Sunday, 8 April 2012

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Rating: 8.5/10

"[first lines] 
 Ed Tom Bell: I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman; father too. Me and him was sheriffs at the same time; him up in Plano and me out here. I think he's pretty proud of that. I know I was. Some of the old time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lotta folks find that hard to believe. Jim Scarborough'd never carried one; that's the younger Jim. Gaston Boykins wouldn't wear one up in Comanche County. I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can't help but compare yourself against the oldtimers. Can't help but wonder how they would have operated these times. There was this boy I sent to the 'lectric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn't any passion to it. Told me that he'd been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he'd do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. "Be there in about fifteen minutes". I don't know what to make of that. I sure don't. The crime you see now, it's hard to even take its measure. It's not that I'm afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don't want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don't understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He'd have to say, "O.K., I'll be part of this world." 

First time I sat down to watch this film was during the time I was getting an education in filmmaking myself. I still remember that I had just been taught the magic of film sound and sound mixing in movies, so I was eagerly delighted to watch this film in my local cinema theatre in Bristol (UK). I had heard beforehand that it had quite a few shocking moments in it, but since I had read absolutely nothing about the story, I went in not knowing quite what to expect. All I knew, was that I had a growing antipathy to the Cohen brothers for some inexplicable reason. And then I saw this film...

First of all let me give you a taste of what the story's about:"In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh, on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money. As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sherrif Ed Tom Bell blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart." (www.imdb.com)

One of the really greatest things that the Cohen brothers have managed to succeed with this film is their sheer loyalty to the book. 'No Country for Old Men' was written by Cormac McCarthy and was visually translated by world-renowned directors Joel and Ethan Cohen who also co-wrote the script. The fascinating thing about this story of corruption and vanity is how truthful the two brothers stayed to the novel. In filmmaking is not an easy task to translate a very hefty on-words novel into images and sound. The Cohen's surpassed any kind of expectations that McCarthy may have had when he was giving them the right to make his novel into a film.

Apart from the very loyal and stoic attention the Cohen's gave to this film, they also were able to create the word of the 1980s wild-west Texas, and re-create the long-lost values of a long-forgotten era where morality and corruption were shaking between an uneasy balance. The Cohen's have long played on the themes of leaving the modern man take life in his own hands and make the tough choices between a life of crime and morality, but with this film they circulated even more to the idea of a world where heroes do not get to be victorious and the villains do not get the retribution of their ill-doing.

The most frightening moment of all is the absolute silence and serenity that with-holds the villain in the story; Anton Chigurh, who is performed by spanish-born actor Javier Bardem, who also got to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His portrayal of this ultra-villain is merely a testament of the growing corruption of the new-age, and what evil is able to conquer with a little patience and planning.

Equally well is the portrayal of the semi-hero of the story, Llewelyn Moss, who is performed by world-acclaimed actor, Josh Brolin. No matter how bad the story begs for retribution for the equally corruptive nature of Llewelyn, the reality hits him harsh and at the end gets the better of him.

It would be of course careless of me not to mention the real gem of the story; the struggling small-town sheriff who longs and idealizes the long-lost glories of getting his fairy-tale ending, of the villain getting what he deserves and the hero getting his victory (wealth and love). This beautifully performed role is portrayed by world-class actor Tommy Lee Jones, who once again his macho-cop character is looking to give an absolution to what has been done wrong in the world. Whether he succeeds or not that is something you will have to sit down and watch to find out.

This story is a tantalizing tale about the injustice and the raw reality of the vanities of how human nature fails to avoid temptation and falls prey of his own idolatries (in this case the money, as often is the case). The Cohens have done a superb job letting their camerawork extend their need to translate the words into images and let the silence throughout the film, fill in the high-tense emotional moments. Laconic language and moments of pure realism are a few of their key trademarks as directors, but also something that establishes them as visionaries of a tale full of human greed and corruption.

Excellent film to watch if you're in the mood for a good'ol crime of the west. Do not be shocked if you do not find that justice does not exist in this film. Some stories are plain truthful.

Sincerely hope every film-goer enjoys this film as much as I have.

Have a good Sunday afternoon!



No Country for Old Men (2007)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Jeux D' Enfants aka Love me if You Dare

Rating: 8.6/10

"Cap ou pas cap?" - "Game or no game?"

This film for me is the ultimate romantic film of the last decade. It was after all made by the experts of romantic love...the French!

As the poster of the film also suggests this film is wickedly delicious. But let's take things one by one shall we? First of all the script. The wonderfully written script of writer/director Yann Samuell who did wonders in his creation of the two main characters. A rather complicated plot to follow but with much wit, raw honesty, humour and a lot of love in it, he poured all of his magic into the creation of two very complex but also unique contemporary characters that would overcome most anything human to be together. Based mostly on the allegoric themes, the dialogue is among the wittiest most intellectually challenging dialogues I have ever come across in a romantic comedy. Having had my share of rom-coms, this one stands out from the lot by far.

Of course it all comes down to the two main protagonists who bring to life these two powerful characters; Julien and Sophie. This for me is the ultimate representation of romantic love and cruelty all rolled into one. Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard, who incidentally nowadays are rumoured to be a couple in real life, have done a superb job by performing these two characters. Albeit unknown till then to the wide international public, these two young and fresh actors from France, grasp these two characters with energy, passion and magic and give their simply best in making sure the audience is entangled with them from the very beginning of their introduction. Whether you love or hate them, whether you understand their motives, their actions or even their dialogue it pays of little consequence, as at the end they make you fall desperately and hopelessly in love with their story. Yes, it is that sweet and transcendental.

The musical soundtrack in the film pays homage to the beloved French music legend Edith Piaf (who incidentally is later on performed in La Mome by Cotillard herself). Alongside the visual imagery, which is full of allusions and childlike references, the direction takes you on a wonderful unexpected  and quite unconventional romantic journey of two of the most sadistic romantic couple to have been written for the screen. Albeit the cruelty and the inexplicability of the two character's motives of their actions, this is one of the most powerful and match-made on-screen couples of the last two decades.

