Friday, March 15, 2013

Eli's POV: Bollywood at a Glance

*Please note this post is largely based on personal opinions, interpretations, and views.*
I wanted to share my thoughts, be helpful, and recommend a few thing. Please don't chase me with a pitchfork or two.

I have these moments when I go on trends, I suppose you could say. I find a genre and mass consume it. Bollywood is one of those things. Although, it's difficult to find ones I thoroughly enjoy.
Chalk it up to culturally differences, age differences, or even language barriers. The movies style, life style, and everything about them is fairly different. Although things are changing, things are becoming more modern.

It's like picking something at random and diving in, not really sure what to expect, and sometimes not even sure what to think.

With this in mind, I picked my brain (and my Netflix history) for a list of titles and my feelings towards them. Mainly, searching for a list of things I approve of and those I don't. What I suggest watching and what I suggest staying away from.

Quick Discussion Time! Intermission, what is that and why is it there?

An "intermission" is when there's a break, splitting a film (play, etc) typically into two parts.
All Indian films have intermissions, expect to see them. (Fun Fact: This includes Western movies brought to India.) This is how their industry works.
I will try to explain this simply as I can. The first half of the movie is an introduction. It is light, care-free, lively, and dream-like. We meet everyone and they're story takes heart. *Intermission*
The second half is life. It comes barging in and crashing down without mercy. It's realization and basically reality. It's about how the characters deal with that and ultimately the conclusion. For a longer read..

With all that said, let's get this list rolling!

Recommend Bollywood movies:
If you are new or interested in Bollywood/Indian movies, I highly recommend any of these. You shouldn't have much of a problem enjoying or understanding them, culturally differences and all.
Do note most of these are fairly modern and a couple could, usually are, considered American movies (Bride & Prejudice and Outsourced). But it's the theme and introduction to the culture I was searching for here, with a bit of my personal preference thrown in.

Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, why?
This is by far my favourite Bollywood movie. Granted it's very modern, the story revolves around Facebook, and it's super cheesy. However, I always recommend this to people, I've yet to hear a negative reaction.
The movie is light hearted and fun.

Band Baaja Baaraat, why?
I will admit the first time I saw this, I was... shocked. This movie displays themes and actions thought to be otherwise taboo in the Indian film industry (from my understanding). After my shock, I realized how interesting a capturing the story was. The ending is one of my favourite dance scenes (although the 'dancing' is so cheesy!)
Here watching: Ainvayi Ainvayi Same song but not the ending, I wouldn't want to ruin it! :)

I Hate Luv Storys, why?
Super cute movie. There is no other way to say it. In all honesty it might be a generic rom-com but it knows that and doesn't deny it. Instead it gives in and leaves a great impact. Along with some warm fuzzy feelings.

Pyaar Impossible, why?
This is personal taste at play. I know some people that don't enjoy this movie. The reason it ends up in the "Recommend" section is because it's not bad. Along with that, my feelings are iffy about it. It's a decent story, although ends up on the fence between 'average' and 'more'. I can admit that.
Still, it's a fairly simple straight-forward story.

Bride and Prejudice, why?
Is another 'not quite' Bollywood, but it is often considered to be. It's is a great play on Pride and Prejudice with a slightly Indian twist.
Easy and fun to watch.

Outsourced, why?
In all honesty this film isn't really Bollywood, but it started something for me. This is one of the first India films I saw, while Americanized it opened a new world and showed me insight into India, something that I never even thought about.

From this movie, was created a TV series. Although short-lived, which is upsetting. I loved that show. :'(

Possible Recommendations:
Let me describe my feelings of these movies, as 'lukewarm'.
Many of these films display a traits ("sins") I've come to loath through Indian films. Let it be; the overly done slap-stick comedy, crazy heroines but it's okay, stay 'true' to your one love because no other option is acceptable, bad can never change, etc.

This is something that's hard for me to wrap my head around in someways. Again, differences, they happen.

I have to say my biggest pet peeve is having a super crazy female leads that can do no wrong, either because they're a wonderful person (despite being slightly "uncontrollable", my phrasing) or because they are a women. This is also goes hand-in-hand with them being overly cutesy. (I've also seen this in Asian movies. Mostly Korean and Japanese. My Sassy Girl.. *shudders*) I don't know what it is about this combination..
Enough about that!

Dil Bole Hadippa!, why?
This movie displays everything I discussed in the above section. It's a gender-bender about a girl that wishes to professionally play cricket on an all male team. This movie isn't bad, it's just.. iffy.
While it also has another one of my favourite dance numbers, Discowale Khisko

Jab We Met, why?
Oh this movie. So flip-flippy. The beginning half isn't bad. This movie slips after the intermission, then spends a good amount of time trying to even it's self out. Forcing me to label it as "Average".
In my eyes, no bad but not great.

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, why?
Very cute movie. But at fault for all of the sins I've already discussed. This movie sets it's self apart from most of the Indian movies I've seen, people focused around older main characters, followed by younger.
Somewhat of a Mary Poppins theme.
(It's about a man suddenly becoming the guardian of four children. The twist, he coincidentally killed their parents in a car crash. They children are unhappy and pray to God, who sends down an Angel to help them.)
Sadly, while I enjoyed this movie, it's only slightly above average.

