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6/10
High Intrigue - Predictable Resolution
11 October 2019
Francesco is a cop whose success knows no boundaries. Getting promotion after promotion he also manages to maintain a family and personal life balance... until it all goes to hell. His wife leaves him and he is on trial for the murder of his best friend. His only hope for salvation is another buddy from old times - a lawyer with stalking issues, the last man in Town who wants to be in his corner. As the case unravels, old wounds are opened and when the truth is revealed no one will go unscathed.

I AM NOT A KILLER is a strange beast. The murder mystery premise is underwhelming, but the movie drags you in with its labyrinthine patchworkie structure. Switching between the different timelines it paints with broad strokes the picture of life-long friendship between three boys. What could go wrong?

The movie is well acted and superbly shot, its main problem being the script. The two hours of high expectations do not deliver a satisfying ending. The reveal is predictable and so simple, the question comes - why was the movie made in the first place, as every intriguing question and detail was doomed to disappoint.

Don't get me wrong, I AM NOT A KILLER is not a bad movie, it just never delivers on its promises.
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8/10
unfolds slowly and carefully like an ancient scroll
7 September 2019
Originally DWELLING IN THE FUCHUN MOUNTAINS is the 14th century Chinese painting by the famous artist Huang Gongwang. The movie is the modern version of the painting's landscape brought to life, where the changing seasons are interwoven with human lives.

Focusing on the lives of three brothers we follow them through their troubles and tribulations. There are many plot points, but the main ones involve the two young sweethearts who decide to get married against their parents' wishes and the the life of the younger brother, that spirals out of control when he starts borrowing money from shady people.

The best thing about DWELLING is its authenticity, the characters seem to live their lives normally and unaware that the camera is following them around. The movie also transpires the feeling of abandonment, as progress invades the corners of the world it is never supposed to, inevitably changing people's lives, some for the best some for the worst.

To sit through the 2.5 hour film is a bit of a chore, but somewhat gives you a sense of accomplishment. It also does not require a lot of concentration as the story unfolds slowly and carefully like an ancient scroll, with an almost hypnotic quality, plunging you into a different world. Here the life is like Fuchun river itself - harsh bleak cold, but ultimately rewarding.
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6/10
rich in emotion and atmosphere
24 August 2019
Guida and Euidice are two sisters who could not be any more different. Euridice is tall, Guida is short. Euridice is focused, determined and working hard to become a professional pianist, Guida can't think about anything but boys. When a tragic incident separates them the girls are lost without each other but they never give up hope to meet again. A desperate search turns into a journey of a lifetime, when in fact the girls only live a few streets away from each other... will the sisters be able to reunite? And at what cost?

Based on a novel INVISIBLE LIFE offers a very typical plot for Brazilian cinema. Sisters separated by fate is a tagline straight from GLOBO tv channel soap operas that are so popular in Brazil. With a running time of 2h20min the pace is rather slow and the story takes its time to get going. Where the film succeeds is the atmosphere of the 40s Rio, with its walkways, restaurants, and its diminishing Portuguese middle class that can easily slip into extreme hardship and poverty.

Independent director Karim Ainouz is a Cannes darling but has never quite made it into the big league. This feels like a passion project for him and his love for Rio is obvious in every shot. Definitely not for everyone THE INVISIBLE LIFE is rich in emotion and atmosphere. Watch out for a small role from Brazilian acting royalty Fernando Montenegro. Her emotional gut wrenching cameo could be just the reason to see this overlong family saga.
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7/10
what have I just seen?
24 August 2019
Bobby and Akkun are two schoolboys who stumble upon a remote amusement park. Not quite sure about entering they are lured in by a charismatic park manager... the entertainment inside looks a little silly even for the young kids like Bobby and Akkun... but as the boys delve deeper into the park its dark secrets begin to emerge and it's not long until all hell breaks loose.

There are moments when you walk out of the cinema and ask yourself : what have I just seen? VIOLENCE VOYAGER is a horror movie that is entirely made of cardboard puppets. This is not an animation, the puppets are just being moved across the screen, but it creates an eerie feeling that all is not what it seems (the same feeling the movie characters experience when they enter the amusement park).

While the puppets' expressions look silly and over the top and their voices are often grotesque and the dialogue is clumsy, what produces laughs from the audience is also scary as hell. This is what a Brothers Grimm fairy tale must look like in a child's imagination, and for a grown up like me it is a Junji Ito horror manga coming to life.

There's not much to say here, but to suggest you experience it for yourself. Created by one man this is a unique film that will either make you walk out of the theatre straight away or will have you mesmerised.
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Angel of Mine (2019)
9/10
thought provoking and well acted piece of entertainment
16 August 2019
Haunted by her tragic past and fighting a bitter custody battle with her ex husband Lizzie is losing her grip on reality. At her son's friend's birthday party Lizzie sees a girl named Lola and somehow recognises in her the baby she lost many years ago. Convinced against all logic that Lola is her own daughter miraculously brought back to life, Lizzi starts following the girl around. As her obsession intensifies, how far can she go before a new tragedy befalls all involved?

ANGEL OF MINE is one of those films that benefits from walking in blind and just taking it all in at face value. Based on the French drama film L'EMPRIENTE the English version is much further into thriller territory than the original, building up an almost unbearable tension.

These are tour de force performances for the stars Noomi Rapace (Lizzi) and Yvonne Strahovski (Claire, Lola's mother) as the first spirals out of control and the second is consumed by suspicion and fear. Their dynamic easily warrants a second viewing.

The plot may read as a standard thriller, but this is not the case at all. With its nuanced performances, pacing and intelligent script the film keeps its cards close to its chest. The ending will not disappoint.

Moving location from Paris to Melbourne, Australia is an interesting choice, as Melbourne can be as moody at times and as stunningly beautiful.

ANGEL OF MINE is great to see with a large, focused audience, where you get all the gasps and laughs which makes it a perfect movie experience.

While being a remake ANGEL OF MINE stands on its own as a much more tense version. It is a thought provoking and well acted piece of entertainment.
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First Love (2019)
8/10
an energised piece of work that has to be seen to be believed
13 August 2019
A chance encounter between a young boxer and a prostitute causes an all out gang war and they are both caught right in the middle of it. Takashi Miike anyone?

When one goes to see a Takashi Miike film one expects certain things. It has to be grotesquely violent, slightly tongue in the cheek and an over the top story that that would never work with anyone else at the helm. FIRST LOVE delivers everything and more. In fact it is a surprisingly coherent, thought through and even touching film that works on many levels. It is drama, it is a comedy, it's an action film and it's a thriller, where all elements are a perfect fit.

This is classic Miike with Japanese yakuza and Chinese triad going at each other over nothing. It may be a bizarre and violent affair, but the cut off limbs and heads seem a bit Monty Pythonish, which makes the gore slightly less disturbing.

There's a lot of fun to be had here, this is a sort of film Tarantino would like (he did praise Miike as one of his favourites) and this film is Miike at his best.

With its jazzy upbeat soundtrack and out there action, this is an energised piece of work that has to be seen to be believed.
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Baby (2018)
8/10
oozes with almost unbearable tension
13 August 2019
Juang Meng is a 19 year old girl who still lives with her foster mother. Abandoned at birth because of her heart condition she more than anyone knows the hardships of those unwanted by their parents. While working her dead end job at the hospital she witnesses a father refusing life saving surgery for his baby daughter. From then on Juang will move heaven and earth to give that baby another chance in life, even if it means kidnapping the child.

THE BABY could have been an anti-utopian thriller if it wasn't based on fact. Instead it can be watched as a documentary - it is matter of factly unflinching, as it depicts the every day life of the less fortunate in Chinese society. The film takes a hard look at Chinese foster care and disability scheme, as the characters are thrown into an impossible situation where no one can win.

The director Jie Liu has created something special here. Famous for his mainstream movie making he now delivers a realistic thriller with the conflict deeply rooted in the social problems of everyday China. Inviting the starlet Yang Mi to play the main character is a controversial choice for she is as far from an everyday Chinese girl as one can possibly be. Yang Mi, who is stunningly beautiful, here is her most unglamorous self. With her old woman walk and weatherbeaten unsmiling face her character is a force of nature, unstoppable but also devastating, which makes her an unlikable protagonist. After many soap operas and one off thrillers she surely shows she can carry the whole film on her shoulders.

