All posts by Sriram Sundar

BEST PRISON ESCAPE MOVIES EVER MADE (10+1LIST)

Best prison escape movies ever made.

written by Sriram Sundar

Prison films are generally classified into two categories: the first type is the escape-drama where the jailbirds desperately attempts to break away from high security prisons, and the second category is more focused on the life inside the prison walls.

Now these Jailbreak movies are spiked with high dozes of suspense and tension; and most often you start sympathising with the convict and his desperate attempts for freedom – but then can he succeed in his attempt to break free or remain trapped in the system?

Well, let’s check out the fate of the prisoner in some of these Best prison escape movies ever made.

10. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hB3S9bIaco

Covering a period from 1946 to 1967, Shawshank focuses on the plight of a Maine banker, Andy Dufresne who sentenced to two life terms for the murder of his wife and lover.

Directed by Frank Darabont, this film was also nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman as Ellis Redding, the veteran inmate of Shawshank State Prison who takes Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne) under his wing. The greatest movie ever made..! Period.

9. Papillon (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_IWHw3z-U

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, this  movie is based on a book by the same name authored by Henri Charriere, a former convict and fugitive from Devil’s Island and though the work is fiction, the background is entirely based on real events.

Papillon  (Steve McQueen) is charged with a crime he hasn’t committed, and Luis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a fraud banker is convicted on counterfeit charges. Bound by mutual necessity, they soon become friends during their journey to Devil’s Island.

8. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSS0fH9zzFY

Directed by Don Siegel, this film is a little slow and doesn’t move in a breakneck pace but still, it is listed as a “classic” on most movie review sites,

Clint Eastwood strolled through this movie naturally as Frank Morris, a soft spoken, solitary prisoner who was destined to escape Alcatraz. Been rated PG (“parental guidance suggested”) as it includes some explicit violence, bloodshed and obscene language.

7. Anything for Her (2008)

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

Police burst into the house of happily married schoolteacher Julien (Vincent Lindon) and arrest his wife, Lisa (Diane Kruger) on suspicion of murdering her female boss. She’s given a 20-year sentence and he’s left to raise their small son.  As time passes, diabetic Lisa stops taking her insulin in an attempted suicide and Lucien feels that time is running out to keep his family together. He goes about meticulously planning her escape – but how does one go about breaking someone out of prison?

Directed by Fred Cavayé, it is a fast-paced and engrossing thriller that gained a nomination for Best First Work at the César Awards in 2009.

6. The Great Escape (1963)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkwmIDx9RwQ

This movie tells the story of a group of prisoners of war who try to escape from a Nazi POW camp during World War II, with the help of a meticulous and ingenious plan. Steve McQueen epitomizes the attitude with his frequent shenanigans.

Directed by John Sturges, “The Great Escape” is regarded as one of the greatest WWII films ever. The movie starts  with the signature theme tune that is heard around many football grounds even today.

5. The Hole (1960)

Le trou (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK7fZrSC6VA

Five prisoners housed in a French prison during the late 1940s awaiting sentence break through their cell floor, enter the insides of the prison, and get to the sewer system from where they can break into the regular sewage setup and finally freedom. But the best-laid plans are foiled by a newcomer who turns them in.

Sadly, this was Director Jacques Becker‘s last film – he died just a few weeks after filming on Le Trou had been completed.

4. Stalag 17 (1953)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T86RDFgzC5U

Directed by Billy WilderStalag 17 begins with two prisoners from the barrack who, after careful planning with the rest of inmates try to escape the camp but are discovered & shot down. It is  a light-hearted thriller drama that makes you laugh all along.

All eyes fall on Sgt. Sefton (William Holden) who frequently makes exchanges with German guards for small luxuries. To protect himself from a mob of his enraged fellow inmates, Sgt. Sefton resolves to find the true traitor within their midst.

3. La Grande Illusion (1937)

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

Director Jean Renoir tells us the story of a group of French soldiers who are held captive in prisoner of war camps during the First World War, the war that was to end all wars.

Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin) is a pilot and blue collar guy while Captain de Boldieu is an aristocrat. They are shot down by Captain von Rauffenstein, a German aristocrat, while flying a reconnaissance mission. This movie received an Oscar nomination for best motion picture of the year.

2. Midnight Express (1978)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buDEEC7tKv4

‘Midnight Express’ takes you into a world where the only thing that can keep you alive in this horrible real world is bravery.  This film also won two Oscars; ‘Best Music, Original Score’ and ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Directed by Alan Parker, it is the true story of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American tourist who gets caught trying to smuggle several kilos of hashish out of the country.

