Entertainment Magazine

Wrapping It Up: February 2014

Posted on the 28 February 2014 by Shantanu Ghumare @u_me_films
Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. This 25th Edition of Wrapping it Up is a historic event for one more reason. At the start of this year, I said that I expect my monthly viewing to go down a bit this year and I will be OK with that. Last month, I was somehow able to keep up with the usual pace of 20. However this month proved my suspicions true. With only 15 movies, this is slowest movie-watching month I have had since I started recording this stuff two years ago. Given the fact how hectic normal life and day job was in first three weeks of this month(You may have noticed, no posts at all this month till Blind Spot couple of days ago), I fully expected it and am actually surprised I even got to 15.
But that's enough of it. Let's talk movies!


Wrapping it Up: February 2014
Wrapping it Up: February 2014Miller's Crossing(1990): Call me stupid, call me naive but I never thought any film would give No Country for Old Men(2007) run for it's money as my favorite Coen Brother's film. I've liked many of their other films but none as much to contemplate it dethroning NCFOM. Knowing Coen's, I should've known better. Interesting thing is, multiple instances where this one reminded me of No Country, whether it was because of the similarity in settings, in story-lines, in looks or in mood, is probably the principle reason why I think I liked it as much as I did.
Wrapping it Up: February 2014
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire(2013)I personally don't think second book was better than first one but film does a good job of not deliberating on stuff that bogs down the book i.e. everything leading up to the capitol. It might be the new director who got rid of all the shaky cam or actors getting a little more grip of their characters or might be the source material which is just more suitable for given format or combination of all three but end result certainly was better than first one. It almost has me excited for last one.
Nebraska(2013): I have seen all of Payne's films except the very first one he did and I at least like them all. Nebraska was no exception. It was the surprise winner on the day of nominations but it has emerged as my favorite of those 9 now. Payne did not write this for a change but he is master of digging deeper into characters that are imperfect, vulnerable and even pathetic seem very likable, very real. He does it here as well and as every other of his films, that is it's biggest win.
August: Osage County(2013): I think I would have liked it even more if it wasn't that bitter or if there was at least one sane person in the whole family that you can relate to but then that would probably be like missing the whole point of film. Maybe their father was such person and maybe that is exactly why he left. Not to say that I did not like it. I like it way more than I expected, mainly thanks to all the performances but it's such a bleak story that you want to run as far away from them as possible. 
Hot Fuzz(2007): I Love first part of Cornetto trilogy, Shaun of the Dead(2004), and was really interested in the last one The World's End(2013). The only problem was I had never got around seeing second one. I knew they are not super connected or anything but it just didn't feel right. So one fine Sunday, I sat myself down and checked them both out. This one may not be as good as first but sure is a hell lot of weird fun. Something tells me I will be retuning to it many times.
Wrapping it Up: February 2014The Game(1997)(Re-watch): I always forget how much I like this film and then fell in love with it all over again when I see it. I am making it sound like I have seen it a dozen time or something. It's actually only my third time but I only saw this for the first time last year and then again when I actually moved to Sunnyvale, CA. This film has a rare distinction of making me love a city I have never been to. And when I did, I made it a point to go to that street where Sean Penn runs away from Douglas after he finds all those CRS keys in his car.
Wrapping it Up: February 2014
Short Term 12(2013): I had heard a lot about this film, especially about performances, and I will have to agree with that. Brie Larson, who got attention for her role, is certainly deserving of all the praise but so is almost everyone in the cast. Another standout for me was Kaitlyn Dever as Jayden. I am not completely sure how I feel about Grace going out of her way to Jayden's house and doing what she does but apart from that, I was completely into it till end. 
Enough Said(2013): Like most others, I obviously saw this for Gandolfini. He certainly was really good and so was Julia Louie-Dryfuss. They had good chemistry together and it came off very naturally. It also was about two middle aged people getting in a relationship, something that you don't see often in movies and Holofcener certainly needs to be credited for that. I probably would've liked it more though if it didn't cast Catherine Keener who looked completely uninterested or if it didn't feel repetitive in the middle.
How Green was My Valley(1941): 67th Oscar winner and this month's Blind spot was yet another success. I did not expect it to, certainly not as much as it did and initially it did look like I might be right. For me, it falls into Ordinary People(1980) category(or it might be more apt to say other way around) as films that get bad reputation because of the films they won over but if we keep the comparison aside and look at them objectively, they are actually good films by themselves.
Wrapping it Up: February 2014
Wrapping it Up: February 2014The World's End(2013): I already told you that I was quite excited about checking this one out. Pegg and Frost were obviously back but with additions like Martin Freeman and Paddy Considine, cast looked good, premise was completely up Wright and Pegg's alley and I was having quite a bit of fun with it. But then it went too far. I like the idea of introducing the aliens and they have done great job making fun of such things in previous two but they went little too extreme for my taste. I think I will be ok with watching it just once.

Mississippi Burning(1988): I had heard a lot about this film even before watching it and was intrigued as well as dreaded it. I agree that most of the black folks in this film are nothing more than set pieces but I don't think they could've been any more given the structure of story. Now you can find faults in structure, which I might as well agree, since it is in the end 'white men to the rescue' story. There were many good things to admire in this film but in the end, that structure even left me with a bad test in mouth.
Iron Man 3(2013)(re-watch): I have no idea why I saw this again. Not like I loved it the first time but I was just sitting in front of TV and it was on. That's it! Now that I think of it, this might be the only film I have seen twice in he year of it's release. Certainly only one since I started blogging and although there are others, I am pretty sure that number is not in double digits. It might be shocking for many but I have very few re-watches. So this happens very rarely!
Philomena(2013): With this one, I have not only seen all the films nominated for best film Oscar for second year in a row but this might be the first time I have seen every single film nominated for top 8. Once again a film driven by one leading performance which was actually really good. As for the film, it was good but I didn't find it great. It was very sweet and nice but that's it. One thing I was very happy about though was Coogan kept himself in check. I can't stand that man for too long.
Wrapping it Up: February 2014
Wrapping it Up: February 2014Saving Mr. Banks(2013): I can only wish I liked the film as a whole as much as I liked Emma Thompson. I think the problem here was my aversion to source material, Mary Poppins(1964). P.L. Travers was a total bitch to everyone at Disney and we were supposed to feel sorry for them. However none of that worked for me in the film. So, for me, they deserved to be treated the way she was treating them. So I was left with almost no character to root for, even those from her past
About Time(2013): Sometimes you want to watch something that won't have you pick your brain at all. Since there is so much I really want to see, I rarely do that. I always feel my time is better invested in something with better returns but this one was a good watch for the mood I was in at that time because it is sweet and innocuous but falls apart completely the moment you go into logic. I can't call it a good film by any standards but I don't regret watching it either. I only wanted an easy-going film and I got exactly that. 
Total Count: 15. 13 First Time Watches and 2 Re-watch .
2014 YTD CountTotal Count: 35. 32 First Time Watches and 3 Re-watches.
Saving Mr. Banks will be my last official 2013 film. I certainly wish I had better reaction to the last film of last year but I have had enough of it now. With 70 films in the bag, month of March or better part of it will be dedicated to wrapping up 2013. Next time I will talk them will obviously be Oscar nominations but after that I will get into my lists of favorite male and female performances followed by Films. Given my schedule, I expect them to be done by mid-March which shall leave me free to watch everything else. As much as I loved 2013 as a year in films, it is kind of liberating to have much more choice. See you on the other side of the Oscars! 
So, how was your month? Did you see anything interesting? What do you think of the movies I saw? Any favorites?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog