It was a very powerful film. I do not usually like watching dramas and I prefer comedies as real life is way too full of drama to watch it on the screen but as it was said in the film tragedies have the keys for us. We see ourselves in such films. There are my impressions from watching this wonderful film that will not leave you indifferent, I guarantee it.
The film leaves a very strong impression, it can be discussed and remembered. What happens in this picture goes beyond not only reasonable, but also common sense in general. It shows one very real case in America. This is possible any time, in any country, it can happen with someone behind the wall, or in a neighboring area, and from this it becomes not only sad, but also scary as well as alarming. In short, the film makes us not only think about our own fragile life, but also realize its importance and the fact that everything we do has consequences in one way or another.
It is about teenage girls, first love, friendship, relationships with parents and much more on the first glance, but as it turned out, this film went completely in the wrong direction followed by the terrifying picture appearing after first 10 minutes through the film that developed in more and more drama.
Kristen and Hannah are no different from their peers. They are diligent students and good daughters, but behind a beautiful "facade" there is a terrible things taking place: the girls have heroin addiction.
Actors. The actors are all new to me but they suited their roles perfectly, as well as the actors are beautiful and pleasant to look at. Among all other things, they definitely have talent
Atmosphere. The film has a cozy American atmosphere. Students, school years of adolescents, dates, first parties and first sex, wealthy parents, in general, everything is very standard. Parental control, or its absence and what it leads to, are also shown in the film. Still, once again I am convinced that the future of children, and whether they will have it at all, directly depends on mom and dad and on their attitude towards children. In fact, this is a very thin line: to have time for everything, not to miss anything in children's education, but also not to overdo it. Therefore, so often children leave childhood psychologically traumatized, and then this has its consequences in their personal life.
Shooting quality and effects. The quality of shooting is just super. It will be wrong to complain. Even a few dark scenes are shown beautifully and in detail.
Main characters. Kristen. A blonde girl with a charming smile and beautiful wide eyebrows. She is gorgeous as well as her character is quite cute, lovable and down to earth. She is on one hand, an innocent child, kind and bright, and on the other hand she s unexperienced and innocent that leads her to wrong believes. She is a clear example that behind a beautiful appearance a bunch of demons can be hidden that you never dreamed of, which you are afraid to even think about. What Kristen creates in her life is beyond any understanding. She is a girl full of nasty surprises and she is a good reflection of what takes place in her family between her mom and her dad. I believed in her salvation though, because she was from a reasonably good family, not badly brought up, she should have had a decent future and life. But somehow everything in the story did not go according to plan, and turned into an ongoing continuing horror growing like a snow ball into a snow storm.
Hannah. She is Kristen's best friend. They are inseparable but both girls are mired in the same meaningless "business". Hannah is also very beautiful, she is also a kind and pleasant girl. She and Kristen do everything together, they have a special bond: parties, school, after school, church you name it. Hanna loves to hang out, light up and have fun, she is the so-called "the lighter", the fire in this bond and the instigator of new things. Hannah is cheerful and happy, she never loses her optimism and inner core. She firmly believes that she can handle everything alone as she seems strong.
Kristen's parents. Kristen has good and decent parents. They seem to be great at communicating with their daughter and her younger sister. At first it seems to me that everything is fine in their relationship and that no one suffers, but it's only on t he surface and then we see the reality and understand how bad and scary everything is on the inside. They may not play the most important role in the film, but they are definitely the ones who mean a lot for this film as you understand where the problems of the children grow from. Kristen's parents are a good example of how not to behave with children.
The plot is unique and dynamic: it is about the difficulties of growing up and about the first problems we experience in life. The film is quite touching and sensual. The film will present the real harsh realities of what the consequences of frivolous behavior are. The film shocks with its ending and terrifies that all these very real events can be. There are some really disgusting scenes that I will not even mention here. They should be watched with closed eyes I believe.
Movie ending. It is rather unexpected and very scary. The harsh reality turned out to be so terrible that I could not calmly watch this film to the end and just wanted to cry and turn off the sound. It is terrible even to look at the screen.
It is a modern drama that many fans of this genre should definitely watch. This film is a must see if you suddenly started to forget the taste of life and everything seems gray and monotonous in your own life. It is a film with great meaning and with a shocking ending!
