Godzilla vs Kong is 2021’s latest attempt to beat our minds into submission. Through sheer unrelenting idiocy, Adam Wingard attempts to succeed where Legendary’s previous three films have failed. By taking the last few remaining strands of credulity the Monsterverse held, and hurling them into a colour coded incinerator. Godzilla vs Kong is a result of the steady escalation that has been taking place since 2014, following the trend of bigger is better and considering the Rule of Cool as a gospel to be followed at the cost of all else.
It is difficult to describe what a confusing and nonsensical ride Warner Brothers have prepared for the world. The only true comparison I can give is to imagine that Alice in Wonderland contained larger monsters and a more subdued colour pallet. Things happen in this movie, constantly, and taken scene by scene, shot for shot, every part of this movie is perfectly acceptable and even amazing at times. Put together, the whole thing starts to look like a Frankenstein paint by numbers, with multiple artists, all of whom are high. Characters travel thousands of Kilometres in seconds, wounds appear, and reappear at random. The characters are at times telepathic and at times severely mentally challenged, often switching between the two mid scene. There isn’t a single aspect of the plot, world building, character design or choices that stands up to even a moment of scrutiny.
However, much like Alice in Wonderland, once you accept the ridiculousness and embrace the fact that nothing makes any sense, there is a lot of enjoyment to be had from Godzilla vs Kong. As I stated earlier, Adam Wingard very clearly designed this entire movie around the Rule of Cool. And there is a lot of cool stuff in this movie. The visuals are amazing, the fight choreography is emotional and compelling (if impossible(within universe)), and no one can deny the characters are all unique. There is a lot to love about Godzilla vs Kong and each individual crew member, clearly knew their jobs well, they just all seem to have thought they were making a different movie.
In a world where arthouse films have past through the mainstream and are slowly drifting back, this movie works wonderfully as an abstract homage to creature features and schlock. For those of you who not only love films like Birdemic, The Room, and Sharknado, but wished in your heart of hearts that someone would give them hundreds of millions to play with, Godzilla vs Kong is the film for you. A tour de force of non-sequiturs and over the top Hollywood extravagance. This film will not be deconstructed in film schools around the world and will likely be forgotten by the time Vaccine rolls outs are finished; but in this moment, it stands proudly atop the 2021 garbage pile. It’s not much of a title, but when it comes to stupid films released recently, Godzilla vs Kong reins as king supreme.
If I try to describe this film in two words, you will get an hour and a half of a meeting with a very charming actress, views of mountainous France and a very funny donkey.
There is not probably much to learn from it except: no matter what never start a flirt with a married man and go and spend your vacation traveling actively in nature (not in front of a TV screen Discovery Channel for sure!).
Lor Kalami did not get the best role. She plays a teacher who started an affair with her student's father.
Moreover, having learned that her lover is going on a hike with his wife and daughter, the insidious person follows, although she does not really know for what purpose.
Most likely it was an impulse to follow her lover and she is so impulsive and emotional. At first, she does not arouse any sympathy at all, but as we become acquainted with her, our opinion changes...
Only the French could shoot such a cute, charming and even funny picture on a seemingly unpleasant topic: adultery.
Only the French could make it funny and could make the girl look so attractive in her immediacy, while they made Patrick, the donkey as a psychoanalyst. Well sometimes the donkeys know it better...
For an hour and a half you will be hiking through the beautiful mountain range of Cévennes in France and listen to her revelations of the girl addressed to the most grateful listener, the donkey Patrick. There isn't even one boring minute with Antoinette along the way while she gets into various funny situations.
This light and very entertaining film without tediousness and moralizing leads to the correct conclusion: there is nothing to meddle in someone else's family, it will not lead to good. Making such trips is very useful for physical fitness and for clearing up the brains. It is created for the good mood after watching.
I highly recommend it! Giving it 9/10 with extra points for the smartest of all: Patrick!
Film Nobody is a breath of fresh air (or, more precisely, a good portion of fresh and fake blood) for its spectators. It is the second full-length film by Russian director, Ilya Naishuller. This film stars Bob Odenkirk as a major character.
Once upon a time two robbers broke into the house of an ordinary middle-class representative of Hutch (Bob Odenkirk). They threatened his family with a 38-caliber revolver, made a terrible profit: a pile of crumpled one dollar banknotes, the owner's watch and a kitty-cat bracelet of his daughter. The latter loss drove Hutch mad as his young daughter was terribly upset. He, having all the opportunities for self-defense, did nothing during this horrific robbery, and thus deserved universal censure: with family members as well as with his neighbors and policemen.
Around the same time, on the other side of the city, its owner, Yulian Kuznetsov (Russian mafia leader, played by Alexei Serebryakov), burst into his club named Malina (literally: Raspberry in the criminal Russian slang meaning: "criminal brothers"), who, with pinpoint accuracy, managed to throw off his coat, knock over a glass of vodka, sniff out some prohibited powder and go up on stage exactly to the chorus of the famous song from the 90-s about the "sweetheart accountant".
As it turned out, all this was not in vain: Yulik (as his peers in the gangster hierarchy call him) IS an accountant. He is the holder of the multi-hundred million common fund of the Russian mafia in America. His chants from the point of view of some thieves in law do not add authority to him, Yulik, having easily shredded one of his colleagues with improvised means, regains this respect. However, as you know, there is an auditor for every accountant!
It turns out to be that mumbled humble Hutch.
True, he is a very specific auditor - one of those whom the most reckless bandits want to see on their doorstep in the very last place.
Let us remind you that Naishuller made a name for himself six years ago by filming the daring action movie "Hardcore" starring Sharlto Copley. This new film may be somewhat disappointing for those who watched Hardcore. The film Nobody was not shot by the director according to his own script, which diminished the energy that was whipping over the edge of the screen together with the immense amount of blood.
Nevertheless, the signature style of Naishuller is recognizable here too. I have not seen such fast-paced (and, again, bloody) battle scenes with the participation of the most unexpected actors (like Christopher Lloyd, known for his role as a mad scientist from the trilogy Back to the Future).
So an hour and a half of screen time flies by instantly, which, in addition to the drive, is facilitated by a decent dose of the author's black humor.
Enjoyed it! I give it 9 out of 0 only for the Russian mafia involved as you know: no one wants to go against the family!
Crisis is a crime drama with three different storylines inside one film that blend together very logically.
A pharmaceutical company invents a new pain reliever (an opioid, which is not only a drug, but also a narcotic that makes ;people addictive to it in several days of using it). In "theory" it is not addictive (n papers) but in reality it is. One of the University professors, after conducting independent research, realises that the new drug is not as safe as the pharmacists are trying to suggest.
His career is put in question but the rich owners of the pharmaceutical company that actually sponsors this scientific research, not only, it tries to bribe the professor with a large sum of money. The second storyline tells us about a woman, a former drug addict, whose son dies from an overdose (an accident cleverly performed by the people who decided to get rid of him. In reality he never used any drugs, it was a clever "acting" of his con "friends".). The mother is sure that her child was killed with some purpose to hide something and the he was clean and innocent and did not even know what was happening around him. She starts her own investigation.
There is the third storyline that is about an undercover police agent / investigator who is trying to uncover a major drug trafficking network. The mafia are not Russians (thank god!), but Armenian - unusual as these days seems that Russians are guilty of all sins starting from space technology and ending with underground drug trafficking.
I liked the film a lot, it is quite dynamic, with interesting and lovable characters, showing a certain inside out of how things are - the corrupt doctors, the pharmaceutical companies that are ready to risk people's lives for huge profits etc.
It was nice to see Evangeline Lilly among the actors. In addition, I noticed (in the episodic role) Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. The girl still has to work and work on acting, she is a bit weak in acting IMHO.
In general, the film is quite good and you will remember it. It lacks some action perhaps, but it is not critical.
The scourge of opioid addiction is at the core of three stories in one inspired by fact in the dramatic thriller Crisis.
A tension-filled opening sees a teenager, Cedric Beauville (Charles Champagne), in deep snow near the US-Canadian border being chased by unknown forces.
Later laid bare is what he was carrying.
The lad’s capture sets off a chain of events.
Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer) is deep undercover.
The Drug Enforcement Administration agent has infiltrated a notorious gang of drug traffickers, but bringing down the king pin, named “Mother” (Guy Nadon) is proving difficult.
Kelly has skin in the game on the personal front, as his sister, Emmie (Lily-Rose Depp), is a serious addict who rehab hasn’t managed to help.
Single mother Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly) is a recovered addict with a sports’ loving 16-year-old son, David (Billy Bryk).
One day, after practice, he doesn’t return home and she finds out his disappearance is linked to the insidious drug trade.
Dr Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman) is a university lecturer whose research funding is greatly aided by a large pharmaceutical company.
That firm is on the cusp of a major medical breakthrough, which is said to be far more effective in treating addiction that what is currently on the market.
As a result, the large pharma is set to earn a veritable fortune. All that stands in the way is Food and Drug Administration approval.
But Dr Brower’s researchers, who have been testing the new drug on mice, have discovered a serious flaw – one that could kill those it is looking to help.
Nevertheless, the university is urging him to say nothing.
Tense throughout, I was sold on the first two thirds of Crisis, but although the threads came together, I felt the plot unravelled towards the end.
Most concerning to me was what I saw as the increasingly preposterous cut through of a widowed mother being able to do what trained law enforcement officers in great numbers couldn’t.
And she was being aided by a private detective (Jason Cavalier) who fed her information, which only he appeared to be privy to. Really? So, that comes down to a script with holes in it. The writer and director of the piece is Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitrage).
The writing doesn’t detract from the performances of the leads.
As Jake Kelly, Armie Hammer is seemingly permanently on edge, as I dare say a person in his position would be, playing both sides in a high stakes game of cat and mouse.
Gary Oldman makes a plausible academic whose conscience is gnawing away at him.
Evangeline Lily plays a woman with two sides to her character.
She is possessed by the need for retribution and accountability.
I appreciated the cinematography by Nicolas Bolduc (La Belle Époque). The aerial shots were particularly compelling.
So, while Crisis is not without merit, it lacks the authenticity and quality of a film that is best of breed in this genre. Think Traffic.
It scores a 6½ out of 10.
TRANSITIONS FILM FESTIVAL 2021: INVISIBLE HAND NEW website review by Sherry Westley
Film: Invisible Hand Style: Documentary Country: America Released: 2020 Exec Producer: Mark Ruffalo Directers: Joshua B Pribanic, Melissa A Troutman.
Invisible Hand is a fascinating documentary describing the rise of two exciting and surprising new legal ways for local communities to fight to maintain the health of their local water systems. The fight is inevitably against decisions made by corporates and government regulators, who work from a mindset that prioritises business development and profit above the health and sustainability of both the local community and their environment.
Ho hum, you’ve heard it all before? Too depressing for you? But isn’t that what the EPA ( Environment Protection Society) are for? Aren’t the locals parochial greenies anyway?
No, no, no and no. You’ll watch this with keen interest.
The central story shows the struggle of the small community of Grant Township in Pennsylvania USA, to stop an EPA approved fracking waste dump ( Injection Well). They believe the well can leak contaminants and radioactive waste into local waterways. They fight this over six years. Finally they succeed with the legal argument that they operate under a Home Rule Charter. A Home Rule Charter, where established, legally enables the local “council” to do anything that is not specifically denied by the state constitution ,the General Assembly or the Home Charter itself.
Examples of the second innovative legal approach are also shown: the “Rights of Nature” movement.Here the struggle is to have a specific waterway declared a legal living entity with it’s own attached legal rights and recourses.
These approaches have been adopted in other parts of America, Bolivia, Nepal,Mexico and the Maldives.
There is a background thread running through the documentary, of Native American Indian philosophy and stories relating to the environment and sustainability.
There are also some comments from economists and leaders of these movements.But the focus is on mainstream culture and ordinary, sensible people standing up for their values and finding news ways to do it. This documentary was so interesting. “......nature, democracy and capitalism face off in rural America.”
It was part of the recent Transitions Festival but can still be viewed via the Invisible Hand website, Amazon and possibly other avenues.
NEW GODS: NEZHA REBORN NEW website review by Elice Thomas
NEW GODS: NEZHA REBORN
Like most people, I haven’t seen a lot of Chinese films. Most of my movie-reviewing experience comes from Hollywood blockbusters, with the occasional indie film along the way to shake things up. But recently I’ve been turning more and more to the Eastern take on the filmmaking process, whether that be through timeless classics like Studio Ghibli, much-loved commercial anime films like Demon Slayer, or old-school Western/Eastern mashups like the 2009 movie The Forbidden Kingdom. I watched The Forbidden Kingdom for the first time last year with a friend who’d grown up loving the movie – I had never heard of it. I’m glad I watched it though, as it was a good introduction to the myths and deities of Chinese folklore, something Nezha Reborn is steeped in.
Nezha Reborn follows the story of Li Yunxiang (Tiangxiang Yang), a young, adventurous delivery driver in fictional Donghai City, who discovers that he is the reincarnation of the 3,000-year-old deity Nezha after a run-in with the Dragon King’s rich, cocky son, Ao Bing (Ling Zhenhe). And so two fates becomes intertwined, as the Dragon King (Xuan Xiaoming) hunts down Nezha through the beautiful, glittering streets of Donghai City, obsessed with settling an ancient conflict. Masked assassins and old enemies intent on revenge also hound him as he struggles to master his newfound powers as the old god Nezha and protect his loved ones.
Nezha Reborn is loosely based on the novel “Investiture of the Gods”, but in an audacious spin, the tale has been thrown 3,000 years into the future. Cyberpunk and steampunk elements collide in what many fans have called “eastern punk”, a beautiful 3D animation style lovingly reminiscent of 1930s Shanghai and framed in a dystopic future. The brash, foolhardy teenage Nezha comes alive in this world, trading martial arts for motorbike chases as he flees the vengeful Dragon King. He revels in this dark spin on the classic tale. It is bold, beautiful, and breath-taking.
Nezha Reborn brings a timeless character into the modern world with adrenaline-pumping chase scenes and unrelenting fights, all brought to vivid life in bright, dynamic 3D animation. As Dr. Su (Li Shimeng) proclaims, it is classic “chaos-creating, sea-churning, rebellious Nezha!”
A WRITER"S ODYSSEY NEW website review by Alex First of MAPT
A Writer’s Odyssey (MA) – 130 minutes – by Alex First
An intricately woven crime fantasy about power and loss ... and making it as a storyteller, A Writer’s Odyssey is intriguing and a tad exasperating.
It crams a lot into its two hour plus running time and requires concentration to follow.
Guan Ning (Lei Jiayin) is heartbroken and isolated.
He used to be a happily married man with a beautiful young daughter named Tangerine before a criminal organisation “stole” his child.
As a result, his life disintegrated. He divorced and let himself go.
He has frequent nightmarish visions involving his daughter and a mysterious city, known as the City of Clouds, ruled with an iron-fist by a god-like entity known as Lord Redmane.
He is determined to find his daughter and wreak vengeance on those who snatched her.
What is most important to note is that Guan Ning has a superpower. He is able to throw stones with remarkable accuracy.
A second thread involves a man named Kongwen, who is seeking revenge for the murder of his sister at the hands of a devilish monk.
And then there’s the self-centred, megalomaniacal head of a vast IT empire, which started off as a small life sciences company – the Aladdin Group – Li Mu.
He links his declining health to a nerdish writer who is almost 30 years of age, Kongwen Lu (Dong Zijian).
Whatever the latter pens appears to adversely impact the titan and he wants the writer eliminated before he himself dies from what the man is progressively writing and sharing on social media.
Time is of the essence, so Li Mu’s Chief Information Officer, Tu Ling (Yang Mi) – who has her own tale of woe, being one of abandonment by her parents – engages Guan Ning to do the job under a pretence of finding his long-lost daughter.
If fantasy is your bent, there is quite a deal of sophistication in that component of the storyline.
The CGI is mighty impressive ... and there is no shortage of it.
I was keen on simply following the exploits of the crestfallen father and the writer.
The story arc waxes and wanes between the various threads, which left me somewhat frustrated. I was just getting absorbed in one and, in a flash, we jump elsewhere.
Still, there are twists aplenty and clever ones at that. The movie is also violent at times.
The creativity of the screenwriters – who have adapted the novel Assassinate a Novelist – is on show.
Pleasingly, it all comes together and I thought Lei Jiayin stood out in his portrayal of the forlorn father.
And an Aussie was responsible for the score. Jed Kurzel, who composed the music for the haunting drama The Nightingale, is given quite some scope here.
To sum it up then, A Writer’s Odyssey, director by Yang Lu, is complex and – notwithstanding a few reservations – overall impressive.
Rated MA, A Writer’s Odyssey scores a 7½ out of 10.
Are you complaining that your every day feels the same?
Well, you haven’t seen Roy's day: every day he gets killed on numerous occasions.
He knows exactly what is going to happen to him by the second, Some days he can be ready, the evens get delayed.