Without giving further too much away of the story, below is these tale of these two "star-crossed" lovers:"As adults, best friends Julien and Sophie continue the odd game they started as children -- a fearless competition to outdo one another with daring and outrageous stunts. While they often act out to relieve one another's pain, their game might be a way to avoid the fact that they are truly meant for one another." (www.imdb.com)

This is not a film simply for the chick flick or rom-com lovers. It is a film for film lovers in general, as it holds many wonderful visual and performing moments. Good to watch it with loved ones (not just your other half), 'cause above all the thing that counts the most is love.

Happy screening everyone!




Jeux D'Enfants (2003)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Oldboy (2003)

Rating: 8.8/10

"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone."

Let's talk about film style; there will always be an Asian, and in this case a Korean, who will do it better than you. Not a statistic, but a much proved-fact.

The reason to the above statement is well proven by Chan-wook Park's 2003 film, 'Oldboy'. What's the story about? The story is about an average man, who "is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, Oh Dae-Su soon finds out that his kidnapper has a greater plan for him and is set onto a path of pain and suffering in an attempt to uncover the motive of his mysterious tormentor." (www.imdb.com)

The plot does not reveal itself from the beginning. It is indeed one of those well weave-plotted stories that it will come to light little by little leave very little time to the viewer to react and digest what'd just happened in the story-line. With an amazingly cleverly written script, the themes of vengeance, paranoia, psychosis, freedom and self-awareness are made possible into the big screen.

When first watching this film, the viewer might not even grasp two fifths of what really is going on. So a second and third watch would be advisable. Park make's sure that the more closely you look into the story, the more entanglements you will realize there are. Besides the "killer" narrative of the plot, Park entrusted his camera crew with the creation of a world full of psycho-bizarre elements and giving subtle but also aesthetically beautiful hints on the film noir genre.

'Oldboy' is specifically placing its hopes on the story line, the exquisite cinematography and the well adapted performance by lead actor Min-sik Choi. His role echoes that of Guy Pearce's in Memento, but Min-sik Choi gives another sour taste to what could happen to a man who's freedom and his whole reality is turned upside down. Psychosis and paranoia are among the twisted emotions that one will get out of watching his character closely. Painful emotions are what collide with trying to make sense of what the character should and what he must do to survive in a world that others have placed him in.

The performances are top-notch, to say the least, but what really grabs the audience is the retribution of both the leading characters and the plot itself. Park does not fully prepare the viewer for the horrors that will have to faced once the truth unfolds, but let's them question on the motives and the moral integrity of how the characters act.

'Oldboy' is nowadays hailed as a cult classic; not so much for its stylistic performance but also for the very intricate cinematography and technical aspects in general. The way the camera-work relates to the psychological factor of the main character's actions is one of the best, and well-enhanced frame-works in the film industry.

With quite a few infusions of action moments and a very paranoid and also stoic script, 'Oldboy' manages to shock and captivate even the most demanding cinema-goers.

Watch it with mates, whilst in the mood to be blown-away and let your mind run wild whilst watching it, as the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy the film!



Oldboy (2003)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Margin Call (2011)

Rating: 7.1/10

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat." 

I happened to stumble on this film whilst I was watching the Independent Film Spirit Awards 2012, when Zachary Quinto introduced this film as a collective work among the cast and crew and the effort it took for this project to take off.

Personally I went in with limited expectations, knowing that as an Indie film I should expect the new 'Wall Street' phenomenon. What it did intrigue me though it was indeed the collaborative work among the cast. A high profile swarm of actors such as Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci and world-class thespian Jeremy Irons make for a challenging project to try to avoid not watching.

The story talks about a "respected financial company is downsizing and one of the victims is the risk management division head, who was working on a major analysis just when he was let go. His protégé completes the study late into the night and then frantically calls his colleagues in about the company's financial disaster he has discovered. What follows is a long night of panicked double checking and double dealing as the senior management prepare to do whatever it takes to mitigate the debacle to come even as the handful of conscientious comrades find themselves dragged along into the unethical abyss." (www.imdb.com)

The story may not be the most andrenaline-based story-line ever, but it possesses some features which extricate the talents of newly come actors, such as Zachary Quinto (Heroes, American Horror Story), who was also one of the producers of the film, and Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl).

The true element that elevates this film is the time-span of the story-line. Due to the fact that the plot takes place for about a time-span of about 12 hours, this film is very character-based, giving the viewer a variety of glimpses into the psyche and mannerisms of each character. Moments of quite desperation, of frantic realizations and shocking corruption.

Demi Moore's come back role, as the bitchy high-rank analyst is a well-sowed implentation to the story, as it gives you that realistic edge of the corporate high street of the man-made business of Manhattan and the limited room it has for a female partnership into a billion-dollar corporation.

With Kevin Spacey to a yet-again-selling-my-soul-to-the-devil-for-money this story takes on a different dynamic as to how and what a corporate head would feel in a very perplexing and corrupted situation.

This story makes it real if you let yourself think of the high-end stakes that were involved in a company like this at the beginning of the 2008 crisis. The direction albeit it plain and with no great gimmicks of glitz to offer, does present a more humane side of things into the character's background.

Albeit it very well advertised and with a solid effort to make its way into the Indie film line, this film will not offer so many thrills as one would expect, but a more of an in-depth aspect of what might have gone down to a number of companies out there during the economical crisis.

Watch it if you find an interest to see an aspect of the economical crisis of 2008.

Hope you enjoy the film!



Margin Call (2011)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Grease (1978)

Rating: 8.2/10

"Why, this car is Auto-matic. Its System-matic. Its Hyyyyydro-matic. Why, its Greased Lightning!"

Whilst America was in a turmoil over the war with Vietnam in the late 1970s, another genre seemed to bloom out of nowhere, reminiscing the golden days of Hollywood-land; 'Grease'  is the word, as Frankie Valley would sing in the intro of one of the most well-known musicals of all time.

'Grease' was not just a musical of the time, it became a trend, an escape from the suppression that the youngsters felt in the 1970s. What truly is amazing about 'Grease' is that beyond all of the dancing and singing it had a very real message to deliver to its contemporary audience; friendship lasts a lifetime and it can overcome even the most adverse situations.

