Tag: Foreign

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes

Sometimes I don’t even know how I get screeners. I have a few sources, they are usually the same as the ones that invite me to the theater to see movies ahead of time. But I can get on other press lists accidentally, from lesser known companies, and hey, I appreciate it. Sure, let me see your movies I might have never heard of without this email.

And I do try to watch most of these movies, because they asked me to, but I will say sometimes these foreign movies I ignore if it doesn’t pique my interest.

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a Japanese movie that DEFINITELY piqued my interest. A one-shot take film that involves time travel? Fuuuuuuuuuuucking sign me up right goddamn now.

lottery
The future is wild and it has answers, damn it!

Kato (Kazunari Tosa) is a café owner/worker in Japan, who also happens to live in an apartment right over the shop. It is very convenient, and I believe this is common in Japan. To have various businesses/shops on the ground level, and apartment/homes on the floors above it. Not everyone gets to work and live in the same exact building though, so he is lucky.

Speaking of luck, while he is in his room looking for his guitar pick, he looks on his TV and sees something strange. It is himself, but it is not a reflection, as it has the inside of the café as the background. What?

The man on the TV, you know, himself, has a message for Kato. There is a time delay between the monitors, and he is two minutes in the future. They have a quick back and forth before Kato urges himself to quickly get downstairs so he can do the same conversation, but now with his past self. And that is just the start of these strange two minute delay messages. Talking to yourself from the future, and then talking to yourself from the past. When more people get involved, they wonder if there is a way to make money off of this, and if they can go even further into the future.

Also starring Masashi Suwa, Yoshifumi Sakai, Takashi Sumita, Haruki Nakagawa, Munenori Nagano, Chikara Honda, Gôta Ishida, Riko Fujitani, and Aki Asakura.

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Two minutes. What can be done in two minutes?!
Goddamn it, this movie is an experience and a wonder. How? And how? are some of the questions I had while watching. I didn’t have to ask “What is going on?” because they did a fantastic job of explaining the set up, and showing the set up, and building it up gradually in order for the viewers to understand it along with the characters experiencing this phenomenon.

The first similar film from recent years that came to mind was One Cut of the Dead, and while looking up more information for this movie, I saw a lot of other reviewers making the same comparison, so I know it is a universal comparison amongst those who have seen both and that is a good film to be compared to. I would say Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes is a film with the most ingenuity and audacity to attempt something so amazing.

Look. It is a one-take film. But also, it has to have the actors talking to themselves. That means they did pre-record scenes to play on monitors, but they had to pre-record both sides of the scenes, and then make sure the one-shot version didn’t have any mess ups in the conversation. Because if the dialogue or the delivery is different, we would be able to notice that in the film, as we already saw the dialogue once. In other one-shot take films, they can have some improv or mistakes, but this didn’t really allow that.

And to keep the time consistent? Such a short window to pick, it made this film feel very tense as the characters themselves also feel trapped and predetermined to take certain actions. It has a good run time, around 70 minutes, just enough to tell the interesting story, have it grow, and give us some amazing moments. The final confrontation and walk up to it was so great and again, unbelievable in terms of how they planned this whole thing.

I can’t talk enough about just how wonderfully this film was crafted, how much planning went into it, and how I cannot fathom how they got the idea or even pulled the damn thing. It is mind blowing and it will remain mind blowing.

I don’t know when this movie would be released in America, or how. But whenever that happens, do yourself a favor and set aside a time for your mind to be blown.

4 out of 4.

Final Account

Final Account was directed by Luke Holland, a man who likely have never heard of before. He has directed two documentaries before this one, in the 1993 and in 2000, and this one he finished production in the first half of 2020, after a decade of work and interviews. And then he passed away in June, soon after, before the documentary would premier anywhere.

That is very sad of course, but not the first time this has happened. Just sure hope it is good, you know?

Final Account actually has a very cheery subject matter. Nazis! A relic of the past and yet something so modern and relevant, yay.

Specifically, this documentary features interviews from German citizens who were part of Hitler’s Third Reich movement in Germany. Most of the people involved are dead now, it being 80 years ago roughly at this point. So the people who are still alive and who were involved tend to be the youth who were caught up in the movement, with their Hitler Youth camps and so on. I am sure their memories of World War II and all of that will be just swell.

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Those are some weak ass Hitler salutes. What are you, kids?

There isn’t a lot to say when it comes to the plot of this documentary of course. Here are people who did some Nazi stuff, and here are their stories. Their reasoning behind getting involved. What they believed, or at least, what today they will say they believe. You aren’t going to get a lot of old people in here saying “Oh yeah, Hitler was the best, we should have won the war!” or anything like that. Instead we have people who have lived long lives since then, dealing with guilt, regret, sadness, and hopefully, growth.

Although some of their stories are quite powerful, and they are stories that should have been recorded down and preserved, it still doesn’t necessarily make a great documentary.

Documentaries should teach and put a spotlight on something happening or that happened in the world. It should feature people involved. And this one definitely does these things. But is the type of thing that makes a worth while watch for an hour and a half?

Really, this type of documentary is the type that you have to know you are getting in to. If this sounds like a good watch, you will likely enjoy it. If you couldn’t care any less about what these people have to say, then watching it won’t change your mind either.

I can think something is important, but not necessarily worth while documentary material. It could just be videos on YouTube. Or a collection of interviews in a book. But not really a theatrical experience one would worry about.

2 out of 4.

Here Are The Young Men

Click here for an interview with the director, Eion Macken. 

I keep getting the name of this movie wrong, Here Are The Young Men. This is a movie title based on a book of the same name. It is set in Ireland and I certainly have never heard or seen that book before.

However, I keep writing it as Here Come The Young Men. Slightly different, if not a little bit porn-y. That is actually the name of a song though. Unfortunately, I have never heard that song in my life, not even now that it has come up on my google searches a lot. At this point it’d be me admitting defeat.

Instead, let me rush right into this coming of age story. Or should it be an are-ing of age story?

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Ah good, my crew, my blokes, my entourage.

Dublin is a fun place, assuming you live in Dublin or want to go to Dublin. It is probably not a fun place if you feel like you are stuck there and want to leave.

This story focuses on three friends, right out of high school and ready for the last best summer of their lives. This is the last summer where they might have the freedoms they do, and they get to do it as adults. Matthew (Dean-Charles Chapman) as our lead, Rez (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), and Kearney (Finn Cole) who can be a bit of an extremist.

Their goal is to party harder than they ever have before. Nothing is off the table. Booze, drugs, booze and drugs, clubs, women, all of that, within reason. Only the girls part is within reason, because Matthew actually has a girlfriend (Anya Taylor-Joy). Everything else can be unreasonable. Heck, there can also be acts of vandalism and violence, if the feeling is right.

But this summer is not going to be one without strife, as the friend group also finds that not everything is necessarily alright with the members, and sometimes you got to cut people out of your lives if you want to grow as a person.

Also starring Conleth Hill, Emmett J Scanlan, and Travis Fimmel.

ATJ
“Anya Taylor-Joy is so hot right now. ” – Jacobim Mugatu

To be honest, most people who stumble across this movie are going to do it because Taylor-Joy is in the film and is on a huge rise of popularity now. Which is great to see, but where were you all during The Witch and Split? These films were popular too, not even obscure indie films. That was my main reason for wanting to watch it. I always get curious if a big name in it is actually in the film in a meaningful way, or a couple of scenes and then heavily advertised. Taylor-Joy is the fourth most important character in this film, maybe third most even, but not a prominent character in a lot of scenes either.

Come for the Taylor-Joy, stay for the main two men. Cole and Chapman are both individuals who have been in things that people watch to varying degrees, but probably rarely given this much screen time before this point. They do both give strong performances, in very different ways.

I really loved the final scenes in the club. Once Where Do I Begin hit, it felt like the perfect song for that moment, and the whole film was totally on point as for that moment. While it  does nail the ending, I will say the chaotic way this film was edited and structured did leave me a bit more in the dark on the journey. The repeated talk show interruptions, while I understand their point, didn’t do as much as they probably hoped they would, and definitely began to leave a sour taste in my mouth. Those parts of the movie were the ones where I began to gloss over and lose interest.

Not a standard coming of age story in terms of how it is shot, and the lessons learned are ones most people don’t have to ever learn, thankfully. The chaotic story is shot in chaotic ways, with a real grungy feel at times, which  help enhance the story more than hurt. But at the same time, it is easy to get lost in the chaos at points and wait for a more structured return.

