AU NOM DE LA TERRE (2019)

A film by  Edouard Bergeon

Cast:  Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon 

English: In the name of the earth.

Pierre is 25 when he returns from Wyoming to find Claire his fiancée and take over the family farm. Twenty years later, the farm expanded, so did the family. It’s the time of happy days, at least at the beginning … The farm has debts and Pierre is trying to stay above water by been over worked. Despite the love of his wife and children, he gradually falls into a deep depression … Built as a family saga, and according to the director’s own story, the film takes a human look at the evolution of the agricultural world of the last 40 years years.

Edouard Bergeon takes a personal angle here since he tells the true story of his father, crushed by the system and died in 1999. It begins with a sweet story, filmed with a retro light in an introductory scene where Pierre, on a motorcycle, drives through the fields to join his fiancée before making love to her passionately. The excitement of this beautiful story will quickly be disrupted by the economic concern, the debt that is going to follow which pushes this farmer played by Guillaume Canet to give everything that he has to his farm to the point of no return.

At the beginning everything is fine and the family was happy, the father of Pierre sold the farm to his son who is going to take over then an event is going to take place when Pierre is going to go crazy. Here the director is telling the story of his father who could not get out of debt which led to his emotional break down. Farmers in France are not making too much money to live on. Most of them borrows money from the bank and get help from the government and hope for the best. However the wife played by Veerle Baetens who is the most courageous tries to keep the family together. You see here Pierre wanted to be an entrepreneur instant of being the farmers he thought by expanding he was going to get out from under but unfortunately all hell broke loose. Outstanding job from the actors. Unfortunately there is a growing concern about farmers and their land. A surprising survey at the end of the film that surprised me.

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CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (2019)

A film by  Marielle Heller

Cast:  Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells 

It’s the early 1990s and Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is already well past her sell-by date. An author specializing in biographies (she once landed on the New York Times bestseller list for one she wrote about Dorothy Kilgallen, Lee is finding it difficult to find anyone interested in her work and her latest project about Fanny Brice is getting old. She has almost no friends except her flamboyantly gay best friend, Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant), whose claim to fame is having pissed in a coat closet after mistaking it for the lavatory. Here Melissa McCarthy does an exceptional performance as Lee to my surprise because her comic role were getting a bit old.

McCarthy is give a sympathetic approach humanizing  a bit her character. A woman who was a bit desperate for money because she loves to write and does not want to do anything else . She is nice to her cat but has struggle in the social circle, she is on the defensive and struggle when on the date with a bookshop owner. Lee was good with one thing forging letters and did she make her money into it. Lee adapted her writing skills into creating fake letters from famous names and selling them for hundreds of dollars to collectors . But it attracted the FBI. Grant has done an outstanding performance as well playing Lee’s gay friend and I didn’t recognized him at first I haven’t see him in a long time. The chemistry was there between the two of them and a delight to see them drinking in a gay bar joking around. overall a terrific film with a dynamic duo. By the way remember back in the day there were type writer.

ROCKETMAN (2019)

A film by Dexter Fletcher

Cast:  Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden 

Rocketman recounts the extraordinary life of Elton John, from his early successes to his international consecration. The film traces the metamorphosis of Reginald Dwight, a timid prodigy pianist, into a global superstar. He is now known as Elton John.His inspirational story – based on the most beautiful songs of the star – makes us live the incredible success of a child from a small provincial town that has become an icon of the pop world culture.

Doors are thrown open. Light fills the hallway. A man in costumes appears with platform shoes. He walks a bit and opens an other set of doors, he pauses and says at the rehab group that he has just interrupted. “My name is Elton Hercules John and I’m an alcoholic.” He is also a cocaine addict, sex addict, a shopping addict. And may the flashback begins.

The problem with this Biography it is formulaic and it is getting on my nerves. Instead of doing it this way to tell the relationship with his manager in more details and the relationship with his best friend how he wrote the songs and john put the music to it that would been the better film. But no let’s go with the formulaic film. Do not get wrong Taron Egerton has done a great job acting in this film but why not let a real gay man playing the part they are some gay actors out there that could play the part. The film is entertaining and it is like a musical but that is all it does for me. One of those days someone will get it right.

LA NOCHE DE 12 ANÕS (2019)

A film by  Álvaro Brechner

Cast:  Antonio de la Torre, Chino Darín, Alfonso Tort

English title: A twelve year night

1973, Uruguay falls into dictatorship. Three political opponents are secretly imprisoned by the new military power. Thrown into small cells, they are forbidden to talk to each other and badly nourished with barely have the essential toiletry , three men whose limit is pushed to madness, three hostage where the punishment is to break them of their humanities. The film tells the 12 years of imprisonment lived by three the most famous figures of contemporary Uruguay.

Here are twelve men who are confined in a small cell and submit to the atrocities that are inhuman. Solitary confinement is the worse case scenario they said you can not go more than 30 days without talking with to someone or you will go crazy. A haunting story of 12 years of incarceration in the life of Jose Mujica (Antonio de la Torre) and his two camarade, Mauricio Rosencof (Chino Darín) and Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro (Alfonso Tort). In 1973, Uruguay in taken by a military dictatorship. Members of the guerilla known as Tupamaros are considered traitors to the country. They are caught and thrown in jail and persecuted. Some of them were kidnapped by the military to subject to inhuman condition and psychological torture. They are moved from time to time to different cells. But those three men are finding ways to even talk to each other sort of and to not submit to those atrocities. There was one funny scene in the toilet with a prisoner who wanted to take a shit but could not squat do to one arm was in cuff high by the pipe. You will laugh your ass off, how stupid are the military. Álvaro Brechner here made sure not to let up on the tension throughout the film. There are the occasional flashback that does not revealing to much which was a smart move here. Keep in mind that those men were incarcerated for twelve years of pure psychological torture. Those are men you will not see men like them now. Great film here not to be missed.

