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Notes: I have to admit it, it was a difficult movie to read as the whole thing was just so bizarre and chaotic and I can imagine that not everyone might be able to connect with this picture. But that was also the real beauty of it, the fact that you could give it pretty much any meaning you want. Indeed,someone might think that it is a story about motherhood, some others might say it is about how chaotic our society and way of life has become. As far as I was concerned, it felt like a fascinating and endless nightmare, the way everything seemed familiar and yet odd at the same time and the way the main character seemed to a be mere spectator with no control over the events happening in front of her. Their world kept shifting, unfolding and exploding with some continuous random small or big events which felt really reminiscent to a nightmare, at least, to me, and this process was quite spellbinding to behold.
Notes: The one thing I did really enjoy in ‘Uncut Gems’ was the raw energy these guys brought and it was already present in this movie. Once again, it was pretty dark and bleak but what I impress me was how relentless and unpredictable the damned thing turned out to be. Seriously, pretty much every 5 minutes, you saw the main character making a left turn and their masterstroke was that it never felt like a gimmick. Indeed, even though most of his decisions would be considered as misguided in any normal context, it did somehow always make sense in his own dark and twisted world. And if you still have any doubts about Robert Pattinson’s acting talent, you should definitely check this movie. Indeed, he completely nailed this performance as he managed to make his character charismatic (how would he otherwise manage to get out of trouble every time again?) but he also removed any form of glamour attached to his public personality. You could argue that none of the characters was actually developed but giving more details about any of them might have ruined its mystic appeal. Furthermore, it actually fit Connie's way of thinking. For him, it didn’t really matter who he or the people around him were. The only thing that mattered was how he could achieve his next short-term goal and how the people around him could be of any use. Eventually, I enjoyed this movie so much that I might have to re-watch ‘Uncut Gems’ at some point.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Notes: Well, to be honest, it took me a while to get into this movie. Indeed, I was at first slightly annoyed by this intellectual bourgeois family with their gorgeous house in Italy and, when Armie Hammer (basically your typical Greek god) showed up, I started to wonder if the damned would actually work for me. However, the whole thing was pretty slow and it really took its time but, eventually, it slowly won me over. Indeed, thanks to the slow pace, you really get the chance to follow Elio in his journey experiencing his first love and this journey was quite fascinating. Seriously, it is not very often that you get to see such a perfect depiction of the burgeoning of love and it has been a while since I have seen such a convincing love story. Concerning Timothée Chalamet, I kept hearing some great things about this guy and now I understand why he is considered as one of the most promising actors of his generation. Concerning Armie Hammer, ever since his breakthrough with ‘The Social Network’, the guy had been rather struggling but, with this flick, he made an impressive come-back. Anyway, eventually, I really enjoyed this movie a lot.
BPM (Beats Per Minute) (2017)
Notes: Through the years, I have seen a few US movies dealing with the AIDS pandemic but it was pretty neat to finally see a French movie on the subject. Indeed, when I was growing up in France in the 90’s, it was constantly in the media and I think my generation has been pretty much traumatized as we will forever link sex with sickness and death. This movie focused actually more on what happened before. Indeed, it took about 10 years for the French government to finally take the necessary actions but, in the meantime, 1000’s of people actually died and that’s what the people in Act Up Paris were fighting for or fighting against. At first, you might wonder why they were so passionate or so fanatic about this cause but the last act during which Sean died made it pretty clear. Indeed, behind all their witty jokes, even though most of them were quite young, they would still die fairly soon if they didn’t get the right help so they were actually more desperate than passionate. It was also quite interesting that most of the duration actually took place during their weekly meetings. You might wonder why the makers made this choice but I think it was a way to show this group all together while they were sharing not only their ideas and thoughts but also their feelings about their situation and their individual and collective struggle.
Notes: It was another great feature coming from Pixar and it shows that they should clearly focus more on some original material instead of constantly releasing some sequels or prequels. Anyway, as usual with these guys, the animation was just gorgeous but, above all, the story was just fascinating showing that Pixar is still so much ahead of their competition. Indeed, another company, like Disney for example, would have focused only on the Mexican culture in great details but would have also delivered a rather generic plot ('Moana' was a perfect example) but Pixar went way beyond that and the end-result was actually so deep. Of course, to dare talking like that about the dead in a family feature was already an impressive move but the struggle of the main character who was supposed to choose between his passion and his family was also just quite fascinating. Indeed, on one hand, I was rooting for Miguel to follow his dream but, on the other hand, his family was not the usual bad guys and they clearly cared for him and each other. Indeed, what's the point of becoming a super-star if you are going to leave everyone behind? And, of course, the ending was really strong and actually quite heartbreaking.
Notes: Well, it seems to be already another box-office hit for Nolan which is even more remarkable since you wouldn't expect a movie dealing with WWII to be able to compete with your usual summer blockbusters. Still, to be honest, I don't think it will be remembered as one of his best movies. I mean, sure, I was glad that he was at last doing something else than a super-hero flick or some high-concept science-fiction thriller, but at the end of the day, even if it looked different, it was still yet another thriller, something he has been doing through his whole career. Furthermore, I have seen my share of movies dealing with this conflict and, even though it was really good, I have seen better to be honest. On top of that, I didn't care much for the mixed chronology and I didn't help that really none of the involved characters was developed at all. Still, from a technical point of view, it was really quite impressive and I have to admit that this movie was just seriously entertaining.
