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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remembering James Dean

James Dean died on this very day in 1955.
He lived a short life. But even though he died at the age of 24, after a fatal car-crash, this American actor has become a cultural icon, a cinematic legend, with no parallels.
I was introduced to the works of this genius at an impressionable age, as I was just getting hooked to the magic of classic Hollywood films, thanks to the American Center Library, Kolkata. I can never forget the day, I rushed from college to catch a screening of the James Dean starrer "Rebel Without a Cause". Needless to say, I was mesmerized by Dean's portrayal of teenage angst on screen. I couldn't sleep all night. I kept thinking about the film, and about the protagonist played by Dean. The other two films of his, "East of Eden" and "Giant", I saw thereafter, it wasn't too easy to watch English language films from the Fifties in the late-Nineties, here in Kolkata, as the age of DVDs was yet to arrive..... but I had to see Jimmy Dean on screen, he conveyed exuberant passion like none else! He was the classic bad-boy of Hollywood. He achieved a cult star-status even for the brief 3-4 years that he acted.... he lived life large.... he lived his dream, he instigated us to dream too.

"Dream as if you'll live forever,
live as if you'll die today."
- James Dean

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hollywood, Hundred

Hollywood has completed one hundred years.....
recently, there was an exhibition of photographs held in Kolkata, commemorating the centenary through an array of rare black and white compositions, with a special emphasis on the stars, and their respective styles, of the golden era of Hollywood.
That reminded me that it was high time to doff my hat to the aura of Hollywood, and I do the same by posting a list of the hundred films from Hollywood, some typically produced by the studios, from a bygone era, and many from the recent past as well, recalling the power and the lure of Hollywood, the magic and romance of the same, some gorgeous ventures backed by the studios, whereas some distributed with the atypical elan that one has come to associate with Hollywood over the years.....
I have to admit the personal bias, and the limitation of personal access, that has gone into the compilation which - for lack of a better term - I'd like to call My Essential Hollywood, recommended viewing for all fellow cine-buffs.....
Starting from Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush' to James Cameron's 'Avatar' (pics on the top, respectively)......

1) The Gold Rush (1925)
2) City Lights (1931)
3) Morning Glory (1933)
4) The 39 Steps (1935)
5) The Informer (1935)
6) Modern Times (1936)
7) The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
8) Bringing Up Baby (1938)
9) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
10) Stagecoach (1939)
11) Gone With the Wind (1939)
12) Rebecca (1940)
13) The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
14) The Great Dictator (1940)
15) How Green Was My Valley (1941)
16) Casablanca (1942)
17) My Darling Clementine (1946)
18) The Fallen Idol (1948)
19) All About Eve (1950)
20) High Noon (1952)
21) Singin' in the Rain (1952)
22) The Quiet Man (1952)
23) From Here to Eternity (1953)
24) Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
25) The Seven Year Itch (1955)
26) Paths of Glory (1957)
27) The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
28) Vertigo (1958)
29) Ben-Hur (1959)
30) North By Northwest (1959)
31) Psycho (1960)
32) West Side Story (1961)
33) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
34) My Fair Lady (1964)
35) The Sound of Music (1965)
36) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
37) Bonny & Clyde (1967)
38) The Graduate (1967)
39) MASH (1970)
40) The Godfather (1972)
41) Jaws (1975)
42) Taxi Driver (1976)
43) Star Wars (1977)
44) Apocalypse Now (1979)
45) Raging Bull (1980)
46) Blade Runner (1982)
47) E. T. - The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
48) Scarface (1983)
49) Back to the Future (1985)
50) The Color Purple (1985)
51) Platoon (1986)
52) The Color of Money (1986)
53) Hannah and her Sisters (1986)
54) The Untouchables (1987)
55) Wall Street (1987)
56) Die Hard (1988)
57) Frantic (1988)
58) Rain Man (1988)
59) The Accused (1988)
60) Sex Lies and Videotape (1989)
61) Casualties of War (1989)
62) When Harry Met Sally (1989)
63) Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
64) Pretty Woman (1990)
65) Goodfellas (1990)
66) Home Alone (1990)
67) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
68) Thelma and Louise (1991)
69) My Own Private Idaho (1991)
70) Schindler's List (1993)
71) Philadelphia (1993)
72) What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
73) Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
74) Ed Wood (1994)
75) Pulp Fiction (1994)
76) Speed (1994)
77) Forrest Gump (1994)
78) The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
79) 12 Monkeys (1995)
80) Dead Man Walking (1995)
81) Jerry Maguire (1996)
82) Titanic (1997)
83) As Good As It Gets (1997)
84) Donnie Brasco (1997)
85) Boys Don't Cry (1999)
86) Fight Club (1999)
87) Girl, Interrupted (1999)
88) Magnolia (1999)
89) Any Given Sunday (1999)
90) Gladiator (2000)
91) Monsters, Inc. (2001)
92) Adaptation (2002)
93) Mystic River (2003)
94) Cold Mountain (2003)
95) Finding Neverland (2004)
96) Million Dollar Baby (2004)
97) Syriana (2005)
98) Ratatouille (2007)
99) Into the Wild (2007)
100) Avatar (2009)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More on friends and friendship.......

There's always so much that I have to say on the topic of friendship, it is never enough even when I have already spoken my mind on the same.
I hope my readers do not get bored of my blabber-blabber too.
I have been feeling I need to spend a bit more time on my friendships.
As I make it a point to listen to my intuition, I decided to call a good friend who has been on my mind,
and the first thing he said was that he and his wife had been thinking about me too and were feeling a need to catch up with their friends.
We all had a great laugh at the coincidence, and then we had a lovely chat, catching up on one another's lives.
It was just another reminder to me how valuable my friends are and how important it is to find ways to stay in touch, even when they are far away.
Of course, getting together in person is the best, but isn't always feasible. Nowadays, despite physical distances, there are so many ways to keep in touch that it is actually easy to do so.
In addition to our home phones, we have cell phones to stay in touch from just about anywhere. And there are instant messaging programs that allow us to use the computer to catch up with people we haven't seen in a while. There are even some computer programs that allow us to talk to each other in real time with video!
If one is pressed for time, communicating with one's friends all at once through a social networking site makes it really easy.
Online social networking is a great way to keep up with everyone without having to contact each person separately to find out what they are up to. Many people post pictures, tell stories and relate bits about their family, events, and vacations.
By posting regularly about what we are doing, we can take advantage of this media to let others know what we're up to in our day-to-day life, as well.
And there are always emails or good old-fashioned letters, notes and postcards.
Almost everyone enjoys finding a nice personal note in among the bills and junk mails.
So, I would like to tell all of my friends that, even if you are busy, I encourage you to do whatever you can, suiting your own preferences, to stay in touch with your friends.
I'm sure, by taking advantage of some of the things I just mentioned, you'd be able to enjoy our friendships all the more.
I hope you all will take this opportunity to catch up with someone you haven't heard from in a while.
Why not see who comes to mind?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Rapunzel is the age-old fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.
This classic tale, with all the standard ingredients of a well-told fairy tale has charmed us for generations. But, now, the story is all set to make a re-emergence as a new-age 3D animation film from the Walt Disney Animation Studios as the forthcoming big ticket release, 'Tangled'. It features the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi along with several others.
The original music for the film has been composed by Alan Menken and the lyrics have been penned by Glenn Slater. Slated for a theatrical release this winter, the film is making all animation feature buffs wait in eager anticipation. Hence, a look at the beautiful visuals.

Pics - courtesy: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Purely illustrative. No copyright infringement intended.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

GLEE - Unleashing the Inner Loser!

"Glee" is the brand new show on Star World that has captured
the imagination of the young and old, in India....
and, especially, here, in Kolkata.
"Glee" is in the musical-drama genre, which itself is a new concept for us,
as far as English language television series is concerned.....
yet, it is something that all of us fed the regular dose of Indian films laden with songs and dances are well acquainted with.
We love the drama, we love the excesses, and we love the deeper conflicts resolved in a naturally liberating manner that has an easy charm.
The series is originally aired, in the United States, on Fox, and the first season had started there last September. But, in India, the series is just about to have the first season finale.
We have woken up late, but with a lot of fervor and glee!
A brief intro for the uninitiated:
The plot focuses on a high school show choir (a modern glee club) called New Directions, at the fictional William McKinley High Schoolin Lima, Ohio.
The show, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, features select music with popular appeal and chart hits. The song covers are essentially sung onscreen by the characters themselves. Choreographed by Zach Woodlee, the show features five to eight production numbers per episode.
There are twelve main roles with star billing. Matthew Morrison plays Will Schuester, a Spanish teacher, who becomes director of the glee club, hoping to restore it to its former glory. Jane Lynch plays Sue Sylvester, head coach of the Cheerios cheerleading squad, and the Glee Club's arch-nemesis. Jayma Mays appears as Emma Pillsbury, the school's mysophobic guidance counselor who has feelings for Will, and Jessalyn Gilsig plays Terri Schuester, Will's wife of five years. Lea Michele plays Rachel Berry, talented star of the glee club who is often bullied by the Cheerios and football players. Cory Monteith plays Finn Hudson, star quarterback of the school's football team who risks alienation by his friends to join the glee club. Also in the club are Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones, a fashion-conscious diva who resents having to sing back-up; Colfer as Kurt Hummel—a gay male soprano; Kevin McHale as Artie Abrams, a guitar player and paraplegic; and Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang, an Asian American student with a fake speech impediment.Mark Salling plays Noah Puck Puckerman, a friend of Finn's on the football team who at first disapproves of Finn joining the glee club, but later joins the glee club himself. Dianna Agron plays Quinn Fabray, Finn's cheerleader girlfriend, who too joins the club later.