Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wrapping it up: January 2013

Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. I am still playing catch-up with 2012 movies and probably will keep on in February. Basically, I have seen everything I wanted to except Les Miserables(2012), which I am still not sure if I want to but I guess I will have to. Probably after that I will have my Top 10 of 2012 lists along with the male and female performances to cap off the year-end lists that I have already done like this and this. Hopefully it will be sometime in February, if not definitely first thing into March. Let us get into what I saw in the month of January.


The Sessions(2012): I am really surprised myself by how much I liked this movie. It was indeed a remarkable story which perfectly balanced between the melodrama and ickiness that might come with the territory of the subject. John Hawkes, who unfortunately missed the nomination, gets the majority of the credit for making it so enjoyable without making this a Lifetime movie but Helen Hunt has to get a credit for keeping it real, despite being naked most of the time. It shall be very high in my End-of-Year list.

The Imposter(2012): It has to be one of the best documentaries I have seen. For the most part, I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. Initially, it befuddled me that Nicholas' family was ready to accept that guy as a member of their family, which I could not believe even for one second. But as the events unfolded, they just blew my mind away. I have no idea what to believe and what not to believe. But the most disturbing thing to me was remorseless, casual look in Frederic Bourdain's eye and the fact that he even has a life now.  

Cool Hand Luke(1967): This was a great way to start 2013. Off course main catalyst for me to go and see this movie was Paul Newman in one of his most iconic roles and his 50 eggs in one hour scene. I certainly got all that but after watching first 45 minutes or so of the movie, I did not expect it get dark and go where it eventually did for even a minute and I have to commend the director for taking it there. It literally took this movie to a whole new level.

Django Unchained(2012): Tarantino's latest is a pure bliss in a typical Tarantino way. For the first time in his career, I felt like Tarantino was getting little indulgent and could have edited it to make it a little shorter, but that did not in any way stop me from enjoying this. Almost everyone in the cast did a great job and as usual he had a kick-ass soundtrack. Last thirty minutes or so of the movie, when things start going south, took me a little by surprise but that was by far, the most enjoyable part of the movie.

Silver Linings Playbook(2012): Off course, I have been meaning to see this movie before making the end-of-year lists but after getting nominated in every damn category possible for the Oscars, this movie immediately became a must watch. Great acting all around is the biggest attraction here but for a movie that is essentially a romantic movie, this movie does go well beyond the usual limit in all aspects, characters are more drawn out, story is much more developed and even emotions much stronger.

Snow White and Seven Dwarfs(1937): My Blind Spot for this month. I wanted to make the first one special. So, I chose something that has been a milestone film so many years. From the point of view of story, it was pretty straight forward and very normal story. No surprises there but what surprised me really was how beautiful this 75 year-old movie looked, even by today's standards. It was also such a thourough professional job, it was hard to believe it is first animated feature.

Reservoir Dogs(1992)(Re-Watch): For various reasons, I had a very sketchy memory of this movie. There are other movies that I saw earlier than Dogs and still remember more than this but somehow this was blurry. So, before I finally wrote my profile on Tarantino I gave it another go and I am happy to say that it is just as awesome as everyone says it is, despite now being 20 year old.

Zero Dark Thirty(2012): One of the movies I wanted to catch before doing my Top 10 list of the year. I had couple of small problems with it which I attribute to the fact that I am such a big fan of Homeland(2011) and it has set standards high but given some time, this movie found its footing and by the end made quite an impression on me. I think I will give the credit to its intense story and great cast led from the front by Jessica Chastain.

The Longest Day(1962): Second World War has always fascinated me to no end. I must have seen or read 50 different movies and books about various aspects of it but yet every time I see something new, I jump on it. Now when you talk about D-Day, first thing that comes to my mind is Saving Private Ryan(1998) and hence my expectations were high. Good thing about this "All Things D-Day" epic was it stood up to those expectations. It ends kinds abruptly, but I respect their decision of doing one thing and doing it right. 

Killing Them Softly(2012): I have no idea why people didn't like this movie so much. It is like a slow death but even then it was really interesting to me. I also loved the idea of using the actual economical meltdown as a backdrop. I do not know if there is any connection but there were quite a few people The Sopranos(1999) in this movie. James Gandolfini was pretty much wasted but Brad Pitt and Richard Jenkins more than made up for it.

