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Archive for the tag “Biography”

ADRIFT (2018)

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A film by Baltasar Kormákur

Cast: Shailene WoodleySam ClaflinGrace Palmer

In September, 1983, Tami Oldham Ashcraft and her fiance, Richard Sharp, were hired to take a 44-foot yacht on a 4,000-mile journey from Tahiti to San Diego. About half way there the encounter a hurricane which was building for a couple of weeks. Caught into it full force the yacht in 145-knot winds, the boat over turn a few time to find themselves adrift.

Here is a couple who found love a first sight while traveling on boats. They meet in Tahiti where Tami running away from her town San Diego not in the hurry to go back any time soon. Love blossomed and soon after that they fell in love, they had a big thing in common they love to travel by sea to discover the world. Everything was fine until an english couple asked them to take their yacht to San Diego and give them $10,000 plus a first class ticket back to Tahiti. Until they get caught into the hurricane. When she find herself adrift she is going to have to pull through right away in order to survive. It is based on the true story , from the book that Tami Oldham Ashcraft wrote in 2002 Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea. A terrific story of survival and will power to stay alive. Adrift has flashback between their hot romance on Tahiti and the increasingly difficult situation after the storm, as Tami struggles to keep herself and Richard alive. I love the shot of the yacht up in the hair where you see the waste ocean and this little tiny boat. It is scary no land to be seen. The shoot must have been difficult because when you see the beautiful scenery that the ocean and the sunset has to offer it is breathtaking. The question here that you have to ask yourself is would I have survive this if I was Tami. What would you have done. The thing here is that Tami has a positive attitude and said to herself I will stay alive I will survive this. What she is using duck tape to do what?

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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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DON’T WORRY HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT (2018)

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot

A film by Gus Van Sant

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara

John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) who has a serious drinking problem gets in a car accident and survive with serious injuries. On the rocky road of recovery discover and heals himself with controversial drawing.

John Callahan (1951-2010), an alcoholic who, following a drunk-driving accident at the age of 21, spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic. Callahan also became a controversial cartoonist for the a newspaper in Oregon. It is hard to do a story on an alcoholic and make it interesting. This is the film that comes full circle with the addiction of alcohol and the destruction of life that don’t have easy resolutions. A great film by Gus Van Sant who thankfully put to work more than a few screenwriters to pull this off. Callahan’s repeated reference to being abandoned by his mother and  adopted has an excuse for his problems and addiction. But like he said I started to drink at age 13, I liked it!  I liked it a lot. Well he had to blame someone for that. It is just an excuse. The film show the 12 steps program with the use of flashback. Here Jonah Hill who plays Donnie a rich kid who was an alcoholic is now the master of this 12 step program. By the way he lost some serious weight and he delivered a superb performance. It was a joy to see him doing some serious acting for a change. There are some funny moments at times Callahan falling into a bush after going on a skateboard maneuver in his motorized wheelchair, A nurse sitting on his face well I will say no more you will have to see the film. What I like about Gus van Sant is he is not using the studio system. He does his films on his own terms. Callahan becomes a cartoonist the one with the dark sense of humour and not everybody liked his drawing. A terrific independent film here not to be missed. I’ll drink that, Ha!ha!ha!

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I, TONYA (2017)

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A film by Craig Gillespie

Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney

Ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when she married her husband Jeff Gillooly.

I was in the United States when the news broke even watch Harding stake and I though she was great but there was some off beat. After watching the film I said and even seeing it on the news at the time I said to myself there it is I was right.

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Director Gillespie film it from the interviews that that on every channels at the time plus some flashback to tell what real happened. He also affectionately mocked the sport a bit without mocking Harding herself. You see Harding had those seriously ridiculous outfit for her competition and even had Rock-N-Roll music instead of classical to do her routine. She wanted to be different from the others but that did not go well with the judges. She always said what was on her mind straight forward no bullshit. She was not loved by her mother. She thrived in the sport because she wanted to be loved by her fans. Allison Janney ( who did a great job here) absolutely tears it up as the profane, chain-smoking LaVona Harding, constantly insulting Tonya and messing with her mind so she could become a great champion. Janney has won a Bafta award for Best supporting actress and well deserved at that; I just read this not long ago.

As soon as Tonya married her first husband it went to hell from there. Sebastian Stan Who plays Jeff Gillooly plays a little goofy. The relationship that they had was not healthy either. Soon after the incident happened which Tonya said she is no guilty as the media found her guilty at the time. Her all career fell apart. The big investigation was going on at time and the news show like Hard copy,  20/20 and the others banked on it they were fighting for first place . Margot here after 5 month of training she actually performed a triple axle (Not too perfectly well with computer generated image was perfect on film) and was one of the 7 women who has performed it. Tonya was the first one to do so. Margot performance is outstanding here and even Tonya herself liked the film. If you saw the news like I did back then after seeing the film you will have a different opinion of her. I know I did. You will have a good time watching this and the casting is perfect with some superb performances. Do not miss this one.

