Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wrapping it Up: July

Month with quite a few firsts - I wrote about my very first Russian movie experience and inadvertently I saw one more this month, then my very first Bollywood Essentials post - hopefully there will be more to come soon and then finally, I got down to write about Audrey Hepburn which I have been meaning to do for little while now. But that's mostly what's been going around here, on site. Let's get into what I saw in July.


My Cousin Vinny(1992)(Rewatch): I was actually watching an Indian remake of this and it reminded me that I haven't seen it in a long time. I just love this movie. Joe Pesci is at his snappy brilliant self in it and don't even get me started on Marisa Tomei, just flawless - the way she talks, she walks, her body-language, her face expressions and most notably, her in witness box.

The Children's Hour(1961): This film is criminally overlooked whenever someone talks about Audrey Hepburn's career and just to do my part for it, I wrote a full review of it here. Combined with Shirley MacLaine, Audrey Hepburn gives a fine performance in this one. William Wyler certainly saw an actress behind that pretty face. 

Funny Face(1957): Anyone who complains that Bollywood movies break out into random dance and music sequences should see this. This is so Bollywood and so 60's and I certainly do not mean it as a compliment. It was all rather stupid and cartoonish, and worst part was it felt like it is done in all seriousness. However, I think Audrey Hepburn might have looked most beautiful I have seen her in this.

Airplanes II: The Sequel(1982): I usually avoid any of these spoof movies because of very few I have seen, I pretty much hate every one of them Except Hot Shots!(1991) and Hot Shots: Part Deux(1993). Generally in an attempt to make them funny, I feel like they are utterly unfunny, boring and just plain ridiculous. In first few minutes, this felt like another movie in line. However, as I caught some of the references to Star Wars and 2001 etc., it caught my attention. Mind you, I am not giving it any favorable opinion, I just didn't hate it as I thought I would.

The Amazing Spider-Man(2012): I probably won't call it amazing but it still was pretty good. First of all, I really like Andrew Garfield in this role and I loved how they set up the everything. Emma Stone has a very small part but off course she is good as well. Chemistry between their characters is probably the best part of the movie. However, It isn't without its flaws. One thing that I will mention is I distinctly remember couple of dialogues between Stone and Garfield from the trailer that aren't in movie and that is just stupid. Others can be considered spoilers. So, I will not get into it here. But still pretty good.

A Room with A View(1985): Helena Bonham Carter looked super adorable in her very first role on screen in it. Otherwise very conventional English Rom-Com, even a little too English if you know what I mean. I had a foolish grin on my face almost throughout though and Daniel Day-Lewis, very early in his career was interesting as well.

Wait Until Dark(1967): Meet World's Champion Blind Lady - Audrey Hepburn as recently blinded Lady as 3 thugs try to take advantage of her blindness and steal a doll full of drugs from her house. This has to be one of the best performances of Audrey Hepburn's career. Even Alan Arkin was brilliant and almost unrecognizable with hair on his head in this. 

The Birds(1963): Right from the word go, this film took a grip on me. Even those titles left an impression on me. Hitchcock masterfully develops a lot of tension in first hour or so with that lingering feeling that something is just about to happen and once those bird attacks start, it just goes to another level. I usually don't get scared easily, even when watching a horror movie but this movie just scared me shitless.

The Raid: Redemption(2012): For first half hour or so, I was really underwhelmed by what I was seeing. I have seen quite a few Asian action or slasher movies and hence didn't think I was watching anything extraordinary. However, in the next one and half hour The Raid: Redemption more than redeemed itself, especially because it goes to a completely another level after hand-to-hand combats started. It really is one of the best action movies I have seen, even more so because it pretty much never goes over the top. 

L'eclisse(1962): Monica Vitti and Alain Delon make a really handsome couple. For the first time in Antonini's trilogy, it's a woman that is facing alienation and aloofness though Vittoria here is much more likable character than his previous two leads. My only problem with it really was last seven minutes, apparently filled with references and allegories which I have no idea of, that ending confused me a little. 

