Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy New Month: Films of February 2012

The first ISHQ-issue containing my articles came out yesterday - my God, I can't believe it! I'm totally excited to finally get to see them in print!

Sorry for starting with something so completely egoistic, but it's very important to me.
Anyway, I went to the cinema to watch Hugo on the last day of the month, and that was actually my fourth visit to the cinemas this month, of which one was a double bill. You can read my first thoughts further down the page.

What else has been happening this month? Well, the Oscars of course... I'm still a bit tired, but never mind - it was worth it.
Most surprisingly, I watched only good films this month, can you believe it? There was indeed no trash whatsoever! The lowest rating I gave a film is 6.4. I also believe I've never seen as many black-and-white films in one month as this time, which is related to the "Tagore in Films"-DVD-Box I got as a christmas present. You can look forward to a whole post on the six (?) films.

Furthermore, you might remember my post on Kate Winslet, where I listed five Kate Winslet films I wanted to watch before I turn 17? Well, as there are only 9 days left, I'm in quite a hurry, but there's only two more to go: Heavenly Creatures and my long-awaited Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And my expectations for the latter are sky-high, so I prey for not being disappointed. In any case, I'll also do a post on my reactions to the five films by the time I've watched them.

So, let's take a lot at what else I have seen this month...

(The Tagore and Winslet films will be marked and there will only be a very short sentence about them, because of the upcoming posts).

*Blue-marked film means Film of the Month.

Watched for the very first time:

Applaus (2009) Martin Zandvliet - Denmark
A terrific performance from Paprika Steen, one of my favorite Danish actresses. By the way: Danish films rock! (... sometimes).
This is a quite typical Danish film; melancholic, slightly cool and depressing - and inspiring. Believe me, you won't forget this film very soon after seeing it.
Rating: 7.4

Carnage (2011) Roman Polanski - France/ Germany/ Poland/ Spain
I just love films like this; rebellious with a bit of formula - and extremely entertaining. It helps that the ensemble is top-notch - especially Waltz.
Rating: 8.0

Char Adhyay (1997) Kumar Shahani - India
(Tagore). Very experimental, my least favorite of this month's films.
Rating: 6.4

Delhi Belly (2011) Abhinay Deo - India | review
One of the wonderful new wave Indian comedies - black and ruthless.
Rating: 8.3

Elle s'appelait Sarah (2011) Gilles Paquet-Brenner - France
WWII films can be so incredibly boring, especially if you've been bombarded (!) by WWII books and movies ever since you went to first grade. This film is a welcome exception.
Rating: 7.4

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) Jon Avnet - USA
Nothing special; but then again, it is. Incredibly charming, and it made me want to move to the country even though I'm more of a big city person at this point of my life.
Rating: 6.9

Gandu (2010) Q - India
I wrote a review for the ISHQ, so even though I would like to, I can't publish it here - maybe I'm going to do a visual review for a change. Anyhow, this is a milestone in the history of Indian filmmaking, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. If you're willing to sit through some nasty stuff that turns out to be fantastic in the end, you should track down the DVD.
Rating: 8.4

Ghare-Baire (1984) Satyajit Ray - India
(Tagore). Soumitra Chatterjee is an instant favorite, after I've seen three films with him. By the way, I also watched my first three Satyajit Ray films this month (all from the Tagore box). Nice fella.
Rating: 7.8

Hamlet (1996) Kenneth Branagh - UK
(Winslet). It was a tough one, there was definitely too much (and difficult) dialogue for my taste. Actually I had to turn the English subtitles on to fully understand it. But it wasn't as bad as I had thought... at least now I don't have to read it. This was also a test for me: can you sit through Hamlet, THE Hamlet, Shakespeare's Hamlet? -YES!
Rating: 7.4

Hugo (2011) Martin Scorsese - USA
I just watched it this afternoon, so I'm not sure about my opinion yet... I loved it, no doubt, but it was much more mainstream and predictable than I had thought. No masterpiece in my mind. But then again, it was just something else... something wonderful. Well, there'll be a post on it soon.
Rating: 8.3... until now

