So you wanna watch something…
House of Gucci: What can we say about a film that has received so much media hype? Let’s stick with the plot: It’s about Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) who is charged with the murder of her husband Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver)—a member of the crème de la crème of fashion royalty. The cast is equally chi chi and includes Al Pacino and Jared Leto. The costumes are as gorgeous as the cast.
The New York Times describes it as “a sprawling, chaotic, borderline-operatic tale of family feuding, sexual jealousy and capitalist intrigue”—but says the movie is empty at its heart and “has a repetitive, wheel-spinning quality.” OTOH, The Guardian gives it four out of five stars—calling it a “fantastically rackety, messy soap opera” that is “rescued from pure silliness by Lady Gaga’s glorious performance.” Releasing in theatres today.
Encanto: If it's Thanksgiving weekend, then it must be time for a big Disney release for the American family stuck eating turkey leftovers. This one tells the story of Mirabel whose family members all have magical powers except her. Of course, all that magic is suddenly in great peril and she saves the day… It is a Disney movie. The songs and animation are lovely, and it has a great ‘family is awesome’ theme. The Hollywood Reporter has all the details you need. Encanto premiers in theatres today.
The Beatles: Get Back: Legendary director Peter Jackson made a three-part Beatles documentary out of 55 hours of footage from a 1969 recording session. So how is it? NBC News hates it: “Scenes of endless rambling arguments and pointless banter make you feel like you’re stuck in some sort of hellish fusion of low-end podcast and corporate board meeting.” OTOH, Hollywood Reporter calls it “an immersive, in-the-moment chronicle of a generation-defining band.” And Pitchfork says it is “an intimately surreal portrait of the band in its final days.” Streams on Disney+Hotstar.
Becoming Cousteau: This National Geographic documentary turns the spotlight on Jacques-Yves Cousteau—the man who practically invented undersea photography—and who went from doing commissioned work for petroleum companies to having his show canceled for being too “dark,” “strident” and “cynical.” The New York Times calls it “a swift-moving, detailed biography,” while CNN emphasises what his view of the environment has to teach us. Either way, it really depends on how interested you are in the man. Streaming on Disney+Hotstar.
A list of good reads
- The News Minute reports the hate campaign directed by Christian and Hindutva groups on Muslim-owned restaurants in Kerala.
- Speaking of meat: Ghanshyam Shah in the Indian Express busts the myth of Gujarat as a vegetarian state.
- Money Control tells the story of Il Palazzo on Malabar Hill—of “an Iraqi Jew, opium wars and India’s most expensive building.”
- Bengal Lancer by Francis Yeats-Brown was published in 1930—and was the memoir of a “carefree young cavalry officer” and his love affair with India. It was widely praised at the time by everyone from Rudyard Kipling to Rabindranath Tagore. Eland Books offers an excerpt from the foreword to the book.
- What is it like to teach the kids of the insanely rich 1%? Blythe Grossberg paints a fairly gloomy picture in Fast Company. OTOH, you may find it reassuring that being born into money isn’t a surefire recipe for a happy childhood.
- Sticking with that theme: Here’s a therapist to the ‘super rich’ in The Guardian confirming that his clients are as miserable as those sad sods in ‘Succession’.
- Speaking of ‘Succession’, Bloomberg via NDTV explains exactly how Mukesh Ambani is planning to prevent a giant inheritance war amongst his kids.
- This short story by Hurmat Kazmi in The Atlantic—of a Pakistani boy living as an exchange student with an American family—broke our hearts. Not all at once but bit by little bit.
- Just in time for Thanksgiving—around the time we all start to feel bad for turkeys—The Guardian reminds us how these “ugly hooligan nuisance birds” are wreaking havoc in America.
- Popular Science reminds us that ancient cities also experienced toxic pollution—which is not just a modern phenomenon.
- We can’t do justice to the wonderful personal story in this Twitter thread. We don’t even know if it’s true (hey, it’s social media). Let’s just say it is a wonderful parable of loss, memories and the passage of time.
- New Yorker has a first person account of the latest trend in luxury holidays—being literally abandoned in the middle of nowhere.
- The News Minute maps Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai’s shift toward Hindutva politics—a good warning for all Karnataka folks. What you got before may not be what you get in the future.
- Firstpost tells you the wonderful backstory behind Sabz Burj—a much-abused 16th Century mausoleum now marooned on a busy traffic roundabout in Delhi.
- Scroll has an eye-opening read on the other safai karamcharis or sanitation workers—the kind not employed by the government but by private contractors. Their lot is far, far worse.
- Recently, our Sanity Break featured a 1967 documentary where 20-year olds spoke of their fears, hopes and ambitions for an India also turning 20 years old. Samanth Subramanian in this 2015 Economist long read tries to track them down almost 50 years later. (H/t Nikita Udupa)