Sunday, September 18, 2016

Self/less [2015]

Directed By :  Written By :  (screenplay), (screenplay)Stars :

Selfless tries to answer the question of living eternally through your mind. Keeping a mind alive while the body changes. Its interesting but is cliched and brought down by the urge to bring the story to a conclusion.

Damian Hale [Ben Kingsley] is a billionaire who is suffering from terminal cancer decides to keep himself alive through a transfer of consciousness into a dead body of Mark Bitwell [Ryan Reynolds] without knowing what will happen next. He believes he has lot to accoimplish and by keeping his mind alive he will be able to contribute and live on.

Mark assumes a new identity and starts living the new life with all the money inherited without any remembrance of anything of Mark Bitwell. New Damian has to take a medicine which keeps the consciousness of Mark suppressed. The  Idea is if he is able to subdue the memory of mark for a year or two he will be able to form Damian's memory completely.

But as the movie was made for a purpose to show case that whatever you do , how far you go but you wont be able to change that consciousness or overpower free will. Damian starts to feel and remember in flashes about mark. And what happens when the crisis for identity happens between Mark and Damian. The mind fights between the two and so does the soul. The fight between Good and Bad or you can say the fight for the right inside oneself.

The movie borrows its premise form its predecessors. A lot of movies have explored this story line previously. Director Tarsem singh doesn't even tries to explore the other side of the story. He follows the cliches and the ones I know he will, while still secretly expecting he will surprise me, which he doesn't. I believe the story can have different treatment and with slight changes a folktale can be presented as new but Self-less doesn't. 

Ryan Reynolds is decent, as he has been all his career expect the recent deadpool. He is funny no question about it but Ryan I feel has single dimension of acting which he uses effectively. There was nothing as such that interested me about the movie. I tried to stay connected and intrigued but by the end of first hour I knew the end and the next hour that was to follow. But have sat through much worse movies, I would suggest its decent not too bad so we can watch it.

I actually didn't had any opinion of self-less before I started this movie and after watching it hasn't changed. 

Ratings : 5/10 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Directed By : 
Written By : 
Stars : 

Transformation , how much can you transform? Is there a limit to how much a person can change himself physically or emotionally to fit into something ? "Machinist" may answer a few question of this limit.  Besides the performance, story and other aspects, "Machinist" is a must watch because of near ridiculous transformation of Bruce Wayne to Trevor Redznik.

Trevor Redznik [Christian Bale] , is a machinist . Going through his monotonous life , with a just few glimmers of hope and couple of light spots. Two woman are anchor to his wandering sail, he is down out and lost. His life is going though a storm , the sky is closing on him and he not even trying to paddle his way out.

Its another riveting performance from Christian Bale, the astounding transformation of Christian Bale is just one of the eye-catching aspect of this brilliant movie. The story is very well bound and holds your attention  till the very end. With background score equally contributing to the dark and sombre theme of the movie adds that finish to every scene. The performances are brilliant from every actor.
Christian bale takes the concept of method acting to another level in his performance.

Its a must watch for every Christian Bale admirer. Its well crafted , tightly scripted and very well directed.

Rating  : 8.5

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Warrior (2011)

Stars :     Directed By:    Written By:  (screenplay,story), (screenplay), Cliff Dorfman (screenplay,story)

I don't know what is that which makes a person a warrior or that which turns a warrior into human, but one thing for sure in either case is each transformation is fuelled  by an emotion. Warrior is a story of a family broken and brought together by emotion, passion and the will to fight back. A supreme movie with excellent story, direction and brilliant performances.

The tale of two brothers fighting for the survival of family, a family they never had as kids. Tommy Riordon (Tom Hardy),a former Marine returns to his home town and meets up his Dad Paddy Conlon(Nick Nolte)after long years. Tommy and his mom left Paddy few years back and since then Tommy had not met Paddy.At that time Tommy a young school wrestler not only leave Paddy but also had to part ways with his elder brother Brendon Conlon(Joel Edgerton). Brendon a high school Physics teacher now and a former UFC fighter choose to stay back with Tess(Jennifer Morrison)his girlfriend then and now his wife. The brothers never met after they went along their separate ways.

