Movies – Non-English
The Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Spain, 1998) [ IMDB: 7.6/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 92% ]
Stylishly shot romantic film which is a bit twisted. For all those who believe in love at first sight. It is rather funny how the same incident is strikingly different when recollected by a man and then by a woman. A story in which everything happens in circles which basically means that nothing ends, including love. As The New York Times put it, ‘madly romantic’.
Days of Glory (Algeria, 2006) [IMDB: 7.0/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 82%]
The only movie I know which made a government revisit its laws and rightly restore their rights to African soldiers who fought under the French flag in the Second World War. I had seen this movie in New Delhi during a film festival and it left a lasting impression. The movie has some excellent scenes as is evident in the trailer but what stands out is the style of movie making. The movie evidently has a grouse against the French government but the story telling is at times so engaging that you stop paying attention to it. The story follows the life of four African men who fight to liberate France from Nazi oppression. The movie received a standing ovation at the film festival when I saw it.
Life is Beautiful (Italy, 1997) [IMDB: 8.5/10, Rotten tomatoes: 96%]
I am putting this movie here because if you have not seen it, you should probably start watching foreign language movies with this one. Undoubtedly, a masterpiece which will leave you happy but with a tinge of sadness. It tells the story of a Jewish family who end up in a concentration camp. Humour is the last thing you will look for in a concentration camp but the father must resort to every trick he can pull to keep his son’s spirit up. It is an original piece of work with some of the most creative scenes ever. One of the saddest scenes I have scene on screen is when the father goes to meet his patron at the dinner in the hope of finding an escape from the camp and what ensues. ‘Life is Beautiful’ will easily walk into any movie list for the best movies ever made.
A Christmas Story (1983) [ IMDB: 8.0/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 89%]
One of the cutest films ever made that will take you back to your childhood. A kid wants a gift for Christmas. That is the story of the movie but then it is Christmas and there are lot of things that are bothering his parents. The acting is almost perfect and more than anything you are swept off your feet by the simplicity of the movie. Definitely the best movie on Christmas.
Bananas (1971) [IMDB: 7.0/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 88%]
Woody Allen’s little known gem. Hilarious to the hilt. Uproariously funny. Only Woody Allen can come up with insane ideas and then make it look respectable on screen. The best political satire I have seen on the big screen.
Movies I Saw This Week
Side Effects (2013) [IMDB: 7.2/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 85% ]
A genuine thriller. What starts as a drama on the pharma industry soon turns into a thriller. The story revolves around a young woman who has unexpected side effects after taking pills prescribed by her doctor. Writing more about it is difficult without giving hints about the story. Certainly one of the better films of 2013.
I Give It a Year (2013) [IMDB: 6.0/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 63%]
Tries too hard to be funny but it does have some funny moments. It is usually the oddball characters who spice up a comedy but here they are more irritating than funny. After a point the jokes get tedious. The title and story are derived from the fact that the movie maps the first year of a marriage. An average attempt.
Restless (2011) [IMDB: 6.6/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 50%]
Terminally ill girl meets a boy who likes attending funerals. A theme that has been done to death. Gus Van Sant’s weakest film in years. The movie literally bores you to death. Acting is insipid and most of the scenes are tasteless. Trying to get some intellectual gravitas by having a kamikaze pilot is the most pathetic plot device I have seen in a long time.
Go Goa Gone (2013) [IMDB: 7.2/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 55%]
The early voting patterns at IMDb are usually unreliable for wide releases. It holds true for this movie too where things start promisingly but then tapers off like all the previous ventures by the director duo. There are some funny dialogues in the beginning but then it gets too dry even to interest zombies. It must be said that the producers deserve a pat on their back for putting their money on an unconventional idea.
Documentary pick of the week
Capturing the Friedmans (2003) [IMDB: 7.9/10, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%]
A family which seems like any other is rocked to its core when two of its members are arrested for horrible crimes. The title is a pun. The story is sad. The documentary is a must watch.
Eagerly waiting for: ‘Captain Phillips’ because it has Tom Hanks.
Did you know: Cutthroat Island (2005) is the biggest flop movie ever according to ‘The Guinness Book of World Records’. Adjusted for inflation, it lost $ 146 million.