Archive for 2014

Predictions for Golden Globes 2015

The Final Prediction for Golden Globe 2015

Best Picture Drama

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
David Fincher for Gone Girl

Best Screenplay

Gone Girl

Best Foreign Film


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

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.
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

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
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: ★★★

About "the departed" and relatively other things

I watched The Departed only yesterday. It reminded me of "Ocean's Eleven" Because Ocean's Eleven and The Departed, are two of some of the most star studded films. 

Ocean's Eleven had George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia and so many other important actors. On the other hand, The Departed has even bigger stars, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon [being the commoner in both these film], Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg. 

Both the films are equally "enriched", however the latter, is obviously a greater film. 

A pleasant surprise in "The Departed" was seeing Matt Damon playing the bad guy, he seems a very nice guy like Martin Sheen. Can't think of these two men being unreasonably harmful . But Damon did surprise me. Loved this change.

Now lets talk about Jack Nicholson, he was not playing Jack again. The last two Jack Nicholson film I saw, he played Jack in "The Shining" and "Batman". Remember the sentence on the  letter pad "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Now he is what we call the perfect bad guy. I just love him seeing as an antagonist. Even in 1980, in "The Shining" he looked as ferocious as in 1989 in the Tim Burton's "Batman" and the intensity was no less in "The Departed" in 2006.

The Joker aka Heath Ledger was a legendary portrayal of a villain and truly he is the most anarchic and one of the most loved character of all time. But I find it really discomforting, when some people simply thrash Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker in 1989's "Batman". Truly he was no less and people do love him for it.

Okay, getting back to "The Departed", Leonardo Di Caprio may be the protagonist of this film [or may not be], but I loved the Matt Damon part more than his. Just loved the corrupt form of him, it was a wonderful experiment, 

The Performances by Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen are good too, this was the first time, I could really appreciate Mark Wahlberg. He had more expression this time, I think the credit should also go to Martin Scorsese for making him act. 

The Departed beat "Babel", "Letters from Iwo Jima", "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Queen" to win the Academy Awards for the Best Picture. However another great film which came that year and Academy totally ignored it was "The Prestige."

I am really disappointed with the way "The Prestige" was treated that year at Oscars. It wasn't even nominated. It had the quality of what makes a movie get nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. 

But then again, it was Christopher Nolan. Is this only me or do you also think that "Christopher Nolan" is never taken too seriously by the Academy. He is one, gem of a filmmaker. People love his films. Oscars doesn't really show much love.
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?
Friday, 29 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Tag :

Sunrise: A song of Two Humans [1927]: An overlooked masterpiece

Cast: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston

Directed by: FW Murnau

This is one of the best films of the 1920s. Directed by German filmmaker FW Murnau, who also made classics like "Nosferatu [1922]" and "Faust [1926]" and others.

I don't have any hesitation saying that I love this movie a bit more than I loved watching Metropolis, as it is also a 1927 film.

Sunrise is a collaborative work and not just the lead actors trio but everyone who got a chance to be on the screen even for a single scene did their part exceptionally well and that includes the Dog and the little pig as they got to do one important scene each.

It is one of the earliest silent films I saw where the actors were not intentionally dramatic in their expressions as they used to be in the 1920s. For example: Metropolis and The Passion of Joan of Arc, however that doesn't diminish their value in cinema at all.

Sunrise is the story of the man who plans to kill his wife and run away with this other woman from the city but circumstances change and different shades of human emotions unfold between the characters.

Sunrise won 3 Oscars at first Academy Awards in 1929 including "Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production" Best Actress in a leading role" for Janet Gaynor for the 3 films she did during 1927 and 1928 [7th heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise] and "Best Cinematography"

It is a masterpiece that many of us failed to notice. It is one of the finest piece of cinema I have watched.

