Movie Review – The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch (Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse)

TL;DR – It is like this film bottled charm because it was gloriously charming from start to finish.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch. Image Credit: DMC.

Review

Tradition v change. It is one of the great struggles of the world and it is something that many of us have had to live through, consequences and all. There are a lot of films that explore this divide, do I follow the traditions of my family, or do I find my own path. Well, today we explore a film that dives right into this debate with gusto. 

So to set the scene, Mordechai Wolkenbruch (Joel Basman) who everyone calls Motti is an orthodox Jew livening in Switzerland. He works in his Dad’s (Udo Samel) insurance company, helps out in his Mum’s (Inge Maux) op-shop, and studies economics at university. He is looking for the right person but his mum keeps setting him up on shidduchs (pre-arranged meetings to facilitate marriage). The only problem is that he might have fallen for a shiksa, a non-Jewish woman called Laura (Noémie Schmidt) at university. Now I am going to preface this review with a little proviso that I am not Jewish, so I am not the best guide to know if this is a true depiction of these crashing worlds. So I do apologise if I have missed anything if it gets it wrong.

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Movie Review – Dolemite Is My Name

TL;DR – A film that reveals in performances even as you sit almost in shock with what they are covering     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Dolemite Is My Name. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Comebacks are such a difficult thing to pull off because they rarely work, especially when you jumping into a genre that you have not been in for an age. However, if you are you need to commit fully and today we get to see a film that does just that. Full with powerful performances even as you go “They did not just say that!”.  

So to set the scene, in the 1970s Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) is a failed record star who now spends his days working at a record store and his nights MCing at a local club. He wants to succeed but he has never had a break. Well one day when he is shoeing one of the local homeless men (Ron Cephas Jones) from the store, he listens to one of his stories and finds his moment, a comedy record. From there things take off for Rudy is now Dolemite and nobody be messing with him.

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Movie Review – Fragmentary

TL;DR – A look at the effects of death and trauma, that then gets weird.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Fragmentary. Image Credit: We're The Weirdos Productions.

Review

One of the things I think people have a hard time comprehending is the lasting impact of trauma and what it does to a person. The impacts that reaching into the past, present, and future. Today we look at a film that explores that reality and the effect it can have and how people can be real asses about it.

So to set the scene, Ben (Jace Pickard) and Allison (Debbie Neilson) are living their lives, exploring the potential names for their coming baby, when there is a crash of glass outside. Ben goes outside to see what caused it when Allison noticed the fridge door has been left open, but no one has been in the fridge. When they get back inside the power goes out and when they flip the fuse back on the attack happens. Two years later, Ben has finally started a new relationship when he is meeting the parents and drinks wine for the first time in two years and blacks out, but where did he go when he blacked out?    

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Movie Review – Diecisiete (Seventeen)

TL;DR – A beautiful story about families and what you would do for them.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Diecisiete (Seventeen). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

What would you do for the people you love? Would you break the law? Would you fight? Would you run? Would you hand them in to the police to get them help? In many ways, this is one of those few things that break down the usual barriers that we put up, that define the clear right and wrong. Today we look at a film that explores that boundary and does not hold back.

So to set the scene, Héctor (Biel Montoro) has a flexible relationship with the law, in that he has a very regard system of right and wrong and if it means stealing a heater to help his Abuela Cuca (Lola Cordón) who’s heater has not been fixed in weeks then that is fine. Things probably would have been fine but his brother Ismael (Nacho Sánchez) let the authorities know. Sentenced to two years in juvenile detention Héctor constantly escapes to see how far he can get. Struggling to find a way forward the centre staff give him a dog to help train which he calls Sheep. All is fine and he is only a month before release when one day Sheep is gone, he has done such a good job that Sheep was adopted and that triggers a countrywide chase for closure.

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Movie Review – League of Legends Origins

TL;DR – An interesting look at the rise of one of the world’s most played video games, even if there are a few rough edges to the presentation.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.

Review

When you think about sporting spectacles, you think about Wimbledon, or Superbowl, or The Olympics. However, as time is going on, Esports is a growing phenomenon drawing in more people and more money than ever before. In this world of Esports, one of the biggest and fastest-growing games is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that goes by the name League of Legends. This documentary explores the history of Riot Games’ League of Legends, its growth and its potential future.

The fact that a game created in 2006 is still around today, is one of those quirks that rarely happens in the video games industry, the fact that it continues to be one of the most popular games in the world makes it more so. For that very reason alone, it makes this documentary interesting because it is really engaging watching a game go from being working out of a basement to having a grand final in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. This is coming from someone who does not actually play the game. I have tried to get into MOBAs like LOL and DOTA before and while I like watching them be played but I have no skill in playing them.

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Movie Review – Ghosts of Sugar Land

TL;DR – An interesting exploration of one of the big topics of our days that just doesn’t quite come together.      

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Ghosts of Sugar Land. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There is this moment when people find out someone has done truly awful, where those who know them have to reconcile the person you knew with the person they now are. This is a common reaction across the world but today for some people it has even more complication due to outside pressures. When people head off to ISIS, there is this clamour as to why nothing was done, why didn’t people know?

This short film explores the life of “Mark” and the reception to his apparent departure to Syria to fight for ISIS by his friends back in Sugar Land, Houston, Texas. Right from the start, this documentary captures your interest by yes the content but also from the presentation. Everyone in the document bar “Mark” has their face covered by vintage pop-culture masks like Thor and Spider-Man. This is such an odd choice but then it is a good juxtaposition to what they are talking about and everyone is wearing it for a good reason.

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TV Review – Help! My Kid Is A Gamer – Season 1

TL;DR – This is a really good resource for parents wanting to know more about video games to help understand and engage with their kids on the issue

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Help! My Kid Is A Gamer. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

Video games, they are the latest hotness in the world, but like a lot of new technologies, there is a lot about them that can be difficult for people to understand if they are not familiar. This is amplified when it is parents trying to understand the world that their kids are living in. Today we look at a series that is trying to de-mystify some of the real issues around gaming and to give parents the tools needed to understand and help kids develop.

Each episode of the show revolves around one aspect of the video games industry and how it applies to children and then talks to the experts to help parents understand the issue. For example loot boxes and microtransactions. This is all presented in a form that is easy to digest which is important when dealing with very complex issues where there are quite often no straight forward answers. I feel that this show is really important because it does not shy away from the problematic aspects of video games but it also does not lean into the sensationalist reporting that you get from most of the Australian media that does not know how to write stories unless it is about “insert game is the new addiction” like we saw just last week with untitled goose game. There are real problems and concerns with video games, but these are no different for any other types of media and as a parent it is important to be across these issues.

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