Starring the very hankie-macho type John Travolta, alongside the newly-presented-to-Hollywood-lan Australian actress/singer Olivia Newton-John. The pair is a match-made in heaven. Fantastic chemistry, witty exchanging of vocals, spirited plot-line of high-school kids of the 1950s.

'Grease', not only offers a trendy and unique style of musical numbers but also it set up a whole trend based on the production design with it's sp8nky fashion and it's leathery costuming. Bouncing through the screen are all the good-old-cheesy-comedic scenes without them being too far-fetched or tiresome, even for today's audience. The spark between all of the cast members is resonating in the big screen and it made for a timely atmosphere between groups of friends.

Albeit the film version is based on the original stage version of the Broadway musical, it did not fail to become the top grossing film of 1978 and was for quite a few years the top grossing film behind Jaws (1975) and Star Wars: Episode IV - New Hope (1977).

The story is "A musical about teens in love in the 50's! It's California, 1959 and greaser Danny Zuko and Australian Sandy Olsson are in love. They spend time at the beach, but when they go back to school, what either of them don't know is that they both now attend Rydell High. Danny's the leader of the T-Birds, a group of black-jacket greasers while Sandy hangs with the Pink Ladies, a group of pink-wearing girls led by Rizzo. When they clash at Rydell's first pep rally, Danny isn't the same Danny at the beach. They try to be like each other so they can be together." (www.imdb.com)

The cast, the costumes, the music, the dance, the friendship, the love...everything in this film is a cult classic and it would be an overwhelming task to try to get it out of people's minds with a remake (hopefully Hollywood will not be that naive or greedy), since it's been well imprinted for the iconic style it brought.

Watch it if you love the 50s, well-made teen flicks, music to shake your boots off, and singing that will make you dance and feel happy! Albeit it not everyone's cup of tea, it is a classic musical and a favourite one.

Enjoy the music!

"-'Dany: Sandy!'
 -'Tell me about it, stud.'"



Grease (1978)

Friday, 30 March 2012

Drag me to Hell (2009)

Rating: 6.9/10

"I beg and you shame me?"

Sam Raimi, the director of 'Drag me to Hell', is a master-mind in the whole suspense/light-thriller genre and with 'Drag me to Hell' he does not fail to submit to his viewers' eyes that he can be a great director as well as producer.

'Drag me to Hell' is about "Christine Brown, who is a loans officer at a bank but is worried about her lot in life. She's in competition with a competent colleague for an assistant manager position and isn't too sure about her status with a boyfriend. Worried that her boss will think less of her if she shows weakness, she refuses a time extension on a loan to an old woman, Mrs. Ganush, who now faces foreclosure and the loss of her house. In retaliation, the old woman place a curse on her which, she subsequently learns, will result in her being taken to hell in a few days time. With the help of a psychic, she tries to rid herself of the demon, but faces several hurdles in the attempt." (www.imdb.com)

The film that makes this film fascinating is the need to believe that gypsy curses actually work. In order to make such story believable into an audience that is prone to too much internet/knowledge exposure on the urban legends of gypsies and curses, Raimi created a villain so horrendous that can actually give you sleepless nights for quite some time; a granny.

Not a granny in the old sense. Lorna Raver, who for me is Raimi's golden ticket for this film, delivers a superb performance as the icky, slimy, budgering Hungarian elderly woman, who bears a legacy of cursing others when things don't quite turn out just the way she expects them to. In indeed if one is to believe in this 'myth' or legend the story can make a tremendous impact on the cinematic audience. The way the costume design transformed her from a lovely creature, into a maniac demon that will make Alison Lohman's role pay, is rather astonishing.



Lohman on the other hand, really seems to be challenging herself with this role, in trying to come out as the quiet and polite bank assistant who has not a great volition about her career and life in general and who in retrospect falls victim of her own nature. Lohan has that sweet-looking presence that a well-bred, self-contained, middle-class young lady would have that would all of a sudden would be the centre of an evil presence that would demand more than anything the one thing that's pure in her entourage; her soul!

Justing Long, seems to be parading about as the willful and supportive boyfriend who's trying to be the voice of logic in this overwhelming scenario, but without too much attention being paid to him, his screen time is relatively brief and tactful.

The chemistry between Lohman and Raver, takes on a more dangerous turn, as the story progresses with the battle of the two extremes, good and evil fighting to the very end.

The result is not quite what a well-made scenario would be expected out of such uncommon circumstances, and that's what makes the story so thrilling to watch. The unbelievable turn of events, the rush of feeling to see if the curse has a real impact or not, is quite a fascinating journey to take on.

'Drag me to Hell' might not be the film to make you leave your light on, but it does serve for a thrilling night in, giving you a few goosebumps here and there and ultimately leading you to an effective resolution.

Would recommend to watch it with friends. It is great fun, if nothing else, albeit it cheesy and common in its essence.

Hope you enjoy the flick!




Drag me to Hell (2009)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Arthur (2011)

Rating: 5.9/10

"We shouldn't get married... we have nothing in common. You love horses. I don't trust them. Their shoes are permanent. Who makes that kind of a commitment to a shoe?"

This is not one of the films I would normally recommend to any film junkie to sit down and watch, let alone watch it myself, but 'Arthur' left me in a surprise kind of mode, and I mean in a good way. Russell Brand may not be an actor but a comedian but with this one somehow he does seem to making it work. Acting alongside the Dame Helen Mirren, Brand somehow shines and truly seems to be challenging himself with this role.

The story is about Arthur; a rich, alcoholic playboy with no regards to his working life. After another drunken run-in with the law, his aloof mother has had enough and forces him to marry Susan, a proper business woman, or else he will lose his inheritance. Just as he's engaged to Susan, he meets Naomi, a free-spirited girl who Arthur thinks is perfect for him. Any attempts at holding down a job are fruitless, so Arthur has to decide, what is more important: love, or his mother's money. (www.imdb.com)

It is quite a tricky task to unite a Brit comedian with a thespian of Mirren's stature and background, but somehow the two of them seem to have all the chemistry this film and story need. With the quirky sense of humour and the outrageous crude jokes of Brand, the story takes on another level of form when things don't quite turn like a normal cliche comedy does nowadays.

