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Lady Bird

A witty and enjoyable coming of age drama
This coming of age drama tells the story of a late teen girl out of high school and her relationship with family, boys, and mother. It's witty and enjoyable in a sense it's not yet a familiar high school drama. It goes more into a spontaneous depiction of teenage angst and a financially weak family, avoiding the crude humour you usually get in the genre. Aside this, the film is filled with great acting, by far depicting the mother and daughter relationship.

By the end though you feel it's a usual teen drama you have been watching and not an Oscar worthy nomination, you still sense a feeling of gratitude. Overall, it's a film that needs to be watched by pre teens to reconcile their remorse.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4


A superb pshychological saga
Following the primitive Batman series of 1989 - 1995, we got a superb retelling of the Batman stories from Christopher Nolan, which just excelled through "The Dark Knight" with accolades for Heath Ledger, Joker, posthumously awarded the Oscars. The same Gotham City of the comic book, we see it through Joker, his dark story and mental disorder.

Wow is the least you can have for Joaquin Phoenix for his title role. Lanky and emotionally distressed with a mental disorder, nowhere does he appear Comodus from his famous role in "Gladiator." Perhaps the film is a tribute to Joker from the comic book, which it just excels at. There is no Bruce Wayne to stop the invincible villain. Every picture shot is amusing, awe inspiring and haunting. The only disappointment for me was I watched it in a small screen It's a summer blockbuster which you would enjoy best on the big screen cinema grabbing your popcorn's and biting the nails. The film just demonstrates the best you can make out of the least.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

The Squid and the Whale

A superb drama on marital discord....
"Marriage Story" which I watched lately and adored compelled me to re-watch this film from the same director, just to compare an analogy between the two. Both the films are on marital discord amid the modern living and career conflicts, descending from "Kramer Vs. Kramer." Well, "Marriage Story" is the clash between a couple for the custody of the child, whereas "The Squid and the Whale" is more into the mental dilemma of the young sons of a divorced couple. Greatly acted and scripted, the film is a treat for the emotion starved audiences with a relatable story on modern milieu. Both the films from the director are superbly narrated, acted, and filmed family dramas. Only the coda of this film falls a bit short and unexplained.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

Theeviravaathi: The Terrorist

Exquisitey filmed and intriguing pshychological drama
Santosh Sivan, best known for directing a spectacular historical saga "Asoka," directed this Tamil film. Storywise, the film is similar to "Dil Se," also cinematographed by Santosh Sivan. The story delves into the psychological dilemma of a young girl, training herself to be a suicide bomber. With the minimalist dialogues and twists in the story, the film just moves tautly. The acting of Ayesha Dharker is perfect, and the photography is mesmerizing. Avoiding the Bollywood gimmicks and songs, the narration and the photography carry the film to a stupendous level. Perhaps, unheard and unwatched among the Bollywood lovers, it takes an Indian story to the international cinema, which "Dil Se" fails to do.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

Neco z Alenky

A superb retelling of a classic children's tale
Well, I don't remember reading much of "Alice in Wonderland." So I had to rely on my 5-year-old daughter for the accuracy of the story, with whom I watched it last week. And I was surprised every bit of detail my daughter recited came the same in the film, which leaves me with no doubt on its adaptation. Well, I do have opinion on its technicalities.

Unique and mind blowing are what I have for the technicalities. The stop motion animation and the primitive blocks and dolls used for the props just stun you. Perhaps superior and scary to Tim Burton's animations 'Corpse Bride" or "The Nightmare before Christmas," I just recommend it to go for it to appreciate the sense of film-making the makers go for it or simply to recall the story you may have read in your childhood.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4


