Sunday, January 30, 2011


One of signature heist classic from house of Britain that truly stands the test of time even after its remake. The big job is to steal four million worth gold arriving in Italian city of Turin under high security alert, traffic control and surveillance. The big obstacle between the plan and execution is not only Italian cops and security system but Italian Mafias too who sniffed the operation. The men to watch here are Michael Caine as clever con Charlie Croker and his unruly partners along with Noel Coward as criminal mastermind Bridger.

The film is even today regarded as remarkable for showing some of the classic super cars of that era in breathtaking backdrop. Watch the spectacular opening of the film showing that red Lamborghini Miura rolling on hilly turns, a classy and one of the best looking super car ever made; unfortunately it didn't get that much screen time. But then it has Aston Martins and above all the real stars of the film-those three Mini Coopers (representing tri-colors of union jack) worked for heist execution and an exciting chase sequence ever filmed. From stairs to rooftops and flyovers to canals and from streets to underground sewage tunnels to hilly hair pin bends it makes one of the engrossing thrilling experience till the last cliffhanging frame.

Douglas Slocombe’s cinematography is absolutely stunning showing spellbinding Italian locations you have ever seen and I highly recommend you to catch its blu ray rip version to enjoy the clarity of striking colors. Worth to mention Quincy Jones’ score including the classy opening single ‘On days like these’ sung by Matt Monro. Director Peter Collinson absolutely deserves two thumbs up for making Britain’s one of the most popular cinema of all-time.

I would love to call it ‘classic entertainer’ from the opening title to closing one.


Friday, January 28, 2011


Finally a film of the year that touches your heart without any extra effort-no screen gimmicks, no out of the box plot or theme but just a plain and simple film about making and breaking of a lovers turned into a married couple. Seven years ago they fell in love at first sight and so desperate about each other. He is working class man in a firm of movers and packers and later working as a house painter; she was student then, now a nurse. And after all these years all they need is a little spark on the verge of break up. On surface they’re living together, working their own way and trying to mend the chasm between their relationships with the presence of a sweet daughter.

We know it well what went wrong to an average love story post marriage-after several years of marriage, the initial attraction starts evaporating and romance-fantasy starting to fade and then comes moments which revealed the undesirable other side so often and that’s make one think that is he/she the person I chose to be my soul mate for rest of my life? How do you trust your feelings when you feel them disappear? The scene to watch here is how drunken irresponsible hubby in rage messed up the drama at hospital which is moment enough for honey to say-‘I’m done, I’m so out of love with you… I can’t take this shit anymore.’ Later we see the hubby begging her to save broken nest-‘I don’t know what to do…tell me what to do, tell me how I should be, Just tell me…I’ll do it.’ But it’s too late now. I know this all seems hackneyed domestic drama but believe me it’s still refreshing love story.

What’s make this average domestic drama a compulsory watch of the year is natural performances of both characters played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. What’s more wonderful is that we relate them without any extra effort. At the end we do feel sorry for both of the lovers and an unfortunate daughter who’s all daddy’s girl. Director Derek Cianfrance finely balanced the drama in glimpses juxtaposed between flashback and presence.

Watch it for brilliant performances of Gosling & Williams and I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Ratings- 7.5/10

Monday, January 24, 2011

127 HOURS (2010)

The wonderful thing about Danny Boyle is that he never repeats same plot, same theme again and tries to explore something new with every next film. He’s back and this time he comes with a film based on personal real life story of Aron Ralston, a young adventure lover who left his home to spare his weekend adventure without letting anyone know. The film is screen adaptation of his book ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ scripted by Boyle and his academy winning screenplay writer-collaborator Simon Beaufoy.

The film shows us the struggling journey of a young explorer whose one arm got stuck beneath a huge boulder rock down in isolated Utah canyons. He’s struggling for 127 hours (five days) in a place where getting help must be a big joke. The situation is a big fix which occurs within just fifteen minutes as film begins and it keeps my fingers crossed what he’ll do next and how the film will carry forward the drama from this point onwards for next one hour and fifteen minutes. His only companions are objects- a sports watch, a camera, a headphone, some food, a bottle of water, multipurpose small knife. We see his struggle days and nights trying damn hard applying various ideas to get his arm out of it.

Ralston filmed a daily video diary while stuck in canyon and it helped Boyle and Franco to push the story forward and create those emotional ups and downs interestingly. Boyle was so impressed that he kept few footage dramas without much change and even retained the same Canon camera for the film too. Watch that scene which begins with funny mock TV talk show where Ralston’s alter ego interviewing and asking questions and he’s answering them facing the recording camera and with ‘oops’ it gets back to hopeless reality where he’s addressing his parents in front of camera delivering his last confession. We see moments of his personal life and family, friends and a girlfriend revealed through few snaps of his memory.

