Friday, January 28, 2011

Instant Netflix Recommendations

Are you bored with nothing to do? Here are two movies that are available on Netflix Instant Queue that I highly recommend you watch to get over your boredom.

Shades of Ray is a cultural film written and directed by Jaffar Mahmood. The movie starring Zachary Levi revolves around a half-Pakistani, half-white man named Ray Rehman, who is struggling with his mixed identity. Just as he is waiting for his white girlfriend, Noelle, to respond to his marriage proposal, his Pakistani father introduces him to a half-Pakistani, half-white girl named Sana. Since Sana shares a similar cultural background, Ray is drawn to her and gets confused as to which is the right girl for her. Will Noelle accept Ray's proposal or will he end up with Sana? Watch and find out.

Beauty and the Briefcase is a romantic comedy directed by Gil Junger. This film starring Hilary Duff is based on the novel Diary of a Working Girl by Daniella Brodsky. The story revolves around Lane Daniels, a fashion journalist, who receives an undercover assignment from Cosmopolitan magazine to get a business related job and date "men in suits" in the quest to find her perfect guy and write an article about her experience. Will she be able to find the "magic man" who meets all the criteria on her "checklist" in the business world? Watch and find out.

Shades of Ray accurately demonstrates how South Asian parents raise their children in an American environment but then try to impose South Asian cultural traditions on them. The leading and supporting cast do a tremendous job in making this movie believable and relatable for all those who struggle with mixed identities. ABCD's or American Born Confused Desi's - the term coined for South Asian's born and raised in America but confused about whether they are white or brown will easily be able to relate to this well-written and well-directed film.

Beauty and the Briefcase is a bubbly, fun movie for chick flick lovers. Hilary Duff looks extremely beautiful and delivers an excellent performance in the film. All women will be able to relate to this film as whether they admit or not, all women are seeking for the perfect guy, who fits certain criteria. This movie proves that you will find love when you least expect it.

For those of you who don't have a Netflix subscription, Beauty on the Briefcase is also available at Blockbuster. Shades of Ray is also available on Amazon or iTunes. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And the Oscar goes to.....

Here are my predictions for the main categories of the 83rd Academy Awards:

Actor in a Leading Role: As much as I loved Jesse Eisenberg's performance in The Social Network, I don't think he stands a chance to win, neither does James Franco for 127 hours, or Javier Bardem for Biutiful. I think the main competition is between Colin Firth for The King's Speech and Jeff Bridges for True Grit. I believe Colin Firth will take home the Oscar.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Following his Golden Globe win, I think Christian Bale will take home the Oscar for The Fighter beating his main competitors: Jeremy Renner for The Town and Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech. Mark Rufalo's chances for winning for The Kids Are Alright are slim to none.  Who is John Hawkes? From Winter's Bone - when did that come out? Exactly, no chance this obscure film will win.

Actress in a Leading Role: No doubt, Natalie Portman has this Oscar in the bag for Black Swan. The other nominees are not even worth mentioning.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Now this is a tough one. I think Hailee Steinfeld will beat Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and Helena Carter and win the Oscar for True Grit.  Jacki Weaver who? Animal Kingdom - what? when?

Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon? Another tough one, I say the latter.

Art Direction/ Cinematography/ Sound Editing/ Sound Mixing/ Visual Effects: I think Inception will bag all the technical awards. After all, it deserves to after getting zero wins at the Golden Globes.

Costume Design: Again, I think the main contenders are True Grit and The King's Speech. This is a tough one too since both are time period films. I would say True Grit will probably win.

Directing: Christopher Nolan (Inception) got snubbed - shocking! This is the another tough category. I think except for Black Swan, all nominated directors are equally deserving but I believe The King's Speech will win.

Film Editing: I think The Social Network will take home at least one Oscar and it will be this one. 

Best Picture: I think the main contenders are True Grit and The King's Speech even though I think The Social Network, Inception, and The Fighter are equally deserving. I believe The King's Speech will win the Oscar.

Adapted Screenplay: I would personally like to see The Social Network win but I think True Grit will bag this Oscar.

Original Screenplay: I personally think Inception should win but The King's Speech will most likely win this one.

See a complete list of the 2011 Oscar nominees at

Don't forget to watch the Oscars on February 27th to see whether any of mine or your own predictions come true!

So what was the point, Kiran Rao?

That is what you will be saying as you walk out of the theater after watching Dhobi Ghat (outdoor laundry in Mumbai), also known as Mumbai Diaries. This film marks the directorial debut of Kiran Rao, actor Aamir Khan's wife, and revolves around four characters whose lives are intertwined. Shai (Monica Dogra), a U.S. banker who is on a sabbatical in Mumbai, befriends a laundry boy and aspiring actor, Munna (Prateik Babbar), so he can show her around the poorer parts of Mumbai for a photography project. They have a mutual acquaintance, Arun (Khan), a depressed painter, who gets inspired by a bubbly newly wed housewife, Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra), whose video diaries he finds in the new apartment he moves into.