A joyous family entertainer
A Sikh uncle tries to get his twin nephews married to their sweethearts against all the odds and last minute confusions. Perhaps it sounds much like a plot burrowed from "Houseful" series. But believe me, it has its own style and leaves the crudeness of "Houseful" franchise and is built as a clean family entertainer. Well, it's not a work of originality or of a tremendous caliber; but it's still good in its way and grips till the end though the beginning seems a bit loose and gets a bit dragging in its second half. The real life uncle and nephew plays the same in the movie with Arjun Kapoor a bit adequate in his roles but Anil Kapoor steals the show. Go for it with less expectation, you won't be dissappointed.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

Blue Jasmine

A fine drama with a superlative performance of Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett plays a disturbed woman in this Woody Allen drama, who is broke in terms of money and relations and comes to seek refuge in her sister's apartment. Moving to and fro between the flashbacks and the present we see the downhill of the protagonist from an affluent life to her attempts to reconcile in present suffering anxiety disorders.

Apart from the background music and the city it depicts, the film is pretty different from the usual Woody Allenish dramas, we have seen. Instead of the confusion in the commitments of the protagonists which he portrays regularly, the drama dwells much into the mental illness, which is tremendously carried through the story and an Oscar worthy performance of Cate Blanchett. If it's Julianne Moore who portrayed mental dementia so well in "Still Alice," it's Cate Blanchett who steals the show in portraying anxiety disorder. Whenever she's there or Sally Hawkins on the screen, you find it hard not to get engrossed. Leave the superlative performances the film offers, the drama feels a bit incomplete and hard to keep with the moving flashbacks and the present. Overall, the performances rock but the drama is ok; but still it's worth your time.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4


A superb depiction of World War I but pretty unengaging.....
"1917" presents a day of World War I, when two British soldiers were sent to deliver a message traversing 6 miles along no man's land after the communication lines were cut to stop an attack, which can jeopardize the lives of 1600 soldiers in the battalion, including the brother of one of them. The story is based on the memoirs of Sam Mendes' grandfather who served in World War I.

Undoubtedly, it presents an excellent depiction of the wartime with the realistic trenches and the beautiful landscape with war seen as an aberration to the beautiful nature. The film is a superb work of cinematography and delivers the expectation from Sam Mendes. However, the story lacks the layers and feels a bit bland, which overall makes it an unengaging watch. Overall, the film is excellent in terms of the period details and cinematography, but the film overall lacks the grip and finer nuances in its narration, which holds the excitement.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

Marriage Story

Modern day "Kramer Vs. Kramer"
I've been a great admirer of family dramas; and still my mind is accustomed by the freshness of "Junebug," I watched recently. Well, "Marriage Story" delves into the lives of a couple on the verge of divorce and fighting in the court for the custody of their son. Pretty familiar from "Kramer Vs. Kramer," the story is portrayed in the modern lifestyle.

The greatest virtues of the film are the performances from the lead, Amy Driver in a very restrained and spontaneous role, and terrific Scarllet Johanson as a candid woman with a bit of attitude. The drama has a freshness and is moving despite a bit of its slow beginning. Despite its overall charm, the fight between the couple in the apartment is a bit overly done, screaming and banging for the Oscars what it overall seems. Following the films like "Kramer Vs. Kramer" and "The Squid and the Whale" (from the same director), this is another fine drama on marital discord, which I shall be watching again.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4


A very different war movie...
"Dunkirk" features a very different story of wartime. Instead of the heroic valor of soldiers fighting in the enemy line as seen in the majority of war movies, it portrays an evacuation of over 3,00,000 allied soldiers from the beaches and harbors of Dunkirk (northern France) during World War II. It reopens a less known chapter from history to a realistic level, which would certainly brush one's historic knowledge for further researches. With little dialogues and non-star cast, the film unravels the history through impeccable photography and background score. Just like the different perspectives used in the storytelling of "Memento" or the darkness of "Batman Begins," Christopher Nolan's perspective of narrating a war tale further epitomizes his storytelling which needs to be seen to be appreciated. For me, it has been one of the most different and moving war sagas following "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Thin Red Line."