Powerful and devastating THE BABY oozes with almost unbearable tension. While there's no violence or action thrills on display it still makes for an edge of the seat viewing experience that holds you in its grip.
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Frankie (I) (2019)
7/10
one strong woman facing her mortality
13 August 2019
Frankie (Isabelle Huppert) is having a holiday. A somewhat famous and somewhat rich actor she invites her family for their last outing together as due to her cancer she is not going to make it to Christmas. This is a modern family indeed, which involves her gay ex-husband (Pascal Greggory), her current Scottish hubby Jim (Brandon Gleeson), her stepdaughter and her son (who may or may not have feeling for each other) and a couple from New York Irene (Marisa Tomei) and Gary (Greg Kinnear) who have been summoned here for a reason.

For some it's a good day, for some it's heartbreaking, but for Frankie it may be just one of the few happy ones left...

Told without pathos and preaching this is a quiet reflective film about one strong woman facing her mortality and accepting that no matter what, the world will carry on without her.

Isabelle Huppert gives a great performance as usual, but here there's a feeling she brings in a little bit of her real self to the role. The ensemble of great actors is everything here and makes the patchwork of encounters and dialogues entertaining and meaningful.

FRANKIE may be considered a little dull, there are no comic situations, no great arguments, no characters to root for and hope that they achieve a certain goal. Frankie, just like the rest of her family, is only trying to get through a day and somehow we are very comfortable in their company, watching them wandering aimlessly through the picturesque Portuguese gardens and beaches. FRANKIE is worth watching for the performances and for the soothing feeling that may let you appreciate your life a little more.
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8/10
Subtle, atmospheric and true
10 August 2019
Welcome to TRUBCHEVSK - a small town not far from Moscow. Anna and Egor are neighbours and having an affair. It is only a matter of time until things are out in the open. Some hard choices have to be made... or maybe not so hard. In the end TRUBCHEVSK is a quiet town where nothing ever happens.

Subtle, atmospheric and true, devoid of politics and criminal drama, which is a typical trend for modern Russian films, ONCE IN TRUBCHEVSK delivers a simple story but with a lot of heart. The setting here is everything. TRUBCHEVSK presents as poor and simple town with a surprisingly prosperous community. The real focus of the film is that community with many episodic characters who are likely to be non professional actors revealing real life stories.

Authenticity is what ONCE IN TRUBCHEVSK is all about. There's a feeling that you are plunged into some kind of alternative universe, the same for a Russian viewer like myself who spent the majority of his life in a big city.

ONCE IN TRUBCHEVSK is only 80 minutes long and while very little is happening story-wise it never feels stretched or boring. With current Russian political infamy it is nice to see a movie about simple people with simple dramas and the quiet current of life that sooner or later amicably resolves the problems of the heart.
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Alice (II) (2019)
10/10
If it's not a masterpiece of indie movie making it is bloody close to being one
10 August 2019
Alice is living a simple and happy life with her loving husband and a little son until her world turns upside down. Her husband disappears with all her money and as she is behind on mortgage repayments she is about to be evicted from her apartment. In order to save her home she needs to pay an exorbitant amount of money every two weeks. There's only one way she can make that much money and that is to become a high class hooker.

In the beginning of the movie session the director Josephine Mackerras expressed her concern that the movie may not live up to everyone's expectations. "This is a very small movie!" she said. It seems pretty big to me.

In fact this is probably the most focused and beautiful writing I have experienced in film in years. The script here is everything, simple but multilayered, with relatable slightly damaged characters we can identify with, with just enough tension to be thrilling and not going over the top, hitting all the right spots of dramatic, humorous and even slightly scary along the way.

Mackerras managed to squeeze many ideas into the film, yes it's about feminism but it's also about family, growing up, forgiveness and life choices. And like all movies made in Paris it's a little bit about Paris.

Emilie Piponnier is an inspired casting choice for loyal and stoic Alice, a loving wife who always has her husband's back but who doesn't flinch when hard choices are to be made. Piponnier has the ability to transform from girl next door pretty to stunningly beautiful, the same way she moves from fragility to strength delivering a complex character that carries the story forward.

ALICE is a thoroughly engaging movie with a satisfying finale that makes the audience cheer. If it's not a masterpiece of indie movie making it is bloody close to being one.
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The Whistlers (2019)
6/10
a rewarding experience for those who will stick with it until the end
8 August 2019
Cristi is a middle aged undercover police officer with mommy issues who is trying to find the location of some stolen money. So he goes to a remote island to learn a whistling language that will allow him to communicate with the criminals from a distance. There he rekindles a relationship with his old flame and his priorities change. As both the criminals and his colleagues are onto Cristi what choices will he make to come out clean of his predicament? A clever game of cops and robbers ensues.

