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Tek Tek Bom: Another Mohamed Saad Slapstick Flick
Mohamed Saad plays Tika, an underdog Egyptian who sells toys for a living. A poor but good man, Tika's story begins on his wedding night which turns from the happiest night of his life to the most devastating memory, as the January 25th revolution breaks out on the exact same night. The riots end up destroying his wedding, and he and his wife (Dorra) both hide with no intentions of getting involved in what's happening.
They accidentally come across a neighbourhood gang that's planning to take advantage of the police's absence and lack of public security. After witnessing their plans, Tika is forced to join their next heist and become a member of the gang.
At one point, Tika gets involved in a nearby burglary and prevents the elderly George (Labeeb) and his family from harm by standing up to the thugs. With such a heroic act, the neighbourhood celebrates his bravery after things settle down a. As a result he is assigned as the neighbourhood patrol leader. Matters take a turn for the worse though, when Tika and his patrol members get thrown into jail after a misunderstanding, and get framed for a murder he didn't commit.
In relation to Saad's previous projects, Tek Tek Boom isn't as bad as we feared, but it lacks that one hook or gimmick that has usually carried his other films. As for the main plot, it jumps from one situation to another with no specific destination or realistic chain of connection. It's pretty exhausting.
In an attempt to tackle more dramatic roles as an actor, you'll be exposed to the cringing sight of Saad crying, hugging children and generally being a human being throughout. This is of course Saad's show, and all the other actors are quite peripheral. A real shame since Dorra in particular is able to combine charisma and comic timing in her role. Lotfy Labeeb and Gamal Ismail both play their parts well, but also get little screen time.
In short, Tek Tek Boom is far from Saad's worst films, but it is simply lacks on every level. You'll find yourself chuckling at most, and you may even enjoy his song about how he'd treat the Egyptian people if he was president.
If you can manage to wrap your head around the ridiculously far-fetched idea behind The Age of Adaline – a story of a woman who mysteriously stops aging at the age of twenty-nine and goes through periods of time as an ageless beauty – then you just might be able to find some joy and pleasure in watching Lee Toland Krieger’s handsomely-made but, seemingly formulaic romantic-fantasy feature.
The Age of Adaline tells the story of Adaline Bowman (Lively); a beautiful young woman born in the year 1908, who leads a pretty simple and uneventful life in San Francisco circa 1930. Life, as she knows it, soon changes, however, when Adaline has a near-death-experience in a terrifying car-accident; an incident which finds her mysteriously frozen in time and unable to age. Her bizarre condition soon becomes somewhat of an issue when, during the 1950’s, she becomes targeted by shady government officials, who are interested in having her head and body examined. With no other option lying before her, Adaline – in order to protect herself and her daughter, Flemming (Burstyn) from any possible harm - soon makes a run for it.
The story then fast-forwards to New Year’s Eve 2014 where we see Adaline living under a false name and her now grown-up daughter is pretending to be her grandmother (yes that happens). Things get complicated when she meets a handsome philanthropist, Ellis Jones (Huisman) who pretty quickly falls head-over-heals for the mysterious beauty. However, Adaline soon receives the shock of her life when she meets his dad, William (Ford) who is certain he knows Adaline from the time spent together in the 60’s.
Written by Salvador Paskowitz and J. Mills Goodloe, love – and the choices we make to either obtain it or run away from it – is the chosen topic of exploration, and while the movie – shot through a soft and whimsical lens - chooses to convey the story through a highly fanciful and bizarre fashion, the concept is still pretty inviting. However, the plot feels forced and you will have to work really hard to look past its mistakes. Luckily, though, the performances were not too damaging and both Lively – a surprising choice for the lead one must say – and Game of Thrones’ Huisman make for a charming and likable pairing while Ford turns in one of his most dramatic performances to date.
Buried somewhere deep underneath all of the ludicrousness and absurdity it chooses to bear on its relatively fragile shoulders, there seems to be a genuinely intriguing and worthwhile story waiting to be told with The Age of Adaline; it’s just unfortunate that it doesn’t seem to know how to tell it. Bizarre? Check. Terribly far-fetched? Check. Terrible? No. It’s acceptable and that’s not a bad way to be.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the follow-up to its slightly more superior 2012’s sleeper-hit predecessor, is in fact - if we really must go there - the second-best of the two. Once again directed by John Madden – see Shakespeare in Love - and scripted by Ol Parker, there seems to be enough material and fresh new drama to keep you genuinely invested and keen on this quirky and colourful but, seemingly overblown sequel.
Picking up more or less where the first film left off, the story is once again centred on the workings of the Best Exotic Marigold - a pleasant and a charming hotel for the elderly located in Jaipur, India - and a group of British retirees who have now become its more permanent residents.
Following the hotel’s success, its ever so slightly over-enthusiastic manager, Sonny (Patel), and snarky long-term tenant and new partner, Muriel (Smith), are looking to expand the business by reaching out to an American company - represented by Ty Burley (Strathairn) – which will hopefully offer the financial support they need to build a second hotel – all while Sonny prepares to wed fiancée, Sunaina.
Meanwhile, Madge (Imrie) is still busy looking for love by seducing various suitors, while Douglas is trying to find a way to profess his love to Evelyn (Dench) who has since picked up a full-time job as a textiles buyer. In the meantime, Norman (Pickup) is suspicious and thinks that his girlfriend, Carol (Hardcastle), is seeing someone else, while the arrival of the mysterious Guy Chambers (Gere) has Sonny in somewhat of a tizzy.
One of the main reasons behind the success of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actually is its undeniably talented and charming ensemble cast who once again that personality and charisma goes a long way and, luckily, there is plenty of the two to go around. Everyone seems to be game and, although Patel seems to have dialled-down his over the top energy, he is still the weakest character while the effervescent Maggie Smith is again the glue that holds it all together.
Love, death, fear of commitment and haunting pasts are at the heart of it all and, although some of the story threads are genuinely interesting to follow, there is too many of them to keep up with. Nonetheless, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel oozes an intangible charm that makes it easier to forgive its failings. Let’s just hope there isn’t a third Exotic Marigold Hotel in the works.