Posts Tagged ‘Freida Pinto’


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 9.00.19 AMRichard and CP24 anchor host Nneka Elliot have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the Spike Lee satire “Chi-Raq,” the young adult dystopia of “The Divergent Series: Allegiant Pt. 1” and the Lance Armstrong biopic “The Program.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.34.26 AMRichard and “Canada AM” host host Beverly Thomson have a look at the weekend’s big releases: the Spike Lee satire “Chi-Raq,” the young adult dystopia of “The Divergent Series: Allegiant Pt. 1,” the Lance Armstrong biopic “The Program,” and “Knight of Cups,” the new Terrence Malick paint drier.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


KNIGHT OF CUPS: 1 STAR. “not unlike watching expensive, glossy paint dry.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 3.35.26 PMSometimes it can be hard to be a Terrence Malick fan. At their best the director’s poetic films are soulful investigations of the human spirit. His greatest movies—“Tree of Life,” “Badlands”—are masterworks of spiritual introspection but his worst work crosses the lane into pretention in a way that makes Kanye West’s Twitter account look humble. It can be a struggle to actually enjoy some of his work, but never have I battled with a Malick movie the way I did with “Knight of Cups.” Fought to stay in my seat until the end. It’s a cure for insomnia not unlike watching expensive, glossy paint dry.

Broken into chapters with titles like Judgment, Death and The Hanged Man, the film stars Christian Bale as Rick, a successful but desperately unhappy Hollywood screenwriter. Like an extended episode of “Seinfeld” were nothing happens, Rick wanders around the screen accompanied by a series of beautiful women—Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer and Freida Pinto—but ultimately cannot find joy with any of them. He strolls through life with a sad sack expression on his face that makes Sad Keanu seem jubilant, moving from woman to woman, rueing, “All of those years living a life of someone I did not know.”

Apparently inspired by the 1678 Christian allegory “The Pilgrim’s Progress” and the passage “Hymn of the Pearl” from “The Acts of Thomas,” “Knight of Cups,” is, I suppose supposed to be a dreamy look into one man’s life, but is this a sense memory visualized for the big screen or is it just the self-indulgent ramblings of an auteur? As Helen (Pinto) tells Rick, “Dreams are nice but you can’t live in them.”

Part of the problem is Malick’s storytelling, or more rightly, lack thereof. The film follows Malick’s trademarked impressionistic style but seems to have been assembled by a Random Shot Generator. Indiscriminate images of Los Angeles flood the screen—wild parties, an Antonio Banderas cameo, earthquakes, palm trees, movie studio back lots—accompanied by mumbled dialogue and Bale’s grim face.

It’s hard to feel compassion or anything else for Rick as he stumbles through relationship after relationship because we are never given any clue as to who he is. He’s a cipher, the walking conundrum with an attitude. If I wanted to spend two hours watching someone having a mid-life crisis I’d look in the mirror rather than spend another minute concerning myself with Rick’s troubles.

I gave “Knight of Cups” one out of five stars because there is something there. I’m just not sure what it is and I’m not sure Malick does either. Tedium, thy name is “Knight of Cups.”

DESERT DANCER: 2 STARS. “contains important messages about human rights.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 12.48.42 PM“Dancing with the Stars” has brought dance into the very center of popular culture. Each week b-listers don sparkly outfits and strut their stuff to huge ratings. Whether it’s the Cha Cha Cha or a Quickstep or the Paso doble, dancers are rated and celebrated by a panel of judges.

There is no “Dancing with the Stars” in Iran. Dancing of any sort has been banned in that country since the 1979 revolution, and it is against that backdrop that the story of “Desert Dancer” takes place.

But this isn’t a Middle Eastern “Footloose.” It’s the true story of a young Iranian man named Afshin Ghaffarian (Reece Ritchie). Obsessed with dance as a youngster, he grew up in the shadow of oppression, hiding his passion from the world until he enrolled in university in Tehran. There he met a small group of like-minded people, including Ardavan (Tom Cullen), Sattar (Simon Kassianides) and the beautiful but troubled Elaheh (Freida Pinto), who poured over contraband dance videos and tried to emulate the moves of Rudolf Nureyev and Michael Jackson.

In the days leading up to the 2009 presidential election the underground troupe staged an illegal dance show, a rebellious act that gave them their first taste of true freedom but was also is a dangerous political act.

“Desert Dancer” contains important messages about human rights, cultural liberty and the significance of artistic expression but, despite the real-life source material, is weighed down with clichés. More background and a dose of nuance could have fleshed out the story, elevating it to a strong statement about creative freedom instead of simply a presenting a manipulative tale that put me in the mind of a dogmatic “Dancing with the Stars” episode.


Slumdog-Millionaire-0026At a time when many directors are leaving Bollywood for less exotic locations, Irish director Danny Boyle, following in the footsteps of Wes “Darjeeling Limited” Anderson, set his latest film in the New York of India, Mumbai, the most populous city in the world. Taking the lead from its setting Slumdog Millionaire is a chaotic movie; part nightmare, part fairy tale.

When we first meet Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), he’s an eighteen-year old orphan at a crossroad. As a contestant on India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? he is just one question away from winning it all—20 million rupees, but as the show breaks for the night he is arrested for cheating. After a brutal night of questioning he begins to tell his story in an attempt prove his innocence.  Told primarily in flashbacks Jamal recounts a troubled life in the slums of Mumbai with a violent brother and a mother killed when he was just a child. The only ray of hope in his life was Latika (Freida Pinto), an orphan girl who enters and exits his life. Each story reveals the life experience that taught him the answers to the game show’s questions; all set against the vibrant backdrop that is India.

Slumdog Millionaire is a wild ride from Boyle’s hyper visual style, to the pulsating musical score, to the elements of the story that binds together Romeo and Juliet, Bollywood gangster pictures, the Usual Suspects and an occasionally tender coming-of-age story. Boyle pulls out all the stops, leaving the quiet, austere feeling of his last film, Sunshine behind for a frenetic pace that assaults the senses—in a good way. Like the slum lifestyle he portrays the film is relentless, a barrage of images, music and sound. His characters are constantly on the run, and the movie is just as restless as they are but luckily for us Boyle keeps the story on track pushing it forward with every frame.

Boyle is a chameleon of a filmmaker, switching styles with every film, but he is a master of telling realistic stories with complicated parallel character threads. From the edgy Trainspotting to the heartwarming Millions to the intense 28 Days Later his films are immersive experiences that use images and music to maximum effect. Slumdog Millionaire is his most complex movie yet encompassing everything from romance to action, comedy to anguish, treachery, greed and yes, even a musical number (stay through the credits!). Exhilarating filmmaking and one of the year’s best.