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Ferrante Fever (2017)
Solid documentary for Ferrante's fans
I gotta admit that I havent read any of her work so far but I was intrigued by this persona that kept to herself and made a career without ever revealing her (or his) identity.
The author decided that it was their work that will be the sole and only factor that will contribute to their success. An oh boy, did she succeed! The way people talk about her work is frantic, in shock even. Her success is global, but all her work is Italian. Exploring the cities, but above all characters. Friendship, spouses, doubts.
Although I would have enjoyed having heard some critics of her work, people who were not as impressed as most of the world but I suppose that was not in plans for this movie. Nevertheless, worth watching.
7 out of 10 from me.
Dystopian claustrophobic thriller
I was just lying in bed, trying to find something to put me to sleep, when I came across this interesting, if a bit overused, premise that comprises this movie. I figured it would be a low budget so and so sci-fi but I was surprised to find a well-acted, nicely shot, atmospheric dystopian suspense thriller.
There is a pandemic, and World Health Organization claims we are all doomed. Still, they have a plan. They will make half a million bunkers where lucky lottery winners will stay until the plague disappears. How long they'll have to stay inside? Could be decades!
After this opening set up we are following some of the lucky ones who made it to these small safe heavens. Dialogue is serviceable and not cringe worthy and the characters are interesting (some more and some less) while the atmosphere of the whole containment deal is pretty well presented. There are some clever ideas as to the ways those people choose to interact and keep a straight head during this unpleasant, but necessary lock up.
The film kept me interested to the very end. Some of the ideas come across as original (even if they are not really) which is very much appreciated from my side. Unfortunately, some of the actions of particular characters do seem strange and out of place which does leave a stain on the whole experience but it might be a bit unfair to hold it against the creators.
Interested to see what the Director/Writer has in store for us next. Small budget didn't keep him from making a solid first full length feature.
7 out of 10 from me.
The Place (2017)
Amazing premise - too bad it's just a remake
"The Place" is an Italian movie directed by Paolo Genovese who became more famous after his previous film - "Perfect Strangers". Good news is that the premise of the movie is fantastic. We are inside "the place" throughout the whole runtime where we're listening to conversations between a man and several guests who are approaching him with numerous wishes. To have your wish fulfilled, you get a non-negotiable task from the man that you must complete. Simple wish gets a simple task, but a complicated one... Well, it can leave you wondering if you really want it that much. Bad news is that the whole idea and stories that go with it (with a little tweak here and there) were taken from a Canadian show called "The boot at the end" which consists of 2 seasons with 5 episodes each. If you're a fan of the show, you will probably find enjoyment here, but basically the only difference is that several episodes have been merged into one cohesive story with just a few new, original ideas which you may or may not notice.
Still, that being said, performances are very good overall and movie is an easy watch. Although, it leaves one disappointed that director choose to go the safe, more light hearted route and didn't have enough courage to do what must be done and give his characters more believable closures. With some casualties, most of them get a happy ending, and unsurprisingly they are the ones we were supposed to be more sympathetic to. With all that in mind I would definitely recommend the series first but dont be afraid to give this flick a shot. From me - 7 out of 10.
Fun fact is that based on the director's most famous movie that I mentioned earlier ("Perfect Strangers") a remake was made in Spain, with the exactly the same premise and story and I saw the remake first. So I suppose the joke is on me.
Very strong debut movie from a young Iranian director
Even though it certainly is funny, Kupal is not a joyful movie. At least not in that sense. We are following Kupal, who is a hunter and taxidermist, but also has a PHD in wildlife. His passion for animals is only rivaled by his love for food, and both are obvious right from the start. He seems like a funny good hearted, although a little grumpy as well, man but he will have to face both the truth about himself and regrets from his past.
Levon Haftvan is fantastic as Kupal, keeping us engaged through the whole 81 min long movie. The whole movie is shot very good, with interior design being something worth seeing. Kazem Mollaie as a director chooses to shot his scenes very boldly and without any restrictions, choosing to move us, even though some might not want to be moved in that way. But we are left without that choice and its worth it.
I saw this movie on Fest festival in Belgrade (Serbia) where Kupal competed under the category - Outside Borders.
The Sinner (2017)
What a pleasant surprise
The Sinner is an American TV series based on the popular novel of the same name written by Petra Hammesfahr.
Here we are following Jessica Biel as a leading actress (and executive producer of the series as well) in her, without a doubt, best performance to date. I have to emphasize that her portrayal of a troubled young mother with unclear past (to her and to others) is almost without any flaws. You can easily see that she was passionate about this project (even though we all know she can act - The Illusionist, London) and she is able to produce genuine and very complex feelings and emotions to the screen. But I also must say that the supporting cast is amazing as well - Jacob Pitts, Christopher Abbott, and a smaller but fantastic role played by Nadia Alexander.
