the time, but they could have been made to look older through a really good make-up artist. As was the case in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966), where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were made to look, very believably, more mature, way beyond their years. So it’s thanks to Wood, Ricci and Maguire that I was certain that this was not a 70’s flick.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
After finding out Ang Lee had directed the marvel that was The Ice Storm, I had to check out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), a movie prior to which I was reluctant to watch. And it was worth it. It wasn’t some silly, waste of time type, Martial Arts film, but an ode to the great oriental ancient art of self disciplined combat technique.

Brokeback Mountain
In the beginning of 2006, before the Oscars, I managed to watch Brokeback Mountain (2005). Another excellent venture created by Ang lee. A gay themed movie about two cowboys in the 60’s & 70’s, that was nominated in many a categories at the Oscars, but unfortunately won only for film direction, adapted screenplay and original musical score. It’s a brilliant film, and I refuse to call it a ‘gay movie’. For the term ‘gay movie’ could imply some sleazy cheap film meant for only a certain type of gay audience. No, this is an intellectual, thought provoking film meant for a broader audience. Ironically, that broader audience narrows down to a group of more open minded, intelligent, educated people, including true to heart film buffs.
I re-watched it in January 2008, in Sydney, when it was shown on the big screen at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, coincidently the day after Heath Ledger, the lead actor of Brokeback Mountain, died of a drug overdose. The place was packed, and no, Ledger’s death wasn’t the reason for the film being shown.

Lust, Caution
Lust, Caution (2007), original Chinese title Se,jie; was the last good Ang Lee film I watched in Sydney itself, before leaving, early-mid 2008. It might not be as great as the other Lee films I’ve spoken of here, but it’s a near excellent movie, set during the WWII-era Shanghai, under Japanese occupation in China. A long film with a few pretty graphic (but not pornographic) sex sequences, where watching those sex scenes were actually quite exhausting. But that’s what Lee was trying to show, for the lead character, played by Wei Tang, was playing a Chinese ‘Mata Hari’, seducing a Japanese official to spy for their cause against Japanese oppression. A tiring, yet a near excellent movie.

Taking Woodstock
Taking Woodstock (2009), was the last good Ang Lee film I watched, till Life of Pi. It was being released on the big screen in Paris, the day I was to leave Paris, September 2009. And it took me more than a year to finally locate it. It was in New Delhi, India, when I went there in November/December 2010, I found the movie. But it was an original Indian Copyright DVD, thus a censored version. All nudity clipped off. But I was glad that I finally found a copy, of a film based on the Woodstock of 69’, something I had been reading up various articles on, most of 2009. Both about the actual event and Ang Lee’s cinematic version. And at last being able to watch it was worth it. Another near excellent movie by Lee.

Some months ago I watched, Hulk (2003), when it was shown on Star Movies. I liked the credits in the beginning of the film, then slowly, slowly, the movie started to disintegrate into oblivion. Among the worst I seen. But the only bad film of Ang Lee’s I’ve seen till date.

All in all, Ang Lee is a great, very diverse, film director. No two films of his are alike, at least among his masterpieces.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Ang Lee Films (NS)

Ang Lee Films (NS)