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Drama

A family man (2016)

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SummA Family Manary

“A family man” is about a headhunter whose life revolves around closing deals in a a survival-of-the-fittest boiler room, battles his top rival for control of their job placement company — his dream of owning the company clashing with the needs of his family.

Genre : Drama
Country : USA/Canada

Cast :
Max Jenkins : Ryan Jensen
Gerard Butler : Dane Jensen
Willem Dafoe : Ed Blackridge

Director :
Mark Williams

My opinion on “A Family man”

“Cancer is not a negotiation, Mr. Jensen.”

In “Olympus has fallen” and “London has fallenGerard Butler took care of the president of America and fought against a whole battalion of terrorists. In “A family man” Dane Jensen (Gerard Butler) has to fight other demons. On the one hand there’s his hectic and energy-hungry job as headhunter. A job he lives for and that keeps him occupied for at least 70 hours a week without exception. And on the other hand there’s his charming wife Elise (Gretchen Mol), his son Ryan (Max Jenkins) and daughter Lauren (Julia Butters). A warm family that never lacks anything thanks to Dane’s efforts. On a materialistic level that is. Because each and every one of them craves for the presence of a husband and a father figure. Dane may be physically present but in reality he’s always busy with his work. This results in displeasure and frustration. Dan always acts like a businessman. When Ryan seems to gain weight, he reacts pragmatically. He just gets up at an inhuman hour to go jogging with his son.

A Family Man

Yep, it’s again about that dreadfull disease.

The psychological pressure increases when Dane’s boss Ed Blackridge (Willem Dafoe) announces that he’s thinking of a well-deserved retirement and passes on his position to the person who can present the best annual figures. You don’t have to be a Nostradamus to predict what effect this has on Dan. And then it turns out that Ryan’s overweight is not because of playing “Assassin’s creed” for hours while enjoying loads of snacks. It’s a swollen spleen due to a severe form of leukemia that causes his waistline to increase. Most viewers (including myself) will start rolling their eyes and shake their heads. Not again another sentimental story with that horrible disease as a central theme and the inner conflict certain people will feel. In this case it’s Dan who has to find the right balance between his competitive job and the welfare of his son. And he comes to the realization that no compromises can be made or illegal tricks can be used in such a way that the aggravation of the disease can be avoided.

A Family Man

Karma is a bitch.

The message is crystal clear after a while. The whole karma and “What goes around comes around” principle is really emphatically emphasized. It’s all about that moment when you realize that you shouldn’t take everything for granted and you start realizing what’s really important in life. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dan decided to convert to the monotheistic religion of the Sikhs and move to India to live there as righteous Punjab. The transformation from unscrupulous, senseless workaholic into an insightful family man whose priorities suddenly changed completely, was enormously predictable. But despite that predictability and cheesiness, I couldn’t resist to look at the rest of this über-emotional tearjerker.

A Family Man

Syrupy sweet.

In terms of content it was perhaps very syrupy sweet and not very original. But in terms of interpretation I can only respect Gerard Butler whose acting-past is richly filled with action-rich roles where an elaborated character wasn’t really required. As King Leonidas in “300” and Mike Banning in “London / Olympus has fallen” he only had to be fearless, ruthless and determined. So no complex feelings and character traits. The implausible wasn’t due to his acting performance, but due to a reasonably weak script. The most eye-catching and praiseworthy acting is for Max Jenkins who, despite his young age, delivers an admirable performance. Ryan was portrayed realistically by this young boy. The rest of the cast took care of the no less important roles, but they weren’t not so explicitly in the spotlight. Gretchen Mol as the disgruntled wife (but on the other hand she was in a privileged position thanks to the well-payed job of her husband). Alison Brie, the ravishing rival of Dan. Willem Dafoe as the single, tyrannical CEO whose life was only focused on making loads of money. And Alfred Molino in a modest role as an unemployed engineer at age, who only serves as a toy in Dan’s head hunter’s game.

A Family Man

Shoes aren’t tasty. I know that now !

I am not a hypersensitive type or over-sentimental, but when a drama with this kind of subject doesn’t not touch me or moves me, then something is wrong. Either it’s totally unbelievable or it’s so predictable. I’m afraid the movie just follows a well-known path without deviating, so that it has little interesting to offer. Towards the end, I said to my wife: “If that little boy wakes up now, I’ll eat my shoe. Never knew that shoe soles were so chewy.

My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB

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Drama

Netflix’s Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown’s Medicore Fantasy Drama Fails Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

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Robin Wright, Millie Bobby Brown and Angela Basett in Netflix's Damsel

Netflix’s latest 109-minute original movie, starring Millie Bobby Brown, unfortunately fails to conquer its audience. The twisted dark fairy tale turns into a fantasy survival thriller as the “damsel in distress” faces betrayal and hardships. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, Damsel offers a beautiful concept with a weak story.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The opening narration of the movie, “There are many stories of chivalry where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress. This is not one of them,” sets the tone of the movie as Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) was ‘sold’ to another kingdom as a bride only to be betrayed by her husband soon after getting married. Hurt, alone, and frightened, the protagonist soon learns that she has been ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of the kingdom to a dragon. Survival seems hard for the princess as she comes across the dangers of the majestic creature. Brown’s character soon finds out that she is not the first to be sacrificed. Several brides like her have been thrown away for generations like a stick thrown to a dog.

Damsel offers an unusual and strong concept with captivating visuals and cinematography. The traditional classy costumes and rich makeup style match the theme well. As usual, the Stranger Things star offered outstanding dialogue delivery with expectational expressions.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

As much as Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent performance needs to be applauded one cannot help but notice the waste of fine talents. Yes, we’re talking about multiple award winners, veteran actresses Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, who are highly recognized talents out in the world, famous for their spectacular roles in multiple critically acclaimed projects. Brown’s heavy presence leaves no room for Bassett and Wright to shine. It leaves other actors such as Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, and Brooke Carter far out from the spotlight.

