The Judge [2014]: Great content that failed to make a mark

Cast:  Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga

Directed by: David Dobkin

The Judge is the story of a son coming back home after 20 years to attend his mother’s funeral and developing the lost bond he had with his father, while they have a legal situation in hand.  However, this is the head plot of the film, it didn't really unravel properly.
This film had a veteran legend [Robert Duvall], a popular star [Robert Downey Jr.], a cameo by an accomplished actor [Billy Bob Thornton] and lots of failed opportunities. A good film maker and screen writer would have pulled out a great father-son tale about reunion in relationships and the wisdom surrounding it. However it became a victim of bad writing with clichéd dialogues and unnecessary plot waywardness.

Robert Downey Jr. seriously needs to come out of that Tony Stark attitude if he really wants people to consider him an actor first. However it isn't completely his fault here, he did try to suppress the flamboyant Tony Stark in him but the character was written like that, which needed him to be a bit flamboyant.

Robert Duvall did a good enough job as Judge Palmer and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

About the family; I could see no real chemistry between Robert Duvall [The Judge] and his three sons, however, the brothers looked really good together. Every time, the trio of the palmer brothers was together, we had a good enough scene.

The courtroom scenes were some of the best scenes; it was an opportunity where they could really score by adding a few more hearings and cutting out the unnecessary plots about his ex and his alleged daughter. Anyway, there were so many sub-plots that the impact of the best scenes was minimal.

The judge had great substance which was handled by amateurs.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★½
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Sunday, 19 June 2016
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

The Lives of Others [2006]: Fall from grace of Berlin wall

Cast: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch

Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Genre: Drama, Thriller

A Guest Review by Nafees Ahmed

Reviewer's Rating: ★★★★½

The plot of 'The Lives of others' at its outset, may seem very familiar to psychological surveillance drama , "The Conversation" directed by Francis Ford Coppola, where lead protagonist of both the movies sit around the clock with headset clamped over their ears, stone faced, expressionless and surveying a romantic couple.  But the similarity ends here, and 'The Lives of Others' slips into psyche of three principle characters who are struggling to live a normal life and honestly peruse their career and aspiration with no restriction, midst of all the chaos during 1984 Cold War, at Berlin Wall.

This dark and gloomy drama about three struggling souls, written and directed by first-timer Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, was a deserving winner of 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Lives of others tries to examine the human nature and subtle love that somewhere beneath never blossoms, during the tragic struggling phase of exploiters and exploited people. The Stasi, the GDR's secret police, whose had vast network of informants( 2% of the entire civilian population was on the payroll during 1984), were sinister exploiters who never shy to bug the house of suspects and exploit their personal life.

Ulrich Mühe in The Lives of Others [2006] 
Minister of Culture Bruno Hempf seizes an opportunity to take an undue advantage of vulnerable Actress Christa-Maria Sieland whose Playwright boyfriend Dreyman is under suspicion after he escaped state scrutiny due to his pro-Communist views and international recognition. While Stasi Captain, Gerd Wiesler, starts his surveillance by bugging Dreyman's apartment, sooner he realizes that he himself is a part of more sinister plan that involves  personal gain.

Film is about two honest individual who are disillusioned at the way they see their society and their own personal life .One of the focal points here deals with the issue of an honest man who takes his job religiously, but how possibly he reacts to circumstances that ask him to deflect his own path of an honest and righteous being.

But sooner Wiesler sympathizes with Dreyman and Christa's exploited artistic and personal life, and ultimately he jeopardizes his own career. At the other end, handsome Dreyman is passionate about his work and passionately in love with his beautiful girlfriend; oblivious to the fact that his apartment is under surveillance. Character of Dreyman is flawed but good guy who has earned himself name among theater people & GDR, and seeks removal of culpable theatrical colleagues from the blacklist, and who ends up writing a sensational article for the western press.

The Lives Of Others is highly compelling political thriller that horrifically thrives on backdrop of Berlin Wall, East Germany; it is profoundly emotional film that has ability to shatter you. It is powerful film that is perfectly constructed blending human drama, romance and thriller that is devoid of any ho-hums and cliché, twists are unpredictable and never seem forced while climax will definitely give lump in your throat.

Gift Ideas for Sisters by IGP.com

As a kid, Raksha Bandhan meant 2 things for me, Sweets and Gifts; sweets for me and Gifts for my sisters. I have to admit, that as a kid, I really envied my sisters as they got all the gifts. Anyway, that was childhood.

Years later, the brother’s love for Sweets has certainly faded out but the sisters still love getting gifts and why not. It’s funny how the table has turned completely. Now the sisters [elder sisters in my case] are really cool, whether you buy them a gift or not, they know you love them. But as a brother, we take it to heart, to give our sisters the best gift out there, the best we can afford or manage.

This very transformation from being a Kid bro to a responsible brother is the essence of Raksha Bandhan.
Image Source: indiangiftsportal.com

Speaking of Gifts, I have to say, I am not really a gift giving guy [and I am really embarrassed to admit it, lol], I always have a hard time finding the right gift for the right people. Anyway, Thanks to my friends from IGP as they came to my rescue from another embarrassment as Raksha Bandhan is round the corner.

IGP stands for Indian Gifts Portal; it is an online gift store that has a wide range of products to choose from. IGP is different from other gift/ecommerce websites because it has a far better navigation than most of its competitors. The site neatly categorized gift items not just with the type of products but by categories like Gifts for her, Gifts for him etc. This makes it so easy to come up with Gift Ideas for Sister and gift ideas for almost any special person or occasion in our lives.

