Tag Archive: Oscar Special 2014


Continuing reviewing the DVD films, brought from Down Under. This time some of the films I watched in December 2014.
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The Dangerous Llives of Altar Boys (poster)
A Teenage Prank gone Wrong – The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys

On December 3rd, 2014, watched this noughties flick set in the 70’s, directed by Peter Care, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002).

The film is about a group of rebellious teenage boys, from a strict catholic school, who are constantly getting into trouble. Prank after prank, their mischief gets out of hand, and one day, they try to steal a cougar to place it inside their school. This final prank, results in a grave tragedy, that could bring an end, to their happy go lucky, teenage lives, for good.

The brilliant actress, Jodie Foster, plays Sister Assumpta, a strict disciplinarian, who’s seen as a monster by her pupils. Yet, she’s not as bad, as the teenage students seem to see her as. Foster, though a great actress, hasn’t much of a role to explore in this movie. She’s good, but there is nothing great about her role. Any good enough actress, needn’t be a brilliant one, could have pulled it off. I personally feel Foster, who’s capable of so much more, was wasted in this film about teenage life. A very young, Emile Hirsch, is superb, as Francis Doyle, the protagonist of the film. The makings of a future great actor, are visible, in Hirsch’s portrayal of young rebel, here. As an adult, he’s done such amazing work in excellent films like, Into the Wild (2007), Milk (2008), and the near excellent, Taking Woodstock (2009) (See my post From The Wild to Woodstock: Happy Birthday Mr. E. Hirsch from couple of years ago). Kieran Culkin, though hasn’t done anything that great in recent years, has had the potential of being a superb actor, as one can tell, watching young Culkin in The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. Plus he had proven his worth, as a child star, in bit roles; holding his own, along side his brother, Macaulay Culkin, in the two Home Alone (90’ & 92’) movies, and; in films like, Nowhere to Run (1993), She’s All That (1999), Music of the Heart (1999), The Cider House Rules (1999), and his excellent performance, in Igby Goes Down (2002).

Kieran Culkin and Emile Hirsch in a scene from The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

Kieran Culkin and Emile Hirsch in a scene from The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, is a very creative coming of age film. It’s a teenage movie, for teenagers, about teenagers (though rated for a mature audience), yet, at the same time, it’s also very dark and tragic. Like My Girl (1991), which was a children’s film, about children, for children, yet dark and tragic at the same time. Of course My Girl, wasn’t exactly suitable for very little children. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, is interestingly made, injecting the teenagers imaginary world, through animation, going parallel to the actual events in the movie. Plus it explores the contrast between a strict brainwashed religious upbringing, against teenagers growing up with a mind of their own, a brain that’s capable of thinking of themselves. At the same time, the extremities of the two worlds, are explored. Trying to brainwash growing up 14 year olds, only ends up pushing them further to the edge of rebellion, with disastrous results.

A very good movie, and I highly recommend it, especially for teenagers. 8/10!!!!

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An Ozzie Classic from The 80’s – The Man from Snowy River

Watched this Australian movie, The Man from Snowy River (1982), on the same night, 3rd of December, 2014.
The Man from Snowy RiverThere are very few Australian movies that I happen to like (and even fewer that I love), for example, Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) Excellent !!, Don’s Party (1976) Very Good !!, Gallipoli (1981) Excellent !!, The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) Excellent !!, A Cry in the Dark (1988) Very Good !!, Dead Calm (1989) Pretty Good !!, Proof (1991) Excellent !!, Muriel’s Wedding (1994) Near Excellence !!, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) Very Good !!, Lantana (2001) Pretty Good !!, Australian Rules (2002) Very Good !!, The Rage in Placid Lake (2003) Near Excellence !!, Go Big (2004) Pretty Good !!, The Proposition (2005) Near Excellence !! Little Fish (2005) Pretty Good !!, Ten Canoes (2006) Excellent !!, Book of Revelation (2006) Very Good !!, Australia (2008) Very Good!!, and Balibo (2009) Near Excellence!! to name a few. I had heard about this famous classic called, The Man from Snowy River, being Australia’s answer to Hollywood’s Gone with the Wind (1939), as the 1977 novel Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough was supposed to be the Australian Gone with the Wind (the 1936 novel) by Margaret Mitchell. Thorn Birds was an excellent novel, that I read back in the 90’s, but The Man from Snowy River, isn’t anywhere as epic as (the movie) Gone with the Wind, was. Yet, this famed classic from down under, is still an excellent movie, and among the greatest films ever made, worldwide.

Based on a poem, from 1890, by Australian Bush Poet, Banjo Paterson, The Man from Snowy River, tells the tale of a young man, who single-handed, recaptures a colt of a prize-winning racehorse, that had escaped and been residing amongst wild horses. Of course the movie version is injected with, young love, misunderstandings and melodrama. But the blend of all these ingredients, along with some superb cinematography, and thrilling horse riding sequences, result in an excellence of movie making. A marvellous classic. 10/10!!!!!

