Catch-22

Catch-22

Rating: 3/4 (Stretched, but hilarious)

Take a sane US Air Force bombardier named Yossarian and put him in the middle of World War II at a tiny island base called Pianosa in Italy. Surround him with people who are almost insane and trash up his life with inane bureaucratic hurdles. What results is Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, a book which is both maddening and brilliant. This is a book which I cannot even describe because there are no words for it. It is a comical insane trip for the mind, at the same time being thought fodder on the current state of the world.

Catch-22 was not an easy read. I almost gave up after the first 100 pages or so, not being able to see where the story was going. In fact, what I had to really do was to just keep reading and to let the extreme sarcasm and insanity of the book to sink in. The book is too long for its subject and the circular logic of Catch-22 in the dialogues are just too many and I felt that it spoils the reading. The last few chapters (starting with The Eternal City) get pretty serious and culminates in a happy ending for poor Yossarian. An escape for him from the asylum.

In case you were wondering what is Catch-22 …

Within the book, catch-22 is a military rule, the circular logic of which most notably prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions:

  • One may only be excused from flying bombing missions on the grounds of insanity;
  • One must assert one’s insanity to be excused on this basis;
  • One who requests to be excused is presumably in fear for his life. This is taken to be proof of his sanity, and he is therefore obliged to continue flying missions;
  • One who is truly insane presumably would not make the request. He therefore would continue flying missions, even though as an insane person he could of course be excused from them simply by asking.

(from Wikipedia)

Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday

Rating: 4/4 (Hepburn in a romantic classic!)

Thanks to a friend at work who is a movie classics fan, I am getting to watch all sorts of old movies. He handed me a VCD of Roman Holiday this week. This B&W movie stars Gregory Peck as an American reporter named Bradley and Audrey Hepburn as a royal named Princess Ann. Ann is on a long visit to Europe and Rome is her last stop. Tired of days full of formal royal events she runs out of her Roman embassy. She meets Bradley and stays at his room. Both of them lie about their real identities. Bradley learns about her identity and wants to milk the situation to get an exclusive interview on her. They go around Rome, enjoying the various places and people. At the end of the day, Ann decides to return to her place since her country is worried that she is missing. And they both realize that they have actually fallen in love.

Audrey Hepburn looks and acts great in the movie, she is especially endearing after she gets her short haircut. She won an Oscar for her role in this movie. The movie ending is uncomplicated, and I liked that. A good romantic classic, though a bit on the lengthier side.

Top Gun

Top Gun

Rating: 4/4 (Thrilling aerial dogfights, great music and Kelly McGillis. Need I say more?)

I thought that it had been some time since I last saw it, so caught up with Top Gun again. This is a movie I could watch many more times. Young Tom Cruise looking his smashing best, beautiful Kelly McGillis and fighter planes: a heady mix! 🙂

Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Iceman (Val Kilmer) are competitors at Top Gun, the top fighter pilot school in the USA. Kelly is the civilian instructor at the school whom Maverick falls in love with (she actually looks way older than Tom Cruise in the movie). Maverick stays true to his name in flight and fight, dangering all those around him. His navigator Goose dies in a plane engine failure that Maverick blames on himself. But when enemies attack and duty calls, Iceman and Maverick deliver the goods with a neat plane combat. The background music in the movie is excellent. Filled with thrilling fighter plane dogfights, I love this movie!

Love Actually

Love Actually

Rating: 2/4 (Too many stories, too many people and too much bad music)

How many personal stories can you compress into a single romantic movie? Love Actually tries to set a record with 10. I caught the movie on TV today and it was a choc-a-bloc full of big name actors. Everyone from Hugh Grant to Liam Neeson to Emma Thompson. The story is set in UK (a non-US movie for a change!) and follows the 5 weeks leading to Christmas in the lives of 10 or so people. One is the UK Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is starting to love his young chubby assistant. Another is a lonely writer who is attracted to his house cleaner. Another is a nerdy boy who thinks he can get gals if he travels to the US (and in the end he does!). Yet another is a middle aged guy whose marriage is teetering on the edge of an extramarital affair. And some more like that. All of these people will come together for a common ending come Christmas Day, but will they find their loves?

The movie is supposed to be a romantic comedy, but there isn’t much comedy here. But there is lots of sugary romance, hugging and kissing. Too much in fact, that it would make any Bollywood director proud. The background music is full of pop songs and jars badly with the moods onscreen. Also, the whole point of the movie gets lost with all those stories which have no relation to one another. Nothing great here, just a good watch.