Friday, February 21, 2014

Room 237 (2013) - Documentary

Decoding “The Shining”: One of the most loved American Directors Stanley Kubrick (one of my all time favorites) and one of his most acclaimed film “The Shining” which happens to be a superb psychological thriller / horror of all times. This documentary has certainly changed the way I have seen all of Kubrick movies and now it will make me watch them yet again (definitely) with a keen eye very soon. Simply superb stuff, the way these guys have decoded almost every scene, the color of walls, hallways, architecture of hotel, paintings, even the cans lying on the rack in background, characters, number of vehicles, room number (as the title suggests), locations and so much more. Watch out for that particular scene where the reviewers suggest that by putting one particular scene in the movie Kubrick has actually said “Fuck You” to Stephen King, whose book the movie was based on but with significant changes in the script, it’s hilarious. If you really call yourself a movie buff like I do – you’ve got to watch this and I guarantee you that this one will make you rethink of that term and hats off to guys behind this one, they have definitely earned my respect big time. Attention to detail in any of Kubrick’s movies is anyways outstanding but the way these guys have interpreted the same in this documentary is mind-blowing, I could never imagine the same in wildest of my dreams. As its Wiki Page Says: “The film interviews fans of The Shining who, using their own brands of film analysis, connect Kubrick's film with (among others) genocide of Native Americans, the Holocaust, and the Apollo 11 moon landing. The interviewees are not seen in Room 237, but rather, their commentaries and claims about the film are heard over a variety of visual clips (primarily from the film The Shining itself) which loosely connect with their dialogue”. If you are a fan of the genre and the guy himself – you’ve got to watch this; I will give it a damn good 4/5 with two thumbs up recommendation to all. Not to be missed by anyone especially Kubrick fans.

Dirty Wars (2013) - Documentary

Investigative Journalism at its best – is what came to my mind after watching this terrific documentary based on a book of the same name by Jeremy Scahill. As my friend mentioned in his review earlier – hats off to America for letting someone make this kind of a documentary stating facts and figures, not only allowing it to release – it actually gets the Academy’s Nomination too for Best Documentary Feature, that’s saying a lot about the “Freedom of Expression in a democracy”. It’s actually mind blowing to see a news anchor actually asking him “Why are you still alive?”. Fantastic is the way Jeremy Scahill travels to Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries where the United States has taken military action investigating the United States military and government cover-up of the deaths of civilians all over. What comes out in the investigation is something truly mind-blowing and it’s insane to see the X Govt Officials not only not denying it rather some of them accepts it too. I haven’t seen a Documentary better than this or the one which covers a better subject as far as US of A is concerned. It is indeed way better than watching a thriller which makes no sense, this one touched me deep inside, it’s heartening to see the both sides of the same coin, the way the locals treat him, talk to him, disclose the facts and what all information he gets for the film and his book, even he didn’t expect where it will lead him. Films like these just cannot be rated but I will still give it a definite 5/5 with a two thumbs up recommendation, again something which cannot be missed by anyone. A must watch for all.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Book Thief (2013) - Drama

What I love about period dramas especially movies related to World War in particular is the amazing way they make these movies, I love the setting, hard times, heartwarming stories and kudos to the people working so hard behind these movies that they always leave me with a lump in the throat feeling as unlike us they show the reality and not always those movies end with a happy note. This one is the story of a 12 year old girl Liesel Meminger (Cute Sophie Nélisse), who stays with her foster parents Hans Hubermann (Amazing Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Equally good Emily Watson) even her little boy friend Rudy Steiner (Nico Liersch) leaves a big impression. It’s a beautifully shot movie right from the very start, from the first aerial shot of train in which she is traveling with her brother who later dies before even reaching Germany. Seeing those harsh times when Hitler killed millions of Jews, from the eyes of a young girl is simply amazing, how the family ends up saving one Jew (A close friend’s son who in place saved Hans during WW1), her chemistry with the boy and the most important part was the role of books in the movie as the movie suggests, is totally outstanding stuff. The breaking out of World War II, Nazi book burning, how she saves a book and becomes friendly with mayors wife leading to that mammoth library at her disposal and the way story follows further – it was totally engrossing and one heck of a watch for me. Although I am a little shocked and heartbroken both by seeing so low ratings for the movie everywhere, dunno what were the expectations and how come it wasn’t at par with people’s expectations is beyond me. I loved it so much that I am now way too keen on picking up the book this one is based on as if the movie is so good – the book must be a fantastic read as well. There are so many scenes especially the ones with the little girl and Geoffrey Rush that I will never forget, watch out for Geoffrey while a siren blares in the background and they all run to a neighbors basement to save them from the bombings, the only thing he saves is an Accordion (Again this belongs to the same friend whose son he was saving) and he plays “Beethoven’s Symphony”. Totally outstanding. I will give it a damn good 4.5/5 with a must watch recommendation to all. Not to be missed at any cost.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gloria (2013) - Drama