Since it was not a musical, this movie was quite different than typical Bollywood flicks, which I appreciated but just because a film is distinct does not mean it is good. Unfortunately, it was slow, dull, boring, and lifeless just like its characters. Additionally, this abruptly ending film was poorly edited as it switched from character to character without a smooth transition.

As much as I admire Khan's work, this was definitely not one of his best works - I don't think it is his fault though, I think it was his poorly developed character by Rao that did not give him much scope of demonstrating his usual riveting performance. So Khan fans, take my advice, don't waste your time and money watching this pointless movie. Thankfully, I only wasted $6!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ryan Reynolds At His Best!

Buried, the latest DVD release starring Ryan Reynolds, is the story about Paul Conroy, an American contractor working as a truck driver in Iraq, who has been kidnapped and buried alive in a coffin in the middle of the desert with nothing but a cell phone and a lighter. Will he able to get out of the coffin and survive? Watch and find out.

This movie reminded me of Danny Boyle's 127 hours starring James Franco but it is much darker and much better than 127 hours. Reynolds demonstrates his remarkable acting skills through this film - he proves that he is quite a diverse actor and can pull off not only romantic comedies but also thrillers. The only actor you see in the movie is him but yet you don't get tired of seeing him. The entire film was shot in a coffin but the story continues to progress through his phone calls with his family, his employer, his kidnapper, and the U.S. Government as he struggles to have someone help him get out of the coffin so he can survive and be reunited with his family. This brilliant film proves that you don't need elaborate sets and a lot of actors for a film to be good.  Directed by Rodrigo Cortes, this is a must-watch, gripping suspense thriller! Go watch it on DVD now!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Poorly Executed and Poorly Written

No Strings Attached is the new Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman flick, which explores the idea whether friends with benefits can remain as such or will one or both of them fall in love with each other? This film was slightly different from usual romantic comedies because in this case, the guy does the chasing rather than the girl; this time the girl (Emma played by Portman) is the commitment phobe and just wants to have casual, emotion free sex without committing to a serious relationship rather than the guy (Adam played by Kutcher), who wants more. So what happens in the end - does their casual sex relationship last or does the girl finally get over her commitment phobia? The real question to ask is - could this romantic comedy really be that different than usual romantic comedies? I guess you will just have to watch and find out.

The concept of this movie was interesting; I liked the premise and the twist from usual rom-com's but I was extremely disappointed with the execution of the film. I think it was poorly executed and the screen play was poorly written. Some of the supplemental stories and some of the supporting characters were completely unnecessary, irrelevant, and stupid. For example, I don't understand the need for Ludacris's character as Adam's friend or Guy Branum's character as Emma's gay roommate - they did not add any value to the movie. The most disappointing aspect of the movie was the lack of chemistry between Kutcher and Portman.

This film somewhat reminded me of Kutcher's A Lot Like Love; however, that movie was much better and he had much better on-screen chemistry with Amanda Peet. As much as I love Kutcher's boyishly handsome looks, his last films, Killers and Spread were also extremely disappointing. I hope that his streak of bad movies ends soon.

My advice for all chick flick lovers - don't waste $12 on No Strings Attached, just wait for the DVD to come out.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yay or Nay?

I recently watched two DVD releases: Going the Distance and The Other Guys. Read on and find out which movie I recommend for you to watch.

Directed by Nanette Burstein, Going the Distance is a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. The main premise of this film is long distance relationships and how hard they can get.  Garrett (Long) works in the music industry and lives in New York. Erin (Barrymore) works as a summer intern at a newspaper in New York. When they both meet at a bar and hit it off, they decide to have a fling because Erin has to leave for California to finish her grad school in six weeks. Six weeks later, they decide to maintain a long distance relationship because they have fallen in love with each other. Will their relationship be able to survive the long distance? Will they ever overcome the long distance and be in the same state together again? Watch and find out.

Directed by Adam McKay, The Other Guys is an action comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg), two NYPD detectives who are disrespected by their fellow officers, face various obstacles in their attempt to solve a financial fraud case. Will they be successful in solving the case and earning the respect of their peers? Watch and find out.

Two thumbs up for Going the Distance because it was interesting and entertaining. Long and Barrymore had good onscreen chemistry. So for all the chick flick lovers out there, I recommend this movie - go check it out on DVD.

On the other hand, two thumbs down for The Other Guys as it was stupid and unnecessarily long due to a poorly written screenplay. So ladies and gents, I recommend that you save two hours of your life by not watching this film.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Realistic and Believable

Blue Valentine revolves about a married couple, whose relationship is shown over time, with the film shifting in between time periods when they first met and at the present time.

I went into the movie thinking I was not going to like it but I was pleasantly surprised. I think the movie was quite realistic - it shows that if you marry someone for the wrong reasons, you will eventually start to resent your spouse, causing your relationship to deteriorate. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as the married couple gave outstanding performances, which made the characters seem quite believable. I highly recommend this film directed by Derek Cianfrance and written by Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, and Cami Delavigne.