FlixChatter Review: KODACHROME (2017)

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When this title flashed on Netflix, my hubby was instantly intrigued because he’s an amateur photographer who’s been dabbling in music scoring. The movie blends the subject of photography and music but essentially is a family drama featuring a struggling music executive Matt and his dying estranged father Ben. They end up taking a road trip together fro New York to Kansas in order to process Ben’s last rolls of Kodachrome film before the one and only remaining lab closes and his captured moments are gone forever.

The title refers to the brand name for a color reversal film introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935, and this film was based on a 2010 New York Times article titled For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas. Jason Sudekis plays Matt, Ed Harris is her famous photojournalist Ben, and Elizabeth Olsen plays Ben’s nurse Zooey. 

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There seems to be SO many films where the character suffers terminal illness that it becomes kind of a cliché. I do like road movies and the presence of Ed Harris as a curmudgeon man whose past is behind him actually makes for some amusing dialogue. I had just seen WandaVision AND Ted Lasso back to back so I’ve got to admit that the main reason I saw this was to see Wanda and Ted in the same movie. Of course after a while, the gleeful amusement wore off and we’re left with two so-so characters. Somehow I knew the two characters would end up together despite their initial not-so-cute meet up. For the most part, the most interesting relationship is the father/daughter one, so the romance feels a bit like a third wheel. There are some scenes where Matt and Zooey talk about their favorite music and bands, but somehow the whole thing feels forced as it seems to only be a contrivance for the two characters to bond.

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I think this is the first time I saw Sudekis in a dramatic role, and though he’s not as effortless in that genre, I think he’s proven to be a versatile actor. For sure he’s instantly sympathetic and comes across as a genuinely nice guy despite saying some very nasty things. I quite like the way Matt’s journey plays out in the film as it peels back the layers to tell us why he’s so resentful of his dad. There are some memorable scenes of them visiting Ben’s brother on their journey and naturally tensions rise as uncle Dean(Bruce Greenwood) and his wife actually raised Matt. Zooey’s character on the other hand, isn’t fleshed out at all, but at least she’s more than just the token girlfriend.

The film feels personal to director Mark Raso, his passion for the subject matter is palpable. DP Alan Poon shot the film beautifully on 35mm Kodak film so the visuals are lovely as well. Unfortunately, the sentimental melodrama and predictability dampens it from being truly great. You can see where the story is going long before it happens, which takes away some of the key moments. I knew exactly what the contents of Ben’s Kodachrome films before they are revealed and that Matt would come to defend his dad during a crucial moment that affects his career. Those moments are still able to tug my heartstrings however. The really poignant moments comes from Ed Harris, especially when they’ve reached Kansas and he’s recognized by other photographers. The character almost feel like it’s based on a real person and I could imagine a photojournalist who constantly travels would probably have a strained family relationship.

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Kodachrome isn’t the greatest family drama out there, but still worth a watch for Harris’ performance that always elevates the material.

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Musings on AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000) – released 21 years ago today

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Yesterday I stumbled upon the fact that American Psycho was released on April 14, 2000, which was 21 years ago today. I can’t remember when I saw this movie exactly, but for sure it was before Christian Bale became the caped crusader. So before he became Batman, his big break was playing Patric Bateman. Written/directed by Mary Harron, based on a Bret Easton Ellis‘ novel, this dark satire has become a cult classic since it debuted at Sundance. The reception was unsurprisingly mixed, some praised it for its great screenplay and performances (especially Bale’s), but the violent nature didn’t land well with some people. To be honest, I remember fast forwarding some of the really horrific scenes, especially the graphic violence against women. 

A film about a narcissistic psychopath who delves into his violent, hedonistic fantasies isn’t exactly for everyone, but its satirical message was spot on for its time… and still true today. It’s a bold, unrelenting, even vicious commentary on vanity, gross excess and reckless materialism… as this Guardian article points out, “Bateman would probably be held up as an archetypal model of American success, were it not for the fact of him being a murdering psychopath. The book directly compares the power-longing, money-grubbing tendencies of the American WASPish elite to mental dysfunction.”

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I really can’t imagine anyone else but Bale as Bateman and he apparently campaigned heavily for the role, ignoring many people’s advice that it’d be career suicide to do this part. Bale even turned down parts/auditions for nearly a year in the hope of winning this part, clearly that gamble paid off for him!

