Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

written by Souranath Banerjee

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture: Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel (for the second time), on this March 4th evening we have a date with our beloved movies from 2017 – the nominations for the Oscars – The 90th Academy Awards ceremony traditionally presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

After last year’s La La Land hiccup and Moonlight‘s sudden triumph speculating this year’s Best Picture has certainly become more difficult a task but have to admit the fun remains the same, even more!

In total nine nominations for Best Picture and I have listed them according to my order of liking, in a way keeping my favourite one in the number 1 spot. You all do your own homework, predict, guess and wonder, and let’s see who can hit the bull’s eye!

9. Darkest Hour

A historical biography directed by Joe Wright which in total has six Oscar nominations this year!

The film revolves around the early days of World War II when Churchill was appointed the British Prime Minister and showed immense character that changed history forever.

Gary Oldman is undoubtedly an actor par excellence and his performance as Winston Churchill is awe-inspiring (every chance of winning the Male Leading Role). But I am real doubtful about the movie winning big this year.

8. Dunkirk

Directed by Christopher Nolan and brilliant music by Hans Zimmer (will probably win the for his Original Score).

Another film about World War II portraying the tensed war-front drama when soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France were at the mercy of the German Army.

In total eight nominations, though there are no acting or writing nominations and I think the movie won’t run till the end round of this year’s Oscar race.

7. The Post

The epic battle between the press and the government, a dangerous mission taken up by female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to unmask a massive coverup.

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks together, that too directed by Steven Spielberg – this movie seems to be the perfect Oscar recipe but yet for me this is not really the Best Picture of last year.

6. Lady Bird

A delightful coming of age story of an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl and her chemistry between her friends and relatives – especially the love-hate relationship with her mother.

Directed by Greta Gerwig and brilliantly performed by Saoirse Ronan this is one film I absolutely enjoyed watching but still am not so sure about its Oscar win.

5. Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson collaborates with none other than Daniel Day-Lewis (supposed to be his last movie as an actor).

Superbly artistic, a visual treat that portrays the early world of fashion through the romance between a renowned dressmaker and his muse – a beautiful and determined young girl.

But then again the movie winning the Oscar – a bit doubtful scenario.

4. Get Out

An African-American guy meets his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend but things are not exactly what it seems to be. There lies some dark dangerous secrets that changes his life forever.

Now a low budget horror thriller gets nominated in the Best picture category – well, that’s a first!

Jordan Peele‘s direction and Daniel Kaluuya acting are spot on; though honestly to me the film apparently doesn’t look like a tough competition as an Oscar contender but you never know, unpredictability is the name of the game!

3. Call Me by Your Name

A summertime gay romance between a 17-year-old boy and a twenty-something man who has visited Italy as the young boy’s father’s research assistant.

(Click for Review)

A beautifully shot film directed by Luca Guadagnino and superb performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. Though not nominated in the direction, cinematography or editing categories it is a tough aim for the big spot but then if the movie snatches the Oscar I would  say it totally deserved it.

2. The Shape of Water

An incredible love-story between a mute lady-janitor and an amphibious creature that being held captive at a top secret research facility.

With 13 nominations, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and a superb performance by Sally Hawkins this visually stunning movie probably has the highest bets for the award. My favourite too. Fingers crossed!

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three billboards asking for justice – a mother’s unique way of challenging the authorities who failed to capture her daughter’s murder.

Directed by Martin McDonagh and a powerhouse of brilliant acting from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell (sure will get awards for Female Leading Role or/and Supporting Male Role).

With total seven nominations, brilliantly written and shot with great precision – this is my most favourite film of last year and I hope this film gets its due i.e the Oscar of course!

Similar Interest: Best of 2017 you may have missed!

Similar Interest: Best of World Cinema 2017

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Best Europe Travel Films (10+1list)

Best Europe Travel Films

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Europe Travel Films – these films shouldn’t be confused with the Road-movies category made by European directors (though a few of them Europe-Travel-Filmsin the list does fulfill that criteria as well).

This particular list of movies, for them the locations are as important as the characters in the narrative, and they are meant to inspire you to travel to the stunning European cities so rich in beauty, culture and heritage.

To travel is to live and as they say ‘when you travel far enough you meet yourself‘. And it’s so true! In each of these films you will find the characters somehow discovering themselves at the end of their romantic/emotional or spiritual/adventurous journeys!

Hope you start packing your bags for Europe soon after watching these films! (No documentaries included in this list though.)

10. How Much Further (2006)

Qué tan lejos (original title)

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

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Ecuador

Two girls on a bus-ride to the city of Cuenca, but due to certain unavoidable reasons they finally decide to hitchhike their way. They meet interesting people, they have fun and experience the journey of their lives!

Directed by Tania Hermida, a pretty underrated travel drama with superb landscapes and a very well narrated plot.

9. The Way (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnTpJEFlj5g

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Spain

A father (Martin Sheencarrying the ashes of his adult son completes the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey.

Directed by Emilio Estevez, this emotional film takes us through a enchantingly scenic walk from the French border through northern Spain – known as The Way of St. James or Camino de Santiago.

