Saturday, April 30, 2016

Son of Saul (2015) Hungary

Experiencing what Saul is seeing, hearing and undertaking.






Original title:
Saul Fia (Hungarian)


Genre:
Drama, Thriller, War.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     The World War II is the largest source supplier for the war movies. I have seen numerous breathtaking braverism, as well as heartbreakingly suffering film characters which are based on the real and sometimes fiction. The genre too differs, from action, adventure, war to the comedy, romance, drama et cetera. Since the Academy Awards nominee announcement in the January I had an eye on this, but now it had won the Oscars that draw my interest even more on this. Anyway, finally saw this, so let me tell you what I feel about it.

     It is no ones biopic, but inspired by a collection of testimonies of those who had made out alive from the Auschwitz. Like some of the WWII films, it is very unique, that focused on a particular event and a person. Saul is one of the prisoners in the Nazi held concentration camp who is a slave-labour. His job is to clean the place after prisoners were executed. One day he finds a young boy who was executed and soon he takes the responsibility to give him a proper burial. Risking his own life and others, he begins to find a rabbi to perform the last rites. So what happens later and how it ends is the remaining film.

     It is not only enthralling story, but was very clever and unique filmmaking. In this whole film you will see one face at all the time in different angles and mostly they're close shots. Yes, Saul is everywhere, the camera never takes off its lens out of him. We would experience what he sees, listening and undertaking, more like in the real time. Just like a computer game where everything is from our (player's) angle, but here it is us again barely through the Saul's perspective. (Something like the upcoming Hollywood film 'Hardcore Henry' trailer I saw.)

     Although, the movies are not the games, like I felt weird during watching 'Need for Speed', when Aaron Paul was at my place. And a movie always needs a character that can take us to the journey through the time and space where it sets, otherwise it will be called a documentary film. The aspect ratio was like the older day films which is narrow that takes time for us to get used to it, yet it is a colour film. More like the entire story is taking place within the 48 hours. Interesting pace and developments, and a decent conclusion. I think it deserved all the praise and prizes given to it.

 You have forsaken the living for the dead. 

     I know the seriousness of the film and its contents, but I could not avoid the laugh at the end scene. I did not want to, but I did it without my self-awareness after seeing the Saul's face. I hope, there are others too, like me in that situation. Yet the storyline was very strong, like how far would a man can go knowing the life is meaningless after what he's going through. That makes him to take a solo mission when others are struggling and working together for their freedom.

     Since I don't know any language that spoken in the movie, I had no problem too to follow the movie. The 1944 settings were so realistic, I think everyone's hard-work was this film's result. All the performances were excellent, especially who played the Saul's role. That is the face no one is going to forget who had watched this film. However the real hero of the film was not the actors or the writers and the director, but the cameraman. Like I said earlier, he had done a brilliant job. If anyone wants to praise this film, he/she must begin with him. The cinematography award at the Oscars might have went to 'The Revenant', but the cameraman award is none other than this guy who shot this film.

     I really liked this film, but not overly sympathised or enjoyed. Usually if any movie that's based on the real gets my favour, even the movie has been low quality with more than ignorable flaws. Because telling the truth to the world is what I consider is foremost important than trying to get benefit out of it. But when it's not factual, I expect whatever the cinematical options can make it a better product.

     This film comes between them both, but leans mostly on the truth about the World War II prison camp. An insight of what the prisoners have went through. Painful to watch a movie like this, at a time I appreciate the filmmakers for giving this film and let the younger generation know a tiny dot of the incident of the WWII. To watch this film, no one needs a reason. It is automatically a must see, but after watching it, whether you liked it or not is an individual opinion.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Life is Beautiful, Colette, Unbroken, The Railway Man, The Bridge on the River Kwai.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Grace Stirs Up Success (2015) Hollywood

When an enthusiastic baker's skill was tested.






Original title:
An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success


Genre:
Comedy, Family.


Length:
Approximately 4-minute read.


