PRIS DE COURT (2017)

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A film by Emmanuelle Cuau

Cast: Virginie Efira, Gilbert Melki, Renan Prevot

English: Not on my watch

Nathalie is a jeweler and has just moved to Paris for a new job and a new life with her two sons. But the jeweller suddenly changes their mind and tells her  that the position will not be for her. Nathalie wants to protect her children and decides not to tell them anything. This lies will give birth to other lies on both sides. May the fiesta of lies begins.. …

First I knows for a fact not too many people will like this film. But here Cuau is a talented director in telling the story with a realism into it. The filmmaker once again demonstrates, with a very limited budget, the extent of her skill at subtly, with a few stroke making her characters’ behaviour seem real skilfully executing  the rhythm of the narration and getting the best out of her outstanding actors. Virginie Efira, who carries the film exceptionally well and may I add what a joy to see Gilbert Melki delivering an outstanding performance as usual. The film is filmed with finesse and edited with scientific cadence is a slow cooker thriller here which the director accomplished the portrayal of this family that is solid and affectionate which will bring them to the brink of fear of this cruel world until they are almost on the verge of the point of no return here Natalie thinks of a solution to get them out. The thing here Emmanuelle Cuau deserves to have more money to make the most of her potential.

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pris de court

UNITED KINGDOM (2017)

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A film by Amma Asante

Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton

The story is of Seretse Khama, heir to the kingship of an African people, who was attending school in Britain during the late 1940s. At a church dance, Seretse, (David Oyelowo), meets Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). They had eyes for each other and soon fell in love. the thing here she is white, he is black and then may the complications begins .

A good number of them are predictable but they go deeper and the viewer already know most of the story but not as much as that. Seretse’s homeland, Bechuanaland (now Botswana), under British control, sits directly above South Africa, which in the late 1940s was instituting the  policy of apartheid. However Seretse’s uncle is not keen on the returning king bringing home a white queen. The couple remain the focus of the story although out the film. There were difficulties for Ruth to be accepted plus her pregnancy came along. It is a very nice polite film here very carefully done and well film with beautiful photography. there are a couple of shocking twist. The performance by Mr. Oyelowo is outstanding here. Tom Felton, as an underhanded British bureaucrat who was getting on my nerves a bit. United Kingdom is truly a beautiful rewarding film.

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ORPHELINE (2017)

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A  film by Arnaud des Pallières

Cast: Adèle Haenel, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Solène Rigot 

English title: Orphan 

Here it is a portrait of a woman at 4 stages in her life. A little girl with a tragic ending of a hide and seek game. As a Teenager she is running away because she is not happy there and she meets man after man and  goes back home later. As a young woman who works along the side of a professional gambler and as a woman in her 30’s married who has changed her name and tried to hide her passed but it has caught up with her.

We begin with Renée (Adéle Haenel), a schoolteacher with dreams of becoming a mother, who finds her life turn up side down  with the reintroduction of an old friend recently released from prison (Gemma Arterton). Sandra (Adéle Exarchopoulos), who responds to an advert to work alongside an older gambler (Robert Hunger-Buhler) in a shady role. Karine (Soléne Rigot), who is subject to abuse from her father, and so drifts from one man to the next, seeking love and affection. The director here who is demanding of his actress but lets them work as freely as they want as wrote this story of his wife I am going on a limb here loosely based on his wife past life. Each stages of her life has a tragedy of some kind. The film is disorienting at times but you will figure it out. You begin to wonder if this woman is going to be caught a break. Orphan explores the complexities of women, in a way that is seldom seen on-screen.

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FREAKS (1932)

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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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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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1:54 (2017)

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A film by Yan England

Cast: David Boutin, Guillaume Gauthier, Patrice Godin, Sophie Nélisse

At 16, Tim (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) is a shy, brilliant young man with a natural sporting talent. But the pressure which it undergoes will push him even to its last entrenchments, where the human limits reach the point of no return.

1:54, that’s the time Tim must have running the 800 yards in order to qualify for the Nationals. Since the suicide of his best friend Francis, the teenager has only one goal in mind, beating his rival and bully so he takes his place at the national finals. For several years, the young man had abandoned running , but with the events that took away his best friend, the need for revenge propelled him to surpass himself. For his first feature here Yvan tackles a lot of subject matter.The power of bullying videos on social networks, homosexuality and homophobia among teens, redemption through sport rather than violence,the adolescent suicide.With an interesting casting (Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Sophie Nélisse and Lou-Pascal Tremblay ), the director takes us directly to the darkest corners of the harsh reality some people experience during their high school . Many of you is going to say he tackles too many subjects at the time as for me no I did not think so it is a fact of life unfortunately in many high schools those days. There were talking on TV in the news in France not long ago. The actors here shine especially David Boutin in the role of the father who is powerless seeing his child going through this intimidation. Very good for  a first film here . Let’s see the next one.

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BRIMSTONE (2017)

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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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