Sunday, December 21, 2008

India Express shout out!

The blog got a mention in an article in The Indian Express on phoren Bollywood fans.

My buddy Beth (who loves Bollywood) got a lot of column width! It's a nice little masala piece.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dostana (2008)

John and Abhi gay
shows Karan's fantasy in
thinnly veiled story

Ok, ok. There's a bit more to Dostana than that but not much. Regardless of anything else, the film editor on this one was either a woman or gay man (Karan Johar?) because I have a hard time believing a straight dude would leave so many lingering images of John Abraham's glimmering abs and perfect pects in the final cut.

Parts of this movie were so ridiculous, I almost felt offended for the entire gay community, and that's saying a lot. Par example, the scene where the man in camo starts crying about his boyfriend being in Iraq and complementing John & Abhi on being such a happy couple...WTH?! It was ridiculously a bad parody of Jack on Will & Grace.

Ever since KANK, I've been yelling, "Why can't I quit you K-Jo?!" but we all know it's a losing battle. Even as I watched in various moments of horror and dismay I couldn't help but laugh myself silly at Abhishek's behavior in the lovestory "flashback" scene. He looked like he was interpreting a (gay) man interpreting a woman which I suppose he was but the fact that he was three steps removed from reality really showed as he was throwing his lanky limbs all over the place and making pouty faces!

As for the lovely John Abraham, this might be his best role yet: the straight guy every gay guy wishes was gay. I mean, isn't that like his life story? All he had to do was show up. No acting required. Just thinking about it, I would hate, hate, hate to see him and Aishwarya paired together. That would definitely be the Titanic of beauty and non-acting. *sigh*

Basically, the film is only good for giggles. If giggling at men enacting every gay stereotype is funny to you, or more specifically, Abhishek Bachchan enacting every gay stereotype, then you'll find something worth enjoying. Well, there's also Priyanka looking as beautiful as ever. (Bobby Deol isn't much worth mentioning here.)

Also, a couple of the songs are really hot. Still, this one isn't going to make my favorites list!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bollywood is Happier.

I watched half of Singh is Kinng last night, which no lie, is remarkably idiotic.* But this morning on the train I found myself thinking, How is it that I like Bollywood so much better than Hollywood?

Bollywood is...happier.

That's what makes it so endearing. It lacks the cynicism of the hopes and dreams of a thousand atheists--it's Hollywood counterpart. And that's what makes Jab We Met so perfect. An absolutely cynical character gets cured of melancholy by a few songs, some dancing, a series of idiotic mishaps and of course, a girl. What could possibly be more pleasant?

*I won't hold back, I think it was the most widely stereotypical display I've seen in years. If I see Akshay Kumar play another 'dumb as dirt, strong as an ox' Punjabi boy, I might have to slap someone. And then there were all the black people used as props. Robbing people in Egypt, running gangs in Australia, getting the crap beat out of them, and my absolute favorite, completely destitute and living seven to a camping trailer on the outer limits of town. Wow. As if I hadn't lost enough IQ points by the end of the film, Snoop Dog pops out in a turban during the credits. (And why wouldn't he? This is what he does in his spare time.) And yet, somehow, if I had to be locked in a room with this or 70% of the films that have won Oscars the last few times around, I'll take "Utter Buffoonery" for $300, Alex.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Meanwhile, back in Bollywood-land

I've been meaning to post on Jab We Met because it might just be my favorite romantic comedy...ever.

And I'm not sleepin' on Sahid Kapoor anymore either. I get it now. He does this look. And the cinematographer was working it. lol!

The little bit about, "Maybe he's impotent." "He's not." "How do you know?" "You can tell." "But how do you know?" And on it went. Hilarious. Was that even scripted?

This is the first film in which Kareena's performance didn't annoy me so that's saying a lot.

Considering it was recommended by a true B'wood cynic, I shouldn't have expected any less. :)

Is this the future of film?

I was checking the NYTimes homepage this morning when I saw this:
It’s a Healthy Marriage of Faith and Filmmaking
under the Movies section.

