Monday, February 28, 2011


A hilarious directorial debut of the man, the genius, the unique- Woody Allen. The film is loosely narrated mock documentary on the life and times of Virgil Stockwell- a wannabe criminal who attempted several bank robberies with few masterminds and most of the time ending up being caught by cops. He is the man of constant failures for whom the world is too difficult to cope with and still his dream lies in seeing his name in world’s ten most wanted criminal. We see the black and white montages of his childhood, his grandpa and the interviews of his cello teacher, his Groucho Marx makeup clad parents, his friends, partners in crime and his girlfriend-wife.

Though the film doesn’t have those signature Woody one-liners on platter as in later part of his career representing the most lovable paranoiac and cynic but that doesn’t mean he failed to tickle your funny bone. We can clearly see the emerging of original entertainer in his debut film who constantly been mocking himself than anyone else to spread fun for his audience. Watching Woody on screen is unmatchable treat for all of his hard core fans and they know pretty well that one doesn’t need a review or reason to watch Woody films. Watching him on screen is enough to bring genuine smile on your face like those classic Chaplin, Marx Bros or Keaton films.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

THE CHASER (Korean) (2008)

One of the unusual modern thrillers from happening cinema of Korea. It begins with surprising kidnapping of call girls. An ex-cop turned pimp is after a nameless caller to whom he sent another girl just a few minutes ago. The search for the man takes us to dark alleys of the city at night. What we see is the street, parked cars and an deserted apartment where the killer has already set prey for his next victim. Get ready yourself for brutal bloodshed as the killer is not only psychopathic but sadist who uses chisel and hammer as his tool for killing. It's much more than thrill when the victim knew that she’s prey and the ray of hope lies in bathroom but then life gives you shock more than surprise in critical moments.

Something happens and the killer has to leave the tied girl half dead to save his ass from trouble. But the destined trouble keeps chasing him either as car crash with the most unlikely man or the left keychain and identified cell phone number. So much to our surprise both the killer and the pimp was caught by cops within the first thirty minutes of the film and the drama rolls into police interrogation where he surprisingly but ambiguously confessed the murders. A psychologist while interrogating let us know the reasons of his killing too. But soon he is released free due to lack of evidence and due to another shameful messy incident for police department. Need i go any further ruining it's awesome last thirty minutes? Absolutely not.

There is something so original about the way Director Na Hong-jin unfolds the whole film and executed it with impeccable thrill of chase, raw fight, dark portrayal and to quote one of fellow cinephile’s words ‘a poetry of violence on screen’. Like his contemporary Park Chan Wook, here is another face of Korean cinema who knows how to make violence an aesthetic treat on screen. Both lead players brought anything more or less than the character and after a long long time I see the face of unfathomable serial killer. Catch the brilliant portrayal of deserted narrow alleys of the city where nobody knows damn about what sort of gruesome things could happen in the next door neighborhood and above all do catch its edge on the seat climax quenching your thirst of watching truly an unusual modern thriller.

Don’t miss.


Friday, February 25, 2011


‘Gambling is not about money. Gambling is about not facing reality, ignoring the odds.’

So what’s the golden rule of gambling-‘Quit when you’re ahead’. And here is the story of the man who really wanted to quit when he was ahead. Did the golden rule change his life? Off course, yes but than it has its own pitfall. Here is one of the underrated British films, an absolutely crisp, tautly executed thriller drama made by Mike Hodges, the man who gave us absolutely mind-blowing ‘Get Carter’ starring firebrand Michael Caine, a role of lifetime. ‘Croupier’ has brilliant narration and captivating script (deserves two thumbs up for Paul Mayersberg) accompanied by wonderful lines and plot that keeps your fingers crossed for twists and turns of Casino’s roulette ball. Hodges like an insider shows us the relentlessly sleazy and yet hypnotic world of casino joints, punters, boss and croupiers.

