At this point, introducing anything by Lin-Manuel Miranda feels superfluous. The man is a critically acclaimed writer, director, composer, actor, editor, and producer. A pain in the ass polymath that has been changing the game and raising the stakes for nearly two decades. He is now teaming up with director Jon M. Chu to bring his smash hit broadway play, In The Heights to the big screen. No small task given the creators tendency for ambition. The Dramatic musical follows the resident of a primarily Dominican neighbourhood in Washington Heights, New York. Much like the film creators, each member of the community has their own ambitions and dreams. Each seeking to surpass themselves and rise above their station. The film, like the musical before isn’t shy about showcasing some of the very real hurdles that people of colour and particularly dreamers face in American society. For every grand plan and hardworking mentality, there is an equally powerful force pushing them back down and denying their ambitions.
In The Heights isn’t a cautionary, sociopolitical parable, but rather a celebration of love and perseverance in the face of adversity. Cinematographer Alice Brooks exemplifies this in her work, allowing the musical numbers to be and grand scale and reality breaking as they need to be, while keeping the world grounded and realistic. When the mood is vibrant, the colours are vibrant, when reality comes knocking, so too does a muted pallet. Each frame is crafted to fit the tone and theme. Likewise, the choreographer Christopher Scott does an excellent job in giving each character a chance to show their personalities and uniqueness through their movements and styles.
None of which would be nearly as affective if the cast wasn’t so on point. Long time fans will of course recognise Miranda himself, as well as frequent collaborators, Anthony Ramos and Christopher Jackson. Eagle eyes viewers may also notice cameos from the original Broadway cast including Javier Munoz and Seth Stewart while many of the first tour cast lend their voices to the background vocals. Even without the easter eggs and subtle nods, the cast does a superb job. Melissa Barrera is moving, while Leslie Grace proves herself capable of running with the big dogs. We know to expect greatness from Corey Hawkins and he does not disappoint. There really are no weak point in this cast.
it doesn’t hurt that they get to perform to one of the greatest film albums ever made. A slight adaption from the multi Tony winning, Grammy winning, Laurence Olivier sweeping Pulitzer prize finalist soundtrack of the original. This is some of Miranda’s best work, and it shows. The latinio based R&B infused lyrics combined with sweeping scores and acappella symphonies, make this soundtrack instantly memorable and infinitely replayable. This film is a work of art and it deserves to be treated as such. There isn’t a single person alive I cannot recommend this movie to. Go forth, and experience greatness. Just know that you are going to be singing along in the shower for a very long time.
THE SPARKS BROTHERS NEW website review by Sam Bell
Aside from breadmaking and newly fostered relationships with the duolingo owl, one of the most popular hobbies in recent years has been documentary watching. Those who go into The Sparks Brothers expecting more of the same are in for a shock to the system however. Hollywood powerhouse and Cornetto connoisseur Edgar Wright flips the model on its head and uses the playbook to make paper mâché. Telling the story of Sparks, an experimental, comedic, and prolifically creative band; consisting of the two Mael brothers, Ron and Russell as well as a variety of ever-changing band members. With over 50 years of nonstop work in the music industry, Sparks is one the longest running bands around and their proclivity for putting out new material makes them one of the most wide reaching and uniquely inspiring bands on earth.
This propensity for different genres and musical stylings is what allows The Sparks brothers to be as unique as it is. Rather than focussing on the brothers themselves and giving fans a deep look into their personal lives as is often the case, Wright chooses instead to focus on the music. Chronologically running through the bands discography and giving a brief overview of the situations surrounding each of the bands 25 studio albums. The film honours the brothers love of the craft, by highlighting their efforts to remain true to themselves and produce the music they love, regardless of commercial success or acclaim.
In what can only be a case of artistic showmanship, wright uses the Mael brothers wide variety of experiences to experiment with a truly eclectic variety of styles and film techniques. Using multiple forms of animations, Claymation, stop motion and voice overs, as well as playing with various colour pallets, lens lengths and visuals filters, Wright refuses to the let the audience get comfortable. A style that fits perfectly well with Sparks’ seemingly random, yet intentionally crafted musical stylings.
It is difficult to say what, or how many influences are at play in this movie as many of the influences seem to have come from Sparks themselves. A fact which many of the well-known cameos and speakers are happy to discuss. From the Red-Hot Chilli Peppers, to Weird Al Yankovic and everyone in between, Sparks seem to have made their mark on the entire musical industry, both in America and abroad. An understated and underrated influence that becomes apparent very quickly as the film samples tracks from each album and points out that the trends of every decades pop music can clearly be heard in Sparks work, but always in their albums of the previous decade. Perpetually ahead of their time and rarely recognised for their style defining and genre defying work, Sparks are a lesson in creative liberties and the dangers that come with them.
The Sparks Brothers is an eye-opening film, that draws attention to a band that should rightfully have been a recognised part of the zeitgeist decades ago, but have remained a constant force of musical inertia and creativity regardless. Music fans of all flavours will recognise the roots of the favourite bands somewhere in this film and film fans deserve a chance to see every technique in the book, blended into a cohesive narrative. The Sparks Brothers is to documentaries, what Sparks are to pop music, ahead of it’s time and likely to go under the radar. Don’t let it slip under yours. Drag your friends and family to witness a love letter to two of pop biggest invisible giants.
CRANSTON ACADEMY: MONSTER ZONE NEW website review by Nicole Stenton
Monster Zone is a movie about an intelligent boy named, Danny, who receives a scholarship to the Cranston Academy. This is a secret school that focuses on all things Science. While at the Academy, he and his roommate unlock a new dimension that sees monsters enter their world and attack anyone they see.
I found the movie quite slow at the start and it jumped between characters, so you didn’t really get a good sense of any of the characters personalities. I also thought some of the animated characters didn’t really match the personality of the character they were portraying. My 7-year-old, found some of the scenes with monsters a little scary and had to look away at times, however my 10 year old wasn’t phased and didn’t really find them intimidating at all. The movie had a lot of bright, bold colours which made it appealing to the eye. Overall, I won’t be rushing back to see this movie. I found it rather mediocre and predictable.
Film "Herself" covers one of the most exploited themes in cinematography: a woman is a mother who endures her husband's bullying for a long time and does not dare to break up, because she does not want to deprive her children of their father. Such cases all end up the same way: patience comes to a limit and, as it turns out, there is always a way out.
It is not known whether the script was written from a specific case, but even if not, then, such a story is quite likely to be real if the concept is in the hands of a talented person.
Sandra has enough energy for children, for two jobs, and her head works well in the sense of how to provide herself with housing, but bureaucratic laws do not give her a chance.
Sandra doesn't give up.
The role of Sandra is played by the Irish actress, Claire Dunn, not very famous, she is also the scriptwriter of this film.
She looks convincing in the role, although I didn't have enough sympathy for her somehow. The constant fear of a woman for her children, for herself, is understandable to those who also faced violence and the actress portrayed her heroine just like that.
The story is still not as simple as it seems. The finale crosses out all the euphoria and happiness of braking free and returns to the starting point. But the changes have already taken place and have completely cleansed the soul of the unnecessary energy.
Life does not stand still, we must move on...
DEATH OF A LADIES' MAN NEW website review by Sherry Westley
Film: Death Of A Ladies’ Man Style: Drama/Comedy Aust. Release: 20th May 2021 Set In: Montreal Canada Ireland Starring: Gabriel Byrne Writer/Director: Mathew Bissonnette Music: Leonard Cohen
I enjoyed this film very much. But if you like your stories straightforward, clear and without whimsy, you may not so much. I wanted to see it because the title and music comes from Montreal’s famous writer, poet and singer, Leonard Cohen. The film is not about Leonard Cohen. It is about the last months of charming ladies’ man and alcoholic, Professor Samuel O’ Shea, played beautifully by Gabriel Byrne.
But it is Leonard Cohen like in that the main character becomes (for the first time ever),engaged in looking at his life and motivations. However his soul searching is done with a humour and lightness that most people don’t associate with Cohens’ work.
There is another Cohen like trait in the film’s direction: the exact meaning of some scenes is not always obvious. Writer/ Director Mathew Bissonnette uses the brain tumor Sam is dying of, to produce hallucinations such as his dead father’s presence. Some of these hallucinations help inform Sam about his past motivations and choices. Most have humour, some seem to be just mad fun. Or are they more?
So if you’re a Leonard Cohen fan, you’ll enjoy Death of a Ladies’ Man. Yes there’s his wonderful music and writing, but there’s also a Leonard Cohen aesthetic about the whole film.
Canadian director Mathew Bissonnette is clearly a fan. He has used Cohen’s writing and music as themes in his 2002 debut film “Looking for Leonard” and his 2009 film “Passenger Side”.
The acting is excellent, the main characters likeable, the storyline sometimes confusing. But it’s charming and fun. Then there’s those wonderful songs. Only thing is, I need to see it again to clarify a couple of things! Perhaps I will.
PERCY VS GOLIATHNEW website review by Vellu Khanna
What a refreshing view of a courtroom drama - especially when it is a biographical piece!
Tied in with the brilliance of Christopher Walken, who plays an aged farmer (Percy Schmeiser) in Canada, and that of Christina Ricci (Rebecca Salcau), taking on the character of an executive from an NGO hell-bent on reversing the industrial manufacturing of GMO-based crops, we see an impactful movie that questions the basis of what is right and wrong.
Within the course of the first 10 minutes of the flick, it is apparent that an American agrochemical giant, the Monsanto Company, had kicked off a legal suit with Percy. And the movie takes on its turns and shifts through the courtrooms and the emotional high-jumps that follow closely with such endeavors.
Percy vs Goliath is definitely a movie to spend your time on, post-haste.
