The Shawshank Redemption - A Testament To The Human Spirit

                               Movies are the greatest thing in the world. I love how they can make you feel good in all sorts of way. Some make you laugh, some make you think, some thrill you, some make you think, some impress you... And then there's these very rare pictures that go beyond all this, that come and touch you so deeply that you'll never be quite the same. Movies that make you want to live fully, that make you believe that it's all worth it. The Shawshank Redemption is one of these films that you can't just love but cherish. Shawshank Redemption has been reviewed so many times, but films like these are the inspiration for me or any movie buffs to write about movies. Even though this review, might not capture the feel of the movie, I'd just like to try. 

                                The film concerns itself with a twenty-year friendship between Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker sentenced to life for the murder of his wife and her lover, and Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), a con who has already been imprisoned for two decades when Dufresne arrives on the scene in 1947. The script charts Andy’s attempts to build a new life on the inside, his refusal to lose faith contrasting with Redding’s weary resignation, and works its way to a bittersweet finale with a source of satisfaction.

                             In 1982, Stephen King  wrote a novella(short novel) entitled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It was (and still is) one of his few mainstream efforts, bereft of supernatural occurrences and graphic murders. In 1987 a filmmaker by the name of Frank Darabont wrote to King and requested an option over the novella. Darabont proved himself a master of the art of adaptation. He had taken liberties to improve its translation to a visual medium. He changed characters (Red was a white Irishman in the novella), scenes (the ending is extended past King’s inconclusive finale) and dialogues (many of the best lines in the film are Darabont’s). 

                           It would have all been for nothing, however, without the universally exceptional efforts of the cast. As written, Red spends his time observing Andy fondly and describing prison life. But Mr. Freeman's commanding presence makes him a much stronger figure than that. The sheer charisma of the man is all-but overpowering, an image heightened by Darabont’s decision to utilize voice-overs to advance the narrative.

                          Central to the film's success is a riveting, unfussy performance from Robbins. Mr. Robbins plays it intensely, and he ages effectively from newcomer to father figure during the story.  James Whitmore's, Brooks is a brilliantly realized character, and the scenes with him attempting to cope with life outside of Shawshank represents one of the film's most moving - and effective - sequences.

                      The Shawshank Redemption is definitively not the usual, exploitative prison movie. There are some rough, unsettling moments, and we learn that the warden and his guards can be as crooked as the cons, but the movie is really about the human spirit. It uses the hard, disheartening world of prison to show that even in such an environment, life can bloom. There is a difference between living and simply existing, a difference many of the prison inmates eventually lose sight of, and it may just get you thinking about your life, and the fact that not all walls can be seen with the naked eye. Mostly, though, it reminds us of that we all hold the keys to our own prisons.

                     Shawshank Redemption might have flopped in the box-office, but it is the most divine movie experience you will find in this world. When the closing credits roll you will feel renewed, and hear these words in your mind:

“Get busy living, or get busy dying”. 
"Fear can hold you prisoner........ Hope can set you free."
"Hope is a good thing, may be the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

Shawshank Redemption - Imdb                     

Martial Arts In Movies

                                   Action is an easy concept to understand, and it holds the attention as long as it's on screen. One doesn't watch a action movie to grasp some deeper meaning ; the motive is enjoyment, not spiritual enlightenment. When this attitude is taken towards the martial arts films, "Hong Kong", as a place and culture became as a style, devoid of  foreignness for the viewers. For people who know and follow this art, it's not just a defensive technique, it's a way of life which makes you a better and strong person. These films are one of the purest genre of action movies. This genre has inspired many boys and girls to take up martial arts as a hobby and making it a global phenomenon.

The Beginning
             The first martial arts films out of China did not feature authentic martial arts. It involved artificial elements  usually with supernatural abilities such as sword sorcerers, palm powers, and flying. Martial arts films discarded the more stage-driven elements of the earlier films and replacing them with authentic martial arts forms, weapons, and styles, also secured the role of the martial arts instructor as an invaluable member of the production team. 

American Impact
           Movies have always been an influence on American culture. Martial arts in particular have has an effect on American culture, which in turn has contributed greatly to how we view martial arts in general. Even the language are different, the ideas behind the films may be a lot more familiar than one might realize. The format relies less on literary devices and more on non-stop action. 

                       The 1960's were the golden era of the Hong Kong studios , but distribution was limited to Asian countries. This all changed when Bruce Lee came onto the screen. He had something that others at the time didn't : a personality and charisma that translated well to the screen. Many of his contemporaries at the time were excellent martial artists, but they did not present a compelling persona outside of their skills. Not only did he present a realistic view of how martial arts are done , but defined a whole genre. 