1. A Man Escaped (1956)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6nHFpKK6Lc

“When one is in prison, the most important thing is the door.”
– Robert Bresson

Based on the memoirs of André Devigny, who escaped from Fort Montlucin Lyonin 1943, during World War II, ‘A Man Escaped’ tells the story of Fontaine (François Leterrier), a member of the French Resistance who is imprisoned by the Nazis in Montluc prison after an unsuccessful escape attempt.

Director Robert Bressons masterpiece is still a pinnacle in French cinema.

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

+1. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QvF2FZZftY

For director Mervyn LeRoy, with a career that spanned more than three decades, ‘I am a Fugitive from a Chain’ Gang represented one of his first major successes.

James Allen (Paul Muni) is wrongfully convicted of a crime and is sent to work in a chain gang where he first encounters this living hell. He spends years of being treated like an animal by the inhumane prison system. But he waits, biding his time for the perfect moment to make a break for freedom.

BEST ROMANTIC FILMS Of Recent Times (10+1LIST)

Best Romantic Films of recent times!

written by Sriram Sundar and Souranath Banerjee.

‘We are most alive when we’re in love.’

Honestly, watching a saccharine romantic movie with THE special one by your side, a hot tub of popcorn within your reach, and then some chocolates and two curvy glasses of red wine – I don’t know about you but that definitely makes me feel alive. And how!

So, here is the special list of The Best Romantic films of Recent times – believe it or not, this list has been checked and approved by none other than St. Valentine himself!

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10. Annie Hall (1977)

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

Best Romantic films

Annie Hall is widely regarded for possessing one of the finest scripts of all-time, and rightly so. This exceptionally funny and yet melancholy film is a miracle of comic writing and romance.

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have the perfect chemistry and both create brilliant emotional parallels for their characters.  A must watch romantic film – one of Allen’s best Cinema ever!

 9. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

 Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DgDmUHVto

Best Romantic filmsMeg Ryan and Billy Crystal play Sally and Harry respectively, as they create an epic romantic chemistry on screen!

It’s 1977 and they share a ride from Chicago to New York. She’s fresh out of college, hoping to crack the journalism market; he’s romantically involved and onward to a political consultancy career. Are they compatible for love?

Directed by Rob Reiner, a fantastic film that defines what all romantic comedies should be! 

8. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmax1C1p660

Best Romantic films

London based Raj and Simran (Kajol) are happily leading their normal lives but a trip to Europe lands them into a surprise meeting with each other only to turn into love. While Simran’s father has fixed her marriage with his childhood friend’s son, Simran falling in love with someone else is not acceptable. Through this film, Shah Rukh Khan gave the name ‘Raj’ a whole new meaning!

Director Aditya Chopra, a historical film from India that will probably be watched for generations to come. 

7. Before Sunrise (1995)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25v7N34d5HE

Best Romantic filmsTwo people Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy meet each other, begin to talk and decide to spend the day and night together in Vienna. They spend some time in a church at midnight. They drink wine in a park. They find a way to exchange personal information by holding imaginary cphone calls with imaginary best friends. They talk about making love.

Directed by Richard Linklater, it is an ideal film for teenagers that keeps messing with your head long after it ends.

6. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05i3eIuJLaU

Best Romantic films

‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ chronicled the story of a mother, played by Rani Mukerji, who leaves eight letters for her daughter before her death, so that she can unite her father Shah Rukh Khan with his best friend, enacted by Kajol, as she believed he loved her.

Directed by Karan Johar created history when it released; not only was the film a roaring commercial success, it also brought in a wave of western concepts and style that were never-heard-before of in India! 

5. The Notebook (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC6biTjEyZw

Best Romantic filmsThis romantic drama, directed by Nick Cassavetes will make you fall in love and also make you cry for quite some time even after it ends.

The film recreated effectively the world of the 1940s in America, including the parental pressure exerted by the well-to-do family of Allie (Rachel McAdams) on whether to allow their daughter to pursue a young man from the other side of the tracks.  It moves between present-day and the 1940s. Ryan Gosling, as a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s is just brilliant. 

4. 50 First Dates (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjP5xMTc8I

Best Romantic filmsHenry Roth ( Adam Sandler) lives in Hawaii and spend his time wooing women who are visiting the island, simply because there is little chance of commitment. Then he meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore). One day they hit it off, and the next she doesn’t even recognise him. It turns out that she suffers from short-term memory loss, and every day he tries to win her over once more.

Directed by Peter Segal, this film is a lighthearted take on the notion of amnesia, with the emphasis clearly billed around a love story.

3. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsD0NpFSADM

Best Romantic films

Directed by Marc Webb, this one is not exactly your typical romantic film, but yet so full of Romance!

