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Wrapping It Up: April

Posted on the 30 April 2013 by Shantanu Ghumare @u_me_films
Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. Again I have clocked 21 movies in a month. Third time this year. I am feeling like I am unconsciously doing it on purpose. I am not really, I try to watch them whenever I can but I guess, I've eased into this routine now. If you remember, I promised to watch movies from 1001 movies list only this month. Scroll down to see how did I do?


Wrapping it Up: AprilWrapping it Up: AprilDo Bigha Zamin(1953)(Hindi): One of the most iconic films by certainly the most iconic Hindi film director of all time and the oldest Bollywood Essential I have written about. After finally watching this movie from start to end for the first time, I feel like calling it Father India - most of melodrama in it or at least first half of Mother India(1957). More about it here.
Wrapping it Up: April
Four Lions(2010): I remember hearing a lot about it the year it was released. It even made the '1001 Movies' list that year but I guess it lost the steam pretty quick and was left out the very next year. I don't know what the exact reactions were that year but I imagine it must have offended a lot of people. There is a lot of material that is indeed extremely offensive but what can I say, I loved it!! It's ridiculous but is extremely well played, hilarious and more often than not very to the point. It's like I feel bad for laughing on these jokes but can't help myself laughing.
Three Kings(1999): After writing a movie blog for nearly two years now, you would expect I'll be able to say why I like certain movie, right? I am sorry but you are wrong. I am still kind of confused as to why I like this movie. Like I said here, there are so many things in this movie that ideally should not work or do not work in many other cases but somehow despite them all, I still think I like this movie. I did my best to try and explain in the post above.
Mulholland Drive(2001): Naomi Watts could easily go into one of my favorite performances of all time. She was absolutely fantastic in it. As for the film; for someone who has pretty much hated everything made by David Lynch, or everything I have seen that he made, this was quite a surprise. It took me some time to really understand it properly but even if I didn't, I would have agreed that it is a good film. It is an intelligently made mystery film which makes you think and even that is enough for me to like it.
Dear Zachery(2008): I had heard a lot about this documentary, especially how emotionally drenched it is. I wasn't a wreck after watching it; thankfully, I was able to hold my own but otherwise, every word I heard was true. It is shocking, terrifying sequence of events that nobody should have to go through but extremely laudable effort to help a child know his father that he'll never see. If not for the way it ends, I can not think of a better present for any kid.
Wrapping it Up: AprilKes(1969): I never had very high opinion of The 400 Blows(1959) and I realize that these two films aren't exactly same but I think what they are trying to do is very much similar. Kes succeeded in doing everything that the former didn't to me. Basically I cared for Billy, who was played brilliantly by David Bradley, from very early in the movie. His teachers, his family and friends were terrible to him but I guess, that was a part of his allure. His eagle and all the shots featuring him were glorious but it was that ending that really killed me.
Wrapping it Up: April
Blow-Up(1966): My first introduction to Blow-up was through the Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron(1983) tribute to the event that gives this movie its name. I loved that it seamlessly shifts its focus a couple of times with Vanessa Redgrave's entry and exit. While I thought that segment of the movie was really interesting and intriguing, there were many things in the movie I struggled to comprehend like I didn't understand what did the side story of painter and his wife was for? Overall, I like it but it is still a little all over the place.
Sideways(2004): This month's Blind Spot. With the help of his last two films that I saw, Alexander Payne is becoming one of the directors I really look forward to. This movie came very highly recommended from multiple sources and I have been meaning to check it out for a long time. As I said in this post, I like this movie. It is not Payne's best work but it is good enough to spend couple of hours on it. I just wish I didn't go into with so sky-high expectations that despite liking it, I feel disappointed by it.
The Wedding Banquet(1993): Ang Lee's second film, even before he made Sense and Sensibility(1995), which was kind of his introduction to the western world. When I put it on, only reason I did it was because it is in the '1001 Movies' list and was expiring on Netflix at the end of this month. By the end, I was really glad I did. It is nothing extraordinary but very honest, heartfelt as well as fun story. I really enjoyed the first half and even in the second half when things turn quite serious, it managed to surprise me with its heart. I really am glad I saw it.
Dr. No(1962): First ever Bond film and also one of the better Bond films I have seen. Given that what I have seen is mostly Brosnan onwards Bond, it probably wouldn't matter much but still, it's a good film. It has a good villain, Ursula Andress and Bond has decent mission which incidentally comes with something like script. Only thing it lacked was his gadgets and little less action but if you look at Goldfinger below, that turned out to be blessing in disguise.
Wrapping it Up: AprilThirst(2009): I have seen a bunch of Korean movies and almost every single one of them contains crazy amounts of blood and gore. I had to get it out before saying that this is the craziest Korean movie I have seen so far to give you the idea of how crazy it really is. Chan-Wook Park's vampire drama is probably second only in craziness and the amount of blood and violence we see on screen to another one of Park's own movies - Oldboy(2003). Ok-bin Kim's Tae-Ju, however could easily be my favorite performance in Korean film.
