We’re taking a look at movies that may not have hit Indian theatres because they weren’t ‘commercial’ enough. So if you haven’t watched these films then get a hold of the DVDs, sit back and turn on your DVD player. There’s a lot more good cinema out there than what you watch in the theatres. And here’s our little effort to get you to it.
Sailesh Ghelani gives you a roundup:
Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas, Amr Waked.
With a title like that it’s terribly hard to imagine you picking it up off a shelf or taking it if your local DVD library recommends it to you over the phone. I bought it because it has Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt who are known to do the offbeat but interesting films now and then. I overheard someone in the gym locker room talking about it to a friend of his describing it as a beautiful little film with a simple story. This was before I watched the movie. I promptly went home and slipped it into the DVD player that night. The guy at the gym was spot on.
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is a distinctly Brit film about fisheries expert Dr Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) who is approached by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), a representative of a Yemen sheikh (Amr Waked), to consult on building a damn in a desert area so that he can have an artificial lake for salmon fishing. Dr Jones rebuffs the idea as ludicrous but Miss Chetwode-Talbot’s charms and the sheikh’s unyielding passion as well as his own marital tribulations convince him to make the journey to this outlandish mission.
The chemistry between McGregor and Blunt is so charmingly hostile at first that you can’t help but fall in love with them; and consequently want them to fall in love with each other. Dry wit, hopeless romanticism, old world charm and some very real world relationship problems run through the river of this delightfully original story hitting obstacles but finally reaching a wonderful climax.
Watch the trailer:
Directed by Tony Kaye. Starring Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, James Caan, Lucy Liu, Marcia Gay Harden, Sami Gayle.
Adrien Brody looks offbeat, doesn’t he? Anyway, in Detachment the man who was chosen to ‘replace’ Arnie Schwarzenegger in the Predators reboot deals with a different kind of monster. He’s the substitute teacher Henry Barthes at a highly dysfunctional school where the teachers are having meltdowns trying to deal with the out-of-control teen ‘inmates’.
Henry’s unique stance on education and his own demons manage to temper his students a bit, just enough to get them to maybe listen. Through the film you see how difficult it must be for teachers in America’s public school system, battling rioting students and their obnoxious parents. Henry’s intermittent commentary to the camera about the ‘system’ is an interesting technique. Adopting a prostitute and facilitating her rehabilitation in his house provides a side story that is both touching and raw.
Adrien Brody and newcomer Sami Gayle balance each other perfectly. His mellow intellect against her raw angst leads to some very sublime moments. The other teachers and their battles with the students and their own self-worth though extreme at times, give you a sense that the reality is probably worse than this portrayal of US educational institutions. A stellar cast and fine performances make Detachment a wonderful social commentary with a daring dark side.
Watch the trailer:
Directed by James Mather, Stephen St. Leger. Starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Peter Stormare.
The DVD guy recommended this one to me. It said ‘Luc Besson Presents’ and ‘Die Hard Meets Blade Runner’ on the cover so I thought it couldn’t be all that bad. And it wasn’t.
Sure it derives a lot of themes and scenes from several other sci-fi and action films but even though it’s not terribly original it is wonderfully fun and Guy Pearce’s charm, his witty one liners and the general attitude of reckless abandon that we loved in actors like Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the good ol’ days is what will endear you to this film.
Set in the future where prisons are in outer space, Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is wrongly accused of killing someone and then given the opportunity to save his sorry ass if he helps rescue the President’s daughter on the space prison, which is now under the control of a ruthless con. Of course he agrees! Snow’s effortless panache and winsome brutishness are basically what carry the film. Maggie Grace as the President’s daughter is suitably sexy and fun to give him a bit of trouble. The bad guys are horribly vicious, which is okay, since they’re dealing with a relatively insane good guy so the stakes are balanced.
Lockout has some pretty great action, effects and plot twists as well as a few nonsensical plot holes that make this a fun movie to watch.
Watch the trailer:
Directed by Nick Murphy. Starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Stuanton, Hempstead Wright.
I like watching scary movies. Well, ones that actually scare you. Though nowadays most ‘horror’ films are just gore fests or they’re really bad vampire films (Twilight movies!). The last scary movie that made me jump in my seat was Paranormal Activity 3. Good one.
The Awakening is scary, maybe not jump in your seat, but definitely goose bumps and chills down your back scary. It’s set after World War I in a time when people believed in ‘summoning the dead’. This lead to a lot of charlatans cropping up and preying on people’s superstitions and grief. In comes Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), a period ghost debunker of sorts who exposed the fake soothsayers and put ghost stories to bed. But a new assignment at a strange boy’s school where a ghost has frightened one of the students to death brings Florence face to face with her own nightmare: that ghosts really do exist.
With the help of the disturbed but sexy schoolmaster Robert Mallory (Dominic West) and the seemingly kind but firm matron Maud Hill (Imelda Staunton), she must set up her ghost debunking apparatus all over the school and hunt down the mischief mongers. But perhaps Miss Florence has a lesson or two coming her way…
Chilling performances from the cast, a bleak almost pale setting for the school and an interesting use of sound make The Awakening a satisfying watch. The finale is a bit unoriginal and over-the-top and you’ll wonder if they thought that through but it won’t detract from this visually intriguing and well-acted film.
Watch the trailer:
Gallery of pictures from the films: