Earlier this month our website Mad About Moviez (MAM as we fondly refer to it) turned a grand decade old, having started operations way back in 2011 around this time. Back then the portal came up to fill a void of sorts, after the fantastic PFC (Passion For Cinema) shut down in the summer of 2011. With like minded film buffs like Ashwin Varma, Ajay Nair and Aditya Savnal joining me with the same mindset and enthusiasm, we began MAM in a small way. Though we did not set out with any particular goals, we soon realized that a portal like ours needed one or more focus areas. Covering conventional Bollywood and Hollywood cinema was thus relegated to the background, as we realized that doing justice to these broad areas would be tough. We were anyways late entrants and there were big, popular film websites with whom we would have to compete with.
Haven’t most of us wondered how lovely it would be if we could go back to an immediate past and in the process getting to alter something that we had done or got into earlier? Imagine if that were to happen and you end up making a difference to the event in the past. Now hang on, even before you manage to start rejoicing, you see the same thing happen again and again. You are transported into the recent past repeatedly, leaving you clueless of what is happening to you. Now is the pandemic making me go crazy? Or am I probably watching way too many sci-fi movies of late (now this is definitely true) and hence dreaming of a time machine? Oh! No, its nothing like that, though I wouldn’t say no to getting access to a time machine.
But after watching Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs (directorial debut) it is difficult not to allow one’s thoughts to flow in such a direction. Having had its World Premiere at Sundance last year, the film went on to find a digital release on Hulu as well as a release in select drive-in cinemas in the U.S in July 2020. Winning a lot of critical acclaim, I was a bit intrigued about the film as not many rom-com’s of late have have received so much appreciation. On November 9 (the year is never referred to) in Palm Springs we get to attend Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe’s (Tyler Hoechlin) destination wedding. In attendance at the wedding among others are Nyles (Adam Sandberg), his girlfriend Misty (Meredith Hagner) and Tala’s elder sister Sarah (Cristin Miloti). Nyles and Sarah get friendly and just as they are about to get intimate, Nyles is attacked by someone and gets injured. In an attempt to save himself Nyles crawls into a cave, followed by Sarah out of concern for him, despite his warning to stay away from the cave.
Sarah is sucked into a vortex, wakes up soon and finds herself back in the same day (November 9) and sees the same things happening to her again. On confronting Nyles whom she believes to be responsible for this, Sarah gets to know that she has now got stuck in an infinite time loop of sorts along with him. Yes, this isn’t the first-time loop-based movie, be it the iconic Groundhog Day or the more recent Edge of Tomorrow, this is a plot device that has been comfortably used by Hollywood filmmakers across various genres. Thus, it is to the credit of Max Barbakow and his co-writer Andy Siara that the writing has enough meat in it to keep the audience entertained all the way. Yes somewhere in between as we see a desperate Sarah and a casual Nyles go through various situations in trying to live the day differently, there’s this feeling of oh! what else is possible. But the film ensures that this just remains a passing thought in our minds (if at all) and not something that becomes a concern in any manner.
The proceedings are certainly spunky, the situations that Nyles and Sarah find themselves in are funny and inventive. The film makes light of the sci-fi aspect, for example the way reference to heavy duty subjects like quantum physics and general relativity is shown in a casual manner. Credit certainly to both Adam Sandberg and Cristin Miloti for the way they play Nyles and Sarah with an easygoing style and complimenting each other. Having spent so much time in the time loop it is not a surprise that Nyles would be bored or indifferent to the situation and Adam Sandberg brings out these traits in Nyles in an assured manner. Sarah on the other hand on realizing the situation that she is stuck in, doesn’t want to accept the situation and is desperate to break out, leading to various situations, hilarious and engrossing at the same time. Cristin Miloti brings out the necessary vulnerability and heft to the character.
The supporting cast is also effective, especially J.K.Simmons who has a blast portraying Roy and his scenes with Nyles are certainly a highlight. The arid locations of Palm Springs and the wild outdoors soon add a lot of depth to the proceedings, nearly assuming the status of a character. Eventually it is no surprise to find yourself looking at Sarah and Nyles’ time loop from an internal viewpoint (as perceived) and that by itself is a victory for the film, certainly no mean feat that Max Barbakow and his team have managed to achieve. The film is not just one with a heart, it is all about literally letting your heart celebrate the vagaries of love in an unexpected fashion.
With Hollywood films warming up to the scenario of theatrical release in India once again and with a steady flow of American films being seen in India (despite cinemas in Maharashtra and Kerala still remaining closed), over the last few weeks, it is good to see a small but largely entertaining film like Palm Springs also making its way to cinemas in India (released on 24th September). Contemplating a weekend movie date? Well now you know what to do.
