Tuesday 30 October 2012


It is the strange feeling writing a post on a tab but my brother has hijacked well, his own laptop. And now I am reduced to this silly piece of technology. Ah, c'est la vie.

1. So apparently Johnny Depp dropped out of Wes Anderson's next, The Grand Budapest Hotel and has been replaced by Ralph Fiennes. If you remember, I was overjoyed when the news had first come out of his casting because I had been praying for him to get a non-absurd money-accumulating role, but nooooo! He really knows how to test my loyalty. I was actually depressed when I found out that he had dropped out. But it seems that all hope is not lost and cinematographer Wally Pfister wants him as lead in his directorial debut Transcendence. Please please please let this be good. I miss the time when Johnny Depp's career did not make me cry. Pfister also wants Christian Bale as co-lead so we may be looking at a Public Enemies cast reunion. Big Yes!!

2. Oh by the way, I hope everyone is safe from Hurricane Sandy. I would comment on calling a scary hurricane Sandy, but as learnt from sitting in a quiz once, hurricanes are usually given the names of women or um, pets (?) in this case because people hope that they will be as calm and nondestructive as the things they usually name. So yes, I hope Hurricane Sandy ends up being as harmless as it sounds. And that was all for the general knowledge segment of this post. Moving right along.

3. Loads of links- This post was supposed to come ages ago, back when the awesome Cinematic Paradox run by Stevee Taylor aka my blogging soulsister turned 3! She also updated her top 100 movies out of which I have seen 93. How many have you seen? Andy Buckle of The Film Emporium got to interview friggin' Paul Thomas Anderson! So cool! Since Halloween is tomorrow, a couple of Halloween-themed links- Sati's 7 Days of Halloween and Alex's Top 10 Horror Films. I posted my own Top 10 last year. I am still happy with my list, but I would put Suspiria somewhere in there if I had made it this year.

4. Hey did you guys notice that I have tweaked the blog's design a bit! How do you like it? Also I changed my about page a bit, if you're interested in that sort of thing... you know like getting to know people etc.

5) Two superhero teaser posters- Iron Man 3 which shows the various versions of the Iron suit and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in their midst. It is intriguing enough, especially if you love the awesome Iron suit as I do. The Wolverine does have a pretty rad poster but after the utter disappointment of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I am still not too buzzed about it.

6) Trailer- Iron Man 3 has a cool and sort of dark trailer out. Something has happened that is making Tony Stark reflect back on his life. Also his suits might have gone nuts and there's a new baddie in the form of Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley. I do like it a lot and am already dying to watch it, as Iron Man is my favourite superhero, but the lack of zingy one-liners in the trailer is slightly worrying. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters has another ridiculous trailer out. This film is going to be such shit. Also why is Hansel American and Gretel British???? 

7) Living with a cinephile must be very affecting. My twelve year old brother has made his top 25 films list, which both of us would like to share with you- (25) The Hangover, (24) The Social Network, (23) The Silence of the Lambs, (22) Star Trek, (21) Scott Pilgrim vs The World, (20) Kill Bill Vol. 2, (19) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, (18) Ghostbusters, (17) Inglourious Basterds, (16) How to Train Your Dragon, (15) Shaun of the Dead, (14) Wall-E, (13) Transformers, (12) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, (11) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, (10) Hot Fuzz, (9) Kill Bill Vol. 1, (8) Spider-man, (7) The Toy Story trilogy, (6) Up, (5) The Dark Knight Rises, (4) Ratatouille, (3) Iron Man, (2) The Dark Knight, (1) The Avengers.

8) Finally, Halloween is tomorrow and as usual I am in a place which doesn't really celebrate it and I am left to wishing that I was somewhere that does. Given the chance, I would dress as one of my many role models, Wednesday Addams-

"What are you, darling? Where’s your costume?"
Still, my best friend might be going as her, so yaay(?)!

Happy Halloween everyone! Stay safe. Byee.

Sunday 28 October 2012

"Hello, I'm Matt Smith, and I'm wearing a fez!"

For those of you who have been following this blog for the last year or so must know of my celebrity crush on this guy. He kind of has all the features I find attractive in a male human person. Also he is an ab fab actor and plays my favourite incarnation of possibly my favourite television character. And he's turning 30 today, so a very happy birthday to you, sir. You are infinitely cool and adorable and awesome.





(This was the picture that started it all actually).



Saturday 27 October 2012

"She sent you after me, knowing you're not ready, knowing you would likely die. Mommy was very bad."

        Since I have watched relatively few James Bond movies, I cannot think of some cracking classic James Bond reference as an opener to this review. I am just going to give it to you straight- Skyfall is the best James Bond movie I have ever seen.

