Tag Archives: Oscars

Best of World Cinema 2017 so far (10+1list)

Best of World Cinema 2017 so far.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Film-lovers take a deep breath – relax. It’s flashback time!

Midway through the year, here is a list of movies from all across the world, made by globally acclaimed directors, actors and the best technicians, visually stunning, exquisite story-telling and that too from all varied genres!

Best of World Cinema 2017 so far – let the fun begin!

10. Away

Language: English

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CGCkYKRq2U

Best-World-Cinema-2017The north English seaside town of Blackpool as the backdrop, this one is an emotional tale of two very contrasting souls (different both in age and in their mentality) and then of course their unlikely friendship!

Directed by David Blair, and tremendous performances by Juno Temple and Timothy Spall.

A heart wrenching British drama, underrated as it deserves much more praise and attention.

9. Heartstone

Hjartasteinn (original title) Language: Icelandic

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9Tcw-_SrcA

Best-World-Cinema-2017A classic ‘coming of age’ story of a group of children enjoying their summer holidays in a remote fishing village of Iceland – their friendships, their affairs, their sexual orientations, all twisted and tangled together.

Directed by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, this movie is superbly arty yet realistic and the characters and their confusions are so well executed.

8. Land of Mine

Under sandet (original title) 

Language: German, Danish, English

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kao3t0NBMU

Best-World-Cinema-2017After the defeat of Germany, a group of teenage German prisoners of war have been assigned the deadly task of clearing the Danish West Coast, removing thousands of land mines under the strict watch of a Danish Sergeant.

Directed by Martin Zandvliet, amazing plot, superb performances and full of suspense – a film so thrilling and yet so very emotional. A must watch!

7. Lost in Paris

Paris pieds nus (original title) Language: French, English

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1uT5mWbpdI

Best-World-Cinema-2017A girl visits Paris in search of her Aunt but then she is lost and soon in company of a weird homeless man who is in love with her!

Directed and acted by Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, and not to forget Emmanuelle Riva and Pierre Richard – such performances!

Slapstick with a hint of fantasy, but overall a thoroughly entertaining comedy – an absolute laugh riot!

6. Raw

Grave (original title) Language: French

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvZ6nB3cl1w

Best-World-Cinema-2017What happens when a young staunch vegetarian girl is forced to taste meat for the first time – she gets hooked to it, her repulsion turns into an addiction!

Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf – brilliantly realistic performances.

Directed by Julia Ducournau, this is a film that doesn’t shy away from gore, blood or violent cannibalistic scenes. NOT for the soft-hearted.

5. Toni Erdmann

Language: German, English, Romanian

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0uwi5EPnpA

Best-World-Cinema-2017A father’s practical jokes are often too much for his busy daughter to handle. And yet the bond between them is exceptional!

Directed by Maren Ade, one of those unique films that takes comedy into a different level – subtle yet outrageous!

Top notch performances by Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek – the best father-daughter drama of recent times.

4. After the Storm

Umi yori mo mada fukaku (original title)

Language: Japanese

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPW8QJ4N5PE

Best-World-Cinema-2017A soulful story of a man struggling to collect the pieces of his life as he desperately attempts to move back with his ex-wife and young son. Will there be happiness after the storm?

From the brilliant Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, a perfect combination of emotions and humour. Believable characters, natural performances and the simple yet blissful story-telling is what makes the film so very special!

3. Neruda

 Language: Spanish, French

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

Best-World-Cinema-2017An unconventional biographical take on the life of the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who was being hunted in his own country for being accused as a Communist!

(Click for Review)

Directed by Pablo Larraín, masterfully enacted by Gael García Bernal and Luis Gnecco – a sublime experience as poetry blends into Cinema!

2. The Salesman

Forushande (original title) Language: Persian, English.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHHZjuQB3zU

Best-World-Cinema-2017From the acclaimed Iranian writer/director Asghar Farhadi comes a unique revenge drama where a man seeks justice and retribution after his wife faces an assault from an unknown invader.

(Click for Review)

Exceptional performances from Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini, as by the end the film questions the real meaning of ‘Justice being served’. This Iranian film won the Oscar as the ‘Best Foreign Language Film of the Year’!

  1. Okja

Language: English, Korean, Spanish

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nhz9ctHR0k

Best-World-Cinema-2017On the surface this is a simple story of the friendship between a young girl (Seo-Hyun Ahnand her pet Okja – an oversized pig. But then this movie is so much more complex and layered, and very much socially relevant for today’s world.

Tilda Swinton, Paul DanoJake Gyllenhaal all at their best. From the acclaimed South Korean director Joon-ho Bong, probably the most powerful film of this year that makes a statement of it’s own!

