Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mini Reviews- Bol Bachchan, Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Kahaani

         It was quite recently that I realised how terrible my Bollywood knowledge has become, or rather how terrible it has been all along, since my entire Bollywood world is more or less restricted to the 90s and the early 2000s. Basically till the part I got into what my dad calls my "English movie snob phase". So I have decided to start taking interest in them again, starting with this mini review phase whose theme is, you guessed it, Bollywood.

BOL BACHCHAN (Dir: Rohit Shetty, 2012)

Basic Plot- Hot-headed Abbas Ali has to move to the village of Ranakpur with his sister Sania when he runs into a bit of a trouble back home. However, after rescuing a child from drowning in an ancestral Hindu temple, he finds himself in a pickle again, having to lie about his religion and name to save his skin. That too to the simple yet very strong and powerful Prithviraj Raghivanshi, who has no tolerance for liars and who then employs Ali due to his heroics. Soon the "newly baptised" Abhishek Bachchan realises that despite his best intentions, he needs to continue spinning his web of lies if he wants his protect himself from the wrath of his employer.

       Phew! Writing a Bollywood movie synopsis is no easy task, but I have done my best. Bol Bachchan is, simply put, the kind of movie that makes me worry about Bollywood. It is beyond ridiculous. It is a "masala" movie, a term used to denote films that have a lot a comedic and action scenes, typical romances and an endless crusade of songs, but it is also completely brainless. It employs many of the cliched Bollywood motifs like a village setting, a benevolent but strict overseer, a stranger who comes into the village and then everything starts revolving around him, the oh so hilarious homophobia etc. and really has nothing new to offer. Yes it is based on the Bollywood comedy classic Golmaal (which is brilliant and a total riot and ought to be watched by everyone), where Abbas has to pretend to be his own twin brother to ward off Prithviraj's suspicions, the illusion made possible with a fake mustache that he wears when he is masquerading as Abhishek. However this just clearly goes to show that like many Hollywood movies, even Bollywood remakes are often terrible.

          Abhishek Bachchan plays Abbas Ali and, you guessed it, Abhishek Bachchan (so funny I forgot to laugh!) and Ajay Devgn plays Prithviraj. Now I've never been a fan of Bachchan and continue to be thus. I actually think that Devgn is a pretty fantastic actor when he wants to be. Unfortunately, most of the time he comes in crap like this. The bulk of the film's so-called humour is dependent on his character's insistence on saying famous idioms in his broken English. Though admittedly I laughed in some of them, I don't know how it will translate to non-Hindi speaking audiences. It should just be nonsense, yes? Even more than usual. My other big problem with the film was Shetty's supremely annoying way of filming action scenes- everyone bloody falls in slow motion. Like flying in the air and falling with full impact, or flying in the air and kicking with full impact- basically a lot of flying, in bloody slo mo. Stop flying already!! The actresses, Asin and Prachi Desai are good-for-nothing. I especially found the Sania and Prithviraj love-story disturbing because it was so Vertigo-esque, but no one seemed to mind. Also supporting actors like Archana Puran Singh and Krishna Abhishek made the film even more idiotic. The one good thing I will say though was that the colours in the film were very bright and vibrant. I really liked them.

Rating- 2/10



FERRARI KI SAWAARI (Dir: Rajesh Mapuskar, 2012)

Basic Plot- Rusy is a loving middle-class father and son. His son Kayo is a budding cricketer and Rusy wants to fulfill all of Kayo's dreams. When Kayo gets a chance to go for training in Lords, London, Rusy tries desperately to get the necessary finance, but fails. His ultimate option comes in the form of a Ferrari, that too Sachin Tendulkar's Ferrari, that is needed for the wedding of a politician's son. Due to various circumstances Rusy ends up with the Ferrari, which he has to return, keeping it and his conscience intact. Also, he has to help his bitter and shut-in father Deboo, to open his heart to two things that mattered to him the most- his family and cricket.

            My brother and I saw Ferrari Ki Sawaari with our grandfather, which was his first film in a movie theatre in about twenty-five years. And what a lovely little movie to (hopefully) end this hiatus with! For me, the heart and soul of this film is Sharman Joshi, who plays Rusy. In spite of being in the business for thirteen years, this is Joshi's first lead role. His innocent smile, one that he has throughout most of the film, has this strange power to make one happy and sad simultaneously. It is so representative of his character- a content middle-class man with dreams, someone who is so common in a place like India, but still so rare because very few have the determination to pursue their dreams, or even more extraordinarily, someone else's dreams. I connected with his struggles because it reminded me of my own life so much, as it would with the majority of the people who do watch it. Another thing that the general Indian audiences will relate to is the love for cricket. As much as I personally hate the sport, I cannot deny the significant impact it has on the people of this country- it has the ability to bring them together better than any other singular thing in the world. 

           The Ferrari, that actually does belong to star cricketer Tendulkar, is a symbol for both these things- it is the unattainable dream and something to worship due to the cricket connections. It is as much a character in this film as any other. The other two notable actors are Boman Irani, who plays Deboo and Ritwik Sahore, who plays Kayo. Irani is a masterful actor with an incredible range, and films especially under the Vidhoo Vinod Chopra banner, like Ferrari Ki Sawaari, tap into that. Deboo goes from being this irritable and unlikable person to someone who has a lot of love, but has suffered so much in his life that he very seldom shows it. His backstory and then the changes in his character are excellent. Sahore is an adorable young actor and makes one root for him. 

