the wonderful world of veena.

03 December 2013

those 15-hour flights make for some good movie watching opportunities.

Yes, you read that correctly: I said 15 hours. That's how long it takes to fly between Dallas and Dubai. The good thing with Emirates is that they have a rockstar in-flight entertainment system chock full of movies, tv shoes, and music, with everything ranging from new releases to old school classics. It can be rather overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, it's a gold mine.

On my way to India, I watched Mud and Tangled along with a few episodes of Downton Abbey. On my return journey I watched The Internship, Bombay Talkies, and Kai Po Che, as well as a few episodes of Parks & Recreation.

Below are my thoughts on the movies...

Mud. I wanted to see this from the time I heard rumours around Arkansas that it would be filmed there, but I somehow missed it when it was in the cinema. As soon as I saw it on offer on the flight, I knew it would be my first selection, and I really liked it. For starters, Tye Sheridan, the actor who played Ellis, was phenomenal. His quiet demeanor brought so much to the role and to the movie, and I was pretty blown away by his acting. His unflagging belief that love conquers all carries him through a lot of ups-and-downs in his life, and he'll do anything to help that belief along. I am always a big fan of Matthew McConaughey taking on serious roles, and he did not disappoint in this one. And that snake tattoo that he rocks certainly helped matters. Sam Shepard is one of my favourites, and he was excellent in his supporting role. So pretty much, the acting was awesome. It's a different storyline, and it definitely had a few flaws in it, but the performances of the actors were really great. I also really liked the fraught father-son relationship between Ellis and his dad and how that came together at the end. I really liked the movie and think it's one for everyone to see.

Tangled. A new take on the traditional Rapunzel story. When I saw that Zachary Levi of Chuck fame voiced one of the characters, I was sold. There were a few changes to the storyline, but overall I enjoyed it. The songs weren't as good as other Disney films, but I very much enjoyed the "I Had a Dream" song. Admittedly, I'm still not a fan of Mandy Moore, even if it's just her voice, but otherwise it was a good movie, and Disney's ongoing tradition of animal sidekicks is still alive and strong and rather entertaining. It was a pretty good way to pass the flight, but I probably won't watch the sequel.

The Internship. You know, your typical Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn movie. Good entertainment, lots of silly laughs, a feel-good message tucked in there, and just about 20 minutes too long. It's one of those movies that I'm going to watch at some point, just because I love those guys, but you know exactly how things are going to play out about 15 minutes into the movie; regardless, I enjoyed it. Their group of quirky sidekicks were entertaining and added a few extra layers to the movie. Definitely a good time-pass to check out.

Bombay Talkies. Four short films celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema? Sign me up. The stories were directed by Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akthar, and Anurag Kashyap and covered a range of topics from a married man with a secret to a young man trying to fulfill his father's dying wish, and all take place in Bombay. They show the different sides of Bombay, from the children begging at the railway stations to the upper middle class elite and everything in between. All four films - 30 minutes in length each - were very well directed, but I have to say that Zoya Akthar's was my favourite [other than the cameo from Katrina Kaif. could have done without that]. The story of a little boy struggling with his desire to dress like a girl and be a dancer in the face of his father's push to play football and act how a "boy" should act was really touching, and the boy who played Vicky was phenomenal. None of these are your typical "Bollywood" films, but I think it made them that much better. I also liked the montage at the end of Bollywood films through the years, but I was sorely disappointed when they cut it off in the 80s and then had current film stars lip-synching a song called "Bombay Talkies". I think they really could have killed it with that montage, and I hated that they cut it short like that. But otherwise, an exceptional collection of stories.

Kai Po Che. The film version of Chetan Bhagat's The 3 Mistakes of My Life. I read the book a few years ago, and while I enjoyed the story, I really wanted it to go into more depth at a few points, and the film did just that. It's a story about 3 friends who open a sports shop and cricket academy in a temple complex in Ahmedabad in 2000, and it follows them through their trials and triumphs over the years, showing how events in Gujarat affected their lives and their friendships. I really enjoyed the film and thought it did a great job of adapting Bhagat's story. Because it had been a few years since I'd read the book, there were a few details I had forgotten, but I'm pretty sure they stayed pretty accurate to his original story. I thought all three main actors performed really well in their roles, and it's definitely a film I will see again. If you're interested in watching it, it's available to stream on Netflix.

Happy movie watching!

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