It is available on YouTube. You can also watch it here below.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★★

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?
Monday, 25 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Mardaani [2014]: Movie Review

Cast: Rani Mukherji, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Sanjay Taneja

Directed by: Pradeep Sarkar

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Remember 'Taken' ? The 2008 cult action movie which starred Liam Neeson in the lead role. It seems like it is still ruling the minds of film lovers in all corners of the world. Taken portrayed the story of woman trafficking, and it was well received by both critics and audiences alike. Even after six years of its release, many directors are still in its hang over, and they are all trying hard to make a movie just like the Liam Neeson thriller. A recent attempt to make a thriller based on human trafficking is done by Pradeep Sarkar. His recent movie 'Mardaani' which portrays the same old story of sex trafficking has Rani Mukherjee in the lead role. Now let us see whether the movie has lived up to the expectations.

The movie can be described as the lonely fight of a brave heart woman Police Officer against the sex trafficking rackets. Her name is Shivani Roy, and she lives in Mumbai along with her husband and niece. She is deadly daring, and is not at all concerned about the worst outcomes of beating up the baddies. One day, Shivani takes up a case which changes her lifetime. She takes up the case of Pyaari, a young teenage girl who gets kidnapped. Shivani tries to take down the baddies with her full fury, but she has only 30 days to complete the task as she challenges with the mafia kingpin. The ruthless mafia king pin is much powerful, and he has all the measures to tackle the moves of the Police. And from here starts some breathtaking chases and unbelievable stunts.

The proceedings of the movie is just like any other thriller which unveils the mystery in a sequential manner. The director has succeeded in creating some fine moments, but he failed to carry this edge of the seat ambiance throughout the running time. The moment which portrays the challenge of mafia don and Shivani may provide some goosebumps in the initial moments, but later it feels like a kind of sledging. The movie is completely filled with insane language, and there is no surprise that this movie got an A certificate.

Mardaani is an in and out Rani Mukherjee show. She was excellent in the role of the daring Police Officer, and her movements was a real visual treat to watch. She delivered the dialogue with finesse, and stunt scenes were done with perfection. Jisshu Sengupta, who plays Rani’s doctor husband, has nothing much to do, and if my memory is powerful, I remember him uttering less than two dialogues in the movie.

Mardaani is a movie which has good intentions, and the story is racy too. But the weak script derails all the plan, and in most probabilities, you will not rate this movie more than an above average thriller. It is just a one time watchable movie with a fine performance by Rani. 'Go and watch Mardaani only to see the scintillating screen presence of Rani Mukherji'.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★
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?

Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]: Visual extravaganza in the space

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Directed by: James Gunn

Super hero movies are of huge demand in all the corners of the world, and the case of India is no different. Indians have a rich history of making Super Hero movies block busters in the box office, and this past have compelled the distributors of Guardians of the Galaxy to hit the film in Indian screens just seven days after its United States release. The speculations of the movie distributors are now slowly proving to be right as Indian audiences welcomed the movie with open hands and a warm heart. Most of the theaters are packed especially with the educated youth in the country. The initial reports about the film are positive in nature, and this James Gunn film is showing all evident signs of emerging successfully in the Box Office. The movie which has the capability to boast about its ensemble star cast has Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace and Micheal Rooker in the lead roles. The director has succeeded in extracting the maximum from the actors, and he was amply supported by the technical crew members. The movie will impress all kinds of audiences, and it will not let you down in any manner. Now, let us discuss the movie in detail.

Image Source:
Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' can be considered as the right blend of super hero movie and space action adventure. The movie tells the story in the back drop of space, and this premise it self is a huge point of attraction. Peter Quill, an American pilot and adventurer gets trapped in the Galactic prison, and from here the movie begins. Soon, he join hands with some other abducts, and forms an alliance called 'Guardians of the Galaxy'. The alliance soon start their war against the dreaded baddie, Ronan, and this forms the remaining part of the story. 

