Thursday, April 30, 2009

BABEL (2006)

It’s regarded as one of the best films of 2006, directed by Alejendro Gonzalez Inarritu & has won many awards including the Golden Globe for the Best Film of the year. Inarritu has celebrated the idea of humanity & individual indifference towards the maps & barriers made by politics of nations here.

While testing the range of new rifle given by their father two teenager Moroccan boys accidentally hit the bullet to an American women traveling in a tourist bus. It would spoil the spirit of the film if I reveal anything further. It’s my first film of Director Alejendro Gonzalez Inarritu. He has focused the theme over various faces of individual struggle against the fate, circumstances, chances, cross border- political misinterpretations & basic instincts with different characters submerging in a single plot. The Director has done fine blending of multi- culture characters & highlighted the family lives of four different cultures in today’s life with Moroccan, Mexican, American & Japanese characters & set-up.
The film has good cast- Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal. Brad Pitt again proves that he’s not only handsome but wonderful actor too with his balanced nuanced act of struggling family man. But it’s the surprisingly impressive & natural performance of Adriana Barraza as house servant Amelia which steals the show.

Although the film is long & bit slow, the inter connectivity of plot is impressive. The film is lacking tight editing as certain scenes of the film are too lagging & so it required lot of patience to watch it. The camera work is really refreshing. Watch some finest extreme wide shots of Morocco valley in the beginning.



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

MALENA (Italian) (2000)

I think we all passed through this stage during our teenage years when we feel ashamed to wear shorts in public & confronting with the transformation of chemical change in our physique & mind. After watching masterpiece- ‘Cinema Paradiso’, I can’t resist to watch Giuseppe Tornatore’s second film back to back.

Struggling with his juvenile hormonal change, a teenager school boy named Renato gets carried away by a young & extremely beautiful widow daughter of his Latin teacher. It’s infatuation of the age that drives him towards Malena. Blessed with heavenly curves, she is the dream women of the town any male love to sleep with. The boy follows her in the town & fantasies about her in his own private moments. Gradually he started considering it as Love. One day he noticed her alone with another army man & it becomes talk of the town. However she had just casual friendship with the man, she was considered whore in the town. Everybody started taking benefit of her after the death of her father. Double standard society under the jealousy & rage beat her up & torn her clothes in public gaze one day. Soon after her escape from town, her amputated husband returns surprisingly. The boy helps him to get his proud possession & ultimately the courage & beauty wins. The boy runs away from longing, from innocence, from her on her bicycle in the last fading scene wishing good luck to Malena for her new life. Although the end is impressive, it does not give me the heightened feeling like ‘Cinema Paradiso’.

Monica Bellucci is the perfect Italian choice for sensuous Malena with her desirable body. She looks awesome & showed her flesh in few scenes. It’s not a great performance of her but her glamour & grace is just impeccable. In his introducing debut Giuseppe Sulfaro has gave impressive screen presence as Renato.

It seems that Tornatore is highly impressed by Vittorio De Sica & so in his films you see the old ruined Italian architecture as a setting in the backdrop of his subjects. Even his fascination with child characters & bicycles is also reflecting more with De Sica’s films. What I like about Tornatore is that even tough dealing with serious subjects or themes; he always keeps the elements of humor intact in his films. The film is shot almost beautifully focusing thin line between aestheticity & vulgarity.
But compared to Tornatore’s ‘Cinema Paradiso’ there are many flaws in the film. The story is more one dimensional, too thin & so many scenes look too dramatic, repetitive & stretching ones instead of natural & artistic ones in “Cinema Paradiso’.

But above all it’s film to watch if you love Tornatore’s craft & like Italian cinema.
A Unique puerile love story.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CINEMA PARADISO (Italian) (1988)

“Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world”
- Jean-Luc Godard, French filmmaker

There are very few films which raise the bar of cinema as the best artistic medium among all others and ‘Cinema Paradiso’ has made a permanent entry into that special category of the world cinema.
More than anything ‘Cinema Paradiso’ is Director Giuseppe Tornatore’s tribute to all the great filmmakers’ of the world - Renoir, Visconti, De Sica, Chaplin. You can also call this film the most wonderful tribute to the world of cinema in the true sense of it. The film won number of awards in all major film festivals around the globe including coveted Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Famous film director Salvatore Di Vita got news from her girlfriend that his mother called to tell him that someone named Alfredo has died. The film than flash back to the time when the director was just six years old kid nicknamed as Toto living with her poor mother & infant sister during the second world war time. Toto is smart, intelligent & mischievous boy discovers his love & passion for cinema & spare his free time at local movie theatre named Cinema Paradiso where develops close friendship with film projectionist named Alfredo. Toto’s world belongs to two things- Alfredo & movies. More than friend Alfredo becomes a father figure to him. He let the boy watched number of films in projection booth. Eventually he taught lot of technical things about movies to Toto.
Eventually one day projection caught fire. Toto saves Alfredo’s life but the fire made him permanently blind. With renovation of a businessman theatre is again re-opens & this time small Toto becomes a projectionist in place of Alfredo.
There is a depth in the scene when Alfredo advices young Salvatore in his own words instead of quoting some Hollywood film stars as often. Infect those are the words which transformed Salvatore’s ordinary life into extraordinary one. When young Salvatore leaves his town the last golden words of Alfredo were- “Whatever you end up doing, Love it.” The scene just shifted into present where middle aged famous Director Salvatore returns to his native to attend Alfredo’s funeral & meets her mother. The camera just rolls over the things which her mother keeps for him. Believe me Tornatore has creates a moment which breaks even strongest heart. It’s not often I cry watching films but the last fifteen minutes of this film is just free fall of tears & I’ll like to let it fall for the wonderful art that we notice.