One has to watch Clive Owen here as suave and focused professional croupier Jack Manfred, must say one of his finest act for sure; do watch ‘the seasoned hands of the conjurer’ and an underground man who knows pretty damn how to deal with cards and bets, blackjack or roulette. He’s detached voyeur working in casino and a man of contradiction or ‘enigma’ as told by his girlfriend. Behind his croupier job lies a face of desperate novelist seeking an insider story of his subject. He remains Mr. Clean who doesn't gamble and doesn’t cheat unlike others until he fall into trap of another professional, the mysterious woman at casino table. While playing real and literary double life of croupier, he soon discovers a heavy price to pay. And we see jack quote Hemingway to the fellow- The world breaks everyone. And afterwards many are strong at the broken places.” And as the movie ends the unexpected way, we see the wicked smile on the face of the croupier where he no longer heard the sound of the ball.

Highly recommended.


Thursday, February 24, 2011


There’s no better option than watching an animation flick especially when you have a terrible and hectic day at job. It’s fun watching the wannabe greatest villain of all time, Mr. Gru. With help of Dr. Nefario and lovable minions he makes a plan for the moon heist. So how could he do that? It’s so simple- by shrinking it with shrinking ray gun. But getting shrinking gun from rival villain Vector isn’t easy. But his initial selfish interest drives him to adopt three cute orphan girls who’re selling cookies for Miss Hattie slowly transformed him from despicable one to most loving one.

It’s one of the impressive Hollywood animation films of the last year which got nomination in upcoming Oscar with two finest and tough rivals- ‘Toy Story 3’ and ‘How to Train your Dragon’. Keeping apart the Oscar buzz, I must say its cool animation film stuffed with entertaining ingredients of fun, emotion, action, adventure, drama and lovable characters. So there are cool gizmos ranging from cookie robots and piranha gun to freezing ray guns and above all shrinking ray gun which makes even the moon shrinks! But I like those assemble minions sound gibberish and helped Gru and kiddies to get it all through while remaining sidekicks. Pleasant entertainment, recommended to all animation lovers.


Monday, February 21, 2011

7 KHOON MAAF (2011)

I’m ending up watching the first worst film of the year made by none other than the man who made two finest children films loved and admired by grown up audience and two finest Indian screen adaptations of Shakespeare’s famous tragedies. Vishal Bhardwaj’s last film ‘Kaminey’ didn’t appeal me much compared to the standards set by his own earlier films but let me tell you honestly with this film, he made a film which I love to hate. The only thing worth watching in the film is the beginning and the murder of Suzanne’s hateful hubby number one, the rest is all improbable, dragging, nonsense gimmicks that ended with a ridiculous redemption.

From the title and promos we already know about Suzanne and her victim husbands but in Ruskin Bond’s short story adaptation made by Bhardwaj, the victims are not murdered hubbies but the poor honey. Both Bhardwaj-Priyanka tried to get sympathy for poor soul Suzanne who didn’t get true love from a single husband! And yet we see her confess her true love not made for hubbies but her godson who grows up from a kid to young married man as she grows old! The film is absolutely improbable one especially in the case of Suzanne. Does she marry and remarry just to kill her hubbies or vice versa? Forget her seven hubbies as they have very limited screentime but Priyanka is all there and I must say it’s so poorly portrayed discreet character that till ending of the film we don’t care damn about her.

Watching promos and reading rave reviews about her performance, I’m expecting Priyanka as modern femme fatale here but she’s big letdown here. She’s got one or two bitchy sparks in entire film and rest of the time trying to seek our futile sympathy. It's not her fault but poorly written and portrayed ambiguous character more made to serenade the men on her charm. Among all hubbies, the only one who looks quite probable and worth to notice is the one played by promising Neil Nitin Mukesh as lame army man suspicious about her wife. The rest of the players don’t have much time to develop their white or black sides and ended up on screen much before we notice them! In my opinion, Bhardwaj tries to sell gimmick which won’t work out well. This time even music isn’t as soothing except that Russian song inspired ‘Darlingg’ number. Its better watching free fun of Ekta Kapoor vamps or ICC world cup drama on TV rather than wasting your money and weekend fun on something like this.

I kept scratching my head till interval wondering am I watching the film of director who gave us ‘Makdee’, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Omkaara’ but post interval I just keep remembering the victim toll so that I can see the end. Will Bhardwaj back with one more disappointing gimmick or back with another striking film that keep pushing the Indian New wave cinema?
I keep my fingers crossed for the second option.


Sunday, February 20, 2011


“One thing my father taught me about business: always do business as if the person you’re doing business with is trying to screw you, because most likely they are and if they’re not, you can be pleasantly surprised.”

