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Neal Cassady (2007)
This movie was just downright awful. First of all, Tate Donovan's acting had absolutely no depth. Instead, he spends all of the movie making goofy faces, thinking that he is actually capturing Neal Cassady. Secondly, this movie looked so low budget and did not capture the whole hippy thing. Thirdly, the writing was terrible. It did not explain very much or very well what happened to Neal Cassady after On The Road was published.
This movie did not capture any of the spirit of Neal Cassady and the beat generation. It seems like the writer/director did absolutely no research. This is one movie that I am furious for having paid to watch. I want a refund!
The Falling (2006)
Before I really get in to my review, the thing to remember about this film is that it is full of potential. That said, with a $60,000 budget, what the heck happened? With clichés, bad acting (except for the actor playing Satan who is seriously misplaced among the rest of the actors) and cheesy demonic voices, this movie made me wince. In fact, after about 10 minutes in to it, I contemplated killing myself to get out of watching it. The irritating thing is that it had potential. But with excessive edits, bad writing and drab cinematography, I began to think that perhaps the budget would have been best spent on something else. Like, perhaps a better writer or a cinematographer. But who knows, maybe the director can evolve from this because it looks like he has potential.
Don't watch it unless you have patience or very bad taste.
Traffic Signal (2007)
Incredible - Better Than Any Bollywood & Hollywood Film This Past Year
Traffic Signal (2007) is the best movie I have seen in a very long time. Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, who has taken a social stance on his movies, it is better than any Bollywood of Hollywood effort in the past year.
Centred on those on the fringe and making money by begging at a certain traffic stop in Mumbai, it takes viewers on a journey in to what life is really like outside of the sugar coated, glossy depiction in other Bollywood movies. It strays from Bollywood convention but pays subtle homage to the song and dance routines that has made Bollywood a major economic force.
The traffic stop is managed by Silsila, who feels at home among the poor on that street. Even bragging that he began working there at just 10 days old. He feels a moral responsibility for those there, seeing that despite being beggars, they are also human beings and have embraced this way of life. Protection is payed by all those working the traffic signal and the money is used to bribe government officials and then rest is given to a local mafioso, Bhaijaan. It also shows viewers how traffic signals are a major underground economy. Where traffic is forced in order to allow for begging from stopped cars.
This movie is heartbreaking and enduring in many ways. Firstly, all of the actors are relative unknowns or from the indie circuit in the industry who prove that they have acting chops to outdo any seasoned actor. Secondly, the realistic approach gets through to viewers through clean and subtle directing and cinematography. Thirdly, the characters themselves are simple and in contrast with the rich that they beg from, shows that the human spirit is more alive in the ordinary. This movie takes you in to the lives of beggars, disabled, poor, prostitutes, drug addicts, newbies to the fringe, social workers and shop girls and even children as they try to make their living at the traffic signal. It also shows us the consequences of our actions and how one small action can affect many.
This movie doesn't try to make you feel guilty. It doesn't try to preach nor does it try to educate. It is simply a movie about characters on the fringe. That is what makes this movie so striking. It just is. It is just a realistic portrayal that is so incredibly pure because the director doesn't try to make it be about enlightening on purpose. It's a natural and unforced portrayal.
Madhur Bhandarkar has done many movies which take on a realistic approach, such as Corporate and Page 3. Perhaps that is why he has won so many awards for his work. What I do know is that Madhur Bhandarkar takes everything that should be different and interesting about Bollywood and actually makes it good.
This movie should be India's entry to next year's Oscars, but sadly that probably won't happen as India has a history of choosing their regular fluffy Bollywood films as their official entries. Either way, I urge you to all see this.
49th and Main (2006)
Racist and Boring
I had heard about this show and thought that it might sound interesting so I tuned in. I was never more offended or bored in my life. The characters are cliché. They are simply the worst of racial stereotypes. The acting was bad, again because the actors had a bad script to deal with. East Indians are depicted as being anti-white and ultra traditional. Asian women depicted as gold diggers and white people as slutty dummies. I also don't see why everybody was chasing after that Indian doctor either. He wasn't handsome, charming or interesting. And the scene where the young Indian girl was beaten for wanting to wear shorts and play field hockey?! I have no idea what the writers of this show were thinking but I think that everybody involved in the making of this show should never be allowed to write or create another TV show again.
Ek Hasina Thi (2004)
What makes this movie so good and convincing is that it strays from every Bollywood stereotype out there. The plot moves quickly and does not lag. There are no forced song and dance scenes as this is not the type of movie for that and I am glad that the director did not force these into this movie. The acting is superb and there are many western elements such as storyline and direction that make this piece fabulous and a piece for people that are not familiar with Bollywood films to watch.
It does get a bit cheesy when Saif Ali Khan breaks out the martial arts moves but Urmilla's acting is wonderful. You can see her character transform convincingly and Saif Ali Khan as the menacing bad guy is quite the fit! It's a revenge story finally told right in the fluff that clutters the few gems of Bollywood cinema.
It's a movie that did not have it's vision compromised for the sake of trying to fit in to Bollywood. I would definitely recommend this movie to everybody, especially those that have not seen an Indian film before and who are curious.