3 Idiots

[3.0 stars] 3 Idiots (2009) on IMDb

[Amazon Link]

An epic Bollywood flick from 2009. And when I say "epic", I mean "nearly three hours long." You can almost hear the filmmakers saying: "Hey, let's put one more thing in there." According to Wikipedia, it set box office records in India, and got all kinds of awards; if you'd like to know how your movie taste comports with Indian critics and moviegoers, this is a good choice.

The movie centers around three young men, Farhan, Raju, and Rancho, who originally met at a competitive engineering college. (Roughly: the Indian MIT.) Ten years later, their irritating college nemesis, Chatur, dupes Farhan and Raju into joining him in seeking out Rancho. Why? Because Chatur and Rancho had a bet about who would be more successful, Chatur is pretty sure he's won, and he would like to humiliate Rancho and his friends.

Most of the story is told in flashbacks to the lads' college exploits, which involved plenty of wild hijinks, but also melodrama and tragedy. Forbidden love, academic tyranny, suicide, toilet humor, medical emergencies, wacky misunderstandings, … it's all here! Also Bollywood song and dance, which is an (um) acquired taste. My cats scampered from the room.

There are a couple of plot twists (didn't see them coming) and a big surprise ending (which I did see coming 90 minutes away, and you will too).

Last Modified 2012-09-25 4:52 AM EDT

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

[Amazon Link]

Book Two in my quest to (at long last) read through the Harry Potter series. So far, so good!

It's Harry's second year at Hogwarts, although he barely makes it. A good-hearted elf named Dobby would prefer that Harry stay in the non-magical world, where he'll be safer; Dobby engages in all sorts of trickery to keep Harry at home with his despicable step-family, the Dursleys.

But it wouldn't be very interesting if Harry wasn't in some sort of peril, and so he (barely) makes it to Hogwarts, where he tasks himself with finding the titular Chamber of Secrets, hidden somewhere in the school's magical innards. Because something evil is slithering through Hogwarts, detected only by Harry. Bad things happen to good people, including Ron Weasley's little sister Ginny. Can Harry save her in time?.

It's not all grim, though. Comic relief is provided by the new instructor in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Gilderoy Lockhart, whose incompetence is matched only by his vanity. (Kenneth Branagh played him very well in the movie.)

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:04 AM EDT