Money ‘taken from Cambodian child’ in casting game for Angelina Jolie movie

‘Srey Moch [above, with Jolie] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,’ the US star, who directed First They Killed My Father, told Vanity Fair. Photograph: Roland Neveu/Netflix

A casting technique used in Angelina Jolie’s new film involved giving money to, then taking it away from an impoverished Cambodian child – who was awarded the part when she became “overwhelmed with emotion”.

Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), recounted the method in an interview with Vanity Fair. Her made-for-Netflix film First They Killed My Father, tells the story of life under the regime of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot. According to the article, Jolie looked in “orphanages, circuses and slum schools” for children “who had experienced hardship” to audition for the role of Loung Ung, from whose memoir the film is adapted.

Evgenia Peretz, the article’s author, wrote that the casting directors then “set up a game, disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then [for the child] to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie.”

“Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie told Peretz. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.”

“When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral,” Jolie added.

In the interview Jolie also revealed that she was diagnosed last year with Bell’s palsy, which causes temporary paralysis of the facial muscles. Jolie credits acupuncture for helping her to recover from the condition, which had caused one side of her face to droop. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last, until it manifests itself in their own health,” she said of the illness.

Jolie also discussed the surgery she underwent after learning that she had a gene mutation that increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. In 2013 the actor underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery and later wrote about the experience for the New York Times. She has since had her ovaries removed, a decision she says she made after blood tests indicated she might have cancer. When Jolie learnt that she didn’t have cancer, she says, “I dropped to my knees. I went into the actual [ovarian] surgery happy as they come. I was skipping. Because at that point it was just preventative,” she said.

First They Killed My Father will be shown at the Toronto international film festival, and is expected to be released later this year.

[“Source-theguardian”]

Munna Michael Movie Review

Munna Michael Review {2.5/5}: Tiger fans will have a field day with his breakdancing

CRITIC’S RATING: 2.5/5
AVG READERS’ RATING: 2.7/5

REVIEW THIS MOVIE
CAST:Tiger Shroff, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Nidhhi Agerwal, Ronit Roy
DIRECTION:Sabbir Khan
GENRE:Action
DURATION:2 hours 20 minutes
SHOW TIMINGS IN YOUR CITY
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  • CRITIC’S REVIEW
MUNNA MICHAEL STORY : Munna (Tiger) is an orphan brought up by an ageing chorus dancer Michael (Ronit) in a Mumbai chawl. The boy grows up idolising Michael Jackson. To realise his dream of grooving like the King of Pop, he even agrees to tutor a hoodlum, Mahindar Fauji(Nawazuddin). Their bromance turns ugly when both end up falling in love with Deepika aka Dolly (Nidhhi).

MUNNA MICHAEL REVIEW : With Tiger around, filmmakers normally do not bother finding a script. Instead they just coast along joining the dots of a routine story with neatly-choreographed songs and fights at regular intervals. You can almost record screen proceedings with your stopwatch because after every 15 minutes, there is a–song, fight, song, fight and some more blah.

Tiger has in the past made films like Heropanti, Baaghi work at the box-office with just his agility and sincerity. So director Sabbir Khan, whose third outing this is with the star-cub, continues providing formula for the intellectually challenged. But Tiger fans will have a field day with his breakdancing.

In what seems like an encore of his previous work, Tiger dances like a dream and breaks bones with the grace of a ballerina. You can only tell that this is a different film only because he mouths a different dialogue here. It goes, “Munna jhagda nahi karta, munna sirf pithta hai.”

How cleverly original that is! But, grant it to this star-son. He continuously pulls out weapons from his arsenal–back-flip, midair Van Damme-split and kick, glide, moonwalk or a just bare-body shot—forcing his audience into submission, even though there’s no semblance of anything coherent showing on screen.

When the fidgeting reaches a frustrating point, you’re introduced to the land-grabbing, gun-toting goon, Mahindar, who hires Tiger to teach him some mean moves on the floor. Furthermore, this Don with a Rajasthani dialect explains that the reason he needs to correct his two left-feet condition is because he’s madly-in-love with Dolly, a dream-dancer from Meerut.

Debutant Nidhhi, who is the bone of contention here, is overconfident and underwhelming by turn. She wears a neat shape on her but then again, it is Tiger’s chiseled frame that draws more whistles than the newbie’s.