         The film starts with a little outburst of the James Bond theme and immediately we are immersed into one of the most thrilling pre-credits sequences I have seen. Bond is chasing a man in Istanbul who has stolen a hard drive containing all the real identities of undercover MI6 agents when his boss M tells another agent, Eve to take a shot at the man, but she misses and hits Bond instead, leading everyone to believe that he has died. Bond has in fact survived and gone in a kind of emotional and physical retreat and only returns when M and MI6 get targeted by whoever has the hard drive. Though not at his topmost form, Bond goes after this man, who he then finds out is someone from M's past.

         This is the vaguest, most non-spoiler-y synopsis I can manage. Although it is very cool to get to watch a movie two weeks before North America (go UAE!), it is very obviously a marketing technique for the place itself (hello The Avengers!)  and I would like to keep the suspense alive for the audience as that makes the experience better.

        I am just going to enumerate all the things that I loved about Skyfall and talk about them. The most striking aspect of Bond 23 was its look. Legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins has helped it to become one of the most stunning looking films of the year and possibly ever in Bond history. From the ultra-modern setting of Shanghai to the dreary wilderness of Scotland, everything is shot so beautifully and expertly. My favourite action sequence of the film took place on a high-rise Shanghai building with the backdrop of a gigantic neon advertising screen and the all the fighting is done in shadows with the occasional light coming only when the gun gets fired. I sat throughout that part literally gaping, marveling at the mastery of how it was shot. I remember thinking this is the best use of lighting and shadows I have seen since my recent viewing of The Third Man, and then I swear there is a little nod to the film later on in Skyfall. I loved all the settings, from the oriental Macau to the busy London Underground, and both Deakins and production designer Dennis Gassner have done a mind-blowing job with the look of this film. I must also say that the focus on the blueness of Daniel Craig's eyes almost feel like a special effect in itself.

          Nowadays I actively avoid reviews of the films I am excited about except the occasional skimming, but in all my um, light research about Skyfall before seeing it, I kept coming across people saying that it is the "best acted Bond film ever". I can believe that. No one truly watches James Bond for its acting talent, and that is fine. As soon as the film started I could not help but wish I was someone like Bond because that would be so cool! But I was pleasantly surprised at how good the performances were. Daniel Craig, our Bond, and Dame Judy Dench as M shine the most, though baddie Javier Bardem is not far behind. Ever since Casino Royale, Craig has shown that his rendition of the famous British spy is more realistically badass and has a silent power about him. His third outing as Bond is definitely his best, when this aspect is maintained but there is also hurt and confusion and just about a hint of actual humanity in him, and he is not just the slick and suave espionage man, though he can be that too. We see him physically and mentally scarred and tired, and though Craig's Bond doesn't say anything, it is evident that he is reflecting back on this life of his. This film is Bond going back to his roots and re-realising his purpose and with that he has finally sort of become the real hero in this very made-up world. And holy moly, can he pull off a suit! Dench, who I have always loved as the snarky yet concerned M, finally got the chance to flesh out this character in the movie. As many are calling her, she is the true Bond girl of the movie and perhaps of James's life so far, the only person left he cares for and vice versa for her. Skyfall explores her relationship with him, her decisions and way of thinking and Dench delivers it all with the same wit and a quiet, emotional touch. Bardem, who plays Silva, someone from M's past and has a lot in common with Bond, though he is nothing like him, is really good as well. I did at first think he was going a bit over the top with the flamboyance, but by the end of it he was a very memorable and in some ways tragic villain. With his weird way of lip-smacking and questionable sexuality, he does make one laugh in a nervous way, but he is also scary, as one would expect from the man who played Anton Chigurh.

         The other actors are quite good too. Ben Whishaw is rather excellent as the new hip and young Q, though he is just as arrogantly brilliant and shut-in as one would imagine a genius of such less years to be. Naomi Harris is very cool as Eve and I love her flirting with Craig's Bond. The other Bond girl, Sévérine is played by the gorgeous Bérénice Marlohe though she sort of fades in comparison to Harris and obviously Dench. Finally there is Ralph Fiennes who does not have a huge part in the film but is great as the "good beaurocrat".

         Now I will come to the directing. When I first heard that Sam Mendes is directing a Bond movie, I snorted and went "That guy? The one who makes all the dramatic films? Him? LOL. This will suck more than Quantum of Solace." It must be noted here that I had a similar reaction to David Fincher directing The Social Network. So yes, the conclusion of all that useless information was that I am a big fat idiot and that great directors can make incredible movies, no matter what genre. Mendes directed both the action scenes and the sentimental ones equally well. This film is both a look back and forward for Bond, and aspects of his past are dealt with very well in the film, and Mendes is to thank for that as well as the acting that I spoke of earlier. I don't think most directors chosen for the job would have focused on the performances so much, but Mendes, being the dramatic director he is, did and that is what makes the film this good. And he takes risks with this film too. Towards the end Bond and M take a certain step and go somewhere, and I have never seen anything like that in a Bond movie ever. The film actually slows down to focus on that part, which though I wasn't a 100% sure of while watching it, am now more and more impressed by it when thinking back. Like yes it is a cool action movie, but there is so much more to it. Writers John Logan (who has written films like Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo etc), Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (both of whom have worked on previous Bond scripts together) have penned a smart, witty, emotional and thrilling film together. The dialogues between M and Bond or Eve and Bond are especially funny, and Silva's big speeches are eerie and impactful. The ending too, I felt, was quite brilliant in the way it was written, acted and directed and I really appreciate its place in the whole story of Bond.

