Friday, November 30, 2012

Wrapping it Up: November

Lets get to the business right away. Once again, Reminder. Movies are clubbed as per my ratings out of 5 stars.



Jaane Bhi do Yaaron(1983)(Hindi)(Re-watch): Not only it is one of the best ensemble casts in the Hindi film industry, it is one of the monumental films in the history of Indian cinema. Period. And I really don't think any Indian will argue with that. It is that great, I am telling you. After all, there is a reason why we included it Ryan's Bollywood Syllabus. More Here.

English Vinglish (2012)(Hindi): You have no idea how much joy this gives me to rate a new release, sort of mainstream Hindi movie so high, especially if you know my constant complaint about the quality of Indian movies in past few years. This year has been quite different though. So, English Vinglish. You know why I think it is so good? Because it is imperfect, it is realistic. Even in the end when Sridevi speaks, she speaks in broken English. It isn't a glossed over version of reality that we are used to and it is so good to see on screen without any embellishments.

The Lady Vanishes(1938):  For some reason that I always thought that Hitchcock's used his famous MacGuffin plot only in Psycho(1960) but it turns out, it's just the most famous one because here it is - in one of early movies, still in British phase. In reality, there is nothing different about this than any other Hitchcock movie. It is a very typical mystery movie than Hitchcock did so often but in typical Hitchcock way, it still leaves with its impression on you.

Compliance(2012): Real problem with movies like this one which tend to evoke strong emotional response from the viewer is it becomes very difficult to judge it objectively. Whatever happens in this movie is absolutely incomprehensible from outside and I really do not get why not just say NO. But still, it was an incredible experience, very well acted and directed and even though subject matter implies typical viewer response, executing it perfectly as it is done here, also counts for a lot. I still can not believe that this really happened, to an extent they show in a movie.

Funny Games(1997): Yes, I felt like punishing myself. Severe one at that, with Compliance just the day before. Again, it makes it so real that it is really difficult to sit back and objectively rate the positives and negatives of it. Unlike Compliance however, I did not have a problem believing that something like this can happen. No one in the world deserves that I am sure, but maybe because it was such a bat-shit crazy that I can probably believe that something like this can happen.

The Deep Blue Sea(2012): That's one for Rachel Weisz. In the 1955 original, Vivien Leigh played the lead and I have to say, I imagine she would be really great in such role. Strong, passionate but so vulnerable. Rachel Weisz was so great in this role that now, I really want to see what Vivien Leigh did with her part. It did remind me a lot of In the Mood For Love(2000) and even though it won't match it, aspiring to be as good is enough for me. 

Arbitrage(2012): The other day, I was watching The Actors roundtable on The Hollywood Reporter and Richard Gere was there talking about his role. He said that some of his friends hated him for playing that character because he is scumbag but still they wanted him to come out good of all and I remember feeling something very similar. As for his acting, he was a revelation actually specially after Chicago, which I saw couple days earlier, where his character was probably main reason why I didn't care much about that movie.

Brave(2012): I hardly remember a movie that I enjoyed so much. I know it is not without its flaws and some of them may be even big but it's an animated movie and I enjoyed it so much. I loved all their Scottish accents, her father and three little brothers, loved Merida's relationship with her mother and the way they captured small things so right and in the end, that look on Merida's face when she puts that tapestry on her mother as the Sun comes up. Just killed it.

Skyfall(2012): I am not too big on bond but I am loving this gritty, serious Bond so far. Casino Royale(2006) is my favorite Bond movie from what I have seen but this one looks just as incredible. Incredible performances from Javier Bardem and Judy Dench which I am pretty sure will make it worth a repeat watch and I will reserve my judgement as to which one is better until then. But in the meantime, let me join everyone singing praises of Roger Deakins. He deserves every bit of it.

Clueless(1995): I said above that I hardly enjoyed any movie as much as I enjoyed Brave and then I saw this. Alicia Silverstone was on fire here. I mean she was kinda stupid but gloriously, awesomely stupid. I LOVED everything she did, her dialogues, her big incomprehensible words. Everything. There were quite a few amazing dialogues in it("I thought they declared piece in Middle East") but "Why? Do I look like I know what I am talking about ?" really takes the cake. Oh and I did not recognize Brittany Murphy At All.

A Royal Affair(2012): Only my second foreign film in a theater, first being The Intouchables(2012). As it turns out, both are garnering a lot of buzz with a prospective nominations and even as favourites to win. Though personally I prefer The Intouchables over this one a little, I really wouldn't mind either of them winning. Either way, that would be the first time I would have seen Foreign Film winner before it won. More Here.

Cloud Atlas(2012): Going in, I knew that I will have to watch it again to really get it but I guess, all I wanted to was re-watching it not because I have to but because I want to. Now I am sure that I will happily re-watch it many many more times. I would have loved it for its audacity alone as Sheer scope of this movie is mind boggling but what made it work for me was despite it, it didn't feel oblique. As a matter of fact, there was a lot of heart in it.

