Perhaps, the best war drama ever made on running-tracks.
The Train (1964) :
Brief Review -
Perhaps, the best war drama ever made on running-tracks. I tried to remember how many train-films have i seen till date which have stayed in my memory. BR Chopra's dramatic 'The Burning Train' and Satyajit Ray's "Nayak' (which didn't have the train playing any role in the narrative expect that the people are traveling in it), or some heist drama like 'The Italian Job'.. No, i don't think any film is as great as this one. The Train has a difficult heist/train stopping attempt as the main plot powered by hardcore patriotism kept for the art, culture and pride of the country. This idea was something i guess. The protagonist even say, 100s of mens were in it, many were killed and many will be killed but do you know what's in the train? Paintings. Crazy, isn't it? That's where the film has USP factor. Set in August 1944, it sets French Resistance-member Paul Labiche (Lancaster) against German Colonel Franz von Waldheim (Scofield), who is attempting to move stolen art masterpieces by train to Germany. Inspiration for the scenes of the train's interception came from the real-life events surrounding train No. 40,044 as it was seized and examined by Lt. Alexandre Rosenberg of the Free French forces outside Paris. Fine performance, great storyline, powerful sentiments about the country, settled characters, thrill, drama etc. What this film hasn't got? What more can you ask from a film made in 60s? John Frankenheimer had another superb Movie 'Seven Days In May' in the same year but 'The Train' is Better in my opinion. The main reasons are, it is compelling, more human driven, more matured about knowing its context. There's no useless Romance, friendship lectures, melodrama or any sort of elements that can leave any lose ends. It's engrossing and sticked to its storyline from the start to the end. In short, a Classic!
Another attempt to create one narrative out of parallel stories fells short to its ancestor- Oscar Winning Classic 'Grand Hotel'.
Separate Tables (1958) :
Brief Review -
Another attempt to create one narrative out of parallel stories fells short to its ancestor- Oscar Winning Classic 'Grand Hotel'. There is a Landmark film in every genre, every theme, every joint genre and when it comes to human drama or human character study through parallel/unknown characters gathered at one place, i believe that 'Grand Hotel' (1932) is marginally ahead among all movies. Not just because it was a genre-defining film which came too early than expected but because the storytelling was so excellent that no other films could match it later. It's been 9 decades now and i am yet to see a better Human Drama of such pattern and kindly note that i am not counting Anthologies as they had much advanced formula generated later and different styles of filmmaking. Seperate Tables is nothing but just another attempt to reorganize the same formula created by Grand Hotel but despite being made after 26 years, it fells short to achieve the high point of quality cinema. The stories of several people are told as they stay at a seaside hotel in Bournemouth which features dining at "Separate Tables." Expectedly, everyone out there has problems (although everybody looks normal at the beginning), and all are damn too predictable. I don't understand that whether or not the writers of this film knew that using Love Story, Love Triangle, Phobia, Loneliness Anger, Jealousy, High Status Ego etc. Was too mainstream by late 50s. Didn't they have anything new to say? Look at the stories, none of them had soul and that connect which can hit the right chords. After a while i didn't even care what would happen at the end, however, after introductions scenes i knew exactly what would happen to them. Why so dry? Overall, it's watchable for good performances and decent storyline but don't expect too much or even good enough.
One of its Kind Indoor War Classic before Dr. Strangelove. Fail Safe is a thriller that will take you into Pressure Cooker Zone to feel the real tension.
Fail Safe (1964) :
Brief Review -
One of its Kind Indoor War Classic before Dr. Strangelove. Fail Safe is a thriller that will take you into Pressure Cooker Zone to feel the real tension. War classics were often made but usually most of the films focused outdoor scenics such as Battlefield, Civilians problems and explosions. There was one satire like 'Dr. Strangelove : how i learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb' (1964) by Stanley Kubrick which was set majorly inside the doors and made us think about the War and Bomb with conversational arguments. Well, I was counting that film as one of its kind and first one to make an Indoor War Classic but Today i think i will change my views and give that honour to Fail Safe. This movie has 90% indoor scenes and hardly 10% outdoor battle scenes that too half covered with the electronic properties. Fail Safe is a Cold War thriller film which portrays a fictional account of a nuclear crisis caused by mechanical issues. It displays the consequences of future war and how security services and politicians (president mostly) deals with the situation with a Big burden on their head. They have to take some decisions against the country and their patriotism only for the sake of peace and betterment of the humanity. I was literally feeling the tension created out there and was shivering just like those army officers. The changes in voice notes, expressions, strain level, madness and what not, everything in the film is highly atmospheric and gripping. Performance of the actors makes it even more effective and real. I have loved Sidney Lumet's Masterpiece '12 Angry Men' (1957), another indoor Film, but with Fail Safe he attempted a new thing in War Genre and i don't really remember any film in last 6 decades which has matched Fail Safe and Dr. Stengelove as an Indoor War Classic. A big salute to the entire team some new and mind-blowing experience.
Another old hollywood noir which proved that no matter how many films you made on Double-Cross theme, you just can't match "Double Indemnity".
