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Drama

What still remains (2018)

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Dreams give us hope.
And if we don’t have hope, then what’s the point in living?

After reading the synopsis of this movie, your reaction will probably be the same as mine at that time. “Jesus, not again another post-apocalyptic film in which the world’s population has been decimated to a handful of survivors, while the earth’s surface is plagued by bloodthirsty zombies or warlike aliens who are fed up eating salt-less potatoes already for years and start to plunder our natural salt mines here on earth“. Well, in essence, it sort of comes down to that, but the apocalyptic part isn’t really noticeable. You won’t see any zombie or alien. Then again, the epidemic that caused the extinction of the world’s population, has broken out 25 years ago. Perhaps that’s why the emphasis here is on the survivors instead of the Apocalypse itself.

The world was flooded with zombies. Or not?

Anna (Lulu Antariksa) is such a survivor. She’s 19 years old and therefore hasn’t really experienced the happening. She lives secluded in a fairly protected domain (although a wooden fence is not really something that could stop a zombie stampede) along with her deathly ill mother and her brother David (Roshon Fegan). But after a while, she stays behind all alone when her mother dies a natural death and her brother falls into the hands of a stranger who whistles like a cowboy. At first, it’s not clear in whose hands he has fallen. Afterward, you’ll come to know that there are wandering groups that are called “berserkers” and that hunt other people for supplies. What people should really be afraid of in this dilapidated society, remains a mystery throughout this movie.

The world is ruined. Let’s get religious.

So, don’t expect something similar to “How it ends“. It’s more like “Holy ghost people“. The day Peter (Colin O’Donoghue) apparently accidentally turns up at Anna’s house, it seems as if he has a way out to a more worry-free life for Ann. He’s the co-founder of a religious commune that offers protection and friendly companionship. Something Anna needs, now that she’s alone and lonely. The calmness and kindness that Peter exudes (as befits a true spiritual leader) convinces her. She didn’t know there were some flies in the ointment. Eventually, it seems like she was invited for very different reasons. And before she realizes it, she finds herself in a similar situation. Kind of imprisoned. Only at a different location.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

What still remains” isn’t an exciting film with nerve-racking confrontations and fierce life-and-death battles. It’s rather a socio-drama and a “coming of age” in a world that tries to get back on its feet. It’s a story about trust and mistrust. And, of course, the revival of isolated communes where individuals position themselves above others in a certain way, in order for them to sail a safer course. That there’s a religious aspect, is quite logical. In the face of adversity, there’s always that moment when people start focusing on a higher power. The fact there are clever people who then misuse this in their favor and come up with their own form of religion, is also not earth-shattering. The most positive aspect of this film is the interplay between Lulu Antariksa and Colin O’Donoghue. For the rest, it brings nothing new and you get an I-have-seen-this-already feeling. Only I caught myself humming “It’s the end of the world as we know it“. Only the phrase “And I feel fine“, felt out of place.

My rating 5/10
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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