This Vulture interview with Mary Haron, she spoke about how Bale was perfect for the role and his dedication for it, and nearly losing him because the producers wanted Leo DiCaprio as he was a bigger star than Bale.

But the part that really got me was how Bale transformed himself physically so quickly… which later became sort of a signature for him as a shape shifter. This is what Haron answered when asked if Bale had already looked fit like Bateman:

“No, no, no, he was this skinny English kid. I said, “Christian, have you ever been to a gym?” He said no. And I said, “Well maybe you should go to a gym, because Patrick Bateman works out, so just get a gym membership.” Two weeks later, he’s totally transformed. I had no idea how obsessive Christian was or what I was unleashing with this kind of casual comment.”

The ensemble cast is pretty amazing!! Jared Leto, Chloë Sevigny, Samantha Mathis, Josh Lucas, Justin Theroux, Reese Witherspoon, and Willem Dafoe

Of course since Suicide Squad came out, I can’t get over the fact that here Batman did kill the Joker, mwahahahaha!!

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This is one of the most quotable movies and so many of them are hilarious!!

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Now THIS one is my personal favorite scene of mine… it made me smirk every time I see raised lettering on ANY business cards!

AMERICAN PSYCHO TRIVIA

Thanks to IMDb trivia, I feel like the behind-the-scenes drama warrants a making-of documentary of this film!

Per IMDb, the single biggest cost on the film was purchasing the rights to the various songs used throughout, including those from Genesis, Robert Palmer, Depeche Mode, Huey Lewis and the News, Chris de Burgh, and Simply Red.

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During the shooting of the film, Bale spoke in an American accent off-set at all times. At the wrap party, when he began to speak in his native English accent, many of the crew thought he was speaking that way as an accent for another film. They had thought he was American throughout the entire shoot.

When Leonardo DiCaprio was still attached to the project, feminist activist Gloria Steinem lobbied him not to make the film, as his fan base consisted predominately of young teenage girls, and he could ruin his career. Steinem had spoken out about the novel several times and was against the film version in any incarnation. Her involvement is rendered especially interesting insofar as she would soon become Bale’s stepmother (as Steinem and Bale’s father were dating at the time that Bale accepted the part). Bale later dismissed rumors that he specifically accepted the role to irk Steinem as unsubstantiated gossip.

Looking for a way to create the character of Patrick Bateman, Bale stumbled onto a Tom Cruise appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman (1993). According to co-writer and director Mary Haron, Bale saw in Cruise “this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes,” and Bale subsequently based the character of Bateman on that. Interestingly, Cruise is actually featured in the novel. He lives in the same apartment complex as Bateman, who meets him in an elevator and gets the name of Cocktail (1988) wrong, calling it “Bartender.”

Someone made this music monologues on YouTube, and I just had to include it here

Now, it’s been reported that Whitney Houston did not allow her songs to be used in the film because of its violence. But you could hear The Greatest Love of All in the background, and per this article, here’s why:

Lynn Volkman, Houston’s representative, said ”since they’re not using Whitney’s version, and she didn’t write the song, they didn’t need to come to us.” She added, ”if the public perceives this to be a Whitney song, I think I’m going to call her lawyer and see what his thoughts are.” In the final film, Bateman discusses Houston even over an instrumental version of ‘The Greatest Love of All.” Houston became a part of the American Psycho mythos — even if she didn’t like the film’s violence.


Let me end with one of my fave gifs from the movie…

Well, what do you think of AMERICAN PSYCHO?

FlixChatter Review: FRENCH EXIT (2020)

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I saw this movie a while ago but I just kept getting distracted by other films to finally got a chance to review it. The story is based on Patrick deWitt’s elite-society satire novel of the same name, with the author himself also penning the screenplay. Now, not having read the book, I can’t compare the two, though on paper I could see how the premise could potentially work as a movie. Whether the book translates well onto screen is another matter entirely however,  but one thing for sure, Michelle Pfeiffer is perfectly cast as the protagonist. Frances Price is an elegant and eccentric Manhattan widow who after a mere dozen years after her husband’s death has ran out of her inheritance. She manages to convert whatever left off her assets into cash before she jets off to Paris to stay in her fellow socialite girlfriend’s apartment, taking her sullen son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) and her black cat in tow. The oddly named cat Small Frank proves to be a significant plot point that takes an even bizarre turn later in the movie.

