Cuties (Mignonnes) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A deeply uncomfortable film exploring the over-sexualisation and control over young girls.      

Score – I am honestly not sure how to score this film

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

Cuties (Mignonnes). Image Credit: Netflix.

Cuties (Mignonnes) Review

If there has been one film in recent times that has been entirely destroyed reputationally before it even came out it was the film we are reviewing today. When Netflix released the promotional material, it was demonised across the internet, and from the excerpts Netflix decided to choose it is not hard to see why. The director was hounded off Twitter and labelled an exploitive filmmaker and more. However, those who had seen the film already made it clear that the framing used in the promotional material was not representative of the final product. Well, today we see which is right as we explore the film now it has had its official release.

So to set the scene, we open in on Amy Diop (Fathia Youssouf Abdillahi) as her family makes a new home in France after moving from Senegal. She is trapped between two worlds, the conservative world of her mother Mariam (Maïmouna Gueye), and the more liberal world she has moved into in France. She becomes drawn to some of her classmates who dance in ways that she has never seen (even if they are just the worst in every other way). These crashing worlds come into even more relief when she discovers that her father has not joined them yet because he has taken a second wife.      

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The Match (La Partita) – Movie Review

TL;DR – An interesting proposition; however, the narrative gets muddled and does not recover.      

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

The Match (La Partita). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

If there is one genre of films that you can count on to bring the tension, it is the sporting genre, even more so if we are focusing on a single match. This is because there is an in-built timer to all the chaos, you only have 90 minutes in a game, and then there is a winner. You can feel that timer counting down, and will your team win or lose, who knows. The rise of success, the fear of failure, it is a potent combination. Well, today we look at a film that captures all of that.  

So to set the scene, we open in the suburbs of Rome with a local football team Sporting Roma that is the heart of the community even though it has never won a ‘bleeping’ thing. On a football pitch that is just dirt, two teams fight a contest that the referee has a very one-sided view of while a coach Claudio Bulla (Francesco Pannofino) screams from the side-line. It is the final with the team facing off against their main rivals from Milan and star player Antonio ‘Anto’ (Gabriele Fiore) is having a bad game. However, as we soon find out, there is more riding on this game than first realise.

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Last Shot – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is trying to tell an interesting story but is held back by its narrative.     

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse

Last Shot. Image Credit: Vision Films.

Review

One of the most important things about a film is its narrative. It ties the characters, events, action, drama, well everything together. While the narrative can be a core driver in how successful a film can be, it can also be affected by other elements in the movie for better or worse. Today we look at a film that presents an interesting narrative that unfortunately fails due to a single action of one of its characters.     

So to set the scene, we open with Nick Heirs (Cody Carter) making his way back through the town. He just got released from prison after spending ten years behind bars. Living with his cousin Mark (Carlo Campbell), Nick has to navigate the difficulties of getting a job and working through parole requirements all while living with the ramifications of his past.

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An Easy Girl (Une Fille Facile) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A frustrating mess of a film    

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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

An Easy Girl (Une Fille Facile). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of the good things about watching films from around the world is that you get to experience a whole range of new stories. This is usually a boon, however, sometimes it all falls flat, and today, unfortunately, we look at the later.  

So to set the scene, we open in on Cannes on the French seaside where Naïma (Mina Farid) has just turned 16. She is trying to find her place in the world and see her future. At the start of summer her cousin Sofia (Zahia Dehar) who just lost her mother comes to stay from Paris. It is a time for finding oneself under the French sun.

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Escape From Pretoria – Movie Review

TL;DR – A exploration of tension when one wrong step can be fatal.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Escape From Pretoria. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

One of the things I like the most about cinema is when they let me know of stories that I have previously been unaware of. As well as this, I have seen a lot of prison break films in my time, some fictional, some real, some ‘we think this is how they did it’, and I have always found them fascinating. Well, today we get to explore both of these with Escape From Pretoria.

So to set the scene, we open in the heart of apartheid South Africa with accrual footage of the time. It is here where we are introduced to Tim Jenkin (Daniel Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber) who work setting up leaflet bombs for the African National Congress or ANC. One day after a successful campaign, they are captured by the police and sentenced to twelve and eight years in the all-white political prisoner’s prison in Pretoria. While in Pretoria jail they meet Denis Goldberg (Ian Hart) who was put on trial with Nelson Mandela and fellow prisoner Leonard Fontaine (Mark Leonard Winter). They dream of escaping, but how do you do that when you are locked behind several feet of steel?    

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Movie Review – Shine Your Eyes

TL;DR – A film that presents a lot of interesting questions, but I am not sure it answers everything it sets out to do.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Shine Your Eyes. Image Credit: Primo Filmes.

