Thursday, July 07, 2005

Wayside Passion

I saw two really varied movies this week, after getting hands of them a little later than I had hoped. Here goes.

The Passion of the Christ
I like controversial movies. They catch my attention and pique my curiosity. I first read about this movie in a writeup in Time magazine while it was being shot. On the cover, it seemed like a good idea. A movie shot entirely in Aramaic (in which the word for father seems to be Abba, Urdu influence perhaps, or maybe even vice-versa) and directed by Gibson (I disliked his Patriot, but the Braveheart remains a movie I like immensely), this movie seemed to be the perfect fodder for controversy. You just got a Christian president while Jews were up protesting the Anti-Semitism that was potentially a feature of the movie. All the relevant groups had been engaged. Cut to the movie. The movie deals with the last 12 hours of Christ leading upto his crucifixion. Now, I am not a Christian and while I am familiar with the story, it wasn't so integral to me that I wouldn't be able to watch this movie objectively. So how is the movie? Well, it is filled with mind-numbing violence. Christ gets beaten up from the start to the end of the movie. Given the amount of bruises he suffers, I even wonder how he survives till the crucifixion. There is very little dialogue, music is ok and there is extra emphasis on the slo-mo shots. Is this a movie for our times? Is the director trying to tell us that given the exposure to violence that we have on TV and movies, his way of telling us that Christ's suffering surpasses all others is to show it in the most graphic manner possible? Perhaps. If the message is to emphasize Christ's sacrifice, it somehow got lost in the way. You do have the most famous quotes from Bible popping up all over the place, so you can identify in part with what's going on. I would recommmend this movie if you are an avid movie-watcher, else skip it.

Sideways
This was one of the most talked about movies last year. A low budget movie with no known stars, this movie got 5 nomimations at the Oscars. A movie about two friends spending a week in wine country as they go through their mid-life crisis, this movie is steeped in humor and skillful characterizations. Directed by Alexander Payne (About Schmidt), this movie takes you on an unexpected ride and has depth in its conetnt if you pay attention. A failed novelist Miles, is the best man for his friend Jack's wedding. He takes Jack, a former soap star, to a trip into the wine-country of California. The contrasting characters of the depressed and negative Miles and the horny Jack throw up a volatile cocktail when two women enter the mix. From there on, the movie is an amalgamation of witty, charming and insightful moments that lead to a satisfying climax. Of the performances, Paul Giammati's acting stands out. He sinks into the character neck deep and comes out triumphant. This is not a classic in my books, but is definitely a must-watch.

A recent post by Geetanjali about a blogger's meet in Bombay made me rue the missed opportunity there. Nonetheless, how about a Seattle based blogger's meet? Just a thought. Will have to see responses to consider that possibility

9 comments:

aparna said...

Yeah, loved Sideways :-)

RTD2 said...

I think the point of "The passion.." was exactly that..to show what kind of suffering Jesus bore for us "sinners". I think the suffering could NOT have been better conveyed, but again, as a non-Christian, I don't think it was a great film. For every Christian I know (which is 80% of the people I know!) it is a wonderful movie.
Sideways and Napoleon Dynamite and Garden State are movies I tend to think are funny in a post-hoc, talking about it to others way. (Especially ND.) I did think the scene in the end (when Miles goes to get the wallet) was HILARIOUS!

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog...will surely visit more regularly now. keep writing ...

From Venus.

Meenal Mehta said...

hey , I have seen both ..I wasnt able to make sense of Passion of the Christ ..it was too talked about and for what ...detailed shot by shot torture of Christ ..Blood and gore is all I recount ..and that Jim Caviezel was a good fit for the role

Sideways ...loved it

BLOGGERS MEET sounds like a great idea ..

Jayesh said...

Did you manage to catch Sarkar?

Parth said...

Nope Jayesh. Not yet. Will have to wait a couple of weeks for that. Am looking forward to it definitely

phucker said...

Saw Sideways, and loved it. I can actually relate to Paul Giammati's character somewhat. Hee hee. I didn't like Napoleon Dynamite at all though. When the movie ended, I figured I must be missing something - otherwise the movie just depressed me horribly, as it sort of made me relive my worst fears. Being stuck in the middle of Idaho (or was it Iowa, I forget), dealing with chickens and drinking eggs (shudder).

Anand said...

A Seattle Blogger's meet is a good idea. Did you just volunteer for it?

Shiva said...

You guys shd do a Seattle meet. We in the DC area met for a DC-Desi Bloggers meet and it was terrific fun.. All of us had posted about it here.