The movie is completely filled with high octane action sequences, and breath taking visuals. The film is crafted perfectly by the director, and there is not even a second of boredom in the 122 minutes running time. The filmmaker and his crew has shot the film in such extravagant ambiance which will provide you the real life feel of entering the space. All the actors have done their role in the perfect manner. Chris Pratt was excellent as Peter quill, and he showed up an impeccable performance. But my pick among the lots is none other than the mesmerizing Zoe Saldana. 

The movie is brilliant in all areas of film making. The film is perfectly etched, and it has some fine elements which will glue you to the seats till the end. The story telling style is pacy, and it is a perfect epitome of making super hero movies. All the characters have given equal importance and screen space, and this clearly shows the crafting finesse of the director and screen writer. This movie will not disappoint you if you are an ardent lover of super hero movies. 'Watch Guardians of the Galaxy and enter a new world filled with thrill, adventure and action'. 

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★

'Kick': Strictly recommended for hardcore Salman fans

Cast: Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Randeep Hooda

Directed by: Sajid Nadiadwala

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Kick, the new movie directed by Sajid Nadiadwala with Salman Khan in the lead role hit the theaters today, and the film is opened with packed houses throughout the nation. Like any other Salman movie, Kick is also getting tremendous initial pull, and all the theaters are overflowing with unimaginable crowd. The movie is a direct remake of a Telugu movie with the same name, but the class is not maintained when Salman made this film in Bollywood. The film is strictly recommended for hardcore Salman Khan fans who wish to see their hero doing the impossible action sequences. The movie is undoubtedly unimaginative and unoriginal, and the story telling is not up to the mark. Now, let us analyze the movie in detail. 

Image source:
The movie portrays the story of Devi Lal Sing, a young crazy lad who wish to unleash some thrill in everything he does. He love to call it 'Kick', and sometimes, this 'kick' overboard the elements of reality. The attempt to generate laughs sometimes fails miserably, and some audiences were howling when Devi Lal tried to generate Kick by walking with hand cuffs on while going to jail. Our beloved Sallu doesn't like to walk like a normal man, and he wish to wear handcuffs to get that extra kick. The same way, he beats up some poor lads in the bar for eve teasing. Remember, Salman have one or many reasons to beat baddies to pulp. 

In the meantime, Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandes) tells the story of her ex lover to Himanshu (Randeep Hooda). Himanshu is a Police Officer, and Shaina is meeting him due to the compulsion of her dad. The flashback of Devi and Shaina will surely evoke some laughs in the initial moments, but as time passes, it will surely make you scratch your heads. The quest of Devi to unleash Kick will compel you to kick the director, and it is high time for Salman to say a big adieu to remake movies. The story takes a new turn when Firoz (Nawazuddeen Siddique) enters the scene, and the remaining parts of the movies are filled with some high octane action scenes and chases. 

All the actors in the lead roles have performed their best in the movie. Salman Khan as always rendered a decent show, but some of his efforts to evoke laugh was quite mediocre. Jacqueline was hot to the core, and her screen presence was impeccable. Mithun Chakraborthy who acted in the role of Salman's father was apt, but Nawazuddeen Siddique tested the patience of the audience by giving the character a caricature touch. Randeep excelled in a small yet decent role. 

Kick is undoubtedly an entertainer with some fine moments. But, if you are the one who wish to see realistic cinemas, then it is wise to stay away from this movie. You should keep your brain at home while watching Kick. Whatever the case, this Salman movie have all the chances to reach the 200 crore milestone in Boxoffice. 'Watch Kick if you are a hardcore Salman fan'. 

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★

Life of Pi [2012]: A Cinematic Achievement

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain, Tabu

Directed by: Ang lee

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

So I thought of writing a review this morning, there were back to back conflicts in my mind while selecting the film to review. It happens when you have a young movie blog. You have so many films to write about, you just can’t settle on a particular film. So, I opened my watch list on IMDB and laid my eyes on all those movie posters of the films I have watched, suddenly I saw “Life of Pi” on one side of the web page and instantly all the doubts vanished and I started watching Life of Pi for the 2nd time.

