Monday, 15 May 2017

So I directed something...

Hello guys! It's been a long time. In case you didn't know, I've been studying in a film school for the past two years and I want to be a director and I've been trying to focus on that. I've made a couple o things before but I didn't really like them enough to ever post about them. This is the first time I've made something I'm kind of proud of and that's why I'm here, shamelessly plugging myself. My co-director Piyush and our whole team worked really hard on it and I wanted to share it here. It's a cover music video/ short film on the song "Feeling Good" by Muse. I've posted it on a number of platforms but I think it is fitting for me to post it here too. This blog has been a big influence on my cinematic aesthetic, and I greatly value the opinions of fellow bloggers. Whatever you may think about the video, please let me know!


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

MOST ANTICIPATED FILMS OF 2017

Image source: Dribble


Happy New Year, everyone! I am back, for now. I hope to be better this year but am not making any promises, again, since I am trying to get more focused about my career. I will be turning 25 this year which just sounds mental to me because, and this is the best way I can put it, I do not feel old enough to be 25. Is that weird? Am I alone in this? Am I secretly trying to be Frances Ha still? I don't know *insert shrug*.

Anyway, let's get to the actual post. I didn't make this list last year, or rather I did write a draft but never published it, but I had to make one this time because I'm very excited about some of these films! There are 20 films in the main list and I don't remember if it was always this way but they are there because of the directors. Quite a few of them are only sophomore attempts by their makers but I was blown away enough by their first films that they beat others made by more experienced, even revered auteurs. Another thing I noticed was that a number of these, including the honourable mentions, are made by women. I did participate in the 52 Films by Women challenge last year and though regrettably I didn't reach my target (I clocked in at 42 films), I am actively seeking out more films by female directors. Still, the films that are there, I wasn't even trying to purposely incorporate them in this list to make it diverse- I am just *that* pumped for them. They HAD to be there!

Honourable mentions: Rangoon (Vishal Bhardwaj), Trapped (Vikramidtya Motwane), Bareilli ki Barfi (Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari), Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (James Gunn), Redoubtable (Michel Hazanavicius), The Untitled Woody Allen Movie, Song to Song (Terence Malick, which has been in my list for the past 4 years now), Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins), Based on a True Story (Roman Polanski), God Particle (Julius Onah), Mute (Duncan Jones), The Discovery (Charlie McDowell), Darkest Hour (Joe Wright), Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts), Mary Magdalene (Garth Davis), John Wick 2 (Chad Stahelski, David Leitch), Get Out (Jordan Peele), T2 (Danny Boyle), War for Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves), Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott), Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh), Logan (James Mangold), You Were Never Really Here (Lynn Ramsay), Suburbicon (George Clooney), Yeh Din Ka Kissa (Noah Baumbach), The Shape of Water (Guillermo del toro), Under the Silver Lake (David Mitchell), Downsizing (Akexander Payne), Coco (Lee Unkrich), The Snowman (Tomas Alfredson), Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan), Untitled Detroits Movie (Kathryn Bigelow), Happy End (Michael Haneke), The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara (Steven Spielberg) and finally, Okja (Bong Joon-ho).

(I said I was excited)



The List


20.
Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi)
Thor is pretty much my least favourite Avenger. Having said that, this movie sounds like fun. Marvel is prettiest when it's not on Earth but then GotG vol. 2 could've also been in this list. Lord knows I love the first one to bits. However, it will be difficult creating that magic again. Thor 3, on the other hand, has one of the most interesting new directors at its helm- someone whose previous works like What We Do in the Shadows (endlessly rewatchable) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (lovely and weird) are as far from the usual superhero fare as, well, Asgard is from Earth. Plus Cate Blanchett is playing the goddess of death named Hell. JUST TAKE ALL MY MONEY!

19.
Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
In Bruges to me is one of the most perfect films ever. I doubt I will ever not give McDonagh a chance because of it. Yes, it's true that Seven Psychopaths was super disappointing but I am willing to overlook that. Also this sounds more In Bruges-esque, with the great Frances McDormand playing a woman who goes against the police in her town after her daughter is murdered. Meaty stuff.

18.
Suspiria (Luca Guadignino)
I love the original. I wasn't that jazzed about A Bigger Splash but I remember adoring I Am Love and Guadignino creates gorgeous visuals in both. Plus there's Tilda Swinton. Good or bad, it would be something to behold.

17.
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
Yes, I did put that picture of Gerwig because I find it very hot. Moving on. 
As you may have noticed in my opening paragraph where I reference a certain Miss Hallida, played and co-written by Gerwig, that I am a huge fan of hers. So imagine my surprise and delight when I find out that not only is she directing a semi-autobiographical high school film, but that it also stars the always amazing Saoirse Ronan! Woo for me!

16.
Yet-to-be-titled-Fashion-Movie (Paul Thomas Anderson)
I find this picture to be so antithetical to how both these men are commonly perceived. Anywho, I really didn't want to put this film in the list, just to spite fanboys. The universal adulation can get a bit annoying but I had to be fair and this sounds like a very fascinating film. I'm in.

15.
Mother (Darren Aronofsky)
Aronofsky is always interesting. Plus, I really want to see what he does with JLaw. She's been Katniss. She's been David O'Russell's muse. This is new territory and I'm looking forward to see their professional pairing. And assuming the titular mother is played by La Pfeiffer herself, that is some very thrilling news because hello, Barbara Hershey in Black Swan and Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream! Fun!

