Archive for the ‘ Movies! ’ Category

Dollars Trilogy 3: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1969)

All right, time for the biggie now! The good, The Bad and The Ugly is the last part of the trilogy and definitely the best one. I would even go on to say that this is a movie of epic proportions. A grand stage for Sergio Leone to show his skills at making a perfect spaghetti western. There is no scope for any criticisms for this movie, everything is spot on. The movie is about three men after a huge sum of money and their journey which is intertwined with skirmishes with others and amongst themselves. All come up to one last three way gunfight between the three in a huge graveyard where they find the money. The story is much stronger and not as straight forward as we are used to see in a western. It keeps you glued to the screen an you never know which way it will go. I am not saying that its a top notch on edge of your seat thriller, i am just saying that it is one of the most thrilling westerns ever made and perhaps the best ever western.

Clint Eastwood(The Good) and Lee Von Cliff(The Bad) go on from where they left in For a Few Dollars More, they both play their roles to perfection, But it is Eli Wallach(The Ugly) who steals the show hands down. He plays the role of a crooked outlaw Tuco and he does portray the character wickedly enough. The best part is that even though they are supposed to be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, there is no clear demarcation as such. All of them are just after money and care about nothing else but the money. Clint Eastwood does show glimpses of good side when he helps the dying army captain and fulfills his wish, but on the other hand he does wrong Eli Wallach in the first half, and again he is not your straight forward humbling cowboy hero who wont shoot first and follow the law. Similarly Eli Wallach is indeed the most wicked among the three but he can be considered on the brink of the bad as well as the good as well besides he is the funniest. Lee Von Cliff although is never shown deviating from his definition of The Bad, he is as menacing as a villain could be, but in a cool, calm and deadly way. He is not going to shout out loud or laugh like Gabbar but he will eat you alive with his stare but again he is shown as a man of principles, who will not deter from his job come what may.

Well, if you ask me what is the best part about the movie, you would be putting me into a lot of trouble, I really can’t pick anything without leaving behind the rest of it. But after pushing my teeny tiny brain to its absolute limits and cursing you countless times in between, I would have to say it is a tie between Eli Wallach’s portrayal of Tuco and the music. The music is so good that you still here it at a lot of places (and it has been abused in almost a 100 Bollywood movies i suppose). Ennio Morricone at his absolute best.
Rating: “Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco.” so you better go and watch(and like) this movie or your days are over outta 10!

Dollars Trilogy 2: For a Few Dollars More (1965)

Ok, this brings us to the second installment of the Dollars trilogy. The man with no name is back, this time as a bounty hunter. All the characteristic are exactly the same. He competes with another bounty hunter who took the profession after retiring from the army. Both of them are after the reward for a gang of outlaws headed by a dreaded leader Indio. They join their forces down the line to eliminate the gang and get the reward. There is also a slight twist in the end as Colonel has some hidden motives as well. Like all other westerns it has simple story and a stylish execution. Another great effort from Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, but Lee Von Cliff as Colonel Mortimer is an excellent addition to the cast. He does look cold blooded and a precise, calculating slayer.
The music and background score is better than Fistful of Dollars, and so is the direction. I think Sergio Leone improved with time and so did Ennio Morricone who has given some beautiful harmonica compositions here.

Rating: “Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared” and they will surely give you an adrenaline high outta 10.

Dollars Trilogy 1: A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

This was the first one of the trilogy to come out. The movie tells the story of “Joe” a drifter gunman who comes to an almost deserted town and finds out that the town is torn apart by the the old rivalry between two powerful families and the only flourishing job is that of the undertaker.
Joe then uses his brain and the skills with gun to play both the families against each other and ultimately getting the town rid of the troublemakers and earning a lot of money on the way. The movie also shows the good side of Joe when he frees a couple being held captive by one of the bad families.
The movie is slow at times, but still I like the way he directs gun fights. Sergio Leone has the habit of building up the scenes, with long shots of people staring at each other with nice music playing in the background. Well, thats what western movies are about and I totally enjoyed the gun fights in the climax of this one. The background score is pretty cool and exciting which gives the finishing touch to the scenes. The only problem with the movie is that the story is very simple and straight, there is no guess work here, you know whats going to happen from the start itself.

Rating: “If a Man with a .45 fights a man with a rifle, the man with a pistol is a dead man!” Is it??? Nah, nay, never, the man with .45 always rocks outta 10 😉

Dollars Trilogy preface

Dollars trilogy is a set of three spaghetti western movies released during 1960’s directed by Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood as the lead in the role of The man with no name.
The movies are not related to each other in any way and all the three have different characters and story. But still they are considered as a trilogy only because of the characters played by Clint Eastwood in them. He plays different characters but the mannerisms, style, clothing etc are exactly the same in all three. ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ is the last movie in the set and is the most famous one.

