Archive for the ‘Hollywood’ Category

Unforgettable Monologues – ’cause I read Oliver Twist?   Leave a comment

For ‘Good Will Hunting’, Robin Williams won the best supporting actor award for his portrayal of psychologist Sean Maguire. Sitting on a bench in the park, His speech to will (Matt Damon) spawns whirlwind of emotions, eventually changing everything for the troubled Will. Sean Maguire is one of the best written psychologist characters till date, the conversation with Will is so beautifully orchestrated, more like a crescendo manufacturing elemental therapy.


“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right: “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, and watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on Earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of Hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sittin’ up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause that only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.

I look at you. I don’t see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine. You ripped my fuckin’ life apart. You’re an orphan, right? Do you think I’d know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, ’cause I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can’t learn anything from you I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t wanna do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.”


Unforgettable monologues – Adaptation – Significance of little dance   1 comment

This piece of monologue from John Laroche (Chris Cooper) makes me look no further than Core Simplicity.


“Point is, what’s so wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. There’s a certain orchid look exactly like a certain insect so the insect is drawn to this flower, its double, its soul mate, and wants nothing more than to make love to it. And after the insect flies off, spots another soul-mate flower and makes love to it, thus pollinating it. And neither the flower nor the insect will ever understand the significance of their lovemaking. I mean, how could they know that because of their little dance the world lives? But it does. By simply doing what they’re designed to do, something large and magnificent happens. In this sense they show us how to live – how the only barometer you have is your heart. How, when you spot your flower, you can’t let anything get in your way.”

The trouble is to spot the flower :)

Acting Maestros – Daniel Day Lewis, Christoph Waltz   Leave a comment

Daniel Day Lewis, Christoph Waltz won their third (best actor) and second (best supporting actor) Oscars respectively and Mr.Lewis became the first actor to win three best-actor Academy Awards. Lewis’s, Waltz’s performance for Lincoln and Django Unchained were of the highest order and its no surprise they won gold! Their respective characters Lincoln, Dr. King Schultz has so much depth and contour and it is really hard to comprehend the kind of authenticity that they illustrate, it is something which is ornamented with simplicity and perhaps this statement faultlessly explains the same

The clearest of images of the great artists and their words are never clear to the end, rather as the limpid sky over our heads, when we gaze into it, turns out to be not pale blue at all, but a darker shade, deeper, fathomless. And so the works of great genius, for all their crystalline clarity, will sometimes make us gaze apprehensively into their depths, and define the clarity as the clarity of the deep…and that is all; what lies at the bottom of those depths eludes us.”

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Being very ruthless, the common denominator is the technique, the meticulous approach (esp Lewis) that they adopt in order to inhabit a character. For Eg: Michael Mann referring to Lewis (Director: Last of the Mohicans) said in his introduction, “His work is so extraordinary he inhabits a character’s body and soul, in dimensions of authenticity like we’ve never experienced.” And Quentin Tarantino referring to Waltz “Hans Landa is one of the greatest characters I have ever written, and one of the greatest characters that I will ever write and thank you Christoph you gave me my movie.” And with their exemplifying stellar performances they’ve won the hearts of many, the greatest example is that, Tarantino wrote the part of Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained specifically for Christoph Waltz. Steven Spielberg was so thrilled when Daniel signed up to play the role for Lincoln.

Christoph in an interview, shares his experience: “I sat at his kitchen table — literally at his kitchen table — with pages in front of me that were still warm from the printer. It sounds like a figure of speech, but they were literally still warm from the printer, and I read it in portions because, you know, I didn’t sit there all the time and hear the typewriter click away in the room next door, but in like two, three weeks he invited me up to his house again and put another … warm stack of paper in front of me and then eyed me and watched me reading and sort of reading my face and my reactions to it, so … yes, I’m proud to say — and I hope it’s not being presumptuous — he did write it for me.” :)

In view of above experience, Daniel’s Oscar acceptance speech was one of the best and expressed his profound gratitude to “mysteriously beautiful mind, body, and spirit of Abraham Lincoln.”

The Best of Daniel Day-Lewis, Christop Waltz Movies and their respective movie quotes

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4. Bill the Butcher – The Gangs of New York
Everything you see belongs to me, to one degree or another. The beggars and newsboys and quick thieves here in Paradise, the sailor dives and gin mills and blind tigers on the waterfront, the anglers and amusers, the she-hes and the Chinks. Everybody owes, everybody pays. Because that’s how you stand up against the rising of the tide.

