The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. review.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

My Ratings: 3.7/5.

Warner Bros. was trying to make this film for over a decade, but due to numerous casting changes and even directors being swapped the project was hold for a long time.

But finally it’s here, the famous 1964 television series called the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is now made into a feature film by none other than Guy Ritchie (his first on digital medium). 

man-from-uncle-poster6After directing a string of entertaining films like Snatch. (2000), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and recently a couple of Sherlock Holmes films, Guy Ritchie comes up with this period action comedy and tries his best to cover up the film’s lack of story content with his trademark fast-paced cinematic style.

The basic concept though is very interesting – a story based in the 60s when supposedly US (CIA) and Russia (KGB) joined hands to stop some mysterious organization from developing a nuke.

The cold war tension of that era is very well exploited as the two agents (Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer) from the rival countries repeatedly try to outmatch each other even though they are supposed to be working as a team (this being the main source of comedy in the film).

man-from-uncle-poster8Alicia Vikander becomes an accomplice to this deadly spy game and three of them together form a spy team called U.N.C.L.E (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement).

Elizabeth Debicki and Luca Calvani decently plays their parts as the evil masterminds desperate to control the world. And then there is Hugh Grant, a cameo worth mentioning. 

Shot mostly in Italy, thanks to Oliver Scholl‘s production design and Elli Griff‘s set decoration the film managed to recreate the glamourous 60s pretty well. Many actual vintage costumes were used by costume designer Joanna Johnston and the lavish cars (Jaguars and Ferraris) were a real treat to watch!

man-from-uncle-poster7But i feel in such stylized Guy Ritchie films a lot of credit actually goes to the teamwork of the cinematographer (John Mathieson) and the editor (James Herbert) and then of course the pumped up music that maintains the pace of the film (thanks to composer Daniel Pemberton).

Overall after a lot of split-screen editing, car racing and pretty close range bullets firing – action, comedy, love, drama, when you come out of the cinema hall you will feel entertained but won’t be able to tell anything particularly that you liked about the film.

May be you don’t have to. Just go and get entertained!

Best Use of Intelligent Editing in Recent Films (10+1list)

Best use of intelligent Editing in recent films.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Film editing is often referred to as the ‘invisible art’ because when a film is seamlessly edited, the viewer can hardly be aware of the editor’s work.

But as we all know an editor has the ultimate control to make or break a film. ‘A film gets made on the editing table’.

Earlier times film editing was considered to be only a part of the ‘post production’ process but the true art of editing is best utilized when many of the cuts are preplanned while shooting the film itself.

Many films display multiple quick cuts (fast cutting) while others jump time or space with skillfully matching cuts (match cuts); then some films have elaborate parallel edit sequences while in some movies the editors use a variety of transitions to set the desired mood.

And now, here is a list of some of the best use of intelligent Editing in recent films – best examples of both linear and nonlinear editing styles.

So, let the fun begin.

1. Upstream Color (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U9KmAlrEXU

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A film by writer/director/actor and also cinematographer/editor and also music composer Shane Carruth.

Overall a complex but superb movie but the best part of it is it’s flawless editing.

Every shot is cut so precisely that the whole film looks like some kind of a detailed choreography of beautiful images dancing across the screen!

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE-f1alkq9I

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Again a complex film with a superb storyline (the visible touch of Charlie Kaufman) and absolutely brilliant editing.

Directed by Michel Gondry and edited by Valdís Óskarsdóttir, the film narrative repeatedly goes back and forth and it all makes sense (or the times when it does’t!) simply because of the powerful editing style. 

Also worth checking out The Science of Sleep (2006) by the same director.

3. City of God (2002)

Original title: Cidade de Deus. Language: Brazilian Portuguese.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcUOO4Itgmw

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Based on a true story, the film is directed by Fernando Meirelles and edited by Daniel Rezende (both nominated for the Oscars).

The opening sequence of this film is often considered as the best edited sequence ever – the one where the mob chases the chicken through the crowded streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Also worth checking out The Constant Gardener (2005) by the same director.

4. Any Given Sunday (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN7sKvaHDlA

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Director Oliver Stone who won Oscars for Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989) also made films which have a very unique editing style.

This film along with Natural Born Killers (1994) and U Turn (1997) – they are fast and edgy, each and every cut is synced with rapid camera movements and yet very much visually appealing!

5. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzk-lmU4KZ4

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Darren Aronofsky‘s most creative film and a masterpiece in editing.

Edited by Jay Rabinowitz, the quick cuts of the closeup of an eye showing the effects of drug and the disturbing parallel edit sequence towards the end of the film are legendary in the world of artistic editing. 

This film proves that deft editing can actually establish the mental state of a person.

6. Fallen Angels (1995)

Original title: Do lok tin si. Language: Cantonese.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZda7nWftQI

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Famous for Chungking Express (1994), Happy Together (1997) and In the Mood for Love (2000), this film is one of the lesser known works of master director Kar Wai Wong but probably the best example of his incredible sense of editing.

Edited by William Chang and Ming Lam Wong, the film is a hypnotic journey of images cut to perfection.

7. Children of Men (2006)

 Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VT2apoX90o

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Nominated for the Oscars in the best editing category this film is a must in any editing list ever made.

