Category Archives: Criticism

‘The Radiance of a Thousand Suns’ (new painting) + Thoughts on LP’s Latest Album

What you are about to read isn’t much of an essay or an album review. It’s simply a painting of mine and a few thoughts…

Change is rarely ever easily accepted. I’m sure you agree. Moving into a new house is hard, and it takes a while to call this new house your home. Switching schools is difficult for any kid. My grandfather still firmly believes that a broom is a more functional cleaning tool than a vacuum cleaner, only because he refuses to adapt to change. Heck, I still have trouble accepting 3-D.

The same can be said for artistic direction. You know, you acquaint a particular art style with a particular artist… and you might love this artist for that style. And then, when the artist decides to experiment a bit, to try out something different… you lose it. You condemn the artist for moving into new waters. You command the artist to return to his original style. You restrict him. Dear reader, when I say ‘you’, I do not necessarily mean you. You know who you are.

Changes in Superhero costumes between films or comics are always scorned upon. When movie directors dare to craft films of genres beyond those expected of them, you hear things like, ‘So-and-so should stick to so-and-so-genre’. If a horror author tries his hand at romance, well, you get the idea.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry. "I refuse to acknowledge some pop stars as artists. They refuse to grow. All their songs are the same, except for their lyrics. Now-a-days, even their lyrics are the same."

I believe an artist must be given room to change. To venture beyond his or her usual domains. Diversity is necessary for any artist. That’s why I refuse to acknowledge some pop stars as artists. They refuse to grow. All their songs are the same, except for their lyrics. Now-a-days, even their lyrics are the same.

Whoever you are, I’m sure you know of Linkin Park. You must know of their new album, ‘A Thousand Suns’. You might even know about how some fans hate their new style, criticizing their new sound, their new subject matter, their departure from their rock, nu-metal sound…

A quick mosey through some online blogs and forums showed me comments like ‘LP’s 1000 suns is diarrhea to my ears!!!’ and ‘R.I.P., LP!’ and ‘I don’t knoe if itz worth w8ing 4 3 more yrs for LPs next album!!!’. And a lot more. Boy.

I wasn’t a fan of LP before ‘A Thousand Suns’, so maybe I have no right to ask fans to accept LP’s new direction. I tried giving ‘Hybrid Theory’ a quick listen… I found it very I’m-a-pissed-off-teen-and-the-world-is-against-me-ish.

a thousand suns

'A Thousand Suns' Cover Art

A Thousand Suns’ inspires me. It creates bold, brilliant images in my head. It brought me to pages on the internet I wouldn’t normally read. It moved me. ‘A Thousand Suns’ isn’t just a collection of songs. It’s wholesome experience.

The album deals with themes of nuclear warfare, war in general, and uses quotes by various political personalities like Mario Savio, Martin Luther King Jr. and even Robert Oppenheimer.

Each song spins a different tale and tells a different story. The album doesn’t aim at dishing out catchy tunes and choruses for repeated radio play… it’s aim is evoking a mood, a sensation, in the listener. Linkin Park explains well in the booklet of the album, “We were not making an album… We asked ourselves: Were we all earnestly willing, more than ever before, to abandon the percepts of commercial ambition in pursuit of what we believe to be honest art?

I know the word of a seventeen year old movie buff isn’t much, but I’ll say they were willing. Or at least that’s what the end product shows.

This, here, is a painting I did, heavily inspired by ‘A Thousand Suns’.

A Thousand Suns Waiting for the end catalyst linkin park

'The Radiance of a Thousand Suns'; Heavily influenced and inspired by Linkin Park's 'A Thousand Suns'

Apart from ‘A Thousand Suns’, I was also inspired by the graphic novel and great film ‘Watchmen’. The towering blue Vishnu/Krishna in my painting reminds one of Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan. Also, notice the doomsday clock on the hourglass. It might appear to be a ‘Minutes to Midnight reference, but it’s actually a prominent symbol from ‘Watchmen’.

Feel free to comment below, be it on the writing or the art.

Cinematic Jackass, signing off…


Movie Review: STEP UP 3-D (2010)

Directed by Jon Chu
Starring Rick Malambri, Adam Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner

It seems to be a rule of the thumb that teen dance and music flicks have to follow certain guidelines and regulations. One of the main characters has to be nerdy or shy, only to undergo a dramatic transformation by the end of the film. The main characters just have to be reasonably attractive. There will be a villain having no motive in life but to bring down said main characters (and he might have one or two sidekicks to do his evil bidding). There will be misunderstandings and obstacles, causing the group of good guys to disband, only to be brought back together near the ending after a unanimous epiphany that they can’t do without each other. The guy will get the girl eventually (or vice versa, depending on who’s initially after whom), ending the whole film in a classy kiss. And most important; if there is a competition or something of the sort involved in the story: The Good Guys. Always. Win. ALWAYS.

