Oscar Nominations and Predictions 2015: A MAM Exclusive

Oscar nominations are out, and as anticipated, few major disbelief snubs and delightful surprises. You love them, you hate them, you accuse them of lobbying and propaganda, but all cinephiles wait for the Oscar nominations and the award ceremony religiously. The ceremony will take place on February 22; will be presented by Neil Patrick Harris, if not the Oscar winners but NHP will be sure fun to watch.Continue reading “Oscar Nominations and Predictions 2015: A MAM Exclusive”

Birdman (2014): The Virtue of Art

Language : English | Running Time : 119 Minutes | Director : Alejandro González Iñárritu

Everytime I look at Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. today, I wish the former stopped trying to make his “acting” about make-up, feathers and bowlegged walking and the latter, I wish there is more than just the smooth and fast talking person inhabiting the screen. These men were artists who could live the smallest of men and make them larger than life. One could be the director Ed Wood and humanise him while the other could fill in the shoes of Charlie Chaplin. These men were superior actors and 20 years later that might feel the same weight down their heart that Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) feels here and also lament about the lost time and opportunities. We might be labeling art, as superior or inferior at our convenience but Alejandro Iñárritu takes this label seriously and builds a narrative about a washed out commercial star trying to assert meaning as an actor.Continue reading “Birdman (2014): The Virtue of Art”

Best English Films Of 2014

As the year comes to an end, movie buffs every year are tempted to come out with their different best movie lists and we are no different. Every year we publish a couple of such posts written by individual authors which talk about some of the best films from India and globally, leading to several intense and passionate debates, discussions and arguments among fellow movie buffs.

But this year we decided to do something different. We asked some of our authors to individually list down English films they enjoyed watching this year.

While Boyhood and Gone Girl seem to be the universal favourites with Nightcrawler coming a close second, there are quite a few interesting recommendations by our authors that deserve to be seen by all and warrant a debate.

So which are the English films our authors enjoyed watching this year the most? Scroll down to know more.Continue reading “Best English Films Of 2014”

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Movie Review: A Gorgeous Sad Wedding-Cake of a Movie

RATING: 9.5/10.

Although Wes Anderson cemented his place in passionate film-school discussions for years to come as soon as he released RUSHMORE in 1998, audiences have not always been as enthusiastic. It is understandable. Anderson, with all his strange unique visual quirks and simulated glass-ball worlds, is an acquired taste, at best, and impenetrably bizarre and distant, at worst. And yet, his films satisfy the fundamental requirement for movie-goers’ pleasure: escapism. Not even a schizophrenic would dare think any of Anderson’s movies were set even remotely close to the “real world” – his movies are not just flawlessly composed art, they are a vacation in Wes Anderson’s mind and memory, where I like to imagine that I can see a young socially uncomfortable Anderson spending hours in his room meticulously dreaming up this alternate universe with its distinctly cinematic point-of-view, its laconically disconnected characters and everything “just so” to the point of OCD. Since every event is filtered through Anderson’s picky subconscious, nothing too bad or sad ever happens in his movies. And that suits most of us just fine.Continue reading “The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Movie Review: A Gorgeous Sad Wedding-Cake of a Movie”

Coming Of Age : An Exploration Of Us

John Hughes (filmmaker)
John Hughes (filmmaker) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A scene in the beautiful 2013 film, The Spectacular Now, has Miles Teller realise that he is the real problem for his own development. He is the reason that he isn’t able to succeed. It is a poignant scene that establishes coming of age. Miles Teller has matured to be an adult. He has come of age. The genre has been in existence for more than 50 years now and the 80s was all about the Brat Pack and high school movies, especially with the master of them all, John Hughes writing and directing them in a frenzy. Even now, every year we have a handful of films that come out exploring the subject and each year there’s a gem too. If 2013 had The Spectacular Now, then 2012 had The Perks of Being A Wallflower. They will age gracefully and will forever find a place in us because they have characters like us, who are on the cusp of becoming something and don’t know where they’d end up falling. It is a feeling we will always remember.Continue reading “Coming Of Age : An Exploration Of Us”

Castello Cavalanti: Wes Anderson’s Acclaimed Short Film

Wes Anderson, one of the directors with the most distinctive visual and narrative style made a short film last year titled Castello Cavalanti.

It stars Jason Schwartzman as an unsuccessful race car driver who crashes his car in an Italian village, which coincidentally turns out to be his ancestral homeland.

Go ahead and enjoy this 8 minutes short film!

Trailer of A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III

Besides directing music videos, Roman Coppola son of the iconic director Francis Ford Coppola  has also collaborated with Wes Anderosn for  The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom.

Not surprisingly, Coppola Jr’s  latest directorial venture A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III  seems to have the quirkiness of a Wes Anderson film.

Charlie Sheen stars in the titular role as a graphic designer whose stylish life slides into despair after breaking up with his girlfriend.

The film also stars Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead amongst others.

The film is scheduled to release in February in United states.

Meanwhile, do have a look at this delightful promo of the film and let us know your views about it.

