I was never a sister myself so it is hard for me to speak on this mater. I only know one thing: the family should be above all.
In one word I would describe it as a very rewarding movie. It feels like sneaking in a keyhole the life developments of the family of an older sister and her younger brother who are left without both parents who die in one day in a car crash.
It is not a stylish story story, it is an ordinary life of a common family. This can happen in any family. It is melancholic and gentle.
It is sad to see the relationship between relatives in the family. It is hard for me to comment about as there are lots of traditional "Asian flavors" involved in such relationship but it is interesting to observe and compare with my own family: sometimes the relationship are flaming, sometimes a lot is kept inside but comes out in some hatred way. It is a normal family where love and hatred live together very close. he deeper bond between the sister and the brother develop as the film progresses. An Ran, the sister, is focused on her own career and her needs while her brother is rather neglected at the start of the movie. She sees him as a burden while she has to sacrifice her time and her life to look after him. Their relationship become more close as they learn to love and appreciate what is given to them. There are no more parents to spoil and look after them: their relationship that were involving mum and dad lost their base and the dynamics has to change as well.
When An Ran's aunt says: "elder sister is like mother" it sounds like truth but it is all good in theory. The practice shows that it is hard to raise the younger brother. An Ran only sees her brother as a taker, not a giver. When she learns how to see love in him she learns how to love herself.
The film has funny moments as will: as in every family there is irresponsible uncle that when given responsibility to look after his nephew teaches him how to smoke and play cards.
Responsibilities do not exist: you can not do something that you do not love. You learn to love and the burden is taken away from you. You start to enjoy the process. Love exist in every family naturally. Parents are usually the example to show love and affection. If it was not present in the first place the siblings will be cold and hostile to each other . They only learn through the example. I suppose An Ran was punished by her father. As a result her love towards her brother was never there.
Every family is different of course but there are similarities and patterns.
Zhang’s excellent performance is standing high. She plays with her whole body: silently but you can see and predist each and every next move. It is a powerful performance.
Life is so fragile. We should all care and love our families, no matter who they are and how they are.
Did I love the film? Absolutely yes and I have to admit I have a spoiled taste. This is a film worth watching by all means. GIvig it 8/10
THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY NEW website review by Marygrace Charlton
Film Review: The United States vs. Billie Holiday By Marygrace Charlton
Director:Lee Daniels Producers:Lee Daniels, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Joe Roth, Pamela Oas Williams, Jordan Fudge, Tucker Tooley Writer:Suzan Lori-Parks Music by:Kris Bowers Screenplay:Tyler Cornack
Many people have heard the name Billie Holiday and many may also know her as a celebrated jazz singer. Billie’s singing career began in a Harlem nightclub. She subsequently released her first recordings in 1933 with Benny Goodman and others. Two years later a series of recordings with Teddy Wilson and members of Count Basie's band brought her wider recognition, launching her career. Some music aficionados referred to Billie as the leading jazz singer of her time.
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”, a biopic released in 2021, endeavours to reveal the short and tragic life of this famous songstress. A rollercoaster life of touring, sex, prostitution, alcohol and drugs.
Andra Day’s powerful and captivating performance as the legendary Billie is the highlight of this movie. Andra effortlessly belts out all the songs in the movie and gives an impassioned portrayal of Billie.
“Strange Fruit" a song recorded by Billie in 1939 (written by Abel Meeropol), offended the sensibilities of white Americans at the time. The “strange fruit” refers to the lynched bodies - 4075 African Americans were lynched in 12 southern states between 1877 and 1950. It was Billie’s refusal to stop singing this song – her unwavering show of opposition to racism and murder of her people, which led to the FBI launching an undercover operation against her. Unable to arraign her for singing this provocative song, the FBI charge her instead of possession of narcotics. Subsequently she is charged and incarcerated for twelve months in 1947.
Billie's time in jail resulted in the loss of her New York City Cabaret Card, which permitted her to perform in venues that sold alcohol. This ban presented difficulties in locating venues where she could perform.
