Capote (Directed by Bennett Miller): Rating 9.5/10
I will start with the obvious: Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant playing Truman Capote. He is the movie really. But credit also goes to a powerful performance from Clifton Collins Jr. who plays Perry Smith, one of the murderers. One could feel the torment Capote suffered by his own actions (or subsequent inactions) as the movie progressed. I had wanted to see this movie for quite a while now and I am glad to have finally seen it!
Hustle & Flow (written and directed by Craig Brewer): Rating 10/10
I am tired of reading reviews about this movie which only praise Terrence Howard’s performance. Yes, Howard is brilliant but calling this his movie is unfair -- he is helped by a solid screenplay, hip music and great acting from his ensemble cast. The way all the characters are written is very fresh. Sure some are stereotypical but they are given chance to develop into something different. This was a movie which also showed how the creative process can sometimes work and we are privileged to some wicked music along the way. Loved it! In a minor way, I was reminded of the French movie, The Beat that my Heart Skipped in some sequences – both movies are about street hoodlums desperate to escape their life and in both cases, music provides an outlet.
The Edukators (Directed by Hans Weingartner): Rating 9/10
Excellent! This movie is a grown up child of Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers . I had disliked Bertolucci’s movie but I quite liked this one. The movie shows both sides of youth rebellion – the system sucks and one must rebel against it. But what does one achieve after such a rebellion? Another worse system? Most likely! The movie ties up the free love movement of the 60’s with the cold hate of modern consumerism. Intelligent ideas are presented and the characters engage in lively debate. One can say that the movie does not really scratch the surface of the obvious ideas but most people never get beyond that first layer anyhow.
Imagine Me and You (written and directed by Ol Parker): Rating 6.5/10
A clean cut romantic comedy about two women falling for each other! Rachel spots Luce on her wedding day and fights with her feelings for her husband before finally giving into her love for Luce. There are some really funny witty parts but overall felt too clichéd and boring.
King Kong (directed by Peter Jackson): Rating 7/10
If I view the movie on face value then there is nothing worth raving about. Sure there are some great moments, especially those involving Kong and Naomi Watts, and Kong’s battles with the dinosaurs. Naomi Watts looks great really. Her make-up is perfect even when she is dragged through water, runs from a T-rex or through the jungle. She does a decent job of expressing herself but acting wise no one in this movie really stood out. Now if I were to see this as a political movie, then I would say that I quite liked it. The movie is about America really. It is about America’s fear of outsiders. It is about America’s greed in exploiting others for its own use. And when one is no longer usable, then that thing should be destroyed. Seriously, can’t a giant ape and his blond love be left in peace? Can’t the ape be left to have a romantic time skating with his blond lady? No need to negotiate with an outsider. Just send bombs and bullets and destroy the outsider.
A Fond Kiss (directed by Ken Loach): Rating 9/10
A pleasant surprise! I knew nothing about this movie and ended up liking this one quite a bit. In religiously charged Glasgow, a Scottish Pakistani man falls for an Irish Catholic woman. Unlike East is East and countless other Western Indian movies, this movie shows that it is not only the Indian culture which has problems with its kind marrying others from outside the culture (region, religion, etc) but even the Catholic religion imposes similar restrictions. What is a couple to do really?
8 Mile (2002 movie directed by Curtis Hanson): Rating 8/10
A really good movie! I waited this long to see it but it was worth the watch.
The Triplets of Belleville (2003 movie written & directed by Sylvain Chomet): Rating 9/10
A smart and enjoyable animation movie! The catchy title song is pleasant and blends in perfectly with the movie’s relaxed mood.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (directed by Sijie Dai): Rating 7.5/10
A decent movie about the change that a book can make in one’s life! Literature can open one’s eyes to the world outside and sometimes there is no turning back.
Melvin Goes to Dinner (2003 movie directed by Bob Odenkirk): Rating 8/10
Michael Blieden adapted his own stage play for this movie and it shows. The core of the movie feels like a theatrical play and it works. 4 friends, 2 men and 2 women, end up in conversations ranging from relationships, careers, ghosts, science, to whatever their fancy. Quite funny at times and absorbing!
Insomnia (2002 movie directed by Christopher Nolan): Rating 10/10
I didn’t want to see this Hollywood remake until I had seen the original Norwegian version but after waiting for a few years, I gave in and decided to give the Hollywood version a look. It is a excellent thriller with multiple layers and is expertly acted and coolly shot.
Road to Perdition (2002 movie directed by Sam Mendes): Rating 5.5/10
There was a reason why I didn’t see this movie when it first came out – it looked boring. But I had hoped that maybe I was wrong? Well as it turns out, my first instinct was correct. This is a terribly boring gangster movie where all the main characters look disinterested and are wrongly cast. The first 30 minutes were painful but I hoped that the incident around the 40 minute mark might shake the movie up. It did for a while until it became boring again. Yuck!
Cold Mountain (2003 movie directed by Anthony Minghella): Rating 5/10
In an ideal world, one should have enough time to properly judge and evaluate each movie. But this is not an ideal world. One does not have time to waste on awful movies which have nothing to offer. Such is the case with this horrible waste of a movie. I tried to watch it and eventually decided that I could not waste any more time on this one. But I still managed to fast forward and get a feel of it. A strong cast, a director with a reputation and still a boring flick!