Nightcrawler is a Must See! Masteful Performance by Jake Gyllenhaal

Bhaskar Chanda Nightcrawler Jake GyllenhaalFilled with suspense and anticipation, Nightcrawler keeps its viewers on the edge of their seats throughout the entire movie. A unique plot along with an Oscar warranted performance from Jake Gyllenhaal make this movie a must see in anyone’s book.

Without watching any trailers about the movie, the movie starts off in a relatable fashion with Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Louis Bloom, looking for a job. In the first ten minutes, you notice that Louis Bloom is a little socially awkward and his job searching techniques are a little unorthodox. As he is driving home one night, he notices police attempting to rescue a woman from her car, which has caught on fire. Louis Bloom pulls over to the side of the road to watch, and a news van screeches to the scene to film the rescue. This act of freelance recording intrigues, Louis and he decides to jump into the industry. He purchases a video camera, police radar, and GPS. He then sits in his car at night, waits for something newsworthy to come through the police radio, and races to the scene to capture some footage of the situation at hand.

The stars of the movie are Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed in a stellar supporting role. This is a role to remember for both these actors, and one of the best performances I’ve seen from Jake Gyllenhaal. Calling his character anti-social is an understatement. His character has no grasp of social queues or empathy. Every move that he makes is completely logistical according to what he needs to do to make money and grow his business. Riz Ahmed plays a more timid character desperate to impress Louis Bloom in his first “real-job.” These two characters play off of each other spectacularly, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s psychopathic demeanor kept my eyes glues to the movie screen.

With a great plot and extraordinary acting, this movie is a no-brainer. 5/5 Stars

Bhaskar Chanda | 2014 Reading List | 3 of 14

Behind the beautiful forevers | Behind-Beautiful-forevers1In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting,carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.

Edge Of Tomorrow Review

bhaskar chanda eotEdge Of Tomorrow – High concept thrillers are difficult to pull off. The fresher and more inventive the concept is, the more intelligent the screenwriter and director have to be in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. You can’t have glaring plot holes but you also can’t get caught up in trying to explain them a way when you have a story to tell. Lastly, you need stars who can ground the action with realism, emotional depth, and humor. In Edge Of Tomorrow, an alien race called Mimics have taken over Europe. Lt. Col. Bill Cage, played by Tom Cruise, is reluctantly thrust into combat and is promptly killed, whereupon he finds himself stuck in a never-ending time loop. Cage is forced him to relive this suicide mission again and again until Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) explains to him the mysterious source of this power, and endeavors to train him to use it to mankind’s advantage. Edge Of Tomorrow succeeds because of the intelligence and care of its makers. Like 2012’s Looper, which matches EOT in its tone, and Groundhog Day, which matches the film in its device, Edge Of Tomorrow is a solidly smart, if not brilliant, new take on what a sci-fi action movie can be. Penned by a three-man team of Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (Fair Game, The Last Legion, Birthday Girl) and Christopher McQuarrie (The Uual Suspects, Valkyrie, The Tourist, Jack Reacher), the script crackles and pops along at a no nonsense pace under Doug Liman’s (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jumper) capable directing. The performances by Cruise and Blunt are first rate, as are the supporting performances by Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson. I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for something a cut above the standard Hollywood fare. 4.5/5 stars.

Bhaskar Chanda |2014 Reading List | 1 of 14

A-Life-Decoded-My-Genome-Venter-J-Craig-9780143114185

A LIFE DECODE | Of all the scientific achievements of the past century, perhaps none can match the deciphering of the human genetic code, both for its technical brilliance and for its implications for our future. In A Life Decoded, J. Craig Venter traces his rise from an uninspired student to one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in science today. Here, Venter relates the unparalleled drama of the quest to decode the human genome – a goal he predicted he could achieve years earlier and more cheaply than the government-sponsored Human Genome Project, and one that he fulfilled in 2001. A thrilling story of detection, A Life Decoded is also a revealing, and often troubling, look at how science is practiced today.

Xmen: Days of Future Past Review

bhaskar chanda toronto xmenOne of the most awaited movie of the year 2014 – Xmen: Days of Future Past (DOFP) has lived up to its expectation rather has surpassed most critics imagination – it surely did mine. A visually stunning movie, with a spectacular story line and great cinematography.

If the job of a director is to make it utterly difficult for the fans to pick the best movie of an action blockbuster series, then Bryan Singer did an excellent job. If money is sole measure of success, I cant think of any other action series that would surpass xmen at $2.6 billion. That’s around $300 million per movie; however, with number running in the favor of the current DOFP it is expected to break $600million mark! Though with few more blockbusters realizing soon such as How To Train Your Dragon 2 (June 17) and Transformers (June 27) that number may fall short. So catch a glimpse of this movie while the craze last, or wait for it to be released on DVD. In a nutshell, its worth every penny you’re going to spend on this movie! 4.5/5 stars.

Godzilla Review

Godzilla (2014)

bhaskar chanda godzillaHaving seen this latest Hollywood blockbuster, I’m having trouble understanding why anyone would be disappointed in this movie. Unfortunately, I’m also having trouble understanding why anyone would find it amazing. And yet, many of the reviews I’ve read are polarized in this way. Me, I enjoyed it well enough–for a doomsday flick, it hits all the right notes plot-wise while delivering some of the best broad scale special effects I’ve ever seen. And yet it sorely lacked a human element that would have taken it beyond the cheap thrills into a place where I really cared about these characters and what was happening to them. Directed by newcomer Gareth Edwards and penned by equally unknown Max Borenstein, Godzilla approaches one of the most iconic movie monsters through the eyes of Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Supporting roles are played by big names, including Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, and David Strathairn, and while the performances are solid, the screenplay never quite lifts any of them above basic Hollywood formula. But you know what you’re getting into at this point with this kind of film, as long as your expectations aren’t too high, you’ll have a fun if forgettable time. 3.5/5 stars.