3. Christy Brown – My left foot
All is nothing, therefore nothing must end.

2. Abraham Lincoln – Lincoln
For whatever reason, and I can’t explain why – that moment at which one is drawn into the orbit, irrevocably, of a life. I felt the tug of that orbit. I didn’t know why; I was quite alarmed by it…

 1. Daniel Plainview – There will be Blood.
I look at people sometimes and I see nothing to like… I hate most people.

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2. Dr. King Schultz – Django Unchained

  • Normally, Monsieur Candie, I would say “Auf wiedersehen.” But since what “auf wiedersehen” actually means is “’till I see you again”, and since I never wish to see you again, to you sir, I say, goodbye.
  • I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.

1. Col .Hans Landa – Inglorious Basterds

  • I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, but rumors, true or false, are often revealing.
  • Au revoir Shoshanna!

From Landa’s disdain for the inferior intellect to Butcher’s ruthlessness, from the demonic Plainview to the fearless, unflinching spirit of Lincoln, from Christy Brown’s vulnerability to King Schultz’s great empathy, and quite honestly haven’t seen any other actors who can perfectly embody these great, horrifying personalities.


Life of Pi – Which story do you prefer?   Leave a comment

The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity – it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud.” – Yann Martel – Life of Pi

Well the essence of Life of Pi is clearly explained in the above statement and incorporating the same in the movie, I am really glad that it did the book justice. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and had dismissed that Martel’s work would be made into a movie because I thought that some of elements of the book were practically unfilmable. But I was wrong, with big budget and CG Visual effects, anything’s possible nowadays.

Life of PI

I hardly enjoy the experience of watching a movie in 3-D but Life of pi proved it otherwise, consistently the movie is filled with hauntingly beautiful images and is accompanied with stunning cinematography (Claudio Miranda). esp the opening credits (Pi’s lullaby written and sung by Bombay Jayshree ) where in the monkey hops onto different braches, it is just remarkably filmed. Image rendering for Richard parker is simply outstanding and lastly, the vivid Storm Sequence which is indeed the best 3D filmed part of the movie.

Life of Pi breaks the paradigm that 3-D has to be some big, action fantasy spectacle, superhero movie. The movie is visually amazing, inventive, and it works on you in ways you’re not really aware of.” – James Cameron (3D pioneer) commenting on 3D aspect integrated in the motion picture.

Coming to the differences between the movie and the book, the most important one is the climax. In the movie – Pi narrates the story to the Japanese insurance people and asks the writer to which story he liked better. The writer says the one with the animals. But it the book Pi narrates the alternate story to Japanese insurance people and asks them which story they like better. They agree they like the story with the animals better and thus they write a letter to him and present a report which in its essential part contains the story with the animals. Many of the people, those who haven’t read the book  get really confused.

Also, I was a little disappointed at the lack of anxiety, tension in the 2nd half of the movie, The book explains that in detail, say for eg: There were many seas. The sea roared like a tiger. The sea whispered in your ear like a friend telling you secrets. The sea clinked like small change in a pocket. The sea thundered like avalanches. The sea hissed like sandpaper working on wood. The sea sounded like someone vomiting. The sea was dead silent. And Pi spent almost 227 days on a lifeboat!!! and he literally wanted death to take him away due to incessant suffering.

Which story do you prefer?  The one with the tiger? Or the alternate story with the sailor, cook and mother ? This is the crux of the movie and it is arguable that most of them would choose the story with the tiger in it because it has the spiritual, aesthetic, and cinematic elements. For example if you are presented with two options to pick a pizza for the dinner : 1. Margherita pizza with extra cheese, extra tomato, extra sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil or 2. Just Plain Margherita pizza with no toppings, what would you choose? Majority of the will blindly choose the first option and therefore it is grossly unfair that if one picks the tiger story just because it is better, then according to the movie/Adult Piscine Molitor Patel (movie), it automatically will make you believe in God. This is totally absurd!

Nonetheless, Life of Pi is a beautifully made film for all ages, with great storytelling it does explore variety of topics like, hope, spirituality, fear, faith, death and above all the willingness to survive against all odds.


Brave – Signaturely Pixar   Leave a comment

Brave, is 13th full feature-length motion picture of Pixar studios, its first fairy tale film, its first film featuring a female lead, and its first film co-directed by a woman. “This is our first period piece. This is our first female main character. This is Brave.” says John Lasseter. Brave is directed by Mark Andrews (Pixar short: One Man Band) and Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt).

