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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

Trapped (2017)

Trapped Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Up above the sky so high, invisible to the world, you cry, whisper and sigh!   

My Ratings: 4.1/5

When was the last time you were in a spot where there was no food and water – like literally – ultimate survival crisis – and you have to hunt animals for food and go ‘Morarji-Desai’ for your drink?

I know what you will say – that such extreme situations are only for the celluloid; like the shipwrecked Tom Hanks in Cast Away, marooned in an island with no company other than the mute round-faced Wilson; then there was this young James Franco who accidentally put his leg in-between some boulders and sat stuck Trapped-Poster-5alone for 127 Hours. I think WALL·E also did a decent job, forlorned up in the space – but then, he didn’t get much hungry or thirsty, if you know what I mean!

Now what if someone gets ‘trapped’ in an apartment, an ordinary flat in a multystored and otherwise uninhabited building, right in the middle of the concrete urban jungle (say around Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area); cooped up for days, without food, water, phone or electricity, entirely cut off from the outer world – with a birds-eye view of the entire city but still invisible to everyone!

This is exactly what happened to Shaurya (Rajkummar Rao), when he by a twist of fate gets locked inside an apartment in a high-rise, without any hope of ever getting rescued!

Trapped-Poster-1And the most scary part in the film comes from the sensation that it can actually happen to any of us so called ‘city-people’ out here!

Salute to the writers Amit Joshi and Hardik Mehta for such a brilliant idea and script. And then what a marvellous ‘jugalbandhi’ from director Vikramaditya Motwane and performer Rajkummar Rao!

National Award winning actor Rajkummar Rao was outstanding in the film. The combination of Rao’s boy-next-door looks and his brilliant portrayal of someone desperate for survival is what makes the film so real.

And for director Mr.Motwane, with only one character to tell his story, that too pinned in one location, he still managed to successfully Trapped-Poster-3grasp the attention of the audience till the very end!

Another very interesting human psychology portrayed in the film is that, when someone is in the brink of possible extinction, it is the general human tendency to discover an unfamiliar longing for some of the most banal things in their lives.

For example in the film, Shaurya trapped for days, often hallucinating from stress and malnourishment, never desired or yearned for anything particularly unique or remarkable. Rather he wished to relive those regular day to day events; his journey to the office in those overcrowded Mumbai local trains packed with sweaty co-passengers, those crammed up buses with irritating conductors, a simple plate of pav-bhaji with a dash of butter on top – in the time of an inevitable Trapped-Poster-4catastrophe the most ordinary things from our life become so special and desirable!

Geetanjali Thapa, in the short role as the love of Shaurya’s life was commendable, though honestly I thought her character wasn’t really required in the film other than the simple incentive for Shaurya to hunt for a place.

Siddharth Diwan‘s cinematography makes the film look very real while Nitin Baid‘s editing keeps it crisp and to the point. Alokananda Dasgupta‘s music works well, very subtle and used only when required. 

I just thank God, Shaurya has musophobia (fear of rats) and not vertigo (fear of heights), or else, it would have all gone down pretty worse!

Poster courtesy: www.moviescut.com

Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A bit over-glorified but then again, certainly the most eccentric film of this year! 

My Ratings: 3.6/5

Some films have pretty weird storylines (in Hollywood standard) but a rare few can really define the word ‘weird’ in its true context, and Swiss Army Man is one such film.

A young man named Hank (Paul Dano) gets stranded in an island all alone – yup, exactly like Tom Hanks in Cast Away but instead of a swiss-army-man-posterfloating Volleyball named Wilson, Hank gets a farting dead-body named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe)!

A dead-body who soon starts talking!

But then again, Manny is not just any ordinary talking-dead-body.

He is an unique multipurpose friendly-body who farts away on water like a speed-boat, his penis can be used as a compass, his fingers for lighting fire, his vomit as pure drinking water and he can also spit out things with superhuman velocity!

Didn’t I tell you in the beginning that this would be a very weird 1hr 37 min journey?

