Cinema Review

By Kidus Tamiru , May 01, 2019

Avengers: Endgame

Directed By: Anthony and Joe Russo

Runtime: 3hrs

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth

Endgame is set right after the events of Infinity War as the remaining Avengers assemble for a last desperate attempt at undoing Thanos’ actions.  It would be very difficult to write a full-length article about this movie without a spoiler or two slipping, but I’ll do my best. And on that note, one of the best things about this film is actually related to that. All the promotional teasers, trailers, posters and so on for this only featured the first 15-20minutes of the film. That’s about the first 3% of the entire movie! So even if you followed all the promotion very closely, you’re still in for one hell of a ride when you see it. Just make sure you stay offline and at home until you do, lest some over enthusiastic friends spoil it for you.

   Now onto the review, for the entire year I was waiting for this film since infinity war, I was pretty

sure there’s a big chance it won’t, or can’t, possibly live up to the massive hype. And it probably wouldn’t have, Had the Russos made Infinity war without the sequel figured out. Which they did, and they made the first one as big as they can while still saving some tricks to make this even bigger. Endgame is a rollercoaster ride of a movie. It balances and maneuvers between funny and emotional scenes so flawlessly that it doesn’t feel anywhere near a 3 hour movie. The writing, directing, acting, score and CGI are all on point. It is the perfect possible conclusion to the marvel saga (well at least the original lineup of the MCU).  It’s also the longest and definitely most emotional movie in the series.

   Everybody’s excitement for this film was palpable just going into the cinema. I’ve never heard so much cheering and applause during a film. Now normally I hate that, but this time I think it’s fully justified. This doesn’t feel like you’re just watching another movie, it’s more like an experience. How else would you describe saying goodbye to characters you’ve followed for more than 10 years.  Speaking of characters, Thanos is even better on this one; he’s scarier and more menacing as the gauntlet wielding mad titan. All the avengers were also great, with some characters getting much needed development and depth. But the only character I had an issue with was Captain Marvel, which seems to have the “Superman” problem. She’s so powerful that they have to think of excuses to keep her out of most scenes. And another downside is I think this movie was so big that the MCU will lose a lot of momentum after this. They partially dug their own grave, especially when DC seems to be finally hitting their stride (Shazam! Side review: It is definitely the best DCEU movie so far, it’s a genuinely funny, well-acted, endearing family movie. If only they released it nowhere near Endgame it would have been much more successful) Anyways I don’t think the phase 5 stage of the MCU will be followed with the same enthusiasm and investment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we’re all gonna watch the hell out of the movies, just with less urgency.

   And needless to say, if you’re not familiar with the MCU canon, do not watch this film expecting to see what all the hype is about. Good luck catching up with 22 movies while this is still in cinemas. But for everybody else, DO NOT miss your chance at seeing this on the big screen.

9.5/10

Balè Gariw

Directed by: Birhanu Werku
Runtime: 1hr30m
Starring: Asrat Tadesse, Zerihun Asmamaw, Hiwot Getahun

Balè gariw is a romantic comedy about a guy who starts wearing his father’s police uniform to impress a girl and all the trouble that ensues. This is the second movie I saw in two months with police impersonation as the main plot point (the other one being Weto Ader). Both feature incompetent protagonists that dig themselves deeper and deeper into trouble with their lies. But unlike the other one, this film is actually not bad. It has some funny moments, it stays on course with its plot and the cast don’t take themselves too seriously. It knows what it is, a farfetched comedy that relies on fast dialog and occasional slapstick to get its laughs wherever it can. As for the themes and lessons in the story (It seems every Ethiopian filmmaker has to include an obligatory, not-so-subtle morality lesson in their work to justify its existence), this film is about cowardice, courage and justice. It doesn’t really say much about those things but it mentions them a few times and I thought I would too. And another issue is that the second act of the movie really drags on, it makes it seem a lot longer than it is. It’s obvious they just wanted to add as many scenes as possible to pad the runtime before the end. And the sound can be pretty horrendous at times; the ADR gets so bad it looks like a dubbed foreign film. But overall, these issues didn’t ruin the experience for me. I found it to be a more or less enjoyable film.

7.5/10

Yiwatalin

Directed by: Meqdelawit Girma
Runtime: 1hr40m
Starring: Tariku Birhanu, Alemseged Tesfaye, Mekonen Le’ake

Yiwatalin is about two rival stepbrothers from different backgrounds competing and one upping each other. If that doesn’t sound like much of a plot line to you, you’re right. This film doesn’t pay much attention to such unnecessary things like plot or story. This film can be best summarized as “watch these two comedians try to make you laugh as much as they can”. And in that sense, it’s a success. It had the whole cinema laughing their asses off. If you like any of the actors on the list, you’ll most probably enjoy this as well. But as a film, it’s not much of an achievement. Its central theme is the seemingly inescapable trope of most Ethiopian movies, the contrast of the rich and poor. The characters are bland and cliché (the rich are spoiled and westernized, the poor are wise and patriotic, the women are materialistic gold diggers). The film is just a bunch of loosely connected funny scenes that don’t really work together as a whole. But at least the cast do a great job. The charismatic, over the top performances will probably distract you from any of the numerous shortcomings this movie is filled with. So overall, if you are a fan of the comedic style of the leads, and aren’t already bored of the same characters they play for every movie, then you’ll get your money’s worth with this.

7/10