Very Big Shot Review – Very Big Shot is a Lebanese comedy film released in 2015. Three brothers who are into drug dealing business take up one last job before they set out to go clean and straight to open a restaurant business.
I had watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2016. How I wished Tamil movie Jigarthanda’s second half was something like this. Anyways that is my personal views which many may differ to agree. Without getting into that argument let me talk about Very Big Shot. The movie is a gangster drug lord flick at the outset. However, there is a very sensible humor throughout the script right from the first shot. Once the gangsters figure out that film roles are spared from being screened at the airport, they decide to become a producer of a film. The movie gets very interesting from there on and it is a ride filled with loads of laughter.
The screenplay has been done very nicely to ensure there is a logical flow to the whole story. The characters have been created and established the way they fit into the situations well. There is no point it looks force fitted. Usually, comedy movies suffer from the phenomenon of force fitting humor into the script.
High Points: The scene where Ziad (eldest of the brothers) decide to make a movie to smuggle the drugs, the filmmaking scene where the Bhurka clad lady is stopped and the onlookers jump in to create a commotion without realising it is a shooting.
Low Points: As the humor is built around the movie making process, this humor may not work for all.
Overall, Very Big Shot is a wholesome entertainer that would make you laugh and keep you engaged throughout the movie. If you get a chance to watch this one do give it a try.
One Man and His Cow Review – One Man and His Cow is a French comedy movie released in 2016. Fatah a peasant from Algeria travels on foot with his Cow Jacqueline to compete in Paris International Agriculture Show.
Yet another gem I had seen during the Bangalore International Film Festival. The movie is a joint collaboration between France and Algeria. This easily is one of the sweetest feel good movie I had watched recently. The best part of the movie is its simplicity. They have used the resources available to them very economically to convey a heart warming story. Fatah and his cow steal the viewer’s heart right from the first scene where he gives a motivational speech to his Cow on how she would win in the competition. The characters in the village are also naive and very realistic.
There is also some excellent screenplay construction of tracking his journey through lessons in a classroom where its everyday task of the students is to point the place in the map where Fatah and his cow are currently. Usually, filmmakers cover it with a cliched map and a red line going through it. But hearing it through the class makes it very interesting. The class stops tracking him after crosses the border which I believe is a sarcastic indication of how the developed nations are so clueless about the life outside. The introduction of Lambert Wilson’s role as Philippe adds a very interesting dimension to the tale. The interactions between Phillippe and Fatah draw the contrast between the two worlds they belong to.
High Points: The overall feel good factor, The peach drink scene, the scene in which Fatah tries to write a letter to his wife, the climax scene.
Low Points: There is not really a low point in the movie as it is sincere to its screenplay.
Overall One Man and His Cow will make you laugh, touch the soft corners of your heart and bring a big smile on your face.
A Man Called Ove – A Man Called Ove is a Swedish comedy-drama released in 2015. This is based on the book by Fredrik Backman. 59-year-old Ove decides to end his life and join his late wife in the other world. But ending his life doesn’t seem so easy.
This is yet another gem of a movie which I was able to see at Bangalore International Film Festival 2017. The movie is nominated for the Academy awards 2016 under the foreign language films and best hair makeup and styling category. I haven’t read the book yet. The movie was as enjoyable like reading a book. The simplicity of the tale and the reaction of the characters to the day to day problem is a great strength to the movie. There are no larger than life incidents or characters.
Rolf Lassgård’s performance as Ove is the best part of the movie. The other characters in the movies are also sketched beautifully. Director Hannes Holm has maintained the naivety of the tale in the movie as well. This makes it a very pleasant watch. The movie has good humor that arises out of the characters, situation and the interaction between them. The portions where Ove’s obsession for Volvo cars is involved were hilarious.
High Points: Simple story line, the innocence of the tale is a strong point, Performance of Rolf Lassgård is a big strength for the movie, The romance sequence between husband and wife is picturized well. The humor in the screenplay works very well to keep the audience engaged throughout.
Low Points: For the love of Ove you would tend to ignore any low points.
Overall the movie appears to be a sincere attempt in getting the book to real life. Combined with great visuals and stunning performances the movie is a pleasant watch.
Kills on Wheels Review – Kills on Wheels (Tiszta szívvel) is a Hungarian comedy film released in 2016. Two disabled teenagers find a reason to live when they get associated with a wheel-chaired hitman.
This is yet another movie I had an opportunity to watch in Bangalore International Film Festival. This is the first Hungarian movie I am watching. Right from the main title card, the movie kept me engaged. The plot line looks very simple and naive but a number of layers added to the screenplay and the characters have been phenomenal. There was always something waiting to surprise you. The hitman assignments have been shot very well and many of them have been gripping. In particular their final assignment. When you are already blown away by the story you had witnessed so far, the director surprises you with yet another beautiful twist in the movie to leave you elated as you leave the hall.
