Archive for Film Review

Good Will Hunting (1997) – A reel to treasure

Posted in Award, Film, Film Review, Golden Globe, Matt Damon, Oscar, Robin Williams with tags , , on July 7, 2011 by reeljunkie

I was shocked the other day when a friend of mine said she had just watched Good Will Hunting after her father had told her to, okay in the 90s we were too young to appreciate or watch such films, but this is a movie our generation must watch. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it or had watched it till last year. Okay being close to the end of my teenage years I probably have matured enough to not be into just the flick with the most explosions, the most blood or the hottie with the most exposed skin. Yet I am shocked no one had recommended this film to me before. Okay maybe not many people are as big Robin Williams fans as me to have jumped to my PC as soon as my friend mentioned a film with him in it, I scrolled through quiet a few good ones to get here, another viewing of Patch Adams, Dead Poet Soceity and August Rush(another movie I will address at a later time.).

When I got to Good Will Hunting my eyes widened and my jaw dropped, in spite of being the supporting actor(and winning an Oscar for it), this is probably one of Robin Williams’s best roles yet- a troubled Psychology professor.  After watching this piece of cinematographic art, Matt Damon jumped from just another Hollywood actor to one of my top five and Robin William’s reinforced his position there.

The name of the film is slightly miss leading, I expected it to be a feel good movie about Matt Damon or Robin Williams helping each other or the community out with acts of ‘good will’ like Mimi Leder’s Pay It Forward, starring one of my favorite actor’s Kevin Spacey. Anyway back to the film, the focus of the film is Will Hunting(Matt Damon), a young man earning his living through manual labor by day as a janitor in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spending his evenings with his three close friends of a similar background one of whom is played by Ben Affleck.

Will from the very start is portrayed to have a fairly anti-social behavior with a tendency to get into fights. But what he brilliantly keeps a secret is his genius intellect and is shown solving mathematical problems meant to challenge MIT students and unlike most he decides to fade back into the shadows making all wonder who the mystery man or woman is. Long story short, he gets seen by the professor, runs away, gets into a fight the following weekend, ends up in jail and is bailed out on one condition(by the aforementioned professor), he must turn up for a session of mathematical problem solving every week and see a therapist. Will agrees but his rebellious nature and his rude behavior drives most away psychologists away tiiiiill……………(you guessed it !!) Robin Williams enters the scene and the movie becomes really ‘deep’.

2 Academy Awards and 1 Golden Globe is less than what the movie deserves,  brilliant acting by all the leading roles, including the female lead who I didn’t feel the need to mention, her role should be left for audience to find out and I am not that big a fan. Gus Van Sant’s direction is amazing and the script is absolutely beautiful and here is the shocker, the fact that was almost impossible for me to swallow. The script was written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. So they are not just actors paid to read the lines, they wrote the lines and did it much better than most can. Enough said, I shall leave you to ponder the fact while you watch the movie, for the first time or again. It is a must for any film lover’s collection and has won its seat in my top 5 . The play on words in the title will mean something to you at the end, I’m sure of it. Get it, watch it, love it.

From the desk of a film addict.


Life is Beautiful (1997)

Posted in Film, Film Review, Italian with tags , , , on July 6, 2011 by reeljunkie

Good day blogosphere, today 6th July I start my first blog post, my blog will be like many out there but I’ll try for it not to be.

My posts will be about films from all around the world, no I am not a film critic, I just love movies, Hollywood, Bollywood, Japanese and French and am constantly looking to broaden my horizons. If I watch a film I like and I feel is worth writing about, I shall. I am not a proffessional, so my insight into camera work will not be great but I shall do my best to keep you reading.

Let me start with a movie not many know of, but I hope people who read this will be inspired to watch it.

I had never heard of this film or its director and star Robert Benigini. I must say his direction and acting his brilliant, it will bring tears to your eyes with the heart wrenching and simultaneously heart warming script by him and Vincenzo Cerami.

The film is set in the years preceding World War 2 and carries on into it. It revolves around a Jewish man named Guido who starts as a waiter in the Italian city of Arezzo, with dreams of starting a bookstore. The first quarter of the movie is simple and hilarious as he attempts to woo a young local school teacher(who on further research turned out be Bengini’s real wife Nicoletta Braschi !!) which turns out to be a challenge. The daughter of a rich aristocrat and engaged to be engaged to  a civil servant of her social standard, with the life of a ‘principessa’ as he lovingly calls her. Yet like the hero of every movie his comic antics cause her to fall for him, they climb onto a green horse and trot out of her engagement part to his Uncle’s palatial manor. The movie has a further feel good aura as the years pass till the Nazis roll in and the story progresses…the key points being a concentration camp, Guido’s lovely charm and his adorable but annoying young son. Bengini’s acting from here on will make you amaze you and his direction will make your jaw drop a couple feet as he tries to keep his son from feeling the pain and hardship of a concentration camp and hides him from the soldiers so he isn’t gassed like the rest. The film shows the extent a man can go to, to protect his family and make them feel secure even at times of intense hardship.

The movie is a must watch for all who call themselves a movie lover. Neither his family nor the audience is allowed to feel the misery in the concentration camps since he constantly keeps an element of humor running through the film, in the first few scenes Benigini’s direction will almost make you forget the obvious path the film is supposed to take. The playful and comic images and moments in a clearly depressing climate even make the cloudy days seem bright.

Life is Beautiful is feel good movie in every sense of the term and was my introduction to Italian cinema(don’t worry there are plenty of dubbed versions around). A Grand Jury Winner at 1997 Cannes Film Festival and incomparable to films based around similar circumstances- Schinder’s List, The Pianist. The movie ends with a heart warming feeling rather than a heart wrenching one, inspite of everything you see happening around the three primary characters, they are so well portrayed and lovable, the audience is in constant fear of losing one of them while they shed tears from the sorrow and joy in the brilliant piece of cinematography. I’m sure you will appreciate the title when the credits roll, so watch it.

From the desk of a film addict.