Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Belle de Jour (1967)

Director:   Luis Bunuel
Writers:    Luis Bunuel, Joseph Kessel, Jean-Claude Carriere
Language: French
Belle de Jour in French translates to Daylight Beauty. Severine is a young frigid housewife who has masochistic fantasies which leads her to spending her midweek afternoons as a prostitute.

The film is great in the sense that it doesn't go for cliches towards the end even though the events leading up to it seems to be run of the mill. Its another film in which Bunuel does not seem to care about the morals upheld by the society.

Martin Scorsese promoted the DVD release of the film in 2002.

Rating: 4.5/5

Il Conformista (The Conformist) (1970)

Director:   Bernardo Bertolucci
Writers:    Bernardo Bertolucci, Alberto Moravia (Novel)
Language: Italian
Bernardo Bertolucci's masterpiece film 'Il Conformista' is about a weak willed Italian man of wealthy family who becomes a Fascist flunky who goes aboard to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, a political dissident. Screenplay is based on Alberto Moravia's 1951 novel 'The Conformist'. The protagonist, Marcello, was harrased by his friends during his WW1 school years because of him belonging to a wealthy family and when grown up he longs for Normalcy and conformity which leads him to fascism. He develops feeling for his teacher's young wife and has second thoughts about his project.

The most striking aspect of the film is its cinematography done by Vittorio Storaro who went on to do 'Apocalypse Now'. There is one particular scene towards the end which takes your breath away. The fascist offices are shown huge beautiful halls.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Viridiana (1961)

Director:   Luis Bunuel
Writer:      Luis Bunuel, Julio Alejandro, Benito Perez Galdos
Language: Spanish
Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle who rapes her. The uncle commits suicide the day after. Viridiana decides to stay in the house taking poor people into her care. She is joined in the house by uncle's son who was conceived outside the marriage.

Franco, Spanish dictator, invited back Bunuel from exile to do a film and this was Bunuel's message to him and religious charities. Franco was furious with the film and he tried to block it from Cannes. He was unsuccessful and it won Palme d'Or at Cannes. The point raised by Bunuel  in this film is poignant and is very relevant to our times. I could especially relate it to the aid given to African countries which just leads to corruption and lack of cooperation and trade between African countries.

The film is not surrealistic like other Bunuel films.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, June 27, 2011

Eraserhead (1977)

Director: David Lynch
Writer:    David Lynch
Cast:       Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph
There is not much point talking about plot in a David Lynch film. Eraserhead is Lynch's first feature film and it was produced with a $10,000 grant and as the money ran out he completed the film over five years. It was a midnight classic than ran as a cult classic in several American cities and London. Mel Brooks asked Lynch to direct 'The Elephant Man' after seeing this film and Eraserhead is a favorite for Stanley Kubrick as well. Kubrick showed it to the cast of Shining before the shoot began to convey to them what mood he was looking for in his film.

A notable feature of Eraserhead is its soundtrack. Throughout the most duration of the film it sounds like the one we get when we tune radio and at other times he uses industrial sounds.

Rating: 4/5

Bill Hicks: Sane Man (1989)

Directors: Kevin Booth, David Johndrow
Writer:     Bill Hicks
Stars:       Bill Hicks
Bill Hicks is regarded as a visionary by many of his mans and you can see why in this 1989 stand up show. He speaks about cigarette smoking, drugees, consumerism , pornography, George Michael, Hendrix and American presidents during this 80 minutes show. Its really worth a watch.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Krótki film o zabijaniu (A Short Film About Killing) (1988)

Director:   Krzysztof Kieslowski
Writers:    Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Language: Polish
Its a film that raises questions to those who advocate Death Penalty. The story is simple enough- Jacek is a troubled young man who is roaming the streets of Warsaw. He hires a taxi and kills the driver using a rope. Jacek is arrested (How and when is not shown) and Ballicki is the lawyer defending him, arguing against death penalty. Jacek is given death sentence and we are shown his execution by hanging after a talk he has with Ballicki.