No matter where he goes he is always found. It happens until one day when he figures out what is it... Then the story unravels, he starts to put the poeces of the puzzle together and he starts to get rid of those "pieces".
What a great movie with the great messages! Every minute of it is important to be watched and followed.
CosmicSin is a neo-noir oriented drama of scientific undertones - and at the heart of it is Bruce Willis, a renowned actor of irrefutable screen presence.
The central theme of the movie surrounds an impeding invasion of an alien race, very much into the future, where human have colonised the universe for a varied sense of economic gain. And those alien race seem to push back, arcane in method and advanced in thought.
There are numerous scientific references, which announces our understanding of the principles of physical existence - and the movie extrapolates it to new dimensions that seem ever more likely to happen in the near future.
CosmicSin is a venture of outmost daring and not-your-commonplace-occurrences of literary cinema. It is bold, sure, but it does more to spark a curious scientific interest in its audience.
Oh, yes, Tom is chasing Jerry for the last 80 years... and finally they ended up on eth big screen! Movie time! Kid's time!
The new movie, "Tom and Jerry" is a childhood time cartoon for me personally. I've always just adored watching it (only if I admit that I had my second childhood with my own kids and I watched those cartoons together with them when they first appeared on Russian TV screens). Perhaps these are my favorite drawn characters. I have always been on Jerry's side o course and still remain with Jerry.
I could not miss this release of course when I was invited for the media screening. Although, in fact, this is not exactly a pure animation...
The cinema was full of children with their parents. Plus a couple reviewers my age.
Description: In a nutshell and without giving away any spoilers, Kayla is an employee of a prestigious hotel where Jerry, the mouse lives. There is an expensive wedding planned at the hotel. Kayla hires a street cat, Tom, to deal with the impudent rodent. But solving this problem is not that easy.
Show time is 101min. I think even for children this is a normal time and they can sit and watch so very calmly. It was quiet during the movie meaning the kids loved it.
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Jordan Bolger, Colin Jost, Rob Delaney, Patsy Ferran, Pallavi Sharda, Somi Guha. To be honest, before buying a ticket and going to the cinema,
I honestly though there will be an animation only but it turned out to be a mixture of cartoon and real film where people are all played by real people as well as the scenery is real too. All animals, birds and fish are drawn animations.
In general, two different worlds have connected and got mixed up. The graphics is not super detailed like, not every hair is seen, it is not Studio Ghiblu for sure but I like the way it looked. It is classical. Since I did not know that there would be a film mixture with the animation, I was pleasantly surprised.
Tom and Jerry now live and collide not just in the house. They moved to New York and chose a luxury hotel as their place of residence, where the main action takes place. We can say that now they have everything in a big way. In terms of location, the film is definitely on a larger scale so to speak than the familiar animated series.
The picture was beautiful, everything looked extremely good and entertaining, no complaints here.
Characters The main characters are: Tom and Jerry of course and Kayla, who works as a hotel employee. There are also employees of the hotel and a couple who arranged the wedding at the hotel.
Kayla quickly began to understand Tom and Jerry's relationship and even learnt to negotiate with them.
These are also additional cartoon characters : dogs and cats that we know from the famous series. The heroes also interact a little with them and everyone contributes to the film.
But the key roles as I mentioned are assigned to Tom, Jerry and Kayla. The rest of the characters are the beautiful complement the plot.
Acting It looks quite plausible, especially considering that the animals are not real but drawn. I like Chloe's acting and other actors (at least the main ones) showed themselves very well.
There was no time to look out for any faults as I was an interested person who decided to remember her own childhood.
Idea and its implementation The idea is quite interesting. I liked that familiar characters were moved into a "big" world. The film feels very modern. There are technologies and social media references.
At the same time, the spirit of the relationship between Tom and Jerry was well preserved. As in the animated series, they jump from hatred to love, they fight, they help each other and their new friends. The characters have a lot of interactions with each other and with the rest of the "crew".
Together with the attempts to get rid of the harmful mouse, the heroes have to solve the other problems: there are ups and downs, sad, funny and love in eth air moments. I can not say that the plot develops very quickly. It is going in a slow but comfortable pace.
There are some clichés of course: heroes survive in any "body harmful" situation, the suffer but miraculously survive. But there are many moments in which anyone would die instantly, not Tom and Jerry. Maybe for a couple of seconds the bodies of animals are deformed and then they immediately get up and continue their activity. It really happens in almost all cartoons but I have to admit it is quite a well working cliché. It is a hidden wish for all humans in flesh to be able to survive any harm, disease or any other physically painful situation up to its total destruction with plastic surgeon involvement.
There are no super unexpected moments. Many actions and outcomes are predictable. Successful triumphs over all evil, fights that end in peace etc.
There were a lot of funny moments as well as sad moments.
My impressions I liked the picture. I did not regret at all that I went to see it. For me it became an interesting and relatively original combination of two completely different worlds: real and drawn. I'm glad that "Tom and Jerry" turned out to be more than just a cartoon. I am glad that the situations and problems have become more "global" so to speak: they no longer just sit at home and howl forever. They solve difficult issues together.
In my opinion, there is a good acting and if any defects I noticed they were inconsiderably insignificant.
I felt something like nostalgia. My favorite characters did not disappoint me. They have not changed at all, I see in them the same, lovely Tom and Jerry that I looked at many times a few years ago. There were no boring moments to yawn at.
I had extremely positive emotions. Maybe because of my " second childhood" love for Tom and Jerry. In any case, I recommend this combination of high quality entertainment film and cartoon to all families,
Skies of Lebanon features a young woman Swiss woman, Alice, who relocates from her homeland to Lebanon in the 1950s. Her life prior to relocation is cleverly and succinctly told by a combination of animation and film shots.
The film’s quirkiness is evident on Alice’s arrival in Lebanon where she is welcomed by a woman dressed as a cedar tree. The woman reappears later in the movie standing in front of a red and white wall in between the warring factions.
Alice’s life in Lebanon is idyllic where she falls in love and marries Joseph a nerdy astrophysicist whose goal is to send a Lebanese national into space. Alice becomes an integral part of Joseph’s where she blissfully spends the next twenty or so years, developing her artistic skills and raising a daughter. However, this was not to continue thanks to Lebanon’s civil war.
Due to the bombings, the in laws move into Joseph and Alice’s house. Bombs also damage Joseph’s workplace and projects. Essentially Alice’s “paradise” disappears forcing her to confront the reality of the situation.
Skies of Lebanon is the first feature length film for Director Chloe Mazlo who also co-wrote the screenplay with Yacine Badday. Alice’s story is based on Mazlo’s grandmother who left her Swiss homeland for a new life in Lebanon. A very engaging tale.
A nerve-wrecking documentary depicting a time of crisis in the late seventies in England, where a new stream of British citizenry was on the rise. White Riot forces us to look at one of the more pronounced, albeit challenging topic of the modern era - racism.
The movie centres around the activities and anti-propaganda movement of a league fighting for immigrants who had been present in England, in the form of an organisation holding concerts and music festivals, known as the 'Rock Against Racism'.
We see big names prop up in several instances of the movie, such as Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart, and the director (Rubika Shah) had cast a well-dimensioned ambience of the situation in a country trying to understand its own identity right after World War Two.
White Riot poses a grandstand statement of the history of racial orientation in the western world.
ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2021 FINAL SET NEW website review by Katherine Kelly
DirectorQuentin Raynaud ProducerLeonardo Glowinski Cast:Thomas EdisonAlex Lutz EveAna Girardot Judith Kristen Scott Thomas
Thomas Edison 37 (Alex Lutz), an ageing tennis player aspires to have one last chance in the upcoming French Open despite advice from his wife Eve (Ana Girardot) and his mother Judith, (Kristen Scott Thomas) to retire. Twenty years earlier he was the young prodigy with great prospects in elite men’s tennis, but severe injuries dashed his hopes and aspirations. Having failed to score a Wildcard entry, Edison qualifies for the First Round following three gruelling qualifiers.
The culminating scene is the first round of the French open at Roland Garros which goes to five sets. The final result is never known, leaving the audience to draw their own conclusion.
This film deals with the seemingly glamorous world or professional men’s tennis with close media attention and sponsor endorsements. However other below the surface issues exist such as the unrelenting, gruelling practice routines which children just past toddlerhood are subjected to under the watchful eye of coaches and over ambitious parents. Ageing is another issue as the average elite playing period ranges from approximately 17 to 30 years. Injury also plays a big part such as in Edison’s case where he is in constant denial about his age, health and abilities. The personal and private costs to Edison are also augmented in the domestic scenes with his wife Eve and tough love mother Judith.
ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2021 LOVE AFFAIR(S) NEW website review by Katherine Kelly
Les choses qu'on dit, les choses qu'on fait (The things that we day. The things that we do)
Starring: Camelia Jordana - Daphne Niels Schneider - Maxime Emilie Dequenne- Louise Vincent Macaigne- Francois Guillaume Gouix- Gaspard
French with English subtitles
Love Affair(s) deals with the complexities and inconsistencies of modern-day love and intimate relations. Maxime, a broken hearted, aspiring writer seeks respite by travelling to the South of France to stay with his cousin Francois (Vincent Macaigne). There he is met by Daphne (Camelia Jordana), Francois’ pregnant girlfriend who has temporarily been left alone. Whilst waiting for Francois’ return, they explore beautiful countryside together while sharing their war stories of love, eventually leading to their own intimacy. Nothing is clear cut as each replayed story leads to another, similar to a spider weaving an intricate web. Characters are set in various interplays of love that range from the trivial to heartbreak. The premise is that what humans say can differ greatly to what they do; almost to the fact that they are being drawn towards their actions, giving the hint that freedom of choice may not play such a strong role. It is very refreshing to note that the stories lack any judgement or evidence of morality tales. They are just stories.
This work is greatly enhanced by Laurent Desmet’s beautiful cinematography of wooded scenes, ancient buildings/structures and Paris streets. The soundscape of dreamy classical pieces by composers such as Chopin and Debussy add to the mood.
Love Affair(s) a nominee from Cannes 2020 is a great addition to this year’s Alliance Francaise French Film Festival.
Really enjoyed watching this great film called GIRLS CAN'T SURF.
It is based on the interviews on Australian World Champions, female surfers Australian beaches are famous for surfing... but who surfed there last century and who was leading? Men of course... girls were not included in the championships though they did surf. The film is full of inspiring interviews who female surfers were "born" in Australia and how they came into surfing, how they could not find any other meaning in life than in water and with water, and how they live these days. Just because of these brave females we have girls participating in the world championships now, not only, but winning the first prizes.
Surfing was not that popular back then and the Surf magazines around the world were full of men's images. The training even for men is hard, very hard. Not many succeed in this sport. The sportsmen get very tired after training. It can take all day and when they come home all they want is to go to bed to sleep only to wake up the next morning for another day of training. Riding the wave inspires though. Everyone wants to conquer the ocean and its harsh waves. Training takes months and years of hardest work. They say "Every surfer knows the feeling..." You just need to be confident and have big waves then the feeling comes... It is amazing to see how easy the girls surf on such a small piece of wood.. When you know and feel what surfing means the rest of life looses its meaning so to speak. Of course to be a professional you need to surf everyday since your childhood and of course be talented. Knowing and be prepared and trained helps. Even if you are not a champion but you love surfing you will be close to it. Many girls now provide training for beginners.
If you want to be happy you should do what you love. When you surf you get connected to nature very closely. It makes you happy. You practically always in nature when you do this sport. Plus when you start there is no way back. When the wave is complex you definitely feel that you conquer it! People who surf love to compete.
Young girls could compete with the guys; it worth a lot and it is not easy. The surfing for woman and men is different. Men have upper body with is better developed , women have the more developed lower body that nature is created for bearing the children. This is nature and this is genetics. You can not run away from genetics. Surfing is the sport where your upper body works more than your lower body: in paddling and in turns. If you can paddle well you will surf well.
Men are naturally better in surfing than the girls. They do it easily. Women have to work harder to achieve pretty much the same results. When men work out the first mussels to develop are back and shoulders. Girls naturally have weaker hands. Girls need to work out a lot to develop the shoulder mussels. Big shoulders, back an hands do not look feminine but it is rather important for paddling and surfing. But if girls work well on it everything gets possible. You need lots of time and efforts. For efforts you need a strong will power. Only strong girls go to surfing. It mans that surfing is hard and extreme sport. Surfing is sexual. Yes, it is sexual when you spent 5-6 years doing it day after day. When you broke your bones and had bruises everywhere to achieve something... etc... Shortly, yes it is sexual looking sport when you worked hard. And yes , there is nothing more beautiful than this sport!
Girls, through all the traumas, all the hardship and humiliation you got from man and the management of this sport, all the emotional and physical bruises, through all the frustration and hardest work, you achieved so much in it! I was so glad to watch what these Australian girls did... so proud of them. I thought: next life I have to be born in Queensland some where on the beach side and surf all days long to be like these girls: the champions of the beach and the waves!
No spoilers in my review this time, right?
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH NEW website RATE: 7/10
The history, of course, is written by the winners. In real life everything is much much more complicated than in media or on paper. Some "truths" the common readers will never know and probably would not care to know.
The BLM movement (or, in a narrower sense, a public outcry after the death of the notorious George Floyd) seems to have set a certain fashion: there is fashion everywhere in art now. There are books burnt for god sake and it is scary to know what have to follow. We were raised in Russia and were never told whom to hate or whom to love. We had 20 different nationalities who studied with us at Uni - we all were in the same group and never we were told how to relate to them - we all went to the same parties and sang the same songs...
Who seeds the differentiation between nations? Obviously not students or kids... It comes from the source that changes its opinions on things and tries to blame the past mistakes on the people who never have done anything wrong. Cultures will exist, nations will exist, ,colors will exist - how we treat them (if we treat them differently) - probably should not exist.
Ok, back to the film... IMHO calling the film "Judas and the Black Messiah" was quite ambitious for the creators of the film... as if they tried to put themselves on a par with the early Christian martyrs by presenting a kind of gospel about the Black Panthers.
In practice, the film, which tells about the affairs of bygone days, refers to modern days a lot. Nothing has changed in America, where dark skin people still suffer, and are still treated the same as if nothing has changed in the last 50 years. The establishment rushes from liberal democrats to republicans but it all stays the same.
With the current world situation continuing, Hollywood decided to release "Judas" and advertise it in every possible way as a potential "Oscar bait":... so it can be noted everywhere except the countries where the "nationality" question has never existed (Russia is a good example). They can not surprise me really. I have never been told what nationality I am in my family... till I was bitten by our kindergarden teacher and called a Jew.
"Judas and the Black Messiah" is a screen version of the slogan "I am a revolutionary!" At the center of the story is William O'Neill, a petty criminal and a captain of the Black Panthers, and now an undercover informant for the FBI. As it turns out, he is a rat in a group of black extremists. He begins to support some government officials, and while the tidy special officer declares that "The clan and the Panthers are the same," the viewer, it seems, should think.
.. It is clear that the script contains a large number of social implications, but they cannot be conveyed.
The desire to humanize the central character (the rat) is there to blame. Although the "Judas" label is easy to attach to William, who managed to sell the charismatic leader of the Black Panthers for $300. The movie tried to make him controversial. This is fundamentally wrong: there is no smell of duality in his character; rather, it is a frightening moral detachment that leads to a misunderstanding of this character by the audience.
There is little tragedy in the film, and even less of the biblical motive.
Yes, maybe the leader of the black revolution is a martyr, but there is nothing or little interesting about his fate: he died defending his principles... He is not shown in his action, nothing that would makes us "feel" for him.
Yes, his story is worthy of respect, but there are quite a few such people, and “Judas and the Black Messiah” does not reveal one reason or another why this story is worthy of adaptation. One way or another, there is a distortion of motivations and the film does not have enough power. Power is the word that would make us love the Messiah, power is the word that would make his speeches fiery enough for us to "follow" his lead... the character is very weak indeed.
As part of historical filmmaking or even a film for general development, this is not really bad as I found out lots of good information I did not know before about the resistance movement in USA, but in a more general sense, "Judas" is a castrated version of Sorkin's "Trial of the Chicago Seven": instead of focusing on sharp topics, the authors imagined God knows what. instead of speaking with a manifesto, they resorted to a weak political drama.
When it comes to such topics, I am not convinced. The world's mentality is very hard to change when years were spent in ensvalering the "weaker" nations and powerful of this world to exploitate the weakest. On the other side it will always be in our blood: there will always be separation present as we live in the world of duality - that man is taller than the others, this man is funnier than the others etc etc. Physical will always prevail: the skin will always be different no matter how you call it: black or white. The colors will never change, But the attitude of those in power SHOULD! If they call everyone equal then all the people should have the same money right? The African countries should not still be robbed by digging out their most valuable resources and diamonds without paying their people a cent. These nations have the most valuable natural resources but not enough power to defend it historically. Should not it be stopped first?
