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I hope you will like it. I will keep adding more titles as I watch them.......
La isla mínima (2014)
An overwhelming thriller- Atmospheric and Confrontational
The story is set in Seville town on the Guadalquivir newly found democracy during 1980, when there were still evident vestiges of the dark times that the country experienced during the dictatorship. A pair (Juan and Pedro) of homicide cops from Madrid called to investigate the case of two teenage girls who vanished without a trace during the village fair. Some witnesses saw them last up to a car amid the darkness of night. Juan, the veteran detective, is an impulsive human being, uses violence on suspects to achieve information, fond of alcohol and prostitutes. However Pedro, contrasts with containment and politically correct ways, he does not like the unorthodox methods of his partner to solve the mystery. As both men are immersed in research, they discover a fauna of characters that may be related to the disappearance of girls and hiding many secrets.
With this film Alberto Rodríguez gives us an enjoyable thriller for those who like the detective and investigative cinema, 105 minutes of a real "tour de force".
Before the atmosphere, the inhospitable delta of the Guadalquivir is here to speak. The repeated interspersed aerial photographs of the swampy area carry an ominous feeling of helplessness, director Rodríguez and his co-author Rafael Cobos created a mood of vague menace and foreboding. The police arriving from Madrid are greeted with open dislike, In the rural population, it is prevalent in the uncertain times of change powerlessness and dissatisfaction, While the young Spanish democracy is being shaken by an economic crisis, women outside of the big cities still have to suffer under machismo and unabashedly conservative moral concepts. Thus, adolescent girls cling to every available opportunity that promises an abandonment of the archaic conditions. But it is their desire for a better, more equitable life in the distance makes it tragically easy to match balls of depraved, backward-looking world, they try to escape just that. This background gives the case of the missing sisters also a tragic and shocking twist.
The detective story takes the usual genre course of interviews, the search for evidence and all that goes with it, at the same time; there is the fundamental conflict between old and new.
"Marshland" is a neatly crafted thriller with breathtaking cinematography and outstanding acting by lead cast and perfectly supported with subordinates.
Magical Girl (2014)
A magical story told in allegorical manner- Complex and Thought Provoking
This film begins as a fairly common story, a story that in times of crisis anyone can feel absolutely identified. Luis is an unemployed literature professor who is barely able to make his end meet. He wants to fulfill the last wish of his 12-year-old daughter Alicia, patient of terminal cancer. Alicia wants an expensive dress of Japanese cartoon series "Magical Girl Yukiko". On the other hand, the film introduces us to Barbara, a young woman who suffers from mental disorders and Damian a retired teacher doing time in jail.
Three people in extreme conditions seem to move in a parallel universe where violence and pain dominate, but in a poetic way. In the universe of Vermouth, everyone is guilty and everyone is innocent. Magical Girl talks about violence and sadness using the rules of a film noir, with many subtle references of Japanese cinema.
It would be easy to fill pages and pages about the virtues of "Magical Girl", but it is a little complicated to do without uncovering some of the many surprises of the film. Because in reality, it is much more than a story where lives intersect and the storm broke. It is a framework where the details are taken care to detail. The music appears only when it is needed.
Jose Sacristan, Barbara Lennie and Luis Bermejo not need more than one scene to explain the most accurate descriptions of screenplay. Lucia Pollan, a revelation, it is amazing to see her purity and innocence overshadowed by the situation.
What is bad, however, is that all these mixed ingredients in the same bowl can roll back to a kind of niche audience more accustomed to these kinds of films. As for the end, it is open to many interpretations, which can leave the viewer confused, but will give us the opportunity to look, to find our own explanation to what is happening.
Magical Girl talks about violence and sadness using the rules of a film noir, with many subtle references of Japanese cinema.
A Cinematic tour-de-force..
Vishal Bhardwaj's has nailed it again. He now comes up with 'Haider', the adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. It has all gritty nuances of 'Hamlet', treachery, vendetta, resentment, compassion & clemency. The canvas is set in 1995 Kashmir when it was sweltering & burning, the militants were killing innocents, there was a political turbulence. The backdrop of Kashmir in the era of armed insurgency has never been shown before.