Joe Ross is smart, honest and dedicated employee working for big corporate honchos, the only problem with him is that he’s too nice for everything to everybody. His friendliness gesture to a mysterious stranger made him win friendship with a man powerful and rich enough to solve his personal problem. He didn’t know that this fabricated relation is a big trap that going to give him enough jolts including murder charges and there’s only one woman on whom he can rely to get out of this mess- his personal secretary whose emotional advances and cautions he avoided from long.

Written and directed by David Mamet, one of the gifted and brilliant script writers who knows damn well how to tell a story so cleverly, diverting our attention in twists and turns of lies and a big trap. He shows you the cards but not the game. Clues and hints are offered to Ross in form of his friends and characters; mind well they’re not to reveal the secret but to make it more intriguing. However I feel somewhat feel duped by the time film shows denouement of mystery and that’s the only one big loophole of this otherwise well made thriller/mystery. Mamet wrote some of the finest quotable lines in this film and they keep flowing along with absolutely thrilling drama that holds you to your seat. Here’re few rushes-
“Worry is like interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes true.”
“Beware of all enterprises which require new clothes.”

Recommended to all thriller fans.


Friday, February 18, 2011


This is what I love to call an admirable spy thriller than most of successful but routine formulaic entertainment of Bond. Director Sidney J. Furie brought here suave and thinking man’s Bond on screen named Harry Palmer starring bespectacled Michael Caine. It begins with kidnapping and soon we come to know that around seventeen renowned scientists were kidnapped, returned brain washed few days later and ceased to function as earlier. Palmer is appointed for investigation and the rest is all absolutely edge on the seat, stylish, gritty espionage thriller from British cinema.

Unlike Bond films, Palmer here is not represented as super spy designed to give you merry go round entertainment of action- adventure- chasing-destroying cool cars and romancing with sexy dames; instead he’s no nonsense secret agent belongs to working class who has more to rely on his brain and imperfect eye vision. Instead of Martini and gizmos, he loves cooking and listening Mozart. It has some of the Hitchcokian thrilling moments and matching great score by John Barry. One of the taut, well made and compulsive spy thrillers of its time.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

OTHELLO (1952)

‘Look at her, moor if thou hast eyes to see
She has deceived her father and may thee.’

One of the finest and classic screen adaptation of Bard’s original tragedy directed-acted by Master Orson Welles. It’s his second Shakespearean screen adaptation after ‘Macbeth’. Welles took time of more than three years to finish it due to financing the film independently and meanwhile worked for several other films as an actor including ‘The Third Man’ and completed the film from earned money. Welles not only directed it pitch perfect but also acted like none. His towering personality and immense baritone voice lived the pathos of the moor on screen. Watch him rendering that ‘O now for ever tranquil mind’ soliloquy with intensity and I doubt was any other man able to did the same justice!

Does this immortal classic need any summary/plot description? Okay, for those who haven’t read the literary classic, here’s just nutshell- The moor of Venice, Othello fell in love with young and noble Desdemona and the cunning and treacherous Iago plotted a perfect scheming by making Cassio a scapegoat to spread poison in the mind of the moor. The rest is all Shakespearean hamartia of suspiciousness, jealousy and hate and human flaws coiled up together to make it one of the immortal tragedy of all time.

Back to Welles; he’s the master of image like Bresson, Godard and several other auteur of world cinema. Technically any Welles film is the reference material for creative and innovative cinematography and editing and this one too is another proof of it. His early German expressionism cinema and Eisenstein influence clearly reflected in the beginning of those B&W frames as film opens. Welles kept the ethos of Bard’s literary version intact but didn’t treat it like conventional faithful dramatic stage play. Cinematically Welles treated it like dark brooding noir with uncommon dark shadows, low lights, extreme close ups and brilliant low and ground angle shots.

Need I say ‘must watch’?

Ratings- 8.5/10

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TRISTANA (Spanish) (1970)

After making mind bending surreal-erotic masterpiece ‘Belle De Jour’, this is the second and last film Bunuel made with irresistible French beauty Catherine Deneuve. Initially the film seems like replica of his earlier masterpiece ‘Viridiana’ but the film takes a different turn in the last half an hour and it reverse your emotions and shifts your sympathy. I love Bunuel not only for his unthinkable surreal expressions but also the way he represents the cruel and wicked face of humanity like no other to this extent. However it’s not so unpredictable for those who’ve watched few of Bunuel films. Compared to all other Bunuel films that I managed to watch, this one seems comparatively less surreal or obscure one and not gives me much jolt as I expect from Bunuel film except the climax and the dream of head hanging bell tower.

