Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rest Stop

This is a short story by Stephen King from his compilation, 'Just After Sunset'. This story gets an 'A'. It is about an English professor, John Dykstra who encounters his alter ego split personality Rick Hardin at a rest stop when he goes to pee and stumbles upon a foul man abusing a woman in a ladies bathroom. This English Professor who cannot even swat a fly gives the ramming of his life to this abuser. Here are some brilliant passages: He walked across the parking lot to the building, the heels of his cowboy boots clocking. John Dykstra never would have worn faded jeans and cowboy boots but Hardin was a different breed of hot rod. Unlike Dykstra, Hardin didn't care much what people thought of his appearance.... There was a slap,followed by a thump, a muffled meat thump. Dykstra realized he was listening to the unremarkable sounds of abuse.... He could actually see the red hand shape on the woman's cheek and her head bouncing off the wall of beige tile.... Lee (the abuser) took off the queerly delicate spectacles and put them on the pavement. Hardin immediately stepped on them with the heel of one boot. There was a little snapping sound and the delicious grind of glass.

Bloody Spartacus


This is a television drama sponsored by Starz, a U.S. based Pay Channel in January 2010. Thirteen Episodes make the Season I. It is AAA.
The series portrays the historical figure Spartacus (played by Kirk Douglas in the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece) now played by Andy Whitfield in this well directed television drama.
Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator around 70 B.C. who created lot of problems for the Roman Republic in masterminding a severe uprising by rebel gladiators against them. The drama brings out the early life of Spartacus. The drama is restricted for solo viewing and not with the family. The violence and nudity scenes are plenty and done in good taste. The drama does pound you savagely.
Andy Whitfield is supported capably by John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Erin Cummings and Jai Courtney. Joseph LoDuca has given good percussion strong music for the drama series.
A prequel titled Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is scheduled for January 2011 with six episodes followed by shooting for the Season II . The shooting had stopped after the first season as Andy Whitfield was diagnosed for Hodgkins Lymphoma and post treatment for the cancer, he will be back for the filming. Unfortunately, the world lost Andy Whitfield! It is sad indeed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wachet Auf

A cantata completed by Johann Sebastian Bach on 25th November 1731. Popularly known as 'Sleepers Wake'. Beautiful. This has inspired A Whiter Shade of Pale of 1967 by Procol Harum that John Lennon ticked as the greatest rock and roll song perhaps ever written.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Roman Polanski has done it again

Few years back, I was mesmerised by Roman Polanski's 'Pianist'. It was refreshing to see 'The Ghost Writer' this year . I saw it twice in three days and this film replaces all before it as the Film Of The Year. Truly Hitchcockian. What attention to details! Build up and suspense is truly magnetic. Embellished by an outstanding musical score by Alexandre Desplat. Hear it. Roman Polanski has handled this script with an ease like Alfred Hitchcock would have done with Saboteur and The Man who Knew Too Much. I was first bowled over by Polanski's 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'The Tenant'. This film is in the true tradition of how a tale has to be told even if the tale has political overtones. Any other director would have found the going dry and tough. Ewan Mcgregor, I always felt had the potential to deliver; and he has done greatly. Pierce Brosnan is adequate. Good supporting work from Timothy Hutton, James Belushi and Tom Wilkinson. Let me get back to Polanski who is the Master Director here and excellent work by Aexandre Desplat. The visuals are breathtaking and perfect for the sombre mood of the script. The music is a perfect fit to this suspenseful cocktail of a tale. Polanski was born Rajmund Roman Liebling in Paris and his family moved to Poland for business where the second world war saw his parents being sent to the prison concentration camps where his mother died. His father and himself survived the Polish holocaust. He made his mark on Polish cinema with 'A Knife in the Water' in 1962. His work in the American scene started with films like Repulsion(1965), Cul-de-Sac (1966), The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Rosemary's Baby (1968),Macbeth (1971),Diary of Forbidden Dreams (1972),Chinatown (1974),The Tenant (1976), Tess (1979), Pirates (1986), Frantic (1988),Bitter Moon (1992),Death and the Maiden (1994),The Ninth Gate (1999),The Pianist (2002),Oliver Twist(2005), To Each His Own Cinema (2007) and The Ghost Writer (2010). The case against him for raping a young girl apart, he has inherited the spirit of Hitchcock in his style of film making.