Breakfast At Tiffany's

Saw the Audrey Hepburn starrer Breakfast At Tiffany’s last weekend. Paul, a failed writer moves into a NYC apartment and discovers his cheerful downstairs neighbour Holly. Holly is a drifter from Texas. She has no real work and spends her days throwing parties, drinking and searching for a rich guy to marry. A friendship develops between Holly and Paul which blossoms into love. Inspired, Paul also restarts his writing. But, Holly really isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. Is Holly really in love with him or is she still in love with riches?

This movie is based on a novella by Truman Capote and is quite famous and successful. The novella might have been good, but I found the movie to be quite disappointing. For the most part, it was boring and pointless. George Peppard (playing Paul) is good, but Audrey isn’t. If you can survive until the end (which I did since I didn’t have anything better to do), the climax is nice-n-romantic. The saving grace of the movie is its dreamy theme song Moon River. The song got an Oscar.

In case you’re wondering about the catchy movie title, Tiffany’s is a jewellery store in NYC, Holly loves this store and in the opening scene of the movie she eats her breakfast looking into the store’s windows.

Solaris

Saw the movie Solaris last weekend. This sci-fi movie is a remake of the 1972 classic of the same name (I haven’t seen this version). Both are based on the sci-fi novel of the same name written by Stanislaw Lem. The movie is set in the future. Kelvin (George Clooney) is a psychologist who has lost his wife he loved very much. He is called upon to investigate some strange things happening on a space station rotating around a star named Solaris. Once he lands on it, he discovers that most of the crew have killed each other or themselves. Only 2 of them are left. One of them Dr. Gordon is trying to find the cause of the strange visitors on this space station. Kelvin soon gets his own visitor — his deceased wife appears in flesh and blood. And he falls in love with her all over again. Why/how is Solaris creating these visitors from the memories in human minds? Who really are these visitors?

Solaris is a thoughtful movie. Visually it is very similar to 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are stretches of silence, the visuals are exquisite and the background music is haunting at times. The movie questions human relationships and the existence of divine beings. Strangely this topic fits snugly into the sci-fi environment of Solaris. Remember the interpretation-left-to-viewer ending of 2001? Something like that except that it is easy to figure it in this movie.

I liked the movie. Some of the flashback scenes (in the rain, shopping etc.) of Kelvin and his wife are very romantic and sensual though they are set in such sterile surroundings. Clooney is simply fabulous as the cool headed psychologist. There are nice little twists at the end.

The Terminal

The Terminal had been on my to-watch list for a long time now after I read about the guy who has been actually stuck in an airport for years. Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a guy from the (fictional) country Krakozhia. As soon as Viktor lands in JFK airport, a coup happens in his home country and his passport is invalidated. He is left stranded in the airport with no option to either get out to America or to return back home. The film follows him through his next 9 months (!) in the airport. He slowly learns English, makes friends with the airport staff and even falls in love with an airhostess (Catherine Zeta-Jones). All ends well, when after months, his country’s government returns to normalcy and he is allowed to go back home.

The movie is directed by Spielberg. Tom Hanks is good in the movie. His East European accent is enjoyable. Catherine Zeta-Jones looks charming. The movie is fun, but comes off as a tad unreal in many places.

Amadeus

I saw the movie Amadeus over the weekend. It’s about the life of composer Mozart and is based on the play of the same name written by Peter Shaffer. The story is narrated by composer Salieri who was the court composer at Vienna when Mozart appeared there. Mozart is shown as a musical child prodigy. In his teens he is already composing operas. Salieri is eager to see this talented man, but is disappointed when he discovers the boorish and vulgar behaviours of Mozart. He is not able to believe that such immense talent is trapped in a body prone to such behaviour. Disappointed with his own mediocrity, from then on he starts to plot to destroy Mozart. But, Mozart continues to churn out prodigious works, one after another and becomes famous. In the end, Mozart dies of drinking and overwork while working on his Requiem.

This movie is a delight on the ears. You are treated to Mozart’s compositions continuously in the background either directly referring to something in the movie or just to setup the mood. The louder pieces are simply fabulous to listen to. Salieri’s acting (played by F. Murray Abraham) is excellent. The costumes are over the top though. The movie is really long at 2.5+ hours, but I didn’t get bored at any moment since I knew zilch about Mozart’s life. The movie raked in 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Actor, Director and Sound.

October Sky

My favorite movie!!!

This weekend I got hold of October Sky and watched it again and again and again. This has been my favorite movie since the time I caught it on HBO one late night when I was an undergrad. Based on a true story, it is about 4 boys in a coal mine town in America in the late 1950s. After the Russians launch their Sputnik artificial satellite in 1957, Homer Hickam is inspired to build a rocket. The boys in this town have only 2 options — a lucky few will go to college on football scholarships and the rest become coal miners. Homer is inspired by Miss Riley, his Physics teacher to pursue his rocketry hobby so that he and his friends can participate in the National Science Fair and try for a Science scholarship into college. What follows is one of the most goosebumpy, emotional journeys I’ve ever experienced on-screen. The end result doesn’t actually matter, it turns out that the people around Homer matter the most. The movie ends with a memorable short of the 4 boys as they are today. The movie is based on the book Rocket Boys written by Homer Hickam.

For me, October Sky is a brilliant movie. A true story that is very very inspirational. Excellent camerawork, heart tugging violin background music (man the music by Mark Isham really moves the emotions in this movie!), good acting and superb direction. The movie abounds in metaphors (for example, Homer going down the mine shaft as Sputnik streaks across the sky). I don’t know if this movie will appeal to all, but it is my most favorite movie to this day. I absolutely love this movie and connect with it at all levels. The best stories are human. This movie is a testament to that.

If there is one movie I can recommend for you, this is the one.

Trivia: October Sky is an anagram of Rocket Boys.

The Animatrix

I saw The Animatrix again. This is a collection of 9 animated short films in the Matrix setting. Some of the stories for the films are written by the Wachowski brothers themselves. The animations are all by Japanese anime people. Both the stories and the animations are brilliant. This is way better than the disappointing The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (this one was a joke!).