Black, a review by dfmorgan
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Shernaz Patel
Overview: I know now that there is God... He is not in the Holy Spirit we pray to... He isn't written about in religious texts... He is someone who is a part of our lives... Whom we live for...
Because of whom we live...
Michelle McNally is "special" in more ways than one. She cannot see... nor hear... nor speak... She inhabits a world of infinite black... of a seamless, endless void where nothing reaches her and she reaches nothing. Her world is frightening in its complete remoteness. On the sheer will of her ferocious rage against destiny, Michelle struggles to stay afloat in the impenetrable whirlpool her life has become.
Into this devastating isolation enters a battle weary teacher, Debraj Sahai, life's wounded but arrogantly insolent warrior. With a single minded obsession, Debraj takes up a challenge that is next to impossible - to lead this wild, uncontrollable child into the light of knowledge.
Thus begins a journey of two headstrong individuals. They will overcome what they seek is that moment of miracle - when the ray of knowledge will penetrate through the dense black of Michelle's life... Black is the cathartic tale of a deaf, mute and blind girl who saw what people with sight fail to see - a vision of her God. Michelle McNally saw what other lesser mortals could not. She saw her God... heard Him... and walked with Him... into the light...
Watched: 6th Jun 2010
My Thoughts: Thank You Tom and Thank You Jon for recommending this wonderful film.
This film takes us through the life of Michelle McNally (Rani Mukherjee) from a few months after birth where she has now been diagnosed as both deaf and blind, through feral childhood onto a fairly confident young womanhood and finishing with a very confident woman. The bulk of the story is told in flashback but this doesn't detract from the storyline as it was easy enough to follow. One area I thought the director handled well was the sibling rivalry and reconcilation. When he chose to show the rivalry it was understated just enough to ensure that you were aware of it until he brought it to its head at the pre-wedding dinner. In the middle of all this was the teacher Debraj Sahai (Amitabh Bachchan) who brought Michelle out of herself and into the light. The film is top and tailed with Michelle seeing/visiting Debraj in hospital after finding him and finding out that he is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
My Rating: It has to be 5
(From Dave's DVD/Blu-ray Reviews on June 6th, 2010)
Public Enemies, a review by Jon
4 out of 5
From visionary director Michael Mann comes the film inspired by one of the country's most captivating and infamous outlaws - John Dillinger. Johnny Depp stars as the charismatic and elusive bank robber, John Dillinger, marked by the GBI as America's "Public Enemy Number One." Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) plays Billie Frechette, the only woman capable of capturing his heart. Hunted relentlessly by top FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), Dillinger engages in an escalating game of cat and mouse that culminates in an explosive legandary showdown.
There is a scene in Public Enemies which briefly epitomises everything that is brilliant and everything that is wrong with the film. It is a meeting between the recently captured John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), the FBI agent tasked with bringing down this public enemy number 1. The fact it didn’t happen doesn’t matter. For the most part the story stays close to truth and this meeting was inconsequential to the plot, yet it embodies the spirit of the story and resonates throughout. It is a brilliant dramatic beat for the only moment two of the finest modern screen actors meet in this film. Bale in particular excels in those few moments, hinting at Purvis’ bleak future, long after the film will end.
It is an unusual scene for such a film and the narrative as a whole might not be what you expect and for that it should be applauded. But if it is original for that type of film, it isn’t otherwise. That scene is the coffee shop from Heat. There’s no two ways about it. It leads to thinking about the rest of the film and you might realise a lot of similarities, right through to the ending. Maybe this is a story that always fascinated director Michael Mann and he produced Heat as a modern telling of the Dillinger legend, but ironically he has undermined it by sticking to the same template and causing it to turn prosaic.
The film taken on its own terms is magnificent, though as with many true stories about such enigmatic characters, lacks a little focus. It’s an ambitious story that incorporates the birth of the FBI with Billy Crudup’s Hoover, the headlines from several other famous robbers such as Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum) and Baby Face Nelson (a fantastic Stephen Graham, but the Liverpudlian creeps through occasionally!) and their rock star images in the media. All such elements are sadly short-changed, thankfully compensated in the delicate performance by Marion Cotillard as Dillinger’s girl, Billie. She is a wonderful actress who gives the film a heart where Bale and Depp struggle despite their excellent work. There is a lovely moment in an epilogue with her and Stephen Lang’s agent that gives us a final poignant note that will last longer in the memory than everything else.
I might sneer at Michael Mann repeating elements of Heat, but that takes nothing away from his skill at weaving drama and action so effectively, as you’d expect from the man who gave us the first, brilliant Hannibal Lector in Manhunter. There are several action sequences, mainly bank robberies and/or getaways and the staging is always superb, with up close and fluid camera work, sometimes handheld. You’ll really feel the Tommy guns bite!
Mann is also one of cinemas most important modern pioneers, using digital cameras since at least Collateral and he works hard to give his films a visual identity using the latest technology. Here he may have gone a step too far because while some moments are so gorgeous they might hurt your eyes, others, the grain is far too high; there is even one moment where the sharpness visibly changes, which is distracting. As the audio can be, which ranges in quality.
It’s a brave new world for some film-makers and I’m glad Mann continues to be one of the bravest, but he falls short of creating a milestone like the lyrical Bonnie and Clyde was. Public Enemies equally delights and confounds in ways you might not have expected. You can’t help but feel if he’d taken a more obvious route, he’d have an Oscar winning classic on his hands, but something far less interesting otherwise.
(From Stop Thief! The Robbing Bastard Marathon on December 19th, 2009)
Tom's Random Reviews, a review by Tom
The sexy and supernatural cast of The Vampire Diaries are back with the compelling 5-DISC 22-EPISODE SEASON THREE. As Stefan succumbs to Klaus, Damon and Elena wrestle with the guilt of their growing bond while they work together to bring Stefan back from the edge. And when Mikael the Original vampire hunter, Esther the Original witch and their children arise from their caskets to resolve a 1,000-year-old power struggle, Mystic Falls becomes a battleground for World War Vampire, with Elena caught dead centre between them – and, as always, between Damon and Stefan.
My Thoughts:Another season which really captivated me. And now with that ending I am really want to watch the next season. But it will probably be a year until I get the chance to.
(From Tom's Random Reviews on January 4th, 2013)