Given the film title, my expectation of the story line was unfulfilled and disappointing. I imagined the story would focus on Billie’s participation in the civil rights and racism movement, in particular the lynchings that were prevalent at the time.
Legislation to deem lynching unlawful still remains pending.
Unsurprisingly, Billie Holiday died at age 44 from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver as a result of excessive alcohol and drug-related complications whilst under police guard in hospital.
I would call this film pretty chaotic and monotonous if not boring.
Who if not French about have give us the op class film about Charles de Gaulle? They simply had to do it by definition!
Why? Because France owes its very present position, as one of the leading world powers, to this man, De Gaulle.
Something did not work out with the picture. I’m so patient about the perception of historical dramas, but this film was tortured with difficulty. It runs for 1 hour and 58 minutes. With such timing, you can safely cut half of it and dispose with a clear conscience like unnecessary ballast.
I am quite familiar with the events that took place in May-June 1940 in France. WE all know what happened to France.
I will distinguish Marshal Pétain from the languid Prime Minister Reynaud, but the viewer who is not particularly familiar with the political twists and turns of that time will be having difficult time to get into the course of all "the behind-the-scenes fuss".
Apparently the creators believe that outside of France, everyone knows everything about him, the main character, De Gaulle. It would be more appropriate to shoot a series here, rather than a two-hour film. It turned out to be some kind of historical semi-finished product.
It is very boring and viscous.
The film tries to tell the story of that period in the life of a stubborn general, when he was one of all French military leaders, who stubbornly wanted to continue the fight against Nazism.
When the point of view of the well-deserved and very aged Marshal Petain prevailed, to collude with the enemy, De Gaulle refused to obey this criminal order and, in fact, rebelled against his former commander...
This is the plot of the plot in a nutshell! It is somewhat smeared over time.
De Gaulle's eagle profile, of course, is difficult to confuse with someone else's. The actor, Lambert Wilson, fit into the image very well.
He is very similar to a real French general. He even holds a cigarette exactly like De Gaulle but the dressers, once inattentively, forgot to straighten the harness on the general and he sat crookedly for the whole take.
There are lots of episodes that are devoted to the general's family, but at the same time they managed to remain uninformative and not very deep on all levels.
I then began to squander them... and then it was not long to fall asleep...
Why should I look at the dreams of the general's wife, for example, if these dreams are very indirectly related to the plot itself.
It would be better to spend more time on the relationship between Winston Churchill and De Gaulle instead.
They are not shown in all their colours in the film at all. The French general sometimes drove the temperamental and sometimes just nervous. The British leader got to the state of white heat with his principled intransigence when it came to the interests of France.
By the way, Churchill, he doesn't look like a real person here at all, but more like a fat comedian (and he was one of the best leaders of all times IMHO!).
If not for his cigar, coupled with the obligatory brandy, then he might not have been recognized at all.
I will disappoint fans of military and historical dramas: there are no battle scenes in the film. There are a couple of episodes with lonely French tanks and that's it. They showed them in such a way that it is not very clear whether they are R35 or Hotchkiss H35, which in the World of Tanks, the tankers call "Gocha".
The viewer was only given se glimpses to understand that De Gaulle was able to slow down the German blitzkrieg but the director and screenwriter did not show exactly how it happened.
Apparently, the budget did not allow it, because this is definitely not a military secret.
If you want to know more about the interesting and even amazing fate of one of the most famous Frenchmen in world history, I can recommend reading the book "General de Gaulle" by Professor Nikolai Molchanov. It is not big, it is only 160 pages but it contains a lot of interesting information about a brave man who, with his personal charisma and dedication, was able to achieve that France became one of the victorious countries, and did not remain on the sidelines of world history.
If you still decide to watch this historical drama "De Gaulle", I advise you to be patient, take a cozy blanket may be, that will make some naps more comfortable with.