Although, Shut the hell up! is not the best response to this--I've been around nothing but potty mouths for the past couple of months--I was quite flabbergasted to see a headline in the Times that didn't indict faith as a source of criminal activity or moral hypocrisy. Could a new day be dawning? Perhaps, but I think the numbers are why anybody's bothered to take notice. A $5k film making 6.5 mil on opening weekend is certainly newsworthy.

Basically, middle America wants to see itself on film. Hollywood only knows L.A. and mostly the part that starts north of Santa Monica. New York does New York like nobody else can...and then there's the rest of the freaking country! We. Do. Exist.

That's the mystery of Tyler Perry and these Sherwood Baptist folks. That's also the mystery of the Napoleon Dynamite film.

Nothing Tyler's done is particularly fabulous. The stories have Christianish themes. The production values are low. None of his stuff is high concept and yet he makes bank every time. His little studio hasn't (yet) been in the red.

Then there's the Sherwood guys--a Baptist church rolling out a production every other year with volunteer actors and crew at more than a 1000% profitable return.

And the producer/directors of Napoleon Dynamite were a couple of Mormons--literally husband and wife--who wanted to make something everybody could watch. And they did. And everyone watched. And they made a lot of money.

It seems like a film's either got to be so big it's got a franchise attached or so small there's no way to lose money these days. After reading about Spielberg and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) getting turned down by Universal, it looks like the industry's turned a corner. I'm glad to see there's room for--and more specifically--avenues for films that look and sound like life outside the major metros.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

All my best writing is...

Typically the end of that statement would be "on my blog". That's been my excuse for not finishing any scripts.

At the moment, I'm doing a bit of writing and I haven't had the energy to blog. That said, I'm reposting an email I sent to friends here. Also, I'm trying to find time to watch my downloaded copy of Jab We Met so I should have something to talk about sometime soon...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

God-fearing atheists

[title lifted from GetReligon; original Pew Forum study here]

This was the funniest thing I've heard all week! I mean, Geez, don't people have any loyalty anymore?!

21% of atheists believe in God. [ref]
55% of agnostics believe in God. [ref]

Grandly amusing. I was telling my coworker about this and he said, "They must have interviewed a bunch of people who's elevators don't go all the way upstairs." That's one way to put it. I imagine the interview went like this:

Interviewer: Do you believe in God?
21% of atheists: Yeah.
Interviewer: Great. Uh, do you go to a house of worship?
21% of atheists: No, I'm an atheist.
Interviewer: Okaaayyy....
You know something's trendy when the people doing it no longer know why. Equally silly is this factoid:
74% of Americans believe in heaven but only 59% believe in Hell. So where do serial killers go when they die? [ref]
The columnist wants answers and I do too! For real, people! For real!

And speaking of people going to hell, I'm sure this guy has reserved seating: Prosecutors said Chiman Rai had son's wife killed because she was black

This crazy guy is quite close to boo
king tickets: Hangman's noose, gun lead to arrest of LaVergne man (Yes, that is 15 minutes from where I live.)

I'm pretty sure this guy has a real estate office where he sells hell-plots to his parishioners but that's another post for a different day...a really long post...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Race (2008)

brothers hate and love
sex and murder flow as one
stay alive to "win"
As many things as Race had going for it--gorgeous actors, great music, good storyline--I'm secretly hoping not to see many more Bollywood films like this one. One of the things I adore about most Bollywood is its carefully guarded sense of naivete.

Though I was quite amused by the catchy first song of the movie, Rock the Dancefloor--which had a Latin-flavored track over cowboy ranch/redneck visuals, some break dance moves, a few stray black folks who weren't looting, attacking, or gang afilliated, (one was permitted screen time for a booty dance!)--by the last song of the film, I had seriously had an upskirt overdose. Seriously.

I only rented the film since both of the guys at the different markets I go to said it was a good film. Which it general terms. But then, what guy doesn't want to see the some of Bips' boobs? I, on the other hand feel slightly violated. I mean, just when you thought it was over Saif's having another flashback. I mean, I know it was good and all...

