Movie review: Me, Earl and the dying girl.

lead_960

Greg, a self loathing high-school reject (Student), chooses to remain invisible. He has divided his school into nations – the jocks, goths, nerds; like a crafty diplomat, this loner manages to keep a serene relationship with all nations, rendering his existence detached and tactful. He spends lunch in the history teacher’s room, with Earl.

A girl from the “weird Jewish girls sub 2a nation”, Rachel, develops an illness. Greg’s mother forces his “handsome” son to be-friend ‘the Jewish girl’ during her devastating ordeal. His humility stretches to a volcanic point: Rachel is informed that Greg is doing this because his ‘mother forced him’. To a point, it is true, he was un-willing – not for any lazy, un-caring or selfish reason; he is a self-hater, refers to himself as ugly and has never granted the word friendship to identify an acquaintance, including his “co-worker” since kindergarten, Earl. Therefore can never be ‘a decent-person’.

Earl and Greg are a bond of a rare-breed; Greg’s a-social father’s classical European movies draw the two and Earl’s frequent visits turn into a fusion: Watching the Euro-trash -classics; eating the father’s strange, exotic food; recreating the movies.

Up until Rachel’s diagnoses, the “co-workers’ re-create and curate 42 movies and now, the hottest girl in school bugging Greg for it, they attempt to make a movie for Rachel.

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, me, Earl and the dying girl sketches the social dynamic of three very different people. A dying girl’s laughter originates from the Greg’s imaginative sense of humour; Ear joins to form an existential triangle, spewing new life into a developing nexus.

The picture is not about the 42 movies, not about the dying girl or Earl – it is not even about Greg’s self-hatred; it is a fusion of many things, an unravelling of lives and the treacherous form life’s mysteries, our psychology, environment reveals itself in the darkest – and sometimes the most hopeless of times.

Advertisements

Movie Review: ‘Who am I.’

Edward Snowden, Wikileaks, reasons to a hail of angry attacks on hackers. ‘Hacksters’ can be categorised into three: Those in support of intelligence services, against them and opportunists. The three overlap often; all categories yearn to be noticed.

Benjamin is a weirdo hacker from Germany – a  computer wiz. He joins a group of hackers that want recognition from the superstars of hacking. Starting small, the group washes into the sea of hacking important institutions. An important financial institution is hacked and pages after pages of Benjamin’s group insignia flows through the night and into the morning when all employees begin their work-day.

Recognition among hackers grow, but one man dismisses them: MRX, the master hacker.Benjamin, who lost his parents, supported by his grandmother, attaches his life to his new tribe, following his Grand-mother’s Alzheimer’s break-down. Their goal of recognition from the best turns the tide; they no-longer are safe from the authorities – or even other hackers.

A boring and quiet life loudens with a barrage of back to back mis-haps and mistakes. The cops, Russian agents and hackers are after them.Their recognition is quashed when faced with multiple adversaries.

Director Baran bo Odar’s hackers socially engineer an escape, one to fit any quirky ending. The loner finds his niche in life.

Sometimes funny, always exciting, the crew take the audience into a hidden, ever present world.

7/10.

 

The measure of a man (LA LOI DU MARCHÉ): Movie review

Financial crash, followed by an extensive attack on the general public, austerity, left Europe’s population in tatters. Workers and worker’s rights lessened and wages continued to stagnate and decline. A desperate populous emerged as an even scarier phenomena for the ruling classes. The Working-class is now ostracised and treated like potential criminals. Businesses’ security, including cameras, heightened and everyone is always on edge about losing their job, for all is aware of the low-level of worker security. The impasse pushes our measure as people.

A 51-year-old man, Thierry, played by Vincent Lindon, completes a job training course which only returns the news that there isn’t a job at the end of it. ‘They are looking for experience,’ says the job-training ‘person’ who send people like Thierry on futile ‘back-to-work’ courses. His fellow suffers are engaged in the possibility of fighting this injustice; but Thierry wants to ‘move ahead’, as if the tell them ‘you cannot win’.

The Melancholic temperament, the tired persona and features, merge with a position Thierry has landed – below his previous experience, in status and in salary – as a   supermarket    security    guard; mirror to the reality within the lives of 21st century Europeans.