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A Conniving Man’s Success Story – The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Watched this bio-pic, based on the life of Jordan Ross Belfort; a notorious American stockbroker, who pleaded guilty to fraud and crimes in connection with stock market manipulation, and other related crimes; called The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), on 4th December, 2014.

Wow!! Shockingly Great!!! What great performances!!! Director Martin Scorsese, has managed to get his actors to push their limits, to bring out the best of the sleazy world of cheats, money, fraudulence, sex, drugs, prostitution and alcohol. The most disgusting characters in the world, performed to perfection, by some of the best actors we have today. Leonardo DiCaprio, is seen here in one of his best performances ever. He definitely deserved the Oscar nod, last year (see my post Leonardo DiCaprio: Always the Oscar Bait, Never the Winner from March 2014 for my ). Raw, exposed and hardcore, the movie doesn’t shy away from extremist debauchery, sleaze and graphic sexual content. It’s surprising to see DiCaprio pull this off, with such ease, especially, as a decade ago, he supposedly turned down the role of ‘Matthew’, in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2003), because of it’s explicit nature. He’s grown up since then, as a person and an actor, who dares to experiment. Like the Scorsese/Robert De Niro combination in the past, Scorsese & DiCaprio together, happen to be a superb Director-Actor duo, who have brought out some great films in the recent past. Yet this is the finest work, they’ve made together, so far. May they keep getting better. Director Martin Scorsese is the best thing to have happened to  Leonardo DiCaprio’s career.

On the sets of The Wolf of Wall Street.  Martin Scorsese directing Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie.

On the sets of The Wolf of Wall Street.
Martin Scorsese directing Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie.

The surprise package of the movie, happens to be, Jonah Hill. Who unexpectedly brings out a marvellous performance as Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s business partner. Australian actress, Margot Robbie, plays Belfort’s second wife, Naomi Lapaglia. Her portrayal too is superb as a trophy wife. Some may consider her portrayal sexist, and demeaning to women. Not just her, but the way women are showcased in The Wolf of Wall Street in general. But the movie is about a sexist egoistic man’s world, more accurately the sordid corrupt world of Jordan Ross Belfort. Yet Belfort is loved by his colleagues and people who work under him, for he has made them rich, through conning the rich and the poor alike, respectable or not.

This movie also has some pretty filthy language, as never seen before. The level of profanity, exceeds to unimaginable peaks. The word ‘fuck’ (along with its numerous conjugations) is used 569 times, making this the film with the most use of the ‘F’ word, in a main-stream feature film, ever, till date. Added to which, the film offers other derogatory terms and countless obscenities.

The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the best movies ever made, about one of the worst people ever to have existed in the financial world of Wall Street. Taking a cue from the films, specifically Belfort’s, vocabulary, I just have to say this, about the lead actor. Leonardo DiCaprio, you are a fucking genius. So is the movie. Pure Excellence 10/10!!!!!

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Slapstick 60’s, with a Great Cast – What’s new Pussycat?

Crazy is as Crazy Goes. Watched this enjoyable comedy, starring Peter O’Toole, Peter Sellers, Romy Schneider, Capucine, Paula Prentiss, Françoise Hardy and Woody Allen (in his introductory role), on the 5th of December, 2014. What’s new Pussycat (1965) deals with a compulsive playboy, Michael James (O’Toole), whose shrink, Dr. Fritz Fassbender (Sellers), happens to be crazier than he is.

What’s New Pussycat (1965)

Woody Allen, Romy Schneider & Peter O’Toole in What’s New Pussycat (1965)

What’s new Pussycat is a hilarious, colourful, wacky, British comedy, set and shot in Paris. O’Toole’s character, Michael James, happens to be a womaniser, but not by choice. Since his young age, women just seem to be attracted by him, thus all he’s doing his pleasing them. Women just seem to fall from the sky for him, literally, Ursula Andress, in a cameo, accidentally parachutes into his ‘1936 Singer Le Mans’ car, a classic open hooded British car. Yet James loves his fiancée, Carole Werner (Schneider), and desperately tries to be faithful to her. So he decides to get help, from psychoanalyst, Dr. Fritz Fassbender. Peter Sellers is, crack up laughing, hilarious, as the crazed Dr. Fassbender, who only ends up feeling jealous at poor James’ dilemma, and wonders what his problem is. Worse, when the lady, Renée Lefebvre (Capucine), whom the very married Dr. Fassbender, happens to be stalking, too falls, head over heels, for James, adding to James’ femme nightmare. Paula Prentiss too is superb as the clingy neurotic American, who constantly, tries to unsuccessfully kill herself, making James constantly getting an emergency doctor down to save her. The nurse that comes along, too seems attracted to James. Hilarious as hilarity goes, Romy Schneider, is enjoyable as his fiancée, trying her best to trust him, but who keeps ending up finding James in suspicious circumstances, involving other women.

Things go crazier than crazy, when the whole cast end up at the Chateau Chantelle hotel, in the French countryside, unaware of each others presence.

