An upcoming lawyer. An apathetic underachiever. Caught up in the ideal of quixotic rather than reality.
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“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
― G.K. Chesterton
War. What is it good for? War has been present since the beginning of human history. Likewise, war movies have been present since the movie industry began. Just like most other genres of film, war films have been created as a form of entertainment to profit the movie organization. People are willing to spend their money and time on a feeling of action, excitement, heroism, and patriotism than gruesome and horrid images of real and common human destruction.
So, today, let us take a look at some of the epic war movies ever made. Here is a list of the top 10 war movies:
- Saving Private Ryan
This movie is considered to be a tragic, narrow and exceptionally flawed military movie. Bookended by the most shocking, most searing battle sequences in movie history, Saving Private Ryan holds nothing back to glorify war. We are given the most shocking depiction of war ever put film. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it rivets the audience to look at the movie through the eyes of a World War II infantryman.
Gladiator is an astounding movie which sweeps the masterful storytelling which makes it a classic movie to watch. This Hollywood movie revived the sword and sandal genre, starting the movie with an epic battle between the Romans and the barbarians. This flick portrays Russell Crowe as a fictional character of general Maximus, who is betrayed and reduced to slavery; Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murders of his family and his emperor.
Braveheart captures both the picturesque serenity and abject brutality of 13th-century Scotland and her quest for independence from England’s cruel pagan ruler. Mel Gibson plays the role of a vengeful 13th-century Scottish rebel and warrior who sought vengeance against an English tyrant and the fight for independence. This movie depicts tyranny, kills, torture, hackings, stabbings, throat-slitting, and arrows and spears dealing horrible death and injuries.
- Black Hawk Down.
This movie re-enacts the terrifying 1993 depiction of the American military operations where United States Army rope down into Somalia in Black Hawk Helicopters to capture enemies. The story revolves around the military mission undertaken by the US Army which soon becomes a deadly entanglement and pulse-pounding excitement which makes us skip a few heartbeats.
Troy is based on the epic poem, The Iliad by Homer. This movie depicts the legend of the Trojan War. Although the story has been manipulated in many aspects, it is an entertaining movie with abundant visual actions and effects that blend love, war, and betrayal.
Fury depicts the brutal saga of an American tank crew in Germany during the closing stages of World War II. This movie depicting Brad Pitt is tremendous in the role, a conscience detectable even in a blinkered gaze. But it’s Logan Lerman who plays the role of Norman, a young military typist, ordered to be a replacement in the tank crew, anchors the film with a shattering, unforgettable portrayal of corrupted innocence. Norman’s horror and disgust is a cracked mirror for the crew until Norman hardens just like his band of brothers. Fury captures the buried feelings of men in combat with piercing immediacy, means to grab us hard from the first scene and never let go.
- Hacksaw Ridge
A World War II drama based on the real-life legacy of Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, a war hero who became the first man in US history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. Yes, without firing a single shot, he saved 75 men at The Battle of Okinawa, the bloodiest battle in the entire pacific theater. Directed by Mel Gibson, and nominated for the Oscars, his vision roars to life. The battles are staged and shot with excruciating relentlessness. We see more vividly the relationship of the soldiers to one another and the adversary that pours out of the smoke. This movie is a worthy addition to the war movie saga and is a must watch.
- The Platoon.
This movie depicts a group of American soldiers, who fight and die in the jungles of Vietnam showing us the horrors of The Vietnam War. Directed by Oliver Stone, this movie won the Oscars for Best Pictures. It takes on the groundbreaking bombastic and operatic touches showing us the fight between good and evil with climatic fighting footage which is beautiful and also horrific at the same time.
- Apocalypse Now
One of the finest Vietnam War movies ever made, exhibiting the intense action, the horrific, violence effects of war which awed the audiences in an immense way. What made this war movie stand apart from the rest was showcasing the horrors of war as it portrays murder as a sport and innocent civilians as targets. This movie was nominated for Academy awards, winning the awards for Best Sound and Best Cinematography.
- Lone Survivor.
Based on the book of the same name, Lone Survivor dramatizes the unsuccessful United States Navy SEALs mission, during which a four-man SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team were tasked to track down and assassinate a Taliban leader. The movie dramatizes the intense, grueling and brutal fights between the two sides of combat, showing an impressive focus on the revulsions and exaltation of war.
Lazy Writer. Voracious Reader. Big time comedy and horror films fan. Love to chill and hate to chat. Still exploring.