8. Copenhagen (2014)

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

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Denmark

A guy comes to Copenhagen to find about his grandfather’s past but soon enough he falls in love with a girl only to find out later that she is a minor!

Directed by Mark Raso, this charming film is essentially a love-story but it will help you explore the beautiful and historic Danish capital; a perfect movie for romantic wanderers! 

7. The Trip (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9bPJmy68Rs

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: England

Two friends Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (playing themselves) travels across the North Country of England in order to write their food and travel experiences for a magazine. 

If comedy, good food and traveling makes you happy then this first chapter of director Michael Winterbottom‘s The Trip Trilogy is definitely worth your time!

The other two films of ‘The Trip Trilogy’ are The Trip to Italy (2014) and The Trip to Spain (2017).

6. In July (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr7WImqnKBM

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Germany, Turkey

A professor (Moritz Bleibtreu) in search for his soulmate is ready to travel all across Europe, from Hamburg to Istanbul but does he really know who is his true love?

Directed by Fatih Akin, a brilliant tale of adventure and passion, full of comic moments and yet so romantic. Probably the best road-movie I have ever seen!

4. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_3gIxrcWK8

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: France

Every midnight a nostalgic screenwriter (Owen Wilson) mysteriously goes back to the golden age of Paris – the 1920s, and there he finds his inspiration!

Directed by Woody Allen who has made numerous films focusing on many cities around the world but this Oscar wining film is special – Paris has never been so romantic!

5. A Room with a View (1985)

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

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Italy

When you visit a city as beautiful as Florence you surely deserve a view from your hotel room!

Directed by James Ivory, this brilliant romantic drama (nominated for 8 Oscars, won 3) celebrates both love and passion as well as the vistas of the picturesque city. Trust me, this movie is the reason for many to plan a visit to Italy!

4. Mamma Mia! (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiVnD9i7BpE

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Greece

A fun-filled musical starring Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth among others; the backdrop being the gorgeous Greek landscapes surrounded by the vast blue oceans.

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, if you adore ABBA and Greece, this is THE film for you!

3. Kings of the Road (1976)

Im Lauf der Zeit (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zq-EBhErEI

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Germany

A film-projection-equipment repairman and a heart-broken young man team up to travel along the East-German border – an unknown adventure begins!

The third film of the Road-movie Trilogy directed by acclaimed Wim Wenders, with the German countryside in the background this is a brilliant piece of Cinema both artistically and intellectually.

The other two films of the ‘Road-movie Trilogy are Alice in the Cities (1974) and Wrong Move (1975).

2. Before Sunrise (1995)

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

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Austria

A guy meets a girl on a train and they instinctively decide to spend one evening together, trying to know each other while roaming around the picturesque city of Vienna!

The beautifully romantic first installment of the renowned Before Trilogy directed by the acclaimed Richard Linklater.

The other two films of the ‘Before Trilogy are Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013).

  1. The Spanish Apartment (2002)

L’Auberge Espagnole (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsvJFtUDfl0

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Spain

During his ‘Erasmus year’ a young French guy goes to Barcelona and rents a room with another five people all coming from different countries and speaking different languages!

The first part of the famous Spanish Apartment Trilogy directed by Cédric Klapisch, a brilliant comedy that portrays  the multicultural spirit of youth and the beauty of Spain like never before!

The other two films of the ‘Spanish Apartment Trilogy are Russian Dolls (2005) and Chinese Puzzle (2013).

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

+1. EuroTrip (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_Eu0X3B6OM

Europe-Travel-FilmsPlace to Visit: Europe

Dumped by his girlfriend a guy plans a sudden trip (backpacking Europe) with his crazy friends.

Directed by  Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg and David Mandel, this one is a very popular sex comedy, full of half-naked teenagers, adult jokes and slapstick moments. But then again it’s all about fun and traveling all across the Europe!

A few other films that definitely inspire us to travel to Europe are Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Roman Holiday (1953), Zorba the Greek (1964)Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Local Hero (1983), A Good Year (2006), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005).

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust (10+1list)

Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust.

written by Souranath Banerjee

For anybody who is not familiar with the word ‘holocaust‘ (though i doubt that), it is a term used to define the genocide in which approximately six million Jews (including one million Jewish children) were killed by Adolf Hitler through his Nazi regime.   

There were another five million non-Jewish victims of Nazi mass murders as well.

And thus, in between1941 to 1945, while Hitler was fighting the WorldWar II in the forefront, approximately eleven million people were executed in a preplanned and secretive manner throughout Nazi-Germany and the other German-occupied territories.

Unlike many films that tell the tales of those who defied against the brutal German command, the films listed below are based on the inhumane concentration camp stories where the Jews were locked up for an indefinite time period, forced to barbaric physical labour in exchange of minimum food, before they were finally terminated (either gassed or shot or tortured to death).

Only a few lucky Jews did survive to tell the horrifying tales, their memories of misery and agony, their permanent nightmares.

Many of these films are based on true stories and facts, and are definitely the Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust.

