A Blog on Cinema

Incredible Movies

What are some of the incredible movies you have seen? Let us know.

Based on a suggestion from Velu we are starting this list. The movies could be in any language and need not be Indian. It could even be a short or a documentary

Post your responses in the format: Movie Name, Country of Origin, Language, Year of Release, A few lines on why you liked it. As always the comments are moderated so that fan wars are avoided. The response will be approved just based on your explanation of why you liked it, so please be thoughtful and non-impulsive.


  1. Perumthachchan

    Direction : Ajayan
    Written by none other than MT

    Many have forgotten this great movie. Great acting by Thilakan.
    A masterpiece. One of the great opening shots in Malayalam movie.

    Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha

    Direction : Hariharan
    Story : MT

    The movie which made us completely look at the old ” Nazir-Ummer ” movies in new way. Great dialogue..Superb acting …

  2. North by Northwest (1959)
    directed by Alfred Hitchcock
    written by Ernest Lehman
    starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
    music by Bernard Herrmann
    cinematography Robert Burks
    editing by George Tomasini
    country: US/language: English

    the film is essentially a tale of mistaken identity,
    starring one of the greatest “movie star” of all time: Cary Grant!
    marvelously directed by Hitch!

    Before there was James Bond or Jason Bourne…there was
    Roger O. Thornhill played by Grant! (an executive mistaked for a spy)

  3. His Girl Friday (1940)
    directed by Howard Hawks
    written by Charles Lederer
    starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy and Gene Lockhart
    music by Sidney Cutner & Felix Mills
    cinematography: Joseph Walker
    editing by Gene Havlick

    Cary Grant stars as a newspapaer editor Walter Burns who tries to get back his ex-wife reporter Hildy Johson played by Rosalind Russell who plans to marry Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). The chemistry between Grant and Rosalind Russell is just spectacular. A noted thing about this film is the dialogue which is spoken at bullet speed! This of course has influenced people like Quentin Tarantino who is a fan of Hawks and of that fast driven dialogue used in the film. It’s also one of Clint Eastwood’s favs, he probably saw it as a child.

    One of the best screwball comedies from the classical Hollywood era.

    This film is in public domain now.

  4. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
    directed by Howard Hawks
    written by Dudley Nichols & Hagar Wilde
    starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles,
    Walter Catlett, May Robson, and Fritz Feld
    music by Roy Webb & Jimmy McHugh
    cinematography: Russell Metty
    editing by George Hively

    Another Hawks classic!
    and one of the best screwball comedies! probably one of the first films of the whole screwball genre.

    Great chemistry between Hepburn and Grant!
    the plot is a little too much to tell in a sentence but being a screwball it has quite a lot of whacky characters in it…

    Grant plays quite a different role from his usual, of course this was the time he was rising as a star (late 30s). And Hepburn was one of the leading female stars of the time (the 30s was a time in Hollywood when female stars had more power than male stars!!).

    Of course due to the fact that the film had too much of whacky characters in it, it turned out to be a flop at the time of release.
    I guess it was a film a little ahead of it’s time.

  5. Sorry every one concerned.I didn’t know where to post a comment about the movie “Nadodikal”.Saw this movie today in Saritha theatre Ernakulam.Was spellbound by its making.What a movie! More than anything I feel that our Malayalam movie makers should watch it for the way it is made.Its a shame that Malayalam film industry which used to be the reference material for the tamil directors now creates senseless and half baked films(a Bhramaran or a Thirakkatha can be an exception) like Rahasya Police,Pattanattil Bhootam etc .

  6. December seems to be an interesting month.
    With a lot of cool flicks coming out; no I haven’t seen any of them yet but thought I’d mention it here.

    Avatar (James Cameron)
    Invictus (Clint Eastwood)
    Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie)
    Up in the Air (Jason Reitman)
    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam)
    Leaves of Grass (Tim Blake Nelson)
    and The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson)

  7. Just saw “Paradesi” on Asianet and it seems to rip off the music from Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.