Though not among the greatest comedies ever, this absurdist romp, of what can also be seen, as glued up sequences of hilarious skits, minus a real plot, to make up, a less than 2 hour, movie, is definitely worth a watch. Quite Good. 7/10!!! 

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Consequences of Drug Addiction – Panic in Needle Park

Al Pacino & Kitty Winn (Al Pacino - inset as well) in a scene from Panic in Needle Park (1971)

Al Pacino & Kitty Winn (Al Pacino – inset as well) in a scene from Panic in Needle Park (1971)

Starring Al Pacino; as a drug dealer and addict who helps a sickly woman (Kitty Winn) worse off than he is, yet gets deeper into drug addiction, dragging her down along with him, and is unable to save, neither her nor himself; Panic in Needle Park (1971) is a hardcore, near perfect, depiction of the consequences of being addicted to heroin. Watched it on 12th & 13th of December, 2014.

A stark portrayal of the lives of heroin addicts in the early 70’s New York. The story deals with heroin dealer and addict, Bobby (Pacino), who falls in love with a sickly unhappy girl, Helen Reeves (Winn). He decides to help her, but unaware, he gets her hooked into heroin as well. Thus begins their decent into a deepening hellish world with no scope for escape. The film is so realistically filmed, Panic in Needle Park, was among the significant phase of the ‘X’ rated movies, to come out in the early 70’s. Especially, for it’s harsh depiction of the intricate ritual of preparing and injecting the heroin into a vein, ‘shooting up’ drugs, and various graphic imagery related to heroin addiction. Heroin usage is prevalent throughout the movie.

The movie is a near excellent insight into the world of drugs and deterioration, along with innocence and entrapment. The film also marked Al Pacino’s and Kitty Winn’s, first lead roles.

Director Jerry Schatzberg, was nominated for the ‘Palme d’Or’, and Kitty Winn won the ‘Best Actress’ Award, at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival.

Pure Realism. 9/10!!!!

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Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii

Hawaiian Musical Dream – Blue Hawaii

Watched Blue Hawaii (1961), with Elvis Presley, and bevy of Beach Babes, on 18th December, 2014.

The Plus+ side – Beautiful rhythmic Songs, Beautiful scenic Beaches, Beautiful people, and one of the rare movies which showcases a male lead that is prettier that his female co-stars. Added to which, a superb actress like, Angela Lansbury, playing mother to Elvis Presley, is a major plus point.

The down side – Not much of plot, and a somewhat predictable story, so far as the love story goes. Yet the music, the comedy and the beautiful star cast, make Blue Hawaii an enjoyable experience.

The story is about Chad Gates (Presley), who returns to Hawaii, after serving his tenure in the Army. His filthy rich parents want him to join the family business, but he has other idea’s for his future.

Being the very first Elvis film to be shot in Hawaii, Blue Hawaii, was quite well received, by youngsters, at the time, and happens to be among the ‘Top-10’, top grossing, movies of 1961. An enjoyable viewing. Love the Presley songs. Love the Presley voice. Love the Presley look.
Pretty Good movie to sit through. 7/10!!!

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Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

P.S. Also see my posts DVD Films From Last Month PART-IDVD Films From Last Month PART-II from December 2014.

DVD Films From Last Month PART-I

Under The Skin poster

As I mentioned in my post Holidaying in Australia, comes to an end, I ended up buying 26 films from Australia. I reached SL on the 15th of November, 2014, and started watching the DVD’s on the 16th, the very next day, itself.

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Art House Horror – Under The Skin

On Sunday afternoon, the 16th of November, 2014, I watched Under The Skin (2013). The film is about an Alien is human clothing, who drives around Scotland, UK, seducing horny men and devouring them. But when she suddenly sympathises with an inexperienced man suffering from facial neurofibromatosis (Adam Pearson, a man actually suffering from this rare disease was taken for the part), she lets him go. She tries to enter the human world, and be one of them, rather than use them to her benefit. Yet the more human she becomes, the more vulnerable she becomes to animalistic humans.

One of best Science-fiction/Art House/Horror films I’ve come across. It’s an unrealistic film, yet filmed so excellently realistic in style, like a documentary documenting this Aliens hungry escapades, involving the male flesh. To the extent of reality, the scenes filmed with Scarlett Johansson (who plays the Alien seductress) picking up men, were actual conversations with non-actors, men on the streets, filmed with many a hidden cameras in her van. That’s why those scenes were so naturalistic, because they weren’t acting, nor did they recognize Scarlett Johansson. Again the scene where she is walking on the street and suddenly falls down, walking into a shopping mall, et al, were all filmed with passers by unaware. Of course the men she’s seen with, where they are submerged into an abyss of liquid, leaving their skin behind, were obviously unknown actors.