Summing up this multi layered, not always coherent plot, is not an easy task. THE WHISTLERS takes a long time to get going but it's many elements come together building up to something special. Heavy on movie references it is heavily inspired by Tarantino movies, although the style of the cinematography is rather dull.

The script on paper must look great, but this is the case where a writer should let go of his work and let someone else direct. Cornelliu Porumboiu helmed 13 films but seems to be still searching for his directing style. While all the cast do their job well, the motives of their characters for the majority of the film are obscure to say the least.

But if this is the originality you are looking for THE WHISTLERS is for you. With good timing and a genuine sense of wit it is a rewarding experience for those who will stick with it until the end.
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Palm Beach (2019)
9/10
A breezy summer fun that focuses on the characters' onscreen chemistry
30 July 2019
Frank (Bryan Brown) is having a big birthday party so he invites his best friends Leo (Sam Neill) and Billy (Richard E Grant) with their spouses and families to his house in PALM BEACH. It doesn't take long for the grudges, old and new, to emerge and the old secrets refuse to be buried. The commotion that rocks the three families threatens to ruin the holiday. What will it take to get things back on track?

Exploring the nature of a true family, that goes far beyond blood relations, PALM BEACH is a colourful portrait of a lifelong friendship with all its outcomes, good and bad, beautiful and ugly.

While the dining table drama-comedy has become its own sub genre in France (Little White Lies, Namesake) and Italy (PERFECT STRANGERS) middle class families rarely take centre stage in Australian film.

Palm beach takes a very Australian approach, avoiding high concept drama, it is breezy summer fun that focuses on the characters' onscreen chemistry. Sam Neill and Bryan Brown celebrate their birthdays together in real life, and it shows. Add a great location, breathtaking views, a catchy seventies soundtrack and you get an hour and a half of a cosy dramedy where jokes are never forced and funny, and the sad moments ring true.

Director Rachel Ward (who is also credited as one of the writers) gives an unexpected depth to a simple story, makes some basic ideas look interesting and fresh, and manages to deliver the point without preaching.

Some films are a remedy and a getaway from real life problems. See this movie. Be this party's crasher. You won't want it to end.
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7/10
THE LATEST FROM DEPARTMENT Q DOES NOT DISAPPOINT, BUT PLAYS SAFE
9 July 2019
Department Q is a series of mystery novels by Dutch author Jussi Adler-Olsen about a group of detectives who investigate cold cases. In modern Copenhagen a sealed room is discovered in an old apartment building with four dead bodies positioned at the table. The murder had occurred so many years ago the bodies are mummified. There's one empty place left at the table.

Your enjoyment of the film is highly dependent on your love for the main characters. This is story number 4 and for those of us who have been on this journey for some years our detectives - sombre Carl and charismatic Assad have become our old friends. The narrative as usual switches between the past and the present. The flashbacks in Department Q films can be a bit boring and confusing, but not this time around. The story gallops forward at a high pace introducing many elements, some require serious suspension of disbelief, but the core message about women's suppression of the past and the present is loud and clear. There's also some action involved- again quite unusual for these series.

The movie is very atmospheric, Copenhagen is dark and mysterious and the women's institution in the flashbacks looks fabulously haunted. The mystery holds no big surprises but good acting, suspense and location is why you should check the movie out.

Now I am tempted to try the books, but Carl's and Assad's adventures still seem to be too politically correct for my liking.
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7/10
A LENGTHY INSIGHT INTO A MAN'S GRIEVING SOUL
30 June 2019
Ingumundur lives alone on a desolate farm. He is trying to rebuild his house and is looking after his granddaughter from time to time. He is quiet on the surface, but underneath he is grieving for his recently deceased wife. When a disturbing detail about his wife's past suddenly comes to the surface it threatens to destroy the fragile peace he has created, and affects everyone he loves.

When the movie starts with good few minutes of a car driving down a misty road you know you are in for a long ride. The harsh landscape of the setting is almost a character in the film. It gives the movie almost a magnetic quality. But there's a sense of imminent tragedy lurking underneath it all.

WHITE WHITE DAY tells a seemingly simple story, but is secretive at times, letting the viewers decide for themselves what motivates the characters. And it is often what happens off screen that has the real impact.

The cinematography however goes a bit overboard with still static shots of everchanging nature, as beautiful as they are they quickly turn irritating.

There are wonderful performances from all involved, specifically a tour de force from the lead Ingvar Siggurdson, as he slowly goes to pieces, his anger, pain and frustration tearing him apart on the inside, as he is just sitting there quietly like a bomb ready to go off.

WHITE WHITE DAY has a story to tell and has some interesting characters to match. It is, however first, and foremost an Arthouse film that tries to experiment with cinematography, light and pacing. It also relies on the viewer's attention, but it is a long , slightly depressing movie and not everyone will last the distance. But if you do it is rather rewarding.

Some movies hide the fact that they have little to say beyond the artistic impressions. WHITE WHITE DAY is not such a film.
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Child's Play (2019)
6/10
A THINKING HORROR MOVIE?
20 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Everybody knows the story. A single mom gives her son a present that didn't turn out to be exactly what it seemed. His name is Chucky and he is your friend to the end. Only in this version the boy doesn't want the doll, he wants his mom and the mom only gives it to her son to compensate for something else.

Here comes a remake of a horror classic that takes a definite new turn. Preceded by a cheeky social media campaign the film looked a wicked new version of everyone's favorite murderous doll. I promised myself to keep my expectations in check but I didn't. All I wanted form CHILD's PLAY remake to be something that will take my mind off the original and let me enjoy it on its own merit. I did manage to switch off... at least for a while.

One thing you have to give to the new version - it is quite a different take on the story we know. Sacrificing the woodoo angle, this Chucky is AI gone rogue. With its limits to harm humans hacked and removed he is still a creature of innocence when he enters the home of a young boy called Andy. Andy is definitely too old for toys for sure, he only accepts it to please his mom, but when the doll called Chucky turned out to be smarter than he ever imagined he treats it like a new iPhone and is immediately absorbed by the experience. But not quite knowing what he is dealing with he leads his little pet to the road of destruction.

The best thing about the new CHILD'S PLAY is that its antagonist is not as one dimensional evil as we expect him to be. It is Andy's daily life and struggles that make him evil and nothing else. When in the movie's climax Andy screams "It's my fault!" we agree with him. Chucky's degradation from the best friend to the thing of evil is hard to watch, and it made me feel something horror movies usually fail to do - a pity for the monster.

What if Google Home, Siri or Alexa gone homicidal just by reading your browsing history and took for granted every mean thing you said? And then acted on it on its own accord? If this premise is not scary what is? But being an AI makes this Chucky less complete, gives him less personality and despite the fantastic effort of Mark Hamill (his voice) he still remains a cold robot.

The film is definitely plays with the idea of electronics taking over kids' lives and it's only when Chucky gets berserk that Andy finally gets new friends to socialize with. The film is undoubtfully inspired by STRANGER THINGS. A chubby boy, a black kid, a nerd and a kick arse girl team up to fight evil? Yes this rings a bell.

The few murders are gory and inventive, but it is mostly middle aged unattractive men who get the cut. One thing that CHILD'S PLAY would be criticized most for is Chucky's design. No one in the modern world would buy a doll that ugly. It would be much better to introduce a cute Pokemon... but this is another movie entirely. I promised not to compare the film with the original, but then I just cant help it. The original was epic. There was more epicness in its first five minutes when the toyshop exploded than in the whole of the remake...

But the new movie made me think and want to talk about it. And this is a good thing. If you are horror fan you cannot miss this one. And the soundtrack by Bear McCreary is to die for!
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Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne (2019)
Season 8, Episode 6
10/10
Can't believe the rubbish everyone here is sating
20 May 2019
It was the only way to finish what was an incredible story and if anyone bothered to read books they would know it was planned from the very beginning. This is not a fairy tale for children. All the haters can can go and start an Ant farm tomorrow.
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25 km/h (2018)
10/10
It is never too late to live, love or have an adventure.
3 May 2019
Georg and Christian are brothers who grew up together in a small provincial town. Christian left many decades ago to make a success of himself and Georg remained where they grew up to look after their ailing father. When the brothers are reunited during their father's funeral they decide to put their differences aside in order to fullfil their childhood dream - to travel across country to the Baltic Sea. Riding their old motorbikes no faster than 25 kilometres per hour they have many adventures, while rediscovering life and each other, on the road that leads them to some unexpected places.