14.
Star Wars Episode VIII (Rian Johnson)
Honestly, just RIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSONRIANJOHNSON!!!!!!!! Also Rey, Finn and Poe are so great! (RIP Carrie Fisher)

13.
The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci)
HOLY SHIZNITS YOU GUYS, THIS FILM! 1) It's made by the best political satirist currently in the game; 2) the cast has Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Paddy Considine and many more; 3) could there be a better film made in today's shitstorm of a political climate? 4) and finally, imagine the insults!!

12.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (John Cameron Mitchell)
The short story is an other-worldly (that's a spoiler there), mesmerising little gem that has some of the most beautiful concepts I have ever read. I don't know how it will translate into a feature film but Mitchell is daring and innovative enough to tackle it. Also, this is the first of 3 films starring Elle Fanning in my list (Nicole Kidman is there as well).

11.
Annihilation (Alex Garland)
Ever since I watched it more than a year ago, I don't think I've been able to completely shake Ex Machina off. It was bold, gorgeous and totally unique. It's obvious that have high hopes from this one. The cast is to die for- Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez (!!), Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac (maybe we get another dance sequence? Here's hoping).

10.
The Lego Batman Movie (Chris McKay)
Will Arnett's portrayal of Batman in The Lego Movie was the best Batman that ever Batman-ed. I am sooooooo pumped for this film! Michael Cera as Robin! Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn! Rosario Dawson finally playing a real superhero, Batgirl! Zach Galifinakis as The Joker (now I'm imagining him in Suicide Squad and maybe that would've been a better movie?), and Ralph Fiennes as Alfred! Everything IS awesome!

9.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos)
Here for the next Lanthimos mindfuck. Next! 

8.
A Storm in the Stars (Haifaa al-Mansour)
Wadjda is one of the best, most delightful and hopeful films of the last decade. The fact that it was by the first Saudi Arabian female director makes it even more outstanding. This is al-Mansour's first English language film and wow, the story she's bringing to the screen is one helluva doozy. It's about the love story between Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley and how it inspired the creation of "Frankenstein". Elle Fanning is in this too. Also, Tom Sturridge stars as Lord Byron making all of teenage Nikhat's fantasies come true.

7.
Tully (Jason Reitman)
At one point, Reitman was one of the most engrossing filmmakers around. He's made some flops since but with Tully, he is back with the core Young Adult team- Diablo Cody and Charlize Theron. Young Adult is such a incredible little arsenic-filled cookie of a movie and Reitman works best with Cody's scripts. 

6.
Bladerunner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)
There's no way this film can be bad, right? It seems like a mathematical impossibility. The original is a masterpiece, Denis Villeneuve is at the top of his game, Ryan Gosling is having a mini comeback moment, there are other ab fab actors like Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis and yes, even Jared Leto involved, and obviously, Rick Deckard is back, baby!

5.
Landline (Gillian Robespierre)
Obvious Child is a movie that shouldn't even have existed- an abortion romcom? What? But it does and not only that, it is freaking fantastic! I am here for anything Gillian Robespierre does next and this time, it's another of my favourite sub-genres- the dysfunctional family drama. The lovely Jenny Slate is there too, along with Edie Falco, John Turturro, Finn Wittrock and Jay Duplass.

4.
Rock That Body (Lucia Aniello)
I don't know if you know this about me but Broad City is my life! I love that show with all my heart and Aniello who co-wrote the film with another Broad City-regular, Paul Downs, has been heavily involved with the show from the start. The premise of this film on Wikipedia reads "A male stripper ends up dead at a Miami beach house during a bachelorette party weekend." It stars ScarJo, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz and Demi Moore. I need this film in my life like right now!!


3.
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes)
Haynes is such a beautiful filmmaker and having read this book, I cannot wait to see what he does with it. The last two times he had Julianne Moore as the lead, it resulted in some of the most unforgettable films ever- Safe and Far From Heaven. Apparently one of the time periods depicted in this film will be like a silent movie. Oooo.

2.
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)
The only reason this isn't at a shared #1 spot is because of this fucking guy's face. I don't know what it is about Ansel Elgort's face but I just really want to punch it. No idea how I will make it though the film seeing that he's the lead but if anyone can make me forget about Elgort's smug little face, it's Wright. This is a heist movie fuelled by a soundtrack and it sounds right up Wright's alley. The rest of the cast, especially Jon Hamm, is awesome. This isn't a straight-up comedy but Wright hasn't disappointed me even once.

1.
The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola)
What else could it possibly be? My favourite female filmmaker and indeed one of my favourites ever is back and with a remake of one brilliantly creepy-sounding films from the 70s. It reunites her with her original muse, Kirsten Dunst. There is also Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell. The story, which is about an injured soldier entering the world of an all-girls boarding school, has some serious The Virgin Suicides mysterious feel to it. Also, in the photo above Fanning and Dunst are sitting on Beyonce's "Sorry" chair and that has to be a sign, right?


God, I really, really want to be right about these films! Which 2017 movies are you most excited for? Do you think we'll all be alive to see a Most Anticipated Films of 2018 list? Who even knows? Yay, future!



Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Indian Women Scorned- Thoughts on Angry Indian Goddesses, Pink and Parched



     Hello people of the blogging world. It's been a while. A long, long while. And obviously, my maybe comeback post (not making any promises) is about three films that the majority of you all haven't seen because they're Indian films. Oh well. Good job, Nik.

      I have been meaning to write a post for ages now but nothing has really inspired me like the films at hand. These are all "feminist" movies primarily focusing on a group of women and reflect the state of womenhood in India. I'll talk about them one-by-one, in order of viewing and, as it turns out, quality.