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

Prem Deewane

Overfamiliar and mindless but entertaining
As soon as the film starts, it feels a B grade 90s production with all the usual stereotypes and improbabilities including the social barrier between the protagonists that don't allow the lovers to meet along the conspiracies of the villains. There is much of mindlessness throughout the film, which at the beginning you take it for stupidity, but as the reels go by you feel it's the signature style of the film which makes the film entertaining and you get glued to the edge of your seats.

There aren't things you haven't seen before in this film and the songs you won't mind skipping, but the whole film takes you to the wacky journey which by the end leaves you with a smile. Sachin, better known for his childish look as a hero, showcases his directorial talent in it which though not as polished is still hilarious to the style of Marx brothers' sitcoms.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4


A delightful family drama
No family is perfect. They have their set of problems, may be financial or the problems of keeping up with each other. We see such one family in this film when a newly married art dealer visits her husband's family to her in-laws to witness the differences between his unruly brother and perky pregnant sister-in-law. The drama doesn't claim to reconcile the relationships though we see a small hint in the ending, but it gushingly narrates the problems in the family to near perfection.

Overall, you are invited to spend some time in this family, as of real, like the protagonist of the film, Embeth Davidtz, which she plays perfectly along an impeccable performance of Amy Adams, who stands for perseverance needed to cope the surly husband. The film overall gives a new perspective to visualize the problems in a family, which stands true to most of us, and it gives a power to relate each one of us to the story of the film.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

A Star Is Born

A refreshing musical and melodrama
The fourth remake of the 1936 classic with the same title, "A Star Is Born" is a refreshing musical, that has won a tonnes of accolades lately including its inclusion in one of the highest grossing movies of all time and the critics' favorites of all time. Those high on emotions and melodramas will definitely opt for it. But more than the drama or the story, what matters most in this musical are its fabulous songs and tremendous performances of Brad Cooper, Lady Gaga, and Sam Elliot, all worthy of the Oscar nominations they were merited with. The screen songs shared by Lady Gaga and Brad Cooper are not to be missed.

Undoubtedly the film feels refreshing for the treatment it receives and is technically flawless. The beats have the right touch and characters get into the skin. But there are flaws which bar me to keep it into a classic of recent times. First of all, the film somehow lacks the engaging attribute and overall, the film packs all what we have seen before. Overall, it deserves a watch and attributes the singing and acting talent of Lady Gaga along Brad Cooper, who sets his acting talent following "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Sniper"

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4


An enjoyable socio cultural comedy
"Offside" is a witty and enjoyable social comedy from a prominent Iranian film-maker, Jafar Panahi, whose films were mostly banned from screening in Iran. It's the story of a group of soccer-loving teenage girls, who pass themselves as boys, to watch the qualifying match between Iran and Bahrain for the 2006 World Cup against the rule of the country that restricts the women from entering the stadium. The girls are caught and detained by police, yet their persistence to watch the match doesn't subside. The theme seems something serious in the beginning; but by the end, the film proves to be a joyful ride, with all celebrating the victory of Iran. The quirky moods of the teen characters and the jugaad they make are what make it a jovial watch yet presenting a satire to the sex based deprivation from the basic human rights.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4


A superb film on wild life....
"The Bear" takes you to the wild featuring the lush forests and tells the story in the perspective of a bear cub. The animal close ups and the pictuarization of the jungles are just too charming and no less to the national geographic documentaries. Without dialogues, just the animal noises, the story gets along and captivates you by the edge of the seats. Few scenes including the cub just tickle you and at times even can make you emotional. It's a treat for anyone who want to have a look at the bear's habitat to understand its conservation or can be a treat to younger children providing them with the feeling of visiting an animal sanctuary. The hunters look a bit old fashioned, but it's something you can ignore. Along the documentary "Grizzly Man," it's the second best feature capturing the wild life and habitat of bear.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

