Tag Archives: Noah Baumbach

Best Coming of Age Films of recent times (10+1list)

Best Coming-of-Age Films of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Coming of Age Films – the stories relating to the mysterious leap of the protagonist from their childhood/youth to the adulthood, Coming-of-Age-Filmsgrowing up not only in height/weight but also in maturity.

The coming of age genre has become pretty popular for some time now. Many acclaimed film directors have taken up the challenge of portraying their lead-characters as confused or ill-tempered juveniles who as the film progresses get rid of their ‘teenage miseries’ and finally opens up to life and owns it!

Most of the films in this list are based on such young rebellious minds who struggle to survive the typical awkwardness and embarrassments of adolescence.

And so, let the young minds bloom!

10. Submarine (2010)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CAntLzsQ74

Coming-of-Age-Films

The story of a young boy and his problems of growing up – teen anxiety, miscommunications and an overall sense of confusion.

A superbly fresh and funny coming of age drama directed by Richard Ayoade, and brilliantly acted by Craig Roberts – beautiful visuals, superb music and great story telling.

A much underrated British comedy not to be missed.

9. Sing Street (2015)

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

Coming-of-Age-FilmsDublin,1980s – a young boy starts a band to impress a girl he fancies, but soon the band takes off pretty well but does he finally get the girl?

Directed by John Carney, this is a unique story of artistic awakening, of young love, of bonding, friendship and some unavoidable suffering as well.

A funny musical coming of age film that will make you emotional as well.

8. The Way Way Back (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwNo1i3jkCo

Coming-of-Age-Films

Starting new relations is not so easy especially if you are a shy teenager, but then you realize that making friends is not that difficult after all.

Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, starring Sam RockwellSteve CarellToni Collette and Liam James this one is a brilliant story of a young mind – his equations with his mother, his new step dad and his belief in love and friendship. A remarkably smooth, crisp and highly entertaining film to consider.

7. Mistress America (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z8MCW16uZY

Coming-of-Age-FilmsA lonely college freshman goes to meet with her adventurous stepsister-to-be and her world changes in a wink.

(Click for Review)

Directed by one of the most acclaimed comedy director of our times Noah Baumbach, and such amazing performances by Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke. A film of great wit and humor.

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5rh7O4IDc0

Coming-of-Age-FilmsA freshman in college gets to bond with a few seniors, they hang out, they enjoy their young lives – but it’s not as simple a plot as it seems.

Directed by Stephen Chbosky, although pleasantly funny, the film deals with some very serious topics like drug, alcohol and sexuality.

Rare but in this case the film is as good as the book written by the director himself. Specially recommended for Emma Watson fans.

5. Dope (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L41xwM8tIRQ

Coming-of-Age-FilmsBeing a geek in a tough neighborhood, life is not easy for young Malcolm. But then everything will change since he (along with his friends) get a chance invitation to a big underground party – an adventure of a lifetime and also the moment for him to prove himself a dope!

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa, this is a cool coming of age comedy, believable acting and full of fun.

4. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eOI3AamSm8

Coming-of-Age-FilmsWhen two young souls deeply in love decide to explore the world on their own! But then again, the film is also about the reactions of all the other characters surrounding them!

Uniquely stylized as expected from master director Wes Anderson, a classic tale of young love and it’s consequences full of dry comedy and wit. Storytelling at its absolute best!

3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qfmAllbYC8

Coming-of-Age-FilmsA film where a character has cancer generally takes a sad route but not this one. It’s the story of a young teenager who is forced to befriend a girl who has leukemia but then they have a super cool time together!

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, this film is amazingly quirky and innovative specially in its execution. It often takes on pretty serious matters but always with enough humor and laughter.

2. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB6Gecy6IP8

Coming-of-Age-FilmsLife never really seems fair to a young confused high school junior (Hailee Steinfeld) but then it becomes miserable when her best friend starts dating her ever-impressive older brother!

Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, this one is an unexpectedly brilliant comedy with great storytelling and superb performances. And then the presence of Woody Harrelson makes it even more special!

1. The Kings of Summer (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoPPhItyA74

Coming-of-Age-Films

A group of teenagers plan to build a house in the midst of the forest and live out there, entirely cut off from the civilization – their idea of complete independence!

But soon their friendship is to be tested in a way they have never imagined.

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, a superb story that elegantly binds the characters with each other and with nature as well.

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

+1.  Boyhood (2014)

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys-mbHXyWX4

Coming-of-Age-Films

A film so real and shot through such an unreal time-span that it gives you the feel of being a part of the journey with Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who was a 7 year old boy when Richard Linklater started filming and 18 when he finally the film was wrapped up.

(Click for review)

Boyhood is an emotional coming of age film, a daring experiment in the history of Cinema!

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

Mistress America (2015)

Mistress America review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

A refreshingly intelligent comedy that guarantees a smile on your face!

My Ratings: 4/5.

Personally a fan of director Noah Baumbach, who started his career Kicking and Screaming, swam around with The Squid and the Whale for good, then introduced us to the brilliant Frances Hamistress-america-poster2and While We’re Young his latest film Mistress America has finally reached us and it’s simply awesome!

A dry and witty comedy, often hilarious though, which revolves around the unique friendship of two women and their inhibitions.

‘There’s no adultery when you’re eighteen. You should all be touching each other all the time.’

‘You are much more of an asshole than you initially appear.’

‘I don’t give a shit, because I am not a friend of Tennessee Williams.’

That’s Brooke (Greta Gerwig) for you and some of her hilarious dialogues – she being the older woman and a self-proclaimed artist who is always ready with such valuable pieces of advice and comments for mistress-america-poster1her would-be step sister Tracy (Lola Kirke), a young college teen.

In the very beginning of the film Brooke, unconsciously though seduces young Tracy with the promises of the cool and carefree bohemian lifestyle of an artist in New York, but can she live up to her fancy commitments forever?

Mistress America apparently has the fluidity of an easy going comedy but the insecurities and fears, the hopes and yearnings of the characters adds so many layers to the film that it becomes a perfect light-hearted study of human psychology!

A film that hinges on the superb performances of the two lead actors.

Greta Gerwig, (unforgettable earlier performance in and as Frances Ha) in this film joins director Noah Baumbach as a co-writer and also manages to deliver superbly as an internally confused woman who mistress-america-posterdesperately wants to fit in.

And very well complemented by Lola Kirke as the young not-so-confident girl who is ready to be charmed by someone she can look up to but soon finds out how misleading the real world and it’s people can be. 

Great screenplay, crisp dialogues and terrific natural acting that makes the film a delight to watch.

Not too early to profess but Noah Baumbach for me is probably the only director who can keep up the tradition of the classic Woody-Allen-style of smart and witty comedy films in future.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comthefilmstage.com

Best Modern Black and White movies (10+1list)

Best Modern Black and White movies

written by Souranath Banerjee.

The transition of Cinema from ‘black and white’ to ‘color’ is a unique evolutionary process that took years of experimentation.

Evidently in Europe (specifically in U.k and France), as early as in the beginning of 1900, the first few colored footage were made; they were mostly hand-colored short films. Then in 1914, in U.K Natural Color Kinematograph Company made the first ever full length feature film in color named The World, the Flesh and the Devil. 

In 1918 Cupid Angling was made in US by Douglass Natural Color The-Wizard-of-Oz-posterFilm Inc. which is the first American ‘colored’ feature. Then of course The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Gone with the Wind (1939) established the era of colorful films.

Eventually the dominance of ‘black and white’ films faded away and cinema was full of colors! By the late 60s only a handful of black and white films are made each year.

Nowadays the black and white medium is regarded as a rare artistic choice for stylized visuals, or specifically used to portray a certain desired mood/emotion.

And now, the list contains some of the Best Modern Black and White movies. Enjoy!

10. Pi (1998)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo18VIoR2xU

pi-poster

Darren Aronofsky‘s first feature and an amazing black and white thriller.

A paranoid mathematician who tries to unlock nature’s universal patterns with the help of the magic number Pi!

Matthew Libatique shot the dark contrast images and successfully creates the gritty atmosphere needed for the film.

9. Nebraska (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT5tqPojMtg

nebraska-poster1

Oscar nominated film (nominated in six categories including ‘best film’, ‘best director’ and ‘best cinematographer’).

Directed by Alexander Payne, this black and white road movie is wonderfully shot by Phedon Papamichael.

An emotional yet humorous father-son relationship like never seen before.

8. Frances Ha (2012)

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

frances-ha-poster

Noah Baumbach presents one of the most endearing and funny film of recent times. 

A black and white comedy drama that tells the entertaining tale of an ordinary New York girl named Frances. She is quirky, childlike and sometimes a bit immature as well.

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

7. The Turin Horse (2011)

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

turin-horse-poster

From the master directors Béla Tarr and co-director Ágnes Hranitzky this one is an unique film with very less dialogues and absolutely brilliant visuals. 

Shot by Fred Kelemen, the film has long takes that meticulously portrays the struggle of each and every character.

Rural settings with harsh climate – black and white imagery at it’s best.

6. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_7uQsP2TBk

coffee-and-cigarettes-poster

A series of short, single location films based on people interaction which all have coffee and cigarettes in common!

One of the coolest films ever, directed by Jim Jarmusch with unique casting for each segment.

A black and white film that uses the checker tables, the black coffee and the white cigarette smoke to it’s best advantage.

5. Control (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c2_B_cWK_M

control-poster

A biography of the famous lead singer of the band Joy Division – Ian Curtis.

Directed by Anton Corbijn, the film depicts the troubled life of the musical genius which ended at the young age of 23 (he committed suicide).

The film is a simple yet stylized series of black and white visuals shot brilliantly by Martin Ruhe.

4. The Artist (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK7pfLlsUQM

Artist-poster

Nominated for the Oscars in 10 categories and winning 5 awards including the ‘Best Motion Picture of the Year’, ‘best direction’ and ‘best actor’!

A black and white film directed by Michel Hazanavicius that is arty as well as highly entertaining.

Shot by Guillaume Schiffman (oscar nominated), the film is a treat for all black and white cinema lovers!

3. Ida (2013)

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

ida-poster

The Oscar winner in the ‘best foreign film category’.

Pawel Pawlikowski direction and amazing cinematography by Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal.

The film is uniquely in square format (aspect ratio 1.33 : 1) and interestingly most of the frames have huge amount of negative space on the top. A must see.

2. Schindler’s List (1993)

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

schindlers-list-poster

Probably the most popular black and white film of our times.

Directed by Steven Spielberg the film is a biography on Oskar Schindler’s life who helped the Jews and saved many lives during the Nazi invasion of Poland in the World War II. 

Shot by Janusz Kaminski this film has so strong imagery that one could never forget in their lives.

1. The White Ribbon (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KJKvvvxY74

white-ribbon-poster

A little peaceful village haunted by a series of awful murders!

Directed by the acclaimed German director Michael Haneke, this film is a superb psychological mystery drama.

A black and white classic shot by Christian Berger, the film was also nominated in the Oscars for the Best Achievement in Cinematography category!

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

+1. Sin City (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Dj6ktPU5c

sin-city-posterIf you want to use the word ‘stylized’ to define a film – this is the one.

Super cool visuals straight from Frank Miller‘s comic book pages, the film is an epic is it’s dark and violent story telling.

Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (he also shot the film), the most stylish black and white film ever.

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

Best fictional films about writers

Best fictional films about writers.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Don’t you think the ‘writers’ are a strange breed of people?