The tired 51-year-old juggles work, home life, a micro-loan for a car and a disabled son, who faces challenges at school; the grim reality of carrying natural empathy for those who steal due to financial troubles, including workers, push Thierry limits as a man, a human and a worker. The thieves ‘do not have a colour or age,’ says his co-worker, while training Thierry on the cameras. The supermarket does not differentiate between workers and customers; everyone is a potential thief. A small, white-room becomes the centre of Thierry’s work-life. Staff and customers excused of taking are compelled to face an embarrassing interrogation by managers, security managers and Thierry himself.

Thierry passes through moments of humiliation. A banker urges him to sell his mobile home, to which Thierry refuses to sell onto a couple, who do not meet the price that is already under market value. The same loaner offers Thierry ‘life insurance’, claiming refuge in the possibility of Thierry’s death. “Times are ok now, but [the future is un-certain]”.

A distasteful journalist, Jordan Hoffman, from the Guardian, in his review of this picture, ‘the measure of a man‘, saved un peu (a little) sympathy for those accused of stealing: “… wants to suggest that it’s totally OK to steal on the job…[…]…something about this picture brought out my inner reactionary. Instead of cheering “right on” I was ready to shout “Hey, you know the rules, what were you thinking?!”.

The sociopathic element in general culture is expressed well through the feelings of Hoffman. A system designed to steal labor and leave its workers in financial ruin, while posting huge profit margins they never pay tax on — I suppose it is not enough for those liberal and privileged  – and arrogant- folk to grow some empathy to other who do wrong in an un-certain struggle.

This scold reaction from J.Hoffman comes, gracefully, following a scribble acknowledging a quote from the movie: “The truth is, the bosses want a high turnover…[they want to fire and re-hire].” Apparently, this is not un-just or stealing.

The slow and repetitive picture measures, not essentially the measure of Thierry, but the place workers and a poor pensioner ends up… A accurate depiction of existential realities within our financial bearings. We wonder when Thierry will break – or even at all ?

Like many of his work, Stephane Brize critiques social realities through the eyes of the ‘small person’.

7.5/10

Movie Review: Life

All I ever wanted in life was to be a 1920s alcohol boot-legger. Alas, I love movies entrenched with the notion as such.

Eddie Murphy has christened hollywood with an idiosycrasy of his brand of movies. My mother always said: “Even his smile is funny”. We all chuckled at the plight Eddie’s characters found themselves in; from Golden child to Nutty professor to the i-respondsible cop of Beverly hills.

Ray Gibson and Claude Banks clash. Ray, Eddie Murphy, a thief,  steals Claude’s, Martin Lawrence, empty wallet in a illegal alcohol fueled club with all the amenities apt to its space, time, era and context. By chance, Ray saves Claude’s arse from the plight of the club’s manager, who we come to find Claude owes cash.

We have all had our time stolen by emotional comedies by Hollywood’s attempts to bind laughs into life’s tragedies; most fail. ‘Life’ cares for our time. A rare episode in Holywood fiction that pulls the viewer into a bi-polar-esq 108 mins of cries and back to laughs; sometimes we feel both simultaneously.

Life-Bernie-Mac-Martin-Lawrence

Nearing the end of the prohibition era, Claude and Ray’s life     takes    and     awful     twist,  landing the two to a  life   in prison for a crime that isn’t theirs, ensued after their uncanny first meeting. The two apparently vastly different personalities ruckus over daily prison happenings; routines are forced to be harder as the two battle but show love, respect and friendship.

The Auxiliary force, among them Bernie Mac, support the context of a prison in a vastly racist era. The black guard refer to the white prison chief as ‘boss’ and are always sure to catch on black inmate mis-chief within the prison.

Anymore words will spoil the ambient of Ray’s Boom Boom Room. A sure watch: 7.7/10.

Tangerine: A movie review

As far as independent movies go, a lack of marketing and budget bundles projects into less popular forms of art. Tangerine, quirky and considerate, can arguably lay blame on movie market for the lack of attention it receives.

I have got to be honest: I only took the liberty of watching this movie on the count that it featured the live’s of transgendered Americans; I thought it was time I spent time for those live’s I did not know.

Eye opening: The transgender population do not have much other than each-other. Tangerine pays tribute to the reality trans folk end up in. A safe portrayal of the streets; the hypocrisy of straight male dominated society… the lack of understanding among those whom are not trans or have never had — claimed the liberty of showing closeness to one… or two.