Don Lope is admirable old man in society but has flawed feet in matters of women. Soon after his wife’s death, he turned an authoritative patriarch and possessive stepfather and kept his daughter at home. He’s old wolf in garb of father who slowly starts exploiting her physically. However she met a young artist and elope with him. Within few years she returned home with one leg and we see the mind blowing reversal of power all came from mind of Bunuel. To watch Catherine Deneuve in Bunuel’s film is treat; she played innocent exploited young virgin here until blow your mind away with her bitchy act when she returned home. Fernando Rey played quite extended part of his character in Bunuel’s ‘Viridiana’.
Not one of Bunuel's best but nevertheless recommended film for any Bunuel beginners.


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Though avoided by mass audience and mixed opinions, Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan Productions ‘Dhobi Ghat’ is breakthrough in the finest Indian film released this year. More than anything, the film is a cinematic poetry dedicated to the city of Mumbai. The film captured indelible moods of Mumbai from local trains to super fast bais , from subway to streets, from high rise buildings to chawls and kholis and from Juhu beach to first spell of Mumbai rain. And along with witnessing the city, we entangle the lives of four characters- different in class, profession and mentality except their unspoken sublime relations. Though remained in limited time on screen, each of them wonderfully brought the shades of abstract human emotions-dream, hope, alienation, separation, joy and misery. It’s like falling in love with city and embracing its all different moods.

Rao didn’t reveal much about the characters or in some case their past and the film has no plot but then that’s the beauty of film like this. All four characters- Prateik as Munna, Monica Dogra as Shai, Kirti Malhotra as Yasmin and above all Aamir remained so tamed and restrained; showing anything more or less revealing than their character. Kudos to Rao for bringing this more offbeat, lifelike and quite not so perfect shade of his otherwise perfectionist hubby! The unexpressed feelings of Munna is overshadowed by the last videotape letters of Yasmin- the most sublime and emotional high of the film. Along with director Rao, Cinematographer Tushar Kanti Ray too deserves praise for framing Mumbai in all its rich and intimate portrayal and experimental use of camera.

On the day of the film’s release I eagerly went to cinema hall and Oops!!! Surprisingly the film was not released in my town. Regretfully I went home and waited for piracy to get me the copy. Meanwhile I kept reading its mixed reviews of critics and audience. The film was overwhelmingly welcomed by overseas audience as it’s featured on top 25 in US Box Office meter on IMDB whereas in India wasn’t witnessed by a marginal audience. After watching it today, I must bash Indian critics for praising it on one hand as watching French or world cinema classic and on other hand calling it not a film for mass audience. The film has no entertainment value, they said. I have several questions for the audience. Do we watch cinema just for sake of paisa wasool entertainment? Do we watch cinema just for plot- our favorite stars and song-dance-drama-action entertainment of larger than life? Don’t we watch cinema because it’s one of the most admired and popular artistic medium easy to our senses that made us think even after we left the cinema hall? Don’t we watch it simply to purge our own feelings in darkness for few hours? Why don’t Indian critics and thinking audience create an awareness to watch and explore film like this instead of calling it cinema mere for niche audience? The role of critic is not just to feed the suitable popular taste or bifurcate their opinions dividing the audience in mass and class but to cultivate awareness among audience to appreciate experimental and artistic expressions of cinema. Having said all this, I must say that this view is not particular in regard of this film but an opinion at general. I not at all found the film as abstract and as inscrutable as few of them already made in their reviews.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

PRATIDWANDI (Bengali) (1970)

After two years I’m back to Satyajit Ray film and the man of many arts this time not only moved me but strikes me showing disturbing time of volatile seventies. It’s time where political and social unrest, chaos and instability gave birth to bipolar class society that breeds either frustrated and directionless unemployed youth or naxalite rebels on streets. In both the cases it represents- the postcolonial lost generation sacrificed with struggling identities. Ray’s humanitarian vision of Apu Trilogy and other early cinema shifted with stark critical eye to the changing face of modern metro where class distinctions of two extremes sets the ground for moral corruption of society. It’s absolutely different Ray in so many grounds.

