Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Months that were May, June, July and August

       Hello again peoples! Seeing how I haven't blogged in about three months and I haven't blogged properly in like forever, a post of this size was obviously on its way. Um, due to my never-ending exams and my laptop breaking, I have not been the tidiest in keeping track of all the movies and TV shows I have watched these past four months so in this post I'm just going to list down all the stuff that I've watched that I remember about and as for the things that have slipped out of my teeny tiny brain, well, sucks for them. They must not have been that good to begin with *tosses hair back sassily*

Firsts:

1) The Double- So weird and cool. My favourite looking movie of the year so far.
2) Not Another Happy Ending- Super cliched and not all that great. Karen Gillan is adorbs though.
3) The Amazing Spider-Man 2- My god, this list is old! Anyways, I actually somewhat liked this one. They fixed a lot of problems from the first movie and Emma Stone is just such a treasure.
4) The Host (2006)- For the podcast's Monster Movies episode. Loved it.
5) The Blob- For the podcast. Hello there, Steve McQueen.
6) Cat People- Podcast. I was a little bored but it was a pretty cool movie.
7) Tom at the Farm- The least Xavier Dolan-y of all the Xavier Dolan movies I have seen but that's not a bad thing. This dude is such a genius with atmosphere and music, it's insane. Really interesting and creepy.
8) The Secret in their Eyes- Kind of fantastic. Wonder how the remake will fare.
9) Godzilla- The people sucked but that's alright because the monsters were awesome! Such a cool concept with the slow reveal and the atmospheric tone.
10) X-Men: Days of Future Past- I loved it! I was so pleasantly surprised at how cleverly they handled so many friggin' characters. Plus, Quicksilver!!
11) Do the Right Thing- Loud but powerful.
12) Non-Stop- So stupid. So, so, sooo stoopid!
13) Wet Hot American Summer- Speaking of, dafuq was this? Why is it so famous? And bahahahaha Bradley Cooper :')
14) Oculus- It started out well but god, that ending was depressing. Also, way too convoluted.
15) The Grand Budapest Hotel- First Wes Anderson movie in theatres! It's so pretty and delightful. It was also the first Wes Anderson film I cried in. I hope Ralph Fiennes gets an Oscar nomination for it.
16) M- Blindspot for June. I really liked it. 
17) Ping Pong Summer- I thought it was adorbs. 80s might really be my decade.
18) A Million Ways to Die in the West- I liked it. It was exactly the kind of stupid humour I needed during my exams, although I will say that there were a little too many poop and fart jokes.
19) The Wind Rises- So beautiful. I shall miss Studio Ghibli movies.
20) The Raid 2: Berandal- The second half of the film is absolutely brilliant but the first movie is still better.
21) Neighbours- SO funny! Bless Rose Byrne.
22) Happy Christmas- It was very simple and sweet. Nothing amazing but it puts you in a nice mood.
23) They Came Together- It was perhaps trying to be too clever but I did like it, mostly because of Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd.
24) Chef- Do not watch it on an empty stomach! It was a feel good and a feel hungry movie.
25) We Are the Best!- My favourite movie of the year so far and one that might actually remain at the top spot at the end of the year. So cute and funny and endearing and awesome! #hatesports4eva
26) Cliffhanger- For our Dumb Action Movies episode, and it was indeed v. dumb and v. actiony.
27) The Fault in Our Stars- The first half was so funny but it kind of falters from then on. Shailene Woodley, Nat Wolff and Laura Dern were perfect but Ansel Elgort's face just annoys me to no end.
28) Locke- SO GOOD! Very unexpectedly engaging and thought-provoking. I need Tom Hardy to read out all my books for ever.
29) Calvary- Absolutely loved this one too. I love the McDonagh brothers' humour and this film is no different. It's very dark and it tackles some huge religion problems but my god, it delivers! The cast is amazing too.
30) Animal Kingdom- I don't know what I was expecting but this certainly wasn't it. I liked the film more on retrospect than while watching it.
31) Another Earth- Kinda on the same boat with this one. The opening is damn cool and god, I love Brit Marling's voice.
32) Life Itself- So. Much. Crying. Really beautiful movie.
33) Life After Beth- My least-liked movie of the year yet. Dane DeHaan plays an asshole who remains an asshole till the end. Not good.
34) Ida- Even though this film was about 80 minutes, it went on for forever! I did appreciate it though. It looked stunning as well.
35) 22 Jump Street- Hilarious. That ending alone was worth the ticket price.
36) Lucy- I wish its tagline read "Drugs Make You Smart!" because that's what the film showed. It was unintentionally hilarious and super trippy.
37) Guardians Of The Galaxy- Fuckloads of fun and such great characters and oh so pretty and colourful. More of this kind of movies, please.
38) Belle- I liked the movie quite a bit. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is stunning
39) Happy Together- I watched it on occasion of Wong Kar-Wai's birthday who has really become one of my most favourite filmmakers. I did not expect this film from him or Tony Leung at all and I was really pleasantly surprised. Gorgeous as always.
40) Blue Ruin- It was a bit slow for my taste. I feel like I needed to be in a different state of mind to truly appreciate this. I wasn't :/
41) Under the Skin- For the podcast. I thought I would hate it but I kinda loved it. So weird and unforgettable. ScarJo and the score were the stars.
42) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes- I thought it was excellent. The story, the cinematography and the effects were amazing, and of course, Andy Serkis is a god.
43) Starred Up- So raw and unflinching. Great performances by Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn 
44) The Immigrant- Again, not the film I was expecting. It was kind of a dirty movie but in a beautiful garb. One of the best last shots I have ever seen.
45) Camp Takota- So I went a bit Youtube crazy in the last couple of months and this has three of my favourite Youtubers. In that sense, it is good. Otherwise, it's a bit cliched and some parts were a tad cringeworthy.
46) Sightseers- In preparation for Ben Wheatley's Doctor Who debut. I wasn't able to see more of his stuff but I really liked this one. So funny and dark. My kind of humour :)
47) Frank- Incredibly original and sweet and sad. Maggie Gyllenhaal for all the awards!
48) Boyhood- So difficult to judge something like this in normal movie terms. I just hope Linklater has more ideas like this up his sleeve.
49) To Have and Have Not- RIP Lauren Bacall. What a legend. Gorgeous.
50) Good Morning, Vietnam- For our Robin Williams tribute episode. Quite fun but half of the pop culture references went over my head, soz :/
51) The Fisher King- Podcast. I was v. pleasantly surprised with this one. Quite magical in its own way.
52) Maleficent- It was a bit bleh but I did love it every time Angelina Jolie smiled and all of her scenes with baby Aurora.
53) Easy Rider- Blind spot for July. This one was a struggle to get through.
54) The One I Love- Really amazing for 3/4ths of its running time and then it goes too science-fiction-y and I found that pretty unnecessary.
55) Grand Hotel- Blind spot for August. It was good and Joan Crawford is the one I love.


