5 Must Watch Recent Hollywood Movies

It has been a while since I wrote a blog and I feel it is only apt that I end this drought with another one about my favorite topic, Movies!

This is a followup to one of my previous blogs 15 Must Watch Hollywood MoviesHere, I have tried to capture 5 Hollywood Movies that released in the recent times that I believe deserves a watch.

Once again this is a list completely based on my personal preferences. However, any feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Even though I have included the IMDB link’s and IMDB ratings for the movie, they list is not based on IMDB’s rankings!

[In Alphabetic Order]

Captain Phillips [2013]Captain Phillips

Genre: Biography, Drama, Thriller

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Trailer

Synopsis: The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Director: Paul Greengrass

Star Cast:  Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman

Tom Hanks as always delivers a stellar performance. The movie will keep you on the edge of your seat and is brilliantly directed. I looked it up on the internet after watching the movie and it is as close as it gets to the real story. This is a satellite picture of the real boat that was used during the hijacking.

Flight [2012]Flight

Genre: Drama, Thriller

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Trailer

Synopsis: An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling.

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Star Cast:  Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, Don Cheadle

Denzel Washington delivers a cracker of a performance. The movie is primarily about the investigation that follows the crash and it is just brilliant, specially the last scene. No Spoilers!

Real Steel [2011]Real Steel

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

Trailer

Synopsis: Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter feels he’s found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father.

Director: Shawn Levy

Star Cast:  Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo

The Rocky meets Transformers. This movie is epic simply because it brings old school boxing with new age robots. Since it is set in the near future, it seems believable and the fights are just insane. The movie has a good mix of emotions, action, sci-fi and pure entertainment.

Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden [2012] Seal Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

IMDB Rating: 5.6/10

Trailer

Synopsis: A group of Navy SEALs come to learn the identity of their target: Osama bin Laden.

Director: John Stockwell

Star Cast:  Cam Gigandet, Jenny Gabrielle, Anson Mount

Everyone has heard about Zero Dark Thirty but very few have heard of Seal Team Six. Seal Team Six is a TV Movie made by Nation Geographic. Unlike Zero Dark Thirty, which is slow and feels like a drag, Seal Team Six is slick, fast, real and really well shot. Seal Team Six primarily concentrates on the operation itself and not on the politics and the decision making behind the scenes.

Warrior [2011]Warrior

Genre: Drama, Sport

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Trailer

Synopsis: The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother.

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Star Cast:  Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton

A marine who wants to win a boxing championship to pass on the winnings to his friend’s wife who dies in front of his eyes on the battlefield.

A professor who wants to win a boxing championship to pass on the winnings to his family and secure their future.

What happens when they come face to face and how the drama unfolds. One of the best movies in recent times. Watch out for Tom Hardy, he is the next 007.

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Review – Heroine

Kareena Kapoor gives a stellar performance. Kareena has been growing as an actor over the years and Heroine only proves that. Apart from that the movie boasts of a lot of other wonderful performances by Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Shahana Goswami, Divya Dutta & Ranvir Shorey. However the character actors are extremely poor  which also brings to light that Bhandarkar has traditionally not paid much attention to his Charachter actors. I mean, Page 3, Corporate, except Fashion, all his character actors were really poor at their job.

The story of the film is extremely bland and predictable. It has no dept at all. It seems that after Aishwarya walked out the film, the story was tweaked and in the process the nuances were lost. There is absolutely no attention to detail. The dubbing is flawed and is clearly visible, specially when character actors are speaking. The Music of the film is also not impressive. The much publicized song ‘Halkat Jawani’ is no where close to say a Sheela, Munni or a Chikni Chameli. The movie also lacks in scale, it does not appear like a big budget bollywood movie.

The movie is not as hard hitting or for that matter even as realistic as his previous outings have been. The movie uses cliches and cheap storytelling to take the story forward. The movie draws inspiration from various tabloids and gossips and just appears to be a glorification of the same.

The movie was avoidable but I would still give it a ‘Watchable’ rating, purely based on Kareena and the other mentioned actors’ performances.

Also Kareena looks extremely extremely pretty throughout the movie. A delight to watch.

Most Trustworthy Actors in Hollywood

Most Trustworthy Actors in Hollywood

In this article I try to create a list of Hollywood actors who you can trust on to give you excellent cinema. I have come up with this list based on whatever movies I have seen and I am sure that movies by all these actors will seldom disappoint you.

I have tried to keep my focus on both commercial as well as critical acclaim combined when choosing the actors in this list. That explains leaving out actors like Tom Cruise who succeed commercially but their movies are not necessarily applauded for being ‘Good Movies’.

Tom Hanks

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000158/

Tom Hanks is easily the most trust worth actor of Hollywood. Pick up any of his movies and there is hardly any chance that you will be disappointed. His movies include Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away and many more which are must watch movies. Almost never miss out on a Tom Hanks Movie.