It is not a cup of tea for everyone, I can well assure you this film will be passed on as quickly as it was made in Hollywood. The purpose it serves though is for a fun, entertaining time in for a dull Saturday to fill in the atmosphere with something funny. The direction is mundane and Jennifer Garner's role seems to be suffering, as well as is veteran actor Nick Nolte who seems to be doing this just for the sake of it.

Nonetheless, it serves for a good time. Slapstick jokes are there, too much luxury is there, humungous amounts of wasted money is there, unnecessary nudity is there, Upper East-Side of Manhattan is there, boy-meets-girl-and-falls-in-love-and-will-do-just-about-anything-to-get-her is there, boy-will-screw-things-up-and-see-the-error-of-his-way-when-it's-too-late is there, happy ending with a twist is there.

Generally speaking it won't harm to take a peak at this one. Do not expect any Hangover (2009)/Bridesmaids (2011) moments or even the slightest sympathy from the executive Hollywood producers, but expect a sense of 'what is really meaning full in life' kind of theme lurking in the background.

Hope you enjoy it (or not). Do report part back in case you will!

Arthur (2011)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Rating: 8.9/10

"Rules? PISS ON YOUR FUCKING RULES!" 

So we have Jack Nicholson who loves to play himself on screen, crazy that is. Oh wait! In this film he really is supposed to be crazy. This is one of Milos Forman's greatest films.

The reason being is by the infallible recipe of getting Nicholson to be the rebellious crazy wind that would shake this story apart. The story is about a young man, "McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble with the law. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse." (www.imdb.com)

Albeit being a cult classic nowadays, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' still manages to wow and hold the interest of the modern-day viewer as it tackles some very transcendental themes; oppression/suppression from the society, ethical and orthological issues and how free a person can be inwardly as well as outwardly. The strong build-up of the asylum offer a familiar view of how a suppressed modern man would live and function in today's society.

Like a young James Dean in the 'Rebel Without a Cause' and Marlon Brando in 'The Wild One', here comes Nicholson to establish his presence as the rebel who has a cause; to stir things up and prove that sanity is not only a state of being but a state of choice. What one considers sane can be greatly considered as controversial to what another person finds insane.

Milos Forman chose a wonderful line of cast to overwhelm his audience with this film; the unknown back then Danny DeVito, the hateful nursed who was portrayed by one-hit wonder actress Louise Fletcher, the brilliant Christopher Lloyd and the little gem of an actor who will amaze and leave everyone breathless with his performance Will Sampson.

The cold environment of the production design, the creepy and hauntingly beautiful musical score by Jack Nitzsche and the austere performances as well as the stoic and straight-forward direction of Foreman, make for a unique psychological tale of freedom and the need to be treated with respect and honesty. Pay close attention to the character of Nurse Ratched and what the symbol over her over-bearing ruling means in the asylum.

Quite a serious film, not the cup of tea of everyone, but without losing this way the essence of masterful filmmaking.

Perfect if you're into psychological dramas. Hope you enjoy the film.




One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

50/50 (2011)

Rating: 7.3/10

"Adam: A tumor? 
 Dr. Ross: Yes. 
Adam: Me? 
Dr. Ross: Yes. 
Adam: That doesn't make any sense though. I mean... I don't smoke, I don't drink... I recycle..."

 It is a pleasant delight to stumble upon films that not only have brains put into them but lots of heart and love. '50/50' is just that! A film with heart.

It's inspired by a true story and it's a comedy that centers on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. (www.imdb.com)

A story that seems to be quite popular nowadays, but with this one script-writer Will Reiser managed to put a lot of bittersweet moments in, just to spice things up. Given the fact that this is his first proper try out for a tragi-comedy, '50/50' is one of those films that will have you pop between laughs and tears. The very fact that Reiser managed  to establish 'cancer' as something so not bizarre to happen to a 27-year-old, makes you sit down and pay atttention; what in the world would a 27-year-old healthy (presumably) young man do if he found out he had cancer?

The answer comes in the main lead, who is none other than the Indie-actor favourite over the last decade, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He might first popped through our screens from a mid 1990s TV Show about aliens ('3rd Rock from the Sun'), but over the years he has performed in a swirl of excellent indie films thus reaching a point of his life to be the young prince of the Indie Film Industry. In this film, he was both effortlessly funny and dramatically brilliant, that gave the viewer all these emotional stages to juggle through during the film. For me, this actor is heading to a thespian super-stardom.

Co-staring along-side the brilliant Gordon-Levitt, is the up-coming and Hollywood favourite comedian, Seth Rogen.  Since Rogen is seen in most films these days, I won't say his the most brilliant comedic out there, but he definitely grows on you both as an actor and as a comedian. He has that spark that makes you want to laugh and enjoy his jokes in every film he does. And '50/50' is no exclusion. He is the comedic relief, truth be told, but he does his part so very well, as the best friend of a cancer-patient, that he makes you feel his humane side as well. Look forward in seeing him excel in the near-future.

Of course the film would be altogether a nuisance without the presence of up-coming star-ladies Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard, who are both serious and comedic actresses to come in a total completion of this fun-loving cast. But the real gem is Gordon-Levitt's on screen mother, Angelica Huston, who with her warmth and tenderness extends her love to every mother who's child has been struck with cancer of any form. She gives, as always a superb and touching performance, and makes her every on-screen second count.

This film is a small gem for me and recommend it to everyone. It is warm, and touching and has some really sweet, tender moments about family, friendship and above all about the hope to live.

Hope you get to enjoy it!


50/50 (2011)

Friday, 23 March 2012

Psycho (1960)

Rating: 9.3/10

"A boy's best friend, is his mother."

One of the most iconic films that have ever been shown in the cinema theatres is Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho'. This is hailed time and time again in Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 List of Scariest Films of all time and since its first release it hasn't stopped making audience walk out of this without having felt a sense of fear!

All hail to the magnificent filmmaking of Alfred Hitchock who first decided to direct 'Psycho' as a low-budget black and white film in order to turn away from the big-budget films he had been making since then. He hired a TV crew, made sure he would do exactly what pleased and experimented technically on the boundaries of the 'thriller' genre.

Nowadays it's hard to come across to a good, genuinely hands-down thriller. Hitchcock made it worthwhile though; first he set up the common-place plot which goes like this:

"A young woman steals $40,000 from her employer's client, and subsequently encounters a young motel proprietor too long under the domination of his mother." (www.imdb.com)

Pretty straight-forward but at the same time with more than what meets the eye, 'Psycho' is set-up of course somewhere remotely, where people would not think of looking for 'evil' to appear. The eerie atmosphere and the gloominess of Hitchcock's cinematography relies on making sure the trickery of using multiple angles of the 'crucial' scenes in the film, even though some of those more momentous scenes would only last in the last edit less than a minute, the viewer had the opportunity of getting a glimpse of the surroundings from many perspectives, thus giving it this way a more life-like sense of the horror.

SPOILER ALERT:

One of the most well-known and iconic moments is the 'shower scene' . Actress, Janet Leigh (Jamie Lee-Curtis's mother) was wisely cast for this particular role as it would take an amount of seven days of shooting just for the shower scene and making sure that her on-screen action would be one to be remembered by. Not only did Hitchcock cleverly shot this scene from 70 different angles but he made sure that nothing would be exposed of his actress, the music would be as horrific, scary and suspenseful as it possibly could, and that the viewer would be so taken aback for what was coming that they wouldn't be able to forget this scene for years to come.

Without wanting to give to spoil the real shocker in the film, I shall simply extol the superb performance by relatively newcomer then Anthony Perkins, who albeit he did not have the career one could have hoped for, he sure did give a performance of a lifetime. His ability to improvise on his role and the distinct characteristic of facial manipulation which he had, made the audiences reel for what was coming and since then he has managed to spread the real fear and horror through his simplistic and yet powerful performance.

This film is hailed as one of the scariest films of all times for the simple reason that is simplicity, its sheer uniqueness and the fact that it was so under-budgeted and film in only 30 days and Hitchcock's first horror film, make it a distinguishable achievement for the horror-flick-lovers.

'Psycho' stands out for numerous reasons; the most important of all it's ability to lure you in and shock your brains out like you haven't before. Worthy to mention as well, the brilliant and yet spookiest most horrifying musical scores ever to have been written for a thriller. You can listen to it here! This is not a film of gore or waiting for the killer to strike, but more of a film of silent horror waiting to suck you in!

For all the horror-genre-lovers out there, this one's not to be missed for sure!

Enjoy everyone!



Psycho (1960)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Gladiator (2000)

Rating: 8.6/10

"What we do in life echoes in eternity."

'Gladiator'...Where to begin reviewing this colossal film?! A film that visualized a world that humanity will always be curious about. The glory of the Roman Empire.

In a few words the story goes likes this:"Maximus is a powerful Roman general, loved by the people and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before his death, the Emperor chooses Maximus to be his heir over his own son, Commodus, and a power struggle leaves Maximus and his family condemned to death. The powerful general is unable to save his family, and his loss of will allows him to get captured and put into the Gladiator games until he dies. The only desire that fuels him now is the chance to rise to the top so that he will be able to look into the eyes of the man who will feel his revenge." (www.imdb.com)

World renowned director, Ridley Scott, tackled one of the spectacular moments of human history and made it come alive. Just like James Cameron, Scott had the will to dream big and create even bigger. This is by far one of his masterpieces as not only he gave growth into a long lost civilization but also managed to transmit most of all the ethical morality that a family plays in one person's life.

First of all, it would be very undermining of me not to extol the brilliance of the cinematography in this film. This is one of the main reasons the film was such a spectacular event in film history; the family imagery, the hearth of family unity, the morality between choice and duty, the battle scenes and the Colosseum, are few of the glorious images coming to life in our screens. One of the most serene, and mesmerizing moments is the beginning; the naked hand gently stroking the field full of wheat, the sense and the emotions that that moment transmits is a testimony of how familiar this film begins. Just like a human seeks the need for the creation of family, to build a world of safety, thus the film takes just from such a scene into the barbaric hoards of the north that Rome was trying to conquer. Such a magnificent elegance in the way cinematographer, John Mathieson (X-Men: First Class, Kingdom of Heaven, Hannibal), leaves his camera to move and sway the audience into the world he chooses for us to take a sneak peak on.

Nonetheless, the sound mixing and the musical score of the film leave none unmoved as both technical elements seize every opportunity to unite every image with the musical and sound effect in a blend of whirlwind of emotions. Of course, the always awe-inspiring score of Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Dark Knight, The Pirates of the Carribean etc) takes you step by step from low background musical thematology into the crescendos of violent moments and the releases you into an emotional background of empathy for the characters. You can listen to one of the tracks here!

And then there was that other thing; acting! Oh yes, this film has some top-notch acting in it. Beyond the smooth directing, the elegance of cinematography and the blending in of the sound effect, the acting comes to be the cherry on top of this glorious cake. First there is Russell Crowe...the Colossus of the Colosseum, then there's the veterans; the late Oliver Reed and Richard Harris, and the new-rising glorious star of the '00s, Joaquin Phoenix...the boy-villain, who managed to make everyone who sat down to watch this film hate him more than Hannibal Lecter, and last but not least the English thespian that still amazes audience with his presence, Derek Jacobi. It would take me ages to start analyzing one by one each actor's colossal performances in this film. They all in their own worth stand-up and give a very enticing, emotional-gripping performance. They make us believe in the humanity of the characters, in their beliefs, in their emotional journey.

This film stands out for a variety of reasons. Both cast and crew come together to create a wonderful story and an ancient world which we will always look upon with daze. Perfect film for the whole family, even for the younger audiences as well with it's fast-pace battle scenes and the gladiators in the arena. The proto-type version of Spartacus TV Series. For those who love to look upon the glory days of the gladiators, this is one-hell of a flick!

Enjoy!

Gladiator (2000)

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Graduate (1967)

Rating: 8.4/10

"Mrs. Robinson you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?"

'The Graduate'. This is the film that made it all happen for newly seen actor back in the day, Dustin Hoffman. He was a shooting star when this film came out. But let's not get carried away shall we? Let's talk fimmaking first.

