The Violin ( Mexico, 2005) [ IMDB: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 94%]
Quite possibly the best Mexican film of the last decade. The only soft thing onscreen is a violin, in a story which deals with the use of brute government force to crush dissent by a group of rebels. The heroism of the rebels is in stark contrast to unapologetic use of violence by the government forces which makes the film a difficult one to watch. Involving some of the most graphic and realistic scenes of violence you will ever see in a film, this one is ultimately worth the effort.
The 400 Blows ( France, 1959) [ IMDB: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%]
Francois Truffaut‘s masterpiece is one of the movies integral to the French ‘New Wave’. The story of a boy who is a victim of his circumstances remains timeless even half a century after its release. In the end, it is also a reminder that strong screenplay and an engaging story are the hallmarks of true classics. A must watch if you have any interest in international cinema.
Mulholland Drive (2001) [ IMDB: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 86%]
This acclaimed film from David Lynch is one of the most discussed movies because of the way it leaves itself open to interpretations. If you read the numerous discussions on the movie you will be confused by what the movie wants to say. This has not been helped by the director’s refusal to clarify on what he meant to make but at the same time this is not a movie you can trash. The only thing that can be said with certainty about the plot is that there is a car crash and the victim suffers emotionally from it. The rest of the story is very much open to interpretation and you will be certainly hooked on as the narrative progresses.
Election (1999) [ IMDB: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%]
One of those easy to watch movies which raises itself a notch higher with the help of some fine acting and what I would bravely call as a story never told before. A high school teacher whose life is going nowhere is given the responsibility of handling the elections in his school. Only problem is that one of the candidates is a high achieving pushy character played with elan by Reese Witherspoon. Looking at the comedy that US politics has become, I guess they carry over the petty shenanigans of high school politics when they go to the Congress.
Life of Brian (1979) [ IMDB: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%]
If ‘Life of Brian’ is made in almost any other country in the world, chances are it won’t see the light of the day. Quite obviously a hilarious take on Christ, it is only in USA that such unhindered freedom of speech would be possible. The end result is an outrageous and irreverent comedy that will make you ask for more.
Movies I Saw This Week
The Way Way Back (2013) [ IMDB: 7.5, Rotten Tomaoes: 88%]
A coming off age story of a 14 year old boy who discovers himself during a summer vacation. The movie is very predictable but some nice touches make it interesting and engaging. Nothing extraordinary but there are some movies which are ordinary and good. This one belongs to that category.
Best Man Down (2013) [ IMDB: 6.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 87%]
The best man at a wedding dies on the night of the wedding. The newlyweds cancel the honeymoon and make arrangements for the funeral. It is then they discover who truly their dead friend was. A pretty decent flick which picks up in the second half. Sometimes you discover how good people were only after they die.
The Heat (2013) [ IMDB: 6.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 76%]
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy play cops in this attempt at comedy which huffs and puffs as it plays out. There are some genuinely funny moments but then it fizzles out and does not live up to its initial promise.
War Chod Na Yaar (India, 2013) [ IMDB: 5.9, Rotten Tomaotes: 57%]
Who funds such movies? Who was stoned, the producer when he decided to make it or the writer when he hallucinated the idea?
Documentary Pick of the Week
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism (2004) [ IMDB: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 85%]
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has a right wing agenda. Fox News is a leading unit of that empire and all its claims of fair and balanced reporting are exposed in this documentary. Indian news channels sold out to the ruling party look like kids in front of the sophistication of the propaganda of networks like Fox.
Eagerly Waiting for: ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ because it won Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2013.
Did you know: Manna Dey and Bhupen Hazarika are the only two male playback singers to have won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award in Indian cinema. RIP Manna Dey.