I don’t like missing the high points of a film when I am going to write about it, so I had to watch every film once again just before I start writing about it. Life of Pi is a tough film to review, as a viewer; one may get carried away by its adventure or the fantasy element or the VFX. But above all, this is an inspirational film on life. 

It was one of the best films of 2012, among other greats like “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Argo”, “Lincoln”, "The Master" and others. I haven't watched much of Ang lee's work, Life of Pi is only his 2nd film I watched, the other being “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. Just 2 films and I have become an Ang Lee fan. 

Now coming to the movie right away, the story is being told by the ‘grown up’ Pi Patel, played by Irrfan Khan to a writer played by Rafe Spall, who is looking for a story. 

Life of Pi is the story of Pi Patel, played by Suraj Sharma, who is ship wrecked and left alone on a boat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a royal Bengal tiger who is called Richard Parker. 

Pi Patel is an Indian boy who lives in Pondicherry and his family owns a zoo with many exotic animals inside. As Pi becomes a teenager, his family decides to move abroad. They left on a cargo ship with their zoo animals for Canada. A deadly storm while the cargo ship was on the Pacific Ocean changes everything. 

It is the journey of Pi Patel reaching the coasts of Mexico in more than 200 days on a life boat in the company of the Bengal tiger “Richard Parker.” It shows the friendship which was there all the time but never shown directly. It also show the attention Richard Parker had Pi, so much that he could hardly think of surviving in the sea and was rather worried about the tiger himself.

There were some unexplained fantasy element which the director or the Author of the book leaves for you to interpret. I read some reviews, a few months ago about Life of Pi, which questions the protagonist’s relationship with god, I strongly feel offended with a remark like that. That was a fantasy element, which is not the most important thing this movie is all about. 

This movie is about the conversation between Pi and Richard Parker, though this conversation has no words to it, this is about the friendship which is not to be seen but to be understood and this film is about how one can be responsible for saving your life even if he/she was not particularly kind at any moment.

I really loved a quote told by Irrfan Khan later in the film, he said "I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye."

Life of Pi is an achievement in cinema, there are many great films made every year, but some sticks to the timeline of Cinema and when we talk about cinemas of the century or the millenium, a film like this is always remembered.

Movie Geek's Blog Rating: ★★★★

Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

#Trivia: About Heath Ledger, Coen Brothers and Josh Brolin

When great actors and great filmmakers collaborate, we get to witness a great film. Be it the Marlon Brando-Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather, Brad Pitt-David Fincher's Fight Club, Clint Eastwood-Sergio Leone's Dollar Trilogy or any other pair. The list is endless.

However there is one actor-director duo, who never worked together, which I always wanted to see; Heath Leadger and  the Coen Brothers. Ledger worked with great directors like Ang Lee and Christopher Nolan, but couldn't work with Joel and Ethan Coen before he died in January 2008.

But, the fact is that Heath Ledger had his chances to work with the Coens. He was offered the role of Llewelyn Moss in "No Country for Old Men", but he refused to do the role to take some time off from work.

This role went to Josh Brolin, he was more than happy to win the part for Llewelyn Moss. 2 days later he broke his shoulder in  a motorcycle accident.

Later in an interview with a magazine, Josh Brolin recalled the moment when he was hit by the car at the time of the accident. He was saying to himself  "Fucking Shit, I really wanted to work with the Coens."

In spite of that, his injury didn't hamper his role in the film as the character he played was shot in the shoulder very early in the film.
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?
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

"Director's Cut: 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era" by MK Raghavendra: Book Review

I love films, not only watching it but also reading and knowing it. I can read anything that has Cinema as the background. This is what attracted me to MK Raghavendra's "Director's Cut: 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era."

