Archive for December, 2012
How thrilled Solar Deity is going to be about playing shows after February ’13 I’ll have to wait and see, because nothing will quite match up to the excitement of being selected as the opening act for Trendslaughter Festival III. Being the prestigious event all Indian extreme-metal bands aspire to have their name associated with, it is the first time the TSF team has picked a band that has never played anywhere before. It is a very big deal for Solar Deity, and we are overwhelmed that the organizers liked our music enough to consider us worthy of a slot at India’s most important annual underground ceremony. That a few gentlemen in Bangalore have not only acknowledged our work but are going out of their way to ensure this band gets to perform alongside some splendid underground acts is what will make the moonless night of February 10, 2013 even more special for us. Of course, nothing will prepare you for the live ritual attack.
By DEVDUTT NAWALKAR
Alcoholism, real life, home-destroying alcoholism, has afflicted people across the globe since the advent of civilization and will continue to do so till it is on its haunches (and who’s to say it won’t be absolute monarch then?). Often, the disease has legitimate origins, causing the individual to spiral down into a vicious circle while staring into the bottom of a bottle. Just as often, alcoholism begins, like it has for so many I’ve known, as a way of having fun while they’re young, gestating until life forces issues of more serious import upon them. Then it becomes either an escape from confrontation or a means of wallowing further in one’s sense of helplessness. Heightened anxiety and emotional sensitivity, paranoia, seeing and feeling things that aren’t there to be seen or felt, ruined relationships – quite the gamut of fuckups. Rob Zemeckis (Castaway, Forrest Gump, and numerous other feel good movies) provides a surprisingly stark picture of the addiction in Flight.
Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an alcoholic in denial. His affliction has resulted in a divorce and an estranged son. What complicates matters somewhat is that Whitaker also happens to be a commercial airline pilot. I’ve never been one with an overt fear of flying, in spite of the absurdness of being inside a physical construct with no solid ground underneath, but Flight forces one to wonder just how many pilots within the industry are in an inebriated state while flying. It is a busy job, a stressful job with short turnovers and large amounts of time away from family and friends. These men and women with their plastic smiles and platitudes have to have an extremely stolid bent of mind; I can think of precious few circumstances when a group of people are in a more vulnerable state than when they’re flying aboard an aircraft. To cope with that sort of burden, day in and day out, is immense.
Whitaker has his way of coping. Copious amounts of alcohol, cannabis, and a few lines of cocaine, and he’s raring to go. On just such a flight, things go horribly wrong when an equipment malfunction causes the plane to nosedive into free fall. Whitaker has sufficient nous to manoeuvre the craft in outrageous ways and manages a forced landing in the middle of a field. Out of the 102 passengers aboard, only 6 perish; later investigations reveal that pilots subjected to similar conditions in simulation universally failed to salvage anything from the crash. Time and again, Whitaker claims that he is the only pilot who could’ve done what he did to land that plane. It does throw up an interesting question: did his heightened state of mind under the influence of coke and alcohol have anything to do with his confident and incredibly inventive handling or did it hinder his ability to think rationally and make decisions that could’ve saved those 6 lives?
That’s the main premise of the story. The parts I found really interesting are the ones where Washington depicts his alcoholism in the aftermath of the crash, warts and all. The constant lies, absolving himself of all responsibility and accountability; when shame becomes a word from the distant past and the only thing that matters is the next drink. It isn’t pretty. There are a couple of scenes, especially, which hit close to home. Perhaps too close for comfort, but that is precisely the point of all good art. To cut beneath the skin and scrape the bone. Washington is a great actor and he does the part full justice. It’s not hamming, it’s a nuanced act, balanced superbly; the lines he’s given and the way he’s performed them would strike a nerve with anybody who’s had a passing acquaintance with booze.
Zemeckis keeps a dark mood for the most part but he tries to lighten things up with Whitaker’s dealer character for which there really wasn’t any need. But I guess a lack of comic relief in a film like this is a recipe for mainstream suicide. Also, the recovering heroin addict girl that Whitaker takes in is fairly superfluous and doesn’t really flesh out Whitaker beyond showing that there is inherent good in the man.
