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365 Youm Sa'ada: Romantic Comedy Minus The Romance and The Comedy
365 Youm Sa’ada revolves around a playboy millionaire called Hady (Ezz) who has it all. He’s got the looks, money and charm and is crazy for women more than anything in his life, yet he avoids real marriages at any cost. Going around with multiple personalities, Hady fools around with the opposite sex by marrying them secretly (orfy) until he decides to call it quits.
When he simply gets bored and wants out of the relationship, he has the perfect plan of faking dreadful illnesses (such as cancer). His world is shattered when he meets the girl (Ghanem) that he actually falls for; only to find that she’s sick with cancer and has only a year left to live. He then decides to marry her and make their remaining 365 days filled with happiness and love.
The film is more than the typical romantic comedy that its campaign made it out to be; it has its dramatic moments and twists, yet its plot is tired and overdone. Audiences will probably sense that they’ve seen this film before; there’s nothing new or fresh about 365 Youm Sa’ada, which is sad considering its huge production and promising appearance.
As with most romantic Egyptian films, 365 Youm Sa’ada focuses on the two main lead stars for more than 90% of the picture, and Ezz and Ghanem’s charm starts to wear off at many points. On the other hand, the supporting cast of many popular comedic talents appear for barely twenty minutes out of the 130 minutes, including Lotfy Labib, Mai Kassab, Salah Abdallah and Youssef Daoud.
This isn’t a romance film or even a comedy. The chemistry between the two leads is barely there, and while the film is filled with funny situations and numerous jokes, none of them are that side-splittingly hilarious. The film’s script jumps oddly from silly humour to sudden drama, which make the film feel like a jig-saw puzzle arranged incorrectly.
On the other hand, 365 Youm Sa’ada really shines in its use of cinematic camera work; with beautiful sceneries from start to finish. The shooting was professionally handled and the special effects were impressive albeit brief. It seems that a large portion of the budget was spent on the various exquisite shooting locations – it's a real delight that the film’s funds were actually spent on the film itself and not the actors, as in most cases.That being said, 365 Youm Sa’ada’s lack of originality and predictability means that audiences may get bored after the first half. With little romantic chemistry and humour, this film is disappointing and only recommended to die-hard Ezz or Ghanem fans.
As an exploration of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the military, Dito Montiel’s Man Down is a muddled story that’s pretty challenging to sit through. Though on paper there’s plenty of potential depth in this particular effect of war – and a solid cast at its disposable – the film descends into military-movie clichés, while not really keeping up with its complex set-up.
The movie to take place over four separate time periods and opens with U.S Marine Gabriel Drummer (LeBeouf) and his military buddy, Devin Roberts (Courtney), making their way through a vast and seemingly wasted American landscape which appears to have been destroyed by a chemical attack. On the look-out for survivors, the pair is hoping to find Drummer’s son, Jonathan (Shotwell), whom he believes has been kidnapped.
Before the audience gets a chance to find out what is really going in, the story flashes back to another time period where a seemingly distraught Drummer is being interviewed by Counselor Peyton (Oldman) about an ‘incident’ that occurred on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Moving on to yet to another period, we also get to see the story of Drummer and Roberts during their Marine Corps training at Camp Lejeune before, eventually, cutting to the story of Drummer’s life at home with wife, Natalie (Mara) and their son.
Taking on several narrative threads without really knowing where to take them, let alone how to put them back together, is one of Man Down’s major issues. Used to give some kind of visual interpretation of PTSD, the movie’s choppy editing is ineffective and comes across as a messy, superficial tool.
Clocking in at precisely ninety minutes, Man Down is a relatively short film but, thanks to the overworked script and slow pace, it takes forever for any of the stories to build into something bigger.
Working its way through a series of military clichés, the story works best when it is focused on digging into Drummer’s fractured mind, with the conversation between him and his counsellor – played by the seemingly wasted talent of one Gary Oldman – serving to be one of the movie’s best elements. LeBeouf is convincing as a troubled soldier desperately trying not to sink deeper into madness and his commitment to the role is commendable, making it all that more frustrating to see that the script itself is so lacking.
On the surface, Robert Zemecki’s slick and a technically pristine WWII-set romantic-espionage-thriller looks like a winner. Boasting an impressive cast and a script by Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight, everything about Allied points to success. However, although visually striking and overall satisfying in terms of action, it’s the film’s central story - the romantic pairing between Mr. Pitt and Ms. Cotillard – fails to ever really get going, leaving the film a little hollow and difficult to invest in.
Set in 1942, the story begins with the introduction of Canadian intelligence officer, Max Vatan (Pitt), who finds himself on a mission in Morocco with French Resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard), who is to play the role of his wife during a covert operation that involves assassinating a high-ranking Nazi official. After successfully carrying out their assignment, the pair’s pretend relationship soon turns into the real thing with the duo soon marrying and welcoming a baby girl into the world, as they settle in war-torn Britain.
However, things are soon turned upside down for Max when he is informed by his by-the-books boss, Frank Heslop (Mad Men’s Jared Harris), that Marianne is currently under investigation and that she, in fact, may be a Nazi spy. Given seventy-two hours to prove her innocence before he will need to kill her, Max soon sets out on his own investigation.
Aesthetically, the film embraces an old-Hollywood approach, with a certain sense of nostalgic glamour and elegance present through the minutes. Told through a wonderfully slick lens frequent Zemeckis collaborator, cinematographer Don Burgess, there's a certain style and sophistication to every single frame. But while the film is pleasing to the eye and Steven Knight’s script boasts plenty of moments of suspense and intrigue, there‘s a serious lack of heart missing from the story, which turns the more passionate moments into melodrama.
In addition, the romance between the two leads is never really sold. Both Pitt and Cotillard definitely look the part and when they are not onscreen together, their performances are affective. However, it’s when they share the screen and viewers are asked to buy into their love story that it all goes south. Allied is a functional and an effective WWII spy thriller. It’s just not as captivating or engaging of a romance-drama that it sells itself to be.