Both the performance of Salvatore Cascio as a young Toto & Philippe Noiret as Alfredo are the soul & heart of the movie. Ennio Morricone’s background score is one of the most soothing symphony I ever heard.
I would like to give a big hug to Screenplay writer & Director Giuseppe Tornatore for making such a masterpiece.

A Real Diamond & a film you must watch before you die.


Monday, April 27, 2009


It’s one of the longest & finest courtroom trial scene of my movie watching experience. Watching the facial expression of that black man named Tom Robinson on trial sitting on the confession chair just melts my emotions deeply. Next to those goddamn natural expressions you witness a mind blowing speech delivered by Gregory Peck as defending lawyer Atticus Finch (It reminds me the great climactic speech delivered by Pacino in ‘Scent of Women’). The scene ends with touching standing ovation of all the black men in the court for the white lawyer who’s the last man vacating the court & it’s a moment where you feel to shout- What a scene!!

Based on Harper Lee’s classic book the film is a moving story of thirties Southern America. Its classic story of a lawyer with the principles living with his kids & defending a case of a black man named Tom, falsely accused of raping a white woman. Although the jury gave racial verdict in the favor of the white woman & innocent Tom got killed himself in his attempt to escape from cops. There’s also fine & equally interesting sub plot in the film between the children & mysterious neighbor Mr. Boo (surprising Robert Duvall).

Gregory Peck has played many fine characters but none of them is as rich and as controlled in performance as the character of Atticus Finch- a responsible widower father of two kids & a lawyer with integrity to his profession. His impeccable performance was honored with Best Actor’s Oscar for this film. Apart from him the acting by all three kids as non professional actors is really praiseworthy.

A Timeless Classic.


Sunday, April 26, 2009


You know it happens with most of the lovers in reality. After the initial charming romance, those three wonderful words just sucks & we think that it’s better if we can wipe out the memory of those sweet romantic moments with our desirable partners from our lives to start fresh again. Watching this film is truly an experience to me & I’m sure it would be for all those who sulk & remain reticent in their love like Joel in this film. Well, speaking honestly this is the film I long avoided & but watching it today it becomes one of so close to my heart that I watched it back to back two times today to absorb myself in the romance of Joel & Clementine.

It’s not usual romantic flick which gives you emotional purgation if that’s what you expect. The movie has more to do with the psychology & memory about love & the complexity of feelings which we avoid to face in reality (conscious world) but it re-surface us deep down in the inner dark corners of unconscious. The plot & the romance have more to do with unconscious mind & memory of Joel in non-linear zigzag manner because that’s the way mind think & work. So watching it for the first time becomes bit confusing to absorb its brilliantly psychological & creatively original screenplay of Kaufman.

The chemistry of two brilliant actors- Kate Winslet & Jim Carrey is just speechless. It is beyond imagination to alter their chemistry here by any other actors. But the real credit goes to the artist & brilliant story & screenplay writer Charlie Kaufman. I would like end this post with brilliant line of the film quoted by Joel:
“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communication.” And so does writing anything further.

Mandatory Watch for everyone if you haven’t watched it yet.


“Who knows what goes on a woman’s mind?” Its puzzling question for men from the centuries & that is exactly the theme of this engaging early stage thrilling Hitchcock film. The movie begins with one of the finest & memorable classic opening scene with the master stroke of Hitchcock.
A glamorous actress cum girlfriend knocks the door of her lover in blood stained clothes & revealed that accidentally she killed her hubby. While protecting her girlfriend the reluctant lover put his own life into the peril by being the perfect suspect. In order to hide himself he gets the help from another actress & co- stage friend Eve (Jane Wyman) who loves him one sided. Eve does smart work here to hook the cruel lady with her fine acting skill & brain.
Marlene Dietrich is regarded as legendary & quintessential sexy blonde vamp of the yesteryears & she looks like a gorgeous damsel you can’t ignore in this film in her cold blooded calculating expressions, heavenly body & sophisticated cruel charms. And Dietrich is surely one of the best ways Hitchcock has shot her blonde beauties in finest extreme close up & middle shots. Jane Wyman has done the finest act too in a lead role of the smart girl conflicting with emotions inside & acting outside. Her character is more like tangled in the mystery with strings of emotions in her heart. Anybody will love her character & act in this film. Most of the main actors as well as ensemble cast has done fine balanced act in the film & Hitchcock’s class Black & White camera eye captured detailing frames of the stage plot.

A nearly perfect cutting edge mystery thriller by Hitchcock.
Highly Recommended for all Hitchcock admirers.


