Tag Archives: willem dafoe

Best Comedy Films of recent times (10+1list)

Best Comedy Films of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Comedy Films of recent times: Overdose of sex and violence. Overdramatic celebrities and never-ending super-hero battles. Best-Comedy-FilmsExcessive use of computer graphics and 3D glasses. At the end of the day it all feels so artificial and commercial and unreal.

Sometimes all you want is a good sensible film with believable characters and a realistic story line, an easy going comedy that simply makes you laugh – but nowadays such movies are pretty hard to find.

Well, you don’t have to look any further!

Here’s a list of the Best Comedy Films of recent times which will simply make your day a happy one! Enjoy.

10. Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6raUs0CiCQ

Best-Comedy-FilmsA cool freshman pitcher who steers his way through various new life experiences, making friends and finding love!

(Film Review)

Directed by Richard Linklater, a classic take on college bonding!

May be considered as a continuation to either Dazed and Confused (1993) or may be even a follow-up of Boyhood (2014).

9. Captain Fantastic (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1kH4OMIOMc

Best-Comedy-FilmsResiding inside a forest, a devoted father has a very different idea of parenting (home schooling his children). But his life philosophies are soon challenged by the regular norms of our modern society!

Directed by Matt Ross, a brilliant comedy with such a powerful embedded meaning to it all.

This movie though pretty differently conceptualized still reminds me of Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zru-1DbbcsA

Best-Comedy-FilmsThe epic story of a legendary concierge and his lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend!

(Film Review)

Memorable performances by Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray AbrahamAdrien BrodyJude LawBill MurrayEdward NortonHarvey KeitelWillem Dafoe and Tilda Swinton among others.

Directed by Wes Anderson, by far the most stylish comedy I have seen!

7. The Lobster (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU29VfayDMw

Best-Comedy-FilmsAn extremely twisted and dark Greek comedy set in a dystopian near future where being single is forbidden by the laws of The City!

(Film Review)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, and starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw among others; a gem of a comedy, quirky and entertaining in the best way possible!

6. The Nice Guys (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVd-EuoEf3U

Best-Comedy-FilmsA missing girl and a dead porn star kicks off an investigation lead by a mismatched pair of private detectives none other than Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

Directed by Shane Black, underrated and yet a superbly subtle and dark, often a bit violent but overall a solid comedy that perfectly sets up the mood for some good laughs. Cool performance by Angourie Rice.

5. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

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

Best-Comedy-FilmsBowled over by this brilliant vampire comedy where a documentary team follows a group of vampires trying to make a sense of their unique lifestyle!

Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, this film from New Zealand has such a unique concept and some of the most funny characters, dialogues and situations that guarantees a continuous flow of laughter!

4. Deadpool (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xithigfg7dA

Best-Comedy-FilmsPersonally not a fan of superhero flicks but this one is special!

Directed by Tim Miller, Ryan Reynolds comes out as the most witty and raunchy superhero ever and that too with a quest for vengeance.

(Film Review)

Hilarious dialogues with perfect comedy timing, complimented by lot of violence and foul language! Eagerly waiting for the sequel Deadpool 2 (2018).

3. Frances Ha (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBn5dgXFMis

Best-Comedy-Films

The combination of director Noah Baumbach and actress Greta Gerwig presents one of the most endearing film of recent times! 

A brilliant black and white comedy drama that tells the tale of an ordinary yet hilarious New York girl named Frances. She is quirky, childlike but superbly entertaining!

Beautifully shot by Sam Levy, the film is as spontaneous and free-spirited as it’s leading lady.

Don’t miss another cool comedy from the same director-actress combo is Mistress America.

2. The Hangover (2009) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcdUhdOlz9M

Best-Comedy-FilmsThe most commercially popular Hollywood comedy of this decade and certainly one of the best laugh riots ever made!

Directed by Todd Phillips, the story of four friends and their memorable bachelor party in Las Vegas of which they don’t seem to remember anything!

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha – they absolutely rock the show!