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

+1. My Life as a Zucchini

Ma vie de Courgette (original title) Language: French

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nRwYWVxjRU

Best-World-Cinema-2017The sweet emotional story revolves around a young boy who after losing his mother goes to a foster home and meets the other orphans – and his life changes forever!

Directed by Claude Barras, this heart touching stop motion animated feature was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and also the official submission from Switzerland at the Oscars last year!

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

Oscar Nominations are here!

Oscar Nominations are here!

written by Souranath Banerjee

The 89th annual Academy Award nominations, the Oscar nominations, the entries for the biggest entertainment award ceremony of the world is just been announced!

And this year we have La La Land leading the pack with 14 nominations, a tie with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950) for moonlight-postermost nominations for a single film.

Then again we have some brilliant films like the sci-fi drama Arrival and the coming-of-age story Moonlight with eight nominations.

And then, a unique historical war-film Hacksaw Ridge, a superb drama ‘based on a true story’ Lion, and the sad yet poetic Manchester by the Sea, each entitled for six nominations!

In total 24 categories, and the final award ceremony itself will be on Sunday, February 26.

For now, let the Oscar race begin!

You can watch the announcement on the Oscars’ official YouTube channel, which is also embedded above.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.comwww.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.

Best Jew-Nazi dramas during the Holocaust (10+1list)

Best Jew-Nazi dramas 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 Germany 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.

Numerous films and documentaries have been made to portray those unpredictable and desperate times.

Interestingly the films listed below neither emphasize on the WWII nor particularly based on the inhumane concentration camp stories; these films tell the tales of those who defied against the barbaric massacre of human lives, of those who challenged the deadly systematic annihilation and survived (or at least tried to).

Most of these films are based on true stories and are definitely the best Jew-Nazi dramas in the times of Holocaust.

Please have a look.

10. Black Book (2006)

Original title: Zwartboek. Language: Dutch.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKEDKF8iDUw

black-book-posterDirected by Paul Verhoeven, this one was the official Netherlands entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Oscars.

A Jewish singer who transforms herself from a war victim to a spy, she uses her charms and also puts her life at risk to pass German war secrets to the Dutch Resistance.

A visual treat and a plot that has so many twists to keep you guessing till the end.

9. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

Original title: Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage. Language: German.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x14U3R3-dFE

Sophie-Scholl-posterThe White Rose was the German World War II anti-Nazi resistance movement and young Sophie Scholl was one of the most prominent members of it. 

The film is a dramatized version of brave Sophie Scholl’s arrest, her interrogation, her trial till her sentence in 1943 Munich. 

Directed by Marc Rothemund, a chilling war drama, a must watch. 

8. In Darkness (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHuPtd9oCSQ

in-darkness-poster

Leopold Socha, a man probably lesser known than Oskar Schindler but then again he saved numerous lives in the Nazi-occupied Polish city of Lvov during Holocaust.

He risked his own life hiding Jewish refugees from the Nazis in the sewers for almost 14 months! 

Directed by Polish female director Agnieszka Holland, a heart touching story of humanity and valor. 

7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnrRy6kSFF0

inglorious-bastards-posterFiction at it’s best; two separate plans to assassinate the Nazi leaders unfortunately coincide and how!

Quentin Tarantino‘s take on the gruesome times of history – a drama told in his unique style, quirky and essentially violent.

Brad PittChristoph WaltzMichael FassbenderDiane KrugerEli Roth among others. One of the most popular one in the list.

6. Defiance (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-9eUXSzZNk

defiance-posterIn the Belarussian forests the Jewish brothers escapes from the Nazis and built their own village to protect themselves and also 1000 other Jews. 

Directed by Edward Zwick, this is the epic story of defiance as some Jews decided to fought back against their oppressors.  

Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber great performances indeed. 

5. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7zDyJcF3ko

diary-of-anne-frank-posterIn Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, a young Jewish girl named Anne Frank is forced to hide in an attic with her family and a few friends. 

The film is based on the real accounts of events documented by Anne herself in her diary.

Directed by George Stevens, this one is a brilliant tale of the war seen through the innocent eyes of a young  girl hoping to be free some day.

4. The Pawnbroker (1964)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNLBKdV83co

pawnbroker-posterA Jewish pawnbroker who once survived through the savage concentration camps is too damaged and scarred to trust or love others. 

An unforgettable performance by Rod Steiger, a brilliant actor of his times.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film is a gem and deserves much more recognition and popularity than it ever earned.  Please do watch.  