Under The Skin (2013)

Under The Skin (2013)

The movie’s got beautiful cinematography, brilliantly filmed, capturing the Scottish Highlands, as well as in a surrealistic sense of the story, where the naked young men are dissolved inside the black space of the extraterrestrial world. There’ve been so many films about Aliens visiting/falling to/residing on earth, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Superman (1978), E.T. (1982), Starman (1984), Independence Day (1996), Men in Black (1997), The Faculty (1998), War of the Worlds (2005), I am Number 4 (2011) and The Darkest Hour (2011) to name some (and most of the films, especially the latter lot, mentioned, are pretty crap; in fact E.T. is the only excellent film mentioned above, Superman was very good, Men in Black was pretty good, and the rest range from OK to pretty bad to some of the worse films ever made). But the movie which, Under The Skin, is closest to, and reminds me of, is, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), with one of the legends of the pop music scene, David Bowie. The artistic, realistic, style, with an extraterrestrial walking through Earth, all are similarly in sync with the Bowie classic. Especially the slow, convincingly simulated realism, with an alien’s perspective of the human world, that takes it’s time to tell a story. Slow doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be boring, and Under The Skin, is far from boring, and much better than the pretty good B-movie classic, The Man Who Fell to Earth.

The scene where the alien starts to peel off her human skin, and reveals her inner Alien self, is a touching sequence. One can’t help but feel sorry for her more humanistic alien character in this inhumanly human world. The beauty sheds her skin to reveal the beast inside, which ends up being a more beautiful character than many indifferent beautiful people on Earth. One sympathises with her, despite what her alien personality lead her to do in the beginning of the film, before she saved one of her victims, letting out the naked man, suffering facial neurofibromatosis, run free.

The British director of, the near excellent gangster movie, Sexy Beast (2000) and, the pretty good film analysing re-birth, Birth (2004), Jonathan Glazer, has brought out a near excellent artistic venture with Under The Skin. Among the next best in science fiction and horror films. 9/10!!!!

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Lost in Space – Gravity

On 19th November, 2014, watched the excellent science fiction flick set in space, Gravity (2013).

An Exceptional movie of one woman’s lone struggle, whilst lost in space, of resilience and survival. Being all alone floating in the darkness of outer space, without any human contact, nor any visible plant or animal life, could be a formidable experience. Speaking of suffering from loss and loneliness on planet Earth, it’s hard to even conceive what it must be like for Dr. Ryan Stone (the character played by Sandra Bullock), out there in the inhabitable eternal blackness, circumnavigating afloat, with our habitable planet afar, in sight. Gravity is both a psychological and visual treat, by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón. The only other movie of his I’ve seen till date is, the near excellent Mexican film, Y Tu Mamá También (2001), starring, my favourite Mexican actor, Gael García Bernal, along with his real life best buddy, Diego Luna. I watched Y Tu Mamá También a decade ago, whilst residing in Portsmouth, UK, in mid 2004.

On the sets of GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuarón directing Sandra Bullock & George Clooney

On the sets of GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuarón directing Sandra Bullock & George Clooney

Gravity is among the best movies set in space, coming fourth in line, after 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which no doubt is the best Space-age film ever, Interstellar (2014), the next best, another visually stunning intellectual experience, and of course the animated movie, WALL·E (2008), comes a close third. Says a lot about how great WALL·E is, considering the fact, am not that crazy about animated movies.

One of the best sequences in the film happens to be Dr. Ryan Stone trying to contact the human world, and ends us speaking to Aningaaq, an Eskimo residing in a Fjord in Greenland. Of course Aningaaq isn’t showcased in this movie, but I also watched, the 7 minute short film, Aningaaq (2013), which was on the DVD as well, directed by Jonás Cuarón, son of Alfonso Cuarón. An excellent prequel/sequel to Gravity. Aningaaq, shows us the Eskimo’s side of the communication, during radio contact with Dr. Ryan Stone. They speak two different languages, thus don’t understand one another. The DVD also contained the insightful documentary of how man’s been polluting the space around Earth, narrated by Ed Harris, Collision Point: The Race to Clean up Space (2014).

Another sequence is, soon after the radio contact, sole survivor, Dr. Ryan Stone’s hallucination, of fellow astronaut, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). It’s this hallucination that helps her not give up so easily. The ghost of Matt Kowalski guides her, giving her the necessary push, to somehow make it back home, to Mother Earth.

Alfonso Cuarón, deservedly won the Best director Oscar for Gravity, making him the first Hispanic and Mexican to win an Academy Award for ‘Best Director’. Gravity, won 7 Oscars, out of the 10 nominations, including for ‘Best Visual Effects’ and ‘Best Cinematography’. 10/10!!!!!   

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Romance & Revenge – Indiscreet

Watched the classic Rom-Com starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, Indiscreet (1958), on 20th November 2014.

Ingrid Bergman with Cary Grant in INDISCREET (1958)

Ingrid Bergman with Cary Grant in INDISCREET (1958)

Based on a play by Norman Krasna, Indiscreet, is about an actress of the British stage, who’s just entered her middle ages, and falls for a man who is unable to get a divorce from his wife, thus can never marry the woman he loves. Once she finds out he’s been lying to her all this time to avoid the subject of marriage, a bold a woman as she is, she concocts an excellent plan to take revenge, which ends up blowing up on her face, and his.

