Thursday, 24 August 2017

''In the Heat of the Night'' (1967 film)- Review

Directed by: Norman Jewison
Released: 1967
Country: United States

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Crime

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


When, one night, an industrialist is found murdered in Sparta, Mississipi, a policeman suspects Virgil Tibbs (played by Sidney Poitier), an African-American man who was waiting for a train at a nearby station. However, when it is revealed that Tibbs is actually a highly successful policeman from Philadelphia, the racist police chief, Gillespie (played by Rod Steiger), asks Tibbs to help him solve the case. Although initially reluctant, Tibbs eventually agrees to help Gillepsie, and in a town shadowed by racism, he manages to discover clues that will help him solve the mystery.

While ''In the Heat of the Night'' is an excellent mystery film- with clues surfacing from unexpected places, culminating in an unpredictable solution to the mystery- there is a great focus on the subject of racism. In spite of the fact that Tibbs is a well-known homicide expert, he is subjected to racial prejudice and racist remarks over and over again. You can see how humiliated and indignant he feels when he is suspected by the police of Sparta and when he is subjected to prejudice. His indignant response to a racist remark- ''They cal me Mr. Tibbs!''- is possibly one of the most famous quotes in film history. 

It is really sad the way he is often treated, but, no matter how indignant and humiliated he feels, he does not budge from his stance, from his determination to solve the puzzling, complicated mystery.

Another important character is, of course, Gillespie, played by Rod Steiger. Although initially unpleasant and prejudiced, he eventually learns to respect Tibbs and overcome his prejudices. Both Poitier and Steiger deliver excellent performances.

To sum it up, ''In the Heat of the Night'' is a very powerful film. Besides being an excellent mystery, it also explores a very important social issue.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

''The Country Girl'' (1954 film)- Review

Directed by: George Seaton
Released: 1954
Country: United States

Genre: Drama

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Theater director Bernie Dodd (played by William Holden) hires actor Frank Elgin (played by Bing Crosby) for his new play, and because his (Frank's) alcoholism bothers him, he pays a visit to his home. Bernie comes to think that Frank is manipulated by his wife, Georgie (played by Grace Kelly). There was a time Frank used to be a well-known actor but his career has declined, his alcoholism making it particularly hard for him to find work. Bernie is concerned and is prepared to help Frank at any cost. Over the course of time, however, Bernie comes to realize that everything is not what meets the eye.

''The Country Girl'' is indeed a powerful, emotionally raw film.  The characters are very realistic. Grace Kelly's performance is phenomenal, while William Holden and Bing Crosby are great in their roles as well. The secrets revealed over the course of the film make the characters stronger and layered.  

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

''The Royal Tenenbaums'' (2001 film)- Review

Directed by: Wes Anderson
Released: 2001
Country: United States

Genre: Comedy-drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


''The Royal Tenenbaums'' is such a lovely film! It is warm, gentle, moving and funny.

Royal (played by Gene Hackman)  and Etheline Tenenbaum (played by Anjelica Huston) have three children: Chas (who becomes an expert in financial matters and starts his own business in his childhood), Margo (who is adopted and starts writing brilliant plays before reaching her teens) and Ritchie (who is a famous table tennis player). After Royal and Etheline separate, the latter takes all the responsibilities of bringing up and educating their children. Years pass and the successes that the Tenenbaum child enjoyed in their childhoods do not follow them into adulthood. They are visibly depressed and have had traumatic episodes in her lives. For various reasons, Chas (Ben Stiller), Margo (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Ritchie (Luke Wilson) find themselves under the same roof after years and when Royal tells them that he has cancer, things take a different turn and might help the family members settle their mutual differences and problems.

While the film is witty and enchanting, it also strongly addresses dysfunction. The characters are realistic and lovable in their own ways. The distance that has been created among the members of the Tenenbaum family is very understandable. It is evident that they love one another, but past incidents have caused them to hold grudges against one another.

Hackman, Huston, Stiller, Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson (who plays Ritchie's childhood friend, Eli), Danny Glover (who plays an accountant who falls in love with and proposes Etheline) and Bill Murray (who plays Margo's husband) are all brilliant in their roles. Hackman is so cute and I loved the way he tries to make up for everything, how he comes to understand that he has never fulfilled his responsibilities towards his family. Besides Royal, I really, really, really loved Margo. Gwyneth Paltrow shines in her role. I loved the character. I could understand the mess she was in. Although one of the calmer characters in the film, she is a very powerful character in her own right.

Overall, I loved ''The Royal Tenenbaums''. It is such a heartwarming film, beautifully written and directed.


Monday, 10 July 2017

''The Lady Eve'' (1941 film)- Review

Directed by: Preston Sturges
Released: 1941
Country: United States

Genre: Romantic comedy

Rating: 4 out of 5


''The Lady Eve'' stars Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. Stanwyck plays a con artist, Jean Harrington. She works with her father to swindle money from wealthy people in various ways, particularly through tricks in card games. Jean and her father decide to make a wealthy young man- Charles Pike (played by Henry Fonda)- their victim. Charles is an ophidologist who is on his way back to the United States from South America, where he had been researching about snakes. Although she initially aims to trick Charles, Jean finds herself falling in love with him and feels guilty for what her intentions have been. Charles also falls in love with her but once she gets to know about Jean's real identity, he breaks their relationship. Several months later, Jean decides to take revenge on Charles for having ended their relationship and assumes the (fake) identity of the aristocratic Lady Eve to perplex Charles. What will this lead to?