Kevin Spacey

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/

Another one of my favourite actors is Kevin Spacey. He caught my eye first with this movie called 21. I later saw why he caught my attention in an otherwise average movie, when I saw The Usual Suspects. He has another power packed performance in The Superman Returns as the bad guy Lex Luthor. I personally like his performances which gives allows me to add him to this list.

Robert Downey Jr.

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000375/

Robert Downey Jr. has that natural charm where he breaths a certain kind of life into the characters he plays that only he can do. He has made Iron Man his own and he repeated this in the case of Sherlock Holmes. Two absolutely opposite roles, in two different ages and yet one man has made it his own! Though he has not done too many movies worth remembering in the past apart from the Iron Man series and the Sherlock Holmes series and a few others, he is definitely an actor to watch out for.

Shia LaBeouf

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0479471/

I first saw him in The Transformers, then I saw Eagle Eye, then I saw Disturbia, then, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull & then Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Amazing movies…all of them…that is why I am sure his movies will not disappoint!

Edward Norton

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001570/

Edward Norton reminds a lot of Shia LaBeouf. Somehow, they seem very similar to me. Their career trajectory somehow overlaps even though Edward has done no such movie as The Transformers which is the major draw if you were to peek into Sh

ia LaBeouf’s Resume. You have to watch Rounders, Fight Club, The Italian Job, The Incredible Hulk & Stone to know why he is on this list.

Stanley Tucci

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001804/

So many times I have seen a good movie and gone…who is this guy? Every movie that I have seen him in, has turned out to be an amazing movie. Since he is a character actor and the only one on this list, he obviously does not have a very high recall value but nevertheless leaves his mark in the movies he has chosen. Watch Lucky Number Slevin, The Devil Wears Prada, What Just Happened, Easy A, Burlesque, Margin Call, Captain America: The First Avenger…!

Leonado Di Caprio

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000138/

That actor who has enjoyed amazing Commercial as well as Critical success thanks to Martin Scorsese who considers almost writes his movies for Leonado. Even though an Oscar still eludes him, he is in the good books of some excellent filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron (of course) & very recently Client Eastwood. Leonado has a long way from being that lanky guys from Titanic to be a power house performer today. Must Watch movies of his include The Beach , Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, Shutter Island, Inception & the very recent J. Edgar.

Jesse Eisenberg

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0251986/

When he is asked the question if he has the attention of the lawyer in the movie The Social Network and the way he tears apart each and everyone in the opposition, even Mark Zuckerberg would have been proud of Jesse to have played his character the way he did! That movie seemed path breaking to me from the way it was made and the way Jesse performed in it. He proved the actor in him and his choice of movies proved the star in him. He has done awesome movies like Adventureland, Zombieland, The Social Network and I expect a lot out of him in the near future.

Helena Bonham Carter

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000307/

From the Harry Potter series to the musical Sweeny Todd, from Fight Club to Planet of Apes, this woman has impressed me a lot. She generally prefers to play crazy characters but they are generally performances of such high quality that they make the movie a must watch just for Helena alone. Also watch Alice in Wonderland.

Justin Long

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0519043/

The Guy caught my eye in the movie Accepted and then with his cameo in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. He is a natural, specially at comedy and is a good actor to watch out for. He is however still growing in the industry and is a force to reckon with. Do not miss Live Free or Die Hard.

Timothy Olyphant

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0648249/

Another mind blowing actor. Olyphant is one of the most stylish actors that I have come across in Hollywood. He plays his characters in such a way that brings a lot of depth in them. He has done some amazing movies and his movies are not to be missed out on! Do check out The Girl Next Door, Live Free or Die Hard, Hitman, I Am Number Four amongst others.

Paul Giamatti

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0316079/

How can we miss out Giamatti when we are talking about powerful and trustworthy actors? He is one of the most brilliant actors who deliver a power packed performance ever. If for nothing else, you will enjoy his movies only because of his performances. However, don’t be mistaken, he has delivered a bunch of amazing movies which includes, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, Planet of the Apes, Paycheck, The Illusionist,, Shoot ‘Em Up, Fred Claus, Duplicity, Too Big to Fail, The Hangover Part II & The Ides of March.

John Malkovich

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000518/

The Guy has a movie by his name called being John Malkovich. An excellent actors who has delivered unique and successful performances one after the other! Watch Con Air, Rounders, Being John Malkovich, Johnny English, Burn After Reading, Red & Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Tom Hardy

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0362766/

Is no doubt an amazing actor but did not burst on to mainstream Hollywood until the recent hit Inception. He is without a doubt an amazing actor and it shoes in his earnest performances and very good movie selections. Do not miss out on RocknRolla, Inception, Warrior  & just hang on to your seats for his upcoming release The Dark Knight Rises where he essays the role of Bane!

