Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wrapping it Up: June

Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. This was the month this blog completed two full years, thanks to the support of everyone who visited this place. This was also the month that I wrote 4 reviews in; something which I had never done before. Lets have a look at what this month brought in terms of movie watching.


The Hours(2002): Can you think of three more versatile and talented actresses than Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore working in 2002? Given the wealth of talent involved, I should have seen this movie long before. Off course, the best part of it is seeing the three leads do their thing but to the film maker's credit, three stories in three different places in three different times was much easier to understand and follow than you'd expect. Also, they got all the setting of the respective time and place just right. My full review here.

Anatomy of a Murder(1959): Another movie I have been meaning to see for a long time. Much like majority of people, courtroom dramas excite me. Before getting into it, 160 minutes of its length was a little concern for me but once I got in, it really breezed by. That is one testament to Otto Preminger that he was doing it right. Plus great characters, intriguing script and even better acting kept me interested till the very end. Hopefully, I will have a full review up soon.

The Breakfast Club(1985): This month's Blind Spot film. Now that he has made two really good teenage movies, I can safely say that John Hughes really knew how to make them. There might be few other movies that I enjoyed more than this one but what made this one special was the character development of all the 5 people and probably even more importantly, the way these characters are still relatable, so many years after and to someone like me who has spent his school years thousands of miles away.

Boyz N the Hood(1991): I had heard quite a few good things about this movie. However even then, I was really surprised by the way this movie got to me. Even though it wasn't exactly a cultural shock, I have not seen many of those typical Black films, the kind that Spike Lee usually makes. I don't know how the rest of the crop would be but if this is any testament of the lot, I would love to check out few more like this.

Jurassic Park(1993)(Re-watch): Last film of the month and first and only re-watch of the month. Ever since they released it again in 3D earlier this year, I have been meaning to watch it again because I haven't watched it since I first saw it 18-19 years ago, whenever it was released in Indian cinemas. Well, we didn't see it in 3D but at least we caught up with it again. I didn't remember much of it but I can guarantee that it is just as awesome as it was 20 years ago. Spielberg's magic is really at full display here.

Capote(2005): I have so many conflicting thoughts about this that I am not even sure if rating it makes any sense. PSH Was truly awesome as Capote and so was Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Smith. But I truly and utterly detested Capote as a person. If they intended it, then they succeeded in bucketfuls. He was just using everyone, everyone around him to achieve something for himself, to make himself feel gloated. I have never seen such a pathetic, self-centered person before. Even when he cries while watching them hang, his tears seemed like a crocodile's tears to me.

Upstream Colour(2013): I went into this knowing that this is going to be a huge mindfuck and without having seen Primer(2004). I still haven't seen Primer and this film was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. So there are quite a few things in this film that I have not yet understood. I am not even sure if I will get it as and when I watch it again but still it is the best 2013 film I have seen as of yet. My full review here.

Margin Call(2011): Second film in three days which I loved despite not understanding everything that goes on in it. I agree that even though I have some idea of the situation we see in the film, lot of the technical or more accurately financial jargon about the proceedings of that one night went over my head. But it was all very intriguing, especially when it involved everyone from top to bottom on the company ladder and the way they handle it.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford(2007): I am pretty sure this mouthful of a title is the longest title I have ever seen and I had quite a curious reaction to it as well. There is nothing I did not like about it. Its rather slow and long but I didn't have any real problem with it. I liked the story and characters and most of the acting was really great. But somehow I did not really connect with any character. I didn't 'not' like it but I didn't particularly like it either.

Autumn Sonata(1978): Apart from being an only collaboration of Bergman, Ingmar with Bergman, Ingrid, it also had an added advantage of watching two great actresses together - Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann. Plus, Ingrid Bergman would be speaking in Swedish(For some reason, I was really excited for that). Film definitely did not disappoint but being a Bergman film, it will need much more ruminating over it. Considering the phenomenal job both the ladies did, I only expect it to get better as I think more about it.

Big Fish(2003): I haven't seen much of Tim Burton films. 2 of his films that I really wanted to watch were this one and Ed Wood(1994). There was lot to like about it but it still left me little bit wondering. I loved the part after Will finds out about Spectre and wanted little bit more of that part. All of his father's fantastical stories were amusing but became little bit too weird after a while. It would have been great if we'd spent more time in their realities which for me was the most touching part. 

