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Babam ve Oglum (2005)
Although this film has it's moments of magic, it's riddled with overly-sentimentality and melancholia
As a Turkish viewer residing in the United Kingdom, promising word of mouth/reviews of Turkish films are always a delight for me to hear. After much hype and recommendation of Babam ve Oglum, I was pretty anxious to watch it.
Babam ve Oglum deals with Father/Son relationships and is charged with story-values of Life/Death. The relationship and chemistry between Huseyin, Sadik and Deniz are not only believable but poignant. It is by far the strongest point of the film, and if I were to review this film on this aspect alone, I would have given it a 9/10. Unfortunately, the script and some misdirection provide crucial mistakes, with the former underpinning the films over melancholia.
Despite the credible relationships and fantastic performances from the lead fathers and sons, the script implements cliché and melancholic Acts that stray from believability and feel a tad forceful to elicit an emotional response from it's audience. It's partly reminiscent of the old Hülya Koçyiğit, Turkan Soray type Turkish films. Whilst paying homage to old films is one thing, I felt this film unintentionally did that with some conventional, dated storytelling. I believe Turkish Cinema is currently evolving with directors such as Nuri Bile Ceylan, but conventions used in this movie is a step backwards.
In terms of it's direction, it's got a nice classical feel which complements its Arch-Plot themes and even delivers absolute movie magic. The scene where Tarik has his first meal with his family coalesceds humour and drama in an accurate fashion. The scene of Sadik and Tarik's first night at their new home, is an undeniably sad moment. However, what contradicts these realistic, subtle scenes are Anti-plot elements such as the convenient collapse of Sadik at that very moment, or the hammy scene of when Huseyin demonstrated how he could have stopped Sadik from leaving before. Exposition is one thing, but be overly visual breaks the films realistic aspect, which is what worked in the first place.
That is not to say the film cannot implement experimental features, the resolution of the boy confronting the notion that he has to deal with moving on without his father at the end, was a touching moment of the loss of a father.
Overall, Babam ve Oglum is a good film but misses out on being a great film due to over-sentiments and melancholia. Had it maintained balance and stuck with a realistic/subtle direction, it would have been a fantastic film.
The Last Time (2006)
It doesn't know what it wants to be
I had the privilege of watching this film a few minutes ago. Since my opinion is still fresh and wouldn't be influenced by anything else at this very moment (at least not dramatically), I thought I'd share my thoughts.
Yes, my summary is "It doesn't know what it wants to be", and that is it's main flaw. Director, Michael Caleo, was brave enough to incorporate numerous themes and genres into this confused work. What starts off to be your average two lead comedy, wanders off into the thriller territory, and attempts to simultaneously touch upon the Rom-Com genre. I say Caleo was brave, because he took a risk where the odds were against him. He attempted something that could have easily failed, he tried to defy the conventions of your average Comedy/Drama by reinforcing (forcing, even) innovation.
Was it a complete failure? I wouldn't say so. I've been rather generous with my '6' rating, but there were a few redeeming qualities about it. The most overt quality was mainly Michael Keaton's on screen presence. His charisma was present, as always, and quirky demeanour was reminiscent of his pre 90s career. As for the rest of the cast, Brendan Fraser and Amber Valletta were tolerable, but nothing amazing.
The twist that unravels as the conclusion was lowbrow and felt rushed. In fact, a lot of the dialogue felt rushed. There seemed to be a lot of reliance on foul language to encapsulate it's comedic elements that it attempted to implement.
I'd like to sum this up by saying that if you aren't a Michael Keaton or Brendan Fraser fan, you might find it hard to be engaged, because as a movie on it's own, it isn't very good. However, it isn't all bad, Caleo's attempt is worth having a look at. The Last Time is an unconventional Dramedy (sort of) that didn't quite achieve what it wanted to.
Miami Vice (2006)
Direction over Story
I had only recently had the opportunity to view this movie and was really curious to see why it had received so many mixed reviews. I'll get straight into, a lot of people claim that critics have cut the film a lot of slack because it's a Michael Mann movie. On the contrary, I think the only reason why it wasn't well received was because there had been an immense comparison with his previous films.
Anyways, I thought it was a mediocre movie albeit several vital flaws. The story was way too underdeveloped and wasn't really engaging, certainly not one of the pros of the movie. Another shock from Mann were his to lead characters. They lacked any sort of charisma and were portrayed with wooden performances. Miami Vice is quite character-oriented and to rely on 2 dimensional characters wasn't very wise. If the script had been a little more interested and perhaps a bit more energy in the characters, it would have redeemed itself a lot! However, what shine was the cinematography, it was beautifully shot, no doubt about that. The direction of the film was the best thing. It's as if Michael Mann tried to experiment with how he could redeem a poor script with excellent directing. Test Result: The Story is the essence.
I give this film 6/10, that is being quite generous but it was a mediocre movie.