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LA DOULEUR (2018)

LA DOULEUR (2018)

A film by Emmanuel Finkiel

Cast: Mélanie Thierry, Benoît Magimel, Benjamin Biolay

English: Memoir of pain

June 1944, France is still under the German occupation. The writer Robert Antelme, major figure of the Resistance, is arrested and deported. His young wife Marguerite, writer and a figure of the resistance also, is torn by the anguish of not having news of him plus she has her secret affair with her comrade Dyonis. She meets a French agent of the Gestapo, Rabier, and, ready to do anything to find her husband. She seek help from an other man will she be able to find her husband and will he be still alive? 

Some of you will not like this film; It is the biography of Marguerite Duras and is a key figure on the French twentieth-century literary scene. Born in French Indochina in 1914, Duras studied and worked in France and lived in Paris during the Nazi occupation, and was in the Résistance. After all she won an Oscar for best original screenplay for the film 1959 film Hiroshima mon amour. But this film is told with a narration of literature. Her book was published in 1985 Memoir of pain finally comes to life at the movies. La Douleur flows like blood in the veins. Finkiel plays on the literary codes with a narration of Mélanie Thierry with a sad and depressing  voice. Thierry is act mostly with her facial expressions. She sees her relationship growing with Rabier. But also with Dionys (Benjamin Biolay). Finkiel allows us to wander, to merge into the spirit of Marguerite Duras. Duras is a faded flower that fights with her latest weapons as a resistant and writer that she is. She leads a troubled life. The film is a slow burner but a little long although I found it nice to watch a different view a view of a woman in search of her husband.

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GREATEST SHOWMAN (2017)

The Greatest Showman é

A film by Michael Gracey

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron

The Biography of P.T. Barnum who had this vision and was ahead of his time a the greatest show on earth as he called it.

Here is a terrific piece of musical who has songs like hip hop and avoided to put the classic music into it smart move. It is purely entertaining with great dancing numbers. The film starts with the title song “The Greatest Show,” with repetitive thumping percussion, Hugh Jackman (P.T. Barnum) in red long coat and top hat takes us on a dazzling tour, The all number is perfect choreography. The story takes us when his father and him as a young boy goes to this house (Rich people) and Barnum got interested to this young girl the daughter of his father’s customer. Than you see him all growing up and getting an idea of what he wants to do with his life. Both his wife and kids having almost nothing coming from nothing and marrying the daughter of a rich man and they were happy the way it is. However P.T. Barnum had an idea in mind.  He launches out on his own, creating a theatre in the heart of New York City. He gathers together people with special talents as well as those with physical abnormalities (a big bearded lady, Siamese twins, a dwarf who would eventually be known as General Tom Thumb, Barnum’s first “breakout star”). The audition sequence is fun to watch and Jackman is dazzling in it. Not all people loved what he was doing but Barnum was so taken by being recognised in he was consumed by it. He even promised his wife that they will have a big house. He discover other talent Jenny Lind,(Rebecca Ferguson) the “Swedish Nightingale,” whom Barnum took on a whirlwind concert tour through America. Even meet the queen of England. Overall the casting is perfect and it is entertaining as hell . By the way Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus folded up its tent for good, after 146 years of uninterrupted operation soon after the film got released, due to the pressure of animal activist and poor attendance. Do not miss this one.

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DARKEST HOURS (2017)

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A film by Joe Wright

Cast: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas

During world war II the new prime minster Winton Churchill (Gary Oldman) has this big decision to make to negotiate peace with Hitler or fight until the end.

Here is a great film by Joe Wright and did he ever nailed it. Some how Dunkirk the film of Nolan and this film are connected beautifully well. The problem is some of the member of the parliament wanted to negotiate peace but Churchill wanted to go to war, he did not see peace negotiation with Hitler and that was smart. He wanted to fight until the end. Hitler here was this madman who was killing and taking countries left and right however Winston knew that negotiate with a madman is not going to end well and it was a sign of weakness. Oldman here has the perfect role that fits him like a glove and what a beautiful performance. Kristin Scott Thomas is terrific in the role of Clementine. My favourite scene is when he goes in the subway and have a talk with the people in the train. Although he had a trade mark smokes cigar, love his whiskey and champagne. In the darkest hour Churchill was at his best. Just imagine the pressure he was under. A terrific film here not to be missed.

