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Irrfan Khan: a seductive actor capable of exquisite gentleness

Irrfan Khan was a distinguished and charismatic star in Hindi- and English-language movies whose har..

Irrfan Khan was a distinguished and charismatic star in Hindi- and English-language movies whose hardworking career was an enormously valuable bridge between South Asian and Hollywood cinema. He was armed with a sensitive and seductive gaze: his good looks matured in middle age in such a way that he could play dramatic or villainous roles but also romantic leads of a certain age and of a certain emotional wistfulness. You could almost call him Mumbais Clooney — although it would be condescending to explain this colossal Indian star in Hollywood terms.

I first became aware of Irrfan Khan and his marvellous screen presence in Asif Kapadias terrific 2001 film The Warrior, in which he has a powerful lead role as the warrior Lafcadia, the erstwhile servant and hitman to a murderous warlord who renounces the way of violence, retreats to the hills and must then confront another warrior who has been sent to kill him. It is an amazingly atmospheric movie (which Kapadia brought off with enormous skill before his own shift into documentaries) and Khans cool samurai hauteur was vital in making it work.

After a stretch of playing Bollywood bad guys, Irrfan Khan found some further success in the Wilderesque ensemble romantic comedy Life in a … Metro in 2007, in which he was the gauche and leering guy with which one female character finds herself uncomfortably fixed up on a date. But perhaps the actual star-making breakthrough came with his lead role in the real-life drama Paan Singh Tomar in 2010, an extraordinary story that is a mix of Chariots of Fire and Ned Kelly. Irrfan Khan played an Indian soldier whose talent for running made him a medallist at the Asian Games in the late 1950s – and then in the late 70s became a daaku, or rebel bandit, when he was involved in a murderous land feud in the Chambal valley with family members – he refused to surrender to armed police despatched to arrest him, resulting in a spectacular siege during which he was shot dead. The role – similar to The Warrior in some ways – was perfect for Khans ability to suggest mainstream heroism, but also a kind of capo di tutti i capi bad-guy aura, all encompassed in a still watchfulness in the eyes.

In the English-language world, Khans international prestige had been cemented two years before that as the police detective in Danny Boyles feelgood hit Slumdog Millionaire, a Mumbai-set film based around the TV contest Who Wants to Be a Millionare? with Dev Patel as Jamal, the teenager from the ghetto who somehow found himself within an ace of winning the top prize on the legendary gameshow. He has to explain himself to the cop, and Khans mixture of tough, careworn authority with a hint of gentleness makes him just right for the role, as he almost certainly would not have been good casting for the brasher part of the Tarrant-esque host, played by Anil Kapoor. He was well received in Mira Nairs immigrant drama The Namesake in 2006, and was also a potent presence in Ang Lees Life of Pi.

In the last decade, Irrfan Khan took what were arguably paycheque roles in Hollywood as the stereotypical enigmatic Indian plutocrat in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) as Rajit Ratha, the corporate executive overseeing the fateful experimentation laboratory, and in Jurassic World (2015), playing the parks super-rich owner. Cipher roles, perhaps, but ones to which he brought a deadpan yet debonair good humour.

These were only part of a string of credits, but the movie that allowed him to steal everyones hearts was the romantic drama The Lunchbox. He played the middle-aged office worker who finds that the wrong lunchbox has been delivered to his desk, with a note inside. This leads him into a heartrendingly chaste, romantic exchange of letters with an unhappy married woman, stuck at home in her housewife job, as he is stuck in his salaryman role. Irrfan Khan found his finest hour in this story, with an exquisitely gentle, subtle performance. Rewatching The Lunchbox and The Warrior would be great ways to remember him.

READ MORE FROM SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/apr/29/irrfan-khan-a-sensitive-and-seductive-actor-lunchbox-peter-bradshaw

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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.


Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.


More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”


If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.

The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.

Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)



The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.


Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”


“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.

In a theater, the tendency with a movie so dependent on a central mystery might be to become antsy. At home, “Antebellum” is worth seeing, not only because of what it has to say about America’s past and present, but as a reminder of the often yawning gap between an intriguing idea and a fully realized film.



Read from source: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/17/entertainment/antebellum-review/index.html

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‘Chemical Hearts’ director Richard Tanne on the film’s ‘bittersweet’ ending and what he hopes fans take away from the movie

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and ..

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and what he hopes fans take away from it.

“I think it’s gonna disappoint some people, and maybe all people on a certain level, ” the 35-year-old filmmaker told us. “It’s bittersweet. But that’s OK.”