Director's Cut is a take on the film making styles of the greatest directors of the modern era. The book starts with an introduction section,which explains the pattern using which Mr. Raghavendra chose the most influential 50 directors among all the great filmmakers we have ever watched. 

The Pattern is actually very intelligent, he chose 1960 as a cut-off date as he believes the french new wave, which is one of the most influential movements in cinema commenced around this time and cinema became Modern only during this era. 

Since the title of the book contains the term Modern Era; we shouldn't have any grudges with the Author for not including legendary filmmakers like Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles as their greatest works was witnessed before the 1960s. Instead he put the spotlight on directors like Luis Buñuel, Werner Herzog and Béla Tarr. 

There are 50 chapters in this book, each dedicated to a director. Beneath the name of the director, there is a tagline defining the basic theme they have followed in almost all of their films. For example, below Steven Spielberg, you will see the words "Family Matters." 

Spielberg always portrayed family as a valuable entity in most of his films like there was a family that struggled together in "Jurassic Park", hundreds of Polish families were saved in "Schindler's List", a mother and son was reunited in "Saving Private Ryan". A Mecha [Robot] was given the love of a mother in "Artificial Intelligence" and a man returns to his family in "The Terminal." 

MK Raghavendra also included legendary directors Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, David Lean, Satyajit Ray and many other legends. It's good to see inclusion of acclaimed regional film directors from India such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan from the Malayalam Cinema and Ritwik Ghatak from the Bengali Film Industry.

This book does ignore great filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola and Roman Polanski and contemporary talented filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson and Richard Linklater but still the 50 that it talks about are very aptly chosen and you will love understanding the approach with which they make/made films.

This Book Review is also Published on my Personal Blog
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?
Monday, 4 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

#Quote: The Shawshank Redemption

It was said by 'Red' [Morgan Freeman], when the "Sisters"; a group of homosexuals in the Shawshank Prison, led by Bogs, beats Andy [Tim Robbins] 'within an inch of his life'. Andy was sent to the infirmary, and that's how Red and the boys plans a welcome for Andy.
PS: Since Movie Geek's Blog is trying to determine the greatest movie ever made as voted by its readers, will you take a minute to vote for your favorite movie(s) on the right side bar of this blog..? No registration required
Sunday, 3 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Birdman: Trailer Preview

Birdman is the story of "A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory". [Source: IMDb]

So, who is playing this washed up Actor..?

It's Michael Keaton, who played Batman/Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's Batman [1989] and is still the most loved Batman actors for many, including me. Though I equally love the Nolan's version but I love Michael Keaton much more than I love Christian Bale as Batman, Period.

So, the plot of the movie sounds pretty much like the real story of Michael Keaton, he played an iconic superhero once, and though he is not a washed up actor, he had a pretty mediocre career of late.

Whatever the case may be, the trailer of Birdman looks very promising and since it is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, we can expect great results out of it.

Among the cast, Keaton will be accompanied by Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Zach Galfianikis.

Here is the Trailer, do let us know what do you think of this trailer.

image source:

Locke [2013]: Quick Review

Cast: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott.

Directed by: Steven Knight

Locke is the story of Ivan Locke's 2 hour journey as he drives to London as the woman he "once" slept with is going to deliver a baby. He had a plan to watch the football game with his wife and kids. He also had a historical project at work, the very next morning. But he decides his priorities and plans to be with this "other" woman in London. Not caring about the consequences, he believes that doing the right thing is more important in life.

Here are some important life lessons, we can learn from Ivan Locke:

  • You decide something, you stick to the plan
  • You finish what you start. No matter what, you don't run away from your responsibility.
  • Your responsibility is sometimes beyond money or any profit.
  • You only say the truth.
  • You need to be calm, composed and positive.
  • There will always be something to look forward and something to upset you, but you can't get carried away either way.