And so, Manny the super talented dead-body gets very friendly with Hank and tries his best to make Hank survive and return to swiss-army-man-poster1humanity or what we in general refer to as the ‘normal’!

Being a satire on our current society, writer/director duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert through their over the top loud gags and often pretty gross comic situations does manage to give us some deep imbedded messages through their film Swiss Army Man

Acting is superb, specially of Daniel Radcliffe as the dead body!

Imaginative, often really humorous and even cinematic, overall, Swiss Army Man is a film that embraces the absurdity and irrationality around us and makes us question and redefine our current social scenario (to some extent).

A decent one time watch if you can survive the repetitive dead-farts till the end!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Sully (2016)

Sully review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A film that restores faith in humanity as well as in good cinema!

My Ratings: 4.2/5

‘Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time.’

“Miracle on the Hudson” (as the press labeled it) happened on January 15, 2009 when Captain Chesley Sullenberger (nicknamed Sully) managed to unbelievably land an Airbus A320 right in the middle of the sully-imageHudson river without a single casualty!

Saving 155 lives, Captain Sully instantly became a hero in the eyes of the public and the press, but still there was something that bothered the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB – an independent U.S. government investigative agency.)

According to the NTSB, due to the failure of both the engines after hitting a flock of birds at an approximate altitude of 2,800 feet, the airplane had to be landed for sure but why did Captain Sully chose the freezing Hudson river to land and didn’t opt to make it back to the nearest airports – LaGuardia or Teterboro?

Now if the NTSB can prove that it’s a pilot-error, Sully’s career and reputation will be ruined forever!

A superbly constructed biography that made actor Tom Hanks and director Clint Eastwood join hands for the first time in the history of sully-poster1cinema!

A class act by Tom hanks as expected, even Aaron Eckhart as the co-pilot was just perfect.

But the best part of the film is its non-linear narrative; such clever form of story telling by the director Clint Eastwood and the editor Blu Murray.

The little details of the passengers, the fear and panic in their eyes, the confident decisions of the pilots, the thankful acknowledgement of the public, the NTSB inquiry and their simulators – the film engages you throughout it’s entire 96 minutes.

Based on the autobiography, “Highest Duty” that was co-written by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow, undoubtedly one of the most intelligently crafted cinema you will watch this year!

P.S. – An unsolved mystery: Clint Eastwood is currently 86 years old (born in 1930) but then how come his films are yet so fresh and young and innovative?

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 3.8/5.

It’s definitely a good Spielberg film but certainly not one of his best.

2015 must have been a difficult year for all the espionage agencies because no matter how hard the spies try to hide, their covers are repeatedly been blown in the numerous spy-films made on them.

From the Kingsmen to 007, Tom Cruise to U.N.C.L.E – this year Hollywood has been obsessed with Spy movies. And now Steven Spielberg decides to join the party.

After a gap of 10 years actor Tom Hanks and director Steven bridge-of-spies-poster2Spielberg join hands, this being their fourth collaboration (previous ones being Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal); and this time they come up with a historical spy-thriller (based on true events) called Bridge of Spies.

The film is set in 1960, when the Cold War was at it’s peak.

Bridge of Spies is actually a biopic on American insurance-attorney James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) who agreed to risk his reputation and his safety (as well as his family’s), in order to serve his country in the most righteous manner possible.

Firstly, he had to defend a captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in the American court of justice and then, he was recruited by the CIA and sent to the-then hostile Germany (Berlin being partitioned) to negotiate a spy-exchange mission between the two rival countries – America and Russia.

Rudolf Abel being the Russian spy who was exchanged with Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell), the American pilot whose aircraft was shot down over the Soviet borders (the U-2 incident).

Now, Bridge of Spies not only successfully depicts the moral obligation of Donovan’s character and his constant quest for justice
bridge-of-spies-poster1but the film also manages to create the tension of that particular era,
the desperate attempt of the two super powers trying to topple each other by any means possible.

