Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rules: Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula (2003)

Laws of attraction
Deliver easy success
And love left unproved
First of all, anytime a cute, girl-next-door type snaggs the devotion of a supermodel-of-the-year type, that's an instant 5-stars in my book.

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you may remember when I borrowed this and several others from friend Susan. (2 down, 4 to go!)

I came to the film with no particular expectations and was pleasantly suprised. It's awfully silly. I couldn't help but like it.

I kept thinking, "Git it granny!" when she started breaking down the rules. A girl's gotta have a plan! LOL! There was nothing unusual about the rules. It's all been said before. In fact, I agree with them all which is not to say that their foolproof. Complimenting anyone even if it isn't true can leave a nasty trail you'll have to deal with later. Furthermore, ignoring only works for supermodels, et al. Your average semi-nerdy guy would be happy to get a little attention at least.

Anyhoo, it is worth noting that this movie featured a vigorous tongue tussle between the two leads considering the fuss that was made over a half-baked kiss in Dhoom 2. Despite the film's alternative storytelling structure (3rd person/mockumentary), it's extremely easy to follow and all the more entertaining because of it. I loved watching all the peripheral characters fold into the main storyline by the end. It was a nice concept.

If you like fun movies, grab this, your comfort foods, and enjoy the watch.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This made me very, very sad.

A 7-year-old boy was handcuffed and arrested for BEING ON A MINI-BIKE!!!

Baltimore, Maryland is outta control y'all.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Life Goal #41

So, I spent Friday night at another Vandy SACE event. Normally I try to restrict myself from fraternizing with undergrads, as one must generally act one's age and I'm trying desperately to shed any lingering displeasure I have about my apparent adulthood.

However, when I saw that garba lessons were on the agenda, like R.Kelly, I told myself 'age ain't nothing but a number'. Unlike R.Kelly, my denial of the truth did not result in robbing (or otherwise desecrating) the cradle but rather, in calve muscles still searing with pain two days later.

Once I got a couple of basic steps down, I was like, Bring it on! Part of my delusion was probably fortified by having been asked, "So, what year are you?" more than once. Ha! My eye cream does work! (Side note: On Saturday, I went to get my nails done and the nail lady is like, "Are you still in high school?" WHAT?! Maybe I just need to up my game.)

Anyway, it was cool to experience cultural dance instead of just watching it onscreen. It's also interesting to note that I found it much easier than any of the West African workshops I've ever taken. I am now one step closer to accomplishing life goal #41: Be an extra in a Bollywood film. ;)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Fiza (2000)

A city torn
Bhaiyya burns with vengeful hate
Chasing empty rage

Fiza wanted to be good but it wasn't. It just kept plodding along. That's not to say there weren't any good moments. Heck, this movie featured fabulous actors but something was amiss that I can't quite lay my finger on.

As I understand it, this was Mrs. Big B's return to film after a lengthy hiatus. She did not disappoint. Note to directors: Karisma is a much better actress than Kareena. Spread the word, ok? The scene where Karisma mourns the death of her mother is one of the more real moments in the film--very moving.

Naturally, I have no objections to Hrithik's gratuitous workout scene, which was quite a substantial distraction from the storyline. *mmm* Yes, well at least this film is equal opportunity. Sushmita Sen had a ridiculously long item number that had nothing to do with anything either.

Overall, it was nice to see a film focused on the journey of a young, single woman that wasn’t about her search for love—not that there’s anything wrong with that mind you. ;) Fiza is a strong character. She’s independent, focused and truth be told, I was a little miffed at the unresolved nature of her relationship with seemingly “kind, affectionate and rich” college boy but I imagine that’s just jealousy on my part…

Fiza is worth the watch for Hrithik fans because well, that’s what fans do. Unfortunately, the film falls flat when compared to his other (?!) performance as a Muslim terrorist in Mission Kashmir.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Finally Nashville gets something first-ish!

