Friday, 22 May 2015

The Life of David Gale(2003)

This is an exciting thriller and following review contains spoilers. The film is essentially about two martyrs who sacrifice their lives for the cause of anti-death penalty movement. The way story unfolds keeps you interested till end. There was a point in the end where I thought this film was a complete waste of time--because idea of a lady committing suicide to frame an innocent fellow in order to prove that death penalty is wrong because innocent people are sentenced, was just too much to digest. Her leaving a self-made video which wasn't discovered because a jealous lover didn't want it to be discovered before the execution was just appalling. Later on, you realize that actually reporter was helpless all along and it was their game.

You realize in the end that those martyrs used the cowboy as an associate who was loyal to them. They all were loyal to each other as well as to their cause. As you see in the context of picture--their sacrifice didn't really change much except to restore reputation of professor Gale. Upon reflection it's quite obvious that their sacrifice wasn't very healthy. They were both depressed and lost. One was waiting to die of leukemia which she hated and other was struggling with drinking and loss of job, family, reputation and friend. In other words they really didn't have much to lose--so they choose to sacrifice themselves for their cause. It's because of the causes underlined above-this martyrdom didn't touch me in the slightest. The efforts of the reporter are as good as nil--because it was by chance that she was chosen by them. Having seen many conspiracy thrillers in past--I was thinking along the line that Gale was framed--perhaps by the government people because of his strong arguments against the death penalty by the state. This might have been partially correct because you don't ever fathom fully the motive behind Berlin's accusations. Then, Gale and company use their helpless situation to create the drama for the salvation of their cause. 

This film has good soundtrack, very good cinematography, good pace, and witty dialogues here and there. I like Kevin Spacey --so his performance was good for me, Kate Winslet and others were also convincing. The plot is original and good enough. I liked this film.   

image: here

Saturday, 16 May 2015


This is not only the best Bollywood mystery, but also one of the best movies ever made. It's best movie by Ram Gopal Verma. It's best script written by Anurag Kashyap. It's one of the best performances of Manoj Bajpayee and Urmila Matondkar.

The script is original and wonderful. It's unlike anything ever seen before. Just two characters on screen and such horrifying mystery--it's really worthy of being applauded. The worst kind of fear is fear of psychotic characters. Unpredictable, quirky, whimsical, psychotic and eerie personalities terrorize people more than any wild or natural sources. This is what most of the RGV movies are about--his movies have a tense environment and much surprise. This film in particular thrives on the enormous stress it creates for the audience. The set-up is extremely tense right from the beginning and remains so all along. It's a flawless script in my opinion--Anurag Kashyap has written one of the best stories ever. I feel that climax scenes could have been better with more light. I highly recommend this film to all mystery lovers and I feel you would rarely get to see such a mystery film in your life. 

image source: here

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Long Goodbye(1973)

This is an excellent film. I was watching it under the impression that it's a mystery thriller-which it's but its being a mystery is not what is outstanding about it. It's very messy and absurd as a mystery. It's one of the best comedies I've ever seen. This film has one of the most laid-back private eye in Marlowe(played by Elliot Gould). Prior to this film I had seen him only in Rom-Com TV show Friends as Jack Geller. The most distinguishing, entertaining and it would not be an exaggeration if I say "enchanting" feature of this film is Marlowe's pep-talk. The very first scene which starts with his cat waking him up at 3 in the morning made this film worth watching for me. The way he tries to fool his cat is tantalizing. His self-talk seems pretty much like that of Donald Duck's in Disney's cartoons. It's not a coincidence then, i suppose, we see him saying his name as "Donald Duck" in the police investigation. If you observe you find Donald Duck reference even in the end-credits song Hollywood.

This picture is funny, perhaps unintentionally so. It reminds me of True Romance by Tony Scot. This is a very light-hearted thriller if there was ever one. It also reminded me of Roman Polanski's Chinatown in a way but in Chinatown it's darker and more saturnine. It's possible that Gould had already made an impression in my mind as a comic character because of Friends, hence i found him too funny--but i seriously believe that this film should also be put under the genre Comedy. Those junkie girls who are always high and talk absurd are also hilarious. This is a wonderful film. I loved watching it. Also you can't help but notice Arnold Schwarzenegger as a bodyguard in a few scenes. 

image source: here

Monday, 11 May 2015

Dolores Claiborne(1995)

Spoilers Alert!