But then, don’t expect too much dramatization of events.

Bridge of Spies faithfully clings to the pages of history, not much of a suspense element created anywhere in the movie, pretty much gives away the basic story line from the start and also it’s more of a dialogue based spy film.

Written by Matt Charman and the famous Coen brothers ( Ethan Coen and Joel Coen), and with Spielberg’s direction and some brilliant performances, the film surely deserves attention.

If you like authentic historical espionage cinema more than the thrilling fast-paced fictional spy films – this one is tailor made for you.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

Best Court room drama films (10+1list)

Best Court room drama films.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Back in 1928 director Carl Theodor Dreyer made an epic film The Passion of Joan of Arc and although the movie was unique in many other aspects but it was also probably the first ever cinema to showcase the dramatization inside a court room.

And since then, there has been several brilliant contributions made to the ‘courtroom drama’ genre.

The Judge, the jury, the lawyer, the accused and the witnesses. Guilty or Not guilty?

Sometimes the primary focus is on the lawyer’s intellect and determination while other films deal more with the accused or the suspense of the final verdict. 

The list below consists of some of the best Courtroom drama films ever made.

So, Order! Order!

10. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7CBKT0PWFA

12-angry-men-posterWhen you say ‘courtroom drama’, the first film that comes to your mind is this one, and why not?

An epic film directed by Sidney Lumet featuring a murder trail where 12 jury members have to come to a decision unanimously.

Almost shot inside a single room, 12 characters and their unique approach to the case. Henry Fonda‘s best role.

Another brilliant film by the same director on this genre is The Verdict (1982). A must watch.

9. The Paradine Case (1947)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGt4VvcSfjU

pardine-case-posterNot one of his best suspense thrillers, but nevertheless Alfred Hitchcock‘s contribution to the courtroom drama genre.

A lawyer risks his own marriage and reputation as he falls for the beautiful female client accused of murdering her own husband!

Gregory PeckAnn ToddCharles Laughton and Oscar nominated Ethel Barrymore all at their best.

8. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsVN1hv9D5c

witness-prosecution-posterThis time it’s director Billy Wilder who joins the courtroom drama.

Brilliant performances by Tyrone PowerMarlene DietrichCharles Laughton

The film’s suspense is so vital that the audience before entering the hall had to sign, cards that read, ‘I solemnly swear I will not reveal the ending of Witness for the Prosecution.’! 

7. Primal Fear (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnmTi7hSjrA

primal-fear-posterA priest murdered and an alter boy is accused for killing him. But the real truth is not what it seems to be.

Directed by Gregory Hoblit, this one is a superb drama with some pretty unexpected twists.

Richard Gere and Laura Linney give awesome performances but the one to look for in the film is Edward Norton, a star was born.

Another cool film by the same director on this genre is Fracture (2007). A good watch.

6. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfOgZXIQ6fo

Judgment-Nuremberg-posterFour Nazi judges are to be judged for their war crimes, but before the cold-war people are willing to forget the past very easily.

Director Stanley Kramer creates this terrific American courtroom in occupied Germany of 1948 and tells the intense tale of judgement. 

Probably the film of most historical significance in this list.

Another awesome film by the same director on this genre is Inherit the Wind (1960)

5. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAVLvGP25uQ

Anatomy-Murder-posterCan temporary insanity be the reason for committing murder?

My favorite actor James Stewart gives a great performance along with Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara.

Directed by Otto Preminger, there was controversy because the film uses words like ‘bitch’, ‘contraceptive’, ‘panties’, ‘penetration’, ‘rape, ‘slut’ and ‘sperm’ for the first time on screen!

4. Philadelphia (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl4B9AU45P4

philadelphia-posterTom HanksDenzel WashingtonRoberta Maxwell all together in this superb drama.

A lawyer takes the case of a man who press charges on his employee on the ground that he was fired just because he had AIDS.

Directed by Jonathan Demme, this is one remarkable film based on a true incident.