Criss Cross (1949) :
Brief Review -
Another old hollywood noir which proved that no matter how many films you made on Double-Cross theme, you just can't match "Double Indemnity". Had this film made 5 years before, i would have praised the efforts of the team but i don't know why every film made after Billy Wilder's 'Double Indemnity' (1944) starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck on this double-cross theme feels underwhelming to me. It wasn't like that these films were bad but it is just that you don't have that satisfaction seeing the same subject being handled with lose ends. Whether it was 'Out Of The Past' (1947), 'Postman Always Rings Twice' (1946) or this film in 1949, this femme fatale and double cross formula never looked perfect. Of course, there were some things that were noticeable and had its own magic that can be enjoyed once but Wilder's 'Double Indemnity' was just way ahead and far greater than any other film made in this genre. Not just the script but Performances, direction and that storytelling is never matched by any film till date ie. 2021. I have seen many films made with the same subjects in Hollywood and Bollywood and couple of direct remakes but none powered the filmmaking of that level. Criss Cross is still a very intresting film in that sense but the female fisco here is too high which makes the protagonist look dumb. His craze for the lady and the idea for making it up is not at all intellegent in any way. Mostly we see Cops being dumb and hero being clever but here the cop is more intelligent than him who figures everything out so well. Thanks to the full ending segment in the climax that made things look plausible but rest of the show is strictly passable. Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo and Dan Duryea are decent and Robert Siodmak's direction is quite good. Overall, it's watchable and but nothing great.
A regular prison drama with new shades in Crime Noir Genre.
Brute Force (1947) :
Brief Review -
A regular prison drama with new shades in Crime Noir Genre. Prison dramas and escape dramas were made even before and after this film. There was an early Classic like 'I am a Fugitive From A Chain Gang' and French Classic like 'La Grande Illusion' in 30s to establish this sub-genre/theme. By 40s, this thing became normal and people started predicting with higher rate of accuracy. Brute Force was another attempt of Prison Drama with a sub-plot of escape, which, we somehow predict wouldn't be successful even before it happens there in the film. At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard and attempts an escape that hasn't been successful yet by others. That stool pigeon stuff was too common to see and i was actually expecting a twist like Hitchcock movies in the ending portion. But it didn't come and i was left somewhat dry there. Nevertheless, this film had other things to please me such as new shades of Noir theme in a crime drama genre. 'Nobody escapes. Nobody ever really escapes" as he says, it's a big though you know. For the Warden's characters, there are two shades. One is his dedicated life to the prison and the other one is oppressed employee who can't help being cruel at times. As you see a dame in the poster, let me tell you it's useless. How many minutes the girls have in the film? Hardly 1 minute each to 3 girls and that too as backdrop. It didn't make much sense out of it but we know every crime film liked to have a female touch, so let it be forgiven. I don't see what improvements could have been done here because it felt fine at all the aspects from performance to screenplay to writing to dialogues to direction. There wasn't anything less but it wasn't too much either and may be that's why it didn't feel overwhelming. But greatly effective on its level.
Experimental and Art Cinema at its Best! Japanese Cinema and Kaneto Shindo should be Proud for making this Masterpiece for next 100 years at least.
Hadaka No Shima / The Naked Island (1960) :
Brief Review -
Experimental and Art Cinema at its Best! Japanese Cinema and Kaneto Shindo should be Proud for making this Masterpiece for next 100 years at least. Have you ever felt like watching a pure cinema with no concession to commercial elements? If yes then make sure you must see this film before you die. The fans of Experimental and Art cinema can watch this film and die next day and still they would feel blessed. Hadaka No Shima is a pure art cinema into experimental storytelling which talks through the images and background sound, not dialogues or conversation. The 96 minutes version i saw had Subtitles of commentatory and i would strongly recommend you to watch the same version because watching a silent film might bore you but this commentatory makes it not just interesting but meaningful and explainable. The subtle meaning you miss while the film runs, you get the explanation for it through that commentatory. There's not a single scene without meaning. Even slow walks and daily activities of the characters have profound designing and subtle thought process of the filmmaker. When he says, i used the same music again or here I wanted wind and waves to sound natural or the sunset and even there's an explanation for why the film is made in Black-and-white. It says, the colourful scenary might have diverted your sight from the main objects and the subjective meaning of the characters and artistic storytelling finds it accurate version without colours only. Shindo deliberately made the actors carry heavily-loaded buckets of water so that the yokes they were using would be seen to bend, symbolizing the harshness of their lives. Everything looked so effective and mind-blowing on screen. That ending frame when he shows the full image of Island finally and the we see 'The End'. Outstanding! The life, their struggle, hardwork, activities, happiness, sadness, intensity everything is natural and someone who understands art cinema can notice small small nuances in every single frame. In one word, MASTERPIECE!
A contrary to propaganda films and that too in Political and Defence services mess, hell man you need guts to make a film like that.
