Tag Archives: johnny depp

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Not exactly related to the Harry Potter franchise, but definitely loaded with some magical VFX!

My Ratings: 3.7/5

The first of the promised 5 series wizard-drama opens up with a massive box office collection, 8.8 million just on the opening night!

All you Harry Potter fans, please wave your wands in the air and rejoice as you get to celebrate yet another magical journey penned down by none other than J.K. Rowling herself – her screenwriting fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-poster1debut!

A tale straight from 1926, the time when the Wizard world collided with the Muggle world because of a young man named Newt Scamander, who appeared in NewYork with a suitcase full of rare magical creatures, and then these so called ‘fantastic beasts’ managed to run loose in the city!

A genuine crisis for the Wizard world because the muggles (the non wizard people), whoever saw or got effected by these unique and often dangerous magical animals had to be obliviated (made to forget everything). And on top of that there was some untamed dark danger that kept lurking around, creating havoc in the city that had to be investigated too!

An adventure full of gripping moments, comedy and yes – loads of sparkling magic!

Directed by David Yates, who also directed the last four Harry-Potter-films. But this movie is definitely unique because though it fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-poster4has connections to the popular Harry Potter series and yet the film manages to stand alone as a distinctive individual story.

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne becomes the central character Newt and as usual excels in his performance doing what he does best, playing the slightly eccentric genius. (Though it’s high time he should try something different, specially with his mannerisms and his overall body language).

Then there was Dan Fogler who made sure that the audience gets a good dose of comedy throughout the film, he is simply brilliant! Alison SudolKatherine WaterstonEzra Miller and Colin Farrell all did their part with enough conviction. 

A bit lengthy and certain scenes have been unnecessarily prolonged. And also too much dependent on VFX,fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-poster5 practically it seems visual effects is the true protagonist of the film. Though superlative quality of work by all the studios – Cinesite, Double Negative, Framestore, Image Engine, MPC, Milk VFX and Rodeo FX.

(Click the link for more VFX stories on this film)

Overall a decently entertaining film, but a must-watch if you are a member of the Potter fan-club!

P. S. – don’t you dare to blink or else you will miss the cameo by Johnny Depp!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Serial Killer films – based on true stories (10+1list)

Serial Killer films – based on true stories.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Serial killers are extremely intelligent individuals, most often masked by a superficial friendly and charming personality but deep inside they are sadistic psychopaths who murders randomly without any personal motives.

Cold blooded killers who simply cannot resist the urge to take someone’s life.

But these serial murderers have always been given enough media coverage and some of the most spine chilling films are made, based on their deranged lives (fictions, nonfictions and docu-dramas).

Here is a list of films dramatized on the real lives of some of the most notorious serial killers ever existed!

1. Jack the Ripper (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJSpZT8IjE0

jack-the-ripper-poster

Direccted by David Wickes, in this film Michael Caine is in search of the infamous Jack the ripper

In 1888, in the Whitechapel district of London several prostitutes were ripped open by a vicious serial killer, their throats cut open and internal organs removed.

One of the most gruesome killers of all time, never been caught!

Some other films based on Jack the ripper are From Hell (2001) starring Johnny DeppThe Lodger (1927), Murder by Decree (1979).

2. To Catch a Killer (1992)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv-j1K4n-4Q

To-Catch-a-Killer-Poster

Directed by Eric TillBrian Dennehy plays the notorious American killer John Wayne Gacy.

He would either lure his victims or kidnap them by force into his Chicago home, then would rape/sexually assault and murder them.

Convicted of 33 murders (all teenage boys and young men) in between a period of 6 years.

3. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU3P6WXzvXU

Henryportrait-poster

Michael Rooker plays the ruthless serial killer Henry Lee Lucas in this film directed by John McNaughton.

Regarded as one of America’s most prolific murderer, Henry was finally convicted of killing 11 people but it was believe that he killed many others.

At a very young age he murdered his own Mom and went on killing whenever he felt like it!

4. The Stoneman Murders (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNj4SxVqdag

The-Stoneman-Murders-poster

In the year 1985 (Mumbai) and then in1989 (Kolkata) some unidentified Indian serial killer(s) murdered at least 13 homeless people in their sleep.

The killer would crush the head of his victim with a stone weighing as much as 30 kg!

Directed by Manish Gupta, starring Kay Kay Menon and Arbaaz Khan the film dramatizes these killings.

5. Zodiac (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6q_MfcDEEE

zodiac-posterJake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo starring in this tensed mystery-drama directed by David Fincher.

A serial killer from California who named himself ‘zodiac’ and boasted to have killed 37 people in his open letters written to the newspapers!

Confirmed to kill 4 men and 3 women, the killer’s identity still remains unknown.

6. Citizen X (1995)

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

Citizen-X-poster

The infamous Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, who committed sexual assault, mutilation and murder of 56 women (mostly under the age of 17)! 

Probably the most vicious killer who was convicted to 52 murders.

Directed by Chris Gerolmo, playing Stephen ReaDonald Sutherland and Max von Sydow the film depicts the difficulties of catching a murderer in the-then communist Russia.  

