So, I know I haven’t posted anything in awhile. I’ve been busy, and to be perfectly honest, it’s a pain in the butt to get things together and post without an internet connection at home. But, I find myself needing to share a little with anyone who’s willing to listen.
I happened across this band while I was searching for some Korean music that’s NOT pop/dance/hip-hop. Of course, I’m already a fan of Yoon Do-Hyun Band, San-Ul-Lim and other great rock bands, but I always keep my eyes open for new ones and here’s a winner. A.Tract. Or A-Tract. Whichever. They use both. The average age of this band? Seventeen and a half. But you’d never know it by listening to their music. For Korea, they have a very fresh sound and I was pleasantly surprised by their album.
Well, after 81 episodes, 6 months, and oodles of melodrama Jumong is finally done
! (This drama originally aired in Korea in 2006.) I have been borrowing this from the local library and had to wait between discs a lot, sometimes even forgetting what was going on in the show. As one of the most watched and most loved shows in Korea I had to watch it. I’m glad I did too, even if I fell asleep a lot and fast forwarded quite a bit. Haha… I didn’t know what I was in for when I first started. I only knew that it was a historical drama and was very popular. I didn’t even know how LONG it was! Aigoo! It’s actually a relief to be done. It’s a challenge to really summarize this series – so I’ll make it pretty brief. (SPOILER ALERT. Of course, if you don’t plan to watch this, or you have any knowledge of Korean history it probably doesn’t matter.)
What the heck was THAT? Is about all I could think while walking out of the theater. I was expecting…something more. Something very different to be sure. Karan Johar and Shahrukh have disappointed me for the first time. I felt insulted and kind of angry after this film ended. Not to mention disappointed that the inclusion of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna & Kal Ho Naa Ho on the soundtrack were just fillers and not enticing secrets to be held in the film. I think that Shahrukh and Kajol acted the heck out of this film, but aside from that I was left highly disappointed I think that the assumptions of how things really happen here in the US and the reality were so far apart that it was unbelievable and miss Sita-ji and I laughed our way through this ridiculous movie. There was so much that could have been done to save this film, but they neglected to think about who the real target audience of this film is. Sure, there were hoots and whistles during some scenes that had great lines about equality and being non-racist, but for a film that is essentially AGAINST racism; I found it to be, well, rather racist itself. Apparently there are only two nice white people in the US along with some hillbilly African-Americans from 1920’s Georgia to be had here. I agreed with the main theme of the film, that it’s wrong to assume something about someone merely based on their culture/origin/last name, but to turn around and show no respect back to the same culture that they are asking to give respect is a bit hypocritical if you ask me. Kajol was lovely and I loved their chemistry together in the first oh, 40 minutes, but from there the film took a steep dive downhill. A friend I went to the movie summarized it very well: “It’s like the Indian Forrest Gump!” Yes, Yes it is.
3.5 out of 10 Stars.
Another great film by directer Park Chan-Wook. If you haven’t seen any of his stuff, this is probably not the best introduction. It features heavy nudity/sex scenes and also a brilliant violent streak pretty typical of his stuff.
Starring Song Kang-Ho (surprise, surprise!) as a priest who becomes part of a study to cure a disease that has been plaguing his followers. When the study goes horribly wrong he finds himself driven by a thirst for blood and more earthly desires. As he begins to fall deeper under the spell of the vampire urges Sang-Hyun gives in to his thirst for blood and his sexual desire for the wife of a childhood friend(Kim Ok-Bin as Tae-Ju). I’ll leave the rest up to the film, because there are so many twists and turns in this film that I’d give away a lot if I said much more.
I’m glad that Park Chan-Wook directed this film. It’s something that only he can do, and it’s almost a given that he will draw the best performance possible of his actors. I know Song Kang-Ho can act up a storm after his performances in Chan-Wooks previous works, but I was absolutely blown away by Kim Ok-Bin. She started the film with such vulnerability and innocence and worked through such rage, madness and tenderness that I was just simply left in awe of her. If you watch the film for no other reason than her acting you will be very impressed. The violence of the film was necessary and when things seemed to be almost too graphic they always cut away very tastefully. I highly recommend this movie. 9/10 (Down 1 point because of the violence, which isn’t my favorite thing, but the acting and plot made up for it in a big way!)
