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The Martian

The most surprising thing about "The Martian" is how relaxed and funny it is.



Cassel’s latest movie that smartly keeps his innate menace on a slow, low simmer, isn’t nearly as convincing or compelling as its star.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…


Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Big buttocks & curry killers: Worst of Bollywood 2010

With the perspective of history, the '90s SNL brats' "The Big Chill," known as "Grown Ups," may well retain its reputation for being the lowest the movies sunk in 2010. Who knows? It's hard to beat with that cast. But the Hindustan Times offers us another perspective -- and some hilarious capsule descriptions -- in an article on "The best of the worst of 2010." In other words, a list of abominable Bollywood films that may be worth not avoiding: "You unfortunately stay away from them, not realising they can offer you pleasures just as really great films can. If nothing else, they make your own lives seem less bizarre." A few samples:

6. Mahesh Nair's "Accident On Hill Road": It's been over 24 hours. A man's bum has been stuck to the windshield of a parked car. A girl had crashed this car on to the old man's bum the night before. She wakes up in the morning, and instead of helping him out, beats the hell out of him with a cricket bat. Her boyfriend fishes out a gun to kill him. The old man, still stuck, recounts conversations with his daughter in his head. Eh? The bum belongs to the great Farooque Sheikh. What more to say. Except, I'm serious. [...]

3. Mani Shankar's "Knock Out": The film's entirely a knock-off (Phone Booth). Except, here's what the hero (Sanjay Dutt) instructs the villain (Irrfan Khan, a political henchman) to do as he's forcibly stuck to a phone booth. He asks him to transfer public funds siphoned off into Swiss banks by his political bosses. The villain fits a Reliance data card to his crummy laptop, gets into the Swiss account, transfers black money into Reserve Bank treasury. Crowds gather outside the phone booth. Click after click, money in Rs 500 crore installments keep getting deposited to the Government of India. Everyone cheers. What an idea. It's so simple, CBI. Why take that long investigating CWG, 2G...

1. Gurinder Chadha's "It's A Wonderful Afterlife": Chatty Mrs Sethi (Shabana Azmi), a sweet caring mom, doubles up as a sickened "curry killer", who can see dead people. Her serial murders make tabloid headlines. Dead bodies are found with "chili content way off human tolerance levels", crazy kitchen implements like the seekh of the seekh kabab, inserted into body parts. Now that's a concept, I tell you. But the scene that completely takes the cake: The only non-brown character in a movie set in the western world's called Linda. It's her engagement party, and everyone's happily high on "ganja pakodas" (what should've been 'bhaang pakodas'). Linda turns into the character of the same name from "Exorcist," scarily screams and levitates, her entire body dripping in red chutney, curries fly off serving tables, so do plates and other assortments.... You think this world's goin' mental? Calm down, watch this film, feel better.

(tip: Corey Creekmur)

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