Before Night Falls (2000)

“Summer of Film #25 of 100”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/12/2005-summer-of-film/
Before Night Falls reminds me of the “old Einstein line”:http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

“If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.”

The gay community all over the world have been subjected to the same brand of hypocrisy in modern times. In Before Night Falls, the Cuban poet “Reynaldo Arenas”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynaldo_Arenas (played by Javier Bardem) goes from a wide-eyed, young artist to a decaying middle-aged man before our eyes. We sense that but for a different sexual predilection he would have been a national hero. Continue reading

The Jacket (2005)

“Summer of Film #24 of 100”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/12/2005-summer-of-film/
The Jacket, starring Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley, suffers from two problems: First, it had a trailer that gave too much up. If you’ve seen the main trailer for this one then you know what happens well into the second act. For many films this may not be a problem, but for a deliberate movie like The Jacket that revels in its mysteries, it is fatal. There were no mysteries for me. Second, it is a movie in the category of already well-made, iconic films such as 12 Monkeys, Frequency and Dead Again, assuming you’ve seen those. And even if you haven’t seen them, I would recommend them before I would this one. And once you’ve seen them, The Jacket wouldn’t seem all that special anyways since it adds nothing new.

The story involves a Gulf War vet (Brody) who suffers from amnesia and is falsely accused of murder. He is pronounced insane and is placed in a asylum where Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson), who must be a close relative of “Dr. Crane of Arkham asylum”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/25/batman-begins-2005/ , conducts dubious research on inmates. Inexplicably, this experimentation (which involves the titular jacket) allows Brody to see his own future- of course, leaving out the parts that would render the rest of the film pointless. He meets a girl in his future who has a link to his past- and in the tradition of the great movies mentioned before, they solve a mystery of the past through the future, and yet making sure that the future remains inevitable.

Like I said before- 12 Monkeys, Frequency and Dead Again.

The War of the Worlds (2005)

“Summer of Film #23 of 100”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/12/2005-summer-of-film/
If people in the future ask, “Who was Steven Spielberg?” the answer is this: He is the man who made Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List in the same year. And maybe after this year, you will be able to say he’s the guy who made The War of the Worlds and Vengeance (or the Untitled 1972 Munich Olympics Project) in the same year. But that remains to be seen. Continue reading

Spellbound (1945)

“Summer of Film #22 of 100”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/12/2005-summer-of-film/
Alfred Hitchcock, like Spielberg in modern times, had the ability to take any material and change it into a ‘Hitchcock-movie’ with his craft. Many times the material was mediocre- where the movie was the “MacGuffin”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macguffin – but he would dazzle you with his craft so that if you weren’t paying attention you would think the craft was the movie. Continue reading

48 Hrs. (1982)

“Summer of Film #21 of 100”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/12/2005-summer-of-film/
Was 48 Hrs original in its time? It is hard to say- it has not aged well. The pace, action and humor expected of a film like this has risen to a level so frenzied that while 48 Hrs doesn’t feel like a bad film, it feels incomplete. We feel there are many action sequences, many more jokes and a lot more of a climax still to come; which is probably while a sequel was made. Continue reading