Monday, February 29, 2016

Enclave (2015) Serbia, Germany

A look at a childhood life in the conflicted zone.






Original title:
Enklava (Serbian)


Genre:
Drama.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     An anti war movie set in the Kosovo region of Serbia. Its about the minority Christians living in a remote village. The others are moved out from there except a family of three - a boy, his father and grandfather who lived there for generations refused to leave. The movie depicted the threat they are faced every day in their life. But the tale was seen through the boy's eye as he's the only one kid from his community with no friends.

     Co-produced by Germany, it was sent to represent Serbia for the 2016 Oscars. It was a slow beginning, but ended on a high note. A sensitive theme, but very well made movie. It is hard to imagine living a life in this part when it was surrounded by conflict that can burst out anytime. To move around the places, you need a protector, an armored vehicle to transport.

     Actually the movie won't show any major violences, especially the face-off between two ethnic groups. Maybe that's for the best and to avoid fresh intrigue. The film aimed to spread peace message through the friendship. So the story focused mainly on the kids and their perspective on the issue. But that's not at all, to the end, the narration shifts to a different location and lets us know how the past follows them to haunt the rest of their life.

 Tell the bishop that if he's a true Serb he should not be afraid. He can saddle his horse, won't ride in that armored vehicle. 

     It was a 90 minute long movie, yet I felt it ended very early. Because the pace was good and only due to the realistic approach it looked kind of dull, but all the way it engaged with the story development and with the new characters till the final act. Very interesting story progress, for every few minutes it begins to take a new turn, so hard to guess where it is heading or how it's going to end. The lines were calm and cool, even the shoutings, but when I suddenly hear gunshots, that's really aloud and created a severe panicking atmosphere like that something wrong might going happen. Reason for that is, the place was kind feels peaceful zone, at least for us as the viewers who don't know the earlier events.

     I liked the kids' performances, obviously the boy in the lead. It is a children's movie, because they acted in it, but the theme is a little strong for the kids to watch, I think PG required. The location was great, the camera work was excellent, some of the distant shots and its angles were so good. The overall movie was better than I anticipated, especially the third act was a lot more suspenseful, but kind of displeased with the editing in that part. Because they aimed for a twist to present scenes in the non chronological order. I think that was unnecessary for a this smoothly going narration, but it was not that bad at all.

     Actually, I took some time to realise how good it was, only after a quick recap about what I saw and to guess what the filmmaker is trying to say. Believe me, initially I thought it was a decent, but was way better and I think a fine  message deliverer. It is a little unheard movie for many of us from the southeast Europe, yet worth a try once you came to know about it.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Zaytoun, The Colors of the Mountain, Tangerines, Lemon Tree, Where Do We Go Now?


External link(s):
  


WCA geolocation:
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2015) Hollywood

An innocent girl's desperate adventure.






Genre:
Adventure, Drama.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     The rumours always adds lots interesting stuffs than the actual news. Sometime we feel that should have been real, because of the sunning depth that even a real story can't match. That's why the false information spreads like a virus on the social media. This movie character was inspired by a real young woman from Japan, but not the real event. An urban legend surround her visit to Minnesota, United States, back in the 2001.

     I have seen many films of different versions of the same events or the persons, but I never heard of this one before. So after the watch I did a little research on the original and I thought this film looked much better than that, especially for the movie it supplied a fine story material. Still a very much predictable, but for an entertainment purpose, it did decently.

     It was a beautiful adventure-drama. The main character is just like the one from 'Citizen Dog' or 'Amelie'. Kumiko is an innocent and a solitude woman in the twilight of her 20s. Her life is not so good, with having no friends or a boyfriend, pressure from her mother and at work, she decides to chase an unexpected dream after learning about the treasure from the tape she finds in a seaside. That leads her to travel halfway across the world to an unfamiliar territory and what follows is her desperate drive to achieve the undertaking.

 I discover treasure. Right here. It's mine. 

     The end was heartbreaking, only if you understood it clearly. Though I'm not going to reveal anything about that part as it might spoil if you have not it yet. But there's no declaration in the opening or before the end credits about whether it was a real or what actually happened in the end. Lots of scenes make no sense, and gives the impression of the girl is so dumb. Also leaves many unanswered questions behind which is the negative side of the narration. That's what you get in an urban myth, a collective tale and each slice of it is someone's creation/prediction based on the original evidence that is not understood properly.

     The story might be Americas, but due to the Japanese lead character, the entire film was in Japanese with English subtitle and very often some English line with the American characters. Besides, it looks more a Japanese film than the Hollywood's. The 'Pacific Rim' star Rinko Kikuchi was outstanding in the title role. The direction was good, the director also appeared in a small role as a cop. In fact, that was a big one for this movie where a small role can impact on the high level.

     Even a ten year old can differentiate what is real and what's not from a movie he watches in this world. Whatever the girl from the movie believed in is simply a fictional account and an entertainment for us, so don't expect it to be an uplifting movie. As I said it was based on a speculation of some real incident, but a well made movie except not detailing everything they have shown. It got a mixed response with mostly positive feedbacks, but my take on it is definitely good. And finally, this movie is not for everyone, if you decide to watch, try not to analyse it deeply.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Neverwas, Defendor, The Fall, Safety Not Guaranteed, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Taxi (2015) Iran

Roaming around Tehran in a taxi for 80 minutes.






Original title:
Taxi Teheran (Persian)


Genre:
Comedy, Drama.


Length:
Approximately 5-minute read.