Edited by director/editor Alfonso Cuarón and also by Alex Rodríguez, the tension and the intensity of this futuristic thriller is much more enhanced by competent editing techniques which are almost too perfect to notice individually.

One of the most gripping suspense thriller ever seen.

8. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayTnvVpj9t4

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Now this film uses a completely different aesthetics of editing but nevertheless very effective and often intentionally comic!

A comedy directed by Edgar Wright and edited by Chris Dickens is a film that contains the best example of time compression by swift editing (specially during the journey sequences).  

If you liked Shaun of the Dead (2004) you would love this too.

9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

Original title: Le scaphandre et le papillon. Language: French

Film clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G69Zh7YIg8c

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Directed by Julian Schnabel (won best director at Cannes Film Festival), this one is an inspiring yet difficult story to tell. 

And according to me, the film’s success largely depends on it’s brilliant editing techniques.

Edited by Juliette Welfling, who was nominated for the Oscars in the Best Editing Category, this is one film you shouldn’t miss.  

10. The Tree of Life (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXRYA1dxP_0

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The brilliance of Terrence Malick is probably most evident in this film and yet the first thing that one notices is the seamless editing!

A series of vignettes held together, the camera moves and the images cut so effortlessly that some times one forgets that they are actually watching a film.

In spite of winning the Palme d’Or the film is often criticized for not having a distinctive storyline.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique and cool one. A must watch).

+1. Spun (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrWD1kVi0ME

spun-posterAn out of the world editing experience, as fast and quirky as the mental state of a drug addict.

This film is definitely to be seen without any parental guidance because of it’s disturbing imagery and freaky concept.

Edited by Johan Söderberg and director/editor Jonas Åkerlund, editing skill at a different level altogether.

The power of Rang De Basanti – a generation awakens.

The power of Rang De Basanti – a generation awakens.

written by Souranath Banerjee

‘Zindegi jeene ke doi tarikke hote hai, ek jo ho raha hai hone do, bardash karte jao. Ya phir zimmedari uthao usse badalneki’. 

If translated – ‘There are just two ways to live life. First, let whatever is happening to continue, keep enduing it. OR else take responsibility to change it.’

rang-de-basanti-poster2Similarly, there are two ways to make films too. First, to accept the general trend as they exist and make a similar one. Or to take upon the responsibility and create something unique!

Rang De Basanti (RDB) released in 2006 – story by Kamlesh Pandey and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is one such special film that made Indian Cinema proud.

Starring Aamir KhanSiddharthKunal KapoorSharman JoshiSoha Ali KhanAtul KulkarniAlice Patten and Madhavan (guest appearance); and then the talented supporting cast Waheeda RehmanAnupam KherKiron Kher and Om Puri.

Music by legendary A.R. Rahman who took three years to compose for this one particular film. 

rang-de-basanti-poster4With such impressive star cast and epic musical score, of course RDB was a huge box-office success. The film also won the National award for the most Popular Indian Cinema along with numerous other awards (Filmfare, IIFA, ZeeCine etc).

And on top of that, it was also send as India’s official entry for the Golden Globe Awards and the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

But apart from being just a blockbuster, award-winning, popular film, RDB also managed to do something very rare which hardly any Indian cinema have ever accomplished before – it communicated with the audience, specially with the youth of our country!

Rang De Basanti is probably the only Indian film that initiated such significant level of political awareness, sense of patriotism and social awakening in the minds of our younger generation.

rang-de-basanti-poster5After the release of RDB, young minds of our country (mostly students) who earlier were never bothered about politics or any such civic causes became socially responsible and took active interest in discussions regarding national problems like corruption, bureaucracy and political injustice.

Soon full fledged youth activism started – not only through the internet blogs but the students actually took to the streets to protest on public interest issues.

A perfect example is the Jessica Lall Murder Case, where people protested against the initial court judgement by a silent rally – a candlelight vigil at New Delhi’s India Gate exactly the same way as shown in RDB!

rang-de-basanti-poster3Thankfully though our younger generation was clever and responsible enough not to murder some politician while emotionally aping the film till the end.

But importantly, the message which they took home from the film was that of ‘No country is perfect, it has to be made perfect.’

And the brilliance of the script and the filmmaker is that this message wasn’t delivered in a preachy manner. It was cleverly communicated by a bunch of laid back fun-loving college guys who initially didn’t care much about their future; who were only interested in drinking beer and racing bikes, watching films and eating out (just like any other college kid).

rang-de-basanti-poster7The young crowd of India could very easily connect themselves to these naive and vibrant characters of the film. They spoke a language that the youngsters understood and could relate to.

But then, when due to some tragic events these characters in the film were shaken from their easy-going lives and when they felt a soul stirring sense of responsibility towards their country – the young Indian audience felt the same and experienced the same prick of conscience.

rang-de-basanti-poster1‘A generation awakens’ was the tag line of the film and from the film’s posters to it’s media partners (CocaCola, LG, msn, Airtel, Provogue) – everything related to the film and it’s promotion were focused on that tag line itself.

Such was the power of Rang De Basanti that after watching the film former Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, used the line ‘Aag hai mujhmen kahi’ (There is a fire somewhere within me) which is a popular lyric from one of the film’s song.