'The Graduate' is on of those films that made history. Not so much about the story but about the revolution that its themes started. The film centres around a recently college graduate Benjamin Braddock, who is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.(www.imdb.com)

This is perhaps the film that started the whole the cougar-is-the-best-around theme that has been going on, especially during the last few years in pop culture. The slinky plot-line, the witty dialogue, the brooding/atmospheric music ('Sound of Silence')of one of the most well-known Brit duos back then 'Simon & Garfunkel' and the eerie direction are a few of the ingredients that make this seemingly shallow film work into a classic.

The delight comes from within; acting being a craft in the hands of the two main protagonists, Anne Bancroft and the new-kid-in-the-block-then Dustin Hoffman. They might have seem an odd pair to match but their precise movements and mannerisms in the filmic made both of them sultry and easy to watch. Their affair might not be presented in all the conventional terms, but this is exactly why it still manages to hold the audience's attention so many years later.

In my opinion, what really did fascinated me from the very first time I sat down to watch this film was the brooding melancholia it was transmitting towards me. All those idle moments of Hoffman's character, the need to find something pure and honest, the need to escape the conventions of the elite status of his parents were examples of the modern-man wanting to break free, to escape from the chains of the suburban way of living. Just like so many young people in the late 1960s wanted to break free and see the world with open eyes, so did this film wanted to transmit; the courage to go beyond social convention and give a taste of the "new", the forbidden, the "future".

Stylistically this film has a lot to offer in terms of originality and scripting. At moments it can be both hilarious and at moments desperately dramatic. It swindles you both ways but in all sense at the end makes you understand that love is all you need to prevail. Mike Nichols, the director knew well how to set-about with the themes he wanted to leave his audience with, since he cleverly took us from a very long-lost-suburban-graduate to a rebellious-young-man-who-can-do-most-anything, thus giving the audience back then to believe in the future, in their power to choose and try things.

Understandably this film is considered a classic and still manages to warm up the audience's heart. Witty, smart & sexy, this film has a lot to offer than just a naughty cougar; brains to match it as well.

Hope you enjoy the film!



The Graduate (1967)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Easy-A (2010)

Rating: 7.8/10 

"-Marianne: 'There's a higher power that will judge you for your indecency'. 
 -Olive Penderghast: 'Tom Cruise'?" 

This is one of the best surprise-comedies that have come in the last couple of years. Beyond all the cheese endings and the lame silicone blondes parading through, this film has wit, hard-core old-school humour that many mainstream comedies have forgotten these days.

The new-face on the block (of Hollywood that is), Emma Stone, has taken everyone by surprise when she first popped through our screens by this little tini-tiny role she did back in 2008 in Superbad. But with 'Easy-A' she shines. She is in all possible sense hilarious, sparkling not only her method of being a great comedian but also a dazzling beauty. She is a little rising-star who is slowly proving that she can layer a role so much that you just want to keep watching and layering out this girl.

In 'Easy-A' she gives her role so much depth with  the laughing-out-loud punch-lines that makes the viewer reminisce of the 1980s & 1990s comedies; straight-forward script, clear comedic lines, detailed plot and good chemistry of the casting.

All this is of course achieved by the brilliant conception of the script. Thanks to script-writer Bert V. Royal I was able to genuinely be entertained and laugh my heart out without finding the jokes too vulgar or too far-fetched, something which is evident nowadays in comedies. Royal, a new-comer to the writing skill gives a strong script with loads of reference to films from both the 1980s & the 1990s, thus giving this film a more 'spicy' feel to it. It shows it has a bit of 'wisdom' in it, instead of some sleazy 'sex' jokes.

This film does take place in high-school but is so much cleverer than a your average teenage flick. It's got brains, fast-pace, unexpected plot (with of course the exclusion of your usual romance at the end but without making it a total fake) and a hilarious cast that just won't let you be bored for a second.

Also worthy to mention some lovely acting from Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow, Patricia Clarkson, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Hayden Church, Cam Gigandet, Dan Byrd and acting veteran but never forgotten Malcom McDowell.

In a few words the plot is this:"After a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, a clean cut high school girl sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne's in "The Scarlet Letter," which she is currently studying in school - until she decides to use the rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing." (www.imdb.com)

Perfect flick with your mates and besties for a Saturday night. You will not regret it and at the end of it you will feel renewed from the fresh humour and the energetic acting of it.

Happy screening!



'Easy-A' (2010)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Rating: 8.6/10

"Are you gonna bark all day little doggy, 
or are you gonna bite?"

This was Quentin Tarantino's third film in the making but it was his ground-breaking engine to invade the Hollywood standards and shake things up. Quirky, wordy, fact-paced, allegoric, action-packed and some top-notch quality acting is a few things that can discribe Reservoir Dogs.

In first screening of the film the viewer might get impatient, usually frustrated and confused as it takes a real focus to get the gist of the film. From the very first shot it is a challenge, both for the filmmaker and the audience watching. Kind of like that catch-phrase 'it all starts with a bang' (okay I paraphrased it a little bit). This film will get hooked right from the very first scene. The dialogue is so tricky, so literal and coloqual that you cannot avoid but being totally engrossed in it.

Unlike other films of Tarantino, I give particular praise to this one as it managed to dupe me and keep my keen interest time and time again without failing. The who-done-it-plot is all based on the script. The wit and the elegance that it's written is like very few of this day and age have manage to succeed and this is why this is a landmark-of-filmmaking.

This film has a strong character; and an even stronger cast. To name a few: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn and the hailed actor of actors Mr Steve Buscemi. (Tarantino also is acting in this film). What a cast to work with. It is fairly hard to beat. And the actors truly give their characters the spin and thrills needed to entangle the audience and make them believe in them. But for the outcome none is sure.

To get a tiny idea of what the story is about:"Six criminals, who are strangers to each other, are hired by a crime boss Joe Cabot to carry out a diamond robbery. Right at the outset, they are given false names with an intention that they won't get too close and concentrate on the job instead. They are completely sure that the robbery is going to be a success. But when the police show up right at the time and the site of the robbery, panic spreads amongst the group members and one of them is killed in the subsequent shootout along with a few policemen and civilians. When the remaining people assemble at the premeditated rendezvous point (a warehouse), they begin to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop." (www.imdb.com)

A-rat-film, a robbery gone bad and six criminals that try to find out who was the mole. Pretty straight-forward and common-place in its themes but the trick with this one is in the story. Like a circle that keeps you on guessing who's faking it and who's not.

