Movie Review – Waves

TL;DR – A challenging film to watch at times, but always beautifully shot and acted.     

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Warning – Several scenes may cause distress and a scene that features extensive flashing lights.

Waves. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

When you go in to see a film, many factors engage you. There is the sound, the visuals, or the story. However, there is one factor that can have in an impact that you might not expect is that feeling of being in a room with a bunch of people that you don’t know who are having the same emotional experience. Today I look at a film where I felt the oxygen get sucked out of the room, felt the shock, and heard the gasps of exclamation.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Williams family as we get to see snippets of their lives. Ronald (Sterling K. Brown) is the firm farther pushing everyone to be the greatest they can be, Catherine (Renée Elise Goldsberry) might be a step-mother to the children. Still, she cares for them as if they were her own, (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) the local wrestling champion and eldest of the family Emily, and then (Taylor Russell) their caring daughter and Tyler’s sister. Tyler has everything going for him, he works for his dad, he is a star on the team with college scouts coming to the games, and an amazing girlfriend in Alexis (Alexa Demie). However, this façade starts to crumble when a shoulder injury doesn’t go away.

I am going to start the central part of this review by saying that it might be best to go into this film with as little knowledge as possible, so when those moments hit, they hit hard. Indeed it is going to be hard to talk about the movie in any meaningful way without running into spoilers right away. So with this in mind, I will try to be as vague as possible about the story beats throughout the review, but I will talk a little of the structure in the penultimate chapters where there will be full spoilers.  

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Movie Review – Nobody Knows I’m Here (Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aquí)

TL;DR – A haunting look at the damage that fame can do set in the beautiful world of the Chilean coast.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Nobody Knows I'm Here (Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aquí). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Fame, it is a thing that many people want, and in the world of Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok it is almost more obtainable than in any other point in history. However, fame can come with a cost, fame can come with damage, and fame can have lasting effects. Today we look at a film that explores these issues and the legacy that can leave in their wake.

So to set the scene, a child musical prodigy Memo (Lukas Vergara) had a lot of hope at one point but now all grown up Memo (Jorge Garcia) spends time breaking into houses and not doing much else. The rest of his time is spent working on his uncle’s Mr Braulio’s (Luis Gnecco) sheep farm on a coastal island of Southern Chile. His past haunts Memo as the damage of his youth lives through every part of his life.  

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Movie Review – The Windermere Children

TL;DR – A deeply emotional and confronting film that looks at the aftermath of trauma and how you can walk back from it.    

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

The Windermere Children. Image Credit: Fremantle.

Review

There are those moments in life where we get to see the full depths of human cruelty and few moments have exemplified it more than the Holocaust. It was a moment where human depravity was industrialised and weaponised in the endeavour to exterminate an entire race. Today we explore a film that deals with the aftermath and trauma through the eyes of the children that survived it.     

So to set the scene, we open in on a bus full of children as they make their way through the British countryside at night. The bus is full of children refugees rescued from Holocaust camps. One thousand children brought from the camps to Brittan and 300 of them came to Calgarth Estate on the shores of Lake Windermere. As they arrive, there is a real fear that they have swapped one camp of despair for another. Their families are likely all dead, and all of them have suffered travesties that make every dog a threat and food something you hide when you can. They only have funding for four months to help them with their trauma, which is not enough time given everything they had gone through.

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Movie Review – Da 5 Bloods

TL;DR – A powerful film that hurt to watch at times, but I am glad that I did.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit moment

Da 5 Bloods. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There have been a lot of films set during the Vietnam War or explores its aftermath. It is not a noble war like WW2 in people’s minds, it was bloody, unnecessary, and it left shockwaves throughout American society, that we are still living through today. How do you capture a war like that, well some have done it through sceptical, some have done it through horror, and there was that one time was a flying elephant. Today I look at a film that has all of that, okay not the elephant part, while hitting the realities and legacy of the Vietnam War.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a montage of Black America and their experiences in war, specifically Vietnam War or the American War as it is known in Vietnam. This is where we get a crash course on the War from start to finish through a lens we don’t always see. We jump to today in Ho Chi Minh City today where four old friends come together again in a country they once fought in, a place full of memories but also somewhere that has gone through a lot of changes. Paul (Delroy Lindo), Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), Otis (Clarke Peters) & Eddie (Norm Lewis) have come back to Vietnam for one reason, to find the body of one of their fallen comrades Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman). However, there may also be a whole lot of gold from the war on the line as well.

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TV Review – The Great: Season 1

TL;DR – This is a truly bizarre but entirely compelling show, that blends fiction and reality with a deft hand   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Great. Image Credit: Stan.

Review

A couple of years ago there was this odd film that exploded into the world out of nowhere, it was an exploration of Queen Anne full of intrigue and irreverence. When something like that blasts out into the world you try to find out what the creators will do next, so when I heard the latest series around Catherine the Great was writing by Tony McNamara one of the writers of The Favourite I had to give it a watch and it was a good choice.    

