Summary: Ellie Klug has one last chance to prove her value to her aging music magazine, Stax. As luck would have it, her editor has just the assignment: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost local rock god, Matt Smith. And wouldn’t you know it? Ellie and Matt have a history. Joined on the road by well-meaning but music-hating documentarian Charlie, Ellie delves into her past and quickly discovers that hype and mythology have not soothed the pain of her own experiences.
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At first glance, Monsoon Shootout recalled The Raid: Redemption with a rookie cop led by a morally questionable commanding officer in a gritty, impoverished setting. But that’s about the only real connection as Shootout doesn’t burst into extreme and continued bouts of violence. Instead writer-director Amit Kumar’s debut film turns into a Run Lola Run-style film in which our protagonist Adi (Vijay Varma) has the opportunity to shoot an alleged axeman or bring him in unharmed. The split-second moral decision and the course of action in this pivotal moment results in three differing scenarios for the rookie in this thrilling film.
Gyan Correa’s film The Good Road was the closing night screening for this year’s 10th Anniversary South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF). It has been selected as India’s entry into the 2014 Academy Award race for Best Foreign Language film. The movie explores three different stories that intersect on a rural road on the edge of a desert in Gujarat, moving somewhat slowly as the tension builds in each narrative. By the end, each of the three main characters lives are affected by the others, even if they might not meet face to face.
Ankhon Dekhi (Before My Eyes) is set in modern India but that information is rarely imparted and rather unnecessary for understanding the story. While you catch a brief glimpse of computers on the internet in a scene where Raje Bauji resigns from his job as a travel agent, and there is mention of Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister of India, outside of that there are no cell phones seen and there are no glimpses of the modern, elite class in India. This story is strictly confined to a lower middle class social level, though it could apply to anyone in India, with its focus on a family coming apart at the seams because the patriarch, Bauji has had a mid-life crisis of sorts.
Theodore Twombly is a great name. Played by Joaquin Phoenix, Twombly is the physical center of Spike Jonze’s latest effort Her about a man who becomes entangled in a relationship with his operating system (OS), named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The movie takes place in a future version of Los Angeles (though visuals of Shanghai substitute for the city’s sprawl and skylines) where personal letters are ghostwritten by third parties, the job Twombly has been in for years and excels at. He serves as a reserved and lonely everyman, a stand in for anyone seeking love, and you’re drawn to like everything about him. Phoenix embodies the quirky role and we believe in everything about the character, from his laughter to his nervousness to his moustache.
Twombly has been separated from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara) for about a year and we find she’s trying to finalize their divorce. Twombly became distant in their relationship, perhaps more absorbed in technology and the artificial connections he makes between the consumers of his letters. He can fondly recall a girl’s broken tooth in a letter between one couple because he’s been their emotional emissary for so long. He doesn’t show much desire to connect with the people around him daily, particularly the oddball receptionist played by Chris Pratt (who may just be the odd coworker you feel uncomfortable hanging around). Amy Adams plays his best friend Amy, and she represents a portion of Twombly’s past when he could connect with humans. Through her and her husband, Twombly gets set up on a date with one woman (Olivia Wilde) that starts off well but closes strangely as she attempts to arrange a follow-up date.