Since these films, in most cases to say the least, are limited by these guidelines, there is no room for any uncertainty. There is no room for suspense. There is no room for guessing what’s going to happen next as you, quite surely, already know what’s going to happen. And as a result, there is no cause for interest or care.

‘STEP UP 3-D’ is almost excessively pedantic with the way it adheres to the clichés of its genre. There is not a single unpredictable bone in its skeleton. This is a story we’ve been told a hundred times before. I haven’t even seen the first two ‘Step Up’ films and I found the plot tiresome, and I’ve been told it’s more or less the same plot all over again.

Aside from being predictable, it’s emotionally immature. The characters aren’t the type of people that occupy the real world—no one in the real world is all-good or all-bad. In ‘Step Up 3-D’, the good-guys group ‘The Pirates’ consists of, well, all-good guys (except for those overly ambitious members who find their way to the all-bad team, ‘The Samurais’.)

There isn’t too much character depth. In fact, the film’s so shallow I don’t feel the need to start describing the characters as they’re all pretty boring. There’s the guy who has to give up dance, but secretly keeps at it (Moose). There’s the girl who is the guy’s just-best-friend, but she’s secretly in love with him (Camille). There’s the team leader who secretly loves filmmaking (Luke). There’s the girl who falls in love with the team leader (Natalie) (betrayals, however, break them apart… but obviously they end up together in the end. Remember the rule?)

But though the characters are boring, I found the actors to be pretty likable. There’s the young Adam Sevani playing Moose, who was pretty good and did the best he could with the material he was given. I enjoyed most of his scenes, and somehow instinctively rooted for him. Camille was played Alyson Stoner, a good young actress who needs to find films better than this one and the ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ flicks. Rick Malambri, who’s a good looking guy, plays Luke, and I see in him a lot of potential to take on more mature, dramatic roles. Sharni Vinson stars as Natalie, and she’s pleasant enough, and she’s eye-candy for all the panting boys too. I wonder, why aren’t the good guys ever ugly? Do you need to look good to be good? Why is that most of the good guys need to be gorgeous? Oh, I know why. Remember the rule?

And if you think the main characters are boring (This is the third time I’ve said that), the bad guys are infinitely more so. They are so excruciatingly uninteresting, they’re almost not even worth mentioning. In these films, they always are. All they wanna do is mess with the good guys. As I write this, I feel the words ‘protagonist’ and ‘antagonist’ would provide me with the air of a good writer more efficiently than ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’, but these characters are so poor they don’t even deserve those words.

By now, you’re thinking one of three things about me: 1. I’m an idiot for hating this awesome dance film. 2. I’m an idiot for judging a dance film based on its emotional power and story telling strengths. 3. I’m right.

If you’re thinking no. 1, you can stop reading right here. No. 2, keep reading, I will explain. No. 3, you’re my new best friend.

It might appear I didn’t like this film at all, but actually I did. Ignoring its major flaws, you’ll actually enjoy it. Why? The oh-so stunning visuals.

The dance sequences are absolutely spectacular. Their choreography is just solid. Some of the steps seemed to defy everything that Newton stated, and what’s more, I’m pretty sure it’s all real, un-aided by the digital touch. There was such an awesome, zestful energy throughout all of the dance sequences, and I was always in admiration of how much practice and dedication must’ve been poured into perfecting all the moves and coming out with those awesome visuals, if not much of a plot.

There were times when I felt the rival group was dancing better than the good-guys group, but what the heck, the good guys won anyways. Always. Remember the rule?

Most of the songs that accompanied the dances were hip-hop and pop, the kinds of song I eagerly avoid on the radio. However, I didn’t mind them here as the dances were superb. There came tiny points of time where I was passively, inattentively staring at the screen as they danced on, but that was only now and then.

If I had to pick out one dance sequence that had me smiling through and through, it wouldn’t be any of the competition rounds, it wouldn’t be the climax… it would be one sweet little sequence in which the two young to-be lovers Moose and Camille dance happily to a remix of Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers on one of the quainter streets of New York. (To know of my musical movie tastes is to know that I am in love with Gene Kelly’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ dance.) Adam Sevani and Alyson Stoner emulated Gene Kelly quite well, making what was one of the more charming sequences in the film. Oh, how could I forget. Just like a lot of Kelly’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ sequence, the whole sequence was carried on in one continuous shot!