'Haider' goes like painting, painted in a white canvas with crimson shades. Vishal does it with panache; he directs the perfect star cast and gets powerhouse performances. The narrative and screenplay are top notch, it never leaves a loop hole. Cinematography captures the real Kashmir and it never adds a wallpaper or extra flamboyancy to already beautiful valley. The footage is quite raw as there is very less color correction used.
Vishal has succeeded in bringing out the raw emotions of 'Hamlet' in the film, while keeping his focus firmly on Kashmir. The transformation of 'Haider', from a poet to a vengeance seeking, mentally unstable person is remarkable.
Shahid Kapoor delivers a groundbreaking performance; he embodied the character wonderfully and never goes off the mark. Tabu is real scene stealer with her stellar performance as she goes into the skin of 'Gertrude'. She is a treat to watch as a distressed, unflinching and shattered mother. Kay Kay Menon has always been a great thespian and he does a wonderful job as a shrewd and cunning wannabe politician. The fake emotions and sentiments on a sly soul do look phenomenal. Irfaan, despite his small screen presence, in a peculiar role, leaves a stamp on our hearts. Rest of the start cast has given an impeccable performance
'Haider' is great cinematic experience with unsettling, gritty and dark humor placed perfectly. The background score, well written dialogues, songs, choreography, bold portrayal etc. everything is perfect.
However, Kashmir continues to be one of the most controversial political topics in modern India and evokes strong emotions; 'Haider' is not to be missed.
An eye opener- a message conveyed brilliantly.
The current circumstances of India on a flip side are inhuman inclinations, rapes, murders, kidnappings, human trafficking and so on. We are suddenly surrounded by these rapists and captors. "Mardaani" gives us an eye opener, teaches us about the morality and humanity. This is a great effort by the Director Pradeep Sarkar and the Writer Gopi Puthran.
Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) is a senior crime branch officer in Mumbai, her daughter like Pyari (Priyanka Sharma) gets kidnapped by a trafficking faction, led by Walt (Tahir Bhasin). She gets engulfed in the dirty web and pledges to destroy the entire racket.
The narrative is perfectly paced; there are no nonsense song sequences or clichéd melodramatic scenes. Pradeep Sarkar has chosen a definitive panache of depicting the prostitution which is never titillating but uncomfortable. It has a well-researched script with seamlessly weaved scenes. It never becomes over dramatic or pretentious. Certain scenes, a woman barged into the rickshaw as police is prepared for the raid or the scene when minister ready to rape Shivani etc. are stand-out. However, the background score sometimes is melodramatic and slows the stride of scenes.
Tahir Bhasin, in his debut, did an impeccable job, as a next door boy. His screen presence, dialog delivery, body language and mannerisms are terrific. He is just outstanding as a hideous antagonist who gets annoyed over a girl's impatience demeanor and asks her to take a bite from his plate if she is that exasperated.
Rani Mukerji delivers a flawless performance with masculine and feminine sides at the same time. The supporting across did a fantastic jobs in their important roles.
Moreover, Mardaani generates awareness about child trafficking for sexual misconducts. It conveys a message that we are now on the edge of this viciousness and it needs to be stopped.
Mardaani is a must watch. 7.5/10
A mediocre effort lost in tabloid .
It has been claimed that this is the first Korean movie to address the dangers of digital rumor-spreading and tabloid culture.
U-gon (Kim Kang-woo) is a manager of a talented actress Min-ji (Ko Won-hee). As Min-ji is about the get a big role, she is entangled in a sex scandal with a married politician Nam (An Sung-ki), the news goes viral and consequently Min-Ji commits suicide. U-gon is shattered and pledges to find out the the source of rumor with the help of friend Park (Jeong Jin-young). As the truth begins to unfold, U-gon finds out that it was conspiracy involving many who's who of the country, in ordered get the political and economic gain.
It really starts with a promising note until the plot gets jumbled up leaving the viewers confused about the happenings, becoming an average above average thriller. Sometime it sets the clear motivations U-gon however, in the next frame it gets lost into his heroic and pretentious persona to involve into the one messy conspiracy. The motivations are not always clear and the social issues depicted are never full justified.
The plot twist is lazy and somewhat predictable. Another minus point is the length of the movie i.e. 124 minutes; you will see a lot of things happening in the movies just for the heck of it. The sub-plots are just ridiculously intervened and left untied.