Drunken Angel(1948): As far as I know this film marks Akira Kurosawa's first union with two of his longtime associates, Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. It wasn't very long ago that Kurosawa's image in my mind was this director who makes legendary Samurai movies. With every passing film I watch, that image fades away a little and his position as one of my favourite director cements further. By now, I am used to Japanese movies in '40s and '50s. However this was the first time ever I felt distracted by how dated it looked.

Shotgun Stories(2007): Jeff Nichols's first feature film and his 1st collaboration with Michael Shannon. I had heard many good things about it. It's another slow burn, just like Take Shelter(2011). Shannon is again really good and so is the rest of the cast though I don't know anyone. In reality, probably the story like this would end just as does in the movie but unfortunately, my only problem was it felt kind of anti-climatic for a movie. You expect a movie to pick up where this just ends.

Stranger Than Fiction(2006): I loved the idea it is based on. I think there was a lot of potential in it to be something different but they quite failed in the execution. I usually hate Will Ferrell in almost everything. For a change, he was quite good in this normal role. Even the rest of the supporting cast worked well for me but story never grabbed me as I thought it would. It kept going from one cliche to another. So though I enjoyed it, it really didn't stand out from the rest.

Sita Sings the Blues(2008): Now that I have seen it, I can totally see people crying heresy over use of Ramayan this film; especially considering the religious atmosphere in India. But at the same time I also think people who have never been exposed to Ramayan might form false opinions about it. Personally I think they got many things wrong but I could still enjoy the whole thing without bringing Religion into it. Loved Animations and Paley's quirky style. Second half was very repetitive though, there were about 4 songs with Sita crying aloud 'Why did he leave me?'

Kolya(1996): I had this movie in my queue for the longest time and I kept procrastinating it for no apparent reason. When I finally saw it, it was exactly as I expected. Maybe, a little too much as I expected. With a central character of a 5 year old kid, there was no way this would be a regrettable experience. But it followed the beaten down path to the T. The kid did a great job and so did the rest of cast. What really happened was I could see the every damn turn in the story from two miles back.

Warm Bodies(2013): I don't have many problems with this film. I was never turned off by it. For a love story, even though it didn't do anything particularly out of ordinary, it also never felt cliched. But I wasn't particularly enamored by it. Like everyone else, I was intrigued by the Zombie Love Story aspect of this film but I think it is more of a love story which just features a Zombie. I mean, I think this Zombie love story aspect doesn't go much deeper into the plot. It is rather superficial.

Shootout at Wadala(2013): When I saw Lumet's Find Me Guilty(2006) couple of years back, I quite liked it as a movie. However I was conflicted as to what exactly am I suppose to feel about Diesel's character. After all, he is a proven convict, an anti-social member of the society. Why should I be sympathetic about him? This movie had similar problem. I like many things about this movie, most of all John Abrahm's commitment to the role. But I am not sure why should I care about a gangster like Manya Surve.

Airport(1970): I actually like this movie more than the rating would imply. I like the way it keeps on building up right up to the end. I like how we are introduced to the whole bunch of characters and the way they are developed that we end up caring for them by the end. Both the lead characters are actually ditching up their respective spouses and going with someone else they love but we still like them. But for a disaster movie, I think there was very less of an actual disaster in it. I would've rated it at least half a star higher if they amped it up a notch.

Superman Returns(2006): I had not seen any of the Superman movies before. So this was kind of my trade off for not going to see Man of Steel(2013). My real problem with this movie was it just existed. It wasn't terribly bad so that I would hate it. But it wasn't much good either for me to like it. There was a potential in it to be good; some good performances, not bad story but it seemed like it never aspired to be great. It was just happy to exist, to be mediocre. Sometimes, that's even worse than being bad film.

The Adventures of Tintin(2011): I have never seen anything related to Tintin before. I haven't read the strip much either. I remember, back in 2011, it was quite a divisive movie and unfortunately I ended up on the bad side of this debate. I think for the people who thought it was a good movie, nostalgia was a big factor that worked in their favour. I had no such connection and to tell you the truth, I pretty much hated this film. The action, scenarios and even the characters, almost nothing really worked for me.