Overall tone of the series is moody and ominous from the get go which I think puts us emotionally in the right spot, with audience knowing that its not going to be an easy ride. It is a mystery thriller that lets you in on the plot little by little, keeping you engaged throughout the whole 8 episode runtime.
I believe that it is worth noting that the whole series conclude with its final 8th episode providing you with a rewarding ending. There wont be a second season.
By the way, the song you are looking for is Big Black Delta - Huggin & Kissin.
9 out of 10 from me.
The Punisher (2017)
Karen is the worst...really
The Punisher is overall a little bit of a disappointment. I like Bernthral as Punisher very much and I think that he single-handedly carries this whole series. But besides that I think that most of the other characters are pretty weak (with exception of Ruso, who is pretty good as well).
I also think that some episodes in the middle were too slow and just used as time fillers. The whole season would have been much better if it were done in 8-10 episodes.
But the reason why Im writing this review is because I have to share how much I dislike Karen as a character. I think that she is the most annoying part of The Daredevil series (I always hoped that somehow Rosario Dawson would have a more prominent role in the series, and that Deborah Ann Woll will somehow, in time, lose more and more of her screen time). I hate to criticize hardworking people because I really truly believe that she is giving it her best, but I just don't buy her performance at all. I think that she is very annoying and she cant convince me into anything that the show is trying to present her as - strong independent individual, fearless reporter, lovable and charismatic person etc. Her voice is always breaking and she constantly seems like she is on a brink of tears. So when I heard that she will have a role in Punisher as well I was bummed out from the start. And yes, she is ruining every scene she is in (well, almost every scene). Please, Netflix, is somewhere, somehow you see this post, please reconsider her involvement in this universe. Thanks.
6.5 out of 10 from me.
PS Finale of this season is amazing, thanks for that.
Alien meets Gravity...sort of...
Daniel Espinosa (Child 44, Safe House) gave us his best effort yet in his space horror thriller which is a thrill ride executed very well.
Overall setup is pretty much already known and used before multiple times. Space station - alien life. Like many others that are mentioning this, I too must point out that it is easy to see the resemblance with "Alien" but still "Life" offers something fresh and new. It is never boring and you are at the edge of your seat throughout the most of the movies' light hour and 43 minutes run-time. Jake Gyllenhaal gives yet another fantastic performance but the supporting cast does an above average job (especially Rebecca Ferguson). Visually it was done very good (with scenes that were resembling "Gravity") and I think that the design of an alien form was done superb. There were some creative ideas concerning death scenes as well which is always a welcome surprise. Still, there have been some moments where I was afraid that scenario is going to become a little bit cheesy but luckily that never completely happened (which can't be said for aforementioned "Gravity").
With that being said, it probably won't be anyone's best movie of the year but that shouldn't keep you from seeing it. I believe that if you are a space inspired movies' fan you will find enjoyment and thrill.
You like "High Maintenance"? This will probably suit you as well
Obviously highly inspired by far better online series turned HBO jewel "High Maintenance", "Easy" takes us on a leisure ride through everyday lives of some usually ordinary people. With the same concept of loosely connected characters throughout the season we have a little window into hopes, wishes, challenges and often relatable problems that the characters face.
Every episode is a story of it's own, in my opinion, worth watching. However, High Maintenance is a superior show because of at least two reasons. First one is that it always has one more character that contributes to the story, and that's the city itself. Yes, it often depicts people just making conversation in apartments but New York is always present, effecting the narrative with it's presence. The other one is the dialogue which is much more constructed and even though it's casually presented great work is lurking behind the scenes to make it seem so effortless. In "Easy" there is more of an improvisational tone, which shows, and can be admired because it hits the mark more often than not, but lacks the depth that the other show has.
Nevertheless, it's an easy watch (no pun intended, I swear) and I trust you will find enjoyment along the way.
La isla mínima (2014)
gritty crime-thriller that is definitely worth your time
La isla minima is a Spanish movie directed by Alberto Rodriguez. The simplest way to describe the plot is to say that we follow two detectives trying to solve a case in a small town in 1980.
First of all, this movie looks fantastic. I really appreciated the cinematography and use of color pallets in order to show the desperate atmosphere that is present throughout the movie. Bleak, yellowish colors remind me of Villneuve's Enemy from 2013 which I also regard as a masterpiece, both visually and narratively. All the performances are amazing, but the strongest link is definitely Javier Gutierrez as a impulsive, high tempered and intelligent detective that steals the whole show. The entire movie is unpredictable which is a top priority for every crime flick.
I would highly recommend it! from me - 8/10
Captain Fantastic (2016)
Society? Good or bad?
Let me start off by saying that I love this movie. I love the idea, I love the actors, I love the story.
We are following a father that raises his six children completely outside of society, in a forest, while his wife struggles with mental illness while hospitalized in the city. The family is forced to start a journey and reconnect with society while facing challenges that have not been present in the past.