La Luna which was the only pixar’s nomination for 2011-12 Oscars, precedes the full length feature. Written and directed by Enrico Casarosa, it tells a story of a young boy Bambino, who is caught in the middle of two personalities (grandfather, father). Their family job is to sweep stars on the moon and on a fine evening both of them introduces Bambino to their line of work. Both the grandfather and father exert control over him and want him to try to be like their own. Amidst conflicting opinions, Bambino somehow manages to finds his own voice which is also the central theme of Brave.

Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is the young princess of a Scottish kingdom- DunBroch that is ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), just like Princess Zelda she is a skilled archer and with her pet friend Angus the Horse, she fearlessly wanders in the forests that hide dark secrets. Free-spirited, Impulsive, Rebellious, tangle-haired Merdia is a tomboy. Always up for an adventure, she wants to live her life, but her mother relentlessly attempts to turn her into a perfect princess.

Elinor summons for the clans and wants Merida to get married into one of three Lords families. Lord Macintosh, Lord MacGuffin, Lord Dingwall each of the lords are determined to have his own son win princess Merida’s hand, but Merida intensely desires for freedom and King Fergus in a candid conversation with her queen pretty much sums up her daughters yearning “I only want to stay single and let my hair flow in the wind as I ride through the glen firing arrows into the sunset”.

Merida humiliates the three clans and escapes into the deep forests where she follows a trail of wisps that lead her to the home of a witch. She asks witch to help her to change her mother. The witch puts a terrible curse and literally changes her mother into a bear. Merida feels regret over taking the unconventional path and has to set things right before the curse remains as permanent.

The film successfully throws light on the sensitive topic i.e relationship between parents and their children, the effects of a strict parenting, the conflicting emotions that arise due to difference in interests and perceptions. Despite the fact that Merida and Elinor, are proud, independent and headstrong, they have their own different views but they never converge to a point and interact with their respective discrepancies. It is only when Elinor turns into a bear, that specific event triggers both of them to grow closer.

Although Brave is very different,plainly whimsical, not so imaginative, ingenious than its other predecessors, the core-essential elements remain very Pixarish. The Characters, landscape is just incredibly detailed esp the Physics on Merida’s hair, it is so fascinating and magical in the way it moves. It has more than 1500 individually sculpted, curly red strands that generate about 111,700 total hairs. The only complaint : Wish I had watched this movie in 2D  because all too often, most of the 3D frames looked too dark, murky and lifeless. The whole point of watching a movie in 3D is to experience the depth of an image that is realistic, larger than life. However, the 3D images  completely removed the great exuberant aesthetic details for which Pixar is normally famous for.


Happy foxes and sad sacks…Fat cats and starving dogs..   Leave a comment

There are very few movies that linger in your head for a very long time and profoundly affect your thinking and I can sincerely say that Margin Call is one of those. Written and Directed by J.C. Chandor, the movie puts a face on those who manage, play and control money, etiquette’s of people who are very smart, selfish, indifferent, cold, speak obscure, expensive lies and no matter what the outcome they will go any distance to make sure they always get more of what they minimally want.

Margin Call is an independent film, inspired by a True bankrupt story of Lehman Brothers and focuses on the financial crisis of 2007–2008. The movie is an evolving story that is happening over a course of 34 hours and tracks the actions taken by a group of employees.

So what is Margin Call??

When the margin posted in the margin account is below the minimum margin requirement, the broker or exchange issues a margin call. A margin call forces the investor to either liquidate his/her position in the stock or add more cash to the account.

Eg: Imagine this: you’re sitting at the blackjack table and the dealer throws you an ace. You’d love to increase your bet, but you’re a little short on cash. Luckily, your friend offers to spot you $50 and says you can pay him back later. Tempting, isn’t it? If the cards are dealt right, you can win big and pay your buddy back his $50 with profits to spare. But what if you lose? Not only will you be down your original bet, but you’ll still owe your friend $50. The stakes are high and your potential for profit is dramatically increased. Conversely, your risk is also increased.

Margin is a high-risk strategy that can yield a huge profit if executed correctly. The dark side of margin is that you can lose your shirt and any other assets you’re wearing.

If for any reason you do not meet a margin call, the brokerage has the right to sell your securities to increase your account equity until you are above the maintenance margin. Even scarier is the fact that your broker may not be required to consult you before selling! Under most margin agreements, a firm can sell your securities without waiting for you to meet the margin call. You can’t even control which stock is sold to cover the margin call.

Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) who heads risk management in a big shot US trading firm located in Brooklyn is offered a six-month severance at half of his salary. He has over 19 years of service to the firm and he is callously kicked out. His other colleagues Seth Bregman (Penn Badgley), Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) express deep concern. While he announces that he is working on very sensitive stats data, nobody listens to him. Yet, he presents the data to his younger colleague Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) and asks him to take a look at it.

Meanwhile, Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), the floor boss is very upset because his dog is about to die of tumor on her liver! And he is spending $1,000 a day just trying to keep her alive!! He delivers the usual managerial speech on layoffs and conveys to his peers that they are very special, so they are kept hold of ;)

Working late hours, Peter decodes Dale’s work and is very much astonished at its consequences. The model predicts losses which are greater than the current value of the firm. He immediately calls Seth and Will back to office. They fail to reach out for Dale, Will orders Peter and Seth to go and get Dale and at the same time, Will feeds the sensitive information to his boss Sam, who immediately, arrives at the office.

In view with the Dale’s shocking exit, Seth proudly and confidently announces to Peter that he does not let work get him like that and also tells him that he made quarter of a million dollars last year just by pushing numbers around on a computer screen. :)

Being Top executive, Sam does not comprehend the prediction of the numbers but he is able to recognize the implications of it. So he orders Will to call back Peter and Seth who are in pursuit of dale and to have a second opinion on the forecast, he calls in for an immediate meeting with the top brass.

In the meeting, Sam introduces chief risk officer Ramesh Shah (Aasif Mandvi). Head of risk assessment Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore) and in-house counsel Jared Cohen (Simon Baker). Stunned by the reports, Sarah questions Peter on his CV to which Cohen amuses for the fact that Peter is a rocket scientist graduated from MIT. Peter sincerely replies “It’s all just numbers, Just changing what you’re adding up.” and he likes the firm because the money that they disburse is considerably more attractive.

Cohen casually asks a question to Sam on the time frame, as in how long would it take to clear the toxic assets from their books. Sam gets annoyed and replies back that their business is selling and buying and It doesn’t work for very long without both components. Sarah pitches in and coveys that they would have to go block by block to asses and analyze the prices and to completely let go from their contaminated holdings, it would take months.

Time’s ticking its already 2am and they have to come to a conclusion, Therefore, Cohen invites the company CEO John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) to make final decision and reschedules the meeting. Seth, Peter mull over that the firm cannot dump everything. They find it impossible but Will serenely points out that he’s been in the company for 10 years and he’s seen things that they wouldn’t believe. When all is said and done, the firm will not lose any money and they don’t mind if everybody else does.

Enter Jeremy Irons; this is the best part of the movie where in Tuld pretends to acts like a dumb CEO delivers fantastic array of sentences that simply hither and thither the audience. Tuld asks Peter to explain to him in plain English “speak as you might to a young child or a golden retriever.”  :) and undermines himself by saying “It wasn’t brains that got me here. I can assure you of that.”  Peter successfully elucidates that the firm has pushed the leverage considerably beyond the limits, thereby pushing the risk profile without raising any red flags and if those assets decrease by just 25% the loss would be greater than the current market capitalization of the entire company and smartly puts it as “What this model shows is the music, so to speak, just slowing…” :)

Tuld reacts to this statement even more stylishly by asking him “Do you care to know why I’m in this chair with you all? I mean, why I earn the big bucks?” and answers “I’m here to guess what the music might do a week, a month, a year from now. That’s it. Nothing more.” And right now he only hears silence, there’s no music to it at all! Tuld invokes the response from the miserable audience and expresses his wish to dispose  the toxic wastes. In order to survive Tuld proposes to sell it all to the willing buyers of the current fair market price. Sam is infuriated with the decision and engages in a feisty conversion with Tuld. He expresses concern that their firm will be selling something that everyone knows that it has no value and it will kill the market for years to come; that they are knowingly putting people out of business and no one will ever trust them again. Nevertheless, Tuld sticks to his decision.

Cohen and Sarah discuss on the end-strategies and their current positions. Will, Peter and Seth discuss on how much Tuld made last year! At the same time, Dale’s wife informs Will that her husband is back home. So, Will and Seth go out to bring Dale back to office. Tuld meets Sarah and openly communicates that he needs a head to feed to the traders on the floor and the board. So he is picking her as the lamb , to which she corresponds that he is well aware that she did filter several warnings to him and to Cohen about the same a year ago! Tuld coolly replies “We all fucked this one up pretty good.” but sticks to his decision.

