Archive for January 2014

Superman [1978]: "You'll believe a man can fly!"

"You'll believe a man can fly!" That was the tagline for Richard Donner's Superman.

Movies are neither the best nor the worst, it is never perfect or totally weird, movies are an opinion, no definitive answer can ever be determined about a movie. It’s a personal thing and Superman is that personal film which everybody loves despite of all the cheap props it may have used. Superman is loved unanimously.
In Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2, Bill talks about Superman to Beatrix Kiddo [Uma Thurman], I would like to share that little part first.

“Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne; Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us.”

First Blue, then Red and then may be Yellow are the colours you remember Superman for, no other fancy superhero costume make it look better. Superman is godly and his costume is something you don’t like to see tampered.

Superman is absolutely delightful, you sit watching a film where you know this bespectacled guy is going to become Superman soon and you wait for that first scene when Clark Kent almost tears apart his shirt to show us the big “S” on his chest, that moment is the definitive superhero moment in our lives. [Till the time Christian Bale pulls Falcone on the roof of his car and yells at him; “I am Batman” in Batman Begins].

People of the Gotham city lose hope when Bane beats Batman or when the bad guy dominates any other superhero but people of Metropolis believe in Superman, Superman will never let them die. They never give up on Superman.

You realize this later only that how perfectly Clark Kent complements Superman. Kent is weak, a coward and was one of the biggest critic of Superman. A few people I talked about Superman complains that how is it possible that Lois Lane couldn’t see that Clark Kent and Superman had an identical face [Since Superman doesn’t wear a mask]and believes it as a major plot hole but the way I see, it was the main theme behind the Superman-Clark Kent equation. It was intended to be like that.

Lois Lane, played by Margot Kidder, was one woman who spend more time with both Clark Kent and Superman and Clark’s characteristics made him look coward and weaker than most of his colleagues and on the same time Superman was the one alpha male she has ever seen in the whole world. This comparison made Clark look even weaker and it was not their faces but their strengths which Lois Lane found tough to compare, though she had a doubt in one sequence in the film which Clark successfully evades. 

Christopher Reeve was the iconic Superman and any superman that came later had to look like him in a certain way; the face, the physique or the body language, it was like Brandon Routh [Superman Returns] and Henry Cavill [Man of Steel] auditioned to play Christopher Reeve and not Superman.

Gene Hackman was the chosen one to play Lex Luthor, he was very humorous, amusing and witty but still a diabolic and ruthless conspirator, even though I liked Kevin Spacey’s performance of Lex Luthor more satisfying in Superman Returns by Bryan Singer.

There is a less than 15 minutes part by Marlon Brando who plays the role of Jor-El, father of Kal-El [Superman’s name in Krypton]. Brando was paid $3 Millions for that little important part he played.

Now, whether you are a movie fanatic or not, you should watch Superman, because it’s not a film, Superman is a way of life.

Movie Geek's Ratings: ★★★★½ Brilliant

Cast: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder

Directed by: Richard Donner


Author: Amrit Rukhaiyaar

The Broadway Melody [1929]: the first winner with dialogues

“The Broadway melody” was the first sound film to win a Best Picture Award at the Oscars. 

The Plot: The Broadway Melody is the story of the Mahoney sisters played by Bessie Love and Anita Page who comes to New York, for their big break on the Broadway. Their friend Eddie Kearns played by Charles King, who asked them to come to New York, Eddie was in love with the Elder Sister, Hank but later falls for the younger, more beautiful sister, Queenie. Queenie dates the wealthy but dishonest Jock Warriner played by Kenneth Thomson, only to ruin the love triangle and protect her sister. It is a usual backstage story.
Some ‘Obvious’ Flaws: The movies have only learned to talk sometime back, so the actors were not used to acting with a microphone instead of making gestures to explain their point. There was overacting all along by everyone, it was hard to do something where you have nothing much to learn and get inspired from.

Why it is still good: The Broadway Melody is a romantic musical and it was excellent in its singing and dancing, which is what Broadway is all about. Of course, you will have to accept that it is a 1929 film and one of the first sound films. One thing is for sure, you will not feel disappointed and it will only add to your range as a spectator and a movie enthusiast.

Bessie Love and Harry Beaumont were nominated for the award for the best actress in a Leading role and the Award for the best direction respectively at the 2nd Oscars. It won the Best Picture and was the first sound film to do so.