Nawaz continues to be a revelation in each film. Here he adds a new dimension to his terribly mean, horribly funny routine, making you chuckle.

Well, if you’re in the mood to get rid of the monsoon blues with the foot-tapping ding dang, ding dang ditty, you should get introduced to Munna Michael; he’s not making breaking any new ground, but his moves are certainly infectious.

[“Source-timesofindia”]

Sachin: A Billion Dreams Movie Review: It Coasts Along on the Strength of Nostalgia, Familiarity

Image result for Sachin: A Billion Dreams Movie Review: It Coasts Along on the Strength of Nostalgia, FamiliarityIt’s a tricky thing reviewing a film that celebrates the life and career of one of the most loved sportsmen this country has produced. Because fans tend to have trouble making a distinction between the film and the man. Which means any criticism of the film, any attempt on your part to point out its shortcomings will inevitably be misread as criticism of its famous subject.

Told you it wasn’t easy being a critic!

Sachin: A Billion Dreams faithfully chronicles every major milestone in the career of cricketing god Sachin Tendulkar, from his debut at 16 in international cricket to his retirement from the sport four years ago. It’s a journey that’s been obsessively followed and documented, hence not a lot of this is stuff you haven’t seen before. Then there is the matter of Sachin’s reluctance to address the controversies you’re interested in.

The film acknowledges that there were tensions in the dressing room when Sachin replaced Mohammed Azharuddin as captain, but the master blaster himself reveals no details. On the prickly issue of the match-fixing scandal, he expresses disappointment and shock but refrains from any constructive discussion on the incident. It’s only in the case of Greg Chappell that Sachin commits to anything by way of a firm response, describing the former coach’s style as “divide and rule”, and squarely blaming him for the team’s poor performance in the 2007 World Cup.

He’s more expressive when it comes to sharing his own vulnerabilities and failures. His rough patch on the field, his debilitating injuries and their impact on his game, and of course his ill-fated stints as captain. Emotion runs strong when he speaks about his father’s passing, and about his continuing efforts to live his life in the way that his father recommended.

The film’s real treasure is the footage of Sachin Tendulkar in his private moments: holding his baby daughter Sara for the first time, holidays with the family, hanging out with his friends, training with his son Arjun. It is unguarded moments like these, many accompanied by revealing interviews of family and friends that help piece together the jigsaw puzzle that is Sachin, the man behind the legend.

Like his wife Anjali recounting the time after their marriage that he made it clear that only one of them could work. Or his telling her, quite firmly, that he wouldn’t change the baby’s diapers. Another unexpected revelation comes from a childhood friend who names the Bappi Lahiri track that is Sachin’s comfort music.

Director James Erskine’s patchwork quilt of significant moments from Sachin’s life includes a recreation of his childhood years with a cast of competent actors. This he melds with both incredible home videos and news footage from a storied career. Sachin’s achievements are placed in the context of India’s own modern history, and his rise and rise as one of the greatest icons of our time.

No matter how many times we’ve seen the clip, it’s impossible not to cheer at India’s 2011 World Cup Win, or choke up while watching Sachin deliver that heartfelt retirement speech at Wankhede. Sure there’s a lot more this film could’ve been, but it coasts along on the strength of nostalgia, familiarity, and our collective love for a man who’s name we turned into a chant.

I’m going with three out of five. Prepare for major gooseflesh.

Rating: 3 / 5

What’s your reaction to Sachin: A Billion Dreams

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[“Source-ndtv”]

Capsule movie reviews, March 26

Writer James Baldwin in “I Am Not Your Negro.” Photo: Bob Adelman, Magnolia Pictures

American Anarchist Documentary about William Powell, who wrote “The Anarchist Cookbook” in 1971, which contained information about making explosives and illicit drugs. Not reviewed. Not rated. 80 minutes.

Bokeh Sci-fi thriller about a young vacationing couple who wake up to find that everyone else on Earth has disappeared. Not reviewed. Not rated. 92 minutes.

Chips Action comedy about a rookie CHP officer who is teamed with a hardened veteran. Dax Shepard wrote, directed and co-stars (with Michael Peña). Rated R. 100 minutes.