Clint Eastwood as The man with no name brings to life a character which I always consider one of the greatest superheroes to ever appear in movies. You will have to see him to believe it. He is quick to draw as quick a snake will bite and he can shoot better than all the Olympic gold medalists, he is super cool even in the most terrifying situations, smokes cigarillos and smokes it in a way that it appears he is almost chewing it, he is laconic, speaking very rarely and very softly whenever he does.
Now I know I have been calling him a superhero thus far, but actually he played an anti-hero sort of role in all three movies. He is not a typical all good cowboy like in the other western movies, he will shoot first if required, he will kill men without flinching an eyebrow if he thinks he needs to do so and above all he is out there to earn money not for social service. But he does care about people in trouble and usually ends up helping them while earning the dollars.
Whatever Clint Eastwood does seems grand! The man has got amazing looks to go with an excellent voice and piercing eyes. He truly is the most stylish hero Hollywood has seen thus far.

Now about the ‘No Name’ part, He is called Joe, Monco and Blondie in the three movies respectively. But these are all nicknames given by some other character given to him in all the three movies. All the three names are very common nicknames. Eastwood never reveals his name in any of the movie himself. In The Good The Bad and The Ugly there is a scene where an army man asks him for his name while he was enlisting in the army but he is reluctant to answer and the scene is shifted to something else. So even though there is a nickname given to his character in the trilogy that is not his actual name and thus he is a Man with no name. 🙂

Ratatouille

I have always been a big fan of animated movies, they have amazingly intriguing stories with characters which are created using vivid colours but still leave the viewers to construe them with their figment of imagination. Sometimes I feel they are better than actual movies because they make you think, they take you on a journey, a fairy tale which a real movie never can.
Now there are different kinds of animations these days, some try to be ultra realistic, some are very basic and some like Ratatouille are the ones which deliberately are meant to look like animation but still make it ‘feel’ real with the things that matter, the characters, the story and music.
The animation in Ratatouille is beautiful in the sense that it makes you believe in the characters. The expressions, the voice overs and the music to support emotions makes the animated rats and people come alive. The movie is about Remy, hero of the movie who happens to be a rat. You can instantly feel attached to it. The movie tells the story of Remy becoming the top chef of Paris from a simple rat with an extraordinary ability to smell and taste. He does not eat anything like the rest in his clan, he understands the importance of the taste! Luck takes him to one of the best restaurants in Paris, Gusteau’s who had just passed away. Remy gets a chance to cook with the help of Linguini, Gusteau’s unknown child with a sub plot of the new Chef planning to take over the restaurant for himself.
The movies is full of emotions, every kind of them, it amuses you at times, it makes you laugh, it makes you feel sad, it can even make you cry(a feel good cry not a sad one), but above all it leaves you awed…
There are two scenes in the movie which are just magical, one where Remy explains how to feel different tastes and the amazing feeling you can have when you mix different types of flavors, another one when the food critic, Ego, eats the Ratatouille prepared by Remy. The latter was so intense and influential that I nearly dropped a tear! lol
OK, I might be a lil bit biased for this movie because I love food so much, but this does not makes any difference, this is one of the best movies ever made which reminds us what movies were made for, entertainment. I am waiting for Pixar to come up with a new movie which can beat this!

Rating: God!!! its soooooo yummy outta 10!

Memento

This is one movie which always fascinates me. I have watched it countless times and it still feels fresh whenever I watch it. The movie is about a guy having short term memory loss who is trying to find the killer of his wife with tattoos and Polaroid photos to help him remember things.

The movie stands out for excellent narrative and unique editing. I must say that Dody Dorn as an editor has created a classic. The concept was very difficult and complex to handle and he manages to make it successful. The direction was pretty tight and the movie is always moving at a fast pace. This was the third movie from Christopher Nolan who went on to make a few very good movies after this one including Insomnia, Batman Begins, Prestige and DARK KNIGHT.
Although I rate Dark Knight as a top notch movie in itself but i can not rate this one any less than Dark Knight. This one should be used as an example in editorial and direction courses in film institutes. The characters are very well defined and disguised at the same time. Guy Pearce moves into the lead role pretty easily and naturally. The story is very intriguing and keeps you hooked onto the screen making even the blinking of eyes annoying.

The ending was amazing and shocking, I was not able to predict the ending at all until it hit me in my face! The tension, the complex story, and the reverse flow of the movie makes it what it is, a modern classic which can be said one of the best thrillers of the decade so far.

Rating: FIND IT, WATCH IT!

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Came across this little beauty during my current “stock-em-up before the laptop goes away” campaign. Its a stop motion animation and was something new to me. Stop motion is not as glossy as the Pixar or Disney animations but it has its own charm.
This is a story about the struggle of a fox with the family life and his craving to go back to his ‘wild animal’ days of raiding farms for livestock while singing Born to be wild. The story takes a turn when he tries to relive his old life and causes problems for a whole bunch of animals who blame him for putting them in trouble. Now he has to deal with the big problems in form of three villainous farmers while also dealing with his son’s insecurities, scoldings of his wife and a whole lot of other obstacles on the side.
The premise lies in the question that how would he defeat all this like a true hero that he is and come out on the top.
It has a very good script which is executed equally well. It is a fun comedy throughout and references western movies and thrillers in a big way!
Seeing the references of westerns took me by surprise, although it worked like a charm.
I would recommend this for a nice light watch for pure entertainment.
7.5/10 for me!