October 27, 2008

The Top 5 Bond Themes

As the wait for Bond 22, Quantum of Solace, enters its final phase, I decided to listen to all the 22 themes again and list out, what I feel, are the top 5 Bond themes. A word of caution though, the major criterion for judging is how well the song stands up on its own. I don't really care for the big Bond sound many critics harp about, all I care about is whether or not I like the song. So, in essence, I'm judging the song, and not how well it sticks up to past stereotypes. So, here goes....

#5 A View to a Kill (Duran Duran, 1985, from A View to a Kill)
The song's peppy, even though it sounds really jaded now. The lyrics make decent enough sense. And, it's the only Bond theme ever to make it to the #1 spot on the American pop charts.

#4 Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney & Wings, 1973, from Live and Let Die)
Macca's voice is divine, his piano bridge inspirational, and the guitar work really foot tapping. It's downright melodious with lots of great percussion work. It's the only Bond theme to have been covered by the great Guns N' Roses. Enough, to make this one Bond theme I adore.

#3 On Her Majesty's Secret Service (John Barry Orchestra, 1969, from On Her Majesty's Secret Service)
This is John Barry's melodious masterpiece. This is only the third instrumental piece in Bond history to be used as the main title theme. And, it is easily the best of the three. The foreboding love theme really goes well with the overall tone of the movie, which introduced us to a new Bond in the highly underrated George Lazenby. Brilliant. Really.

#2 The World is not Enough (Garbage, 1999, from The World is not Enough)
Shirley Manson's seductive voice acts as the perfect foil for David Arnold's sweeping symphonics. Manson's band mates gel in well to make this song an almost perfect mix of strings, voice and lyrics. Add to that a hummable theme, and you have the number 2 song on the list.

#1 You Know My Name (Chris Cornell, 2006, from Casino Royale)
Widely considered as the second worst Bond theme (the first being the immensely forgettable Another Way to Die) by the Bond puritans, I consider this to be the best theme ever. The stuffy and prudish puritans underestimate the raw power of Cornell's voice, which gelled in really well with the gritty tone of the movie. They fail to appreciate the cold lyrics, and the highly symphonic theme, which, in many ways, is a precursor to the Monty Norman/John Barry Bond theme.

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New Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince trailer

In a move, which I believe, has been taken to quell some of the anti-Potter sentiment, Warner Bros has released a new, really slick Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince trailer. Check it out....

The movie comes out on July 17, 2009, after it was pushed back by more than 6 months.

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October 18, 2008

Sherlock the Tramp

I just happened to stumble upon some set pics from Guy Ritchie's upcoming Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.

Who/what is that? Elementary, my dear Watson. That, is Robert Downey dressed up as Holmes. Now, call me weird or what you may, but THAT, to me, looks more like Charlie Chaplin than Holmes. I mean purple jacket and multi colored waistcoat? Sure the Joker was a hit wearing that, but this is Holmes for Pete's sake! Still, I'll give those involved the benefit of the doubt, considering how I don't know the context of the scene being filmed.
Watson, on the other hand, looks more like the Watson of yore, though a bit on the young side...

For more pics of Downey Jr as Holmes, click here.

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October 11, 2008

Hello (Hindi)

Our Rating: 0.25
Yahoo India Movies: 4

Starring: Sharman Joshi, Gul Panag, Sohail Khan, Amrita Arora, Isha Koppikar, Sharat Saxena, Dilip Tahil.
Director: Atul Agnihotri.