The film, based on Krystal Sutherland’s 2016 book “Our Chemical Hearts” and now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, centers on 17-year-old high school senior Henry Page (Austin Abrams), who finds himself drawn to a mysterious and secretive new transfer student named Grace Town (Lili Reinhart).

“Chemical Hearts” is told from Henry’s perspective, chronicling his first heartbreak after he falls in love with the person he thinks Grace is.

Tanne, who wrote the screenplay, said that he was impressed by how the story goes ‘a little bit deeper than your average teen romance’


“I loved how it embraced the dark side of being young, the pain and the grief and the loss, the idea of crossing the threshold from being an adolescent to an adult for the first time,” he told us.

By the end of the movie, Henry learns about Grace’s tragic past. On their last day of senior year, the characters don’t end up together. Instead, they prepare to explore different futures, with Henry heading off to a school for writing and Grace taking a year off to continue therapy.

Even though fans might be disappointed by the love interests splitting, Tanne said that ‘not everything has to be escapist’


“Sometimes, younger people watching movies don’t know that it’s OK to have unhappy endings because they’re fed a steady stream, a steady diet of escapist happily ever after movies,” he told us. “And that’s OK.”

He added: “There’s a place for those, I’m not knocking them. But I just wanted to make something that didn’t talk down to the younger audience. I wanted to make something that either meets them at their level or asks them to reach a little bit higher or dig a little bit deeper.”

Tanne said that having to confront that ‘bittersweet ending’ could also be useful to viewers


The director described the conclusion as bittersweet because “there’s hope at the end, maybe not for their relationship, but for other aspects of their lives.”

“Maybe it will be helpful for young people to see that and walk away with the same sting that Henry has, but to know that it’s going to be OK, to know that Henry will be OK,” he said.

Abrams, who was 22 when he filmed the movie, told Insider that hopefully, audiences will empathize with Henry.

“I think in terms of I supposed how he’s navigating relationships, I feel like hopefully at least anyone can relate to that,” he said.

Abrams told Insider that Henry and Grace’s relationship status at the end speaks to the film’s realistic nature


Abrams shared similar sentiments as Tanne, telling us that they tried to “portray the characters as honestly as possible,” which ties in to the conclusion.

“I think there are some people that meet one person and that’s who they’re with for the rest of their lives, who actually are Henry’s parents in the movie,” the 23-year-old actor told us.

“But then there are other people, and I think it’s probably a larger number, that are going to be in multiple relationships and some of them, a lot of them aren’t going to go well. I hope that that’s an aspect of the movie that people are able to relate to.”

Abrams added that he’s “perfectly fine” letting fans decide for themselves what their main takeaways are from “Chemical Hearts.”

“I hope that maybe they take away things that I didn’t even think of, because everyone’s different and at a different point in their life and hopefully will be able to relate to it in different ways.”

Read from source: https://www.insider.com/chemical-hearts-director-richard-tanne-bittersweet-ending-interview-2020-8


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Julia Sawalha furious after being told she is ‘too old’

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would n..

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would not be cast in the forthcoming sequel to the hit Aardman Animation film Chicken Run as her voice sounded “too old”.

In the original film, released in 2000, Sawalha voiced the lead role of Ginger, the plucky hen who inspires her fellow egg-layers to escape from a farm when they are threatened with being turned into pies. News of the development of a sequel first emerged in 2018, and Netflixs involvement was announced in June. It is due to be directed by Sam Fell (ParaNorman) and start production in 2021.

Sawalha posted a statement on social media saying she was told a week ago that she was not wanted for the sequel. “The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds too old and they want a younger actress to reprise the role.”

She added: “Usually in these circumstances, an actress would be given the chance to do a voice test in order to determine the suitability of their pitch and tone, I however was not given this opportunity. I am passionate about my work and I dont go down without a fight, so I did my own voice test at home and sent it to the producers … However, they stated, We will be going ahead to recast the voice of Ginger.”

Sawalhas protest follows reports that Mel Gibson, who voiced the character of daredevil rooster Rocky, would not be involved in the sequel. While Rocky is named as a character in the official plot synopsis for Chicken Run 2, the role is due to be recast. Variety magazine reported that Gibson was told that as “the sequel will revolve around younger chickens, therefore casting younger voice actors” was necessary. The report also claimed that Gibsons history of controversial behaviour, including an accusation of antisemitic comments by actor Winona Ryder, which Gibson denies, played no part in the recasting.

Sawalha added: “I feel I have been fobbed off with the same excuse … To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless.”

No official announcements have been made for the Chicken Run 2 cast, but original film cast members Jane Horrocks and Lynn Ferguson have been added to the films IMDb page.

Aardman has been contacted for a response.

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