Almost 10 years have passed by since it was released and still Rang De Basanti remains one of the most influential films in the history of Indian Cinema.

Best War Films of all times (20+1list)

Best War Films of all times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best War Films can be generally categorized into two basic types. Firstly the ones that glamorize and romanticize the concept of war for the War-Films-postersheer entertainment of the audience, as most of us want to enjoy the thrill of the battle-zone but shy away from the horrors and perils of it – more like a harmless video game!

And then the second kind that actually portray war as realistically as possible; the action, the bloodshed, the destruction, the cries of the wounded and the death of the young and innocents.

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

The films listed below mostly belong to the second category; they are the Best War Films of all times that have the audacity to paint the ugly face of war and tell stories of not only courage and strength but also of the brutality and helplessness of both the armed and the civilians.

Let the battle begin.

20. The Beast of War (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcJuxYXpI5w

Best-War-FilmsA much underrated war film based on the Afgan-Soviet conflict, but it superbly portrays the brutality of a battle zone, the psychology and instincts of the armed and civilians.

Directed by Kevin Reynolds, a war drama mostly based on a Tank crew led by an eccentric commander who needs to be stopped for good.

Far more realistic than the 2014 star-studded Tank-movie – Fury.

19. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51lo2dpaZ_g

Best-War-FilmsNominated for 4 Oscars, won one; brilliantly directed by Clint Eastwood, this film is a heroic take of the 40 days war between America and Japan to capture the island of Iwo Jima (a potential strategic point).

A brilliant war drama from the Japanese soldiers perspective, outstanding performances, a thrilling yet emotional storyline and very realistic depiction of the battle.

18. Red Cliff (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd0bqLQrtdE

Best-War-FilmsEmperor Han under the influence of his Prime Minister Cao Cao fought epic battles to unite all of China under his sole command.

Directed by John Woo, this film is the first part of the monumental battle of Red Cliff which altered the Chinese history forever.

Red Cliff II (2009) is probably even a better cinematic experience. Another must watch war-film. 

17.  The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca3M2feqJk8

Best-War-FilmsBased on the Algerian revolution in the 1950s, as the people of Algeria seeking independence rebel against the French government and fight a ruthless war that ends after a series of tortures and bombings.

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, commissioned by Algerian government, banned in France until recently, nominated for 3 Oscars in two separate non-consecutive years!

16. Kanal (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LnLszHOLNs

Best-War-FilmsSet in the last days of the Warsaw uprising in 1944, a group of Polish resistance fighters reluctantly use the sewer system to escape the indomitable German wrath.

Directed by Andrzej Wajda, this is a unique war drama that explores the human instinct of the soldiers to survive above everything else. A tragic yet highly realistic depiction of the ugly face of war.

15.  The Hurt Locker (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIbFvqFYRT4

Best-War-FilmsFinally a film on the bomb squad – the so-called technicians of the military who risk their lives many times a day to ensure safety for their troops.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this tensed war drama follows a maverick Sergeant (Jeremy Renner) who leads his bomb squad-team through the heart of the Iraq war’s modern IED warfare.

14.  The Cross of Iron (1977)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AonZdAfEQgA

Best-War-FilmsCross of Iron is one of the top military decorations awarded for extraordinary courage but what if somebody undeserving wants to claim it for his personal ambition?

Directed by Sam Peckinpah, a brutal portrayal of WWII as the film follows the fate of a German unit that faces extreme danger due to the treachery of their own commander. James Coburn‘s performance is exceptional!

13. Stalingrad (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlMw8CjyV80

Best-War-FilmsAs the name suggests, this one is an epic portrayal of the battle of Stalingard; from the time when the German Army… tries to invade the city till their struggle to maintain dominance in the cold Russian winter.

Directed by Joseph Vilsmaier, the sheer scale of the film is highly commendable, and then the brilliant performances, the realistic story-line, the music and the depiction of the ugly face of human devastation in a war – probably the best War film ever made.

12. The Cruel Sea (1953)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joUDAD3GB3g

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Though pretty successful when released, and yet so underrated, one of the lesser popular war films but believe me, it surely deserves a spot in this list.

Directed by Charles Frend, this one is a terrific war drama of a British convoy ship in action over the North Atlantic during the WW II. 

A powerful script, intense situations and superb acting, specially by Jack Hawkins.

11. Platoon (1986)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KztP7SKe0uk

Best-War-FilmsWar often gets too brutal for the young recruits and the Vietnam War was no different.

The film is directed by Oliver Stone (a Vietnam veteran himself) and he won the Oscar for this film!

It is said to be the most complete war film ever made, though it’s banned in Vietnam because of its depiction of the Vietnamese people. A must watch in the list!

10. Enemy at the Gates (2001)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O-sMh_DO6I

Best-War-FilmsWorld War II, the battle in Stalingrad will decide the fate of the war! And one Russian snipper Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law), seems to be making all the difference!

But then the Germans send a master snipper to compete, and then the deathly game begins!

Based on true characters, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, starring Ed Harris, Joseph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz – a brilliant war drama full of action, suspense and romance. Definitely the best snipper movie ever made!

