FlixChatter Review: The Power of the Dog (2021)

powerofthedog-banner

This is the kind of film that is best experienced when you have very little information about the story. So with that in mind, I’ll skim on details about the plot and let you discover them on your own.

At the center of the story is a wealthy rancher Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) who lives in Montana with his brother George (Jesse Plemons). Right away it’s evident these two have contrasting personalities. Phil is dominant, crass and brutish while George is a mild-mannered, sensitive soul. The two are close, they even sleep in the same bed in their ranch house, but their bond is thrown off after an encounter with a widow, Rose, who owns a restaurant that he ranchers visit one day. 

powerofthedog-cumberbatch

There is immediate strain between Phil and Rose’s teenage son Peter, who often helps his mom at the restaurant, starting with Phil insulting Peter’s paper flowers that drive him to tears. As fate would have it, George falls for Rose and the two got married. While Peter is away in school and George is on business trips, it’s Rose who has to bear the brunt of Phil’s overt bullying. 

powerofthedog-dunst-plemons

The film is the quintessential slo-burn drama with not much action in the first act, but there’s layers upon layers being peeled for those who pay close attention. In fact, I feel like this is the kind of film that’d be more rewarding on subsequent watch as it’s packed with a plethora of details that one might miss the first time around. Jane Campion wrote and directed the film based on Thomas Savage’s novel with such a masterful stroke. There’s an unsettling mood and tension permeating every minute that takes hold of you and wouldn’t let go.

The performances are excellent all around. Starting with Cumberbatch, a refined English gent of an actor who at first glance is a really odd choice to play a tough American cowboy. Yet the fact that he seemed ‘unfit’ for the role actually works in the character’s favor… let’s just say Phil is someone who isn’t comfortable in his own skin, which Campion exploits in Cumberbatch’s performance to great effect.

powerofthedog-smit-mcphee

It’s so great to see the talented Kirsten Dunst in a prominent role, I feel like I haven’t seen her on screen in a while. She embodies the brittle role of a mother so beautifully… and the way she crumbles under Phil’s terrorizing ways is painfully palpable. Kodi Smit-McPhee is an actor I’m not that familiar with but he’s absolutely terrific here in a subtle yet impactful performance. His svelte figure is integral to the story as he becomes the butt of jokes for Phil and the male workers at the ranch who think ranch-living are only for scruffy, brawny men. Jesse Plemons doesn’t have much screen time here but he’s a reliable actor who always deliver a memorable performance.

I love how the film plays with our expectations and in many ways. Phil’s machismo is so exaggerated as if he’s trying to impress that on Rose and Peter, yet the way he practically worships at the altar of late cowboy Bronco Henry whose saddle sits like a shrine in his barn is very telling. The scene where he cleans the leather with such tender loving care is also very telling. I appreciate the subtle and nuanced way things are revealed in due time, a heart-wrenching deconstruction of toxic masculinity by an astute feminist lens.

powerofthedog-making-rope

The visual aesthetic is meticulously crafted in such a way that even the texture and scale tell a story. Earlier in the film, there’s a close shot of paper being strung up in Peter’s room as he’s making those paper flowers, then later in the third act, we see a close shot of sliced-up cow hide hanging which is later used as rope. The visual parallel is absolutely brilliant and literally made me gasp when I realize its significance.

Glad to see a female DP here and Ari Wegner lensed the film beautifully, it’s both elegant and harsh in equal measure, filled with covert visual clues that informs the narrative. I had to look away when Peter stumbled on a decaying dead cattle during a hike, which proves to be an important clue that he’s not as fainthearted as Phil assume him to be.

powerofthedog-phil-peter

The setting of 1920s Montana with its vast open land, majestic mountains and lakes is so picturesque it could sub for the state’s travel vlog, except it’s actually filmed in Campion’s hometown of New Zealand. It’s one of those films where the location itself is a character in the film. Johnny Greenwood complements the visuals with his ominous, brooding yet melancholic score. I didn’t realize Greenwood is Radiohead’s guitarist whose score for Phantom Thread was nominated for Oscar.

