Wishlist: Movies we should be watching

27 Dec

This is not one of those end of the year, best of 2011 lists. No we are not too highbrow about doing that. But that will be covered in a separate article by the prodigal daughter – Anushree Phanse. She did send us some kind of mixed signals that she will be writing this week, so we’ll look forward to that.

In the meantime – This article is about the movies that have created a buzz and have garnered some positive reviews, in the countries where they have released. This is by no means the most comprehensive list you will find out there, so if you think I missed out something, let me know and I will write about it too

DisclaimerThis is not a movie review

1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy –  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 British espionage film based on the novel by the same name. Starring Gary Oldman in the main role, the movie is set in the 1970s at the height of the Cold War

George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government – which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets.

This movie is not a straight out action film but one more about the characterization of each actor, sub plots, deceit, betrayals, paranoia and trust.

Set in the Cold War era, this movie is dark and gloomy and that adds to the anticipation and excitement. Gary Oldman plays a quiet agent who goes about business, watchful and calculating. This could be the best performance of his career.

Another added incentive is to watch Colin Firth in a role unlike anything he has ever portrayed before.



2. Moneyball – This is a movie we have heard about a lot in recent times. Especially since it has Brad Pitt, it lends that marketing zing to it. This is another of those movies based on a book – again by the same name. The movie recounts the story of Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season.  In the film, Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant GM Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), faced with the franchise’s unfavorable financial situation, take a sophisticated sabermetric approach towards scouting and analyzing players.

The best part about this movie atleast for people who don’t understand baseball is that the movie is not really about baseball at all. It has themes which are more universal in nature. We all love underdog stories, and this one is a bit of that. A team made with undervalued players that no one else wants and picked solely based on math and percentages goes on to win 20 successive games.

Yes the movie is a bit melodramatic. But watch it for its star power. Brad Pitt as the has-been GM of the team, Jonah Hill as the tech wizard and Phillip-Seymour Hoffman as the coach of the team. It’s refreshing to see Jonah Hill in a role that doesn’t have him playing the goofy, overweight sidekick in a silly comedy movie. Brad Pitt can act when given a chance and here the stage is all his as the main protagonist with a touch of human fallibility.


3. Arthur Christmas – So yes, as is the norm there needs to be a mandatory Christmas movie that releases around Nov-Dec. But thankfully, Arthur Christmas is one of the few better ones.

The story of Arthur Christmas revolves around the current Santa Claus, his wife, his two sons Arthur and Steve, and their grandfather, Grand-Santa. Arthur, voiced by James McAvoy answers children’s letters to his father, Santa, at the Christmas family’s North Pole base. Meanwhile, his Dad (Santa Claus) and  brother Steve (Hugh Laurie) co-ordinate the annual present-delivering operation, which is managed by automation to cope with the large number of children out there and their sea of presents

After the delivery run of the gifts is over, it is brought to notice that a little girl’s bicycle has fallen off the conveyor. With Santa too tired and Steve unperturbed about the non – delivery of the gift, Arthur decides to make sure he delivers the gift himself and in time for Christmas.

While it might not be the most visually pleasing film, the characters are utterly charming and you go on the ride with Arthur as he struggles to get the gift to the girl. It’s a light hearted comforting movie that everyone from the age of 5 -50 should enjoy.

4. Hugo – When my friend was raving about this movie called ‘Hugo’ she had seen, I thought they released a movie on Victor Hugo. But apparently it is a movie based on the book ‘ The Invention of Hugo Cabret’. And the fact that is its directed by Martin Scorsese really made me curious about this movie

Scorsese is more know for his gangster movies. So a movie like this is a completely different genre for him. Hugo is about Hugo Cabret, a young orphan who lives at the train stations repairing clocks. His pet project is to repair his father broken automaton –  — a mechanical man who is supposed to write with a pen. The movie also stars Ben Kingsley as a toy shop owner, who takes away Hugo’s blueprints and Sacha Baron Cohen as Inspector Gustav

Helping him in this endeavour of his is Isabaelle, the daughter of the toy shop owner, and who has the final missing part of the automaton.

