Thursday 27 February 2014

February Blind Spot- The Apu Trilogy

      Sorry for the delay, folks! I had originally intended to tackle the Apu trilogy later on during the year, but we were made to watch Pather Panchali, the first part of the trilogy, in film studies and so I thought it made sense to watch the other two too. Unfortunately, finding their DVDs with English subtitles was more tricky than I had anticipated.

       Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy is considered as one of the milestones in world cinema. A bildungsroman set in pre-Independent India, it follows Apu from his birth to adulthood, chronicling the experiences of him and his family while also capturing the spirit of rural India and the coming of modernity.

Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road)

In the first film, we are introduced to Apu and his family- his practical yet emotional mother Sarbajaya, his happy-go-lucky father Harihar, his free-spirited older sister Durga and their elderly relative Indir. They live in their ancestral village, Nischindipur in quite poor conditions, but still try to make most of it. However, something terrible happens and shakes his whole family.

In many ways, this film is least focused on Apu from among the three and is more about showing a way of life. While it is difficult to deny the cultural, historical and ideological importance of Pather Panchali, I will say that I was left a bit underwhelmed. I still liked it a lot, especially the cinematography, but its narrative style did little for me. I won't say that I was bored but the film was a tad too still for me at times and I can see why my father had challenged me to watch this movie without falling asleep (which by the way, I totally won and he now owes me some kind of gift, preferably money hehe). It can be watched as a standalone film though more for the women- Indir, Sarbajaya and Durga, instead of Apu. It's also a pretty accurate portrait of an Indian village and the way that life and death take place there.

Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

This film follows Apu from his childhood to teens. His family moves to Benaras but tragedy strikes and so they have to live in another village. Apu starts his formal education and it turns out that he is an excellent student and so he gets a scholarship to a college in Calcutta.

This is the only film in the trilogy that I feel cannot be watched on its own. You need the basis of Pather Panchali to care for the characters and Apur Sansar is where this story of Apu finds its catharsis. There are of course very important events that take place in Aparajito- the deaths in the family, and Apu's education and transformation into a modern man.

I think this film solely lies on the talents of Karuna Banerjee, who plays Sarbajaya. She always has a look of sadness, like she wants more from life but at the same time knows how limited her circumstances are. Yet, she remains determined and Apu really owes his life to her in every way. 

Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)

In the final film of the Apu trilogy, we meet the adult Apu. Apu finds love in this film and then loses it and has to come to terms with his tragic life.

This was my favourite of the three, which isn't a very popular opinion but ah well. Apu has a fully rounded personality in this and his marriage with Aparna, played by the sublime Sharmila Tagore, is just lovely. While this film can be watched on its own, I think the poignancy of it is enhanced when seen in relation to the rest of Apu's life. I happen to like romantic relationships in movies and this film has that kind of a narrative, and so it becomes obvious why I would like it best.

Also, I suppose I have a fondness towards movies set in my city. It's not a particularly stunning city, but it is full of life and I appreciated that this film was the liveliest of the lot too.

       The trilogy is based on two books by the writer Bibhutibushan Bandopadhyay which were somewhat autobiographical. I haven't read them but according to my professor, they show how the coming of modernity in India was a sudden, forced action and for it to stay, the older traditions had to be done away with. They apparently have a more romanticized notion of the modern man, but Satyajit Ray made the movies almost twenty-five years later, during which the Kokata riots had taken place and India had gained independence from the British. Therefore, it is not a direct adaptation as Ray is also critiquing this modernity through the figure of Apu, who loses everything in his life to become a modern man. 

          There is much tragedy in the life of Apu as we see it, but the handling of the material makes is quite realistic because of how subtly the films move. Ray was was trying to change the idea of cinema from the melodramatic, theatrical features that flocked the screens at the time to something with a distinct language and an aim to capture real life. He was greatly influenced by the Italian neorealists and it is very easy to see elements of The Bicycle Thief in this movie. While I am sure that in the era when it was made, the Apu trilogy was a great departure from the other mainstream movies but seeing them now, they still feel a bit too overly dramatic at times, mostly because of the score though that might be a personal opinion.

