My Favourite Movie Star.


It is extremely difficult to choose one favourite star for me as I see movies in three languages. My earliest memories of movies revolve around those with Sivaji Ganesan in Tamil movies then followed English movies with Johny Weismuller as Tarzan and then to Hindi with Raj Kapoor as the star to admire.

And as I grew up into adulthood, so many kept coming in and going out that I never really developed the peculiar Indian trait of Hero worship and would see films for the overall effect rather than for the hero or heroine.

For this post however, I have chosen Robert De Niro for a number of reasons and I shall write them down as they occur to me.

The first movie that I saw with him was Godfather II and I was hooked. The last I saw of him was in The Intern. In between, I have seen a great many of them including those of his younger days like the The Taxi Driver, The Raging Bull etc mostly through DVDs or via cable TV. I cannot think of one where he let me down. Whether it was Romance, Action, or Comedy, he came up trumps every time.  His versatility and ability to adapt to his costars is outstanding, and that is why he is my favourite movie star.  Moreover, I would like to restrict my choice to English cinema and thus the choice of De Niro.


I know that I disappoint my regular reader blogger friend Tammy who would have preferred my choice being Sean Connery. Let me assure her that he would be my second choice!

Topic for today’s LBC post was suggested by me. You can read Shackman’s and Pravin’s takes at their respective blogs.


joy UK movie poster

I was conned into seeing this movie because of Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence. The story, as inspiring as it is and heavily female oriented, could have been told in about 90 minutes and since that did not happen due to adding unnecessary characters to the tale, the picture takes over two hours to sit through and I found it tedious.

While Lawrence and Bradley Cooper deliver, all the rest of the cast are zombie like and most unappealing. Robert De Niro, despite being almost a cameo role, disappoings which is rare for him and I blame the story line and the fact that his part could have been done away with completely. I call this a con game that Bollywood usually indulges in when the producer knows that the finished product is likely to bomb and so throws in famous stars to add to the story line.

A very avoidable film.




Another film recommended by my friend Abhaya. To make it worthwhile, his message to me said “‘Limitless’. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. Fabulous.” I bought it lock, stock and barrel and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the film.

Thank you Abhaya.  It was fabulous in both the classic and the ordinary senses of the word.

Eddie Morra: Well, in order for a career to evolve, I’m gonna have to move on.

Carl Van Loon: And you would even think that, would only show me how unprepared you are to be on your own. I mean you do know you’re a freak? Your deductive powers are a gift from God or chance or a straight shot of sperm or whatever or whoever wrote your life-script. A gift, not earned. You do not know what I know because you have not earned those powers. You’re careless with those powers, you flaunt them and you throw them around like a brat with his trust-fund. You haven’t had to climb up all the greasy little rungs. You haven’t been bored blind at the fundraisers. You haven’t done the time and that first marriage to the girl with the right father. You think you can leap over all in a single bound. You haven’t had to bribe or charm or threat your way to a seat at that table. You don’t know how to assess your competition because you haven’t competed. Don’t make me your competition.

Eddie played by Bradley Cooper and Carl Van Loon played by the inimitable Robert De Niro.

Why particularly this dialogue? Unless I have missed something elsewhere, this must be the longest speech made by Niro in any film. Apart from the length of the delivery, just look at the message that it sends to people who think that they can compete with someone who has gone through the mill to reach the top!

And another one, short, sharp and thoroughly enjoyable for an alley cat who had oncc climbed the corporate ladder:

Loon: Have you been talking to anyone?

Morra: No, I haven’t been talking to anybody, Carl. I’m not stupid.

Loon: I know you’re not stupid, Eddie, but don’t make the classic smart person’s mistake thinking no one’s smarter than you.

Some script writing what?

There are other actors who almost all play small but powerful roles but these two carry the story on their shoulders and very broad shoulders they are indeed.

A very unusual story, told with brutal honesty and aplomb.  Acting and direction of the highest order with some very deft camera work, makes it a must-see if you have not already seen it.



The Intern.


Catch me not going to a movie with Robert De Niro in it. Despite my partner in crime Ramesh being preoccupied with a second honeymoon as he calls it, I managed to go all alone to watch the movie earlier this afternoon.

And I fell in love with Nancy Meyers who has written the story and directed this film. For the first time ever in my film going experiences, I came across a writer and director who has understood men of my generation and has produced a character in Ben Whitaker, so ably portrayed by De Niro, with who I totally identified. When he tells one of his younger colleagues, “A man carries a handkerchief to give to ladies who cry’, my heart melted. The younger males portrayed are so real modern IT types that I meet all the time and I thought that this film could be made in India and the story would resonate with Indian viewers, at least in the cities.

I have seen Anne Hathaway in other films notably, Brokeback Mountain and Les Miserables. In this, she portrays the moving spirit behind a successful start up internet based company and she does a magnificent job.

What do I need to say about De Niro. For the first time ever, his portrayal, thanks to the storyline and superb direction, sends the message loud and clear that male roles showing gentle, kind and sensitive men can also succeed in movies. He produces such an unusual performance that my already high opinion of his histrionic ability got reinforced.

It is a fantastic movie, without any of the violence, melodrama, sex etc that seem to permeate modern films and I will be very surprised if it does not succeed in the box office and may even get an Oscar or two.

Don’t miss it. I wish that I could give a higher rating than [rating=6].

Everybody’s Fine.


My friend Abhaya is a movie buff who downloads movies from his satellite TV for viewing at leisure. He sends me a crisp message on WhatsApp recommending that I see it. Many of the older films that I have seen by purchasing DVDs are due to such recommendations from him.

Some weeks ago, Abhaya send a message that I should see Everybody’s Fine. Finding that it had Robert De Niro and Drew Barrymore in it, I had immediately ordered for a DVD and after it came just kept it away and forgot all about it.

Yesterday, feeling like seeing a movie but not quite willing to get out of the house to go to a multiplex, I picked the top most DVD in my collection and lo and behold it turned out to be Everybody’s Fine.

It is a drama film as its producers call it but I would rather call it a family drama. A retired widower’s discovery that his children have lied to him to protect him from himself under some impression that he will not be able to face and accept realities is the theme around which the story is built. There are many things in it that resonated with me but also some that did not.

There are some scenes which could have been completely eliminated as they serve no purpose like showing endless shots of coated cable running alongside trains and highways to remind the viewer that the father had once produced those cables while giving a rough time to his wife and growing up children. Such pruning would have allowed for expanding the emotions involved in some of the reunion scenes which due to underdevelopment fall flat.

Overall, a good movie to watch if one likes a bit of mush. Coming as it did more or less soon after my exposure to Cat’s in the cradle with a similar theme, it left me with a sense of satisfaction that I did not too badly as a father while my son was growing up. Worth a [rating=4] rating, possibly with half a star more which I am unable to put in.

Then And Now.

Just a few days ago my friend Anita posted a photograph of Jodie Foster on a whim.

Jodi Foster

This was from The Taxi Driver, a 1970s film, the second one in which Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese had paired up. Since I had not seen the film in the seventies, I got a DVD and saw it yesterday.  In that film Niro looked like this.


I saw Robert De Niro just a couple of months ago in The Grudge Match. He looked like this in that picture.

And Jodie Foster looks like this in her latest movie Elysium.


See how differently the two stars have aged in four decades?