February 09, 2020

Top 10 at Oscars 2020






With less than 24 hours to go before the Oscar Awards ceremony to begin, here is my annual post on the ten movies which have earned most nominations this year. 

If you have watched these ten movies, the ceremony will make more sense to you than otherwise. I have watched all of these except one, which I plan to catch today.
  • 1917 by Sam Mendes (10 nominations, for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Production Design, Makeup and Hair, VFX).  I strongly feel that '1917' will win more awards than any other film. And I'm fine with that, as long as it does not win Best Picture. Chances are high for it to win Best Director, Sound awards, Cinematography, and Production Design.
  • Ford V Ferrari by James Mangold (4 nominations, Best Picture, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing). It has a good chance of walking away with 1-2 awards, despite only four nominations.
  • The Irishman by Martin Scorsese (10 nominations, Best Picture, Director, two Supporting Actors, Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume, Editing, VFX). Despite ten nominations, it is entirely possible that the film does not win any awards on the final day. Joe Pesci has an outside chance. Also, editing, may be. But that's it.
  • Jojo Rabbit by Taika Waititi (6 nominations, for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Editing, Production Design, Costume). Do not be surprised if 'Jojo Rabbit' wins for Adapted Screenplay. But anything more than that will be difficult.
  • Joker by Todd Phillips (11 nominations, for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Editing, Costume, Makeup and Hair) With 11 nominations, 'Joker' leads this list. Winning for Actor and Score is somewhat easy to predict now. But it is unlikely that it will win more.
  • Little Women by Greta Gerwig (6 nominations, for Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Costume, Score) The film has collected awards in many categories at different award functions. I'm not sure if that will translate at the Oscars. But the possibility of winning for Costume Design is the highest. And Adapted Screenplay, perhaps.
  • Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach (6 nominations, for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Score) It looks like Laura Dern will win her first Oscar for this movie. But apart from that, it is unlikely that 'Marriage Story' will win any. I'd be very pleased if it does. It is one of my favourite movies on this list.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino (10 nominations, for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design, Cinematography, Costume) Brad Pitt is almost certain to win the trophy. But the film may also win for Production Design, Screenplay and even Best Picture.
  • Parasite by Bong Joon-ho (6 nominations, for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Production Design, Editing, International Feature Film) It is almost certain to win in the last category. But it has strong chances in other categories as well, going by its BAFTA and WGA win for Best Original Screenplay, the ACE award for Editing, the Art Directors Guild Award for Production Design (Contemporary), and several critics association award for Best Picture and Director. If it wins best picture, which I think it should, 'Parasite' will be the first foreign-language film to do it. 
  • The Two Popes by Fernando Meirelles (3 nominations, for Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay). The film is on Netflix. It is unlikely it will win in any of these categories, but the performances are really good.

February 08, 2020

Cinema 2019: Top Modern Foreign-Language Films



These are the top ten foreign-language movies from the last five years that I saw in 2019:

Bacurau (2019/ Brazil/ Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles)
Capernaum (2018/ Lebanon/ Nadine Labaki)
Deerskin (2019/ France/ Quentin Dupieux)
Honeyland (2019/ North Macedonia/ Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov)
It Must Be Heaven (2019/ Palestine/ Elia Suleiman)
I Lost My Body (2019/ France/ Jeremy Clapin)
Keep an Eye Out (2018/ France/ Quentin Dupieux)
Midnight Traveller (2019/ Qatar-UK-Canada-USA/ Hassan Fazili)
Les miserables (2019/ France/ Ladj Ly)
Pain & Glory (2019/ Spain/ Pedro Almodovar)


Discovering the cinema of Quentin Dupieux has been a highlight of the year. Two of his movies feature in this list and I have not watched more. I definitely want to watch 'Rubber' (2010), 'Wrong' (2012), 'Wrong Cops' (2013) and 'Reality' (2014).

Cinema 2019: Top Foreign-Language Classics

These are the top ten foreign-language classics I watched in 2019. All of these were made available to me by MUBI. I wasn't aware of these titles before I watched and loved them. This shows how important MUBI is for a film-buff.
  • Cabaret Balkan (1998/ Serbia/ Goran Paskaljevic). This filmmaker is still making films. I must look more into his filmography.
  • Europa Europa (1990/ Germany-France-Poland/ Agnieszka Holland). Need to watch 'In Darkness' (2011) and 'Spoor' (2017) by the same director.
  • Fantastic Planet (1973/ France/ Rene Laloux)
  • Home (2008/ Switzerland/ Ursula Meier). 'Strong Shoulders' (2003) and Sister (2012) are some of the movies I look forward to watching.
  • A Hundred and One Nights (1994/ France/ Agnes Varda)
  • Jacquot de Nantes (1991/ France/ Agnes Varda)
  • King of Devil's Island (2010/ France-Norway/ Marius Holst). How will I find these films by the same filmmaker? 'Cross My Heart and Hope to Die' (1994), Dragonflies (2001), and Mirush (2007).
  • Natural Sciences (2004/ Argentina/ Mattias Lucchesi)
  • Philanthropy (2002/ Romania/ Nae Caranfil)
  • Quai des Orfevres (1947/ France/ Henri-Georges Clouzot)

Cinema 2019: Top Modern English-Language Films



These are the top ten English-language films from the last five years which I watched in 2019:

   American Honey (2016)

   The Favourite (2018)
   Ford V Ferrari (2019)
   Free Solo (2018)
   The Irishman (2019)
   Joker (2019)
   Marriage Story (2019)
   Sorry to Bother You (2018)
   Toy Story 4 (2019)
   Us (2019)

Cinema 2019: Top English-Language Classics


These are the top ten English-language classics I watched in 2019.
  • (500) Days of Summer (2009)
  • 8 Mile (2002)
  • Away from Her (2006)
  • Buried (2010)
  • The Driver (1978)
  • Election (1999)
  • Hot Fuzz (2007)
  • The Shop Around the Corner (1940): Must Watch Before You Die #51
  • Toy Story 1, 2, 3 (1995-2010)
  • Vera Drake (2004)

January 25, 2020

MAMI 2019






This was my tenth year at MAMI 2019. I've attended every edition of the festival since 2009, except in 2017 when I was busy prepping for 'Chintu Ka Birthday'. With 28 movies this time, I have completed 298 features in all these editions of the festival.

These are the films I watched at MAMI 2019, in alphabetical order, with my favourite ten marked in bold.

  • Aamis (2019)
  • Ad Astra (2019)
  • Alien (Rewatch) (1979)
  • Bacurau (2019)
  • The Beach Bum (2019)
  • Bitter Chestnut (2019)
  • Buoyancy (2019)
  • The Cremator (1969)
  • The Dead Don't Die (2019)
  • Deerskin (2019)
  • A Dog and His Man (2019)
  • Greener Grass (2019)
  • Honeyland (2019)
  • Les miserables (2019)
  • It Must Be Paradise (2019)
  • Land of Ashes (2019)
  • The Lighthouse (2019)
  • The Lodge (2019)
  • Midnight Family (2019)
  • Midnight Traveller (2019)
  • Pain and Glory (2019)
  • Sole (2019)
  • System Crasher (2019)
  • Varda by Agnes (2019)
  • Vitalina Varela (2019)
  • The Whistlers (2019)
  • The Wild Goose Lake (2019)
  • You Will Die At 20 (2019)