A harrowing, slice of life tale about two addicted middle-class teen girls, by its very nature it is difficult – although important – to watch.
It starts when a boy that pretty, intelligent (Princeton-bound), 14-year-old Kristen McKusker (Katie Kelly) likes slips her a pill to take.
It is oxycodone and it gives her a high like she has never known.
Next, we cut to 15 months later and by then – urged on by her best friend Hannah (Paola Andino) – she has moved onto heroin.
They both shoot up regularly and Hannah instructs Kristen on how she can do so under her tongue and between her toes.
Heroin is in plentiful supply and is significantly cheaper than oxy.
The guy Kristen likes takes advantage of the situation and before you know it, she is in serious trouble in more ways than one.
The only person she confides in is her long-time babysitter and now tutor.
Her mum, Clare (Shannan Wilson), is too busy moving up the ladder at the real estate agency where she works.
But Kristen isn’t the only one in way over her head.
Hannah, too, is succumbing to her addiction.
At age 16, this pair individually and collectively are in the battle of and for their lives. Heartache beckons.
Horrified though they are when the truth outs, their family and friends may not be enough to save them.
Sno Babies is a gruelling but compelling watch.
The primary thread, which I have just described, presents as a seemingly never-ending spiral.
It has an authenticity to it, which is chilling.
That is due, in no small part, to a “look at me” performance from Katie Kelly in the lead role.
She transitions her character from happy-go-lucky and carefree, with the world at her feet, to the depths of despair.
Paola Andino makes for a strong sidekick. I admired Michael Walsh’s writing and Bridget Smith’s direction, this being her directorial feature debut.
Before making the film, the pair spent countless hours speaking with recovering addicts and families who had lost loved ones from the scourge of drug abuse.
Sno Babies makes for a salutary commentary about how the dark side of life can quickly and steadily overwhelm.
Not so satisfying, nor as engaging, was the film’s second thread, which intersects with the primary one.
It concerns a man, Matt (Michael Lombardi), and his sister and their family home, that same man and his wife and infertility, and a predatory coyote.
I found that whole narrative component obtuse and unnecessary, notwithstanding the tenuous link to the main game.
Still, there is more than enough meat in Sno Babies for me to highly commend it, although be prepared for an ordeal.
It is available on digital platforms such as Google Play.
Rated MA, it scores a 7½ out of 10.
TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL NEW website review by Jeanette Russell
Alex Gibney is a documentarian. He directed Totally Under Control, a documentary about the Coronavirus with Suzanne Hillinger and Ophelia Harutyunyan.
Gibney has stated that he wanted the doco to serve as a " report card " on the way the virus was handled by the US government. He believes information, given by experts, has been very poorly utilized, or ignored.
Many authorities alerted Trump early about the possible implications of the pandemic.
Gibney's message is that incompetence and complacency surrounded measures and controls that were recommended to combat the outbreak of Covid 19 in America.
Another goal of this film was to give the voters insight into Trump's lack of taking action around the Coronavirus, before the looming election. To shed some light onto the predicament the country now finds itself in due to failed implementation of highly recommended health and safety protocols.
Feeling early warning signs and vital information was sidelined, he wants to bring to the fore what he feels the public are not aware of.
He has some experts who flagged the pandemic situation in the beginning. Predicting easy spread of the virus and cost to the community if testing was not implicated from the start.
Dr Eva Lee, an expert computer modeler, has been asked to assist the US and parts of Asia in the fight against the pandemic. She has predicted major health issues, using computer modeling which is very complex, in the past. These incorporate disease outbreaks and diagnosis. As well Lee has helped with medical readiness, optimal treatments and drug delivery, in her career up to date. Eva Lee suggested that schools close and people work from home as much as possible, early in the piece. These procedures unfortunately were not put into place until later, finding the spread of the virus getting out of control.
Max Kennedy Jr tried to stress the importance of protective equipment, this was his forte. He believes the government "can't get things done", and didn't seem to follow up, adequately, on important advice.
A reporter for the New York Times Michael D. Shear suggests there were conflicting messages from the Trump administrators, medical staff .
An interesting and informative insight as to what went so pear shaped regarding the practices and policies implemented by the US government around the Covid 19 virus. Well worth a look, I feel. I am especially appreciating our position here, as far as our measures to control the pandemic go.
The documentary goes for 2 hours and 3 minutes. Thank you very much to Neon for the chance to review this picture.