The biggest tournament in the history of MMA is announced, which draws the biggest names in the field. Tommy a former Marine ,needs the prize money to take care of his friends family and decides to team up with his ex-coach Paddy for training. Brendon is not able to keep up the payments on his loan for the house and is suspended from his job for being part of paid fights. He grabs a chance to take part in the event after one of the entrants gets injured. The movie is about these two warriors who fight for love, family, each other and someone they love.

Tommy Riordon is the star of show, I am happy when he is fighting in the ring , if not I am waiting for him to enter the ring.  Tommy is angry but he needs to hold all of it inside, he doesn't speaks much but you can feel all the emotions in his eyes. He is a frustrated solider,angry son, furious brother, a caring friend and a vicious fighter. A man with a rainbow of emotions which make him vulnerable yet he has to stay strong, he hates his family but is craving for their love. Tom Hardy lives all the inner struggles of Tommy Riordon and steals most of the scenes with his brilliant performance. Joel Edgerton does excellent work as a desperate father, caring husband and emotional brother.  Scenes between Brandon and Tommy are a delight to watch as they flip flop between a range of emotions. Nick Nolte  playing a recovering alcoholic father to the two warriors Brandon and Tommy, delivers a superb performance. Paddy is a weak father but a stern coach and his struggle to keep in one role at a time is what brings out the emotional outflow from with in and Nick Nolte nails it every time.

The fight sequences are really well shot, keeping every detail in mind. The whole set-up is fantastic and the tight direction by Gavin O'Connor takes it up a notch higher. There is always a chance to flood the movie with emotions when the intensity is so high but Gavin keeps it real without loosing his grip on the story. 

I loved this movie, its intense, action packed and complete with power packed performances from the leads. Its a sure watch .

Rating : 9/10

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meet Daniel Day Lewis on Movies 101

He is twice Best Actor Academy Award winner with most likely 3rd win this year out of 5 nomination, one of the best actors to ever grace the silver screen, the very reclusive, private and brilliant actor "Daniel Day Lewis" very rarely gives interviews with exceptions of promoting a movie but here we meet this outstanding actor in one of very rare interviews talking about his art and his journey on show "Movies 101". It was an amazing experience listening to Daniel Day talk with utmost honesty and respect for his craft and the people who made a difference to his career. The emotion and passion he attaches to his craft is very rare, even though every actor feels that way but the way he spoke about it was just so inspiring.

Here are the video link to this 5 part interview on YouTube

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  5. Part 5

A must watch because whatever you do its always inspiring to watch and listen to a man who is at the peak of his profession but has his feet firmly grounded.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Written By:Derek Connolly

A lot indie films have been so brilliant and yet been over looked all these years. Safety Not Guaranteed belongs to that group of wonderful movies with no big names backing them and so are just over looked when it comes to recognition. A superb romantic comedy about tracking a time travel ad in newspaper. A fine film that is driven by its story and fuelled by some fine performance, brilliant direction and awesome screenplay.The movie is inspired by a 1997 Backwoods Home Magazine classified ad – written as a joke filler by Backwoods employee John Silveira.

The story of the film is what makes it stand-out and is further supported by a brilliant screenplay. The movie moves forward very gently , nicely building up on its characters and their individual story. It starts as a fun work holiday and then shifts gear as it reaches the half way mark where it takes a romantic and yet thrilling turn. The movie catches on you in the first few minutes because of its concept and then just never lets you go as it unfolds. 

The performances of the cast are subtle right to their mark and as they interact, they just start pulling you further in the story. The cast is very much helped by intelligent dialogues and a very nicely done back ground score. The performances from Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza were outstanding   Aubery plays the character of this    completely non-social , very much packed to her self girl and watching how she  opens up to this unknown  bizarre stranger, as she starts to find small joys just being with him is very refreshing and a delight to watch.  Mark plays this guy who puts in an advertisement for a partner for time travel, his character is like an emotional rainbow.He is delusional,  paranoid, a genius, a believer and  yet so emotionally vulnerable. It takes time for him to trust and open up to Aubrey's character but when he does there is such an amazing side to him that just  makes you feel for the guy and root for his win.  Jake Johnson as Jeff, the writer and  Karan Soni as Arnau the intern both  having their own story and as they move on, their feelings take over  and help them meet themselves The work of the support team is good and the best part of the movies is the emotional connect that develops between the characters.

Its delightful watch with its moments of fun and romance all the while keeping one intrigued about how the story will unfold next.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lincoln (2012)

Stars : Daniel Day-LewisSally FieldTommy Lee Jones and David Strathairn.
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Tony Kushner (screenplay)Doris Kearns Goodwin(book) (in part)

The way a man is portrayed in history defines how he is remembered. Some men are beyond the books that are written about them and these men are not defined by their time but these men define their time.  Abraham Lincoln the 16th president of USA was one such man. Even today almost 150 years after his death his name draws respect and great admiration from billions. Lincoln is a tribute to this great man, who with his grit and determination defined and helped shape a state which stands tall today and is  lead by a man whose first step to the top was laid by Abraham Lincoln.

The movie is set in the year 1865 and travels through the last few months of Abraham Lincoln's first presidential tenure and initial few months of his second term as the United States president. The American civil war is in its fourth year and a Union victory looks inevitable. President Lincoln decides to again  put forth the 13th Amendment  in the US constitution before the house of representatives even though it was defeated 10 months back in the same house. Lincoln is about the journey of his struggle to abolish slavery by law and to bring peace to a nation which has lost hundred thousand men in a civil war for the same reason.

The movie Lincoln is like a perfect snap, which has the perfect light, great angle and a gorgeous view. The movie stands out for a lot of reasons but the 3 main reasons I feel that clicked for the movie were,

1. Daniel Day Lewis
2. Steven Spielberg.
3.The central character: Abraham Lincoln

The story is already a legend and is really compelling that you are already drawn in, then its a Steven Spielberg movie and to top it all Daniel Day Lewis is playing Abraham Lincoln, what more can one ask.
Steven Spielberg has given some amazing science-fiction films but I feel he has been at his best  in war films except "War Horse". He shows his master class in scenes which revolve around Abraham Lincoln, the subtlety with which he draws his central character to fore-front in each of these scenes and then just shows him walk away   allowing the thoughts to sink in is brilliant.

What can one say about Daniel Day Lewis, he is just perfect. He is brilliant as Abraham Lincoln,  he epitomises perfection. The way he walks, the way he talks, his tone, his body mannerism and those close-ups , WOW !!. He looks like Abraham Lincoln, that's just the appearance but the way he captures the soul of the character is what amazes me. Though there may not be a lot of video records of Abraham Lincoln but one can feel the power of a president  and  the anguish of a father, a husband and a common man who loves his nation in the eyes of Daniel Day Lewis.

Its hard to look beyond Daniel Day Lewis when he is on screen but this movie is helped by an ensemble of brilliant actors. Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field , David Strathairn , James Spader , who have acted their hearts out. Sally Field as Mrs Lincoln helps us to see the father and a husband in a president. She is brilliant in every scene, as a mother who is still not able to cope with the loss of her child and as the strong first lady who is hiding her pain behind a smile while talking politics in a social gathering.

Lincoln is a beautiful movie about a great man which has been made memorable by a great team of extremely talented people. Please do watch .

Rating : 9 /10

P.S : These are the few links i found out while reading about Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln | The White House
Abraham Lincoln — Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts
American President: Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Stars :  Logan LermanEmma Watson and Ezra Miller
Directed By: Stephen Chbosky
Written By: Stephen Chbosky (Novel and Screenplay)

They say "We choose our friends" but sometimes we may not realize it though but our friends find us or we are lead to the place or moment where we find those just like us  and become friends with. Our movie "The Perks of being a Wallflower" (TPOW) is kind of a similar story where a bunch of misfits find each other and fix each other unknowingly.

Based on the novel of the same written by Stephen Chbosky , TPOW is a brilliant movie which takes us to our moments where we found ourselves, discovered our real friends and found our moments of happiness.

Charlie (Logan Lerman) freshman at high school is scared ,fully  aware of the daunting years ahead of him is  alone, boxed up and like many freshmen tries to keep low during first days at school. He meets Patrick(Ezra Miller) a senior in his workshop class  befriends him and Sam(Emma Watson) , Patrick's step sister. Patrick is gay and Sam had a reputation , the three find comfort in each other. Patrick and Sam help Charlie open-up to his feelings, share his pain and make him feel wanted. Charlie provides that shoulder to Patrick and Sam which both of them were searching for to cry on and held on to gain strength. The story of  joy , love, pain and hardships in their friendship is "The Perks of Being a Wallflower".

