The PROMISE – 2016

promise_xlg

Though being a history buff, I had no clue of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turkish Empire. But this movie compelled me to read some material on the same, and perhaps will do so for sometime.

Terry George, director of Hotel Rwanda, has delivered a fantastic semi-fictional tale of Love, Friendship, Patriotism woven around the Armenian Genocide by the turks, which they continue to deny till date.

This is a period movie set in the 1915, when the sun was setting on the Ottoman Empire. The detailing of the period is bound to leave you speechless. The Cinematography is first rate.

Oscar Isaac outdoes all the brilliant actors in the movie as Mikael Boghosian, a medical student who aspires to study and serve his village but for which he has no money. He agrees to his father’s idea of getting engaged to a girl from his village and for which he will get dowry of 400 gold coins that will support his travel to Constantinopole, present day Istanbul, to study medicine. He promises his wife to be, that he will be back soon.

Mikael’s Uncle in Constantinopole, supports him. His Turkish friend Emre Ogan, son a Turkish General and a rich man, looks up to him as a mentor and classmate in medicine school and always helps him out. Christian Bale, as Chris the american journalist is in the city too, meticulously reporting on the political movements of the turkish empire. His girlfriend, Ana, is the dance teacher to the kids of Mikael’s uncle. And thereby begins a story of a love triangle, familial duties, unrequited love, friendship and loyalty irrespective of religion or nation.

Each and every supporting actor is brilliant, but it is Mikael and Ana’s love story and more than the same, the Armenian Genocide which will haunt you and the so called Superpowers of the world who turned a blind eye towards the same.

Don’t miss it at any cost !

Advertisements

The Lost City of Z

large_large_ik3ebv7J18fs6cHkmu91oxz7EGtJames Gray’s 2016 release turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

This is not a adventure movie, but a movie of youth’s unrealized aspirations, which at a later age turn into obsession with the desire to achieve the same as fast as possible. Along with achieving the same, there are dual responsibilities of managing a family, maintaining a career to provide for the upkeep of the family and tackling the politics at workplace that come along with it. Sounds familiar doesn’t it ?

The movie is based on the awesome true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who along with his young son went missing in the amazon jungles during early 20th century, trying to search for a lost city which he named as Zed [Z].

During an initial exploration, he finds ancient pottery and signs of an civilization which was more advanced than the western civilization, which is of course scoffed upon by the colonial British of the times. His struggle [Note this was early 20th Century], and desire to reach the lost city despite the dangers of the Amazon, is what the movie is about.

Charlie Hunnam immerses himself in the role of Percy Fawcett and you cannot imagine anyone else as Percy. He carries the 2 hour and 20 minute long movie on his shoulders along with a very competent ensemble of supporting actors, especially Robert Pattinson in a surprise character role. The camera work is excellent and Amazon Jungles are the star of the film, the dangers, the excitement of what lurks in those jungles and the so called savages that reside in it.

The movie is not a thrill ride or a adventure movie, and the pace may be slow for some however it is definitely a one time watch, and the story is sure to linger around you for quite some time. I was impressed enough to do more research on Percy Fawcett on the web post watching this movie. Intend to purchase the below book on which the movie is based.

9781471164910

Hacksaw Ridge – Review

Imagine that a person volunteers to join army during war to serve his nation and at the same time also has vowed that he would never pick up a gun to kill someone but serve only as a medic to help fellow soldiers.

Such stories of real heroic valor usually die as unsung heroes but it takes the caliber of a Clint Eastwood or in this case Mel Gibson to direct and bring to screen the story of Desmond Doss, who single handedly, without picking up a gun saved 75 lives at Hacksaw Ridge.

Mel Gibson may have had a tough time fighting his internal demons, but there is no denying the brilliance of this man, whether it was Passion of the Christ or the Apocalypto. Like Shyamalan who excels at horror/thriller genre, Mel shoots war scenes like no one does.

Andrew Garfield, the spidey, is Desmond Doss here, a simpleton who knows his priorities and decides to stick to them – even if means narrowly escaping a court martial. The horror of world war 2, the sacrifices of such soldiers along with an underdog’s incredible story of bravery will overwhelm you.

Yes, Mel Gibson is back and thank god for that.

#HacksawRidge #MelGibson #AndrewGarfield #Oscars2017

Hacksaw Ridge Movie

The Salesman – Review

About two decades back, I had got an invite from a friend to attend a Iranian film festival, which if I remember correctly was at Y.B.Chavan auditorium.

The simple storytelling, excellent focus on characters enacted and some astonishing realistic acting left me spellbound. It helped that I remained in touch with two iranian pals, who recommended names such us Makhmalbaf, Majidi and Darius whose masterpiece Leila was one of the movies at the festival.

The Salesman, has deservedly got an Oscar for its director Asghar Farhadi. Two actors, husband and wife, who are forced to vacate their apartment as it is about to collapse, are offered another accommodation by a friend and another colleague who is part of the drama that they are acting in.

