There are some movies that really impact one and leave a far greater impression than one might like to admit. I first watched Into the Wild, in the spring of 2008, and, perhaps, it was the time or the place, or even the person that I was but even though I was impressed by several things: the cinematography, the sounds, and the poignant character study; it did not leave a particular mark on my memory (or so I thought) — cynic that I was. Continue reading →
I usually avoid the ‘Middle-Eastern’ sub-tab under the ‘International’ section of movies on Netflix, because the selection is so limited. However, this past Friday, too tired after a long day of work and in need of entertainment; I found myself browsing the section. One of the movies caught my eye. The description read: ‘World War I: The Arabian Desert has become a danger zone of spies, assassins, and thieves. One boy is about to cross it.’ Hardly much seemed enticing about that description but I still found myself clicking play. (That Netflix gives terrible descriptions to movies that are sometimes misleading and sometimes completely off the mark is hardly a new phenomenon — there is even a dedicated sub-Reddit and countless articles written on the subject.)
In 2010 when I first heard that Peter Jackson would direct The Hobbit; I almost cried in excitement. That was soon followed by the news that it would consist of two parts. A little sceptical but still excited. Then those two movies were soon changed into three and I was baffled. I had my reservations. And I realised my reservations were spot-on as soon as I came out of the cinema after watching the first instalment. Argh! Why drag out a 300-page book, that could have been a 3-hour epic at most, into 3 movies? A year later, having watched the second movie, my irritation with Jackson had increased. And now another year, the last instalment watched, I can say that I am just glad that the whole fiasco is over.
It was one of those nights when you’re wondering what you should do. Going out for a night on the town is out of the question, you have an early morning class. It is one of those rare Sundays (in Berkeley, at least) when you are actually done with the weekly required readings for your classes. Someone suggests watching one of the films they just received from Netflix, and seeing that there is nothing better to do, you join the group in a crammed room at International House.
The Seventh Seal says the DVD cover. The implications of that title are lost on you. A black and white film begins, the opening scenes are quite indicative of what the rest of the film will entail. Stark imagery. Heavy dialogue. What language is this? You think, ‘Dutch’. But the Dutch boy in the company disagrees and suggests it might be Nordic. You figure, in the day and age of the all-knowing god, Google, you can probably look it up. A search informs you that it is actually Swedish. Aha! Now you can place it, you assume – we are creatures of habits, and assumptions are abounding, right? Continue reading →