The Difference Between American And British Humor

Movie Review

I have religiously followed both the version of The Office and with a little bit of research, I am still yet to understand the subtle differences between the two regions divided by the Atlantic. The theory gets a lot of people agitated and a more sterner argument is that it is actually out-dated, but you still do see the stark differences between the two. Shameless is another example right after Skins, all hallmarks of British’s witty, snarky jokes converted into a cinematic adaptation that follows the American narrative. So let’s try to dissect the difference between the two; remember, I am not trying to say which is better.

If You Didn’t Cry At These Tamil-Movie Moments, Congratulations, You Have A Heart Made Of Ice

Movie Review

It’s been nearly 100 years since the first Tamil motion capture was done, and since then we have been cutting invisible onions, while driving a bee into our eyes accidentally. Here’s a list of moments in the recent past that made you punch a wall to regain manhood again.

How To Cleverly Rip Off Renaissance English Literature: Iyobinte Pusthakam Review

Internet, Movie Review

The movie was awesome!

Need I say more? The casting was perfect; Fahad Faasil does a fantastic job of representing a taciturn, insightful observer of the goings-on, while keeping a firm foot on the morals of what is right. Every scene was picturesque, and takes you to a different world, while keeping you glued to a particular historical period in India, when British had gone off to fight in the World War, and for a brief, ambiguous period of time, India is left to Indians. Yeah, everything was perfect, but that isn’t why I wanted to write this.

The story was amazing; characters were brilliantly sculptured… The highlights of the movie are this exceptional two: a martinet of a father, harbinger of trouble, with three sons, fighting in their own lost worlds, and a whore who seems to be locked in fraternal polygamy. And behind this, a raging tension of wars between countries. I have never seen Amal Neerad’s work before, but that didn’t stop this teeny, tiny inkling that this could be copied from renaissance literature – the doubt isn’t even lingering… there’s revenge, suicide, tragedy, claiming hegemony: it’s stark, isn’t it? After hours of research into fatherly figures of British Drama, and thanks to the excellent work done by Tom MacFaul in his award-winning proseProblem Fathers in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama, I am making an attempt in drawing out similarities between the Shakespearean character, Iyobu (played by Lal), and Shakespeare’s work itself.

King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare in the year 1607, it speaks a great deal of an affectionate father (played by Sir Ian McKellen aka Gandalf in 2004 – whoa), who has three daughters. When asked which of the three loves him most, the eldest two – Regan and Goneril – speak words of approbation, and get a great part of the asset, while the youngest – Cordelia – says ‘nothing.’ When prodded and threatened with pain of disinheritance, she says the same words Fahad says to his father when Iyobu asks him to leave and never dream of a single penny from his pocket, and here goes:

Good my lord, you have begot me, bred me, loved me: I return those duties back as are right fit, obey you, love you, and most honor you!

So poor Cordelia goes to France, with her newly wedded husband, and for some time, silently watches her sisters plague out her father, slowly pushing him out of throne, for a man who tells them it’s possible to rule the world without their loving father, and exactly in words of Angur Ravuthar (JaySurya):

Are you tractable children with mustache?

Both Regan and Goneril secretly lust for Edmund (and in our case, Padma Priya), and with the man’s help, Goneril kills Regan, and drives King Lear out of his country. Enraged at the atrocity, Cornelia gathers a French army to declare war against her sisters, just like Fahad does, by summoning the communists, and to drive away the tyrannous police force out. In the end, King Lear finds Cornelia and repents for all that he had done, and says, very alike Iyobu’s colloquy with Fahad when the former was about to die:

You do me wrong to take me out o’ the grave: thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears do scald like molten lead.

Edmund’s character, played by Padma Priya, and Philip Winchester (a CSI: Miami actor) is very alluring; Edmund sleeps with both the sisters, and kills one of them, just like Padma Priya does here, and kills himself in the end, not in remorse, but being unable to claim ascendancy with his sexual prowess.

Amid Neeradh, I’m guessing, could have based Padma Priya on Vittoria of The White Devil, written by John Webster, wherein the strong female character murders her husband to be with a Duke. Webster doesn’t allow the reader to peak into Vittoria’s mind, just like Neeradh, and puts her in a very ambiguous emotional trait showing her as a whore, mistrusted even by her own lover:

Thou hast led me, like an heathen sacrifice,
With music and with fatal yokes of flowers
To my eternal ruin.

The one trait Padma Priya shares with Vittoria is her refusal to shed a single tear; in later parts of the play, Webster brilliantly emulates Vittoria to a status of courage and independence, and especially when she says this, it’s vivid:

I will not in my death shed one base tear,
Or if I look pale, for want of blood, not fear.

