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.
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
Ain Review – Ain is a Malayalam drama film released in 2015. Maanu is a lazy and aimless youngster living in Malabar area. He has a weird interest towards the smell of blood from the slaughtering of animals. Things change when Maanu happens to witness a murder which makes him flee from his village. This movie has won the National Award for the best feature film in Malayalam.
Director Sidhartha Siva has painted the life of a jobless youngster very well. He has brilliantly used the canvas of local political situation. The movie questions the responsibility of an individual towards the society. While there are organizations fighting for rights of animals there are a lot of human slaughtering that goes unquestioned. Thanks to Bengaluru Film Festival, I was able to see this on a big screen.
The tone of the movie is very realistic and takes you into the life of an aimless youth in the region. The nativity of the region is very well covered in the movie. The script has a very good sense of humor built in which makes it a very interesting watch. In particular, the dream sequences of Maanu are well done. The lead actor Musthafa has portrayed the character of Maanu very well. There are no dramatic turns in the movie. The movie just captures the coming of age process of the lead character.
High Points: The performance of Musthafa, a very realistic tone, the nativity of the Malabar area, the dream sequences
Low Points: If you are not aware of the Malabar area you might miss many subtle things portrayed in the movie
Overall Ain (The Eye) is a movie made sincerely. Although about an aimless youngster, the movie has an aim in questioning some of the social injustice that happens and emphasizes the duty of the citizen to stand up for it. If you are interested in watching good cinema without the usual song and dance then this one is a must watch.
Pather Panchali Review – Pather Panchali is a Bengali drama directed by Satyajit Ray, released in 1955. The movie is based on the novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay by the same name. This was also Satyajit Ray’s directorial debut. The story revolves around a poor family in the rural area of West Bengal. It is the journey of the family struggling to make the ends meet.
This movie is now a landmark in the history of Indian Cinema. Ray took the film to outdoors and started the trend of realistic movies in Indian Cinema. The movie introduced many legends to Indian Cinema. It took 3 years to make the movie due to funding issues. If you are interested in the journey of the making of the movie then read the article Song of the Little Road from this site. Thanks to Bangalore International Film Festival, I was able to enjoy this movie on a big screen in Gold Class.
The movie is very engaging from the start. Given the limitations of the technology and challenges in lighting the output still brilliant. Ray paints the picture of the family in the rural area. The household set has been brilliantly designed and is utilized to the maximum. There is a scene in which the mother pushes her daughter out of the house and closes the door. Through the hole in the wall, Ray has captured both the characters and their emotions at the same time without resorting to any split screen editing. You would see many such brilliant moments in the film.
The music composition pandit Ravi Shankar is just brilliant and adds soul to the movie. The sound recording captures the sound you would experience in a countryside. The two kids in the movie are the ones that win you heart as compared to the others. They have performed very well. Although the family is going through financial troubles the world in the eyes of the kids is still beautiful as they take extreme pleasure from the smallest things. The activities they do would have been nostalgic for many of the movie goers during that time. As the movie is based on a popular novel the story itself is very compelling and Ray’s visual language gives a new dimension to the story.
High Points: The outdoor sequences, Scene compositions, performances of the actors, nostalgic moments, background score, use of the sets, the iconic train scene
Low Points: The only low point is the legend Ray is not with us now
Get ready to travel to a countryside and relive the early 20th century. This is a milestone movie in the history of Indian Cinema that had got a lot of attention from the world. Don’t miss if you get a chance to watch this one.