From a historical point of view, I did not notice any special blunders. Everything was shown correctly but it was very messy. That's why this movie gets 6/10 from me.
I will still advise you to watch it though. Take also some fragrant tea as it should also go well with eth blanket.
The title as well as the poster for this film are attention grabbing. It also has an interesting actress featured, Robin Rights.
The film is new and belongs to the genre of drama. Not my personal choice - this genre... I don't really like it, but this film interested me a lot.
The plot tells us about a woman named Edee and about a terrible tragedy taken place in her family life. Edee underwent rehabilitation, but it did not help her much to cope with the pain.
The woman decided to move away from people to the mountain wilderness, but as it turned out she was not able to survive in such harsh conditions all by herself: she faced hunger, bear invasion to her hut, extreme cold and weather conditions and of course her thoughts that never let her go...
When it seemed that her life was about to end, the woman met a local hunter, who and whose relative passing by her hut by accident, saved her from death, not only physical but also mental and emotional, and taught her to love life anew.
The film is rich in beautiful, breathtaking landscapes and North mountains pristine life of Nature; It also shows life without masks as it is. Only when you are alone you face your fears and finally realise who you are and why you are here, what exactly you are searching in this life. You do not seek any more: you know!
It is difficult to cope with the pain of loss, everyone experiences it once or many times in their lives in its own way, but as life shows us: a person can survive everything, it only takes time to heal.
The worst thing that kills us is our own thoughts, memories of the past that can not be returned, and everyone must go through the process of healing.
Most importantly, we should accept the situation and live on.
This film once again shows that no matter how difficult it is to live on, life is still beautiful and should be enjoyed no matter what.
At such moments, people who can support us are very important, even when we let them just be there with us. Some can understand your struggle, some walk away with a judgment in their hearts. The ones who understand you and who keep being with you no matter what are the ones to keep close.
I liked this film, although it is a little slow pace, but after all, this is a deep emotional drama and probably with such pace the director just wanted to show the pain that slowly poisons the body if you let it do it.
A person who was experiencing loss and tried to cope with it alone might be a real hero. It is hard not to get mental being inside such pain.
The actors played very well, the music was chosen harmoniously, it blended well with the moments of the film and emphasized them.
The movie is worth watching not only for the fans of the drama genre, but also just for the sake of learning, as it is quite worthwhile.
"Then Came You" is a romantic drama and as in all films of this genre there is always a bi of love and hope even when you least expect it.
The story is very simple: American widow, after a year of grieving decides to move forward and travel twenty countries for the first time in her life.
Her first destination on the map is Scotland and she is renting a room via internet in an old castle which was a dream to come true... but with this relaxing voyage, she gets more than she had dreamed for.
She stays with her landlord and socialises with him on a daily basis. As expected, two complete opposites start falling for each other, and completing each other in every way.
It is a great, easy and very romantic drama to enjoy with a good friend or your partner. I highly recommend it.
Prepare to watch the western not in its traditional form: there will be no horse chases, bullets and salons as we know them.
Half of the viewers who will watch this movie most likely will hate it for its slow pace and seemingly and practically no action.
Honestly, this is one of the most amazing films I've seen this year. It is a simple story of friendship and hope. As I mentioned above, the film is made in a western genre that literally pushes this same genre's clichés out of the door in favor of redefining stereotypes of masculinity.
In other words, if you think westerns should be about gunfights and border conquest, "First Cow" is not the movie for you. I
The battles in this film are more understated. They are not load and yelling at you. They yell inside of you and they mainly relate to the day-to-day struggle of border guards. The story is told solely from the perspective of male characters who survived undeveloped territory in the early 19th century in Oregon, America, which at tat time did not belong to States but was an independently owned by the fur trade corporations.
In the "Wild, Wild West" the people were still limited by social hierarchy. This is a savage destruction of the violence and irony of the American dream: capitalism itself in its raw form: cruel and brutal.