Damsel includes some heart-wrenching action scenes along with many emotional turning points that make Elodie question her life. She is living in fear, facing betrayal, figuring things out, and most importantly, trying to survive all alone in a dark cave. The bland dialogues in between disrupt the flow of the movie, but the rushed conclusion lashes all hopes to the ground! All the buildup was quickly washed away as the movie ends cursory.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The period movie challenges patriarchy, inequality, and gender roles. The protagonist Princess Elodie is an open-minded, strong, progressive-thinking character who can do anything for her people – even if it means giving up her dreams and life in an arranged marriage. The women in the movie are bold, strong, rational, and, protective. It is only fitting that Netflix’s Damsel was released on International Women’s Day as the distressed damsel shows she needs no man in shining armor to protect her from the dangers present in the world. She is a brave, daring, sharp-minded young woman who takes revenge and expresses power when it was needed. Game of Thrones may have set a standard for dragons, but this one is no less. We’re sure Khaleesi would be proud of Elodie!

Damsel is available to stream on Netflix.

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Action

Napoleon: Explosive and Victorious!

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Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Plot

Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar®-winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte’s relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.

Vanessa Kirby as Josephine Bonaparte and Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Movie Review

The movie starts off on a high note, showcasing the end of one of France’s major historical figures while Napoleon watches on. The storyline is centered around some of Napoleon’s highlights in his military career such as the siege of Toulon, the Battles of Austerlitz and Waterloo, as well as his exile to St Helena. Every moment combined with dramatic effect delivers a well-rounded historical war-drama.

We are taken to picturesque locations supported by an epic soundtrack delivered by Martin Phipps (listen below).

Napoleon (Original Soundtrack by Martin Phipps)

The costumes and military regalia is done to perfection. The display of explosive artillery adds to the battle highlights, and watching the movie in a IMAX theatre adds even more value in terms of sound and picture quality.

Even though the movie contains historical inaccuracies, a well dramatised historical account of Napoleon Bonaparte is offered, and Joaquin Phoenix delivers a performance worthy of a medal. Vanessa Kirby plays the part of Empress Joséphine, and delivers

One movie would never be enough to share all of the highlights of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, but I feel this movie really summed up some of the stories quite well. The movie is filled with non-stop action between the battlefields and political halls of France. Ridley Scott delivers a war movie that gives us a shortened but powerful glimpse of the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte. Give him a medal!

I would personally have loved a see an entire series dedicated to the stories of Napoleon Bonaparte.

I rate this movie 4 out of 5. Not for sensitive viewers. Lots of action with a few violent scenes. There are a few sexual scenes but with no graphic nudity.

The movie trailer doesn’t spoil too much of the movie content and is a brilliant appetizer for the history buffs among us. There is no post-credits scene though, so no need to wait till the end.

Watch Napoleon at a cinema near you!

Napoleon Official Trailer (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

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Comedy

Netflix’s Crashing Eid Review: Love, Culture, and Differences

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Crashing Eid

If you are curious about other cultures, or maybe want to see how your culture is represented in mainstream media, then you should binge-watch Netflix’s Arabic Comedy series Crashing Eid this weekend. It’s a 4-episode long series with each episode of roughly 47 minutes. The series revolves around culture, love, differences, family, and drama.

The story focuses on Razan (Summer Shesha) as she finds love for the second time in her life but struggles to convince her family for marriage. Razan is shown to be living in the UK with her daughter Lamar (Bateel Qamlo) and finds her British-Pakastani boyfriend Sameer (Hamza Haq) as a suitable match for herself. She proposes to him for marriage before traveling to Saudi Arabia, her home, to celebrate Eid. Her family is convinced that she is back in Saudi for good but Razan has other plans. She tries to tell them about Sameer but constantly fails due to fear and lack of ‘perfect’ timing. She tells Sameer that her parents have agreed to their marriage as she panics to tell him the truth.

Summer Shesha and Bateel Qamlo in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha as Razan, Bateel Qamlo as Lamar in Crashing Eid

Here comes the twist – Sameer reaches Saudi to surprise Razan and to meet her parents! She tries her best to handle the situation and hide their relationship with the help of her daughter Lamar. At the end of the episode, the truth uncovers itself and everyone is left disappointed. The story follows Razan’s family drama, bitter relations with her mother, previous abusive marriage, her brother Hasan’s (Yasir Alsaggaf) struggle to connect with his son after losing custody, etc. Her previous marriage with her cousin affected her relationship with her own mother as she blames Razan for the failed marriage.

Summer Shesha’s portrayal of a strong woman struggling with every close person in her life but still managing to face everything with bravery is appreciable. Khalid Alharbi deserves applause for his sweet, loving, and understanding role as Razan’s father.

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha, and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Despite a fun twist challenge, representation, and Khalid Alharbi’s brilliant performance, a few parts lack perspective. The story doesn’t completely revolve around Razan yet it fails to involve Lamar’s (Bateel Qamlo) emotions in the family drama. She is seen upset at times but it’s never completely addressed. She plays the role of a typical elder daughter helping out her mother in everything and neglecting herself at times. The ending felt rushed as it doesn’t properly elaborate on how Razan’s mother (Amani Idrees) suddenly changed her mind about her daughter. Emotions take time and that’s what felt rushed.

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq, and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Crashing Eid  offers strong cultural representation, women empowerment, and how love can help you deal with almost everything. It focuses strongly on social taboos surrounding women and Muslim culture.

Crashing Eid is now available to stream on Netflix.

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