Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Movies

This seems to be a year of great releases:
- V for Vendetta*
- MI-III*
- United -93*
- The Da Vinci Code*
- Pirates of the Caribbean – II
- X-Men - III
- Casino Royale
- The Departed

First four movies I’ve already seen.
Last four movies are yet to be released!
I should add "Miami Vice" to this list ...

[1] United – 93 ... EXCELLENT movie!
It’s difficult to say a disaster movie as awesome. This one falls into that category. However what I particularly liked about the movie was that rather than evoking pity; the movie created a feeling of *heroism* … I was admiring the passengers for their bravery in face of extremely hostile circumstances.
Director: Paul Greengrass

* btw I dont like disaster movies, I didnt even like the super-duper hit "Titanic" and have no intensions of seeing "Poseidon". But "United -93" is more like a war movie! And when you know that every character was REAL, the element of authenticity adds to the raw emotions in the movie-watching experience!

[2] MI-III - Loved it!
Good action flick! Tom Cruise proved yet-again that he is a top-notch actor, despite his silly off-screen escapades …
Director: J.J.Abrams
Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymore Hoffman, Lawrence Fishbourne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

*** I was just checking out the list of Tom Cruise movies ...
They are all excellent: The Last Samurai, Minority Report, Jerrry Maguire, The Firm, Few Good men, Rainmaker, Top Gun, Risky Business, Eyes Wide Shut ...
Wonder why such a phenomenal actor is acting so crazy these days.
And though I've liked all his movies, I've never been one of his fans. I like Brad Pitt much much more!!!

[3] V – for Vendetta – Another excellent movie!
I totally loved it, thought it didn’t do well at box-office, which is understandable, because it is slightly complicated plot! But it’s a BOLD movie – bringing in politics and religion in the theme!
Director: James McTeigue
Writing Credits: Andy & Larry Wachowski
Cast: Natlie Portman, Hugo Weaving

[4] The Da Vinci Code - couldn’t hold up to my expectations. …
It’s one of the movies I would have seen despite bad reviews. And I did see it yesterday. It’s a let down!
Director: Ron Howard
Writing credits: Dan Brown
Cast: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno

[5] Thank you for smoking - Nothing great about it!
Cast: Aaron Eckhart

Friday, April 21, 2006

Select New Movies

Few New Movies ...
• V for Vendetta
• Take the Lead
• Inside Man
Not so new - Movies released last year ...
• A History of Violence
• 40 Year old Virgin

# V for Vendetta
Simply mind-blowing!!!
One of the best movies I’ve ever seen …
A landmark movie in cinema history … dealing with conrtemporary issues …
Directed by Wachowski brothers [ Andy & Larry] …
After the Matrix trilogy they did it again this time!!!
Cast includes:
Hugo Weaving – [as] V
Natlie Portman – [as] Evey
Highly recommended – DON’T MISS

# Take the Lead
Good movie … based on the true story of a dance teacher in New York.
Antonio Banderas shines as Pierre [the dance teacher] …
Director: Liz Friedlander

# Inside Man:
Good Movie – though not all that great …
Director: Spike Lee
Cast: Denzel Washington, Clive Owens, Jodie Foster …
The highlight of the movie was Clive Owens who performed really well!
But I’ll remember this movie most for the song sequence from Dil Se ..
“Chal Chhaya Chaiyya …”

Few Not soooo new movies … From last year’s stable …

# A History of Violence
Great Movie!!! A very absorbing thriller …
Director: David Cronenberg … [also directed “the Fly”]
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Maria Bello ...

# 40 Year Old Virgin
A comedy, Nothing great …
Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener …

Select Old Movies

• The Day of The Jackal
• Talented Mr Ripley
• Cider House Rules
• Days of being wild
• Following
• M

The Day of The Jackal
Brilliant Movie … plot to kill Charles De Gaulle – the President of France …
Main protagonist Edward Fox did excellent job …
Director: Fed Zinnemann

Talented Mr Ripley … & … Cider House Rules
I’ll tag these two together as they are both “Independent Movies” produced by Miramax.
Nothing extraordinary …

Days of being Wild
Directed by Kar Wai Wong – a slow and interesting movie …

Following
A very interesting crime – thriller … in Black-&-White …
Directed by Christopher Nolan … who also directed Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins ...
I didn’t recognize any of the casts ...

M
Totally loved it!!!
A very old [1931] German movie … in “Black & White” …
But a brilliant movie!!!
If anyone enjoyed “Citizen Kane”; then this is a highly recommended movie ...
A Classic!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Independent Films ... Sundance & Miramax

Out of nowhere comes this post on Independent Films [Indie films]

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
It is the largest *Independent* film festival in the U.S. .... held in January every year in Park City, Utah. It was initially started as the Utah/US Film Festival in 1978; an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah.
However the event became popular only after Robert Redford started the “Sundance Institute in 1981”. In 1991 the event was officially names “The Sundance Film Festival” after Redford’s film; “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.
The *Institute* [a non-profit organization] was set up to actively encourage aspiring filmmakers, and the *Film –Festival* become a forum to display the newly unearthed talent.

Some films: Sex, Lies And Videotape, The Blair Witch Project, El Mariachi, Memento, The Full Monty, Shine, In The Bedroom, American Splendor, Whale Rider, Napolean Dynamite ...

Many famous independent filmmakers had their big-break at Sundance:
Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, James Wan and Jim Jarmusch ...


MIRAMAX:
The Miramax Studios, was formed in 1979 by brothers and co-chairmen Harvey and Bob Weinstein [the name was derived from the combination of their parents' names: Miriam and Max] to produce and distributed independent and foreign. But now its entered even mainstream films.

Miramax made a name for itself in the late '80s and '90s by making "art" films and the small independent and foreign language movies that other studios refused to make, including "Working Girls"; Steven Soderbergh's "Sex lies and videotape" and Quentin Tarantino's heist picture "Reservoir Dogs". After Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994) - its biggest hit of the 90's - Miramax Studios gathered together some hip, young actors including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon.
*All of Tarantino's movies have been released by Miramax.

Some more films: Bullets Over Broadway, Sirens, Good Will Hunting , Life is Beautiful ,The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Cider House Rules, The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love ...

In 1993 Miramax was purchased for $70 million by the Walt Disney Company. Harvey and Bob Weinstein ran Miramax until they left the company on September 30th, 2005.


Acceptence Speech of George Clooney ...
[Best Supporting Actor: Syriana] at the Academy Awards, 2006 ...

And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talk about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy. Proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch. And I thank you so much for this.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Some Classics

Past few days, I’ve seen some excellent movies …

BLACK & WHITE
1. Dr Strangelove
2. One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest
3. The Raging Bull
4. Seven Samurai
5. Some Like It Hot
6. Citizen Kane
7. 12 Angry Men
8. To Kill A Mocking Bird

Technicolor:
9. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
10. The Clockwork Orange


[1] Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Black & White - 1964

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Peter Setllers, George C Scott, Sterling Hayden
Brilliant movie!!!!
One of the best satires I’ve ever seen …
Kubrick turned a nuclear holocaust into a black comedy

[2] One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Black & White – 1975

Director: Milos Forman
Cast: Jack Nicholson [as McMurphy] , Louise Fletcher [The nurse]…
also featuring very young looking Danny DeVito, with a curious name “Martini”

Jack Nicholson brilliantly plays Randall Patrick McMurphy, an ex-con, who fakes being mentally insane, to enter the institution and avoid time in jail. McMurphy got the lobtomy at the very end..The movie is hilarious, tragic, chilling, disturbing and very poignant.