Anyways, the car and stunt sequences were pretty solid though. I like cars quite a bit, so that almost made up for my suffering. Also, I had never thought much of Saif (lawd, especially after Hameshaa) but I could sense the appeal a bit more here.

At any rate, my biggest beef is needless violence. Fairly early in the film when the cheating jockey is blown up in his car Saif and Akshay drive off with these ill smirks on their faces. All throughout, there's just too much casual nihilism for my liking. Films like this make me physically tired after watching them.

Let's just hope my next film choice will be better...more like Om Shanti Om, which I still haven't reviewed yet!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Baabul (2008)

True love dies. Wife alone.
Is sati next? Khabie nay.
A new love rescues.
I wasn't particularly impressed by Baabul though I wanted to be. This film had BigB, Salmaan Khan and John Abraham for goodness sakes! Oh yeah, and Rani.

That said, sorry to add spoilers BUT Salmaan's unfortunate death is the best one I've seen since Brad Pitt got hit by two cars in Meet Joe Black. It was

Whatever happened to Millie's childhood friend? No one's seen him since the wedding. I heard he's a Chippendale dancer in some European club with a bunch of white girls as backup dancers... Well, something like that.

Poor John. The same thing that make him a great model make him a terrible actor and dancer...the ability to hold the same expression for WAY too long. After seeing John Abraham trying his best to act and dance, I won't complain about Salmaan ever again! If you happen to run into John on the street don't embarrass him by asking, "What do you do?" He can't answer, "I act," or "I dance." John knows the truth. The only thing he can say is, "I sexy." Seriously, he must have studied acting with Keanu Reeves...

Speaking of sexy, Rani's lip gloss be poppin' in the final scene (that went on way too long). It's so luscious it's distracting!

I think the message was more the point than the film itself. With that in mind, they should have done an infomercial on treating widows kindly rather than make audiences suffer!

(Furthermore, is John Abraham the poster boy for Widow Kindness Month or what? First Water, then this!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bollywood Rules!

Since I'm home sick today, I thought I'd put my time in between naps to good use.

I'm working on an informal "Intro to Bollywood" YouTube-type video for an acquaintance. Basically, I'm trying to whittle down my list of necessary Bollywood elements...the rules if you will. All commercial films follow some sort of rule system as far as story elements are concerned.

Sooo, here's my top 3. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

  1. There is always a love story. Always. (I especially like it when people find time for love in the middle of a terrorist subplot. That warms my heart.)
  2. Grown men cry...and dance! (Korean actors have the crying part down but most of them can't dance a lick.)
  3. There will be blood singing and EVERYONE will lipsynch. (If you know of an actor/actress that sings their own stuff. Please do let me know!)

Friday, June 06, 2008

East Coast talks West Coast...

“You’d want me to take the money? You’d want me to whore out. That’s what they wanted me to do,” he said. “You know how hard it is not to do the conservative thing out there?"
After reading the NYTimes piece on Mr. M. Night Shyamalan, which ended with above cheeky quote, I'm definitely going to give The Happening a try this weekend. I didn't really dig Signs or The Village very much so I skipped Lady in the Water.

Despite the fact that Night's vibe has an unpleasant "I AM FILM" ego as big as Kanye West's imaginary "God of Hip Hop" title, he's talented and Hollywood's end-all-be-all mentality makes me want to throw up--but not because I'm bulimic...because that would be giving in to the monster that is 'the industry'...

Big ups to a man who found a way to stay in Pennsylvania and still get it done.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Speaking of dating...

This made me laugh: (click to see larger)

[found on Melody's blog]
Also fyi, if I'm not blogging here, I might be blogging here. Don't want to mix my Korean and Hindi stuff too much. At least not until I hook up with the Bollywood club in Seoul. ;)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jodhaa-Akbar (2008)

Two kingdoms unite
Sharafuddin will not die
How can love bring peace?
Jodhaa Akbar is a lovely movie. After being chastised by a few readers for so negligently allowing a full three months to pass without chasing down my BwBF's latest movie, I hustled on down to a new market to pick it up. (Dude only charges $2 and you can keep the film a week!)

