Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wrapping It Up: August

Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. My very first from Wrap-Up post from India, from home. This is the 20th Wrap Up post I am doing and for the first time I was in real danger of missing the deadline; not because I had too much on my plate but because India got me sick. I probably shouldn't blame it on her though because every time I move to new city, I always fall sick early on. But it looks like I am going to make it despite. Yay Me!! and here we go!


Junebug(2005): I haven't seen Man of Steel(2013) yet but except that, I have seen every film Amy Adams did since Enchanted(2007). Variety of the roles she plays contributes heavily in making her my favourite working actress today. Junebug was a vital blind spot from her repertoire and I chose to watch it to end my movie drought of 10 days. Believe me, it was every second worth it and much more. I love Adams in everything she does but this is got to be her best performance and by far. She was just amazing in that role.

Darling(1965): I haven't seen Julia Christie in many roles but from whatever I know of her, I never would have imagined her in such a role. But that's an indicative of her potential that she fit right into that role. This Diana Scott was a very well written character as well. She's a seductress, she is very materialistic but she is always very subtle and always validates herself for her own sake. This was completely her vehicle and she did an amazing job off course; she had to, to beat Julie Andrews for that Oscar.

Mud(2013): First of my in-flight trio and definitely the best one I saw. I haven't seen many 2013 movies yet but it is very well possible that this is the best one I have seen so far. It was a beautifully woven story. I love the way it shows Ellis' struggle to understand the meaning of love, commitment through multiple relationships around him. He seems to be grasping for the last straw as everything around him goes on crumbling. Kudos to Tye Sheridan for bringing all those emotions out.

Blancanieves(2013): Another in-flight movie I saw. If we are strictly talking about a movie, I think Mud will linger with me a while longer but this was definitely the movie that surprised me the most. I had certain expectation from Mud and it delivered to it. I had no idea what to expect from this one and this Snow White story with a spin, set in a Spanish Bullfighting world, presented in style of 1920's silent film turned out to be a beautiful, beautiful film.

The Lion King(1994): This month's Blind Spot which was second animated movie from the Disney's canon in the line-up this year. It proved once again that the warmth, the beauty, the relatability of hand drawn animation enamours me very easily. My four year old niece saw me watching this and she kept saying I shouldn't be watching it because it's a kids movie and I am not a kid. One day I'll tell her there is so much to like in this one for anyone, any age. That's what makes it great. More here.

Barfi!(2012)(Hindi)(Re-watch): It is still a fun film to watch second time around. It has its heart in the right place, there are lot of moments that work just well and has all the three lead performances that I still like. If it wasn't for all the bits copied blatantly from all over the place, I would have loved to praise it unequivocally. And the bigger problem is whatever he took from Chaplin and Keaton and others is so easily recognizable, it is not even possible to turn a blind eye towards it.

Side By Side(2012): Looking at the speed with which the whole industry is changing towards digital, this was the most opportune time for this documentary. Personally, I still lean a bit towards actual film but mine is not an informed opinion and the most convincing argument I can make for it is nostalgia. But it was nice to see so many greats of the industry weighing on this issue. I find it hard to take Keanu Reeves much seriously but to his credit, he did a great job especially giving the viewer all the facts without taking any sides.

Magic Mike(2012): I don't remember exactly when was the first time I saw Step Up(2006) but I definitely know that I never thought the guy doing that would ever go ahead and do this or anything else he has done in last year or two. It really is amazing to see how far Channing Tatum has come since then. I also remember Cody Horn made lot of headlines, good and bad, for her performance. I didn't find anything wrong with her performance.

Ride with the Devil(1999): I have been going through Ang Lee's filmography one by one over the past few months. We all know about his more flashy films but the films that have surprised me the most are his little known films like The Wedding Banquet(1993). Like some of his lesser known films, this civil war drama is not the flashiest of the movies but actually quite a good human story. He got Tobey Maguire to change emotions on his face - that's about the biggest compliment I can give to any film.

Jumanji(1995)(Re-watch): This is a childhood favourite ever since I saw it first. I remember watching it on VHS when I was 12. I also remember that I saw it with few other school friends in the house of one of them. I have seen it many times since then but this was after a long, long time. Almost 15 years and it is still so much fun. I know it isn't a particularly great film one can say and even I see the flaws in it now. But I still love it as much as I did as a kid and most probably will continue to.