What can I say? It is very hard to trick the genuine audience who never had any hatred towards any nationalities or skin colors.
The incendiary story of the charismatic head of the revolutionary Illinois Black Panther movement and the snitch who trailed him is captured in the compelling drama Judas and the Black Messiah.
Inspired by fact, it is set in the late ‘60s – one of the most tumultuous and pivotal periods in American history.
FBI director J Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) turned his sights on the black community to neutralise what he termed “Black Messiahs”. He was referring to rising black and civil rights leaders.
In 1967, he opened a file on an African American midwestern college student named Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), whose community activism had brought him to the attention of the agency.
Hampton, who became chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, led the organisation’s fight for freedom, self-determination and an end to police brutality and the slaying of blacks.
The FBI identified Hampton as a key militant leader who posed a danger to national security.
Around this time, William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) was arrested for stealing a car and impersonating an FBI agent.
Interrogated by Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons), he was told he faced a length prison term or could walk free by becoming a counterintelligence operative and infiltrating the Illinois Black Panther Party.
Specifically, Mitchell had in mind keep tabs on the Party’s leader Fred Hampton.
Inside the Illinois chapter of the BPP, Hampton’s political prowess continues to grow.
He also falls in love with fellow activist Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback).
That relationship profoundly affects both Hampton and Johnson, galvanising her involvement in the cause.
O’Neal find his situation growing more complex the deeper his infiltration goes and the closer he gets to Hampton.
Judas and the Black Messiah marks the studio feature film directorial debut of Shaka King, who co-wrote the script with his writing partner Will Berson, along with Kenny and Keith Lucas.
While the basis of the story, namely the FBI using a stool pigeon, is straight forward, there is a lot more going on and requires a level of concentration to follow.
Much has to do with the politics at the time and the various groups on the rise that Hampton tries to bring together.
Daniel Kaluuya is fast building an impressive body of work and Judas and the Black Messiah continues his upward trajectory.
He readily plays charismatic and is mighty convincing doing so.
Hampton is portrayed as a man who talks of violent uprising, but prefers the power of language.
LaKeith Stansfield brings an uneasy nervousness to his persona as the “bought” informant.
Dominique Fishback is plausible as a deep-thinking young woman whose head is turned when she first hears Hampton speak.
Jesse Plemons quickly won me over as the FBI Special Agent with a calm demeanour who knows just what to do to keep reeling in William O’Neal.
Martin Sheen impresses too. His self-absorbed showing as J Edgar Hoover makes him instantly dislikeable – exactly what the role calls for.
On occasion, try as I did, I found it difficult to understand some of the language.
That aside, Judas and the Black Messiah casts us back to an important time in America’s history and gives us insights that gall, to say the least.
Rated MA, Judas and the Black Messiah scores an 8 out of 10.
I just want to point out some of the meanings hidden in the film.
"I saw .." - says a female voice off-screen. There is static camera that shows different scenes.
They are all connected by this voice and this static shot.
But who is speaking? Who looks at the sunset of the Fuhrer, at the murder of a girl, a woman who lost her heel, at the boring bar visitors with an equally indifferent look?
It looks like LIFE iself observes them.
It observes us too as well as the film the director and all teh actors in it. The film is spinning like in the room and outside the window, the scenes change.
There is consistent plot (as if it seems), but there is not a single character who has hidden from this life.
LIFE is a witness to everything. It's all the same for her: she is rather indifferent. She only says what she sees as a grand observer.
And right now we are in the picture.
The static camera moves only with the lovers that fly freely over the city. Why?
Because life itself is in this union of the two. Two are never separate, but different, they are eternal lovers.
Infinity is their unity, they move life, remaining motionless, they move with LIFE.
There is a funny scene when a guy explains to a girl that they are energy and they will meet again possibly in millions of years. His telescope is aimed at the sky, at the stars, somewhere up. But the truth is still the same: sought-after life sits right in front of him and says that she would like to be a tomato.
'I have lost my faith, how can I go on living?' the priest asks. But is faith greater than life?
Isn't the fact that you are alive is the only indisputable fact, and everything else is just minor details?
“I don’t know what I want,” a passenger on the bus cries. Indifferent neighbors don't know what to say.
Everyone carries themselves on business, a bus full of people goes somewhere, but where will he go from that life?
Inside life I watch a movie about life and I am LIFE. Great film!
About Endlessness (M) – 76 minutes – by Alex First
Faith and loss are but two subjects tackled in an artistic look at life, struggle, turmoil and joy from Swedish auteur Roy Andersson.
A series of seemingly disconnected vignettes builds a picture of the world (pre-COVID-19) in which we live.
It is a reflection of life in all its beauty and cruelty, splendour and banality.
Simultaneously an ode and a lament, About Endlessness presents a kaleidoscope of that which is eternally human.
In other words, it is an infinite story of the vulnerability of existence.
After each scene, the camera fades to black.
Over the top of some pieces is a female voiceover, which inevitably starts with the words “I saw a” … man, woman or couple doing something.
For instance, “I saw a woman … incapable of showing shame.”
“I saw a young man who had yet to find love.”
“I saw a man who had lost his faith.”
“I saw a couple of lovers floating above a city renowned for its beauty, now in ruins.”
Inspired by the character of Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights, this marks the first time that Andersson has used such a narrator in his films.
He was influenced by the voice in Hiroshima Mon Amour. He tried a man and then himself, before settling on a female vocalisation.
Inconsequential moments take on the same significance as historical events in About Endlessness.
There is something stark and, at times, poetic in what Andersson has crafted.
The snippets appear to be sounding boards or talking points – a reflection of where the world is at, and, arguably, has always been.
What can and does happen to us? How much do we care? How much of it is random?
Without working my way chapter and verse through every component, some of the images are particularly powerful.
Amongst them is a Priest who has lost his way, which follows a man being flagellated as he drags a heavy wooden cross through the streets to cries of “crucify”.
There is Hitler’s hollow face in the wake of the destruction of the Nazi empire and a defeated army trudging through snow to prison camps in Siberia.
Mostly, one scene doesn’t appear to have any link to another, but on occasions we loop back to an earlier reference point.
A case in point is a middle-aged man who realises many decades on that he’s wronged a former fellow school student and later is put out by the fact that that pupil has gone on to achieve more than he has.
There’s the joy of a grandmother taking photographs of her young grandchild in his father’s arms and three girls dancing in the streets outside a café.
However, most images presented are more troubling and concern issues.
A man who doesn’t trust banks keeps his money under his mattress, a waiter fails to concentrate and pours red wine over a crisp white tablecloth next to a patron in a fine dining restaurant.
With an empty coffin nearby, a man is tied to a post by soldiers and begs for his life, while parents who have lost their son in a war lay flowers against his gravestone.
The camera often appears to linger to sheet home the stark imagery.
About Endlessness is a film for selective tastes.
It will undoubtedly confound many and attract others, for it certainly doesn’t follow any conventional narrative.
I find myself in the latter camp. I appreciated Andersson’s efforts and the fact that nothing was explained, merely presented, allowing me to lose myself in my own thoughts about what was depicted.
Rated M, About Endlessness scores an 8 out of 10.
DEMON SLAYER: MUGEN TRAIN NEW website review by Elice Thomas
!Slight spoilers ahead!
Demon Slayer doesn’t hold back on the heavy-handed emotions or typical anime cliches, but it also doesn’t hold back on tight, thrilling fight scenes either. It’s an anime that’s constantly upping the ante, unafraid of throwing its main cast into brutal struggle after brutal struggle, all in the name of drama. Somehow this has made it the most popular and commercially successful anime in Japan, an incredible feat. Its first movie became the highest-grossing film in Japan, at least until its sequel came along and broke that record all over again.
Like its predecessor, Mugen Train combines the first episodes of the new season into one, coherent film. This does mean that there’s no recap of season one, though, so brush up on those events if it’s been awhile. And just like its predecessor, the backbone of this film is in its fight scenes. Mugen Train certainly delivers, but it also delivers on an interesting dichotomy between two different genres. The film quickly establishes a creepy, thriller-type story in the beginning, as our main cast become caught in falsely-sweet dreams while the demon responsible enacts horrible plans to eliminate them all. This half of the movie manages to deliver both heart-stirring moments and classic comedy, unable to resist the opportunity to poke fun at Inosuke Hashibira and Zenitsu Agatsuma’s ideas of happy dreams. The opportunity to see physical representations of the main cast’s subconscious was a nice touch, and brings the audience closer to knowing them. I downright love how they portrayed Zenitsu’s unconscious mind. But in true Demon Slayer style, Tanjiro Kamado (our protagonist) spends almost no time at all finding a way to escape these deadly dreams. From here on out, Mugen Train delivers battles and tension out the wazoo. Just when I thought the film had dealt us its final, cinematic blow, another foe appears and a whole new fight ensues! It was a real delight to finally witness an Upper Three demon (one of the most powerful demons to ever exist) clash with a Hashira (one of the top echelons of demon-slaying warriors), after hearing Tanjiro gush on and on about them for all of season one. The battle was tight, tense and totally satisfying. Demon Slayer takes a lot of its inspiration for martial arts and sworsmanship from feudal-era Japan, and watching that combined with the anime’s own interpretations is a fascinating experience. The combination of different art styles to represent the elements clashing with the characters is a beautiful touch. And no review of Demon Slayer is complete without mention of its most popular character, Netzuko Kamado, Tanjiro’s sister and cutest demon to ever exist. She has some gratifying scenes fighting alongside her brother and, to my delight, Zenitsu, but otherwise doesn’t play a large role in this story.
Demon Slayer is not about to blow any minds or break any ground with its stereotypical anime formula, but I enjoy it regardless, for its likeable cast of characters and intense battle scenes. It certainly enjoys throwing more and more disturbing demons at its viewers. Fans of the show will be relieved to know that Zenitsu only has one meltdown near the beginning of the movie, thus sparing our eardrums (for those not in the know, Zenitsu can’t resist breaking down in screaming tears whenever a demon is nearby, and his high-pitched howls are not quickly forgotten). Regardless, Mugen Train is a strong return for the anime, promising higher stakes and higher achievements for its characters, particularly Tanjiro. I can’t wait to see what the rest of season two has in store for us.
Rare is the occasion when a feature film could strike a chord so deep as to awaken a stirring flame within you to live your life to the fullest.
Blackbird is undoubtedly a reservoir of emotion, brilliantly bespoked by Sam Neil and Susan Sarandon, and it sums up pretty much everything to equate the audience to celebrate the very being of existence.
The movie begins with a sombre note - a dying woman. But there is not a void of loneliness, but a circle of a well-meaning and beloved family. The depths of maternal bond is brought to light, including those of friendship and companionship.
And as the audience thrusts toward the climax, we experience a well-paced arrival to a stunning conclusion of the tale.
Blackbird is a wonderful flick, and is not to be missed at any rate.
The film is based on a true story It is about the legendary Mr Tesla himself.
The evens take place at the beginning of the century. Not many of us know how the electricity adventure started.
The majority of people didn’t know back then what electricity was all about.
It is the movie about the scientist dedication to his pioneering discoveries and the power of his thoughts, mainly outside the square of what we use to think in our very concervative society.
Mr. Tesla had it all, he was a genius who lived ahead of his times. He was lacking the personal live though. He basically sacrificed himself for the sake of science and his believes in progressive science that would serve humanity in its best possible way.
The power, the knowledge, the money and of course the status - it is all required to be on the top of the world including even scientific world, because if you haven’t got the abilities then you need to prepare to kiss someone else's buts.
Who got the money rules the world - that structure have been ruling our society forever and ever now, it all still applies.
Tesla lived in the world surrounded by scrutiny and bad lies. But his own life was one true life of a legendary pioneer of science.
I tis a great educational movie, it crashed course on electricity currents, I had to brush up my knowledge from the high school.
I can see in the future, this movie to be a part of school curriculum for science students. It is a motivational material: to persuade your dreams, to materialise your thoughts. We can be better than other teachers as it's all about your mindset. there is still so much unknown out there...
Ok, it looks like one amazing film about LAW AND DISORDER.
The film director, John Lee Hancock returns to create detective stories. After "Bonnie and Clyde", the director from Texas releases "The Little Things", based on his own script, starring some awesome stars of the first magnitude: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto.
Joe Deacon, nicknamed Dickie (Denzel Washington), seems to be an ordinary police officer from Kern County. To collect evidence on the next case, the authorities send him to Los Angeles. Dickie is a legend in the homicide department. Fifteen years ago he was the detective with the highest homicide rate in the city. After one of the investigations, Deacon "gave up" and went to work as a simple cop in the province.
"Skeletons in the closet (coupled with professionalism: once a detective is always a detective) always haunt me", - in his own words. Washington character's attention is attracted by a series of murders, which are investigated by newcomer, Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) - a young, hot and promising employee, a kind of a replacement for Dickie in the department where he used to work before as his former boss will later explain. Kern County affairs are quickly put off: Deacon takes a couple of days off and unofficially joins Baxter's team to help him find the killer. With every step that brings the police closer to the solution, the ghosts of the past arise, which the seasoned detective could not finally figure out.
Unlike Hancock's previous film "Bonnie and Clyde, which took place in the 30s of the last century, this film takes us back to the 90s. John writes this script but does not intend to stage it himself.
The plot's idea is not new but approached wisely: starting with the central conflict "young and old heroes VS killer" and ending with the atmosphere of the final episode in the picture, which takes place in a similar location.
The picture has a lot to show, despite the "characteristic" borrowed and based on cliches. Talented acting works come to the fore in the film: Washington and Malek as well as a little later, the character of Jared Leto, who joins them (even if there is not so much of him in the frame as we would like) - all act out as they should, flawlessly. Dickie Washington, for the time being forced to hide the details of his past, is silent, stern and extremely observant. Actually, it is he who utters the catchphrase about the importance of "the little things", There are the details to which everyone eventually comes across, and actually twice. Rami Malek's character is the exact opposite of Washington. Hancock works in contrast: Baxter is talkative, stubborn and eager to fight, practically not thinking about the consequences (and it should be like this unlike the character of Washington). A beautiful wife and two daughters are waiting for him at home.
Leto Albert's character, Sparm is a freak who is suspected of committing murders, and not only those that are being investigated here and now. Jared didn’t really get into the role: he tries not to overact, but this is given to Leto with a bit of difficulty IMHO. The constant antics and flirting, behaving like a notorious psychopath, are not as good as we saw in "Joker" , it really does not go well with the image of a cold-blooded intellectual. However, whether or not his character turns out to be guilty remains to be discovered by Dickie and Baxter.
Despite the structure of the detective story, which Hancock adheres to at the beginning, the movie departs from the seemingly main story altogether in the middle, turning into a "tunnel" of psychological drama. I would say, without that drama and unhurried narration it somehow slows down. Los Angeles' atmosphere is seemingly abandoned by everyone (the twilight of barely lit streets becomes its hallmark), and the dialogues of Dickie and Baxter from discussing the antagonist will move into the realm of eternal questions about the nature of evil and violence. What is life with the burden of responsibility for accidental death? How should the law deal with murderers if they manage to escape punishment in the legal field and if he is a murderer but the law doe snot have enough evidence to prove it?
Those who expect to see a dynamic detective thriller in the spirit of "True Detective" may be greatly disappointed. For more than two hours of timing, a small dynamics is present in the frame for a maximum of 10-15 minutes. A stereotypical clash of experience and audacity (read, youth and old age) is also not to be expected. The questions of life and death, as well as the boundaries that a law enforcement officer must cross so that none of the citizens will suffer any more - this is the innermost idea of the film. The mains approach it with different baggage of experience. Hancock is not so categorical in the final, therefore he leaves both Dickie and Baxteras well as us, the spectators some kind of hope.
The Little Things (M) – 128 minutes – by Alex First
The names are big, the action is slow and the outcome is always in doubt in the crime drama The Little Things.
It is October 1990.
A case in Los Angeles five years earlier involving the murders of three young women found naked with their heads covered in plastic was never solved and the serial killer remains on the loose.
But it did cost lead detective Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) his job, his marriage and his sanity.
Burnt out, he has since gone to pasture as a Sheriff’s Deputy in Kern County, a couple of hundred kilometres away.
He lives a relatively quiet life with only a dog for company.
Suddenly another murder with parallels to the first three appears and Deke’s captain sends him back to LA to bring home the evidence.
There, in spite of wanting to keep his head down, he is welcomed by some and distanced by others.
At first among the latter is the guy who replaced him – Homicide Department Sergeant Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) – who is determined to solve the crime.
But unable to make headway, Baxter soon invites Deke to tag along, as yet another bloody murder goes down.
Deke takes leave from his job in Kern County to try to put an end to his own obsession in drawing down the shutters on the cases that have continued to plague him, now driven by these new developments.
He zeroes in on a crime-obsessed loner – Albert Sparta (Jared Leto) – who frequents strip clubs.