            Apu was played by four different actors- Subir Banerjee as the youngest Apu, Pinaki Sen Gupta as the slightly older Apu, Smaran Ghosal as teenage Apu and Soumitra Chatterjee as the adult Apu. All of them were good but I will have to say my favourite was Chaterjee, who is considered as one of Bengali cinema's greats. Until Apur Sansar, we never really get a sense of who Apu is because we always see him with his other relatives. It is once he starts getting educated that we understand his character and in Apur Sansar, it is all about him, his thoughts, his poetry and his love. This Apu is also the one death affects the most and we feel more easily for him.

        One aspect of the movies I really admired was the role of women in Apu's life. As I said, his father Harihar, played by Kanu Banerjee, is someone pretty bland and complacent and if it was not for the patriarchal structure of the world this is set in, is quite unnecessary altogether. Coming to the women, as I wrote above, Sarbajaya is the driving force behind most of Apu's life. She too is bound in her role as decided by the society, but it is her want for her better life that Apu inherits. His sister Durga, played by Runki Banerjee and Uma Dasgupta, is the person young Apu is closest to and they have a deep bond between them. Indir who is absolutely terrifying to look at, was played by Chunibala Devi, and represents many of the thematic ideas of this story. She is closer to Durga than Apu though. Finally, Aparna is Apu's great love and their relationship is very beautifully depicted. Each of them are responsible for the path Apu's life takes and being a story about a modern man, this becomes a very interesting concept.

           These were the first movies that Ray made, and he worked with a lot of people who had also no experience in filmmaking. The three movies were made on a budget of 150,000 rupees, which is less than $2500 dollars today. These facts are astounding, even moreso when you have watched the movies. There is nothing amateurish about them and they look like something made with a vision. Indeed, Pather Panchali didn't have a script and was made from Ray's drawings and notes. Ray actually lived in a village for some weeks to get a better understanding and one can see how well he emulates the feeling of such a place and the kind of lives people have there. Critics have called it "pure cinema" and due to my still limited film knowledge, I cannot say whether they are right or wrong but I will say that these films are indeed a very beautiful, honest look at a young man's life. And as sad as the story is, I do think that the open-ended conclusion is hopeful and that makes it more touching and life-like. Otherwise, what is the point?

          On a final note, I had always been greatly embarrassed by the fact that I hadn't watched any of Ray's movies, being from Calcutta and loving movies and all that. I am really glad that I have fixed that and I am very enthusiastic about watching his other films.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Motifs in Cinema 2013- "Coming of Age"

       I chose the motif of "Coming of Age" for Andrew’s Motifs in Cinema blogathon for a number of reasons: 1) It’s one of my favourite sub-genre of movies, in any year, 2) this year had a really interesting crop of these kind of movies, 3) the other motifs were harder and so on. The biggest reason why I chose it though is because, and I know how profoundly douchebag-y this is probably going to sound, I came of age in 2013. It wasn't after some major traumatic event in my life; it was a truly random moment, the kind I have had thousands of times before, and a thought suddenly came to my mind and I understood what it meant and that was it.

         Don't worry though, I have no intention of going all philosophical on you. I am not going to write about that thought because I feel it’s different for everyone, much like the movies that I have chosen.

      I have a list because I like lists :)

Honourable mentions: The Kings of Summer and The Way, Way Back, both of which were a lot of fun, but they were more stereotypically “coming of age” and I wanted to pick some more unusual films.


There has been a lot said about the visuals, acting, Hitchcockian influences, Matthew Goode's oozing sexiness etc. in Park Chan-Wook's Stoker, but ultimately the movie is a "coming of age" tale where India Stoker, played to icy perfection by Mia Wasikowska, comes to a conclusion about her dangerous true self and how embracing it is the only way for her. The film opens with her whispery proclamation, "Just as a flower does not choose its colour, we are not responsible for what we have come to be. Only when you realise this do you become free. And to become adult is to become free." Though that may seem almost too in-your-face, the events that lead up to that declaration just validate it even more. One of the things that come with growing up is the understanding of who you are, which in India's case is *SPOILERS* that she's inherently a psychopathic murderer *END SPOILERS* but you know, at least she's happy being who she is. Right? :/


Immediately after I saw Jeff Nichols' Mud for the first time, one of my professors started her lectures on James Joyce's short story 'Araby'. It was impossible to read the latter without thinking about the former. Both of them are about young adolescent boys who have a romanticized notion of the world and then have to come to terms with reality. Tye Sheridan's Ellis is someone who has such faith in the idea of true love and how it never ends, even in the face of real danger, that the bitterest cynics cannot question his innocent belief. We all know that that moment is coming when his trust will be broken and when it does, it is nothing short of shattering: partly because of the script and the way it is handled, partly because of Sheridan's prodigious ability to show so much pain so sincerely, and partly because I think we have all felt that way at some point in our lives- when the fairytale ends and what is left is much stranger and sadder. It is a cruel realisation that is an element of growing up.