       There are a few other players in the story- the politician and his unhappy son, Tendulkar's neglectful servant and gatekeeper, the wedding planner and Deboo's old rival, that play crucial roles in the life of Rusy and his family. The film is funny, light and touching. I loved the simplicity that ran through nearly the entire film. The final act does drag quite a bit though, and the climax and ending are a tad too weepy for their own good. But the overall warmth felt throughout most of the film, with the effortless and funny dialogue, and just the acting of the protagonists make it a rewarding experience. It looks pretty good too, capturing a common man's Mumbai and the spirit thereof. The Marathi-style item number with hotter than the friggin' Ferrari, Vidya Balan, is a treat as well.

Rating- 9/10



KAHAANI (Dir: Sujoy Ghosh, 2012)

Basic Plot- Expecting mother, Vidya Bagchi comes to Kolkata from London searching for her missing husband, Arnab Bagchi. A sincere police officer, Satyaki, helps her on her search, but it seems to them that no one even knows of his existence. However the fact that he resembled the chief suspect in a terrorist attack starts to shed some light onto his disappearance, but only Vidya's insistence and sacrifice can brings her the answers that she needs.

              Vidya Balan has officially, and thankfully, become the face of good acting in Bollywood. After her incredibly sultry and applauded performance as a sex-symbol in The Dirty Picture, she brings a different kind of energy into this story of this wife and mother-to-be on a quest. Bagchi's struggles to keep her crumbling world together, while also striving for the truth, especially in a state like hers, is so novel and inspiring. Balan's performance in the climax is specifically exceptional. The other characters in the film are strictly supporting in their role since it is her story, and her story alone. My favourites were the earnest Satyaki, played by Parambrata Chatterjee and the very creepy, yet funny, Bob Biswas, played by Saswata Chatterjee. Of course the city of Kolkata, aka MY CITY, is quite the character too. The director, Sujoy Ghosh, used Satyajit Ray's Calcutta trilogy as an inspiration. There are very few Bollywood movies made in Kolkata anymore, and one set during the rich festival of Durga Puja is particularly rare. I loved seeing streets and places I knew so well, along with the culture, depicted on the screen. This is Balan's second movie set in the City of Joy, the first being her Bollywood debut Parineeta, which is another film whose depiction of the city, this time set in the 60s, I love dearly.

            The film is a stellar thriller. Okay the final reveal might be a bit unoriginal for many of us more "experienced" cinephiles, but the build-up to it keeps one at the edge of their seats. Ghosh used guerrilla film making to avoid attention, which gives it an interesting look and feel. Bagchi, with her pregnancy, is a great feminist character, which is very progressive of the Ghosh. The religious symbolism, her relationship with Satyaki and many other things make this movie very unique, especially for a Bollywood movie, where sadly films like Bol Bachchan are the norm. Still, I am thankful for a movie like Kahaani and how much it has been accepted by the Indian public. Watch it for Balan's performance that continues to reach new heights, and the essence of Kolkata that the film captures so well.

Rating- 9/10

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Thoughts

Thoughts for this week-

1) Someone please, please take me to Canada, so that I can attend the Toronto International Film Festival! The whole list of screenings can be found at The Matinee. There are soooo many films I want to see from there- the epic Cloud Atlas (trailer below), Ben Affleck's third feature Argo, my Ryan Gosling-starrer The Place Beyond Pines, Mike Newell's Great Expectations, JGL being Bruce Willis movie Looper, David O. Russel's next, The Silver Linings Playbook, Joe Wright's and Keira Knightley's Anna Karenina, Kristen Wiig's Imogene, teen drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut Quartet, Terrence Malick's next, To the Wonder and the one I am most curious about, Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Salman Rushdie's Booker prize-winning book Midnight's Children. I didn't even know it was happening, which is shameful seeing how much I loved the book when I read it. I just want to watch so many movies :'( There will be a Kolkata Film Festival later on this year; hopefully it will screen some of these films.

2) I had intended on making August a sort of celebratory month on this blog because that's when my birthday is (less than a month away :S). There were a few things I had thought of and even asked people's opinions about them. But, as it turns out now, I am going to be extremely busy for most of the month. Why that is is something I will post about eventually. Just that it is a pretty big deal and I will be occupied with it. Also I have college where I need to read 500 books everyday and films to watch. Blogging happens to be much lower on the priority ladder it seems, and I really don't know how much I will be able to do of it. It's not a hiatus, it is just a let's-see-where-this-goes-tus. Please do bear with me.

3) So there is talk going around about a Catwoman spin-off movie with Anne Hathaway, though she doesn't want to do one without Christopher Nolan. That is damn near impossible I would say, but I really really want to see Hathaway play Selina Kyle again. Apparently they tried to make a Michelle Pfeiffer-Catwoman movie but she too only wanted to work with Tim Burton, and this is back when spin-offs and sequels and remakes and reboots and whatnot were not the norm. Imagine how brilliant that would've been! Please let this Catwoman film happen, and then we can all happily erase the memory of the other Catwoman film (so, so awful).

