Sunday, April 20, 2003

easter weekend

It's Easter Sunday. The weather sucks though: cloudy, bleak and clammy. It's been this way since Good Friday. The irony has overstayed its welcome, though (need I add at this point, that I was reading Son of Rosemary on the train today?). Thankfully, I chose to attend mass, which has given me positive boost. I've been a faithful couch potato for the last couple of days now. I picked up two Ira Levin books at the public library on my way home on Friday: Son of Rosemary and Deathtrap (a two act murder mystery set, as was A Kiss Before Dying, in Connecticut). I finished the play on the train home. The play was extremely successful on Broadway (it set a record as the longest running mystery/thriller on Broadway) and also became a film starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. I loved the play -- it reminded me a lot of Sleuth (whose movie adaptation also featured Michael Caine). The first act reminded me of a Marathi play I had seen on Doordarshan a long time ago called Sadist. That said, the rest of Friday was devoted to Star Trek: TNG, now showcased as "TNG Uncut" on TNN (which means they take out the little bar at the bottom and give you the episode full-screen).

Saturday was movie splurge day. I started off with Michael Caine (yes, yes, I caine-t get enough) doing in his early days as the smart scientist who saves the day in The Swarm. A tad overlong, the film is also interesting for the cast roster that's an exercise in name dropping: Katherine Ross (remember her in The Graduate?), Richard Widmark, Olivia de Havilland, Slim Pickens, Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda ... time to go gulp! Then after a break for the daily duties, I settled back into the warm cavity I had created for myself in the couch for Mimic, a movie I've been meaning to see for a long time, ever since I caught del Toro's Cronos. The plot is a classic B-horror tale: a mutant strain of roaches threatens New York City. Del Toro's harrowing vision of the underbelly of the NY subway system (a favourite of horror writers. Ref: The Midnight Meat Train, from Clive Barker's Books of Blood, a collection I highly recommend) gets fantastic support from the SFX crew (Rob Bottin pops up yet again). The twist (and hence the title) is that this strain of giant roaches has evolved to mimic its predator, man. Corny as it may sound, the twist is understated, and the film worked for me for its textures, colours, and moments. There are lapses in logic, but I would forgive all that in exchange for a hour and more of solid scares. I took an extended break (well, to be honest, the tube betrayed me with low-quality programming) and returned after dinner to catch good old Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter. This was Eastwood's first western as a director, and there's a little tribute to Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, if you look carefully. The elements are all familiar: a small frontier town, a mysterious stranger, a conflict of morals, the inevitable showdown and the subdued tension. If you've seen the movie and still didn't get it, Clint makes it easier for you (check out the audio clip).

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