Sparta is no friend of cops and leads Deke and more particularly Baxter – who is under increasing pressure to find the perpetrator – on a merry dance.
At 2 hours 8 minutes, The Little Things is a long film that could have benefited from some prudent pruning.
As I indicated at the outset, nothing happens at pace.
Writer and director John Lee Hancock (Blind Side) draws matters out unnecessarily – gradually teasing out Deke’s back story in the process – and, I dare say, many will be disappointed with the outcome.
Washington is his reliable self, even if he doesn’t set the screen alight.
Jared Leto does eccentric well and so it is here. He has the showiest role.
Rami Malek, who lacks spark and, for the most part, has an expressionless face, looks out of place opposite Washington.
To me the dynamic between them was lacking.
Overall, I saw The Little Things as offering up a mixed bag – intriguing to a point, but not entirely satisfying.
It is the film about the value of time and what we should not take for granted. The acting is good from Rafe Spall, Ronny Chieng, and Zahra Newman. It seemed a bit boring and predictable at the start and some cliche lines but I guess the director reached his aim to show the main philosophical idea of the picture. I only thought it would be great if we all knew the outcomes of the future and can take action on our own lives now and so easily.
The film had a great idea but accomplished little to be honest. For some reason the film turned out to be a bit flat with poor editing, low budget locations, not complimenting soundtrack choices, Just about to say: it feels so sweet that it feels untasteful. It is probably one of those films that you will not remember tomorrow. Only watch it as a background when you cook IMHO. But looks like year 2020 will be teh one everyone would like to skip in their memories...
And I dare say the older one gets the more one recognises that.
That is the concept explored by writer and director Josh Lawson in a story about a procrastinator.
The romantic comedy is centred around Teddy (Rafe Spall), who kisses the wrong woman on New Year’s Eve.
By that I mean that rushing to get to his girl, Becka (Dena Kaplan), at the stroke of midnight, he spots a lady in the same red dress and assumes it is her.
Instead, he finds himself puckering up with Leanne (Zahra Newman), a wannabe writer.
Next thing you know, he and Leanne are standing by his father’s gravestone and he is telling his dear departed dad what a great catch she is.
The pair is engaged, but Teddy is anything but a decision maker.
Why do something today that you can put off until tomorrow or the day after or the day after that seems to be his adage.
So it is that no date for the wedding has been set.
Overhearing Teddy’s conversation is a friendly woman (Noni Hazlehurst) who tells him that in 10 years’ time he will regret his lack of action.
And through a strange turn of fate, she shows him why – that life lesson forming the lion’s share of the movie.
The next decade of Teddy’s life flashes past, from his hastily arranged wedding day to the highs and lows that follow.
That covers the outcome of his marriage, his relationship with his best friend Sam (Ronny Chieng) and the reappearance of his former girlfriend, Becka.
I shouldn’t forget remaining in a job he doesn’t like instead of pursuing his passion for photography.
Each year is lived in mere minutes and, like magic, Teddy covers off on each anniversary day totally bewildered as to just what is happening to him.
Some of it is plain funny, while other components are downright sad.
At the heart of Long Story Short, not surprisingly then, is making the most of each moment. Lawson was having somewhat of an existential crisis when the idea for Long Story Short started to creep into his mind.
He was struggling with feelings of time slipping by. He was drawn to the concept of being able to look at an entire life in snapshots and learning a lesson that way.
The piece is clearly influenced by fiction such as Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
I enjoyed the film much more than I anticipated I would after having seen the trailer.
While lightweight material on one level, there’s some crackling dialogue, which caused me to laugh aloud.
And the acting talent undoubtedly brings out the best in the screenplay.
Spall is a delight as a well-meaning guy with a lot to learn.
He delivers his lines with aplomb, playing clueless with distinction.
Newman is his perfect counterpoint as a good sport who needs her partner to knuckle down and commit.
She brings a warm open personality to her role.
Chieng has fun as the best mate with no idea what has gotten into Teddy.
Hazlehurst dishes out wisdom with appropriate mystery as the stranger bearing gifts.
In a cameo, Lawson nails the part of a rival suitor who sees Teddy’s pain firsthand.
Long Story Short is a most entertaining ride, which puts a smile on your dial and gives you food for thought about how to make the most of what you’ve got.
It is the film about finding the answers and not being afraid to cross the line.
The mains are played by Hollywood handsome men: Anthony "Hawk" Mackie and Jamie "Mr. Gray" Dornan. The directors are Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead. They are known primarily for the blood-chilling "Paranormal", as well as the sequel to the eerie horror "Infection"and "Infection. Phase 2 ". These starry names are already more than enough to draw attention to the movie.
The action takes place in New Orleans, America, today. It is the city, which attracts tourists from all over the world in droves thanks to colorful jazz festivals and excursions to the swamps teeming with alligators. It is nowhere near as glorious as it is portrayed in advertising brochures. Death itself lurks behind the signs of themed cafes and museums... According to police statistics, every day someone is killed on the streets of the city, and hospitals are overflowing with those who are addicted to drugs. Sad picture indeed. So New Orleans is a real city of contrasts and this is where the main action of the film will take place.
The focus is on two paramedics, Dennis (Dornan) and Steve (Macs). They work in an ambulance and know as well as the police what a nightmare is taking place in the N.O.'s streets. One day, the guys find a package with the inscription "Synchronic" while they are on the call, and understand that this drug will soon bring a lot of trouble. It's all about a new kind of sunthetic drug, which, on one hand, gives a person extraordinary abilities, and on the other hand sucks all the strength out of the drug-use ... But the effect of the drug does not end there.
I love the films that raise tough social issues, and the storyline is served under a hefty dose of strong fiction, thriller, and detective art "sauce". This is the best way to describe "Synchronic". The film surprisingly delicately balances between the most diverse genre directions and at the same time tries to be organic, without unnecessary excesses in one direction or another.
We can read between the lines the problems that torment modern society through drugs, and so far, alas, we have not been able to cope with this. But personally, I recommend taking this movie more like a fantastic thriller that keeps you in suspense from start to finish. When the main chracters decide to try the drug themselves and thereby plunge into a state that throws them beyond the time of reality, an amazing dramatic turning point occurs in history, and you really start to worry about the heroes and their families. What they will face in the future? or rather the past? And I don’t even remember when science fiction caused such strong emotions in me.
It is well worth seeing as it s very well done: the camera alone is simply superb plus the graphics is surreal!
This is far from a typical time travel movie, but a serious study covering a variety of topics. First of all, it is worth watching for people who expect something special from modern cinema.
In this slice of life piece, which morphs into science fiction, a chemist has invented a time travel drug that sends people back.
It has greatest impact on those with young minds.
They are the ones who are most inclined to be high ... and what a trip it sends them on.
Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) are long-time friends and New Orleans paramedics, constantly being called out to overdoses.
Dennis is unhappily married.
He and his wife Tara (Katie Aselton) have an 18-year-old daughter, Brianna (Ally Ioannides), who is about to go off to college, although she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.
Lately, she has become virtually noncommunicative with her parents, who also have a one-year-old.
Steve is used to playing the field and bouts of heavy drinking. Lately he’s been popping pills for a pounding head.
Tests reveal he has a deadly, fast growing brain cancer that has kept his pineal gland – which produces and regulates some hormones, including melatonin – from calcifying.
He and Dennis are called out to yet another overdose case only to find that Brianna was involved … and now she has disappeared.
Steve resolves to buy up all of an insidious new designer drug called Synchronic that is causing many of the latest problems and seems to have permeated the market, lest it gets into any more wrong hands.
That results in a chance encounter with the chemist who manufactured the synthetic pills, which works by affecting the uncalcified pineal glands that children and teens have.
Suddenly a whole new world opens up for Steve.
Through trial and error with Synchronic he believes he can find Brianna.
Synchronic, the movie, is the brainchild of writer Justin Benson, who also co-directs with his best friend Aaron Moorhead.
I preferred the first half to the second, which became far more predictable. For a long time I didn’t know where the film was heading and I was keen to find out, but once Steve crossed over I am afraid most – if not all – of the mystery was gone.
Still, the set up was impressively left of centre.
That involved a number of what are best termed psychedelic trips.
Mackie and Dornan make the most of their respective roles, with both their characters having skeletons in the closet.
Mackie plays earnest and Dornan lost. Steve and Dennis enjoy an, at times, fraught relationship.
The script plays on the tenuous nature of life and the look for escapism.
It also stares down the vicissitudes that can change everything in a heartbeat.
The creepy soundscape by Jimmy LaValle adds to the air of the unknown.
Synchronic is a small audience film that has something going for it, but is no master work.
Daniel is a moderately difficult teenager obsessed with thrash metal. It is the most extreme musical style in the world. The guy plans to spend the next summer in the States, with his father and his new wife, but the plans tend to be disrupted: the trip fell through, Daniel will have six weeks in the company of his mother. Sue is a typical blackhead, as far away from hard rock as possible, and from other interests of his own son. This is the plot.
At the start I thought the film is way too slow and a bit boring. British drama or comedy always has certain expectations.
Loved the humor, the issues raised and the good music taste.
It is rather phlegmatic though and seems that nothing happens but it does. There are no sharp turns of the plot, you will not see the intensity of passion either. On one side there is a grandma-like woman, librarian, whose best years are far behind and on the other side there is her amoebic son, who is a metallic group vocalist to be. I've heard that metal is the music of the outsiders, but here he is a very quiet rebel.
There are a lot of conversations in the film, there are only two or three locations. The humor flashes when the main character, Sue meets her sister. They exchange barbs about men.
There is also a short trip by car to the sea side which is lovely.
Melodrama Another Round is a great example of subtle, lyrical European cinematography created by Thomas Winterberg, who shot "The Hunt" with the same actors: Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Bo Larsen in the lead roles. Lars Rante also looks quite familiar to me for his role. He was I believe a taxi driver in the Danish-Swedish TV series "The Bridge".
As an old joke tell us: "What is your relationship with alcohol?" “Very healthy. I drink regularly. "
But the film is not about alcoholism at all. It is about male friendship, about the comic and tragic sides of our life, about finding oneself, albeit not in the most correct ways in the generally accepted sense, and about trying to reach out to thyself.
For the second time in a row, Mads Mikkelsen has played for Winterberg as a non-conflict, ostracized quiet man. In "Okhota" we saw the attacks from society, and in "One more" we observed the discontent of students and their parents. Nevertheless if in the film "The Hunt" the quiet man needs to shake up very quickly and stand up for his own life, then in "Another Round" his character of one of the mains and he is not immediately revealed to us. He seems to follow his "autopilot mode" and does not at all resist the routine that engulfs him. Martin has lost his individuality in the family and at work so much that even his own wife does not recognize him, more and more moving away from him under the pretext of permanent employment at work, and the students at school do not take him seriously misbehaving and not listening at his calss at all. Long time ago he was completely different. So where is his "I, Me, Myself"? Where was it lost? It is not in vain that the camera gives close-ups of Martin's face every now and then. Mads Mikkelson has been very good at showing suffering on the screen since "The Hunt", and it turns out so reliably and tangibly, as if this emotional pain is so material and voluminous that it can be cut with a knife.
Where did the “Me” of the second member of their male company, Nikolai, was lost, mired in family life? He is buying diapers and toilet paper and changing the wet sheets after his kids?
Where did the “Me” of their other two bachelor friends: music and physical education teacher go? They both seem to be doing their job well, but do not feel the fullness of life and cannot call themselves happy people...
We were all different some time ago: full of energy and hopes, happy and free: younger, easier-going, cheerful and full of enthusiasm. What has happened? Are we now tired of Life? Is it an inevitable rollback after reaching middle age? Is it a refusal to achieve more in exchange for the comfort of life? Or is it all of the reasons? One thing is clear: the life of all four characters became boring and bland, like matzo.
In an attempt to bring back that youth joy of life, psychologist Nikolai, like a real scientist, wants to test one interesting theory on himself and invites his friends to join the experiment: he wants to go in search of his “I, Me , Self” in one very simple and accessible way. Just for the sake of the purity of the experiment, friends should not just "drink", but drink meaningfully in accordance to some certain schedule and rules and see what comes next out of it.
As always it turns out differently for everyone: better for some and worse for the others... The film makes you cry and smile. The experiment did its magical trick though. According to one psychologist, alcohol removes the mental superstructure, and often the suppressed subconscious breaks out. The heroes of the film become more relaxed and frank with themselves and those around them, and finally understand what they want from life. Of course, not all of the changes happen to them on the basis of alcohol, but it was still the starting point and the trigger. I do not agree that one of the director's goals is to "nail down" alcoholism and draw attention to this acute problem. In the end, the audience of the film is 18 plus, we are not small children, and each of us decides for themselves when and how much to drink. You just need to know the measure, which, again, everyone determines for himself. In my opinion, Winterberg made a very life-affirming film in which he makes the viewer understand that although our life is far from always “a heavenly day of the heart,” there is always some room for optimism and inner freedom.
Dutch courage is a term used to describe strength or confidence gained from drinking alcohol.
History teacher, husband and father Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) has lost his mojo.
As the music teacher, Peter (Lars Ranthe), points out to him while celebrating a third teacher’s – psychology instructor Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) – 40th birthday, when he (Peter) first started at the school 12 years ago Martin was “a big man”.
But that is long behind him.
Martin’s lessons are bland, his connection with his beautiful wife Anika (Maria Bonnevie) dissipated years ago and his two teenage boys ignore him.
Now, apart from teaching without any passion (his senior students even call a meeting, which also involves their parents, to discuss their concerns), Martin doesn’t do much and doesn’t see many people.
All that changes at that 40th birthday party at which he gets together for a boozy, top end dinner with three fellow teachers from the same school.
The only one I haven’t yet mentioned is the guy in charge of PE, Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen).
A taciturn Martin, who says he is driving, sticks with soda water, while the others imbibe freely.
Nikolaj helps him change his mind, when he cites a Norwegian philosopher and psychiatrist named Finn Skårderud, who theorised that man was born with a 0.05 blood alcohol level deficit.
After what turns out to be a fun night, the group determines they will test the hypothesis and legitimise it by writing a psychological essay about their “experiment”.
They determine to follow the course of acclaimed American novelist Ernest Hemingway who drank every day, but not after 8pm.
Their target is a blood alcohol reading of 0.05% and they will attend and teach classes that way.
It works. Martin loses his inhibitions and engages his students in a manner they had not seen before.
But the other teachers, too, are also better off for alcohol in their systems.
A second phase of the experiment involves upping the ante and then upping it again, until their world comes crashing down.
Along the way, Martin reconnects with his wife (albeit briefly) on a canoeing trip with the family (which they used to do regularly but haven’t done for eight years), but significant trouble is just around the corner.
Another Round is the brainchild of Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg, who wrote the screenplay with Tobias Lindholm and directs.
He wanted to create a tribute to alcohol, while acknowledging that people also die from excessive drinking.
In other words, while alcohol can be a relaxant, it can also kill.
The question of how much is too much is at its core.
The movie starts with students participating in an alcohol-riddled race challenge and, much later, when Martin asks his senior class who drinks, everyone puts up their hands.
As an unashamed teetotaller (purely through choice, rather than need), I found the concept explored in the film engaging but worrying, in terms of the message it sends.
I loved the fact that each of the teachers had issues. They all played their roles well and you care about them, even if most of the focus is on Martin.
You also worry about the train wreck that you see unfolding. Of course, that is the whole point of the picture.
Another Round, then, is both charming and alarming. It provides food for thought.
I believe the set up was excellent and it developed nicely, but it fell down in the final act, which I found too uplifting.
In 1972, director John Boorman tapped into a new realm of fear theretofore unexplored in cinema – the horror of poor people. Deliverance, adapted from the 1970 novel of the same name by James Dickey, explored the moral choices of a bunch of “civilized” yuppies encroaching on hick territory to go canoeing before more yuppies come along and destroy their homes. What follows is a dark, twisted voyage into the deepest confines of the human psyche. Morality and wilderness. Life and death. Survival and heroism.
Since then, we’ve had rehashes galore – The Hills Have Eyes and their remakes, the remake of The Virgin Spring (called Last House on the Left both times it was Americanised) and a string of others too sad and sorry to mention. One of which was the 2003 horror film Wrong Turn, in which a bunch of white yuppies meet a bunch of deformed, cannibalistic hillbillies and all manner of carnage ensues, all of it without once managing to gain the affections of the audience for either side. Gratuitous rape and violence made us wonder whose side the filmmakers were on.
Perhaps this hideous display of classism and neoliberal paranoia is why director Mike P. Nelson decided to rehash the Wrong Turn franchise with his 2021 horror movie… Wrong Turn. Yay, originality.
Cannibals are replaced by a bunch of pseudo-druidic heathens who certainly aren’t out of place in modern-day USA. White yuppies are replaced by multicultural yuppies. Oh, and rednecks are now the good guys, but they act like bad guys until it is dramatically sensible to flip the script.
