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Drama

Ben is Back – This Film Should Be Included in the Educational Curriculum of Secondary Schools

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Film Review : Ben is Back

Here’s the deal, and it is not negotiable.
You get a day.

Films about addictions and the destructive effect on family life and personal well-being. I have a hard time dealing with it. “Beautiful Boy” made a crushing impression on me recently. I was thrown off balance after watching it. An emotional fight by a father trying to save his son from a world full of self-destructive chemical junk. An impressive spectacle about hope and second chances. Maybe “Ben is back” is not a similar film on the whole. But nonetheless, I looked at it again in a depressing way and a not so pleasant memory came up again. “Ben is back” certainly isn’t a bad film but doesn’t reach the same level as “Beautiful Boy“. Unfortunately, they decided halfway to turn the social drama into a drug-related thriller. Dealing (pun not intended) with drug addiction was replaced by settings things straight with some drug dealers. In other words, Ben’s world from the past.

 

 

Talking about a Christmas surprise.

Here it’s not a father who serves as a rock in the raging surf. Holly (Julia Roberts) remains Ben’s refuge. She still has hope in the recovery of her son Ben (Lucas Hedges). And then suddenly her son shows up with Christmas. A complete surprise since he normally would stay over in rehab during the holidays. Ben has been there for several months and thanks to his sponsor he seems to be able to leave the addictive stuff behind him. And mother Holly is positive. Nevertheless, all medicines and valuable things are removed quickly. Apparently, confidence has not yet been fully restored.

 

Endearing, moving, confronting and painful.

And also stepfather Neal (Courtney B. Vance) doesn’t trust him. So he imposes a veto. Ben is allowed to stay with them for 24 hours, but only if mother Holly keeps a close eye on him for the entire period. A veto that provides the most exciting part of the film. The interaction between mother and son. Endearing and moving at moments. Fairly confronting and painful at other times. Like the scene at the cemetery where Molly points out how destructive his life is. He can even choose a spot as his last resting place. Or the conversation between Molly and the retired doctor who prescribed pain killers to Ben in the past. Two scenes imbued with anger and despair. And all thanks to the addictive stuff Ben was hooked on. Something he wants to get rid of if you listen to his monologue during an NA meeting. In my eyes the most emotional moment.

 

 

Julia Roberts shines.

Naturally, the interpretations of Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges are the ones that get the most attention. And although I’m not such a Julia Roberts fan, I still found her acting impressive and convincing. An emotional roller coaster squeezed into one day. And Roberts plays this tormented but sometimes tough mother in a solid and realistic way. Lucas Hedges also plays his role as the former drug addict in a brilliant way. The moment he bursts into tears during “Silent Night” in the church, will leave no one untouched. But Courtney B. Vance and Kathryn Newton also deserve some praise.

 

 

Mandatory at school.

And yet this movie didn’t impress me as much as “Beautiful Boy“. Purely and simply because they’ve not only chosen to create a captivating emotional family drama, but also to make a standard drugs-related thriller of it. The moment the dog disappeared, it immediately reminded me of “Once upon a time in Venice” where gang leader Jason Momoa kidnapped Bruce Willis’s dog. The search of Ben and his mother is a quest full of popular attractions from Ben’s drug history. The key question in the second part is whether Ben is able to resist the temptation. And despite the excessive melodrama at the end, it’s still an exquisite film that conclusively demonstrates how destructive drugs can be. This film should be included in the educational curriculum of secondary schools. Together with “Beautiful Boy” it shows in a realistic way how disastrous your life can be. No drug campaign can match this!

 

Action

Underwater | Official Trailer – HD

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

January 10, 2020

Director:

William Eubank

Cast:

Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie

Plot Summary:

After an earthquake destroys their underwater station, six researchers must navigate two miles in the dangerous, unknown depths of the ocean floor to make it to safety in a race against time.

