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the best and second best movie review

I watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and the sequel “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and like most movies with sequels, the first one was better than the sequel.

I remember when I saw the trailer for this movie a few years ago and wanting to see it. How refreshing it was to see something about old British people going to a new place in the golden years of life. It would be an adventure for a twenty-something, but how much more for a senior citizen? It was a sweet and charming movie, and for some reason I wanted to cry in certain parts. Not because it was a moving scene…well, maybe it was moving, but it was so subtle I didn’t know it was deep until I felt the verge of tears. No tears were ultimately shed but heartstrings were pulled.

So of course I want to see the sequel and see what happens to this group of elderly and hodgepodge mix of personalities. It wasn’t too bad because they added in a few Americans, most notably Richard Gere, who happens to still be handsome at his age? How is that possible?

What stood out immediately was when you heard an American accent in the midst of the variety of British and Indian accents. It cuts through and it can sound really abrasive. Not to say the American cast had unappealing voices; they actually had great voices. It’s the contrast that really stood out and once you heard a few lines by Gere or the other Americans it settled into the soundscape and the story carried on.

The biggest disappointment was in plot holes. It never explains how the second hotel was ultimately acquired. It was hinted at but it was such a leap and the wedding scene at the end seemed to take over the last act of the movie. The festivities had one scene addressing it but it was a stretch in itself. I sigh a big sigh because it would’ve tied up that story a lot better.

Other little things were not as strong but perhaps because there were more characters in this film than the first it had difficulty wrapping up everything in a timely manner. It’s possible that in being a British film it was being so subtle and indirect that in their eyes it was complete but to me it wasn’t enough.

The film does show India in it’s vibrant colors so it does make me want to go visit someday. I mostly just want to eat all the food there.

triple movie review

In one day I watched three movies on Netflix. Yes, there will be spoilers.

Star Wars: Rogue One

The Queen of Katwe


Overall, I liked them even though there were things I didn’t like in each film. What I noticed was that each film has a female lead and the co-star was a non-romantic-interest male actor. Maybe Rogue One was somewhat romantic, but not enough to say it was so. There was a hug but no kiss, thank goodness. It would’ve ruined the movie.

Rogue One was really boring for most of the movie. It’s as if every SW movie must have the same scenes in it, repeating themselves in every film as long as they make a SW film. The best part was actually the last act of the movie (which was very not-SW like), with the principal cast of rebellion fighters. They brought a freshness with their different faces and skills. Even the robot was refreshing with his distinct personality. Yet why did almost everyone have to have a British accent? That seemed to distract me.

I actually liked how each of Jyn’s gang of rebels died in the film. It was heartless how everyone had to die, even Jyn and Cassian, truly tragic. It seemed like a hopeless movie for these characters. Oh, but then they get you in the end with the last shot of the movie with Leia saying “Hope,” as she holds the plans for the Death Star in her hands. In that sense it portrayed the brutality of war. However, this is SW, so it can’t ever get that tragic.

After seeing Rogue One, it did make me want to see the original SW trilogy again. How is it that those three old movies still seem fresh while every SW movie made afterwards seems derivative?

The Queen of Katwe is based on a true story of an African slum kid who becomes a chess champion. It’s a really sweet feel-good movie. There were many scenes where I just wanted to cry, maybe because I miss Africa and want to go back someday. The ironic thing is that the screenplay was written by a white American male telling the story of a Ugandan girl. The scenes sometime get confusing and bumpy with the time jumps in the beginning, which make it hard to get the viewer settled in. After that it gets better and you can just enjoy watching a story of a girl who shifts her place of belonging from where she was born to where she was born to be. That really is the best message of the movie.

Philomena is also based on a true story of an Irish-Catholic woman who searches for her son 50 years after the nuns who took care of her during her teenage pregnancy forced her to give him up for adoption. The news reporter who helps her is her non-romantic co-star and a pretty good foil for the Irishwoman, played by Judi Dench. It’s a British film, so it’s a lot more subtle in everything, from action to dialogue to climax and ending. Sometimes it really frustrates me, but I’m sure every British person is deep down frustrated by having to be so reserved.

The best part is the character contrasts of the Irish mom and the British reporter as Catholic vs Atheist and some of the discussion about religion is good but like most of the movie, it doesn’t get too deep into any topic. It mostly touches on the main themes so you can think about it without having to preach to you. Religion, God, adoption, family, what’s important, what you believe in, forgiveness, etc.

This post is now too long and so I’ll wrap up saying I ate some ramen today at a place that’s highly rated and popular, but after I tried it I had no idea why it was considered good. Overrated and overpriced. I only went there because the place I originally wanted to go to had shut down and I didn’t know it until I saw the empty restaurant and a couple legal notices on the door. A sad day for ramen. But tomorrow ramen will rise again.

Price: $16.14
Was: $28.99
Price: $7.99