Posted in Based on a true story, U.S. Film

CHUCK (2017)

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A film by Philippe Falardeau

Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber

The true story of Chuck Wepner, New Jersey’s liquor dealer, who held 15 rounds against the greatest boxer of all time, Mohammed Ali, at the heavyweight world championship in 1975, before finally losing by Technical KO, which Sylvester Stallone got inspired  and wrote the screenplay Rocky.

Chuck Wepner is the guy who was the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s scrappy underdog Rocky Balboa. When the film opens, Wepner is a Bayonne celebrity is the guy who walks into a bar greeted by cheers. Phylis, his wife (Elisabeth Moss) , loves him, supports him, but also has her limits, when it comes that her man is going out with other women. Phyllis is tough as her husband and she makes her point straight across. Ron Perlman plays Wepner’s manager, working out of a run-down gym, trying to scrape up gigs. Naomi Watts plays Linda, a local bartender whom Wepner falls for.

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Here Liev Schreiber doe a wonderful job incarnated Chuck who is this man who stand 15 rounds to Ali and became famous because of it. He was just a dude a heavy weight fighter who got a shot at the title. But what goes up must come down. Chuck has his problem of course loved women, did not know how to be a husband and a father to his kid. He got side track and forgot who really matters in his life. Stallone is played by Morgan Spector, who nails Stallone’s distinctive voice, as well as his enthusiasm. Chuck here got caught up into the fame big time. The fighting scenes in the ring was done as real as possible no over exaggeration , it was dead on. The costume and the era of the 70’s even the decor is absolutely right on. God I remember the 70’s what a crazy era. voila fun film to watch.

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Posted in Based on a true story, British film, U.S. Film

DENIAL (2016)

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film by Mick Jackson

Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall

Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), a noted historian and author, fiercely defends the memory of the Holocaust. She is confronted with an academic extremist, advocate of controversial theses on the Nazi regime, David Irving (Timothy Spall) , who challenges her to prove the existence of the Holocaust.

The thing about Mick Jackson’s film is the unexpected strategy the lawyers take to counter the claim the Holocaust never occurred. The film may be a little dry, but the topic is not. I did not know there was people who denied that the holocaust has never happened and to top it all off they have lawyer that will counter-claim that the holocaust never occurred due to lack of evidence. You have got to be kidding. David Hare’s screenplay focuses on the topic, immersing us in the protagonist’s life and beliefs. It is an intellectually interesting  film that raises not only questions about the Holocaust, but about the issues of  proving any historical event has occurred. It will take a large team of lawyer here to combat this imbecile David Irving and Deborah Lipstadt who is a fighter here can not be on the stand to testify which she struggled with it. Richard Rampton (Wilkinson) took upon this strategy never make eye contact which aggravated Irving big time. The court drama how ever has been done a la traditional a flaw here but the performances of the actors are A+ thank god for that. It is still watchable but not the great film that it should be been.

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Posted in Based on a true story, French film

DJANGO (2017)

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A film by Etienne Comar

Cast: Reda Kateb, Cécile De France, Bea Palya

Django Reinhardt is not a name that is commonly heard  outside the Tzigane jazz community. The story burst open in a Tzigane community in Belgium where a bunch of them are playing jazz when suddenly they are shot by german soldier even the blind man who was playing the guitar.

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The real Django.

Then the story takes us in Paris, 1943 as the jazz guitarist ( Reda Kateb) is reaching the height of his success . Unfortunately the german who occupied Paris want Django to play in Germany for the troops . But Django has idea of his own he wants to go to the neutral zone the Swiss border. The narrative Zig Zag here a bit but it is fine. Django is waiting to go to Switzerland and waiting for the instruction from his passer. But a certain German officer caught up with him and if he does not complied to the orders to play in Germany well the tzigane community will perish.

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Complete collection (1934 – 1951)

Etienne Comar here capture the atmosphere and emotion of watching one of the most incredible guitarists who ever lived play. Reba Kateb incarne beautifully well the guitarist. Cécile de France plays Louise, Django’s former flame and double agent for the resistance, does a stunning performance of moral twists and turns. The film capture the all atmosphere in the bar, cigarette smoking, Pastis, and whiskey as well as wine being served. The cinematography is stunning and the viewer will bath in a 1943 setting. You get the complete edition (1934 – 1951) of Django Reinhardt, which is now on my computer.

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Posted in Based on a true story, Spanish film

EL HOMBRE DE LAS MIL CARAS (2017)

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A  film by Alberto Rodríguez

Cast: José Coronado, Eduard Fernández, Miquel García Borda

English : The Man with Thousand Faces

Francisco Paesa, former Spanish secret agent, is committed to resolve a case of embezzlement of money likely to lead to a state scandal. The man sees the opportunity to enrich himself while avenging the government that betrayed him in the past. Then begins one of the most incredible political and financial intrigues of recent years: the true story of a man who deceived a whole country and knocked down a government.

