Tag Archives: Jeremy Renner

Best Crime Dramas of 2017 (10+1list)

Best Crime Dramas of 2017

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Crime Dramas of 2017: Crime rate always been a problem but crime movies a treat to watch! Crime emerged as such an essential plot in almost every film that it eventually created its own separate genre, dramas based entirely on crimes.

Cool Crime Dramas always give us a certain insatiable rush, the bigger the crime the better, the chase and excitement more intense than ever.

And here we have a list of the Best Crime Dramas of 2017. Enjoy!

10. Logan Lucky

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPzvKH8AVf0

Crime-DramasChanning Tatum and Adam Driver – two brothers along with their sister  Riley Keough plans a robbery but they need the help of a convicted safe-cracker (who else than Daniel Craig) to finally get their plan into action.  

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, a surprisingly refreshing crime drama, a heist story with enough comedy to make you laugh at regular intervals.

9. Atomic Blonde

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8USk21Lt0f4

Crime-DramasThe backdrop being the Cold War – deadly and sensuous Charlize Theron, an undercover MI6 agent lands in Berlin to sniff out double-agents and also investigate the murder of a fellow agent.

James McAvoy, John GoodmanToby Jones, Sofia Boutella – a brilliant cast all at their best.

Ace stuntman turned director David Leitch has some of the best action sequences in the film!

8. Shot Caller

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxjyRr9k2E

Crime-DramasAn accidental crime and then a prison sentence teaches a white-collar business professional new ways of survival. And pretty soon his lessons come handy.

Written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh, this one is a perfect crime drama with brilliant performances including Jon Bernthal, Lake Bell, Emory Cohen.

A much underrated movie definitely worth your time.

7. Brawl in Cell Block 99

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

Crime-DramasVince Vaughn is back – not in some romcom but with a tough-guy-role in this cool and violent crime drama.

A drug dealer who goes to prison after a sore deal and realises that he has landed in the midst of a battleground!

Directed by S. Craig Zahler, this action drama has extreme violent scenes that can be disturbing for some people.

6. Good Time

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

Crime-DramasA heist gone wrong but that’s not the only thing that doesn’t go according to the plan. In order to save his mentally challenged brother a thug has the misadventure of his lifetime in one night span!

Directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, a rollercoaster ride of intense drama and Robert Pattinson breaks away from his Twilight zone and gives a super cool performance.

5. American Made

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

Crime-Dramas‘The gringo that always delivers’

The biography of Barry Seal who was started his career as an ordinary pilot but soon recruited by the CIA and later worked for none other than Pablo Escobar.

Directed by Doug Liman, and Tom Cruise playing the lead this is one of the most crazy twisted crime drama and very much based on real events!

4. The Foreigner

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om9YCk7ufHs

Crime-DramasAn act of politically-motivated terrorism takes away his daughter’s life and now as a father he will do anything to bring justice to the people involved in the act.

Directed by Martin Campbell, a cool crime drama – both emotional and intense.

Surely the best thing that happened for Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan in recent times. 

3. Wind River

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN9PDOoLAfg

Crime-Dramas‘You don’t catch wolves looking where they might be, you look where they’ve been.’

A young Native American woman gets murdered and a veteran tracker decides to help the police track down the guilty. A chilling revenge drama based on actual events.

Brilliant performance by Jeremy Renner along with Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene. Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, probably the best crime thriller of the year!

2. John Wick: Chapter 2

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGk2EfbD_Ps

Crime-DramasKeanu Reeves is back as John Wick, the man whose car and dog you better don’t mess with! 

This is the second instalment of the superb 2014 action thriller John Wick, and this time it’s even more raw, brutal and action packed.

Directed by Chad Stahelski, this is the savage saga of what happens when you put a bounty on John Wick’s head!

1. Baby Driver

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9YZw_X5UzQ

Crime-DramasEvery successful heist ends with a thrilling car chase and Baby, the young getaway driver is there to guarantee your safety!

Super cool performances by Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon HammEiza GonzálezLily James and finally Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey stealing the show.

Directed by Edgar Wright, a crime drama intertwined with classy soundtracks – racy and stylish.

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

+1. Detroit

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5h7Kgo-zeI

Crime-DramasThe brilliantly authentic portrayal of the 1967 Detroit riots – the largest Rase-riots in the history of United States particularly focusing on the Algiers Motel incident where a certain group of cops gone rogue and responded to a complaint with extreme retribution!

All over superb performances, raw and real, acclaimed director Kathryn Bigelow‘s latest – a brilliant fact-based crime drama!

