THE WILD GOOSE LAKE (2019)

A film by  Yi’nan Diao

Cast:  Ge Hu, Lun-Mei Kwei, Fan Liao 

A gang leader in search of redemption and a prostitute ready to do anything to regain her freedom find themselves at the heart of a manhunt. Together, they decide to play one last time with their destiny.

A man and a woman meet for the first time under the overhang of a railway station entrance, but their meeting is not an accident. The man, Zhou (Hu Ge), is on the run from police, and needs a favor. The woman, Gwei (Liu Aiai) is running away from something too, and she’s there under orders to help Zhou. The Diao’s film neo-noir, takes off from there with flashback. Most of The Wild Goose Lake takes place at night in the murky light of alleys and dimly lit passageways. With the police not far behind Zhou, the film becomes this chase from room to room, and in and out of maze-like streets. Gwei, a woman who you won’t be able to read her face , is Zhou’s accomplice, his savior, or his betrayer. There are high-octane fight scene that is worth looking at and that are never been seen before especially the one with the umbrella.  Diao is capable of never letting go the tension nor the suspense especially with a shot of two people slurping noodles. A great film not to be missed.

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STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019)

A film by  J.J. Abrams

Cast:  Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Billie Lourd 

The conclusion of the Skywalker saga. New legends will be born in this epic battle for freedom.

The Star wars Saga is coming to an end finally. I thought I will never see the day. Today is Wednesday that is when are premiere are in France and I was surprise to see at least 200 people in the movie theater at 10 AM in the morning. You should know how it is going to start and where it is going. A New world oder is going to take place. It is a fiesta of great battle and never ending action. Abrams tied up loose ends and attempts to answer fans most burning questions. It is a lot of process in the first viewing and the story have some twists and turns . Abrams tried to balance the story the best he could but to me it a bit predictable. Also I am glad it is J.J. Abrams has directed the last one. Apparently there were a lot of disappointment in the last one The last Jedi. So they had to be careful how to tell this story but there are going to have people who are going to be divided. The Rise of Skywalker is epic without a doubt, and resembles of the three original trilogy films condensed. So I will leave it to you when you watch the movie. Not too bad for an ending but……

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DOCTEUR? (2019)

A film by Tristan Séguéla

Cast:  Michel Blanc, Hakim Jemili, Solène Rigot 

It’s Christmas Eve. The Parisians are preparing to unpack their family gifts. Others watch television alone at home. Still others, like Serge (Michel blanc), works. Serge is the only SOS-Doctor on duty that night. His colleagues have gone to their families. In any case, he no longer has a say because he has taken too many liberties with the practice of medicine, and the radiation hangs in his face. The visits follow one another and Serge tries to follow the rhythm, with drinking a little too much when he gets a call It’s Rose’s, his son’s ex-girlfriend , who calls for help. He arrives at the scene at the same time as a delivery man Uber Eats, Malek, also on duty that night …

Here is a nice little comedy with a duo that works well here. It is Christmas day and Serge is the only doctor on call for the night. His bed side manners are not so good. Here the director Seguela open the film with a visit where the parents are worrying about their newborn the scene is a bit offbeat with a stimulating dialogue. For this story to work the director puts in this character named Malek played by Hakim Jemili who is the delivery man for Uber eats and delivers a comedy with the themes of social classes and mourning. Here is a doctor who is going to need some help from a delivery man. Serge is cold and does his job mechanically with no bedside manners plus he drinks a little too much. Enters Malek who is this gentle soul with a heart. The two men are going to need each other and they don’t even know it yet. Hakim Jemili who is a comedian does a great job for his first role in this film. Here is a nice comedy for the holidays who is going to put a smile on your face and for those who lives in Paris forget the strike from the public transports.

A HIDDEN LIFE (2019)

A film by Terrence Malick

Cast:  Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Nyqvist, August Diehl 

Inspired by real facts.Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant, refuses to fight alongside the Nazis. Found guilty of treason by the Hitler regime, he is sentenced to death. But carried by his unshakable faith and love for his wife, Fani, and his children, Franz remains a free man. A hidden life tells the story of these unsung heroes.

