It’s a Wonderful Afterlife
“Use guilt. You’re her mother. It’s your right.”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: Bonkers Indian mum is desperate to arrange a marriage for her somewhat chunky daughter.
Imagine a cross between Peter Jackon’s The Frighteners, Bend It Like Beckham (from the same team) and sorely under-rated Rowan Atkinson vehicle Keeping Mum. Of course, it helps if you’ve seen all of them. Each is superb -Â Afterlife plucks some of the juicy bits from them but doesn’t quite hit the winning formula. It’s still good though.
Mrs Sethi (Shabana Azmi) is a widow with two kids – an irresponsible son and a daughter who was engaged once, but (seemingly due to her girth) was dumped and now finds it impossible to find a new partner. In stero)typical Indian mother fashion, Sethi sets out to try to palm her off on anyone willing to take on a comfort-eating dump truck.
Thing is, she goes a little too far when some people turn her daughter down and… erm… kills them. Obviously, the police get involved – including Heroes‘ Sendhil Ramamurthy, who just happens to be a childhood friend of the daughter Roopi (Goldy Notay in a fat suit).
The two plot strands – marrying the daughter off and avoiding the police – are woven well, with four (to start with) ghostly companions following Mrs Sethi’s every move. The jokes are generally amusing, the acting very good and the special effects very simple and not showy.
The film does nod at a few other movies – the Carrie reference is actually more of a wild gesticulation with hands pointing and buzzers than a nod – so there’s the added fun of spotting the references.
Overall, fairly light-hearted given the subject matter and well-made. Given the fact that the cast and crew are predominantly Indian it does mean that they’re “allowed” to take the piss out of their own culture a little more than a non-Indian crew would, I feel – and this is great. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at. I thank them for letting us join in.
“Can’t pay for your car? Bank takes it back. Can’t pay for your house? Bank takes it back. Can’t pay for your liver? Well, that’s where I come in.”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: In a future where you can buy new artificial organs, there are a lot of people who default on the payments – and someone has to go and collect them.
Repo Men has little, if anything, to do with Alex Cox‘s 1984 cult classicÂ Repo Man. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my opinion as I found that film to be rather… well… crap. As are many cult classics as far as I’ve found. But don’t take my word for anything. I thought Withnail And I sucked, so what do I know?
Jude Law plays Remy. Partnered with Jake (Forest Whitaker) they make the best repo man double team in the city. Anyone who buys an organ on hire purchase and defaults on payments for 96 days is automatically put on a list to have those organs retrieved. If they’re lucky it’ll just be one kidney. Or it could be a liver. Or a heart. Remy and Jake repossess them for The Union.
Thing is, Remy’s wife isn’t too happy that his job involved hacking people up and ripping out their metallic giblets. She gives him an ultimatum – quit and move into sales, or she’s leaving with their son. So Remy does “one last job”… which doesn’t go quite as planned.
Repo Men is quite bloody, given the subject matter this is hardly surprising, so if the sight of a bit of claret is likely to make you woozy then steer well clear. Also, if you’re into films with a deep and meaningful plot you might want to check out something else. Or indeed if you’re after anything that utilises the parts of your brain designed for piecing together great mysteries.
This is more of a schlock action film. There is a story and it’s OK. There’s even a twist but it’s pretty obvious what it’s going to be if you pay attention. What is does have is good action sequences and nice grisly effects.
No classic, that’s for sure, but if you want some gore and arterial spray to entertain you then this is one to catch.
“He turned the gun sideways! That’s a kill shot!”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: A couple on a night away from the kids suffer a case of mistaken identity that leads to guns, gangsters, car chases, corruption and very sexy Israelis. Happens all the time.
Steve Carell is definitely a bit hit and miss in his choice of roles. 40 Year Old Virgin was superb. Get Smart was better than it had any right to be. Date Night plays like the latter without the spy stuff. Or most of the jokes. And less slapstick, shy of Tina Fey walking into drawers that have been left open.
Carell and Fey play Steve and Claire Foster, a married couple who find that life’s getting just a little boring. When their friends announce they’re divorcing due to their relationship going a little flat, the two decide to spice things up with a night out in a slightly more posh restaurant than normal. Only they can’t get a seat, so they pinch someone else’s reservation.
Obviously, the people they pretend to be are being sought by gangsters. Isn’t that always the way? Cue a night of being chased, shot at, hit and so forth.
In its favour, Date Night does have a couple of good laughs. The “boat chase” is very much a laugh-out-loud moment. Very well done. The car chase has a novelty element to it, so marks for originality (as far as my memory goes) for that. There’s even some tolerable dialogue.
However, it just plods along in places and overall it’s just not outstanding. The plot’s been done before, or at least it feels that way. The characters are cardboard and recycled from a score of previous films. The whole thing gets wrapped up ridiculously quickly towards the end.
I have seen far, far worse films but I still don’t understand why Date Night is getting such incredibly favourable reviews. It’s entertaining, but it’s not a comedy classic by any stretch.
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- Sundance Review: It’s A Wonderful Afterlife (cinemablend.com)
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- Repo Men (cinemablend.com)
- Repo Men (popsyndicate.com)
- Repo Men: Film review (guardian.co.uk)
- ‘Repo Men’: Heartless job drives anything-goes sci-fi thriller (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Repo Men Review (screenrant.com)
- Repo men, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Repo Men | Film review (guardian.co.uk)
- Date Night, review (telegraph.co.uk)
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