The Kid(1921): This might be the only movie in which someone runs away from Tramp scared. It is usually the other way around, right? It's Chaplin's first feature length and it's short and sweet but says what it has to very clearly. Now after so many years, Chaplin's direction of Jackie Coogan is a stuff of legends and you can definitely see that on the screen. Loved the kid and the way he is completely in with the tramp in all of his schemes though it could have been as good as Chaplin's best works if it didn't loose a little in half an hour or so.

Ishaqzaade(2012)(Hindi):I have been strangely attracted to this film ever since last year for no reason other than it made it to TIFF. I finally saw it this month on Television and I am still strangely fascinated. It's not that we have never had films with the Ishaqzaade's ending but it's just that I never, for a moment, expected this one to go where it did. I was absolutely sure that somehow they will make it to be a typical 'And they lived happily ever after' saga but it kept on surprising me. And so did Parineeti Chopra. Hopefully she will fulfill the promise she has shown.

Raanjhanaa(2013)(Hindi): Second Hindi movie of the month(actually, this is the first one I saw) that surprised me. But more than that, this movie confused me. What happens to Abhay Deol surprised me and got me excited to see where they will take it from there but everything after that just confused. For the whole second half, I don't see any explanation of why everyone is doing what they are doing and it was frustrating after a while. If and when I watch it again, it might bet better but right now, second half is all over the place in my opinion.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag(2013)(Hindi): To tell you the truth, I had only one problem with the film - it's length. It is a descent film that has it's heart in the right place and does good justice to one of the legendary athletes of India - Milkha Singh. Farhan Akhtar in the titular role does great job, especially given his commitment for his role. But there is no reason for this film to be more than 3 hours long. Even sitting in the theater watching it, I must have counted 30 minutes worth of film that easily could have been cut.

Oblivion(2013): It was actually pretty good film. Definitely better than I expected but I doubt if I expected anything at all from this one. Probably that helped the most, having next to nothing expectations from it. It started slowly and took me some time to get into this one(I can also blame this on our speakers who decided not to work properly on their own that day) but once it did, it kept on getting more and more interesting and fortunately didn't disappoint in the end.

The Grandmaster(2013):Third and least favourite of my in-flight trio on my way home. Interestingly in the last couple of weeks, I have read couple of articles about how Weinstein company dumbed this movie down by cutting few scenes in it for the feat of average American finding it obscure. Now I don't know which print I saw. Visually, it was every bit gorgeous as you can expect from Wong Kar Wai. But narratively, I am still confounded by it. I am still not sure who played Tony Leung's wife(For half the film, I was under impression Zhang Ziyi is), who was that Razor fella? Where did he come from and where did he go?

Despicable Me(2010): I know, I know the second one is already out but I can't watch it unless I watch the first one, can I? It is a typical animated film that I don't really care for. It's not a bad film per say, it is sweet and cute and all that but it's a film probably anyone little older will be able to see through and I hate that. The usual defense is it is an animated film. It is intended for kids and I agree but it doesn't have to be Just For Kids. If you put a little more effort into it, something good can come even out of this. 

Premium Rush(2012): As an action movie, I am ready to give it good marks. There was actually a lot in it that got my adrenalin pumping. But other than that, it was very average popcorn flick that I can forget quicker than the taste of popcorn I was eating while watching it. Michael Shannon did a decent job with his role but to tell you the truth, it felt like a wasted talent than anything else. There wasn't much in the story to glue me to my seat or to take it seriously and feel threatened by it.

The Croods(2013): I saw this for Emma Stone because she is amazing and I can pretty much watch anything with her in it. It turns out, not Anything! Despite it being an animated movie, I thought she was still good in it as her voice is her most distinguished trait but story sucked big time. I was kind of amused early on, which is why I continued on but I started rolling my eyes pretty soon and by the end, my right eyeball was in the leftmost corner of my left eye and left one in the rightmost corner of right eye. Hey, it's an animated movie! Anything can happen. 

Total Count: 19. 17 First Time Watches and 2 Re-watches .

