Monday, December 31, 2012

Dark Horse (2011)

Director: Todd Solondz
Writer:   Todd Solondz
Cast:      Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair, Christopher Walken
Romance blooms between two thirty somethings in arrested development: an avid toy collector who is the dark horse of his family  and a depressed woman on the rebound.

The problem with the film is that there isn't the freshness for the theme that I felt when I watched Solondz's Happiness. Its kind of already been done, albeit the unlikableness of the protagonist is almost unreal in this case.

Rating: 2.5/5

Cosmopolis (2012)

Director: David Cronenberg
Writers:  David Cronenberg, Don DeLillo
Cast:      Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand
Riding across Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut, a 28 year old billionaire asset manager's day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart.

I saw it twice in the space of two days. First time i got a general idea about its theme but didn't have a clue about the last thirty minutes due to combination of being sleepy and the film being too demanding. It is not a film that one should watch in cinemas as you need to rewind some of the dialogues to truly understand what the fuck is going  on. The film is really very contemporary as the current feeling towards capitalism and the antagonism towards the top one percentile is depicted in the film. The first 70 minutes of the film is showing the stale nature of existence of the super rich and the next 40 minutes balances it out by showing the worthlessness, thoughtlessness and helplessness of the people who protest against the so called capitalists. In effect it mocks everyone.

It is not a film that people would like and it is not meant to be. It is a must watch though. Two great limo films in 2012-Cosmopolis and Holy Motors. Both of them difficult watches but great nevertheless.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yin shi nan nu (Eat Drink Man Woman) (1994)

Director: Ang Lee
Writers:  Ang Lee, James Schamus, Wang Jui-Ling
Cast:      Sihung Ling, Yu-Wen Wang, Chien-lien Wu
A senior chef lives with his three grown daughters; the middle one finds her future plans affected by unexpected events and the life changes of the other household members.

The film felt like the feel good Malayalam family films of the 90s. Ang Lee could have taken intelligence of the audience for granted and made the film much more subtle. As it stands it looks a bit cliched. I saw it being compared to Edward Yang's 'Yi Yi' Yang's effort  is a far superior work and a must watch.

Rating: 2.5/5

Karen llora en un bus (Karen Cries on the Bus) (2011)

Director: Gabriel Rojas Vera
Writer:   Gabriel Rojas Vera
Cast:      Angela Carrizosa, Juan Manuel Diaz Oroztegui, Diego Galindo
Language: Spanish
Karen discovers, after 10 years of marriage, she has left behind her dreams devoting herself to home chores and realizes it has been a mistake that cost her youth.

It is set in Bogota, Colombia and is a good watch.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, December 28, 2012

Watchmen (2009)

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers:  David Hayter, Alex Tse, David Gibbons, Alan Moore
Cast:      Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley
In an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach  into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.

The film is good in parts and the ending is also very unexpected in a good way. But the cast and the script is not good enough to fully justify sitting through the almost three hours length of it. It just felt like a B grade director doing an A grade story. The films to compare with would be 'Sin City' and Nolan's Batman Trilogy and in both these cases the caliber of directors and cast involved take them to a different level compared to Watchmen.

Anyways got to watching some Alan Moore interviews after watching the film. He never endorses any of the film adaptations of his graphic novels. V for Vendetta was also written by him. Would have been better off reading the novel rather than watching the film.

Rating: 2.5/5

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Offret (The Sacrifice) (1986)

Director:Andrey Tarkovskiy
Writer:  Andrey Tarkovskiy
Cast:     Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood
Language: Swedish
At the dawn of WW3 a man searches for a way to restore peace to the world and finds he must give something in return.

This is Tarkovskiy's last film and was shot in Sweden while he was battling with cancer. He was a great admirer of Swedish Director Ingmar Bergman and you can see that influence in this film. The first hour can be an ordeal and would need multiple viewing to fully appreciate it. Didn't find it as compelling as his other films like Stalker, Solyaris, Nostalghia etc.