Overall, being a South Korean thriller, it has its moments but do not watch it with high hopes.
My Vote 6/10.
Bang-hwang-ha-neun kal-nal (2014)
The vengeance of a devastated father
South Korean trademark genre "Revenge Thriller" is back with Jeong-ho Lee's "Broken" based on the novel by Japanese novelist Keigo Higashino.
A widowed father Lee Sang Hyeon (Jeong Jae Yeong) is seeking vengeance after her only daughter is raped and murdered. He is utterly disgruntled by ineptitude of police until he finds a clue about the murderers, he takes the law in his own hands and kills one of the murderers. Now he becomes a fugitive and detective Eok-Gwan (Lee Sung-Min) is in his pursuit. Broken is a carefully crafted film with gloomy and revolting notions. It raises questions about juvenile felony and adult crimes. It rather blemishes of Korean law regarding juvenile delinquency. Is it veracious to kill minors who are involved in heinous crimes because Korean Law does not have a rigorous imprisonment system of minors? We can hear a lot of conversations in the movie regarding the moral or ethical verdict.
"Broken" unveils many contemporary concerns: adolescent bullying in schools, teenage prostitution and incompetent judiciary system. Jeong-ho Lee makes you embroil up with the characters and their dilemma is felt in every manner. The begrimed mood goes very well with immaculate cinematography.
The actors are perfect in their roles; every character has been played with utmost solemnity. Lee Sang Hyeon gives a stunning performance as a devastated and unforgiving father.
"Broken" is a thoughtful look at vehemence and violence with use of definitive elements of film-making.
My Vote 7.5/10
Flashy, foolish, illogical, stale & repetitive.
In order to deteriorate the cinematic aesthetics, one more addition to the pretentious genre defying all basic elements of storytelling and narrative, it is again style over substance with Salman Khan's superficial extravaganza in a South Indian remake of same name.
Devi Lal Singh (Salman Khan) is frantically searching for "Kick" which gives him real pleasure whatever work he does. Devi falls in love with Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez) a psychiatrist. On account of some disparities Devi leaves Shaina. On the other side, a top cop Himanshu (Randeep Hooda) is searching for a masked robber called Devil. Then there is a baddie Farozr (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who is the target of Devil.
Sajid Nadiadwala's directorial debut is half baked with mediocre scenes. He uses the template made for Salman, inserts different actors, an item-song, some absurd and abrupt comedy scenes, that is all and it will sure earn 200 crore. His effort to bring Salman in every frame is pointless as it does not serve any purpose. Salman is patronizingly taking the advantage of his persona and style.
Salman Khan again plays himself as his previous films with the stiffness in his dancing and tacky dialog delivery. His body language is exactly same as it was in his previous films Dabangg, Bodyguard, Ready or Jai Ho etc.
Randeep Hooda does a good job; however, his character is the victim of poor writing. Being a potent actor, with the limited screen presence Nawazuddin Siddiqui gives a good performance but sometimes it is annoying, goes over the top and looks like hamming. There is no clear motivation behind Siddiqui's character running behind the money.
Jacqueline looks beautiful as a psychiatrist who can dance extremely well but does not have any patient to take care of.
The plethora of decent actors cannot save the movie due to irregularities in the screenplay. We see Mithun Chakraborty, Sanjay Mishra, Archana Puran Singh and Saurabh Shuka but everyone gets unobserved.
There is nothing new in "Kick" except the word "kick" has been spoken uncountable times. Narrative jumps from one place to another without giving you any logic or precise motive behind the happenings. Larger than life actions sequences with songs shoved in between.
Avoid this piece of junk unless you are an unshakable Salman Khan fan.
Cold in July (2014)
A Taut and Unsullied Thriller- Great Independent Cinema
A neo-noir directed by Jim Micklee based on a novel by Joe Lansdale, a dark, grim and gritty tale of retaliation and retributions. The ramifications of a murder, lead to the carnage and involved people can go at any length. This is not your usual thriller but a compelling mysterious story which keeps us at the edge of our seats.