''The Lady Eve'' is a fast-paced, highly entertaining screwball comedy. Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda deliver excellent performances. Memorable supporting characters are played by Charles Coburn (as Jean's father) and William Demarest (who plays Charles' valet). The film is an absolute delight from the beginning to the end. It is very funny- although never goofy (I really like goofy comedies too, though)- and a very intelligent comedy. The romance, too, is well balanced and very sweet. I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

''Zodiac' (2007 film)- Review

Directed by: David Fincher
Released: 2007
Country: United States

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Rating: 4 out of 5


''Zodiac'' tells the true story of the Zodiac killer, who committed murders from the late 1960s through the 1970s. The killer sends letters to newspapers and sometimes coded, ciphered messages that, he tells them, will contain hints to what his motives are. Two employees of the San Fransisco Chronicle, Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and crime reporter Paul Avery (played by Robert Downey Jr.) become interested in the case and work to solve the puzzling mystery.

''Zodiac'' is a very effective thriller. I really liked the suspenseful atmosphere that prevails in many of the scenes. I liked the way the mystery keeps getting puzzling. It is a well written, well directed and well-acted film and the performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo and ChloĆ« Sevigny are really good.   

Sunday, 2 July 2017

''To Each His Own' (1946 film)- Review

THE SECOND ANNUAL OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND BLOGATHON+ ERROL FLYNN is being hosted by  In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies. It will be taking place from July 1, 2017 to July 3, 2017. On July 1, 2017, the great Olivia de Havilland turned 101 years old. For the blogathon I will be reviewing ''To Each His Own'', the film that won de Havilland her first Academy Award.


To Each His Own (1946 film)


Directed by: Mitchell Leisen
Released: 1946
Country: United States

Genre: Drama

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Olivia de Havilland delivers a magnificent performance in ''To Each His Own'' as the protagonist, Jody Norris. Jody Norris is a very strong character, a character with great depth.

During the World War I, Jody is a cheerful, 17-year-old girl living with her father. She falls in love with Captain Bart Cosgrove (played by John Lund). However, Bart has to go to the war. Shortly after his departure, Jody comes to know that she is pregnant. However, she soon comes to know that Cosgrove died in the war. Devastated, but still hopeful about her child's future, Jody gives birth to a boy. However, due to circumstances, she is forced to give her child up for adoption. As the child grows up, Jody retains in her heart her great love and deep affection for him. She deeply cherishes her love for him and longs to be near him. Her love for her son becomes the main focus of her life, in spite of the fact that her son doesn't know that she is his mother. Time flies by: will Jody ever get what she has always longed for? 

''To Each His Own'' is an emotionally overpowering film depicting the enduring power of a mother's love. The way Jody longs for her son for years is deeply moving, extremely touching.

Olivia de Havilland shines in her role as Jody. In 'The Heiress'', the film that won her a second Oscar, she played a woman whose experiences make her transform from someone meek and timid to a mature, strong woman. In ''To Each His Own'', too, we see her character go through a lot, we see her character develop and strengthen. This is definitely an ideal example of great character development.

The supporting characters are well-developed too, particularly the characters played by Ronald Culver, John Lund, Phillip Terry, Mary Anderson, Bill Goodwin and Victoria Horne. I also loved Jody's father, played by Griff Barnett. He loves her daughter. He does not get mad at her when she reveals to him that she is pregnant. Rather, he tells her that he has never judged her. He supports her through everything. I loved the character. The scene in which he consoles Jody and tells her that he has never judged her really moved me.

''To Each His Own'' is a very powerful film, emotionally intense film.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

''Thelma & Louise'' (1991 film)- Review

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Released: 1991
Country: United States

Genre: Adventure, Crime, Drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


''Thelma & Louise'' is such a great movie! I loved every minute of it.

Louise Sawyer (played by Susan Sarandon) is a waitress and her friend Thelma Dickinson (played by Geena Davis) is a homemaker who isn't exactly close to her husband. They go on a road trip, wanting to take a break from their everyday lives. On the way, they stop at a bar, where a man attempts to rape Thelma. Louise rushes to her rescue, but when the man refuses to apologize and rather insults Thelma, Louise shoots him. Refusing to go to the police, Louise decides to drive to Mexico. On their way, however, they come across more and more hurdles and face them with heroism.

The titular characters, Thelma and Louise are such great protagonists! I loved their heroism.  I grew to care for these two characters over the course of the film! Both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis are amazing in their roles. I loved their bond, their friendship! I loved the way they learn to stand up against the injustices committed towards them. Their friendship and the experience and ordeals they share over the course of the film culminate in an iconic ending.

Besides Sarandon and Davis, memorable supporting characters are played by Harvey Keitel (who plays Louise's boyfriend) and a young Brad Pitt (who plays a cowboy Thelma and Louise come across on their way). Keitel and Pitt are great in their roles as well.

''Thelma & Louise'' is an excellently written and acted film. I loved it. I loved the titular characters, their friendship and their depth. I loved the screenplay. The ending left me speechless.