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Frances is the kind of woman who doesn’t seem to let anything ruffles her… she didn’t break down or cry even when her accountant informs her that all the money’s gone. The role seems to be made for Le Pfeiffer who’s effortlessly charming and can beguile you with simply a look or a subtle gesture. She also looks amazing in her opulent attire, I especially love her fringed black dress and fur-lined camel coat. There’s always an air of mystery about her and I have to admit that’s what helps keeps me engaged in this movie. Hardly anything happens and some of the bizarre things that do happen, such as when they encounter a clairvoyant (Danielle Macdonald) on the ship, it’s done in such a nonchalant way that one can’t help but just shrugs it off.

The mother/son pairing of Pfeiffer and Hedges seems interesting at first, given how defiantly passive he is. He seems devoid of emotion as he casually dumps his fiancée Susan (an underutilized Imogen Poots) to accompany his mother. After a time, Malcolm grows more baffling and deeply unaffecting, and I wish there’s a better chemistry between the two. Now, Malcolm’s dullness is more of the fault of the script than Hedges’ acting. In fact, I think all the actors did their best to elevate the material and its skeleton thin plot. Director Azazel Jacobs peppers the film with lovely Parisian scenery, but it can only distract me for so long before I long for something meaningful in this movie. In the third act, suddenly the small apartment is crowded with people Frances meets along the way. Valerie Mahaffey as Frances’ quirky French neighbor Madame Reynard, Isaach De Bankolé as the private investigator have some memorable moments. Even Susan suddenly turns up with her boyfriend (Daniel di Tomasso) and things gets pretty chaotic.

There are some supernatural elements in the final act that makes the film even more surreal. Frances asks Madeline to channel Frances’ dead husband, in the apartment bathroom of all places! It’s also here that we learn why Small Frank behaves the way it behaves and why he’s given such a bizarre name. This revelation is seemingly random, instead of something that’s been an organic progress from the beginning. The few moments between Frances and her caring best friend Joan (Susan Coyne) is quite amusing as Frances is self-aware that ‘her life is riddled with clichés.’ There’s also a rather poignant scene of her reaching out to a homeless person outside her apartment, perhaps her last desperate attempts to find meaning in her hollow existence. It all feels a little too late however, thus it doesn’t really carry any emotional resonance.

Overall, despite Pfeiffer’s delightful performance, this movie doesn’t really stick in my mind long after its closing credits. It’s as if the writer is only interested in making the characters bizarre for its own sake instead of people we can connect or relate to in a meaningful way. I do like seeing Pfeiffer in a more comedic role, and she’s truly the reason this movie is worth a watch.


Have you seen FRENCH EXIT? Well, what did you think?

FlixChatter Review: Wolfwalkers (2021)

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A young apprentice hunter and her father journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Cartoon Saloon, an Irish Animation Studio based in Kilkenny, Ireland that’s earned five Academy Award nominations, including this one. Wolfwalkers marks the last of the Celtic folklore trilogy that starts with The Secret of Kells (my intro to the Cartoon Saloon) and Song of The Sea, this time directed by Tomm Moore (one of the studio’s founders) and Ross Stewart. Once again, the main draw for me is the stunning visuals, merging traditional art techniques with modern digital methods.

The story takes place in mid 1600s Ireland in the town of Kilkenny where residents are ordered to clear the neighboring woods for farming from an authoritative Lord Protector (Simon McBurney). Now, a pack of wolves are living in the woods and Cromwell have summoned hunter Bill Goodfellowe (Sean Bean) to help exterminate them as they’re scaring the woodcutters. Bill’s daughter Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) is a rebellious teen who feels confined in Kilkenny, so of course, she defies her dad’s order to stay put and sneak out to the woods herself with her pet falcon, Merlin.

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I love a story of unlikely friendship and that’s a frequent theme used in Moore’s animated features. So that’s the case again here when a mysterious girl who lives amongst the wolves end up becoming friends with Robyn. In all of the promos for Wolfwalkers, there’s always this striking image of a girl with huge eyes and even bigger orange mane. I’m immediately mesmerized by Mebh (Eva Whittaker) who calls herself a ‘wolfwalker’ as she can talk to wolves. Despite Robyn’s initial hesitation (naturally people are afraid of things they don’t understand), the two form a bond as they’re both free-spirited and also feel misunderstood. As it turns out, the ‘wolfwalkers’ are in search of a new home, So Robyn devices a plan for a nonviolent way to free the woods of the wolves, but Bill simply wouldn’t hear of it and gets upset with Robyn for being disobedient.

