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 – 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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Movie Review – La Influencia (The Influence)

TL;DR – A visually compelling horror film that does not quite have the story depth to back it up    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

La Influencia (The Influence). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

If you could bottle creepy? In what form would it take. There would be the bumps in the night, the flickering lights, the things of the past that you had thought forgotten, occult rituals in the night, little girls with more knowledge than they should have, creepy crawlies the sound of a ventilator and heart monitor beeping in the distance. Well if that is what it takes then La Influencia is that and more.   

So to set the scene, Sara (Maggie Civantos), her husband Mikel (Alain Hernández), and daughter Nora (Claudia Placer) are on their way back to Sara’s family home. Sara has not been back in years after a falling out with the mother Victoria (Emma Suárez). After the death of her husband, Victoria delved into the world of the occult and brought her family with her. Now she is just an old lady strapped to a ventilator after having a stroke. But as Nora becomes closer and closer to her comatose grandmother, things start to go wrong around town.

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Movie Review – Fractured

TL;DR – While there is an interesting concept at play here, some clunky delivery stops it from being what it could have been    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Fractured. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I’m not a parent, but I can say with some certainty that having your child go missing would be one of the biggest fears that you could have. This is why it is so commonly used in film/tv/video games as a way to draw people in because it is a fear we all have and can quickly internalise. There have been some films that have used this technique to real aplomb and others that use it for a quick shorthand to get us to engage with the protagonist. Today we look at a film that tries to do both.

So to set the scene, Ray (Sam Worthington), his wife Joanne (Lily Rabe), and daughter Peri (Lucy Capri) are on the long drive home after a stressful thanksgiving meal at with Joanne’s family. Ray is a recovering alcoholic and Joanne’s dad kept asking him to have some wine, which leads to tension in the car on the way home. They pull over at a random roadside stop because Peri needed to use the toilet only for her to lose her little makeup container. As they search Peri gets spooked by a dog and falls into a construction pit. They rush her to the local ER and as a precaution they run a CAT scan to make sure there is no bleeding and that is the last time Ray saw his wife and daughter and no one knows where they went.

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Movie Review – The Forest of Love

TL;DR – Starts of being a look in how people explore trauma and then becomes a case study in abusive relationships    

Score – 1 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – I don’t know if there is a no post-credit scene

Warning – This film has extensive depictions of abuse

Review

I have watched a lot of films in my life and I have review hundreds of them over the years on this site. There have been a number of films that had I not been watching them for review I probably would have turned off the TV or walked out of the theatre but I haven’t because of a sense of professionalism. However, today we view a film that finally broke me. I have not seen the end of this film before writing the review, nor do I care to find out what happened.

So to set the scene, we open in on Japan, beset by news of a serial killer, as we see a certain Joe Murata (Kippei Shîna) being creepy as hell. Elsewhere there is a guy that is new to Tokyo and quickly befriends a bunch of filmmakers. They find out he is a virgin and so they take him to their friend, who then takes all of them to help get an old classmate to appear in their next play. That same classmate who Joe Murata has just set his eyes on.

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Movie Review – Joker

TL;DR –  A hollow film trying to say something but knowing it actually has nothing to say and hoping you will be distracted by Phoenix’s performance not to notice.  

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Joker. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Review

It has been a couple of days since I watched Joker and instead of writing the review right away I needed to let this film sit a percolate in my brain for a bit before I started writing. Part of that is because I have talked to a lot of people because there are a lot of different experiences with the film, so I wanted to make sure I knew the different perspectives before I dived in. But also because there are aspects of the film I quite like and those that I really don’t and I needed to work through that juxtaposition.    

So to set the scene, in the 1980s Gotham City is beset by a garbage strike and tempers are starting to flare as the piles of rubbish start to accumulate. On the outskirts of the city lives Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) who works as a clown during the day and looks after his housebound mother Penny (Frances Conroy) in the evenings. Which would be difficult enough for any person but Arthur suffers from a neurological condition that required multiple types of medication and still causes spontaneous uncontrollable laughter. Things are manageable for Arthur but as his life starts to unravel so does he.

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