Every episode of this film is a high quality masterpiece with a pungent contradiction. The warmth and compassion of the momentary moment is constantly clouded by a terrible expectation at work on multiple levels.
The whole story begins when one night the main character, who is hired as a cook by a small group of beaver hinters, meets a naked Chinese man who is hiding in the forest. The Asian man is cold and very hungry. The cook, whose nick name is Cookie gives the Chinese a blanket and something to eat and drink.
Meanwhile, the area is about to see an intriguing new arrival: a well-built female cow was delivered to a local nobleman. The animal is a community conversation because it is the first cow to live in the area. The cow is indeed considered a luxury, but the Main Factor is simply keeping the cow tied to show it off, rather than using milk to help feed someone.
While the two men, the two main characters, The Asian and Cookie develop friendship, they decide to sneak into Main Factor's property in the cover of the night where the cow is kept and secretly milk the animal in a gentle and friendly manner. This prompts them to come up with the idea of making cow's milk cookies and selling them to local hunters. Their daring adventure creates a good but dangerous business: the money are great as no one in this small city makes such delicious "donuts" but they are testing their fortune as they might be discovered any time with their stolen milk trips!
The film is a little quiet, meditative with good and grounded humor and lots of "between the lines" scenes, but I wouldn't call it a slow movie.
There is no shortage of humor or tension in the film. It portrays nature with such love and concern. The leaves and mud seem so rich in texture, and all animals: owls, wolves, dogs, lizards, and of course a famous cow - each of them have distinctive features, their role in the film with their own characters.
The world they are living in now seems new and old, depending on your perspective but it is so organic.
The idea is to feel both old and new echoes in the film's initiative theme. The progress of time is constantly felt.
Boats move along the river, settlers move and Paris fashion changes. All these ideas are applied in modern life.
So it was a beautiful, quiet, poetic film for me personally and I loved it.
At the same time, it is a slower film that pays off emotionally. The focus is on the friendship of the two men and their attempts to make a living, though ending up in drama.
In the nutshell: in the not too distant future, in 2065, thirty young men and women are sent deep into space on a multi-generational mission in search of a new home, new planet to live on. However, so well planned mission, over time, plunges into madness. The crew returns to their most primitive state. They do not understand what is the real threat to them: what is outside the ship, or what they become inside of it.
I is a thriller and you will be following every second of it holding your breath. The crew's captain dies in an accident while fixing the faults in the electrical system in the open space. The film stars Colin Farrell and a bunch of "overexcited buzzers": Neil Berger (Regions of Darkness, Divergent) takes Ty Sheridan (Ready Player One), Lily-Rose Depp, Fionna Whitehead (Dunkirk), Isaac Hampstead Wright and Viveake Kalra and a bunch of other teenagers as saviors for the human race. Senior scientist, Richard Olling (Colin Farrell) is assigned to look after the test-tube babies.
During the expedition, the heroes use a certain liquid, blue in colour, prepared for them with the purpose of dulling pleasures, desires and emotions and making adolescents into obedient amoebas. One day the buzzers discover that something is not right, to their research and stop taking the substance. Then the uncontrollable chaos (named Gaspar Noe) begins on board: the entire colonization mission is now under threat.
The creators describe the picture as "Lord of the Flies" in the scenery of cold space, and Berger, one might say, returned to the motives of "Divergent" after seven long years.
Enrique Chediak is responsible for the visual in the film which ar simply spectacular (he has done Faculty, 127 Hours and 28 Weeks Later previously).
The film is more suitable for a yonger audience. It touches many topics in the modern society: believes, power over love, political games and many more.
review by Alex First of MAPT
Voyagers (MA) – 108 minutes – by Alex First
Lord of the Flies set in the not too distant future, but without the impact.
That, in a nutshell, is Voyagers.
The concept is not new.
It is 2063. Earth is on the precipice.
Heat, drought and disease are threatening the long-term future of the planet.
So, the powers that be hatch a plan to a/ find another planet that can sustain human life and b/ begin populating it.