Rating: 3.5/5 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Senna (2010)

Director: Asif Kapadia
Writer:    Manish Pandey
A documentary on Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.

The documentary uses only archival footage and there is no after the fact interview about Senna or anything like that. We see the character of Senna develop from his early days, then his rivalry with team mate Alain Prost, his world titles and then his switch to Williams from McLaren and then his tragic death at Imola. Senna comes across as a very likeable and passionate character with a tremendous drive to win. The main thing that attracts people towards sports is the fact that it is unscripted and many times you get dramas that are far better than anything that is scripted. Senna is a must watch documentary even if you are not at all interested in Formula One or any sport for that matter.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer:   Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast:      Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged into a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.

After Magnolia which ran for more than 3 hours Paul T Anderson told he will be making an Adam Sandler 90 minute film and everyone thought he was joking. But like all good directors, he extracts an impressive performance from an actor who is not re-known for his acting ability. It is a shame that Sandler didn't again try his hands on films like this and went back to making his shitty comedy films. He also turned down Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds' to make one of his other comedy trash. PDL will be his best comedy film and it is not just a comedy film.

This was my second viewing of PDL and found it even more enjoyable. Stunning cinematography and soundtrack and excellent performances from the cast. The encounter between Sandler and Hoffman at the end is a stand out scene. That's that.

Rating: 5/5

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Director: Roman Polanski
Writers:  Roman Polanski, Ira Levin (Novel)
Cast:      Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon, John Cassavetes
A young couple move into a new apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins controlling her life.

I am not a fan of horror films and was not that really interested in watching this film. But it is not really a horror film based on the genre's recent years definition with plenty of gore and in your face screams and all that. This is more of a psychological thriller and horror films used to be like that in the good old days. Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon plays their part excellently and it is a wonderful watch. This was Polanski's first American film. The original tagline for the film was: 'Pray for Rosemary's Baby'. Need to watch 'The Tenant' now to complete Polanski's so called 'Apartment Trilogy'.

A remake of the film was considered in 2008 with Michael 'Fucking' Bay as producer. It fell through and thank goodness.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Moneyball (2011)

Director: Bennett Miller
Writers:  Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin
Cast:      Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

The film is based on Michael Lewis' book of the same name. The film is more about Moneyball Philosophy rather than the character Billy Beane and that is why the ending is not a Hollywood one. Like in real life Billy Beane turns down offer from Boston Red Sox's John W.Henry (Current Liverpool F.C owner as well), and red sox, who hires the author of Sabermetrics Bill James, goes on to win the championship two years later. Billy Beane again repeated the feat depicted in the film in 2012 by winning the AL West again with the lowest payroll in MLB and a record setting 54 wins.

The film is a good one but not something I am compelled to watch again. Steven Soderbergh was supposed to direct it originally.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, December 21, 2012

Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott
Writers:  Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett
Cast:      Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
The crew of a commercial deep space mining ship, investigating a suspected S.O.S, lands on a distant planet and discovers a nest of strange eggs.

The film has aged well considering its made in 1979. The fact that the Alien is not shown fully and we get only fleeting glimpses mostly helps. Its a well made horror film with a great tagline: 'In space, no one can hear you scream'. Many of its iconic scenes have been copied in many other films and all.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Director: Tony Gilroy
Writers:  Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
Cast:      Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
An expansion of the Universe from Robert Ludlum's novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of previous three films.

If you can stop comparing it to the quality of the Bourne trilogy, its a good enough action film. Plot is very convoluted in the second half but the first half helps you to tag along till the end. Suspend your disbelief and just watch it as a pure action film, unlike the Jason Bourne films. Don't see why Renner is considered so high up in terms of his acting ability.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holy Motors (2012)

Director:   Leos Carax
Writer:     Leos Carax
Cast:        Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes
Language: French
From dawn to desk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man...

