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Drama

Just Say Goodbye

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Sarah slashes down the days to her summer vacation trip with all the gusto of Zorro and his infamous ‘Z’, until she discovers her best friend’s plot to end his life while she’s away.

Genre : Drama
Country : USA

Cast :
Katerina Eichenberger : Sarah
Max MacKenzie : Jesse
William Galatis : Rick

Director :
Matt Walting

My opinion on “Just say goodbye”

“That was the first of hundreds of conversations between us.
Most came easy. And some a little harder.
And one would change my life forever”

It’s not necessary to have a bunch of overwhelming special effects to make a great film. Or well-paid world-famous movie stars to embellish the whole. Or an intriguing story with a magisterial end. Sometimes there are films where the message leaves an overwhelming impression. As in “Just say goodbye“. Even though you clearly notice at the beginning it’s a low-budget film, it convinces after a certain amount of time. Personally, I have never known anyone who’s in a similar situation as Jesse (Max McKenzie). Jesse’s youth can hardly be called rosy. First of all, there’s his mother who commited suicide. And then there is Jesse’s father (William Galatis). A hateful person with a drinking problem who’s constantly reminded of the incident when he looks at his son. In addition, there’s also the constant bullying at school. All this ensures that Jesse has a fairly fatalistic view at life. The only positive thing in his life is Sarah (Katerina Eichenberger). A friend who looks forward to a holiday and marks the days on her calendar dayly. She doesn’t realize that Jesse is also counting down to another climax in his life.

The facts about suicide are horrifying.

“Just say goodbye” deals with a sensitive topic. The fact that we live in a narcissistic society, where individuals become more and more isolated and alienated from their environment, it’s important to draw attention to this. For many who are fortunate enough to be in a situation where the outlook is more positive, this will generate an I-really-don’t-care feeling. Until the moment that fate strikes in their immediate environment. And more than once the remark will be made they didn’t see this one coming. And also that they didn’t think the person in question would be able to carry out this act of desperation. I think when it comes to suicide among teenagers, we are at one minute to midnight. When googling about this subject, you find some disturbing facts. In most countries it’s even the number one cause of death and one speaks of three suicides per day. To talk about it with young people is essential. And it’s films like “Just say goodbye” that are a perfect tool for this.

It’s not a happy let’s-have-some-fun movie.

Just say goodbye” broaches this topic in a serene way. There was no unnecessary use of sensational imagery. In a truthful way it showed on the one hand the defeatism of someone who no longer seeks a way out and no longer has the will to live. The despondency is constantly present. On the other hand, there’s the struggle of a good friend to turn the tide and who’s willing to do anything just to show this person that life also has its good sides. Even offering herself in a sexual way is one of her attempts. It’s not a joyfull film. Far from.

Low budget, high quality result.

Even though I knew it was an Indie low-budget film (it was made with a limited budget of about $13K) and certainly didn’t expect to see some impressive visual material and acting from the top shelf, I had to admit that it actually all looked professional (even though the second cameraman caused ripples in the water, so I could already guess from where the next shot would be taken). The acting of both Max McKenzie and Katerina Eichenberger felt genuine and credible. The two perfectly complemented each other. Two good friends who cared about each other and had their romantic moments. Without any doubt it’s the most admirable part of the film, even though the interplay wasn’t 100% fluent and felt a bit forced sometimes. Also Jesse Walters as the bully Chase deserves a mention. Even though he’s a textbook case of an average bully which can be found in every school. A pampered teenager who, thanks to his wealthy parents, gets everything and treats others in a patronizing way. He’s that kind of person I utterly hate and preferably would like to pull through a heavy plate mill. The rest of the cast consists mainly of adults who, in my eyes, didn’t have a central role to play. Which is also obvious, given the subject.

Don’t ignore obvious signals of despair.

There were a few minor flaws in my opinion. For example, I thought Sarah’s plea to Chase, to cut Jesse some slack, was rather short-sighted. As an intellectual and compassionate girl she should know that this would only have a counterproductive effect. The additional storyline about Chase I found quite far-fetched and superfluous. The only use it had, was to give an explanation for the suicide of Jesse’s mother. But apart from that, this film still left an impression. Not only do we see how desperate those are who are out of touch with their environment and want to give up. But also the despair of those who stay behind is noticeable. A clear signal to parents not to ignore signals from their children. “Just say goodbye” is a film with a sensitive subject,  leaving a crushing impression. And finally I think it takes courage to make such a film.

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

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Crime

The Untouchables – A Retrospective Look

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I watched this in honour of Sean Connery who sadly passed away the day before. It must be 10 years since I have watched this, and I had forgotten how brilliant it actually was.

What is often overlooked with ‘The Untouchables’ is just how emotional it is in parts, from Ness (Kevin Costner) meeting the mother of a girl blown up by a cafe bomb to the touching climax between Ness and Stone (Andy Garcia). It is a film that is genuinely upsetting to see the end, you would be quite happy to spend more time with these people.