One of the last few Academy Nominated movies that I saw today to wrap up this year’s list and what an amazing movie this one turns out to be – Chile’s entry in the Foreign Language category this year. Gloria (Amazing Paulina García) is a divorced lady in her late 50’s, a mother of two adult independent children who have their own stories to tell, she is a doting mother, works full time and lives a rocking life. You’ve got to see it to believe it – although she is alone and had her own share of ups and downs in life yet the way she goes about her life everyday is truly inspiring. This is one of those few feel good inspiring movies telling us to live life king size. Gloria’s body language, behavior, the way she dresses, sings song while driving, talks to her kids, friends, dances, drinks and enjoys life is totally amazing – wasn’t expecting it to be this kind of a movie anyways – it’s quite engaging and engrossing. I just wish I could just go on and on about this one but will not open the whole story up front and would suggest you to go ahead and watch it for yourself. One heck of a story told in a superb way, I am definitely keeping it for future viewings and will certainly give it a damn good 4/5 with two thumbs up rating. A must watch for all – a movie which shouldn’t be missed by anyone.

Gunday (2014) - Thriller

Gunday turns out to be one of those rare and One of the most underwhelming Yashraj movies in last couple of years for sure, the last movie from Yash Raj Films that I saw and liked was “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” – typical glossy stuff with no head or tail whatsoever. But this one takes the whole thing to a new height of sorts, it felt like walking on the edge of a sleeping volcano expecting it to erupt any moment but nothing happens. I had huge expectations from Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra on one side and Irfan Khan with YRF on the other but it disappointed me big time. Arjun Kapoor’s earnest performance and Irfan Khan’s “walk in the park” performance was the saving grace for me plus the period (70s and 80s) as they captured was something to cherish about. Wiki calls it a thriller whereas the sequences as per me were more dramatic then thrilling to say the least. Twists and turns which I wasn’t even expecting in a movie like this were just about average but somehow things work out in favor of the movie partially. I couldn’t hate the movie but just couldn’t love it either – surprisingly only twice I felt like an urge to cheer and clap – that too to mostly Irfan Khan’s credit. Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra tried too hard – way harder than expected or required and surprisingly Arjun and Irfan were a natural. If you haven’t seen it – you may give it a shot – who knows – you may end up liking it. I will rate it a tab below average 2/5 with no repeat value whatsoever (That hardly is the case with most of YRFs).

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hasee Toh Phasee (2014) - Comedy

When two of the biggest names of Indian Film Industry (Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap) are linked to a movie – expectations are surely going to go up a couple of notches and the final outcome is something which is totally confusing (At least to me). Parineeti Chopra is now type casted for sure with four back to back similar characters to her credit – bubbly beautiful girl. This one is no different – it partly is a comedy (which failed to make me laugh), it partly is serious too (again I couldn’t connect with the characters), it partly was a drama (not a good one at that) and by the time it comes to an end some 2 hours 20 minutes later – I had already fallen asleep somewhere around 1 hr 45 minutes down the line hence no idea how it ends and no interest either. Siddharth Malhotra’s disinterested performance proves yet again that an actor is as good as the Director of the movie. In SOTY he was way too good – here he is bloody plain ignorable so much so that I unfortunately found him irritating, even Parineeti failed to impress me in this one, although I was pleasantly surprised by Adah Sharma’s performance as well as Manoj Joshi’s one of the best roles so far in any Hindi movie. The less said about the story with no head or tail the better – by god – who wrote that kind of story is beyond me. Anyways – I will rate it a 1/5 and will call it a disaster of first order – that’s a good start of 2014 as it became one of those few rare movies of my movie watching career which I refused to finish. Give it a miss if you haven’t seen it but if you did see it – tell me if you were able to sit through the movie.