Martial Arts In Japan
                Japanese martial arts films are a direct contrast to the Hong Kong style. The Japanese samurai film brings not only sword fighting and action , but "philosophy, and complex states of mind. Because of the many underlying metaphors, such as falling cherry blossoms symbolizing the suddenness of death , may be instantly recognizable to Japanese audience, but are less than obvious to others. Therefore, it may be no surprise that the samurai film is set slightly more to the side in the public eye than the Hong Kong martial arts movies. That is not to say, however, that these films have not made an impact. 

                                       When martial arts were introduced to movies, they didn't just make people want to be superhuman and sign-up for classes ; they revolutionized the concept of fighting. For instance, until the 1970's fights were fought with the hands. If one used their feet , then they were considered a crybaby. Now, if one just started swinging they would look clumsy and lacking in skill (not including boxing). The full body is used to fight, and the victor uses theirs more efficiently. 

                                    For audiences, violence has always been a part of children film and television programming. Nowadays , with the inclusion of martial arts and a little comedy films such as Kung-Fu Panda , showcase actual fighting to younger viewers. Another example is the movie Karate-Kid. A classic tale of the underdog rising above his enemies.

                              In today's movies, we see some of our favorite actors being given pre-production training in martial arts and the type of choreography that you would only ever have seen used with someone like Jackie Chan or Jet Li in the past. But movies now rely so much on special effects and very little martial artists. That's what the movies are missing these days. Though there are few hopeful movies like 'Ip Man.'

                           Mega trendsetters like Matrix series has directly contributed to the entire video game industry, because of martial arts. All of this would not have been possible , if a few people in the begining, had not given the world , a taste of how martial arts can really be. Finally, I'd like to conclude with a quote from Bruce Lee:

"The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups."

Trust - Hazards of The Internet Age

                                 For most of us, the biggest threat the internet poses is that it's as easy to click on wrong information as it is the right stuff. But for innocent adolescents and teens trying to discover who they are, a chat room is like a best friend. Some of those poses as much of a risk as walking alone through an alley at night.
                                              This film 'Trust' talks about the inevitability of not being able to protect your loved ones. The agony that parents go through when they have failed in keeping their children safe and protected. It is a very good movie that few will see, because it deals with a subject that makes people squirm. What's more, this subject is dealt in a effective way, which will depress , disturb, and haunt the viewer for days. Yet for those , who can take this as a relevant message for today's society, Trust is a special movie experience.

       Annie (Liana Liberato) is a typical 14-year old sub-urban girl in Chicago. Reading her instant-message conversations on-screen, the viewer is clued in to a secret life that her parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) barely suspect—an ongoing, increasingly intimate correspondence with a boy in California. Annie thinks she has struck up an Internet friendship with a boy her own age. They chat around the clock, and the boy reveals that, in fact, he is 20. Later, "Charlie" confesses to being 25. Then he announces that he is coming to Chicago, and when she goes to meet him at the mall, she finds a 40-year-old man with a sickening smile and a smooth line of talk about how age doesn't matter.
                               She is shocked to the point of tears. But this seasoned pedophile manages to stop her crying and convince her to come with him to a motel room. Anne's father who, upon finding out that his daughter has been taken advantage of by a  scum, starts becoming disturbed. He wants to find the guy and kill him. The  case also draws in the FBI. The rest of the movie is about the specific consequences of this particular crime, how it affects relationships, self-image and the family structure.

            Director David Schwimmer of "Friends" fame, aims for realistic depiction rather than the typical Hollywood thriller format that this could have turned into, especially after FBI agents get involved. His direction elicits our deep feelings and fears about the dangerous use of the Internet by pedophiles and the devastating impact their sexual assaults on children can have upon the victim's family. Clive Owen gives a standout performance as Will. He starts the movie as a loving, outgoing husband and father, then becomes angry and helpless. One of the excellent scene is towards the end, when  Clive Owen, breaks down saying that he has failed in protecting his child. Catherine Keener lends sympathetic support as the mother. Liberato as Annie, handles the wide range of emotions her part demands, as well as the transition from happy-go-lucky teen to traumatized victim. Charlie is well played by actor Chris Henry Coffey, because the moment you see this guy, you want to smash his face against the wall.

                                   According to a statistics in America, in 2010 there were more than 8,000 reports of online enticement received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children cyber tip line. There were 3000 arrests that same year, but the disparity in numbers is sad proof that many of these creeps don't get caught. Don't think this subject of pedophiles is non-relevant one for a developing countries. The problem is , in developing countries incidents like this never gets reported and they don't have any strong laws.
                                 "Trust" is not a crowd-pleasing revenge film. It does not offer justice to the damaged life’s/ family. Though it is rated R for "disturbing material involving the rape of a teen, language and some violence," the rape scene and the whole issue is handled discretely and sensitively. What Trust conveys, at its best, is that ultimately parental protections are not foolproof, and that is the greatest horror of all.
                                 Trust might alert the teenagers to a real danger. It also helps them to see things differently and understand how parents and children so close to each other can suddenly, quickly become estranged during the teenage years.  

