Tel Aviv On Fire Review – Tel Aviv On Fire is an Arabic comedy-drama released in 2018. Salam is a Palestinian living in Jerusalem. He is working on a Soap opera as a scriptwriter. He gets his plot ideas from the commander at the check post he passes through. As the show becomes popular, the commander wants the climax to be changed the way he wants.
Director Sameh Zoabi has crafted a witty screenplay at the backdrop of a socially tense situation. The movie is hilarious right from the first shot. The scenes shift from the soap opera to the real life effortlessly. The brilliance in the screenplay makes you interested in progress of both the tales the real story as well as the story of the soap opera.
Kai’s Nashif is very convincing as Salam. His performance is witty and enjoyable. The inspiration he looks for writing the script is quite hilarious and later we see that it has a stronger connection to his life too. Yaniv Bitton steals the show as the commander at the check post. His asks are unexpected and helps in bringing some surprises in the plot.
High Points – The comedy in the script, the background score elevates the scenes, the interwoven plots of soap opera and the real life, ending of the movie is very entertaining
Low Points – Folks who do not like this kind of comedy may not enjoy the movie.
Overall, Tel Aviv On Fire is an entertaining drama, that has a very satirical take on the Soap Operas and also brings the funnier side of people although separated by political system to the forefront.
The Bra Review – The Bra is a silent comedy-drama that is shot in Azerbaijan. Train driver Nurlan on his retirement day finds that his train has snagged a blue bra from the neighborhood. He sets on a journey to return the bra to the owner.
They say silence is golden. And it aptly fits the movie for if they have added dialgoues it would have lost its beauty and lost into either a cliched tale or become a gross comedy. People hesitate to speak about the undergarments as they are personal. So making it silent fits well with the plot.
As the movie starts we get to witness the beautiful landscape of Baku in Azerbaijan. The picturesque view of the mountains is equally matched with the sweet characters that are portrayed in the congested township through which the train travels. The boy at the tea shop who warns people every day of the train arriving steals our hearts instantly. Nurlan’s character is well established too as every day he goes back to the township to return the things that were snagged by the train. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when he sets out to return the bra that has been snagged by the train during his last ride.
The entire episode is a laughter riot as he adopts various techniques to return the bra to the owner. His obsession to find the right owner makes the tale very interesting one. The kid at the tea shop joins him in the quest and they make a great team. His efforts lead to unpredictable circumstances and how he eventually finds the owner when all odds are against him forms the rest of the story.
“Miki” Manojlović as Nurlan brings life to the character with his performance. His expressions speak a lot and you don’t feel the need for a language. Director Veit Helmer has dealt with the screenplay very well. The treatment of the movie is so artistic in nature that you don’t feel there are any obscene moments in the film. The cinematography and sound editing is amazing and adds additional charm to the visual. The scene in which Nurlans co-worker practices his musical instrument with running engine sounds is well made.
High Points – The movie being a silent is a high point, the visuals of Baku are breathtaking, performance of “Miki” Manojlović and the little boy, enjoyable comedy
Low Points – Hardly any low point for this one
Overall, The Bra is a movie for every cinephile. Board this train that takes you through picturesque landscapes and let’s you meet those beautiful people. You will walk out of the screen with a big smile on your face.
Ali’s Wedding Review – Ali’s Wedding is an English movie produced in Australia. The movie revolves around a Iranian family settled in Australia. Ali the youngest son in the family tells a lie due to social pressure and the events that the lie leads to is the rest of the movie.
The movie starts off on a empty field that leads to a vineyard where a guy in a groom costume is driving a stolen tractor to get to the airport but is chased by cops. The beginning certainly gives the taste of what you can expect. From then on it is a roller coaster ride of fun. You get a glimpse into the lifestyle and culture of the Iranian family. The movie overall has a very funny tone and deals how simple expectations from life can alter the way one can lead life. It also has a satirical take on how rest of the world views people from middle-east. Even the deportation scene from the US is hilarious.
The family values have striking similarity with Asian families and this lets you connect with the movie very well. The movie also takes a dig at how the old systems and beliefs are altered based on convenience in a most comical way.
High Points: The simplistic plot of the movie, the screenplay of the movie, the comic sequences, performances by Osamah Sami, Helena Sawires and Don Hany.
Low Points: There is not many low points in this movie.
If you love movies with comedy of errors plot then Ali’s Wedding is a perfect movie for you. It has all the ingredients that make it a very good comedy film. Overall it is a well made movie that is simple, naive and also emotionally connects well. The movie is on Netflix . Do watch it.
Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim Review – Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim ( Ali Mizah wa Ibrahim ) is an Arabic comedy drama film released in 2016. Ali a man who considers his goat Nada as his fiancee and Ibrahim a sound engineer who hears disturbing sounds in his ears meet at a clinic and embark on a journey together to find cure.
I watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2018. The movie has a very interesting plot. Director Sharif El-Bindari has created the character of Ali and Ibrahim very well and makes us fall in love with them. You cannot fully understand the suffering of someone until you are in their shoes is an underlying message of this comedy drama. Right from the first shot the movie has a subtle reference to the prejudiced world that goes based on appearance and behavior. Police detain Ali for carrying a Teddy Bear suspecting it to be a smuggling racquet while they miss capturing a gang of folks kidnapping a women. Even Ali himself is seen having some prejudice about Ibrahim during their trip.