Game Change(2012): The best thing about this extremely well-acted movie was it made me feel for Sarah Palin. For Sarah Palin. I am sure for many of us, like me, she has been nothing but a constant source of amusement since 2008. I mean at one point of time, I have spent days sifting through anything I can get on Internet about everything and everywhere she bombed and have had many a laughs on it. I still think she was hilarious but I will think little different of her now. 

Flight(2012): Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of those movies which have one great performance that is truly noteworthy but fail to offer anything more than that. Denzel Washington killed his role with almost perfection. Every single scene, every single emotion. He was simply on fire but I had problem with the script. In my expectation, it needed to focus more on the case which probably would have made it more interesting.

Sister(2012): Switzerland's official submission for this year's Oscars. Even though this did not make it to the last 5, it was in the 9 and I heard good things about it. After watching it, I feel like it was a very good story, it was very well built as well and Lea Seydoux with Kacey Mottet Klein playing her brother turned up with great performances but I kinda left me stranded in the end. It felt like it hasn't gone anywhere after two hours. I wanted a little definitive ending, make it good, make it bad - just give me something to hold on to.

Safety Not Guaranteed(2012): When I saw the trailer, it intrigued me. I even had some hopes since the reaction had been positive. As much as Aubrey Plaza was trying to save this movie for me, Mark Duplass kept bringing it down. She was really charming in her role and seems to have caught the nerve of her character perfectly. In case of Duplass, he just looked stupid and pretty much had the same expression on in every situation. Thanks God for the side cast and decent story that didn't make this unbearable.

ParaNorman(2012): It had an interesting concept that will work much better in the animation medium. It was a sweet movie, characters were mostly fun and voice-over acting was pretty good. But despite all that, it's story never really captured me. It had so many themes in it that it touched but never went much beyond scratching the surface of any of them and the worst part is it failed in holding my attention for the entire run and I was even bored by the end. It isn't bad but could have been much better.

Four Rooms(1995): Having four different stories directed by four different directors makes judging this movie as a whole kinda challenging, especially since I had polar opposite reactions to the two of the stories. I absolutely hated the first story whereas last one I thought was perfect. Second story was nothing special except THE dialogue and third was quite OK, only because of the little girl. Overall, Tim Roth and company did a lot of over-acting in every single one of the stories and only felt justified in the Tarantino one, where it was least.

Tabu(2012): Excruciatingly slow and weird. Most of the actors looked awkward, uncomfortable in their roles, except Ana Moreira playing young Aurora who looked amazing. I am not sure if they were supposed to or were just incapable of but almost all of them had no trace of emotion anywhere to be seen. It really was a strange movie, so strange that I am surprised I made it to the end. For most of the time, I wasn't sure what's going on and unfortunately, I wasn't even intrigued enough to make much of an effort.

Mujhse Freaaandship Karoge(2011): It is very rare that I pull out a movie out of a hat and watch it without any pretext and when it comes to Hindi movies, my senses have become so strong that I almost repel most of them away before even considering. I have no idea how this one slipped through all of them and how and why I ended up watching it because it was just as dumb, as predictable and as formulaic as I thought. But Damn!! it was fun and kinda cute. I have no regrets watching this.

Metropolitan(1990): I am not sure what was I expecting from this movie but I did hear it mentioned a couple of times here and there. Initially it looked interesting and different and even though most of the actors were unknown, they seemed right for the part. But then it basically kept on repeating the same thing, going from one night to another and from one party to other and got obnoxious and really uninteresting very fast. Ending did give it a little life but I think it was little too late.

Strictly Ballroom(1992): It took some time for me to get used to the whole set-up - their accents, their costumes, make-ups and very loud acting. It was all very peculiar. It seemed like 20 years that have passed since the release haven't been very kind to it. I kinda settled after 30 minutes or so and just about started enjoying it when story started to fail me. I was literally sitting there predicting what's going to happen next. I liked the leading couple but everything else failed miserably for me.