It starts with “growing” their own humans ... that is “breeding” their own crew to take to the heavens.
By that I mean carefully crafting test tube babies, who will grow up in a confined environment – without access to wide open spaces, sunlight or other people, save for their instructor – and after seven years will shoot for the stars (literally).
There is a total of 30 of them and the journey will take them 86 years.
So, it won’t be them, but their grandchildren who will begin populating the new planet.
Their instructor is Richard (Colin Farrell) and he feels a sense of attachment and commitment to the kids.
So, he volunteers to join them, although that wasn’t the original game plan.
His presence will also allow the lot of them to depart Earth three years earlier than would have been the case if they had left without him.
After take off, we cut to 10 years later and are given insight into the daily routine on board their vessel, named Humanitas.
Without providing spoilers, let me just say that from there on in, smooth sailing it isn’t.
The film is deliberately given a cold and barren look to reflect the scientific nature in which this vital “experiment” is being undertaken.
More than that, while measured and sensible, the young adults have no personalities, to speak of ... until that changes.
Set design – largely a series of white panels – plays a significant part in proceedings.
The lighting gives the surrounds a green “medical grade” hue. While I could almost swallow the contention to commence proceedings, the longer the film went, the more it lost me.
It became utterly preposterous.
The script by writer and director Neil Burger (The Illusionist) lacked credibility and some of the characterisation and dialogue were decidedly pedestrian.
I felt the film was slow and it dragged.
Colin Farrell’s was, to me, the most credible and sympathetic role.
While acceptable, I can’t say I was particularly “sold” of any of the other performances.
Lily-Rose Depp is cast as Chief Medical Officer Sela, while Tye Sheridan is Christopher, who is called to step up. Both did what was necessary.
As Chief Engineer Zac (and Christopher’s friend turned adversary), Fionn Whitehead all but becomes a caricature of a villain.
I am afraid, I simply didn’t buy what they were “selling”, which leads me to the conclusion that this is one voyage not worth taking.
The new film Supernova by Harry McQueen was originally made in the genre of a leisurely conversational road movie, suitable for in-camera festival viewing, but hardly having a chance to come to the court of a rare post-covid viewer.
The whole conflict is sold out in the film synopsis, where two gay partners Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci travel in a camper across rainy Great Britain in search of the last refuge for one of them, who suffers from progressive dementia, but in fact this is not a film about relationship (although the problem legalization of gay marriages is mentioned in the film, and the attempt to have sex between the main characters was completely cut out), and not about dying (although from a formal point of view, all the dialogues are about it), and not even such an uncomplicated allegory of the last path, no matter how endless unwinding British country roads are.
The problem is that everything that happens is too conflict-free. These two have already said goodbye to each other a long time ago and let it go, and only by inertia they continue to persuade each other: let's record a cassette, let's see our friends, let's go to a diner, let's sign an autograph, let's take some pills, let's stay together a little longer etc etc.
A grave apathy reigns in the frame and it is taken very heavily.
Even those few emotionally charged moments that are left in the script are carefully retouched by directing and editing.
As a result all the possible reasons for discussion listed above remain only a pretext, one of the two is already dead in advance, in his own thoughts, while the other is already in advance, in his own thoughts, in mourning.
They have nothing to argue about, seems that they do not live, they are both dead already.... This is not a dispute, but bargaining, as a stage of accepting the inevitable.
The others also resigned themselves. They take turns saying farewell speeches in order to disappear immediately, yet in the end it comes down to the only thing that, according to the authors, is worthy of discussion.
Not euthanasia as a means of care, and not palliative care for the dying, and not a long farewell to loved ones who did not die so very suddenly.
No, everything is simpler, as the script tells us. Discussion is only a question of whether a person has the right to remain selfish. Not in death, no, because we will all die, but in life. Shall the last moments be lived in happiness instead of the endless boredom?
To what extent we owe something to our loved ones?.. Here one also asks: stay with me a little more... while the other is silent already in response. The dead are almost always silent.
