The Wanderings of Ivan (La Balade d’Ivan) – Movie Review

TL;DR The Wanderings of Ivan is a cold look at a real problem shown through the eyes of an excellent performance by Aram Arakelyan

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Warning – Several scenes contain flashing lights.

The Wanderings of Ivan (La Balade d’Ivan). Image Credit: NQV Media.

The Wanderings of Ivan Review

Homelessness is one of those issues that is a larger issue in modern societies, but we tend to push it aside and not think about it. But what happens to a person when they are cut off from having enough to eat when there are not avenues they can use to get out of where they are? Today we look at a film that is exploring this critical issue.

So to set the scene, Ivan (Aram Arakelyan) lives rough on the streets of Paris. To survive, he begs on the street and steals leftovers, but even that is not really enough. He tries to find work or a safe place to sleep but more often than not ends up sleeping rough each night with only a couple of Euros to his name. After a while, he finds a secluded wooded area on the outskirts of the city where he is not the only one without a home.  

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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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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 – Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu)

TL;DR – A beautiful yet deeply sad film that never quite escape its emotional weight      
Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu). Image Credit: Madman films.

Review

Several films came out around Christmas that I wanted to see but I could not make it work because my new job didn’t start till the end of January. Well thankfully a lot of them are now making their way to video on demand (at a reasonable price unlike some other films) so I get to jump back in and fill in those gaps. The first film in that group is full of mood and tension and 18th century France.

So to set the scene, in the 18th century of the coast of Brittany, France a woman takes the long trip across the ocean in a rowboat. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is a painter and has been hired The Countess (Valeria Golino) to paint her daughter Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). The painting is to be sent as a part of Héloïse’s wedding present, an arranged marriage to a noble in Milan. However, there is a catch, because Héloïse sent the last portrait painter off in disperse with an unfinished work hanging in the house, Marianne has to paint Héloïse in secret without her knowing. 

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TV Review – Star Trek: Picard – Remembrance

TL;DR – This is a wonderful start and the best thing I can say is that I want more as soon as possible

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek: Picard – Remembrance. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

Oh boy, if there is one thing I have been excited about this year it has been getting a chance to get my eyeballs on Star Trek: Picard. Well now it is here and I couldn’t be happier. For so long there has been this almost fear that you can’t go past Nemesis in the timeline, well now we have and it’s about time.

So to set the scene, it have been 20 years since the death of Data (Brent Spiner) during the events of Star Trek: Nemesis and the pain still wears heavy on the heart of  Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) who has now retired from Starfleet to run his family’s vineyard in France. He is burdened by his past, his losses and failures like with Romulus. Meanwhile in Boston, Dahj Asha (Isa Briones) is enjoying an evening when masked figures beamed into her apartment killing her boyfriend and interrogating her. But just when all is lost, something inside her is triggered and a killer is let lose. Now we will be looking at the episode as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Back to School (La Grande Classe)

TL;DR – Mistaken identity, reflections on the past, and the scourge of time, all of these and more in a school reunion that goes very wrong.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Back to School (La Grande Classe). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review


School reunions are a fraught time, especially if school was not a fun time for you. It can be crash into past emotions, get a blunt showing of the passing of time, and revisit a time when you were at your most awkward. Well, this means that if you set your film around this event you have a set of emotions that everyone can understand but that universality can work against you if you get it wrong.

So to set the scene, growing up Johnathan (Ludovik) and Pierre-Yves (Jérôme Niel) did not have the best of times at Diderot Middle School being constantly bulled by the dragon gang. Well, in the preceding years the boys have gotten out of the town and all the way to Paris where they have just found ten-years funding for their algorithm. In their moment of triumph, they run into an old acquaintance from school who casually mentions that they’ll be talking more on the weekend. Confused they discover that everyone in the school had been invited to the reunion but them. Well there is only one thing to do in that situation, rock up as if you were invited, the first of many mistakes they make.

