Of Slumdogs & Buttons

Quicknote: Anne Hathaway was very, very impressive during the 81st Oscars. Heart-stopping beauty, & astonishing vocals in that opening performance.

“& the Oscar goes to…”

So all the main award shows for movies (& music too) for the year 2008 have been carried out, all results revealed, with the latest during the Academy Awards a few days ago. As usual, I take the opportunities from the nominees’ lists from these shows (notably the Golden Globes & the Oscars) to be exposed to the movies that, either never reached our shores (or in Juno’s case, reached our cinemas a whole bloody year later), or simply I have not heard of before. In other words, without the best picture nomination, I would never have watched (or even be aware of) No Country for Old Men.

This year was no different. During the Golden Globes there was so much hoo-haa about Slumdog Millionaire, while I was staring blankly at the screen with the words “What are these wankers talking about? What slumdog?”.

Thus, with freezing winds inviting themselves into my room through my half-opened windows, a blaring karaoke session from the nearby surau trying in vain to compete with my iTunes to be my accompanying soundtrack during the scripting of this post, & my frequent bowel liquid movements leaving me severely weakened & unable to move around much (accept the regular bullet-speed dashes to the loo), I would like to summarize my reviews on the only 2 movies I am interested in from the best picture nominees’ list of the Academy Awards 2009 (the reviews which I have been postponing intentionally till after the Oscars’ results were revealed).

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For the first hour, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was inclining towards an epic story on the verge of becoming a complete fantasy masterpiece. Poignant & melancholic with touches of delight, I was truly engaged. Pitt’s Benjamin Button could not have been more enigmatic.

Then, at a weary 2 hours & 45 minutes long, what was so beautiful ended with a feeling of “it could have been so so so much greater”. A story about a peculiar little person that ages backwards could have had a journey of so much more fantastic tales in his life (Forrest Gump comes into mind), yet he led a pretty much mundane & pointless life. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the whole movie was still stunning & mesmerizing, but the craving for what it could have been is quite overwhelming. Brad Pitt was very much perfect (& looked perfect too!) for the role, while Cate Blanchett was marvelous wasn’t she? Unfortunately, Benjamin Button lacked a little inspiration & ended up as a movie with beautiful & intimate storytelling that ultimately failed to reach a destination of any significance, when it could have been the greatest epic tale of recent times.

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Slumdog Millionaire on the other hand was an extraordinary story of the life of Jamal Malik. This is one rollercoaster ride that will flabbergast you face-on with an euphoric rush of uproarious joy, despair, shock, disbelief & a certain amount of far-fetched awesomeness that delights anyway. Visually dazzling, excellent directing from Boyle, polished camera work execution, an incredible soundtrack by A.R. Rahman, & most importantly outstanding performances by the young unknown cast, all seal this as not only a brilliant masterpiece, but a very refreshing & exhilarating cinematic experience that captures that rare balance of being extremely entertaining yet emotionally resonant. I don’t think I need to say much more about this movie, it left me quite breathless, & it did sweep 8 freaking Oscars.  & that dance scene during the credits is a charming nod to Bollywood. Freida Pinto however looks much more captivating in person…hmmmm.

So there were people asking how Sean Penn could have snagged the Oscar for Best Actor from Mickey Rourke (or even Brad Pitt, for that matter). I thought they should have just bloody gave the award to Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, the cute kid who played the youngest Jamal Malik. That unforgettable scene of him jumping into that enormous pile of shit holding up Amitabh Bachchan’s picture gloriously should have single-handedly gave him the Best Actor award hands-down.

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Frankly, at first look I would have expected the old blokes from the Academy to give the Oscar to Benjamin Button, given their fetish for deep thought-provoking drama, rather than the rich joyride feast that was Slumdog.

But I am still convinced they should have given the award to The Dark Knight =).

KV thinks “Thinking of You” is almost as beautiful as Katy Perry’s face…or her pair of weapons of mass ‘distraction’.