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The ‘Lilly’ and the ‘Lily of the valley’ – two flowers with almost similar names. Do they belong to the same family? No. Lily is the true lily, whereas Lily-of-the-valley (let’s call it LOV) is the namesake. The ordinary similarity is that of the name, which starts and ends with their names, and once we are done ruminating over their names, we are left with these two majestic flowers to enjoy their enigmatic beauty. Both the flowers have their own unique identities – whereas Lily is a large and sturdy flower, LOV is a frail and tiny nodding-bell shaped flower’tin. But I will bait my ass over one thing – both darlings emit fragrances that hail directly from the Garden of Eden.
I will be damned if I go on talking about flowers. Let’s give these flowers a human form and see what happens. Should we?
Harry, wave your wand and… Transformosa…
Oh my! Look what the spell brought us! It transformed the lilies into the Hepburns – the Lily into Katherine and the LOV into Audrey. Classic Hollywood was the era of volatile passion, scandals, beauty, charm, and pure enigma. Things or people don’t get any more dramatic and awe-inspiring than they did back then. The Hepburns personify this era at its glorious best.
While Katherine – the unprecedented Hepburn – was known for her strong, fierce, and independent personality; Audrey – the follow-up Hepburn – was as delicate, gentle, and loving as the LOV. Whereas Katherine continuously refused to give interviews, talk to her fans, or reveal anything of her reclusive life; Audrey was pretty much a people’s person, so much so that her later life was dedicated to being the UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Where Katherine married just once but after divorce went on to have a 26 years long relationship with Spencer Tracy; Audrey married and divorced twice and went on to have a 13 years long relationship with Robert Walders. Katherine, in those days, was panned as well as noted for audaciously dressing up like a man with trousers and shirts; and Audrey was a universally celebrated fashion icon. Two great ladies of the classic Hollywood – similar yet different – let’s see what it means to be The Hepburns.
Katherine descended from a blue-blooded American family, as the daughter of a urologist father and a staunch feminist mother. She was raised in a progressive environment where she was taught to exercise freedom-of-speech, debate on issues she believed in, and was actively involved in the causes meant to bring social change. No wonder she grew up to posses anything and everything under the sun that would set her apart from everyone and make her an unconventional woman – the woman with her own independent spirit and her own mind.
This zeal and fearlessness was absolutely prevalent in her on-screen persona. She often appeared in screwball comedies – a genre that was most popular from early 30’s to the early 40’s, in which the female dominates the relationship with the male protagonist and challenges his masculinity thereby engaging into a humorous battle of the sexes. This theme is unmistakable in her films, such as The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Adam’s Rib, and Bringing Up Baby.
While visiting NYC in 1921, at the age of 14, Katharine found her older brother, Tom, mysteriously hanging on a beam. This event is said to have made this future legend very nervous, moody, and wary of people for the rest of her life. In 1928 she began her struggle as a theatre actress with this attitude, which, as you can guess, must not be easy – it wasn’t. She was endlessly panned for her lack of acting skills, stiff body, and shrill voice. It was not until the summer of 1931, when she landed the lead role in ‘The Warrior’s Husband’, she started receiving critical acclaim. It was this role that bagged her the first starring role of her silver-screen career in the film ‘A Bill of Divorcement’. The film was directed by George Cukor, who was to be her frequent collaborator and a lifelong friend.
The film stardom continued through two years – including her first (of total four) Oscars – before her films suddenly started bombing at the box office, earning her the nickname ‘Box Office Poison’. After four ‘poisonous’ years, she headed back to the stage and decided to act in a play called ‘The Philadelphia Story’ – the role that was specially written for her. Katharine’s then romantic partner, Howard Hughes, sensed the play could be turned into a successful movie and he bought Katharine the film rights of the play even before the play could debut. Katharine then masterminded her comeback. She desired to have Clark gable and Spencer Tracy as the male leads but since both were engaged in other projects, she chose Cary Grant (promising him the top billing) and James Stewart. The movie was a smashing hit, restoring Katharine to her glorious position that she would go on to chair for the long years to come.
