Category Archives: history

THE KING’S SPEECH (2010)

Why are you here then – Because I bloody well stammer!

The must-see-movie of this year and I have finally managed to view it. And it sure did live up to all the expectations. The whole movie just reeks of quality – from the beginning to the end. No wonder it won 4 Oscars including screenplay, leading actor and directing.

          What’s he saying? – I don’t know but… he seems to be saying it rather well

The King’s Speech tells a story of King George VI (Colin Firth), who reluctantly becomes the King of England after his brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) abdicates due to a scandalous marriage to American divorcée Wallis Simpson. King George VI or Bertie – to his friends – has been suffering from stammer all his life. At that day and age stammer was regarded as a weakness – a king with a stammer was considered to be an unfit leader for a nation. After trying every kind of treatment Bertie’s wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) finds an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Suspicious Bertie meets with Logue and after a couple of turbulent meetings starts Logue’s unorthodox treatment course. During that course of treatment Bertie and Logue develop a strong bond that becomes a lifelong friendship. England is facing war and its people are desperate for a strong leader. Thankfully Logue’s treatments are working and the whole country gathers around their radios to witness the King’s speech, which will unite them in battle and inspire them through the inevitable war.

Kinging can take a lot of time…

This film has such an impressive cast. Colin Firth is marvellous as the troubled King George VI. He sounds like his has been stammering all his life. Mr. Darcy is all grown up! Funnily enough Jennifer Ehle, who plays Mrs. Logue, was Elizabeth Bennett to Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (1995). Mini-series with that famous lake scene of wet Colin Firth…

                                 Is the nation ready for two minutes of radio silence?

Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter give equally impressive performances. Costumes are spot on – like everything in this movie.

Ham; not palm

David Seidler, who wrote the screenplay, wrote a letter to Queen Mother a several years ago asking for permission to make a movie out of King George VI’s story. Queen Mother asked him not to do so during her lifetime, as the memories were too painful for her. Seidler respected her wish and the movie was made after Queen Mother passed away. David Seidler also got very lucky as private journals of Lionel Logue were found a short time before the movie started filming, thus they could be incorporated into the script and give valuable insight into the private relationship between Bertie and Logue.

                                 Do you know any jokes?

At the end of the day this is a bromance story. As Colin Firth recaps the movie: Boy meets therapist – boy looses therapist – boy gets therapist.

If you have somehow missed The King’s Speech you must watch it and enjoy moviemaking at it’s best.

Waiting for me to… commence a conversation, one can wait rather a long wait.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)

You know, you really don’t need a forensics team to get to the bottom of this. If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.

During last weekend I finally got around watching The Social Network, which scooped a couple of Oscars last night. It was just released on DVD in the UK for people like me who missed it in the movies; who then had to listen to everybody talking and writing about how brilliant it is. And yes – they were right – it is a brilliant movie.

                                                                In the beginning there was a Man with a Computer

It could have easily been a boring documentary about the birth of Facebook and how it revolutionized the way people connect. But because of Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant rapid-firing screenplay there is no time to be bored – you have to keep up with the dialogue which is like a Nadal – Federer tennis match on speed. If you blink – you missed it! Sorkin who created such TV favorites as The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (the latter maybe only my favorite) has turned Ben Mezrich’s book (The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal) into a captivating movie. It lets you decide yourself if Mark Zuckerberg is a ruthless, disloyal asshole or a übermotivated computer genius, who did not let anybody get in the way of his vision. The New York Times investigated how this movie divides the audiences generationally. The older audiences see Zuckerberg as a tragic, unsocial figure; while younger people applaud him for being a go-getter who does what he needs to do to protect his creation.

You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount

If you are not aware of the story and lawsuits behind Facebook’s rise to a phenomenon, you must have been living under a rock. Most of the movie takes place around the time when the idea is born and is put into action by Mark Zuckerberg, who is so brilliantly played by Jesse Eisenberg. If you ever had the question in your mind about Eisenberg being a secondary Michael Ceraish nerd, you have been proven wrong. Later the movie shifts between the early years and the two lawsuits launched against Zuckerberg by the Winkelevii (Winklevoss twins played by Josh Pence with a little help from CGI) and Eduardo Saverin (fantastically acted by Andrew Garfield). In to the mix enters the Napster co-founder Sean Parker and things really take off. Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker is a revelation. Inspirational casting, which really pays off. There is so much betrayal, envy and resentment in this movie. It also has a lot of innovative visions, outside-of-the-box thinking, ambition and just pure computer geniuses. And of course there is a girl.