This film is about an early widowed woman Jessica, who decided to radically change her life by going on a trip in her retro chaise. After three hundred miles driving, the girl whose name is Jessica begins to think that she is obsessively pursued by a suspicious and disgusting Mustache, a scary looking man in a jeep. But perhaps Jessica is just winding herself up, or perhaps the Mustache wants to get to her with his sticky little hands... Who knows? The film about a sticky stalker is on the likes of "The Hitcher" or the others alike, full of tense moments, sadism and sometimes brutal action. The picture is a remake of the Swedish 2011 "Försvunnen" and unlike the original, it turned out to be very successful. The film is frightening with its realistic idea, because women are often the object of harassment and persecution by men, and if this happens in the middle of a dead highway in a God-forsaken countryside, then it is doubly worse. A distinctive feature of this film among its own kind is the consistency of actions on the part of the heroine, in most situations she does the right thing and does not blunt (but in some she still wants to shout "what are you doing, girl!").
Moral: if you want to travel, then use a plane or train, otherwise your fifth point provokes adventure on the desert roads of the provinces. As a result, an intense thriller about the confrontation between a girl and her pursuer, capable of throwing thrills for the evening.
The Secret of Henri Pick (Le Mystère Henri Pick), 2019, Remy Besançon
In the library of rejected books in the town of Crozon, a young employee of the publishing house, Daphne finds an unpublished masterpiece called 'The Last Hours of Love' and hurries to share this little miracle with her boyfriend, a young writer, Fred Koska. Remy Besançon's cozy film is a rare, touching investigation in the style of a sophisticated version of Nancy Drew for intellectuals to watch. When you watch this film you will enjoy the sight of shelves full of books, flirting with the word, good and healthy humor, knowing the names and author's specifics of this or that book.
The investigation into the subject “who wrote this miracle” leads the literary critic Jean-Michel (Fabrice Lucini) to very interesting and unexpected turns: he will meet many non-fictional plots, walk along seemingly well-trodden literary paths, meet love, combining both the intellectual principle and the thrill with which you gaze into the face of the woman in the photo, zooming in, admiring her facial features. Skeptic Jean-Michel cannot believe that Henri Pick, the owner of a Breton pizzeria, was able to create a masterpiece between making his pizzas. But, despite the fact that Pick's novel deprives Jean-Michel of his reputation, work, wife, Jean-Michel still feels himself alive, competent, and gambling again. He undertakes challenges to find the truth, which, however, will not disappoint him. There is no fawning with a modern context, with a search for relevance. This is a statement of fact: there is a corner in art, where there is a place for a library of rejected books, for ladies' clubs, detective lovers, where literary critics are practically rock stars who appear on TV in prime time.
The world of movie is much thinner than the worlds of some "corduroy chainsaw" and we are talking about art and the person in the art, about the conscious choice to “share” or “not to share” what you do, or if to share, then in what way. There is a search for an answer to the eternal question: what is hidden behind the investigation. However there is no fawning with a modern context, with a search for relevance. It is there where a young girl is ready to go on any adventure for the sake of the talent of her favorite writer, where the monuments of classical Russian literature are rethought, overgrown with new readings.
It is necessary to read the book "The Secret of Henri Pick" by David Fonkinos. Probably, it is as fast and easy to read as a movie looks. And in the remainder - at least benevolence, as a maximum - kindness.
The Mystery of Henri Pick (M) – 101 minutes – by Alex First
He made pizzas for a living in Brittany, in France’s northwest.
Who could have guessed Henri Pick was a deep thinking and gifted author (so much so that he could juxtapose Russian poet, playwright and novelist Alexander Pushkin with the last throes of a relationship)?
The answer is no-one. Not his wife, Madeleine (Josiane Stoleru). Not his daughter, Josephine (Camille Cottin). They never knew he could even write ... other than the most basic of prose in a letter.
But let me step back a moment.
That “author” has since passed on and his hidden masterpiece is found by a junior publisher, Daphne Despero (Alice Isaaz), amongst a treasure trove of unpublished manuscripts in a small French village.
So excited is she by this “find” that she immediately sends it to print.
The work becomes an instant hit, universally praised for its insightfulness.