The Power of The Dog is one of the most potent and haunting psychological drama that really gets under my skin. I find myself thinking about it even weeks after I watched it and recounting some of its layered mystery and meaning. A quiet but tremendous film with plenty of undercurrents beneath the surface. It’s simply exquisite, a word I don’t usually use to describe most films. SPOILER ALERT The title itself refers to a Bible verse (Psalm 22: 20), which is interesting given Campion compared what happened between Peter and Phil to the David vs Goliath story. 

powerofthedog-montana

This is Campion’s feature film in over a decade (after Bright Star in 2009). I’m not sure why it took her that long in between film projects (apart from her directing work in Top Of The Lake series), but I really hope we won’t have to wait too long for her next one.

4.5/5 stars


Have you seen The Power Of the Dog? I’d love to hear what you think!

TCFF 2021 Documentary Reviews: After Antartica + A Fire Within

tcff-2021-reviews

After Antartica

after-antartica

The title of Legendary Polar Explorer is not a title easily earned. Minnesota-born educator, author and lecturer Will Steger earned that title when in the years between 1989–1990, he was the first to dogsled traverse Antarctica, and the International Arctic Project. Then in 1995, he became the first and only person to dogsled traverse the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Ellesmere Island in Canada.

After Antarctica is a feature-length documentary that follows Will Steger’s life journey as an eyewitness to the greatest changes in the polar regions of our planet. Thirty years after his historic coast-to-coast expedition across the coldest continent on Earth, Steger is not only known for being the first in history to complete this historic feat – he is also the last. The documentary, directed by Tasha Van Zandt in her feature debut, goes along with Steger as he revisits the frigid continent, deftly weaving his contemporary journey with rare, dynamic footage of his original, treacherous seven-month odyssey.

after-antartica-will-steiger

After Antarctica is “a journey across both poles [that] follows legendary polar explorer Will Steger’s life journey as an eyewitness to the greatest changes to the polar regions of our planet.” The part of coming out to this documentary is that there will be a Q & A after the movie with the Legendary Polar Explorer himself – Will Steger – who came to St. Louis Park from his home in Ely, Minnesota.

vitali-will-steiger

Vitali with Will Steiger @ Twin Cities Film Fest.


tcff-2021-bnr

Check out my recommendations of which TCFF films to watch


Reviewby_Ruth

A Fire Within

a-fire-within-doc

This documentary tells a harrowing, emotional, but ultimately triumphant story about a subject matter I have not heard about before. In the mid 1970s, a violent political repression campaign called Ethiopian Red Terror, organized by council of military members known as the Derg against competing Marxist-Leninist groups in Ethiopia and Eritrea that killed over 700,000 people.

Edgegayehu “Edge” Taye, Elizabeth Demissie, and Hirut Abebe were jailed and tortured in their teens by Kelbessa Negewo, a Derg official nicknamed the “The Nightmare of Addis Ababa.” They managed to survive that ordeal and found refuge in North America, settling in Atlanta, New York, and Canada. Edge later found out that Kelbessa was working in the same hotel she did in Midtown Atlanta, as he was seeking political asylum after the fall of the Derg. The three women decided to finally bring Kelbessa to justice, which meant confronting something so brutal it made me shield my eyes a few times.

a-fire-within-ethiopian-women

There’s often a rather clichéd statement ‘you can’t escape the past’ that you see in an action movie trailer. Well, in the case of these three women though, having to confront such a distressing past is not something banal or trite, but a very real thing. Director Christopher Chambers employed re-enactment technique of the vicious tortures the women endured, which was really difficult to watch. Combined with the personal testimony of the women themselves as they recount their harrowing experience, we get to see their emotional struggles in a visceral way.

The film is produced by Liya Kebede, a renowned Ethiopian-born model and actress. It provides a good political context of Ethiopia that led to the Red Terror campaign, with the helps of political lecturers and their legal team (who worked on their case pro bono). But what really made the film effective is the firsthand account from these three brave women. It’s a powerful human rights documentary that packs an emotional punch.