Enter The Void(2009): I was kinda dreading to sit down and watch it especially since Alex included it this list. Though I agree that I will probably not watch it again as well, at least not for quite a while, it isn't because I can't watch it again. It will be because I don't think the pain is worth gain as I am not really impressed by it and surprisingly I wasn't even overly depressed either. It took me little while to understand few things which made it 'Mehh' for me while watching e.g. I realised that he was trying to show that Oscar follows the same path discussed in 'Book of the Dead' that he is reading, while making dinner that night.

Porco Rosso(1992): This hardly ever happens. Very rarely you will see me complain about Miyazaki film but I was a little underwhelmed by this especially because of the ending felt a little loose to me. There still was usual Ghibli warmth in it but there movies do little more than just entertain viewer. Sadly, I did not see that spark here.

Cache(2005): It seems that Mr. Haneke really isn't interested in giving us any answers. Just like Code Unkonwn(2000) we only get questions but no answers. I will love to know who was doing it and why ? How did Georges make that connection ? But it was a fascinating story, it didn't leave me frustrated like Code Unkonwn(2000) and at one point I really gasped out loud, I am sure anyone who has seen this movie knows what I am talking about.

Casino Royale(2006)(Re-Watch): An attempt to school my room-mates. In my opinion, it is best Bond movie made yet, certainly best of what I have seen. Maybe, it isn't what you would expect from a Bond movie, but that is precisely what I like about it. For the first time, James Bond is vulnerable, much more human and Bond Girl has presence and much more to do than look pretty and sexy.

The Double Hour(2009): It might be my own fault that I was expecting more from this. After the twist in the middle that took me off-guard, I kept waiting for it to pick up and explode at some point and it never did, it just kept going at its own pace till the very end. It is not a completely bad thing either as whatever does happen on screen is still quite a story but I was expecting something different or at least something more.

City Lights(1931): With this, the honor of Highest Ranked movie in IMDb Top 250 that I haven't seen goes to M. It was such a heart-warming movie, I instantly loved it. What worked most for me was it is a perfect combination of story, emotions, drama and Tramp's usual shenanigans. His boxing match had me in splits whereas that last scene almost made me cry. Such a beautiful and timeless treasure !! 

The Dark Knight Rises(2012): History is my witness that I never understood Christopher Nolan movies completely on their first watch. I probably shouldn't admit it but this one isn't any different. Having said that, this was everything I expected it to be - it is grand, dark, epic, perfect conclusion to what now is most certainly Best Superhero story of all time. However, what makes me most happy is Anne Hathaway did a great job. I do have few problem which I am sure subsequent viewings will make clear. For now, I firmly stand in Camp Nolan !! My Full Review here.  

Dogtooth(2009): I am little uncertain as to how do I say this properly. For some reason, I didn't feel like it was very difficult to watch but it was truly disturbing experience. Much like Festen(1998). I do not think that I will ever get that image of their brother 'checking his own sisters out' image out of my head. But, I felt kinda cheated by the end.

Contempt(1963): May be it is just me but more Godard I see, more I feel like he is trying to hard for us to take him seriously. After Breathless(1960) last month, even this is actually very good movie but it feels like he is purposely trying to be more obscure. Whatever he was trying to say, I am sure could have been said equally effectively but with much more accessibility. At least I don't think purposely making a movie inaccessible can be considered a good thing.

Dersu Uzala(1975): If I didn't know, I wouldn't have guessed that it's an Akira Kurosawa movie. It is nothing like any other Kurosawa movie I have seen. First of all, of dozen or so of his movies, I have never seen a word spoken in language other than Japanese and here, this whole movie is in Russian. Even look and feel of it is much more like Doctor Zhivago(1965) or Lawrence of Arabia(1962). But, that doesn't mean it is an inferior piece of art by any definition possible. It's a devastatingly beautiful portrayal of a purest of a soul which touches your heart somewhere deep down.

Cleopatra(1963): I am pretty much sucker for History and then with Elizabeth Taylor, I would have been down for anything. But more than anything I wanted to see this because I am not really sure if Cleopatra should be considered a heroin or a vamp. I really do not know the historical accuracy of this. However real problem is 243 minutes and glorious Liz Taylor performance after, I am still not. 

