My Guilty Pleasure- Your average American Chick Flicks!

Obviously, this is something unconventional of me telling everyone but I do watch chick flicks. C’mon, I do have a personal life and these films nonetheless reflect a hell lot on our practical being. Good to watch for an entertaining ride, but also these films are a great stressbuster when really low. I personally think it is a shameful abomination for many when they come to know they also have a soft spot for these guilty pleasures apart from their minimalistic interest in cinema. That’s undeniably false and doesn’t make sense at all. My experience in the month of May was a turmoil of miscellaneous stuff as I went through almost every genre. Sharing a list of all the guilty pleasures I devoured watching this month below, and please be excited as this is the first and only time you’ll be hearing from me doing something quite like this.

We’re The Millers (2013)

Alright, so this was some exciting stuff. I’ve always loved Jason Sudeikis as a suitable choice when it comes to cheap thrill comedies, and plus he totally digs with Jennifer Aniston. The film is endlessly hilarious with vulgarity and profanity throttling down, and has a bunch of extreme comic scenes which would make you laugh your ass off. (Apologies for the language but please look what post I’m doing) You’ll be in for a real fun time, please don’t miss out on this one.

VERDICT- 3/5

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Incessant fun, even vulgar and hellbent on rough language, the film gets all its praise because of those underlying factors. It might showcase itself as a tribute to “The Hangover”, and thanks for doing that too, it certainly was a great piece of time killer. With Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day on lead, it becomes interesting with time as not only it has die-hard comedy but it never gets tedious and keeps on getting better with a charming screenplay. Riveting stuff!

VERDICT- 3/5

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

It might have given me a troublesome self-loathing time with myself as I was asking questions why I was watching this while this one was playing in front of me. I’ve always adored intertwining tales but this was annoying from A-Z. A film on girl and boy issues, relationship loopholes, and whatnot, I was expecting some kickass entertainment which it failed to deliver. Except some good acting performances, it sucks big time.

VERDICT- 1.5/5

Eat Pray Love (2010)

Based on an international bestseller, this Julia Roberts starrer is both influential and refreshing. It might be tedious and dragging because of its duration but still is a delight for many. I had a good time relishing Italian food, the beautiful locations across Asia, and thanks for shooting here in India too. A film which is lovely and irritating like an average girlfriend, but it does portray things like self exploration and solitude quite well.

VERDICT- 2.5/5

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Calling this a chick flick would be a shame and I certainly shouldn’t, as this one just encapsulates one of the best romantic comedies of 1990s. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan form an endearing chemistry as if they are M.F.E.O and is hilarious too in every frame. One of the most heartwarming and beautiful films ever, it just elevates me everytime when I watch it. And also, it was my parents who did appreciate watching it too. One of the best screenplays ever. One of the best romantic comedies ever.

VERDICT- 3.5/5

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

Well, it’s shockingly true to witness Julia Roberts as a manipulative bitch in this film, she just makes it look even better. As the name may not suggest anything better, it is Julia’s riveting performance whuch makes an appallingly pathetic script look better here. This film is pointless at times and also has a sickeningly bad Cameron Diaz in it, what else could have saved it from a disastor. Quite interesting in some frames, but was a major disappointment for me.

VERDICT- 1.5/5

Rumor Has It (2005)

The most intriguing part about this film was its loose-based inspiration from the classic epitome of comedy, “The Graduate”. It is shocking for people to listen and plus shocking of me to say, but it was a pointless bloated mess. Kevin Costner would have felt distasteful after being casted in this film which is annoying till the very end, I am deadly serious here. Jennifer Aniston seems to be getting roles of her lifetime, and she does look cute here.

VERDICT- 1/5

Mother’s Day (2016)

All thanks to Netflix as I could help myself into exploring chick flicks and some interesting comedies, and this one was plain sailing fun. As I get pleasured watching intertwining tales, this one is sweet and beautiful in ways. Loose and bland on script and direction, but who cares when it comes to guilty pleasures. Amazing fun, I somehow had a good time glimpsing this mild comedy which is star-studded with such great actors.

VERDICT- 2/5

Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Okay, I admit Hugh Grant is cute. But Sandra Bullock is way ahead. She was so adorable in this and I adored watching her play a witty and smart lawyer in this one. This film may be loose on romance and lacks certain other filmmaking elements but is good one though. I remember watching it on a silent night and my loud laughter had my parents awake as a consequence.

VERDICT- 1.5/5

Julie and Julia (2009)

Nora Ephron is a great director. Her inquisitiveness towards studying screenplays and later adapting them on silver screen, helps her get attention from general audience and critics both. This film was fervently delicious and has great acting performances from both Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. It was a delightful watch and I am sure my mom would have loved it even more. Keep it up, Nora. I want you back on track please!

VERDICT- 3/5

Easy A (2010)

With a sprinkle of teen splendour and cheap thrill, this Emma Stone starrer is an easy favorite for any teen. How excited are people about rumors, gossips amd relationships, and this film satisfies all our lust by highlighting an excess of these activities in this. It’s hilarious with relatable references and the script is shockingly intersting. The film also doesn’t disappoint and Emma Stone wins our heart here.

VERDICT- 2.5/5

How Do You Know (2010)

Probably one of the reasons why we don’t hear from our beloved Jack Nicholson anymore, this film was an epic disaster on silver screen. It may sound sweet and hilarious on paper but was too loose and deviating on screen, but Reese Witherspoon was cute though. It doesn’t explore love, relationships and career properly, and just like that it also slips from its storyline and gets short of certain things.

