Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore the events surrounding the 1947 independence and partition of India. The real history is far more complex and violent than any film could adequately capture, so Chadha relies on two parallel plots that touch on varied experiences. In the end, the film is lively and enjoyable, with a strong sense of humour and some romantic surges that help the story resonate.
As Britain plans to leave India after three centuries of colonial rule, Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) arrives in Delhi as the last viceroy, accompanied by his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), who takes particular interest in the process, and their daughter Pamela (Lily Travers). Unlike previous rulers, they take a real interest in the local culture, so they know how difficult it will be to avoid bloodshed between clashing Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities. Meanwhile in their house, Hindu guard Jeet (Manish Dayal) is in love with Muslim maid Aalia (Huma Qureshi), wondering if they can to have a life together in a divided nation.
The romantic storyline is a nice counterbalance to the larger political machinations and violent cultural struggles. The way it highlights the issues is rather heavy-handed, but Dayal and Qureshi are charming enough to hold the audience's attention, and where they go isn't as obvious as it seems. Alongside them, Bonneville and Anderson sparkle with wit, stirring some comic relief into even the most intense negotiations. They also nicely play their characters as people of compassion and empathy, a nice contrast to the callous self-interested British diplomats who don't care who gets hurt in the fallout. Somewhere in between are well-meaning roles for acting icons Michael Gambon (as the chief of staff) and Simon Callow (as the man responsible for drawing the line between India and Pakistan).
Continue reading: Viceroy's House Review
With a strong cast and striking production values, this thriller is sleek enough to hold our interest even if corporate espionage isn't a very exciting topic for the movies. As the title suggests, the film is trying to tap into the fear that our lives are being controlled by technology. But the script never goes anywhere with this idea, instead drifting through the usual plot involving shady bad guys, dark conspiracies and plucky heroics. All of which we've seen far too many times before.
It centres on young technical genius Adam (Hemsworth), who needs cash to pay the medical bills for his ill father (Dreyfuss). Working with his pal Kevin (Till), he goes for a big promotion but is instead sacked by his boss Wyatt (Oldman). The next morning, Wyatt makes Adam an offer he can't refuse: a chance to earn a fortune by spying on chief competitor Goddard (Ford). But this new undercover job brings all kinds of worries as Adam sees shadowy nastiness lurking around every corner. He's also suspicious that a recent one-night stand, Emma (Heard), works for Goddard. And that there's a strange man (Holloway) following his every move.
Rather than explore corrupt corporate culture or the idea that technology has eroded our privacy, the filmmakers create a fairly pedestrian thriller that tries to blind us with fake techno-speak and corny emotions. The plot continually hints that it will get darker and more momentous, but it never does. All of the stakes feel oddly small, the chain of events doesn't quite hang together and the characters never feel like more than rough outlines.
Continue reading: Paranoia Review
The filmmakers make a serious mistake by aiming this educational epic at very young children, because they've undermined the considerable skill and artistry that have gone into making it. An astoundingly trite script overflows with goofy slang and lame jokes that make the film virtually unwatchable for anyone over the age of 5. And the dialog tries so hard to be hip and cool that it already feels badly dated.
It opens on a rather awkward framing story about a palaeontologist (Urban) who takes his niece and nephew (Rice and Rowe) to look for dinosaur fossils in rural Alaska, at which point we are taken back in time to see what life was life in the Late Cretaceous Period. Enter Patchi (voiced by Long), a young pachyrhinosaurus whose best pal is a talkative bird named Alex (Leguizamo). Patchi also has an annoying big brother named Scowler (Stone) and a love-interest in Juniper (Sircar). As the young pachyrhinos grow up, they have a series of adventures along the path migrating north and south with the seasons. Vicious predators chase them, and both Patchi and Scowler take a shot at leading the herd.
The plot is fairly simplistic, but it's a decent tool to teach us about the various animals of the period. The dialog is another story altogether, packed with inane observations, stupid gags and lazy one-liners. By comparison, the required poo, vomit and snot jokes are genuinely witty. And a considerable amount of real information about the period and the creatures gets lost in all of the idiotic patter.
Continue reading: Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie Review
It's 1974 when Jenny and Len (Ashfield and Waddington) move into a new home.
They're delighted with the increase in space and the lovely Yorkshire setting, but their 17-year-old daughter Sally (Connor) is annoyed that her life has been disrupted. And the rolling blackouts don't help either, especially since the darkness seems to reveal something malevolent lurking in the shadows.
Continue reading: When The Lights Went Out Review
Nice-guy Tucker (Tudyk) is fixing up his run-down holiday cabin in the woods with his shy pal Dale (Labine), while nine university students are camping nearby. Around the campfire Chad (Moss) recounts a incident two decades earlier in which a group of kids were massacred right here. So when Allison (Bowden) goes missing, the gang becomes convinced that Tucker and Dale are hillbilly cannibals who have kidnapped their friend. But Tucker and Dale only rescued her when she was injured swimming., and now they can't figure out why these kids are attacking them.
Continue reading: Tucker And Dale Vs Evil Review
As is explained by a pair of FBI agents, a walker is the title given to men who escort women of great importance (and elderly age) from here to there in the ladies' leisurely days of lunching and shopping. Like other men in his profession, Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson) has the breeding and education that the career demands and his taste in fashion and furniture is impeccable; he's also a flagrant homosexual. He shuttles away from his one-day-a-week job as a real estate insider to meet up with the likes of Lynn Locklear (Kristin Scott Thomas), the wife of a senator, and Abigail Delorean (Lily Tomlin), the wife of Washington's most powerful fixer (Ned Beatty).
Continue reading: The Walker Review
We begin with Brooks (playing himself) auditioning for a Penny Marshall-directed remake of Harvey. He doesn't get the part, largely because he's "not the next Jimmy Stewart," but he does follow Stewart's lead by heading off to Washington at the request of our government. He's asked to travel to India and Pakistan on a goodwill mission to discover what makes Muslims laugh. Might I suggest he start by looking any place his film isn't screening?
Continue reading: Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World Review
The film follows Jesminder (Parminder K. Nagra), the child of Punjabi émigrés living in suburban London -- and one of Beckham's biggest fans. Posters of the footballer's exploits cover her walls, she wears his jersey when she plays soccer with the boys in the park, and she studies his moves during games on TV. But it's Jess's soccer skills that catch the eye of Juliette (Keira Knightley), who plays for a local women's soccer club. Jess finds herself recruited and suddenly realizes that soccer dreams of her own are not farfetched.
Continue reading: Bend It Like Beckham Review
The premise is similar to Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Here the setting is moved to India, where the not-so-wealthy (but still rich enough to hire servants) Bakshi family resides in a less-than-touristy district. Mrs. Bakshi (Nadira Babbar) is desperate to marry off her daughters. They include Jaya (Namrata Shirodkar), who has eyes for lawyer Balraj (Lost's Naveen Andrews), and Lalita (Aishwarya Rai) who is interested in Balraj's American friend Will Darcy (Martin Henderson), until she actually bothers to talk to him.
Continue reading: Bride & Prejudice Review
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