7. Summer of Sam (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a-E4Q9CHSk

summer-of-sam-poster

David Richard Berkowitz also nown as the ‘Son of Sam’ and the ‘.44 Caliber Killer’ who began a shooting spree in New York on the summer of 1977.

He killed 6 victims and wounded 7 and also used to sent mocking letters to the police boasting about his misdeeds. 

Spike Lee‘s thriller is a superb dramatization of that era.

8. M (1931)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIj3Bk0bhL8

M-poster

Fritz Lang directed film starring Peter Lorre as the notorious child murderer (probably the first film shot on such a sensitive topic).

The film is based on the 1920’s German serial killer named Peter Kürten (also known as ‘The Vampire of Düsseldorf’) who molested and murdered young children.

Confessed of 79 offenses, Kürten also admitted to drinking blood of at least one of his victims!

9. The Deliberate Stranger (1986)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaoBDMyo98M

deliberate-stranger-poster

Ted Bundy, the most charismatic serial killer ever! A kidnapper, rapist, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered more than 30 young women in America. 

He would gain trust of his young female victims, trick them to his car and then kidnap them for his sadistic motives.

Directed by Marvin J. ChomskyMark Harmon plays the deceptive Bundy in the film. 

10. Vengeance is Mine (1979)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk81j7Sm5IY

Vengeance-is-Mine-poster

Directed by Shôhei Imamura, the film is based on the life of Akira Nishiguchi, the legendary Japanese serial killer played by Ken Ogata.

A middle-aged man who was a clever con artist and a cold blooded murderer.

He killed 2 people and became the most wanted criminal, then he murdered another 3 while escaping from the police!

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

+1. Psycho (1960)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG3-GlvKPcg

psycho-posterAlfred Hitchcock‘s most talked-about film starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh was developed on serial killer Ed Gein‘s mysterious life.

The secluded man who not only murdered woman but also kept their skulls, bones and skins as trophies and made bowls, lamp-sheds, belts, baskets and masks out of them.

After his mother’s death, Gein began to create a ‘woman suit’ (stitching dead woman’s skin) so that he could become his mother!

Some other films based on Ed Gein are The Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Ed Gein (2000) and Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974).

Into the Woods (2014)

My Ratings: 2/5.

With three Oscar nominations Into the Woods is probably the most popular fantasy musical drama of this year.

into-the-woods-poster2Directed by Rob Marshall who seems to be a specialist in musicals as he made Chicago (2002) and Nine (2009) in the past; but this time though he fails to leave a mark of that extent.

Into the Woods starts with great anticipation; a certain hope for a unique story, brilliant music and some superb acting performances. But instead the film takes a path too lengthy and unnecessarily complex and soon becomes boring.

Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Rapunzel, Magic beans and the Witch – different fairy tale characters connected and linked in the story but unfortunately not used wisely enough. They are all mixed up, comes in and goes haphazardly as if unsure of their own motives in the film.

into-the-woods-posterFrom the start it seems like a children-movie but somewhere along the line the film looses it’s target audience and tries to punch-in heavy dozes of romance and drama (totally unnecessary).

An array of powerful actors Meryl StreepEmily BluntAnna KendrickTracey UllmanJames CordenChris Pine and even Johnny Depp for a short mischievous role.

Neither scripted nor edited to it’s maximum potential; an innovative concept that could have been a great film.

Do think twice before you venture Into the Woods, you may get lost (both literally and metaphorically).

List of Legendary Actors who also directed films

Did you know that so many of our favorite actors are directors as well? May be all are not as glorious and successful as Charlie Chaplin or Clint Eastwood but some of these Hollywood actors who also directed films deserves a pat on their shoulders.

Let’s see how many of these movies have you seen which are directed by these legendary actors.

Actor turned Director                Popular films directed

(Note: many of the actors have directed more films than mentioned here but i have listed only the popular ones)

Kirk Douglas                                  Scalawag (1973), Posse (1975)

Richard Burton                            Doctor Faustus (1967)

Diane Keaton                                Unstrung heroes (1995)

Billy Bob Thornton                    Sling Blade (1996)

Danny DeVito                              Throw Momma from the train (1987)

John Wayne                         The Alamo (1960), The Green Berets (1968)

Liv Ullmann                                     Sofie (1992), Faithless (2000)

Barbra Streisand                         Yentl (1983), The prince of tides (1991) 

Paul Newman                                 The glass Menagerie (1987)

Bill Murray                                       Quick Change (1990)

Alec Baldwin                                      Shortcut to Happiness (2003)

Ed Harris                         Pollock (2000), Appaloosa (2008)

Denzel Washington                      The great Debaters (2007)

Ethan Hawke               Chelsea Walls (2001), The Hottest state (2006)

Forest Whitaker         Waiting to Exhale (1995), Hope Floats (1998)

Sylvester Stallone                     Rambo (2008),The expendables (2010)

Jodie Foster                              Little man Tate (1991),The beaver (2011)

Ben Stiller                                   The Cable guy (1996), Zoolander (2001)

Ralph Fiennes               Coriolanus (2011), The invisible woman (2013)

