Tag Archives: Comedy-Drama

TV Review: Man vs. Bee (2022)

Trevor Bingley is a rookie housesitter who is assigned to a high-tech mansion for a few days but to his bad luck, a bee begins to circulate around him and enters the property. After the owners hand over their place to Trevor and leave, the latter struggles to get rid of the bee that jeopardizes his work.

Netflix‘s Man vs. Bee has to be Rowan Atkinson‘s grand comeback to the comedy-drama on television since The Thin Blue Line he did for BBC back in 1995. Rowan Atkinson co. created this show with William Davies, the screenwriter who wrote Johnny English trilogy. So the artistic chemistry is there with David Kerr on the director’s chair who worked as a director with both of them in Johnny English Strikes Again.

Man vs. Bee is a fresh idea for a comedy. This is like someone showed up in a meeting with a plan that, to everyone’s surprise, works and suits well. No forced representation, no lovemaking, just an old-school comedy. Rowan Atkinson as usual displayed his slapstick magic that ages well with the audience. There is still Mr. Bean inside him that teases him to present his usual misfortunes. And the impressive part is that nothing looks unnatural, no portion of the jeopardizing moment is forced at all. The timing of the unfortunate incidents one after one defines a person’s worst Monday to begin with.

Another element of superb writing is the application of old-age or simply non-rich people struggling to settle themselves in a lifestyle that is so unusual and futuristic to them. The complexity of living in a high-tech residence is really well written. The exaggeration is sublime. The problems Trevor senses never end from the first day, it is the hardship of understanding such rich domesticity that leads to misfortunes, not only the bee.

Perhaps Trevor could have gotten rid of the troubling bee if it was a simple apartment. But then, the application of realism gets compromised for the sake of fun and laughter. Man vs. Bee does defy logic that questions realism. A few questions and Man vs. Bee cannot help escaping from the plotholes or obviousness. When the bee made Trevor break the first showpiece, why didn’t he inform the owners? Fine, he panics, and he recently got the job. But when he takes the dog to the vet, why doesn’t he inquire about catching a bee? And who in the right state of mind will detonate in the residence? Perhaps he gets so lost that he cared nothing and even puts the house on fire? Maybe this is an exaggeration to its peak but certainly, logic failed for the sake of comedy. I just felt that these are some portions where the writing and humor looked compromised.

One questionable part of writing was not killing the bee in the microwave when he had the chance. This can be theorized from several angles like sympathy with a living creature after spending some time with it for good or bad reasons, or being foolish by forgetting to close the glass sliding door, etc.

I think it was a smart move to divide a simple comedy into a maximum of 12-minute episodes. Maybe Trevor’s battle with the bee would have looked boring or silly if this was a one-hour film. But in any case, I believe that Man vs. Bee makes you think about those small moments that build nerves if you take this way too seriously. It was just a bee that happened to enter with Trevor and made the mess. Perfect timing for misfortunes and embarrassment that offers the finest displays of remorse and distress none other than Rowan Atkinson can master around.

A very funny take on mistakes, Man vs. Bee has a remarkable discomfort to laugh at.

TV Review: Bel-Air

When the news about the reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air broke out, I was not okay with it. Then the first trailer was released; and I felt that the show looks like reimagining the whole plot of the sitcom in a new direction, giving a dramatic approach with a better address. Switching a massive hit sitcom into a comedy-drama needs a lot of courage, commitment with the scriptwriting, and a solemn promise that the show will not disappoint the viewers. After watching the 10-episode first season, I can convincingly inform the readers that Bel-Air, the reboot, absolutely did not disappoint at all.

The reboot became possible after Morgan Cooper released a short fan film on Youtube and Will Smith happened to watch it. It was so compelling that Will personally met Morgan to discuss expanding the film’s vision into a reboot. Both of them became executive producers along with the original line of producers including Benny Medina (the real Will Smith), Quincy Jones (the man who gave birth to Will Smith’s acting career in this sitcom), and Borowitz couple (Andy and Susan, the show creators). Peacock won the bid in competition with Netflix and HBO Max and gave a two-season order.

The new show focuses on the serious elements of all the sub-plots, the characterization of the main characters, and the continuity of the original sitcom. The writers left no space to give a better understanding. One of the best aspects of the show is that the show brilliantly gives a broader detail about all the characters, a decent capacity of screen time to give the characters and story some breathing. The heavy issues get pressing and more push.

Bel-Air visually dramatized most of the lyrics of the sitcom’s popular theme song ‘Yo Home to Bel-Air‘ in the first episode. Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes) has a stronger personality and is visibly an important figure as a husband, a father, and a lawyer. Will (Jabari Banks)’s daddy issue has been well-taken care of throughout the season. Carlton (Olly Sholotan)’s character without a doubt has the best characterizing, and the behavioral attitudes and personal traits an annoying Carlton should have is all smartly portrayed here. More than half of the season has Will on Carlton’s nerve with an excellent screenplay raising valid questions about the family being more concerned for Will than Carlton all of a sudden. British butler Geoffrey (Jimmy Akingbola) is a definite upgrade from the sitcom who not only manages the domestic affairs of the Bankses but also consults Philips for his DA campaign and holds strong connections with powerful people.

I am thoroughly impressed how Bel-Air does not falter in its continuity. There are so many scenes that address and make the audience spare a thought. There is a scene where Will is shocked and furious watching Carlton enjoying himself with his White friends despite saying the N-word. Then there are a few of Will’s sittings with any of the Banks that are touching. In the middle of the show, there is an entire episode about Will’s best friend Tray (SteVonté Hart) coming to meet with him in the mansion and overexcited with the belief that Will will return and resume his old life. Then sisters Ashley (Akira Akbar) and Hillary (Coco Jones) exchanging a conversation about the former’s love interest was supportive. Although Ashley at 12 having feelings for the same gender looked very forced and even if Bel-Air wanted to address their position about same-sex interests amongst the teenagers, the writers failed to develop the growth of Ashley’s character.