9. Paths of Glory (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmDA60X-f_A

Best-War-FilmsDirected by none other than Stanley Kubrick, for me this film has always scored higher than Kubrick’s other two famous war-films Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Dr. Strangelove (1964).

The ruthlessness of the battle (WWI) and the dirty war-politics played by the higher army officials – portrayed to perfection.

One of Kirk Douglas‘s most memorable performances till date. 

8. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkrhkUeDCdQ

Best-War-FilmsMaster director Francis Ford Coppola shot nearly 200 hours of footage – a film that took 16 months of shooting and 3 years of editing!

Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando comes together in this psychologically disturbing Vietnam War saga. 

The sound of the helicopter wings panning from left to right as they are dissolve into a match cut with the ceiling fan – simply epic!

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiObc2XmVqw

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Directed by Lewis Milestone, this was the first talkie war film to win the Oscar! (won both the best picture and the best director awards).

Banned in Germany soon after its release as they claimed that the Germans were shown as cowards!

Though visuals of extreme violence was consciously avoided but still the film’s depiction of WWI is damn honest and brutal.

6. Das Boot (1981)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMj0_wCn6jM

Best-War-FilmsDirected by Wolfgang Petersen this is the epic tale of the crew of a German U-boat (submarine) during the last phase of WW II. 

Highly claustrophobic as most of the film is shot inside the submarine and yet so dramatic and powerful. Some of the tensed moments in the film are deliberately slow with a nerve wrenching effect on the audience. Jürgen Prochnow is brilliant!

5. Come and See (1985)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Ro0SZf438

Best-War-FilmsIn this film the horrors of war (WW II) is depicted in an ultra-realistic manner, often considered too graphic and brutal. 

Directed by Elem Klimov, the film revolves around a young boy who finds an old rifle and instinctively decides to join the Soviet Army. 

Original uniforms and live ammunitions were used for authenticity.

4. The Thin Red Line (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCmlOhsIwBk

Best-War-Films‘Every man fights their own war’ and so does each of them!

Directed by Terrence Malick the film was nominated for Oscars in 7 categories!

A philosophical war drama starring Jim CaviezelSean PennNick NolteAdrien BrodyJohn CusackJohn C. ReillyWoody HarrelsonJared LetoJohn TravoltaGeorge Clooney.

3. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlC7XBayj0s

Best-War-FilmsDirected by  David Lean who is also famous for his other war films like In Which We Serve (1942) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

Based on the story when the British prisoners in a Japanese camp were ordered to built a bridge. The film took 7 Oscars that year, won in all the major categories!

William HoldenAlec Guinness and Jack Hawkins in their career-best performances.

2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EsVtn2GvBo

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A team lead by Tom Hanks was set to save Private Ryan (Matt Damon) and bring him home.

Steven Spielberg directed this film and according to many film-lovers it contains some of the most authentic war scenes ever filmed (specially the Omaha Beach battle sequence).

Undoubtedly the most popular war film ever made. Also Voted #1 greatest war film in UK’s Channel 4 poll in 2005. 

1. Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=setzqMoEEUU

Best-War-FilmsThis is the story of 12 year old Ivan, a young war hero, a spy and most importantly a soldier!

Directed by the renowned Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky

The film is one of the most poetic and beautifully shot war films I have ever seen. Though it doesn’t show much of actual combat but still it manages to deliver the chills of war to its full effect.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2-1hz1juBI

Best-War-FilmsA biographical take on an American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) who fought the Battle of Okinawa without a gun!

Directed by Mel Gibson, this one is an astonishing tale of a man whose religious views didn’t allow him to carry a weapon, or kill anybody. But it didn’t stop him from saving hundreds of lives and winning the Medal of Honor for his incredible courage – without firing one single shot!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

The Gift (2015)

The Gift review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

‘Just because you’re done with the past doesn’t mean the past is done with you’.

gift-poster3A married couple Simon and Robyn (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) shifts into a new neighborhood with the prospect of a peaceful life ahead. But then Gordo (Joel Edgerton), an ex schoolmate of Simon arrives in the scene; a weird guy who seems a bit too eager to help out.

And then the sudden repetitive attempts of Gordo to become chummy ruffles Simon and Robyn’s social and personal equilibrium. And of course Simon is keen to stop such intrusions and is desperate to protect his family’s privacy.

But trust me, The Gift is not just another story of a random psycho who gets obsessed with some family and make their life a living hell. This film is much more complex and deeply rooted than that.

gift-poster2Writer/director Joel Edgerton, who also played the part of Gordo has done a good job in keeping the film away from any stereotype plot structure. 

A tensed thriller dependent on three leads and primarily based on a single location, and still manages to create the right amount of suspense with some unexpected twists that keeps the audience guessing.

So real and believable characters – Jason Bateman, generally seen as the comic guy has this time taken up a serious role and does justice to it. Rebecca Hall the wife looking for the truth is also very convincing. And then ‘Gordo the weirdo’ Joel Edgerton perfectly plays his creepy part – never going over-the-board with unnecessary dramatics.  

gift-poster1Decent camera work by Eduard Grau and crisp editing by Luke Doolan

Music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans perfectly compliments the mood of the film.

Overall, The Gift is a film that takes it’s own pace to reveal the plot but more importantly it succeeds in making the audiences feel very uncomfortable – the signature of a good psychological thriller!

