Streaming Video News: July 16, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a terrific new addition to the catalog. Alia Bhatt’s spy drama Raazi is now available for streaming, two months after its theatrical release. It’s my favorite Hindi film of the year so far.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition: 2008’s Tahaan, starring Anupam Kher, Rahul Bose, and Dangal‘s Fatima Sana Shaikh. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

 

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Streaming Video News: July 13, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with several additions. The new Amazon original comedy series Comicstaan is now available, as are the 2018 theatrical releases Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain (known internationally as “Seeking Happily Ever After“) and the Bengali film Aami Ashbo Phirey. Also, Tumhari Sulu was finally added to the US streaming catalog! It and Golmaal Again are the only two major titles that I can recall as having been available in India but not the US, so we should be caught up.

There was a hint that Raazi was going to be added to Prime today, but that scoop proved inaccurate. Amazon Prime Video India already tweeted that the Telugu film Officer drops tomorrow, so I’ll update my list accordingly. Update: here’s the link to Officer.

Opening July 13: Soorma

The field hockey biopic Soorma — starring Diljit Dosanjh and Tapsee Pannu — hits Chicago area theaters on July 13, 2018. Soorma is the first film from actress Chitrangada Singh’s production house C.S. Films. Best of luck to the new producer!

Soorma opens Friday at the AMC South Barrington 24 in South Barrington, Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville, and MovieMax Cinemas in Niles, which has two preview showings on Thursday night. It’s rated PG-13 and has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 11 min.

Sanju gets a third week at all three of the above theaters, plus the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Century 12 Evanston in Evanston, AMC Showplace Niles 12 in Niles, AMC Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Marcus Addison Cinema in Addison, AMC Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, AMC Loews Woodridge 18 in Woodridge, and AMC Oakbrook Center 4 in Oak Brook.

Other Indian and Pakistani movies showing in the Chicago area this weekend:

Streaming Video News: July 10, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with four new titles. In addition to a pair of Hindi-dubbed films, two 2018 releases are now available to stream: the Kay Kay Menon murder mystery Vodka Diaries and the geriatric family comedy 102 Not Out, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor. I enjoyed 102 Not Out for its depiction of the challenges of aging and how it influences family dynamics.

Amazon’s push to increase its foothold in India has essentially turned Prime Day into a week-long event, with at least three more 2018 releases added to Prime in the coming days (Vodka Diaries was a nice surprise). We’re likely to see Sanjay Mishra’s Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain join the catalog on Thursday, followed by Raazi on Friday, and the Telugu movie Officer on Saturday. If you’re not a Prime member yet, this is a good week to start a free trial.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with a new premier date. The Netflix original horror series Ghoul — starring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul — debuts on August 24, 2018. The trailer looks super scary:

Bollywood Box Office: July 6-8, 2018

Sanju had another seven-figure weekend in North America. From July 6-8, 2018, the biopic earned $1,281,466 from 359 theaters in the United States and Canada ($3,570 average), according to Box Office Mojo — good enough for eleventh place in the overall box office. Sanju‘s total after ten days of release stands at $5,995,791, with North America’s contributions accounting for about 10% of the film’s global haul.

Not surprisingly, Sanju‘s massive total is good news for Sanjay Dutt himself. Bollywood Hungama reports that Dutt gets a portion of the box office returns as part of his compensation for letting his life be turned into a movie, in addition to an upfront payment just shy of $1.5 million.

Bollywood Hungama is still having issues with its box office reporting, from theater miscounts last week to fluctuating overall totals this week. (Canadian theater info for Veere Di Wedding remains MIA, sadly.) Here are the weekend theater earnings reported by Bollywood Hungama:

  • Race 3: Week 4; $9,250 from eleven theaters; $841 average
  • Veere Di Wedding: Week 6; $2,000 from two theaters; $1,000 average
  • Raazi: Week 9; $1,044 from three theaters; $348

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Movie Review: Race 3 (2018)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Director Remo D’Souza knows how to stage a big-screen spectacle, yet he seems overwhelmed by the baggage that comes with Race 3.

Most of that weight comes in the form of Salman Khan, whose stardom requires an outsized chunk of narrative space and screentime. Trying to give sufficient due to all of the other well-known cast members in the film — an admirable goal, for sure — expands the runtime beyond what the story can comfortably accommodate. Add to that the pressure of being bigger and bolder than the two previous movies in a series known for its outlandishness, and it’s simply too much.

Race 3 is a sequel in name only. Returning cast members Anil Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandez play different characters than they did in Race 2, and the story takes place in a different narrative universe.

This time, Kapoor plays Shamsher Singh, an arms dealer living in exile in the Middle East after being falsely accused of illegal dealings back in India. He hopes to return home with the help of his stepson Sikander (Khan) and his twin children, Sanjana (Daisy Shah) and Suraj (Saqib Saleem). The family is assisted by Shamsher’s right-hand-man, Raghu (Sharat Saxena), and Sikander’s bodyguard and best friend, Yash (Bobby Deol).

Shamsher’s favoritism for Sikander has driven a wedge between the half-siblings over the course of decades, further inflamed when their mother’s will gives half of the family fortune to Sikander, forcing the twins to share the remaining half. When Yash’s new girlfriend Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez) is revealed to have once romanced Sikander, the crew combusts.

