Week 2

Movies – Non English

Tokyo Sonata (Japan, 2008) [ IMDB: 7.5/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 94% ] 

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8w0EtOi-Uo
The patriarch of a Japaneses family quits his good paying job in a snap moment. The downward spiral of his family follows and the film shows no mercy in telling the truth as it is. If you are looking for uplifting stuff or the ‘triumph of human spirit’, this is sadly not that movie. Gritty. At least will make you think a thousand times before quitting your job.

Central Station (Brazil, 1998) [ IMDB: 7.9/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 94% ]


Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ako8metwlAY

A boy and a spinster embark on a journey to find the boy’s father after the death of his mother. One of the best road movies ever. Touching without being overtly sentimental. I had tears in my eyes by the last scene. Unforgettable performances. One particular scene stands out. When a guy says that he is the happiest man in the world, for once, you believe him when you look at his face. Trivia: The lead character was a shoeshine boy when the director discovered him at an airport.

Downfall (Germany, 2004) [IMDB: 8.3/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%]

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp1RXmM1-60

A masterpiece showing the final days of Hitler. The manic loyalty of Hitler’s followers even when they know that they are losing the war is only matched by the tantrums thrown by the Fuehrer. Among the many unforgettable scenes is the one in which Mrs. Goebbels puts her children ‘to sleep’. Chilling and engaging. Cinema at its best.

Hollywood Retrospective

Papillon (1973) [ IMDB: 8.0/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 92% ]

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DARD1l-tr6g

Two men who have nothing in common but the will to live. When those two men happen to be Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen, you are in for a treat. One of the best movies on hope and triumph of the human spirit. The precursor to Shawshank Redemption.

Hoosiers (1986) [IMDB: 7.5/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 88% ]

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcSo3Cp86Tk

Definitely in my top 3 sports movies of all time. Gene Hackman’s best role ever. The story of a school basketball team in search of a second chance. If you are looking for inspiration on a lazy weekend, this movie might help. For all those who believe in a second chance.

Movies I saw this week

Hope Springs (2012) [IMDB: 6.3/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 74% ]

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s22_Mvikl8

From IMDB “After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship.” Watching the trailer should suffice.

Premium Rush (2012) [IMDB: 6.5/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 76%]

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn6ie1zCkZU

From IMDB: ‘In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.’

Does have its moments.

Straight A’s (2013) [IMDB: 5.1/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 52%]



Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pBmrKeK5G4

A guy who is himself in a mess, falls for his sister-in-law. The movie chooses the easy way out and loses the steam mid way.

Documentary pick of the week

Food, Inc (2008) [IMDB: 7.8/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%]

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eKYyD14d_0

The inside story of the food industry. Can make you lose your appetite.

Did you know: The Satyajit Ray classic ‘Pather Panchali’ was partly financed by the Government of West Bengal and was shown as funding for ‘roads improvement’. Incidentally, ‘Pather Panchali’ in Bengali means ‘Song of the Road’.

Week 1
Two movies worth their money in gold

Amores Perros (Mexico, 2000) 

Long before movies with multiple stories connected by a single event were made, Amores Perros set the benchmark for the genre. It follows the lives of people connected by a single accident. The performances are top class and the scenes of animal fights look too good to be choreographed. Gael Garcia Bernal shows the promise which he delivers after 4 years in ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. Special mention must be made of the background score. Absolutely riveting. The director went on to make similarly disturbing films like ‘Babel’, ’21 Grams’ and ‘Biutiful’. The film lost out to ‘Crouching tiger, Hidden Dragon’ at the Oscars but won 55 major awards across the world.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (South Korea,2003)

Asian movies are good at blending in philosophy without making it obvious. The director Kim Ki Duk is a master at that. The story with only 3 principal characters unfolds through the eyes of a monk living in an island. The initial parts are painstakingly slow but the movie pulls you in with its simplicity. It says so much with minimal dialogues. The imagery is breathtaking.

Hollywood Retrospective
Platoon (1986)

Perhaps the grittiest warm film ever made. Also a reminder how good Oliver Stone used to be. The scene where Willem Dafoe gets killed remains one of the seminal shots in the history of films. The film’s background is the US’ doomed war in Vietnam. ‘Apocalypse Now’ is the only competition for ‘Platoon’ in the Vietnam war films category.

The movies I saw this week
Compliance (2012)

A testimonial to the stupidity of people and the lengths to which people can go when instructed by what they think are people from authority. It is good that the viewers are told that the film is based on actual events. Otherwise it would have been difficult to believe. Disturbing images.

Trishna (2011)

Michael Winterbottom remains a director who is good at exploring the shift in the dynamics of human relationships. The film starts out as a good romantic flick but the disintegration of the relationship is bad advertisement for live in relationships.

Himmatwala (2013)

Hi Sajid Khan, it is not 80s. We are in 2013. You make 80s look so bad.

Trouble with the curve (2012)

After his his disastrous conversation with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood is back to what he does best. Though, it must be said that ‘Trouble with the curve’ is one of his weakest films in years.

Documentary pick of the week
Roger & Me (1989)

Michael Moore’s original claim to fame. Remarkable for showing how the closing down of the General Motors factory in Flint, Michigan changed the lives of a whole community. Absolute must watch.

Eagerly waiting for : Before Midnight (2013, May) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2209418/?ref_=sr_1 Because ‘Before Sunrise’ (1995) and ‘Before Sunset’ (2004) were gems.

Did you know: The record for maximum  nominations at the Oscars without a win is currently held by sound mixer Kevin O’Connell. He has had an astounding 20 nominations (from 1983 to 2007) without tasting success even once. Hats off to him for remaining at the top for that long in a technical category.

Week 1