If you’re a fan of the Star Wars series two things apply to you. One, you are NOT confused by the order in which they release their movies because you’re used to Yoda talking and two, you have seen Rogue One.
Now for those of you who haven’t, I suggest that you don’t read this articles because this contains spoilers.
Rogue One directed by Gareth Edwardsin a way changed the way I looked at the original series. Now, it doesn’t have any massive plot twists but perhaps reflects on one of the messages from the series. HOPE!
Now anyone who has seen the original trilogy would think that the title for Episode IV was a reference towards Luke. Luke being a ‘New Hope’ in dark times. And probably that is what was meant. However, Rogue One makes you look at the Hope message from the series in a very different way. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) was not a Jedi. She was a simple warrior who went into war against the evil Empire on nothing but hope.
“Rebellions are made on hope”, she said. The Empire brings a monarchy in the Galaxy. They want to introduce a submissive rule. The Death Star will bring that submissive rule. Jyn Erso and the warriors of Rogue One have something to say about this.
And if you look at it, it was their sacrifice that ultimately helped Luke, Leia and Han to destroy the Death Star. And like Leia (Ingvild Deila) said at the end of the movie, Rogue One sent them, “ Hope”.
What this says is that A New Hope not only referred to Luke but to the entire Rebellion. The War to not fall under the Evil Emperor’s submission. And all if it happened because of a decoy imperial starship named Rogue One.
‘Since All the President’s Men in 1976, I think this film here, Spotlight, has taken the theme of ‘reporters unveiling a conspiracy theory’ to a new height of extraordinary.’
‘Written and directed by Tom McCarthy (his directional debut The Station Agent is one of my all time favorite), and here also, he has done a tremendous job. The pace and the overall effect of the film is so intense that it gives you the feel of a classic thriller. ‘
‘there is an immense amount of expectation for Mr. Iñárritu’s latest film The Revenant, and then again, when the ever-impressive Leonardo DiCaprio is in the lead, tagging with him all that debate about – can this be finally Leonardo’s Oscar moment or not?’
Category: Best Editing (Margaret Sixel), Best Sound Mixing (Chris Jenkins, Greg Rudloff and Ben Osmo), BestSound editing (Mark Mangini and David White), BestProduction Design (Colin Gibson), Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan)and BestMake Up and hair Styling (Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin).
‘Specially Brie Larson who as the protective mother, dealing with her certitudes and also her vulnerabilities has given one of the best performances I have seen in a long time!’
‘Essentially it’s a thriller that involves the account of a daring attempt to slip away from the clutches of a ruthless kidnapper but on a deeper note the film is a complex sensitive drama and an expert dissection of human psychology.’
‘Based on the book with the same name by financial journalist Michael Lewis, co-writer and director Adam McKay has been successful in adding enough humor to dilute the financial jargon and make the film coherent for everybody.’
‘focuses on a group of people who noticed and predicted the devastating financial crisis well ahead and even profited from it!’
‘Only such powerful acting could hold the film together with enough distinction.‘
‘to an utter surprise to his wife Gerda, Einar has a sudden urge to change his sexual orientation and reveals that he actually wants to be Lili in her real life; he claims that he seems to be a women trapped in a man’s body!’
‘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.’
‘Spectre starts with a thrilling helicopter sequence in Mexico that promises a power pact film but unfortunately, by the end of it’s almost two and a half hours run time, the film struggles to keep you entertained.’
‘This 94 min film gives the children their beloved world of funny characters and colorful fantasy but at the same time it offers enough scope for serious thoughts (and admiration) for the grown-ups.’
‘Superb voice overs by a variety of talented artists. Animation quality at it’s best but again that is kind of expected from a Pixar feature. But the best part of Inside Out is its concept – so brilliantly innovative!’
Bear Story – Animated Short Film(Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala)
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!
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!
It has always been a paradox that in a country like India, whose gender has been proudly defined as ‘female’; our beloved ‘mother land‘; where people visualize and worship the female form as their Goddesses but at the same time issues regarding ‘women empowerment‘ are still been a topic of considerable concern!
And it’s about time that the current Indian filmmakers should focus on these various dilemmas and intolerances faced by the women of our country, and portray the female sentiments, their grievances and exasperations, their demands and desires, and even their vulnerabilities on celluloid.
And the good news is, that’s exactly what they are doing!
And the result is the release of two ambitious films this week, Angry Indian Goddesses and Kajarya.
Apparently, both the movies concentrate on telling stories based on the lives of the Indian women of our current society but then again, these two films are poles apart in the way they are made and also the amount of impact they make.