       The first film I saw is called Angry Indian Goddesses and it is directed by Pan Nalin. It came out sometime last year and I remember it being in the news because the Indian Censor Board had made many cuts and as far as I can recall, people had liked it. I was just really intrigued by its title and its premise which was sold as the first female buddy movie of India. And it kind of starts off that way after the introductory scenes of all the six main female characters in which they kick some male ass in their own styles (set to "In the Hall of the Mountain King" no less). They all come together at the Goan residence of one of the leads who is going to get married.


       I was intrigued at the set-up first. Sure they seemed like slightly broadly-sketched representations of the "modern Indian woman" but I could live with that. I guessed the first "twist" almost immediately which I'm sure most people can given how progressive this film is supposed to be. Also, to be completely fair to the movie, there were moments in it that were well-shot and it didn't seem to be falling into the traps that are usually present in Hindi movies. However, it had many, many other failings.

       Here's how I can best describe it: Nalin, Subhadra Mahajan, Arsala Qureishi, who are the writers of the film according to its Wikipedia page, probably made a list of all the issues plaguing Indians currently, mainly the women, and then decided to address all of them one-by-one. This movie is like a checklist of "Big Social Problems GAHHHHHH". Law against homosexuality- check. Isolated childhood because of working parents- check. Rape in India- check. Family pressures on women- check.  And so it goes on. None of it is subtle, obviously. There are I think three separate occasions when the women sit in a circle talking aloud about the topic at hand. I mean talk about being spoon-fed. And finally, the writers decide to actually execute one of these issues which results in these women becoming the "angry Indian goddesses" they are, and it is one of the most awful, idiotic, exploitative climax and endings I have ever seen in a film. It properly pissed me off and made me feel sick in a way openly regressive Bollywood films (which is probably 80% of them) have never managed to do. It is such a tone-deaf film, it could be taught in film schools to show what not to do with your scripts and characters.



       Before I make this whole post a rant about the dreadfulness of Angry Indian Goddesses (and that fucking last act!!!), it's better to move on to the next film in my list. Pink, directed by Aniruddha Roy, is a 2016 film which follows three young women who get involved in a court case after one of them broke a bottle on a powerful man's face when he had tried to molest her. Their lawyer is a retired and sick man who wants to defend the victims against the social and cultural stereotypes used to defame modern and outgoing women in India. He is played by famous Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan.


       I was excited about the concept of Pink even though I had found its trailer to be quite confusing. Then the reviews started rolling in and it was getting a lot of love from everywhere. Believing the hype, I went with my two roommates (our living conditions are very similar to the women in the movie which is a bit creepy). My three word review for it would be that I was disappointed.

      The thing about Pink is that it is a pretty silly movie about a very important topic. I cannot fully hate it because it does spread an incredibly crucial and much-needed message about consent and the possibility of that actually educating people is perhaps much bigger than what all it does wrong story-wise. Also, it is quite entertaining and well-acted. My main complaint comes from the disservice it does to the genre of legal dramas. Legal dramas are usually about morality but there is also intelligence in them. Pink foregoes any intellect in order to cultivate and present a moral message to its viewers. It's so stupidly sentimental in the central court case. I am no lawyer but I could point out ten different things that could've been done in that case. I feel frustrated just thinking about it because what were the writers even thinking?  Also, once again, the way the women have been written was wildly inconsistent and even though they tried to make them like "real" women, there was something severely lacking in them. For a film about gender issues, the men and women were all very caricature-esque. Pink could've been really good, even great, if only the writing matched the the gravity of its message.



       All of which brings us to Parched. I first heard about it from Mette when she praised it on our last podcast episode. It is directed by Leena Yadav who is the only female director among these three movies and it shows instantly. This film is also mainly about three women and unlike the other two cases, they are not urban but rather belong to a small rural community which does not even have a single television set. Also unlike the other two, these women feel like real, living, breathing ladies with flaws and desires and one gets completely roped into their world. This film shows many hardships that women face as well, that too in a way more patriarchal and oppressive environment than those shown in the first two films, but they are organic and don't feel like they've been stuffed down our throats.


      I loved this film so much that I have already started praising it and not even discussed its plot. As I wrote above, it is about three women- one is a lonely widow who is looking for a bride for her son, one who has an abusive husband and incapable of getting pregnant and one who is a sort of stripper and prostitute. But they are all loyal, fierce friends and again, of all the three films, this friendship rang the truest and strongest for me. THIS is a female buddy film in which you get to see how nurturing and accepting female friendships can be, especially in a world where women aren't valued enough. There is also a fourth female character who, although not a part of this trio and without as much screentime, has her own journey. There are many trials and tribulations that the women face and we see many other "Big Social Problems GAHHHHHH" in their lives and world but it is full of subtlety and at the same time, the film is also wild and vibrant.

       Leena Yadav had made two films before Parched. I faintly recall watching her debut film Shabd but I doubt it was anywhere as rich as her latest offering. Not just the acting but also the way it looked was gorgeous. Russel Carpenter, who shot Titanic, was the cinematographer. This film was also quite controversial because it has a nude sex scene which had leaked in porn sites here months ago and yet was censored upon its theatrical release. Such is India. I feel sad that it is not getting the love it deserves. People LOVE Pink but will probably ignore Parched because of the lack of big names in it. It is a truly wonderful little gem.



