• Nights of Cabiria

    Nights of Cabiria

    ★★½

    At long last, I finally managed to sit through a Federico Fellini film without falling asleep well before the halfway mark. And it only makes me wonder if I should've started my stint with the influential Italian filmmaker's works with this one instead of which I still have no desire to return to, having tried it several times before yet falling prey to its sleep-inducing power every single time.

    As for Nights of Cabiria (Le notti di Cabiria), the…

  • The Beta Test

    The Beta Test

    ★★½

    From the writer-director of Thunder Road & The Wolf of Snow Hollow comes another quirky, oft-kilter & wickedly amusing indie that unfolds with the same frenzied energy as his earlier efforts but falls short of leaving a lasting impression this time around. The Beta Test has an intriguing quality about its central mystery that keeps us aboard but the eventual pay-off isn't satisfying enough.

    Co-written, co-directed & also co-starring Jim Cummings & PJ McCabe, the story follows a Hollywood agent who finds his life…

  • The Rules of the Game

    The Rules of the Game

    ★★★½

    A satirical dive into the superficial lives, social pretences & moral depravity of the French upper-class society, The Rules of the Game (La Règle du Jeu) is a romance, comedy, tragedy & social critique, all mingled into one fluid, farcical & fascinating delight that seamlessly traverses from one eventful situation to another and gets added assistance from its technically sound production.

    Co-written & directed by Jean Renoir (La Grande Illusion), the story intersects the lives of the riches & their servants spending a weekend together…

  • Last Night in Soho

    Last Night in Soho

    ★★½

    From the writer-director of Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy comes a stylishly crafted, smartly photographed & skilfully acted psychological horror that's swirling with nostalgia & affection for the Swinging Sixties. Last Night in Soho attempts to capture the dangers of romanticising the past while showcasing the dark side of show business only to throw it all away in the end.

    Co-written & directed by Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim & Baby Driver), the first hour is carried out rather well with steady build-up and deft juggling…

  • Grand Illusion

    Grand Illusion

    ★★½

    Considered by many to be one of the finest films ever made, Grand Illusion (also called La Grande Illusion) is far too kind & considerate for a war film. While it is apt in its depiction of the absurdity & futility of war and attempts to appeal to the universal humanity that transcends man-made boundaries, its anti-war themes are somewhat diluted by its overly pacifist approach.

    Co-written & directed by Jean Renoir, this is my first stint with his works and though the…

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    ★★★½

    The 25th instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also the first one to put their Phase IV plans into motion, Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings features some truly impressive & masterly choreographed moments of action and makes for a thoroughly fun & amusing ride but the plot as a whole does fail to step away from the old blueprint and has the same Marvel formula functioning at its core.

    Co-written & directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12 & Just…

  • Woman in the Dunes

    Woman in the Dunes

    ★★★½

    As haunting in content as it is hypnotic in sand photography, Woman in the Dunes makes for an introspective study of the human condition and attempts to portray it through the gradual psychological breakdown of a man who finds himself being placed in perpetual confinement and after several futile efforts to escape it slowly begins to accept his fate.

    Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, the story derives its strength from its menacing atmosphere, claustrophobic setting & the gravity of the unnerving situation…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★

    Daniel Craig's fifth & final outing as James Bond finds the actor donning the 007 suit for the last time as he bids farewell to the iconic character that made him a household name in this surprisingly emotional & bittersweet finale. No Time to Die may not rank amongst the best Bond entries and suffers from a myriad of issues but as a coda to Craig's franchise tenure, it does deliver the desired goods to give him a proper send-off.

    Co-written & directed…

  • Le Trou

    Le Trou

    ★★★★½

    Most films don't get even half as elaborate with their centrepiece segments as Le Trou is painstakingly thorough with every single one of its events. A masterpiece of diligent craftsmanship that unfolds each sequence in an exhaustively detailed manner while keeping its nail-biting intensity in tact throughout its runtime, this French classic is one of the greatest examples of its kind.

    Co-written & directed by Jacques Becker, the story is narrated with such patience & perseverance that each moment feels as if…

  • Cry Macho

    Cry Macho

    ★★½

    A simple, small-scale & straightforward story with low stakes, little conflicts & easy resolves, Cry Macho doesn't bother itself with anything fancy and narrates its plot in a gentle & genial fashion. There is barely any narrative here and not enough to hang on to but the mere image of 91-year old Clint Eastwood wearing a cowboy hat & riding a horse is enough to intrigue us.

    Also directed by Eastwood (Gran Torino & The Mule), his economical style is evident here but it's also…

  • The Ascent

    The Ascent

    ★★★★

    A powerful, haunting & gut-wrenching exploration of human psyche that's brought to life in a cold, stark & unforgiving surrounding with steadfast determination and is furthermore bolstered by sublime performances from its leading duo, The Ascent is a criminally underseen masterpiece that not only goes down as one of the bleakest films ever made but also ranks amongst the most harrowing.

    Directed by Larisa Shepitko, the story is set during World War II but the film doesn't bother itself with the battle…

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★★

    Making the impossible possible to achieve the unachievable yet again, Denis Villeneuve brings Frank Herbert's influential literary classic to the film canvas in ways that keeps all its boundless scope, breathtaking scale & astonishing intricacies in tact. Truly a masterwork of bold, ambitious & groundbreaking filmmaking that's crafted with meticulous care & told with deft composure, Dune is a visually spellbinding, thoroughly engrossing & surprisingly accessible adaptation of its unfilmable source and is the first great epic to surface since The Lord of the…