It has been said that old age needs little, but needs that little so much. Never has this need been made more visually apparent, than in Maite Alberdi new film The Mole Agent. Following recent widower and unashamed octogenarian Sergio Chamy, as he is recruited by private investigator Romulo Aitken to go undercover and investigate a local retirement home to ascertain whether his clients mother is being abused and neglected. The film begins as it is marketed, as a delightful romp through the misadventures of a technology challenged old man as he attempts to learn how to be a spy and bumbles his way through comedically. A light hearted and familiar theme audience have seen before and know what to expect from. Alberdi flips the script however once Sergio enters the facility. The childish shenanigans take a backseat and Sergio begins getting acquainted with the lives of the residents and suddenly audiences find themselves in a deeply moving introduction to assisted living and the reality faced by the aging population. The film pulls no punches as Sergio integrates himself into the lives of those around him, the dastardly careers, become open hearted souls and the true struggles faced by these people are given the respect they deserve. From familial neglect, to solitude induced depression, memory loss and the ever-present Spector of death, life is cruel and these people are truly just trying to make the most of it at their end.
The film maintains some of its comedy, but nearly all levity is traded for bittersweet moments. The Mole Agent is moving in a way that few films are. There is no carefully crafted script, or manipulative scenes. It relies on brutal honesty to say everything it has to say, and the message come through loud and clear. Regardless of age or circumstance, people are just people and they deserve to be loved. As Sergio says while defending his actions “Forgive me, but I'm a person too. I'm a person and I respect you, so you should too.”. In the end, that’s all it’s really about. Seeing past the wrinkles and putting aside your preconceived notions. Listen to the poetry of a wise soul, laugh at the antics of a 90-year-old school girl, be moved by the selfless love of a catholic maiden. People are fun, cute, quirky and weird, no matter how old they are. Age is just a number, open your hearts and love those who need it most. The mole agent is recommended viewing for all audiences of all ages. Anyone with elderly family that they are losing touch with, should consider this film a mandatory watch.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL NEW website review by Sam Bell
John Wick meets Taken, with some HardBoiled thrown in for good measure. Korea’s latest film export, Deliver Us From Evil, has gifted the world Won-Chan Hong. A mesmerising debut, Hong has established his name as one to watch, by reminding us why we love Korean action cinema. A fast paced action drama with enough heart to drag the tears out of you, and enough explosions to give you an excuse for blinking so much. The film follows In-nam, a depressed assassin on his last job, just looking forward to escaping and finding something to make him feel alive. It’s not to be, as not only does he find himself mourning the death of an old flame, but chasing after a daughter he never knew he had. Made all the more difficult by way of a fellow assassin chasing him down when it turns out he and In-nam’s last victim were brothers. Things go from bad to worse as In-nam is forced to slaughter his was through Thailand’s underbelly, tracking down smugglers, drug dealers, and murderers of every kind.
The film is a case study in escalation. Starting quiet and grey, and proceeding to build with every scene. From colour, to sound, to action, to the set pieces themselves, the film begins with a whisper and ends up leaving the audience feeling like they just stared down the barrel of a live machine gun. The performances are intense, from Jung-min Hwang’s portrayal of In-nam as the jaded and hollowed shell of a great man. To the bombastic sadism of Jung-jae Lee’s Ray. Even 9-year-old So-yi Park, pulls out all the stops in her performance, transitioning from the light and bubbly child of privilege to the haunted and apathetic spawn of a killer who’s seen more than she ever should. For all it’s set pieces and criminal elements, Deliver us from evil is at its heart a character drama. There are no heroes in this story. Some people are better than others, but everyone is out of themselves and posess both the power and will to step on anyone to get it. People often ask, what happens when an unstoppable force, meets an immovable object. Deliver us from evil aims to answer the question. If you’re curious, the answer is people die.
Even having spoiled that, Deliver us from Evil is well worth your time. Either to experience the first work of a soon to be globally recognised director, or just to appreciate the craft of film making. Watch it, watch it again, and then take a minute to mull over the fact that it was made with just over 10 million dollars. This film deserve praise and awards. One of those things is probably out of your control, the other? Get on it.
This punk-chic style movie is an absolute aesthetic pleasure
Australian cinemas are blessed with the May 27 national release of a prequel to the Disney story about the long-suffering Dalmatians. It is the crime comedy called Cruella. The viewer will finally learn how the cold-blooded villain came to such a life.
We have already watched the novelty from director, Craig Gillespie with the unsurpassed Emma Stone in the title role, and are happy now to share our impressions in hot pursuit.
Many of us watched the Disney films "101 Dalmatians" and "102 Dalmatians" with Glenn Close back in 90s. Well, if not, we certainly did not miss the cartoon of the same name... but the main thing that we remember is that the cruel rich woman Cruella De Ville, for some unknown reason, wants to make herself a fur coat from hundreds of cute Dalmatian puppies.
Nowadays, after a couple of decades, Disney decided to fill this motivational gap and answere all our questions.
I have to admit that it turned out quite well (attention! there may be spoilers ahead!).
Let's be honest: Cruella has marvelous direction, acting, costumes and music. In one word, for practically everything that was originally expected from the film.
The film was directed by Australian film director, Craig Gillespie, a real shark in the world of advertising, who has shot a huge number of videos for the best companies in the world, from automobile concerns and candy manufacturers to fashion brands and technology giants. He was always praised for his sense of style and subtle black humor. He managed to transfer all this to the "big screen" without turning full-length films into just long commercials.
Graig has directed eight films, including Cruella, as well as several episodes of the series. In fact, none of his work can be called a failure. He made his debut in the comedy "Mr. Woodstock" with Billy Bob Thornton and Susan Sarandon, followed by the dramedy "Lars and the Real Girl" with Ryan Gosling. Then there was Fear Night with Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin and David Tennant. Well, the crown of Gillespie's career at the moment is considered to be his previous film, the biopic "I, Tonya" with Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan about the scandalous figure skater Tona Harding, which received critical and audience recognition, as well as a whole bunch of prestigious awards and nominations, including an Oscar and Golden Globes.
In general, as you understand, in the case of this film , Cruella the director was also not expected to be an outright failure. He justified all the expectations placed on him. The film turned out to be holistic, stylish, with a healthy sense of humor (which is now rare in American mainstream cinema) and not protracted, despite the considerable timing. Yes, at some points we can say that something was too simplistic, naive and predictable, but, wait a minute, this is Disney after all and i is a fairy tale, it has to be somehow "simple"!
Now, let's talk about Cruella's cast. From the very first feature-length film, Gillespie managed to get top-level actors and actresses for the main roles, while choosing memorable images for them, often requiring serious reincarnation. The leading roles in tis film went to two first-class actresses: the winners of Oscars, Golden Globes and other prestigious awards: Emma Stone and Emma Thompson. They coped with their tasks brilliantly.
Emma Stone appeared in the film in two characters.
On the one hand, Emma Stone, whose Cruella turned out to be not just a sinister psychopath, but also a fragile girl, initially honestly trying to follow her dream, to which nothing human is alien. Sometimes she finds herself on the verge of insanity, and sometimes she makes a difficult moral choice in favor of good. You even begin to sympathise her, and, to some extent, you understand where this dislike for the Dalmatians came from. At the same time, the actress was able to masterfully convey two images of her character: both externally and in spirit. We finally learned where Cruella got her dislike for Dalmatians. Emma Stone was amazingly able to convey the rebellious spirit of London in 70s, of course, not without the help of costume designers and sound engineers.
On the other hand we see the owner of the posh fashion house, the cold bitch Baroness, played by Emma Thompson, who became the true villainess in Cruella. She does not reckon with anyone and is ready to do anything for the sake of recognition and money, while not disdaining to appropriate other people's ideas. For her, even murder is a piece of cake, even when it comes to her own child.
There is another character in the film that is worth highlighting who is one of Cruella's henchmen, the plump thief Horace, played by Paul Walter Hauser, who migrated into the film from the director's previous work, "I, Tonya". AND, what a stage at the final ball!
In general, if you remember, in previous versions of the "Dalmatians" there are two thieves, Horace and Jasper, who were extremely nasty characters. In Cruella I guess it was decided to make them more positive characters, some "noble criminals" with moral principles, who are ready for anything for the sake of their loved ones. From childhood, Horace and Jasper (this character was taken by Joel Fry) replaced the family for young Estella, long before she turned into Cruella, and they are still ready to support her on her way to her victory. In the exaggerated battle of two powerful bitchy women, oddly enough, these two characters, thieves became those real beams of light, common sense and goodness.
I would like to pay special attention to the four-legged characters. There are several of them in the film, and these are not only he famous Dalmatians. The latter are here, but on the contrary, they are depicted as rather vicious animals, however, they are not particularly guilty in this: take a look at what kind of owners they had. The pets turn into them as they say. Our heroes, Estella, Horace and Jasper have two four-legged assistants, funny puppies, Buddy and Vink. They clearly added a touch of fun to the entire film.
Yes, an observant viewer could have noticed that in some places the dogs look too computerised and very digital. We would venture to suggest that the filmmakers simply tried to follow the principles of respect for animals, in the spirit of "it is better to finish painting than to train."
Last but not least, let's talk about the soundtrack and the audiovisual part. Perhaps this is the strongest part of the movie as well as the breathtaking costume designs. The outfits can safely submit an "Oscar" without discussion. Each outfit of the main characters, as well as the items from the Baroness and Cruella's collection are real works of art.
Decorations and the soundtrack match perfectly well. The Doors, Queen, The Clash, Blondie, Bee Gees, Electric Light OrchestraІ, Ike & Tina Turner - they all very accurately conveys the rebellious atmosphere of the 70s.
Well, the title song was specially written for the film "Call Me Cruella" by the British performer, Florence and the Machine.
You can safely go to the cinema and see Cruella with the whole family just for the sake of the pleasure for the eyes and the music sound.
Almost 2.5 hours of screen time fly by literally in one breath.
There is probably only one last bitter note I have to mention: there is no positive characters in the film... well, it does not teach us anything too... Your child or teenager will not learn to be kind , caring and compassionate from this film. As I mentioned the only light in this film are the thieves. So shall I comment more?
It is a nicely wrapped lollypop with the sugar poison for your heart. On this balance I am happy to give the film 7/10
review by Alex First of MAPT
Cruella (PG) – 134 minutes – by Alex First
Wow! What a ripping good, most entertaining, magnificently realised origin story.
It is clever, funny and sassy.
A family comedy turned into a sophisticated adult offering – that is Cruella.
English children’s novelist and playwright “Dodie” Smith is best known for the novel The Hundred and One Dalmations (1956), which became the big screen animation 101 Dalmations in 1961.