This is the most intricate Stephen King story adapted as a film in my humble opinion. This film has a wonderful plot. The narration which flashes back and forth in time is well done. The outstanding thing about this film is the character of Dolores Claiborne. It's a very complex character. It has been portrayed by Kathy Bates brilliantly. I have not seen many Kathy Bates films--but did see Misery for which she won an Oscar--another Stephen King story. Misery is much straight forward a film than Dolores Claiborne. Misery relies much upon its haunting cold torture sequences which are totally absent in this film. This film is more of a psychological dissection of Dolores Claiborne and her relationship with her daughter, husband and employer in general. 

The audience believes that Dolores Claiborne is psychotic, delusional and violent. It's all because of what audience witnesses for most of the first half. This view is held almost till end when it goes for complete reversal. Actually it starts changing midway through when you start feeling that her relationship with her employer was actually based on loyalty. Still you keep believing that she's somewhat deluded about her husband's advances towards their daughter--until it's confirmed that she was right all along. This is really masterly--a character looks like psychotic, deluded and violent personality; but turns out to be a loyal friend, caring mother and generous hard working parent who sacrificed much for her daughter. It wouldn't have been so moving had it not been for Kathy Bates. There are people who believe that she deserved an academy award more for this one compared to Misery. They might be right but I personally feel that actors of her caliber exalt awards and not otherwise. If a real master in a field doesn't win an award it's not his loss. It's a loss of award. Kathy Bates has done this extremely complex character with such an ease that I feel I've not seen a better actress in my life. 

Entire cast of this film has done very well except for Jennifer Leigh's slightly weak scenes here and there. The direction is perfect like editing is. This is a film which should be used to teach in film schools to teach about acting and story telling in my opinion. This is a perfect film!    

image source: here

The Trouble With Harry by Alfred Hitchcock

Arnie: How do rabbits get born?Sam Marlowe: Same way elephants doSam Marlowe: Perharps I'll come back tomorrow.Arnie: When's that?Sam Marlowe: The day after today.Arnie: That's yesterday. Today's tomorrow.Sam Marlowe: It was.Arnie: When was tomorrow yesterday?Sam Marlowe: Today.Arnie: Oh, sure. Yesterday.

This is the most beautiful Hitchcock movie. It starts with autumn view of beautiful New England countryside. The music and scenery are enchanting together. This film has very few characters and sets yet it's extremely entertaining. Some people qualify this film as dark comedy  but I think the characters in this movie were all simple people. This little world created by Hitchcock is so beautiful that you forget everything outside it. My favorite scene of this film is where little Arnie speaks with Sam. The dialogue is really cute, especially the today's tomorrow bit by Arnie. You see how cute Arnie is a nonchalant tradesman who first trades a dead rabbit for an alive frog and later gets his dead rabbit back too to make other trades in the town. I loved this scene and it somehow made me feel nostalgic. It resembles Alice's conversations in wonderland because of its quirky humor methinks. 

Aside from these, the cast is wonderful in this film. Shirley MacLaine's is charming and her childlike quirky facial expressions are just beyond description. The film also has a certain mystery about Harry who died somehow. The mystery is revealed in the end but it was predictable all along--meanwhile you see how various characters flicker for their own interests. This is an exquisite film, a really charming comedy because of its simplicity. I love this film and recommend it to all readers. 

image sources: here and here

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Negotiator(1998)

This is a sensational thriller. There is a brilliant negotiator-police officer Danny Roman who is framed for a murder and corruption. He takes a few people at government office as hostages. Then another negotiator Chris Sabian is brought in to talk Danny out of the situation. This one brilliant negotiator talking to another situation brings a lot of entertainment because they're familiar with their tricks and games. It keeps going on until Chris is convinced of Danny's innocence and starts helping him out of the situation.

This film is an engaging thriller. Performances by Samuel Jackson, Kevin Spacey, J. T. Walsh and others are wonderful. The film keeps you hooked to the screen till end. 

image source: here

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Sea of Love 1989

This is a very well balanced mystery thriller. It has enough romance, mystery and thrill. It's well paced with gritty dialogue and good performances--not to mention music--Sea of Love is a beautiful song indeed.

Spoilers: There is a serial killer on loose who is presumably a girl who dates lonely guys with mid-life crisis. She kills them in a similar fashion. Detectives arrange to meet her--and in the process they meet many girls--finally they find the suspicious girl who might have been their serial killer but then lead falls in love with her. Things start getting murkier because this detective is in love with the girl and also has doubts about her being the killer--it makes the story very intriguing. The suspense remains intense and passionate till end--when it's discovered that it was actually husband of the girl who used to kill all the guys who were dating her--one by one. What a wonderful film! Very enjoyable.

image source: here

The Popla Moon

आज चाँद पोपला है,

सब सो गये, बतलाता है,

दाँत झर गये पर गाता है,

वो हर महीने पोपलाता है,

पैदा होता है और मर जाता है;

आज वो पोपला है,

बिल्कुल उबले अंडे सा,

या कि पपीते सा, न मालूम,

वो हर महीने पैदा होता है,

खेलता ख़ाता, बढ़ता, पीता और जीता है...