     There has been a lot of focus on female directed films recently, what with Marya E. Gate's A Year With Women Project and the 52 Films By Women pledge and so on. I have also pledged to watch 52 films by women this year even though I am lagging behind a bit, and have generally tried to become more curious about women-directed films. Normally I can sub-consciously understand the difference between a women-directed and a male-directed film but never has the contrast been as great for me as it has with these three movies.

      The first thing I did after watching Angry Indian Goddesses is to check if it was a man who wrote and directed it, and indeed it was. Of course I am not saying that men cannot write complex women. My favourite filmmakers include Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino and my life begins and ends with The Hours. I cannot make a claim about Indian filmmakers because I am not as well-versed in Hindi films lately. Still, taking these three films into account, it does reveal something about the way men and women write female characters in a female-driven movie that is making some sort of a social commentary. The male writers and directors clearly seem focused on the "Big Social Problems GAHHHHHH" at hand, not really caring enough about if the female characters are realistic and human. They just draw an idea of what they think the modern, complex woman should look and act like as one can see from the Angry Indian Goddesses' poster's tagline- "angels, lovers, victims, killers, buddies... women" but just listing all these words doesn't necessarily change them into complicated, life-like beings. Again, not making a generalisation (but am, kinda) but since their characters are not well-written, the rest of their story also falters. Instead of tackling the obstacles through the characters and their setting and actions, they change the characterization and situations to best serve the matter that need to be shown (GAHHHHHH). The whole effect obviously is one that which feels very contrived and infuriating. I was angered by Pink because it made so many stupid story-telling choices. It even has the cringeworthiest of all cringeworthy moments where the North-Eastern girl actually announces in court that she gets harassed more because of her ethnicity.  Let's not even get started on Angry Indian Goddesses because I'll never stop then.


      Yadav on the other hand has devoted herself into realizing a film teeming with life and colour where the characters drive the plot. She wrote them with such care that I wanted to befriend them. I felt transported by this film. Sure, there are also some formulaic plot points in it but that almost doesn't matter in a film this vivid and lively with characters to match. These are flawed, sexy, funny women because they just are. It's not to serve a bigger goal the way it is in the cases of Angry Indian Goddesses and Pink. They don't make martyrs of themselves even though they too live under conditions that could be classified as "Big Social Problems GAHHHHHH" (I think I'm going to trademark this term).


       Basically, it's just a better film and women rule and men suck! I'm kidding of course but I do have some pretty strong feelings about all these films, evidently. They brought me out of my cocoon of laziness. I would strongly recommend Parched to everyone and you can also try Pink and Angry Indian Goddesses, the latter just to see about how terrible that final act is. Worst. Ever.


       Since I do not want this to end on such a negative note, I'd just like to say that it is always encouraging to see Indian filmmakers tell women's stories but the focus should always be on the women, on showing their varied and intricate lives because we cannot help but identify some part of ourselves with them and so it is always better to see them being more like us. 

I hope that makes some sense. 

GAHHHHHH!

PS. It's good to be back :)

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Months that were June, July, August and September + Life Update

          Hellooooo everyone! How have you been? It's been forever (or well, four months). Much has happened.

Life update: So I moved out of my house in Calcutta and I'm currently living in Noida. WOOOO ADULTING! Or well, sorta adulting 'cuz I am living in a hostel where I get my meals (pure vegetarian ones though- yuck!) and get my room cleaned once in a while. But like, baby steps. I have a roommate and a poster of Fight Club on my wall- total college experience! My post-graduation has begun. I'm learning cinema which is like woahhh! It's been slightly difficult because my college is very Bollywood oriented as most of the students here plan on working there after they've graduated. All of these years of neglecting Bollywood has come to bite me in the ass. Everyone also talks in Hindi a lot which is strange for me, and my brand of humour tends to fall flat here a bit. Oh well. C'est la vie. People are still nice though. There's a lot of casual sexism so I'm basically turning into a feminazi. In my batch of 52 people, there are only 5 girls, which is a) sad, b) weird because I just spent three years in an all-girls college. Noida itself is really boring and bland and suburban and a ghost town, especially after having lived in places like the UAE and Calcutta. I hope I move to Delhi by next semester. Oh, I've made two shorts already. The first one was absolutely goddamn awful and I've disowned it. The second one was nicer. I may link it at some point in the future when I am more secure with my own talent or whatever. So yeah. That's more or less it. College hours are insane which is why I am too tired to blog (or start blogging, whatevs) usually. I am really going to try though. Promise! OH and I'm also 23 now. Woo! This is the year, people. I'm going to meet my Jesse/Celine (personality-wise, I mean). I know it.

            Also, it's been a shitty bunch of months in regards to my movie-watching. I keep trying to take out time for it but sleep. It's the best. What to doos? I don't even remember what all TV shows I have watched in these months. There's a good chance I've missed out on some below.