We are left to interpret what it means and it could be the acting we do to get through the life. It could be a showcase for how life is for an actor taking on different roles. Amazing performance from Lavant in a very memorable film.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Monuments Men (2014)

Director: George Clooney
Writer:    George Clooney
Cast:       Daniel Craig, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett
In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys it.

The film with its high powered cast will be Clooney's next directorial venture after Ides of March.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Director: Edgar Wright
Writers:  Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast:      Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield
A man decides to turn his moribund life around  by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

This was Edgar Wright's directorial film debut after the success of TV series 'Spaced' which also had the same team. The film is inspired from one episode of Spaced and obviously from 'Dawn of the Dead' (Romero's Dead Trilogy). It is dead funny.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Casablanca (1942)

Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers:  Julius J.Epstein, Philip G.Epstein, Howard Koch, Casey Robinson
Cast:      Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War 2: An American expatriate meets a former lover with unforeseen complications.

Casablanca translates to 'White House' and Humphrey Bogart's character and story can be seen as a metaphor for the US actions in World War. Humphrey Bogart is great as usual as the Cynical but cool protagonist.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, November 30, 2012

Life of Pi (2012)

Director: Ang lee
Writers:  David Magee, Yann Martel
Cast:      Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor...a fearsome Bengal tiger.

The film is an adaptation of Yann Martel's Booker Prize winning novel with the same name. The initial part of the film is a bit weak like Roman Polanski's 'The Pianist'. The film is much better when the protagonist gets isolated from other characters. The ending failed to have as big an impact the book managed. Maybe a Tarantino style Animated violence sequence could have been used. Then again all the studio films want to be PG rating.

Word on 3D- Please go way, the stupid gimmick. The spectacles gave me headaches while watching.

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2046 (2004)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer:   Wong Kar Wai
Cast:      Tony Leung, Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang, Faye Wong
Language: Cantonese
The film is a loose sequel to Wong Kar Wai's previous films 'The Days of Being Wild' and 'In the Mood for Love'. It follows the aftermath of Chow Mo-wan's unconsummated affairs with Su Li-Zhen in 1960s Hong Kong and also includes some science fiction elements.

Its a challenging watch and the other two films are essential to make head and tails about it. Stunning performance from Ziyi Zhang. Overall a good film that would require multiple viewings.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer:    Steven Soderbergh
Cast:      James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallaghar
A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.

The debut feature from Soderbergh won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes and launched the careers of several from the cast and the director himself. Soderbergh, 25 at the time, wrote the script in 8 days whilst doing a cross country trip. Sex, Lies and Videotape is important in film history for raising the profile of Independent Films. It was also the break-out film for  Miramax which is generally associated with Independent films (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction etc).

Rating: 5/5

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers:  Jonathan Nolan,  Christopher Nolan, David S.Goyer, Bob Kane
Cast:      Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman
Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.

I think how you rate this film will be based on how high you rated Dark Knight. If you loved Dark Knight, I think you will find DKR to be a disappointment. If you didn't rate TDK that highly then you would rate DKR for what it really is- a very well made action film with some story to support. The script is terrible at some places where the characters have to go into great details to explain things and you just realize that it is a terribly done exposition. Some of the plot twists can bee seen from a mile off. Still Nolan has manged to make three films that are better than good in  a genre in which it is very difficult to maintain high standards.

'Batman Begins' is my favorite out of three.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Almost Famous (2000)

Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer:    Cameron Crowe
Cast:      Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson
A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone magazine about an up and coming rock band as he accompanies it on their concert tour.

The film is semi-biographical as Crowe had toured as a teenage writer for the Rolling Stone magazine. A band called Stillwater had released some albums in the 70s and Crowe got permission to use the band name in the film after they read the script. The film was critically acclaimed when it released but didn't do well in Box Office. It is a typical Cameron Crowe feel good film in the mould of Jerry Maguire.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fa yeung nin wa (In the Mood for Love) (2000)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer:    Wong Kar Wai
Cast:      Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung
A man and woman move in to neighboring Hong Kong apartments and form a bond when they suspect their spouses of extra-marital activities.

