FIRST MAN (2018)

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A film by Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke 

Pilot “a little distracted” by his superiors in 1961, Neil Armstrong will be, on July 21, 1969, the first man to walk on the moon. For eight years, he undergoes an increasingly difficult training, bravely assuming all the risks of a journey to the total unknown. Murmured by personal hardships that leaves indelible marks, Armstrong tries to be a loving husband to a woman who had married him in the hope of a normal life.

Here is what I love about this film the first scene of the film is Neil Armstrong who is in a supersonic plane  and you get a sense what it is like to be in such of plane. Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his fellow Apollo Program team-members put on  insulated suits  strap themselves into narrow seats, wait hours or days for clearance to take off, then spend a few minutes being shaken like a martini in a shaker. Here is the life of Neil who enlist in the program that NASA has to offer due to the fact he needs a distraction because he lost his two years old daughter to cancer. However his wife is pregnant again and hope that Neil comes home every night. The wives and the other pilots gets together on weekends and enjoy life a little because they don’t know anything can happen they might not making it back. Also the film lets you know the race to beat the Soviets to the moon. To top it all off it takes a brave man to be an astronaut plus it takes a lot of training and such. Here you see Neil going into space, it was his job, as it was easier for him to do his job then to be a father because he did not know how. I love this film more than the other film that dealt with this theme because it fell so real, it feels like you are there. I remember my parents watching this on TV in France I was a young kid back then who didn’t understand what as the big deal anyway.

First Man (2018)

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A STAR IS BORN (2018)

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A film by Bradley Cooper

Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott

A fading away rockstar consumed by alcohol and drugs  , Jackson Maine discovers Ally, a promising young singer. As they fall madly in love with each other, Jack propels Ally to the front of the stage and makes her an artist adored by the audience. Soon eclipsed by the success of the young woman, he begins to see his career going down to hell.

Ok then I really didn’t want to see this film because it is a being remake so many times it is not funny. But this one is done a little differently. Jack here is an alcoholic,and drug addict and his demons seems to be winning, his demons are more space when he watches Ally sings on stage which Bradley  knew that how his should play it and what a terrific performance as well has Lady Gaga even Dave chappelle who gives him advice that he should settle down as he did but after Jack marries Ally he is still restless, he still wants to go on stage and play. He is full of excuses and his demons are more alive than ever. The problem that I have with this film is the middle of it where Ally settle down with jack and the all SNL bit etc…that is what the film is loose its touch , plus Bradley here did not avoid the cliché take a look at Ally’s manager he has cliché writing all over his face. But Bradley here regain control thank god otherwise the film would went to hell. I also love Sam Elliott who has a hell of a career and plays the jack’s older brother. The music as well as the singing, (well we all know that Lady Gaga has a great voice and knows how to sing) is terrific. It is about two characters that are going to an emotional road and shows us that to be a rockstar it is not all glamorous. Not too bad for a directorial debut from Cooper.

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A STAR IS BORN (2018)

 

 

RAMEN SHOP (2018)

RAMEN SHOP (2018)

A film by Eric Khoo

Cast: Tsuyoshi Ihara, Takumi Saitoh, Seiko Matsuda

Masato, Ramen’s young chef in Japan, has always dreamed of going to Singapore to rediscover the taste of the dishes that his mother cooked when he was a child. As he embarks on the culinary journey of a lifetime, he discovers deeply buried family secrets. Will he find the recipe to reconcile the memories of the past?

Here is a beautiful film from Khoo about the taste of this dish that Masato has never forgot which will bring good and bad memories. The film is about family secrets that will surface and reconciliation with family members years later. It is about food (my favourite subject) and Khoo will teach you about the japanese culture as well as the chinese culture. Masoto (Takumi Saitoh), works in  his father’s restaurant. The specialty: ramen. But Masoto wants more he wants to learn more about food and want to find more about new recipes and go out on his own. Here after the death of his father leaves Japan for Singapore in search of something more. Here I do not want to reveal too much. Khoo makes us discovers both the gastronomy of Japan and China and the culture behind it. It is a story of love. Here the 37-year-old Japanese actor who does not look it amazingly, he is known in his country for the series that he plays in, and brings his charm, his seduction, his good looks  to incarnate this man who wants to discover his origins and find new recipes for his restaurant. A terrific film of love for food and well as the love for the family.

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RAMEN SHOP

LEAVING NO TRACE (2018)

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A film by Debra Granik

Cast: Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster, Jeffery Rifflard 

A father and daughter are living in a national Park because her father can not adapt to a normal everyday life.

