All posts by Souranath Banerjee

Best Zombie Films of recent times (10+1list)

Best Zombie Films of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

The earliest Zombie movie ever made was White Zombie way back in 1932.

Till then hundreds of horror films have been made on this particular concept – reanimation of a human corpse by witchcraft or other White-Zombie-postersupernatural means who again loves eating other humans, turning them into ‘zombies’ as well!

Though entirely fictional but people seemed to be happy enough to watch these ‘bloody’ Zombie-movies and even get terrified by such a possibility in future!

Specially one director who is highly responsible for the popularity of the Zombie-genre is George A. Romero. His films Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) are some of the most recommended zombie-horror flicks ever!

A few other famous zombie movies I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Last Man on Earth (1964) and Zombie (1979).

And finally, let’s have a taste of some of the Best Zombie Films of recent times! 

10. Planet Terror (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yij3I7G44o

Planet-Terror-posterGrindhouse movie directed by Robert Rodriguez and this time he is big time into zombies! 

An experimental bio-nerve gas accident that turns people into flesh-eating, mutating zombies, and then a group of people join forces to save the town from these terrifying creatures.

With a hint of comedy and enough gore, this is a tribute to the 70s exploitation films.

9. Maggie (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ5Vz8qE8R8

maggie-posterArnold Schwarzenegger decides to do a zombie movie, that too free of cost because he very much liked the script! 

A slow emotional father-daughter drama that tries it’s best to focus on the sentimentalities about close relations turning into zombies.

Directed by Henry Hobson, it’s not your regular blood-gore zombie flick – something different to offer.

8. I Am Legend (2007)

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

i-am-legend-posterDirected by Francis Lawrence, this is the latest remake of Richard Matheson’s novel by the same name- earlier ones being The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971)

A post-apocalyptic horror film where Will Smith is the last human survivor left in New York City and perhaps in the whole world; everyone else being transformed into mutant victims of a plague. Can he find a cure to this madness?

7. I Am a Hero (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZu3sVK3JOE

I-Am-a-Hero-posterA zombie outbreak happens and an ordinary man turns into a hero while fighting a battle of survival!

Based on Kengo Hanazawa’s massively popular manga by the same name, and directed by Shinsuke Sato, this Japanese zombie film doesn’t at all restrict itself from showing all that violence and bloodshed. Fast and gory, decent performances and pretty realistic effects!

6. Dawn of the Dead (2004) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j69OPw9nFHw

dawn-of-the-dead-poster1This one is the remake of George A. Romero‘s zombie classic by the same name. And it is bloody violent and much more realistic!

Zack Snyder‘s directorial debut, this gory film is set when a worldwide plague is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies all over the world and only a few survivors desperate to fight back take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

5. 28 Days Later… (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7ynwAgQlDQ

twenty-eight-days-later-posterAn incurable virus has spread from the apes and now humanity is in the verge of extinction!

Only a few survivors remain and they try their best to survive ‘staying alive is as good as it gets’.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Danny Boyle, the film has the look and feel of a sci-fi, and of course one of the most stylish zombie films I have seen in the recent times.

A sequel that can also be taken under consideration 28 Weeks Later (2007) by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.

4. [Rec] (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGJ_jPKOj1c

[Rec]-posterAn apartment building where something terribly went wrong. A television reporter and cameraman follow the emergency workers into that dark apartment building trying their best to solve the crisis.

Directed by Jaume Balagueró,  Paco Plaza, this thrilling Spanish film is all blood and gore, shot in real locations and also chronologically filmed.

The second part of it [Rec] 2 (2009) and the US remake named Quarantine (2008) is also worth your time.

3. World War Z (2013)

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

world-war-z-posterWhen Brad Pitt stars in some zombie movie you know it will be of epic scale and it was!

Directed by Marc Forster, this story revolves around a man who is up against time to stop the Zombie pandemic threatening to destroy humanity.

Brilliant effects and crowd simulation and it is the highest-grossing film of Brad Pitt’s career!

2. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjGkB_oWTe0

girl-with-all-the-gifts-posterA dystopian future definitely after the zombie apocalypse, an army training base where certain kids are tutored regularly. But these kids are not exactly normal – they are zombies with human brains!

Directed by Colm McCarthy, this unique film is particularly about a zombie kid named Melanie and how she chose her battle of survival tagging along a few humans by her side! 

  1. Train to Busan (2016)

Busanhaeng (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyWuHv2-Abk

Train-to-Busan-posterDirected by Sang-ho Yeon, this film is about a group of people travelling on a fast train from Seoul to Busan while they find out that the outside world is getting affected by a virus that turns people into zombies! 

A kid and his father, a pregnant lady and her husband, a young couple and many more – all fighting for their lives in this horrific mess.

This South Korean zombie flick tops the list because of it’s super tight story line and brilliantly realistic visuals. Gory and believable!

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

+1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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

shaun-of-the-dead-posterAnd to end the list is the best Zombie-Horror-Comedy ever made!