And that’s all you’re gonna get for your buck. Good luck.
MALCOLM AND MARIE BEST MOVIE OF THE MONTH website RATE: 10/10
It is an emotional black and white drama full of fiery conversation. The director is Sam Levinson, the author of the serial "Euphoria". "Malcolm and Marie" has been released on Netflix. It has a strong theatrical feel to it and has only two actors in: a debutant director quarrels and his girlfriend. They come back home after a secular premiere. Their main argument is the thanks-speech of the director on stage, but seems that it is everything and more than a speech indeed. The mains are Zendaya and John David Washington. The film is an exciting rollercoaster which is hard not to be imbued with.
So director, Malcolm Elliott (played by John David Washington) returns home with his girlfriend Marie Jones (Zendea) after the premiere of their debut full-length movie. He is in high spirits and is going to celebrate. She is clearly worried about something. A quarrel ensues between them, during which a lot will be said about their relationship, life, Malcolm's film, cinema in general, society and macaroni and cheese.
It is believed that black and white film is always some kind of application and statement. The director, Sam Levinson, in general, does not hesitate to conform to the stereotypes: "Malcolm and Marie" is really an application, really a statement rather successful, albeit not without flaw and false notes. The new black and white palette of Sam is definitely not foolishness but a somewhat forced search for a new form of expression.
There are no questions about the form: cameraman Marcel Rev, who has been working with Levinson for a long time, took off a terribly beautiful tie-up of premium soft porn, suddenly stretched out for an hour and a half. There are interiors of an architectural masterpiece in Carmel Valley, California. She is wearing a spectacular dress and stockings, which the camera almost strokes. He is wearing a stylish two-piece suit.
As you know, all films about discord in relations must be compared with "The Marriage Story" by Noah Baumbach. "Malcolm and Marie" is certainly not " The Marriage Story" at all. We are talking about very special people with a very special background. It is difficult to recognize yourself in them. But their emotions will seem painfully familiar and, in places, from these roller coasters it will be terribly uncomfortable.
The narrative is arranged very well: one action constantly clings to another, you hardly have time to breathe. Sometimes it clings literally: for example, when the word "sentimental" is pronounced there is song played, "In a Sentimental Mood" by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. In general, the soundtrack is done by a genius. On this side of the screen, you have to constantly run from one support group to another, since it is completely unclear which of the two is more lovable. So you should not take sides. By the end credits the situation is unlikely to improve.
Malcolm and Marie's main problem is the acidifying chemistry between the actors. Zendaya is more than ten years younger than Washington, and at first this is very striking and disturbing, given that she will quite pass for a 16-year-old schoolgirl, and he for a deeply 40-year-old uncle. However, at some point you come to terms with this state of affairs, and even when the film stumbles over unnatural remarks and intonations, you do not question the possibility of the existence of these heroes.
This is perhaps the main merit and luck of Levinson: in spite of our bitter feelings being in the company of these intensely swearing people, in the morning it turns out that they have not disappeared from our heads with sleep, but on the contrary, continue to argue about something (even silently). If you like, they continue to live in your head.
Malcolm & Marie (MA) – 106 minutes – by Alex First
Fight for what you believe in. Fight for decency. Fight for being acknowledged for who you are and what you represent. In fact, bugger that. Just fight.
That is one, perhaps uncharitable, representation of Malcolm & Marie.
This black and white two hander focuses on an African American filmmaker and his live-in partner, a former drug addict.
It is 1am and they have just returned from the premiere screening of his new film.
Lambasted by critics for his past efforts – the “white” female LA Times critic in particular – this time is markedly different.
Malcolm (John David Washington – Tenet) has written and directed a film based largely on his girlfriend’s life.
Marie (Zandaya – Spiderman: Far from Home) was a 20-year-old junkie when they met a few years ago and he took her to rehab.
The resultant film is raw and authentic and is being hailed by all, although formal reviews have yet to drop.
Malcolm is triumphant, envisaging being seen as the next Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)or Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).
Marie, who was dressed spectacularly for the occasion in a long flowing gown, stays quiet for a while and turns her attention to making him macaroni and cheese.
But before long they are fighting.
It is over the fact that Malcolm thanked seemingly everyone in his speech to introduce the film ... everyone that is but Marie.
The venom associated with the disagreement is palpable.
It is the first of many fights between them that are the mainstay of the picture.
Both give as good as they get and their fighting is epic.
She mounts compelling arguments backing her contentions. She is vulnerable but strong.
He lands figurative blows, too, and can be mighty insensitive.
Then the next moment he is telling her how much he loves her.
She too loves him, in spite of what is going down.
During the wee small hours then, the pair trade barbs over him taking her for granted, his needs and lack of jealousy, him failing to cast her in the movie and him not understanding the value of “mystery”.
That is not to overlook his own ranting when the LA Times critic’s review does drop.
At nearly an hour and three quarters, Malcolm & Marie is a long sit and mainly a film for purists.
By and large, I appreciated the offering, although I understand why it will frustrate quite a number.
Heavy on verbiage, I thought it could have been cut back, notwithstanding the fact that writer and director Sam Levinson has created a thoughtful, slice of life drama.
Such a move could have increased the film’s impact and reduced the risk of some patrons “switching off” or “tuning out”.
I dare say there’ll be those who see more than a little something of their own relationships – present and/or past – in Malcolm & Marie.
A musical number as the credits roll speaks of the fine line between love and hate.
Both John David Washington and Zendaya perform well, but I was particularly impressed by the latter.
In portraying Malcolm, Washington is loud and effusive – energetic and on the move.
Zendaya is more internalised and reflective in realising Marie.
She is able to channel her character’s insecurity in stages.
Her “thank you” monologue late in the piece is an undoubted highlight.
Malcolm & Marie may not be perfect, but it still leaves an indelible imprint.
Just a warning: I would not recommend this film to any Catholic as i is so disappointing that among all sins this church carries there is one one: drags dealing - just a shocking surprise to many who still use the religious institutions for development of their soul.
Olivia Cooke is very cute for this role in the criminal comedy which Pixie is. She plays the daughter of the gangster who loves cooking and looks much better dealing with it than with his own "deals". The action takes place in the West of Ireland and the landscapes are absolutely breathtaking apart from the guns and scenes of violence.
The film is not consistent and sometimes there are places where you ask : WHY? and What The Hell? and they basically related to the plot development.
A cheeky gangster flick with attitude, set in the west of Ireland, Pixie is a bloody delight ... and I do mean that literally.
As the body count mounts, the star of the show, Pixie O’Brien (Olivia Cooke), bats her sexy eyelids and schemes away.
We – like all who come into her orbit – are mere putty in her hands.
Pixie is the adopted daughter of a gangster who fell out with a bunch of gun-toting priests, led by Father Hector McGrath (Alec Baldwin).
Her beloved mother died nearly four years ago, when in her early ‘40s, and Pixie is the apple of her father Dermot’s (Colm Meaney) eye.
For all of her charms, she has a dorky sister, Summer (Olivia Byrne), and a stepbrother, Mickey (Turlough Convery), who can’t stand her.
Pixie is planning to raise hell to get back at those who got to her mum and high tail it to San Francisco when the proverbial hits the fan.
Her former boyfriend (we’re talking six months back), Colin (Rory Fleck Byrne), is convinced he can win her back and get rid of her latest beau.
Colin and a mate, Fergus (Fra Fee), get wind of a big drug haul and burst in on a peaceful meeting of priests ... or so it seems.
Then all hell breaks loose.
Meanwhile, Frank McCullen (Ben Hardy) has his eye on Pixie.
He and his best mate, Harland (Daryl McCormack), are given the nod by their friendly, small-time neighbourhood drug dealing mate Daniel (Chris Walley) that Pixie is hot to trot, so to speak.
In the middle of the night (2am to be precise), Frank knocks on her door, leaving Harland in the car to take his turn thereafter.
Only, Frank’s best laid (pun fully intended) plans come a cropper, while Harland suddenly finds himself dealing with Pixie’s ex-boyfriend, who is carrying a firearm and is quite prepared to use it.
The outcome of that is hardly what either of the mates expected.
Suddenly in their possession is 15 kgs of MDMA.
In pursuit, on what becomes a road trip, are the O’Briens and the gun toting priests.
In the lads’ corner is Pixie, or is she, for the word “devious” doesn’t cover the half of it?
Let’s face it, she could charm the scales off a rattlesnake and the reptile wouldn’t even know it.
While watching Pixie, I cast my mind back to the impact of another couple of crime comedies – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels that was released in 1998 and In Bruges, which came out in 2006.
Those Guy Ritchie and Martin McDonagh films respectively really captured the imagination with their moxie and so does this.
While not as sophisticated, Pixie has some delightful turns and surprises.
That gets down to the script by Preston Thompson and Barnaby Thompson’s direction.
The story moves along at pace and keeps you engaged throughout.
There is no shortage of characters, but undoubtedly the star of the show – who hits it out of the park – is Olivia Cooke.
This is her vehicle to fame. She is fresh, sassy and oozing class, maintaining a twinkle in her eyes throughout, as the picture demands.
Her sense of comic timing is exemplary.
Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack do the job as a couple of lightweights out of their depth.
The landscape and cinematography are breathtaking as Pixie and co drive through the Irish countryside. John de Borman is responsible for the latter.
Pixie is a wild ride, well worth taking if you don’t mind the excessive violence that the vehicle requires.
Rated MA, it scores a 7½ out of 10.
THE ELFKINS: BAKING A DIFFERENCE NEW website review by Marina Sklyar
This movie was not your basic fairy tale. It had twists and turns to it.
The characters reminded me of Gnomeo and Juliet cartoon which I absolutely loved.
In my opinion it was a very basic cartoon which is most suitable for ages between 5-10 years-olds.
Fun and full of adventures it was capturing. It was a little sad at times and involving, uplifting and very positive movie. I would recommend it for younger viewers.
It was also quite educational at the same time. It teaches us to be more attentive to other people’s ideas and to think outside the square. It teaches us to understand that we are all different, with different ideas and thoughts. We should be more acceptable of one another.
How better to get into the new year, with a heart burdened through an eventful pandemic-stricken 2020, than to be experiencing an utterly magical feel-good movie?
The Food Club offers a glimpse into the lives of three women (Marie, Berling and Vanja), elderly though they may be, but do indeed share an eternal friendship spanning decades. Alas, the movie opens to how each of their lives seem to break at the seams!
And, with a brief sense of hope that their lives might somehow improve, the three of them decide to enrol in a cooking program in Apulia (Italy) - and therein commences a series of events that is comical, dramatic and deeply emotional.
The Food Club sets an unprecedented bar on how strong the bond of friendship could be, and of the true sense of self-worth that each of us must place.
Yet again, this is how everyone should get into 2021 - through the energy expounded by this amazing movie!
FIRESTARTER: THE STORY OF BANGARRA website review by Sherry Westley
Film: Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra Dance Theatre Release: 18th February 2021 Country: Australia Category: Documentary Directors: Wayne Blair(The Saphires, Top End Wedding) Nel Minchin (Matilda & Me) Duration: 96 minutes
This is a must see documentary about the 30 year history of a unique Australian dance company. It has become a great Australian institution, loved and respected by Australians, and internationally known. Bangarra Dance Theatre melds together contemporary western and traditional aboriginal dance and music. The outcome is an exciting and proud reclaiming and development of culture, which can be appreciated and carried into the future by all Australians.
The dance and music is stunning, beautiful. But the human back story is equally compelling. It is largely the story of three outrageously talented and beautiful Sydney brothers, who lit the fire of a fledgling aboriginal modern dance company. Stephan, David and Russell Page.
Their personal stories sit within the broader context of the artistic, social and political awakenings of the 1980’s and 1990’s and the inherited shadows of dispossession and disrespect.
Archival footage from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s is intermixed with current interviews from central figures associated with the company.
You will love the people you meet in this documentary and you will love seeing the amazing talent, artistry and determination displayed. Yes there are sad moments, but you will feel privileged to have shared those in an easily accessible way.
See it for beauty, see it for story, see it for Australian pride, see it for hope for our future.
This fascinating and romantic melodrama by the famous American playwright, theater and film director, screenwriter, John Patrick Shanley is presented as a real filigraane Irish story told by the deceased father of the protagonist Anthony. It is such a natural story with original characters, subtle and very clever humor and good taste for the real film lovers who will highly appreciate it. The main characterss are both Irish, but how different and funny they are presented by the author with a reference to the history of the Russian ballet of P. I. Tchaikovsky 'Swan Lake'. The soundtrack in the film is also edited in an original way, every now and then it accompanies the developing dramatic action. There is my special praise for the beautiful soundtrack.
Anthony and Rosemary are neighbors and peers, their farms are nearby. They were born and raised in the fields at the family owned old farms of their parents. Since childhood, children have been accustomed to living in harmony with nature, caring for their pets and animals, they apprciate the natue in a very distinctive way, they get used to watching the change in weather, the movements of clouds admiring the starry night sky. I bet you will be longing to live on the farm land afer you watch this movie. Local Irish people are not straightforward, they do not boast of acres of land, do not care about numbers, do not talk about themselves at all and are attentive to the others. Since childhood both Anthony and Rosemary have become accustomed to the rapidly changing mountain weather, to abundant rain and rare sun light. The film has a wonderful camera work, so much light and great energy, sensational and very natural makeup and sound engineering is simply stunning.. You will feel the breeze, clean and fresh air, the smell of the wild flowers, the soil and the noise of fields. This is one very quiet and peaceful movie for lovers of country melodrama though it has some emotional (stallion-running)-storms.
It seems that the slogan of the film is just an author's joke. Since childhood Rosemary grew up as a completely detached and calm girl. She was silent, bored, dreammy character, but her father managed to inspire her with his love and kindness, he inspired her by telling her daughter that she was special, like a white swan, like a queen and this developed the girl's fantasy, tuning her soul into a sensitive perception of nature, reality and overall: herself as a part of everything that surronded her. Rosemary's soul reached out to Anthony, intuitively felt that they had a lot in common (after all they were neighbours), and Anthony was also attracted to Rosemary. Childhood friendship imperceptibly grew into love. When the Rosemary met Anthony after a long separation, even though he was in rubber boots and in the clothes of a farmer, she admired him from afar, reached out to his company, listened to his inspiring and very poetic statements about nature, about green fields and animals. They both knew the local favorite song about wild mountain thyme, which Anthony's mother sang. His father told his son many times that his love for his mother found him in these fields, through which his son now walks.
The actors played superbly, especially the performance of the talented actor Jamie Dornan (Anthony).
Wild Mountain Thyme (PG) – 102 minutes – by Alex First
Irish lyricism, bluster and blarney combine in this romantic drama, which has the sole purpose of joining together a lovelorn woman and her timid neighbour.
They are both from solid Irish stock.
They have watched their parents tend to their respective farms in central Ireland, which are surrounded by lush fields.
Rosemary Muldoon grew up initially doubting her purpose until her father told her she was the white swan, like that in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which is a recurring theme in the picture.
Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan) has strange thoughts (just how strange is revealed late in the piece) and refuses to acknowledge his feelings for Rosemary (Emily Blunt).
He even goes so far as to encourage her to leave Ireland in search of greener pastures.
Meanwhile, Anthony’s father, Tony (Christopher Walken), initially resolves to leave the family farm to his brother’s son Adam (Jon Hamm), who lives in New York.
That sees Adam exposed to Rosemary, the consequences of which are played out later in the film.
A highly capable woman, Rosemary is in no doubt she is meant to be with Anthony, but she has a hell of a job trying to convince him. By now both are in the second half of their thirties.
An elongated scene towards the end of the movie, in which Rosemary uses all her feminine wiles to deal with Anthony’s reluctance and fear and win him over once and for all, is my personal favourite.
Emily Blunt, who is and has always been a mighty fine actor, positively shines.
It may not be politically correct to say so, but I will say it anyway – she also looks absolutely beautiful.
Writer and director John Patrick Shanley (who won an Oscar in 1988 for writing the Cher vehicle Moonstruck) has built a movie around a very thin storyline and notwithstanding the adulation I just spoke of, for most of the film it shows.
I should add that Shanley has based Wild Mountain Thyme on his own book, Outside Mullingar.
There’s just not a lot to get terribly excited about here. There’s nothing “wild” about this, just eccentric.
About the only thing I dare say most people will likely agree on is that Anthony needs a swift kick in the pants, the proverbial wake up call to show some initiative.
At times it is actually hard work to watch him do nothing but daydream.
I quite liked Walken’s turn as the father of three whose heart softens.
The opening aerial shots are as good as I have seen in any movie. Tourism Ireland would be mighty proud.
Perhaps Wild Mountain Thyme will have greatest appeal to women, but I would have liked to see much more substance.
Each premiere by Japanese Studio Ghibli attracts huge attention. "My Neighbor Totoro", "Princess Mononoke", "Spirited Away", "Howl's Moving Castle" - all these cartoons must have been seen not only by fans of Hayao Miyazaki's talent, but also by people who love good, high-quality animation.