Alright, the movie is amazingly pictured, for a timeline based story, surely devoid of cliches (but people tell me Neeradh had done enough movies to have his own set of cliches), but it’s only an adaptation of a well-known drama: it’s surprising why the director won’t give credit to the renaissance playwrights (especially, when it’s an honor these days to say a movie is adapted – look at Hamlet). The similarities are stark, but McKellen would have been proud of Lal’s performances onscreen; yes, the cast is that perfect, but copied unless the director agrees to have based the movie on English Literature.

A Fantasy Sci-Fi Idea Ruined By Poor Narrative: Interstellar Review

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When Kip Thorne was initially set to be a part of Interstellar, a sic-fi thriller, he set up one ground-rule: nothing should violate the existing physical laws. It’s amazing to learn how the most famous astrophysicist of the contemporary world sat down with 300 graphic designers, and a myriad of coffee-cups to produce 800 terabyte of data that rendered for about 100 hours.

Thanks to Thorne, the idea of wormholes, black holes and five-dimensional tesseract are effortlessly slipping through the “codswallop scanning area,” without much of a hiccup, but on the narrative side, Nolan singlehandedly sabotages the entire idea; I wonder how better Spielberg could have pumped life into the painfully unfinished script. (The Jurassic Park director, who happens to be Chris Nolan’s role model, initially agreed to direct Interstellarbut dropped out later.)

‘[With Interstellar,] Nolan comes very close here, one might almost say agonisingly close, to forging his masterpiece,’ says Tim Robey of Telegraph, and I concede, to a certain level; obviously, Nolan had been greatly finicky to details of scientific ideas, the wild speculations of gravity manipulation, but when it comes to script writing, there are all forms of adequacies to a completed script, but dropped at a very anarchical phase. Yes, I have watched the Dark Knight series, and I have fallen in love with every second of it; and that’s why I have a reasonable inkling to tell Nolan could have rushed the script, trying to cram too many ideas; forging wild speculations on intergalactic notions; and as the backbone of the script, a middle-aged farmer and a former pilot, trying to save the planet. (And we don’t even know why he was chosen to make decisions in space travel, when there are world-class physicians, lurking behind his back.) 

Alright! A dystopian, future humans race, who happens to have the technology to travel till Saturn in search of a tear in space-time fabric without any hiccups, cannot save the paddy field, and get rid of blight with all their frontal cerebral intelligence? That’s how, Nolan, we make a weak plot! Okay, apart from that, the three-hour script was capacious enough to accommodate some mundane dialogues; sentimental crap that was so mediocre that I had to groan, much to my friends’ disdain; Anne Atheway’s excellent acting wasted on moments like “I just learnt that my father is dead, but I am indignant that he never told me this was a lost mission.” Poor characterization not only weakened the plot-line, but stopped a beautiful scientific idea from reaching mainstream culture in the way it deserved. Whatever happened to the human emotions of the astronaut crew as they set off into a space journey away from home, and when it comes to pulling the audience to the edge of their seat, we’d have to kill the least-fascinating guy, right? Poor Wes Bentley should have stuck with The Hunger Games, but alas, Seneca was hung to death, wasn’t he?

I wish I didn’t have to say this at all, especially for a movie directed by Nolan, but the plot was littered with cliches. Bay could have done a far better job at handling the inside-space-pod scenes, but here we are, watching Hatheway’s and McConaughey’s stunned faces, instead of the breathtakingly beautiful void. (You can say it’s implied, but come on!) What was Nolan thinking, when he forced Matt Damon into the script to fill the stagnant script, and conceived the-hackneyed character-turning-villainous moment, when we were all supposed to gasp, but the poorly written script made it fall flat. Come on, like we all didn’t know McConaughey was going to hoodwink the winsome Hathaway and attempt a glorious try at I-am-going-to-sacrifice-myself-for-humanity, either? I understand that inside the black-hole, and that glamorously eye-catchy (was that even necessary?) tesseract, a person can manipulate gravity and travel between galaxies in the blink of an eye, but the dubious script failed to tell a believable tale that audience would understand; but the fact that the next scene opens with McConaughey’s head resting on a soft pillow transcended even the fictitious dystopian rules. (Stephen Hawking would have cringed, and grabbed a tea to numb the migraine.)

Characterization that makes the on-screen cast feel like they are sitting behind your shoulder was Nolan’s biggest strength, and this movie where he attempts to cram too many things in could be his cue to pack his bags up from sci-fi streets of Hollywood. The infinite power of “Love” is already told and retold over the centuries, and the fact that this was given a modern touch by Thorne is, indeed, commendable, but the way it was done, and as USA Today clearly says, was a flawed masterpiece!