Movie Geeks Ratings: ★★★ Good

Cast: Charles King, Bessie Love, Anita page

Directed by: Harry Beaumont


Author: Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Monday, 20 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Academy Awards 2014: Nominations

On 12th January, 2014, the winners of the Golden Globes Awards were revealed, 12 Years a Slave won the BEST PICTURE in the Drama Category, while the same in the Musical/Comedy section went to American Hustle. Actors Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actor in a DRAMA and Leonardo DiCaprio won the same for Musical/Comedy. It doesn't excite us as much as the Academy Awards

So, the much awaited Oscar nominations is finally out, and Here goes the full list for Nominations:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
American Hustle (2013)
Captain Phillips (2013)
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Gravity (2013)
Her (2013)
Nebraska (2013)
Philomena (2013)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale for American Hustle (2013)
Bruce Dern for Nebraska (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams for American Hustle (2013)
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Sandra Bullock for Gravity (2013)
Judi Dench for Philomena (2013)
Meryl Streep for August: Osage County (2013)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips (2013)
Bradley Cooper for American Hustle (2013)
Jonah Hill for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine (2013)
Julia Roberts for August: Osage County (2013)
Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle (2013)
June Squibb for Nebraska (2013)

Best Achievement in Directing
Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity (2013)
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave (2013)
David O. Russell for American Hustle (2013)
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Alexander Payne for Nebraska (2013)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
American Hustle (2013): Eric Singer, David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine (2013): Woody Allen
Her (2013): Spike Jonze
Nebraska (2013): Bob Nelson
Dallas Buyers Club (2013): Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Before Midnight (2013): Richard Linklater
Captain Phillips (2013): Billy Ray
12 Years a Slave (2013): John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Terence Winter
Philomena (2013): Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
The Croods (2013)
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Ernest & Celestine (2012)
Frozen (2013)
The Wind Rises (2013)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012): Felix Van Groeningen(Belgium)
The Missing Picture (2013): Rithy Panh(Cambodia)
The Hunt (2012): Thomas Vinterberg(Denmark)
The Great Beauty (2013): Paolo Sorrentino(Italy)
Omar (2013): Hany Abu-Assad(Palestine)

The winners for the Academy Awards 2014 will be announced on 2nd March, 2014, so we have all the time to watch'em all and discuss who deserves and who doesn't. I will come up next Thursday to discuss a nominated film or performances. 

-Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Thursday, 16 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Jail House Rock [1957]: Typical Elvis Presley

Cast: Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler

Directed by: Richard Thorpe

Elvis Presley’s popularity is like the one Michael Jackson had all over the world. Even if you have never heard a Presley song, you know his name. Such is the life of some rock stars, they are like characters and the events in their life are like the ones that happens in a fictional character’s life.

I have listened to a dozen or two dozen or may me some more songs sung by Elvis Presley but this is the only film I saw where Elvis acted as well. Jailhouse Rock showcases Elvis Presley at his meanest and most arrogant avatar; this film could have been much better, had they increased production values and had a better star cast. But still, you will love the arrogant Presley and the songs he sings, it made me tempted to watch his three films I heard of; "Love Me Tender", "Loving You" & "King Creole".
The main essence of Jailhouse Rock is its songs; it was a pleasure watching Elvis Presley singing “Baby I don’t care”. If you want to see the classical Elvis Presley, this is the song you must watch and listen to. Jailhouse Rock covers all the emotion a ‘rags to riches’ story of a pop star should have, the frustration, sympathy, the anger and the jealousy, the revenge and the redemption.

This movie showcased Elvis Presley as Vince Everett, who was pretty similar to the kind of character Elvis Presley was in real life. There were scenes of a few fist fights, which Elvis had in real life as well and some arrogance he did in the film, he also did as Elvis Presley.

You must watch Jailhouse Rock, it is one of the best films to watch in the Music genre and it surely is an Elvis Presley classic.

Movie Geek's Ratings★★★½
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

The Dark Knight Trilogy: An ensemble of A-List actors

The Dark Knight Trilogy is arguably the best trilogy ever made in films. It was so good and character driven, that many of us actually forgets the great actor playing a certain Batman character.

Nolan's masterpiece included the greatest of actors, its like he spent years deciding about the most appropriate people to portray characters like Alfred, Rachel, Harvey Dent, Gordon, Bane, Selena Kyle, Ra's Al Ghul, The Joker and of course The Batman.

