First of all, yes, I have a slight obsession with Bollywood. So when I heard there was a Bollywood Chef remake I was all excited and tried to find it on Amazon. Especially because it starred Saif Ali Khan, whose eyes and patrician nose truly fascinate me. Instead I came up with Today’s Special (free via Prime). Today’s Specail is kind of a low budget, slightly slow Chef movie. A young, French cuisine trained chef has to take up his father’s Indian restaurant. He’s helped by a mysterious, magical cook and a trio of wonderful, grumbly old guys. There’s also a white girlfriend, but her race doesn’t play much into the movie. It’s a worthwhile afternoon low-key movie not necessarily for plot or believability but because the characters are really fun to watch. And they are characters. Not real people, but that’s okay.
Next is The Big Sick. A girlfriend turned me onto this one and it was totally lovely. Two thumbs up. This is a tightly paced, wonderfully modern take on a Pakistani man who is disappointing his family both via his career choice and lack of an appropriate wife. I loved how he and his brother have a loving, bilingual relationship even while his brother disapproved of him, and I also like the way he slowly, slowly wins the trust of the parents back. Watching Holly Hunter and Roy Romano as his girlfriend’s parents was a joy in and of itself. I highly recommend this one.
And now for two really outrageous, viscerally physical, crazy movies. The first one, Blade of the Immortal was awesome-sauce. It rocked. Kimura Takuya, who plays the main, one-eyed more or less okay swordsman main character is usually a pretty boy. He became famous as a member of Smap! One of the most famous boy bands in modern Japan. It was very cool to see him play the tired, worn-down, stumbling and blood-spattered part. But be warned. There is alot of blood and gore. This is mostly a movie where the main character takes on various samurai and assassins and kills them. Sometimes body parts get hacked off and reattached (there is an element of magic in this one that allows certain warriors to be immortal). My Tokyo-boy husband loved seeing all the super-famous Japanese actor cameos in this one. You definitely have to be in the right mood to see Blade of the Immortal, but you won’t regret it.
And finally, The Handmaiden. I was all revved up to see this one because I love Sarah Waters. And I really enjoyed Fingersmith, which this movie was based on. But wow, is that only a loosely based connection. I was also fascinated with the time that the movie transported the story to. It was right up my alley: occupied Korea during World War II. There was all this lovely code-switching between Japanese and Korean that totally made me happy. The costumes are so lush and velvety that you can almost feel the swish of silk on your own skin. The colors and sets are gorgeous.
But I couldn’t finish the movie. I think I’m getting just a tad prudish in my old age. I got about halfway through when it’s time for the two main women (the rich born lady and the maid) to run off together and I think I just couldn’t handle the somewhat non-American sensibility to women’s nudity and the dark, torturing turn the movie takes. Just….yuck with the uncle and what he does to them. Which is a shame, because, loved the code-switching and the sets/costumes.
Ah well. I’m going to keep looking for that Bollywood remake of chef.