Directed by Edgar Wright, a brilliant comic take on the zombie apocalypse and of course the several tips and tricks on how to survive through it. 

The hilarious combination of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is as always too funny – bloody tasty!  

Other popular Zombie-Horror-Comedies are Zombieland (2009) and Juan of the Dead (2011).

Similar Interest: Best horror Comedies.

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

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Elle (2016) – BEST OF 18TH JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2016!

Elle review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

If a rape victim desires to return to the act itself, then the next time, does she still remain a victim?

My Ratings: 4/5

Quality erotic thrillers are hard to find but then Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven often comes to our rescue.

elle-reviewHis latest French thriller Elle was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and also has already won the Golden Globe Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language and the lead Isabelle Huppert won for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama!  

The film starts with a disturbing rape scene that makes the audience uncomfortable enough but then the alarming normality maintained by the ‘victim’ as she continues to perform her daily routine becomes even more disturbing. Why doesn’t she complain about her violation? How can she be so inert about her abuse? Does she know the attacker or will she track him down?

Multiple relations and several interesting plot lines crisscross their paths, and one has to admire the Dutch director’s subtle use of comedy throughout the movie, but then again, the erotic undercurrent is what makes the film so special!

elle-reviewAnd of course Isabelle Huppert‘s brilliant performance!

Actually “Elle” means “She” and so the whole film is seen from the perspective of the central character Michèle and Isabelle Huppert simply owns the part. Her beautiful, sexy looks, her cold and courageous character, her raw animal desires and her level of supreme confidence – no doubt she is the spine of this film.

Though according to me the ending of the film doesn’t justify her character at all but then again a performance to cherish for sure.

Based on the novel “Oh…” by Philippe Djian, I think the best compliment for this film would be that it feels very much like a Michael Haneke film, a lighter version may be with a hint of comedy in it!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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In Conversation with Milind Dhaimade – the very talented writer/director of Tu Hai Mera Sunday

In Conversation with Milind Dhaimade – the very talented writer/director of Tu Hai Mera Sunday.

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Milind Dhaimade – an independent filmmaker who believes that everybody is born for some purpose in life and for him it is film making!

His film Tu Hai Mera Sunday is been considered as one of the most entertaining films at the recent Mumbai Film Festival and immensely appreciated as well.

In Conversation with Milind Dhaimade as he talks about his journey as a filmmaker!

Hi Milind, Welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you so much.

Your film ‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’ was screened in Mumbai Film Festival and got a very positive response. Feels good? 

Great actually!

I never thought of Tu Hai Mera Sunday as a festival-film at all. It’s a very ‘happy’ kind of film, if you know what I mean. It’s a Bombay-story and bits of it is from my life. So when we got selected for Film Bazar and for BFI London Film Festival, I was pretty shocked! I mean U R M SUNDAY TYPO (2)wow! looks like we have made something that also has an international appeal (smiles).

But for me the real joy is always home you know. You want to know what will people think in India, in Bombay. We did some screenings and we always got positive responses from the audience. And that’s why Mumbai Film Festival was fantastic for me, home ground – the ultimate test and it all went so well!

Superb! So tell me how did it all start, you have an advertising background right? 

Yes. See, though I come from a non-filmy background but from my childhood I was very much interested in theatre and films.

But I come from a tough family where people expect you to have real jobs. Then somebody told me about advertising where you can be creative and also have a job, like I can write and make my own stuff. And that’s how I started the journey of advertising and I enjoyed it very much; a great training process of instantly thinking on your feet, thinking of 10 different things at one time and all. But at the back of my mind this filmmaking thing was always there.

So when did you start planning to make a film? 

Actually there was no proper plan as such. It was not like ‘ok look, so after ten, twelve years I will make a film’.

While making ad films I met some very good filmmakers and had a great time working with them. Soon we (me and my wife) were way up in the corporate ladder, we could go higher as well but at some In Conversation with Milind Dhaimadepoint you realise that the higher you go the lesser is the creativity part you know. It’s more of people management and salaries and stuff like that. Then we realised that we are getting away from the things we liked to do, it’s all about sustaining in the corporate goals and all.

At that time in 2005, me and my wife had a chat and decided we should do what we always wanted to do. So we quit our jobs and started planning to make a film. For me it’s like from a very early age you know that you are born for a purpose and you kind of know that you are gonna do it somewhere down the line no matter when. So I was pretty sure about this. The only thing I didn’t know was how?

So by this time you have decided on a particular story?

I started developing a few stories, and then what happened, I had a friend in advertising, Vinay Kanchan and they have a group called Juhu Beach United. So these bunch of guys play at Juhu Beach every Sunday. They come from mixed background and they just love playing football. So it just struck me that what would happen if these In Conversation with Milind Dhaimadeguys couldn’t get a place to play on a Sunday – what would they do? That’s how the story started developing.

Finally in 2008 I started writing this, and I took my time. As I said there was no plan or deadline as such. So for one and half years down the line we kind of had the final version. And also over the years I have picked my team, it took time but it’s very important that you choose the right people with whom you want to work.

Then the other thing was shopping the script. Not that we went to too many studios but you also realise that there is a certain film culture here which is little weird, basically it’s not based on scripts but it’s based on casting and actors. But this film is about everyday guys – if you put some high profile stars in it – it simply won’t work. And we were very sure whom we wanted to cast and the casting directors Anmol (Anmol Ahuja) and Abhishek (Abhishek Banerjee) did a great job. Be it Barun SobtiShahana GoswamiPallavi Batra, Avinash Tiwary, Vishal Malhotra, Masnvi Gagroo, Rasika Dugal, Suhas Ahuja, Nakul bhalla, Jay upadhyay and Shiv Subhramaniyum – it was a perfect cast.

So finally we decided to fund it ourselves, put together whatever money we had and the best part is my wife agreed! Surprisingly! (laughs).

In Conversation with Milind DhaimadeAnd finally in 2015 we started putting it together, by then the script was locked and the casting was done, and the funds ready. Then I spent six months with my music director Amartha Rao, doing the songs and the music. Each song is based on some idea in the film so – we wanted the songs to be really special! And ya, so by May 2016 we were on floor, shooting it.

And so for how many days did the shoot went on?

It was a 38 days schedule – mostly Bombay and a few days in Goa – a week or so. It was amazing because 38 days was 38 days. Nothing went off track and everything was fantastic! My producer Varun Shah had planned it beautifully. Normally whoever comes out of a film shoot comes out with a regret, barring whoever has invested in it but here everybody was happy, everyone enjoyed. All of my crew are actually writing to me saying ‘now make the next film’. We had a great time!

That’s so cool! So after the shoot got over did it take much time in the post? 

Yes, we took our time in post as well. It took around six months, I think by 2015 December it was done. We also had some international buyers and distributers interested in our film, so some time went in getting an international cut as well. They wanted a shorter version.

So when is ‘Tu hai mere Sunday’ going to release in the theatres?

See the good thing about this film is it’s not totally a festival film nor entirely a commercial film. It can be very well enjoyed by the In Conversation with Milind Dhaimadeaudience, intelligent audience. So currently talking to people about the whole distribution and marketing plans – and I am realising a lot of stuff about ‘making-a-film’ Vs ‘selling-a-film’. And that making is actually very easy – like 25% of the whole process. The harder part is of course selling it. But then we have lot of positive responses, but we just have to choose the right kind of partnership. So, it will be releasing soon.

All the best for the release of your film Milind and now tell me something about you, like when did your get interested in filmmaking?

Thank you.

Well, as a kid, when I think back now – I always loved movies. I had a ritual of watching one film a week without my father knowing about it. I would flick money from his wallet and I would go alone and watch films (laughs). Yes, all my childhood I have seen movies alone!

But that time of course I wasn’t thinking of movies as a career or so, it was just my passion. And my favourite thing was to watch these In Conversation with Milind Dhaimademovies and then narrate them to my friends and that too I would put my own masala in those stories while narrating them. I think I loved entertaining people and also the attention!

With my friends I used to do plays in my locality when we were just six, seven years old. During the summer time we didn’t have much to do, so we would write our own crap and perform. Once I remember we saw The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and we made our own play based on that. It was rubbish but that’s how it all started (laughs).

I was supposed to study science and get a decent job, the typical middle-class Maharashtrian path all chalked out for me. But in college I soon realised I was not cut out for science and ended up joining commerce. My dad freaked out and finally decided I should go for CA. I also promised I would study hard. But then I got introduced to theatre and that changed my life.

There was this intercollegiate competition where me along with my friend put up a play and it won all the awards! And after that there was no looking back for me. We started writing, acting and directing our own plays and I thoroughly enjoyed this process. I liked directing more than acting and so I slowly shifted on this side of the camera.

So in college we were obsessed with theatre and films, and now when I look back it’s great, I realise this is what I always wanted to do – making films!

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Best Animated Films of 2016 (10+1list)

Best Animated Films of 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

Animation films are pure magic!

On one hand animation movies are the enjoyment package for a complete family and on the other hand, perhaps there are no other medium in this world that gives an artist such freedom of expression and creativity other than Animation!

Similar Interest: Best Animated Films of 2015

And so, it’s time to celebrate some of the Best Animated Films of 2016! Enjoy!

10. Kung Fu Panda 3

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

kung-fu-panda-three-posterAfter a long wait of 5 years, finally the third one comes along where Po, the Panda gets a chance to show off his amazing Kung Fu skills!

Directed by Alessandro Carloni,  Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and voiced by Jack Black this DreamWorks Animation produced instalment is packed with enough action and fun! 

Far from being the last movie in the franchise, another 3 Kung Fu Panda films are planned ahead!

