Thursday, November 24, 2016

Veer-Zaara (2004)

I credit Veer-Zaara with basically my entire Bollywood obsession. Ten years ago, my best friend and I ordered the dvd on the basis of a) Shahrukh Khan and b) the “Love Legend” tagline. We’d already watched Bride and Prejudice, which isn’t a very good movie, Devdas, which I hated, and Dil Se, which I really, really, did not get. Veer-Zaara was a good choice. Like Kandukondain, this movie is just as good ten years later. Maybe even better.

So we start with an absolutely standard romantic ballad in the yellow mustard, starring Shahrukh and an unknown woman. It’s not bad, but it’s not poignant until you’ve actually, you know, seen the whole movie.

After the credits, we meet Saamiya (Rani Mukerji), idealistic human rights lawyer in Pakistan. She’s been assigned her first case, an Indian prisoner who’s been in for 22 years. It’s probably an unwinnable case, since the man won’t speak. Until Saamiya addresses him as Veer Pratap Singh, previously of the Indian Air Force. And he tells his story.

Veer (Shahrukh, duh) was a rescue pilot with the Indian Air Force and it all started when he met a girl. A girl from Pakistan, spoiled and sheltered, and very beautiful, with a kind heart. Her father is a rich man, and has fixed her marriage with a political ally. Zaara is charming, because, well, she is played by Preity Zinta and there’s no way she couldn’t be. But her Bebe (Zohra Sehgal, the best grandmother Bollywood has ever known) passes away, and her dying wish is that her ashes be taken to Kiratpur, in India, to join her Sikh ancestors. So Zaara goes, alone, to India.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Angel S2E19 - E22

I love Fred. We meet her in these episodes, so they can do no wrong in my eyes.


Cordelia has a vision of a girl in a library (FRED!) being sucked through a portal, and at the same time a demon has come through another portal in Lorne’s bar. It’s from Lorne’s home dimension Pylea, and he is very interested in completely avoiding any discussion of it, but they accidently open yet another portal and call one of Lorne’s relatives. After an adventure with him, they send him home. But Cordelia is inexplicably taken too. Very inexplicably, since she’s standing right next to Wesley and he doesn’t even notice.

“Over the Rainbow” 

Angel is pissed. And frantic. They are going to Pylea to rescue Cordelia, and that is that. And he is not interested in excuses like Lorne’s complete unwillingness to return home, or in Wesley’s concerns about travel mechanics.

Meanwhile, Cordelia discovers that in this world, humans are slaves, and seeing visions means you get tortured with pokers to determine if you’re “cursed”. Fred (FRED!) tries to help Cordelia adjust to Pylean life. She’s been there forever, and you don’t go back.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Had an epiphany

Angel S2E15 - E18


It’s time for the 75-year review at Wolfram & Hart! Fun times for all when a Senior Partner comes to visit. I love the concept of Wolfram & Hart. Something about the mundane merged with supernatural evil makes me laugh every time. So employees are subcontracting goat sacrifices, and very possibly trading in the souls of their firstborn children.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Just wanted to screw some law firm.

Skipped some episodes because lazy.

Angel S2E8 - E14

So, Wolfram & Hart brought Darla back from the dead, as a human, in order to mess with Angel’s head. This has been very effective. Now we are up to speed.

“Shroud of Rahmon”

Cordelia and Wesley are really tired of Angel brooding about Darla. As am I! So when Gunn shows up needing help to foil a mystical heist, we are all very happy for the distraction. Even better is Angel disguising himself as a flashy vampire, and best is Angel and Gunn bro-ing at each other for the top demon-fighter spot.

“The Trial” 

And we’re back to Darla. Her human body is picking up right where it left off, dying of syphilis. Angel offers his life to save hers, but that doesn't pan out. He’s got a lot of angst riding on saving Darla, which makes it much worse when Wolfram & Hart invite Drusilla to LA to do what Angel won’t.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Check. No more butt-monkey.

Buffy S5E1 - E6

“Buffy vs. Dracula”

This is a terrible episode. It really is. If you want a sexy vampire trying to give Buffy a taste of the darkness behind her slayer power, that is what Spike is for. If your guest actor isn’t as hot as James Marsters, the entire premise fails. The end.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A world without shrimp

Buffy S4E17 - E22


Something nice and light after all the Faith stuff. We begin in a Sunnydale championed by hero Jonathan, writer, movie star, popular with the ladies, and way better at slaying vampires than Buffy. Jonathan paraphernalia is everywhere, as even Tara and Willow tape pictures of him to their wall.

His spell unravels, though, and the world returns to the way it was. Jonathan is again alone and inconsequential. In this season, he’s not even the butt of jokes. I think this is the only episode he appears in.

“Where the Wild Things Are”

Buffy and Riley have so much sex that they awaken disturbing spirits of the frat house during a party. Sunnydale frat houses are bad, bad news. I don’t think anything good ever happens in one during the entire run of Buffy. Anyway, this is a very dumb premise, but the episode’s not too bad.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Did you get to the part where you're evil?

Angel S1E20 - E22

“War Zone”

Gunn! We’re introduced to his scrappy band of vampire fighters, trying to survive in a tough neighborhood.

