Category Archives: Hollywood Movie Recos

Why Guardians of the Galaxy is the greatest superhero film of all time #Ode #VoxPop

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor the VoxPop Blog.

So I’m going to go on a limb out here and say that Guardians of the Galaxy is the greatest superhero movie of all time. BOOM!  Yes, I did just make a sweeping declaration and no, it’s not because it’s Marvel Month at VoxPop (even though it is) or because I have a man crush on Chris Pratt (even though I totally do), or because my Baby Groot action figure means more to me than actual babies mean to some people (even though I am Groot). It’s because it’s true.

I do understand how some of you may feel about this as the legend of Christophar Nolan’s The Dark Knight has elevated it to the defecto status of the greatest, while there are some who swear by Spider-Man 2, The Incredibles, Unbreakable, Blade, Superman: The Movie, X2 and Batman Returns in the older ones, and X-Men: First Class, Deadpool, Chronicle, Kickass, plus Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 2… well, basically everything else from Marvel, in the newer ones.  There are also some who believe Krrish 3 ROXXX, but unfortunately 7 year olds don’t know any better, so we will let them be for now.

The Curse of Christopher Nolan
But I can reason it out, *logically*. Let’s go back in time to the year 2008, when The Dark Knight released, and the superhero world, heck, the entire blockbuster movie world, turned dark. We got a Spiderman reboot sans humour (The Amazing Spiderman), a Superman reboot that had a dark tinge throughout the film (Man of Steel), an Iron Man so dark that it was shot mostly at night (Iron Man 3), a Captain America so dark that even the Hulk had better jokes (The Avengers) and a Thor so dark that they even put the word ‘dark’ in its title, you know, in case anyone thought it *looked* too bright (Thor: The Dark World).

Even if you discount the Zack Snyder affliction that’s plaguing the DC world at the moment, even movie titles *literally* went ‘dark’ post-2008. Here’s a list of just some of the movies that came out after The Dark Knight:  Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013)… and I’m only listing summer movies here. There’s also Edge of Darkness (2010), The Darkest Hour (2011) Dark Shadows (2012), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger (2010)…. Umm, okay I made my point.

On the heels of this illness, came the unlikely Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie so aggressively anti darkness that its trailer featured Swedish pop rock band Blue Swede’s ‘70s anthem, ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ as opposed to, you know, Mike Zarin’s BRAAAM!s from the Inception trailer. Considering the fact that the joke was actually on the last few superhero films that tried being funny (Green Lantern and The Green Hornet failed spectacularly), it cannot be stressed enough how mental the very idea of Guardians of the Galaxy was.

Marvel’s Lab Experiment
Here’s a film that was so disruptive that it was practically a lab experiment by Marvel. It was directed by an indie filmmaker whose most notable work was having scripted the Scooby-Doo movies (James Gunn), it was set in outer space with a budget of $170 million dollars (enough to feed Bangladesh), and featured five anti-heroes: a lead who was earlier best known as the chunky dude in a niche TV show (Pratt as Starlord), a former WWE wrestler (Dave Bautista as Drax), and three recognisable faces who were either in unrecognizable makeup (Zoe Saldana as Gamora) or were animated (Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel as Groot)! Recipe for disaster, right?

But NO! Guardians of the Galaxy became the biggest August-release of all time in the US, making $773.14 million globally in 2014 (for comparison, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is at $872.7 million in 2016) and there’s one big reason why: it brought back the essence of what comic book movies were always supposed to be but something that most superhero movies had completely forgotten to be in the years preceding: FUN!

Take the pre-climax scene where the five anti-heroes agree to go on a suicidal mission to save the world after Starlord’s ‘I have a plan’ speech. The movie does the cliché Blake Snyder’s beat sheet tick mark, but then, once all five are standing, Rocket remarks snarkily, “There, I’m also standing. Look at us, a bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle!” It’s this – how the film took all such superhero tropes and played it to perfection, only to turn it on its head before the end, so that the audience got to watch both an irreverent indie film that’s new and exciting and the familiar summer film that’s become such a lost art.

Indie Soul in a Blockbuster
Because that’s what the legacy of Guardians of the Galaxy and that’s what makes it so great – and in my books, the greatest: a summer blockbuster with the soul of an indie film. It has the big ticket action scenes, but it also has the quiet moments – like the scene where Groot grows a flower to gift a little girl; or the scene where Groot releases fireflies to bring about light in a dark scene; or well, just the fact that it’s got Groot! Instead of going the ‘one for them, one for us’ way with their slate of blockbuster films that go right up to 2020, Marvel figured out the inspired middle-path in this one: ‘something for both’. How else do you explain an ingenious ‘70s soundtrack (‘The Awesome Mix Vol. 1) to a film set in space?

Even besides this, what Guardians of the Galaxy did with its success was empowering indie filmmakers to give their own unique voice to big budget films. Now you have a Spiderman movie made by the guy who last made a violent road thriller (Jon Watts), a Thor movie made by a dude who made a horror comedy mockumentary on vampires (Taika Waititi) and a Doctor Strange movie by the guy who made indie horror scary again (Scott Derickson)!

In Groot We Trust
GOTG also empowered hapless audience that wanted to be entertained but could not suffer through one more never-ending Michael Bay explosionfest (especially without any Megan Fox) or a Snyder VFXfest (especially without Nolan exec producing) to demand movies that actually DO have a story, a heart and a soul. Most importantly, it empowered studios to experiment with new subjects (even if its superheroes), the wackier, the better. Hence, we already have a Deadpool and Suicide Squad, and are in the line for a Lego Batman Movie, a *young* Spiderman and Flash, and so many more!

