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Escape from Mogadishu(2021) Movie Review

Escape From Mogadishu is South Korea’s Argo. Director Ryoo Seung-wan has masterfully told the dramatic story of the 1990 revolution in Somalia and the impact of the Diplomatic missions of North and South Korea. This Well Go USA release is based upon a series of real events that brought the rival diplomats of a formerly unified country together to save the lives of their women and children through a daring escape.

The film is set in 1990 Somalia as the South Korean government is attempting to garner the essential support of African nations for its bid to become a member of the United Nations. This task was made significantly more challenging due to the concerted efforts of the North Korean government to persuade African nations to block their entry.

Amidst all of the political wrangling between the two countries a brutal civil war breaks out in Somalia, endangering the lives of the diplomats of every nation that maintained a Diplomatic presence there. Black Hawk Down (2001), an American made, award winning film covered a later chapter of the same conflict, and its impact on the American Soldiers there.

The heart and strength of the film surrounds the need of the diplomats of the two separated Koreas to join forces to Escape from Mogadishu, Somalia’s Capital city. In this effort, through the brilliant Directing, award worthy acting, and visually gripping cinematography we are immersed in the conflict between a deep seeded mistrust of two nations and the desire of individual human beings to protect their loved ones and fellow citizens. I am not sure how much of the details are true, but the film really shines a light on how easy it is to forget the problems between nations are just that, and even at the highest level of diplomacy, that without our humanity we are lost.

Escape from Mogadishu (2021) is as good a film as you will see this year. There is no shortage of action, nail biting drama, and emotionally gripping moments in this laudable film. While not set in the Shah deposed Iran of the 1970’s, this film still reminded me of Argo, the 2021 Oscar winning Best Picture. Both were based on historically dramatic incidents where the filmmakers adeptly told their compelling stories through the experiences of the diplomatic survivors of these respective incidents. Both films are equally Oscar worthy.

Sadly, the film also painfully reminded me of the recent chaos in Kabul as diplomats and citizens attempted to flee Afghanistan, in the midst of its own regime toppling. While the images were starkly similar, the film was made well before the incidents of earlier this Summer; which, somehow, made its accuracy more shocking.

Kim Yoon-seok and Huh Joon-ho play the Somali ambassadors from South and North Korea, respectively. Their ability to convey the fear and mistrust the people of a, once united, country feel towards each other with subtlety and humanity is pivotal to the film’s emotional depth. While this film is an action film about Somalia, it is more profoundly a film about the sad divide along the Korean Penninsula.

The entire ensemble cast of this film is praiseworthy; whether playing the North and South Korean Diplomats and their families, the Somalia government soldiers, or the key rebel soldiers. All are in top form and immerse the viewer in a world of chaos, fear , and confusion that is unmatched by the majority of films of the past decade. This entire is a first rate cast.

Escape from Mgadishu is subtitled.

For Taekwondo enthusiasts look out for a key fight scene as the movie kicks into high gear.

Review by tkdlifemagazine


ENEMY is written and directed by Anand Shankar whose last film NOTA with Vijay Devarakonda was not much of a success. The film is pitted against ANNATHE this Diwali resulting in lesser number of theatres for the film. The makers of the film have been confident despite the odds.

A supposedly action thriller the film opens up interestingly in establishing the two lead roles. Then on the script falls apart with disjointed sub plots and a very weak screenplay. Logic, a crucial factor in such movies is the biggest casualty and hence everything else looks labored and pretentious. The cat and mouse game hardly thrills while the climax is a big yawn.

Vishal looks “retired” while Arya looks “fresh”, both hardly suit the roles they play. Prakash Raj and Thambi Ramaiah are okay. The women, Mamta Mohandas and Mirnalini Ravi in the movie are virtually non-existent.

RD Rajashekar’s cinematography is good. Thaman’s songs save for one are duds. Sam CS’s BG score helps. Raymond Derrick’s editing is neat save for the duration. Dialogues are average and direction is ordinary.

ENEMY ends up as an average attempt and nothing more.