TCFF_reviewer_Ruth

This film is screening online throughout the entire TCFF run… plus

FREE SCREENING ON SATURDAY!

October 30th, 12pm
Showplace ICON Theatres 

AdmitOneTicket

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR – Christopher Chambers in Attendance!
To obtain free tickets, simply come to the TCFF Office at least 30 minutes prior to the screening to obtain vouchers.

TCFF OFFICE LOCATION
1633 West End Blvd. St. Louis Park, MN 55416


We’re halfway done with TCFF 2021, but there are still more great films to watch this week!

tcff-2021-movies

To learn more about TCFF or get tickets visit twincitiesfilmfest.org


TCFF 2021 Reviews: A Northwest Passage + Everything In The End + Drunk Bus

tcff-2021-reviews

These film are currently available online throughout the entire Twin Cities Film Fest – Oct 21-30. 

A Northwest Passage 

ANorthwestPassage-MN-doc

Shot entirely in the neighborhood of Northeast Minneapolis, A Northwest Passage tells the story of its residents, neighbors, business owners & employees, and activists who call that part of the largest city in Minnesota their home or place of business. Shot by Gregory Alan Paape and Tyler Paul Hudson during the four months between September and December 2020, the documentary deals with how people of various ages, faiths, skin color and sexual orientations have dealt with the events that came together in Northeast Minneapolis, in Minnesota and in the United States as a whole.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the unrest following the murder of George Floyd, the Presidential Election and  the ramifications of those events coming together made the year 2020 unique for everyone including the residents of Northeast Minneapolis. Paape and Hudson take us throughout one of the oldest neighborhoods of Minneapolis, as people are ordering takeout, catching a bus, shopping at Target or Cub Foods, or shooting hoops with their friends. The interviews they conduct with these strangers show that these people are more connected than they might realize. Even though they might not realize it, they share the same hope, fear and desire to make their community a better place.

I would strongly recommend this documentary for everyone who wants to learn about how one community survived the events of 2020 and came out stronger together.


tcff-2021-bnr

Check out my recommendations of which TCFF films to watch


Everything In The End

EverythingInTheEnd-indie-poster

The premise is quite simple; Paulo (Hugo De Sousa) has travelled from Portugal to Iceland, while still grieving from the recent death of his mother, a trip they were supposed to do together. While there, news the world has been waiting for finally arrives – earth will cease to exist in a matter of days. Unable, and somewhat hesitant to go back home to Portugal, Paulo is stranded in a small Icelandic village where not everyone speaks English, and he spends his last days wandering a delicate foreign land and encountering the people he will spend his final hours with. He makes intimate human connections with a mother and her son, bonds with another younger man with the help of a bottle of alcohol, and uses the help of a middle-aged man, who assists Paulo find his way around the Icelandic countryside. Each brief moment of human connectedness helps Paulo process his grief as he comes to accept the end.

EverythingInTheEnd-indie-film

Everything In The End is directed and written by Mylissa Fitzsimmons, in her feature directorial debut. It was shot in Iceland with a crew of seven people and beautifully showcases the quiet natural wonder of waves crashing along the shores, while also exploring subtle themes of climate change and Earths destruction through meaningful visuals. Also, the character of Paulo is written as a relatable, vulnerable and charming young man who shares in film’s main theme; who are we, as humans, as members of society and as inhabitants of this planet? The answers to those questions may not be easily told in words but the film does so by showing us that it’s the small details in life that make us human.

Everything In The End is one of my “can’t miss movies” of the 2021 Twin Cities Film Festival!


Drunk Bus

Drunk-Bus-indie-poster

This equally funny and outrageous film follows the life of Michael (Charlie Tahan), who recently graduated from college. In his mid-20s, Michael’s futures plans get derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City, and he is left stuck in Ohio without a new plan of his own. The only thing left for him to do is to continue the endless loop of driving the “Drunk Bus,” the debaucherous late-night campus shuttle that ferries drunken college students from parties to the dorms and back. After several physical altercations with drunken college students, the bus service hires a private security guard named Pinnacle (fun fact: his real life name is Pineapple Tangaroa) to watch over the night shift and keep Michael safe.