Firsts:
1) Pitch Perfect 2- Not remotely as good or funny as the first. I really liked the German team though.
2) Bottle Rocket (short)- I finally started reading The Wes Anderson Collection and so I decided to watch each movie before its section in the book. This is the only one I hadn't watched before. It was fun.
3) The Second Best Marigold Hotel- Plane movie. I thought it was cute. I like these films.
4) The Lost World: Jurassic Park- What rubbish. Bleh af.
5) Jurassic World- It was fun but like why did it make so much money? Also, depressingly sexist. Also those kids were the worst. Something should have eaten them.
6) From Russia With Love- I liked how sort of low-key it was.
7) Dark Places- It was such a boring adaptation even though they put everything from the book in it.
8) Goldfinger- Funnnnn. I enjoy this kind of Bond more.
9) Don't Look Back- It was my Blind spot of some month, I don't even remember. I have been really bad with respect to the Blind spot series but I will hopefully watch and do a mini review on them soon.
10) Inside Out- How beautiful and profound and touching and brilliant. Pixar at its best.
11) Terminator: Genysis- The shit I watch for Matt Smith.
12) Far From the Madding Crowd- It was lovely and Matthias Schoenaerts is the sun *fans self*.
13) Cars 2- It was for the Pixar episode. The only film I hadn't seen so far. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would but like why would you make a movie about the Lightning McQueen's tow truck friend?
14) Ant-Man- It was fun but fuuuucccckkkk I swear on Chris Evans's perfect pecs, I have never been more attracted to a Marvel leading man before. Goddamn, Paul Rudd. Goddamn!
15) Chinatown- I had always watched it in parts but never together and good god, this is one brilliant fucking movie. I loved it!
16) The Sting- I really liked it but it's already sort of faded from my mind. I do remember how much Robert Redford looked like Brad Pitt in it though.
17) Trainwreck- It started out really fun but it sort of fizzled out towards the end, but I still really liked it. Amy Schumer is God.
18) I Love You Man- I was craving a bit more Paul Rudd. It was really fun. He's so cute.
19) About Elly- Another excellent Asghar Farhadi film. I especially liked the way this showed men "taking charge".
20) Paris in the North- My college hosted a tiny Icelandic film festival and this was one of the films they screened. I liked the way it looked but I thought it was meh otherwise.
21) Metalhead- Also part of the festival. I found it a bit dull in spite of its subject. I fell asleep in the middle.
22) Tomboy- I am trying to make a conscious effort of watching more female-directed movies and this was the first. I loved it. Beautiful.
23) Queen of Earth- Elizabeth Moss is a powerhouse. That is all. I really really liked Katherine Waterston too. That face-poking scene still haunts me.
24) Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation- My first theatre experience in Noida! I really liked it and I am in love with Rebecca Ferguson. Make her the next Bond. Please.
25) The Man from U.N.C.L.E.- It was not good but it definitely looked good. Especially the cast. Especially Cavill. Also, Elizabeth Debicki is too stunning.
26) Magic Mike XXL- Bless this film. So feminist and hot and fun. LOVE!
27) Heaven Knows What- I loved how raw yet sort of poetic it was. I don't even know how Arielle Holmes did it.
28) A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence- I loved the way it looked and how absurd it was but it really tested my sleep-deprived self's patience by the end.
29) Love & Mercy- It was really good. I especially loved Elizabeth Banks.
30) The Night Porter- It was so much tamer than I thought it would be and it just stretches on forever. But good god, Charlotte Rampling was one of the most beautiful women ever, wasn't she?
31) I Know Where I'm Going- I would call it a lesser Powell-Pressburger film because it felt so common, unlike everything else I have seen of theirs. The Scottishness was fun though.
32) American Ultra- I thought it would be so much more fun. Meh.
33) The Overnight- Now THIS was fun. And very unpredictable. I enjoyed it a lot.
34) The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- I actually liked it. It wasn't as good as the first one but it was entertaining enough.
35) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl- I just didn't love it. I couldn't even tell you why. It had a lot in it I loved but somehow the movie just didn't do it for me the way I expected it to.
36) 21 Grams- For the film club. OH BTW GUYS, did I tell you I'm in the core committee of the film club in my college? My chief aim in life currently is to get them to screen movies made by women. It will happen. Yes. Also, I loved the movie.
37) Everest- I found it a bit bland. Like it looked good and all but I didn't really care about any of the characters.


Rewatches:
1) Bottle Rocket- For the Wes Anderson Collection. I liked it more this time.
2) White Chicks- I suddenly really needed to rewatch this but it's not as funny as I remembered.
3) Rushmore- For the Collection. Still perfect.
4) The Royal Tenenbaums- I *finally* love this movie. I get it now guys. Also for the Collection.
5) The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou- For the Collection and much better this time 'round too.
6) Mad Max: Fury Road- Rewatched it twice in the theatre. Favourite movie of the year still.
8) The Hours- For Stephen Dillane. Perfect tearjerker is perfect.
9) Hotel Chevalier- I have been obsessed with "Where Do You Go To My Lovely" ever since.
10) The Darjeeling Limited- I was most excited about this section in the Collection 'cuz of the Indian setting and I wanted to see what made Wes Anderson choose it.
11) Fantastic Mr. Fox- I really think it's underrated as hell. So good.
12) Moonrise Kingdom- The last film in the collection (I bought it before The Grand Budapest Hotel was released). Lovely as always.
13) Jurassic Park- So effing great. Simple and effective and timeless.
14) Whiplash- I had to make my brother watch it.
15) Spy- Because it's hilarious.
16) Thelma and Louise- For the Road Trip episode. Best. Road. Trip. Movie. Ever.
17) Y Tu Mama Tambien- For the same episode. Sexy af.
18) The Graduate- Watched it the day I became a graduate because I am cliched like that.
19) What We Do in the Shadows- Still insanely funny.
20) The Avengers: Age of Ultron- I think it was an in-flight movie. Can't remember. I still enjoy it like hell.
21) Toy Story- For the Pixar episode (same for below). Love.
22) A Bug's Life- Really like.
23) Toy Story 2- Love + underrated.
24) Monsters Inc.- Love and all of the tears.
25) The Incredibles- Love. Especially Mrs. Incredible. She's the real hero of the story.
26) Wall-E- I loved it sooooooooo much this time.
27) Cars- Enjoyable and better than I remember.
28) Brave- Love. Especially Merida's hair.
29) The Boat that Rocked- Was showing it to my brother. It's wayyy more sexist than I remember but I still enjoy it a lot.
30) Toy Story 3- Love. All of my creys.
31) Up- That first 10 minutes, man.
32) Monsters University- Also underrated.
33) The Deep- It was screened in the Icelandic Film Festival. I really liked it this time.
34) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist- Started my 23rd birthday with it. It was a great idea.
35) The Dreamers- Ugh this film. Too beautiful with too many beautiful people.
36) Cinema Paradiso- First film screening of the film club. That ending #neverendingtears
37) Amores Perros- Film club. The third story isn't the greatest.
38) Marie Antoinette- I felt like rewatching it. It's so beautiful and great.
39) Pushpak- Watched it in class. It's quite good, although I did fall asleep a little bit in the middle.


