Films Reviewed: Best of Enemies, Amar, Akbar & Tony PLUS TIFF40 International Launch

Posted in Clash of Cultures, comedy, Conservativism, Crime, Cultural Mining, documentary, Movies, TV, UK, US by CulturalMining.com on July 31, 2015

Hi, this is Daniel Garber at the Movies for culturalmining.com and CIUT 89.5 FM.

Biko Squares at KulturaI said before there are no summer festivals, but thats not exactly true. There are plays of course, cultural festivals like Caribana and a Filipino festival called, fittingly enough. Kultura. They’re showcasing Filipino arts and culture and serving new riffs on traditional cuisine. And the Mosaic South Asian film fest in Mississauga features films from India, Canada and around the world.

This week I’m looking at two movies. A UK comedy/drama about three devoted friends, and an American documentary about two sworn enemies. But before that a preview of movies coming to TIFF this fall.

8qWV3l_1507-TIFF40-8484_o3_8663841_1436473920TIFF40 International Launch

The Toronto International Film Festival, one of the world’s preeminent film festivals, just released the names of some of the international films premiering there in September. I can’t recommend anything yet since I haven’t seen them, but here are a few that night be really good.dda510_dff5c81b3edb4224a5d9c9b301be2a56.jpeg_srb_p_439_293_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpeg_srb

Trumbo, directed by Jay Roach, tells the story of famed Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston). He famous for classics like Spartacus, Exodus, and Roman Holiday. But he was blacklisted as one of the Hollywood 10, who 830701-D-9880W-001refused to testify at HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Where to Invade Next is Michael Moore’s latest tongue-in-cheek documentary where he tells the Pentagon to relax, he’ll take over the job choosing IMG_0214.CR2America’s next war.

And, at last, some good news out of Greece: there’s a new movie called The Lobster by the always bizarre social satirist Yorgos Lanthimos. In some future world it’s singles who face g5MLJ9_legend_01_o3_8694644_1438110470the most severe austerity laws: anyone who doesn’t hook up with a mate in 6 weeks is turned into an animal.

Finally I can’t wait to see Tom Hardy in the biopic Legend about Reggie and Ronnie Kray the violent and sexually audacious identical-twin London gangsters. Hardy plays both brothers.

William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal in BEST OF ENEMIES, a Video Services Corp. release. Photo courtesy of Video Services Corp.Best of Enemies
Dir: Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville

In 1968, ABC TV, the third-ranked US network, tried something new and audacious. They put two men on live TV to comment on the Democratic and Republican primaries leading up to the election. What they didn’t know is the degree if vitriol the meeting would spark. William F Buckley was a right-wing intellectual who wrote for the National Review. He was a free trader who feared the communists. Gore Vidal was a successful novelist and an avowed liberal who embodied the sexual revolution. He William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal in BEST OF ENEMIES, a Video Services Corp. Photo courtesy of Video Services Corp.was gay and wrote satirical books with transgendered heroines. In 1968 the nation was torn apart by the War in Vietnam. But the thing is, superficially at least, they were extremely similar. They both came from prosperous New England families and hob-nobbed with celebrities. They both were accomplished wordsmiths who loved and respected a good turn of phrase. They both spoke with an upper-class, mid-Atlantic Brahmin accent. And they hated each other’s guts. Eventually their conversation deteriorated into a spat with Buckley called a crypto-Nazi and Vidal the “F word” slur for gay men.

While there are some contemporary interviews, the best parts of this amazing documentary come from the actual of the debates. A great and very entertaining historical document.

1245_RosarioAmar, Akbar and Tony
Wri/Dir: Atul Malhotra

Amar, Akbar and Tony are best buddies in a South Asian West London neighbourhood. Amar (Rez Kempton) is a serious Sikh, engaged to be married and about to start his first job as a lawyer. Akbar (Sam Vincenti), of Muslim South Asian background is an overly self-confident entrepreneur. And Tony (Martin Delaney) who works at his Irish mom’s corner store, is romantically obsessed with a particularly comely Indian lass. She’s the one, he says, so his friends vow to help him meet her. But when her violently protective brother enters the fray, trouble follows, and Amar ends up in jail, his life ruined. The story picks up again after his jail term, where the three mates vow to rekindle their friendship. But can they overcome the heavy social pressures and their own 0600_AA&T_25May13misgivings?

Amar Akbar and Tony is an English film but seems to be aimed toward the Desi community. In some ways, it’s iconoclastic, showing how traditional families choose to deal with social taboos. I liked that. The humour, on the other hand was definitely hit and miss. A white guy with brown shoe polish on his face pretending to be Asian – can that ever be funny? Other scenes are more clever: like when Akbar, dating a Baby Spice-lookalike, is asked by her parents to declare his stand on terrorism.

Best of Enemies opens today in Toronto, check your local listings; Amar Akbar and Tony are among many movies having their North American premier at the 2015 Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF15) August 6-9 at Cineplex Mississauga and The Living Arts Centre. Go to misaff.com for details. And for info about TIFF go to tiff.net.

This is Daniel Garber at the Movies, each Friday morning, on CIUT 89.5 FM and on my website, culturalmining.com

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