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Short Term 12 (2013)
8/10
Demands your emotional investment
20 May 2018
Writer Director Destin Daniel Cretton created this full length feature from his Oscar nominated short by the same name. It is based on his own experiences of working with teenagers.

Grace (Brie Larsen) plays the protagonist, the young supervisor of a group facility with young troubled teenagers. She with her boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr) focus their attention on short-tempered talented rapper kid Marcus (Lakeith Stanfield). Grace builds an intimate bond with a new inmate Jayden (Katlyen Daver) to make her feel comfortable in the new home with other kids. In the process Grace learns about Jayden's abusive past through her metaphorical story of octopus and shark.

The movie presents every day challenges of working at such facilities where abuse, emotional trauma, fights, self-harm, depression, fights etc. are common.

A love story between Grace and Mason, both with a past of troubled kids themselves, is built in as a sub-plot.

The director Daniel handles the subject with confidence, expertise, a keen-eye to detail, psychology and tenderness. Even though the movie is heart-breaking at places Daniel does not burden the screenplay with depressing heaviness and gives a heart-warming light feel throughout the movie.

It is a short movie with 96 minutes running time and it is worth watching and one immediately connects with the main characters of the movie.

The main led - Brie and John - were auditioned by Daniel via skype after sending them scripts via emails.

The shooting of the movie took place only in 20 days with free flowing acts with main characters improvising on the dialogue and actions on their own.

The movie is widely acclaimed and have won 35 awards and 70 nominations. Those who are working with NGO / NPO with less privileged people will definitely identify with the movie.

I am going with 7.75 out of 10 for the movie
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Mud (2012)
7/10
Coming of AGE story - Understanding LOVE
14 May 2018
I saw a beautiful movie MUD (2012)

The movie was written and directed by Jeff Nichols. He was inspired by his own heartbreak in LOVE while growing up and he trying to find out the meaning of true LOVE. The pivot of the movie was inspired from Tom Sawyer stories and the setting is on the Southern landscape of Arkansas around Mississippi river.

The story is about Two boys around 14 years Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofiand) go to an island to retrieve a boat stuck on a tree, but find a guy named MUD (Mathew McConaughey) living there. They come to know that Mud is a fugitive who needs help to meet his girl-friend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Ellis agrees to help Mud because Ellis loves a senior girl Mary Lee (Sarah Paulson). In the process, as the story unfolds Ellis suspects Mud and also Juniper on their commitment for LOVE and is disillusioned by LOVE due to Mary Lee's shallowness of understanding LOVE. A group of men are on a lookout for Mud to seek revenge and what happens to Mud, Juniper and whether Ellis understands the meaning of true LOVE forms the remainder of the story.

The writing of the movie and execution is excellent. Tye Sheridon as Ellis is brilliant, Mathew and Reese as lovers (though they do not have a single shot together) are good. So are all the other cast.

The movie show Arkansas and small town around Mississippi river beautifully and transports the viewers in midst of the location setting. The screenplay too keeps one guessing with its twist and turns.

Many consider the movie slow, but I think it is nicely paced.

Even after limited release in USA and made on a small budget (filmed in 8 weeks with a crew of 100 people) the movie did good business worldwide.

The movie is successful in going into the mind and psychological frame of mind of Ellis as a 14 year old growing adolescent encountering first LOVE and his coming to age journey.

I was pleasantly surprised seeing the movie.

I would go with 7.25 out of 10
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Room (I) (2015)
7/10
Sky-light to the human SOUL
7 May 2018
The novel and movie was inspired from the true Austrian Fritzl case of 2008, where the father kept her daughter captive for 24 years in a basement and raped her over that period that resulted in birth of 7 children - 3 remained with the daughter, 3 with the father with his wife and 1 had died after birth.

The novel written by Emma Donoghue has the same premises, but is a fictional account. The story is told from the eyes of the little boy. Here the perpetrator is a stranger who kidnapped and keeps a 16 year old girl captive in a 11X11 feet cramped room (which has a tub, wash-basin, toilet, kitchen bed, cupboard, a TV and only one skylight) for 7 years.

The movie starts when Joy is 24 year old women with her 5 year old son Jack in this tiny space where they create their own world.

It is a gritty story of survival of Joy and her mother's instinct to protect her son Jack and planning an escape so that they are freed from this hostile and captive room for Jack to see the wonders of the world.

By the mid-point of the story Joy succeeds in her plans and is rescued by police. The second half focuses on re-integration of Joy and Jack within the society and their family but skips the perpetrator's arrest and prosecution.

The main three characters Joy - (Brie Larson) Jack - (Jacob Tremblay) and Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) play their parts beautifully.

Brie won the Oscars Academy award as Best Actress for this role and another Jacob had 45 award nominations from which he won 19 awards as best supporting young actor.

The movie did excellent business after the Oscar award for Brie Larson. On a budget of 13 million, it did a business of 36 million world-wide.

The Director Lenny Abrahamson has done a marvelous job in remaining true to the novel, thanks to the help of the author Emma who also wrote the screenplay of the movie.

The movie is rated all time 136 best movies of the world rated by IMdb and has 239 nominations from which it has won 130 awards. Phenomenon.

Good thing about the movie is that even after undertaking such an abusive subject, Lenny and Emma have created a clean, touching movie that moves us to tears and smiles and final triumph of human spirit.

A bit slow but to transport to the lives of Joy and Jack - one needs to hold the flag of empathy. A good Drama thriller.

I would go with 7.25 out of 10

P.S. Just for those who are interested in Fritzl case, the father is life-imprisonment till death in Austrian prison and the daughter was a given a new identity and lives with her children a normal life.
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Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008 Video)
6/10
Zeitgeist Addendum does not add much
2 May 2018
As an overwhelming response to the critical and massive success of Zeitgeist many scholars and like minded thinkers showed interest in Peter Joseph's documentary.

For Director Peter the idea of part two emerged after intense dialogue and interactions and interviews with many people. Peter added stories and experiences of John Perkins and Jacque Fresco and deliberated solutions as to what one can do to support his movement.

The documentary is divided into four sections

1) How federal reserves prints money (out of thin air - just like that they print new currency) on request of the Federal banks, who roll over 90% of currency as loans by taking security deposit from those who takes loans. Thus they always maintain 100% funds with them, even after giving away 90% as loans. They receive repayments of loans with interest. So basically bank multiplies its own wealth. The loser are debtors who are taking loans from this banks and pay high interest rates.

2) Narrated by John Perkins on how USA works to control other countries by lending countries money through World Bank, IMF etc. and when a country is in debt - they negotiate exploitation of natural resources. If the country does not cooperate with USA, through CIA US government organize a civil war within a country or assassinates the leader through plane-crash or accident. The examples are given of several Latin American countries and Iraq (Sadam Husain did not cooperate)- to exploit their oil reserves; and Afghanistan (Taliban did not cooperate) - to exploit their poppy cultivation (90% of world)

3) Deals with Jacques Fresco - who believes that there can not be democracy under capitalist system. He presents the scenario of technological innovation providing better life to people than Politicians who only serve corporations and make the people work like slaves under them.

4) The last section presents solutions and action points - like don't believe in mainstream media news (controlled by corporations), Boycott Banks, don't join military and support Zeitgeist movement.