  8. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
    directed by Stuart Rosenberg
    written by Donn Pearce and Frank Pierson based on Pearce’s novel
    starring PAUL NEWMAN as Luke, George Kennedy, JD Cannon, Lou Antonia…
    cinematography by Conrad Hall
    editing by Sam O’Steen
    music by Lalo Schifrin
    country: US/ language: English

    “For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living, and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    Luke returns home after the war. He’s a drifter. A loner. He’s been handed one bad hand after the next, and, no matter how he plays his cards, he always seems to lose. The film opens with Luke, drunk and shameless, knocking the heads off parking meters. The authorities try to cash in on our everyday movements, and this lack of freedom ticks Luke off.

    Luke is sent to prison and what follows is one of the greatest existential movies of all time. Luke’s conversations with God, his isolation and alienation, his experiences and a pair of profound scenes, both involving his mother, elevate “Cool Hand Luke” above most prison-break movies.

    While “Shawshank Redemption” preaches hope and patience and “Cuckoo’s Nest” harped on about freedom, “Cool Hand Luke” takes a far more mythical stance. We don’t know much about Luke. He never looks anyone in the eyes when speaking and always has a sly grin on his face. And yet behind his smile we sense deep pain, his lack of control matched only by his dogged spirit to continue fighting.

    While “Cuckoo’s Nest” had a system that despite its flaws genuinely tried to heal and help others, Luke’s social institution is corrupt and in many aspects pointless. Still, for a while Luke abides by it. He goes about the state’s business with a smile, cutting grass and paving roads. He only has 2 years in chains. He can make it. And like he says, he has no place else to go. No plans. He plays his cards with cool, detached ambivalence.

    In one beautiful scene Luke’s dying mother comes to visit. Their conversation is genuinely touching. She tried her best with him, giving him nothing but love. And yet, no amount of motherly affection has helped Luke. Because of this she wishes mankind were like dogs. She wishes she could abandon her children and forget about them. Never having to worry or fret about how they are, what they’ll do or where they’ll go. She loves Luke, but hates the agony he puts her through. And yet we sense that she understands him intimately. Perhaps she admires him because she too has been dealt a life of bad hands.

    Luke’s outlook changes when his mother dies and the prison warden locks him in a box for no particular reason. When the Boss says “Just doing my job”, Luke replies “That don’t make it right.” And it isn’t right. But it’s the system and so Luke has to abide.

    From here on Luke begins to fight back. He may spend his life on his knees, but by God he will not submit to anyone! Of course the other inmates begin to idolise Luke, worshipping his never-give-up spirit. But rather than fight themselves, they sit back and exalt him. Luke begins to resent this. “Step feeding off me!” he yells. But they’re content to sit on the sidelines. He’s a one man revolution, and like many revolutionaries he’s praised for his stance from afar but never actively supported.

    Why do men have to die for causes before we take notice?

    The film ends on an ambiguous note. Does Luke smile? Does he die? Does he survive? If he does survive, is his survival merely wishful thinking on the part of his fellow inmates? Note that the film’s final image is a brief shot of a photograph. It was established in an earlier sequence that this idyllic photograph represents a lie. We also know that the photograph was torn to shreds earlier in the film. The ending thus suggests that though Luke has died and the system utterly beaten him down, the men nevertheless choose to believe in him. They believe he has risen (the film is filled with Christian imagery), that he’s survived death and still fighting the fight, sticking it to the man for all of mankind.

    But like that happy photograph, filled with false smiles, their belief is an illusion. Luke is dead, and though his fighting spirit remains in the hearts of these men, it will take a revolution to wake them up and shake them out of their weak surrender. What fuels their revolution, what fuels all revolutions, is the hope that Luke represents. Yes this hopeful idyll is a myth, but it is a necessary one which must be sustained lest we submit.

    10/10- An accidental masterpiece. The planets really lined up for this one. The only flaw is an overly silly (though iconic) car wash scene 🙂

    Worth multiple viewings.

