Tag Archives: Tobey Maguire

Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

Pawn Sacrifice review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

United States or the Soviet Union? Bobby Fischer or Boris Spassky? – the cold war was at it’s peak!

Tensed boxing biopics like Raging Bull or high speed Formula One racing movies similar to Rush or the fast baseball films like The Pride of the Yankees or even those fantastic movies on the lives of athletes and runners like Chariots of Fire – sports biopics are always fun to watch because they are so full of adrenaline.

But then, how much energy and drama can be squeezed into a sport biopic based on the most calm and tranquil game ever played in the world – that is CHESS ?

pawn-sacrifice-poster1Well, Edward Zwick (famous for films like The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond and Defiance) took up the challenge and believe it or not he manages to make a highly thrilling and captivating chess-film – his latest release Pawn Sacrifice.

A biopic on chess world champion Bobby Fischer played superbly by Tobey Maguire

Now this is not Tobey’s first sport biopic (remember the famous Jockey Red Pollard in Seabiscuit); but in Pawn Sacrifice he has shown a different level of maturity and perfectly portrayed the silent madness of the paranoid genius.  

Bobby Fisher, considered to be the best chess player till date was indeed a troubled soul but aren’t insanity the price you pay for being a genius?  

pawn-sacrifice-posterIn 1972, Bobby Fischer faced the then world champion Boris Spassky (from Russia) in the greatest match ever played in the history of chess!

On the board he fought the Cold War. In his mind he fought his madness.

Liev Schreiber perfectly fits the role of Spassky while Peter Sarsgaard, (the father figure) along with Michael Stuhlbarg (the manager) tries their best to cope up with Bobby’s madness and make him play his best game.

Pawn Sacrifice is a skillful film that cleverly brings out the subtle characteristics of Bobby Fisher as an individual; his arrogance, his fears, his childish demands, his mood swings and above all his genius.

You don’t need to know chess to relish the film, although a bit of basic chess knowledge will make you feel more comfortable.  

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.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)


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)


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.


(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).