Film Reviews

Romeo and Juliet. Dead. Who’s

Romeo and Juliet. Dead. Who’s to be blamed:

Just as I do the first thing every morning, I switched on the TV, this saturday. To my weekend surprise!!, Franco Zeffirelli‘s version of Romeo and Juliet was about to start. What else would a movie buff like me do other than making a cup of coffee and get stuck before the TV. This 1968 super hit flick is considered as the best adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic play, Romeo and Juliet. This story of love and tragedy is best read than to be seen. But Zeffirelli’s experienced hand on period films makes this one too a magnetic screening.

It’s said that back in 1968 there was a lot of confusion in air when Zeffirelli casted two unknown teenagers as protagonists. The impulsive 17 year old Leonard Whiting as Romeo and the stunning, voluptuous and magnetic 15 year old Olivia Hassey as Juliet. I could well imagine how teenagers would have drooled over her those days. Eventually they became icons of their age, later. Carrying this larger than life characters, these naive teenagers wade through the movie along with the powerful screenplay and rest in your hearts.

Just having the right cast does not make a masterpiece. It only makes it possible. As Romeo sees (not meets..he trespasses into the party) Juliet in the party, he whispers the first sentence as She doth teaches the torches to burn bright. With the same intense passion kisses her on her hands behind the pillar. Oh! boy, there you go. With a poetic class, Zeff takes us through the rest of roller coaster ride. A plethora of emotions glide before you in a flash all involving love-at-first-sight, all-consuming love, passion, denial, love lost, sacrifice and unconditional love. While unconditional love is still a question to be answered, Olivia and Leonard makes this emotion seem very possible. Reminds me of Kannalanae song in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay.

Zeffirelli brings the typical Shakespearian Verona before us and also the true-to-life characters of Shakespeare. Friar Laurence (Milo O’Shea) character amazes me. As the priest of the church, he helps Romeo and Juliet and as the climax strikes in, he runs outside the cellar in the fear of being executed by the prince. That is a practical characterization. Michael York as the much pompous tybalt, the typical villain and a honest swordsman. Zeffirelli’s liberties over the script and dialogues of this play must have made the literary critics run from pillar to post. But then that is what people love to see. Especially the balcony scene when Romeo couldn’t stop looking at Juliet for a second and Juliet experiencing the love from her heart for the first time is unseen before. This scene clearly crosses the international standards and makes an impact. The character of nurse looks like a sandwiched character for fun in the movie. Other than this everyone seems to be in place.

Pasqualino De Santis, the cinematographer won an Oscar for this film. I am sure he deserves it. Especially those sudden steady-cam-like shots when Romeo comes running over to Juliet in the church was classy. And also the market place stunt when Romeo kills tybalt in a sword fight was fierce with mud flying all over and people making huge noises, was notable.

This movie gave the completeness of watching Romeo and Juliet. The 1996 version of Romeo + Juliet directed by australian director Baz Luhrmann (director of Moulin Rouge) was more dramatized and was a modern day gangster depiction. It could be re-named Romeo And A Shot Gun. Leonardo Di Caprio as Romeo and Claire Danes as Juliet were appealing till now. I watched this in ’96 Woodlands theatre, Chennai. Though the audience were ok, but the flashiness couldn’t be overseen and finally during the climax when Di Caprio pops in the poison, the audience started laughing and the whole emotional drama became a slapstick comedy. I still appreciate Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, for it was a combo of modern day music with a backdrop of an emotional epic. He was still able to get around the difficult anachronisms and was able to prove Romeo and Juliet lived in the modern day Florida.

Whatsoever, I was stunned by Zeffirelli’s picturization of climax. Romeo dies of poisoning himself and Juliet wakes up from her long sleep to see her beloved husband dead. She tries to kiss his mouth to get a drop of poison so she could also be dead. His mouth is warm and there is no poison left for her to die. She gets tensed as she could hear the voices of kingsmen around, finds Romeo’s short knife, punchers her heart with it and dies. A well known climax but it was still heart-breaking. Who should be blamed for this death of Romeo and Juliet ?. Is it the dogmatism of Montague and Capulet families or the rebellious Romeo and Juliet who were in love with the concept of just falling in love or the priest friar laurence who could have suggested a better idea than this to save the couples. None. Except the man, Shakespeare. Yes !!, He is to be blamed for killing this star crossed lovers.

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Bye Bye Friends : Wait.

Bye Bye Friends :

Wait. Wait. I am not giving up this blog so fast. It’s the farewell to the American Megaserial FRIENDS.

The sitcom that has made to laugh our bellies out is getting done with this season. Fall Season Premiere of Friends begins next week and after that I am going to miss it thoroughly. With Joey and Rachel (fav Jennifer Aniston) kissing each other the friends are getting connected as each one of them finding their romantic hookup.

Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), sketches the typical bubbly girl and is a real darling of humor not to forget the fastidious Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow). By the way, they say the friends characters are psychological. Each one of us have a bit of them. I am more Ross Geller and bit like Phoebe( The one in far left and the one next to him). What Friends character are you?

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Google Code Jam 2003 :

Google Code Jam 2003 : Tough problems. Intense competition. No pressure.

Google is bowling a googly again. This time it is to the rugged coders. Google Code Jam 2003, is a coding contest which is essentially a timed, Internet-based test of programming skills. Leaving out the first prize of $10000, it might be also a lucarative oppurtunity to fetch you a job in google labs. You can use Java, C++, C# or VB.NET languages to solve the problems.

The top 500 coders selected from first round will be made to form a group of 10 in virtual rooms. All of them will be presented with the same set of three problems of escalating difficulty. The accurate solution in the shortest time just as a racy screenplay is awarded first place.

The challenge phase relies on breaking-code funda where each opponent is made to see other opponent’s code and pass test conditions to break it. Successful challenges score points and unsuccessful ones have points deducted. This seems to me as the most interesting and thrilling part as there is a head-on collision between coders.

Registration for the Google Code Jam 2003 opens on October 1st and ends on October 15th, 2003. Registration is unlimited, but only the top 500 scorers from the Qualification Round will advance to Round 1 of the Code Jam 2003 on October 24th.

TopCoder, a technology company specializing in programming tournaments, is helping google in creating a series of problems for programmers to solve.

Check out the official CODE JAM 2003 page. Also the google’s page about this contest.

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I can see the sun

I can see the sun rays sparkling high above the dome of twin towers which travels at a lightining speed and blinds my eyes… I close my eyes..drifting away in my dreams…

I can hear a feeble sound of music coming from a distance… THIRU THIRUDA..THIRU THIRUDA..THEENCHUVAI NAANADA.

“dey avana wudungada” – the smile of now SUSI GANESAN fades out in slow motion shot.

Writen by Senthil, my closest friend, a compulsive film lover, an aspiring director and a pass-out from MIT Chennai wanted to share his thoughts of Madras Institute of Technology with his immediate senior Susi Ganesan. Susi Ganesan, is none but the director of hit flick Five Star and an assistant to Mani Ratnam. Senthil is currently in Malaysia, coding in Java and Beans instead of camera and actors.

Senthil has writen a letter to Susi about his first days in MIT, his ‘encounters’ with fellow seniors and how he came to know about Susi becoming the director of Five Star. It’s more like a well written script than a letter-to-the-friend. Heck. You got it right!!. He also takes this oppurtunity to ask for a chance of working with Susi Ganesan hoping that Susi will find this letter in this better-bitter-internet. Hope he gets it.

Read the letter here.