Spring Breakers

Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers is a great many things, one of which is the "coming of age" of our young heroines. The film starts with the starlets, who play college students, bored with their monotonous life, one which is shot in dull, hospital-like colours. They dream of an escape, the ultimate escape- spring break, and are ready to do anything for it. The spring break is in contrast painted with vivid hues, as though it is life itself for the girls, but of course it is not real. When they get arrested and subsequently "saved" by a gangster named Alien (James Franco's best performance to date), this limitless dream world comes to an end, even if all of them don't realise it. Two stay and two leave, but all of them are changed through their experiences. For Selena Gomez's Faith, the spring break reaffirms her, well, faith and for Rachel Corine's Cotty, it literally wounds her and she has to learn from her mistakes. As for Ashley Benson's Brittany and Vanessa Hudgens' Candy, though they proclaim their slogan "Spring break forever bitches" till the end, they have perhaps come the longest way, accepting their inner criminal, darker selves, much like India above. Spring break may well last forever, but do you stay the same person throughout it?

The To Do List

One of the reasons this is an odd year for films with the "coming of age" theme running through them is because they have focused more on girls. Usually, such movies are about a boy's journey into manhood and that is accompanied by sexual discoveries. In Maggie Carrey's The To Do List, these gender roles are reversed. The ambitious and determined Brandy Klark, played by Aubrey Plaza, wants to be completely sexually proficient before she starts college and so she makes a to-do list, full of various sexual acts and embarks upon achieving all of them during her summer break. Even though the film was uneven as hell, it tackled issues like virginity and female sexuality with a frankness that I have rarely seen before. Much of this is thanks to Plaza's natural deadpan style that is both funny and nonchalant. The "coming of age" element comes when amidst all her sex-capades, Brandy realises that while sex is important, there are more essential things in life that one cannot do without. Sexual maturity is almost always thought if in relation to actual maturity and it was refreshing to see a girl's handled so well.

Frances Ha

All the other movies in my list so far have revolved around teenage characters because ideally, that's when we are supposed to "come into our own" and "become the person we are supposed to be". Frances Ha however shows a 27 year old, "which IS old" as one of her roommates reminds her, as adrift in her life as she is when it comes to finding living arrangements. It was impossible not to connect with Frances, never more than when she says "I am not a real person yet." She is shown as almost regressing in her life in the movie, going from someone with a dream to someone who has to make-do with living in her old college. This is because she is constantly finding someone to hold on to since her previous anchor, her best friend Sophie, has moved on in her own life. Of course, Frances realises that the only person she really needs is herself and the film shows this subtly and beautifully. It is the kind of phase a lot of people go through, especially in this day and age when we are constantly told that anything can be achieved, but life, obviously, has other plans. The way by which we cope with this truth is what helps us to become the person we are supposed to be. 

The World’s End

In contrast to these "coming of age" movies, there are some which show the failure in crossing this threshold of maturity. 2013 gave us the king of all man-children- Gary King. Gary was the coolest guy in town when he was 17, and so he decided to stay that way forever, not realising how lonely that would make him once everyone else grows up. Deceptively sold as a comedy, The World's End is a bleak look at people like Gary, who are ultimately tragic in their inability to accept reality and themselves, giving in to things like alcohol in order to forget that. They hold on to the "good ol' days" and can manage to cause a lot of pain and hurt to themselves and those who care about them. Of course, the end of the movie and of Gary is more hopeful, but the portrayal and ideas are still sad and dark.