Review:
     This is one of the unique film, and the filmmaking I have seen. It is a docudrama, starred and directed by Jafar Panahi. It is my first film of his and I'm very impressed. I also learnt he was banned from making movies and to leave the country since last 5 years. But he took all the legal route possible to keep making them, and this movie is the result of it. He had made a couple of them before this, but with this he came outdoors to capture the streets of the Iranian capital.

     This movie entirely set in a taxi, well, the cameras never leaves the car, but car roams around the city, Tehran. A real time movie that runs for nearly 80 minutes. There's no open or the end credits other than the title texts and some statements. The story was very interesting, that I don't know whether it was scripted or factual, but the planning was so good to shoot it in a low profile.

     All the actors except the director were non pros. That definitely needs a loud applaud, because the outcome tells the quality of their exhibition. It gives a glimpse of the life as a taxi driver who sees the city through his eyes and meets the people. Some scenes were extremely funny, some were dark humours and some were thoughtful. Each time when a new character enters the frame, a new topic has brought with them and discussed, that mean the movie is totally engaging with a variety that keeps you hooked till the final.

 We already have the world record of hangings after China. 

     I think the end was very smart, because of that kind of conclusion and no post-production credits, I thought that's how the archives were smuggled out of the country and made it ready. But no one knows the truth how it all has been done, otherwise Jafar Panahi would have landed in a trouble. A rare gem and one of the best of 2015 that you must try it if you are a film fanatic.

     Initially, I mean before decide to watch it, I was not sure it will reach my expectations. When I sat for it, the experience was different and now I am extremely happy for giving it a try. Opinion might vary about the film, but the effort must be appreciated. Especially in a circumstance where the filmmaker has everything against him, I meant legally, but came strong in what he believes is his passion. That is inspiring and also for a risk he has taken really paid off.

     It won a few Internation Filmfare awards and that's how I actually came to know about this. I'm positive this film won't disappoint you as well, well, if you are not looking for twists and turns like an intelligent or a big budget film. As I said, I could have not asked a better than this, a very simple yet entertaining movie.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
Locke, Vehicle 19, Before Sunrise Trilogy, 12 Angry Men, Venus in Fur, Nightingale.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Room (2015) Ireland, Canada

Discovering a whole new world beyond the 4 walls.






Genre:
Drama.


Length:
Approximately 7-minute read.


Review:
     We all know the German folk tale 'Rupanzel', and this is a similar kind with entirely different motive. All the above it is not a fairy tale set in the medieval period, but inspired by many real events of the present era. A couple of years ago I saw a German movie called '3096 Days' based on the true story. When I heard of this movie is being made, at first obviously I remembered that title, but after seeing the poster alone convinced me not the same. Automatically the expectations rose, and now it's got the 4 Oscars nominees, including the best motion picture.

     The both halves of the movie were entirely different from each other like the two sets of story, but the core of the theme remains same. The first half was a crucial part that takes place completely in a single room with a minimal cast. It does not go through the intro, just begins to tell the story like it's already happening and you might take a few minutes to realise the state of condition. The next half is a reaction to what happened in the previous. And again this is also an important storytelling section because like the title, it was not all about the room, but beyond that 4 walls and its roof and floor like how it affected the mother and son.

 If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. 

     The movie does not talk about the crime feature at all. Not even considered to reveal behind the motive. So the other side mystery remains as it is. The whole narration was one sided, everything was seen through the eyes of a five year old boy. He begins with the line 'Once upon a time...' like a fairy tale, because it is to him and with his cute little performance along with Brie Larson's, the movie briefs their struggle for freedom.

     It was a too casual opening, like nothing bad is really happening, just they're weird people or maybe agoraphobia, except they're not. You know when we say we love to be kids again to escape this complicated adult life, sometimes we won't mean it except it was a normal reaction to the situation we're in. But what if a five year old boy wants to be four again when her mother thinks its time to him know what the real world looks like. Yeah, that's a too much to take in for a young boy, but that's the best chance they had to break free from the psycho who put her mother in that room.

 When I was small, I only knew small things.
But now I'm five, I know everything. 

     It was a tidy place, but the camera angles were impressive. I know it was shot in a studio with a wide open space behind the camera, but that does not the viewpoint in the actual story. When the first half ends, it is an indication of the good parts are over, at least that's what I thought of, but what came after was the unexpected expansion in narration. Usually most of the similar tales end in that part itself like for example 'Prisoners' and the rest is understandable stuff that won't be shown.

     When a tale had a ending like 'happily ever after', still some people desire for it to continue a few more minutes to know how happy really they are and that's what this film's second half.  Remember, most of the similar themes have multiple perspectives, like how victim's family is coping with, cops are pursuing the suspect, abductor's plans and motive, and captives struggle. Like I said it was all about what a mother and her son goes through those years in captivity and after that.

     There were some suspicious characters and events like I had a bad feeling over the doctor's soft talking, also the mother-son's master plan when in captive. Those are tiny diversions to viewers assume differently against where the story is heading. It is all about the mother and son's mental trauma, especially for the little boy similar to when Tarzan is in a big town for the first time leaving behind his other life. It was a perfect pace as well, neither hurried nor a slow development. The movie was a big break for many, especially for the Irish director, and Brie Larson and of course for the kid. Definitely one of the finest movie of 2015 and a must watch.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent


Similar movies:
3096 Days, Oldboy, Brake, Buried, Hanna, Tideland, Mockingbird Don't Sing.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
Right now we're in