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Gareeb Nawaz's Taxi (2010)
Well made short movie
Another well made short movie. The camera work and editing was outstanding. Crafty story telling, but not much story. The acting of the main actor was good. It is a difficult role and Samrat Chakrabarthy has stepped up to the occasion. The supporting cast who did not have much screen time, and were not bad either. The time line was not particularly clear - whether the events took place on a single evening or over multiple days is unclear. Also the title of the movie is vague. Yes, the movie is about Gareeb Nawaz... and yes there is a taxi involved... But why the movie had to named "Gareeb Nawaz's Taxi" did not make sense to me (nor to the other folks who watched this film with me). We were sitting there waiting for some action in the cab, and the movie unfolds, rather strangely, elsewhere. If there is one critical thing that this movie lacks, then I'd say it is the "chase factor" - which keeps one involved in the movie... we felt that movie meandered and ended without really concluding. But that is something that most short films seem to lack.
Watched this movie in a private screening. On the invitation it said that it was a self-financed movie. I did not recognize any of the actors. So, I had very low expectations. When I reached the venue, I found out that the actors actually had no prior acting experience of any sort. I also learned that the movie was filmed without a crew and the editing had been done by someone with absolutely no experience. So lowered my expectations even further. But once the movie started, the story started unfolding very quickly. I was in fact caught off-guard by the pace of the first scene. I was actually impressed with the camera work and the editing. It definitely did not feel like someone's first film. The movie kept me very engaged till the end. And what an end! I can honestly say that I did not see that coming (I don't say that in a sarcastic way). Truly brilliant storytelling. I was so impressed by the end that I watched the movie again. The movie is not a big budgeted movie and does not feel like one, but has a very good story. Short films are coming of age, and this hope this one is an example of things to come.
The New Tenants (2009)
Really enjoyed this one
This one is so different from the typical award winning short films! Over the years I've noticed that short films screened at film festivals and the like are usually emotional journeys - but not this one... This one is an excellent dark comedy, an action-packed roller-coaster. It started a bit slowly, and I thought this was going to be another one of those mindless conversation short films, and wasn't sure where this movie was going, but I was rolling on the floor laughing by the time Kevin Corrigan's bit was done... Very good performances. Watched a pretty poor quality print on YouTube, so not sure of the actual camera work... The dialog is fast- paced... And the movie gets better as it progresses. Highly recommend it to everyone. 20 minutes well spent!
Red Corner (1997)
Jewel in the rough, worth a watch
Recently watched this movie on Netflix, and was pleasantly surprised. This is a very good movie and deserves to be rated higher on IMDb. I've watched many movies that are rated in the 6-7 range, and this one does not belong in that category! I am not a Richard Gere fan - as a matter of fact I even rooted for Bruce Willis in the Jackal... but I was definitely impressed with Richard Gere in this one... He is probably far outside his comfort zone in this role, and has done an excellent job. But the real star of the show is Ling Bhai. She has delivered an outstanding performance. I gather that only a few shots were actually shot in China, but you don't get that feeling while watching the film - you feel like the film was actually shot in China... I am not sure of the accuracy of the portrayal of the judicial process in China, but was it was refreshing to see something other than what we are all so used to with Law and Order. Overall, I recommend this movie. While it is not in the same league as "Primal Fear", it is definitely worth a watch... and it will keep you engaged for the entire film.
The Killing Jar (2010)
Decent but not great - could have been very good though.
Entertaining movie. Pressure cooker thriller. In theory the movie has all the ingredients of Reservoir dogs. Gritty storyline and a cast that includes Michael Madsen and Danny Trejo. But the movie falls short... Madsen is brilliant as always and Harold Perrineau delivers a good performance, but they are unable to make-up for Amber Benson's disappointment. Danny Trejo has a total of two minutes of screen time, and he is never shown fully (he is shown through a kitchen window)... Noreen, the central character played by Amber Benson, was the weakest link. Also, the pressure is let out a bit too prematurely... In all, a movie that has potential, but fails. That said, for a direct-to-DVD movie, this is very good. It is not an excellent movie, but a decent one at the very least. If you have nothing else to do, this might be a decent pastime movie.