Jack Nicholson                        Goin’ South (1978), The Two Jakes (1990)

Morgan Freeman                       Bopha! (1993)

Drew Barrymore                       Whip It (2009)

Antonio Banderas        Crazy in Alabama (1999), Summer Rain (2006)

Nicolas Cage                                  Sonny (2002)

Angelina Jolie                               In the land of blood and honey (2011)

Anthony Hopkins                      Dylan Thomas: Return Journey (1990)

Dustin Hoffman                          Quartet (2012)

Keanu Reeves                              Man of tai Chi (2013)

Tom Hanks                                     That thing you do! (1996)

Johnny Depp                                 The Brave (1997)

Robert De Nero      A Bronx Tale (1993), The Good Shepherd (2006)

Al Pacino                                             Chinese coffee (2000), Salomé (2013)

Kevin Costner          Dances with wolves (1990), The postman (1997)

Mel Gibson                                        Braveheart (1995), Apocalypto (2006)

Sean Penn                                          The pledge (2001), Into the wild (2007)

George Clooney                            The ides of March (2011) 

Ben Affleck                                        Argo (2012), Gone baby gone (2007)

Best fictional films about writers

Best fictional films about writers.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Don’t you think the ‘writers’ are a strange breed of people?

They are supposed to be imaginative, curious and passionate about their work. Well, thats the romantic side. But often their constant struggle to be original, their possessive nature, their creative vulnerability lead them to unpredictable alleys.

I have managed to put up a list of my all time favorite films where the protagonist writes for a living – films where sometimes the writer is in danger and other times he IS the danger.

And the list begins.

10. Secret Window (2004)

Secret Window

A perfect blend of Stephen KingDavid Koepp + Johnny Depp and the result is a tangy physiological thriller.

The story of a lone writer who is unexpectedly threatened and accused of plagiarism by a complete stranger.

If you are a Johnny Depp fan and you like mystery it’s surely your cup of tea.

9. The Ghost aka The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer

Tension, suspense, thrill, excitement – these words are made to define this film.

When a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) takes up a new job for a former politician (Pierce Brosnan), he unknowingly puts his life in danger. An edgy script – one of my personal favorite.

For Roman Polanski fans this is a special treat.

8. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Stranger Than Fiction

What if you realize one fine morning that you are not in control of your life – that you exist only in somebody’s imagination, in someone’s writings?

Directed by Marc Forster, Will Ferrell in his own comic way experience this scary concept. Superb performance.

One of the most innovative story told in style.

7. Wonder Boys (2000)

Wonder Boys

An interesting star cast – Michael Douglas at his best, Tobey Maguire young n talented and Robert Downey Jr. joins in.

Directed by Curtis Hanson, this is a film about writers and their careers; the tormented souls desperate to create something unique.

A perfect drama with a comic touch – very entertaining and well performed.

6. Barton Fink (1991)

Barton Fink

This time the Coen brothers (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen) create a dark world where a writer in a hotel room struggles in his quest to write about ‘the common man’.

The crisp dialogues, the eerie look and feel of the film, the brilliant acting – it’s a complete package.

Though often considered too glum and black for some people’s taste but for me this film is a superb satire.

5. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris

At midnight Paris becomes a magical place for a writer who travels back in time and meet the great artists of all times (all his inspirations).

A refreshing comedy by Woody Allen and a crackling performance by Owen Wilson – the result is a mystically charming film.

The film radiates the director’s love for Paris.

4. The Squid and the Whale (2005)

The squid and the whale

Dealing with parents divorce is always tough, specially when both of them are writers and pretty self centered in nature.

This is a perfect family drama – often funny in a cruel way; the story of two young boys who try to cope up with the tension in between their parents.

Directed by Noah Baumbachthe film is actually much more interesting than it’s name suggests.

3. Deathtrap (1982)

Deathtrap

This is a film that will startle you; the more you will try to predict what is next, the more you will be surprised.

A writer with his deadly plans and a sinister collection of weapons –Michael Caine at his best.

Sidney Lumet (one of my all time favorite director) maliciously reveals a trap that surely leads to death. It’s a dangerous game but you never know who is the winner till the end of the film.

2. Adaptation. (2002)

Adaptation

One of Nicolas Cage‘s best performance (that too a double role) and also one of Spike Jonze‘s best film till date.

The famous scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman shows his brilliance once again.

Though most people (including me) has a problem with the ending of this film but still it will remain one of my all time favorite.

1. Ruby Sparks (2012)

Ruby sparks

Directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, the brilliance of this film is that it cannot be explained unless you watch it.

The concept of finding the girl of your dreams is turned upside down into a whole new dimension.

What if you want to play God and you are given the control to manipulate people whom you love? Think twice before you wish.

and

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

+1. Misery (1990)

MiseryWriters always like to communicate with their fans. And specially if one claims to be his ‘no 1 fan’ and especially if that person saves the writer’s life. Right?

Wrong in this particular case.

Adopted from Stephen King‘s novel and directed by Rob Reiner this film is one twisted tale of a writer (James Caanand his fan (Kathy Bates, who won the Oscar as the Best actress in the leading role that year).