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Geddo Habibi: Cringingly Irritating Egyptian Comedy
Fekreya (Boshra) is a British-raised Egyptian who insists on being called Vicky. Completely broke and out of her job after the stock market crash, she decides visit her estranged grandfather Hussein (Yaseen), who is on his deathbed in Egypt. As his sole heir, she stands to inherit a fortune which would effectively cure her financial woes. Predictably, she gets to Egypt, meets her granddad and after a thorny adjustment period, they become best buds.
The film kicks off with an awful opening credits sequence that really sets up how irritating Vicky’s character is. It was during this sequence that this reviewer first found herself cringing; something that would be repeated quite frequently throughout the rest of its running time. The film’s first act involves Vicky and her roommate harping on about the money Vicky stands to inherit if her grandfather would just die already. The movie paints the roommate as the more awful of the two, although Vicky is every bit as distasteful.
The middle of the film revolves around twenty-something Vicky’s friendship with a bunch of teenage boys and the problems this poses for her grandfather who thinks it isn’t proper. Cue a bunch of partying scenes and her granddad coming home to find kids making out and a random guy offering him a spliff.
The final act has Vicky and her granddad tracking down a former flame of his who, lo and behold, has a grandson who would be perfect for Vicky. This is when the film takes an inexplicable turn for the preachy which, all things considered, is still a definite upgrade to everything that preceded it. It extols, quite heavy-handedly, the virtues of real-love marriages as opposed to arranged ones, and gives Vicky the happy ending she’d been dreaming of forever; a husband.
678 had Boshra showcasing some decent dramatic chops and this reviewer would like to implore her to stick to drama because her comedic timing is completely off. Vicky was something along the lines of a manic, grossly materialistic person until she falls in love and suddenly calms down. It’s a very unlikable character and one that’s frankly highly irritating mainly due to the thrashing around that passes as physical comedy. It was the visual equivalent of nails on a chalk board. On the plus side though, Boshra has a pretty decent English accent.
The rest of the actors didn’t fare much better. Yaseen looks remarkably healthy and active for someone who’s knocking on the doors of death, while Abdel Aziz looks distractingly botoxed and is made up to look like a raccoon. Meanwhile, Fahmy is so bland that he barely registers on screen.
The actors involved in this movie are capable of so much better which makes this wreck even more depressing.
Based on a true story, The Frozen Ground comes from first-time writer and director, Scott Walker. The film focuses on serial killer, Robert Hansen; the man who brutally murdered between 17 and 21 young women during the late 70’s and early 80’s in Alaska.
With only two weeks away from his transfer out of the icy wilderness of the town of Anchorage, State Trooper Jack Holcombe (Cage) finds himself being pulled into the case of Cindy Paulson (Hudgens); a young prostitute who was discovered screaming and chained up in a hotel room, after an unpleasant encounter with local bakery owner, Richard Hansen (Cusack).
Much to the annoyance of his wife, Allie (Mitchell), Holcombe extends his stay to offer his expertise, especially since the local authorities seem to be getting nowhere with the case. Determined to help, Holcombe takes the troubled teen under his wing and examines all of the evidence at hand.
Despite having an alibi, all evidence points in the direction of Hansen – despite his reputation as a family man devoted to his community. But the deeper Holcombe digs, the more macabre the investigation becomes.
While Cage’s most recent career choices might not have been the wisest ones – see Stolen, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Trespass – the veteran actor proves to be a solid, reliable lead. His reserved and unforthcoming approach is refreshing, and with his hair relatively intact, Cage manages to stand strong in the face of a rather unfocused and fuzzy script.
Cusack – who last shared the screen with Cage in the 1997’s Con Air – is equally sound, as he manages to capture Hansen’s physical characteristics and threatening aura. Disney star, Hudgens, meanwhile infuses plenty of heart into the story as a young, damaged girl.
Despite the film’s relatively strong cast, Walker’s direction is a stumbling mess in comparison. Portraying a real-life story is often a challenge; audiences invariably know the outcome, so creating and maintaining a suspenseful plot is all the more tricky.
Unfortunately for Walker, the suspense and intrigue is weakened by gaping plot holes, needlessly gruesome detailand poor dialogue, which all ends up severely undermining the heart of the story.
The Frozen Ground is neither chilling nor as unsettling as it should have been. Although the film makes good use of the striking, wintry Alaskan landscape, it fails to both utilise the skills of its accomplished cast and, more importantly, it fails to bring what is a chilling true story to life.
Based on real events, Love and Honor - Danny Mooney’s directorial debut – follows one American soldier in his fight for love. However, with it’s glossy, squeaky clean façade, the romantic drama does very little to stir the emotions within.
Set in the late 60’s, the story opens up in the jungles of South Vietnam where two soldiers, best buds Pvt. Mickey Wright (Hemsworth) and Pvt. Dalton Joiner (Stowell) are making their way through the hidden dangers of the tropical forest. Mickey and his arrogance ensures that Dalton – the more edgy of the two – keeps his cool and stays alive in order to return home to his long-time love and girlfriend, Jane (Teegarden).
After the twosome successfully escape the grips of death, they go on a leave of absence; the idea of exploring the Southeast Asian brothels seems like an appealing idea to Mickey, but after receiving a disturbing ‘Dear John’ letter from Jane, Dalton has other plans. Informing him that it’s better if they go their separate ways, Dalton is desperate to win her back, and decides to go home for the week with Mickey following for moral support.
However, upon their arrival they soon discover that the free-thinking youth movement has taken over, including Jane, who has now decided to go by ‘Juniper’. With their presence immediately causing negative attention, the soldiers claim to be peace-seekers deserters. This lie causes Juniper to rethink her feelings for Dalton, whilst Mickey finds comfort in the arms of her best-friend and fellow flower child, Candace (Palmer).
Pinned up high against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Love and Honor hopes that the up-and-coming Aussie star, Liam Hemsworth will bring in the much-needed credibility and appeal. However, even he found it impossible to overcome the story’s careless script and mechanical ways. Hemsworth’s presence will undoubtedly leave young teenage fans weak at the knees, but as far as his performance goes, the young actor fails to turn the film into anything more meaningful than just another teenage-romance flick. The same goes for his partner-in-crime Stowell, although he managed to bring a bit more versatility to his role. As the boys’ love interest, Palmer and Teegarden were a little too playful and animated to be taken seriously.
The script, written by Jim Burnstein and Garrett K Schiff, plays out like a wistful and a rather tasteless Danielle Steel novel that would later be turned into a small TV-movie. It’s all a little too obvious and eager to please and everything from the costume department to the all too familiar soundtrack, which naturally includes both “Spirit in the Sky” and “Magic Carpet Ride”.
Love and Honor seems fake and insincere; any chances of it becoming a sweet and lovable romantic drama are completely diminished by its conventional, tasteless ways.