Unfortunately, watching J-A allowed me to realize just how ridiculously shallow my tastes have become inasmuch as Hrithik is concerned. Sitting through 2+ hours of him looking stately without a single dance move was more than I can bear! *No booty shaking? None?!* I mean, I know he was supposed to be the Emperor and all but couldn't he do a little somethin' somethin'.....for the Queen? *sigh*

Additionally, the circumstances of my viewing were less than optional. I had gotten some girls together for another "Bollywood Night" and had planned for us to watch Bunty aur Babli. Then, at the last moment I thought Om Shanti Om might be better since I still haven't seen it yet. When it wasn't available I added on Jodhaa-Akbar instead. Foolishly, I let the newbies pick which film they'd rather watch based on the dvd covers. Wowed by the intricate costumes and a "princess story," they chose the historical drama.

After the bazillionth nobleman was introduced and the gazillionth hint of betrayal was shown, a few people's eyes started to glaze over. I've obviously seen a fair share of Indian films but I only have a fuzzy idea of Indian geography and the people groups in each state. I kind of get the religious conflicts presented but most of the other girls didn't. It was definitely not a good "first film."

Then there was Sharafuddin. I'm not the first blogger---and I certainly won't be the last---to comment on crappy subtitles but golly gee whittakers this was the worst I've seen in a while and THE worst film to have bad subtitles on. J-A has a cornucopia of peripheral characters and they don't have nice modern names like Pooja, Raj or Ali. The point being that Sharafuddin was a central character to the plot and due to craptacular subtitles, EVERYONE had gotten it into their heads that he was killed in the first half of the movie only to discover he was quite alive and preparing a large, sinister coup d'etat right around the time Akbar finally 'gets some' from Jodhaa---also a major plot element, but far easier to follow. ;)

Still, for all my complaints, the cinematography was flawless. The production values were INSANE. (I heard there were 1,000 extras for one of the songs and it sure as heck looked like it.) Doing a film with that level of opulence in the US hasn't been feasible for years. The costumes were designed by the fabulous Neeta Lula (Devdas). And of course, the director scored two of the most beautiful actors in the universe.

Bottom line, the film is good...heck, it's great. It just requires your full attention.

Friday, May 02, 2008

7,680 men: or Why I am still single...Pt. 2

The baggage mentioned in part 1 is in addition to the fact that I couldn't possibly marry a man who doesn't share my worldview, one based on Christian faith and a passion for intellectual inquiry. I've been wanting to calculate the numbers on this one and stumbling onto this page inspired me to finally do it.

2006 US census numbers indicate approximately 233,039,000 folks in the US of which slightly less than half are male--113,073,000. [ref] Of those, only 30,129,000 are between the ages of 25 and 39. Because I rob neither cradles nor graves, they are the only ones that matter.

It is estimated that 40% of Americans are Christians and of those, about 8% hold similar beliefs as my own. [ref] (I gave up my Christianity to follow Christ.) Accounting for beliefs leaves a solid 2,410,320 and we're only half way through. The general trend is that 51% of men 25-40 are married BUT Christians run about 10 percentage points higher on the marriage stats [ref] so actually, I'm looking at something like 61% married. I'm just under a million. (988,231 to be exact.)

[Side note: It is to my own detriment that I live in Tennessee, one of the most marryingest states in The Union [ref] a state where only 27.3% of men have never been married. Which is a generous calculation considering they included 15-, 16-, and 17-year-old jailbait.]

I know, I know. You're probably thinking, So what! That's still almost a million guys! True. I'll even leave in all the guys who are "separated"--cause you know, it was totally their ex's fault--and the 2-3% who are living closeted gay lives. I'm feeling generous.

All things being equal, of that infinitesimal sliver, 12.3% will be black. [ref] Of them, 8% will "marry out" and 2% of the others
(who are probably Latino), 0.2% of Asians and 0.2% of the white boys will convert to the dark side. Net loss: 9,724. Net gain: 4,544. *Such is life.* That leaves me with just 11.77% of the previously selected men--a grand total of 116,372 fellas somewhere in the United States.