          Now as many would know, Skyfall marks the 50th anniversary of the Bond films franchise. The first James Bond film, Dr. No was released in 1962. The filmmakers have really tried to showcase this famous icon and his many iconic traits and associations in Skyfall. As I said, I am not that well-versed in Bond-lore, but from whatever I have seen, I found little winks to the many Bond-related things from the previous films of the franchise which I thought were splendid. I loved this whole circle of life thing that the writers tried to show in Skyfall. We go back to Bond's past and we also see a whole new future being set for him. Casino Royale was the beginning of a reintroduction of Bond, and with Skyfall and the fifty years of history behind it, the new Bond has finally been completely formed for our age that I actually think does need more than just a guy chasing a couple of other guys in fancy cars while sleeping with a few girls on the way. And I like this Bond, even though he does sleep with a few/lot of girls on the way.

        I have to talk about Adele's opening credits song, aptly titled "Skyfall". I have been listening to it pretty extensively since it was released and it works really well in this old-new Bond film. The credits are very cool too. But Adele's voice is to die for. Funny thing happened when I was went to watch the movie in a cinema hall. Nearly half-way through the movie the sound went, and the film kept rolling and then the projectionist decided to rewind it back to almost the beginning. Of course the whole audience got pissed etc., but after the credits and Adele's song got over, the film was fast-forwarded back to where we had lost the sound. Coincidence? I think not.

        Daily Mail has gone a bit over the moon (duh) with Skyfall and has started demanding Oscar attention for, I think, everything in it. But seeing as it does have one of the most Oscar-friendly cast and crew in probably ever, I too would like to speculate a bit. Sorry for whoever wants Judy Dench to get nominated- that's a tad too much. I think we can safely rule out the acting and the directing categories. What I do hope happens in awards season is that Deakins's perfect cinematography gets the attention it deserves. It is about time he won actually, and along with Moonrise Kingdom, I do think that Skyfall is the best looking film I have seen this year so far, so fingers crossed! Also Adele's "Skyfall" should be more officially adored, though this is probably just wishful thinking on my part.

       Skyfall was given a 15+ rating where I am, which was rather unfortunate for my twelve-year-old brother who really wanted to watch it. Honestly, he really could have seen it as there was nothing in it that warranted the rating. And I really wish he did. My dad missed it as well as he then had to take my brother home while my mother and I gazed upon some Daniel Craig, and I wish he was there too. Not because I am some strange family-loving girl but because I do believe that both of them would have loved it. My brother who has little to no knowledge of Bond and my dad who is just the opposite, Skyfall is the film for both of them, and for me. Mendes and Craig and the rest of the gang have made something really spectacular here that should be loved and admired by Bond fans and non-Bond fans alike.

         Till now my favourite Bond film was Tomorrow Never Dies because I actually believed that Pierce Brosnan *was* James Bond as a child and I really enjoyed this film. I still do. But maybe it is time to move on... Skyfall is the way.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Mini Reviews- Moonrise Kingdom, Festen, Your Sister's Sister, HBO's The Girl

          You all must know by now that I am a terrible reviewer. I rarely ever post film reviews in this "film" blog. But I do want to, except then I get lazy or lose faith in myself or something. So this mini reviews post is actually all the films I had recently started proper reviews on but never bothered to finish. Something is better than nothing I suppose...

Moonrise Kingdom (Dir: Wes Anderson, 2012)

"I think you've still got lightning in you."

Basic plot- Khaki Scout, Sam and the local children's drama group's raven, Suzy decide to runaway together and this causes a lot of confusion and distress to the adults and the other Khaki Scouts of the New Penzance area. A most magical looking and feeling film from Wes Anderson about two kids in love, much against the world.

           I am a Wes Anderson fan. I guess to be one you have to love the little details and characteristics of his present in all of his films- the characters, the look, the sound etc. We have eccentric, troubled, but very efficient characters, who are often brilliant children. There is Bill Murray playing some sort of a loser (haven't seen Steve Zissou so I don't know how his character is in it). The colour palate is bright and orange-y and the music is very 60s and happy. Moonrise Kingdom has all of that, but it also has this unreal beauty about it. It is like something out of one of Suzy's books. All of Anderson's films are beautiful to look at, but Moonrise Kingdom beats them all and I honestly think it is one of the most gorgeous looking films I have ever seen. Maybe it is because I have always lived in the city and the natural settings, all which were filmed around Rhode Island, are so singularly lovely that I could not help but feel happy and wistful just looking at the film. And that is even before I come to the story. I thought it was adorable. Anderson wrote it with Roman Coppola. The story too makes me feel the same way as the look of the film does- finding the perfect childhood love seems so magical and impossible, and then running away with them against all odds, heck even being struck by lightning and surviving that! Yes there are some oddities and not everything fits as perfectly as one would wish, but the overall feeling from the film negates all that and it just fills one with so much wonder and longing for a place and time like Moonrise Kingdom.