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It’s interesting too that Robyn’s rather strained relationship with her over-protective father is in direct contrast to how close Mebh’s bond is with her mother who hasn’t come back from her travels. There’s an emotional scene when Mebh is distressed and misses her mother, surrounded by her wolf family who are equally sad, and you just feel for them. She may appear cool and confident, but just like any kid, she longs the care of her parent and that is a universal familial theme anyone can relate to.

The supernatural aspects of the Irish mythology is fascinating and certainly makes for some magical hand-drawn visuals. I absolutely love the ‘transformation’ sequences where the human turns into wolves and vice versa. Though I’ve seen other Cartoon Saloon movies and familiar with their work, I think Wolfwalkers take the visual flair up several notches. The colors, attention to detail, everything is so distinctly unique and sets it apart from other animated features. Even though the technique is obviously state-of-the-art, but there’s still something wonderfully traditional and organic to their drawing that I find so beguiling!

The setting is similar to The Secret of Kells as it’s set in the woods with its lush greenery. Once again, the imagery is so evocative that you could practically smell the trees, flowers, damp moss, and the leafy grounds the characters tread on. Whether at night or during the day, the visuals is always magical to behold.

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Story-wise, it draws parallel to real history in terms of how England has had its control over Ireland. But even if we don’t quite know the historical significance, it touches upon the theme of fear and what the leaders consider as ‘evil’ in the world… and the consequence of making enemies with those who are perceived as different from us. The way the Lord Protector demonizes the wolf, and the stern way it’s defending its patriarchy and status quo, is quite relevant to what happens in today’s society.

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I grew up watching Disney animated movies, and I continue to appreciate animated features which have grown more and more sophisticated. Of course as I grow older, I crave a deeper story in these films and that’s what this animation studio delivers on top of the stunning visuals. It’s a feast for our eyes as well as ears, as the Wolfwalkers’ soundtrack is also amazing! Frequent Cartoon Saloon collaborator Bruno Coulais composes the ethereal, Celtic-tinged music. I especially love the song used in the trailer, Running with the Wolves, performed by Sofia Coulais and Camille Joutard, but all of them are lovely to listen to.

If I’m allowed to have one gripe however, is that in the final act, the resolution feels a bit too conveniently perfect. SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read) When Bill gets bitten by Moll, Mebh’s mother in wolf form, he too becomes a wolfwalker and ends up attacking the Lord Protector in his wolf form to save his injured daughter. The villain ends up plunging to his death in an epic way, but then Bill quickly embraces his wolfwalker identity and the movie hints that he and Moll find love and they all live happily ever after as they all ride a wagon to find their new home, with the wolves pack running alongside them.

I suppose it’s fine to see a happy ending here, after all it’s a conclusion of the Irish folklore trilogy, I just wasn’t expecting the ‘happily ever after’ trope here. To its credit though, at least it doesn’t feel too saccharine sweet, and given the grim pandemic period we’re all living in, we could all use a happy ending to sweep us off our feet. So thank you, Tom Moore + co. for giving us nearly two hours of beautiful visual feast to escape to. I know I’ll be rewatching this one for years to come.

Moore has been nominated for an Oscar for The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, but has not won. I love that someone started a hashtag #WolfwalkersShouldWin on Twitter and I wholeheartedly agree. I am hoping the third time’s the charm and I’ll be rooting for them come Sunday, April 25!

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Have you WOLFWALKERS? Well, what did you think?


Film News I’m excited about – Olivia Colman, Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts + George Clooney

It’s been a while since I actually curated recent movie/casting news that I’m excited about. I was reading one after another involving filmmaker/actors I love so I thought I’d include them here. 

Sam Mendes, Olivia Colman Team for Love Story Empire of Light

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Per THR, the Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes will be directing his own script (his first solo outing as a screenwriter), with Olivia Colman set to star in what sounds like a romantic drama. Mendes will once again be teaming up Roger Deakins in this feature project, the acclaimed cinematographer he worked with on 1917, Skyfall and Revolutionary Road.

The premise is described as a love story, “set in and around a beautiful old cinema, on the South Coast of England in the 1980s.”