In addition to all this, I have the nerve, the gall even, to want to marry a guy who's smart. Ok, ok, and not fat.
And has straight teeth.
And doesn't smell.
(A girl's gotta dream!)
Assuming "smarts" are on a Gaussian distribution, I've just cut my chances by 90%. I said 90% people! *cue gasps of horror*

That's only 11,637
potentially compatible men spread across 50 states and 3,794,083 square miles
[ref] ...and 1 in 3 is probably dating someone...make that 7,680 men. You do realize that's just one eligible bachelor for every 494 square miles? ...some of whom are very unattractive?!

I probably should be worried but I feel a bit liberated. I was beginning to think I should "try harder" but really, trying to root out 0.006792% of the male population is a task suitable only for His Infinite Majesty. Jesus take the wheel...

Still, the next person who asks, "Why aren't you dating anyone?" is getting a printed copy of this essay and a pop quiz.

Abhimaan (1973): and why I am still single

Man jealous of wife
Love withheld becomes sorrow
How can songs be sung?
Wow. This 70's throwback classic really dampened my spirits in as far as relationships go. Abhimaan is the story of a fabulously talented woman who is wooed heartily by a slightly less talented man who, after marriage, encourages her to shine...until she begins to outshine him. *grrr*

In general, I steer clear of flicks like this because I prefer to maintain rosy images of the other gender lest I dissolve into a pile of man-hating feminizing. I'm sure most women don't have such easily disturbed notions of menkind but to my own ridiculously-single-for-OMG-3-years-now detriment, I do. Seeing behavior like this reinforces the idea that men are petty, immature, and threatened by successful women.

Oh yeah, back to the movie, this is the only film in which I actually recall seing Jaya as a young woman. (I didn't know who she was when I saw Sholay.) She's so cute and "simple" in this film. I can see why she was very popular. In the defense of menkind, BigB's BFF was a source of reason throughout the film. He chastized BigB for kicking it at another woman's house and later inisted that he reconcile with his wife. The movie is interesting but not particularly challenging. It's amusing to watch the real life couple on screen in their youth though.

Soooo, what does this have to do with my life with two dogs rather than a boyfriend? This film strengthened my resolve to be single rather than annoyed. Unfortunately, I'm easily annoyed and clearly, all the more easily single. The thought of having to go pick up my drunk husband from another woman's house at midnight does not inspire the classy sort of resilience Jaya's character displayed in Abhimaan. It inspires thoughts of a BEAT DOWN.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hollywood baby!

Sooooo, I haven't posted in a while because I'm working all kindsa hustles to get some stuff in gear in the next few months, one of which is spending some time in LaLa Land, otherwise known as, LA--Los Angeles, California.

I got accepted to the Act One summer writing program which is really cool. They only take about 24 writers or so each year. Not only does that make me feel special :) but more importantly, it means I'll have very good access to the instructors and over the course of four weeks of 8-hour days, really get a chance to know and build relationships with the other writers.

In other acts of random impetuousness, I sent some info to a recruiter for English teachers in Korea and they'll be sending my 411 to the Seoul Metro School System within the next two weeks. For a while, I worried not only about the safety of my little dog but whether or not my Bollywood habit would be wrenched from my grasp while staying on East Asian soil.

Fortunately, my fears have been laid to rest. Well, not about the dog thing but by the fact that Seoul has a 300-member Bollywood club led by a fellow calling himself Hangulo. Considering the strength of Korea's indigenous media industry, that's saying a lot. It makes me smile.

Almost as much as the thought of being at Santa Monica beach during summer. Almost.

[Up next, Abhimaan (1973) & Why I am still single.]

Monday, April 07, 2008

The City of God

Just the other day I finally watched the 2002 Academy Award nominated City of God. I knew the film was about street kids in Brazil, had good cinematography, and is supposedly a "must see film" but little else. I pondered the title, recognizing it as a reference to one of Augustine's treatises on the Christian faith.

