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Drama

A Vigilante (2018)

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Film Review : A Vigilante

I’m looking out the window,
and the trucks won’t stop coming.

Anyone saw “John Doe: Vigilante“? No? I hope you’re not going to waste your time on that one. Just put that intention aside and watch the movie “A vigilante” instead. The latter is much better, much more intense and at times awfully brutal and cruel to see. Highly recommended. The most disturbing is the fact that in reality, many people are the victims of physical and psychological abuse within a family circle. People who are mistreated daily in an inhumane manner and who can’t find a way out of these miserable circumstances. And strange but true, most victims have an immense sense of guilt and sometimes can’t bring themselves to turning their back on the abuser.

 

 

There should be more ladies like Sadie.

Sadie (OliviaLife itselfWilde) is a female version of Joaquin Phoenix in “You were never really here“. Victims call her and first say an agreed phrase and then state their personal details and home situation. And Sadie doesn’t let any grass grow under her feet. In no time she appears at the door of the person concerned and she takes care of the situation. The first fragment she makes it clear to an abusive businessman how things will continue from then on. It’s quite shocking. One moment Sadie looks at a confident, arrogant person who doesn’t tolerate contradiction. Let alone from a woman. The next moment you see the same person beaten up, anxiously agreeing with the requested requirements and leave the house with a clear message. And that message is to never return. I had to fight the urge to start cheering, but I wouldn’t mind if there were more ladies like Sadie walking around on this globe.

 

 

A book changed it all.

Sadie, herself a victim of domestic violence, is on a mission. A goal she set for herself with the help of a fellow victim she knows from a support group. The message from that person was quite clear. She was talking about victims that don’t make it every day. That cemeteries are full of women and men who didn’t survive. And that Sadie wastes her time while she’s still alive and doing well. That she must fight back. Even if it kills her. And when Sadie finds a book about combat techniques, her decision is made. In fact, that’s the only thing I had questions about. First of all, I thought that the roommate’s plea was rather presumptuous. Or was she also a vigilante who beats up perpetrators? And second of all, it seemed a little unlikely to me that a handbook could transform someone into a dreaded revenge machine. Perhaps the survival trips Sadie undertook with her ex, also provided experience.

 

It sure isn’t a pleasant movie.

A vigilante” is not a pleasant film. It shows the downside of our society. And Sadie tries to turn the tide here like an outright John Wick. The intention is not to kill the targeted persons, but to remove them out of the victim’s life. But it’s not only the reprisals that demand attention. The most impressive images are those in which you see Sadie languish and how she’s still tormented by her own past full of abuse. The moments that she suffers physically and psychologically and crawls around anxiously while grinding her teeth and whimpering about demons torturing her are painful to see. Her inner wounds are probably as horrible as those present on her back. In my eyes, this was a piece of brilliant acting by Olivia Wilde.

 

 

I had an uncomfortable feeling.

A vigilante” isn’t just a revenge movie. It’s more realistic and more shocking than other revenge films such as “Revenge“. And this mainly because of the realism. The real-life testimonies of victims and Sadie in the support group. At those moments it seemed like a current affairs programme. Sadie also has another goal in mind. Kind of obvious when you see the meticulously filled map of the US. The fact that the revenge will be sweet and a life insurance policy plays a specific role, is something you get from Sarah Daggar-Nickson very slowly. The story itself is an entanglement of the present and the past. It takes a while before you know what’s going on. And the highlight is the ultimate confrontation. This section increases the spectacle content of the film and reminds you that it’s a feature film. And yet you are left with that uncomfortable feeling and you realize some people live in a hopeless situation. And not only female victims. Also male victims. So … Help us, Sadies of this world!

 

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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