The 300-lb punk rock Samoan, whose tattooed face is impossible to forget, gives Michael a good ass-kicking to try to force him to break from his “Drunk Bus” loop and start living his own life or risk driving in circles forever. Partly a coming-of-age journey, and partially a crazy, wild night of partying, the movie finds the perfect balance between a rowdy, indulgent comedy and a poignant and heartfelt drama.

Interestingly, this movie would fit well in this year’s TCFF change maker series topic of mental wellness; because Michael’s mental state in the movie really changes 180 degrees from start to finish.


One Time Online Screening Tonight!

Check out the details + get your ticket!

americanish

Director: Iman Zawahry
Runtime: 91 Minutes

Set in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, the film follows a relatable and endearing storyline offering a fresh perspective on classic rom-com tropes. Americanish delves into the complexity of trying to both honor and break from cultural traditions while balancing personal values and career goals in a society that does not always accommodate both.


AdmitOneTicket

To learn more about TCFF or get tickets visit twincitiesfilmfest.org


FlixChatter Review: LOVE SARAH

Love Sarah poster

We all have our comfort food, whether home-cooked or high sugar/carb variety, we can always rely on to console or uplift you. Same with comfort movies, something guaranteed to have high feel-good content to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Well, LOVE SARAH is the kind of sweet, poignant drama that can be described as my kind of comfort movies… and in this case, the sweetness also comes in the form of all those scrumptious baked goods featured in the film!

LoveSarah-cast

You know the saying how ‘an end can also be a beginning’… well, this movie starts off with a tragic loss that affects three different women. A friend, a daughter and a mother all mourn the loss of the title character. There’s the friend, Isabella (Shelley Conn) who has been waiting in front of what’s supposed to be the new space of their new bakery on the day Sarah dies in a bicycle accident. Then there’s Sarah’s mother Mimi (Celia Imrie) who’s in the middle of writing a letter when she hears the door bell rings with two policemen standing outside. Meanwhile, her daughter Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet) comes home from a dance rehearsal only to be dumped by her boyfriend, leading her to crash at the now-empty would-be bakery and later staying with her grandmother.

LoveSarah-bakery-openingday

It’s while she was staying with her grandma Mimi that Clarissa comes up with the idea to fulfill her dead mother’s dream of opening her own bakery. Despite Clarissa’s unbridled enthusiasm, Isabella is reluctant to start it up again… understandably so, given how devastating it was to see their original plan just shattered to pieces when her best friend passed. Mimi somehow agrees to fund the venture, so voila! the Notting Hill bakery is born. They even enlisted a Michelin-star-winning chef Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones), an old classmate of Sarah and Isabella in culinary school.

I was immediately charmed by this movie, directed by Eliza Schroeder who’s credited with the story though its screenplay is credited to Jake Brunger. Now, the film has a certain dream-like quality, but it’s realistic enough to depict the reality of a new enterprise. People weren’t exactly lining up to get a piece of the delectable concoction featured on the store window on their first week, which means they have to get creative. For a film about a bakery, they sure don’t skimp on the scrumptious, drool-worthy treats.

LoveSarah-desserts

It got even more mouth-watering when Mimi proposed to transform their bakery to feature desserts from all over the world. Inspired by a delivery man from a Baltic region, she realizes the fact that London is such a big multi-cultural city filled with immigrants from various nations. Soon the bakery became the place where non-English residents can feel a little bit at home while enjoying their favorite treats from their home country. What a splendid idea, it made me wish there were a similar bakery like this exist near me! I love the baking process as Isabella and Matthew constantly learn how to create intricate desserts from places like Lisbon, Australia, Denmark, Japan, etc.