Seven Days In May (1964) :
Brief Review -
A contrary to propaganda films and that too in Political and Defence services mess, hell man you need guts to make a film like that. There are pacifist and there are extremist and this battle between their thinking being correct at their sides is a never ending one. Every country and its political halls have had several issues, quarrels and even mutinies sometimes over it but while making a film on it you must realise that it could create some serious mess. Well, Seven Days In May didn't create any mess, instead it handles both the sides peace and war very smartly and sensitively. The film is about a military-political cabal's planned takeover of the United States government in reaction to the president's negotiation of a disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. Can you believe it, a military man against the president of the country and for valid reasons. On the other side, the president has his sober thoughts about constitution and is following it honestly. Maybe, this conflict makes it interesting. As we know, the security services are the reason why we all live peacefully inside the country while politicians sit in their AC hall rooms. They deserve better and this film shows that wild patriotism of the military man and even though he chooses to crush constitution for it, we still find him honest. However, at the end we have to surrender before the democracy and the constitution and yes we might just agree even if you are not a pacifist. Every actor in the film is good. Some characters were useless actually such as Ava Gardner, i don't see how she fits in the narrative but just because every film should have a Dame, this one too has it. Excluding such flaws there's nothing wrong about the film and it's definitely recommendable. For the concept, it's strongly recommended.
Clark Gable and Doris Day's romantic chemistry uplifts this journalist comedy which doesn't seems to be sure about its own existence.
Teacher's Pet (1958) :
Brief Review -
Clark Gable and Doris Day's romantic chemistry uplifts this journalist comedy which doesn't seems to be sure about its own existence. Teacher's Pet has some fans even today on social media and i heard about the film from them only. Gable and Doris's names were attached so, i don't i would have ever showed interest in watching it otherwise. Well, it's a good rom-com but it's not flawless. It has its moments that you can enjoy and it also has its flaws because there's nothing new about the romance and the comedy. Yes, i agree that the journalism and education debates were fresh and interesting but the film didn't seem to focusing uncompromisingly on it. It fears to make solid speeches about it and at one occasion it even surrenders to the commercialisation of the newspapers. Well, that was not a hidden fact then and it is not the one even today so i don't know why the film went diplomatic about it. The story revolves A hard-nosed newspaper who believes that experience is the only teacher you should have in the life and education is not that important. He poses as a night school student in order to woo a journalism teacher who cannot stand him and later they fall in Love. Teacher's Pet has a great Balance of both the sides of journalism negative and positive. Many films failed to keep this balance while dealing with ant social topic. But while doing so, it takes longer then expected hence, it feels little slow. The same film withing 100 minutes would have been much better in my opinion. Those 20 minutes were pretty boring and that's the reason why i am cutting a half mark in my rating. There are few scenes which looks absolutely thoughtful while some are too dumb and forceful. But overall, it's a good one with lovely chemistry of the lead pair and George Seaton's fine direction that can't be blamed much.
Haven't seen any film before that has been so brutal, vulgar and hard-hitting about horrors of war, sexual desire and the conflicts of sinful human conscience.
Onibaba / Demon Hag (1964) :
Brief Review -
Haven't seen any film before that has been so brutal, vulgar and hard-hitting about horrors of war, sexual desire and the conflicts of sinful human conscience. This is my first film of Kaneto Shindo and i am gonna watch more movies of him after this. I had heard about Shindo but didn't watch his films cause i wanted to watch his films after finishing other japanese filmmakers' movies such as Yasujiro, Kurosawa and Kobayashi. My first film of Shindo and he has left me totally stunned. Onibaba is set during a civil war in the fourteenth century. Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura play two women who kill soldiers to steal their possessions, and Kei Sato plays the man who ultimately comes between them. Kei and Jitsuko begin a sexual affair and Nobuko feels that she might leave her alone helpless in old age. So, Nobuko frightenes her with a demon story and punishment about her sins and then begins a conflict between human conscience and selfishness. While doing so, Kaneto Shindo makes sure that every scene gets utter realistic treatment. Not a single frame goes without completing accurate nuances of the context. Whether it is brutality of war horrors like killing men for own survival or sexual desire of a widow with hardcore vulgarity and extreme level of nudity, everything will leave you wondering that how did he Shindo manage this kind of presentation in 60s decade. Watch out for the performances of all three leading actors. All three are fabulous with their roles. I don't remember any film using horror elements with such a philosophical touch. How intellectual the narrative is. This extremely amazing Classic by Kaneto Shindo is as great as any best Japanese film you name from the 60s decade, be it any Kurosawa or Kobayashi film. Easily, among the Top 10 Japanese Films of decade and arguably in Top 5. DO NOT MISS!
Dear Video Game Lovers, Here's your BLOCKBUSTER ENTERTAINER! Just pack in your video game for two hours and "Don't Have a Good Time, Have A Great Time!"