Just like the heroes at its helm, Guardians of the Galaxy is the unlikely misfit superhero film that the world needed, and not just the film they wanted, hence making it the greatest ever. With a franchise like GOTG, the future of the galaxy is in safe hands indeed, because essentially, in Groot, we trust.

 

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Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Note: This interview first appeared on the Vox Pop Blog in September 2016.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

The 30 Best Indies of 2015

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c


I love indie films and I especially love happy, feel-good, uplifting indie films, which are my favourite of all kinds of films. In 2015, I didn’t nearly see as many Indies as I’d have liked to but there are many that stayed with me. Here’s a list of 30 of my favourites; 20 of them happy and 10 others that are dark/edgy:

20 BEST HAPPY INDIES OF 2015

  1. SPRING: Because the film is about love at its purest and it made me want to write: Spring Movie Recommendation.
  2. ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL: Because ‘death’ as a coming of age device has never been captured so poignantly (with such a perfect comic tone).
  3. COMET: Because the creator of Mr. Robot, Sam Esmail, is just as good a director as he’s a showrunner (and this scifi romance is a must watch).
  4. AMIRA AND SAM: Because Martin Starr is an underrated indie rockstar and this is the year’s most unexpectedly awesome romcom for me.
  5. DOPE: Because it’ll be tough to find a better ode to hip hop culture of the ‘90s than this refreshing comic of age comedy.
  6. PRIDE: Because no one can make you smile and cry at the same time like the Brits (and this ode to the LGBT community will lift your spirits!).
  7. PAPER TOWNS: Because whatever Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber write is solid gold and this ode to teenage friendship is just that.
  8. MISTRESS AMERICA: Because Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach know something about today’s young urban 20-somethings that no one else does.
  9. HECTOR & THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS: Because it’s a Simon Pegg starring travel comedy about happiness and that’s SUCH an epic throughline.
  10. TOP FIVE: Because Chris Rock’s back and he gives us a spanking, fresh, all check-boxes ticked romcom that’s a blast in every scene.
  11. STANDBY: Because while Ireland’s Before Sunrise may be a long way away from reaching that level, but has enough charm to keep you smiling through its runtime.
  12. SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE: Because in the garb of a mainstream commercial romcom, Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie give you a beautiful, thoughtful love story about sex.
  13. THE REWRITE: Because Hugh Grant never gets old and this romcom, though totally missed by everyone, will take you to the genre’s good ol’ 90s.
  14. MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT: Because it’s got Emma Stone and Colin Firth and is directed by Woody Allen and do you need any more reason than that?
  15. NIGHT OWLS: Because there is something admirable about Adam Pally’s blabbermouth routine and Rosa Salazar is a firecracker on screen, which makes this is a great ‘night-in’ romcom.
  16. INFINITELY POLAR BEAR: Because Mark Ruffalo is such a fucking fantastic actor and he really needs to be in everything, so this lovely portrayal of bipolar disorder by him will make your heart swell.
  17. THE END OF THE TOUR: Because James Ponsoldt can make you feel for a stone if he wanted, so this five-days-in-the-life-of David Foster Wallace is stuffed with the feels.
  18. DEAR WHITE PEOPLE: Because a smart and funny satire about campus race relations is a refreshingly cool way of tackling the issue!
  19. WHILE WE’RE YOUNG: Because Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach know something about today’s not-so-young urban 30-somethings that no one else does.
  20. HAPPY CHRISTMAS: Because Joe Swanberg directs Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lysnkey and the result is indielicious.

 

10 BEST DARK INDIES OF 2015

  1. JOHN WICK: Because this is Keanuissance (Reevaissance?) at its kickass, brutal, violent, head-smashing, bone-breaking, batshit crazy best in a full blown action classic.
  2. EX-MACHINA: Because when three of the greatest young actors of today, Oscar Issac, Domnhall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander, come together for one scifi film, you know it’s going to be fantastic.
  3. ’71: Because the period of The Troubles always makes for gripping cinema and with Jack O’Conner and Richard Dormer leading the cast, it makes for thrilling cinema too.
  4. IRRATIONAL MAN: Because when Woody Allen does dark comedy he does it like no one else and when Joaquin Phoenix & Emma Stone team up, it’s a match like none else too.
  5. COP CAR: Because there is a reason Jon Watts got handpicked to direct the next Spiderman and it is all too clear in this terrific road thriller.
  6. THE GUEST: Because Dan Stevens breaking out of his Downton Abbey nice-guy routine is a how-to on ‘playing against type’ in this action thriller.
  7. CHI-RAQ: Because when Spike Lee gets it right, he gets it right and how, and this satire on Chicago street violence is his best work in a while.
  8. IT FOLLOWS: Because indie horror is a tough genre to get noticed in so when a movie manages to creep out of nowhere to creep you out, it instantly becomes memorable.
  9. THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT: Because the sheer number of young talent in this film is enough of a reason to watch it, and the film tops it up by being an uneasy, uncomfortable watch.
  10. BIG GAME: Because the Scandinavians know how to get their thrillers right and this low-budget actioner starring Samuel L. Jackson and a kid is a throwback to the good ol’ ‘80s.


#ICYMI:

THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c

I have already made a list of the 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015, but I also wanted to put together a list of my favourite Summer Films, Hindi Films and ‘Good Films’ (Dramas/Comedies). Please note that this is a list of MY 35 Favourite Films of 2015 and if there are films missing from here, trust me, they’ve been left out on purpose (for eg. I didn’t feel too much for Piku or Spectre, etc). Anyway, here are my lists below:


THE 15 BEST HINDI FILMS

  1. TALVAR: Because Irrfan Khan and Neeraj Kabi and Gajraj Rao and Konkana Sen Sharma and Vishal Bharadwaj and Meghna Gulzar.
  2. DUM LAGAKE HAISHA: Because this could well be India’s first indie romcom by a big studio.
  3. MASAAN: Because it made me want to write: On Masaan.
  4. BABY: Because Neeraj Pandey is to thrillers what Raju Hirani is to feel good cinema. Here’s my piece on it: On Baby.
  5. DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY!: Because Dibakar Banerjee is a star and this film got the short end of the stick. My piece on it: On Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
  6. TAMASHA: Because Imtiaz Ali has the power to make you feel feelings that no other Indian director does.
  7. DIL DHADAKNE DO: Because Anil Kapoor!!
  8. TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS: Because two Kangana Ranaut is even better than one Kangana Ranaut.
  9. BOMBAY VELVET: Because it was a GOOD film and my thoughts on it are well documented: On Bombay Velvet.
  10. NH10: Because we haven’t managed to pull off a road thriller so well ever before and hats off to Anushka Sharma for debuting as a producer with this.
  11. TITLI: Because this was the most hard-hitting Indian film I’ve seen in ages.
  12. COURT: Because it captured class divide and ‘India’ of the towns and of the shanties like very few could have.
  13. PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA: Because let’s admit it, even with its misogyny, it was freaking hilarious.
  14. ANGRY INDIAN GODESSES: Because in spite of the filmy ending, this is a Dil Chahta Hai for women.
  15. BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN: Because Salman Khan did a good film and I still can’t believe it.


THE 10 BEST SUMMER FILMS

  1. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION: Because what a perfect, perfect screenplay and what a perfect, perfect Tom Cruise.
  2. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD: Because this was not really a Mad Max film and we know it – it was a Furiosa film and that’s why we love it.
  3. JURASSIC WORLD: Because this was a throwback to the good ol’ family blockbusters of the ‘90s and Chris Pratt is the ‘hero’ we’ve been waiting for.
  4. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.: Because Guy Ritchie makes action films like no one makes action films and Guy Ritchie is my Tarantino.
  5. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: Because it was great trip back in time but as an independent film it could have been so much more.
  6. SPY: Because who knew Jason Statham could be SO FREAKING FUNNY!
  7. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: Because it was Joss Whedon’s last superhero film (as we know it) but otherwise it could have been so much more.
  8. FURIOUS 7: Because they showed ALL THEIR ACTION PIECES in trailers and there was nothing left to watch in the film.
  9. PITCH PERFECT: Because Anna Kendrick is acc-awesome.
  10. THE INTERVIEW: Because it was hilarious and I don’t know why critics found it vile and unfunny – the James Franco-Kim Jong Un friendship scenes were ROFL!


THE 10 BEST DRAMAS/COMEDIES

  1. BIRDMAN: Because OH MY GOD, what a film.
  2. STEVE JOBS: Because the greatest writer of the 21st century, Aaron Sorkin, wrote a film about the greatest mind of the 21st century, Steve Jobs, and it was perfect.
  3. WHIPLASH: Because this movie *is* my tempo.
  4. CREED: Because THIS is how you do a reboot, and hell, Ryan Coogler, you are a master of the art of screenwriting and storytelling – what a perfect film this was.
  5. THE INTERN: Because who knew a Robert DeNiro-Anne Hathaway film could be the feel good film of the year and charm the socks off you?
  6. TRAINWRECK: Because Amy Schumer’s hilarious big screen writing-acting debut has redefined the raunchy female comedy.
  7. THE MARTIAN: Because this was Ridley Scott’s happiest film ever and if getting back Matt Damon is such a fun time, he should get in these situations more!
  8. INSIDE OUT: Because no Hollywood film gave you as many feel as this one.
  9. SICARIO: Because Dennis Villeneuve can do no wrong and looks like even Emily Blunt can’t.
  10. TOMORROWLAND: Because it was an original film that had the right intentions even if it failed a bit in putting them across.

#ICYMI:
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 100 MOST AWAITED FILMS OF 2016: http://goo.gl/KLHbTP
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c


Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’ve left out some fantastic films? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

The 100 Most Awaited 2016 Movies

#ICYMI:
THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoonfor Huffington Post. An edited version of the piece can be found here: https://goo.gl/04ZsS6
2016 is going to be an unbelievable year at the movies. There’s SO MUCH HAPPENING! DC, Marvel, Scorsese, Linklater, Kashyap, Bharadwaj and SO MUCH MORE. I have put together a list of MY most awaited 100 films below. There are movies I have left out on purpose because I may not be excited about them and movies that I have put in because I may be more excited about them than others. So having given the disclaimer that this is a list of films ‘I’ am most excited about, check out my 100 below:

THE 25 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD FILMS

  1. DEADPOOL: Because Ryan Reynolds and that trailer! Time to make the chimi-fucking-changas!
  2. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE: Because BATMAN V SUPERMAN WHAT PART OF THAT DOES NOT EXCITE YOU!
  3. EVERYBODY WANTS SOME: Because Richard Linklater is back with a ‘spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused and I WANTS SOME.
  4. FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: Because JK Rowling! And magic! And wizardry! Accio Release Date!
  5. THE NICE GUYS: Because the guy who made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang teams up with the guy who was in LA Confidential and the guy who was in Drive and this looks like it will be one of my all time favourites.
  6. SUICIDE SQUAD: Because, to quote David Ayer, ‘Enough of Good vs Evil, it’s time for Bad vs Evil.’ Also, JOKER + HARLEY QUINN = WIN!!
  7. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Because Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke and Peter Sarsgaard and Matt Bomer and Vince D’Onofrio in this remake!! WHYISTHISNOTMAKINGMORENEWS?!
  8. DOCTOR STRANGE: Because Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange and that’s the only reason I forgive Marvel for not casting Keanu Reeves in it.
  9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR: Because it should have been the most exciting movie of the year but the trailer didn’t live up but I still have hopes because WARRRRRRR.
  10. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE: Because though I’m not a Bryan Singer fan, Oscar Isaac as the villain is SUCH FANTASTIC NEWS.
  11. KUNG FU PANDA 3: Because GET, SET, PO!!!
  12. BOURNE 5: Because Matt Damon is back! Paul Greengrass is back! Julia Stiles is back! I can’t stop with the exclamations!
  13. THE JUNGLE BOOK: Because even though I’m looking forward to Jungle Book: Origins more (because Andy Serkis), Bill Murray and Idris Elba on this makes it unmissable.
  14. WARCRAFT: Because though I haven’t played the game, Duncan Jones helming it makes me think that this will probably be better than anyone’s expecting this to be.
  15. THE CIRCLE: Because James Ponsoldt, an international treasure where I’m concerned, directs Tom Hanks, Emma Watson and John Boyega. How are more people not dying to see this!
  16. GAMBIT: Because Channing Tatum as a superhero is dope, yo.
  17. THE GREAT WALL: Because Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal star in a film directed by Yimou Zhang and this could totally be the event movie of the year.
  18. ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE: Because this is my favourite animated series of all time (yes, of ALL TIME).
  19. LA LA LAND: Because Whiplash director returns with a jazz musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and there is no way he could have topped himself on paper.
  20. PASSENGERS: Because America’s sweethearts Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence star so this better be the movie of the year.
  21. ZOOLANDER NO. 2: Because BLUE STEEL FACE (And that Benedict Cumberbatch cameo!).
  22. ASSASSIN’S CREED: Because Michael Fassbender stars and there is no reason greater than that.
  23. ARMS AND THE DUDES: Because Jonah Hill and Miles Teller together in a Todd Philips movie is bound to be the dude movie of the year.
  24. STAR TREK BEYOND: Because they should have ended with the last one but with Justin Lin attached, the series could Live Long and Prosper.
  25. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY: Because Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla was one of the worst blockbusters I’ve ever seen so I have no idea how this will turn out.


THE 15 MOST ANTICIPATED INDIAN FILMS

(NOTE: The most anticipated Indian film for me would be BANK CHOR since that’s the first film I’ve worked on as a Creative Producer and that releases SOON :D. The list below is movies besides Bank Chor, of course.)

  1. RANGOON: Because Vishal Bharadwaj is making a ‘Casablanca’ like love story featuring Kangana Ranaut along with Shahid ‘Kaminey’ Kapoor and Saif Ali ‘Langda Tyagi’ Khan.
  2. DANGAL: Because Aamir Khan.
  3. RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0: Because Anurag Kashyap is going back to his indie thriller roots with this one.
  4. AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL: Because Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma come together for a Karan Johar Film so this better be the romcom of the decade.
  5. FAN: Because have you seen Shah Rukh Khan’s Gaurav? I mean!!!!
  6. KAPOOR & SONS: Because Shakun Batra’s Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is one of my favourite Hindi films of the last five years and this one has Alia Bhatt so it will be a cracker.
  7. UDTA PUNJAB: Because Abhishek Chaubey has pulled in a stellar starcast in Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and KAREENA KAPOOR, set against the backdrop of the drug trade in Punjab.
  8. RAEES: Because SRK looks like a badass and him facing off against Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Farhan Akhtar is going to be a treat.
  9. KI & KA: Because the first stills look absolutely amazing and Balki looks set to charm the hell out of us.
  10. DHONI: Because Neeraj Pandey has not set a foot wrong so far and Sushant Singh Rajput is going to play Dhoni like a champ.
  11. MANMARZIYAN: Because I loved Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and I can’t wiat to watch Ayushmann-Bhumi again on screen.
  12. MOHENJADARO: Because Ashutosh Gowarikar directs Hrithik Roshan again and hopefully this film will not be as long as the time between that age and ours.
  13. MIRZIYA: Because Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is a fantastic director and from everything I’ve read about Harshvardan Kapoor, his sensibilities seem on point (he assisted Anurag Kashyap!).
  14. DINESH VIJAN’S UNTITLED FILM: Because after Dinesh Vijan broke up with Saif Ali Khan, the first two things he produced independently (Badlapur and Finding Fanny) were better than anything else he’s done before so I give him the benefit of doubt.
  15. BAAR BAAR DEKHO: Because even though this film has Katrina Kaif and that probably means it will end up sucking, it’s an Excel film by the writer of Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara and Dil Dhadakne Do, so I have my hopes high.


