The Dreamlife of Angels (France, 1998) [ IMDB: 7.5, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%]
The first instance of two actresses sharing the gong for the best actress (for the same film) at Cannes is reason enough to watch this little French gem. I was reminded of this movie after reviewing ‘Blue Is the Warmest Colour’ a fortnight ago. If ‘Blue …..’ is the adolescent version, then this one is the mature version. Two financially broke women share a flat and hope for a better future from the misery of routine lives. Once more characters enter the frame, their relationship unravels. Then the two actresses revel like veterans on screen. Watch it for them.
The Mirror (Russia, 1975) [ IMDB: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes: 100%]
A man facing death recollects his life. His sorrows, his triumphs, his childhood, his loves and much more. The nation’s history also plays out in the background. As they say, once your whole life will flash in front of your eyes. Make it worth watching. A timely reminder on that concept from (of all places) Russia. Classic.
Movies I Saw This Week
American Hustle (2013) [ IMDB: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%]
I could not really figure out why ‘American Hustle’ is getting nominated at all major awards in so many categories this year. Agreed that it is a good movie but to call it a great one is a slight misrepresentation of facts. As the name suggests, it is a con movie but with a conscience. It certainly has some good performances going for it. Amy Adams delivers another competent one. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence and that makes me think that she deserves the Oscar for Supporting Actress but that would be an improbable win considering that she just landed the Best Actress Oscar only last year. At the same time, Bradley Cooper may consider himself lucky if he wins for the Best Supporting Actor because it wouldn’t be possible but for the sympathy votes he gets for his failure to win last year. Coming back to the movie, it creates the right ambiance and the credit for that has to go to the director. Other than that I did not find the movie to be special in any sense. Anyone with the IQ of a lamp post could have seen the twist in the end coming because such movies need to have one. I think the guys in Hollywood are all excited because someone finally made a movie in which the FBI is taken to the cleaners.
Blue Jasmine (2013) [ IMDB: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 91%]
What they say for wine is true for Woody Allen too. Both get better as they age. For a change, Woody Allen is not putting some old wine in a new bottle. He moves to a new terrain and after a long time I was really impressed by his direction as he brings the best out of Cate Blanchett. I have not seen the movie ‘Philomena’ in which Judi Dench is reported to have given a great performance. If Judi Dench has not pulled off something spectacular (and she is well capable of that), then this year’s Best Actress Oscar will go to Cate Blanchett for her affecting portrayal of a former socialite going through emotional distress and penury. Her acting is simply stunning and it helps that the the whole plot revolves around her. For a profoundly sad tale, the trademark witticisms of the writer brings relief even in the gloom. Two thumbs up to one of the best written and acted films of 2013.
Rush (2013) [ IMDB:8.3, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%]
‘Rush’ recreates the fierce and famed rivalry of two Formula 1 superstars of the 70s, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. I expected more thrills and edge of the seat action for a movie based on a sport which has a lot of scope for spiking adrenaline levels. It disappoints on those two counts. In fact, it is not even about the rivalry between the two drivers. It is more about their personalities and the obsession they have for winning against all odds. Niki Lauda comes across as a calm and determined man who is organized and thinks about racing even during his honeymoon. James Hunt, on the other hand, is the brash character who has too many woman in his life that he does not really have to have a separate honeymoon. To slightly twist the title of a book that went from non-fiction to fiction (cycling, if you still don’t get it), ‘it is not about the cars’.
Lone Survivor (2013) [ IMDB: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes: 71%]
The true story of an US assault team which sees their best laid plans go for a toss in an operation in Afghanistan. The film is quite slow off the blocks but soon catches up with long strides shortly after. Once the action starts it is quite an interesting film. There is nothing to rave about but then the film is definitely worth a watch.
Martin Scorsese Retrospective
Goodfellas (1990) [ IMDB: 8.7, Rotten Tomatoes: 97%]
Perhaps the best story on the mafia outside the ‘Godfather’ series. Must see. Period.
The Departed (2006) [ IMDB: 8.5, Ritten Tomatoes: 94%]
The movie that finally got Scorsese the Oscar. In my opinion, the perfect screenplay.
Taxi Driver (1976) [ IMDB: 8.4, Rotten Tomatoes: 98%]
Some movies define a period in history. Some performances are so great that it is impossible to imagine someone else in that role. Some movies are unforgettable. Taxi Driver. Robert De Niro. No excuses for not watching.
Documentary Pick of the Week
Searching for Sugar Man (2012) [IMDB; 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes: 96%]
How does it feel to be a rock star (pun intended) in one part of the world and be an unknown in your country of residence? One of the most uplifting documentaries ever made.
Eagerly Waiting for: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ because it has a large cast and a fine director in Wes Anderson.
Did you know: After the release of the Tom Cruise film ‘Top Gun’,the applications by young men to the US Navy went up by 500 percent.