Free Guy (2021) :
Brief Review -
Dear Video Game Lovers, Here's your BLOCKBUSTER ENTERTAINER! Just pack in your video game for two hours and "Don't Have a Good Time, Have A Great Time!" I didn't expect this film to be so good, i mean this good that i never imagined i would be screaming in and out while writing this brief review. I am literally having a laugh and excitement right now when i eagerly want to recommend this Fun-tastic ride to you, to kids, to adults i mean everyone. A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game. Yet, he has feeling because he's the first of its kind an Artificial intelligence game player. This connects emotions of viewers and love story to the real world and there's commercial scam to provide the negative side to fight off. Loved this idea and more than that i enjoyed the humour and spoofs of popular movie characters. That climax scene, the muscular replica, then Captain America's Shield and we see Chris Steven exclaiming, "What is that?" Too much fun. Thank god they didn't show Harrison Ford or Mark Hamill for that Star Wars spoof. There's much more apart from this but i don't wanna spoil your experience so watch it for yourself. Ryan Reynolds is funny, creamy and lovable as the lead character 'Guy'. I kinda liked this name too, 'Guy'.. Who are you? I am Guy. Still a 'Guy', he says. That's some brainstorming by the writer. Jodie Comer looks glamourous as Molotov, and as Millie too she's decent. Joe Kerry brings a much needed intelligent character while Taika Waititi gets you busy with the slapstick gags. Director Shawn Levy has got everything right as far as you're looking at it as an entertainer and believe me there's nothing wrong about it. It's a great popcorn flick and if you are a Video Game lover then it's even better. A special mention to the writer and screenwriter and before sign off, let me remind you that, "Don't Have A Good Day, Have a Great Day".
The most beautiful visual spectacle ever created by Denis Villeneuve. A splendid narrative is little hurt by slow pace but is still worth watching.
Dune (2021) :
Brief Review -
The most beautiful visual spectacle ever created by Denis Villeneuve. A splendid narrative is little hurt by slow pace but is still worth watching. Dune is feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy. It covers only half of it and takes 150 minutes for it which makes it often boring and it's little complicated too for mass lovers. But the same loss is recovered by the spectacular visuals which shows us an unimaginable future world. Set mostly in desert, the film has almost every single property looking new in sci-fi genre, and that fictional imagination of the visuals deserves credit for thinking out of the box. Not just that but the cinematic experience is excellent too. Look at the background music and how turns a simple scene look thrilling almost every single time. Dune has a big cast so it's unfair to name just few names here but yes everyone does their best with the characters they are portraying. If that's not enough then watch out for the costume designing of every character followed by brilliant VFX work and innovative action sequences. The action is less and not hard-core in that sense because as we know the film isn't a superhero flick. Yet, it fetches your attention with that ideation about the results of the action scenes. One has to think what would happen rather than thinking what's happening. That's some fun you know. However, i won't deny the fact that Dune is terribly slow in the first half with no proper conclusions about setting the plot. Thankfully, the second half comes as an improvement and even though we don't get to see a full stop at the end, it leaves us excited for the part two. Overall, another Worth Watching Villeneuve flick but please don't overhype it as if it is too great and Nothing like we haven't seen yet.
A glorious submarine war classic before Popular German Classic 'Das Boot' (1981) that brought two of the greatest on screen legends together.
Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) :
Brief Review -
A glorious submarine war classic before Popular German Classic 'Das Boot' (1981) that brought two of the greatest on screen legends together. I imagined if i was about 30 in 1958 and had seen this film in theatres, what would have been my reaction? Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster together? Here's my 100 bucks. And here's 100 more for delivering a brilliant glorifying war classic and that too with the theme like submarine which had not seen any classic by then and even today there are hardly few films as classics to be known. And i might have bet 100 more for Robert Wise who has delivered some of my favourite classics in his career but I would have had second thoughts considering his inconsistency. Well, Run Silent, Run Deep is based on the 1955 novel of the same name by Commander (later Captain) Edward L. Beach Jr. The story revolves around a U. S. sub commander who is obsessed with sinking a certain Japanese ship, butts heads with his first officer and crew. It reminded me of Humphrey Bogart starrer 'The Caine Mutiny' (1954) for a while, i mean in the begining but then it didn't take more than 10 minutes to realise that it was something totally different. That mutiny thing was here too but for a glorious battle, not like the former film named which was about human conscience falling apart. Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster are too good in their roles. Gable wasn't young then so we had to spare seeing those wrinkles but i was happy to see him playing the role which suited his age unlike 'The Misfits' (1961). For Lancaster, it was tailor made role as it suited that intense looks and attitude of his. Wise has kept it sticked to the context throughout. There are no useless moments like Romance, teary Segments or anything. The grip this film has is totally amazing as the atmospheric airing bounds together with brilliant filmmaking skills of the director. Robert Wise, man.. i salute you for this one.
If it makes you feel better, Well, it didn't to me at least. Rather a blue dust skippable extramarital affair even though i liked Clark Gable & Jean Harlow nailing their parts
Red Dust (1932) :
Brief Review -
'If it makes you feel better' Well, it didn't to me at least. Rather a blue dust skippable extramarital affair even though i liked Clark Gable & Jean Harlow nailing their parts. I don't know what's wrong about some Hollywood films having extramarital affair or love-triangle as the centre theme. Such affairs happens so quickly as if marriage had no value at all. A man or a woman just wouldn't think about his or her faithful wife or husband while getting involved with somebody else. Where the heck loyalty and ethics are drown then? There were many film in 30s and 40s which had the same silly love angle and i have bashed almost every single film right from Gone With The Wind to The Philadelphia Story and many other movies. So, Red Dust is nothing different but the same crap writing coming with a noble thought at the end which didn't 'make me feel better', as they quote. Gable plays the owner of a rubber plantation who meets a prostitute played by blonde Harlow one night and have intimacy. She takes it as true love sort of thing but then Next day Gable gets attracted to a decent lady who happens to be a wife of one of his employee. The wife, who loves her husband gets involved with Gable and both even decide to run away from the rotten town. At last a rotten soul turn noble.. wow claps! Gable and Astor's characters didn't make sense to me at all. Don't see how all of sudden they even thought about this relationship while on the other side, Harlow, who plays a dirty dame made much more sense than expected. Gable and Harlow both made this film somewhat watchable to me otherwise i would felt like wasting 85 minutes of my life. That i feel even now because i could have easily watched any other better film in the meantime. Well, no more bashing so overall it's strictly average film and that's because of the crap writing otherwise performances are delightful.