Don’t miss this one, it’s a gift indeed.

Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)

Manjhi: The Mountain Man review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5

A man who is blinded by rage, a man who believes in true love, a man who has nothing else to loose, a man with tremendous willpower, a man with a mission.

manjhi_poster2The latest biographical drama by Ketan Mehta is inspired on the real life story of a poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi from a village called Gehlaur (near Gaya, in Bihar).

Gehlaur was surrounded by hills and the nearest town with school and hospital facilities was almost 70 km away, and that too one had to take a path around the difficult mountain road.

After the death of Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi (she accidentally slipped and fell from the mountains and couldn’t survive due to delayed medical treatment), Manjhi in a feat of madness vowed to take revenge on the treacherous Gehlaur mountains and cut it down to make a short-cut road for the benefit of his fellow villagers.

And incredibly enough Manjhi kept his word.

dashrat-manjhiIt took him 22 years but Dashrath Manjhi, single-handedly, with only a hammer and a chisel did slice the mountain and made a passage through it, reducing the distance from his village to the nearest town to a mere 15 Km.

An achievement of which even Thor (the mythological God of thunder always seen with a hammer) would probably be jealous or even proud of.

The film Manjhi: The Mountain Man tries to depict the passion and determination of Dashrat Manjhi. And it succeeds too to an extent but in a very ‘bollywoodish’ and filmy way!

Ketan Mehta, undoubtedly a talented director with a vision but in this case his job becomes easier because of the choice of casting.

manjhi_poster3Nawazuddin Siddiqui as we all know is the one of the finest actor in India and he himself admitted in a recent interview that playing the role of Manjhi is his best performance till date. Probably it’s not just promotional talk but he is telling the truth!

Nawazuddin easily transforms himself from the easy-going comic lover to a delirious victim of love. The madness in his eyes, his hysterical laughter, the frantic resolution and the demented strength of character – i can’t imagine anybody else performing such a challenging character.

Radhika Apte, playing Manjhi’s wife (Phaguniya), has also done a great job. In her no-blouse-saree-draped costume, she is the perfect combination of innocence and seduction. 

manjhi-poster3And then Tigmanshu Dhulia as the corrupt Mukhiya and Pankaj Tripathi as his scandalous son did make their presence felt.

The mountain man’s journey wasn’t an easy one – not only for the sheer physical strength that was demanded for the job but also because the ignorant man was repeatedly mocked, harassed, cheated and once even arrested. 

But the important lesson to learn is that he never stopped doing what he believed is right.

Darshat Manjhi is a legendary figure in his own right; though this 120 min film may not be that legendary but it surely made Manjhi a much more popular legend than before.

Ex Machina (2015)

Ex Machina review.

My Ratings: 4/5.

At one time Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the genius billionaire in a drunken feat recites these words before he finally swoons away.  …In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame, the good deeds a man has done before defend him.

ex-machina-poster2Another time Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), the young employee shares another quote with his boss Nathan. “I am become death, destroyer of the worlds”

These lines are extracts from Bhagavad Gita. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s quoted these exact lines after he successfully tested his infamous invention – the atomic bomb!

But what exactly did Nathan create which can be so dangerous and even has the potential to destroy the world?

A robot, Ex Machina or in Latin ‘Deus ex machina’ which means ‘a god From the Machine’.

ex-machina-poster3Mastermind Nathan, the creator of ‘Bluebook’ which seems to be the ‘leading search engine’ of the world (more like google in the real world) has recently managed to develop artificial intelligence! 

His latest robotic model is named Ava (Alicia Vikander), a female version of course. Beautiful and seductive.

And for the final ‘Turing test’ (a test that determines if the machine can pass itself off as human to another human), Nathan brings in one of his company’s young employer Cabel with the sole intention to monitor Cabel’s interaction with Ava.

By one week, if Ava doesn’t qualify the test, then she will be scrapped like her earlier versions and a new model will take her place. 

ex-machina-poster4But is Ava aware of her fate? Is she capable enough to change her own destiny?

A tensed Sci Fi thriller that revolves mainly around these three characters, a perfect combination of Nathan’s arrogant intellect, Cabel’s innocent confusion and Ava’s seductive benevolence.

Norway is the actual location of Nathan’s ultramodern house, though most of the film is shot indoor, which gives a claustrophobic feel and also symbolizes Ava’s confinement i guess.

Ex Machina is Alex Garland‘s directorial debut (also famous for writing novels and screenplays such as The Beach28 Days Later…Never Let Me Go) and undoubtedly he has done a great job. 

Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, both did great portraying their somewhat complicated characters. Swedish actress Alicia Vikander deserves a special mention since being a robot her expressions and body-language had to be very subtle yet effective.

ex-machina-poster5But the real winner in this 1 hour 48 min futuristic drama is the brilliant use of visual effects. The amazing special effects give the film it’s much necessary believability.

Rob Hardy, the cinematographer played well with the colors, mostly used Red, Green and Blue (RGB). And the music by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury compliments the visuals and often helps intensifying the tension. 

Many famous films like Steven Spielberg‘s A.I. Artificial IntelligenceRidley Scott‘s Blade Runner and then the latest Neill Blomkamp‘s Chappie – all has their individual takes on artificial intelligence but Ex Machina is probably the first one to make a psychological thriller out of it.

