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    "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" is not just a love letter to Mr. Rogers. It is a love letter from Mr. Rogers to all of us, the same reassuring message of friendship and kindness Mr. Rogers delivered to a generation of children through his PBS series. In one scene, passengers on a New York Subway car recognize Mr. Rogers (played by Tom Hanks) and all start singing the theme song that lends its name to the movie. Audiences might find themselves singing along. Screenwriters Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster and Tom Junod, the journalist whose profile of Fred Rogers inspired the film, spoke to rogerebert.com about Rogers' "compulsive intimacy" and gift for "profound listening."

    You did something very unusual and very brave in the film, a minute of silence, much of it just on Tom Hanks' face.

    Noah Harpster: Right at the camera.

    Micah Fitzerman-Blue: We tried in this movie to capture the spirit of Fred Rogers. Everything you read about him, everything that Tom experienced with him, showed that he was compulsively and confrontationally intimate. We wanted to give our audience that experience of doing what Fred had done with crowds. Often when Fred was accepting an award he would turn it back on the people who had given him the award and ask for that moment of silence to think about those who "loved us into being." Cinematically, it was a risk. Can you ask an audience to sit there and think about someone who they love, someone who loved them into being? We felt at the end of the day that it wasn't worth making the movie if we couldn't give them that. 

    Tom, the movies shows your character (played by Matthew Rhys and called Lloyd in the film) frustrated by trying to get answers from Fred Rogers for your story. Did he ever answer any of your questions when you were interviewing him for Esquire?

    Tom Junod: No, especially not the personal questions. But we became friends and spent a lot of time together after the interview. This summer I found a trove of my old emails with him and he would answer questions about faith and about God and about the nature of God and about politics and stuff. He would in email form answer questions but in person it was very much like the movie depicts. 

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    The kinds of questions he asks you in the film about your childhood are like the questions you might get from a therapist. 

    TJ: Yes, he was like a roving therapist. I think he saw it as his ministry; there was no doubt in my mind that he was never proselytizing. His ministry was something I think beyond that, it was definitely non-sectarian but it was really a potent force in his life. 

    MFB: It’s like an emotional flash mob. 

    NH: He was a profound listener. Many people told us that when he asked you a question he would wait until you answered it, like really answered it.

    TJ: One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Lloyd asks him about his relationship with his sons. It is just so potent because of that. He goes silent for a while, then he thinks and he says, "Thank you very much for asking that question," and then "it was hard." That has a lot of force for sure for me. 

    Did I glimpse the real-life Mrs. Rogers in the Chinese restaurant scene?

    NH: Yes, Joanna Rogers is there, and other people from Fred's life. Bill Isler is there, Margy Whitmer was also there.

    MFB: Hedda Sharapan who directed so much of the academic underpinnings of the whole series; the whole team and Mr. McFeely, David Newell was also there.

    How has Mr. Rogers influenced the way you respond to people, either at work or at home?

    TJ: I always loved talking to people. But I had a friend who used to kid around with me saying “You're the guy I don't want to see at my door knocking," because my stories were pretty rough; I’ve definitely caused people to lose their jobs and so on. I do feel that my experience with Fred has made me much more aware of the human cost and potential of doing an interview. I’ve really come to look at interviews that I do with people as a profound human experience and I try to honor that in the things that I write. I always had a hunch that there was something more going on in an interview than me just asking questions and people answering but Fred’s the person who confirmed that for sure.

    NH: Quite literally. One of the first things we were told is that he would go to a knee and talk to a child eye-to-eye, which seemed so simple. Just that simple act of getting down on the level and talking with a child is so meaningful to them. So something as small as that really affected the way in which I was able to communicate with my kids. Also, I think that going through the world open and listening and, for lack of a better word, with kindness actually can have a massive ripple effect. 

    MFB: When we began this project, Noah had a two-year-old and a toddler. When we were on set last year I had an almost 3-year-old and now I have a baby on the way. Spending ten years steeped in Fred Rogers has made parenting seem a little less impossible and as Noah. My instinct whenever my kid cries would be to say, “Don't cry, it's okay don't cry.” That is so anathema to what Fred taught which is actually, "No, let's let me as a parent make it safe for you to have feelings and let me honor your feelings.” And not deny them and not try to fix them but just to be a place where they’re held safely. That for me is of all the lessons that Fred has taught is the one that I try to practice every day -- with moderate success.

    NH: And also I’ll say that's the opposite of what we were taught being a man is; the exact opposite which is like: fix it, make everything better. There’s a problem-solving like it's the exact opposite of the masculinity that we’re taught that has value.

    You worked on this movie for many years and yet it seems to have come out at just the right time. Do you feel that way?

    TJ: If this movie came out five years ago it could be the exact same movie but it would be a different movie. The context of this movie, the political context of the country, the emotional context of the country makes it a different movie; it gives it a different resonance than it ever would’ve had five, ten years ago. 

     




    Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/mr-rogers-compulsive-intimacy-the-writers-behind-its-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood
    By: Nell Minow
    Posted: November 18, 2019, 2:42 pm

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    Yasujirō Ozu expressed grand philosophical ideas through little moments of everyday life. He is, in my humble opinion, the most sensitive and disciplined director to ever hold a camera. Ozu disregarded how the rest of the world shot films and created his own cinematic language. He broke every rule there was and did it the most subtle way possible. Ozu’s films exercised the most discreet rebellion against cinematic norm. 

    Widely considered the most Japanese of all film directors, his films feature no heroes or villains. We simply witness life in motion. When we arrive at a significant moment, Ozu cuts to “pillow shots” or perfectly composed shots of landscapes, street signs, or inanimate objects. The idea was to give viewers room to breathe or provide them with the time to contemplate what they had just seen. It’s little thing like “pillow shots” that have allowed Ozu to create his own unique cinematic language.

    I think the awareness of how little of the world we’ll experience is what really drew me towards cinema. Films were like gateways to other worlds, and there’s no world I would rather visit than one directed by master Ozu. In a span of two hours, you experience a lifetime. You go through a stranger’s life journey with all its turbulences and unique epiphanies. And then it hits you, the realization that each and every one of us is living a life as vivid and complex as the other. 

    I’ve always had trouble writing about the films that shook me. Maybe it’s because I always thought that no matter what I wrote, I wouldn’t be able to do the movies any justice. Ozu's films have repeatedly changed my outlook on life. Particularly, the three masterpieces also known as the “Noriko trilogy,” which he directed in the early 1950’s. All three of the films, “Late Spring,” “Early Summer,” and “Tokyo Story,” had a profound effect on me at key moments of my life. 

    The first time I watched them back-to-back was around the time my grandfather passed away, and I remember it being one of the most profound experiences ever. Watching these films felt like I was going through something spiritual, something beyond human language. I remember after watching “Tokyo Story,” I kept thinking about what really happens when you lose someone you love. And how that person lives on in your memory, and the memories of every person he or she touched throughout his or her life. Part of who they are lives on inside of us. They become part of who we are, and eventually the time comes for you to project yourself as a memory to future generations, and that part of you is a synthesis of every person you lost and held dearly in your heart. So, in a way, no one ever leaves us; no one passes away, we are merely passed on.

    Ozu triggers these thoughts through simple imagery of peaceful scenery. The passing of trains, for example, is a reoccurring image in all of Ozu’s films and it holds much importance in his work. It marks the beginning or end of a life journey. The train is also a link between the younger and older generations for it connects the modern city of Tokyo with the old villages in Japan. Ozu was a master of subtlety and he often examined lives in transition. Maybe that’s why I always found myself resorting to his work when things got tough.