This is 40(2012): I have no idea why I went to see this but I did. It was bad. It was Gross, it was shallow, it was stupid. I really didn't have much expectations from it but even then it managed to disappoint me. When The Hollywood Reporter did their roundtable discussions, writer was my least favourite discussion. Now after watching it, I think they were out of their mind to call Judd Apatow there. After this I am taking a solemn oath of not watching anything that Judd Apatow ever touches. It was that bad. Remind me if I ever forget.

Total Count:21. 20 First Time Watches and 1 Re-watch .

Not the biggest of the month but I have to blame the majority of it on Netflix and The West Wing(1999). Somewhere around Christmas, Netflix released complete The West Wing on Instant. I have been meaning to watch it for quite some time and fortunately because of the mid-season break and the fact that I just finished watching The Sopranos(1999), I could afford to something different. So, I started watching it and around 25 days later, I was done with all the 7 seasons. That's the fastest I have finished the whole series, Ever. Off course, as a by-product, my movie watching suffered a bit but it happens. I loved The West Wing. So no regrets.

2013 YTD Count
Total Count: 21. 20 First Time Watches and 1 Re-watches.

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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January Blind Spot: Snow White and Seven Dwarfs(1937)

One of the reasons why I wanted to take part in Blind Spot series this year, off course besides filling up those damn blanks in my film viewings, was I wanted to get a little out of my comfort zone and write about different types of movies. This was a good way of forcing this onto myself. But these aren't just any movies that I selected on whim. All of them are to be considered essential viewing for any serious movie-buff. Since special occasions demand special treatment, I also decided to go with something different than usual plain review. So, now I had 12 movies chosen, special format in the form of Q&A drawn out. All I needed to do was actually watch a movie and write. Believe me, nothing is that simple. Being the very first movie in this series, I wanted to choose it carefully and make it something that almost nobody will have any question calling it a classic, an essential. I went up and down my list, trying to finalize the one. At one point, I thought none of them seems like a right fit while at another, they all looked like indisputable classics. However after some deliberation, I was convinced there wouldn't be a better place to start then Snow White and Seven Dwarfs(1937).
First and foremost, what makes this a Blind Spot movie? In other words, why did I think of this film as essential?
If this is not to be considered an essential, I don't know what is. This was the FIRST and probably the most memorable full-length animated feature made by Disney Studios. Period. What more reason does anyone who has ever seen an animated movie need? This movie gave a different genre all together to the film industry. Being such a legendary movie that has carved out quite a niche for itself, I was more than eager to scratch this off my list and hopefully like it as well. And it was Adolf Hitler's favourite movie. So, there is that too.
So, what is the story about?
Now that is a redundant question, isn't it? Who doesn't know Snow White's story? Funny thing is, one of the thing that made this interesting for me is over the last year or so, we have seen so many different versions of this same story. Some on big screen, some on TV, some spin-offs and what not. I wanted to see what is the actual normal version of it, the Fairy tale version because after having seen all the different versions, I was starting to doubt what the original story was myself. At least I got that here. Simple and straight forward story of charming little princess saved by the seven little dwarves from the evil deeds of her step-mother. Now their execution of story, with the occasional singing and dancing etc., felt very play-like. I have never actually seen it myself but this is exactly how I imagine a Broadway play will be like.

What did I think of it? What did I like the most about it and what didn't I like?
I was thoroughly impressed by the way it looked because it was absolutely gorgeous. I guess, I wasn't expecting first ever movie made to be that beautiful. I had so many screen caps taken, I had very hard time deciding which ones to choose for this post and which ones to discard. It is a fairy tale story and with all the goofiness of the dwarves and woodland creatures involved, it is obvious that it was very much made for kids. It does get darker in parts but then again, keeping their target audience in mind, we never see any violence on the screen. It is mostly implied that something bad just happened. I believe targeting for the kid's market would've allowed them to keep the story straight forward and concentrate more on making animations much more detail-oriented and hence real as well which should have been point of emphasis more than anything else. But I guess you can look at it from either way. It also makes it, well, very straight forward and hence kinda bland. 

But then again, I am discounting the fact that this is Snow White. So, it isn't like anyone who watches it wouldn't know what is going to happen next. So, I guess, my point is Walt Disney and Co. must have deliberately chosen the well-known story so that they can concentrate on making animations rather than writing a story to animate. It might have helped him from marketing point of view but I think the idea of letting the animations take the front seat to everything else was an admirable thing to do.