  9. You have mised “Lekhayude Maraanm, Oru Flashback”. It is a good movie.

  10. The Chaser (2008)
    Country: South Korea/Language:Korean
    Directed by debutant Na Hong-jin
    Written by Na Hong-jin and Lee Shin-ho
    Starring Kim Yoon-seok and Ha Jeong-woo
    Music by Kim Joon-seok and Choe Yong-rak
    Cinematography Lee Seong-jae
    Editing by Kim Sun-min

    This film just proves the fact that one of the best films in recent times have come from South Korea. This film shows you what a thriller should be like.

    a review by American critic Roger Ebert:

    Ebert says: “In addition to remaking this movie, Hollywood should study it.” So should Malayalam cinema filmmakers as well, they should study it as well.

  11. @James

    Thank you for the suggestion on ‘The Chaser’. Truly an incredible movie

  12. The Town (2010)
    Country: US/Language: English
    Directed by Ben Affleck
    Written by Affleck, Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard
    based on Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince of Thieves
    Starring Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner,
    Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite.
    Music by Harry Gregson-Williams and David Buckley
    Editing by Dylan Tichenor
    Cinematography by Robert Elswit

    With this movie Ben Affleck has proved that has what it takes to be a great director. It’s basically a crime film set in Boston (just like Affleck’s previous Gone Baby Gone) but it focuses on blue collar gangs that is involved bank robberies. Great performances by everyone in the cast, especially Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner.

  13. Match Point (2005)
    Country: UK and US/Language: English
    Directed and written by Woody Allen
    Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, and Penelope Wilton.
    Cinematography by Remi Adefarasin
    Editing by Alisa Lepselter
    Music recording of opera by Enrico Caruso

    Match Point is an excellent film, with an great screenplay by Woody Allen. Even though most of the recent films of Woody Allen can be categorized as “so-so”, this is among his best.

  14. Princess Mononoke (1997)
    Country: Japan/ Language: Japanese and English dub version
    Directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli)
    Voice actors (English): Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jada Pinkett Smith.
    Cinematography Atsushi Okui
    Editing by Takeshi Seyama
    Music by Joe Hisaishi

    Miyazaki can be counted among the greatest filmmakers of our time, even though he works in the animated film genre. I would count this not just as one of the best animated films, but one of the best films indeed.

    Critic Ebert puts it good: “The drama is underlaid with Miyazaki’s deep humanism, which avoids easy moral simplifications. There is a remarkable scene where San and Ashitaka, who have fallen in love, agree that neither can really lead the life of the other, and so they must grant each other freedom, and only meet occasionally. You won’t find many Hollywood love stories (animated or otherwise) so philosophical. ‘Princess Mononoke’ is a great achievement and a wonderful experience, and one of the best films of the year.”

  15. Yojimbo (1961)
    Country: Japan/Language: Japanese
    Directed by Akira Kurosawa
    Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa
    Starring Toshir? Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada, Daisuke Kat?, and Takashi Shimura
    Music by Masaru Sat?
    Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa and Takao Saito
    Editing by Akira Kurosawa

    It’s a “masterpiece”, that’s all I can say.

    Since its March 23rd, Kurosawa’s 101th birthday, I thought about putting this here. Although its a Japanese film, the film is highly influenced of Dashiell Hammett’s novel Red Harvest, a western work. It went on to be remade by Sergio Leone as A Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood consolidating his stardom.

  16. Yojimbo (1961)
    Country: Japan/Language: Japanese
    Directed by Akira Kurosawa
    Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa
    Starring Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada, Daisuke Kato, and Takashi Shimura
    Music by Masaru Sato
    Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa and Takao Saito
    Editing by Akira Kurosawa

    It’s a “masterpiece”, that’s all I can say.

    Since its March 23rd, Kurosawa’s 101th birthday, I thought about putting this here. Although its a Japanese film, the film is highly influenced of Dashiell Hammett’s novel Red Harvest, a western work. It went on to be remade by Sergio Leone as A Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood consolidating his stardom.