Old Boy (2013) - Thriller

Another addition to the list of movies which should have never got made in the first place – this is a classic example for makers of “What not to do while making a movie”, let alone remaking a classic. Unfortunately it’s a remake of one of the most loved Korean movie of the same name – which happens to be one of my all time favorite movie. It makes me doubly glad to say that in comparison to this version our own Indian “Zinda” looks way too good, imagine - this one is that bad. They have actually raped the script / idea / premise in a royal way and this one will be remembered as the worst movie of Josh Brolin and Samuel L Jackson’s career for sure. There is no connect whatsoever with any of the characters – dunno what they tried making, 15 minutes into the movie the movie and I knew it that it isn’t going anywhere. The less said about the villain the better – oh my god – what a tragedy of a guy they have picked up for this one. And I just read that while Christian Bale was reportedly in talks to portray the antagonist character, but it was later reported that Colin Firth had been offered the role. Firth later passed on the role, which was later offered to Clive Owen, In May 2012, Sharlto Copley had officially been cast as the villain. I will definitely rate it 1/5 for somewhat different and pleasant ending but it’s too painful reach the ending, skip it any cost rather pick up the original and enjoy it.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Nebraska (2013) - Drama / Comedy

One of the best comedy drama in a long time based on a superb father son relationship rather I should call this a perfect family drama which keeps getting better every ten minutes. I am not at all surprised to read that it is also nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Payne, Best Actor for Bruce Dern (Protagonist), Best Supporting Actress for Squibb (His fantastic wife with some superb one liners), and Best Original Screenplay. It’s a fantastic story of Woody Grant (Amazing Bruce Dern) who gets a spam mailer that he had won a Million $ in a sweepstake (Magazine Subscription), his whole family knows that’s it isn’t true but he is somehow hell bent on going to Lincoln (Nebraska) to claim the prize. One fine day he sets up on foot from Montana, that’s how the movie starts and it indeed keeps getting better and better leading to a fundoo finale which left a lump in my throat and a permanent smile plastered on my face – together. The Father and Son set off for a long road trip to Nebraska and what all they go through like visiting their home town with friends, relatives and long lost neighbors – it’s hilarious as well as heartening to see the old man taking a journey down the memory lane. Unfortunately they just can’t keep the big secret and before they even realize the whole town knows of their winning – how the equation changes between relatives, cousins and even friends is something you’ve got to watch the movie for. It was too good to see the family Father, Mother and Two Sons finally getting together and trying to make the record straight one last time is too good to see. Especially the one O one moments between all of them is the best part of the movie. I never imagined that it will take that kind of a turn and how it becomes an amazing roller coaster of a ride. What they win in the end is totally outstanding – I will say it was way better than the $ Million prize money. That one last scene will be etched forever in my memory. It almost became one of those movies which will never be forgotten and I will definitely give it a damn good 4.5/5 with two thumbs up rating and a must must watch recommendation for all. Not to be missed by anyone.

Big Bad Wolves (2013) - Thriller

When Quentin Tarantino called it the best film of the year 2013 – what were our options? As being hardcore QT Fan – I had to see this (And love it too). Half an hour into the movie and I exactly knew why he liked and praised it. It had those typical QT moments all over the movies narrative with superb humor, thrill, action and suspense in right quantities. A very simple story of a girl getting abducted and killed – her headless body is recovered; the three main characters are looking for the culprit as well as the lost head of the little girl. What goes on while the search is on – how they get to a suspect and precede ahead makes up for a super thriller cum suspense movie. I will not be shocked if any of the American Director buys the rights soon and remakes it – I already have so many names coming to my mind for the perfect cast. But this one is too good – it was way better than my expectations for sure. The three main characters are simply mind blowing and what amazing performances by each one of them. First being an X Cop whose daughter goes missing, second: who helps him is a disgruntled vigilante cop and the third is the suspect who happens to be a school teacher. Each one of them had his own story going on in the background too. There are so many wow moments in the movie, some actually made me laugh out loud, as well as make me cringe (Especially torture scenes) but the good part is that it never goes overboard unlike the way Koreans do or the way Americans do with their action scenes. If you like thriller with suspense and action – you must see this, I will definitely rate it a damn good 4/5 for sure with two thumbs up. Not to be missed by anyone even otherwise. A damn good one time watch for sure.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Salinger (2013) - Documentary

One of the best documentaries that I have seen in past couple of years for sure which as per me very well qualifies to be called as a perfect “Biography” too and as I read more about it on its wiki page – they intended to make a movie with Daniel Day Lewis in lead initially. Even otherwise – this isn’t any less than a thriller of sorts, with full on suspense and drama too. Life of acclaimed / reclusive writer JD Salinger – unfortunately I am ashamed to confess that I never heard of that name before today and now I am all inclined to first get that amazing book “The Catcher in the Rye” ASAP and read it back to back, after such a delightful insight on the writer as well as the back – I am sure no one will be able to resist it and the books sale is going to soar after this. If this one doesn’t get an Academy Award for what it contains – I will be totally shocked. The film features interviews with 150 subjects including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito (whose interviews were cut from the film's official release), John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E. L. Doctorow, and Pulitzer Prize winners A. Scott Berg, Elizabeth Frank and the late Gore Vidal. The parts of it were told by his wife, daughter, friends, neighbors and a couple of other people who almost went that close to have a glimpse of the man himself. The documentary is almost a little over two hours long but the pace and the footage – something that’s never seen before and the company that he kept all his serving years in the army is something totally amazing. I am sure I have never rated a documentary that high but this one deserves a 4.5/5 and will be a collector’s delight. I am definitely keeping a copy for future viewing of course after I read the book as well as the movie that’s slated to be made in next couple of years. A must watch for all thriller / drama / suspense lovers. I am sure this will certainly send you searching the book online like it did to me.

