Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Movies Roundup 2015

Did you know new year resolutions come true? Shocking, isn't it? After last year's 38% out of the 100 movies resolution, I had toned down the goal to 50 in 2015. This being the year when our first child was born even 50 seemed like a stretch till something unexpected happened. We installed a treadmill and a TV in front of it. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Very excited to have watched 53 movies (106% to target) with 26 of them actually current releases. What did take a hit was the number of theater visits, down to five through the year, three before the baby (ironically, Baby being the last) and two while the baby was vacationing with her mother. The silver lining of the gruelling 24 hour flights to India is the vast selection of new releases, so caught up on eight during a round trip, and also picked up some original DVDs (sorry Pirate Bay, it was me, not you) during the trip. Being foolish and brave again and taking up the 2016 target back to 100. You can read more about the #100moviepact here

Quality wise this has been a pretty good year, significantly up from 2014 and that too in spite of a stricter rating scale. Just like in 20092010201120122013, & 2014 I made a quick note of my initial thoughts and a rating on 10, purely on how much I enjoyed the movies. As always, very keen to hear your thoughts and exchange some notes. Welcome 2016 and let the show go on!

Starting with the popular stats first, only for movies released the same year.

Year     # Seen    Hindi:English:Bangla   Top Rating  Avg. Rating
2007     32               22:10:0                           9.0             5.78
2008     30               23:7:0                             8.5             6.35
2009     24               18:6:0                             9.0             6.85
2010     25               16:9:0                             8.5             6.62
2011     22               15:6:1                             8.5             6.77
2012     28               12:11:5                           9.0             7.33
2013     28               14:14:0                           9.0             7.12
2014     16               10:6:0                             9.0             6.16 
2015     26               20:6:0                             9.0             6.55

20 Bollywood releases in a year for the first time since 2008, boom, baby! As we have a fair number of Bollywood movies to choose from, but only 6 English, we shall do a Top 5 Bollywood and a Top 3 Hollywood selection here. Criterion being the movie must have released in 2015 or I watched it in a theater in 2015 (the latter is important as otherwise some December movies fall through the cracks between the years). The full list of all 53 movies with ratings will be available below, as well as the tweet reviews of all current movies.

We will go the Miss Universe way, starting from the lower ranks up to the top. Only if there are any Colombian movies involved, please assume it's in the list due to an error. All pictures are courtsey IMDb.

English Movies

3. The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game - A brilliant man (Turing) portrayed by another genius (Cumberbatch). You know the story, yet root for the characters. 8.5/10.

2. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Birdman - Broadway extravaganza. Keaton's masterpiece with rock solid support from Stone & Norton. Dark comedy bordering on eccentric. 8.5/10

1. Inside Out
Inside Out - Imagination and creativity going where imagination and creativity come from. Spectacular and heart warming. 8.5/10


Bollywood Movies

5. Drishyam
Drishyam - A reverse whoddunit that makes you root for the perpetrators, pleasant surprise - script & story are king but acting avg. 8/10

4. Talvar
Talvar - Raises valid questions, makes you seethe with rage at the way the case has been handled so far. Irrfan & Neeraj effortless. 8/10.


3. Piku
Piku - The overtly detailed, testy, yet endearing old man, every Bengali family has this Dadu, played with elan by Big B. Deepika wins over the masses and classes. Irrfan, just brilliant as always. 8.5/10


2. Dum Laga Ke Haisha
 Dum Laga Ke Haisha - that unexpected annual low key movie that wins everyone over. Bhumi is the Queen of 2015. 8.5/10.

1. Masaan
Masaan - Movie of the year. Incredible handling of two sensitive stories. Superb acting by the ensemble cast. Watch out for @ghaywan. 9/10

Disclaimer: Among the notable movies of the year that could have made the cut I haven't watched Titli, Tamasha, and Manjhi The Mountainman.






Bridge of Spies - Outstanding work by Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, ably led by Speilberg. Chilling, honest, and edge of the seat stuff. 8/10.

The Grand Budapest Hotel - grabs your attention from get go, and doesn't let it slip. Comedy, drama & suspense play well together. 8/10

Bajrangi Bhaijan - old message of harmony delivered via a vehicle with all access pass to each heart string. Always fall for these. 7.5/10

Jurassic World - The 22 year wait was worth it. Finally a deserving successor to the movie that introduced Hollywood to many of us. 7.5/10

Bajirao Mastani - Literally epic. Sensory delight. Songs distracting. DP, PC, & RS give their best. Climax disappointing. 7.5/10

Ankhon Dekhi -Rajat Kapoor scoops out a squiggly lump of lower middle class India and its curious characters. Sanjay Mishra brilliant! 7.5/10

NH10 - Powerful performance by Anushka, with a storyline that's almost believable if you take one big leap of faith. Violence overkill. 7/10

Tanu Weds Manu Returns- the crazy, zany parts worked quite well and Kangana, get ready for the award speeches. Poor climax and message. 7/10

Baby - Another taut Neeraj Pandey thriller with India's collective fantasy played out in an Argo-inspired climax. Rasheed Naz scary! 7/10.

Badlapur - taut story, brilliant Nawaz, but Varun Woody Dhawan did no justice to the protagonist's character. Something new though. 6.5/10

Revolver Rani - quirky, dark humour, edgy, not effortless, meanders in the end, Kangana is good, but not Rani (Queen) level, hatke. 6.5/10.

Dilwale - SRK sleepwalks yet again, Kajol looks gorgeous, bullet riddled storyline, hummable music, Sanjay Mishra aces comedy. 4/10.

Dil Dhadakne Do - Pretentious, wannabe tripe by Zoya Akhtar. Don't feel for any of the characters, not even Aamir Khan the dog. 3/10

Phantom - patriotic fantasy rubbish. Senseless, directionless, mind numbing 2.5 hours. Saif tries in vain, Katrina doesn't add usual. 3/10.

Shamitabh - When creativity meets money and decides to go crazy and take the audience for granted. Leaves you insulted, and AB too. 2.5/10.

Roy - that one time where KRK  doesn't just get it spot on, but provides the no holds barred review this torture deserves. 2/10.

Bang Bang - the last sound you hear before the squelching one of your brain plopping on the ground. Clean, unadulterated tripe. 1/10.
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