IGP is a great collection of wonderful Rakhi Gifts for Brothers and Sister and whether you live in India, USA or UK, Indian Gifts Portal can do international delivery of their products.

Sunday, 19 July 2015
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

The Artist [2011]: Quick Review

Cast:  Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman

Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius

The Artist works for an audience that have never experienced a silent movie before and is fascinated by knowing the facts that Hollywood was once Hollywood land. The Artist is a fairy tale for people who wonders about silent movies, instead of exploring them.

I have watched more than 200 films from the period of 1900-1930, so I can say, I have a fair understanding of the silent film era and the body language, they used to have, and this film over-stylized the whole environment of the silent era. This is one reason, we love Singin' in the Rain, because it was realistic. 

I really appreciate their effort and I also have an unsaid soft spot for movies about movies but I was disappointed with this movie.

Jean Dujardin was charming but was extremely one-dimensional. I really wanted to see how different George Valentin is off screen than On-Screen but he was shallow, he was given just one face to wear. On the other hand, Berenice Bejo, was really good at her role, she understood the ascent her character's life taken more than Jean Dujardin's understood his descent. It was definitely a good performance, but he won an undeserving Oscar.

The Artist is a good film, a kind that people remembers from a certain year but winning an Oscar for Best Picture is over rating it. Academy does this every time, they don't give the Oscar to a movie, they give it to a cause. Well then if it was for a cause I support the cause called "The Artist" and another cause "Argo".

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★
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Birdman [2014]: Michael Keaton's "Super-Realistic" Performance of the Year

Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts

Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★★

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Spectacular, breathtaking, an exhibition of surrealism and a thousand other things. Birdman is a great piece of Cinema.

Michael Keaton stars as an ageing Riggan Thomson, once popular for playing a superhero called Birdman, a superhero franchise which had its last film in 1992, [which interestingly is also the year Michael Keaton’s 2nd batman film released] and is now desperately looking for a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. It is metaphorically a film on Michael Keaton’s career. [Although Keaton believes that the character Riggan Thomson is the most dissimilar to his real life personality.] 

22 years after Tim Burton made his last Batman film with Michael Keaton, who would have thought that the near extinct Keaton will return in such a hauntingly beautiful fashion and deliver the greatest performance of his career. Michael Keaton is also the most deserving candidate for this year's Academy Award for the Best Actor.

I wonder, if director Alejandro González Iñárritu wanted to cast a washed out super hero actor to play the lead character in Birdman or he always wanted to make a film on Michael Keaton’s life after Batman Returns. Whatever the case may be, there is no one I can imagine who could play the leading character in Birdman better than Michael Keaton.

Birdman is a satire on Hollywood and the actors who played these characters. It’s a satire on Michael Keaton because the character’s story does resemble his career and a parody on Edward Norton because like his character, he is also a famously annoying co-star to work with.

As the film starts, we see Riggan Thomson meditating, floating mid air in a lotus pose and we hear a voice saying “how did we end up here?” That voice is Birdman’s which sounds like the famous Batman growl. Right from the first scene, Keaton looked intense and a completely new guy you may never have seen before. It was from that very moment you knew that both Riggan Thomson and Michael Keaton are going to change the saddening reality of their careers.

Riggan Thomson reminds one of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard in a completely different way. Unlike Norma, Riggan doesn't confine himself to a life that doesn't really exist anymore, he has an unpleasant reality but somewhere he is still weaved in that alter ego of his. He wants the voice to shut up but he also embraces the superhero mannerism of Birdman when he puts the television off or moves random objects or opens a door using his mind [or he believes he does all those things]. It is left for how we interpret it individually, like we interpreted differently what the briefcase contained in Pulp Fiction.

Emmanuel Lubezki received the 7th nomination of his career for Best Achievement in Cinematography. He has done another master work and this time he created an illusion that the whole film was shot all in one long take. This is something he mastered in this great scene from Children of Men.

It is one of the best ensemble casts I have seen in many years. Each and everyone played their parts to perfection.

Michael Keaton’s performance was intense and hard hitting as if somewhere in the back of his head he knew that this might be his last big chance to score. Edward Norton as Mike is a self proclaimed perfectionist who plays a mysteriously selfish but there is something really fishy about him that you never totally love or hate him.

Zach Galifianakis was unbelievably good as the producer cum best friend of Keaton’s character; he can really do serious black comedy, bringing out the humor without actually doing a funny scene. There are 4 strong and significant woman characters and one just can’t imagine Birdman without anyone of them. Emma Stones, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan and Andrea Riseborough play these characters. Each one of them had a different equation with Riggan Thomson. Emma Stones outshines the rest of the 3 and deservingly received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal as the messed up back from rehab daughter.

In an interesting scene, Riggan Thomson tells her ex-wife of an incident:
“The last time I flew here from LA, George Clooney was sitting two seats in front of me. With those cuff links, and that chin. We ended up flying through this really bad storm. The plane started to rattle and shake, and everyone on board was crying and praying. And I just sat there-- Sat there thinking that when Sam opened that paper it was going to be Clooney's face on the front page. Not mine. Did you know that Farrah Fawcett died on the same day as Michael Jackson?”

Ironically both Michael Keaton and George Clooney played Batman and even though we hated Clooney as Batman, we have seen his career flourish but Keaton never graduated from a mediocre filmography. This perhaps justifies the question the voice of Birdman asks Riggan: “how did we end up here”.

Birdman is poetic, hallucinating and extremely illusive. It has an environment that resembles that of an art-house cinema. It is a passionate work of art that leaves you craving for more. 

As Riggan Thomson tries to regain his lost stardom, Michael Keaton redeemed himself in the process. Birdman is one of the best films of this decade. 