Rewatched:

1) Mean Girls- I think this was for Mean Girls Day. Or not. As if I need a reason to rewatch this masterpiece.
2) Edward Scissorhands- You had so much promise, Johnny Depp! WHY?!!!!!!
3) Thirst- For the Matineecast. I got to be less tense and enjoy it more this time 'round.
4) Sid and Nancy- For the Matineecast as well. God, Sid and Nancy were young :S
5) Only Lovers Left Alive- The Matineecast yet again. Still fucking cool.
6) Pride & Prejudice- I may love it more than the text. A brilliant romcom.
7) The Lego Movie- It was my in-flight movie. Still fucking awesome.
8) Sense and Sensibility- I was in an Austen kinda mood.
9) Clueless- Like I said.
10) Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels- I forgot how brilliant this film was. That score alone is to die for.
11) X-Men: DoFP- McBender 2 times :D
12) True Lies- For the Dumb Action movie episode. This one was my choice. Man, that Jamie Lee Curtis-machine gun scene is still genius!
13) Air Force One- Podcast. Harrison Ford in this is my favourite movie president :P
14) The Grand Budapest Hotel- Yep, I loved it alright.
15) Queen- It was coming on TV. Still one of the best films of the year.
16) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1- I seriously love this installment. My second favourite of the Potter films. So stunning.
17) The Lego Movie- I bought the DVD. It's just soooooo awesome, ya know?
18) Fight Club- For my birthday, as I wrote here.
19) Dead Poets Society- Podcast. This is a great movie. That's all.