Review:
     The ninth film in the 'American Girl' series, in that, fourth straight film for the director. Honestly, I have not seen all the films in the series, but I enjoyed those I've watched. This is a decent movie for all, especially for the families with the kids to watch on the weekend. I was not expecting it to be a fantastic, because children's films have certain limits and I know that very well. Usually the filmmakers push for a G or a PG tag for their product, that's why a film like this always appears to be so cheerful, and at a time silly as well.

     A typical 'American Girl' movie, but only the theme was different. This time it is about the baking. A young girl Grace is passionate in baking who thinks one day she's going to take over her grandparents' bakery. In the summer holiday, she's forced to drop her all the plans with her two best friends, after an unexpected visit to aunt's in the Paris is decided. There she meets her cousin Sylvie who's not friendly and uncle who runs a small bakery with the quality foods. The cultural difference makes her to struggle to understand the French way of baking, but in the end she overcomes it and decides to take it back to the home to save her grandparents' troubled bakery.

 Take risks. That's how you make amazing things happen. 

     In the several occasions I had postponed watching this for no reasons, but finally I saw this now. To declare it is a good or a bad movie is a very tough decision, but I can say I enjoyed watching it. Not all the adults going to like it, because there are too many scenes that feels so stupid for the matured people like us, especially the dog parts that makes us to say 'whaaat?'. But that is usual and expected in 'American Girl' films, so you have to ignore it if you decide to try it. There won't be any similar issues with the children, especially the girls who are the ones going to enjoy it more than anybody of us.

     A simple movie about baking, that means it is not going to demonstrate how to bake bakery items for us, but still it inspires the kids. One thing is for sure, after watching this you will definitely feel you want to taste a delicious cupcake. Most of the cast was new to me, except Virginia Madsen. But everyone was good in their respective roles, especially the new face who played the title role. This is not an easy movie to suggest, but if you got a young girl in your house like a niece or a daughter, definitely worth it to show them and a reason for us to join them, especially to know how much they adore it.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Summer Eleven, Ballet Shoes, Cadet Kelly, Camp Rock, Mean Girls,


External link(s):
    


WCA geolocation:
Right now we're in

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Our Little Sister (2015) Japan

A tale of four sisters living under the same roof.






Original title:
Umimachi Diary (Japanese)


Genre:
Comedy, Drama.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     It was based on the manga series. This is from one of the best directors from Japan that I am familiar with his works. I have seen some of his previous films and I loved them all, but sadly not this time. To be honest, I'm not the fan of this kind of movies, but I have watched them a lot before and liked them a lot. This movie is totally made for the film critics and film festivals, but winning awards that I never understood how.

     They call it an art film, but not everyone going to enjoy it. There's no entertainment in it, nor inspiring. It was like someone's real life portrayed on the screen yet not a documentary. I mean it covered everything, every bit of that person's life, even that was not so important, but only to kill the run time. If you want to try it, make sure got lots of time, especially watching it with patience is very essential.

     So what I meant was this film is completely out of cinematic experience like what a film fanatic, families least expect from a movie. It was without the twists, turns, thrills, sad, happy, romance because of too much realism. In one word, it was a straightforward narrative. There will be no exciting developments, nor easy to predict.

     If someone is going like it, that might be mostly out of courtesy, and maybe for the cast and their performances and the respect for the film making or maybe they're somewhat close to this story. But individuals have their own reasons why they liked it, likewise I'm writing this review to say why I did not like much. Other than that, I don't see anything special in it to praise this product.

 I'll be in your hands from now on. 

     Don't accuse me that I'm totally bashing it, actually to me it was an average movie, which mean I did not hate nor liked. The best thing I found in the movie was the characters. Four sisters living under the one roof with love and care for one another. But the movie failed to focus them all equally by leaning too much on only a couple of characters. Like the title say obviously it centres on the 14 year old Suzu who's the youngest among and the newest member to join the house. But that did not bring the best story out of that character, at least not as what I hoped for.