         Trust is thought-provoking, mature and well acted.  


Woman In Black - Cliched Atmospheric Thriller

                                         There came a point in "Woman In Black" when i started to wonder: How often can Daniel Radcliffe walk down the same creepy hallway holding the same flickering candle searching for some bump in the night? It's a traditional story , where all the elements are in place : isolated mansion surrounded by marsh, mysterious deaths, frightened villagers and predictable secrets. All of this takes place in Victorian England, where superstition often trumps reason.

                                     I think there is no need for explaining the plot. It's very simple. The story takes place in a village , where being under 10 years old is not a good thing. No Country For Young Kids would also be a suitable title for this film. The movie is based on Susan Hill's popular 1983 novel of the same name.

      This is our first look at Radcliffe following the  "Harry Potter" franchise.The casting of Radcliffe is a good marketing strategy. It has elevated a limited release movie to a potential mainstream hit. As the lawyer, Arthur Kipps he doesn't bring more charisma to the movie. He is too young to play as a father for a 4-year old. Even with his square jaw and dark circles Radcliffe still looks like a boy wizard. Thankfully, the well-chosen supporting cast is on hand to stabilize the movie slightly, especially Ciaran Hinds as a skeptical local landowner and Janet McTeer as his deranged-by-grief wife. 

                           The children also deserves praise for their unsettling stillness. The locations, particularly the marshland area of the house, and production design are memorable, with a attentive cinematography by Tim Maurice-Jones. The score effectively augments the tension. Director James Watkins, whose previous feature film credit is the 2008 horror-thriller “Eden Lake,” has an eye for ghostly atmospherics. But he is too buried in the atmosphere , and rather could have just shouted "Boo" in the viewer's face for thrills. 

                            The climax has some kind of 'bittersweet' ending, which you could predict, if you are frequent horror movie-goer. The film avoids gore for chills, which is a good thing and remains as a traditional horror movie, but it doesn't  provide enough  thrills for the viewers. 

                        Woman In black will definitely make you jump. But will you remember what forced you out of your seat a week from now or a month? Probably not.


Woman In Black - Imdb

Shattered Glass - A Cautionary Tale

                                   Our society is rampant with deception from advertising to corporations and individuals evading taxes, politicians breaking campaign promises, and countless other minor and major violations of the truth. Many people tend to see deception as either dubious and therefore an unfit topic for conversation, or completely obvious as 'the lubricant' that keeps society going and therefore unworthy of discussion. Now, why am i talking about deception?, because the film Shattered Glass presents the ethical issues of fabrication and the deception of the writer, Stephen Glass, to his editor and co-workers. He deliberately sensationalized his stories in order to gain his reader’s attention.

      The year is 1998, and Glass, at 25, is the youngest investigative writer-editor at The New Republic. Padding through the corridors of the prestigious Washington weekly , Glass is a rising star, but he takes care to present himself as the responsible person , flashing a nervous quick smile as he flatters coworkers , mixing charm and self-deprecation with an ingenuousness that makes you want to pet him. When he thinks he's made the tiniest mistake, he asks, imploringly, ''Are you mad at me?'' 

Glass thought that he could make a bigger splash with less effort if he faked facts and sources. Soon, he was making up entire stories, and there was a big enough hole in the New Republic's fact-checking process that he was able to get away with it. 27 of the 41 stories he wrote for the magazine were partially or entirely false. 

          Mr. Christensen, best known for his light-saber work as the young Anakin Skywalker in the latest ''Star Wars'' episodes, finds the perfect balance between creepiness and charm. He presents the character as a wide-eyed and seemingly naive kid, with a lot of childish mannerisms, with a need to be liked. The performances of Hank Azaria, Peter Sarsgaard, Steve Zahn, Chloe Sevigny, and Rosario Dawson a do more than complement Mr. Christensen’s central characterization; they provide a sane backdrop for Stephen’s deceptions to steadily unravel against.

Shattered Glass, is the feature debut of Hollywood screenwriter Billy Ray. Ray said that,  It's very dangerous when people can no longer believe what they read. At that point, he notes, people tend to get all their news from television or stop seeking it entirely -- two bad solutions. A fine script and taut direction moves this movie like a thriller, as Glass tries desperately to cover his tracks and compounds his lies with more and more lies. 

                      One question remains open to interpretation at the end : Why did Glass do what he did? Was he just lazy? Was he a pathological liar? Was he fascinated by the idea of fooling people into believing the stories he fabricated? The truth is probably a mixture of these possibilities. 