TV Shows-

1) The Fall, season 1- Jamie Dornan, you gorgeous fucker. As if I don't doubt my mental stability enough, here we have ANOTHER super hot serial killer! Although, props to the show because he's matched by an equally adept and very refreshingly unusual "good guy" played by the amazing Gillian Anderson. I really liked the show even though it disturbed me in many ways. I even rewatched it but only the Dornan-Anderson bits. Can't wait for season 2.
2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seasons 3-5- Season 3 and 5 *might* be my favourites, mostly because of the villains and I do mean Faith for the former. Season 4 was a bit meh, thanks to Riley and the worst villain ever, Adam (ew). There were some pretty incredible episodes. "The Body" is easily one of the best hours of television I have ever seen. I love this show and I kind of took a break from it mid-6th season because I was getting too obsessed but I'll restart v. soon.
3) Fargo, season 1- Holy shit, this show is brilliant! I love it to bits. So funny and dark and just surprising at so many levels. Just look at the character of Lorne Malvo who is completely and deliciously unpredictable. Billy Bob Thornton has done a fantastic job with him, and same goes for other actors in it like Martin Freeman who REALLY surprised me with how wormy (that's the only word I can think of to describe Lester) he can be, Allison Tolman who gave us a true TV hero after what seems like forever and Bob Odenkirk who's so lovely.
4) Game of Thrones, season 4- Again, WOW this post is late! Remember when this happened? I liked this season. For what feels like the first time ever, more evil-er characters died including the spawn of the devil himself. Hurrah! a) Favourite episode- "Mockingbird" 'cuz not only did it have one of the best scenes in the whole series between Oberyn and Tyrion, it also had hot Daario stripping while Khaleesi sips wine and watches the beautiful, beautiful show. #PoorJorah b) MVP- As much as I have enjoyed watching Sophie Turner turn Sansa into a true player and Jack Gleeson create a character who embodies hate itself, this season belonged to Pedro Pascal's Oberyn Martell. The Red Viper himself, he's sexy, sassy, complex, heroic and hilarious, and Pascal just acted the hell out of this part. So good. c) Favourite quote- This one is for Sati. I don't remember it in the show itself but reading it now, I quite like the idea it embodies.
Stannis: "I will not become a page in someone else's history book."

5) Veep, season 3- Starting this show has been one of my smartest decisions this year. Loved this season. I love where they're taking it and I love everyone in it and I love all the insults! FUCKING BLESS THIS SHOW! a) Favourite episode- "Debate" for Selena's haircut, Dan's transformation and "holes". b) MVP- I have a soft spot for Timothy Simons' Jonah. He's such a stubborn loser. Him reading Dan's medical chart is one of the funniest scenes of the season. c) Favourite quote- This show has too many amazing quotes but I laughed the hardest at this.
Mike: "Siri, why does God allow suffering?"

6) The Originals, season 1- Wayyy better than The Vampire Diaries although it does meander quite a bit. I quite enjoy all the politics and backstabbing in this. a) Favourite episode- "From a Cradle to a Grave" because it had all the best elements of Julie Plec's twisty plots but with a very lovely emotional core. b) MVP- Joseph Morgan's Klaus is still a very complicated character and I've been a fan of his since TVD. (no quotes for this one, soz.)

7) Orange is the New Black, season 2- I feel that this season went into more conventional directions and wasn't as mindblowing as the first. Still, it is one of the best shows on TV right now and I love it. a) Favourite episode- "A Whole Another Hole" if for nothing else other than Morello's heartbreaking backstory. But it also has the "hole" situation, Big Boo and Nicky trying to fuck Soso and Poussey and Taystee being lovely. b) MVP- I'm going to say it here and now: no TV performance (and maybe in movies as well) I'm going to see this year is going to beat Lorraine Toussaint's as the diabolical and endlessly fascinating Vee. She OWNED the screen every time she was there. If she was in Game of Thrones, she would be sitting on that Iron Throne. So much control but gosh, it is terrifying! c) Favourite quote- This quote is hilarious and also comments on women's issues with this world, which is what the show gets so right most of the time.
Piper: "He's a hitman? Oh, I thought he was a rapist. I'm so relieved."