He impressed from the time Batman Begins came, he got all the A-List actors and convinced them to play little roles that may be important but still pretty mediocre for the status they have earned over the years.

In BATMAN BEGINS, we saw Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy and Morgan Freeman as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Ducard, Jim Gordon, Alfred, Jonathan Crane/ScareCrow and Lucius Fox respectively. For an actor as great as Morgan Freeman, Lucius Fox was a very small role to play, though it wasn't put in a way that looked unimportant. Even the character Jim Gordon was given a whole new dimension by Nolan, remember Gordon of Tim Burton's Batman, we can't even picture him properly.

In the next film, THE DARK KNIGHT he introduced Harvey Dent and The Joker, played by Aaron Eckhart and Heath Ledger, there was controversy over Ledger's casting but Nolan knew it all, he knew those who criticize will return. Eckhart was as good as Dent as he was as the Two Face. plus he brought in Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes.
When Batman disappeared in the climax, we wondered how Nolan will make him return, it was hard to imagine a third installment as good as the first two films, especially for an iconic film like The Dark Knight.

But Nolan certainly made a good third film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was certainly not a classic piece of cinema as The Dark Knight was, but still he didn't disappoint. This time, he added more great actors in that massive list, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy as Bane, was pure evil, unlike the Joker who had a psychic way, Bane was physical torture, the destructive kind that made Batman look weak.

Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy had a superb cast that supported him in all the genius ideas he came up with. I will definitely come back with more love for THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY.

-Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar
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Friday the 13th [2009]: another "bloody" attempt

On the 13th day of this 30 day blog challenge, I was really not sure which film I should talk about, then the number 13 struck a chord and now it seems so logical that I decided to write a review for Friday the 13th. 

The first Friday the 13th film, the original film was released in 1980. Since then, we have seen its sequels, remakes, character wars with another franchise and god knows what not. To start with, this is a better film than most of its predecessors, 11 it is, still not too good. If you are so keen to watch a film about killings and bloodshed, this is not a bad choice to make. There are certainly weirder films people watch in the name of blood and gore, then why not watch Friday the 13th.
Jason is still doing what he was doing back in 1980, killing people or say a group of people and then being killed and return impossibly to life making a way for another sequel. By far, Jason has went through a lot, drowned in water, being hit by ax, sliced by a machete in the shoulder, buried, resurrected, thrown to hell, researched, frozen, chained and thrown into the lake, but no matter what, Jason does return. 

Even after 12 films in the franchise, its IMDb rating is still crawling in between 4 and 6, its very clear, viewers have had enough . It's time Jason should hang his boots.

Movie Geek's Rating: ★★

Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Jared Padalecki, Derek Mears

Directed by: Marcus Nispel


Author: Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Monday, 13 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past [2009]: Some Michael Douglas Charm

As a Screenwriter, when you are really not satisfied with the plot of your script, you ask the director to cast some of the hottest actors around and the same film becomes pretty much watchable and in rare cases, immensely enjoyable. Something like that happened with Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

It was weak on the plot and the director cashed in on Matthew McConaughey and Michael Douglas. what appeared to be an ordinary romantic comedy turned out pretty much enjoyable with some good performances by Matthew McConaughey and Micheal Douglas.  
Connor Mead [Matthew McConaughey] went to attend his younger brother’s wedding and after the rehearsal dinner he gets a visit from Uncle Wayne [Michael Douglas], now Uncle Wayne was the man who taught Connor everything there is to know about having women, but the catch is that he has died many years ago and he is a ghost now. He also gets visits from ghosts from his past, present and future girlfriends. all of them trying to show him his flaws with women.

I didn't really like the whole movie, there was many weird moments when you will feel like fast forwarding the film and running into the final conclusion straight away. But what keep you to not do that is watching the perfectly cast Connor and Uncle Wayne, it was like written especially for McConaughey and Michael Douglas respectively. I could go on watching Uncle Wayne for hours. I love flamboyancy if it is sexy enough and thus Uncle Wayne is certainly one of my most loved flamboyant characters.

If you are a Michael Douglas fan or if you like Matthew McConaughey, you should give it a try for once. How I loved Emma Stone in The Amazing Spiderman, she is a total waste in here. Jennifer Garner didn't had too much to do but she did manage to impress with whatever little part she was given.