2 out of 4.

Stray

This is a very important issue to talk about. Did you know that packs of stray wild dogs control most of the cities in North America? It’s true, I saw it in a PSA.

But in Istanbul, there are also lots of stray dogs. And cats. You may have known about the cats, thanks to the documentary Kedi from 2016. It was just about some stray cats, doing cat things in Istanbul and observing their world as we observed them. People loved it. I didn’t review it. I watched it, and I might have liked it? I honestly don’t know. I definitely liked the idea of it.

So why am I talking about dogs? Because the movie Stray is coming out now, five years later. It is about…dogs! In Turkey! Same deal! Just three of them though, as they wander and we over hear other people and just see how they hang out and do dog things. I hope none of them get in trouble during the filming of this documentary.

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How could they get in trouble when they are all good boys? 

So what’s life like for three little Doggo’s in the middle east? Since there are laws protecting them, not much. No dog catchers to ruin their days like so many American films. Just living their best live, with fleas, and dog bros, and food where they can find it.

Despite a 70 minute run time, I still found myself quite bored with the whole thing. And maybe that is all on me. The documentary is definitely about what it said it would be about. It also has some random quotes about dogs throughout, and subtitles so we can also overhear some  conversations.

My problem is that they apparently filmed the dogs over a two year period. But if this is the best material they got after two years, I am just shocked. If they are going for an average day look at their lives, they should only spend a day and give it to us straight, not edited to look normal. It just….it lacks a purpose for me. I don’t get anything out of it. I don’t think I understand more about the world around me, or about human nature at all.

Instead it just fleeting images of the lives of stray dogs in a country I have never been. And again, that is exactly what was advertised, but I still find myself surprised at the results. You might like it for a hardcore chill film. But if you don’t want to chill, and are hoping for anything more, you will find yourself disappointed like me.

1 out of 4.

Earwig and the Witch

Here it comes! Studio Ghibli has crossed a line many animation companies have already crossed. They have made a CGI movie. Will they fully cross over and become completely CGI? They were probably the last major holdout that was doing a more traditional look for all of their animated releases.

And I already hate it. I will admit, looking at the stills/trailer for Earwig and the Witch, I didn’t have high hopes for the film. It doesn’t look  great at all. The animation levels look like a small independent company doing their first film ever, that happens to be CGI. Not a pretty successful animation company trying CGI. They have money, they can make it look better.

But alas, I have been iffy on Studio Ghibli movies lately anyways. I have been having a hard time getting into their whimsy and mystery. Maybe this one will fix it?

plane
Spoilers: It wont. 
Earwig (Taylor Henderson) was left on the porch of an orphanage as a baby, from a mysterious woman. They didn’t like that her name was Earwig, and apparently from a witch, so they figured they would hide that latter fact and also call her Erica Wig.

Ten years later, she is a bit of a terror in the orphanage. She does what she wants, she whines and complains, and she knows she wont be adopted ever, so she is biding her time. That is until a scary lady, Bella Yaga (Vanessa Marshall) and a tall scary guy, The Mandrake (Richard E. Grant) waltz in and totally pick her. But why?

Well, Bella Yaga is a witch, she could sense the witchy-ness in Earwig, and she needed an extra set of hands for potion making. Earwig thinks she will learn how to do magic and will totally help out! Turns out that Bella has absolutely no intention of making it pleasant for Earwig, or teaching her magic. Just someone to gather ingredients.

Ah, this new situation sucks. Who would have known that you can just adopt a kid to get a house worker?

Also featuring the voices of Kacey Musgraves, Logan Hannan, and Dan Stevens as a cat.

spystuff
“Damn, that’s a huge witch.”
There are quite a few problems with Earwig and the Witch. And honestly, the CGI is probably the least of its concerns. The CGI is still not great and notably average or below average throughout the movie, but it is not the biggest cause of concern.

Band plot – Worthless. Check out this poster graphic for the film. It is the most common form of advertisement I saw. It definitely does not represent this film. There is a brief band plot, involving history, the witch, mandrake, and Earwig’s mom. And it goes absolutely no where. It certainly doesn’t end up with them all being a band together with Earwig the lead vocals. This poster makes it look like a musical or band movie or anything, and it certainly is not. It teases some of these elements, and never does anything useful with them.