It is also undoubtedly a film about friendship and that is where the late great Sean Connery stands out from the cast. As supposedly past it beat cop Malone, he strikes as a man of lonely isolation, just trying to get through every shift alive. He is at first suspicious of Ness but soon warms to what Ness is trying to achieve and there the bond between the two starts. Malone’s relationship with Stone gets off to a less auspicious start but by the end of the film, the relationship produces one final emotional wallop that we all deeply feel. Throw in accountant Oscar Wallace, played for the comic relief by Charles Martin Smith and we have four disparate men bonding over their end goal, to catch and see justice brought again crime lord Al Capone, (played with menace by Robert DeNiro).

There is so much to admire here, some of the setpieces are simply astonishing, the stakeout and subsequent battle on the Canadian border are sensationally choreographed, and a homage to the Odessa Steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin is nerve shreddingly executed. The violence is brutal and shocking at times and as stated previously the deaths are graphic and in one particular case deeply moving.

Kevin Costner was a star on the rise at this point, with big hits like ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Dances With Wolves,’  ‘JFK’ and ‘Robin Hood’ to come, he is excellent as the clean-cut family man Ness. A young Andy Garcia is impressive as the sharpshooting Stone, but this is Connery’s film. It’s an exceptional performance filled with guile, wisdom and what is apparent from the get-go, anger. He would win an Academy Award for this film and few could argue against it.

Its an incredibly neat and tidy film, it never outstays its welcome or gets too bogged down in courtroom showdowns. It’s gritty and powerful and a reminder of just how good an actor and phenomenal screen presence Connery was. It doesn’t get much better than this.

This review is dedicated to the memory of Sir Sean Connery 25/8/1930 – 31/10/2020 – A true screen icon

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Comedy

On the Rocks (2020)

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You know what’s great about her?
She doesn’t talk. She just listens.
That sounds perfect for you.

 

Life is full of unexpected turns. As an 18-year-old, I rented the adult cartoon “Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle” just for fun. Probably because of the titillating vamp on the cover, lying naked on a huge platter and carried by figures that looked like penises. No one could suspect that a voice actor in this cartoon would become one of my most popular actors. If there’s one comedian who manages to make me chuckle without any problem, it’s Bill Murray. Like in “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters”. Or the incomparable film “Groundhog Day”. However small his role may be in a feature film, he always manages to create an unforgettable scene, such as in “Zombieland” for example. Put Murray in a horror, and his typical way of acting makes it a completely different experience. Just watch “The dead don’t die” and you’ll know what I mean. In short, a versatile actor who takes a film to a higher level with his contribution.

 

 

Lost in Translation.

This year I came to the conclusion that I had never seen the movie “Lost in translation”. A film directed by Sofia Coppola (daughter of) with Bill Murray and the very young Scarlett Johansson in the leading roles. Even though there was something slightly comical lurking beneath the surface of this film, the subject matter was far from comical. A film about two individuals who are right in the middle of an identity crisis. A film about love and loneliness. Loneliness not only because of the life situation they both find themselves in, but also because of the fact that they are in a country where they don’t understand the language, culture, and general way of life. Two lost souls who discover, sense, and encourage each other. I admit, I was moved after seeing this masterful film. Finally, after a long time a film that rocked my socks off. A thought-provoking film that’ll resonate for a pretty long time. Yes, some movies do that to me.

 

 

A wild search for the truth.

And then 17 years after the release of this magisterial film, we get a renewed collaboration between Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray. “On the Rocks” is not as magical as “Lost in Translation“. But somewhere deeply hidden it does have points of contact with the latter. Here, too, Laura (Rashida Jones) is in the middle of a crisis. Both in terms of her marriage and her writing career. The suspicion that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) just pretends to have lots of work since starting his own company, just to cover up an affair, grows stronger. And writing a new book isn’t easy either. The day she tells her father Felix (Bill Murray), a charismatic wealthy art dealer with an untameable flirtation habit, about her suspicions, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the case with full dedication. Before Laura realizes it, she is embroiled in a wild search for the truth.

 

 

Murray nails it.

On the rocks” isn’t such a depressing and melancholic story as “Lost in translation“. There’s more humor in it. How another mother at school tells Laura every morning about her love life. The interesting facts about human behavior and the evolution of relationships between men and women Felix tells about every time unexpectedly. The wild chase in a “not so suspicious-looking” red, noisy convertible through the streets of New York. Perhaps it’s rather light, uncomplicated humor. Still, it’s subtle at the same time. The chemistry between Laura and her father feels unforced and authentic. And this won’t come as a surprise: Bill Murray nailed it once more. He demands full attention every time he comes into the picture. His characteristic acting and the way in which he can charm random people with his smooth talk is simply superb. And it’s not just the female population that falls for his smooth-talking. The way he manages to turn a police officer’s mood from being reprimanding to being helpful is just sublime.

 

One more time.

“On the rocks” is about marital troubles, a complicated father-daughter relationship, and also about how people get lost in the turbulent and chaotic society in which they live. It’s not another masterpiece of Coppola, but surely it’s another successful cooperation between Coppola and Murray. I quietly hope that they will work together again in the future.

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

The Craft: Legacy | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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Genre:

Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Release Date:

October 27, 2020

Director:

Zoe Lister-Jones

Cast:

Michelle Monaghan, Cailee Spaeny, David Duchovny, Gideon Aldon, Lovie Simone, Hannah Gordon, Nicholas Galitzine

Plot Summary:

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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