Entertainment Magazine

Wrapping It Up: May

Posted on the 31 May 2013 by Shantanu Ghumare @u_me_films
Another month, another wrap-up post full of this month's viewings. I have a few things to say but that can only be said after we get through this month's crop first. So, shall we?


Wrapping It Up: May
Wrapping It Up: MayThe Long Goodbye(1973): Even though I have seen The Big Sleep(1946) before, I had no idea that Philip Marlowe we see in both movies is such an iconic character. I even didn't know it was the same character. I also haven't seen any Altman film except Gosford Park(2001). So essentially, this was kind of my initiation to a lot of things. Thankfully, it was worth every minute of it. And Elliot Gould - is it weird that my first reaction after seeing him was 'WTF, it's Jack Geller!'?
Monty Python and Holy Grail(1975)(Re-watch): Because why not? OK, I will tell you the truth. On one of the weekends, I had about half an hour to kill. Since I had nothing better to do, I went on YouTube to pass that time and after sometime found myself searching for the Monty Python clips. I soon realized once I opened those gates, there was no stopping and I ended up watching the whole film. As ridiculous as they are, I'll be damned if there is something as entertaining as them bunch.
WALL-E(2008)(Re-watch): My favorite Pixar. I had not seen it since the first time I saw it which must be back in 2009. So it so well overdue for re-watch anyways. Being my favorite Pixar, it also served as a great addition to my 'favourites' series which definitely could use some animated flavor. As I've stated here, I do see it falling a little bit in my Top 100 but it is still a great movie and it did give me couple of things that I probably missed out on first watch.
Paris, Texas(1984): One of the prettiest and loveliest movies I have seen. It's kind of slow and at various points, I had no idea where will it go next from there but it never lost me. And that last conversation between Travis and Jane. Wow! I have never seen anything so beautiful and at the same time so heartbreaking. Absolutely loved it! Even though I saw some great movies for this post, this one was easily my favorite of the three.
Sarfarosh(1999)(Re-watch): I don't remember the last time I saw this movie but it is one movie that can give Lord of the Rings trilogy a run for its money as my most watched film(No, I am not keeping track. Gave that up long ago!). It's a movie that I can practically recite from start to end and it was good to revise it once more and see how sharp they are after a big gap. I don't want to give up too much because it will be topic of next 'Bollywood Essentials' but the couple of facts I stated here and bracket I've put it should give you some rough idea.
Undefeated(2011): If you don't know I love the hell out of Friday Night Lights(2006), easily one of my favorite serials. When this documentary won the Oscar last year, I remember some people calling Bill Courtney in it 'a real life Coach Taylor'. That's a damn high praise to live up to and I'll be damned if it doesn't. If this guy is really what they show in the documentary, he is one of the biggest heroes I have even heard of. Hats off to Coach Courtney! and everything he has done for these kids, for this community. 
Wrapping It Up: May
Wrapping It Up: MayZ(1969): Thanks to Hulu and Criterion which had the bunch of Palme d'Or winners free for streaming on their site, till the end of Cannes film festival this month. I had heard quite a lot about this movie and I am happy that it delivered to its promise. Its an extremely fascinating and intricate political thriller which makes even more impact because of the bold and very frank nature of its commentary. Best part of it was despite being such a multilayer story, it is been made remarkably easy to understand and follow.
Taste of Cherry(1997): Another one of Palme d'Or winners I saw thanks to Hulu and Criterion. It's one of those that will probably keep on improving as you think more about them. I haven't seen many Iranin films but they seem to have a very unique feel about them and this was no exception. It rarely uses any background music, relies heavily on dialogues and visuals. Plus, it is in no hurry to reach where is wants to go. I liked this film but it took me some time to get used to all this. More here.
Sarkar(2005)(Re-watch): Indian films often get slapped around for copying Hollywood films blatantly. While a lot of it is usually true and you'll even find me taking an occasional shot, I usually fall back to this movie as an example of doing it rightly. While it is obvious that it is very similar to The Godfather(1972), Ramgopal Varma did many things right here. First and foremost, he gave the credit where it's due so that no one comes back screaming plagiarism. Two, he added something of his own to it while keeping the sole intact and third and probably most important thing, he made a Good Film.