I know I must have missed a lot of other amazing actors, I will try to keep updating this entry as and when i come across other trustworthy actors in Hollywood.

Goodbye Shah Rukh Khan, Thanks For The Memories!

[This is not an article written by me but I could not help sharing it]

Came across this excellent article written by Rituparna Chatterjee on IBNLive.com on Shah Rukh Khan. It talks about him in the 90s and compares it with him today. It is a critical of The King Khan but in a rather caring and concerned way. It is evident she loves him but has been hurt and believes it is time for him to move on while his glory is still intact!

I do not endorse the opinions of the article but yes Chatterjee  comes amazingly close to expressing what I have felt for a while is the reason for Shah Rukh Khan loss of control over his career. Out of sheer love and respect for Shah Rukh Khan, just like Sachin Tendulkar, I don’t want him to retire. Never!

Link of the article: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/goodbye-shah-rukh-thanks-for-the-memories/231787-8.html

What sexual awakening was to thousands of teenagers in the optimistic 90s, Shah Rukh was to Indian cinema. He was yet to discover his best camera profile and the scope of his dimples. He has, since then, scaled buildings, detonated bombs and brought roses to his sweetheart at midnight, but his super stardom has taken its bloody toll. He has lost the nerve he once showed in revealing his imperfect body in Maya Memsaab and reneged on the promise he made to his converts in the 90s to always select good cinema over money.

Yes, in that way, I have had a falling out with him. While he has moved on, I haven’t.

As a revisionist hero, Shah Rukh was the spiritual head of the new order he established in the early 90s and sustained for the next 10 years paring competition from two other emerging stars – Aamir and Salman – both intense and utterly focussed on using the consumerist audiences of the age of liberalization to their advantage.

“Shah Rukh Khan sells, period.” – Shah Rukh Khan

Like an ageing rockstar who remembers the heady aphrodisiac of a stadium full of screaming girls, Shah Rukh keeps trying to recreate the magnetic hold he had on his audience 10 years ago as a monument to his ego in films such as Ra.One. His is a career well lived. He is wealthy beyond all comparison and has established a fan base that few actors can emulate.

“My life may seem glamorous from the outside but off screen it’s as ordinary as anyone else’s. I want people to know that movie stars live a normal, middle-class life,” he told the BBC at the time of releasing the documentaries by filmmaker Nasreen Muni Kabir on his outer and inner worlds.

Yet he rarely ever chooses scripts that do not revolve around the central theme of ‘Shah Rukh Khan’. He rarely ever shares screen space, except in his early years, with some one who is his true competition. In Shimit Amin’s Chak De India Shah Rukh gave a stellar performance due to the strong ensemble cast and the fact that the focus was evenly shared by a team of good actors.

Shah Rukh has been told, over and over again, by the men he trusted his career, and by default his life with, he looked cute when he nodded his head a certain way or like a devil-may-care Cary Grant when his hair was brushed away from his forehead. Nobody would ever dispute his contribution to cinema. He is the single most important face a billion people the world over identify Indian cinema, its culture and the masculinity and fabulous wealth of its men with. I will not waste your time running you through a laundry list of his films and achievements, his endorsements and the sheer discipline with which he has built himself an empire in Mumbai.

I see him as a middle-aged realist with sharp intelligence but too entrapped in his super stardom to realize the message his changing audiences are sending him in his Friday outings at the Box Office. Yes, Ra.One made money, and so has Don 2. But the man on the street, which he himself once was at the time of Circus and Dil Dariya, is losing interest in the hamming, in the lined forehead and the body tortured in the gym to keep the tapering waist even in his middle age.

Would you, Shah Rukh Khan, see your own films, if they were showed to you back in 1988 when you valued character-driven performance? How would you rate your acting? I doubt if he would answer those questions.

If they were to put up a statue of him at Bandra it would have its arms outstretched and head tilted back – a pose his fans interpret as welcoming both the malice and the love he has received over 20 years. Which is not inconsiderable. He is the first hero to give back to his fans as much as he got, welcoming them into his drawing room. If only he knew when to stop.

The stress is starting to show

At the height of his success, Shah Rukh, with good humour and the shrewd derision he often directed at himself, said he has learnt to live with the burden of his fame. In a candid interview with his friend and filmmaker Karan Johar, he said he would always be King Khan in his mind and amongst the people who love him. The first cracks in the good humour have started to show now.

Despite protestations that opinion of film critics do not matter, the stress is showing after repeated thrashing from opinion makers across the board on two of his last films,Ra.One and Don 2, which were almost his children in the amount of love and attention he had bestowed on them. He had exhausted himself promoting Ra.One on a scale that has never happened before and previously thought impossible.