It begins with surreal like negative frames, a clue to audience much before the film begins that one has to watch closely this film to grasp its full potential and meaning. We witness the death of protagonist Siddharth Chaudhary’s father. With sudden and unexpected demise of his father, he has to leave his medical study midway and starts appearing for interviews. We’re led into one of the closer observation of his interview where his academic qualifications and near to perfect and intelligent answers weren’t suffice to get him job because his ideology seems to support what seems just for him. He was asked about ‘the most significant world event of the decade’ and his reply and explanation of ‘Vietnam War’ instead of the expected one- 'man landing on moon'. To this one of interviewers ask the burning question of Bengal- ‘Are you a communist?’ As if that’s the most significant matter to select a right candidate. Needless to say whether he got the job or not!

Contrast to Siddharth his young and beautiful sister got a quick job where her employer boss took certain advances from her. She doesn’t have any qualms about it as long as he gifts her precious things and hiking her salary. Siddharth is also contrast to his younger brother who’s wannabe Che Guerra and an ardent communist rebel who doesn’t think much rather believes in act. ‘There are two types of human beings. Thinkers who only think. Then there are doers who can only do’, said his rebel brother who’s more on second type unlike Siddharth who only think about the things which he won’t do. Siddharth is face of those directionless young and educated lost generation who didn’t follow a single path or ideology quite vehemently and lost in oblivion of alienation and adjustment in those shifting seventies.

After struggling for few years he gave up hope and accepted to embrace compromise to get back to something he get attached to. His accidental encounter with Keya makes him decide to join the job which is quite undeserving one and that too alienated from the city. Their first encounter portrayed so sublimely by Ray. (Kashyap-Verma pilfered the same in ‘Satya’) Along with progress of narrative, the flashback of Siddhartha’s childhood memories keep reflecting on screen including his longing for 'singing bird'- symbolic hope bridging the gap between sweet memory and hard reality, at last impersonified in his longing love for Keya. Though it represents the frustrating time, the second half is represented with hope and affirmation. Humanity and love always remain the hope of mankind in all time and Ray strongly believed that.

Ray used certain striking jump cuts including the last freezing frame so effectively. Apart of his early influence of Neo Realistic cinema of De Sica, here one can see the clear influence of French New Wave filmmakers like Godard and in certain scenes even influence of Luis Bunuel, the best cinematic critic of bourgeois society. Watch the scene where his imaginary shooting of his sister’s employer get jolted by reality as soon as the host enters and switches on of fan. The cool air not only comforts his sweat but boiling hatred too!!! Another where watching a modern damsel on road, we’re thrown into the mind of medical student studying female breast. The childhood reference of chicken and beheaded guillotine, skeletons waiting desperately for their turn outside the interview room and above all hallucinatory dream disjointed with haunting images of past and future seems more from Bunuel’s mind. Though I must say that Ray is genius filmmaker and influenced by many masters of the world cinema but his representation is more simple, direct and less ambiguous.

Compared to many of Ray films, this one of really unsettling and hard hitting film which compels me to think in many scenes. Watch that small scene of mob scuffle on the road. The effective use of contrast is visible with moving details (brilliant editing too). In one of the scene while enjoying his solitary smoke, Siddharth witness juxtaposed visions of poverty vs. foreign tourist embracing Indian culture. In another scene while watching that mandatory documentary before movie in which Indira Gandhi was depicted as progressive PM that leads the country towards more progress and prosperity and suddenly a bomb was explodes in cinema hall. One of his friend who’s collecting the fund for Red Cross stealing it in secret and took Siddhartha to prostitute and that’s another striking scene where we see the negative again when embarrassed Siddhartha lighting the cigarette for the prostitute in bra. Matching to striking scenes, the dialogues are punched with sarcasm. Some of them prove relevant even today. i.e. - ‘These days the weaker sex is the stronger sex’.

