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Recent Movies: Marley, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel *************************

July 7, 2012
This documentary exposes the life and music of reggae master, Bob Marley.
After the first half hour of this film, it seemed to lag a bit.  This was worrisome as the total film length is 2.5 hours.  However, it recovered itself quite well and became an enjoyable experience.  This is mainly due to the likeability of the interviewees – most of whom knew Marley, including some members of his extended families.  One exception was his smug lawyer in one snippet.
The wonderful historical footage also shows much about Jamaican culture, unscrupulous record companies (perhaps a redundant term), and great concert footage of the 60s and 70s.
A fine experience overall.
Rating (out of four stars):   * * *
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Seven British pensioners move to the title hotel in Jaipur, India for various reasons.  Once they arrive, things are not as they had expected.
Firstly, the flaws:  there are elements in the film’s conclusion that are predictable and can be seen at least a mile away.  Also, the film begins well in a subplot involving a gay character showing rare sensitivity.  Then it falls into an unfortunate cliché that has plagued gay characters in films for decades.
However, the joys of the film make it very much worth recommending.
With seven experienced British actors (plus Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire”), the performances are the film’s greatest strength.  They add oomph to some wonderfully, witty lines in the film’s screenplay.  Some of the better parts of the end include some life lessons narrated by characters played by the wonderful  likes of Maggie Smith and Judi Dench.  This leaves viewers coming out of the theatre with a genuinely warm feeling.
Add to the mix the beautiful setting of Jaipur and a subplot about a lower-caste family and it’s easy to see why this film is such a box-office hit.
Rating:   * * *

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