“This is a story of boy meets girl but you should know up front’ this is not a love story.” 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in love with Zooey Deschanel from the moment he met her.  But the relationship that lasts only for 500 days, is unfortunately a doomed one. the problem – he believes in love and she doesn’t!

2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj5_FhLaaQQ

Best Romantic films

Silver Linings Playbook opens with the release from a mental institution of the explosive Bradley Cooper after eight months’ incarceration. He’s been diagnosed as bipolar after beating up a fellow high school teacher.

Pain is the subtext of nearly every interaction in this film that is directed by David O. RussellWith Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro along with Brad this definetly is one of the very few feel-good movies that is so refreshing to watch even now. 

1. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss

Best Romantic films

Based on John Green’s bestselling novel, directed by Josh Boonethis film offers the first-person accounts of Shailene Woodley, a bright 16-year-old who can hardly remember not living with cancer.

When this incredibly charming 18-year-old Ansel Elgort appears to take a thing for her, at a mutual cancer support group, and soon their fates are sealed together. Do have some tissues ready when you plan to watch it!

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

+1. Titanic (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e-eXJ6HgkQ

Best Romantic filmsDirected by James Cameron, its $200 million budget shows in its glorious effects, dazzling camera work and lavish sets to name a few. ”Titanic” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It includes partial nudity, one brief sexual situation, mild profanity and the soul-shaking sight of a great ship going down.

But the most important aspect of the film is the love story between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet! This epic movie re-wrote the history of Cinema in numerous ways.

Poster courtesy:  www.imdb.com

BEST THRILLERS OF 2016 (10+1 LIST)

Best thrillers of 2016

written by Sriram Sundar

The greatest fascination and thrill for any person is the study of human psychology and behaviour. Such mind-games for survival creates an extraordinary atmosphere of mystery and intrigue! There is no greater thrill than pitting one’s mind with a worthy opponent and staying a step ahead in the psychological war-fare.

Very often, thrillers have complex story lines and can be challenging to follow, so as a viewer you are always guessing what is going to happen next.

So let us begin the list of the Best Thrillers of 2016 where you can experience danger without actually being in danger.

10. The Eyes of My Mother

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp2adx_ScA8

This one is not for the easily queasy audience. It is a stark, dreadful vision – but one that is fascinatingly executed, with a compelling central performance from Kika Magalhaes as a matter-of-fact monster!

Directed by debutant Nicolas Pesce, this is about a young girl exposed to unimaginable tragedy. And then being shot in black and white makes it more intense to watch!

9. Hush

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_P8WCbhC6s

A deaf woman takes on a psychopathic killer in a hugely effective film that recalls the opening of ‘Scream’.

Directed by Mike Flanagan, this film is about a mystery writer Maddie (Kate Siegel) who is unaware of her friend Sarah is being massacred feet away from her — pounding on her back door for help, too desperate to realize her Maddie can’t hear her! And then it’s her turn, to run, to defend herself or to fight it out till the very end.

8. The Boy

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpIbO6HEwr8

Greta (Lauren Cohan) arrives for a nanny job to a storybook mansion deep in the English countryside, to find dark corridors, creaking floors, mysterious owners, and a porcelain doll who is being treated as a person alive!

Director William Brent Bell masters the slow build, making us wonder throughout the film who’s crazy and who’s not!

7. The Girl on the Train

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkoEE1i0CX8

Rachel (Emily Blunt), devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.

A thriller about an alcoholic’s struggle to make sense of a close-to-home murder as well as her own mind. Directed by Tate Taylor, this film is based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel.

6. Nocturnal Animals

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H1Ii1LjyFU

When Susan (Amy Adams) receives a manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) and as she continues to read she has flashbacks to how her own relationship!

(Click for review)

A violent thriller directed by Tom Ford, Michael Shannon being Oscar nominated for his performance in the Best Actor Supporting Role category. 

5. 10 Cloverfield Lane

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saHzng8fxLs

After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.

(Click for review)

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, this film does a spectacular job of capturing nightmare logic. You sense danger even if you can’t explain it.

4. Don’t Breathe

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76yBTNDB6vU

What can $300,000 make you do? Three teenage thieves – Rocky (Jane Levy), Money (Daniel Zovatto) and Alex (Dylan Minnette) – desperate to make enough money and leave for a better life in California, break into the house of a blind Army veteran Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang).

(Click for review)

Directed by Fede Alvarez, this isn’t just any old home invasion thriller but it understands the limitations of the genre and works wonders within them!

