Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Donnie Darko

Director: Richard Kelly

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Cast: Jake Gyllenhall, Jenna Malone, Mary McDonnell, Daveigh Chase and Patrick Swayze

Box Office: $727,883 (Per IMBD.com as of Oct 3rd, 2004)

Trivia: During conversations about sex with his therapist, the script had Donnie’s fantasies be about Alyssa Milano. This had to be changed to Christina Applegate due to legal reasons.

Memorable Quotes:

 Dr. Lillian Thurman: Do you feel alone right now? 
Donnie: Oh, I dunno. I mean I’d like to believe I’m not but I just… I’ve just never seen any proof so I… I just don’t debate it anymore, you know? It’s like I could spend my whole life debating it over and over again, weighing the pros and cons and in the end I still wouldn’t have any proof so I just… I just don’t debate it anymore. It’s absurd. 
Dr. Lilian Thurman: The search for God is absurd? 
Donnie: It is if everyone dies alone. 
Dr. Lilian Thurman: Does that scare you? 
Donnie: I don’t want to be alone!

——

Donnie: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?
Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

 ——

Kitty Farmar: Not only am I a teacher, but I am also the mother of a Middlesex child. Therefore, I am the only person here who transcends the parent-teacher bridge. 

I can honestly say this must be one of the best movies I have ever seen. Amazing, profound, thought provoking movie.  Few friends of mine mentioned to me to watch this cult movie. But somehow for some odd reasons, I never rented out this movie. Damn – I was completely blown away.

I’m not even going to talk about the plot here – this movie just needs to be watched. The director actually managed to make Drew Barrymore act in this one – something I didn’t think was physically possible. If he got her to actually work for once, you can just imagine how the the rest of the cast performed.

This is one of those movies that causes an instant thoughtstorm start brewing under your skull. I still can’t shake it off. Was the tangent universe real or only a figment of Donnie’s imagination – a side effect of his mental illness? Does it really matter? What is reality anyway?

We all assume that reality is the objective state of truth. We establish reality by comparing and contrasting our own subjective perceptions, against those of other individuals around you. You take what you perceive to be true, and what other’s do and take a simple set intersection operation. Whatever you get is the objective truth. The rest are subjective distortions, dreams, hallucinations, and illusions.

But there is a problem here. What if my brain is not working correctly? What if the individuals whose views I use to generate my definition of objective reality are only figments of my imagination? The only way I can even try to establish what is real, is by process of subjective, and biased observation. Everything that I ever knew, saw or experienced may have been a dream. How do I know it wasn’t if I haven’t woken up yet?

Do you really exist as a separate entity? Or do you only exist with respect to me? This is the dilemma of the Demirug. Am I a lonely architect of my own personal universe that lives and dies with me? We are truly tragic beings, yearning to connect with each other but destined to exist in solitude. As Granny Death said in the movie: every living thing dies alone…

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The Pianist

Director: Roman Polanski
Genre: Art/Foreign and Drama
Cast: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Ed Stoppard
Box Office:Over $32 million total gross
Trivia: Adrien Brody lost 14 kilograms for the role of Wladyslaw Szpilman by eating a daily diet of two boiled eggs and green tea for breakfast, a little chicken for lunch, and a small piece of fish or chicken with steamed vegetables for dinner, over a six week period. Initially his weight was 73 kilograms.
Memorable Quotes:
Wladyslaw Szpilman: I know this is an awkward time to say this, but I wish I knew you better.
——————-
Wladyslaw Szpilman: [taking off his watch] Here, sell this. Food is more important than time.
——————-
Wladyslaw Szpilman: They all want to be better Nazis than Hitler.
——————-
Wladyslaw Szpilman: It’s an official decree, no Jews allowed in the parks.
Dorota: What, are you joking?
Wladyslaw Szpilman: No, I’m not. I would suggest we sit down on a bench, but that’s also an official decree, no Jews allowed on benches.
Dorota: This is absurd.
Wladyslaw Szpilman: So, we should just stand here and talk, I don’t think we’re not allowed to do that.