Saturday, April 25, 2009


Many won’t like this film just like the American audience who rejected it when released & the film was declared as major flop show of Eastwood. But for me it’s one of the sweet American film made by Eastwood for the simple reason that this is another side of looking at the western cowboy myth & Eastwood won’t make this sort of films quite often. Even Eastwood regards the film as one of his personal favorites even though it made little impact to the audience or critics till day.

Greatest Wild West Show stealer Bronco Billy along with his caravan of Circus travels different places for live adventure shows. Billy isn’t money minded, infect he performs shows to missionary orphanages to entertain neglected kids. A wealthy heiress cheated by her crooked pretending husband becomes the part of Billy’s troop to seek support but she’s so arrogant one to handle. She becomes jinx woman for the Billy’s show but Billy likes her. The moment love started to blossom between two, reality started spoiling the charm.

The film is more idealistic & moralistic in tone, characters & plot. It emphasizes the American dream of success at its core. The main trouble with the plot is that it’s too thin & too loose to make compact gritty film to hook the audience attention & that’s where film falters. But if I cut short all this mature man’s nonsense & be a kid at heart to enjoy the film its nice film to cherish.

It’s certainly the Best film to introduce Eastwood to kids.

Ratings- 6.5/10


Clint Eastwood made his directorial debut with this film, starring himself as Radio Jockey dragged into an affair with a lady suffering from psychotic obsession.
Shot on a beautiful location of Carmel, California, the film is too slow & boring to start with the main plot. It’s against popular expectations to see Eastwood as lady killer Radio Jockey Dave indulging in multiple affairs & messed up with deadly psychic fair sex. One night stand with Evelyn turned out to be a bad nightmare for Eastwood. As per Freudian saying- “One can hate the same person whom we love the most.” Evelyn’s obsessed terror made Dave’s life real hell.

As far as character is concerned the role didn’t suit Eastwood much. The only character worth to watch in the film is obsessed & jealous lover Evelyn played by Jessica Walter in one of her memorable meaty role. Today we have seen many films based on same subjects & so most of the film seems too predictable as we follow the film further.
It’s not mandatory watch for Eastwood fans but watch it for surprising performance of Jessica Walter & Bruce Surtees’ master camera work.


Thursday, April 23, 2009


Generally there are very few films which are impressive in horror genre but this one is surely one of the finest attempts by Japanese Director Takashi Shimizu to make you feel horror with fine visual & sound effects.

The film is a remake of a Japanese film ‘Ju-on” made by Shimizu & stays in many horror film lovers favorite list. The film is based on Japanese mythical premise that when a person dies in extreme sorrow or rage, emotions remain becoming a stand upon that place. Death becomes a part of that place killing everything it touches. Once you are part of it, it will never let you go. Shimizu has done well job by weaving mysterious & strange incidents on the same myth with some creative gory visuals & spine chilling sound effects. The plot of the film is told through a non-linear sequence of events with certain other sub-plots.

Recommended to all who haven’t seen it yet.

Ratings- 7/10

ANACONDA 3 (2008)

What we expect from Anaconda films- a giant snake, some cool special effects & entertaining adventure. The first Anaconda film was a good entertainment. If you agree with me that the second part was the bad product than I must say that this third one is the worst Anaconda product ever possible.
Its low budget film shot on a single location with some bunch of amateurs; the only actor I recognize is Baywatch Hulk David Hasselhoff. The moment you see the giant snake in the film, you can easily visualize the poor computer generated images. Not a single scene in the film thrills or shocks you. Though the film is just 90 minutes long, the whole film is just dragging, dull torturing product made to encash Anaconda myth.

Strongly avoidable.



This was the first Clint Eastwood film I saw as a teenager & from then onwards Eastwood is permanently locked as the ultimate & iconic admirable man of guts. The film was Produced & Directed by Clint Eastwood himself in the time when Westerns were considered as almost forgotten genre. The film was one of the honest attempts of Eastwood to revive the western genre among young generation of that time.

The plot centers on the conflict between miners who owned the land of Carbon Canyon & the most powerful man in the nearby town named LaHood who owns mining outfit & wanted to illegally occupy the land by hired gunslingers. Preacher (Eastwood) in one of the finest & memorable entry scenes of Eastwood proclaims to LaHood’s hired goons-“You shouldn’t play with matches.” He becomes part of simple miners & leading to the final stylish & gripping showdown in the town between LaHood, Dangerous Stockburn & his evil deputies.
It’s quite unimaginable but this time it’s the small thick stick known as hickory which is the weapon of this macho man but that stick rotating action in his entry scene really looks creatively original & stylish.
However the film was shot on low budget & on real snow clad landscape hilly location, but still one can witness finest jump cut camera angles & few brilliantly shot darkness shots by ace of Eastwood camp- Bruce Surtees. Even today he’s universally known as “The Prince of Darkness” for his distinctive cinematography of dark shots in Eastwood’s initial directorial ventures.
I show the climax twice & its real wow of this film, one point is strongly added in ratings due to this.
Recommended to watch once for all Eastwood devotees. See it if you haven’t.