Don’t you miss out the two awesome sequels The Hangover Part II (2011) and The Hangover Part III (2013)

  1. The Intouchables (2011) 

Intouchables (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34WIbmXkewU

Best-Comedy-FilmsThis french film is about a young man from a difficult background who takes up a job to look after a rich paralytic aristocrat – and then of course it’s about their eventual bond of friendship.

Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, and such brilliant performances by François Cluzet and Omar Sy; this film is undoubtedly the best comedy film of this era!

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

+1. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)

En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (original title) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7pna4laaAk

Best-Comedy-FilmsThis Swedish film is an altogether different kind of comedy (don’t expect any periodical gags or laughs), this is humor so dry and often tragic even!

Directed by acclaimed Roy Andersson, a series of absurdist episodes maintaining a thin line between reality and fantasy, apparently nonsense but then again it’s deeply philosophical, in a way questioning the very essence of our human existence!

Similar Interest: Best horror Comedies

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Comedy Dramas of 2015

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

The Florida Project – Best Of 19th Mumbai Film Festival 2017!

The Florida Project (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

The Florida Project Review: You know a film is unique when it makes you sit up and look at your surroundings and rediscover the people around you!

My Ratings: 4.4/5

To depict realism through the art of Cinema and that too portraying the ordinary lives of the common people without a hint of any dull or preachy moments is always a tough job; only a few rare movies have achieved this special feat with such perfection as The Florida Project!

A series of low-priced hotels lined up just on the outskirts of the prime attraction of Florida – the Disney World. And the movie concentrates on the people living in these hotels, no not the tourists looking for cheap accommodations but the working class who have managed to turn these inexpensive rooms into their permanent home!

The-Florida-ProjectHome for those families who are on the edge of the social ladder desperate to make their ends meet, keep their jobs, pay their rents and have fun once in a while like everyone else!

Set over the duration of one summer, acclaimed director Sean Baker (of Tangerine fame) manages to knit a beautiful story around a group of children who stay in one of such hotels called the ‘The Magic Castle motel’. These kids are hilariously wacky, mischievous and street-smart, so full of life and yet very much aware of its harsh realities.

Among these kids the film concentrates on one particular young girl Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) and narrates such an engaging humane tale of compassion, friendship, desperation and most importantly the desire to survive The-Florida-Projectthrough all odds!

And then there is the hotel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) who though trying his best to be strict and professional finds it difficult to effectively detach himself from his tenants and their complicated life stories.

Colorful tones through out the movie, well captured by cinematographer Alexis Zabe.

Absolutely outstanding acting displays, especially by the kids Brooklynn PrinceValeria Cotto and Christopher Rivera – personally I don’t remember when the last time I have seen such natural performances by children!

And then fixing on debutant Bria Vinaite for the mother’s role is probably the best casting choice of this decade, she is incredible! Even Mela Murder The-Florida-Project(her debut film) and Karren Karagulian (a long time collaborator with Sean Baker films) played their parts to perfection.

But the best part of The Florida Project is that the film neither tries to victimize nor romanticize the characters or their situations. It’s too tempting for such movies to take the sympathetic route or become unnecessarily idealistic, but here lies the brilliance of Sean Baker – he maintained a perfect balance and portrayed the reality in its purest form possible!

The Florida Project is charming as well as heartbreaking, a fun-film and yet a highly emotional experience. Overall an absolute gem, and a must watch!    

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILMS TO WATCH AT MAMI 2017 (10+1LIST)

Best International Films to watch at MAMI 2017

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best International Films to watch at MAMI 2017.

As the Mumbaikars bid adieu to the colorful Navaratri and Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and await for the dazzling Diwali fiesta to begin, there is another very important Festival that the film-lovers of Mumbai simply can’t afford to miss!

A unique festival of Cinema that promises to entertain us for seven days in a row, from 12 to 18 October!

Yes, the 19th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is here, and it’s raining films from all across the globe! To be more specific there are in total 220 films from 49 countries and in 51 languages!

