IT MUST BE HEAVEN (2019)

A film by  Elia Suleiman

Cast:  Gael García Bernal, Ali Suliman, Stephen McHattie

ES fled Palestine in search of a new home, before realizing that his home country still follows him as a shadow. The promise of a new life is quickly transformed into an absurd comedy . As far as he travels, from Paris to New York, something reminds him of his homeland. A burlesque tale exploring identity, nationality and belonging, in which Elia Suleiman asks a fundamental question: where can one feel ” at home ” ?

Ok here is the return of Suleiman after an absence of 10 years. A Burlesque comedy , who is not afraid to play the card of simplicity to question the identity of his country. You can tell that Jacques Tati has influence Suleiman it shows in this comedy. There are not too many dialogue in this film the image will speak for itself. It Must Be Heaven follows Elia Suleiman who plays himself as he journeys around the world, starting off in his homeland of Palestine before venturing to Paris, and New York City. Every where he goes he is remained that he is a Palestinian. When ES flew to New York where the clichés are coming back like the fear of terrorist attacks and the proliferation of security measures. The camera work and the frames are carefully chosen by Suleiman in this offbeat comedy. This film looks at offbeat banal moments, usually out of focus, says the director. The film has its own political agenda which has its own cultural identity. Although Suleiman has made this comedy à la Tati has his own signature.

SEULES LES BÊTES (2019)

A film by  Dominik Moll

Cast:  Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard 

English Title: Only the animals

A woman disappeared. After a snowstorm, her car is discovered on a road to a small remote village. While the police have no trail, five people know they are linked to this disappearance. Each has its own secret, but no one doubts that this story has started far from this mountain swept by the winter winds, on another continent where the sun burns, and where poverty does not prevent the desire to dictate its law. .

Around the unexplained disappearance of a woman, in a snowstorm, evolve five protagonists. Alice, the social worker (Laure Calamy). She goes from village to village in the mountains to provide assistance and give advice to the isolated farmers. This is what she does with Joseph (Damien Bonnard), this goat farmer who seems a little loss and lonely due to the fact that his mother died that summer. Alice is married to Michel (Denis Ménochet) who seems not too care for her too much and is somewhere else most of the time keeping up with his accounting so it seems. Also he also has a secret like his wife. I am careful not to reveal anything. Chance will put Marion (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) on the road, a young waitress who clings desperately to her impossible love affair with Evelyne (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). And may the adventure of those 5 protagonist begins.

Five characters, five points of view, five stories that intertwine, to finally converge to the mystery of the disappearance of Evelyne Ducat. A single plot to reveal each chapter with a new elements that will shed the lights on the investigation. The tension is never let go neither the suspense which the story is full of characters that are going united with them not knowing it. There is a beauty towards this landscape of beautiful snow in the mountains and the plains as the eyes can see that is impressive. A great casting to ad to this film and you have yourselves a terrific thriller with a great ending.

FORD V. FERRARI (2019)

A film by  James Mangold

Cast:  Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal 

Based on a true story, the film follows a team of eccentric American engineers led by the visionary Carroll Shelby and his British driver Ken Miles, who are sent by Henry Ford II to build from scratch a new automobile that will dethrone the Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans competition.

Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), is a champion racer whose hypertension forces him to retirement. After hanging up his gloves and his helmet, Shelby goes into car sales with a sideline in modification and design, and he also manages some racers, including the eccentric Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale. Ford was not too crazy to have Miles on board which created some friction there but Shelby insisted that Miles was the best man for the job. It is the story of those two Miles and Shelby who are going to be friends and the struggle that Shelby had to endure to have Miles stay as Ford’s driver. Great camera work here where Mangold put you in the driver seat. It is you basic story which will be a bit predictable but who cares you are going to have a good time watching this. And don’t get me wrong Ferrari even back in the day and now is a hell of a car. . It is a fine machine that drives like a dream.

BIGGER THAN LIFE (1956)

A film by Nicholas Ray

Cast: James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau

A  sick schoolteacher becomes dependent on this  drug  called cortisone that begins to affect his sanity.

At the time this film caused a big splash because of this new drug that was on the market.  It is about this drug called cortisone and the effect that it has if taken.  Unfortunately the film was released in 1956 to a largely negative reception.