     The photography was good, the locations were beautiful, especially in the opening that rural Japan. A brief view into the Japanese culture, especially the lifestyle of the young independent women. Frame by frame it gives the feel of you are watching an anime movie. I think I might have loved it if it was an anime, because usually a young girl or a boy theme is always a success.

     In this kind of film making, it is always the combination of the characters and the story. The characters were fantastic in this, but the story was not, hence I was disappointed a bit. I never interested in the gossip about someone's life. Maybe that's why I did not like this because I felt like it was someone's life which is nothing to do with me.

     You know normal life is too boring in reality as well as to see in a movie. But I still respect the movie, that's why I did not consider it a bad film. I won't suggest it, but you might like what I did not because of the different taste in the movies. So all I say is choose it carefully, don't let the ratings and the reviews deceive you, including mine.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
The Tree, Midnight Dinar, I Wish, Museum Hours, A Simple Life, Jayne Manfield's Car.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Marie's Story (2014) France

A unique tale of a student-teacher relationship.






Original title:
Marie Heurtin (French)


Genre:
Biography, Drama.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     I did not know this movie till the last week, but I'm very happy that I discovered it. My experience watching it was like I have been waiting for a movie like this for a some time, but did not realise it until I saw it. I liked it a lot within the opening few minutes itself like I already finished watching the whole film. Because somehow I knew it will make my day. It is a heartwarming biographical family drama that tells about a girl who discovers that she can communicate with the world and can learn more about it, despite her birth defects.

     Based on the real story of a 14 year old blind and deaf girl Marie Heurtin that sets in the late 1800s rural France. As being a daughter of a craftsman who does not know how to raise a child like her, decides to send her to the Larnay institution where she can learn things among similar other girls and live a better life. After the initial hiccup, sister Marguerite takes the special interest in Marie and so the wonderful tale begins by revealing all the good, bad and sad events.

     A fascinating film with the wonderful characters, especially the two main characters were the focus of the whole film and no one else, not even a small peek on any other incidents. From a wild child to getting along, knowing the world is much bigger and learning it is the only way to cooperate. But when there is a dedicated teacher, students achieve more than what they dreamed of.

     The actors who played those roles were exceptional. Especially the Marie's was very challenging one, but was so perfectly done by young new face. And Marguerite was the inspiring young nun that every convent in the world would dream to have under their wings. There are thousands of Marie and Marguerite in the world who never meet, that's why this movie is so special.

 I am so happy. I will see Marie again. She is my joy, the daughter of my soul, the light of my life. 

     The French countryside where this film shot was so beautiful. The cinematography was at its best with a pleasing background score. While having so much fun, it also brings some intense tears in our eyes. Not like sentimental stuff, but happy tears. There comes a time for it as well when the movie gets emotional in the final stage of the storytelling. Like when it goes beyond the our reach, that makes us to accept the fate of what every life has to go through.

     I have heard that some are arguing the story was merely true, especially some of the scenes were overly cinematised. If you see it in that angle most of the historical event based films suffers the same issues while portraying the actual event or the character on the screen. Nonetheless, it is true and obviously modified for the adaptation.

     I have also heard it was totally resembling the Helen Keller's autobiography 'The Story of My Life' which was later made into a Hollywood movie that won both leading and supporting actress awards at the Oscars. Now I added that into my watchlist. Likewise the lead two actresses from this deserves similar high profile honour. But it is very sad to know the movie got much less attention despite it got a quality to strike the family audiences.

      Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Lately I've been watching some interesting films. Better way to say it is I'm choosing good one, because I am not addicted to superhero, Hollywood or the big budget films alone like most of the young film fanatics are nowadays. I am here to find the hidden gems and suggest them to WCA readers. Now I highly recommend this one to all



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Ida, Beyond the Hills, The Nun's Story, Calvary, Stations of the Cross, The Sound of Music.


External link(s):
      


WCA geolocation:
Right now we're in