Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wrapping it Up: December

Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. I have few things to say at the end but first, lets talk movies!


The Broken Circle Breakdown(2013): If anyone asks me which was the last movie to make you cry? and I can not think of an answer, remind me of this one. I don't know any of the actors or directors(though I'd certainly keep an eye out for Veerley Baetens now). So I don't know if it's one of his trademarks but it was a good example of how jumping up and down the story can be used to its benefit. Usually, I'd be lost in connecting the dots but here whenever they went back, it had something to do with the present and it drew more emotional response out of me, as if it needed any more.

The Past(2013): Farhadi seems to be taken too much by couple going through separation. I am not at all complaining because if he can make such powerful films time and again, all the more power to him. Over the last two years I've been blogging, when I have made my end of the year lists I see a trend in them. Both the years were topped by foreign tragedies. I won't make those lists for at least two more months and I hope to see many more movies by then but don't be surprised to see this name there at the top as it does fit both the criterion. Just saying, it's possible!

Tokyo Story(1953): This month's Blind Spot entry. I find it rather funny that I saw these two films on the same day and there is also a good chance that this will be at the very top of another list I will do - Best First-watches of year 2013. Don't worry, you won't have to wait two more months for this list. It should be up by next week. My first film by Yasujiro Ozu but it would be hard to find a simpler story made any more compelling than this. I'll be certain to get my hands on few more of his next year. More here.

Frances Ha(2013): I will freely admit I had my doubts about this film, especially since I had never seen Gerwig in anything before and my only previous encounter with Baumbach wasn't exactly merry. But, with her writing as well as her performance, Gerwig won me over completely. I thought she was very quirky but endearingly so even at her lowest. She was doing everything that everyone of us wants to but can't just because we are supposed to be 'grown up'. It was sort of refreshing to see that for me.

Captain Phillips(2013): Tight as a Drum! (You know, I've always wanted to use that term) There are about 2 minutes of Hanks with his wife at the start and then he gets on his ship. From that very moment, film grabs your attention and never lets it go for one second. It's so great to see the return of vintage Hanks in all his glory. I know I have a lot to see yet but if anyone wants to give Best Actor Oscar to Hanks just based on that scene after his release, I am alright with it. I haven't seen United 93(2006) yet but if it's anything like this one, sign me up please.

MASH(1970): I had never seen an episode of TV series nor was I aware of this movie until last year. So I had no idea what to expect from this movie since all I know about it was long form of MASH. It took me some time to get into its style of humour with all those typical Altman styled overlapping dialogues, horde of characters and multiple things happening simultaneously but I got to say it was one of the funniest movies I have seen. Loved that football match in the end, end credits were genius touch and I still yell out "Mr. Geller!" whenever I see Elliot Gould. That will never change, I guess!

Catch Me if You Can(2002)(Re-watch): If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you will know that I am not a big re-watching guy. I always feel like there is so much left for me to see that my time is better invested in watching a new film. But that wasn't always the case! Before I became serious about my movie-watching, I had my stock of films that I often watched again and again. This was one of them. There is so much to admire in it and I was so happy to see it this time and still able to find something new, interesting about it. 

Drinking Buddies(2013): I am not sure how to put it in the words exactly but I like the fact that this film had its own feel. I also admire this film for not taking the relationship between Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson usual route. There was palpable tension between them throughout the film and on many occasions, even I thought they will start kissing or get in the bed together. I don't know how much it would've changed my opinion of it but I think it just would have been 'one of those' movies if they did.

The Act of Killing(2013): I saw 159 minute extended version of it and for good two hours of it, the reason people are praising this documentary for was the reason I was completely turned off by it - the brazenness, the utter lack of remorse for something atrocious done over and over again by horrible person. I don't see any reason to glorify that. But that is probably why the last 30-40 minutes hit me much harder. It really rubbed me in a wrong way to be one of my favourite of the year but now I get it why do we need this?

