Do You Believe in Love After War (Movie Thoughts: The Aftermath)

p15592224_p_v7_aaJames Kent’s ‘The Aftermath’ is described as a romantic-drama so of course I was drawn to it right away. Plus, I liked its cast: Keira Knightley and Alexander Skarsgard are two of the most beautiful actors to look at so I know visually i will not be bored.  And the film all in all is classy and elegant. It felt like I was watching a modern supersized version of Masterpiece Theater so everything goes down smoothly. And that is enough to make you forget about the silly screenplay, riddled with melodrama that most times do not make sense. But it hardly matters, because Knightley and Skarsgard more than sell it  – their romance manages to be hot and scorching, their chemistry pulsating even if you really do not understand how and why their characters got together. Set in Hamburg after the Second World War, the film looks beautiful even in ruins that you are instantly swept in by everything, and you think there is depth in the shallow screenplay. I enjoyed myself immensely, even succumbing to the romance at hand. Sure, this film has been done better, but for nowadays, this works.

She’s Got Style (Movie Thoughts: Knife+Heart)

50068022_104162064036592_1364939941877340138_nI am not a big fan of blood and gore so I was war of Yann Gonzales’s ‘Knife+Heart,’ but This has Vanessa Paradis, one of my favorites, so I went anyway. You know you will see a film that is very stylistic when it opens with a music video. There are a lot of elements in the film, and I don’t know if all of them are for me. The blood and gore is there, for sure, and I didn’t cringe too much. But there is also humor and camp, and the visuals are stunning. The plot didn’t appeal too much to me, but I cherished some details (the killer uses a black dildo that becomes a knife!) and I of course enjoyed the twinky scenery. All in all, this was more an interesting watch than a meaningful one.

Five Buckets of Tears (Movie Thoughts: Five Feet Apart)

five_feet_apartSitting in a room full of teenage girls waiting for ‘Five Feet Apart’ felt a little unnerving. I mean, I probably looked like a predator. Just like them, I was lured into seeing the movie because of heart throb Cole Sprouse, who is the male lead of the film. And Sprouse is a thing of beauty. He plays a young man with cystic fibrosis int he film, but he still sports that emotional coiffed curlicue bangs, and when he takes off his shirt sports off a gym body. Who am I kidding, that’s what sells tickets, and the theater is packed the night I saw the film.

Oh, the film you ask? Justin Baldoni directs on auto-pilot. This is formula, and he doesn’t stray much away from it – it is shameless in its manipulation and I knew that jaded lil me would be too smart to fall for his traps. But who am I kidding? By the end of the film, I was weeping with the rest of the teenage audience, realizing my worth as a Cole Sprouse fangurl.

To be honest, it’s Haley Lu Richardson’s film – she is the heart and soul of the story, and singly carries the narrative. This is a young actress to watch out for, and I bet even gets better. And surely Sprouse has that certain something – the ‘it’ factor if you will – to hold the viewer’s attention, and I just hope he learned a thing or two from Richardson.

Madge Before Madge (Movie Thoughts: Madonna and The Breakfast Club)

madonna-and-the-breakfast-club-movie-poster-mdI am as big a Madonna fan as one can get, but I can still say  ‘Madonna and The Breakfast Club’ the film, is boring.  I’ve read most of what has been written about Madonna and her life, and the film does not shed one new light, nor it gives an interesting insight as to what makes Madonna tick. Sure, Guy Guido’s documentary is very loyal (and protective) of Madonna, but a little edge could have made this film a little more worth of my time. Through interviews and re-enactments, it paints Madonna as someone who is hardworking and drive, nut we all knew that already, don’t we? The film goes through the very early years – when Madonna first arrives in New York and starts forming a couple of punk rock bands – and while I think those were important formative years for her, they do not represent the most exciting parts of her career. So she worked with three bands and she started making music. Even the music heard here do not really give you a glimpse of the music that made her famous. The best thing about the documentary is Jamie Auld, who looks so much like the young Madonna, and has even captured the singer’s mannerisms. (I wonder how Madonna feels about her)  As a fan, I appreciate the effort here, but I doubt anyone else would find value in this film.

