Monday, July 6, 2009


This is an entertainer with a great cast all in full form. A film about killings & murder with love blossoming, with issues of guilt and integrity, but it flows as a comedy all the way.

Two hitmen, Ray and Ken go to Bruges on the order of their boss, Harry. They wait there to be intimated about their target.

Ray hates being in Bruges unlike Ken who loves historic sites. Ray carries a huge burden of his last killing, which was also his first - he accidentally kills a young boy and is tormented by this all the time. He also meets a girl on the streets and they fall in love.

It's when Ken receives a call from Harry that the target is Ray since he killed a child the conflict gets completely pronounced. He shares a special, mentor-kind relationship with the young man and is unable to bring himself to kill Ray.

The tension is built well as he proceeds with all the steps to execute Ray but as he reaches close he sees Ray trying to kill himself. He stops Ray and sends him away. Only...Ray is arrested on the train and brought back to Bruges since he had hit a person who had earlier bothered him.

The film gets more interesting as Harry comes to Bruges in order to honor his own words and kill Ken. Only...he can't kill him since Ken refuses to get in a fight of draw, which is against the principles of Harry. But...when they come to know that Ray is back, things change.

The comedy works well on many quarters since it dabbles into interesting themes. Helped by great performance (Farrell as Ray is a complete delight) the film takes you on pretty entertaining ride.

Writer: Martin McDonagh
Director: Martin McDonagh

Rating ***1/2

[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on 4th July at Hampden courtesy NetFlix]


The Austrian film nominated for Oscars 2009 is a great thriller which plays along with other genres of romance and drama.

An ex-conman, Alex works in a prostitution place and is passionately in love with a Ukrainian prostitute, Tamara. Tired of living in such a place Alex thinks of robbing a bank and when the boss of the joint takes extra interest in Tamara, they decide to run away.

Alex's best bet is to rob the bank and leave the country. And when he does that, things change in the manner he never expected. He ends up staying with his grandfather in the same town

There is parallel story of a cop and his wife who live in the town where the bank is robbed. The wife who is friendly with the old man, visits them regularly and gets involved with the robber.

There are many a twists in this tale. It is suspenseful. It deals with secrets and lies. Deals with the harsh realities. Deals with desire and integrity and...acceptance.

Writer: Gotz Spielmann
Director: Gotz Spielmann

Rating ***1/2

[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on 2nd July at Starz Theatre, 5pm show]


The film that not many were rooting for to win the Oscar 2009 for Best Foreign Film and which it did, is a great piece of work about social stigma attached to certain professions but mostly it's due to the human emotions at play with regards to a man coming to accept the reality and forgiving the past hurt.

This is the story of a Cello player, Daigo in Tokyo who moves back with his wife to his native town as the symphony he works for goes under. He reads an advertisement for a job thinking that it's a travel agency, however when he lands he realizes the job is to assist the departed - dress-up the dead and put them in a coffin.

With no jobs on offer and being desperate Daigo decides to give a shot on insistence of the owner. He hides the true nature of his job from his wife since he knows she shall not accept such a job. Initially he has a hard time getting used to the strange rituals of this job but gradually he becomes aware on how much the last rites means to the family.

He becomes great at his work and has to deal with the hassles of the society, the biggest of all with his loving wife who leaves him. Amidst all this, the young man is always bitter and hurting about his father who left him and his mother when he was a child.

The story captures the life in the small silent town pretty well. There are stories within stories and each works to add more emotions. At times, the film seems a wee-bit extra sentimental but as you are always close to Diago, going along with his journey, with his internal struggle getting heightened, the film becomes more moving.

One of the big highlights besides the super performance by Mashiro Motoki is the stunning soundtrack. The music plays an incredible role and is also inherently connected to the character.

Writer: Kundo Koyama
Director: Yojiro Takita

Rating ****

[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on 30th June at ChezArtiste, 3.45pm show]


Based on the memoir of wife of Daniel Pearle, the Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped and killed by extremists, the film does an effective job of portraying the saga - the days in Pakistan that Mariane Pearle spent from his kidnapping till he was eventually assassinated.

The film begins with the events that unfold leading to the kidnapping and then the efforts of the Pakistan government and Americans to deal with this scenario. The film is told from Mariane's perspective and Jolie does an effective job. She is also perpetually supported by her room-mate, her husband's colleague, an Indian journalist played by Archie Punjabi.

The film has many Indian actors, the most prominent being Irrfan Khan, who is as solid as ever in an important role of the Pakistan CID Head who is in-charge of the investigation.

The tricky part in such a film is - how to unravel the conflict from the protagonist's perspective, when she is in a passive position. The men of action are the investigators. Mariane can't do much except when she has to react to the situations unfolding.

Yet being with Mariane's character, going through her emotions, the actions she takes within the limitations does the story work to a good extent.

Based on the memoir by Mariane Pearle
Writer: Sara Crichton and John Orloff
Director: Micahel Winterbottom

Rating ***

[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on 27th June at Hampden courtesy NetFlix]


The French film is a story of a woman who believes in Kant's philosophy of not straying to physical pleasures eventually falls in love and can't resist being intimate. However with religious and family angles at play life doesn't turn out as desired.

The film dabbles in many areas - a woman trying to find her individuality in a society that makes it hard through religious beliefs, family stigma and explores sexuality from a woman's perspective.

It does an extremely effective job by telling the story of a Jewish lady living in Paris with her family.

Writer: Karin Albou
Director: Karin Albou

Rating ***1/2

[Max ****]

[Viewed at Hampden on 17th June, 2009 courtesy NetFlix]


What a disappointment...

Sam Mendes who made American Beauty and Road to Perdition, works with two bright talents - his wife, Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio and creates a complete contrived picture.

Once the story starts to flow of a couple who get into domestic rift, the film reeks more and more of pretentiousness in terms of philosophising and easy resolutions.

It gets to an interesting level where they need decide to leave everything behind to move to Paris. However even then the lady's character's unpredictability creates a suspicion about the logic, but then it continues to spiral downward; the woman IS supposed to be unpredictable but the story doesn't hold.

It only ends in the two fighting with each other all throughout the film hoping or maybe believeing that the acting of Winslet and Caprio does a marvelous job. does but only to create a mockery of the film.

As such the self-indulgent film gets more and more boring, especially as many situations look so much inspired by American Beauty, trying to tell a story of another dysfunctional story.

Based on the novel by Richard Yates
Writer: Justin Haythe
Director: Sam Mendes

Rating **

[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed on 13th June at Hampden courtesy NetFlix]


An amazing story of a man being kidnapped by some dwellers in sand dunes who force him to stay with a single lady in a house within the dune.

There is no escape for him except to give in and live his existence. It's a world within a world that takes a stance at existence of man.

The 1964 Black-&-White film was penned by legendary writer Kobo Abe, and Teshigahara leaves his indelible stamp by shooting the film in sand. Every thing revolves around the sand - there is no escaping for the protagonist or the audience.

The film is a proof of how conflict can be created even with the supposed limited means of a story and a gripping story be conveyed in a feature. The man of science goes on a journey of adventure and learning, only to be caught, to struggle and from which there's no escape when and if you are caught amidst circumstances that you can't control.

Based on a novel by Kobo Abe
Writer: Kobo Abe
Director: Hirosha Teshigahara

Rating ***1/2

[Max ****]

[Viewed at Thornton & Hampden on 5th/6th June courtesy NetFlix]