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Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Drama

Bullitt County – A Film About How A Pleasant Situation Can Turn Quickly And End In A Tragedy

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Anything buried out there,
is meant to stay buried.

Bullitt County” isn’t really an easy film. To be honest, I had to control myself not to give up after half an hour. It wasn’t very exciting, so to say. On the contrary. It was painfully slow and meaningless. The story is situated in the 70s as you can see from the colorful printed shirts and the Woodstock-like attributes. A reunion of grown-up school friends who wanted to break the monotonous existence as a responsible citizen. A trip to Kentucky is planned where they’re going to recreate a pub crawl past their favorite distilleries. The only person who isn’t voluntary participating is Gordie (Mike C. Nelson) who’s about to get married. He’s being kidnapped, thrown in the suitcase and taken to the destination. Apparently, this is his bachelor party.

 

Bullitt County

 

A dark secret.

It is only when Gordie hears there’s a hidden treasure, the “Bullitt Treasure”, in these regions, the pace is going up. Apparently, it’s a considerable sum of money (profits from illegal moonshining) that the Bullitt family has hidden in the local forests during the Prohibition. At the same time, it turns out that their favorite bar has been taken over and the new owners turned it into a wine bar. So the plan of a boozing trip is pushed aside. Also, Gordie appears to be a recovered alcoholic who has not drunk a drop for 10 years. So nothing prevents them from entering the woods, armed with spades and camping equipment. So they’re off on a treasure hunt. Apparently a very cozy venture, which in turn leads to impressions of four aged hippies who, while playing guitar, smoke a few hash cigarettes and consume quite a bit of liquor. Not really fascinating, but there’s already this slight feeling that something sinister is coming to the surface. A secret that this close circle of friends has been dragging along for years. And apparently, no one feels the need to bring it up again.

 

Bullitt County

 

And suddenly it’s a different movie.

The moment they are invited by a friendly couple to eat something in their cabin, my expectations regarding the film was already low. “Bullitt County” won’t be more than a psychological drama in which a cozy getaway leads to emotional outbursts which bring out deeply hidden traumas from the past. And then all of a sudden hell breaks loose. And before I realize it, I am watching a completely different movie. A movie about survival, cheating, blame, and guilt. Slowly it becomes clear that Gordie’s emotional backpack gradually got heavier. Not only has he successfully got rid of an alcohol problem. He’s also a Vietnam veteran and didn’t go through this war completely unscathed. This results in a person plagued by PTSD who can’t control himself during confrontations. And then there’s an event in the past that weighs the most. It’s being revealed through some flashbacks as the film progresses.

 

 

Splendid acting by Nelson.

Robin (Jenni Melear), Keaton (David McCracken) and Wayne (Napoleon Ryan) were also involved in this incident but apparently processed it. Gordie also blames them for that at a certain moment. The indifference makes him mad. I also noticed that caring about others isn’t their strongest side. Who goes on a pub crawl with an ex-alcoholic? What follows is a burst of pent-up frustration that degenerates into a nerve-racking and bloody denouement. Mike C. Nelson plays a terrific role. The way in which Gordie’s personality (also thanks to a momentary relapse) changes from a good-natured person with issues into a revenge-taker driven by madness and rage, is simply wonderful to see. A solid piece of acting. The share of Dorothy Lyman and Richard Riehle was short but powerful.

 

Bullit County

 

A successful low-budget indie.

No, “Bullitt County” isn’t a memorable movie. And maybe it would have been better to shorten the intro where we meet those four characters. And the number of sudden twists in the story was a bit overwhelming. And have we not seen that one twist in another movie before? Anyway. The film managed to pleasantly surprise me when the second half of the film announced itself. A film about how a pleasant situation can turn quickly and end in a tragedy. “Bullitt County” shows how someone goes through life, marked by guilt feelings and what impact this has on his personality. Despite Gordie’s mistakes and aggressive behavior, you still feel compassion for him. In short, a successful low-budget indie. Just the way I like them.

 

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

 

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