Ok folks. I saw the film opening day, and I was kind of disapointed that the theater I went to pushed it to a tiny side theater. Oh’s well’s. Here goes.
When you see a Wachowski brothers movie you have to expect the unexpected. They pull out all the stops visually and sometimes things don’t make the most sense the first time around. Unless you’re REALLY paying attention – and believe when Rain’s on screen, I’m paying attention! First of all, this film did not let Rain stretch his acting muscles – just his physical ones. (Which, as a squeeling fan-girl I appreciated very much.) His English is much improved over older clips and songs, I know he’s working hard and that over time his abilities will increase 10 fold. That said, what did I think of the movie? Man, what a bloody, bloody splash fest of a film THAT was! Dear me. I was prepared slightly by the local newspaper reviewer. (“Ninja Assassin sets a new standard for film gore.”) So, I knew it was going to be bad, but not bad enough to make this non-squeemish girl cringe and try VERY hard not to look away. I will say this, if you can make it through the opening scene, things get better and if I may say so – a bit more stylized and less, um, blech-y. Naomie Harris was very good in her role and I liked her. She was a good strong character who wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, but knew better than to just jump into the middle of a fight thinking she could help (most of the time.) I was disapointed by how little dialogue that Rain had. Did the directors think he couldn’t handle it, or was it part of his ninja character that he had to stay mysteriously quiet? I’m not entirely sure. I do know that I probably got a few dirty/quizical looks or questioning thoughts during one scene where a random henchman-like character says: **SPOILER ALER** “He doesn’t look like a killing machine to me, He looks like he belongs in a boy band.” OH MAN. That almost had me on the floor rolling with laughter. I had to cover my mouth and take deep breaths to calm down. In the heavier fight scenes Rain wowed and proved that his 8am-5pm everyday for 9 months training paid off – in a big way. I only spotted a few scenes that were obviously his stunt double. Other wise the man whooshed his way through the choreography. I remember thinking 3/4 of the way through the movie “Poor Rick Yune!” Poor man has only one scene in which you can actual see his face, not very good for an actor that already has very few apperances in films. I find it funny that for most of the articles about this film he was billed before Rain. Kind of ironic if you ask me. In all, this film really was all about the action, and it’s nearly non-stop. I think critics are generally full of crap and they get movies wrong. Most of them are looking for films to be artsy, realistic and have deep meanings. In general, the public like movies that are entertaining and show them something they don’t see in daily life or have never seen before and in this sense, Ninja Assassin delivers. I want to warn anyone who is slighly squeemish or can’t handle violence against seeing this movie. Wait for the DVD and fast forward through the tough stuff and you’ll get to at least see Rain for a few minutes! My final rating: 6.5/7 out of 10.
If you like action/kung-fu/martial arts movies or Rain – check out Ninja Assassin!
This weekend I watched Main Khiladi Tu Anari
I had started the film a couple weeks ago, but didn’t quite get into it after the un-subtitled rendition of My Adorable Darling with Saif looking obnoxiously adorable himself:
I was highly distracted by two (major) things during this song sequence.
#1) Guys in weird0 shirts:
#2) The same kind of weird light effect they used in the first Khiladi film:
I know that actors age and get older and this was one of Saifus’ first films, but I never did get over how different he looked. I’ve decided that the main thing just might be the smile lines around his lips. Because otherwise I can’t put my finger on it. (Obviously his hair is different, but heck, it was the early 90’s and I’ll cut him some slack!)
This might have to be an purchased movie. . . not many get that award, so it was pretty good! (8.5/10)
(So far, the weekend looms ahead with it’s significantly larger amount of time to spend watching Bolly-flicks)
Yuva: Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor, Ajay Devgan, Esha Deol, Vivek Oberoi…OBOY!