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Movie Review – The Wolf’s Call (Le Chant du Loup)

TL;DR – A submarine film that knows how to be a great submarine film and have you sitting on the edge of your seat.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The Wolf's Call. Image Credit: Pathé.

Review

It has been a while since I have watched a good military film, let alone one set on a submarine. There is a level of tension that you can rarely get in other films as two ships hunt each other in the dark. It is a scenario that you can really use to your best advantage if you have the cast that can sell it. Well, today we look at a film that is taking all of these elements, but can they pull it off, well let’s take a look.

In the not too distant future, where America has isolated itself and Russia is on the rise, we open in the waters off Syria. A commando team has been watching the Russian Port at Tarsus and is in need of an evacuation. Luckily France has a submarine offshore for that very reason. However, as the submarine gets into position Chanteraide (François Civil) the ship’s Acoustic Warfare Analysist can here something else out there other than the Iranian frigate, but as there is no submarine with four props it is discounted. That is until it lights the ship up with a sonar blast, alerting the Iranians to the submarines position and everything gets messy real quick. Back at base, everyone is on edge because Russia has invaded Finland, and there are threats of nuclear war. Chanteraide is certain that what he heard was not a drone, but time is running out.     

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Movie Review – Darkest Hour

TL;DR – A beautifully realised look at the world of British politics on the onset of WW2, but it loses some of its impact with an unclear portrayal of its central protagonist.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – No

Darkest Hour Banner

Review

Well, today we are looking at our third Dunkirk related film in the last year. Dunkirk (see review) looked at the retreat on the ground, sea, and air, Their Finest (see review) looked at how Britain used the retreat to mobilise the populace, and now Darkest Hour looks at the politics behind it all. Today we are exploring the rise of Winston Churchill from being an outsider of the political spectrum to a wartime ruler facing the might of Hitler and his European blitzkrieg. So in today’s review, we are going to look at the acting and how it captured that moment in time.

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TV Review – Ultimate Beastmaster: Season 2 (No Surrender)

TL;DR – The second outing is a much more streamlined production, learning from the mistakes from the first season, but falls a bit in its casting.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ultimate Beastmaster Season 2

Review

So at the start of the year a small little gem dropped on Netflix called Ultimate Beastmaster, a show clearly inspired by Ninja Warrior but with a big twist. This time around it was a multi-national competition with competitors and hosts from six different countries, with each country getting a different final cut. Some hailed it as the beginning for a new age of global television, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was a nifty concept. Well, it is the end of the year and Netflix has given us a little end of year surprise with Season 2 dropping much earlier than I expected it to. So today we are going to take a look at the highs and lows of Season 2 of Ultimate Beastmaster.

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Map-It: Civilization VI Cities (Base Game up to the South East Asia DLC)

TL;DR – Today we chart out the Civilization VI City List in Map form

Civ banner

Article

So today I continue with my Map-It series by following up on our Civilization Map-It project by this time looking at the city lists of each civ.  It was originally my aim to have all the cities on the big map, but after trying that out with just America it quickly became apparent that it would be hard to read and would clutter an already full map, and this is not taking into account the same city might appear on many different city lists. However, after a while I continued to want to see how the city lists come together and how they play out in geographical space so I decided you didn’t need to put them all on the one map, I could create an individual map for each civilization. Now naïvely I just assumed that I could just cut out the civilization maps from my big map, do a little touch up in places and go for it. Well … that was not the case, with most maps needing to be recreated from the ground up. Now pf course past me was a real pain for present me, but the lure of maps was too strong so here we are with every civilization’s city lists mapped out. Now before we start, I just want to point out that these city locations are not meant to be pinpoint accurate, the groupings and questionable locations of some cities make that impossible. Just think of this more of a general guide of where they are located.  Also for our mobile guests, there will be a lot of images incoming, so even though I have tried to keep them small, now would be a good time to check that you are using wi-fi and not data

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