Ratings- 8/10

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

JOE KIDD (1972)

This film was made during the time when two legendary actors- Clint Eastwood & Robert Duvall were in great forms. Eastwood set the box office on fire with his ‘Dirty Harry’ act a year ago in 1971 & Duvall gave the supporting performance of his lifetime in ‘The Godfather’ the same year in 1972. Joe Kidd (Eastwood) was hired by wealthy landowner Harlem (Duvall) to nab Luis Chama & his gang who were fighting peasant revolution. Kidd preferred Harlem’s dollars but he remained neutral until finally he realized the righteous cause of Luis. He paired with Luis to settle score against Harlem in the climax. Well more than plot, it’s moving action & Eastwood’s presence which made movie entertaining western.

Directed by John Sturges, the film has great moments of thrilling western gun firing action & superb cinematography by Eastwood loyal Bruce Surtees covering extreme wide shots of Mexican frontier. Even the background score gives you the feel of watching some class western made by Sergio Leone.

Recommended for all Western lovers/ Eastwood fans.


Monday, April 20, 2009


I was desperate to watch this film since its release in June, 2008. I still remember the mammoth crowd of crazy Kamal Hasan Lovers outside the cinema halls when I visited Chennai & Pondicherry last summer. I got the pirated DVD too from the local market but since it’s without subtitles, I skipped watching it. I was so excited when I got the news that the film was dubbed in Hindi & released in cinemas last Friday.
Kamal rests in my all-time favorite five Indian actors list. I grew up watching ‘Appu Raja’, ‘Sadma’ & ‘Pushpak’ innumerable number of times. What can I say about this man? The screen maverick who grabbed maximum number of National Awards & achieved a distinct position as an actor or an artist who conceived insurmountable height in excellence of cinema.

Anyway I watched the film today & I’m quite disappointed from the film as well as from Kamal. The major fault lines of the film are its dead long screen time of more than three hours & absolutely missing plot & screenplay expected from Kamal Hasan film. As we know that sometimes an important sportsman plays the game just to set an individual achievement record, no matter in that case team lose the match & sometime the same sportsman plays the game in all its active command for couple of minutes but that effort made the team win. What happens in the case of this film is exactly related with the first consequences. Kamal tried to score another record by playing ten various characters with brilliant make up & tried to attempt nuanced performance in each of them but an artist cant control everything. Where Kamal messed up is in story telling of the film & here more than half of the characters seem unnecessary & unwanted. It’s only beginning & ending of the film which is impressive. The other all actors are just silly headache including verbally diarrhea Asin or sexy siren Mallika. The film becomes so irritating after the first half an hour that during the interval I feel to run away. Thank God, the climax saved the film from free flow with brilliant Tsunami scenes absolutely at par with Hollywood Studio Production.

After a long time I get a chance to see dubbed Kamal Hasan film & so I expected a lot from Kamal Hasan film but the film really break my heart. I expect that Kamal will bring a well made film next time with some worthy story & performance which make a special position in entire fans favorite list.

Ratings- 5.5/10

THE 39 STEPS (1935)

It required lot of patience to watch B&W classic of thirties but not in the case of Master Alfred Hitchcock. The film is another Hitchcock masterpiece & surely one of the well anticipated films of his early career.

A Canadian man accidentally encountered a spy lady being chased by assassins. She claimed that she carried a military secret coded as ’39 steps’ but did not explain its meaning. The same night she was stabbed in back in Canadian man’s flat. The man escaped to visit a man in Scotland whom the lady is going to visit but the police suspected him as murderer. Its interesting chase story where he had to survive & get into the root of the secret. The story takes more interesting turn when situation fixed him handcuffed with the girl who double crossed him.

This is the very early film Hitchcock made in Britain before he moved to US in 1939 & made his 1st Hollywood film starring legendary Lawrence Olivier in haunting thriller ‘Rebecca’. It’s really pathetic that the man who inspired the generation of film makers & regarded as the Founding Father of Suspense genre didn’t get a single Academy Award as Director even though nominated five times.

Recommended for all die-hard Hitchcock Lovers.


IN BRUGES (2008)

‘In Bruges’ is the journey of two contract killers who land up in a medieval & kind of fairytale town full of beautiful gothic architecture. It’s more about on-going struggle between the wonderful chemistry of Colin Farrell & Brandon Gleeson. Trouble takes place when one of them has got contract to kill the other. There is so much in the film which resembles with Coen Bros films- weird characters, bizarre plot, and unpredictable action. Well, I didn’t feel the pulse of the film in the beginning since I watched it on HBO & so I missed the first 15 minutes of the film but it becomes engrossing experience as the film progress towards the climax. The film has some really wonderful funny dialogues & sequences even though the theme is rather dark.
One of the well made dark film of the last year.
Ratings- 7.5/10

Sunday, April 19, 2009


One more gripping & stylish suspense thriller by the master of suspense-Alfred Hitchcock. The film is almost shot inside a house which reminds you another classic by Hitchcock- ‘Rear Window’, since the film is screen adaptation of very successful drama by the same name. The film is great blending of three key players who worked out as romantic triangle- a shrewd but smart husband, a beautiful wife & her crime fiction writer lover. The plot is based on meticulously planned murder of Grace Kelly by her husband but accidentally turned out unsuccessful. The film is equally engaging from beginning to end. The first half covers the planning & execution of the perfect murder & second one covers the smart Police investigation.
Unlike the other murder mysteries here you know the criminal from the beginning who is out of suspect list with his brilliant planning but it’s the revelation process of smart old cop here which holds your breath in the climax.