Unlike most 3D movies, Hugo was shot using 3D and not shot in 2D and then converted to 3D. The movie deals with the importance of preserving old classics for future generations and connecting it for young movie fans to appreciate the body of work that existed. In this movie, they use Georges Méliès as the reference point.

5. Ides of March – The star of George Clooney has slowly but surely ascended over last 5-6 years. Always in contention for the World’s Sexiest Man year after year, it is his movie repertoire that has instilled him as a thinking man’s hero.Take a look at some of the movies he’s starred in recently – Burn After Reading, Up in the Air, The American etc. Put him in the director’s seat and you get enthralling movies like  Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night, and Good Luck. And he is back again at the helm directing the political thriller Ides of March.

When a film boasts of a starcast of George Clooney, Ryan Gosling (ladies swoon), Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood, at most times that alone is enough to get a movie through. Put in a controversial political drama in the midst and you surely have a winner.

Politics is a dirty game and this movie drives home the point. Deceit and manipulation abound here. Ryan Gosling starring as Clooney’s  Junior Campaign Manager is the protagonist of this movie. His ideals about honesty and loyalty stand no chance in the political cauldron and how he finally had to resort to blackmail to finally get a bigger piece of the pie.

Surprisingly Clooney takes a backseat in this movie and it is upto Gosling and Paul Giamatti, who plays the role of the Campaign Manager for Clooney’s main opponent, to drive the movie ahead. If you liked the movies Michael Clayton and Syriana, do try to catch this one.

6. The Descendants – Well George Clooney is all over this list, isn’t he? In Descendants he plays the role of Matt King, a father to two daughters and whose wife is in coma due to a boating accident. Matt has always been a little distant from his daughters but with wife in hospital he is forced to deal with issues of his two daughters and learn the travails of parenthood.

The sub plots about a land deal owned by Matt and the revelation of his wife’s infidelity add their own drama to the already existing problems Matt faces. But the movie is not all gloomy and sad. It is more of how a real life drama coupled with humourous situations rather than a full on melodrama. Watch it for Clooney and his restrained acting that doesn’t overshadow the film but conveys his indecision and hesitance completely.



7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I really can’t write much about this movie because the book itself is famous and read by so many people. Well this particular book is the first in the “Millennium Series” trilogy and has already been made into a Swedish film.

Well this adaptation stars  Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander and tells the story of a man’s mission to find out what has happened to a girl who has been missing for 40 years, and who may have been murdered. Mikael gets a call from the lawyer representing Henrik Vanger, a wealthy businessman, asking him to investigate the death of Vanger’s niece and find out who is responsible for sending him a pressed flower every year on his birthday, just like his niece.

The book makes a compelling read. If the movie matches upto that standard, we are in for a treat. Add the soundtrack scored by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross, who previously gave the music for The Social Network, and surely this movie is going to be a winner.

It will be refreshing change to see Daniel Craig in a role other than James Bond and his dark brooding personality is perfect for this role. Let’s hope the movie doesn’t disappoint


So there you have it. My list of must watch movies.  I guess Anushree would be writing more about Hugo as she has already seen the movie and can’t stop raving about it. So what do you think, did I miss out anything?

♫ Immigrant Song – Trent Reznor and Karen O


Kunal Pawar is going back to school as he can’t speak English properly. Also he is fed up of making plans for NYE. His low bank balance is not helping matters either. On the personal front, he is going to watch Opeth in February


7 Responses to “Wishlist: Movies we should be watching”

  1. AP (@anushreejazzz) December 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    50/50 was awesome! That should be recommended..
    Also I am looking forward to watching the new Woody Allen movie Nero Fiddled and Quentin Tarantino’s Man with the Iron fists (have I waited long three years for a QT movie)!!!

  2. Sosha December 29, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    Erm, I haven’t seen any one of these :/

    • Kunal December 29, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      I have to see them too. I was hooked by the trailers itself. I will get atleast two of them this week. So will pass it on to you

  3. Arun Kumar December 29, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Good choice of movies……….Except Hugo watched everything else

    • Kunal December 29, 2011 at 9:48 am #

      Wow you watched almost everything. I need to get my hands on them soon. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. anushreejazzz December 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Dude!! How did you forget The Avengers???

    • Kunal January 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      I didn’t forget the movie. But it has not released anywhere yet. 2012 movies are not on this list

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