Firstly, let’s talk about the much hyped film Angry Indian Goddesses made by renowned director Pan Nalin (of Samsara fame).
It’s a relatively easy-going masala film with spicy dialogues and peppy music, in a way showcasing India to the world (pretty much tailor-made for the International festivals), and definitely The ultimate manifesto of feminist problems. My Ratings: 3/5.
Six friends (along with a maid) get together to celebrate the wedding of one of them in the ultimate fun paradise of India, Goa. And there, they not only open up to each other and discuss all their individual problems, but also get into some tough situations themselves.
And eventually the current male-dominated society makes them very angry and by the end of the film they have all become ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ (a direct reference to the angry Hindu Goddesses Kali).
The film’s energy level and intention is no doubt commendable but the quest to tap on every possible female related problems along with an extra dramatic (illogical) ending; well, at least it’s entertaining but a bit too mainstream to expect from Pan Nalin i guess.
On the other hand, the film Kajarya, made by debutant writer/director Madhureeta Anand focuses on the specific problem of ‘female infanticide’ (the deliberate killing of newborn female children) and churns out a thrilling tale surrounding the issue. My Ratings: 4/5.
In a village not far from New Delhi, a young ambitious reporter named Meera (Ridhima Sud) tries to investigate a suspicious case of child sacrifice and soon meets Kajarya (Meenu Hooda) who shares some terrible facts that eventually becomes the prime media story.
But in this whole incident of finding the gruesome truth and then in the process of punishing the guilty, the lives of these two women, Meera and Kajarya become entangled in a strange way.
Brilliant acting by the two main characters, good story telling and direction, and powerful score by Richard Horowitz.
Though the ending is a bit too hasty for me but Kajarya surly raises some important questions for our society to answer, a film that doesn’t shy away from addressing such serious issues with enough courage and honesty.
Overall both the films solve their purpose, they are made for different kinds of audiences and I am sure they are successful in their own ways.
More such powerful Indian films should be made and encouraged; but then again, they shouldn’t be treated simply as a trend or the latest formula to box office success.
‘We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back’ the perfect words of wisdom by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.(also recommend He Named Me Malala, a documentary recently made on her courageous life).
Bollywood since it’s early days, has always been an expert in portraying ‘romanticism’ on celluloid, the classic ‘love story’, a specialty that has been experimented and mastered through years of relentless practice.
But then, when it comes to ‘friendship’ being the primary focus of a film, they would first try to convince you with either ‘love-triangles’ or ‘brothers-separated-in-their-childhood-but-later-united-to-avenge’ kinda concepts!
And when you are still not convinced, the memorable song ‘yeh dosti hum nehi todenge’ would be played ceremoniously from our favorite film Sholay and the topic of ‘friends and friendship’ will be closed then and there.
Well, that was the situation before 2001.
In the year 2001, a film Dil Chahta Hai was made and it not only won the National Award for that year but also redefined the concept of friendship in Indian Cinema forever.
Super-talented writer/director Farhan Akhtar‘s first film, who later turned out to be a brilliant actor, producer and singer as well!
Film trailer for a quick recap.
The film Dil Chahta Hai, a comedy-drama, is based on three friends whose friendship is tested as they go through a period of transition in their lives. From the enjoyable, carefree college days to accepting responsibility and trying to deal with their jobs and relationships with their recently-earned maturity.
The film was so unique not only as a young and fresh concept, but also for it’s innovative overall treatment.
The leads characters – Akash (Aamir Khan), Sid (Akshaye Khanna) and Sameer (Saif Ali Khan); they as individuals and also their superb chemistry in-between themselves were undoubtedly the life of the film.
Three friends, a sudden plan, and a long drive to Goa; since Dil Chahta Hai, such road-trips have become a trend for the youth of India!
A trend-setter in many ways, the film revived Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Khanna’s career, helped Dimple Kapadia to re-establish herself as a powerful actress, made composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as famous as they should be, and most importantly opened the gates for innumerable friendship-oriented films to be made.
Dil Chahta Hai, when it released was a decent commercial success, specially among the urban younger generation (i believe the film’s primary target audience).
And the critics too applauded it’s sensitivity.
The film Dil Chahta Hai though coated with enough comedy, is actually a pretty matured film that sheds a very realistic perspective on growing up and being capable of respecting other’s sentiments.
But the best part of the film is neither the story, or the brilliant performances nor the complete set of catchy songs; it’s actually the little funny situations here and there and the perfectly timed dialogues to complement them!