"You're a Fool, for which I'm grateful." Thanks to this Sweet Film for giving this Insanely Philosophical Quote in Love-triangle.
Wife Vs Secretary (1936) :
Brief Review -
"You're a Fool, for which I'm grateful." Thanks to this Sweet Film for giving this Insanely Philosophical Quote in Love-triangle. I am not sure whether I'm gonna remember this film or this story for a long time, but i am surely gonna remember coulple of quotes. I might just not forget the story too because this is an old-school formula which is hard to forget. The same old story (I'm not sure of it was old for 1936)- A happily married Husband-wife's relationship gets disturbed once the faithful wife starts suspecting her husband's professional relationship with a gorgeous secretary. It is a sweet little film but with some big philosophical words and couple of scenes are damn too good. So, as we know this suspicious nature of wife isn't anything innovative but this film is extremely faithful about it and the characters of it. First, it has cute chemistry between husband and wife. Loved Gable-Loy totally. Two, it shows professional friendship of company owner and his secretary without crossing the limit. Towards the end i suspected that it might just spoil ethical values when Gable looks at Harlow with that look in hotel room but then suddenly he comes to himself when he learns that his wife has just called and hung up. Three, there is another love story of that secretary and even her boyfriend is suspecting about the same. At the end he goes on saying on the finest quotes of 30s decade, "Don't look for trouble where there isn't any. Because if you don't find it, you'll make it." Kisses to James Stewart for that dialogue delivery. Fourth and the last, the insanely philosophical confrontation between wife and secretary. Just a 2 minute scene which shows that even the secretary has a secret crush but her Boss was a one-woman-man. She says to wife, "You're a Fool, for which I'm grateful." And for me, the job was done here. Don't miss it if you're looking for a good fun+romance+drama.
One of the Finest and Most Exclusive Rom-Com from Hollywood's Pre-Code era.
One Way Passage (1932) :
Brief Review -
One of the Finest and Most Exclusive Rom-Com from Hollywood's Pre-Code era. In early 30s when Talkies had just begun, Hollywood was relying mostly on genre-defining films. It's not like that they were all truly new and innovative but just that they would give an advanced talkie strength to the silent classics. Romance is one such genre where dialogues make a solid different and from early 30s i don't remember many films being serious yet entertaining about this genre. The best i remember is Oscar winning 'Grand Hotel', which still had lots of other things than tragic romance. So, Rom-com was hardly explored genre except for couple of Musicals then, and later we got 'It Happened One Night' (1934) which went on to set a landmark for Rom-com genre and is still unmatched. One Way Passage came two years before that and in the same year of Grand Hotel, so, i think one has to keep that in mind while reviewing it. I feel, this was possibly the best writing piece Hollywood could have got in Pre-code era for a Romantic film which mixes comedy and drama in it. I am calling it a rom-com for a better recognition because i don't know any other word for a film which has Con-factor involved in Love Story. A terminally ill woman and a debonair murderer facing execution meet and fall in love on a trans-Pacific crossing, each without knowing the other's secret. That's not it, there are three supporting characters playing important parts and two of them even make a new, interesting Love-Story out of it. That was something new i guess for any film by 1932 and maybe that's why i enjoyed it a lot. There's is fun, there's romance, there's drama, there's bit of emotions and there's some a con-a cop spice added to it which is surely enjoyable. Screenplay, story, performances and direction everything fits perfectly within a short runtime to deliver a highly watchable movie.
A Mind-Staggering Presentation of Yet Another Chapter from Russian History by Master Sergei Eisenstein.
Ivan Groznyy / Ivan The Terrible Part 1 (1944) :
Brief Review -
A Mind-Staggering Presentation of Yet Another Chapter from Russian History by Master Sergei Eisenstein. Whoever seen Sergei Eisenstein's earlier flicks, especially the films from 20s decades would know that what kind of hard-hitting presentation he gives to Historical tales. Whether it is 'Strike' (1925) or 'Battleship Potemkin' (1925) or 'October' (1928), he has never feared to show the brutality of the events even if those were highly provocative and controversial. If you are planning to watch Ivan Groznyy both parts then you should watch those three classics first, not only because those are better films but mainly because you should know what kind of filmmaking Eisenstein followed. Ivan Groznyy is a biopic of Ivan IV of Russia. During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people. The film is about 100 minutes long so it's pacy in that sense but it doesn't have that much dialogues and action. There are many long scenes just to complete small events and it might bore you for a short time but if you know Eisenstein's pattern then you will find it interesting. The way he narrates the story, that framework, close ups, realistic action, intense atmosphere and what not. It's a complete package for Sergei Eisenstein fans. The film even has few controversial scenes and i am not gonna get into arguments about Russian History because i don't know much but like I said, this shows an uncompromised vision of the director. You might forget the actors, the story or the film after a while but you just can't forget the sublime storytelling of Sergei Eisenstein. That's what this film is all about. This may not be that great as those three classics but it is very close and that's more than enough to recommend it.