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City Lights [1931]: Charlie Chaplin's Masterpiece gave a Perfect Closure to the Silent Era

After the success of “The Jazz Singer [1927]”, Talkies were no longer a joke to those who laughed upon the idea of the merging of sound and images. Possibilities opened for a long list of young mediocre actors who could speak their dialogues well. In Simple words, there were no limitations in cinema anymore. It was a great development and everyone in the industry had something to benefit from it except the stars of the silent era. 

A lot of actors went out of work once the talkies completely took over and no one had more to lose than the biggest star of Hollywood then, Charlie Chaplin.  City Lights was his ultimate test and the world was rather curious if he would be able to entertain like before now that dialogues are a viable option. 

Charlie Chaplin used sounds in Citylights but not in the way people expected, as the film started, there was a political speech where the characters are saying something, which sounded nothing more than a harsh squeal, this is how Chaplin took a dig on talkies “silently”. 

Charlie Chaplin and Harry Myers in a scene from Citylights [1931]

City Lights is the story of a tramp, played by Chaplin who falls for the blind flower girl [Virginia Cherrill]. The blind flower girl mistakes the tramp for a rich man and the tramp promises the girl to pay for her eye operation.

The tramp saved a man who was going to commit suicide; this man turns out to be a millionaire [Harry Myers] and becomes his friend. The millionaire is mostly drunk and has a dual personality; he despises the tramp when he is sober while he becomes a really caring and protective friend of the tramp when he is drunk.

The Tramp was quite a familiar character by then as Chaplin used to play the tramp in most of his films of the 1920s. However this time, Chaplin deepened the character and gave him more meaning and a subtle amount of Fragility. In a time when Talkies was such a rage, Chaplin retained the tramp’s charm by not indulging him in words. Also, Words and Voice limits one’s connect to those who can understand, but it was the silence that gave Chaplin and The Tramp a universal appeal. 

Charlie Chaplin used to work with accomplished and beautiful actresses who were equally beautiful; either it is “The Kid” or “Modern Times” or “The City Lights”, the lead actresses were quite a charmer. Virginia Cherrill was brilliant as the blind flower girl, she deliberately underplayed her part showing the right amount of innocence as you’d expect from a poor blind girl and later displayed a little carefree attitude as the circumstances of her life improves.

Citylights is a treasure of classic comedy scenes; the open elevator scene on the streets, the attempted suicide at the canal, the parties with the rich millionaire and of course the boxing scene where Chaplin fights a boxer for money and does everything to avoid being hit. These were some of the greatest scenes in cinema and they were all in one single movie. My favourite is of course the heart wrenching climax, which is perhaps one of my favourite scenes from any Charlie Chaplin film. And I have seen a lot of them. 

A great scene after another great scene, that’s how masterpieces look like. These scenes from Chaplin’s career has been imitated in one way or the other by so many film makers that you can easily say that Charlie Chaplin was one of the most influential person in Cinema. 

"One night the Piazza San Marco was darkened, and “City Lights” was shown on a vast screen. When the flower girl recognized the Tramp, I heard much snuffling and blowing of noses around me; there wasn't a dry eye in the piazza. Then complete darkness fell, and a spotlight singled out a balcony overlooking the square. Charlie Chaplin walked forward, and bowed. I have seldom heard such cheering."  wrote Late Roger Ebert in his review of City Lights.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★★

Wednesday, 8 April 2015
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Unravelling "Barefoot to Goa" with Director Praveen Morchhale

Barefoot to Goa is an upcoming indie from first time Director Praveen Morchhale. It has received many thumbs up at film festivals across the globe. The film was trying for a theatrical release and for that it is relied on the profit sharing and refundable crowd funding model. Mr. Praveen Morchhale likes to call it PROUD FUNDING though. Finally it is going to release on April 10th. 

PLEASE GO TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU and WATCH IT WITH YOUR FAMILY

WATCH THE TRAILER BELOW

Here is a Q and A Session with Director Praveen Morchhale

Q. Your film is visually very lyrical and you have given a lot emphasis on landscape. Why?

A. I had a very specific visual plan so that the film becomes a visual poetic in narration. I tried to embrace the landscape in the film as its core element and character. I used the dryness of outdoor as a reflection of our family and society. Every background of the film has a layered meaning reflecting the character’s mind and emotions. Long panoramic shots with complexity and simplicity are used to capture the essence and spice of life.

Q. Barefoot to Goa is a very realistic and shuttle in expressions. Was it consciously decided?

A. My film is simple but not a simplistic film. It is layered with many philosophical inferences. Silently it raises many philosophical questions without giving answers. It was really hard to make it less verbal and realistic in narration and composition.

Q. In many scenes, characters are invisible and still their presence is felt. Why this kind of treatment?

A. In the climax and long shots, consciously I have mentioned distance from characters or they are almost absent, so the audience can relate more on the characters fate and situation and this way an imaginary hope and despair is created in the minds of audience and many interpretations can be drawn.

Q. You have used almost all non-actors including children baring one or two actors. Was it not scary, as you being the first-time director?

A. It was conscious and determined decision. I believed non-actors have only real experience of life to express, thus for them it is not a job. It was easy to portray the slice of life kind expressions by non-actors. They were just being themselves, just like they are in everyday life. For example, I persuaded a real deaf and dumb couple to act as a deaf and dumb farmer couple, to get almost perfect expressions and they left a perfect expression. Non-actors made my film special.

Q. Why you used minimalist approach towards dialogues in the film?

A. When the film can speak visually then where is the need to use the words? In fact, silence itself is a character in the film and it raises concern about the way we have relationships and behave in society. In the film, silence hovers around the narrative like a shadow, impossible to shrug away. The film`s protagonist silently explores and experiences the contradictions of the contemporary society.

