Tag Archives: World Cinema

Heat – Movie Review

Movie: Heat

Releasing Year: 1995

Directors:  Michael Mann

Writer/Screenplay: Michael Mann

Country of Origin: U.S.A

Running Time: 170 minutes

Language: English

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Heat Movie Review:

Neil McCauley: A guy told me one time, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” Now, if you’re on me and you gotta move when I move, how do you expect to keep a… a marriage?

To be able to detach yourself from all the emotional strings attached when you see the heat coming around the corner is the discipline Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) follows to perform his job as an expert thief. This movie is an LA crime saga starring Al Pacino (Michael Hanna, the LAPD Police detective), Robert DeNiro (Neil McCauley, a professional criminal), Chris (Val Kilmer, another associate in Neil’s criminal gang). This is a superb cat and mouse chase between the intelligent cops and highly efficient criminals. The difference is that there is no mouse. Both are highly intelligent cats and are masters of their professions.

Heat - 1995 Movie - Al Pacino
Heat – 1995 Movie – Al Pacino

Heat Movie Story-line:

McCauley leads a gang of very efficient thieves who rob banks etc. They know their craft very well. In this gang there is no place for thoughtless, immature murderers. This alienates Waingro (played by Kevin Gage) from the gang, early in the movie. The camaraderie between the gang members is awesome. They really care for each other. All the characters in the movie are very well fleshed out. All of them including Chris’ wife Charlene (played by Ashley Judd) and Hanna’s wife (Lauren) played by Natalie Portman) are well aware of  the realities of their life and know to express themselves well. In their own situations they can express their happiness and complaints. They talk…they communicate. Both the cops and the criminals (along with their wives) have no fancy illusions and are aware of the consequences of their actions. All this makes them the humans that they are…rather than portraying them as just means of to show a clichéd action packed drama.

Heat 1995 Movie Best Scene
Heat 1995 Movie Best Scene

Heat Movie Acting Review:

The characters of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are very similar. Both are very good at what they do and know their craft well. Both do not know to do anything else other than what they are doing. Al doesn’t know anything else than being a good cop while DeNiro can’t do anything other than executing a good theft. Both can’t keep their women happy due to their nightmarish schedules and ‘living on the edge’ kinda existence. This similarity between them evokes a mutual respect for each other. More so from Al Pacino’s side. The scene where both confront each other over a cup of coffee is superb. Both know to answer each other and there you feel the ‘HEAT’ in the movie.

Chris (Val Kilmer) loves his wife Charlene too much to let her go. He will escape the cops but not without her. He does not care for the 30 secs principle.  And this love is what saves him eventually. Charlene who is fed up of his criminal ways saves him from the cop. Towards the end of the movie, McCauley (DeNiro) wants to settle one last score with Waingro. After that he would completely disappear from the crime scene with his girl. And that’s where he enters his doom. The plans go awry and when he sees heat around the corner, he does manage to say goodbye to his beloved within 30 seconds. What an irony…..Chris does not follow that principle of the crime world to say a goodbye to all his loved ones when he sees danger around the corner. But it’s exactly this his love that saves him. Where as McCauley sticks to his principles and meets the tragedy…

My verdict of Heat Movie:

This is what I feel about cinema in general-A movie might not always provide you with answers to your questions about life, existence, relationships, God, etc. The point is-does the film provoke you to ask ‘questions’? A good movie with its content, script, direction, acting, editing, music, etc., equips the viewer with a more thoughtful mind to be able to react in the right way to things happening around him.

 

Reviewed By: Pallavi Patil

Il Postino: The Postman – Movie Review

Movie: The Postman

Original Title: Il Postino

Releasing Year: 1994

Directors: Michael RadfordMassimo Troisi

Writer/Screenplay: Anna PavignanoMichael RadfordFurio ScarpelliGiacomo ScarpelliMassimo TroisiFurio ScarpelliGiacomo Scarpelli

Country of Origin: Italy

Running Time: 108 minutes

Languages: Italian, Spanish (Some dialogues)

 

Il Postino: The Postman Movie Review:

Mario ( Massimo Troisi) is a poor fisherman’s son living on a remote island in Italy. He is a very simple and a shy man looking for a job to survive. He gets the job of a postman and he delivers the mail to just one man-the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Neruda (Philippe Noiret) is banished from his country for his expression and association with communism. He and his wife are now sheltered in Italy.

Pablo Neruda was a great poet who wrote about love, people and the large part of humanity which is been mistreated for centuries. His work was a voice of the oppressed and he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971. I have read many times that the eminent revolutionary Che Guevara voraciously read Neruda and was highly inspired by him. And, this had made me read Neruda too.

Il Postino: The Postman Story-line:

Mario visits Neruda almost everyday to deliver mails. Slowly they hit the chords of camaraderie. Mario is not a very educated man. He is a commoner, naive to the world of intellectualism. But that itself is his greatest strength. He is unbiased with no prejudice and more open to absorb the world. His ignorance gives him an honest audacity to express freely. He slowly reads Neruda’s work and interprets it in his own ways. Neruda also answers Mario’s simple and heartfelt questions with great honesty. He also discovers that Mario is good with metaphors.

Mario then falls in love with a beautiful lady named Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta). With the help of Neruda, his poetry and influence, he wins Beatrice’s heart and gets married to her. The Chilean poet gets permission to return to his homeland. But in these few months, Mario and Neruda have formed a great bond of friendship. A transparent brotherhood between one of the greatest intellectual writers and a simple, ignorant postman.

Il Postino - The Postman - 1994 Movie Still
Il Postino – The Postman – 1994 Movie Still

Il Postino: The Postman is a movie about friendship and inspiration. Many a times in life, we meet some people who help us realize the strength within us. They inspire you to find yourself by entering into those deepest realms of your being, that you had never been able to access before. The same happens with Mario in Neruda’s company. He discovers the poet within him and becomes more aware of the political situation around . He realizes that he too can rise above his misfortunes by fighting for himself and his community. The sound of the waves and the wind, the beauty of the twilight, and the grandeur of the mountains, now reveal itself to him with a new glory. Mario has great respect for Neruda and understands him when Neruda later fails to get in touch with him. Years later, Mario’s gift to the great poet leaves a great impression on his mind.

Final Verdict on Il Postino: The Postman:

Il Postino: The Postman movie is an absolute work of love. It is very heartfelt with touching and subtle shades of humor. Every person has something special in him or her. I think its like Einstein’s law – ‘Energy can never be created or destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another’. Similarly, no one can make or break a person. One can just inspire and help the other person channelize his energy. Just give the strength a new form.

Massimo Troisi really shines in his role as a young, shy, ignorant, awkward, and honest Mario. After a long time, have I seen such a simple yet powerful performance. The camera often pans through the breathtaking land and seascapes of Italy, helping you just soak in the colors of nature. There is not a moment where you would want to take your eyes off the screen. Il Postino: The Postman is really well made with music you will want linger around. It is a beautiful story told with passion and simplicity…!

Reviewed By: Pallavi Patil

Image source: Pastposters & Magnet Magazine

Wonder 2017 Movie Review

Movie: Wonder

Releasing Year: 2017

Director: Stephen Chbosky  

Writer/Screenplay: Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky

Country of Origin:U.S.A

Language: American English

 

Wonder 2017 Movie Review:

Having read and loved the book by RJ Palacio, I couldn’t wait for the movie even though most movies don’t match up to the book. Wonder, however, is a great movie. It is warm and funny, and emotional and lovely… Just like the book it’s based on.

Wonder Story-line:


The best and strongest part of the film is the cast. Each of the characters look perfect for the role. Julia Roberts plays the role of anxious loving mom perfectly and Owen Wilson is the funny encouraging dad, just the way it’s in the book.

At some places the video element has made the movie better than the book. I liked the background music. That and the references to the wookiee and man in the space suit added to the viewing pleasure. Also, I felt movie was able to capture Via’s sentiments better than the book at places.

However, there are a couple of places, I felt the movie felt short. I had pictured August’s face different and much worse than what was shown in the film. But, Jacob Tremblay put his heart and soul in the character and compensated for the mismatch by his awesome performance. Mr Tushman’s speech at the end of the book was way better than what they have covered in the movie. It didn’t give the kind of impact it did in the book. But, despite these little things Wonder is a fantastic movie. You may like it even better if you’re haven’t read the book.

 

Reviewed By – Aparna Kunal Jain

She manages a Facebook Group called “The Movie Club“…!  Join it to connect with Cinema enthusiasts from around the world.

Even The Rain (También la lluvia) – Movie Review

Movie: Even the Rain

Original Title: También la lluvia

Releasing Year: 2010

Director: Icíar Bollaín 

Writer/Screenplay: Paul Laverty

Country of Origin: Spain

Language: Spainsh, Quecha and some English

 

Even The Rain Movie Review:

A Spanish film director Sebastian (Gael García Bernal), his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) and the entire crew travels to a town called Cochabamba in Bolivia. They intend to shoot a film on the explorations of Christopher Columbus (who created European awareness of the continents of America), the greed of the Spanish monarchs that Columbus worked for and the grave injustice with which the Spanish treated the local Indians.