Was my second viewing of the film after a long time. No one makes romance films like Wong Kar Wai.

Rating: 5/5

Chung Hing sam lam (Chungking Express) (1994)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer:   Wong Kar Wai
Cast:      Brigitte Kin, Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Faye Wong
Wong Kar Wai's film about two love-struck cops filmed in impressionistic splashes of motion and colour.

The film was made when Wong Kar Wai decided to take a break from the tiring production of his film 'Ashes of Time'. Both the films came out almost simultaneously. Was seeing it for the 4th time I think and is in my opinion Wong Kar Wai's best film till date. Cinematography by Christopher Doyle is amazing.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Clerks. (1994)

Director: Kevin Smith
Writer:    Kevin Smith
Cast:      Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
A day in the lives of two convenience store clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

Was watching it for the second time and it was as good as the first time though some of the bad acting are apparent. The film launched Kevin Smith's career and was made at a meager budget of 28k. It grossed 3 million after it was acquired by Miramax. The shop was the one where Kevin Smith was working during the time and the lost scene animation was added later on after the film became a surprise hit. All in all Kevin Smith's best film.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Zero Theorem (2013)

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer:    Pat Rushin
Cast:       Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis
In Terry Gilliam's new film, 'The Zero Theorem', Christoph Waltz plays the role of a computer genius who is searching for the meaning of existence. Scheduled for release in 2013.

Skyfall (2012)

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers:  Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Cast:      Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench
Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

I am not particularly a fan of Bond films (only seen the pierce Brosnan ones), but I did enjoy Skyfall. It is not great but very watchable with some great set piece actions. The ending sequence reminded me of Sam Mendes' earlier film 'Road to Perdition'. Despite all that, Javier Bardem's character could have been lot better with a more convincing motive.

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Life of Brian (1979)

Director: Terry Jones
Writers:  Monty Python
Cast:      Monty Python
Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

My favorite among the Monty Python series films. Plenty of memorable scenes and quotes.

Rating: 5/5

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Director:Federico Fellini
Writers:  Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast:      Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimee
A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering journalist living in Rome.

The time gap between the various parts of the films are not given but each story begins at night and ends at next day's morning. Then it transitions to next story which begins at nighttime. Marcello played by Mastroianni is frustrated by the job he is doing, which he think is meaningless, and wants to switch to doing something more substantial. But he succumbs to the practicalities. The encounter with his intellectual friend is very revealing.

The film marks Fellini's transition from his previous neo-realist films to a different style seen in the latter part of his career.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To the Wonder (2012)

Director: Terrence Malick
Writer:    Terrence Malick
Cast:       Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
New film from Terrence Malick and will be releasing soon to wide audience.

Ran (1985)

Director:   Akira Kurosawa
Writers:    Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide
Language: Japanese
Set in feudal Japan, an elderly lord abdicates to his three sons, and the two corrupt ones turn against him.

The story is based on legends of the daimyo Mori Motonari and the Shakespearean tragedy 'King Lear'. The word 'Ran' in Japanese mean chaos. It is filmed in a soap operatic way with 'Big Fuck Off' battle sequences that uses none of the CGI shit that we are used to. At the time of making Ran was the most expensively made Japanese film.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, October 13, 2012

28 Days Later... (2002)

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers:  Alex Garland
Cast:      Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
Four weeks after a mysterious incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

It is a very nicely made film which doesn't take itself too seriously. Very stylishly shot and another solid film from Danny Boyle.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, October 12, 2012

Prometheus (2012)

Director: Ridley Scott
Writers:  Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Cast:      Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba
A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of mankind.

