30 Days Recap : December 2013

30 days recap banner_560pxThis is it. We’re reaching the very end of the year. 2013 was filled with decent ones and perhaps I entered the more mature path as a movie lover, makes me more cautious on watching ones I’ll hate :) But, I also know that watching movies outside your comfort zone genre might be a good thing to refresh your view on movies.

In December, I tried to fit movies I should see before the year ends while doing work and planning big things ahead. Almost abandoned this dear blog, but I’m glad I can manage to watched some great movies and post some things I’ve been planning to post, like 14 Memorable Movie Moments in 2013 and Movies I want to see in 2014. Didn’t manage to squeeze time watching French Festival to see Mood Indigo, but ah, please don’t remind me of that. Since I rarely review movies this month and these movies actually deserved a full review (blame my schedules!), I took time to review it with more words.

Anyway, here’s the top 3 in December 2013 :
 photo top3december2013_zps3f592e90.jpgScore! Have watched some decent films and they managed to be in the list of my top movies in 2013. You should definitely see these three films if you haven’t! If you’re wondering, here’s my latest top 10 films in 2013 :

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Before Midnight
  3. About Time
  4. Rush
  5. Frances Ha
  6. Blue is The Warmest Color
  7. The Spectacular Now
  8. The Past
  9. The Butler
  10. Disconnect

I still need to see more films though, so it’s a temporary list :) Now move on to the movies I have seen this month :

I Give it a Year (2013)
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Don Jon (2013)
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Ain’t Them Body Saints (2013)
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A story about two people in love, but then the husband is arrested for committing a crime. Years after that, their baby have grown and the wife, Ruth (Rooney Mara) have lived independently happy. When the husband run out of prison, planning to get back to his wife and daughter. The question is whether the wife will take him back, even when she’s still in love with him.

Always impressed with Rooney Mara, she have an excellent mysterious and beautiful look that won’t make us tired. But even when this movie showed how feelings won’t fade even after events have happened, unfortunately Ain’t Them Body Saints was quite gloomy and monotonous to me.

Movie Score : 3 Stars

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Udaan (2010)
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Udaan showed a lot of depth of how a boy struggled to chase his dreams, beneath his father’s hard way of a parenting. After being kicked out of his boarding school, Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) must live with his estranged father and his little step brother. With the hard economy, Rohan’s father only wants him to work at his factory and study engineering. But Rohan wants to be a writer, which his father despises. While his father is more of a logical and hard leader, Rohan is more of a creative personality who hates being caged. Obeying his father’s rules and way of living, makes Rohan find another way to blow off steam. At night he use his father’s car to go to a bar and met some seniors that end up being his new friends. But Rohan’s patience is a ticking time bomb.

Udaan provides an excellent drama, a little more dark than usual Bollywood, makes us see how a boy form his mature character. Barmecha can look innocent, while other times being bad. Bhairav Singh also performed solidly as Rohan’s father. This movie have been on my watch list for some time, glad I can finally scratch it off.

Movie Score : 4 Stars | Recommended

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The Hunt / Jagten (2013)
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 The Hunt brought much emotional and sympathy. As one lonely man tries to pick himself together, he’s been accused to acted inappropriate sexually to one of the kids in the school where he worked. Even more complicated when he knows that the accusation is by the daughter of one of his best friend. This news spread and slowly makes his life harder than before.

The Hunt was very smart and detailed to magnify human’s emotional layers and complications. Also, it shows how humans can be blinded by emotional and judgemental thoughts. Mads Mikkelsen brought depth as the lead and very deserving to win an award for this role. But I still think it lacks a little justifying in the ending.

Movie Score : 4 Stars | Recommended

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Blue is The Warmest Color (2013)
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Some movies have charms, makes us never want to stop look at the screen. Some quite naked on showing feelings and its ride, like Blue is The Warmest Color. Tells a story about one college student experiencing love at first sight to a girl with blue hair. It pretty much tells how we can’t pick the ones we will fall for. The great relationship is the one that shakes our core and the waves are big.

Largely the movie successfully brought all that up because of the natural and seemingly effortless performance by Adèle Exarchopoulos, the lead. I think the great comparison in this movie is when early in the story Adèle is a literature student reading novels out loud in class, and in the lasts chapter she’s a teacher of kids reading children books out loud. The movie also shows Léa Seydoux range as a very promising actress. You couldn’t look this as a lesbian relationship movie, rather than it is just one story about relationship in general.

Movie Score : 4 Stars | Recommended (for adults)

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The Spectacular Now (2013)
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Sutter (Miles Teller) is a live-in-a-moment charismatic popular boy in his school, but he’s more preoccupied to his status in school rather than his grades and future. After his popular girlfriend broke up with him, he accidentally met Amy (Shailene Woodley), the regular girl in school. Both get along quickly, one of the similarities is that their parents limit their space to step forward. Amy wants to go to her dream college in Philadephia, while Sutter wants to know where his estranged father lives, in order to meet him. Being a senior makes Sutter must make decision for his future, but he keeps a bitter view on future as he sees the difficulty of being an adult. Not to mention when he knows the condition of his own father. Sutter also have alcohol addiction that danger his relationships and his job.