Ivan being a construction director shows at all times his constructive ways to handle life's problems. This is an essential film, every person going through any kind of crisis (or not) must watch.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★

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..? No registration required
Friday, 1 August 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

What Does Snowpiercer's Success Mean For VOD?

The dystopian, Chris Evans film, Snowpiercer has been getting rave reviews from pretty much everybody, meaning you have to go out and see it in the theater right now.

Or maybe you don't have to go out since it's on your television right this instant. Welcome to the future of Video on Demand, a service that has always been great with getting you films that have run their course at the box office. But what was once a mere convenience has now turned into quite possibly the future of how we're going to get our movies. Sure, it seems like only smaller films like Snowpiercer or the documentary, Life Itself, are really getting the early home treatment. But the success of Snowpiercer's home release (Entertainment Weekly cites an estimated $1.1 million in its first week on VOD) is a sure sign that Hollywood is going to start getting interested in the possibilities of releasing films in theaters and then, putting them on VOD in only a couple week's time. Especially if they're initially failures.

Image Source:

But is this a good thing, or a bad thing? I think it could be a little of both. The main argument some have against this plan is that it will hurt box office sales. Why go see Transformers in the theater if you can watch it on your couch? Also, this kind of makes it seem like all movies need to be big-budget productions if you really want to get people out to the theaters. So there are definitely negatives.

But there are positives, too. Just think of all the films that didn't receive the attention they deserved, like Edge of Tomorrow that could benefit from VOD. A lot of hype formed around that film weeks after it came out. And if it were On Demand, there's a greater chance that people might check it out who wouldn't go to the theater now that it's been out for so long. The same goes for How To Train Your Dragon 2. I'm sure there are plenty of parents who, rather than take their kids out to the movies and spend all that money on popcorn and soda, would much prefer to sit in the comforts of their home and watch a brand new film that just recently came out. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is for a mega blockbuster like The Avengers: Age of Ultron to try the same tactic for us to see how this will truly impact the market. It's only a matter of time. VOD looks to be the future.

About the Author:
Rich Knight has written for a number of publications including, Complex, and SMITH Magazine. You can find more of his writing on his blog: He is also the author of the book, The Darkness of the Womb.
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Posted by Rich Knight

Milk [2008]: “We will make a change starting now”

Cast: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

"My name is Harvey Milk and I am here to recruit you"

This movie is all about getting intrigued in 125 minutes; I must admit, I am truly awed and zapped at the same time to believe in the infinite connection that Mr. Milk makes throughout the movie. The details, reach, assembles, characters in the movie just doesn't let you get away from them. 

It is a biopic about first openly elected gay politician and an activist rising to the horizon by the revolution in the status of homosexuality in the year of 1977 in the US. He changed life of the community and the history of that era all together by sheer hard work and his reach to the heart nature. Watching Academy Award Winner Sean Penn in the lead role of Harvey Milk was a delight. His mannerism, his flow and his presence is something that will not slip from your mind for a long time. 

I believe, Director Gus Van Sant did the very right choice of getting Penn play the heart melting role of Milk. The movie initiates with a start of an audio tape marking all the details in the journey of Milk’s life. In a gush of doing something with his life and mind, Milk decides to fight against the wisdom, space and rights of homosexual people. Having said that, this line makes me remember his dialogue: “Forty years old and I haven't done a thing that I'm proud of.” 

Deeply in love with Scott Smith (James Franco), he decides to move to San Francisco, and opens a camera shop in the midst of Castro Theater, where large number of homosexual community are down eyed left, right and center by the other group including the police. Campaigning for gay rights, stabilizing the heated crowd and playing very calm yet smart leader, proves the ability of Mr. Harvey Milk. The movie is not about being a hero and changing life of people but about the rightful right of a gay/lesbian citizen of a country. Friends, romance – new or old, rivals, fame all intertwined with each other makes the movie connected to you from the first scene till the last. 