It is not the first time the director Markus Koller tells the story of two very different brothers, but this time it's a lighthearted comedy as breezy and light as a motorbike ride. Looking ridiculous, but also kind of cool, in their funeral suits Georg (Bjarne Madel) and Christian (Lars Edinger) have a real onscreen chemistry. Their awkward love/hate relationship will remind you of people you know. Add some picturesque landscapes, a dreamy soundtrack and real life comic situations and you get an inspired film with a real heart.

The patchwork of quirky characters never lets the story get boring and seeing Franka Potente in a small role was a true delight.

There's nothing particularly original about 25 km/h but it is a real gem of a road movie that will put a smile on your face.
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A Quiet Place (2018)
9/10
A SILENT SUSPENCE
31 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A family of four is living in the middle of nowhere. Night and day they are being hunted by monsters that react to sound. The family learned how to adapt, communicating by sign language and living quietly, but one night all precautions fly out of the window and all hell breaks loose.

If Hitchcock was alive today he could have made THE QUIET PLACE. Director John Krasinsky has never made a horror movie before. As a director there are only three previous credits to his name, including two comedies I had never heard of, plus a few episodes of the American version of THE OFFICE. Sometimes comedy makes a horror movie better, but there are no jokes in A QUIET PLACE. As soon as we are introduced to the family a sense of doom hangs thick in the air and as 50 percent of the cast are children the stakes are raised pretty high from the start. Our protagonists are being hunted down by monsters, but their origins are surrounded by mystery. Don't expect a back story or detailed explanation. What's important is the situation at hand. When things go terribly wrong, how will our characters survive?

The psychological element is played simply and effectively, the set pieces come one after another, in different locations of the farmland where the characters live, one situation is more unsettling than the other. The appearances of monsters is cleverly played out, they are always just one glance away and for most of the film you cannot see them up close. When the creatures are finally revealed they are eerie and disturbing. As a horror fan I have seen it all, but these vicious buggers have their own wicked personality. They are creepily spectacular and fun to watch.

I could call A QUIET PLACE a family horror movie, keeping its cards close to its chest as the story unfolds bit by bit, giving each character a mini story ark it is a dark fairy tale that keeps gore to minimum and suspense to the max. The plot still does not forget family values - united any monster can be conquered. It is also an honest and surprisingly moving film.

The final shot put a big grin on my face. Most importantly A QUIET PLACE is a badass.
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8/10
KILLING GROUND shows how good a survival movie could be if it is well scripted, acted and doesn't try to cash in on cheap tricks.
4 August 2016
Young couple goes on a trip to an isolated beach and discover that they are not alone. Someone else had put up a tent there and then abandoned it. As time passes by and the owners of the tent do not return, the newcomers start to suspect the worse. Then all hell breaks loose…

If you are a horror fan like myself you'd know the premise of KILLING GROUND. It all had been done before. What makes this movie stand out is its extreme realism and "no holds barred" attitude. It is at times a hard, edge of the seat viewing, but a rewarding one in the end. KILLING GROUND shows how good a survival movie could be if it is well scripted, acted and doesn't try to cash in on cheap tricks.

The story moves back and forwards, explaining bit by bit what happened to the first family and adding a sense of danger to the present. The villains are despicable, but down to earth real, which makes them even more terrifying. The performance of Aaron Glenane is particularly good. He gives us a small town psychopath, for whom murder is nothing but a daily routine.

The film does not shy away from gore moments, but does not glorify them. The pictures our mind can draw are much scarier than what's on screen, and it's what makes KILLING GROUND tick.

With all its tension KILLING GROUND is a pretty much conventional survival horror film, but there are so few good ones are out there. You may complain about its "unoriginality" but it is a horror movie you won't soon forget.

QUICK FACTS

During Q&A director Damien Power said that the inspiration for the film came to him as an image of an abandoned tent and a thought – what the worst could have happened with its owners?

While shooting a film, Damien Power wanted a viewer to feel that "the rule book of horror was thrown out of the window" and that "no one is safe".

KILLING GROUND will go on general release in 2017.

(Please read my blog here:http://pashasfilms.blogspot.com.au)
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L'attesa (2015)
9/10
This is an intelligent piece of cinema that will benefit from multiple viewing.
11 March 2016
Anna's house is in mourning. As the mirrors are covered and the doors a locked, an unexpected guest walks through the front door. It's Jeanne, the girlfriend of her son, who had arrived to spend the Easter with him and his family. Seeing the opportunity to take her mind of her sadness Anna embraces Jeanne with all hear heart. But as the days go by, and her son does not appear, will she be able to tell Jeanne the terrible truth?

Piero Messina – assistant director of the Italian Oscar winner Great Beauty, creates a movie full of symbolism. With every frame holding some sort of meaning, the film is beautiful and deep, like the Sicilian lake on the border of which the story takes place.

THE WAIT is quite a cinematic journey for a small film, which is basically focused on two performances. Playing with themes of resurrection, the movie unravels to us the picture of grief, and by the end it will stand before us, truly exposed, just like unveiled statue of Virgin Mary in the final scenes.

Juliette Binoche is a great performer and she has an interesting role here. Her Anna is deeply damaged but climbing to life, finding a relief in her son's girlfriend's visit. For young and charismatic Lou de Laage in the role of Jeanne this is a big step up from her previous roles of troubled teenagers and shows just how much she grew up as an actor.

Focusing on the developing friendship between the two very different women, the movie always balances on the edge, where a few words can end everything.

With its beautiful imaginary and haunting score, THE WAIT is still not an easy experience, but it has the charm of a dark fairy tale and quickly draws you in. This is an intelligent piece of cinema that will benefit from multiple viewing.
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My King (2015)
7/10
Without preaching or judgement this is an honest portrait of a marriage and love and everything else that comes with it.
11 March 2016
Tony is recovering from a leg trauma in a rehabilitation centre on the border of the sea. But the real trauma is in her soul. Reflecting on what brought her to this point in her life she is remembering the affair with handsome and unpredictable Georgio, and their turbulent relationship over the last ten years. It brought her happiness but also a lot of pain. How soon will she be back on her feet again? Will she ever?

If you like dramatic love stories you may instantly recognize the premise of the film, it had been used hundreds of times. A heroine going down the memory lane to figure out what had gone wrong. There's one thing, however, that makes MY KING to stand out – it is a very honest film with a very real, raw feel to every scene, performance and dialogue. The very intelligent but plain looking Tony seems like an odd match to charismatic and larger than life Georgio, however the sparks that are flying on screen cannot be ignored. Their affair and their relationship are believable and over the course of the film you will learn them as intimately as if they were your close friends.

There are a lot of jokes, but also a lot of sadness in the film. The film's episodic structure may be a turn off for many, but there is a feeling that the director is always in control, leading the story the right way and fixing things as soon as the narrative begin to stumble a little.

Instead of focusing on the fantastic performances from Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot, I want to say a few words about Louis Garrel. He is only in a supporting role of Tony's younger brother, however his presence adds realism to the story and a much needed comic relief. He is one of those actors who make anything he is in a little better.

MY KING gives us a very unusual relationship, but highlights the problems everyone can identify with. Without preaching or judgement this is an honest portrait of a marriage and love and everything else that comes with it.

FOR MORE FRENCH FILM REVIEWS PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE:

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Marguerite (2015)
8/10
Truth can never stand on the way of true talent
5 March 2016
Marguerite Dupont seems to have it all – great riches, a husband she loves and a passion for music. On the inside she is striving for her husband's attention and her love of singing gradually turns into an obsession. She arranges private recitals and, with the help of some new friends, who have dubious agenda, is training to step on the stage of the real opera house. There's only one problem, however. Marguerite's singing voice is terrible.

Placed in Paris of 1920 and inspired by the real life story of Florence Foster Jenkins, MARGUERITE is about a woman who would not let the truth to stand on the way of her desire to sing. Director Xavier Giannoli has a special interest in all things infamous. All his previous films examine the short distance between the infamy and fame and what one is capable of to step into the limelight. His Marguerite is an eccentric with a heart of gold, willfully portrayed by Catherine Frot, the actor whose status in France can only be compared with the one of Meryl Streep.

The movie is emotionally charged and finds a perfect balance between funny and sad. However it is a bit overloaded with characters and not every storyline finds a desirable resolution. With a lengthy running time, and multiple story arcs, MARGUERITE could become a perfect miniseries, which may happen in the future, considering the interest the directors have to Florence Foster Jenkins these days.