Sebastian is looking for the right ‘Indian’ faces to be casted in his films. When he arrives in Cochabamba with his crew, he sees long queues of people waiting to be auditioned. His first confrontation with locals sparks trouble. Danial, one of these locals is a defiant man and insists on get his daughter auditioned for the film. In the process Sebastian realises that Danial’s face has a lot of character and power required for the role of a character in the film. Irrespective of Costa’s argument that Daniel smells of trouble, Sebastian gives casts him. The shooting begins.

Storyline:

As the movie proceeds we gradually come to understand the minds of the other member and actors within the crew. The man playing Columbus has a bad family life and spends his nights drinking. The two men acting as priests in the film are very excited about their roles but we doubt how much can they really connect with the ethical and spiritual side of the characters they are playing. Sebastian’s intentions are very sincere and his innate humanity is intact. Costa on the other hand looks at using the local faces as actors at a dirt cheap price. It is here that the film initially hints at its core- how well can this ambitious crew relate or empathise with the problems of the locals. If their intention is to tell the world about how one set of people misused power to exploit the weaker set, then aren’t they supposed to be the upholders of fairness and justice in their own actions while making the film?

This city is facing major scarcity of water due to the privatisation of water supply by global economic giants. The Government and the police try to curb the protest of the people. The film draws a comparison between the storyline of Columbus and Spanish monarchy humiliating the Indians and the extension of the same phenomenon centuries later in this so called modern world. Locals are furious as they can’t even the use the rain water anymore. Hence the name- Even the rain. The ways of the modern, economy friendly world wats to own the rain too!! While the natives have hardly enough drinking water, the rest of the film crew is partying with wine and flamboyant dinners merrily talking about the film. This stark contrast insinuates us as a viewer to look at the lives of ours and others in terms of the ‘actions and the sincerity of purpose’. It asks us- How did art originate? Why are we making films, creating symphonies, writing books etc, etc.? What is the purpose behind it all? Where does all this lead us? If we were living in a utopian world, would soulful art still be relevant? Well i think the answer to this would be NO. We live in a world full of meanness, callousness, decay and rotting morals. Probably hence civilisation started investing so much into art of different sorts not just for aesthetic pleasure but more so because Art is a great leveller. It helps us retain our humanity and sense of goodness. Albert Camus once said- A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.

I think, Art helps us reflect, introspect, question. It inspires. Well all this can only happen when the ones dealing with it are honest in their endeavours. And in my opinion, it is exactly this ideology that this film is trying to talk about. If the hearts of the director and the producer have dried out, how will they ever understand the significance of water in the lives of the locals they are trying to shoot with?

Daniel slowly gets heavily involved in the protests and gets beaten and locked up by the police. Sebastian and Costa are worried about their which cannot get completed without Daniel. Costa even tries to offer Daniel money to bait him into keeping away from the protest. And then we feel that here the Sebastian and Costa have misunderstood the whole purpose of making the film! The only question that remains are – Why are you doing, what you are doing?

I have also thought that it’s not just experience that makes you wise. It’s your own thinking about your experience that initiates the growth of wisdom. Two different people can have exactly the same experiences but their take away can be completely different. Here slowly Sebastian and Costa both understand the gravity of the situation. They try and empathise with the problems of the natives. And the film takes a beautiful and desirable change- of changing the minds of people to understand the world better. Costa goes on to help Daniel in his personal crises and offers him his friendship for a lifetime. Sebastian too gets drenched in the scenario trying to think in the right perspective, even if that means he has to sacrifice the film which is his dream project.

Even The Rain Movie Verdict:

Even The Rain is a very simple film. Nothing too intellectual on esoteric about it. No mind blowing camera angles….any gimmicks. And yet it is a lovely film. The effort is very sincere and the performances of the characters give justice to it. It rekindles in you that pain and passion for lost civilisations, for the real people and for humanity in general. The pace of the film is good and gripping. There isn’t a wasted moment. The battle for water does manage to nurture the sapling of courage and camaraderie in the minds of the affluent, for fellow humans. Daniel’s sincerity as a person and the circumstances does moisten the hearts that had dried out. Do watch the film……it will quench your thirst!

 

Reviewed By – Pallavi Patil  

 

Image Source: Centro Cultural de España Montevideo