Disney made a live action remake in 1996, with Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil (and there was also a sequel four years later).
Now we turn back the clock to see how Cruella came to be.
The movie is primarily set in the vibrant punk era of ‘70s London.
She (Cruella that is) began life as Estella (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland), a gifted, nonconforming young girl being brought up by her single mother, who tries in vain to bring her daughter’s devil may care attitude to heel.
Estella is energetic, edgy and creative and gives more than she gets, which sees her in constant trouble.
Heading from the country to the city, an unfortunate fate awaits Estella’s mother, whereby the girl is left to fend for herself, with her faithful little dog Buddy in tow.
She befriends two petty thieves, Horace and Jasper – realised as adults by Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry – who take her in and become her family.
We’re now 10 years on. Estella (Emma Stone) is 25 and she is living harmoniously – enacting scam after scam – with Jasper and Horace.
She dreams of becoming a fashion designer and unexpectedly gets her chance – at the ground level, mind you – in an upmarket department store, Liberty of London, thanks to Jasper, who has “pulled a few strings”.
Let’s just say it is not the experience Estella had wanted it to be.
As chance would have it though, her handiwork is noticed by the uppity doyen of fashion, known as the Baroness (Emma Thompson).
Estella believes she has finally found the mentor who will help her achieve everything she has always desired, until a revelation that shocks significantly alters her fate.
There is so much about Cruella that is so darn good – a great deal to be excited about.
First up, plaudits to Dana Fox (Isn’t It Romantic) and Tony McNamara (The Favourite) for the cracker script that takes us on a journey – a rollicking ride.
Secondly, the performances – led from the front by two artistes who are used to excelling at their craft (Stone and Thompson) – are fabulous.
Stone channels mood swings with aplomb, as Estella becomes Cruella – her facial expressions adding to her pitch perfect delivery and timing, while Thompson revels in playing bad.
Both are “look at me” showings and, in isolation, are worth the price of admission.
But they are far from alone, as Hauser’s comic genius and Fry’s empathy are memorable.
John McCrea turns his role as Artie – the proud, cross dressing proprietor of a pre-loved clothing boutique (and Estella’s kindred spirit) – into a sure-fire winner.
Mark Strong is a tower of diplomacy as the Baroness’ dutiful “servant” – the valet John.
And on it goes – the secondary players being excellent too.
The sets, settings and stunning costuming by Jenny Beavan and eyewear by Tom Davies elevate Cruella further. Fiona Crombie’s production design is exemplary, while Nicolas Karakatsanis’ cinematography is compelling.
I greatly appreciated Nicholas Britell’s original up-tempo score, while huge credit must go to Craig Gillespie’s fine direction in a film that is long but most satisfying.
Cruella manages to bring elements of Todd Phillip’s powerful Joker (2019) and David Frankel’s comedic drama The Devil Wears Prada (2006) to its own delightfully twisted story arc.
It is well worth a trip to cinema to see. High gloss, high fashion and hijinks abound. Do not miss it.
John Frankenheimer once said that “Casting is 65 percent of directing.”, by that metric, Andrew Levitas’s 2020 drama Minamata is an undeniable success. Hollywood heavyweight Johnny Depp, bends over, loads this film onto his back and carries it for 2 hours straight. Unfortunately, that only gives you 5 minutes after the credits roll. Even Jack Sparrow can only do so much for a film this much blander and more forgettable than it has any right to be.
Minamata tells the story of W. Eugene Smith, a photojournalist for TIME magazine, who made his name reporting on the Vietnam war, as he travels to Japan to investigate a small village and the mercury poisoning that plagues it. Being based on the true story of Minamata, the film follows his investigation into the local chemical factory, and their habit of dumping mercury rich waste directly into the water supply. It explores the corporate greed we all know and love, as well as the financial equations companies go through. Weighing the lives of victims against the expected settlement payments. A classic white saviour story, allowing the American hero to bring justice to the villagers, with a single line in the epilogue explaining the truth of the situation. It also tells a love story, between the canonically much older smith, and the perky young Japanese girl who seeks him out. Minami does perfectly fine in her role as Aileen, but as the born-yesterday heroin, she isn’t given much to work with. Minamata also tells a redemption story of how an ageing Smith, haunted by his time in Vietnam learns to not rely on drink and drugs and forget his cynicism, learning to love life, and remember his passion for photography. If it isn’t obvious by now, Minamata tries to do an awful lot, very quickly. The movie suffers terribly from a lack of direction. The writers clearly knew they wanted to shine light on the tragedy of Minamata, but don’t seem to have had any idea what they wanted to say about it.
On a purely technical level, all the cast do a great job. They make the most of what they are given. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s score works adequately, lending emotion to scenes, even if the scene hasn’t quite worked out what emotion it is trying for. Benoît Delhomme’s cinematography is delightful as always. The Parisian auteur has proven himself already with his work on The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and most recently At Eternities Gate, but Minamata fits into his resume like a glove. The Special Effects team also deserve credit for their work. The horrors of prenatal Mercury poisoning, now known as Minamata disease, is truly unpleasant to watch. One of the few angles this movies doesn’t lean into is body horror, but the glimpses we are given are truly horrific.
In the end, Minamata exists to show that Johnny Depp is as amazing an actor as he ever was, but has nothing to hold itself together without him. Audiences with an interest in the Minamata disaster may find the historical aspects enjoyable. The film does recreate some of the most famous footage of the time with stunning accuracy. But unless you have a specific interest in the history, or have missed seeing johnny Depp flex his acting chops and don’t care what he is in; You’re probably not going to remember this film more than a week after watching it.
They say opportunity never knocks twice at any man's door, but as Sandra Kogut’s new drama Three Summers shows, it’ll rap a tune on your window if you’re willing to leave it open. Taking place over the span of three years, Three Summers follows the adventures of a caretaker named Madá. From the introduction we can see her entrepreneurial mind and spirit at work, as she manages a side hustle and business start-up, while presiding over the other staff and reigning in her employers family. When that family is then caught up in corruption and theft charges, Madá is left with unpaid staff, a partially repossessed home and a decrepit old man to care for. The film then follows her many exploits to monetise everything available to her and utilise every asset to its full extent. From renting her employers house and using it as a studio, to guided tours on the familie’s yacht. Madá takes on the thankless task of keeping everything and everyone together, no matter what, and watching her keep afloat seemingly through sheer force of will, is a delight to behold.
Throughout the film, we run through a variety of characters, from Madá’s co-workers turned employees, to the wide variety of her customers. Three summers is at its core, the Madá show, through and through. Regina Casé carries this film on her back from beginning to end. Her performance gives Madá a sense of endless optimism and charisma, with hints of a potentially dark and painful past. For all the smiles she brings to every scene, her body language and tone at times, lends credence to the idea that our plucky protagonist hurts far more than she lets on. A theme that the film leans into near its conclusion. Life is hard and for those without means, it can seem impossible. But if you are willing to roll the dice and embrace opportunity, there is always a way to get through it.
Three summers is a heartwarming drama, unafraid to showcase the many problems caused by Brazil’s class system and economic disparities. Kogut pulls no punches and is unafraid to let her characters roll the occasional snake eyes. Why the films marketing department have seen fit to advertse this movie as a comedy is a mystery worthy of its own film. Three summers is a wonderful drama, and contains moments of levity, within its dark and serious themes. To call this movie a comedy though, is akin to calling a Big Mac a salad, because it contains lettuce. It brings a smile to your face, but Three Summers can only be labelled comedic in the darkest, driest, and loosest sense possible.
Three Summers is a wonderfully showing of Brazilian cinema, well produced, well acted, and well written. It is thought provoking and moving, and well worth your time. Just don’t go into it expecting a laugh out loud comedy.
The economic crisis that led to the Argentinian bank corral of 2001 affected the lives of millions. Some lost everything, some banded together, and some sought justice. Heroic Losers, is a film adaption of the Eduardo Sacheri novel La Noche de la Usina. It tells the story of former soccer player Fermín Pelassi, played by Ricardo Darín and his Alsina neighbours, as they are scammed out of their life saving just as the recession hits and must fight to regain their dignity and finances. Fermín and his incredibly supportive wife Lidia, played to perfection by Verónica Llinás, dream of converting an abandoned silo into a cooperative and giving their town the economic boost it needs. Together with their good friend, the local tyre repair man and well equipped anarchist Antonio Fontana, played by Luis Brandoni, the pair convince the town and it’s eclectic inhabitants to join in and contribute to their town saving plan. When the Perlassi family is betrayed and torn apart by the villainous Fortunato Manzi, played by a delightfully skittish Andrés Parra; they are the town of Alsina must band together to regain what they have lost.
The film skirts around genre and plays with a variety of tones. A historical crime thriller that follows the structure of an adventure tale, with liberal use of comedy, spread through a fundamentally dramatic story of loss. The movie suffers from a lack of direction, at times wanting to be both funny and sad thereby achieving neither. The actors do their best with the roles they are given, but watching the comical styling of Carlos Belloso, and the ridiculous physical comedy he portrays through the character of Atanasio Medina; share a scene with dramatic star Daniel Aráoz playing his character of Rolo Belaúnde completely straight, can be a jarring experience. The film also holds the rare distinction of treating its audience as too intelligent. With many of the plot points running on assumed knowledge. It is safe to say that most Argentinian viewers will not require a breakdown of the 2001 crises, or an explanation of inflation rates and currency exchange, however it is likely that many western viewers will find themselves confused at times and struggling to understand character motivations without the necessary context. Likewise many of the jokes function perfectly well in Spanish, but don’t translate all that well.
Overall, Heroic Losers is an enjoyable, if forgettable romp. A fantastic film for Argentinian viewers, or those with a solid grasp of Argentinian history and culture, but a perfectly fine watch for foreigners all the same. More comedic than Dramatic, but far darker than many would expect, Heroic losers does its best to thread the needle and bungles the attempts often enough to be noticeable, but makes a good enough go of it that it’s worth your time anyway. Anyone with an Argentinian background would be well served giving this movie their time. Those without, will lose nothing in the watching.
