Streaming Video News: August 21, 2014

Finally, Dhoom 3 is available on Netflix! The movie’s chase scenes through downtown Chicago are thrilling, so I heartily recommend it. For everything else new on Netflix, check out Instant Watcher.

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Opening August 22: Mardaani

The Rani Mukerji crime thriller Mardaani (“Masculine“) hits Chicago area theaters on August 22, 2014.

Mardaani opens on Friday at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 54 min.

After a super opening weekend, Singham Returns carries over at all four of the above theaters plus the AMC Showplace Niles 16 in Niles, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville.

Entertainment and Kick also carry over at MovieMax and South Barrington.

Other Indian movies showing at MovieMax this weekend include Kabadam (Tamil), Anjaan (Tamil), Sikander (Telugu), Lovers (Telugu), Run Raja Run (Telugu), and Jigarthanda (Tamil).

Bollywood Box Office: August 15-17

Singham Returns got off to a terrific start, turning in the fourth best opening weekend for a Hindi film in North America in 2014. Over the weekend of August 15-17, Singham Returns earned $654,054 from 127 theaters in the United States and Canada ($5,150 average), according to Box Office Mojo.

Singham Return‘s performance is significantly better than that of its predecessor, 2011’s Singham. In its opening weekend in North America, Singham earned $161,063 from 50 theaters ($3,221 average). During nine weeks of release, Singham earned a total of $350,864: a figure that Singham Returns nearly doubled in its first three days in theaters.

For a second week, the distributors of Entertainment failed to disclose their U.S. box office returns. We do know from Bollywood Hungama that the comedy earned $27,281 from 17 Canadian theaters, bringing its total in that country to $123,195.

Given that Akshay Kumar’s earlier 2014 release, Holiday, earned about 26% of its total North American gross from Canada, let’s assume that the $123,195 Entertainment earned in Canada represents 26% of its total haul as well. That would put Entertainment‘s total North American earnings at approximately $473,827. Fingers crossed that we’ll get the official figure someday.

Two other Hindi movies ran in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend:

  • Kick: Week 4; $19,102 from 14 theaters ($1,364 average); $2,398,097 total
  • The Lunchbox: Week 25; $1,652 from four theaters ($413 average); $4,033,909 total

Sources: Box Office Mojo and Rentrak, via Bollywood Hungama

Bollywood Bloodbath

I want to thank my brother, Dan, for buying me one of the best gifts ever: the compilation CD Bollywood Bloodbath. The disc features twenty-two songs from Hindi horror films, mostly from the ’80s and mostly written by Bappi Lahiri. Presently, my favorite is Lahiri’s schizophrenic “Mere Jaan” from the movie Dahshat:

…although it’s hard to resist the dopey charms of Rajesh Roshan’s “Superman, Superman.”

Since you know you need to own a copy of Bollywood Bloodbath for yourself, here’s where you can purchase it from Amazon.

Movie Review: Singham Returns (2014)

Singham_Returns_Poster2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

The release of Singham Returns on Independence Day in India feels wrong. Rarely does a movie try so hard to be patriotic but feel so cynical and almost anarchistic. When a country’s political, judicial, and religious leadership is depicted as so corrupt that the establishment of a police state seems preferable, the problems are far too big for one man, even if that man is Bajirao Singham.

While Singham is supposed to be a morally perfect dispenser of divine justice, he advocates a system in which he and his fellow police officers are judge, jury, and executioner. His methods are themselves criminal, so Singham relies on sympathetic politicians and reporters to turn a blind eye. It amounts to a conspiracy to protect an unelected individual who has assumed the ability to decide life or death.

Maybe it’s just that the release of Singham Returns comes at the end of a week in which an unarmed teenager in a small town in America was killed by the police in public, and that the protests that followed were greeted by police with tear gas, sniper rifles, and the imprisonment of skeptical politicians and media members. Whatever the reason, the solutions offered by Singham Returns seem terrifying.

Following his successful cleanup of Goa in 2011’s Singham, supercop Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgn) is promoted to Mumbai. His former teacher, Guruji (Anupam Kher), wants to eradicate political bribery and has a slate of young reform candidates poised to challenge in the upcoming elections.

In order to keep the black money flowing, corrupt politician Prakash Rao (Zakir Hussain) and the crooked evangelist Babaji (Amole Gupta) threaten Guruji and his candidates. But Singham won’t allow such intimidation on his watch.

Like all Bollywood supercop characters, Singham’s only character flaw is that he’s unmarried. Apparently, every character who carried over from the first movie to the second has forgotten about Kavya (Kajal Agarwal), Singham’s fiancée from the first movie, who is never mentioned.

Instead, Singham is fixed up with Avni (Kareena Kapoor Khan), the sister of one of the candidates. The totality of Avni’s character is that she is irrationally jealous and eats a lot. This is an embarrassing role for an actor of Kapoor Khan’s talent.

Kher and Pankaj Tripathi — who plays one of Rao’s goons — give two of the film’s noteworthy supporting performances. Dayanand Shetty is also entertaining as Singham’s big deputy, Daya.

Devgn’s performance is fine, but his character is not. Singham quickly resorts to violence when provoked, and his wrath is indiscriminate: directed at obvious villains, but also at their victims and brainwashed minions. He lashes out, even when it hurts his moral standing in the community. He advocates the murder of those he deems guilty, independent of any judicial system.

Sure, there are plenty of explosions and enough fights to make you wonder if director Rohit Shetty bought his “slap” sound effects in bulk. Singham Returns isn’t boring. It’s just hard to cheer for a superhero who seems so undemocratic.

Links

Streaming Video News: August 15, 2014

I’m pretty sure these are just contract renewals and not new additions to the catalog, but I Hate Luv Storys, Raajneeti, and Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya are all available for streaming on Netflix. For everything else new to Netflix, check out Instant Watcher.

New Trailers: August 15, 2014

The long-awaited trailer for director Farah Khan’s Happy New Year is out, and, dang, does that movie look like it was expensive to make. HNY stars three actors who I will watch no matter what movie they are in — Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and Boman Irani — so I’m stoked. HNY is set to open on Diwali, which falls on October 23, 2014.

Also opening on October 23 is Rang Rasiya, a historical drama that played film festivals in 2008 but couldn’t secure a theatrical release until now. To say that Rang Rasiya will get crushed at the box office by Happy New Year is an understatement. Nevertheless, it features Randeep Hooda in various wigs and fake mustaches, so I’m looking forward to it.