The Spectacular Now(2013): Anything that reminds me of Friday Night Lights(2006) is a good movie in my book. The reason I liked that series was because it portrayed people that were easy to believe actually exist; while I was in states I have seen some such people. Characters in this film maybe aren't the most interesting people but they feel so realistic, sometimes painfully so. If I could find some reason for Amy to stay with Sutter after the accident or at least see her struggling with it, it would have become one of my favourite of the year.

The Great Gatsby(2013): What makes the novel great is the emotional core of this story it gets to in the second half and romantic in me always falls for it. All the Gatsby's parties and his overabundance does make them look amazing but it's more of a distraction than anything else and it's gets old very fast. In first 30 minutes or so, before Daisy and Gatsby meet, I was beginning to be turned off by Luhrmann's lavishness but he toned it down just at the right time to make room for what's real point of whole thing. And we all know he can do a great job with combination of romance and tragedy.

Prisoners(2013): Incendies(2011) was my favourite film of 2011. I don't think I have still recovered from the shock of its reveal. So I was down for this one as soon as I saw Villeneuve's name on it. I still think it is a good film, not at the same level as Incendies but still quite good and especially memorable for all its performances from top to bottom. But why so bleak? I desperately wanted something good to happen at least at the end but it just kept getting worse and worse. I don't think I can handle that much bleakness. 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close(2011): One of the 6 BP nominated movies I haven't seen in last 15 years. I remember it coming out of nowhere during that year. I did not 'hate' it but first 90 minutes of this film didn't do much to make me like it either. Max Von Sydow was great but that kid kept on behaving like a 30-something year old with weight of whole world on his shoulders and everyone was behaving like that's normal. It's really not! Last half hour catered to a lot of problems I had with it. So I may have a little favourable opinion on re-watch, if I do watch it again.

Sense and Sensibility(1995): I really don't have anything against this film. I think it is extremely well done and if I didn't know Ang Lee directed it, I never would've guessed a non-British director can make such an exquisite British film. I also like most of the performances but it's Jane Austen! I have seen and/or read her work previously. So even though I was watching this for the first time, it felt like I know everything about it. It has happened with some of her other works I have seen in the recent past as well. I am no literary genius and might get clobbered for this but it seems so repetitive!

Leviathan(2013): I am not sure how to feel about this exactly. On one hand, I can certainly see the artistic quality behind a movie like this but on the other, I don't see any reason why would anyone be interested in watching anything like this. To tell you the truth, main reason I saw this is because they filmed it on the coasts of New Bedford, MA, very place which inspired Mobey Dick and very place where I spent 2 and half years during my stay in US. But half the time I had no idea what was going on on the screen. I was like that crew member sitting in front of TV, dozing off most of the time.

Star Trek Into Darkness(2013): Except for the 2009 film, I don't know shit about Star Trek universe. So sorry to all the fans if I have no idea of some basic stuff. Apparently who Cumberbatch's character is was a big thing for everyone. Admittedly he was the best thing in it or only thing I liked in it. Everyone else, even those who worked well for me first time around, I wasn't much into. And every time Bones was on screen, he infuriated me; almost ruined the whole film.

The Kings of Summer(2013): I never got into this film. I didn't find the earlier lighthearted part funny, I didn't see the twist coming and didn't really care for sudden and complete change in tone for last 30 minutes. I don't really know the exact reason but I guess the fact that I did not buy the basic idea of the film might have a lot to do with that. I never believed it for one second, I swear! They were suppose to be 15. Sure, they would want to run away from their parents but build a house in the woods and start hunting and stuff? Nah...

The Way Way Back(2013): Another film that I don't get the appeal of. Sam Rockwell was great in it and I also like Annasophia Robb as well. Everyone else, including Liam James, meh! I know he is supposed to be loner and awkward but I never felt much for him even after he finally finds people he is comfortable around. And then there were so many absolute throwaway secondary characters. Allison Janney, as great as she was, and both the directors in their cameos were just there! If you are going to put them in, at least give them some reason.

The Vow(2012): There are films on this list that I know are better films but I don't know if I'll defend them if I had to. In a weird way, I find myself defending the second lowest ranked film of the month. I knew going in that it won't be a best film material and I was fine by it. I am just glad that it wasn't cringe-worthy. It was all lovey-dovey and predictable, typical Nicholas Sparks type thing and we know both the actors are capable of far superior things. But I think I can see it again if it comes on TV sometimes.