After having seen it, do I agree with it's 'essential' status? and why?
Not only do I just agree with the 'Essential' label, I really believe that it will remain so for many many more years to come as a reminder that this is how it all started. Given the fact that this was first attempt at making an animated feature film, there was no hint of that anywhere in the movie. In fact their attention to the detail was something that really impressed me e.g. first time when Snow White peeks through the window into the dwarves' house, you can see the tiny dot her nose would make on that glass. Apparently, there was a little concern over if animators can make these characters look human since no one had much of a practice with that before and was one of the reasons why Prince's characters is used bare minimum in the movie. To make that point, Disney and his animators made sure that all the human characters in the story i.e Snow White, The Queen and even Prince and Huntsman for whatever little time they are on screen, will have the dramatic bearing  as that of an actor in live action movie. To add to this dramatic response, Huntsman was particularly made ferocious, dwarves were made to look dismal carrying Snow white - something that the cartoons that time were not known to be capable of.

If we are talking about the quality animation, even 75 years after its release and with all the advances in the technology now a days, I think Snow White still holds up really great. Me falling in love with the look of this movie also reiterated the fact that I love 2D animations way more than 3D. 3D animations may look more clear, crisp, there is something in those hand drawn animations that make them look much more personal, much more relatable. One of the main reasons, why I always prefer Studio Ghibli over Pixar.

Does it open few new doors for me? Does this inspire to watch any other movies?
I am sure there are many people who will not believe that I had never seen such a classic. I am sure they will wonder, what did I do as a kid? Don't worry, I off course knew the story. I just never got around to this movie. But what I am about to say might astonish everyone even more. Not only that I JUST saw Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, I think this was my first Disney classic. I am pretty sure I have not seen any of them, I am not even sure what movies exactly constitute as Disney classics. Now with the success of this, I think that door is open for me. I am even looking for suggestions, if you have any.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Profile of a Director: Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino has got to be one of the most unique, most notorious and most direct directors in the film industry. This is the crazy maniac who openly admits that every single one of his movies has been stolen from many, many movies and none of us seem to mind it either. Well, if anyone can do it as well as he does, no one should either. 20 years ago, when he released his first movie and shocked everyone with it, he created lot of hype around his name right from the very start. Fast forward to 20 years later and now we kind of expect these things from his movies. We expect them to have a lot of violence, amazing soundtracks and to be very stylistic. Even though every one of his movies has come with great performances and gripping stories, I think I speak for everyone when I say that none of these have as much pull, as much power of summoning the movie enthusiasts into the theater as much as the title card saying "Directed by Quentin Tarantino", one of the reasons when Tarantino recently made his desire to retire after the age of 60 public, it became such a hot topic. He has successfully created a brand for himself. With the release of his latest Django Unchained(2012) on Christmas Day and Netflix making Four Rooms(1995) available for streaming gave me a chance to do something I have been meaning to do for a long time - finish his filmography. Which shall bring us to this post, getting into Tarantino's complete filmography, starting from his first short My Best Friend's Birthday(1987) to Django, every movie he has directed.

My Best Friends Birthday(1987)(short) - Tarantino actually made a movie before this as well or at least started making it because apparently he never finished it. So, this is his first attempt at film-making. Originally, he wrote it as a 70-minute movie where a young man, played by Tarantino himself, is trying to make sure that his best friend has a good birthday but nothing goes right. However, apparently due to some accident only 36 minutes of it survived and that is what I saw. I hate to say this but it feels very amateurish in every department. Now I know that it is 1987, it is his first film and only half of it has survived but even by that standard, I wish I had some kind words to say. Alas! At least it kick-started what would become a legendary career. Grade: C

Reservoir Dogs(1992) - So this is where it all really started. Tarantino's first full length feature film. Every single thing you now expect from Tarantino movie started with this. His language, his soundtracks, his title cards, the way his characters walk, talk, behave, his way of killing off important characters with a moment's notice and his way of showing violence on screen or not - it all starts here. I am sure most of us know the story of how Harvey Keitel got involved into producing this faltering script. I often wonder how it would be on the sets with Director being the most inexperienced person on the set ordering everyone around but then I remember it's Quentin Tarantino. I am sure he would be the first one to joke about it in his trademark style. Oh and he never gets his hands dirty by actually showing the robbery which everyone is so pissed about. Grade - A

