Friday, 16 February 2018

The Final Year (2018) Review

Greg Barker's The Final Year is an detailed and prolific journey filled with simplistic human actions. The Final Year is one of those rare documentaries that show the humanitarian side of the Human connection through political actions. Barker, in my opinion, did a fantastic job with each detail and edit throughout the film. Not to mention that the film itself is very well edited. More specifically, the opening introduction, which in my opinion, had a great aesthetically pleasing color pallet that matched the tone and emotional truth of the film perfectly.

The Final Year isn't perfect however. It's filled with plenty of scenes that just felt staged and unnatural for the environment that it was setting. Because of this, the pace of the film dragged on, and several moments throughout this motion picture could have been cut out. As well, the soundtrack for this documentary is nothing special. While it did fit with the tone of the film, it didn't really improve or add on to the thematic strength of it's pre-existing material.

The Final Year is a strong documentary with some big flaws. While it isn't one of the greatest docs I have seen in the last year, it's certainly worth your time, especially if your into politics with a 3 dimensional mind set.


The Final Year (2017)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Permission (2018) Review

2018, similar to a trend that occurred in 2017, is a year where the first few films which are released, are either absolute trash or guilty pleasure fun. We rarely get a film that's great (with an exception of Paddington 2.) This trend also effects independent films as well, including the recent Rebecca Hall starring flick "Permission." Permission is simply a hipster dumpster fire, in which it's flames we're to hard to engulfed, to the point that there was no point in saving the final product. It other terms, it's absolute shit. Barely anything is competent in this film, which includes two major things, the writing and the performances. The writing is a weak mimic of Aaron Sorkin dialogue, but if it we're filled to the brim with exposition and unnecessary trash. I kid you not, that there is a singular supporting character, in which her main goal and purpose is to spout exposition for the watcher to hear. The performances in "Permission" is easily worst of the year material, and it's only been just a month. Rebecca Hall has barely nothing to work with. Dan Stevens was laughably bad. Gina Gershon had one of the most cringe-worthy acting roles that I have seen in a while. Finally, Fran├žois Arnaud, a Canadian Based Actor who has proven himself before as a great actor in films such as Xavier Dolan's "I Killed My Mother", is at his worst here. None of his arks work. In fact, none of the character arks work due to it's clunky script. The only decent role in this film, is a short and sweet character portrayed by Jason Sudeikis, and the only reason why his character work was due to his minimal presence. Not only on both the writing and acting side, "Permission" is filled to the brim with romantic indie film cliche's. Here's a list of some of the one's I found while watching this film:

-Slow Piano Music

-Altered Indie Rock/Pop music played in the background

-Shot Reverse Shot camera techniques

-Out of focus camerawork during tense "emotionally driven" scenes

-Cliche Stock Music

The list goes on! Now for some of the good. The shot composition was aesthetically pleasing. Jason Sudeikis was good as stated before. The film had me interested even though after the first 10 minutes I realized that this film was utter garbage. But other than that, "Permission" is simply boring romantic dribble. It's nonsensical and there is no point for it to exist. There was potential here. Maybe if this material was put into the hands of Woody Allen, then maybe, just maybe, we could have gotten some decent material. But at last, here we are now, viewing this piece of utter trash. 

Score: 4.5/10

Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens in Permission (2017)

Sunday, 24 December 2017

God's Own Country Review

God's Own Country is an interesting film too say the least. Not only is it one of the most refreshing interpretations of a gay relationship, it's also a film with a lot of heart (with an exception of it's first act.) God's Own Country is a film with patience. Each scene flows at a steady pace, transitioning to the next, delivering a moment needed to develop the characters. When it comes to the first act of the film however, I personally the chemistry between Gheorghe and Johnny was mishandled. Not only did each moment in the first act feel forced and superficial, the sexual tension between Gheorghe and Johnny was a much stranger case. At one point Gheorghe exclaims "I Will Fuck With You", as if he knew that Johnny was hitting on him. Gheorghe than replies to his statement afterwords with a firm "I Know What Your Doing." I guess Romania must be one kinky place if Gheorghe is that good at detecting if someone is hitting on him. With said example, we already know that this relationship presented is a fictionalized "cheap" interpretation. With it's rough and overly sexualised under tones, there isn't much room for any romantic interpretation. It's all intercourse, but no heart. However, thankfully, after the morbid first act, things changed for the better. Johnny's relationship with Gheorghe felt real and heart felt. I just felt that the first act both ruined the overall character arks of Johnny and Gheorghe. The first act is meant to establish there relationship, and to see the evolvement of there characters. However, starting off the film with a ghastly heartless feeling between our two protagonists sort of ruined the experience of the final two acts. God's Own Country is a good directorial debut. While it is beautiful and well directed, with some great musical accompaniment here and there, the first act is what brought down the film for me. God's Own Country is definitley worth a shot. Just keep in mind that the first act may or may not ruin the experience of watching the film.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