Take This Waltz(2012): I have been meaning to see it for couple of months now and I finally got a chance to see it this month. I will have a full review soon but to give you a glimpse of it, even though I have few reservations I really liked it especially because of the 2 ladies for whom I wanted to watch this movie - Sarah Polley and Michelle Williams. Both have done a great job in their respective departments.

Dirty Harry(1971): For a serial killer movie, it actually felt much straight forward. Even the killer wasn't really formidable and Clint Eastwood was, well, Clint Eastwood. But even then it somehow works because I think for some reason it isn't trying to be intelligent, it is just being cool and suave and it is just that. Even without getting into now cult status of character, actor or movie, I can still say I loved it for just that. I just want to watch it once and count how many bullets he shot from his .44 Magnum.

The Iron Giant(1999): With every traditionally animated movie I see, I become more and more pro-2D animation than 3D animation. These traditionally animated characters feel much more human to me even though they do not have that finesse of 3D characters. As for the movie, I would have liked it much more if not for the last 15-20 minutes which went bit too far in my opinion but until then, it was nice.

Earrings(2012)(short): I have been hearing, talking, reading about this film since I started following Alex's blog probably around a year ago. Believe it or not, I was pretty stocked to see it and I KNOW for a fact that I wasn't the only one. It isn't often that a guy you actually know has a film coming, Right? Those who follow him, we all knew how much time, energy and effort he put into it, we knew what this movie meant to him and to tell you the truth, it is everything we expected. If you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to see it here. DO NOT leave without leaving comment on his post - We need more like this from him.

L'illusioniste(2010): Rather sad, almost silent but brilliant and heartfelt animated movie that was nominated for Oscar in 2010 for Best Animated Feature Film. Our magician who wouldn't get big shows and doesn't want to do odd jobs because he doesn't think that is dignified, as well as his side story with the girl was told really beautifully.

Drugstore Cowboy(1989): To tell you the truth, this is pretty good movie. I never thought I will say this but Matt Dillon has done a great job in this and even his whole arc in story was well designed. But for some reason, I was left cold by the end and I have no idea why? As I said, I don't think it is a bad movie but I don't have anything more to say on it. Maybe next time I see it, I might have something more to say.

Viridiana(1961): Have you ever hated every single character of a movie and still think that particular movie is brilliant. I just did !! I can certainly understand Spanish government's prompt ban on it, because even I was fuming by the end, as it comments very harshly on poverty, misery and religion in post-civil war Spain under General Franco's reign and still think it was more than worthy of winning Palme d'Or because brilliance of Bunuel lies in highlighting that stark contrast between start and end.

Total Count:28. 26 First Time Watches and 2 Re-watches.

2012 YTD Count

Total Count:182. 172 First Time Watches and 10 Re-watches.

So I reached double figure in re-watches this year. That's good. 28 movies this month that is even better. Usual division comes up to 13 Classics, 15 new and 11 Foreign, 17 English movies. That is good too. But you know, my favorite part this month was catching up 4 movies from this year, 2012. That is as many 2012 movies as I have seen in first 6 months and on top of that 3 of them were in theater. So, that's one thing accomplished from last month. I also went on little binge of few serials I wanted to see. After finishing up The Wire in June, I started with The Sopranos and I have gone through 4 seasons now, 5th to start soon. I also gave in to Twin Peaks this month but I am largely regretting that decision as it went from weird - intriguing - strange - laughing with it - laughing AT it - are you serious!! - shoot me, already!! stages and I still have around 10 more episodes to go(So, remember to pray for me !!). 

As for the next month, I don't think I am going to try anything different this month, just take every day as it comes. I have few things to write in mind and my movie watching this month mostly will be so as to make it possible.

So, how was your month ? Did you see anything interesting ? What do you think of the movies I saw ? Any favorites ?


  1. Boy, I suppose this was a really good month of films for you :) So did you handpick these movies or made some kind of list or you just went with the flow? Because I see some really good films in the list and I've watched most of them except for few.