    The “Noriko trilogy” helped me cope with my grandfather’s passing, and today it is helping me deal with the news that my father has cancer. Ozu films are achingly bittersweet and therapeutic that way. His serene cinema is that of contemplation; it almost always leaves you lingering in deep reflective thoughts. You find yourself accepting all of life’s uncertainties and inevitabilities. And for the briefest moments, you feel reassured that everything will be ok. I realize this far into my essay that I did not discuss what the films are about, or maybe I have. One thing I know for certain is, the sublime cinema of Ozu transcends life on this planet.




    Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/far-flung-correspondents/transcending-life-on-this-planet-the-films-of-yasujir-ozu
    By: Wael Khairy
    Posted: November 18, 2019, 2:41 pm

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    • oliverzofia
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    • நூல் : கி.மு. 10,000 தொல் தமிழர் நாகரீகம்

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      Original: http://freetamilebooks.com/ebooks/ki_mu_10000_thol_tamilar_naagareegam/
      By: admin
      Posted: November 17, 2019, 6:03 am

      கி.மு. 10,000 தொல் தமிழர் நாகரீகம் – வரலாறு – நவீனா அலெக்சாண்டர்
      • Entertainer

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        “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi” is the third of three announced 2019 Indian period piece films about Lakshmibai, one of the Indian leaders who led the fight against the British East India Company during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 (a TV series called “Jhansi Ki Rhani” was also released earlier this year). The two previous films, “Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi” and “Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy,” were mostly successful war dramas that focused on action and melodramatic intrigue (though Lakshmibai is only a supporting character in the latter movie).

        The makers of “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi” don’t give viewers as many reasons to invest in their versions of these characters, not beyond speech-like declarations of intent and canned drama that often resolves itself in a matter of minutes. Any elements of this drama that require greater thought or emotional investment are too flimsy unless you’re already invested in them. The audience isn’t really invited inside the story or its ideas beyond applauding, tsk-tsking, or gasping whenever it’s ostensibly appropriate to do so.

        In “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi,” Lakshmibai (Devika Bhise, who co-wrote the movie with director Swati Bhise, her mother) is a generic symbol of feminist empowerment. Most dialogue in the movie is rushed and dull. Characters often declaim their values in opposition to each other whenever they’re not explicitly telling each other what they’re worried about. Lakshmibai is no exception: she tells us that “all our problems” will go away if she and her husband Gangadhar (Milind Gunaji) “have an heir and the English won't be able to take our beloved Jhansi.” They do, but that kid dies, so they decide to formally adopt their nephew instead.

        Minutes later, Gangadhar is on his deathbed, and he barely gets two lines in, both of which make him sound like a Magic 8-ball—“Listen to your fear. It will tell you what to do.” Meanwhile, she keeps right on expositing: “But without you, our enemies will see us as weak, and see this as an opportunity to attack us. Our neighboring kingdoms of Orchha and Datya have been waiting for this moment.” Ma’am, your husband is dying, can you please at least act like his expiration isn’t just a break between more important scenes?

        Lakshmibai soon digs in her heels against the most one-note, mustache-twirling Brits I’ve seen in a recent Asian period drama. Conflicted leader Hugh Rose (Rupert Everett) tut-tuts and refills the glass of hothead Robert Hamilton (Nathaniel Parker), who keeps barking about how he wants to destroy Lakshmibai and the people of Jhansi (“She will never surrender. She needs to be broken and destroyed!”). Meanwhile, soft-spoken emissary Robert Ellis (Ben Lamb) has a stiff-upper-lip sort of attachment to Lakshmibai, which he almost never expresses, except when he reaches out to grab her as she stumbles during a Sorkin-esque walk-and-talk ramble ("Do not presume to tell me what I can and cannot do,” she yells at him). They sneer and rant at each other, but there’s not much to what they’re saying beyond some tedious sloganeering, like when Ellis insists that Lakshmibai “is more than just a woman: she's an idea. And ideas cannot be captured or owned. She belongs to the people, not the East India Company.” I believe that there’s some truth to that sentiment, but heavy-handed dialogue and wan action scenes don’t make a great case.

        Speaking of battle scenes, most of the action in “Warrior Queen” happens across the screen, even during dialogue scenes. The movie’s visual compositions are, in that sense, more ornamental than dynamic. There’s a lot of side-to-side and frame-to-frame movement, but very little of it demands that viewers pay attention to what’s happening within the camera’s frame beyond a point. That lack of perspective can be seen throughout the movie’s major set pieces, including one set at night, when the Brits invade a castle, force the Queen to flee, and well, you’ll see. Or not, given that most of this scene is so poorly lit that it’s hard to get excited about much of what’s shown on-screen.

        I also don’t see the comfort that “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi” might be able to provide beyond a basic sort of solidarity, the kind that’s written in toothless, klutzy dialogue like “These events, tragic as they are, will either will either end this mutiny, or be the start of something much larger—a war of independence.” “Warrior Queen” is not the first movie about this subject to be helmed by a woman—“Manikarnika” was co-directed by star Kangana Ranaut—nor does it feature a stand-out performance like those other movies do (Ranaut is very good in “Manikarnika”). So while I suppose you could do worse than “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi,” I know you could do better.




        Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-warrior-queen-of-jhansi-movie-review-2019
        By: Simon Abrams
        Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:52 pm

        • Entertainer
          Entertainer published a blog post Earthquake Bird

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          There’s a decent movie buried somewhere deep in the willfully dull “Earthquake Bird,” now on Netflix. If one looks hard, you can see the themes of the story that were almost certainly given depth in the novel by Susanna Jones that’s lacking here. It takes great effort to find what interested director Wash Westmoreland and company in the source material in the first place, but it feels like a project that reaffirms something I’ve long argued: just because something works in one medium doesn’t mean it will in another.

          At its core, “Earthquake Bird” is a mystery. Any movie that literally includes footage featuring the king of late '80s and early '90s thrillers Michael Douglas ("Black Rain" in this case) in an early scene and uses an interrogation-flashback structure has at least some desire to thrill and intrigue you on a basic level. One of the main problems with the film is that it’s barely a mystery. At times, it’s reminiscent of “Burning” in the way that film had a mystery and potential murder in the backdrop, but it used them to tell a greater story about culture and gender and privilege. The problem is that Westmoreland doesn’t invest enough in the 'greater story' here, giving us a dull protagonist and a flat leading man and never figuring out the tone. This isn’t drama or thriller—it doesn’t have enough stakes for either.

          Alicia Vikander plays Lucy Fly, an expat living in Tokyo and working as a translator. Lucy is an odd duck, one of those people with a vacant stare that can be a little off-putting and suspicious. We’re supposed to suspect her when the cops show up at her office with some questions about a woman named Lily Bridges (Riley Keough). Lucy and Lily were roommates and friends, but Lily’s body has just turned up. What does Lucy know? The film plays out in flashback, becoming a romantic drama for a bit before returning to the story of what exactly happened to Lily Bridges.

          We learn that the quiet, shy Lucy met a photographer named Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi), with whom she started a relationship. Teiji seems more comfortable behind the lens, and the early scenes of romance between are about as passionate as watching paint dry. One of the main problems with “Earthquake Bird” is that we never quite get invested in the relationship between Lucy and Teiji, which could arguably be a byproduct of the unreliable narrator telling the story to the authorities but feels more like just bad filmmaking and acting. Lucy is a mystery, but not in a way that builds intrigue. There’s a difference between a character who is distant because she carries secrets or trauma yet to be revealed, and a character who just registers as underwritten and flatly performed. Lucy is the latter.

          Thank God for the always-interesting Riley Keough, who gives her too-few scenes some life. Yes, Lily is supposed to be the yin to Lucy’s yang, the hot to her cold. And, of course, the new friend in their life means a probably love triangle after Teiji notices Lily too. But could “Earthquake Bird” be that simple? The story of a woman who killed her friend after that friend turned into a romantic rival? Of course not, and most people will see the twist of “Earthquake Bird” coming from pretty far away, presuming they care enough to try and figure it out.