Earwig – She has no growth in this film. She is put into a trial to overcome and succeeds. The problem is, she started as a do whatever she wants child, and the movie ends the same, although definitely worse. No lessons learned. It is a terrible message. When she kept repeatedly calling the cat by her old friend’s name, I assumed it was some twist about the old friend being the cat. But no, they are two different entities. She is just a shitty kid who doesn’t care about the names of who she is talking to. They made a kids movie about a shitty kid.

The ending – By far, this is likely going to be the worst ending of a movie I have seen all year. I can easily imagine this movie making my worst list, and it is far too early to know where it land. But holy shit, this ending is such a waste.

SPOILERS ON THE ENDING. SPOILERS ON THE ENDING. Okay, here it is…It just ends! After some changes with magic occur, we get some weird time jumps, and it feels like the last hour of movie should have taken like 20-30 minutes max. It feels like the movie is about to start and do the main plot. And then with the a door opening and a mom arising, the movie is like, lololol credits. It makes absolutely no sense to have an ending there. It is like we got a prologue of an eventual story, but one I will never seek out, because of being dicked around in this film.

I hope this movie continues to get blasted, because it is truly really bad. And I hope Studio Ghibli doesn’t look at this and blame it on the CGI. Because sure, it is bad, and if it helps not make more like this, then that is swell. But fix the goddamn narrative structure, because this movie is absolutely a waste of anyone’s time who decides to watch it.

0 out of 4.

Cuties

Fuck Ted Cruz.

Okay, I am jumping the gun, I will get on that later.

Cuties is a French film that premiered earlier in 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival before all of (gestures around) this stuff happened. It got some awards, good audience remarks, whatever. That doesn’t mean much, people at Sundance sometimes love movies way, way, way too much.

Netflix won the bid for distribution rights, so it came out on the platform this week. That is not before drawing controversy, by releasing a poster for the film, very much more risque and uncomfortable than the French release poster of the same film. It really did one thing, which was enable controversy about the movie, and get people talking, so maybe that “gaff” was intentional. It was a pretty shitty move overall.

Because now the public perception of what this movie is about, versus what the film is actually saying, is at odds, and that is a grey matter pit where Ted Cruz likes to flourish.

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This is little girls judging you, Ted.

Amy (Fathia Youssouf) does not live an ideal life. She is an 11 year old girl, living in a poor apartment in Paris, with her mother (Maïmouna Gueye) and two younger brothers. She is from Senegal, where her father is at that point, because he is getting a second wife. He is waiting to bring her back to Paris to live in the same house as his first wife and kids, and that makes things very awkward for Amy, who for sure does not like that idea at all.

Amy was raised extremely religious conservative by the standards of Paris, being from another culture, so she feels repressed. When she sees another girl in her building (Médina El Aidi-Azouni) dancing and dressing up, despite also being 11, she is curious. There is a group of these girls (Esther Gohourou, Ilanah Cami-Goursolas, Myriam Hamma) who are popular and fun, and sure mean, but they got style and they like to dance. Amy wants to be in that group, she wants to be free and she wants to explore life!

Well, these girls are a dance troupe and they look up to dance troupes of older women, and those women have provocative costumes and provocative moves, so of course they need to have them too!

Amy has to decide what she wants to do and how far she wants to go, to fit in, to exploit her own self, just to find her own sense of freedom, self worth, and to maybe have friends?

Also featuring Mbissine Thérèse Diop.

posers
We technically find out early on that they classify as posers.

Fuck Ted Cruz. Wait, no, jumping ahead still slightly.

First let us talk about the controversy. The girls in this film are imitating adults they find as popular and fun, so they are imitating their dance moves. At one point a girl takes a picture of her vagina area to post on the internet, and we do not see any aspect of that picture or her actually naked on camera. The girls also talk about penises at one point. That is what I remember.

So the controversy is really over dancing. And that involves twerking, which is apparently the scariest thing known to man since that Miley Cyrus thing. First off, get over it. Second, yes, the dance moves that involve gyrating hips, thrusts, and being on the ground are MEANT to make you uncomfortable, because yes, it is uncomfortable scenes and that is what the damn movie is going for.