4) Hey Kristen Stewart- LOL! Also I just tried to put M.C. Hammer's classic "U Can't Touch This" on the playlist at the bottom but failed. <--- Only two of these statements are true.

5) Trailers- This promo of Somebody Up There Likes Me is pure gold. It stars Parks and Recreations's god Nick Offerman, his wife Megan Mullally and Community's Alison Brie. What I would give to smoke bongs with them... Ang Lee's next Life of Pi has a gorgeous trailer out. I have not read the book, but gosh I love the tiger. Finally, the Wachowski brothers and Tom Tykwer's adaptation of Cloud Atlas has an epic 5 minute trailer out. I really like the cast and how majestic it looks. V. excited.

6) Finally, the London Olympics are literally just about to start. This seems apt, sorta-
How long has Professor X been running?


Good bye! Have fun :D

Monday, 23 July 2012

Put the Blame on Mame- Superhero Edition

           There is no denying that this is the year of the superheroes, with The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises literally rising above the rest *cough*The Amazing Spider-Man*cough*.

          I had already decided in my head that the only film I might be comparing TDKR to is The Avengers when I went to see the former. For me personally, The Avengers is a much better movie, but lets not get into that yet. Because of this thought, I have been unable to stop myself from matching elements from both these films against each other. Which is a bit of an impossible task because apart from their most basic genres, brilliant casts and totally awesome directors, they are completely different movies. Except for one more thing- the badass, kick-ass, black spandex-clad, sexy, dry-humoured-to-perfection women- Natasha Romanoff of The Avengers and Selina Kyle of The Dark Knight Rises.

Anne Hathaway plays Selina Kyle in TDKR. Now Hathaway had huge Michelle Pfeiffer-sized shoes to fill, or so I thought. The great thing about the movie and how she plays it is that they create a totally different character and steered clear of that path. Hathaway plays her with a lot of wit and sexiness, probably the only glimmer of humour in a very grim movie. She is a femme fatale, but there is also the potential to be someone much better and greater. I did not expect to be this blown away by Hathaway's portrayal of Kyle, but she easily became the best part of the movie for me.





Scarlett Johannson played Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in The Avengers and Ironman 2 earlier. She was pretty cool in the latter, but she was almost scene-stealing in the first. That is high-praise because The Avengers is such an ensemble piece. She is a very adept and an uber-awesome spy- almost like a female James Bond, but without all the showiness. The only girl in the gang of all the superhero boys, but completely on par with them.
Like Hathaway, I did not expect the usually delicate-looking Johannson to be this tough and dangerous. But she is, and is totally believable.



        I have a weird theory in my head that Kyle is almost like an earlier version of Romanoff. They are both absolutely brilliant characters, that have been played beyond all expectations by both these actresses. They each need their own movies, where they can do what they do best- say wry one-liners and kick butt!


            I don't know who I like more honestly. Hathaway's Kyle might become more iconic because of the people's reaction to her film, but I cannot deny the fact that I really wanted to be Johannson's Romanoff throughout her movie.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANIEL RADCLIFFE!!



Who, by the way, has turned into a total Mr. Hottiepants...

Well, almost :)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Thoughts

Hello! College 2.0 has started. I have never been this tired in my life. But I like this college. There is film studies among my subjects, which feels like the class I have been waiting for all my life. Anyways, my thoughts for this week-

1) Super duper awesome casting news- Johnny Depp has been cast in Wes Anderson's next film The Grand Budapest Hotel. I have been praying for Depp to do something smaller that will truly show off his immense acting talents. This is exactly it. Anderson's brand of quirky is totally different to the Depp's natural eccentricity and I believe that both of them together can create movie magic. Among the other potential cast members are Anderson regulars like Owen Wilson and Bill Murray. There is also talk about Jude Law, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Angela Lansbury and Jeff Goldblum joining in. I have to say here that if there is a film with Depp, Norton and Brody, I WILL DIE OUT OF HAPPINESS!! PLEASE LET THIS HAPPEN, PLEASE!!

2) The other casting news that has me buzzed is Daniel Radcliffe starring in two very different movies after Kill Your Darlings, the Beat era film he is currently filming. The first is the adaptation of Joe Hill's (Stephen King's son) novel Horns, which is about a 26 year-old man who, after being wrongfully accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend, finds horns growing out of his head which grant him the power to make people confess their sins, and this comes in handy in his quest to find the real culprit. It sounds pretty batshit crazy and added to that, will be directed by Piranha 3D's Alexander Aja. Still it will be interesting to see Radcliffe do something so far-out. The other film, one which I am more excited about, is a romcom (yess!) alongside Zoe Kazan, named F Word. It is about two people, Wallace and Chantry, who hit it off at a party, but then are forced to stay friends because Chantry has a long-term boyfriend. Radcliffe is incredibly funny in all his interviews, and was quite good in Extras and SNL, so I have high hopes for him.

3) Links- It was the ultimate badass and king of awesome, Harrison Ford's birthday this week and check out M. Hufstader's brilliant post on him where she makes him the BAMF of the Week. Speaking of awesome, this is The Dark Knight Rises week (Accio Sunday!) and pretty much everyone is writing about it, or its director Chistopher Nolan. While I am steering clear of any reviews of any kind, I love posts about the latter. Alex is doing The Week of Nolan, which is brilliant and do check out all the posts. Last but definitely not the least, is the biggest Nolan fangirl herself, Stevee, with a Christopher Nolan Retrospective/ Appreciation Post.