Monday 24 February 2014

"The real question is this: was all this legal? Absolutely not."- FAVOURITE EVERYTHING ELSE OF 2013

Just a mix of all my other favourites of the year. The favourite performances and favourite films lists are yet to come :)

  • Ethan Wate, Beautiful Creatures- Because he talks about Titanic and Bukowski within 5 minutes of each other.
  • Samantha, Her- She was just such an incredible person and, as weird as it may sound, so full of life.
  • Shaikh, The Lunchbox- So simple and friendly. Both a common and an incredibly rare kind of man.
  • Anna, Frozen- Because she wakes up like a normal female human.
  • Gary King, The World's End- Even though I know he's kind of sad, Simon Pegg just infuses him with so much energy.
  • Wadjda, Wadjda- Total badass heroine.
  • Mason, Short Term 12- Just the way he connects to these troubled kids is amazing.
  • Shannon Mullins, The Heat- Not just funny. But still, my god, soooo funny!
  • Rosalyn, American Hustle- Because she's basically Jennifer Lawrence, and Jennifer Lawrence is awesomesauce.
Favourite Character of 2013- Frances from Frances Ha
Yes she's confused and whiny and all that, but she's also so likeable and funny and undateable. I love her.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street- This would have been on the list on the basis of having Spike Jonze and Rob Reiner as part of the cast alone.
  • Blue Jasmine- While our ladies shine the most, they are supported by a number of other fantastic actors.
  • Nebraska- Ugh just look at those beautiful old faces!
  • Prisoners- Though everyone doesn't get equal footing in terms of script, I thought all the actors did great work in this.
Best Ensemble of 2013- This is the End
So many reasons this could have been awful, but the actors play caricatures of themselves and really elevate the movie.

  • Kaijus, Pacific Rim- Who needs character development when you can have supremely cool-looking monsters?
  • Ted Hendricks, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty- I love Adam Scott to death but good lord, he can play an excellent a-hole! I wanted to slap him so much.
  • The Eppses, 12 Years A Slave- While most of the white characters in film can be included in this list, Mr. and Mrs. Epps were a special breed of terrifying, loathsome creatures.
  • Danny McBride, This is the End- "The fucker's gots to GOOO!"
  • Bathsheba, The Conjuring- In order for a horror movie to work, it needs something truly frightening and Bathsheba was just that. We never see her properly but her presence is scary enough.
  • Loki, Thor: The Dark World- This is the 3rd year in a row Hiddles' Loki has made it into this list. That's because he always manages to steal the show in every scene he is in.
  • Pigs, Upstream Colour- Because whaaaaaaaaaat?? My brain shut down every time they were on screen.
  • Alien, Spring Breakers- No, he is not a "villain" villain but he is a bad guy, completely corrupted by his desire and greed.
  • Smaug/Khan- 2013 was supposed to be Benedict Cumberbatch's year but that didn't happen because his big films didn't use him well. Still, he was a more than decent villain for his screentime in both The Hobbit: blahblah Smaug and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Biggest villain of 2013- Uncle Charlie from Stoker
Oh he is just so sinister AND attractive. Forget India, I was confused by these feelings myself. And the film really just basks in Matthew Goode's gargantuan sex appeal.

  • Gypsy Danger, Pacific Rim- It's mindblowingly amazeballs and it comes with a sword!
  • Jonah Hill's teeth, The Wolf of Wall Street- They're a thing of beauty, aren't they?
  • The clothes, Laurence Anyways- From that showstopping gown to those raining scarves- ugh I want it all!
  • Milky Way, This is the End- We all want a bite of that Milky Way, and I don't even like Milky Way.
  • Nail polish, Spring Breakers- It is literally a trend maker. Love it.
  • The Gos' arms, Only God Forgives- I *might* have made this list just for this entry. But seriously, look at them.
  • The video game, Her- Theodore's lonely life is reflected in the video game. It is both funny and tragic.
  • The shoes, Stoker- When are a pair of shoes not just a pair of shoes? Also, I adore them.
  • The lunchbox, The Lunchbox- That one lunchbox is sent to the wrong person, and lives are changed!
Favourite Object of 2013- The bicycle, Wadjda
Such a simple wish for a girl to have and to have so much riding on it, literally. It is a symbol and a ray of hope.

(newest addition, especially for 2013)
  • Scarlett Johansson, Don Jon- Accompanied by her gum chewing, ScarJo sounds like something out of the Jersey Shore, but she still keeps it classy.
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine- It just sounds so affected, so made up. I love it.
  • Margot Robbie, The Wolf of Wall Street- Kinda amazed that an Aussie can get that accent so right.
  • James Franco, Spring Breakers- Franco just gives it his all. It's brilliant.
Favourite Accent of 2013- Emma Watson, The Bling Ring
I have been trying to learn it ever since the first teaser came out. It's hilarious.

