Review – This is it

MJ's This is it – watch the trailer – had nothing to do with anything else about MJ but his last concert. Actually all footage is of the practice sessions between March and June. The film began with some random two line interviews with the dancers that had come to audition for his on stage key dancers positions. Most of them young people who have always aspired to dance for the man. So naturally, they were all emotional , just being given the chance to audition meant so much to these people. ( Its a dream come true
said most)

Then they show the audition , with MJ sitting in the bleachers, watching, nodding, pointing and picking people he wanted. The entire film is footage from the video cameras that were at work during these sessions, without a voice over or commentary. So you actually hear what MJ says to the director or his dancers. So its all in bits and pieces with real voices, comments, laughs.

MJ changes into his flashy coats in each of his rehearsals. The – trademark studded glove on one hand is never there. He looks frail, cadaverous and wasted – not old. His eyes look ghostly – on the rare occasions he takes of his Elton John goggles. His hair is the only thing that makes him look nice. He wears his hat on and off during his rehearsals. I particularly liked it when he requested the key drummer and other musicians to wait for his cue. If you watch (Billie Jean) some of his videos you will hear these drum beats and special effects each time he snaps his fingers, turns, jumps or points his hand. Of course there was a lot of trademark MJ moves in the film – the moonwalk, his constant shake of wrist like he is trying to loosen up his joint, his crotch grab, his gyrating hip and his fantastic, restless, dance moves. Incredible.

At one point during his rehearsal, he says the chorus was loud. " It feels like someone is using his fist to plug my ear "in his usual soft voice.Then there is this time when the director tells him to climb on to the crane that will lift him off the stage during one of his songs when he says " Ok, I will" like a meek little boy. To his musicians he says " Lets do it one more time".  Every time they got the steps or music right he said " I love you. I really do". He says ' " I feel so blessed to give back something to the world. When I write these songs I give some sense of hope to people… " Ask MJ fans around the world and they will vouch for that!

The director says to everyone on stage," We are all here because of him… may it continue… with him leading the way" The press footage where Michael says  – "This is the moment. This is it". It is so poignant. My heart went out to him. Felt sorry that he was not given that one last chance to rock ( or Pop, as the case may be) the world.

It was worth being there. And it is going to be a special memory for more reasons than one- It was MJ's last and my first ( movie by myself in 40 years!)

Some of the songs they showed in full during the movie –

Annie are you ok
Billie jean
Bad
Don't stop till you get enough
Smooth criminal
Man in the mirror
Earth Song
Black or White
They don't really care about us

RIP, MJ. Love you too!

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Movie Review – UP

Yesterday's movie was an overdose of 3 D movies. I did not know that UP was 3D too! So apart from the money spent on popcorns and coke, I also had to shell out on the hire of 3D glasses! Plus you are fairly warned that in case there is any damage to the glasses you are fined the cost of the glasses!  ( Movies have become mighty expensive outings now – A movie cost nothing less than Rs.300 a head if you do not include the to and fro costs! )

UP was an endearing movie. In the beginning of the movie, two little kids meet. They are both adventure seekers. The girl, the braver of the two ( but naturally!) has a book that is titled " My big book of adventure" that she shares with the little boy. She says " its my little secret that I have not shared with any one else…..all my life  (and she is six or something!). She makes the boy cross his heart to promise that he would not tell anyone else about the book.

I loved it when she uses a big safety pin to pin up a grape soda cap to the boys tee shirt and says " welcome to the adventure seekers club! " and they belong:-) . She shows the little boy a paper cutting of a waterfall in South America and says she dreams of going there. " Its America but …. the south" she says longingly!