Compared to part one, the part two is less impressive.

The scenarios of Federal Bank rotating and multiplying paper (so called money) by fooling people is interesting. John Perkins take on how USA overthrows governments - too makes an interesting viewing - as this could have happened scenario. Jacques Fresco's thoughts on future seemed too scattered and half baked - was not convincing for me.

The solutions and action points were too one-directional and hard to implement on a large scale among world population.

I felt that there was more enthusiasm to immediately come out with Part 2 and provide some feasible solutions to the world.

Since this documentary is of 2008, one can comfortably say that nothing much has changed since then. Rich countries / individuals are becoming more richer and poor are becoming poorer.

One can see this documentary once, just to know some interesting details of first two sections.

I will go with 5.5 out of 10
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Zeitgeist (2007 Video)
7/10
We live in a sick culture, society is mentally ill
1 May 2018
Zeitgeist means defining spirit or mood of a particular era

Director Peter Joseph, who started as a musician and a drop out from college had varied interest and did not like advertising, and tried day trading in stock market, editing videos, investigating economist theories. He created two videos and presented it to audience where he performed live music. That is what resulted in Zeitgeist, which he initially posted on a free website which was converted to a DVD (non-commercial distribution priced at USD 5/-. That made the film traveled to festival circuits and grew in popularity. The rest they say is history.

Zeitgiest talks about fundamental root causes of human problems. It starts with hypothetical propositions of ideas about 1) ideas about parallels of Jesus' birth with several other Egyptian Gods associated with astronomical occurrences 2) Conspiracy around Sep 9/11 terrorist attack done from within CIA to unify American society and get a common enemy and curb individual freedom 3) The role of Federal Bank in keeping people under debt and sustain wars / conflicts to profit private banks and arms producers 4) A possibility of unified North America that ultimately lead to One World Government where people lose privacy because of constant surveillance

All of these put together may be termed as conspiracy theory and one can not rule out such plausible scenarios in future.

Because of its popularity Peter immediately followed it up with a Zeitgeist movement and trilogy films Zeitgeist Addendum (solution based with Jacque Fresco) and Zeitgeist Moving Forward to create social change. Recently Peter also published a book titled "The New Human Rights Movement" and came out with another documentary titled InterReflection 1.

The documentary is poorly made. It is crude. There are also errors (or lies stated) in his facts.(Krishna was not born to virgin nor was he born on 25 Dec as claimed). I assume, that due to lack of my knowledge on other fields - the errors and lie may multiply. At this point - we have to just assume and take what Peter Joseph presents at face value.

Surely one can not miss some vital points it raises.

Seeing such an exceptionally positive response, Peter decided to call himself activist and work towards a "Solution Model" to the issues raised through his documentaries.

Peter Joseph has strong backlash from establishments (government, media, banks, capitalist etc.) but with today's internet age - he has a good following to give him that impetus to continue forward.

One quote by Peter Joseph "We live in a sick culture, society is mentally ill. Today to be normal is to be messed up". I like this quote because I feel the same way about the world.

I will go with 6.75 out of 10
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7/10
Wonderful look at Innocence...
22 February 2018
The Florida Project was inspired from Little Rascals (1931) movie during thirties depressions where children without school have hilarious times.

The movie is set in Florida near Disney Park in a dingy Motel which is used by homeless to stay for short periods of time.

Here Halley (Bria Vinate) stays with her child Mooney (Brooklyn Prince) in a one-room with attached toilet motel. Mooney and her friends Scooty (Christpher Rivera) and Dicky (Auden Malik) invite Jancey (Valeria Cotto) to join them and they are at their children's best - doing mischief, being naughty and trying to search a little replica of Disney Park in their own little ways by venturing into nearby places, seeing cows, and abandons condos, eating ice-creams.Their pranks are tolerated by Hotel Manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) is protective of these children.

To meet ends Halley turns to hooker, at times does road-side marketing and selling of wholesale rate perfumes, and eating at star joints without payment. This lends Halley in trouble and the law catches up with her - and comes to take Mooney away to a children's rehab.

In the last act, where Mooney runs away from the cops and counselors to Jancey's place to tell her goodbye - thinking that she is never going to meet or see her friends again. Jancey seeing Mooney crying drags her and runs away to the Disney Park. That is what Mooney always wanted.

The Director has done commendable job in extracting amazing acting from the cast, especially Brooklyn - who over shadows every character with her perfect natural acting of a spoil brat.

Many elite may find the children intolerable, but that is the reality of single-mothers without work, raising kids in today's USA.

A special mention has to be done of the casting. Bria Vinate was casted through instagram and this is the third outing for Brooklyn and gracious Willen Dafoe brought life to a good hearted Manager's role.

The shooting was mostly done near a motel in Florida Disney Park during summers - observing the strict USA children's labor laws of 8 hours shifts only.

The movie was good, the ambiance and apathy of characters living such life was an eye-opener. But the real joy of the movie was the children's acting. From the first shot till the last the director Sean Baker did not lose sight of the core purpose of this movie to show happiness that children see in little things and how happy they make us - seeing them in their own little world.

Wonderful look at innocence...also makes it a box-office success

The last scene when Jancey runs away holding Mooney's hand is extremely touching, and brings tears to the eyes. It tells so much about pure LOVE and that personal connect - that even small children non-hesitantly find courage to do things that brings joy to each other.

It is nominated for one Oscar, and already won 55 awards and nominated for more than 100 awards internationally.

I would go with 7 out of 10.
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6/10
Uniquely normal and different
28 January 2018
I saw a good movie. It was different....

"ME and EARL and the DYING GIRL"

This movie was not released in India. It is not a normal "normal" movie. The way it is scripted is slightly different. It is based on a debut novel of Jesse Andrews with the same name.

Greg (Thomas Mann) is a loner in high school. He is forced by his parents to meet a childhood friend Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who has been diagnosed with cancer. At first neither of two are interested in each other, but Greg's quirkiness interests Rachel and they meet regularly. Grey introduces her to his friend Earl (RJ Cyler) with whom he is making parodies of famous films.

Earl convinces Greg to spend more time with Rachel. Grey , unknowingly sacrifices his life, his studies, his work, because he wants to make a film for Rachel. When Rachel's opts out of chemotherapy, Greg is devastated and argues with her and fights with Earl.who thinks Greg is very insensitive person.

When Rachel - in the final stage of cancer and admitted to hospital -depresses Grey more. In the end Greg visits Rachel to show the film he made for her. While watching the film Rachel falls in a coma and dies after few hours. Greg reads a letter written by Rachel. He realizes that like him Rachel too was in LOVE. Greg pens down a book about his LOVE and along with the video mails it to his college.

The film reflects a deeper complexities of feelings among two people in LOVE - who meet each other, exchange and talk to each other - but face an ordeal to cognizant & accept their LOVE feeling...

Director Alfanso who was an assistant to Martin Scorsese wanted to show his style of film-making sensibilities reflecting the loss he faced in life of his father through this film

He does a commendable job directing this unique interesting film. Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke have acted well along with Rj Cyler, whose role as Earl is a bit curtailed in the movie. The movie grabbed several awards and nominations in many festivals. The songs of the movie are heart-warming.

It is a good watch for people who are not in touch with their own sense of inner LOVE and unaware of their feelings of LOVE for others.

I would go with 6.25
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Mukkabaaz (2017)
6/10
Does not appeal to Rural Small Town Mass audience - Why?
28 January 2018
I was a BIG fan of Anurag Kashyap when he came into the scene after super-hit Dev D and I have managed to watched all movies made by him.

This movie is projected as a love story of an underdog lower caste aspiring boxer from small town in North India in LOVE with a upper caste Brahmin girl.

The story was written by the lead actor Vineet Kumar Singh in lines of Sylvester Stallone's debut Rocky. Vineet had earlier worked with Anurag Kashyap in a few films and was searching for a producer with a caveat stating that - he will play the lead. With Dangal,Sultan, Mary Kom, Bhag Milka Bhaag and other sports films doing good - Anurag found the story idea interesting and agreed to produce, and direct the movie.

After reading positive reviews I was expecting much, but frankly - I was under-whelmed. To a certain extend I understand why and how film buzzes positive reviews by urban city based class (may be caste-based also?) English speaking pseudo intellectual critics. But that is a different topic all together.

I was trying to find out what could one changed in the movie to make it fare better at box office. My answer was "not much" because as many reviewers have written - superb acting,perfect casting, real locales, good setting, hard-hitting dialogues, tight narrative, good humor, good music, social, caste, feminist, corruption issues etc. etc. it has a typical Anurag Kashyap stamp of indulgence as an observer of today's society. One can say - it was a hard-hitting film.

Then I questioned - It is an okay movie, but why it did not appeal me or general population much? I think:

First, The deep connections with main characters and audiences is missing. The only character that connected with me was of Ravi Kishan as a Harijan (lower-caste) coach who instilled dignity to the proceeding - but his role was curtailed half way in the movie.

Second, there are NO inspiring moments to linger to touch our heart and bring tears to our eyes or moments that will stay in one's psyche after leaving the theater.

Third, In Anurag Kashyap's movies there is no poise - his narrative is relentless with intent to shock.

The only thing that remained with me was the often repeated song's lyrics:

"Mushkil Hai Apna Mel Priye Ye Pyar Nahi Hai Khel Priye"

At one point I thought - I was watching a well made Bhojpuri movie. Nothing wrong with that except it had a Anurag Kashyap stamp all over it.

I may be wrong but I think the fault-line runs much deeper.

I think Anurag Kashyap tries overtly hard to make the movies to show his intellectual sensibility acumen. Anurag make movies for International art film noirs/ circuits/ festivals and multiplex based urban elite educated audiences and critics. He is trying hard to make a mass movie with earthy rural and small town topics but till now has failed to appeal to India's hinterlands. May be that is why his movies are only marginal profit making ventures at box office (except Dev.D).

The good thing I like of Anurag Kashyap is that he gives opportunities to new talent in abundance...

I will go with 6 out of 10 rating for this movie.
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7/10
Brilliant Francis McDormand all the way...
9 January 2018
As soon as Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri got the best picture and best actress Golden Globe I saw it.

I had heard of the story line of the movie - A girl is raped and there are no arrests, the mother takes it in her own hands to do something about it. I was expecting a usual rape revenge drama.

But this gem is packed with much unexpected script delivered with unusual character developments and flow of events - ending in a climax that leaves us - what next?

Francis McDarmond is one of my favorite actress of Hollywood. Strong, deep into the character and rarely misses a note of acting. She is brilliant as an eccentric mother and a lone ranger fighter. Her pesona reflects so much anger and grit that one feels that nothing will ever stop her.

Within a town run by corrupt police to business as usual people, with eye-balling media awaiting a sensational news-story - this movie is packed with easy going overview of such events that unnerve and harass normal lives prevalent commonly in small towns all over the world.

The director Martin McDonagh had seen bill-boards of unsolved crime on one of his trips that gave him the story idea and casting of Francis was kept in mind while writing this fictional story and script of the movie.

There are small sub-plots in the movie with extremely well developed characters that are thrown at the audience unpredictably. Some you hate, some you love, and some of them makes you change your perspective from hate to like.

A string of small anecdotal comic stream is added to bring relief in otherwise swearing overtones of abuses spoken throughout the movie.

I would also point out that there are many obvious flaws and potholes in the narration, that can be overlooked.

Francis McDormand brings to life a quirky character filled with remorse, tragedy with grit to fight every road-block she faces. Brilliantly portrayed.

The background score of a few country tracks are very pleasing and ear-catching tunes.

This movie has already collected more than 50 awards and nominated for more than 150 worldwide. A sure hit at the Academy Oscars.

(I give this movie 7.25 out of 10)
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5/10
Dirty Underbelly of any industry - this shows of Fashion
6 January 2018
The movie is based on a novel (2003) written by Lauren Weisberger which has been translated to more than 35 languages.

The Director David Frankel had read the novel and later thought of making it into a movie. There were several screenplay writers who worked to finalize the movie script, but the credit was ultimately given to Aline Brosch McKenna.

The movie is based on a real life true character the editor of Vogue Anna Wintour where Lauren had worked as an assistant for a short while. In the movie the role of real Anna is named Miranda (played villainously by Meryl Streep) and that of Lauren is named Andy (played by a new comer Anne Hathway).

The choice of Meryl was obvious but Anne had to push herself to get the role, but the new debut of Miranda's first secretary Emily played by Emily Blunt was after auditioning 1000 aspirants.

Meryl based her role and enacted it just imitating a brutal MAN running his company.

The story is about how Andy who wants to be a journalist gets sucked into the fashion industry through this magazine where she gets job as a secretary to Miranda, who is a brutal task master - one who is obnoxious and never satisfied.

The first secretary Emily aspires to be with Miranda, but with time Andy rises the ladder in the organization and does not realize that she is losing her love, her friends and her soul in the work she is doing.

When she realizes it she quits the job and joins a firm as a journalist and there the movie ends showing Andy liberated and happy.

The movie takes a shot at Fashion industry and takes a dubious view-point and presents it with enough guts to expose the underbelly of it.

So this time on my second viewing - I felt that - you take any industry - and when you work in it and climb the ladder - and if you are sucked into it defending it and living it - you will not be aware of the dirty underbelly of that industry.

But if one has to protect one's soul - one has to protect even if one works as a journalist - or even as a social worker or any other thing.

The moment your soul takes precedence - you will feel that the work you are doing does not fulfill your search and what you are seeking.

So to show the Fashion industry in bad light is a one-dimensional take. As much as fashion designers are superficial - so are journalist - so are any other professions.

So this was the take of mine - while watching the movie a second time.

The movie was a dud on USA box office but raked mullah on international release and became the biggest block-bluster internationally.

What happened actually was that people went gaga over the designer clothes worn in the movie rather than taking the message home.

I think, in my first viewing there was so much of critical buzz, that one gets dragged in the flow of positive reviews. Now after 10 years, it is a right frame of mind from which one watches the movie and gives a balanced review.

Overall - it was a okay movie. I will go with 5.5 out of 10.
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Impromptu (1991)
5/10
A Romantic Rebellion George Sand
6 January 2018
I saw this movie IMPROMPTU

It was based on George Sand (Judy Davis) - a pseudo name of a novelist woman named Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin who did everything to seek LOVE of a French pianist and composer Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant).

More importantly than the movie the understanding and portrayal of the character of George Sand was intriguing to say the least.

She was a tom-boy. She always wore man's clothes. She was outspoken. and smoke continuously - mostly thick cigars. She was determined, individualistic and had her own mind and sense of right/ wrong and decisions. She belonged to somewhat aristocratic lineage. She had her own ways among the elites and rich. Her novels that she wrote in plenty helped her to her repute. She was tiny and dark in stature. Not very physically or facially attractive, but had her own charisma that charmed people. She was a strong lady, and bull-dozed her way with her opinions amongst men. She got married at the age of 16 years with a man much older than her, - got two kids by 18 years and fought a long divorce battle for custody of her children which she won - when such a thing was unimaginable. We are talking of 1804 (210 years back).

She called herself - A ROMANTIC REBELLION. She over powered her prey (man) with passionate LOVE. She loved having sex and had multiple affairs with men. A man she put her eyes on - she was determined to lay him down and move on. This time was a pianist of soul-wrenching music composer Frederic Chopin.

Among all men - her affair and liaison with Frederic was most passionate and that is why much has been written about it and even songs, lyrics, poems, plays and movies made on them.

Frederic Chopin was a shy, timid, feminine person, and his first meeting with George Sand was not at all cordial. Frederic looked down on George condemning her for what she stood for and looked "What an unattractive woman she is. Is she really a woman?" were his exact comments to one of his friend.

But George Sand did all things possible to seek Frederic - even wearing women's attire - just to show her feminine side to catch Frederic's attention, and she did. Frederic was head over heels in deep LOVE with her. So much so that he was ready to show his valor to one of George's former LOVER for a gun-fight.

Their first "sort-off" trip together with her two children was captured in her autobiographical novel "Un hiver à Majorque" . This is where the movie ends

Thanks to Director James Lapine for making the movie and that will keep the character immortal.

Judy Davis tries to put some effort in playing the rol

One of the tender scenes in the movie is when Frederic confesses to George about his inability to bring himself to have sex with George, and the most outspoken and passionate George turns into a compassionate LOVER and says to Frederic.

"It does not matter. It is not necessary to have SEX. I LOVE YOU so much dear. I just want to be with you, near YOU. Spend rest of my life besides YOU. Like that can't we live happily ever after? It is not SEX I seek in YOU, I seek your LOVE. Tell me "Yes"....." Pleased and shy Frederic says "YES" George replies "At last you said YES to my LOVE"

The movie apart from this wonderful central character is otherwise okay. Nothing much to write about - though interesting to discover a wonderful feminist icon - the first of its type. - George Sand.

Story beyond the movie:

As accounts narrate - while their first trip as a couple to the island of Majorque George and Federic had difficulty finding a place to stay at the island, because she was popular and not-so-popular with her ways - traveling with her kids and a men with whom she was not married - was considered a big NO NO - for locals to provide them with a decent accommodation.

Frederic had weak constitution and suffered from cough and pneumonia that lead to his death due to tuberculosis. Those last few years George Sands left everything for him and served him as much as she could till the final moments of his death.

After Frederic's death - George Sands lived for another 27 years and she had just one more affair - but not as passionate as with Frederic.
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Paterson (2016)
7/10
Nonchalant Paterson Poetry
1 January 2018
31 Dec 2017. If one looks back at 2017 - from top 10 grossing Hollywood movies 8 are super-heros, si-fi fantasy stuff. Amidst all that I saw a nonchalant film. "Paterson" (2016)

Nothing actually happens in the movie. That is why it is a rare gem. It seems that the director Jim Jarmusch was carrying the idea of this film from last 20 years, and he was lucky it materialized.

Though on the box office the movie is a disaster, it got critical acclaim on the approach and courage to venture into this stuff.

The movie is about a bus driver named Paterson (Adam Driver - Star Wars fame), living in a small town of US called Paterson. He has a girl-friend Laura (extremely beautiful Golshifteh Farahani - Iranian) who is engaged in re-decorating the house interiors and also is ambitious with dreams of becoming a famous country singer and have her own pastry business. She has a dog Marvin which Paterson takes for a walk everyday evening when he goes to a bar for a drink.

Paterson also has a passion for writing poetry - that slowly builds on him during the daily routine - which is quite regimental (understandably due to his timely job pressures as a bus driver)

The movie is a reflection on the mundane life of a bus driver and the ups and down one encounters in daily life with different characters one interacts.

The way Paterson is shown to take life as it comes, accepting everything that happens to him without much fuss is really admirable - especially when Laura's dog tears his only poetry book to shreds leaving him sad and solemn. In the end, an encounter with a Japanese tourist revives his passion to start re-writing poems.

The movie is slow paced, so those of you who want, romance, action, comedy, si-fi, super-natural stuff are advised to be away.

The poetry in itself is not great, but is inspiring to the sense that in mediocre life - one can be so fulfilled and at peace and happy as Paterson.

The movie is a week's journey starts on a Monday and ends on on nonchalant note on another Monday.

For some the direction and the proceeds of movie may seem uninspiring, but one needs to understand the mood and attempt to make something so out of the box and brave. Thanks Jim.

That's why it leaves and impression.

I would go with 7.5 out of 10
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7/10
I demand you treat me with respect
26 December 2017
When this movie won the best picture at Cannes, eyes were raised, attention sought, and interest generated.

Ken Loach at 80 years still holds the fervor of activism of working class people struggling to meet ends. Ken narrates the apathy the bureaucratic system and processes inflict on a needy person through the eyes of two characters - One is Daniel Blake (played subtly by Dave Johns) and other is Katie Morgan (played by Hayley Squires.

Due to heart-attack Daniel Blake is denied to do his current carpentry work, but is fit to do other odd jobs if he want subsistence allowance from government. There starts his battle with the job-center bureaucracy and here he meets Katie a single mother of two kids (girl - 9 years, boy - 7 years) who has newly arrived to New Castle and is late for the job-center interview. Daniel helps, supports, cares and gives emotional hand-holding for Katie to settle down comfortably.

With no luck going in favor of either of them, Katie ends up doing a escort (prostitution) job, whereas Daniel ends up selling all his household belonging to survive - for getting two sets of meals for him.

There is a also small sub-plot to lighten up the screen-time - of Daneil's neighbor China (Kena Sikazwe) who sells Chinese goods illegally.

There are many outstanding dialogues and scenes that render your heart with mushy compassion for these characters.

A note written by Daniel is read out in the end of the movie by Katie at his funeral ceremony, that sums up the core of the movie - the suffocating bureaucracy.:

"And I swear that this lovely man, had so much more to give, and that the State drove him to an early grave."

One scene in particular needs special mention because it won the most powerful scene award for the year. It is when Katie sends her daughter to give some food to Daniel, who refuses to open the door and the girls asks him "Dan, when you came and helped us, why can't we help you back?" and Daniel opens the door and breaks down hugging the child. ABSOLUTELY SOUL STIRRING!