A bit slow paced maybe, and mostly dialogue based but in spite of not being personally a fan of Sci Fi movies, i find it pretty impressive.

Dilip Kumar – the man who redefined acting.

Dilip Kumar – the man who redefined acting.

written by Souranath Banerjee

In the 40s, when the legendary actors K.L. SaigalPrithviraj Kapoor and Ashok Kumar were still running the show in the Mumbai Film Industry, three superstars burst into the scene with their debut films lined up within a couple of years to each other – Dipil Kumar Jwar Bhata (1944), Dev Anand Hum Ek Hain (1946) and Raj Kapoor Neel Kamal (1947).

dev-anand-raj-kapoor-and-dilip-kumarThey changed the concept of stardom and in the process revolutionized Indian Cinema!

One of the most popular heroine of the time, Devika Rani and her husband Himansu Rai, the owner of the famous Bombay Talkies studio spotted young Dilip Kumar and gave him his first break.

And thus, at the age of 22, Mohammed Yusuf Khan, the son of a fruit merchant from Peshawar and at the time a canteen manager by profession, changed his name to Dilip Kumar and tried his luck in acting.

Dilip-kumar2But his first film Jwar Bhata was a big flop and all the critics doubted the debutant’s acting capability!

Little did they know that this debutant’s career will span over the next six decades and with over 60 films; that this aspiring actor will be the first recipient of Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954) and will also eventually hold the Guinness World Record for the maximum number of awards won by any Indian actor ever (8 Filmfare Best Actor awards and 19 Filmfare nominations). And in 1993 he was given with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award too.

Devdas-poster1Dilip Kumar is honored by the Government of India with the Padma Bhushan award in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions towards Indian cinema and is also nominated to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term.

Even the Government of Pakistan honoured him with their highest civilian honour Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1997!

Dilip Kumar’s image as an actor was primarily that of the ‘Tragedy King’. HulchulJoganTaranaDeedarDaagMadhumatiGunga Jumna – in all these films he specialized in playing the intensely passionate, sensitive yet doomed lover (no wonder he was also the ideal ‘Devdas’ for Bimal Roy‘s famous tragic drama Devdas 1955).

Madhumati-posterSuch was his involvement in these tragic roles that he soon suffered from depression in his personal life and following his psychiatrist’s opinion Dilip Saab started acting in light-hearted films and social dramas as well. Such films were AanAzaadNaya DaurMusafirKohinoor.

In the films Ram Aur Shyam and Dastaan he played double roles and in Bairaag he even did a triple role!

andazHis acting capability was probably most appreciated in Mehboob Khan‘s superhit film Andaz (1949) where he was paired opposite to Raj Kapoor and Nargis. And also (towards the last phase of his acting career) in the film Shakti (1982) where he clashed with superstar Amitabh Bachchan

But Dilip Kumar’s most popular role till date will be as Prince Saleem  in K. Asif‘s magnum opus Mughal-E-Azam (1957).

Mughal-E-Azam-posterHis performance – the emotional duels with Prithviraj Kapoor (who played the part of Akbar) and the romantic chemistry with Madhubala (who played Anarkali) have become some of the most proud moments in the history of Indian Cinema.

Dilip Kumar’s use of silence in certain scenes was legendary. Many a times he managed to convey a lot without even speaking a word, only through his eyes, expressions and body language.

And he mastered the technique of turning his back to the camera, hiding his facial emotions from the audience and intensifying the drama of the scene in an unique way.

A famous scene with Raj Kapoor from the film Andaz is a perfect example of such tenique.

He was recognized as “the ultimate method actor” by Satyajit Ray himself.

By the way, Dilip Kumar refused the role of “Sherif Ali” which was offered to him by the famous British director David Lean for his film Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The role eventually went to the Egyptian actor, Omar Sharif.

with-Bimal-RoyDilip Saab had great regards for director Bimal Roy with whom he had worked in classics such as YahudiMadhumati and Devdas. He fondly remembered him with his kind words:

Today we have institutions, they teach cinema, acting etc. We did not have these in our times. We had instead directors like Bimal Roy’.

As Dilip Kumar recently touched 90, we wish him good health and thank him for not only his enormous contribution to Indian Cinema but also for entertaining us for decades by his sheer enigmatic screen presence.

A living legend indeed!

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My ratings: 3.5/5.

Ethan Hunt is back again and one more time he has a Mission to accomplish.

mission-impossible-rogue-nation-poster2The mission as usual seems quite Impossible but do have faith in him guys – after all he is Tom Cruise and then again he has handled such impossible missions a lot many times before (four times to be exact).

So, once more Ethan and his team, the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) come together and this time they are in search of a mysterious rogue organization known as the Syndicate (which if you remember was briefly mentioned in the fourth film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol).

The team (more or less the same from the last installment), Jeremy RennerSimon Pegg and of course Ethan’s old trusted friend Luther (Ving Rhames who has been there in all five films of the franchise). 

mission-impossible-rogue-nation-poster3In addition, we have the female spy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who saves Ethan’s life a couple of times in the film and even beats him in the pulse-racing bike chase!

Alec Baldwin appears as the head of the CIA and Simon McBurney as the dangerous Syndicate boss. 

(It is said that Benedict Cumberbatch was the first consideration to play the villain).

Overall Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (though somewhat predictable) is a 130 min roller coaster ride of thrilling action and incredible stunts clubbed along with the ever-popular Mission: Impossible theme music (originally composed by Lalo Schifrin).

mission-impossible-rogue-nation-posterInterestingly enough all the so-called good-guys drive BMW vehicles in the film while the crooks drive either Audi or Mercedes.

Tom Cruise reportedly performed most of his stunts himself (without the use of special effects or a stunt double). Even the dangerous one where he climbs on the outside of a flying airplane (an Airbus A400M) suspended on the aircraft 5000 feet in the air!

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the fifth installment is as good as any of it’s preceders. May be even better.

Action/spy films, Mission Impossible music, Tom Cruise hanging from a plane – if you like any of these, your entertainment is guaranteed.  

 Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

Most sexually explicit erotic films ever made (20+1list)

Most sexually explicit erotic films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Most sexually explicit erotic films ever made: ‘The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting.’ – Gloria Leonard.

The above quote may be true to a certain extent but it needs a lot more than just lighting to create beautiful erotic moments in cinema.

There is a thin line that separates erotica from porn; often indeed a difficult task to specifically define their boundaries. Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsFor example,
according to me the works of directors like Tinto Brass and Zalman King are probably the highest achievements in porn and the very base level for erotica.

Lust, desire, urge, passion – cinema has the capability to arouse all these powerful emotions in the audience but only a handful of directors have actually used erotica to its full potential.

It’s not about simply showing sexual content but about creating the mood, the flavor, the drama and enhancing the emotions of the characters through it. The best sex scenes in a movie (no matter how explicit they are) serve their true purpose only if they justify the story-line.

And then, of course, how sensually they are enacted and dramatized is directly proportional to the audience’s excitement!

Here are some of the most sexually explicit erotic films made by the very finest directors from across the world.

Hope you enjoy the list.

20. Ken Park (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IeRBVFcEhU

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA unique portrayal of the lives of a handful of teenagers who has two things in common – dysfunctional families and skateboards.

Oh! and Sex too.

Directed by Larry Clark and Edward Lachman, this movie tries its best to bring-out the messed-up dilemmas of young suburban minds specially in regard to their sexual desires. Both experimental and explicit, definitely worth a watch.

19. Shame (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24cjqfVv1fs

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA man who can’t seem to maintain a steady relationship because he is always looking for sex! The complexities of the twisted mind of a sex addict and the burden of ‘shame’ he has to shoulder have never been so accurately shown before.

Director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender join hands after Hunger (2008), creates something so emotionally complex, controversial and yet so alluring.  

18. Shortbus (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z_K1tDkEa4

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films“So you’re a sex therapist and you’ve never had an orgasm?”

No sex therapists needed, if you are a New Yorker and having problems in your sexual relationships you visit to this exclusive club ‘Shortbus’.

Opened at 2006 Cannes Film Festival – director John Cameron Mitchell takes us through an explicit and exclusive journey of fun and sensuality.

17. Don’t Look Down (2008)

No mires para abajo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtSp0mi4twA

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA disturbed teenager while sleepwalking falls on the bed of a sensual girl who teaches him all about the ‘birds and the bees’ and much more!

Directed by Eliseo Subiela, a highly underrated film that speaks about death and sexuality, love and pleasure.

Definitely the most erotic coming of age movie ever made!

16. Sexual Chronicles of a French Family (2012)

Chroniques sexuelles d’une famille d’aujourd’hui (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmcwW5VQNX0

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA young teenager boy is caught masturbating in biology class and gets suspended from school. But before he eventually gets some real action his entire (French) family open up about their sexual experiences and desires!

Directed by Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr, a film that treats sex as a basic human necessity as sometimes it’s difficult to digest the fact that everyone (including our family members and relatives) enjoy the act of sex and there is nothing wrong about it.

15. En la cama (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV92axPOADM

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsTwo strangers meet up at a party and end up in a hotel room to have sex – casual sex. But can such a random encounter between two unknown people mean anything more significant than just a night of passion?

Directed by Matías Bize, the entire film is shot in one location with only two actors who share their fears, desires and emotions while having sex in regular intervals!

14. Lie with Me (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_lZsadY9XE

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA nymphomaniac girl finally meets her equal – an aggressive artist with whom she soon starts a steamy relationship but then he is a possessive man who demands commitment and she seems to be not ready for that yet.

Directed by Clement Virgo, one of the most sexy and well-shot film with abundance of explicit content through which the central characters are sketched and defined.

13. The Exterminating Angels (2006)

Les anges exterminateurs (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJYmQcgx8-o

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA filmmaker is keen on making a project about ‘female pleasure’. And so he starts taking multiple auditions of females, pleasuring themselves and pleasuring each-other.

Directed by Jean-Claude Brisseau, this is one underrated voyeuristic film that not only has many explicit scenes but it also successfully portrays a genuine and sensual side of love-making which is rare.

12. Bitter Moon (1992)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3EMSHqkbfI

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films‘Everyone has a sadistic streak, and nothing brings it out better than the knowledge you’ve got someone at your mercy.’