‘Hum cake khane ke liye kahin bhi jaa sakte hai‘
‘Aaj Pooja, kal koi dooja‘
‘Ya toh dosti gehri hai … ya yeh photo 3D hai‘
‘Perfection ko improve karna mushkil hota hai‘
These and many more such hilarious dialogues are the first things that come to our mind when we think of Dil Chahta Hai, and they only make the film such fun to watch every single time.
If somebody, new to Bollywood, would ask me to recommend one single film that he/she needs to watch – i would definitely suggest Dil Chahta Hai. Bollywood at it’s best.
Well, that’s just another way of saying that The Martian is extremely over hyped.
Of course I have my reasons for pillorying everyone’s favorite film (so it seems because of it’s box-office collections) but before that, let me put forward a few points which are actually pretty impressive in the film (unfortunately only a few).
And then, the other thing that is unique about The Martian is the concept of potato-farming in Mars.
Yes, the possibility of a botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) to ‘science the shit out‘ and start growing his own food to survive in the red planet – now that’s something innovative and probably the one and only ‘wow’ element of the film.
‘They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!‘
Other than this, the script simply cannot be more predictable.
Within the first fifteen minutes the basic storyline is more or less visible to you – a man thought to be dead but very much alive, deserted in some lonely planet and now he has to survive through great difficulties until he is rescued.
And you won’t believe your speculation skills – absolutely no diversions, no surprises, no twists in the storyline – and yes, at the end he actually gets rescued!
US government has always invested and taken great risks to rescue Matt Damon, be it in Saving Private Ryan or in Interstellar. So The Martian doesn’t come to us as a surprise in that context as well.
And thus, the whole film is about How astronaut Matt tries to survive and How NASA tries to bring him back – and then, even many of these ‘Hows’ can be anticipated.
For example in the middle of the film when everything seems to be suspiciously going fine; in Mars the potatoes are growing fat enough and in Earth the NASA rescue plans are looking possible, then suddenly Jeff Daniels (the head of NASA) looks almost directly to the camera and says something like ‘i hope nothing goes wrong in-between’!
And in the very next scene (as so expected) some accident brings death to Matt’s potato plants.
In several such occasions the film is too easy to predict and even the problems or the related emotions are too much on your face.
Visual effects was though pretty good over all, except for the titling- sequence-debris being unnecessarily noisy and jittery. And also the poorly mismatched shots of a body double being used to show the skinny version of Matt Damon towards the end of the film (before he finally does the long build up Iron Man stunt).
The comparison with the two earlier mega-space films Interstellar and Gravity are inevitable but unfortunately The Martain neither have the brilliant plot twists of Interstellar nor the innovativeness of Gravity.
Legendary director Ridley Scott has given us far better SiFi films earlier in his career, the likes of Blade Runner (1982) and Alien (1979) and thus our anticipations are always rocket high.
Anyways, let’s cheers to the discovery of water in Mars and to better Mars/space films in future!
Directed by talented Darren Aronofsky, the film was about an aging professional wrestler of fading glory, who finds it tough to deal with his life outside the wresting ring.
The film trailer for a quick recap.
Now, though The wrestlerreceived universal critical acclaim and won many prestigious awards including the Golden Lion in the 2008 Venice Film Festival, but still there was always that debate on how authentically did the film portray the inner labyrinth of the complex realms of the Professional Wrestling?
Well, according to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Famer, multi-time world champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart‘Although the film speaks superbly to the speed bumps all pro wrestlers navigate, I’m happy to report most of us don’t swerve off the road quite so severely’.
And then on the famous TV show Larry King Live, professional wrestler Chris Jericho openly challenged Rourke to fight him in a wrestling match and also accused him of being a movie star trying too hard to imitate some real time wrestler.
This was ofcourse all a part of a storyline since Jericho was a top heel at that time.
According to director Aronofsky – WWE chairman ‘Vince McMahon saw the film and he called both me and Mickey (Rourke) and he was really, really touched by it.’
Aronofsky also mentioned that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, the late Hall of Famer became emotional after watching the film – ‘He loved it. He broke down and cried in Mickey’s arms, so he was psyched that this story was finally told.’
Even the Hardcore Legend and former WWF championMick Foley praised Rourke’s performance – ‘Within five [minutes], I had completely forgotten I was looking at Mickey Rourke. That guy on the screen simply was Randy ‘the Ram’ Robinson.’
More comments from professional wrestlers regarding the film on Fox Searchlight Pictures’s ‘Wrestler Round Table’
So passionate was Mickey Rourke about his role in the film that he actually ‘blade’ himself, he did cut his own forehead with a razor blade as many wrestlers often do during a fight to entertain the audience!