          The most interesting aspects of “Earthquake Bird” are the most frustratingly underdeveloped. Lucy considers herself human bad luck. She’s been around tragedy often and blamed herself for that tragedy. This is the kind of inner monologue and character development that’s easier on the page than on the screen, and Westmoreland gets to it too late in his story, unsure how to balance the character of Lucy with the mystery of Lucy. There are also weak elements about the mystery of foreign culture in the dynamic between a British woman, American friend, and a Japanese man. Again, the cultural issues feel like something likely richer in the source, but just window dressing here on a really boring window.

          Worst of all, “Earthquake Bird” is just dull. A mystery like this needs to simmer to a point, but there’s so little rising action here that your mind will wander, especially while watching it on a streaming service with the biggest catalog in the world. Like its shy protagonist, "Earthquake Bird" almost feels like it’s happy to just get lost in the crowd.




          Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/earthquake-bird-movie-review-2019
          By: Brian Tallerico
          Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:52 pm

          • Entertainer
            Entertainer published a blog post Feast of the Seven Fishes

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            “Feast of the Seven Fishes” is based on a graphic novel/cookbook by director Robert Tinnell. Only once does Tinnell pay tribute to his screenplay’s origin; there’s a moment where the townscape suddenly erupts with cartoon bubbles flying over houses. But he repeatedly returns to the preparation and consumption of food, specifically the meal in the title. The cooking scenes comprise the best moments in this episodic film. The Oliverio family kitchen is blessed with brothers Carmine (Ray Abruzzo), Johnny (Paul Ben-Victor) and Frankie (Joe Pantoliano). Johnny runs the show, ruling with an inflexibility the overtaxed Johnny complains about, while Carmine smokes his stogie and playfully tries to get out of work. The trio are the keepers of an Italian Christmas tradition that goes back at least 100 years. As the day progresses, several other family members and friends join in, assisting in this gigantic endeavor while good-naturedly ribbing each other.

            One of the people who shows up to help is Katie (Addison Timlin). She’s the only first-timer at the Oliverio house, a friend of a friend who’s caught the eye of Tony (Skyler Gisondo). Part of the youngest generation, Tony is torn between dream of art school and his expected role as the future heir of the family butcher shop. After years of expensive private schools, Katie has escaped the West Virginia town of her birth to attend an Ivy League university. Several times in “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” someone refers to Katie as a “cake-eater,” a slang term I had to look up in Urban Dictionary. It apparently means “someone rich enough to have their cake and eat it too.” Upon meeting Katie, Tony’s great-grandmother Nonnie (Lynn Cohen) calls her something else in Italian: a “puttana.” I didn’t have to look that one up.

            Tony’s burgeoning relationship with Katie is complicated by his past with the equally blonde Beth (Madison Iseman). Beth is still so hung up her ex that she performs stunts like working at a strip club to trigger Tony’s protective side. The stripper stunt occurs while Tony is out on his double date with Katie, their mutual friend Sarah (Jessica Darrow) and her boyfriend, Angelo (Andrew Schulz). This scene, and several others featuring Beth, veer dangerously close to the teenage sex comedy genre popular in this film’s 1983 timeline. Thankfully, Iseman is allowed to reveal more complex shadings in later scenes. Beth finds a kindred spirit in the town’s resident nerdy intellectual, Juke (Josh Helman). Besides being thoughtful and observant of his friends’ trials and tribulations, Juke is also the recipient of an amusing running gag that most certainly feels ported from a 1983 comedy.

            Since it’s in the holiday movie subgenre, “Feast of the Seven Fishes” has themes about family, finding romantic love and the fear of being alone on Christmas. Movies of this ilk often tend to be intolerable, but Tinnell pulls us from the abyss in two ways. First, he establishes an immersive feel for the town where his characters live. There’s a tinge of rose-colored glasses-style nostalgia present, but it’s balanced out with the genuine love one feels for their hometown. We become familiar with the bar where his teenaged characters drink (the drinking age was 18 until 1986), the inside of everyone’s houses, and the geographical lay of the land.

            Second, Tinnell often pairs Tony and Katie, who have the blandest storyline, with far more interesting people who liven up their arc. Katie has a great scene of conspiratorial revenge with Frankie and a tense church scene with Nonnie. The latter has Nonnie threatening to put the evil eye on anybody who’d hurt Tony’s feelings. Both wind up in the Oliverio’s kitchen, where the cooking brothers put them on the spot and tease out character development details. Gisondo and Timlin give good performances, but Cohen, Helman, Abruzzo, Pantoliano and Ben-Victor outshine them. The latter three would be perfect in a cooking movie spin-off.

            Speaking of which, the food scenes are a major asset here. There are several montages where food is either being cooked or explained to the viewer. It works better if you like seafood, though that’s not a prerequisite. Just like at your own real-life holiday get together, the dishes look good enough to make you forget the drama happening around the dinner table. As far as Christmas romance movies go, “Feast of the Seven Fishes” is quite watchable, funny in several spots and sweetly poignant in others. Not everything works, but what does works well enough to recommend it.




            Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/feast-of-the-seven-fishes-movie-review-2019
            By: Odie Henderson
            Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:52 pm

            • Entertainer
              Entertainer published a blog post I Lost My Body

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              Jérémy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body,” a surprise winner of the Critics’ Week Grand Prize this year at Cannes (the first animated movie to do so), is a visually sumptuous slice of macabre storytelling that works best when it uses its director’s magical sense of composition and less when it feels weighed down by narrative. There are some passages that are as unforgettable as any film this year, animated or otherwise. It often feels like a dream, or at least something caught between waking and sleep. When it loses that sheen and focuses on a relatively creepy story of a young man who basically stalks a woman that he hopes likes him, the tonal balance falls. Luckily, there’s enough of the former to warrant a look. It’s certainly like nothing else you’ll see this year.

              “I Lost My Body” is the story of a severed hand. Yes, like something out of a black-and-white B-movie you saw late at night on network TV, “I Lost My Body” opens with a severed hand pushing its way out of a medical refrigerator, finding a way to rip open the bag that holds it, and then beginning a long journey across the Parisian night. Don’t worry—this is not an animated movie in which the hand sings and dances. It just crawls, like a variation on Thing from “The Addams Family.” But it has undeniable, and almost inspirational purpose. The hand will face all kinds of threats across the city, from an amazing scene with rats under a subway train to speeding traffic, but it never gives up its drive. We don’t know what that drive is. We just know it’s headed somewhere. These scenes are wonderful, almost entirely free of dialogue, buoyed by a great score by Dan Levy. I could have watched that hand for hours.

              I was much less interested in the story of a pizza delivery boy named Naoufel (Hakim Faris) and his interest in a young lady named Gabrielle (Victoire Du Bois). After poorly delivering her pizza one night, he finds a way to get closer to her, leading to a relatively traditional love story in which the guy is much creepier than he probably thinks. Some of that can be explained away by Naoufel’s existence. He lives with his brother and uncle, and there are hints of tragedy in his past which will become clear in the film’s final act. I became invested in Naoufel finding happiness, but never cared about the love story. There’s a stronger version that either strengthens it or discards it entirely, but it feels half-done here.

              Much stronger is the way that Clapin and co-writer Guillaume Laurant, a regular collaborator with Jean-Pierre Jeunet (“Amelie”) and author of the book on which this is based, keep returning to hand imagery, even outside of the actual appendage crawling across the French landscape. We get snippets of flashbacks to Naoufel’s childhood, and it’s often centered on something like a hand in the sand or feeling the breeze outside of a window. There’s a tactile nature to the storytelling here that ties the two halves together before the dots are connected in the final act and we learn who that hand belongs to and where it’s been going all along.