Q. Barefoot to Goa has children as protagonists but still film`s main theme is for adults. Is it a children film for adults?

A. I believe film works at many levels. For simple joy of trave and innocence, love for elders, it suits for children as they would love it for its fun and travel element. But as we look deeper into the meaning of the subject and theme, film explores the nuances of loneliness of urban life, dryness of relationships and neglect of elders. Philosophically it makes us think about futility of life and pointlessness of death. Film raises more questions than the answers,. It explores landscape of life`s colors, rhythm and harsh realities

Q. It’s not strange that during such a long journey children never met any bad element of the society? They always met good people who helped them. Where in reality this may be untrue…

A. Why should we have negative aspects in our day-to-day life? From morning to evening we see all bad news, bad things happening to children and women. I don’t like such things and would not like to show in my film. It was conscious decision to keep away from such bad elements from story and narrative. My all characters are humble and victims of circumstances. As such they are not bad. I tried to show the positive side of the people.

Q. Film’s climax is very tragic and slightly ambiguous. Don’t you feel a positive climax would’ve been better for the film?

A.Film’s climax embraces the uncertainty of life. Climax raises many questions for which there are no easy answers. Old age could be a metaphor. I used wooden spinner in the film as metaphor of life and death, as well as for lost traditions and culture in the race of materialist individualistic life. Film must hurt us and in my opinion climax hurts. That was the intention.

Q. In one sentence how would you define your film Barefoot to Goa?

A. It’s a bright film about sadness!

Q. Why do you call it Proud Funding ?

A. For film’s theatrical release, the funding is coming from well-wishers, friends, family and cinema lovers who don’t know me personally but have great love for good cinema and loving the Barefoot to Goa. How come my supporters can be crowd, who all have their identities, opinions, standing on issues and who are much smarter than the filmmakers? Supporters and contributors of Barefoot to Goa feeling very proud being with us and we also feel very proud having their support. We all want that good cinema must win which is soulful, very relevant and touches our hearts. Therefore it is PROUD FUNDING.
Here is a trailer for Barefoot to Goa


Monday, 6 April 2015
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

10 Life lessons we can learn from Hollywood

If there is something called magic, I would say, it’s right here in movie business. Why?? The prime reason is – You are in your world of imagination. I was not that avid movie watcher until the summer of 2010, when I saw, Good Will Hunting (1997), I just simply fell in love with the movie for its simple message, of hunting yourself within the sea of competition. Ever since, I have followed and watched movies, every single day of my existence so far. Now, I say, we learn many things from movies. Below is my list of life lessons that we learn from Hollywood movie. 

1. Realization of your existence

Movies like Forrest Gump or Pursuit of Happyness, makes you realize that, life is not that difficult if you have that zeal to go way out of your possibilities and proving yourself to get what you want. 


2. Sense of humor

Even though you have that one “X” factor in you, trust me, you do develop a special sense bud known as Hollywood humor from all the sarcastic and comedy movie/TV Sitcoms that you follow. It definitely gets from being awesome to LEGEN–wait-for-it-DARY.


3. Rebellious

Yeah! You read that right. You try to become this different personality, the moment you watch something such as “Oh fuck, that’s some cool shit!” 


4. We Become aware

Well, yes we do. If nothing then, we do get aware of the fact, that life can fuck you crazy, when your girlfriend has decided to dump you for that rich ass hole you always hated. Remember, 500 Days of Summer??!


5. That nothing box exist

Yes, it does exist. The moment we realize when we watch movies like White Chicks or Epic Movie. We don’t have to use our brain too hard to understand anything. That time we are empty and in that chillax zone and that is known as nothing box.


6. Socially responsible of one’s life

Do I really have to explain this in details? We all have heard about Kim Kardashian! Didn't we?


7. Take risk

If Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank from Million Dollar Baby) can take risk of leaving everything and pursue her passion of boxing, knowing there are too many possible hurdles on her way. Then, we can also try. Eventually, she did try in the beginning then moving up in the ladder of success. (Just try not to break any part of your body in regards of proving yourself.)


8. Family, Friends and Love

Your perfect pillar of life: 
“It’s A Wonderful Life” tells us the story of a man who can do anything to succeed; but, family brings him the true happiness at the end of the day. On the other hand, friends are big pain in the ass but they are the ones who make you thank your life for what you have, otherwise you could get sloshed crazy after getting drunk and never come out of that mini refrigerator. We all have seen The Hangover's Wolfpack after all.


 9. Law of Attraction exist

Trust me, it does. Get up in the morning with happy feeling and you will not notice how hip and happening your day was until you go to bed, whereas, get up in the morning with a grumpy face and just count how many times you curse your life.


10. You become a reservoir of Knowledge pretty much like a NERD

We know everything through movies. Someone asks you about WWII, you have correct answer to that question Knowledge doesn't always come from textbooks but from movies too.


Tell us how movies work for you and how it has helped you in an extremely tricky situation. Well Movies do that from time to time.


About the Author: Deepshikha Deb is a Freelance Writer based in Delhi. She is an avid Book Reader and a consummate Movie Buff . 

Sunday, 5 April 2015
Posted by Deepshikha Deb

The Tale of the Fox [1930]


The Tale of the fox is a 1930 stop motion animation film by Wladyslaw Starewicz. It is based on the classic stories of  the clever fox which all of us must have read/heard as a kid. It is the story of one such clever fox Reynard who outwits every other animal and make a fool out of them time and again. Almost every other animal in the kingdom became the victim of his Shenanigans. After every new complain,  the king [Lion] sent one of his agents to bring the fox in front of him but when all of them failed to do so, King himself leads an army to attack the fox’s castle.