                      Integration is one of the important things in journalism, and , when it is called to question, we begin to doubt everything we read in newspapers and magazines and see on television.The movie almost boggles the mind exactly how in depth the journalistic verification process goes in an effort to bring the public true information; the amount of editors it takes, how many revisions the writer makes and the number of times each article is read and reread before print.

                   Shattered Glass is a cautionary tale about the weakness of a profession that is supposed to protect our freedoms by always revealing the truth -- no matter the cost.   

Trailer :      

Shattered Glass - Imdb     

The Straight Story - A Old Man's Odyssey

                                            Many say, 'Pride is a double-edged sword.' It can give a person dignity and a sense of honor, but it can also take away through arrogance and vanity; sometimes it is the very cause of the injustice that an individual may experience.This theme is explored in the movie 'The Straight Story', where director David Lynch, have chosen a 73 year old man as the protagonist. The Straight Story is a G-rated movie, and was distributed by Walt Disney pictures. But don't think this is a kids movie, because they might find this movie slow and boring. Straight Story is a cinematic food for adult and mature audiences, that is devoid of violence, sex, or cursing. It is an honest and engaging attempt about real people from the heartland of America.

    The Straight Story is based on a real event in the life of a real person. It is a is a comedy of reunion,  in the later years of Alvin Straight, one of those unobtrusive men who generally live and die anonymously. Straight (Richard Farnsworth) has two bad hips, choked lungs, and poor eyesight. He lives in Laurens, Iowa, with his middle-aged daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek), who is a little "slow" mentally. When Alvin hears that his brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke, he decides to go visit him. "There's no one who knows your life better than a brother that's near your age," he says. "He knows who you are and what you are better than anyone on Earth." Alvin has been estranged from Lyle for ten years, and he believes it is time to swallow his pride and reach out to him.

                       But it's not easy to make the journey because, Alvin doesn't have a driver's license anymore, and he doesn't like to accept help from others. He decides to make this pilgrimage on a old lawnmower pulling a trailer with his supplies and room for him to sleep at night. The cross-state journey, which takes six weeks during the late summer and early fall, is chronicled episodically, with a genuine emotional impact. 

        I asked myself a simple question after watching this movie: If I hadn't known the director's identity beforehand and hadn't seen the opening credits, would I have recognized this as a Lynch effort? The answer is probably no.For those of u who don't know , David Lynch, I'd like to say, he is a master in crafting bizarre and compelling movies, which sometimes is very hard to understand. He mostly relies on shock tactics to arrest the audience's attention. Yet, he surprises us with a quiet and emotional family tale of reconciliation. His portrayal of American heartland is simple, but not naive. 
                       A movie like this would never work unless the lead actor hits all the right notes, and the immensely charismatic Farnsworth surely does. It's impossible to imagine the film without him; his soft voice, deep blue eyes and effortlessly manly stature embody the qualities of the good American father figure/buddy. 

                      One of the most excellent scene comes up , when Early in his trip, Alvin encounters a female hitchhiker. She spends some time around a campfire with him. She has run away from home, but he gives her the following advice: "A warm bed in a house sounds a mite better than eating a hot dog on a stick with an old geezer traveling on a lawn mower." When Alvin finally reaches brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton), the meeting is also a deeply moving scene. For Alvin and Lyle show their feelings in none of the expected ways.They encounter each other, motionlessly and almost speechlessly, and only because we have been through the journey with Alvin and have thereby learned to read his inner contradictions of alienation and commitment.

                      "The Straight Story" is an emotional journey, fulfilling and touching, that put a broad smile on my face and kept it there, from the start of the film to the end. This is the kind of small, unexpected movie that doesn't draw crowds, but those who see it will feel privileged to have been one of the few.

  Trailer :     

The Straight Story - Imdb                                   

Turtles Can Fly - Wake Up Call For Humanity

                                         We all know life is hard. But there are movies that makes us escape the reality. We are so particular about the cast. We want to know if it is a hit. We sometimes wait  for recommendations. But 'Turtles Can Fly', is a movie which haunts us with the reality.  
                                        Many of us take our lives for granted. We wake up in the mornings stretching a little and there is a  smile in our faces as the dawn breaks. We desire for materials, like smart phones, Bikes, cars and various other gadgets. Sometimes we are disappointed by situations, when they don’t go our way. Whenever you feel sad about some petty things, watch a movie like 'Turtles Can Fly.' It could make us feel, how much blessed we are with our precious lives.

   The teen, Soran (Soran Embrahim), is nicknamed Satellite because he's the go-to guy for anyone in his village who wants a satellite dish installed. Long before anyone else, the budding entrepreneur recognized that dishes would be the only way to pick up news of an impending invasion. Led by Soran, the boys also attempt to rid the countryside of land mines, leftovers from the Iraqi military's attempts to take over their village on the border between Iran and Turkey. 

