Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping it up: December

Another month worth of movies which brings us to the end of the year 2012. Before all of us, including me, get into the frenzy of the usual stuff that bloggers do around year-end and award buzz that will soon follow it, let us get this out of the way. Movies that I watched in the month of December. Ratings out of 5.


12 Angry Men(1957)(Re-watch): It is very rare that when talking about the movies that I use the term "sweeping you off your feet". That term is kept specially for very few movies that literally have done so. Pulp Fiction(1994) was one such movie and so was Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men, one of the reasons why both make into my Top 5. If you want to read me shower some more hyperbolic praise on it, see it here.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy(2001-03)(Re-watch): After watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey(2012) the other night, I had a strong feeling of watching the whole trilogy yet again. After all, I haven't seen this for almost 9 months. I have seen it for almost 25 times by now but still I watch it with the same enthusiasm of the first time and appreciate something else every time. This time because of The Hobbit, I enjoyed all the references to each other in both like Bilbo's story of the trolls, mention of Thorin and Balin in the mines of Moria and fell in love with it all over again.

Amour(2012): Going in for a Haneke film, you are never sure of what to expect. In case of Amour, I had some idea. I knew that it is going to be a hard watch and it is. It maybe even is a little bit too real but to tell you the truth, that's what I loved the most about it. I wouldn't have liked it if it wasn't real. It connected with me as well. As far as I am concerned, this is the best movie I have seen so far in this year. More here.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia(2012): I have seen a lot of movies that are extremely beautiful to look at. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is more special even among them. It makes the things that I never thought of as pretty look so beautiful. Also, looking at the synopsis of the movie and its run-time, I never thought I will like this movie so much. The mere fact that it makes you sit for its entire run-time is astonishing. Me loving this movie as much as I did - Miracle.

Rust and Bone(2012): More than anything, this is the movie that gave me that big, amazing Cotillard performance that I had never seen before this. Last 15-20 minutes of this movie made it a lot better for me as they gave little more gravity to Ali's character as well. More here.

Beasts of the Southern Wild(2012): I had been meaning to check this out for a long time, for Quvenzhane Wallis if nothing else and it turns out that everything anyone said about her is true. It really is one of the best performances I have seen so far this year. I don't know if it is a fiction or reality, I don't know if it is some kind of apocalyptic, futuristic world or set in present day(I don't know who these people are, I don't know where they are from) but to tell you the truth, none of it really mattered because their world kept me engaged since the word go.

Holy Motors(2012): I am sure that anyone who likes this movie completely understands anyone who doesn't. It is a kind of movie that can easily draw very extreme response. After all, it raises more questions than answering them. However to me, there was one very important thing that kept me from hating it - Denis Lavant. He was beyond awesome. There was enough characterization in the brief moments between his appointments, to write him off completely.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower(2012): Around first 20 minutes into the movie, I had a problem with the characters being little too friendly or welcoming but by the end of it, they had won me over completely. So much that I loved every single one of them. Amazing cast, great acting, beautiful story with easily relatable and so many palpable emotions. Yet another movie I saw this month that has a legitimate chance of making into the Top 10 of the year.

To Catch a Thief(1955): It is fairly rare that in a Hitchcock movie, I am more interested in something other than what he has to say but this was one such movie. I was completely focused on Grace Kelly this time. As I watch more movies Grace Kelly did, she is giving Audrey Hepburn a serious run for her money as my favourite actress ever. However, for the first time in this movie I noticed a peculiar accent in her. I ain't complaining, especially since Hitchcock infused so much humour in those verbal spats between her and Cary Grant.

Ai Weiwei. Never Sorry(2012): I think thus far, this is my only documentary of 2012. At least, it was good. Even though I thought that he went a little too far, I really respected his intent and more than anything else, his courage and determination. The fact that he became active again after being in custody made me respect him even more. Regardless of which society we live in, we need such men if we really want to keep getting better.