Through watching the film, I discovered that the title was the name of the favela in which the story takes place, a neighborhood completely overridden with poverty, violence, and general lawlessness, a neighborhood described in the film as "living in hell."

Anytime I watch something like this, I am reconfronted by the existence of evil. In an academic sense, there is never any doubt in my mind that evil exists yet fortunately in my daily life, there are few occasions when I am acutely aware of it. Times when awareness is unavoidable, have confirmed my deep weariness with the relativistic thought that permeates public discourse in the West.

Watching City of God also reminded me of the great evil lurking beneath the seeming good of self-preservation. Those who seek for themselves by any means necessary are bound to lose their souls in the process despite the suggestion that if they're fit enough to survive, all is well.

During day two of my viewing, (it was too much for one sitting), I was reminded of something Jesus said:

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. [ref]
Theft-death-destruction is one of the clearest perpetual cycles of evil. The undercurrent of destruction in this film was really unsettling for me. Beyond "simple" murder, there was destruction of property, beating, maiming, rape and humiliation. The repetitively wanton killing reminded me of this:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [ref]
The thief Jesus is speaking of is the ultimate enemy of mankind--Satan, the master purveyor of evil. The grand narrative of creation and the Revelation of John both reference the great enmity between Satan and God's creation. Every life taken from the earth is one less reflection of God's image. It is ironic then that the "City of God" in this film is one where the image of God is ruthlessly and continually stamped out.

One can only wonder what the officials of Rio de Janeiro were thinking when they relocated their city slums and dubbed them "City of God." Perhaps they were hoping the name might procure blessings from the Psalms:
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain

It is beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth...

God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress...

As we have heard,
so have we seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever.
Selah [ref]
May it be so.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Now this is interesting.

Judge admits mistake in kicking whites out of court

What I can't gather from the story is whether or not the judge asked "the lawyers" to step outside of the courtroom--by the way the story is framed, it sounds like all of them were white--though after listening to the interview with Anderson Cooper, it seems like he said, "White people leave," (or something to that extent).

Um, did he really think a group of lawyers was gonna let that go? I get the feeling though he didn't care one way or the other. (What's up with judges thinking they're the shiznit anyways?)

I understand why he did what he did. (Say what you will, but being poor and black in Georgia is not the same as being poor and white.) At the same time, it wasn't good practice. In the end, I guess he got his point across...all across America. *sigh*

[The video is here if you want to watch it.]

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Monday!

If like me, you hardly ever turn on your TV, you might have missed this back in '06. Even if you didn't, you know you want to watch it again.

Please, remove all food and other foreign particles from your mouth and nostrils before pressing play. Thank you.

Friday, March 21, 2008

You decide.

I got a frantic email from a friend yesterday claiming she had seen Hrithik in a commercial on TV here in the US. (No, it's wasn't Bollywood-on-Demand.) Thanks to the wonders of the internet, she was able to procure the promo from YouTube which I've posted below for your viewing pleasure.

As for the decision part, Has my boyfriend been darkened in the reggae scene or is that just a really nasty shadow? Just taking a friendly poll. You know how much I like blackface!

At any rate, Hrithik looks as delicious as always. He's working the Latin flavor pretty well. Which is marvelous considering his next costar is Mexican telenova star Barbara Mori. It has been said that Sonam Kapoor turned down a chance to star opposite Boyfriend #1 because the role in the film was "too bold". (Sounds another lawsuit opportunity...)

There's very little info about the film online as of yet--the working title is "Kites", Papa Roshan is involved though not directing--but gathering from the tidbits on Barbara's wikipedia profile, it has been suggested that filming will begin in late July with locations include New Mexico, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

There is a reasonable chance that I'll be in Los Angeles in July and August. (more on that later) If I see Hrithik in LA, I will pass out...which wouldn't be a bad thing. If I don't pass out, I will inevitably become a bumbling mess of too many words and not enough sense sentences. He will inevitably extend his hand in greeting and I will stare too long. It all goes downhill from there...

One more reason why...