9. Moana

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

moana-poster1“lassoed the sun with a fish hook and pulled the land from the ocean.”

A brilliant adventure from  Walt Disney Animation Studios that has the most amazing look and feel – a visual treat for everyone.

Directed by Ron ClementsDon HallJohn Musker and Chris Williams – and then there is Dwayne Johnson‘s eyebrows, I mean voice.

8. Sing

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYHBD9RF2dk

sing-posterIllumination Entertainment owned by Universal Pictures presents their second musical film, first one was The Lorax in 2012.

The story of the greatest singing competition of the year, featuring over 85 hit songs from the 1940s till the present day!

Directed by Christophe Lourdelet,  Garth Jennings, this one is a treat specially for music lovers!  

7. Sausage Party 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBdeE7mzED4

sausage-party-posterTruth about life and death, about the world and it’s existence – well know it all from a sausage!

Directed by Greg Tiernan,  Conrad Vernon, the most unique concept I have come across specially for an animation movie. Seth Rogen is hilarious!

Presented by Annapurna Pictures,  Columbia PicturesPoint Grey Pictures, jokes a bit on the adult side but very much recommended!

6. Finding Dory

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

finding-dory-poster1

Pixar Animation Studio’s seventeenth feature film!

Ellen DeGeneres voices for the most popular animation character Dory, the blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so!

Brilliantly directed by Andrew Stanton,  Angus MacLane, this is the second instalment of the superbly successful Pixar Animation StudiosWalt Disney Pictures presentation Finding Nemo (2003). 

5. Kubo and the Two Strings

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4-6qJzeb3A

kubo-and-the-two-strings-poster1Laika Entertainment famous for their earlier production Coraline (2009), this time presents the longest stop-motion animation film till date!

Directed by Travis Knight, this is the adventurous story of a boy named Kubo!

A unique blend of animation and origami, made out of 145.000 photographs, turned into one of the most visually spectacular film!

4. Ethel & Ernest

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXDlEw5u8u8

Ethel-&-Ernest-posterDirected by Roger Mainwood and produced by Ethel & Ernest Productions and Lupus Films, the tale of a family from the early 30’s in London! 

With the backdrop of WWII this hand drawn animated film is based on the award winning graphic novel by Raymond Briggs and the story (it is a true story) is based on the lives of Raymond Briggs’s parents. A brilliantly well-made emotional film – a must watch!

3. Your Name

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU47nhruN-Q

Your-name-posterThis year CoMix Wave Films presents the most successful anime film of Japan and also an artistic brilliance.

A surrealistic fantasy tale of two strangers getting connected in the most unconventional way possible!

Brilliantly directed by Makoto Shinkai, this is one film that cannot be missed this year.

2. The Red Turtle

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw7BggqBpTk

red-turtle-posterA man marooned on a deserted tropical island which is only populated by turtles, crabs and birds.

A superb film without dialogues, the first non-Japanese film to be produced by Studio Ghibli.

Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit, same director who made the best animated short film seen by me ‘Father and Daughter‘. 

  1. Zootopia

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWM0ct-OLsM

zootopia-poster1It’s the world of anthropomorphic animals and a rabbit becomes a cop. With her partner, a con artist fox, they solve the most mysterious case in town!

(click for the review)

Directed by Byron Howard,  Rich Moore and Jared Bush, a Walt Disney Animation Studios presentation and undoubtedly the best animation film of the year!

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

+1. Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks

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

Doctor-who-posterIn 1974, all six episodes of the original tapes for “Power of the Daleks” were erased from the BBC archive!

But luckily fans at the time recorded the soundtrack directly from the television and so after 50 years BBC America presents the animation version of the series – directed by Christopher Barry and perfectly synced with the original lost-footage audio. 

A brilliant Si Fi totally worth your patience.

A few other films that didn’t make the list but still worth your time are StorksTrollsThe Angry Birds MovieLeap!Ice Age: Collision CourseOne Piece Film: Gold and The Secret Life of Pets.

Similar Interest: Best Animated Short Films

Similar Interest: Best Animated films not for kids

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

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Most Violent and Gory films ever made (10+1list)

Most Violent and Gory films ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Does anybody like violence? Of course not. But then how come these hard-core violent Cinemas from all across the world become so popular?!

Similar Interest: Most sexually explicit violent films

For me, it makes sense in showing all the blood and gore only if a film succeeds in involving it’s audience to that extent where the viewers justify and relate to the on screen extreme violence. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time and fake blood!

So, let’s start with the ultimate list of most Violent and Gory films ever made.

10. Martyrs (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7Qx2dT-lUw

martyrs-posterFifteen years being abducted and tortured, enduring some of the most horrifying experiences – it’s time to take revenge.

This nightmarish French film is a highly disturbing one with heavy duty violence, torture and bloodshed.