God dam!! what a film. Genius I might have. Here is a smart, captivating and brilliantly  film. The film is technically remarkable. In the beginning, we get lost a bit, then the magic takes shape. Filmed in France, Singapore, Switzerland and Spain, Director Rodriguez out did himself in this film. With a budget of 4,5 millions Dollars this film has an enormous success all over Europe. Based on Manuel Cerdán’s book, that the director appreciated, back in the 90’s Rodriguez decided to adapt the book into a screenplay. It was the biggest financial scandal in Spain, back in the 90’s. Here Rodriguez set the pace from the beginning of the film with some cool rhythm music.  The film has this narration and even depict the financial jargon so you can understand better the event that took place. Here the english title is going to be “Smoke and Mirrors” it is far from the traduction. Who cares see this film that is brilliantly filmed where the 90’s was recreated beautifully well even the costumes by Rodriguez.

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Posted in Based on a true story, British film, Great movie

THE LOST CITY OF Z (2017)

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A film by James Gray

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller

The true story of Percival Harrison Fawcett, one of the greatest explorers of the twentieth century. Percy Fawcett is a recognized British colonel and a loving husband. In 1906, when he was about to become a father, the Royal Geographical Society of England proposed to him to leave to Amazonia in order to map the borders between Brazil and Bolivia. Right a way , the man has a passion for exploration and discovers traces of what he thinks is a very old lost city. Back in England, Fawcett constantly thinks of this mysterious civilization, torn between his love for his family and his thirst for exploration and glory …

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Here is a stroke a genius where James Gray reappropriates a genre fallen into disuse to offer us the masterful portrait of an explorer carried by his thirst for adventure.Here Gray choose to do an interpretation of the novel La cité perdue de Z écrit par David Grann. It is no secret that  Gray makes the viewer follow the adventure of the military man names Fawcett that disappeared somehow into the jungle never to return to England. James Gray’s latest feature film is a beautiful  scenario built around Percy Fawcett’s (Charlie Hunnam’s) back and forth between his home and the heart of the Amazon jungle. Here Gray shot this film à la classic mode the only thing to do to me otherwise the film will fall into the water. Fawcett is not crazy to go to the amazon forest but to reclaim his tile of his name he decided to go which trigger his thirst for adventure and exploration as well as glory. Charlie Hunnam here does a superb job to incarnate his character.It is interesting to see that Fawcett also has other obligations, well he is a  husband and father which his wife makes the sacrifices here  and is beautifully interpreted by actress Sienna Miller. You see  he returns to his home, after several years of travel so it takes a toll on his wife. He has a hard time with the children. The cinematography here is near perfect. I can’t wait until his next picture.

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Posted in Based on a true story, U.S. Film

HIDDEN FIGURE (2017)

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A film by Theodore Melfi

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

Nasa space program 1961 3 women African Americans Mathematicians serve a vital role here should I say they were genius.

Desperate to beat Russia at putting a man in space, NASA enlisted the help of a group of African American women mathematicians. Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who were the brain behind the operation.

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Based on a true story, we didn’t even know that part of history and thank god it came out Director/co-writer Theodore Melfi has assembled a terrific cast to bring
this amazing story to life. Here are three women who had difficulty in their job because they are black. But with persistence and will power added to that their genius brains and overcame it which did wonders for Nasa. Mrs. Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) who is cold here did not want to give in to Dorothy’s promotion. Everything was black and white, coloured bathroom, coloured computer, blacks were working on the east and white on the west wing. The film goes back and forth to the three women and shows us the difficulty on the job but also the perseverance that they had. Jackson is a wise ass with a  comic timing and Johnson is the clever optimist. They are similarly educated, though each has their own skill set the film will explore. They form a bond between them as you can tell with the dialogue. Think about it is not easy for a black woman in a room full of white men mathematicians to hold her own. I love that the fact the monster IBM computer was ordered and two white man did not know how to work it. Here comes Dorothy and on her spare times figures it out by herself, she even knew how to program FORTRAN  is a matter of fact I used to know this computer language. Here is a film that is well acted, casted, and written. Do not miss this one.

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Posted in Based on a true story, Danish Film

LAND OF MINE (2015)

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A film by Martin Zandvliet

Cast: Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman

Keep in mind that this film as just came in at the theatre in France. 1945. Denmark. End of the Second World War. Several German soldiers, barely out of their teens, were taken prisoner by the Danish army and sent to the front line to defuse the mines buried along the coast. For them, the war is far from over. Inspired by real events, {Land of mine} recounts this tragic episode of History.

The film open with a long line of ragged soldiers walked down the street. A Danish soldier knocked one of them to the ground, for the sole reason that he is German. The war has just ended, but the hatred of the danish soldier is still fresh.The victims of yesterday will become the executioners of today. Following the proposal of the British, the one that freed the Denmark from this hell  use young German prisoners of war to defuse the mines that are buried along the coast mine flouting the agreements of the Geneva Convention of 1929 which forbid to compel prisoners of war to carry out dangerous work.

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Opting for a refined style, the director avoids any heaviness of the war. He sets up his decor on an idyllic beach with white sand lit by a permanent sun that contrasts with the darkness of the subject. The camera focuses on the beauty and vulnerability of these young boys. You well see how scared they are  without hiding any details but also conveys the strength of their dreams and their struggle for survival. Little by little we are interested about those characters where they are from and what they will do when they come back home. The sergeant who is pissed about the german taking his country has no remorse for those kids that are from the age 15 to 18. It is as real as it gets It is based on real events here and the director has done a great job to film that. There is a real tension here that will rise until it blows up. Land of mine tells a human story that explores tactfully the beauty of the hidden face of humans.

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