Katharine starred in many films that are today considered classics, such as Little Women, Bringing Up Baby, Adam’s Rib, Woman of the Year, The African Queen, Suddenly, Last Summer; and won Oscars for Morning Glory, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter, and On Golden Pond. Despite bearing the crown of the highest Oscar-wins Katharine wasn’t an intuitive actor. She preferred to study her roles in depth, rehearsed as much as possible before the shots, and – as opposed to today’s One-Take actors – didn’t hesitate to take multiple takes for a single shot/scene. She insisted on performing her own stunts. Her swimming pool dive in The Philadelphia Story was the talk of the ‘Hollywood’ town. She was known to remember not only her dialogues but that of her costars’ as well. She actively involved herself in the production of her movies, she made script suggestions, stated her strong opinions on everything from costumes, casting, to lights and camera framing.
She often (almost always) played strong, intelligent, and rich characters that either humble down or reveal their hidden vulnerability toward the end. This very fact led her critics to slam her for lack of versatility. Katharine herself didn’t take objection to this criticism, claiming she often played herself on the screen.
No matter what, this, one of the most celebrated actors of Hollywood, lived her life in the way that was exceptionally ahead of its time – it’s no wonder she symbolized the modern woman. She can be credited for popularizing trousers among women. She is the first Oscar winning actor whose cinematic portrayal turned into an Oscar winning role – Cate Blanchett for The Aviator.
As I unsuccessfully struggle to list the unending legends of this phenomenal legend, another legend is already peeping through the windows of my curious Hollywood crazy mind – the little Hepburn, Audrey.
The legend goes something like this – the then young French fashion designer, Hubert de Givenchy, who was just starting his fashion house, was hired as a costume designer for a new film, Sabrina, and he was told that “Miss Hepburn” would be visiting him for the fittings. Excited to meet the legendary and one-and-only “Miss Katharine Hepburn”, Givenchy was absolutely disappointed to see some skinny unknown girl, who went by the name Audrey Hepburn, standing at his door. However, as this initial wave of disappointment subsided, this skinny girl, just like she did with the millions of people worldwide, went on to win Givenchy’s heart and became his, not only a lifelong friend but also his muse. Givenchy, in turn, played a key part in making Audrey the universally recognized fashion icon.
Audrey belonged to an aristocratic family of British-Austrian father and Dutch baroness mother – no wonder she looked like a princess. Her real name was Audrey Kathleen Ruston and it’s amusing to know the reason why she became a Hepburn – the reason was nothing but just a misunderstanding. Her father mistakenly thought he was the descendent of James Hepburn, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots (also a cousin of the Queen Elizabeth I), and he changed his name to Hepburn-Ruston, thus making Audrey the Hepburn.
Audrey spent most of her childhood in a Nazi occupied European countries, as her family kept moving from place to place to avoid the Third Reich monstrosity. When Audrey was living in the Hitler occupied Netherlands she often witnessed trainloads of Jews being transported to the concentration camps. She particularly remembered one incident when she was 13 and she witnessed a little boy – “…standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing an extremely oversized coat… and then he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child.”
Could this – and probably many more like this – incident be the reason why Audrey’s heart was deeply instilled with compassion and she went on to dedicate her life for the betterment of unprivileged children in the developing countries? If the war had this endearing effect on Audrey, it also had a not-so-good effect on her – her famously thin and bony body frame is often attributed to her days during the Nazi Germany when she would go hungry for days at stretch, and, like many others, would survive on boiled grass, tulip bulbs, and water. She weighed on 39 kgs when she was 16. Her ballet dreams were crushed to the dust when her ballet trainer told her that despite her talent, her height and weak constitution (effect of war malnutrition) would make her dream to be a prima ballerina unattainable – also the reason why she thereafter chose to focus more on acting than on ballet.
After working as a chorus girl in West End musicals and doing small side roles – such as stewardess, cigarette girl, receptionist – in films, Audrey bagged her first starring role in ‘Roman Holiday’. Gregory Peck was a big star and at first it was decided that only his name would appear above the film title and Audrey’s name would appear in smaller fonts with “Introducing…” tag. However, at Gregory Peck’s insistence Audrey was given the equal billing and her name appeared alongside his. He later said, “She is going to be a huge star and when she does I will look like a fool for not giving her equal billing.” You see? Audrey was not born to be a star. She was born a star.
Later on she went on to star in many classics, such as Sabrina, War and Peace, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, My Fair Lady, Wait Until Dark, and many more. Audrey married twice, first to an American stage actor Mel Ferrer with whom she had a son Sean, and then married to an Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti with whom she had another son Luca. Previously she had short-lived relationships with James Hanson, Michael Butler, William Holden, and Ben Gazzara; however it was only when she started dating Robert Walders she was said to have found love and peace. This relationship lasted until her death in 1993.