There were rumors that government,might censor the movie and lots of media debates around existing pathetic government system. The movie garnered good support and appreciation from both - people and the critics respectively. It ended up doing very good business.

The relationship Daniel (60 years) and Katie (27 years) share is the best part of the movie. There is a huge age difference between the two, and they do not share romantic LOVE, but they LOVE each other deeply, and feel for each other emotionally. That humanity jumps out alive in their characters on screen.

Director Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty research a lot about the problems of people on government apathy towards the job seekers and felt this story that reflect so many people's lives needs to be told. It surely resonates...!

(I would give the movie 7.5 out of 10)
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7/10
We all are in pain. Why can't we share it with each other?
9 December 2017
Slowly I am becoming a big fan of Mike Leigh and his kind of film making. I like his style. I have a read a few interviews of his and the way we deals with his actors and executes his scenes and narration is a kind of new school of thought for me.

Secrets and Lies was one of the highly recommended movies of Mike Leigh, and it became pertinent for me to watch it.

It is story of Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) – a successful optometrist - who after her adopted mother dies, traces her birth- mother Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn) a working class lady living with her frustrated daughter Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook) a street cleaner. Slowly Hortense and Cynthia open up and build a LOVE-bond of mother- daughter which brings a new lease of life to Cynthia's mundane and problematic existence. When Cynthia invites Hortense to Roxanne's birthday party held at Cynthia's brother Maurice's (Timothy Spall) residence – the secrets are revealed of who is Hortense? Who was the father of Roxanne? Who was the father of Hortense? Why Maurice is still not having children?

The last half an hour is a roller coaster ride of tension and tear- jerking emotions. But all ends up well in the end. Secrets penetrate and each character empathizes with the other to live happily thereafter.

That is the strength of a good optimist positive director Mike Leigh that reflects a belief in good human nature and their goodness.

The acting of Brenda Blethyn as Cynthia is immaculate. She lives the traumatized hysterical yet endearing character to the hilt. Kudos to her! The other performance that stands out is of Timothy Spall as Maurice, whose character plays a nice binding force in the family.

There is an unnecessary sub-plot of Maurice at his photo-studio – which could have had been over-looked. What I like about director Mike Leigh is that he lets his characters flow naturally and takes their own life. Shows a lot of his theatre style where actresses are given freedom to improvise on the spot.

Secrets and Lies is for those who enjoy family movies that highlight good human relationships.

I would rate the movie 7.5 out of 10.
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Another Year (2010)
7/10
Leslie Manville Lingers for long in memory
7 December 2017
Normally I write a movie review immediately after seeing the movie, because it is fresh to recollect the movie. When I was browsing the TV today and saw this movie, I stopped. I remember loving this movie when I had seen for the first time. Then I remembered that I did not write the movie review then. I was myself surprised, and I made it a point to write the review this time. So here it is.

The story is beautifully told with passing of four seasons of a year – that is why it is titled ANOTHER YEAR. Tom (Jim Broadbent) a geologist and Gerri (Ruth Sheen) a counselor are older married couple who encounter friends and family with their underlying issues.

First one is Mary (Leslie Manville) is a middle-aged divorcée receptionist, heavy alcoholic desperate seeking a new relationship – and eye Tom and Gerri's son Joe (Oliver Maltman) who is much younger - around 30 years old.

Second is Ken (Peter Wight), Tom's school friend, who is overweight, a compulsive eater, drinker and smoker.

Third is Ronnie (David Bradley) , estranged son of Tom's brother, who arrives late and is angry with everyone for not delaying his mother's funeral ceremony.

Through the relationships of these characters, director Mike Leigh beautifully exploits the togetherness and loneliness with warmth, tenderness, kindness, giving, emotional loss, yearnings, and nurturing, growing old together.

There are some well executed scenes that resonate with audiences in terms of the assembled cast and crew delivering on the spot improvisation and inventiveness in executing an endearing scene.

Mary's drunkenness, Mary's romantic advances towards Joe, Mary's reluctance and rejection of Ken's advances, Mary's hostility towards Joe's girlfriend Katie (Karina Fernandez), Mary's apology to Gerri for her behavior and the last lingering scene where Mary is lost and uncertain on a happy dinner night.

It is Mary's under-current role (exit & entry) all the way that weaves this story. It was not a wonder that Leslie Manville won several best actress awards for her brilliant portrayal of this role.

A special mention for Director Mike Leigh for writing a script and screenplay that leaves trust and scope for exceptional improvisation to imbibe the flow of scenes and characters. Not many can achieve this finesse.

I will go with 7.75 out of 10
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6/10
Winner All the Way Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd -
29 November 2017
This is a true story that Alan Bennett wrote about a homeless lady Miss Shepherd who stayed in a van on the street near his house in seventies.

The character of Alan Bennett is played excellently by Alex Jennings -who is always talking with his alter ego in the house, while he is scribbling his new play and notes in his book.

The portrayal of Miss Shepherd is portrayed by Maggie Smith - and she lives the eccentric character - living under the skin. All awards - won or nominated were for Maggie Smith's brilliant performance.

The story is about this girl Mary or Margaret (the younger version played by Clare Hammond) who is a gifted pianist, aspires to become a nun, but because of her argumentative nature is thrown away and admitted by her brother to an asylum from where she runs away and at one point in her life - has a car accident in which a young motor- cyclist dies. She does not report the incident and always blames herself - living under the fear that one day she might be arrested for the crime.

There are several layers in the character of Miss Mary Shepherd that we come to know with each small episode she has with a big hearted Alan Bennett - who hesitantly gives her a temporary place to part the vehicle in front of his house, then in his empty front park - and that beautiful bond of LOVE relationship continues for 15 years till she dies.

The real Miss Shepherd died in 1986, and she was granted a placard on the house of Alan Bennett by the community she lived in - which stands even today.

The movie has wonderful chatty conversations and dialogues between Alan and Alan's alter ego interrupting Alan and Mary's conversations - that are sometimes hilarious Very well written and adapted screenplay from the memoir written by Alan Bannett by the same name.

Made on a budget of USD 6 million, the movie has raked in more than USD 40 million worldwide.

The Director Nicholas Hytner has done a commendable job in sticking to the authenticity of the narrative.

What is beautiful about the character of Miss Shepherd is her unwillingness to leave her life on any one else's terms. Her stubbornness and whimsical eccentric nature holds on true to the humor and empathy she evokes.

All is done well with the humanity and out-reach of Alan Bennett who though shies to recognize to his credit the give immortality to this affable character of Miss Shepherd by his memoir and later by this movie.

The movie makes us sensitive to the way old people are neglected and suffer and how they need some support and LOVE from someone - although strangers.

The memoir has also been enacted as a popular play in United Kingdom.

I would go with 6.75 out of 10 for this nice to watch movie
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The Reader (2008)
7/10
Heart wrenching performance by Kate Winslet
27 November 2017
The story is based in post World War 2 Germany, shown inter-linked in three parts:

First part, where a teenage boy Michael Berg (David Kross) falls in LOVE with a young working girl Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winstel) who is double his age.

Second, where the boy Michael is a young graduate lawyer and is attending a court seminar where Hanna Schmitz is accused of being a complicit guard at a Nazi prison where 300 people are murdered.

