Showing posts from July, 2015

getting through Gangs of Wasseypur three years late

Carla of Filmi Geek and I watch-along-ed both parts of Gangs of Wasseypur  earlier this week and then had a chat. She put a lot of other thoughts at the beginning of her post , whereas I have mostly grown weary of these movies—not out of dislike but more out of "I get it already" and "this is just generally not my bag, though I do think the films are pretty well made for what I understand them to be"—and don't have much else to say. Oh, except that I love love love the soundtracks to these films and think Sneha Khanwalkar is an absolute genius. It's so rare that I think a film's songs work as well and matter as much on their own as they do in situ , but hers always do. Carla: If I had to summarize Gangs of Wasseypur in one sentence, I'd say that it demands more attention than it rewards. What do you think, Beth? Beth: I think that would probably be my averaged-out assessment – there were parts I found boring and parts that were great, pa

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

#toohotforparagraphs most adorable, expressive, squooshy-cheeked, heart-tugging moppet since  Stanley Ka Dabba + a female with plenty of agency despite being very young, a foreigner, unspeaking, and an in-context minority + "holy fool" type* (un-, even anti-conventional, charitable, simple, humble) gently enacted by Salman Khan + "Chicken Song" + girls getting to be interested in sports  + no egregious beating up of people by the hero + emotionally (not logically) (duh) pleasing conclusion of the human trafficking element + mention, however brief, that dividing humankind by religion and caste is silly + illustration of challenges resulting from strictly, literally following a moral code + soldiers, officials, and everyday folks who do what is right + Nawazuddin Siddiqui doing anything**, especially rapid-fire line delivery + spin on the road trip formula + fuzzy lammies + Delhi food -  like Baahubali , no need for a woman to g

Baahubali: The Beginning

Baahubali  is an incredible, awesome film...except when it isn't. Its CGI work is varyingly glorious, adequate, and really bad. Its props are lush and evocative except for all the armor that looks like bargain bin plastic. It is racist: shoe-polish black-skinned evil army uses a click language and rough-hewn wooden shields (the good guys have metal) while putting innocent villagers in front of its soldiers and is described in the legend that precedes its onslaught as barbaric rapists and thieves. It is sexist: its rebel warrior heroine becomes useless when the hero shows up. He physically brands her as his own property; gives her a forced, almost rape-y makeover that removes her armor and lots of other protective, sensible layers of clothing, exposing her in every possible way, while adding cosmetics and untying her hair; and distracts her from her self-stated life's work by pointing out to her that she is conventionally pretty, a value that is also stated as antithetical

mini reviews for June 2015

Chhalia 1960 [Spoilers.] Oof. If more of Manmohan Desai's early films are like this one, I'm never going to make it through his whole filmography. Chhalia focuses on one little Ram-Sita-y family, using them as a metaphor for Partition and its aftermath (which are the setting for the story): Nutan is the faithful, fertile, and wronged motherland, Rehman is the proud but misinformed father/patriarch in a suit who abandons her, their sad-eyed moppet is the ultimate innocent victim, and Raj Kapoor is the scrappy common (Hanu)man who restores proper order. Pran also serves as a refuge for Nutan in one wave of the story (and Raj in the other). For reasons not clear to me (I think a few scenes are missing from this print) they hate each other and have a big fight, which is hilarious because how are we supposed to think Pran would not win instantly? That's all well and good—except for Raj Kapoor, who is creepy beyond belief in this role—but to get to that satisfyin