Starewicz had previously done short animations such as the cameraman’s revenge and the Insect’s Christmas but collaborating with Irene, his daughter, he made his first and only feature length animated film.

Wladyslaw Starewicz was one of the pioneers of animation cinema; he used dead insects to create puppet animation and successfully made “the cameraman’s revenge”. The Tale of the fox was a development in his craft where he made use of extremely expressive puppets, using voiceovers and a soundtrack. There are details which is admirable even after 7 decades. If you liked Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, you would understand the effort and brilliance of this film. 

Starewicz was among the ranks of Walt Disney, his career started a decade earlier than Walt Disney and the influence of his work can be seen in some of the earlier works of Terry Gilliam and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Sometimes his puppets looked creepy and insane that resembled the mannerism of Zombies. 

Starewicz did complete justice with the film; he understood the innocence of the story and never made it appear too evil but humorous. The fox is sharp, sly but at the same time adorably entertaining. There is also a twist ending which many of us won’t expect from a fairy tale, but here we have an interesting ending to the story.

It is a pioneer work of animation and it is surprisingly fun to watch. It was only the sixth feature length animation in history. It is a true classic of cinema which didn’t receive its deserving larger audience. 

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★½
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PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?
Saturday, 4 April 2015
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Fictional Computers: An infographic


Here we have a graphic from the England based web design agency called Glow New Media about good and evil fictional computers/artificial intelligence systems from movies, television shows and books. The infographic shows us which supercomputers are bad and which ones are good, for example K.I.T.T from Knight Rider is good and V.I.K.I from I,Robot is evil. The infographic also gives some of the quotes that the computers are best known for or a prediction of what they might say. Please let us know in the comments which is your favourite fictional computer mentioned or any good ones they have missed.

Fictional Computers Good vs Evil
-David Eaves
Friday, 3 April 2015
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Movie Geek's Blog's Top 20 Hindi Films of 2014 [Part 2 of 2]


10. Kya Dilli Kya Lahore
This film is an ironic conversation between a pair of soldiers, one from each side of the Indo-Pak border. The story is set in 1948 and it is expressed beautifully how their heart still lies with the United India but they are bound to speak for and represent their country against the other. Kya Dilli Kya Lahore is a fantastic blend of emotions and what stands out is the writing, it is poignant and poetic.
9. Finding Fanny
Finding Fanny isn't your typical Bollywood film. It is an adorable film, which has nothing our mainstream movies usually offer. Finding Fanny is a film about finding lost love, this is not a new idea for a plot but the presentation is unique and sweet. It is good to see veteran actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapur taking break from the usual intense role they do and come together in a light hearted romantic comedy. Finding Fanny sometimes also reminded me of Kundan Shah's Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.
8. Dedh Ishqiya
Dedh Ishqiya is an important film, for it is a film on the lost "Genre" of  the "Nawabs and Shayaris and it's a great film. While the first film of the franchise is basically a bold crime film, Dedh Ishqiya is eloquent and classy and suave in its nature. Dedh Ishqiya is romance portrayed in bundles of poetry and what a treat it has been to see the beautiful Madhuri Dixit pair with the elegant Naseeruddin Shah.
7. Sulemani Keeda
Sulemani Keeda is the story of two aspiring screenwriters Mainak and Dulal, looking for a producer to make an entry into the film industry. They are as hilarious as their name suggests. It is an indie made on a shoestring budget. It received great reviews from the people within the industry and outside of it. One that stands apart is a thumbs up from Pulp Fiction's Screen Writer Roger Avary. Sulemani Keeda has a lot of dark humor and it is incredibly fresh. I'd definitely look for the next film from the TVF Inbox.
6. Filmistaan 
An out of shape wannabe actor who is also an avid Movie Buff is kidnapped by terrorists near the Indo-Pak Border and taken to the other side of the border. During the time he was a hostage in Pakistan, he bonds with another Movie Buff from Pakistan and discovers how the food and the people and the love for movies and cricket in Pakistan is exactly like his own country. Filmistaan is a beautiful depiction of the fact that Love, Friendship and Passion are beyond borders.
5. Highway
With Highway, Imtiaz Ali has now 5 films in his filmography as director and I have to say, he hasn't disappointed yet. Highway is a road movie which has self discovery as its main element. Alia Bhatt has delivered an intense performance in only her 2nd film that many of her seniors are yet to give. Great Music, A visual treat and a performance that shakes you to the core.
4. Ugly 
Ugly is not like other great films on Kidnapping such as Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone or Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners where the main focus of the film was about what happened to the missing kid, rather it is a film that shows how ugly people can really be when there is a potential opportunity to rake in some cash. Ugly uses that popular plot keyword Kidnapping but comes out as a unique film that's much more than that.
3. Haider
Haider is the third and final film of Vishal Bhardwaj's Shakespearean Trilogy and what a closure it has been to the Trilogy. Haider is Hamlet set in Kashmir in the 1990s. This revenge saga character study comes out as an acting galore, as almost everyone in the cast given a performance worth talking about, but apart from the great performances, what stands apart is Kashmir itself. Haider is another Masterpiece by Vishal Bhardwaj and arguably his best film. With such great music, Vishal confirms yet again that he is as great a musician as he is a film maker.
2. Ankhon Dekhi
I first noticed Sanjay Mishra in the popular and much loved Indian Comedy TV Show Office Office and I have been a fan ever since. If I were a movie writer then, I would have declared that one day there will be a great film where he will get the part he deserves, the part of a lead character. Ankhon Dekhi is a gem that each one of us must watch, here is a film that is bold in the most asexual manner. It is bold for the fact that the people behind it actually went on to make such a movie. I mean, who among the masses will consider going to a theatre to watch a film which has Sanjay Mishra on the poster alone instead of one of those Superstars. Ankhon Dekhi is many things but most of all, it is Sanjay Mishra's Redemption as an Actor. Sanjay Mishra deservedly won the Best Actor Critics Choice at the Filmfare awards for his remarkable performance.
1. Queen
Queen is the perfect feel good movie. Queen is high on substance and through a simplest of  plots, it expresses so much. It is the story of Rani, who goes to a solo honeymoon trip to Paris and discovers herself in the process. Interestingly, her life's biggest tragedy  [as she believed it was] turned out as an opportunity to find the greater meanings of Life. This film has focused on little details of how we Indians really see things and takes a harmless dig on the judgemental society that we live in. Queen looks more promising and substantial on re-watches. Kangana Ranaut's performance is impeccable and she deserved every accolade she received. This is my favourite film from last year.
Thursday, 2 April 2015
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Movie Geek's Blog's Top 20 Hindi Films of 2014