It’s quite injustice if I don’t mention the restrained act by Dhritiman Chatterjee, Bengali cinema’s one of the most gifted and natural actor who made Siddhartha hard to imagine if enacted by anybody else than him. He’s nicely supported by Krishna Bose, Debraj Roy and Joysree Roy as Keya, the sweetest, affirmative and full of life face in entire film. The film is regarded as the second film of Ray’s ‘Calcutta Trilogy’ and based on Sunil Ganguli’s novel by the same name. In one of his letter Ray too confessed that it was the most provocative film he had made till day and I fully corroborate it. Hope it’s not too early for me to jump on conclusion as many of his post 70’s films are long due for me.

Hope at least a few will read this mammoth post and/or watch this not so famous masterpiece by the filmmaker for whom Kurosawa once said- "Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon."


PS- A big thanks to one of dearest friend and fellow cinephile Abhishek Prasad for this recommendation and link with English subtitles.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SCOOP (2006)

Back to Woody Allen again! Though the film is quite average, mediocre and predictable mystery coiled in romantic comedy, it surely brings moments of smile on your face in company of Woody as a magician Splendini who keep showing his card tricks to anybody anywhere and remained paranoiac investigative sidekick to chemistry of Scarlett Johannson and Hugh Jackman.

So while volunteering from the audience inside the closed box on a magic show, a young wannabe reporter met a spirit of recently died big reporter who revealed a big scoop. The son of respected millionaire in London is the real tarot card serial killer, the biggest serial killer ever since Jack the Ripper! Objective investigation of the girl and magician works well initially but soon love affair starts playing impediment to the scoop.

The film is too similar to ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery’ where Woody plays disturbed paranoiac hubby of wannabe spy wife played by Diane Keaton. Woody seems aged on face but not in energy and it’s his last film where he appears under his directorial ventures. Hope he’ll soon come with something suitable for him. All Woody fans love to see him on screen or behind as long as he hit the century.

Ratings- 6.5/10


Absolutely knock out and one of the best films of this year without a doubt on many fronts and it will give tough fight to some of the year’s best like ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Black Swan’ in upcoming Oscar ring this month. The film is based on true story of working class welterweight boxer Micky Ward and his crack addicted elder brother-trainer Dicky Eklund, who messed up enough with his life and wanted to see his brother fulfill his dream. He’s once promising boxer, now lost his glory with drugs, crime and low life. Instead training his brother, he keeps messing up his and his brother’s lives in one after another screwed up situations. He’s ‘the brother’, he’s ‘the villain’ and he’s ‘the hero’ of Mickey’s life.

Don’t expect just boxing action entertainment here; its intense drama between two brothers and their family than just ring action but I bet you that drama is not boring even for a single second. More than boxing its story about questioning integrity of an average working class united but dysfunctional family and what happens to it where one of the talented but crazy sibling among them keep messing his life and career putting all others into fix. It's family where eldest sibling Dicky lost match to champion Sugar Ray and then lost in the oblivion of drug addiction. His mother and seven ugly and good for nothing sisters living in a pipe dream that one day the younger Micky will bring the day of glory. He's trying too but the situation becoming worse with crazy crack addict brother. Watch the scene where all family members are watching the documentary on TV showing Dick’s ugly personal side under crack addiction which they want to keep hiding from world around. One of the most intimate scene of the film that made you think and yep it has plenty of them. And yeah you’ve to wait for ring excitement till the climax where Micky is struggling against deadly fast jabs of champion Neary until he finish it all with ‘head…body…head’.

The film has some of the interesting facts behind its making. Bale’s role was turned down by Matt Damon and Brad Pitt and it was Aronofsky who’s going to direct this film in the beginning. The script was turned down by director such as Martin Scorsese too. Even the producers were not happy to finance the film on one stage of its making. But in the end, Director David O. Russel brought to screen his finest film till day with brilliant character portrayal. Credit surely goes to the perseverance of method act by lead cast. The result looks crystal clear on screen; Bale reduced terrific weight and done something which we all want to see him from long. Without exaggeration he deserves academy award this year for his knock out ‘head…body…head’ and for bringing one of the love and hate brother on screen which we’ll keep in memory for long time. And let me confess that with this film I will start respecting Mark Wahlberg too as a fine actor. His intense and brilliantly restrained act here made me think that he’s kind of actor wasted from long in either substandard scripts or side roles overshadowed by top stars. The supporting acts of both women, Amy Adams as Mark’s girlfriend and Melissa Leo as dominating manager cum mother are also so convincing in their characters. Leo is fine actress and anybody who needs better proof of it should watch her academy nominated act in ‘Frozen River’. So if you count the performances of almost all lead and supporting actors, this is the best among all I’ve seen this year.

