The Non-English Movie of The Week
The Liberator (Venezuela, 2014) [IMDB: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 75%, My Rating: 6.5/10]
Simon Bolivar led Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela and Peru to independence by taking on the might of the Spanish empire. His life and times are captured in this Venezuelan movie set in early 19th century. Though not exactly a classic piece of cinema, the film sheds light on the events that shaped the liberator’s life. Even when oozing with adulation for the protagonist, the movie tries to draw a neat picture of what the great statesman was able to achieve. The trouble with the movie is that in its effort to make things palatable it does away with some of the complexities. Nevertheless, the movie is a good introduction to Latin America for those who are interested in knowing a little more about it.
Movies I Saw This Week
What We Do in the Shadows (2014) [IMDB: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes:96%, My Rating: 8/10]
Practically reinventing the vampire genre, the movie is one of the best I have seen in 2015. Clearly targeted at a niche audience, it is a movie which brings humour to a story involving vampires. Made as a mockumentary, the film delves into the lives of a group of vampires who share the same house. Focusing on the difficulties that the vampires face in their daily lives and the petty politics that they have to deal with, the film is as unconventional as it gets. If ‘Let the Right One In’ reinvented horror in the vampire genre, this movie introduces genuine humour into the genre. Highly recommended.
Kill the Messenger (2014) [ IMDB: 7.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 78%, My Rating: 7/10]
Gary Webb was a journalist who wrote about the possibility of a nexus between CIA and drug cartels. (Spoilers ahead) Shortly afterwards, he was fired from his job and he couldn’t ever find work as a journalist. Finally he committed suicide. This movie traces the work of Gary Webb. Jeremy Renner does justice to the fallen journalist in a very complex role. Some of the mainstream newspapers have vehemently contested the stories published by Gary Webb branding them as inaccurate. More than solving anything, that only adds to the aura of a person who fought the establishment. This movie is not a comfortable one to watch but there is a reason why it has been made. Recommended.
Mr. Turner (2014) [IMDB:7.0, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%, My Rating: 8.5]
Four time Cannes winner and seven time Oscar nominee Mike Leigh’s latest is a sweeping biography of the eccentric painter J.M.W. Turner. Timothy Spall won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his magnificent performance but was snubbed without even a nomination at the Oscars. All the awards hoopla aside, this is a gem of a movie with an accomplished performance from Timothy Spall. He went to the extent of studying how to paint for two years before he essayed this role. Another high point of the movie is the cinematography. The visuals are stunning and in some of the scenes the beauty on screen is something to behold. The movie is a tad slow for mainstream audiences.
The Wedding Ringer (2015) [IMDB: 6.8, Rotten Tomatoes: 72%, My Rating: 6.5]
A socially awkward man who has no friends goes on to hire an agent who can arrange best men for his wedding. If you can accept the lame premise of the movie and drop your standards, there are enough moments to give you a chuckle, if not a laugh. The movie is clearly a Hollywood assembly line production. So if you want to watch a movie when you nothing much to do, this is not a bad option.
Mortdecai (2015) [IMDB: 5.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 37%, My Rating: 3/10]
Nothing succeeds like success. Sometimes the success is detrimental to your future. Johhny Depp was wildly successful as Captain Jack Sparrow and has been trying to unshackle that image ever since. So far, he has been unsuccessful and ventures like this one are not going to help his cause. With a title which is difficult to pronounce (it is pronounced as ‘mor-dekai’) and a story which is difficult to digest, this is a movie the audiences didn’t care to see. For those interested in the plot, imagine an art dealer, Russians, British, terrorists, a wife and fake accents. Mix them up.
Good Kill (2014) [IMDB: 6.3, Rotten Tomatoes:8%, My Rating:6.5/10]
Ethan Hawke stars as a drone pilot who finds himself at odds with the work assigned to him. It is a movie about moral dilemma and how to address the feeling of guilt. Nothing extraordinary happens on the screen and nothing terrible happens on the screen. An average movie that is happy in its mediocrity.
Taken 3 (2015) [IMDB:6.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 9%, My Rating: 2/10]
The angry middle aged man Liam Neeson returns to another installment of a phenomenally successful franchise. He is accused of a murder he has not committed. Obviously, he has to absolve himself and you know that he will. You can sleep and get up five minutes before the end. You won’t miss anything. In fact, sleeping would be a better way of using your time.
Documentary of the Week
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014) [IMDB: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%, My Rating: 8/10]
Aaron Swartz committed suicide at the age of 26. He was the co-founder of Reddit and one of the developers of RSS. He stood up for freedom on the internet and he was pursued by the authorities. His story.
Eagerly waiting for: ‘Water Diviner’ with Russel Crowe on the Battle of Gallipoli.
Did you know: ‘Titanic’ holds the record for consecutive weeks at the top of US Box office (15) but E.T. beats it by one in total weeks at Number One.