Between the two of these magnificent lilies, it would be hard to say who was more charming and who had better acting skills or who was a better person. But we are diverse race of humans with different opinions and we can definitely compare them with varying conclusions. And yet the ultimate fact would always remain the same – they both were as wonderful as the flowers they represented.
Lazy Writer. Voracious Reader. Big time comedy and horror films fan. Love to chill and hate to chat. Still exploring.
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An old cranky man reminiscent of ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’, with the characteristic side dish of misanthropy, misogyny, germophobia, and homophobia – the perfect eerie mishmash of human eccentricities, you would say, wouldn’t you? But this very same eerie mishmash was the luminary of the 70th Academy Awards. Wondering how? Let’s get the story straight.
Melvin Udall is a 60-year-old bestselling novelist from NYC. However, in his personal life he could possibly be perceived as the psycho-est person in the whole city – he has OCD, he avoids stepping on the sidewalk cracks, he avoids even the slightest passing brush-offs from the pedestrians, he is superstitious, eats breakfast in the same restaurant using his own use-n-throw plastic utensils, and he can react to a simple knock on the door by muttering angrily “Son-of-a-bitch, pansy assed stool-pusher”. The freaky thing is, the list doesn’t end.
The only thing that can still (although faintly) reflect his contact with his own humane self is probably the fact that he is much civil (and docile) toward Carol Connelly, the waitress in the restaurant. Also, Carol is perhaps the only person in NYC who can stomach his eccentricities.
Melvin’s gay and artist neighbor, Simon Bishop, is assaulted during a burglary and his agent intimidates Melvin into fostering Simon’s little dog, Verdell, until Simon is back on his foot. No brownie points for guessing Melvin isn’t comfortable with the ‘dog eared monkey’ or the ‘ugly smelly fuck’ loitering around his house. However, as the miracles do happen, Melvin inexplicably warms up to Verdell and becomes his lone companion for days to come.
Unfortunately (for Melvin), Verdell’s ‘fudge-packer’ parent is back on his foot and wants Verdell back. Melvin is unhappy, and so is Verdell, who is probably the second living being who has ‘warm’ feelings for Melvin. To make the grief caused by Verdell’s separation more severe, Carol decides to get a new job close to her house in Brooklyn to care for her severely asthmatic son, Spence.
This is too much for Melvin and he takes things in his hands – obviously such Melvins don’t consult with their Carols. Using his contacts Melvin arranges for Spence to receive the best treatment with all expenses paid and in return expects Carol to return to her old job so he can have his breakfast.
Disturbed with the assault and Verdell’s growing predisposition toward Melvin, Simon has lost his creative muse and is unable to make or sell art, which has effectively rendered him bankrupt. His agent advices him to borrow money from his parents in Baltimore – a trip that Melvin has to link up as the driver. To lessen the awkwardness Melvin invites Carol to tag along, and she reluctantly agrees.
The trip brings the three closer and the romantic sparks start to ignite between Melvin and Carol. However, it’s not so easy for Carol – because it’s Melvin. For example, on a romantic date Melvin refers to Carol’s dress as ‘house dress’ (not even knowing he insulted her) and Carol is forced to ‘demand’ a compliment from him. To settle the tension the writer in Melvin pays her a very thoughtful compliment by saying “You make me want to be a better man”. Enamored by his rare display of vulnerability Carol asks him why he brought her here and proceeds to unequivocally tell him that she will say yes to anything he says. Melvin, nervous with this rising romance between them, blurts out that he wasn’t comfortable leaving her at the hotel room with Simon thinking they might end up having sex – thereby BAMM’ing the whole romantic moment.
After this there are more ups and downs (except there are only downs), but in the end Melvin discovers the secret of staying fairly humane and Carol discovers the adorable loving man (the reason why I am crazy about Melvin) behind the man as the world knows and… well, you know how it would end.
Nominated for seven Oscars, ‘As Good As It Gets’ ended up winning the two crown-awards – best actor and best actress.
