Saw this and humming ‘No Alarms and no surprises’
I know they chose this song because it would seem ironical for the setting of the film but strangely it isn’t ironical at all :)
• IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1024648/
• Language: English
• Genre : Drama, Thriller, Based-on-a-true-story
• Plot: Picturization of the 1980 CIA operation Argo to get six American diplomats out of Iran during the revolution.
• Starring : Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Johny Goodman
• Direction: Ben Affleck
• Background: It was only logical that I see this film, so I did. Twice =)
• Positives: Nail-bitingly thrilling! The story is just too filmy to have been real and that works as an advantage for the film! It has a good mix of humor, hope and tragedy which made me feel like it was an old film. The effect of which, I like. The costume design and the whole setting to make it appear as though it is the 80s was quite good. They did a commendable job of tying in the conditions in Iran with the story, while making the story the hero.
Heh, also for all the flak that SP gives Ben Affleck, he was not even half bad, he was quite good, really.
• Negatives: Okay,so the film was too filmy for its own good. I mean, the story itself is quite interesting, so they probably need not have dramatized it so much. The climax particularly was so ‘not real’ (but it was great to watch it!)
• Favorite scenes: The scene when Chambers and Lester rush to pick up the phone, the scene where Carter gives a thumbs up for the operation, the scene where Tony Mendez gets told that he is a great American!
• My grade : B+
Alexander the last
- IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1308094
- Language: English
- Genre : Drama
- Plot: Alex loves her husband and her sister and is confused by the many temptations around her
- Starring : Justin Rice, Jess Weixler, Amy Seimetz
- Direction: Joe Swanberg
- Background: I stumbled on this when I was browsing for films like “Jeff who lives at home”
- Positives: This film was okay. The sexual tensions are very nicely shown, the sex scenes are hot and natural! The story isn’t great but is convincing and realistic.
- Negatives: I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be with this film. It is just lazy in the sense that, it doesn’t dwell on anything for long, so the viewers don’t get a chance to feel for anyone or anything. Everything is fleeting! I guess this is a style of making films or something but somehow it didn’t cut for me. The overlay of music and talking was rather annoying.
- My grade : C+
- IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1612774
- Language: English
- Genre : Comedy, Indie, Horror
- Plot: Rober, the rubber tire has destructive telekinetic powers.
- Starring : Stephen Spinella
- Direction: Quentin Dupieux
- Background: Stumbled on this looking for Indie films, the netflix description sounded interesting!
- Positives: It was a very weird film! Everything that happened in the film was just illogical. Parts of it was gory but mostly funny. The film starts with a set of questions, the answers to which is “NO reason”, so that way it sets you up to expect absurdities. Although the tire is psychotic and kills everything that comes its way, you start thinking of it more like a person than a tire, it’s weird but funny again.
- Negatives: The attempt to make it interesting by tying in the viewers, “What’s real, what’s fake” dilemma is completely unconvincing and inconsistent and makes no sense. It was a different film but I guess it was just that.
- My grade : C+
Zero Dark Thirty
- IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/
- Language: English
- Genre : Thriller, Based on real events
- Plot: The story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden after 9/11 ending with his death
- Starring : Jessica Chastain
- Direction: Kathryn Bigelow
- Negatives: It was just very long. The beginning parts were too stretched out and boring.
- My thoughts: This film is supposedly an unbiased historical account of everything that happened during the hunt for bin Laden. The film did a really good job of not dramatizing anything - even the finale where the Navy Seals land inside the compound where bin Laden lived, in a foreign land. It had so much dramatic potential, but the film takes the upper ground and treats the events in a matter of factly way. And there are no annoying romantic side stories. That I liked.
However, the film is told from the perspective of the people who were responsible for this operation (the government, the intelligence) and so it is largely one dimensional.
The films spends an inordinate amount of time showing torture on the screen. The intelligence officers who inflict torture seem to be convinced that it is the way to go and rarely show a sense of moral ambiguity, if any. Perhaps that is the reality. People who work those jobs are perhaps just focused on getting the job done and do not lend too much into thoughts about what they are doing.
I can’t really conclude if the film condones torture, at least it wasn’t directly evident to me. The actual clues which help tracking down where bin Laden lived, come about through investigative work rather than torture. The film just seemed to state facts, even if one dimensional. It just doesn’t take a stand. This also, I liked.
About the actress who played Maya, I wasn’t particularly impressed. I guess the writing was such that the audience don’t feel like identifying with her or rooting for her (in a strange way)
Overall, it was a good film, I suggest you watch it!
Obviously I couldn’t not make comparisons to “The Hurt Locker”. That was a much better film with a deeper story and characters, so you know.
- My grade: B+
Jeff who lives at home
- IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1588334
- Language: English
- Genre : Comedy, Drama
- Plot: Jeff who lives in his mom’s basement apartment finally gets out, follows signs and spends an eventful day with his brother and may have found his destiny.