This movie poses ever so present question - Is society good or bad for you and your children? While home schooled, those charming kids learn several languages, they listen to classical music and celebrate Noam Chomsky Day. Children ranging from 5 to 18 years can discuss with you any relevant philosophical question, and outsmart you in process. Their physical abilities are way above average as well. But does that come with a cost? They are separated from society, so their social skills are not natural. They don't know how to interact with people on a regular basis. Not everything in life consists of philosophical discussions, some things in life consist of just having small talk. Is it too big of a price to pay? I love how we are not spoon fed the answers to these questions. Instead, we are left to decide for ourselves if we feel that one way, or the other is right? or maybe neither? maybe the answer is in balancing between the two worlds and just making sure that you help your kids differentiate between what's good and what's bad in our modern day lifestyle.
The movie concluded in a beautiful, non-pretentious way, and I love it for it.
Hell or High Water (2016)
Slow burn ride that rewards in the end
Hell of High water is a new movie based on script made be Tyler Sheridan who is mostly known as writer of fantastic Sicario.
We are following two brothers (Chris Pine, Ben Foster) who are doing what they have to in order to collect some money that is much needed and they are chased by Jeff Bridges who always delivers a great performance.
This movie is slow paced but gives us a great insight into lives of people living in the rural Texas, USA. As someone coming from Europe, fact that almost all citizens carry guns with themselves at all times is both intriguing and terrifying. Would you feel safe, for example, drinking at a bar knowing every customers has a loaded revolver at their side?
Although not as good, or as complex, as Sicario, this movie makes me want to look out for any new releases written by Sheridan. Direction (David Mackenzie, known for Starred Up) is very solid as well. In my opinion, ending is well executed as well as all the action sequences.
In the end, I would recommend this movie.
Lights Out (2016)
Not fantastic, but still above average horror
I have to start off by saying - In the sea of terrible horror films, this one is fairly good. Still, nobody will call it the best horror movie of the year, and that's OK.
This movie starts off quickly and I liked that very much. You immediately know what is the premise, but solid directing and believable performances keep the suspense and fear is indeed lurking around every corner.
Stand out performance is definitely Maria Bello, who plays mother with mental issues. While I have to say that Gabriel Bateman is solid as a main child actor in the movie, script sometimes gives him too much to handle for a kid that age and he is a little bleak if you compare him with Madison Wolfe from this years The Conjuring 2. Still, not bad.
Yes, as it often happens, characters do make some stupid decisions along the way which is just irritating, but not enough to ruin the ride.
I like how the movie ended, nothing too cliché and short run time (1h 20min) is something that definitely works.
Overall, I would recommend it to anyone that appreciates horrors.
Simple, yet effective look into our beauty and ugliness alike
As it usually goes with movies that are flying by under our radar we go in with no big expectations. But from time to time we find a jewel that is hiding and just waiting to be found. For me, Circle is a jewel.
Yes, the premise is absurd, and therefore some things are a little too convenient but still it offers a good look into ourselves, and how we truly are inside. There is a burning question that is constantly hovering over during the movie and that is "what would you do or say to stay alive?" but unlike many other movies, whatever you do or decide to say has to be backed up by other people. Alone, you are powerless up until the very end.
The movie is entirely made up of dialogue that is, in my opinion, very good. Acting is not spectacular, but is definitely solid. There are no big or familiar names which works very well for this flick because from the beginning till the end you cannot predict who will come on top. You cant help but ask yourself how would you react in their shoes and the suspense is present during the whole ride.
Yes, my 10 star rating is perhaps a little over the top, but I really couldn't contain my excitement during the final moments of the movie and it did hit me directly in the heart so yes - I will give this indie jewel a 10 and hope that people behind it continue to move forward in their career.
Give it a try, you will have a blast.
The Mist (2007)
Unbelievable! not in a good way though...
This is the first review that I'm writing and it's for a good reason too. I just can't believe that this movie is praised and considered to be a great horror film. This is a disaster in my opinion. The characters are acting as if they are in a horror comedy. The first time that the monster appears nobody comes up with the idea to try and close the door. No, instead they do everything else (most importantly scream) before they eventually close the door. the guy that tries to use the axe uses it to cut the tentacle but not away from the kid but directly where he can hit him. Why?? And in general they act in an unbelievable and illogical way. They are surprised when they realize that the front of the store is made of glass as if they didn't know that already. And also, the lawyer is so stubborn that he won't even go and see what's in the back (not even to perhaps prove that he is right?). I really can't address everything that is wrong with the movie because I would need countless days to do so.
I survived 55 minutes and I had to turn it off. I really felt my brain shrinking, and trust me, I've watched some stupid movies. the problem is that this movie is pretentious but delivers nothing.
PS CGI is terrible!