Personal Book Review – Becoming & Charles Chaplin !!

 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I Wouldn’t have really read this book. But, The moment you read It’s written by the former first lady, You know it’s going to be a great read. As it’s going to have things you wouldn’t know about their lives and you also get the chance to know the White House from an insider, The whole architecture, The protocols and the life behind the camera as a president and more importantly Michelle Obama’s journey in life.

Charles Chaplin – Autobiography

I really don’t like reading artist biographies or autobiography’s who have been part of the entertainment industry. For one they could be totally biased, one-sided and slightly boring to read. But Charles Chaplin I have been wanting to read for a long time, a couple of days before we went on national lockdown (25th march ’20’ ) I was about to place an order from the e-commerce website, But did not. Also, having read most of the books that I had already ordered and now worried I had no books to read, First I began scrolling from my contacts and messaged a couple of my “friends” if they could lend me some books. After having waited for too long for them to reply, I browsed through my library at home once again! Maybe there is a book I haven’t read and guess what! I found one of the first editions of Charles Chaplin which was tearing apart and I began reading the book, It was one of the best books I must have read on cinema and actor as it teaches you so much about what goes behind an actor during his preparation and how much effort is it to “Act” and being a superstar of the “silent Era” This fascinated me and within five days I had finished reading the book. Right from his childhood to him coming back from Hollywood and visiting his roots in The UK to him finally settling down in Switzerland to have been married numerous time. About five times and having eleven kids to getting the longest standing ovation in the (Twelve Minutes long ) history of academy awards Charles was one hell of a “Charlie.” It’s a must-read for all and besides Charlie, if you want to read another book on an actor you must! And must read Naseeruddin Shah Memoir – Then one day!

Filmmaking series on Netflix!!

•The Kominsky Method 

A Comedy series based on two main characters in the seventies, one is an acting coach and the other one was his agent but have since been best friends. 

The series revolves around the relationship of senior citizen friends, Family and how everything we experience could be applied in acting. It’s a show if you want to have fun and go On a little emotional journey. 

  • Hollywood 

A New Series on The OTT Platform on The business of Hollywood industry and how does one really make it in this industry. 

Darren Criss who plays the role of the filmmaker Raymond Ainsley is also the producer of the series  & David Corenswet, Who plays jack Castellao one of the leads in the series. 

The Series establishes the Hollywood industry of the late forties and gives us an insight into what Hollywood could be if all the decisions that were taken in this fiction series were taken then based on true events.

The series is a limited series and very interestingly done as it shows the discriminations against being coloured and Preference of being white and how the things change. 

Laura Harrier essays the role of  Camille Washington, an up-and-coming black actress. (Who was last seen in BlacKkKlansman David Corenswet who essays the role of an aspiring actor named Jack Castellao. 

Hattie Mcdaniel the first black lady who won the first Oscar as a black lady is played by Queen Latifah. 

Jake Picking who plays the role of Rock Hudson a popular actor of the 1950s. He hadn’t come out in public that he was homosexual until his last days.

Ace pictures in the series based on Paramount Pictures.

Sherry Lansing, The First women  American executive of Paramount pictures.  might be the inspiration behind as she was the first women to head a Hollywood Movie Studio.

Micheal Krusiec – Who was seen in invitation plays the character of Anna May Wong the first Chinese actress to gain international recognition. 

Dylan Mcdermott who plays the character of Ernie the owner of the Gas station and someone who is a pimp. Is based on Scotty Bowers a Hollywood Pimp. 

Jeremy Pope who is an established theatre actor plays the role, Archie Coleman, a black screenwriter.

Mami Film Fest 2019

“Movies, I enjoy watching and when you have one of the best film festival coming annual to the city of dreams and getting a selection of movies, the audiences would love to watch, then the only worst thing would be not to attend the annual JioMami Film Festival in Mumbai. I had watched about eleven movies in the week, after shortlisting sixteen movies I would like to watch. But, here I am sharing the  best movies from the film festival I watched.” 

  • Young Ahmed 

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A Belgian Cinema movie in French .The Story is about a young boy named Ahmed  played by Idir Ben Addi who is influenced by The religious book and acts like the fanatic that leads him  being an extremist and plotter to murder his Teacher. 