Raising Arizona(1987): Someone once told me that if you want to get into Coen Brother's filmography, Raising Arizona should be kept almost at the end. I understand why now but it is such a crime to keep someone away from such a gem? I understand that the majority of this movie is stupid but it is gloriously stupid. I mean I have never seen anything like this. I seriously didn't ever recognize half of the actors. Holly Hunter, John Goodman and even Nicolas Cage. God, they look so different !! I totally didn't recognize them.

Hard Eight(1996): PTA's first feature length film. As I said in this post, this is his weakest film in my opinion but given that it's PTA, that still means this is pretty good, especially in the acting department with the likes of Phillip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly and Samuel L. Jackson. Importance of this film to me is things like tight storyline, great acting ensemble, use of lights and camera feature so prominently even in his first movie.

Punch-Drunk Love(2002): And with this I can check P.T. Anderson off. After Christopher Nolan and Wes Anderson, now I have seen every single movie he has done as well. I don't know if anyone else ever felt this, but to me this movie felt much more like Wes Anderson than PTA, even his music. Maybe, it's just me.

Sound of My Voice(2012): To tell you the truth, there is a lot that I liked in this movie including Brit Marling. I liked most of the characters, I liked how they developed their story, I liked all the proceedings in their cult meetings - it really made me believe them as a cult and I loved their ending. But I had a couple of problems, both of them very basic to the story which I just couldn't shake off and that is why it looses some points despite all the praise. More here.

Killer Joe(2012): It was brutal, it was relentless and it was extremely well acted. Matthew McConaughey was unbelievably remarkable in it, even more so in by now infamous chicken-leg scene. His reaction there is almost impossible to put in words and Juno Temple deserves special mention as well. But there was something in that whole setting that I really can not point out was little off for me and that end just didn't make much sense to me.

Headhunters(2011): It was so great to see Nicolaj Coster-Waldau in this film. I don't know how big of a star he is in Scandinavia but he kills it in Game of Thrones every time and I don't think he has a notable part in any English movie as yet. Movie as a whole was actually great but it looked a little too well planned to me, especially in the given circumstances.

The Wrong Man(1956): Another movie where Hitchcock played a lot with his camera and I love that and as far as I know, this is the only true story Hitchcock did. In the end however, this true story nature was my biggest problem. I understand that he just depicted what happened in real life but the way case ends, sub-story with his wife and how that ends - none of this really makes it worthy on-screen story. Sad and unfortunate but not interesting.

Lawless(2012): I am at a complete loss of words here. I have absolutely no idea how I feel about this movie. It wasn't bad but it was mostly 'meh'. In every aspect of this movie, I don't think there was anything that I really didn't like or felt disappointed about - except maybe there was a lot of wasted potential - but there isn't anything particular I liked about it either. It was just 'meh'.

Salaam Bombay(1988):  This movie reminded me too much of Babel(2006) because if we are looking artistically, both these movies are great. They are very realistic, hard-hitting and have no half measures about it. But after watching Babel, I really wanted just to kill myself. I mean, I am not saying that every movie MUST have happy ending but give me some hope, at least that light at the end of the tunnel or not make me wanna die. Is that too much to ask?

Barfi!(2012)(Hindi): India's official submission to Oscars this year. Most promising thing about it was superb performances from the three leads. Ranbir Kapoor has been on a binge lately and he continues to deliver here too and Ileana D'Cruz in her Hindi debut is stunningly gorgeous and so subtle. But by Priyanka Chopra was by far the best of them. If not for the last 30-40 minutes of cry-fest and all the copying from 10 different movies, I easily would have rated it way higher.


OMG Oh My God(2012)(Hindi): Looking at the premise of this movie, I had a pretty bad feeling that it is going to be a disaster. My only hope was that Paresh Rawal was in it who has also worked in original play. It definitely wasn't a disaster I thought it will be and to its credit raised a lot of valid points throughout and I was even ready to buy into Akshay Kumar's role. However, I would have loved it a lot more if it didn't go so much over the top every so often.

Chicago(2002): Now that I have seen it, I can say that I have seen all the Best Picture Winners in my Lifetime. All the musical parts in it were actually quite great but I got bored with all the drama in it. All three female characters were pretty good but I had issues with both the notable male characters. Richard Gere was the main culprit who took the drama too overboard for me and John C. Reilly, I had no idea why was he even in the movie? That was an utterly laughable, complete caricature of a character.

Our Hospitality(1923): It started off with hitting all the right notes. In the first 15-20 minutes itself, there were more than one occasion where I laughed out loud. However, it didn't keep my interest for it's complete length. I still don't have any complaint against Buster Keaton but after a little while, most of the gags became too silly, too slapstick-y if that's the word. I don't know. Maybe The General(1926) set the standards a little too high for me.