                  Another youth, Henkov (Hirsh Feyssal), his arms blown off by a bomb, is thought to be clairvoyant, the locals' traditional method of obtaining information. Henkov's pronouncements have an eerie way of coming true. He's traveling nomad-like with his beautiful sister Agrin (Avaz Latif) and a very young boy whose relationship to them doesn't become clear until near the end. Soran falls for her. Latif plays Agrin with a faraway look explained in a flashback showing the horror her family has been put through.

              This riveting and heart-breaking Iranian film is written and directed by Bahman Ghobadi whose film A Time for Drunken Horses was also about the desperate measures taken by children to survive in a surrounding of death and destruction.  he conveys the misery of kurdish refugees without a trace of self-pity or excess. It's difficult to think of a filmmaker working today who is as committed to mastering the art of pure despair. The performances given by the children cannot be called acting as all the child actors in this movie were actual refugees . 

                       Satellite is a great character , a survivor possessed of charisma, wit and wisdom beyond his years.  By far the most unerasable character in "Turtles Can Fly," though, is the mysterious Agrin, whom Latif plays with breathtaking fierceness and power. In Agrin, Ghobadi has created one of the most haunting, unsettling and uncompromising portraits of psychic damage in recent memory. All the child actors bring electrifying authenticity and presence to their roles. 

                       The landmines the children collect from the fields to sell to the U.N. or to arms merchants can explode at any moment, and the best ones, says Satellite, are "made in America." In war zones around the world, even for years after the end of combat operations, these weapons continue to take lives and limbs, ugly and dangerous imports from the supposedly free world.

                      The movie has raised many questions :  If a child goes missing in a developed country, an amber alert is issued on the internet and the television - Is it ok for a child to die in a war simply because he/she was born in Afghanistan or Iraq or Kashmir or Africa? What gives people the right to put fellow human beings through such misery? Can people who inflict such implicit cruelty to so many people in general be fit to be called humans? 

                    If history has thought us one thing - it is that - War is almost never an answer to anything. The Iraq war to us, unfolded through news clips of President Bush and Saddam Hussein. But that's all in the background. In the foreground are the often forgotten casualties of war. They'll be harder to forget after seeing "Turtles Can Fly.''I recommend this movie, because it isn't just a movie, it's a emotional experience for any human being.

Trailer : 

Born Into Brothels - Transforming Power of Art

                                       ALL TOO often, we see poverty and hopelessness, and simply register them as head-shaking abstracts. Those little girls with runny noses or those hunched-over souls in lines for food,  aren't real people somehow. They're part of a kind of suffering. We subconsciously congratulate ourselves for even noticing.
                                                  A long time ago, in the villages of  Africa, children were treated like kings. The community knew that their gifts would carry on the legacies of the tribe, so it was the responsibility of adults to draw out the best of each child. How different is this philosophy from the attitude toward children in most places in the world today! You might wonder, why i am telling all these things. The documentary, 'Born Into Brothels', takes us right into the homes where the children play. Where is their homes??? 

                                             The place of their home is Sonagachi, Calcutta's red light district, where the children of prostitutes essentially see two types of adults: their mothers and a steady stream of male strangers, all with the same dehumanizing intentions. 

British photographer Zana Briski originally went to Sonagachi to document the lives of its women. But after meeting and quickly befriending their children, she altered her plans. She not only made a film about the kids, she tried to give them a future. 

"Born Into Brothels," is about her attempts to change the perspectives of eight children -- literally and figuratively -- through photography workshops. Briski recruited New York docu editor Ross Kauffman to help her record the process, and the observed results confirm her enthusiastic assessment of some of the kids' talents. Numerous photos show a real eye, which in fact led to multiple international shows of the work in New York and Amsterdam.

          Briski and Kauffman go easy on the noble intentions and steer clear of larger statements about third world poverty and exploitation. Instead, they focus on the children, who are funny, and desperate to get out of the hellhole that is their lives. We quickly come to know them as individuals: Shy Kochi, bossy Shanti, prankish Manik, serious Gour, placid Suchitra. Two seem especially blessed with potential:  the charismatic Puja, who serves as occasional narrator, and her friend, the chunky, sensitive Avijit.

                              ''Born Into Brothels" doesn't flinch. It shows these children navigating a hopelessly ruined adult world, aware that their own time is running out. The girls have it the worst: They know only education will save them from the line and that no school in India will take the children of sex workers.(In most cases, their own families are pressuring them to take up prostitution as soon as possible.) 

                              There's a measure of suspense toward the end, as Avijit's chance to be part of a children's photo-editing panel in Amsterdam looks to evaporate after his mother dies in a mysterious fire (probably set by her pimp) and the boy sinks into depression. Although some may be annoyed at the image of the concerned Westerner playing God in the lives of unfortunate Third World childrens, few could deny that these are kids desperately in need of a helping hand. The documentary doesn't talk about any political agenda., it just generates genuine emotion. 

                              ''Born Into Brothels" dignifies a handful of children for a Western audience far beyond what a charity photo in a magazine can do.More important, it gives them a chance to record their world. Most important of all, it opens the door to let some of them escape. Watching this documentary , makes us clear that, each child has a  gold mine of creativity and wonder inside that is meant to be shared with others.

                              Briski has a foundation called 'Kids With Cameras', which supports the kids shown in the film and also sends other photographers out into the world to teach these children about photography.

                    A book containing photographs taken by the children in the film is available from Kids With Cameras.
Born Into Brothels - Imdb

Malcolm X - A Exiciting and Compelling Biopic!

   "The journey of spiritual growth requires courage and initiative and independence of thought and action. While the words of the prophets and the assistance of grace are available, the journey must still be traveled alone. No teacher can carry you there."
— M. Scott Peck, (American Psychiatrist)

                            In Malcolm X, Director Spike lee uses the film medium to track the spiritual journey of this controversial black Muslim leader, preacher, and activist.  It happens to be a spiritually enriching testament to the human capacity for change. This historical, ambitious epic movie manages to sustain itself for 3 hours and 21 minutes. The film is carried by the quiet intensity of Denzel Washington as Malcolm X. 

Who is Malcolm X ?

                              Malcolm Little was born on may 19, 1925  was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist. He indicted the white America in harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. . Detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, antisemitism, and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. He went by many names: Malcolm Little, then Red for the color of his hair. 'Satan' during the early part of his 6 1/2 -year prison stint; then Malcolm X, his Black Muslim name, and finally, after his break with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, he called himself El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. In his 39 years , Malcolm X was many things : criminal , prisoner, leader, mystic, martyr.

Movie Analysis
               In the title role, Washington smooths the political figure's rough edges with his immensely likable personality; he also charges his quieter moments with passionate fire. Everyone who has a stake in Malcolm's legacy will argue about aspects of his character that seem overblown or skimped, but none can deny the conviction and grace of Washington's portrayal. Director Spike Lee convincingly tracks both the low and the high roads of Malcolm X's spiritual journey. His enormous affection for his hero suffuses his work, nevertheless resists the temptation to sanitize Malcolm as Richard Attenborough did Gandhi. The other performances convincingly mirror the man's charisma and its positive and negative results.
                    Malcolm X is a good movie, which is also educational. Sometimes going to see a movie that is good for you is like eating a food that is good for you, but that you don't like, broccoli, for instance. Malcolm X, I'm happy to say, is educational, but, like good food, is not hard to swallow. Near the end of his 39 years, Malcolm abandoned separatist teachings after his pilgrimage to Mecca, brought him into contact with devout Moslems of all races. And just as Malcolm opens his mind to the possibilities of global harmony, he attained his martyrdom. 

                 Lee and company have performed a powerful service: they have brought Malcolm X very much to life again, both as man and myth. "Malcolm X" closes with Nelson Mandela's reading of one of Malcolm's more celebrated speeches, and finally with a attempt to tie it all together with cute schoolchildren. It's a little much, but then so was "Gandhi."  Watch this sincere and heartfelt film , if you could afford 3 hours in your precious life.

Trailer : 

Se7en - Twisted Brilliance

                              Originality in movies is a rarity, with many central themes having been plundered to the point of audience exhaustion. What the viewer can occasionally hope for is a fresh new slant or re-interpretation. "Se7en" is such an example of classic horror thrills, up-ended and twisted into a bewildering web of tension.  Seven isn't transparent or moronic, and it doesn't insult the average viewer's intelligence. David Fincher's second feature, after Alien³, cuts against most expectations for this sort of genre piece, with a striking performance from Morgan Freeman.

             The title refers to the Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, Pride, and Lust. The film successfully points out that, in today's society, these sins are looked upon as normal--what were once considered deadly are now considered everyday. That is, until a serial killer decides to wake people up by killing sinners in ways that symbolize their respective transgressions. The victims in Seven range from a high-price defense lawyer to a prostitute to a vain fashion model, showing how sin infiltrates every level of society. 
                       The two conflicting heroes of Seven are Detective William Sommerset (Morgan Freeman) and his eager new partner, Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt). Sommerset is a hardened, experienced cop who is less than a week away from his much-desired retirement. His eyes are always dark and heavy, and we get the feeling that he was seen too much evil in the world. He was once an excited idealist like Mills, but years of probing the underbelly of society have worn him down. Although the new cop/old cop routine is well-worn, it is an intricate necessity in Seven because it is essential to the shocking finale. I won't even hint at what it is or the identity of the serial killer.

