Tag Archives: Mark Ruffalo

Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight review

written by Souranath Banerjee

‘They knew and they let it happen! It could’ve been you, it could’ve been me, it could’ve been any of us.’

My Ratings: 4.4/5.

Nowadays very few films have the potential to get under your skin and offend you, get you all rattled and ruffled up, even frustrated and most essentially furious over some series of events that you believe was so unjust.

Since All the President’s Men in 1976, I think this film here, Spotlight, has taken the theme of ‘reporters unveiling a conspiracy theory’ to a new height of extraordinary.

spotlight-poster3Though I probably shall restrict from using the term ‘conspiracy theory‘ in context to the subject matter of this film simply because though the monstrous scandal of child molestation by countless archbishops within the so called ‘protection’ of the Catholic Church and their influential friends was something well covered up but not entirely unknown to the people in general.

Oh yes! It was known for years.

Very well known to the Catholic Church officials up to the highest levels, known to the cops and the lawyers, and was also familiar to the parents and family and neighbors of the abused victims but none of them (these ‘Good Germans’) did anything to stop this never-ending racket of rape and sexual harassment of innumerable helpless minors.

spotlight-poster1Until a group of four special-force journalists of the Boston Globe newspaper collectively known as the ‘spotlight’ started digging into this matter with the request of their new Jewish editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber).

Fortunately the spotlight team consisted of some of the most courageous and sincere journalists of the time – Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) and they did an extensive investigation and finally came up with the story printed on the front page of The Boston Globe in January 2002 that shook the entire Catholic Church and people’s belief on it down to the core.

The paper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for its brilliance in investigative journalism, a celebration of the ‘freedom of press‘.

spotlight-poster2Written and directed by Tom McCarthy (his directional debut The Station Agent is one of my all time favorite), and here also, he has done a tremendous job. The pace and the overall effect of the film is so intense that it gives you the feel of a classic thriller. 

Exceptional acting qualities displayed all around, not to forget Stanley TucciNeal HuffJohn SlatteryBilly Crudup and the voice of Richard Jenkins supported the main cast with great conviction.

I guess the scenes where the victims (survivors) narrates their past tragic moments of being molested by the priests are the most painful ones in the film but nevertheless, the most shocking scene that really gives you the chills must be the one where Sacha Pfeiffer manages to get a brief interview of one of the aged priest accused of molestation, who casually admits of fooling around with many kids at his time!

Spotlight is a film of great importance, very well made and unfortunately based on true events.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

written by Souranath Banerjee

On Sunday, February 28th, it’s that time of the year when they give away those awards!

Yes, on this day, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences will hand over the most prestigious awards of the entertainment world – the Academy Awards or the Oscars.

On the basis of the ‘preferential voting’ system (democratic and unbiased), all the nominees are chosen each year for the various award categories and then they simply wait, hope and pray to win!

This year Chris Rock will be hosting the award ceremony on ABC.

In total 305 feature films are competing for Best Picture nominations. Though the final and official seven/eight nominated ones will be announced on Thursday, January 14th, it’s always fun to guess, predict and anticipate a little before hand.

So let the predictions for the ‘Best Picture’ category begin!

10. Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xb9Ty-1frw

beasts-of-no-nation1An African country at war, where violence is routine and murder is the law.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, this is the story of a kid who is forced to join a group of soldiers and take up the gun to fight and kill people.

A raw and deadly film that shows the emotional turmoil of a child soldier. And surely a favorite in the Oscar race.

9. Carol (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4z7Px68ywk

carol-poster1The combination of New York in 1950s and Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and a perfect love story.

Full of emotions and breathtaking visuals, superb music and brilliant acting – the film is a complete package of aw

Directed by Todd Haynes, this one is a favorite of mine as well as the Oscar nominees. 

8. Youth (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c

Youth-poster2Michael CaineHarvey KeitelRachel Weisz and director Paolo Sorrentino cooks up one of the best mouthwatering cinema of this year.

(click for the review)

A film that reflects on the youth and relishes the old age with the same intensity. It deals with friendship, love, marriage, lust, professions, emotions and above all emotions. I bet my

7. The Hateful Eight (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRbXn4-Yis

hateful-eight-posterQuentin Tarantino is back with his 8th film and along with Samuel L. JacksonKurt RussellJennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Roth among others this one gets as gritty and violent as you can expect it to be.

Powerful performances with awesome visuals and a superbly entertaining story line.

An Oscar favorite because ‘No one comes up here without a damn good reason’. 

6. Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15syDwC000k

brooklyn-poster11950s Brooklyn as the backdrop, the film is about an Irish immigrant’s life, her love story and her past, and the choices she makes.

Directed by John Crowley, and outstanding performance by Saoirse Ronan, this is a film that breadths perfection.

My personal favorite and I wish it all the luck for the tough Oscar chart ahead.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Brothers)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJnMQG9ev8

mad-max-poster5In the year 1979 Mad Max was established – a drifter, a loner and of course mad as hell. And this is the latest addition to the popular franchise.

(Click for the review)

Powerful, dramatic and full of energy, directed by George Miller, this is undoubtedly the best action flick of 2015 and a leader in the Oscar race for the ‘Best Picture’. 

4. The Revenant (20th Century Fox)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoebZZ8K5N0

revenant-posterDirected by Alejandro González Iñárritu (whose film Birdman won the ‘best director’, ‘best picture’ and ‘best screenplay’ awards last year), has come up with this brilliant tale of an explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio).

A fur trading expedition in the 1820s; inspired by true events this is an epic adventure, a quest for survival and also a sure favorite in this year’s Oscar.

3. The Big Short (Paramount Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDlYm15ztK4

big-short-posterWhen Christian BaleSteve CarellRyan Gosling and Brad Pitt come together – you know it’s worth it. 

Directed by Adam McKay, this is a biographical account of the time (mid 2000) when there was a financial crisis in the US, and four individuals decided to fight the greedy banks for their lack of foresight.

Looks like a pretty sure thing for the award ceremony. Watch out!

2. Room (A24 Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_Ci-pAL4eE

room-posterAdopted from Emma Donoghue‘s famous novel, this is one unique story of a five-year old boy who is told by his loving mother that their 10-by-10 foot ‘room’ is the only world that exists! 

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, a brilliant film that surely is becoming people’s favorite and a likely contestant for the Oscar.

Brilliant performance by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay

  1. Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwdCIpbTN5g

spotlight-poster1Probably the most significant cinema on ‘journalism’ made after the epic All the President’s Men (1976).

Directed by Tom McCarthy, this is one film that is considered certainly as the top favorite in this year’s Oscar game.

With Mark RuffaloMichael KeatonRachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber among others this is one safe film to put your money.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most popular one).

+1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney)

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

star-wars-posterThe recently released ever popular addition to the Star Wars franchise and a sudden favorite for the Oscars.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, this film with it’s immense fan following has the potential to be a game changer in the race for this years ‘Best Picture’ Academy Awards.

By the way, this film has recreated the U.S. box office record beating James Cameron‘s Avatar!

And now the films though not included in my list but are certainly fair competition for the award: Straight Outta ComptonCreedTrumboSon of SaulBlack MassThe Danish GirlLove & MercyTangerineSicarioSteve JobsThe MartianBridge of Spies and Joy.

And finally – A Thank You to the movies of 2015.

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).

Foxcatcher (2014)

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

Foxcatcher is a film that tells the tale of two troubled souls, a multimillionaire and a wrestler, both disturbed and consumed by their own ambition and distorted personal lives.

Bennett Miller who has previously made films like Capote and Moneyball this time wins the Best Director Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival with his latest release Foxcatcher.

Wrestling enthusiast John du Pont (Steve Carell) who also happens to be a multimillionaire invites the Olympic gold medal-winning wrestlers duo – Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his brother Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), to join his sports team called ‘Foxcatcher’ with an offer to sponsor their training for the 1988 games in Seoul.

A generous gesture as it may seem but soon the coach-athlete alliance takes an unexpectedly dangerous turn.

Foxcatcher deliberately takes a calm and composed route that lures us into the disturbing depths of human psyche and finally leads to a disastrous conclusion.

FOXCATCHER-POSTER2Winning a good many awards and critic’s admirations Foxcatcher already has three Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Tremendous exhibition of acting capabilities by both Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo who spent extensive six months professional wrestling training for their parts.

In a particular scene Channing Tatum became so intensely involved into his character’s struggle that he actually bashed a mirror with his head which was originally not in the script!

But again the real surprise package in Foxcatcher is Steve Carell himself, the famous comic actor we know from past films like Crazy, Stupid, LoveDate NightDan in Real Life ; though this time i can assure you he is not in the mood to make you laugh.  

Foxcatcher doesn’t fit the mainstream, melodramatic sport-movie pattern but after watching i am sure you will be thankful it didn’t.

A slow paced psychological thriller that shouldn’t be missed.