They say that life imitates art and vice versa, last night I ended up thinking of the same in a strange manner. I took a nostalgic trip back in time, to a period when I was in my final year of college and discovering the joys of alcohol. It was the first time in my life that I had a lot of freedom. With my family having shifted to another city, I chose to avoid the college hostel, preferring instead to living with 5 other friends in a compact independent house. I was specifically reminded of a month where all of us ended up experimenting with alcohol consumption, just for fun of course, going on to learn and unlearn a few things in the process. If you are wondering, why am I ranting about an old story, don’t worry as that is not what this post is all about. But its hard not to watch Thomas Vinterberg’s latest film Another Round (Danish title-Druk) and not reflect upon one’s own tryst with booze.
There are films of all kinds that we are exposed to, very few of them go on to become commercially successful and maintain their iconic status despite the passage of time. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or DDLJ as it is more popularly known as, is one of the rare films to have that distinction. There has been enough and more that has been written about the film, with people praising the film for various aspects, while even attracting some criticism for its cheesiness, overtly sentimental nature and emphasis on a more old school romantic style and family values. So, let me not try and analyze the film per se, as that would simply not make sense, nor will it add any new insight into the film otherwise. So, what does this write-up intend to do? Simple, it is about why the film deserves all the love and appreciation that has been coming its way, and how I have evolved with the film over the course of these 25 years.Continue reading “25 Years of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ): What Makes the Film So Special Even Today”
With all of us being confined to our homes for nearly 2 months or so, all thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak, we have seen our lives getting altered in ways that we had never anticipated and looked forward to. I have been someone who generally preferred the experience of watching movies in cinemas, not getting lured by the abundant content (films, web-series and much more) available on the numerous OTT/digital platforms that we have access to. Every few months I would ponder over trying to embrace the OTT platforms, but kept delaying the inevitable, only for this lockdown to finally bring in the transition in my case. So thus, I have been getting my daily fix of entertainment at home in the last couple of months, watching film after film, series after series. And in this process, I also watched Ranjith’s Drama (2018), a rare Mohanlal film in recent times that I had missed watching in a theatre.Continue reading “Mohanlal: From Narendran to Kunjali Marakkar IV, a Journey to be Admired”
As I write this, we are 6 weeks into the lockdown, all thanks to the Covid-19 situation & most of us are working from home. With cinemas being closed (and with no clarity of when they will reopen again) and Satellite T.V facing an acute shortage of content (hence the re-runs of old soaps and reality shows), its thanks to the various digital/OTT platforms that we are managing to get our regular dose of entertainment. And with a mention of digital/OTT platforms it is also mandatory to add the point that in today’s times, the language barrier is not as severe as before and thanks to English subtitles (let me not elaborate on this as it requires a separate article by itself) a lot of regional cinema (and web-series) is being watched by people who aren’t fluent with the language in particular. Similarly, Hindi cinema (and web-series) is continuing to reach out to those who do not understand a single word of Hindi.Continue reading “20 Years of Kandukondain Kandukondain: A Pioneering Tamil Film In Many Ways”
Leornado Di Caprio’s vision has now become Chandan Roy Sanyal’s missionContinue reading “Trailer Launched-Hawa Badle Hassu (The First Indian Environmental Thriller Series)”
This is the time of the year when people like me are busy trying to hurry up with their year-end list compilations before heading out to celebrate the entry of the New Year. Usually I do try to go in for an in depth analysis of Indian Cinema, looking at the major happenings of the year in nearly all the dominant film industries, both Hindi and regional. But of late I’ve been caught up with all sorts of stuff; as a result I ended up being unable to come up with my mandatory year end posts for 2017, the one on Indian Cinema and the other one on Malayalam Cinema specifically. Hence I’ve decided that it’s time to play it wisely and focus mainly on the lists in particular and not the detailed anlysis. Why miss out on doing something that I am fond of altogether?Continue reading “The Best of Indian Cinema in 2018: A Perspective”
One keeps hearing about freelancing and its associated risks as well as benefits all the time. All of us would certainly know of someone or the other who is either a freelancer by choice or by default. Perhaps some of us have even gone through a phase where one has ended up freelancing just to get an idea of what it is all about. I have had my own tryst with freelancing, a journey which even led to this platform called MAM (Mad About Moviez) being set up in the process. In my case it all began when I was bored with my regular corporate job and contemplating how to go about plunging full-fledged into my area of passion. Yes there have been ups and downs in the process, often even questioning my sanity and my decision but the persistence has really helped. No, this is not a post on my freelancing journey or anything thereabout, but pardon my indulgence as I couldn’t but help taking an inward look while watching Sandeep Mohan’s Shreelancer.Continue reading “Shreelancer Movie Review: A Freelancer’s Quest to find his Moorings”