4) There are literally no trailers this week, but instead, I bring you something infinitely better and more brilliant- ladies and gentlemen, Robert Downey Jr.-

5) After so much brilliance, a little albeit very imperative rant- Pixar is going to make a sequel to Finding Nemo. Andrew Stanton will helm the project, which is now being developed. This is awful. As I have said time and again, I am a total Pixar worshiper. The people working there are geniuses who make the most incredible animated movies, and one of their best qualities is their originality. Now they too have fallen under the franchise spell. It is so terribly sad. I mean they have seen what happened with Cars 2, and while the Monsters Inc. prequel looks acceptable, they should just stop there. Pixar movies make a lot of money, and it is a good thing because their films are excellent and deserved to be watched by everyone, but this is just greedy. This article at The Film Experience speaks a lot about this and I agree with most of it, especially about the possibility of a Toy Story 4 (blasphemy!!).

6) Also Emmy nominations were announced today and here is the full list of nominations. I am still not a TV person, though I do watch a shitload of shows now. My favourite nominations are that of Sherlock of course- Best Miniseries, Best Actor in a Miniseries for Benedict Cumberbatch and Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries for Martin Freeman. Sherlock is probably my favourite thing on TV currently, tied with Doctor Who and Parks and Recreation. Amy Poehler bagged a Best Actress in a Comedy Series nomination for that, so yaay! Others were snubbed :( Other nominees I am happy about are Peter Dinklage for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his splendid performance in Game of Thrones, Lena Dunham and Zooey Deschanel for Best Actress Comedy for Girls and New Girl respectively, Jim Parsons for Best Actor Comedy in The Big Bang Theory, Girls for Best Comedy Series and Max Greenfield, who plays the adorable douche Schmidt, for New Girl.

7) Finally, this happened-
I said goddamn! Goddamn!


It's getting hot in here people *fans herself*. Bye.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Animation Month Update


Hello again. This is my second update. I have fallen behind a bit this week, but hopefully I can buck up in the following weeks.

These are the animated films I have seen as of 16th July, 2012-

1)  Mulan (1998)- This is my Disney-loving best friend’s favourite Disney film, one she has been telling me to watch for the longest time. After finally having watched it, I can see why she loves it.
It is the funniest Disney film I have watched this entire month. Mulan is definitely a brilliant protagonist, seeing how her motivations had nothing to do with a prince charming, but about her proving herself and helping out her family. It looked beautiful, set in Ancient China. Though this had a scary-looking villain, the main task for our heroine is to finding her true self, which I thought was nice. Also the supporting characters, from Mushu, the dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy, to Mulan’s fellow soldiers and one very macho yet totally adorable La Shing, were all excellent. Mulan officially ties with The Princess and the Frog as my favourite Disney princess movie.

Rating- 10/10



2) Lady and the Tramp (1955)- I am not a dog person. At all. So it was a little hard to concentrate on this film. I guess it was cute, especially that spaghetti-kiss scene, but I was most certainly not the target audience for this movie. I am pretty sure that a particular scene with a dog-fight would have scarred me as a child. It pretty much terrified me still.

Rating- 6/10












3) Pocahontas (1995)- I actually liked this one, though apparently that is not the popular opinion. I think Pocahontas is the prettiest Disney princess, and her first meeting with John Smith was perhaps my favourite romantic moment in all these films. 
It was quite a stunning film too, especially in the song “Colours Of The Wind” where all the nature shots are just gorgeous. After this film, I just had to watch The New World, so I guess that would make an interesting double feature.

Rating- 7.5/10









4) Grave of the Fireflies (1988)- Unable to find the remaining Disney films in my list at the time, I decided to start off with anime and this Studio Ghibli feature was my first for this month.
I have heard a lot about how sad this film is, and it really is. It is also incredibly beautiful to look at, especially all the scenes with the fireflies, and the falling bombs that looked quite a bit like the fireflies too. There were moments I got slightly annoyed with the character of Setsuko, but by the end of it, I was very much moved. It is a powerful tale about how war affects everyone, in particular children. As I read in a review, it is not an animated film, but a war drama that just happens to be in the animated form. To see such a poignant film in this medium is quite unbelievable, but it does make us think and believe how much more can be shown in animation, and how it is not just for kids, but for anyone with a tale to tell.

Rating- 10/10



5)  Hercules (1997)- Hey male hero! Woo hoo! First off, the cartoon Hercules is probably the most disproportionate character ever. But he was quite endearing, and this film on a whole was a lot of fun. It doesn't follow the actual exploits of Hercules, for any Greek mythology geeks out there who might be outraged by the film. Instead of Hera, it is Hades who is after Hercules’s life. We see how he becomes mortal and then attempts to get back his immortality by becoming a hero. The action scenes for this are very well made. I also really liked his heroine, Meg, who could almost safely be part of 'Sex and the City: Ancient Greece Edition'. My favourite part of the film were the oh so fabulous muses and their songs.

