WHITE BOY RICK (2018)

A film by Yann Demange

Cast:  Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Bel Powley

Based on a true story of Richard Wershe Jr., who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.

The director here immerse the audience in the 1980’s in Detroit Michigan where I used live about 30 minutes from there back in late 70’s. Rick Wersche Sr. peddled guns to Detroit lowlifes. However the FBI prays on this 14 years old boy to go undercover for them to deal drugs so they can know who is who and arrest them later. Things escalated and became out of hand, here is a father who with his son deals guns to drug dealers to make ends meet. The daughter however who is on drugs and sell her body for a quick fix leaves the house for good with her drug dealer boyfriend. Here is the story of a father for loves his children and does not want to break the family apart is trying to keep it together and do the best he can to take care of his kids that he loves so much. Plus the fact that the FBI screwed them over did not help. In this story you will see how corrupt are the mayor, the cops, etc… the poverty, and the decline of Detroit. When I went there I knew some people who told me that they knew people who bought a house in Detroit for $60,000 but sold it years later for $8,000 because the decline is so -bad . I remember working in Detroit at night and driving home in streets where the house were abandoned by their owners. Here is a story of a father and the love he has for his children. Of course there is a racial dynamic in the story. The performances were outstanding especially for the first time actor Richie Merritt. Not too bad for this film however a trip down memory lane for me.

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KURST (2018)

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A film by Thomas Vinterberg

Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Léa Seydoux, Colin Firth, Mathias Shoenaerts

August 2000, The Russians Navy engages in exercise with the unsinkable submarine called the Kurst (K-141). But before performing this exercise, they celebrated the wedding of one of their comrade.

Mitkhail Kalekov (Mathias Shoenaerts) says goodbye to his wife who is played by Léa Seydoux and son. Shortly after departure the explosion occur due to the fact they could have prevented it but the orders are the orders. Another explosion followed and more violent than the other which force the crew to be in a small compartment with water freezing to death. The soviet government was trying to save them but their equipment was defective and did not want to admit to the English who themselves offer to help.

Government especially the soviet government are this bunch of liars who would admit that it was their fault and too proud to ask for help because they suppose to have the equipment to rescue them. Plus they lied to the families to top it all off, and why is that  not surprising me. We all know what happen it was news back then in 2000 august 12. Luc Besson who produced the film decided to go with what happen in the sub and the rescue attempt than showing more of the politics with the soviet government. Keep in mind that Norway wanted to help too but the soviet turn them down. The director tried to shoot the film in the soviet but the soviets would not have it, so it was film in France and Belgium. Also he was trying to get documents for his research but the soviets refused because those documents are classified. It is a sad thing to see that the government does not care about its people, especially those crew members that had families.

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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)

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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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