The first thing that catches the eye is the smooth transition of the movie from one scene to next, I guess its one of  the perks of being the author and screenplay writer for Stephen . The characters created are very much from everyday school , none very much like the hyped high school movie s. The direction by Stephen is brilliant, the moments are very well held by the actors and what keeps them fresh is the build up to them. Like the moments when Patrick drives with Charlie to the park after he is beaten up or Sam's confession to Charlie , all of them are like pictures frames, complete and near perfect.

Performances are WOW , Logan Lerman as Charlie is perfect, soft, subtle and one can see the transition of him growing into comfort around Sam, Patrick and himself. He communicates a lot though his eyes, I suppose acting like a perfect wallflower. The stand out performer is Ezra Miller, for a moment he is that ball of energy and then transforms into a closed chamber waiting to just burst open. Ezra plays Patrick effortlessly , transforming from an indifferent senior to the protective big brother and into vulnerable heartbroken man , never loosing Patrick. Emma Watson as Sam is great , fits very nicely into the character, actually better than I expected but yet somehow I feel at some places she tries too hard. Over all performances of the lead are seriously good, while the support from the other actors is high appreciable.

The best things about this movie were the story, the whole feel of the movie and the performances. Its not complicated with so many complicated characters, its pleasing to the eyes and heart. Its emotional, its funny and its about friendship , almost all the things that make a good movie.

Rating : 9/10

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Stars : Ryan GoslingEmily Mortimer and Paul Schneider
Directed By: Craig Gillespie
Written By: Nancy Oliver

When you look at a pile of rocks and among that pile you find a real gem, the amount of happiness and pleasure that moment gives you is mostly hard to explain. I was surfing through and I came upon  "Lars and the Real Girl" , the joy and happiness I felt after watching this movie was like finding a gem in a heap of rotten rocks. A beautiful story of a shy and emotionally closed boy who falls in love with a doll which helps him get back in the society is both intriguing and poignant at times.

Lars (Ryan Gosling) lives in the garage of his house, while his brother Guss (Paul Schneider )and his wife Karen( Emily Mortimer) live in the house and Lars lives in garage by choice. The caring sister-in-law Karen and brother Guss  are always worried about Lars and try to get him to move back in the house but in vein. One day Lars shows up at the house in evening asking Guss and Karen , if his friend could stay with them. To the surprise of Guss and Karen, the friend is doll, Lars got from the internet and he calls her Bianca. Initially they are taken aback and are clueless about what to do, but with the help of a doctor and the whole town they start treating Bianca as a real girl. Slowly Lars starts to move out of his shell and socialize.

The story is different, new and in a few ways bizzare but the treatment of the story and the performances by everyone involved from the writer , director ,actors to may be even the production team makes it  very interesting , emotional and delightful movie. I would say most of the credit goes to writer Nancy Oliver for coming up with such an amazing story, which is not obvious, fictional but yet so real. I mean a lot of us are tied up somehow in our emotional webs and try different things to get out of them and this is where this story connects somewhere may be just our objects and means to re-connect are different.

Ryan Gosling, what an amazing actor and what courage in his choice of movie s  He has been here for long period but in last 5 years the kind of work he has done is just fabulous. He is all Lars in the movie, the mannerism , the walk , the hush tone, the make up , he is a super performer. He makes the character so believable that its hard to distinguish between him and the character. He is happy being with Bianca  he is angry with her, is sad when she falls sick , he brings the doll alive on the screen. At some point it gets all believable and it feels yes Lars has a real girlfriend. The supporting cast of Paul Schneider as Guss, Emily Mortimer as Karen , Patricia Clarkson as Dr. Dagmar and all the others lend so much weight to their characters , that it feels like a perfect cast. All have done a commendable job specially Paul Schneider as Guss, when he breaks down, feeling responsible for the condition of his brother and in almost all the scenes with Lars and the doll. The other performance that I liked very much is of Kelli Garner as Margo, Lars colleague who loves him but accepts Bianca the doll as Lars girlfriend. Its a movie where tiny roles , played with utmost conviction just light up the whole screen.

Full marks to director Craig Gillespie for creating such a beautiful piece of art. Its emotional, its bizzare and yet so believable. Craig brings the best out of his actors, creates every scene with a lot of sensitivity and never goes for the over emotional cliché's . The background score by David Torn and the cinematography by Adam Kimmel  both are beautiful  and add a lot to each scene. The changing seasons, the hard winter during the time Lars is with Bianca and the coming of spring as Lars starts realising the real life is beautifully depicted.

