Saturday, January 17, 2009

Movies 2009-2019


Mulk - Court drama - Syncretic Muslim family blindsided by a terrorist in the family (iE@IHC - 7May19)

Widow of Silence - A Kashmiri woman whose husband was 'picked up' seven years ago struggles against rapacious petty officials (Morchhale’s film at IHC - 24May19)

No Fathers in Kashmir - A teenaged NRI Kashmiri girl finds out what happened to her father after he disappeared years ago (Ashvin Kumar, IHC film festival, 25May19)





Killa (2015, Marathi, Avinash Arun): Childhood in a rain-drenched Konkan, so evocative!

Masaan (2015, Neeraj Ghaywan): FB and inter-caste love along the burning pyres of Benaras

Aankhon Dekhi (2014, Rajat Kapoor) - Is there a better portrayal of life in Old Delhi?

Shutter (2013, Malayalam, Joy Mathew) - a remarkable thriller that pops out of an ordinary, empty, roadside shop.

The Visitor (2007, Thomas McCarthy) - An economics professor returns home to find a Syrian artist (a drummer), and his Senegalese girlfriend occupying it...

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010, Japanese, Hayao Miyazaki)


PK (2014, Hindi, Rajkumar Hirani) -- Irony, in a hilarious package :)

Reversal of Fortune (1990, English, Elizabesh Schroeder) -- Jeremy Irons, after a long time... as a European aristrocrat, Claus von Bulow.

Mugabe and the White African (2009, English documentary) -- The 'white man's burden'... or is it?

Poetry (2010, South Korean) -- A granny seeks an outlet in poetry..

Stanley Kubric - A Life in Pictures (2011, English) -- what a life!

Interstellar (2014, English, Christopher Nolan) -- Travel across galaxies and turn up behind your bookshelf. Spectacular and dramatic but vague all the same.

Unknown (2011, English, Colet-Serra) - Liam Nesson as a professor who forgot he was an assassin.

The Edge of Heaven (2007, Turkish) - A professor in Germany, his abusive, lonely father, and of ties back home. Nice.

Saraband (2003, Swedish, Ingmar Bergman)

True Romance (1993)

Okuribito (2008, Japanese, Yojiro Takita) -- A cellist moves from Tokyo to become a nokanshi, a ritual mortician.

Paleri Manikyam (2009, Malayalam, Ranjith) -- Mammotty in a triple role... talk of death by overdose...

The Conversation (1974, Francis Ford Coppola) - Surveillance, wiretapping, murder..

Vikramadityan (2014, Malayalam, Lal Jose) - Chor-Polis kahaani with a rather predictable ending..

Mary Cho Cho ( Japanese) - Teenage kids, bullying, summer paddies..

Jobs (2013, Joshua Stern) - Aston Kutchner was quite good as Steve Jobs...Did he really have that funny gait?

About Schmidt (2002, Alexander Payne) - Ol' Jack Nicholson wonders, "Did my life make any difference to anyone?"

12 Year's a Slave (2013, Steve McQueen): Nigerian-born Ejiofor was just amazing.

Dedh Ishquiya (2014, Urdu, Abhishek Chaubey): Strictly for those who have a good grip on Urdu.

Drishyam (2013, Malayalam: One of the best crime-thriller's I've seen in recent times..

Artist (2013, Malayalam, Shyamaprasad): 'Dreams in Prussian Blue' - travails of two fine arts grads. Tvm is nicely framed.


Gravity (2013, English, Alfonso Cuaron): Perhaps the best 3D movie I've seen... Captures the emptiness, silence and despair so well..

Baraka (1992, Ron Fricke): Non-narrative documentary...beautiful!

Lunchbox (2013, Hindi, Ritesh Batra): N. Siddiqui stands out again..

Michael Clayton (2007, Gilroy): George Clooney, the 'janitor' lawyer fixes nasty corporate.

Hitchcock (2012, Eng., Sacha Gervasi)

Shuddh Desi Romance (2013, Hindi, Maneesh Sharma): The first half is path-breaking for a Hindi romance..

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011. English, Steig Larsson): Damn good.

Raanjhanaa (2013, HIndi, AL Rai): JNU romance...Sonam Kapoor makes Dhanush looks like a great actor.

The Conjuring (2013, English, James Wan): A vengeful ghost in an idyllic old house in USA...and the conjurers need to get "approval" from the Vatican! Crazily contrived.

Argo (2013, English, Ben Affleck): CIA and Hollywood swing in to the rescue during the Iran Hostage Crisis...

Smurfs 1&2 (English, Animation): Another entry from the land of Tintin.

Noukadubi (2011, Bengali, Rituparno Ghosh): Wonderful narrative...great music.