Compelling Hitchcock Watch.
Highly Recommended.


Friday, April 17, 2009

WOLF (1994)

I was excited seeing the poster of the film, showing Jack Nicholson as werewolf. Jack knows playing nasty things best & most of the time he did it with his signature cold blooded style, so I was expecting good thrill from the film. But it turned out as typical stereotype werewolf film where thrill & excitement never raise beyond minus. The only special surprise of the film is watching Om Puri performs in the film in small role. He plays the role of an old doctor who gave healing touch talisman to Nicholson in a scene. Apart of Nicholson, film also has Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Plummer & Robert Jenkins in almost forgettable side roles.
A mediocre werewolf crap.

Ratings- 4.5/10

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The film is a story of a simpleton guy named Quoyle. From child hood to his adult married life, he was known as loser by everybody around him including his father & even his bitchy wife. Destiny is giving really hard thrusts to him one after another. Just after the tragic accidental death of his wife, Quoyle moves with his daughter from New York to his ancestral small snow clad fishing village. He got job there as local boat reporter & gradually he won the heart of woman too. What I like about this film is the plot of transformation which arrives slowly & too late in the life of Quoyle. But the Identity issue again draws the film into dark waters. Infect the second half of it is really too tad & slow which made the film directionless & boring.

Kevin Spacey is Quoyle & needless to say that he’s touchstone actor in all sorts of roles. Apart from him there are few other fine actors too like- Julianne Moore, Judi Dench & Cate Blanchett (a short presence). But more than any actor’s performance it’s the honest simplicity of plot & story telling which carried me while watching its first half & I’m expecting good twist here but the second half ruined the film completely where neither the characters nor story is moving further in any direction & that’s totally whitewashed the joy of watching its first half.

Average drama.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The film is regarded as one of the most influential film in American History. However the film was unappreciated, misunderstood & unrecognized by the critics when released. Add insult to injury, the film didn’t win even a single Oscar.
The film is a classic western made by universally acclaimed old hat John Ford. At the time he made this, he was recognized as one of the greatest directors of Hollywood & regarded as master of Western. The film inspired so many great directors all over the world including Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Steven Spielberg (who confessed that he has watched it more than 12 times before making his film debut), Lucas, Scorsese.

Let me tell you very frankly that watching western like this is totally different experience for me. Don’t expect usual cowboy gun trotting action from John Ford film, rather its more dark & melancholic in nature which is quite rare. Ethan returns to home after a long gap finding his brother, sister-in-law & their one of daughter killed by Comanche tribe Indians. They took the other daughter with them as hostage. His mission of life is trailing the killers, getting back the surviving other daughter named Debby from them & seek revenge.

John Wayne gave his finest performance as fierce, rugged, lone ranger as Ethan Edwards.
Densely layered with vivid characterization, the film portrays the authentic lush frontier cinematography & Ford’s distinctive visual poetry shape the film from beginning to end. Watch out the feel of dusky & sunny scenes with moving action canvassing wide shots in natural colors which are still unparalleled in cinema.
It’s surely true masterpiece of film making.

Must watch for all classic admirers.

Ratings- 8.5/10

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Lots of International banks are showing their bankruptcy in this critical period of recession all around the world & here the Director Tom Tykwer (who made ‘Perfume’) comes with the plot of an international bank which can blow you away with its underworld nexus. Capitalism would become a big curse if what he shows is true or fair enough anywhere in the world.

The film is focused on the financial operations of IBBC (International Bank of Business & Credits) associated with organized crime. Interpol Agent Salinger (Clive Owen) & Attorney Eleanor (Naomi Watts) are striving hard to get into the roots. The chemistry between them works here. Clive Owen tried to do justice to the role & Naomi also wisely plays her smart character.

Director Tom Tykwer successfully kept the conflict rolling & that’s what works in good thriller. I find the unfolding of plot very interesting & gripping one in all recent releases of this year. I like the cinematography of the film. It’s so absorbing one & enhances the thrill feel. Most of the chase & action sequences are cinematographed keeping beautiful architectural locales in the wide background shots & its something creatively beautiful. Only one thing remains improbable that why the bank which is powerful enough to kill an Italian Political Candidate not able enough to kill these two guys. Even the end of the film makes me surprise but anyway above all it’s a film & one shouldn’t meddle much when you have good entertainment on platter.


Monday, April 13, 2009

8 x 10 TASVEER (2009)

I got really bad review of the film from one of the reliable friend & he told me that this is the worst he’s expecting from Director like Nagesh Kukunoor.
It seems like Nagesh wanted to make a sleek sophisticated supernatural thriller in Commercial style but that’s not what he’s good at. If you see early track record of Nagesh till day, the human bonding & relationships always remain ethos & soul of his almost every films whether its sentimental ones like ‘Iqbal’, ‘Dor’ or one of the best suspense he made ‘3 Deewarein’. Considering this point, throughout the film I don’t get it in my head that it’s Kukunoor’s film. All characters are just like raw haystack, there’s no room for any character development here, forget about the performances. After a long time I saw Girish Karnad & Jawed Jaffri on screen & I was expecting something from them. Karnad is theatre veteran & Jawed has done fine act in last year’s one of the finest- ‘Shaurya’.