Greatest thing about the film is that unlike other films like Green Mile, in which the convicts are shown with more courageous postures before their execution, Jacek is showing great fear and remorse before the execution. Whole thing is shown in a very realistic manner when it comes to his behavior as well as those who are preforming the execution. Only gripe I have is the victim Taxi Driver is shown as a very sadistic and shady person and I thought it was a cheap attempt to tilt the moral balance. It was not really needed in the context of the film.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, June 24, 2011

30 Minutes or Less (2011)

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers:  Michael Diliberti, Mathew Sullivan
Cast:      Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy (Eisenberg), strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...

Film is set for release on August 12 in the US and is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who directed Zombieland.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Akira (1988)

Director:   Katsuhiro Otomo
Writer:      Katsuhiro Otomo, Izo Hashimoto
Language: Japanese
Third world war happened in 1988 and Tokyo was destroyed in a nuclear disaster. The film is set in 2019 in Neo Tokyo which was created in a man made island after the disaster. Its a city in which there is much dis content against the corrupt government and bike gangs are rife in the city. Its a punk sci fi action animation with the plot focusing on Kaneda, a teenage bike gang leader, who is trying to prevent his friend Tetsuo from releasing Akira.

The film was revolutionary in the animation genre with lip synched dialogs and super fluid action. Its an adaptation of the manga written by the director with the same name. I found the film to be very good in its first half but in the second half it degenerates with too much action and story squeezed in without much clarity. I was reminded of District 9 whose first half was brilliant but second half just mindless boring action sequences.

Rating: 3.5/5

True Grit (2010)

Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Writers:  Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Charles Portis (Novel)
Cast:      Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin
Mattie Rose (Hailee Steinfeld) is a 14 year girl whose father is murdered by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). In order to avenge her father's death she hires a U.S Marshal Rooster Cogburn known for his toughness and alcoholism. They are joined by a Texas ranger LaBouef (Matt Damon) who is also in pursuit of Tom because of a crime committed in Texas. There is banter between the two rangers which leads them to split up. All the cast have done an excellent job and Josh Brolin appears only for a few minutes but is great as well. Was surprised to see that Barry Pepper played Lucky Ned Pepper as he was unrecognizable with his makeup.

The film is more a re adaptation of the novel of the same name from Charles Portis as opposed to a remake of the 1969 John Wayne film. The importance is most for the Mattie Rose character unlike the 1969 film.

True Grit is the most successful Coens' film in terms of commercial gross collecting  250 million in box office worldwide.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

California Dreamin' (Nesfârșit) (2007)

Director:   Cristian Nemescu
Writers:    Cristian Nemescu, Tudor Voican, Catherine Linstrum
Language: Romanian and English
A NATO train containing American soldiers transporting military equipment during Kosovo war in 1999 is stopped by a corrupt station master in a village in Romania due to lack of paper work. They are stuck in the village for four days during which the welcoming mayor arranges party for them, the daughter of station master has a fling with the second in command among the american unit while the authorities in Romania stumble along to get the paper work done. In between we are shown flashbacks of station master's childhood at the fag end of the second world war when the villagers are hoping for Americans to arrive but instead the Russians come.

The film is a dark look at how the rest of the world view Americans and the half arsed way in which they deal with things without any regards to the consequences of their action. It also serve as a criticism of Romanian bureaucracy.

The director Cristian Nemescu died tragically in a car accident during the post production and the editing of the film was done after his sad demise. Film is 155 minutes long but it didn't feel that long whilst I watched. The meaning of the Romanian name of the film means Endless. It won the award in the uncertain category at the 2007 Cannes.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nostalghia (1983)

Director:   Andrei Tarkovskiy
Writers:    Andrei Tarkovskiy, Tonino Guerra
Language: Russina & Italian
The Russian poet Gortachakov, accompanied by the translator Eugene, is travelling through Italy researching the life of an 18th century Russian composer. In a Tuscani town he meets a lunatic Domenico, who years earlier had imprisoned his family for seven years to save them from the evils of the world. He gets drawn to the lunatic while Eugene is drawn to him. In between through a series of dreams we see his nostalgia for his homeland and longing for his wife.

As is with Trakovsky films, its very slowly paced and we pieces together the story very gradually. Beethoven's 9th symphony is used prominently along with works from Verdi and Wagner. The last scene of the films when the poet tries to move across the spa pond with a candle is taken in a single shot.

This is the second last film from Tarkovsky and first one made outside Soviet Union. The Soviet authorities prevented the film from winning Palme d'Or and Tarkovsky vowed to never make a film in Soviet Union.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, June 20, 2011

Salvation Boulevard (2011)

Director: George Ratliff
Writer:    Douglas Stone, George Ratliff, Larry Beinhart (Novel)
Cast:      Jennifer Connelly, Isabelle Fuhrman, Marisa Tomei, Pierce Brosnan, Ed Hariis
Salvation Boulevard is a comedy film set in the world of mega-churches in which a former dead-head-turned-born again-christian finds himself on the run from fundamentalist members of his mega-church who will do anything to protect their larger than life pastor.

Film is set for release on July 15 in US.

Intacto (2001)

Director:   Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Writer:      Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Language: Spanish
The Spanish thriller film Intacto's theme is luck and it shows an underground trade where the commodity that is traded around is people's luck. Its a commodity that can be passed from less luckier people to more luckier ones and people are in a race to be the luckiest person in the world and to do so, many deadly games are being played which leads to many set pieces in the film.

The film's plot becomes clearer slowly as it moves and we are intrigued throughout despite the slowish nature of it. There is one particular great scene when people are racing blindfolded in woods. Film is certainly worth a watch.

Rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)

Director: Chris Paine
Writer:    Chris Paine
Cast:       Martin Sheen (Voice), Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson
Its a documentary that investigates  the birth and death of the electric car, GM's EV1 in particular, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future. The documentary shows us which all players were responsible for its demise and the expected people show up-Oil Companies, Morons in Bush administration, the companies itself and the gasoline loving SUV obsessed American consumers.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happiness (1998)

Director: Todd Solondz
Writer:    Todd Solondz
Cast:       Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dylan Baker, Jane Adams
Its brutal. Its like a Takashi film without the violence. I have seen it described as dark comedy, but its more like comic tragedy. Its unlike any other films I have seen where all the characters are unremarkable and very ordinary on the surface.

Its about three middle-class New Jersey sisters all having their problems with their families and sex lives. One of them is the loser kind, another the overbearing bourgeois kind and the third one a pretentious pornographic writer.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stalker (Сталкер) (1979)

Director:      Andrei Tarkovskiy
Writers:       Arkadi Strugatsky,Boris Strugatsky, Roadside Picnic, Andrei Tarkovskiy
Language: Russian
In an unnamed city where there is an area called Zone which is guarded by soldiers. Its a place where Stalkers are people who guides those who want to intrude into the zone persumably because a myth exists that one could get his inner wishes granted in a room there. The use of color is very good in the film and as it is with Tarkovsky films it deals with philosophical questions.

Rating: 4.5/5

Noah's Ark-Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky is planning a high budget retelling of the Bible story Noah's Ark and Christian Bale is reported to have been approached for the film. Its budgeted at 130 million dollars.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer:    Quentin Tarantino
Cast:       Samuel L.Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth
Its my most favorite film of all time and was my 'n'th watch this time round where n is a large number. It keeps getting better on every watch.

Rating: 5/5

Twixt (2011)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writer:    Francis Ford Coppola
Cast:      Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Ben Chaplin
Twixt Now and Sunrise is an upcoming horror thriller from Francis Ford Coppola set for release this year. Coppola has used a live editing process for the film.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Animal Kingdom (2010)

Director: David Michod
Writer:    David Michod
Cast:      James Frecheville, Jackie Weaver, Guy Pearce
Its a crime drama set in Melbourne where a 17 year old J has to move into his mother's criminal family after her death due to heroin OD. Guy Pearce is a detective who is trying to help him and himself by framing J's uncles.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A fost sau n-a fost? (12:08 East of Bucharest) (2006)

Director:   Corneliu Porumoiu
Writer:      Corneliu Porumoiu
Language: Romanian

Film is a light comedy in which a television station in a small town in Romania do a talk phone-in show on the 16th anniversary of end of communist rule in Romania and the topic of the program is whether the town participated in the revolution or not.. Romanian title of the film 'A fost sau n-a fost?' means 'Was there or wasn't there?'. 12:08 in the international title refers to the time at which Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu  fled the country following the revolution.

Rating: 4/5

Solyaris (Solaris) (1972)

Director:   Andrei Tarkovskiy
Writers:    Stainslaw Lem (Novel), Fridrikh Gorenshtein, Andrei Tarkovskiy
Language: Russian
Compared to other Tarkovsky films I have seen (The Mirror, Andrei Rublev), Solyaris is more accessible. Its a stroy of a Psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) who travels to the space station orbiting the Oceanic planet Solyaris where the scientist crew has fallen into emotional crisis. When he gets there he encounters his ex-wife Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk), who had died ten years ago by committing suicide. The film does not use much special effects compared to other sci-fi films and is like a meditative film about reality.

Rating: 4/5 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Arrested Development (2012)

Director: Mitchell Hurwitz
Writer:    Mitchell Hurwitz
Cast:      Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, David Cross
The makers of comedy series Arrested Development are coming out with a film by the same name set for release next year. I am in the first season of the series and so far its been great.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hana-bi (Fireworks) (1997)

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Writer:    Takeshi Kitano
Language: Japanese
From the films I have seen from Takeshi Kitano, I think this is his masterpiece. Nishi (Takeshi Kitano) is a cop whose partner in life is suffering from leukemia and his professional partner Horibe (Ren Ohsugi) gets shot in work and is confined to a wheel chair and becomes suicidal. The film has excellent visuals and atmospheric music. Film's score was done my Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, a frequent collabarator.
The film was an international success.

Rating: 5/5

4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) (2007)

Director:  Cristian Mungiu
Writer:     Cristian Mungiu
Language: Romanian
Its a drama about a woman who helps her friend to have in illegal abortion in 1987 Romania during the waning years of Ceausescu communist rule. We see how the dynamics of their friendship and the relationship of the woman with her boyfriend gets affected during the course of the event. The film is very realistic and very grim throughout. It doesn't go for any cheap turns towards the end.

The film won the golden palm at the Cannes.

Rating: 4.5/5

Ninja Kids!!! (2011)

Director:  Takashi Miike
Writers:   Yosiho Urasawa, Soubee Amako (Manga)
Language: Japanese
Ninja Kids is an upcoming action film from Takashi Miike about the adventures of Rantaro and nine other ninja apprentices at the elite ninjutsu academy.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Okuribito (Departures) (2008)

Director:   Yojiro Takita
Writer:      Kundo Koyama
Language: Japanese
Its essentially a feel good film albeit with a very different story thread. Diago Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) is a cello player who become unemployed when the orchestra he plays in gets disbanded. He then leaves for his native town with his wife and ends with a job as encoffiner- one who cleans, dresses up and places a dead body into the coffin in presence of family members. The first half of the film is excellent but the second half is very predictable.

It won the 2009 Oscar in foreign film category beating out 'Waltz with Bashir' and 'Entre les murs' both of which in my opinion are far better films.

Rating: 3/5 

Paradise Now (2005)

Director:   Hany Abu-Assad
Writer:      Hanny Abu-Assad, Bero Beyer
Language: Arabic
Film is set in West Bank where two childhood friends are recruited for a suicide bomb mission in Tel Aviv. I found the film to be very overrated. The dialogues were bit preachy and felt more like a propaganda film with things spoken in unnatural ways. I found the behavior of characters involved to be not natural.

The film was actually shot in West Bank taking some risks by the director and was nominated for Oscars in the foreign film category.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Margin Call (2011)

Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer:    J.C. Chandor
Cast:       Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore
Its a thriller that revolves around the key people at an investment bank over a 24 hour period during the early stages of financial crisis.

'Inside Job' which won the oscar in the documentary category this year is a must watch for those who are interested to get an idea about the financial crisis. Also Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story' is rather good.

360 (2012)

Director: Fernando Meirelles
Writer:    Peter Morgan, Arthur Schnitzler
Cast:      Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weiz, Ben Foster, Moritz Bleibtreu, Jude Law
360 is the new film from Fernando Meirelles, the director of the magnificent 'City of God'. Its a film about what happens when partners from different social backgrounds engage in physical relationships.

