Movie Review – I am Jonas (Jonas/Boys)

TL;DR – There is an interesting film here, but it just does not quite come together   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

I am Jonas (Jonas/Boys). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

In a film, time can be just as much part of the narrative landscape as the words the actors say. It can shape a film, it can direct a film, it can hide and it can reveal. Today, we look at a film that plays with time in its narrative, and while it never quite works it is interesting.

So to set the scene, we open in on a young Jonas (Nicolas Bauwens) playing Tetris on the Gameboy, while his dad fills up the car. Rage quitting he sees something out in the darkness and is attacked by a memory one he can’t shake. Many years later, Jonas (Félix Maritaud) is a very different person, but he is still haunted by the past.   

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Movie Review – Just a Breath Away/Hold Your Breath (Dans la Brume) (2018)

TL;DR – A good concept for a disaster film, but it does not quite hit where it needed to hit.     

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Just a Breath Away/Hold Your Breath (Dans la Brume). Image Credit: Mars Distribution.

Review


Given the state of Australia, where I live at the moment, it has been difficult to turn on the television and not see another disaster unfold. With that in mind, it was interesting timing that saw a film about not being able to breathe outside just as it is happening in real life. Today we dive into a film that does just that, though not in the streets of Australia, but in Paris, France.

So to set the scene, in the not too distant future Mathieu (Romain Duris) lives across the road from his ex-wife Anna (Olga Kurylenko) and their daughter Sarah (Fantine Harduin). While they are no longer together, they work to help raise their daughter who has Stimberger’s Syndrome and is confined to a protective bubble to isolate her and keep her safe. One day Paris is shaken by an earthquake and as Mathieu goes out to investigate he discovers a deadly mist exploding from underground killing all those who breathe it in. Running he is able to get Anna to safety upstairs, but they have to leave Sarah behind in her bubble as the smoke comes pouring in.

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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 – 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 – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Valérian et la Cité des mille planètes)

TL;DR – Truly beautiful visuals, and fascinating worlds, and … well not a whole lot else unfortunately

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Valérian et la Cité des mille planètes). Image Credit: STX Entertainment.

Review

I’ve really been impressed by Luc Besson previous work, indeed, I would probably put The Fifth Element on my top 10 Films of All-time List if I ever got around to making one, which I should, come to think of it. So given everything I have seen of Luc Besson’s filmography, I’m going to be honest, I came into Valerian with really high expectations, indeed maybe that was the problem. So in today’s review, we are going to first look at the production side of things, and the world building, before taking a stab at the story.

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Movie Review – Mercenary (Mercenaire)

TL;DR – A powerful story of exploitation, honour, family and what it means to be free and does it come with a price

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Mercenary (Mercenaire). Image Credit: Ad Vitam.

Review – Recently I was able to go along to the Pasifika Film Festival here in Brisbane put on by Event Cinemas, the NRL, Screen NSW and West Sydney University. It was a really interesting insight into Pacific culture and stories, the universal medium of expression. There was a selection of fascinating films from right across the Pacific and I was able to so see the amazing Mercenary of which we will be talking about today.

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