Bikur Ha-Tizmoret

A modest, charming, and amiable drama....
The film presents the story of an Egyptian band who have landed in Israel to perform at an Arab cultural centre, but are stranded in a remote town due to a wrong bus they take, leaving them to spend a night in the hostile community. It's modest but charming and amiable delving into the characters trying to mix into a community. Just watch till the very end when the band performs. It's a film you gonna love and remember. Narrated mainly in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, the film was withdrawn from the official selection to Oscars for the Best Film in a Foreign Language. It's a film one should watch to feel the power of storytelling through movies.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

Yi yi

A refreshing ride....
The last directorial work from Edward Yang, it manifests a refreshing account of a Taiwanese family amid a wedding ceremony to a funeral involving each member's grievances to troubled relationships and people around them. Shot in Taipei and Tokyo, the film goes for an inordinate length, but every frame feels refreshing and you never mind to take a nap and begin it again, similar to your favorite soap opera. The film takes place in a high end apartment of Taipei, a school, and the urbanscape of Tokyo. Whether a disturbed teenage girl or his eight year old boy troubled in school, their middle aged father with his failing firm along his old crush, the film captivates in its cool dissection of characters along the pleasures pouring throughout. One needs to watch it and admire it for themselves.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4


A family melodrama seting a remarkable direction from Yash Chopra....
Yash Chopra's second directorial venture is a family melodrama involving a Hindi and a Muslim family with their houses connected by a bridge, set during the revolutionary movement against the British rule in 1925 and 1947. The bridge stands a metaphor to the communal harmony between the Hindu and Muslims amid the partition of India - Pakistan and the hostility between them.

Though not successful commercially, the film sets a benchmark for a remarkable direction by Yash Chopra for making a notable film based on a literary work set in a historical milieu. The film is tautly narrated and well acted, yet few cast go uncredited, notably Ashok Kumar for a remarkable role as a benevolent Muslim, who is shot dead during the people's movement to burn the union jack. Besides, the film showcases the remarkable performances from Mala Sinha, Manmohan Krishna, along a promising debut in an adult role by Sashi Kapoor.

Amid its grip throughout, the film is interrupted by the numerous songs you ought to skip. Plus the disappointment is it sketches the story superficially only in the perspectives of Hindu extremists. It's a film worth watching for the remarkable direction and story that to some extent takes a departure from the ordinary cliches with some notable acting, but still it isn't a classic of a higher order to stand an epitome of time.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

Les quatre cents coups

Not a timeless classic as hyped but still good....
Watching "The Bicycle Thieves" earlier this year, the same expectation was made through this French classic as both had child artists in its center and both explored Europe in the post War era. "The 400 Blows" is on disturbed childhood which resorts to petty crimes following the indifference from the parents. It delves into child psychology and remains engaging for most of the time. It is highly structured in its narration with a nice flow maintained aside a beautiful portrayal of Paris streets it captures.

But overall it has its disappointments which gives reservations to place it in the position of "The Bicycle Thieves." First of all the film ends inconclusive. It raises some issues on childhood problems concerning the schools and families, which isn't resolved. The problems raised feel single dimensional and on its way fails to make a compelling watch though technically it feels flawless along few endearing performances to admire.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4


An endearing drama with winning performances.....
Based on a Pulitzer prize winning play of 1985, "Fences" is an endearing drama of a black working class man and the upheavals of his relationship with his wife and children. The film offers some excellent interludes of dialogues giving the essence of a play, powered by excellent performances of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, both nominated for the Oscars. Rather than on a plodding whole, the film impresses in instances like the emotional clashes between Denzel Washington with his son over quitting the job for joining football or the emotional outbursts of Viola Davis. The dialogues are pretty long, but these hold much of the attention. The biggest flaw of the film remains its pace and incoherence which fails to keep up the audiences unlike "Help" or "Moonlight."

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

The Theory of Everything

A Superb Biography of Stephen Hawking
"The Theory of Everything" chronicles the personal life of the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in his early age which left him paralyzed for rest of the life yet overwhelmed the world with his work. Rather than his scientific discoveries, the film is more on the personal/ family life of Stephen Hawking, based on the memoir written by his first wife. Jane Hawking, also a phd holder in literature, in her book "Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen."