Ed Avery (Mason) is a middle class schoolteacher, who lives in a big house on a beautiful street with his wife Lou (Barbara Rush) and young son Bobby (Christopher Olsen). Plagued by mysterious recurring pain, he is prescribe cortisone but the doctor tells him to be careful with it. But soon after his friend wally (Walter Matthau) and his wife even his kid become aware of the changes of Ed. The thing is that Ed is under pressure and working two job to support his family. When he came down with this illness after taking the medicine things are getting a little bit out of hand. It does not take long that Ed’s personality is going to change. It is like he has double personality, Ed here is trying to be his old self but the drug takes control. This drug called cortisone has been  on the market since then. The doctor prescribes it even today. Keep it mind this film was made in 1956 and that 63 years later it is still on the market. And what a terrific actor is Mason in this film. the film here demonstrate the effect of the drugs if taking a little too much and the struggle with this married couple where their marriage are in the balance. A nice little drama that is worth seeing keep in mind that is a 50’s film so don’t be surprise of the ending. 

PROXIMA (2019)

A film by  Alice Winocour

Cast:  Eva Green, Zélie Boulant, Matt Dillon

Sarah is a French astronaut who is preparing to leave the earth for a one-year mission, Proxima. While following the rigorous training imposed on astronauts, the only woman on the crew, she trains hard and gets prepared to be separated from her 8-year-old daughter.

Proxima is an intimate and family drama that has just been released and is rather unnoticed for the moment and what a good film it is. Proxima does not deal with the subject of space as such but gets tells the story of the mother-daughter relationship. Eva who plays Sarah the only female astronaut in this all male crew must succeed and is trying to balance the relationship between her daughter and her ex husband who is going to get custody of his daughter while her mother will go on mars. Sarah here will get some hostility from her male astronaut especially from Mike played by Matt Dillon.  However there is a small role from Thomas Pesquet who is a real French astronaut who also speak english. Beautiful performance by Eva Green, she incarnate her character with passion and the emotions will flow out of her. It is an ambitious project that require good timing and great dialogue.

LES MISÉRABLES (2019)

A film by Ladj Ly

Cast:  Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djibril Zonga

Stéphane, just arrived from Cherbourg, joined the Anti-Crime Brigade of Montfermeil, in the 93. He will meet his new teammates, Chris and Gwada, two aggressive cops . He quickly discovers the tensions between the different groups in the neighborhood. While they are overwhelmed during an arrest, a drone film their every act and their every move…..

Stephane (Damien Bonnard) is a policeman newly moved to Paris and assigned to a unit of the Anti-crime Squad. His partners are Chris (Alexis Manenti), a virulently racist white man whom the kids on the street have referred to as “Pink Pig,”and Gwada (Djebril Zonga), who is African Muslim . Stéphane who is a bit snubbed as an outsider by the loser cops who give him the nickname of the “greaser”. The first day on the jobs  Stephane gets a taste of his partners’ brutal grip on the neighborhood harassing girls at a stop sign, bullying others spraying fear where ever they go. As the day goes by it turn into madness mode who the three are in the pursuit of a teenager who stole a baby lion at the circus in the neighborhood. Ladj Ly gets the film into high gear choreograph every scene beautifully well. Ly also keep the tension that is to the point of blowing up. Mobs of kids and adults, foot chase, and confrontation.

The Misérables start by the good cop, bad cop routine but Ly does not let this perception running too long . Here the police is abusing their power and double dealing the community to top it all off. Ly drags the story trough many level. The level of the film however is exiting with heart pounding action specially in the hallways of a housing project. Ly here put in some realism who has a documentary feel to it. The final sentence of Victor Hugo extracted from Les Misérables, highlighted before the credits, say it very well: “there are no bad men, no bad weeds, there are only bad farmers”. Well said there.

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (2019)

A film by  Ruben Fleischer

Cast:  Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone

Chaos reigns everywhere in the country, from the White House to the most remote small towns. Our four killers must now face new breeds of zombies that have evolved in ten years and a handful of human survivors. And may the surviving party begins.

Ok it is clear to me that the first one was excellent but the second one well there no element of surprise that is for sure. 10 years later the gang is still together but now the zombie are a little faster and new breed is born. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and her younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, are still killing zombies and are now a little older. There are new characters this time like Rosario Dawson which I love and kicking ass, Luke Wilson, Zoey Deutch who play the dumb blonde, and Thomas Middleditch. You are going to have a good time but the jokes are trying to be funny and it does have some hits and misses. It is not too bad like I said you are going to have a good time. How ever the battle with involving Columbus and his gang battling against a pair of hard-to-kill zombies is awesome. Have fun.

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