Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wrapping it up: November

Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. I started a new job this month and at one point it threatened to derail my monthly viewings. To some extent even succeeded in it, even forced me to stay 2 and 1/2 weeks away from this blog. But then, there were weekends! You will see that this is the month that I am shifting gears to get into 2013 mode, the one I hope to remain in for most of the next few months. We will see how that goes but this is how this month went!


The Dark Knight(2008)(Re-watch): Every time I watch it, it brings back the memories of first time I watched it. This time I watched it for n-th time and still I like it as much as I did the first time; only difference is I didn't understand everything that went down then, now I know all the dialogues by heart. I am still in awe of neck-breaking speed of this film but I had never seen anything so relentless, something that would have me grasping for breath then. This was one of the first films of Chris Nolan I saw and one of the films that had a lot of influence in making me a cinephile I am today.

Before Midnight(2013): The trilogy is finally complete. I remember being not convinced about it when they announced they are going ahead with this but I am glad to be proven wrong. There is so much to talk about here. I LOVED Delpy's Bimbo and all I could think of during that dinner conversation, which by far was the best scene I have seen this year, was how many cameras did he have on? It is phenomenal. I know a lot of people didn't want to see the most romanticized couple fighting and tearing each other down to pieces. I am not sure if I was either but I guess, C'est la vie. I kind of like the fact that they went there.  

Stories We Tell(2013): I have known about this movie for more than a year now but I still can not believe Polley made such a movie. Not only the subject matter is so different, so personal, the way she treats this whole thing is amazingly professional. I love the fact that despite being such an integral part of this movie, time and again she sort of steps into the filmmaker's shoes and let everyone else take the stage. The kind of reactions she's been able to get out of everyone from her family is simply astonishing. More here.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller(1971): After watching The Long Goodbye(1973), Altman has become third director that I am making a deliberate effort to see more of. First two being Ang Lee and Akira Kurosawa. I am not sure how deep I will go in his filmography but these are still early days - this is only the 4th film I have seen. Julie Christy continues to amaze me by the incredible diversity of her roles and so did Beatty in his sort of dumb, spineless character. But one thing I'll never forget is the way Altman orchestrated that entire final sequence. All that snow and multiple things happening at the same time; the way he shot it was mesmerizing!

Quiz Show(1994): I am not exactly sure but this might be the first non-Coen brother film that I have seen John Turturo in or at least first one I worth remembering(Looking at you, Transformers(2007)). It might have been a big scandal in the '50s but I think now we kind of expect everything to be fixed. It might just be the cynic in me and I don't want to take anything away from the film because I thought it was really good but everything is run like a business now a days. Nobody wants to leave anything to chance. Look at Hollywood!

The Bling Ring(2013): I think I like this film a lot more than the overall consensus. I like that it shows the materialistic nature of lives of those involved. I like the way it pokes fun at the celebrity culture that is so much prevalent now and shows the dirty side of it despite all the glitz and glamour surrounding it and who else to show it than one of Hollywood's own royalties? Lack of depth to it was main complaint about it but given the shallowness of those involved, it does justice to them. The ending is once again a bit jarring but I can live with that.

Gravity(2013): I know I am extremely late to the party but I am glad that at least I got to see it in the theater. Everyone who said that this is as close to being in space as we can get is absolutely right. Lubezki's work is absolute genius, something we have never seen before. Even in the acting department it's uniformly solid. But, unfortunately, even those who said script has issues are right as well and some of them, I am thinking of certain someone's death in particular, are pretty egregious. I'll never call it a bad film, in fact I think it has a good chance of making into my top 10 of the year, but more I think about these issues, little less I like the film.

Much Ado About Nothing(2013): I have also seen the Branagh-Thompson 1993 version a year ago. While I loved it otherwise, I had two problems with it - language felt laborious and off course, Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington were little ridiculous half-brothers. Like, duh! For some reason, this time around I had fun with that same language. Off course, it looked absolutely delightful in black and white. Amy Acker was stunning, dare I say even better than Thompson. Everyone else fit perfectly in their parts as well and Nathan Filion! Always nice to see familiar faces pop up.

West Side Story(1961): 65th Best Picture Winner knocked off the list. I didn't know much about it except it was about two gangs fighting against each other and involved a love story. Maybe it was just an opening sequence or maybe it just took some time to settle but I did not get into it right away; though by the end it certainly lured me in. It was charming, delightful and by the end even heart-wrenching. Maybe I did know it being a Romeo and Juliet adaptation but I forgot all about it until Anita delivers a message. I think the best compliment I can give it is knowing that did not make it any less sad.

Bombay Talkies(2013)(Hindi): Anthology film released earlier this year to celebrate 100 years on Indian cinema. It brought 4 contemporary directors together, each directing about 30 minute short about the way cinema influences our day-to-day lives. I LOVED one of the shorts, another one was really good as well. Didn't really cared for the third and fourth was actually good; I just didn't think it had much to do with what these films were supposed to do. I am hoping to write a regular post on it so you'll have to wait to find out which is which.

