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Here's where you pause for the best of movies, masala, magic.
WHATEVER WORKS (2009)
Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson "Why would you want to hear my story? Do we know each other? Do we like each other? Let me tell you right off, I'm not a likeable guy. Charm has never been a priority with me, " proclaims Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) in this quasi-romantic comedy that seduces you into the macabre world of a temperamental professor. Whatever Works, originally written by Woody Allen over thirty years ago with Zero Mostel in mind for the role of the Yellnikoff, transports viewers to Allen's familiar New York setting. Pronouncing his contemptuous views on everything from politics, religion, relationships, TV and even the audience, Boris is a professor of quantum mechanics at Columbia University whose misanthropic pessimism is riotous and endearing. Having ended his marriage and attempted to commit suicide rueing the meaninglessness of life, he develops a limp, quits his job and becomes a chess teacher for children. When the artless Southern beauty Melodie St. Ann Celestine turns up at his doorstep, he begrudgingly gives her a place to stay and the two embark on an unlikely friendship. As Melodie begins to adopt his worldview, Boris becomes attached to her and the two are married. The narrative takes an unexpected turn when Melodie's parents arrive at his apartment. Manhattan emerges as the most powerful character in this celebration of urbanity and nonconformity. Through witty dialogue and realistic performances, Whatever Works engagingly depicts the unpredictable nature of companionship. Though the political references are somewhat dated, Allen fans will be charmed by his sharp wit and brutal honesty about human relationships.
Leonor Watling, Luis Tosar, Juanjo Puigcorbe Set in the Barcelona in 1913, Unconscious is a Freudian comedy that employs the detective genre to raise questions about sexuality and identity. Dr. Leon Pardo is a renowned psychiatrist, who on visiting Vienna one summer becomes a follower of Sigmund Frued. His wife Alma, is suddenly left pregnant and isolated when he takes off in a dramatic gesture, hysterical and mumbling incoherently. The distraught Alma then approaches her brother-in-law, Salvador a conservative psychiatrist who is secretly in love with her. With a manuscript on of hysteria and female sexuality based on four case histories in hand, Salvador agrees to help Alma find Leon. Based in the modernist period where Europe was buzzing with new-fangled terms such as Oedipal complex, Unconscious is a layered narrative with several subplots that deal with Freud's theories of hysteria and sexuality. As Alma determinedly embarks on a mission to track down her husband, she encounters the strong sexual undercurrent in the city - a woman who murders her husband, a porn actress with deep sexual insecurities - and even dances with transvestites. Fecund with drama and colour, the movie playfully uses extreme examples of psychoanalysis to ridicule the theories popular at the time. The use of phony newsreels that expound the latest inventions and trends of 1913 and sly sexual innuendos along with Sherlok-Holmes-style investigation creates a gripping drama. Though the story line is excessively entangled, the movie is paced such that you are always entertained.
OUT ON DVD
AWAY WE GO (2009)
John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph & Allison Janney Brilliantly conceived and precisely executed, Away We Go elucidates the mundane realities of life in modern America, debunking the notion of normality. Burt Furlander (John Krasinski) and Verona De Tessant (Maya Rudolph) explore the changing contours of their unconventional relationship on the eve of the birth of their child, when Burt's parents unexpectedly announce that they are moving to Antwerp and will not be able to help with the baby. As they meander through various cities seeking a 'perfect' place to bring up a child, the couple meets quirky friends and relatives and along the way re-create their notion of home. The transcontinental journey is an odyssey of self reflection, done without the staged didactic style that usually hinders movies of this genre. The unaffected performances of Krasinski and Rudoplh create a riveting drama, which captures the viewer's imagination and poses a critical commentary on the assumptions of family and parenthood. Though the narrative stagnates at certain points, Oscar winning director Sam Mendes does justice to an otherwise unusual storyline. Away We Go is an honest depiction of the strange reality of domestic life in contemporary America. The DVD includes a feature commentary with director Sam Mendes and writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. In a refreshing move, viewers also have the chance to see the ways in which the making of the movie was environmentally friendly using strategies like carbon offsets and hybrid transportation.
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