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Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made (10+1list)

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made – Conspiracy theories have always been a part of our lives whether you intend to believe them Conspiracy-Thrillersor not. And even if you believe one, the real question is can you prove it?

But as we all know, most of these theories are nothing but fabricated and far-fetched rumors but then, what if someone collects enough evidence and try to convince you that some of them may actually be true!

Well, fiction or not that’s you to decide – here is some of the Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made from all across the world.

Remember, if you believe it, then it’s true!

10. Kill the Messenger (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW4XO-52ubE

Conspiracy-ThrillersCIA accused of numerous illegal activities – one of them being that in the 1980’s they did drug trafficking to arm the Contra rebels in Nicaragua so that they can continue the war!

Gary Webb a reporter (played by Jeremy Renner) who found out this CIA secret was threatened and found his life up-side down.  Directed by Michael Cuesta, this one is based on a true story! 

9. Michael Clayton (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kJRYBhG43Q

Conspiracy-ThrillersA multi-billion dollar action suit goes wrong as the lawyer couldn’t fight with his conscience any more but then the law firm needs to fix the situation asap. 

Directed by debutant Tony Gilroy, starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson; one of the most chilling conspiracy thrillers with brilliant performances and terrific visuals. The ugly game of money and power played at it’s best.

8. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJztRnDxdM8

Conspiracy-ThrillersA Vietnam war veteran (Tim Robbins) is disturbed by regular visions and nightmares – but what if his dreams were not entirely hallucinations?

Director Adrian Lyne‘s disturbing psychological horror film is based on MKUltra conspiracy where it is said that in the 1950’s, CIA conducted secret research on how the use of drugs (such as LSD) could enhance a soldier’s physical and  mental capacity!

 7. The Constant Gardener (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4iTjavIkbk

Conspiracy-ThrillersDetermined to find out the reason for his wife’s murder shot in Northern Kenya, a man unknowingly gets entangled into a conspiracy – ugly and dangerous beyond his imagination!

Directed by Fernando Meirelles, with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz the film deals with the exploitation of poor African people as medical tests are done on them by the rich and powerful medical companies of the world.

6. All the President’s Men (1976)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLt6djxhNe8

Conspiracy-Thrillers

Clues that lead to dead ends and names that connects to nobody!

Watergate scandal that ultimately lead to American President Nixon’s resignation – two brave young reporters (Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford) unravel the conspiracy that costed their jobs and almost their lives.  

Directed by Alan J. Pakula, probably the most popular Conspiracy Thriller in this list.

5. The Insider (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rkvxi5hdbA

Conspiracy-ThrillersThe CEOs of Big Tobacco have lied under the oath and they are getting away with it.

Until one man risks everything when he decides to step up and tell the truth to a reporter – but will such damaging news of conspiracy and corruption be shared with the public?

Directed by Michael Mann, starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino a thriller at its best.

4. The Conversation (1974)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_LJ5ICMbP4

Conspiracy-ThrillersDirected by Francis Ford Coppola, the film is an extremely tensed and voyeuristic take on the violation of people’s privacy.   

surveillance expert (brilliantly played by Gene Hackman) spying on a couple suspects that they are going to be murdered – a conspiracy too complicated and heavy for his conscience. A slow yet dangerous thriller that will keep you hooked till the very end.

3. Z (1969)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHB28qfsV2w

Conspiracy-ThrillersA film made by my favorite director Costa-Gavras – a terrific thriller based on a political conspiracy.

When an investigator tires to uncover the mystery behind the murder of a prominent leftist, he finds himself up against the ruthless government officials who will go to any means to stop him.

The first foreign language film to be nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars!

A must watch Conspiracy Thriller by the same director is Missing (1982).

2. The Lives of Others (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FppW5ml4vdw

Conspiracy-ThrillersA conspiracy film set on 1984 East Berlin – the secret police at work conducting strict observation on whoever they suspect.

A professional surveillance-man (Ulrich Mühe) spying on a writer and his lover finds himself too attached to their lives which becomes a morel conflict for him.

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, this thriller will simply take your breath away.

  1. JFK (1991)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w16bYZ-4nmE

Conspiracy-ThrillersThe sudden arrest made in relation to the assassination of Kennedy doesn’t seem too concrete and logical. And thus the New Orleans DA investigates into what seemed to be America’s most controversial conspiracy of all time. 

Directed by Oliver Stone, and starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon this particualar film is an exceptional example of how cinema can be used to tell the truth.

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

+1. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMba3fckhuQ

Conspiracy-ThrillersBased on the brilliant novel by Dan Brown, the film though not that epic but still a very effective conspiracy thriller to consider.

Directed by Ron Howard, a story that revolves around a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years.