VICE (2019)

A film by  Adam McKay

Cast:  Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell 

Dick Cheney managed, without making a fuss, to be elected vice-president alongside George W. Bush. Become the most powerful man in the country, he has largely contributed to impose a new world order whose consequences the American feel today …

Dick Cheney here started as a young man not too in the hurry to get where he was going, well nowhere. He failed at yale, got into fight and drank to death and got a job as an utility man. When fiancé Lynn has enough she makes him choose this way of life that you are leaving now or me. At that moment Dick (Christian Bale) looks Lynne (Amy Adams) in the eye and swears he’ll never disappoint her again.

And that is how Adam McKay start the film and you can tell he was not a fan of our protagonist. The dark satire is kind of scary because here Dick though he was doing the right thing. Dick here was thirsty for power and somewhat abused it. Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, is performance was outstanding you don’t quiet recognize him right off the bat, it takes you awhile to seek in.  Amy Adams as Cheney’s demanding wife, who gives her unfocused husband an ultimatum will have an effect on you as you are watching her performance you do not recognize as well. Steve Carell fits like a glove into Donald Rumsfeld while Sam Rockwell as a young George W. Bush looks the part. Let’s not forget the good old Jesse Plemons’ character too funny but not he does the narrator here. Of course the directors uses , mixed media, archival footage and some flashbacks. Cheney became the most powerful vice president of all time. scary .

L’INCROYABLE HISTOIRE DU FACTEUR CHEVAL (2019)

A film by  Nils Tavernier

Cast:  Jacques Gamblin, Laetitia Casta, Florence Thomassin 

English title: The ideal Palace

At the end of the 19th century, Joseph Ferdinand Cheval (Jacques Gamblin), is a simple postman who travels every day at least 32 kilometers a day from villages to villages. One day his wife dies of a sickness and Cheval is along until he meets the woman of his life who will give him a daughter that is going to love more then anything and then Cheval throws himself into a crazy idea : build her with his own hands, an incredible palace. This ordinary man will not give up and will devote 33 years to building an extraordinary work: “The Ideal Palace”.

I didn’t know this story at all as I am living in the country where this Palace was built. Here Nils Tavernier wishes today to draw from this story a lesson in life, and pay tribute to the man by filming the poetry of his gesture. Here is a beautiful love story out of the ordinary. Here is a man who is a postman and walks 32 kilometers a day when suddenly his wife past. His son goes living with some relative in Lyon. One day Cheval meets this woman that he falls in love with and marries her later on. Cheval was a loner spent most of his days along delivering the mail . When his daughter came to this world and old dream that he forgot about came up again and decided to build her with his own hands an ideal Palace. He created this architecture that resisted 2 world wars and even it still stands today. Million of tourists has seen it. The nature, the stones, the lime and Joseph’s knowledge of kneading bread, certainly helped him to realize and finalize his project. Jacques Gamblin who plays cheval is perfect for the role, he embodied the character with grace. Of course it was not easy for Cheval throughout his life.  Laetitia Casta who plays his Cheval’s wife who is devoted and supported him all through his project is also perfect for the role. A terrific film about this stubborn man who realized his dream.

GREEN BOOK (2018)

A film by  Peter Farrelly

Cast:  Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellin

1960’s An italian American bouncer who had two month to kill because of renovation at the club he was working at, ends up driving for a black musician  on a tour in the deep American south.

Here are two men quite different one black one white comes from different background get thrown together under unusual circumstances. Here is a mismatched buddy road trip with a message about race relations. And it is based on a true story. Green book it is a bit an old fashioned film making which is kind of nice for a change. It is a joy to see two actors like Mortensen and Ali their chemistry is so perfect and their performance is so outstanding. The film feels has similarities with Driving Miss Daisy.

Mortensen here has to gain 20 pounds which he said was fun to do but not fun to loose he said in an interview. Tony is from the bronx Italian descent and his vocabulaire is limited. (Tony’s son, Nick, co-wrote the script with Farrelly and Brian Hayes Currie.) Tony is the kind of guy with big appetites and loyal to his wife ( Linda Cardellini) and two young sons. He is happy to be living in the Bronx. However Don Shirley is an educated man well mannered with expensive taste and a genius musician.

Tony who finds himself out of the job due to the renovation of the club he is working at needs to provide for his family. So he accepts a job from the record company to be the driver of this musician. Yes there are the clichés thrown in there of what Tony thinks about the black people, plus the lesson learn with fast food and such. Too funny at times. The adventure will takes us across the country with the ups and downs. The green book back then was a guide used by black motorists to help them avoid the dangers and indignities of road travel, especially below the Mason-Dixon line. Well as we know from history the south was segregated. Tony was the bodyguard as well as a chauffeur. Don is a well known musician but is denied to dine with white people. It is a bit crude and offensive at times but back then that’s the way it was. Some Americans white and black the older folks were talking about it to me as I was listening to their stories was a bit shock that was going on in America. It is an intelligent screenplay where the two character are going to learn from each other. A nice film done the old fashion way that have funny moments and not so funny moments but played very well by two great actors. Do not miss this one.