While reviewing 3-D films, I generally review the entire film just like I would a 2-D one and then end with a tiny paragraph on how good (or rather bad) the 3-D was. I recommended very lightly the 3-D version of the overhyped ‘Avatar’. I told people to watch the excellent ‘Up’ and the wonderful ‘Coraline’ in 2-D rather than in 3-D. I told people not to watch ‘A Christmas Carol’ regardless of the D’s. And yet, I find myself in an unprecedented position… I find myself recommending to you nothing less than the 3-D version of this film. Watch this film with the glasses on or don’t watch it at all. I’ve seen a great many 3-D films, and I can say that I haven’t seen it used more effectively than in this film.

Normally, 3-D is distraction from the plot, but seeing as this film hasn’t one, that wasn’t a problem. And normally, the 3-D effect wears off ten to twenty minutes into the movie, but not here. There are always the awesome dances to remind you of the 3-D, and that’s not a bad thing. Bubbles, dust, splashing water, party confetti, laser lights, all are utilized to great effect. Who’d have know a group of teenagers dancing on a stage would be more effective than blue motion-captured aliens riding flying creatures?

Do I recommend this film to you? I’m not really sure. If you liked the first two, I reckon you’d love this. I read online it’s got better critical reviews than the first two. If you hate dance movies, I don’t see why you’d need to watch this, save for the choreography and the 3-D.

Before I’m accused of spoiling the movie for you by revealing that they win the competition at the end and that the guys get the girls, let me remind you: you were already supposed to know all that. Remember the rule?

– Cinematic Jackass, signing off 🙂


On INCEPTION’s BIGGEST Plot Hole


IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN INCEPTION, STOP READING BECAUSE:

A. You’d rather catch a cab and get to the nearest theatre to watch it!

B. The article below contains several spoilers.

My Favorite 'Inception' Poster

C. If you haven’t seen it, it won’t make much sense anyway.

I’ve written over and over on this blog that I’m a great admirer of Christopher Nolan’s latest film ‘Inception’. I wrote that it’s “one of the best sci-fi films I have ever seen. It’s a technical masterpiece, with its brilliant special effects and visuals, and a masterwork of editing and concept. The film is an extraordinary one, and that’s an adjective I use very selectively.”

Those statements of mine are subject to opinion… you may have liked it, you may have hated it. However, you cannot deny the fact that it is one of the most talked about films in recent memory.

People keep explaining their theories, debating them out, and watching and re-watching that film over and over again. “The top keeps spinning,”. “No, it stops. You can hear a toppling sound.” “The part in Mombasa has to be a dream!”. “No, it’s impossible. Someone is ‘incepting’ Cobb himself!”. “Who’s dream are they in during that scene?”. “Isn’t that kick thing wrong at the climax?”… It’s a film so mesmerizing and so high-concept, it’ll be debated over and restudied for years to come.

Who'd have know a tiny little top would create such a ruckus?

Did Cobb’s totem, the top, really fall over? Yes, some say. It is said you can hear the sound of the top topple as the screen cuts to black at the end. I’ve caught the film thrice on the big screen, but I’m quite sure I heard no such sound. Some others say that the top does keep spinning. Sure, it wobbles a bit, but it keeps spinning, they say.

And then they question; “How come the children are wearing the same clothes? How come they haven’t aged? It’s obviously a dream!” (To these claims, I say, “The girl is wearing slightly different clothes, and there are two pairs of children listed in the cast of the film, implying the children are supposed to have appeared older in the last shots).

An English teacher of mine, another huge fan of the film, told me she heard there was an after-credits scene in which the top confusion would probably be resolved. I waited for seven minutes after the screen cut to black… nothing; no after-credits scene.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, 'the most skilled extractor'

Since the film takes place in the world of dreams and involves characters going layers and layers in and out of labyrinthine dreams, you can never be too sure about any theories. There’s limitless possibilities. The whole thing might be a dream, just the scenes after Cobb’s sedation test with Yusuf might be dreams, Cobb might still be in limbo, the whole thing might be reality. You never know, do you? That’s the special thing about Nolan’s films… while other blockbusters tend to over-explain their ideas, Nolan literally ‘incepts’ the audience. And, like they say in the film, an idea can grow, and it can grow differently in different individuals

I’d like to believe Cobb’s awake and very well in the real world. But then again, that’s what I’d like to believe. I’m not too sure. And contrary to my initial beliefs, repeat viewings only opened up new ideas; they didn’t resolve my confusions. Perhaps that’s what Nolan had in mind when he littered the film with a plethora of plot possibilities.