In every well made supernatural thriller, Psychology always plays pivotal sidekick & here’s its totally lacking. How can one see a photograph & see the past of the person remains an unanswered crap in ‘Mano Ya Na Mano’ style. But anyway as a murder mystery it maintains the attention to know the real secret. But as curtain of suspense opens, it looks like a big cheating from the beginning of the plot. Its one of the most improbable revelation I’ve ever seen. The film is also big letdown on many departments- abrupt screenplay based on some unbelievable supernatural plot & similar ending, superficial dialogues & absolutely no editing work at all. The only hope of the film is energetic Akshay & technically awesome cinematography.

Expecting a better film from Nagesh next time; because this is really unexpected hammering from you.



I liked ‘Sin City’ & it stunned me with mind-blowing visual feel of the film. The moment I saw the promos of ‘The Spirit’, I was expecting something similar experience from Director Frank Miller. But everything is just big burden here. Even actor like Samuel Jackson is totally wasted in his lame villain act of Octopus. Same for the two beautiful damsels- gorgeous Scarlett Johansson (looks so clumsy & weird here) or tempting Eva Mendes. There’s lot of creative originality of visuals in ‘Sin City’ but here nothing is working that way to entertain the audience. Its pathetically drab & boring.

Strongly avoidable.


HITCH (2005)

There are number of guys around us whose life just sucks. Romance is the only thing not happening with their lives. Most of them known in circles as losers. Well, here’s a guy who can help them out seeking solutions. Meet the professional Date Doctor- Hitch (Will Smith) who helps the needy men to find their perfect partner of their dreams. He‘s dealing with next to impossible case of messed up fat bumpkin named Albert who is trying to woo celebrity heiress named Allegra. Meanwhile Hitch himself gets carried away by Sara (Eva Mendes). One of his bad client becomes an eyesore & ruining his own love interest as well as in the case of Albert. It’s ‘Be yourself as you are’ that matters in any relationship.
I’ve seen the poor David Dhavan version of the film but its good entertainment watching this original one with wonderful Will Smith. He’s one of the refined actors today who get accolades for his good performances after starting career as raw action star. He’s real treat here too.

A relaxing Sunday entertainment.

Ratings- 7/10

Friday, April 10, 2009

I AM SAM (2001)

Sean Penn’s another Oscar worthy performance as Sam Dawson, who has the mental capacity of 7 year old. He works at Starbucks & obsessed with Beatles. His one night stand partner gets rid away from unwanted baby girl & not so smart hubby soon after giving birth in hospital. Sam raises Lucy with his sound understanding of world. But when Lucy reaches the age of 7, Sam’s limitations started opening up with her school education. The authorities take her away from him.

Sean Penn has worked really hard in his brilliant method act of retarded with the intelligence of 7 year old. We have seen more vibrant act Tom Hanks in’ Forrest Gump’ & compared to it the act is more flat but still its great time watching Penn performing. Michelle Pfeiffer works as celebrity lawyer Rita Harrison meddling with her personal life & the pro bono (free from fee) case of Sam.
Dakota Fanning looks so smart cutie pie daughter in the film. Watch a heart tugging scene where the opponent lawyer is asking her the question about her mental mind more sound than her Dad & isn’t it true that deep down she know she need much more than her Daddy can give her & she replied with so touchy expressions the Beatles immortal song- “All you need is Love.” The only editing part the film is bit jarring which hampers the flow of the film in between.

Must watch for all sentimental story lovers.



Its 1st Indiana Jones film & with this film Spielberg introduced the character of modern myth starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones with finely blending combination of archeological professor & adventurous explorer side by side. It seems that Spielberg had stiff competition with highly popular & successful James Bond films in the initial years of his career & so just like 007 films, every Indiana Jones film begins with breathtaking chase/stunt visual of adventure.
The adventure journey is set in the time of 1935 when Hitler led Nazis are in quest of 3000 years old holy arc which has biblical significance & Hebrew mythology related with Moses. As a part of Jewish myth it has the power of invincibility. Jones has a responsibility to play. He has to protect it falling into the evil hands of Nazis.
Its wonderful effort of Spielberg to juxtapose the two different civilizations of west & east as a part of historical significance in a film like with oriental approach & an eye for detailing wherever possible.

Spielberg is perhaps the greatest admirer of David Lean & his kind of grand film making & so great & epic adventure journey with some spectacular visuals & gripping actions are always remain the part & parcel of almost all Indiana Jones films but this one is the most refreshing & compact among all. What Walt Disney has done to animation, Spielberg has done to special effects & cutting edge technology with grand scale & that’s why he is considered as the almighty producer-director of Hollywood.

Absolutely mind blowing entertainer.


Thursday, April 9, 2009


Breaking News- It’s a height of piracy. The release date of the film in US is 1st May, 2009 & it’s regarded as one of the awaiting release all over the world & I have pirated leaked out & yet crystal clear DVD of the film in my hand & I’m sure it must be available at any torrent so far.