Director Pascal Laugier has claimed that he was inspired to make this film after watching Eli Roth‘s Hostel

9. The Woman (2011)

The W (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNS0Gc9Rmg

woman-posterA sophisticated, so called civilised family – a couple with their two young children, take upon them the duty to ‘domesticate’ and ‘civilise’ a tribal wild woman whom they keep captive in their basement.

Directed by Lucky McKee, this film inspite of all the violence and gore, also raises a very important question about the very definition of who are really the ‘civilised’ ones?

8. The Snowtown Murders (2011)

Snowtown (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcoCTA2IZ7c

snowtown-posterHaving the backdrop of Adelaide’s northern suburbs, this Australian film explores the story of a family that over a period of time experiences some unimaginably brutal and violent events!

Directed by Justin Kurzel, one of the most sadistic films in the list

And when said to be based on true events, the infamous ‘bodies in the barrels’ murders – the film becomes a notch more horrific!

7. Dream Home (2010)

Wai dor lei ah yut ho (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4dD1Fvw6XI

dream-home-poster1A young working girl wants to fulfil her dream of owning a home but unfortunately the deal gets cancelled! But does that necessarily mean the end of her dream too?

But it surely does become a nightmare for others!

Directed by Ho-Cheung Pang, this Chinese film has some horrifyingly violent scenes and enough gore to qualify this list.  

6. High Tension (2003)

Haute tension (original title)

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

high-tension-poster1The story of two friends (girls) on a vacation in a secluded farmhouse, but soon their peaceful weekend-plans takes a horrible turn as a dangerous sadistic intruder tries to break in with the sole intention of brutally killing them! 

Directed by Alexandre Aja, this French film is one twisted movie oozing with blood and gore, and also with a great amount of suspense and thrill.

5. Inside (2007)

À l’intérieur (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FKVN4JxvlE

inside-posterThis French film has a very unusual storyline – a pregnant woman who has recently lost her husband is being tormented by another crazy woman who wants her unborn child!

Suspense, thrill, extreme violence and a strange sense of mystery.

Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, this one is gruesome enough to fit this list.

4. The Loved Ones (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBwd3Zl23HQ

the-loved-ones-poster1‘The trick is not to go too far. Just enough to break through the skull’ – the ideal use of power drills!

A guy turns down a girl’s invitation to the prom but had no idea how far the consequences of his act will lead to.

Directed by Sean Byrne, this is one of the most devilishly dark Australian film where the level of sadism reaches to new heights by the end of it.  

3. Ichi the Killer (2001)

Koroshiya 1 (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orKKM9e5QQ4

ichi-the-killer-posterA sadomasochistic man in search of his boss finds a lot more than he ever dreamt of. An adaptation of a manga by the same name, this film’s common theme is violence and torture!

Coming from the acclaimed cult director Takashi Miike, this Japanese film have set a bench mark in portraying extreme  psychopathic behaviour in an obscenely over-exaggerated manner!  

2. Hostel (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d5_lrn9v-g

hostel-poster1Three young guys, backpackers in Amsterdam looking for some fun – mostly women and drugs. But soon their lives turn upside down as they become the victim of some people’s violent fetish act!

Extreme level of violence, blood and gore and also a blockbuster hit film!

Directed by Eli Roth, this film has achieved a cult status among the horror/violent/slasher film-lovers.

The other two parts may be missing on the surprise element but definitely not the goriness – Hostel: Part II (2007) and Hostel (2011).

  1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USSnC-1Oq2g

cannibal-holocaust-posterIn the deep Amazon rainforest some film reels were found by a professor (an anthropologist). These films were shot by a documentary-crew who got disappeared two months ago!

This Italian film (once banned in 50 countries) has been the top of this list for it’s extreme and detailed portrayal of violence.

Right after its premiere in Milan, the director Ruggero Deodato was arrested and charged with obscenity and murdering his actors. Later the charge was dropped when the actors appeared in court, alive and well. The animal deaths in the movie were real though!

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

+1. Guinea Pig (film series)

original title: Ginî piggu

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k23G7X7CBGE

guinea-pig-posterThis is not exactly about one particular movie but a series of seven controversial Japanese gory horror films from 1980-90s.

The films were so brutal and insanely violent that the director/producer Hideshi Hino was questioned by the police and taken to the court where he eventually had to prove that nobody was actually hurt or murdered while making these films!

The most popular among these films are their second one known as Flower of Flesh & Blood.

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

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In Conversation with Alankrita Shrivastava – the very talented writer/director of Lipstick Under My Burkha!

In Conversation with Alankrita Shrivastava – the very talented writer/director of Lipstick Under My Burkha!

Interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Alankrita Shrivastava – a filmmaker drawn to telling women’s stories, inspired by different forms of art, who sometimes uses books and paintings to prepare actors!

alankrita-20Her second film, Lipstick Under My Burkha was selected and well appreciated at this year’s Mumbai Film Festival.

In Conversation with Alankrita Shrivastava as she talks about her journey as a filmmaker!

Hello Alankrita, welcome to Cinema Forensic! Lipstick Under My Burkha got such a positive response at MAMI this year – how do you feel about it?