For a teenage movie, The Spectacular Now have depth and dark that strikes even for the adult. Especially for Sutter who suffers alcohol addiction, but have troubles to think positive about his future. Compared to Amy, the new simple girl in his life, he have some issues to deal. And Amy, for one, is that one-in-a-million talented girl who doesn’t know she’s a real catch for guys. It’s a nice change from the bitchy daughter in The Descendants, I really love Woodley’s acting here. Also, it’s my second appearance of Brie Larson (before in Don Jon), she really shows big promise as an outspoken and over-achiever ex-girlfriend. Teller also is a great lead and performed a convincing likeable man with issues within. I guess I agree with the opinion that this movie is this year’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. One inspiring coming-of-age movie, a must see. This movie also have an excellent music score.

Movie Score : 4 Stars | Recommended

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The Butler (2013)
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Based on a true story, The Butler shows how an honest African-American, Cecil (Forest Whitaker) trusted to be a butler working in The White House. The irony is outside the big house, African-American people are struggling to be treated fairly. One of them is the butler’s first son, Louis, one of true activist. Tells from his bitter past where he witnessed his father being killed by his master’s son, Cecil was hired and educated to be a butler. He works in a hotel in Washington D.C when he met his wife, Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) and they have two sons, Cecil and Charlie. After some time, he’s recommended to work as a butler in White House during Dwight D. Eisenhower period as US President. He learn many things in his new job, including the people in it and especially the presidents. Unfortunately, the long work hours makes him abandoning his wife and kids. It makes Gloria lonely and have drinking habits. Louis grown to be a critical man and was influenced by James Lawson movement, to protest peacefully, inspired by Gandhi. His son’s activity is a big contrast to his job to serve American government, and puts Cecil in a hard position, while he needs to stay neutral and unpolitical for his job.

The cast was excellent, Whitaker was charming and subtle as Cecil but it was no surprise for him. It’s the first time I ever saw Oprah in a big role, she’s impressive and so much in her character as a full dedicated and lonely wife turn to alcohol. The actors being presidents was the second impressive cast; Robin Williams as Eisenhower, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, James Marsden as Kennedy and the best was Alan Rickman. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lenny Kravitz as Cecil’s co-workers also an excellent mixture of characters.

Have already seen 12 Years a Slave, it’s hard not to compare The Butler with it. The difference is being a butler, is practically the highest position an African-American can work for during that time. One might argue that the job makes them as a hypocrite, to serve political people who treated their kind unfairly. But the mind opening thought is that they actually did the opposite. The Butler have all the recipe for being a candidate in winning an Oscar for best script or picture. It’s a safe movie for family watch, preferably the current president’s followers and American viewers. I honestly think that the first part of the story when Cecil still a kid was seem accelerated and makes it feel hurried. But an inspiring story just need to tell its story, and they take it from there.

Movie Score : 3,75 Stars | Recommended

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Interiors (1978)
 photo interiorscopy_zps26c32c6d.jpgInteriors tells about how daughters dealing with their parents separation, mainly because their mother’s sickness on perfection to details and interiors run to relationships and her marriage. Mainly the protagonists are the two daughters, Renata (Diane Keaton) and Joey (Mary Beth Hurt), try to be there for their mother in their own way, while being competitive to each other. Both also deals with their own relationships with their spouses. There’s also fear of they could inherit their mother’s illness.

Such dark but enticing drama about the insides of an artistic family. Their idealism and sensitivity are natural personalities exist in every artists, but at the same time killing them. The message of the story might not be as striking as how as a whole the drama was really perfect. The cast, their chemistry and dialogues were really flawless. It’s not an usual Woody Allen, but maybe that’s why I loved it. There’s a hint of Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) too in it, I didn’t like it but it blends well with the story.

Movie Score : 3,75 Stars | Recommended for Drama Lovers
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Re-watch : Reality Bites (1994)
 photo reality-bites_zps74d5f129.jpgI’ve been meaning to watch this for some time. It was nostalgic ’90s time, MTV generation and Winona Ryder’s short hair. I still love the soundtrack, but now honestly I think this movie was just a nice date movie. Still, it’s an impressive feature debut by Ben Stiller. Nothing can beat the chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in the Before trilogy, though. Movie Score : 3,5 Stars

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Readers, any thoughts? Hope you’ll have a pleasant New Year!

6 thoughts on “30 Days Recap : December 2013

  1. Interiors is a melancholy, but I liked performances. Agree it’s different to other Woody Allen films(more serious), I think Allen wanted to create a film in the style of his hero Ingmar Bergman.

    At the moment, The Hunt & Blue is the Warmest Color are also in my top 10, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Mads Mikkelsen are so good in those roles, if either of them win awards I would be happy. Still need to catch up on films before my list is published :) Happy New Year!
    Chris recently posted..2014 Blindspot Series + Christmas

    • I didn’t know that Woody Allen idolize Bergman. Good thing i picked two Bergman films in my blindspot list!

      I have some films to catch up too! Loved Adele and Mikkelsen, they looked like actually is the character, not just acting. I too would be happy if they get award for their roles.

  2. Nice to see your top 10 available (have also put up mine if you are interested). Some movies in your top 10 I wasn’t a fan of…like Frances Ha. Have not seen The Past, but looking at your review I need to find it…that’s the great things about those top 10′s, there are always movies you have not heard of. Also want to check out The Spectacular Now. Have a great 2014!
    Nostra recently posted..My Filmyear: 2013

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