FIRST MAN (2018)

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A film by Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke 

Pilot “a little distracted” by his superiors in 1961, Neil Armstrong will be, on July 21, 1969, the first man to walk on the moon. For eight years, he undergoes an increasingly difficult training, bravely assuming all the risks of a journey to the total unknown. Murmured by personal hardships that leaves indelible marks, Armstrong tries to be a loving husband to a woman who had married him in the hope of a normal life.

Here is what I love about this film the first scene of the film is Neil Armstrong who is in a supersonic plane  and you get a sense what it is like to be in such of plane. Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his fellow Apollo Program team-members put on  insulated suits  strap themselves into narrow seats, wait hours or days for clearance to take off, then spend a few minutes being shaken like a martini in a shaker. Here is the life of Neil who enlist in the program that NASA has to offer due to the fact he needs a distraction because he lost his two years old daughter to cancer. However his wife is pregnant again and hope that Neil comes home every night. The wives and the other pilots gets together on weekends and enjoy life a little because they don’t know anything can happen they might not making it back. Also the film lets you know the race to beat the Soviets to the moon. To top it all off it takes a brave man to be an astronaut plus it takes a lot of training and such. Here you see Neil going into space, it was his job, as it was easier for him to do his job then to be a father because he did not know how. I love this film more than the other film that dealt with this theme because it fell so real, it feels like you are there. I remember my parents watching this on TV in France I was a young kid back then who didn’t understand what as the big deal anyway.

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A STAR IS BORN (2018)

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A film by Bradley Cooper

Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott

A fading away rockstar consumed by alcohol and drugs  , Jackson Maine discovers Ally, a promising young singer. As they fall madly in love with each other, Jack propels Ally to the front of the stage and makes her an artist adored by the audience. Soon eclipsed by the success of the young woman, he begins to see his career going down to hell.

Ok then I really didn’t want to see this film because it is a being remake so many times it is not funny. But this one is done a little differently. Jack here is an alcoholic,and drug addict and his demons seems to be winning, his demons are more space when he watches Ally sings on stage which Bradley  knew that how his should play it and what a terrific performance as well has Lady Gaga even Dave chappelle who gives him advice that he should settle down as he did but after Jack marries Ally he is still restless, he still wants to go on stage and play. He is full of excuses and his demons are more alive than ever. The problem that I have with this film is the middle of it where Ally settle down with jack and the all SNL bit etc…that is what the film is loose its touch , plus Bradley here did not avoid the cliché take a look at Ally’s manager he has cliché writing all over his face. But Bradley here regain control thank god otherwise the film would went to hell. I also love Sam Elliott who has a hell of a career and plays the jack’s older brother. The music as well as the singing, (well we all know that Lady Gaga has a great voice and knows how to sing) is terrific. It is about two characters that are going to an emotional road and shows us that to be a rockstar it is not all glamorous. Not too bad for a directorial debut from Cooper.

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A STAR IS BORN (2018)

 

 

GALVESTON (2018)

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A film by Mélanie Laurent

Cast: Lili Reinhart, Elle Fanning, Ben Foster 

1988 and for Roy (Ben Foster) times are hard but when his boss sets him up for a job where things are not going to go well . Roy escape with a prostitute named rocky. Two humans being where they were dealt a rotten hand , on the run to Galveston with nothing to lose.

First time for Mélanie Laurent has she gets first hand to direct an American film. It is a Thriller Neo-Noir where Mélanie nails it with this violent thriller in a dark America. She immersed herself in an American production but keep her French touch, a smart move there. Roy here who think he has a disease and is going to die soon escape a bad job with a prostitute. Here is a man on his last leg trying to do some good and keep some people safe. Elle Fanning here plays a prostitute who also had a hard life. Mélanie here plunges into a dark America where desperation is going into play. This is not you typical thriller but psychological thriller. It is about the characters some of you are going to expect something else but here Mélanie likes the characters driving characters  with an emotional story that is going to build tension. The camera work is bold and intuitive. You think you know where this is going but there are a few surprises in this film. you want to two characters to succeed here and you are going along in their journey hoping it is going to end well. Not too bad for her first thriller in this urban desperado dark slow pressure cooker.

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RAMEN SHOP (2018)

RAMEN SHOP (2018)

A film by Eric Khoo

Cast: Tsuyoshi Ihara, Takumi Saitoh, Seiko Matsuda

Masato, Ramen’s young chef in Japan, has always dreamed of going to Singapore to rediscover the taste of the dishes that his mother cooked when he was a child. As he embarks on the culinary journey of a lifetime, he discovers deeply buried family secrets. Will he find the recipe to reconcile the memories of the past?

