Archive for the ‘DVD’ Category

The Three Earthly Heavens

Magrudy's Bookstore - BurJuman

Magrudy's Bookstore - BurJuman

Virgin Megastore - Mall of The Emirates

Virgin Megastore - Mall of The Emirates

Borders Store - Mall of The Emirates

Borders Store - Mall of The Emirates

Just take me there and let me be…

Review: Arranged

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Note: This review is based on the DVD version.

This film actually was recommended by my dearest friend Sushi, and based on her review and the premise of the movie I couldn’t help myself but to watch it. The film focuses on two young female teachers – one an Orthodox Jew (named Rochel) and the other an observant Muslim (named Nasira) – who are assigned to work together in a multi-ethnic school in Brooklyn. Initially, I thought it is one of those films with a sentimental “let’s all get along” message, but it turned out to be a lot more complicated and interesting than that. The characters find friendship with each other, because they are both confronting similar issues with their parents and the secular world. They are also both undergoing the difficulty of trying to find a mate through their community’s traditional systems of arranged marriage. While some of the characters come off as walking stereotypes, the film for the most part, does a sensitive job of portraying both aspects of religion and tradition in a very positive light. The film respects the women’s genuine commitment to their faiths even as they struggle with difficult aspects of their faiths. The acting and the script are sometimes uneven and there are moments that feel like an after school special. The conclusion is a bit too simplistic. But the message about both necessity and possibility of multi-religious co-existence is a good one presented with humor, warmth, and intelligence. Another minor flaw I found is that it doesn’t balance the lives of both characters; I felt Rochel was the leading character and Nasira was the support (sort of a side story) character, but the effort was genuine and heartwarming.

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Arranged is an engaging story that feels very real, and very important in our times when so many walls keep people from connecting with each other. It is so refreshing to have the bigger theme of cultural and religious differences treated with respect and interest, and with an absence of violence. Even though it’s not a masterpiece, I invite you to watch this film along with your friends and family and absorb the fact that you don’t need shared religion in order to share friendship and respect.

The Bottom Line

B

Review: Monsieur Ibrahim

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This exquisite French film that is based on Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s novel is rather simple on the surface but quite deep in meaning. Monsieur Ibrahim is a delightful emotional film about friendship between two unlikely individuals. Set in Paris during the 1960’s with beautiful cinematography and a soundtrack that enhances the film greatly; watching this film was a truly wonderful experience. The tale centers on a young Jewish boy (played by Pierre Boulanger) in the prime of his adolescence who befriends the neighborhood shopkeeper owned by a Sufi Muslim (played by the legendary Omar Sharif) and both befall to develop an unusual friendship crossing both generational and religious boundaries. The director Francois Dupeyron displayed an extraordinary job conducting this film from the ground up, both in cinematography and performance. Veteran actor Omar Sharif is wonderful as the solid and wise in Monsieur Ibrahim, but it is Boulanger who is the real surprise in this film; he is truly the absolute heart and warmth of the movie, and truly displayed the true adolescences that young boys come across in their lives. The ending is somewhat predictable but that doesn’t diminish the impact of the film on the soul.

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Monsieur Ibrahim is a beautiful, heartfelt film that doesn’t stand on its head to try and impress us. It seeps into our hearts one scene at a time, until, by the end, we realize what a profound emotional impact it has had on us. You will fall in love easily with this movie; it’s crafted so well, with such heart and taste, that it proves that big money is not necessary to make big movies. Highly recommended.

The Bottom Line
A-

Review: Whisper Of The Heart

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It is safe to say that today’s 3D animation blockbusters look absolutely fantastic, yet they lack substance that easily make them forgetful after awhile. However this 1995 animation film (re-mastered in English in 2006) by the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki truly redefines the pure elegance and depth that every animation movie should deliver. Honestly, this is just about the best coming-of-age story ever made (or at least I have got to know), full of vigor and wonder, full of the spark of youth. I certainly can’t think of a film that’s as dizzyingly lovable and sincere as Whisper of the Heart. And I certainly can’t imagine anyone walking away from this picture without feeling elated, eager to grab as many friends as possible for another showing. This is not a movie driven by plot, but about discovery and experience, and learning to test oneself. There are romantic interests, but nothing approaching the clichéd movies that we have come to know. It is story about determination, innocence of the youth, discovering dreams and goals, and obviously first true love. The animation is superb especially since it is a 12-year-old movie that is filled with great details in characters’ facial expression and background. The soundtrack is heart-warming especially with the inclusion of John Denver’s song “Country Road” and the English voice acting is well preformed with a great cast of Hollywood celebs. It is certainly a movie that you want to watch it over and over again.

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Whisper of the Heart is truly one of Miyazaki’s finest. Don’t think of the movie as a typical anime movie nor as a teenager romantic comedy; it is absolutely more than that. It is a movie that leaves you smiling and awakens the youthful spirit in you. I highly recommend this film because it has something for everyone, young and old. Watch it today.

The Bottom Line
A