Life of Pi(2012): I read Yann Martel's novel sometime in Spring of 2011 and was so underwhelmed by it that I never felt a hint of excitement for this movie. For a book tauted as to make you believe in god, an atheist in me had a lot of problems with its spirituality. I eventually checked it out despite my reservations and I will give it to Ang Lee that he made it a visual spectacle. Off course, he can not undo the flaws in original story but at least he didn't make getting through it an exercise.

Corialanus(2011): I swear I wanted to like this more but it just wouldn't let me. And if not for all the performances, I would rated it much lower. They call it modernized version of Shakespeare but it was very lazy adaptation as if they really wanted to modernize it, they could have dome a much better job. Like change that language maybe - God, it was so distracting. And I probably should tell this to Shakespeare but they shouldn't have wasted one whole hour to turn him. There should have been more of his conflict than his decorated arrogance of first half.

Ruby Sparks(2012): I loved its concept of a looser writer creating a female character of his dream and making it a reality. I also loved both the lead characters played by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan. First half of the movie was really enjoyable, quirky and different and even made me believe that they will probably take a unusual route. But they took the same exact way you would expect it to take and dipped their considerably in my opinion.

Talaash(2012)(Hindi): Despite a lot of good in it like decent acting by all the three leads and story that kept it taut for a long time, it was the ending that let it down. Interesting part is my roommate guessed the end almost 45 minutes earlier in the movie. So, we didn't hate the ending but it still was a letdown. Though I will happily take away both the songs, Muskaane Zhooti Hai and Jiya Lage naa, from this movie and leave everything else.

The Circus(1928): Good Old Chaplin !! He never fails to make me laugh. The Circus actually started off really well, getting quite a few laughs from me even before Tramp actually gets into the circus. But then it kinda slowed down. It was still pretty good, it's Chaplin after all. But maybe not City Lights(1931) or Modern Times(1936) level material for me.

Rango(2011): From the moment I heard about what this is about, and who's doing it with who, I wasn't interested in it. That's why it took me almost two years to see it and only when it was available on Netflix. I didn't go out and seek it. Well, I can say that I am pleasantly surprised. It was silly and exactly like most other Verbinski-Depp movies but it was quite entertaining and funny too.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey(2012): Don't really go by this rating because the first time I watched LOTR movies, I didn't even finish first one and now I have seen them all 27 times. I really liked this movie, especially Martin Freeman as Bilbo was just perfect but my main problem with this is over-indulgence. I think there were many things in it that really had no business being here. Now if Jackson can do something Tolkien didn't to validate them in the next two, my opinion might change. I love middle earth and what Jackson does with it too much to give up so early. 

The Night of the Hunter(1955): I had heard a lot of good things about this movie. In fact, that is why I saw it as the 300th 'New to Me' movie of the year but unfortunately, it didn't turn out that well for me. It works much better on psychological levels - A priest hunting kids down for money. But my main problem was that I did not believe Robert Mitchum's character and his crocodile tears, even for a second and how someone can was pretty unbelievable to me too.

Margot at the Wedding(2007): I have not seen any Noah Baumbach movie before. I am not even sure why I saw this. I only remember hearing something about this vaguely. So, I don't know if it is his thing or not but this was a messed up movie. It was quite good from acting perspective but every single one of the characters in this movie need some kind of mental treatment. The kind of things they do, they talk are so inappropriate, even children. What's wrong with them?

Lincoln(2012): Their are parts of this movie that I loved but there are also many things about it that I didn't care that much about. I loved the last 40 minutes of the movie once they get into the last stages of voting. All the performances were very fine especially Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones but I didn't find anyone extraordinary. It felt too slow and long, especially in the first one and half hour.


Trouble with the Curve(2012): I really wanted to like this movie. It has Amy Adams in it, more often than not I do not need much more than that. About half hour left in the movie, I was wondering to myself why didn't people like this. I knew it wouldn't win any awards, it wouldn't be anyone's favourite movie but still it was pretty decent. But then last 20 minutes happened. Off course, Amy Adams was great in it but there are people who think she was better than The Master(2012) here. Nah !!

Pitch Perfect(2012): Will anyone judge me if I said that I wanted to like this movie too? I swear, it was only for Anna Kendrick and as it turned out, she was the only thing worth about it. It goes exactly like thousands of other typical Rom-coms out there, taking every cliched turn and characters in it and ends exactly where you know it would, a minute into the movie. It wasn't really bad, it wasn't any good either.

Duck Soup(1933): My first encounter with Marx Brothers. Can I be blunt here and say that I Really didn't like any of the Marx Brothers onscreen? I loved their writing but watching them on screen was painful. I liked their humour and I liked the way they were exploiting it out of very regular, normal situation but the way they portrayed it really got on my nerve, especially Harpo Marx.

Fahrenheit 451(1966): Francois Truffaut's First and only English movie. I don't know if it was Truffaut's direction and writing or it is Bradbury's novel but nothing seemed right to me. It seemed very superficial and shoddy. Even acting seemed very unnatural or artificial. 10 minutes into the movie, I had a pretty good idea how it is going to play out and it followed it exactly.

Total Count:26. 22 First Time Watches and 4 Re-watches .

2012 YTD Count
Total Count: 328. 306 First Time Watches and 22 Re-watches.

Next two months should be the most exciting time for all the fellow film buffs, trying to finish up the 2012 and getting ready for 2013 and the award season. I did spend most of this month focussing on finishing out 2012 and even though I have seen quite a few of what I wanted to, I still am not finished and expect to be still in 2012 mode for at least the month of January. Right now, I am aiming for mid-February to wrap up the year with the Top 10 list, even though my favourite 'first time watches' of this year should be out next, followed by the usual shenanigans of Oscar coverage and 'Movies I am looking Forward to in 2013'. From January, I am also looking forward to the Blind Spot series which should be up at around the end, every month.

Let us Welcome 2013 with open hands and hearts and hope it brings even better health, happiness and future for everyone. HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS !!

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


  1. Lord of the Rings forever!!!! You know what I think of them :)
    And I've never yet seen 12 Angry Men - I really, really need to! That should be a resolution for this year (not that I ever officially make them) - watch more classic movies!
    I'd personally rank Night of the Hunter at something like 4 or 4.5 stars - Mitchum is so creepy! I got to see it on the big screen in my cinema class at uni.
    And I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the Hobbit so much on a first viewing! Maybe it'll improve on a repeat viewing - I can't wait for the next one!

    1. 12 Angry Men is a gem of a movie Ruth. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed whenever you get to it.
      As per The Hobbit, it is not that I didn't enjoy it. My only problem with it is I need more reason then 'Because it sells' for Frodo and Galadriel and Sauroman and Legolas to be in them. They have nothing whatsoever to do with Hobbit storyline. If Jackson can convince me, I will be delighted. As you know too, that's one of my faourite worlds to be in.

      LOTR RULES !! :D

  2. What a great round up! I am looking forward to many of the movies on your list, especially Amour and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And I will be watching 12 Angry Men soon.

    1. There really were a lot of good movies this month. From that post about you did about your mother, I think you will appreciate Amour - it isn't usual by any sense but it felt really special to me. And so did Perks.
      Let me know what you think of 12 Angry Men when you get to it.

  3. Great month of films! Glad you loved Lavant in Holy Motors.
    I see where you're coming from on Pitch Perfect, but I can't help myself: I love it! :)
    Can't wait for Amour!

    1. Thanks Josh and Oh, I LOVED Lavant. If only for the range of roles he does in single movie. Its Crazy.
      I hope you will like Amour. As I was telling to Stephanie, It's different but very special.

  4. I have been eyeballing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia in my Netflix queue for a while now. As you said, the running time is a bit daunting, but I think I'll give it a shot since you liked it so much.

    Bummer to hear you were disappointed by The Night of the Hunter. I think it's a near flawless film, and I loved Robert Mitchum's performance in it. One of the greatest villains I have seen.

    Great month overall, man! Can't wait to see Amour myself.

    1. Brace up Eric. Anatolia is long and slow but never boring and in my opinion it is definitely worth it.

      Hope you get to see Amour soon man. Another movie that you will have to make an effort to get into but if you do, it will stick with you for a long time. It was a pretty good month. Thanks. :)


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