This is the second pairing of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, since their outstanding performance in the Hitchcock masterpiece of film noir, Notorious (1946). Contrasting to the nerve wrecking, psychologically disturbingly excellent noir piece, the Hitchcock classic was, here we see the two stars in a lighter vein, in a hilarious comedy. Might not be the greatest romantic comedy ever, but it’s really worth checking out, especially for fans of Bergman & Grant. They are superbly and eccentrically funny. 8/10!!!! 

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Gay Cancer of the 80’s – The Normal Heart

Based on real events, watched the television movie The Normal Heart (2014), on 21st November 2014.

One of the best gay-themed films to come out in recent times. Based on the life of gay activist, and playwright, Larry Kramer (based on his autobiographical play), The Normal Heart, is a superb insight into the early days of the HIV/AIDS virus. Back in the early 80’s, it was dubbed as a ‘Gay Cancer’, as the AIDS epidemic only seemed to be attacking homosexual men. The American government did nothing about it, as it didn’t seem to affect anyone who wasn’t engaged in sexual intercourse with the opposite sex. A very depressingly educational film, yet made beautifully, and worth really checking out.

Larry Kramer’s character, Ned Weeks (played by Mark Ruffalo), even goes on to accuse the American government of being involved in a conspiracy to kill off the entire homosexual community of the United States. Who could blame him for feeling that way back then. Julia Roberts plays Dr. Emma Brookner, a wheelchair bound doctor (due to polio), who happens to be the only doctor, who dares to do any research to help AIDS patients. Taylor Kitsch, in one of his rare great roles, plays Bruce Niles, a closeted activist, who’s less vocal and forward, unlike Ned Weeks. There are smaller, yet effective roles, by famous television stars, such as BD Wong, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff and Frank De Julio, to name a few. But the icing on the cake, is Matt Bomer’s deeply effective realistic performance, as newspaper reporter, for the New York Times, Felix Turner, the lover of Ned Weeks, who’s dying of AIDS. Bomer lost 40 pounds for his role, turning himself into a sickly looking individual, contrasting to the bewitchingly attractive character we see him as, earlier on, in the movie. The best performance of Bomer’s I’ve seen till date.
The Normal HeartOn this DVD, I also watched an insightful documentary called, How To Start A War (2014). A profound look at the true story behind The Normal Heart and the life of playwright Larry Kramer.

The Normal Heart, bagged the Emmy for ‘Outstanding Television Movie’ along with another win for ‘Outstanding (Non-Prosthetic) Makeup for a Television Miniseries or Movie’. From Mark Ruffalo to Alfred Molina to Matt Bomer, six cast members were nominated for Emmy Awards, including one for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Television Miniseries or Movie’, for Julia Roberts. Plus director Ryan Murphy and writer Larry Kramer, were nominated as well, along with a couple of nominations for cinematography and casting. Sadly none of these categories garnered a win at the Emmy’s. But the cast et al, did win some awards at various other award ceremonies.

The Normal Heart, is a really touching, emotional and educational film, that should be shown/taught in schools. 10/10 !!!!!   

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Advocated Entrapment  – The Firm

On Sunday night, the 23rd of November, 2014, watched The Firm (1993), a thriller based on a John Grisham novel.

Sydney Pollack’s slick thriller, based on the Grisham novel, is a very 1990’s flick. After a young lawyer, Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise), foolishly falls into an entrapment through advocacy, we see him hatch up an intriguing plan so that neither the Law Firm, nor the FBI, can screw up his life. It’s a very stylish, typical Grisham style thriller, though I haven’t read this particular book of his.

The Firm (1993)

The Firm (1993)

This was an era when Tom Cruise still had taste, when it comes to selecting a venture to work in. Cruise has worked in some exceptional projects back in the late 80’s and 90’s. It’s a pity his roles today aren’t that well selected. He’d rather make a load of money than prove himself as an actor, and he is a good actor, when he comes in good, worthwhile, movies. Movies that he’ll be remembered for in the future. It’s sad. Get back onto doing more challenging roles, like in Rain Man (1988), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), A Few Good Men (1992), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Jerry Maguire (1996),  Minority Report (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), and Valkyrie (2008), to name a few. These movies showcase his ascend as an actor.

With a great cast including Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter (who was nominated for the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ Oscar for her role here); Jeanne Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, David Strathairn, Gary Busey and Wilford Brimley; The Firm, is really worth checking out. A very good adaptation. 8/10!!!!