“Blind Date”

Ostensibly, this is about an assassin hired by Wolfram and Hart - a blind woman, trained by monks to see beyond the visible spectrum. This makes her very dangerous and also really easy to get acquitted of murder charges. But it’s a Lindsey episode, and I really, really like Lindsey. I mean, I don’t like Lindsey, but he’s a morally ambiguous asshole and a great foil for Angel. Especially when he wants help.

Faith, the vampire slayer

Buffy S4E15 - E16 and Angel S1E18 - E19

This is a really powerful set of episodes, and I think a satisfying closure to Faith’s arc from last season.

“This Year’s Girl”

To be honest, the lack of fallout Buffy took for attempted murder of a human was pretty disturbing. And I’m not really sure that’s really resolved. This episode opens with a dream sequence that gives Buffy the opportunity to face her actions, though, at least a little bit.

So Faith wakes up from her coma and lashes out at Buffy, her friends and her mother. But the Mayor has left Faith a gift to let her finally take down Buffy for good.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Yummy Sushi Pajamas

Buffy S4E10 - E14


This is a fantastic episode, and I’m sure much has been written on the internet about it. The writing, the directing, the music, it’s all great. I need to remember to not watch it late at night while home alone, though.

Fairy tale monsters come to Sunnydale and steal everyone’s voices, and wordless communication becomes the order of the day. Buffy and Riley find out each other’s secret identities, and Willow meets Tara and does some magic.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Poor Willow

Buffy S4E6 - E9

“Wild at Heart”

And we’re back to the show we know and love, the one that rips out our hearts and then stomps on them and worst of all makes Willow cry. Oz becomes attracted to a sexy singer werewolf girl, Veruca, whose movements are probably supposed to convey some animalistic sensuality but instead make her look like confused poultry.

Please compare Veruca the werewolf to Poppy the chicken.
Willow is not stupid, and knows something is up. She tries to get advice, and Xander suggests she actually talk to Oz about it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

You're not going to untie me, are you?

Angel S1E13 - E17


Okay, I guess technically Wesley isn’t an Angel Investigations employee until this episode. He is nailing the comedy, though.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for Joss Whedon’s dialogue, but I think Alexis Denisof is actually just that good. Plus, that party scene! I wish I made gifs, because Wesley dancing is completely hilarious. As is Angel imaging himself dancing, which I think is the first time we get to see this Angel, the one who likes Barry Manilow.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Low Rats

Angel S1E9 - E12


Do Nazis ever make stories better? They do not make this story better. In “Hero” we get more of Doyle’s backstory, and find out that like Angel, he’s also seeking redemption. And what he’s seeking redemption for is ignoring a fellow demon who needed shelter from demon Nazis. The demon Nazis are, unsurprisingly, seeking to rid the earth of demons that have mixed with humans - such as vampires and people like Doyle - and are so very Nazi that one might wonder why they don’t mind their ideology being stolen entirely from those humans they despise. Seriously. We get the race parallels, Joss. No need to jackboot it into our heads.

But Doyle gets to save the day. He even does the dramatic thing and punches out Angel to get there first, kisses Cordelia, and leaps to his death to save a whole group of oppressed demons. And he gets a proper goodbye, with Cordelia's badly scripted commercial.

I don't know why his death in particular always hits me this hard. He was only there for 9 episodes, but it kills me every time I watch it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

She left him for a fungus demon

Buffy S4E2-4

“Living Conditions”

Didn’t it seem like your freshman roommate was actually a soul-sucking demon from an alternate dimension? Wouldn’t you have liked them to get pulled through a transdimensional portal back to the demon world from which they came? Buffy gets all the luck.

“The Harsh Light of Day”

It continues to suck to be Buffy, as she attempts again to date someone normal. Turns out that after sex not only can vampires turn into soulless demons that try to kill all your friends, humans can also show their true colors as douchebags. For a show that gets such feminist kudos, it sure would be nice if Buffy stopped getting punished for sex. Anyway, at the same time, Spike is back in Sunnydale again, and it’s totally not because he’s obsessed with Buffy, definitely not, there’s just some ring that makes a vampire invulnerable conveniently buried there that he’s looking for. He’s also finding some of his own consequences to sex, in that the newly vampired Harmony has started calling him “Blondie Bear”.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

UC Hellmouth

Buffy S4E1

Hopping onto Buffy-blogging at season 4. So, the gang has graduated, blown up high school, and averted the apocalypse at least a couple times.

Willow: Very excited to be in college. Has new hair. Is cute.

Oz: Still Willow’s boyfriend. Still terminally laid-back.

Xander: Tried to take a road trip to see America, ended up stuck in Oxnard. Poor Xander.

Giles: Unemployed due to blowing up the high school library. No longer technically a Watcher, either.

Buffy: Not handling change very well.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"I Will Remember You"

Angel S1E8

For the Angel/Buffy fans. What are they called, anyway? Spuffy rolls off the tongue, but what is this, Bufgel*? I’m not going to google it on my work computer, that is for sure**.