    You can have a look at my site to check the movie's I've been watching - http://movieroundup.in/

    1. Yes, It was !! Ohh, lists. I have multiple, not just one. But generally I go with the flow. Great that you have seen most of them and like it as well. Thanks Hari !!

  2. I love the variety of your list. I've had Cleopatra for 2 years, but I haven't watched it yet. One day when I get 4 hours perhaps.

    By the way, I've just given you an award! If you want to accept it, stop by my blog. http://classicblanca.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-liebster-blog-award.html

    1. Thanks Josh !! I know that feeling, It took me almost whole damn day to finish Cleopatra. Not that it's boring or anything but its just damn too long. 243 minutes !!! Whooo

      Thanks for the award Josh !! Really appreciate it. :)

  3. I always love the mix of films you get through matey!! Brilliant

    1. I like Variety but sometimes I feel like I purposely do that. Haha. Thanks Scott !!

  4. Dear Shantanu,

    I really admire your work and as a small token of appreciation I have awarded you a Liebster. Collect it here: http://www.apotpourriofvestiges.com/2012/08/a-potpourri-of-vestiges-liebster-award.html

    1. Whoo. Its my lucky day !! Two awards in single Day !! Thanks Murtaza, thanks a lot !!

      I saw Dersu Uzala BTW. I think Rashomon is still my favorite Kurosawa but Dersu was Brilliant as well !! Thanks for the recommendation as well.

    2. Well, you deserve it!!! Btw, which is the other one? And, I am glad that you have watched Dersu Uzala. It is the movie's simplicity (and not to mention its latent power) that makes it so very special.

      Now, coming to the queries that you have posed on my blog:

      As far as Brian Lara is concerned, he was the first cricketer that I watched while growing up (my first contact with Cricket was him... since them I saw him play some unforgettable innings in an era dominated by World Class Pacers). West Indians were on a tour to India and it was Lara, Hooper and Jimmy Adams all the way. Sachin was kind of non-existent on that tour for the better part. I vaguely remember a Walsh bouncer going through Manoj Prabhakar Grill and breaking his nose... the next ball it was Sidhu's turn whose stumps were shattered by a Courtney Walsh bouncer after it ricocheted off his helmet. For a 5-6 year old, it was some sight... and I was impressed!!! Since then Lara remained my favorite and on several occasions I cheered for the West Indians... even today I have a soft corner for the Windies. I am sure that someone 10-15 years older to me would have a similar affinity for Viv Richards. If you don't believe me, try asking Tendulkar? :-)

      And, Sachin, of course, is a very close second!!! :-)

      Also, I have been fortunate enough to have already watched Pather Panchali and so I can relate to the nostalgia that you would have experienced. Only recently, I watched Aparajito. Now, I only need to watch Apu Sansar. The answer was in reply to the question asked by Eric (From Movie Waffler)... since it was in first person, I thought that through that question he would have wanted me to recommend him a movie that he hadn't watched... but, now I fathom the ambiguity !!! :-)

    3. Josh From Cinematic Spectacle gave me the same one and the Sati too. :)

      Well, You don't have to explain this to me really. I was just pulling your leg. I try not to play this favorite game. I can easily make a case for either of them any given day. So, I don't really see a point in naming one favorite and finding flaws in other. And I very clearly remember that bouncer to Prabhakar Man !! Like you, I always had a soft spot for Walsh. So, I do remember it.

      and Sorry for the confusion !! Haha.

  5. Twin Peaks gets good again near the end of season 2 :) About Cache - watch the last scene the end, the one that is over the end credits, you should get at least one answer from that. I'm so glad you liked TDKR I absolutely adored the movie and Hathaway was fantastic in it.

    1. Thank God !! What wouldn't I give for twin peaks to get better. Windom Earle just entered. Maybe he will make something happen.

      To tell you the truth Sati, we are really glad that YOU liked TDKR. Me, Alex, Nikhat, Stevve, Lesya - we are Fan-Boys. We would have loved it anyways. :D and did you just say 'HATHAWAY WAS FANTASTIC IN IT' ??

    2. Yep, she shocked me the most. It was a sheer pleasure watching her prove me wrong with her every scene. Terrific Catwoman!