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Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

(Oscar 2014 Special)

Just a few links to My Oscar related Lists on IMDB

March List

Oscar Winners … and then some 2012 from March 2012

Streep Wins … … … … … .. from April 2012

and

My Favourite Oscar Winner per decade from earlier this month (March 2014)

Enjoy

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

(Oscar 2014 Special)

My OscarLeonardo DiCaprio has gone through a phase of ,‘‘always being the Bridesmaid, but never the Bride,’’ scenario at the Oscars. That’s because he’s just been plain unlucky. He’s a superb actor, who deserved the nominations, but that doesn’t mean, just cause he’s been nominated so many times, he has to win. Look at the actors he lost out to. If he lost out, he lost out to the best. He’s always been good, but there’s always been someone better.
In his own movies too, most of the time, there is always someone better than him, overpowering his performance. For example; Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997) and Revolutionary Road (2008), and Winslet was nominated for an Oscar for Titanic; Daniel Day-Lewis, too nominated for an Oscar, in Gangs of New York (2002); Tom Hanks in Catch Me If You Can (2002); Cate Blanchett in The Aviator (2004), for which Blanchett bagged the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ trophy at the Oscars (Blanchett won the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar this year); the list could go on.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated for five Academy Awards. Let’s have a look at his nominations :-

Leo -Whats Eating Gilbert Grape

Added to the above mentioned reasons, Leonardo DiCaprio does tend to play it safe. With the exception of his character of Arnie Grape, in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), DiCaprio, has never done anything that exceptionally unique till date for him to actually bag the Oscar trophy. DiCaprio earned his very first Oscar nomination as a 19 year old, for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, for ‘Best Supporting Actor’, in 1994. In fact DiCaprio was the only one to be nominated in that movie, and deservedly so. He lost out to Tommy Lee Jones, who won for The Fugitive (1993). I haven’t watched The Fugitive, so I can’t judge whether Lee Jones deserved it more; but Leonardo DiCaprio was exceptional as the mentally-challenged ‘Arnie’ in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. The best he has done so far.

The Aviator & Ray

In 2005, Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for the ‘Best Actor’ Oscar for The Aviator (2004). He was excellent in this bio-pic on the late American business magnate, aviator, aerospace engineer and film maker, Howard Hughes. This was DiCaprio’s first ‘Best Actor’ nomination, and his second nomination at the Academy Awards. He lost out to Jamie Foxx, who was outstandingly better as the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, in the bio-pic, Ray (2004), and Foxx definitely deserved the win that year.

Blood Diamond & Last KingIn 2007, DiCaprio was nominated for, Blood Diamond (2006), in which he was very good, but Forest Whitaker, as the tyrannical President of Uganda, Idi Amin, in The Last King of Scotland (2006), was incomparably brilliant. A sure win, how could poor DiCaprio compete with that.

Wolf Dallas

This year, 2014, DiCaprio was nominated for both, ‘Best Actor’, and as one of the producers, ‘Best Film’, for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). He lost out the ‘Best Actor’ trophy to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club (2013), and ‘Best Film’ to producers Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen and a few other, for 12 Years a Slave (2013). Now I haven’t seen any of these films, but from the hype, and what ever I’ve seen (trailers, scenes etc), McConaughey and 12 Years a Slave, deserved there respective wins more.

Leonardo DiCaprio, has definitely proved himself as an actor. He is not just a pretty face. I personally have great respect for him as a performer.
So Mr. DiCaprio, next time do an extraordinarily unique role, a sure win, so that no one can beat you at the Oscar game.

Wishing you all the best
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

(Oscar 2014 Special)

Director Steve McQueen jumps after '12 Years a Slave' wins Best Picture

Director Steve McQueen jumps after ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture

Leonardo DiCaprio kisses a surprised Matthew McConaughey congratulating him on his Oscar win

Leonardo DiCaprio kisses a surprised Matthew McConaughey congratulating him on his Oscar win

Jared Leto after winning the Best Supporting Actor for 'Dallas Buyers Club'  snucks up behind Oscar veteran Anne Hathaway

Jared Leto after winning the Best Supporting Actor for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ sneaks up behind Oscar veteran Anne Hathaway

After winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong'o accidentally bumps fellow winner Jared Leto backstage

After winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong’o accidentally bumps fellow winner Jared Leto backstage

Pitt has Pizza while hungry wife looks on

Pitt has Pizza while hungry wife looks on

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

(Oscar 2014 Special)

Ellen DeGeneres Tweet Picture

Top 5 highlights of this years Oscars (in order of first appearence), other than the winners collecting their trophy’s, for me, were :-

  • Ellen DeGeneres (who hosted the show) sneaking up behind Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock
  • Ellen DeGeneres and the tweet photograph rounding up everyone from Meryl Streep to Julia Roberts to Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie to Bradley Cooper et al. (The Best)
  • And when an excited, 18 time nominated (three time Oscar winner), 64 year old Meryl Streep added that she had never tweeted before. By the way Ms. Streep, neither have I. And you being one of favourite stars, I should add that you were born the same year as my mother (1949 – mum will be mad at me for writing this), and that too on my Birthday (June 22nd). Yup, we share the birthdate, not the year 😉
  • Ellen DeGeneres bringing in the pizza. (The Next Best)
  • I also liked it when Ellen DeGeneres asked everyone to pay for Pizza and Lupita Nyong’o gave her, her lip balm.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

(Oscar 2014 Special)
Some of the great winners, were as I predicted, but I was surprised when Gravity (2013) garnered more wins than I anticipated.
(Oscar 2014 Special)
Oscars (March 2014)

Oscars (March 2014) LN (NS)

Oscars (March 2014) Cate Blanchett
Worthy Winners of The 86th Annual Academy Awards
I watched the Oscars Live!, starting from the Red Carpet, from early in the morning today. It started at 5:30 a.m. here. As I didn’t fall asleep all night, I didn’t really need to wake myself up.
Except for The Great Gatsby (2013) and the French short film Avant que de tout perdre (2013) a.k.a. Just Before Losing Everything; both of which I gave a 8/10 rating last year, on IMDB; I haven’t watched any of the films nominated for the Oscars this year. Besides that, having followed the hype, some of my predictions were spot on.

