Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wrapping it Up: April

Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. Again I have clocked 21 movies in a month. Third time this year. I am feeling like I am unconsciously doing it on purpose. I am not really, I try to watch them whenever I can but I guess, I've eased into this routine now. If you remember, I promised to watch movies from 1001 movies list only this month. Scroll down to see how did I do?

April

Do Bigha Zamin(1953)(Hindi): One of the most iconic films by certainly the most iconic Hindi film director of all time and the oldest Bollywood Essential I have written about. After finally watching this movie from start to end for the first time, I feel like calling it Father India - most of melodrama in it or at least first half of Mother India(1957). More about it here.






Four Lions(2010): I remember hearing a lot about it the year it was released. It even made the '1001 Movies' list that year but I guess it lost the steam pretty quick and was left out the very next year. I don't know what the exact reactions were that year but I imagine it must have offended a lot of people. There is a lot of material that is indeed extremely offensive but what can I say, I loved it!! It's ridiculous but is extremely well played, hilarious and more often than not very to the point. It's like I feel bad for laughing on these jokes but can't help myself laughing.

Three Kings(1999): After writing a movie blog for nearly two years now, you would expect I'll be able to say why I like certain movie, right? I am sorry but you are wrong. I am still kind of confused as to why I like this movie. Like I said here, there are so many things in this movie that ideally should not work or do not work in many other cases but somehow despite them all, I still think I like this movie. I did my best to try and explain in the post above.

Mulholland Drive(2001): Naomi Watts could easily go into one of my favourite performances of all time. She was absolutely fantastic in it. As for the film; for someone who has pretty much hated everything made by David Lynch, or everything I have seen that he made, this was quite a surprise. It took me some time to really understand it properly but even if I didn't, I would have agreed that it is a good film. It is an intelligently made mystery film which makes you think and even that is enough for me to like it.

Dear Zachery(2008): I had heard a lot about this documentary, especially how emotionally drenched it is. I wasn't a wreck after watching it; thankfully, I was able to hold my own but otherwise, every word I heard was true. It is shocking, terrifying sequence of events that nobody should have to go through but extremely laudable effort to help a child know his father that he'll never see. If not for the way it ends, I can not think of a better present for any kid.

Kes(1969): I never had very high opinion of The 400 Blows(1959) and I realize that these two films aren't exactly same but I think what they are trying to do is very much similar. Kes succeeded in doing everything that the former didn't to me. Basically I cared for Billy, who was played brilliantly by David Bradley, from very early in the movie. His teachers, his family and friends were terrible to him but I guess, that was a part of his allure. His eagle and all the shots featuring him were glorious but it was that ending that really killed me.

 




Blow-Up(1966): My first introduction to Blow-up was through the Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron(1983) tribute to the event that gives this movie its name. I loved that it seamlessly shifts its focus a couple of times with Vanessa Redgrave's entry and exit. While I thought that segment of the movie was really interesting and intriguing, there were many things in the movie I struggled to comprehend like I didn't understand what did the side story of painter and his wife was for? Overall, I like it but it is still a little all over the place.

Sideways(2004): This month's Blind Spot. With the help of his last two films that I saw, Alexander Payne is becoming one of the directors I really look forward to. This movie came very highly recommended from multiple sources and I have been meaning to check it out for a long time. As I said in this post, I like this movie. It is not Payne's best work but it is good enough to spend couple of hours on it. I just wish I didn't go into with so sky-high expectations that despite liking it, I feel disappointed by it.

The Wedding Banquet(1993): Ang Lee's second film, even before he made Sense and Sensibility(1995), which was kind of his introduction to the western world. When I put it on, only reason I did it was because it is in the '1001 Movies' list and was expiring on Netflix at the end of this month. By the end, I was really glad I did. It is nothing extraordinary but very honest, heartfelt as well as fun story. I really enjoyed the first half and even in the second half when things turn quite serious, it managed to surprise me with its heart. I really am glad I saw it.

Dr. No(1962): First ever Bond film and also one of the better Bond films I have seen. Given that what I have seen is mostly Brosnan onwards Bond, it probably wouldn't matter much but still, it's a good film. It has a good villain, Ursula Andress and Bond has decent mission which incidentally comes with something like script. Only thing it lacked was his gadgets and little less action but if you look at Goldfinger below, that turned out to be blessing in disguise.

Thirst(2009): I have seen a bunch of Korean movies and almost every single one of them contains crazy amounts of blood and gore. I had to get it out before saying that this is the craziest Korean movie I have seen so far to give you the idea of how crazy it really is. Chan-Wook Park's vampire drama is probably second only in craziness and the amount of blood and violence we see on screen to another one of Park's own movies - Oldboy(2003). Ok-bin Kim's Tae-Ju, however could easily be my favourite performance in Korean film.