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, why?
Dear lord. E-v-e-r-y crime in the book for me. I can't explain my love-hate relationship with the female lead. There are times I wanted someone like her in my life and others were I wanted to strangle her with my bare hands. Imran Khan () being in this helps it's standing. Firstly, I love him. Second, his character.. he just nails it and is the entire reason this movie holds together.
This one.. is a headache trying to find a place for,  forcing me to label my feelings "Luke Warm".

Saawariya, why?
This is a different kind of story. I wanted to love this movie, I did. But I could not bring myself to. What I think caught my attention was the side stories and details. There is much more than meets the eye, to the world created in this film.

Kal Ho Naa Ho, why?
This movie presents and interesting theme.. that I'll admit I don't enjoy. Mostly because of how it ends, but that's me.
Nonetheless, touching heart-felt story.


Not Recommend:  
These movies.. Basically ended up here because they send bad messages or waste time for no reason. Out of all the India movies I've seen, these stand out as the worst or at least the ones that left hugely negative impressions.
If you didn't noticed the two very large spoiler warnings, I am going to ruin these movies. Because, either they have no point (which spoils a plot right there) or they're negative and from my view point, you need to know, so you don't waste your time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Touching Base.

Hi there. As you can possibly imagine, I've been suuuuuper busy. The simplest way to explain is, work.
I'm constantly working. I'm almost never even home and by the time I am I'm not only physically drained, but emotionally, and mentally as well.
If it's not working for my income, it's working to have a social life, working to relax/de-stress. Blogging, is sadly not at the top of my list.
I'm horrible at managing my time and my lack of blogging shows that.

From this, I've decided, to do short-to-the point reviews on.. whatever I can. This also includes short ramble posts about under-rated movies and whatnot.
Because I like doing reviews. But I'm struggling to do them. I do not have the time to do anything else right now.
It's just not in the cards. But I want to write, I do. I need the release of putting my thoughts somewhere other than in my mind, blogging offers that. As little time as I have, I need to find a way to work it in.

My life(style) has changed from when I began blogging. I'm now working full time, I got promoted, and I'm working towards life goals. I want to stop renting, I need a new car, and I want to travel.
If working my ass off provides having the ability to have those things, I'm going to do it. I have that opportunity in my life right now, I'm not going to ignore it.

Sorry if I'm MIA most of the time. It's the story of my life.

Hope you've all been doing well!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Review: Eating The Cheshire Cat by Helen Ellis


Eating The Cheshire Cat
by Helen Ellis

Release: February 13, 2001
Author Info: Website
Publisher: Scribner
Age Group: Young Adult/Adult
Source: Bought (Thrifted $.25)

"Eating the Cheshire Cat" lures us into a world of perfectly planned parties and steep social ladders, where traditional rites of passage take unpredictable and horrifying turns as three girls and their overbearing mothers collide. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, beauty is as beauty does, with axes and knives and killer smiles. Sarina Summers and her mother will stop at nothing to have it all. Nicole Hicks harbors a fierce obsession with Sarina, which repeatedly undermines Mrs. Hicks's ambitious goals. Bitty Jack Carlson, a nice girl from the wrong side of the tracks, is caught in the crossfire but struggles to succeed outside the confines of this outrageous yet eerily familiar Southern community. It's survival of the fittest. Which girl will come out on top?

Covering everything from summer camp to the University of Alabama's Homecoming game, this fast-paced and unforgettable novel will keep readers guessing until the bitter end.

Warning: Mild Spoilers!

Apparently, the subject and style of this book is meant to be dark humour. Whereas I, didn't find it funny. At all.

I had almost no idea what I was walking into starting this book, if I had known, I wouldn't have ever picked it up. All I knew was the story was about three girls that unexpectedly cross paths throughout their lives, each time having more effect on them than the last.
There is so much more to it than that; webs of lies, deceit, trauma, mental illness, obsession, harassment, bullying.
I found this story in a simple phrase to sum up my opinion "Seriously messed up". This book was difficult for me to read, not the book it's self (under 300 pages, took me two sittings), but the issues and situations that were addressed and encountered; most of all, how they were dealt with.

This is a changing narrative book, between three characters; Sarina, Nicole, and Bitty Jack. Each section of the book, 3 total (Through the Looking Glass, Down the Rabbit Hole, and Off With Her Head), serve as a sort of time lapse and the level of seriousness as to what issues the girls have in their lives. (Starting with middle school, high school, and finally college which starts to look into their futures.) From kids, to teens, and finally "(young) adults".

Each time we meet the characters time has passed. Starting at 16 with Sarina, and flashing back to the age of 13, back to 16, from there ages start to blur and school is used as a sort of age gauge. 10 grade, first year of college, second year of college, occasionally playing catch-up to fill in some blanks. Finally the book ends around the 3rd year of college.