Best Picture
12 Years a Slave (2013), as I predicted.
Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity (2013), I predicted, either Cuarón for Gravity or Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, and felt more Cuarón than McQueen.
Best Actor
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club (2013), as I predicted.
Best Actress
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine (2013), was a bit unsure, but while watching the show, when the film sequences, for the Best Actress nominees, unfolded, I felt Blanchett should win.
I actually saw a heavily pregnant Cate Blanchett in real life, as close as I’m seated in front of my laptop right now, with her son, in early 2008, when she visited the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia. Since I wasn’t sure that it was her, she took off her massive dark glasses, so that I could recognise her 🙂 . I still ignored her, and then she started speaking to a gent in a wheelchair on my right. I recognized her voice instantly. The main reason I wasn’t sure it was her, was ‘cause I was unaware she was pregnant at the time. I just felt this pregnant lady looks a bit like Cate Blanchett, but this can’t be her, until she spoke that is.
Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club (2013), as I predicted.
Best Supporting Actress  
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave (2013), I was divided between Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts, but this was a pleasant surprise, as when I saw the nominees clips on the show, I felt this actress seems more worthy of the famed golden nude statuette, as well.
Best Original Screenplay
Spike Jonze – Her (2013), I actually thought Dallas Buyers Club, would bag this one too.
Best Adapted Screenplay
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave (2013), as I predicted
Best Foreign Language Film
To Italy – La Grande Bellezza (2013) a.k.a. The Great Beauty, as I predicted.
Best Animated Feature Film
Frozen (2013), as I predicted due to it’s fame, though from the trailers et al I had seen, I felt the Japanese flick, Kaze Tachinu (2013), a.k.a. The Wind Rises, deserved it more. But since I haven’t seen any of them, I shan’t debate this any further.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Gravity (2013), I actually thought Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), might take home the Golden naked man.
Best Achievement in Editing
Gravity (2013), I was unsure.
Best Achievement in Production Design
The Great Gatsby (2013), I was unsure. A very Baz Luhrmann type film.
Best Achievement in Costume Design
The Great Gatsby (2013), I was unsure, though the gaudy n’ glittery costumes were pretty over the top, and was worth the recognition. Very  Baz Luhrmann.
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club (2013), as predicted.
Best Original Score
Gravity (2013), was unsure.
Best Original Song
Frozen (2013), was unsure.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Gravity (2013), as I predicted.
Best Documentary, Feature
Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013), as predicted, when I watched the nominees on the show announced. I felt this seemed like the most entertaining documentary among the nominees, and felt it might win.
Best Documentary, Short Subject
The Lady In Number 6 (2013), as predicted, when I watched the nominees on the show announced, I felt this should win.
Best Animated Short Film
Mr Hublot (2013), was unsure.
Best Live Action Short Film
Helium (2014), was unsure. I had watched Avant que de tout perdre (2013) a.k.a. Just Before Losing Everything, on TV5 MONDE, last year. I was surprised to see it on the show, when it was shown among the nominees.
I thought Avant que de tout perdre was very good, but didn’t think it was excellent enough to be nominated for ‘Best Short Film’, that too at the Oscars.
Humanitarian Award
Angelina Jolie – She definitely deserved it.

Congrats to all the winners of Oscars 2014.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
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Oscars (March 2014) Rest of them all

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My Favourite movie by decade, My Favourite Oscar Winner per decade (Oscar 2014 Special)
RH NS
Back in April 2011, I made a list titled My Favourite movie by decade, and in November 2012, I made a list titled Why I love …., comprising of my TOP-10 all time favourite movies, and critiquing on each one of them, on IMDB.
This evening, prior to watching this years Oscars, which will be shown live tomorrow early morning (i.e. tonight in the United States), I decided to do a post, both about my Favourite movie from each decade and my Favourite Oscar Winner per decade. For my Favourite movie from each decade is not necessarily the Best film of the decade, neither is it necessarily an Oscar Winner for ‘Best Picture’.