The sulking star is now in the news for slapping filmmaker Farah Khan’s husband Shirish Kunder, a lightweight in the pecking order of the industry. He is taken to making potshots at rivals, dressing in drag at major award shows and masquerading a barely concealed jealousy at the success of a hugely successful risque film under the garb of genial humour.

I mean it the kindest way, but it’s time to say goodbye. Shah Rukh will not be able to keep up with the formidable crowd forming at Bollywood’s second rung every day, neither will he be able to accept a character role that is not an ode to his super stardom. For as long as his friends in the industry keep shaping his career he will find a hit or the other. But now is a good a time as any for a dignified exit from playing the romantic hero opposite heroines half his age and choose scripts that will do justice to his talent.

For a man who is a strategist, he is one lost superhero.

5 Most Underrated Bollywood Movies

Underrated: Movies that either did not do too well at the box office when they released or movies that did not get the attention they deserved, or simply movies that are underrated.

Gulaal [2009]

Genre: Drama, Politics

IMDB Rating: 7.8/10

Synopsis: A law student witnesses the struggles of the Rajputs, deception, homicide, and crime after being elected as General Secretary of his college.

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Star cast: Kay Kay Menon, Raj Singh Chaudhary and Jesse Randhawa

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1261047/

If you thought Dev D was Anurag Kashyap’s best movie till date, then think again. Gulaal leaves Dev D way behind. In case you want to be sure yourself, you won’t have to go too far, just watch the first 10 minutes of the movie where Kay Kay Menon gives a power packed speech. The movie has a lot of new actors but each one of them gives an unforgettable  performance. The movie primarily deals with the politics in Rajasthan, the largest state in India.

Striker [2010]

Genre: Drama, Politics, Crime, Romance

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Synopsis: Amidst strictly enforced curfew by Bombay Police during December 1992 following Hindu-Muslim riots, Suryakant – one of four siblings from Malad’s Malvani slums, heads home. While doing so, he reflects on his childhood; his sisters: Devi and Rajni; brother Chandrakant; his dad, Shashikant, as well his mother; his expertise with the Carrom-board; run-ins with extortionist-goon, Jaleel Khan; his friendship with Zaid Khan; his crush on Noorie as well as his plans to find employment in Dubai; why he could not attend Devi’s marriage, as well as the tragedy that awaits him.

Director: Chandan Arora

Star cast: Siddharth, Ankur Vikal and Anupam Kher

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1573482/

When I watched this movie I was not expecting anything more than a movie based on Carom, a popular board game. But within 15 minutes of the movie starting it was evident that the movie has got much deeper roots. The movie talks about the slum life of Mumbai and captures Mumbai in a beautiful yet dark manner. One of the high points of the movie is when the lead actor played by South Sensation Siddharth comments about Mumbai saying: ‘bombay jitna bhi dekho…roz todha aur dikhta hai’. The movie dedicated only about 15 minutes to romance, the love interest played beautifully by Nicolette Bird but it does full justice to the romantic angle of the movie. The song Cham Cham sung by one of India’s most accomplished singers Sonu Nigam only adds to the movie. The movie, however, keeps its concentration on the Hindu/Muslim strife that was the main reason for the 1992 riots in Bombay. The movie is honest and gritty. The star cast once again delivers and excellent performance.

MP3: Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar [2007]

Genre: Romance/College

IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Synopsis: Rohan Sood attends St. Lawrence High School and falls in love with Ayesha Mehra, who was born in London, England. Their relationship sours owing to rumours. Ayesha and her mom decide to go to Paris. Rohan travels all the way to Paris to meet his lady love and win her back.

Director: Robby Grewal

Star cast: Ruslaan Mumtaz and Hazel Croney

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0860454/

One of the best School Romantic movies. Both Ruslaan & Hazel make an excellent pair which is irresistible and their High School romance takes you back to your school days reminding you of the boy/girl that you had a crush/relationship with. It will make you want to fall in love. The movie is extremely cute and sweet but could not perform up to its capability on the Box Office probably due to lack of proper distribution/marketing.

Swades [2004]

Genre: Drama/Inspirational

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Synopsis: A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots.

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Star cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi and Kishori Balal

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367110/

It is almost impossible for a Shah Rukh Khan movie to be on this list…but surprise surprise, it is! This beautiful movie about a NASA scientist coming back to his village with intentions to take back his grandma back to USA with him will make you fall in love with it. One of Shah Rukh Khan’s best performance till date. The movie was initially offered to Hrithik Roshan, but I am glad he declined it because Shah Rukh Khan does complete justice to the character of Mohan. The Surprise package of the movie is Gayatri Joshi who in her simple and calm character makes a massive impact. Also as always the subtle romance that almost all Ashutosh Gowarikar (of Oscar Nominated ‘Lagaan’ Fame) movies have is outstanding and beautiful to watch. Swades was get another awesome movie that did not receive its due on the Box Office!

Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein [2001]

Genre: Romantic, Comedy

IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Synopsis: It’s love at first sight when Madhav Shastri aka Maddy (R. Madhavan) first glimpses the beautiful Reena Malhotra (Diya Mirza). Thereafter he meets her again and finds out that she the betrothed to Rajiv. Maddy impersonates Rajiv and enters Reena’s life. And they both fall in love. Rajiv enters and both Maddy & Reena’s lives go for a

Director: Gautham Menon

Star cast: R. Madhavan, Saif Ali Khan and Diya Mirza

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299108/

One might argue what this movie is doing in the list of Bollywood’s Most Underrated Movies? But Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein was a flop when it released. I was there in the theatre to watch the movie first day, it was deserted. But Rehna Hai tere Dil Mein surfaced to become the cult that it is today. Very romantic, excellent music and yet another impressive performance by Vrajesh Hirjee who first made his mark with Hrithik Roshan starrer ‘Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai…’!

Next Post: Calcutta – The City Of Joy

The Bafta 2012 Winners

Best Film: The Artist

Outstanding British Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: Tyrannosaur – Paddy Considine (director), Diarmid Scrimshaw (producer)

Foreign language film: The Skin I Live In

Director: The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Leading actor: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Leading actress: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Supporting actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Supporting actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help

Documentary: Senna

Animated film: Rango

Original Screenplay: The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Adapted screenplay: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan

Original music: The Artist

Cinematography: The Artist

Editing: Senna

Production design: Hugo

Costume design: The Artist

Make-up and hair: The Iron Lady

Sound: Hugo

Special visual effects: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Short animation: A Morning Stroll

Short film: Pitch Black Heist

The Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award (previously announced, and voted by the public): Adam Deacon

Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: John Hurt

Bafta Fellowship: Martin Scorsese

54th Annual Grammy Awards – Winners

Winners in selected major categories at Sunday’s 54th Annual Grammy Awards:

Record Of The Year – ‘Rolling In The Deep’ Adele

Album Of The Year – ’21’ Adele

Song Of The Year – ‘Rolling In The Deep’ Adele Adkins And Paul Epworth (Song Writer Award)

Best New Artist – Bon Iver

Best Pop Solo Performance – Adele ‘Someone Like You’

Best Rock Album – Foo Fighters ‘Wasting Light’

Best Pop Duo – Tony Bennett And Amy Winehouse ‘Body And Soul’

Best Pop Vocal Album – Adele ‘21’

Best Rap Album – Kanye West ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

Best Pop Instrumental Album – Booker T. Jones ‘The Road From Memphis’

Best Dance Recording – Skrillex ‘Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites’

Best Dance/Electronica Album – Skrillex ‘Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites’

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album – Tony Bennett & Various Artists ‘Duets II’

Best Rock Performance – Foo Fighters ‘Walk’

Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance – Foo Fighters ‘White Limo’

Best Rock Song – Foo Fighters (Songwriters) ‘Walk’

Best Alternative Music Album – Bon Iver ‘Bon Iver’

Best R&B Performance – Corinne Bailey Rae ‘Is This Love’

Best Traditional R&B Performance – Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona ‘Fool For You’

Best R&B Song – Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim, Jack Splash (Songwriters) ‘Fool For You’

Best R&B Album – Chris Brown ‘F.A.M.E’

Best Rap Performance – Jay-Z & Kanye West ‘Otis’

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration – Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie ‘All Of The Lights’

Best Rap Song – Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West (Songwriters) ‘All Of The Lights’

Best Country Solo Performance – Taylor Swift ‘Mean’

Best Country Duo/Group Performance – The Civil Wars ‘Barton Hollow’

Best Country Song – Taylor Swift (Songwriter) ‘Mean’

Best Country Album – Lady Antebellum ‘Own The Night’

Best New Age Album – Pat Metheny ‘What’s It All About’

Best Improvised Jazz Solo – Chick Corea ‘500 Miles High’

Best Jazz Vocal Album – Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists ‘The Mosaic Project’

Best Jazz Instrumental Album – Corea, Clarke & White ‘Forever’

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album – Christian Mcbride Big Band ‘The Good Feeling’

Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance – Le’Andria Johnson ‘Jesus’

Best Gospel Song – Kirk Franklin (Songwriter) ‘Hello Fear’

Best Contemporary Christian Music Song – Laura Story (Songwriter) ‘Blessings’

Best Gospel Album – Kirk Franklin ‘Hello Fear’

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album – Chris Tomlin ‘And If Our God Is For Us…’

Best Latin Pop, Rock, Or Urban Album – Mana ‘Drama Y Luz’

Best Regional Mexican Or Tejano Album – Pepe Aguilar ‘Bicentenario’

Best Banda Or Norteno Album – Los Tigres Del Norte ‘Los Tigres Del Norte And Friends’