Good things first-fantastic visuals and great performance from Fassbender as usual. Bad things-basic plot is laughable. The film tries to be cheesy as well as ambiguous at the same time and doesn't come out well. Overall a decent watch and we have to see if they make a sequel to this.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bez konca (No End) (1985)

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Writers:  Krzysztof KieslowskiKrzysztof Piesiewicz
Language: Polish
It's 1982: Poland is under martial law, and Solidarity is banned. Ulla, a translator working on Orwell, suddenly loses her husband, Antek, an attorney. She is possessed by her grief, and Antek continues to appear to her. She seeks to free herself in her work, in her relationship with her son, in sex, and in hypnosis. In a subplot, Ulla refers the wife of one of her husband's clients Darek, a jailed Solidarity strike organizer to Labrador, a world-weary, aging attorney, who works to free Darek by various political manipulations and psychological ploys.

Its similar in theme to the first installment in the 'Three Colours' trilogy-Blue. It is also the first collaboration of Kieslowski with the writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz. Its more than a good film with an excellent performance from Grazyna Szapolowska.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Director: Wes Anderson
Writers:  Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Cast:      Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton
A pair of  young lovers flee their New England town , which cause a local search party to fan out and find them.
Wes Anderson is back to form with Moonrise Kingdom after couple of underwhelming efforts in 'Life Aquatic' and 'Darjeeling Limited' (I know he did the fantastic 'Fantastic Mr.Fox). Those who like his films would certainly love it and it won't convert those who usually don't. The two kids who are making their debut are excellent and the seniors do their small parts well.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Before Sunrise (1995)

Director: Richard Linklater
Writers:  Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan
Cast:      Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one romantic evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Its a great film and is based on a similar event that happened to the director Richard Linklater. The film was followed up 9 years later by 'Before Sunset' and another one is due out next year called 'Before Midnight'.

Rating: 4/5

The Rum Diary (2011)

Director: Bruce Robinson
Writers:  Bruce Robinson, Hunter S.Thompson
Cast:      Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi
American journalist Paul Kemp takes on a freelance job in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper during the 1960s and struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there.

The film is based on the novel of same name by Hunter. Its directed by Bruce Robinson who came back after a long hiatus. Its a decent film and decent watch.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers:  Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick
Cast:      Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Excellent performances from all the main cast with a standout performance from Jack Nicholson. I am not a fan of horror films but this is one of my favorite films.

Rating: 5/5

Funny Games (1997)

Director:    Michael Haneke
Writer:      Michael Haneke
Cast:         Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Muhe, Arno Frisch
Language: German
Two psychotic young men take a mother, father and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic games with one another for their own amusement.

Its a spoof on horror films in the sense that what you expect from an horror film does not happen in this films and the conventions are broken. Brilliant film from Haneke.

Rating: 5/5

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers:  Terry Southern, Stanley Kubrick, Peter George
Cast:      Peter Sellers, George C.Scott, Sterling Hayden
An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.

One of the best comedies of all time.

Rating: 5/5

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rogue Trader (1999)

Director: James Dearden
Writers:  James Dearden, Nick Leeson
Cast:      Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel, Yves Beneyton
One man's ambition causes one of the greatest financial disasters in history. 

Script is quite poor but Ewan McGregor is very good in his role as Nick Leeson whose trades led to the collapse of Barings Bank. Its a watchable film for those who are interested in his story.

Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, August 4, 2012

30 Minutes or Less (2011)

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer:   Michael Diliberti
Cast:      Jason Eissenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb into his chest, and inform that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...

Its from the director of 'Zombieland' and by its standard its a major disappointment. Merely watchable.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, July 27, 2012

Min Dit: The Children of Diyarbakir (Before Your Eyes) (2009)

Director:   Miraz Bezar
Writer:      Miraz Bezar
Language: Turkish
Diyarbakir, in late 90s: two young Kurdish children are forced to live on the street after their parents have been murdered by secret state security force.

Its a decent watch.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Repulsion (1965)

Director: Roman Polanski
Writers:  Roman Polanski, Gerard Brach, David Stone
Cast:      Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser
Left alone when her sister goes on vacation, a young beauty finds herself besieged on all sides by the demons of her past.