If you are film student then this is a movie you should watch for many aspects, the layers you add to a screenplay in terms of characters and situations, the background score, mise en scene to name a few. I can’t write too much about the plot and their twists as it would spoil the movie for you. This one happens to be the official nomination from Hungary for the Academy awards but unfortunately did not get nominated.
High Points: The characterization of the lead characters. In particular the boy with autism and the hitman. The final assignment of the hitman set out to kill Toni. The twist in the climax sequence. The title soundtrack.
Low Points: I did not find any low points for this one. If any had been well covered by a great execution.
Overall, the movie works well in entertaining the audience and leave the elated. Don’t miss this one.
After the Storm Review – After the Storm is a Japanese drama film released in 2016. Ryota, a prize-winning author, and a private detective wastes money and cannot make ends meet to pay for his child support. He gets to spend a night together with his family on a stormy night, the night brings in a change in him.
I got to watch this one in Bangalore International Film Festival. The movie very beautifully narrates the events that happen in the between the members of the family. The screenplay spends some time to establish the characters, their habits and the problems in life. It gets very intense once it has all of them inside the house during a storm. The movie touches upon many things including the addiction to gambling, self-centered parenting, kids craving for love from the parents. The memories of Ryota’s childhood brings back a new perspective into their life.
Kirin Kiki has performed very well as Ryota’s mom and she steals the show. I had liked her performance in An and I could see the same level of intensity in this role too. Hiroshe Abe has also performed well. His transformation from a gambling addict has been portrayed well. Amidst of all the chaos, there is still a lot of humor that will make you laugh.
High Points: Very strong plot is a strength backed by the performance of Kirin Kiki and Hiroshe Abe. The night the family spends at home is a high point.
Low Points: The first half seems a little drag as the movie establishes the lead characters.
Overall After the storm is a movie that will touch your heart and bring in new reflections over life. You can watch it for the strong performances of the lead characters and the sweet message it carries.
Worth a Watch
Sweet Red Bean Paste (An) – Review – An is a Japanese drama film released in 2015. The manager of a small street food place selling doriyaki is contacted by an elderly lady requesting for a job. Although he hesitates first but her skill in making a tastier sweet red bean paste for his doriyaki convinces him to get her onboard. What starts is a relationship that affects his life deeply.
The film addresses a social issue in Japan through the three main characters in the movie. The elderly lady Tokue, the manager of the street food joint and a school girl. All three of them are deprived of something in life and are very lonely. As the movie progresses we learn about each of them and how their lives are similar. Tokue leaves a great wisdom from the live she is leading to both the generations, in turn she also questions the baseless belief of the social issue.
Throughout the movie Director Naomi Kawase has used nature as a metaphor to go through the emotional rides. The performance of Kirin Kiki as Tokue is a very powerful one. She lights up the screen. The way the scenes are constructed has been very effective. The introduction of the characters has been conveyed very precisely in few scenes. The shop manager who does not like talkative girls, the school girl who arrives alone in the shop for lunch builds very effective portrayal of the characters.
High Points: Kirin Kiki’s performance, The visuals and the story addressing a key social issue, The way the food is picturized makes you crave for food
Low Points: The movie tends to deviate from the main storyline a couple of times.
Overall, Director Naomi Kawase has tingled the taste buds of the audience through her Sweer Red Bean Paste. It is a dish that would leave sweetness in your mouth despite the heaviness. Its a must watch for all movie lovers.
Cinemawala Review – Cinemawala is a Bengali drama released in 2016. The movie’s plot revolves around the stress in the relationship of a father and the son, where the father wants his son run his family business and the son takes a different route.
Director Kaushik Ganguly has used the background of a father-son relationship and depicted the fading glory of single screen theaters in India. The movie has a realistic take on the current state of affairs of the single screen cinema and how elements like piracy is killing them. In a way the father and son and their strained relationship becomes the metaphor for the struggle and identity of the single screen cinemas.
The performances of Paran Bandyopadhyay and Parambrata Chatterji is very powerful and they add a lot of life to the scenes. Sohini Sarkar has supported them very well. Parambrata Chatterji has played the character with a negative shade very well. The character of the man who looks after the theater has also been created well. The scenes are constructed very well and there is an aesthetic appeal to it. The climax sequence of the movie is very impactful and nails the message very effectively. This one is yet another wonderful movie I got to see at Bengaluru International Film Festival.
High Points: Performances of Paran Bandyopadhyay and Parambrata Chatterji, Engaging screenplay, Climax sequence
Low Points: The only low point is the core message on the state of single screen theater loses its focus when the focus is on the father-son relationship. However, the climax sequence brings back the focus and ends convincingly.
Overall Cinemawala has a very compelling story and creates the impact it intends to. You cannot stop yourself from feeling sad for the single screen cinemas that have been closed. This one is a must watch for all film lovers.