          Freeman's is a supremely nuanced, moving performance as the seasoned, bruised and solitary Somerset. This is screen acting at its best. Pitt turns in a determined, energetic, creditable job as the eager young detective. Gwyneth Paltrow gives as much human dimension as possible to her few scenes as Pitt's sensitive, uncertain wife.The actor, who plays the serial killer , is not listed in on the opening credits for the purpose of surprise; but i will say his performance is appropriately creepy and disturbing. Cinematographer Darius Khondji (City of Lost Children) and production designer Arthur Max have sculpted a dark, murky world, parts of which are illuminated only by flashlight. Everything is dark and grungy, and even in open spaces there is an uncomfortable, claustrophobic feel. 

                                  Director David Fincher, since Se7en  has solidified his standing as one of Hollywood's most creative and unorthodox talents with The Game (1997) and Fight Club (1999), Zodiac (2007), The Social Network (2010), and the recent The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), but at the time, nothing could have prepared us for the sheer visual intensity of Seven. His techniques in Se7en are confidently different. Rather than lingering gore shots, we get a diffused layering of the visual and verbal , to  nauseating effect.

                               Although Se7en seems excruciatingly violent, there is little physical violence depicted on-screen. We never actually see the killer doing the deed-- only the results rendered in harsh detail by make-up and special effects. In a film like this , the viewer is placed alongside the police officer in the role of a outsider, following the killer's trail. You have the knowledge, that another murder is bound to happen , but you are powerless to stop it. The pace is fast and the shocks build beautifully.  The only problem with Se7en is Brad Pitt's Mills is not a likable character. He is cocky and arrogant with an inflated opinion of himself. 

                      Se7en is a worthwhile and a very watchable film , but don't look for a lot of deep social commentary. Lean back , peer into the darkness and watch this gut-wrenching film as it is structurally brilliant. 

Trailer : 


Russell Crowe - Enigmatic Actor

                                 Russell Crowe is one of the intense and brilliant actor in today's Hollywood industry. Russell Crowe's personality is a shifting landscape of emotions. He has attracted controversy with his high-profile love affairs, his open hostility toward the American news media, and his all-around eccentricity.  He is a paradox -- always preceded by contrasting stories of his kindness and extreme callousness. What is never in question , is his talent. 
  • He was born in New Zealand on April 7th , 1964. He was raised in Australia from the age of 4. His parents worked as innkeepers and caterers for the most part. Russell did not enjoy a permanent house , until the age of fourteen , since his parents were always on the move. Russell got the acting bug early in life. He became a child star through a Australian TV show.
  • When his hit his teen years though, it was not acting which drove Crowe , but rather music. He fancied himself a rock musician and changed his identity as Russ Le Roc. While not playing music, he worked part time as waiter and bartender. Eventually Crowe , gave up on Russ Le Roc persona. Instead, he formed a new rock band with some friends. Russell still plays in the band, during his time off
  • After the TV shows and rock band, Russell's first big break came with two films ... the first, Romper Stomper (1992), gained him a name throughout the film community in Australia and the neighboring countries. The second, The Sum of Us (1994), helped put him on the American map, so to speak.
  • Trade Mark : Fiery temper, Gravelly, smoke-burnished voice, Frequently plays exceptionally talented or smart individuals, Often works with Directors Ron Howard and Ridley Scott, Often plays characters based on real individuals.
  • Cousin of former New Zealand  international cricketers Jeff Crowe and Martin Crowe. 
  • Premiere Magazine ranked him as #49 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature. His performance as Jeffrey Wigand in The Insider (1999) is ranked #23 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006). A Beautiful Mind (2001) is ranked #93 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time (2006).
  • After filming Gladiator (2000), he and some friends took a 4,000 mile motorcycle trip around Australia.  Owns a 560-acre farm in 7.5 hours North-West from Sydney. His earnings in 2001 were estimated at $15.4 million by "Business Review Weekly".
  • Took violin lessons in preparing for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) because his character, Jack Aubrey, played the violin several times during the movie.  Gained 63 pounds for his role in Body of Lies (2008). Once he was cast as Bud White in L.A. Confidential (1997), he read in the book that his character was the largest cop on the police force, off-putting for him due to his medium-sized frame (just under 6 feet). To capture a "big guy" presence, Crowe lived in a tiny flat in which he could barely fit through any of the doors. This experience, he said, made him come to the set feeling like a giant.
  • Turned down the role of Logan/Wolverine in X-Men (2000).  Despite liking the script very much, turned down About a Boy (2002). Turned down the role of "Aragorn" in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Turned down a role in Black Hawk Down (2001) due to scheduling conflicts. 
  • Plans to donate his brain to medical science when he dies. Is a fan of English Football side Leeds United AFC. He was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to Australian society and Australian film production.
  • He is currently busy with big projects. He is playing Jor-El in the Superman movie, Man of Steel and as Inspect Javert in the adaptation of famous novel 'Les Miserables.'
Russell Crowe Quotes :
 [on winning the Best Actor Oscar] "If you grow up in the suburbs of anywhere, a dream like this seems kind of vaguely ludicrous and completely unattainable. But this moment is directly connected to those imaginings. And for anybody who's on the downside of advantage, and relying purely on courage, it's possible."
 " All that stuff, this public persona of me - let's call him 'the wild man' - that is not helpful. It doesn't make me more of a box office draw. It's the quality of my work that makes people want to go to my films."
 "I believe if you take on characters for a living you can't make yourself into an icon in order to sell a pair of shoes."
 "I'd move to Los Angeles if Australia and New Zealand were swallowed up by a huge tidal wave, if there was a bubonic plague in Europe, and if the continent of Africa disappeared from some Martian attack."
"[on turning down the role of Morpheus in The Matrix (1999)] Well, "The Matrix" - I just didn't get it. I couldn't get past page 42. That world was just not interesting to me."