Just when you thought you were sick of the whole Holocaust-film genre, along comes another one. But The Pianist is not just another Holocaust film, mainly because it’s created by a director/writer who knows the Holocaust. Director-writer Roman Polanski, who lived through the Holocaust, uses the camera to cause some of the most painful scenes of the year. At one point, we watch Nazi soldiers break into a Jewish home and throw a handicapped man off the second-floor balcony.

The visuals and acting were outstanding and the story was both bequiling and compelling. It would appear that some people didn’t enjoy it or felt no emotional attachment to the characters. It is really to bad that they expected the fast and furious WWII version but got a beautifully written acted and directed story that touched the hearts of audience goers world wide.
It’s the single, toughest, most heart-wrenching moment I have seen on the cinematic screen.

21 Grams

Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Genre: Drama
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Clea DuVall, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Box Office: $16+ million of total gross
Trivia: Naomi Watts accepted the role without reading the script first.
Memorable Quotes:
Paul Rivers: Did you know that eating alone could cause kidney damage? And that’s BAD.
———————-
Cristina Peck: Whoever looks for the truth deserves punishment for finding it.
———————-
Cristina Peck: You know what I thought when mom died? I couldn’t understand how you could talk to people again, how you could laugh… again. I couldn’t understand how you could play with us. And no, no that’s a lie, life does not just go on.
———————-
Paul Rivers: The earth turn to bring us closer, / it turn on itself and in us, / until it finally brought us together in this dream.
———————-
Paul Rivers: How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams… at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?

This is not your basic drama. The viewer is captivated with the split screen outlook, of the impact a car accident has. The editing is extremely visually stimulating and really pulls the story together beautifully.

“21 grams” is intense, abstract,and thought-provoking. The screenplay is ingenious. The interconnecting storylines of the characters was offbeat enough to remain intriguing yet maintained a realistic feel and in doing so kept me thoroughly engaged in the outcome of these characters. The editing was just slightly cumbersome but honestly I can’t imagine telling this complicated story any other way.

The cast in outstanding especially Del Toro. You can see the expression on his face of his character. When you watch you can see his guilt. Watts lights out the cinematic screen, and Sean Penn has never been so much good!

The style of the film – the increasingly popular non-linear scene structure – adds an intensity and importance to the emotionally draining story. The order of the scenes are all scrambled up, creating a bit of a puzzle that is a lot of fun to piece together. My only complaint is that you can put the puzzle together before the film ends, making it drag in certain parts while you wait for the story to move forward, and ultimately the journey is better than the destination. Expect yourself to be depressed, but impressed. The entire film is shot hand-held, which I liked, but tends to make people with weak constitutions sick to their stomach.


Fatal Attraction

Director: Adrian Lyne
Genre: Drama and Thriller
Cast: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer, Fred Gwynne, Stuart Pankin
Box Office: $156,645,693 (USA)
Trivia: Glenn Close still has the knife she used in the movie hanging in her kitchen.
Memorable Quotes:
Alex Forrest: Well, what am I supposed to do? You won’t answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I’m not gonna be ignored, Dan!
—————————
Alex Forrest: You play fair with me, I’ll play fair with you.
—————————
Dan Gallagher: You’re so sad. You know that, Alex? Lonely and very sad.
Alex Forrest: Don’t you ever pity me, you smug *******.
Dan Gallagher: I’ll pity you… I’ll pity you. I’ll pity you because you’re sick.
Alex Forrest: Why? Because I won’t allow you treat me like some slut you can just bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage?

The story, I thought, was terrific! The acting was great! Michael Doulgas gave an unforgettable performance and so did Glenn Close. Dan Gallagher (Douglas) & Alex Forest (Close), although the situation is their fault, make you feel bad for both of them at some point in the movie. You feel bad for Alex when he begins to ignore her after them sleeping together. But then again you feel bad for Dan just as much because of many things. When she gets pregneant and wont get an abortion, that makes you feel so bad for him. Same as when she showed up at his apartment and kidnapped his daughter Ellen from school, which ends up getting his wife Beth(Anne Archer)into a car accident. Even the little girl did a terrific job as Ellen Gallagher

The direction was great! Adrian Lyne did a great job. He seemed to pay attention to every detail in the story line & in the actors physical appearances. Lyne wanted everything to be perfect. And he made a terrific movie.