3. …And Justice for All. (1979)

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

And-Justice-All-poster‘You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order!’

One of Al Pacino‘s classics, a film that is intense and indeed makes you doubt the true meaning of justice.

A lawyer is forced to defend a judge who seems to be guilty.

Directed by Norman Jewison, one of the best court drama ever made. 

2. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFwE3UgCMIk

Lincoln-Lawyer-posterA wealthy client, a talented defense lawyer with a conscience and then there is a full proof plan to beat the system!

Matthew McConaughey at his best as usual along with Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe.

Directed by Brad Furman this one is one of the best court dramas of recent times.

  1. A Few Good Men (1992)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePo91pMcu94

few-good-men-posterDirected by master director Rob Reiner, this film has one thrilling court drama.

A Navy lawyer determined to defend two Marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. But things doesn’t look as simple as they are.

Great performances by Tom CruiseJack NicholsonDemi MooreKevin Bacon – you can’t miss this one.

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

+1. OMG: Oh My God! (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nUwpoTrWFk

OMG-Oh-My-God-PosterAn earthquake destroys an atheist shopkeeper’s shop and so he takes God to the courtroom.

Directed by Umesh Shukla, a film that is so innovative and probably the only film that so aptly deals with commercialization of religion in our current social scenario.

Akshay KumarParesh Rawal and Mithun Chakraborty – couldn’t have been better on the performance basis. 

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comhttp://www.koimoi.com and www.bollywoodmdb.com.

The Walk (2015)

The Walk review

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Viewers who have vertigo will want a refund for their tickets!

How must it feel to be on the top of the world (literally); high above the sky so high with the wind and the silence as your only companions, the power of determination, the beauty of an incredible imagination becoming reality, and finally a few moments of Zen?

There is only one man who has the answer to the above question – Mr. Philippe Petit.

philippe-petit-posterIn his stunning book ‘To reach the clouds’ (originally published in 2002) Philippe Petit describes his daring experience as a tightrope walker who made eight crossings within one hour between the Twin towers of America (World Trade Center) on 7th August 1974.

That day, more than 100,000 people watched this incredible feat of unimaginable audacity as French street-performer Philippe Petit’s childhood dream comes true!

In his own words ‘People ask me “Why do you risk death?”. For me, this is life.’

In 2008, James Marsh‘s brilliant documentary Man on Wire was released, based on the same event – Philippe Petit’s 1974 history-making-sky-walk in New York.

walk-poster2And finally, it’s time for the biopic.

Director Robert Zemeckis best known for Who Framed Roger Rabbitthe Back to the Future series and also for his collaboration with actor Tom Hanks in films like Forrest Gump and Cast Away comes up this year with his spectacular tightrope-walker biopic, named simply The Walk.

Now the problem with biopics (specially if dependent on some specific event) is that the audience in general remembers what exactly happened in reality and thus the director’s chance of playing with the element of suspense is almost nil.

But then also, when the viewers sit on the edge of their seats thrilled and scared to death while experiencing THE famous Walk between the two towers, that alone proves the success of the director and his film.

walk-poster4Of course the brilliant CGI and impeccable visual effects helps a lot and Dariusz Wolski as the cinematographer has enormous contribution in the film’s success, but still Robert Zemeckis as a director has nailed this one. The drama, the tension, the courage and the fear, all executed in perfect proportions and the effect is awesome!

One other guy who is very much responsible for making the film a memorable one is Joseph Gordon-Levitt

An actor with immense potential and many super cool past performances (in films like Mysterious Skin(500) Days of SummerHesherInception50/50Don Jon), this time he is ready to charm us with his perfect French accent, wearing blue contact lenses and a boyish smile as he plays Philippe Petit in the film.

walk-poster1Trained by Philippe Petit himself (and with the help of a stunt double as well) Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the part to perfection.

Other actors like Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume BaillargeonBen Kingsley were all at their best.

