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Flash Movie Review: Hotel Mumbai

INTENSITY HAS BEEN A PART OF ME as long as when I became aware of my shadow. Many people have described me as being intense; or I should say, those who know me well enough know the amount of intensity I can generate in myself. I have always had a strong single mindedness that is like a starving, aggressive dog who will not let go of a found bone. There was a time where I was acutely aware of people around me feeling the heat coming off me when I am intensely, laser focused on one thing. Now you would think there must not be many things that I find intense, but you would be incorrect to assume such a thing. Driving in a violent storm is something that I find to be an intense situation. With the wind jostling the car and rain pelting the windshield relentlessly; I find myself with my shoulders stiff by my ears and my grip turning into a vise around the steering wheel. I used to react in a similar way when I used to ride roller coasters. Now I avoid most of them because I already deal with enough stress and do not want to willingly put more tension on myself.      MORE THAN LIKELY MANY OF YOU have experienced some form of tension in your life. The first thing that comes to mind is a doctor’s office or hospital. I knew a person who would get such a strong reaction every time they went to the dentist that they decided to stop going all together. I am sure this happens more now than it used to, but I quickly become uncomfortable anytime someone is heckling a performer. Sitting in the audience and suddenly some random individual talks back to the artist or yells at them and I immediately tense up. I remember sitting in a smallish type of venue, watching a comedian. At one of their jokes a drunken guy in the audience shouted out a derogatory remark to the performer; I immediately tensed up and started worrying about what would happen next. The reason being, I remembered at a rock concert where someone threw a beer bottle towards the band and they instantly stopped the show and left the stage. I held my breath to see what the comedian would do. He came back with such a classic retort that I still use it to this day; it shut the heckler up. From the experiences I listed I can add something new that made me tense and on the edge of my seat, this film festival winning movie based on a true story.      KNOWN FOR ITS ELEGANCE AND ATTENTION to its guests the Taj Hotel was the focal point for a terrorist group’s message to get out to the world. This dramatic thriller starred Dev Patel (Lion, The Man Who Knew Infinity) as Arjun, Armie Hammer (On the Basis of Sex, Sorry to Bother You) as David, Nazanin Boniadi (Ben-Hur, Homeland-TV) as Zahra, Tilda Cobham-Hervey (One Eyed Girl, The Kettering Incident-TV) as Sally and Alex Pinder (Ocean Girl-TV, Angel Baby) as Butler Jamon. I cannot remember the last time I sat through a movie where I was swept up into a tense state by the action on the screen. The actors were well suited for this story and they delivered in my opinion. I am telling you now this was not an easy movie to sit through because there was violence, bloodshed and terrifying scenes. Honestly, I did not care if everything I was watching was true or not; the fact that the script kept me engaged and kept my eyes riveted to the screen made the experience memorable for me. I suggest you prepare yourself before you see this film and remember to take deep breaths.

 

3 stars  

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Flash Movie Review: The Lunchbox

It only took a couple of dates and I knew there was something special going on. There was an easy laughter and a nice flow of bantering between us. I was enjoying the direction both of us were going, into a possible relationship. However, suddenly a detour appeared in the middle of our road; they were being assigned to a work detail that would take them out of state anywhere from 6 to 12 months. We were so new to each other that we decided not to place any pressures on ourselves and to let fate play a hand in this new direction. Not only did we stay in touch by phone after the move, we started up a dialog that was carried out by cards and emails. Being a big fan of greeting cards, I had bought a huge stack of different types of cards and began a process of mailing at least 1 to 2 cards a week. I did not know if it was the cards that sparked our way of communicating, but the cards and emails took on a deeper level of emotional depth. I was allowing myself to be more vulnerable in the things I was writing, while the correspondence I was getting had a new flirty flavor that was intoxicating to me. Though we did not have traditional date nights, we both began to feel a special bond between us. In this dramatic romantic film I loved the way a simple mistake was able to unlock a person’s buried feelings. Nimrat Kaur (One Night with the King, Peddlers) played neglected housewife Ila. Using Mumbai’s lunchbox delivery system every day to send a meal to her husband’s office, one day her prepared meal was accidentally given to office worker Saajan Fernandes, played by Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, The Amazing Spider-Man). Confused at first, the scrumptious packaged meal was a special treat for Saajan. With the start of a simple thank you note with the containers, a written dialog began between the two strangers. This delicate film festival winning movie carefully layered the story out from scene to scene. I enjoyed the clever way the writers used the character Shaikh, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Kahaani, Gangs of Wasseypur), to play off of Saajan as his new replacement. The pacing tended to be slow at times but I did not mind it. A little more editing could have solved it. This film was such a sweet treat in the way it conveyed its message, showing me how there are no rules when it comes to love. The dialog was in Hindi with English subtitles.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Along the same lines in my belief that there are no accidents, my thoughts on one’s destiny are evolving. For example, when you go to a different grocery store than the usual one and meet someone that becomes the love of your life; is it simply by accident? A friend of mine vacationing in Florida called me from a restaurant. A man at the next table was leaning back in his chair laughing. He kept tilting back until he toppled over onto the floor; he had died from a massive heart attack. Asking her for a description of the man; it  turned out the man was my uncle. This was how my mother and sisters found out about their baby brother. Coincidences or occurrences have always fascinated me. The magic in this Oscar winning movie came from a series of events that lead the characters on a path to their destiny. Dev Patel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Last Airbender) played a poor orphan from Mumbai named Jamal Malik. The fact he was a contestant on a game show was amazing enough; however, when it appeared he might actually win, the producers had him arrested for cheating. They could not believe a poor uneducated boy could know the correct answers to the game’s questions. It was during Jamal’s interrogation that we learn how occurrences in his life led him up to this point in time. Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 127 Hours) did a brilliant job keeping the story interesting by using flashbacks. It was easy to follow the unfolding connections between the characters, though the scene with the boy’s eyes made me look away. Freida Pinto (Immortals, Trishna) was wonderful playing Latika, the little girl who Jamal never forgot. Besides feeding my belief of there being no accidents in life, I understood the message about not judging a book by its cover. A beautiful film that I was meant to see with a universal story that was no accident. Some scenes were spoken in Hindi with English subtitles.

 

3 2/3 stars — DVD 

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