*sounds like the tiger balm version of muscle milk
**that was the correct decision. However, tells me that it is “Bangel” which seems a little mean considering how little they actually get to bang.

Anyway, Buffy visits Angel to tell him off for skulking around Sunnydale (“Pangs”), but while fighting a demon together it turns Angel into a human. Well, that’s cool, he thinks. Human souls are much more durable than vampire ones, so he and Buffy can have tons of sex. But as he adjusts to human vulnerabilities he feels guilty that The Powers that Be probably didn’t bring him back from hell so he could eat peanut butter chocolate ice cream in bed.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I think it, I say it.

Angel S1E4-7

Yet another blonde woman is in peril from a dangerous stalker in “I Fall to Pieces”. His methods are supernatural but otherwise he’s distressingly mundane. Kind of an interesting counterpoint to the Buffy S3 episode “Beauty and the Beasts” where the abusive boyfriend turns bad via chemistry/magic - here the stalker was already abusive, he just happens to use detachable body parts to get what he wants. Also, very creepy.

“Rm w/a Vu” or “In which Cordelia gets a new apartment, completely loses her security deposit but finds herself.” I am so, so glad Cordelia got to be on this show. By the end of Buffy S3 it seemed like she was often just around to justify her place in the opening credits and letting her do things here is very exciting.

More Kate Lockley in “Sense and Sensitivity.” Because police brutality is funny when it’s a lady! I mean, I like Rani in Mardaani, I liked Bhavani, I cheered when they beat people up. I don’t know if I feel less sympathetic because Kate’s motivations are less noble, or if it’s just that my sympathy plummets when the cop's in blue instead of khaki.

On the other hand, Angel wears his hawaiian shirt disguise, which is the best.

“Bachelor Party”

There has to be a gif somewhere of Doyle trying to fight while wheeling around trapped in a box, because that’s hilarious. The episode is interesting because so far the only “good” demons are exceptions - Angel, Doyle, that annoying guy from Buffy S2, Anya (kind of), but here we have a whole family of demons who aren’t evil. Who are in fact, quite normal. Except not. Except kind of. So it’s a cool way to play with the introduction, because first KenRichard is the bumbling ex’s-new-partner who is distressingly normal, especially in comparison to Doyle. Then we find out he’s a demon and feel vindicated, even though the sequence is a little too neat to be true. So yeah, he’s a demon, but a good guy from a normal family, and Doyle’s ex-wife isn’t in trouble at all. Now it’s just awkward until KenRichard tries to eat Doyle’s brains and Angel has to save someone for real. It’s all a great farce, and yet still manages to leave us with “well, okay, these guys wanted to eat our protagonist’s brains, but demons still seem like reasonable people”.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Brooding In the Dark

I’ve decided on an epic rewatch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Unfortunately, I got through Buffy S3 without ever writing anything, so I’m starting with S1 of Angel and just going with it. It’s not Bollywood, but it’s got cheese and melodrama and I really like it and have lots of things to say, none of which are terribly intellectual so it seems like it'll fit right in on this blog.

I think Angel has smiled more in the first three episodes of this show than he ever did in three seasons of Buffy. That plus lampshading his habit of brooding alone in the dark endears me to him more than any amount of true love could have.

I realize that most people gif this kind of thing. But I a) do not have photoshop and b) am lazy.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Kapoor & Sons (2016)

I’m not going to say I wasted $9.50, but I would rather have watched Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, which is also written and directed by Shakun Batra, is also really annoying, but is on netflix and has Kareena Kapoor. Plus better songs.

So this is a family drama. I refuse to call it a melodrama, despite the sheer density of familial lies, resentment, and tragedy in this movie, because I like melodramas. Melodramas have big stories, evoke big feelings, and take you away into a world where even the mundane is full of dramatic significance. This is normal drama, just a hell of a lot of it. Dysfunctional families just don’t do it for me, or maybe I can only stand one per year and I already watched Dil Dhadakne Do. I can’t really fault the acting (well, maybe Sidharth Malhotra’s) but boy was this long and really overwritten.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Darr (1993)

Darr means “fear”, and the tagline is “A violent love story”, just so you know what you’re getting into. It’s not a love story at all. It’s beyond those stories of all-consuming love like Dil Se all the way past Raanjhana and into some heavy-duty crazy. So naturally I enjoyed it.

 Shahrukh Khan plays Rahul, an unbalanced young man dangerously obsessed with Kiran (Juhi Chawla).

Kiran is as beautiful and carefree as Juhi usually is. As she gets ready to leave college, she’s serenaded by an unseen singer. She assumes it’s her fiance, Sunil (Sunny Deol*), but as she searches the campus and the gardens, the mysterious voice stays hidden. It’s not Sunil, it’s Rahul, and as the movie goes on, the refrain “tu haan kar/yah naa kar/tu hai meri Kiran” (Whether you say yes or no, you’re mine) becomes more and more disturbing because we will find out that is exactly what he means. Nothing Kiran can do will stop him.

*My favorite part of the wikipedia entry on this movie: “Chopra offered Sunny Deol the choice between playing the role of Rahul and Sunil. Deol chose the latter, believing it would be an asset to his career. However, this did not happen.”