TV shows: (I'm just giving a brief overview of what I thought and not the extra stuff because of the number of shows)
1) Hannibal, season 3- Oh Hannibal, you were too beautiful to live in this world/our television screens. It's one of my favourite shows of all time and I was very, very sad to see it go but god did it end incredibly! Obviously, a part of me hopes it's not the end but the ride was glorious nonetheless. I will almost definitely write more on it when I make my end-of-the-year lists.
2) Game of Thrones, season 5- This was a more problematic season but it had its moments. Season 5 will go down as the season I finally started rooting for Jon Snow only to *SPOILER ALERT THOUGH LET'S BE HONEST YOU ALL KIND OF ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THIS* watch him be repeatedly stabbed and left for dead in the end *END SPOILERS*.
3) Twin Peaks, season 1- I really, really like it. Not everything works for me (I'm looking at you James-Donna, Big Ed and his woman problems), but what does, really, truly does.
4) Orange is the New Black, season 3- I thought it was the best season so far. I love how much it focused on everyone, even the smaller characters. The ending was great. Special shout out to how hot Ruby Rose is.
5) Penny Dreadful, season 2- What a fantastic season! I don't know what I loved the most- Vanessa and Ethan's romance, a proper formidable villain played by the excellent Helen McRory or the character arc of Brona/Lily played by the most surprising Billie Piper.
6) True Detective, season 2- Well, everything can't be great, can it? I mean, it wasn't totally terrible thanks to Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams but it really was a pretty tedious season except for those annoyingly enticing cliffhangers.
7) Inside Amy Schumer, season 3- SO. GOOD. I highly doubt any episode this year is going to beat "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer" for me simply because it is one of the greatest television episodes I have ever seen and I am going to make it my personal funny feminazi Bible.
8) Mr. Robot, season 1- It was such a surprisingly good show. I especially love the way it looks and its title card. Rami Malek is unsettling and fascinating.
9) Silicon Valley, seasons 1-2- I like it a lot and its sort of understated comedy. It's very clever.
10) Orphan Black, season 3- I think the show became really good this season again. Tatiana Maslany is God (okay, yes I did write that Amy Schumer was God before but Maslany could actually be playing Schumer for all I know. Think about it).
11) Queer as Folk, series 1-2- Holy fucking cow, this show! Aidan Gillen! I mean WHAAAAAAAAAAT?!! I loved it and him and how hot and fun everything was. Also, I can never look at Littlefinger the same way again.
12) You're the Worst, season 1- You all know how much I love romcoms and how much I love things that play with the romcom genre even more. So yeah, I adored this. Horrible people in love- yay!
13) Agent Carter, season 1- Rewatched it because Peggy is the greatest.
14) Broad City, seasons 1-2- Well, I continuously rewatch episodes from this. I've lost count how many times I've done that.


Books:
1) The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoler Seitz- Oh this book is lovely. I really enjoyed reading it and I love looking at all the pictures. It makes me feel like a little kid :)
2) V for Vendetta by Alan Moore- Really great. I need to read more graphic novels (and like novels in general).
3) Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick- My brother had bought this book for me ages ago but I *had* to read it after I heard that Todd Haynes is adapting it. It's beautiful and poignant.
4) The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry- Oh he's such a fun writer. The way he forms sentences- god, I wish I was that clever! Also, this book had the most detailed description of bestiality I have ever read (also the only description of bestiality I have ever read). Wowsers.
5) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins- I read it while I was on a train :P It was good but the book has been over-hyped.


Final tally:
                                     Firsts-120                                             Rewatched- 75
                                                                    Total- 195


And I'm done! Phew! I am determined not to let another four months go by without any posts. I don't think I will post a lot but I do miss blogging a lot so I want to come back to it.


Monday, 15 June 2015

The Month that was May

          Sorry for being so late again, guys. This month has been a hectic/anxiety-inducing/avoiding any type of work kind of month so far. I've finally chosen where I'm going to do my masters. It's in a place called Noida which is near New Delhi. I'll be living on my own for the first time in my life- it's really exciting and scary. I don't know what's going to happen to the blog when college starts. We'll see when the time comes, I guess.

          Anyway, May was a fairly good month in terms of movies and books. Not *as* much TV because I took a vow to give it up for two weeks if my flight from Delhi which was experiencing loads of turbulence would stop shaking so fucking much... and it did. Honestly though, I just wanted to see if I could do it. The number of TV shows below appears large but they were shows I was following weekly. No binging apart from Mad Men. This gave me time to read more, although I hardly read anymore so it's still not that much. Also, I caught up on some older movies that I had been meaning to watch for a long time but had been putting off to watch more recent stuff/TV.

