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Valley of the Wolves: Palestine: Focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Valley of the Wolves: Palestine is the latest instalment of a popular and successful film series in Turkey. In this sequel, the story focuses on a team of Turkish operatives on a mission to avenge the deaths of the aid workers killed by Israeli commandos in the flotilla that was bound to Gaza.
Polat Alemdar (Sasmaz) and his men put their lives at risk by crossing more than just the enemy’s lines as they head to Palestine on a mission of revenge, honour and patriotism.
The freedom fighters’ main objective is to locate and eliminate Moshe Ben Eliezer (Besikcioglu), the Israeli military commander responsible for the killing of innocent aid workers in the Gaza flotilla raid. However, Eliezer’s arrangements take an unexpected turn as Polat Alemdar will stop at nothing to bring him down.
Valley of the Wolves: Palestine is clearly influenced by the Palestinian conflict. The main stars are just drawn into the plot as supplementary elements; the real chronicle focuses on the people of Palestine and their suffering.
However, the highlight of the plot is how such undercover teams make their way through Israeli intelligence and the numerous army forces. The brutality of some scenes will stir compassion and empathy for the Palestinian people: one scene in particular shows a disabled child buried alive under the wreckage of his home by Israeli soldiers.
The supporting actors in Valley of the Wolves: Palestine actually give more memorable performances than any of the leads, who are pretty average at best. As the most expensive film ever made in Turkey, Valley of the Wolves: Palestine is full of action scenes from beginning to end. While the action element is not exactly top-notch when compared to Hollywood standards, audiences will still appreciate the effort. However, many scenes are over the top as our heroes seem to be superhuman; it quickly becomes insulting to the audience’s intelligence!
The film was actually shot in Turkish and Hebrew, but the version in Cairo cinemas is dubbed in Arabic, which is frustrating as Egyptian audiences may not fully understand the dialogue because of the poor translation and strange accents.
Overall, Valley of the Wolves: Palestine is a well-made film that demonstrates the violence and injustice of the Palestinian people’s struggle.
Hollywood funny-man Vince Vaughn finds himself stepping into another underachieving man-child role in the latest comedy offering from director Ken Scott, Delivery Man. Typecasting aside, this remake – of Scott’s own French-Canadian indie-hit, Starbuck (2011) – manages to retain most of the original’s quirky charm.
David Wozniak (Vaughn) is a charming yet incredibly irresponsible truck-driver who delivers meat for a living. Working alongside his boss and father, Mikolaj (Blumenfeld), and his two, slightly more dependable brothers, Victor (Delaney) and Alesky (Moynihan), David has always been labelled as the black sheep of the family.
Well known for his tendency of taking stupid business risks, David is not only in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to a group of thugs, but he has also just found out that his cop girlfriend, Emma (Smulders), is pregnant with their first child.
David is not given much time to adjust to his newest life-changing circumstances; he soon discovers that he is father to over five hundred children. You see, years ago, David was a regular donator at various sperm banks in exchange for cash and the consequences of his actions have come back to haunt him.
Out of his five hundred and thirty three children, one hundred and forty two have filed a law-suit find their prolific father. Naturally, David ignores the legal advice of keeping a low profile, and soon jeopardizes the legal proceedings by going undercover to meet his biological off springs.
Being his usual fast-talking, humorous self, Vaughn doesn’t find himself venturing out of his comfort zone in Delivery Man. Despite failing to deliver gravity and weightiness to some of the film’s more heartfelt moments, he’s still able to carry the plot with familiar wit and charm. As the supportive best-friend, Pratt is incredibly funny, whilst the rest of the supporting cast all offer reliable and a whole-hearted performances.
Adapted from an indie-feature to a full-blown Hollywood remake, Delivery Man succeeds in delivering just enough to do the original justice; however, those who might have already seen the original may have a few doubts. The jokes are there, and although only a few are deserving of real laugh out loud moments, they still manage to entertain.
Unfortunately, Delivery Man is a predictable, one-dimensional Hollywood production. But then again, it’s also pretty harmless and light-hearted; an easy watch, if you will.
Malcolm D. Lee’s sequel to his 1999 directorial debut, The Best Man, reunites fans with the now much-older college friends as they prepare for the upcoming Christmas holidays.
The film picks up fifteen years after the events of The Best Man, centring on Harper Stewart (Diggs); a one-time successful author who is struggling to make ends meet. Fertility treatment bills for his now pregnant wife, Robyn (Lathan), have set the couple back and Harper is unable to rely on the money from his decreasing book sales.
Meanwhile, his former best-friend and celebrated NFL star, Lance Sullivan (Chestnut), is on the verge of retirement. A devoted family man who shares his life with loving wife, Mia (Calhoun), and their four picture-perfect children, Lance puts his energy into having one last hurrah to cement his legacy before he steps out of the spotlight
With Christmas is just around corner, Mia sends out invitations to their shattered group of friends to spend the holidays with her and the family at their lavish estate; troubled couple, Julian (Perrineau) and Candace (Hall), party-girl and a reality TV star, Shelby (De Sousa), career-obsessed commitaphobe, Jordan (Long), and bad boy, Quentin (Howard).
Naturally, it doesn’t take much for tensions to rise, and the group soon finds itself between dealing and healing old wounds, which ultimately resurface questions of deceit, infidelity and secret sexual pasts.
The Best Man Holiday’s biggest strength lies in the hands of the cast, whose chemistry and wit infuse soul into the story. At the heart of it all is Diggs, who delivers a sincere performance of a man in search of forgiveness, while Lathan – as his pregnant wife – is just as charming in her role of a woman trying to support her husband through troubled times. Chestnut is a tad theatrical in some of the film’s more emotionally-charged scenes, unlike Calhoun, who handles her role with a welcome grace. However, the true star of the picture is Howard; funny and incredibly engaging, the Oscar-nominated actor has some the best lines and steals the show.
With so many characters, each with their own personal sup-plot and arc, the film strikes the perfect balance between them and every character gets apt screen time.
Although the story ends up bouncing from the funny to the dramatics in a blink of an eye towards the end, Lee manages to keep things interesting, despite the predictable plot and cheesy sentiment.