Apart from trying to figure out the ‘absolute’ meaning of the film (it’s likely there isn’t one), the online community is scrutinizing and dissecting the film and publishing lists of ‘Inception Goofs and Plot Holes’. Having read quite a few pages claiming to find mistakes in the film, I find that most of these pages are mistakes themselves. Some of the so-called mistakes are ridiculously identified. Some find that Saito being so old in Limbo, while Cobb is so young, is a goof. Some claim that Fischer not recognizing Saito is a goof. These are NOT goofs, and I don’t think I’m going to take the trouble to explain why.

On Facebook, I came across an application: ‘The Ten Stupid Mistakes of Inception.’ I was expecting something a bit juicier than, “In the scene where Yusuf is introduced, a gray cat is seen investigating a large jar behind him. In subsequent shots the cat both disappears and reappears.” All ten of those goofs were petty continuity errors and the like. All movies have continuity errors, so that was a very redundant list.

Okay, I’ve ranted enough. Let’s get to what I’m writing this article for. I’m surprised that after going through hundreds of thousands of words on ‘Inception’, I didn’t find much about the key plot holes I found in the film.

While I realized most of the plot holes I had identified weren’t real plot holes over the second and third viewings of the film, these plot holes have remained through repeat viewings:

In the movie, time in the dream world is faster than time in the real world because the mind works and processes information faster in the dream state. Fair enough. But if you go four layers deep, how fast must your mind be working?! Your mind works twenty times faster when you’re dreaming because it works at its full capacity when asleep. But if you dream in the dream, how can your mind work any faster? I find it illogical that a mind works faster and faster, and that too at a fixed constant ratio, as you go further and further into dream levels. Your brain’s capacity is not limitless. Can the brain work at a higher capacity than its full capacity?
That’s a small goof, compared to what follows.

This is the goof-up that shocked me the most, simply because I did not find it discussed anywhere online, and I think it’s pretty major. Of course, I could be terribly wrong about this. If I am, please comment, and I will happily stand corrected. Or at least I’ll appear so.

The SLEEPING Body is 'kicked' to wake up the dreamer

The Biggest Plot Hole:

In the beginning of the film (Cobb and Arthur’s first operation: to steal those ideas from Saito), we are informed that if the sleeping body gets the kick (either pushed into water or made to sense to fall), the person wakes up. Later on, while testing the sedative on Arthur, they show us that pushing Arthur’s chair (the one on which he’s asleep) causes him to fall and hence wakes him up from the dream.

But the climax of the film just changes everything.

In the fourth level, Limbo, Ariadne jumps off the building… she gets kicked by the fall, only to wake up in the third level, the snowy mountain fortress. Then the fortress floor breaks down, kicking her into the hotel level, where she’s in the lift. The lift crashes upwards, creating the sensation of falling in the lift, hence kicking them into the previous level, the rainy downtown area, where the van finally falls into the water.

That’s the goof right there. All this while, we’ve been told that the sleeping body is kicked, or made to fall, to wake the dreamer up. But in that sequence at the climax, the PERSON IN THE DREAM is made to fall to wake up, not the sleeping body! Illustrative example: In the beginning of the movie, Cobb is in a dream. The sleeping Cobb gets pushed into a tub of water to get the kick and wake up. Here, the SLEEPING BODY gets the kick. Whereas, in the climax, Ariadne, who is in the dream (limbo),  jumps off the building. The SLEEPING Ariadne isn’t getting the kick here, but rather her dreaming self. Get it?

According to me, that sequence at the climax should’ve worked out this way:
Ariadne is in Limbo. The floor of the fortress breaks, waking her up from Limbo. Then the hotel lift crashes, waking her up from the fortress. And then, the van crashes into the water, waking her up from the hotel level.
I hope I was clear, as this stuff isn’t too easy to get across clearly.

But even goof-up like that doesn’t stop me from thinking this film was just brilliant. Even if you have problems with the fact that the main characters have no morals (c’mon, they’re tampering with people’s minds here), or that they have no motives (Why exactly are Arthur, Eames and Ariadne doing this?), or that the plot is too labyrinthine in nature, you’ve gotta admire the scope of the plot, the visuals and the concept. I sure did. Regardless of whether the top keeps spinning.

***

To read my article ‘On ‘INCEPTION’, and IMDB’s Top 250 List Being Total Crap’, click here.

To read my article on other great films about dreams, click here.

To view a trailer I made for the film, modeled after the films of the 50’s, click here.