Firsts:
1) While We're Young- It was funny but it's probably my least favourite Noah Baumbach film I saw.
2) Wake Up Sid- It's been on my watchlist for the longest time. I quite liked it. Konkana Sen Sharma is so pretty.
3) Ex Machina- It's my favourite film of the year so far. It's really smart, and the kind whose brilliance dawns on you after you think about it. I loved its gender commentary and subversion. It's gorgeous to look at and fantastically acted and goddamn, that dancing scene!
4) Piku- It was very sweet although I did think that constipation as a theme was pretty weird. Irrfan Khan is so attractive.
5) Slow West- I liked it although I think you need to be familiar with/actually like the western genre to understand what it does differently, and I don't qualify for either of that so I don't really get the acclaim apart from how stunning it looked. Plus, Fassy in long-johns *adds infinite points to rating*
6) Mad Max: Fury Road- Excellent. Amazing. Gorgeous. Everything everyone said about it was spot on. Second favourite of the year currently.
7) Girlhood- Joining the ranks of all the people who said this is better than Boyhood. I especially loved the "Diamonds" scene (and I've been listening to that song non-stop ever since).
8) Fire- Super late blind spot. Pretty good, weird tantric porn music in the sex scenes notwithstanding, of course.
9) All That Jazz- Blind spot- Quite brilliant, especially Roy Schneider's performance.
10) The Age of Adaline- I watched it for the insanely hot Michiel Huisman and in that regard, I wasn't disappointed. Everything else in the movie is meh.
11) The Verdict- I read "Making Movies" so I thought I should watch a Sidney Lumet film after that.
12) Million Dollar Baby- I really expected to hate it but it was fine. I really did not like the score though.
13) Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!- Stockholm syndrome brought to you by Technicolor! I liked it :P
14) A Prophet- After Jacques Audiard won the Palme d'Or for Dheepan, I had to check this out and lo and behold, I absolutely LOVED it! So, so good.
15) Spartacus- It was good but god, it went on forever.
16) Safe- Getting ready for Carol. It was terrifying and incredible.
17) Tomorrowland- Don't get the hate for it. I thought it was lovely and uplifting and beautiful to look at.
18) Alphaville- The story was interesting but god, the voice of Alpha 60 was painful.
19) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof- I really thought I had watched it but apparently not. I was surprised at how sexy it was. I prefer the play slightly more but good lord, how attractive were Liz Taylor and Paul Newman?!
20) Killer's Kiss- So I thought that I have finally finished Kubrick's filmography with this but turns out there's another feature he made before it. Anyhoo, I quite liked it. The acting wasn't the greatest but it was shot really well and the kisses were indeed great.
21) Results- It started out well but I think it lost its way in the middle. Guy Pearce is so fit in it.
22) Kramer vs Kramer- I'm also consciously trying to slowly make my way through the Best Picture Oscar winners. I thought this was great and very affecting.
23) La Jetée- Fantastic. Never seen anything like it but I absolutely loved it.
24) Much Ado About Nothing- Very fun especially because of Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. Although, dafuq Keanu Reeves?


Rewatched:
1) Black Swan- My friend went a little nuts over Vincent Cassel and that rubbed off on me so I *obviously* had to rewatch this.
2) The Avengers: Age of Ultron- Better the second time 'round imo. The excitement has settled down and one can focus on the script better.
3) Kingsman: The Secret Service- Fun! Fun! Fun!
4) Spring Breakers- I made my Lambcast debut! Woo hoo! Love this film.
5) The Usual Suspects- I'm also trying to rewatch old favourites that I've only watched once. The movie is as excellent as I remember.


TV shows: (skipping quotes because of the number of shows)
1)Parks and Recreation, season 7- Like the fucking idiot I am, I forgot to include this in my last monthly round-up. I love this show, forever and always. It was an excellent season with beautiful and hilarious episodes and great acting all around. I can't choose an MVP because all these characters were so special. My favourite episode, if I had to choose one, was probably "Ron and Leslie" because I loved the emphasis on the friendship of these two wonderful characters.
2) Mad Men, season 6 and 7- AAAAAA I finished watching the episodes just in time! I saw the last two episodes ever of this show with everyone else and it was awesome. I just wish I had started the show sooner. Again, it's difficult to choose a favourite season 7 episode because of the way I watched the show but it's probably "The Strategy" because of the Don and Peggy dance. Uhh MVP is hrd as well. I love Peggy, Sally, Roger, Joan and Meredith but everyone's acting is excellent. I suppose Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss and January Jones gave my favourite performances over all.
3) Brooklyn Nine-Nine, season 2- It had a lot of breaks so I am not sure whether this season was better than the last but I loved it all the same. a) Favourite episode- One image from this season that has forever been burned in my mind in the room with all the dolls. So I guess "The Road Trip" wins this title. I liked Sophia. b) MVP- Everyone in the main cast is great but I'm going to choose Kyra Sedgwick's Madeline Wunch. She's such a worthy opponent to Captain Holt.
4) Outlander, season 1- I LOVE this show. It's become one of my favourite shows of all time already. I love the characters and the central love story and how the female lead is placed up and centre of it all. a) Favourite episode- Well, "The Wedding" topped my favourite episodes list of last year. It's still probably my favourite but one also has to mention the most brutal episode of television I have ever seen, the season finale "To Ransom A Man's Soul" which is the flip side to "The Wedding" in regards to the way sex and intimacy is dealt in both. b) MVP- Both Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies are excellent but Caitriona Balfe's Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is the show's heart and soul. Even in the last two episodes where the men have more memorable scenes, Balfe manages to equal them through her own subtlety.
5) Jane the Virgin, season 1- This has become one of my favourite shows of all time as well. I can't choose a favourite episode. I know I chose the first one in my year-end list but that's only because it needed to be represented. Every episode is great in its own way. I love all the actors, the Latin Lover Narrator, the visuals, the music, the telenovela elements mixed with the real emotional relationships in the show- ugh, everything is beautiful. Though I must give a special shout out to Jamie Camil who plays Rogelio, a character that would have been a caricature in lesser hands, and Anthony Mendez whose Latin Lover Narrator is a character in his own rights, the show would be nothing without the absolutely lovely and luminescent Gina Rodriguez. Her comic timing is matched by her ability to find new emotional depths in the crazy life that her character leads, and her chemistry with each and every actor on the show is top-notch. She can and she did, you guys.
6) The Flash, season 1- Heyyy this was fun! I don't love it as much as Agent Carter or Daredevil but I like the actors and the characters and the visuals are pretty good too. a) Favourite episode- "Out of Time". Just like, SO much happens! It's probably the most excited I was all season. b) MVP- Grant Gustin's Barry Allen is adorable but I have a soft spot for Tom Cavanagh's Harrison Wells. He's so deliciously evil. Love supervillains.
7) New Girl, season 4- This was a weird but a pretty good season. I liked that everyone was friends this season again. Much like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, this had wayyy too many breaks for me to judge it properly. a) Favourite episode- "Clean Break". It's a great episode but it would be here on the basis of that proposal alone. DAWWWW! b) MVP- I think this was a pretty good season for Damon Wayans' Coach. He will be missed.