Though essentially based on a French guy and almost all the characters in the film are French but still with the pretext of ‘practicing their English to make it better’ the dialogues are mostly in English. That’s kind of understandable though, otherwise the film would have turned into a French film!

Overall The Walk is an amazing experience, a celebration of freedom and spirit (and the loving memories of the Twin Towers); a tale of one man’s dream being fulfilled though it was an illegal and not to mention the most dangerous dream to come true.

P.S. Please watch it in 3D. One of the very few films that justifies the purpose of 3D glasses.

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

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made (10+1list)

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made – Conspiracy theories have always been a part of our lives whether you intend to believe them Conspiracy-Thrillersor not. And even if you believe one, the real question is can you prove it?

But as we all know, most of these theories are nothing but fabricated and far-fetched rumors but then, what if someone collects enough evidence and try to convince you that some of them may actually be true!

Well, fiction or not that’s you to decide – here is some of the Best Conspiracy Thrillers ever made from all across the world.

Remember, if you believe it, then it’s true!

10. Kill the Messenger (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW4XO-52ubE

Conspiracy-ThrillersCIA accused of numerous illegal activities – one of them being that in the 1980’s they did drug trafficking to arm the Contra rebels in Nicaragua so that they can continue the war!

Gary Webb a reporter (played by Jeremy Renner) who found out this CIA secret was threatened and found his life up-side down.  Directed by Michael Cuesta, this one is based on a true story! 

9. Michael Clayton (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kJRYBhG43Q

Conspiracy-ThrillersA multi-billion dollar action suit goes wrong as the lawyer couldn’t fight with his conscience any more but then the law firm needs to fix the situation asap. 

Directed by debutant Tony Gilroy, starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson; one of the most chilling conspiracy thrillers with brilliant performances and terrific visuals. The ugly game of money and power played at it’s best.

8. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJztRnDxdM8

Conspiracy-ThrillersA Vietnam war veteran (Tim Robbins) is disturbed by regular visions and nightmares – but what if his dreams were not entirely hallucinations?

Director Adrian Lyne‘s disturbing psychological horror film is based on MKUltra conspiracy where it is said that in the 1950’s, CIA conducted secret research on how the use of drugs (such as LSD) could enhance a soldier’s physical and  mental capacity!

 7. The Constant Gardener (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4iTjavIkbk

Conspiracy-ThrillersDetermined to find out the reason for his wife’s murder shot in Northern Kenya, a man unknowingly gets entangled into a conspiracy – ugly and dangerous beyond his imagination!

Directed by Fernando Meirelles, with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz the film deals with the exploitation of poor African people as medical tests are done on them by the rich and powerful medical companies of the world.

6. All the President’s Men (1976)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLt6djxhNe8

Conspiracy-Thrillers

Clues that lead to dead ends and names that connects to nobody!

Watergate scandal that ultimately lead to American President Nixon’s resignation – two brave young reporters (Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford) unravel the conspiracy that costed their jobs and almost their lives.  

Directed by Alan J. Pakula, probably the most popular Conspiracy Thriller in this list.

5. The Insider (1999)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rkvxi5hdbA

Conspiracy-ThrillersThe CEOs of Big Tobacco have lied under the oath and they are getting away with it.

Until one man risks everything when he decides to step up and tell the truth to a reporter – but will such damaging news of conspiracy and corruption be shared with the public?

Directed by Michael Mann, starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino a thriller at its best.

4. The Conversation (1974)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_LJ5ICMbP4

Conspiracy-ThrillersDirected by Francis Ford Coppola, the film is an extremely tensed and voyeuristic take on the violation of people’s privacy.   

surveillance expert (brilliantly played by Gene Hackman) spying on a couple suspects that they are going to be murdered – a conspiracy too complicated and heavy for his conscience. A slow yet dangerous thriller that will keep you hooked till the very end.

3. Z (1969)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHB28qfsV2w

Conspiracy-ThrillersA film made by my favorite director Costa-Gavras – a terrific thriller based on a political conspiracy.