  17. Ishqiya (2010)
    Country: India/Language: Hindi
    Directed by Abhishek Chaubey
    Screenplay by Vishal Bharadwaj, Abhishek Chaubey, and Sabrina Dhawan
    Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, and Salman Shahid
    Music by Vishal Bharadwaj
    Cinematography Mohana Krishna Agapu
    Editing by Namrata Rao

    One of the best Indian films in recent times. Even though people have a lot of blame to put on the Hindi cinema in terms of quality, movies such as this are an example that good films are being churned out as well. Vishal Bharadwaj is involved in the screenplay and music, and its also produced by him. It’s directed by Abhishek Chaubey, his debut film.

  18. The Man from Nowhere

    The Man from Nowhere (2010)
    Country: South Korea/Language:Korean
    Directed by Lee Jeong-beom
    Written by Lee Jeong-beom
    Starring Won Bin
    Kim Sae-ron
    Music by Shim Hyun-jeong
    Cinematography Lee Tae-yoon
    Editing by Kim Sang-beom

    Watch it for Won Bin! A mix of a martial arts film + Taken.
    South Korean cinema proves again that they’re among the best in the world. The highest grossing S Korean film of 2010.

  19. City of God (2011)
    Country: India/ Language: Malayalam
    Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery
    Written by Babu Janardhanan
    Starring Indrajith, Prithviraj, Rajeev Pillai, Rohini, Parvathi, Rima Kallingal Swetha Menon.
    Music by Prashant Pillai
    Cinematography Sujith Vasudev
    Editing by Manoj

    I haven’t seen another visually gorgeous and raw film in Malayalam cinema. It’s an excellent film along with great performances with everyone in the cast. It’s sad to hear that this film wasn’t so successful at the BO. Of course it had a bit too “R” rated material in it so its not exactly for the family audience, though it was a nice piece of work.

  20. Oru vadakkan veeragadha

    Written by MT Vasudevan Nair
    Directed by Hariharan

    For its super dialogues and unmatching acting of Mammootty and unexpected performance of Captain Raju.

  21. Cast Away with Tom Hanks.

    Studio: ImageMovers, Playtone

    Distributed by: USA/Canada
    20th Century Fox International Distribution: DreamWorks

    Release date(s): December 7, 2000

    Running time: 143 minutes

    Country: United States

    Language: English

    This is an incredible, and primarily, solo performance by Tom Hanks. What would it be like to be stranded all alone on a deserted island? Mr. Hanks is very believable in his role, as are the conditions that lead him to be stranded there.

  22. Drive (2011)
    Country: United States/Language: English
    Directed by Nicolas Winding Ref
    Screenplay by Hossein Amini
    Based on ‘Drive’ by James Sallis
    Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac, Albert Brooks
    Music by Cliff Martinez
    Cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel
    Editing by Matthew Newman

    One of the best films of 2011! Great cinematography of LA by Newton Thomas Sigel. A thrilling film that spins your heart every minute. Gosling was excellent in his role. He has come a long way since the early 2000s when he was just a TV actor in a kids show.
    Nicolas Winding Ref has done an excellent job.

  23. Kahaani (2012)
    Country: India/Language: Hindi and Bengali
    Directed by Sujoy Ghosh
    Screenplay by Sujoy Ghosh, Suresh Nair, and Nikhil Vyas
    Starring Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Indraneil Sengupta, Saswata Chatterjee
    Music by Vishal-Shekhar
    Cinematography Setu
    Editing Namrata Rao

    Vidya Balan seems to be riding the crest these days. After pulling off three movies, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica and ‘The Dirty Picture’ almost as the sole lead, and winning a national award for her last entrée, she has hit the sweet spot yet again with this week’s release ‘Kahaani’, a suspense thriller set in Kolkata.

    Just as the trailers suggest, the story is about a heavily pregnant Bidya err Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) who arrives in Kolkata looking for her husband who had arrived there on work and gone missing. Given the predicament, there is enough scope for drama. But, more interestingly, there is an undercurrent of an espionage thriller.