The Story opens with Idir Ben Addi running upstairs,Breathing heavily making a call feeling a little helpless and  not behaving himself ,  at the dinning table  too his mother notices his eccentric behaviour and is stunned with his reactions and tone. His behaviour’s are so extreme that even A dog licking him- he wants  to wash his hands. 

The movie focuses on his behaviour in the custody while doing the services and when his mothers come to meet him, He tries to understand what has lead him to be such a being. And when he manages to convince his representatives at the custody that he has changed.

 The story moves  forward with Ahmed being driven and suddenly opens the car door and escapes- Running  for minutes they too are shown chasing him until they loose sight of him and he manages to reach the teachers’s house.

 He tries to enter her place initially from the main entrance ,  but later tries to climb up on the roof and  enters by opening the windows – Till he slips down on the floor and is bleeding away looking for help till  he manages to alert the the teacher or someone who is at home and  … The film background score is a always driving the scenes and setting the mood throughout the film. 

The Acting by a Idir Ben Addi was outstanding. Haven’t seen the pervious work of  The Directors Duo Luc Dardenne &   Jean Pierre who had  been nominated for two days and one night in best foreign film category previous in 2015  and   were awarded  Best Director “young  Ahmed “ in 2019. To Judge whether it was their Best work or not . 

The Movies ends with leaving you with your own interpretations about the end. Personally it was a great movie for me. Not very slow. But a lesson to takeaway in the end. 

***/*****

  • Midnight Traveller 

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A Documentary style autobiographical tone film,  is about the Hasaan  Fazili & his family how they have to keep travelling  to “find a home.“

 Hasaan a filmmaker had made a film on a Taliban Commander – And  the Taliban first killed the commander and  threaten Fazili and at his  “Art Cafe” and within weeks they wanted him dead .

A friend of Hassan  who  worked for Taliban informs him, the Taliban have announced a reward  on “Hasaan.”  

He manages to escape the country and then story is all about how he & the family keep travelling  from  Tajisthan and then Afghanistan to turkey finally finding asylum in the Serbia Refugee camp for the longest time until they have to move again,Until today they haven’t found a “Home” they could call it theirs. The Film is entirely shot on  mobile phones and the edit has been kept as  natural as possible. There are a few light moments in the film .  The whole story is about their struggle of how they  have survived  & have been surviving. And they  travel only  at night as they aren’t taking the legal route and can’t afford to be caught. In  The journey they  were also betrayed by the ones they ran for help to.  

Midnight Traveller – In certain ways changes your perception of Travel. 

****/***** 

  • The Little Joe –  Austrian Cinema (English )

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A Sci-Fi film about  a genetically engineered  plant “ little Joe” Which is an anti-depressant and one who makes you happy. 

This is a prototype model the company is working on. 

One Day “Little Joe” is taken home by the lead Emily Beecham who plays the role as Alice.

And the son “Joe”  played by Kit Connor is impressed by this New mysterious looking plant who one has to speak to  “To make him feel alive.” 

One of the colleagues in the company “Bella’s” Dog has gone missing and is found in the lab. And he pounces . On the company employee and the “Little Joe” blooms and giveaway pollen that  changes  the dogs behaviour.  

And Bella put  had to her dog to sleep.

And Bella believes the Plant is responsible for her to put her dog to sleep. 

It isn’t until Joe,s mother believes Joe too has been infected by the plant that she wants to stop this prototype to become a genuine product for all Business. 

Suspenseful music at moments when needed  enchases and engrosses the audience. 

The wide shot to show that focuses  greenhouse , the last shot of “little Joe plant” the colour palate & texture  throughout the film is very artificially shot – Which the director  Jessica Hausner’s  says she enjoyed shooting it that way ,but likes to show it authentically. 

***/*****

  • System Crasher (German)

 

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Problem Children are known as the system crasher. Benni is one such System Crasher who is impatient and has anger issues from childhood. She doesn’t stay with her parents but at a play school. The Boys bully her, she also steals and always looks to escape the reality. The music when the film opens is upbeat ,Certain shots like the screaming from Wardrobe  when she is attacked looks beautiful on screen. At times the audience has sympathy for the character,But at times they empathy. We don’t know the exact reason for her Anger, But we get an hint that  may be the mother is responsible for state and feels guilty at the same  , As she would visit Benni whenever required. 