One, Two, Three(1961): Billy Wilder's follow-up to the brilliant The Apartment(1960), which he all won a bunch of Oscars for and incidentally which can also be argued as his last great film. Considering it is a Wilder film, it felt a little too loud in acting and in dialogue delivery but Wilder's words are as sharp as ever, as funny and as effective as well. He wins it all with his script but I still think it could have been much better, if they dialed it down a bit in their dialogues.

Waiting for Superman(2010): I often find it very hard to comment on or rate documentaries that talk about social issues or on broader level, are about changing the system. Another one of my pet peeves is finding a fault in system, without giving a solution. Even though this documentary avoided these pit-falls, criticizing such a vast system based on a small sample set. Does the system needs improvements? Sure. Can they be implemented on that vast level? has to be the question to be answered.







Fight Club(1999)(Re-watch): After watching it a couple of years ago for the first time, I was kind of surprised by my reaction. Given a reputation of this movie, I really wasn't expecting that I'll hate it and yet I did. This month, when I decided to do Fincher's profile, I wanted to see it again before putting it on the paper and getting all the shot about it. I did and even though it worked much better this time around, I am still not in love with it. I don't even think it is one of Fincher's best.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button(2008)(Re-watch): Another one I wanted to watch again before saying anything in this post because I remember watching it about 4 years ago and never since then. Like Fight Club, I did not hate it the first time but wasn't much into it either. Second time confirmed my reaction. I like the topic, I even like his aging process from technical point of view but it is too long and even slower for its length.

The Kid with a Bike(2012): From point of view of cinema as an art, I appreciate this movie, even like it. From personal standpoint, there are some things that I like in this film but I hated that kid within the first five minutes. So much that I was completely indifferent to whatever happens to him in the end. Even though it makes me a bad person, it did not move me because I usually have a problem appreciating any film where I really don't care about the protagonist.

Natanki Saala(2013)(Hindi): I haven't watched a single English movie released this year yet but this is my third Hindi movie of 2013 and surprisingly none of them are really trash. Yeah, they aren't gems either but at the start of the year, we don't expect many quality films, do we? For me, this movie had more vices than virtues. Virtues include lead actor and his rapport with supporting one. Everything else could have been better.

Goldfinger(1964): I think I can understand why this is considered as one of the best Bond films. It has a great villain with equally good sidekick, Bond girls are great with Pussy Galore being one of the best, his gadgets(is it the first movie that Aston Martin makes appearance in?) and Bond's adventure actually is intense. However watching it now, it really shows it's age. Even more so for for an action movie as action sequences feel really dated now. You can see punches are nowhere close to the person and he still drops dead.







In the Loop(2009): Another movie that was in '1001 Movies' list for one year and was taken out immediately. But since I am including such movies as well, it was on my list and after loving Four Lions, I thought this would be a good choice as well. Unfortunately, I was wrong since most of the humour really did not work for me. A lot of characters were really stupid, annoying and very unnatural. When it comes to comedy, I've learned that there is nothing right or wrong. Some things work for you and some just don't and this one really didn't.

Godzilla(1998): You know a Rolland Emmerich movie when you see it, right? Well, unless you are watching Anonymous(2012). Knowing what to expect from his movies, in a typical Emmerich fashion, I think Godzilla more or less delivers. It is a fun movie that you should enjoy or rather you can harmlessly enjoy. If you start talking about weak script and uninspired, cheesy and illogical turns story takes, you are looking at the wrong place. Well, he didn't exactly claim to be Chris Nolan, did he? 





Dead Man(1995): Oh God! My very first Jim Jarmusch film turned out to be quite an ordeal to even get through. By now, I am sure we are all used to see Johnny Depp in all strange roles but I am really not used to see him as the most sane person surrounding all the other crazy ones that did not make a lick of sense and it wasn't just the way characters were portrayed that didn't appeal to me. The problem was absolutely nothing, nothing made any sense to me.

Total Count: 21. 19 First Time Watches and 2 Re-watch .

2013 YTD Count
Total Count: 85. 79 First Time Watches and 6 Re-watches.

So till about 20th of the month, I kept my promise of watching movies from the list only. Even my re-watches were on the list, haha. Then, as it invariably happens and as I forecasted in the last post, Netflix came in way by announcing to retire more than half a dozen movies from my queue off their instant service. Now there is a reason they are in my queue and that is I want to watch them at some point of time. So if they are about to retire, I can't just abandon them all. That'll be so cruel(?). So I had to abandon my plans and get them done by the end of month. So, 13 from the list this month isn't that bad and I hope to continue it going into the next month. However I do have one more urgent thing I need to take care of. I still haven't seen a single 2013 Hollywood movie. I HAVE to fix this this month. Looking at you, Iron Man 3(2013).