The paintings of Da Vinci used as clues, starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno – a mystery worth your time!

Another cool film by the same director based on the same writer’s novel is Angels & Demons (2009).

A few other conspiracy films that can be taken into consideration are Three Days of the Condor (1975), Network (1976), Chinatown (1974), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Marathon Man (1976)Enemy of the State (1998), The Parallax View (1974), The China Syndrome (1979), Wag the Dog (1997), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Ghost Writer (2010), Silkwood (1983) and Conspiracy Theory (1997), Syriana (2005).

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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

Best-War-Films

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

Best-War-Films

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

Best-War-Films

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!

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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.

Southpaw (2015)

Southpaw review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My ratings: 4/5.

‘The more you get hit, the harder you fight’.

Well, that’s more or less the story of boxer Billy Hope’s life, both in and out of the ring.

Director Antoine Fuqua, famous for action films like Training Day (2001) and Shooter (2007) and The Equalizer (2014) comes up with a ‘boxing film’ this time. 

southpaw-poster1Not a biography (as most boxing films are) but i bet you have seen such typical sports-redemption dramas before and there is a good chance that you already have guessed the basic story-line.

An arrogant man who cannot control his rage but life puts him in a tough spot and teaches him to be humble and take control of his destiny. And guess what – he eventually becomes a better man both professionally and personally!

Absolutely nothing unique in the script and regarding the all blood & sweat boxing showdown – we have seen better in films like Raging Bull (1980), Cinderella Man (2005) and even the Sylvester Stallone‘s Rocky versions.

So now the big question is WHAT exactly is there in this 124 min film Southpaw that still holds our attention? HOW does it still manage to impress us?

southpaw-poster3The combination of Antoine Fuqua‘s direction and the music of James Horner (RIP) – Yes may be. But the real answer lies in the brilliant performance of the entire cast, especially Jake Gyllenhaal

After his outstanding role in Nightcrawler as the skinny psychopathic crime journalist, Jake Gyllenhaal has now transformed himself into this all-muscle, super-fit, left-handed boxing champion Billy Hope.

The rage and the darkness in the character, the helplessness and the self-destruction, the empathy and love for his family and friends, the will to survive – Bill Hope is one complex character and no body could have portrayed him as good as Jake Gyllenhaal.

By the way, Eminem was supposed to play the ‘Southpaw’ and then Ryan GoslingBradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner were all considered for this role!

southpaw-posterAnd then there is the ever-beautiful Rachel McAdams (wife of Billy Hope); their chemistry in the beginning supports the entire film. Forest Whitaker as the teacher-figure gives his best. Even the child actor Oona Laurence belts out a terrific emotional performance. 

50 Cent acts and Eminem sings!

Southpaw is the best redemption drama of this year, specially recommended for the boxing-film lovers.

It’s a perfect example of how you can take the same old concept and shape it into something awesome with sensible direction and sheer brilliant performances.

 

Kill the Messenger (2014)

My Rating: 4/5

Kill the Messenger is based on a true story; it’s about a courageous man who blew the whistle on CIA and paid the price for it.

Journalists have always played a big part in political thrillers and Kill the Messenger is no exception, in fact it is a biographical film based on a reporter’s life.

In the mid 1990s Gary Webb was a happily married man, a loving father and a reporter with great instincts, and as a professional he wholeheartedly believed in finding the truth and sharing it.

But some stories are so dangerously true that sharing them has their own consequences.

The film Kill the Messenger focuses on Gary Webb’s life that took a summersault when he, in spite of being warned by the authorities, openly published his articles by the name of “Dark Alliance” that reveals CIA’s involvement in drug trafficking.

Now many blame CIA for everything that’s going wrong in today’s world but fortunately Kill the Messenger only concerns with the event of CIA importing huge amounts of drugs (cocaine) to be sold in the ghettos all across US to raise money for arming the Contra rebels of Nicaragua.

Remember it’s a true story!

Director Michael Cuesta has done a good job maintaining the thrill and suspense elements intact throughout the film. He has concentrated more on Gary Webb’s life than the actual CIA scandal.

The look and feel of the film, the in-between montages of real footages cleverly blended, even the color tones – all add up to make the film more realistic. Sean Bobbitt as the cinematographer needs to be mentioned.

Jeremy Renner playing the central character does a great job; it’s through his performance that the audience can actually connect to the story in an emotional level. Relations with his wife and his eldest son are very well weaved into the main storyline.

The film is worth watching for those who enjoy political dramas or even biographical films and Cameos by Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta.

P.S. – Let me know if this film reminds you of Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford starrer All the President’s Men (1976).