A superbly crafted coming-of-age drama that describes two different phases of Maturity.
Wake Up Sid (2009) :
Brief Review -
A superbly crafted coming-of-age drama that describes two different phases of Maturity. Wake Up Sid written and directed by Ayan Mukerji may not please audience of a certain matured age (35+ i mean) because it does not really have that sort of intellectual tonic but it is simply unmissable and irresistable life-lesson for youth audience who are still climbing up the ladder of becoming matured, especially the backbenchers. You know from teenager to youth and from youth to manhood, there is only a small gap of 4-5 years but for some people it takes a decade to cross these phases of life. Wake Up Sid is the same old formula of a spoilt boy turning into a matured and responsible man. Hollywood Classic 'Captain Courageous' (1937) started this formula way back in 30s where a spoilt rich and naughty child learns the discipline from a wild, poor man. This same formula has been used in so many films that i can't even count easily. In Bollywood, there was a masterpiece like 'Jagriti' (1954) with the same formula blended with education system and just like that many other films added something of their own by keeping the same idea at centre. Wake Up Sid used the same formula for youthful drama but the film is highly driven according to taste of multiplex audience. That urban touch took away the simplicity and wide appeal but whatever it has to say, it's awfully enough for the projected audience. There are some flaws here and there and it's little long because of songs but thankfully every single song in this film is gonna get you grooving. With this film, i can say, Ranbir got his first ever variable and matured role. Later, he did Barfi and Sanju that cemented his matured acting skills forever. Konkona is as always superb and the supporting cast is good. Undoubtedly, this is Ayan's Best Work and best Writing till date but he couldn't help adding that Dharma's Glamourous Touch which harmed the soul of the script. Overall, Very Good.
Ranbir's First-ever Knockout Skipper role in YRF's attempted drama to clean the dust from the Corporate Desks.
Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year (2009) :
Brief Review -
Ranbir's First-ever Knockout Skipper role in YRF's attempted drama to clean the dust from the Corporate Desks. Bollywood hasn't seen many films made on Corporate world so Rocket Singh has to be called the early biggie in this category. Of course, it was a YRF production and Shimit Amin who had previously delivered a Classic like 'Chak De India', both were helming it together so it has to be big. Ranbir, on the other side, was coming after mediocre or at best say decent films like Saanwariya, Bachna Ae Haseeno and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. His best by role by that time was certainly 'Wake Up Sid' which released the same year but there also he played the same cheeky cute guy. So, Rocket Singh has to be his first ever Knockout Skipper role where he looks like a leader and leads the entire film all the way on his own shoulder. The reasons are very plausible that because this film doesn't have that typical Romance, Friendship and Family drama which usually eats up a lot of screen space. It is entirely set in 'A Corporate Office' and so whatever Ranbir had to play and others had to play was all about what would they do as employees/partners out there. It isn't hidden fact that evey corporate field is about corruption, manipulation and fake promises and it is not gonna change ever, doesn't matter how hard YRF tried to clean the dust here. And no matter how many people even took it seriously. The film might have gone wrong with some theories but it has got rest of them done right. More than the average piece of writing, this film is about honest Performances, corporate humour and Amin's beautiful direction. The writing may look predictable and quite ordinary in the second half but there's not a single dull frame where Amin has compromised with his work. Overall, a nice attempt but could have been better.
Yet another significant samurai action classic by Toshiro Mifune-Akira Kurosawa duo serves a great sequel to their previous Classic 'Yojimbo'.
Tsubaki Sanjuo / Sanjuro (1962) :
Brief Review -
Yet another significant samurai action classic by Toshiro Mifune-Akira Kurosawa duo serves a great sequel to their previous Classic 'Yojimbo'. When i saw Yojimbo i was surprised that Kurosawa can be so brilliant in Action Genre too. His earlier classics weren't that much action-oriented but still his grasp over the genre alongside period drama set-up was so well that the film went on to become a timeless flick. Yojimbo even saw an unofficial remake, 'A Fistful Of Dollars' (1964), which is also one of the highest rated film at IMDb. Well, Kurosawa's original version was better but the remake gained its own merits for defining 'Spaghetti Western' genre. Anyways, Yojimbo proved that even simple action films can be turned into magnificent cinema and Kurosawa deservingly took away all the credit of it. Next year he brought a sequel called Sanjuro just to prove the same thing again and that too by making it look like a sequel when the entire story is set in different ways. A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen trying to save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent. Originally an adaptation of the Shugoro Yamamoto novel Hibi Heian, the script was altered to incorporate the lead character of the predecessor. This one is shorter than Yojimbo and has few extra twists and Kurosawa even goes for an open ending by serving the moral values of true samurai in respectable manners. Toshiro Mifune as a Ronin is fancy and more clever. That metaphorical quote of 'Best Sword' which is used in the film to describe his character is extremely thoughtful. Nobody would have thought that the Sequel to a Classic like Yojimbo could be fetched so early and easily but Master Akira Kurosawa took this tough challenge and completed it a Like A Boss! Overall, highly recommendable to others and a Must Must Watch for Kurosawa and Mifune Fans.
