Exploring the Past – Alone in Space (Ensamma i Rymden)

TL;DR – A charming little Science Fiction film even though it does have a few rough edges   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Alone in Space (Ensamma i Rymden). Image Credit: Nice Drama.

Review

If you have read our site before, you’ll know that we are all about new Science Fiction films and ways they explore the genre. This year I have wanted to branch out and see how other countries are approaching Science Fiction to broaden my cinematic experience and today we get to do that with Alone in Space a film about being trapped alone in space from Sweden.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Svea XVI an escape ship form a dying Earth, but instead of being filled with colonists/refugees the only ones on board are Gladys (Ella Rae Rappaport) and her younger brother Keaton (Dante Fleischanderl). They try and get through the day, fixing what they can of the ship, scavenging food and stuff in their journeys and talking to the ship’s Japanese AI Otosan. Well one day there is a crash, sending everything on the ship flying. Thinking it was some debris they ignore it and go about fixing the ship only to discover they are no longer alone.  

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Movie Review – The Man Without Gravity (L’uomo Senza Gravità)

TL;DR – A film that explores the joyous and sad moments if our lives through the prism of someone who falls out of societies prism of normality.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene but there is a kickass song about Batman so that’s something.

The Man Without Gravity (L'uomo Senza Gravità). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Having a baby is one of the most joyous moments in your life, however, it can also be full of dread. Will the baby be okay, will I, what will our future be, have we baby-proofed the house? However, I don’t think anyone has had to deal with “what are our strategies for getting the baby off the ceiling.”

So to set the scene, in a small town in Italy a car races the nearest medical centre as that time has come. Natalia (Michela Cescon) is rushed into that hospital with only her mother Alina (Elena Cotta) at her side. But this is not a normal pregnancy because as the baby comes out it begins to rise into the ceiling with only the umbilical cord keeping it attached. Natalia races out of the centre without leaving her name but when they get home they call the boy Oscar as he is like an American superhero. All it well for a moment until that is the local gossips come around to see the baby.

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Movie Review – Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria)

TL;DR – A beautiful look at how the pain of the past can define us even when we don’t know that it is happening.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria). Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Walking into this film I didn’t know what to expect, I knew it stared Antonio Banderas, but not a whole lot else. Indeed, I think that was the same for a lot of the people sitting around me, with one person mentioning that they “hoped it was more glory than pain.” However, as the film went on it became clear that this was a film about how pain and glory can find themselves intertwined.

So to set the scene, Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) was once a famous film writer/director in Madrid, but these days he spends most of his time in his house alone with his painting and his thoughts. Over the years his body has slowly been causing him more and more pain culminating in major back surgery that he has never really gotten over. Being a filmmaker was everything to him and now when he can’t physically do it anymore he has lost his purpose for life. One day he is contacted by a local cinema who has remastered Sabor one of his earlier films and they have asked him and the lead actor Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia) to come to host a Q&A. The only problem is that Salvador has not spoken to Alberto in 30 years. But more than that, this event starts dredging up the past in all its beauty and dysfunction.

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Movie Review – The Laundromat

TL;DR – A film with good intentions that nevertheless ends up talking down to its audience rather than empowering them as it is trying to do.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

The Laundromat. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I think it is a good description of the world at the moment that a couple of years ago one of the biggest leaks of information that changed how we look at the entire banking sector and we have kind of forgotten about it. The Panama Papers was this huge revelation but it is almost surprising that we have not seen anyone try to encapsulate it in media form before now. Well, today we look at a film that does just that, in a weird, slightly absurdist way.

So to set the scene, we open in on Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep) who along with her husband Joe (James Cromwell) is starting the celebrations of their wedding anniversary by taking a boat tour of a local lake. Tragedy strikes when Captain Richard Paris (Robert Patrick) misses a rogue wave and is not able to turn the boat in time causing it to capsize killing Joe and many others. Ellen’s grief is amplified when they find out while the boat tour company thought they were insured, it was all fraud, a fake company, based out of a shell corporation, hidden behind a trust. Leading her down the well of how the wealthy hide their money.

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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 – 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 – Banlieusards (Street Flow)

TL;DR – A fascinating narrative of life on the outskirts of Paris and what it means for the people that live there.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Banlieusards (Street Flow). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Like many cities today Paris is a tale of two halves, the city and then the outer suburbs. There are times when they are almost two different worlds even though they are deeply interconnected. Within these worlds and the stories of those lives that are shaped by their worlds, their struggles, and the forces they can’t control.

 On the outskirts of Paris lives Soulaymaan (Jammeh Diangana), his brother Noumouké (Bakary Diombera), and their mother Khadijah (Kani Diarra). Soulaymaan is preparing for his final exam as part of his law degree, hoping to create a better life for him and his family. However, his younger brother is at a crossroads, he could follow in Soulaymaan’s path or that of his brother Demba (Kery James) who run drugs in the local area after spending some time in jail.

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