Favourite Quotes of 2013

Sunday 23 February 2014

"Beautiful things don't ask for attention."- 13 FAVOURITE SHOTS OF 2013

And my absolute favourite shot from a 2013 movie is-
A lot has been said about how 2013 movies focused on the idea of the American dream and the way it has been corrupted. There were a number of films that showed excess, practically indulged in it, and then there was Alexander Payne's Nebraska. Shot in black and white, set in small towns which almost seem to have been forgotten, Nebraska shows the "other" America. 

You might wonder why someone like me would care about all this. Though I don't really give a hoot about America or its ideals or whatever, the whole concept of the American dream to me is basically a place where everybody gets to be somebody. We all have places like that in our lives, whether it's a college or a company or a city or a country, and all of us, no matter where we come from or what age we might be, still harbour the hope, or dream the dream, of getting there. 

Woody Grant wants to get to Nebraska to get his million dollars. He is an ordinary man and has been so throughout his life. Who knows what his dreams were. "I never knew the son of a bitch even wanted to be a millionaire!" as his firecracker of a wife exclaims at the beginning of the movie. We also find out, apart from a new truck and an air compressor, Woody's whole desire for getting the million dollars is to leave something behind for his sons. But in the moment above, when the customers at the local diner in his hometown start applauding him for his new apparent status, we see for the briefest of moments, Woody feeling like somebody who is important, probably for the first time in a long time. He is shown as someone who is barely aware of his surroundings half the time, but here, for a second, Woody glimpses at that dream where he has achieved something that makes people appreciate him. It is sad that this moment has come so late, and also oddly affirming that a man like Woody did get to feel that way at some point in his life. It is a moment caught between regret and hope and it is absolutely incredible.

There are technical things to appreciate too. I loved that Nebraska was shot in black and white because old people have such wonderful faces that can only be done justice to in monochrome. The poster had already highlighted the wispiness of Bruce Dern's hair in this movie and this shot really captures that too. Also, the bulb behind makes it look like Woody is in the limelight, which is in tune with what is written above.

Saturday 22 February 2014

"I am not formed by things that are of myself alone."- FAVOURITE SCENES OF 2013

        They're finally here! My "best of 2013" lists are go! I begin with my favourite scenes/sequences of the movies that released in 2013. Last year I divided this list into a normal Best Scenes list and a Best Action Scenes list but this time, it's back to being one list. 

P.S.- There are a lot of endings that have made their way into this list so SPOILERS of course!

P.P.S.-I am going to say right from the start that 2013 was a fantastic year for movies and all my lists are actually very long and I am only highlighting a part of them, so please don't think that I don't appreciate the things that haven't made it into my lists.

Honourable mentions: The dance scene in The Heat, the Gos gets his ass kicked in Only God Forgives, "Let It Go" in Frozen.

 Westray dies in The Counselor

One the whole, I found The Counselor to be dull and forgettable, except for one fantastically shot and freakishly creepy death scene towards the end. This mode of killing was described earlier in the movie and seeing it executed is both brutal and thrilling. Brad Pitt does excellent dying man acting too. Best death scene of the year :)

Ryan gets detached in Gravity

This scene stood out the most for me on my first viewing of Gravity and it *almost* distracted me from the enjoying the rest of the movie because I was that floored by it. In one single take, the kind that the duo of Emmanuel Lubezki and Alfonso Cuaron have become famous for, we see Sandra Bullock's Ryan Stone spiraling into space and how the camera moves closer and closer to her until we start seeing from her perspective and then it moves back out again. It's absolutely gobsmacking, visually, thematically and emotionally. Bravo.

Barrel of monkeys in Iron Man 3

Some time at the beginning of 2013, Iron Man 3 was my favourite movie of the year and this scene had contributed a lot to that (admittedly I had seen about 5 movies at that point). As fun as Jaegars and Kaijus fighting each other was, this is THE action sequence of the year in terms of pure action, thrill, innovation and just delight. We actually fear for those people's lives and it is amazing to see Iron Man save them in such a way, along with that hilarious twist at the end of it.