One By Two (2014) - Drama

One of the most uninspiring movies of 2014 so far and I’m sure this will always be remembered as the worst by Abhay Deol so far in his career. I guess this is more of a favor he did to his current girl friend by casting her in lead and by calling the character a British Citizen with a fake accent and bad Hindi. One hour into the movie and I was trying to understand the confused character of Amit Sharma (Abhay Deol) with a parallel track of Samara Patel (Priti Desai) – the screen is cut into two halves and we see them criss cross each other’s lives and cameras multiple times without meeting ofcourse. But as any tom dick and harry watching a bollywood movie knows that the hero must get a girl by the end of the movie so technically we knew the ending. Although it’s a new concept (at least in Hindi Movies) and a good one at that but unfortunately not explored to the full extent, guess the writer / director tried making a funny film with whatever crap message (live life king size) threw in some drama in between, tried making it a some kind of a musical or dance movie too with not one good song to its credit or a dance performance to remember and end up making a mishmash of some sort which is painful to sit through. Half time and you actually know that Abhay Deol is seriously pissed by being in movie but somehow ends it. I will give it a 1/5 only for the unique concept – wish it was used in a better way. It’s already a flop and becomes one of those movies which deserved to be never made in the first place.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) - Comedy

I somehow missed this one earlier – dunno how I did that grave mistake but not anymore, as its sequel is right round the corner – not released so far in our part of the world, I had to see it. As expected this one is a total laugh riot and no doubt that it shows up in couple of top 100 funny movie lists. I mean look at that amazing casting for one – did they miss casting anyone else who was doing comedy a decade ago? I don’t think so as almost everyone does a cameo in this one – one of my all time favorite Danny Trejo too gets a scene to remember. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) as the name suggests is a legend from 70s, the best anchorman ever, about to face tough competition by his newly appointed female counterpart Veronica (Christina Applegate), how they tackle each other and try to finish off each other’s career is the rest of the movie. One mistake that almost ends his career is the high point of the movie and I just couldn’t control my laughter. It’s a superb comedy of errors and I must say – it is one of those movies which indeed made me laugh out loud a lot after a long time, almost throughout its run time especially the scene where the whole gang of comedians come over to take revenge on the Legend and how it turns out is something you’ve got to watch the movie for. Fantastic job by Paul Rudd, David Koechner, and Steve Carell as his partner in crime, their office interactions and chemistry is simply out of this world – I loved the jingle they sing together. It’s a must watch for all comedy lovers and should not be missed, my ratings 4/5 as I dash to get the sequel at the earliest.

Behind The Candelabra (2013) - Drama / Biography

Another fantastic Steven Soderbergh movie (Biography) based on the last ten years in the life of renowned Pianist Valentino Liberace – unfortunately I had no idea about this guy but what an amazing character he was at least as per his secret lover cum chauffer Scott Thorson’s Book on which the movie is based. Two of the best guys from Hollywood who I could never imagine to play these gay characters that too with that ease in style – simply mind blowing is the way they pulled off those characters. Michael Douglas is simply fantastic in the lead role of the charismatic Pianist – you’ve got to watch out for his body language, stage performances, attires, lavish life style and his chemistry with his partner Scott Thorson (Fantabulous Matt Damon) in a never seen / dreamed character ever. How they meet and hit it off is one heck of a joy ride, I was totally in love with the Liberace character but as soon as Scott walks in the movie – my loyalty shifted since he claims to be a Bi-sexual (Wink Wink). Check out Matt Damon’s amazing looks – I guess he has never looked that amazing ever in any of his earlier movies, I simply adored his hair style of all – I wish I could keep my crop like that. Their chemistry is simply outstanding – never goes overboard, its damn smooth as long as it lasts. The movie right from the very start till almost the very end is hilarious and you will definitely love the presence of mind as well as the great sense of humor of its characters. What shocked me is that the movie was premiered on HBO and got very limited release. I will definitely give it a good 4/5 with a two thumbs up recommendation. Even otherwise it’s a great fun watch and is fantastic fun, do not miss it.