My Friend Dahmer (2017) Review

As a High School Junior myself, at this moment in time, there we're several moments in My Friend Dahmer in which they nearly nailed the psychological depth of a anxiety filled teenager. At my school, there is a high ratio of depressed and mentally ill people around. Of course not in the same way as Jeffrey Dahmer, but real enough that I can definitely say that Ross Lynch's performance is one of the most unsettling and well preformed acting roles I have seen all year. However, what My Friend Dahmer does do wrong, is how teens usually speak. There's a certain pattern and coordination that teens speak at. It flows like a dance, in which different lingo's and terminology sink together into a conjoined mess. My Friend Dahmer misses the mark in that regard, with its more stylized pieces of dialogue. Even though, as stated at the start of the film, that the film takes place in the 1970's, the offtrack way each character's line is written makes the experience of witnessing the horrifying experiences less terrifying. This is honestly a shame. There could have been much more too this film if they tweaked that regard. Which is pretty much what My Friend Dahmer is. It's a film with great interesting ideas, with great directing and acting, but misses the mark in a few places when it comes to the common writing and staging of a film. With it's slow pace and sometimes unrealistic dialogue, it's safe to say that those kind of attributes don't belong in a film about the high school experiences of a guy who would later rape, kill, dismember, and eat sixteen different young men. My Friend Dahmer is a film with great ideas, but it's execution is lacking. I appreciate it for what it is, but overall, it's just a decent psychological horror character study.


Monday, 4 December 2017

Blade of the Immortal Review

Takashi Miike's Blade of the Immortal is Japan's answer too Mad Max Fury Road, only if it was lighter on substance and narrative story telling techniques, and if it was placed during the Edo era. While it isn't as profound or has much too say about revenge, violence, and fear (like what Fury Road did), it's still a fun, gory samurai film with a crap load of entertaining action scenes. Guts, Gore, Limbs, Choreographed like a Dance! What else do you want from a fun midnight movie!? However, unlike most self aware action cult films from recent times, such as Turbo Kid and Wolfcop, Blade of the Immortal is a pretty serious film. And while there is moments of camp and tongue in cheek here and there, it still keeps it's morals and messages at a high regard. The problem is, the messages isn't deep enough to keep a 2 Hour and 20 Minute feature film afloat. Overall, Blade of the Immortal is technically well done with some jaw dropping action scenes and excellent sound design, it's just that  it lacks from an overall good narrative and message within it's guts and gore. It sure is fun and memorable, it's just that it's a journey maybe worth taking when it comes on demand or on DVD.

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Why Thelma is the Best Superhero Orgin Film of 2017...

2017 has been a year of surprises and disappointments. Several films and projects have either divided us (Mother!, Song to Song) or unified us (Lady Bird, Three Billboards). However, one thing for sure, is that 2017 was a great year for superhero origin stories. Wonder Women was a fun, while at times light on substance. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was a fun riot for both adults and kids alike. And now Thelma, Joachim Trier's newest Norwegian film. Now you maybe wondering... Thelma, a simple and quaint supernatural story of a girl with weird epileptic seizures? That doesn't sound like a super hero film at all! However, as it may come to a shock, Thelma is indeed an origin story, and a great one at that!

Thelma's opening scene is a great indicator of several scenes that will occur later on in the film, which both foreshadow and contemplate on several Super Hero Film tropes. It's slow moving pace makes each subtle moment feel immense. Each act, taken place by young Thelma on the beach rises tensions between the father and Thelma. This is also a great foreshadowing moment on who is the true antagonist of this superhero film. Thelma's ability is revealed as well, but so ambiguous to the point you may not know what they are. The opening scene in Thelma is both one of the greatest opening scenes ever, but also the greatest super hero film introductions to ever be concieved.

Too add on, Thelma also has a romantic interest, a Mary Jane sort of trope, only if she was a lesbian. Each scene in which Thelma reacts to Anja make each moment feel like it has some sort of erotic sexual tension. This both gives a motivation to the protagonist of the film, Thelma, and the B-Plot love interest (which sparks the main conflict, as in most super hero films.)

Thelma is an interesting case study on Genre swapping. It's pretty much a darker Scandinavian origin story of one of the vast collection of X-Men characters. If you're into slow burn and alternative origin stories such as Split, Blade Runner 2049, and 10 Cloverfield Lane, then definitely give Thelma a shot.

Monday, 20 November 2017

The Departure (2017) Review

The Departure is not only one of the best documentaries of the year, it's also one of the most prolific pieces of emotional drama that has came out in 2017. The Departure is like a Hirokazu Kore-eda film. It's emotional and disturbing depth is hidden in sight to deliver a powerful look at one's life. It's an incredible and simple ride that will take you on a journey like no other. Suicide is usually a difficult subject to present on film, especially when it’s exploitative and used as shock value in modern media, such as garbage pieces of “art” like 13 Reasons Why. In The Departure, suicide is presented with grief and time, to convey a metaphoric and symbolic setting. There is only two complaints I have with the film. The first is that I felt like it was a bit too long. Around 10 minutes could have been cut out, and the message would have been still there. The second, is that at times, the film maybe should have been presented as a short film. The concept and execution of the film would have worked better as a short film in both tone and quality. The Departure is not only an emotional experience, it's a profound film. It may have its problems, but it's one of the best documentaries of the year.