Anway, Across the Universe: The Chicks With Accents Podcast happened - after about two months of skyping back and forth between two continents. It's one of the most exiting projects in my life right now, apart from the usual finding-yourself conflict, and I'm awfully happy it's working out. In fact, we just finished recording the third episode and I really like the way it's going... our chemistry is improving (I hope the listeners will agree with me once they hear the episode) and it's basically a lot of fun to do. Work, but fun. I also find myself listening to many other podcasts now regularly, which is a pleasure. The ways you find to have time to listen... it's amazing. Reminds me of the days I had to find out how to watch more movies. Again, a big thanks to all podcasters out there who've inspired me, us, and everyone who has plugged and followed the podcast so far.
When it comes to my actual watching, May has been a divisive month. I haven't seen much, probably the smallest amount of movies this year, but what I've seen has been very interesting and rewarding. In very different ways...
WATCHED FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME
Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool (1969)
My full review can be found in the latest issue of ISHQ. The movie isn't a stand-out in any way, if worth watching then for the entertaining first half and for the great actors. Oh, and the Helen songs.
The Guard (2011)
The only film from my actual watchlist that I've seen this month, except The Way Back. It had great reviews when it came out and as sceptic as I was, it completely won me over. Haven't had this much fun with a movie in a long time.
Crazy movie by crazy Herzog, probably my favorite German director by far. He's made a lot of shorts recently that I really want to watch but I also am a big fan of his grand, epic feature films. Fitzcarraldo is smaller than The Boat and bigger than Aguirre, as well as crazier than the first and less crazy than the last. You can hear more about it in eps 1 of the podcast.
The Way Back (2010)
I've been meaning to plug this movie a lot more than I have but just never got around to doing it. It's such a wonderful movie that I think few people have seen... the cast including Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan is as awesome as it gets and the story is basically escaping hell through hell. It's a journey and since it has been proven that the one thing everyone likes in a story is a journey, I think it'll be safe to say that you should go and watch this movie immediately.
Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told (2011)
I had a lot of problems with this documentary. It shows Bollywood just the way people want to see it and the way it really isn't. I mean, yeah, it is - but not only. Really, it only shows the shiny, superficial, dramatic side of the industry and the films that fit into this. That being said (and please don't watch this if you have no knowledge of Bollywood), I do like the things it shows. It's just that they're not Bollywood, they're one part of Bollywood.
The cutest movie I've seen for a long time, and I hope that nobody is going to not watch the movie because I said "cute". It's well-made and well-acted, well-written... it's the Indian movie I've been waiting for. The one that reignited my faith and my willingness to watch more of the latest Bollywood movies.
The same could be said about this one. It's not cute in any way, but a very well-crafted Bollywood thriller with a strong female lead and an awesome twist in the end.
Now this is the kind of movie that always makes me wonder why the hell I spend so much time supporting the Hindi film industry. Yeah they have good ideas, this one definitely had. But its also one big cliché, especially towards the ending. Indian critics loved it but as so often, I don't agree with them.
You can hear more about this in eps 2 of the podcast.
Leonardo DiCaprio was very handsome. Hear more about my thoughts (and Nikhat's and Sofia's) on the podcast. By the way, I've finally read the book, which I really liked, and my opinion on the movie hasn't changed. It might though, if I get a chance to re-watch it. In whatever direction, good or bad, I can't say.
Star Wars (1977)
FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome movie, I have to say. Loved the story, loved the fun, loved the soundtrack, the actors... and the fact that Luke Skywalker is utterly gay. I'm definitely going to write a big post once I've seen Eps. V and VI, so watch out for that one...
Now this wasn't a disappointing meh sort of movie as Vicky Donor was, but neither was it as great as English Vinglish and Kahaani. I did feel disappointed since I had expected it to be great after reading some great reviews... but it's a movie that feels very distant. I'd check it out if you like political Indian movies, but personally I had my issues with it.
Paradies: Hoffnung (2013) [Paradise: Hope]
Part three of Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy. I've seen part one, not part two, and I liked the first more than this one. However, it felt very realistic in portraying the hope and the dreams of young teenage girls, and their conversations about sex and other stuff. And I loved the grainy images. My problem with it is that basically nothing happens. Not in a good Somewhere way, but in a boring way.
Pozitia Copilului (2013) [Child's Pose]
Winner of the Golden Bear! I'm very happy I got to see it on my visit to Hamburg, although I was disappointed. Movies where nothing happens seem to be the fashion at the moment. Leading lady Luminita Gheorghiu is a treat to watch though. If only for her strong portrayal of a very complex female character, you should check out the movie. We don't get that every day.
This has to be my favorite moment from any 2012 movie I've seen.
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012)
A great movie to end the month with. It's a Hindi rom-com that got mixed reviews, which didn't really make me want to watch it - but it's really, really good! Obviously the main character is a MPDG - but in the end, she isn't really because... oh well, I don't want to spoil it. Anyway, it's a lot of fun and has some really cool ideas... and two great leads!
- - -
AMOUNT OF FILMS WATCHED: 14 (APRIL –8)
AVERAGE RATING: 7.4 (APRIL –0.2)
Riordan, Rick: The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4)
My favorite book in the series on its own. Loved the whole labyrinth idea and all the action opportunities it opens.
**** OUT OF 5
Riordan, Rick: The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5)
A perfect ending for these wonderful series. Percy Jackson is one of the funniest narrators I've encountered and there's an excellent alternation between humorous and suspensive scenes. Really, really recommend this to anyone who's into fantasy. It's a middle-school boys' book on paper but you forget all about that from the moment you start reading.
**** OUT OF 5
Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby
It wasn't hard to fall in love with this book and its beautiful language after Percy Jackson. The story isn't different from the movie - that I'd just seen - and hence just as intriguing. In a nutshell, this is a true classic that everybody should read once in their lifetime.
**** OUT OF 5
Being a very huge 1001-thing nerd (I just ordered the 1001 Books book so that my collection - films, songs and books - is complete!), I listened to a lot of pre-1950's stuff recently. Blues singer Bessie Smith has a very sensual and recognizable voice, and as much as I do like her famous St. Louis Blues, I've fallen head over heels for one of her "dirty blues" pieces called I Need A Little Sugar in My Bowl. Just hearing the words "I need a little hotdog on my rolls" in a 1930's song makes it a standout.
I also didn't know that there was this big craze for world music back in the early ages of recorded music, with treats such as the Trio Matamoros' Lagrimas Negras, which I'm guessing is Mexican-influenced, and El Manisero by Don Azpiazu, a Cuban-influenced song. Moving on in the book, I stumbled upon Australia's "unofficial anthem" Pokarekare Ana, a very exotic yet intriguing song.
Then there were some classics that you generally associate with the style of the times, such as Louis Armstrong jazz pieces like St. James Infirmary and comments on society such as Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?, famously sung by Bing Crosby.
So, my knowledge in music is increasing and that's one of the things I'm really happy about right now.
But now it's time to ask...
What did you watch? Read? Listen to?
Are you happy about anything or are you sad?