              Like a hand without a body in a dark room, “I Lost My Body” snuck up on me. I found it whimsical and magical at times, leaden at others, but there’s a power to the final ten minutes or so that really works. Without spoiling anything, you realize this isn’t so much a love story as a story of how we go on after tragedy. Don’t be surprised if you see yourself in that creepy hand, pushing forward through conflict, feeling your way in the dark. 




              Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/i-lost-my-body-movie-review-2019
              By: Brian Tallerico
              Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:53 pm

              • Entertainer
                Entertainer published a blog post The Good Liar

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                When I sit down to write a review, I generally try to not give away any plot details that might be deemed spoilers, and try to avoid revealing anything that hasn’t been featured in the trailers. That said, I still find myself at a loss reviewing “The Good Liar” because this isn’t the case of a film where there are only a couple of details to avoid, if at all possible. Here is a film where virtually every aspect of its existence, right down to its title and cast list, could very well be considered to be spoilers by some observers, no matter how cagily I try to handle them. So, if you are especially sensitive to such things, I would recommend that you simply put this review aside entirely and save yourself the aggravation. If you are one of those people, I suppose I could just tell you right now whether you should ultimately see it or not but, you know ... why spoil it for everyone else?

                Set in London in 2009, the film opens as two people of a certain age find themselves chatting on a dating website and agree to meet for a casual dinner. This is where Roy (Ian McKellan) and Betty (Helen Mirren) come together and after an initial bit of awkwardness—each one utilized a fake name online—they quickly hit it off. Their relationship is not necessarily romantic, per se—Betty just lost her husband a year earlier and is not ready for something along those lines—but they become companions close enough so that when Roy’s bum knee acts up one night, Betty doesn’t think twice about letting him spend the night at her tastefully appointed home. The only fly in the ointment in this otherwise sweet-sounding story is Betty’s grandson Steven (Russell Torvy), who is instantly suspicious of Roy and worries that his vulnerable grandmother is rushing into things far too quickly.

                By this point, we already know that Steven’s suspicions are pretty accurate for Roy is a con man who likes fleecing women like Betty out of their savings. He doesn't so it so much for the money as the sheer thrill of putting something over on the kind of person who might think themselves too smart to fall for a con job in this day and age, and who would certainly be too embarrassed to report it to the police and risk humiliation. With the aid of his partner (Jim Carter), Roy’s plan is to convince Betty that, as a way of planning for their financial futures, they should put their respective bankrolls (with hers clocking in at nearly three million pounds) into a joint account that each will have access to but which he will, of course, drain immediately before disappearing. Although Roy has done variations of this scam many times before, there are a couple of complications this time around. One involves the unexpected reappearance of one of the victims of his previous job. That person is dealt with easily enough (if a bit messily) but there is an added complication in that it seems as if Roy might actually be developing something resembling feelings for Betty, especially after learning of some health issues she has kept quiet.  Before long, the two decide to go on holiday and this is he point where I really must beg off from revealing anything else.

                “The Good Liar” was directed by Bill Condon, who is best known for such tony adult-oriented projects as “Gods and Monsters,” “Kinsey” and “Mr. Holmes” as well as a side gig working on musical extravaganzas like “Dreamgirls,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Greatest Showman.” Before those films, however, he was responsible for a number of low-budget and occasionally lurid potboilers with titles like “Murder 101,” “Dead in the Water,” “Deadly Relations” and “The Man Who Wouldn’t Die”—most of which could have served as effective alternate titles for this one. In many ways, this film feels like a fusion of those two otherwise dissimilar filmmaking periods by taking a storyline (adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the book by Nicholas Searle) that is undeniably twisty and trashy in equal measure and using the formidable presence of the two leads to distract when the story threatens to go off the rails. This is especially important because it quickly becomes apparent that this is one of those stories where nothing is quite as it seems, and leading to a shocking revelation that most will see coming, at least in the broad strokes. A film of this sort needs an airtight plot—or at least airtight enough to keep you from questioning things as it is running—but there are a few too many instances in which characters say and do things solely because the plot requires them to do so.

                For roughly the first half, the film is reasonably light. But over the course of the second, it starts introducing some fairly dark thematic material that jibes uneasily with the earlier tone, and then leads to some revelations in the final act that are so bleak and despairing that they wind up throwing the whole film off balance. Without going into detail, I don’t object to the content but the film does not earn the right to utilize such dramatically charged material in this kind of context. Having not read the book, I cannot say whether it handled these developments in a defter manner but Condon cannot quite figure out a way to use them in a suitable or satisfying way.

                “The Good Liar” is ultimately a near-miss that offers up a few reasonable diversions along the way, the main one being the inspired pairing of the two leads. Their work here probably wouldn’t crack any lists of their Top 20 or so performances, but the sheer fun of watching them playing off of each other helps give their scenes a charge that they might have lacked in other hands. For his part, Condon keeps things humming and offers up a well-staged suspense sequence set in the Charing Cross underground station to boot. As a whole, “The Good Liar” is not quite good enough to deserve the comparisons to the works of Alfred Hitchcock it's clearly aiming for, though it is just good enough to suggest what Hitchcock himself might have done with it on a second pass. 




                Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-good-liar-movie-review-2019
                By: Peter Sobczynski
                Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:53 pm

                • Entertainer
                  Entertainer published a blog post Charlie's Angels

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                  “Charlie’s Angels” is the reboot you never knew you needed in your life.

                  As writer, director, producer and co-star, Elizabeth Banks has achieved a tricky (if somewhat inconsistent) balance between reveling in the playful, escapist fun of the original 1970s TV detective series and asserting a wholly necessary and modern feminist vision. Her movie is brisk and knowingly silly, but it also slows down occasionally to allow her characters to connect and interact as strong, loyal women looking out for each other. 

                  Of course, the clothes are great: racks of shimmery, sequined knockouts and rows of fierce pumps. And it wouldn’t be a “Charlie’s Angels” adventure without a variety of wild costumes for the ladies to don for their undercover assignments as well as an assortment of high-tech gadgets. (The Altoids that aren’t really Altoids are handy.) But Banks—who’s swaddled in a range of luxurious coats and sunglasses herself as the Angels’ subtly wisecracking Bosley—is more interested in what those kinds of outfits symbolize when you’re woman, and how the exterior image can be used as a means of manipulation. As a woman directing a “Charlie’s Angels” movie (following the early 2000s offerings from McG), her gaze reflects her deep appreciation of female power.

                  This much is clear from the film’s opening sequence in which a platinum-wigged Kristen Stewart (who runs away with this movie—more on that later) seduces a shady businessman over dinner in all the most obviously flirtatious ways. The fact that he has no idea she’s slowly but surely tying him up in literal knots is a testament to her skills but also his idiocy. Men can be malleable, and the women of “Charlie’s Angels” know how to use that to their advantage.

                  The actual crime solving seems secondary—and truthfully, the doo-dad that drives the narrative in Banks’ script couldn’t be more McGuffin-y. It’s a hand-held device that, in theory, is a revolutionary and Earth-friendly means of generating energy. But in the wrong hands, it could also be used as a weapon. Dun dun dunnnn!

                  Established Angels Sabina (Stewart as a bad-girl heiress) and former MI6 agent Jane (the commanding and charismatic stunner Ella Balinska) team up with the brilliant, young engineer who devised the technology and blew the whistle on its possible improper use to keep bad guys from stealing it for their own nefarious purposes. Elena (Naomi Scott of the live-action “Aladdin”) is our conduit into this glamorous and dangerous world, but her scientific strengths also provide just the right complement for this team. If the statuesque Jane is the all-business brawn and Sabina is the quick-witted, wild-card decoy, Elena is the exceedingly capable brains of the operation, and it doesn’t take her long to get up to speed.