Needless to say that the film is all on James Franco’s shoulder and though he was not Boyle’s first choice, he honestly captures the emotional echoes of real life Ralston dangling between hope and frustration, pain and pleasure. Boyle films have technical spark i.e. – hyper kinetic editing, fast narration, stylistic camera work. The pace of the film takes halt during certain moments of emotional drama but then its challenging task to show a single character trapped in a fix where he can’t even move and that for five days. Mind it, it’s not an adventure film with action but a personal journey of a man trapped in most hopeless situation decided by fate and he has no option except tragic loss on his part. But what is more wonderful is even after this his journey never ends and that’s make him a different man.

A R Rahman’s background score is fine (worth to listen Ranjit Barot’s drums and a single with Dido) and Boyle is so happy with result and nominations that he’s going to repeat him in his next film too. Cinematography is just awesome and beautifully complementing to the spirit of film like this; it’s quite challenging work for cinematographer too especially filming that trapped part but Boyle has unique camera sense and you’ll agree with me once you watch it.

One of the best films of the year and compulsory watch. Boyle deserves clapping once again.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


Another as brilliant and as impressive film from the director who made ‘Oldboy’; infact it’s the first installment of his vengeance trilogy. It’s my second Park Chan-Wook film and without exaggeration I must say he’s undoubtedly modern auteur hard to resist from Korean cinema who takes the theme of ‘revenge’ to a different height blending the plot with emotional-psychological tension of characters with powerful visual images striking to our senses.

Ryu is deaf and dumb young man in search of matching donor for his dearest sister’s kidney transplantation. He comes to know about criminal organ dealer syndicate that manage to get matching kidney for his sister in return of donating one of his own kidney and ten million won. Suggested by his leftist rebel girlfriend he kidnaps his old employer’s daughter to get the ransom amount to manage money for his sister’s surgery. The things don’t turn up as thought and it leads to one after another tragedy.

The film has some of gross and shocking images of the torture and violence that reminds me Takashi Miike films but Chan Wook has his own overt style too- watch the autopsy scene where we heard the odd sound instead the visuals of body dissection. His brilliant use of high angle and ground shots are things to watch throughout the film and above all it has surprising and shocking climax as awesome as ‘Oldboy’.

After Peckinpah here is the director who takes violence and revenge too seriously like none.
Must watch.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


This is a film for those who liked Sophia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’ starring gorgeous Scarlett Johansson and one of Hollywood’s underrated gem of actor Bill Murray. She’s back with another film, this time again with similar theme and characters. It begins with a strange character named Johnny living secluded life in a hotel away from his family. We don’t know anything about his past or life except that he’s got one plastered arm, got text on his cell that reads- ‘why are you such an asshole?’ In the daytime he roams aimlessly in his Ferrari and at night he smokes and drinks and watches paid pole dancers lying on his bed; perhaps they’re tranquilizer for his boring existence to get quick sleep! Slowly we come to know about his profession, he’s actor and has family consists of divorced wife and a sweet teenage daughter named Cleo.

The film takes different turn with entry of his daughter sparing time with him during his promotional visit to Italy. She’s surprised to see the other face of his working dad and we witness the hollow existence of a star, actor who got it all- fame, money and pretty damsels but none of them makes him feel pleasure. Maybe the only emotionally connected woman or relationship of his life is his daughter. As she moves back from his life, he realizes the vacuum of his nothingness more closely. Stephen Dorff is okay but it’s sweet Elle Fanning (younger sister of Dakota Fanning) with her natural expressions wins our heart showing us smart and caring daughter. Just like ‘Lost in Translation’ the pace of the film is tad slow and has least dialogues and very thin plot. Rather it’s very personal film and won’t impress many but than she’s kind of director who pushes you more to observe and think than watch what’s coming. Maybe it’s a reason why it won the Golden Lion at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.


Monday, January 17, 2011

AIRPLANE! (1980)

‘Alright everybody now get in crash positions.’

AFI declared it ‘one of the top ten funniest movies ever made’ and as per the latest IMDB updates they’re going to re-release the film in theatres after thirty years. The film is undoubtedly big spoof and lampoon on air disaster flicks with loads of unexpected crack pot and screwball humor to entertain audience of all class nevertheless most of it comes from hyperbole. The life of everyone on board of the Trans American flight depends upon just one thing- finding someone who not only can fly this plane but who didn’t have fish for dinner!