Sarina is always the #1 it girl. Miss Popular, Miss Cool, Miss Everyone-else-falls-in-line-behind-her.
Top of the food chain, perfect, perfect, perfect! Sadly only her image is perfect. (Of course) Her personal life is beyond messed up, always plotting, always scheming, always out to turn things into her favour. She will do what she has to, lie, cheat, and manipulate; for what she wants. She is pure evil, if you can even imagine.
But at the same time, I feel bad her, in a twisted way. Most of what she does and thinks, was taught. Thanks to her jaded mother and her failed marriage, and living her life for what she wants, regardless of who she hurts to get it, including herself
What she does, is all she knows. It's all about getting what she wants and living with the thrill of achieving the results, however short lived they might be.

Nicole is Sarina's #2, always. Nicole mother is beyond controlling, always pushing her to be the best, try harder, be better. To the point she completely smothers her daughter. To the point her daughter fails in most areas of her life just to prove her mother wrong. "Push me all you want, but I still control the outcome" even if it ultimately makes her more miserable.
Nicole is crazy about Sarina, while through most of the book it's unsure if she see Sarina as 'more than a friend' but over time the issue becomes addressed. Throughout most of the book, she just adore Sarina, to the point of obsession.
She wants nothing more than to be there for her. To be the one Sarina trusts with everything, to tell everything, to do everything with her. To have someone in her life that cares for her just the way she is, without trying to change or control her. That just wants her in their life.
Once again, in a twisted way, I feel bad for her as well.

Bitty Jack, the daughter from a low-income family in a small 'never heard of it' town. They live and work on a summer camp site where do to their work and living arrangements (able to live on site if they become care-takers of the place) Bitty Jack used to attend as a kid and eventually becomes a counselor during the summer season.
Out of all the girl Bitty Jack as the best grasp on reality and how to work for what you want, not cheat, lie, or steal to get it. Nothing has been handed to her. She understands you can only accomplish through hard work, and while life isn't always easy, it's better to go through it with a bright outlook and positive attitude.
However she sadly crosses paths with Sarina more than a few times, who continues to cause havoc on her life and threats to tear their lives apart. Over time there are negative changes and actions from Bitty Jack as a result of her not-so-easy life.

Each one of them is selfish to a fault. At the end of the day, out for themselves.
While this isn't true for Bitty Jack, life and situations sometimes force her into a corner, and she makes a few horrible decisions, more than once.

All in all this book is just... twisted. At the same time it's like a train-wreck, I couldn't stop reading it to see what would happen.

I can not recommend this book. I can't. I can't even tell you the level of "What the.." I have towards this book.
Which I apologize, is why the "review" is fairly short. (Although it's more like a detailed synopsis, I couldn't find much else to say or explain without entirely ruining the book.)

Recommend: Not recommended, unless you really enjoy what's apparently meant to be 'dark humour' and extreme teen social issues along with questionable mental state.

What's Going On?

I realize it's been just over 3 months since my last post and even longer since one with actual content, AKA an honest review of some kind.

"Where the heck have I been?" as got to be the question on everyone's mind.

First things first, I started my job. Which was easy at first, heh.. yeah not really the case anymore.
I find myself being the 'go to' person for everything. Every time someone calls out, needs to change shifts, or needs a shift picked up, I am the person to do it. Usually because I'm the only one that kind.
Which is a difficult position to be in, both with that person and management sometimes. (Although I do know when to say "No"! on the occasion.)
I ended up working doubles all the time or just being a 'volume' (Which means staying until they tell me to go. Meaning not set schedule.). Basically I do whatever needs to be done.

Work is also very hard and kind of physical. I'm constantly running around, having to find someone, having to get something, etc. (I've lost a decent amount of weight. Which is great, but so little of my clothing fits properly. *cries* )
Due to that, I've often very drained. Both physically and mentally. Dealing with the public, the different personalities of severs (Ugh. All the attitudes, fights, problems, putting them in their place, etc.), and generally spending my entire day staying on top of what needs to be done and making decisions.

Which is odd to say, I love it. I really enjoy my job, sometimes it's hard work. Like it has been this last month.

Then there's a very large part of me is struggling how to even go about continuing to blog. I haven't posted or written anything in months. About 3 months ago I hit a brick wall and found myself with writer's blog. To the point I couldn't even write reviews because I felt they all ended up the same.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Reading: What's on your list?

Hey everyone, I know I missed the official first week of summer, but that's okay! (The first day of summer being June 20th.) As summer is still here and not going anywhere, I think all is fine.

Like most people, come summer time I decided to make myself a few summer goals. One of those, being a summer reading list! sadly I only came up with a few things I really wanted to read. I'm hoping to get some more recommendations or find something I really want to read.

Summer Reading List (No order)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My list is actually very short, it's kind of embarrassing. Considering I've already read half of it.
That said, am looking for some recommendations!

Any books out there you think I should give a read?
I'm looking for 2-4 more, at least! I'm hoping to add some more YA to the list but not too many.

What are you guys planning to read? Do you have a reading list or just read what catches your eye/interest?