Okay, so we're not actually first but we're right after LA, DC, NYC and the SanFran. I keep trynna tell folks Nashville's on the comeup...

The film is called Americanizing Shelley and is the closing film of the Nashville Independent Film Festival. Were it not for friend Renu I might have missed out.

The tagline, "You can't curry love," seems a bit cheesy but far more grand concepts have been done lesser justice under the guise of greatness. Comments on imdb seem pretty positive as in "the movie was so fun/sweet." Sounds right up my alley!

It is interesting to note that the film was co-written by Namrata Singh Gujral--who also plays the lead. I'm interested to see how it all turned out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Salaam-e-Ishq (2006)

Six loves in season
Bloom like a fresh new blossom
If grown with patience
In a perfect world, I would have written my thoughts on this film right after viewing it and posted in time for Valentines Day, which would have been the treatment it rightfully deserved because it really was that sweet.

Salaam-e-Ishq is a quirky little film and it works. This is the first film since Pirates to fully keep my attention for more than two hours. Part of that was me trying to figure out how Govinda was gonna pull off dating a (white) girl young enough to be his child, the other part was my deep admiration for ensemble films. Then there was the part of me waiting to see if John would get to do anything other than cry. [spoiler] No. [/spoiler]

I really enjoyed observing different stages of love. I also liked that there was a range of social classes shown--from cab driver to superstar. I did not however, enjoy seeing Anil Kapoor without facial hair. (He looked like a Muppet y'all.)

Word to the fellas: There is never, EVER a reason to call your ex-girlfriend a "cheap blond whore" in front of your entire family and a room full of strangers ESPECIALLY if you're the sort of coward willing to marry for convenience after dropping her like a bad habit. That hurt my feelings.

[Side note: After watching the film, my friend insisted that Uncle Chest outranks Bollywood Boyfriend #1 in hotness. Boo!]

Friday, March 16, 2007

Indian (1996)

[Um, so here's the review I promised 2 days ago, complete with haiku summary!]

Corruption is wrong
Even a bad son should die
By his father's hand
Indian is a pretty explosive film and not because things get blown up. Coming to this film without any point of reference, watching an old guy creep around and kill people sounds like a B-rate horror film. Alas, if things were only that simple.

To me, the most interesting thing about the film—besides the random animals at Ishwarya’s (Manisha) petting zoo!—is the way the old dude goes about executing a revenge plot and turns into a national folk hero. Like Rang de Basanti, I guess I don’t completely understand the deep frustration with government as experienced in India. However, I think Shankar (the director) did a better job of actually showing the depravity of the system than in RDB where it was mostly implied. The story of the old widow and Senapathy’s daughter in Indian clearly present the face of victim and victimizer.

Also, Kamal Hassan is amazing playing both father and son. I mean, how many other actors have done a scene where they’re chasing themselves down to kill themselves?! [Sidenote: This is the third Indian film I’ve seen where someone snuffed a family member for ideological reasons!]

Bottom line: It’s a good film. Definitely worth watching. I hate graphic violence so I probably won’t watch it again but as usual, Kamal Hassan does an excellent job even if he can’t dance and gets dressed in fugly outfits. ;0)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Since my life is completely taking over my blog, I figure I should admit I can't quite do the same quality of posts I've done in the past. (Yes, I know. The use of the word "quality" is debatable) Regardless, the frequency of my posts are definitely at risk.

That being the case, I've decided to limit myself to 250 words a day—except for today because after I finish this introduction I’m going to do a movie review. Shut up! It’s my rule—otherwise, I may never watch another Bollywood film because I’m already four reviews behind…

I guess it’s a good sign that I have more responsibilities at work and am being invited to write on different projects. I also have this bad habit of volunteering my self for things. The most recent development: helping to start a Nashville affiliate of Women In Film. Of the things on my list at present, WIF is one I’m pretty excited about. It’s just that I’m constantly thinking of how to keep “all the plates in the air” as it were. If I keep my hustle up, by the end of May I’ll have another short film or two to post! Hooray!

Oh, yeah. I'm also introducing film summaries by haiku. I'm addicted thanks to my roommate...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Waiting for a black princess

Y'all, Disney is WAY overdue with this one!

I've taken note before of the Disney princess line and how it excludes exclusive it is. Every now and again they'll slip the black and red haired girls in there. Sometimes the Arab and the Asian girl get invited to the party. Heck, even the Native American draped in animal skin gets to come to the party. But still, no negroes allowed present.

Of course, every true Disney fan knows this princess business is all nonsense anyways. Let's keep it real, two of the "princesses" pictured had to marry their way into royalty. I mean, does that really count? Mulan, most certainly isn't a princess but she still made the cut while a couple of real princesses like Kida and Eilonwy got kicked to the curb. I know, I know. Cartoons are a tough business.

I had long ago given up hope until this very bright and balmy Friday when I saw this email from a reader with a link to the headline: Disney's first black princess to debut in New Orleans. I'm not sure whether to be excited or breathe a sigh of relief. FINALLY!

I don't even care if the movie sucks (ok, I'm lying). But I'm especially glad to note that the princess will be American even if--judging by the character lineup here--that means she'll end up marrying a stray European prince. That places her somewhere between the upward mobility of the 2nd string "royalty by marriage" girls and our friend Pocahontas.

Hey, I don't care what kind of Anna Nicole hustle this new character has to go through so long as my daughters can get a Princess plate set that has at least one person who looks like them on it.

Yes, folks it's true. I firmly believe in my right to shallow commercialism in the name of racial representation. Don't hate.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mira Nair, The Namesake & Shantaram

About a week or so ago I received a nicely written email from a fellow named Will at LX TV in which he directed me to an interview with Mira Nair on their site. I finally watched the interview yesterday and while it was interesting--I like the questions Filmiholic asks Mira better--the techgeek in me was drooling over the high-res streaming video on their site. My rampant use of YouTube has dumbed down my expectations for online viewing but it appears the folks at LX have like, standards or something.

For the love of all things I love, they have an entire tab devoted to snow! No, not him.

Um, anyway, here's the extended interview with Mira:
[right after the extended Absolut Vodka introduction...]

FYI, the video plays more smoothly on the LX TV site. [link] Also, there's a shorter (6 min.) version here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Children and dogs

I've been reading the book of Mark in the New Testament of the Bible--which is quickly becoming my favorite among the Gospels--and stopped to think about this troubling passage: Mark, Chapter 7, verses 24 - 30.

24Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27"First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

28"Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

29Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."

30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

This story always rubbed me the wrong way. I guess the reason I'm starting to like the book of Mark is because he chronicles most of the troubling things Jesus said and did. One chapter after this, Jesus shuts one of his disciples down by saying, "Get behind me Satan." Ouch! Three chapters later, he's throwing over tables and chasing people out of the temple with a whip. How's that for nonviolence in action? Anyhoo, as I was meditating on this passage about the Phoenician woman, I wrote a page in my journal about it:

So often Jesus said or did something that judged on face value, would be needlessly offensive. However, knowing that he was the Son of God working within a limited timespan, leads me to believe he did nothing needlessly.

Considering the way so many people have been discouraged from receiving from Christ--because of their ethnicity, (Gandhi, for example), or gender, or lack of gender! (transsexuals)--and of the self-rightousness of their opponets, I think this single moment in scripture presents an extremely crucial idea. This woman, having been verbally rejected by Christ himself, did not let those words turn her away from receiving from God (father, son, spirit) what she knew only He could give.

Christ obviously stood in the position of God's authority, serving like religious leaders of today do. As that authority, he spoke words of discouragement (and insult!) over her desire to receive from God. Still her response was essentially, "I may not be worthy, but even the least in the house receives something and I've come for that something. Do not withhold it from me."

She received. She received! She received exactly what she asked for. Her daughter was healed. Her family was restored. That's absolutely, fabulously crazy--and undeniably encouraging.