Wednesday, 26 April 2017

THE SALESMAN (Persian, English subtitles)

Forced out of their apartment due to dangerous works on a neighbouring building, Emad and Rana move into a new flat in the centre of Tehran. An incident linked to the previous tenant will dramatically change the young couple’s life.

A very intriguing movie. Subtle and yet riveting. The acting is superb. The ending of this movie is brilliant and totally surprising. Looking into another culture which deals with issues quite differently to one’s own was fascinating and educative. If you saw the director’s previous movie, A SEPARATION, and liked it, don’t miss this one. A fascinating look at some very deep themes.


3D GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill's true parentage.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first one. Too long — could have been about 30 minutes shorter. I don’t mind long movies, but they shouldn’t feel long. There’s some good humour throughout the movie and the characters are enjoyable, particularly Rocket who is my favourite! Story is pretty thin. Some good action sequences, of course. Overall, an average movie that has lost some of the freshness of the original.


Monday, 24 April 2017

FRANTZ (French/German with English subtitles)

In the aftermath of WWI, a young German who grieves the death of her fiancé in France meets a mysterious Frenchman who visits the fiancé's grave to lay flowers.

This is an intriguing story that unfolds in surprising ways. I’ve heard a few people try to guess what happens from the trailers they have seen. None of them have been correct. Filmed almost entirely in black and white with sensuous cinematography.  The acting, particularly of the woman who plays Anna (Paula Beer), is excellent. This movie is very satisfying. An intelligent, beautifully structured story. Don’t miss it.


Sunday, 23 April 2017

RAW (French, English subtitles)

In Justine’s family everyone is a vet and a vegetarian. At 16, she’s a gifted teen ready to take on her first year in vet school, where her older sister also studies. There, she gets no time to settle: hazing starts right away. Justine is forced to eat raw meat for the first time in her life. Unexpected consequences emerge as her true self begins to form.

A difficult movie to watch at times. Cannibalism seems so unnatural and unethical and some of the scenes in this story are very confronting, especially those with lurid violence and sexuality. The acting was very good and the story developed in a logical manner. The music was too heavy and, at times, dominated the watching experience too much. If you plan to see this, be warned: there’s aberrant behaviour, bloody and grisly images, strong sexuality, nudity, language and drug use/partying. Some critics have suggested there is a deep symbolism in RAW. But I didn’t find much edification in this one and it became more and more uninteresting as it developed. Not my cup of tea (so to speak).


Friday, 14 April 2017

CATCH-UP ONE-LINER REVIEWS

DENIAL ***** - brilliant true story about a historian, Deborah Lipstadt, who is taken to court by the Holocaust-denier, David Irving, who sues her for libel. A must see.

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE * - walked out on this. Extremely lame, totally boring. First one of these wasn’t too bad — but got my money back on this one.

THE BOSS BABY *** — better than I expected. Good fun.

See you at the movies!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

What great fun this movie is! The 2 hr 16m fly by — every minute is filled with stunning over-the-top action sequences in the context of a James Bond type plot that is pretty good for the genre. And the submarine scene you’ve watched in the trailer? Wait until you see the whole set piece in the film — amazing. Charlize Theron is excellent as the ice-cold baddy and even Helen Mirren puts in an uncredited cameo performance that was obviously a lot of fun. Vin Diesel does what he does best with the usual “family” of supporting cast. An exciting, fun, furious ride. Yes, it’s pulp. But it’s done with such elegance. Thoroughly enjoyable. If you are looking for pure escapism then this one is definitely for you. A great addition to the Fast and Furious canon. See it on the big screen!


A SILENT VOICE (Japanese, English subtitles)

Ishida Shouya bullies a deaf girl, Nishimiya Shouko, to the point that she transfers to another school. As a result, he is ostracised and bullied himself with no friends to speak of and no plans for the future. This is the story of his path to redemption.

Beautiful hand-drawn anime but the movie belabours its important themes about bullying to such a degree that it becomes boring and way too long. There is little subtlety in the script and seems very disjointed. A marathon to watch and left me feeling dissatisfied.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

LAND OF MINE (German, Danish, English with subtitles)

In the days following the surrender of Germany in May 1945, a group of young German prisoners of war were handed over to the Danish authorities and subsequently sent out to the West Coast, where they were ordered to remove the more than two million mines that the Germans had placed in the sand along the coast. With their bare hands, crawling around in the sand, the boys were forced to perform the dangerous work under the leadership of the Danish sergeant, Carl Leopold Rasmussen.

A moving story I had never heard before. These young boys were certainly courageous in tackling what they were forced to do. The acting is very good and the story is told with sensitivity. This movie could have been made in a very sensational way. To the director’s credit, the tension is naturally embedded in the situation and the whole thing is very believable. It was nominated for best foreign film at the Oscars. An important movie about war and forgiveness.


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A MAN CALLED OVE (Swedish with English subtitles)

59 year-old Ove is the block’s grumpy man. Several years ago he was deposed as president of the condominium association, but he could not give a damn about being deposed and therefore keeps looking over the neighborhood with an iron fist. Just when he's decided to give up on life, pregnant Parvaneh and her family move into the terraced house opposite Ove and accidentally backs into Ove’s mailbox setting off the beginning of an unexpected change in his life.

This movie is only in limited release in my city, which is surprising. It's a drama with some very black humour. But it is, overall, a feel good movie. In fact, it is so feel good that that the director seems to have felt compelled to provide a cheesy, "Hollywood" ending that, for me, detracted from the film's quality. The story is, however, quite fresh and there are some great performances from the cast. If you want a good laugh with a serious message about what it means to live a happy life, check it out.


Saturday, 1 April 2017

CATCH-UP ONE-LINER REVIEWS

MISS SLOANE ****1/2 - Brilliant story with an outstanding performance from Jessica Chastain.

T2 TRAINSPOTTING ***1/2 — Entertaining sequel. Make sure you see the original Trainspotting before you see this one.

JASPER JONES *** — Adequate drama, mystery, thriller with some pretty dark themes. Not for little kids.

A STREET CAT NAMED BOB ***1/2 — A heartwarming story of how a cat changes the life of a man living at rock bottom. Good family movie.

LOVING ***1/2 — Good performances from the leads make this an enjoyable true story of love in the face of racism.

See you at the movies!

DANCE ACADEMY: THE MOVIE

This 2017 movie follows the original dance academy TV show and tracks where the characters are in their lives now.

If you go to see this movie when it opens on April 6, keep your expectations low. It’s overcrowded with bad things happening to so many people it comes across as contrived and overwrought. The acting is very average and the last third of the movie descends into cheesy resolution and predictability — actually, the whole movie is pretty predictable. There is little dancing and, what there is, seems amateurish. There were a few people applauding at the end of the movie but I couldn’t tell whether they were applauding the movie or the fact it was over (I suspect the former). Don’t bother to pay for a cinema ticket for this one. Check it out on VDO when it turns up — if you must.