LoveSarah-CeliaImrie

I know that inclusivity and diversity in movies is on the rise and while that’s a wonderful thing, I also dread it when we’re hit over the head with it. Thankfully the celebration of different cultures here feels organic and natural with the worldwide baked goods practically are characters in themselves in the movie. Speaking of characters, I also love the cast! Celia Imrie and Rupert Penry-Jones are perhaps the most known to US audiences and they’re both memorable here, but I love Shelley Conn as a romantic lead. The romance between Isabella and Matthew might be predictable but they such a palpable chemistry. I also love how the entire ensemble mesh well together and effortlessly makes you root for them and this project.

LoveSarah-Shelley-Rupert

Love Sarah is a love letter to anyone who’s ever had a big dream or lost someone dear… it’s also a heartfelt story about second chances that should be relatable to anyone. I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve seen a good rom-com, plus the setting in one of my favorite European city always makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It might not be quite as witty nor bewitching as Richard Curtis’ movies, but it’s certainly got loads of charm and soothing quality that wins me over. I would’ve happily seen this on the big screen had this been released in US cinemas, but since it’s on HULU, I’m glad I can always revisit it.

3.5/5 Reels


Have you seen LOVE SARAH? I’d love to hear what you think!

FlixChatter Review: WANDER DARKLY (2020)

The story of Wander Darkly centers on new parents Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna), who are suddenly forced to deal with a traumatic incident amidst their troubled relationship. In fact, the characters are in right in the middle of an argument when an accident happens. It wouldn’t be a spoiler to say that the film deals heavily with themes of death and existence, as it’s been revealed the trailer and the promos.

It’s never clear though if the characters walk among the living or the dead, particularly in regards to Adrienne. Is she dead or isn’t she? The film weaves in and out of ‘cinematic consciousness’ if you will, as you’re not quite sure what’s real and what’s in the character’s head. Adrienne is seemingly stuck in purgatory as she sees her physical body in the hospital gurney. But then Matteo ‘joins’ her and he’s hellbent in convincing her she is still alive.

The film shows various montages of the couple revisiting memories of their past. Again, I don’t know if these are memories or actual flashback of their lives together, from the time the first met, that is their ‘honeymoon’ state even though they’re not married. In fact, the fact that they’re not married is one of the point of constant argument and it’s clear Adrienne is quite resentful of the fact that Matteo never proposed.

Miller and Luna have a wonderful chemistry and the two talented actors gave their all to their respective roles. They are believable as mis-matched couple who struggle to make things work, taking us on their emotional roller-coaster. Though the couple seems in love, but they constantly bicker and at times their arguments get pretty heated as they lash out at each other. There’s a certain distrust between them that’s played out in a pretty realistic way, given how chummy Matteo is with a sexy female ‘friend’ of his. Matteo is not exactly portrayed like a Don Juan type, but he doesn’t exactly assures his girlfriend and mother of his child of his fidelity.

Glad to see Luna portray a non-stereotypical Mexican man (at least not the kind that’s often portrayed in Hollywood) and this is the first time I see him in a dramatic role. I also appreciate that the filmmakers honor his heritage, as there are scenes during the Day of the Dead, which is a Mexican holiday. I haven’t seen Miller in too many dramatic leading roles either, but she’s quite convincing here in a deeply-emotional performance. You could say Adrienne is the heart and soul of the movie and her heartbreak is quite heart-wrenching. Adrienne becomes almost lifeless at times, perhaps the filmmaker’s trying to illustrate that she’s been ‘dead inside’ the whole time, I’m not sure. The bit of her watching a zombie movie is a bit on the nose, but it’s one of those rare droll moments in this film.

I read that writer/director Tara Miele had suffered a car crash that became the inspiration for the film. Interestingly, and perhaps that’s how these talents end up working together, Luna’s mother died when he was only two in a car accident, so this story is clearly a personal one for the two of them. The car crash itself, and the moment leading up to it is quite nightmarish to watch, even though you knew it’s going to happen.