Movie Geek's Ratings: ★★

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Michael Douglas, Emma Stone, Jennifer Garner, Michael Douglas

Directed by: Mark Waters


Author: Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Pauvre Pierrot [1892]: first of its kind

I love to study history, and it can't be more fascinating than to know about the history of cinema. Silent films are the pioneers in Cinema and this post is dedicated to a significant silent film that may not have been talked about much.

Pauvre Pierrot is a silent film directed by Émile Reynaud. It was unique considering the time being, it was the first animation short film, first in color [hand painted], first with a background score and the first one with a narrative and plot.

What's The Plot?
Arlequin and Colombine are lovers, one night Arlequin sneaks into Colombine's house to meet her. Meanwhile Pierrot knocks at the door and the lovers hide, Pierrot starts singing in an attempt to woo Colombine but Arlequin scares him without making himself visible to Pierrot, thus the poor Pierrot had to go away.

Why is it important?
Though it has a run time of 4 minutes only, I find it interesting enough. It is interesting as an experimental film, imagine the joy people must have had on their faces watching a "story" on screen for the first time, A man, a woman and a second man being teased by the protagonist, that too in color; it must have been fascinating, like watching stars on earth. It is important to preserve history and admire it for its existence in the first place. Do watch it and you may like the idea too and feel the achievement it had been in 1892.

It is a french film and was released on 28th October 1892 and is directed by Émile Reynaud. You may be interested in another historical piece of work; Sallie Gardner at a Gallop.
Friday, 10 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Abhishek Bachchan's Mani Ratnam Connection

If we go back in time and have a look at Abhishek Bachchan’s Career, you will be mostly disappointed, well at least I am, but, it doesn’t mean that he lacks the finesse of a good actor. On three different occasions, someone brought it out of him, and this someone was no other than Mani Ratnam.

Mani Ratnam gave us Abhishek’s raw performance as Lallan Singh in the film YUVA. Yuva made directors and producers rethink about Abhishek and he certainly has a filmography that is being added with 2-3 films every year because of Mani Ratnam’s effort to fetch the actor out of  him in his 3 films; Yuva, Guru and Raavan.

Abhishek debuted in 2000 with the film Refugee; it was also Kareena Kapoor’s debut film, it took him 4 years to finally make an impact on the audience and that was because of his performance in Yuva. Yuva was arguably his breakthrough performance. In the next three years, we saw Abhishek’s mediocre performances in no less than a dozen films before GURU happened; although I liked his work in Sarkar in between Yuva and Guru.

Guru garnished his career once again; people started believing in his potentials. Mani Ratnam made him comfortable around his territory, which is playing the hardened characters, where he is really excellent and natural. Abhishek delivered his dialogues well and looked totally convincing as the maverick entrepreneur. 

Even before people started to take him seriously, he started to disappoint again, right after Guru, Abhishek came up with bad films like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Drona and Laga chunari mein Daag. Except for Paa, he couldn't do really well in the next half a dozen or more films that came after Guru and now he needed another good performance for his career to continue, so Mani Ratnam came to the rescue once again with Raavan in 2010 and Abhishek got another hardened character to play. 

While Yuva and Guru were critically acclaimed good films, Raavan was snubbed by many. I personally liked Raavan, so much that I downloaded the Tamil version as well to see the difference in performances by the lead actors. Vikram who plays the cop in the Hindi version played the role of “Beera” in the Tamil version, now Vikram is a fine actor; he is certainly one of the best they have down there in the Tamil film industry but Abhishek did a better job than him playing the same character.

It’s such a waste that an actor who had the potential in himself all through could never utilize it except for a couple of occasions.

-Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Thursday, 9 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Tag :

When Sally outsmarts Harry

This post is written in the spirit of movies and I expect the readers to take it that way.

Harry and Sally are sitting in a restaurant, and is talking about Harry's last night sex with a stranger woman. Harry is bragging about how he satisfied the woman and sally tells him that it's not necessary that he actually satisfied her and that women do fake their orgasms often. Harry doesn't seem to agree and says if a woman will fake an orgasm with him, he'd know it in the first place. Sally, just to prove herself right, fakes an orgasm then and there in that restaurant while dozens of people looked. A middle-aged woman, fellow diner sitting at the adjacent table admires Sally's womanhood and tells the waiter "I'll have what she's having."

This quote is listed at #33 on American Film Institute's Top 100 Movie Quotes. It is the only quote on the list, which is the only dialogue ever said by the actor saying it. The fellow Diner was director Rob Reiner's mother Estelle Reiner.

-Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Million Dollar Arm: Trailer Preview

If you remember, I promised yesterday that I will write a review today for the trailer of the sports film I am most excited about. So, here I am with the Trailer preview of the most anticipated sports film to be released in 2014. 

This film is "Million Dollar Arm." It is based on the true story of American Baseball Agent JB Bernstein who stages a reality sports series in India in an attempt to find skillful Indian Cricket players for playing in the US as Baseball Pitchers. The cast of this film includes some really accomplished actors like Jon Hamm, Alan Arkin and Bill Paxton.
Jon Hamm plays the role of JB Bernstein, while we will get to see the talented Suraj Sharma, who impressed us with his breath taking performance in Ang Lee's Life of Pi. Suraj will play the role of Rinku Singh who along with Dinesh Patel [Madhur Mittal, remember Salim of Slumdog Millionaire?] will be brought to USA to be trained by Tom House; the baseball coach played by Bill Paxton. There are glimpses of acclaimed Indian actor Darshan Zariwala and a little bit of Pitobash [the funny guy from Shor in the City].

The music of the film is composed by AR Rehman, and is directed by Craig Gillespie. This film looks more promising than Draft Day, I must say. While Draft Day looks sharper and may have some games for us to watch, this looks more inspirational, the typical "coming of age" sort of film. I am little more hopeful about this film. It is set for an initial release on May 16th, 2014.

-Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Tuesday, 7 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Draft Day: Trailer Preview

I love the sports genre, every time there is a sports film announced, the movie enthusiast in me gets excited and prepares itself by watching and re-watching some of the greatest sports films. I particularly love it, sports film never disappointed me, whatever I have seen, I liked them all, and loved most of them. 

Now, this year can be a real treat for someone who loves cinema from the sports genre, because there is going to be two big releases in the sports genre in the months of April and May. I am gonna talk about the one which is going to release earlier.

This film is called Draft Day.

Kevin Costner is back with another sports film, he shifts his focus from Baseball to American Football this time. It is about the struggle, Sonny Weaver, the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns does to acquire the number one draft pick for his team. Sonny appears to be kind of a maverick, who has his stubborn but productive ways with the team. The cast includes Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Tom Welling, Denis Leary and Frank Langella. 

Jennifer Garner is perhaps Kevin's love interest. Denis Leary plays the role for the coach of the club and Frank is playing the role of Harvey Molina, who owns the team. There is some cool soundtrack, the music is composed by John Debney. The trailer looks neat and I have big hopes from this film. This film is directed by Ivan Reitman and is set to a release for April 2014. 

Tomorrow, there will be another trailer preview for the bigger sports film, which I am most excited about.

-Amrit Rukhaiyaar
Monday, 6 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Five reasons that defines the greatness of Oscar Awards

All great films and great performances may not win an Academy Award but all Academy Awards is given to some great film and great performance only, so not winning an Oscar doesn't mean that film wasn't great, but winning an Oscar guarantees the fact that there was something very good about that film, it may be the costume designing or the music or any technical award.

Let's talk about how the Oscar Awards is conducted, considering which here are five reasons which defines the greatness of Oscar Awards over the awards we have here in India.

1. Best Dressed: Actors in the west take it rather seriously when they dress for an occasion as big as the Oscars. There is dress code and everybody follows it. This makes the whole place painted in black [as they usually wear Black Tuxedos] whereas in the Filmfare award function, people are dress up in their own choice of clothes and do not follow the dress code as usual. This makes them look weird collectively. Some of them are dressed in Tuxedos, some wear nice formal suits, some wear Blazers and some even come with a shirt and jeans so as to look casual but collectively they end up looking unprofessional.

2. An AV for every nominee: This is something I really respect Oscar Awards for, there is an AV for every Nominee for any award at the Academy, be it an award for Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration or Best Film Editing. Now this AV doesn't just show us a clip of the movie nominated but explains the whole process briefly with which the costumes were selected for a certain film or the way the set of a film was decorated. Sadly, here at filmfare, we don't even think of such an idea, as if its a waste of time learning about the hard work these talented people have given to a certain blockbuster film behind the scenes.

3. Every Winner gets to talk: This is an extension to the point I just mentioned above, it is as important as the AV. Oscar is one of the greatest things that can happen to a person associated with movies, so even a winner for Costume Designing or Film Editing or any other technical award for that matters, gets the podium and is allowed to express themselves on the greatest achievement of their lives, that is Oscars. Here at the filmfare, it is somewhat out of the question, only once in a while, we get to hear a 10 or may be 15 second speech for someone winning a "LESS IMPORTANT" Award. Its a shame that we treat the lesser known people in the crew of a film like this.