            It is interesting to note that the kids playing the protagonists, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward don't even feature on the film's absolutely stunning poster. I guess the big Hollywood names are what draws the audience in, but really they are only the supporting cast. My favourite from the supporting cast is definitely Edward Norton, who plays the Scout Master Ward who is kind of an oddball himself (duh) and really concerned for the kids. But the real heroes of the film are very much Sam and Suzy. They are awkward and not the most polished actors, but personally I found it very endearing and sweet. I guess kids are like that after all. I thought Suzy especially was facially very expressive and natural and has become my mini Margot Tenenbaum. I might have to rewatch some of the other Wes Anderson films before I can definitely decide, but right now I do think this is my second most favourite offering by him, after the amazing Rushmore.

Rating- 10/10

Festen/The Celebration (Dir: Thomas Vinterberg, 1998)

"Here's to the man who killed my sister... to a murderer."

Basic plot- It is Helge's 60th birthday and his whole family has gathered in the family-run hotel to celebrate it. His eldest son Christian has come from Paris to attend it, and so have the other two surviving children of Helge and his wife Else, Helene and Michael. Their fourth child, Linda, who was Christian's twin, recently committed suicide and the family is hoping to move past that with this celebration. Except when it starts, some unsavory secrets of the family start pouring out...

        I had heard about Festen, but it was after watching the celluloid vs digital filmmaking documentary, Side By Side, that I got really interested in watching it. And I am so glad I have. I love films about dysfunctional families, and this might become my most favourite yet. It is about as messy and crazy and emotionally affecting as you want a film about a fucked-up family to be. There are a lot of parts which make one very uncomfortable. For example when the whole gang starts singing a racist song with Helene's black boyfriend in the room. The story is a simple and effective one, but it is the characters and the camerawork that makes it work so well. The characters were really varied and the actors did great justice to them. We have the silent and tortured Christian, played by Ulrich Thomsen, the repressive Helge, played by Henning Moritzen, the fun-loving but conflicted Helene, played by Paprika Steene and the boorish and thoughtless Michael, played Thomas Bo Larsen. There are a lot of other characters in the film, a whole party of them literally, but these four are the main ones and Thomsen especially is great.

        As I said, I got into the film when its cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle spoke about it in Side By Side. It was the first Dogme 95 film and it was shot using video cameras only, which was both revolutionary and controversial at the time of its release. I will say that at first this style irritated me a bit, but as the film went on it just added to the experience. Like there is a part when a character gets thrown out of the dinner room and the hotel and the way his return is shot is so powerful and impactful. It also gave the film a unique look which I liked very much, along with making it all the more uncomfortable because it felt as though I was there will the party when well, all the shit is going down. A truly brilliant film.

Rating- 10/10

Your Sister's Sister (Dir: Lynn Shelton, 2012)

"You're on an island, it's three in the morning and you're drinking by yourself. What's going on?"

Basic plot- Even after a year of his brother's death, Jack is struggling with his emotions and his life. His best friend and brother's ex-girlfriend Iris tells him to go stay at her father's isolated house as a way to rejuvenate himself. However when he arrives there, he sees that Iris's older sister Hannah has moved in, after breaking-up with her long-term girlfriend. That night, after a lot of tequila-drinking, Hannah and Jack decide to take an unexpected step together, due to which things get complicated, and even more so when Iris suddenly shows up the next day.

           I thought this was such a lovely little film. After watching it, I felt incredibly happy just thinking that one does not need big budgets and fancy schmancy special effects and whatnot to make movies, just great actors and a human story. All the three actors- Mark Duplass who plays Jack, Emily Blunt who plays Iris and Rosemary DeWitt who plays Hannah, were in top form. I am not going to elaborate on the story, except that Jack does in a way get between these two loving sisters and it is pretty funny and heartwarming. You have to watch it to enjoy it. The writing is witty and touching, and the three actors really bring it to life. Shelton wrote and directed it. The setting is very pretty and scenic and that just adds to this film.

            Your Sister's Sister highlights the importance of both friendship and family. I thought it was refreshing the way the relationship between Iris and Hannah is shown, albeit a bit unbelievable for me since my brother and I are always at each other's throats when we are together. Still the kid does idolize me a teensy bit, and I thought this sibling love was really sweet. Blunt and DeWitt were very genuine in their parts. I especially loved the vulnerability of Blunt, who is just such an excellent actress. Also Duplass, who I recently saw in Safety Not Guaranteed which is another good indie film, fits right into this picture and relates to both these ladies very well. All the three characters were so likeable that it is difficult not to watch this film without a smile plastered to your face. Still, it does have its wonderful poignant moments that tugs your heartstrings a little. A real indie gem.