The truth is, most transgendered folk find refuge only in the sex industry. The market is terribly defensive against employing, taking seriously the trans population. Other LGBT people, still under tremendous oppression, pursued a well fought-out future and emigrated to certain industries welcoming of them. I claim it is still hard for Transgendered people, even more so for the rest of the LGBT community.

Sindee is a girl just out of prison. A transgendered    human    took the fall for her pimp and boyfriend after the cops searched ’em for drugs. If she has the rock, it is for personal use; the pimp, well, the cops will interpret that as intend to distribute. 

We watch Sindee on her first day out of prison, looking for the fish (a female) who slept with her boyfriend, the pimp, while she went through 28 days of prison. Razkim, an Armenian cab driver, occasionally buys service (sexually) off transgendered prostitutes. His mother in-law is suspicious and attempts to follow him, verbally annoying her daughter, his wife. They have a small daughter and a dog. It is Christmas eve and Razkim leaves the Christmas table for another quest in the trans world.

Directed by Sean Baker, Tangerine, during the Sundance film festival, was revealed to have been shot using three I-phone 5s; impressive. Let’s keep phrases like Zesty, edgy or raw aside; one carefully watch this movie at a distance, and try and understand the daily live’s of a drug-ridden, trans-gendered prostitute in the streets of LA. Tangerine is not some absurd practice, a claim into the ‘different’; it focuses primarily on the live’s of real human beings… often cast a-side as freaks, less than us, deserving of the calamity’s life uniquely presents them with.

image-1

7.5/10

Movie Review: 13 hours

In 2012, we all heard from our media outlets about an Islamic Extremist protest in front of the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. Hillary Clinton initially made the claim: People were angry about some shitty Islamophobic Indie movie, which lead to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three CIA operatives. However, it was thought to be strange that the Libyan “protestors” rushed the ambassador to hospital, and over 100,000 Libyans protested the day after, showing solidarity with the Americans.

It was realised, quickly: The attack was pre-meditated – had nothing to do with the Islamophobic movie; Ansa Al-Sharia claimed responsibility.

A mile away from the outpost, stood a large piece of land, resembling a compound which would have belonged to a wealthy Libyan — and it was brought from one. The compound was transformed into a covert CIA outpost. It’s mission: To collect intel and arms stolen from Ghaddafi’s armaments: Cheap, large number of arms could prove devastating for Libya – and it did: The nation is officially a failed state.

The Movie takes us into the lives of six private contractors, hired to bolster security. Though the CIA insisted on low security to keep the outpost covert, many within and outside the compound insisted on better security, warned by Libyan officials, security in Benghazi rapidly de-terioated.

Even though it was not enough, six ex-millitary men were assigned to protect and guard the CIA operatives. The Diplomatic outpost, only a mile away, only boasted a few guards and some Libyan police.

Do you miss those ‘Murican’, “Fuck yeah!” movies ? Look no further…

Jack Silva, our protagonist soldier, left two daughters behind for this mission, solely to keep their lifestyle going, the bills were racking-up. In a new land, foreign language and customs, Jack instantly faces trouble: Driving to the outpost with fellow security, he is stopped by a local militia. Only the cunning words of the driver, Rone, saves them from inevitable death.

From the start, the fear and fragility of security is evident. Michael bay, the director, cruised us early into a feeling of hostility; we are dragged in into the movie from the start.

Their first mission, guarding two operatives out for a dinner, quickly turns into a chase, giving no time to the operatives to complete the assignment.

Though cringe-worthy patriotic, and very ‘cliche’, family and the gap, miles long, between the soldier is attended to throughout. Jack – the others, too – is in constant contact with his family and kids; flashbacks – another cliche – describes these family men’s “human side” — a popular way of humanising the work they do: murder.

1035x690-R1252_FEA_Bay_E

In between Skype calls with family and occasional hostile exchange of words, the situation quickly deterioates. A mile away, RPG’s and gunshots can be heard – a terrible, co-ordinated attack is happening. It takes away 20 minutes for the six men to leave to support, due the CIA chief’s reluctance to risk giving away the covert CIA outpost.

The six “family” men manage to push the attack back into retreat. However, one security operative at the diplomatic outposts is dead and the ambassador is missing. Everyone-else is brought back to the “safety” at the CIA outpost. But an attack is imminent. All operatives and workers are ordered to begin packing up.