The characters and their relationships are established via long scenes of dialogue that fall flat. Then, the Race story formula — with characters tricking one another, but planning ahead because they know their targets know they’re being tricked, etc. — kicks into full effect, necessitating even more boring dialogue. No individual character is particularly interesting, though the scheming twins had potential had D’Souza and franchise screenwriter Shiraz Ahmed pushed things in an edgier direction.

So much downtime allows one to imagine the Race 3 characters in other, potentially better movies. Shah and Saleem as creepy twins in a horror flick or sinister thriller. An action comedy starring Kapoor and Saxena, with Rajesh Sharma — who appears in Race 3 as Shamsher’s hometown friend — as their beleaguered younger sidekick. Fernandez starring in, well, anything else that utilizes her bubbly personality.

Fernandez and Shah feature in Race 3‘s most entertaining fight scene, flying through the air in a nightclub tussle. Shah has another fun bit when her long designer gown hampers her ability to kick her opponents — until she cuts a slit down the side with a dramatic flourish.

With an ace choreographer like D’Souza behind the camera, one expects mind-blowing dance numbers, yet Race 3‘s numbers are mostly forgettable (in part because of the need to accommodate Khan’s limited range of motion). The exception is “Selfish”, which stands out for the wrong reasons. Shah trained in aerial dance just for the number, yet the camera hardly captures her face, giving the impression that she used a body double, when I don’t think she did. There is also a group of backup dancers positioned so far behind the lead couple that they are often out of focus, which all but encourages the audience to ignore the lead couple in the foreground and instead strain to make out what’s happening behind them.

Action scenes throughout the film overuse slow-motion and are treated with a distracting effect that desaturates the image for a few seconds at a time. If randomly changing the image from color to black & white and back is the only way to hold an audience’s attention during a car chase, you’ve got big problems.

Links

Streaming Video News: July 6, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one exciting new addition to the catalog. The Netflix original series Sacred Games — starring Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap — is now available for streaming. People who got an advanced look at the series love it, so I’m stoked to check it out.

Amazon is going all out for Prime Day in India. In addition to 36 hours of shopping deals, they’ve spread the Prime debuts of several 2018 theatrical releases out over an entire week. Streaming rights are country specific, so these debut dates might not apply to the US, but these are the titles to watch for next week:

Amazon Prime Video India’s Twitter account posted a Prime Day promo video featuring a bunch of Bollywood actors who star in movies available on the service, such as Varun Dhawan (October) and Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee (Missing). Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, and other stars of Race 3 also appear in the video. Could it be added to the service as part of Prime Day, too? We’ll have to wait and see.

Split Screen Podcast, Episode 44: The Salman Khan Remake of ‘Little Boy’

Shah Shahid and I are kind of obsessed with Tubelight, the Bollywood remake of Little Boy. It’s probably because writer-director Kabir Khan cast Salman Khan in a role originally played by an 8-year-old. First Shah and I compared the trailers of both movies, and now we review the films themselves in Episode 44 of the Split Screen Podcast. Here’s a teaser: we sorta like Tubelight. Also, I call a child an “asshole” in the episode.

You can subscribe to the Split Screen Podcast at iTunes, or you can listen to Episode 44 in your browser on this page at Audioboom. Find links to other podcast episodes and Shah’s reviews at his website, Blank Page Beatdown. I’m a guest on the following episodes of the Split Screen Podcast:

Bollywood Box Office: June 29-July 1, 2018

June saw three Bollywood movies earn more than $1 million in their opening weekends in North America, with Sanju saving the best for last. From June 29-July 1, 2018, Sanju earned an astonishing $2,723,349 from 356 theaters ($7,650 average) — good enough for eighth place in the overall weekend box office, according to Box Office Mojo. That theater count sets a new record high for a Hindi film in North America.

Race 3 slowed to a crawl, taking in $41,566 from 56 theaters, reports Bollywood Hungama (although that theater count may be too low, since Hungama appears to have under-counted Canadian theaters for the last few weeks). That per-theater average of just $742 is shockingly small total for a Salman Khan film in its third weekend of release. Its total stands at $2,278,352, temporarily slotting it in fourth place for the year so far.

The film ahead of Race 3 on the total earnings list — Veere Di Wedding — made $18,698 from 12 theaters ($1,582 average), bringing its total to $2,712,314. The movie ahead of Veere Di Wedding on list — Raazi — earned $6,267 from seven theaters ($895 average) to bring its total to $3,013,530.

One US theater earned $902 from Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran in its sixth weekend of release. Its total earnings stand at $448,256 — 15th best for the year, if you’re curious.

Sources: Bollywood Hungama and Box Office Mojo

Streaming Video News: July 1, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two dozen additions to the streaming catalog. More than half of the new films are Malayalam movies from the last year or two, including Angamaly Diaries. Notable titles among the newly added Hindi films include SRK & Rani’s Chalte Chalte, the Govinda-Priyanka Chopra comedy Deewana Main Deewana, Akshay & Katrina’s Namastey London, Imtiaz Ali’s directorial debut Socha Na Tha, and the 2018 release Zoo, featuring Brahman Naman star Shashank Arora and directed by Haraamkhor‘s Shlok Sharma. Here’s everything else added today:

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with two new additions: the 2017 Tamil film Sakka Podu Podu Raja and Golmaal Again, which I think has been available on Prime in India for a while. Lucky us?