They are supposed to be imaginative, curious and passionate about their work. Well, thats the romantic side. But often their constant struggle to be original, their possessive nature, their creative vulnerability lead them to unpredictable alleys.

I have managed to put up a list of my all time favorite films where the protagonist writes for a living – films where sometimes the writer is in danger and other times he IS the danger.

And the list begins.

10. Secret Window (2004)

Secret Window

A perfect blend of Stephen KingDavid Koepp + Johnny Depp and the result is a tangy physiological thriller.

The story of a lone writer who is unexpectedly threatened and accused of plagiarism by a complete stranger.

If you are a Johnny Depp fan and you like mystery it’s surely your cup of tea.

9. The Ghost aka The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer

Tension, suspense, thrill, excitement – these words are made to define this film.

When a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) takes up a new job for a former politician (Pierce Brosnan), he unknowingly puts his life in danger. An edgy script – one of my personal favorite.

For Roman Polanski fans this is a special treat.

8. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Stranger Than Fiction

What if you realize one fine morning that you are not in control of your life – that you exist only in somebody’s imagination, in someone’s writings?

Directed by Marc Forster, Will Ferrell in his own comic way experience this scary concept. Superb performance.

One of the most innovative story told in style.

7. Wonder Boys (2000)

Wonder Boys

An interesting star cast – Michael Douglas at his best, Tobey Maguire young n talented and Robert Downey Jr. joins in.

Directed by Curtis Hanson, this is a film about writers and their careers; the tormented souls desperate to create something unique.

A perfect drama with a comic touch – very entertaining and well performed.

6. Barton Fink (1991)

Barton Fink

This time the Coen brothers (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen) create a dark world where a writer in a hotel room struggles in his quest to write about ‘the common man’.

The crisp dialogues, the eerie look and feel of the film, the brilliant acting – it’s a complete package.

Though often considered too glum and black for some people’s taste but for me this film is a superb satire.

5. Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris

At midnight Paris becomes a magical place for a writer who travels back in time and meet the great artists of all times (all his inspirations).

A refreshing comedy by Woody Allen and a crackling performance by Owen Wilson – the result is a mystically charming film.

The film radiates the director’s love for Paris.

4. The Squid and the Whale (2005)

The squid and the whale

Dealing with parents divorce is always tough, specially when both of them are writers and pretty self centered in nature.

This is a perfect family drama – often funny in a cruel way; the story of two young boys who try to cope up with the tension in between their parents.

Directed by Noah Baumbachthe film is actually much more interesting than it’s name suggests.

3. Deathtrap (1982)

Deathtrap

This is a film that will startle you; the more you will try to predict what is next, the more you will be surprised.

A writer with his deadly plans and a sinister collection of weapons –Michael Caine at his best.

Sidney Lumet (one of my all time favorite director) maliciously reveals a trap that surely leads to death. It’s a dangerous game but you never know who is the winner till the end of the film.

2. Adaptation. (2002)

Adaptation

One of Nicolas Cage‘s best performance (that too a double role) and also one of Spike Jonze‘s best film till date.

The famous scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman shows his brilliance once again.

Though most people (including me) has a problem with the ending of this film but still it will remain one of my all time favorite.

1. Ruby Sparks (2012)

Ruby sparks

Directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, the brilliance of this film is that it cannot be explained unless you watch it.

The concept of finding the girl of your dreams is turned upside down into a whole new dimension.

What if you want to play God and you are given the control to manipulate people whom you love? Think twice before you wish.

and

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

+1. Misery (1990)

MiseryWriters always like to communicate with their fans. And specially if one claims to be his ‘no 1 fan’ and especially if that person saves the writer’s life. Right?

Wrong in this particular case.

Adopted from Stephen King‘s novel and directed by Rob Reiner this film is one twisted tale of a writer (James Caanand his fan (Kathy Bates, who won the Oscar as the Best actress in the leading role that year).