A lame child born to Cult Classic 'It Happened One Night' a decade later and I Know What I'm Writing
I Know Where I'm Going (1945) :
Brief Review -
A lame child born to Cult Classic 'It Happened One Night' a decade later and I Know What I'm Writing. Frank Capra's timeless It Happened One Night is my Favourite Rom-Com of ALL TIME (although it Not known as a Rom-com but a Screwball Rom-Comedy) and i will not argue with anybody about this. If anyone who doesn't agree with it, he/she must stop reading this review right here. So, let's see the similaraties. A woman is off to some place, away from home to marry someone she loves (that's what i assume), but during the travelling period she falls in love with a man who accompanies her for few days. I Know Where I'm Going has the same plot with few changes here and there and not a single change is comparable to even half of It Happened One Night. A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts. Here we have a greedy girl and there we had Claudette Colbert playing a rich girl. What goes wrong here then? First, the comedy is totally banal. Two, the humour is missing. Three, the sensibile romance is missing. There we see Clarke Gable not talking any advantage of the girl and here we see Roger Livesey being touchy to the girl when he already knows that she is engaged. And the girl tries to keep distance from him showing some laughable psychic changes and yet she doesn't ask him to stop clearly because somewhere she is also fighting with her own conscience. That curse segment, what the hell that was? I mean, how the hell it was related to the context? I didn't understand it at all. So, there is hardly anything sensible in the writing but somehow pacy screenplay and decent performances of Livesey, Hiller and Pamela Brown makes it okayish. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger have made an average that can be beared once but 7.5/10 at IMDb? Highly Overrated!
A well made marathon journey of a Chinese Farmer and his struggle, survival, success and self-interpretation powered by amazing performances of Paul Muni and Luise Rainer.
The Good Earth (1937) :
Brief Review -
A well made marathon journey of a Chinese Farmer and his struggle, survival, success and self-interpretation powered by amazing performances of Paul Muni and Luise Rainer. The Good Earth is a very dramatic film if you look at its period and how it derives the different phases. While covering a marathon life of a Chinese farmer it speaks a lot about The Land/The Earth without saying much like long speeches or monologues. It shows the struggle of a Chinese farmer, who in his young days, was a hard-working man. He marries a slave who remains loyal to him and makes the best wife he could have had. Both of them fight off tough situations and almost waves off death in the worst period like Famine and China's Republican Battle. These two scenes are lined-up just as i have written and those 20-25 minutes in the film are terribly heartbreaking. Especially that riot scene when people declares China as a Republican Nation and goes on looting and berserk losing humanity for the sake of hunger. The couple survives this debacle and does well but then success gets into his head and he loses his morality only to find himself guilty later. Then, there is a visually spectacular climax shot on grand scale. The best thing about this predictable drama/family drama is the fabulous performances of the lead pair Paul Muni and Luise Rainer. Paul is almost unrecognisable in the beginning and i even mistook him for Yul Brynner. His English accent as a local Chinese farmer sounded so cute and his get-up was accurately made. Rainer has less dialogues but she speaks through her expressions and whatever she does is just outstanding. Overall director Sidney Franklin alongwith uncredited Victor Fleming and Gustav Machatý has made a very fine and compelling drama. It's a great watch for Muni Fans and good for others.
A devotional and religiously believable classic inspired by true events on the life Bernadette Soubirous that shall live for 1000 years.
The Song Of Bernadette (1943) :
Brief Review -
A devotional and religiously believable classic inspired by true events on the life Bernadette Soubirous that shall live for 1000 years. I have seen Satyajit Ray Bengali Classic 'Devi' and Marathi Classic 'Deool', both refering towards the same topic as this film but only at the beginning. After the intermission both the films changes the direction and becomes poignant films that exposed religious superstitions and false beliefs. While Devi was about the woman finding her indentity, Deool had a wider and universally appealing message that one should keep his beliefs to himself rather than publicizing it or else the consequences will shatter you life up and down. The Song Of Bernadette is highly believable and positive film by the way. The film opens with a quote, "For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible." I was quite impressed with this even before the film begun and i was expecting some horrible consequences later on, which, eventually never happened. The film was about faith of the woman and simultaneously it talks about atheist's views. Even few believers who didn't agree with the woman starts believing her later but only because she never lied and those atheists remains firm on their point of view with medical and scientific terms. So, it's a great mix up in that sense. It is not fully curved against the tide nor it supports it fully. Finding this perfect balance for a religious film in 40s is a big achievement in my opinion and that's why i believe this film shall live for 1000 years. Because as we all know and as one quote in the film goes on saying the same that these arguments have beem going on for years and will continue for many more years. That low rating at IMDb might be forced by Atheist so i don't really give a damn about it. For me, it's a Must See Classic and something one of it's own kind.