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Along with a number of prestigious International movies under the World Cinema and the International Competition category, MAMI also offers a great selection of Indian Cinema under the sections India Gold and India Story. Other categories are the Half Ticket (for children), After Dark (focused on the horror/fantasy genre), Spotlight, Restored classics and many others.

And then of course if you want a picture with Monica Bellucci, most welcome!

Too many good movies and not so many days, so be specific of which films you pick and I hope this list helps you to choose among some of the Best International Films to watch at MAMI 2017. 

Make sure you don’t miss any of these!

10. On Body and Soul (2017)

Teströl és lélekröl (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfGeMbSEx9k

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The setting being a slaughter house, this is an exceptional love story between two ordinary people wrapped in strange identical dreams.

Brilliant performances and a unique script, directed by Ildikó Enyedi, the Hungarian film has already won the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize and the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival!

9. Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9AYPxH5NTM

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’

It is about an affair between two men, a young visiting student and the son of the American professor.

Premiered at Sundance Film Festival, the critics already raving about this one, directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film promises a heartfelt yet heartbreaking story of two people in love on a hot summer somewhere in a small town of Italy!

8. The Florida Project (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwQ-NH1rRT4

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Set up just in the outskirts of Disney World this is the story of a mischievous 6-year old (Brooklynn Prince) and her friends, her mother, her neighborhood – basically the world around her!

Directed by Sean Baker (of Tangerine fame), and also featuring Willem Dafoe this film is attracting a lot of attention (mostly praises) from the critics as well as from the general audience.

7. On the Beach at Night Alone (2017)

Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7CP5ipqqwU

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017‘Where’s love? It’s not even visible. You need to see it in order to search for it.’

This South Korean cinema is about an actress who roams around a seaside town contemplating on her realtionship with a married man.

Directed by Sang-soo Hon, the protagonist Min-hee Kim already won the Silver Berlin Bear as the best actress for this year.

6. The Third Murder (2017)

Sandome no satsujin (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Plr3V4TYBQE

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A man with a criminal record gets accused and arrested again and this time it seems to be an open and shut case. But then a prominent lawyer turns around the facts and this will make all the difference between life and death!

Directed by aclaimed Hirokazu Koreeda, this Japanese film with two brilliant actors Masaharu Fukuyama and Kôji Yakusho looks promising court-room drama!

5. The Other Side of Hope (2017)

Toivon tuolla puolen (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85cyiMBvPXQ

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A Finnish man who opens his own restaurant and a Syrian guy who comes to Finland in order to start a new life. The stories of these two men finally meet up and become one!

Realistic et with a comic touch, acclaimed filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki won the Silver Berlin Bear at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in the Best director category!

4. A Gentle Creature (2017)

Krotkaya (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sun3D8VqkGY

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017Nominated for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this Russian film is the story of a woman who investigates a return of a parcel that she sent to her husband who is serving prison time in an isolated town in Siberia.

Directed by Sergei Loznitsa, this one is an perfect example of superlative acting and brilliant story-telling, a slow yet highly cinematic experience.

3. 24 Frames (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBO0rqY4uQY

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017A collection of 24 short four-and-a-half minutes films inspired by still images, including paintings and photographs!

An experimental project directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami over the last three years of his life. I am sure this will be a film with great aesthetics, simple yet artistic like all the earlier films from the director.

2. Loveless (2017)

Nelyubov (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLegoO4NdD8

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The film that won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the ARRI/OSRAM Award at the Munich Film Festival and was nominated ‘best film’ at the London Film Festival this year!

Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, this one is about a couple who must team up to find their missing son although they are going through a divorce.

Official submission of Russia for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

  1. The Square (2017)

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

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017“The Square” is the name of a unique contemporary show that has gained huge popularity

Swedish director Ruben Östlund (of Force Majeure fame) has made a brilliant satirical drama, absurd and surreal but very entertaining!

Along with many other wins in numerous film festivals, the film swept away the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year!

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

+1. Mother! (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpICoc65uh0

Best-International-Films-to-watch-at-MAMI-2017The peaceful life of a couple is disturbed by some uninvited guests.

Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer all together in a psychological horror thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky – this only should be reason enough to watch this film!