Will finally meets Dale and coveys him about the firm’s wishes and requests him to come back to office to which he blatantly refuses. Dale talks about a bridge that he build two decades ago, does lot of math and concludes that one little bridge had saved the people a combined 1,531 years of their lives not wasted in driving a car and he’s proud about it.

Will reminds Dale that if he does not come back to office the firm will fight him on his package, his options, everything. Meanwhile, Tuld meets Sam and offers him a little gift to convince him on dumping the assets.

Seth raises concern about inevitability on getting the Pink slips, Will explains to him about the nature of their work with this extraordinary monologue
“Listen, if you really wanna do this with your life you have to believe you’re necessary and you are. People wanna live like this in their cars and big fuckin’ houses they can’t even pay for, then you’re necessary. The only reason that they all get to continue living like kings is cause we got our fingers on the scales in their favor. I take my hand off and then the whole world gets really fuckin’ fair really fuckin’ quickly and nobody actually wants that. They say they do but they don’t. They want what we have to give them but they also wanna, you know, play innocent and pretend they have know idea where it came from. Well, thats more hypocrisy than I’m willing to swallow, so fuck em. Fuck normal people. You know, the funny thing is, tomorrow if all of this goes tits up they’re gonna crucify us for being too reckless but if we’re wrong, and everything gets back on track? Well then, the same people are gonna laugh till they piss their pants cause we’re gonna all look like the biggest pussies God ever let through the door.”

Peter and Sam contemplate on what is right, what is wrong, and both are utterly confused, they have never done anything like this before, not even close.  Seth who had earlier proclaimed that he does not let work get him like that, panics royally, confronts Cohen and expresses his disappointment, Cohen coldly dismisses him by saying; this was all he ever wanted to do. :P

Dale finally realizes that he will suffer looses, so he is back at office due to the underlying threat the firm will pose if he did not co-operate. He meets Sarah and both discuss on how much each of them are going to benefit from this. :D

Sam meets his team and announces that the firm has decided to liquidate its majority position of fixed income MBS (Mortgage-backed security). So if anyone achieves a 93% sale of firm’s assets, they will be awarded with 6 digit bonus!  He also adds “I want you to hit every bite you can find dealers, brokers, clients. Your mother, if she’s buying.” :D They start off with 94$ and finish at 65 cents!! :P

After such epic day, Cohen congratulates Sam and explains that HR dept will be immediately rolling out the pink slips!! Outraged by the events, Sam meets Tuld in the firm’s exclusive dining hall and straightforwardly tells him that he wants to go out. Tuld ironically says that Sam is very lucky not to be digging ditches all these years :) Also provides him with this striking piece of reality
“So you think we might have put a few people out of business today. That its all for naught. You’ve been doing that everyday for almost forty years Sam. And if this is all for naught then so is everything out there. Its just money; its made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it so we don’t have to kill each other just to get something to eat. It’s not wrong. And it’s certainly no different today than its ever been. 1637, 1797, 1819, 37, 57, 84, 1901, 07, 29, 1937, 1974, 1987-Jesus, didn’t that fuck up me up good-92, 97, 2000 and whatever we want to call this. It’s all just the same thing over and over; we can’t help ourselves. And you and I can’t control it, or stop it, or even slow it. Or even ever-so-slightly alter it. We just react. And we make a lot money if we get it right. And we get left by the side of the side of the road if we get it wrong. And there have always been and there always will be the same percentage of winners and losers. Happy foxes and sad sacks. Fat cats and starving dogs in this world. Yeah, there may be more of us today than there’s ever been. But the percentages-they stay exactly the same.”

After listening to Tuld’s speech, Sam reluctantly agrees to stay on. Cohen invites Peter to the dining area and Tuld explains Sam that Peter is promoted and he needs smart people to stay and reconstruct the fallen empire. The last scene: Sam is digging a grave to bury his ceased dog,  allegorically implying that “there’d be some holes in the ground to show for it” :)

Even though if you are not inclined or familiar with the financial intricacies of Economics, The film keeps you completely engaged. The audience is aware of the generic conclusion but the way it is transported or explored makes it really interesting. It accurately depicts hierarchical structure of the firm and there is equality in the screen presence of its associated characters, their lives, their emotions and their insecurities.

The script is well written, Chandor took almost 15 years to work on the same and with this cast of amazing talent, exemplifies a pragmatic view on how capitalism work. The movie also reminded me of my selfish, manipulative managers, HR’s who doesn’t know crap of how things work, who are quick to blame others, talk only in percentages; numbers and they are only looking out for themselves.

