Movie Review – A United Kingdom

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by Amma Asante

A tale of love, courage and perseverance

The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.’ (IMDb) (by Amma Asante, 111 min.)

I was so utterly surprised by how much I liked this film. I knew I would love the story, because it is a well-known story of love and of courage and of two people fighting for each other and for the country they care so much for. But the way this movie was made, the way this story was told was just so beautiful, that I couldn’t stop watching and kept rooting for them to succeed.

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There are still some things about the story, about the film that bothered me a bit. At the beginning of the film I wasn’t connected to the characters. I just didn’t believe in their love. It felt a bit pushed and not real. Not because of the actors, because they were great, but I felt it was pushed a bit too quickly. I think the film would have benefited from it if they put in 10 more minutes of them falling in love with each other. Because now it was too quick for my taste. I had the feeling that the director, Amma Asante, wanted to get to the ‘juicy’ part, to the real story of this film.

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Which made it a bit harder for me to connect to the characters. I did find that Rosamund Pike was perfect as Ruth, a young woman falling in love and leaving everything behind and pack all her belongings to go off to Africa. She portrays Ruth perfectly. You feel with her when she starts her life in Africa and feels the racism and the difficulties to fit in there, which she also faced in England. The fears and the difficulties to learn the language, to make his people love her and accept her, became real and made the movie so much better towards the end. Their love became so much more apparent and real towards the end of the film. Actually from the moment he left to go back to England and she stayed behind in Botswana. 

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David Oyelowo was great as well. He has already played in so much of my favourite films, that it came as no surprise that he portrayed Seretse so well. You felt with him, with everything he went through. When he got the news that he was banned from his country and from his pregnant wife, that just hit me in the heart. He was vulnerable, yet so strong because he didn’t want to give up on Ruth. You could feel his love for his country, but that he also wanted to do the right thing, even if he knew that he would be met with a lot of resistance. There were so much emotions going through me while watching this. 

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This is a great example of the perfect combination of great acting, gorgeous images and the right use of music. If only the beginning of the film wasn’t pushed so much and didn’t go by so quickly, I think this would have been in the top 5 of my favourite films of the first half of 2017. I will be checking out Amma Asante’s next film, because I do feel she evolves with every story she tells and she knows how to put her land on film in such a beautiful way. Can’t wait to see what she brings out next.

7/10 stars.

Movie Review – Hacksaw Ridge

Another interesting WWII tale

HR_03‘WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.’ (IMDb) (by Mel Gibson, 139 min.)

This movie came as a total surprise to me. I didn’t know I would like it so much. The story itself interested me, but I was a bit afraid it wouldn’t touch me. That they would focus more on the fight and not his story. But I should have had faith in Mel Gibson and his storytelling.

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Because he tells everything. We meet him when he’s a little kid. We see him growing up, trying to cope with his father who has Post-traumatic Stress Disorder after the First World War and who is the only one from his group who came back to America. Needless to say, that when Desmond told him he would go to war, he freaked out. Completely.

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But the most important thing here, is that Desmond didn’t fire a shot at all. Because of his faith he can’t touch a gun and certainly not fire one. He wanted to go to war to help others, to save them, to be of service and become a doctor.

It’s a very long film, but the entire story is just so compelling that you just don’t see the time pass by. You’re so enthralled in the film and in this story, especially at the end, that when the movie is over, you wish there was more.

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The most important reason I think that is, is off course Mel Gibson’s way of filming. He’s a master of images, of long historic tales with grand endings. The images are brilliant, the music adds to the feeling of the film and his direction of his actors is just on point.

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Again here the movie is carried by Andrew Garfield. He’s just perfect in this movie. Just like in silent, he takes this out of the normal-role and takes it even more out of this world. He is Desmond and his accent is just so believable. The way he carries himself and goes through everything at training. Never throwing his friends or comrades under the bus. He’s just a brilliant actor and I can’t wait to see what he’ll play next.

8/10 stars… I’ll definitely be watching this one again.

Movie Review – Jackie

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by Pablo Larrain

‘Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.’ (IMDb) (by Pablo Larrain, 100 min.)

We all know the phrase: ‘Behind every strong man, there’s a strong woman’. And with the Kennedys this is especially the case and this is the main premise of this film.

It’s the story of what Jackie Kennedy went through the few days/weeks after her husband was shot. It shows us how strong she was and what she all did to make sure her husband and his name would be remembered. Sometimes coming over a bit cold, but never faltering in what she had to do.