Commercially, 2014 was just like any other year for Hindi Cinema, films with the greatest stars made all the money and things happened the way we expected. However, this year there were few changes that we saw in the industry. Films rich in its content received more mentions than ever. Films like Ugly would have never got this much attention if it was made 3-4 years ago. Filmfare Awards giving Best Film [Critic] to Ankhon Dekhi speak volumes of how the industry itself has changed their perspective towards quality cinema or films of substance. 

Here are 20 'Good Enough' to 'Really Good' to 'Great Films' of 2014:

20. Miss Lovely 
Miss Lovely follows the life of two brothers who used to make sleazy horror adult films at the Bombay C Grade film industry during the 80s. The film is too dark and can be boring even if you are into realistic cinema. But Watch it for Nawazuddin Siddiqui's acting, his power to get lost in the crowd and still stand apart simultaneously is commendable.
19. Hasee Toh Phasee 
Nikhil and Meeta are considered the "Weirdos" in their respective families, however they aren't really weird but unconventional. Hasee Toh Phasee is a romantic comedy about an unorthodox pair, who are re-introduced after a decade when they first met. It looks like a film you have seen before, it is a certainly a lot of things but cliché isn't one of them. It is surprisingly fresh.
18. Rang Rasiya
Rang Rasiya is a biopic on the controversial life of Raja Ravi Varma. He is the man who gave images to Hindu mythological stories through his paintings. He toured the whole country to understand the Hindu mythology and then painted them using his imagination and provided the common man an access to gods and mythological tales. Rang Rasiya is a well intentioned film on the freedom of expression, but it isn't well made as far as details are concerned. Amidst all its flaws, this film has an engaging storyline and significant references to the history of India.
17. 2 States
2 States is typical Bollywood which I like, what I mean to say is, Bollywood is not as shitty as the films with flying Scorpios and it isn't as classy as The Lunchbox. We are still somewhere in between where we make sensible films and have a few unnecessary songs and melodramatic sequences. In simpler terms, if you want to truly explain someone what an average Bollywood film is like, ask them to watch 2 States. Moreover, making a good enough film using a mediocre book is an achievement in itself.
16. PK
PK is absolutely funny right from the first scene, it makes you laugh while you agree to everything PK points out. I don't remember when was the last time I had a laugh like that in a movie theatre. It goes into typical Raju Hirani's style of films after the interval and lacked the standards of 3 idiots but the good thing is that PK is still an eye opener and delivers the message clearly that Gods must not objectified or quantified or classified.
15. Manjunath
Manjunath tells the story of IIM Student Shanmugam Manjunath, who was killed in 2005 for being a whistle blower against the oil adulteration scam run by petrol pump owners in UP. It is a well intentioned film about a man whose story deserved to be told but at the same time the film lacked a polished screenplay and is not up to the mark as a film.
14. Hawaa Hawaai
After Stanley Ka Dabba, Amole Gupte made Hawaa Hawaai and proved yet again, how beautifully he understands children and their little world. Amol Gupte isn't a Satyajit Ray or an Abbas Kiarostami, but he is certainly an intelligent film maker who can make good films with Kids at the centre. Hawaa Hawaai is a coming of age tale of a poor kid who excels at skating. It was definitely one of the better films of 2014.
13. City Lights
City Lights is about a poor family which moves to Mumbai in financially desperate times. City Lights is devastating in nature, the family is hit by poverty left, right and centre but the good thing is that the film never walks into the depression alley. The great acting performances by Rajkumar Rao and Patralekhaa makes it one of the better films of last year.
12. Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania
Yes, it's a tribute to Cult Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, but even if you aren't one of those religious fans of DDLJ {like me}, there are enough reasons for you to truly enjoy this movie. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is a "fresh cliché". Now that literally is a contradictory term, but throughout the film, you feel like "Ok I have seen this before but boy they are cute". I love this film and I think it's more than just a guilty pleasure.
11. Children of War
A little polishing here and there and Children of War could become one of the great films of this decade. If not that, it is still one of the better films of the year 2014. Children of War is a ruthless tale of the 1971 genocides happened in Bangladesh [then East Pakistan]. The brutality done by the Pakistani Army reminds one of what Nazi Germany did during the 2nd World War. It is tough to believe that it's a work of a first time director. I will definitely keep an eye open to see where Director Mritunjay Devvrat heads from here.



Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Predictions for Golden Globes 2015

The Final Prediction for Golden Globe 2015

Best Picture Drama

Boyhood
Best Picture Musical or Comedy

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Actor Drama

Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything 

Best Actor Musical or Comedy

Michael Keaton for Birdman
Best Actress Drama

Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl


Best Actress Musical or Comedy

Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars 


Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons for Whiplash


Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Best Director

Richard Linklater for Boyhood
OR
David Fincher for Gone Girl

Best Screenplay

Gone Girl


Best Foreign Film

Tangerines

Best Animated Film

The Lego Movie 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Maachis [1996]

Cast:  Om Puri, Tabu, Chandrachur Singh

Directed by: Gulzar


Maachis is a 1996 film written and directed by Gulzar. Now Gulzar's name is enough to attract anyone to watch this film and this is just what happened in my case.

Maachis or matchbox is very apt title for this movie. Let me explain why, just like,  to fire a matchstick you have to rub it with the box, a person become an assassin or terrorist when there is a bebasi n bekasi (compulsion and helplessness). But that is not all, once the matchstick is lit; it burns itself and everything that comes in contact with it. Gulzar being the master of words chooses it ably.

Maachis is a journey of a man Kripaal from a caring friend and responsible husband-to-be to a terrorist. He ain’t uneducated, brainwashed religious naïf rather a victim of the corrupted system. After 1984 riots there has been a huge violence against Sikhs, it’s no more a hidden truth. Whose love & care for his friend and soon to be brother-in-law, forces him to revenge the atrocities faced by his friend. In the process of avenging he turns into a terrorist. He shoots Vohra(the inspector responsible for his friend’s misery) in the head and then heads back home only to leave forever and join the group that helped him shoot Vohra. The next mission of this group is a secret but it involves missile launcher and they are waiting for the person who could do that. This person turns out to be Veeran who was Kripaal’s fiancée. What is their mission? Will they succeed in their mission?

Shyam Bengal once said, “It’s this ability of great work to make you see the particular in general and general in particular.” This movie does that, it encapsulates the loopholes within the system, its hypocrisy that provides the breeding ground for people like Sanatan and Bali, also, the turbulent struggle within the hearts and minds of these people along with the physical and emotional struggle of their families. Above all it pose the accountability and sanctity of legislature and their obligation to the people who choose them. It is all of the above and has a soul of Romeo+Juliet. 

To add to this great cinematic experience are the songs. "Chhod aye hum wo galiyan" the visuals of this video are as amazing as this melody. I have reasons to believe that while making Highway Imtiaz was searching the place shown in this song. Then there’s Chappa chappa charka chale which is more or less in the similar lines. Paani paani this song is the most melodious of it all, Tabu’s expressions in the song makes it more soulful.

The performances of the actors are cherry on top, Tabu never disappoints, nor does Om puri as far as their acting capabilities are concerned it’s impeccable and unmatched. Chandrachurna singh as the lead  Kripaal  does his part responsibly, Jasjiet Shergill who I think is Jimmi Shergill shows the signs being of good actor that he is now. The rest of the supporting casts too doesn’t disappoints for a minute.

I’m a nobody to say anything about Gulzaar capabilities other than that I’m in awe with his works, be it the lyrics, writing or direction.

This movie is highly recommended!

Author: Pallavi Tripathi
Author's Rating: ★★★★

Let's Promote Our Movies

IMDb is world's busiest movie site, a film listed on that gets more attention than any other medium. 

So, I opened the list of films of 2014 [sorted by rating]. I saw Queen on the top 3, felt happy for our industry, then I looked for another great film we made this year, Ankhon Dekhi. 

I couldn't find Ankhon Dekhi on the 50 best movies of 2014.

image source: IBN LIVE
HERE IS WHY:

A film only needs 1000 votes [ratings] to be listed in Best films of that year, and failing which the film fails to get the attention of close to 2 billion monthly visitors on the internet. 

Popular films [read mediocre] receives an average of 30k to 40k votes but of no use because they receive bad ratings, but the ones which can be on the top, fails to receive a mere 1000 votes.

Think about the difference IMDb alone making in the marketing of "Queen" and "Ankhon Dekhi". Since Queen attained the 1000 vote criteria, an IMDb user in countries like Bolivia, Vatican City, Chile, Colombia or any other lesser important place on the map, knows about a film called QUEEN, while they have no freaking idea what is "ANKHON DEKHI"

Same goes for Bimal Roy's Madhumati, Do Bigha Zameen and Bandini. They are timeless classic, but the internet savvy movie enthusiast, aren't getting the means to reach these great movies, just because of the fact that they are not receiving a meagre 1000 votes.

Let's vote, let's endorse our better films. The World needs to know what really defines Indian films, the perception has to change.

This isn't only about Indian films but many great films made in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine are still not known to movie lovers out there. Let us use IMDb's power to highlight the deserving movies. Great Art must get its deserving audience and we have to make sure that it happens.
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PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Tag :

Fear Strikes Out [1957]

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Karl Malden, Norma Moore

Directed by: Robert Mulligan

Fear Strikes out is the directorial début of Robert Mulligan. It is a sport biography of Jimmy Piershall; this film is about the rise, fall and rise of the former American Baseball center fielder.

The film starts with Jimmy as a kid working on his slides for his baseball games, while his father [Karl Malden] helped him with his practice. His father decided that the one and only goal of Jimmy’s life is to make it to the Boston Red Sox team. 10 minutes into the movie and we see a grown up Jimmy [Anthony Perkins] playing a baseball game in a small ground and with a little audience.

