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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BLACKkKLANSMAN (2018)

BlacKkKlansman

A film by Spike Lee

Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier 

Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan. Based on a true story.

Here Spike manages to tell this story like a blaxploitation film with comedy into it as well. It’s the early 1970s, and Ron (John David Washington) son of Denzel Washington, the first African-American officer hired by the Colorado Springs Police Department, has infiltrated the local Klan chapter and talk on the phone with David Duke (Topher Grace). and Adam Driver’s ably plays Flip Zimmerman, a Jewish cop. Now you are going to say how did he do that a black man infiltrating the KKK. Well you will have to see the film. It is downright hilarious especially when Ron calls the KKK to join because he saw an ad in the paper.  Spike makes references to the trump regime. It is so funny at times. Here is a dude who has some strikes against him He is black police officer the first in Colorado Spring , and he is trying to infiltrate the klan, if his boss let him do it to begin with. Persistence, and perseverance will pay off and at what cost. Comic with absurdity, real tension caricatured characters, everything contributes to making the film a happy pamphlet, soaked in the music Motown. A perfect casting, great acting and story telling what more do you want this summer.

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A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN (2018)

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A film by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Cast: Joe ColeVithaya PansringarmPanya Yimmumphai

The true story of Billy Moore, locked in one of the toughest prisons, Klong Prem. Refusing to die there, Billy learns Muay Thai boxing and finds a fraternity that will help him redeem himself.

The director here focuses on the life in prison instead if what happened before Billy got there. By this unique prism, we are also totally lost in a poisonous world in paradise Muay Thai, a form of boxing “religion” in Thailand. The daily – rapes, fights, drugs deals, etc. that takes place daily. The film primary beauty comes from its desire to capture the huddled bodies as if each inmate had an immense texture to form one with its  community. The energy of each shot to exalt Moore’s rage that one feels ready to explode at the slightest jostling. Then comes the strange time of appeasement, when the boxer can finally reconnect with what makes him progresses in life: his fists. It is a huge boxing film that is going to feel claustrophobic due to the fact that it is in prison but has a raw beauty that emerges. So many contradictions that lead straight to build a film that emerges bloodless and the impression of having seen an instant classic.

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WHAT PEOPLE WILL SAY ? (2018)

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A film by Iram Haq

Cast: Maria MozhdahAdil HussainEkavali Khanna

Sixteen years old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah) is your typical teenager in Norway, she is sneaking out of her parent’s apartment coming back from partying with her friends where her father had no idea about it, until one night he finds her in her room with a boy and her destiny will change forever.

Here is this great biographical film from Haq. Nisha is always careful to return before her father’s regular night-time checks on his children. Nisha here so her family thinks is a good girl. But Nisha  lives a double life.  We are in Norway where there are a community of Pakistanis. Her father may be more liberal than her mother, but woman in this culture are told what to do and how they should conduct themselves. When the incident happens social services step in to protect the child and to have her version of the incident. But Nisha refuses. Her family is going to take some serious measures to sent her straight and will change her life for ever. The thing is what people will say that is what the Nisha’s parent cares about. She is born in Norway, she is a free woman to do what she wants and study and work plus marry who she wants. But the community of Pakistanis does not like what Nisha is doing (rebelling against her parents). In this community people talk and Nisha’s parents wants the rumours to stop so they are going to do what ever it takes and you will not believe it. 

Here is a powerful message with an emotional roller coaster type film that will make you think of what is going on in this world and why some culture can not seems to move forward. Tradition are tradition. Pakistan (The set of Pakistan was shoot in India, the director felt it was more safe to shoot in India and the film industry was much advanced in India), here is filmed at its rawest form, in the day time it is live and the street are full of people and the night is dark sometimes darker but not too many people on the street. Even thought this family is in Norway tradition from their country should be respected. That were they are wrong. Nisha is born in a free country to which she can go out with whom she pleases even party with her friends but because her family is so stuck on tradition and what will people say in their little community of Pakistanis. So they force her to become what she does not want to become. Here is a story that needed to be told and my hats go out to the director Iram Haq for surviving it and telling it as honestly as she could.

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THE SILENT REVOLUTION (2018)

THE SILENT REVOLUTION (2018)

A film by Lars Kraume

Cast: Jonas Dassler, Judith Engel, Tom Gramenz

East Germany, 1956. Kurt, Theo and Lena are 18 years old and preparing to graduate from high school. With their comrades, they decide to do a minute of silence in class, in tribute to the Hungarian revolutionaries harshly repressed by the Soviet army. This minute of silence becomes a state affair. She will rock their lives. Faced with an East German government determined to identify and punish those responsible, the 19 students of Stalinstadt will face all threats and remain in solidarity.