Gulabo Sitabo (2020)

AMAZON Prime releases the first big Bollywood ticket on OTT post Covid. Shoojit Sircar’s delivered a critic hit in “October” and now is back with Big B and Ayushmann Khuranna in this film. Rising Sun Films produce this film that is written by Juhi Chaturvedi and directed by Shoojit Sircar.
GS made all the right noise in the trailer and with an accomplished star cast was supposed to be a roller coaster ride for the audience. Sadly the film right from the first frame fails to lift itself. A dull and drab writing that is more “as a matter of fact” makes the proceedings dreary. The premise not being original is another drawback. The screenplay is flat and hardly inspiring or entertaining. Even the humour that is very essential in such films is a huge let down. Blunt characters without any edge or spice bring down the narration considerably.
Big B is in his elements and does not surprise us. Ayushmann does not fuss around either. The much expected exchanges between them are sadly disappointing. The supporting cast are rudimentary and deliver placidly.
Avik Mukhopadhyay’s cinematography captures the nostalgia of “Lucknow” wonderfully.  The dim shots give the scenes a lot more depth than they actually deserve. Shantanu Moitra’s background score is minimal and is repetitive at times. Editing by Chandrashekar sticks to the narrative. Dialogues are average and direction standard.
GULABO SITAO is a linear, standard and so boringly straight film that you will not miss much multi tasking on your electronic devices.

PK (2014)

This is a comedy about a guy who is naked in the middle of nowhere in a desert along some railroad tracks with nothing but a boom-box who is struggling, like so many of us do, with the failed promises of religion. All he wants … is his remote back.

I am a huge Aamir Khan fan and I loved 3 Idiots. In fact, I have the love song Zoobie Doobie as my ring tone. So – as soon as they announced this movie – I knew I wanted to see it. The marketing campaign only peaked my interest more. Why is Aamir naked in the middle of the desert with a boom-box? This is the question even my son was asking. Why? Who is his character. Then – they put out the posters – and – who the heck is this PK character.

Well – let me just say – I had no idea that this was going to be the plot. Wow. Let’s start with the disclaimer – we don’t intend to offend anyone’s religion. I’m thinking – OK – I wonder what that’s all about. Well, that disclaimer has to go down in history as one of the biggest understatements in all of film history.

Then the opening sequence. And, I’m thinking – wow – this is REALLY a) mind blowing and b) humanistic. Being a Humanist, I loved it – but it seemed a bit extreme for an Indian movie given that India is such a religious country. Having such a science based opening with the philosophy that goes with it – was a bit shocking. I loved it, but it was totally unexpected because it was so expansive.

The foundation of this film is the struggle of someone to come to terms with the failed promises of religion. And it’s REALLY funny. I saw it in a nearly sold out theater in America and people were applauding some of the most pointed critiques of religious practice – not because they were anti-religious – but because it was pro-human.

There are some really funny moments in this movie, like Aamir trying to bring wine into a mosque had the entire audience laughing. Again, not because it was making fun of Muslims, but because of how clueless the character PK is. It’s also heartbreaking – stunningly so. And as I’ve been digesting this movie over the past day or so – I realize that the artistic choices to break our hearts in the way this movie does – was incredibly well done. It’s so sudden and unexpected that it’s perfect for the story line and the social point they are making.

Even the ending is really astonishing. Aamir is just staring at a shoe in his hand, and yet, what is happening around him is creating so much tension. And you know how it’s going to end, but that doesn’t make you any less tense hoping that it will end how you want it to. They built the tension up and released it perfectly and Aamir’s performance, as understated as it was – because he was just looking at a shoe, was amazing.

I was shocked by this film, but in a really good way. If you are a Humanist, you really need to see this film. If you are religious, but frustrated with the con men speaking on behalf of your faith – see this film. You won’t be disappointed. As someone said as I passed by – it’s about time someone said what we have all been thinking.

Review by jen-122-636160

Adventure Boyz (2019)

Local Speedway racer dad Mike Harris and his wife, Lucy, are drifting apart. She reluctantly leaves her two sons, Sam and Jake in his charge while she returns to the US on business. Action-hungry Harris loves the adrenaline of getting out there and feeling alive by physically experiencing his sport, while his sons have started to discover new ways of encountering sports.

Disappointed by the digital age and the introduction of sports participation via an app without leaving the house, Harris encourages them to continue to experience the outdoors.

The boys venture out through the beautiful English countryside on their bikes. On their travels they uncover clues to a secret stash of stolen jewels, and bring it home.

Hot on their heels are the criminal mastermind gang behind the half-a-million-pound diamond discovery. Thinking they have the perfect plan, they call the Police, the diamonds are found and the boys’ father is arrested. However, the rest of the plan does not go as expected, as the children run away and, in an attempt to do the right thing, encounter further problems, and escapades – but who outsmarts who?