At time you would feel Ali is doing bit too much of being obsessed with Nada the goat. He can’t take any one calling his Nada as goat and he furiously. The journey puts them through various trials and builds a strong bond between them until some unexpected turn of events.
The lead actors portraying Ali and Ibrahim have done well. There are many moments you would laugh and the climax tops it all and makes you feel good. Nada the goat is yet another lovable animal character on screen. Although there are some cliched moments in the film, it still makes it a very enjoyable ride.
Overall Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim is a feel-good movie that would make you laugh and fall in love with life.
Thaana Serndha Kootam Review – Thaana Serndha Kootam is a Tamil heist movie released in 2018. Iniyan aspires to become a CBI officer. When he is denied the opportunity due to a corrupt CBI officer, he becomes a con man to teach to teach a lesson to the CBI officer.
The movie is based on true incidents that happened in 1987. It is adapted from the Hindi blockbuster Special 26. Director Vignesh Shivan after his much successful outing with Naanum Rowdydhaan chooses a plot that can guarantee success. However, he is seen too uncomfortable to step out of his comfort zone which spoils the engagement factor that is required for a heist script. His choice of cast is quite interesting one including Suresh Menon coming back to the screen after a long break, Karthik, Ramyakrishnan, and Senthil. The movie has the right set of cast, technicians, music composer needed make it an interesting and engaging tale.
Although Vignesh Shivan has teased the audience with the usual cliches that they would normally see in a movie and changes course, he has still recreated the same cliches at the later point in time. The romance portion between Suriya and Keerthy is an interesting one in isolation but it doesn’t fit well into this tale. He has also mixed comedy into the movie akin to his previous outing. Only few comedy scenes make you laugh. The biggest minus for the film is the lengthy and boring climax.
Why do Tamil directors have the pressure of justifying everything a hero does and create the character of the ones who would oppose the hero as a tainted one?
High Points: Ensemble of cast, background score, romance portion between Suriya and Keerthy Suresh
Low Points: Cliched sequences, a comedy that doesn’t work always, climax.
Overall Thaana Serndha Kootam aspires to be an improved version of Special 26 but just ends up to be a mashup of Naanum Rowdydhaan and VIP. You can watch this when played on TV/DVD.
Wait for TV/DVD
The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review – The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an English action comedy movie released in 2017. A professional bodyguard Michael Bryce is assigned to escort a notorious hitman Kincaid as he is the only physical evidence who can testify against the dictator of Belarus.
Action Comedy movies are bit tricky as you may either like it or not like it. Everything depends if the comedy suits your taste or not. The movie definitely has some very good action sequences and thrilling moments. However, the comedy involved may not please everyone. Ryan Renolds and Samuel Jackson use their star power to advance the movie. The action sequence involving the chase sequence in the climax has been shot very well. The contrast in the characters of the two lead men has been written very well where Michael believes boring is good which means everything should be uneventful while Kincaid lives dangerously.
There is never a dull moment in the movie and always there is something or the other happening that keeps you engaged. Given the plethora of superhero movies coming out this one doesn’t have the necessary gas to blow you off your mind.
High Points: The plot of the movie is a very interesting one, the lead character’s star value, the character sketch of Michael and Kincaid, the climax chase sequence.
Low Points: The comedy sequences may not have worked for all. The love angle of Michael seemed very cliched.
Overall if you love to watch mindless action movie then this one is for you. If the comedy in the movie connects with you then you would enjoy this more.
Wait for DVD/TV
Lipstick Under My Burkha Review – Lipstick Under My Burkha is a Hindi Black Comedy released in 2016. The movie revolves around 4 women of various age group living in Bhopal. Each one of them has a dream that appears “Rosy” to them.
First and foremost this is a very bold movie and many of you may not like what you see on the screen. Although deep inside it reflects some of the true facts in an overly dramatic fashion that needs to be done to drive the point home. The movie captures the conservative background the four women live in and how contrasting wild their dreams are. A college-going girl Rehana wants to free herself from her Burkha. She idolizes Miley Cyrus and loves Led Zeppelin. Leela, about to get married wants to become an entrepreneur and start a honeymoon package for couples. Shireen, a mother of three kids living with an insensitive husband is a successful sales women and wants to grow in her career and a 55-year-old lady Usha who had lost her husband very young finds solace in fulfilling her desires by reading a soft porn magazine.
The events build up and the transition between the lives of the lead characters are filled in with the description from the book Usha is reading. Rosy is the lead lady in the book and it talks about her dreams. Rosy is a metaphor for the dreams these women wish for. The rosy picture in the dream is not so rosy in reality. There are very brilliant moments in the screenplay subtle yet powerful that exposes the stereotypical nature of the society. The scene where Usha introduces herself as Buvaji and then realizes she has a name. Another scene where Rehana steals items from the shop to look fashionable.
The problem with the plot is not everyone would be able to relate to every woman. But definitely, they would be able to relate to one aspect of it.
High Points: The plot and the premise is an interesting one, the narration style of using text from the book for the transition has worked well, The lead characters have performed well, in particular, Rathna Pathak’s performance.
Low Points: The story touches some sensitive subjects which many might find hard to digest, Due to the content this is an Adult movie.
Overall Lipstick Under a Burka is a bold movie that paints the picture of various stereotypes women are subjected to. Not all that one dream is as “Rosy” as the reality is.
Worth a Watch