...I *heart* Huckabee.

I know he's not running for President anymore and real Republicans don't tolerate unpretentious rooting for the common man (or eating popcorn-popper fried squirrel for that matter), but he seems like a nice fellow and this little TV moment proves he actually has some sense as well.

Speaking yesterday on MSNBC's Morning Joe program, Huckabee said that statements made by Senator Barack Obama’s former pastor were unacceptable but understandable...Huckabee, who grew up in the segregated South, added that if he had experienced the kind of discrimination African Americans have in American history, he would probably have become bitter. [via]
Here's the video if you care to watch.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chak De India (2007)

[I was so amped when I finished the film I forgot to write a haiku! The review is now properly introduced...]

Coach wants one team, ek!
Girls learn to "play well with others."
Soon, the fight is on.
I loved this flick! I’m loving the “We play for one country” theme. A team is a team. This is Shahrukh Khan in all his glory. I’m definitely feeling the goatee…and the obligatory rain scene. (Has Shahrukh ever been in a film where he didn’t get doused with water?)

On to other things, if I was Punjabi, I’d be salty about how snarly the Punjabi girl looked. Even so, I’m still mad about her unibrow. I mean, I guess they were going for absolute realism on that one but they coulda gave her some kinda touch up! Where were the stylists? Makeup?!

Sports films are notoriously predictable and this one is no exception. The first half has some nice character development and the second half is, well, sports. Except for that little private moment with Bindiya and coach in the restroom, but I digress. (Was that good acting or was the actress really making our man SRK nervous?)

Also, I guess it wouldn't be me writing the review if I didn't mention the fact that it was really cool that several of the girls were supposed to be from remote rural areas...jungles even(!) and that some of them actually looked different. My favorite line was the bit about being treated like a foreigner in your own country. Word. Maybe, someday in the near future, in a mainstream fillum, one of those foreign or "jungle" girls will actually get to have a backstory. Here's for hopin'.

On a unifying note, that moment at McDonald’s had to be the best fight scene I’ve watched in a good long while. Not because the action was so stellar but because it was vicariously satisfying. Who hasn’t wanted to beat the crap out of obnoxious catcalling boys at the mall? *two tight slaps* Girl power!

Watch the film.
Rent it immediately.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)

a peck on the cheek
no cure for child's deep longing
though she calls it home
I had been wanting to see Kannathil Muthamittal for quite some time. For some reason the dvd was never available on Netflix and not being able to pronounce the title, I gave up trying to find it at a local market.

Fast forward a year or so and this film is the reason I renewed my Netflix subscription. I was flipping through the pages of films available for instant viewing and saw "A Peck on the Cheek" buried in the foreign titles. It was NOT listed by it's actual title which probably explains why I couldn't find it.

First of all, Mani Ratnam is the best. His films offer a wonderful balance of beauty and substance. Secondly, there is just something very pleasant about Madhavan. I can't lay a finger on it but I enjoy watching him on screen.

Interestingly (or sadly) enough, before watching this film, I didn't know anything about civil unrest in Sri Lanka. I only knew the people there are very brown, many of them are very pretty and M.I.A's from there. My mention of it is not to imply that the film bothers to explain any of it, but in typical Ratnam style, it shows glimpses of people on all sides of the conflict. Still, the conflict merely plays background to the story of a little girl desperate to find out where she came from and why her birth mother left her behind.

I am such a sucker for adoption stories. This one was particularly challenging in that it made me think of the emotional process a child has to go through even when adopted by parents of the same ethnicity and language AND likewise, the emotional process the parents have to endure and the potential for being pushed away. Where the revelation of adoption might make one child cling to his or her adoptive parents all the more, another child feels the need to reconnect with their biological heritage and there's no way to predict or prepare for the outcome.

Enough rambling. If you haven't seen the film, watch it.
You'll thank me.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

On a lighter note...

Today is my birthday.
In an email, my coworker sent me a myspace type sparkly and this video.

*Oh my* :D

Oh my god, all these black people...