Thank you. Yes, it is very exciting, very heartening to know that it’s been so well received.

It is a very gratifying feeling for a film maker when people are watching and enjoying their film; also it is very interesting to see the reaction of people, even from other cultures. My film is rooted in a specific Indian cultural context. So it’s exciting for me to see the universality of emotions and characters cutting across cultural barriers!

Yes indeed. Lipstick Under My Burkha – such a unique name and also a very different storyline, so how did you come up with this idea?

I don’t know, I didn’t think about it consciously. There was this thought that just emerged in my head – that I wanted to tell the story of four women who are kind of cloistered, want to do more lipstick - plabita - press release 3with their lives and how they go about doing it.

Even though I am brought up in a very liberal and educated background, I still don’t feel fully free and so wanted to explore that feeling. Sometimes I feel like something is holding me back. I thought that it would be interesting for me to explore that in a way where there are also external things holding you back, not just internal things. The whole idea was that how one can sort of break free even while being cloistered.

That’s very interesting, and when you wrote the script of the film how did you start with it – like you have written the script in one go or like …

No, this script is a very long story in itself, because I thought of the title and the essential concept more or less at one go. I wrote it in 2012 and took it the NFDC Screen Writer’s Lab. That was a very helpful experience. But that time I was also trying to write another film which finally didn’t happen.

So, then at the end of 2013 I decided to work on the script again.

And then I got my friend Suhani Kanwar,  to  help me with additional screenplay, and Gazal Dhaliwal to work on the dialogue. So the script developed over time.

Most good scripts come out like that only huh?

Ya? (smiles). I don’t think any writer intends to be like that but then sometimes it takes long. But I agree because I feel if you let a thought stay for a longer time it just matures in a way, it deepens.

So, after the script is final, then how do you plan the production, like how did you get in touch with the producers, and what about the casting process?

Casting Koko (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Ratna (Ratna Pathak) was relatively easy – I sent the script to them and they liked it.

Mr Jha had come on board as the producer earlier, since I had been working with Prakash Jha Productions for many years. They Lipstick - ratna - press release -2produced my first film as well.

But for the other two girls and for selecting the rest of the cast I will give full credit to my casting directors Shruti Mahajan and Parag Mehta. They worked really hard.  We tested a lot of people and then finalised Plabita (Plabita Borthakur) and Ahana (Aahana Kumra). So I honestly give credit to the casting directors and my assistants for digging out the many gems in my film. They did a fantastic job!

And so after the cast being decided, did the production start write away?

It took a while. We finished shooting in the first half of 2015. I was editing for a while. Then I took the cut to the Work-in-progress Lab at Film Bazar. The lab was very helpful, because we had editors from other parts of the world, and programmers and producers who were part of this panel. They watched the film a few times and gave us feedback and then an editor actually worked with us. My editor Lipstick - aahana - press release 4Charu Shree (Charu Shree Roy)  and I both gained a lot through that process and made some dramatic decisions about the overall edit of the film.

For me what is nice is that I have really grown with the project because it has almost been like film-school like thing. The screen writer’s lab, the edit lab… And even the actor workshops with Atul (Atul Mongia). He is just fantastic. I learned so much as a director working with Atul, about how to work with actors.

It’s really been a process you know and it’s still going on (laughs) – currently we are finalising the distribution deal for the film’s release and again that’s a challenge.

Wish you all the best Alankrita. Now tell me something about yourself – how did you become interested in films, like from the childhood – your journey as a film maker?

No, actually I went to this all-girls boarding school in Deharadun called Welham Girl’s School and there we had this activity class – where the senior girls would make audio-visual films which were alankrita-2screened at the annual day. It was like huge screen and thousands of people watching. I saw that when I was in a junior class and I just wanted to be one of the girls in that AV team. So I joined the Audio Visual class.  I guess that was the beginning for me. I felt the power of telling the story through this medium. Also I always used to read books since I was very young, then my father always told me stories – so this storytelling process was always in my mind. (smiles).

I did my BA honors in journalism from Lady Shriram College and did lots of media internships during that time.

And then I did my masters in Mass Communications from Jamia Milia Islamia. After that I was very clear that I wanted to do films. I started working with Mr.Prakash Jha as a trainee assistant, then one thing led to another. I assisted on Gangaajal and then I was chief assistant on Apaharan, I was associate director on Rajneeti and in between I was executive producer on Sudhir’s film Khoya Khoya Chand and also another film called Dil Dosti Etc. In-between I made my short film (Open Doors with Tisca Chopra), and after Raajneeti I directed my first feature Turning 30!!!

And finally some films that influenced you, made an impact on you as a filmmaker?

I’m not that influence by films in terms of my thought process but I Lipstick - konkona- press release 1am much more influenced by books, especially female feminist writers like Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison and most recently by Elena Ferrante.

I am not sure I love watching films as much as I love reading books. I love making films though!