The issue I believe is in living either in the past or in the future which are never there that makes it painful for the soul that lives in no time frame: there is no "moment enjoying" in the film that we all have to learn somehow...
review by Alex First of MAPT
Supernova (M) – 94 minutes – by Alex First
One, Sam (Colin Firth), is a classical pianist, the other, Tusker (Stanley Tucci), a writer.
Now middle aged, the couple has been together for decades.
They know how to press each other’s buttons, but are still very much in love.
One day they decide to dust off the old camper van and take a road trip across England with their dog.
The writer has started on a new book, but that seems to have stalled, while the pianist is about to give his first recital for a while.
All seems in order until an incident when Tusker disappears with the dog and Sam is beside himself.
We come to learn that Tusker has early onset dementia (diagnosed two years earlier) and it is getting worse.
His mind isn’t what it used to be and he knows it.
Tusker wants to keep things as normal as he can, but that is becoming increasingly difficult.
Sam has given up his career to spend all his time with his partner, of whom he is very protective.
They visit places they have been, including a picturesque lake, and stop in on Sam’s sister, husband and daughter, who greet them warmly.
Increasingly, this is looking like Tusker’s last hurrah.
There are a number of incidents along the road, culminating in a revelation that rocks Sam to his core.
Supernova is a beautiful, sensitive portrait … a slice of life piece … a tearjerker.
Harry Macqueen (Hinterland) – who has written and directed the work – has crafted a couple of memorable vehicles for the supreme talents of Firth and Tucci to inhabit.
That they do with their usual aplomb.
While the words they utter are meaningful, much of the success of the film comes down to their expressions and silences.
They deftly negotiate the distinct personality traits of the characters they portray.
The movie has a contemplative nature.
Nothing happens at speed and that, of course, is deliberate and apt in terms of dealing appropriately with the subject matter.
Cinematographer Dick Pope has done a fine job giving the picture a comfortable homely feel, while capturing some stunning vistas.
Facing up to the reality the movie presents is uncomfortable, harsh and unrelenting.
The new American drama called The Last Vermeer by Dan Friedkin (director's debute) was released in the United States only at the end of 2020 and just now in Australia .
It may seem like another piece about the consequences of fascism in Western Europe, specifically in the Netherlands, where some of the people participated in the Resistance Movement, and some collaborated with the German occupiers. The novelty of the tape, however, created on the basis of the book "The Man Who Created the Vermeers" by Jonathan Lopez, is that it addresses the rarely raised topic of the art business during the Second World War (and not only as the art business tendencies are still the same), when some dealers in the field of selling paintings continued to actively profit from demand the fascist elite for high art.
Such a clever adventurer was the real-life Dutch artist, Han van Megeren, who was accused after the end of the war of having amassed a huge fortune by handing over the paintings of renowned masters to the Nazi bosses, in particular, Jan Vermeer of Delft.
As a result of the investigation undertaken by Captain Joseph Piller from the Allied army (who is a Jew by the way). who was previously forced to hide from the occupation regime and still take part in the fight against the Nazis, it turns out that Megeren, considered a collaborator (and he faces the death penalty for it) is not so unambiguous as a person and a creator.
Fridkin's film is just gaining its climax as the case comes to the trial, which task is to pronounce a verdict on the execution. This would be greeted with gloating pleasure by the crowd of townspeople gathered near the courthouse.
Although the unexpected turn in the course of the meetings (which is really adored by many filmmakers and the audience too, when the truth, which is always nearby, becomes the property of everyone only thanks to stubborn supporters of fair justice) makes you completely amazed.
It was not what many witnessed. The collaboration of the artist and the art dealer with the fascists turned out to be something different . It was deceptive, false (falsch in German, and in Dutch, as in English, there is term fake).
On order not to reveal a kind of "double twist", since after the end of the trial of Han van Megeren, Joseph Piller learns another secret about this man (so do we), it is better to think about the philosophical problem of the duality that exists, when one person is mistaken for another, and he may be under the threat of death.
