Monday, 16 September 2013

''Moulin Rouge!'' (2001 movie)- Review

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Released: 2001
Country: United States, Australia

Genres: Musical, Romantic drama

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, John Leguizamo

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Moulin Rouge! is perhaps one of the most beautifully told musical love stories I have ever come across. Beautifully written, designed, directed and acted, this film was touching and deep.

Our protagonist is an aspiring writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), who has moved to Montematre, Paris, to find inspiration for writing. One day, he comes across Toulouse-Lautrec, who, along with several people, is working on a play. Christian gives them advise on writing, which makes them request Christian to write the whole play for them. They are writing the play for Satine (Nicole Kidman), the star of the famous nightclub, Moulin Rouge. They decide to arrange a private meeting between Christian and Satine.

What follows can be a little confusing. A Duke (Richard Roxburgh) has offered to invest in a play, where Satine will play the main role. The owner of the nightclub, Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent), arranges a private meeting between the Duke and Satine. On the other hand, Christian comes to Satine's room, and Satine thinks Christian is the the Duke. Christian falls in love with Satine at first sight.

Soon when the Duke arrives, he is shocked to see Satine ''in the arms of another man''. Satine and Christian cook up a story, that they are rehearsing for a play. The Duke demands the story of the play. Christian makes a story: a sitar player and a courtesan have fallen in love, but they are threatened by the presence of an evil maharajah, who also loves the courtesan. Hearing the story, the Duke is quite impressed and decides to invest.

Little do they understand, that the play they are working on will become the story of their lives... Satine and Christian fall in love, but there is the Duke, who makes a lot of contribution to Moulin Rouge, under one condition, that Satine should belong to him. And on the other hand, it is also revealed that Satine has tuberculosis (though it is known by only a few people. Satine herself is not informed).

I loved ''Moulin Rouge!''. It was so touching, deep, and well-acted. I loved Christian, and I loved Satine. There were so many beautiful songs... My favorite song is (of course) ''Come What May''. I also loved the song ''One Day I'll Fly Away''.

I loved how the characters of the film were represented by the characters of the play ''Spectacular Spectacular'': the courtesan by Satine, the sitar player by Christian, and the maharajah by the Duke.

''Moulin Rouge!'' is also visually astounding. The cinematography was wonderful. The set decoration was excellent as well. The colorful buildings, and the sky... they looked so beautiful. The costume design was really good as well. The editing was superb.

Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman were amazing! Their performances were so good that they made the characters come to life.

Moulin Rouge! is a touching and deep love story! The performances, the visual aspects, the story,  the songs, they were excellent. It's a beautiful, colorful film.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

''Winter's Bone'' (2010 movie)- Review

 Directed by: Debra Granik
Released: 2010
Country: United States

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt, Shelley Waggener, Kevin Breznahan

Genre: Drama

Rating: 4 out of 5


Winter's Bone is a film which I had been eagerly waiting to watch. And when I finally watched it today, I was overwhelmed. It was such a gentle, captivating film with excellent performances.

Jennifer Lawrence is one of my favorite actresses. And I think she is one of the most talented young actresses today. Her portrayal of Ree Dolly is so memorable, so touching. There is the screenplay, that is filled with excellent dialogues and situations, dialogues delivered so fascinatingly by the actors.

The first scene of the film shows two children playing. They are Ashley and Sonny, younger siblings of our protagonist, Ree. Ree Dolly has to take care of her two little siblings and their mentally unstable mother. Their father isn't home. He hasn't been home for a long, long time. Her father is involved in drug dealing. Ree, the only able member of the family, has to look after her family members.

All of a sudden, a terrible thing happens. The local sheriff informs Ree that her father has to appear at the court, and if he doesn't appear, the family will lose their house and the nearby woods. Ree, shocked by this news, has to find her father. Where can he be? To save her house, to keep her family safe and alive, she has to either find her father, or to prove him dead. And Ree suspects that her father is dead, he might have been killed. But how will she find her? She meets many characters, goes through difficulties, comes across characters who do not help her in her quest, but make it more difficult for her.