It’s all madcap ride to pilot less flight, airport runs frenzy, ill passengers, and amid all this reigniting the romance between stewardess Elaine (Julie Hagerty) and crack flight pilot Ted Striker (Robert Havs) who left flying plane years ago. There are many goofy fun moments from beginning to end and I’m sure anyone will laugh out loudly in many of the scenes. My favorites are one where stewardess blowing air into deflated automatic pilot, another where Captain Kramer instructing and boosting confidence to amateur pilot. It’s surprising to see Hitchcock loyal composer Elmer Bernstein scored thrilling background for such a comedy! I’m not a big fan of spoof comedies but I must say I enjoyed watching this one and for that Writer-Director trio Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker definitely deserve two thumbs up for all their madness!


Sunday, January 9, 2011


Not as impressive as I expected. Writer-director Rajkumar Gupta’a attempt to tell the high profile Jessica murder case is more twisted fiction than fact and a melodramatic affair concocted with Kashyap inspired bold touch. The hero/heroine of the film is media reporter who throughout the first half got busy updating our news history of Pokharan nuclear test, Kargil war and hijacked plane and deliberately avoiding Jessica case. And we see the victim’s poor sister running pillars to post for justice in the hostile world. Meanwhile we witness the death of her mother and the news even put her father on hospital bed. Post interval session is all over to smart ass TV reporter and the savior for Sabrina, the sister of Jessica who had given up all hope for denied justice.Vidya Balan is utterly wasted with playing too much underplay. Forget her, this is the film made for bold and beautiful reporter played by Rani Mukerjee who throws slangs, smoke cigarettes and trying sex with her boss-boyfriend and even gave firing speech that invoke not only frustrated Sabrina but the whole nation. With sharing million text messages on cell phones and pushing news coverage by the superwoman reporter, Jessica case ultimately got its long due justice. Is it the real Jessica justice story or the media pampering story or the film about Delhi’s ugly nexus between crime and power? I’ve no idea.

The major flaw of the film is its crumbling screenplay, dull editing and unjustifiable portrayal of lead characters. There’re many who’ll appreciate Rani’s this bold approach but for me it all seems screen gimmicks to push her character. She’s impressive and bold but at the same time quite loud and larger than life news reporter who shows her aggressive attitude playing bitch reporter on one hand and still you find her in all glamour avatar. For me the only appreciative part of the film comes from relatively unknown cast and they all look so real and authentic. The most impressive one is Rajesh Sharma playing the inspector. Watch it if you want to see the replacing face of woman on Indian screen with spark of Rani. It's more about her than Jessica!



‘Do you suppose I can buy back my introduction to you?’

Does Marx Brothers need any introduction for classic comedy fans! Full of gags and brilliant one-liners this is absolutely hilarious rollercoaster ride all over to wonderful company of Marx Brothers. Though its third full length film of Marx Brothers, it’s their first film written originally for screen unlike the earlier two adapted versions of their Broadway shows. MB fully played themselves with all zany, fun filled classic screen moments. It begins with their singing entry scene in barrels playing Stowaways on ship. There’s chase with fun and romance and gangster touch too but hey it’s all as per the world of Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo.

Apart of legendary Groucho, there’s amazing presence of Harpo- the most cantankerous and wild mute you’ve ever seen. He’s my favorite next to Groucho. You’ll laugh out loudly watching him hiding in the puppet show or giving repeated snoops to a fellow’s moustache. There’s amazing presence of Zeppo too, who steals singer Maurice Chavelier’s passport to set up that classic disembarkation scene. I was just wondering about those funny lines written for Grocho and Chico! Are they all come from Groucho’s brain or the screenplay writer? Throughout the film one after another crackling lines pop up which make you laugh out loudly. When released it make record history and established MB as movie stars as rich and famous as any of their peers.

Absolutely classic.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


‘Have you studied filmmaking in school?’
‘No, I didn’t study anything in school. They studied me,’
replied Woody.

Here’s Woody’s take on Fellini’s ‘8 ½’, the phenomenon film on director’s block. Off course you don’t expect things that serious and complicated from the man who is gifted with art of laughter. He is playing himself as Sandy Bates, a movie director who don’t feel funny anymore and trying to make something serious and meaningful out of his routine comedies. He’s staying at Hotel Stardust and having his messed up status with different women. It’s random, without plot and filled with disjointed scenes shot in B&W paying his usual tribute from Fellini, Groucho to De Sica.

His romance and intimate moments are constantly punctured by his cast, crew and fan followers. Though there’s not sporadic laughter as found usually; there’re certain scenes which are impressive. One where he’s answering film aficionados’ questions or talking to UFO or one where he’s accepting his posthumous Oscar with a speech. There’s one of the witty remark came from regular filmgoer who’s watching them for entertainment purpose- ‘They try to document their private suffering and fob it off as art.’

Not one of the best of Woody but enjoyable nevertheless.