“Una” Mini-Review

Una-Rooney-Mara-Poster

Una (2017) 

There are some films which touch very sensitive topics, and most of the time it may be advisable to avoid such films. But, there comes a film which deals with a hard-to-digest-topic so unassumingly, the viewers will hardly notice that what they are seeing is something quite shocking. “Una” is one of these films, telling the story of Una, now a grown-up woman who recalls her past sexual relationship with a much older man when she was just thirteen. Directed by Benedict Andrews and starring Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn in the lead roles, this film, which is based on a theatrical play “Blackbird“, is an interesting account of a twisted relationship and “damaged” personalities. Beyond its uncomfortable subject matter, the film also offers a well-thought-out, even if “minimalist” plot, interesting cinematography and mesmerising performances.  

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“The Discovery” Review

The Discovery Poster

The Discovery (2017)

The Discovery” is a film which had its first premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2017, but, arguably, it deserves more attention than it eventually got. Here, Will (Jason Segel) and Isla (Rooney Mara) meet in the strangest of times. It has been scientifically proven that the afterlife does exist, and this fact alone spiralled millions of suicides around the world, with people almost desperate to “get to the other side”. The scientist Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) is behind the new discovery, and he has another trick up his sleeve: he thinks he can also show what the afterlife looks like before people take their lives. After all, who would not want to look at a holiday brochure before committing to their holiday destination? Although the film’s narrative slops and the chemistry between Segel and Mara is lukewarm, the film is atmospheric, raises some fascinating issues, and has a strong ending.

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“The Beguiled” Review

The Beguiled (2017)timthumb

**SPOILER ALERT**

Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” has probably been one of the most anticipated movies of this summer, and is based on the novel by Thomas P. Cullinan, initially titled “A Painted Devil”. In “The Beguiled” (2017), Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) runs an all-girl boarding school in Virginia amidst the waging of the American Civil War, and among the remaining six of her pupils are highly-strung Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) and a boy-crazy girl Alicia (Elle Fanning). All is well, until one of the girls, Amy (Oona Laurence), discovers a wounded Yankee soldier (Colin Farrell) in the periphery of their school, and decides to bring him to school so that he can receive an immediate medical help. As the soldier recovers, however, he stars to pay special attention to the girls in the school, sparking fits of uncontrollable passion, and, ultimately, suspicion and jealousy. Although the film is beautifully shot, it is also a misguided attempt to produce something evocative and deep. Sofia’s “The Beguiled” has virtually no character development; the plot, which misses the dramatic point of Cullinan’s book completely; and the film’s choice of the cast is almost as bad as its adapted script.

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“Wakefield” Review

172431_aaWakefield (2016)

Based on a short story by E.L. Doctorow (which, in turn, is a re-telling of the story by Nathaniel Hawthorne) and shot over just twenty days, “Wakefield” is a film about Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston (“Drive (2011), “The Infiltrator” (2016)), a busy city lawyer, who is silently enduring a personal crisis. On a daily basis, he is commuting to and from NYC to meet his clients, until one evening, his schedule is disrupted by a power outage. At this point, Howard begins to reflect on himself, on his place in life, and on his surroundings. Confronting personal issues usually takes time, and he wastes no time hiding from his family in the attic of his garage next door. This location is a perfect place for a hide-out since it provides him with a perfect position for the close surveillance and monitoring of his own house. Directed by a female director Robin Swicord (the screenwriter behind such great films as “Little Women” (1994) and “Memoirs of Geisha” (2005)), “Wakefield” is deeper and more interesting than first meets the eye. Combining an in-depth psychological character study with an interesting narrative structure, the film manages to deliver both a satisfying and a peculiar cinematic experience, largely driven by Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner’s committed performances.

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“Match Point” Review

matchpointMatch Point (2005)

As some of my readers will know, especially those based in the UK, last Sunday was the men’s final of the Wimbledon Championships 2017, the oldest and, certainly, most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. This got me thinking about films which reference tennis, and I decided to review Woody Allen’s “Match Point“. In this film, Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), an ex tennis pro, comes from humble background, but slowly makes his way to the society’s upper class by dating and then marrying the sister of one of his students at a posh tennis club in London. However, this is all far from being a plain-sailing feat for Chris, because along the way he gets entangled with a seeming femme fatale and a starting actress Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), who may as well bring his undoing. If I did not know that this was Woody Allen’s film, I would never have guessed. This film not only plays like a dull TV soap opera for most of its time, it is also filled with pretensions and clichés regarding the lives of upper classes in London; has a list of totally unlikable characters; and is devoid of humour. 

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Film Review: A Ghost Story (2017) — Film Blerg

A-GHOST-STORY-via-A24

A Ghost Story” (2017) reunites director David Lowery with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck. I gave a very high score to the director’s previous film “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (2013), involving these actors, because it won me over with its embedded poeticism and creativity alone; see my review of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints here, and/or read a fair take on “A Ghost Story” by Film Blerg below: 

Films about ghosts are usually scary, jumpy and spine-tingling. David Lowery’s latest feature, A Ghost Story, carefully avoids boxing itself within the horror genre by proving itself an elusive poem on topics as various as life and death, time and perception, and the purpose of human and universal existence. Without doubt, it is one of…

via Film Review: A Ghost Story (2017) — Film Blerg

“Raw” Review

raw posterRaw (2016)

Julia Ducournau’s debut feature film “Raw” provoked extreme reactions from the critics and audiences alike. Despite its grim story and graphic imagery, the film managed to gain an all-round critical acclaim. “Raw” is a French-language film about an adolescent girl Justine (Garance Marillier) who enters her first year at a veterinary school in France. There, Justine joins her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), and soon realises that the life of first-year students at the school is not an easy ride, and her recently-acquired (and initially forced) passion for raw meat is the cause for major concern. Realistic in its presentation, the film is known for its graphic scenes of cannibalism, but, ironically, its most shocking premise is not the immoral craving of another being’s flesh, but the film’s ghastly and disturbing setting.

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