Three Centuries, Ten decades (I’ve omitted out the first two decades of the 20th century, for I don’t have a favourite from those two decades so far)

PRE-OSCARS
The 19th Century
1890’s
L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat (1895)
French Film (Silent Cinema)
The very first moving picture made, by the two Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumière. It just showcased a train coming to a platform and stopping. Sadly, like the Birth of a child, which starts with a frightened baby crying his/her lungs out, the Birth of Cinema, was marked with tragedy. People had never seen a moving picture before, and when the audience saw a train approaching towards them, on the Big screen, they started to run. So Lumière Brothers’ L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat resulted in a tragic stampede.
I saw this film, most probably somewhere in the 90’s, when I accidentally came across a documentary about cinema, on the telly. I don’t recall the documentary, for it was late one night, and I couldn’t watch the rest of the programme, but at least I got to watch the very first film ever made, and learn about the tragic aftermath. I haven’t seen this movie since, worth checking out for any movie buff.

The 20th Century  
1920’s
Metropolis (1927)
German Film (Silent Cinema)
An excellent German Expressionism, avant-garde, surreal, science fiction, cinematic wonder. I got to watch this classic on the big screen, back in 2007, at the Sydney public library, Sydney, Australia. I fell in love with this movie, set in a futuristic urban dystopia, almost instantly. And in 2008, when I was in Paris, France; I saw the metallic costume worn by actress Brigitte Helm, who played the lead female character, and the female android; when I visited the Cinémathèque Française there.
Metropolis (1927)
POST-OSCARS
The very first Academy Awards was held in May 1929. The winner for the most ‘Outstanding Picture’ Oscar (which was later, after going through many a name changes, from 1944 to 1961, known as the ‘Best Motion Picture’ award, and from 1962 onwards, till date, is known as the ‘Best Picture’ award), went to the silent venture, Wings (1927). Am yet to watch this silent classic, that bagged the very first Best film award. The oldest Best Picture winner I’ve watched is All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), which was excellent. Thus, my favourite Oscar winner from the end of the roaring 20’s, and the best, is All Quiet on the Western Front, which was the first film to win awards for both, ‘Outstanding Production’ (award name for Best Film at the time) and ‘Best Director’.

1930’s
Gone with the Wind (1939), my favourite movie of the 1930’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My second all time favourite movie.

1940’s
Casablanca (1942), my favourite movie from the 1940’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade, and the Best Film to come out in that decade. My third all time favourite movie.
1950's
1950’s
Roman Holiday (1953) – My Favourite movie from the 1950’s, also happens to be my all time favourite movie. Audrey Hepburn, my all time favourite film star, bagged the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar for Roman Holiday.
Special mention: Ben-Hur (1959), my Favourite Oscar Winner, and the Best Film, to come out of the 1950’s. (Also see my lists 50-50’s, The Foxy Fifties, These are a Few of my Favourites, Hepburn flicks through pictures and many more on IMDB)

1960’s
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – My Favourite movie from the 1960’s.
My Fair Lady (1964) is my favourite Oscar Winner from the sizzling 60’s.
Special mention: I think François Truffaut’s, French new wave flick, Jules et Jim (1962), is the Best film of that decade, which also happens to be my second favourite film from the 1960’s. (Also see my lists The Essential 60’s (Top 60), The Late 60’s (1966-1970) öö, My Top 5 Musicals from the sizzling 60’s & 70’s and many more on IMDB)
60's
1970’s
A Clockwork Orange (1971) – My Favourite movie from the 1970’s, and the best film of that decade.
The Godfather: Part II (1974), is my favourite Oscar Winner from the suave n’ sophisticated 70’s. A very masculine decade for film, with a blend of classy and thuggery. The Godfather: Part II, also happens to be my second favourite from the 70’s. (Also see my lists My 70’s Top 5 and The Great 70’s Picture Show on IMDB)

1980’s
Rain Man (1988) is my favourite movie of the 1980’s, my favourite Oscar Winner of that decade.
Special mention: Another Oscar winner, which I feel is the Best Film to come out in the 1980’s, is, the epic scale, bio-pic, of a modern day saint, directed by Richard Attenborough. The British film, Gandhi (1982). The 1980’s were a great decade for British, Historical and Heritage, films.
The 1980's
1990’s
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), is my favourite movie from the naughty 90’s.
Forrest Gump (1994), which also happens to be my second favourite from the 90’s, is my favourite Oscar Winner from that decade.
Special mention: Schindler’s List (1993), my third favourite from the 90’s, yet another Oscar winner, I feel, is the Best Film of that decade. (Also see my list The Nineteen Nineties (Top-5) on IMDB)

The 21st Century  
2000’s (2001-2010)
From the first decade of the 21st century, my favourite flick happens to be,  Closer (2004).
A Beautiful Mind (2001), my favourite Oscar winner from the last decade.
Special mention: Brokeback Mountain (2005), is the Best film to come out of the noughties. The Biggest mistake the Oscars made, this century, was not handing the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar to this gay themed epic.

This Decade
From this decade, which is only just over three years old, so far my favourite film, favourite Oscar winner and the Best Film, happens to be, The Artist (2011), a great tribute to early cinema and the roaring 20’s. One of my favourite silent films with sound.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
(Also see nuwansdel_02 , for the menu page, for all my list on IMDB)

Loving Film