It doesn’t take Sherlock to be able to figure out that the movie is not promoting the sexualization of minors, but quite the opposite. The idea of putting young girls in revealing outfits, for dances, for pageants, or whatever, is for some reason still a controversial issue that a lot of people like to ignore, but does and can lead to some bad things. The director, Maïmouna Doucouré, believes women should be in charge of their own bodies AND that kids should be kids without worrying about predators and growing up too fast. They can both be true points.

For the people flipping out over a movie (Which again, partially Netflix’s response thanks to their poster choices of showing the girls in their final outfits, versus just playing dress up and frolicking), but haven’t cared about any of this before seems awkward. The movie shouldn’t be punished, it is the culture that they should be angry about it because this isn’t just some fiction film. This is stuff that is happening, and people can actively be helping change that in their own communities.

I am trying to write this in a way that doesn’t say something actively stupid, but I think I keep going back and forth. I personally don’t care at all about twerking. It is just another dance style after plenty more that caused people to clutch pearls, and eventually people will likely get over it too. I am not saying kids can’t twerk, I am just noting that those angry about what amounts to just dance moves and does not harm the actresses in the movie are ridiculous.

And again, if you are uncomfortable, that is the point, let’s work on making our kids feel like they can be kids until they are forced to be adults. You all are adults reading this, you probably hate it. Don’t make them grow up fast if you want yourself to be able to go back.

So why Fuck Ted Cruz? Because he hasn’t seen this movie, you know he hasn’t, he just read a report, and wants the Department of Justice to claim that Netflix is distributing child pornography, to rile up his older conservative constituents. What the hell is wrong with you man. The point is like at Jupiter levels away over your head at this point.

Also, in general, it is very good story about cultures clashing and how to deal with problems in your home, and how a girl badly tries to make friends to end her own struggles. That is important to note too.

3 out of 4.

Through Greenland (Gennem Grønland)

Greenland. Green. Land. Greeeeenland.

A country with a lot of mystery, because honestly, they don’t have an army and don’t affect the world in any other way that makes us look at them. That isn’t a bad thing. Just somewhat of a truth. People hear about Greenland mostly when we hear about melting ice sheets and similar topics and that is bad.

Enter Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. You may know him as Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones. You may know him from Black Hawk Down, you may even know him from Wimbledon!

He has a history with this country, but also knows little about it. His dad worked here in the 1980’s away from their home in Denmark, and his wife (Nukâka) is a Greenlander, also an actress and a former Miss Greenland. So he has been to the country, he has met with her family and friends, but he hasn’t really experienced all of what the country has to offer.

So in this five part mini-series, that is what Nikolaj is going to do. Experience the shit out of Greenland. He wants to go Through Greenland, which yes, is the name of the thing.

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Regardless of content, it is a bitchin’ graphic to open the show.

At five episodes with around 45 minutes an episode, there is a lot of Nikolaj to go around. It is spread over a longer period of time of course, with various people he knows acting as camera men and guides along the way. He is visiting towns and communities, both small and really small. A military base! Schools! And places far from the communities as well. The ice sheets to spend the night, to go on a long arduous hunting trip and more.

Nikolaj has always cared about climate change and so it is clear another reason for this series is to focus on the changes that are affecting Greenland that are notable to the residents, who can attest to the melts.

And if you want your content to be in Danish, then I have good news for you. This is a lot more Danish than I expected. It started out misleading, since the first thing he did was go to an American military base, but after that it goes a lot out of the window. I can’t tell you if it is mostly in Danish or Greenlandic, but maybe our host knows the latter and thus naturally can communicate anywhere on the island.

This small docu-series is not going to change the world. But it does offer some insight to a country that is often ignored for its human population. When we speak of Greenland, we speak of ice and emptiness, and ignore that it has its own communities, customs, and ways of life. So it is good that something is putting a stamp on it.

It features Nikolaj going the whole Greenland experience, I don’t recall him saying no to anything really. And it really shows those details which might be a curse or a blessing. I feel at times we spend a lot longer on a scene than necessary, or conversation. As a viewer, you may wonder if they didn’t want to do too much editing? That becomes the problem. If they edited it down, then we wouldn’t see the real country. But then they’d also need more content to fill five episodes. I hope the goal was to showcase the country and then give it the episodes they felt represented their footage, and make it a goal specifically to just pad it to five episodes.