– Cinematic Jackass, signing off! 😀


On Marvel’s ‘AVENGERS’ Film Potentially Being a Disaster

Wikipedia, the website I get most utterly lost on because it is oh-so enriching, says the following:

“‘The Avengers’ is the title planned for an American superhero film yet to be produced by Marvel Studios. It was announced in April 2005 and is to be based upon the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The film is intended to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which crosses over several Marvel superhero films including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo are under contract to star, with Joss Whedon attached to direct a script written by Zak Penn and himself. The Avengers has an announced release date of May 4, 2012 in 3-D.”

There, I tactfully avoided explaining all that stuff to you myself. As if you didn’t know. Did you? You had better.

Marvel’s film division has been dropping off hints of an impending superhero-team movie, ‘The Avengers’, in their recent films. The after-credits scene of the great ‘Iron Man’ introduced us to Nick Fury. The bar scene in the pretty mediocre ‘The Incredible Hulk’ in which Tony Stark conversed with General Ross again hinted at the upcoming ‘Avengers’ film. Then Marvel started announcing release dates for Cap’s film debut, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ (starring Chris Evans, who played ‘The Human Torch’ in those ridiculous ‘Fantastic 4’ movies) and the ‘Thor’ film, which I’m very wary about.

And yes, the mother load. ‘The Avengers’. The first major superhero-team film. Sigh.

I have this gut feeling that the film is going to be a major letdown. An ensemble superhero flick could have billions of shortcomings: not enough character development for each hero, the heroes not gelling together (C’mon, Iron Man and Thor? That’s like King Kong and the Tooth Fairy)… The concept of an ensemble superhero film might have worked in the comics, but I just have this feeling it’ll make for cinematic trash.

I was recently moseying the internet when I came across a rather shocking rumor. DC is coming up with a Justice League film. It’s just a rumor, but you never know…

I have a vision of Marvel fans claiming that “DC copied Marvel! They made an ensemble superhero flick ‘Justice League’ after ‘The Avengers’!” And a lot of space online will be used up in debating and comparing the two; and more sequels will exhaust more words and space.

Oh wait, I have a more vivid vision: ‘The Avengers’, being the first of its kind, will do well at the box office, even though it probably will be a dumb ‘Fantastic Four’-ish film. Sure, it’ll make billions at the box office and people rave about it online. Over time though, like ‘Iron Man 2’, people will see its mediocrity.

Anyways, so the box office figures of ‘The Avengers’ will be huge, exciting producers who can’t tell their hands from their legs to make more sequels and prequels… and eventually, the follow-ups will suffer from sequelitis (and prequelitis (?) if they come up with prequels. Remember, you heard that word first here 😀 ).

And then, just when the studio execs realize that the films they’ve come up with aren’t good, there’ll be reboots. Take the case of the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise.

And what’s worse, DC would release their ‘Justice League’ film, and the same would follow. And I don’t want DC to mess up as I absolutely love ‘The Dark Knight’ (it’s one of the best blockbusters made in recent years) and I’m a childhood Christopher Reeve ‘Superman’ fan (although maturity has brought with it the realization that ‘Superman 3’ and ‘4’ sucked).

And if there is a Justice League film in the works, how will Christopher Nolan’s brilliant interpretation of Batman fit into the ensemble superhero world?

I’m liking this idea even less just answering that question.

Yep, I know this is a dumb, pessimistic, biased assumption, but I hate the idea of group superhero films, for the above mentioned reasons.

End of pessimistic rant.

– Cinematic Jackass, signing off


On ‘INCEPTION’, and IMDB’s Top 250 List Being Total Crap

Here’s this year’s ‘Avatar’. The movie everyone is talking about. ‘Inception’. If you haven’t seen it yet, what in heaven’s name are you doing on this blog? Jump into a cab and get to a cinema quick!

Like I was saying, ‘Inception’ is, arguably, one of the most talked about movie in years. People keep explaining their theories, debating them out, and watching and re-watching that great film over and over again. “The top keeps spinning,”. “No, it stops. You can hear a toppling sound.” “The part in Mombasa has to be a dream!”. “No, it’s impossible. Someone is ‘incepting’ Cobb himself!”. “Who’s dream are they in during that scene?”. “Isn’t that kick thing wrong at the climax?”… It’s a film so mesmerizing and so high-concept, it’ll be debated over and restudied for years to come. It’s got some of the best actors in the business, it has the best cinematography, editing and special effects I’ve seen on the big screen in a while, and it’s got that awe-inspiring title attached to it : “From Christopher Nolan, the Director of ‘The Dark Knight’”. Now that isn’t something to be taken lightly.