Rating- 10/10

The Girl (Dir: Julian Jarrold, 2012)

"Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints"

Basic plot- HBO's TV movie The Girl shows the relationship between legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and model-turned-actress Tippi Hedren from when he discovered her and throughout the filming of their two films together, The Birds and Marnie. It explores the psychological and sexual abuse that she received from Hitchcock during this part of their lives.

            So The Girl painted Hitchcock, THE Alfred Hitchcock, as an insecure little sadistic creep. Eh, who cares? Most of the reviews I have read of it seem to hate it because they are more or less outraged by this aspect of it. But it is one somewhat warped view of a very complex and cool man. I didn't really mind it because it has done nothing to change my view of how Hitchcock was, and more importantly, how brilliant his films were. Actually Toby Jones superbly eerie portrayal of this evil incarnation of Hitch made me appreciate the film. And seriously, I think I enjoyed it more than everyone else (evidently) because I liked the performances in it so much. Jones's Hitchcock was more sinister than any of the villains in any Hitchcock films that I have seen (which admittedly are not that much) except maybe the birds in The Birds themselves. But he was also pathetic and sad. Sienna Miller too was really good as Hedren. She was the heroine who saved her integrity from this big, powerful man and was rather believable as that. My absolutely favourite performance in it though was of Imelda Staunton as Alma Hitchcock, Hitch's poor, neglected, perceptive, brunette wife. At the risk of sounding highly clichéd, there is so much she says without saying anything at all. I felt even more sorry for her than Hedren. Her performance is definitely going down as one of my favourite supporting performances of the year.

           Another thing I liked about The Girl is when they show the filming of The Birds and Marnie. I loved how The Birds was actually shot in a studio and that Hedren was, very villainously, made to react to real birds being flown (thrown?) at her in the studio for five days to film the attic scene and many other such "behind the scenes" things. How her horror was always real, because of Hitch. How Hitch just sat there in a trance, seeing her getting hurt and being traumatised. Personally I felt that some of his steps, no matter what the ulterior motives might have been, were necessary because he was, after all, making a movie and he wanted to make the best he could. Geniuses are often a bit crazy, but what they leave us with is so amazing that we have to accept them- all of them. Also this film made me want to watch more Hitchcock (more than usual that is) and I did end up watching Marnie right after it. No way I will ever voluntarily watch The Birds again obviously, but it is intriguing to think how such films were made possible. Plus I really want to see Hitchcock now, to compare and also because it explores the relationship between Hitch and Alma. Poor Jones, the last time he made a biopic, Infamous, it was in the same year as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Capote. And now this... Anyways, my final verdict is that even though The Girl shows us this twisted Hitch, if it ends up making one want to watch more Hitchcock films and as a result discover what he really was, which is a visionary and a true master of suspense and someone who daringly explored the human psyche (like in Marnie), all is good.

Rating- 7/10

Saturday 20 October 2012

"This is the true and impossible story of my great love."

          I love romantic comedies. They are like my thing, and not in a pathetic lonely female way. Well, not only. Having been raised in the 90s Bollywood scene, it is hard not to be inclined towards romcoms. Unfortunately though, most romcoms nowadays are pure crap. However, once in a while something comes along that reaffirms my faith in this genre, which is one of my most favourites. Ruby Sparks is one such film.

          Ruby Sparks starts with a girl shrouded in unearthly light talking to the audience/ our protagonist- Calvin Weir-Fields. She is the girl he has lately been dreaming about. Calvin is a writer who reached his peak at nineteen with a very successful book and has been trying to write a good enough follow-up ever since. He is at his wits end with his therapist, his agent, his brother and even his weird dog, Scotty. His therapist tries to help him by telling him to write as a person who would like Scotty for all his weirdness, and Calvin's answer to this problem comes as another dream encounter with this mysterious girl, who he names Ruby Sparks. He makes up this whole backstory about her and in many ways, she really is the girl of his dreams and he feels as though he is falling in love with her. He is of course concerned about this attachment of his, but that is nothing compared to when he wakes up to find that Ruby has somehow come to life and is living in his house as his girlfriend. Though at first bewildered by the power of his words, he cannot help but fall more and more in love with this enchanting girl, who doesn't know about the source of her existence. But even though she starts out as his ideal girl, Calvin soon finds that Ruby is just another normal girl with problems and flaws and as much as he wants to control that, somethings are even out of his creative hands.

             Ever since I saw the trailer of Ruby Sparks, I was sure that I was going to love it. It seemed to have this wonderful and odd love story and two very endearing leads in the form of Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan. And my goodness, did it deliver! The story was written by Kazan when she was dating Dano (!) and she wrote Calvin with him in mind and also based the story on films like The Purple Rose of Cairo (!!!) and Groundhog Day, that deal with slanted realities. What I like about the story is that it takes this idea of a manic pixie girl, with all the quirks and amazingness and helplessness etc. and completely turns it around. It shows how unrealistic this whole concept is, thus questioning the male gaze and one's idea of perfect soulmates which are always antithetical to the reality of the situation. As shown by the exclamation marks after The Purple Rose of Cairo, I love stories and films that bring the imaginary and the real together, and Ruby Sparks does that. Calvin says something towards the end of the film about how we should not question how it came to be, but accept it and all the magic and loveliness that it brings along with it. And Ruby Sparks is magical and lovely, and also very smart and funny.

