If I was bordering on crazy with the dedication I displayed to watching almost every half-way decent movie to hit town, I’ve crossed over and entered obsessive-movie-goer territory. For one, the good movies seem to rush in at us in a flurry, and since we don’t enjoy the luxury of a good movie staying long enough (for example, most of the good, but slightly obscure Oscar nominated movies ran for a week tops, where as
shit stuff like Total Siyapa stays like the shows are all running house-full, bleedy!) I’ve become used to watching something I want to watch, as soon as it hits the talkies.
It’s almost like my weekend is incomplete unless I have walked into Inox at least once. Sometimes twice, I am not guilty to admit. And so it is that I have watched many, many movies in the last few weeks. Also, I seem to have so much to say in the comments section on other people’s posts on the movies, I decided a round-up was in order.
Hasee toh Phasee: I loved the movie because it was a thorough entertainer, and because despite being a “rom-com” it was refreshingly different in that the manic-eccentric heronie holds her own, is strong, independent and not chasing after the man who she is obviously falling for all along. I was pleasantly surprised by Siddharth Malhotra who, I am not ashamed to admit, I think has some potential to act. The bigger surprise however was Parineeti Chopra, who for some reason I had typecast into the hyper, extra-happy Punjabi girl box. That mould has been broken and I thought she outdid herself. I know a Hindi movie has pleased me when I come out without any complains and this was one of them.
Shaadi ke Side-effects: I hated the film and came our thoroughly disappointed because the movie irritated me on so many levels, and yet all around me people seemed to be amused by the predictable almost-MCP humour. I have officially joined the ranks of people who find Vidya Balan mildly annoying with her extra effervescent demeanour, that she peppers every role with, regardless of whether the character fits the bill. What annoyed me? The visible lack of a strong central theme which made it so easy to spin stories in a meandering way, the unnecessary side plots which seemed to mushroom and branch off on tangents every so often, Ram Kapur and Vir Das’ characters, and the fact that even though Farhan Akhtar continues to look dishy, it did not make me want to sit through and give it a chance. I might have dozed off at some point when the film seemed like it was going on and on, to possibly no end.
Highway: I have to come right out and say it, the movie didn’t knock my socks off and wow me. I liked it enough to sit through without complaining, come out and recommend it to a few friends because I thought it was yet another film that seems to be doing the Bollywood-thing differently. Also, I didn’t think Alia Bhat was fantabulous and all that. I thought she was finally doing her job and acting, instead of constantly being a ditz, but Randeep Hooda is the one that stole the show for me. Understated, yet just so powerfully played, his character grew on me in no time and my eyeballs were fixed on him, even though Alia did do her bit in carrying the film through. I liked that the film wasn’t an out and out love story, but more a story of each character finding their own and sharing a different kind of love along the way. I found the second half a little longer than it needed to be, and was disappointed with the end. I was overjoyed to see that CSA had made a bold entry into the story but also felt cheated in the way it was dealt with. Somehow it felt more like an after-thought plugged into the story because the writer realised too late that they probably needed a “reason” to peg her social ineptness and rebellious nature on. For having brought it up as such a central part of the story, I’d have liked some closure too. But that apart, I enjoyed the film and I suspect that like Rockstar, it will get better for me with the second, third and fourth watch. The music has been on loop at home for a while now, with Mahi Ve and Soona Saha just refusing to go away.
Queen: I was lucky to have caught the film with the girls, on Women’s Day, completely serendipitously. And we had a blast. I probably laughed through the film more than anyone else in my row because I was tickled not just by Kangna’s character which has perfectly hit the nail on the head as far as the quintessential, shy, constantly watching-her-back Indian girl is, but also by her portrayal of it, the little details that support her fabulous performance and most of all for sticking with the portrayal of a strong, independent woman protagonist who stays strong and independent right till the end. No hunt for a Knight in Shining Armour, for this Queen. It was a good way to end a good day and we topped it off by going out too late, drinking too much and I came home long after the hugsband had fallen asleep.
American Hustle: This was one of the first Oscar nominated films I watched and loved, because it was tight, well-written, brilliantly-acted and just so entertaining. It also had a fabulous soundtrack that I listened to on loop for many days after. It was a good mix of subtle heart-warming emotion in the bits of the lives of Irving (Christian Bale), Sydney (Amy Adams) and Rosalyn (the beayoootiful Jeniffer Lawrence), as well as a bellyfull of laughter and silly moments, and it an out and out riot of fun. Styled and staged beautifully, my only crib was Amy Adams’ boobs that felt like they were constantly on the verge of popping out.