 Its always easy to not care but when you do , you can change someone's life. Its amazing what small things and gestures of kindness can do , like in this movie what the town did brought Lars back to them .All I can say is 'Lars and the Real Girl  is absolutely a treat to the senses and is a must watch for everyone looking forward to a great movie. And I don't know why I don't rate it 10/10.

Rating : 9/10

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs ( February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

Steven Paul Jobs( February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) the behind the most succesfull animation studios of the world PIXAR passed away last night after a prolong illness. Steve Jobs bought PIXAR in 1986. The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion; the transaction made Jobs the largest shareholder in Disney.The studio has earned 26 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, and three Grammy Awards, among many other awards and acknowledgments. Its films have made over $6.3 billion worldwide

Pixar has produced twelve feature films, beginning with Toy Story in 1995. It was followed by A Bug's Life in 1998, Toy Story 2 in 1999, Monsters, Inc. in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003, The Incredibles in 2004, Cars in 2006, Ratatouille in 2007, WALL-E in 2008, Up in 2009, Toy Story 3 (to date, the highest-grossing animated film of all-time, grossing over $1 billion worldwide) in 2010, and Cars 2 in 2011. Eleven of the films have received critical and financial success, with the notable exception being Cars 2, which received substantially less praise than Pixar's previous films.[2] The $602 million average gross of their films is by far the highest of any studio in the industry.[3]

Sunday, July 24, 2011

City Island (2009)

Stars : Andy GarciaJulianna Margulies,
 Steven Strait, Emily Mortimer ,
 Dominik García-Lorido
Directed By: Raymond De Felitta
Written By: Raymond De Felitta

A light hearted  movie is a term that most often people use with comedies, and I am not sure City Island should go in this genre. Its a subtle complex family drama that amuses and brings innocence of families trying to make it right. Its best like a week in the life of disjointed loving family, that is raveled and excited about the presence of a new person in the family.

Vince Rizzo ( Andy Garcia ) is correctional officer, born n brought up on the city island, a small island off New York. City Island where people born are inculcated a feel of contentment and belonging about the island. Vince lives with his wife Joyce ( Juliana Margulies), daughter Vivian ( Dominik Garcia) and a son. The dis- jointed , struggling family , where each member has a secret. Each of them tries to hide it from others, pretending all is fine. Enters a prisoner Tony who is the son of Vince, a son Vince walked out on before even he was born. Vince brings Tony home , and things become more complicated as the secret of each member finds a confidant in Tony. Equipped and frustrated on being the one with all the family secrets , finally he helps the family to confront the truth of their lives and let out their secrets to each other.

The story is simple and feels like a story taken out of dear diary pages. Its smart, its sensitive and its realistic. A family where the parents are going through their mid life crisis, a daughter struggling to find an identity and trying to stand on her own, a son who is practically trying to be a rebellion. The screenplay is a very fine example of how to combine small incidents to create a fine screen story. Its sharp, short and provides ample space for the audience to relate and fill in their stories with the movie. The characters are not all very well defined which provides the realistic feel and the vulnerability to them. Raymond has written and directed the movie which I think helped in making the movie so good. He actually knew how to treat each relation and each scene, he never goes overboard with drama or  extends a scene to evoke a smile. 

Andy Garcia as Vince Rizzo is good, he is supposed to wear several hats at the same time and he does pretty well at it. As a father and husband he is convincing and his innocence in scenes where he talks about being an actor and auditions with Molly, he is pretty good and real. The relationship between Vince and Molly(Emily Mortimer) is very neatly established and treated with innocence. The performance by Emily as Molly is a standout for me apart from Andy Garcia's performance. In a scene where Vince tells Molly about his audition, the emotions that flow on her face as she tries to conceal them is one of the best for me in the movie. The supporting artists have all contributed to making this movie a enjoyable one. Each one contributes a different set of emotions, which helps in making the movie more engaging.

Its a small family drama, that evokes smiles and provides a connection may be to a lot of people through small incidents and scenes. Its subtle comedy with fine blended emotions. A good watch.

Plus : Story, Screenplay and subtle performances.

Rating : 8.5 /10