Notes: To be honest, it is actually a rather slow movie and it took me a while to understand what the makers were really getting at. Eventually, it was only from the moment that Ronsel and Jamie came back from the war that the whole thing started to really get my attention. Indeed, from that point, it became a study of a forbidden friendship involving 2 broken men and it was quite fascinating and also rather heartbreaking to behold. Basically, for the first time of his life, Ronsel had left this place and discovered the horrors of the war but also the rest of the world and, suddenly, he was treated mostly decently by some total strangers. But then, when he had to get back to the bigotry and segregation in Mississippi, he couldn't make this step back. For Jamie, it was a more conventional form of PTSD but the guy was still pretty much a lost soul as well. So, they became friends and even though they could support each other, this friendship would also have some dramatic consequences for both of them. To be honest, I'm not sure if I really cared for any of the other characters but these two men were quite spellbinding to behold.
Notes: Since I'm such a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, I was obviously dying to watch this movie. Well, even though I really liked it, pretty much like his 2 previous directing efforts, it didn't really blow me away to be honest. I mean, from a technical point of view, it was quite mesmerising, every shot was gorgeous, the soundtrack perfectly set the mood and, as usual, Daniel Day-Lewis was just amazing and completely disappeared in this character. Eventually, what bothered me with this movie was this love story which was in my opinion completely unromantic. I mean, you can say whatever you want about this guy but, at least, he was honest as he didn't try to fool anyone about his qualities and shortcomings. On the other hand, I won't blame Vicky Krieps who gave a strong performance but it was just rather sad to see her character trying to force this man to become someone else and, in the process, she also pushed them to stay together when their relationship had obviously run its course. Of course, you might argue that she was just completely fanatic as he was, albeit in a different area, but remains the question, what was her added value in his life and in this couple? Not much, as far as I was concerned. Anyway, even if it didn't completely blow me away, it was still another solid directing effort from Anderson and another powerhouse performance from Day-Lewis.
Notes: Since I kept hearing some really amazing things about this movie and since I am a huge fan of the 1st movie, I became so excited about the damned thing and I was so eager to finally check it out. Well, eventually, even though it was indeed really good, I don't think it was really so great after all. To be honest, I have a strong feeling that many critics and viewers have overpraised this movie because everybody pretty much dismissed its predecessor when it was released when it was in fact a masterpiece so, this time around, they didn't want to feel like some idiots. Anyway, coming back to our main feature, sure, it was visually really neat and it was quite amazing to come back to this fascinating futuristic world but it was not as groundbreaking as I expected. Same thing about the story, I mean, it was pretty neat to see a sequel coming so long after the previous installment with a really decent story but, once again, the story in 'Blade Runner' worked better for me. On the positive side, I really loved how they developed Ryan Gosling's character who was really complex and constantly interesting and entertaining. Eventually, don't believe the hype, it was a very good movie, no doubt about it, and Denis Villeneuve displayed once again that he is easily one of the best directors at work nowadays, but it is probably not a revolutionary masterpiece like its predecessor was and still is.
Notes: To be honest, it didn’t turn out to be an easy watch but since it was from the same guy who gave us ‘Tangerine’, it was hardly surprising. Indeed, Sean Baker gave us once again a movie without an actual plot and, in fact, during the whole thing, pretty much nothing really happened. And, yet, the damned thing still worked though. Once again, Baker continued his deconstruction of the America Dream by displaying some seemingly colourful but in fact decrepit hotels filled up with people living, or surviving would be more accurate, in the margins of society when a few miles away, 1000’s of tourists spends fortunes to go to Disneyworld. As I mentioned before, nothing much really happened through the whole thing, you mostly see the main characters either wandering aimlessly or running some scams and, on top of that, they were all rather unlikable making the whole thing ever harder to watch. Except of course for Willem Dafoe’s character. Dafoe would be eventually praised for his work here but, to be honest, I thought it was a distraction to see such a well-established actor among all these amateurs or first timers. The fact that he played basically the only decent guy around didn’t help either. Eventually, I was above all impressed by Brooklynn Prince who gave one of the most incredible child performances I have ever seen. Of course, she seemed to be so annoying and she was for sure, but behind the obnoxious behaviour, you had also a survivor with some major streetwise knowledge and a kid able to create the greatest adventures out of thin air. Concerning Halley played by Bria Vinaite, well, it was even more difficult to root for her for some obvious reasons. Indeed, she kept making some terrible decisions and her behaviour was probably even more obnoxious than her daughter so your first reaction would be to think that she might be the worst mother in the world. And, yet, if you would dig a little deeper, she actually gave her daughter a roof, food and, above all, love and it would have been easier for her to ditch the kid (like her father did apparently) but it was never an option for her.
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