This is pretty heavy movie told in a non-linear way from start to finish, which made the relatively brisk 1.5 hour running time feels much longer. We spend practically the entire film with just two characters who aren’t exactly likable, filled with constant bickering between them, as well as the resentments towards Adrienne’s mother (Beth Grant). Now, I don’t mind slower movies, and I think the non-conventional storytelling style gives this movie an edge. I just wish there’s a bit of levity or sense of humor to give us a break from the constant dread and somber tones. It doesn’t help that the cinematography also looks too dark at times. I guess it’s possible that the filmmakers are trying purposely making things feel disoriented as that’s how the characters are feeling, but it doesn’t exactly make it a pleasant viewing.

At times the film felt experimental, which is fine in and of itself but it doesn’t always work well here. The visual transitions between the two worlds Adrienne is seemingly trapped in gets confusing at times, which adds to the frustration. There’s also one particular scene towards the end that feels like an unnecessary jump scare, which feels at odds with the rest of the film.

That said, I always appreciate seeing a film about love, especially a character-driven one that’s poignant and heartfelt. I commend Miele for taking such a harrowing personal experience of her car crash into an art form. I’m not familiar with her work, but this is her fourth feature film and she’s also done directing work for TV series (Hawaii Five-O, Arrow). She’s definitely a talented filmmaker who can bring out fantastic performances out of her cast. I’d love to see more of her work in the future.

Have you seen WANDER DARKLY? Well, what did you think?

Netflix’s The Old Guard (2020)

I’ve been excited for this film since its trailer dropped last May… luckily, unlike theatrical releases that’s getting delayed indefinitely [even those as huge as Chris Nolan’s TENET], a Netflix release is a guarantee.

The Old Guard centers on a covert team of immortal mercenaries who’ve been living for centuries. First, we meet the group’s leader, Andromache of Scythia or Andy for short, played with her usual graceful-yet-badass self by Charlize Theron. She’s channeling her Mad Max: Fury Road‘s Furiosa here in her taciturn yet caring nature. Soon she’s reunited with three other members of the group, Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli).

They get hired by former CIA operative Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to rescue kidnapped children in South Suddan. Given that this tight-knit group’s been fighting to protect the mortal world for centuries, this sort of mission is definitely right in their wheelhouse. As it turns out, it wasn’t as much a mission as it is a trap which expose not only who they are, but what they’re capable of. While on the run, the group discovers through visions/dreams that there’s another immortal warrior out there in the world, and Andy promptly sets out to find her.

I particularly like the interaction between Theron and Kiki Layne (who was terrific in If Beale Street Could Talk) as US Marine Nile Freeman, who’s not exactly easy to convince to join the group. Nile has her own mind and naturally has a ton of questions about her own identity/ability and about this new group she’s being recruited into. There are plenty of fight scenes in this flick, but the one on the plane between Andy and Nile are pretty exciting to watch, which also serves to tell the story as Nile discovers just how powerful she is.

I like that The Old Guard isn’t so much an origin story… Greg Rucka, the author of the graphic novel who also penned the script, doesn’t reveal every backstory of the characters. In fact, Andy’s been living–and dying over and over again–for so long she could barely remember how old she is. There are moments when the characters reveal how they met. Andy and Booker met during the Crusades, while Joe and Nicky were one time enemies who actually [tried to] kill each other before they became lovers. It’s a fantastical, mythical story involving people with superhuman abilities, yet still feels grounded somehow.

The direction by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights) is thrilling but not bombastic. I mean, she’s not afraid to shoot some bloody, brutal fight scenes where Theron gets to hack multiple guys with her Medieval battle axe in a dance-like motion. But she also peppers the film with some quiet, introspective moments as the characters ponder on their immortality and how it’s not as easy as we mere mortals think it is. The nomadic lifestyle, the endless loss of loved ones they constantly have to say good bye to as they go on living… these are themes that are explored well here. Films dealing with characters living forever have addressed this before, but yet here it feels really personal and organic. The scene between Booker and Nile is quite heartfelt, with Schoenaerts giving his all, is a testament to how committed all the actors were in their roles. Joe’s declaration of love to Nicky is perhaps a first for a LGBT character in a superhero film of this scale.

