Posted in Based on a true story, Danish Film, Finland Film, Swedish film

BORG / MCENROE (2017)

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A film by Janus Metz

Cast: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård

The story in 1980 rivalry between Borg and McEnroe. McEnroe the rebellious bad boy of tennis and Borg the god of tennis.

Here is the thing I am a big fan of Tennis so I decided to see this film right away. My mom was working in this sport company they gave her box seat (Front row seat) to see all the matches at Roland Garros back in the 70’s. I saw Borg, Connors, Stanislas, Ivan Lendl, Rob laver etc…is a matter a fact Connors was on the court and running to hit the ball kept running was right in the front of me looked at me and said “man this guy is killing me” Connors was the cool dude who was joking around once in a while. So When it came around 1980 I was in the US and I saw that match Borg / McEnroe.

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The Real McEnroe and Borg 

For borg the pressure is on he has everything to lose he has 4 Wimbledon championships under his belt as for McEnroe he had nothing to lose, he was the underdog. I remember seeing him on the court getting pissed of pulling his hair out and the press had a field day. The film show the 3 days before the march, the preparation, the games, how the player prepares themselves mentally and so forth. Then there are the occasional flash back when they were teenagers. McEnroe the party boy and Borg was like a robot focused, nothing gets to him. Amazing! Shia leboeuf delivers an outstaying McEnroe and was trained by professional tennis players so they do not look like he is the actor playing tennis But McEnroe playing tennis. As for Sverrir Gudnason who even looks like Borg has incarnated Borg extremely well. By the way the young Björn Borg is played by Björn’s real son Leo Borg. Director Janus Metz lets the action flows as the drama goes back and forth like a tennis ball. The film was watchable you could feel the tension rising, I remember watching the match and was on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately we all know what happen the next year and I think that is why Borg retire at 26 years old as he said I have done it all in tennis.  Better retire on top I guess.

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Posted in Based on a true story, French film

CARBONE (2017)

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A film by Olivier Marchal

Cast: Benoît Magimel, Gringe, Idir Chender, Gerard Depardieu 

Just about to lose his business, Anthony Roca (Benoît Magimel), an ordinary man, develops a scam that will become the heist of the century. Gets in bed with criminals and overtaken by the crime, he will have to deal with betrayal, and murder.

Olivier Marchal likes squeaky leather, the smell of cold cigarettes, cops, gangsters  and the wicked atmosphere the bad neighbourhood of Paris’ suburb . This is normal, the French filmmaker was himself a cop, now converted into a director / actor , a fan  of the thriller genre and crime thriller.Which makes him one of the recognizable directors of the French cinematography landscape.

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A huge scam led by Antoine Roca (Benoit Magimel), honest entrepreneur but riddled with debts that would be around one million euros. In spite, a father-in-law (Gerard Depardieu) intractable and brittle, a marriage that goes to pieces and a company that is going under, Antoine decides to launch a scam that will pay him big. The breakout of the century revolves around a carbon tax fraud. Every company has its share of CO2 emissions. If it is not exceed a certain among of CO2, the companies receive an envelope from the French state to compensate. By mounting a handful of  dummies companies  offshore, it is easy to recover an astronomical sums within a few months.

The film opens with Antoine shot on the side walks reciting an Arabic proverb. Then we go back 5 months earlier. The thing is here os a man who’s life is beginning to be hell because of the business that his father in law left him to manage is going to fold if it does not find the money for the debt he owes. Here is a man who is desperate where his wife does not like him very much anymore not his father in law. He needs a million euros to get the scam stated but one you borrow money from the mob there is not going back. Antoine is maybe on the top of the world Money start flowing in , the women, the parting the fancy cars all that comes into play and will atrratc other criminals, but soon after that the decent in hell is going to follow. He is going to try to fix things but when all hell breaks loose there is no stopping it. Here money is king and Marshall demonstrate this very well. The cinematography is Neo-Noir setting here. A brutal film with a soft finish, and yes it is based on a true story.

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

DETROIT (2017)

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A film by Kathryn Bigelow

Cast:  John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith 

The New film from Kathryn Bigelow The Algiers Motel incident, written by  John Hersey well he wrote the book. It took place in Detroit while the riots of July 1967 was going on , where blocks of the city were on fire. It was like a war zone some will even say. I remember some people telling me what was going on over there when I first came to the US in 1977. Those people was watching on TV they used to leave in the suburb of Detroit. I even work there at a gas station on Michigan Avenue at night in the 90’s and the city now is deteriorating where people abandoned their homes to leave elsewhere.

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The film explain what went on back in 1967 and focuses on a group of young kids at the Algiers Motel who was partying and having a good time. A bunch of kids who are black with a couple of white girls. Outside there were racial tension and the looters plus the fire and the destruction of property.  When all hell breaks loose all that because a kid did something stupid that the Detroit police and the military gets over there and things are going to escalate. However the racial tension are rising and the police are getting up their necks trying to find evidence of a gun being shot. The police are trying to get them to confess but it is not working so they used other tactics.  I think here Bigelow toward the end with the trial that went on did it a little to fast with not too much details. The trial should be been brought to life. The racial tension unfortunately is still present in the US. I still like the film not to worry but like I said it looses it focus and some of you are not going to like that. However there where scenes that were a little uncomfortable to watch. Here is a director who is not afraid to hit you over the head with it or to shock you. I can’t wait until the next one.

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

HHhH (2017)

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A film by Cédric Jimenez

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Stephen Graham, Mia Wasikowska, Céline Salette

The explosive rise of Reinhard Heydrich, a fallen soldier, trained towards Nazi ideology by his wife Lina. Himmler’s right arm and leader of the Gestapo, Heydrich became one of the most dangerous men in the regime. Hitler appointed him to Prague to take over the command of Bohemia-Moravia and entrusted him with the task of devising a definitive plan of extermination. Two young soldiers, Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik. One is Czech, the other Slovak. They both joined the Resistance to free their country from the German occupation. They trained in London and volunteered to accomplish one of the most important secret missions, and one with the most risky: eliminate Heydrich. For the Resistance their comes first above all. On May 27, 1942, the fates of Heydrich, Jan and Jozef rocked  the course of history.

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Adapted from the homonymous novel by Laurent Binet, Goncourt Prize in 2010, HHhH (Himmler Hirn heisst Heydrich, or The Brain of Himmler is called Heydrich) returns to a little known but essential episode of the Second World War. The operation Anthropoid whose mission is to send two young Czechoslovak paratroopers trained in London to prepare the assassination of Reinhart Heydrich, one of the worst leaders of the Nazi regime. Vice-protector of Bohemia-Moravia played a major role in the organization of the Holocaust and was in charge of the control of the Einsatzgruppen (mobile extermination units entrusted with the task of eliminating real or imaginary opponents in the Third Reich) . Cédric Jimenez turns to a radical and uncompromising historical thriller. Opposing the frightening rise of a being without faith or law to the heroic bravery of young people ready to do anything to save their country. They even connected with a couple of girls there and had a moment of passionate love before they went into battle. However they knew there was a small chance that they were going to get out  alive. Courageous yes. Heroes most definitely those are the heroes of our times. Actually they had the balls to go through with it, in doing so they rocked history forever. Here is a shocking film with a brilliant performances by the actors especially Jason Clark. To all those who fought in WWI And WWII My hats goes to you and Thank you.

Jack O Connell/JAN KUBIS, Jack Reynor/JOSEF GABCIK

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)

Denial

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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