Jack Nicholson, the actor proved yet time and again one of the most versatile and powerful actors of all generations, surprises us – not really, but still – with this ingeniously power-packed performance. His craft has brought forth the ‘horror of a human’ and still made us fall in love with him – something only the Jack Nicholsons of Hollywood can do. His captivating flair has shone through many films, such as The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chinatown, Terms of Endearment, and many more. I have fallen in love with this actor many times, and I still think this is NOT just as good as it gets. It gets even better every time.
Helen Hunt, previously known only for the TV series ‘Mad About You’ and a disaster film ‘Twister’, emerged as a sensitive actress and later went on to star in many critically acclaimed films, such as ‘What Women Want’ and ‘Cast Away’. Her portrayal of the bent-under-hardships waitress who is confused about her feelings for this ‘weird’ man – whether to stay away from him or to appreciate the periodically evolving goodness in him – won audiences’ hearts too. Making your presence felt under the huge shadow of a mighty actor playing a mighty character is a difficult task and Helen played her part most dexterously.
Jack and Helen were awesome – no doubt – but there was someone else whose presence could never be missed. In fact this presence enhanced Jack and Helen’s performance. That another someone was the screenplay.
The screenplay, unambiguously one of the most well written screenplays, had many memorable dialogues. Mark Andrus and James L. Brooks, the later also being the director, wrote this film after employing that part of the brain that controls the sarcasm, quit wit, and dry humor. And the result! Oh, I am too short a human to talk about the greatness of this writing. Let the script talk for itself.
A woman (Melvin’s fan): How do you write women so well?
Melvin: I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.
Melvin: People who talk in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch.
Melvin: (Introducing Carol and Simon) Carol the waitress, Simon the fag.
Carol: When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome… and then, of course, you spoke.
Melvin: Where do they teach you to talk like this? In some Panama City “Sailor wanna hump-hump” bar, or is it getaway day and your last shot at his whiskey? Sell crazy someplace else; we’re all stocked up here.
Melvin: If it’s election night and you’re excited because some fudge-packer you dated has been elected the first queer President of the United States… and he’s going to put you up in Camp David and you just want to share the moment with someone… don’t knock… not on this door. Not for anything. Got me? Sweetheart?
The list is beautifully endless. The movie is such a feast of wit and quirkiness that your soul feels like you just had the most delicious meal that there could be – and trust me, there seldom are such lip-smacking feasts.
Dentist turned Radio Jockey turned Social Activist turned New York Film Academy Graduate. Passion for telling stories in all possible forms. Writer and Editor.
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The year is about to finish but the excitement is just increasing now. If you are a fan of International Cinema and the masters of film making. These 5 upcoming films by the master of cinema from the Hollywood are making our each day difficult to pass.
What can we do? Watch the trailer here.
- La La Land
Ryan Gosling and Emma stone paired up in this musical romantic comedy by Oscar Nominated Damien Chazelle, who’s the last film Whiplash won hearts all over the world. Damien is “Most Anticipated Director” after Whiplash, which he made on his own short film of same name Whiplash. La La Land trailer tells the story of a jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in the city of Los Angeles. Emma Stone is already being considered as a leading aspirant for Academy Award for this film. Watch this beautiful trailer. Music is gonna be spellbinding.
2. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
After Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi – Ang Lee is coming with his next masterpiece which is based on a best-selling novel of Ben Fountain. This is based on 19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks, the film shows what really happened to his squad – contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions. Though critic’s have two views about the film but technically people are saying that this is next level of cinema. Watch the trailer here.
It’s been a very long time that Manoj Night Shyamalan has given a spine chilling movie like his debut film – 6 th sense. But the trailer of his latest directorial is just amazing. Starring James McAvoy as a person suffering from split perosonality disorder having 23 personalities in one person named Kevin. James McAvoy could be front runner for Academy Award for his performance. Watch the trailer of this spine chilling thriller.
4. Nocturnal Animals
After Fashion Designer Tom Ford gave us Academy Nominated “A Single Man” in 2005, many critics believed that the cinematic value of the movie was par excellence for a person who never had regular film study. To prove that it wasn’t a fluke, Tom Ford is back with “Nocturnal Animals” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. The trailer looks quite engaging. Film has already won Grand Jury Prize in Venice Film Festival.
5. Hacksaw Ridge
After Passion of Christ (2004) and Apocalypto(2006) we all were waiting for Mel Gibson to come on the director’s seat and now he is back with “Hacksaw Ridge”. It is the story of WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The lead is played by Andrew Garfield. Film got standing ovation in Venice Film Festival. Here is the trailer.