U.S. Film

FENCES (2016)

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A film byDenzel Washington

Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson

The man is that he is one of the world’s great talkers. He, Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington)  enters the screen as this nice dude talking  with his friend Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and teasing his wife, Rose (Viola Davis). Rose and Bono have known each other for years. Troy is by turns funny, provocative, inspiring and hurtful, but sometimes is quiet as hell. There are plenty of speech here with of course the occasional profanities. It is from a play from August Wilson. Denzel revived the play by playing in it then wanted to direct it on film, and what a beautiful film it is. No couple is perfect here as you are going to find out as the story goes one . It is well paced with plenty of dialogue.

Troy, 53 years old and employed as a sanitation worker, has a physical assurance of the athlete he used to be. Well he has speeches how great he was in baseball. When in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the major-league color line, it was too late for Troy he has a bitterness against Corey his son. He wants his son to do better than him and not the same mistake he has done. But troy here is bitter about a few things. Yes he went to jail , got out but came out bitter and cruel at times. Rose here solves problems her husband has created. The relationship will create friction a times but one event will create a monster of a friction here where Rose who is played beautifully well by Viola Davis who got an Oscar for the role is trying to solve the problem but is angry as hell at Troy. A the end of the film you will know who Troy is . It is a most painfully, beautiful and honest film.

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Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) & Viola Davis (Rose)

FREAKS (1932)

Freaks

A film by Tod Browning

Cast: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova

Love, sex, infidelity and vengeance at the Tartellini circus. Lover of the acrobat Cleopatra, Hans, the Lilliputian, abandons his fiancee, the microscopic rider Frieda. Cleopatra does a tour de force once she learn that Hans has this fortune that he inherited. But beware some serious shit could bite her in the ass.

I went yesterday at my favourite UCG movie theatre to see the film cult Freaks finally digitized. We had that manager of the place who is going to be transfer at the end of April I was not crazy about him I hope they put an other one better and friendlier this time I told us that he wanted to buy a copy of this film so we could get to see it on the big screen before he got transfer. The dude here the cinema historian that we have here in France was there to talk about the film. He is like the one Robert Osborne on TCM. So he tells us that the film came out and that the people did not like it at all they were repulse by it. Browning who got penalised for this film got to do 4 more after that and had to retire. He is from the silent film era he later died of throat cancer and he could not talk however he never did an interview until the end where he said that he had fun to direct all those films and that he knew that Freaks was the film who got him out of the business. Funny how that is that a film director from the silent era did of throat cancer and towards the end he could no longer talk how nostalgic. Anyway for this film he hired real people who are deformed some dwarf etc…. In France however this sort of circus where Freaks were on display was not allowed however in the U.S. well it was. A terrific film here that works but back then people were not comfortable with it. Years later 30 years later some film buffs remastered this film for people to see. And thank god foe that. What a master piece.

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freaks

GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)

 

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A film by Rupert Sanders

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche

Here is an adaptation of Shirow Masume’s original manga cult comics. In the near future Major is one of the kind after a crash they were able to save her brain but gave her a synthetic body. her purpose in life is to catch criminals.

Not too bad for a science fiction film here a robot with a human brain. Can they think like a human and if so will she able to do the job that they want her to do. There is a share parallel with Ridley Scott’s  Blade Runner however the visual is stunning and colourful the story is developed like a thriller like a film Neo-noir. The Asian-inspired City is filled, tall and tightly metallic buildings peppered with bright neon holographic signboards. It feels like the 80’s but in the future like A retro 80’s futuristic. As the story moves along Major (Scarlett Johansson) gets some kind of a glitch now and then. As she is after a hacker who tried to kill some officials the glitches gets worse. The skin-tight latex suit that Johansson wear and even the other outfit are outstanding. For me how ever it feels like I already saw that film some where. I was left there could be more like a twist in the story. Maybe it is just me.

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BRIMSTONE (2017)

Brimstone 3

A film by Martin Koolhoven

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Carice van Houten

In the American West, at the end of the XIX century. Liz, a young woman of about twenty years, leads a peaceful life with her family. But her life will shift one day when a sinister preacher visits them. Liz will have to leave  because this man hunts her without respite since childhood …

It is going to be a narrative in 4 parts pompously titled “Apocalypse”, “Exodus”, “Genesis” and “Retribution”.  The center of the story here is around the character of Dakota Fanning named Liz. She finds the preacher who is like a satanic preacher who is driven by lust, revenge and hatred. Liz here will be followed by her aggressor who without listing go is tuning liz’s life a living hell with a few twist and turn. Each chapter are like flashback.The film stretches nearly two and a half hours, and focus of how vicious and cruel is the west back then ruling by cruel and vicious man where woman will have little right to exist let along have human right before they get beaten. Beautiful performances by the actors here.  Dakota’s character here is a strong will woman who will learn how to survive but will make a lot of sacrifices along the way. As for Guy Pearce here incarnate this preacher who has its own demons who is sadistic in may ways. He lives into his own little world of pain, pervertion and violence. This western is going to feel like diabolical in many ways and yes it stands out with the other great western.

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Brimstone

KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017)

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A film by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson 

Kong: Skull island is a turbo charge film with plenty of explosion and gun fire Gee I think this film is made in America. And yes if you have an action picture like that you are going to have Sam Jackson in the mix to be this hard ass soldier and bring you pop corn and sodas because you are in for a hell of a ride. Here is the thing remember those film B-rated about this giant spider, or other monsters fighting monster well it is an homage to all those films with better actors.

The story goes like this. It takes place in 1973 and the movie was primarily shot in Vietnam and yes you are going to see how beautiful Vietnam is. A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific. when they get there not long after they find an inviting beast that is going to change the course of their life. Yes the CGI came out very well here plus I hate to say it is a formulaic film with predictability but it is entertaining as hell. The film takes places in 1973 and you will see the technology of that era ho! my god yeah I know. Still, the nature of Larson’s role is one of the film’s biggest surprises, and the key manner in which Skull Island deviates from the conventional Kong. Do not compare this film with the old Kong this one is different from most. So if you find some time on your hand go see that one you might be surprise pleasantly at that.

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MISS SLOANE (2017)

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A film by John Madden

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Miss Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is a conservative lobbyist who one day jumps ship to an other firm taking more than a few employees with her. The reason she jump ship here she was asked  to see a boss (Sam Waterston) to support the powerful gun lobby in their opposition to a new gun law featuring regulatory checks on the purchase of firearms. She is going against it.

The opening of the film here when she start the dialogue I hate to say this but I knew where this was going and what was going to happen at the end. Here Sloane is a barracuda with an iron fist and protected by though skin, she almost never sleep, it is about her, she is driven to win and has a plan B in her back of her head. She is disconnected from the world the only relationship that she has is with an escort guy who screw her when she needs too no more no less, moaning only no talking please. Jessica Chastain’s performance here is a tour de force with intense emotions. She leaves a blood trail like a serial killer. You do not know much about her here and that is refreshing for a change but you know this she must win at any cost ,she even knows that winning has a price. She is fascinating and bizarre.  Because we are concentrating on her all the time the film does not crash but for me it is predictable.

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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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