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Friday, March 24, 2017

16 Extremes (2016) India

Unlimited twists and turns with well kept suspense.






Original title:
Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru (Tamil)


Genre:
Crime, Mystery, Thriller.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     Those who were complaining about mainstream films, particularly the non-Indians, the recent time has been in their favour. It was some time since the change has begun, but now the gaps between mainstream and parallel cinema is narrowing. The good news is it's not just Kollywood, but every Indian film industry taking this stride remarkably. Since I'm very attached to Tamil films, my observation says the quality of those film contents were comparable with international standards. Why I'm saying that with confidence is there's a chance this film would be remade elsewhere around the globe.

     So now you might be curious about this film. It is not a brain teaser. It is simply a mystery, but the developments, especially the film characters never stop till the final. Like the title says, up to 16, the new characters keep coming not giving any space for you to breath. So predicting anything makes so hard. All along the twist and turns, including a couple of them were cliched which were needed for a screenplay like this, particularly to divert the viewer's attention from foreseeing upcoming scenes. In a similar, I thought I found a big flaw, but after some time moving ahead further I realised I got it all wrong.

     A middle aged man who recently retired from the police service after an incident that led him to lose one of his legs, recalls a series of events of his final days on the duty with a guest aspiring IPS officer. So going 5 years back when a double murder in the same residential area took place, the investigation kick-starts with bringing-in three suspected youngsters. But later, from different angle of the same incident adds more complication. After joining all the pieces together still they only get different theories, but not truth. That final piece in the puzzle revealed only in the last minute, which deciphered in a style.

 Karma is a boomerang. However far you may hurl it... It will bounce back to us. 

     Once you watch finishing it, you will come to know it was a straight story, but turned into a nonlinear narration. Especially the different characters coming into the frame at different stages of the narration are the most cleverest part. It's good to recall everything you saw to make sure you understood the film. Some people watch such film twice and it is surely not a bad idea. But like I said, it is not a briantwister if you focused enough since the beginning. This is one of the shortest Indian films, so the pace was super fast to cover every detail.

     The entire film was a flashback. That's the main reason to give preference to only the most needed parts. But from the audience perspective, the story they learn can be viewed from any angle for a different result. I mean, some of us usually choose sides if there's a rivalry in the tale. In this film it was a guessing game surrounding the deaths. Except a very few characters, no one stays for very long which only fuels the mystery further.

     The best part is there's no lie, like any film character committing one to escape the law. The narration only avoids the full detail which is what makes us tough to crack the nut. Those given false statements never see the light on the progression, which is a big hint you if you are watching it for the first time to stay on the right course to possibly come close to the truth before the film reveals itself.

     It's the writing and the direction that makes this film great. From Hollywood to French, Korean, we often see good script like this, but in the execution where most of them fails. From the casting and performances to the locations, technical side of the film, even turning it into a good quality product with such budget was remarkably done.

     This is the director's feature film debut and it is a loud statement of his arrival. Mainstream commercial cinema is a trap with big stars, so I hope he stays in the parallel cinema. Coming back to the film, it is a must see for neo-mystery-thriller fans. One of the best films for non-Indians to try if they haven't seen any Indian films. But anyway, I strongly suggest it to everyone.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Visaranai, Papanasam, Eeram, Thoonga Vanam, Jigarthanda, Thani Oruvan, Iraivi.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Operation Chromite (2016) South Korea

But it was all about the sub-operation 'X-Ray'.






Original title:
Incheon Sangryuk Jakjeon (Korean)


Genre:
Action, Drama, History, War.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     Bringing the stars from other film industry is not we never heard of. It is mainly done for the international appeal. So now it was Liam Neeson's turn to foray into a Korean film. He did not go a big transform. He just played an American character and spoke American English. But he did not get the opportunity to exploit well, the role he played was a very important one though. Even I was curious about this film for his presence than the director known for some great hits. The film did fairly enough to my anticipation, but I slightly disappointed with the overall.

     This is another Korean war theme, that mean based on the real. I think only the events were inspired by, not all the details. Because seems they were improvised for the cinematic version like sentimentalising it. That's the opposite to X-factor in this film, according to me. I started to watch Korean films because of strong emotional appeal, but after all these years watching lots of films, I think that sub-theme was overused. This is a war film and casualties are expected. Not from the viewers' perspective, but the film characters'. So knowing the consequences, the film exploited that too much.

     I am sure that will patriotically appeal to the domestic (native) audience. For the rest of the world, it was a bit too much to take. This film is about a secret mission taken by the South Korean intelligence service after most of its territories were captured by the North in the year 1950. The general Douglas MacArthur of the US armed force with the UN coalition is the architect behind to hit the enemy at the right place. Where his team on an operation known as 'X-Ray' has to clear the way for the bigger one called 'Operation Chromite'.

 Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. 

     The team who left behind their family and friends, has to be ready to sacrifice for their nation. Their notion is to steal the military strategies of the North, but it goes beyond that after a series of twist and turns. Theirs brave attempt is what this film talk about. But there is a little chance for a sequel, particularly for what this title actually meant. I mean, the film was all about the operation known as 'X-Ray' which is a sub-operation of 'Operation Chromite'. But the way the film ended gives a hint that there's no more story left to tell us.

     I am familiar with most of the cast and they all were good. It was worth making a film of the real event, but as I know not the best work of the director. Especially the screenplay looked unrealistic in a few parts which is mostly the confrontations between two armed forces. Though in such films it is acceptable which is done for goosebumps and to highlight the heroism with a greater struggle. If you are watching it for Liam Neeson, then you will be let down. He was magnificent in his limited appearance. For me, he looked like a bit Popeye with a pipe and at sea. A couple great quotes from him, but his absence on the field of action would hurt his fans.

     Despite the disappointment, the film is watchable. Reasonable runtime and pace with the fine visual effects, it is worth a try. You will learn the history and apart from that there's nothing special. Whatever happens in earlier parts, the last 30-40 minutes makes the most of the film if you love war and actions. But still I'll pass, not going to recommend it to you, especially if you have watched lots of war films and spy missions. The final thing I wanted to say is don't believe those sites rated it very poorly. It stands between average and good, so the final call should be yours in such situation, but be prepared for whatever outcome you will receive.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
Assassination, Anthropoid, 71: Into the Fire, The Front Line, My Way, The Admiral: Roaring Current.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Little Wing (2016) Finland

When one parent's failing, the kid needs another.






Original title:
Tittö Nimeltä Varpu (Finnish)


Genre:
Drama.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     This is the second Finnish film for me in a week. '...Olli Maki' was a sport-biopic, but this one is a simple fictional drama. All woman team, watching it on the occasion around Women's day make it a special. The story was not impressive enough. Lacks the originality, but overall decently made film.

     A coming-of-age theme that tells about Varpu who just turned 12. She lives with her mother, who is a character of underage. There's nothing bad about her, but she feels the world is a very complicated place and complaints a lot like a tween for even small small things.

     Since the Varpu is growing up fast, thinks her mother is failing to handle a girl like her age. So that leads her to look for her dad who she had never seen before. A little adventure on that, followed by issues surrounding it, how she overcomes and put her life back one track are the remaining parts to reveal us.

     Anybody who had seen the handsome of films in their life would think this film is just okay. That's true, yet I won't say it was a bad attempt. In fact, in some of the parts, the story won't advance as you think. The writing was neat, except lags a bit often, but that did not cause any annoyance.

     The entire story was told from a teenager's perspective, yet very matured from the contents wise. Like the tough decision to venture is to clear the doubts once and for all. What she discovered did not surprise as that's how her life had been so far. She's been with her mother all her life, so it was particularly to learn about her father.

 She was so sweet and wise right from the start. Now she's dying or suffering somewhere, because I'm so retarded. 

     There's no way the film could have been better than this. Because the message was nicely conveyed. Altering that would have given a different film, which is not the notion, I believe. Especially a girl who discovers what her parents truly are, I mean their capacity. Clearly her life begins onwards to be an adult in early age.

     The casting was so good. The three looked like an average real family. It was done without much hype. Like, you know, the mystery of dad was solved after some dramatic twist, but everything was kept within the limits. Especially most of the viewers would be looking for the Varpu's driving skill which they think could influence to bring a twist in the tale. But what follows is a twist to our anticipation. By the way the girl was excellent. I think she will be a fine actress.

     The cliches were not overused, instead it was used to shape up the story in its diversions. Whenever the narration reached its dead end, the following events quickly hops on a new path with fresh developments. This happened, particularly on two major occasions in which the first was after finding her dad and the next was after knowing his true identity.

     At that point, the film was almost done narrating the tale. Only finishing touch with little explanation was given on a few things. It is a good conclusion and quite enjoyable overall film. So I think the film's not for everyone. This is especially for those watches with admiration like with enthusiasm than those who watch it for no reason and interest. In simple words, for film fanatics and family audience. I said lots of positives, so you might think I would recommend it highly, but I won't. Instead, semi-recommended for overall readers.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
The Confirmation, St Vincent, The Way Way Back, Dirty Girl, The Kid With a Bike.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Light Between Oceans (2016) UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA

A tale of how love and grief are not balanced.






Genre:
Drama, Romance.


Length:
Approximately 6-minute read.


Review:
     The film was based on the Australian novel of the same name. It was a recent book, but a period drama about a World War I veteran who just returned home. So I feel this film was made too soon. Because it seems so classic, only if we had given some time to pick up its popularity. I mean the literature version which at least needed a decade of freedom before heading to the big screen. You know, this same kind of tales from the past is what now we consider epic, which looks even better in the cinema. Anyway, this film was good, but the future adaptations will be much more effective for its viewers.

     From the director of 'The Place Beyond the Pines' who also wrote for the screen. The title gives a brief insight of what kind of a tale it is. But the film was even deeper and darker with emotionally strong. The island where it takes place reminded me 'Song of the Sea', though it is not a fantasy film. If you love views, nature, particularly seaside, this film will suit you.

     Besides, the story was much stronger, so the backgrounds will fade away when all your focus fall on its narration. For me the location was the first in the film, the hundred year old setting, away from normal society was the most impressive. It helped to narrate this wonderful drama which contained the message of moral imbalance.

     Tom Sherbourne, a World War I hero who relieved from the duty returns home and becomes a lighthouse keeper in an isolated island on the west coast of Australia. He marries a woman whom he has instantly fallen in love. Now they are living far from the human world. A couple of tragedy strikes in their life following one another.

     Before coming out of that trauma, they find a baby on a lifeboat that washed up on their island and decides to adopt her. But after some times when they return to the mainland, they come to realise what they're doing is not legally nor morally correct. From onwards how it affects their each others trust, how far it all goes and how the story ends was told in the remaining parts.

 You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. 

     Despite the book was modern, the storytelling was so vintage. I'm talking about the way the plot and characters developed, including how it concludes. For the present generation, if you are familiar with a few similar works from the past, then you would predict this film. I mean not the entire film, but some scenes are at its initial stage can be foreseen. Because sometimes, some developments are called coincidence, but when you have plenty of them, that is called very intentional. That was the only negative of this film. By avoiding them the tale would not be possible. In other way, it could have had stretched even further which are unnecessary details.

     I did not care the cliches. For me it was a fine drama. The performances were magnificent. It looked to me an Oscar worthy, from both Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander. Even Rachel Weisz was for the supporting role. So tick marks for cast and locations, also the screenplay and score. But the sad part is the film was not received very well, especially by the jackass film critics.

     It's not the same case with regular movie goers, particular I think the older and matured people would like it better. But it's not another 'Pride and Prejudice' from the family audience perspective. The events of the film and the outcome can be wrongly judged. Most importantly, it sets in the same world as ours, so everything is the near fact based. So the right and wrongs are inside the film, but not applicable for the filmmaking which I think a well done job.

     The post climax scene, the one that comes before the end credit was very good. For this kind of tale, that kind of outro sets a final tone. Despite not an inspiring storyline, all the portrayal in the film was so poetic. Mainly because of slow narration with high influence of sentiments and most of the occasions being dialogueless. The length was not an issue if you like period dramas. Anyway, it was engaging theme, there's always something keeps happening. So I think this is one of the under-rated films of the year. It deserves much better recognition. If you haven't watched it yet, I recommend it and highly if you are 30+.



Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All


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


Similar movies:
The Painted Veil, The Lovely Bones, Australia, The Carlina White Story.


External link(s):



WCA geolocation:
Right now we're in