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD DRAMAS

  1. SILENCE: Because Martin Scorsese directs Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson in this historical drama.
  2. THE BFG: Because Steven Spielberg is making a family film after ages and this one’s adapted from a Roald Dahl book!
  3. STORY OF YOUR LIFE: Because Denis Villeneuve (of being amazing fame) directs Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Michael Stuhlbarg in a sci fi drama about aliens landing on earth.
  4. THE FREE STATE OF JONES: Because Matthew McConaughey is starring in this civil war drama from the writer of Big and Seabiscuit.
  5. BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK: Because Ang Lee directs a script from Simon Beaufoy that stars a cast featuring Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart.
  6. THE ACCOUNTANT: Because the director of Warrior directs Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick in an action thriller and that’s all we need to know.
  7. DEMOLITION: Because the ever-dependable Jake Gyllenhaal costars with the ever-dependable Naomi Watts in a drama by Jean-Marc Vallee.
  8. SULLY: Because Clint Eastwood is still going strong at 85 and this time directs an autobiographical film starring Tom Hanks about a pilot who landed a plane on water, saving lives.
  9. MONEY MONSTER: Because Jodie Foster directs, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star, and it is a political thriller.
  10. SNOWDEN: Because it is a biographical drama from the king of biographical dramas, Oliver Stone, about Edward Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED ‘SUMMER’ FILMS

  1. JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK: Because although not a summer release, Tom Cruise reunites with Edward Zwick after The Last Samurai… actually just because Tom Cruise.
  2. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Because I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment so let’s hope there’s more Cowabunga, Dude!
  3. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: Because what a bloody insane cast with Matt Smith, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Sam Riley, and Lily James and what a crazy ass idea.
  4. THE HUNTSMAN – WINTER’S WAR: Because even though the first part sucked, this one has Emily Blunt (and Jessica Chastain!) and we all know Emily Blunt can do no wrong now.
  5. INFERNO: Because screw Dan Brown, anything Tom Hanks does is immensely watchable plus this has Irrfan Khan too.
  6. INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE: Because even though I’m sorely disappointed that this has no Will Smith, it’s got the same director and well, Jeff Goldblum again, so fingers crossed.
  7. THE LEGEND OF TARZAN: Because Margot Robbie as Jane!!!
  8. JUMANJI: Because our childhoods are back!
  9. NOW YOU SEE ME 2: Because basically they’ve got Daniel Radcliffe to star in another movie about magic and that deserves nothing but respect.
  10. BEN-HUR: Because in spite of zero buzz, Jack Huston as Ben-Hur is fascinating casting, and there’s also Morgan Freeman and Toby Kebell, so let’s hope it’s ‘epic’.


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD THRILLERS

  1. HIGH-RISE: Because Ben Wheatley directs Tom Hiddlestone and Elisabeth Moss and a fantastic concept of class war in a high rise and I simply cannot wait.
  2. JOHN WICK 2: Because come on!
  3. TRIPLE 9: Because another fabulous trailer, Lawless director John Hillcoat at its helm and a crazy ass cast in Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus and Kate Winslet!
  4. MIDNIGHT SPECIAL: Because Jeff Nichols is special and when he teams up with Michael Shannon for a scifi thriller again it will be even more special and when the cast has Adam Driver, Joel Edgerton and and Kirsten Dunst, you know this is going to be a must watch.
  5. GREEN ROOM: Because it’s from the director of Blue Ruin, it’s got enormous festive buzz and because Patrick Stewart fights off Neo Nazis!
  6. FREE FIRE: Because there will be one more Ben Wheatley crime thriller this year with another amazing cast that includes Sharlto Copey, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy.
  7. THE WITCH: Because it’s got better reviews than any other horror film in recent history.
  8. THE PURGE 3: Because this film has been my guilty pleasure for two installments now and I can bet part three will not let me down either.
  9. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN: Because the novel’s supposed to be as good as Gone Girl and this one stars Emily Blunt (who can do no wrong) and Rebecca Forguson of MI5 so this could be gooood.
  10. THE NEON DEMON: Because Nicolas Winding Refn directs Keanu Reeves in a thriller shot at 60 fps, are you kidding me!


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD COMEDIES

  1. LIFE ON THE ROAD: Because Ricky Gervais’ David Brent is back and is on the road with a band so this will be AMAZING!!
  2. GHOSTBUSTERS: Because Paul Feig directs Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig again so this is obviously going to be a comedy classic.
  3. THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY: Because Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong play estranged brothers one of whom becomes a spy and the other remains a village idiot and then they meet again and this is just going to be hilarious amiright?
  4. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE: Because The Rock and Kevin Hart come together in an action comedy and I repeat: THE ROCK and KEVIN HART come together in an ACTION COMEDY!!
  5. KEANU: Because Key and Peele make their big screen debut so how are you not jumping with joy already?
  6. CONNER4REAL: Because The Lonely Island are writing and starring in this movie and there is no information about it except the certainty that it will be hilarious.
  7. RIDE ALONG 2: Because I loved part one and Kevin Hart and Ice Cube is the best buddy cop duo since Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon.
  8. KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: Because Greg Mottola of Superbad fame directs a spy comedy starring Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot!
  9. BAD MOMS: Because the guys who wrote The Hangover are making their debut movie and it stars Mila Kunis and Christina Applegate and Kristen Bell as bad moms so this could just be mean girls but with women.
  10. NEIGHBORS 2: Because even though Bad Santa 2 is also releasing this year and I’m personally looking forward to that more, Seth Rogen needs representation in a list like this and so he will get it!