3. Amen. (2002)

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

amen-posterKurt Gerstein, a German sanitation engineer who developed the lethal gas Zyklon-B, didn’t realize that the same gas will be used by the SS to kill millions of Jews in the camps.

He in order to stop the genocide tries to inform the Pope Pius XII and ask for the Vatican’s help.

Directed by Costa-Gavras, a film full of passion and drama.

2. The Pianist (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_jE7-6Uv7E

pianist-poster1Talented Adrien Brody as the pianist who desperately struggles to escape from the clutches of the Nazis and from being sent to the ghettos and executed.  

Directed by my favorite director Roman Polanski, a film so powerful and emotional and yet very realistic. 

The best Holocaust movie ever made – yes, my vote surely goes for this one.

  1. Schindler’s List (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdRGC-w9syA

schindlers-list-posterMaster director Steven Spielberg tells the tale of Oskar Schindler, a German business man who is responsible for saving many Jewish lives (more than 1000) from being gassed during the Holocaust.

Liam Neeson as Schindler has given his career best performance.

Probably the most popular film representing this particular historical period.

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

+1. Downfall (2004)

Original title: Der Untergang, Language: German.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD1Riwv5wqw

downfall-poster1

This particular film explores the final days of the Reich and of it’s leaders such as Himmler, Goring, Goebbels and Hitler himself.

April 1945, chances of Germany winning the war looks grim but still the paranoid dictator wants to fight till the end. 

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, one of the most microscopic view on last days of Hitler. 

Similar Interest: Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust (10+1list).

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

Wild Tales (2014)

Wild Tales review.

My Ratings: 4.3/5.

Wild Tales, Spanish title ‘Relatos salvajes’ is an anthology with six individual short films, all of which having a common theme of retribution and vengeance.

wild-tales-posterThese films, all six of them, are wicked (literally wild tales), satirical and even deranged to some extent but again at the same time they are clever, hilarious and highly entertaining.

Be it the passengers on an airplane or a loan-shark who enters a restaurant, two egoistic drivers on a highway or a frustrated citizen who also happens to be a demolition expert, a kid from a rich family who commits a hit and run or an unusual wedding ceremony – the various tales told in this film are brutal yet real.

All these stories are stretched to extremes but yet they somehow seem to be believable!

wild-tales-poster1Most of the characters in these short films are psychologically twisted and are brilliantly portrayed by actors like Ricardo DarínErica RivasDarío GrandinettiDiego GentileMaría MarullLeonardo SbaragliaMónica Villa and others.

Wild Tales competed for the Palme d’Or award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated as the Best Foreign Language Film for last year’s Oscars.

Awesome music composed by Gustavo Santaolalla which perfectly compliments the innovative work of writer/director Damián Szifrón.

Wild Tales – a superbly entertaining black comedy that shouldn’t be missed at any cost.

 

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).

Omar (2013)

My Ratings: 3.8/5.

Omar was been selected as the Palestinian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at last year’s Oscars and it did confirm it’s place among the top five nominees.

In fact Omar is the second film from Palestine to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; the first one being Paradise Now in 2005. And it cannot be a coincidence that both these films are directed by Hany Abu-Assad.

Omar-poster4The film is placed in the heart of the Israel versus Palestine controversy but fortunately it’s not only about the Jew-Arab political conflict and related militant violence – it’s also a story of love, friendship and sacrifice.

The Palestinian protagonist Omar (Adam Bakri) living in the West Bank had a relatively simple life as he worked in a bakery and loved a girl named Nadia (Leem Lubany) whom he wanted to marry soon.

But then he along with his two close friends Tarek (Iyad Hoorani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat), who considered themselves as freedom fighters, organized a sniper attack on an Israeli Military post and since that night Omar‘s life took a dangerous route.

Repeatedly tortured by the Israeli police and suspected as a traitor by his own friends Omar desperately tries to hold on to his roots; he is beaten and bruised but he never looses his hope.

omar-posterThe tall separation wall running through the occupied Palestine which Omar had to climb each time he wanted to visit his lover Nadia, is a constant reminder of the agonizing political scenario – a barrier forcibly imposed and ordained over the innocent population.  

Director Hany Abu-Assad manages to impartially summarize the terrors faced by both the Israelis and the Palestinians; a riveting political thriller perfectly blended with a love story.

Omar is a film that knits a complex web of love and hatred, loyalty and betrayal, fear and bravery, ideological differences and paranoia. 

Highly recommended for the film-lovers across the world.

Tangerines (2013)

Tangerines review.

My Ratings: 4/5.

War has always been the cause for destruction, be it human lives or the season’s crop – the Tangerines.

