Thursday, September 21, 2017


As mentioned in the main review, I absolutely came into this thinking it was going to be four hours long and therefore filled with twists or strangeness or whatever, and it's funny how your head can make reality match expectations. I was expecting a four-hour movie, so in my head, the first half was very leisurely, taking all the time it needed to set things up, maybe a little draggy, but kind of making use of two hours well enough, while the second just went on and on and you'd think the filmmakers would actually do something with all the time they had to play with. Then, it mercifully ended at right around 9pm, roughly 125 minutes after it started, and I still had time to go home and watch some baseball, despite being pretty sure four hours had passed right until I took out my phone.

And I admit… I do kind of wish it had been four hours so that they were filling it with that sort of thing; Simran is pretty dull and by-the-numbers, and I can get that with domestic movies.

I am kind of impressed with how steadily but surely Apple Cinemas has been upgrading, even past what seems to make real sense - they just upgraded the seating a couple years ago but now have gone and done it again, upgrading to recliners this time around, with what looks like a little more work put into the decor as well. It seems like a reasonable enough movie to me, since I'm usually in a near-empty room when I go there and so you might as well cut seating in half, although to be fair I mostly go there when seeing something off-beat enough that it won't play anywhere else and haven't really seen what a Friday night for a major release is like there. Maybe it's pretty crowded, although apparently not so much that they can't lose some seats (though, to be fair, the last remodel created some awful wide aisles, so by reclaiming some of that space, they probably aren't losing that much capacity.

Anyway, over the past few years, they've added Coke Freestyle machines, upgraded the seats, and got added to MoviePass in their recent push for expansion. They've currently got bargain Sundays as well as Tuesdays, and, folks, $4.75 for a first-run movie on the weekend in the Boston area (not far from a Red Line station, even) is not something you see anywhere else, as are the Indian movies and genre material that might otherwise only be on VOD here. There's still some issues with punctuality (the movie started ten minutes late, after someone in the audience went to remind the employees), and I doubt I'll ever see a 3D movie there again without it not playing anywhere else (though like a lot of local places, they often don't bother anymore), but it's certainly not the cinema of last resort it was just a couple of years ago.


* ¾ (out of four)
Seen 19 August 2017 in Apple Cinemas Cambridge #5 (first-run, DCP)

Half of the places listing Simran online showed a 238-minute running time, and while in some ways it was a relief to see the film actually just over half that length when it wound up being bad, I must admit that thinking it was that ridiculous length was what drew me to it. Something that seemed as simple as "Hindu maid in Atlanta turns to crime to pay off debts" must have had some real twists or depth to justify that length, or at least some big heist scenes or satirical music numbers. Instead, it's bland enough to seem bloated at 125 minutes.

The maid in question is Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut), 30 years old and living with her parents Mohan (Hiten Kumar) and Kunad (Kishori Shahane) since her divorce seven years ago. She has saved up just enough for the down payment on a nice condo, but a trip to Las Vegas with her soon-to-be-wed cousin Amber (Aneesha Joshi) has her developing a new taste for gambling that not only goes through her down payment, but $32,000 from loan shark Mr. Bugs (Jason Louder), and if she thinks running back to Atlanta is going to get him off her trail, she's mistaken. What's a girl to do? Well, as a famous outlaw once said, the banks are where the money is.

Unfortunately, it takes forever to get to the first robbery (right when "intermission" appears on-screen), and the bloat in the first half is not justified by cleverness in the second. Indeed, the crimes are not just boring, but unconvincing (Praful's attempts to indicate she has a bomb strapped to her waist look more like some weird belly-dancing thing), and the ending car chase would be dull even if Edgar Wright hadn't just made the definitive "speeding through Atlanta after knocking over a bank" picture. Being based on a true story isn't really an excuse, as this is just loosely based upon the actual Sandeep Kaur case, so there's really no excuse for how repetitive and uncreative the action here is (although, to be fair, I did learn more about how to play baccarat than from a lifetime of James Bond fandom).

Full review on EFC.

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