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre(1948): This month's Blind Spot film. It has truly been a blind spot of mine for the longest time and I am really glad to have it crossed off the list. I am really happy with the way this series has been going so far. It's been only 5 months and when I made the list, I did take this into consideration but even then, having every one of them deliver to their promise is nice. As for this film, it was worth every minute of it, if only for Humphrey Bogart. As raw as it gets.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley(2006): I am pretty sure that if it didn't win Palme d'Or in 2006, forget about watching this movie, I would not have even heard about it for a long time. And I'm really glad I did. Being a little bit of a History buff, even more interested in Irish Independence fight, it had that natural allure to me the minute I read about it. Even though it focuses primarily on two brothers, through them it goes through Irish war of Independence as well as the civil war following it. Look for the complete review in the next few days.
Wrapping It Up: May
Wrapping It Up: MayCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon(2000): Ang Lee's swooping Martial drama is credited for introducing the world to Wu-Xia films. It naturally earned him a spot on my mini Wu-Xia marathon. Even though it did not help much to brush off my inhibitions against wire work, it still was the best of three films I saw. When characters weren't flying at the top of the roofs, I actually liked their fighting skills and techniques. They also showed me that these films can be about something other than just high-flying.
Breaking the Waves(1996): Knowing that it is von Trier, I was little apprehensive getting into this film but within first half an hour or so I was sure that if nothing else, I will at least have seen one terrific performance. Emily Watson was just that good, with her accent and soft voice, all her talks with God and her mood changes. Just Brilliant! If it wasn't for its 150+ minutes of run-time, I probably would've said that about film as well but it's never good for such a slow-pace film to be so long.
Stagecoach(1939): Criterion summarizes this films as 'the film that revolutionized the western, elevating it from B-movie to A-list and establishing the genre as we know it today'. I knew it kind of launched John Wayne as an A-lister but for one movie to transform a complete genre like that is extraordinary and I am sure Stagecoach is deserving of that praise as a movie. It only takes about 5 minutes of total run-time for an event that we have been gearing up for the whole time but by that time, it does go through a whole lot and those 5 minutes really are worth it, if only for how they are shot.
The Place Beyond the Pines(2013): This would probably be the best movie of this year I have seen so far, which isn't much since there are only 6 total I have seen but still I really liked this movie, especially for the great acting all around. If not for the whole Ray Liotta sub-plot, I would've rated it even higher. I didn't think that part was inferior to the rest of the movie in any way but if you are not going to use it anywhere afterwards, I don't understand the need of it to be there. Imagine a 110 minute movie without that whole story. It is still pretty much the same.
Barton Fink(1991): I am kinda at loss of words as to what to say about this movie since I don't think I have placed all the pieces of this puzzle together. I Loved Turturro and Goodman in their respective roles. I was under the impression that I had the grasp of whole thing until the last 10 minutes happened. What was with the fire? Also I didn't get what was with the frame on the wall of Barton's room. If either of these things were suppose to point towards something, it was completely lost on me.
Croupier(1998): Nice little gem I had not heard much about but it's always nice to be surprised by movies like this. I had it in my Netflix queue because of Clive Owen, who is absolutely perfect in that titular role. Owen is kind of made for these roles; these smart, exquisite men of action, the kind Ryan Gosling does mostly now-a-days. It's good to see a movie knowing it's limits and staying within it. On top of that, it had a smart story topped with couple of beautiful twists that I never saw coming. 
Wrapping It Up: May
Wrapping It Up: MayA Matter of Life and Death(1946): My third Powell and Pressburger and all their usual tropes are here as well in abundance. However what attracted me more in this film was an interesting concept. I also loved the way they develop the story in two different worlds parallely using the laws of that world. Pairing of David Niven and Kim Hunter is really great and could easily be one of my favorite pairs. However third act of the movie comes crashing down everything they have build by then and gets into too much melodrama.
Hero(2002): I probably should count this as a re-watch because I remember having seen it a while ago. Only question is did I see the whole movie or just some parts of it? and I honestly don't remember. I also have no idea why did I feel like doing a Wu-Xia mini marathon out of nowhere but I did and this was the start of it. Not the best I saw but not the worst either. More about all the three films I saw here.