Aawwww…. I absolutely LOVE the sound of Empire of Light… even the title sounds enchanting. With Deakins as the DP, surely the film would look absolutely beautiful. Nice that they’re making love, not war, this time around.

I also love seeing love stories involving women in the prime time of their lives (not gonna say older woman, as she’s only a year older than I am, and women in mid 40s are NOT old). I wonder who they’ll cast opposite Colman. I actually like the pairing of her with Rufus Sewell in The Father, though they barely shared a scene together.

 Searchlight Pictures is the studio behind this and the movie is set for a Fall 2022 release. Can’t wait!!


Helen Mirren to Play Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in ‘Golda’

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Another intriguing biopic starring one of my favorite leading ladies!! Per The Wrap, Dame Helen Mirren will play another iconic historical figure, this time it’s as Israel’s only female Prime Minister, Golda Meir.

Guy Nattiv, an Israeli director (Oscar winner for the short film Skin) will direct the film from a screenplay by Florence Foster Jenkins‘ writer Nicholas Martin. The film is called Golda and focuses on the intensely dramatic and high-stake responsibilities and decisions she faced during the Yom Kippur War.

Here’s the full synopsis:

On October 6th, 1973, under cover of darkness, on Israel’s holiest day and during the month of Ramadan, the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan began a surprise attack on the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. Outnumbered and outgunned, Golda Meir confronts the immediate, clear and present danger of a ticking time bomb that she hoped never to face. Surrounded, isolated, and frustrated by the infighting of her all-male cabinet, with little hope of rescue, one woman is in a race against time to save millions of lives on both sides of the conflict.

Per the article, Nattiv was born during the Yom Kippur War, so naturally this is a personal story for him. Apparently during the final chapter of Meir’s life where this deadly surprise attack occurred, she was undergoing secret treatments for her illness. I personally am not familiar with the legendary leader, known as the Iron Lady of Israel, so I’m looking forward to seeing her story brought to life!


George Clooney & Julia Roberts re-teaming in rom-com Ticket To Paradise

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Two of my favorite rom-coms are Notting Hill and One Fine Day, starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, respectively. The two had only done the Ocean Eleven movies and a thriller called Money Monster (which I haven’t seen), so I like the idea of seeing them together in a romantic comedy!

Per Variety, director Ol Parker (the Mamma Mia movies) will direct this from a script he co-wrote with Daniel Pipski. Here’s the premise:

Clooney and Roberts will play a divorced couple that teams up and travels to Bali to stop their daughter from making the same mistake they think they made 25 years ago.

I was wondering if the film will be shot on location in Bali (an island in my home country Indonesia), but apparently it will in Queensland, Australia. Obviously they have good tax incentives there from the Australian federal government and from Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Strategy. In any case, this sounds like a fun movie!


Now, as a film as well as theatre lover, THIS is something I cannot wait to watch!! National Theatre Live brings the best of British theatre to cinema screens all over the UK and beyond and this time they’re adapting another Shakespeare classic.

The National Theatre’s Romeo & Juliet

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This stylized film of Shakespeare’s masterpiece from the National Theatre celebrates the theatrical imagination. In this contemporary retelling, a company of actors in a shuttered theater bring to life the tale of two young lovers who strive to transcend a world of violence and hate. Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley star as Shakespeare’s immortal star-crossed lovers. Check out the trailer below:

Another actor from The Crown continues to be making waves I’ve been enchanted by Josh since he played Prince Charles in The Crown. I’ve only seen Jessie in a couple of movies and she’s pretty memorable, so this is quite an intriguing pairing. I notice British actor Adrian Lester in the cast as well, love his work. Per PBS’ website, Great Performances Executive Producer David Horn is quoted as saying “During the ongoing performance shutdown in London and New York, we’re delighted to participate in this compelling hybrid of theater and film that brings an exciting contemporary perspective to one of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays.” 

The production of this modern Shakespeare adaptation looks positively mesmerizing!

Romeo & Juliet Premieres Friday, April 23 at 9/8c on PBS.


Are you excited about these projects?