Rating- 7.5/10






6) The Jungle Book (1967)- I really think that I have seen this before, but the tale is so well-known that I can’t be sure. But I do know the songs, and golly they are awesome!
This is a sweet movie. The characters are colourful, and it gives a sense of colonialized India. I loved Bagheera and Kaa and King Louie and Shere Khan and the very mod vultures, but my absolute favourite was Baloo. He was like the stoned uncle of my dreams. Also, maybe my favourite Disney companion. The ending is a bit blah, but a very enjoyable movie through and through.

Rating- 9/10







So that is it. See ya next week!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I am already in lesbians with this...


HOLY SHIT! I DON'T KNOW WHAT ANY OF THIS MEANS BUT I'M SO EXCITED!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

*after a few deep breaths*

This is the Comic Con teaser poster for the third and final film in Edgar Wright's Blood and Ice Cream/ Three Cornetto Flabours Trilogy, all starring my favourite onscreen couple, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost- The World's End. I live for the day when this releases.

The official synopsis-

“20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by mate Gary King, a 40-year old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their home town and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub, The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries.”

Friday, 13 July 2012

Thoughts

1) Yes so, as expected, I am incapable of coming up with something special for next month. For your information, next month, August 2012, is the month when my teens end FOREVER! Technically that is. I have decided to be a teenager till I'm 25. But still, for all legal reasons, this is the end people. And I wanted to celebrate/ mourn/ whatever about it on this blog. But my brains fail me, yet again. Dare I ask it... Er, help?

2) The Hunger Games news- Philip Seymour Hoffman will be starring as Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire, so nicely done casting people. But then, they have decided to divide the last book, Mockingjay, into two movies. Ugh Hollywood, why? This is the latest in the line of desperate attempts by Hollywood to eke out every last penny from the viewers. I am sorry but when Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows was split into two films, it was for story purposes more than anything. But unfortunately, it has given birth to this ugly new trend. Gah.

3) Important links- Lesya from Eternity of Dream has two blogathons coming up: New York in Genres on August 2nd and Speechless Blogathon on August 16-18. Then there is Alex Withrow's short film Earrings, whose trailer is out and the full short can be seen on July 28th.

4) The whole blogosphere is abuzz with the the news of Michael Fassbender starring in and co-producing the Assassin's Creed movie adaptation. I am like the least video game-y person in the world, but even I know this game. I think he will be brilliant for such a role, and he can bring his Fassy spin onto it and make it a very memorable character. I am still waiting for him to become the next James Bond though.

5) Speaking of, Ben Whishaw will be playing a very very very young Q in Skyfall. I love the way he looks. Makes me think of a very meme-esque tagline, that is "Nerding- he's doing it correctly". I think in taglines by the way. All the people calling him Peter Park-y, stop.

6) Hey, is it me or is The Amazing Spider-Man as divisive as The Tree of Life last year? Maybe I think so because this time I am on the side of the haters. Still, I almost nearly forgive this film for bringing the perfection that is Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield together. Just look at this video! I want to marry both of them as a couple.

7) Trailers- The Comic Con teaser to Oz, the Great and Powerful just released. I think it looks awesome, albeit a little too reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Also I like James Franco, so I am fine with him, but I am most excited to see what Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis bring to the Technicolor table. The other trailers are all Bollywood for a change- the first is of Anurag Basu's Barfi!, which has been inspired by Amélie. It does look and sound brilliant, save that fart joke at the end (why?) and I actually quite like Ranbir Kapoor as an actor. Oh see this excellent teaser of English Vinglish, which shows Sri Devi trying to read the film certificate in English, since the film revolves around her learning the language. I love clever trailers, and this is definitely one of them. The last trailer is of Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Pari, which starts at the 0:55 part, and everything before that is the super-long and showy Sanjay Leela Bhansali films logo. Okay it looks dumb, I agree. But this film has Boman Irani, who I adore, and is quite progressive in the sense that it isn't about forty year-old macho men falling in love with twenty year-old slutty girls in expensive foreign locations, which is the norm now.

8) Finally, I think my favourite meme of all time is the Leo Strut one. This is Leo Strut: The History Edition-

One does not simply walk into history...

Toodles.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Animation Month Update

     

         So I decided to go on an Animation Month Marathon, where I would only (mostly) watch animated films this entire month. I have started with Disney (again mostly), and will soon move on to anime. Also I will first tackle all the unseen movies in my list, and then as many rewatches as possible.

These are all the animated films I have seen as of 9th July, 2012-

1) Sleeping Beauty (1959)- This was a bad film to start with. The main character Aurora literally has nothing except her royal title. She was a princess, which is why the fairies give her her beauty and singing talents. I just could not accept it from the starting itself, because even though Disney is known for its one-dimensional characters, this was too much. If she had not been rich, she would have been ugly and unskilled. Okay I was over-thinking it a bit, as my friends pointed it out, but I refuse to accept the reason "it's for kids". Kids are smart, and this was stupid. I loved Maleficient though, and her need to create havoc for no reason whatsoever. She reminded me of The Joker- total anarchist. Also the three fairies were awesome, although I don't know how they lived like humans for sixteen years, seeing that they were terrible at housework without magic.
I would have been so much happier if the film was outwardly about the fairies or Maleficient or even Prince Phillip. I had to look at Sparknotes to see why Aurora was significant, and it's because she is passive and pure. What the hell?! And the message was "to believe in true love". That's just daft.
The animation was gorgeous, especially towards the end. Also it has possibly my favourite Disney song- "I Walked With You Once Upon A Dream".