    The pre-title sequence opens with a chemical attack in Kolkata Metro. Cut to two years later, Vidya arrives in town for her quest and approaches the city police. Rana, newbie cop (Parambrata Chatterjee) has a soft corner for her and accompanies her in her hunt. Vidya seems to hit a dead-end in her search as nobody seems to know her husband Arnab Bagchi. But as they dig deeper, they uncover darker secrets.

    Okay! The discussion about the film’s story has to stop here. It’s a suspense flick after all. So, knowing anything more can spoil your experience. In fact, one can describe ‘Kahaani’ as an interesting multi- layered package that is unwrapped slowly, one layer at a time. Although it can seem slightly lengthy at some point, carefully planned twists will keep you glued to the screen. Also, notice the attention to detail in every scene.

    Many have been raving about Vidya Balan’s performance. Full marks to her! But, what holds ‘Kahaani’ together is writer-director Sujoy Ghosh’s watertight screenplay. The film is much unlike the regular bollywood thrillers that rely on stylish European locations, slick stunts, fast cars and scantily-clad women. Truly commendable!

    Among other goodies is Parambrata Chatterjee’s has acted well along with some powerful performances by Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Khan, Saswata Chatterjee as Bob Biswas with Indraneil Sengupta in a brief role. Vishal-Shekhar’s music has nothing striking, but flows with the film. Camera-work and editing is also neat.

    Filmmakers exploring cities other than Mumbai is relatively a recent phenomenon. While Delhi-based flicks gave the audience respite from tiresome Mumbai-based stuff, Kolkata is an interesting choice. The director effectively portrays the city’s warmth, comfortable in its own time-warp while also providing the perfect setting for a thriller. Set around the time of Durga Puja, the film showcases the city’s culture too.

    My advice: don’t Google or ask-a-friend to know what the suspense is. Go to your nearest screen and catch the movie. Trust me, it’s totally worth it!

  24. Hugo (2011)
    Country: United States/Language: English
    Directed by Martin Scorsese
    Screenplay by John Logan
    Starring Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz
    Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory
    Music by Howard Shore
    Cinematography Robert Richardson
    Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker

    While I have given “Hugo” a well-deserved 10, I am don’t think this film is for everyone. Despite the advertising campaign which made it look like a kids’ movie, it is NOT. Now I am NOT saying it had adult content. Despite being directed by Martin Scorsese (“Taxi Driver”, “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull”), it is very family-friendly–without cursing, sex or violence. But, I also think younger kids would be totally bored to tears by the film–particularly late in the movie. Don’t bring kids younger than about 10–they will most likely feel restless the longer the film progresses.

    For folks like me, “Hugo” is an absolute must-see. I adore silent films and of the early silents, Georges Méliès is like a god. I have reviewed at least a hundred and have seen just about every existing film the man made…because they are THAT good. He was a brilliant early filmmaker who introduced lots of camera tricks and made extremely fanciful films. I could try to describe them further, but it’s best you just see a few yourself. And, in addition to a plot that eventually turns to a homage of Méliès, it features clips from some of the great silents that I have long loved. In particular, a nice chunk of Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last” is included…as well as clips and posters from “The General”, “The Kid”, “Judex”, “Fantome”, “The Great Train Robbery” and many other seminal films any cinephile worth his salt would have seen and loved.

    Despite EVENTUALLY being all about the wonderful Georges Méliès, you would not know this through at least half the film. I knew–because I know his films and instantly recognized Ben Kingsley as Méliès–the makeup was dead on the mark. Otherwise, it’s an intriguing film about a strange orphan–an orphan that literally lives within the ductwork and walls of a train station in Paris! He has a bizarre obsession to complete the restoration of an amazingly complex automaton that was begun by his father–before the man’s untimely death. Yet, despite being anchored by a boy, it is NOT a film strictly for the kids. I’d say more about the plot, but frankly you just need to see it for yourself.