We see certain transformation and change in Benni. But, The end justifies she is one case that will never change. 

System Crasher is the Academy award submission from Germany  and  Helena Zengel who plays Benni  might earn a nomination for the performance. 

***/*****

  • Pain & Glory – (Spanish)

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A Filmmkaer is looking back at the choices he made in life – About the film in one line. 

Then you realise oh! It;s made by Pedro Almodovar.You start watching the film unfold with  full concentration. It’s  a the transitions & animation that catches your attention when the lead  Salvador played by Pedro Almodovar’s muse Antonio Banderas who   talks about his pains & about his life that’s beautiful done. The flashbacks of his childhood  reflection  when Salvador is tripping on Heroine. 

The relationship between his Actor & him when they meet  after 32 years and the purpose  “ Coming together for a screening and discussion of their film Sabor”  But, the moments and some other aspects the story touches upon is wonderful. Throughout the film I noticed  a lot of “ RED Colour” used in the background and setting that was cinematically done. Pain & Glory is the best so far I have seen at Mami this Year. 

Very Autobiographical in many ways. The opening  scene where Salvvadaor is laying in the pool is a scene that’s recreated by the director from his own life.  

Trivia : The lead and Almodovar hadn’t worked together for 22 years with each other until “The skin  I live in “ a psychological thriller based on a French novel “ Mygale” and later in English as “ Tarantula”   they collaborated about eight years ago when Antonio played the lead.  Besides Antonio, Penelope Cruz is too someone who has collaborated as an actor in many of his films.

****/*****

  • The Truth 

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A  story about a woman who is an actress has written a book on herself & her family. 

She is now acting in a movie memories of her mother. 

Her daughter comes to visit and  tells her mother, 

You were supposed to send me the book’s draft first ,before it goes to print. 

And after the mother handover the book , She reads and realises there isn’t any truth in this.

The mother has also “killed”  her husband in the book. Who is actually still alive. 

And  in the meantime she is busy with her shoot “Memories of her mother.”

There are moments where her granddaughter on the sets of her film is trying to impress the child actor. Which works and the audiences laugh .It’s a comedy with lot of emotions and  understanding of the “Mother- daughter relationship” 

To tell you the truth, truth has been one of the best movies at Jio MAMI FILM FESTIVAL.  

****/*****

  • Lighthouse 

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The film is cinematically beautiful in  B&W . The Background   music suspenseful  every time the lighthouse is focused on  there is a loud  noise building up some sort of Mystery. 

 The Fart sound at  opening scene, Adds to the humour and  opens with  Ephraim  played by Robbert Pattison & Thomas played  William Dafoe . You will clearly remember him as “Green Goblin” from spider man. The film is about Ephraim who is curious about what lies at the top of the lighthouse and  why   isn’t  he  allowed to ever go there and  what would Thomas be hiding from me ?  Ephraim’s  main job is manning the “lighthouse” on an isolated rock. The two protagonist try to find a “purpose“  in the monotonous job and are often seen frustrated with the isolation that surrounds them.

The Performances by both the actors is fabulous and the cinematography showing the transition and  visuals of the Mermaid  between the present and  the imagination is spot on with the siren and seagulls  sound effect setting the mood of  The film. The film  is shot in 4:3 aspect ratio instead of 16:9 aspect ratio. That give  it’s  effect of being a film from another era. No wonder it was a challenge to get a seat for the movie. 

The film is mysterious horror flick   directed by Robbert Eggers, based on a story written by his brother Max Eggers & co written by Robert Eggers. 

****/***** 

  • Deerskin (French)

 

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The opening scenes – I Swear never to wear a jacket as long as I live. 

Jackets being kept in the boot .

Cut to The protagonist buys a smart Deerskin jacket by spending all that he had for it. 

There is something about the jacket,That makes him falls in love with the Jacket  Obsessed with the “New addition.” isn’t really the word. 