Rating- 5/10


2) Pinocchio (1940)- I was already in love with Jiminy Cricket when this had started. Also with the intricacies of all the things in Geppetto's woodshop.
Though this film is very colourful, there are a lot of deeper and darker aspects of it. I have heard and read a lot about how sinister Disney films tend to be, and Pinocchio definitely had elements of that. I love how Pinocchio decides to become an actor instead of going to school. Or the fact that he gets taken, along with all the other unruly boys in his village, to Pleasure Island where kids wreak havoc and smoke and drink and gamble. I could see a very grown-up message being given, which was very pleasantly surprising to see in a Disney film.
But the downfall of this film, for me, is the last act, where Geppetto has been swallowed, really randomly, by a ginormous whale and Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket have to go save him. Although visually it was very impressive, with the underwater shots and all the action revolving around the whale chasing them, it just felt so out of place.

Rating- 8.5/10


3) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)- Until I saw Sleeping Beauty, I have always hated Snow White the most out of all the fairy tale heroines because she seems so thoroughly useless. But I actually really enjoyed this movie, and a huge reason for it was how much I love Enchanted, because Amy Adams's Giselle is almost exactly like Snow White, but with a lot more guts obviously.
The Wicked Queen was cool, and I think her transformation is one of the best Disney scenes I have seen so far. The dwarfs were cute, and Snow White, in all her bimboness, was rather sweet.
The animation again was brilliant. The ending was so ridiculous, it was funny.

Rating- 7/10





4) Alice in Wonderland (1951)- I still think I should have been high while watching this. This book itself is so crazy, that only a crazy adaptation would have done it justice. This Disney version comes pretty close.
I loved Alice in all her haughtiness and confusion. The animation was absolutely stunning. I loved the groovy lights in the forest, and the gorgeous flowers, and the patterns and designs of the Red Queen's army.
It was really enjoyable, though I did feel a bit empty afterwards. It's not the film's fault exactly, but the story could not keep me as vested as the animation because it is so mental. That is the only sort of flaw in this excellent adaptation.

Rating- 9.5/10




5) Fantasia (1940)- Now this film was just mind-blowing. I could have never imagined a Disney film to be like this. It is so wildly ambitious and incredible- using music to create images. Such a wonderful concept, executed and brought to life so beautifully by Walt Disney. I mean if anyone was to now ask me why Walt Disney is a genius, I will tell them to watch this film.
There are eight parts in this which explore this concept. My favourites were "Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor", "The Pastoral Symphony" and the last part, "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Ava Maria". I am not that musically knowledgeable, especially in case of classical stuff, but with the images and the ideas, I was brought to tears a couple of times during this film.
This film has joined the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Tree of Life as one of the most ambitious films I have ever seen. Hell, I am convinced that Terrence Malick watched it for inspiration! It is an absolute must-see for any film lover. Consequently, I am of the belief that this film is not for children, at all.


Rating- 10/10


6) Bambi (1942)- This film is just adorable. I loved the animals and the forest and everything. It is very simple and very enjoyable. A tale of growing up, of loss and love, of man versus animals- all of that, but shown with so much love and simplicity, that I was left very impressed.
I loved all the baby animals and the process of everyone, especially Thumper, teaching Bambi about the world. This film is infamous for killing off a character, and I guess as a kid it would have affected me a great deal. My favourite part of the film was the danger at the end. I was blown away by the spectacular animation at that point. It looked like a painting. It was so beautiful and so terrifying at the same time.

Rating- 9/10





7) Cinderella (1950)- Cinderella is, I think, the most average a Disney film can get. The story is exactly what we all know, nothing happens out of the ordinary, and there is a nice happy ending.
There were a lot of talking mice in this, which was cute at first, but highly annoying later. I don't really like the way these films require other characters to fill up the time and space, because the protagonists are so dull.

Rating- 6/10









8) Antz (1998)- I took a little break from Disney and decided to watch a non-Woody Allen Woody Allen movie.
I love all the Woody-ness this film embraces- the psychoanalyst sessions, the stuttering, the need for self-worth, the confused yet brilliant female protagonist etc. Of course, this film is more hopeful and action-filled than any Woody Allen film I have seen, but it was fun. I liked the concept of social changes in an ant colony. I like the underdog, and the fact that he was an ant and voiced by my favourite filmmaker, made me like him so much more.
It isn't as brilliant as the really good Dreamworks films are, but very enjoyable still.

Rating- 7/10




9) Peter Pan (1953)- Unlike Alice in Wonderland, I absolutely adore this tale of "the boy who never grew up". And so it was a bit disappointing when many of my favourite aspects of the play, like Tinkerbell being brought back to life and Peter being more needy and slightly vicious, were removed.
This was the only Disney film I have seen that properly shied away from the darker elements, so that was unfortunate, since I do really enjoy the story.
I loved the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell in this.