The story takes place during the War in Abkhazia (it was in 1990, the time when Abkhazia is trying to get separated from Georgia); and while most people fled from the war-affected villages, a couple of men from Estonia stayed back to harvest the tangerines.

The old man Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak) who makes boxes for tangerines and his friend Margus (Elmo Nüganen) who plucks the fruit and parcels it.

Ivo, a man with a kind heart gives shelter to two injured soldiers, a Chechen mercenary named Ahemd (Giorgi Nakashidze) and the other from the opposite camp – a Georgian soldier Niko (Misha Meskhi).

Tangerine-posterThough both these men were indebted to Ivo for saving their lives but they also desperately wanted to kill each other; but of course not under the roof of their savior (as they promised to Ivo they wouldn’t).

An intense drama unfolds; a tension of violence in the air with a light comic touch – a war film (or more of an anti-war film) which shows the minimum amount of actual violence/war but still manages to engage the audience.

With a dramatic and unpredictable ending and superb performances this film not only portrays the devastation of the civilians in a war zone but also questions the necessity of war in general.

A film with a remarkably strong message.

Directed by Zaza Urushadze Tangerines (original title Mandariinid) was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in the Oscars as well as in the Golden Globes.

A superbly shot film with a brilliant story of human relations tested in the tough times of the war.

Selma (2014)

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

The Imitation GameWild, American Sniper, Mr.TurnerBig EyesFoxcatcherUnbrokenThe Theory Of Every ThingFuryKill The Messenger – and among these never-ending list of biographies produced in 2014, Selma turns out to be the one with the most impact.

selma-poster1The film Selma vividly depicts the unfortunate times when equality and respect in the society depended on one’s race and color.

Presently with a Black President behind the desk it is hard for us to imagine the amount of sacrifice and torment the Black community of United States went through in the past, the sacrifice they had to make just to claim their basic rights as a citizen.

But then again, it was the time to change the course of history forever.

It was 1965 and Martin Luther King leaded the epic march from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama), a nonviolent protest demanding for the right-to-vote for all black men and women in the country.

While under the orders of George Wallace (the then Governor of Alabama) countless innocent men and women (of all ages) were harassed, brutally beaten and even murdered but that didn’t stop Martin Luther King from keep demanding his rights (peacefully though).   

selma-posterPresident Lyndon Johnson finally had to give in and it was victory – a victory of both equality and humanity. 

The film Selma directed by Ava DuVernay brilliantly manages to portray the emotions and sentiments of the people who fought  for what they believed was right.

And such a powerful film is evidently backed by some outstanding performances – David Oyelowo (as King, he is simply brilliant), Carmen EjogoOprah WinfreyTom WilkinsonGiovanni RibisiTim Roth and others.

Selma with four Golden Globe Award nominations (won for Best Original Song) was also nominated for Best Picture and won Best Original Song at the Oscars this year.

A film that will undoubtedly touch your heart. Watch it.

Mr.Turner (2014)

My Ratings: 4/5.

The film Mr.Turner, is a biography based on the life and career of the prominent British painter J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851). 

Nominated for this year’s Oscars and BAFTA in four categories each, the film also competed for the Palme d’Or in the Cannes Film Festival. 

mr-turner-poster2Writer/director Mike Leigh famous for his earlier films like NakedSecrets & LiesVera DrakeHappy-Go-Lucky this time portrayed the life of the eccentric but extremely talented artist, Mr.Turner.

According to Mike Leigh Turner was “a great artist: a radical, revolutionary painter” and he said “I felt there was scope for a film examining the tension between this very mortal, flawed individual, and the epic work, the spiritual way he had of distilling the world”

Actually the film Mr.Turner doesn’t revolve on any particular story of Turner’s life but it’s overall view based on his later life (middle aged) till his death.

The film deals with Turner’s passions and brilliance, his obsessions and madness, his pleasures and insecurities, his family ties and his love lives.

And of course a masterful insight into his paintings.

mr-turner-poster3Timothy Spall gave the best performance of his life and played the character of Mr.Turner to perfection. No wonder he won the best actor at Cannes Film Festival.

All the other actors, especially Paul JessonDorothy Atkinson and Marion Bailey did their very best.

But according to me the real protagonists of this film are the outstanding cinematography by Dick Pope and also Gary Yershon‘s music. A marvelous combination of beautiful visuals perfectly synced with such melody!

A slow paced period film with beautiful costumes and production design; Mr.Turner is a great biography, true to it’s nature and also to the historic painter on whom it’s based on. 

One should attempt to watch films like Mr.Turner with adequate amount of patience and if you are familiar with Turner’s paintings – it helps.

Overall a great accomplishment indeed.