Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Name is Khan: The rare "westernized" recut that works

Film Flam Flummox

I will go into more detail in an upcoming review, but I am rather surprised--pleasantly so--to report that the "international director's cut" (read: Americanized re-edit) of Karan Johar's Fox-distributed Shahrukh Khan-Kajol starrer My Name Is Khan works markedly better than the original cut that was released worldwide and on the Stateside Bollywood theatrical circuit on February 12. The major alteration is the removal of virtually the entire subplot revolving around an African-American church in Georgia, a story point I admit I admired more in theory than in actual execution; after all, I saw it as Johar's confirmation (if perhaps by happy accident) of a thought I have been arguing for years: that the genre of the gospel play is the clear American analogue to Bollywood. But more than playing easier to Western audiences, it plays easier to all moviegoers, period, curbing Johar's more overblown tendencies and more firmly grounding the story and, hence, entire film in the vivid characters of and relationship between leads Shahrukh Khan and Kajol.

Read my review of the original cut of My Name Is Khan here.

Buy the My Name Is Khan soundtrack here.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles 2010 Intro

Film Flam Flummox

The 2010 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles opened yesterday, April 20, with a screening of the Canadian film Cooking with Stella and will run through this Sunday, April 25. I will be here covering a couple of days, starting with tonight's screening of this year's Indian Foreign Language Film Oscar entry Harishchandrachi Factory, about the very birth of the Indian film industry. Also on my prospective screening agenda during the fest: Raakh (Ashes to Ashes) Redux, a recut version of a 1989 Aamir Khan starrer; and--of most interest to me--the revised "international director's cut" of Karan Johar's Shahrukh Khan-Kajol reunion My Name Is Khan, which Fox Searchlight initially released worldwide (including in America) on February 12. Running over a half hour shorter than the original cut, I'm especially curious to see if condensing the film will improve it any (I kind of doubt it, as the issues this enjoyable film does have go beyond run time). I've already reviewed during their initial theatrical runs: the middling crime drama Kaminey (Rascals), starring Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra and featuring the smash single "Dhan Te Nan" (which more than bears a similarity to the Dick Dale classic "Misirlou"); and 3 Idiots, which lit up the international box office upon its release in December. As someone who keeps up with and covers Bollywood theatrical releases as closely as I do with Hollywood releases, these selections are a bit redundant for me, but it's great that films such as these (especially 3 Idiots) are given a more visible platform to L.A. cineastes who are unaware of the thriving Bollywood exhibition circuit in America (whose audience I've seen grow substantially beyond the Non-Resident Indian population since I saw Devdas at my (then-newly-opened) local "Bollyplex," the Naz 8 in Lakewood, back in 2002) and perhaps get them to seek these films out during their day-and-date-with-India general Stateside releases, which are a lot wider than most are aware. Hopefully some effort will be made at the festival this year to inform and remind audiences that Indian films are always released on local screens on a very regular basis throughout the year.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

15/20 years later... welcome to

Today marks the annual dual anniversary, but due to the roundness of the numbers, this year it takes a certain significance: 15 years since the launch of the e-mail incarnation of The Movie Report (and, hence, the launch of my official "professional" career), and 20 years since I wrote my very first review back in 1990, on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Originally I wrote up this long, indulgent, pseudo-profound piece on the passage of time, how I've spent well over half my life doing this, etc. etc., yada yada, but I figure I should leave the self-indulgence to Twitter and Facebook (after all, what is the raison d'ĂȘtre of social networking sites but self-indulgence?) and keep things as business-like (or as close to it as I ever get) over here on the main site. And, so, a guide to the way the blog will theoretically work:

The Movie Report

The Movie Report label will be applied to anything pertaining to reviews and updates, including links to the latest reviews and any major interview or other feature content posted on site pages proper.

Film Flam Flummox

The Film Flam Flummox label will be affixed to articles and other random articles that are exclusive here on the blog.

Thanks for your support over the last 15 years, especially the rather difficult last few. Here's to many more (years, that is; not difficult ones)...

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Twitter: @twotrey23