Best Tropical Latin Album – Cachao ‘The Last Mambo’

Best Americana Album – Levon Helm ‘Ramble At The Ryman’

Best Bluegrass Album – Alison Krauss & Union Station ‘Paper Airplane’

Best Blues Album – Tedeschi Trucks Band ‘Revelator’

Best Folk Album – The Civil Wars ‘Barton Hollow’

Best Regional Roots Music Album – Rebirth Brass Band ‘Rebirth Of New Orleans’

Best Reggae Album – Stephen Marley ‘Revelation Pt. 1: The Root Of Life’

Best World Music Album – Tinariwen ‘Tassili’

Best Children’s Album – Various Artists ‘All About Bullies … Big And Small’

Best Spoken Word Album – Betty White ‘If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)’

Best Comedy Album – Louis CK ‘Hilarious’

Best Musical Theater Album – ‘The Book Of Mormon’

Best Short Form Music Video – Adele ‘Rolling In The Deep’

Best Long Form Music Video – Foo Fighters ‘Foo Fighters: Back And Forth’

15 Must Watch Hollywood Movies

15 Must Watch Hollywood Movies

(Edit made on January 17th, 2016: In hindsight 12 Angry Men should have been in the Top 5. )

One question that I come across every now and then is, ‘Can you please suggest a good movie?’ I generally try to do justice to the person’s need. Because well, it is all about one’s taste. In this post I have tried to list down 15 Must Watch Hollywood Movies (initially it was supposed to be 10, but could not contain it).

I have tried my best to include the best, it was really difficult leaving out the ones I did, in fact a few were impossible to leave out, I have therefore mentioned a list of all the movies that I had considered and could not make it to the 15, at the end of the post. Hope I can do justice to the title of the post…however if you ask me the actual 15 must watch….well, it depends!

Caution:

I have not seen all that is there to see and I am sure there are still some awesome movies out there that I am yet to watch. This list is therefore based on whatever I have come across so far.

Even though I have included the IMDB link’s and IMDB ratings for the movie, they list is not based on IMDB’s rankings!

The List

[In Alphabetic Order]

Behind Enemy Lines [2001]

Genre: Action, Thriller, Drama, War

IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

Synopsis: A Navy navigator is shot down over enemy territory and is ruthlessly pursued by a secret police enforcer and the opposing troops. Meanwhile his commanding officer goes against orders in an attempt to rescue him.

Director: John Moore

Star cast: Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson and Gabriel Macht

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0159273/

One of the best war movies ever. The entire star cast gives a power packed performance. It is a thrilling movie with a lot of Action & Emotion. Complete entertainment.

Eagle Eye [2008]

Genre: Action, Thriller

IMDB Rating: 6.6/10

Synopsis: Jerry and Rachel are two strangers thrown together by a mysterious phone call from a woman they have never met. Threatening their lives and family, she pushes Jerry and Rachel into a series of increasingly dangerous situations, using the technology of everyday life to track and control their every move.

Director: D. J. Caruso

Star cast: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan and Rosario Dawson

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1059786/

Shia La Beouf caught my attention with this movie, even though he had already done the first instalment of Transformers when this movie released, it took me this movie to really stand up and take notice of him. Great action and an awesome concept. Super Movie.

Fight Club [1999]

Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime

IMDB Rating: 8.8/10

Synopsis: An office employee and a soap salesman build a global organization to help vent male aggression.

Director: David Fincher

Star cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/

This movie plays with your mind. It is outstanding. It is a little gory but then hey…it is called ‘Fight Club’!! An outstanding star cast once again with the likes of Pitt, Norton & Helena. All three of them deliver scintillating performances. The movie deserves to be a cult and the story, screenplay, cinematography, direction are flawless. Brad Pitt as always is the Rockstar of this movie!

Forrest Gump [1994]

Genre: Drama, Comedy

IMDB Rating: 8.7/10

Synopsis: Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny, eludes him.

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Star cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109830/

My theory is that if you are looking for a good movie and don’t know which one to chose and yet want to make sure that you don’t disappoint yourself, pick any movie which has Tom Hanks in it. The actor always delivers. I wanted make sure that I don’t end up picking all his movies in this list of Top 15 and it was really difficult picking up one, but I finally settled down for Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump is not just a movie, it is an experience, and it is the ultimate underdog movie even though it has never been positioned as an underdog movie. It revolves around the story of a man who seems mentally challenged and has like a thousand shortcomings but he never gives up and keeps trying until he succeeds. The story is inspiring and the role of Forrest Gump is extremely well essayed by Tom Hanks. It is funny, it is sad, it is emotional & it is also stupid but once you meet Forrest Gump, you will never be able to forget him.

