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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Exploring the Past – Consequences (Posledice) (2018)

TL;DR – An exploration of the effects of toxic masculinity and all its consequences.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Consequences (Posledice). Image Credit: Temporama.

Review

There are films out there that sometimes you can see the trajectory coming a mile away, you see the pain incoming and like a crash in slow motion you can’t look away. Today we look at just such a film, one of pain and sadness and inevitability.

So to set the scene, we open in on Andrej (Matej Zemljic) who spends his days not being at school and his nights parting away. One night ends with him punching a woman and that rightly is that. He is sent to a juvenile correction facility as a last chance before jail time. Here he meets Žele (Timon Sturbej) the local ringleader and it is here when we see that this story is not going to end well.

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Movie Review – Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria)

TL;DR – A beautiful look at how the pain of the past can define us even when we don’t know that it is happening.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria). Image Credit: Universal.

Review

Walking into this film I didn’t know what to expect, I knew it stared Antonio Banderas, but not a whole lot else. Indeed, I think that was the same for a lot of the people sitting around me, with one person mentioning that they “hoped it was more glory than pain.” However, as the film went on it became clear that this was a film about how pain and glory can find themselves intertwined.

So to set the scene, Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) was once a famous film writer/director in Madrid, but these days he spends most of his time in his house alone with his painting and his thoughts. Over the years his body has slowly been causing him more and more pain culminating in major back surgery that he has never really gotten over. Being a filmmaker was everything to him and now when he can’t physically do it anymore he has lost his purpose for life. One day he is contacted by a local cinema who has remastered Sabor one of his earlier films and they have asked him and the lead actor Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia) to come to host a Q&A. The only problem is that Salvador has not spoken to Alberto in 30 years. But more than that, this event starts dredging up the past in all its beauty and dysfunction.

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Movie Review – Noblemen

TL;DR – A deeply painful and confronting film about the damage we cause to others and more the damage we do to ourselves.      

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Noblemen. Image Credit: Yoodle Films.

Review

Oh boy, is this a difficult film to digest, it is one of those films that deal with very important issues in a way that you cannot hide from them. But because you can to hide from them they are shown without restraint and that is really difficult to sit through. An important film dealing with important matters and it made me feel joy and real pain. I also should say right from the start that there are some very confronting scenes in this film and that some people should be careful to check out a more detailed plot summary before watching.

So to set the scene, in a private school in the mountains of India Shay (Ali Haji) is constantly bullied by the upperclassmen as a way of ‘making a man out of him’ but there is one ray of hope because he has just been cast as the lead in the school play of Merchant of Venice. The only problem is the best friend of his main tormenter Arjun (Mohommad Ali Mir) also wanted the role and Baadal (Shaan Grover) will stop at nothing to get it. But that is easy for the upperclassmen, they just have to torment Shay until he relents. Which starts a cycle with lasting consequences.

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Movie Review – God’s Own Country (2017)

TL;DR – Much like the Yorkshire Moors that is filmed on, this is a film that is both harsh and yet filled with moments of beauty   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

God's Own Country. Image Credit: British Film Institute.

Review

My family originally came from Yorkshire, so when I spot a film set in the region I always give it a watch to try and connect with my past. Well, I am not sure what I expected when I loaded up God’s Own Country, but what I got was a film that was both frank and also a little optimistic in a world of bleakness.

So to set the scene, Johnny lives and works on a farm with his father Martin (Ian Hart), and his grandmother Deirdre (Gemma Jones). He spends all day grafting on the farm and all night in the local town drinking. Wake up, chuck out the contents of his stomach and repeat. Most of his friends have gone off to university, however, because his dad had a stroke and can’t work the farm like he used to, Johnny has to step up and take all that pressure. Given some issues, Martin calls in some help, as they are about to go into calving season, and Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu) a Romanian farmhand takes the job. There is instant tension between the two because Johnny sees Gheorghe has a manifestation of his failure but he needs the help.

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Movie Review – Zilla and Zoe

TL;DR – While there are some good ideas here, what we have is a film of two halves that don’t quite work well with each other.    

 Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Zilla and Zoe. Image Credit: Indican Pictures.

Review

Today I have an interesting task in reviewing someone’s first ever feature film which actually puts me in an odd position. That is because while there are some really good ideas here in places and the core concepts are sound, a lot of this film does not quite come together. We need more creatives taking those first new steps because that is where all of our greatest filmmakers started. With that in mind explore the world of a horror aficionado and the chaos they leave in their wake.

So to set the scene, we open in on Zoe (Aida Valentine) as she is preparing for her last day at school for the term and by preparing I mean setting up a horror scene of a wedding, including an exploding bride. This is a frustration to her father Sal (Greg James) who is trying to raise her and run a business as a single dad. All of this comes to a head when Zoe’s older sister Zilla (Sam Kamerman) returns home to announce that she is getting married, oh married to a women Lu (Mia Allen), oh and all of Lu’s family have made the trip from New York to Portland to come over for dinner, oh they are all super conservative, and oh the wedding is in a couple of weeks.

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Movie Review – The Wound (Inxeba) (2017)

TL;DR The Wound sits on the precipice of culture, tradition, and masculinity, and shows the damage on inflexibility.     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

The Wound (Inxeba). Image Credit: Urucu Media.

Review

I have been spending the day brushing up on the many foreign films that I just haven’t been able to see, and the next stop on my trip around the world is South Africa. African cinema is one area where I need to explore more because this is the first film I have ever seen in Xhosa. With that in mind, let’s look at a film that explores the world of becoming a man in a very traditional society.

So to set the scene, throughout the year Xolani (Nakhane Touré) or X to his friends spends his time working and living alone in the city. However, once a year he comes back to the mountains to be a helper in the Ulwaluko ceremony. This is the Xhosa ceremony that marks the transition from boy to manhood. However, while he is there as a guide to help the initiates, X is also there for another reason, because it is the one time he gets to connect with Vija (Bongile Mantsai) a friend and secretly his romantic partner. This year X is being put in charge of Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini) who is considered soft because he grew up in the city and does not care for tradition.

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