                  Sam Claflin plays the smug and insanely wealthy tech bro whose company is releasing the device and Nat Faxon is Elena’s jerk boss who wants to sell it on the black market first. Jonathan Tucker is the wiry and tatted assassin on a mission to stop Elena and her new friends from exposing whatever underhanded plan is in the works (and there’s a red herring in that regard, not that it really matters). And Djimon Hounsou and Noah Centineo get little to do as two of the men who aren’t completely selfish jerks. It’s a solid cast of actors who know better than to take any of this too seriously.

                  But “Charlie’s Angels” is truly about the women in a way it never has been before, for better and for worse. The girl-power vibe that provides the film’s energy is unmistakable and often exhilarating, but it can also be heavy-handed. We didn’t need an opening montage of girls and women doing awesome things around the globe; it’s clunky and feels out of place. Similarly, while it’s an intriguing and relevant detail that one of Jane’s former informants in Istanbul also runs a women’s clinic, we didn’t need to see the van full of birth control pills and tampons the Angels provide to understand that this is an important service.

                  These are minor speed bumps along a breezy ride, though. And no matter the setting—from massive action set pieces (which are sometimes choppily edited) to quieter moments of the Angels sitting around chatting—it’s obvious that Stewart is having a blast letting loose in a rare comic role. She’s magnetic in an entirely different way. She’s never had the opportunity to show off her off-kilter timing or her inspired physicality quite like this. Her Sabina is a constant surprise—not just for us, but for the villains around the world who have the misfortune of finding themselves in her sights.




                  Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/charlies-angels-movie-review-2019
                  By: Christy Lemire
                  Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:53 pm

                  • Entertainer
                    Entertainer published a blog post The Report

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                    "The Report” explores an alarming period in our country’s recent history: the CIA’s suspect detention and interrogation program following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Writer/director Scott Z. Burns’ intention is clear in illuminating the complicated and covert strategies employed, but the story he’s telling isn’t a naturally cinematic one.

                    This is a movie about a 6,700-page report that was five arduous years in the making. And while Burns eventually relies on a flashback structure to bring these deeply disturbing moments of cruelty to life, a great deal of “The Report” consists of people sitting around Washington D.C. offices and conference room tables in suits, explaining things to each other and debating policy. Rarely do these scenes crackle. Granted, enormously talented actors are playing these real-life political figures—Annette Bening IS Dianne Feinstein!—but ultimately, the whole endeavor feels like a two-hour information dump, like C-SPAN with a starry cast.

                    “The Report” is also surprisingly free of tension, given the subject matter; if you’re going to experience any anxiety, it’ll probably come from a sense of worry over whether all of this is going to be on the final exam. For the most part, there’s a simmering sameness to the film’s didactic tone over its two-hour running time. But Adam Driver, being an actor of endless range and versatility, finds unexpected avenues into some pretty dry dialogue throughout this earnest and densely packed drama.

                    As lead investigator Daniel J. Jones of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Driver becomes increasingly agitated and indignant the deeper he digs into the facts. This is helpful, given that he’s our conduit into this jargony, wonky world. The toll of wading through a never-ending sea of documents is evident in his cadence and demeanor over the passage of time. Looking back on his work when he’s under scrutiny at the film’s start, he tells a high-priced lawyer (Corey Stoll) that he was able to devote every day of his life to the report for five years because he had no family or personal relationships. “I wasn’t a very good partner,” he admits in a rare moment of reflection, and it’s a line you could imagine him uttering in the devastating “Marriage Story,” as well. The idealism that inspired him to snap a photo of the Capitol building on his way into a 2003 job interview steadily fades; a reversal of that image at the end, as he’s walking away from the Rotunda and toward the Washington Monument a decade later, finds him looking stoic and defeated on a gloomy day.

                    Burns jumps around in time between Jones’ discovery of documents detailing myriad and horrific examples of torturing detainees and flashbacks that show us exactly what these so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” looked like, sounded like, felt like. The drab grays and cool blues of nondescript, secure rooms within monolithic government buildings give way to lurid oranges and garish greens inside the bowels of secret detention sites. We see naked men, hooded and chained, forced to endure the blaring strains of Marilyn Manson, deprived of sleep and, eventually, subjected to waterboarding. It’s as difficult to watch as you’d imagine. But the swaggering Air Force psychologist (Douglas Hodge) who devised these techniques and oversees their implementation only grows more callous throughout this horrifying process—a good ol’ boy with bad ideas.

                    In between, Jones incrementally reports back to Bening’s Senator Feinstein, who gave him the assignment as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Bening bears the signature hair and glasses of the veteran California Democrat, as well as her deliberate, measured delivery, but she’s mostly stuck in one low-key gear. Jon Hamm, as senior foreign policy advisor (and eventual Chief of Staff to President Obama) Denis McDonough, emerges as a seasoned pragmatist trying to appease both the Senate and the White House. Tim Blake Nelson briefly brings a welcome sense of hushed danger as a quasi-Deep Throat figure for Jones: a physician’s assistant who witnessed many of the horrors that occurred at these secret sites. And the always-great Ted Levine gives a sly spin to his portrayal of former CIA Director John Brennan; he initially seems like the voice of reason but ultimately reveals himself to be a defiant defender of these questionable tactics.

                    It’s an unimpeachable cast doing solid work with weighty material. If only the film as a whole weren’t so deadly dull.




                    Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-report-movie-review-2019
                    By: Christy Lemire
                    Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:53 pm

                    • Entertainer
                      Entertainer published a blog post Atlantics

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                      In watching so many films in a given week, month, or year, it’s rare to find one that sustains its thrills throughout its runtime, matches its gorgeous imagery with a compelling story, and defies easy categorization. Mati Diop’s haunting narrative feature debut “Atlantics” is one such movie. It’s unlike few other movies you’ll see this year or possibly this decade. 

                      Set in Dakar, Senegal’s bustling capital, a young man frustrated by his boss cheating him and his friends out of a paycheck takes off for a better life in Spain. Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré) leaves behind his love, Ada (Mame Bineta Sane), without so much as a goodbye. Ada wrestles with her feelings for Souleiman and his abrupt departure while only days away from her promised marriage to a wealthier man, Omar (Babacar Sylla). Her heart remains with Souleiman, wherever he might be, as strange and unexplained incidents begin to occur throughout town. 

                      On the surface, this is a familiar story of lovers kept apart by circumstances beyond their control, but “Atlantics” quickly reveals itself to be so much deeper that. Diop, who co-wrote the screenplay with Olivier Demangel, blends the story with the desperation that forces them to leave home and loved ones, echoes of the refugee crisis, a look at the exploitation of the poor by the wealthy and the fetishization of virginity, purity, and marriage. The mystery of “Atlantics” unravels slowly, its gentle twists keep surprises hidden in plain sight. The story begins on Souleiman, but then it belongs to Ada. During Ada’s wedding party, she hears her two sets of friends—the outgoing, modern dressing party girls and the more conservative, religious flock—pass judgment on her unhappiness at Souleiman’s absence. When Ada and Omar’s wedding bed is set on fire, there’s a suspicion that one group of friends blame Souleiman for the incident to get him in trouble—and embroil Ada in a scandal. 

                      As Ada, newcomer Mame Bineta Sane is absolutely electric. She begins the film with almost a girlish crush on Souleiman, but over the course of the movie, we see her love for him and who she is as a person grow. She’s quiet and looking devastated as her friends talk over her to tell her to move on from Souleiman and enjoy life with Omar. Eventually, Ada becomes petulant with her mother and stands up for herself when Omar tries to force her to come with him. She’s no longer controlled by an uncaring husband, her conservative parents who force her to get her virginity proven by a doctor or her meddling friends. Sane’s passionate and lively approach to the character takes us with her on Ada’s emotional journey to find out what happened to her love as she is to find out who she will be as an adult. 

