Victoria & Abdul (2017)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 

 
PROS –
1) A senile Queen at the last stage of her reign obsessed with an exotic servant.
2) As compared to Mrs Brown (1997), this chapter of Queen Victoria is much more significant and deserves a special mention in her reign.
3) A screenplay kept the movie amusing without any tedious subplot.
4) Judi Dench’s monologue.

 

CONS –
1) Abdul Karim’s character was reduced to a minor character in the second half. The climax is heavily exaggerated and highly fictionalized.

 

 

QUOTE –
Queen Victoria: I am 81 years of age. I’ve had nine children and 42 grandchildren, and have almost a billion citizens. I have rheumatism, a collapsed uterus, I’m morbidly obese and deaf in one ear. I have known 11 Prime Ministers and passed 2,347 pieces of legislation. I’ve been in the office for 62 years, 234 days. Thus, I am the longest-serving monarch in world history. I’m responsible for five households and a staff of over 3,000. I am cantankerous, boring, greedy, fat, ill-tempered, at times selfish and myopic, both metaphorically and literally. I am perhaps disagreeably attached to power and should not have smashed the Emperor of Russia’s egg. But I am anything but insane.

Mrs Brown (1997)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 
PROS –
1) A grieving Queen finds solace and comfort in a confidant servant. A walk in a park role for Judi Dench as Queen Victoria.
2) The conversation between Disraeli and John Brown on top of the knoll is one of the highlights of the movie.

 
CONS –
1) While the performances of each actor are praiseworthy, the movie covers a trivial part of Queen Victoria‘s colossal history.
2) Billy Connolly’s performance as the Scottish John Brown is decent but someone like Sean Connery would’ve made it everlasting.

 
QUOTE –
Benjamin Disraeli: Princes and lords are but the breath of kings. An honest man is the noblest work of God.

The Young Victoria (2009)

STORY – 0
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 
PROS –
1) High production value as required in any period movie.
2) Paul Bettany played the meaty role of Lord Melbourne.

 
CONS –
1) An unsought average movie chronicling the uneventful life of young Victoria. Apart from the Bedchamber crisis, and the assassination attempt the movie got no compelling plot points.
2) The supposedly prime villain (Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy) is a feeble character.

 

 
QUOTE –
Queen Adelaide: You are confusing stubbornness with strength, my dear.

The Pianist (2002)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 
PROS –
1) Roman Polanski’s holocaust masterpiece. A Polish-Jewish pianist’s survival story from his POV. The central character is not a fighter but a mere spectator trying to survive.
2) A screenplay with minimal dialogues. The final 45 minutes are almost without dialogues with edge-of-your-seat events. The screenplay is extraordinary and keeps the pianist as the central character during the entire duration of the movie. No silly sub-plots.
3) The Pianist title is quite inappropriate and makes it sound like a romantic musical journey of an artist during the 2nd World War. This is an out and out Holocaust drama, and almost equivalent to Steven Spielberg Schindler’s List (1993).
4) Adrien Brody gave an unforgettable performance as the timid pianist Władysław Szpilman.

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Wladyslaw Szpilman: What are you reading?
Henryk Szpilman: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

Amadeus (1984)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 1
CULT – 1

 

VERDICT – 5/5

 
PROS –
1) A highly fictionalized biography of Mozart showcasing the eternal conflict of talent vs taste.
2) F. Murray Abraham gave an enduring performance as Antonio Salieri. He carried the movie on his shoulders. A jealous and scheming rival, but also the sole true connoisseur of Mozart’s musical genius.
3) Not just the movie got the superb screenplay, even technically the movie is a triumph. The cinematography on Panavision Cameras gives it such a fresh look to the movie that even after three decades the movie doesn’t look dated.
4) The costume, make-up, art direction, and music is first-rate.

 
CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Antonio Salieri: From now on, we are enemies – You and I. Because You choose for Your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation. Because You are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block You, I swear it. I will hinder and harm Your creature as far as I am able. I will ruin Your incarnation.

Spotlight (2015)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 0

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 

PROS –
1) Geat ensemble of actors.

 

CONS –
1) The original story of the investigative journalist “Spotlight” team covering the sex abuse scandal is bigger than the movie.
2) Mark Ruffalo is playing the lead of the Spotlight team but his performance as the eccentric investigative reporter is absolutely annoying.

 

QUOTE –
Mitchell Garabedian: If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.

Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 
PROS –
1) The movie is funny from the first minute to the last. It’s not a parody of blaxploitation movies like Undercover Brother (2002) or Black Dynamite (2009). It’s an authentic biographical movie about an aspiring and ambitious man.
2) Eddie Murphy is finally back on the big screen after a hiatus and what a comeback! The writing is great and ain’t pretentious at all.
3) A great all-black cast including Craig Robinson, Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Keegan-Michael Key, etc.
4) Though the movie shares a plot similar to The Disaster Artist (2017) and also Ed Wood (1994), Eddie Murphy’s performance elevates this movie to another level.

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Rudy Ray Moore: Dolemite is my name, and fuckin’ up motherfuckers is my game!