Pulp Fiction(1994) - Saying that Pulp Fiction is one of my favourite movies would be such an understatement. Samuel Jackson reciting Ezekiel 25:17 and whatever happens before or after that in that apartment alone was enough to make it my favourite. It is much more than a movie that I really, really like. It is one of those movies that made me a movie buff that I am right now. Sure, I saw a lot of movies before Pulp and sure, there are quite a few that I loved as well but none of them made me want to go and seek out more movies like this one. If they make it anything like this, I seriously wanted a piece of that. At Once. I have been trying since. I am quite sure that this was the first Tarantino I saw, sometime around Fall of 2009. The fact that it had such a a huge impact on a novice like me almost 15 years after its release itself should speak volumes about how influential this movie is.  Grade: A+

Four Rooms(1995): (Segment "The Man From Hollywood") - I have my problems with this movie as a whole, especially with meaningless first segment and ridiculously over the top acting of Tim Roth and others. But if we start talking about just the Tarantino segment, all my issues disappear. Of the four stories in the movie, his is the best by a long margin. First of all it is a very straight forward and fun story, off course with a usual Tarantino zing to it. Even in the small 20 minute window, he leaves his footprints all over it. Once he enters the room, it doesn't leave for it's full length. It's like one long 20 minute sequence. It starts, quickly finds its footing, picks up the pace and soon ends with a blast, never missing a beat.  Grade: A-

Jackie Brown(1997) - This seems to be the start of Tarantino's decade worth of movies with female protagonist. Some also believe this to be his last normal movie or last good movie as after this he gets much more stylistic, violent if he wasn't already. Off course, I do not agree that he didn't make anything good after this but I understand the criticism and see where it comes from.  In my opinion, this is his most un-Tarantino-esque movie of his career. It seems like most of his signature items are dialed down a notch. But he has enough juice in his characters and in his script to carry them through. With the help of yet another flawless ensemble, this is a heist movie that keeps you guessing till the end. Admittedly, Jackie Brown suffers a little from being the follow-up of legendary Pulp Fiction but there were many years between my viewings. So, I never felt it was over shadowed. Grade: A

Kill Bill: Vol I(2003) - Taking a mini hiatus of 6 years to work on World War II screenplay which eventually became Inglourious Basterds(2009). However since that screenplay was taking a long time, he focused on another project in the mean time which will mark his most glorious, most bad-ass and even most dichotomous female protagonist in the form of Bride in this first part of a revenge story fueled by Tarantino's love for Samurai and Martial Arts movies. In his typical style, Tarantino throws us right into the action from the very first scene and never backs down from getting his hands dirty. With multiple action scenes that spill blood by barrels, this has to be his bloodiest movie. Being first part of two, another thing he does well is Tarantino gave it its own legs. He made sure that even though they both have strong connection with each other, they both also stand very well on their own.  Grade: A-

Kill Bill: Vol II(2004) - Apparently, it wasn't Tarantino's plan of making this movie in two parts from the start. Just being another one of his passion projects, he kept on adding stuff and never stopped until he felt it's done right. The final product was the more than four hour long revenge story which producers and distributors weren't sure about from the marketing point of view. And hence they did it in two parts instead of one. I have no idea what was the public reaction about this decision at the time of its release since I was nowhere in picture then but I don't think it would have been very enthusiastic. However, despite that second part seems to have much more favorable critical reaction than the first one and I can certainly see why. First one is much more of an action movie with a lot of action and much more blood whereas though second has its fair share of action and gut, being much more drama-centric has more gravitas.  Grade: A-

Death Proof(2007) - In the THR Directors Roundtable Tarantino himself said that Death Proof has got to be the worst movie he has made and if it stays like that, he'll be happy with it. I know, I'll be too but the question is do I agree with his assessment? To tell you the truth, I don't have any problem with this movie. I know that it is a little loose and maybe even disconnected story, but I think it is a fun movie with a long and electrifying chase involving Zoe Bell of all people in the end and with the risk of sounding sadistic, an amazing crash scene in the middle. I love the way it shows that crash from the perspective of everyone involved. But as much as I hate to admit it, if we are discounting Four Rooms as a whole and his first short, Tarantino is right. It is such a fun ride but is still his weakest. Grade: B+