It was revealed that the character Randy “The Ram” Robinson shares characteristics of the two biggest wrestling icons of the 1980s: Hulk Hogan and Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage (Randy Savage)!
And lastly one of the most chilled out and informal interview of Mickey Rourke with Darren Aronofsky – this is as frank and honest as the movie stars can get behind of the camera!
Music by legendary A.R. Rahman who took three years to compose for this one particular film.
With such impressive star cast and epic musical score, of course RDB was a huge box-office success. The film also won the National award for the most Popular Indian Cinema along with numerous other awards (Filmfare, IIFA, ZeeCine etc).
But apart from being just a blockbuster, award-winning, popular film, RDB also managed to do something very rare which hardly any Indian cinema have ever accomplished before – it communicated with the audience, specially with the youth of our country!
Rang De Basanti is probably the only Indian film that initiated such significant level of political awareness, sense of patriotism and social awakening in the minds of our younger generation.
After the release of RDB, young minds of our country (mostly students) who earlier were never bothered about politics or any such civic causes became socially responsible and took active interest in discussions regarding national problems like corruption, bureaucracy and political injustice.
Soon full fledged youth activism started – not only through the internet blogs but the students actually took to the streets to protest on public interest issues.
A perfect example is the Jessica Lall Murder Case, where people protested against the initial court judgement by a silent rally – a candlelight vigil at New Delhi’s India Gate exactly the same way as shown in RDB!
Thankfully though our younger generation was clever and responsible enough not to murder some politician while emotionally aping the film till the end.
But importantly, the message which they took home from the film was that of ‘No country is perfect, it has to be made perfect.’
And the brilliance of the script and the filmmaker is that this message wasn’t delivered in a preachy manner. It was cleverly communicated by a bunch of laid back fun-loving college guys who initially didn’t care much about their future; who were only interested in drinking beer and racing bikes, watching films and eating out (just like any other college kid).
The young crowd of India could very easily connect themselves to these naive and vibrant characters of the film. They spoke a language that the youngsters understood and could relate to.
But then, when due to some tragic events these characters in the film were shaken from their easy-going lives and when they felt a soul stirring sense of responsibility towards their country – the young Indian audience felt the same and experienced the same prick of conscience.
‘A generation awakens’ was the tag line of the film and from the film’s posters to it’s media partners (CocaCola, LG, msn, Airtel, Provogue) – everything related to the film and it’s promotion were focused on that tag line itself.
Such was the power of Rang De Basanti that after watching the film former Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, used the line ‘Aag hai mujhmen kahi’ (There is a fire somewhere within me) which is a popular lyric from one of the film’s song.
Almost 10 years have passed by since it was released and still Rang De Basanti remains one of the most influential films in the history of Indian Cinema.
The playful Dolphins and the graceful Killer Whales – they are the two most intelligent, sensitive and harmless aquatic species.
And they are in danger.
Beyond being simply falling in the ‘animal documentaries’ category both these films The cove and Blackfish have something much more important in common. They successfully expose the ugly face of our human race.
Unfortunately it so happens that ‘We’ are not only the most evolved species of our planet but also the most selfish, cruel and unsympathetic of all.
We snatch baby killer whales from their parents to confine them in a claustrophobic water-ponds and make them do tricks simply for our entertainment. We lure the playful dolphins to the seashore and mercilessly chop them up for cheaper meat until the ocean turns red in their blood.
We humans are capable of any such inhuman acts for a definite reason – and the only reason that explains everything is MONEY.
Directed by Gabriela CowperthwaiteBlackfish tells the story of the billion-dollar SeaWorld empire primarily based on the success of killer whale performances in front of the live audience’s thunderous applause. A masterfully crafted documentary that gives us insight on the tragic psychological trauma that the killer whales experience in captivity and it’s effect – the several deaths of the trainers. SeaWorld refused to be interviewed (expected i guess) and tried their best to cover up all the evidences for so many years. But no more.
On the other hand The cove is another thrilling and heartbreaking documentary that reveals Japan’s illegal dolphin meat industry for which hundreds of dolphins are slaughtered everyday in a cove near a town named Taijii. Directed by Louie Psihoyos this Oscar winning documentary uncovers the shocking level of animal cruelty which is again directly a threat to human health (since dolphin meat though lot cheaper in price but is unfit for human consumption).
It is not surprising that still there are some people who really care for the well-beings of other animals and are so passionate to come up with such eye-opening documentaries that (i won’t say completely stop animal abuse but) definitely create a certain sense of awareness.
If you like thrilling real-life cinema, if you enjoy good storytelling and if you love animals and care for them – The cove and Blackfish are the two animal documentaries you shouldn’t miss.