The House of Sand: Learning to Live in the Deserts of Life

25 09 2010

Rating: Rated R for some graphic sexuality.

Runtime: 115 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes: 7.1/10, 78%

From the opening of the film with shots of a caravan of people dressed in Western clothes trudging through the desert, it’s clear that this is going to be a long and painful journey…in a good way. Read the rest of this entry »


Ali Zaoua: Moroccan boys’ dreams hit the wall of reality

18 09 2010

Rating: Unrated

Runtime: 99 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes: 6.3/10, 73%

Ali Zaoua is one of those movies you sometimes wish you hadn’t watched because it reminds you of the very things in life you want to ignore—child poverty. This movie has an Oliver Twist feel to it as it depicts the journey of two Moroccan street boys as they try to bury their friend who has been killed by a local gang. Read the rest of this entry »

God Bless 9/11 Victims

11 09 2010

Today I wanted to take the chance to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of 9/11, as we remember the tragic event 9 years later. We must remember that these victims include first and foremost the individuals who died in the tragedy and their families, who are undoubtably still grieving their loss. But we must also remember those who have been unduly discriminated against because of their ethnicity or religion. May the remembrance of this day bring us together as Americans and strengthen our international bonds of humanity rather than tear us apart and turn us against our fellow man.

My Name Is Khan: And I am Not a Terrorist

11 09 2010

Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual content and language.

Runtime: 163 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes: 6.7/10, 80%

Starting about a third of the way through the movie, I felt like I was watching one big hyperbole. In this movie, no twist of the extraordinary is impossible. The message of My Nam is Khan is one that incredibly important to all Americans today, especially in the wake of the controversy over the group zero mosque and Reverend Jones. But I am afraid the message might be lost on most movie-watching Americans. The extreme cases portrayed in nearly impossible juxtapositions made it easy for anyone to say these things just don’t happen and to trivialize the violence that Muslims did face following 9/11.

Of course, this is a film with two Bollywood actors, which automatically makes it a little over the top. The one good thing about this movie’s extremity, is that it puts the viewer in uncomfortable situations through the guise of Rizvan Khan’s Asperger’s Syndrome, like the time when Khan begins praying in Arabic at a memorial service for 9/11 victims.

Despite all of this, at the end of the 2 hours and 40 minutes, the ending was fairly satisfying. Perhaps it was the inspiring music or the way the closing lines were spoken in the beautiful Hindi language. My Name is Khan certainly wouldn’t be on the top of my movie list, but if you’re looking for a movie that’s a little off, can look beyond the unrealistic events to see the deeper message, and don’t mind spending nearly three hours getting the same message from minute 5 to 160, you might want to pick it up.

The White Ribbon: A World With Shades of Gray

8 09 2010

Rating: Rated R for some disturbing content involving violence and sexuality

Runtime: 144 minutes

Spoken Language: German

Rotten Tomatoes: 7.6/10, 85%

If you’re like me, you hate inconclusive endings. That’s why when I finished watching The White Ribbon, I was sincerely disappointed…until I started thinking about it. And thinking about it some more. In fact, for a good week, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The White Ribbon tells an engaging story about mystery and crime committed in a small, pre-World War I German village. In a town where everyone is attempting to discover the truth, it appears everyone also has something to hide. Class struggle seems to mask the real problems of the community, alluding to more international issues of grievance and the deceptive nature of truth that the movie shows would break out onto the public scene during WWI.

The White Ribbon is also filmed in black and white. Generally, I do not like black and white films  unless they are made before 1970. However, the lack of color in this film reveals a subtle but striking reality. Life is not actually black and white. Though we may call it so, it is actually unlimited shades of gray. To any avid international film lover, The White Ribbon will not disappoint.

Please post what you think of this movie, or give any suggestions for future movie reviews.