Saving Mr Banks: I hear now, that this film wasn’t too popular amongst the Big Five this year. I went in not knowing what it was about, but wanted to watch Tom Hanks yet again, and came out happy. It tells the back story of how Mary Poppins came to be, and it does that while telling you a touching story of the loneliness and complexity of the woman who created such a vibrant character. The irony touched me, the music made me happy and I liked it.
Dallas Buyers Club: I’m usually weary of watching the big 5 of the Best-Movie category because somehow they are all usually depressing, but I made an exception with this one. I’m so glad I did because it is equal parts serious, in that the story is a very real, heart-wrenching one, and touching, entertaining and just so good. Matthew McConaughey owned the character from the word go. He didn’t just get under the skin, he became Ron Woodroff, so much so that at first glance, I refused to believe it was Matt McC. If that didn’t blow your mind a little, Jared Leto exploded through in an understated but beautifully played role of a trans-gender who not only befriends the homophobic Woodroff but also ends up becoming his business partner and eventually his closest friend. It’s not often that illegal activities that are actually altruistic get spoke about openly, because such are the mighty powers of the forces that be, and yet there were people like Woodroof fighting the system in the 80s, having his story told today.
Her: It’s a tough call for me to choose my best Oscar film this year and it’s a toss up between DBC and Her. I heard mixed reviews before I watched it, ranging from people going speechless, unable to explain how it made them feel, and some others who fell asleep because they couldn’t figure what was going on. I can’t figure why it induced those extreme reactions, but I was rapt from the moment it began and had to peel myself away from the screen, hit pause and go to dinner. I think it hit right home for me, because the theme was just so bloody close to home. It links up our increasing dependability on technology and the sense of isolation it brings, even though it technically connects the whole world together and is about loneliness, desperation, of living in a picture perfect minimalist world in the future, but a world that is just so soul-less. I am constantly walking the thin line between wondering where all this excessive information is going, when I consume it, and wanting to just cut back every now and then, and for me the film was about love, about hanging on to human touch and about living every moment in the present, minus a screen.
Blue Jasmine: A devastatingly beautiful film, in true Woody Allen style, Blue Jasmine is a straightforward story about a beyond neurotic woman trying to piece the shreds of her decimated life back to make some sense of it all. But that is all that is straight forward about it. The layers of relationships, between husbands and wives, between sisters, between the older generation and the next is twisted and curvy in a way that only Woody Allen can pull off. I enjoyed the film because it said a lot about the kind of life that can be so filled to the brim with all the stuff we chase after, and yet can reach that point of meaningless emptiness that one just can’t seem to fill with stuff anymore. It’s such a subtle and soft film, but makes a bold point, in any way that you choose to see it, and most of that is Cate Blanchett’s doing. I came away with a touched but smiling. And wanting very much to have a “Stoli-martini-with-a-twist-of-lemon”.
Drinking Buddies: I have harboured a deep, secret (well, not any more) girl-crush on Olivia Wilde since my days of watching House like the world would end if I didn’t finish the series. So I was excited to see this one, and while it seemed like an interesting basis for a plot — the impossible to deny attraction one sometimes has with people one cannot be with — I was just thoroughly disappointed that the film didn’t give me any answers! All through Olivia Wilde and her man-friend (the one she has this fabulous chemistry with, the best boy-buddy one can have, yet cannot be-be with) teeter the edges of a more than platonic relationship, while they have separate issues with their real significant others and it all seems like it is going somewhere, and then the movie ends. As someone who has always had way more male friends than female ones, and often found myself caught in the awkward place of mistaken emotions and mixed feelings, the premise seemed interesting but the movie was disappointing. All I admired was the impeccable shape Olivia Wilde is in, despite being a greasy-lunch loving, many-beer-chugging character who works in a brewery with way too many boys.
I also watched Gravity, Wolf of Wall Street, Dedh Ishqiya and Captain Phillips, amongst the lot of noteworthy films everybody has been talking about. And now I want to watch Nebraska, Philomena and call it a day because I don’t think I can get myself to watch 12 Years a Slave.
Incidentally, I also watched the Oscars this year, because it was downloaded in HD by a kind friend, which meant I could watch it in peace minus the ads, which made the exercise shorter and painless. The last time I woke up at the butt crack of dawn to catch the Oscars was too long ago for me to even remember, so this year I found the Oscars kind of riveting and I really got into it, even teared up a couple of times (but I’ll save that up for another post). Having watched the whole show, I am now tempted to watch some of the less talked about films that were a little overshadowed by the brouhaha over the Big Five — Frances Ha, before Midnight. Animation — The Croods, Frozen. Short Films/Documentaries — The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, Mandela and 20 Feet from Stardom.
So what have you watched lately?