House of Flying Dagger(2004): Despite best Zhang Ziyi performance out of three films I saw in quick succession, this was the weakest film of all three. Being from the same director as Hero, there were quite a few similarities between the two. However, even though Hero had most over the top fights which is where I usually turn out of the movie, it also benefited more from the second half twists than this.

Side Effects(2013): My first English movie of 2013! Can you believe it? I am not even kidding. There is nothing about this film that I did not like particularly. I thought the story was interesting, most of the actors involved did a good job and it was good to see Jude law not playing a despicable character, though he does roam into that territory for a while. But for some reason, nothing in this movie has left any lasting remark on me. It just passed.
Iron Man 3(2013): If Christopher Nolan isn't directing it, all I expect from any superhero movie is to entertain me and I think Robert Downy Jr. can do that in his sleep. If I haven't said it earlier, it is absolutely remarkable the way he has embodied this character. It is just impossible to separate them from each other(Something for you to think about, Marvel Studios!). And they had Ben Kingsley in that role. Simply Amazing! Yes, it does go a little out of hand with like 200 Iron Men and stuff but damn, if it wasn't a great fun movie.
Thunderball(1965): After watching a couple of earlier Bond films last month, now everything seems like a formula. There is a new mission, new villain and new girls but skeleton remains the same. New people pretty much just take the places of old people. Also, given that it is Bond, you have to make some obvious assumptions. If you are ready to do all that then you might like Thunderball because it was a rather enjoyable movie, a mindless action flick.
Wrapping It Up: May
Wrapping It Up: MayA League of their Own(1992): I haven't seen Star Trek Into Darkness(2013) yet but I've heard about all the hoopla about one Alice Eve 'shot'. If that scene was termed sexist then this movie should be called 'sexist movie made ever'. I'm usually very lenient complaining about sexism, racism and all the other -ism. For me to notice something, it has to be something big and there was so much in this film, I stopped counting after a while. I don't understand baseball. So most of the technicalities of game were lost on me. Only thing I really liked was the ending.
Wrapping It Up: May
Solaris(1972): I am just as surprised as anyone else to see this movie in this bracket. But man, it really frustrated me! My first Tarkovskiy and if this is any indication, this relationship is off to a bumpy start. For the majority of it, nothing made any sense to me at all. When I did understand it in some parts, they did not connect to each other. I hated the protagonist, Kris, who looked same at his most exulted and dire worst and his voice put me right to sleep. Whole dubbing of the film seemed like floating over the print, like two had nothing in common but somehow just their timings matched. Last 15 minutes gave some explanation but by god, I had checked out of it long before. I'll probably have to see it multiple times to make any sense out of it but at this instant, I have no intention of watching it ever again.
Total Count: 25. 20 First Time Watches and 4 Re-watches .
2013 YTD CountTotal Count: 110. 100 First Time Watches and 10 Re-watches.
Largely due to the last two weekends of May which I pretty much spent completely in watching movies, I have finally broken the barrier of 21 movies/month that I had quite nicely settled in in last few months. Not only did I watch more movies than recent months, surprisingly overall quality of these movies was much better too. Quite a few movies I saw this month turned out to be much better than I expected. Even a movie like Croupier which I didn't expect much from successfully surprised me. Another unusual thing I did this month is re-watching 4 movies and 3 of them were just because I felt like watching them again. Usually, most of my re-watches are only for helping me write about them but this time I got out of that rut too.
Come June, U, Me and Films will complete 2 years. For a movie blog that has been running for almost two years, amount for full-fledged movie reviews I have written is abominable. I am going to try and change that a little this month. In that attempt, I have decided to give all my features a rest for this month. All you'll see on this blog for the month of June is Reviews. I have one almost done, I will also get to another right after this. I don't know how many will I do, I don't know all the movies I'll write about but they will be here soon. I promise!
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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