Inception [2010]

Genre: Sci-fi, Action

IMDB Rating: 8.8/10

Synopsis: In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job to date: Inception.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Star cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page & Tom Hardy

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1375666/

One of the most terrific movies till date. The movie has got layers after layers; literally…Leonardo does a fantastic job along with a special mention for Tom Hardy who as always is his brilliant self. However, it is Nolan that deserves all the accolades for making the movie what it is. The movie has a brilliant story, screenplay, cinematography and excellent direction by Nolan. The movie test the extent to which the human mind can go, it will force you to think and think hard. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t understand the movie at your first attempt.

Into The Wild [2007]

Genre: Adventure, Drama

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Synopsis: After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.

Director: Sean Penn

Star cast: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Keener

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758758/

The thing about this movie is that it is a really slow movie that needs to be savoured. It is not the kind of movie that you want to watch when you are all worked up and are looking for some entertainment. You want to watch this movie when you have a lot of time and are looking to relax. The movie is a journey and your mind needs to travel with it, so make sure you are ready to let go. A true adventurist will really love this movie for the others it is a great watch which forces us to think and do things that we wish to do but don’t end up doing due to the various pressures that we face in our day to day life.

The Dark Knight [2008]

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Crime, Drama

IMDB Rating: 8.9/10

Synopsis: Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent are forced to deal with the chaos unleashed by a terrorist mastermind known only as the Joker, as he drives each of them to their limits.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Star cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger & Aaron Eckhart

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/

Watch this movie for ‘The Joker’. In one of his last performances the late Heath Ledger gives an unforgettable performance, a performance of a lifetime. He has immortalized ‘The Joker’. Heath Ledger was awarded a posthumous Oscar was his performance of ‘The Joker’. The movie debuted on #1 on IMDB when it released. Gotham has never been darker. Christian Bale reprises the role of Batman and does complete justice to the role. The movie is almost a classic now and a Must Watch.

The Holiday [2006]

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

IMDB Rating: 6.8/10

Synopsis: Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other’s countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.

Director: Nancy Meyers

Star cast: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law & Jack Black

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457939/

The Holiday is easily the best ‘feel good’ movie that I could come up with. The movie about two women exchanging their houses and living each other’s lives over a vacation indeed makes one feel like going for a Holiday. It makes one relive their best moments from their lives and that is how it created the ‘feel good’ that it does. The chemistry between Cameron  Diaz & Jude Law is breathtaking, while Kate Winslet and Jack Black hold their own. The movie is not an out an out romantic movie but it is about life and how a Holiday can change things forever!

The Notebook [2004]

Genre: Romance, Drama

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Synopsis: A poor and passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman and gives her a sense of freedom. They soon are separated by their social differences.

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Star cast: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332280/

The Notebook is easily the best romantic movie that I could come up with. Titanic may actually be the best but it is too cliché, so I went for The Notebook. There is however one main competitor for this movie which happens to be ‘A Walk to Remember’. Whenever either of the movies is discussed, the other is bound to be mentioned. I, however, feel that The Notebook beats A Walk to Remember hands down!! The Notebook is set in the older days which makes it beautiful, the sets, the costumes, the mannerisms are unparalleled, the invoke romance. The story of how the protagonists meet, fall in love, get drifted away from each other and how it pulls them back together…or does it??? The final scene of the movie may bring tears to your eyes, be prepared. If you wish to impress your girl with a really sweet  romantic movie, this one is for you.

The Number 23 [2007]

Genre: Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery

IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

Synopsis: Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

Director: Joel Schumacher

Star cast: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen and Logan Lerman

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0481369/

‘Jim Carrey is a comedian.’ This statement is completely wronged by this movie. In The Number 23, Jim Carrey gives an outstanding performance in a really really serious role. This movie would fall into my Top 5 anyway. It is just too good. The movie is about a man’s obsession with the number 23. It is a dark movie with crime, guns & sex playing their roles to perfection. Jim Carrey will however blow your mind with this one.

The Prestige [2006]

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Mystery

IMDB Rating: 8.4/10

Synopsis: The rivalry between two magicians is exacerbated when one of them performs the ultimate illusion.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Star cast: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0482571/

The fact that this is third Christopher Nolan movie in this list pretty much explains my obsession towards movies made by him, but trust me, I am not the one to be blamed, he is. Once you manage to watch all the movies on this list, you too will resonate my feelings. With ‘The Prestige’ Nolan, once again starts playing with the mind of the audience which he now seems to be a master of. The Prestige is a story of two magicians who are trying to outdo each other and are looking for ‘Real Magic’, will either of them find it or will Nolan once again leave it for you to interpret. The movie once again, like all a Nolan movies, is rich in content and has a number of layers to it. Each time you watch it, you like it more!

The Shawshank Redemption [1994]

Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller, Mystery

IMDB Rating: 9.2/10

Synopsis: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont

Star cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and Bob Gunton

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111161/

The undisputed #1. Has been on IMDB #1 for as long as I can remember. Has been temporarily dislodged by a few movies from this very list but at the end of the day, it remains at the number one position. The movie is kind of slow and one may find it boring in a few places but trust me, that is the trick, you have to watch it till the end. I was told about this movie by a friend at a birthday party, I saw it the very next day and since then it has been my favorite, but trust me, you have to give the movie a chance, you have to watch it till the end to know why it is so highly rated. I am not spilling any beans on this one, it is for you to find out.

The Social Network [2010]

Genre: Biography, Drama, Comedy

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

Synopsis: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking website that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

Director: David Fincher

Star cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285016/

I call movies like these semi-documentaries as they talk about an actual incident, but the entire thing is recreated in first person instead of a boring narration. There is only one other movie which comes remotely close to this one which interestingly happens to be about another landmark in the field of IT, Pirates Of Silicon Valley, which is the story of Bill Gates and Late Steve Jobs. The Social Network is, however, one of the smartest movies that i have seen in recent times. It tells the entire story of how Facebook was created and what legal problems it had to go through to reach where it is today but does it in a really witty manner. The movie has amazing dialogues and Jesse Eisenberg absolutely tears it apart in his role of Facebook CEO, Mark Zukerberg. This movie is a must watch for simply how smart & witty it is!

Vicky Cristina Barcelona [2008]

Genre: Drama, Romance

IMDB Rating: 7.3/10

Synopsis: Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamoured with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.

Director: Woody Allen

Star cast: Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0497465/

Oh Woody Allen! Nothing seems wrong or out of place or socially unacceptable anymore after watching this movie. The movie is set in Spain which has its own charming effect on the audience along with a stellar cast of Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson & a guest appearance by Penélope Cruz. A holiday like never before. The movie seems to be on a tight rope walk but amazingly it manages to keep itself on it and steadily so throughout the movie. One of my favorite movies, a must watch.

Wall E [2008]

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family

IMDB Rating: 8.5/10

Synopsis: In the distant future, a small waste collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Director: Andrew Stanton

Star cast: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight and Jeff Garlin

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910970/

The Oscar winning animation movie is easily one of the best Animation movies ever. The movie which is a love story between to robots, one which the humans are trying to phase out, ‘Wall E’ and another which is the next generation robots ‘Eva’ became so popular that there was a special petition in front of the Academy Awards Panel to include Animation movies in the Best Movie category. The petition, however, was not accepted and the movie won an Oscar for the best Animated Movie of 2008. The movie also reflects at the destructive ways of Humans and what it could lead the world to. The romance between the two robots though, specially Wall E, is so heart warming that you won’t be able to hold back your feelings for the it.

Special Mention

A Night At Roxbury [1998]

Synopsis: Two dim-witted brothers dream of owning their own dance club or at least getting into the coolest and most exclusive club in town, The Roxbury.

Director: John Fortenberry

Star cast: Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell and Raquel Gardner

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120770/

A Night At Roxbury is easily one of the funniest movies one will come across. Will Farrell is his usual self and delivers a performance which will throw you of your seats. It is a no brainer but do not miss this one at any cost. An excellent movie to watch with a bunch of crazy friends.

The ones that just missed out!

[In Alphabetic Order]

12 Angry Men [1957]

21 [2008]

300 [2006]

1408 [2007]

Armageddon [1998]

Bedazzled [2000]

Borat [2006]

Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle [2004]

Hitch [2005]

Inglorious Basterds [2009]

The Green Mile [1999]

Music & Lyrics [2007]

Never Back Down [2008]

Pirates Of Silicon Valley [1999]

Saving Private Ryan [1998]

Scarface [1983]

Shooter [2007]

Shutter Island [2010]

Speed Racer [2008]

Step Up 2 – The Streets [2008]

Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street [2007]

The Exorcist [1973]

The Girl Next Door [2004]

The Hangover [2009]

The Kite Runner [2007]

The Matrix [1999]

The Phantom of The Opera [2004]

The Pursuit of Happyness [2006]

The Truman Show [1998]

Too Big to Fail [2011]

Troy [2004]

Next Post: Why Not Study Retail?

Oscar Nominations 2012

The following is the list of nominees for the Academy Awards 2012
Just thought it is a very relevant post considering that the Oscars are now very close and the race is heating up!
Tell me who you think is going to win this year!

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
The Help
Moneyball
War Horse

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Animated Feature
A Cat In Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Artist
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Anonymous
The Artist
Hugo
Jane Eyre
W.E.

Best Documentary Feature
Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Pina
Undefeated

Best Documentary Short Subject
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?
God Is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
Saving Fac
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Best Achievement in Film Editing
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball

Best Achievement in Makeup
Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Iron Lady

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
Pentecost
Raju
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Drive
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon