Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Good Wife (2016) Serbia

It's a question of right or wrong, and where would you stand on that.






Original title:
Dobra Zena (Serbian)


Genre:
Drama.


Length:
Approximately 5-minute read.


Review:
     You might remember the film 'What Lies Beneath', but it is not anything like that. The common between these two are, the wives. This is a pure drama, about a wife who finds out her husband's wrongdoing that had been hidden from everyone for very long. She does not know how to deal it. So like the title hints out, the film is going to reveal what's her stand on that which takes the entire narration.

     It was the directional debut for an actress who also appeared in the lead role in the film. She seems very familiar, I might have seen her in some films, but can't recall it. Or maybe a very common face, particularly for her age. She was good though, the film was all about her character. Opened with the events surrounding her family, which is so normal in any family. Especially her married life which had been very successful so far.

     Like a round of the seasons of the year, all her friends, family, including her daily life, how she spends were disclosed. Once that intro happened, now all the focus turns towards her discovery of an old videocassette. In that, she comes to know her husbands crime. Like any good wife, she had to choose him over that. But later when an unexpected event follows, now she has to rethink and act accordingly what's right before entering her critical stage of life from another angle.

     Whatever she had seen in the tape, which is obviously shown to us as well, but the screenplay had kept the suspense till the final about how to respond in such situation. The film plot is easily available everywhere, which is not a spoiler. What matters in this film is, how the wife reacts. That's the drama developed with too much drag. Yep, the narration was slow. Not like moving forward was held back, but coming to the point was, like a person in confusion.

 Life will be your true teacher. You go to school just to get a certificate and that's all. 

     In my life as well, something similar happened. I'm not taking about the wrongdoing, but when we come to know the person we respected a very much is not as what we think he's. So it will be a question of where to place them onwards in our life. The worst is if they're one of our family members. If it is between you and him, then it's your decision alone. But when it concerns the entire nation and that's what this film is about.

     They did not press that topic harder. Like it was a regular drama film, they had given preferences to other stuffs too. Like I said, there's nothing much in the story, going deep on everything it focused. This is a 90 minute film, but feels like two hours long due to the lack of pace. They should have added more contents to spice it up. I felt it had potential to be a fine product if it was turned into a thriller, at least in the final stage, like a Hollywood film.

     There are lots of clues, where the film indirectly bring to our attention. Because if you fail on that, you would fail to understand the film. The main reason to keep the screenplay in such style was political concern. It was slightly inspired from the reality of the Serbian war from the past. You have to be focused even what the news channels saying and all the background events. Especially you must able guess what the wife is thinking when every time she looks at someone intentionally. Because she was not certain, but that does stay like that forever. That's where the final stage of the film takes turns, but on what direction is the twist.

     To me it is a mixed feeling, but overall I don't think it is that bad. Being it is her first directional film, I would say she managed everything so well. Definitely she can pull a big in her next, if she concentrates more on the writing parts. It might be an average film for ordinary people, but the film fanatics would like it better. My issues was, I had seen a few similar films which were much better than this. Other than that it does not need to be compared. I only counted its contents to rate and review it. So I'm not going to suggest it, but all I say is it is a decent film.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Elle, What Lies Beneath, A War, A Mighty Heart, By the Sea, The Guest, Changeling.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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Friday, February 24, 2017

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) India

We know him as Dhoni, but this is the tale of Mahi.






Genre:
Biography, Drama, Romance, Sport.


Length:
Approximately 7-minute read.


Review:
     Usually Indian film fans are divided according to the regions. Because if you turn any corner in that country, there's another film industry, another English alphabet replaced to rhyme with Hollywood. They have got their own bunch of actors, filmmakers and films. They might be divided over films and film productions, but they always united when it comes to cricket.

     Remember one and a half decade ago an Indian film about the same sport made into the Oscars, but did not win. This film was based on the life of one of the greatest Indian and world cricket player. So length into breadth of the India, it was a highly anticipated sport-biographical film. India has a long history of cricket. It was brought into the country by the British nearly half a millennium ago. It is called a gentlemen's game, which means only rich and royal people can play.

     So in India, cricket was always been a game highly influenced in big cities. Players from those places are high in demand till recently. Talents from second and third tier cities never been noticed. But some player made it because of political and other sort of influence. That's changed forever when Mehendra Singh Dhoni's success inspired millions of people. Made youngsters to take bat and ball believing someday they can play for their state or in the national team.