"Earwig And The Witch" is another Ghibli's project, but this time everything is not so simple and rosy.
The anime tells the story of the girl named Earwig. She is an orphan and lives in an orphanage, where she learns to order everyone around. Everything suits her, but this is only until one day she gets adopted by a strange couple. They take the brave orphan to a mysterious house full of potions, spells and invisible rooms. The house's walls change their position and the rooms appear from nowhere. The 10 year old girl starts working for the owman who adopted her and who is aparently a witch. Together with Earwig's new talking friend, the house cat, she has to break all the rules, get her way through while settling down in this strangest place.
The problem with the film is that it is completely computer generated and uses CGI effects. This means that it is completely different from the familiar Ghibli's designs. Nevertheless I am pretty sure the kids especially young girls in the audience will love the character and her surroundings as well as her determination and the unusual behavior.
It is one of the absolute favorites of our months best films. It is family drama called "Minari", produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B.
Everyone who will watch the film will be so immersed in the life of a Korean family trying to start a new life on the plains of Arkansas - I promise!
Lee Isaac Chun is a kind of American Hirokazu Koreeda with Korean roots. He loves to shoot pictures about family relationships. His new film is set in the 80-s. A young Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a new life and build a farm. More precisely, the father of the family Jacob really wants to build a farm and does not warn his wife Monica about his plans. His wife, Monica is not delighted with an old mobile home in the middle of deserted fields and her husband's agricultural "fantasies", and most of all - that he decided everything on his own without her being involved. The couple have two children: the eldest, Ann and the youngest, David, who are clearly uncomfortable in the village after living in the city. To somehow cheer up his wife, Jacob calls her mother Sunzu from Korea, but the newly introduced "babushka" / grandmother turns out, according to David, to be "the wrong grandmother." Sunzha does not bake cookies or take care of hr grand children, instead she plays cards, drinks soft drinks, swears like a shoe maker, watches boxing matches, snores, smells strange and constantly makes fun of the little but proud boy David.
Monica, although glad of her mother, cannot come to terms with their new home. She wants stability, and Jacob wants to prove to himself and his loved ones that he can achieve much more than a lifetime job on the bird farm where they worked back in Korea and where they work again in their new town. It is true and he and his wife keep this job in Arkansas: all day they sort the chicks into boys and girls. As dad explains to David, hens lay eggs and are much tastier than roosterss, so the latter are "disposed of" by burning. Dad's task is to ensure a good life for his family, so that they are not scrapped. He does everything to save money.
"Minari", like Alfonso Cuarona's "Roma", is largely based on memories, and there is no doubt that David's prototype is the director himself. We feel immediately that this is Chun's native and beloved environment. The film turns out to be very lively and colored with small details that create a voluminous universe of a family of newly minted Americans.
One of the cutest and funniest storylines is David's relationship with his grandmother, who, in her own way, tries to win his trust. She also, supporting the undertakings of her son-in-law, plants the Korean minari plant near the river next to the house. Gradually, it grows in an unfamiliar environment, serving as a metaphor for a new life: in spite of everything, it makes its way in a foreign country that gradually becomes its dear land.
Young parents still do not find agreement whether to leave or stay, and the larger the garden becomes, the more problems the family has. To help out on the farm, Jacob hires an elderly Korean War veteran with ridiculous glasses named Paul. Chun deftly turns stereotypes upside down: it is customary in American cinema to laugh at the supposedly ridiculous beliefs and customs of other countries. Paul, with his strange dances and prayers to Jesus, interspersed with curses to drive out evil spirits, turns into a source for jokes.
The film unhurriedly unfolds in front of us picturing a real family life. It becomes thicker and stronger in colors with each scene. "Minari" somehow loses its softly measured rhythm closer to the end and accelerates trying to quickly lay down everything that he did not have time to say in the last fifteen minutes. The director seems to forget that all the storylines need to be brought to a logical end, and is caught too late, so there is a fair amount of understatement in the ending. Nevertheless there is no doubt that the minari will definitely take root in the new land and grow up successfully.
Sean Durkin's "The Nest" is set in the mid-1980s. English expatriate, Rory O'Hara (played by Jude Law) lives in States with a seemingly happy family: his American wife, Allison gives horse riding lessons, his adopted older daughter is making progress in rhythmic gymnastics, and his own younger son gets along well with friends at school. But Rory once realises that such a calm measured life is not for him. He is looking for adrenalin in life and surely does everything to get it.
His principle is "everything seems to be there, but something is missing". He decides to return to England, feeding himself ego hopes that the economic situation in Britain will give him all the cards in his hands. Not approving of such a decision, the family of an enterprising broker leaves States, New York, good home and their familiar place. Rory rents a luxurious mansion-castle for a year payng in advance, not even suspecting how unwelcoming and hostile its walls will be: dark at nights and cold in winter.
“The Nest” first of all touches by the history itself (80s atmosphere). We can talk about a whole complex of artistic techniques that give the picture a special charm and mood. From the first to the last frame, the film remains a tough social drama about paying for a dream, but the atmosphere created on the screen is reminiscent of the genre of classic horror.
There is a Gothic mansion shrouded in a haze of anxiety, there are bad omens in every rustle; Sean Durkin does not use a whipping effect. He gets inspired by it, plunging the viewer into the abyss of another person's mentality, his viscous nightmare: day after day. I must say that the film sequence hits the nerves not less than in the 2002 horror film "Darkness" by Juame Balaguero (where the family, by the way, also moves from the United States to their homeland).
In both films, the family is ruined by an evil spirit of greed, but in "The Nest", the director gives it a specific definition: vanity. It is a sin and the sins kill. In pursuit of status and position in society, Jude Law's hero embarks on a slippery path of deception, endless lies, made up stories about his family past and present life and double play. As a result, the picture of a happy life turns into an eerie indistinct drawing, as if taken from the medical history of a serious patient. Rory becomes obsessed with his "dream" for a new life and h loses his mind. His wife and daughter are forgotten in an alcoholic intoxication, the son simply cries out his problems while he gets scared of the new house loneliness and darkness, and Rory himself drives himself into a psychological dead end without answering the main question: "What do I actually lack for happiness?"
As for the camera work, with the abundance of medium shots, Matthias Erdey seems to hint to the viewer that it is better to keep a distance with this family, more precisely with what is left of it as we observe it falling down into a void. The energy of the film still remains no less oppressive than the interiors of the mansion, where the characters feel like strangers and abandoned to their fate.
The entire visual series of the picture works on the presentiment of the coming explosion. At the same time, Durkin does not make any sudden movements: the fall seems so organic and unavoidable as we observe Rory's obsession and lies progress to the bottom of his own darkness. The director keeps the viewer in the story, smoothly leading us to the denouement and cuts off the story in a mid-sentence, without giving obvious answers to anyone: neither to us, nor to the heroes who somehow miraculously kept themselves on the edge of the abyss. The film ends up in questions unanswered.
We’re in Ronald Reagan’s America – specially 1986 – and a British-born stock trader Rory O’Hara (Jude Law) married to a US horse riding instructor, Allison (Carrie Coon), is having a hard time of it.
On the surface all appears peachy.
Rory has a good relationship with their 10-year-old son Benjamin (Charlie Shotwell) and has taken his wife’s older, high school-age daughter, Samantha (Oona Roche) to heart and she to hers.
Each morning, he gently wakes Allison with a freshly prepared cuppa and she reaches for a cigarette.
But in truth, business-wise Rory isn’t doing well.
One day he surprises her with the news that he has an opportunity back in his native London, one with his old boss, Arthur Davis (Michael Culkin).
Rory talks up the fact that this will be his business that Davis is merely helping to bankroll, when that isn’t the truth.
Against Allison’s better judgment, the family moves for the fourth time in 10 years.
Rory departs ahead of the other three and greets them with gusto in the driveway of a large, old, ostentatious, country mansion for which he has paid a year’s rent in advance and has the first option to buy.
He encourages Allison to set up her own horse-riding training business on the large grounds (she worked for someone else in the States), even organising workers to begin construction.
The boss welcomes him with open arms, recognising he is a super salesman with the gift of the gab (read that to mean big talker).
Immediately Rory begins smooth talking the firm’s clientele, wining and dining all who come within his purview.
Allison queries where the money is coming from, but he simply brushes off her enquires.
From a poor background, Rory is constantly thinking big, dreaming of making his fortune.
And then things take a turn for the worse.
Meanwhile, his wife and son are struggling, while Samantha is acting up. The Nest tightens its grip as it develops.
A feeling of unease permeates the entirety of proceedings, although the reason for that only becomes clear over time.
The narrative has been well constructed by writer and director Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), who lived between America and England in the ‘80s and ‘90s and has adopted a slow burn approach.
A haunting soundtrack by Richard Reed Parry elevates the tightrope nature of the piece.
I greatly appreciated the strength in the characterisations of the main players.
Jude Law does a fine job portraying driven ambition at a high price.
Carrie Coon is superb. She has strength and vulnerability down pat.
Allison calling Rory out in a restaurant is one of the film’s high points.
The Nest works its way into our psyche as we search for a way through the quagmire waiting for an explosion.
Since Edward Albee’s ground-breaking play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf first shocked audiences in 1962 with its raw, uncompromising, drawn-out examination of a couple’s disintegration after years of jealousy, neglect, and resentment are triggered by an inconvenient visit from a younger, spritelier couple, there have been no shortage of imitations. Even in Australia we had a go – David Williamson’s Don’s Party in 1971 and John O’Donoghue’s A Happy and Holy Occasion in 1987 are both cast from Woolf’s mould.
The formula is nothing new to theatre; a single setting, a few characters, a lot of secrets, and a slow, dramatic-and-humorous reveal as artifice is forcefully stripped away by the follies of human nature. Man is an animal. Put it in a cage long enough, its fangs will invariably show.
Cesc Gay offers nothing new to the story other than the fact that his 2020 film The People Upstairs (Sentimental in Spain) was never a play. The other notable absence is real drama. Gay’s focus is on comedy, and therefore this might be forgiven, but the story veers toward melancholy nigh the end and we are left with the struggle of the older couple (played well by Javier Camara and Griselda Siciliani in spite of the material they’re working with) to save a marriage we never really cared about. Woolf’s magic is how it leads us down one rabbit hole for a source of resentment after another, never really showing the true – and disturbing – source of the couple’s woes until the final act. Gay throws all his cards on the table from the get-go: loss of sexual attraction, their daughter’s mental illness, and jealousy of the neighbours. This all before Siciliani’s Martha (sorry; Ana) reveals that she’s invited the neighbours around for dinner. Nothing new develops. Belen Cuesta and Antonio San Juan are smiling stereotypes of the happy-go-lucky, sexually liberated couple come to torment the main characters, and while their antics are humorous and fun – especially the grating embarrassment their candidness puts Camara’s Julio through – the attempt at a sober ending falls flat because we are never positioned to care in the first place. Siciliani is clearly frustrated and lonely. Camara clearly wants his own timid space. So, why not end it?
I honesty did not expect this film to be so engaging. The story is powerful with lots of powerful and obvious and hidden messages. Neeson plays the main character incredible well. The message of us making choices that we are responsible for is very powerful indeed. It is simple and honest, it is realistic in its emotions and events.
A by-the-numbers revenge action thriller, The Marksman is centred around a Mexican cartel taking retribution against the family of a man who stole from them.
That man – Uncle Carlos (Alfredo Quiroz) – knows he’s mincemeat.
With the cartel on his tail, he puts in a hurried call to his niece Rosa (Teresa Ruiz), telling her to flee with her young son, Miguel (Jacob Perez).
And that they do, paying to be led to the hard border with the US, cartel member Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba) and his cronies in hot pursuit.
There they chance upon Vietnam veteran Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson), who patrols for illegal aliens with his dog Jackson.
Hanson has fallen on hard times and has returned to the bottle.
A decorated member of the Marine Corp, he lost his beloved wife to cancer recently and the medical bills saw him fall behind on his bank repayments. Now it is about to foreclose on what is left of his ranch.
Hanson tries to do things by the book, but that sees him, Rosa and Miguel fall under heavy gunfire.
The cartel will stop at nothing to get to Rosa and Miguel.
Before long, Miguel’s fate is solely in Hanson’s hands.
With corruption abounding around them, Hanson tries his best to keep Miguel safe, but that is a far from easy proposition.
Much of what takes place is predictable fare. Still there is tension throughout.
Liam Neeson does this sort of thing in his sleep these days, even though he recently announced he is drawing down the shutters on the gun toting, “he-man” roles.
He is solid as the morally-challenged Hanson.
Jacob Perez brings an understated calm to his performance as the youngster in peril.
I can’t say I ever saw fear in his eyes and yet I still appreciated what he brought to his portrayal.
Juan Pablo Raba is positively evil as the driven villain of the piece, which is vital to maintain some measure of belief from the audience.
It has been a while between drinks as director for Robert Lorenz (Trouble with the Curve in 2012), who – alongside Chris Charles and Danny Kravitz – wrote the screenplay.
Mind you, his pedigree is strong, having produced or executive produced many Clint Eastwood movies, such as Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Gran Torino and American Sniper.
Lorenz has played it safe, with no real surprises (hardly award-winning fare), but just enough grunt to maintain a level of interest throughout.
Really for most of its 108-minute running time, The Marksman is a cat and mouse game.
If you venture into the cinema without high expectations, you should emerge with a feeling that the film did its job and little more.
Occupation Rainfall. Time has passed since we watched this movie and it looked like I totally forgot what it was about... they are action films I try to avoid the most. I do not learn anything from them. They would attract though the younger audience. It is noisy. It is boring. There is nothing unique in it. It would be great for those who want to spend their time for nothing but I can also see the great audience for it. One word could describe it well: poor rubbish. The actors try their best and try hard for nothing really. The characters are predictable and very plain. Even the Asian comic does not save it. I am kindly asking the director : not to go for part 2 PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! I love well done sci-fi films to be honest but this one doe snot make it.
Penguin Bloom is the emotional film about paraplegic mother named Sam (Naomi Watts) with three sons who learns to live her life not only with t he physical but personal emotional and mental trauma. Bloom is the name of the magpie chick that appears in the household and mainly is the symbol of Sam's struggle to live a happy life and to "fly". The film has lots of beautiful nature photography and the ocean in Sam's town in NSW. IMHO it is a beautiful and inspiring family movie. Naomi in her turn gives a heartwarming performance as well as the boys and Sam's husband. But of course the main prize goes to Penguin, the magpie who performed her very best here. It is also quite significant part of the film watching how kids blame themselves on their parents' misfortune and how they can destroy their own lives by such feelings. Sam is courageous enough to ask her son (who thought it was his fault, the accident) to speak up and tell her everything he feels and why he does it. She then tells him that this is no one's fault but just a coincidence that changed he life and her family life. Although the life became quite limited and Sam could not be active with her hobbies as before the accident, she still finds the great purpose of such life and gets trained to represent Australia in Paralympics. It is a positive film and has a lot for many families to learn from : to appreciate healthy life, to learn from mistakes, to love and respect each other and never take anything for granted.
A well-meaning, manipulative tear-jerker, Penguin Bloom is a story of family trauma based upon fact.
Sam (Naomi Watts) and Cameron Bloom (Andrew Lincoln) got together as teenagers and have been together ever since.
She is a nurse, he a photographer.
They both love the water and the beach, where they now share a house with their three boisterous young boys.
Life is peachy until they decide to take a holiday to Thailand (the boys wanted to go to Disneyland).
There Sam has a terrible and tragic accident, which puts her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
That happened a year ago and the story’s narrator is Sam’s eldest son, Noah (Griffin Murray-Johnston), by then aged 11, who blames himself.
Sam is now a shell of a person – forever in pain, angry and upset, seemingly with nothing to live for.
That is despite the best efforts of her husband Cameron, children – Noah, Reuben (Felix Cameron) and Oli (Abe Clifford-Barr) – mother Jan (Jacki Weaver), sister Kylie (Leeanna Walsman) and friends.
Sam shuts down.
One day, Noah rescues a magpie chick that fell from its nest and starts to hand rear it.
He names it Penguin because of its colouring.
Sam is frustrated by its constant chirping and wants to let the wild bird roam free, but one day when Noah asks her to look after the fledgling while he is at school the bond between her and Penguin grows.
Intent on getting some enjoyment back into Sam’s life, Cameron asks his wife to consider kayaking.
That doesn’t go down well at first, but Sam has a change of heart and that is where instructor Gaye Hatfield (Rachel House) comes to the fore.
Gradually, the family sets about rebuilding a new, life affirming normal.
While Penguin Bloom’s intent is clear, the transition from despair to joy was, in my opinion, too severe – lacking in subtlety.
Sure, it was a roller coaster ride, but I felt that I – as an audience member – was being played.
That is not to suggest that I didn’t become misty-eyed, rather I was conscious of the strings being pulled.
The best of breed films of this ilk don’t signal their punches like Penguin Bloom did.
This is from screenwriters Shaun Grant (Snowtown) and Harry Cripps (The Dry) and first-time feature film director Glendyn Ivin (best known for his television work).
It is based upon a book by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive.
Naomi Watts is the glue around whom the picture is bound and she works hard to craft the character of a woman whose life has been torn from her. She is most convincing.
There’s more predictability in the roles of those that surround her, sympathetic that they all are.
The scenery is spectacular. The rugged coastline has been beautifully captured by Sam Chiplin (Dirt Music).
In spite of my reservations, there will no doubt be many who will say this is an endearing movie of hope.
I wanted a more natural journey and more surprises.
Rosie is a 2018 Irish drama directed by Paddy Bretnach.
A woman named Rosie, a mother of four, is trying to find a new home for her family. She and her family are refused to renew the lease. The house owner of their former home practically threw them on the street. The travel in their car to find a temporary accommodation at the local hotels. But their attempts to find accommodation are rather unsuccessful. Rosie makes endless calls following the list given to her by the social system supporters. The hotels in their turn though refuse to provide the family with a room even for one night. When Rosie's kid teacher asks her: "Are you living in your car?" Rosie replies: "We just do not have a home at the moment but it will be solved soon" but this is not actually true though the hope is there - Rosie and her family are on the verge of being homelessness.
"Rosie" is a realistic story full of compassion, sympathy. But it makes us outrage, Rosie's situation is heartbreaking and shows the economic insecurity. It can happen to anyone. The situation will amaze many viewers who ever had similar and very uncomfortable situation loosing their homes. Many people who find themselves in a dangerous, mundane situation or experienced instability recognized themselves in this film in the courage and dignity of Rosie Davis and her family.
It is the film about poverty and social problems but I asked myself many times during this film: Rosie, if you lived in a renting home and your situation was already not stable, why would you make so many kids with your husband? Would not it be wiser to get more stable in life and then have kids?
But despite my questions this small and very tough film offers no easy solutions. We are given the situation, lived it together with Rosie one day after another but what is next? Are they going to find their place to lay their heads on the pillow and sleep quietly?
The film is bright, the pace is rather slow but the emotions are there and the are acted very well. Sarah Greene is a superwoman when it comes to performance.
The documentary called Wild Things by Potential films was a real eye opener, and very inspiring. It was produced and directed by Sally Ingleton. The executive producers are Shaun Miller and Mark Spratt. So interesting is the spirit and camaraderie of the activist community. They rally support and focus on their task at hand with such passion and dedication . We follow their stories and various groups from saving the Franklin Dam in Tassie to protesting peacefully about coal mining and other global warming, Stories date back to Sydney in the 70s where activists' actions became known as Green Bans. We become privy to forest blockades in the Terania Creek campaign in Tassie where a group largely represented by Dr Lisa Searle, form human blockades to prevent loggers entering and logging in the magnificent rain forests there. The Bob Brown Foundation backs this entity.
Another demonstration was led by a young girl of 14 who managed to move many school students to participate in it and calling this demo School Strikes for Climate change. One action from these amazing young people took place on the 30th of Nov. 2018 where thousands of school students went to the CBD in Melb. to demonstrate peacefully.
Groups at Camp Binbee in protest to stop Adani another mine. They successfully blockaded a proposed mine in Kakadu. Jabiluka uranium mine was blockaded for 8 months in 1998, eventually they managed to stop the building of the mine. Activists in Australia are wanting to preserve our beautiful lands for future generations, ever thoughtful of nature, earth and animals, and the delicate ecosystem that is being harmed and destroyed by human intervention. I found this film to be highly informative, moving and inspiring, being in awe of those who devote their time and sometimes lives to protect mother nature, and our wondrous planet. Please it's not to be missed and concerns us all. We are lucky I feel to have so many people looking out for our lovely country, here in Oz.
My friend said that many people around the world love to see the native, Indigenous people's films as many show the reality of the native land owners whose life is so different from white people. Many films show the true stories: how the nations were exterminated and enslaved while their land was stolen from them.
Director Steven Johnson's latest film, High Ground is not an exeption. Such movies are taken very positively by many and are usually the highlights at many film festibalse. Such stories echoe around our country as well as around the world.
The picture has a historical genre bias. According to the plot, the main character Travis, who fought in the fields of the First World War as a sniper, works as a police officer in the provincial Northern Australia and finds himself drawn into a fierce confrontation between the aborigines and the group of colonists. The main character is vividly and thrillingly portraid by the Australian star, Simon Baker. The action of the film takes place in 1920-1930s, and touches, as follows from the description of the plot, the theme of the frontier, which is painful for modern inhabitants of Australia in its historical accuracy, as well as the issues of a person's chioce between good and evil, depending on the historical context in which he finds himself.
We know Simon Baker by his "The Mentalist", "The Limit of Risk", Callan Mulway by "Warcraft", "Outlaw King", Jack Thompson by "The Great Gatsby", "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" and many other amazing 10/10 stars actors.
The landscapes are simply spectaculer taken by teh drones or just onland carema works. Everything adds to the country flavour: the rock foundations, the white painted skin of the natives, the animals thaht live in balance with the tribes, the beautiful colour of the ground, the birds that follow the people in their actions, the plants and the grasses that hide both men and animals. The drama takes the Australian Western style if it was not for so much pain to watch what happens on the screen. One can not imagine what happens when the Aboriginal man kills the cow of the white man and how the brutal events then develop. When one person is killed who can value the life of him/her? Who can put a price on it? Sometimes it is impossible to say. But the impact can be lifechanging for many generations. Genocide roots out the knowlege of the entire tribe. The value of one person in that case can worth hundreds of thouands of lives. But for some it is the care of one killed cow.
If you want an example to show how white man stole the land from its original native inhabitants and tried to suppress their spirit and soul at the point of a gun, look no further than High Ground.
We’re in Arnhem Land in 1919 and a raid on a small black community goes horribly wrong, leaving a trail of dead – primarily black men, women and children.
The instigators were the police, who were hot on the heels of a couple of indigenous men who had killed a cow.
Then we cut to 12 years later and one of those injured and left for dead, Baywara (Sean Mununggurr) has recovered and seeks revenge.
He attacks white settlements and leaves his own trail of destruction.
A senior lawman, Moran (Jack Thompson), is sent to bring him down and restore peace.
He has a “my way or the highway” approach.
Ex-soldier Travis (Simon Baker), who was part of the original police team that conducted the ill-fated raid more than a decade earlier and feels guilty about what went down, is used as bait.
In reality, he empathises with the plight of the aborigines, but when Baywara’s nephew Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul) learns that he was part of the force that killed his extended family he is ready to turn on Travis.
And that is despite the fact that Travis took Gutjuk to the safety of a Christian mission, where the preacher’s sister Claire (Caren Pistorius) brought him up.
The real villain of the piece though is Travis’ colleague Eddy (Callan Mulvey) and the pair clash regularly.
Suffice to say that before this is over, much more blood will be spilled.
At the heart of High Ground is the tragic story of Frontier encounters.
The film explores themes of identity and culture.
The way director Stephen Maxwell Johnson presents it, Australia under white rule was all about conquest.
He uses fiction to illustrate a deeper truth, namely the shameful treatment of the First Peoples.
Importantly, Johnson allows the material to breathe (the pacing is deliberately slow), enabling indigenous spirituality and love of the land to be heavily embedded into the offering.
The narrative is from screenwriter Chris Anastassiades.
The landscape is magnificent and the cinematography, including aerial shots, superb throughout. It is the work of Andrew Commis (Babyteeth).
As an ensemble, the acting talent assembled does the material justice, displaying strength, anger, fear and vulnerability.
Baker captures the dilemma of his character well.
Nayinggul’s stillness allows us to all but see into Gutjuk’s heart.
Thompson displays authority with conviction.
Incidentally, the title is drawn from the best vantage point for seeing all that unfolds, which is the role of a sniper.
High Ground is a fine piece of movie making, covering important material about the country’s dark past.
Repressed sexual desires and taboo topics are often related. It is clear that this is strongly reflected in all art and cinematography included However, in recent years, this has begun to be abused and now it seems that any of the LGBT-themed films is a biased project. The Ammonite, which tells the story of lesbian relationships at the end of the 19th century, is exactly a film of this kind: there are no poetic freedom, and the film seems to have been shot in order to show the heroic confrontation of two lesbians against oppressive patriarchy. It looks great on paper and on the lists for the prestigious film awards, but still, it is difficult for a project that is strongly oriented towards the modern agenda to teach any lesson as we have seen it all already.
The film is based on a true story. Mary Anning is a female paleontologist; she is one of the pioneers of her profession as this world is taken predominantly by men. Her achievements were undeniable, and Mary herself was generally a respected member of society. In real life, she communicated closely with Charlotte Murchison. It is not known whether Mary and Charlotte were mistresses in real life or just good friends - this is clearly not a topic that could be freely discussed in England in those years. At the same time, there is no information about Mary's relationships with men.
"Ammonite" is a film about Anning's life, but mostly with an emphasis on the sexual relationship between Mary and Charlotte. It is clear that this material lies in the area of speculation, even if it does not detract from the topic of female lawlessness in those years. "Ammonite" conceptually resembles "The Life of Adele" and in general the film is frank enough to convey romanticism and experienced feelings. The picture is actually very intimate and it's easy to see the contrast between the sex scenes and the outside of the bedroom episodes. At the same time, the script is marked by meager dialogues, because of which the actors had to learn to work with each other non-verbally. Body language plays an important role in "Ammonite", but perhaps the efforts of the actors are to some extent in vain: research on the role that society plays in relation to lesbians is simply absent. Often, many aspects of the script are marginalised and exaggerated.
The film's narrative is very ambiguous. To many, the ending may even seem unsatisfactory in the context of the story, that is missing something, although it confirms the complexity of the circumstances in which the heroines find themselves. At the same time, the characters are treated delicately, but it is impossible to revive complex personalities: the movie bypasses both the truth and emotional notes, preferring to focus on Mary's inner life and very frank bedroom scenes. From the outside, it looks more like a woman's novel than a film: there is no spontaneity and, as such, a spectacle. I missed rich colours of the relationship to be honest.
"Ammonite" sort of flourishes in its melancholy mood. In fact, the film project is quite intuitive and even romantic, but it often looks flawed, mainly when it comes to the relationships that underlie the story. It is strong in acting and Kate is amazing even when she is silent while Saoirse is acting more like a good aristocratic shadow of Kate .The subtlety of relationships, subtext mainly define the acting, but something is missing in love as I mentioned above: in the movie, apparently, there is simply no spark and thus it is difficult to get emotionally engaged in the relationship of two women.
Unfortunately, this affects the entire picture as a whole: "Ammonite" lacks wisdom, ferocity and, finally, content to do justice to all the stylistic subtleties.
An introspective, slow-moving, largely grim, period drama about a life’s calling and desire, Ammonite features two of the finest actors of a generation.
It is the 1840s and highly regarded fossil hunter Mary Anning’s (Kate Winslet) famed discoveries are behind her.
She works alone in Lyme Regis in West Dorset, on the rugged Southern British coastline.
Anning now searches for common fossils to sell to tourists to support herself and her ailing mother, Molly (Gemma Jones).
They share a rudimentary home.
Both are stern and dour.
Anning immerses herself in her work.
Her social skills are not her strong suit.
One day a well-to-do, arrogant man, Roderick Murchison (James McArdle), sets foot in her shop, wanting to buy one of her pieces and learn the finer points of how she works and what she sees while observing Anning on the beach.
She reluctantly agrees.
He is on an archaeological tour of the continent.
After a miscarriage, his young wife, Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan), is suffering from melancholia and he determines she is in no fit state to go on with him.
So, he prevails upon Anning to watch her for up to six weeks.
Again, Anning is none too keen, but relents.
Charlotte becomes ill – developing a high fever and is bed ridden – after taking a dip in the ocean.
The new foreign doctor Lieberson (Alec Secareanu) in town implores Anning to look after her and take good care of her, which she does.
Upon Charlotte’s recovery, the dynamic between the women changes and gradually we also come to learn snippets of Anning’s past.
With dialogue kept to a minimum, it is the silences, expressions and body language that speak volumes in Ammonite.
Kate Winslet mastered that artform long ago and is at her finest in the lead role here. Saoirse Ronan has less to do, but ensures there’s a transformation in her characterisation of Charlotte.
The way the moments of passion between Anning and Charlotte have been shot by cinematographer Stephane Fontaine is hypnotic and alluring.
With one withering look after another, Gemma Jones is unforgettable as the poker-faced Molly.
The soundscape by sound designer Johnnie Burn is also central to the success of the picture, capturing the natural environment – most notably the wind and sea – where Anning lives and works.
Francis Lee, who created such impact with his keenly observed first feature God’s Own Country (2017), has crafted another intelligent, reflective work in which nuance is critical.
He is clearly a deep thinker, as reflected by the careful staging of scenes again in Ammonite, many involving stone and candlelight.
He has a fine attention to detail.
Ammonite is a picture that should appeal to film purists.
Incidentally, the name of the film is drawn from the fossil ammonite, which appears in marine rocks.
Director: Liam O’Donnell Producers: Matthew E. Chausse, Benni Diez, Liam O'Donnell, Colin Strause, Greg Strause Writer: Liam O’Donnell
Skylines (also known as Skyline 3) is a 2020 American science fiction action film written and directed by Liam O'Donnell. It is a sequel to Beyond Skyline (2017) and the final entry in the Skyline trilogy.
Having not seen the first two films in the trilogy, it initially took me a while to fathom out the plot, that was aimed at destroying what and who were left on earth. Five years following Captain Rose Corley’s (Lindsey Morgan) destruction of the Armada vessel which set out to harvest all life on earth. She was forced her inherited powers to kill thousands of her own men. Feeling that the price of victory was too much to bear disappeared, Rose escaped to a dishevelled London which was now in the midst of a deadly pandemic. From there she was arrested and forced to lead another mission to avenge rogue pilots (super terrestrial creatures) who have set out to again ravage the world, this time with the pandemic.
Rose and her team set out on their expedition to Cobalt 1 – a planet near the moon in a spaceship resembling a whole lot of scrap metal heaped on each other (nothing like the Tardis in Doctor Who). What ensued were a series of battles of humans against rogue “pilots”, humans against rogue humans. It seemed to me to be a cacophony of Westerns in outer space – the goodies against the baddies.
I felt the film was rather prolonged and difficult to follow as I am not wholly accustomed to this genre. However, it most likely will satisfy the Skyline followers.
MAYA THE BEE: THE GOLDEN ORB website review by Nicole Stenton
Maya The Bee 3: The Golden Orb
Maya the Bee was a great movie for primary aged kids. The vibrant colours and easy to follow “bad guy versus good guy” story line made this movie a hit. I also like the fact Australian talent voiced the characters.
Even if you haven’t watched a Maya movie or seen her on TV before the movie is still enjoyable and the characters are easy to follow. It starts with Maya and her best friend Willy getting into mischief which prompts Queen Bee to want them separated. This is when the duo starts their next adventure. While exploring a new a garden, they come across an ant that has been given important task of delivering the golden orb to a new ant colony. The ant is unable to complete his mission due to an injury, so he entrusts Maya and Willy to deliver the orb. They encounter some bugs along the way that want to destroy their mission of delivering the orb. It is almost a case of ‘cat and mouse’ while the bugs try to sabotage the ants and bees from delivery the orb. This movie will keep the kids engaged wondering if the ants and bees will be successful in getting the golden orb delivered before it’s too late.
We watched Dreambuilders movie with the kids. Generally, it was a likeable cartoon because it was a feel-good movie with a happy ending and kids enjoyed it. It had a very creative and original story line. My 4-year old loved this movie as it was and gave 5 put of 5 starts. But my 8-year old and grown ups that watched the movie would give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. We felt it could have expanded on the original idea of dream visiting and dream building by having more interesting ideas and characters. We think this idea could work really well as a show. The quality of animation was wonderful. 4-year old mentioned he loved the characters, especially in the dream builder world, explosions and the thrilling moments. 8-year old felt that the movie missed some boy characters as mainly focused on girls. Overall, we liked the movie and the original idea of the storyline.
by Anastasia Thomas
This cartoon portrayed the influence of our dreams to reality. Genre -Fantasy fits perfectly here. Thus, true to life complex elements come to the top when showing relationships between adults and little children with different personalities attempting to design a new life together. Dreambuilders are truly recommended for adults and kids.
Imagine that little Techni creature can easily stage our dreams according to our needs and inner desires. Well, it seems to be easily done except the fact that little girl, Minna, troubled by her new step-sister, attempted to re-design Jenny’s pre-established dreams. Why would she do that? She wanted to be happy and accepted.