Shot in and around my local town of Hailsham, with the backdrop of the South Downs, it wasn’t hard to find fantastic locations for the film, including the prestigious Arlington Speedway.

An adventurous and highly enjoyable family-friendly film with twists and turns, comedic moments and a really important set of moral messages.

Review by ViktoriaCowley

Battle Drone (2018)

This is the cheesy mess you get when a stuntman wants to become a writer and director. Stay a stuntman.

Mitch Gould’s attempt to write and direct this film failed miserably. The only redeeming quality and the reason for a 3 and not a 1/10 is the concept of the story, and the fairly decent costumes of the ‘drones’.

The dialogue was so cheesy, it made Louis Mandylor’s character unbearable, as was his acting, and for that matter the rest of the cast. The blame for the acting failure goes primarily to the director for failing to direct his cast properly.

The slow-mo action scenes were also unbearable. This entire dragged out film was basically me watching a 5 year old play a video game and pause to change the viewing angles in slow motion. Right from the starting credits, I was hoping I wouldn’t see any more of this cheesy directing, yet the film was full of it. Then you have the endless dragged-out gun fights of constant back and forth shooting where both sides just keep missing. Did a 5th grader write the screenplay? And what’s with the western themed score?

Any comparison to Predator, the A-Team or the Expendables is an insult to either franchise.

I’m guessing either someones rich dad funded this mess or someone won a lottery – and wanted to become a filmmaker.

This film hurt to watch. Don’t waste your time with it. A very generous 3/10 from me.

Review  by TopDawgCritic

Debt Collectors (2020)

“No more hurting my fellow man”. Oh really. Then how come the characters in Debt Collectors “hurt” and spit like no one’s business. I mean male bodies are pounded like tenderized meat trolled out at a Four-star steakhouse. Whoever was in charge of the sound editing via many blaring punches needs a little recognition.

Anyway, “Collectors” is a cleanly-staged action film, a pseudo-martial arts mantra, and an ode to how much head trauma punishment a human being can take. It’s also a tale of two guys who demand some long, overdue moolah. They accomplish this by using desperate physicality, a non-blarney approach, and no BS.

The amassed actors involved (Scott Adkins and Louis Mandylor) exhibit spitfire dialogue, mobbing frailty, pinched brotherhood, and knuckled fists of fury. Their scenes of prolonged discussion are like Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield: The Dukes of Hazzard version.

As far as this year’s releases go, Debt Collectors is about as violent and unforgivable as a “grindhouse” spool on high-grade PCP. Being a second installment to 2018’s The Debt Collector (which I have yet to see), “Collectors” is almost akin to the True Romance sequel Quentin Tarantino never had a chance to make (Tony Scott’s signature lighting and lead Christian Slater excluded).

Yet to be released in the UK, feeling like a latter-day Western, and directed by a guy who’s also a stunt coordinator (Jesse V. Johnson), “Collectors” is about a couple of debt collectors who get involved with a drug kingpin bent on killing them no matter how well the job is done.

This film takes place in LA and Las Vegas with a final shootout sequence that follows some explanatory talk and footsy, electrocution torture. I give “Collectors” a 3 star rating but it’s not for the easily squeamish. Yup, you can “bill it”.

Review by burlesonjesse5

Beasts That Cling to the Straw (2020)

I have to agree with one previous reviewer: whoever gave this movie just 1 star clearly didn’t even watch it.

‘Cause, you know, you give one-star reviews to such crap as, I don’t know, Look Who’s Talking Too, Sausage Party or – to stay with recent releases – Cats or Extraction (aka Tyler Rake). You don’t give such god-awful ratings to a movie like this. You may not like it, and that’s okay, obviously. But you can’t seriously be telling us you consider this one of the worst movies ever made.

Of course it’s not perfect, of course it’s no masterpiece but c’mon! Given the fact that this is a first-time outing well – it’s a pretty damn good one. An edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps you hooked for the entire running time. It may not be all that original, we can agree on that account, but it anyhow manages to pull off same good scenes and even – to same degree – some interesting points of social satire. What else should we ask for?

The title in itself it’s already pretty much revealing as the whole plot centers around a bag full of money and the lenghts the characters involved are able to go to put their hands upon it. They got different reasons and not all of them act out of pure greed. But, in the end, this simple narrative mechanism is perfectly functional to show us the way money controls and directs our lives. The absence of money, of course, but also the excessive amount of it.

