Life Is Beautiful (1997)

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

 

VERDICT – 5/5

 
PROS –
1) A heart-rending father-son movie for generations. The right blend of comedy and despair. One of the best Holocaust movies ever made.
2) A man trying to protect his son using his wit and humor in the most desperate times. This movie belongs to the ranks of The Kid (1921) and Bicycle Thieves (1948).
3) Life Is Beautiful – (Main Theme) by Nicola Piovani
4) The ominous first hour of the movie appears like a Disney movie with the amusing performance of Roberto Benigni.

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Guido: What are your political views?
Man: Benito, Adolf! Sit down! Sorry Guido, what did you say?

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?”

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

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

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 
PROS –
1) Linda Hunt as the male dwarf Billy Kwan gave a performance of a lifetime. A female actress winning an Oscar for playing a male character is no small achievement. The romance angle is a sub-plot around Billy playing the central character. His final monologue revealing himself as the master puppeteer is extremely moving.
2) L’enfant by Vangelis.
3) A rare movie featuring turbulent politics of 1960s Indonesia, Sukarno, and 30 September Movement.

 

 

CONS –
1) It’s a one-time watch boring romantic-war-drama.

 
QUOTE –
Billy Kwan: I believed in you. I thought you were a man of light. That’s why I gave you those stories you think are so important. I made you see things. I made you feel something about is right. I gave you my trust. So did Jill. I created you.

The Mission (1986)

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

 

VERDICT – 5/5

 

PROS –
1) The sheer persistence of Jesuit priests for their mission is remarkable. A priest climbing a near impossible Iguazu Falls, to spread the message of God to a hostile tribe with only an oboe is astonishing.
2) Gabriel’s Oboe – Ennio Morricone all-time classic. If God would ever decide to play the oboe, he’ll play this tune.
3) Father Gabriel’s sacrifice – a shepherd who refuses to abandon his herd. Jeremy Irons gave the performance of a lifetime.
4) The opening scene of the priest tied to a wooden cross falling down the falls is one Oscar-worthy scene. A masterpiece conveyed mostly through action rather than dialogues in the first half.
5) Captain Mendoza’s Sisyphean penance.

 
CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Gabriel: If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don’t have the strength to live in a world like that, Rodrigo.

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

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

VERDICT – 4/5

 
PROS –
1) Robin Williams’ one-man show. Probably his best.
2) Opening radio monologue. In fact, every time Robin Williams is DJing is pure unbridled entertainment.
3) Great soundtrack.
4) Bruno Kirby as Lt. Steven Hauk, the constant killjoy. Not easy to play the heavy against crowd favorite.

 

CONS –
1) The entire anti-war sub-plot with Trinh & Tuan is absolutely boring.
2) Every time when Robin Williams is not on the screen, the movie is unbearable.

 
QUOTE –
Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn’t we keep the PC on the q.t., because if it leaks to the VC, he could end up an MIA, and then we’d all be put on KP.

Jojo Rabbit (2019)

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

 

VERDICT – 5/5

 
PROS –
1) A light-hearted Nazi black-comedy from a POV of a fanatic 10-year-old Nazi kid. A movie for people who don’t have the stomach to watch The Pianist (2002), Life Is Beautiful (1997), or Schindler’s List (1993)
2) Colors and framing give a very distinctive look like a Wes Anderson movie.
3) Great casting
4) Soundtrack: Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand [ The Beatles], Everybody’s Gotta Live [Love], Mama [Roy Orbison], and a German version of Heroes [David Bowie].

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
Adolf Hitler: I’ll burn down the house and blame Winston Churchill.

1917 (2019)

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

 

VERDICT – 5/5

 
PROS –
1) A cinematic triumph by Sam Mendes. The entire movie appears as one long shot without any cuts.
2) Best Cinematography award confirmed for Roger Deakins for the second time. Not since Birdman (2014), we have watched such wonder.
3) The movie is mainly a one-man show by George MacKay as Lance Corporal Schofield meeting characters along the way of his mission.

 

CONS –
N/A

 

QUOTE –
“General Erinmore: Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne, He travels the fastest who travels alone.”