The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
During World War II after his father Ralf’s promotion as commandant of a Nazi extermination camp, 8-year-old Bruno’s (Asa Butterfield) family, relocate. On one occasion Bruno comes across a barbed wire and meets Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), who lives inside the extermination camp but both are unaware of its true nature. Bruno thinks Shmuel’s striped uniform is a pajama and feeds him regularly. To help Shmuel find his ‘missing’ father, Bruno wears a striped uniform and sneaks under the fence to join Shmuel. The boys are taken along with other inmates for a ‘shower’. Bruno’s mother noticing that he is missing informs Ralf. But they are too late since Bruno, Shmuel and other prisoners are dead in the gas chamber. Watch this holocaust drama that builds up to the shocking finale.
The film’s title is derived from research which says that after death, the body shows a reported weight loss of 21 grams – that is the weight of the soul. Ex-convict Jack (Benicio Del Toro) is trying to give up drugs. Paul (Sean Penn) is told he may not survive more than a month unless he gets a new heart from an organ donor. Cristina (Naomi Watts) is happily married with two children. In an accident Jack kills Cristina’s husband and children and her husband’s heart is donated to Paul. Paul and Cristina have a relationship and she wants him to kill Jack. During a struggle, Paul shoots himself to prevent Cristina from killing Jack. Cristina realises she is pregnant and Jack returns to his family. Watch this stylish drama mainly for the fine performances.
Gangs of New York
In the mid-19th century, Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Vallon (Liam Neeson) have a brutal fight. Cutting kills Vallon and Vallon’s son flees with the knife used to kill his father. He returns many years later as Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) seeking revenge. Amsterdam and his friend Johnny fall for Jenny (Cameron Diaz). Amsterdam saves Cutting on one occasion, so Cutting starts loving him like a son. But when a jealous Johnny exposes Amsterdam’s true identity as Vallon’s son to Cutting, Amsterdam gets thrashed badly. Jenny nurses Amsterdam back to health. Cutting and Amsterdam have a fistfight during a riot. A stray cannon blast to quell the riots wounds Cutting fatally and Amsterdam then stabs Cutting to death. Watch the fictionalised historical drama mainly for Day-Lewis’ performance in the ‘grand American epic’.
Unhappy with his job, Narrator (Edward Norton), seeks relief in a group where he meets Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) who is a reminder of his own self. He meets soap salesman Tyler (Brad Pitt) and they indulge in a fistfight which gives him relief. So they have more fights which attract the attention of other men. The men form a ‘fight club’ as a form of recreation and it leads to more fight clubs across the country. Narrator discovers that Marla believes him to be Tyler. Here it is revealed to the viewer that since Narrator cannot change his life, he creates an ideal in the form of Tyler. Watch this controversial dark comic drama which was also listed among one of the ‘50 best guy movies of all time’.
Lester (Kevin Spacey) is married to a materialistic woman and their teenage daughter Jane hates them. After seeing Jane’s friend Angela (Mena Suvari) at a high school basketball game, Lester starts fantasising about Angela, with rose petals as a symbolism of his desire. His attitude towards life changes. After he overhears Angela tell Jane she would find him attractive if he improved his physique, he starts exercising and buys his dream car and takes up a less paying job. When Lester is about to have sex with Angela she admits that she’s a virgin and he changes his mind and they warmly embrace instead. When Lester smiles, looking at his family photograph, he is shot by homosexual neighbour Col Fitts who tried to kiss him earlier but was rebuffed. But Lester dies happily since there is so much beauty in the world. The romantic drama with such terrific visual flair seems to suggest that people ought to lead more meaningful lives.