I hate Westerns. They’re not really my cup of tea in the film world. But, I’m a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino’s films and with the incredible cast put together in this film, I knew I had to check Django Unchained out. Winning tickets to the premiere on Twitter (thanks @virginmena!) certainly helped matters!
Set 2 years before the Civil War in the US, the story starts with a German bounty hunter, Dr. Schultz, (masterfully played by Christopher Waltz) who buys Django (Jamie Foxx) to help him find his bounty. This was a time where slavery was still around, so you’ll see a lot of racism in this film, but Dr. Schultz wasn’t a fan of the concept and this progressed the story line in a very interesting direction (not giving away any spoilers). And, as you’d expect in any Tarantino movie, there’s a lot of dramatic shooting and a lot of blood; the last 30 minutes of the film were especially epic.
Rating: If there’s one movie you need to see this weekend, make it this one. Another Tarantino cult hit. I give 5 Oi’s out of 5.
This film told the story of the town of Henan during the war, where a severe drought and famine caused 3 million people deaths as a result. It was an epic production to say the least. I don’t know what their idea of ‘hope’ is when they wrote the synopsis, but all I saw was a tunnel with no light at the end of it. It’s pretty depressing seeing things get progressively worse, but I think it’s important to watch it anyways to understand that part of history- even if just a little bit- and think about those in unfortunate situations today. Another aspect to the film was showing how communist China functioned and their reasons for sending emergency aid to Henan was shocking in my point of view. On the other hand, it was also interesting to see the focus family in the movie was of an upper-class family amongst those who typically live in poverty.
Rating: Depressing as ever, but incredible film and story line. I give it 4 Oi’s out of 5.
This Jordanian rom-com is about a woman called Monaliza who never smiles. Ever. She comes from a conservative family (also portrayed by her mannerisms and dress sense), and lives with her much older sister who hasn’t stepped out of the house in 20 years. She’s had no intentions to get married or be with anyone until she meets an Egyptian guy at her new job. From there, you see a lot of the struggles that a conservative girl would typically face in that kind of situation- family, nationality differences, admitting your feelings, and so on.
The characters were all well-written and the story had a nice flow. It’s not a new story if you’ve seen western rom-coms, but it is definitely new for the Arab world in a refreshing way. It had many depths to it, with supporting characters also having their own stories, which I found quite interesting. The ending was a bit too Jerry Maguire for me, but overall it was an enjoyable film.
Rating: Great Arabic film. We need more Arabic movies like this. I give it 4 Oi’s out of 5.
Another Jordanian film (I’m really impressed by the calibre of movies coming out from these new young directors!) that was about a newly married woman whose car gets stolen, except one of the thieves gets left behind and she holds him at gun point in an attempt to get her car back. The whole movie revolves around that scene, with flashbacks into the stories of the man and the woman, understanding their backgrounds better as the movie progresses. It’s a movie that tackled several topics really well- the choices we make and their consequences (in the director’s words ‘there are no victims in this story’); a peak into Jordan’s social classes, the lives they lead, and the big gaps between them; and what we want to believe vs. the truth.??
The film was written and directed by Aseel Mansour, and he did a fantastic job at both.
Rating: Gripping movie that keeps you thinking up until the very end. It hits theaters in the UAE in January, so make sure you see it. I give it 5 Oi’s out of 5.
Imagine Ocean’s 11, but Korean-style and ten times better. That pretty much sums up The Thieves. It was a blockbuster hit in South Korea, and I can see why. The dialogue was funny (even with subtitles!), and the action scenes were awesome. And even though neither one is realistic, The Thieves was a lot more realistic than Ocean’s 11 because, guess what, a heist that big is more likely to fail than to succeed. And with that kind of thinking, it gave the story a lot more to go with than just a simple Heist, and a few more twists too. It was also cool to see female leads playing key roles in the heist, unlike the all-male team formed by Mr. Ocean.
Rating: Really fun to watch, and so funny even with the English subtitles. I give it 5 Oi’s out of 5.
This is a period movie telling the story of President Roosevelt’s womanizing ways (who woulda thought?!) through a woman called Daisy, and is actually based her letters documenting all of this??that were hidden in a box under her bed! The movie is mostly in narrative form from Daisy’s point of view, and is not very fast-paced so you have to have a lot of patience with this movie. Bill Murray was phenomenal playing President Roosevelt- I personally think it was his best performance ever- and the film was really funny as well, especially when the King and Queen of England visit the US in 1939; their concern over ‘hot dogs’ made everyone laugh every time. My sister was bored to death though, so this movie definitely isn’t for those who love the typical Hollywood blockbuster.
Rating: If you like period films, watch this. If you don’t, watch it anyway for Bill Murray’s performance. I give it 4 Oi’s out of 5.
A dark comedy telling the story of the great director Alfred Hitchcock while he was making his horro movie Psycho. Dark comedy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so not everyone will appreciate this movie. I thought it was really good, and one of Anthony Hopkins’ best performances. What I loved the most about this film was the portrayal of this marriage to Alma; the ups and downs they go through- support, doubts about the project and each other, feelings of betrayal resentment, and finally appreciation- just felt real, and even more so with Helen Mirren’s great piece of telling off Hitch. It was also interesting to see how Hitch was ‘communicating’ with the killer he was basing his movie on, although I think that could’ve had a bigger part in the movie.
Rating: Watch it for Anthony Hopkins’ performance, even if dark comedy isn’t up your alley. I give it 4 Oi’s out of 5.