3 Films I’ve Watched Recently

I watch a LOT of films and TV shows and rarely review them. But not in 2020, and, well, now I have a lot of time to spare.

I’m reading more diverse books and loving them, and now I’m watching more diversely and loving them too. I usually tend to watch more Bollywood films, but I really want to watch more international films because, if I’m being honest, we just do it a whole lot better. Speaking of Bollywood, Netflix needs to add Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Na Ho, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. We’re in tough times, the first three are wholesome Bollywood classics and perfect for anyone who’s doing their own personal Intro to Bollywood. Yeh Jawaani and Ae Dil are more recent blockbusters. And wait… Hum Tum! One of the best romantic Bollywood films and it isn’t on Netflix! Goodness, get it together, Netflix (on the Bollywood front, that is). Okay, enough, let’s get straight to the films I’ve been watching recently.

Parasite

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IMDB: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

I don’t tend to watch Oscar film nominees/winners, and the last one I watched before Parasite was Get Out. But seeing all the glowing reviews and Bong Joon-Ho’s hilarious sass, I just knew this film was more tailored to a wider demographic (meaning POC). I was completely blown away and overwhelmed at the same time. That ending will leave you shattered.

Parasite is the best depiction of and commentary on capitalism I have ever watched. Rather than hammering the message into our heads of the futility of attempting to beat the system, Parasite neatly tricks us into believing that the Kim family have gotten the better of the wealthy Park family. The Kim family have to step on the toes of a number of other people to gain a position in the Park household; despite this, you’ll completely understand why they make the choices they do and sympathise with them. You may even think that the Park’s aren’t so bad, that they might actually be quite lovely, but the class divide is increasingly apparent in the comments made by Park Seo-joon. It’s a film that billionaire twitter could benefit from seeing *and comprehending*.

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There are a lot of hold-your-breath moments that keeps you engaged. And that ending? Jam-packed with action and a rollercoaster of twists and turns and huge surprises. And a lot of grief. I didn’t see the many twists coming at the end, and I sort of felt nauseous watching it play out. There remains a sliver of hope at the end, despite, what effectively seems to be, a slim chance of realising that hope.

Recommend? Yes. Yes. Yes. This is a once-in-a-lifetime film. A worthy Oscar winner. We won’t see another quite like it. Though knowing Aamir Khan (Bollywood actor), he might try a remake one day, let’s see.

I haven’t included any spoilers, so if you have watched it already, please let me know what you thought of the ending in the comments!

Aitraaz

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IMDB: Raj, a married man, is falsely accused of rape by his ex-girlfriend who is also his employer’s wife. This motivates him to sue her for sexual harassment despite societal pressures.

Girl, don’t yell, I mean, Priyanka Chopra steals the show as the villain in Aitraaz attempting to restart her relationship with her married ex-boyfriend. This film was so terrifically sensational, Sidney Sheldon would have been proud. Though I had a lot of fun with this one, it is an, inarguably, sexist film. Kareena Kapoor (Priya Saxena) and Priyanka Chopra (Mrs Sonia Roy) play characters that are a stark contrast to each other. Priya is the sweet girl-next-door, whereas, Sonia is ambitious, seductive and opportunistic, and the narrative pretty directly tells us which woman is good and which is bad. Not to take away from the fact that Sonia Roy was absolutely diabolical in the second half, but she was great fun to watch and you can’t help but admire her for her ambition, and the narrative unfairly punishes her for (very reasonably) not wanting a child at such an early stage in her career. You can tell this film was written by a man during the 2000s. (Currently, and not ever, will I be accepting “not all men” comments on my blog, if it doesn’t apply to you, keep it moving).

It breaks my heart to say it, but Priyanka Chopra, strange lone clapper, outshone both the script and Kareena Kapoor and Akshay Kumar in Aitraaz.

Recommend? It’s theatrical and exciting, but be prepared to stomach some deeply entrenched sexism.

Train to Busan

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IMDB: Seok-woo and his daughter are on a train to Busan on the latter’s birthday to see his wife. However, the journey turns into a nightmare when they are trapped amidst a zombie outbreak in South Korea.

The Walking Dead, and The Road, on trains, but a whole lot better. Firstly, I have to thank Gemma @ Book Beach Bunny where I get most of my film recommendations from (she also recommended Derry Girls which I LOVED).

I’m not usually inclined to watch horror films, especially not alone, or anything to do with the zombie apocalypse because I’ve had my complete fill with The Walking Dead, mostly because it hasn’t been able to top the first few seasons since. But Train to Busan had me at the edge of my (bed)seat and made me wonder, would I be as selfish as the protagonist and only look out for me and my own? In the current pandemic, our humanity and generosity is being tested, and the message of Train to Busan runs parallel to themes of community and looking out for one another or at least learning to. But the ending? It’s so bittersweet. The message is learnt, but the price that was paid for it? I was devastated. And now I’m wondering that I need to think beyond that and reframe the situation, so, viola: the price was paid, but it was worth it.

Recommend? Yes. One of the significantly better horror films of the last few decades and compellingly relevant. It’s also a film you can watch with the family (unless you have children, then please don’t).


What other international films would you recommend? What did you think of the ending in Parasite? What are some horror films you’ve loved watching? Have you watched any Bollywood films? Are you a fan of Priyanka Chopra? And how’s everyone coping during this lockdown? Let me know in the comments!  

Sophia Ismaa

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22 Comments

  1. I’m gonna have to check out Train to Busan at one point, it seems like my kind of movie. Fantasy, adventure, sci-fi that sort of stuff 😂

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    1. I wouldn’t say it’s fantasy, but I don’t know if zombies count as sci-fi? It’s definitely not an adventure cos if running is death is an adventure, then I don’t even know lol. It’s one of much better horror films I’ve watched in recent years, I was hooked from start to finish, so that’s saying something!

