Tag Archives: Quentin Tarantino

The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A western in Tarantino style – enough said already!

My Ratings: 4/5.

The Wyoming winter at its peak, surrounded by knee-deep snow and tormented by blinding blizzards, literally at the middle of hateful-eight-posternowhere there is a place called Minnie’s Haberdashery!

And that is where a bounty hunter and his prisoner (among others) goes to take refuge from the treacherous weather, but little did they know that the dramatic events of that single day will change their lives forever.

Narrated by Quentin Tarantino the director himself, the film The Hateful Eight (also Tarantino’s eighth film, hence the name) is a story that revolves around the core dilemma of whom to trust and whom to kill?

The bounty hunters Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell, the prisoner hateful-eight-poster2Jennifer Jason Leigh and then the rest of the dubious characters Walton GogginsTim RothMichael MadsenDemián BichirBruce Dern and James Parks all under the same roof and under the same cloud of disbelief and conspiracy.

Acting level is again top class, the brutality and the raw ferocity of the characters is what drives this film till the end.

Shot entirely in the Ultra Panavision 70 process, in an aspect ratio of 2.76:1, using the very same 65mm film that shot the chariot race in Ben-Hur (1959), The Hateful Eight is undoubtedly a cinematic triumph and cinematographer Robert Richardson certainly made sure of it.

hateful-eight-poster3Original soundtrack, written and composed by Ennio Morricone, now that’s a first!

If you adore the so called ‘Tarantino way of film making‘ – extreme violence with contrast background scores, the blood-thirsty diabolical characters with their own backstories, cheesy yet stylized dialogues and innumerable graphic deaths at regular intervals – then there is hardly any chance that his eighth film will disappoint you!

Then again, just to make sure, why don’t you take a look at it yourself? And if you look closely enough Channing Tatum will reveal himself, I promise!

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.

Best Kung Fu films ever made (10+1list)

Best Kung Fu films ever made.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Kung fu or wushu are chinese words that refers to the age old tradition of Chinese Martial Arts.

In ancient China, Kung fu was first introduced as a method of self-defence and hunting, and was also a part of the country’s military training. Essentially a hand to hand combat system (with different forms and styles of fighting) but then again, certain classic Chinese weapons are often used as well.

Since long time martial art has been introduced in films for entertainment and such action films were very popular in China and in a few other Asian countries.

bruce-lee-posterBut only in the early 70s, the craze for kung fu films hit the west, and the person responsible for giving kung fu a world-wide recognition was none other than Bruce Lee.

Then there was Jackie Chan and Jet Li who prolonged the tradition. 

Nowadays, even in Hollywood action films like The Matrix TrilogyKill Bill, and The Transporter stylized forms of kung fu are extensively used and well appreciated by the audience. 

Listed below are some of the best Kung fu films ever made that can be enjoyed even if you are not a hard core action film lover.

Let’s kick start the list.

10. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m3IB7N_PRk

kung-fu-hustle-posterDirected by Stephen Chow also known for films like Shaolin Soccer and The God of Cookery – this one is the most entertaining kung fu film.

According to Bill Murray this film is ‘the supreme achievement of the modern age in terms of comedy‘.

According to famous film critic Roger Ebert ‘Imagine a film in which Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton meet Quentin Tarantino and Bugs Bunny’.

9. Ip Man (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhz4Jl6nf58

ip-man-posterA semi-biographical account of the most influential martial art master Grandmaster Yip Man.

The man who taught martial art to the world, he was also renowned as the teacher and inspiration of the legendary kung fu master Bruce Lee.

Directed by Wilson Yip, the film tries to be as real and authentic to the grandmaster’s life as possible. 

8. Come Drink with Me (1966)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1A6PnPZ6Gk

come-drink-with-me-posterDirected by King Hu, also known for films like A Touch of Zen and Dragon Inn started the modern trend of kung fu films.

This film is said to be the first Hong Kong martial art film which portrayed kung fu as pure entertainment and each ‘fight scene as art form’. 

This film has more historical value than than any other in this list.

7. Ong-bak (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJvMhOkwH9I

ong-bak-posterTony Jaa, the face of the new martial art superstar gets his introduction through this film.

After an extensive four years training, Tony Jaa performed all his stunts by himself, no wires or CGI were used in the fight scenes.

Directed by Prachya Pinkaew, the film was a huge hit for it’s epic fight sequences and the extreme acrobatic stunts.    

6. The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f6f_kfp1Z8

The-Raid-Redemption-poster1Directed by Gareth Evans, this is one extreme action-packed film, the best in the recent times.

The Martial Art used in this movie is Pencak Silat, which is the indigenous fighting style of Indonesia.

Iko Uwais and his fighting skills are simply awesome. If you like this film then The Raid 2 is also a must watch.

5. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65GQtH6pzTY

The-36th-Chamber-of-Shaolin-posterChia-Hui Liu plays the guy who firstly gets beaten by the brutal Manchu clan; then he learns martial art and goes back to take his revenge.

Hence forth this learn-and-revenge plot has been done to death in numerous films.   

Directed by Chia-Liang Liu, this one is one of the kung fu classics.

4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEaGsdiA0y0

crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon-posterYun-Fat ChowMichelle YeohZiyi ZhangChen Chang and Pei-Pei Cheng all together in this exclusive kung fu drama.

Directed by master director Ang Lee, the film was a huge success – the first foreign language film to earn over $100 million in the United States.

A story of passion, love, revenge and much more – an unique action film without any real violence!

3. Hero (2002)

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

hero-posterDirected by Yimou Zhang, who is also famous for House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower.

The most expensive Chinese movie till date, epic fight sequences and visually the most beautiful film ever made!

Jet Li at his best along with Tony Chiu Wai LeungMaggie Cheung Ziyi Zhang and Daoming Chen

2. Drunken Master (1978)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQMNllz6aE0

Drunken-Master-PosterThe film that kick-started Jackie Chan‘s career and also portrayed his unique ability to combine kung fu with comedy.

Drunken Fist Kung Fu is a particular style of fighting that is highlighted in this film.

Directed by Woo-Ping Yuen, this was a landmark film that paves the path for the infinite comic-action films to be made ever since. 

  1. Enter the Dragon (1973)

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

enter-the-dragon-poster1Bruce Lee, the legend of martial arts, the man who made kung fu movies a world wide sensation – this was his last film shot before he passed away at a young age of 32.

Directed by Robert Clouse, the film was a sensation and a landmark in action genre.

The ‘Hall of Mirrors’ sequence, the cave fight were Lee beats 50 people at a go, and then the unique steel hands of the antagonist Han were some of the highlights of the film. This one is one of it’s kind and a must watch for everybody.

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

+1. Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery (1928)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=012M83Me6us

burning-red-lotus-posterThe film that successfully introduced martial arts in cinema – it runs for 27 hours and thus it’s the longest film ever produced!

It was split up and released as 18 features between 1928 and 1931, of which Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery is one.

Directed by Shichuan Zhang, this Chinese film is considered as a classic and rightly so.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.topchinesemovies.comen.wikipedia.org.

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


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


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

Quentin Tarantino – the brilliant use of music in his films

Quentin Tarantino – the brilliant use of music in his films

written by Souranath Banerjee

Quentin Tarantino – the brilliant use of music in his films: One of the most popular American director of our times, Quentin Tarantino is a name that needs no introduction.

His films are a confluence of wacky dialogues, stylish yet graphic violence (often in slow motion), non-linear storytelling and unforgettable music!

tarantino-posterHardly any director in the world has Tarantino’s gift of choosing the perfect soundtrack that would sync and enhance the visuals of a particular scene to another level of  awesomeness.

‘I’m a big collector of vinyl – I have a record room in my house – and I’ve always had a huge soundtrack album collection. So what I do, as I’m writing a movie, is go through all those songs, trying to find good songs for fights, or good pieces of music to layer into the film.’

For instance, in his first film Reservoir Dogs (1992) there is this famous torture sequence popularly known as ‘the ear scene’ where Michael Madsen playing a psychopath groves to the happy tune of ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ by Stealers Wheel while torturing the tied up police officer Kirk Baltz.

Well, let’s just say … Tarantino has an ear for good music.

And then, in Pulp Fiction (1994), before John Travolta takes a ride high on drugs, the whole heroine-trip sequence shot beautifully in extreme close-ups is perfectly synced with the soundtrack ‘Bullwinkle Part II’ by The Centurians.    

‘To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I’m writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I’m going to play for the opening sequence.’

The perfect example, in his film Jackie Brown (1997) the title sequence where the camera follows Pam Grier traveling through the airport while Bobby Womack’s jazzy tune ‘Across 110th Street’ plays in the background – the effect is simply awesome. 

Tarantino often uses music to play with his audience’s psychology.

In Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) the famous whistling tune ‘Twisted Nerve’ originally composed by legendary Bernard Herrmann, prepares the audience with the anticipation of danger as a deadly killer, codename California Mountain Snake (played by Daryl Hannah) is the one who whistles it before a hit.

And finally, a girl (Mélanie Laurent) prepares for revenge; a deadly plan to blast a theater full of Nazis and the epic soundtrack ‘Cat People (Putting Out Fire)‘ by David Bowie is brilliantly played in the background in Inglourious Basterds (2009). 

By the way, the latest Tarantino Movie The Hateful Eight is awesome but then I really missed that one special soundtrack that redefines his movie, the signature of the acclaimed director. Do you agree?

Photo curtsey: www.telegraph.co.ukwww.miramax.com.