8) True Blood, season 7- And that's the way this show ended, not with a bang but with a gooey fucking mess. Aww man, this has been a difficult show to stay faithful to. Thank god for characters like Jessica, Lafayette, Jason and of course, Pam and Eric. a) Favourite episode- "Death is Not the End" for 80s and 90s Eric and Pam. If only the whole show was about them. b) MVP- Fuck this, I'm going to choose Tara Buck's Ginger. Bless her screaming and her wanting to bang Eric from the moment she first saw him to her actually banging Eric which reminded me of why I never gave up on True Blood because what other show can show a scene like that? Beautiful. You go, Ginger! c) Favourite quote- I'm allowed two because we'll never get this chance again.
Pam: "It's like being kicked in the cooch by a wallaby isn't it?
Just because of the imagination put into this.

Ginger: "Eric Northman is nothing if he is not pure fucking sex on a throne."
'Cuz #FACT


Final tally:
                                                                    Firsts- 141                           Rewatched- 43
                                                                                          Total-184


          Phew, it's over! We got through this together, you guys! I don't know what is going to happen in September. I really want to write some posts but final year is hectic as hell and I can't make any promises right now.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Mini Reviews- Blind Spot edition


Since I was unable to write my Blind Spot entries for June and July, I've decided to club them together with August's entry (in a post that got published in September- yaay I know months!). As these are mini reviews, I won't be going into great detail about these three films which is a good thing because I don't have a lot to say about the them except that though 2 out of 3 of these are among my least favourite Blind spot entries so far, all of them are monuments in the history of cinema and here's my take on them-


June- M (Dir: Fritz Lang, 1931)


Basic plot- Berlin is terrorized by a serial killer who targets children and soon the whole town is out to get him. Their only clue is that he whistles a particular tune and that helps them in nabbing the culprit.

          I am super glad that this is a mini-review because I saw M before my exams, aka the time before my brains melted away forever, and I actually don't remember many things about it. I seem to recollect that I had expected this to be a silent movie because the only other Lang movie I have seen is Metropolis and, my god, this is not a silent movie. On the contrary, it becomes v. loud towards the end but it works in the context of the movie and the angered masses it shows. I had also thought that this was going to be a fairly simple murder mystery because we all know about the whole 'putting the mark on the murderer' part but I was not expecting such a thorough look into criminal investigation practices. It kind of reminded me of Se7en in that way and that was utterly fascinating, especially seeing how it is set in the 1930s. I also liked how both sides of the law hunt down this man and the kind of questions about accepted morality it asks. We see how one criminal judges another and it also explores the difference between being mad and being evil.

         Peter Lorre played the killer, which was his first major starring role, and he's presents us with an interesting sort of villain. He seems sad, pathetic and unhinged all at the same time. He invokes our sympathy but at the same time, he is reprehensible. I also liked the look of the movie and how it doesn't show any of the murders taking place, again drawing parallels with Se7en. I also remember liking the way sound is used, from the afore-mentioned whistling to the narration to the silences.

         I really liked M. It's perhaps less brilliant than Metropolis but it has made a huge impact on both popular culture and cinema. I will hopefully rewatch it in the near future because I feel like I haven't done justice to it.



July- Easy Rider (Dir: Dennis Hopper, 1969)

Basic plot- Two bikers travel across the American Southwest exploring 60s counterculture.

          Uhhhh I was really not into this movie. Looking at its Wikipedia page, I realise that I might have missed out some of the actual plot details in the film because I was super distracted throughout most of its running time. I only got into it once Jack Nicholson came along because of the energy he brought to it. It is quite an experimental film and it sort of meanders from one place to another as our protagonists, Wyatt, played by Peter Fonda, and Billy, played by Dennis Hopper, encounter hippies, farmers, drunks, prostitutes, drug dealers and the "conventional folk". The theme of the story is simply put the lost American dream that these two men try to find, with their free spirits, their stars-and-stripes bikes and clothes, their outlaw roots and so on. Wyatt's Captain America bike and what happens to it in particular symbolize this.