Review

One of the great things about World Cinema is that you can explore whole worlds you don’t know about and see them come alive. I have never been to Brazil or Nigeria, but through cinema, I can experience those stories, the pain and the joy.  

So to set the scene, Amadi (O.C. Ukeje) has been tasked by his family to fly across from Lagos, Nigeria to São Paulo, Brazil. He is in the unfamiliar country for one reason, to find out what happened to his estranged older brother Ikenna (Chukwudi Iwuji). What makes things worse is when he discovers that the story that Ikenna has told his family is a lie, and if he does not find out what happened he might have to take on the mantle of the older brother as is required in Igbo society.   

I am going to start with the fact that as someone from Australia, I do not know if the film represents Igbo society or Brazil. So I am proceeding in this review under the assumption that they do in this regard unless I discover otherwise.     

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Movie Review – Babyteeth

TL;DR – This is a film that is both funny and deeply sad, immediately captivating yet also uncomfortable to watch, full complete yet broken characters    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Babyteeth. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

When I walked in to see Babyteeth, I had no idea I was walking into. Sure, from the wigs I assumed it had something to do with cancer, it also had Ben Mendelsohn, so at the very least I was going to be entertained by that. However, nothing could prepare me for the emotional roller coaster that I would be taken on from start to finish.

So to set the scene, Milla (Eliza Scanlen) is preparing for her last day at school for a while as soon she would be starting chemotherapy as her cancer had returned. While she is waiting to get on the train, someone crashes into her from behind. Moses (Toby Wallace) had just been kicked out of home due to his drug addiction. They run off to get her hair cut, and Milla brings him home to meet her parents Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Anna (Essie Davis). It goes about as well as you expect it would.

I do feel that I have to preface my review with the note that moments in this film are painful to watch. So difficult that you want to turn away from the screen because the pain is too raw to bear. I say this because I feel people are going to come away with very different feelings about this film, and I wanted to give a little forewarning before we dived into the review proper. 

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Movie Review – MILF

TL;DR – It lives up to its title in interesting ways    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

MILF. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

In my time reviewing films I have seen a lot of movies about older men trying to recapture their youth by chasing after young women, and those few moments that the reverse is true they always seem to be directed by men. Well, today we review a film directed by a woman with that perspective clearly intact. Though before I dive in, I should preface this with this is a film that very much lives up to its title, and I am pretty sure everyone knows what MILF is, if you don’t then this is probably not the film for you and also maybe don’t google that.

So to set the scene, three friends are on their way to the coast to have a holiday of sorts from their jobs in Paris. Cécile (Virginie Ledoyen) is there to get her holiday house ready for sale after the death of her husband and her friends Sonia (Marie-Josée Croze) and Elise (Axelle Laffont) have come for support. Well while out on the bay going for a sail they come across several young men like Julian (Matthias Dandois) and Paul (Waël Sersoub) out on the water, and things take a turn when an unintended butt dial leaves everyone single and guilt-free.

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Movie Review – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

TL;DR – A film full of promise that somehow fails to land     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

When you watch a film that is not just bad but lazy, it is easy to critique, as it a movie that nails it. However, one of the most challenging parts of this job is when you get a film that a lot of passion has gone into its production, it has all the components needed to be amazing, and yet still it just does not come together. Today we look at just such a film with Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

So to set the scene, many years ago Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) was an aspiring architect, winner of a MacArthur Grant, and a revolutionary in her field. However, today she is just a recluse living in an unfinished house in Seattle with her tech industry husband Elgin (Billy Crudup) and their daughter Bee (Emma Nelson). While she spends most of her life supporting her daughter and feuding with the neighbours like Audrey Griffin (Kristen Wiig). Things are about to change as Bee is about to leave for boarding school, and Bernadette’s past is about to catch up with her.

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Movie Review – The King of Staten Island

TL;DR – This is a deeply messy, often dysfunctional film, however despite this, or because of this, it sucks you into its world and makes you care for every single character.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The King of Staten Island. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Today we review a film that fits in an odd space. It is both a fictional film in many respects but also semi-autobiographical. The leading cast member Pete Davidson is quite famous in the US for Saturday Night Live, but we don’t really get that here in Australia. All of this led to me walking into that cinema not knowing what to expect, and if I had expected anything, it would not have been what we got.

So to set the scene, Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is a high school drop out that spends all day smoking weed with his friends and tattooing them … well not great .. Obama … He suffers from several medical problems, as well as the weight of pain that comes from his father, who died saving people from a fire when Scott was just a kid. His world starts to fall apart after his sister Claire (Maude Apatow) moves away for college and his mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) finally begins to move on with her life.

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