The six fighters are all massive, well-fed and somehow have battle dirt on their faces before they even begin fighting.

It is best I stop here and allow you the space to enjoy this cliche, patriotic, cringy but ‘fun’ movie. Don’t worry: America is good and cute throughout the whole film and you will never have to face the truth behind what these men serve: A violent empire.

 

6.2/10

Good bye, Lenin – review

Alex is a young man in East Germany, socialist state – his mother a staunch believer in the party; life entrenched with the party. But he is no avid believer, nor opponent.

The movie takes off on the last days of the Berlin wall, 1989-1990; people are upset about the inability to travel as often and visit friends and family. The split between personalities, character and ways of life among Berliners, East and West, is apparent; de facto, citizens refer to ‘sides’ when clashing verbally.

Alex’s mother, Mutter, falls into a coma after watching the state police arrest her son, causing a heart-attack. She is, of course, fragile, but begins to wake from her coma, prompting a trip back home where she will spend the rest of her days.

"Good Bye, Lenin!"BRD 2001 Daniel Brühl

“Good Bye, Lenin!” BRD 2001 Daniel Brühl

Aware of this fragility and possible slip back into a coma, Alex does all he can to keep the East-Germany spirit alive for her mother, she remained in the state of coma while the wall came following down, and doctors warned Alex to protect her from excitement, anger or sadness… close to her heart, life, the wall could cause another heart-attack.

The poignant piece by Wolfbank Becker clips together a life outside the wall. What was it like for those who loved the party, living in resentment to the “new ways” ?..

In a way, Alex and his girlfriend, Lara, sister and her boyfriend – from West Germany – restored the wall – a protective one – a wall of safety for their dying, weak mutter.

Old ways become lost memories, cherished past-times; and the new does not attract most as said, as guessed. Life is faster, harder and more career orientated; even the furniture, tastes and characters begin to change. How does Alex manage to keep this spirit alive…

Mutter never accepts her illness as a prevention of her vigor: She continues to write letters to the party headquarters, addressing grievances in a clever, funny and witty way. Those that miss the old-ways love visiting mutter: It is like “living in the past”.

Good bye, Lenin makes us smile, cry, understand and feel the reality of a split city, wall that is now replaced with the dodgy idea: National unity.

The football, now under one roof, Germany, performed a crucial and urgent roll in fixing two different sides of Germany together, essentially into a ball-like shape, rolling towards a supposed unified goal. Adaption to this reversal – or change – was never difficult, but not for all. Perhaps the choices were too vast and never offered a real choice, but only labels in supermarkets, which became colourful in contrast to the greyish existence in DDR Germany.

Alex never chose to welcome the new paradigm and lived the old ways through his mother, a more trustworthy, honest reality than Berlin before and after the wall.

8/10.

Amelie review

The Sub-urbs of France reflect a different kind of Nuance: Families have specific oddities, and the further one finds themselves away from the city discovery into different, more detailed obsessions, idiosyncratic obsessions and anxieties become easier.

Amelie, a girl from the French sub-urbs, is born into an odd couple. Her father determines – self diagnoses – a heart arrhythmia, apparently suffered by his daughter, causing her to travel and socialise less among her peers. The family become insular and choose to protect their child from an imagined heart problem.

Growing up a-social, Amelie becomes very fond of people, however distant she feels her self to be. This odd detailed obsession reflects differently in the life of a now city girl – a happy, if not, comforting approach.

She takes interest into those that most perceive ‘different’ enough to keep away, leaving them in the peripheries of society, for their obsessions, illnesses, anxieties,nuances are not matched by society’s readily available set of ‘disorder’ packages.

amelie-gnome

A comical, yet tragic approach: Amelie is tailed into a life of attempting to help others, spotting their desires, differences and wants, only to help herself in the process. Working in a small, French cafe/bar proves relatively welcoming to the broken, lonely – the un-published writer, misunderstood romantic lady.

Of course she feels, the baggage of the past on her psyche, a positive connection with people, connotations relative to her life, in fact; de facto, Amelie is pulled into a world of possibilities and all that she ever wanted to do – and love: Helping others, making life welcoming to joy, loving the mundane and being ore’d by the magnificent.

1-Amelie-1

Of course Amelie falls in love; and, indeed, it is at odds with the city – the suburbs, too.

