The rebellious side of a gay man

The Imitation Game

After watching The Imitation Games, I battled with myself trying to figure out which aspect of the movie I should focus on.
The part where we as human beings were an epic fail, when we asked a civilian, a college mathematics professor to join the British Intelligence Service to break the Enigma Code, which cut short World War ll by almost 2 years and as per historians, saved over 14 million lives and then promptly jumped on our moral righteous high horse and awarded the man with a choice– 2 years in prison or chemical castration ‘ hormone therapy ‘ for being a homosexual. He chose the later and after a year of ‘ treatment’ killed himself.
Or I should just focus on the man who came into our lives as a crazy narcissistic brainiac Sherlock, then introduced us to Julian Asange in The Fifth Estate, and went on to be the odd son in a dysfunctional family in August – Osage County, which he followed with the gold loving, fire breathing, terrifying Smaug and finally gave us the brilliant mathematician, at times crazy, socially awkward Alan Turing….. Benedict Cumberbatch.
While watching the movie one realizes and appreciates the saying ‘ less is more’. To portray the horrors of war one doesn’t need reels of gruesome war scenes. The horror can be equally effectively projected in subtle ways. As a result, the focus of the film never wavered from the actual topic- Alan Turing.

Although there were quite a few well known faces in the movie, Keira Knightly, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Allan Leech ( Downton Abbey), Charles Dance ( Game of Thrones), the only person who stays with you after you leave the theatre is Benedict Cumberbatch. His stellar performance captures Turing’s passion, brilliance, awkwardness, helplessness, fear and finally his resignation to his fate, to perfection. His Oscar nomination is rightfully earned.
On a happy side note: In 2013, the Queen gave Royal Pardon to Turing. I am sure he is beside himself with joy and hanging upside down from the branch of a golden apple tree in heaven. Oops, sorry. Hell not heaven. For a moment I forgot he was a homosexual.

GONE GIRL: THE MOVIE

GONE GIRL: There were lots more “Gone” than just the girl in the movie. Like
1. A marriage ‘gone’ wrong
2. A wife ‘gone’ off her rockers
3. ‘Gone’ was any logic
4. ‘Gone’ was any rhyme or reason
5. ‘Gone’ was any feeling of satisfaction after watching the movie
6. ‘Gone’ was any justification for spending my money
7. ‘Gone’ were 2 hours of my life I will never get back

Now lets talk about what all were present
1. Ben Afflec
2. Ben Afflec
3. Ben Afflec
4. Ben Afflec
5. Ben Afflec
6. A creepy but brilliant Rosamund Pike
7. A sense of horrified disbelief

That pretty much sums it up.

Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious project yet. A movie that spans across 3 planets, 2 galaxies, a warm hole and a black hole, a story more abstract than Inception, more fantastic than the Batman trilogy and more magical than Prestige.

A world in the verge of extinction, a community struggling to survive, a government disqualifying everything science achieved in space.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughe), an astronaut who is forced to become just a farmer in order to survive on a dying planet, is asked by NASA to take an epic journey across galaxies to find a new home for mankind.

True to the movie’s promotional catch phrase, it is definitely an IMAX experience. We witness a side of Nolan we had never seen before. His grasp of human relationships and weaving that emotional quotient in an otherwise sci fi thriller was brilliant. As you watch the drama unfold, the sheer magnitude of the canvas makes it almost impossible to wrap your mind around. Your every sense is fine tuned to a degree where they react to every blast and every pin drop, every dust storm, 100 ft waves, frozen clouds and massive expanse of barren, icy planet land.

But at the same time, your mind is in free fall. Desperately trying to grasp a shred of understanding but very soon loses any sense of time and space.

‘Inception’ was an absurd and abstract idea but as one sits watching the movie the whole concept seems legit and credible. But ‘ Interstellar’ with it’s constant name dropping of quantum physics, relativity and gravity, never could achieve credibility for this outrageous concept.