The author’s wife is invited onto a television show that focuses on new works and the compere Fabrice Luchini (Jean-Michel Rouche) creates havoc by questioning whether her husband was the actual writer.
So, has a literary hoax, indeed, been perpetrated and if so by whom and why?
Finding an answer to those questions is the core of this comedic drama.
The tenacious sleuth is the arrogant TV host and respected critic, subsequently sacked from the program for his unsympathetic line of questioning.
It becomes his personal mission to get to the truth, with no shortage of cryptic clues and missteps along the way.
Based on a novel by David Foenkinos, the screenplay is by Remi Bezancon (who also directs) and Vanessa Portal.
While a largely enjoyable romp, The Mystery of Henri Pick becomes too convoluted for its own good, chasing clues down proverbial drainpipes.
Its levity, too, takes away from what could have been something mighty special.
I love the idea of a literary whodunnit, but of course its success comes down to its execution.
I would have liked less lightness of touch and more straight drama so that I could have taken the premise more seriously.
But that was not to be, as the script on occasions even disintegrated into the slapstick.
Still, Rouche does a good job with what he had to work with, ably channelling a self-absorbed blowhard.
Around him the support players assume their roles without any real standouts.
I liked the quaint village setting and the hometown feel of the piece.
But the positives in combination were not enough to alleviate my reservations when it came to treating the subject matter with the gravitas I feel it deserved.
Still, many will likely appreciate The Mystery of Henri Pick for what it is.
Film: Spree From: America Released: Australia 8/10/2020 Director/Co-writer: Eugene Koltyarenko. Actors: Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, David Arquette Reviewer: Sherry Westley
Spree is a black satire based on the increasingly obsessive and psychotic attempts of 23 year old Kurt Kunkle, to gain a following on social media. Kurt has been trying to gain a following since he was thirteen, but shows no talent for it.
Lacking a solid sense of identity and feeling alone, he yearns for the validation, approval and acceptance he believes will come with having social media followers.
He hatches a crazy plan to go viral on social media, and takes us on a black, bloody and mildly humorous ride. If you are interested in the technical side of films, this one is unusual. Shot with mobile phones, body cams and car cameras rather than feature film cameras. Much of the story is told through live streaming, including « live » streaming followers’ comments, meant to provide comic relief and a sense of viewer complicity.
Spree is clearly meant as a comment on our social media obsession and how this can relate to our sense of identity and self worth.
I didn’t particularly enjoy this film. But perhaps it is the genre I am not fond of. With the exception of the female character Jess, the portrayals are all basically caricatures, so I couldn’t really relate to them or care much about them. But then black satire and especially gonzo films, probably wouldn’t work without caricatures.
Not sure that I took anything new away from the underlying critique on our use of social media either.. But the film could be a good discussion starter for older teenagers. But if black satire is your thing, you just might love this film.
Honest Thief Review Being a Liam Neeson fan, I was looking forward to watching this movie. I thought it was similar to other movies he’d done and quite a generic storyline. Man meets girl, man falls in love, man wants to right his wrongs, man faces obstacles along the way. In this scenario, he was framed and is trying to clear his name.
Although there was limited action (I think Neeson’s age played a part in this), and some of the shooting scenes really made me question how a trained gun user could have such bad aim, I enjoyed the storyline and the movie.
Liam Neeson brings his resourceful Taken persona to the lead role in the action, crime, drama Honest Thief.
He plays ex-marine Tom who went on to become a successful bank robber.
In fact, he looted no less than 12 such small-town institutions of more than $9 million over eight years.
But then over a year ago he stopped.
He did so because in organising a storage unit, he met a lady, Annie (Katie Walsh), at the counter who has since become the love of his life.
They are even about to buy a house and move in together.
And now he wants to come clean in order to pursue that relationship without guilt.
Without revealing his past to Annie, Tom places a call to the FBI and attempts to broker a deal with them.
Only that doesn’t work out the way he expected it to.
Many have preceded Tom in claiming they were the “In and Out Bandit”.
That aside, money and greed go hand in glove.
Before long, Tom and Annie are in the fight of their lives ... and there will be casualties.
Along the way, we learn why Tom took up bank robbery in the first place.
Pacey and pulsating, Honest Thief kept me involved throughout.
While pushing credibility – as these types of vehicles more often than not do – Steve Allrich and Mark Williams (the latter of whom also directs) have nevertheless crafted an eminently watchable actioner.