          The writing would not have been half as effective were it not for the absolutely adorable leads, Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan. I am literally in love with Dano after this film. I mean people who know of my Woody Allen obsession know that I have a thing for neurotic, nervous, intelligent, bespectacled, skinny men who spend a lot of time on the therapist's couch (yes I do know that this is a sort of idealization and contradicts the message of this film, but it is what it is). And Kazan was spot on when she imagined Dano being this character. He is so funny and sweet and sad at the same time. Dano, with all his gangliness, is brilliant with physical comedy. There is a part when he is sneaking down the stairs after he has just realised that Ruby is real and his whole body language is so hilarious at that point. He manages to be charming in all his pathetic neediness, and when during the climax he is being a total bastard, it is also kind of sad because it is obvious that it hurts him to be that way. I thought he was such a fascinating character and Dano truly brought him to life with the oodles and oodles of talent that he has. Kazan too was excellent. She is very pretty, but in the exact way how someone like Ruby Sparks would be. She has some really comic moments too, when Calvin tinkers with her personality and she doesn't realise it. But my favourite thing about her is the the little changes that she brings to the character of Ruby, which is so important because Ruby does end up being someone real and all real people do keep changing like that all the time. Her chemistry with Dano is to die for and she, like him, shines the most in the climax.

          There are a few other characters in the film too. Chris Messina plays Harry, Calvin's brother and only confidante who is kind of beguiled by Ruby and her existence. Annette Benning plays Calvin's mother and Antonio Banderas plays her boyfriend. Steve Coogan, Elliot Gould and Deborah Ann Woll too have little but important roles. All together a very good supporting cast. The film is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris who made another little gem, Little Miss Sunshine. I thought here they made a simple, effective and smart romcom that asks a lot of questions about the creative process and idealization and the reality of relationships and also manages to be heartwarming and really fun.

             Ruby Sparks is everything that I look for in a romantic comedy and more. It is actually one of those movies I wish I had written or made. It made me feel happy and fall in love with the characters it portrayed. For all these reasons, it has come right at the top of the list of my favourite films of 2012. I hope you watch it and love it as much as I did.

Wednesday 17 October 2012


This has taken a while. I call this THE MOTHER OF ALL THOUGHTS POST! Just think it is catchy...

1) Personal update- Yes people, I am alive. I have just been v.v.v.v.v.v. sick. I had a seriously bad case of viral fever and I was/am really weak. I am about the worst person in the world to ever fall sick, since I cannot swallow pills and literally prefer dying but yeah I was nursed back to health by my family. I then had to travel from Calcutta to Dubai in my fragile condition. They put me in a wheelchair which was super embarrassing and just added motion sickness to my list of discomforts. The plane journey itself was extremely boring. I have a history of discovering awesome shows in flights like Doctor Who and Luther. This time there was Kenneth Branagh and apparently Tom Hiddleston-starrer Wallander though the latter wasn't there and the show was boring as fuck. Also the only new film to watch was People Like Us (which was again very boring and overly dramatic) and Beasts of a Southern Wild, a film that has been on my to-watch list ever since I saw its trailer, was showing on the return flight so rats! The only good thing about this whole journey was that this unbelievably hot guy was there in my plane but yeah that led to nothing. Another thing I liked about it was in the five hours I seemed to have stood in the passport control line, there was a group of really quaint old British men behind me who were hilarious and right now while reading JK Rowling's latest The Casual Vacancy, I cannot quite stop picturing the men as part of the book. Right now my mother is force-feeding me back to health (or so she wishes) and I keep thinking back on the days of the illness where I was this close to finally being my own Tyler Durden but eh whatever. At least I can blog now.

2) Posters and pictures- Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part 2 has the most hilarious poster of all time. I cannot get over how ridiculous it looks. Speaking of, Carrie looks plenty terrible too. What is a good poster is that of my most anticipated sequel of all time, The World's End. This film will be so epic. My darling Daniel Radcliffe is doing two films. There is a poster for his romcom The F Word with Zoe Kazan which looks sweet. There is also the released picture of him avec horns in Horns. It does look kind of retarded, but this film sounds cool. Also since we're talking about weird pointy things (TWSS), the new Wolverine picture looks mental. Hugh Jackman does not need to be that photoshopped. He is a beautiful man as it is.

3) Okay so you know how long I've been gone? Back when Seth MacFarlaine hosting the Oscars was big news. I haven't actually seen anything he has done (Family Guy, Ted) but it seems like a weirdly ballsy move by the AMPAS so we'll see where this goes. What is great hosting news is that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the Golden Globes. YESSSS! I just keep thinking of Mean Girls for this, even though they are more famous for Saturday Night Live and Baby Mama together. Still, epicly awesome funny ladies FTW!