Kai Po Che (2013, Hindi, Abhishek Kapoor): Nice.

D-Day (2013, Hindi, Nikhil Advani): Fantasies of taking out Dawood Ibrahim..

Talaash (2012, Hindi, Reema Katgi): Interesting...the real star is Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Lootera (2013, Hindi, Vikramaditya Motwane): Archaeologists-robbers and a Zamindar's daughter..

Chitrangada - The Crowning Wish (2013, Bengali, Rituparno Ghosh)

Memories in March (2010, Hindi-English, Sanjoy Nag): Rituparno Ghosh as himself?

Cocktail (2010, Malayalam, Arun Kumar)

Special 26 (2013, Hindi, Neeraj Pandey)

Sugata Sanshiro (1943, Japanese, Kurosawa): Aka - "Judo Saga-I" - AK's directorial debut

Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola (2013, Hindi, Vishal Bharadwaj)

Bombay Talkies (2013, Hindi): Anthology of four short films

Dabangg 2 (2013, Hindi, Arbaz Khan)

Talaash (2013, Hindi, Reema Katgi)

Taxi Driver (1978, English, Scorcese) - The old De Niro classic..

I've Loved You So Long (2008, French - Il y a longtemps que je t'aime) - Dr. Juliette struggles with life after 15 years in prison...for murdering her infant son..

Samsara (2001, Ladakhi, Pan Nalin): Lama Tashi asks his teacher, "If Buddha could enjoy the world for 29 years, why can't I?"

Rathinirvedam (2011, Malayalam, TK Rajeev Kumar)

Jolly LLB (2013, Hindi, Subhash Kapoor): A small-town lawyer aims big, falls for short-cuts and is shamed to the righteous path...remarkable, engaging narrative. Boman was brilliant, as usual.

Dah ("10") (2002, Persian, Abbas Kiarostami): A woman, her car and a dashboard camera.

Ashes and Snow (2005, Gregory Colbert): Wildlife in grand sepia tints..

秒速5センチメートル( Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru -5 Centimeters per Second): 1978, Makoto Shinkai 

Autumn Sonata (1978, Swedish, Ingmar Bergman): A neglected daughter confronts her mother, gently.

Mishima, A Life in Four Chapters (1985):

The Dark Knight Rises (2012): Batman, again.

Lucía y el sexo (Spanish, 2001)

To Live (1994, Chinese/Pinyin, Yimou): "Don't Gamble"

Paradise Now (2005, Arabic, Abu-Assad): Two Palestinian friends seek 'revenge'.

An Education (2009)


The Sea Inside (2004, Amenabar, Spanish- Mar Adentro): A quadriplegic, always a ladies man, seeks euthanasia.

Gangs of Wasseypur - I (2012, Kashyap, Hindi)

Seven Pounds (2008, Muccino):Will Smith and the lives of seven organ-recipients

A Separation (2011, Iranian, Asghar Farhadi): A father suffering from Alzheimer's; a wife who wants to immigrate or a divorce; a pregnant help with a short-tempered, unemployed husband...very nuanced.

The Intouchables (2011, French, Nakache & Toledano): A rich tetraplegic & a poor immigrant. I liked the tagline too - "Sometimes you've to reach into someone else's world to find what's missing in your own")

Kahaani (2012, Sujoy Ghosh): Brilliant...the array of Tollywood talent is a bonus!

The Color of Paradise (1999, Iranian, Majidi): A blind child and a widower-father

Shanghai (2012, Dipankar Banerjee): A Hindi thriller with a misleading title. So-so.

The Big Year (2011): Birder's delight... (Cornell Lab Blog-post)

I Love You, Man (2009): An engaged man seeks male friends.

Pan Singh Tomar (2012, Hindi): Athlete, armyman, dacoit...Irrfan is brilliant, as usual.

The Help (2011): Maid for each other.

The Ides of March (2011): Clooney for President slips up..

Hugo (2011, Martin Scorcese): Clocks at a Paris station...

The Descendants (2011): Clooney, a trustee for 25,000 acres on Honolulu

Apocalypto (2006, Gibson): Jaguar Paw runs for his life in Mesoamerica..
Katha Thudarunnu (2010, Malayalam, Sathyan Anthikkad): A forsaken widow goes back to medical school

Adams Rib (1949): Lawyer couple at odds (Spencer Tracy & Kathy Hepburn)

The General (1926): A silent era romance of a stolen locomotive

Dinner at Eight (1933): Funny in a quaint sort of way..

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982): Sean Penn is fantastic as Jeff Spicoli :)

The Odd Couple (1968, Jean Saks): Two divorced guys and their friends...funny.