2013 YTD Count
Total Count: 177. 163 First Time Watches and 14 Re-watches.

19 movies is not much but not too bad a month either, especially considering Junebug was my first movie in almost 10 days. I haven't counted the movies I saw in bits and pieces throughout the month on TV but I have seen so many partially that if I could count two half movies as one, I would probably go beyond 30(I know that's cheating) and most of them were re-watches. So that number would also be little more respectable than paltry 14 in 8 months(Yup, that's me! Last tear that number was 22. So considering that, I am almost well up to speed).

As per me getting back to blogging, I am still not so sure. I am a kind of person who NEEDS to plan ahead and haven't done that for the past two months. Only thing I can assure you right now is, once again, there will be a Blind Spot post and Wrap Up post(That, I have planned well in advance!) and hopefully, I will pop up in between a couple of times just enough to keep you people interested in this place. Let us see how that goes!

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


  1. I recently saw Chaplin's 'The Kid' too. I loved it, a near masterpiece in my opinion. Plus, now I'm dying to see Junebug. I adore Amy Adams. I also loved Jumanji, one of my childhood favourites (and extremely underrated).

    1. If you are anywhere near liking Amy Adams, you'll like Junebug. She is absolutely amazing in that. Jumanji is such a fun movie I think any kid would love that. :)

  2. No shame in being late with your wrap up post, I'm nearly always writing mine at the last minute :)

    Didn't know you are a fan of Amy Adams, I liked her The Master, The Fighter, and Sunshine Cleaning. Haven't seen Junebug. I first noticed her in The Office US version(before she became a big name)

    I saw Blancanieves during August, really surprised me in a good way too, fantastic visually.

    I think we have similar taste in animated films, because I also loved Lion King and Grave of The Fireflies.

    1. Good to know you have my back, Chris! :)

      Oh, I am as big a fan of Amy Adams as I can be. I remember her in The Office but I knew her very well when I saw that. The first time I saw her was in Enchanted and she hasn't disappointed me once since then.

      Completely agree with you on Blancanieves.

      Well, I think out tastes line up much more than just animated films but then you adore Last Year in Marienbad. :P

  3. Oh, I loved Mud. My number 2 of the year so far. Adams was sensational in Junebug!

    1. What's number 1? :)

      I think you were the first one, or the one I know, to advocate Junebug as her Best Performance. I would have seen it eventually but Thanks for that extra push. She was truly amazing!!

    2. You're welcome, glad you liked it!

      Number 1 is The Conjuring, I love horror genre and this movie was just fantastic + it had Vera Farmiga and that's always great :)

  4. Hey, don't worry, I often write my wrap-up post the 2nd or 3rd day of the month.

    Can't wait to see The Grandmaster and you actually make Ishaqzaade sound more interesting than it did to me. I'm a bit sad that you didn't like Ranjhaana and Bhaag Milka Bhag much, but then again, I'm becoming very cautious when it comes to being excited for new Hindi releases. Also: wow you never saw The Lion King before? That's weird and awesome at the same time! Good thing you enjoyed it :D And never don't watch a kid's movie because "it's a kid's movie". I saw Stanley Ka Dabba this month and liked it a lot. I mean, these movies are made by adults so there must be something to identify with. And after all, we've all been kids at some point.

    1. When you watch The Grandmasters make sure it is a 130 minute version because as I said there is a chopped up version which can confuse you more than the movie actually does.

      For Ishaqzaade, I swear I did not think they will go there even one minute before the end. But even if YOU do, it is still a descent film. Nothing great but good enough. Give Raanjhanaa a try! You might have different reaction to it. Problems with Milkha most probably won't change from person to person but Raanjhanna can. So at least give it a try.

      Haha! What if I tell you I can not recite any nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty? I only know that first two lines and I believe I learnt them.... in college, I guess!

  5. I would concur that so far Mud is one of the best of the year. A movie with plot, compelling characters and well written dialogue, sadly that is no longer the norm.

  6. Love, love, love Amy Adams in Junebug! She has a way of transforming good supporting performances into the leading stars of her movies. :)
    I can't wait to see Mud! It's been on my to-watch list all year.

  7. Amy Adams was terrific in Junebug! Glad you liked Mud and Darling as well, and it's nice to hear that someone else was underwhelmed by The Grandmaster. I can't wait to check out Blancanieves!

    1. She was, Indeed! Funny thing about The Grandmaster is people seem to be raving about the same things that didn't make sense to me. Like what did I miss?

      I'll love to see your take on Blancanieves. It's not always we get to see something like that. Hope you like it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...