Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Movies Roundup 2010

It's time again for end of year stock taking and making meaningless lists. So, like last year, I am going to round up this year in terms of my favourite movies and also some useless statistics about movies watched and missed. You can use this as a meme and come up with your 'Movies Roundup 2010' posts, will be interesting to share notes. Here's my Hindi & English Top 5, in reverse order.

Hindi


One of the best Indian dark comedies in a long, long time. Though other movies have been made in the past on the issue of sensationalistic journalism (e.g. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani) Peepli Live had a certain edge over them because of the strong realistic, yet sarcastic overtones and also the extremely authentic rustic setting and backdrop. Each character had an honest, earthy feel to them. Personally the ending was very ironic as Natha was shown inconspicuously breaking stones along the same road where the mall was where we were watching the movie. It's a well deserved entry to the Oscars and here's wishing Anusha, Aamir and the gang all the very best!



This is a tie for the 5th spot as I just couldn't not mention both of these movies. Karthik Calling Karthik (KCK) is one of the most experimental movies I have come across of late. To be honest my expectations from this Farhan venture was slightly more than what it ended up being, but just for the sheer thrill, entertainment and the 'hatke' factor I had to include it in the list. Also, this movie changed my adverse attitude towards Deepika and converted me to a fan! Stylish, edgy and new-age, KCK joins Peepli Live for the 5th spot.





After the captivating 'Black' and the thoroughly depressing 'Saawariya' the audience wasn't sure what to expect from this Sanjay Leela Bhansali magnum opus. It's safe to say this Hrithik Roshan, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan starrer didn't leave too many people disappointed. With the usual SLB grandeur and extravagance Guzaarish is a treat for the eyes, more so with an absolutely stunning lead pair. Not a big Aishwariya fan, but must admit she looked gorgeous all through. The story in fact was quite thin and it's to the team's credit that they managed to put together something so captivating on this plot. The music was perhaps below SLB's usual, but hummable nevertheless. The lyrics of 'Sau Gram Zindagi' has to be some of the most innovative lines of the year. And finally, Suhel Seth provided some unintentional comic relief at the end of the movie.

3. Robot 

The truth in the now-famous description of Rajni "he is a force of nature. If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth." from 'Slate' can be properly appreciated only after watching 'Robot'. All those Rajni jokes pale in comparison to what the man does on screen in this movie. The term 'suspension of disbelief' comes to life from Act 1, Scene 1. If a movie is to be solely judged on the amount of entertainment it provides there really is nothing that could come close to 'Robot' this year. I don't know who Chuck Norris is, never seen any of his movies, but I can safely say that he can't be more than a side character is a Rajni joke. Here's to many more of Rajni entertainers in the coming years. At 61, he's not getting any older.


From a purely objective movie review perspective have to keep this at No. 2. One of the high points of the year, and I am not restricting the scope of this statement to just movies. Enough said. God bless Sir.







Not only the best movie of the year but by far the most under rated one as well! It's a matter of honour that I happen to share my last name with the director who after 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' and 'Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye' seems to be on the 'up and to the right' curve that sales people have come to worship! Three separate stories, each strong, dark and extremely poignant weaved together in a seamless fashion, LSD is not just experimental cinema for the heck of being different but is one of the best portrayals of today's society. It was not just the handheld camera style of photography but also the splendid performances which gave the movie a feel of watching real life events through the CCTV cameras set up in places unknown to the actors. Take a bow Mr. Banerjee.


And that's the Bollywood list for 2010. Although I have already listed 6 movies in my Top 5, there's one movie which deserves a special mention, having lost out narrowly but being the sweetest surprise element of the year, YRF's 'Band Baajaa Baraat'.

English



It's always a difficult task to select a Hollywood animation movie in the annual top 5 because almost all of them are impeccable in their production, story and presentation. However over the years they have reached stage where they can compete against the the 'normal' movies purely on the merit of their plots and stories, without the superb technical advantages to fall back on. So, starting off the English list will be this movie about a crook who wants to be the biggest criminal in the world and plans to steal the moon and how he ends up being a Superdad. Can make even the most macho among us go 'awww'.




First things first, Guy Ritchie's maverick, action hero Sherlock Holmes is very different from Conan Doyle's suave, intellectual resident of Baker Street. Far from suave, this Holmes is at times a bumbling sleuth. But when the time comes he keeps the reputation of the master detective intact. A gripping, fast paced movie based on a story not written by Doyle, this is pure edge-of-your-seat entertainment.  Very ably supported by a more conformist Dr. Watson, this movie gave a fantastic start to my tinsel year. Looking forward to more from this stable.




Claim to fame - the movie to have been on Twitter's 'Trending Topics' for the longest period of time in history. Albeit a short history. Inception falls under that category of films which are more of a cult than a cinematic production. The 'dream-within-dream-within-dream' concept took everyone by surprise and generated tremendous interest in the works of Freud and other dream merchants. However, since this came a good ten years after the Matrix trilogy you will be pardoned for having a faint sense of deja vu, though by no way does that indicate this was a work of plagiarism. A fantastic concept, presented in a lavish, riveting manner. Inception is one movie you don't want to miss, if for nothing else but to be a part of discussions when movies of 2010 are discussed, ever.


The  2nd animation movie to make it to the 'Top 5' and one that actually came quite close to being the 'Movie of the Year' for me. There's something about this franchise which tugs at your heartstrings and this one carried the tradition forward. If you have ever been a kid (he he) then there's no way you cannot connect with the movie and the characters. Plus the sinister angle brought in this third installment adds a different layer to the movie. You will be rooting for Woody and friends, cringing at the thought of them being victims to the evil toys and feeling nice and light at the end of it all. Just how films are supposed to be!


As I mentioned in my tweet review, I maybe a little biased towards the movie as it deals with a subject too close to my livelihood, one that I am discussing with friends and colleagues all the time and reading hundreds and thousands of news feeds on. I don't know the exact proportion of fact and fiction in the movie but am aware that the flavour of the birth of the greatest social network in the world has been retained and to say that it's fascinating is an understatement. I am a huge fan of the social medium and am proud to be one of the early adopters of most of these applications. The creativity, innovation, greed, ambition and vision shown in the movie makes for a most enriching watch. Brilliant performances by almost everyone and a superb, subtle ending makes it the Movie of the Year for me.


Finally, here's a look at all the movie I have watched this year, and some stats. Was a great year movie wise and looking forward to an even better 2011.







Being a bit statistically inclined, I have kept some notes of the movies that I have seen in theaters since 2007, and the summary would be as follows:


Year        Movies Seen      H:E              Top Rating (on 10)        Avg Rating

2007               32                     22:10                      9.0                                5.78
2008               30                    23:7                        8.5                                6.35
2009               24                    18:6                        9.0                                 6.85
2010               25                    16:9                         8.5                                6.62

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