The choice of talent to fill the primary roles aids their cause immeasurably.
Pros that they are, Liam Neeson and Kate Walsh effortlessly glide through their performances, both coming across as highly likeable.
He has charm and street smarts, as required by the persona he fills, and she sass and naïveté.
Theirs is a strong pairing.
I was less sold on those tackling the FBI functionaries, but they did enough to get them over the line.
Honest Thief is a film in which – if truth be told – the outcome is never in doubt, but it is a wild ride along the way on a journey worth taking.
Celebrating the birthday without her husband, out of desperation of been lonely and been given the lucky reading by the card reader , Grandma Wong withdraws all her life savings $1,712, gets on the bus to casino.
Grandma Wong on number 8 multiplies in a speed as the casino relets are spinning. Having the luck of winning all night Grandma Wong Makes her last bet and loses its all.
On the way back from the casino on the bus Grandma Wong gets a passenger who dies during the trip on the way home. From nowhere, on her lap a bag full of cash funds its way. Grandma Wong, doesn’t think long to keep it all to herself. Having worked with her husband all her life without much time to see a sunlight and having not much savings to live on, she sees it as a blessing from the Sky, and the luck that is long overdue for financial freedom.
But life is not meant to be so easy, Red Dragon mafia finds her in no time and demands cash back, as it was stolen by trusted accountant.
Our Grandma Wong is made of steel, and has no intentions of giving it back, instead she hires a bodyguard. She tries hard to fight off the gang and is fearless.
All is good , but she does have a soft spot, her grandchild David is kidnapped, and she has no choice but to seek the protection from Sister Fong and give all the cash back .
Nothing gained nothing lost…
A NIGHT AT THE LOUVRE: LEONARDO DA VINCI NEW website review by Max Davine
A Night at the Louvre – review – Max Davine
In 2002, Russian filmmaker Aleksander Sokurov brought The Winter Palace to the entire world’s living rooms with his experimental historical film Russian Ark. In it, an unnamed narrator guides a beautifully handled camera through the hall of the infamous palace, delivering more than the regular tourist experience of actually going to Petersburg and paying for a ticket.
In 2020, with the world ravaged and humanity physically restrained from visiting other countries, Sokurov’s concept has been revived, refashioned, and reapplied - this time to Paris’ beloved and historical art gallery; the one and only Louvre.
The photography is far more loving and warm than the technology in Sokurov’s time would have permitted, opening with elegant drone shots of the exterior of the museum and guiding the viewer through the glass pyramid into the heart of the Louvre, Pierre-Hubert Martin pulls back the showmanship and extravagance of Russian Ark and offers the viewer something far more sombre. The viewer is taken through the various galleries with a simple voice over providing us a guide.
Documentarian elements are added, and Sylvian Séchet’s gorgeous photography would do well projected on the back wall of an elegant soiree, to make Night at the Louvre an interesting catharsis to the restricted world we have temporarily been plunged into.
FROM KURILS WITH LOVE NEW website review by Natasha Marchev RATE: 6/10
It is heart breaking for me personally to see this short film for many reasons: nature and animals lover I feel for the lost and neglected that we tend to kill and use without returning back to our Mother. If nothing comes back Nature will have nothing to give us soon. I recall my grand dad as an army doctor was doing his service back in 70-s at the Kuril Islands. He told us, his grandkids lots of beautiful stories about the islands and their beauty. He was down there for some years away from his family in Moscow and his memories about the part of land of great paradise were remembered. The Kuril Islands are for future generations to discover I guess. It is one of the pure wilderness on Earth that remains undiscovered still but already "touched" indirectly by what is happening globally on Earth: climate change, pollution that influences the wild life in general. We continue to kill. This film is about conscious living, not only about this island of natural beauty. Like they said in this short film: "It is silence, then the bird's cry, then silence again..." It is a special place. Vladimir, a Russian marine biologists tells us with passion about his mission. Watch it and follow his call...
From Kurils with Love is a heartfelt 25-minute documentary about a chain of 56 isolated Russian volcanic islands, whose inhabitants, largely sea lions, face a perilous future.
61-year-old Vladimir Burkanov is a friendly and dedicated marine biologist who has studied mammals in the region for more than three decades.
In July 2019 he joined a group of adventurers who set sail on a 12-day expedition to some of the islands to document their magic and the threat to the Kurils.
Their purpose was fundraising, with money generated going to the collection of further data to help instigate long-term conservation plans.
Burkanov is the glue that binds the documentary together and provides perspective on the fragile islands’ ecosystem.
His passion is infectious. He is deeply concerned that with funds running out the future is looking bleak.
And, as he is not getting any younger, he wants to live to see his contemporaries continue his work.
He points out that since the 1980s the sea lion population in some areas has declined by 80 per cent.
Burkanov maps the habit of the rookeries using drones.
The cinematography – including aerial and underwater shots and time lapse photography – is spectacular (it reminded me of some of the great Sir David Attenborough’s work).
Through it, we get up close and personal and appreciate why Burkanov’s mission to save the natural habitat for the creatures that inhabit one of the world’s most remote and inaccessible places it is so important.
What isn’t so clear is why the shift in fortunes is occurring, although climate change is mentioned.
The pictorial representation is aided by a strong and affecting score.
Quite frankly, 25 minutes was nowhere near enough for me. I wanted to see a full-length documentary on the animals and efforts to see their numbers grow.
On top of that, some of the natural landscape is truly breathtaking.
One thing is certain, raising awareness can, indeed, lead to positive change.
Let’s hope so.
You can view From Kurils with Love – which is the work of filmmakers Taylor Rees and Renan Ozturk, both of whom are also among the cinematographers – on YouTube.
It scores a 7½ out of 10.
MISS JUNETEENTH NEW website review by Sherry Westley
Film: Miss Juneteenth Setting: African American community, Texas. Released: June 19th 2020 (USA) Writer/Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples.
I was totally wrong with my low expectations of this film. Based entirely on the title, I was expecting a hackneyed coming of age story or worse still, a college comedy. What I got, was a heart warming, tender, skilfully acted and directed family drama, set in an old black community in Fort Worth Texas.
The debut film for writer/director Channing Godfrey Peoples, it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and won best Texan Film at South by South West. Peoples grew up in this community and her film glows with her nuanced understanding and love for it.
Main character Turquoise, is a capable, struggling, working class single mother. She is set on entering her reluctant fifteen year old daughter in the local Miss Juneteenth Quest, a quest for potential rather than just beauty. The Quest winner gains entry to a historically black college and thereby a path to education, accomplishment and choices: real freedom , from Turquoise’s perspective.
Interestingly, Miss Juneteenth pageants are factually part of Texan black communities’ annual celebrations of June 19,1865. This is when Texan slaves were told they were free, over two years after slavery was outlawed in the North. A delayed freedom. The celebration day is known as Juneteenth in Texas.
Turquoise was a Miss Juneteenth winner herself, but missed going to college. Presumably because of the unplanned birth of her daughter. « She my dream now. »
Peoples directs with a gentle pace drawing a natural and layered characterisation from highly convincing actors. Always with an overriding affection for her main characters and their community. She has said she is interested in showing life’s shades of grey, rather than simplified depictions.
What is real freedom for each of the characters? Can we move on from our failed dreams and find our own new ones? Can Turquoise find a delayed freedom for herself?
I enjoyed the natural warmth of this film and the feeling that I was peeping into a welcoming community that I hadn’t quite seen before. And who knew about Juneteenth?
A Russian production of contemporary story-telling, Sputnik is a brilliant piece surrounding the advent of a cosmonaut encountering an extraterrestrial entity during the Cold War of the '80s. It is also apparent that the telling of the tale in the Russian language somehow heightens the composition of adrenaline that you'd feel coursing through your veins.
This is not your regular alien movie - for one thing, it features some scientific elements that the audience could attest to. On another front, the story arcs with a backstory of the past. Coupled with remarkable acting of every single member of the cast, Sputnik has definitely raised the bar throughout the European Bloc.
It is evident that Sputnik is one that every horror-flick buff should experience. The audience is presented with a piece of art that is enjoyable by the entire family.
THE SECRETS WE KEEP website review by Vellu Khanna
The Secrets We Keep
'The Secrets We Keep' takes on a fresh view of post-war traumas and unfulfilled vendetta - and it does not await for the story to gather momentum, as we are presented with a gear-shifting stance within the first five minutes of its feature.
We see a young wife in an emerging town in the United States right after World War 2, running chores and errands as any other home-maker of the era. And then - a trigger is beset.
Scenes of the past emerge, bringing henceforth a weaving of a tale from a prison camp of Nazi Germany - the threading of the story moving through bouts of uncertainties and segments of gaps.
'The Secrets We Keep' is truly a psychological thriller that will keep you on edge, right from the movie's commencement to its 'twist-in-the-tale' climax.
Sophia Coppola’s career is unique for a young director – we’ve got to see her grow up through her films. We’ve seen the prodigal debut, the awkward debutante years and now we get to see the mature storyteller flourish and find herself with a skill and a talent that surpass her Oscar-winning father’s. Taking her cues from Woody Allen, John Cassavetes, and just a sprinkling of Blake Edwards, she casts New York City in its most beautiful performance to date.
On the Rocks was clearly written with Bill Murray firmly in mind. It is the story of author Laura who begins to suspect that her husband Dean is having an affair, though her suspicions are more fuelled by her eccentric art-dealer father Felix than any actual evidence. Murray is excellent (of course) – a performance that seems almost a summary of his career, with nuanced aspects of Spackler, Venkman, and Schwartz all subtly interlaced beneath his cool and still effortlessly Murray-esq surface. But the film is not about Murray’s character, and it is Rashida Jones who gives the standout work here. Supported by Marlon Wayans and Murray, she renders Laura with such perfect honesty and intimacy it is hard to take your eyes off her. She evokes the neurotic spouse that kindles fond memories of Dudley Moore in 10 and becomes the “straight-man” to Murray for the bulk of the picture before the climactic emotional revelations and transcends what one can call “acting” the way the lead male’s did in the Second-Golden-Age-era cinema that Coppola was so clearly inspired by.
The actors are in fabulous hands – Coppola pulls her camera right back and frames every shot to give them absolute freedom to the point where the viewer’s screen seems to become a window through which we see very real life stories unfold – the zenith of any filmmaker’s skill. She is at the absolute top of her game here.
This would be an ideal summer flick that you could enjoy with your family.
A feel-good movie that illustrates the child in every one of us, owing much to an ensemble of talents unsurpassed in the contemporary British cinema, 'Four Kids and It' revolves around a mystical wish-fulfilling creature called Psammead, who had made a beach as his home for over a hundred million years. Seemingly enough, four children, while being on a family vacation on that very beach, stumble upon this luminous being, and a series of mishaps tinted with a humorous past begin to shape.
The movie boasts an epic starline - Michael Caine, Russell Brand, Paula Patton and Matthew Goode. With a gratuitous mix of an interesting storyline, 'Four Kids and It' is undoubtedly a feature of comic relief and of the bond of family that anyone could appreciate.
BECKY Home Alone meets Kill Bill in this macabre gore-fest, but never lives up to its potential.
I went into this movie with one impression: the critics hate it but movie audiences like it, and I can see exactly why that’s the case. As someone who falls somewhere in the middle between movie critic and general audience, I’ll admit that I’m drawn in by the ludicrousness of this story, but it never becomes a good story. It relies on predictable tropes and half-baked rationale to sell the plot, sabotaging what could otherwise have been the sort of excessive, overblown action we idolise in films such as Kill Bill and A Clockwork Orange and every zombie movie ever.
This movie starts out normal enough. Thirteen-year-old Becky Hooper (played in a strangely quite charming way, despite all the killing, by Lulu Wilson) is angry at her dad and angry at the world after her mother has passed away, and in an effort to rekindle their relationship, her dad (the ever-loveable Joel McHale) decides to take them both away to the lakehouse for a weekend. For some reason, he has also decided that this is the perfect time to also land Becky with the news that he is seeing someone new, and oh, by the way, his new girlfriend, Kayla (Amanda Brugel), is also coming for the weekend with her son Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe). Needless to say, tensions are high and silences are very awkward for this oddball soon-to-be family. This sets the stage for the main part of the story – Dominick (Kevin James) has escaped prison with his own ‘family’ of followers, and is looking for a key that he hid before being incarcerated; this key, he hints, unlocks the secrets of racial purity, which Dominick finds very important because he is a Nazi. Apparently he has been planning to escape prison and find the key for years, perhaps even decades, and his plan involves imprisoning the Hooper family in their home while he searches for it. Unfortunately he doesn’t account for the extent of Becky’s thirst for revenge, especially after she watches her father tortured and murdered in front of her. Cue a long and blood-soaked crusade as Becky becomes the terrifying and merciless child-assassin that no child has ever dreamed of being. This is a movie that goes from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye, and revels in its grisly brutality. It’s the sort of movie that attracts a cult following, but never achieves commercial success. Unfortunately, while it aspires to sit alongside other cult classics, such as A Clockwork Orange, there are far too many inconsistencies, and the plot itself is too flimsy, for it to ever be considered part of that category.