Fast-paced and real, authentic and with quite a few limericks this film will keep you at the edge of your couch; not only from the killer plot-line but also for the unique creative of the new-found-director-from-the-block in the early '90s, Quentin Tarantino.

Enjoy the ride my doggies!




Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Great Escape (1963)

Rating: 9.2/10



"'Hilts: Wait a minute. You aren't seriously suggesting that if I get through the wire... and case everything out there... and don't get picked up... to turn myself in and get thrown back in the cooler for a couple of months so you can get the information you need?' - 'Bartlett: Yes.'" 

 'The Great Escape' is one of the few 3-hour-long films I can watch time and time again without being bored of them. The reason being? Great witty plot, brilliant actors from an International cast, fantastic visionary director and a killer soundtrack that no one who loves cinema will not recognize.

Let's start from the cast; I mean where to start from? The methodic acting of the British thespians like Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasance, David McCallum, John Leyton, Gordon Jackson, Angus Lennie or over to the always dashing Americans like Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburn...

I cannot for obvious reasons take my pick because the above is a handful. The truth is, many whilst many viewers might get lost with this sea of actors and characters in the film, I find it fascinating to get this multi-cast and bouncing from one corner to the other getting a glimpse of all sides of the story and how every character is able to contribute to the story line.

The plot goes like this:"Based on a true story, a group of allied escape artist type prisoners of war are all put in an 'escape proof' camp. Their leader decides to try to take out several hundred all at once. The first half of the film is played for comedy as the prisoners mostly outwit their jailers to dig the escape tunnel. The second half is high adventure as they use boats and trains and planes to get out of occupied Europe." (www.imdb.com)


For me this is not a war film, albeit the fact that it is taking place during WWII and in a concentration camp, this is a film about the war heroes who despite the scrupulous times of warfare manage to have the will to survive and are able to dream outside the barriers of the barbed wire for a free world.

In all fairness the reason I love this film is that it plays most on the intrigue of words and the strategic planning of how the prisoners will get out. The action in the film comes much later on, which I do not seem to mind or even notice as this gives me the ease to just enjoy the war officers mocking around the guards as they try to see their plan through. The acting and the pacing of the film is just a magnetic delight you cannot seem to escape from.

World acclaimed director John Sturges ('The Magnificent Seven')managed to bring an all-acclaimed cast together thus giving the viewers a full-layered background of all the sorts of characters that come and go through our screens during these three hours. In combination with the well-known whistling soundtrac by music composer Elmer Bernstein, the film comes to be complete and gain a character of its own in the cinema hall of fame.

I won't guarantee you the full-packed action like in today's war films but I will guarantee you quality and superb acting. And above all a killer moral message on the human survival!

Enjoy!


P.S. Could not find a decent copy of the trailer to upload here so for the proper trailer please follow this linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkwmIDx9RwQ

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Beaches (1988)

Rating: 7.1/10

"That's the story of, that's the glory of Love!"

The day requires this specific film. As this is after all the International Woman's Day 2012, I would like to dedicate this film to all women, but mostly to all the Friends out there.

'Beaches' may be considered as a chick flick type of film, but I've always seen it as a buddy-film. Director Garry Marshal is of course known for his romantic comedies such as 'Pretty Woman' but with this film he enthrones the power of surviving friendship through the hardships and adversity.

Of course 'Beaches' follows a rather known pattern of the chick flick and a few melodramatic incidents in the story. Nevertheless it gets its razzle-dazzle from the music, the acting and the moral messages coming through; friendship through anything. What can beat that I ask?

The plot is about a privileged rich debutante and a cynical struggling entertainer, who share a turbulent, but strong childhood friendship over the years. (www.imdb.com)

It may sound simplistic but the soul and heart that Betty Midler and Barbara Hershey put into this film, into the story in general does not let it be as simplistic as it sounds. They give life to a strong female friendship that is willing to surpass poverty, emancipation, erotic jealousy, career let-downs, adultery and the ultimate challenge of all...life! (I try to keep it spoilers free for those who are unknown to the plot).

Betty Midler, not only fills the screen with her smile, her hilarious lines and her enthusiasm but also her angelic voice entangles every viewer into an emotional journey. Barbara Hershey on the other hand comes to balance Midler with her tranquil and pious character, something that works really well on screen as both actresses know when to complete each other. The chemistry of these two is what makes all the difference.

I can of course sit here and tell you that you'll cry your eyes out and that this is one of the best chick flicks out there, but it would be very erroneous of me to do so. Hence I'll simply leave you to decide based on this song!

Watch this with your bestie (best mate) and feel the appreciation of what a powerful thing long-lasting friendship means.

Dedicated to all the strong-bonded friends out there!




Beaches (1988)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Black Swan (2010)

Rating: 6.2/10


"It's about a girl who gets turned into a swan and she needs love to break the spell, but her prince falls for the wrong girl so she kills herself."

'Black Swan' was not at all an Aronofsky masterpiece. This film had me greatly excited from the first few months of its hyped buzzing around and couldn't wait to get a screening of it. But boy did I regret it when I finally sat down to it.

Albeit my bias opinion, I will of course be an objective reviewer and start from the plot:

"A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan." (www.imdb.com)

All's fine and well with the acting of the obsessive character of Nina, who's performed by Natalie Portman, whom I admire, but something in the story seems lacking. It is beyond me that all of the facts in the film were constructed against the theme of sexual repression and how suffocating this must have been for Portman's character. Don't get me wrong, I do not doubt Portman's abilities as an actress to express this frustration only the story got me very irritated in ways of pacing, rhythm and technique. In all honesty the scripting could have been handled in more subtle ways thus not making me feel so appalled by the unnecessary vulgarity and sexualism that was promoted in the film.

Aronofsky is many times hailed as an insane genius and I will grant him his past successes but not this time. This time he couldn't have made it more majorly expressive that he cared more about the spectacle and the selling of the film, rather than the story itself. Of course people will run to the film houses when they hear a one-on-one girl-on-girl action, something which in my opinion gave the film very bad credibility and execution. Was that the standard by which I was suppose to go and watch this film or by the acting, the directing, the light and the costume design?