Hugh Jackman is back in a role that made him famous- Wolverine. He is fierce fighting machine who possesses amazing steel claws, healing powers & furious fire of revenge. By its suggestive title we know well in advance that its story of X- Men origin; focusing around Wolverine in particular. The film tells the story of Wolverine’s past life initially known as James- beginning with his childhood where he took vengeance of his father & ran away from home & how he encounters with other fellow X-Men mutants along the path, his complex relationship with Victor Creed played by Live Schreiber who is playing spoilsport here as the villain who killed his wife & how he enrolled himself into weapon X program to become powerful metamorphosis as indestructible ‘Wolverine’.

Don’t expect any plot here; it’s just run on the mill revenge flick. So next we expect the action from the film like this but let me tell you honestly that almost all action sequences of the film looks like watching some B grade Chinese/Hong Kong action film. If you don’t get much of your head & logic watching some unbelievable action scenes by the mutants like chopping off bullets into two pieces by sword among blazing machine guns from all corners or punching the battle tank pipe then you won’t disappoint watching the action of the film. The film has nothing new to offer. Its absoluting lacking creativity seems too lackadaisical one in all the departments of film making. It’s only the Hollywood studio effort of the film backing some scintillating moving action CGI which saves the film from becoming drab & monotonous in last fifteen minutes climactic action sequence.

Sorry to spoil the expectations but for me it’s a big letdown of the year.
Nothing to lose if you avoid it. Watch it if you are crazy about X-Men series.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


No artists have shaped popular Hollywood adventure culture as Steven Spielberg from beginning of seventies. Most of the Spielberg flicks divided & preoccupied into two categories: fantasy & adventure rollercoaster for children & family. i.e. – ET, Jaws, Jurassic Park etc. The second is the realistic historical films for adults. i.e. - Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Munich etc. Although it’s the films in the first category that remains his biggest blockbuster hits all over the world. Indiana Jones films always remains top US box office success & it’s needless to say its absolute entertainment targeted to family entertainer.

In this installment of adventure journey Mr. Jones (Harrison Ford) combines with Senior Jones (Sean Connery) in quest of Holy Grail legend. Don’t expect great story telling here but when Spielberg & Lucas are there at direction & production helm its guaranteed popcorn entertainment without any frills. Some scenes were just awesome, especially the beginning animal train chase, airplane & car chase scene, battle tank action & the climax sequence. In fact it’s moralistic ending which remains distinguished part of every Spielberg fantasy/ adventure from others.

It’s surely well packaged ‘Paisa Wasool’ kind of entertainment for the audience of all ages.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


What is the power of HOPE?
Well it’s an abstract question to answer. But here is a wonderful attempt with best possible artistic means to answer it in cinematic experience & I think that it’s this ultimate experience in all its subtlety which made this film maintains Number 1 position in IMDB from many years. But at the same time I strongly believe that there are so many other stronger & powerful films which deserve this position.

The film portrays a story of Andy who spent twenty precious years of his life in hell like prison for the crime which he had not committed at all. How he befriended with Red-a fellow prisoner who spent more than forty years of his life time in the prison for the crime he has committed in his stupid youth. Slowly & gradually reticent Andy becomes a miracle prisoner not only for other inmates but also for the warden too. With his staunch faith he transformed the prison library into one of the best prison library. With cruel Warden’s cold blooded murder of the fellow prisoner who revealed a proof of Andy’s innocence, there’s left a total vacuum for Andy. But ‘Hope’ plays its significant role in the last twenty minutes of the film which changed the life course of Andy & his sole friend Red. The last scene of the film is really heart touching.

Tim Robbins has given a performance of life time as Andy Dufresne. It was really academy worthy act but that was the year when Tom Hanks comes with one of his best- ‘Forrest Gump.’ Morgan Freeman played Red with such aplomb that it was surely irreplaceable character for any other actor. And how can I forget that old librarian fellow Mr. Brooks played by great character actor James Whitmore who made his present felt in such a small but memorable role. Its surely creditworthy direction of Frank Darabont which made this film impeccable on many corners- visuals, screenplay, editing, acting & background score.

I know most of you have watched the film years ago if you are movie buffs but than for all others who still postpone watching this- It’s a great film & an experience not to miss.


BICYCLE THIEVES (Italian) (1948)

A timeless masterpiece directed by Italian neorealist Director Vittorio De Sica that inspired Satyajit Ray to become a film maker & frequently on critics’ & directors’ lists of the best films ever made. It was deemed as the greatest film of all time & truly after such a long time it remains true gold for every classic cinema lover.
De Sica is one of the world’s most influential film makers whose work influenced so many classic directors. After watching the film in London Satyajit Ray confirmed that if ever he made ‘Pather Panchali’, he would make it the same way, using natural locations & unknown actors.

The great Director not only adds value to the experience of the film but enhances it into a transformative experience. This is what only a true art can do- It gives us another way of seeing the ordinary. A man uses his bicycle for work. The bike is stolen. The economic condition of family is in trouble. The father-son duo hunts around in the streets of Rome searching the stolen bike but left with frustration. The father steals a bike & the son watches as he’s caught & beaten by the crowd. The boy shares his humiliation.
De Sica raised a pertinent question in the end – How will this boy grow up having effects like this? Will he be a thief or a good citizen? The genius of De Sica lies in transforming such a simple story into something quite special about all of us. This is what only great director does.