Thats really interesting because most of the filmmakers say that films have been their major inspiration but for you it has been books!

Because you know, what I feel is that, honestly if you are expressing yourself in a certain medium, that doesn’t mean that all your influences have to come from that same medium. I think film is after all a coming together of different art forms!

So while directing Turning 30!!! the references I gave to my actors were paintings, and excerpts from novels which I felt represented their characters in the film!

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Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2016 (10+1list)

Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

Curiosity is an unquenchable thirst of mankind and that is exactly why so many thrillers are being made nowadays. And 2016 has been indeed a thrilling year for Bollywood!

Enough murder mysteries, conspiracies and suspense dramas, be it fictional or based on real events, most of these films have managed to keep us guessing till the end.

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2015

So without any more introduction, let begin the list of the Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2016.

10. Rustom

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L83qMnbJ198

Rustom-poster1959, the story of Rustom Pavri as the decorated naval officer who is accused of murdering his wife’s lover – three shots that shocked the nation!

Directed by Dharmendra Suresh Desai, this is a decent crime drama, a court room suspense thriller that reveals itself in time. 

As expected Akshay Kumar gives a great performance.

9. Madaari

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4s3JmLGLCA

Madaari-posterA war against the government, a fight against corruption, and a man seeking his personal revenge!

A thriller directed by Nishikant Kamat, that tells us the story of a man who has lost his family and blames the corrupt government for his loss and now he is out to take his vengeance. 

Irrfan Khan and Jimmy Shergill makes the film a decent watch.

8. Te3n

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeBCB5ERnps

Te3n-posterA remake of the South Korean thriller Montage (2013), the Bollywood version revolves around a grandfather (Amitabh Bachchan), a cop (Vidya Balan) and an ex-cop turned priest (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) – all desperate to solve a case of kidnapping.

Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, a slow paced yet well articulated thriller that keeps you guessing till the end.

7. Phobia

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBP6rYLfgFE

Phobia-posterA young girl due to some tragic events become agoraphobic – develops a phobia of the outer world. But being indoors also starts taking a toll on her mind.

Innovative storyline, good cinematography, and brilliant performance from Radhika Apte.

Directed by Pawan Kripalani, this is probably the most underrated thriller of this year.

6. Wazir

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdwM7xKOph0

Wazir-poster1A master chess player and a valiant cop become friends but soon they fall prey of some dark conspiracy that threatens to twist their lives forever.

(Click for Review)

Directed by Bejoy Nambiar, this is a thriller that tries it’s best to hold the suspense till the very last scene. Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar at their best.

5. Airlift

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb5xCMbMfZ0

Airlift-posterIn 1990, when Iraq invades Kuwait, almost 170,000 Indians lost their homes and were stranded until one Indian businessmen named Ranjit Katyal managed to rescue them all – and it is the largest and the most successful evacuation mission ever attempted by any country, in the history of the world!

Directed by Raja Menon, this Akshay Kumar starrer is one historical drama that can be well qualified as a ‘thriller’ because of it’s tight suspenseful storyline.

4. Kahaani 2

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez4mXaeSKuk

kahaani2-posterAfter the huge success of Kahaani in 2012, this time director Sujoy Ghosh and actress Vidya Balan has teamed up again to give us another suspense thriller. 

A woman whose daughter goes missing and soon enough she herself is being charged of kidnapping and murder!

Not entirely dependent on logics but then again, a decent entertaining thriller for sure.

3. Pink

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL2TShb6fFs

pink-posterDirected by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, this is a thriller very much in sync with our modern society and it’s issues. 

(Click for Review)

Three girls who were harassed, both physically and mentally, and then wrongly accused of finally got some help from an annoying yet clever retired lawyer.

A thrilling courtroom-drama; and brilliant performances by Tapsee PannuKirti KulhariPiyush Mishra and Amitabh Bachchan.

2. Neerja

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7779JrWy04g

Neerja-posterIn 1986, when Pan Am flight 73 was highjacked the credit of saving  the lives of 359 passengers goes to one courageous Indian girl – Neerja Bhanot.

(Click for Review)

Directed by Ram Madhvani, this is the thrilling biography of Neerja, played superbly by Sonam Kapoor and her heroic story of determination, acuity and sacrifice. 

  1. Raman Raghav 2.0

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq1cEmhVa68

Raman-Raghav-2.0-poster1Raman Raghav, an infamous serial killer from the 1960s comes to life when director Anurag Kashyap join hands with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal to create one of the darkest film of Bollywood ever!

A thriller that doesn’t shy off from getting all gory and uncomfortable, extreme level of violence not exactly suitable for children and the weak hearted.

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

+1. Buddha in a Traffic Jam

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkp7br61ixE

Buddha-posterAnd finally a political thriller.

A genre rare in India but this one is an effectively constructed story on the how the poor adivasis of our country are being tortured and exploited in the name of different ideologies and political colours.

Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, starring Arunoday SinghAnupam Kher and Pallavi Joshi the film is surely innovative and different from the regular trend of thrillers. 

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

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Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A film entirely based on performances and awesome editing!   

My Ratings: 3.9/5

There’s a very interesting dialogue in the film that says ‘When someone loves you, you have to be careful with it!’ I think it applies to Cinema as well!

I mean when a film starts good, interesting characters and situations that quickly grab our attention, and a certain level of anticipation Nocturnal Animals reviewbuilds up – but at this point the director has to be ‘careful’ with his film. The ending if not delivered as per expectation can hurt the feelings of the audience.

Nocturnal Animals is one such crime drama that grips you right away with it’s unique nonlinear story telling but then by the end, the film tends to loose it’s excitement.

A woman reads a book manuscript written by her ex-husband while she ponders upon her relationships. Often brutal and painful, the script adopted from Austin Wright‘s novel is very real and told in style.

Some directors have a valour for the art of parallel editing, that is telling multiple stories together and ace fashion-designer turned director Tom Ford definitely have set an example of that technique in this film. The way he along with his editor Joan Sobel have played Nocturnal Animals reviewwith the time line of the film – switching back and forth between the fiction and reality, and also the past and present with recurring time jumps and match cuts is definitely commendable. 

Pretty realistic performances by Amy AdamsJake GyllenhaalMichael Shannon and especially by Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the lawless, conscienceless wicked soul.

Abel Korzeniowski‘s music gives the film the needed anchor that connects and binds the multiple stories together.

But I only wish that as an audience I could get as involved as Amy Adams while reading her ex husband’s novel till the very end.

A good one time watch though, specially if you want to learn some cool editing! 

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – it’s all about HOPE!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – it’s all about HOPE!

written by Twishashish Roy

If you’re a fan of the Star Wars series two things apply to you. One, you are NOT confused by the order in which they release their movies because you’re used to  Yoda talking and two, you have seen Rogue One.

Now for those of you who haven’t, I suggest that you don’t read this rogue-one-poster12articles because this contains spoilers.

Rogue One directed by Gareth Edwards in a way changed the way I looked at the original series. Now, it doesn’t have any massive plot twists but perhaps reflects on one of the messages from the series.  HOPE!

Now anyone who has seen the original trilogy would think that the title for Episode IV was a reference towards Luke. Luke being a ‘New Hope’ in dark times.  And probably that is what was meant. However, Rogue One makes you look at the Hope message from the series in a very different way. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) was not a Jedi.  She was a simple warrior who went into war against the evil Empire on nothing but hope.

Rebellions are made on hope”, she said.  The Empire brings a monarchy in the Galaxy. They want to introduce a submissive rule.  The Death Star will bring that submissive rule. Jyn Erso and the rogue-one-poster10warriors of Rogue One have something to say about this.

And if you look at it, it was their sacrifice that ultimately helped Luke, Leia and Han to destroy the Death Star. And like Leia (Ingvild Deila) said at the end of the movie, Rogue One sent them, “ Hope”.

What this says is that A New Hope not only referred to Luke but to the entire Rebellion. The War to not fall under the Evil Emperor’s submission.  And all if it happened because of a decoy imperial starship named Rogue One.

Rogue One, may the force be with you.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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La La Land (2016)

La La Land review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A Classic is born and it will make you sing and fall in love all over again!

My Ratings: 4.3/5

The original 1953 20th Century Fox logo reappears on the big la- la-land-posterscreen and makes it seem even bigger, and then the magic begins!

Yes, the resurrection of the old Hollywood charm, that feeling when the white shoes start tapping in rhythm and the dialogues metamorphose into soothing songs – the sheer magic of experiencing a musical, an odd combination of a modern classic!

And you are lost in the darkness of the theatre, well suspended on your disbeliefs, wondering in a world so full of love and dulcet melodies, absorbed in the sheer beauty of brilliantly choreographed, colourful, talking Cinema!

“How are you gonna be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist? You hold onto the past, but jazz is about the future.”

Director Damien Chazelle‘s love for Jazz was pretty evident in his previous film Whiplash but this time he makes a more definite statement – a desperate effort to save Jazz!

And thus he join hands with Ryan Gosling who learns to play piano like a professional just for this film, and then Gosling’s chemistry la- la-land-poster1with Emma Stone (undoubtedly one of the best actresses at present) is just so sublime! When they dance looking at each other’s eyes – that’s a major part of the ‘magic’ in the film that I was talking about earlier!

Long song and dance sequences masterfully choreographed that takes Justin Hurwitz‘s music to another level; great camera work and colour play by Linus Sandgren and crisp editing by Tom Cross. But again along with superlative directional capabilities thanks to Damien Chazelle‘s brilliantly written love story!

Recommended only for those who adore Jazz, Musicals, Ryan GoslingEmma StoneDamien Chazelle and powerful Cinema!

P.S – Oscar winner J.K. Simmons makes a guest appearance where he seems to hate good music!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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