FlixChatter Review: The Courier (2021)


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I love spy movies, so I was immediately intrigued by The Courier which is set during the Cold War. It’s based on a true story of Greville Wynne, a middle-class businessman whose frequent travel to Eastern Europe got him recruited by CIA and MI6 as their spy. There’s a John Le Carré feel to the trailer and the fact that unlike the Bond movies, it shows the non-glamorous side of espionage. I really like A Most Wanted Man and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the latter also starred Benedict Cumberbatch. This time, he plays the title role.

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It all started with a letter from Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), a member of the Soviet Intelligence Agency (GRU) who was concerned for world safety as he felt his country, under Nikita Khrushchev’s leadership, was on the brink of nuclear war with the US. His intel set the motion for MI6 and CIA to join forces and recruit an unlikely spy. The idea is to get a British salesman to pose as Penkovsky’s business partner as a cover while they work to gain intel relating to Soviet missiles being transported to Cuba.

All of that sounds really intriguing on paper, even the trailer made it look really captivating and suspenseful. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate to the actual movie. Even the way Wynne was recruited didn’t play out as interesting as one would expect. Angus Wright and Rachel Brosnahan may look the part as MI6 and CIA agent respectivelly, but they aren’t that convincing in their roles. Brosnahan in particular, seems like she hasn’t quite escaped her Marvelous Mrs. Maisel role which makes her feel out of place in this movie. The way they often blurt out highly-classified information loudly in public also feels unrealistic.

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Director Dominic Cooke, working from a script by Tom O’Connor is a theatre director and this is his sophomore feature effort. I don’t mind the slower pace and the fact that it started out slow, unfortunately it never quite gained momentum. The espionage scenes aren’t particularly gripping or suspenseful enough until the end, which feels a little too late. There’s also the undercooked drama between Wynne and his family that’s supposed to illustrate the underlying marital tension, but it all feels flat and rather emotionless.

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Now, most of the performances are actually good. While he’s done eccentric flashy roles like Sherlock and Dr. Strange, I think Cumberbatch is suitable to play the ‘everyman’ character as he does here. I’m not going to give too much away but he’s so committed in this role that he went the Christian-Bale route towards the end. His character’s transformation and sudden zeal of bravery seems to have come out of left field though. The script never really explore his motivations and his friendship with Penkovsky seems superficial in the way it was portrayed. As for Ninidse, I’ve never seen the Georgian actor in anything before, but he definitely gives a strong and empathetic performance here as Penkovsky. Rising star Jessie Buckley as Wynne’s wife also have her moments that elevate her from just being an ordinary housewife. Unfortunately, there’s a profound lack of character development, particularly in regards to Wynne that it’s hard to get fully invested in his extraordinary journey.

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I think the real issue is in the script, direction and overall aesthetic… in that order. The Cuban Missile Crisis is obviously a captivating subject matter, add the humanistic element to it and you should’ve gotten something really special. Yet, this movie is serviceable at best, with boiler-plate production design that offers the bare minimum to pass as believable. It’s quite surprising given the star power. I can’t even remember any particularly memorably shot from the film either, but overall the film feels dark and drab. I think a more capable filmmaker that’s well-suited for this genre could’ve made this much more exciting and meaningful.

Oh, and the original title is Ironbark (Penkovsky’s code name) which is much more interesting than the generic title they go with now. Well, The Courier ends up being a generic and ho-hum spy film that recall similar, much more memorable movies set during the Cold War. I’d say it’s worth a rent only if you’re a huge fan of the cast, but they’re way better in other films.


Have you seen The Courier? Well, what did you think?

March Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month

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HAPPY SPRING!! We already hit 70 degrees earlier this week, 20 degrees warmer than what it’s supposed to be in late March in Minnesota. Of course we went back to the 30s immediately, but a 30-40 degree swing is pretty common here, but hey I’ll take even the occasional 60-70 degree early Spring day and today we almost hit 70 again, woot!!

Well, March turns out to be a pretty busy month work-wise that I managed to only watch 10 new-to-me movies! Partly because I had been invited to be one of the jury for an intercollegiate shorts film festival for a local university, Augsburg College. My short film HEARTS WANT had been shown at an Augsburg event a couple of years ago, and since it’s partnering with Twin Cities Film Fest which is near + dear to me, I just had to take part. In additional to this list below, I watched about 18 or so short films this month.