Becky’s biggest fault is in its writing. From the premise to the characters to the whole reason why anything happens, there are far too many times when I had to suspend disbelief for me to enjoy it for what it is. The story tries very hard to sell the idea of a little girl forced into a horrific and bloodstained massacre, but never quite hits the mark. Dominick’s Nazi brotherhood of fellow escaped convicts feels like a half-hearted attempt to explain why all of these wanted criminals are working together. Even some of the murder scenes have been poorly written and directed, with characters standing around, apparently just waiting for Becky to execute them. One of the convicts spends five minutes floundering in a lake, without doing anything, before the vengeful spirit that is Becky slices up his face with a boat propeller. So while I can enjoy this movie to an extent, and appreciate the idea behind it, which is unusual and unconventional, overall it feels too flimsy, unbelievable, and gratuitous. Putting the final nail in the coffin was reaching the end of the movie, and realising that the purpose of the key – the whole reason Dominick held this family hostage, tortured and shot a man, and tried to murder a young girl – wasn’t going to be explained. Talk about McGuffin! At least the characters seem to understand the ludicrousness of the situation - Amanda Brugel’s character puts it succinctly when she says, “What the eff was the point of all this?”
Look, fan fiction is fine in the way that cotton ball fetishes are fine. Do it for yourself. But please don’t ever let it go mainstream. Some academics classify Paradise Lost as fan fiction – but we’re not talking about epic poetry or John Milton here. Not by a loooooooong shot.
Jenny Gage’s adaptation of Anna Todd’s 2014 literary masturbation “After” is fantastic in that it perfectly demonstrates why fan fiction has its place. Its quiet, dark, out-of-the-way place. The plot is generic – gorgeous but (obviously) virginal (despite a boyfriend) Tessa goes off to a mythical college that accepts its student body based on the photoshoots they did for the lingerie section of the K-Mart catalogue where she meets seemingly pre-pubescent pouty boy with fake tattoos whose purpose to the story is demonstrated early by his name literally being hard-on. Tessa, meanwhile, wants to do well in school but has no distinct dreams or ambitions. But she’s imaginative enough to see her ideal boyfriend (clearly not the one she already has) locked deep within whiny drama-boy’s pouty veneer.
This sort of Sunday-afternoon soap-opera cinema has its place and can be done timelessly well – see 10 Things I hate About You. It can also be done the way Gage has done it. After nearly two minutes of logos we meet vapid characters we care nothing about, we hear the same (awful) song recur three times in the eight minutes that follow the logo-marathon, and then we get to see good girl (you can tell because she wears a long skirt, see) gradually show a little more shoulder and a little more leg and eventually cheat on her boyfriend. Oh, and whiny-boy cries about his father getting married. Because that’s – you know – terrible…
There are also lesbian scenes you know you wanted to see and an extraordinary stretch of brooding silence between every single sentence the characters speak to each other. It’s like the screenwriter just fell in love with the parenthetical direction (long pause)
A modern-day depiction of Victor Hugo's triumphant piece of the mid-19th century, Les Misérables brings to life the palpable nature of a duo team of corrupt police officers in Paris, France. The movie begins with a new recruit to that team, and of the course of events that surrounds his first day on the job, with the storyline nudged forward through the misdemeanour of a youngster who resides with his family in the projects.
The profundities of the mechanics of any city's underbelly is shown in vivid clarity - the audience is bound to have aroused a sense of moral query with the scenes and the characters of the movie. The cinematography poised by the movie, tied together with astounding directorship, presents a differing view of the city that is synonymous with romance and progress.
Though many would deem it to be a cliché, this version of a feature film revolving on levels of corruption in the police force, is aptly to be told once again. The contemporary audience is awarded a revisit to Victor Hugo's Les Misérables in such a fresh light.