Music

THE LOST CITY OF Z (2017)

lost city of Z

A film by James Gray

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller

The true story of Percival Harrison Fawcett, one of the greatest explorers of the twentieth century. Percy Fawcett is a recognized British colonel and a loving husband. In 1906, when he was about to become a father, the Royal Geographical Society of England proposed to him to leave to Amazonia in order to map the borders between Brazil and Bolivia. Right a way , the man has a passion for exploration and discovers traces of what he thinks is a very old lost city. Back in England, Fawcett constantly thinks of this mysterious civilization, torn between his love for his family and his thirst for exploration and glory …

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Here is a stroke a genius where James Gray reappropriates a genre fallen into disuse to offer us the masterful portrait of an explorer carried by his thirst for adventure.Here Gray choose to do an interpretation of the novel La cité perdue de Z écrit par David Grann. It is no secret that  Gray makes the viewer follow the adventure of the military man names Fawcett that disappeared somehow into the jungle never to return to England. James Gray’s latest feature film is a beautiful  scenario built around Percy Fawcett’s (Charlie Hunnam’s) back and forth between his home and the heart of the Amazon jungle. Here Gray shot this film à la classic mode the only thing to do to me otherwise the film will fall into the water. Fawcett is not crazy to go to the amazon forest but to reclaim his tile of his name he decided to go which trigger his thirst for adventure and exploration as well as glory. Charlie Hunnam here does a superb job to incarnate his character.It is interesting to see that Fawcett also has other obligations, well he is a  husband and father which his wife makes the sacrifices here  and is beautifully interpreted by actress Sienna Miller. You see  he returns to his home, after several years of travel so it takes a toll on his wife. He has a hard time with the children. The cinematography here is near perfect. I can’t wait until his next picture.

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ROCK’N ROLL (2017)

rock-n-roll

A film by Guillaume Canet 

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard, Philippe Lefebvre, Gilles Lellouche, Yvan Attal,  Kev Adams,  Maxim Nucci,  Johnny Hallyday.

Guillaume Canet, a 42-year-old actor, is questioning the day when, where on a set of shooting, a young collaborator tells him that he is no longer an object of desire for the women of the younger generation …and bang!!!

Since I am in France I have read an interview with Canet who said he came up with the film poking t himself and his life as an actor when he was being interview a while back the interviewer said to him you are not very Rock’N Roll are you. Meaning he his at his place well manner, and well dressed that is how he is in real life. He said to her no not really. Now he wanted to make fun of his life and of the industry where they told him the image of a star is that don’t smoke, stay in shape, no grey hair on your head, wriggles are a no-no etc… Basically forbidding to age. So he decided to write this film with his friends. And this film is pure joy.

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He doesn’t hold back on his actor’s ego, cinema’s obsession with youth and even takes a crack  shot at the trashy way actors are treated by casting directors like they were in a ferry   tale. Everybody plays themselves here not exception. You will find that Marion Cotillard with a Canadian accent Québécois she is preparing for the role of Dolan’s film even plays on her image of a tornado of awards. The uneasiness of loosing at the ceasar, messing up a kid birthday party, cocaine-paralytic bust on YouTube, being difficult on the set etc…Basically he is have a middle age crisis. It is also its ability to implement this on both sides of the camera. Here Canet is back with this comedy that rocks but with all due respect to the viewers I have to say this the film towards the end is a little too much. Still it is so good. Have fun.

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THE VIOLIN TEACHER (2016)

Le_Professeur_de_violon

A film by Sérgio Machado

Cast: Lázaro Ramos, Kaique de Jesus, Elzio Vieira

Devoured by stage fright, he fails the audition and reluctantly agrees to teach music to teenagers of Heliopolis, the largest favela in the city (Brazil). Yet in this hostile world, where dealers and gangs reign are supreme, Laertes will forge a strong links between his students and even discover their talent that will change their life forever.

An other based on a true story here is a man who is consumed by stage fright and can’t on with his life. He finds add jobs here and there until he reluctantly take a job teaching in the ghetto. Little did he know that they will need each other in order to survive and over come their fears. Yes the script is  predictable, you even know where the story is going ,but it is still interesting to see how the film maker Sérgio Machado has told the story and even film it. Laertes is passionate, he lives for his music. With his  ability to be always attentive to others, through his sense of humor, he manages to pass on his passion. As for teenagers who form the orchestra, most are non-professional actors. Their well-tempered endearing personality make them  authentic comedians. The director does not shy away from the problems in the favelas. Or even the good people who are pissed at the police. Here is a well tied story that works but is predictable and you will have still a good time.

the violin teacher

the violin teacher

BROOKLYN (2015)

Brooklyn (2014)

A film by Pascal Tessaud

 Cast: Kt Gorique, Rafal Uchiwa, Jalil Naciri

A young Rap artist moves from Switzerland to Paris to become a rap artist where she failed in Switzerland.

Pascal Tessaud who is a film documentary director tries his luck at director of this feature that he wrote, I fell to mention he is also a writer. He has leaved in Saint-Denis where he grew up. Here he writes about what he know the scene of young rap artist who dreams of making it big. This film has caught the Attention in 2014 of a Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival. So I decided to see this wonderful piece of art.