Hysteria (2011) Tanya Wexler - UK | short review
Yes, that's the one. The film about the invention of... yeah. Best idea for a comedy ever. Hysterically hilarious.
Rating: 7.3

I'm Not There. (2007) Todd Haynes - USA
My respect for Cate Blanchett has sky-dived: what a performance! She was indeed the best of all the actors who portrayed Bob Dylan in this cool and confusing film. Rocking.
Rating: 7.5

Inshallah Kashmir (2012) Ashvin Kumar - India
Wrote a review for the ISHQ, so again: I can't write much on this, because I already have, but let me tell you: it's an incredible film that needs all the support it can get. Just google it and there will be a site where you can watch it for a few dollars.

Intouchables (2011) Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano - France | short review
It's been so long since there has been a decent film on friendship... plus, this is also a wonderful and extremely funny comedy. French films are great. Oh, and watch out for Omar Sy - a beautiful name and face aren't the only things he has got.
Rating: 8.4

Kabuliwala (1961) Hemen Gupta - India
(Tagore). Good songs and interesting topic that I knew nothing about. A little boring.
Rating: 8.2

Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000) Rajiv Menon - India
Tamil is such a funny language! A good film, but there were parts I hated for being too formula-esque - I mean, this could have been so much better without certain elements.
Rating: 7.4

Khudito Pashan (1960) Tapan Sinha - India (IMDB title: Ksudishta Pashan)
(Tagore). My favorite of the Tagore-Box-films - dreamy, imaginative, and very calm (but not boring).
Rating: 8.4

Limitless (2011) Neil Burger - USA
The editing wasn't as good as I had expected, but on a whole it was a very suspenseful and exciting thriller. Also, the ending was perfect, just perfect - I thought about for a long time.
Rating: 7.3

Little Children (2006) Todd Field - USA
(Winslet). I didn't like it that much to begin with, but fell in love slowly.... The narrator was really good, too.
Rating: 7.7

Los Abrazos Rotos (2009) Pedro Almodóvar - Spain
Not as good as my first Almodóvar film (Volver), but still high quality. Penelope Cruz is such a good actress, I never realized.
Rating: 7.6

Natir Puja (1932) Rabindranath Tagore - India
(Tagore). Not the original of course, which was destroyed or lost... anyhow, this was pretty boring because of the missing sound and sequences.
Rating: –

Raavanan (2010) Mani Ratnam - India | review
Good, but I liked the Hindi version better because it had three great actors instead of two.
Rating: 7.5

Rabindranath Tagore (1961) Satyajit Ray - India
(Tagore). A very classic documentary in terms of style, but interestingly resembling a feature film.
Rating: 7.5

Rio Grande (1950) John Ford - USA
My first John Wayne film turned out to be disappointingly boring - Maureen o'Hara also let me down. As somebody said on "Pearl Harbor all over it".
Rating: 7.1

Romance & Cigarettes (2005) John Turturro - USA
(Winslet). Catchy songs and choreographies, but not as good as I had expected. Kate Winslet was hilarious though.
Rating: 7.2

Shor in the City (2011) Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru - India
Took some time to catch up with the 2011-essentials from India. This one was modern but not special enough to truly impress. What sticked with me was the song "Saibo" - I simply can't get it out of my head.

Super Size Me (2004) Morgan Spurlock - USA
I figured this was a film that everyone had to see, especially somebody like me who can't decide whether to dislike or completely hate McDonalds. Well, I don't think I'll ever eat a Mc-burger again, but the croissants, wraps and McCafé stuff is okay with me, if it's just once a month or less.
Anyhow, I was surprised by the outcome of the experiment, even though I had heard about it from several friends, teachers and acquaintances, it was still shocking. Furthermore, I really liked the style in which information was presented, it was figurative and very comprehensive.
Verdict: This should be in 1001 Movies instead of Rio Grande.
Rating: 7.8

Teen Kanya (1961) Satyajit Ray - India
(Tagore). Interesting way of putting together a film, and I liked the portrayal of the different female characters. Did I mention that Satyajit Ray is cool?
Rating: 8.4