3. Hounds of Love

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tddlYXhgFoo

Ben Young‘s first feature is an unflinching immersion into the nightmare of a teenage girl Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings), abducted and tortured by a serial-killer couple. But it doesn’t end there!

The strange dynamics between the couple Evelyn (Emma Booth) and John (Stephen Curry) as seen from the eyes of their captive is the essence of the film. A raw tensed thriller indeed!

2. Hell or High Water

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQoqsKoJVDw

Toby (Chris Pine) and ex-con loose cannon Tanner (Ben Foster) stage a series of heists against various branches of the bank, all the while pursued by Jeff Bridges, on deliciously crusty form as a Texas ranger nearing the end of his career.

Directed by David Mackenzie, this film is highly recommended not only for those who like bank robberies and persecutions, but also those who enjoy a good, well narrated film with a clever script and good direction.

1. Elle

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-iBBgcp7PY

Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) when attacked in her home by an unknown assailant vows to track the man down, but soon they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game – a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control and destroy them.

(Click for review)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, this film is one hell of a erotic thriller!

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

+1. The Neon Demon

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cipOTUO0CmU

 Sixteen-year-old Jesse (Elle Fanning) arrives in Los Angeles with dreams of being a model. She struggles to assert herself, making it a necessity for Dean, and concerned make-up artist Ruby (Jena Malone) to become more than just foils.

(Click for review)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the women in this movie are all impossibly beautiful and incredibly shallow at the same time. Stellar performances, amazing visuals and a unique storyline will cement this as a cult classic.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

IN CONVERSATION WITH SALONY LUTHRA FOR HER UPCOMING SHORT FILM ‘KAJAL’

In Conversation With Salony Luthra For Her Upcoming Short Film ‘Kajal’

interviewed by Sriram Sundar

Congratulations Salony on your brilliant performance in the short film ‘Kajal’.

Thank you very much!

Tell me something about your role in the film?

‘Kajal’ was a special journey for me!

It’s about a woman’s personal strength. And there are a lot of people who try to curb that, but then once you realize your inner power, it’s a totally different scene all together.

While I was doing the film I realized that we let so many people kill our personality and dominate us. Somebody will say something not nice to you and you start feeling you are not good enough. If that keeps happening over a period of time, you tend to lose your existence. It has happened to me as well, so ‘Kajal’ became a personal journey where I once again realized that I need to make something out of my life and not do something just for the sake of others!

Nowadays there are a lot of films based on women empowerment and ‘Kajal’ is also on those lines. So do you think the situation here in India is getting better or is it still the same?

In India, the conditioning of women is very different to the women in the west. As women, we are brought up in a way where our parent’s happiness and dreams are more important than our own. Our social structure is like that. After marriage, if your husband is liberal then you get to see a different side of life otherwise it’s going to be the same mundane lifestyle for you. Parental pressure for women is such that you forget your own personality. As women, we are very powerful but in India, we are not made to understand that. Hope people change their attitude towards women after this.

How did you prepare for the role? How hard was it to get into such a character?

Pakhi Tyrewala sent me the script when I was shooting for a Tamil film in Singapore. She also wanted me to put on weight for this.

I started observing women around me, like in bus stops, trains where they do not say much and just let things happen to them. Silence can be captured only when you are genuinely silent and it is more about what is happening inside you. So I guess I have given my best and done proper justice to the role (smiles).

What is your dream role?

My role in Tamil film ‘Sarabham’ is once in a lifetime kind of a role. The play that I am working on now is a two-actor play that any actor would break her legs for. I look for roles that empower me at the end of the day.

I have been fortunate to get the roles that I have done till now. I would also love explore World Cinema like French or Iranian films as I don’t feel the language as a barrier!

You gave us an award-winning performance in Tamil film ‘Sarabham’, you are part of several advertising campaigns and you are also doing theatre. So what kind of similarities or differences do you find between theatre, ads and movies?

All are beautiful forms of expression according to me. I had to do a lot of preparation for the Tamil films, as I was not familiar with the language. I like doing performance oriented roles but I will do commercial films if there is something interesting for me to perform as an actor. In theatre, being on stage with dialogues and so much happening around you is just a different feel. Ads are also very realistic and natural. For me, they are all very different and interesting mediums.

Great! And what are your upcoming projects?

Tamil short film ‘Oliyum Oliyum’ is doing the festival rounds right now. My play “Blackbird” is happening at National School of Drama’s (NSD) reputed International Theatre Festival ‘Bharangam’. I recently shot for an international film called ‘Forbidden’ which is also about the journey of my life. So those are in the pipeline.

Wish you all the best Salony and thank you very much for talking to CinemaForensic!

Thank you! Thank you so much.