...are supporting Barack Obama. It. is. so. annoying. Why can't more of them support Hillary? Why are they like, so flaky about the Democratic process? Like, who does Obama think he is, Bill Clinton--the voice of America's youth or something? God, did you see him dancing on Ellen? I mean, it was like, such a popularity seeking moment. Ewww.
For the record, this is what every "black people are voting for Obama because he's black" comment sounds like to my ears. Regardless of the vocabulary used, it sounds like whining and it sounds bitter. AND it's sooooo tired.

I can understand how people who vote in every election get a little miffed whenever the presidential elections come around and previously unengaged citizens arise from their couches and traipse out to the polls. How dare they! They should leave voting to the experts, to those who follow political commentary more closely than psychics follow Nostradamus! Oh, the perils of pseudo-Democracy! The perils of allowing the people ("blacks") to vote! Surely when the 15th Amendment was ratified, the legislature couldn't have imagined this day--the day when black folks might get to vote for a presidential candidate just because he's brown. Ha! What a disgrace.

Seriously though. Help is available.
  1. Realize that if you are a white American and spend the rest of your life with American citizenship, you will likely never have the opportunity to vote for a presidential candidate "just because they're white" UNLESS Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination. Then you can vote for John McCain. Let me know how it feels.
  2. Repeat after me: "Part of the democratic process is FREEDOM. Freedom means people can vote for whomever they want--for whatever reason they want." Say it until you believe it.
If the recitation doesn't work, I would suggest you stop watching so much political commentary; especially on 24-hour news channels like CNN. Listen to music and take a walk in the park. You'll vote for the candidate you've chosen and millions of other Americans will do the same. End of story.

[FYI, this tirade post was inspired by a few tired comments on my last post.]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

That's what I call luscious...

A friend just sent the link to a NYTimes article on Princess Mrs. (Abhishek) Bachchan.

It mentions her canceling out on a chance to film with Will Smith (again) this time because of Karva Chauth. (Really though, it seems that one could fast in any country. Sieves? You can buy 'em at Walmart. The moon? It can generally be seen from any location in the US. Ok, maybe not smog-filled LA but you get the general idea. A tag along husband and a public image of traditional marital devotion--much harder to get on set...) At any rate, the two will inevitably do a film now that Will's production company is using UTV for distribution.

Anyhoo, the article is here. The official website is here. And please, please, don't choke on the eye candy.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

President Obama

I suppose it's only fitting that I say something about this presidential election. The candidates are putting on quite a show and in all honesty, who can blame them.

Thus far, the most intriguing is the way Barack and Hillary's camps are going at each other. Who wants a black converted muslim political newbie or a Republican cum Democrat with "experience" via marital relations?

The most amusing is the man who stands alone: Mike Huckabee. i *heart* Huckabee. Though, if I had to choose between weird last names, I'm gonna take an Obama over a Huckabee 6 days out of the week. On a positive note, Bill Clinton plays the sax but bass guitar...that's a rock star's instrument. I mean, it's like a Capitol Offense to think otherwise.

That being the case, while Huckabee sings his own songs, people are writing songs about Obama. *Oh, the devotion of the previously politically uninvolved!* Not since Eisenhower has such a catchy tune been penned in praise of a presidential candidate. (The one for JFK didn't quite have the same zing.)

For your listening pleasure, I've included them both here because if there's one thing I like, it's pop culture. As for politics, call me back for the fourth quarter so I can see who wins.



Sunday, February 03, 2008

Talk about cheating...

FYI, I'm referencing myself not the reader who sent me this email:


Know of any Bollywood films depicting the British Raj -- especially 19th
century colonialism? I'm working on a project that looks at former
colonies' cinematic portrayals of colonial periods.

Thanks for any tips!

I figure it's a cheap excuse for a post. Off hand, the first films that came to mind were Lagaan and 1942: A Love Story. To a lesser extent I suggested Rang de Basanti.

My readers--if there are any left ;)--are a smart and well informed bunch. I'm sure there are numerous films I'm not aware of. Don't fail me now!

Drop your knowledge in the comments.
[Happy Black History Month!]