                                                           Soon The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

David Fincher, who has given us gems like Seven and Fight Club, has directed another gripping movie. You can’t find any fault in the directing and editing of The Social Network. But what really shines is the screenplay and the acting.

                                                     Safety first – nobody is stealing my briefcase

At the end of the day, nobody knows what really happened in real life. But who cares? The fact remains that Facebook affects each one of us on a daily basis. It now has over 600million members and is valued at more than $ 50billion. I for one have to thank Mr. Zuckerberg for getting me back in touch with my childhood best friend.

We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!

No. 83 TITANIC (1997)

When you got nothing – you got nothing to lose

After taking a week off from watching the movies on the AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies list I am back in action with Titanic, the $ 200 million James Cameron pre-Avatar movie which was expected to sink like the unsinkable ship of dreams. But instead it has been quoted as the most popular motion picture of all time. I have seen it a couple of times, so now when I began watching it again I was feeling quite blasé about it. It’s a movie I like, but not a movie I love. Then something happened when the images of the ship in all its glory started flowing onto the screen – I got once again sucked into the story.

You remember what I told you about the boats

Titanic is like two movies is one. One is about the unthinkable tragedy which saw more than 1,500 of the ships 2,200 passengers die, because the ship was thought to be indestructible. As said by James Cameron “The lesson of Titanic is, just don’t go so fast when you’re dealing with that much of power and energy. Give yourself time to turn, because that’s all they did wrong”.

The other movie is an epic love story between a girl who has everything except her freedom and a boy who has nothing except his freedom. The love story unfolds smoothly even though at times it’s overpowered by the story of Titanic sinking, which is probably why the screenplay was one of the few categories in which the movie was not nominated for an Oscar. Funnily when you really think about the screenplay, it is nothing new. Love story between two people who are separated by social class – has not that same story been told millions of times? But what makes this movie special is that everything works. The chemistry between the characters has been fine-tuned to perfection. Kate Winslet as Rose and Leonardo Di Caprio as Jack are perfect casting. I have to say that for me Victor Garber as the ship’s builder Thomas Andrews steals the show. He pretty much summons it up with lines like “She [Titanic] is made of iron, Sir – I assure you she can [sink] and she will”.

                                                         Flying without wings

James Cameron is like an all-in-one moviemaking machine – he wrote and directed the movie. He even drew all the sketches used in the movie as Jack’s drawings, including the most famous one of naked Rose wearing the Heart of the Ocean. Damn, if he could act he would have probably acted in it as well. But if you remember his acceptance speech at the Oscars in 1998, where Titanic scooped 11 golden statues, you can be sure it is a good idea for him not to act. “I am the King of the World” just did not have the same punch as said by Leonardo Di Caprio in the movie.

                                                                 I am the King of the World

But he sure made one cinematic masterpiece and proved all the doubtful people wrong. The recreation of the sinking of the Titanic is stunning. It makes chilling watching each time. I also found fascinating that footage of the actual Titanic is used in the film. Even though much of the underwater footage was filmed on set with miniature models and special effects. Inarguably the most visually stunning special effect scenes of the movie are the ones when the ship breaks up just before it plunges to the bottom of Atlantic. In the words of the unsinkable Molly Brown: “Now there is something you don’t see everyday”.

The level of detailing throughout the movie is also amazing. The sets representing the interior rooms of Titanic were reproduced exactly as originally built, using photographs and plans from the original builders who are still in business. Titanic must have really been something else. I wish I had been there – except for the sinking part; obviously.

I found the last scene of the movie the most touching – together at last on Titanic. A fitting ending to an epic story, which I am sure, will live on as one of the Greatest Movies ever made – also in my mind.

All life is a game of luck