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD DRAMEDIES/ROMCOMS/INDIES

  1. HAIL, CEASOR: Because this is the final part of the ‘Numbskull’ trilogy feat. George Clooney by the Coen Brothers and to top that, it has Scarlett Johannson, Channing Tatum, Josh Brolin and Jonah Hill too!
  2. ME BEFORE YOU: Because my favourite screenwriters of this generation, Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter and writing this romantic drama and I have no doubt it will turn out amazing.
  3. GOING IN STYLE: Because Zach Braff directs a bank heist comedy featuring Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin!
  4. EDDIE THE EAGLE: Because Dexter Fletcher is an underrated gem of a Brit director (check out Wild Bill if you haven’t) and this may just be the feel good film of the year.
  5. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT: Because Tina Fey is producing this war comedy that she is also starring in, plus it’s got Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie and Billy Bob Thornton!
  6. THE BRONZE: Because this raunchy sex comedy got tremendous reviews at Sundance last year and is the directorial debut of The Big Bang Theory’s Bernadette (Melissa Rausch)
  7. BRIDGET JONES’ BABY: Because Renee Zewelleger and Colin Firth are back again and let’s admit it, this is going to be a trip down good ol’ memory lane.
  8. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2: Because Nia Vardalos and John Corbett are back again and let’s admit it, this is going to be a trip down good ol’ memory lane.
  9. TUMBLEDOWN: Because Jason Sudeikis has proved with his recent choices that he’s a capable leading man and this film has a lovely logline about love and death, and also stars the lovely Rebecca Hall.
  10. MASTERMINDS: Because though this film has been going through release hell, it’s got a crazy cast in Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig so can’t wait!


THE 10 MOST ANTICIPATED HOLLYWOOD ANIMATED FILMS

  1. FINDING DORY: Because Finding Nemo.
  2. THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE: Because Angry Birds Movie!
  3. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS: Because great teaser.
  4. SAUSAGE PARTY: Because first animated film by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg!
  5. STORKS: Because voices by Key and Peele and Andy Samberg and Kelsey Grammar.
  6. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS: Because what animation movie has the cast of Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes and George Takei!
  7. TROLLS: Because Anna Kendrick leads this and Anna Kendrick is the best.
  8. SING: Because it’s a music animated comedy featuring Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johannson and Reese Witherspoon (what!).
  9. MOANA: Because THE ROCK makes his animated debut.
  10. PETE’S DRAGON: Because it’s the remake of a much loved animated classic.


#ICYMI:

THE 35 MOST AWAITED TV SERIES OF 2016: http://goo.gl/b20Hr7
THE 50 BEST TV SHOWS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/exsraC
THE 30 BEST INDIES OF 2015: http://goo.gl/xfRuOk
THE 35 BEST FILMS OF 2015: http://goo.gl/Z796RR
THE COMPLETE POP CULTURE CALENDAR OF 2016 (WITH RELEASE DATES): http://goo.gl/JMWW7c

 

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Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’ve left out some films? Think my list is shit? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in Huffington Post on January 14, 2016
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/nikhil-taneja-/the-100-most-awaited-movies-of-2016/

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

SPRING (2014): How do you know it’s love? #FILM #RECOMMENDATION

Spring Poster
Spring Poster

It’s been over a week since I saw American indie, SPRING, directed by brilliantly by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, but I haven’t really stopped thinking about it. Love is my favourite genre of all time, but only a few movies have made me reflect over it, and those films need not necessarily be entirely about love at all.

For example, the last film that made me deliberate over love was Spike Jonze’s HER. Unfortunately, I never did end up writing about the film, and I know that Her is about so many larger issues than love – but at its heart, it was about the heart. Because when you think about it, is there really an issue larger than love? Deeper than matters of the heart? Wars have been fought about it, Facebook has been invented over it, wonders of the world have been created for it…

What I really did love about Her – and I think I’ll go back to the film one of these days to feel again what I felt when I first saw it – was that it asked a very pertinent question about love, and attempted to explore the answers to the same: Can love exist beyond bodies? If yes, then can love exist beyond souls too? Of course, in the answer to this question, lies an entire universe of questions about the mind, loneliness, intimacy and sex, which needs to be answered first. And the genius of Her lies in the fact that each one of its viewers would have a different answer to the same, and each one of those answers would be the own, personal truth of that viewer.

Spring, of course, is not nearly as complex as Her, and it doesn’t need to be, because the beauty of the film lies in the simplicity of its theme. But Spring too, raises a pertinent question about an aspect of love that may seem all too simple, but is, in fact, the most complex question, perhaps, of all time: How do you know it’s love? And as an extension to the same: *When* do you know it’s love?

I cannot continue any further without mild spoilers about the plot, but trust me, as in all romantic films, the movie’s not really about the climax at all, but about the journey towards it. Spring is a genre mash up of a romantic comedy and body horror. It’s Richard Linklater meets David Cronenberg; or Woody Allen meets Guillermo Del Toro. But the terrific thing about the film is that it’s got its own, unique take on love, which is distinctly different to those of the aforementioned masters of cinema.

If you’ve seen the trailer of the film above, you’ll know that Spring is about a guy (the charming Lou Taylor Pucci) who meets a beautiful Italian girl (and my God, Nadia Hilker *is* beautiful) and over multiple nights of a Before Sunrise-esque romance, falls desperately in love with her. But instead of a train that the girl needs to get on, there’s a fantastical, paranormal, biological or perhaps straight-up twisted phenomenon that the girl needs to get with, and her love is tested against this ticking clock, but also by this phenomenon.

To go into the territory of strong spoilers: The girl has a condition wherein she’ll morph into another woman every 20 years (but only after becoming a monster first) and live another life from scratch, unless… she falls in love with somebody. And that’s the brilliance of Spring: writer Justin Benson possibly worked backwards with the answer to the question of ‘How/when do you know it’s love’ – when you morph into another being – and created this beautiful, quirky horror romcom that leads upto the ‘will she/won’t she’ climax on drugs.