Kudos to David O. Russel for bringing not only his best but also of several others too which we love to watch from long. Just like Natalie Portman, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Christian Bale too and anyone who sees it will agree with me.

Don’t miss it by any account.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


One of the small budget independent films that brought attention this year by well received critical appraisal and 4 academy award nominations including Best Picture and Best Actress. It’s about a 17 year college going teenage girl and her struggle to get his escaped father back. Either she has to search his father and present him to court as warned by sheriff or evacuate the home as per the parole bond signed by her father. The gravity of situation is that she got responsibility to tend sick mother and two kids with penniless existence. After hopeless struggle to get help from her blood relatives and dear ones, she tried hard to get him back. But things aren’t as predicted and open as it seems. Situation and sense of responsibility let her do things unimaginable.

The film is tad slow in pace and almost became stretching exercise till I reach the climax. Maybe I’m expecting something else from the film! The things worthy to mention are its minimalist treatment showing seedy, depressive and dingy backdrop of mountain region which is as rough, lawless and indifferent as the human beings around her. She’s loner and still stronger in the world full of rugged men. Jennifer Lawrence’s act is above average but not so brilliant that she deserves academy nomination; instead I find John Hawkes more impressive in supporting role. The film is bleak, harsh but overall it doesn’t leave me an impact of watching a fine drama as I expected.


Monday, February 7, 2011

THIRST (Korean) (2009)

A missionary priest volunteered for the medical experiment and infected with a deadly disease. But it turned out him as bandaged miracle saint who cures the others but secretly sucks blood from his patients to cure his own cursed existence. He saves an unfortunate girl Tae-ju and brought hope and passionate love in her life but that made him do the thing which he abstained himself even after being vampire. The rest is all blood show dipped with doom.

Compared to Park Chan Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy, this is completely different film in theme and genre. It has blood thirsty vampire and it has passionate love story but not like those teenager popcorn entertainer such as ‘Twilight’ enterprise. Chan Wook has given it absolutely his impression with regret, guilt and redemption. Chan Wook retained his fetish for graphic violence and grotesque bloodshed in abundance here too. He once stated, ‘I hope my films can help in any small way to help your imagination became at least a little bit crueler.’ It’s not exaggeration to say he filled the screen with blood spurting and sucking in most of the frames and so the film is strictly not advisable for normal film viewers. It has haunting moments you’ve ever seen in vampire films- like those haunting hallucinations under guilt or bloodthirsty lovers sucking each others blood or an old lady blinking his eyes to reveal the truth.


Saturday, February 5, 2011


Since ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’, Sudhir Mishra hasn’t made anything striking. His last film ‘Tera Kya Hoga Johnny’ released a month ago almost a year after it was leaked on internet and watched by his audience much before its release. Yeh Saali Piracy!!! Anyway here he again comes with a new film starring Irrfan Khan, Arunoday Singh and his favorite Chitraganda Singh. He messed the film in introducing too many characters in the first half, stretching disjointed storyline stuffed with nagging and uncontrolled narration with excess of blunder and loads of dark humor. The crime and romance of two protagonists kicked on screen (and audience’s head) like football. The kidnapping and ransom drama is so stretching that you lose your patience to see its aftermath. But amid all these he brought to screen a striking film after long run on different ground. He brought to screen the lost face of Purani Delhi and it’s underbelly with moments of authentic black humor in all its notorious northern flavor.

For me the only reason to sit and finish the film is neither Mishra nor Chitrangada or impressive Arunoday and always up to the mark Irrfan Khan who here too delivered what we expect from him. The real hero of the film is Manu Rishi who penned some of the most striking and authentic northern street hindi which you’ve never heard on hindi film before. One has to give profanity of words an excuse to enjoy it fully where ch**tiya and bahe***od are used as fullstop and comma in almost every lines. Have you ever heard the line like ‘Ise kahte hai udta teer g**nd me le liya’ ever before!!! It’s cult film as far as dialogues and dark humor are concerned; the rest is all bad chronicle. I bet if anybody can tell the whole story with all twists and turns of the film to anyone after coming out of cinema hall, may be not even Mishra!!!