If there is any Hollywood Film which has done a phenomenal work with this Feminine theme after DW Griffith's Immortal 'Way Down East', then it has to be Johnny Belinda.
Johnny Belinda (1948) :
Brief Review -
If there is any Hollywood Film which has done a phenomenal work with this Feminine theme after DW Griffith's Immortal 'Way Down East', then it has to be Johnny Belinda. When Griffith made 'Way Down East' (1920) in silent era, one couldn't just imagine this kind of exploited feminine subject in cinema world. Way Down East is a Classic already but bringing such content in 1920 makes it immortal. The same film was adopted in Bollywood in late 90s, that's almost 8 decades. Now you can understand how ahead of time it was and is still now. I never thought any other film would do such a phenomenal work again with the same subject but then Johnny Belinda came in my watchlist to prove me wrong and how. A kind doctor volunteers to tutor a deaf-mute woman, but scandal starts to swirl when his pupil is raped and falls pregnant. The additional changes we see in this film are even better than Griffith's classic and that's accountable looking at the developement cinema world had gone through in those 3 decades. Moreover, the main character of the Film here is mute and deaf which makes it even more kind and generous to generate soft feelings towards her. Besides, the protagonist is another kind man whom we can adore and respect for his selfless nature. The chemistry with that sign language and without dialogues is so heartwarming that one could feel it better than talkative characters. At last, the message for women out there, it's not that Hard-hitting but very helpful with soft touch. Jean Negulesco has handled this sensitive subject very well, actually better than what any other director could have done. I loved the way he has put Jan Sterling's character in the film from start to the end. Overall, a heart touching woman oriented classic which deserves some more noise here on internet.
Nothing lot of exciting but Bogart's intense act and Wyler's compatibility makes it a gripping watch.
The Desparate Hours (1955) :
Brief Review -
Nothing lot of exciting but Bogart's intense act and Wyler's compatibility makes it a gripping watch. Some films of Bogart hasn't got great scripts but then there was something in there in his performance and the atmosphere around which made those flicks unmissable. On the other side William Wyler has been inconsistent in his LONG filmography in 30s and 40s. But he did deliver some great classics after specific intervals and those films have made him one of the finest filmmaker in those 3 decades. With The Desperate Hours, he tried his hands in 'Hold-up' drama which ultimately looks like a family-crime-drama. Three escaped convicts move in on and terrorize a suburban household. They plan to leave by midnight but due to some circumstances the plan gets delayed and then it becomes predictable. So, there isn't anything much exciting out there in this household drama but it doesn't drag for a moment either. It based on the 1954 novel and 1955 play of the same name, written by Joseph Hayes, which were loosely built on actual events. This reference of true events gives it a reliability and somewhat a cover-up to the statement i just made that why it isn't exciting and dramatic. The fictional values are less which has lowered the dramatic values of the film but it is uplifted by the intense acts. Especially Humphrey Bogart's. Fredric March as Mr. Hilliard is fantastic too. All the other actors in side roles give their better versions to make it more gripping and watchable. Talking about the screenplay, it could have been trimmed by 10 minutes or so but overall it's fine. Wyler keeps is simple and real just like a stage play and may be that's why it is engaging and compatible to all kind of viewers and some may even over-like it. In one word, Concrete!
Jean Vigo's own anarchist childhood episode adopted as a rebellious children oriented French flick.
Zéro de conduite / Zero For Conduct (1933) :
Brief Review -
Jean Vigo's own anarchist childhood episode adopted as a rebellious children oriented French flick. François Truffaut paid homage to Zero for Conduct in his film The 400 Blows (1959) which is a higher rated film than this french short but for me both the films hold the same rank. I neither over praised 400 Blows because i didn't really find it that amazing nor i am going to sing exaggerated praises for this one. There are reasons for it and that doesn't mean i hate these film or I'm calling them bad. Both are very good products, something really offbeat and powerful but within limits. It is not like that these two film are greatest of all time or so as said by some critics and movie fans. Well, it's Strictly my personal opinion and naturally others are free to have their own. So, The film draws extensively on Vigo's boarding school experiences to depict a repressive, abusive and bureaucratised educational establishment in which surreal acts of rebellion occur, reflecting Vigo's anarchist view of childhood. Now just because it is a short, it is saved otherwise it would have been called a slow film. The 49 minutes version I saw on YouTube (with English Subtitles) is fairly engaging for the first time viewing. First 10 minutes might sound slow but later it gets pacy, especially in the last 15 minutes with all that rebellion stuff. Somehow it takes time to come to the point but the moment which turns a silence into a storm is definitely worthy. When that teacher touches the hand of a student and then humiliating situation is thrown out with those famous abusing words FU.. That's where this film becomes special. Ahead of time and extremely rebellious, which, i guess wasn't done by any film till 1933. So, overall it's a must see for the daring projection but nothing like Greatest kind.