Playing the role of Milk as “I am as normal as you are” to “We will make a change starting now”, Penn draws a remarkable perception about his presence in the industry for all better reasons. The screen play and the dialogues either melt your heart or force you to fight against the cause with the characters. Direction and other detailing work are simply flawless. Background score not being in the movie beside the after credit list scene doesn't really itch you much since you are too engrossed with the biopic drama. Supporting actors also do a mind-blowing job proving their particular role to utmost justice.

I recommend this movie to each of those people who understand the true sense of film making and its thought process. Concluding with HARVEY MILK’s best dialogue from the movie – “Without hope, life is not worth living.” 

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★★★½


Years That Changed Cinema Forever

I find it extremely fascinating when a large number of great films [and I mean CULT CLASSICS] come together in the same year.

1957 was the earliest one that comes to mind, I can think of 5 timeless classics that came that year. Kubrick's "Paths of Glory", Bergman's "Seventh Seal", "Pyaasa" by Guru Dutt, Sidney Lumet's "12 Angry Men" and Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" added so much rich content to the then existing standards of Cinema.

Another Year that almost beats 1957 is 1994; films like "Pulp Fiction", "The Shawshank Redemption", "Forrest Gump", "Leon: the professional" and "The Lion King" came together, along with Burton's "Ed Wood" and Robert Redford's "Quiz Show".

I have already talked about 2007 many a times for that year gave us Classics like "American Gangster", "No Country For Old Men", "There Will Be Blood" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford" with other great films like  Sean Penn's "Into the Wild", Ben Affleck's directorial debut "Gone Baby Gone" and Fincher's "Zodiac".

But one year that has actually given Cinema a lot more than others is 1999, for it was the year we have received great films from every genre breaking some preconceived notions about certain genres.

Like college romances became interesting after "10 things I hate about you" Sex Comedies became a major genre after "American Pie" [though it couldn't really flourish, but still I never knew whats a MILF before that :P] "The Matrix" is another milestone in the Sci-Fi Genre, we had an important Anti hero in Tyler Durden with "Fight Club" Among other significant films that came in 1999 were PT Anderson's "Magnolia", Oscar Winner "American Beauty" Frank Darabont's "Green Mile" M Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller/horror "The Sixth Sense", Coming of Age film "October Sky" and one of my favorites Spike Jonze "Being John Malkovich". 1999 was also the year when Brad Bird made his first film and Kubrick made his last; the films I am talking about were "The Iron Giant" and "Eyes Wide Shut", both a classic piece of work.

1999 was indeed one of the most significant years in Cinema.

Do let me know if I missed any other significant year or forgot to mention some great film. Share your thoughts.

-Amritt Rukhaiyaar

[image source:]

Sunday, 22 June 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Walk of Shame: Trailer

"A reporter's dream of becoming a news anchor is compromised after a one-night stand leaves her stranded in downtown L.A. without a phone, car, ID or money - and only 8 hours to make it to the most important job interview of her life." -IMDb

As a movie enthusiast, sometimes you just love some actors without caring about their insignificance to the film industry. Elizabeth Banks is one of those actor I love watching, I don't care about her filmography or her own performances which is not even worth talking. She is one of those early actresses, I had a crush on.

Elizabeth Banks is the sole reason why I am putting a trailer of a film which looks weak, unpromising and hopeless. Now if this turns out to be good enough, that's certainly a bonus.