The ending of Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips is a very tense movie that keeps you enthralled throughout, barely letting you catch a breather and it is the same way for the characters in it, especially Tom Hanks' Captain Phillips. We see all the hardships that he goes through, protecting his ship from the Somali pirates and then being kidnapped by them, and how he still remains stable and calm. We almost wonder at his resilience to these incredible events, but then, right at the end, he lets go. And its shattering. I dare you to watch that scene without crying.

Going to The World's End in The World's End

Gary King and his two musketeers come face-to-face with the Network at the last bar of their epic bar crawl and the one-liners that are unleashed have to be seen/heard to be believed.
It is the ultimate scene about defiance. Beatiful.
"Go back to Legoland, you cunts!"

Frances' speech in Frances Ha

I was tempted to put the awesome dance-y run across New York streets set to David Bowie's "Modern Love" here, but I was left with my mouth hanging open and my heart completely gone when Greta Gerwig's Frances explains to some people at a dinner party what she wants in life. 
"It's that thing when you're with someone and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it, but it’s a party! And you're both talking to other people and you're laughing and shining and you look across the room and catch each other's eyes. But not because you’re possessive or it's precisely sexual but because that is your person in this life. And it's funny and sad but only because this life will end. And it's this secret world that exists right there in public unnoticed that no one knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don't have the ability to perceive them. That’s what I want out of a relationship or just life, I guess."
When movies manage to explain something that you know to be true but have never articulated, it's just the best thing ever. I cried.

The ending of This is the End

I am not going to write about it in case someone who has not watched the movie is reading this post. All I am going to say is that I was ASTONISHED, SHOCKED, SURPRISED, FUCKING MINDBLOWN at it. Never expected it in a million years and god, it was heavenly ;-) 

The piano duet in Stoker

Holy moly, I have never been aroused more in a scene that doesn't involve Ryan Gosling, ever. It's sinister and sexy. The chemistry between Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode is fantastic. The fact that nothing happens makes it even more eroticised. Musical notes and sexual tension heightening together to reach a crescendo, oh my!

Lemmons in The Wolf of Wall Street

I am taking into account the full sequence from the Country Club to Jordan saving Donnie's life because I can. Everything, from the way Leonardo DiCaprio distorts his face when the lemmons trip starts, to the way he crawls, to the never ending steps in the Country Club, to the opening of the car door, to him screaming nonsense on the phone, to him fighting Jonah Hill's equally tripped out Donnie, to Donnie stuffing his face with salami because why not, to the juxtaposition of Popeye eating his spinach and Jordan snorting his coke- it is all part of the funniest sequence of the whole year. It's crazy and unbelievable and rip-roaringly hilarious and man, Leo is officially the modern master of physical comedy. I can't imagine the state of the set on the days this whole sequence was shot.

"Everytime" in Spring Breakers

Even a doped out Leonardo DiCaprio opening his Lamborghini with his legs cannot trump this scene in terms of what-the-fuck-ness. As funny as this scene is, what with James Franco's Alien showing his sensitive side by playing and singing "Everytime" by Britney Spears, "one of the greatest singers of all time, an angel if there ever was on this earth," on his white grand piano while the sun sets to inspire a trio of girls in leopard-print monokinis and pink ski masks to go rob spring breakers followed by the actual, rather violent robbing, it simultaneously subverts and pays an ode to pop culture, which is what I love about it the most. Think 20-30 years ago, such a scene would have been set to classical music and it would have been big men carrying out these armed robberies. But the world is changing and pop culture is changing and the American dream is changing and the scene captures all that, amidst some of the most beautiful cinematography of the year. It is monumental.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

This is a Poster-Appreciation Life- 2013 edition

Who doesn't love a good poster? 2013 movies had some pretty remarkable poster though I am really starting to feel that official posters aren't half as fun or creative as the teaser ones. You'll see.

First, let's start with the boring stuff-
At least August: Osage County's one sheet is somewhat funny but there really isn't any imagination put in either of these posters. Just stills from the movie. Even the fonts are dull.

In contrast, these three just hit the nail on their USPs without getting boring. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is about Ron Burgundy and the mustache *is* kind of a big deal when it comes to him.
In case of the one sheet of The Kings of Summer, though the tagline is larger than the name of the film, it shows that this film is about a bunch of boys having fun in the nature and it really captures that spirit, which was what made the film so enjoyable.
And All is Lost is simply put 'Robert Redford stranded on a boat' and again, the poster is really showing that.