Giant(1951): It is generally described as an epic, sprawling tale of Texas rancher and his family. I mean yes, it was epic in terms of scale of a movie and even sprawling but unfortunately, that's it !! It did not do anything to me emotionally. Even Elizabeth Taylor couldn't save this movie for me. James Dean was only highlight of the movie but it was too long and lackluster for anyone to save it.

Alice(1990): So, first of all, Mia Farrow is replacement for Woody Allen's usual character in this one right? Lady Allen, can we call her? because she basically even talks like him. I have had my problems with his character, but I was OK with this but then the absurdities started. I really didn't understand what was with that Dr. Wang character? Why was he making her disappear? Where did Alec Baldwin come from? and love potion? really? What is this, Harry Potter?

Lockout(2012): At the ens of the year, people usually list worst 10 movies of the year. I take pride in the fact that I have avoided all them successfully. This year, that may not be the case because I have seen Lockout. I absolutely, positively and completely believe that you CAN NOT find 10 movies terrible than Lockout. It is way over-ambitious but incredibly stupid and worse than that takes itself too seriously. It was an overacting fest. I am telling you, every single penny spent on it is utter waste. It still gets two stars for Guy Pierce, who had few good lines and some good setting which it's story wasted completely BTW.

Total Count:28. 27 First Time Watches and 1 Re-watches .

2012 YTD Count
Total Count: 301. 283 First Time Watches and 18 Re-watches.

So if you noticed, I crossed 300 mark this month. One goal achieved! Next is 300 First Time Watches, which if I continue at this rate, should be achievable. But no promises since this is not a Homework. If I get there, we will see. However, as I continue clearing up backlog of 2012 movies, this next month looks like is gonna be fun. We will get all the nominations for various guilds and globes as well. Award season has officially started with Indie Spirit awards this season but I did not pay much attention to it basically because I am not sure what works and what doesn't according to their definition. It's weird. But I will probably do something on SAG and Globe noms, probably together like last year since they are being announced a day apart. And then get ready for the Oscars. There are still so many more movies to watch.

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


  1. I agree Lawless was meh, I was so bored watching the movie I think the script is at fault here as they really didn't develop any of the characters. Glad you liked McConaughey in Killer Joe, it's definetly one of my favorite performances of the year so far.

    1. Yeah. I didn't really care about any character in it. McConaughey sure was awesome, no doubt !!

  2. Ahh! Loved Brave and Skyfall! Can't wait to see Brave again, Pixar did such a good job!
    Agree with the Headhunters rating - I had fun with it, but it was nothing too memorable.
    I love Chicago for the musical numbers, it's so fun to sing along with :P Good month it seems!

    1. Yup. Loved them too. All Hail Roger Deakins !!
      Chicago - yes. I liked most of their dance numbers too. Movie as a whole, not much.
      Good month indeed. :)

  3. Glad you liked The Lady Vanishes, Skyfall, and Cloud Atlas, which might be my favorite film of 2012. I agree on Lawless. "Wasted potential" is the perfect way to describe it.

    1. Skyfall and Cloud Atlas both are in top 10 so far. Loved them both. As per Lawless, looks like everyone has pretty similar opinion. Too Bad it wasn't any good.

  4. This is a wonderful eclectic list of movies! I liked Brave and The Deep Blue Sea, too.

  5. Clubbing the movies? You know clubbing could be misunderstand, if you're holding a baseball bat in anger. As in bashing a movie. Just saying... ( :

    Now to the serious stuff...another Skyfall fan I see. I enjoyed the latest Bond, especially the opening credits scene impressed me in terms of action, the villain was great, and enjoyed the humour too. You're right that DP Roger Deakin did a great job.

    I think that new Hitchcock biopic coming soon will put me in the mood to watch a couple Hitchcock movies. Perhaps I'll finally see Notorious you recommended.

    To answer your question, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau's first important role was in Night Watch (1994), which is not in English, but its a solid thriller. Just avoid the US remake with Ewan McGregor.

    1. Howdy Chris? Ahhh..You lost me for a minute there. But that's cool. I don't watch Baseball at all. :D

      From the reactions I have heard about Hitchcock, it is more probable that you will have an opposite effect. But don't let that scare you. Notorious and many others are wayy better.

      Thanks for the reco Chris. I will try to dig that out.

    2. I never watch baseball either, it was a joke about you used the word "clubbed": "Movies are clubbed as per my ratings out of 5 stars". In that "clubbed" could be understood as hating, and you bashing in anger on all the movies. Oh well, the joke failed, happens ( :

  6. Nice month of movies here, SDG! Great to see you finished PTA's filmography. I revisited Boogie Nights last month and loved it even more the second time around. Also agree with you on Skyfall and Sound of My Voice -- two really solid movies, though the latter has some minor issues that could have been cleaned up.

    1. Thanks !! I am checking them off one by one. It feels good especially for someone like PTA. Loved Boogie Nights. Sound of My Voice was intriguing and I like the ending better than you. :)


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