In any case, so here’s what I watched in MARCH:

NEW TO ME MOVIES

French Exit (2020)

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French Exit is a 2020 surreal comedy film starring Michelle Pfeiffer as a Manhattan heiress who moves to Paris with her son (Lucas Hedges) with the little money they have left. It’s a bizarre film and at times I have no idea where the filmmaker was going w/ it, but still worth a watch for La Pfeiffer’s elegantly-quirky performance.

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Where Hands Touch (2018)

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A rites of passage story of a bi-racial teen struggling for survival in Nazi Germany. I had missed this back in 2018 and given I loved Amma Asante’s work (especially Belle), I decided to finally watch it. The performance of Amandla Stenberg as Leyna is terrific, but the forbidden romance story between Leyna and Lutz (George MacKay), a member of Hitler Youth, isn’t as compelling as Asante’s previous work. It does highlight the history of Afro-Germans, but I think that story deserved a better film.

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The Courier (2021)

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Cold War spy Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his Russian source try to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Stay tuned for my full review coming up next week!

Sentinelle

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Some people on Twitter were calling this female John Wick, but it’s nowhere near as fun. Olga Kurylenko plays a trained French soldier suffering PTSD after a combat mission and uses her lethal skills to hunt down the man who hurt her sister. Started out promising and it tries hard to be edgy, but falls flat and overall a pretty boring, predictable movie with a weak ending.

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Crisis (2021)

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Check out my full review AND interview with writer/director Nicholas Jarecki.

Waking Ned Devine (1998)

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I watched this as part of my St. Patrick’s Day post and it’s such a delightful, funny and quirky movie!

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Justice League – The Snyder Cut (2021)

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I only watched this as my hubby was curious about it. I really tried to be neutral about this, though I absolutely abhorred the original Justice League. Can’t say this one is much of an improvement other than the fact that they improved Cyborg’s character development. But seriously, the darn thing is 4 hours long, if they can’t flesh out at least a single character in that time frame, then what the heck is the point?? Visually it’s just not a beautiful movie either, garish and overly morose.

Honestly I don’t see much artistic merit in this movie, I’m just mourning that $70 mil wasted to do another version of this. I mean, it could’ve made like a dozen indie films that are much more compelling story-wise.

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One Night in Miami (2020)

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I’m so glad I finally saw this! I’ve been too swamped to write a proper review of this but props to Regina King (in her directing debut no less) and screenwriter Kemp Powers for adapting his own play into a solid film. It tells this fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the Civil Rights Movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s. All the actors portraying those historical figures did a terrific job here.

4/5 stars

Arsène Lupin (2004)

arsenelupin-movie-2004

I came across this title on Amazon Prime and given how much I enjoyed Netflix’s LUPIN series, I decided to give it a shot. Romain Duris played the charming gentleman thief, involving a love triangle between a seductive sorceress (Kristin Scott Thomas) and the lovely girl from his childhood (Eva Green). Just the cast alone is intriguing, but the movie is pretty weird and borderline bizarre at times, but the French scenery and costumes are wonderful!

 3reels

AUDREY (documentary – 2021)

audrey-doc

I grew up watching Audrey Hepburn and still am in awe of her beauty. It’s fascinating watching this documentary told by those close to her, including her own son Sean Hepburn Ferrer. The ballet scenes are beautiful, evoking her past life as a ballerina, but I think it’s a bit overused. Overall I feel like the documentary feels a bit style-over-substance, which I can see why they did it given Audrey was such a style icon. Still I think the film was made with love and I’m glad it also highlights her remarkable life off-screen as a passionate humanitarian.

 3.5=

 


TV SERIES

Ted Lasso

I just LOVE this series!! I’m going to dedicate a post for it one of these days! It’s rare to see such a defiantly positive show that actually celebrates a good guy and being good to others, there are so many shows that are way too dark + violent these days, so Ted Lasso is just so refreshing!


The Falcon & The Winter Soldier

It’s only two episodes and I’m enjoying the series thus far! I actually reviewed the premiere episode here if you care to check it out. The third episode is the best so far, with familiar faces from MCU.


REWATCHES

MI: Fallout

Greatest Showman

Moulin Rogue!

Civil War

Endgame

The African Doctor


March MOVIE OF THE MONTH

one-night-in-miami

Yet another film based on a play that ends up being my favorite of the month (last month’s fave was The Father). I’m hoping a local theater would stage the play of this one, given how the commentary on Civil Rights Movement is so timely these days.


Well, what did you watch this past month and what’s YOUR favorite film you saw in March?