The visuals were very good. In the part where Alex slits her wrists & where the rabbit gets boiled, the effects were great. And the bathtub scene when Alex has a knife. It is truly a terrific movie.

Overall the movie gets an A+ from me. I thought with the actors, visual and overall story line it just made a terrific movie. Two thumbs way up!


Lost in Translation

Director: Sofia Coppla
Genres: Drama and Comedy
Cast: Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray.
Box Office: $44,566,004 (USA)
Trivia: Sofia Coppola wrote the lead role specifically for Bill Murray, and later said that if Murray turned it down, she wouldn’t have done the movie.
Memorable Quotes:
Charlotte: I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be.
Bob: You’ll figure that out. The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.
—————
Charlotte: You’re probably just having a mid-life crisis. Did you buy a Porsche yet?
—————
Bob: What kind of restaurant makes you cook your own food?
—————
[after a long speech in Japanese]
Ms. Kawasaki: He want you to turn and look in camera. Okay?
Bob: Is that all he said?
—————
Premium Fantasy woman: Mr. Kazu sent me, premium fantasy. My stockings. Rip them.
[sounds like “lip them”]
Premium Fantasy woman: Rip my stockings. Yes, please, rip them.
Bob: What?
Premium Fantasy woman: Rip them. HEY! Rip my stocking!
Bob: Hey? Lip them? Lip them? What?
————–
[rolling around on the floor, waving her legs in the air]
Premium Fantasy woman: Oh Mr. Harris! Don’t touch me! Mr. Bob Harris! Just rip my stocking

Director Sofia Coppola — the same woman who made a nice little ditty with “The Virgin Suicides” — takes a simple, sweet, and disarming approach to making this film. She shoves the audience into the same confused and scary foreign world as the characters and allows them to learn, love and grow up a little. You feel rewarded and entranced after watching this picture. In the final scenes, you may find yourself shouting through tear-choked vocal cords, “DON’T GO!” Because deep down, everybody has felt that kind of bond with another human being, and everybody has had to let it go. This is what makes Coppola’s film so touching and real — she experienced these events, and now it’s your turn.


It’s hard to believe that, like Tom Hanks, Murray started off doing silly comedies. Yeah, he did some of the best comedies of the eighties, but so did Hanks. Now they’re both accomplished and amazing actors. Whenever I see their names I drool a little bit and lose control of my left leg — it starts shaking like a dog being scratched. Murray is definitely a force to watch out for now, and though Sean Penn definitely deserved in Academy Award for “Mystic River,” Murray still got the shaft.

This is one of those films that will stay with you. At times the pacing is a bit too slow and those who are looking for slap-stick and off-the-wall Murray antics may be disappointed. But that’s because they’re stupid, and they cannot appreciate a good film when they see it.

The best scene, by far, is when Murray is in the keroke studio singing “More Than This.” The look in his eyes, the sadness in his voice, the filmmatic foreshadowing … my God, it makes you want to jump out of a window, or, less dramatically, thank the cast and crew of “Lost in Translation” for saving American cinema from one more year of cut-and-run Hollywood garbage.


City of Angels

Director: Brad Silberling
Genre: Romance
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Dennis Franz, Andre Braugher, Colm Feore
Box Office: Over $ 36 mil in the rentals (USA)
Trivia: When Meg Ryan is looking in the mirror and Cage is not reflected, this was shot twice with motion control: once with Ryan and Cage, once without the actors, and mixed together. also, if you look closely enough, you can see a few strands of Ryan’s hair morphing in and out where Cage’s face was erased.
Memorable Quotes:
Seth: Hello Maggie! It’s nice to see you again.
Maggie Rice: It’s weird to see you again.
Seth: Weird is nice.
——————–
Ann: Never date a guy who knows more about your vagina than you do.
——————–
Maggie: Something happened in that room. I got this jolt that… something bigger is out there. Something bigger than me, bigger than you. Does that sound crazy?
——————–
Seth: I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. One.