A little bit too long, but never boring, MARGUERITE is an exciting film that will hold your attention all the way through – an achievement for any film these days. With an exceptional performance by Catherine Frot, the movie's character study is impeccable and the real reason to see this period drama gem.
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Chariot (2013)
7/10
focused, compact and cleverly written
8 February 2014
Seemingly unrelated people wake up on a plane. Very soon they discover that US is under attack. When a dead body is discovered paranoia kicks in. Could these random people work together to survive? And why were they taken on the first place?

The market these days is flooded with low budget horror movies and most of them have nothing on offer but cheap thrills and weak CGI. CHARIOT is not one of those films. It is focused, compact and cleverly written. You can start watching it out of curiosity and will stay with it until the credits' roll. It has some descent acting and characters you genuinely care about. On the negative side - it is hard to finish the movie like this. The writers put themselves into a corner because every possible ending would ruin the story told so far. So they have chosen the only option available. It is frustrating in a way, but a satisfying one all the same.

It is interesting to see how little money may be required to tell a good story. With the similar premise Liam Neeson movie NON-STOP hitting theaters soon it is interesting to see if the big budget flick can pull a better rabbit out of the same hat!
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RoboCop (2014)
6/10
Forget brain surgeries and fighting simulators. Give me something real!
8 February 2014
In future the world's crime is being fought not by man but robots. Only USA, the world's greatest supplier of police robots, remains "robophobic". OMNI CORP, the supplier of robot technology for the world, will do anything to win the American market. Even if this requires to make their robots more human…

When cop named Murphy is critically injured OMNICORP brings him back to life, turning him into the weapon of propaganda to change the law and allow robots to patrol American streets. But Murphy still loves his wife and son. With every fibre of his remaining soul he will be clutching to the slipping away pieces of his humanity.

It's a recent fashion in Hollywood to entrust the remakes of great old action films to art house directors who can give a new flavour to the old story. Brazilian director Jose Padilha, whose most successful film Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (have been nominated to Oscars but did not quite made it) examines the influence of media, police and politicians on society so it is no great surprise that he was chosen as the next ROBOCOP director. The original ROBOCOP in its time was labeled as "FACIST MOVIE FOR LIBERALS" by it's own producer. The modern ROBOCOP is a less political story of a good man trapped in an impossible circumstances and his fight for remaining human being inside him.

The good news is that ROBOCOP delivers on its promise of a modern remake with believable characters and interesting conflict. But is it an entertaining film? At least the final act of it is.

Instead of filling the film with action the writers focused on the inner conflict of ROBOCOP, the part that was completely missing from the original. How does a man react when he realizes that his previous life is over and now he is nothing but a machine designed to hunt down criminals? I do not mind a human conflict, but the structure and functioning of this ROBOCOP's body was over explained. We do not need to know what vitamins he is taking, how do they put him into sleep, and what makes him such a good soldier. Show don't tell - this is the rule of every writer, and ROBOCOP writers just told us too much. All the details we are given are designed to make the technology more believable. It is annoying instead.

Forget brain surgeries and fighting simulators. Give me something real! I missed more scenes of Robocop bonding with his family. I wanted a least one decent car chase (ROBOCOP has a fabulous bike, why not to put it to some use!) Give me at least one great villain to hate!

The idea of Murphy solving his own murder is cool, but this is a puzzle for a three year old.

On the bright side the new ROBOCOP is a thinking person's action movie. We do have a chance to place ourselves in Murphy's shoes. We don't just sympathize, but identify with him. Gary Oldman is outstanding in the role of a good intentioned man whose ambitions lead him too far down the dark path. Michael Keaton is a very likable villain. What he does make perfect sense. But he is the real robot in this story, without compassion and only dollars shining in his eyes.

The ongoing theme of the movie is how a living person cannot achieve great heights without putting his soul and a heart into it, and that having a human soul is much more important than a human body.

In the end I would like to mention the Samuel L. Jackson cameo as a talk show pro-robot presenter. His outbursts in the beginning , middle and the end of the film took enormous amount of screening time and completely irrelevant to the story. Here is something that should have ended up on the cutting floor. This would have made for a much tighter and more focused movie.
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