Note: I really should post some comments on films I couldn’t stand here. But most of these I stopped watching midway through or even before. So I can’t be sure they didn’t recoup some of their losses in the part I didn’t watch. Anyhow, here are a few I liked better, below.
The Interview. Watched it last night. Now that it’s offered at Netflix. Liked it. It was silly. But a good kind of silly. Funny silly. A pleasant surprise, actually. It reminded me a little of Ishtar — a very good film, with very funny bits, that, unfortunately and unfairly, critics seriously panned. Both films involve guys way out of their elements in cultures they’re clueless about. In fact, The Interview recalled the Ron Burgundy movies, too — with perhaps a little of Argo thrown in, for good measure.
Recommendation: Amusing and good for an evening’s watching.
Daawat-e-Ishq. This film is pure, unadulterated Bollywood. I admit it. And yet I liked it. I even liked the musical numbers, despite that I hate musicals. The two lead characters are wonderful. The story revolves around India’s problem with dowries. The practice of payment from the bride’s family to the groom’s continues in India even though its been outlawed for more than 50 years. The female lead, an eligible female, decides to turn the tables on dowry-seeking suitors and their families by blackmailing the next well-off applicant with something called Section 498A of Indian law, which allows brides or wives to sue for handsome settlements if something about the dowry process was hurtful to them. Anyhow, it’s something like that. The film has a deep flaw — and it is this: It’s very hard to imagine the female lead going through with the blackmailing plot once she meets the new suitor and has already had a chance to appreciate what a nice and fairminded guy he is. Oh well, I guess the writers had to swallow hard on that problem. The film, incidentally, is also fascinating as a window on culture — and how two bright and independent-thinking young people can buck their culture if they see fit. As a footnote: The if-we-could-only-get-there positioning of the image of the U.S. is also noteworthy about this film. Much as I hate to admit it, the dance numbers really worked, especially the guy’s.
Recommendation: Use your own judgement, this is, after all, still irredeemably Bollywood — even though I found it most enjoyable.
Pink Panther 2. Steve Martin’s reformulation of Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau is fascinating to me. Martin intentionally mugs and deadpans the camera throughout, and yet it’s all very funny. Why? How, exactly, is that possible? Favorite bit: The faceoff between two detectives, Martin and another guy, each showing their powers of deduction from acute observation are stronger than the other guy’s.
Recommendation: You probably know what your getting, so this one is up to you entirely.
More mini-reviews tomorrow — now, must walk dog!