City of Angels is a very memorable, beautiful story – I loved it from beginning to end, well. I’d have preferred a DIFFERENT ending, and of course, if you’ve watched it already, you’d understand what I meant. It starts slow but eventually picks up and really turns out to be an affecting romantic film. On the spiritual level it fails until the final scenes of the film, where spirituality is all that remains in the film. In the romance, it works to a good level. Cage and Ryan possess enough chemistry to make the romance between them believable and both actors give impressive performances. This was a totally magical ride and A movie to see for everyone.

The soundtrack from Goo Goo Dolls ‘Iris’ stands out. One of my favorite songs from 90s era!


Ghulam

Directed by: Vikram Bhatt
Music: Jatin Lalit
Lyrics: Sameer & Indeevar
Genre: Foregin (Indian)
Starring: Aamir Khan and Rani Muhkerjee
Running Time: 165 minutes

Bursting to the seams like an overstuffed grab bag of 50’s film nostalgia, Ghulam spills over with nods to territory from On the Waterfront to the Wild Ones to West Side Story and finally to a Shane like showdown. With the long sideburns, motorcycle gangs, leather clad beauties, youthful angst and games of deadly chicken the film revels in its retro feel like a greasy diner hamburger and surrounds itself with a thick explosive level of Indian melodrama. Like many Indian films, it shifts quickly from a light romantic beginning to a dramatic action packed finale, but what really pulls the viewer along throughout are the energetic and highly personable performances from Aamir Khan and the dreamily beautiful Rani Mukerjee. Their dramatic and musical scenes shimmer with sweet chemistry and underplayed sex appeal.

Aamir (Siddharth) is a carefree scamp and a small time thief who makes merry with his small band of followers – like grown-up Artful Dodgers – who sing and dance their impudence on the streets of Bombay. Sometimes though a reluctant Aamir is brought in by his brother to help the ruthless neighbourhood crime boss, Ronnie, by using his fast fists to intimidate certain people. Aamir doesn’t really like this side of his life as it conflicts with the humanitarian message that his now dead father tried to impart to him – but his loyalty to his brother makes it difficult for him to say no. This moral conflict will widen and become too painful to ignore as the film progresses.

A run in with a motorcycle gang headed by Deepak Tijori and his tight leather attired glam girlfriend, Rani (when she takes off her helmet and shakes her hair it is one of those movie moments), leads to a game of chicken in which Aamir and Deepak run head on at an oncoming train to see who jumps first. I am sure it wasn’t as dangerous as it looked, but somehow they made it look incredibly real with Aamir barely getting out of the way of the train – and it is shown from two angles ala Jackie Chan. His courage wins the respect of the gang but even more importantly some quality time with Rani – who turns out of course to be slumming from a wealthy family – and when he climbs up to her penthouse window from the outside – she is as good as his.

After her drunken father expresses his rage, the two of them go for a walk outside and Aamir cheers her up by breaking into “Aati Kya Khandala” that is a classic song and dance number (which Aamir actually sings as opposed to a playback singer). It’s a wonderfully simple but effective number – just the two of them alone on the street at night kept company only by the streetlights above – and they sing back and forth to one another and break into a playful jig, a waltz and other dance styles.

Things don’t stay light for long as Aamir is pressured to throw a boxing match (I could have been a contender) by his brother – and stubbornly takes an undefended horrific beating in the ring and then is forced by circumstances to stand up to the ex-boxing champ and now major thug Ronnie for his honor, his pride and to save his neighborhood from his tyranny. In a drag out knock down brutal mano y mano fight with the town’s cowered citizens looking on, Aamir fights for his life and for his love. Much of the film may seem cliché driven, but it’s done with so much verve and good spirits that it is difficult not to get sucked in.

Though “Aati Kya Khandala” is the outstanding number, all the songs are very solid but what I most appreciated about them was Rani’s absolutely alluring presence – as she sizzles, soothes and gives off sexual vibes in a number of the songs. She has rarely been lovelier than she is in this film and though her role comes and goes during the film, it is Aamir’s understandable fascination with her that drives his moral change.