4) Continuing with my last weekly thoughts post about TV shows and movies- The Coen Brothers are making a Fargo movie. Woaaahh! I know right. I don't remember Fargo very well, just that wood chipper scene and saying "Yeah" like Frances McDormand for weeks after that. I am not big on Coen Brothers (yes I know blasphemy!) but this will be interesting. Also Alfonso Cuarón and JJ Abrams are making some sci-fi supernatural tv show together, whose premise is about "a girl in possession of a great gift/powers — which will come into their own in seven years — and the man who is sprung from prison to protect her from those trying to hunt her down ." Then David Fincher and Kevin Spacey have developed a political drama show called House of Cards. Why don't I know these things? It sounds pretty impressive. It also stars Robin Wright, Kate Mara and Corey Stall.

5) Casting news round-up- Daniel Radcliffe may be starring in Frankenstein which will bring a  sci-fi spin on the classic horror story. It sounds very offbeat and cool and I like everything Radcliffe has been attaching himself to post-Potter so this can continue the trend. Ben Whishaw might star in Steven Spielberg's Robocalypse. I love Whishaw and think he's a wonderful actor and it will be very good for his career to be attached to a big project like this. Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan have joined the already awesome cast of The World's End. I really cannot effing wait for this film. Not only will Marc Webb be returning to direct The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (YUCK), but Shailene Woodley is in talks to play Mary Jane Watson (DOUBLE YUCK). I like Woodley but I think I have made my animosity towards the first Amazing Spider-Man movie and the absolutely horrendous role of Mary Jane Watson be known far and wide. I will hate this film too. I know it. Robert Pattinson will star alongside Carey Mulligan in Hold on to Me which is about a real life femme fatale and seems like a juicy part for Pattinson to, pardon the pun, sink his teeth into. Amy Adams will star as Janis Joplin in a biopic directed by Lee Daniels, which sounds very interesting even though I have not seen any of Daniels's work yet. Also Natalie Portman may star as Jackie Kennedy in the biopic Jackie that was once a pet project of Darren Aronofsky and Rachel Weisz. I can see it happening.

6) Apparently Benedict Cumberbatch is the new James Bond villain for whenever Bond 24 will come out? What? Why do I read about these things in Indian tabloids? That's bloody amazing though. Just the thought of verbal and possibly physical sparring between two very attractive British men in suits *fans herself*.

7) Since when was Michael Fassbender part of the Terrence Malick film that also has Rooney Mara and Ryan Gosling? It's very hard to keep track since Malick is making like 50 movies, but this is the music festival one. But man, Fassy and Gosling in one movie together is not going to be good for my nerves. Still, who knows who will actually make the final cut (this thought keeps me up at night).

8) Everyone has heard this, yes? I kept hearing it even though it was triggering my headache back when I was sick-

9) Back when I was gone, Sati's absolutely brilliant site Cinematic Corner turned 1 year old. Her blog puts mine, and let's face it, probably yours to shame also. It is just that good and that pretty. And it's only a year old, a prospect that makes me sick and disgusted. Let's hope it continues to be this awesome for many many more years to come.

10) Edgar Wright will be definitely making the Ant-Man film so good on Marvel for officially becoming wayyyyyyy cooler than DC. Also Agent Coulson will be there in the S.H.I.E.L.D. tv show pilot so maybe he didn't die, which will be very sneaky on Nick Fury's part. Still yaay! because Agent Phil Coulson is ab fab.

11) Trailers- The Lone Ranger which looks wayyy too serious, and it should have more of Armie Hammer seeing that he is in fact the Lone Ranger. A proper trailer for Lincoln came out that does not make it look like War Horse with Daniel Day-Lewis. I like it so much more. Stoker that looks ahmazing and creepy and is definitely one of my most anticipated films of next year. Zero Dark Thirty also released an actual trailer that makes sense. I'm still not a hundred percent sold on this film but I do love me some Jessica Chastain and this is like her first proper big profile lead role so yaay! Hitchcock looks really good and fun. Anthony Hopkins is killing it as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren looks really good too. I love how Scarlett Johannson doesn't even get a mention. It ain't her movie! Carrie's teaser looks good until you actually get to Carrie, being played by Chloe Moretz. She looks stoopid. They will all laugh at her!! The new Gangster Squad trailer has a lot more Emma Stone to offer, but it looks the same to me. I have become so much lesser enthused about this film as time has gone by. Still, gotta love Gosling in a suit. Finally the latest Django Unchained trailer is all sorts of batshit crazy, especially in the form of one delicious Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo Di Caprio. This film will be fantastic.

12) Finally, who else was devastated by the mid-season Doctor Who finale? I have never cried like that for a tv show ever. I will write about it but for now-
Truth. Troll.

Okay so I will be back soon. I hope. Byeee.