Rating- 6.5/10









10) Little Mermaid (1989)- This film is believed to be the beginning of the Disney Renaissance. I thought it was really beautiful. Ariel is probably the best-looking Disney princess, with her perfect red hair and her giant blue eyes, and she was really sweet. I just think her story was terrible. The actual Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale is much more tragic, and I can understand why it was given the happy-treatment, but if you really look at it, Ariel gives everything up to get Prince Eric, which would be a lovely concept, if he did the same. And Prince Eric was actually nice, unlike the other princes who are creeps. But the story is such...
Still I really liked it. Absolutely loved Ursula, who I think is going to be my favourite Disney villain. She was so fabulous.

Rating- 9/10



11) Dumbo (1941)- God this was depressing. Even with the happy ending and the intention of turning things around for the studio after Fantasia had been a commercial bust, this was just such a sad tale.
Dumbo is probably the cutest Disney character, along with Bambi. But his ostracization because of his big ears, and his mother being taken away- it was just so sad! The other elephants were like the meanest characters ever.
This was not at all fulfilling, but it has one of the most surreal sequences that I have seen in cartoons, so that was cool.

Rating- 6.5/10







With the exception of these, I saw a great deal of Pixar shorts as well. My favourites were Day and Night and Presto.

See you next week :D

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Accio Moonrise Kingdom!!

In all this hype around the upcoming release of The Dark Knight Rises, and um, whatever, I had almost forgotten about one of my most hotly anticipated films of this year. But then, I came across this-


Oh good lord, this is freaking brilliant. I can't stop listening to it. Alexandre Desplat is a genius. Wes Anderson is a genius. I absolutely need to watch this film. Pronto.

Thank you very much for listening.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Thoughts

Hellooo all my lovely blogger pals! How have you been? If anyone is interested, my "turning 20 denial" phase has reached new heights of paranoia and fear. Anyhoo, these are my thoughts for this week-


1) Most annoying casting revelation of the week- Freida Pinto is in one of the many new Terrence Malick films, Knight of Cups. UGH I HATE HER! I have never understood the world's obsession with her after Slumdog Millionaire. She was in that film for five minutes. And now she's in a friggin' Malick film, along withn Christian Fuckin' Bale and Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett! She's not even a good actress. Ugh ugh ugh.


2) Speaking of Slumdog Millionaire, Dev Patel is one of the stars of HBO's The Newsroom. I really like it, but that's mostly because I love the Aaron Sorkin dialogue. Yes, I know it can be contrived and too idealistic and all that, but it's fun. I lurve Allison Pill and Emily Mortimer in it. I am hooked! Also I finished all of HBO's Girls yesterday. I love Lena Dunham. I am adding her to my list of fake-bffs. I really enjoyed the show, apart from the first episode. But then it sort of didn't go very well with my current phase. Still, can't wait for the second season!


3) Okay I was thinking this after watching the first episode of The Newsroom, which was directed by Greg Mottola, who isn't the first name I associate with an Aaron Sorkin script, but then neither was David Fincher- Has there ever been a show in which different prominent filmmakers direct one episode each, bringing in all their characteristic styles to it? Like the same story but each episode is like the tag-story games we played as children where each director does his/her own thing in his/her episode. No, right? I wish they would. It would be brilliant, although I don't think normal, non-cinephile people will be too jazzed about it.


4) Lesya at Eternity of Dream has brought together for us- Paris in Genres. Do go read it!


5) So people are starting to put up their Oscar Prediction Charts already. I have watched like ten movies of this year, so that is a long way off for now. But I was looking at the Best Costumes category for many of them, and everyone keeps putting Colleen Atwood for Snow White and the Huntsman, and though that is nice, I must reiterate my love for the late Eiko Ishioka's costumes in Mirror Mirror. Honestly, they are exactly like what I would imagine Capitol citizens wearing.


6) A couple of weeks back, I rewatched Before Sunrise. I did write this random post on it, overcome with my love for the mysterious poet. Anyways, the third part to this movie is being written, which will be set nine years after the events shown in the flawless and excellent Before Sunset. That is a gap of about eighteen years since Jesse's and Celine's first meeting. Now at the beginning of Before Sunrise, when Jesse asks Celine to get off the train at Vienna with him, he tells her to imagine herself in about ten-twenty years and how she will be married with kids and all, and she will be a bit dissatisfied with her life about then and try to think back at all the guys she could have been with and by taking this little trip with him, she will be assured that all the guys, including him, would have turned out boring, and so she will be happy in her life. This third film will be set around this time. Like when this part came, I nearly died out of excitement- can you imagine if they had planned this all along? Or if probably not, this has the potential of being one of the greatest throwaways in cinematic history!! I mean I can't imagine the third part outdoing Before Sunset, but if it as good as Before Sunrise at least, this will very well be one of the best trilogies ever. Not about gangsters or superheroes or Jedi knights or hobbits or talking toys (not that those aren't great), but just about a man and a woman and their bond. I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it! Come fast, o third part (I cannot, for the life of me, fathom what it can be called! Sunrise, sunset, and then??).