There are scenes where he can’t stop looking at himself in  the mirror with the jacket, soon he starts  speaking to  his jacket, At the bar in the hotel he believes the bartender and the guest seated are talking about his jacket. He slowly starts filming himself with the jacket with a Video recorder he gets “Complimentary” with his “New Buy” The Deerskin jacket The Bartender who shares her interest in editing and her eagerness to edit his film as he shares he is a filmmaker. 

The Film is a comedy with moments of laugh . Where his dream is to be the only one with the jacket . He documents all that’s in the recorder.. And the obsession is so out of control as  he buy’s  shoes,Gloves and and Gets a deerskin pant as a gift from the bartender. 

Until the bartender confess she has known all along he was lying to her and convinces him she would seriously like making movies with him . 

The film is concept and the way it’s done is totally out of the box. My 2nd Favourite or best movie I have seen at the Mami Fest this year.  

****/*****

  • The Golden Glove (German)

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An utterly disgusting hard to watch film. Based on a true story about A serial killer “ Fritz Honka” Who in the 70s in German had raped and strangled women to death. 

The Golden Glove was the bar – which he frequented and connived women to come over to the awful apartment and have drinks & later force sex. It isn’t until one day he follows a lady on the streets that directs him towards his apartment, where fire brigade have arrived and are trying to douse the fire- where he watches and realises the fire is happening from his house – The firemen discover chopped bodies that were locked in a storage  space and that’s the end of the horrified story for Fritz Honka. The film is directed by Fatih Akin a German filmmaker who adapted this film from a book . The setting, mood and the feel of the film  is very dark and dull right throughout . 

The scene that Sets 1974 and Honka lights the cigarette is beautiful captured. 

The Acting by Jonas Dasseler  who is just 23 years old has acted superbly, getting into the character and  walk- That  you  actually won’t think he is just 23.

***/*****

 

 

 

Fatafati(Amazing) Kolkata!!

Kolkata-Harvested Yesterday (Kal-Yesterday,Kata-Harvested)The moment we landed,at the airport Walked into the baggage claim belt. I realised The airport is Big!!

Started our journey towards our hotel.

The airport Architecture is very internationally appealing. Kolkata version of The Big Ben too Came on our way and then we realised kolkata is a Big city!! It’s the 2nd largest city in India after New Delhi in terms of the space.

The next thing that I relearned was it was also the capital of our country once.

It’s the 1st city to have had the metro compared to the other metro cities.It’s been there for 2 decades. 

Kolkata can also boast about having the 1st underground metro railway system in the country.And the oldest Running electric tram system in Asia and being the only city  in the country to have a tram network since1902.

Cricket’s 3rd largest stadium in the world is in kolkata.

The oldest Polo club in the world resides here.

The 1st golf club outside UK was established in 1829 at  The royal Calcutta golf club.

Football salt lake stadium is the 2nd largest stadium in the world and it’s here in kolkata and No wonder football is so big!!

The Die hard foodie too,Can relish and satisfy there hunger ego by  tasting delicious food and sweets famous world wide

Indian Chinese cuisine which originated almost 100 years ago  and The only Chinatown in India is in kolkata.

Satyajit Ray-The 1st oscar winner in the country 

The landmark Howrah bridge one of the largest Cantilever bridges in the world.And the largest one in the country.

No wonder,They have the intellectual ego and work on their own pace.

Room -Movie Review 


Room -Can anyone imagine staying in a room without having any access to the outside world or any human contact ,and the only source of entertainment is a television .

For 7 long years ? A story of about the lead actress played by briel Larson who has been kidnapped and kept in a single room with kitchen appliances,single bed ,pot,bath tub giving you a disgusting feeling of the torturous lifestyle she had to go through and how her son jack ,who is oblivious to the outside world and always question whether the people on television are real ?

On his 5th birthday,the lead actress believes jack has grown up and so starts planning to escape so first she tries telling the kidnapper he is sick ,but since he isn’t bothered and ignores her by saying he will try doing something tomorrow ,next day she plans to escape by convincing the kidnapper he is dead ,but he alone takes him away and the movie is all about how the kid manages to escape and tells the police what happens ,they manage to escape and the kid finds it hard to manage in the real world .

A very intense ,movie wrapped in less than 2hours with the lead doing an excellent job acting a role which was challenging and the kid too played the supporting very well .

A serious contender for the best academy film .