Moothon (India, 2019)

This movie is on the mainstream side for this blog and also was reviewed accurately, but I’m reviewing it anyway because Malayalam cinema is not well known globally, and I want to bring some attention to it because of its quality and the LGBT themes.

Thanks again to Angie for recommending this movie to me.

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Aankhen (India, 1993)

When a Govinda movie is very popular with the general public, you know you have to brace yourself, so I put off watching Aankhen for the longest time. But I knew I was in for it eventually.

Govinda fans are kind of lukewarm about this movie, and they are always right. I hated the first half, the second half was okay. On the Govinda scale, it’s a “Govinda is the only bearable thing in the movie” even though honestly he doesn’t deserve it. He only acts a little in the second half, the rest of the time he is definitely not trying.

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Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (India, 2020)

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is the movie that happens when someone reads an announcement for an academic talk about how 70s masala films are kind of gay, and then is like: “Interesting idea. What if I make this into one of those mid-level local films that are popular now?”

Let me preface this by saying of course it’s great this movie got made and it did well. It’s better than about 95% of Hindi films right now, which I don’t even do the honour of watching. But I have a bone to pick with it, because it’s a gay mainstream Bollywood movie that references the homoeroticism of all my gay faves from the 70s, and IT BORED ME.

But how?

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Malaal (India, 2019)

I have a love-hate relationship with Bhansali, because I hate the stories and the morality of his films and love his aesthetics and how campy he is. Depending on the balance between each, I end up loving some of his stuff and hating the rest. He only produced this and didn’t direct it, which is probably why I loved it. Thanks to Angie for telling me about it.

Malaal is a remake of a Tamil film I have not seen, but more obvious to me is the influence of Titanic, a film I like in theory and hate in practice. It’s set in the year Titanic came out, but there is really no attempt at any kind of period setting except a few film posters, a few men’s vintage shirts, and the lack of computers and mobile phones. The lack of phones really is the reason for the period setting, I think, because it makes the plot make more sense.

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Rosita (USA, 1923)

I first watched this colour restored version of Rosita at Il Cinema Ritrovato last year, but didn’t have time to review it then, so I rewatched it recently and am reviewing it now.

Rosita reminded me of a good modern Bollywood movie, because it is so very mainstream, but it’s not simple. It’s a heroine movie like a big Bollywood actress would make at the top of her career, or the female flipside of say, a Fairbanks adventure movie.

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Simon, king of the witches (USA, 1971)

Simon, king of the witches is a parody of sorts of Manson/cult/occult-sploitation movies.

The titular Simon (Andrew Prine) is a megalomaniac quack who lives in a storm drain with a rentboy he befriends. He can either actually do magic or is convinced he can do magic. Some bored and stoned rich people invite him to perform at a party, but they laugh at his weird and unspectacular magic act and the organiser further mocks him by forging his payment check.

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Sie tötete in Ekstase (West Germany, Spain, 1971)

Jess Franco films usually gross me out a little too much to completely enjoy them, but they’re always aesthetically pleasing and sometimes have a few good points, so I check out any that seem interesting.

Sie tötete in Ekstase is about a scientist, Dr. Johnson (lol), who conducts experiments on foetuses. This lands him in hot water socially and politically, and when a bunch of other scientists denounce his experiments as blasphemy, his permission to experiment gets revoked and his lab gets trashed, he has a breakdown and kills himself. His wife (Miranda Soledad) goes on a killing spree to avenge him.

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Mirzya (India, 2016)

Mirzya would almost be a perfect movie for me, if it wasn’t for one fatal flaw it has which completely ruined the movie for me.

The flaw is very spoilery, so proceed under the line break at your peril. It is a feminism and male violence related problem, if that helps. And no, I did not find this bit told this way in any version of the legend I could find so you can’t blame it on that.

But here is what’s good about Mirzya:

– the aesthetics. If that one flaw wasn’t so fundamental, the aesthetics would easily make up for it. It’s decadent and dreamlike, but not as stuffed full of stuff as a Bhansali film. It’s like an issue of L’Officiel de la Mode turned into film but Indian.

– the songs (excellent songs, excellently staged)

– the leads are incredibly attractive, Harshvardhan Kapoor with his body urge and Saiyami Kher with her gorgeous gold-coloured eyes (although whoever did the make-up on this had no idea how to make up light-coloured eyes)

– it has lots of horsies

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