ALERT VIEWERFifty Shades Darker Despite the title, this second installment in the “Fifty Shades” saga is softer and more pleasant, with Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan playing lovers growing within and coming to terms with their relationship. The movie is silly, but weirdly appealing. Rated R. 120 minutes.—M.LaSalle

WILD APPLAUSEFrantz Director Francois Ozon reimagines Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 antiwar film as from the perspective of the young German woman (Paula Beer) who has lost her fiancee in World War I and meets a mysterious Frenchman. Beautifully filmed and acted. Rated PG. 113 minutes. In French and German with English subtitles.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSEGet Out This first film from director Jordan Peele is very much a product of 2017, a comic horror film about a young black man (Daniel Kaluuya) who goes with his new girlfriend (Allison Williams) on a visit to her parents’ house. It’s a funny and unsettling mix of paranoia and a comic awareness of its own paranoia, and it’s irresistible. Rated R. 103 minutes.—M.LaSalle

SNOOZING VIEWERThe Great Wall This is a Chinese action/monster movie, somehow starring Matt Damon as an English mercenary. The narrative is clumsy, and the monster scenes are ridiculous, but not ridiculous enough to be funny, just ridiculous enough to be boring. It’s hard to care, and there’s no reason to try. Rated PG-13. 103 minutes.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSEHidden Figures A by-the-books historical piece, about black female mathematicians working in NASA’s early days, the film is enlivened by the three principal actresses, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer, and by Kevin Costner, who is the perfect vision of the early 1960s man. Rated PG. 127 minutes.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSEI Am Not Your Negro James Baldwin’s writings on race (spoken by Samuel L. Jackson) are interspersed with footage of Baldwin making speeches and appearing on talk shows. The result demonstrates that Baldwin, who died 30 years ago, is as relevant today as he was in the 1960s and ’70s. Rated PG-13. 95 minutes.—M.LaSalle

SNOOZING VIEWERJohn Wick: Chapter 2 An action movie that fails even on its own limited terms, it features Keanu Reeves as a one-man killing machine, but also as a hapless victim of circumstance. It’s an exercise in monotonous choreographed spectacle that doesn’t do justice to Reeves and ends up leaving the audience dispirited. Rated R. 122 minutes.—M.LaSalle

WILD APPLAUSEJulieta Pedro Almodóvar delivers one of his best films, the story of a woman from age 25 to 56, as played by two actresses who really do seem to be inhabiting the same soul. It’s subtle, brilliantly acted and in touch with essential truths, a great film. Rated R. 99 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles.—M.LaSalle

Keep Watching Horror thriller about a family tormented by murderous home invaders. Not reviewed. Rated R.

POLITE APPLAUSEKong: Skull Island King Kong never looked so good as in this well-directed, well-acted, imaginatively crafted and very respectably written revisit of the King story, this time on his native habitat of Skull Island. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Rated PG-13. 120 minutes.—M.LaSalle

WILD APPLAUSELa La Land This modern musical takes the best of the old (rich color, extended shots for the dances) and weds it to new music and a contemporary story. The result is one of the best films of the year, with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as a pair of strivers who meet in Los Angeles and try to help each other. Rated PG-13. 128 minutes.—M.LaSalle

ALERT VIEWERThe Last Word Shirley MacLaine is a difficult retired businesswoman and Amanda Seyfried is a newspaper obituary writer with poetic aspirations, in this slightly canned but satisfying story of two women becoming friends at opposite ends of their lives. Rated R. 108 minutes.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSEThe Lego Batman Movie The animated comedy is less awesome than its predecessor, but it’s a clever, well-paced, self-aware and completely satisfying kind of less awesome. It takes the most entertaining secondary character from “The Lego Movie,” then builds 104 minutes around him with little fatigue. All inferior sequels should be as fun as this one. Rated PG. 104 minutes.—P.Hartlaub

Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire Documentary about the singer-songwriter’s 1972 European tour. Not reviewed. Not rated. 106 minutes.

Life Science-fiction/horror thriller about the discovery of life on Mars. With Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal. Rated R. 103 minutes.