                                             He was nominated 3 times for Oscars and five times for Golden Globes, winning one in each. On the personal side, Crowe rather remains a reclusive personality. He has become notorious for his refusal to conform to Hollywood fame. He has walked out of interviews, often known for his frequent clashes with directors during filming, often purposefully blows cigarette-smokes in reporter's faces and hurls obscenities at the slightest provocation. But despite his rude and erratic behaviour, many directors still want to work with him. The reason for this is that his talent is undeniable.
 Whenever Russell Crowe graces the screen, he leaves a lasting impression on the viewer.

Russell Crowe - Wikipedia

Full Metal Jacket - Dehumanization of Men

                               Vietnam war was one of the most insane war in the mankind history. To Portray this horrific tale , you need to equally insane and most brilliant director like 'Stanley Kubrick.' The US Marine Corps are proudly insane.When these forces combine, we have a astonishing, beautiful, electric, and a desperate movie like 'Full Metal Jacket.' It is a master showpiece of the inglorious indignities of war.

    Kubrick's picture is strikingly divided into two parts. First 44 minutes are set exclusively in a Marine Corps basic training camp, while remaining 72 minutes embrace events surrounding the 1968 Tet Offensive and skirmishing in the devastated city of Hue.

           In the mesmerizing opening segment of Stanley Kubrick’s film, a tough and abusive drill sergeant (Lee Ermey) is attempting to mold a group of Marine recruits into savage fighting men. His message is simple: thinking is a vice and killing is a virtue. Unlike most of his peers, Private Joker (Matthew Modine) resists the programming. Joker and Pvt. "Gomer Pyle," an overweight klutz, whom Joker must usher through training. Pyle suddenly discovers, with alarming zest, the joys of gunman-ship. "Full metal jacket" -- gun-speak for bullet casings -- is one of the last things he talks about before making his last bloody move.
           In the second half of the film, however, Joker is a combat correspondent for Stars and Stripes and is forced into battle where, his values are put to the ultimate test.

            Although initially received with bewilderment, Full Metal Jacket (1987) now stands among the key works in Stanley Kubrick’s exploration of identity and its problematic nature. The movie is fairly closely adapted from Gustav Hasford’s 1979 novel The Short-Timers. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford adds a great quality to it, that conveys the disorder and lunatic violence of this destruction.  Kubrick's soundtrack is characteristically dynamic and explosive. The performances were great from all over. Modine gives out one of the best performances of his career. But R. Lee Ermey astounds in the role of the brutal Drill Sergeant Hartman, how could he not? He was one in real life. Vincent D’Onofrio was also great in a physically and mentally demanding role as the stricken Private Gomer Pyle, who also gained 70 pounds for his role.

                   The first thing that comes to mind is comparison, since that’s the only way to make sense of why would Kubrick would set up the film in two parts. Anyways, both sections show how the elements of war affect an ordinary person. Due to the brutality of the first part, the second part isn’t as mesmerizing as the first one, but its still captivating. For some of these soldiers this war is a nightmare, and they want to go home, for others, it’s a heaven, and they kill people like crazy. We can clearly see this in the second stage of dehumanization, on how the trained killers react on a real life war environment.

             In Kubrick's vision, the schedule of dehumanization of the main character starts, as the complex moral obstacle course has shaped him first into a cautious observer , then an advocate of peace, then a determined protector , and  ultimately a satisfied avenger. He has no more fear because his humanity , despite any misguided efforts to preserve it , has finally escaped. In the flame-ridden city he becomes the newest killing machine to descend deeper into the hell.

            It's a war movie yes, but it's not like any other war movie. It doesn't support left or right, it stays in the middle and simply tells it's story. If you watch this movie , you will definitely say, "WAR IS HELL."

Trailer :

Full Metal Jacket (1987) - Imdb