चाँदनी से रोमॅन्स करता है,

और रीता है...

आज चाँद पोपला है....

image : here

Dead Again(1991)


This is an entertaining mystery thriller involving reincarnation and past-life regression hypnosis therapy. This is perhaps the only film in English I've seen involving reincarnation. I think not many good films have been made based on this idea. David Lynch's Inland Empire might be considered involving scenarios but it's not that clear because it's too obscure in that film.

This film has a story of a couple who reincarnate to finish past life business. A strange pull of cosmic forces brings them together in this life. The lady who has lost all his memories suddenly takes shrine in a church and a private investigator who was an orphan raised by this church is brought to investigate about this lady. These two develop fondness for each other. A psychiatrist discovers the couple because of an ad in a newspaper and helps the lady do past-life regression using hypnosis. Soon it's revealed that in very recent past the girl had lived as someone quite famous and even the boy was his partner in that life. What strikes as a strange twist is not that they knew each other--but rather that metempsychosis had their sexes changed in this life in a way that they resemble each other from their past lives. That is--the boy in this life was actually the girl in the past life and the girl in this life was the boy in past life--more than that--the boy in this life resembles the boy in the past life and so on.

I didn't think that this movie would be so  good because it was based on reincarnation--but twists were good enough. The climax was slightly poor compared to the movie throughout. Performances were good--music was alright. The painting in the lady's apartment which mimics Salvador Dali's Clocks was hilarious as it has scissors on trees instead of clocks. Scissors along with anklet form the most referenced and repeated objects in this film. A very good film overall.

image source: here

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Last Boy Scout(1991)

It's another Tony Scott classic thriller. This movie reminded me a lot of his later classic  Enemy of The State--probably because there are two leads in both of these films trying to work against a conspiracy. I have to say that Tony Scott has made some really groundbreaking movies such as True Romance, Man on Fire, Enemy of the State and The Last Boy Scout.

True Romance is definitely in my top ten most favorite films but other mentioned above are also some of the most favorite films. It's a pity that he parted ways in such a manner. 

This film has a very intriguing lead--Joe Hallenbeck. He's one of the most interesting characters I've seen on a film screen. The dialogues are life of this film--very witty repartee--really engaging. Performances by all cast members are solid. I think Tony was always very careful with his cast. Bruce Willis has given his best performance in this film--at least one of the bests! Action is epic and you might not appreciate a bit blood-shed gore slash if you're sensitive about it--otherwise this is a perfect thriller.

image source: here

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Diabolique( Les Diaboliques-1955)

Spoiler Alert: Please don't read if you've not already seen the film.

This film is a classic in horror mystery genre. I was not expecting it to be so brilliant. It really felt timeless. It might seem slightly predictable because of the passage of time since its creation--many times the formula has been repeated and now it has become a cliche--still, it's certainly a masterpiece. 

Such brilliant horror mysteries are really rare. There's no gore, no real blood-shed and a tense haunting mystery after the interval until very end of the film--and even after you've finished watching it--you keep thinking about the details. I think it would not be wrong to put this film in only mystery genre--but from the viewpoint of headmistress it was indeed horror as she suffers from a weak heart condition.

The film is very well paced for its nearly two hour long run. Performances are pretty solid and it has an air of comedy too. The mystery is indeed tight and since unlike many naive-everything-on-your-plate movies the details of execution of crime-mystery are not revealed which makes it really intriguing for the audience.

I had predicted the twist quite well--but since the death of the headmaster was shown very clearly--it kept me guessing--further the dead body was put in the pool and stayed there so it was also another blow against the prediction of the twist. Anyways, it was way better than usual horror movies which leave little to imagination and have almost no suspense about them. This film is perfect by most standards in my opinion. I loved watching it. As I've discussed in previous posts--this movie also belongs to those great twisty movies which change your entire perception about the story in the last five minutes. Since this movie has been ripped-off too often you might find it too predictable and nothing matching to your expectations but it's similar to The Wicker Man, Skeleton Key and other such films--in this film you find that though it seems that it has all been about killing the cruel headmaster of the small French school, but actually it was all about trapping the headmistress who had a heart condition. In these movies victims often seem aggressive action-oriented individuals and then suddenly they're trapped as preys.  

image: here