This is the first English language film from Polanski and is a tremendous achievement considering the time it was made. Reminded me of Shining and Repulsion can be considered as a precursor to the psychological thriller genre with minimal visuals.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Caddyshack (1980)

Director: Harold Ramis
Writers:  Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis
Cast:      Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray
An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.

Its a good watch and Bill Murray is excellent as always.

Rating: 3/5 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chun gwong cha sit (Happy Together) (1997)

Director:    Wong Kar Wai
Writer:       Wong Kar Wai
Cast:          Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Leslie Cheung, Chen Chang
Langauage: Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish
Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentinafrom Hong Kong and take to road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift.

As is usual with Wong Kar Wai films, visuals are stunning. Cinematography is done by his usual collaborator Christopher Doyle. Film starts off as black and white and become more colorful as it goes on. The usual themes for Wai like loneliness and melancholia are there for this film as well. Its very funny as well.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chacun son cinéma ou Ce petit coup au coeur quand la lumière s'éteint et que le film commence (To Each His Own Cinema) (2007)

Directors & Writers: Coens, Dardenne Brothers, Takeshi Kitano, Lars Von Trier, Wong Kar Wai etc
A collective film of 33 short films directed by different directors about their feeling about cinema.

Its a good watch and the films in the latter end were better for me.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Amintiri din epoca de aur (Tales from the Golden Age) (2009)

Directors:  Hanno Hofer, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, Ioana Uricaru, Razvan Marculescu
Writer:      Cristian Mungiu
Language: Romanaian
Tales from Golden Age is composed of five whimsical yet blackly comic short stories, each set in the late communist period in Romania and based on urban myths from the time, reflecting the perspective of ordinary people. The title of film refers to the alleged 'Golden Age' (by communist propaganda) of the last 15 years of Ceausescu's regime.

Another film that can be added to some great films that came out from Romania over the last 15 years.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hugo (2011)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers:  John Logan, Brian Selznick
Cast:      Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley
Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

Film is incredibly shit with stale script and very wooden acting which makes the two hours unbearably long. Scorsese might have concentrated too hard on 3D elements forgetting the basic elements of a good film. James Cameroon was supposedly impressed. He would be as his Avatar was equally shit.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Through the Wormhole (TV Series-Season 1) (2010)

Presented By: Morgan Freeman
Hosted by Morgan Freeman, Through the Wormhole will explore the deepest mysteries of existence-the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity.

The presentation and explanations are not as good as the BBC documentaries like Horizon and Wonders of Universe. But it covers more ideas in a deeper way although the simplicity in explanation is uneven. Still a very good series and a must watch for those who wants to know about Cosmology and Particle Physics.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, May 14, 2012

La Promesse (1996)

Director:   Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Writers:    Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Language: French
Igor and his father, Roger, are making a decent living renting apartments to illegal immigrants and sometimes working them illegally (among other scams). Things begin to unravel when a worker falls from a scaffold and dies.

Its a good film whilst not being great overall. Reminded me of films for Majid Majidi.

Rating: 3.5/5

Dekalog (The Decalogue) (1989)

Director:   Krzystof Kieslowski
Writers:    Krzystof Kieslowski, Krzyzstof Piesiewicz
Language: Polish
Ten television drama films, each one based on one of the ten commandments.

Stanley Kubrick described it as the only masterpiece during his lifetime. Originally it was intended to be directed by ten young polish directors, but after finishing the scripts Kieslowski did it all himself. Two of the films were expanded to films as 'A short film about Love' and 'A short film about Killing'. The connection with the commandments are based loosely only. Undoubtedly Kieslowski's best work.

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Le gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike) (2011)

Director:   Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Writers:    Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Language: French
Abandoned by his father, a young boy is left in a state-run youth farm. In a random act of kindness, the town hairdresser (Cecile De France) agrees to foster him on weekends.

