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Drama

Wildling

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Film Review : Wildling

Do you want to hear a story?
Do you want me to tell you about the Wildling?

Wildling” is a peculiar film. It’s hard to put a specific label on it. One moment it feels like a teenage movie about a freshly emerging love. On the other hand, you can’t call it a teenage film per se. It’s a kind of coming of age film with an alternative twist. You could also call it a horror film with influences from werewolf films. But a “Wildling” actually belongs to a different kind of family of mythological creatures. And then there’s the moment Anna (Bel Powley) enters our civilization after years of isolation. She suddenly faces our way of behaving and living. Immediately I thought of films such as “Mama” and “Pete’s Dragon” where something similar happened. Add to this the hunting scenes in a wooded area and you can immediately conclude that this film cannot be classified directly under one specific genre. In that respect, it can already be called unique.

 

 

Let me enumerate the positive things first.

Let me first praise some elements of this movie. I found the choice of youthful actresses playing Anna amazingly successful. Aviva Winick, Arlo Mertz and Bel Powley each play a different period in Anna’s life. There wasn’t one moment that I thought there was something wrong with the appearance of Anna. They fit perfectly in the timeline. Subsequently, the transformation Anna underwent was well portrayed. Compliments for the make-up department. And finally a pat on the back for Brad Dourif who plays Daddy wonderfully, the person who takes care of and educates Anna in a sealed room. Still, strange I didn’t immediately recognize Brad Dourif. His role as Wormtongue from “The Lord of the Rings” is nevertheless engraved in my memory. How he can display so many emotions in that limited span of time is simply genius. Unfortunately, I found the ultimate role of him in the entire story less convincing.

 

 

 

Some unanswered questions.

But as usual, you’ll find a number of improbabilities in addition to the positive points. Not that “Wildling” drops to a miserably bad level, but it bothered me a little bit. The intro of the film is simply beautiful. Mysterious, intriguing and shocking at the same time. You constantly wonder which direction it wants to go and what’s the ultimate objective. Is Anna a prisoner of a network of morbid perverts? Is the outside world uninhabitable as in so many apocalyptic films? Or is there an element of truth in the story Anna hears for years already about the “Wildling“? And when Daddy starts giving injections, it’s really puzzling. And then there comes that turning point. An event I had questions about. During the film, you’ll see that the person Daddy was an experienced hunter. Well, this is probably the first time that he simply misses his target.

 

 

The 30s vibe.

It also seemed unlikely that Anna, after being isolated from the outside world for many years without any interaction with other individuals, adapted so quickly. Wasn’t it better for such a unique person to be protected from the surrounding world? How is it possible Anna could go to a public school without any problem. A hostile environment, full of unknown emotions. I can imagine that this is very confusing for her. Let alone to let her go to a party with deafening booming music and liters of alcohol. She struggles like a fish on dry land. Another laughable moment was when Ellen (Liv Tyler) deposited a pack of sanitary pads in front of Anna. I suppose Anna had no idea what it was and what it was for. By the way, I also had trouble recognizing Liv Tyler immediately (also a “Lord of the Rings” participant). Maybe I miss her fairytale kind of appearance. Or her beauty starts to fade. But that’s a different kind of reverie from me. And finally, I thought Daddy’s final action during the hunt was terribly exaggerated. How he managed that (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it), remains a mystery to me.

 

Wildling

 

“Wildling” is a strange but special flick.

Wildling” certainly isn’t a bad movie. But in hindsight, it’s all rather blurry and superficial. Not that an extensive and detailed explanation is necessary. But I expected some more background information about the origin of these mythical creatures. Maybe it’s also because the film aims at too many genres. The fairytale mixes with horror elements and then transforms effortlessly into drama. “Wildling” can easily be added to other nature documentaries about animal species threatened with extinction. Never thought of seeing this concept in a soft-horror fantasy story. If there’s one thing this film succeeded in with flying colors, it’s the idiosyncratic use of the well-known werewolf concept. In short, a strange but special film.

 

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

 

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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