Race 2(2013)(Hindi): Officially, this is the worst rating I have given to any film on this blog. I knew perfectly well what was I walking into and I got exactly that. So it delivered to its promise there and I am still rating it so low. Only reason I am doing that is I went on the IMDb page for this film and of multiple genres listed for this movie, Comedy isn't one. WHAT? How can it not be? I mean, you can't possibly make a funnier movie than this even if you try to. Monty Pythons aren't as funny as this. Come On!!

A Good Day to Die Hard(2013): I have absolutely no idea why would I even bother to see this movie. After the first one, I have never cared about any of them and I thoroughly and utterly hated the fourth one. But I did and the result was exactly as you'd imagine. Let me tell you that I am a terrible gamer. So when I play something like NFS, rather than even trying to get to the destination within the time limit, I try to cause as much destruction as possible. I am absolutely sure that is exactly the same strategy director used for this movie.

Total Count: 23. 22 First Time Watches and 1 Re-watch .

2013 YTD Count
Total Count: 133. 122 First Time Watches and 11 Re-watches.

23 movie month isn't bad at all. If you look at my average of first half of this year, it is actually just a bit over it. But to tell you the truth, if it wasn't for The Story of Film: An Odyssey(2011) and couple of seasons of Damages(2007), it might have been even more. The Story of Film actually did turn out to be quite an odyssey. Despite some of my reservations against it and Mark Harris' accent, it was really a great learning experience. Not only did I learn a lot of things about many aspects of movie-making, it also added so many titles to my already fat watchlist. As per my reservations, even though I watch a lot of movies all over the world or at least try to, I think he was a little too anti-Hollywood. Not that I am Hollywood's biggest supporter or anything; I even agree with some of the things he talks about. But despite all its fault, it is the biggest industry in the world. It hasn't reached there by doing everything wrong. Whatever may be its problems, you HAVE to give Hollywood a credit where it is due. I don't think Harris does.

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


  1. Glad to see The Hours on top of your list! I'm gonna see Warm Bodies soon, I hope it's at least funny.

    1. I like The hours a lot but it is at the top because I saw it earlier in this month. I don't rank the movies with same star ratings in this post. :)

      Oh, it's a Fun movie. You'll be entertained but it's just a typical love story.

  2. Hsppy you liked The Breakfast Club and The Hours. Both those are so rewatchable and not leaving my top 100 any time soon :)

    Boyz N the Hood surprised me too, wasn't expecting to like it so much. Despite not really being interesting in gang wars, the story is engaging. Kind of like Shaft did in the 70s, the success of Singleton's film paved the way for a wave of films about black America in the 90s. Haven't really seen many of them. Do the Right Thing (1989) is a must-see. Friday (1995) I've heard good things about-haven't watched yet.

    Anatomy of a Murder(1959) is indeed very long, which is why I wondered why the ending is so rushed. Good courtroom drama, though.

    I was ok with Tintin movie, but it wasn't as good as other Spielberg adventures. My favorite part was on the helicopter.

    1. I don't think either of them will make my top 100 but I loved them both and The Breakfast Club is growing on me.

      After Boyz n the Hood, the next avenue I will go to is Spike Lee films. I haven't watched many. I'll keep my eyes open for Friday too. Thanks!

      Interesting. It didn't feel rushed to me. Do you mean the part after the result?

      Ahhh, nothing really worked for me. It felt very childish to me and if you compare it with other Spielberg films, it drops further down.

    2. @SDG: Anatomy of a Murder: Yes, after the result. I remember thinking that I would have liked to know more about life after court case, how characters felt about the verdict. What we get is 2 minutue car drive at the end, yet the court case took 2 hours or so.

  3. Nice, eclectic collection of films. I have been meaning to sit down for the rest of the Story of Film series. I saw part one a while back and really enjoyed it, even though the narrator seemed a bit pretentious.

    1. Thanks. I wish I had something encouraging to say about Mark Harris but even I had my problems with him. However the series is amazing as a learning experience. Definite must see despite everything else. I am pretty sure you won't be disappointed when you get on with it.

  4. So glad you liked Anatomy of a Murder and Boyz N the Hood. Sorry you were bothered by the dated look of Drunken Angel, which is one of my favorite films from 1948. By the way, I've seen 5 Kurosawa films now, and I have a copy of Ikiru that I need to watch. He's quickly becoming one of my new favorite directors. :)

    1. Yup, I saw that in your ballot. I am pretty sure that the more Kurosawa you will watch, the more you will like him. He is just that great a director. Probably my favourite foreign director.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...