                      Cinematographer Claire Mathon, who comes with a lengthy resume in French cinema including another highly anticipated 2019 release “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” captures the various layers of life in Dakar. She captures the windswept coastal setting at various times of day, sometimes at blindingly bright afternoons when there’s so much sun it hurts to look outside, at sunset when the sky looks like a multicolor tapestry of gold, red and purple, or in the dead of night, when only the white-tipped foam riding on dark waves is visible. It’s important to capture the sea that gives the movie its name not just because it’s constantly on Ada’s mind, but also because Dakar sits on a peninsula, and the sound of crashing waves is almost inescapable for her. Even indoors, Ada’s curtains blow in the wind like waves. In one scene, it’s a stormy enough night to double as a bad omen for what she will later learn. Mathon also orchestrates a marvel out of the seaside club where Ada and her friends used to flirt with guys before they left for Spain. Here, the saturated dark lights and lasers create different waves of color washing over the women who look to be floating in both a dream and a nightmare, as they must accept the news that their boyfriends and brothers have left. Diop and Mathon also employ mirrors into the story in a way that leads to more dreamy images and develops the main character. 

                      Part of the movie’s haunting quality comes from musician Fatima Al Qadiri’s melodic score, an otherworldly mix of electronic sounds that are full of mystery and emotions. During Ada’s most stressful moment, her wedding to Omar, the score creeps into a higher register, making an unnerving sound even before the dreaded event appears on-screen. In some regards, “Atlantics” channels the spirit of Peter Weir’s “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” which also features a magical yet disturbing score and an ominous look at nature. The characters’ lives in both movies are forever changed by the unexplained and each story reveals itself slowly over the course of the movie. 

                      Yet, “Atlantics” is its own surprising film, one I hope will be talked about with as much reverence as a movie like “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” It’s a potent mix of feelings, meanings, gorgeous visuals, and hypnotic sounds. Diop’s timely yet timeless story is so wonderfully told through Mathon’s lens and accompanied by Al Qadiri’s score, that it’s easy to soak in the story’s emotions, the movie’s evocative cinematography, the naturalistic performances from the cast of non-actors and the emotional sounds of the city and its music. As soon as I am awash in the movie’s blue-green credits, I already want to dive back in and start “Atlantics” over again. 




                      Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/atlantics-movie-review-2019
                      By: Monica Castillo
                      Posted: November 15, 2019, 2:53 pm

                      • Entertainer
                        Entertainer uploaded 1 images to an album Selena Gomez [258 images]
                        Born Selena Marie Gomez July 22, 1992 Grand Prairie, Texas, U.S. Occupation Singer, actress, producer Years active 2002–present Musical career: Genres Pop, dance-pop,...
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                          Dakar, a coastal West-African city flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, serves as an entry and departure port for souls with sights set on horizons beyond their grasp. Migration flows undisrupted through the waters even if what the tide brings in return is often bad news of lost vessels. On land in the Senegalese capital, those who remain go on, as best they can, while haunted by the intangible presences of one-way travelers. 

                          That’s both reality for many countries in economic flux and the premise of Mati Diop’s beguiling first feature "Atlantics." Earlier this year, the French-born filmmaker and actress ("Simon Killer," "Hermia & Helena"), an artist acutely attuned to her biracial and bicultural identity, gained the landmark distinction of being the first black woman director ever with a project in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival—a merit that’s simultaneously unfortunate for the lack of inclusion it illuminates. 

                          Niece to celebrated Senegalese auteur Djibril Diop Mambéty ("Hyenas," "Touki Bouki"), Mati Diop creates an eerie genre romance between soon-to-be-married Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) and construction worker Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré) within a coming-of-age drama for an endlessly surprising narrative compound. 

                          Possessed bodies may act as the physical manifestation of the culturally relevant and social justice subjects Diop gravitates towards, but the mechanics of her supernatural realm, which involves mirrors and gender swapping, also function marvelously from a fantasy standpoint. Magnificently transfixing, Diop’s ghost world is saturated with political implications, spiritual gravity, and subdued lyricism. Intermittently saturated in a soft spectral light, the nights in "Atlantics" teem with an aura ripe for the arrival of an apparition of love that’ll breed transformation. 

                          Promoting the film’s theatrical release (prior to its Netflix debut), as well as to campaign since the movie was selected as Senegal’s Oscar entry for Best International Feature Film, Diop sat with RogerEbert.com in Los Angeles for an in-depth dialogue on the decolonization of cinema and language. 

                          As a French person with African roots, what were your first impressions of Senegal as a child? Do you remember the first time you visited? 

                          I don't have a lot of childhood memories, but I went there with both of my parents and then only with my mother quite regularly as a child, enough to know my Senegalese family well and be close to them, enough to be able to return at the age of 20 after not having gone there for ten years without having the feeling that I was a stranger. The circulation between France and Senegal when I was a kid was quite easy and fluid, even though the environments, cultures, and family landscapes are very different from one country to another. Of course, I have strong sensorial memories. I was very marked and very impressed by so many things in Senegal because it's a very powerful place. 

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                          What are some of those visions or experiences you can recall most vividly? 

                          The omnipresence of certain religious chants really marked me, especially the Sufi chants, that are very present in Dakar. Today I find them extremely sensual and incredibly rich in terms of melody, but as a kid it was a bit scary because they are very haunting, and they just had a very strong impression on me. I remember that I was also very marked by the lighthouse. My aunt used to live in a place where at night the lighthouse would light the whole room where I was sleeping with my cousins. The room would go dark and then the light would come, and then it would go dark again, and so on. That's one of my most indelible childhood memories, the lighthouse in our bedroom. I was particularly marked by the texture and the atmosphere of the nights in the city and very impressed by the blackness of people’s skin there too. 

                          Now that you mention the lighthouse, the green laser light that washes over the characters at the beachside nightclub resembles a modern lighthouse guiding these spirits back to land. 

                          Yes, the lighthouse is a very important element of "Atlantics" the short that I shot in 2009 and it's true that in a way the green light calls that to mind. I actually really wanted the lighthouse to be very present in the feature script, a bit like "The Fog" by John Carpenter. In the end we didn't include it. The way I shot the lighthouse in "Atlantics" the short was so special to me that there was no other way I could film the it other than how it I did it in the short. So we forgot about filming the lighthouse in the feature. 

                          Maybe the way I filmed the light inside the club was a way to make the lighthouse exist in the feature. I have a very physical relationship to things. In the film there’s a circulation between the actors, the lights, and the textures of places. Huge importance is given to objects and visuals. It's not only about the actors and the story. It's also through objects, through lights, through sound, through the invisible that the story is being told. 

                          Given your relationship to both France and Senegal, have you ever felt like you exist between two worlds at once? If so, how has that shaped the way you approach storytelling? 

                          It's a very complex experience to be mixed, to be crossed by different cultures. It's a really complex subject on its own and a lot of it is expressed in my film. It’s not really that binary. It's a more fragmented and hybrid landscape. It's not French or African. It's more Western versus the rest of the world. It’s hard to talk about it as a subject in general, because it's quite complex, but I think that the film is really a response to the very fragmented and kaleidoscopic relationship I have to the diversity of my influences, and also the need not to be defined or confined into any category, both aesthetically, cinematographically, or in terms of gender and race. The film is really an invitation to get rid of any categories and it really breaks a lot of molds. As a mixed girl, I'm not white and I'm black, I'm a mix of so many different cultures. I constantly experience the hybridizing of my own complex and mobile identity, which so many people experience—most people do actually. 