And I thought Chetan Bhagat's One Night @ The Call Center would make a good movie. After all, it had everything packed into it-from love, to deceit, to a gripping storyline-all with a pinch of the spiritual. Coffee-book spirituality, as I put it. But then, out came this movie, and a friend dragged me along for it. And...SHIT!!! This is by far the most atrociously bad movie I have ever seen. The screenplay (by Atul Agnihotri and Chetan Bhagat, himself) is jerkier than a ride on an Agra by-lane, the music by Sajid-Wajid is only melodious to deaf ears, and the acting is just blah...
The story, in a nutshell, revolves around a group of call center employees, each bashed up by life in someway, who one night, get a call from God. So, you have Shyam (a below par Sharman Joshi) and Priyanka (hammy Gul Panag), ex-lovers who are trying to now co-exist in the same office space; Esha (Isha Koppikar, in the worst get up in movie history), a wannabe model and victim of the casting couch (oops, that was a spoiler. Go back, and try not to read that last line); Vroom aka Varun (Sohail Khan, trying and falling on his bum too hard), the cool dude who's after Esha; Radhika (whiny Amrita Arora), a sati-savitri whose hubby dear (Arbaaz Khan) is cheating on her; and 'Military Uncle' (Sharat Saxena, bringing all his 'acting talent' to the fore), a grandpa trying to connect with his grandson by sending him pics of apes. Thrown into this is the double-crossing boss, Bakshi (played VERY loudly by Dilip Tahil), some very cheesy songs (one of which, also features, for no apparent reason, the cheating hubby dear) and the Sharman-Gul 'steamy' scene, which is actually much ado about nothing. Really, the Censor Board should show much more maturity, and stop creating such a furore about such idiotic things.
Oh, and, how can I forget the cameo-ing couple? Salman Khan, though hogging every hoarding in sight, has a 2 minute bit role, cameo-ing as himself, and looking older than my great grandfather. Katrina Kaif, as the narrator/God, looks divine, but even in the bit role she has, can't act for nuts.
Overall, this is such forgettable fare, that miss it at any cost. If a friend insists on dragging you along (like was the case with me), say sorry, and kill that 'friend'. Oh, and, if you ever happen to meet Mr Atul Agnihotri, please, please convince him to give up filmmaking...

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October 8, 2008

The Best Actors Working Today

Even Rob Schneider can act. Sometimes, that is. But what really makes an actor great? For me, it's all about subtlety. No over-the-top histrionics. Just those subtle nuances and character traits the good actors come up with for their roles. Oh, and of course, variety. Any actor can play the same kind of role over and over again, but the good ones can keep reinventing themselves to suit their role.
Keeping all this in mind, I decided to compile a list of who, I think, are the best actors in Hollywood right now. Some people might complain of a certain bias, but hey, I like them for the above mentioned reasons, and nobody has to agree with me. So, here goes....

#10 Jack Black
Now, a lot of people might be surprised to see his name pop up on this list. But then, he's one of the few (if not the only) actors, who can play quirky, eccentric characters better than Johnny Depp himself.

#9 Tom Hanks
When you can win back to back Oscars, you certainly can't be taken lightly. Add to that 3 other nominations, and you certainly are an amazing actor. Okay, so he was lambasted for his role as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code (lambasted by the critics, that is. Personally, I thought he was pretty good), but then, he's shown time and again just how good he is.

#8 Gary Oldman
That he can act is just an understatement. He can make honesty look like an exciting virtue (like in The Dark Knight), he can be a solid pillar of support (like in the Harry Potter series), and he can be the perfect anti-hero (Dracula, Sid & Nancy).

#7 Jack Nicholson
The only reason why he can play Jack Nicholson so effortlessly and effectively on screen everytime, is because he finds the character in him. All the character traits seem to come so naturally to him, that you begin to wonder whether he is actually acting, or being himself. Yeah, he ends up becoming bigger than the film sometimes, but as an actor, he is a complete natural.

#6 Edward Norton
Infamous for his constant meddling during the film making process (and sometimes hated by studios for that), Norton has shown time and again why he's considered to be such a good actor. From comic book hero to a reformed neo-Nazi, he's become each one of his roles. That he's been nominated for 2 Oscars just adds to his credentials.

#5 Brad Pitt
He's shown time and again that he's more than just Mr Pretty Boy. He can be funny, he can be brutal, he can be anything you want him to be. All while munching a sandwich or drinking coffee. Probably, one Oscar nomination, and zero wins, is the only area of his career he'd like to rectify....

#4 Ralph Fiennes
Sadly, the present generation will remember him only for his turn as Lord Voldemort, forgetting all about his glorious past roles like those in The English Patient, Spider and Schindler's List. His intense performances are what earn him a place on this list.