Hitchcock once described suspense, using an analogy of two men making small talk while a bomb counts down under their table. John Krasinski seems to have taken that knowledge on board, before embracing the man’s filmography as a worthy opponent. A Quiet Place Part 2 is a tour de force of tension and suspense building. It grips in you in the first 2 minutes, puts you on the edge of your seat and then keeps you there until the credits. There is no lull to the action or arc to the energy. Krasinski seems to sneer at the mere thought of cathartic release, instead inflicting his audience with one and a half hours of sheer unrelenting terror. This film is relentless in its execution and merciless in the depth it will go to, ensuring that you never feel safe.
Much of this is due to Krasinski’s writing style, creating realistic characters in unrealistic situations. Showing his deep understanding of human nature in how he portrays character reactions and responses. Most directors in his position would use the opportunity a sequel provides to build up their new world and expand the borders and lore. Krasinski seems to be utterly apathetic towards his creation, instead caring about the characters and their dynamics. For all the action and excitement this film contains, every second of footage appears laser focused on the Abbot family and exploring how they cope, and adapt to their situation. Krasinski has said that the first film was about parental love and the endless lengths a parent will go for their child. Part 2 seems to take that theme and roll with it, showing the inevitable parting between parent and child. Through an apocalyptic lens, Krasinski seems to be showcasing the evolution from child to adult and the separation, that transition should naturally cause. Whether aliens are hunting humanity or not children grow up, they stumble and fall. As parents we watch them and hope for their safety, but know they have to make their own decisions.
All of these themes and ideas would be meaningless however, if the actors were incapable of portraying them. Luckily for audiences around the world, A Quiet Place Part 2 has an utterly stunning cast. The film focuses on a very small number of characters, largely focusing on the now reduced, Abbot family. This makes it even more obvious when every single cast member pulls off a flawless performance. Emily Blunt returns as the newly heartbroken Evelyn and reminds us all just how good she can be when she’s allowed to show off her acting chops. Noah Jupe steps into the limelight and cements his name as one to watch in the coming years. Reprising his role as Regan and giving it his absolute all. Without going into spoilers, there is a scream in this movie that will go down in history as one of the most haunting and guttural ever recorded. Not to be outdone of course, Millicent Simmonds returns to remind us why we all fell in love with her. Expanding her role and showing people living with disability around the world that the door to stardom is not locked. It would be unfair to say that she carries this movie, but her ability to steal every scene she is in makes it impossible to imagine this movie without her. Of course, it would be incredibly remiss to not mention the Hollywood juggernaut that is Cillian Murphy. Bringing a quiet charisma to the character of Emmett that most actors would have struggled with. Murphy needs no introduction, breakdown, nor explanation. He does what he always does and kills the role, enough said.
A Quiet Place Part 2 is what every sequel should be. What you loved from the original, cranked to eleven. Where the first movie was akin to watching a two-hour tightrope walk over spikes, part 2 sets the rope on fire an begins hurling bricks at the poor acrobat. It is a tense, uncomfortable, unforgettable thrill ride that will leave audiences feeling like they just ran a marathon and need a nap before processing what just happened. Do not take your kids to see it, but make sure you set enough time aside to watch it multiple times, while they wait at home. A Quiet Place Part 2 is a superb film and everyone without heart issues, should watch it at least once.
Considering The Wasteland is Ahmad Bahrami's directorial film debut, it’s safe to say he came out swinging. Together with producer Saeed Bashiri, Bahrami has crafted for audiences a truly honest look into dishonesty and the horrific effects it can have. The films follows Forty-year-old Lotfollah (Ali Bagheri), as he attempts to help his staff mates at the traditional brick factory he was born and raised in. Throughout the course of the day, Lotfollah interacts with nearly every other staff member, working as a liaison between them and the factory boss. The problems are endless and it seems like everyone is lying in order to properly tell their own truth. Caught in the middle and powerless to change anything, Lotfollah does everything he can to ease tensions, reduce strain and keep the place running. All while trying to find even a small piece of happiness to call his own.
Bagheri Is still a relatively unknown actor, but after his performance here, his anonymity is likely to be a thing of the past. Throughout the story, Bagheri showcases a raw vulnerability, taking the emotional beating his life dishes out with calm acceptance and true sense of defeat. Watching, it is impossible not to feel for this man who wants nothing more than to be happy and do what he knows best, but is rendered impotent, by forces outside his control. The rest of the cast do their part of course. Farrokh Nemati gives a sense of sorrow and regret to the otherwise manipulative and unlikable factory boss, while Mahdie Nassaj gives the films love interest a truly tragic sense of responsibility. There are a few sub plots happening throughout the movie, from love triangles and racial biases, but nothing ever gets in the way of the films character study.
The wasteland doesn’t have any great message to tell, or lesson to teach. It doesn’t rely on any fancy film techniques or camera tricks. It is utterly devoid of all CGI, Special Effects or dramatic props. The film feels more like watching security cam footage than it does a theatrical production. Every character and their interactions flow so organically into the next, with such seamless performances, that at times, it is easy to think the actors have forgotten they are on camera and are just going about their lives. It’s raw, it’s unfiltered and it’s painful when it wants to be. The wasteland is not a film to go into for a good time, but if you want to truly see into the mind of another, for better or worse, there are few better ways.
IRANIAN FILM FESTIVAL 2021: TITI website review by Sam Bell
Do you know how expensive concrete bricks have gotten?
Director Ida Panahandehs’ latest film covers a wide variety of topics from obsession, romance, and toxic relationships, to class disparities, non-neurotypical relations and the fleeting nature of insight. More than anything though, Titi is about money. The effect of poverty on lifestyle, the depths people will go to escape their circumstances and the way privilege changes perspective. Together with cowriter Arsalan Amiri, Pandehandeh has written an emotional story, combining social commentary and true romance.
The film is largely shown from the perspective of the titular Titi, an impoverished gypsy woman of dubious mentality and limitless compassion. Titi works as a hospital housekeeper while acting as a surrogate mother for infertile couples at the behest of her fiancé. Elnaz Shakerdust portrays Titi with a rarely seen level of subtlety, complimenting the characters eccentric actions and open emotional state, by infusing her expressions and mannerisms with enough complexity to make her mental state ambiguous. All of which plays wonderfully off Parsa Pirouzfars’ obsessive and serious Ebrahim. The two meet as Ebrahim suffers from his hospital bed while ignoring the doctors’ orders and forcing himself to work on proving his theory of apocalyptic blackholes and cosmic annihilation. Ebrahim has a flash of inspiration and mathematically proves his theories before collapsing and nearly dying due to a brain aneurysm. Upon awaking and discovering that he can no longer remember his proofs, and his work was thrown away/ given to the Titi while he was unconscious, Ebrahim seeks her out and the film follows his increasingly desperate attempts to regain the proof of his theories.
Titi is a slow burning story, it tells a simple narrative, but it does so by exploring every facet of every step along the way. Ebrahim and Titi are broken people, whether through circumstance or by their nature, they cannot fit into the ordinary, and they cannot hide their own extraordinary ways. Life is hard for people who stand out and Titi doesn’t shy away from beating its characters down when they begin shining too bright. It’s a realistic tale of unrealistic people, struggling to get by and do good. Whether they succeed or not, nearly every character tries to be a force for good in this movie. Admittedly some do far better than others, but all try; even when it puts them in conflict with other characters attempts to help. Such is the true tragedy of Titi, there is no reason they couldn’t all succeed and be happy, except that the world is rarely that kind.
Titi is a moving film about humanity and the effect money has on us all. It is kind in its questioning, and cruel in its conclusions. Expertly acted, beautifully shot and written by a combination of masters. Titi is a wonderful film and I highly recommend It to all those able to overlook the 1-inch barrier.
It is difficult to describe what Noah Hutton has created in Lapsis. A sci-fi story that uses no new technology except in vague backstory. It isn’t based in the future or any widely divergent timeline, it exists in a world almost exactly like our own, with a few tweaks here and there. It’s not a metaphoric tale, and it’s not quite a parable. It definitely has a message and it’s not shy or subtle in telling you, but it doesn’t allow it’s morals to overshadow the narrative. It is too funny to be a drama, and too serious to be satire. It defies description or labelling, so it is simplest to simply say that Hutton has created Lapsis and let history do the rest.
Lapsis follows a small-time hustler, trying to look after his chronically ill brother by hook or by crook when he is forced to take a shady job doing gig work for a megacorporation. Out of his element and doing whatever he must to make ends meet, Protagonist Ray must learn the ins and out of gig work and attempt to navigate the dangers and pitfalls not described by the corporate welcome message. The films dabbles in conspiracy and class segregation, while using an undercurrent of privilege to highlight the realities of unprotected work in a capitalist model. It’s a human story about trying to get ahead in life, told through a bitingly current tale about technology and its potential for harm. Hutton is very clear in his messaging though, Technology is not the enemy, it is merely a tool, to be used or misused accordingly. A refreshingly realistic take on the issue, amongst a sea of anti-progress parables and conservative black mirror knockoffs.
Lapsis can be flat at times, balancing humour, tension and plot progression so perfectly that nothing stands out. Even at its most level though, it’s not boring, just proportional. It is not going to be to everyone’s taste. While never overtly provocative, any story with this much going on is bound to offend all but the most leftward leaning of viewers a little bit. For those willing to watch a slightly claustrophobic story about hiking and don’t mind a multilayered narrative that can be outlined in two sentences, Lapsis is something special. Given the current Hollywood trends, it is unlikely that Lapsis will make the kind of splash it is capable of and will likely join the ranks of hidden gems within a streaming services catalogue. Perhaps it will one day become a cult classic and get the recognition it deserves, but until then. Lapsis is worth your time and attention, take two hours and experience the story Noah Hutton has created. You won’t regret it.
"Those Who Wish Me Dead" is a thriller in which Angelina Jolie who returns to the action genre. The actress plays a patrolman with the skills of a firefighter. Her task is to save a child and overcome trauma from the past.
Taylor Sheridan directed the film. He wrote the script for the crime thriller "The Assassin" (Sicario), and was also one of the showrunners of the series "Yellowstone" (Yellowstone).
For his new project, Sheridan did not create a script from scratch, but only helped to adapt the book "Those Who Wish Me Dead" by American writer Michael Corit, turning the bestselling book into a dynamic survival film.
