I started, or rather, restarted this blog back in May this year. The Storyboard has actually been in existence for 8 years. I started the blog on Nov 14, 2007, while recuperating from a horrible car crash. Back then, it was hosted at Blogger. But after 3 years, I put it in cold storage; I’d simply lost interest. (You can find a link to the old blog in the sidebar.)
This year, I quit my dayjob in April, and because I had a lot of free time on my hands, decided to bring The Storyboard back online, this time at WordPress. It started out well, then went into limbo for two months in August and September because I went on a two-month stint at an advertising agency, which left me with no time to see any movies or blog. But after those two months, the blog went full steam ahead. And this is where we are currently at.
So, I didn’t really have a lot of time to see movies this year. And I also believe you can’t or shouldn’t do a year-end “best of” list of movies if you didn’t see every single movie that came out in that year. So, here’s a list of movies that I managed to catch this year, that entertained me. I have no idea if they’re the best of the year, but I highly recommend them.
BAAHUBALI: THE BEGINNING
This was huge. This was the biggest Telugu movie ever. Highly entertaining on every level, Baahubali is an epic fantasy that, while it can be compared to the Hollywood epic blockbusters, also holds its own very well. Imaginative, grand, visually spectacular, it beats its Hollywood counterparts with its display of sheer creativity. The massive battle scene isn’t just another clashing hordes scenario, but a battle full of surprises. Just when you think nothing more could be done with marauding giant armies.
This one was a nice surprise. I had reservations at first, because of the claims that it’s a tribute to the horror films of the 80s. But It Follows turned out to have something of its own to say. It’s very clever, very relevant and also very creepy. It’s a horror movie for millennials, a perfect encapsulation of these times. You’ll think twice about having a one-night stand after seeing this movie.
Although the results are uneven throughout this comedy, Rembat is still a very entertaining, feel-good road movie about a pair of losers who need to fix a football match to save their own skin. When it’s funny, it’s very funny. When it’s not, it’s still worth a chuckle. But best of all, the movie is very Malaysian, the first time actors of two different races share top billing.
This socially relevant Tamil-language gangster film is an impressive debut made on a modest budget. Yet, it’s sometimes more entertaining than some other bigger-budget movies. It was released on the same day as The Force Awakens, but for me, I was more intrigued by its story of a poverty-stricken community than I was by J.J. Abrams’ Episode IV rehash. It surprisingly has a lot of humour despite its grim, gritty and fatalistic story.
I know many who did not like this “based on true events” movie. I, too, had doubts at first. I initially only wanted to experience it in IMAX 3D, as I knew even if the film sucked, the visuals would be spectacular. But how pleasantly surprised I was by the genuine emotions in the second-half of the film. Even though it kept threatening to turn cheesy, I admit it had me a bit watery-eyed by the end.
IP MAN 3
I kept getting surprised this year by films on which I had placed little hope. I love Ip Man but was badly disappointed by Ip Man 2, which had a great first-half but went downhill with its painful jingoism. I went in expecting little, and was met with not much at first. It was once again the usual revenge flick. But the film takes a completely different turn by its final third, and it packs a big emotional wallop.
Many dismissed this movie as a failed sci-fi adventure flick, but really, I love it for the fact that it’s a Disney movie that’s strangely anti-Disney. The fictional futuristic utopian city seems to be a stand-in for Disneyland, and its central villain, the film’s version of Walt Disney. All that, and a very impressive one-take trip through the city make this a very entertaining movie.
A gem from India’s alternative cinema that eschews song and dance for realism. This police procedural, based on a notorious real-life double-murder case, is gripping, and has a great cast that more than delivers. In the end, it’s not about the murders, not about who was guilty. In the end, it’s about human fallibility, in both the perpetrators and the investigators.
NOTE: Mad Max: Fury Road was, for me, entertaining but ultimately forgettable, so it didn’t make the list.