He was the best in the game in his small town of Waterbury, Connecticut. Scouts from Boston came down to watch him play, so as to sign him for Boston Red Sox trainings but even then, it was never good enough for his father. 


Not that he was a bad father, but he never had it easy. During the practice session in the first sequence of the movie, he was throwing the ball at little Jimmy with such an intensity that it was hurting Jimmy’s hands even though he wore a glove. When every one of his teammates was out celebrating for a game’s victory, Jimmy was not allowed to go as it would ruin his next morning’s practice session. 

Once he got selected for training with the Boston Red Sox, he met his future wife, Mary [Norma Moore] and when he proposes her, he is confused and psyched by his own decision, because he knows his father will not appreciate it and make it look like a “mistake which will affect his game”. His confusion and psych was shown in the hotel room scene when he is awaiting a call from Mary and gets angry at his neighbor because they were playing the radio too loud and there was a critical opinion on Piershall’s game on the radio. In my interpretation, it was making him weak to stand by his decision to marry Mary.

The pressure John Piershall puts on his son Jimmy is a lesson for parents of this era, when the world has reached to greater heights of competitiveness. The relentless pressure by Jimmy’s father affected his personality and pushed him on the verge of madness. 

Karl Malden as John Piershall, played the role of the obsessively driven father, who is not just working hard for Jim’s Career but literally believes that it’s always a shared dream. Jimmy usually tells “I did it”, but John maintains the ‘we’ part. It is always a Father-Son team for him and that’s why he is constantly pressuring him to improve, even when he actually needs to be acknowledged for the game he played.

Anthony Perkins have given a performance that might have prepared himself very well to play Norman Bates in the Hitchcock classic “Psycho” only 3 years later. He did some very intense scenes, that shown his capability to do dark characters. But the best performance of the film is by Karl Malden who equally shares not just the goals of Jimmy’s Life but this film.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★½
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Grand Hotel [1932]: A great film of its time

Cast: John Barrymore, Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery

Directed by: Edmund Goulding

"Grand Hotel; people come, people go, Nothing ever happens"

This film is not the greatest from the standards of today’s cinema but for the year 1932, it was an innovative step in the then existing line of films. Director Edmund Goulding took an ensemble cast of the superstars of that era and made a creative film of intertwining stories. The cast includes some iconic names of Hollywood, such as Lionel Barrymore and the greatest Greta Garbo; other great names were Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery and John Barrymore.
Plot: This is the story of multiple characters that spent 2 days in a hotel. Greta Garbo plays a ballerina who misses her country Russia and feels her life being empty and pointless and is saved by the charm of the Baron, played by John Barrymore. The Baron aims to steal her jewels and pay all his debts. Joan Crawford plays the stenographer and is trying to woo the Baron as she believes he is a rich business person. She is employed by the wealthy industrialist played by Wallace Beery; he also employed a dying old man, played by Lionel Barrymore, who is set to live rest of his life experiencing things he missed out till now, he eventually befriends the Baron. 

Greta Garbo’s character spent most of her part in isolation. Grand Hotel won the Oscar for the Best Picture at the 5th Academy Awards. It holds the record as the only film in history that won a Best Picture at the Oscars and had no other nominations. This happened because there were so many subplots in the film and it must have been tough to select one of the performances. Overall, the film was pretty interesting with all the subplots mixed and matched perfectly. Some of my favourite films with intertwined stories are Pulp Fiction, Amores Perros and Magnolia, although all of them are very different films in nature.

Movie Geek’s Rating: ★★★½
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PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you please take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog?

Ek Villain [2014]: not really disappointed, definitely tolerable

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh. Remo Fernandes

Directed by: Mohit Suri

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

I will admit that the trailer of Ek Villain was intriguing and I wanted to know what this film is all about. I liked Siddharth and Shraddha in their previous movies and was looking forward to see how they will fair in something that looks intense and way too serious.

Later I found out that it's a remake of a Korean film called "I saw the devil" which I watched only  a couple of years ago and is one of a couple dozen Korean films I have watched. Yes I am no veteran when it comes to Korean films.

Let's not talk about the film's plot and performances. It's totally pointless to talk about a film which is unoriginal in every sense, I will end up talking about "I saw the devil". So, I watched this film and I know Mr. Mohit Suri shamelessly remade a classic. But.
But I am going to be lenient on this remake. Why?
Because our popular cinema has reached a post apocalyptic era where 1 guy fights 100s of bad guy and just doesn't sweat, they fly, jump into a flying helicopter, blow a dozen SUVs in the air like toys and god knows what.

In the name of Masala Bollywood action film, brainless action film have become a trend and the ticket to earn good money, with a 40 plus man playing a superhero kind of character, an insignificant heroine who is only there to dance and sing at regular intervals, a raunchy villain and a plot you don't even need to know.

This on the other hand is a weak copied version of a great film but I still prefer Ek Villain over an original film Singham, sometimes being original is not enough, you also have to make a watchable film, Ek Villain is that watchable film.

So, I appreciate Mohit Suri because even though he knows what is selling these days, he chose to steal a good film and tried making his version, which is not really awful but lacks finesse from every corner of the movie. Plus Mohit Suri's film do not bore, you can watch it and think of little polishing his films need instead of yawning. He engage the viewers for sure.

I won't trash it for being too ambitious to remake a classic, instead I will give it some point to let the ignorant viewers watch a Korean film. I still believe Zinda was the reason, I got introduced to Oldboy and other Korean films because I was unaware of foreign films then, I was ignorant.

However, the makers of the film could have given credit to the original, a little mention would have sufficed. [there goes your half star]

To my fellow movie freaks, I think you guys hated this film a bit too much, but yes, opinions can differ.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★
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