The film is more on the perseverance of a wife on holding the family together pertaining to coping the disease which left her husband paralyzed aside raising her three children and carrying her own thesis. In a way the film inspires to battle against the normalcy of life. The film in its way stands an excellent reference work on a great personality. Although it feels a bit slow in its execution, it's a very well made film with excellent performances and a superb background score. People may best remember the film for the excellent portrayal of Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking, but Felicity Jones is no less in her role of Jane Hawking, from whose perspective we watch the film.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

Silver Linings Playbook

A warm and witty family drama....
Mental illness, apart autism, is seldom seen in the movies. And in the aspect the film portrays the mental disorder in normal characters which makes it a treat to satiate the emotion starved audiences. The film gives the warmth of reading a fiction novel at your couch and is further nuanced by the Oscar worthy performances from Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Di Niro, Jacki Weaver, and a short role of Anupam Kher as the psychiatrist.

The beginning is full of surprises with Bradley Cooper out of the mental hospital to his parents' house, after losing his wife, job, and a decent life. The character feels just close to life displaying the moods tantrums, who gets accompanied by Jennifer Lawrence, another character with mental disorders.

At the beginning the film just feels perfect with a raised bar for the surprises. But disappointingly, much is lost in the second half with reduced emotions and ease in the end. Jennifer Lawrence in her role is refreshing, but adjudging to the bar set by Hilary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry" and Julia Roberts in "Erin Brockovich," it is still not an Oscar worthy performance. Robert De Niro's role too finds not much relevance to gel the drama despite his flawless performance after "Meet the Parents". Regarding the story it's purely Brad Cooper's film with his obsession to meet his estranged wife throughout the entire drama till crossed by the aspiration of a mentally disturbed widow. However, concerning a warm and witty family drama, it's still welcome in its genre.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4


A delightful watch....
If movies be a relief from the humdrum life or a medium to regain a new perspective to life, there is a lot to admire in this European film on a group of families living together in a cramped space under unusual conditions. Apart the damaged people and families, the film provides the perspective to living together and apart, which vividly fills with a delight and wit. There are little sets with the photography which seems not more than a hand held camera, a kind of technique used in "Dogville" and "Dancer in the Dark" in the following years yet the power of storytelling is mesmerizing with the space given to the characters to grow and repent, which overall provides the pleasure of reading a novel through its superb narrative.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4


A twisted thriller with moments of surprise but feels pretty primitive
"Uljhan" is a twisted thriller with its protagonist disfigured in an accident and suffering amnesia, trying to unravel his identity and past life. The story has enough of twists and elements of surprise to hold you to your seats; and perhaps a very polished thriller of "Insomnia" caliber could have been spun out of it. But the film remains a let down for its primitive treatment. The delays in its making give it a dated feel with an unappealing cast, who had pretty much disappeared from the mainstream by the time the film released. Besides, the poor characterisation remains another debacle in its execution; at lease the roles of Shakti Kapoor and Rakesh Bedi are much boring. The same dubbing voices given to the child artists along Puru Rajkumar and Vivek Mushran in another shortcoming. Out of the odds, Puru Rajkumar shines a bit in his role.

Rating: 1 star out of 4

Safar e Ghandehar

A Harrowing and Compelling Experience to a Treacherous Journey
If movies be a book you turn to learn a world you haven't seen, "Kandahar" is one of them. A banished Afghan girl from Canada makes a treacherous journey to Afganisthan from the Iranian border exposing herself to the risks of encountering mines, robbers, and militants meeting people, tribes, Red Cross officials to get herself moving to the journey to Kandahar. It gives a vivid and harrowing account to the survival amid the war torn land and values existence affords. Shot and narrated with a documentary feel, it depicts a veracious milieu to cinematic brilliance though it feels it leaves much unexplained in the end with one carving more to happen.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

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