7) Trailers- David O. Russel's Silver Linings Playbook which has Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. It looks interesting, and I love Lawrence and am excited to see her do something outside of survivor-land. The new Jesse Eisenberg-Melissa Leo-Tracy Morgan movie Why Stop Now has a very random trailer out. I have no idea what is going on, but I like the people involved, and so I will watch it. Then there is Jack Reacher, which stars the now 50 and Holmes-less (one gibe is allowed, alright!) Tom Cruise. I like it when he does an action film, and yeah... Frankenweenie looks great actually. I hate that they say "the director of Alice in Wonderland" because Tim Burton has made so many better films, but still- actually excited for this one. Looper has a second trailer out too. Man, Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks too weird. Other than that, this looks like an good flick with a very cool concept. Lastly, Django Unchained's TV spot which has Samuel L. Jackson, and Leo Di Caprio screaming in a super-scary super-awesome way *applause*.


8) Finally, I have been obsessing over this the entire week. I present to you, James McAvoy's blueeeee gems-
What are his eyes? 

Good baa.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Month that was- June

       Gah curse June! In between travelling to another city to give exams, a lot of college madness, painting of the house and me just being lazy, my movie-watching has suffered quite a bit. With a lot of difficulty I have managed to watch 22 films this month, and it's the first time that my rewatches are more than my first-timers, but it was that kind of a month.


Firsts:
1) Con Air- Behold Nicolas Cage in all his long-haired splendour. It was actually quite fun. A bit ridiculous because duhh, but I liked it.
2) Mirror Mirror- Yes it had elements of stupidity and Lily Collins is terrible, but with the look, costumes and hilarious performances from Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.
3) Snow White and the Huntsman- It was okay when I watched it, but the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got at the wasted potential.
4) Prometheus- It looked absolutely stunning and it raises a lot of interesting questions, and Fassy is just brilliant. But having said that, with the editing and the way the film jumped around in the middle, I didn't love it completely.
5) Brave- It has made me embark on an animation month, and especially a Disney princess syllabus, just to see how much more superior Merida is to them. Plus all that hair. I WANT TO MARRY IT!
6) Sleeping Beauty- God should not have watched this after Brave. The total blahness of Aurora drove me mad.
7) Pinocchio- I started off loving it, but then that last act was very random. I mean the film seemed so clever and important with all the darkness it shows, and then the whale comes. Uhm..
8) The Amazing Spider-Man- I probably hated it more than you did. Even the eye candy could not save it for me. Haters gonna hate.
9) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs- I think this is actually my favourite Snow White. Sure Snow White was a bimbo, but I thought it was cute.


Rewatched:
1) The Avengers- This film is the shit. My favourite of 2012 so far.
2) Stardust- I actually really adore this film. Love the story. Love witches and stars and pirates. LOVE Mark Strong and Michelle Pfeiffer playing baddies.
3) Se7en- I love this film so much. The ending still freaks me out. So much pausing to calm my nerves down, even though I know what will happen.
4) Fight Club- My favourite film! How does this movie exist? It is tooo bloody awesome!
5) Amelie- This film is so lovely. This is the first time I saw it on DVD and not the tv and I was surprised to see all the nudity. 
6) Thelma and Louise- These two women are such legends. Excellent excellent film.
7) Network- God I did not remember this film being THIS loud. But it's so relevant still.
8) Before Sunrise- I suddenly got an urge to see it. In all its romance, this film can be so pleasantly profound too.
9) Crazy, Stupid, Love- I can't believe this has taken me so long to rewatch. This is going to become one of those movies I can watch on a loop, and die out of ecstasy every time because Ryan Gosling is just so fine in it.
10) Boogie Nights- It was Paul Thomas Anderson's birthday and I just had to watch my favourite of his. He wrote this when he was freaking 22! That is just crazy!!
11) When Harry Met Sally- Nora Ephron passed away and I just had to watch this favourite of mine by her.
12) The Hours- Endless tears. This film always affects me so much.


Shorts:
La Luna- Oh Pixar, how I love thee. This film is so dripping with magic. I was crying before Brave even started.


TV Shows:
Game of Shadows, season 2 got over. I really enjoyed this one, because I was less frustrated throughout it. a)Favourite episode- Blackwater. I just could not believe that it was a television show I was watching. So epic! b) MVPs- I'm sorry but I can't just choose one. First is of course, our king and savior, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. I loved him being in power and actually trying to make things better. Also his scenes with Shae were incredible. Secondly, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister because god the evil, crazy bitch is ab fab. Lastly, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, who has completely turned my opinion of her in this season. I love her character and her very unique sort of strength. c) Favourite quotes- Bronn: [referring *obviously* to Joffrey] "There's no cure for being a cunt." Daenerys: "Until the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Until the rivers run dry, and the mountains blow in the wind like leaves…"


Books:
1) Paper Tows by John Green- I really enjoyed this one. Got me to think a lot. I love the concept of paper people and paper towns. 
2) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- Between the film coming out, and John Green saying that there was a connection between Paper Towns and this, I just had to reread it. Oh god, this book is so wonderful. I still love Nick the most.
3) Fifty Shades of Grey- see below
4) Fifty Shades Darker- So these books were kind of terrible, though I did like the character of Christian Grey. Still one week of my life + a billion brain cells + the remainder of my innocence, lost forever.


Final tally:
                               Firsts- 145                         Rewatched- 74                  Shorts- 5
                                                                          Total- 224


Here's to the second half of this year. Byee.