Monday 1 October 2012

The Month that was- September

        September was okay. I actually have no memory of it, I don't know why. Oh yeah, the blog turned a bit Doctor Who-crazy (see the banner)! Sorry about that. Well, not really. I love that show. I did manage to watch 31 films though, some which have been in my 'to watch' list for quite sometime now. Also crossed the 300 mark :) Yaayy!


1) The Raid: Redemption- Woah this was awesome! It's like an adrenalin rush, just watching it. It keeps you at the edge of your seat with clean, simple, gorgeous violence. 
2) On the Waterfront- I can see why this is the classic it is. Incredible morality tale, with a legendary performance from Marlon Brando.
3) The Third Man- The look and lighting of this film! *swoon*
4) Radio Days- No one does nostalgia like Woody Allen. So sweet and heartwarming.
5) Code Unknown- Powerful film. Made me think a lot after watching it.
6) To Rome with Love- Yes, it was quite the mess. But it was my first Woody Allen film in a cinema hall, so I love it for that.
7) Three Colours: White- It was quite good, but I just kept waiting for something to happen that never did. I guess it was not as satisfying as the other two.
8) Sense and Sensibility- Daww this film. It was so funny and sweet. Loved everyone in it, and definitely more than the book.
9) 25th Hour- I think it was too hyped up for me. It didn't blow me away as I had expected it, but it definitely had its great moments. Remind me, why doesn't Edward Norton have an Oscar?
10) Magic Mike- I smiled wayyy too much in this film. Did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did :P And to think Alex Pettyfer was my favourite.
11) Black Narcissus- Same thing as 25th Hour. The fact that I presently go to a college run by nuns made this funnier than the film makers might have intended it to be.
12) Seeking a Friend for the End of the World- It started out well enough, but by the end of it, it became a total sapfest. First film Keira Knightley hasn't annoyed the hell out of me since Atonement.
13) Weekend- Loved it. It will make an excellent double feature with Lost in Translation, ouie?
14) The Seven Year Itch- Marilyn Monroe saved it from being annoying. Loved her. The film, not so much.
15) Synecdoche, New York- I had no idea what was going on while I was watching it, but then its brilliance wafted over me. I need to rewatch this sometime soon.
16) Moonrise Kingdom- I thought it was magical. One of the most beautiful looking films I have seen, certainly the most stunning in Wes Anderson's filmography, which is something.
17) Barfi!- Quite liked it, but no, its not *that* original.
18) A Room with a View- Since we were reading about the book in class and so I decided to check it out. It was okay. The cast was pretty good. Young Rupert Graves was shocking and cute. That random communal skinny dipping scene wasn't...
 19) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington- I was loving every second of it till kids started getting attacked. That made no sense to me whatsoever. Still, important film. Jimmy Stewart is phenomenal.
20) The Deer Hunter- Loved it. Great story, superb performances. Christopher Walken deserved that Oscar.


1) The Avengers- Even though the DVD came without a gag reel (bastards), I fear this might become one of my most used DVDs ever. Still number 1 of the year.
2) Three Colours: Blue- In a way this can be counted as a first viewing, since I had only watched it in bits and pieces until now. Absolutely majestic movie. My favourite in the trilogy. Juliet Binoche is to die for.
3) Three Colours: Red- I really love this one too.
4) Pulp Fiction- Okay what exactly makes this film as mindblowingly fantabulous as it is? I can never pinpoint why I love this film so much, but oh god, I so do!
5) Before Sunset- With all this talk about Before Midnight, I just had to watch this. Favouritest sequel of all time.
6) American Beauty- Had not seen this in a long, long time. I still can't believe I hated it the first time I saw it (I was 14 okay, and Lester tends to be creepy). Amazing film.
7) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- This film gets better everytime I watch it. I really hope Fincher-Mara-Craig finish the trilogy.
8) The Artist- Saw it in film studies. People were crying all around me. It was awesome.
9) Taxi Driver- Favourite Scorsese, De Niro, everything.
10) The Devil Wears Prada- I don't even remember when I saw this last, which is completely criminal of me. Love love love this film. Favourite Meryl Streep performance.
11) The Princess Bride- I was down in the Pits of Despair and up the Cliffs of Insanity due to Doctor Who and needed something to cheer me up. Perfect film for that.

TV shows:

1) Series 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey- I enjoyed this very much. Absolutely in love with Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess. The look and the clothes in this show is especially beautiful.
2) Series 1 of Luther- Now that was badass. Idris Elba in his all-man manliness, nearly as delicious as the ahmazingly diabolical Ruth Wilson. The last scene of this series was sex.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- I reread this because we kept discussing it in class. Mr. Darcy... mmmmm *drools*

Final tally:
                                  Firsts- 211                   Rewatched- 100            Shorts- 16
                                                                         Total- 327 

There you have it. October I go back to UAE for vacation, so hopefully the tally will go higher. But then again I might take up some writing. Let's see... Happy October :)