I am not saying Interstellar is a bad movie, but if you go to theaters with pop-corn and Coke, so you could later palaver your uninterested friends with jargonistic scientific ideas, and tell people that they should watch the movie not once, but twice to truly understand it, this is what I tell, with a lot of misgivings:

A director’s job is to tell a story, not confuse the audience with one!

And I am not even mentioning Kamal Hassan’s name here.

J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy Meets BBC One

Movie Review

When it comes to describing one of her characters’ over-grown belly, this is how J K Rowling writes:

“…great apron of stomach fell so far down in front of his thighs that most people thought instantly of his penis when they first clapped eyes on him, wondering when he had last seen it. How he washed it, how he managed to perform any of the acts for which a penis is designed.”

When I first read The Casual Vacancy, I gaped at these words in horror and I could actually feel Rowling’s pent up feelings of being caught writing Children’s novels for over a decade. May be, she went a little overboard, – many women in the UK bought this book for their underage children thinking that it’d be just another teen novel – but what I loved about the novel was way beyond these R-Rated references littered throughout the book.

Now that BBC One and HBO together are producing the mini-series movie version of this book of about three episodes, I cannot sit back and wait for it to happen. Not just because I am over excited and can’t wait for the movie to come about, but also how they are going to manage to pull off the onscreen versions of the complicated characters that Rowling presented in her book. Here’s a list of reasons why some of her characters are damn near impossible to be recreated onscreen.

But before that, I’ve got to say, casting of Michael Gambon, a BAFTA award winner, was a breather. Look at the old guy catching up with a brew on the sets of The Casual Vacancy, and also, if you are wondering, it is Gambon’s penis Rowling’s talking about, but the Harry Potter actor has a reputation for not reading the entire novel even after being cast.

Actors seen on set for the filming of J K Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy'


So back to the list of things we were talking about.

The entire book is based on characters going through emotional rides connected to a single event: Barry Fairbrother’s death. Rowling brilliantly moves the story revealing her characters one by one, not forgetting to leave her own signature way of describing their appearances with her brilliant metaphors. Her critiques, however, say these characters are slowly paced and are lacking in diversity. Telegraph openly stated that Rowling is only interested in admirable high-class of the society. I wonder why, though, having read many of her emotionally and economically deprived characters such as Krystal Weedon. (Again I cannot help admire her choice of names.)

 So, the list, yeah! But before that: I cannot emulate my writings to repress those critiques’ well-structured crap, but all I can say is looking at a art or piece of work based on its end result would be unwise, if one is concerned about pursuing a career as a critic.

  1. Samantha Mollison:  I liked this character simply because of her snide sarcasm. At the same time, she’s a caring mother and a wife, but is caught up with some hormone-driven thoughts, although she’s old enough to ward them off. Every human being has a part of her inside, and it’d be a challenge for the directors to cast her and pin her to the super fast screenplay. (I’m making a guess, because adapting a 800-paged novel to three-hour movie would take some sleepless nights and hallucinogenic shrooms.)
  2. Vikram Jawanda: This character stays closest to my heart as this represents most of Indian men – not on the physical attractiveness side, but because they stay out of trouble at all cost. Again Telegraph says that Rowling is in love with “admirable sikhs.” Jawanda, although doesn’t play a significant role, spices up the story.
  3. Colin “Cubby” Wall: One of the most thought out characters of the story. He is disgruntled with his own son, but at the same time enjoys being in spotlight whether it’s ridicule or praise. Wall knows everyone secretly hates him, but still tries to win someone’s heart. 
  4. Krystal Weedon: She’s the only cliché in the novel, but she’s well thought out and made to react to situations. Rowling brings a vivid picture of urban London dangling in front of your eyes, with this one character. 
  5. Stuart “Fats” Wall: One of the most complex and dynamic characters of the book. He represents a typical teenager with need that are still unsatisfied. He disrespects his father, and by making him do so, Rowling captures the essence of a typical teenager. Brian Vernel is cast to play the role of Fats Wall and here’s a picture of him:
Cast for Fats Wall: Brian Vernel

Cast for Fats Wall: Brian Vernel

In an essence, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a character as holy good or holy bad which makes them very hard to recreate. The dynamism the characters go through throughout this book is brilliantly vibrant and demands great deal of focus and strength from the actors. 

Rowling has managed to write a masterpiece; it’s not up to BBC One to take up the challenge.