Here Jagerstatter is portrayed as an unblemished 20th-century saint. Is the matter of fact that the catholic church Jagerstatter was beatified by the Catholic Church in 2007. It is a different kind of war movie, it is beautiful to look at with some near perfect postcard photography. In the Austrian Alps where Franz (August Diehl) and his wife Fani (Valerie Pachner) live with their three children in this little beautiful village. The music is flowing and you will see the perfect picture happy family. It is all very good until the war comes in . Franz goes into basic training for a while and comes back to farming soon after. But the people in the village are starting to change and have Hitler fever. Franz however is going against it, war is wrong. Resisting to the Nazis the villagers calls him a sinner, start to spit at his wife with their dirty look even throwing things at her. In 1943 Franz is called up for military service, once there he refuse to take the required oath of fealty to Hitler and yes he is locked up. The film takes off where Franz is still free by thinking of his wife and children of the love he has for them. Here is a beautiful war movie with a love story told by Malick.

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (2019)

A film by  Edward Norton

Cast:  Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis

New York in the 1950s. Lionel Essrog, private detective suffering from Tourette syndrome, investigating the murder of his mentor and only friend Frank Minna. Thanks to the rare clues in his possession and his obsessive mind, he discovers secrets whose revelation could have consequences on the city of New York … From jazz clubs from Harlem to the slums of Brooklyn, to the upscale neighborhoods of Manhattan, Lionel will face the most powerful man in the city to save the honor of his missing friend. And perhaps also the woman who will assure him his salvation …

Based on the Novel from  Jonathan Lethem, Ed Norton took on the adaptation , directing , acting and producing this film. It took 20 years to be able to lift off this project. Here Lionel played by Norton is a character with Tourette syndrome where he is going to investigate the murder of his boss who was on something big. The story takes place in the 50’s. Moses Randolph, (Alec Baldwin) is a builder and will crush anyone who gets on his way. Randolph wants to displace a neighborhood mostly where black people lives, to put hospital and new houses. Here comes in the picture Laurie Rose ( Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who is political activist  helping African-Americans resist displacement. Lionel has colleagues who were in the orphanage with him. Norton here was able to play this character with skills . He also make the choice to make it a film noir like the old days. Here is a man who plans to rebuild New York his way but has a secret that he wants buried. Alec Baldwin here shines as well playing this politician who is hungry for power but is a racist, he did have to look to much further for research as he played Trump on many occasions in Saturday Night live. The film is a smart slow burner but to me is a little too long.

GLORIA MUNDI (2019)

A film by  Robert Guédiguian

Cast: Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gérard Meylan

Daniel gets out of prison where he was incarcerated for many years and returns to Marseille. Sylvie, his ex-wife, told him that he is a grandfather: their daughter Mathilda has just given birth to a little Gloria. By coming to see the baby, Daniel discovers that this family has fallen tough time and is struggling to make ends meet. But a blow will strike this fragile family life, Daniel, who has nothing to lose, will try everything to help them.

Robert Guédiguian here tells the story of honest workers who are crushed by the system which all hopes and dreams are shattered leading them to desperation. Here is a woman who got remarried has a job as a cleaning lady at night locked out of earning a decent pay check because of a strike that is going to come soon, and her husband who is a bus driver. The oldest daughter is a failure who can’t hold down a job as a sales assistant. The son-in-law is an Uber driver. And the younger half-sister and her husband who runs a pawn shop and look at their family as losers. Of course Daniel the grand father who is going tot get out of prison.

Here it is Guédiguian here uses the same actor for all his film don’t ask I don’t know. The small poems shelled throughout the film by Gerard Meylan, symbol of wisdom and destitution in a world governed by money. The film is a bit like Ken Loach theme and here is a family who is trying to stay above water and a newborn that is going to bring a breath of fresh air, well you would think. Things are not going so well except for the other daughter where their business is thriving and they are going to open an other store. The family suddenly sees the light at the end of the tunnel but wait and here it down hill after that. You think there are going to make it but shit happens and it is getting worst until the unthinkable happens. Great cast here fun to watch. Gloria Mundi draws up a crude social statement, which would certainly be unpleasant to look at.