Inglourious Basterds(2009) - At around the same time that I saw Pulp Fiction and went on some serious kick looking for his movies, Inglourious Basterds was in theaters. Imagine 1-2 punch of these two that knocked me out and I was sold. As I said earlier, this was the point where I was very much in infancy of being a movie-buff. I was still learning to appreciate what makes good movie a good movie. This movie added many things to that list. Have you ever seen anything like that long, continuous opening scene? I still cannot believe how lengthy many of his scenes are but even more importantly how brilliantly they build the tension in the scene, case in point French Tavern sequence. Now it does get a lot of criticism about being over-indulgent, especially over it's 'masterpiece' ending. But tell me, Do I give a Damn ? Grade: A+

Django Unchained(2012) - Tarantino's latest. This year's Oscar nominee for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay among others. Let me get the biggest concern out of the way first. For the first time in his career, his movie looked a little indulgent to me. Don't get me wrong, I still don't give a damn and I still love this movie but I believe I saw some chinks in the armor for the first time. What I loved the most about it is the way he blends multiple genres so inadvertently. Since I haven't mentioned it before anywhere, I have to mention the soundtracks of his movie which are one of his signature by now. Every single one of his movies has had an amazing soundtrack and this one isn't any exception but perfect way they reflect the 'western-ness' of this movie is exceptional.  Grade: A

Woody Allen

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

10 Movies I am looking forward to in 2013

2013 is officially off and kicking now. With Gangster Squad(2012) out last week, we even had our first notable release of the year as well. 2012 was a great year for cinema, one when the ticket sales went up for a change. Even though I am still scrambling to wrap-up the last year with some of the movies that have missed through the cracks, I think it is time to see if 2013 can be as good a year as 2012 was, it is look forward to what the next year has in store for us. So, today I give you the list of some of the movies that I am looking forward to this year. We have very limited information about most of the movies on the list right now. Some of them are bound to disappoint, some movies that are not in the list will probably surprise me as well but I think it will be interesting to see what do I think of these movies at around the same time, next year. Here we go.

Honourable Mentions: 
The Great GatsbyI would have been much more excited for it, had it been released in 2012. And even though I loved Moulin Rogue(2001), Baz Luhrmann can be a hit or miss. 

Only God Forgives: After Drive(2011), Nicolas Winding Refn is teaming up with Ryan Gosling once again and is taking us into the kick boxing world of Thailand. What's not to like?

Gravity: I am not a big fan of Alphonso Cuaron or Sandra Bullock but I won't turn my head from them either. Story doesn't look half bad and Mr. Clooney is there. So, we have hope. Let's see how much it delivers.

Passion: In my opinion, Brian De Palma is an over-indulgent director who takes his movies a little too far. But after last year's Love Crime(2010), I have hopes from this movie. If De Palma can keep him in check, it can be something worth watching.

The World's End - Only reason this is in the honourable mentions and not in the actual list is because I still haven't seen Hot Fuzz(2007). But Shaun of the Dead(2004) is one of the best comedies I have seen and if it is anything like that, I am game.

And now, 10 movies that I am really looking forward to this year, in no particular order.

I'm So Excited: We couldn't have started with a better title. All I need to know about this movie is it's directed by Pedro Almodovar. All I DO know about this movie is it's directed by Almodovar and casts Paz Vega, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Benderas. Over the last couple of years, I have sat through a bunch of his stuff. Like Every movie Almodovar does, this will probably make me a lot uncomfortable and ask questions that I'll probably won't want to talk about openly. But despite knowing that, I go and watch Almodovar movies because I cannot deny the fact that each and every one of them is a real piece of art. This one won't be any different. 

The Wolf of Wall Street: Not only Martin Scorsese is back after endearing Hugo(2011) little over a year ago, this is Scorsese once again teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio. Looking at their track record, this should be a good enough selling point. But off course, there is more. They have assembled quite a good cast however most important thing from my point of view, is they have an intriguing storyline. "Story of a Long Island Penny Stockbroker who served 20 months in prison for refusing to cooperate in massive security fraud case that involved the corruption on wall street, banking world and also mob infiltration" I am Sold. 