When an investigator tires to uncover the mystery behind the murder of a prominent leftist, he finds himself up against the ruthless government officials who will go to any means to stop him.

The first foreign language film to be nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars!

A must watch Conspiracy Thriller by the same director is Missing (1982).

2. The Lives of Others (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FppW5ml4vdw

Conspiracy-ThrillersA conspiracy film set on 1984 East Berlin – the secret police at work conducting strict observation on whoever they suspect.

A professional surveillance-man (Ulrich Mühe) spying on a writer and his lover finds himself too attached to their lives which becomes a morel conflict for him.

Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, this thriller will simply take your breath away.

  1. JFK (1991)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w16bYZ-4nmE

Conspiracy-ThrillersThe sudden arrest made in relation to the assassination of Kennedy doesn’t seem too concrete and logical. And thus the New Orleans DA investigates into what seemed to be America’s most controversial conspiracy of all time. 

Directed by Oliver Stone, and starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon this particualar film is an exceptional example of how cinema can be used to tell the truth.

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

+1. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMba3fckhuQ

Conspiracy-ThrillersBased on the brilliant novel by Dan Brown, the film though not that epic but still a very effective conspiracy thriller to consider.

Directed by Ron Howard, a story that revolves around a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years.

The paintings of Da Vinci used as clues, starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno – a mystery worth your time!

Another cool film by the same director based on the same writer’s novel is Angels & Demons (2009).

A few other conspiracy films that can be taken into consideration are Three Days of the Condor (1975), Network (1976), Chinatown (1974), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Marathon Man (1976)Enemy of the State (1998), The Parallax View (1974), The China Syndrome (1979), Wag the Dog (1997), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Ghost Writer (2010), Silkwood (1983) and Conspiracy Theory (1997), Syriana (2005).

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Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Best War Films of all times (20+1list)

Best War Films of all times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best War Films can be generally categorized into two basic types. Firstly the ones that glamorize and romanticize the concept of war for the War-Films-postersheer entertainment of the audience, as most of us want to enjoy the thrill of the battle-zone but shy away from the horrors and perils of it – more like a harmless video game!

And then the second kind that actually portray war as realistically as possible; the action, the bloodshed, the destruction, the cries of the wounded and the death of the young and innocents.

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

The films listed below mostly belong to the second category; they are the Best War Films of all times that have the audacity to paint the ugly face of war and tell stories of not only courage and strength but also of the brutality and helplessness of both the armed and the civilians.

Let the battle begin.

20. The Beast of War (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcJuxYXpI5w

Best-War-FilmsA much underrated war film based on the Afgan-Soviet conflict, but it superbly portrays the brutality of a battle zone, the psychology and instincts of the armed and civilians.

Directed by Kevin Reynolds, a war drama mostly based on a Tank crew led by an eccentric commander who needs to be stopped for good.

Far more realistic than the 2014 star-studded Tank-movie – Fury.

19. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51lo2dpaZ_g

Best-War-FilmsNominated for 4 Oscars, won one; brilliantly directed by Clint Eastwood, this film is a heroic take of the 40 days war between America and Japan to capture the island of Iwo Jima (a potential strategic point).

A brilliant war drama from the Japanese soldiers perspective, outstanding performances, a thrilling yet emotional storyline and very realistic depiction of the battle.

18. Red Cliff (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd0bqLQrtdE

Best-War-FilmsEmperor Han under the influence of his Prime Minister Cao Cao fought epic battles to unite all of China under his sole command.

Directed by John Woo, this film is the first part of the monumental battle of Red Cliff which altered the Chinese history forever.

Red Cliff II (2009) is probably even a better cinematic experience. Another must watch war-film. 

17.  The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca3M2feqJk8

Best-War-FilmsBased on the Algerian revolution in the 1950s, as the people of Algeria seeking independence rebel against the French government and fight a ruthless war that ends after a series of tortures and bombings.

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, commissioned by Algerian government, banned in France until recently, nominated for 3 Oscars in two separate non-consecutive years!

