Movie Review – Coffee & Kareem

TL;DR – When you can make a running tally of bad paedophile jokes and that is not the biggest problem with your film then you have some real problems.    

Score – 1.5 out of 5 stars

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

Coffee & Kareem. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Have you ever watched a film that is filled with talented people with an interesting concept, but it fails on almost every level. Well if you haven’t, I have the film for you, which shows you that you need to pick a tone when you start rather than trying to find one in production.  

So to set the scene, Officer James Coffee (Ed Helms) is going through life, and not succeeding bar the fact that he is dating Vanessa Manning (Taraji P. Henson). Well in one day Vanessa’s son Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) found out they were sleeping together and he became the laughing stock of the police force when Orlando Johnson (RonReaco Lee) escapes from the back of his police cruiser. To get back at Coffee, Kareem sets it up so Coffee would take him to a friend’s place but instead it was to a place so he could get a beat down. Well, it all fell apart and now Kareem and Coffee are on the run.

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Movie Review – Alive

TL;DR – A short film that explores the important bond between people    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Alive. Image Credit: Distribution with Glasses.

Review

When it comes to films, if it can get to that core emotional note and thus resonate on that deep level, well that will always hit that much harder for me as a viewer. This is because if the emotions work, then so much more of the film will flow from there. Today we explore a short film that knows this and focuses in on it as the core of the film.  

So to set the scene, Viktoria (Eva Johansson) lives her life in a wheelchair and needs around the clock support to live her life. During the day, her assistant Ida (Madeleine Martin) was walking through the park when they run into Ida’s boyfriend Björn (Joel Ödmann). Later that day, Viktoria admits that she feels alone. So Ida sets her up with a Tinder profile to find someone.

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Movie Review – Familiar Strangers

TL;DR – An interesting experimental film that hits that overlap between film and a technology demonstration    

Familiar Strangers. Image Credit: Murat Sayginer.

Review

I have seen quite a few films that you could call experimental in my time but today might take the cake as one of the more weird concepts that I have ever seen. Something that at first sight is deceptively simple but then it is clear a lot of work has gone into making it come together.

Familiar Strangers might be also one of the shortest films I have reviewed, clocking into only four minutes. However, that is just the right amount of time for you to process what you are seeing on the screen. Which is row upon row of actors faces apparently rendered using deepfake technology while Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach plays in the background.

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Movie Review – Maska

TL;DR – A nice story that does tread some well-worn ground    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Maska. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

So to set the scene, we open in on Rumi Irani (Prit Kamani) who is living in his late father’s shadow. Like all things, he is fated to take over the family business which in this case is the Café Rustom an Irani café in Mumbai. His mother Diana (Manisha Koirala) cannot wait till he can take over the café and breathe new life into it. However, one night Rumi won the Mr Firozsha Baag and in it, he discovered his dream, he wants to become an actor. Of course, it does not hurt when he discovers that at his acting lessons not only is this his passion but one of his classmates Mallika Chopra (Nikita Dutta) might be his soul mate.

One of the things I like about Maska is how is it is about breaking out of the bubbles of our life. I once heard that tradition is just peer pressure from dead people and in this film that is both a metaphorical point and also a literal one as he sees an apparition of his father Rustom (Javed Jaffrey). It is about balancing the expectations of your past with the realities of the future.

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Movie Review – Ultras

TL;DR – An interesting film, exploring interesting issues, but does not quite come together   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Warning – There is a lot of strobe lighting used in a sequence towards the end.

Ultras. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

For me, sports, particularly football is something that I have only really gotten into recently. So it is something that I have tried to explore more, with what makes it tick, what drives it, and what drives people to love it. Well, today we have a film from Italy that explores all of this, but from a different perspective, that of the hardened supporters of the Italian football league.

To set the scene, we open in as a man walk through a crowd where everyone knows his name, as we wander through the town we arrive at a wedding, where flares are lit and everyone is having a good time. Which is of course when we cut to a montage of the more colourful moments in Italian football history, full of riots, flares, and a long rivalry between teams from Naples and Rome, or Napoli and Roma. It here where we see that behind the bravado is a sadness, a sadness of time gone by.  

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Movie Review – The Legend of Baron To’a

TL;DR – A bonkers fun film from first till last    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The Legend of Baron To'a. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

Do you know what I needed this week? I needed a bit of fun, you know what I think a lot of people need this week, a little fun, well, have I got news for you. It has been great over the last couple of years to see Pasifika Cinema go from strength to strength and today we get to look at another entry into the great canon.

So to set the scene, we open in on the great Baron To’a (John Tui) himself as he does a tour of his home and local culdesac Kinlock Ave. He is the heart of the local community and he is most proud of his son Fritz (Lotima Pome’e). However, it cannot last and twenty years later when Fritz (Uli Latukefu) returns to help sell his house after his uncle Otto (Nathaniel Lees) stops returning his calls he finds that the sac is a very different place than what he remembered.   

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Movie Review – Queen and Slim

TL;DR – It is a provocative and powerful film, while it does not hit every note right, when it excels it does so with gusto   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Queen and Slim. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

Some films are just there to provide a little entertainment and then to be done and there is nothing wrong with that because everyone needs a little fun in their lives. However, other films want to be provocative, some films that want to educate, some films that want to hold a mirror up to society, and some that want to all of that and more.  

So to set the scene, we open in a diner in Ohio as two people start the awkward banter of getting to know each other. Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) is interested to know why Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) picked tonight to respond to his Tinder request after leaving it on hold for weeks, well Queen just didn’t want to be alone that night. After dinner Slim is taking Queen home when they are pulled over by police Officer Reed (Sturgill Simpson) for a very minor traffic infraction. While the officer is checking the car for drugs (which are not there nor was there any reason to believe there was) Queen, a defence attorney gets out of the car and the officer shoots her in her leg. A scuffle ensues and Slim in self-defence shoots the officer in the head killing him. What do you do? Do you stay and try to explain what happens, or do you run? You run!

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