         Though I seem to be dismissive of the film, it must have clearly been one helluva departure from mainstream cinema when it came out. The bad drug trip scene is still pretty remarkable. Actual drugs were taken in many of the scenes which is as astounding a fact today as it must have been then. It has also probably captured the culture of late 60s better than most films of the time and after.

          My favourite thing about Easy Rider was its soundtrack and it is even cooler to think that many of the songs had probably never been used in any other films before. I also really liked the ending in hindsight although it seemed kind of pointless upon initial viewing.

        In terms of acting, I thought Fonda and Hopper were believable enough though my favourite performance was by Nicholson. As I wrote above, he brought a momentum in the film that I felt was lacking before.

        So yes, even though Easy Rider is my least liked Blind spot entry so far, one can't deny its impact, its portrayal of a particular segment of contemporary America and the risks it took. I don't think any road trip movie that has been made after it has been free from its influence.



August- Grand Hotel (Dir: Edmund Goulding, 1932)

Basic plot- The film follows a group of individuals that go in and out of the Berlin Grand Hotel, mainly the dashing but suspicious Baron von Geigern, the depressed ballerina Grusinskaya, the dying accountant Kringelein, the shady industrialist Preysing and his beautiful and quick stenographer Flaemmchen. We see their encounters with each other and how over a couple of days all of their lives change.

           Grand Hotel has been immortalized as the only Best Film Oscar winner without it or anyone involved with it being nominated in other categories. What this says is that the film is better than the sum of its parts and I will have to agree with that except for perhaps one actor's performance. On their own, many elements seemed exaggerated, whether it was Lionel Barrymore's Kringelein who seemed too happy and too sad at the same time or Greta Garbo's Grusinskaya with her melodramatic gestures, or of course, the all-too-quick love story which is one of things about old Hollywood movies that always irks me. I will say though that the dialogue and just the way those romantic scenes are shot make it almost believable.

         I did like the way the various characters' lives are interwoven in the film and though we see a lot of this nowadays, Grand Hotel was one of the first films to really capture that. It's kind of a slice of life represented on screen which is what I think one of the film's most famous lines "Grand Hotel. Always the same. People come. People go. Nothing ever happens" alludes to because though a lot does happen in it, that's just how it is in real life. For some, everything changes, for others, everything remains the same.

            My favourite thing about movie was Joan Crawford. I've only ever seen her in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and she's very different here. There's so much vitality and attraction in her. Her character Flaem is very likeable and I was mesmerised in every scene she was in. She's as good in the happy, flirty scenes as she is when she's hurt and sad but strong nonetheless. I'm a little bit in love with Joan Crawford after this.

           I did like Grand Hotel but it's not really left a mark on me except wanting to watch all Joan Crawford movies ever.


So that's it. I'm sorry for being so tardy everyone. I will be better next time, I swear on Joan Crawford's huge, gorgeous eyes ;-)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Six Degrees of Separation Blogathon


       The latest blogathon by Nostra of My Filmviews has us linking two actors/directors/movies in a maximum of six steps as per the rules of the Six Degrees of Separation theory. I was tagged by my fellow chick with accent, Sofia from Film Flare who challenged me to link Elle Fanning to Rita Hayworth.



      Now the thing is that I have only watched one Hayworth movie in my life which is obviously Gilda. Therefore, my knowledge of her body of work is v. limited and I didn't want to resort to this being a purely IMDb-based answer, so I *may* be cheating here but it's just so much more interesting like this-


Elle Fanning worked with Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Brad Pitt co-starred with Morgan Freeman in Se7en


Morgan Freeman presents Tim Robbins with Rita Hayworth in The Shawshank Redemption

       Taa daa!

       I now pass the baton on to Getter Trumsi of Mettel Ray and I challenge her to link Rita Hayworth to Ewan McGregor simply because I love him and he's the greatest :)



Monday, 25 August 2014

So I saw Fight Club with my little brother on my 22nd Birthday...


..and it was his first time ever watching it. This is his 10 word review for it:
"So good. So good. So good. So good. So good."
Yeah, so I guess he's not adopted after all :P

And I'm 22 now. Yaay. Okaybye.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Guess who's back, back again?