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MOLLY’S GAME (2017)

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A film by Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner

She was nicknamed the poker princess and when she was in a room she was in total command. She made a fortune running high-stakes games for the wealthy and powerful. Inspired by Bloom’s memoir of the same name, “Molly’s Game” bounces back and forth in time between Molly’s arrest by the FBI for running an illegal gambling operation and the  efforts to persuade a New York lawyer  to represent her and flashbacks to how she built her  empire.

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Molly moves to LA to continue her studies but she stumbles into a game of a card from her boss who wanted her to manage a poker game every week. We even go back further when she was a kid the time she was rebellious against her father. Her first game you will get the narrative voice over of how the game works, who is coming, the terminology , the strategy. As she tries to convince a lawyer played by Idris Elba, you continue to see the flashback and you beginning to see that Molly was dominating her game in a work of powerful men? however the chemistry of the two actors dazzle on-screen. The film is a bit long and entertaining as hell. The scene with her father where Molly is reached her low point is priceless. The thing is the film moves well a the beginning maintains its speed slows down a little and the kill shot is sent. A woman in a man’s world where Molly has done very well and the thing is also those kind of illegal games and Molly being good at her job will bring some unwanted attention.

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LA PROMESSE DE L’AUBE (2017)

LA PROMESSE DE L_AUBE

A film by Eric Barbier

Cast: Pierre Niney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Didier Bourdon

English title : Promise at dawn 

From his difficult childhood in Poland to his adolescence under the sun of Nice, to his aviator’s exploits in Africa during the Second World War … Romain Gary lived an extraordinary life. But this eagerness to live a thousand lives, to become a great man and a famous writer, it is to Nina, his mother, that he owes it. It is the crazy love of this endearing and eccentric mother who will make him one of the major novelists of the twentieth century, to life full of twists, passions and mysteries. But this boundless maternal love will also be his burden for life …

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From 1920’s Poland in Mexico in the 1950s, from the airfields to the African desert, from pre-war France to London under the bombs, Eric Barbier exploits all the fantastic aspects of the life of Romain Gary to immerse ourselves into the world of Romain Gary. The beautiful chemistry of Gainsbourg and Niney works here it is like ballet it is flows trough their veins. To top it all off beautiful performance between the two. Romain’s mother eccentric and monstrous with incredible energy and strength of character adored her son to death. She wanted him to be somebody. Maybe she pushed him too hard or sometimes suffocate him by her love but she dictated his life at times a bit controlling. There are double promises here that both has to hold. Romain has seen her mother humiliated and he wants to avenge her. The cinematography and the decor are outstanding from Poland, to Africa, Nice France, and England the director has nailed it on the dot. The film offers a eulogy of will, tolerance and heroism with melancholy and humour. Did either of them hold their promises? Well you will have to see this beautiful film.

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BORG / MCENROE (2017)

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A film by Janus Metz

Cast: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård

The story in 1980 rivalry between Borg and McEnroe. McEnroe the rebellious bad boy of tennis and Borg the god of tennis.

Here is the thing I am a big fan of Tennis so I decided to see this film right away. My mom was working in this sport company they gave her box seat (Front row seat) to see all the matches at Roland Garros back in the 70’s. I saw Borg, Connors, Stanislas, Ivan Lendl, Rob laver etc…is a matter a fact Connors was on the court and running to hit the ball kept running was right in the front of me looked at me and said “man this guy is killing me” Connors was the cool dude who was joking around once in a while. So When it came around 1980 I was in the US and I saw that match Borg / McEnroe.

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For borg the pressure is on he has everything to lose he has 4 Wimbledon championships under his belt as for McEnroe he had nothing to lose, he was the underdog. I remember seeing him on the court getting pissed of pulling his hair out and the press had a field day. The film show the 3 days before the march, the preparation, the games, how the player prepares themselves mentally and so forth. Then there are the occasional flash back when they were teenagers. McEnroe the party boy and Borg was like a robot focused, nothing gets to him. Amazing! Shia leboeuf delivers an outstaying McEnroe and was trained by professional tennis players so they do not look like he is the actor playing tennis But McEnroe playing tennis. As for Sverrir Gudnason who even looks like Borg has incarnated Borg extremely well. By the way the young Björn Borg is played by Björn’s real son Leo Borg. Director Janus Metz lets the action flows as the drama goes back and forth like a tennis ball. The film was watchable you could feel the tension rising, I remember watching the match and was on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately we all know what happen the next year and I think that is why Borg retire at 26 years old as he said I have done it all in tennis.  Better retire on top I guess.

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