One, Two, Three(1961): Billy Wilder's follow-up to the brilliant The Apartment(1960), which he all won a bunch of Oscars for and incidentally which can also be argued as his last great film. Considering it is a Wilder film, it felt a little too loud in acting and in dialog delivery but Wilder's words are as sharp as ever, as funny and as effective as well. He wins it all with his script but I still think it could have been much better, if they dialed it down a bit in their dialogues.
Waiting for Superman(2010): I often find it very hard to comment on or rate documentaries that talk about social issues or on broader level, are about changing the system. Another one of my pet peeves is finding a fault in system, without giving a solution. Even though this documentary avoided these pit-falls, criticizing such a vast system based on a small sample set. Does the system needs improvements? Sure. Can they be implemented on that vast level? has to be the question to be answered.
Wrapping it Up: April
Fight Club(1999)(Re-watch): After watching it a couple of years ago for the first time, I was kind of surprised by my reaction. Given a reputation of this movie, I really wasn't expecting that I'll hate it and yet I did. This month, when I decided to do Fincher's profile, I wanted to see it again before putting it on the paper and getting all the shot about it. I did and even though it worked much better this time around, I am still not in love with it. I don't even think it is one of Fincher's best.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button(2008)(Re-watch): Another one I wanted to watch again before saying anything in this post because I remember watching it about 4 years ago and never since then. Like Fight Club, I did not hate it the first time but wasn't much into it either. Second time confirmed my reaction. I like the topic, I even like his aging process from technical point of view but it is too long and even slower for its length.
Wrapping it Up: AprilThe Kid with a Bike(2012): From point of view of cinema as an art, I appreciate this movie, even like it. From personal standpoint, there are some things that I like in this film but I hated that kid within the first five minutes. So much that I was completely indifferent to whatever happens to him in the end. Even though it makes me a bad person, it did not move me because I usually have a problem appreciating any film where I really don't care about the protagonist.
Natanki Saala(2013)(Hindi): I haven't watched a single English movie released this year yet but this is my third Hindi movie of 2013 and surprisingly none of them are really trash. Yeah, they aren't gems either but at the start of the year, we don't expect many quality films, do we? For me, this movie had more vices than virtues. Virtues include lead actor and his rapport with supporting one. Everything else could have been better.
Goldfinger(1964): I think I can understand why this is considered as one of the best Bond films. It has a great villain with equally good sidekick, Bond girls are great with Pussy Galore being one of the best, his gadgets(is it the first movie that Aston Martin makes appearance in?) and Bond's adventure actually is intense. However watching it now, it really shows it's age. Even more so for for an action movie as action sequences feel really dated now. You can see punches are nowhere close to the person and he still drops dead.
Wrapping it Up: April
In the Loop(2009): Another movie that was in '1001 Movies' list for one year and was taken out immediately. But since I am including such movies as well, it was on my list and after loving Four Lions, I thought this would be a good choice as well. Unfortunately, I was wrong since most of the humor really did not work for me. A lot of characters were really stupid, annoying and very unnatural. When it comes to comedy, I've learned that there is nothing right or wrong. Some things work for you and some just don't and this one really didn't.
Godzilla(1998): You know a Rolland Emmerich movie when you see it, right? Well, unless you are watching Anonymous(2012). Knowing what to expect from his movies, in a typical Emmerich fashion, I think Godzilla more or less delivers. It is a fun movie that you should enjoy or rather you can harmlessly enjoy. If you start talking about weak script and uninspired, cheesy and illogical turns story takes, you are looking at the wrong place. Well, he didn't exactly claim to be Chris Nolan, did he? 
Wrapping it Up: April
Wrapping it Up: AprilDead Man(1995): Oh God! My very first Jim Jarmusch film turned out to be quite an ordeal to even get through. By now, I am sure we are all used to see Johnny Depp in all strange roles but I am really not used to see him as the most sane person surrounding all the other crazy ones that did not make a lick of sense and it wasn't just the way characters were portrayed that didn't appeal to me. The problem was absolutely nothing, nothing made any sense to me.
Total Count: 21. 19 First Time Watches and 2 Re-watch .
2013 YTD CountTotal Count: 85. 79 First Time Watches and 6 Re-watches.
So till about 20th of the month, I kept my promise of watching movies from the list only. Even my re-watches were on the list, haha. Then, as it invariably happens and as I forecasted in the last post, Netflix came in way by announcing to retire more than half a dozen movies from my queue off their instant service. Now there is a reason they are in my queue and that is I want to watch them at some point of time. So if they are about to retire, I can't just abandon them all. That'll be so cruel(?). So I had to abandon my plans and get them done by the end of month. So, 13 from the list this month isn't that bad and I hope to continue it going into the next month. However I do have one more urgent thing I need to take care of. I still haven't seen a single 2013 Hollywood movie. I HAVE to fix this this month. Looking at you, Iron Man 3(2013).
So, how was your month? Did you see anything interesting? What do you think of the movies I saw? Any favorites?

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