WILD APPLAUSELogan The ninth appearance by Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in 17 years takes a massive tone shift from the relatively bloodless earlier X-Men films, going berserk in its own moody and ultra-violent direction. Jackman and director James Mangold create something great here, upsetting comic book norms without losing entertainment value. Rated R. 141 minutes.—P.Hartlaub

POLITE APPLAUSELove & Taxes Josh Kornbluth stars in this dramatic version of his stage monologue, about his adventures with the tax man, including not filing and dealing with a very expensive accountant. Kornbluth is an appealing actor, and the result is an engaging film. Not rated. 90 minutes.—M.LaSalle

WILD APPLAUSEMoonlight One of the best movies of the year, this Barry Jenkins film tells the story of a man, from childhood through young adulthood, and shows how environment can exert enormous changes on the spirit. Vigorously filmed and sensitively guided, this is beautiful work. Rated R. 110 minutes.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSEMr. Gaga Offering rare insight into ultra-private Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, this gorgeous if gushing documentary includes into his origins, his artistry and the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company. Directed by adoring fan and 20-year friend Tomer Heymann. Not rated. 101 minutes.—C.Bauer

SNOOZING VIEWERPersonal Shopper Kristen Stewart strains to hold up the edifice of this awful Olivier Assayas mess, about a personal shopper to a celebrity (Stewart), who is also trying to communicate with the dead. Long, dull and structureless, it brings out the worst in Stewart, who has never seemed so mannered and inauthentic. Rated R. 105 minutes.—M.LaSalle

Power Rangers Science-fiction/adventure film about a group of teenagers with superpowers who fight to save the world. Rated PG-13. 124 minutes.

POLITE APPLAUSERaw Director Julia Ducournau understands coming-of-age fears as much as she gets scary movies, and she manages both near-perfectly in this graphic thriller about a cannibal college student. Not for the squeamish, but Ducournau’s expert hand should earn the respect of any cinephile who can handle the explicit content. Rated R. 99 minutes.—P.Hartlaub

POLITE APPLAUSEThe Salesman A husband and wife, actors appearing in an Iranian production of “Death of Salesman,” have their lives thrown off balance when the woman is attacked by an intruder while taking a shower. It’s another perceptive and compulsively watchable examination of domestic life from Asghar Farhadi (“The Past”). Rated PG-13. 125 minutes. In Farsi with English subtitles.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSEThe Sense of an Ending Well-acted, understated and British to the core, this drama is based on Julian Barnes’ novel of the same title, charting what happens when the past abruptly catches up with an aging Londoner. Jim Broadbent does a fine job as a man who is old-school but not a caricature. Good supporting work from Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walker and Michelle Dockery. Directed by Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox”). Rated PG-13. 108 minutes.—W.Addiego

SNOOZING VIEWERSong to Song Terrence Malick’s latest, about songwriters in Austin, is a huge disappointment, over two hours of wistful voice-over contemplation to the sight of various vague characters improvising in the most obvious and tiresome of ways. Starring Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Michael Fassbender. Rated R. 129 minutes.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSESplit M. Night Shyamalan’s latest surprise twist is his own career revival. This low-budget thriller about a criminal with multiple personalities is an entertaining original. James McAvoy is excellent playing more than a dozen roles. Even as the story begins to fester toward the end, it never stops being fun. Rated PG-13. 117 minutes.—P.Hartlaub

WILD APPLAUSET2 Trainspotting The sequel to “Trainspotting,” the 1996 film about heroin addicts in Edinburgh, is a likable and sumptuously filmed comedy, delightful to watch from start to finish. Rated R. 113 minutes.—M.LaSalle

POLITE APPLAUSETickling Giants This documentary about comedian Bassem Youssef, the Jon Stewart of Egypt, delivers a loud and clear message about repression anywhere in the world. Not rated. 111 minutes.—L.Hertz

ALERT VIEWERA United Kingdom The marriage between an African king and a white British woman and the subsequent international fallout is the subject of this true story, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. But the movie, though conscientious, ultimately fails to satisfy as either a love story or as a tale of mid-century politics. Rated PG-13. 111 minutes.—M.LaSalle

ALERT VIEWERWilson This dark comedy, about a curmudgeonly hermit who tries to reconnect with the world, is loaded with funny characters and moments, even if it doesn’t add up to an emotionally satisfying whole. Rated R. 94 minutes.—D.Lewis

[“Source-sfgate”]