Set in 1989 Texas, Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) a common family man, one night defensively guns down an intruder. The police quickly identify the corpse as a wanted criminal and bury him. Richard still feels the remorse of killing a human being and goes to the cemetery where the dead man's father Ben Russell (Sam Shepard) threatens to kill Richard's young son. In order to save his family Richard takes police help however consequently he unfolds some secrets, now Richard and Ben will take the assistance of a brash private detective, Jim Bob (Dan Johnson), to crawl to the core of Richard's uncertainty.
The narrative is paced with lots of twists and turns to keep us engaged throughout the run time of 150 minutes. The minute details of 80's Texas are just impeccable. The screenplay will keep you on your toes as the tension builds subsequently. The overwhelming final shot portrays a brutal and stylized violent scene which is fresh and instinctual. However, some of the details are missing here as the some unexplained loose ends which are not tied and there should have been a better female cast.
The performances are brilliant, Hall is stellar as a protective family man and the transformation his character is immaculate. Shepard is remarkable as a distressed father, looking for his son. Johnson is a scene stealer having as much fun as anyone can within such confine.
Cold in July is a captivating experience with tense and unsettling tone. The independent cinema is at its best.
My Vite 7.5/10
Ankhon Dekhi (2013)
"Seeing is believing"- A Cinematic brilliance
When a man decides to live his life on terms of "Seeing is believing" and what he experiences physically is the only truth. He asks many questions like, Is the Earth round? And answers, maybe, but I can see it is even. I have not seen god, so how can I accept it? If god exists, show me the miracles.
It is the story of Raje Bauji (Sanjay Mishra), who is the head of a joint family. He is living with his children and wife (Seema Pahwa) and his brother Rishi's (Rajat Kapoor) family. Raje Bauji's daughter Rita (Maya Sarao), falls in love with Ajju (Namit Das). Everyone wanted to teach him a lesson as Ajju's is a bad boy described by the neighbors. When Bauji meets Ajju, he found out that he is a humble lad. Now Bauji decides to he will only believe what he sees with his eyes.
Rajat Kapoor comes up with an immaculate allegory with slice of life weaved with some remarkable performances. The characterization and portrayal of a typical middle class family are clean. The setting, mood and dialogs are perfectly entwined; the bonding and connection among the characters are just perfect. The narrative is potent, it never lacks the connection.
Sanjay Mishra is delightful to watch as Bauji. The transformation of his character is spotless; he really delivers a powerhouse performance. The supporting cast is incredible, Rajat Kapoor, Manu Rishi, Pahwa, Miya Sarao, Namit Das, all are just wonderful.
"Ankhon Dekhi" showcases a definitive philosophy, which is somewhat bizarre but exceptional. It gives us a big relief from the trashes which are being released every Friday.
A Captivating ride, interpretable and debatable
"Enemy" is a film adaptation of the Novel "The Double" by José Saramago. The subversive and perverse idea, a history professor who finds a person physically identical to him in every minute detail, combined with an intriguing visual style. Enemy is a psychological thriller with introspective. It is a haunting and disturbing journey through the mind, which skirts the limits of terror, by the obsessions and self-knowledge of two very specific characters that share physical appearance and are almost mirror opposites.
The dreamlike images that delve into the feeling, reaching the end at the end of the film, one of the most daring, powerful and frightening than have been seen in modern cinema. And perhaps all this leads to the quasi-experimental film which will not satisfy all its viewers. But even those, who reject such an extreme film, will have to admit the enormous impact that the film generates. Enemy is one of those movies that linger in the mind, by one or many reasons, but last.
It would be easy to seek references from David Lynch or Stanley Kubrick. But perhaps it is best not to dispense it with any reference.
Enemy terminates after 90 minutes, but only on the screen. The film follows in the memory because it is interpretable and debatable, but especially hypnotic. Fascinated by the characters, the film techniques, sounds, history, pictures, metaphors ... and finally it resonates in our own subconscious. What would we do in that situation?
"Enemy" is a land of symbolism, imagery with Jake Gyllenhaal, he is in the peak of his performance in the challenging dual role. But the star here is the direction of Villeneuve, who creates a real under the skin atmosphere. Sometimes you will be overloaded as a spectator with images and motifs.
Nevertheless Enemy is deeply disturbing and captivating, it will leave you confused, scared, angry, surprised and shocked.