The protagonist, Ree, is extremely memorable. She is a gentle, poverty-striken girl, who has to look after her family, who has to struggle against poverty to provide for her little siblings. However pissed off she gets, she doesn't lose her patience. She answers all the questions that she is asked, no matter how much that irritates her. Even in those situations which should have tested her patience, she remained calm; strict in her quest, yet gentle. There are only a few scenes where you see a little roughness in her character. Jennifer Lawrence definitely deserved the Oscar nomination that she received for this role.

Another character that gets much significance is Teardrop Dolly, Ree's uncle. He is also involved in drugs. John Hawkes is excellent as well.

Throughout the film we see Ree's encounter with characters who are difficult to deal with, who are dangerous. 

The cinematography is fascinating, and the performances are really very good. Winter's Bone is a gentle and captivating film, emotional and bleak. Poverty, characters' emotions, a person's attempt to keep her family safe. Winter's Bone is a grim and slow-paced film, yet so gently deep and excellently acted.

Friday, 6 September 2013

''All About Eve'' (1950 movie)- Review

Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz 
Released: 1951
Country: United States

Genres: Drama

Cast: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Bates

Rating: 5 out of 5


All About Eve is a great film. Yeah, it's GREAT. The wonderful story is presented with a great screenplay, with excellent performances from the leads and the supporting cast. Eve Harrington is such a vile and cunning character... And Anne Baxter is excellent... she is perfect as Eve. 

All About Eve starts at an an award ceremony, the ''Sarah Siddons Award''. It is time to present the award to a very talented actress. And the award goes to... Eve Harrington...

As Eve receives the award, two characters, theater critic Addison Dewitt (Sanders) and Karen Richards (Holm), wife of a playwright, narrate how Eve found this fame... how Eve climbed the social ladder and became so famous and, and known as one of the talented young actresses.

Flashback. About a year ago, Karen Richards had come across a gentle young woman, Eve Harrington. Karen is impressed after observing that Eve is such an avid fan of the famous and successful theater actress, Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Karen takes Eve to Margo, who also gets quite happy to see the girl's devotion for her. Gradually, Eve becomes Margo's constant companion. And everybody gets quite fond of her. Eve becomes friends with playwright (and Karen's husband) Lloyd, theater director (and Margo's boyfriend) Bill, and producer Max Fabian.

But things are not as simple as they seem to be. Over time, Margo starts noticing strange things. Eve becomes her understudy without her knowing it... Eve gets to play an important part in a play. Is Eve really a naive girl who was such a dedicated fan of Margo? Is Eve really a modest girl? Or were they all nothing but pretenses? Is Eve nothing but a ruthless social climber?

Both Anne Baxter and Bette Davis give memorable performances. Baxter is amazing... At the beginning of the film, she perfectly plays a naive and modest girl, an avid fan. Nobody can guess what the character's purpose really is, what her intentions really are. Similarly, she also plays an excellent villain. One of the most memorable instances of her villainy was the scene where she meets Karen Richards in the lady's room. Ah, that scene was so very well crafted. The apology, and then the terrible blackmail... oh, the scene was so well written. I began to hate the character at the latter part of the film, especially after the scene at the lady's room. There Eve had revealed her true color, that her apologies were meaningless and nothing but a part of her bunch of pretenses. There have been several characters similar to this one. Becky Sharp, for example. A social climber who can do anything to reach her goal .

Bette Davis was fascinating as well. Her character, Margo Channing, an actress who is at the peak of her career, feels threatened because of her age. She feels threatened by Eve, her rising fame. And she begins to hate Eve after she comes to realize how ruthless, how snake-like she actually is. Davis was excellent, and Margo is a character for who is sometimes irritating, but mostly a character whom we can sympathize. 

