Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Name is Salt, Documentary by Farida Pacha

Filmed entirely in India, the documentary MY NAME IS SALT will have its North American premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival June 14. Director Farida Pacha documents an entire season of salt farming in this poetic and visually stunning meditation on hard work.
Directed by Farida Pacha
Produced by Leafbird Films
Winner, Grand Jury Prize, International Madrid Documentary Festival
Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Hong Kong International Film Festival
Winner, Best First Appearance, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

The saline desert of the Little Rann of Kutch, India extends endlessly – flat, grey, relentless. There is not a tree or blade of grass. But there is one thing in abundance: salt. Salt is everywhere, lying just beneath the cracked, baked surface of the earth. For eight months of every year, Chhanabhai and his family - along with thousands of others - labor under the blinding glare of the desert sun to extract delicate salt crystals from this desolate landscape. They have been doing this for generations.
Director Farida Pacha documents an entire season of salt farming in this poetic and visually stunning meditation on hard work. MY NAME IS SALT not only provides the audience with an incredible record of the effort it takes to produce this simple ingredient, but also quietly moves them to examine their own relationship with work.
MY NAME IS SALT is written and directed by Farida Pacha. The film is produced by Lutz Konermann and Farida Pacha forLeafbird Films. With cinematography by Lutz Konermann, editing by Katharina Fiedler, and music by Marcel Vaid.
Switzerland, India / 2013 / 92 mins / DCP
In Gujarati, with English subtitles

Friday, May 30, 2014

Blended, Hollywood English Film movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * *

Blended(English) Rating: *  *  *  For once Adam Sandler doesn’t go overboard with the smaltz, unpalatable riffs and bed taste. This film is a ‘blended’ romcom that holds your attention and provides the right amount of laughs throughout!
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English film review
Johnson Thomas
Tangy Unassuming Romcom
Film: Blended
Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore
Director: Frank Coraci
Rating: *  *  *
Synopsis: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite with Wedding Singer director Frank Coraci for this Warner Bros. romantic comedy about a terrible blind date that segues into a nightmare family vacation. Lauren (Barrymore) and Jim (Sandler) are two single parents just looking for love. In the wake of a blind date that turns disastrous, both agree that they're better off single. Just when Lauren and Jim thought they would never see each other again, however, their two families end up at the same African safari resort for spring break.


I am not much of an Adam Sandler fan-just can’t stand his idiotic bumble-fumble romantic escapades but this one, ‘Blended’ surprised me! 
This is an innocuous romantic comedy that traces its inception back to TV’s “The Brady Bunch”

Firstly it’s not as vacuously vacant as most of his films usually are.  And To refresh your memory, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler have teamed up twice before: “The Wedding Singer” (1998) and “50 First Dates” (2004). And both these films had them of-setting some eye-pleasing chemistry against each other.  Those films were far better than this drivel. Even the basic plotline of “Blended” - the idea of blending in general is quite a mature idea. And to top it, this is among the rare Sandler pics that feature no farting, pooping or vomiting of any kind. The lone urination gag is actually pretty funny. It also manages to give the female characters decent screen time together. And breaking from habit, Sandler’s character here is thoroughly middle class and believably harried, giving the film a sense of reality that may not be found in his earlier films.

That was of course the good part. “Blended’ also manages to sit well within the genre limitations. The first half plays slow and low on energy while the second half, the vacation in South Africa is lively, highly entertaining and smartly romantic. There’s quite a bit of fun to be had here even if they are all common tropes. Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera’s script mauy not be inventive but it has it’s sweet, comic and engaging moments aplenty. Frank Coraci keeps the flow smooth and the humor comes off as incidental.

Maleficent(3D), Hollywood English Film movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * 1/2

Maleficent(English/3D) Rating: *  * ½  Anjolina Jolie’s Diva-like evil fairy look adds weight to her brand as a Hollywood star but it does little for a film that gives you the point-of-view of the Wicked fairy from ‘Sleeping beauty.’ So it’s not a fairy tale as we know and like it- it’s more of a dark tale about revenge and redemption! This one could be too confusing for the little ones!
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English Film review
Johnson Thomas
Film: Maleficent(3D)
Cast: Anjelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple
Director: Robert Stromberg
Rating: *  * ½

Synopsis:  It’s the story of the evil fairy from ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ with Anjelina Jolie assaying the pivotal role of Maleficent, who as a young girl possessed radiant beauty and a pure heart but because of a human’s greed , transforms into a vengeful huntress.

Maleficent, is Disney’s revisionist account of the evil fairy who dooms a princess to eternal slumber in the 1959 animation Sleeping Beauty.
 Maleficent when just at the cusp of womanhood falls in love with a human who appears kind and reciprocates her feelings. Unfortunately, that very man grabs at the opportunity to marry a princess and make the kingdom and riches his own by cutting off Maleficent’s wings and causing her to lose her avian glory. That prompts Maleficent’s diabolical transformation into evil.  And that is when she curses the progeny of that union between an ordinary human and a princess, with a dead sleep that will only be awakened by ‘True Love’s Kiss.’
Creating a fiery tale all it’s own, Disney’s scriptwriter Linda Woolverton, envisages this revisionist fantasy creature as one that goes from good to evil to good again. A little too confusing for the young minds it’s targeted at. The tale is not told with any finesse. It lumbers along strangely, looks a bit choppy in transitions and swings from whimsy to despair  and regret without the traditional enchantment that was expected. The multiple rewrites have done little to improve the experience. The tone is very shaky. From an enchanted landscape to a dark and ominous one, the movement is not smooth or gravitating. The film fails to probe into the psychology of it’s lead character and as a result does little to fortify the alternate history it re-imagines.
Opening with a storybook-themed voiceover narration, “Maleficent” tells us about a realm of two rival kingdoms – the world of humans and the outlying moors, which are home to fairies, trolls and imposing wickermen. Darting around the moors like a sort of saucer-eyed Tinkerbell is the winged young fairy Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy), who strikes up an unlikely friendship, and later romance, with a trespassing human farmhand named Stefan (Michael Higgins). That’s when the evil begins to take shape.
The best thing about the film is the look and Anjelina Jolie’s Diva like presence. Unfortunately that also happens to hamper the immiscibility.robert Stromberg’s direction is not very assured and even though the film has a clever take, it’s just not coherent in it’s emotional arcs.   The imagery is exquisite and the scope magnificent. Unfortunately the 3D does little to aid the enjoyment. And that’s the unfulfilling story of ‘Maleficent.’