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Natalie Portman is amazing as Jackie. Strong on the one hand, determined to never show the people how broken she actually is and then the few moments she’s alone, she lets go and we see how hard Kennedy’s death actually broke her. Natalie Portman carries this role through the ups and downs, never faltering and always true to the character.

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The only thing I could say about this film is the narration and how it was cut. The entire film we jump from one moment to the other. From a few days to a scene from the day itself, to a scene further in the story. In the beginning it was interesting because it was clear enough when the scenes were taking place in the actual storyline, but at the end it became a bit more scrambled and I must say I lost interest at some point because I just didn’t know when what was happening at a certain point.

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Being from Europe, I never grew up with this story in my history, only learning about it in high school and even then we never saw in detail what happened afterwards. I did learn a lot from it, but I would have liked to have some more explanations to be able to put the story more easily back together.

Beautifully shot, this is a must-see for everyone interested in Jackie’s story, but keep in mind it can be a bit jumbled.

6.5/10 stars.

New Trailer Reviews (#2)

There are plenty of new trailers that dropped the last few days/weeks. So I wanted to sum some of the more memorable ones.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor is now entirely in space

This looks crazy. When looking at this trailer I got a mix of feelings. First I thought I was looking at the first mashup between Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor. Honestly, I was looking for Starlord, Gamorra or Groot to step out of the shadows at any moment. The colours, the story that takes place entirely in space on his planet and the music just made me think of that other Marvel story. On the other hand it’s way darker than any Thor or other Marvel movie has ever gotten. With Cate Blanchett (Cate Blanchett!!) playing the Baddie here (she’s playing Hela, Goddess of Death), Thor will have some difficulties in this story. The trailer starts with his hammer Mjölnir being broken by her, so I don’t really know what’s going to happen after this.

It doesn’t really tell us what the story will be about. We’re just seeing some fun and darker moments, showing us how the movie will be, look and feel like. Thor will forever hold its special place in my heart (because I first saw it on Erasmus in Rome with some of my new friends) and I’m highly anticipating this third installment. See you on the 2nd November in cinemas!

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron is Atomic.

I’m not a huge fan of Charlize Theron. There is something about her that makes me disconnect from her acting. I have no idea what it is or what it could be. And although this movie looks kickass and has a strong female character in it (all things I like in movies), it just doesn’t really speak to me. I’m not really excited to go see it. I’ll probably see it when it’s on TV, just because Sofia Boutella and Bill Skarsgard are in it, but I won’t catch in cinemas.

Detroit

Kathryn Bigelow is at it again

Aargh… Aargh… AAAAAAAAAAH. This looks so good. Now this is a movie I’m excited to see. I’ve been a huge fan of Kathryn Bigelow since The Hurt Locker, devouring every movie she has made and feeling her love for the different subjects in every scene she put out there. She doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult stories, but always with a sense of respect. All her movies have this documentary feel to it, which makes her style so unique.

Here she tells the story of one of the largest citizen uprisings in the US, in Detroit. With John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, John Krasinki, and even more, this movie is going to be awesome. So much acting talent in one movie and one of the most gripping stories will make this a movie that will have an impact. Especially with everything that is happening in the world right now, it’s time to come out with such stories so we never forget and finally start to learn from everything that has happened in the past.  I will see this one the cinema as well.

American Assassin

Dylan O’Brien goes rogue…

I’m a huge fan of Dylan O’Brien and I feel with this film he’s growing up from Teen Wolf and The Maze Runner, tackling more serious roles and showing all his acting abilities. Next to Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch, this trailer is packed with action, suspense and some amazing shots. I didn’t have to opportunity to read the book, but after seeing this trailer, I’m highly anticipating this one and I’ll definitely pick up the book just to see what it’s about. 

I’m not sure I’ll be catching this one in cinemas, just because there are so many movies like this one and I’m afraid to be disappointed. I think this is one of those cases where I have to see the second trailer, before making up my mind.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

What… The … Kingsman

We don’t get to see much. It all goes by so quickly. But what we get from the flashes seems so crazy and cool. The first Kingsman was a total surprise hit to a lot of people and some, myself included, became instant fans from the first scene on. So when the news came that a second one was in the making, I couldn’t stop being excited. And with this teaser, because it definitely is a teaser, I’m more excited than ever.

And now the full-on trailer.