Please have a look.

10. Escape from Sobibor (1987)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkueQG7dnDk

escape from-sobibor-posterSobibor was one of the major death camps set in the eastern Poland and needless to say, a place that saw some of the most terrifying accounts of atrocities during the Nazi rule.

Directed by Jack Gold, this film takes us into factual account of the superbly graphic and realistic tale of how the Jews revolted against their captors, a mass escape that was planned.

Superb performance by Alan ArkinRutger HauerJoanna Pacula among many others. 

9. The Counterfeiters (2007) aka ‘Die Fälscher’

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4LTu_ou9Rc

counterfeiters-postersThis one tells the true story of Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch, the master counterfeiter who was involved in the largest counterfeiting operation in history, Operation Bernhard.

A thrilling film directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, about the master plan of the Third Reich to flood the rival country’s economy with fake currency, a game to sabotage the allies’s economic.

8. Sophie’s Choice (1982)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STPJVf6wqCk

Sophie's-Choice-poster

The perils of the memories from the concentration camps could be too much to lead a normal life.

Directed by Alan J. Pakula, the film through several flashbacks confronts the brutalities of the Holocaust while telling a very passionate story of three individuals. 

Meryl Streep won her first Oscar as Best Actress in a Leading Role and brilliant performances by Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol. Drama at it’s best.

7. Seven Beauties (1975) aka ‘Pasqualino Settebellezze’

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

Seven-Beauties-poster

A lesser known masterpiece, a film that is so full of energy and thrill, a roller-coaster ride of extreme events, an unique story of a holocaust survivor, and all that with a bit of humor added to it.

Also nominated for the Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film).

Directed by Lina Wertmüller, and a once in a lifetime performance by Giancarlo Giannini. 

6. Fateless (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F61yBTHB9nA

fateless-posterA 14 year old Hungarian youth, captured and sent to the concentration camps where he witnesses suffering and cruelty, experiences hatred and disgust, sees innumerable illness and deaths, and finally understands the meaning of being a Jew.

Directed by Lajos Koltai and written by Nobel-prize winner Imre Kertész, this one is one of the most realistic depiction of the Nazi concentration camps. 

5. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ypMp0s5Hiw

boy-in-the-striped-pajamas-posterDirected by Mark Herman, this is a story told from the perspective of an eight-year-old boy, the son of the Nazi commandant at a concentration camp.

The young child befriends a Jew kid on the other side of the camp fence but their innocent friendship turns into a disastrous ending. 

A story told to it’s full emotional and sentimental potential.

4. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16RZHqCIy9M

life-is-beautiful-poster1Directed and masterfully performed by Roberto Benigni, this is probably the only movie made on Holocaust that takes a humorous route and also becomes a huge commercial success.

Also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Italy).

A father desperate to protect his son when captured and taken to a concentration camp, uses his wit and imagination to entertain and motivate his son till the very end of the brutal war.

3. Playing for Time (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2Q00–HTJY

Playing-for-Time-posterJewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein, joins a group of performers who are spared their lives so that they can entertain the Nazis by performing music for them.

Directed by Daniel Mann, a stunning and dramatic film and a brilliant performance by Vanessa Redgrave.

An underrated TV movie that deserves global acclaim.

2. Europa Europa (1990) aka ‘Hitlerjunge Salomon’

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqMBNCo7LPE

europa-europa-posterBased upon a true story of Solomon Perel (taken from his book), the film tells the historic story of this Jewish boy who, in order to save his life poses as a German!

Marco Hofschneider plays the part with great conviction along with Julie Delpy.  

Directed by Agnieszka Holland, this is one thrilling story of survival, an attempt to dangerous yet innovative.

  1. Kapò (1960)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOPQx3NmApw

Kapò-posterNominated for the Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film), this Italian black and white film tells the fantastic story of a Jewish teenage girl whose survival instincts keep her alive when she arrives at a brutal concentration camp at a young age of 14.

And ultimately she evolved into a  “kapo” – a prisoner who watched over the other fellow prisoners.

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, and such a brilliant performance by Susan Strasberg, this gem of a film deserves much more fame and popularity than it currently gets. 

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

+1. Conspiracy (2001) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWLvq0jC-c0

Conspiracy-posterDirected by Frank Pierson, this one is a chilling reenactment of the 1942 infamous Wannsee Conference where the Nazi and SS leaders gathered to finalize the Holocaust!

Lead by SS-General Reinhard Heydrich, they calmly discussed the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” and thus the perfect plan of world’s largest genocide was hatched and ready to put in action.

The film The Final Solution: The Wannsee Conference (1984) also deals with the same subject and is also worth watching.

A few spine-chilling documentaries on Holocaust that depict the real trauma of the time without much dramatization – Shoah (1985), Night and Fog (1955), Triumph of the Will (1935), Siege (1940), Numbered (2012) and The Sorrow and the Pity (1969).

Similar Interest: Best Jew-Nazi dramas during the Holocaust (10+1list).

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comfilmow.comen.wikipedia.orgwww.imdb.com.

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).