However the colleague, fails to inform that the particular place was earlier occupied by a woman of doubtful character. What happens later, reveals the director’s genius of presenting a drama with focus on human psychology, so called values and emotions.#Review #Oscars2017 #TheSalesman #AsgharFarhadi

The Salesman

SPLIT by M.NIGHT SHYAMALAN – a review.

split_ver2

WOOO !! Shyamalan is back in form..

What a thriller, it had me by the guts throughout mostly due to James McAvoy disturbingly realistic performance.

In fact the plot of the movie is linear – Kevin suffers from DID – Dissociative identity disorder also more commonly known as multiple personality disorder for which there is no conclusive treatment yet in medical science. Shyamalan takes this concept, to another level in a very well written screenplay but it is James McAvoy who burns the screen like no one else did before and keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout the movie.

Kevin kidnaps three girls and holds them hostage in his bunker or hideout. It is the interactions between him and the girls which forms the major part of the movie and what could have failed miserably but for JAMES McAvoy.

There is a scene in the movie, when one of the timid and milder personality called “Heidwig” talks to one of the kidnapped gitls and tells her that he likes to listen to music and dance in his room, which has a window. The girl, whose flashbacks reveal that she was strong and intelligent as a child too, immediately asks him to take her to the room so that she can watch him dance in order to get a chance to flee through the window.

James McAvoy outdoes himself in the particular scene, the way he dances and his facial gestures will send shiver down your spines. Out of all his identities, his 24th identity is the most dangerous and comes later in the movie.

Check this movie out to see a great actor thoroughly enjoy and have a blast at what he does best. Sure to be considered as a cult classic performance post few years..

After multiple flops. Shyamalan is back and Yes, Do Not Miss the twist in the end !

Sultan of Bollywood

sultan-salman-khan-696x392Never thought I would feel compelled to write about a #SalmanKhan movie. But this one is definitely his best ever, and one of the best sport and inspirational movies in Bollywood [Chak De! still remains at the top spot].

A naive wrestler’s rise to the top post being insulted by his love for being a loafer, and then his fall from grace due to arrogance and again a last ditch fight with inner demons to stitch up his life forms the basic plot of the movie.

An out and out Salman Khan film, he doesn’t disappoint you, but surprises with an very understated performance, proving that the Khan can indeed act. Amit Sadh is an revelation.

Rest of the cast was anyways capable and do their bit. But what I liked the most were the songs – excluding the popcorn chartbuster ‘Baby ko bass pasand hai’.. Jag Ghoomeya is just too good.

The fights are the best part of the movie, as good as, if not better, matching the Rocky fights. However wish the director could have resisted the temptation of including Amitabh’s influence as in Naseeb, where after being beaten up badly, on seeing Hema Malini among audience, he knocks out the opponent.

Certain scenes are inspired by the Rocky Balboa series..but the director has done an awesome job..

Seems the Khans do it the best when given subdued roles.. wish they would remain so in real life too and avoid unnecessary controversies and give us more of such quality movies.

The Martian

PHIIVE4Rs7PJMO_1_l

Took some time off for a late night movie and what a movie it was!.

THE MARTIAN is not just about the man lost in space and the rescue mission to bring him back, it’s just so much more than that.

Ridley Scott has surpassed himself, and this for me is definitely the top of his list. A very inspirational movie, not only at an individual level, but I highly recommend it for even management grads and students. Every single “senior” tactical decision is thrown out of the window by the hierarchy below to achieve their goal of bringing their colleague back from the red planet..go by your instincts and the courage to follow them..irrespective of the results !

Post Interstellar and Gravity, hollywood surprises again.. Do not miss at any cost.

Cult Horror Movies

Call it horror, terror or whatever you wish to, but the movie that makes your heart pump faster and gives you goosebumps and definitely makes you switch lights on before moving in your perfectly secure house, you know it’s a good movie ! So I have just compiled a few names of such classic cult movies which are a must see ! Of course there are many more…which will come later.

1. The Omen – This 1976 movie, was one of my first movies, I saw on VHS 25 years back and what a shocker it was. If the movie is as good as this one, believe me it will stay with you unless of course our greying cells give it away. Apart from a fantastic screenplay, the casting was awesome and Gregory Peck’s casting definitely lifted the movie a few notches higher. His Robert Thorn, the ambassador’s role, is one of his best, very effortlessly portraying a troubled father, a husband and a non believer who believes enough to count his son as the antichrist. As for the kiddo, who acted in the film, though sweet, after watching the movie, he is one kid you do not want to take home. Haven’t seen it ? Don’t miss it. There are further 2 sequels, not bad at all. i had watched all 3, one after another!

The Omen Cover
The Omen Cover

2. The Entity – This movie created a hype unseen in India, back in the early 80s. I, remember it was released at Excelsior Theatre, known for screening latet hollywood releases. The movie created huge hype, as it was supposed to be based on a true story of a woman being raped by ghosts. This was later, as usually always is the case in Bollyood, was remade with Tabu playing the lead role. If I am not wrong, the film was banned after two weeks of runnin to packed houses in India. Of course, being kids, we were not allowed to see it. And as it always is, saw it on VHS. The movie was way ahead of it’s time, however I remember even back then, I was not very convinced by the climax but the fact that it was supposed to be a true story always haunted you.

the-entity-original 

3. Exorcist Arguably, the mother of all horror movies ? When released in India, there were stories in the media of ambulances waiting outside theatres, a death in a Calcutta theatre due to heart attack etc. The movie’s perhaps greatest strength was in it’s story, narration and the script. The story just absorbed you, it made you feel sad for the possessed girl and at the same time scared of her. The potrayal was so strong, and the movie such a huge worldwide hit that Linda Blair never actually came out of it, a strong actress who perhaps scared anyone to look at her again. The cinematography, not much talked about though, was way ahead of it’s time and contributed tremendously to the brooding atomosphere.Don’t watch it alone ! The sequels are good too, however part 3 I feel was better than 2nd.

exorcist 

4.  The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – Now widely recognised as the cult classic of it’s genre, this blood and gore film was terrible [audiences puked, fainted..]. This slasher film today, cannot be NOT part of any top horror movie list. Not many know that the movie was banned in UK till1999 and also in Australia till the mid 80s. There was no way that such a movie would be released in India, I got to see it courtesy a neighbour, who during his many trips as a sea cadet, got VHS of the same.

texaschain 

5. Evil Dead – Sam Raimi’s mother of all horror movies. More than exorcist, I feel that this was the movie and it’s success that attracted filmmaker’s of other genres towards the horror genre. Considered as a cult classic, I still remember a grown up, requesting us to accompany him till he reached his home ! Many of us acted brave, but later confessed that they could not sleep for many a days ! Today the movie may seem outdated in terms of special effects etc, but you just need to google to check the reviews it had from audiences. A must see!!

evildead

6. Halloween – From the highly talented John Carpenter, this movie needs no introduction. A festival more widely celebrated in America, this movie surely made everyone doubt the face behind the halloween mask !

Halloween

7. The Shining – An adaptation of a Stephen King novel by the same name, this Stanley Kuberick classic succeeds in givng you the chills. Jack Nicholson [an immensely talented actor but stereotyped to the extent that he behaves as eccentric in the same manner off screen too] does a top notch job of a writer turned psychopath but if you watch closely it is the hotel that is the real star of the movie. The hotel adds to the eerie feeling and works on your nerves equally. I still, remember watching this movie on a VHS when I was a 8th grader, and my dad being upset with me for hiring such a VHS for weekend viewing. But having a moviebuff mom always helped 🙂

The_Shining_001

 

 

The Dirty Picture – A Cinegoer’s review

Times are changing, and how!! Makes me only wonder, what if the audience tastes had changed earlier..we could have had some such real gems from the Indian Cinema Industry.

Caught up with this movie in Calcutta, dreading another spoof on the 70s/80s cinematic period. But was I in for a surprise!!.

The Dirty Picture

Vidya Balan has proved with this movie that she is way ahead her contemporaries, if given the right role and right screenplay [Script is important but it is the ultimate screenplay that can turn a mundane script too into a roaring success.This movie has proved that.]

Throughout the movie, I was trying to recall a hollywood movie that had a lasting impact on me and had a similar storyline. This was in the 80s. I could recall the actress’s name – Jessica Lange and had to later google for the movie name [that’s a first for me!]. It was “Frances”, based on the true and tragic story of Frances Farmer, similar to “The Dirty Picture” – based on the true story of Silk Smitha, the sultry siren of the 80s. If the earlier one was blacklisted by Hollywood, than the later was dumped by the very industry that made her a star.

The rags to riches story of Silk Smitha, cannot be captured in totality by the Director in a two hour format, where he needs to serve the interests of self, Producer, artists and the audience, strictly in that order -that’s how our industry works and he fairly succeeds in managing to keep all happy. Balaji Telefilms laughs all the way to the bank, all categories of audience get their dose whether it’s titillation, shock value and a first near-perfect biopic, the impact of which is simply due to the mind blowing effort put in by Vidya Balan.

The background score, songs and lyrics do justice to the 80s, Bappida back with a bang in Ooh La La. The sets, costumes too are well researched. Even the cameos by supporting artists are well sketched – SelvaGanesh, Nahila the journo [She reminded me of Devyani Chaubal, the late bitchy film journo.]

Naseer, does a able job but seems to restrict himself in order to let the main character of Silk shine. While Tushar Kapoor is simply in awe of the superior actors around him and falls flat as the writer brother of Naseer.

Emraan gets a good role, but his character’s disgust right from the start for Silk is not properly developed and so is his sudden liking towards her during the later half of the film. He, as usual, get the best song of the film, “Mera ISHQ sufiana”.

But eventually what strikes the viewer, is the fact that this Debauched and difficult life was actually lived by someone!!.

Though Silk Smitha acted more in South Indian Movies, Hindi cinegoers will remember her has Kamalahasan’s wife in Sadma, where she proved that she could act against veterans. Feel sad, that the end had to be so tragic, but as the dialogue says in the Movie “Silk toh upar bhi Aafat Macha Rahi Hogi
“.
And as another dialogue says “Zindagi ek baar mili hai to do baar sochna kyu?”…so go and watch the movie…

– By Gaurang [gkb2000_in@yahoo.com]