A Little More Love (Film Thoughts: Gloria Bell)

GloriaBell_1080When I first saw the trailer for ‘Gloria Bell’ a couple of months ago, I told myself, this is my kind of movie. I mean, a middle-aged woman singing along to ONJ’s ‘A Little More Love? ‘  I may or may not have done the exact same thing in real life. So in some way, this movie has already already spoke to me.  In most ways. I am Gloria Bell.

Sebastion Lello remakes his 2013 movie, but he calls  this a ‘cover version.’ Well, I will look at this as I do most cover versions of songs – did this new version dd anything to the original? To be honest, I don’t much remember a lot of the original, only that I remember liking it. Some bits and pieces came back while I watching this, but for all intent and purposes, this film feels new to me.

The film is anchored by a great performance by Julianne Moore, who gives the role all the gusto she can. It is nice to see Moore kind of loosen up, as I always look at her as a schooled, controlled actress. I think a lot of her performance here is still intelligently calculated, but it still mostly works for me. She could still be cold at times – can you imagine the earthiness that Michelle Pfeiffer would bring to the role – but she makes it work for her character, a Gloria that hides behind a still steel state.  And when we see her dancing at the end of the film, we sense the journey that Gloria has gone through.

And Lello’s film is more relaxed in Los Angeles, without the political undertones of the original – it’s California after all. There’s an authenticity to Gloria being there, and her friends did not feel like curated accessories. John Turturro is great as Arnold, showing quiet crazy as only he can. The story here has some holes, and the pacing could be sometimes picked up a bit, but all in all, this is an entertaining film, and for someone like me, a better choice this weekend than the bloated superhero movie it is up against.

It’s In The Bag (Movie Thoughts: Greta)

greta‘Greta’ is such a hot mess of a movie (my first reaction was – Neil Jordan directed this?) that you can’t help but laugh. The audience I was watching this with started howling with laughter with a lot of its implausible plot points. But you cannot help but like it – kind of , sort of. Isabelle Hupert gives a campy performance that a lot of fabulous people will reference in years to come, and Chloe Grace Moretz gives a committed performance that you have to admire for its tenacity. (Maika Monroe playing her best friend/roommate deserves a shout out as well)  I don’t know if anyone at this point can take the film seriously, and if going with that frame of mind, then I guess some enjoyment can be had.

Frantic France (Movie Thoughts: Transit)

5231342e90049da30767ad1eb2d6a9d0‘Transit’ is one of those movies that challenge me.  I was mesmerized by it, but I have to be honest, there were parts that I did nto understand at first, and while some of them made more sense as the film went on, there were also some that were still puzzling after. Directed by Christian Petzold, the film probably warrants a second viewing. But life is too short and I have so much on my to-be-watched plate that I want to do it, but at the same time I don’t have the patience.

But what I got is good. I know it is based on Anna Sagher’s 1944 novel, but is set on present day France (first Paris, then Marseilles)  This Paris is not the city of lights, it’s a turbulent one, with chaos and police activity. A man (Franz Rogowski) assumes another man’s identity, then goes to the port city of Marseilles, facing emotional, and political complications. Some of it doesn’t make common sense, but I don’t think Petzold is too concerned about that – the narrative is fluid, combining past, present, 1944, and 2019. It is supposed to be seamless, but it’s messy – perhaps to elevate the chaos of the story. Rogowski, looking like a German River Phoenix, is perfect for the role  of a man confused, determined, obsessed. He is mesmerizing to look at. But as I said earlier, this is a tough watch. I cope to having unanswered questions that make me feel slightly dumb. For sure, though, this movie stayed with me. I just don’t know what to do with the fragmented pieces I got.