It is an original story who feels like a documentary Guerrilla film making style in Saint-Denis where he admired rap stars. In the heart of the film it is where the kids who dreams of becoming a rap star start to reinvent themselves or do something at least original in their craft where a coach takes care of  and try to help them fulfill their dreams. Tessaud had a hard time to fund the film so he did it on a shoe string budget. He found KT Gorique from Switzerland who won 1st place in free style rap a competition in New York because she is a natural at it, she gave her 300% into it it was unbelievable. Professionals such as directors Christophe Ruggia and Mehdi Charef  the actors  Liliane Rovere Jalil Naciri was behind the project since the beginning. Here is the real kicker Tessaud has film this with 2 camera the one you take a picture with like a cannon. Since he was from Saint-Denis he was able to count on the people around his neighborhood. When you film a movie out of the classic style it has to find its mark and luckily it did as well as it found an audience. Last year the film got recognized by the Cannes Film Festival. Let’s see what he does for his next film.

Brooklyn (2014)

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STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

A film by F. Gary Gray

Cast: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell

The N.W.A came out of the Compton in the mid 80’s where society fail the youth black people where violence between cops and young black people was frequent in the black neighborhoods.The lyrics of N.W.A.  was a target on the corrupt police and the system falling black youth N.W.A was their voice, the young black people could relate too. N.W.A came out of the right time. The film starts with Eric “Eazy-E” Wright (Jason Mitchell) as he flees a crack den to escape an invading SWAT team. As he goes on the top of the roof and escape the police it is debatable , yes it is based on a true story but some stuff might be exaggerated or put in. They were not saint however that mentality would soon carry over to their rap careers, as well.  Andre Young aka Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), who struggles with a  home life made more difficult now that he’s about to become a father. O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube played by his son who bears the same name) ,who soaks in the world around him like a sponge. The Bloods ‘n Crips gang battles, the police brutality for some of us were clueless that was going on every day in the ghetto.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

Produced by Cube, Dre, and Eazy-E’s widow, the film largely focuses on those characters and how they built N.W.A. The music was their weapon of choice they exercise the 1st amendment right to get their message to the people. The three made a good team with a lot of energy flowing out of them. They quickly became celebrities and people were celebrating in the street. Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) a crooked producer who plays it very well I might have will rip them off? I think every artist in the music business has gotten ripped off by music producer at the beginning. Here is a film that has raw energy and brutally honest.

The film establish the chemistry and the dynamic of this new sound  as well as the girls, the parties, the concerts and the relationship between the Three Cube, Dre, and Eazy-E. Yes they had millions of fans, terrified parents, and still the brutality of the police that was going on. They would channel their rage thought their music. It is crazy what they had to be put though in order to get there and F. Gary Gray has done an outstanding job here directing this film. Of course there was the back stabbing , the paranoia, and the fact that everybody wanted a piece of the action.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

LOVE & MERCY (2014)

Love & Mercy (2014)

A film by Bill Pohlad

Cast: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti

The film start where you are going in Brian Wilson’s ear and into his head. The film is smart unconventional and refreshing look at the autobiography of Brian wilson. I used to go see them in Pine Knob Music Theatre in Michigan now it is called DTE energy music theater, i think I saw them at least a dozen times every summer and did they put on a show. It is a tribute to the beach boys which they had a distinguish sound like no other band had. 

Love & Mercy (2014)

You see you will see how Wilson creates a new tune in his head then on the piano get the gang together and gets it right on the money it took time and sometime it was frustrating for the other member of the band. It was not easy but it was done right. There is the flashback from back in the 60’s and into the 80’s where brain was not so well and meet his second wife Melinda. Pay attention to the details the instruments the costume, the decor was done just right for the time period in the 60’s.

Wilson was the key to the success to the beach boys here and went on making of Pet sound. The Beach Boys were a family business, including Brian’s brothers Carl (Brett Davern) and Dennis (Kenny Wormald) and their cousin Mike Love (Jake Abel). Wilson had sound in his head take on a sinister turn, and his odd behavior plus paranoid ramblings scared his bandmates and his first wife, Marilyn (Erin Darke). LSD din’t help it made matter worst. There is the other part of the film were it is in the 80’s and a sinister character enter Wilson’s life Landy ( Paul Giamatti) just looking at his hair you knew he is going to be the villain in this. And I am a little stunt that this happened to Wilson. Melinda (Elizabeth Banks) was a ray of sunshine for Wilson and the rest is history they say.

Love & Mercy (2014)

CONTROL (2007)

Control

A film by Anton Corbijn

Cast: Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, Craig Parkinson

Control, one of the most perceptive of rock music biopics, has been made of Ian Curtis.  It is based on a memoir by his wife Deborah (played by Samantha Morton), a teenager when they married. The title of Deborah’s book is, Touching From a Distance. The movie is quietly, superbly photographed and acted. The film is shot in black and white well Ian at times was depressed, confused and didn’t dream in color.

The film is about his marriage and some of his time with the band. He was not ready for marriage as she was she adjusted very well to it and was the rock of the family. She got pregnant soon after a little girl. Ian had an affair with Annik Honore (Alexandra Maria Lara), a Belgian woman that he meet on the road. Early in the film Ian and Deborah attend a Sex Pistol concert and tells her he has an idea what a band and music should be. He goes from there puts a band together and start singing, he looks like Jim Morrison who was a shy introvert singer. Ian Curtis suffered from epilepsy I don’t think he fully understood what was happening to him. Also he got depressed and confused where the band was headed with follow by moodiness. Here is a young man who was shy maybe didn’t want the band to go any further because he was scared to be too famous, he was suppose to go to America for two weeks nut it seems to be that he was not enthusiastic about it. This is not a rag to riches story here. Well we all know what happen with him I think we lost him too early age 23 that is too young. To me he was a manic depressive and the epilepsy didn’t help. I don’t even think (because of the suicide) he was Bi-Polar but then again. The film does not say it just leaves it at that a suicide.

control-

CONTROL-2007