The body horror element of the script is what lends a wonderful weirdness to this odd scifi romcom, but as with Her, at its heart, Spring is not about the body, but about the heart too. It takes the fear and profound anxiety of learning whether or not the person you love, loves you back, and compounds it with the terrifying fantasy element of the worst way to get turned down ever: by getting eaten by the monster that person turns into! But as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… as a couple, right?

Lame jokes aside, the gorgeously shot (by Aaron Moorhead) and directed Spring is easily my favourite indie film of the year so far and perhaps will be on the top of my list through 2015, because ultimately, it is about love, in its purest and most heartbreaking form, the love that ‘comes around only a couple of times if you’re lucky.’ And if you’re really lucky, she’ll know that it’s love too.

 

Agree/disagree with the review? Know other films similar to it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
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The Best of Best Of Lists 2014 – Movies

(Read The Best of Best of Lists 2014 – TV here: http://goo.gl/fbDQ1f)

‘Tis the season of Best Of Lists! And now that there are *SO* many out there, it’s quite difficult to get a real idea of films that have truly stood out in the year – since the lists of every individual critic varies just that much. So I’ve drawn up the best of lists of some of the best film critics out there.

Unlike ‘The Best of Best of Lists 2014 – TV version (read here), there seems to be very little unanimity in the movie lists. Film critics have generally not agreed upon the best films of the year, saving a very few; while TV critics have pretty similar lists over all, barring a few personal choices.

So here are some of the things that stood out after going through all the lists:

The only film on *everybody’s* lists: Boyhood (Read my interview with director Richard Linklater here: http://goo.gl/ErdfnS)
The only other films on *almost* everybody’s lists: The Grand Budapest Hotel & Selma
The documentary film surprisingly on a lot of lists: Citizenfour
The highly buzzed films surprisingly on very few lists: Foxcatcher,  Gone Girl & Interstellar
The worst reviewed film (among these) surprisingly on some lists: Lucy
The foreign film on most lists: Ida (Poland)
The British film on most lists: Mr. Turner
The only animated film on the lists: The LEGO Movie
The only straight-to-DVD film on the lists: Snowpiercer


Here are the lists, that will be updated as more lists come up (The name of the critic links to his/her Twitter page):

Hitflix’s ‘Top 10 of 2014’ – By Drew McWeenyhttp://goo.gl/Ro2waf
(1 to 10) Inherent Vice, Boyhood, Wild Tales, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Force Mejeure, The Tribe, Nightcrawler, Snowpiercer, The Raid 2

Indiewire’s ‘Best Films of 2014’
 – By Eric Kohnhttp://goo.gl/TOh0Rz
(1 to 10) Boyhood, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Mankamana, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Leviathan, Ida, Starred Up, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Double, Inherent Vice

Little White Lies’ ’25 Best Films of 2014′ – By David Ehlrich: http://goo.gl/NXs5kf
(1 to 10) The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, Under the Skin, Nymphomaniac, Gone Girl, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Double, God Help The Girl, Force Majeure, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Boyhood, Goodbye to Language, Ida, Paolo Alto, The Babadook, Mommy, Why Don’t You Play in Hell, Starred Up, Godzilla, Listen Up Philip, Love is Strange, Selma, Timbuktu, We Are The Best!, Lucy

Rolling Stones’ ’10 Best Movies of 2014′ – By Peter Travershttp://goo.gl/ahbG5b
(1 to 10) Boyhood, Birdman, Foxcatcher, Selma, Gone Girl, Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Unbroken, Under The Skin, Interstellar

The Guardian’s ’10 Best Films of 2014′
 – By Peter Bradshawhttp://goo.gl/5lHFPR
(1 to 10) Under The Skin, Boyhood, Inherent Vice, Whiplash, Leviathan, Two Days One Night, Nightcrawler, Ida, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The LEGO Movie

The New York Times’ ‘Top 10 Movies of 2014’ – By A. O. Scotthttp://goo.gl/NyLZxl
(1 to 10) Boyhood, Ida, Citizenfour, Leviathan, Selma, Love is Strange, We Are The Best!, Birdman & Listen Up, Philip & Mr. Turner, Dear White People, The Babadook

The New Yorker’s ‘Best Movies of 2014’ – By Richard Brodyhttp://goo.gl/kWMnzV
(1 to 30) The Grand Budapest Hotel, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, Goodbye to Language, The Last of the Unjust, The Immigrant, American Sniper, Listen Up Philip, Actress, Memphis, Butter on the Latch, Evolution of a Criminal, Gone Girl, Happy Christmas, It Felt Like Love, Jimmy P, Life of Riley, Magic in the Moonlight, Soft in the Head, Story of my Death, Stranger by the Lake, Jealousy, Jersey Boys, Life Itself, Manakamana, Marvin Seth and Stanley, The Missing Picture, Selma, Tip Top, The Unknown Known, What Now? Remind  Me, One Day Pina Asked…

TIME Magazine’s ‘Top 10 Best Movies’ – By Richard Corliss: http://goo.gl/egfzcX
(1 to 10) The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, The LEGO Movie, Lucy, Goodbye to Language,  Jodorowsky’s Dune, Nightcrawler, Citizenfour,  Wild Tales, Birdman

Thompson on Hollywood’s ‘Top Ten Films of 2014’ – By Anne Thompsonhttp://goo.gl/ygGhJB
(1 to 10) Birdman, Boyhood, Mr. Turner, Nymphomaniac Volumes 1 & 2, Only Lovers Left Alive, Ida, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wild Tales, Beyond the Lights

Vanity Fair’s ’10 Best Movies of 2014′ – By Richard Lawsonhttp://goo.gl/Buc3Wd
(1 to 10) Love is Strange, Mommy, Force Majeure, Citizenfour, Boyhood, Selma, Snowpiercer, Mr. Turner, Pride, X Men: Days of Future Past