Minna and Jenny are moving in together while their parents build a new “after a break up” life together. With significant variances in characters, both girls are equally traumatized by one of their parents living them behind. Minna’s attempt to fix Jenny’s stroppy attitude via revising dreams stage turned into a disaster when “dreams trash” will never be able to reanimate Jenny and keep her asleep for good. So, what is going to happen? Breath…it’s a happy ending. All heroes are re-united in the end. Enjoy a piece of mellow music with some nostalgic notes.
Dream well and let smart creatures do the right work for you!
Australian director Jeremy Sims created a new remake of a soulful comedy-drama called Rams (we all remember him by his latest great movie called "Last Cab To Darwin").
Rams raises the rather biblical theme of forgiveness with a highly unconventional story about the relationship between two farm brothers who breed a rare breed of Merino sheep.
Sims' picture uses the similar concept by Icelandic author Grimur Hakonarson. In the new version (adapted by Jules Duncan) we can now laugh out loud at the Australian humor at its best. The story now creates that special mood about the people who are able to go great distance for what makes the meaning of their lives.
The director explores traditional gender stereotypes and masculinity, which in this film turns out to be quite toxic in the relationship between two central characters. They are played by the Australian cinematography legends: Michael Keyton ("The Castle") and Sam Neil ("Blackbird"). Sims presents the location in a completely different way (compared to its Iceland's version) and places the action of the film in Western Australia, where the climate is even more extreme compared to Iceland. The director's skill allows him to move the film from a heart breaking drama to lavish black comedy. It makes you believe in the best while the action is held just inches from sliding into a pitch darkness. In our present conditions, when the word "self-isolation" has ceased to be sacred, the director's eyes are on the people who are, on the contrary, get united by blood kinship and live hermetically several meters from each other in the neighborhood, communicating with the help of the paper notes delivered to them by a shepherd's dog. The history of the farming community in the context of 2020 is more reminiscent of the existential threat to people who are forced to break up, make compromises for survival and struggle with themselves, with their desire to leave their native places, where everything is so familiar, and go instead to live in a big city. At the same time, in addition to the unexpectedly relevant conversation about isolation, Sims explores various aspects of masculinity and the moments of integration of two already elderly brothers into a rural community. The heroes of Keyton and Neal find themselves, oddly enough, in a greater comfort zone being closer to the sheep and not to the people, not to each other. They go into voluntary solitude that allows them not only to create a big secret, but also to live all the time with the dream and hope of rebirth (of the sheep business that they love so much to run). The movie Rams is moderately allegorical, when they hide in the name the relations of brothers and their strange communication, and are also moderately realistic when they show people united by the hardships of life.
The action of Rams takes place in the vicinity of Mount Barker in SA. The family business of the brothers Grimurson, middle-aged Colin (Sam Neil) and Les (Michael Caton), in breeding a special breed of galangal sheep, is still flourishing, at exhibitions their rams are always positioned as the best breeding producers.
But between the brothers themselves, there has long been a discord, they do not speak to each other for a whole forty years after all the land gets inherited by the more economic Colin. The director shows in the first episode the character of Neil, who comes out to the flock of sheep with the words "Well, hello, beauties", which without any extra words and additional memories speaks of how much this man is in love with his native land and the animals he looks after. Of course, the low mesh fence that separates Colin's territory from the Les' domain is alarming, but the way he treats the newborn lamb, with what care he takes it to his brother's house, characterizes his unity with nature. A little later, at the agricultural exhibition, Sims will introduce viewers to other sheep breeders, the big Lionel (Wayne Blair), the derisive Fergo (Travis McMahon) as well as the enterprising Frenchie (Kipan Rothbury), who do not hide their admiration for the ram that Colin brought to the public. The more enclosed Les also arrived with his "pet", which earned the highest rating from the veterinarian Kat (Miranda Richardson, "Churchill"). For the character of Neil, the victory of his brother, who bypassed him at the last stage of the competition, is perceived as a rather personal insult, for many years now hardworking and putting all his mental and physical strength into sheep breeding, Colin very often turns out to be the second. This seems to him undeserved, but suddenfly the events turn the way that makes all livestock breeders flinch: an infectious Ione's disease, is found in the victorious breeding ram, which threatens the entire livestock of unique creatures. This means that all the sheep in the valley must be destroyed, the process of quarantining the territories is controlled by the classic official from the agricultural department, Brian De Bris (Leon Ford), who is not very smart and does not understand that the destruction of all sheep of a rare breed will be an irreparable blow to farmers and their families. Colin, realising that sheep were much more for his family than just animals. The breeding of such beautiful animals brings a regular income and Colin decides to hide some number of sheep secretly from everyone in his house during a two-year quarantine in order to keep the breed from extermination.
Colin's reclusive manner and his unsociability especially begin to bother everyone when people start to guess about the sheep hidden in the house not only by the strong smell. Sims' film is multidimensional. This drama is connected with the quiet whispers of redemption in the background. The pair of actors, Michael Keyton and Sam Neal carry the obvious intrigue of the coming reconciliation throughout the film, but they do it so skillfully that this entire agricultural saga begins to take on the character of a parable. Their on-screen opposition and their portrayal of the main characters are so natural that only a small editing correction is required for a performance that delights the audience. They are remarkable as always! Sims is convincing in portraying the general culture of the Australian ( in this case, farming) community that subsists on the land and in showing how Australians feel about farmed animals. The director delves into the generosity of the settlers' emotions, which they show in relation to their pets and do not always behave the same in relation to their loved ones. Sims builds communication with a few, very limited words, facial expressions and wonderful music by Anthony Partos ("Robot Child"), which radiates maximum warmth and is based on the active use of country motives.
Screenwriter Jules Duncan kept the overall trajectory of the project from its Icelandic originals, but brought out many of the Australian features and colored the finale in lighter colors, adding a smidge of romantic interest from the gorgeous Miranda Richardson, who showed her special heartfelt interest in the two Australian blocks, one of whom is a successful and charismatic alcoholic Les, and the other sees nothing and no one around him, except for breeding magnificent sheep.
Sims filmed it in such a unique way that the positive impression of the film is enhanced by the way the Australian people treat the challenges of nature. The extreme cycle plays a very important role in the project, the director shows the forests in fires, smoke and cattle diseases as everyday challenges for Colin, Les and everyone else, which does not even give them the opportunity to even think about the comfort zone and peace of mind. Focusing traditionally for films with a similar concept on the problems and traditions of the family, Sims occasionally adds comic elements to the story and shows the most beautiful panoramic landscapes of Australia. It is obvious that the project, relying on the rude Australian humor, remains on the territory of overcoming the personal stubbornness of each of the brothers and shows how much strength is required to overcome the severe mental trauma inflicted on the closest person. Needless to say, Sims' picture takes a more trivial look at the features of the sheep pandemic than its Icelandic prototype, dark and atmospheric. In every sense, the picture turns out to be a real Australian film, in which the mentality, location and the simplest attitude to life of almost all characters are trademarks. The personal crisis that Colin and Les are going through shows two completely different paths to understanding the nature of kinship and the relationship between relatives. Michael Keyton's stubbornness, impulsiveness and arrogance allow Sims to get a character that is unpredictable and uncontrollable, but has not turned into a social outcast with all its oddities. Les is an excellent breeder with a grumpy and hard temper, but he is respected in his environment and his authority is enormous. The tonal range of emotions in Sims' film turns out to be quite wide and extends from the raw drama, where the constant presence of fire in the third act also makes the relationship between the brothers shine with a bright light, to a rough farce in which the Grimurons unite and go openly against a government official and the official authorities.
The lack of perfection can be attributed to one of the main advantages of this film, which turns into a real memorable journey filled with laughter and tears. Therefore, Rams turn out to be like a friendly hug, when it's just good that there is a person nearby, for whom you don't need to invent any special words and be happy just from silence.
In telling the true story of wild goose specialist Christian and the role his son played in his enormous – and incredibly risky – migration experiment, Nicholas Vanier proves that sticking to the familiar formula can feel beautifully original and still take an audience on a heart-warming and even exciting story.
The six stages of plot structure are hit virtually to the minute, but Varnier allows cinematographer Eric Guichard and composer Armand Amar to run rampant – their full skills are on striking display here – to the degree that audiences will soon forget they’ve seen all this many times before. Lilou Fogli, Christian Moullec, Mathieu Petit and Varnier knew what they were doing with the script, and the time saved trying to deviate from the tried-and-tested is clearly spent working on some enchantingly sweet, witty, and all-round well-crafted dialogue. Unfortunately, the English translation fails to do it justice. Icon Distribution owes its non-French audiences better than what we got with this one, and not up to the standard set by Varnier, et al.
Lovely, honest, tender performances by Jean-Paul Rouve, Melanie Doutey, and Fredric Saurel make an unbelievable story true to the viewer. Varnier handles his actors and Guichard’s camera gives them room to breathe and move and just be – you’d never believe the story otherwise.
At times self-indulgent, somewhat overlong due to editors having fallen in love with certain shots, and shadowed by an unnecessary but thankfully glanced-over romantic underlay, Spread Your Wings is nothing new in the best and most entertaining sort of way.
"Dawn raids were a common event in Auckland, New Zealand, during a crackdown on illegal overstayers from the Pacific Islands from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. The raids were first introduced in 1973 by Norman Kirk's Labour government and were continued by Rob Muldoon's National government. These operations involved special police squads conducting raids on the homes and workplaces of overstayers throughout New Zealand usually at dawn. Overstayers and their families were often prosecuted and then deported back to their countries"
It is a New Zealand documentary about the famous musical band called Dawn Raid. It honestly describes the raise and downfall of the successful group. The band was established by two young guys who met at the business school accidentally and had a chat finding out a lot more about each other and deciding to set up a music band. They had not a clear business plan of what it will be like nor had an idea on how to develop it. The accidents were following the accidents we believe that lead to something very big and bringing lots of money.
The two guys were Danny Leaoasavai’i, a Polynesian gang member and Andy Murnane, a white guy. The plan was to establish a record label but to start off they required some cash and decided to earn money through selling cool and fashionable T-shirts. The establishment brought them loads of cash as the products were quite popular.
The next step led them to hire a Russian sound engineer who was quite skillful and practically was close to none in his field. For him also it was a great opportunity to explore a new country and settle in New Zealand with his family and wife.
Mike, Andy's father was a great support to the label and was a back bone to the business with his own money support as well as expertise in operation advice and accounting. The plan was to attract the artists alike and it basically worked very well. The success followed the business and the money flow was unbelievable.
It suddenly went down with the word changing and larger music labels appearing on eth market. As I mentioned earlier this documentary is quite honest and it reveals all the wins as well as the losses and what in reality went so wrong. The destination is not relevant - the journey is. It taught them a lot I believe.
The film will suit the hip hop lovers who enjoy the music and are interested in the history of it in New Zealand. The graphics in the documentary is amazing and involved lots of work.
A story of aspiration and achievement, crash and burn, Dawn Raid Entertainment became an institution in New Zealand in the late ‘90s and noughties.
Co-founded by a couple of young big guys from South Auckland who met at business school – they only completed a little more than a year – and didn’t have much idea of what they were doing, the doco is a ripper.
The pair – Danny Leaoasavai’i, a Polynesian gang member and rapper who had been into bad stuff like fighting and drugs and Andy Murnane, a white kid who got into a lot of trouble as a teenager – took on and eventually conquered The Big Apple.
They wanted to form a record label, but had no money, so they began by selling t-shirts with counterculture messages from a market.
Well … that little enterprise exploded and they were on their way.
A range of businesses followed, including renting premises where they built a production studio, which they had no idea how to operate.
So, they hired a sound engineer who had previously lived and worked in Uzbekistan.
Andy’s father, Mike, provided advice, acted as guarantor and put up his house as collateral to allow this all to happen.
But the doco suggests the boys made the most of the situation and the times based on gut instinct.
They advertised in a free paper in an endeavour to attract hip hop artists and it worked.
The documentary includes compelling interviews with the co-founders, Andy’s dad and five of the big acts they signed.
Record label execs and a film producer are also on the menu.
Money started pouring in and deal after deal followed, with corporate types lining up to cash in on Dawn Raid’s foothold on the youth market.
But with increasing success and more staff came heavy expenses.
The music industry was changing and Dawn Raid took its eyes off the ball.
Then, it became a question of whether anything could be rescued or resurrected from the ruins.
Complete with a surfeit of historic footage, the documentary lifts the lid on what went down over a most exciting and tumultuous decade or so.
All those spoken to are erudite and expressive. They don’t hold back.
The good, the bad and the ugly are exposed, although I would have liked to see even more about the down times.
It comes across that for much of the time, Andy and Danny were flying by the seat of their pants.
They were bold and brash – larger than life figures – and learned plenty along the way.
You can’t help but warm to them and to all those who speak out.
It matters not whether or not you like hip hop – although I, for one, loved the soundtrack – Dawn Raid serves as a life lesson for those who have ambition and drive.
Visually, the doco is arresting.
In fact, the whole thing has been beautifully written by Matthew Metcalfe (McLaren) and packaged by Oscar Kightley, in his documentary directorial debut.
This is up there with the very best music docos.
Incidentally, the name Dawn Raid came from a dig at a harsh practice by New Zealand in the ‘70s.
That’s when the country’s leaders actively sought out and expelled Islanders who had overstayed their work permits, as they attributed Polynesians with fostering increased hostility.
Based on the novel of the same name by Colin Neal, the Franco-German crime drama by Dominic Moll is based on several somehow connected stories that intertwine with each other closer to the film finale. The structure of this European picture seems to be inspired by the art works of the famous Korean movie director Hong Sang Sun. The story is first told from the perspective of one of the characters, and then we go back in time and everything is repeated anew from different perspectives. We plunge into the world of another character and see the story with a new layer of events while we finally build the wholesome story line after all four story-lines are told. Moll's detective unfolds slowly, allowing the viewer to enjoy the atmosphere of what is taking place. We are allowed to feel the inner world of each character and to go through their own "truths". The film is starring Denis Menoche, Lor Kalami, Damien Bonnard, Nadia Tereshkevich, Bastien Bullon, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Jenny Bellay, Fred Ulysses, Roland Plantin and Colin Neal.
A wealthy Parisian woman, Evelyn Duca (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) goes missing somewhere in the vicinity of an alpine village. The police is unable to find any evidence pointing to the woman's whereabouts. In the process of unraveling the detective tangle, people who are not related to each other are involved in the case: there is a local farmer Michel and his wife, an African swindler who lives on the other side of the planet, a village outcast and a woman suffering from unrequited love.
There are episodic extraordinary characters placed around a mysterious victim whose body has not been shown to us for a long time. In the first half of the picture, the question “Does Evelyn Duke really exist?” may quite naturally arise, because we do not know anything about the her and do not even really imagine how she looks and why she is required in this film. While the plot unfolds, the story of the missing girl becomes less significant however the rest of the participants in the events come to the fore.
The endless winter landscapes add to the confusion in the minds of the main characters: the mental patient, the husband lost in cyber and fake "relationship" , his poor wife suffering from disconnection etc. They are all shown against the harsh and rather depressive weather conditions which a two-hour narration is conducted. This alone gives the film that special "light Scandinavian charm". There are some episodes where there is practically no dialogue taking place between the characters, there are no action taking place either: you can just enjoy panoramas of the landscapes by cinematographer Patrick Giringelli. Women are the center of the movie. Moll reveals the main intrigue of the picture with the help of an appeal to corporeality: there is quite a wide variety of intimate scenes in which the characters are revealed from a new angle.
One of the main characters, the farmer Michel (Denis Menoche) suffers from his own low self-esteem and dissatisfaction in his family life. Watching this character and his virtual romantic relationship with a (fake) girl, whose account is actually a fraudster, one cannot fail to note themselves in such not existing relationship. Michel is possessed by his own weakness and impulsiveness. He does not have any degree on danger in such situation; he also strangely rushes into there "relationship" enjoying all the "goodness" it brings to him, escaping from a psychiatric reality and real flesh, basically clinically escaping from himself. He even has a courage to allow himself to commit to such relationship and leave his farm, his family life and his wife at the end of the story.
Each character of the movie is deeply lonely in different ways but with lots of similarities and, as a result, they all seek love: one from a lost mental male character, the other : from lesbian connections, the next - from the not existing cyber sex.
The German director examines their inner loneliness from different angles, revealing the causal of such relationships that led each of them to this state. Dominique Moll painstakingly paints portraits of motley characters, as if drawing pictures at gunpoint, with no room for error. Every stroke means something. Each of his lines and detail is there, in the frame for a deep reason. The detective component of the film reminds us the craft of Conan Doyle.
The script is also verified to the smallest detail, it is also rather impressive, leaving almost no questions unanswered closer to the final. The director skillfully balances between wealth and poverty, male and female, diluting the growing "detective suspense" with small splashes of melodrama and comedy.
The film is a must see and is a vivid, expressive and distinctive picture indeed I enjoyed watching a lot.