El orfanato (The Orphanage) (2007)

Director:   Juan Antonio Bayona
Writer:      Sergio G.Sanchez
Language: Spanish
This is a creepy film alright. I am not a fan of horror films as most of the films that pass as horror these days are laughable. The Orphange's beauty is that characters in the film don't feel something bad is going to happen to them but we the audience are on the edge of our seats throughout. There are no cheap scare scenes but the way its shot we are just anticipating things throughout.

A hollywood remake is on its way and most probably it would be shit.

Rating: 4.5/5

Ichimei (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai) (2011)

Director:   Takashi Miike
Wrtiers:    Kikumi Yamagishi, Yasuhiko Takiguchi (Novel)
Language: Japanese
The new film from Takashi Miike premiered in Cannes this year and its in 3-D(meh!). Its described as a 3-D re-imagining of Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 film Harakiri. Its set for release on October this year.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gambit (2012)

Director: Michael Hoffman
Writers:  Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast:      Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth
Coen Brothers will be writing the screenplay for the comedy film 'Gambit' which will be directed by Michael Hoffman. Synopsis is gives as: 'An art curator enlists the services of a Texas steer roper to con a wealthy collector into buying a phony Monet painting'. Its siad to be remake of 1966 film with the same name.

7 días en La Habana (7 Days in Havana) (2012)

Directors: Laurent Cantet, Benicio Del Toro, Gasper Noe etc...
Writers:    Leonardo Padura
Cast:        Josh Hutcherson, Daniel Bruhl, Emir Kusturica
 Benicio Del Toro is set to make his directorial debut with this film which looks like to be an anthology with Laurent Cantet (Entre les murs) and Gasper Noe (Enter the void, irreversible) also in the helm amongst others.

Entre les murs (The Class) (2008)

Director:   Laurent Cantet
Writer:      Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo, Francois Begaudeau
Language: French
Film is based on the novel by Francois Begaudeau who himself stars as the teacher in a school in Paris with chiefly immigrant students. The film is in documentary style and the exchanges between the students and the teacher are fascinating and its not constrained with the usual cliches that are there in the films of this genre. The film won Palme d'or at the 2008 Cannes film festival.

Rating: 4.5/5

Alphaville (1965)

Director:  Jean-Luc Godard
Writer:     Jean-Luc Godard
Language: French
Its a sci-fi/noir film in which Lenny Caution (Eddie Constantine) is a spy from the outlands posing as a journalist to kill the ruler of the Alphaville, a technocratic dictatorship where Logic is the ideology. It took me a while to understand the film as initially I thought the subtitles were bad when the dialogiues looked bad. But it was meant to be so with the people in Alphaville speaking like machines without few emotions. Its a brilliant film considering the time it was made and sometimes it reminded me of Bladerunner as well.

Rating: 4/5

The Flowers of War (The 13 Women of Nanjing) (Jin líng shí san chai) (2012)

Director: Yimou Zhang
Writer:    Heng Liu, Geling Yan(Novel)
Cast:      Christian Bale, Shigeo Koabayashi
Yimou Zhang (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) is teaming up with Christian Bale to bring out a big budget cross cultural film. Its about Chinese sex workers replacing university students as escorts for the invading Japanese soldiers and a priest trying to protect them from the massacre. Its a period drama set in 1937 and based on a popular novel by Geling Yan.

Them (2011)

Director: Edgar Wright
Writers:  John Ronson (Book), Mike White
Edgar Wright's (Spaced, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim) new film is about a woman's journey to unmask the secret rulers of the world.

Jack (2011)

Director: Brad Anderson
Writer:    David Venable
Cast:      Samuel L.Jackson, Liev Schreiber
Brad Anderson's (The Machinist, Transsiberian) new film 'Jack' is about a serial killer with amnesia. The film is in pre production.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Ides of March (2011)

Director: George Clooney
Writers:  George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Cast:      George Clooney, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Ides of March is an upcoming drama film directed by George Clooney based on the Broadway play Farragut North. Film is set for release on October.

Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999)

Director:   Takashi Miike
Writer:       Ichiro Ryu
Langauage: Japanese
Its the first film of the Dead or Alive trilogy directed by Takashi Miike. Its essentially what you expect from him-great action with plenty of gore most of the time leading to comedic effect for those who have a sense of humor. The first five minutes of the film is full of violent energy and the climax of the film is hilarious. In between there is a story of a Japanese cop and a Yakuza of Chinese descent going against the Japanese Yakuza and finally squaring off with each other. The story has been done to death in many films but Miike does it in a style of his own.

Rating: 3.5/5

Melancholia (2011)

Director: Lars Von Trier
Writer:    Lars Von Trier
Cast:      Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland
Lars Von Trier's new film 'Melancholia' has been getting some good reviews and is set for release on November in US. Its a  story about two sisters whose relationship is challenged when a nearby planet threatens to collide into the Earth.

Young Adult (2011)

Director: Jason Reitman
Writer:    Diablo Cody
Cast:      Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, J.K.Simmons
Young Adult is an upcoming comedy film from Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the air). Its a story of divorced fiction writer coming back to her native town looking to rekindle her romance with her ex-friend who is now married with kids.

Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand (Turtles Can Fly) (2004)

Director:   Bahman Ghobadi
Writer:      Bahman Ghobadi
Language: Kurdish
Its a heart breaking film set in Iraqi-Turkish border on the eve of American invasion of Iraq. Its a place where children collect land mines for money. It was the first film to be made in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Rating: 4.5/5

Extraterrestre (2011)

Director:   Nacho Vigalondo
Writer:      Nacho Vigalondo
Language: Spanish
Nacho Vigalondo who directed the low budget thriller 'Timecrimes' is set to come out with the Spanish comedy film 'Extraterrestre' this year. Timecrimes was a very good film for which time travel was the major theme. Michelle Jenner, Carlos Areces and Julian Villagran stars in 'Extraterrestre'.

On the Road (2011)

Director: Walter Salles
Writers:  Jack Kerouac, Jose Rivera
Cast:      Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Stewart, Kirsten Dunst,Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi
Walter Salles is adapting the novel 'On the Road' to a film with the same name and its set for release this year. It will be a 50's fast paced roller coaster ride with highs and lows throughout the US. I have been meaning to read this book for a long time and hope to do so before seeing the film. Walter Salles had earlier directed 'Motorcycle Diaries' which was a great film.

L'amant (The Lover) (1992)

Director: Jean Jacques Annaud
Writers:  Jean Jacques Annaud, Gerard Brach, Marguerite Duras
Cast:      Jane March, Tony Leung Ka Fai
The film is about an affair between a teenage French girl and a Chinese businessman in 1929 Indochina. The main gripe I have with the film is that its very odd watching a film in which a French girl and a Chinese man who did his studies in France speak English with perfect accents. It felt like watching a poorly dubbed film with cringe worthy screenplay. Apart from that the film is shot very well and is the first western film to be filmed in Vietnam after the war. The second half of the film is much better than the first,

Rating: 2/5

Monday, June 6, 2011

Life of Pi (2012)

Director: Ang Lee
Writers:  Yann Martel, David Magee
Cast:      Tobey Maguire, Irfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Tabu
Ang Lee is filming the adaptation of Yann Martel's booker award winning book 'Life of Pi'. Having read the book, the key for the film would be how well the narration is going to be done as the  character Pi would be without any human companion for large parts of the film.

Sanma no aji (An Autumn Afternoon) (1962)

Director:  Yasujiro Ozu
Writers:    Kogo Noda, Yasujiro Ozu
Language: Japanese
This is the final film from Ozu before is death in 1963. The film is about an aging widower who is arranging the marriage of his only daughter. Its a good film but the acting in the film is below par. Compared to other Japanese films from these period I have found the acting in general in Ozu films to be less natural. Nevertheless the film is good with things shown in a subtle way like usually in an Ozu film.

Rating: 3/5

In Time (2011)

Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer:   Andrew Niccol
Cast:     Justin Timberlake, Cillian Murphy, Amanda Seyfried
Andrew Niccol's new film 'In Time' is set for release on October this year. Films synopsis is as follows-'In the not too distant future the aging gene has been switched off. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency and the way people pay for luxuries as well as necessities'. Sounds very interesting. He had earlier directed the underrated sci-fi gem of a film 'Gattaca'.