Then there is a surprise for all the sitcom fans when Vivian (Cassandra Freeman) goes for the interview in the Art Council where the interviewers are none other than Daphne Maxwell Reid and Vernee Watson-Johnson, the ladies who played the character of Vivian Banks in the original television show. This scene not only brought three Vivians together but also gives the audience a better vision of understanding the character. Vivian opened her heart while discussing with other Vivians about her life, her importance, and her career choices that looked visually more clever as Vivians of previous existence were all ears listening to the existing Vivian.

Bel-Air holds a strong commitment to the audience especially The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s loyalists as the first season progresses with extraordinary writing that develops a lot of faith that the continuity will have a lot of potential to run in the next season. The viewers who are expecting Bel-Air to be as funny as the predecessor will be upset because the vision of Bel-Air is different. The approach is smart and the execution is bold. I liked the sitcom and I appreciate how the makers of this show came up with the idea to reimagine the story with the very same characters with more realism. Try yourself.

Film Review: Licorice Pizza (2021)

So I am writing about someone who himself is some institute of filmmaking, Paul Thomas Anderson. Looking at the plethora of critical acclaim his films earn every time his new work is presented, I waited this moment to watch his latest venture, Licorice Pizza. And I knew the spark is there, the spark is just there.

Two hours of beautiful feeling and those instincts of cold whispers amongst young bloods that brood or shroud the gospel of emotions from head to toe. A kind of blue-ish feeling when a young boy Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) and a girl Alana Kane (Alana Haim) meet each other first time and try to reason the birth of those unaccomplished meetings. We have watched trillions of times but there is a way to make young kids take their chances, accept or refuse, make a joke out of it, or make a point out of all seriousness. Paul made us feel that in some boozy vibrance. A magnitude of spectacle.

The warmth of the chemistry proceeds like the flourishing pinnacle. The relation leads to thick surprises and their excitement being together is the epitome of the symphony. Even when they are not together, impatience grows. I felt a lot, a bloody lot, when Gary and Alana phone each other and say nothing. The depth of the story surprises and gives its whataboutery of awkwardness. I embrace the entirety of the intense moment when the cops arrest Gary from nowhere; what a spectacular shot when Alana runs and tells him not to worry, and the handcuffed Gary stares at her like a d***head.

Licorice Pizza also tests the complicated relationship in some situational comic moments that also occurs out of nowhere because life is so uncertain. Alana grabs the opportunity to gather with big boys and make Gary feel. The whole change in shift to the restaurant and that silly stunt was necessary as the story assumed that humans, in all complications, can reach different places reasoning and finding their own identity until they slip and realize. A kind of this scene may have never appealed but Paul’s writing about the complicated relationship of two confused kids was berzerk.

How smartly the gas issue was raised?! The film portrays California of 1973 and OPEC‘s oil embargo also occurred the same year. Bradley Cooper as John Peters was so perfect! Very impressive soundtracks were played. The Mikado hotel reference also hints that Paul did this on purpose to show the early years of the first Japanese restaurant in San Fernando Valley that approves meticulous writing. And why not? After all, Paul’s film aesthetics are usually centered around San Fernando Valley.

I loved the onscreen pairing of amateur actors, Cooper and Alana. Looking at their personalities and stature, they do not remind you of some ideal figures but the story of common people. Both made their debuts and how impressive were they. For Paul, this was a friendly project as Cooper is the son of late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alana is an established music celebrity from the pop-rock band Haim for whom Paul has directed many music videos.

If the audience has ever loved Paul’s Boogie Nights, they will definitely love watching Licorice Pizza. Talk about a coming-of-age, raw buildup of young relations, desperate attempts of making money, and a few more, Licorice Pizza is an exceptional masterpiece.

Ratings: 8.8/10

Film Review: Hindi Medium (2017)

Hindi Medium is the story of a Chandni-Chowk-based couple, Raj & Mita, who are concerned to send their daughter, Pia, to the city’s top school so that the family can reach the levels of the high-society and raise their living standards.

Although the direction of Saket Chaudhary (Side Effects duology) is weak. But the heart of the film is his story which presents and sketches a remarkable exaggeration of the high society, and highly underrated moral principles and emotional values of the low society. It was a stupefying scene wherein the high society, the mothers do not allow their kids to play with a Hindi-speaking Pia just because the school doesn’t allow their kids to speak in Hindi with the other kids. What a jaw-opener!

The screenplay of Zeenat Lakhani is unrealistic but the focus point is the series of survival attempts made by the couples while living in both the societies. The timing and use of humor are excellent, dialogues are very lively, the background score is average. Film editing is sublime. The most impressive factor to make this film worth watching is a terrific character-chemistry of Irrfan KhanSaba Qamar as the couple. Their performances aid the audience to understand the raised topic. Deepak Dobriyal in a supporting role of Shyamprakash was also outstanding.

There are minuses like for example; the role of the daughter, Pia, for which the couple made sacrifices and efforts throughout the film, was extremely short. She wasn’t that involved and looked like if the stage was set only for the couple. Also, Shyamprakash never returned to the screen after he was about to complain. It looked silly because he was badly needed somewhere after Irrfan’s speech. The ending was predictable.

What I liked the most about the film was how the language plays a significant role in dividing the society into societies. An ugly truth.

RATINGS: 7.8/10