IT MUST BE HEAVEN (2019)

A film by  Elia Suleiman

Cast:  Gael García Bernal, Ali Suliman, Stephen McHattie

ES fled Palestine in search of a new home, before realizing that his home country still follows him as a shadow. The promise of a new life is quickly transformed into an absurd comedy . As far as he travels, from Paris to New York, something reminds him of his homeland. A burlesque tale exploring identity, nationality and belonging, in which Elia Suleiman asks a fundamental question: where can one feel ” at home ” ?

Ok here is the return of Suleiman after an absence of 10 years. A Burlesque comedy , who is not afraid to play the card of simplicity to question the identity of his country. You can tell that Jacques Tati has influence Suleiman it shows in this comedy. There are not too many dialogue in this film the image will speak for itself. It Must Be Heaven follows Elia Suleiman who plays himself as he journeys around the world, starting off in his homeland of Palestine before venturing to Paris, and New York City. Every where he goes he is remained that he is a Palestinian. When ES flew to New York where the clichés are coming back like the fear of terrorist attacks and the proliferation of security measures. The camera work and the frames are carefully chosen by Suleiman in this offbeat comedy. This film looks at offbeat banal moments, usually out of focus, says the director. The film has its own political agenda which has its own cultural identity. Although Suleiman has made this comedy à la Tati has his own signature.

SEULES LES BÊTES (2019)

A film by  Dominik Moll

Cast:  Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard 

English Title: Only the animals

A woman disappeared. After a snowstorm, her car is discovered on a road to a small remote village. While the police have no trail, five people know they are linked to this disappearance. Each has its own secret, but no one doubts that this story has started far from this mountain swept by the winter winds, on another continent where the sun burns, and where poverty does not prevent the desire to dictate its law. .

Around the unexplained disappearance of a woman, in a snowstorm, evolve five protagonists. Alice, the social worker (Laure Calamy). She goes from village to village in the mountains to provide assistance and give advice to the isolated farmers. This is what she does with Joseph (Damien Bonnard), this goat farmer who seems a little loss and lonely due to the fact that his mother died that summer. Alice is married to Michel (Denis Ménochet) who seems not too care for her too much and is somewhere else most of the time keeping up with his accounting so it seems. Also he also has a secret like his wife. I am careful not to reveal anything. Chance will put Marion (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) on the road, a young waitress who clings desperately to her impossible love affair with Evelyne (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). And may the adventure of those 5 protagonist begins.

Five characters, five points of view, five stories that intertwine, to finally converge to the mystery of the disappearance of Evelyne Ducat. A single plot to reveal each chapter with a new elements that will shed the lights on the investigation. The tension is never let go neither the suspense which the story is full of characters that are going united with them not knowing it. There is a beauty towards this landscape of beautiful snow in the mountains and the plains as the eyes can see that is impressive. A great casting to ad to this film and you have yourselves a terrific thriller with a great ending.

FORD V. FERRARI (2019)

A film by  James Mangold

Cast:  Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal 

Based on a true story, the film follows a team of eccentric American engineers led by the visionary Carroll Shelby and his British driver Ken Miles, who are sent by Henry Ford II to build from scratch a new automobile that will dethrone the Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans competition.

Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), is a champion racer whose hypertension forces him to retirement. After hanging up his gloves and his helmet, Shelby goes into car sales with a sideline in modification and design, and he also manages some racers, including the eccentric Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale. Ford was not too crazy to have Miles on board which created some friction there but Shelby insisted that Miles was the best man for the job. It is the story of those two Miles and Shelby who are going to be friends and the struggle that Shelby had to endure to have Miles stay as Ford’s driver. Great camera work here where Mangold put you in the driver seat. It is you basic story which will be a bit predictable but who cares you are going to have a good time watching this. And don’t get me wrong Ferrari even back in the day and now is a hell of a car. . It is a fine machine that drives like a dream.