Movie Recommendations: #78

The Dark Knight(2008)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart,Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman,Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal. the dark knight The Dark Knight is, without a shred of doubt,  the greatest superhero film of all time.

Batman(Christian Bale,brilliant as ever) faces his nemesis, The Joker(Heath Ledger), a criminal mastermind who wants to give Gotham city “a better class of criminal.” Meanwhile, the new district attorney Harvey Dent is Gotham’s White Knight, an idealistic man with a no-nonsense brand of justice who trains his guns on organized crime.

There are several factors that set The Dark Knight apart from other superhero films. Christopher Nolan took the Batman franchise and turned it into a work of art. The film focuses on several themes such as morality,heroism, chaos, tragedy, and the battle between good and evil.Heath Ledger’s electrifying performance, for which he received a posthumous Academy Award, made The Joker one of the greatest villains and most memorable characters of all time. There were great performances from the supporting cast, featuring cinema greats such as Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman.

The film also features enthralling action sequences and wonderful cinematography.It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.

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Movie Recommendations: #77

Taxi Driver(1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert de Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel.

taxi driver

 

Taxi Driver is a psychological thriller and drama film which explores the themes of vigilantism,obsession, loneliness and depression through the psychotic exploits of Travis Bickle, a former US Marine who works as a taxi driver in New York.

Robert de Niro, in one of his greatest performances, slips into the skin of the sociopath,insomniac and depressed Travis, who after being disgusted with the rampant crime in New York, takes it upon himself to “clean up the city” .

Violent, disturbing and brilliantly directed, Taxi Driver ranks among the greatest films of all time. It won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for four Academy Awards,including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress for Jodie Foster and Best Original Score.

 

 

 

 

Movie Recommendations: #76

Rocky(1976)

Director: John G. Avildsen

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire,Carl Weathers,Burt Young.

rocky

 

Rocky is an inspiring sports drama film, and arguably the greatest sports film of all time. It is the first in a series of six films which follow Rocky “The Italian Stallion” Balboa, a gritty boxer for whom ,”It ain’t over till it’s over.”

If you’re ever down-on-your-luck and looking for inspiration, Rocky is all the motivation you need. Sylvester Stallone’s  memorable performance as the small-time boxer who is pitted against World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed(Carl Weathers) is legendary. There’s no other word for it.

Rocky was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Editing, with Stallone being nominated for Best Actor.

An interesting story behind the making of Rocky:

On March 24, 1975, Stallone saw the Muhammad Ali–Chuck Wepner fight. He went home, and after 20 straight hours he had finished writing the script.Stallone then pitched the script to multiple studios, wanting to star in the film. He was offered $350,000 for the rights, but Stallone refused to sell unless he played the lead character and eventually, after a substantial budget cuts, it was agreed he could play the lead role.

Movie Recommendations: #75

The Godfather(1972)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan,Robert Duvall,Talia Shire, Diane Keaton.

One of the greatest and most influential films  of all time, The Godfather is a crime drama film based on Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel of the same name.

The Godfather depicts the workings of a fictional New York crime family, the Corleones, with the powerful Don Vito Corleone(Marlon Brando) at its head. After a gang war results in Vito being shot, it is up to Vito’s youngest son, Michael(Al Pacino) assume leadership and protect the family.

Under the masterfully artistic direction of Francis Ford Coppola,the cast delivered marvellous performances.Marlon Brando was magnificent as Don Vito, a man whose influence and power knows no bounds. Al Pacino was brilliant as his character transformed from a reluctant outsider into a ruthless Mafia kingpin.

The film won three Academy Awards-Best Picture,Best Actor for Brando,and Best Adapted Screenplay.The Godfather is a film not to be missed by even the most reluctant of movie-watchers.

Fun Fact

Paramount studio heads were opposed to casting Marlon Brando due to his reputation for difficulty and his long string of box office flops.

Eventually three conditions were set for his casting: That he would have to take a fee far below what he typically received; he’d have to agree to accept financial responsibility for any production delays his behaviour cost; and he had to submit to a screen test.He  was signed for a low fee of $50,000.

The Godfather was a mid-career turning point for Brando, putting him back in the Top Ten Box Office Stars and winning him his second Best Actor Oscar.

Movie Recommendations: #74

Dev.D(2009)

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Starring: Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin, Mahie Gill.

dev.d

Dev.D is as close as Bollywood gets to perfection. Anurag Kashyap’s contemporary rendition of the classic novel Devdas is undoubtedly a masterpiece.

The film follows Dev(Abhay Deol), a rich, spoilt brat whose life goes into a downward spiral after his ego makes him lose his childhood sweetheart Paro(Mahie Gill). Their stories are intertwined with that of Leni(Kalki Koechlin), a high school student, who after her involvement in a sex scandal,is disowned by her family and starts working as a prostitute.

Dev.D refuses to bow down to the formula employed by most of Bollywood filmmakers. Instead of actors singing and dancing along with a thousand extras, heroes fighting a hundred goons at once,over-the-top drama, and general nonsense, Dev.D is built on strong performances, a nearly flawless screenplay,stunning cinematography, a fantastic soundtrack and realistic, brilliant acting. It cemented Anurag Kashyap’s status as one of the greatest auteurs in Bollywood, and was a giant leap forward in the thinking process behind a Bollywood film.

 

 

 

Movie Recommendations: #73

Collateral(2004)

Director: Michael Mann

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx,Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo.

collateral

 

Collateral is a crime thriller film . It follows taxi driver Max Durocher(Jamie Foxx), who is held hostage by ruthless contract killer Vincent(Tom Cruise).

Tom Cruise is seen in a role that is poles apart from the “goody two-shoes” roles that cemented his position as a movie star. His portrayal of the cold, calculating and intimidating Vincent ranks among his finest performances, and certainly scores points on the “serious ” actor board. Jamie Foxx was splendid as Max, a cab driver who dreams of driving a limo someday,and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

If you’re a fan of neo-noir crime thrillers, Collateral isn’t a movie to be missed.

Movie Recommendations: #72

The Good,the Bad and the Ugly(1966)

Director: Sergio Leone

Starring: Clint Eastwood,Lee Van Cleef,Eli Wallach.

the good,the bad and the ugly

 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is an epic Spaghetti Western film centered around the three titular characters- Blondie(The Good), a bounty hunter; Angel Eyes(The Bad),  a ruthless mercenary; and Tuco(the Ugly),a  Mexican bandit on the run from the law.

The cinematography takes you through beautiful and deserted landscapes as the three characters get embroiled in a hunt for buried treasure, in the backdrop of the American Civil War. The film deviates from traditional Westerns in the sense that all characters are shades of grey, instead of black-or-white.

Clint Eastwood’s portrayal made Blondie(or The Man with No Name) an legendary character. Sergio Leone’s masterful storytelling, along with a catchy background score,long shots,epic gunfights, beautiful locales and wonderful acting, undoubtedly make the film the greatest Western of all time.

P.S. I’d recommend the extended version featuring the deleted scenes.