Relative newcomer Kiki Layne, who hasn’t done a big action flick before, is quite believable here in her role. Nile is the one with the conscience, as she struggles to kill people the way the group’s done effortlessly for hundreds of years. It’s consistent with her faith in God that she’s shared briefly on the plane with Andy… even when it’s time for her to save the day, i.e. the scene of her in the elevator before the big showdown, she doesn’t lose her humanity despite her super-heroic ability.

Now, the film isn’t flawless however. While the immortal superheroes have intriguing character arc, their nemesis Merrick is your typical greedy pharma exec with a Mark Zuckerberg complex (complete w/ his hoodie-wearing wardrobe). I’ve never seen Harry Melling before but I think he’s miscast as he looks about as threatening as a meerkat. Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s Copley is morally ambivalent, he’s a man driven by a tragic past which leads to a misguided ‘solution.’ I’ve always liked seeing him in films, though he doesn’t get to do very much here.

Speaking of Ejiofor, I read an article earlier this week where he’s quoted as saying that he’s ‘…envious of Charlize Theron’s ability to tell narrative through physicality’ I have to say that it truly a gift not many actors possesses, but the South African native certainly does and she uses it well! There’s a scene in the beginning where the camera followed Andy simply walking in the streets, through a corridor, etc. All we see is the back of her head but yet we’re transfixed by her graceful yet confident style.

The big showdown at the end is kind of a mixed bag. I think the fight scenes are good, albeit with the use of contemporary songs doesn’t always work well. I didn’t completely hate it, but I wish they’d just stick to a dynamic score instead. The finale is left open-ended for a sequel, which involves a pretty important character shown in one of the longer backstory of the lead. I’m actually down to see more of this action fantasy, especially if they can retain the same director and cast. Hopefully they’d improve the music choices the next time around and find a more formidable foe worthy of these bad-ass immortal warriors.

Given that other female-directed/female-led action flicks like Wonder Woman and Black Widow are delayed this year, The Old Guard fills the void quite nicely. It’s got a heart as big as the big action pieces, and I’m sure glad to see a group of bad-ass superheroes with such a diverse cast.


Have you seen The Old Guard? Well, what did you think?

Trailer Spotlight: Netflix’s The Old Guard (2020)

Happy Thursday!! It’s rather gloomy here where I live, so it’s nice to see something that gets the juices flowing. Definitely something to look forward to July 10 as that’s the date it’ll drop on Netflix, yay!

A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered.

I’m not always excited for Netflix Original Movies, I mean I haven’t seen Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction, and probably never will. But there’s SO much going for it here that makes me yell ‘yeah!!’ even as I’m watching the trailer 😀

I do love Charlize Theron in action movies. She’s great as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road and also in Atomic Blonde, she looks believable here too as Andy (is that a nickname??) the leader of immortal mercenaries who’ve been fighting to protect the mortal world for centuries. As if they weren’t bad-ass enough by the looks of it, they’re also very hard to kill! Dayum, I certainly don’t want to be on their wrong side!

I LOVE the director too, Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights), glad to see her doing an action genre! It’s apparently based on a 5-part graphic novel of the same name by Greg Rucka. Now, as for the rest of the cast, we’ve got Kiki Layne who’s lovely in If Beale Street Could Talk, and three of my fave Euro actors who are all verrry easy on the eyes: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthias Schoenaerts and Marwan Kenzari.

I’m intrigued by the concept that they’re immortals. Who are The Old Guard and why they sent ancient warrior Andy to recruit the team? How do they get the immortal ability? Why are they protecting the mortals? And why they seemingly always in hiding/on the run? There’s a quick blurb about the group could potentially be weaponized, and looks like Ejiofor is their enemy here, it’s not clear exactly who his character is. One thing for sure, looks like even he’s shaking in his boots when the Old Guard are near!

Well, based on the trailer, I really can’t wait to see this!


What do you think of this trailer?