The main events of the film fit into about one day. During this time, the characters need to escape from the fire that destroys the picturesque nature of Montana, and dodge the bullets fired by the assassins. The task is not an easy one, but the character named Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is quite capable of doing this.
In the past, Hannah was a member of the parachute fire brigade team in charge of guarding the forest. Now, she is struggling with PTSD and getting used to a new position as a patrolman, whose job is to calmly contemplate the area from the watchtower.
One day, Hannah notices a frightened schoolboy, splattered with blood, running through the forest. The woman tries to help and finds out that the boy is being pursued by professional killer just a couple of hours ago, the criminals committed a series of murders, which they will not stop at until they destroy their target.
The film "Those Who Wish My Death" turns out to be an old-fashioned thriller, where the details of the plot are not as important as the overall dynamics of the events, complemented by a good soundtrack.
This is a provincial American story that takes place in a rather calm small town, the silence of which is broken by the violent outsiders. There is a sheriff in charge to discuss business in a café and a local community to teach survival skills.
In a word, everything is pretty normal and peaceful, but exactly until the characters have to fight for their lives.
In this setting, Angelina Jolie seems to feel pretty comfortable. This is the actress' first appearance in the action movie since she switched to films with fabulous plots (the thrillers "The Tourist" and "Salt" were released in 2010, after which Jolie changed direction in her career).
For the role in the film, Jolie was trained in the skills that fire parachutists should have, and the actress also performed almost all the stunts on her own.
In fact, there are not so many impressive jumps in the tape, but there are fighting scenes in the frame. Angelina gets into a fight with Nicholas Hoult.
To tell the truth, it is not entirely clear what Holt "forgot" in this film: he has been starring in the main and quite prominent roles for a long time (the actor's filmography includes the adaptation of the X-Men comics, the post-apocalyptic action movie "Mad Max: Fury Road" and the biographical drama "Tolkien").
In TWWMD Nicholas suddenly appears in the role of a faceless mercenary performing the task of eliminating the target.
The hero of Nicholas Hoult works with a partner in whom we recognize the Irish actor Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish from "Game of Thrones"). Their actions are very well coordinated and well thought out.
It seems that these two have killed an uncountable number of people in the past but at the same time, both heroes are completely devoid of any expressive features, they do not even have normal dialogues, which is rather annoying: Holt and Guillen deserve better script IMHO.
If you do not take into account the ordinary killers, as well as the rather drawn-out plot, the movie "Those Who Wish Me Dead" turns out to be a dynamic action game in which the heroine Jolie takes responsibility for someone else's child.
review by Alex First of MAPT
Those Who Wish Me Dead – 100 minutes – by Alex First
One for the adrenaline junkies, the tense thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead combines daredevil firies with survivalist skills and ruthless assassins.
The stakes couldn’t be higher and there will be casualties.
The movie starts with a bang – literally and figuratively – setting up audience expectations.
Two killers – Jack and Patrick Blackwell (Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult) – posing as utility operators, deliver an unforgettable message to a district attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Next thing we know, a father (Jake Weber) is preparing to take his son, Connor Casserly (Finn Little), to school when he hears the news and suddenly everything changes.
It turns out that he is a forensic accountant who worked for the district attorney and uncovered dirty dealings. Now he – like the DA – has become a target.
With those out to get him hot on his heels, he and his son hightail it out of there and go on a road trip to try to flee harm’s way.
But there is no escape.
Separately a smokejumper, Hannah Faber (Angelina Jolie) – a specialist firefighter who is used to jumping out of planes and scaling high towers – is reeling from the loss of three young lives she failed to save in a wildfire.
She is in a world of pain and seems to take pleasure in adding to it.
Faber ends up isolated in a watchtower high above the Montana wilderness, looking for outbreaks and keeping an eye out for lightning storms.
Connor and Hannah’s lives intersect and suddenly they are on the run together.
Also in the firing line are a local sheriff’s deputy, Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal) and his six-month pregnant wife, Allison (Medina Senghore), who run a survivalist centre.
I appreciated the tension and bravado throughout Those Who Wish Me Dead.
The key cast fill their roles admirably.
Jolie has done “kick butt action heroine” many times and is polished at it.
Here she mixes it up with vulnerability and empathy.
Finn comes across as a natural – smart and resolute.
Bernthal is credible as the upstanding sheriff’s deputy, while Senghore has no troubling playing resourceful in the face of overwhelming odds.
The villains, too, stand comfortably in the shoes of a couple of professional mercenaries intent on getting the job done at any price.
So, it is that the heroism in the film – the smokejumpers included – takes many forms.
Visually, the movie is stunning, Ben Richardson capturing the breathtaking natural landscape and the raging out of control wildfires.
Best put, given that the conclusion is never in doubt, I got exactly what I wanted.
A veil of fear hovers over proceedings from the get-go.
The first-rate soundscape by Brian Tyler serves to add to the dread.
Director Taylor Sheridan (Wind River) knows how best to exploit a taut script (with some pithy one-liners) and has done that.
Sheridan was responsible for the screenplay alongside Michael Koryta (who wrote the book upon which the movie is based) and Charles Leavitt.
In summary, the rugged journey, which is given the Hollywood treatment, is one worth taking.
Rated MA, Those Who Wish Me Dead scores a 7 out of 10.
Not many TV channels or newspapers will cover these news as no one died, no negative events took place, there was no violence, no threats and no tension, there were no Jewish and Arabs anymore. We heard it all. If you had a chance to visit downtown Haifa during the A-Sham, the Arab Food Festival now regularly hold in December each year (mainly during Hanukkah), you saw a wonderful and successful integration of Jewish-Arab society. But let's start from the very start...
Please meet Dr. Nof Atmana Ismail from Baka al-Garbiye, a Doctor of Microbiology, Chef, culinary consultant and "Master Chef" 2014 winner who, together with Arie Rosen, created this wonderful festival of food and friendship called A-Sham ("Levant". A-sham is the Arab name for the area also known as the Levant - Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Turkey.), now the famous Haifa Arab Food Festival. Dr. Atmana created a film called "Breaking Bread" together with the film director, Beth Elise Hawk where they talk about the effects the Arab cuisine on carving out identity, on food politics, on women in the Arab kitchen on the relationship between tradition and creativity. The film features many world famous chefs who explore lesser-known Middle Eastern cuisine and its specific. They "taste history and solidarity" so to speak. For example, chefs Shlomi Meir and Ali Khattib team up to make kishek.
Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismail also dreams of opening an Arab-Israeli school of cooking that she mentions in the film.
The city's mayor, Yona Yahav, speaks on camera that at least 70,000 tourists visited the city of Haifa during the festival. The mayor hopes that there will be even more visitors next year, as many will want to be part of this celebration. The festival featured 45 Arab and Jewish chefs who showcased modernized versions of traditional Levantine dishes in 55 restaurants and cafes in the Lower City. Each of the restaurants presented one or more "festive" dishes, each of which will cost no more than 35 shekels ($14AU). Pubs and bars served Arabian spirits: beer, aniseed vodka and wines. The program of the holiday included concerts of Levantine music and some informative lectures for the guests.
Doctor Nof Atamna Ismail left her profession of a microbiologist for the sake of her beloved culinary art. She personally selects the most interesting and original recipes for the festival and brings in “fresh-eyed” Jewish chefs to modernize the dishes. After all, the traditional food of any people is, for the most part, the cheap plant food of the poor. To please a well-fed public many recipes require "modernization" and the inclusion of more nutritious ingredients such as meat and nuts.
Each year this unique festival of Arab cuisine is dedicated to a different culture: there can be dishes from Syria or the Ottoman Empire. The Arabs territories stretched in the past from Southeastern Europe to North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Cultural diversity, a wide variety of foods, as well as the tricks that the empire's poor inhabitants resorted to, including food preservation, formed one of the most interesting cuisines in human history. There is always something to remember from the past and apply it to the modern style of food.
These festivals revive the traditions of many social classes: from lavish dining in the palaces of the Ottoman sultans with a variety of dishes, pastries, stuffed vegetables and desserts to the more vegetable and plants oriented dishes of the poor classes.
In parallel with the demonstration of the delights of Eastern cuisines, the festival hosted tastings, taverns, pop-up shops, events for adults and children, culinary master classes for a wide age group, lectures by chefs and culinary researchers and much more. The program of the festival also included educational culinary excursions, trays with desserts and concerts of live music in the evenings.
Dozens of chefs and culinary specialists, Jews and Arabs, worked in the restaurants, bars and other places o culinary delight of Haifa, giving a modern look to the recipes of the past as well as some of the chef's family kept food secrets. In some restaurants, the traditional menu was significantly expanded. The variety of food is endless: a boat-shaped flatbread, hummus, meat and fish, handmade sausages, Mediterranean vegetables and plant dishes, all accompanied by freshly brewed beer with ice-cream finishing the meal. In general, the festival is never boring in its gastronomic extravaganza.
There are also cooking classes held as well as culinary excursion for toddlers, lectures and discussion platforms for adults, concerts of Israeli and foreign performers, music.
The film indeed is a great, award-winning love letter to the food of the Middle East and to its people mainly.
Atamna-Ismaeel says the win in Master Chef gave her “some sort of power to use food in order to build bridges between Jews and Arabs.” A-Sham Festival of food is a bright example of the good deeds this woman has done to unite the cultures. Start with bread! Doctor also explains that the intention behind this now world famous festival was to put conflict to one side and build relations by pairing up Jewish and Arab chefs to bring back extinct dishes from the Arabic cuisine. “I believe there is no room for politics in the kitchen,” she says to the camera.
What you will see in the film definitely make you hungry: smooth, creamy yummy hummus, that has been slowly ground with a pestle and mortar, will have you drooling 100%! It will leave you craving a falafel feast. Delicious movie!