  6. Thanks for the kind words for The Raid : Redemption :) And the asian people are Indonesian.

    I didn't like Take This Waltz much though. I also didn't like Seth Rogen's performance.

    Don't know that there's a dialogue in Amazing Spider-Man trailer that didn't show in the movie. What part was it?

    1. Ohh I lover The Raid and I know it's Indonesian.

      I have seen quite a divided audience on Take this Waltz. Probably because it comes down to our own moralities. But, I liked Seth Rogen in it, never thought he had it in him.

      You remember when Garfield goes to Stone's house after he's cut, there was a dialogue when Stone tells what her father is doing to catch Spider-man, something like '50 of New York's finest against 1 person. That seems rather extreme'. I even read an article afterwards about it saying there were few more such incidents in Amazing Spider-Man.

  7. spoof movies tend to be hit or miss, Spaceballs (1987) is quite good, particularly for Rick Moranis scenes as Dark Helmet . I don't think it holds up to more than one viewing, though. Mel Brooks is usually a no thanks from me.

    Twin Peaks is a classic in my opinion, I saw it 2x. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stranger, I guess, as Heath Ledgers Joker would say ( : I have some favorite screenshots I'm gonna share from that soon, I guess you're not gonna look at them, so why am I typing this...

    The Amazing Spider-Man(2012) Kids love those words, the 'incredible' Hulk, The 'fantastic' four

    A Room with A View(1985) was a disappointment for me, unmemorable. Likewise Wait Until Dark(1967), there are far better movies about blind characters IMHO. Ha about Alan Arkin ( :

    I've been getting more into Chaplin lately, few year ago I wasn't interested, now I can better appreciate them

    I'm completely with you that TDKR requires a second viewing!

    That's a coincidence! I also saw The Iron Giant (1999) this month

    "Have you ever hated every single character of a movie and still think that particular movie is brilliant?"
    Yes: maybe not 'hated' exactly, I disliked main characters in Fishtank (2009), even so a 7.6 from me and recommended ( :

    1. There you go Chris !!

      I do agree with you on this but they are more misses than hits for me. I even think that only reason I like both Hot Shots is because I saw them first. :)

      Twin Peaks has rating of 9.1 Chris. So, there are more people like you than like me. I haven't seen much of Lynch's work but I am not much in favor of most of it. So, maybe that's why I don't like it and Don't worry, Man. I will look at anything you do.

      Haha for Amazing Spider Man !

      Wait until dark wasn't forgettable to me. Yes, there are faults in it and yes, there are lot of better movies than this. But still, it wasn't unmemorable.

      If you haven't watch City Lights. Believe me, that last scene alone will melt your heart.

      I read about Iron Giant in your Recap post and nodded in agreement and I have heard that about Fishtank too. I have it my Netflix queue. So, I will get to it eventually.

      Thanks Chris !!

  8. Wow man, you had a seriously great month. Dogtooth, Wait Until Dark, The Birds, Contempt, Double Hour, City Lights and on and on… some of my faves there.

    And thanks so much for the Earrings shout out. Really kind of you to send people the film’s way!

    1. No Complaints from me there !

      and I am glad I can do that Alex. You and Earrings deserves it !

  9. Wow, what an impressive variety last month! I completely agree with you about The Raid, BTW. I wasn't impressed with the first 30 minutes or so either, but once they ditched the guns for martial arts, I was hooked. I'm still not ready to call it one of the best of the year, as many others have, but it was a pretty good action film.

    Also enjoyed your comments on Twin Peaks. I have only made it through the pilot so far, and I am nervous to continue after hearing so many questionable remarks about the series. But it's Lynch, so I'll definitely be checking it all out at some point.

  10. Thanks Eric !! I like to mix them up. Sometimes I even go back and see what have I not seen this month and then make sure to watch it. I am weird that way. :) and having seen only 7 2012 movie so far also helps in calling The Raid one of the best movies this year but I really like it.

    Give Twin Peaks a try Eric. I am in minority for hating it. I haven't seen much of Lynch's work but I generally am not much in favor. If you like his stuff, you might end up liking it.


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