                          Prior to this feature you’ve mostly shot your own projects, was it an adjustment to work with a cinematographer for this larger venture? Do you prefer being physically behind the camera? 

                          Some of my shorts I shot on my own. This was the third time I’ve worked with a DP. I thought that the difference between me shooting behind the lens and having a DP was going to be huge and that I was going to feel cut off from something physical in this role. But at the end, my first language is a visual one and deals with framing, so even if there is a DP, I still feel I'm behind the camera. It's just much more nourished and taken even further because of the dialogue with the DP, because of the fact that I have also more space and energy to give to my actors. Even though I can hear strong propositions from a DP, I still have a very strong relationship to the frame and to what I'm looking for. In the end is not about having the eye behind the camera physically, it's about the way you look at things overall. 

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                          There's something incredibly interesting about language in "Atlantics," for the most part people speak Wolof, but for official matters they speak French, and in religious context they use Arabic. This fascinating blend of cultures, of course a vestige of colonialism as well, is very evident through the languages spoken. 

                          That’s how these three cultures meet there. I was very much curious and interested in capturing that through the language and through some situations in which you really experience the different layers of influences from abroad. First there was the arrival of the Arab-Muslim influences, which took place many centuries ago. This is not too far removed from the French colonization period, which we talk about as something very ancient, but it's not that ancient actually. 

                          The film’s main principle has to do with possession, and at some point when I chose that the spirits were going to come back to possess the girls, when I chose this principle instead of another principle, I thought it was also similar to how other cultures from abroad have possessed Senegal through language and culture. 

                          Senegal was de-possessed from its own culture for so many centuries, and now they're trying to get back to their own culture. There were also the questions about what the internal dynamics modern cities like Dakar are. What is psyche of a young girl in Dakar today made of? So to me all of these political questions are very stimulating, but the challenge is how can cinema capture that complexity. 

                          In that sense do you feel like the characters you choose to focus on, the genres you mix, and the overall visual language you deploy is a way of decolonize cinema and challenge the way Africa has been portrayed on screen throughout history? 

                          That always crosses my mind and influences the way I am going to approach a scene. It's both conscious and unconscious, but as a mixed girl, as somebody who has been raised in the Western world and who finally has decided to engage with Africa through film, it's something that is so part of me. The question of decolonizing the language of cinema, I couldn’t be more concerned by that question. For me, it's a question that is at the center of every image I create, but not necessarily on a conscious level; it’s just a permanent tension within me. This doesn't mean that my images are not intuitive and physical, but it’s always a mix of both intuitive approach to image, but fed by that permanent tension caused by a very complex political history. I would say that’s the motor of my cinema. As photography and cinema have been used as propaganda or as a way to misrepresent or to corrupt the image of some territories and their people, cinema can also be used as a way to reconstruct their image, and the identity of these territories and people. It's like a reconquest. 

                          The Atlantic Ocean is featured prominently as an alluring realm, perhaps a bridge between Africa and the world, perhaps a deathtrap for those who don’t make it out, but also an indomitable force. What’s the significance you wanted to convey about the ocean in how you portray it in the film? 

                          It’s very much directly connected to the geography of the place. The fact that Dakar is surrounded by ocean means there’s a permanent possibility of coming and going, but which also opens and closes, like a trap. It’s a mystical place for Senegalese people, but it's also in a larger way, a common territory for a global black community. It started with the slave trade and then colonization. The Atlantic Ocean is a very haunted place for the global black community, from the West Indies and the United States to Africa. It's a very charged place, and that's why I put an “s” to the title of my film, "Atlantics," because it was a way to talk about actual migration, but also to touch on other ghost stories through the story of that crossing. The ocean is both political and mythical. 

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                          How has the story of "Atlantics" changed in the ten years since you directed the short film version? If it has transformed, was that influenced by something you noticed changed in Senegal or simply based on new interests on your part? 

                          I've done several short films and a medium length, but the feature was really evolving in my mind for a long time, ten years. In that time, Senegalese society has changed. One very crucial moment was the Senegalese Spring, which arrived a couple of months after the Arab Spring in 2012, where after 10 years of a very dark period where a lot of young people were escaping the country, where a lot of them died in the ocean, suddenly in 2012, there was a big rupture, with riots, and with a really offensive position of the part of the people against the state. It was quite surprising to see that happen after such a depressive moment.

                          At that time it really reinforced my intuition that the story of this lost generation should be told by the living one. It had to be told from the point of view or the perspective of the living one. And even before deciding to have the film from the point of view of a woman, I really wanted to make sure that my first feature was dedicated to this lost generation at sea. Still, I didn’t want to enclose the whole youth into that theme because Dakar is comprised of people who live there, who work there, who don't necessarily want to leave, and who are the lifeline of this place. How do you both honor the memory of a moment of a situation without denying the people who live there and who give life to a city and to a whole country? The answer was in that political moment. Even the element of fire in the film comes from images of the riots. Fire as symbol of life was the motor of the film. In turn, it’s a film about the spring of a person, of a woman, Ada. It’s her blossoming of a woman from teenage to adulthood, from being a child to becoming woman. 

                          Your uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty passed away when you were a teenager, were you familiar with his work at that point? Did his films inspire the inception of your artistic voice or did you only feel influence after he was no longer around? 

                          I was quite young and not really interested in cinema yet when he passed away in 1998. Ten years after his death, in 2008, was when I started to make short films and was definitely getting more into becoming a filmmaker. And ten years after his passing, there were some tributes that were organized for him. I was invited to Senegal with my father, and that was the moment when I realized everything, like how important his legacy and his films were to me and to the world. People come and go, but films remain, which is a fact that we know, but suddenly I really had a much deeper sense of what it means. 

                          I understood then the traces that films are able to leave and the huge importance of film archives, because his films are used by new generations as a starting point to continue the work and the engagement. It sounds a bit revolutionary. 

                          The premature passing of my uncle forced me to position myself even more clearly in terms of which cinema I wanted to defend. As a French woman, I could have decided to shoot films in France, with people of my background there. My first feature was initially supposed to be a quite dark teenage film that happened in France in French and with white people, which wouldn’t have been less me, because it's also part of me. But the dilemma was about what cinema do I really want to defend today, and what do I think the cinema needs the most, which group of people and which kind of subjects need to be represented the most? 

                          I definitely need this political dimension in my films because making movies is both a luxury and a privilege, but also something that is very challenging and demanding. And for me to be able to put all my life in it, I need there to be a political dimension. Otherwise, it's not worth it. This doesn't mean that I'm only going to shoot films in Africa. 

                          You’ve worked consistently as an actress in France and elsewhere, are you able to turn off your director switch off when working on a project as part of the cast, and vice versa, does your background as a performer inform how you direct others?  

                          I leave it behind when it comes to trusting the director and being at his service. I'm really at the service of the film, of the director, and of the character. So in that case, I would say I leave it behind, but I mean, how can I truly leave it behind? I'm a director, but when I'm acting, I'm an actress. It's like if someone would ask me if I'm white or black. It's one and same thing. When I direct my actors, I feel so much like an actress because I feel that all my directions come from this “being an actress” place really. And when I'm acting, I think that the fact that I'm also directing nourishes my relationship to acting. It’s one and the same thing. 

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                          Fatima Al Qadiri’s score for your film is haunting and intoxicating, it feels like music from everywhere and from nowhere. What were some of the qualities in Al Qadiri’s work that drew you to it and convinced you that her sounds would remarkably complement your images? 