I wish they showed more of the little kids. The next few scenes the movie plays in fast forward mode. (What I like about the fast forward mode – The man, Carl, is a balloon seller and he sells helium balloons for a living. Ellie, the lady,knots his tie up in the mornings when he leaves for work. So they show the many years passing by with Ellie knotting up ties of different colors and prints). The kids grow up to adults,they marry each other, make a house and name it " South America" and they picnic, they grow old. And the lady dies ( the little girl with the big dreams who grew up) All the time I expected the movie to rewind back to the childhood – expecting the boy to come out of his
dreams. But I was disappointed.

They show the old man and his lonely life till one day he gets upset with some people rebuilding the neighborhood. He gets annoyed with the tractor that knocks into the mailbox outside his house. (Why is the mail box special – This is another romantic piece in the movie where they show the man and woman paint the little mail box with their names.
(Carl and Ellie) When Ellie gets done, Carl removes his palm and finds that he has smudged the paint with a palm print next to his name. Ellie just shrugs off the whole thing ( where as I would have gotten upset!) and prints her palm next to her name!)

The old man, Carl, knocks the engineer who rammed into the mail box and the county decides that the old man belongs to a retirement home. He then decides that he won't go away so easily so he ties up thousands of colorful helium balloons to the house and the house lifts up into the air and beyond!

What follows is an incredible adventure, mostly unbelievable, a little boy called Russel who accompanies the old man, talking dogs and a rare bird called Kevin!

Talking about these will make the review too long. but Here is what I liked about Russel.

Russel is a boy scout who wants to earn his badge helping the elderly. He tells Carl, the lonely old man, " Can I help you cross the road? Or the garden? Or the porch? I have to help you cross something!" At some point when Carl suggests that they play a game to check who stays quiet for the longest Russel says " Oh, I know that one, my mom plays that with me all the time!":-)

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Movie review – Cloudy with the chance of meatballs

When my pal at the gym told me about it, I was not intrigued about the movie at all – I suspected that her narrative skills were not great.Plus I had not taken Akank out to a movie for a while so I indulged. Cloudy… started well. It was a story about a little boy who was different because he was always inventing things that did not really work. His mother is the only one that suspects that he is cut to be a scientist one day so she buys him a lab coat when he is
little.They live in a small town that is known for its sardines business. The story progresses to show the boy all grown up and working in his lab with gizmos and one such invention is a machine that makes food with water:-) The machine gets blown away into the sky due to an electrician surge and because of the water in the clouds it starts making food ( this one invention actually works!) So it rains burgers, icecreams, steaks, bacon, eggs and toast and the mayor of the
city starts advertising for tourism into the town! The mayor gets greedy and pushes the hero – our boy inventor – to order the machine to make more and more food and finally because it is overworked there is mutation in the genetic make up of the foods and so the machine starts making bigger steaks, bigger pizzas and enormous pies and they
show them raining on 3D at you!

Looking at so much food in 3 D made it not so interesting. But I guess Akank liked the idea that you could have icecreams outside your house to roll and slide in and throw snow balls with so I managed to tolerate it!

A few snapshots of what I liked about the movie!

There is this scene where the boy inventor makes a huge castle made of jello to impress his girl. Pure glossy orange ( did I tell you Orange is my favorite colour?) and absolutely bouncy too. It was pure magic:-)

The scene when the girl friend owns up that when she was little she was a nerd too and wanted to be a scientist but since she was ridiculed by her classmates she got rid of her glasses and lofty dreams and became a regular girl. Our boy inventor makes her wear glasses and makes her a hair scrunchy with the orange jello ( pure romance!!) and looks at her and calls her "beautiful"

Then there is this scene where the boy is on a mission to punch in the "kill code" into the machine in the sky to stop it from working . He carries the code in a flash drive which flies away into space by accident. He calls his father on a satellite phone and instructs him to download the code again and send it as a text. The dad who is technology challenged is totally lost when the son asks him to " look at the window" and " click with the mouse" and "drag across the desktop" which he does looking out the window of his lab, holds a live mouse in his hand and clicks its head and drags the poor mouse across the top of the desk!

Thank God for the pop corns:-) I remained sane!

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