The performances of the two leading roles are good but the rest of the characters and plot didn't seem convincing and felt like a very cliched story. Very unlike the usual Dardenne films.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rosetta (1999)

Director:   Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Writers:    Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Language: French
Emilie Dequenne stars as young and impulsive Rosetta who lives with her alcoholic mother, moved by despair, she will do anything to maintain a job.

Camera mostly follows Rosetta or otherwise its shown as her POV angle. There is only natural soundtrack. Excellent film showing an unusual girl struggling with poverty and her nobility.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stand by Me (1986)

Director: Rob Reiner
Writers:  Stephen King, Raynold Gideon, Bruce A.Evans
Cast:      Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell
A writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.

Beautiful film without any Hollywood glossing over. Excellent performances and a very good ending.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Le fils (The Son) (2002)

Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Writers:    Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
A joinery instructor at a rehab center refuses to take a new teen as his apprentice, but then begins to follow the boy through the hallways and streets.

The film is shot mostly over the shoulders of the protagonist, Olivier played by Olivier Gourmet. It can be a bit difficult to watch but the effect that it produces is great. The story in itself is very simple but that's the beauty of this film. Gourmet got the best actor award at Cannes for his performance.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

La double vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique) (1991)

Director:   Krzystof Kieslowski
Writer:      Krzystof Kieslowski
Language: French, Polish
Veronika lives in Poland. Veronique lives in Paris. They don't know each other.

Films is exquisitely shot with great soundtrack and excellent performance from Irene Jacob who is also there in Three Colours: Red. Film might need to be looked at again to appreciated fully.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, April 30, 2012

Tyrannosaur (2011)

Director: Paddy Considine
Writer:    Paddy Considine
Cast:      Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan
Joseph, a man plunged by violence and a rage that is driving him to self-destruction, earns a chance of redemption that appears in the form of Hannah, a christian charity shop worker.

Film is set in North of England and was shot mainly in Leeds. Its a very bleak picture and the most pleasant scene in the film is a funeral sequence. Great performances from all concerned and a great directorial debut for Considine.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Shame (2011)

Director: Steve McQueen
Writers:  Abi Morgan, Steve McQueen
Cast:      Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale
In New York city, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life-which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction-is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.

The film is very original with many of the story told expertly by the stares and expressions rather than dialog. There are several excellent long takes and the cinematography and editing are standout. Its a subtle character study but may not be to everyone's taste.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, April 27, 2012

Haywire (2011)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer:    Lem Dobbs
Cast:      Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas
A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.

Nice cinematography and good fights that are done realistically. Plot very weak and cliched and there is not enough going on to keep you interested.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wild at Heart (1990)

Director: David Lynch
Writers:  Barry Gilford, David Lynch
Cast:      Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe
Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mum has hired to kill Sailor.

Its essentially a comedy film. There isn't much complexity to the plot like is usual in a Lynch film. Very enjoyable watch.

Rating: 4/5

The Insider (1999)

Director: Michael Mann
Writers:  Marie Brenner (article), Eric Roth, Michael Mann
Cast:      Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer
A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a '60 Minutes' expose on Big Tobacco.

Exceptional performances, great camera work and soundtrack and all in all Michael Mann's best film. He manages to make a thriller out of what would have been a normal documentary material. Shame that the film didn't do well. Crowe should have got his oscar for this film.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Director: David Lynch
Writer:    David Lynch
Cast:      Naomi Watts, Laura Herring, Justin Theroux
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland drive renders a woman amnesic, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angelesin a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

If you consider Lynch's 'Lost Highway', 'Inland Empire' and "Mulholland Drive', the latter is the most accessible and there is a coherent plot that the audience can interpret. In that sense this is the most satisfying experience you would get from Lynch if you are particularly keen on to have a coherent plot. The first part of the film was filmed as a pilot for ABC which they rejected. After getting further funding to turn it into a film, Lynch proceeded to shoot the remaining part. Film draws inspiration from Bergman's film 'Persona'.

Rating: 5/5