16. Kanal (1957)

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

Best-War-FilmsSet in the last days of the Warsaw uprising in 1944, a group of Polish resistance fighters reluctantly use the sewer system to escape the indomitable German wrath.

Directed by Andrzej Wajda, this is a unique war drama that explores the human instinct of the soldiers to survive above everything else. A tragic yet highly realistic depiction of the ugly face of war.

15.  The Hurt Locker (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIbFvqFYRT4

Best-War-FilmsFinally a film on the bomb squad – the so-called technicians of the military who risk their lives many times a day to ensure safety for their troops.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this tensed war drama follows a maverick Sergeant (Jeremy Renner) who leads his bomb squad-team through the heart of the Iraq war’s modern IED warfare.

14.  The Cross of Iron (1977)

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

Best-War-FilmsCross of Iron is one of the top military decorations awarded for extraordinary courage but what if somebody undeserving wants to claim it for his personal ambition?

Directed by Sam Peckinpah, a brutal portrayal of WWII as the film follows the fate of a German unit that faces extreme danger due to the treachery of their own commander. James Coburn‘s performance is exceptional!

13. Stalingrad (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlMw8CjyV80

Best-War-FilmsAs the name suggests, this one is an epic portrayal of the battle of Stalingard; from the time when the German Army… tries to invade the city till their struggle to maintain dominance in the cold Russian winter.

Directed by Joseph Vilsmaier, the sheer scale of the film is highly commendable, and then the brilliant performances, the realistic story-line, the music and the depiction of the ugly face of human devastation in a war – probably the best War film ever made.

12. The Cruel Sea (1953)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joUDAD3GB3g

Best-War-Films

Though pretty successful when released, and yet so underrated, one of the lesser popular war films but believe me, it surely deserves a spot in this list.

Directed by Charles Frend, this one is a terrific war drama of a British convoy ship in action over the North Atlantic during the WW II. 

A powerful script, intense situations and superb acting, specially by Jack Hawkins.

11. Platoon (1986)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KztP7SKe0uk

Best-War-FilmsWar often gets too brutal for the young recruits and the Vietnam War was no different.

The film is directed by Oliver Stone (a Vietnam veteran himself) and he won the Oscar for this film!

It is said to be the most complete war film ever made, though it’s banned in Vietnam because of its depiction of the Vietnamese people. A must watch in the list!

10. Enemy at the Gates (2001)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O-sMh_DO6I

Best-War-FilmsWorld War II, the battle in Stalingrad will decide the fate of the war! And one Russian snipper Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law), seems to be making all the difference!

But then the Germans send a master snipper to compete, and then the deathly game begins!

Based on true characters, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, starring Ed Harris, Joseph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz – a brilliant war drama full of action, suspense and romance. Definitely the best snipper movie ever made!

9. Paths of Glory (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmDA60X-f_A

Best-War-FilmsDirected by none other than Stanley Kubrick, for me this film has always scored higher than Kubrick’s other two famous war-films Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Dr. Strangelove (1964).

The ruthlessness of the battle (WWI) and the dirty war-politics played by the higher army officials – portrayed to perfection.

One of Kirk Douglas‘s most memorable performances till date. 

8. Apocalypse Now (1979)

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

Best-War-FilmsMaster director Francis Ford Coppola shot nearly 200 hours of footage – a film that took 16 months of shooting and 3 years of editing!

Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando comes together in this psychologically disturbing Vietnam War saga. 

The sound of the helicopter wings panning from left to right as they are dissolve into a match cut with the ceiling fan – simply epic!

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiObc2XmVqw

Best-War-Films

Directed by Lewis Milestone, this was the first talkie war film to win the Oscar! (won both the best picture and the best director awards).

Banned in Germany soon after its release as they claimed that the Germans were shown as cowards!

Though visuals of extreme violence was consciously avoided but still the film’s depiction of WWI is damn honest and brutal.