An Ideal Sunday: With Avunu, Moonrise Kingdom and Dredd

All those who know me to an extent are aware about my Friday Syndrome. They also know that for me Sundays are also by and large utilized for catching up on multiple films at a single screen/multiplex. Being in Mumbai one has the advantage of catching up with films of various languages, an aspect that works well with me. So for this Sunday ( i.e 23d September ) the films I chose to watch at the cine mandir were Avunu ( Telugu ), Moonrise Kingdom and Dredd. So here’s a brief look how the day went by for me in the company of these 3 films and more.Continue reading “An Ideal Sunday: With Avunu, Moonrise Kingdom and Dredd”

Moonrise Kingdom : Young at heart!

MOONRISE KINGDOM

Directed by Wes Anderson

Cast: Jared Gillman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Tillda Swinton

Music by Alexandre Desplat

 

It is no fun being a lonely soul out there. Unless, of course you are right in the middle of a Wes Anderson-world , in which case you are in for a whole different quirky realm of things. Sticking to his trademark style and tone, Anderson returns with a charmer in the form of Moonrise Kingdom, obviously paying no heed to his detractors. However, this time the auteur has indeed come up with a more accessible live feature film when compared to most of his works since Rushmore.

The film opens to an interesting tracking shot with no cuts that introduces us to the Bishop household reducing them to dolls in a playhouse of sorts. As we see these characters onscreen, we also hear in the background a record being played, which teaches young listeners on how to breakdown a symphony to its various individualistic elements.

Anderson’s symphony is created when the sleepy neighbourhood community of a fictional island wakes up in pursuit of young 12 year old Sam, who not only has run away from a Scout camp, but also taken his pen pal Suzy Bishop along with him.  The twelve year olds run away search of their own kingdom, but the world they left behind is bent on tracking them down and to ensure that there is no ‘happily ever after’ to this young budding romance.

Breaking down the symphony, you realize that all the characters cut a lonely figure, each in their own search amidst their existence of solitude. Sam (Gilman) is an orphan boy and the least popular member of the scout team by a “significant margin’”. Even his foster parents seem to have abandoned him. Suzy Bishop (Hayward) on the other hand,  is one longing to be away from the family that she already has. She is content to remain elusive and prefers the company of her fantasy books, the borrowed plastic record player and the binoculars through which she views her world.

It is just not the two young ones that we see having issues. In their world, the adults are the ones that really could use some help. For starters you have the estranged Mr. and Mrs. Bishop (Murray, McDormand) who are lawyers by profession but drifting apart as a couple. Mrs. Bishop is supposedly even having an affair with the reticent cop, Chief Sharp (Willis), the man with an aching heart. And to wrap it all up, we have the Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) who is still struggling to find his footing in life believing that managing Camp Ivanhoe is what he is destined for.

A search for the lovers on the run becomes an excuse for each to turn a better leaf. However that is not to be until the foretold storm hits the town.

The young talents Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both first timers, put in a fantabulous effort in their debut outing. They emerge triumphant in holding their own in a cast that features some of the biggest heavyweights of the industry vying for screen space. No small feat that!

As for the rest, well, Bill Murray is Bill Murray as usual. Just his mere presence will do to lighten us up and bring on the smiles. The man who really surprises you though is Bruce Willis. Many did wonder how would Willis manage to fit into this Anderson world, and the restrained effort from the man really works.  Edward Norton also gets to have a ball, channeling some of the Owen Wilson goofiness at times along with a lot of his own to bring us a nice mix. Frances McDormand also puts in a fine show while  Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwarzman drops in for small cameos in this assortment.

The choice of colors and soft palettes has been one of the highlights of this project ever since the posters and teasers for the movie surfaced online. Anderson manages to sketch out a fable kingdom out of his visuals and sets and backs it up by giving the film a nostalgic flavour. Equally commendable is the writing of Anderson with Roman Coppolla, whereby they successfully manages to keep the film’s screenplay at the level of the younger lead protagonists without succumbing to the star powers of the rest of the bunch.

Andersonis very detailed with the sets, the angles and the lines. You can experience that in every frame. The writing brilliantly elevates some of the scenes like the one where McDormand’s character apologizes to her husband over a stormy night or the man to man talk shared by Willis and young Gilman over a drink.

Well, of course, the praises for this movie shall remain incomplete without mentioning the soundtrack. Leading the pack is the popular track ‘Le Temps de L’Amour’ from Francoise Hardy. There are some original compositions from composer Alexandre Desplat (The Kings Speech, The Tree of Life) along with a few classical compositions and even some Hank Williams thrown in for good effect. And this weird mix of genres does manage to make a lasting impression.

If you are already a fan of Wes Anderson, then you would enjoy this nostalgic tale of childhood innocence immensely. And if you aren’t, then there has been no better opportunity than this to jump onto the bandwagon and embrace his unique body and style of work. After all, Moonrise Kingdom is a short and sweet tale told with whole lot of art and equal doses of heart!

 

– Joxily John