Somebody at Marvel got stingy-
I actually liked the Iron Man 3 poster when it came out but COME ON! More imagination, please?

Character posters galore-
Every film nowadays has a character poster set. While I do think it was necessary for something like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2 as it was the end of a major franchise that had so many people in it, I think in most other cases, they're just kind of bleh.
The Great Gatsby character posters, for those literary nerds who *really* wanted a Myrtle Wilson poster. I won't be too mean about it though because the poster with Isla Fisher's Myrtle is my favourite among these.

And American Hustle of course. LOOK! SPARKLE, HAIR AND CLEAVAGE! TA DAAAA!!! Again, I happen to love the ones with the ladies and I actually feel that this film probably only needed character posters and not a normal movie one.

Posters I really like because of their colour-
This too uses an image from the movie itself but the shades make it romantic and wistful. 

Xavier Dolan is some insane prodigy when it comes to colour. The film was gorgeous and so is this poster. 

It's the most elusive one sheet of the year, but it's just so captivating! Something about the blue-grayness of the eyes against that shirt and the background. And of course, Joaquin Phoenix's face is magical.

I could have never guessed what the movie was about if I had just seen this poster, but it's alluring. And I like that it has colour. And Frances is dancing :)

There were a number of posters for Blue is the Warmest Colour but this one is my favourite. Mostly because of the blue, on both the background and in Lea Seydoux's hair. It's straightforward and eye-catching.

And the (almost) monochrome beauties-
I just really like the simplicity and the starkness of these two.

A thousand silhouettes...
Though both these films ended up being meh, I like how the posters capture the iconographies of their respective franchises. Superman's speed, his cape, and the way both of them sort of merge make a rather striking one sheet for our man of steel. And while the movie kind of wasted Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan (spoilers?), this Star Trek Into Darkness poster emphasizes on his destructiveness well and of course there is the cool Starfleet sign amidst all that.

Tease away: Why weren't these the official posters again?
A lot of people complain about the shallowness of the character of The Bling Ring but Sofia Coppola had warned us from the beginning. You don't even need to see their faces. Their designer shades tell all.

This poster is hilarious. Yes, it kinda sorta encapsulates the father-son theme of the movie, but I almost wish the movie was about biker Ryan Gosling taking care of a baby. That would've been fun.

My favourite thing about The Wolverine was how comparatively small scale it was and how that helped focus most of the story on Hugh Jackman's legendary mutant. I like the simplistic yet powerful approach on this teaser poster too.

Much like the Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness posters above, both these posters evoke the spirit of Disney, though in very different ways. I think the Saving Mr. Banks one sheet is adorable. Some of my most favourite moments in the movie was whenever it referenced Mary Poppins and this poster shows that. And the Escape from Tomorrow one is plain cool. I want it on my wall even though I have little-to-no interest in watching the movie.

Disappointing movies with great posters-
By far the most disappointing movie of last year, and I *do* blame the posters partly for my raised expectations.
(PS. this isn't the last mention of Only God Forgives in this list)

This is such a crazy one sheet but it's awesome too. Unfortunately, the film only got the first part right.

Coming to my absolute favourites of the year...
Again, the teaser posters rule. The actual Catching Fire posters, character or otherwise, are very generic and blah, but these two teaser posters are stunning. I love the colours in the first and the details in the second. Shame the studios don't run with the more artistic one sheets.

Spring Breakers had a plethora of posters. My favourite is yet to come but these two beauties came close too. I like how different both these posters are in a way, from the font to the feel, and how both apply to the movie. Spring Breakers is a movie that defies definition, hence giving so many options for various kinds of posters.

And now, my top 3-
I still love this poster, no matter what my feelings towards the movie are. It's got the Gos; it's bloody, weird and straight up unforgettable. The movie is *kind of* like that but in a bad way. Ah well.

I can't choose between these two. I absolutely adore both of them. The Spring Breakers one is cheeky, colourful and totally amazeballs in its girly violent spirit, much like the movie. And just the intricacies and attention to detail in the Stoker poster are astounding. I love the thought put into both of them. Brilliant!

And that's it. What did you think? Which 2013 poster was your favourite?