Third, where Michael (Ralph Finess) a well established lawyer secretly supports Hanna's 20 year prison sentence and after release when she commits suicide, he fulfills her wish.

The first and third part are the most engrossing and entertaining where romance between these two protagonist brims every frame.

The main spine of the movie is Hanna's illiteracy that she is ashamed of.

During part one - Hanna insist that Michael reads out all story books and novels to her before having sex with her.

During part two - Hanna's secretive about her illiteracy during court proceedings lands her in a life-time sentence compared to her other co-guards who only get 2-3 years of jail sentence.

In part three - the part one romance of story reading is recreated again when Hanna is in prison - and Michael sends her audio tapes of all the books he had read to her. Through these tapes Hanna learns to read and writes to the extend that she can form a small sentence and send it to Michael. Those scenes are exceptionally executed with tenderness and LOVE. Even a three word sentence of Hanna written to Michael brings tears to our eyes.

Michael is shown torn between hating Nazi criminal and his romantic love interest - Hanna.

The last scene of Michael and Hanna meeting each other after almost 40 years face to face is extremely heart-breaking.

Without saying much Kate personifies her LOVE by screaming through her eyes, body language and hidden emotions that she wants to be with her LOVER Michael who is unwilling to help her beyond a point. This realization leads Hanna to commit suicide.

Hanna's character screams at us as audiences for empathy and sympathy and all credit to the master-class performance of Kate Winstel for it - incredibly portrays an Oscar winning role.

Apart from these two main characters - other roles are passe. The movie is adapted from the novel by the same name written by Bernhard Schlick who is himself a lawyer and author.

The Direction by Stephen Daldry is excellent.

A must watch

Overall my rating for the movie is 7.5 out of 10.
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7/10
Holocaust from eye of an eight year old boy
25 November 2017
It is a movie adapted from a novel by John Boyne who also wrote the screenplay with the Director Mark Hermann who strangely has not written or directed any other movie since this one.

This German story is about Bruno (Asa Butterfield) - 8 year old son of a World War 2 soldier Ralf (David Thewlis) who is transferred along with his wife Elsa (Vera Farmiga) and 12 year old daughter Gretel (Amber Beattle) to look over a Jewish concentration camp, where lonely Bruno makes friends with a Jewish 8 year old boy Shmuel (Jack Scanlon) across the camp's fence.

Bruno is totally innocent about what's going on and the fact that Jews are considered enemies of Germans and systematically killed. In an attempt to search for the missing father of Shmuel - Bruno secretly digs under the fence to enter the concentration camp - but both kids meet a fatal end - as that day they are taken to the gas chamber.

The movie follows a fictional story form like a fable. Though criticized for the novel and movie's improbability - the movie holds good to send the message of how wrong the whole holocaust was.

The movie looks at the events unfolding through the eyes of an eight year old child with a sub-plot of an anguish wife who is not party to her husband's nationalistic work. It is well directed by Mark, and all the actors especially both boys Asa as Bruno and Jack as Shmuel have acted beautifully.

The movie is haunting to say the least and its impact as well remains in one's mind even after the movie is over. It is brutal and disturbing to see one human treating other human in this way.

The musical score by James Horner was so effective that until you do not pay attention to it - it remains subtle to your sense.

I will go with 7 out of 10 for this movie.
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6/10
Well paced okay rom-com
18 November 2017
When this movie was released I wasn't expecting much from this film. Though there are positive reviews of this movie, but the first review I read was negative. When the film crossed its budget of INR 200 million and made marginal profit in India but crossed INR 500 million worldwide, I thought of giving it a go. The movie is based on a German author Nicolas Barreau's 2010 novel "The ingredients of love" which was not considered a great novel though a best-seller with a poor translation in English. The movie also has reminisces of eighties bollywood movie Saajan. The Director Ashwiny Iyer-Tiwari who started her career as a consultant to her husband's Nitesh Tiwari (Dangal fame) first movie Chillar party, subsequently made her debut with critically appreciated Nil Battey Sanatta. This triangular LOVE story is based in a small town of Bairelly in northern India narrated by lyricist Javed Akhtar. Bitti (Kriti Sanon) is a free spirited girl who finds the main protagonist of a novel Bareilly ki Barfi identifiable to her. The novel though written by Chirag Dubey (Ayushman Khuarana) a printing press owner is published under the name of his friend Pritam Vidrohi (Rajkumar Rao). Bitti wants to meet the author and seeks Chirag's help - who in turn pursues Pritam – a saree salesperson to pretend to be the author who wrote the novel. Chirag loves Bitti, and Bitti loves Vidrohi – the author, But Chirag is the real author of the novel. With many twists and turns, the triangular LOVE story finally ends on a predictable note. I should say that I liked the movie. It was light hearted and well paced. The narrative remains ahead of the nuances of falling into the traps of a routines triangular love story. All the characters are well crafted and have some depth. Kriti, Ayushman and Rajkumar have acted well. The side characters too have got a decent role. There are moments of mild smiles and laughter. Kriti carries the role well – there was a great chance of her to run over-board, but every time we feel she will overact this bit – she keeps it limited. The direction is good. The music is a bit of let-down with no humming tracks. If one does not have anything to do – seeing this movie would not harm much. It is a time pass light hearted movie. It is so surprising that this movie got extreme reviews – those who liked it rave about it – those who did not like it – crap about it. I would go with 6.5 out of 10
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Ginger & Rosa (2012)
7/10
Coming to age - Ginger's story
8 November 2017
It is early sixties and the peak of Cold war between Russia and US - where Russia has installed nuclear head in Cuba with a imminent outbreak of a nuclear war.

This is a coming to age tale of two seventeen years old girls Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) from dysfunctional families. They grow up in the same neighborhood, go to different school, hang out together and do adolescent weird things like any other kids.

Ginger moves out from her mother's Natalie (Christina Hendricks0 home to her recently separated father Roland's (Alessandro Nivola) house.

On a boat trip Rosa comes close to Roland that ends up as an affair. Ginger feels that she is losing both the people she loves - her father and her friend.

Confused, Ginger tries to find a purpose in saving the world by associating with anti-nuclear group and campaign by becoming an activist. When arrested and released, everyone confronts Ginger who discloses that Rosa is pregnant with Roland's child.

Ginger's mother and Roland's wife Natalie consumes overdose of pills and is rushed to the hospital, where Ginger and Roland sit the whole night.

Ginger writes a poem in which she forgives Rosa and Roland

It is a sweet little story. My interest of seeing this was because I wanted to see one movie of Sally Potter as a director. Amongst all her movies I selected this. I am happy I did that

I always like to see a woman Movie Director because if the woman Director is not just following commercial form - and being really in one's own zone without being attention seeker and dishing out man's stuff under women's garb - it is a new perspective and world that is presented. And I love to see those details - that only a women director can capture.

And Sally Potter does that so successfully. I like the way she thinks over and builds her character with events, incidences and close-ups that tell more between the lines.

A different style of film-making I love to absorb in

The casting, acting, real locales, etc. are very good. Every one has acted well, but the maximum screen time is given to Elle Fanning and she excels in her role.

