Tag Archives: films

Lessons MARVEL needs to learn

So I have seen all the films that Marvel produced under their ‘Avengers’ banner and- they were average. Last weekend I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and it didn’t impress me much. Well the usual funny one-liners are there, so is an incredibly attractive cast but there is nothing new. Sure the weapons are more advanced, the explosions are bigger, the suits are better but there is nothing deep in it.

 

People have this conception that a superhero movie doesn’t need to be emotional- that exotic locations, endless action and an average plot are enough for making a superhero movie. And those people would be right. But think about a superhero movie that did have emotions- The Dark Knight series by Christopher Nolan.

Now compare it with every other superhero film you have seen. You get my point? So here are 10 lessons that I think Marvel should learn to make their film-making better:

  • Don’t kill a character that people don’t give a shit about:

Spoilers: So at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron one of the new Avengers is conveniently killed to fuel the other avengers. Just like how Agent Phil Coulson died to fuel the Avengers in the first film.

  • If you do kill a character, don’t fucking bring him back to life:

When you kill a character in The Vampire Diaries or Supernatural and they come back to life, it makes sense. These are shows that have plot-lines that are constantly teetering on the edge of life and death. Even in Sherlock,he actually FAKED his death so bringing him back made sense. Off course bringing back Moriarty has raised some questions in my head but we will have to wait for Season 4 to resolve them.

  • Don’t repeat things!

This goes with simple things like a 360 degree shot of Times Square that I see in every single superhero movies to the whole heroine gets kidnapped by the villian and so hero kills villians in order to save her. Here’s the thing- you are an enormously wealthy organization which has the resources and talent to actually take some risks! Then fucking take them! Don’ follow the same old rusted formula of making a blockbuster, make a genuinely good film for once.

  • Don’t put in female characters just to make dicks hard

Look at this:

Does she look mildly formidable? Does she look like she can take on the villian? Does she look like she can save the world?

Now THAT’S  a woman I don’t want to mess with!

 

 

  • Stop relying on just humour and action:

I know there are people out there who will pay $100 to watch a toothpaste if it is manufactured by Marvel. There are also people like me who enjoy being entertained by action and comedy but expect a bit more. Off course there should be emotions but can you at least give us something more than sarcastic, half-heartedly recited one-liners? Can you give us some clever actions and not just bang-bang-bang? For action inspiration watch any Jakie Chan movie made specifically in Hing  Kong. For comedy watch Inside Amy Schumer and not Seth McFarlane shows!

  • Stop proclaiming that your films are feminist.

Hey Marvel here’s the thing- you create shitty female characters, give them almost no depth, put them in skimpy clothing, give them the fight scenes that look like graceful dance moves and then you expect women to find it empowering. Well we will decide what we find empowering, individually. You do not have to tell us what we should/should not do collectively. That is the exact definition of a patriarchy.

You take conventionally attractive actresses, cast them as  conventionally attractive characters and then have the audacity to call yourselves ‘feminists’. Let them take on the big villian, even if they die doing it. Let them lead the group for once. Let them be the impulsive, reckless ones. Why does Black Widow have to be the emotional core of the group when Hawkeye gets the mind-blowing stunts. Why is Black Widow called a slut for having feelings for one Avenger, but Tony Stark is never held accountable for sleeping with everyone? Is it necessary for Agent Hill to bark orders in high heels?

Hey if you’re going to make a mainstream superhero flick with American Pie mentally and if the audience are willing to accept- making it the second highest grossing movie ever then it’s okay with me. But at least don’t  shamelessly call yourself ‘feminists’.

  • Give us female villians!

No I’m not talking about the conventional ones- the once that are attractive, intelligent, will-kill-you-in-your-sleep-after-sex villian. Give us a female villian with depth- someone who cries but also kills mercilessly, someone who is caring towards her children put slices people vertically, someone who is hungry for power but not for selfish reasons. Give her a tragic backstory, give her a developing arc, give her a reasonable motive, give us a villian with a philosophy and you will see the audience rooting for her instead of the good guys. For inspirations see Amy Dunne from Gone Girl

and Azula from Avataar: The Legend of Aang (that’s a fucking cartoon on Nickelodeon and it has better characters, plot-lines and action sequences than any of your superhero movies, shame on you Marvel)

Also look at how adorable Kristen Stewart looks as Loki! Awww!

Kristen is my girl! Ain’t nobody hatin’ on hurr!
  • Give us a Black Widow movie:

And please don’t treat her like a piece of shit!

  • You did a great job with Bruce Banner’s character arc, now do that with everybody.

Look Marvel here’s the thing- I ACTUALLY LIKE THE AVENGERS. I do! I think all of them are hilarious, and smart and full of potential. They’re endearing characters individually but when you put them together- only Iron Man seems to be in the lead. He’s not even the character with the most interesting story, that would be Captain America!

He’s also not the character with the best skills, that would be Hawkeye! He also doesn’t have the best body, that would be Thor! Then why is he EVERYWHERE? Bruce Banner went through incredible character development- please do that to everyone’s character.

  • Stop adding more people to your cast

Do you know why I gave up watching Game of Thrones after the third season? Because I couldn’t keep up with all the new faces on the show. The old characters that I had grown attached to receded to the background and these new character I knew nothing about took their empty space. Instead of bringing in more people why not explore more dimensions with the same old people? Huh?

Now that I’ve ranted about what I didn’t like, tell me put into gifs all my favourite moments:

THIS was awesome! Give us more Black Widow badassery!
And THIS!

So all in all, take some risks Marvel!

Yugant (Marathi word: a particle showing ascent)

I always had deep respect for regional cinema in India. Coming from a marathi (a language commonly spoken in the state of Maharashtra) family watching regional films made in our langauge is a tradition. I always felt that regional cinema in India was better than Bollywood cinema- the industry that brought India on the map of the world. I have seen a lot of marathi films and comparing them with Bollywood films I’ve noticed:

  • Bollywood films have a herculean budget compared to marathi films
  • Bollywood films are made keeping audiences residing in metropolitan cities in mind
  • Marathi films are made knowing that they will mostly be watched by audiences in rural India
  • Bollywood films are about protagonists belonging to a higher economic class- people with access to foreign education, destination weddings and sports cars
  • Bollywood films are realistic- protagonists reside in villages, work in fields and struggle to provide two full meals to their families every day
  • Bollywood is ‘aspirational’ cinema enticing people with expensive houses, exotic locations and scantily clas women
  • Marathi films provide the actual picture however bleak and unappetizing

‘Jogwa’ directed by Rajeev Patil

For the past couple of decades the marathi film industry has produced marvellous movies on a shoe-string budget. They have received many honours at prestigious national and international film festivals. They all have reflected evils in the marathi socitey and propogated a positive social message. But also all of them have comparatively failed to garner the money they deserved at the box office.

‘Natrang’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

‘Jogwa’ ( a love story between a Devdasi and a man forced to dress like a Hijra) directed by Rajeev Patil, ‘Natarang’ (the biography of a poor farmer forced to become a transsexual performer due to his financial condition) directed by Ravi Jadhav and ‘Kaksparsha’ (the story of a teenage widow) directed by Mahesh Manjrekar all received unprecedented success at film festivals but underperformed at the box office.

‘Balgandharva’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

May assumptions were made- the lack of money, the absence of stardom, the serious subject matter and the extreme realism was turning the marathi audiences towards Hindi cinema. The industry had plenty of talent but most of the films suffered from lack of entertaining elements or understated marketing. Several films were released without the audience noticing their existence.  Then the tides turned when films like ‘Balgandharva’ (the story of a legend of the marathi stage) directed by Ravi Jadhav was released. It had a massive budget, an envious collection of designer clothes and a hero that the audiences were familiar with.

‘Balak Palak’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

But Jadhav was a risk-taker and he next released ‘Balak Palak’( a film about early teenagers being exposed to pornography). As usual it received critical success but earned only Rs. 3.2 crores in two weeks. It established Jadhav’s position in the industry as a film-maker that the audiences knew was going to deliver. He learned his lesson and next released ‘Time Pass’ (a teenage love story between Dagdu and Praju) with more mainstream elements- a plot revolving around a love story, an external conflict provided by Praju’s father, item numbers and fantastic music. The film quickly became a rage- college students who preferred to watch Hindi films with their friends went to see Time Pass, the songs were played at every processiong during Ganesh Utsav, the dialogues were recited by 5 five-year olds. The marathi audiences returned to marathi cinema and Time Pass earned Rs. 6.60 crores in the first weekend.

‘Time Pass’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

Then came ‘Lai Bhari’( a story of twin brothers separated at birth due to a promise made to Lord Vitthal by their mother)  directed by Nishikant Kamat- it was basically a Bollywood movie made in marathi. It has an enormous budget, a popular hero, brilliant music by Ajay-Atul, explosive action sequences and an emotional attachment to marathi culture. It did not receive critical acclaim but earned a staggering Rs. 10.15 crores at the box office in its first weekend. It broke the records previously set by ‘Duniyadaari’ (an average movie about a group of friends) directed by Sanjay Jadhav and Time Pass. It survived a fight with Bollywood films- a vulnerable David not giving up against a suffocating Goliath. It showed the world that Marathi cinema had the potential to earn an unfathomable amout of money if people were willing to invest in it.

‘Lai Bhari’ directed by Nishikant Kamat

Then came Time Pass 2 (Dagdu and Praju reunited after 15 years) the first ever sequel in Marathi films directed by Ravi Jadhav. The film released on 1st May in Maharashtra and did everything perfectly- the characters people were already rooting for, music that immediately became popular and extensive marketing done by the producers. Inspite of having a cast that not many were familiar with Jadhav kept the audience’s attention because they were invested in the unfolding story. Finally Time Pass 2 defied all logic and broke all box office records set by marathi films by earning a shocking Rs. 3.70 crores in ONE DAY!