The story is based around three couples and the way they all connect to their partner and to one another as well. Ajay plays a young college student named Michael who is in love with a child hood friend Radhika (Esha Deol). He takes on local politics in hopes to prove that decency and moral values will rule the day. Lallan (Abhishek )is a thug who is released from jail and slowly climbs the ladder of criminal success along with his (annoying) wife Sashi, played by Rani Mukherjee(whom I adore.) Arjun (Vivek) finds Mira (Kareena) on the eve of moving to America and is smitten instantly only to have his path come across Lallan and Michael in a sudden and violent change in course.
I liked this film – except the relationship between Rani and Abhi’s characters. I understand and know that it was a plot driver, but I still can’t stand behind a character that can’t stand up for themselves. Yuva is another woven tale – you know the type – a movie that follows several different paths that all wind together in the end? That’s what this Mani Ratman film does. I am happy to note that in this film lovely (and slightly annoying) Bebo aka: Kareena Kapoor is still beautifully curvy in this film. Sadly, she does not get to dance really – which is disapointing because what fun is watching a stick move around? (for example: Deepika Padukone in Billu.) Vivek Oberoi is always a favorite, if only for his boyish charms. Ajay was well past his limits in the age of his character – come on yaar you are too old to be playing college age boys. PLEASE stop. Abhishek was great in a role that I hated. Which is kind of the point, na? I mean, if you are playing a detestable character and people still love you, didn’t it kind of defeat the purpose? I’m not sure what Rani was doing in this movie, she was too big of a star to be playing a character with such little to do.
Mughal-E-Azam – the great classic Hindi film. If you don’t know what this is – check here. Because I can’t be bothered to do it manage to write up a befitting description. I have a lot to absorb in this movie. First of all, I saw the colored version and I did enjoy it, but I wonder how it was in the original form. I also don’t know anything about the actors as it’s now officially the oldest Hindi film I’ve seen. I liked parts and didn’t like parts and it really will need some time to sink in. It was a beautiful film though.
Traffic Signal – another “weaver”! I liked this film starring Kunal Khemu. (Thanks to Sita-ji for the recommendation and to tipping me off to the fact it’s the cute kid from Raja Hindustani!) Lots of great ensemble cast members fill out this very real and slightly gritty tale of life in Mumbai. I bet it’s safe to say folks who actually did enjoy Slumdog Millionare would like this one. They have similarities, but this movie is much more “Indian.” I loved the beginning statement of how they are respectful to all the people working at traffic signals. (I was thinking “What people? There are people working at traffic signals?” and picturing someone changing lights or something.) It’s a movie about a great rainbow of people who all make the community of a traffic signal work. From the prostitutes to the beggars, each person has a job and they all work together to make things work. Even in strife people shine. I liked it quite a bit. Plus, Konkana is in it!
I’m taking a mini-break from Bollywood to enjoy the first 9 episodes of Dae Jang Geum. The story of a cook in historic Korea. It’s my best friends favorite and she watched it in China. I finally found the english subtitled version from the library. Very exciting!
I need pictures in my post don’t I? I need to work on that…
Well, in one case movie is a loose term. I watched Kaal (blech) and The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan last night.
Kaal was the worst Bollywood film I’ve seen yet. The cinematography was awkward and distracting. They repeated shots of the tigers which annoyed me and reminded me heavily of cheap and crappy anime. The movie had great potential; it was produced by Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan. Starred John Abraham and Vivek Oberoi alongside Esha Deol and Lara Dutta. Entering later in the film is Ajay Devgan. It is supposed to be a thriller, but with the odd framing and laughingly week thrills I just was annoyed with it through the film. I was sorry to have watched it. Not to mention in the last 10 minutes it had a bunch of parts ripped straight out of Final Destination. Unless you are a die-hard fan of any of these people and absolutely have to see everything they’re in – stear clear! The only redeeming bits to this movie were the opening and closing item numbers, even if they were missing their subtitles.