And yeah, it obviously was destined to make a lot of money, what with ‘The Dark Knight”s $1 Billion box office draw (As I write this, ‘Inception’ is sitting on $560 million, which is exceptionally high for a non-adaptation, non-sequel film).

Nolan always made great films that were too complicated for mainstream audiences, but this time around, he’s doing it on a larger budget, so regardless of whether or not the viewers get a complete understanding of that balancing act of a plot, they will surely have a great time with all the action and the visuals and stuff. To add to the film’s achievements, it’s got a respectable 87% positive rating on RottenTomatoes.com. And I read a lot of Oscar buzz articles already. Fair enough.

These are true testaments to ‘INCEPTION”s quality. But not its 9.3/10 rating on the Internet Movie Database, IMDB.com. You cannot trust IMDB’s Top 250 Movies list at all. I think it’s one of the most inaccurate movie lists in existence, and I’ll give you three good reasons you should think so too:

1. Extreme Opinions:

If a little girl, let’s say an absolute fanatic, enjoyed ‘High School Musical’, she’d foolishly give it a 10/10, when anyone who knows squat about cinema knows HSM isn’t exactly the epitome of musical-film-making. On the other hand, a pubescent boy might give it a zero. See what I mean by extreme opinions? The judgement of anything, be it a book or a movie, must be done fairly and relatively. Isn’t this reason enough? Not really, I know.

2. Initial Hype:

The second ‘Avatar’ released, it was way up in that list. Why? Unsuspecting people, caught up in all the hype, voted 10s for it. “The cinematic masterpiece of our generation; the biggest adventure of all time,” they’d read here and there and get their opinions disoriented. Heck, even initial reviews were grossly enthusiastic, until time passed and people saw what the movie really was… a visually brilliant film with a plot as predictable as a chick-flick’s. If you keep a track of any recent film’s ratings, you’ll see significant drops over time. ‘Inception’ is number three today. Check a month from now. It might be a two digit, or maybe even a three digit number. Still not reason enough?

3. The Dark Knight Controversy…

‘The Dark Knight’ was, and is, one of my favorite movies of all time. But there’s a little story to be told to you that might just change your mind about IMDB’s list.

I’ve sourced the following from a website called ‘strat.in’

1. In April 2008, The Godfather I was the best rated movie in at that time.The Top 3 movies on this date were :

  1. The Godfather I
  2. The Shawshank Redemption
  3. The Godfather II

2. TDK is released. It exceeds all the fans’ expectations . The Batman fans go crazy with all of them giving 10/10 rating for the movie.

3. Still the movie could not attain the highest rating on IMDb.

4. The only way for TDK to move up is by voting down The Godfather I.

5. All the Batman fans start hate-voting The Godfather I.  A hate vote is a vote given to a movie solely to decrease its rating vis-a-via one’s favourite movie. In IMDb a hate vote is a 1/10 vote. Listed below are the percentages of hate votes for a few IMDb top 10 movies…

If you notice, The Godfather I has an artificially high percentage of hate votes. These votes were given by the Batman fans to bring it down from the no.1 spot. The Godfather fell down from no. 1 not to 2 but to 3. TDK went up to 1 momentarily for a few weeks. The Shawshank redemption stayed at the same 2nd position.

6. Weeks passed and people started realizing that TDK at IMDb no.1 is a fad and it is not the best movie ever made. So votes are corrected to the lower side and TDK starts falling. (Current rank of TDK is 11)

7. Though TDK fell from 1 to 11 , The Godfather could not regain the 1st rank. The damage is done. The hate votes still remain. Nothing can be done about them.

8. The Shawshank Redemption filled the no.1 slot now that TDK has fallen and currently voted by the IMDb users as the Best movie ever made.

***

So you can’t trust IMDB’s ratings AT ALL.

And you know what? Ask yourself… is ‘Inception’ really the third best film ever made?

Cause I can name a hundred better ones. ‘The Dark Knight’ included.

–  Cinematic Jackass, signing off.


On ‘Twilight’ Being Too Much of a Masterpiece for Me

This article was written over a year ago. Since I’m new to this whole blogging thing, I thought I’d upload it and experiment with the formatting of pictures and stuff.

I was initially going to title this article ‘Why I Hate Twilight’.

Now before all you ‘Twilight’ fans pounce on me in rage let me make myself clear… I don’t exactly hate ‘Twilight’.

I dislike it.

Immensely.

For any reader out there who has no idea what I’m talking about, ‘Twilight’ is a bestselling novel (now a motion picture as well) written by Stephenie Meyer. After the immense success of the novel, she followed up with three more, creating the ‘Twilight Saga’.