      Like

  2. Thanks for the review. I will surely watch few esp in the lock down scenario we are in.
    Argh this corona, is ka kuch corona ?
    I hope you got the pun here.
    😅

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    1. I think you’ll like Train to Busan, it’s got a beautiful message of unity and helping each other out even amongst all the horror, and Parasite shows us the callousness of capitalism and, for us Muslims, the dunya.

      Pahahaha, Aquib, Yeh kya? Kapil Sharma mera blog se kaise aya? 😭

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  3. I’m so glad you enjoyed Train to Busan! I just found out we’re getting a sequel (well a “spiritual sequel”) later this year. I’m tentatively excited. At least it seems like Hollywood dropped their dreadful idea to remake it.

    And now I have some more titles for Bollywood films to try. You are so right about Netflix I wish they would add more I found a couple that looked interesting on Prime but I’m not really sure if their good ones to start with so I’ll try to find these!

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    1. I’m so annoyed that my sister watched Train to Busan without me, but she better watch the sequel with me. I need to check out what the whole “spiritual sequel” means. Just checked, zombie fighting pits doesn’t look spiritual, but the cinematography looks stunning. I can’t wait to watch it!

      Let me know which ones you found, and I can tell you if they’re worth watching! Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum is on Netflix, that’s the one I’d recommend! Kuch Kuch Hota hai… I think you might not be too happy with because of how she has to change to be accepted.

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  4. I watched Parasite, and enjoyed for all the same reasons. Train to Busan keeps getting recommended to me, but I’m kind of wary about seeing it! Just, how scary is it, exactly…? I want to be able to fall asleep afterwards. 😂

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    1. It’s scary, but not in the way that you’ll struggle to go to sleep without imagining every furniture in your room is a demon out to get you. You can rest easy after watching Train to Busan, it’s thrilling and scary, you’ll be on the edge of your sweet, but it’s also just really heartwarming at the same time. 🥺

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  5. I really want to see Parasite.

    The only Bong Joon-Ho film I’ve seen was The Host, which was a completely different film, and quite a big change of genre. I’m fascinated to see how he manages it.

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    1. I know he has some other amazing films, thanks for bringing The Host to my attention, I’ve added it to my list of films to watch. I know some people have found it difficult to watch Parasite online where subtitles are included, I was able to locate it on Reddit if you’re interested in watching it. It’d be interesting to read your thoughts on it if you do watch it, so please let me know if you watch and review it!

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  6. My all-time favorite international film is Amelie. I own the dvd and highly recommend it.

    I have been on the fence whether to watch Parasite or not, but after your glowing review, I definitely will!

    Some good horror films The Girl and I have enjoyed lately are The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Hush, Hereditary, St. Agatha, and the series Locke & Key which is a pretty decent adaptation of Joe Hill’s awesome graphic novel series. Also, Little Evil is a hilarious horror spoof.

    I think the only Bollywood film I’ve seen is Slum Dog Millionnaire, which I loved.

    I’m struggling with the insanity of these strange days we’re enduring, especially here in the USA. But I’m coping, thanks largely to my family, who keep me sane mainly because I have no other choice if I want to continue to be of use to them. How’re you holding up?

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    1. I’ve watched the first 30 minutes of Amelie. Audrey Tatou is such a beauty. But otherwise I haven’t thought to return to it which I should because it’s classed as one of the greatest films in a lot of lists and I hear the romance is pretty darn lovely!

      Oo, I would LOVE to see what your thoughts are on Parasite, especially from the perspective of someone who works in a court. I’m sure you’ll have dealt with families who’ve faced similar struggles.

      I have seen Hereditary listed on Netflix I believe, but I’ve been too chicken to watch horror films by myself. I’m assuming, based on the title, that The Autopsy of Jane Doe is horrifying and, my personal nightmare, graphic. Horror films aside, you will have to teach me how you’ve managed to italicise words in the comments section!

      I would class Slumdog Millionaire as more of a Hollywood/Bollywood combination. It did receive a lot of flak in India for its portrayal of the poor in India, but, tbh, that’s more rooted in the need to depict India as more westernised when the reality is that that it is the reality of many in India! But I absolutely loved Slumdog and Jai Ho (a brilliant song!).

      Oh, gosh. I hadn’t thought of it from that perspective. I’m assuming parents of young child have the extra burden of being a rock to their children. I’m holding up well now, a lot better than before, I think it’ll take a while to get the full me back, but that’s only natural given that lockdown has sort of created a very natural frozen state of mind. It sucks, but it’ll be okay eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sophia, I know your well-considered comment deserves a much fuller response, but I’ve been too busy, I do have time, however to explain how to italicize or bold words or phrases in your comments. You just have to use the HTML command for doing so. Example: If you want to bold ‘peace’, you precede it with “” and follow it with ““, no spaces between the commands & the word or phrase and no quotes around the commands. Similarly, if you want to italicize ‘Love conquers all!’, you precede it with “” and follow it with ““, no spaces between the commands & the word or phrase and no quotes around the commands.

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        1. Well, that didn’t work out the way I hoped it would. To bold a word or phrase, precede it with the 3-character command of the less-than sign (shift-comma), the letter ‘b’, and the greater-than sign (shift-period). That tells your page that you want to ‘start bolding’. Then, immediately following the greater-than symbol, type the word or phrase you want bolded, no space between the symbol and the first letter of the word or phrase. You tell your page you want to ‘end bolding’ by repeating the ‘start bolding’ with the exception of adding a backslash (/) between the less-than symbol and the ‘b’. Process is the same for italicizing except substitute the letter ‘i’ for the letter ‘b’. I’m going to try one more graphic example: ()Bold(/) or (italics() but without the parentheses. Fingers crossed!

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