- Starring : Jason Segel, Ed Helms
- Direction: Jay and Mark Duplass
- Background: The title of the film drew me to it. I thought it would be like Slacker/Clerks or one of those pothead films!
- Positives: I liked this film. It was not so much like Clerks. It was not a pothead film either. It is very arbitrary and has a generous sprinkling of humor all through. The conversations between Jeff and his brother are arbitrary too. The whole film feels like it is preparing you for something and that’s all it does. You keep waiting for something huge to happen, something happens but you can’t be sure if it is something that you were waiting for! I liked that effect.
- Negatives: No “real” plot, no real tensions. A lot of questions are deliberately not addressed (what is Jeff really going to do?) The twists and the ending were somewhat forced to make it the feel-good, happily ever after film.
- Favorite scenes: When Jeff gets beat up by Kevin and Kevin says “Sorry Jeff” while leaving, Jeff’s expression when he sees his brother in the hotel, Jeff’s mom getting excited about her IM (So cute!)
- My grade : B
- Parting words: Watch this when you are looking for an easy-going, mindless film.
Life of Pi
Except for the stunning visuals strewn around, this film was quite boring to me when I watched it.The way it started, with Pi going to the church, the mosque was simply unimpressive, his parents were unconvincing and the whole story and the setting seemed odd. Now, when the story gets onto the sea, I was looking all through for clues - to see whether it was his imagination (or hallucination) but there were none. The story, of course, was too fantastical to explain logically! One man and one tiger co-existing in the boat for hundreds of days? No shit! The time that the film spends on the sea, with shots of the endless seas, unbelievable colors of the sky and just wide expanses of light and darkness is a lot. The effect is somewhat curious. That, such an inordinate amount of time is spent on the story makes you want to believe that, maybe, just maybe, the whole story was indeed true!
At the time when I watched it, I didn’t know what to make of the ‘twist’ at the end where Pi recounts another story with him killing the cook. My immediate interpretation was that, there is really no way to know what happened and you can choose to believe in something that you want. Later on, after I discussed it a little with the boy (who thinks that the twist was indeed a finite one and that, that was what actually happened) I think that the film was indeed quite good! I still don’t think that the cannibal story actually happened, even that seems quite fantastical. But that seems like a commentary on the realities that one creates to get through hard times that are beyond imagination. Perhaps Pi suffered something that’s worse than living with a tiger, worse than cannibalism, perhaps loneliness and hopelessness was worse than everything and he could hang on to it all with Richard Parker. That story is a winner.
I know there’s an undertone of a spiritual journey in all of it, but I guess I’ll just ignore it.
I have almost forgotten what I thought about this film. This was directed by Ridley Scott, so you can imagine it’s going to be like the “Alien’ films. The story wasn’t fascinating, it was interesting but predictable. The special effects or even the imagination wasn’t extremely impressive. I like science fiction films, so I am biased towards the story, but objectively it wasn’t a great film.
My grade: B-
- IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443272/
- Language: English
- Genre : Drama, Historical, Biography
- Plot: Lincoln’s life and politics around the time when the bill to abolish slavery was passed by the Congress
- Starring : Daniel Day-Lewis
- Direction: Steven Spielberg
- Background: I saw this film twice too! The first time because a few of my colleagues told me it was great and the second time because I thought it was great!
- Positives: The dialogs. That is like the greatest positive about this film. And Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance. I always feel that, it is hard to make period dramas interesting for the stories because there’s no suspense- everyone knows what happens. But this film addressed that challenge quite well by making all scenes of great historical importance thoroughly charged! Lincoln’s stories and his passion make for a fascinating viewing!
- Negatives: The film is a little too long! And you’d be better off if you read up a bit about the American civil war and Lincoln’s administration before you watch this film (I had to, at least) Also, if you lose focus while Lincoln;s talking, the film can get boring. This is not for you if you are not into conversational films.
- Favorite scenes: The scene where Lincoln talks about the powers he assumes that he has from the constitution and about the technical difficulties in eliminating slavery once the civil war ends, the final voting scene, the scene where TLJ talks in front of the congress about what he thinks is equality.
- My grade : B+
This film started out to be very interesting but just went all over the place to make any sense. I don’t particularly like Nicholas Cage so that didn’t help either.
The concept was very interesting - it was about adapting a book to a film screenplay, where the book did not have a story, the book was about orchids! Also, the difficulties during a creative process - work first or treat first, self motivation, self-doubts - were excellently portrayed.
But the film strayed away quickly. I still have no idea what to make of Meryl Streep’s character. Perhaps this film was just above me, just too elusive! Perhaps I should see it once again and try if I get a better perspective. But the first viewing was rather painful and incredibly boring by the time it got the end.
My grade: C