Hawk has left her legal job at Walt Disney to produce her own films. “I heard about Nof on the radio in LA when she had just won Master Chef 2014. I made contact with her in 2017 via Facebook and we started chatting. When she mentioned the festival, I knew I had to tell the story. We filmed on a shoestring budget, with just one crew moving the camera through Haifa" As I mentioned above already the film follows some of the chef partnerships, starting with Shlomi Meir who, with his father Reuven, runs Ashkenazi restaurant: Maayan Habira in Haifa. The restaurant was founded in 1962 by Shlomi's Holocaust survivor grandfather who was specialising in smoked meat. Gentle giant Shlomi is paired with Ali Khattib, who is a head chef of a restaurant in Ghaja, a small town in northern Israel, split in two by the border with Lebanon. Ali’s food has its roots in Syria and has deep family traditions. He tells about his passion, about keeping alive the ancient recipes of his ancestors and about cooking. He dreams of his cuisine popularizing among Israeli chefs.
The chef duos all are provided with a list of dishes from the region that are considered extinct or have cultural importance. They choose one dish to work on it together. Ali and Shlomi are allocated kishek, a Syrian recipe using bulghur wheat and dried yoghurt that was traditionally made to preserve yoghurt over the winter. Ali is the only one of the festival chefs who can make it, as it is a disappearing culture. Atamna-Ismaeel tells us that, even though kishek is made in Syria, a couple of hours away from the place she lives in, she can buy it only when she visits Belgium: “Why? Because of politics! ”
We also meet Osama Dalad, a young Palestinian chef from Akko, paired with long-haired Ilan Ferron. Osama has a Catholic father and Jewish Italian mother and runs the Talpiot restaurant at Talpiot Market. Together, they create an octopus maqluba. It is a baked dish of rice, potatoes, vegetables and chickpeas that literally means “upside down”, describing how it is served tipped out of the pot on to a platter. They serve the dish in the street to the festival guests.
Tomer Abergel of restaurant Quando Pasha is paired with Salah Cordi, who says of his childhood in Jaffa: “In our neighborhood, we spoke in Arabic. We laughed in Hebrew. We cursed in Romanian. We got upset in Moroccan... and it was all sababa (OK)! ” Salah and Tomer reinvent qatayer, traditionally sweet pastries but they make a savory version of it.
We meet lots of and restaurateurs, including one married couple, Shoshi and Fadi Karaman, a Jewish-Arab couple with grown-up children and a hummus restaurant called Hummus Fadi. They are paired with a star chef, Chaim Tibi.
It is interesting to note how hummus, falafel and Israeli / Arabic salad all make a appearances as dishes over which the nations fight for ownership. It is like brothers fighting over one father: who is more brother than the other. They are ALL brothers! Of course a food festival can not solve all problems in he region, it can not calm down the hot-headed in this region, but Atamna-Ismaeel is hopeful and says: “I am going to use food to change a few people and if everyone does that then maybe we can make a large change. ”
"Breaking Bread" is not only about food and political conflicts, it opens the doors and offers the seat at the table together with many families and friends at one dinner party remembering the culinary history.
Whether you call it La daronne, Mamma Weed or The Godmother, Jean-Paul Salomé’s screen adaption of Hannelore Cayre’s award winning novel is a sight to behold. At times satirical, sometimes serious, a romp as ridiculous as it is romantic, La daronne has created a film about liars that is at all times honest. A true genre bending experience that defies tonal expectations and seems deeply intent on sending its message to all watchers, whether they want it or not. A message as heart-warming as it is controversial. We are all just people.
At its core, this film is a crime thriller, following the exploits of a police interpreter who comes from a family of drug runners, being given the opportunity and choosing to break bad. It runs through all the noir and dramatic tropes. A by the number’s cops and robber’s tale, with doomed romances and violent standoffs abound. What makes The Godmother unique is that while it uses every cliches in the book, it subverts every one of them. Showing a truly honest reflection of reality, viewers are treated to the rarely seen truth behind the criminal mythos. No one really knows what they are doing. The police aren’t just relentless machines of justice, hunting down their hapless prey, they are regular old people, just doing a job and trying to help. Drug runners aren’t violent perverts, they are often just kids trying to get by. Even those higher up on the chain don’t sit around a warehouse smoking cigars and plotting evil. They take care of their families and hang out with their friends. They run a business the same way any regional manager does. Even our protagonist (Expertly played by Isabelle Huppert), for all that she runs circles around the police, keeps the gangs in line, and makes herself into a criminal boss to be feared, she is just a middle-aged mother, trying to keep my family together and deal with the same life struggles as everyone else.
Jean-Paul Salomé is unafraid to let each situation play out with brutal honesty. He lets interactions become awkward and strained. Romantic gestures go unnoticed and miscommunication runs rampart. There are no seamless handovers, each side walking away without counting the money. There is no honour among thieves and super geniuses don’t hang around dark alleys selling weed. The crime is still crime, people get hurt and their actions are inexcusable, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t understandable. The Godmother walks the tightrope of showing each side of the law, warts and all, without glorifying or vilifying either. There are no heroes or villains in this story, just police and criminals, going about their lives, trying to get though the day.
There are many who take offense to the idea that the people in jail are just as human and relatable as them. Those people are unlikely to enjoy Rialto Distribution’s latest offering. For everyone else, or even just those willing to go in with an open mind, The Godmother is a funny, sad, ridiculous look at realism, and well worth your time.
FATALE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION AT website RATE: 8/10
Fatale is a simple thriller with a good "detective flavour"; simple but definitely not primitive: quite beautifully made film! It has got a good philosophical punch line: "If you dig a hole for others, you're sure to fall in it yourself". I rated it 8/10.
This new film has an intriguing title like "Dangerous Temptations": FATALE. According to the genre of the film, this is a thriller and it fully corresponds to it. I would just add: it has a good noes of detective story as well.
If I can describe this film in two words, then the phrase "Don't dig a hole for another, otherwise you will fall into it yourself."
I liked the story that contains lots of twists, it is rather complicated to figure out what is happening at the start and if the main character is really innocent or not. You remain on the hook until the very end of the film as it is not quite clear how it will end.
The film story is a nutshell is as follows: a sports PR agent has sexual intercourse with a girl who later turned out to be a police officer, a detective to be precise... and it was her who was entrusted with the investigation of the entry into the main character's personal house.
Several murders take place, the detective starts to black mail the agent as she wants him to kill her ex-husband in order to take his daughter away from him. Her game is many steps ahead of the man whose relatives die one after another... It seems that nothing is doing to be done as the police officer has a good name and she says that no one will believe anyone else's story but hers!
I liked the actors' acts very much: they are very natural and completely suit their roles, their faces and body language clearly show the tension in difficult life situations.
When watching a movie, sometimes you even forget that somewhere near there is a camera and all this is actually a game , a filming act, the impression is that people are not playing but they are real, it is very hard to achieve sometimes. In this film they feel like they are living their own, normal and natural lives, and you spy on them through the keyhole, it is so interesting to watch them indeed.
I think that the film will be of interest to different age groups, since a similar story presented in the film can happen to anyone.
There are no chases or mass shootings in the film, there is a tense psychological duel between the two main characters.
The time is 1930s. The story takes place in a puppet state of Manchukuo. This new film "Cliff Walkers" is set during the times of Japanese occupation of China.
There are four communist agents, revolutionary agents
basically, who were trained in the Soviet Union who are preparing a special covert operation, code-named Down... but in the ranks of the comrades, in the enemy not asleep counterintelligence, there was a traitor, and even before the team landed on the territory near Harbin, their plans became known to the enemy.
It is a new artistic work by the creator of "Hero", "House of Flying Daggers" and "Flowers of War", Zhang Yimou. He is a very famous Chinese director.
Zhang Yimou director ("The Demon's Bell", "Operation in the Red Sea", "The Rooster and the Bull", "Me and My Homeland", "In a World Where the Heart Cries for Love", "Mister Six "," The Blood of Youth "," Brotherhood of Blades 2 "), Yu Hewei one of the stars (" Adoration "," How Long Will Our Love Last? "," Island ", the drama" The Anti-Narcotics Division "), Qin Hailu one of the stars (" Hide and Seek " , Impermanence, House That Never Dies, 101 Sentences, Simple Life), Zhu Yawen one of the stars (ATM, Poet, Founding an Army, Witness, Golden Age, "Mystery"), Ni Dahun ("Curse of the Golden Flower", "War of Wolves", "Whirlwind"), Yu Ailei ("Heart", "Bright Future 2018", "Black Coal, Thin Ice") and Lei Jiayin (" The Whistleblower "," Mister nannies "," Memory fragmentation "," How long will our love last? ").
The picture is very nice. Yimou's films can be viewed at least for the sake of visuals and they are spectacular in this new film.
With the knowledge of Chinese language, this films would feel even greater and you will feel the real genius of the director to the fullest.
The dialogues are simply awesomely delivered, the voices are especially good.
A little bit about the director himself (to the Australian viewers who might be meeting him in this picture for the first time) Zhang Yimou is a Chinese film director and screenwriter, producer and actor, and a former cameraman. Known for the dramas "Red Gaoliang", "Ju Dou" and "Light the Red Lantern", the adventure films "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers". Jury member of the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival, director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Short Biography Born November 14, 1951 in Xi'an. Zhang's father is a dermatologist by profession; during the Chinese Civil War, he served as an officer in the National Revolutionary Army under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. By the end of 1949, the communists controlled almost the entire country, and the elder brother and uncle Yimou were forced to move to Taiwan. The "unworthy" behavior of Zhang's relatives was recalled during the Cultural Revolution: he was expelled from school and, in order to feed himself, worked as a laborer, did hard physical labor for three years, then moved to a cotton textile factory, where he worked for another seven years. At this time, he began to paint, took the first non-professional photographs. When the Beijing Film Academy reopened its doors to applicants in 1978, 27-year-old Yimou was no longer the correct age for the course. However, the goal was so desirable that he did not give up, did not give up and turned directly to the Ministry of Culture: he came to the reception with a portfolio of photographs and convinced the officials of his abilities. They gave up and allowed the young man to enter the faculty of cinematography. He completed his studies in 1982 and was sent to Guangxi as a filmmaker, although he was originally to be promoted to assistant director. It soon became apparent that over the years of the Cultural Revolution, the country had lost a huge number of talented artists, and Yimou had the opportunity to make his own films. On the first films, one of the hallmarks of the resurgence of Chinese cinema, he worked as a director of photography. In 1985, Zhang returned to his native Xi'an, collaborated as a cinematographer and actor with Tien-Min Wu on the film The Old Well. Critics of the Tokyo Film Festival spoke warmly of his acting talent. In 1987, Yimou presented his directorial debut, the drama Red Gaoliang, an adaptation of the works of the Nobel laureate in literature, Chinese writer Mo Yan. The film was shown at the International Film Festival in Berlin, earned very high praise from critics, was noted with the awards "Golden Phoenix", "Golden Bear" in Berlin, "Golden Rooster" (Chinese award). At the same time, the views of compatriots on the picture were very different. Most of the audience was delighted with it, but some saw signs of treason. In 1990, Yimou directed the drama Ju Dou, dedicated to the theme of domestic violence and national traditions. This is the first Chinese film to be nominated for an Oscar. Two years later, Zhang finished work on another drama, Light the Red Lantern, which received an Academy Award nomination in the category honored with Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film and for the Golden Lion in Venice.