Although the plot is simple, De Sica gave intensive treatment to the film depicting interesting & believable situations & characters sustain the mood of the film. It paints the sharp & tragic picture of working class family, the father-son relationship that is among subtlest & most profound in the cinema even today.

A Cinema of Life time.

It’s insulting to rate films like this.
A Pure Diamond.

P.S- My big thanks to ‘Enlighten Home Library’ for bringing the classic like this available on original DVDs in India. A also like to express my courtesy thanks for Landmark, Ahmedabad & the Customer Support Boy- ‘Munavar’, who takes special interest to my tough choice movie lists every time I land up there.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Sometimes we watch films without much expectation & as the film progresses further we come to realize that its surprisingly wonderful journey. For me ‘Sideways’ is such a nice experience. It’s a movie about friendship, hanging out a whole weekend on a road trip around wine yards & drinking the finest wines & enjoying the unexpected company of women along the way.

It may taste bitter, it may taste sweet but its surely one of the finest light & intelligent American comedy directed by Alexander Payne celebrating moments of ups & downs between two post thirties friends. One is wine connoisseur the other is women connoisseurs. What I most like about the film is fine characterization between these two mismatched & totally opposite guys. But it’s Miles (Paul Giamatti) character with which I relate myself more & he has performed it so brilliantly. Well I didn’t get much of the wine philosophy of the film since I haven’t tasted it or felt it like this way ever before; but it’s really intoxicating & contagious journey.
After watching the film I just googled & came to know that the film was nominated for 5 Academy Awards in 2005 including Best Picture & Best Director & won an award for Best Adapted Screenplay 2 Golden Globes Awards including Best Comedy/Musical.
A lingering journey of wine, women & friendship.


Friday, April 3, 2009


The film sets in the time of 1962 when Russia made the nuclear bomb & Kennedy Government is under the tension declared emergency regarding cold war situation. A Scientist protected himself & his pregnant wife from the blast beneath the ground in the shelter bunker beneath his home. It was just a plane crash misunderstood as blast & so he thought that it’s not safe to move into the outer world for next 35 years to prevent dire effects of radiation. So after the 35 years they came out & they surprised & shocked to witness the changes in the time period. For the son it’s big problem since he’s the Adam of sixties dating Eve of nineties.

The film is good blending of fun & romance. The fun part is genuine one unlike today’s Seth Rogen comedies full of sexual innuendoes.
Along with Outrageous Brendan Fraser & gorgeous Alicia Silverstone, the film also has wonderful presence of veteran actor Christopher Walken who’s always pleasure to watch.

A light, funny romantic film for relax time.



I like thrillers which don’t give much pain to think hard & yet successfully grab the audience attention & made them hooked from the very first scene to last one towards on going moving & shifting tension & this one is like them.

After the accidental death of his partner, Detective Dr. Alex Cross voluntary retired from the job. After 8 months a sharp minded Criminal kidnaps the daughter of a minister & challenges the retired hurt Dr. Cross. The kidnapper is no ordinary criminal, he don’t required ransom of any sort but wants to prove himself the criminal of century.
It’s finely tuned & well paced thriller based on one of the best selling novel of James Patterson. Morgan Freeman always suits in a role like this & he always delivers what is being expected. Even though it’s a similar role like ‘Se7en’, he added his own characteristic flair here.
The movie has all the ingredients required in a well made thriller- engaging story-screenplay & tight editing & shrilling background score. And hey it’s not only just thriller… Get ready for twisting suspense in the climax.

Above all it’s engrossing & gripping thriller & I enjoyed it completely.
Recommended to all thrill lovers.


Thursday, April 2, 2009


“A hero doesn’t appear until the world needs one.”
It’s a cute animation tale of such a small & a special hero mouse named Despereaux. He is special because from the very beginning he saw more, heard more & even smelled more than any other mice. Moreover he is having knight like qualities of Courage, Truth & honor. But as his outrageous skills are noticed by the mouse council, he is being banished from the mouse world & he has to survive in the hostile rat world & has to fight like a gladiator in an arena with a giant cat. Here he meets a true rat friend named Roscuro who is in a noble quest to repair his past mistake in Dors kingdom. In the end both of them win the heart of princess in their own ways.

Despereaux is wonderful animation character to watch without fail; he’s a small & sweet little gentleman mouse with elephant ears & loads of knight like attitude. You will love to add him in your favorite animation characters. Moreover the film is amazing animation creation of three various worlds- Mouse world, Rat world & the Kingdom of Dors (Human world).

Surely one of the beautiful animation films of the last year.
Highly Recommended to all animation lovers.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Chrysalis is an advance surgery programme run by European Counter Intelligence agency to remove the selected brain memory. But as we know that no technology is full proof. When technology falls into the lap of evil mind the outcome is always irreparable damage. Its good sci-fi concept entwined with Neurology & has ingredients of Hollywood’s some of the well made sci-fi thriller movies like ‘Minority Report’ or ‘Blade Runner’. What it lacks most terribly is the slick treatment & consistency expected from film like this.
An average sci-fi thriller.