As I already mentioned: nothing original in here. But the director has the skills and so he manages to keep us interested. Till a totally sneering conclusion that seems to give us some sort of “cosmic justice” if you pass me the term. Or, most probably, it’s just another delusion and the whole bloody affair will repeat itself again and again and happiness will never be reached.

So, yeah, I’ll say Beast Clawing at Straws is a solid thriller, tightly written and directed and wonderfully acted (and a special mention, on this regard, goes to Jeon Do-yeon: as soon as she enters the scene well, she just steals the show).

Review by BitingMovieJunkie

Forensic (2020)

Forensic – A Gripping thriller yet feels dry.

Cinematography is smooth and goes with flow of the narration, editing is crisp but nothing special, art and production design looks sophisticated. Action scenes are choreographed neatly.

There is no forced songs and are of average and forgettable, like one of my friend suggested ever since Raatchasan released it has become mandatory to use loud and dramatic Bgm, it’s fine but a little originality would be appreciated.

Story and concept is brilliant, writing team has worked a lot, they have researched to the core, and that needs to be applauded. Dialogues are OK and works well. Screenplay is were they go wrong, too much twist and turns and spoonfeeding each and every detail.. let’s this movie down which otherwise could have been a great watch.

Direction by akhil and anaas is sleek and extremely exciting, they have handled some disturbing scenes with at most care,opening and the interval scene are praiseworthy, although they could have avoided a lot of cinematic liberty in the second half and as I mentioned above too much spoonfeeding also could have been avoided. Otherwise a neat work from duo directors.

Tovino is his usual self, the movie completely belongs to him. light humor, action and drama he excels. Mamatha does exactly what her character demands, her role is of a tough cop but also has a sensitive side and she does with ease. Other actors are fine and move the story forward.

Its a well made thriller and suspense is great but wish the team has not made this gem of a story too complicated. I would recommend this movie and hope it gets enough recognition.

Review by bexen KOshy

Hotel for Dogs (2009)

Hotel for Dogs plays it very safe and sticks to a tried-and-true children’s movie formula. For a great many viewers the best thing about the film will be the cute and cuddly dogs that perform various tricks – their training is easily more impressive than the humdrum story, based on a hopefully more consequential Lois Duncan book. The dialogue lacks flair, the acting is expectedly simple, and the characters provide only modest entertainment in comparison to their canine costars. Adults will probably find it difficult to withstand the sickeningly sweet conclusion or the impossibly artificial mechanics behind the inner workings of the dog hotel, but the target audience is likely to be pleased.

16-year-old Andi (Emma Roberts) and her 11-year-old brother Bruce (Jake Austin) have bounced back and forth between orphanages and foster parents (five in the last three years) without finding comfort or satisfaction. Bernie (Don Cheadle), the kindly social worker who governs their placements tries to reason with the children, who aren’t content with their newest family of quiver-inducing wannabe rock stars (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon) who conduct obnoxious band practice in their apartment nonstop, and compulsively lock up the cupboards and cabinets in their home. The brother and sister team have also been secretly keeping a pet dog, Friday, who uses automated gadgets constructed by the mechanically inclined Bruce to get food and to remain hidden.

Before school starts up, the trouble making duo (they get money for dog food by pawning fraudulent goods) comes across an abandoned hotel with several canine occupants. Deciding to look after their newfound family of dogs, Andi and Bruce join forces with two employees from the nearby pet store (Johnny Simmons and Kyla Pratt) along with nosey Mark (Troy Gentile), to build an elaborate self-maintained shelter for unwanted, abandoned and stray dogs. Initially it seems they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, especially when cruel dog pound troops, nagging foster parents and pesky cops begin to take notice of the incredibly large gathering of dogs at the dilapidated old building.

The target audience probably won’t be asking the questions that popped into my mind: How can an 11-year-old kid build such intricate mechanical contraptions? Is it really that easy to train dozens of dogs to use said electrical gadgets? Is it simply luck that none of the dogs need medical attention? Is it really okay for children to commit crimes such as breaking and entering, trespassing, and even assault, as long as it’s done with the intent of saving stray animals? Clearly this film wasn’t designed for me, but the trite dialogue (Kevin Dillon mutters the stale line, “We’re in deep doo doo,” after falling into an enormous animal waste bin), the predictability of Bernie’s role, the sappy ending and the Kill Bill music montage (Tomoyasu Hotei’s instantly recognizable “Battle Without Honor or Humanity”) are huge distractions – especially when one just wants to see some adorable dogs running amok.Evren Buyruk,Tx.

Review by petit76