‘Time Pass 2’ directed by Ravi Jadhav

I saw the film yesterday and it is extremely entertaining although fails to excite those who look at films critically. But you win some, you lose some. Although the quality of these ‘popular’ marathi fims is not as good as the critically acclaimed marathi films it is definitely not as poor as Bollywood films either. They provided marathi audiences with something they were pining for- entertainment. Respected Bollywood director Imtiaz Ali once said, “There is nothing wrong in making films that people want to watch”.  It has made marathi-speaking people proud of their regional industry and non-marathi speaking people aware of its existence. But most of all it has proved that the marathi film industry is a force to be reckoned with.

The Last Of Tolkein

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

This week in rather important to me- the final posters for ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’ is out, Scotland will most probably gain independence and also I’m getting a drastic haircut on Thursday. I was only 6 years old when the alternate universe of J.R.R Tolkein’s limitless and detailed imagination along with Peter Jackson’s faithfulness to the original material and brilliant execution left me breathless. I didn’t understand much back then, neither the deep philosophical  underlines in the text nor the lessons in morality. The only thing I saw a little boy destroying forces far beyond his control and for a little, naive girl that was enough. After the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy I never expected Jackson to pick up another book by Tolkein (and in most cases I always complain about sequels because they do not involve taking any risk) but I was glad because I wanted more of Middle-Earth. Their values, customs, mythologies, beliefs and most of all dragons. Now I’m facing the fact that this could be the last ‘Tolkein thing’ ever produced and I’m in a slight state of sadness. Nevertheless the posters fucking mind-blowing so feast your eyes and bow to the might of imagination and dreams!

10 Movies you should be excited about in 2014

My tarot card reader said 2014 is going to be the year of the ‘Fab Films’. No she didn’t, I don’t believe in all that skull and globe paganism. But what I do believe in (apart from Rose Tyler) is films- the complicatedness and the simplicity and the mastery and the effect it has on human life. Very soon I will write a post on some of the best contemporary films I have seen( sorry Hitchcock) but now lets predict the future. My sixth sense says this year’s films are going to be better than last year’s. Don’t believe me? Check out these mind-blowing trailers and tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about!

Long list gear up!
Long list gear up!

1) Interstellar by Christopher Nolan

I have to start off with my favourite director off course- Nolan has undisputably given us some of the best movies and biggest grossers in two decades now. After masterpieces like Momento, The Prestige, the Batman Trilogy and Inception- he gives us an out-of-this-world story(literally).

2) Gone Girl by David Fincher

Fincher is undoubtedly my second favourite- after giving me my favourite movie ever (Fightclub) he went on to present greats like The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

3) Unbroken by Angelina Jolie

I got excited last year when I found out that Jolie was making a movie based on Louis Zapperini’s life. Now that the trailer is actually out, I can’t wait for Christmas Day.

4) Fury by David Ayer

I haven’t seen any of Ayer’s films before but after Inglorious Bastards I am ready to watch any war film with Brad Pitt in it. The supporting cast of Shia LaBeouf (yes Shia, I forgive your antics because you are a fantastic actor) and Logan Lerman also looks pretty rad.

5) Boyhood by Richard Linklater 

They are calling it a ‘once in a lifetime’ phenomenon. Again I haven’t seen any of Linklater’s works but man that is one hell of a trailer.

6) The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby  by Ned Benson

Jessica Chastain from The Help and Zero Dark Thirty, James McAvoy from Atonement and X-Men Franchise- need I say more?

7)Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assaya

I am excited to see Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz actually try something that is challenging.

8) Foxcatcher by Bennet Miller

This is my favourite film in this 10 films line-up because all three central actors are trying something they have never done before. After watching Miller’s Moneyball I honestly can’t wait.

9) The Homesman by Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank transporting three mentally challenged (bloody insane would be more appropriate) women across the country. Oscar Stuff right there!

10) Maps to the Stars by David Croenberg

David Croenberg- is there a need for any other reason. But surprisingly I am most excited about Mia Wasikowa’s transformative role in this film.

You go!
You go!

Honorable Mentions: These are also fantastic movies by brilliant movie-makers but they are just not my cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean you won’t like ’em. Check out the trailers!

Two Days One Night by the Dardenne Brothers

After watching Marion Cotillard in No Country For Old Men I can honestly watch her even if she’s doing a toothpaste commercial.

Magic in the Moonlight by Woody Allen

Colin Firth being the superb actor that he is, Emma Stone being Emma Stone. A typical Woody Allen periodic romantic comedy, too beautiful!

All in all, it looks like the movie theatres are going to be very crowded with one fantastic movie coming out after another. Also if you have some time (and understand Hindi) check out the trailer for ‘Haider’ by Vishal Bharadwaj. I am not very fond of the Bollywood films made in my country (I honestly hate them) but Bharadwaj is a fantastic film-maker and the story is based on ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare! I am so excited for this movie and thy should be too.