Granted I will put a thumbs up for the music score and the costume design as these two department did an extraordinary job in their creation in both atmosphere and style. The always astounding music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky that designed the whole film through was a guilty delight to follow the week plot line, as well as the remarkable costumes being created for the grand finale of Swan Lake. These two factors simply elevated and promoted to a more quality level the whole film.

Be sure that Aronofsky and Portman, as well as Mila Kunis, have great things to offer in the business, everyone in their field of course, without this little filmic bedazzling endeavour deters from their quality as artists.

It would be wrong of me to suggestion a no-screening whatsoever of this film, and although quite negative towards the whole shenanigans spectacle I do encourage you to sit down to watch it. If nothing, you will the very least enjoy the music and the always handsome presence of Vincent Cassel.




Black Swan (2010)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

La Vita è Bella aka Life is Beautiful (1997)

Rating: 8.8/10

"Buon giorno, Principessa!"

He came, he saw, he conquered. That's what exactly Roberto Benigni did. He had a fantastic film idea. He saw it through. He conquered Hollywood. And after that the Foreign Press Association and the Academy  Awards created the Oscar for Best Foreign Film category so that the Europeans wouldn't come and take their awards away. (just kidding) And here's when we say Viva Italia!

All joking aside Roberto Benigni wrote and directed this wonderful film that talks about a father's will to protect his song against the Nazis no matter what the cost. The plot goes like that:

"In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank." (www.imdb.com)

Roberto Benigni casted his real life wife, Nicoletta Braschi, as his on screen wife something which really vented on well as these two actors have chemistry both on screen as well as off. Benigni's secret ingredient though was the hilarious and at the same time outrageous comedic lines in the script. Benigni's character is somewhat of a goof-ball what we'd call but he still is smart enough to make all the right moves and still win his audience's hearts.

But I simply cannot stress this enough, this film is so touching and heartwarming that simply will melt even the most demanding viewers. The plot stars off very light-hearted almost  like a romantic comedy with that European light-hearted style and somewhere along we meet the German occupation in Italy and its harsh consequences. Begnini's imagination knows no boundaries in this film as he manages to combine both drama and comedy all into one-film without this feeling awkward or too excessive. He balanced everything just about right for the viewer to follow the plot and have a good time, even with an anti-war film. I gotta handed to the unbelievable acting of Benigni, who simply astounds audiences as he managed to get people from across the world to cry and be moved, as well as feeling a sense of appreciation of everything that one lives for.

One of the true memorable elements in the film, besides the exquisite acting and dialogue is the music, by Nicola Piovani. I'm sure that many people out there will have heard this piece before. This is truly one of the best well-composed musical scores and in all honesty the Academy Award was well-deserved.

Without wanting to spoil too much this touching film, I'll simply say watch it with your family, with your loved ones and I promise you that immediately after watching it you will venture on to your father (or father figure) and go hug them, for this shows the true meaning of flawless family love.

Buonna notte principessi e principi!




La Vita e Bella (1997)

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Rating: 8.1/10

"I'll have what she's having!"

"Harry and Sally meet when she gives him a ride to New York after they both graduate from the University of Chicago. The film jumps through their lives as they both search for love, but fail, bumping into each other time and time again. Finally a close friendship blooms between them, and they both like having a friend of the opposite sex. But then they are confronted with the problem: "Can a man and a woman be friends, without sex getting in the way?"" (www.imdb.com)

We have seen this plot over and over again. Nowadays many people call this phenomenon as 'fuck buddies' or simply 'friends with benefits'.

Rob Reiner had an idea that it has been remade over the years again and again. Two completely strange people meet up. They argue at the beginning but have stimulating conversations for the battle of sexes. Throughout the years these two people keep bumping into each other ultimately leading to a friendship. With friendship comes the physical expression, with friendship and the physical expressing comes love. The theme is neither controversial or novel, but the way Reiner handled it was.

This film succeeds for me for two reasons; the witty down-to-earth dialogue and the actors. I will start from the script by saying that what makes a hefty-dialogue work is wit. For your audience to believe in your dialogue you have to make it real, approachable and try to make your words relate to the everyday common people. Nora Ephron did just that. Not only she wrote a script that's smart and loving, but it made it sparkle with her unbelievable indulgence to make the characters one of us. This plot line is my life, and for ever more I will always find this film a very relatable topic.

But the real magic begun when Billy Crystal met Meg Ryan. These to seemingly very different actors came together to create one of the best rom-coms around that would ultimately leave their own mark in the cinema history books. Billy Crystal, who's more of a stand-up comedian/presenter impersonates the always grumpy and the spirit of contradiction type of guy who refutes the fact that men and women can actually be friends without having the physical part getting in the way. This however, seems to collide with the Queen of rom-coms Meg Ryan's character, who also is very opinionated and has strong views on the matter. But what makes this couple really work is their chemistry. Whether or not they liked each other in real-life, this couple works on screen. They can fight and make up all day long and still one wouldn't be bored of them. They delivered each line with such ease and wittiness that you just love to watch them again and again.

Many directors since 'When Harry Met Sally...' first came out re-visited the theme of close friendship turning into love, and pondered whether this actually work. Films such as 'Boys & Girls', 'A Lot Like Love', 'Friends with Benefits' & 'No Strings Attached' are few of these films that try to make the friendship-love theme work but without quite making it to the top where 'When Harry Met Sally...' is. The fact for this is, as very fortunately for Reiner and the rest of the cast and crew, it was the first among many other films that would follow the Hollywood formula of the rom-com and you ultimately hold a very dear place in the audience's hearts.

This can of course be considered as the ultimately rom-com chick flick but I'd say it goes both ways, as it can interest both sexes equally due to its realistic approach towards the story.

Ladies and Gents out there, enjoy this masterpiece by Reiner. You'll not regret it!

P.S. I don't do this often, but this film has one of the most talked about scenes in all of cinema history and it would be a shame for anyone not to know it. You can get a glimpse of it right here!




When Harry Met Sally...(1989)