     If you are an Indian, I'm sure you had heard many things about him, his difficult path to stardom. There's nothing much difference in the life journeys of his and Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. They both were ticket sellers/collectors. Struggled through to initiate their profession, but in a different field. Now they're superstars.

     In Indian films, it's only recently the trend had started in biopics. For a cricketer, it is an ideal initiation. Remember Sachin Tendulkar's documentary film is due to release in this summer, but it is an international project. It can't be neglected because of his hardcore fans, not just in India, but across the world. He had retired a while ago, but still fans chant his name during the recent games.

     I know this director, since one of his films was remade as 'Someone Like You'. Bollywood films are always very stylish, but slips away while depicting realism of India, Indian society and culture. That's where I lost interest in them. I watched it for MS, since he plays/played for my team CSK who is known as Thala.

     Seems funny, some of the lines that translated into Tamil. But culture wise, it is understandable. A boy was born on the 7th of July '81, but soon the narration shifts focus on his childhood in the late 80s. A fine football goalkeeper, but changed his sport after an unexpected offer. Extremely interested in batting, but his opportunity was being a wicket keeper.

 You won't face the same ball always in your life. You've to play on your merit and just hang in there. The scoreboard will keep ticking along. 

     When he enters his teenage, he had learnt to play his own method. Particularly in batting which is the least given privilege to him by his coach. Supportive parents, but from above that, the great friends gang, he had with him at all the good and bad times. The first half is all about the cricket. In fact the whole film was about him and the cricket, the rest of his life was not concentrated enough. I mean on other stuffs, except the romance that takes off during the beginning of the second half. So basically that's where you will come to know this guy is a man with feelings and emotions like you and me.

     We all knew him as a cricketer, a great cricketer to say. Since his romance parts come into play, for a brief moment the sport was set aside. A love story kick starts. All those who believed he's a superhuman, will come to realise after witnessing Bollywood style of romance, which is basically how happens in real India. He's not an emotion showing type, especially in public or during the game. But there's a scene in the film and when it appears, that's really heartbreaks. No offense, but it looked Sakshi demanded a proposal than expecting it to come her way naturally.

     The three hours is too long for a film, but for this film I felt they had left out many things with short scenes/events, otherwise it would have gone past the four hour mark or even higher. So two part film would have made it a better product, but I'm happy for it to be a single film.

     I was bothered about the songs, but they smartly merged them with the storytelling. Particularly commercial films can't afford to lose the blue print of Indian cinema, since songs are the free television commercial, to popularise the film prior to its release. All the actors were great. The lead actor was at his best, especially when it comes to the technics in the games to match the Dhoni's style of play. Most of the locations are the actual locations, including the school, grounds and house(s). I think it was a good move.

     The film was not entirely true. They have changed the events to suit the cinematic. A man's 30 years of life journey to put into a 3 hour film, it has to be done and they did it neatly in Indian style. Some people are complaining about this and that, but that's understandable if you understand the concept of filmmaking, particularly money making film.

     Only the first two acts were very gripping. The final act was predictable, if you are an ardent cricket follower. Because you know everything on field about this man which is what covered in those parts. And the rest of the film was like behind the scenes of a film called his life. This is a wonder film, and I know the majority of the Indians won't miss it or had already watched it. But for the outsiders, this is not a bad flick, even if you don't know the sport or the player. Worth a try, otherwise definitely recommended.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Fire in Babylon, Save Your Legs, Backyard Ashes, Million Dollar Arm, Goal, Seve the Movie.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

After the Storm (2016) Japan

A mother's one final push to save her son's marriage.






Original title:
Umi yori mo mada fukaka (Japanese)


Genre:
Drama.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     Remarkable consistency in delivering great dramas. If you are a drama film fan without the language barrier, then you must have seen at least a couple of films of Hirokazu Koreeda. Less than a year ago I saw his new arrival 'Our Little Sister'. Despite not overwhelmingly impressed with that, I won't say that I did not enjoy it. I always fascinated with the realistic portrayal, but the points should be executed so well than leaving empty scenes and dialogues, and calling it an art film. This one was much better. The first impression was okay, but after giving some time between my watch and writing this review, I kind of started to like it more.

     First of all, this story was not new for me. I have already seen a few similar themed films from other parts of the world, particularly in Hollywood. But none of them were as serious as this one while narrating its tale. The storyline was simple, entirely focused on a family, fighting on stumbling marriage. It was a long introduction, particularly aimed at a father, like how he messed up in his life with gambling. But opening few minutes made him look like a man of example. Only in the following event you would know how deep his troubles are.