-Amritt Rukhaiyaar

[This post is a part of the A to Z Challenge in April 2014. Let's celebrate blogging.]
Saturday, 26 April 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

List of films partly or entirely shot in Vegas

There are many genres of cinema, Action, animation, crime, drama, fantasy, history, mystery, romance sci-fi and there is another genre; Las Vegas.Usually when a film is shot in Las Vegas, the city is like a character in that film. There is a  purpose they set films in Las Vegas. Here is a list of some of the films I have watched, which is shot entirely or partly in Las Vegas:

Ocean's Eleven [1960]
The Godfather Part II [1974]
Rain Man [1988]
Casino [1995]
Leaving Las Vegas [1995]
Fear and loathing in Las Vegas [1998]
Ocean's Eleven [2001]
Resident Evil: Extinction [2007]
Ocean's Thirteen [2007]
21 [2008]
What Happens in Vegas [2008]
2012 [2009]
The Hangover [2009]
Fright Night [2011]
The Hangover Part III [2013]
Last Vegas [2013]

[This post is a part of the A to Z Challenge in April 2014. Let's celebrate blogging.]

Friday, 25 April 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Udaan [2010]: A great film by first time director Vikramaditya Motwane

Do you know, what is it, that Orson Welles, Satyajit Ray, Jim Sheridan, Kevin Costner, Quentin Tarantino, Brad Bird and Ben Affleck have in common? It is the fact that they all had a great debut as directors. Now I won’t talk about how they went ahead later in their careers in this post, but certainly they were all equally great first time directors, they were simply fantastic.

One of the recent addition to this list is Vikramaditya Motwane who made his first film Udaan in 2010. 

Udaan is a coming of age story of Rohan, played by Rajat Barmecha, also a debutant. Rohan is 16, an aspiring writer at heart, expelled from boarding school and returns to his father’s place in the city of Jamshedpur.

His father, who he hasn't met in the last 8 years, is not your regular dad, he is strict, he is authoritarian and he prefers being called “sir” over dad.  During these 8 years, when Rohan was in hostel, he fathered another son, to his 2nd marriage. Rohan’s half brother Arjun [Aayan Boradia] is merely 6 years old but is living a similar life as Rohan; dictated by their father, calling him Sir and in the process the two step brothers bond well without much of a conversation.

Rohan’s father, Bhairav Singh, played by Ronit Roy is an essentially heartless man. Ronit Roy’s portrayal as the father is pure evil. Initially, you will like to believe he is a little unconventionally strict father but as the movie progresses, you will be shocked at his ruthlessness at different points of time.

Surprisingly Rohan’s uncle [his dad's brother] supports him, he understands Rohan and wants him to pursue whatever his heart says. But that never helped him set things right in his life. Ronit Roy as Bhairav Singh has perhaps done the greatest performance of his life playing the monstrous father. Rajat Barmecha as Rohan was equally great doing every bit of his role to perfection, his fractured teenage made him stronger every new day.

Udaan is produced by the great Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who often shows traits of Tarantino and Scorsese in his own works and is known for directing films like Gulaal, Gangs of Wasseypur, Black Friday and DevD. Vikramaditya Motwane didn’t let down Anurag in his first film and later he made another good film Lootera in 2013 produced by Anurag Kashyap.

Udaan means flight or better say fly high. And certainly Udaan is a high flyer in the Indian film industry.
Udaan came in 2010 and if you haven’t watched it by now, you must watch it.
Highly recommended.

Movie Geek’s Rating: ★★★★

Cast: Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Aayan Boradia, Ram Kapoor

Directed by: Vikramaditya Motwane


Author: Amritt Rukhaiyaar

[This post is a part of the A to Z Challenge in April 2014. Let's celebrate blogging.]

The Dark Knight Rises: final scene

If you have watched Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, you already know the greatness of this scene. If you haven't, here is the background story you need to know.

Gotham City has been saved by Batman from Bane's terror, but there is still something that needs to be taken care of; the Nuclear Bomb. Now this nuclear bomb cannot be defused anymore and for that Batman has to sacrifice his life as he will haul the bomb over the bay with the help of "The Bat" [an aircraft developed by Lucius Fox which replaces the Bat Mobile.

Now this scene was after Batman sacrificed his life. One of the greatest final 5 minutes of a movie.

Author: Amritt Rukhaiyaar

[This post is a part of the A to Z Challenge in April 2014. Let's celebrate blogging.]
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

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