Though incredibly mixed reactions from the audiences, I guess it will be one of those films which you will passionately love or hate!

A few other films that are very much worth checking out are 

November directed by Rainer SarnetCity of Ghosts directed by Matthew HeinemanBeach Rats directed by Eliza HittmanIt Comes at Night directed by Trey Edward Shults.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Best of Martin Scorsese

Best of Martin Scorsese.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Superlative adjectives like ‘most significant’, ‘most influential’, ‘the best director of our times’, ‘the greatest storyteller’, all begin to make sense when used in context of the one and only – Martin Scorsese.

The man with thick black, bushy eyebrows who has managed to won every prestigious awards that exists in this world (Academy Award, a Palme d’OrCannes Film Festival Best Director AwardSilver LionGrammy AwardEmmysGolden GlobesBAFTAsDGA Awards and even the AFI Life Achievement Award).

Directed almost 60 films till date, Scorsese is also renowned as a producer, screenwriter, actor, and film historian.

His innovative styles of filmmaking are taught in every film-school all over the world; one of the very few directors whose films are both commercially and critically acclaimed.

Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprioHarvey Keitel are some of the actors with whom Martin Scorsese has worked the most and together they created some legendary cinema.

But for now i have listed some of his best feature films (no shorts or documentaries in this list).

Let the fun begin.

1. The Departed (2006)

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

departed-poster

A remake of Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (2002), an ultimate game of deceit between an cop and a mole in the police department. 

Along with Leonardo DiCaprio we have Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, what a combination of actors and such brilliant performances!

Four Oscar wins including best director award for Scorsese.

2. Casino (1995)

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

casino-poster

Robert De NiroSharon Stone (got an Academy Award nomination for her role) and of course Joe Pesci – and a hard hitting story of power and greed.

One of the most violent films that Scorsese ever made and it’s also the eighth and final collaboration with Robert De Niro

Best Casino drama ever!

3. Gangs of New York (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5YmI2PW9R8

gnags-of-newyork-poster

Nominated in ten categories in the Oscars, an extraordinary period film that has it’s own cult following.

Leonardo DiCaprioCameron Diaz and  Daniel Day-Lewis (as Bill ‘The Butcher’) at their very best.

A revenge drama; a boy who returns to kill his father’s murderer.

And also with this film starts the actor/director bonding between DiCaprio and Scorsese.

4. Mean Streets (1973)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCwjzn0CncA

mean-streets-poster

One of Scorsese’s earliest classics and in this one Scorsese works with Robert De Niro for the first time.

Harvey Keitel along with David Proval gives terrific performances. 

A gang of friends, small time hoods who hustle and try to make a living in the mean streets of New York.

Extensive use of hand-held camera and also camera-strapped-to-the-body technique for drunken effect.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

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

The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-PosterFive Oscar nominations and the most entertaining film of recent times!

Leonardo DiCaprio along with Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey gives out their best.

Based on a wealthy stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s exciting life, the film is a roller-coaster ride of unlimited money, crime, drugs, sex, corruption and sheer madness.  

6. Goodfellas (1990)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo5jJpHtI1Y

GoodFellas-film-poster

Six Academy Award nominations and Joe Pesci winning the Oscar in the ‘best actor in a supporting role’ category. 

Outstanding performance by Robert De Niro and for Ray Liotta – his best role ever. 

Based on the life of Henry Hill, this film is regarded as one of the greatest gangster drama. Extreme use of curse words and violence but highly entertaining as well.

7. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJKxg4p-Alk

last-temptation-of-christ-poster

Controversial yet brilliant, this one is Scorsese’s most courageous project till date.

Willem Dafoe superbly portrays the pain and joy of Christ. Harvey Keitel and Barbara Hershey at their best. 

Based on Nikos Kazantzakis‘s novel, the story of Christ and his last and final temptation on the cross. 

8. The King of Comedy (1982)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wVhCCo02P4

king-of-comedy-poster

An ambitious comedian who disrupts  famous celebrity Jerry Lewis‘s private life.