Duck Soup (1933): Groucho Marx & Bros. in their elements :)

What's up, Doc? (1972):  Barbra Streisand. Funny.

Victor Victoria (1982): Julie Andrews and her queer friends.

You Can't Take It With You (1938)

Take The Money And Run (1969): Woody Allen as Virgil Starkwell, a bungling crook...funny, but not quite.

Shampoo (1975) - Goldie Hawn in a satire on the social mores of the 1960s.

Moonstruck (1987) - Cher as a book keeper and Nicholas Cage, a maimed baker...nothing exceptional.


The Big Lebowski (1998) - "The Dude", bowling and blackmail...contrived.

The Odd Couple (1968) - The story of two divorced friends shacked up together - Hilarious! :)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) - Charles Laughton is absolutely brilliant as the barrister, Sir Robarts.

You Can't Take It With You (1938) - An old-world innocence and charm..

Sleuth (1972 Joseph L. Mankiewicz) - Brilliant...especially Laurence Oliver's performance.

Rock Star (Hindi, 2011) - Ranvir is great - until the interval. Review at BL

Indian Rupee (Malayalam, 2011) - Nice plot...the movie hangs on Thilakan's acting skills.

Despicable Me (2010) - Gru and Dr.Nefario - what a combo!

The Mona Lisa Curse: Robert Huges' on the Business of Art. Video at Top Documentary Films -

Whisper of the Heart (Miyazaki 1995 -Japanese - 耳をすませば): How far did you think John Denver's song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" traveled? :) Japanese lyrics here.

Inglorious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009): Unadulterated nonsense.

Raise the Red Lantern (Mandarin 大红灯笼高高挂) - Gong Li as the third mistress to a wealthy man during the Warlord Era in China. YouTube - 

The King`s Speech - Colin Firth as King George VI and G. Rush as Lionel Logue, his speech therapist
The Fountain - A conquistador, scientist and space traveler...hallucinations, love and mortality

Loudspeaker (2009, Malayalam) - Mamooty as a rustic, garrulous kidney-donor 



Floating Weeds-

Tokyo Monogatari (1953)

Early Spring -

Tokyo Boshoku (Tokyo Twilight, 1957)  - Troubled daughters staying with father; Cast: Noriko Hara, Ineko Arima, Chishu Ryu

Higanbana (Equinox Flower, 1958) -

Ohayou (Good Morning, 1959)-  (comedy)


ന്റി 20 (Malayalam - 'Twenty 20') 010109 - A formula blockbuster skillfully woven around the who-is-who of contemporary Malayalam cinema. The Mamooty/Mohanlal Fans Club are thrilled to bits. I missed Nedumudi Venu.

Sorry Bhai (Hindi) 17012009 - The long long wait for Chitrangada Singh's second movie is over. So are the hopes of another Smita-Patil-in-the-making. Some of the dialogues are good but, sorry brother, the movie quite forgettable.

Anuranan (Bengali - 'A Resonance') 17012009 - At a scenic guesthouse in Darjeeling, an executive is found dead by a colleague's pretty wife. Some relationships remain undefined, and some art movies are a waste of time & money.

Mes Amis Mes Amours (French) 20012009 - Mathias (Vincent Lindon) a jobless, book-lover makes clever use of his acrophobia to woo a lady named Audrey(Virginie Ledoven), who has a striking resemblance to Lara Dutta, especially when she grins!

Shrek The Third (Animation) 23012009 - Now these guys are really running out of ideas. There is only so much you can flog an ogre.

Bow Barracks Forever! (Bong-lish) 24012009 - Now I know where all the Calcuttans polish their English. Wat Man? - I told you, no? Victor Banerjee was damn good. So was Lillette Dubey.

Slumdog Millionaire (Hindi) 26012009

Luck By Chance (Hindi) 01022009

Changeling (English) 25022009 - A single mom (Angelina Jolie) fights for a missing son. "Never be the one to start a fight; but be the one who finishes it."

Australia (English) 011032009

2 Harihar Nagar (Malayalam) - It was a great idea to make a sequel , clearly, somebody ran out of ideas while preparing the script.

Rashomon (Japanese) - Akira Kurosawa film based on Akutagawa's short-story. Noticed so many new things while seeing this movie for the second time...

Ran (Japanese) - The only Kurosawa film in color...quite powerful.
Hoichi the Earless (Japanese 281109)
Kwaidan Yuki Onna (Japanese 271109) - Tanaka Tokuzo's 1968 adaptation of the folklore.

Un Chien Andalou (French, 291109) - surreal, was surprising to know that Salvador Dali acted as one of the two confused priests who had been dragged in with rotting donkeys.
City of Life & Death (Mandarin - "Nanjing!Nanjing!, 301209) - Shocking, depressing.

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