Books:
1) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides- I thought the ending was rushed but I loved everything else about it. It's so fantastically written.
2) Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn- Ooo this one was scary. I love the way Flynn's mind works. Also, I don't know how she imagines such awful women but it's fascinating.
3) Making Movies by Sidney Lumet- I have had this book for about two years now and I was done with hating myself for not reading it already. It's really good and informative and I have a lot of stuff underlined for hopefully the future.
4) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams- I was getting desperate to catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge (which is only 30. Please don't judge) so I decided to read the thinnest books I own. I know it's a play but I own it as a book so... :P I really liked it.
5) The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde- Trivial but so much fun!
6) Incest by Marquis de Sade- It was intriguing but I could have done without all the judgment throughout the book. Let me judge on my own! I know incest is bad ffs!


Final tally:
                                                          Firsts- 83                                                Rewatched-: 36
                                                                                          Total- 119        


      And that's it. No promises for what's to come this month :(

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Thoughts

1) Hi guys? Wassup blah blah blah, cutting right to the chase here- TILDA SWINTON JUST JOINED THE DOCTOR STRANGE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And this is the movie which has Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead. This is already the most alien-looking cast of all time. Swinton is going to play, get this, a Tibetan mystic called the Ancient One who mentors Strange (is that his real name?). I mean, duh! Also, it seems that this character was male in the comic but like why would you cast some man when you can get Tilda? I knew there was a reason I loved MCU. Now all I really, really, *really* need is for Loki to somehow find his way into this film.

2) Video- I didn't get to watch this until today and I actually cried laughing. I am starting to really like Kit Harrington, the weirdo sketch dude, now.
Everyone is great in it but I especially loved Harrington, Leslie, Rheon and Clarke. And, man, does Peter Dinklage have charisma!

3) Trailers- The Crimson Peak trailer nearly killed me. This film is going to be so fucking awesome. And goodness gracious, Hiddles in THAT scene *fans herself*. The Point Break remake looks sooo meh. The main guy is even more expressionless than Keanu Reeves (who seriously works his expressionless-ness). Also, why anyone would remake Point Break when Hot Fuzz exists is beyond me. I got teary-eyed just watching Diary of a Teenage Girl. I just know that I will love it. The End of the Tour looks pretty good too. I haven't read any of David Foster Wallace's books but I aim to before watching the movie. Love the cast. Speaking of, I thought the Steve Jobs trailer was fairly decent and I don't know how but I missed the announcement that Kate Winslet is in it. It feels like forever since I've seen her in anything. Pan looks pretty. That's it, really. All I could think of during The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials trailer was how Aiden Gillen has transformed into Littlefinger and he seems to be that character in everything he does. But also, heyyyyy Dylan O'Brien! Missed you and your incredible arms #objectifyallmen. I am dying to watch Macbeth now and its clips are just fueling that fire. God, this movie is going to be amazeballs. Cooties looks hilarious. I generally don't like it when kids die in movies but hey, zombie children sound terrifying. The A Very Murray Christmas trailer has a lot of Bill Murray in it so that's, um, fair. Are you guys watching the Hannibal teasers? This is only one of them but I love all the happy music they're playing in them. I so can't wait for that show. Finally, Scream Queens kind of makes me think of Drop Dead Gorgeous and I love that. Emma Roberts can play such a great, posh bitch.

4) Finally, someone needs to release footage of the interactions between these two, in a non-creepy way of course-
And to put this into perspective-
Now I want both of them to make a movie together. Not just that, seeing how much Dolan hung out with Sienna Miller during the festival, I want him to meet Tom Sturridge (Miller's baby-daddy and my 16 year old-self's dream man) and put him in his movies because Sturridge is practically custom-made to be in them.

      Yes, this was random. I honestly didn't care for any other news items that much. Okay byeeeeeeeeeeeee!