    Why I loved this film is not just because it’s a delightful homage to silent films (which, by the way, has made Scorsese practically a god among filmmakers to me). It’s also because I have never seen a better use of 3-D and the film just looks exquisite–and it seems to have a lock on the Oscars for cinematography and art direction. Now I am NOT just talking about incorporating wonderful 3-D tricks into the film (like they did so well with “How to Train Your Dragon” with all the great flying sequences)–but integrating them in a more artistic manner that is not distracting but enhances the film throughout and makes you admire all the wonderful eye candy. I also loved the great use of computers to colorize flashback scenes to make them appear to be a nice homage to the early hand-colored films of Méliès. And, when it’s not in flashbacks, the film simply looks like you are in early 1930s Paris.

    I also loved the film because of the nice performances. Sacha Baron Cohen is more subtle and likable here than usual and I loved the performances by the kids in the film. Ben Kingsly was great–but he’s nearly always great.

    Finally, perhaps the best thing about the film is that it is so different. Watch the film and then try to think of another film that reminds you of “Hugo”–I seriously doubt if you’ll be able to do this–the film is THAT unique!

  25. I Saw the Devil (2010)
    Country: South Korea/Language: Korean
    Directed by Kim Ji-woon
    Written by Park Hoon-jung
    Starring Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik
    Music by Mowg
    Cinematography Lee Mo-gae
    Editing by Nam Na-young

    How far can the revenge thriller genre go? Well when you have a film of this genre helmed by twisted Korean director Jee-woon Kim it can go pretty far. I Saw the Devil is about a secret agent who blurs the line between good and evil as he hunts down his fiancée’s killer to enact some particularly gruesome revenge. His lust for revenge sends him to the brink of insanity as he begins to become a more despicable human being than the serial killer he is chasing down. The film is brutal, intense, and haunting. It is unapologetically graphic from start to finish and is absolutely not for the faint of heart. But, for anyone who can stomach its brutality, I Saw the Devil is quite the movie.

    It seems this film’s primary goal is to shock and disgust. It more than excels in this area, but it also works very well as a psychological thriller. There is this constant struggle of what is good and what is evil throughout the film. The distinction grows more and more faint as Kim Soo-hyeon grows more and more obsessed with catching and defeating Kyung-chul, the serial killer. He is disturbingly brutal and endlessly vicious in his revenge against Kyung-chul. The film has a somewhat repetitive nature once it gets going. Kyung-chul hides somewhere, is about to torture a victim, but then Soo-hyeon stops him and beats the hell out of him before leaving him in misery and pain so that he may track him down and torture him once again. But the repetitiveness works because it is a constant escalation in brutality and a loss of humanity. Plus every fight between Soo-hyeon and Kyung-chul is incredible.

    Jee-woon Kim shoots this film with a brutally precise eye for visual integrity. His camera-work allows the film to succeed as a haunting drama as well as a fast paced action thriller. The fights are choreographed excellently and the violence in each duel only increases. This isn’t a film for the squeamish as Kim finds every possible way to disgust his audience with the bloodiest and most malicious forms of torture possible. It is all shot so intensely that you just want to scream in pain and disgust at the horrors you are witnessing. And yet at the same time there are calmer and more subtle scenes of the film which are shot with haunting beauty in the framing and camera movement. Plus the film has a disturbingly beautiful score that will leave you mystified as well as terrified. I wouldn’t go as far as to call this an art house film but it certainly has some qualities that might lead it to that.

    I Saw the Devil is a fantastic film in all of its bloody glory. It is the kind of film that will only appeal to those with an appetite for maliciousness and a stomach for horrific amounts of blood and gore. This film is so disturbed and yet so excellent in its execution that if you can handle it you will be treated to a very worthwhile film. Expect the unexpected with this film and be prepared to look away in horrified disgust.