Post Tenebras Lux(2013): It took a lot of effort from my side just to get through it. There were couple of sequences that worked as stand alone scenes but I didn't find much of a narrative in it as a whole. Apparently using non-professional actors is director's trademark but they were terrible actors mostly, especially when it came to dialogue delivery. I am really sorry to dismiss it as such but it was an amateur effort at best. Maybe I am not as highbrow person here but if there was any real artistic value to it, it was lost on me completely.

Total Count: 20. 19 First Time Watches and 1 Re-watch .

Final 2013 Count
Total : 256. 235 First Time Watches and 21 Re-watches.

Another year has vanished into thin air and I have finished with 256 movies for the year, wayy less than last year. 72 to be exact but I sort of knew that from very start. 2013 was a year of lot of changes. I changed couple of jobs, moved back from US to India; two things that aren't directly related to movies but affected my movie-watching the most and despite starting the year well, slowed me down a little in the last few months. I also started this year with every intention of being more frequent around this parts of woods but ended up writing even less than last year. But it was all for good reason and I am not going to complain for that.

If these last few months are any indication, 2014 will be even more slower movie-wise but I am fine with that too. I am going to take it as it comes. For all I know I might settle down in my routine soon and find some more breathing room for films. As for 2014, I don't have any specific resolutions; I am not a resolution making kind of person but I am going to try and knock down remaining 16 Best Picture winners. Wish me luck! For the next couple of months, I will continue to be in 2013 mood as many films will slowly continue to travel down here. From the looks of it, February might be our December! Only after that will I make my 'Best of 2013' lists but my favourite first-watches of 2013 should be up around weekend or right after it.

I hope 2014 brings as many great films and as many amazing discoveries as 2013 and I continue to write this place to see another year pass by! I hope all the amazing people that visit this place keep on coming and continue to produce great stuff that would inspire me to do that as well! I hope each and everyone one of you have rewarding, prosperous and movie-filled 2014! HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!

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


  1. I was so bored by The Way, Way Back. Rockwell and Janney were great but the film was just so uninteresting.

  2. That's still a decent total and anyway, there are other things to do than watch films :-) Happy New Year!

    1. *In my best possible Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind accent* and what are the? :D

      Happy new year to you too, Sam!

  3. The Broken Circle Breakdown had a lot going for it, and the first half I loved, though for me, the second half was not as gripping.
    Prisoners had me on the edge of my seat right to the end, as with the best thrillers, I guess you are right, it is kind of bleak.
    I hope 2014 brings you many great films. Happy New Year!

    1. It sure gets much more emotional in second half but I never felt so while I was watching it. On the other hand, I had similar experience with Prisoners like you with Broken Circle. It was good but as possibility of anything merry happening started draining out,I became less interested in it.

      I hope so too. Happy New Year to you too, Chris!

  4. Replies
    1. You haven't yet? Be warned though... It is not the most pleasant experience.

  5. you've got some good ones here! i LOVE broken circle breakdown and captain phillips. still need to see The Past. i hated the great gastby and the way way back, but i did like prisoners a bit (didn't love it though) and i couldn't love frances ha.

    1. Thanks! I am glad we agree on some of them at least. I hope you like The Past. If you like the Separation, I think you most probably will. In case of Frances Ha, I thought I wouldn't either but it did win me over.

      Thanks for the follow and Welcome to this space! :)

  6. Oh, I love Catch Me If You Can! I think it's very underrated. And I forgot you loved Incendies so much. I dig that film too.

    I'll have to wait a while to see films like The Past and The Broken Circle Breakdown, but I can't wait to check them out!

    1. Well... I had to wait for everything else.So lets call it even. :D

      Glad to know you are with me on Catch me. Love that one. Incendies was a punch in the gut that I still fear to get back to. LOVE it but not sure if I'll ever sit through it again, especially now knowing what's coming.


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