World War Z(2013): You might sense a little bit of theme here with a bunch films I saw this month that I had no initial interest in watching but I did because of strong word of mouth. First of all, I was really surprised how quickly it jumps into the whole shitstorm. Within first two minutes, zombie apocalypse has already begun and it keeps on going deeper and deeper. And it might the CGI but those zombies were running super-fast. Even though it was a little down-beat, I also admire the fact that it didn't end with the traditional ending.

This is the End(2013): I kind of do not believe I am saying this myself but I actually liked this film a lot more than I thought I would. Off course, I had zero expectations from it since I have no particular interest in anyone of those involved. I only saw it because I needed something lighter to see and this popped up in my mind. Surprisingly I found it quite hilarious despite all its stupidities! What I liked about it is it knows how ridiculous this whole thing is and never makes any attempt to hide it.

Madras Cafe(2013)(Hindi): I don't know why people did not like this film much. It's not great by any stretch of imagination and there were various departments of it that I would have liked to be more polished. It certainly could have been better but it worked well enough for me, maybe because I usually like political thrillers. The only real problem I have with the film is it starts off with the protagonist feeling he could have saved former PM and after watching it, I really have no idea what else he could have done.

Man of Steel(2013): Because of the involvement of two of my favourite people - Amy Adams and Christopher Nolan - I knew it was only a matter of when will I see it; never will I? For those two, I wanted to like it but unfortunately, I have to agree with the two most frequent complaints about it. One, it is too grim and I kind of don't see the reason for it. Second, it is far too long. Snyder really should have cut solid half hour of it, majority of it could have been from the final battle. 

Pacific Rim(2013): Despite hearing some pretty good comments about it, I did not have a lot of expectations about this film. From the trailers, it looked like more or less like a Michael Bay film. It was certainly more than that but I had few problems with it. I will admit that it was very entertaining, technically brilliant, no complaints there but I think there was not much in it besides that. There was nothing new about story, very predictable, it had all the typical characters you can ask for in such kind of movie, nothing special about acting. A Standard popcorn action entertainer. More here.

War of the Worlds(2005): Don't you feel like there is a little too much of happenstances going around in it? I mean, tripod keeps hitting just about 2 feet behind him in the entire sequence in its first appearance. They close the door just second after fire leaps in their room. I know it happens in every single film but wasn't this a little too much? Because the same thing kept on repeating over and over for whole two hours. How can any person be so damn lucky? And, yes!! I can recognize Morgan Freemon's voice.

Now You See Me(2013): I will freely admit that I wasn't one of those who easily guessed what was happening in it and could see he ending from afar but the reason wasn't because I was watching too closely. It was because I was tuned out of it way earlier than that. It was one of the 10 films I said I was most excited for at the start of the year and it could be the one I am most disappointed by of those 10. It looked something like The Prestige(2006) but extremely superficial script and sub-par acting killed it for me. 

Barry Lyndon(1975): Blind Spot entry for this month. I usually do not write about the movies I don't like. There is already a lot of negativity on the internet, I don't need to contribute my bit to it. The most I will do is here, in this post. When I decided to participate in the blind spot series at the start of this year, one of my concerns was this - what if I didn't like a film and have to write about it? For the first 10 months I somehow managed to avoid falling in that trap. However that streak has been broken. More here

Total Count: 18. 17 First Time Watches and 1 Re-watches .

2013 YTD Count
Total Count: 236. 216 First Time Watches and 20 Re-watches.

I started documenting my movie watching with these wrap up posts in February 2012. Since I have been doing this, this month is slowest of them but only by a couple of films. This is so for number of reasons I stated in the last wrap up post and I have every reason to believe this month wouldn't be much different. It wouldn't be one of the slowest though; if I plan properly I might be able to get to the usual pace of about 21 films. It all depends on how much time do I get on weekends!

When it comes to watching new releases, I was never the one to go to theater every week to catch them but I had a decent start to the year this time but my move back to India kind of messed up with my pace in the last 3 months or so. At he start of this month, I was at completely unacceptable 23 films for the year. I am hoping to reach at least somewhere around last year's tally of 70 films before doing the best of the year lists in early March. For that, I have to start early and play a little catch up with 2013 now. With clocking dozen 2013 films this month, I am hoping it will get me there eventually.

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


  1. Glad you dug Before Midnight! It was hard to watch them fight sometimes, but I was just happy to spend more time with them.

    I'm with you on Gravity -- it's a good film, but the script problems kept me from enjoying it as much as most.

    1. Loved It! Favourite of the year so far! It was hard but that happens, you know.

      Yeah. I wouldn't have any problem if it becomes a big winner this awards season but I don't think it would be my choice.

  2. Solid month of films. I finally saw Stories We Tell, and I was a little underwhelmed. While I love the concept, I don't think Polley's claims in the film actually match what she accomplished. Also, I thought it dragged after the first hour. Still, I really liked it overall, and give 4/5.

    Glad you liked The Bling Ring. I need to give it another look.

    1. I think she did accomplish everything I wanted it to be. While I don't think it drags after 1 hour, I will admit that it could have ended early by 10-15 minutes but I think I can still go with 4/5.

      Let me know if you change your opinion on it. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...