It still didn’t matter. It was a 3 dimensional audio, visual treat like no other up until Nolan succumbed to the gravitational pull of cliche’d Hollywood drama and dragged us into a black hole from which when we finally emerged, everything had changed.

The secret weapon in Nolan’s arsenal which I am sure was intended to be something similar to a spectacular meteor/star shower, was actually the reason why the movie did a full 180° on it’s axis and from incredible it just became Meh.

But it’s still a must watch, if not for anything else, then at least for the visual splendour. I never thought there was any room left for my love and respect to grow for Matthew McConaughe but seeing him in one particular scene my heart swelled with so much pride and emotion that I couldn’t breathe. Ever dependable Jessica Chastain and Mackenzie Foy as Murph were unadulterated brilliance. ***1/2

Million Dollar Arm

When ‘City Of Joy’ came out, there was a lot of talk about how Hollywood showed India as a slum dump. In it’s defence, the novel on which the movie was based was about the time spent by a man from the 1st world in abject poverty in the most depraved part of an Indian city. Then came ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. The name itself has ‘slum’ in it. So the western world again after a couple of decades was treated with the spectacle of India, the land of the poor. I admit, ‘rags to riches’ sells better.But ‘Million Dollar Arms’ has no excuse. When JB Bernstein who drives a porche and lives in a multi-million dollar bachelor pad in upscale LA decides to set up office in Mumbai and is ready to give away $100000 as prize money, it was in the heart of a slum. A place where it stinks of garbage, A/C breaks down, his neighbours are all below poverty line, and he even gets diarrhea from the food. Stereotype much? He even shows via Skype where he was living to his neighbour back in LA. When he finds the boys and flies back to LA, we are treated with an aerial shot of skyscrapers, freeways, fast cars ; all the grandeur and glory of United States of America. Not a good start.
But here is the deal. If a movie can rope you in (in this case a super pissed me) slowly but surely as it unfolds in spite of it’s cliches, faux pas and predictability, it has done something right. John Hamm’s journey from a man who’s idea of commitment was directly proportional to amount of $$ to be gained, to the father figure of two scared, homesick boys who’s sparkling dreams to make it big in America was getting hazy and dim by the hour, was measured, with the right dollop of emotion and humour. Unlike the baseballs, Hamm seamlessly portrays a self centered businessman and an endearing father figure/older brother. He is the highlight of the movie no doubt. His charm is almost tangible. A R Rahman’s music score blends beautifully with the flow of the movie although it’s not clear to me why he ended the movie with a south Indian song when Hamm operated out of Mumbai and the boys were from Lucknow.It’s an uplifting movie about dreams, hopes, perseverance and the realization of the impossible. And I am officially a John Hamm fan.

The Amazing Spider Man 2 1280x1024 Wallpaper # 1
 
 
 
 There was a time when the French used to have 12 course meals. The 7th course called the Releve or Rest course was a breather before the remaining 5 courses.
AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 felt exactly like French dinner but without the breather. It brought a lot of exotic things to the table but as you meander through the courses trying to savour the taste of each,every new plot wipes away all flavour and memory of the last till (after a few false alarms) you finally finish your meal feeling really full but having no idea with what.
The cooking – he is no French chef but probably a wannabe from south Texas. So you get a distinct hint of how it should be but that’s about it. It lacked sophistication, charm, presentation and most importantly, harmony. The jump from one plot to the next was disjointed, jittery and felt like weekly episodes of a tv series.
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield may have on and off screen chemistry but their love life is supposed to be the sub plot and spiderman’s heroic acts should have been the main course. Looked like someone forgot to mention that to the director.
The comic reliefs in the previous Spiderman movies came from cute and sensitive comedy of error sequences woven into his life. Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker was insecure, unassuming, socially awkward; a walking disaster. Andrew Garfield’ s Spiderman is streetsmart, dashing, sure (except when it comes to his love life) and spits out one liners like a late night talk show host while facing his enemy.
By the end of the movie if you feel Electrode was cooler than Spiderman, it’s saying something. If there ever was a classic example of what wonders a lot of smart marketing and hype can do to a very hackaneyed product, Amazing Spiderman 2 is it

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The LGBT community have been fighting for their basic rights, dignity, acknowledgement and acceptance in society; and they have been fighting for decades. It feels like, as soon as one hurdle is over come, another plants itself in our path. The more recent problems however, are more political than social.

When DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) was signed into law by then president Bill Clinton, a whole new series of hurdles sprung up in front of the LGBT community living in the United States. The laws got complex, convoluted and beyond rational reasoning. The few states at the beginning who legalised same-sex marriage like Massachusetts, those marriages were still not recognised by the Federal government or by other states. As a result, the couples could not file for federal tax returns and benefits together or entitled for federal grants. Along with these, another guillotine hovered over the heads for the bi-national same-sex couples. Immigration and citizenship being under the purview of the federal government and they not recognizing same-sex marriage, the foreign national in a bi-national couple has no legal right to apply for a green card even if they are legally married in their individual state and were in danger of being torn away from their partners and deported.

Read here about the harrowing impact of DOMA on bi-national couple.

To avoid being separated from their partner, a large group of bi-national same-sex couples immigrated to Canada where their union was recognized.

In RBC sponsored Emerging Artist Project, photographer Sarah Foy created a collage of such bi-national couples who have immigrated to Canada from the United States. Along with the visual, there is an audio track of these couples documenting the trials and tribunals they faced while trying to settle in a brand new country, away from their family and friends and starting from scratch.

People may argue that hundreds of people immigrate to other countries, so what’s the big deal. The big deal is more psychological. In most cases, if not all, people who immigrate to a foreign country, they do it because they want to, so they are prepared mentally for the unknown. But in the cases of these couples, they are forced to. And that makes all the difference. Not to mention the feeling of being unrecognized, rejected and uncared for by their own country.

Landed: Together in Canada as a title, aptly captures the essence. It’s a compelling artwork which tells the stories of LGBT individuals landing in the US, falling in love with an American and moving to Canada to be together.

 

Gallery Open: May 24th – June 29th 2014

Venue: Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre

http://www.landedtogether.ca

Over the years, we have seen lots of multi-million dollar movies with huge star caste and they felt as if all efforts had been spent into gathering top actors and little into the actual story or character development, resulting into hollow storyline, one dimensional half backed caricature of characters with blink and you miss screen times.
And then there is X-Men: Days of Future Past. Although it has all the ingredients to be an epic disaster of a film with the creme de la creme of Hollywood actors and a very complex storyline, it turned out to be storytelling at it’s best.
Brian Singer and Michael Vaughn’s expert narrative is a party for your senses. It builds up to a crescendo and explodes into a visually spectacular and emotionally charged climax that leaves you breathless but still yearning for more.
Inspite of the brilliant starcast from both old and the new X-Men movies Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Ellen Page, Halley Berry, Michael Fassbender and Peter Dinklage, the one that reigns supreme is James McAvoy. Charles’s vulnerability, pain, hopelessness, dejection and betrayal permeates your mind (it’s his special power after all) and takes you on an emotional roller- coaster ride providing the right amount of laughter and tear. His love/hate relationship with Erik is powerful, funny (at times) and heartbreaking. Charles’s struggle with the others to reconcile with the fact that they are different and to learn to love themselves for who they are and how they look even if they don’t conform to the norms of the society is heartfelt and genuine. JLaw as Raven/Mystique is splendid. You will love her for her vulnerability, get frustrated by her stubbornness and cheer for not destroying the future and ofcourse for saving Logan.
In my opinion, Days of Future Past is by far the best installment in the X-Men saga.
Oh! By the way, sit through the casting in the end and you will be in for a surprise.

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