#3 Christian Bale
Long before he was Batman, he was noticed as an upcoming talent in Spielberg's Empire of the Sun. Even though he's come a long way since then, his great knack for investing himself completely in to his roles, and then delivering wonderfully subtle performances, hasn't diminished. To me, he's one of the best actors NOT to have won the Oscar. Hopefully, the Academy will finally give him their nod too...

#2 Russell Crowe
He beats up photographers, he throws things, and he doesn't look good. Recipe for disaster? Not when you have the range of Crowe. Only he can pull off a stunt as audacious as essaying the title and his arch rival in the same movie (in the upcoming Nottingham). From bumbling geniuses to cocky western baddies, he's played them all with equal believability.

#1 Johnny Depp
Known mostly for his eccentrically quirky characters (like Edward Scissorhands, Captain Jack Sparrow....), Depp has also shown that he can be amazing in sensitive dramas (like Finding Neverland) and mindless action flicks (like Once Upon A Time in Mexico). That he's been nominated for just 3 Oscars (and won none), is a matter of great shame, for he brings an amazing flair and believability to all his roles, no matter how weird they might be.

Other honorable mentions, in no particular order:

  • Matt Damon
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Liam Neeson
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • George Clooney
  • Hugo Weaving
  • Clive Owen
  • Robert Downey Jr
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Greg Kinnear

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October 6, 2008

Angels and Demons teaser poster

The teaser poster for the film adaptation of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons has been released. Directed by Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks reprising his role as Robert Langdon, the film is being projected as a sequel to The Da Vinci Code, in contrast with the book version, which was a prequel.The poster looks really ominous and mysterious. I really can't wait for the flick to be released now, especially because I really really liked The Da Vinci Code (the film), and consider the Angles and Demons story to be better than The Da Vinci Code story....

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October 2, 2008

"Another Way To Die" video

The video for the new Bond theme song, Another Way to Die, has been released. Clocking in at 4:25, the video doesn't feature much footage from the movie, save for a quick clip of Bond walking in the desert, which we also got to see in the trailer.

Though highly stylized and visually very spectacular, it does little to make me like the song. I hate Alicia Keys' overly bronzed look. I hate how White manages to sound like Keys (in fact, while listening to the song, I thought it was Keys singing certain sections, when actually it was White singing). And I hate just how little of the movie footage has been included in the song. Ugh...I hope the movie doesn't turn out to be as trashy as the theme!

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You Don't Mess with the Zohan

Our Rating: 3
Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Yahoo Movies Critics: C
Yahoo Movies Users: C+

Starring: Adam Sandler, Emmanuelle Chriqui, John Turturro.
Director: Dennis Dugan.

He's crass. He's crude. He's rude. He pats his genitals ever so often. He's a Mossad spy. He wants to be a hairdresser. He bangs every gal in sight. And, unabashedly so. He's funny. He's Zohan. And, everyone loves him. Or, comes to love him, eventually.
Forget everything everyone's ever told you about this movie. Forget everything the pretentious critics have said about this movie. For me atleast, it was a no-brainer. I like this flick, and am not ashamed to say it. Sure, the humor is below the belt, and largely centered on Zohan's genitals, and often slips into the juvenile. So what? Leave your brain behind at home, and you'll like this one. Watch it with a few of your no-brained friends, and you'll like it even more.
This movie doesn't teach us anything. It has no social mesage. It offers no solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict (except an extremely idiotic one, which was more of a joke than anything else). And, it doesn't pretend to do any of the above. It tries to be a moronic, entertaining, comedic ride, and it fares reasonably well on that count. Sure, it slips at a few places (like the half-baked romance track), but then, so do all movies.
Adam Sandler, though not in Big Daddy or 50 First Dates form, is quite reasonable as Zohan. One grouse against him, though, is the extremely weird accent he's put on. It is initially very difficult to understand a word of what he's saying. Nothing major, once you get used to his accent. Chriqui, looking splendid as always, is a mere prop. Clearly, this is Sandler's movie, and it feels like that too. Rob Schneider gives a really surprising performance. Really, I had no idea that guy could act, let alone give such a passable performance.
All in all, go into this movie with zilch expectations, a rat's mind and a couple of your friends, and you'll end up having a jolly good time...

Opening line, and some other little lines in the middle, unintentionally copied from Harsh Kumar...

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