Oh well. Two-Handed Jamie Lannister does manly and impressive things in nature with friends. That is what most people might take away from this.

2 out of 4.

One Cut of the Dead

One Cut of the Dead is a Japanese independent film from the last year or years, it is hard to say. It has had a weird road to distribution.

Made with mostly unknown actors and for a ridiculously cheap budget, it made back over 1,000 times its investment, which is a pretty goddamn unheard of percent for movies. I know it was hitting festivals and getting a lot of good buzz, and then at one point it was…put on Amazon!

But, it wasn’t supposed to be put on Amazon. Someone had an older unfinished copy, and just put it on Amazon prime for free. Did you know you can just do that? It is apparently really easy. And one it was on Amazon, many people rushed out to see it, and tell other’s to see it because it was a critical darling. The same day, news came out that the people who own it didn’t upload it, it was unfinished copy, and to please not watch it while it was worked out.

Well shit. That kind of screwed over a lot of things.

Anyways, at this point it is on amazon again, but for money, and the right version. So you can watch it and feel confident someone involved is getting money for it.

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Like this guy who is holding the camera!

One man had a vision. Director Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu) had the idea for a zombie film, an idea that would be so scary and amazing. But his shitty actors were not giving him enough emotion.

We are talking take, after take, after take, and it just is not good enough for the director.

So while he went to go cool down, and the actors relaxed and got to know each other, normal stuff between takes. But something odd happened. Some sounds from the outside. Some…limbs from outside. Oh shit, real zombies! in the middle of their zombie film!

Now the director can get some real emotions out of his cast.

Also starring Yuzuki Akiyama, Harumi Shuhama, Kazuaki Nagaya, Hiroshi Ichihara, and Mao.

bloody
Those zombies aren’t going to double kill themselves!
One Cut of The Dead is a unique film, there is no one who can deny that. In fact, it is so unique, it is also equally hard to even talk about it because it is a film that should be discovered, not spoiled.

And yes, the idea of spoiling can be kicked around enough, but trust us, the critics, me, when we say, just gotta go in some times to see the journey.

I couldn’t believe what the film managed to do and convey. It is extremely impressive, given the lack of budget or names involved, even from a Foreign film perspective. It required a lot of work. It required planning. And it required people who were creative as fuck. People who really had a vision and executed it perfectly.

One Cut of the Dead is a comedy more than a horror, and it will be hard to find something more unique than it before or after for awhile. Not even an American remake will likely be as unique. [As of writing, no plans for American remake, but sorry for jinxing it should it change in the future].

It is definitely an experience, and I watched it directly after Train to Busan! A very different foreign zombie film that is top notch in very differeny ways. And yet, this one still was able to stand out on its own.

4 out of 4.

Les Misérables (2019)

Do you hear the people screen, screening the films of Academy? They are watching all the foreign films that might take home a win!

Even if they share a name, with other films going for the same!

And if it gets the nom, and goes up for an award, it will likely lose to Parasite all the same!

I hope you sang that. Here is a French film not based on but named after the French book, Les Misérables.

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Shit, they even got Jean Valjean in this.
Stéphane Ruiz (Damien Bonnard) is a country man, moving to the big city. He was a cop, and is still a cop. But there are a lot of differences out there compared to the big city of Paris. We have a lot of groups here. Immigrants, various religions, the poor. Ruiz is about to work in one of the worst and hardest districts out there, but not without some training.

He is to follow around Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djibril Zonga), partners who have been running the day shift for quite some time. They don’t report every crime, no, they are here for relationship buildings. They simmer down the tensions between the various groups. They fix the growing insecurities and shake down when they need to, skirting the edge between legal and illegal.

Ruiz definitely doesn’t like the cut of Chris’ jib, but he has to go along with it. Harassing young people, dealing with criminals, all of that. And then eventually, while actually doing something potentially right, the men get overrun by the youth who are just trying to protect a friend. Then something bad occurs, and it occurs on film.

So now they have limited time to try and fix it, before maybe all hell breaks lose with the factions.

Also starring Issa Perica, Al-Hassan Ly, Almamy Kanouté, Steve Tientcheu, and Nizar Ben Fatma.

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The body armor shows they are cops. That’s all it takes in Paris.