This film is very different from Scorsese’s general trend; a perfect black comedy with subtle dialogues and awesome acting.

According to Scorsese himself this was Robert De Niro‘s best performance under his direction.

9. The Aviator (2004)

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

aviator-poster

A take on the life of eccentric genius film director Howard Hughes who is also ‘the aviator’!

Leonardo DiCaprioCate Blanchett (won the Oscar as the best supporting actress) and Kate Beckinsale have given their best. Acting debut of singer Gwen Stefani as well.

A biopic that had total eleven Oscar nominations and five wins!

10. Raging Bull (1980)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiVOwxsa4OM

raging-bull-poster

Robert De Niro plays the famous boxer Jake LaMotta (for which he won the best actor Oscar) and Joe Pesci (his brother) and Cathy Moriarty (his wife).

Best boxing movie ever made which had eight Oscar nominations and two wins.

De Niro gained a record 60 pounds to look the part. A violent life both in and out of the ring portrayed to perfection.

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

+1. Taxi Driver (1976)

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

taxidriver-posterA mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran, a nighttime taxi driver in New York, an obsessed man with a mission, a violent man with good intentions. 

Robert De Niro nominated for the Academy Awards, undoubtedly best performance of his lifetime. Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel at their best.

The director won the prestigious Palme d’Or award for this film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

My Ratings: 4.5/5

The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most stylish comedy I have seen in years.

Don’t expect intellectual witty humor – on the contrary the treatment is often slapstick but the classy execution of the story, the richness in each and every frame and the dead-pan honesty of the characters make the film a classic in it’s own way.

The story telling can’t possibly be more bizarre and direct at the same time.

It all starts when a girl comes to a park and looks at a bust of a man titled as ‘Author’. We are quickly taken back in time as we see this ‘Author’ in flesh (Tom Wilkinson) who recounts his younger days (becoming Jude Law) when he met Mr.Moustafa, the owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel (played by F.Murray Abraham) – who again tells his stories in flash back. Wow!

The film is set in Zubrowka, a fictional place somewhere in Europe where the once majestic Grand Budapest Hotel stands tall.

Young Mr.Moustafa named Zero (played by Tony Revolori) is been appointed as a Bellboy under the wing of then-concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel – Mr.Gustav (Ralph Fiennes have given a superb performance).

Mr.Gustav is a refined man who is in a habit of serving the old, rich and blonde guests (especially the female guests) of the hotel in many intimate ways. He soon comes to know that such a rich beloved old acquaintance of his named Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) has passed away leaving him a painting worth a fortune. But of course Madame D’s family won’t give up their claim that easily.

Once the basic plot is set the rest is just a brilliant visual treat of the epic adventures of Mr.Gustav and Zero as they struggle to legally own the priceless painting and also to survive the wrath of Madame D’s son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) and his henchman Jopling (Willem Dafoe).

Honestly I feel this story line (nothing exceptional) wouldn’t have had any influence on the audience if Wes Anderson wasn’t the director of the film.

Wes Anderson is reputed for his unique technique of emotionally detaching the audience from the characters of his films – it’s like you can see them but rarely feel for them. Yet the master filmmaker in most of his films manages to enthrall us by his sheer cinematic brilliance.

This time Wes Anderson’s obsession for perfect production design, bold color schemes, faultless framing and as always the cheeky humor brings out an unique creation. The Grand Budapest Hotel is simply wonderful to watch, probably his best work till date.

Excellent camera work by Robert D.Yeoman (Wes Anderson’s favorite cinematographer) and a special mention of Adam Stockhausen for outstanding production designing. Alexandre Desplat, one of the best composers of this age has done justice in the music department.

The film can either be interpreted as the saga of The Grand Budapest Hotel’s sad legacy or it can be about the giddy tale of Madame D’s inheritance or maybe it is simply the adventurous accounts of M.Gustav and his loyal Bellboy Zero.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a must watch for all cinema lovers, especially recommended for the fans of Wes Anderson and Ralph Fiennes.

Film Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fg5iWmQjwk