Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is a coming of age story about two brothers who grow up in the slums of Mubai, India. The movie starts with the 18-year-old Jamal competing on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, India version. Cut to Jamal being tortured by the governement who are trying to get him to fess up to cheating on the show. The sadistic torturer finally listen to Jamal tell the story of his life. The movie is then structured around how Jamal learned the answers to the questions through mostly harrowing life or death experiences. The movie has a Oliver Twist-like feel to it as the two young brothers run through the slums from the police or when, they are brought to a Dickens like hovel where young thieves are bred. It is tense and a tad melodramatic. But even with all its Bollywoodesque cheesiness and unsubtle villians, it is very enjoyable movie, and it is definately not boring. Dev Patel who plays the 18-year-old Jamal is sweet and charming and his life long love, Latika played by Frieda Pinto is lovely.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Marley and Me

My mom loves the book Marely and Me. She relayed the funny stories about the terribly behaved dog to all who came within earshot. She's not really even a dog person but got a big kick out of that book. My niece, then, thought it would be fun to go to the smash hit movie of the same name with my mom. So my mom, sister, niece, and I went last Saturday to the movie. I was so-so on going but liked the company. And, in fact, I found the movie pretty enjoyable. Owen Wilson's dry commentary was my favorite part. (my mom says that the narrator in the book isn't quite the jokester) And that dog Marley was actually pretty humorous. I too am not a dog person, as anyone who knows me will tell you, but I was charmed by this movie and got someone genuine hardy guffaw's from it. One warning, it does go a little long .

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hodge Podge 2

Death at a Funeral is a very silly British comedy with a host of well-known British actors. If you are a fan of the Masterpiece Theater-type movies, you've seen all of these actors at one time or another. The lead characters Matthew MacFadyen (Darcy in the most recent Pride and Prejudice) and Rupert Graves (The Forsyte Saga) are brothers whose father just died, and they argue about who is going to pay for it and try to manage the kooky guests that come to the funeral. It's not a great movie, but it's pretty funny at times, and it gets better as the movie goes on.

Last night I was going to go to bed at a reasonable hour when I ran across the 1958 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. Somehow, I had never seen this movie before last night, and never really wanted to, but last night it hooked me in. At first I thought cheesy and overly dramatic -- I am not really a fan of Tennessee Williams plays --they seem so overwrought--but after 10 minutes or so I became so mesmerized by both Newman and Taylor that I had to watch it until the end and stayed up until 1:30 AM. If you've never seen it, it's worth a try.

Bend it Like Beckham stars Parmainder Nagra from ER who plays the adorable Jess, a girl whose Pakistani culture conflicts with her dream of playing competitive soccer. This is another good movie for girls like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It's just nice to see a wholesome movie such as this one where girls are all about kickin' butt on the soccer field. The movie also stars Keira Knightly as Jess' very young boyish-looking team mate. The soccer coach and love interest is played by Jonathan Rhys-Myers, who I last saw in The Tudors, and he does his usual smoldering thing, but in this early version of him, he seemed kinda sissified (is that a word?)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hodge Podge

I have actually seen four movies in the last week, but haven't been keeping up very well with ye olde blog. So here's a quick synopsis starting with last Friday night when I was watching a DVD with my niece Holly . . .
Charlie Wilson's War: Holly could barely pay attention to this political movie, what with all the texting and facebooking. I tried my best but also was a little distracted by the world of the Internet. And quite frankly it was a tad boring. I thought the concept, a war started in Afghanistan by huge American egos, was fascinating and learned a something, but I had trouble sustaining my attention. Tom Hanks and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were good in it, though.
Rachel Getting Married: I dragged Holly and three friends to this movie and regretted it. One friend said, "I never would have seen that movie if I knew what it was about." All four found it to be a real downer. Yet, I wanted to see it -- you know my penchant for anything Indie. Sure it was depressing and odd all at the same time. Oh, and irritating, note the bizarre dishwasher filling competition, and you will wonder what the deal is with these psuedo-intellectual weirdos. Yet, I thought Anne Hathaway was really good in it, and there were some genuine moments in the film and some really good music. Oh, and some annoying music too. The genuine moment came in the cold way Hathaway's mother played by Debra Winger politely dismissed her daughter as she left the reception -- that was painful to watch. So sorry friends for putting you through that, but you know.
In Bruges: is a violent black comedy with Colin Ferrel, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes, and it really was violent, but also funny. I couldn't imagine how a story of three paid assassins who have a strange holiday in Bruges, could possibly be funny, but it is. Worth seeing. and Bruges is incredibly beautiful.
Jodhaa Akbar: Finally, today I saw a 16th century, three hour Hindustani epic with subtitles. How does that grab you? Well, if you want to learn a little about Indian history in a toned down Bollywood style, you might like this, but I doubt it.