The film starts in forest national Park in Oregon.Will (Ben Foster) and his 13-year-old daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) are first seen chopping wood, playing chess, gathering mushrooms, surrounded by tarps and propane tanks as well as preparing their own food. There is almost no dialogue at the beginning. They sleep in a tent for two and do it all over the next day. Will makes money selling prescription drugs to people living in a tent city on the outskirts of the park. Life is hard but the love between the two is very strong. Granik here focuses on their everyday life and the support that they have as well as the love that they have to each other in order to survive in the wilderness. Those two actors are connected emotionally  to each other. There are somethings that you don’t know why are they living in the wood and how long? There is reality into it and it is brutal. Leave No Trace was adapted from Peter Rock’s 2009 novel, My Abandonment. It is a father daughter story that is emotional driving as we come to find out. Will has tried to adjust to the everyday life but can’t and he knows that his daughter has different needs she wants a stable home. A nice film characters driving with flowing emotion and some breathless cinematography to go with it.

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leaving no trace

BONHOMME (2018)

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A film by Marion Vernoux

Cast: Nicolas Duvauchelle, Ana Girardot, Béatrice Dalle

Marilyne ( Ana Girardot) and her boyfriend Nicolas Duvauchelle)  had a car accident . Her boyfriend however hit his head on the windshield. He now has a mind of a child and Marilyne must take care of him.

The two characters were living their everyday lives like everyone, work, going out with friends, traveling, vacation. Marion Vernoux’s films never left the country, however her films are well made and well thought out needless to say her films are not selling outside France it is what I have been told. Here is a touchy subject and it was difficult for her to write without offending anyone. All shots are well thought out. This is why she chose  those two actors Nicolas Duvauchelle, Ana Girardot which are high-caliber actors. Head trauma here is a taboo subject and it can be correct with surgery in some cases. However here Vernoux has put a little humor into it.  Some scenes will be sensitive to some viewers. Also Vernoux shows us how it is difficult to take care of someone with this kind of injury. Here is a film that is innovative with an effective script. I hope the film will sell to other countries. 

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SHÉHÉRAZADE (2018)

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A film by Jean-Bernard Marlin

Cast: Dylan Robert, Kenza Fortas, Idir Azougli

Zachary, 17 years old, gets out of jail. Rejected by his mother, tries to go back to his old gang but they won’t have him so he hangs out in the mean streets of Marseille. This is where he meets Shéhérazade.

Shéhérazade does not live in the land of Arabian Nights. She is 16 years old, lives in Marseille in the ghetto and is a prostitute. But it is where Zachery this lost kid who is now along will meet her on a corner of the street. However he has a parole officer who has to watch him to make sure he gets a job. He has a place in this home for kids who just got out of jail and want to rebuild their life. Zachary here leaves to see his old friend and to see if the old gang can get him his old job back dealing drugs. They won’t have him and find himself alone and nowhere to go. Later he meets Shéhérazade who is a prostitute and an unlikely love relationship is going to flourish. Without really realizing it he will get this new job sort of speak but consequences are going to follow. Their slang language is hard to decipher but the two actors were comfortable playing their character. Cruel reality of this huge metropolis bathed in shimmering colors but also  with violence and poverty. The film has a fresh energy  despite the difficulties inherent in their way of life. Things are going to get out of control with them but one more time Zach will face his demons and will get rid of them to live like a normal person,  well maybe. a terrific film here by Jean-Bernard Marlin about adolescence in love with emotional baggages and demons.

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PREMIÈRE ANNÉE (2018)

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A film by Thomas Lilti

Cast: Vincent Lacoste, William Lebghil, Michel Lerousseau 

English: The freshmen 

Antoine begins his first year of medicine for the third time. Benjamin arrives directly from high school, but he quickly realizes that this year will not be a cake walk . In a fiercely competitive environment, with tough classes and nights dedicated to studying  rather than partying , both students will have to work hard to find the right balance between today’s hardships and tomorrow’s expectations.

After Hippocrate (2014) and Medecin de Campagne (2016) here Lilti invites us to discover the medical school and the competition of the entrance examination that goes with it  denouncing the passage of an unequal educational system. In order to do this, Lilti follows the course of two of students who, if they have to pass  the entry exam in order to become a doctor, have neither the same path, nor the same motivations.

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Benjamin (William Lebghil) knows his way around his dad is a surgeon and medicine is running through his veins , however Antoine (Vincent Lacoste) who is his third time trying to pass his first year, he is intelligent and study hard but does not pass and he is having a hard time. The two are going to meet and they will share the studying, the all nighter and so forth. Lilti demonstrates the ability to portray with  humanity, with humour and the sadness that goes with it. To him it brings back memories when he was a student like I said in the previous film Lilti was a doctor , he just left the practice to pursue his other passion film making. The camera invites us to share as close as possible to the crowded amphitheaters where there are at least 400 students taking the exams and in the university’s library where they are packed of students studying in the early morning plus the families’ lives of the two students we are following. A third film well done here with a great script with a great casting where the two actors are the phenomenal chemistry. The thing is here there is a bit of realism with some great humour. Do not miss this one.

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