The Dirty Picture (2011) Milan Luthria - India
Certainly one of the most discussed Hindi films of 2011. Vidya Balan's performance was striking, otherwise the film was very entertaining. Of course, there were certain weak points, but in a nutshell I very much loved it and would recommend it to most people.
Rating: 7.5

Re-watched with the purpose of intense examination:


Amount of films watched this month: 29


  1. Gah I must watch Satyajit Ray stuff! The only reason I keep stalling is because I am from Calcutta and it is only right for me to see them on a big screen. But unfortunately, something always comes in my way when there are his film festivals. Always! So frustrating.
    I haven't seen so many of these. Good month.

    1. If I had the opportunity to attend a Satyajit Ray film festival I would be so happy! Haha, I wish you good luck with watching some of his films... Good month indeed.

  2. Congrats on your articles! That really is very cool!

    Denmark does have some incredible films, and Applaus sounds like my type of film. Adding it to my list now.

    I also need to see more of Satyajit Ray. I've only seen The Music Room but that was amazing. I've also heard great things about his Apu Trilogy.

    RE: I'm Not There. I loved Cate Blanchett in it too, but I think you meant to say 'sky-rocketed' :)

    Well it appears you did have another great month of movies. I'm looking forward to your Kate post now. :)

    1. Thanks you, BT.

      Applaus is perfect for you, I think - not a perfect film, but very interesting and... "foreign"(?).

      Oh, the Apu Trilogy has been on my list for so long, they say that Aparjito is one of the best films of all time.

      Yeah, sky-rocketed - I hate making mistakes in other languages... :).

  3. You are watching a lot of classic stuff - Satyajit Ray and Ravindranath Tagore. Excellent !! I am jumping on the Ray Bandwagon as well - One of my friends has promised to give me Apu Trilogy. Sometime this month hopefully. Solid Month.

    And Saibo is amazing, isn't it ?

    1. Yes, that is something I've been wanting to do for a long time - and finally I've succeeded!
      Hope you'll be able to watch Apu and write about it.

      "Dheere Dheere... lalalalla... Dheere Dheere... lalala... Saibo..." ;).

  4. 29 movies? I am so ashamed right now, how can I call myself a blogger? I must see more movies this month :) Great blog, by the way, and I love the name of it!

    1. Thank you Diana, and welcome around!
      I've been quite strict with watching a film every day, but I know what you mean; there have been times where I watched almost nothing too.

  5. You didn't like Fried Green Tomatoes that much? It was very American and a bit sentimental, still, I think I would rate it higher.

    The sets, and cast, of Hamlet (1996) were incredible! Granted is tough to follow if you are new to the story.

    I love the first 15 min of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the rest I found to be somewhat uneven.

    Looking forward to catching Intouchables, thanks for the rec ( :

    1. 6.9 is not a bad rating for me, it means that I liked the film but wasn't overwhelmed. For my taste, Fried Green Tomatoes was a little too predictable to call it "great".

      We can agree on Hamlet, I loved Kenneth himself and Kate Winslet - it just seemed a little... unrealistic. But maybe I'm too young to really appreciate it as much as others.

      Just yesterday I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and loved it just as much as I had thought! It was very different from what I had expected, story-wise, but that's also one of its biggest strengths. I always knew that Jim Carrey was that good an actor :).

      I think you'll like Intouchables, haven't met anyone yet who didn't.

  6. Glad you liked Carnage. I've heard mixed to positive reviews with a lot of people relating it to the stage play which I think is a little unfair. I haven't seen it yet but I do love films that take place in short spaces of time and in a limited numbers of locations.

    1. Hi Dan, I also like that kind of films.
      It's hard to tell how unfair it is to relate a film to its original text (theater, novel etc.). But in my opinion, people should try to focus on the film when rating it - they can always think that it's not as good as the text, but that shouldn't have great influence on their rating. For example, the Harry Potter films don't come near the books at all, but on the other hand, they're some of my favorite films.


Let the discussion begin!