This is a great movie for discussion and will give you a good ground for many thoughts about art and values in this world...
review by Alex First of MAPT
The Last Vermeer (M) – 118 minutes – by Alex First
Fine art, Nazis, the Dutch and the Allies collide in a whodunnit, which starts three weeks after the downfall of The Third Reich.
At stake is a priceless Johannes Vermeer – at the time the most expensive painting ever sold.
Trying to get to the bottom of the intrigue is a diligent Allied Jewish captain, who knows nothing about art, but is wedded to justice.
In the sights of Captain Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) is a man who allegedly brokered the sale of the Dutch Master’s painting, titled “Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery”, to notorious Nazi Hermann Göring.
His name is well-to-do Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce), an artist and connected wheeler and dealer with a high opinion of himself.
But Piller isn’t the only one wanting to interrogate van Meegeren.
Also with his sights on him is the far from subtle Dutch investigator Alex de Klerk (August Diego), who arrives with a posse of henchmen.
van Meegeren is imprisoned, but refuses to give up any information until he is given his painting materials ... and preferably his top shelf whisky.
A high stakes cat and mouse game follows during which we learn more about both Piller and van Meegeren.
The former – married with a child – is having some difficulties in his marriage and is drawn to his assistant, art historian Minna Holmberg (Vicky Krieps).
van Meegeren has a mistress and is fabulously wealthy, but gifted much of it to his ex-wife.
Before this is over, the painting in question will be the subject of a court case, in which van Meegeren’s life is on the line.
There is a great deal of subterfuge at play here, where much is not what it seems.
With no shortage of characters, The Last Vermeer requires concentration to follow all the threads.
Although involving to a point, I felt the screenplay by James McGee, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, based upon the book “The Man Who Made Vermeers” by Jonathan Lopez, lacked nuance.
Rather, it adopted a heavy-handed approach to the material … and there was a level of clumsiness about it.
Further, it took a while to build up momentum.
Really, the greatest interest lay in the third act.
For much of the film, Guy Pearce appeared to smirk and, at times, was almost cartoon-like in his representation of van Meegeren.
For his part, the Captain, as represented by Claes Bang, was too trusting, allowing van Meegeren to pull the strings.
Although you might argue that was largely the fault of the writers, Bang was still too single dimensional for my liking.
With authenticity on its side, I expected more from The Last Vermeer, which is directed by Dan Friedkin, in his feature directorial debut.
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.
ANTOINETTE IN THE CEVENNES FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 9/10
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!
review by Alex First of MAPT
Antoinette in the Cévennes (M) – 96 minutes – by Alex First
Passionate, Antoinette Lapouge (Laure Calamy) is a bundle of energy. She teaches grade five and is having an affair with Vladimir Loubier (Benjamin Lavernhe), the father of one of her students.
She is particularly looking forward to the holidays, which are upon them, because that will mean spending a few days with Vladimir.
But after a school concert and a bit of a make out session, Vladimir drops the news that he has to spend a week with his wife and daughter trekking in the picturesque Cévennes, in south central France.
That news hits Antoinette hard.
On the spur of the moment, she resolves to do likewise, without telling Vladimir.
When she arrives and is introduced to the other members of the party (who do not include Vladimir and his family), she spills the beans on why she is there.
She is also the only one who has engaged the services of a donkey. The animal’s name is Patrick and ... how can I best put this ... he has a mind of his own.
If he doesn’t want to do what Antoinette wants him to do, Patrick will stop dead in his tracks.
As exasperating as that is for Antoinette … on many occasions, she can’t but help build a strong bond with Patrick.
Along the way, the word of why she has come to the Cévennes spreads like wildfire.
In fact, she has become quite the celebrity in those parts.
Meanwhile, she does run into Vladimir and his wife and daughter, leading to an unexpected confrontation, during which a few home truths are sheeted home.