VERDICT- 1/5

The Break-Up (2006)

The thing which bugged me the most was the shortcoming of handsome dudes in this film. Vince Vaughan is excellent at comic roles but having him alongside Jennifer was a bad idea of course. (Lol I ain’t jealous OMG!) The director here tries to do a Annie Hall on many occasions but fails to deliver. Of course, it’s nowhere close to the masterpiece “Annie Hall” but it has a great display of hysterics too. A mild entertainment though!

VERDICT- 1.5/5

Please let me know what do you guys think about guilty pleasures and have they ever impacted your taste in cinema? Share all of your favorites too and please I’d love more recommendations coming in.

Back To The Future (1985)- Thanks for making me appreciate films on Time Travel

So yesterday was just as boring as any other day, already burdened with work pressure and troubles of being a college student, life can really be a bitch at times. To save myself from all this mess is movies or sometimes football. Getting to the topic, I will never forgive myself as to why I didn’t ever think about watching Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future” much earlier. Times will never be the same again, and this film beautifully encapsulates one’s childhood memories, at least that’s for sure. Another trouble was the genre which is detestable as per my taste, but it did go well. Perhaps, there wasn’t a single moment in the film where I might have yawned or would have shown any means of discontentment. The film just owned me. It really worked out and as I always mention films being an embodiment to escape from reality, it was a great example.

The 80s era must have really been stupendous. Everything was just so cool. The emergence of rock music genre. The birth of gothic trend. The importance given to “coming of age” genre in films. The people in the 80s must have been the real epitome of awesomeness. Just like that, Robert Zemeckis’ film here covers all trends of the golden era and also talks about an inevitable concept: Time Travel! Sounds intriguing, right? We might have a plethora of films in this generation talking about time travel and Science Fiction, so it isn’t a big deal now. However, it was back then as this film is undoubtedly an inspiration for half of the best Sci-Fis which we know today. Steven Spielberg has always shown curiosity in Sci-Fi apart from his glorious, geeky interest towards adapting historical dramas.

A film which was released much years after films like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “ET, the Extraterrestrial” had already made their mark in Hollywood industry, “Back to the Future” could have indeed be an inspiration and loosely inspired from many other features, but nobody cares! As long as a film is attracting scores of people towards it, it is a big thing. Apart from the fanboy love from many millennials and teenage youngsters, the film instantly became a darling for critics too. This film has an aura of brilliance which is too hard to ignore. It gets hooked to the body and doesn’t detach itself until it goes off the screen. Here are some of my thoughts about this film.

As much appealing as this film is from its very first shot, it does define the culture and society of the 1980s America alongside its exciting screenplay. Comes the adventures of a handsome, frivolous slacker named Marty McFly and he comes swirling in with a pair of Nike, a skateboard, and a vibrant glow of attitude. Perhaps, this just defines the 80s for all, it’s a fact that most of the handsome men and beautiful women were a reproduction of that era. Marty is acquainted with an eccentric scientist who is inventing ways to time travel. The flow of the film is well synchronized with the screenplay and not a single deviation or unnecessary take is there, at least for me. As the film explores time travel, Marty is sent back to 1950s and comes the era of the lovebirds, the beginning to America’s foundation, and where people were actually getting use-to with emerging trends.

The film may just have a bleak, little to express kind of storyline and where things happen in a hush, although it doesn’t disappoint ever. Endlessly hilarious and entertaining with the olden but golden wits, it looks at all high-school stereotypes with elegance and portrays them on screen too. In an average American coming-of-age feature, there’s always a helpless geek struggling by being bullied, social awkwardness, and life in a nutshell. He has a soft corner for a girl who may not feel the same about him, but things do happen one way or the other. The film is so blatantly practical to teenager life and explores certain things too.

The film was colorfully extravagant as it never leaves anything. From rendering clothing trends like “Calvin Klein” to automobile giants like “Toyota” on silver screen, it sparkles an ode of necessity of these things too. As it may mot be relevant with its plot, but it does balance with the sidetrack. Arriving back to the concept, Sci-Fi’s have never been so cool and exciting unlike this one is. The film discovers things and casually fools around with many other unimportant things, but it does captivate us with its frenetic undertone. It is enthusiastic, smart, witty, and diligent, something which every girl expects from a perfect boy.

ACTING- 3.5/5

CINEMATOGRAPHY- 3/5

PACING/EDITING- 4.5/5

SCREENPLAY- 4/5

DIRECTION- 4/5

SCORE/SOUNDTRACK- 4/5

VERDICT- 4/5

Please do let know about your thoughts on this film. It is one amongst my Top 20 Favorites of 1980s now.

Under The Skin (2014)- A Non-Kubrickian Gem?

Every once in a while I love to watch a harrowing, dystopian film with certain areas of symbolism and ethereal meaning. It is nearly inexplicable to talk about Jonathan Glazer’s magnum opus as it too ahead of our time and demands to be left uninterpreted as it reaches towards the end. The film left me in an unsettling shock and I had to glimpse through various other articles on the internet to search through the essence of the film. However, I do think it doesn’t necessarily matter what each person writes about it as each article is a description of their own exploration and experience. To make things more simple, “Under The Skin” challenges our intelligence and wants us to treasure for more meanings in life. Such meanings which haven’t had ever been heard of, and are traversing through human existentialism.

It is us humans who first started using spearheads, stone tools and later discovered civilization. We formed a society, thus it now gives a meaning why homo sapiens are actually homo sapiens. The need of going forward was always incepted in our minds from the beginning, and we did witness war, love, technology, and urbanization. In fact, these all are our creations in this universe. Watching this film took me in a parallel universe where I was completely numb, and particularly focusing on things with mere concentration. There wasn’t a single thought which was distracting my senses and I was profoundly thinking about the civilization of aliens. What does the word “Alien” exactly mean? Are they alienated from our life forms and planet that they never wish to show their presence to us? Or is it the complacency or their self-satisfaction that they don’t want a confrontation with us? The film answers everything.

“Under The Skin” begins with cyptic images and which are bluffing our minds on the very first go. It spontaneously changes track and takes us to the country roads of Scotland. The initial images of the film have a unique similarity with Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” where we glide through interstellar space. The original score synchronizes well with a terrorizing music and becomes a parasite on the spectator’s body till the end. Glazer has depicted surreal images which are a fitting example to the works of Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, and Stanley Kubrick in 21st century. Slow camera takes, a ravishing cinematography, and continuous silence makes the film standout on every aspect. There are situations which can’t be expressed with our language but moreover have to be felt within our understanding. The film constitutes a distinct experience to each different person, and finds its speciality through the same medium.

It’s so visually resounding to realize that this film is meant for a detailed exploration of humanity and civilization. It’s common to listen from various sources that humanity is falling to evil and villainous trenches, and Glazer here tries to explain by highlighting nymphomania and loneliness going hand in hand. Totally hard to deny that Scarlett Johansson gives an incomparably elusive performance in this one, a performance which is entirely different to her other works. The film never sprinkles an ode of hint and keeps us engrossed in its mysterious, eerie undertone. Prowling through the streets of Glasgow is an extraterrestrial being navigating places, learning about human behavior, exploring the Earth, who has its own purpose. Disguised in form of a seductively charming lady, Scarlett Johansson is seen interacting with distinct people and is understanding, learning, and exploring human intellect and behavior on each occasion.

The most intriguing facet which keeps the viewer’s attention unhindered is the after-effect and turning point of each interaction. Entering the void was the most horrifying experience in the film, as it doesn’t only frightens our eyes but provides a plausible meaning to human senses. The void is a similar reproduction to Black Hole, only it is constructed on Earth and governed by the extraterrestrial in this film. It sucks lecherous lust out of a human being and punishes them by taking their life away from the Earth. “Under The Skin” explores different sides of human nature brilliantly well, with mostly the evil nature floating around in the film most times. We observe several moments of humanitarian aid, care and affection, and shelter also being provided to the extraterrestrial, but it sheds light on practical villainous nature of homo sapiens in each life forms. The world being experienced and visualized through the eyes of a non-human is certainly horrifying to believe, but it does open rooms of questions to our skepticism.

Do we know ourselves well? Is our evil side still unexplored and lusts for all treacherous things in life? Why is loneliness existing and crumbling human lives with artrocity? Does loneliness later invite sexual lust to some people? The film neither tries to explain things to people but makes them experience each situation by highlighting sinister and sinful deeds of each individual. It is a mirror to our own sins and incessantly tells to look back at our own mistakes. I am so in endless fascination with this Jonathan Glazer manifestation which had a beguiling influence on me. To look at it, it’s scary but extremely enlightening in many ways. It’s like a parasite and which won’t leave the possession soon as far as I am concerned. I wouldn’t leave any point and actually want to determine how close Glazer went by in soliciting an imitation of a Kubrick feature film. Well, if it comes to score, cinematography, and slow burning takes, a big yes! Let’s look at the technicalities of the film now.

Us humans concieve an idea first. Later we delve into the intricate details of it, and finally manifest it in reality. We appreciate it, we admire it, and later we extinguish it. We kill it in simple terms, have we ever been benevolent to other creations apart from this insipid hatred for the others. The final shots of the film perfectly captures the essence and tap into our minds with numbing emotions and disbelief. The film is a gradient of self exploration, self destruction, creation of wonder, loneliness and many other things. It means a lot of things. Glazer in one of his interviews after being asked about hidden meanings of his film, replied that it is upon us individuals how we figure out things on our own. Don’t take it to intellect, but rather experience it. It is undoubtedly an unprecedented creation of time and effort blended in at rhe right place, and at the right hands of the right individual.

Although, I am a bit contradictory on the technicalities of the film. However, I personally think some frames could have been avoided, or rather given much more time and effort in filming it. The camerawork was a revelation but was loose and fragmented at places, thus leaving many things like an untouched jigsaw puzzle. Keeping the symbolism and plot of the film to be bizzare in mind, still there was an emerging necessity to explaining some shots in detail. The instances include the mysterious biker, the dead hooker, and many other questions are left unanswered. Unique and appealing to realize in one way, but for certain others it could be detestable. Technically speaking, it’s a nobel prize for direction for a person like Jonathan Glazer, and I personally do think there should be a Nobel for filmmaking too. Scarlett Johansson is still on my mind and the terrifically terrorizing score speaks about this film for sure. It charms on a well-written and adapted screenplay too, the cinematography remains indispensably important, and the usage of abstract images was a delightful feature for the audience and film both. Was it really a 21st century Non-Kubrickian gem? It may or may not be for many, but it did transform me into an entirely different being than what I was before. A new addition in my 21st Century Favorites now!

ACTING- 4/5

CINEMATOGRAPHY- 4.5/5

SCREENPLAY- 4/5

DIRECTION- 5/5

ORIGINAL SCORE- 4.5/5

EDITING/PACING- 3.5/5

VERDICT- 4/5

Please do let me know what you guys think about this film? And did it change your outlook towards life?

Christopher Nolan- A Director Retrospective

So, my first ever retrospective is going to be on my childhood inspiration. Not only did Nolan impress me with his visual effects and CGI in films, but provided an understanding how Sci-Fi elements could be blended with aesthetics and feelings. Christopher Nolan may just be the most popular mainstream filmmaker, yet who is also acclaimed monumentally by critics, opened doors to technology and innovation in the cinema sphere too. Assisted and guided by his real brother, Jonathan Nolan (who majorly writes screenplays for films), the graceful charm of this filmmaker has left many aspiring cinephiles awestruck and in the mood for films.

In my personal experience, I still remember it was “Interstellar” which I first watched of this master filmmaker and kept running excited with its name and aura, as the film had me enticed from top to bottom. Interstellar also gave me certain hints how inexplicable things are in life surrounding us, and thus which have profound meanings deeply forbidden in a cryptic mystery. Days followed, this infatuation towards films took me on a Nolan spree and I had finished his famous five films within a week. To this day, I stand confident in meticulously explaining all his films as I have finished the entire filmography of his. Please join me in on this transcendental experience towards films as some of your favorites might just be listed below. In a chronology;

Following (1998)

An experiment turned into eventual success, Nolan first started off by delving into facets of voyeurism and explored mental famine, loss of purity and innocence with a fast paced, perplexing screenplay. Having the idea of shooting on the underdeveloped parts of London proved to be an exploratory research, and it certainly did help Nolan in cementing his image in the film industry. Of course, easy success doesn’t come at once unless you are Tarantino, Lynch or Orson Welles who are most celebrated ones of rewarding us with the best directorial debuts ever. As an enhance, Following did leave me uninterrupted and shellshocked with a scratching head, and which was probably enough for me to get hooked on to something.

Memento (2000)

Christopher Nolan made its first mark into Hollywood with this Guy Pearce feature film, “Memento” is a psychological fast-paced, psychedelic thriller which is well built on a non-chronological storyline. There are several frames in this film which are almost unbearable to watch, but nor does it leave the spectator uninterested. The film is listed one amonst the Top 30 Best Films of 21st Century by BBC, and is meant for every cinephile in my opinion. Be it an arthouse film fan, a mainstream CGI film lover, or a beginner into films, “Mememto” offers unrelenting entertainment and thrill for almost every target audience. It’s time to re-explore this one I feel.

Insomnia (2002)

What else would you want to witness if Al Pacino and Robin Williams delight you with a duo on screen. “Insomnia” is captivating and engrossing from its first shot as it has brilliantly used a grim atmospheric setting set in the cold and mysterious altitudes of Alaska. It’s horrifying and certainly do leaves its spectators speechless, although it should be regarded as a little sister to Fincher’s “Se7en”. If an overstatement, don’t believe this hype but tune yourselves by watching this thriller now because the Hollywood has nearly stopped making such vengeance-driven thriller mysteries anymore.

Batman Begins (2005)

In my opinion, nobody could have pulled off a Batman Trilogy as successfully as Nolan did in the 21st century. With a fitting role provided to Christian Bale as Batman, the film looms mostly over its dark, cryptic undertone and differentiates itself well as compared with the DC comics. Nolan did provide the Batman lovers something innovative and crystal new with this manifestation, and so is the film’s brilliance with its unique script, magnificent acting, thus governed with a sound direction. What interests me the most is the runtime which fits too precise with the storytelling of this film.

The Prestige (2006)

With a growing affection with Christian Bale as one of his most picked actors, Nolan’s films finally identified an X-factor. “The Prestige” was an epitome of gargantuan success in the film industry as this opened more doors of innovation and cinephiles for the English filmmaker. The film is well written for the screen, has a star-studded cast, and mystifies the audience with its usage of VFX and visual effects. Personally for me, the film was deviating and quite loose from the plot at times, but it puzzles us whenever one tries to find loopholes. Thank you for the ending, Nolan!

The Dark Knight (2008)

The second installment to the Batman Trilogy was arguably the best creation of any film in a long time. Well, this is what the majority of audience says, thus considering the massive fanbase for this film. Fuelled by an exquisite portrayal of Joker’s sociopathic behavior by Heath Ledger, the film charms on several occasions. The growing intensity and chemistry between the protagonist and antagonist is the most scintillating part of this film, and keeps on getting better with each frame. Some of the scenes such as the bank heist, batman-joker interrogation scene, and the ending just helps the movie elevate to a God level.

Inception (2010)

My personal favorite from the Nolan filmography, “Inception” is one amongst my favorite films of 21st century too. Nolan conspires in towards a profound, relatable, but not much focused subject in practical lives, and talks about the quintessence of dreams. For me, “Inception” always charms with its VFX, original score and the concept encircling as the backdrop of film. With a star-studded cast featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, “Inception” takes us ahead of our time and shows us distant reality, thus trying to perplex us with multiple scenarios happening simultaneously. A film I can keep visiting anytime I want.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The last installment to Nolan’s trilogy was too heavily built on mass destruction and offered a fitting replacement to Joker, in the name of Bane. The last part experiences irregular turbulence in its storytelling and has carious scenes shot with carelessness, thus which invokes less attention from the crowd. Nevertheless, it offers an even better display of CGI and VFX in this one, yet it only lacks an inquisitive script. Talks apart, I do remember the film did leave me spellbound on its well executed fight scene and the satisfying ending to any trilogy.

Interstellar (2014)

“Interstellar” would always be remembered because of the time when it was released for the screen and is poignantly powerful on certain occasions. Nolan brilliantly executes his notion and modus operandi towards human aesthetics and connects them with a space exploration story with emotions attached this time. The film entices with its slow burning takes at times, thus it seems that Nolan must have immensely been inspired from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The film corresponds on a father-daughter relationship and also speaks about inevitability of time and survival. The background score and the dialogues are a tear-jerker in this film.

Dunkirk (2017)

A technical masterpiece as suggested by the famous critics of the world, “Dunkirk” seems to be Nolan’s most complete film rich on technicalities, emotions, and the screenplay juxtaposes well with the filmmaking style portrayed in this one. Nolan is apparently developing himself more mature and profound on filmmaking with each film coming in, and this one is specifically meant to be watched in a 70mm. A visual delight, alongside the fikm is exquisitely well adapted considering the historical context and makes us feel we are actually glimpsing the harsh wartime of 1940s. With a rocksolid cinematography, the film goes further ahead and doesn’t leave a single opportunity in getting precious acclaim.

Ranking each Nolan’s film in terms of filmmaking technicality and personal choice;

1. Inception- 4.5/5

2. Dunkirk- 4/5

3. The Dark Knight- 4/5

4. Interstellar- 4/5

5. The Prestige- 4/5

6. Memento- 4/5

7. Insomnia- 3.5/5

8. Batman Begins- 3.5/5

9. The Dark Knight Rises- 3/5

10. Following- 3/5

Please do let me know what you guys think about the extraordinary works of this master filmmaker. Just can’t wait for Tenet anymore!

8 Reasons why “There Will Be Blood” is the Best Film of 21st Century

“There Will Be Blood” is a film which always leaves me spellbound and speechless. There is something which will never let me express everyting eloquently about this film, and is equally tough for a cinephile to as well, although considering a film which has a masterpiece endeavor from top to bottom. Easily PT Anderson’s magnum opus, the film explores intricate details of evilness, antagonism, and alienation in human behavior and delivers to us with sheer subtlety. Having watched all 7 extraordinary works of this director, it was this film which embraced me the most and later possessed with its evil aroma encircling within. “There Will Be Blood” isn’t just my favorite film of 21st century but solidified itself as my all-time favorite years back and will still remain to be the same for many years to come. I finished watching this film for the 3rd time in my life so far, only this time with my mom, and each viewing broadens a distinct vision and experience for the spectator. I always wanted to write something unique and dexterous on this film, and now seems to be the most appropriate time to. Find eight reasons beneath why “There Will Be Blood” is an anomaly and my “Greatest Of All Time”.

1. A historically well-adapted description of the early 1900s Capitalist America

The film captures the backdrop of early 1900s when businesses started to flourish in the barren lands of the country, and how capitalism shaped the economy. With people having wealth and power, they could easily acquire land and resouces and how things changed for the rural and barren landscapes of the nation. “There Will Be Blood” is a film which is too concentric on materialism, monetary facets, and all the glittering resources in environment, and how it changed the perspective of unaware and uneducated people living in such areas accordingly. It brilliantly juxtaposes two opposing and highly different sides of nature with material luxury annexing into the world of mythology, prophecy and superstition, and stealing the primary interests of people, thus making them lust for greed, vengeance and material success.

2. A nonchalant portrayal of the tiny gap between Materialism and God-like Prophecy

The film has a uniquely profound atmosphere setting with an oil drill established at part of the town and the church of the third revelation on the other. Alongside an aroma of greed towards success and money, the film also renders moments of god-like prophecy and is too superstitious at times. It sketches and bridges an elusive gap between two different ideologies of people and society, thus which are duelling against one another in order to solidify its title for the people. PT Anderson wonderfully uses a location which renders a meaning of these terms and is highlighted with an articulate understanding on the screen too.

3. There is an Evil in everyone of us

Daniel Plainview wasn’t the only villain in the surroundings, but it was the entire land filled with diverse people and their vernacular interests. An instant craving or a lust sparks an evil out of a person, and things like greed, vengeance and blood is something all must have ever craved for, at least once. Similarly in the film, the fields of Coyote Hills soon got corrupted by the treacherous arrival of Plainview, and how quickly were the people who got influenced by his actions. The false prophet Eli was another example of mental corruption and a wide influence for the growth of evilness in the town and that particular society of people.

4. It’s an A-Z work of perfection from its first to final shot

Splendid work script-wise, direction-wise, or either the cinematography, acting and the original score of the film, “There Will Be Blood” prevails monumental in every aspect. The film begins with an air of quiet death with Plainview excavating within the field for oil and the camera rolls on him for 15 mins of continuity. PT Anderson has rendered a mastery of silence in this film with brilliant, god-like background score perfectly fitting each scene. Other shots of the film include the Church Baptism, the Oil Disastor, and the flawless “I Drink your Milkshake” climax, which may just be the most rewarding and well performed camerawork in any 21st century film.

5. Greed and Vengeance is undestined and has no fate

Vengeance takes you nowhere, is something we all have been hearing from our parents, teachers, and even certain other films. Was it really the fate of Daniel Plainview? Or did he enjoy his fate of getting the eventual vengeance and nullifying everything sorrowful in his life. We knew Daniel never vowed for love, family or emotions, but only wanted success, money and respect from the society. So taking all these things into consideration, it was perhaps a happy ending for Daniel Plainview. He had all the milkshake, there was greed, there was vengeance, and finally there was blood. Daniel Plainview after the final credits would be like, “C’mon, my movie is over and ya’ll can go home now and relax. My fate was always known.”

6. Daniel Day Lewis

One of the reasons which makes “There Will Be Blood” the best film of all time in my opinion, is the inevitable charm and undisputed presence of Daniel Day Lewis. Being one of the most celebrated method actors in the history of global cinema, Day Lewis dissolves himself in the character and has always been a thing of prominence for the Englishman. Having already been acclaimed with other Oscar victories for “My Left Foot” and “Lincoln”, although this one remains to be the all time best performance of his entire career. Daniel Day Lewis nearly took two years to get into the body of Daniel Plainview, and the anomalous voice and accent, his body tone and gestures, and the getup proves it all.

7. It teaches industrious business and life lessons too

One of the few films which surprises with a backdrop of business environment and management lessons attached in it, “There Will Be Blood” teaches us success only comes to those who are patient, determined, diligent and persevering in nature. On a side account, about 90% of the startups shut down within the first month of conception, and here the film pictures a portrait of oil business as a backdrop. Daniel just started as an oil digger and by the end of film, we observe him on the topmost chair of success. A rags to riches story too for the entrepreneurial aspirants, although there are many things which our antagonist taught us in spite of a crude, ruthless aggressive behavior. Well, I guess!

8. Don’t believe in adversities, false prophecies and be the third revelation yourself

The best part about the film was the clash between two egos; a duel between fake god-like persona and human atrocity, although it is human who prevails and improvises himself as God in the end. “There Will Be Blood” is brutally honest in sketching an image of lust and vengeance, and also makes all false prophecies and superstitions vanish away from the face of Earth by calling “God is a superstition” in the end. So, from the onset of the creation of nature to stone age and to finally the Human Intelligence era, have we ultimately decided that god is a superstition and started to worship ourselves?

Do let me know what you think about this film.

Burning (2018)- The perfect definition to Korean Cinema

A serene, quiet manifestation of the South Korean landscape which touches themes of jealousy, greed, and working class anxiety with near perfection.

Movies which keep me contemplating for days and weeks later become my personal favorites. It didn’t take “Burning” that long to solidify its title and position, and is currently my #16 favorite film of all-time. To be honest, Korean cinema has cast a long shadow in the global cinema and is a prepossessing inspiration for millennial filmmakers and aspiring cinephiles. Parasite was a revelation at the Academy Awards 2020 and even its Palme D’or victory has given a huge name to the rising, trendsetting Korean cinema base. I’ll be talking about the film with a much detailed analysis, as it has opened doors of filmmaking inspiration for me, and I soon plan on to prepare a short film. Lee Chang Dong seems to be overshadowed by the rising popularity and undisputed presence of Bong Joon-Ho, but his retrospective has intriguing ideas about studying characters and the vast landscape of Korean socio-cultural and economic areas. Similarly, Lee Dong’s “Burning” flows quietly and captivates us into the screenplay very quickly in the beginning. The film captures two different parts of the city and uses the aroma of class discrimination and jealousy alongside, thus being foretold in a mysterious, crypted tone of the film. For the viewers, they may find theme similarities with the Oscar winner, “Parasite”, but quite honestly, these films are still entirely different in their technicalities and storytelling, thus only sharing a common message for the Korean society. “Burning” takes us to an odyssey of differences in human behavior and explores the vernacular classes of society, with the focus mainly converging towards the gap between rich and poor. The film hypnotizes spectators as it is profoundly articulate in exploring luxury on one side and destitute poverty on the other.

The trio performances were ravishing and holds the major essence of the film on its shoulders. Steven Yeun is an astonishing charm in this feature presentation.

Looking at the film’s storytelling with a visionary mindset, Jong Su is on the verge of insolvency and the environmental and legal regulations is being barbaric to him. On the other hand, Ben is a scintillating character and an exception to Korean society, thus keeping us clouded till the end with his mysterious, philosophical idiosyncratic nature. Homo sapiens are distanced not only by monetary facets and social esteem, but several things come into picture. Jong Su’s intolerance and troubled-abusive childhood keeps him in agony on the inside, while on the outside he is trying incessantly hard to win Hae Mi’s heart. Hae Mi is the connecting link between two uniquely different landscapes of Korea, with economic and socio-cultural facets of the country being articulated with raw honesty and cruelty. Some of the film’s shots are meticulously crafted, with the original score being a resonant memory for the viewers. It stays possessed till long and each time it takes me to the cruel reality in Seoul, South Korea. Alongside, the film’s three different character studies depicting on Hae Mi’s cheerful liberty and casual loneliness, Jong Su’s raging tensions unraveling deep inside and his jealousy, and Ben’s ineffable eccentric mindset, the film profoundly looms over human lives who are connected with one purpose. Is it Love or Money here?

Burning never answers questions to our scratching, skeptical heads and later becomes a grim, yet slow driving thriller. The film neither provides hints to us investigate certain things but keeps our minds numb with a cloud of ambiguity. Human lives are immensely intricate and certain ones are acquainted with one another irrespective of cultural and wealth differences. How brilliantly rendered are situations when the camera looms over two distinct tangible objects and at various frames, thus sometimes taking us to the demolished and underdeveloped parts of Seoul, while sometimes to the haute-couture, posh suburbans of the city. In the world where “Romeo” and “The Great Gatsby” have something common to share with one another, “Burning” also uses abstract language of poetry, minimalism and existentialism. Ben isn’t just a Porsche racing rich individual, but is a mystery from the inside. The film gives me paranoia but elates me at the same time with its magnificent cinematography, where some scenes are of highly the avant-garde. Burning keeps your eyes wide open and forcibly engrosses ourselves in an uncanny portrayal of class discrimination, working class anxiety, and explores anguish, frustration and revenge with eloquence. It can be cold and unsettling at times, yet it does justice and always keeps the spectator on the edge. Just to conclude, the film has one of the most finest and extraordinary done climaxes in any other film. It’s awestrucking, jaw-dropping and keeps you uninterpreted with questions.

Quite synonymous to Tarkovsky’s take on Mirror, Burning’s cinematography on the other hand, is a relevation for many films.

Although I believe I seem to have successfully explored the essence of the film, thus keeping the spoiler part in mind. Go for it, it’s one of a kind and deserves the infamous “It’s Terrific” Citizen Kane tagline for the landscape of Korean cinema. Burning Greenhouses will always be a resonating memory and surely a splendour hobby for many cinephiles and obsessive film fans.

ACTING- 5/5

DIRECTION- 5/5

SCREENPLAY- 4.5/5

PACING/EDITING- 4.5/5

CINEMATOGRAPHY- 5/5

MUSIC EDITING/SCORE- 4.5/5

VERDICT- 5/5

Dhobi Ghat (aka. Mumbai Diaries, 2010) – Deconstructing through the socio-cultural, geographic landscape of the “City of Dreams”

Dhobi Ghat is a nonchalant depiction about four different lives intersecting in Mumbai.

I study in Mumbai. In fact, a couple of months from now, I’ll soon be shifted to the city of dreams. I have been studying in the city since 2017 and almost ventured every length and breadth of the city. There’s always a vibe flowing endlessly in this city, thus ready to sweep us away, take us to our destination, and ultimately changing our lives forever. Mumbai can be puzzling and challenging for any newcomer, but it does welcome people with warmth and affection unlike any other city. Mumbai has an aura of complexity, exuberance, diligence, and also rewards such individuals be it in terms of social esteem or monetary esteem. An intriguing feature about Mumbai is the differences shared by people who are geographically concentrated in distinct landmarks of the city. In short, it is the ever-ranging diversity and metropolitan culture which distinguishes Mumbai and is probably the most “Un-Indian” city in my perspective. Perhaps, differentiating the lives of people in Mumbai isn’t as complex as it seems to be. With a population of 2.1 crore jampacked in little boxes, some are living the luxury, whereas the others are struggling hard to make their ends meet. It’s easy to create an impression for any non-mumbaikar just as you enter the Domestic terminal airport at Santa Cruz, how flabbergasting situations are here. With airport on one side and the vast slumhood on the other, Mumbai can be a cruel mistress and a biased land for many people. A plethora of cab drivers, labourers, corporate office-goers, business tycoons, celebrities, artists and painters, unemployed and struggling oblivious youth, and many more, all share a similar platform of distinct memories, disgruntled struggle, happiness, moroseness, success and failure in this breadwinner city of dreams. Rich in glitter and glamor, Mumbai didn’t leave any opportunity behind in deconstructing itself as the sole Indian medium of experiencing westernization. Likewise, Kiran Rao’s “Dhobi Ghat” tries to picture vernacular lives of four entire different people living in Mumbai, and has further showcased the working class anxiety, little moments of loneliness as every protagonist here is dealing with their own personal lives, some experiencing success, contentment and the other solutide and sorrow. I’ll be further delving into the storyline and technicalities of the film, thus excavating each detail with an immaculate sense and vision. Dhobi Ghat may have just uplifted all my expectations towards Indian cinema, but more than that, it has industriously changed my outlook towards people, society and our social system. An important disclaimer: SPOILERS ahead!

Excellently mastercrafted by Kiran Rao, some shots just flow within our body and soul and embraces with mere affection. A raw and realistic portrayal of complex lives in big cities.

