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Mr Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
Director: Frank Capra
Cast: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Harry Carey, Claude Rains
Frank Capra, in a career spanning both silent films and talkies, has directed many a classic. Mr Smith Goes to Washington is, by far, one of the most accomplished movies to come out of his stables. Loosely speaking, this movie can be termed as part of a trilogy that Capra made that centered on the common man. The other two are Mr Deeds Goes to Town and Meet John Doe.
When an unnamed senator from a mid-western state dies, an idealistic small town scout master is nominated to the senate by a corrupt gang of politicians and businessmen. The idea is that he'll keep their wrong doings a secret. An idealistic man is a tough nut to crack is what the politicians in Washington learn, as he takes on the O U T O N DV D
The Damned United (2009)
Cast: Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Colm Meaney
Director: Tom Hooper
The Damned United is set in the England of 1974, when the now-popular football clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United weren't the ruling champs. Leeds United was the one dominating the club league. Based on the book by the same name, (written by David Pearce) The Damned United tells the story of the 44-day reign of Brian Howard Clough as the manager of Leeds United.
Michael Sheen, who has made a business out of portraying real-life characters - Tony Blair (Queen) and David Frost (Frost/Nixon) - plays Clough, a charismatic, outspoken and often controversial man, whose achievement of winning back-to-back European Cups with Nottingham Forest is considered one of the greatest in football history. Peter Morgan, the writer of Queen and Frost/Nixon has adapted the book for the screen.
The Damned United is a funny, dramatic and immensely enjoyable film held together by Sheen's brilliant portrayal of Clough. The film is not big on sporty on -field action, but a dramatic re-telling of what happened during that period and the events leading up to it. Most important, unlike other sports films, this is not a story of a man's triumph but of his failure. One does not need to know who Clough was, nor is it necessary to brush up on English football history to enjoy The Damned United.
might of ruthless politicians who are out to destroy him.
A charming comedy-drama, this movie established James Stewart as a leading hero in Hollywood. Full of wit and warmth, Mr Smith Goes to Washington not only stands out for Stewart's endearing performance but also because of its context. Though it talks about politics and politicians in 1939, the film remains as relevant today as it was then.
The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards in 1939, a year considered to be the most difficult in the history of the Oscars. It was also the year of Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights, among others. But it won just one - for best writing.
Ashes Of Time Redux (2008)
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Cast: Leslie Chung, Brigitte Lung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Ashes of Time was first released in 1994. Fifteen years later, Wong Kar Wai revisited the film to achieve the technical standards it needed and re-released it as Ashes of Time Redux. The film was an official selection, out of competition, at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008,
Ashes of Time is a martial arts film, but unlike any of the traditional genre films one might have seen. Instead of treating the characters as heroes, which is generally the norm, the film shows them as ordinary people - at the stage before they become great.
Inspired by characters from Louis Cha's martial arts novel The Eagle-Shooting Heroes, Ashes of Time centers on a man named Ouyang Feng. Since the woman he loved rejected him, he has lived in the western desert, hiring skilled swordsmen to carry out contract killings. His wounded heart has made him pitiless and cynical. However his encounters with friends, clients and future enemies make him conscious of his solitude. The film is set in five parts, five seasons that are part of the Chinese almanac.
The story of the film is complex and difficult to comprehend-true to Wai's style of concentrating more on the emotional outcome of events on his characters than filling in linear details of the events leading to them. But its breath-taking visuals, the drama and stylised action more than compensate for that.
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