Friday, November 30, 2012

Life of Pi (2012)

Director: Ang lee
Writers:  David Magee, Yann Martel
Cast:      Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor...a fearsome Bengal tiger.

The film is an adaptation of Yann Martel's Booker Prize winning novel with the same name. The initial part of the film is a bit weak like Roman Polanski's 'The Pianist'. The film is much better when the protagonist gets isolated from other characters. The ending failed to have as big an impact the book managed. Maybe a Tarantino style Animated violence sequence could have been used. Then again all the studio films want to be PG rating.

Word on 3D- Please go way, the stupid gimmick. The spectacles gave me headaches while watching.

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2046 (2004)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer:   Wong Kar Wai
Cast:      Tony Leung, Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang, Faye Wong
Language: Cantonese
The film is a loose sequel to Wong Kar Wai's previous films 'The Days of Being Wild' and 'In the Mood for Love'. It follows the aftermath of Chow Mo-wan's unconsummated affairs with Su Li-Zhen in 1960s Hong Kong and also includes some science fiction elements.

Its a challenging watch and the other two films are essential to make head and tails about it. Stunning performance from Ziyi Zhang. Overall a good film that would require multiple viewings.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer:    Steven Soderbergh
Cast:      James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallaghar
A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.

The debut feature from Soderbergh won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes and launched the careers of several from the cast and the director himself. Soderbergh, 25 at the time, wrote the script in 8 days whilst doing a cross country trip. Sex, Lies and Videotape is important in film history for raising the profile of Independent Films. It was also the break-out film for  Miramax which is generally associated with Independent films (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction etc).

Rating: 5/5

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers:  Jonathan Nolan,  Christopher Nolan, David S.Goyer, Bob Kane
Cast:      Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman
Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.

I think how you rate this film will be based on how high you rated Dark Knight. If you loved Dark Knight, I think you will find DKR to be a disappointment. If you didn't rate TDK that highly then you would rate DKR for what it really is- a very well made action film with some story to support. The script is terrible at some places where the characters have to go into great details to explain things and you just realize that it is a terribly done exposition. Some of the plot twists can bee seen from a mile off. Still Nolan has manged to make three films that are better than good in  a genre in which it is very difficult to maintain high standards.

'Batman Begins' is my favorite out of three.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Almost Famous (2000)

Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer:    Cameron Crowe
Cast:      Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson
A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone magazine about an up and coming rock band as he accompanies it on their concert tour.

The film is semi-biographical as Crowe had toured as a teenage writer for the Rolling Stone magazine. A band called Stillwater had released some albums in the 70s and Crowe got permission to use the band name in the film after they read the script. The film was critically acclaimed when it released but didn't do well in Box Office. It is a typical Cameron Crowe feel good film in the mould of Jerry Maguire.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fa yeung nin wa (In the Mood for Love) (2000)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer:    Wong Kar Wai
Cast:      Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung
A man and woman move in to neighboring Hong Kong apartments and form a bond when they suspect their spouses of extra-marital activities.

Was my second viewing of the film after a long time. No one makes romance films like Wong Kar Wai.

Rating: 5/5

Chung Hing sam lam (Chungking Express) (1994)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer:   Wong Kar Wai
Cast:      Brigitte Kin, Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Faye Wong
Wong Kar Wai's film about two love-struck cops filmed in impressionistic splashes of motion and colour.

The film was made when Wong Kar Wai decided to take a break from the tiring production of his film 'Ashes of Time'. Both the films came out almost simultaneously. Was seeing it for the 4th time I think and is in my opinion Wong Kar Wai's best film till date. Cinematography by Christopher Doyle is amazing.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Clerks. (1994)

Director: Kevin Smith
Writer:    Kevin Smith
Cast:      Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
A day in the lives of two convenience store clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

Was watching it for the second time and it was as good as the first time though some of the bad acting are apparent. The film launched Kevin Smith's career and was made at a meager budget of 28k. It grossed 3 million after it was acquired by Miramax. The shop was the one where Kevin Smith was working during the time and the lost scene animation was added later on after the film became a surprise hit. All in all Kevin Smith's best film.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Zero Theorem (2013)

Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer:    Pat Rushin
Cast:       Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis
In Terry Gilliam's new film, 'The Zero Theorem', Christoph Waltz plays the role of a computer genius who is searching for the meaning of existence. Scheduled for release in 2013.

Skyfall (2012)

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers:  Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Cast:      Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench
Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

I am not particularly a fan of Bond films (only seen the pierce Brosnan ones), but I did enjoy Skyfall. It is not great but very watchable with some great set piece actions. The ending sequence reminded me of Sam Mendes' earlier film 'Road to Perdition'. Despite all that, Javier Bardem's character could have been lot better with a more convincing motive.

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Life of Brian (1979)

Director: Terry Jones
Writers:  Monty Python
Cast:      Monty Python
Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

My favorite among the Monty Python series films. Plenty of memorable scenes and quotes.

Rating: 5/5

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Director:Federico Fellini
Writers:  Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cast:      Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimee
A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering journalist living in Rome.

The time gap between the various parts of the films are not given but each story begins at night and ends at next day's morning. Then it transitions to next story which begins at nighttime. Marcello played by Mastroianni is frustrated by the job he is doing, which he think is meaningless, and wants to switch to doing something more substantial. But he succumbs to the practicalities. The encounter with his intellectual friend is very revealing.

The film marks Fellini's transition from his previous neo-realist films to a different style seen in the latter part of his career.

Rating: 4/5