Based on a true story back in 1956 a bunch of student listening to the illegal radio on the east german (4 years before the wall) about the Hungarians who wants the Russians out of their country are starting a revolution. One of the classmate decided to have a minutes of silence in class in honour of the Hungarians. And may the investigation begins, yes the school decided to see who started this.  The school is going to play dirty and secrets will surface. The film is plunging into the cold war that some people didn’t know about. It is a hard decision toward the end that the students took and thank god they took it. It is also about sacrifices and what is best for their kids. Education however is important. The costumes and the set design ere beautiful, it is like you were there. It is an ensemble cast and they are so perfect for each other. A  Brilliant successful stroke of action for this captivating evocation of East Germany where high school students discover the notion of treason, submission and rebellion.

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DAS SCHWEIGENDE KLASSENZIMMER

THE DISASTER ARTIST (2017)

THE DISASTER ARTIST

A film by James franco

Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor

Greg Sestero, an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, a friendship is formed and they decided to go to Hollywood to become actors. And a legend is born.

ok I haven’t see the room but I heard it is not that good ,pretty bad at that but like someone told me you have to see it in the movie theatres to get the full effect. Here is a guy who has money a lots of money, he can’t act worth the shit, so he decided to make the film himself with his buddy. You will go on their journey of film making.  James Franco decided not only to direct the movie but to play Wiseau and to cast his brother for the part of Sestero. In real life Wiseau here decided to make a film on his own (first time ever) funny as it sounds Tommy says he loves to play football but can’t even throw the ball correctly. When producers tell Tommy at audition you will be good as the villain, Tommy respond”I the hero”. The thing is that is a weird journey they are going to go on plus the film went over budget ; Not too worry Tommy has money how much nobody knows, how he made it, or how old is he, and where is he from to this day  no one knows. Producers actually didn’t think the film is going to make it.

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Franco here is a great director so far, his style is clean using close up the only way in this film anyhow. The editing keeps the plot moving so it does not loose its momentum.  However the performance of Franco here is dead on not an easy thing to do. Wiseau’s strange accent and appearance is initially funny, Franco does not make fun of it . Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), a student who is the opposite: He’s  shy and withdrawn, unable and unwilling to put himself out there. Wiseau is a damaged individual who wants affection and he looks for it in Greg. The Disaster Artist stays away from exploring Wiseau’s past or explaining his mysterious wealth, accent, and appearance, but this is more out of respect for Wiseau. By the way not an easy thing to do to turns failure into success and trash into art. the film was based off the book by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. If you ever see The Room see it in the theatre like I said someone told me it is better that way then to see on DVD at your home it is better to have the live audience in this one. To this day it plays in the movie theatre in the US.

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I, TONYA (2017)

I tonya

A film by Craig Gillespie

Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney

Ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when she married her husband Jeff Gillooly.

I was in the United States when the news broke even watch Harding stake and I though she was great but there was some off beat. After watching the film I said and even seeing it on the news at the time I said to myself there it is I was right.

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Director Gillespie film it from the interviews that that on every channels at the time plus some flashback to tell what real happened. He also affectionately mocked the sport a bit without mocking Harding herself. You see Harding had those seriously ridiculous outfit for her competition and even had Rock-N-Roll music instead of classical to do her routine. She wanted to be different from the others but that did not go well with the judges. She always said what was on her mind straight forward no bullshit. She was not loved by her mother. She thrived in the sport because she wanted to be loved by her fans. Allison Janney ( who did a great job here) absolutely tears it up as the profane, chain-smoking LaVona Harding, constantly insulting Tonya and messing with her mind so she could become a great champion. Janney has won a Bafta award for Best supporting actress and well deserved at that; I just read this not long ago.

As soon as Tonya married her first husband it went to hell from there. Sebastian Stan Who plays Jeff Gillooly plays a little goofy. The relationship that they had was not healthy either. Soon after the incident happened which Tonya said she is no guilty as the media found her guilty at the time. Her all career fell apart. The big investigation was going on at time and the news show like Hard copy,  20/20 and the others banked on it they were fighting for first place . Margot here after 5 month of training she actually performed a triple axle (Not too perfectly well with computer generated image was perfect on film) and was one of the 7 women who has performed it. Tonya was the first one to do so. Margot performance is outstanding here and even Tonya herself liked the film. If you saw the news like I did back then after seeing the film you will have a different opinion of her. I know I did. You will have a good time watching this and the casting is perfect with some superb performances. Do not miss this one.

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