Based on a novel by Ken Kesey “ Cuckoo’s Nest” which he wrote in 1962;
from his experiences working at a veterans hospital. The movie version of the of the novel swept the 1974 Academy Awards … [ best actor, best actress, best director, and best picture, Best [adapted] screenplay ]

Along with "It Happened one night" and "Silence of the Lambs" this movie received the main 5 Oscars: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay

[3] Raging Bull
Black & White - 1980

Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci
Based on life of Jake la Motta – true story

A biographical film about the middleweight champ, Jake LaMotta.
Jake La Motta was consultant for the film.

Robert de Niro, won the Best Actor Academy Award.
He actually learned to box for the film, and did all the boxing scenes himself without using a stunt double. He gained 60 pounds to play LaMotta, which was an all-time record at the time (later beaten by Vincent D'Onofrio, who gained 70 pounds for Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket").

Scorsese and De Niro's partnership over the years has resulted in some of the best movies of all time: "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "The King of Comedy," "Goodfellas", "Casino” & “The Raging Bull”.

[4] Seven Samurai
Black & White - 1954

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Excellent movie but too long ...

[5] The Clockwork Orange [1971]
Directed by Stanley Kubrick - A very disturbing movie ...
but extremely absorbing and thought provoking!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On the road again

I love road trips …
But they have never been as interesting as some of the movies I’ve seen ...

# 1. TRANSAMERICA [2005]
Just before *his* [!!!!!] sex-change operation Bree [Felicity Huffman] visits his son Toby [Kevin Zegers]. They take a return road-trip which changes their lives forever!!!
A beautiful movie … & … Felicity Huffman deserved the Oscars!!!
Director: Duncan Tucker

# 2. SIDEWAYS: [2004] Two friends set off on a road trip as the tagline says:
“In search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves.”
Two middle aged men Miles [Paul Giamati] and Jack [Thomas Hayden Church] set off on a wine-tasting tour through North California , just a week before Jacks wedding.Their characters and life unfold through a series of incidences that they encounter on the way! A sideways detour may or may not affect their later lives as they meet two interesting characters: Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen.
Director: Alexander Payne

# 3. HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE:
Two friends Harold [Korean guy] and Kumar [Indian] want to grab some munchies from “White Castle”. On their road-trip they encounter amusing characters: cop, rock-star, hitchhikers …. A very funny movie!!!!
Director: Danny Leiner [of “Arrested Development” fame ]

# 4. ROADTRIP:
Long distance relationship and goof-up with a sex-tape compels a grad-student to take a road-trip with his three friends. A hilarious movie. Tom Green with a small role steals the show. Somehow this movie reminds of two equally funny movies: "American Pie" and "There’s something about Mary".
Director: Todd Phillips

# 5. ABOUT SCHMIDT:
Warren Schmidt [Jack Nicholson] a retired insurance salesman, whose wife died, takes a road-trip to stop his daughter’s wedding … A good movie. A very fallible character and his everyday life experiences …
Director: Alexander Payne

SOME OTHER:
- Thelma & Louise – saw long back and don’t remember much ...
- Road to Perdition

Not Seen Yet:
- The Motorcycle Diaries
- Elizabeth town
I’m sure there would be many more ...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Trilogies

Many movies have sequels ...
But here I’m talking of only those movies with have a *minimum* of two sequels ...

# Interestingly most of the “action” heroes have movie-trilogies to their credit ...
Tom Cruise [Mission Impossible]; Bruce Willis [Die Hard]; Arnold Schwarzenegger [The Terminator]; Keanu Reeves [The Matrix]; Mel Gibson [Lethal Weapon]; and Harrison Ford [Indiana Jones] ....

# Some of the best directors have made sci-fi /fantasy trilogies …
George Lucas [Starwars]; Steven Spielberg [Jurrasic Park, Indiana Jones]; Robert Zemeckis [Back to Future]; Peter Jackson [LOTR]

* I haven’t seen all the movies listed here ...

1. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt [action-thriller]
Strangely enough the sequels have different directors… First is directed by Brain De Palme, second by John Woo & third, yet to be released by J.J Abrams …
Sequels: [i] Mission Impossible – 1996; [ii] – 2000, [iii] – 2006

2. THE MATRIX: Keanu Reeves as Neo [Sci-fi - Action - thriller]
A futuristic story: of struggle between “artificial intelligence” & humans
Director: Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
Sequels: [i] The Matrix: 1992, [ii] Reloaded- 2003; [iii] Revolution – 2003

3. THE TERMINATOR: Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator [ Sci-fi /action / thriller]
A human-looking, cyborg is sent from the future to the past
Director: James Cameron
Sequels: [I] The Terminator- 1984; [ii] Judgment day- 1991; [iii] Rise of the Machine- 2003

4. DIE HARD: Bruce Willis as John McClane [action-adventure-thriller]
New York cops and hostages
Sequels: [1] Die hard – 1988; [ii] Die harder -1990; [iii] Die hard with a vengeance – 1995

5. LETHAL WEAPON: Mel Gibson as Sergeant Martin with another LA cop Danny Glover as Sergeant Roger [ Action/ Comedy/ Crime thriller]
Director: Richard Donner
Sequels: Lethal Weapon- [I] 1987; [II] – 1989; [III] – 1992 & [IV] – 1998

6. BACK TO FUTURE: Michael J Fox as Marty and Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Brown
A sci-fi time travel movie – action-adventure-comedy
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Sequels: [1] Back to Future - 1985; [ii] - 1989; [iii] - 1990

7. INDIANA JONES: Harrison Ford as Indian Jones [action-adventure-thriller]
Director: Steven Spielberg
Sequels: [i] Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981; [ii] The Last Crusade – 1989; The Temple of Doom [1984

8. JURRASIC PARK: A Steven Spielberg mega project – sci-fi-action-adventure
“An Adventure 65 Million Years In The Making”
[i] Jurrasic Park – 1993; [ii] The Lost World – 1997; [iii] The Extinction – 2001

9. LORD OF THE RING: A Peter Jackson mega project.
Sequels: [i] The Fellowship of the Ring – 2001
[ii] The Two Towers – 2002
[iii] The Return of the King - 2003

10. STARWARS: A George Lucas mega project – with Harrison Ford [Han Solo]; Mark Hamill [ Luke Skywalker]; Hyden Christensen [Anakin Skywalker]; Ewan McGregor [Obi-Wan Kenobi]; Frank Oz [Yoda]; Natlie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee ….
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …. “
[i] Starwars: 1977
[ii] Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 1980
[iii] Episode VI – Return of Jedi -1983
[iv] Episode II – Attack of the Clones -2002
[v] Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – 2005

FEW MORE ...
1. Godfather trilogy – Gangster movie with one of Hollywood’s best directors Francis Ford Coppol and three scting powerhouses: Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro & Al Pacino…

2. Dollar Trilogy: Western-action … directed by Sergio Leone with Clint Eastwood.
Sequels:
[i] A Fistful of Dollars – 1964;
[ii] For a few dollars more - 1965
[iii]The Good, The Bad & the Ugly - 1966

COMEDIES:
Home Alone
American Pie
Carry On Series
Police Academy
Beverly Hills Cops

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oscars - 2006 ... My Choice

Best Motion Picture: Crash
Best Director: Ang Lee for "Brokeback Mountain"
Best Actor: Philip Seymore Hoffman for “Capote”
Best Actress: Felicity Hoffman for “Transamerica”
Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney for “Syriana”

Though I will be very happy if “Capote” wins the Best Film award,
and totally thrilled if “Good Night and Good Luck” wins it !!!

Few of my related posts ...
[1] Good Night & Good Luck ...
[2] Capote...
[3] Munich & Syriana ...
[4] Crash & Constant Gardener ...
[5] Transamerica, Mrs Henderson Presents & others...
Though I've seen "Brokeback Mountain"; but never wrote a review on it ...

For 2006- Oscar Nominee List; check out this IMDb site: Oscar Nomination - 2006...

  Posted by Picasa

ADDENDUM : [ March 6, 2006 ]
So I was almost correct ...
Except for ...
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon for “Walk The Line”

To add to the list ...
Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz for “The Constant Gardener”
Best Original Screenplay: Crash
Best Adapted Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain
Best Editing: Crash

  Posted by Picasa
Best Cinematography: Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Art Direction: Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Costume Design: Memoirs of a Geisha
Visual Effects: King Kong
Sound Editing: King Kong
Sound Mixing: King Kong
Documentary Feature: March of the Penguins
Original Song: "It's hard out here for a pimp" [Hustle & Flow]
Original Score: Brokeback Mountain

...... And George Clooney's was the most handsome face on the red carpet!!!

  Posted by Picasa

Too much color on the red carpet ... Kiera Knightly - wine; Sandra Bullock - navy-blue; Charlize Theron - forest-green [with a *giant* bow, that looked ridiculous]; Jennifer Lopez - light green; Jada Pinkett Smith - bright blue; Salma Hayek - slate blue ...
Some in Basic Black: Felicity Huffman; Jennifer Aniston, Rachel Weisz ....
Monochromes: Nichole Kidman, Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon ...

More: Academy Awards ...
IMDb site: Oscars ...

Some New

[1] TRANSAMERICA:
Director: Duncan Tucker
Cast: felicity Huffman , Kevin Zegers ...
I went to the movie, NOT expecting much; but was up for a surprise ... A Very Nice Movie!!! It turned out to be a beautiful experience. The movie makes an honest attempt to humanize the social life of transgender - who still face immense difficulties in being accepted in the mainstream culture. I applaud at the extremely sensitive handling of less talked about issue of sexuality! The protagonist [Felicity Huffman] is an ordinary person, with no heroism and got nothing to boast about; but faces scorn dealing with his (!!!!) gender – a man trapped in a woman’s body!
Felicity Huffman – Bravo!!! Deserves the Best Actress Oscars!!!
The acting of his son is also very commendable.

[2] Mrs HENDERSON PRESENTS:
Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Dame Judi dench, Bob Hoskins ...
Nice, delightful movie. Its loosely based on the life of Laura Henderson, a rich widow who brought a decrepit London theater “The Windmill” and revved it up as a round-the-clock vaudeville showing nude women. A theater that never closed even during the war [WW-II] periods; even when there was bombing in the city.

[3] THE MATADOR:
Director: Richard Shepard
Cast: Pierce Brosnan ...
It’s a comedy, crime-thriller and drama … with Pierce Brosnan in the lead role.
Brosnan sheds the Bond-guy image! Well he is still a hit-man; but no more appointed by “The majesty - the Queen” and his “license to kill” is gone and along with it goes his suave sophistication.
An okay kind of a movie – neither great, nor was boring, just alright!
However I feel that Pierce Brosnan has been in similar kind of roles … of a person who commits crimes just for the thrill …
- Thomas Crown Affair – he steals from his own art museum, just for fun
- After the Sunset – Again is a diamond thief; just for the kick
(Not touching upon the topic of his Bond-guy roles)

[4] WEATHERMAN:
Director: Gore Verbinski
Lead actors: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine ...
Nicolas Cage - as the Chicago weatherman! [Another Chicago based movie!!!]
Again an ordinary movie! Nothing to rave about.. The movie draws-upon the unpredictability of life from vacillating weather and the very-many factors that can sway either [weather / life] in unforeseeable directions.
Though I liked Nicolas Cage in another movie, “Lord of War” and last year’s hit; “National Treasure” and some of his earlier movies, Adaptation, Face-off, Gone in Sixty Seconds, City of Angles ... but this one didn’t impress me much!
Michael Caine makes the movie slightly pleasant ...