I will give it 7 out of 10
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5/10
Point Taken - Girls and Women have sexual desires
28 October 2017
The movie is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava who was assistant director to Indian Hindi movies Director Prakash Jha's two films Apaharan and Rajneeti - who has supported her to produced this film.

The story is of four women - Usha (Ratna Pathak) Leela (Aahana Kumra), Shirin (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Rehana (Plabita Borthakur) - all staying in the same chawl - a mix of religious identities and age groups

The story is narrated on a parallel track of a novel that Usha's voice-over reads parts of a Hindi porno novel "Lipstick wale Sapne"

Usha is in mid fifties who loves to read porno novels,

Leela is a sex-hungry girl in love with a photography and aspiring to be a celebrity, but is engaged with another guy - yet continues to have sex and love her lover

Shirin is a housewife who secretly does a job of sales women to support her family when her unemployed husband is out having an extra- marital affair and whenever he comes home, is obsessed with treating his wife Shirin as sex object.

And Rehana is a college going girl who wants to break free from her religious conservative Muslim family. She goes out from her house wearing a Burkha but craves for all western things - music, dresses, dance, life-style etc., is a shop-lifter at shops in malls of expensive things she likes.

For sure all the four characters would exist in real life - and a story on them would be interesting. But the living context does not make it practically plausible, but this are some filmy liberties that are permitted when the director's aim is to put a specific point across.

The basic idea of the director is to give audience a SHOCK TREATMENT by showing a lot of sex scenes from the view point of being a women.

Except a few well written and directed scenes, the film falls down to being a B-C grade cinema.

Girls and women exists who also crave for sex as men is well presented. They want to break free of all the norms society lays on them. What the movie ends up in is a lop - sided portrayal of women and girls. But the point is strongly delivered.

Many people think engaging in sex, protests, anger, doing something different that no one approves is breaking Free and being LIBERAL. which is such a poor view of liberalism.

Among the four actress - Ratna Pathak and Konkona Sen excel in their portrayals, especially their culmination scenes where

Ratna is reminded of her old age and her looks and her desires and LOVE, but termed as "shameful" by throwing her on the streets. That scene broke my heart into pieces

And the culmination scene of Konkona being brutally raped by her husband and asked to stop working is another scene that brought tears to my eyes..

It is a bit difficult to sit thought the entire duration of the film without getting bored - but I sat through curiously to see - what the Director had in mind to conclude with.

Direction is below average, some scenes are so stupid, some sub-plots and characters hard to believe or digest.

The depiction of these four women too is shallow and it is only for the credit of Konkona and Ratna Pathak's maturity that - there is some depth in their characters because of their portrayals - the other two ladies are okay - nothing to write about.

There are so many (may be more than 100) scenes where the director has not taken care of continuity while shooting or editing. The placement of extras keep on changing places, and so do the make up of artists.

Overall - I think the purpose was to make a feminist point about putting across women's sexual desire issues strongly - right ON THE FACE as a slap to society in general. The film on a large part succeeds in that. But there is no subtlety in anything.

The same points could had been made with more force without using so many sexual scenes and dialogues.

If this is what they call women liberalization movement, we have to still go a long way back and start all over again...

I give this movie 5.25 rating out of 10.
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Newton (2017)
8/10
A flawed Newton, a poorly written ending in a otherwise nearly flawless film
4 October 2017
My main purpose of watching Newton in the cinema hall was the exceptionally positive reviews it received. I had read only 1-2 bad review of the movie till now.

Many a times, I have seen a movie after the critics' praise and it has turned out to be not up to the mark. So I was expecting such a scenario.

The story is simple. Indian Government is about to hold elections in a Naxal and Maoist area - Bastar. A reserved officer Newton Kumar (Rajkumar Rao) is appointed to do the job. He is trained and sent with two assistant Loknath (Raghuvir Yadav) and Krishna (Krishna Bisht) and a local assistant Malko (Anjali Patil). Here he meets Aatma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) the head of military force that provides the election team protection.

What unfolds is a process driven eye-opener of what happens during elections in a Naxal hit remote poor tribal area in the heart of India. The apathy of the system, the deep rooted problems of tribals are extremely well capture along with keeping the flow of movie light and not too serious

But this movie would not have been possible without a flawed character of Newton (which is improbable). To me Newton looked more like an alien from outer space (someone like PK to ask stupid questions) - who is ignorant and does not understand or know the rules of the world.

Newtons introduction with his family was unconvincing. We understand that the director wanted to drive the point of honesty and simplicity of Newton, and I should say that while not making him look like an out from the space alien it works to set the trap for audiences to expect what Newton could be capable of.

The fun starts when Newton meets Aatma Singh, who is practical and seen the world. His expression, his one-liners and his amazement of this creature called Newton is worth watching.

All the main characters have played their role superbly and special mention of Pankaj Tripathi as Aatma Singh. He overshadows the versatile and talented Rajkumar Rao. One of my all time favorite actors is Raghuvir Yadav and it is always a pleasure to watch him. So ease, so deep and such impact his always leaves us with subtle but brilliant acting .Anjali Patil, Krishna Bhist and in a small cameo Sanjay Mishra leave their mark.

The real hero of the movie is its script and the way it is written by Director Amit Masurkar and Writer Mayank Tewari. They falter in their writing in the end to bring some un-necessary action, but that lapse is so minor to be overlooked at the over-all achievement in all departments the director Amit and his crew has achieved - superb casting, locales, camera, placement and flow of events in the script.

This movie is all the worth of its praise. I give it 7.75 stars out of 10
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Pariah (I) (2011)
7/10
Teenager's journey in discovering her sexuality
28 September 2017
It was made in 2011 by Director Dee Rees. She had made a short movie on the same character and subject in 2007. Because that short film of 28 minutes won 8 international awards Dee Rees got inspired to make it a full length feature film. It took 4 years to get to the finish line to release the movie - the finances, the actors, the longer scripts and the rehearsals under tight budgetary constraints.

But in the end, what we see is a beautiful coming to age film of a young teenage girl Alike (played fabulously by stunning beautiful Adepero Oduye - her first break) who evolves to find her sexuality and heart break within a dis-functional family (any surprises there?) with a religious strict Catholic mother Audrey (played to perfection by Kim Wayans)

Audrey is a regular caring mother who is unhappy and scared about her daughter Alike's behavior as a tom-boy and about Alike's friend, thus she introduces Alike to one of her colleagues daughter - who invariably initiates Alike into a same-sex love and turns her down breaking Alike's heart into pieces.

But with this experience Alike realizes her sexuality and during a confrontation with her parents - she declares "I am a lesbian" to the utter dis-belief of Audrey who beats her up.

Alike leaves the house forever and joins a English literature program - breaking free and finding LOVE.

*******

Director Dee Rees who has written and directed this movie has worked very hard and it shows in every frame on the screen.

The scenes are so well written that start at a point and lead to a final conclusion that takes the movie forward while introducing each character traits to fill in the gaps of the journey of Alike.

No wonder the film bagged 15 international awards and 28 nominations in various categories - mainly director, actress (in main lead) and actress in supporting role and best movie.

I do not like the movies with hand-held camera - but Dee Ree and her editor has done a brilliant job in cutting and editing the pieces with smoothness.