6. Das Boot (1981)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMj0_wCn6jM

Best-War-FilmsDirected by Wolfgang Petersen this is the epic tale of the crew of a German U-boat (submarine) during the last phase of WW II. 

Highly claustrophobic as most of the film is shot inside the submarine and yet so dramatic and powerful. Some of the tensed moments in the film are deliberately slow with a nerve wrenching effect on the audience. Jürgen Prochnow is brilliant!

5. Come and See (1985)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Ro0SZf438

Best-War-FilmsIn this film the horrors of war (WW II) is depicted in an ultra-realistic manner, often considered too graphic and brutal. 

Directed by Elem Klimov, the film revolves around a young boy who finds an old rifle and instinctively decides to join the Soviet Army. 

Original uniforms and live ammunitions were used for authenticity.

4. The Thin Red Line (1998)

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

Best-War-Films‘Every man fights their own war’ and so does each of them!

Directed by Terrence Malick the film was nominated for Oscars in 7 categories!

A philosophical war drama starring Jim CaviezelSean PennNick NolteAdrien BrodyJohn CusackJohn C. ReillyWoody HarrelsonJared LetoJohn TravoltaGeorge Clooney.

3. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlC7XBayj0s

Best-War-FilmsDirected by  David Lean who is also famous for his other war films like In Which We Serve (1942) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

Based on the story when the British prisoners in a Japanese camp were ordered to built a bridge. The film took 7 Oscars that year, won in all the major categories!

William HoldenAlec Guinness and Jack Hawkins in their career-best performances.

2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EsVtn2GvBo

Best-War-Films

A team lead by Tom Hanks was set to save Private Ryan (Matt Damon) and bring him home.

Steven Spielberg directed this film and according to many film-lovers it contains some of the most authentic war scenes ever filmed (specially the Omaha Beach battle sequence).

Undoubtedly the most popular war film ever made. Also Voted #1 greatest war film in UK’s Channel 4 poll in 2005. 

1. Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

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

Best-War-FilmsThis is the story of 12 year old Ivan, a young war hero, a spy and most importantly a soldier!

Directed by the renowned Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky

The film is one of the most poetic and beautifully shot war films I have ever seen. Though it doesn’t show much of actual combat but still it manages to deliver the chills of war to its full effect.

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

+1. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2-1hz1juBI

Best-War-FilmsA biographical take on an American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) who fought the Battle of Okinawa without a gun!

Directed by Mel Gibson, this one is an astonishing tale of a man whose religious views didn’t allow him to carry a weapon, or kill anybody. But it didn’t stop him from saving hundreds of lives and winning the Medal of Honor for his incredible courage – without firing one single shot!

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

List of Legendary Actors who also directed films

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

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

Actor turned Director                Popular films directed

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

Kirk Douglas                                  Scalawag (1973), Posse (1975)

Richard Burton                            Doctor Faustus (1967)

Diane Keaton                                Unstrung heroes (1995)

Billy Bob Thornton                    Sling Blade (1996)

Danny DeVito                              Throw Momma from the train (1987)

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

Liv Ullmann                                     Sofie (1992), Faithless (2000)

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

Paul Newman                                 The glass Menagerie (1987)

Bill Murray                                       Quick Change (1990)

Alec Baldwin                                      Shortcut to Happiness (2003)

Ed Harris                         Pollock (2000), Appaloosa (2008)

Denzel Washington                      The great Debaters (2007)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morgan Freeman                       Bopha! (1993)

Drew Barrymore                       Whip It (2009)

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

Nicolas Cage                                  Sonny (2002)

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

Anthony Hopkins                      Dylan Thomas: Return Journey (1990)

Dustin Hoffman                          Quartet (2012)

Keanu Reeves                              Man of tai Chi (2013)

Tom Hanks                                     That thing you do! (1996)

Johnny Depp                                 The Brave (1997)

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

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

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

Mel Gibson                                        Braveheart (1995), Apocalypto (2006)

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

George Clooney                            The ides of March (2011) 

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