This trailer has me even more excited. It shows us a little glimpse of the story, but most of all we get awesome shots of the movie and how it will look like. This will be packed with action sequences, funny little moments, darker scenes… They don’t shy away from the genre and the look of the first film and thank god for that. I can’t wait to get more of the darker, grittier, funny and raunchier Kingsman. An action film to my heart, this one is.

The Exception

Hell of a Cast, Hell of a Story

I knew this film was coming, because I once was in the running to help on this set. Some of it was shot in Belgium and that gave me the opportunity to work on it. But unfortunately, due to a conflict in my schedule, I had to drop out of it and since then I have been waiting to see how it would turn out. I must say, this trailer actually looks rather interesting. Lily James takes on a more dramatic, darker role, one we aren’t used from her. Even in Downton Abbey she was more the sparkly-one. I have a weak spot for Jai Courtney. I find him one hell of an actor and I can’t wait to see what he does with this part. He’s going to be able to showcase his more dramatic side, a more softer side and still show he is a kick-ass person. And with Christopher Plummer and Janet McTeer, this movie has an amazing cast. I’m excited to see this, because of its love story, because of its setting, but most importantly because, even though this is a fictionalised story, this is a part of history that I haven’t seen yet on film. Can’t wait and I’ll definitely be catching this one in theatres as well. 

What do you think? Are any of these films on your watchlist? And which ones will you be seeing in cinemas?

Movie Review – Silence by Master Scorsese

A masterpiece of cinematography

Martin Scorsese did it again. Silence is a masterpiece, a historical epos about one of the more interesting stories of Christianism. It has been a passion project for Scorsese and you feel it. It took him more than 40 years to get it to our screens, to get enough funding, but I do think it helped him tell the story and tell it the way he wanted us to experience it.

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And experience it you do. It is not an uplifting story or a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is a story about suffering, about how far a human being can go before he cracks under pressure, how much one single being can and will endure for his faith and that of others. It is something you experience, that washes over you, that takes a grip on you and just doesn’t let go.  

Though the story at some moments seems very long, tedious and drags a little bit, it is necessary I feel to have this sense of loneliness and of the duration of everything Father Rodrigues goes through. I don’t think that we have any idea how long they have lived there in hiding, trying to pass Christianism to the Japanese. Trying to help them find the faith and believe in it. I don’t think we know how much they suffered in Japan, a country which doesn’t care for this new and strange religion and at that moment sees it as a burden. It is long. It is gripping. It is one of a kind.

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This entire movie is being carried by Andrew Garfield. The different movie posters and trailers make it seem as if Liam Neeson is the central actor of this movie, but we don’t see him that much. It does revolve around finding him in Japan, but it’s in the end not his story. We follow Father Rodrigues (played by Andrew Garfield) in his journey through the harsh country. Andrew did his best performance in this film. He shows his entire range of acting here, going from happiness to sadness. You feel with him and I do think that without him this film would have had less of an impact on me.

I also greatly admire the Japanese actors. I don’t know much of them, but they are an important part of the story. Issei Ogata is exquisite as the Inquisitor Inoue who pursues the fathers through the country and tries to keep Christianity out of his country. Mokichi is another important character in Silence. Played by Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Mokichi gives us some of the more light moments of the movie. Even making us laugh now and then.

silence-03I could go on and on. This is a masterpiece and Martin Scorsese at his best. Don’t go in expecting to see a movie. You’ll go watch a film. One that will stay with you and make you think and make you feel all the misery that those Fathers and the Christians went through in Japan. I can only admire Martin Scorsese and his perseverance going through with this movie and giving us this tale, that I think no other director would or could give us this epic tale.

8,5 / 10 stars.

Movie Review – Mr. Turner

by Mike Leigh

by Mike Leigh

‘An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life.’ (IMDb) (by Mike Leigh, 150 min.)

I liked this movie quite a bite actually. It wasn’t what I suspected of it at all. I know a little about his life, but this movie showed an entire different side of him, one I knew little about. And I must say I found it really interesting.

Timothy Spall was amazing as the painter. Grumpy, closed-off but generous to the people he likes. You could see the entire psyche of this character through his acting. I totally believed him as this character.

The images of this movie were gorgeous. They used a lot of long shots, brilliantly showing the beauty of the landscapes all around him and the ones he was painting.

This with the acting of Timothy Spall, really made this movie.

out of 5 stars.