I know so many people who love the books. I know someone whose every fourth word is either ‘Twilight’ or ‘Edward Cullen’, one of the books’ main characters (a ‘cute’ teenage boy). I’ve heard of cases of girls breaking off relations with boys, the reason being that the poor guy wasn’t Edward Cullen. That’s funny in a strange way. Or rather, that’s strange in a funny way. I’m not sure which.

I’ve seen girls chattering about Edward Cullen, Edward Cullen, Edward Cullen, on and on again… in fact, some girls even too young to read Roald Dahl do this too.

This craze started amongst the girls, but who knew it was contagious? Soon, some of my classmates started bringing those bulky books to school, which took me by surprise, for I didn’t know they did any reading outside of Facebook, text messages and, occasionally, their textbooks. (Most of my classmates, being what they are, never got around to finishing any of the Twilight books though.)

Never judge a book by its cover! It says on Wikipedia.org: Stephenie Meyer has stated that the apple on the cover represents the forbidden fruit from the Book of Genesis. It symbolizes Bella and Edward's love, which is forbidden, similar to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as is implied by the quote from Genesis 2:17 that is quoted at the beginning of the book. It also represents Bella's knowledge of what good and evil are, and the choice that she has in partaking of the "forbidden fruit", Edward, or choosing not to see him. This is one of the best book covers I've seen in years... simple, yet elegant. I really praise the cover artist for this excellent front cover. Unfortunately, that's about all the praise I can give this book.

My sister soon got her hands on a copy as well. Being the reader she is, the book just sat there on her table untouched, collecting dust for a week. One early morning, while she was fast asleep, I sneaked into her room and snatched away the thick

book, deciding to put it out of its misery. Once comfortably tucked in my bed, I looked at the book up close for the first time. I saw two pale hands clasping a red apple, and in silver letters ‘Twilight’ was imprinted into the cover. The cover boasted that the book was ‘The #1 New York Times Bestseller Soon To Be a Major Motion Picture’. A sudden boom of excitement ran through my body… many movies and a few books did that to me.

Something about the cover told me that I was in for the most vigorous and entrancing read of my life. Everyone was buzzing about the book, everyone said that it was brilliant, and finally there it was in my hands.

I finally opened the book, and started reading. The story was told in first person by a teenaged girl, Isabella Swan. Okay, fair enough. It starts of with her explaining to us about how her parents split up. She goes into detail, which I generally admire in books. As I kept reading, I realized the details were increasing. Increasing excessively.

After setting up the story and introducing the characters (described in great detail, too great in fact), the story comes to a halt when she sees a ‘beautiful boy’ called Edward Cullen in her school. Boom. “His mouth was moving very quickly, his perfect lips barely moving”… “…with his long pale fingers,”… “…his pale skin…”… “flawless face…”… “he was pale…pale… pale…”… “his eyes were black, black, black…”.

Bella loves adjectives. And adverbs. In fact, she loves any word that can stretch a sentence to double its length, making a potentially 200 page novel into a 500 page snail-paced book. She describes Edward in stunning detail, from the hair on his head to the warts on his feet (just an expression). She drags on events that could easily be summed up into short SMS messages. Ultimately, she comes off as an annoying girl who needs counseling regarding the usage of adjectives.

They meet in a Biology class and after initial reluctance (from Edward) to interact, they start talking. Eventually, they get pretty close. This goes on for more than fifty pages of the almost 500 page novel.

After a few more pages, in which Bella almost gets run over by a vehicle, only to be saved by ‘the beautiful boy’ Edward (oh joy), and they introduce his family (all of them pale, pale, pale), we see that she falls in love with him. Bella wants to make this absolutely clear…she explains her feelings for him every few lines in startling detail. But there is something in the way of their love…

I feel sad seeing this: The Twilight books right over the Harry Potter books. I'm not saying Harry Potter should be over Twilight. I'm not even saying I like Harry Potter. The HP books are flawed, repetetive, episodic... and they are good stories with properly defined characters. Bella's goal is just to be with Edward... nothing else. Harry, Ron and Hermione are as close to real teens as you can get. Stephen King, the bestselling author, said, “The real difference between Rowling and Meyer is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn.” Now this has nothing to do with the picture alongside... I found this shocking fact on Wikipedia.org.: the four books have won several awards, most notably the 2008 British Book Award for "Children's Book of the Year" for Breaking Dawn, while the series as a whole won the 2009 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Book. Eh? Is that right? I didn't know that children or kids read stories about affairs, pregnancy, love, sexual tension... what is this world coming to?

