Monday, April 30, 2012

Tyrannosaur (2011)

Director: Paddy Considine
Writer:    Paddy Considine
Cast:      Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan
Joseph, a man plunged by violence and a rage that is driving him to self-destruction, earns a chance of redemption that appears in the form of Hannah, a christian charity shop worker.

Film is set in North of England and was shot mainly in Leeds. Its a very bleak picture and the most pleasant scene in the film is a funeral sequence. Great performances from all concerned and a great directorial debut for Considine.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Shame (2011)

Director: Steve McQueen
Writers:  Abi Morgan, Steve McQueen
Cast:      Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale
In New York city, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life-which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction-is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.

The film is very original with many of the story told expertly by the stares and expressions rather than dialog. There are several excellent long takes and the cinematography and editing are standout. Its a subtle character study but may not be to everyone's taste.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, April 27, 2012

Haywire (2011)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer:    Lem Dobbs
Cast:      Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas
A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.

Nice cinematography and good fights that are done realistically. Plot very weak and cliched and there is not enough going on to keep you interested.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wild at Heart (1990)

Director: David Lynch
Writers:  Barry Gilford, David Lynch
Cast:      Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe
Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mum has hired to kill Sailor.

Its essentially a comedy film. There isn't much complexity to the plot like is usual in a Lynch film. Very enjoyable watch.

Rating: 4/5

The Insider (1999)

Director: Michael Mann
Writers:  Marie Brenner (article), Eric Roth, Michael Mann
Cast:      Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer
A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a '60 Minutes' expose on Big Tobacco.

Exceptional performances, great camera work and soundtrack and all in all Michael Mann's best film. He manages to make a thriller out of what would have been a normal documentary material. Shame that the film didn't do well. Crowe should have got his oscar for this film.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Director: David Lynch
Writer:    David Lynch
Cast:      Naomi Watts, Laura Herring, Justin Theroux
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland drive renders a woman amnesic, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angelesin a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

If you consider Lynch's 'Lost Highway', 'Inland Empire' and "Mulholland Drive', the latter is the most accessible and there is a coherent plot that the audience can interpret. In that sense this is the most satisfying experience you would get from Lynch if you are particularly keen on to have a coherent plot. The first part of the film was filmed as a pilot for ABC which they rejected. After getting further funding to turn it into a film, Lynch proceeded to shoot the remaining part. Film draws inspiration from Bergman's film 'Persona'.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, April 23, 2012

Carancho (2010)

Director:   Pablo Trapero
Writers:    Pablo Trapero, Alejandro Fadel, Martin Mauregui
Language: Spanish
In Argentina over 8,000 people die in traffic accidents every year. Behind each of these tragedies is a flourishing industry founded on insurance payouts and legal loopholes. In the backdrop this Argentine film tells the story of the relationship that develops between an ambulance chasing vulture (Ricardo Darin) and a drug addicted doctor (Martina Gusman).

Films manages to capture the environment in a brutal and realistic manner. The film is essentially a cliched in the sense that it has the typical love smitten corrupt character doing his last job before coming clean but things go awry. Still its a good film that manages to capture the corrupt system in celluloid.

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mean Streets (1973)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers:  Martin Scorsese, Mardik Martin
Cast:      Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, David Proval
A small-time hood struggles to succeed on the 'Mean Streets' of Little Italy.

This is Martin's first collaboration with De Niro and has a very raw feel to it which is very suitable. Up there with Scorsese's best.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser) (1974)

Director:   Werner Herzog
Writer:      Werner Herzog
Language: German
Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kasper Hauser, a young man who suddenly appears in Nurenberg in 1828.

The film deals with Kasper's educational progress and his introduction into polite society. Its a good film but I didn't find it as Philosophically profound as its reputation would suggest.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, April 16, 2012

The English Patient (1996)

Director: Anthony Minghella
Writers:  Michael Ondaatje, Anthony Minghella
Cast:      Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas
At the close of World War 2, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Its a good film and worth a watch. Great performances from Fiennes, Dafoe and Kristin Scott Thomas. Surprised to see Naveen Andrews in the film as well.

Rating: 3.5/5

Veep (2012)

Creators: Armando Ianucci, Simon Blackwell
Cast:       Julia Louis-Drefyus, Reid Scott, Ken Bulcroft, Justin Doescher
Centers on Senator Selina Meyerwho finds being Vice President of the United States is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned about.

Show premieres on April 22nd and is an HBO show.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Looper (2012)

Director: Rian Johnson
Writer:    Rian Johnson
Cast:       Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt
A killer who works for the mob of the future recognizes one of his targets as his future self.

It is a well made sci-fi action thriller with good characters and a credible plot. The time travel stuff is not hard to understand as they are explained well without feeling cheesy. If you think about it there are some convoluted plot ideas (why the looper has to close his own loop and not by some other looper) but those won't get in your way while watching.

Rian Johnson had earlier directed the excellent 'Brick'.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Into the Abyss (2011)

Director: Werner Herzog
Writer:    Werner Herzog
Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people and the state-kill.

Werner Herzog is against capital punishment and he argues his case without portraying the death row inmate as a victim or giving any blatant  justification for his actions. Reminded me of the film 'A short film about killing', whose only drawback is that its murder victim is shown as unsavory.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, April 9, 2012

God Bless America (2011)

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Writer:    Bobcat Goldthwait
Cast:      Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr
On a mission to rid society of its most repellent citizens, terminally ill Frank makes an unlikely accomplice in 16-year-old Roxy.

The problem with the film is that everything it tries to convey is done in first five minutes itself and there is nothing interesting in the film after that. Whoever they are killing are the symptoms and not the cause.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

9 Songs (2004)

Director: Micahel Winterbottom
Writer:    Michael WInterbottom
Cast:      Kieran O'Brien, Margo Stilley
In London, England, love blooms between an American college student, named Lisa, and a British glaciologist , named Matt, where over the next few months in between attending rock concerts, two lovers have intense sexual encounters.

The title of the film refers to the 9 songs that are shown in the film.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, April 6, 2012

Nihon kuroshakai (Ley Lines) (1999)

Director:   Takashi Miike
Writer:      Ichiro Ryu
Language: Japanese
A group of Chinese youth living in Japan struggle to make their way in life and eventually find trouble with the local crime syndicate.

This is the final film in Dark Society trilogy and the weakest of the lot. Didn'y like it all and couldn't finish it.

Rating: 1.5/5

Gokudô kuroshakai (Rainy Dog) (1997)

Director:   Takashi Miike
Writer:      Siego Inoue
Language: Japanese
A Japanese assassin stranded in in Taiwan must take work from a local crime boss to make ends meet when  suddenly a woman from his past delivers a son to him.

Its the second film in the 'Dark Society' trilogy though you don't need to watch it any order. Its more of a Takeshi Kitano film than a typical Miike film. Reminded me of 'Kikujiro' with added violence but noway close to the amount usually in a Miike film. Good watch it is.

Rating: 3.5/5

Shinjuku kuroshakai: Chaina mafia sensô (Shinjuku Triad Society) (1995)

Director:   Takashi Miike
Writer:      Ichiro Fujita
Language: Japanese
Amidst a Chinese and Japanese mafia war, a lawyer for the Chinese mob finds a rift forming between him and his corrupt police office brother.

Its the oldest Miike film to get a DVD release in US. Its also the first part of a trilogy known as 'Black Society Trilogy'. Its a good genre film in Miike style.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Freakonomics (2010)

Its a documentary based on the non fiction book titled with the same name. Overall its uneven with over the top portrayal.


The Trip (2010)

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars:     Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
Steve Coogan has been asked by the Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.

Its really great.

Rating: 4.5/5

Lantana (2001)

Director: Ray Lawrence
Writers:  Andrew Bovell
Cast:      Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey
The intertwined lives of four couples living in and around Sydney, Australia, form the structure for this drama masquerading as a whodunit.

Its adapted from Andrew Bovell's play 'Speaking in Tongues'. Its a very mature character study with no dumbing down. Excellent performances from all concerned.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sicko (2007)

Director: Michael Moore
Writer:    Michael Moore
A documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to the other nations, and HMO horror stories.

Its tragic as well as comic. As with other Moore documentaries, its an extremely one sided point of view but nevertheless he argues his points very well.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jûsan-nin no shikaku (13 Assassins) (2010)

Director:   Takashi Miike
Writers:    Kaneo Ikegami, Daisuke Tengan
Language: Japanese
A group of assassins come together fro a suicide mission to kill an evil overlord.

The first of the hour shows why and how the assassins are assembled and the second hour shows the epic battle which is almost an hour long. Its violence done beautifully and not in a gory way like in other Miike films. Good performances and characterization considering its a genre film.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Dangerous Method (2011)

Director: David Cronenberg
Writer:   Christopher Hampton
Cast:      Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
A look at how intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

Its a good film and fascinating for those who are interested in psychoanalysis.

Rating: 3.5/5