The Tiger Hunter
Indian Immigrant Opts For Love Over American Dream In Charming Romantic Comedy
Sami Malik (Danny Pudi) has had a crush on Ruby Iqbal (Karen David) for as long as he can remember. The lifelong friends were raised in the same village where both of their fathers were pillars of the community. His dad (Kay Kay Menon) was a celebrated tiger hunter, while hers (Iqbal Theba) was a highly-decorated general in the army.
Sami, who has recently completed his degree in engineering, only wants two things out of life: a successful career and to tie the knot with Ruby. She wants to marry him too, so you’d think that walking down the aisle would be as simple as pie for them. Think again.
Trouble is, we’re talking about India in 1979, a time when most marriages were still arranged. And General Iqbal has made it clear to Sami that he will only surrender his daughter’s hand after the young lad has not only moved to the U.S. but become gainfully employed there as an engineer too.
So, with the help of Ruby (who sold her beloved yellow moped) and many of their neighbors, Sami soon raised enough to relocate to Chicago, where he’d been offered a position with an engineering firm. However, only after arriving in the States was he informed by the sassy sister in Human Resources (Patricia Belcher) that he was being hired as a draftsman and at a much lower salary than that of an engineer.
To add insult to injury, he’s mugged on the street right after politely declining the bait-and-switch demotion. Suddenly broke and homeless, Sami thanks his lucky stars to be befriended by Babu (Rizwan Manji), a Pakistani who came to the country a year ago.
Next thing you know Sami reluctantly moves into the tiny apartment the affable stranger shares with about a dozen other Southeast Asian immigrants. And after hearing how they’re all underemployed, he just as grudgingly accepts a gig that’s way beneath him. That doesn’t bode well for his relationship with Ruby, and the plot thickens when she and her demanding dad arrive in the country expecting to find Sami faring far better.
Thus unfolds The Tiger Hunter, a charming romantic comedy marking the marvelous directorial debut of UCLA Film School Grad Lena Khan. Lena also co-wrote the relentlessly-funny script that’s so convincingly executed by its talented cast that the picture keeps you in stitches from beginning to end.
A lighthearted look at the pursuit of the elusive American dream from the perspective of a lovesick expat from the subcontinent.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 94 minutes
Production Studio: Sneaky Sneaky Films
Distributor: Shout! Factory Films
Man In Red Bandana
Masked 9/11 Hero Memorialized In Inspirational Biopic
Sometimes substance trumps low-production values. Case in point, Man in Red Bandana. Minutes after the World Trade Center was struck by United Airlines Flight 175 on the morning of 9/11, Welles Crowther called his mother to let her know he was okay. The 24-year-old stockbroker knew she’d be worried since his office was located on the 104th floor of the South Tower.
However, Welles was also a volunteer firefighter who was seriously considering abandoning his very promising Wall Street career to start over with the New York Fire Department. In fact, he’d recently expressed to his father a feeling that having a more meaningful job was more important to him than making lots of money.
So it wasn’t a surprise to Welles’ family that instead of leaving the burning building he might remain inside, calmly leading the injured and dazed to safety. For after discovering the only avenue of escape available to those trapped above the impact of the plane, he made his way up and down that unstable staircase several times to assist trapped victims.
But, because he covered his face with a red bandana while altruistically performing his heroics, none of those he saved ever knew whom to thank. Nevertheless, a number of articles published by The New York Times and other newspapers featured survivors’ accounts crediting a masked young man with saving their lives.
Unfortunately, Welles perished in the collapse of the tower, but not before rescuing at least a dozen victims. It was easy for his folks and anybody else that knew him to identify Welles as the unidentified good Samaritan.
That’s because a red bandana had been his trademark since his father first gave him one at the age of seven. Welles wore the bandana throughout childhood, on the lacrosse field while playing for Boston College, and even sported it in the pocket of his suit jacket as an up-and-coming equities trader. And then, during the last and finest hour of his abbreviated life, he used it to filter smoke from the acrid air he was being forced to breathe by the conflagration.
An overdue tribute to a selfless hero who put into action his heartfelt belief that we are all here to care for one another. A must see documentary guaranteed to leave you in tears!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and disaster images
Running time: 85 minutes
Production Studio: Verdi Productions / RDZ Productions
Distributor: Verdi Entertainment / Magna Entertainment /Falco Ink
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening Sept. 22, 2017
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (R for graphic violence, drug use, sexuality and pervasive profanity) Colin Firth returns in this action-oriented sequel which finds the British spy (Colin Firth) miraculously revived and heading to the U.S. to join forces with his American counterparts en route to a showdown with a ruthless crime syndicate. A-list ensemble includes Oscar-winners Firth, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, as well as Channing Tatum, Vinnie Jones and Sir Elton John.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie (PG for mild action and rude humor) Third feature in the animated franchise revolves around a teased high school student (Dave Franco) who forges a formidable team of teen ninjas to topple an evil warlord (Justin Theroux) who just happens to be his long-lost father. Voice cast includes Jackie Chan, Olivia Munn, Michael Pena, Fred Armisen and Zach Woods, with cameos by Michael Strahan and Robin Roberts as themselves.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Battle of the Sexes (PG-13 for sexuality and partial nudity) Tennis docudrama recreating the 1973 match between reigning champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and 55-year-old hustler Bobby Riggs, a trash-talking misogynist who created a media circus by boasting he could beat the best female player in the world. With Sarah Silverman, Elisabeth Shue and Bill Pullman.
Bobbi Jene (Unrated) Warts and all biopic chronicling the questionable career choices of Bobbi Jene Smith, the American, modern dance star who abandoned her devoted boyfriend (Or Schraiber) as well as a prominent position in Israel’s prestigious Batsheva Company to pursue a solo career back in the States.
Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled, Preoccupied, Preposterous (Unrated) Inter-generational documentary painting a cultural portrait of Hong Kong via compelling interviews conducted over the course of a year with 100+ citizens of all ages (In Cantonese, Mandarin and English with subtitles)
The King’s Choice (Unrated) World War II docudrama, revisiting Norway monarch Haakon VII’s (Jesper Christensen) pivotal decision on Apr. 9, 1940 to resist rather than capitulate to the invading Nazi army. With Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Karl Markovics and Tuva Novotny. (In Norwegian, German, Danish and Swedish with subtitles)
Loving Vincent (PG-13 for violence, mature themes, sexuality and smoking) Robert Gulaczyk plays Vincent Van Gogh in this reverential biopic exploring the eccentric artist’s life and mysterious death. With Saoirse Ronan, Chris O’Dowd and Jerome Flynn.
Stronger (R for pervasive profanity, gruesome images and brief nudity and sexuality) Inspirational biopic chronicling the injury and recovery of Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal), a spectator who had both of his legs blown off by a terrorist blast while waiting for his fiancée (Tatiana Maslany) to finish the 2013 Boston Marathon. Supporting cast includes Miranda Richardson, Patty O’Neil and Nate Richman.
The Tiger Hunter (Unrated) Romantic comedy, set in Chicago in the Seventies, about a disenchanted Indian immigrant (Danny Pudi) who abandons his pursuit of the American dream to chase his childhood sweetheart (Karen David). Featuring Rizwan Manji, Jon Heder and Kevin Pollak.
Victoria and Abdul (PG-13 for profanity and mature themes) Adaptation of Shrabani Basu’s best-seller chronicling the unlikely friendship forged between an aging Queen Victoria (Judy Dench) and her 24-year-old, Indian servant (Ali Fazal). With Eddie Izzard, Olivia Williams and Michael Gambon. (In English, Hindi and Urdu with subtitles)