I think I left this out. Edward is a vampire! And his pale family too consists of vampires! She’s a human, she has blood… he’s a vampire, and he drinks blood… now it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together. Why would she swoon over him when he could kill her any second? Yes, the book does mention that he’s a ‘vegetarian vampire’ and eats only animals, but what’s to stop him from trying humans in temptation?

Why would she like a guy that could suck her blood? I’ve asked a few fans that question… here are two noteworthy answers: “Love is blind,” and “Edward is hot. What’s not to like?” The second one comes from majority of the ‘Twilight’ fanatics.

Anyway, back to when I was reading the book. It was going on, and on for about two hours, and I was still looking for the brilliance that apparently everybody else saw in the book. Finally, I shut the book. Not even completing half of it, I’d decided I’d had enough.

The following day, I told many about my feelings about the book when asked. One of my classmates said, “Okay fine, you don’t like the book, but don’t tell the girls. They’ll tear you apart.”

That’s good advice. I once said to a girl “I hate ‘Twilight’.” Her face changed color, and she flung at me the only thing in her reach, an eraser. Thank heavens she didn’t have a pot in her hands or something.

Hell hath no fury like a crazed “Twilight” fan!

In 2008, they even released a movie version of the first book. I go for a lot of movies, but I decided to stay out of this one, for obvious reasons. I thought to myself that most fans would love the movies and talk about them forever, just like the Harry Potter movies. However, most fans said that they didn’t like it as it was unfaithful to the book, ‘cutting out major scenes’, ‘changing dialogues’ and ‘restructuring certain events’.

One day, my sister got a DVD of the movie. I thought to myself, “Why not?” Besides, the board exams had just gotten over. I must say, once again, I strongly disagree with the fans. The movie is not bad (yet don’t take my word for it, I only watched the first 20 minutes or so because I had other work). From what I saw, it wasn’t moving on at slow-motion, but at an appropriate pace, and the writers of the movie had trimmed a couple of scenes for length reasons, making the movie a tighter and quicker experience. However, the greatest advantage of the movie over the book was this: we are spared the incredibly repetitive and annoying narration by Bella. Instead of Bella saying “He was pale, he was pale, he was pale,” on and on again in the background, we are simply shown actor Robert Pattison once.

The poster of the movie... featuring Pale Pale Pale Edward Cullen and Ms. Excessive Adjectives Bella Swan

Now here’s something that you’re going to have to read carefully and think about… here’s the reason why I dislike ‘Twilight’ so greatly. See, actually, I would have liked the book okay. I would have praised the originality of the story, forgiven the flaws, and simply read the book and returned it to my sister. But instead, I openly criticized it, I took the trouble to handwrite this long article (twice) and retype it. I even invited my classmates to write their own versions of the article ‘Why I Hate Twilight’. But even after these 1,323 words you’ve just read, I haven’t given you my main reason. I’ve given several factors that contributed to my dislike for the book, but not the real reason as to why I criticize it so much. Here is the reason: it is overrated. Admit it. It really is.

I am speaking openly. I hate anything when it gets overhyped extensively, especially when the material is just mediocre. For example, I was dazzled by “Slumdog Millionaire” and I even watched it seven times in the same month I got it, but once the excessive buzz about it started (be it the silly relations between Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, or the title of the movie, or the portrayal of India, or the unworthy eight Oscar nominations, or whatever) I started disliking the movie. The same applies for ‘Twilight’.

To each his own… I understand that. But seriously ask yourself—why do you love the book so much? Or do you even love it? Or are you just following everybody else? Think about it. Really do.

I would like to end this admittedly long article with an incident that pushed me closer to hating the books:

One Wednesday morning, as I gobbled down a bowl of cornflakes, I wondered, “What could possibly happen to Edward and Bella in the next three fat books?”

At that moment, my eyes fell on a summary of the fourth book, “Breaking Dawn”, in “Young Times”. Reading between the lines, I found out that Edward and Bella have a child, there was a love triangle between the two of them and a werewolf in one of the previous books, and eventually, Bella becomes a vampire.

My imagination went to new heights of ridicule- I imagined a pale baby with black eyes and sharpened teeth, jumping from tree to tree and I started chuckling to myself. I then quietly decided, ‘Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Saga” is too much of a masterpiece for me.’

Enough said.

(P.S. Please note, dear readers: If I am attacked by any ‘Twilight’ fan for writing this, all payments for any medical treatment for me must be met by the respective ‘Twilight’ fan.)

By Krishna Shenoi

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