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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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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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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