  26. 13 Assassins (2010)
    Country: Japan and United Kingdom/Language: Japanese
    Directed by Takashi Miike
    Screenplay by Daisuke Tengan/Story by Sh?ichir? Ikemiya
    Starring K?ji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Y?suke Iseya, Gor? Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, Mikijir? Hira
    Music by K?ji Endo
    Cinematography Nobuyasu Kita
    Editing by Kenji Yamashita

    Samurai films tend to lean toward either overly talkative and boring or hyper-stylized to the point that credibility comes into question. Striking that middle ground, however, can lead to greatness, or rather — great honor. Takashi Miike’s “13 Assassins” might not match the great Akira Kurosawa films, but boy does it come close, and it does so with themes and blades of equal sharpness.

    If swords-and-sandals flick “300” had been less concerned about abs and Gerard Butler screaming war hyperbole, it would have looked and felt like this film. Anyone who hails Zack Snyder’s 2006 film as a masterpiece should pull up a seat with this film for two-plus hours and see how it’s really done.

    Both the aforementioned film to which comparison is inescapable and “13 Assassins” tell a story about how the number of men indicated in their titles fought against an army numerous times the size. In this film, the reasons for fighting a battle most certain to result in death are less glossy and brash, as well as guided by some consideration for historical relevance.

    The story takes place at nearly the end of feudal era Japan, when samurai have become nothing but show thanks to a lengthy time of peace. Yet one lord seems to undermine this peace with acts of cold-blooded violence: the shogun’s half brother, Lord Naritsugu (Gorô Inagaki). It is expected, however, that when he returns from Edo, he will have a place on the shogun’s council and have political influence to go with with warmongering ways. After a respected samurai commits harakiri in protest, the elder of the shogun council charges a samurai named Shinzaemon (Kôji Yakusho) with putting together a squad of samurai to kill Naritsugu before there’s widespread unrest.

    The beginning of the film shows us Naritsugu’s cold and horrifying ways with enough brutal imagery to make anyone want to pick up a sword against this guy. The story then continues with the assembling of the 12 assassins (the 13th comes later) and their strategy for accomplishing the task. Yet on the other side is Hanbei Kitou (Masachika Ichimura), the samurai sworn to obey and protect Naritsugu who must develop counter-strategy to foil Shinzaemon, an old classmate of his from the dojo.

    The game of strategy boils toward a 45-minute climactic battle in which the 13 assassins use everything from trickery to explosives to straight-up sword hackery against an army of 200 men from Naritsugu’s clan. The delivery of these sequences rivals any modern action film, and that includes battle cries, little humorous lines tossed in for fun and especially creativity. One samurai takes out 30-plus guys in a narrow corridor that he prepped ahead of time with several swords carefully stationed throughout.

    But most impressively, “13 Assassins” never loses sight of what its whole conflict is about. The plot doesn’t exist merely as a formula guaranteed to produce an unforgettable culminating battle. Throughout the entire film, characters are questioning the values passed down to them for hundreds of years of honor and duty. Having essentially stood their whole lives as symbols of a fading age, they take on this quest in search of finally fulfilling that purpose of total commitment and servitude, yet this battle will teach them what it truly means.

    Essentially, this is not the same movie if set in another time or another place, which sets it apart as a truly great action film. As replicable as a story of a small band of skilled warriors taking on the impossible is (it possesses a great number of similarities to what’s considered the best of its kind, Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” for one), writers Kaneo Ikegami and Daisuke Tengan give “13 Assassins” its own thumbprint with the context.

    Miike then delivers the full impact of all the tones from pure syrupy action to dark, shocking drama. He knows exactly how to take a high-tension scene to a whole other level by creating a full spectrum of what we see versus what is kept from us, especially in terms of violence. As soon as he wants to export those talents to Hollywood, someone better answer. We could use more action films like “13 Assassins.”

  27. Kadhavaseshan (2004)

    Written and directed by T.V. Chandran, starring Dilip, Jyothirmayi, Indrans and Vijayaraghavan.

    Music: M. Jayachandran and Issac Thomas Kottukapally (BGM)
    Cinematography : K.G. Jayan
    Editing: Venugopal

  28. The Believer (2001)
    Country: US/Language: English
    Directed and written by Henry Bean
    Starring Ryan Gosling, Billy Zane, Theresa Russell, Summer Phoenix
    Music by Joel Diamond
    Cinematography Jim Denault
    Editing by Mayin Lo and Lee Percy

    There is just no way to adequately describe this film. The idea of the head of a skinhead group being a Jew is just so incredible that you can hardly believe that it is based on a real person.