Here is a beautiful film from Khoo about the taste of this dish that Masato has never forgot which will bring good and bad memories. The film is about family secrets that will surface and reconciliation with family members years later. It is about food (my favourite subject) and Khoo will teach you about the japanese culture as well as the chinese culture. Masoto (Takumi Saitoh), works in  his father’s restaurant. The specialty: ramen. But Masoto wants more he wants to learn more about food and want to find more about new recipes and go out on his own. Here after the death of his father leaves Japan for Singapore in search of something more. Here I do not want to reveal too much. Khoo makes us discovers both the gastronomy of Japan and China and the culture behind it. It is a story of love. Here the 37-year-old Japanese actor who does not look it amazingly, he is known in his country for the series that he plays in, and brings his charm, his seduction, his good looks  to incarnate this man who wants to discover his origins and find new recipes for his restaurant. A terrific film of love for food and well as the love for the family.

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RAMEN SHOP

BLINDSPOTTING (2018)

Blindspotting (2018)

A film by Carlos López Estrada

Cast: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar 

While on probation, a man  witness a shooting and then begins to re-evaluate the relationship that he has with his best friend.

Here is a film that is full of energy it is like a poetry of street slang words that  is not  fiction not too surrealist but it holds its own surprisingly. It is a between reality and absurdity. No it is not a musical and has a dance number here and there but it is like rap poetry to me anyway. It is two friends in Oakland which one of them has three days until his finish his parole. Collins (Daveed Diggs) being released after serving time for an incident that isn’t clearly defined until almost at the end. He has a curfew and has shores to do at the halfway house. Collins works for a moving company, with his best friend from childhood, Miles (Rafael Casal), who acts like a  black dude but his white  because he’s grown up in the black community. Coming home Collins witness a shooting in the street. Where he saw an injustice but does not want to tell the police what he saw. Also the problem lies where is best friend is a hot head and gets Collins into trouble. You are taking on a journey where Collins is stressing out for three days before his parole is finished and can be a free man again. To the mix his ex-girlfriend here is trying to steer him out of trouble. It is not a film like any other which it is fill with humor.  It is a film that people will talk over the years to come . But trust me on that it is a must see, well it is intelligently well written and well acted. It has won a few awards like the critics awards in Deauville France.

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UPGRADE (2018)

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A film by Leigh Whannell

Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Melanie Vallejo, Steve Danielsen 

Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) is not crazy with all this tech when he has his world turned upside down when his wife is killed, Grey is only thinking one thing revenge.

Little warning some scenes are going to be as gory as it gets however for me no biggie nothing that I have seen before. Grey and his wife after returning from a friend’s house to deliver a muscle car are ambushed by some criminals which he finds himself paralysed and  his wife gets killed. Then here comes the super-scientist Eron (Harrison Gilbertson), whose futuristic man-cave’s foundation is out of this world. He wants him to integrate an microchips in Gery ‘s body so he can walk again. Apprehensive Grey does not want too but changes his mind. The thing is he can not tell anyone about it. Of course you know what is going to happen after that. You can compare it to Robot cop but Grey’s personality isn’t submerged inside his body the way that Peter Weller’s hapless ghost in the machine. I don’t want to give away too much here. But there are some cool things that is going to come up, the way they uses the technology to modify their body well , to do an upgrade. The thing is here I knew where this was going and who is responsible but Boom the ending surprised me big time. The film has a man-vs.-technology narrative with a revenge theme. The fighting scenes and the gunfight that you have not seen before works well for this kind of film. Upgrade here delivers a cool little sci-fi film.

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CLIMAX (2018)

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A film by Gaspar Noé

Cast: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub

In the mid 1990’s, 20 French urban dancers join together for a three-day rehearsal a in somewhat dance school located at the heart of a forest to perform  one last dance. They then party with a large sangria bowl. Quickly, the atmosphere becomes charged and something  strange will happen that night. It seems obvious to them that they have been drugged, they neither know by who nor why. And it’s soon impossible to resist the temptation to do whatever which suppose to be a night in paradise becomes a descent in hell will they survive the night?

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Ok here it is this film was shot in 15 days on a 5 pages script due to the fact Noé had to edited it and put the music to it and to present it at the Cannes Film Festival. Noé’s non professional actor/professional dancers play performers in a 90s French dance troupe on an US tour. The film open with audition tapes of the dancers, pay attention of the video tapes behind them all those films is what inspired to make this film for Noé. Then you get the dancing number that is perfect to start this film. Soon after they drink the sangria and may the hallucinating begins. Someone has spiked the sangria with a drug , it is manifesting into some kind of primitive dance into the dancers souls. It is unknown what kind of drugs and how much. Panic sets in, sexual craving, anger, and questions like who spiked the bowl? comes into mind and they are trying to control themselves. Hysteria sets in and it is electrifying it is never dull and the music keeps going at which point it is going  like a wave going up then down. The tension is build up and stays there for the rest of the film. It is a wild ride with consequences and a high price to pay. It is at times hypnotic. Interesting experimental original film here.

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