Just to make it more comforting and easy in beginning, the film revolves around lives of Arun (Aamir Khan), Yaasmin (Kriti Malhotra), Shai (Monica Dogra) and Munna (Prateik Babbar), each of them with different lifestyles and settled in respective parts of Mumbai. The early shots of the film take us through the spectacular jewel side of South Mumbai- Marine Drive, where we observe Yasmin taking a cab ride and glimpsing Mumbai for the first time. Yasmin’s life seems to be happy from outside as she meticulously crafts her memories through a video film and which remains captured in her camera for long. We observe the first protagonist of the film celebrating her newly wedded life with her husband and the camera shots later take us to Western Colaba, and we see glimpses of Gateway of India and Taj Hotel. The film later arrives at Arun’s life, a successful yet lonely, divorced painter who shifts into a new apartment in Chembur. Arun is a high profile stature in the haute couture society, but it seems he is leading an empty and mysterious life on the inside. In one of the high profile minimalistic art events, he meets our third protagonist, Shai. Shai leads a simple lifestyle yet she lives in the suburbs of South Mumbai and has previously worked as an investment banker in New York. In search of love and meaning, Shai moves back to Mumbai to live with her parents and pursues her hidden dream of photography. Now, it is evident from the first shot that Shai is a glittering beam on the exterior part but is scouring hard for finding a relationship. After being accidently humiliated in her first encounter with Arun, she leaves his apartment the next morning hurriedly and calls it off as history. The most charming part about the film is the inevitable presence of our fourth protagonist, Munna. Now, Munna is struggling to make his ends meet but still seems joyful and celebrating on the outside, as we observe him gallivanting around at movies with his buddies. The film takes a turn after each disappointed experience in the first encounter and we observe things turning very quick for each protagonist. A moving screenplay with rich, meaningful conversations keep the heart of the film at the right place and we start appreciating it more as with passing time. As Munna works as a “dhobi”, he goes around several people’s homes and ultimately becomes a mutual connecting link between Arun and Shai. The extraordinary turn arrives when Arun finds a video tape of Yaasmin in his new apartment, which apparently must have been Yaasmin’s earlier before. Secondly, Munna meets Shai and both their lives take an interesting transformation. With Arun engrossed and indirectly intertwined into Yaasmin’s life, the other side of Mumbai showcases social, cultural and economic differences uniting together and sharing happiness. Shai poses as a photographer for Munna and there we see the beginning of a beautiful friendship. With Shai always being passionate for achieving her own dreams, Munna inadvertently falls in love with Shai which we as the audience perceive as it’s never possible. The film keeps on changing track rapidly, while sometimes turns into a slow burning drama enriched with conversations and each’s emotions playing the important role.

With Shai slowly and steadily making a mark in the photography world, her feelings for Arun still remains the same. Kiran Rao’s beautiful and honest depiction of excavating a youth, feminine character study pays off with excellence, as every girl like Shai achieving her dreams but lonely in their adolescence, has a strong will and urge of moving forward and accepting life. Although, her obsession over Arun continues as in many parts of the film we observe her voyering over Arun’s apartment and patiently staying still, thus she finally steps forward to meet him and the two with their second encounter of their lives- only this time at Arun’s new apartment. The film also has clear highlights of selfishness and “taking for granted” human nature, as we literally observe Shai doing the same over Munna. Now, Munna is a small town, easily flattered and bluffed, naive person who is oblivious of what’s happening with him. But each time its’ Shai’s warmth and sweetness, while sometimes she is patronizing him too, and we realize things might take another turn. With little emphasis being shared on Yaasmin, we finally conclude with each of her poetic illustrations towards life and relationships, that only she has been cheated from her husband in an extramarital affair, for which she ultimately commits suicide. With Arun realizing it was the same apartment where she had died, a trembling, petrified and empathetic Arun hurries off the apartment and we observe him weeping off tears with empathy and guilt. Meanwhile, Munna has been involved in a tragic encounter as his brother is beaten to death from the works of mob men. He changes his apartment, trying to avoid being in touch with Shai, finally has agreed to live a somber and tranquil lifestyle. It is Shai who finally spots him and Munna recites an explanation of what he had earlier been through. With a little moment shattering his life apart, he promises Shai never to meet him again. Here, we experience the light emerging back from Munna. He ultimately redeems himself from his failed, “never happened” relationship, broken heart and torned emotions just by healing Shai’s lonely life by giving Arun’s new contact address- as later we come to know Arun has shifted again to a new place and his life finally has a new meaning and balance. The final shots of the film exemplifies moments of redemption, a new meaning, with a glittering hope still existing in each’s hearts. Each’s life has a new direction and they have built foundations from the very beginning, yet still they are content to have chosen the road. End of the day, it is the journey which matters and not the destination.

The following shot highlights profound meanings of direction and meaning, for which this contemplative gaze from Arun proves all our points and provide us multiple solutions.

Arriving at the technicalities of the film, it is the conversations amongst our protagonists which makes all the difference for this film. With running intensity, nonchalance of emotions, and deep delving into each’s solitude life, I as a spectator learnt about complexities, burdens and tensions in human nature. The screenplay is masterfully written and I’ve always been fascinated in learning about different means of lifestyle, people with the best depiction when they are interlaced with other another. Thank you Kiran Rao for reminding me of PT Anderson’s “Magnolia”, and all credits to you for adapting the loosely-inspired screenplay into Mumbai’s culture. There is nothing like Mumbai, there’s nothing like Indian minimalism, and which could be best described with the help of you people. Keeping the impeccable screenplay and acting aside, the pace of the film sometimes cause a wreckage as at times there are miscalculations and little flaws at synchronizing with the undertone and theme of the film. I was also expecting a better ending, but nothing can be perfect. Lower your expectations, watch with a numb and free mind, “Dhobi Ghat” may just answer all your questions towards direction, meaning and heterogeneity in human nature in big cities.

ACTING- 4.5/5

SCREENPLAY- 4.5/5

EDITING/PACING- 4/5

CINEMATOGRAPHY- 4/5

DIRECTION- 4.5/5

MUSIC EDITING- 3.5/5

VERDICT- 4/5

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