Celeste Holm- she was so nice. George Sanders (as Addison), Gary Merrill (as Bill), Hugh Marlowe (as Lloyd), and Thelma Ritter- they are all so amazing. Marilyn Monroe is present in a small role.

The last scene was so iconic and memorable! I was really impressed with the last scene.

The screenplay was amazing... all of characters were brought to life, the situations were built up well. All About Eve is an excellent film, with an excellent cast, an excellent story with a great screenplay.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

''The Village'' (2004 movie)- Review

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan 
Released: 2004
Country: United States

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver

Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Drama

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


M. Night Shyamalan's ''The Village'' started incredibly well. The visuals were excellent, the cinematography was fascinating, the music was WONDERFUL, and the story was overall engrossing. The presentation remains wonderful throughout the film... Only, the story just gets far less interesting, far less engrossing, far less nice. What we guessed was a horror story, turns into something else. While the acting is absolutely excellent, the storytelling and the screenplay wasn't satisfactory. That being said, The Village is a really well made film, with excellent score and cinematography, but the story gets uninteresting near the middle of the film.

The Village is set in 1897. A group of people live in an isolated village. The village, surrounded by a mysterious and scary woods, has no connection with the neighboring town. There are mysterious and scary creatures living in the woods. For this reason, nobody dares, nor is allowed, to go to the woods. The people live with peace and harmony, and the constant fear of the creatures living in the wood.

Our protagonist is a blind girl, Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard). She is a kind, sweet young woman. Her fiance is Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), who has a deep wish to cross the woods one day, and reach the town. One day, the crazy man of the village, Noah (Adrien Brody), stabs Lucius, apparently because of jealously (apparently, he loves Ivy). 

Lucius, after the incident, is injured and may die without immediate treatment... But the medicines are not available in the village. To save the life of Lucius, Ivy decides to cross the wood and go to the town herself, to get the medicines.

Then a shocking twist is revealed that almost changes the entire story. I won't say that the twist was something bad. I must admit that it was something very well thought of. But, ultimately, it wasn't very satisfying.

You can see beautiful images and scenes throughout the film. At the very beginning, scenes like the villagers doing their regular works, are very well shot and presented. The scenes in the village is well executed and beautifully designed. It was a visual beauty. And the music, oh, it was beautiful. I can't deny how well made the film is.

But what lacks is the storytelling. It was really very engrossing at the beginning, but later I somehow lost interest. The film has a nice (and sweet) story that could have been told in a better (and fast) way. Ultimately, I didn't think it was a bad film. The beautiful cinematography, the beautiful music, the excellent acting, all these cannot be denied. It starts as a horror film, but after the twist is revealed near the middle, I didn't have an idea what genre I should call it. I think it should be rather called a drama/mystery.

2.5 out of 5



''One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'' (1975 movie)- Short review

Author: Milos Forman
Released: 1975
Country: United States

Genre: Drama

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson, Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito, Sydney Lassick

Rating: 4 out of 5


R. P. McMurphy, a man who has been arrested several times for assault, pretends to be mentally unstable when he is serving a sentence in a prison. He is sent to a mental institution, where it will be checked whether something is wrong with him or not. McMurphy gets acquainted and becomes friendly with several patients, and comes to know the strict head nurse, Nurse Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher). The nurse is strict, and, because of her strict character, wants the patients to be firm in their work and their daily routine as well. McMurphy becomes annoyed because of her strictness, and inspires the patients to defy her, to have fun, to get out of the strict routine. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an entertaining film, with amazing performances. Jack Nicholson is absolutely wonderful. Louise Fletcher is excellent... Dourif, Simpson and Redfield are amazing as well. I had mixed feelings towards Nurse Ratched's character. At times, I did hate her, but I didn't think her to be a complete villain. Nurse Ratched is strict and determined in whatever she does. Because of her overly strict character, a horrible incident happens near the end of the film. She is not really a bad person. She should have realized that it's sometimes necessary to mix emotions with whatever she has to do.