Movies from India: Bollywood, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Punjabi

Busan Film Review: ‘Zubaan’

October 1, 2015

Courtesy of Busan Film Festival “The Talented Mr. Slumdog Millionaire” might have made a more informative if less catchy title for “Zubaan,” an uneven but engrossing drama about a young Punjabi bumpkin whose big-city ambitions lead him down many a dark alley en route to the more upbeat land of self-discovery. A rags-to-riches fable, a part-time […]

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Beeba Boys’

September 14, 2015

Like personality in domesticated animals, originality goes a long way in genre cinema, and Deepa Mehta’s “Beeba Boys” deserves recognition for being the first hyperviolent, Tarantino-inspired comedy to take place entirely within the Canadian Sikh criminal underworld. But as intriguing as it is to see the respected arthouse auteur cut loose with this deliriously unserious, […]

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Film Review: ‘Lady of the Dynasty’

September 9, 2015

Courtesy of My Way Film Co. Like a Bollywood movie, only with lousy dancing and no songs, “Lady of the Dynasty” — a screen representation of the tragic romance between the Tang Emperor and one of the four greatest beauties in Chinese history — is crammed with garish spectacle and military jingoism, but is so poorly paced […]

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Locarno Film Review: ‘Bombay Velvet’

August 15, 2015

Courtesy of Locarno Film Festival Martin Scorsese is thanked in the opening credits of “Bombay Velvet,” but that’s far from the last time this splashy Bollywood gangster spectacular pays its respects. As it charts the corrupt historical development of Mumbai into a Western-styled megalopolis, Anurag Kashyap’s garish but engrossing film reflects the transition through blatant […]

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Film Review: Meryl Streep in ‘Ricki and the Flash’

August 4, 2015

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Like David Bowie joining Bing Crosby for a medley of Christmas carols, “Ricki and the Flash” combines a number of promising elements that don’t seem to have any business being anywhere near each other, though the disconnect exerts a strange appeal all its own. Offering half an acerbic family dramedy (from […]

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Film Review: ‘Any Body Can Dance 2’

June 19, 2015

All that glitters may not be gold, but whatever it is, it’s sure to be found somewhere in “Any Body Can Dance 2,” the insanely exuberant sequel to 2013’s Bollywood/hip-hop 3D dance extravaganza that handily trumps that film’s quotient of day-glo colors, tsunamis of sweat/feathers/confetti/sequins, and acrobatic footwork that scoffs at gravity the way a […]

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Film Review: ‘Broken Horses’

April 6, 2015

Vinod Chopra Films Reworking elements from his 1989 gangster saga “Parinda” in a contemporary English-language western, Bollywood director Vidhu Vinod Chopra makes a rocky crossover — to put it mildly — in “Broken Horses.” This overwrought tale of two orphaned brothers and their violent hometown reunion fails to convince on several crucial levels, including plotting […]

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SXSW Film Review: ‘Spy’

March 16, 2015

If recent misfires like “Tammy” and “Identity Thief” have proved anything, it’s that Melissa McCarthy is virtually indestructible, retaining her comic buoyancy, her tremendous likability and much of her fan base even when stuck with bargain-basement material. All of which makes it even more gratifying to see what she can do with a vehicle that’s firing on all cylinders for a change. In […]

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Film Review: ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

February 17, 2015

Roughly midway through “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” a lovesick Bill Nighy notes that Judi Dench’s character has “checked out,” referring of course to her status at the hotel. Still, the pun hangs in the air, suggesting a possible euphemism for a more permanent condition. The imminence of death serves as a source of […]

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Umrika’

January 27, 2015

Taking a more serious and less busily contemporary path after his primarily comedic 2011 indie, “Delhi in a Day,” writer-director Prashant Nair’s sophomore feature, “Umrika,” is a straightforward, ingratiating drama that builds toward a satisfyingly expansive close. Chronicling a rural youth’s journey to the big, bad city to discover what really happened to his supposedly […]

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