The film took me awhile to really grasp. I read only a little bit about it, and it said it was based or inspired on some riots in Paris in 2005. So naturally I assumed it would take place in 2005 and be those riots, but no, it takes place in modern times. We got iPhones, drones, and all of that.

I didn’t know anything about these riots in 2005, and I still technically don’t know anything about them now. There is one scene where it is mentioned, and that is it. But we do have some riots in this film near the end, but presumably on a much smaller scale.

I was also lost a little bit culturally, as getting all of the references and tensions between various groups didn’t come naturally. At one point the dick cop is making references to modern day Paris and the book Les Miserables, and the puns or jokes he was making didn’t make a lick of sense.

However, despite that, we do have a lot of tense, edge of your seat moments. I enjoyed the drama and the dilemmas that our leads were put in, and really didn’t anticipate where they ended up. I was scared by the end of the movie, while also unsure if I was upset by the events unfolding.

A better cultural understanding of Paris and past riots would make for a more full experience I believe, but on its own, it is a solid criminal cops doing bad and good things situation.

3 out of 4.

Climax

I was told a few warnings about Climax before watching it. Not about actual content, but more about the director, Gaspar Noé.

A controversial fellow, Noé has done plenty of films that I have never seen and shorts I have never seen. Apparently Love was very graphic, but I never got around to it.

I can expect a movie called Climax to be graphic. It is sort of there, in the name. I can hear warnings about French film, but that is really hard to put into one box.

No matter the warnings I received, none of them were really enough and none of them could really explain just what I was getting myself into when I decided to finally check out Climax.

showoff
And I felt. fabulous! No, wait. The opposite of that word!

In this movie, we have a few people who are getting a dance troupe together. Selva (Sofia Boutella) is the lead dancer of the troupe, and is working with someone else to pick people for their group and the music. I won’t tag anyone else in it, because everyone else is professional music people/dancers in some way only, and that is why they are in this movie.

The movie opens with a big, long dance sequence in one shot that is interesting, but strange. No wait, before that they show clips from fake interviews with these dancers on questions they asked before joining the troupe. No wait, before that, we see a woman bloody running in the snow. Oh.

After the big dance number, we get to see people talking. People dancing. Some interactions between a few of the characters. Back and forth talks between just pairs, making you really strain to pay attention to the plot point of the film. This is where you get backstory, kind of, sort of! After that confusion ends, we go back to dancing and people interacting.

But, the dancing gets stronger. The people get angrier. The people get weirder. Oh no, someone spiked the sangria and a lot of people are now going on a bad trip.

And then a lot of bad stuff happens the rest of the night, resulting in some deaths, some rape, some deaths, some uncomfortable moments, some sex, some dancing, and some other gross unfortunate terrible moments. Hooray!

dance
Hooray?

I think I definitely did more of a plot description than normal compared to other films. And it feels justified.

There are quite obvious from the conversations early on that seem to be the main focus, and some of the characters who are definitely less of a nice person. The interview portion is completely forgettable after the dance, and probably should be rewatched for clues now that you know the characters better. But it is a huge struggle early on to remember what aspects of what characters were told and are important, with there being such a big cast of dancers and the conversations going so quick.

Now, once the tone shift happens in the film, and everyone starts to get on the bad trip, it definitely gives an uncomfortable feeling to the viewer. Oh no, bad things. And guess what? Basically every bad thing you can imagine happening, based on the earlier conversations and events, totally does happen.

It is very predictable in regards to probably the three worse things that occur in the movie. And this is a wildly gross and sometimes scary film, but having the worst/grossest parts easy to guess seems odd. Basically, if it could go bad, it does go bad.

I will admit, I first just assumed everyone was going to die in some extreme ridiculous ways, and not a lot of people die by the end. But no one is super happy by the end. People have been violated, or killed, or threatened, or raped, and it is just uncomfortable moment after uncomfortable moment. And the whole time we are getting a constant trance background beat, with some characters constantly screaming in the background. We get a power outage and thus, more darkness, a “scarier” hue to the whole thing, and even more bad stuff.

It has a lot of uncomfortable moments, but at no point does it feel worth it. Like you should have to see it, like any character deserves their fate. It is just basic exploitation for the sake of.

And what the hell. There were like, three times in the first half of the film where we got opening credits. I don’t know what was going on there.

0 out of 4.