Vulture’s ’11 Best Movies of 2014′ – By David Edelstein: http://goo.gl/7E87WI
(1 to 10) Boyhood, Selma, The Babadook, Whiplash, Tales of the Grim Sleeper, Only Lovers Left Alive, Citizenfour, Mr. Turner, Two Days One Night, The Immigrant, The Overnighters

Also,
Edgar Wright’s ‘Top 10 Movies of 2014: http://goo.gl/PQkT4i
(no order) Birdman, Boyhood, Edge of Tomorrow, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, The LEGO Movie, Nightcrawler, Snowpiercer, Under the Skin, Whiplash
So, obviously, after I made this list, I realised there are other such lists out there too. So I’ve kept this list exclusive to critics whose reviews I read and love. You can read other compilations with even more lists here:
Indiewire Compilation: http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/critics-top-10-films-2014
Metacritic Compilation: www.metacritic.com/feature/film-critic-top-10-lists-best-movies-of-2014
Also, here’s a great article by Anne Thompson on ‘How to Make a Ten Best List in Five Easy Steps‘: http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/how-to-make-a-ten-best-list-in-five-easy-steps-20141210

 

What are your favourite films of the year? Do leave your favourites in the comments below 🙂
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Dark. Twisted. Funny. Fucked Up. Gone Girl. #Review #GoneGirl

As I sat watching Gone Girl and the movie unravelled one of its incredible plot twists, I could sense a feeling of dread settle into couples throughout the theatre. I was transfixed at what was happening on screen – and how staggering it was – yet, I was distinctly aware that a quiet unease was creeping its way into the psyche of every couple, married or otherwise, as the theatre slowly fell into an uncomfortable silence. Perhaps this was the paranoia that the movie had projected unto me manifesting itself into a dark, perverse fantasy about the lives of others, or perhaps, Gone Girl is, in fact, the kind of movie that will make every couple momentarily reassess all that is right, and certainly all that is wrong with their relationship.

To say that Gone Girl is a thriller about a the hunt for the missing wife of a seemingly sociopathic man (or look at it as a thriller from the angle that you’ll see when you watch the film) will be a gross misjudgement of what director David Fincher and screenwriter Gillian Flynn have attempted to do with the movie, and will be a much too simplistic – and inaccurate – reduction of what is undoubtedly one of the most twisted and murky deliberations of marriage on the big screen.

That marriage is not easy is a fact that has been explored through several prisms in many a great films of our times, and of that before, from Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? to Blue Valentine. But just how f**ked up marriage, or for that matter, relationships can be, has arguably yet to be dissected in a manner in which Fincher and Flynn together do through the movie.

Gone Girl takes any and all expectations a viewer may have aligned himself with when going into the movie, and then smashes them to pieces, much like it does to every thought we may have had about the institution of marriage, or about what it means to be in a committed relationship. What the movie may do to couples watching it together is entirely dependent on just how seriously they take the movie or for that matter, just how mature or happy they are, because at its best, Gone Girl is a movie that can save a troubled marriage; and at its worst, it is the most horrid and unpleasant date movie of all time.

On the other hand, and in a most brilliant contradiction to the theme of the film, Gone Girl is also a first rate black comedy and satire. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions through the film, because its meditation on the bizarreness, incredulity, ridiculousness, stupidity, ethical and moral ambiguity, and the complete and utter disregard for professionalism that has become the media, is top class and should necessarily be seen and taken with a very big salt of pinch by everyone who works in the profession themselves.

David Fincher has used the plot of the movie to deliver a scathing diatribe on what has come to be called the ‘media circus’, where (no spoilers, don’t worry) people are put on trial and verdicts are passed without evidence, facts or even logic, where the convenient outcome is passed on the news as the right outcome, and where the consequence could be immense and tragic and yet no individual person has to take the fall – and which is why this unfortunate trend continues to grow, unabated.

Cinematically speaking, there’s nothing I can tell you that you wouldn’t know already: Fincher’s direction is outstanding, the music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is fantastic, Flynn’s screenplay is far too superior for being her first, and most other things including editing (Kirk Baxter), cinematography (Jeff Cronenweth) and the cast are near-perfect. But if there are two elements that stand tall among equals, they are the acting performances by leads Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

It’s funny how Matthew McConaughey’s McConaissance is spoken about with much ferocity all over the internet when Ben Affleck underwent a McConaissance, or Benaissance, if you may, much before he did. This is an actor whose performance does not rely on histrionics or dramatics but on subtlety – and Affleck betrays the confidence of an actor who could be, at this stage of his career, unbeatable at his game. This is a performance worthy of many rewards, and oh man, I can’t wait to see Affleck as Batman now. He’s going to fucking kill it! Since I can’t say much about Pike because of spoilers, let me say this: The greatest actress you didn’t know of so far has arrived, and how. Her performance is the stuff of legend (and I believe it would’ve been amplified if the film were to be shown without cuts).

Since I don’t need to convince you any more to go watch the movie, let me say this: I don’t think it was a perfect movie because the end didn’t go down well with me (I will write why after everyone’s seen it). And I still think Fincher’s best films are The Social Network and Fight Club. But if you are a fan of movies, and particularly of movie experiences, Gone Girl is as unique an experience as you’d get at the movies. Do not miss it.

P.S.: If you liked the film, you are going to love these alternate posters of Gone Girl: http://goo.gl/qe98H3


If you liked/disliked the piece, do leave a comment below 🙂
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© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.