4. An Oscar is hard to get: Even for an actor who has done great work through out his career, it take decades to hold an Oscar that officially belongs to them. Popular Actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Samuel Jackson, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson and many more great actors have been doing remarkable work from last 20 to 30 years, but still hasn't got the Academy Award, this dent in their achievement chart makes them respect the competition they have in "Hollywood." Peter O'Toole had been one of the most influential actor for more than 40 or 50 years but never won an Oscar. This keeps the Actors starve for better performance with every new film, thus ultimately raising the bars of the whole film industry. Where as, here in India we shower them with Awards based on their popularity, SRK has no less than 14 filmfare, and Amitabh a little behind him, even that is okay, maybe their so called performances was better than others, but mostly they get awards for their popularity and not their performance [because their have been ignored performances by Irrfan, Manoj Bajpai etc]. But what I don't understand is the way our young actors are pampered with the BEST ACTOR DEBUT Category. This Category spoils the actors and these young actors stop working hard thereafter, as you can see that many of the people who won that award, usually didn't worked well later in their career.

5. Best Picture is the most prestigious Award: At a Bollywood film awards, the most anticipated thing is the Best Actor Award. There will be many questions and guesses leading to find out the opinion on who is it gonna be. Where as in the west, it is not who but which is it going to be, I mean, the film, that ultimate film which many hundreds of people collaborated to make it worth watching, a magnum opus, a masterpiece, whatever you want to say. After all, the hero of the story is not actually the hero of the film, its a collaborative process and it should be treated as the most prestigious Award, so the BEST PICTURE it is, the most anticipated thing.
The words in bold are the most important things at Oscars and Filmfare
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?
Sunday, 5 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

Orphan [2009]: Disturbing yet Intelligent

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

To begin with, Orphan did surprise me, I thought of it as another B-Grade thriller with an obvious revelation at the climax, but no, it is really worth your time and money, it is actually one of the good films made in 2009. Yes, it is.

Orphan tells the story of a married couple, who just had a stillborn baby, decides to adopt an intelligent 9 year old Esther to fill that vacant space, the stillborn baby could have filled but Esther is not only a bright child who can paint like a pro, play piano and do everything perfectly, there is something strange about this girl, something really frightening.

Orphan is disturbing and gruesome but still very intelligent. By the time you will figure out that this girl is no ordinary child but is someone who posses demonic spirits, you will be punched in the face with that genius revelation, that brilliant thing, you never thought of.

The couple; Kate and John, already had a son, Daniel and a daughter, Max. Esther bonds quickly with Max by using sign language as Max is deaf. Daniel is not most friendly though with her. But still Esther succeeds to manipulate each one of them but Kate. Kate could feel that Esther is not quite what she seems. 

This film has an amazing script which is executed excellently. If you have had enough of bad films, in the name of horror, you should watch orphan. It is a clever film with some great acting performances by most of the cast, but one who stands out is Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther. Isabelle delivers a powerful performance and her work is beyond the question that whether a viewer likes the film or not, because even if someone finds the film a mediocre piece of work, nobody disliked the way she portrayed Esther. 

Orphan didn’t win any award and yes it didn’t deserve as well. Horror or Thriller hardly wins Oscar Awards anyway. Nevertheless there were certainly a dozen or two better films made in 2009. As a  bottomline, I would say Orphan is certainly one of the most underrated horror films in American Cinema.

Movie Geek’s Rating: ★★★½ 

PS I love you [2007]: Romantic or Depressing or both..?

Cast: Gerard Butler, Hillary Swank, Harry Connick Jr.

Directed by: Richard LaGravenese

Today I am going to write about the 2007 Richard LaGravenese film P.S. I Love you based on the book of the same name by Cecelia Ahern. This story has a couple where the man expresses his love for his wife even after his death. 

Time changes everything in a relationship, attitude towards life, priorities or even people involved in it, but one thing that sticks is Love. Love never change. 

For the first 15 minutes, we see Holly [Hillary Swank] and Gerry [Gerard Butler] arguing over some silly issue, still loving each other passionately, before the end of the night. We see a 9 year old married couple, an optimistic Gerry and a restless yet loving Holly, for they are still not totally settled considering their financial stature.

