My Take on Oscar/SAG/Golden Globe films for this season:
* The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: 90/10
- A brilliant cast of senior actors. Judy Dench was awesome. The script has a bit of a Bollywood-ish theme toward the end but the movie emphasizes on feelings and emotion over realism - so it kind of works out with some of the slightly inflated drama.
* Skyfall: 92/10
- The Best Bond movie since Sean Connery. And Adel's soundtrack song even eclipse "Golden Eye".
* Life of Pi - 3D: 94/10
- This movie has an interesting approach of showing realism through the lens of fantasy. You have to watch it in 3D to get that full effect. The scenes with Richard Parker, the dying and scared animals and the wonderful vast ocean are just fabulous.
* Silver Lining Playbook: 94/10
- I loved this movie! It brings out the issue of mental stability and repressed emotions in everyday family life and lays it all out. Bradley Cooper and De-Niro did some of their best stuff in this movie.
* Django Unchained: 95/10
- Tarantino just continues to out-do himself. Back in 2008-09 with the "Inglorious Basterds" he had set out to do the spaghetti western in a WW-II era. This time he put it in familiar turf. The scene with the pre-KKK racist group was hilarious. Leonardo DeCaprio was amazing as well as Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz.
* Lincoln: 96/10
- Daniel Day Lewis played Lincoln's role perfectly. My only regret, the movie didn't attempt to explore any other major personalities of the day alongside Lincoln. Instead, they played very minor roles to augment the narrative about Lincoln's last days. Grant, Sherman, Lee .. these iconic guys were pushed aside. Most of Lincoln's amazing life was not explored. And the actual assassination was also left out. But all that aside - this is still the best depiction of Lincoln the man I have ever seen. And the dialogues between Abe and Mary Lincoln about their young son's death was very powerful.
* Zero Dark Thirty: 97/10
- Easily the best movie of 2012 IMHO. I want to mention 2 things about this film firsthand due to all the media hoopla going around. 1) It is neither an endorsement nor criticism of torture 2) It is a movie from a very American viewpoint and the target audience are people who went through 9/11/2001 . For those unfamiliar with events of 9/11 and related followup events, it may help to watch the movies "United 93", "A Mighty Heart" and "The Hurt Locker" before watching this film.
The movie centers around a group of CIA agents focused on hunting top-AQ leaders. The actual events and the dramatized parts are inter-wined very skilfully. The final 30-40 minutes involving the UBL raid in Abbotabad is one of the most gripping realistic piece of cinema I can ever recall.
I have not watched "Les Miserables" and "Moonlight Kingdom". Looking forward to checking them out soon.
There is no darkside of the moon really ..