Inside Llewyn Davis: This is Coen Brothers returning to the scene after True Grit(2010) couple of years ago. Coen Brothers have tried some unconventional casts in last few movies they have done and more importantly, made every single one of them work perfectly. This is yet another unconventional cast of Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake plus Coen Regulars like John Goodman. We still don't have a trailer or a poster or even a synopsis for this February release but if anyone can make this work, it will be Coen Brothers. Plus No Deakins who does play a major role in their movies. So that should be interesting too. 

Twelve Years a Slave: Discounting some of his shorts, Steve McQueen has only made two movies but they are Hunger(2008) and Shame(2011). I don't think I know any director whose first two movies are as good as these two. So, after that if he wants to shoot a movie about how to eat a matchbox, rest assured I will be there. But being Steve McQueen, he isn't. He is making a movie on slavery and even if look at the cast he has assembled, I am sure you will be as excited as I am - Chiwetel Ejiofor, Quvenzhane Wallis, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch with Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson and many many more. 

The Monuments Men: Over the past few years, George Clooney has turned into a man who can do no wrong. Almost every project he has touched has become successful. Even his directorial efforts aren't any different. Following his usual line of movies with political background and a strong moral message, he is going into the holocaust period focusing on group of art historians and museum curators trying to save the renown pieces of art that Nazis have stolen from destroying. With a strong cast of Clooney himself, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig with Bill Murray, John Goodman and Jean Dujardin, this will be worth the wait till December.

Now You See Me: Up until the moment I saw the trailer for this movie, this was no where on my radar. I wasn't even aware of it's existence. Even now, I have no interest in any of the director's previous films but the trailer of this movie was one of the bests I have seen and got me really intrigued. The Concept of FBI agents tracking a team of magicians pulling of actual bank robbery during their performance sounds quite interesting. Also cast of Jessie Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Dave Franco with Martin Freeman and Michael Caine should be worth seeing. 

Before Midnight: Third installment of Richard Linklater's trilogy following Before Sunrise(1995) and Before Sunset(2004). When I first heard about the possibility of such a film, I kind of shrugged it off. After all, it's 9 years after the second installment and there is no indication in Before Sunset that we need any follow-up of that. But then I realized there is a 9 year difference between first two as well and if someone asked me in 2004, I probably would've made the same argument against Before Sunset and guess what, I ended up loving it even more than Before Sunrise. So lesson learned. I am not going to write it off or at least till I have seen it.

Her: Like Wes Anderson or Quentin Tarantino, Spike Jonze movies are first and foremost Spike Jonze movies, if you know what I mean. Now I wasn't crazy about Adaptation(2002) neither was I head over heels for Being John Malkovich(1999) but I saw both these movies out of sheer curiosity based on the insane story lines. I also think they went a little too far delusional but still I can not deny how unique these movie are. Her looks like yet another venture in a similar direction. Plus, it has Amy Adams in it. I have seen every movies she has done in a last decade and I have no intention of breaking that streak.

Labour Day: Jason Reitman is another director who might have very few movies on his resume but I think the fact that every single one of them impressed me a lot makes up for that. It seems like he makes 1 film with Diablo Cody then one without her. This is his 'without' turn. So if it is anything like Up In the Air(2009) or even Thank You for Smoking(2005), even though for a strange reason it reminds me of Little Children(2006), I am ready to wait. From the looks of it this might be his most dramatic movie yet but he does have a great cast of Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and Jacki Weaver along with others to carry it.

Lowlife: I have actually not seen any movie James Gray has directed. So, I am taking a kind of blind shot here as I am not sure what exactly to expect from this. But the first thing that caught my attention was its eclectic cast. Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Pheonix and Marion Cotillard is a really interesting cast which can do wonders together. Plus, what little we know about the plot makes me further intrigued. An Immigrant woman, dazzling magician, Ellis Island. I don't really know much about this movie right now but from what I do, It is safe to say I am excited for it. Hopefully by then I would seen some of the Gray's movies and it will be worth it.

So, what are you waiting for in this new year?
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