The next scene, we find out that Gerry has died because of a brain tumor and a little funeral ceremony is going on, that’s when we realize this film is not about a whining wife and a playful husband, but something sad but more romantic than that.
The lead actors, Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler have done a fantastic job and looks totally in love with each other; I guess this was their only film together, so the casting was well improvised. 

After Gerry dies, Holly receives letters from Gerry, which he scheduled in a way that it will reach Holly only when he is no more. Each letter asks Holly to do a certain thing, like celebrate her birthday, go to a karaoke, get dressed properly for a girls night out and a few more so that Holly could stop mourning for Gerry’s departure and move on. 

Emotionally, it will make you feel sad but romantic; logically, the same set of events will make you feel depressed and may be weird about love. It depends on how you choose to address this story, using your heart or the brain.

My favorite part of the film is when Holly returns from Gerry’s funeral and make consecutive calls to their basic phone only to listen to Gerry's voice mails on the answering machine, meanwhile trying to get some sleep. You may wet your eyes there.

PS I love you has beautiful songs, the kind, you keep with you in your music collection. “I love you till the end” is perhaps the one I believe is the signature song of this film.

This film was way too long, they could have told the same story in an hour and 30 minutes. You "cannot" watch PS I Love You twice [not at least in a year], it lacks the charm we felt while watching "The Notebook" or "A Walk to Remember." Apart from that, it was a pretty decent film.

Some say, it’s a tearjerker film, others say, it’s a romantic comedy, I’d say it’s plain Romance between a woman and the memories she has of her deceased husband and everything that follows. You don’t have to feel sad for Gerry’s departure or have pity on Holly’s solitude. Just respecting the writer’s idea of portraying love will do. 

Movie Geek's Ratings★★★½

Sallie Gardner at a Gallop: first ever moving picture

Directed by: Eadweard Muybridge

This blog post talks about a significant film for a movie enthusiast and all those who likes to study cinema, it is often mentioned as the first silent film ever made, I have even read people mentioning "Sallie Gardner at a Gallop" as the first ever "Motion Picture".

There are 2 common reactions I have read about this short film; one simply questions the inclusion of this work in films because it is hardly even 1 minute and has no plot or something and the other talks about its significance in cinema which is followed by longer silent films with a plot and then into advanced form of films with a story and dialogues leading a way to full fledged technically sound films.

This is a work that includes 24 picture shots of a horse used in continuous succession to make it look like a moving picture, thus the name Motion Picture.

it is actually unfair to rate this on any scale. Just know that it is something that led to the discovery of every new aspect of cinema that came in the next 135 years. So, the next time you praise cinemas and talk about its greatness, don't forget that this is how it all started.

Thursday, 2 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

My WatchList for January 2014

With hours and hours of movie watching, another year came to an end. I hope you watched mostly good cinema last year.

I watched some of the greatest films in 2013 and studied a lot about cinema, film making, foreign cinema [non-English or Hindi], a couple of books on movies and everything that adds to the history of cinema.

In 2014, I am planning to watch no less than 400 films [new and re-watching and on TV], so apart from everything I catch on the TV [let's say 100 films], I have planned to watch 25 films a month otherwise, that is on my system or DVD.

So here goes my list for January 2014 excluding the ones I will catch on TV. This list contains 19 good to great English films and 6 well received Non-English films, which contains a Kannada, a Tamil, a Hindi, a Brazilian, a French and a Japanese Film.

1. Seven Samurai [Japanese]
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 
3. It's a Wonderful Life
4. The Lord of Rings Trilogy
7. City of God [Brazilian]
8. Se7en
9. Silence of the Lambs
10. Caché [French]
11. Shame
12. Rush
13. Election
14. Manhunter
15. Sunshine
16. Half Nelson
17. The Road
18. Before the Devil Knows You are Dead
19. Soodhu Kavvum [Tamil]
20. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag [Hindi]
21. The Ghost Writer
22. The People Vs. Larry Flint
23. Lucia [Kannada Film]
24. Riley Rewind
25. The Bank Job
Some of these are films I have watched before and some of these are films I am gonna watch for the first time. So, this is it for the resolution, will watch lots of movie and will not waste a moment of my time doing worthless things when I am not working. The Movie Geek's Blog wish you a Happy New Year. Happy Movies. Happy Cinema.

This list is well represented on LetterBoxd: Have a look.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014
Posted by Amrit Rukhaiyaar

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