In total, at the moment, the director's filmography includes twenty art works.
You will enjoy the film, no matter if you watch it as is or with the English subtitles
There are no rules in showbusiness, and only one law. Don’t be boring. Twist (2021) is a criminal film in every way. Martin Owens attempt to drag Charles Dickens beloved novel kicking and screaming into the modern age, ends not with a bang but with a whimper. It is difficult to describe where Twist went wrong, not because nothing stands, out, but rather because the entire film stands as a testament to mediocracy. A clear love letter/homage to Guy Ritchie, Twist is nothing if not ambitious, swinging for the fences in every aspect, but striking out on all fronts. Twist has a perfectly acceptable cast, with the likes of Michael Caine and Lena Headey lending their experience to new comers Rafferty Law and Sophie Simnett. With side characters being fleshed out with the likes of Noel Clarke and David Walliams, and even Rita Ora throwing her hat into the ring. Yet a lacklustre script, combined with what must have been a prolific amount of Prozac behind the scenes, leaves every scene flatter than a Kansas pancake. Characters are wooden and their lines are straight out of an early 00’s chatbot. Logic has almost no bearing on the actions or reactions of anyone/anything in this movie, inanimate objects included.
When it’s not attempting to recreate Guy Richie’s signature close up shaky cam, or following the characters inexplicitly practising their Parkour skills, the cinematography is passable if forgettable. Likewise, the soundtrack does nothing to detract from the action, blending so seamlessly into the scene, that it may as well not be present. A jumbled mix of new R&B and 90’s Britpop, the soundtrack is actually a good segue into the main problem of the movie. This film has no idea who it is meant to be for. It’s not for fans of the novel, as it has changed the story until it is barely recognisable. It’s not for adults as it relies on PG violence and cheesy lines. It’s not for kids as it uses liberal amounts of profanity and the implication of some very mature topics. If they were aiming for a teenage audience, the producers are likely to find themselves disappointed. Overall, this movie plays out like a children’s movies that is inappropriate for kids.
No individual aspect of this movie can be blamed for ruining the film. Rather this movie acts as an example of negative synergy, with all involved contributing so little as create what is likely one of the most forgettable films of the year. Twist holds the dubious distinction of being offensively inoffensive. I can think of no one to recommend this film to, but nor can I think of anyone likely to hate this movie, or feel any strong emotions towards it really. Adults who find themselves highly intoxicated and with absolutely nothing to do for 90 minutes, may find this movie more enjoyable than white noise, but even they are unlikely to enjoy it. If you have literally anything else to do, do it, otherwise Twist is as safe and bland a way to consume 90 minutes as you are likely to ever find.
The punch line for this story would be: psychopaths in life can be anything, but not the same as in American films!
The US-made film "Every Breath You Take" was filmed in 2021 in the genre of psychological drama.
The story of the film in a nutshell: the persecution of family members by a psychopath.
With the exception of Sam Claflin, all the other actors coped with their roles at the proper level. Sam's physiognomy is so similar to a real psychopath. When I saw the actor for the first time on the screen, I immediately knew who the negative character would be.
IMHO, the main disadvantage of the film is its high predictability. The main roles were played by Michelle Monaghan, Sam Claflin, Casey Affleck, Emily Elin Lind, India Eisley and others.
The plot of the picture does not stand out in anything special: it is way too plain and boring IMHO. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of such films that have already been shot in Hollywood. There is nothing special about this one at all! The essence is the same, but the scenery is different. They made us think about the same matter over and over again: the main thing in your life is your family.
According to the plot, the main character, a psychiatrist, has a very unpleasant incident: one of his patients committed suicide OR as it appears in the first place... From that moment on, the doctor’s life went up and down (but mainly down the drain): his patients began to refuse his services en masse, his wife got herself a lover and his daughter's problems are now never ending. He is loosing his lecturing position at the University and the list goes one and on... We understand that there is no coincidence and so many misfortunes cannot happen at the same time by accident: there must be someone behind it, and may be even plotting these "accidents" for him.
The question is who exactly is it?! If you are interested in the story, then watch the film: you will learn all the subtleties of this confusing story.
On the positive side, I can only mention the beautiful landscapes on the lakeside, beautiful house and the advertisement of luxury German cars. I didn't really like the film, first of all, for its cliché and finally because of its cliché . There are too many of them to name a few.
Therefore, I will recommend it only for a one-time viewing and for those of you who love American psychopaths.
review by Alex First of MAPT
Every Breath You Take (MA) – 105 minutes – by Alex First
A family has been traumatised by the tragic death of a youngster in a car accident.
Philip (Casey Affleck) is a psychiatrist and lecturer, his wife Grace (Michelle Monaghan) a real estate agent.
They have a young son, Evan (Brenden Sunderland) and he has a senior school age daughter, Lucy (India Eisley) – Grace’s stepdaughter – who lives with them.
On the way to hockey practice, with only Grace and Evan in the car, a much larger vehicle crashes into them at speed.
Three years on and that incident has taken a heavy toll on all of them. Philip and Grace haven’t been able to deal with their grief and anger. He has all but shut down.
Lucy has just been kicked out of a private school for cocaine use. She barely communicates with her father and has little to say to her stepmother.
Philip has been treating a patient, Daphne (Emily Alyn Lind), who – along with her family – have had a tragic past.
But by sharing his own trauma with her, Philip has made a remarkable breakthrough.
Daphne is off her meds altogether and at age 22 appears to have gotten her life together.
But then tragedy strikes.
Through that, Philip gets to meet Daphne’s brother James (Sam Claflin), an author who has just returned from the UK.
Their lives and that of Philip’s family become intertwined with disastrous consequences.
Every Breath You Take is a psychological thriller with a strong cast and breathtaking scenery that loses its way.
Unfortunately, by the end it becomes no more than a trumped up, old fashioned midday telemovie.
The contention is well established, as are the pivotal characters.
We get a feel early on for what they are going through and why they are the way they are.
All the key players have a brooding quality, which is what the script calls for.
Philip, Grace and Lucy live in the same house, but are removed from each other, like isolated cells.
The performances are solid enough, so that is not where the problem lies.
Rather, it is the story that gets away from the actors and lets them down. That is the work of first-time feature film writer David K. Murray, with direction from Vaughn Stein (Terminal).
Every Breath You Take becomes more and more far-fetched the longer it progresses. At times the stretch is preposterous.
Still, the cinematography by Michael Merriman is a showcase of the natural beauty of mountainous Vancouver (doubling for Washington State).
Overall though, while the movie had its moments, ultimately it felt derivative and I was left disappointed.
Rated MA, Every Breath You Take scores a 5½ out of 10.
Chilean director Pablo Larrain's new film "Ema" is a movie about failed adoption, mistakes, remorse and dancing.
Barren choreographer Gaston (Gael Garcia Bernal) and dancer Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) adopt a Colombian boy, Polo. He is far from being a baby, he is already in the third grade at school. He does not live even a year in a new family. Polo is prone to bouts of pyromania. As a result of one of his antics he burns half of Ema's sister's face and the scars are bad, they will remain forever. Parents take long and difficult time to come to the decision to return the boy to social services. The mother, Ema finds herself in a deep crisis, she blames and moves away from her husband, Gaston. She though tries to get her son back by hook or by crook.
One of the main hopes of modern Chilean cinema, Pablo Larrain has worked a lot with the past: in his country - in the films "Tony Manero", "Autopsy", "No" and "Neruda" and in the United States - "Jackie".
Apparently, the horrors of Pinochet's dictatorship bored him, and now he turns to the present.
For him, this is a truly new experience, stylistically completely different from everything he filmed before.
It is necessary to talk about modern times without using old forms. A new cinema language is required for what we all experience now. Larrain relies on a strong woman, as was the case with Natalie Portman's Jackie. The choice is more than risky, but it is successful in "Ema": she is young and unknown to anyone actress, Mariana Di Girolamo. Previously, she worked exclusively on Chilean TV on little-known soap operas. The director was attracted by her charisma and inner energy.
Filming began without a ready-made script, there was a general plot, but the details and the form itself were born in the process with the direct participation of the talents.
Ema has a complex structure, only the ending will put everything in its place.
The picture starts right off the bat (the main character is at the epicenter of a personal tragedy) and immediately takes a fast pace. The boy is no longer in the family, we see the middle of the story. We have no idea why he was taken away from the step parents, when and under what circumstances. The viewer will learn gradually with the plot developing.
Larrain tries to avoid banal flashbacks. If he turns to them, then rarely, and to the most dramatic moments. Husband and wife talk through most of their tragedy.
Due to the initial vagueness of the problem and the lack of clarity of plot twists and turns, it seems that the action develops simultaneously in the past and in the future.
Two temporary layers are cleared at once.
There is the crisis of the creative family in the center of attention but the film is so unexpected as it is one of a kind.
For Ema it is extremely important that action takes place here and now: it is modern times and it is Chilean very specific culture.
This is the story of the formation of a fundamentally new family, previously unrepresented and certainly one that directors are just learning to talk about.
Larrain has practically no words: his crew is the people of action. This is why dancing appears in focus as an integral part of the picture. The emotions are danced through.... and the dancing is exceptional!
There are no "plug-in dancing" done for fun in his film, but they are emotional outbursts of the main character with the support of her friends (dancing crew). It is her way of expressing herself, not with words, but with her physical body.
