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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

 

Drama

The Way Back: Thanks To Ben Affleck This Movie Effortlessly Exceeds The Average

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I’m surprised you could keep him out of the bar
long enough to hold practice.

 

There are lots of similar sports movies like “The Way Back“. Moralistic stories about how a trainer manages to bring a floundering team to unprecedented heights. Preferably, the team consists of a few foul-mouthed hotheads who want to impress the others by acting tough. Usually, they have a talent for the sport they practice, but lack of discipline makes them miss constancy. To the annoyance of the appointed coach at that moment. Of course, they are allergic to any type of authoritarian behavior. Until the new coach comes up. Preferably an old sports star who can look back on a successful sports career and who comes to the rescue by using clever pedagogical techniques. First of all, he gives each of the team members a figurative kick in the butt. Suspends the most rebellious pain in the ass (who of course comes back crawling to ask if he can be re-included in the team because the sport is vital for him). Then the grueling training sessions begin in such a way that this bunch of misfits finally starts winning games and slowly propel them to stardom. You saw it in “Coach Carter”, “Slap Shot” and to a lesser extent in “Major League”. “The Way Back” follows this same scenario. Only here the coach is also struggling with his personal demons.

 

The Way Back

 

You’ll always find a reason to start drinking.

I’m not a real Ben Affleck fan. Not that I think he’s a bad actor. Maybe the movie choices he made were a bit unfortunate. With “Daredevil” as the most terrible career choice, in my opinion. But here Affleck shows that he does have acting talent. Perhaps personal life experiences are the reason why he was able to empathize with the role of coach Jack easily. A tormented person who lost everything after a tragic event and sought refuge in drinking. Something Affleck has experience with since he has already admired the inside of a rehabilitation center several times. Probably because of this that the scenes during which he carelessly drinks, look so realistic. As well as the way he behaves when he’s not in a bar. The manipulation, the sneaking around, and the search for excuses. Typical behavior of an addict trying to hide his weakness. “The Way Back” tries to portray this addiction meticulously. If you see the umpteenth beercan disappear from the fridge while a spare one is already put in the freezer to stay cold, you as a viewer know that Jack is not a social drinker but a problem drinker with a fixed routine.

 

The Way Back

 

Impressive acting in a not so impressive movie.

Like many other film productions, “The Way Back” has been disadvantaged by the Corona pandemic. Had the original release date not been shifted from late 2019 to March this year, the damage would have been limited. Hence Warner Bross’s decision to release this movie directly on various platforms such as iTunes and Prime video among others. Now, I myself don’t consider it a requirement to watch “The way back” in a cinema. Apart from the admirable acting of Affleck, this film is nothing more than an average film that doesn’t impress in terms of originality. It seems as if a pre-printed checklist has been used for this type of film. A group of young people with a wrong attitude and who, as a basketball team, wallows in the role of the underdog. Check! Ex basketball player whose life is in a downward spiral. Check! Miraculous revival of the despised basketball team. Check! Family tragedy that ruined the coach’s life. Check! Obviously a relapse happens. Check! Once again a miraculous resurgence leading to a happy ending. Check! It feels like a three-pointer every time a check is placed on this list.

 

The Way Back

 

Give it a try.

In short. The film won’t win a prize in the category of originality. The already well-trodden paths of previously released sports dramas are followed too carefully. But what Ben Affleck demonstrates here (and I know I’m repeating myself) makes that this movie effortlessly exceeds the average. Only the way and period in which he defeated his demons, felt romanticized. And finally, you should not confuse this film with the 2010 film of the same name about a Polish prisoner who could escape from a Russian gulag with some fellow sufferers. The only similarity the Ben Affleck film has with the latter is that the road followed by the group of young people is also full of obstacles. And giving up is also not an option. So if you run into it anywhere on a VOD channel, give it a try. It’s not really a waste of time.

 

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

The Banker: A Must-See For Sure

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Sometimes you need to take a step back
and enjoy what you’ve accomplished, baby.

 

What an amusing movie this was. Such a movie you start watching and before you know it, the end credits roll across your screen. Even though the subject won’t get you very excited. The world of real estate and banking. A world populated with stiffs in perfectly fitting suits who prefer to juggle with repayment schedules and capitalization rates while using a jargon that a normal human can’t make heads or tails of. I sometimes have my doubts about whether they understand it thoroughly themselves. And the reason why it became an entertaining film is not only due to the packaging but also because of the Holy Trinity Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nicholas Hoult. A colorful (pun not intended) cast that effortlessly works through dialogues and plays so naturally that it seems as if they have been working together for years.

 

The Banker

 

The racial issue.

In addition to the real estate market as a subject, there’s also the issue of racial discrimination that was still visible in the U.S. from the 50s. A black man who wants to settle in a white neighborhood wasn’t so obvious. Let alone that he could also take out a loan to buy and sell real estate in such a neighborhood. Hence the idea of Bernard (Anthony Mackie), a Texas-born African-American who is firmly convinced to succeed in his intent to make money from doing business rather than manual labor, to recruit Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) as a business partner and use Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) as a straw man. Well, they aren’t exactly ideal partners. The first is a flamboyant bon vivant and blabbermouth who comes across as an untrustworthy slick. And Matt is a hard worker with a good heart. Only he’s not really blessed with a top-level brain like Bernard.

 

The Banker

 

A light-hearted first part.

The first half of the movie is the more light-hearted part. The start of the Bernard Empire and the process of turning Matt Steiner into a convincing businessman. For me, this was the most hilarious part. The golf lessons where Samuel L. Jackson excels as the extravagant golf teacher and the math part Bernard takes care of. The amusing discussion that Steiner had with a wealthy man while trying to buy his building, was the ultimate climax of this period of training. And when this first chapter is over and the gentlemen are gradually taking over the real estate market in California, the next chapter pops up. The more serious part of the movie.

 

The Banker

 

Bernard’s second plan didn’t go as planned.

The first part not only showed how the two gentlemen managed to circumvent the discriminatory way of doing business in a devious way. It also showed how black people were deprived of the right to develop themselves in American society during that period. Loans and property sales were simply forbidden. Bernard’s plan to subsequently buy a bank in Texas, where segregation was still very much present, in order to support his black fellow man, is what you see in this tailpiece. Needless to say, this wasn’t a smooth operation.

 

The Banker

 

Highly recommended.

The Banker” is based on true facts and I believe it truly shows how it went in the U.S. and how people were deprived of decent housing. Perhaps Bernard Garrett intended to act as a benefactor and pave the way for African Americans. Maybe he was doing it out of self-interest, too, simply to prove to himself and his father that you could succeed if you firmly believe in it. Anyway, “The Banker” is a great movie with a serious part and a very entertaining part. But as I mentioned earlier, it’s the cast that takes the whole thing to a higher level. A must-see for sure.

‘The Banker,’ is now available on Apple TV+

 

PS. I wrote this a week ago. But due to the situation in the U.S. right now, this movie is even more current and confrontational than before.

 

 

My rating 8/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

The King of Staten Island | Official Trailer -HD

Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.

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Genre:

Comedy, Drama

Release Date:

June 12, 2020

Director:

Judd Apatow

Cast:

Pete Davidson, Bel Powley, Ricky Velez, Lou Wilson, Moises Arias, Carly Aquilino, Marisa Tomei, Maude Apatow

Plot Summary:

Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.

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