Directed by acclaimed Roman Polanski, and Emmanuelle Seigner at her sexiest – this film has some of the most sensual scenes wrapped by a brilliant story of revenge and betrayal. Obsessive lust can often work the other way and doom a relationship for ever.

11. Love (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrLwFw7kFI8

Sexually-explicit-erotic-filmsA couple who invites another girl into their bed but soon their threesome fun seems to misbalance their emotional relationship equilibrium.

Plenty of explicit sex scenes, stylishly shot and 3D too (a market strategy I guess), but overall there is an honesty about the characters which you can’t ignore.

Directed by Gaspar Noé, this is his unique and trippy take on sentimental sexuality. Go figure!

10. Stranger by the Lake (2013)

L’inconnu du lac (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgcEGKn7waI

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

The lake – a secluded spot for the strangers to become lovers. But what if one suspects his lover to be a murderer?

Directed by Alain Guiraudie, a suspense thriller that contains graphic gay sex. The sex scenes in this French film are natural yet non apologetic.

Not a single woman (actor) is used in the film!

9. In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

Ai no korîda (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP46wzCt-DA

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

This Japanese cinema was the first ever non-pornographic film to show some of the most unconventional sexual obsessions.

Directed by Nagisa Ôshima, the film is about the affair of a possessive woman and her master which leads to a wild climax.

Censored in most of the countries during it’s world-wide release; even the director was charged with obscenity on publishing the screenplay of the film in Japan itself. (Even its trailer in youtube is age-protected!).

8. Nymphomaniac: Vol. I & Vol. II (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdxzno5Xp2Y

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

The brilliant Danish director Lars von Trier came up with his most recent and probably his most sexually exhaustive film ever.

Edited in two parts, the film accounts for a self-claimed nymphomaniac and her innumerable erotic experiences. 

Charlotte Gainsbourg is as bold as ever but according to many critics the film is nothing but porn.

7. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

La vie d’Adèle (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2OLRrocn3s
Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Two young girls and their relationship – love, desire, despair and a lot of sex. 

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche – Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos brings to life one of the most sexually detailed lesbian affair on screen. 

The film is highly cinematic and has great emotional impact.

6. 9 Songs (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1HWcofsxJk

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

One of Michael Winterbottom‘s earlier works, this film is a collage of intense sexual encounters and rock concerts!

It doesn’t have a rigid narrative but overall the film manages to capture the mood of the young lovers to perfection.

The love-making scenes are very natural and erotic at the same time.

5. Sex and Lucia (2001)

Lucía y el sexo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLl_-3vHxFk

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

The Spanish director Julio Medem knows the secrets of erotica better than most of the others in his profession.

And working with as bold an actress as Paz Vega, the film boasts some of the best sensual moments ever created. 

The same director’s Room in Rome (2010) also recommended.

4. Boogie Nights (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOk0fsMGyck

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Starring Mark WahlbergJulianne MooreJohn C. ReillyHeather Graham – one of the most stylized and sexy film based on the pornographic industry in California in the 70s.

Directed by none other than Paul Thomas Anderson the film is the perfect combination of power, drugs, sex, music and passion.

The most stylish film in the list!

3. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Y tu mamá también (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qg6n7V3kO4

Alfonso CuarónSexually-explicit-erotic-films, the director of famous films like Gravity (2013) and   Children of Men (2006) have also directed this unique film.

Maribel VerdúGael García BernalDaniel Giménez – all together in this journey of self-awareness, eager to take on the teachings of life.

A road trip that involves friendship, love, trust and raw sexuality. Sex comedy at its best.

2. The Dreamers (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU1brBVMBkM

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Paris 1968, an American student who befriends a French brother and sister and experiences a unique level of friendship.

Michael PittLouis Garrel and the sensuous Eva Green (her first film).

Highly sexual in content, even incest and thus controversial – a film that only the acclaimed Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci could have handled so well. 

Far better than his other famous film Last Tango in Paris (1972).

1. Malèna (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIES83R56RY

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

Probably the most popular film based on the age-old concept of a young boy who is sexually attracted towards an elder woman.

Directed by the master director Giuseppe Tornatore of Cinema Paradiso fame, this Italian film (especially because of the voluptuous beauty Monica Bellucci) has become a benchmark of young sexual awakenings and sensuality. A must watch.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most unique one. A must watch).

+1. Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c0JTj9sl_Y

Sexually-explicit-erotic-films

And finally an Indian film by an Indian film-maker, none other than Mira Nair.

Starring RekhaNaveen AndrewsIndira VarmaSarita Choudhury among others, the film is an epic tale of sexual rivalry between two girls who were childhood friends. 

Candid sexual scenes throughout the film, elaborate and sensual in a very Indian way!

Some other films with extreme sexual and erotic content that could have easily made the list are I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967)The Lickerish Quartet (1970), A Real Young Girl (1976), Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), Jamón, Jamón (1992), Female Perversions (1996)Pola X (1999), Romance (1999), Killing Me Softly (2002), Wetlands (2013).

And now, a few classics which essentially deals with the psychology of sex like Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Fellini’s Casanova (1976), Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967), Pedro Almodóvar’s Bad Education (2004) and Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (2001). 

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Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.