Flight is a good movie, if an uncomfortable one. Depending on where you come from, it’ll either be a footnote in the list of movies you’ve watched this year or it will make you think a bit more about yourself or the ones you know, as the case may be.
MORE BY DEVDUTT:
The Greatest Pure Heavy Metal Album Ever | REVIEW: Absorbed In The Nethervoid | MOVIE: Van Diemen’s Land | ALBUM: Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm | MUSIC REVIEW: World | FILM: Flexing With Monty | MUSIC REVIEW: Fourth Reich | ALBUM REVIEW: Profonatitas de Domonatia
Not loud enough, but still the coolest band on the planet.
Slash would have looked great standing next to Axl Rose on that stage, but the world isn’t always perfect, and the chain-smoking guitarist whose face is always partially hidden by his curly hair wasn’t missed for more than a couple of minutes. The three guitarists who now wield the axes for GN’R are fabulous showmen, and all of the gentlemen backing Mr. Rose at MMRDA Grounds, Bandra-Kurla Complex last night displayed at every given opportunity why they belong to the legendary rock band. Axl Rose – the highlight and the delight of the evening – went through over a dozen costume changes (what a collection of hats!) and yowled his way through the three-hour set from the band’s fantastic discography. Most of the people were mighty pleased (and got their money’s worth) as Guns N’ Roses played all the hits. I was thrilled to see (hear) William Axl Rose hit the high notes and sway to the music in his typical way, and to watch the rest of the band seriously rocking it out on their “Appetite For Democracy” tour. The best thing about GN’R‘s show was that it was unhurried; the band was relaxed and seemed genuinely happy to be there: Guns N’ Roses – the coolest band on earth – performed in Mumbai (Bombay!) last night and enjoyed it greatly. The sound should have been much louder and should have engulfed us, but it could be that we were standing in the wrong places in our efforts to get a clear view of the band. The setlist is the wrong thing to discuss, because even though GN’R played most of the hits, there are at least
five eight twelve fifteen other songs I would have loved to hear them play. But I saw the rock star of rock stars last night; the frontman of the band that made me fall in love with heavy, guitar-driven music; a band so effortlessly cool that I took up smoking and drinking only because they made it look that good. And I’ll even say that after more than a decade of attending shows and watching countless performances, the Guns N’ Roses show in my city was the first ‘rock concert’ I experienced.
Yeah, I’m sick of it. Staying off the booze for 11 months has greatly helped, and I don’t see how abstaining for another two weeks to complete a year will get me a blow job or anything else. I feel great; my family is healthy; my rabbits love me; my band has kicked major ass this year; and this blog rules – so I don’t see a reason to not drink. Sobriety has been fun, but it’s time to get serious. See you at some bar!
This movie review contains spoilers.
Oversimplifying a complex story may ring the death knell for a movie, and Talaash is the kind of film that worries it might not be understood by the people who will make Dabangg 2 a superhit/blockbuster. So uneasy is Reema Kagti’s latest about how it will (or won’t) be interpreted, that Talaash, at every step, explains every move it makes.
A dour cop who blames himself for his son’s death that came about in a freak accident, investigating the killing of a film star in a bizarre mishap, finds leads in conversations with a hooker. Intense till the end, Aamir Khan shows little sensitivity to his traumatized wife, and she connects with her dead son through a medium. The one time you do feel for the man is as he replays his final moments with his son, giving the scene alternate endings that would have prevented the tragic blow.
plays herself looks quite happy in the role of a prostitute, and she drops hints so often that it becomes obvious to the viewer that something is highly unusual about her, apart from the fact that she’s great at playing a whore. More forgettable characters find themselves embroiled in Talaash, as the cop and hooker duo takes you to seedy brothels and blackmailing pimps, of which, Nawazuddin Siddiqui limps his way through the film with remarkable ease.
Ridiculous as most will find it, I have no problem with the twist: no one said a whore can’t be a ghost – but what keeps me from liking this suspense-turned-horror is the whore-bag being shown underwater to make it very clear to the viewer that it is a good ghost seeking revenge from the guilty. It is this just-in-case-you’re-too-dumb-to-get-it business along with its Bollywood treatment that’s supposed to make the movie easier to swallow that keeps Talaash from being a wholly enjoyable film even as a one-time watch.