The atmosphere of New York's black downtown area is taken superbly with the spaces in school and evening hang outs in clubs reflecting the real culture of new millennium teenagers.

The cinematography and music are excellent.

Watching Pariah today gives us the glimpse of coming to age of Hollywood cinema - which I am sure laid path to another gem of a movie Moonlight (coming to age boy's movie on gay subject) to win best movie Oscar at 2017 Academy Awards.

I would highly recommend this movie for everyone who is sensitive to the LGBTQREI group. Take a few tissues - it is a emotionally powerful tear-jerker.

We can't resist to be part of the journey of each characters and their flaws and still LOVE them... SUPERB.

My rating for the movie is 7.25 out of 10
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6/10
Shah Rukh is good but fails to pull this weak script off
25 September 2017
The buzz of the movie was high. It flopped.

Being an Imtiaz Ali movie with Shah Rukh Khan in it, expectations were high.

But always - I believe with Imtiaz Ali's movie - there are a few things we need to be aware of: (This is how I have understood about his movies)

1. It could be a road movie 2. It will be a romantic movie 3. It will be a leaf out of Imtiaz's life (to some extend) 4. The songs will be catchy 5. The second half would meander a bit 6. The ending sequence will always be different 7. One or two sequences of sub-plots in the movie would be bad 8. It will be a slice of travelogue of some place

Yes, this are standard things about Imtiaz Ali's movies

Imtiaz has 8 movies in his credits, and this was the biggie he had marched to by looping in Shah Rukh Khan.

Does it have all the ingredients of Imitiaz Ali's magic hat? YES Does it work - NO

What is good - Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma have acted well

What is not going okay - the gheesa - peeta script, A one-liner story.: A guide - Shah Rukh, traveling with a Gujarati girl (Anushka Sharma) to search her engagement ring all over Europe - while in the end the ring is found in her purse.

Just a Dud..!

In that journey - Shah Rukh's disinterest in the journey with Anushka from the beginning turns into an attraction and though Anushka tries to avoid falling in LOVE with Shah Rukh - is unable to resist the LOVE charm. And as expected - both are in LOVE by the end of the movie.

As Anushka is going to get married - she has to travel back to India, and Shah Rukh Khan later realizes that he should travel to attend her wedding and tell her "I LOVE YOU" just to find she has already canceled her wedding. Thus to the delight of Shah Rukh, he takes Anushka to his Punjabi village where they sing in the mustard fields to end the movie. Happy ending!

Through the journey they travel from Amsterdam (my beautiful city - gorgeously shown) to Prague - via Vienna, Lisbon and Budapest.

Have they captured Europe beautifully? - Um... Yes and NO. Imitiaz has touched some attractive tourist spots of each place, but there are so many beautiful places all over Europe that what is shown - just seems too little and too cliché.

The movie is musical with beautiful songs, but some may find them distracting and too many.

The LOVE emotions are good - especially for the person if s/he is in LOVE in real life - otherwise for routine audience - they are usually boring - all seen and dusted.

It seems that Imtiaz had taken this script to Shah Rukh - with a story of a depressed loner guide - who was suicidal - because he keeps on falling in LOVE and no girl stays with him till he meets this Gujarati Girl Anushka.

Shah Rukh (may be under influence of YashRaj and Dharma banner, Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra duos) wanted to make the movie a fun romantic ride.

I think that was the loser. The earlier story idea if executed well - would have had been different.

The same story with a younger fresh new pair - would have raised eye- balls and may be - people would have liked to movie.

With Shah Rukh expectations were too high.

The movie is not so bad - if you are a romantic.

(Rating 6 out of 10)
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Dah (2002)
8/10
A journey of emotions into the soul
1 September 2017
Today afternoon I saw Abbas Kiarostami's TEN - an Iranian movie that was downloaded and kept with me from may be 3-4 years. It was BRILLIANT. Kiarostami is one of my favorite directors

Ten is a story of a lady in Tehran, Iran - whose life is documented by 10 episodes while she is driving her car. Each episode opens us slowly un-welding a new layer of human issue and personal relationship with such simplicity that after a while the movie seeps into your bone - marrow and starts bringing about unconscious awareness of our own groundings.

1. The Lady driver (beautiful Mania Akbari) picks up her son to drop him to a swimming pool - this introduces us to their complex relationship and the history of divorce and her dating another man 2. The Lady drops her sister to a place and this episode unveils the family structure and dynamics between sister and comfort level of the her child finding more happiness with a full-fledge family of her maternal aunt - uncle, their son and grand-ma. 3. The Lady picks up an old lady to drop her at the mausoleum, and opens up issues surrounding prayers, good wishes, God, and simple humans 4. The Lady picks up a prostitute - who was cheated by her LOVER, and now is a happy street hooker who thinks this lady driver is nothing different than what she is doing by selling her body for money. 5. The Lady picks up a stranger girl - who does not believe in God but has started to pray to God - so that her dream man whom she LOVES will agree to marry her. 6. The Lady picks up her another friend - who is facing a recent break-up of relationship - after 7 years of courtship and how depressed and desperate she is to kill herself - if she does not get that boy back. 7. 8. There are 2 more episodes with the Lady and her son being picked up and dropped 9. There is one more episode with the Girl who does not believe in God but goes to pray. Her dream has shattered as she realizes that the man whom she LOVES will never marry her - and she has bald her head due to that. 10. The last episode is again with her son - who does not want to stay with her but instead with her Grand-mother's house.

The movie may look like a documentary but it is a fictional movie. There are just two cameras used - one capturing the driver's seat and the other the other front car seat. That way the use of machine / technically the movie is minimalistic. Only a master crafts-person like Kiarostami can think of such an idea and execute it with utter simplicity yet expertise.

The first single shot of the movie is 16 minutes long - just focusing in the child and the driver - Mom (lady) is never shown - but we can listen them talking and arguing.

Another aspect that I noticed was the interaction between this 8 year old boy and his mother (the driver). If one reads the dialogues without knowledge of who are these two characters - one will end up concluding - that they are LOVERS or Husband-wife who are unhappy - staying with each other and fighting.

Each episode is iconic in opening new flood gates of understanding issues that we face across and some questions that we think of finding answers. This movie is a soul-searching journey of humanity through the lens of women's life.

The great thing is that it is made by a man - Abbas Kairostami with utmost sincerity. His sensitivities, understanding of psychology, the depth of presenting things with utter simplicity - that can change a world-view is nothing short of a person who knows his craft and who knows humanity in and out.

Each and every episodic interactions are far-reaching beyond the interiors of the car but the most enriching is between the prostitute and the driver. Wow..!

The prostitute is not shown in a single frame except her from her back when she gets out of the car and picks up a night-customer - we can just listen to her voice-over. Brilliant!

All actors have acted with such perfection that not a single note seems awkward or acted. There are long and lingering shots on a person - and I wonder - how much rehearsals and shooting would have been done to come with a perfect single take shot. Special mention of the lady - Mania Akbari - We just see her face driving her car but she is so stunning in her persona.

It is a life changing movie. When you get time and leisure and are in good mood and alone - sit and see this movie. It is a movie that is whole-heartedly recommended to all cinema lovers. Normally I never give a movie more than 8 stars. But I give this movie

(8.25 out of 10)
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