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

24 comments:

  1. Oh same for Dead Man. I think the problem for me was that it's of the western genre, which bores me to death. Really gorgeous-looking film though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me first acknowledge that yes, it was beautiful-looking film and also that I do not have any problem with Westerns. However, it still failed me completely.

      Delete
  2. You're the first person I've heard say they didn't love Fight Club!
    ... I haven't really found out what to think about South Korean movies... they're not only quite gory often, but full of sex too. Which can be a little awkward. And all of the (few) films I've seen have been very beautiful, visually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, I like it Ok? (Please don't kill me!) Even I thought I would be the only one to think so but I was surprised that I found quite a few of my opinion - we like it but it's not the best thing in the world.

      I completely understand your take on South Korean movies. I like most of I have seen but they are very peculiar in lot of ways.

      Delete
  3. I also watched Dear Zachary in April. Man, what a devastating documentary. I kept hearing how it was so depressing, but wow, I didn't expect it to unfold the way it did.

    I agree with you on Dead Man. I saw that for the first time a few months back and really struggled getting into it. I loved the cast and performances, but it made me feel like I needed to go on my own spiritual quest to really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was kinda OK till we learn about Zachery. However what happens to him is terrible. Nobody should EVER have to go through such a thing.

      I am glad there are others who think same about Dead Man. Don't go anywhere, Eric. Your girlfriend will kill you. :D

      Delete
  4. I liked Three Kings(1999) too, it didn't take itself too seriously, and also raised some interesting questions about war, while also an entertaining ride. It was quite refreshingly different.
    Curious about Four Lions (2010), I'll add it to my list, thanks. That moment in Dr No when Ursula Andress walks from ocean onto the beach is iconic, just a shame they had to copy it twice in future Bond movies.
    Fight Club, I've heard complaints that it encourages violent behavior, was that the problem for you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The thing about Three Kings that through me off a little was all the serious tones in it. I wasn't sure if it wasn't taking itself seriously or it was just coming out that way.
      Four Lions is one of the better comedies I have seen in quite a while. Hope you like it.
      Twice? I know Halle Berry. Who's second? :)
      First time I saw Fight Club, I hated, Hated main twist. This time, I thought it was too chaotic, too messy, out of control.

      Delete
    2. @SDG: Yep, Halle Berry in Die Another Day, and Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

      Delete
    3. ahhh..Craig. Right. Obviously, I didn't think of it. :P

      Delete
  5. Sorry you didn't like In the Loop more, it's one of my favorite comedies.

    I love Mulholland Dr, it's my second favorite movie of all time and Watts is my favorite performance ever. Thirst is amazing, I completely agree about the actress who played Tae-Ju, she was incredible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you seen Four Lions? Not to compare the two but I think if you like In the Loop, you can try Four Lions. It might work for you too.

      Watts was absolutely breathtaking in Mulholland Drive. Great pick for the favourite performance and so was Ok-bin Kim.

      Delete
    2. I did see Four Lions, funny film indeed but I preferred In the Loop, as there was only one scene in FL that made me laugh out loud.

      Delete
  6. Wow. I am totally in for Thirst. Seems like something I'd like.

    Otherwise, what a wild list. Great mix of movies! And 21? Crazy! I only managed 8.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get yourself strapped up, man. You are in for a ride. :)

      Thanks! I try to mix them up and Believe me, 21 is not at all much.

      Delete
  7. Nice month of films here. It's interesting that you liked Four Lions so much, but didn't like In the Loop, as they share two of the same writers.

    Jarmusch + Depp + Western sounds like an interesting combination, and I've had Dead Man on my watchlist for a while. I need to give it a look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I know, that's why I went there after Four Lions.

      uhhh, well, you can give it a try. Maybe you'll like it better than us. :)

      Delete
  8. I really need to get on seeing "Mulholland Drive".. I've always thought that Watts' best performance was in "21 Grams" so I need to see if that movie changes my mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, she is great in 21 Grams. But believe me, Mulholland Drive - she is completely on another level. Hope you;ll like it as much as I did. Thanks Shala!

      Delete
  9. I'm glad you liked Kes. I think it's a very underrated film. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I loved Kes. Thanks Stephanie!

      Delete
  10. Agree about Mullholland and Watt's performance. I actually just watched that for the first time myself a few months ago.

    I liked Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The way of the Saumurai a lot more than Dead Man, you should try an give that a watch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've come to the conclusion that everyone loves Watts and everyone hates Dead Man and very rightly so.
      And you know what, someone else also recommended Ghost Dog to me the other day. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...