Why, me of course! 
Sorry for extending my hiatus an extra month! My laptop broke, my exams took forever to finish, my last year of college is fucking grueling AND I was sick! I know what's you are thinking- ALL OF THE EXCUSES, NIKHAT!! But they're true, pinky promise!
But anywho, I am totes back and I will blog loads and and oh oh, guess WHO else is back?



EEEE fun times ahead!
Thanks for sticking with me guys :* :*

Sunday, 1 June 2014

May Blind Spot- Do the Right Thing

        Once again, I have ended up choosing a rather important film that talks about a lot of crucial social issues. Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing is a film about racial tension which is presented to us in a vibrant, pop-culture filled package that just explodes at the end. It's not a film that I loved but I certainly appreciated it for what it was and what it was trying to say.




        The film takes place chiefly over one really, really hot summer day in a neighbourhood in Brooklyn. The neighbourhood mostly has African-American residents with the exception of Sal's Famous Pizzeria, which is run by Sal and his two sons, who are all Italian-Americans, and a grocery store run by a Korean family. Mookie is a young man who works at Sal's and is the link between them and the neighbourhood, which is full of colourful characters from the three 'Corner Men' to an elderly drunk called Da Mayor and from the "Fight The Power"-loving Radio Raheem to a mentally-challenged man called Smiley who goes around trying to sell pictures of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. We follow these characters around throughout the day and the simmering racial conflict between them that is heightened due to the heat, all leading to a final and brutal confrontation.



         As I wrote above, this is not a film that I loved. The biggest reason for that was because I found it to be too loud. From the way people talked to the music to the colours to the camera angles- it was occasionally jarring for me while watching it. But this is also a plus for the movie and why I appreciated it more after watching it because all of these do serve a purpose in the progression of the story. It is a very rich film of course. The myriad characters are all established slowly and completely. No one is one-dimensional and everyone is very human. There are no villains or saints in it. Even Da Mayor who more or less functions like the voice of reason is a man with flaws. Same goes for the aimless but affable Mookie who "does the right thing" at the end but that too isn't something simple. 

          It's a complicated, political movie that made me realise how sheltered my life has been so far. Don't get me wrong, India is a country full of varied cultures and traditions and people but at the same time, all of us do have a thread that binds us. I have been lucky enough to never have witnessed any serious regional or religious disputes that do take place here and even when I lived in the UAE, I was mostly around fellow Indians. Also though I am part of a minority group in India, I have never really experienced any blatant discrimination. I say all this because I had to really try to empathise with the characters and their actions in the film. I don't know how much that affected my viewing of the film but it was enough for me to mull it over a number of days.



           The acting in this film isn't its strong suit. Apart from Danny Aiello who rightly got nominated for an Oscar for his performance, none of the actors were really that great. I will say though, Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the local radio jockey called Mister Señor Love Daddy, reaffirms in this film the fact that his is one of the greatest movie voices of all time. I could listen to him all day.



          The film's cinematography was very vibrant. I especially loved the bright red wall in front of which the 'Corner Men' sat. And the shot above that almost made me laugh out loud. Music of course plays a very crucial part in the film. From the opening credits itself, where Rosie Perez dances to Public Enemy's "Fight The Power", a song that is played over and over again, to that really wonderful section when Love Daddy lists down all the great African-American musicians, it is a pervasive element in the film. Radio Raheem's "Love Vs Hate" speech was a rather unexpected movie reference that kind of caught me off-guard but I totally loved it.



         Another thing that I thought was brilliant about it is that it's basically an Aristotelian tragedy. I admit I did not think of this on my own, which is kind of terrible because I just learnt about this stuff a couple of months back. The film follows the unities of time and place in the strictest sense. The unity of action is not completely discernible, especially because two-thirds of the movie is spent trying to establish so many characters that it almost seems scattered but it all comes together at the end. As for the figure of the tragic hero, I feel it applies more to Sal than Mookie or any of the other characters though no one comes off unscathed by what transpires.



        Do the Right Thing is not one of my favourite blind spot entries so far but it is one of the more significant ones, both for its content and its bold, cinematic look. I think movies like La Haine could have never been made without it paving the way. It is also a really clever film where everything has a part to play, from a shoe to a photograph, but that's not to say that it is a film that leaves you with all the answers at the end.