It made me to delve on the question: of what is right and what is wrong. Aesthetically speaking, the depicted characters are within the rules of the game. However, they are driven by pure insatiable greed. Their primary aim is to make big money in a very small amount of time, instruct their greedy neurons to bend rules and maximize profits. Is this what being smart is all about?? Is this what education do??? To fill our souls with  “little more”, “just a little more”, “justttttt…….. a littleee more”. There’s no end to it…. And the loop continues……..


That’s the way it crumbles… cookie-wise.   Leave a comment

The Apartment (1960)
Director: Billy Wilder
Country: United States
Runtime: 125 mins
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Jack Kruschen

I just love noir films because of its poignant visual style: a minimalistic black and white approach, characterization, dialogue systems incorporated with dark elements which are evocative of the genre and have indisputably brilliant detective themes. I got introduced to noir via Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) which is simply an outstanding film, then followed by Double Indemnity (1944), Witness for the Prosecution (1957).

Billy Wilder’s direction doesn’t just revolve around noirs, he has directed many films of different genres and is considered to be one of the most versatile, prolific directors of Hollywood’s “Golden Age” and after watching films like Ace in the Hole (1951), Stalag 17 (1953) Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), the above statement is awfully very true. Billy Wilder placed huge importance on the story and visualized characters based on it. I really find his way of operating things to be very enterprising, intriguing, and authentic. Very old-fashioned, but very effective.

Despite his conservative directorial style, his subject matter often pushed the boundaries of mainstream entertainment. Once a subject was chosen, he would begin to visualize in terms of specific artists. His belief was that no matter how talented the actor, none was without limitations and the end result would be better if you bent the script to their personality rather than force a performance beyond their limitations.

 The Apartment is a timeless, simple, absorbing, romantic-comedy-drama that has lot of good dialog, hope, love and the most important of all, an inside look at baxter’s soulful metamorphosis, a journey to feel and be human, to be a mensch!

Calvin Clifford Baxter ; C.C Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is just another aam-aadmi working for one of the biggest Insurance firm stationed in New York. To facilitate his corporate growth, he lends his apartment to his superiors, so that they can quietly maintain their extra-marital affairs without taking many risks. In return, Baxter would move up the corporate ladder without much effort, without doing any conventional hard-work. Most of the times he feels utterly miserable because even when he is sick, he spends night in the park because his apartment is occupied by seniors. In office, Baxter meets his new boss Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) who offers him a promotion and free tickets to musical if he lets him use his apartment. Baxter invites elevator girl, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) who agrees but doesn’t turn up because she is on a regular date with Mr. Sheldrake.

Sheldrake convinces Fran that he loves her very much and also tells her that he is all set to give his wife a divorce, so that he can be with her. Therefore, Fran skips her date with Baxter. Meanwhile, Baxter is now promoted to a new position and during the office party; he accidentally discovers that, Sheldrake is having an affair with Fran and Sheldrake’s personal secretary tells Fran that she also had an affair with the boss, she too fell for his divorcing line. On Christmas eve, Fran and Sheldrake schedule to meet in Baxter’s apartment. Disturbed, depressed and distressed Baxter picks up a woman from the bar. He comes home the next day to find Fran in his bed, overdosed with sleeping pills. With the help from philosophical Doctor (his neighbor) he nurses Fran until she is out of danger. He entertains her; they play Gin Rummy which keeps her mind occupied so that she does travel into a different frame of mind which is suicidal.

Sheldrake secretary meets his wife and tells his affairs to her. Therfore, he decides to break-up with his family and start a new life with Fran. Baxter is now totally in love with Fran and decides to marry her; he decides to convey this to his boss-Sheldrake but his boss speaks the same, he also asks his apartment to spend the rest of the time until divorce but Baxter says NO and quits the job. Fran finds out that Baxter has left his job and on her relation, refused Sheldrake his apartment. On new years eve, Fran ditches Sheldrake and run’s to Baxter’s apartment where they begin playing Gin Rummy again!

The story is simple, very practical, it peeps into the high-speed illusional corporate world and its infidelities, its perks and privileges at the cost of idealism. It shows how nasty people can get if you are submissive and on the other side how special it is to find someone who truly, really cares about you. The Humor is very delicate and often accompanied with metaphorical references, for eg. When Baxter expresses his profound supposition on his lovelife “Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. “ The movie has such frequent humorous illustrations on life, love. Filled with intricate details, The Apartment is very ingenious and does educate you to be a mensch ! :)

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