So to set the scene, Catherine (Elle Fanning) is a starry-eyed young noble who has had the fortune to be matched with the current Emperor of Russia, Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). She brings him a branch as a present of her love, living in this world of fantasy right up until the local archbishop ‘Archie’ (Adam Godley) checked to see if she was still a virgin. The realities of the Russian court were nothing like she had thought, with violence and bitterness at every turn. Still, she found comfort in her maid Marial (Phoebe Fox), the odd wisdom of Aunt Elizabeth (Belinda Bromilow), and the books of Orlo (Sacha Dhawan). Maybe she could find a place here in this strange land … or maybe yet, could not this strange land bend to her will. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Movie Review – The Prince (El Príncipe)

TL;DR – A film that spends a long time trying to find its voice but never quite gets there due to issues with the story.     

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Warning – Depicts scenes of sexual abuse

The Prince (El Príncipe). Image Creidt: Artsploitation.

Review

I watched a lot of films that have had difficult moments to watch, today I look at a film that is filled with them. This makes it a film that is hard to unpack because it has a big barrier of entry. Today we will try to examine that difficulty as we explore The Prince.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a scene carnage as a throat is cut and someone bleeds out on the floor. We then find ourselves walking through the dimly lit halls of a local jail. Jaime (Juan Carlos Maldonado) shuffles from one cell to the next before finding himself in the cell of Potro (Alfredo Castro) one of the jail’s patriarchs a place where safety and danger can be one and the same.    

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Movie Review – Ali & Alia (علي وعليا)

TL;DR – A difficult film to watch at times but an interesting look at power, addiction, family, and abuse.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse

Ali & Alia. Image Credit: Number One Films.

Review

I had realised that my drive to experience more of world cinema has taken a back seat for a while, so today I decided to change that. More than just change that, I thought it would be best to dive into a cinema I haven’t really explored before. As if on cue, Ali & Alia appeared and well one does not look providence in the face and then blink.   

So to set the scene, we open flying through a town until we land in a football field where two sides are drawn together in opposition. On one side is Ali (Khalifa Albahri) and on the other is Aboud (Mayed al Ali). What is the fight about, well we jump back a little time and we see the start of it all. One day as Ali is escorting Alia (Neven Madi) to the local clothes shop when he is accosted by a bunch of layabouts. Instead of standing up for himself, he says nothing. This upsets Alia because he is not acting like a man. This rebuke starts a spiral in Ali’s life that affects everyone around him.

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Movie Review – Rising High (Betonrausch)

TL;DR – An interesting concept and set up, that does not quite have the strength to get all the way to the end credits.     

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Rising High (Betonrausch). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There is something about a good con film that can really engage you. It can be the way they upend the system, the suave chaos of its, and the way they pull of the graft. There is that feeling that they could be caught out at any moment, making every moment feel tense, especially as it starts to spiral.

So to set the scene, we open in on a party in full swing, boobs, drugs, and dancing everywhere, it is a chaos of ecstasy and excess. In the morning, there is carnage across the house and only Viktor (David Kross) is awake looking at all he has made when police storm the property. Arrested and in custody, we hear all the charges laid against him, which is many, so what is there to do, well you can tell your whole story to the police which is what Viktor does.

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TV Review – Bloom: Season Two

TL;DR – A solid follow up season that makes up for a lack of subtlety with its themes with some solid acting and emotional drive.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Bloom: Season Two. Image Credit: Stan.

Review

It was just over a year ago when Stan dropped this interesting little show about a fruit that can make you young again, the only catch is that it grows in the places people died in a great flood. This gave it both an interesting and also very morbid these even before people started going after each other over the plants. I was interested to see where the show could go from there and well now we can see with the second season coming out over the Easter weekend.

So to set the scene, in the weeks after the end of Season One, things in the town of Mullan in rural Australia have been in a state of flux. For some of the residents of the town, life has gone back to normal, but for the others, the lingering effect of the plant is still there even though all the plants are now gone. In the city, the last of the young people from the first season Young Gwen (Phoebe Tonkin) is dancing the night away with her now much older husband Ray (Bryan Brown) causing much mirth from the rest of the people in the nightclub. He decides to let her go enjoy her youth, but she will have none of that. Back in town, a mother Anne Carter (Jacqueline McKenzie) has arrived under mysterious circumstances with her daughter Eva (Ingrid Torelli) and family friend Luke (Ed Oxenbould). Also, the new local priest Father John (Toby Schmitz) is trying to get people back to the church when he finds out that Mullan might have a secret of its own when local creepy guy Shane (Tom Budge) lets slip about what happened. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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Movie Review – Tigertail (Hǔwěi, 虎尾)

TL;DR – A methodical and sad film at times while still holding onto that one bit of hope    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Tigertail (Hǔwěi, 虎尾). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Of the many types of films I watch, it has been quite a while since I sat down and watched a small contemplative film that slowly unfolds over its run time. Well, that changed today with our film Tigertail, a film that feels autobiographical even though I have no idea if it is or not because its focus of characters is that good.

So to set the scene, we open in on a young child running through the rice fields of central Taiwan, he mostly alone but he finds a moment of happiness when he runs into a local girl. However, as we jump to the present we discover that the years have not been entirely kind to Grover (Tzi Ma) as he is driving home from the airport by his daughter Angela (Christine Ko) after attending his mother’s funeral back in Taiwan. There is an instant distance between the two, with each side wanting to help but not knowing how to proceed.

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