Amelie makes us humble, tunes the viewer into a ambient of familiar yet extraordinary moments that all can relate; the almost comedic voiceover adds the much needed ingredient of clarification into the fascinating and emotionally grounded woman.

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie, a waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, a baby-faced executer of joy, ships our attention from the detailed assumption of sad, lonely childhood equalling an equally dull adulthood to a world of happiness. We bring joy by making joy possible for others: Frenchly charming.

8.2/10

The Lives of others

The Stasi, notorious in its ability to wrestle all critical words or even gestures to the ground for the “security of the state”, until the Berlin Wall came down.

The Russian Soviet Union had more reason to worry about rivalry in East-Germany than anywhere-else: A region full of radicals of all kinds, German (not Russian), thus less sense of allegiance to the state and nation. Artists, due partly to their pretentiousness, significantly to genuine concern, seldom had nice thoughts about the state and its signification component: The Stasi.

The lives of others; following a man hailed as the best, most important writer in East-Germany: Dreyman is his name. An agent, agent HGW XX/7, Hauptmann Gerd Wieslernot, convinced that he is not ‘clean’, prompts reason to begin a surveillance operation against him.

bUXxR2fNjrfRtul2A6mf0ypY4Bu

When we think of dystopian novels and culture, the state looks as though it was in full control of all and that all complied. The reality is different. Those that really believed in socialism were easily dis-illusioned with the state, causing distress among the central committee; some were opposed to the idea and caused equal distress; a few could not bare to be among the Stasi – or the state – for separate reasons. The reality of such an existence is far more complicated than it seems.

The movie creeps us by revealing the inner nuances of the Stasi. Not all complied, some for radical different reasons from others. Perhaps, at times, the agent was less willing to hand support than those who he monitored for the ‘security of the state’.

The greyness, the forced and willing compliance, the battle of words and meaning exist throughout Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck’s – director and writer of the movie – master-piece.

KgNrLyCDMaU.sddefault

The ambient of the reel exist in the word of artists – suffering from the strict codes of the “black cloud” of the central committee. We realise: The centres of power easily managed to use their influence to steer events, people, ideas in directions that reached the realm of self-interest, causing, often, a even stronger repression of ideas. See: It is easier to play the game of identifying one as the enemy of “our values” than creating a team of supporters that wear your colours, openly – this would be closer to the truth, of course.

Dreyman is in a relationship with the most famous actress in that region. His circles consist largely of artists, film-makers and writers. His life becomes riddled with the despair of his peers – a melancholic sadness underneath the smiles and success stinking gestures.

Not a word, a phrase goes un-noticed by the state. Or does it ?

Rating: 8.8/10

A Prophet (Un Prophete): Film review

The DVD sat there for four years. A huge fan of French and European movies tends to view the movie as soon as the DVD is in their possession. But Mesrine, Amelie, Blue is the warmest colour (la vie d’Adele)  came first, although they were brought way after.

Un Prophete is not a movie to watch when you have nothing to do — it calls for planning. The Prophete, Mali, is a French-Arab  orphan, who ends up in prison. Not knowing how to read or write, having no friends, hanging alone at breaks in the prison’s yard, he is met with un-planned happenings, new friends, enemies, enemies that transform into friends and friends whom turn into enemies. He has to play the game on his own.

un_prophete4.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mali goes from a young, ignorant kid to a transformed individual – He matures. Nowhere during his time in prison is he dealt a massive helping hand; we are used to films that concentrate on one more educated prisoner helping a less educated one. Not here. The Prophete must, even though lent gentle hands by some, scheme his way through a dangerous existence: Prisons  have gangs, dirty guards, mafias, killers, rapists… Things do make his stomach turn, at first.

Do not expect a holy man or some kind of angel. The directors and writers are devilish enough to portray the nuances of being human, of existing in such a setting and doing all you can to survive in what can be significantly more dangerous than the wild…

un-prophete-a-prophet-26-08-2009-25-g

You will learn how one can accelerate from Adamance to reluctance, into acceptance, then demand. The nuances of this individual is placed well in to the ambient of French society today.

Albeit in a prison  – gang – setting, Un Prophette presents a real eye-opening account of those existing in the peripheries of what we see in mainstream life – or that that is presented to be as such…

The greyness, dull existence of life in prison, in the cloudy weather of Western Europe, is attended well to; the camera angles that openly accept the doings of this young man is a thing to look out for.

8.5/10