The passionate dancers are filmed against the background of the port city of Valparaiso, where Ema and Gaston live. The sceneries are captivating and artistic to the maximum of one's imagination!
From the paintings of recent years, equally passionate, bright and emotional dances could be observed only in "Ecstasy" by Gaspar Noé, but the color palette of the picture refers more to "Love".
The electronic soundtrack by Nicholas Jaar perfectly suits the modern dance of the dancing troupe, of which Ema is the ringleader.
As I mentioned before Ema is played by Di Girolamo. Her hair are dyed in fatal blonde, from which both men and women go crazy. She is sexy, attractive and is great at achieving her goals. She looks like a white crow: it's not only about her hair, but also about a confident gait and street clothes (tracksuits, faithful tops and fur coats of crazy colors).
Following her, fellow dancers are gaining confidence. They oppose the choreographer Gaston, an example of a patriarchal world that always puts a woman in a frame. They rebel his every move and his every word.
Now everything will be new as Ema wants it as she creates her own world.
"Ema" is a fiery movie, its energy knocks you down and hits hard on your head.
You will either like it very much, or you will not like it at all, but it will definitely not leave you indifferent.
It seems that we have already seen the individual ingredients of this "cocktail", but the end result is surprising... as is the case with many of the films. The Chilean film has excesses with taste, it is simply impossible to stop: ot remains in your brain like a powerful street vibe.
However, the puzzle that is put together at the very end of the film unexpectedly adds logic to both crazy deeds and irrepressible dances.
This is a great skill that Larrain has shown not for the first time... and there are no more words but the end titles...
review by Alex First of MAPT
Ema (MA) – 107 minutes – by Alex First
A bold and striking drama about love and loss, resilience, fear, escape, pyromania and dance, Ema excites.
Beautiful platinum blonde Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) is a complex character.
She and her husband Gaston (Gael Garcia Bernal) – who is infertile – adopted a Colombian child, but were far from the ideal parents and the youngster acted up.
He set fire to Ema’s sister, leaving her face permanently scarred.
Ema took the fateful decision to give him up and has regretted it ever since.
Ema and Gaston blame each other for what happened, but they continue to have a love-hate relationship.
Now is the time for me to mention that Ema loves lighting fires and watching them burn.
I speak of traffic lights, fairground equipment, monuments and more.
Ema is a dancer and works in the company where Gaston is choreographer.
She is particularly friendly with five other girls in the group, who hang out together and watch Ema torch things, even resorting to taking selfies in front of the deeds.
Ema approaches a psychologist from Child Services – the one who helped her secure their adopted son in the first instance – to try to find out where the now 12-year-old is.
The psychologist doesn’t take kindly to the approach and has nothing but disdain for Ema and Gaston.
Ema engages a lawyer, Raquel (Paola Giannini), to start divorce proceedings and begins flirting with the lawyer, telling her she doesn’t have the money to pay her.
The lawyer who isn’t in the happiest place in her marriage is equally drawn to Ema, who swings both ways and loves sex.
At the same time, Ema befriends a firefighter, Anibal (Santiago Cabrera), called to the scene of one of the blazes she lit and starts an affair with him.
Through proceedings, Ema and her dance troupe perform a series of spectacular routines, Ema particularly drawn to what is called reggaeton.
That is a form of dance music of Puerto Rican origin, characterised by a fusion of Latin rhythms, dancehall and hip-hop or rap.
To say any more would be to spoil the surprise, other than to note that all the disparate threads come together in the end.
I loved the Latin vibe of the movie. The music and dancing are spectacular, the choreography of the latter noteworthy.
The sets, settings and production values of the picture are also worth mentioning.
The meandering storyline requires concentration to follow, but patience is rewarded.
That is not to say that Ema will suit all tastes. It won’t. It is, after all, an eclectic arthouse film.
I particularly appreciated Mariana Di Girolamo’s uncompromising performance (her first film role) as Ema – a mixture of intrigue, street smarts and vulnerability.
It is her film. Everything gravitates around Ema and Di Girolamo ensures she is front and centre throughout, so much so that you dare not look away.
She is out to shock and delight and succeeds in doing so.
Sex and sensuality have a significant role to play throughout Ema. Multiple sex scenes, including a lesbian orgy, are head turners.
Co-writer and director Pablo Larrain’s (Jackie) unique sensibilities are stamped all over Ema.
In less accomplished hands it may have been a complete disaster, but in his it is an unbridled success.
Rated MA, it scores a 7½ out of 10.
SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT website review by Vellu Khanna
Six Minutes To Midnight
Any media referencing World War II would need to adhere to strict instances of nostalgia and historical cohesiveness, and 'Six Minutes To Midnight' does that in a rather grandiose manner.
One would rightly presume that, within the course of the first fifteen minutes of the flick, a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse is afoot - stemming around a boarding house for girls at a beach-front school in the year 1939. And we see a male teacher, a Mr Miller (Eddie Izzard) being offered a position as an English teacher. The unfolding of a series of events on the threshold of espionage and intelligence is made evident.
And we have Dame Judi Dench as part of the cast - a phenomenal treat, to be sure.
'Six Minutes To Midnight' profiles the pandemonium prior to the march of Hitler's Third Reich onto Poland - the rare glimpse of a purportedly insignificant event between the British and German Secret Services. This is definitely a must-watch for World War II buffs.
Mortal Kombat has always been a franchise filled with mixed results. From it’s debut in 1992 game arcades, to its eclectic sequels. The franchise has always been hit or miss. Of the two previous attempts of a cinematic adaption. 1995 left the fans slightly disappointed, but happy to be represented, while 1997 saw one of the worst films ever made inflicted upon fans of the series. 2021s Mortal Kombat is far closer to the former, than the latter. However, it seems to have forgotten what it is, and so it loses its way more often than not.
When it is on point, though, Australian director Simon McQuoid does the series proud. Bookending the movie with some of the best and most violent choreography to come out of Hollywood in years. The battle between Hiroyuki Sanada’s Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion) and Joe Taslim’s Bi-Han(Sub-zero) are incredible and showcase the two actors true skills as martial artists. This doesn’t always work in the films favour however, as comparing any of the other actors, however talented they may be to the two juggernauts of hong kong cinema is bound to leave them feeling subpar.
The film does have an excellent cast, with Sanada and Taslim actually filling in relatively minor roles, as compared to the always exceptional Chin Han in his role as Outworld's Emperor Shang Tsung, or Mehcad Brooks’s Jax, alongside Jessica McNamee’s Sonya Blade. But while the movie is based around the newly created character of Cole Young as played by Lewis Tan, the undisputed star of the second act is Josh Lawson’s Kano. Tan is a decent actor and he does occasionally get a chance to show his shops, but for the most part, the movie doesn’t give him much to work with. Allowing Lawsons utterly shameless comedy relief to shine through and steal every scene he is in.
Even when the actors are able to power through their clunky dialog though, they are always at the mercy of the cinematography. Which ranges from utterly stunning, to downright painful, without any trace of rhyme or reason behind the transition. The movie often uses an amazingly framed, perfectly lit wide shot, to showcase PlayStation 2 CGI and the dissonance between the two elements is enough to give the average viewer whiplash. Emotional scenes of character development, are suddenly interrupted by a CGI version of Goro that makes the 1995 animatronic look good by comparison. This dichotomy between skill and garbage carries on in the movies numerous fan service scenes as well. Some of them are seamlessly integrated into the movie. With exact quotes woven into the script for game fans to appreciate and make YouTube videos about. Compared to others that have the actors, stop what they are doing and look directly into the camera, to say their game reference, stopping shy of winking, through an apparent sheer force of will. None of this is to say that the movie suffers from its reliance on references, rather the movie is at it’s best when it forgets about the new narrative it is trying to tell and revels in its corny and ultraviolent roots.
Overall, this Mortal Kombat gives the fans about 30 minutes of pure unbridled joy and 80 minutes of forgettable nonsense. Leading a 110 minutes of easily roastable, largely enjoyable cheese that cries out for alcohol and crowds to appreciate it. For anyone who is a fan of the series or just of ultraviolent films and doesn’t mind a bit of hammed up dialog, gather your friends, get on the beers and make sure the children have gone to bed. This movie is a good time, if you want one, even if it does take itself far too seriously at times.
It is Thomas Wilson-White film debut. Th genre is drama but it is also partially mystical. The main is=dea of the movie is theoretically very correct but hard to apply to the present often. We stay in the past trying to resolve the puzzles that past away already. We forget about the future and the present. We think a lot about "woulds" and would nots" that relate to the past but it does not help the present. The family's lost past and the loss in the past is the main focus of the picture.
The puzzles will remain there for Beth and her family till she makes the most important decision in her life.
We somehow no longer expect an abundance of blood and any shocking scenes from the modern horror films.
It is the British cinema's Carmilla in front of us, a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.
They say that in spirit and in visual, this is the most complete adaptation of a classic work.
Thi sis the story in short: a fifteen year old Lara lives in complete isolation in her family home with her father. She is under the supervision of her governess, Miss Fontaine who mercilessly punishes her for any small mistake.
Struggling to find a way out of her growing sexuality, Lara finds herself fascinated by the mysterious Carmilla. Carmilla's carriage has been found broken down next to Lara's house. Carmilla is looked after Lara's house servants and her father.
While Carmilla is getting better after the accident, Lara's interest in Carmilla grown more and more day after day. their walks in the garden and sleepless nights lead to passion that flares up between two girls.
However, the rumors, superstitions and anxiety of the family doctor begin to instill fear in others, and Carmilla becomes the source of this fear.
I could feel that somehow Carmilla was Lara's imaginary friend as she had none. Her captivity situation lead her to "create" herself a good friend she fell in love with. How her father and governess treated Carmilla at the end of the film would send goosebumps down your spine. They practically killed a creative part of Lara in front of her eyes.
The story is poetic but the presence of horror did not flatter it. I am not a fan! The film though would attract a bunch of teenagers interested in the genre.
The film is directed by Emily Harris herself who has written the original script.
Hannah Rae, Devrim Lingnow, Jessica Rain, Tobias Menzies and the illusionist Scott Silven played the leading roles in the film.
Carmilla picture was filmed in 2019, has traveled to festivals since then, collecting awards, and will soon appear on our screes and in VOD services.