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Weekly Mishmash: April 20-26

Chalte Chalte (1976). Sometimes I like to check out old Bollywood musicals. This particular one is no classic — with clumsy direction and some really bad, overwrought performances — but it’s almost worth watching for the parade of garish ’70s fabric patterns on display. The plot involves a woman stalking a guy and his fiancée, since the man in question is the mirror image of her missing husband. In contrast to the hideously awful fashions seen throughout the film, the main woman eventually goes on a crazed rampage while wearing an understated white and gray sari. There might be a message in that, right?
Doris Day’s Vanishing Act by David Kaufman (Vanity Fair, May 2008). Coming across this long excerpt from a forthcoming Doris Day bio in Vanity Fair was a pleasant surprise. It basically outlines the 86 year-old legend’s journey from the peak of her success with Pillow Talk through various personal turmoils (finding her fortune squandered after her third husband Marty Melcher died chief among them) to being a dog-loving recluse in Carmel, California. Fascinating piece.
Helvetica (2007). A bunch of famous designers explain their love/hate relationship with the world’s most ubiquitous font. I found this documentary enthralling, yet Christopher was bored. It’s contains lots of visually stimulating examples of graphic design in its natural setting of city streets around the globe, yet I can see where the endless babbling might be alienating to non-designers. Four stars for those in the profession; three for everyone else.
Hula Girls (2006). An award-winning Japanese drama about a troupe of women who take up hula dancing to save their embattled coal mining village. If it sounds like I described an Asian female Full Monty without the stripping, you got the right idea. A heartfelt film with several notable performances; affecting even if it gets way too teary-eyed and touchy feely at times.
Scanners (1981). For some reason I always grouped this Cronenberg film with Altered States and Videodrome as some kind of early ’80s psychological sci-fi troika. One down, two to go. Except for the guy’s head exploding and some spooky sounds on the synth-based soundtrack, it’s pretty dull.

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