THE WHISTLERS (2019)

A film by  Corneliu Porumboiu

Cast:  Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar 

Cristi, a Bucharest police inspector corrupted by drug traffickers, is suspected by his superiors and tapped. Embarked by an adventure with the sulphurous Gilda on the island of La Gomera, he must quickly learn Silbo, an ancestral whistled language. Thanks to this secret language, he will be able free from prison a mobster in Romania and recover the hidden millions that this mobster stole. But love will get in the way and nothing will go as planned …

In crime films code, communication, and honor are vital. The code is knowing how to whistle this ancestral language. communication each member does speak a different language so english becomes the universal language. And yes someone is going to stab someone in the back. Cristi  (Vlad Ivanov) who is juggling the underworld and his police duties and must find a balance between the two in order to survive. Put in a beautiful femme fatale in the mix and all hell is breaking loose. Writer-director Corneliu Porumboiu here find the balance between comedy and the bit of absurdity. All the actors are on top of their games. A terrific cool little film noir who got some serious attention.

1917 (2019)

A film by Sam Mendes

Cast:  Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays 

Caught in the turmoil of the First World War, Schofield and Blake, two young British soldiers, are assigned an impossible mission. Carrying a message that could prevent a devastating attack and the death of thousands of soldiers, including Blake’s brother, they embark behind the enemy line. Are they going to deliver the message on time?

Inspired by Sam Mendes’ grandfather’s experiences in WWI: “The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes 1897-1991.” Ok there will be some critics that is not going to like this film, well so what as long as the majority of the audience love it, the film is going to be a hit plus it has 10 nominations at the Oscars. The film was shot as one long take so it seems but as Sam said at one time I shot it and edited it to appear as a single long take that takes place in real time with almost no breaks. You are following two soldiers on this journey, it is like you are with them. The actors has rehearsed for six months in order to get it right. The Date shown at the start of the film is the date that the United States declared war on Germany. The two soldier had to go through hell in order to get there. Not much dialogue but the visual is stunning. It is difficult to shoot a film like this due to the fact what if the lighter doesn’t work. The set was build from scratch including the miles long trench. The score could be more than perfect. I definitely love this film and I might go see it again.

FAREWELL (2019)

A film by  Lulu Wang

Cast:  Shuzhen Zhao, Awkwafina, X Mayo 

When they learn that Nai Nai, their beloved grandmother and mother, is suffering from an incurable disease, her relatives, according to Chinese tradition, decide to hide the truth from her. They then use his grandson’s wedding as a pretext for a family reunion to share together her last moments of happiness. For her granddaughter, Billi, born in China but raised in the United States, lies are harder to respect. But it is also a chance for her to rediscover her origins, and the intensity of the ties that bind her to her grandmother.

The Farewell announces at the beginning that the story is based on an actual lie. For Lulu Wang is a personal film and a powerful one. The crisis was actually Wang’s crisis when she actually found out that her grand mother was dying of cancer. The family in China does not tell her grand mother that she is dying it is up to the family to spare her from the fear and to protect her so they plan a grand wedding of her grand son so all the family will be there one last time to see her. However when Billi finds out by her parents that her grand mother has terminal cancer she wants to go with her parents to china to see her but they don’t think it is a good idea because Billi can’t hide her emotions. Imagine their surprise when she shows up at her grand mother’s apartment.

Billi is shock that the family does not to tell her the truth, she is having a hard time with it. On the other hand the family has not problem with it due to the fact it is a tradition of sort. Wang here explore cultural differences between China and the United States without judgment. it is a kind hearted and delicate film, she makes you fell part of the family. It is all there the usual suspects at the wedding, the photo shoot, the dances, the guests who are a little drunk well you get the picture. She avoids the clichés to make this light bearded film. Great performances from this actors, a superb ensemble cast. Of course there is the perfect ending. A great film not to be missed.

THE WILD GOOSE LAKE (2019)

A film by  Yi’nan Diao

Cast:  Ge Hu, Lun-Mei Kwei, Fan Liao 

A gang leader in search of redemption and a prostitute ready to do anything to regain her freedom find themselves at the heart of a manhunt. Together, they decide to play one last time with their destiny.

A man and a woman meet for the first time under the overhang of a railway station entrance, but their meeting is not an accident. The man, Zhou (Hu Ge), is on the run from police, and needs a favor. The woman, Gwei (Liu Aiai) is running away from something too, and she’s there under orders to help Zhou. The Diao’s film neo-noir, takes off from there with flashback. Most of The Wild Goose Lake takes place at night in the murky light of alleys and dimly lit passageways. With the police not far behind Zhou, the film becomes this chase from room to room, and in and out of maze-like streets. Gwei, a woman who you won’t be able to read her face , is Zhou’s accomplice, his savior, or his betrayer. There are high-octane fight scene that is worth looking at and that are never been seen before especially the one with the umbrella.  Diao is capable of never letting go the tension nor the suspense especially with a shot of two people slurping noodles. A great film not to be missed.

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STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019)

A film by  J.J. Abrams

Cast:  Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Billie Lourd 

The conclusion of the Skywalker saga. New legends will be born in this epic battle for freedom.

The Star wars Saga is coming to an end finally. I thought I will never see the day. Today is Wednesday that is when are premiere are in France and I was surprise to see at least 200 people in the movie theater at 10 AM in the morning. You should know how it is going to start and where it is going. A New world oder is going to take place. It is a fiesta of great battle and never ending action. Abrams tied up loose ends and attempts to answer fans most burning questions. It is a lot of process in the first viewing and the story have some twists and turns . Abrams tried to balance the story the best he could but to me it a bit predictable. Also I am glad it is J.J. Abrams has directed the last one. Apparently there were a lot of disappointment in the last one The last Jedi. So they had to be careful how to tell this story but there are going to have people who are going to be divided. The Rise of Skywalker is epic without a doubt, and resembles of the three original trilogy films condensed. So I will leave it to you when you watch the movie. Not too bad for an ending but……

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DOCTEUR? (2019)

A film by Tristan Séguéla

Cast:  Michel Blanc, Hakim Jemili, Solène Rigot 

It’s Christmas Eve. The Parisians are preparing to unpack their family gifts. Others watch television alone at home. Still others, like Serge (Michel blanc), works. Serge is the only SOS-Doctor on duty that night. His colleagues have gone to their families. In any case, he no longer has a say because he has taken too many liberties with the practice of medicine, and the radiation hangs in his face. The visits follow one another and Serge tries to follow the rhythm, with drinking a little too much when he gets a call It’s Rose’s, his son’s ex-girlfriend , who calls for help. He arrives at the scene at the same time as a delivery man Uber Eats, Malek, also on duty that night …

Here is a nice little comedy with a duo that works well here. It is Christmas day and Serge is the only doctor on call for the night. His bed side manners are not so good. Here the director Seguela open the film with a visit where the parents are worrying about their newborn the scene is a bit offbeat with a stimulating dialogue. For this story to work the director puts in this character named Malek played by Hakim Jemili who is the delivery man for Uber eats and delivers a comedy with the themes of social classes and mourning. Here is a doctor who is going to need some help from a delivery man. Serge is cold and does his job mechanically with no bedside manners plus he drinks a little too much. Enters Malek who is this gentle soul with a heart. The two men are going to need each other and they don’t even know it yet. Hakim Jemili who is a comedian does a great job for his first role in this film. Here is a nice comedy for the holidays who is going to put a smile on your face and for those who lives in Paris forget the strike from the public transports.