Monday, September 1, 2014

Wrapping it up: August

Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. For the first ever, neither have I written a Blind Spot entry for this month yet nor did I publish this post on last day of respective month after keeping that tradition for more than two and half years. But more on that later. Let me get to films I saw last month first...


L'enfant(2005): This month's Blind Spot. I was under impression that this would be my first Dardennes film. It was one of the reasons I added it to this year's list. I realised it later that I have seen The Kid with a Bike(2011) which is a Dardennes' film as well. First thing I realised after watching this is this film can be a check list for Dardennes. Hand held camera - check, lower class characters struggling to make ends meet - check, father-son relationship - check, no score - check. Made me even more excited for Two Days, One Night(2014).

The Immigrant(2014): It feels like we have been waiting for this film for like forever. In most cases, it would mean this film is doomed in one way or the other. You can say that for this film as well since it did not get much of a theater run and went to VOD pretty soon. I don't know numbers but distribution wise I don't think this is a good sign. At least, it wasn't doomed quality wise. It has a stellar cast and they have deliver stellar performances. You can say it's too serious but given the subject matter, I don't see any other way.

Ida(2014): For past few months, I haven't watched many foreign films. For some reason, I don't feel like watching them anymore. I am already in 2014 mode in the middle of the year, which I usually get into somewhere around end. I seriously hope this is just a passing phase because turning my back on so many great films would be an absolute shame. I am hoping films like this will help me get back on that horse. And better the quality of these films, more they help. Ida was a great help. Best thing about it was the quietness with which it presents even the most dramatic moments of film.

Un Coeur en Hiver(1992): Quick show of hands. How many people here know any such film exists. I don't care if you haven't seen it; raise your hand even if you know this film exists. If not for Josh, even I wouldn't. But it is one of those lesser known gems that I am so happy to have seen it. There are so many great films this one reminded me of but most of all - In the Mood for Love(2000) because of suppressed sexuality of leads, unforgettable music in the film and exquisite looking Emmanuelle Beart.

Dead Poets Society(1989): After the shitty news we all got this month, this was mandatory! Robin Williams was probably 1st Hollywood star I knew by name. Jumanji(1995) was one of my childhood favourites and I used to watch it over and over. This was one of his legendary roles I had not seen and I had to correct this. To tell you the truth, there is no reason why this film should work? It's sappy to the core. But it does! Perfectly. And given that everyone loves it, it is not just an emotional response to recent tragedy.

Edge of Tomorrow(2014): Now this is my kind of blockbuster! Lot of people loved a lot of different blockbusters released this summer. I was cold on most of them but this was totally my type of film. This was Groundhog Day(1993) with human existence at stake and I think they pulled it off very nicely. But I hate the fact that I need a film to remind me that Emily Blunt is a great, versatile actress. I really hope with Into the Woods(2014) later this year, she gets recognition she has been deserving off for years.

Mildred Pierce(1945): I can't be sure but I don't think I have seen a movie in which I've hated almost every single character like I did in this one. Don't get me wrong - I completely understand that's exactly what director was going for and I like it as a film, especially Joan Crawford, but first thing I will remember about this film in future will be I hated everyone in this film, not that I liked Crawford's performance. To be fair, I didn't actually hate Mildred but she definitely frustrated me.

Queen(2014)(Hindi): Bollywood is going through a female empowerment phase this year. I mean, there are many female centric films released this year and they are even doing quite well at box office. Queen released early this year was probably the first of this year's lot. Kangana Ranaut, lead of this film who is really good in it, is going through a reincarnation of her career and this role has helped her a lot. I liked the concept and most of its execution. If not for Amsterdam leg, which I thought dragged a lot and was very cliché; I would rate it even higher.

X-Men: Days of Future Past(2014): So I spend whole summer watching films people praise and rolling my eyes over how did they like this? And then I see two blockbusters in a month I like. I still won't call it a great film or anything but it delivered on everything I would expect from summer blockbuster. It is possible that since I have seen almost all X-Men movies before, I was into it but I didn't have any major problem with it. Plus, it has a great cast of new and old which certainly helps elevate it a notch up.

Don't Look Now(1973): This film bleeped on my radar since Talaash(2012). I would have called it one of the best horror films, since even though it did not genuinely scare me, it did create create a great environment and constantly kept me at the edge of my seat wondering what is going to happen next, if only I understood that ending. I am still not sure what really happen there - it just dropped suddenly, out of no where. But Julie Christie - I have only seen 4 or 5 of her performances but I love every single one of them. That's really something!

Veronica Mars(2014): I knew this wouldn't be 'One of the best of the year' type films but I quite liked series despite some of its flaws. So this was one of my most anticipated of the year films. I wouldn't say I am very disappointed because my expectations were in check from start but it still could have been better. My main problem was everyone looked rusty including Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas. Case involved was definitely best part about it but there were too many distractions from it which worked in series format but never really paid off here.

