The Quiet American (2002)

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

 

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A love triangle set in 1952 between a British journalist, an American covert CIA agent, and a young Vietnamese woman against the backdrop of the French Vietnam War.
2) Watch it for Michael Caine as an unengaged reporter narrating the entire plot.

 

 


CONS –
1) The young Vietnamese girl is supposed to be an exotic femme fatale beauty. But the actress who played the crucial role of Phuong doesn’t fit the role.
2) Brendan Fraser is miscast.

 

 

QUOTE –
Hinh: Sooner or later, Mr. Fowler, one has to take sides, if one is to remain human.

A Farewell to Arms (1932)

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

 

 

VERDICT – 3/5

 

 


PROS –
1) A tragic love story of an American ambulance driver and an English nurse in Italy during World War I.
2) Some groundbreaking camera works by Charles Lang for a 1932 movie.
3) Screenplay without any unnecessary melodrama. Adolphe Menjou as Major Rinaldi plays the colorful antagonist for the first-half of the movie however his character is more sympathetic towards the lovers in the third act.

 

 

CONS –
N/A

 

 

QUOTE –
Rinaldi: I will see you are decorated for bravery. Perhaps we can get you the medalgio d’argento. But certainly the bronze one. Did you carry somebody out of battle?
Lieutenant Frederic Henry: I didn’t carry anyone. I couldn’t move.
Rinaldi: Surely there was something heroic. Tell me what you did.
Lieutenant Frederic Henry: I was blown up eating cheese.

Zulu (1964)

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

 

VERDICT – 2/5

 

 

PROS –
1) An outnumbered British Army’s regiment facing an attack from Zulu warriors and their undaunting spirit. The best aspect of the movie is the scenic battle location i.e. Rorke’s Drift

 

 

CONS –
1) Even with an epic length and huge battle sequences, the movie is hardly passionate. Audiences can barely feel attached to any character.
2) We find shallow character development and poor acting. The grand battle of relentless attack by the Zulu deserves better treatment.
3) Even Kesari (2019), depicting a similar battle against odds, looks more vigorous.

 

 

QUOTE –
Colour Sergeant Bourne: It’s a miracle.
Lieutenant John Chard: If it’s a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it’s a short chamber Boxer Henry .45 caliber miracle.
Colour Sergeant Bourne: And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind.

Les Misérables (2012)

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

 

VERDICT – 5/5

 

 

PROS –
1) A lifelong journey of an ex-convict Jean Valjean whose life is transformed after witnessing an act of mercy by a Bishop. Throughout his topsy-turvy journey, he’s chased by a police inspector called Javert who dedicated his life to imprison Valjean once again.
2) Great production-value and a huge star-cast.
3) Epic length musical with parallel themes of justice, romance, and revolution but most importantly self-sacrifice.
4) One Day More

 

 

CONS –
1) Average singing performances.

 

 

QUOTE –
Marius: Oh, my friends! My friends, don’t ask me what your sacrifice was for! Empty chairs at empty tables, where my friends shall sing no more.

Greyhound (2020)

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

 

VERDICT – 1/5

 

 
PROS –
1) Some good naval battle sequences wrapped up in 91-minutes running time.

 

 
CONS –
1) For a generation who grew up on submarine films like Das Boot (1981), The Hunt for Red October (1990), U-571 (2000), etc., this movie is quite redundant and completely avoidable. The bombardment of nautical jargon and navy battle lingo is not helping either.
2) Tom Hanks gave another formulaic performance which is not his mistake though. He’s a seriously typecasted in such roles now.

 

 
QUOTE –
Commander Krause: We’ll ram that U-boat if we have to!

M*A*S*H (1970)

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

 

 

VERDICT – 1/5

 

 
PROS –
1) Idiosyncratic adventures of an outlandish army medical unit during the Korean War.
2) The fumbling P.A. announcements at regular intervals are the only funny part of the entire movie.

 

 

CONS –
1) This writing is nowhere like Catch-22 (1970) which is a far better black-comedy with a military backdrop.
2) Robert Altman’s direction is sloppy and the poor-quality Panavision cinematography is not helping either.

 

 
QUOTE –
P.A. Announcer: Attention, all base members must report for a drug test for marij- marijua-… disregard last transmission

Come and See (1985)

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

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 
PROS –
1) The horrors of war seen from the eyes of a teenage Belarusian boy initially curious to join the Soviet resistance forces.
2) The most prominent acpect of the epic war drama is it’s brilliant cinematography. The camera is focussed on character’s faces capturing emotions and expressions. The entire movie contains minimal dialogues.
3) Never before seen Nazi atrocities on Russian villages.
4) The final reverse life montage of Adolf Hitler where Flyora stops shooting when Hitler is shown as a baby recapitulates the anti-war theme of the movie. Even someone like Flyora whose life got devastated due to Hitler’s Nazi regime wasn’t able to shoot an imaginary innocent baby while Nazis were pillaging villages after villages, targeting mainly the babies for the sake of the inferior race theory.

 

 
CONS –
N/A

 

 

QUOTE –
“Didn’t I tell you not to dig?”

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

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

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 
PROS –
1) Powerful acting, great monologues, and brilliant writing. This 3-hrs long black & white courtroom-drama is the epitome of good cinema.
2) The colossal presence of Burt Lancaster in the courthouse as the guilt-ridden Nazi judge. He was silent most of the time but the monologue he delivered in the 3rd act of the movie was impending from the very first minute.
3) The movie depicts post-war German people trying to exonerate their guilty conscience by gaslighting themselves about not knowing what was happening in the concentration camps during the Nazi regime.

 

CONS –
N/A

 

 

QUOTE –
Ernst Janning: My counsel says we were not aware of the extermination of the millions. He would give you the excuse: We were only aware of the extermination of the hundreds. Does that make us any less guilty? Maybe we didn’t know the details. But if we didn’t know, it was because we didn’t want to know.

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

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

 

VERDICT – 4/5

 

 

PROS –
1) Beneath Spike Lee’s usual black emancipation theme, this movie is an intense treasure hunt adventure where 4 US Army veterans return to Vietnam to retrieve the hidden gold. What happens next is the routine story of greed and mistrust.
2) Delroy Lindo as Paul gave the performance of his lifetime.
3) The same actors played their younger-self in the flash-back scenes without any make-up or de-aging effect. This was a bold move from the director.

 

 

CONS –
1) 154 minutes running time is not acceptable for this story. The entire first hour was spent on plot built-up.
2) Spike Lee’s obsession with the black community and racism ruins everything. He should try making a stand-alone documentary next time to vent out his bitterness.
3) The primary plot borrows heavily from the back-story of Charade (1963). 

 

 

QUOTE –
Otis: Madness! Madness!

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

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

 

VERDICT – 4/4

 

 

PROS –
1) A poignant tale of two orphaned Japanese siblings (Seita & Setsuko) struggling to survive the horrors of World War II. One of the greatest animated movies ever made.
2) The beauty of any Studio Ghibli movies can’t be described in words. The dedication and effort this studio put in every one of their movies is beyond belief. This movie is no exception.
3) The background music of a bucolic Japan (crickets, bullfrog, the ocean, rain, flowing water, etc.) makes the movie more realistic.
4) Amelita Galli-Curci – Home Sweet Home.

 

CONS –
N/A

 
QUOTE –
Setsuko: I don’t need anything. Please stay home with me. Don’t go! Don’t go! Don’t go!