     Other than his family, his work field was introduced to us. Being a writer, but for a few quick bucks working as a private eye on his part time, he misuses the opportunity with his loyal friend. Once the film reaches the half way mark, the focus shifts back to the family where the remaining story takes place. It was a stormy day and they all gather in his mother's apartment. This is where everything will be cleared out, whether the marriage will be saved or not. But the mother's one final push as it seems planned perfectly, would it deliver a result is what you should watch it to learn.

 I wonder why it is that men can't love the present. Either they just keep chasing whatever it is they've lost, or they keep dreaming beyond their reach. 

     You can't doubt Hiroshi Abe's presence. He was perfect along with Kirin Kiki, whose a few films I've seen before, but only started to notice recently with her amazing performance from 'Sweet Bean'. The casting looked great, and the locations. I always like films about elderly people, especially to highlight their struggle. And most of the Japanese films I have seen on that concept were just like the way I wanted. Maybe because there are lots of aging people in Japan than anywhere else. Just kidding.

     Obviously dialogues are very important for a film and there were many good lines spoken. At one point in the final stage, it flips towards sentiments. Very touching conversation, particularly coming from an old and experienced woman, which is definitely worth taking heed. This is a family film. Despite about a marriage crisis, there is no speculation, like twist and turns. Interesting enough with its plain narration. True to its title and when the title part comes into play, that's where it gets its peak. With its nearly two hours runtime, the pace was acceptable, but patience needed for those got trouble with long films.

     This is the film about our life, that we can try for what we want to be, but achieving it not easy, not everybody would succeed that. Accepting the fact, as life my go on was the message. Incredible writing and direction. Feels like straight out of a book, it's an original screenplay though. Surely you don't want to miss this film, from this director. Because if you do, it is equal to failing to watch the latest Woody Allen film. Only he's a Japanese version. My final words are the director already made his masterpiece(s), but still it is near to one compared to the international cinemas. So I'm not saying it is a must, but surely worth a try.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Sweet Bean, Our Little Sisters, That Evening Sun, A Simple Life, The Auction.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jim: The James Foley Story (2016) USA

On the battlefront with a camera.






Genre:
Documentary, Biography.


Length:
Approximately 4-minute read.


Review:
     I thought it had a chance at the Oscars. But after checking out the nominees again, I realised it's in there, except a place in the list of Original Song. Having watched it, I know it is not a masterpiece as it should have been, but the film's intention was fulfilled. They have revealed everything we wanted to know. Everything from the Jim's perspective, though his friends and family. In some way this film can be compared to 'Into the Wild'. The only difference is what kind of challenge those two were chosen to face. In one, about the nature and in another, made made.

     A man with no ambition, but he was desperate to do something and then finally he discovered what it is. So James Foley was an average American and had his family's backing of whatever he wanted to do with his life. But shocked them by announcing to be a photojournalist on the battlefront. His first volunteer assignment was in Libya. Made a few friends and ventured together to get what they wanted. Soon a terrible thing happened, but he did not back off. Following that he went to Syria and can he be second time lucky, is what the remaining tale discloses for us.

 Jim has a million dollar resume and a ten cent interview. 

     First of all, I knew Jame Foley story through the media coverages when it hit the headline a couple of years ago. But I did not know this film was based on that, until I saw it. Not easy to watch if you have already known what's going to happen at the end or seen the original clip. I was uncomfortable watching the entire film. Because I think I'm too soft for such kind of conclusion. All I know is if it was the Bush administration, the response would have been different.

     The film was directed by the Jim's childhood friend. I hope someday someone would make a feature film based on this documentary. If you had seen 'A Thousand Time Good Night', you would know what it is like to be in a combat zone. A similar kind of film, but the result was different. Those being the conflict journalists are really very brave to be at the frontline with the cameras, not the guns. Bullets and bombs flying everything, just one hit, totally fatal. Hats off to them to let us know what's happening in those parts of the world.

     It covered well, all the basic information about Jim, before entering to the crucial section. When you know enough about him, you start to feel and see from his perspective. There are some recreated accounts, just to give the original effect. But you have to have your own imagination, as much as possible realistic like when you do for reading books. Because that's where it little slipped away, otherwise, and still it is a great documentary. This is a must see film, particularly if you are familiar with the name James Foley.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
A Thousand Times Good Night, Taxi to the Dark Side, A Mighty Heart, A Hijacking.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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