The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan. Where do I start? With the sad fact that I was in or near two of the cities he was in during the time the Temptations tour was here in the States? (I lived three hours from Orlando and went through the hurricane he talked about…) And I was in Atlanta for a family get together around Thanksgiving that year. Alas… No use crying over something I can’t change. I am a bit concerned with a few things that King Khan said though… He mentioned that he has to work so hard and become someone else during filming because that is the only way that he can forget the grief of losing his parents. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Is psycho-therapy non-existant in India? I’m left wondering if everyone just thinks that if they have a problem then they have to learn to deal with it on their own and not seek help. Wouldn’t it be better for him to treat it and try to gain control over it than to simply avoid the subject altogether? I feel that he needs to become a complete person, not just a star. It’s really sad that he can’t move past that grief and holds onto it so tightly. I’d rather he be a healthy and happy human being than an unhappy and fantastic super star. I love the fact though, that he helps his children to respect and believe in both Hindu and Muslim customs. They are lucky enough to belong to a home that is accepting of both religions and that’s a rare thing – in any part of the world. In all I was happy to have seen it, it gives me a little more insight into my favorite Bollywood Indian Film Star. I’m also left wondering – did they ever release a DVD of Temptations 2004? I bet a lot of people would have liked seeing that.
I was recently inundated with some movies from both Netflix and the local library. Hence, no reviews as I’ve been too busy watching them to get online to review! Here’s a list of what I’ve seen in the last two weeks:
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (Sad movie starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla (yay!))
Bommarillu (My first South Indian film – very good, however I hated the fact that Genelia D’Souza had a voice over . . )
Life…In a Metro (An interesting movie. It kind of follows a recent trend in movies from all over the world that focusing on many different people through a six degrees of of separation kind of lense. Shilpa Shetty was ok, Kolkana was lovely and I loved Irfan Khan – he was just too funny. Again.)
Gadar (A film about the separation. This one has a happy ending though!)
King Uncle (A silly movie starring Jackie Shrof as an angry man who ruins his family only to be opened back up emotional by a young orphan named Munna. Shah Rukh has a smaller role in this quaint film, but it’s nothing to write home about. Although I wish I had screen capped the opening because it was very creepy and inappropriate for such a child friendly film. I red and black lense zoomed in and out on Munna yelling “King Uncle!” in a creepy audio warble. Eee!)
Koi. . . Mil Gaya (re-watched this one – it’s a favorite!)
1947 Earth (Not a big fan. Typically if it garners attention from major film critics/awards I don’t like them. Who knows why…)
Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (AnotherAamir Khan and Juhi Chawla film – this one much more fun and I saw many similarities to Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic in it.)
Bluffmaster (Abhishek is very charming as a con artist who finds out he’s dying. Priyanka is, well, Priyanka…)
Raja Hindustani (LOVED this movie – just not the missing subtitles during the songs. I HATE when they do that to us not blessed with fluent Hindi skills)
Kabhi Alvida Naa Khena (Karan Johar + Shah Rukh + Rani + Abhishek + Preity + Me = Love. Bas)
Black (Rani as a Indian version of Helen Keller and Amitab-ji has her “tee.” It was very western in film style and setting, but I still think it was good. It proves Rani can blow her younger competition out of the water and that she deserves to still get good roles. I abhore the fact that she is stuck playing roles that make her seem “old” – she isn’t that old! Give the young 30-something actresses in India a chance to shine and break through the stereotype PLEASE!)
Humraaz (Akshaye Khanna & Amisha Patel play in this movie that coined a new term for me – Pretzel Bag. Matlab: This movie has more twists than a bag of pretzels! Goes along with my other rating: Yawnie – a movie that is deathly boring…)
Dor (A pleasantly surprising film staring Ayesha Takia as a young widow who must face her own anger to help another woman save her husband. Gul Pang is lovely as well and plays a beautifully strong and independing thinking woman not seen much in most films. Dor earned Ayesha a lot of praise and I strongly suggest seeing this movie. I’m a fan of hers, I think she has a great charm to her and I wish she hadn’t decided to stop acting when she got married…)
::dregs through her brain:: Did I forget anything??? I don’t know. Hopefully not. But probably so. I have Yuva, Mughal-E-Azam, and The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan waiting at home, as well as Traffic Signal and Kaal to pick up at the library. The fun never ends! I think I need to see what’s floating around the world of Korean/Japanese/Chinese cinema again too. I have too little time!