    How could someone hate himself so much to lead a group that advocates his annihilation? Yet, at the same time, he is respectful of the practices and customs of his people. What demons inside this person cause such turmoil? We see his conflict as a student when he argues theology, and then we next see him as a man beating up a another Jew. It is later we find that he is a skinhead.

    It just defies any explanation, and has to be seen to understand. Gosling was great in the role and I certainly learned more about Jews than I every had known.

  29. Midnight in Paris (2011)
    Country: United States and Spain/Language: English and French
    Directed and written by Woody Allen
    Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Michael Sheen
    Music by Stephane Wrembel
    Cinematography Darius Khondji
    Editing by Alisa Lepselter

    Woody Allen always comes up with a gem once in a while. And this is one among them. It’s main them seems to be about nostalgia. About those people who always lived in the past and saw the present as empty. The film tells the tale of American screenwriter Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) and his days in Paris along with his fiance, family, and friends. Allen gives an interesting touch to the tale. No wonder he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

  30. Mad Detective (2007)
    Country: Hong Kong/Language: Cantonese
    Directed by Johnnie To & Wai Ka-Fai
    Written by Wai Ka-Fai and Au Kin-Yee
    Starring Lau Ching-Wan, Andy On, Lam Ka-Tung, Kelly Lin
    Music by Xavier Jamaux
    Cinematography Cheng Siu-Keung
    Editing by Tina Baz

    Johnnie To & Wai Ka-Fai’s Mad Detective is a film that turns the Hong Kong crime genre upon it’s head. Based around the simple concept of a man that can see everyone’s hidden persona’s, Mad Detective is anything but formulaic and right from the very start dissuades any notion that this is just another flashy HK crime flick. Lau Ching-Wan stars as the eponymous Mad Detective, Inspector Chan Kwai-Bun, a brilliant detective forced into retirement when his methods and actions become a little too bizarre. Alongside him Andy On plays young Inspector Ho who tries to enlist the aid of retired Inspector Bun to solve a complex murder case involving a missing police officer and a suspect with multiple personalities.

    What follows is a highly ingenious, highly inventive and above all, highly entertaining piece of cinema. Paced perfectly, this viewer sat on the edge of his seat, intrigued and enthralled in equal measure and delighting and the simple, unrestrained freshness of this film and it’s premise. Lau Ching-Wan plays his part exceptionally well as the oddball Inspector Bun, throwing all semblance of logic out of the window as he investigates the case, but it’s a straight faced performance; there’s no comedy here as the plot and it’s characters take themselves very seriously. However, despite this it’s hard not to find humour in some of the scenes involving multiple personalities, and whether this was the directors intent or not, it does provide a handful of light hearted moments that help to break up this complex and down-right weird film into more palatable pieces.

    Overall, if you’re looking for a crime film that’s as inventive and intriguing as it is enjoyable, you can’t go wrong with Mad Detective. Among the best works from To’s Milkyway Image studio.

  31. Thoovanathumbikal
    Country: India/Language: Malayalam
    Directed by P.Pathmarajan

    Starring Mohanlal, Ashokan,Jagathy, Sumalatha, Parvathy, Sreenath
    Music by Johnson

    One of the Malayalam classic, I ever seen. THoovanathumbical displays that, The Film must be the art of the Director. Clara is the one and only powerful feminist charector in the Malayalam cinema. I enjoy the love of Thrissur Malayalam in this film.

  32. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
    Country: United States/Language: English
    Directed by Benh Zeitlin
    Written by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
    Starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry
    Music by Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin
    Cinematography Ben Richardson
    Editing by Crockett Doob & Affonso Gonçalves

    The film takes place after the incidence of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. It won the Caméra d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

    A review by Roger Ebert:

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