Antoinette in the Cévennes is very much one of those movies that is about the journey.
It is a film filled with humour, warmth, charm and joie de vivre.
Calamy makes Antoinette her own, with a rich, layered performance.
Many of her best scenes come from her interactions with the donkey.
In one, she spills her guts to the animal about the chequered history of her love life.
Writer and director Caroline Vignal, who was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, has built around Antoinette a series of colourful characters.
The cinematography by Simon Beaufils highlights the picturesque nature of the Cevennes.
The film is quirky and played for laughs as well as emotion.
When all is said and done, it is very much a talent showcase for Calamy.
Rated M, Antoinette in the Cévennes scores a 7 out of 10.
NOBODY FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 9/10
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 FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 8/10
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 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 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 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.
TOM AND JERRY FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 8/10
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 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) 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!
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.
ABOUT ENDLESSNESS BEST FILM OF THE MONTH website RATE: 10/10
It is a philosophical film.
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 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...
THE LITTLE THINGS FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 10/10
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.
Rated M, it scores a 7 out of 10.
SYNCHRONIC FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 8/10
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.
Rated MA, it scores a 6 out of 10.
DAYS OF THE BAGNOLD SUMMER FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 8/10
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.
Days of the Bagnold Summer (M) – 86 minutes – by Alex First
52-year-old English librarian Sue Bagnold’s (Monica Doland) husband Bob her left and her then young son Daniel eight years ago.
He now lives in Florida with his 36-year-old second wife, who is about to give birth to a child.
Daniel (Earl Cave), now 15, is on school holidays and looking forward to travelling to the States to spend time with his father.
Only a phone call changes that and Daniel is left to while away the summer at home, with only his mum and best friend Ky (Elliot Speller-Gillott) for company.
Daniel, like Ky, is into heavy metal music. His favourite band is Metallica, as reflected in his well-worn t-shirt.
In short, he is a layabout who expects his mother – who he treats badly – to do everything for him. A war of wills ensues.
The boy has a mighty big chip on his shoulders. He’s perpetually giving lip – sullen or angry or both.
Even shopping for shoes with his mum for an upcoming wedding becomes a nightmare.
Try as she does, nothing Sue says satisfies Daniel, who regards her as an embarrassment and says some particularly hurtful things.
One morning, after a run-in the night before, Sue insists that he prepare and hand around his resume to try to attract a summer job.
While Daniel does so, what catches his eye is a handwritten note on a notice board reaching out for a singer for a metal band.
In his pursuit of the same, Daniel has a falling out with Ky.
Meanwhile, Sue has unexpectedly been invited on a date by Daniel’s history teacher, the smooth-talking Douglas Porter (Rob Brydon).
Daniel is suitably grossed out.
As you can gather from what I have just told you, very little happens.
Sue doesn’t deserve the treatment she receives and Daniel has issues.
Adapted from a 2012 graphic novel by Joff Winterhart, Days of a Bangold Summer is a gently funny coming of age story.
The screenplay is by Lisa Owens, while Simon Bird directs his first feature. I appreciated the characterisations of Sue and Daniel. Both looked and acted suitably awkward.
Monica Doland channels “nerd” particularly well.
The film presents as fly on the wall material … like we are allowed to listen in on a mother and son’s frequent squabbles.
Some will appreciate the blitheness of it all. Others, I dare say, will be thinking much ado about nothing. What’s to see here, other than usual teenage rebellion?
The film follows a largely negative path until the final chapter, when an incident brings the pair closer.
Loud, metallic music stings are punctuated throughout the piece, reflecting Daniel’s musical states and the world he retreats into.
Notably, the one time he is called out publicly, he presents as remarkably shy.
Days of the Bangold Summer is an independent, small audience film, which will only suit selective tastes.
Rated M, it scores a 6 out of 10.
ANOTHER ROUND FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 9/10
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.
Rated MA, it scores a 7 to 7½ out of 10.
THE ELFKINS: BAKING A DIFFERENCE 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.