Suddenly, Last Summer(1959): I am very surprised that it took so long for me to know there is a movie featuring both Katherine Hepburn and Liz Taylor together. But as soon as I knew about it, I didn't waste any more time getting my hands on it. As much as I was excited to see two of the best actresses together, best thing I can say about this film is I am still trying to wrap my head around it. I literally have no idea what to make of this film, especially of that ending despite really great acting by both Taylor, Hepburn as well as Montgomery Clift.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier(2014): I feel like this movie is a complete fanboy material. I constantly felt like watching a typical high budget South Indian masala movie which needs, sorry, demands unequivocal suspension of any disbelief. Only good thing about it is because of high production value, it makes even the most ridiculous thing look damn good. Call it my chronic disability but I have never been able to enjoy that sort of thing. That is exactly why I can never watch those south Indian films, neither can I get into any Salman Khan movie. This was no better.

Happy Christmas(2014): I watched this film primarily for Anna Kendrick and while she isn't bad in it, my primary takeaway from it would be Joe Swanberg's son. If you have seen this film, you'd know how amazing that kid is. However, reason why I would rate it so low is screenplay. It never went anywhere. I don't feel like any of the characters went through any transformation or we learnt anything different about them that we didn't know in first 5 minutes of it. It just starts and ends without giving us pretty much anything. 

Draft Day(2014): I watch American football. I understand the game but even then I will not say that I understand process of their draft and that fascinates me. So this movie was quite interesting to me; you can even say I was target audience for it. But extremely predictable and over sentimental nature of it made it an opportunity lost. You always, always know where this is going to go and what any character going to do long before anyone in this film actually makes any decision. That makes it a boring watch after a while.

Total Count: 15. 15 First Time Watches and 0 Re-watch .

2014 YTD Count
Total Count: 132. 124 First Time Watches and 8 Re-watches.

So the reason I was only able to watch 15 films this month and couldn't do Blind Spot post and this post in time is new job I started today. Because of that, I spent my last month at old job doing KTs and transferring all other responsibilities. Plus, juggling all pre-joining requirements at this job turned out much more taxing than I thought it would. So, blogging took back step, though I do hope to have my blind spot entry up by this weekend. I have already seen the film.

Now good thing about this job is it will pay me hell lot more than previous one used to and, since I wouldn't be job searching anymore, would allow me to devote my free time to do things that I want to do - like watch more films. :). Bad thing is it will take almost 12 hours of my day straight up. Even worse is the fact that about 2 and half of those will be spent traveling. I need to find productive ways to utilize that time or else I am not going to get anything done! Lets see how this goes.

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


  1. I know of Un Coeur en Hiver, but I've never gotten around to seeing it. She plays a violinist, right?

    For me, the Veronica Mars movie was sort of like the high school reunion - seeing some old friends. I liked it, but agree that the TV series (at least the first two seasons) were better.

    LIke you, I also felt the second Captain America movie was a step down, but we're in the minority. I see many people even claiming it's the best movie Marvel has put out.

    1. Yup, violinists all of them. Both male leads are violin makers.

      I didn't like First much either and I am not too big on most Marvel films but I seriously don't get praise second one is getting. It's like we've seen two different films.

      That's exactly why I wanted to watch Veronica Mars. I thought I would be able to look past most of its problems.

  2. Like Chip, I've heard of Un Coeur en Hiver(1992). I always confuse actresses Emmanuelle Beart and Emmanuelle Seigner(Polanski's wife). They look quite similar, and have same first name :)

    I also enjoyed L'enfant(2005), the director duo followed their usual style and didn't really reinvent themselves, but it was a well-told story. Especially the scooter chase I remember. Was interesting to follow the couple who are not ready for the responsibility of a child, and don’t know how to manage their money. I'm also excited for Two Days One Night (2014)

    Don't Look Now (1973) For me, holds up well despite being from the 70s, for several reasons: We feel their grief due to the strong performances, the colours and images are loaded with symbolism, and also Venice looks fantastic. A film I can rewatch every 5-10 years and still notice new details.

    Good luck with your new job :) You could always watch movies on the train, if you have lots of commuting? I know Nostra at myfilmviews does that. Just an idea. Of course you need a laptop (and headphones) to do that.

    1. I don't think I'll recognize Seigner but I totally understand. I confuse a lot of actors with each other.

      As I said, it was my only second Dardennes film but I already like their style. I think I won't have problem with watching more films like these. Can't wait for Two Days One Night.

      I liked performances but Venice was a real bonus. Loved that setting!

      Thanks! I still haven't figured it out but I will have to something like that if I want to keep checking movies off. Lets see how it works out.

  3. Haha, I usually feel the same way about blockbusters but somehow I ended up really enjoying a few of them this year: X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I'll have to check out Edge of Tomorrow.

    Congrats on the new job!

    1. Thanks!

      Liked both X-Men and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Haven;t seen Guardians yet. I think you will like Edge of Tomorrow. It has everything blockbuster action film needs and Emily Blunt. :)


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