                          I've been following Fatima’s work since her very beginnings. I've always been extremely inspired, and felt very close to her multicultural and hybrid way of mixing so many different sounds and styles, both very ancient and futuristic, both very Middle East, Arab, mixed with Western sounds, and then mixed with a more electronic style. To me as a mixed girl in the same dynamic, it felt very close to my own personal internal landscape. I’ve listened to all her albums, and I also wrote the script listening to her albums Brute and Desert Strike and at some point I proposed her to do the music because her work is very cinematic and atmospheric. I like the mood of it.

                          Choosing her was really like casting the actors. I don't only choose actors, or a DP, or a musician only because of the great results. It's also because I know that they will have a precise understanding of the political dimension of the film. Fatima comes from the Middle East, and Arab and Muslim culture are very important in Senegal and to the film, also all of the mythology around Djnns is something that Fatima knows by heart. Her music is a Djnn itself. Exactly like with the actors, no other musician could have done what she did for the film. 

                          Being a director it a bit like being a curator, I really choose people for the cast and for the crew because what they do couldn’t be done by somebody else. There's only a single person who was able to create that music. They also choose me. We choose each other of course. She really reaches incredible dimensions. Since it's a fantasy film, for me, the music often takes in charge. Fantasy films are mostly sound pieces. 

                          Why did you decide to conclude the film on a striking note about a new future and whom it belongs to? 

                          Something I appreciate a lot in the film of my uncle called "Hyenas" is that the main character became a metaphor for hit own country. That’s similar to what Ada says at the end of the film. She finally emerged from that night and now she's able to look at herself in the mirror, recognize herself and say, “I am Ada.” She survived loss, which made her more aware of, not only who she is, but that she can stand up after having lost the person she loved the most. Like Senegal, she is taking back control of her destiny. 




                          Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/a-language-possessed-and-reconquered-mati-diop-on-atlantics
                          By: Carlos Aguilar
                          Posted: November 14, 2019, 2:51 pm

                          • Entertainer
                            Entertainer published a blog post Ford v Ferrari

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                            This racing picture is a period piece, set in the early 1960s, and there’s also something retro about the kind of movie storytelling it represents. Directed by James Mangold and given spectacular horsepower by dual male leads Christian Bale and Matt Damon, “Ford v Ferrari” recounts, in a sometimes exhilaratingly streamlined fashion, a tale of Motor City dominance-seeking that compels you to root for good guys who are doing the bidding of rather bad guys.

                            Damon plays Carroll Shelby, a champion racer whose hypertension forces retirement. His opening voiceover about what it feels like to hit 7,000 RPM with a car sets the tone in the “Why We Race” category. After hanging up his gloves/helmet in Hollywood, Shelby goes into car sales with a sideline in modification and design, and he also manages some racers, including the hotheaded Ken Miles, played with a cheeky, elastic physicality by Bale. Both fellows are at low ebbs when opportunity knocks.

                            The opportunity originates in Detroit. There, Henry Ford II, played by Tracy Letts as if he’s suffering incurable heartburn, is dissatisfied with things at the company founded by his grandfather. (While the car is never mentioned in the movie, the Edsel had made its disastrous debut four years prior to the action in this film beginning.) He wants new ideas, and he’s not too crazy about the one brought to him by youngish hotshot exec Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal). The idea is to buy the Italian car giant of the movie’s title. Enzo Ferrari not only refuses the Ford offer, he delivers, via Iacocca’s proxy, some vivid insults to Ford the Second. This hurts Ford’s pride. And makes him determined to best Ferrari’s cars on the race track of Le Mans, home of a 24-hour race that has never been won by an American car.

                            You don’t need to be a car person to appreciate the conventional but crackling human drama that animates “Ford v Ferrari.” On the one side, there’s Shelby and Miles. Both mavericks, but one with a little more give than the other. Tasked by Ford with creating not just a car but a racing team that can best Enzo’s, they go all out with Ford’s money. On the other side are the often truculent Ford and his second-in-command Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas playing buttoned-up cocky). Beebe’s not an ambitious bootlicker. He’s something worse. He’s a guy who adheres to corporate principle because he actually believes it’s right. He doesn’t want Miles as the new car’s driver because the volatile “beatnik” (Beebe’s term) doesn’t conform to his or anyone’s idea of a “Ford man.” Beebe gets his way once, and it doesn’t work out for him.

                            But the thing about a character like this is if you thwart him once, he will just keep coming back. Beebe’s persistent attempts to screw Miles, in this film scripted by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller, juice up the rooting interest aspect of the movie. As do its support characters: Caitriona Balfe as Miles’ wife, who is not, contrary to the usual practice in such films, a disapproving worrier; Noah Jupe as Miles' son who idolizes his dad unconditionally; Ray McKinnon as Shelby’s most trusted engineering lieutenant.

                            Damon is superb in the kind of role he excels at: a man of integrity who gets steered off the path and is subsequently righted. Lest all of this sound heavy, I should assure you that “Ford v Ferrari” is exactly as fun, maybe even more fun, than its well-put-together trailer makes it out to be. The dialogue is replete with zingers and the racing sequences are a blast. Mangold sticks to the verities and conveys high speeds and potentially deadly impacts with a lot of gusto; there’s very little that looks tricked-up or obviously animated.

                            As for the retro part, well it’s kind of sad: 30 or 40 years ago, a movie like “Ford v Ferrari” would be a staple of studio fare. Nowadays, it’s actually considered a risk, despite being, by an older standard, about as mainstream as mainstream gets. “Ford v Ferrari” delivers real cinema meat and potatoes. And its motor show spectacle deserves to be seen in a theater. 




                            Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/ford-v-ferrari-movie-review-2019
                            By: Glenn Kenny
                            Posted: November 14, 2019, 2:52 pm

                            • Entertainer

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                              10 NEW TO NETFLIX

                              "American History X"
                              "Burning Cane"
                              "District 9"
                              "Fear and Loathing Las Vegas"
                              "The Game"
                              "Grease"
                              "Kicking and Screaming"
                              "The Lovers"
                              "The Matrix"
                              "Shadow"

                              8 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

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                              "The Angry Birds Movie 2"

                              There was a surprising bit of buzz around this summer sequel that proclaimed it one of the shockingly few movies like this to actually be better than the original. By some metrics, this is even the most critically acclaimed film based on a video game of all time! This is what happens when the bar is incredibly low. Sure, this movie is a mild diversion that works well at times, but it's still nowhere near the caliber of most Pixar or recent Disney. If your kids were big fans of the original, they'll enjoy this one too. That's about all the acclaim I'm willing to give it. 

                              Buy it here 

                              Special Features
                              ALL NEW MINI MOVIE! - "Live Stream"
                              6 Classic Hatchling Mini Movies
                              DIY Family Fun!:
                              "Hangry Birds: Popcorn Balls"
                              "Smarty Birds: Crafty Volcano"
                              "Crafty Birds: Pig Snot!"
                              "Bird Watching"
                              "Meet The New Birds & Pigs"
                              "Hatching the Hatchlings"
                              "Flocking Together: Making The Angry Birds Movie 2"
                              "Happy Thanks-pigging"
                              "Jingle Birds: A Holiday Song From The Cast of Angry Birds 2"

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                              "The Daytrippers" (Criterion)

                              How cool is it that Criterion follows their massive "Godzilla" box set at spine #1000 with one of the smaller indie films in their catalog to start the next thousand movies in the collection? I remember when Greg Mottola's debut landed on the fest circuit back in the mid-'90s, and I never felt like it got the attention it deserved when so much of the indie story of that era was dominated by people like Kevin Smith and Steven Soderbergh. Mottola, who would go on to direct wonderful ensembles in films like "Superbad" and "Adventureland," had a gift for working with actors from the very beginning. Look at this awesome cast, including young turns from Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber, Campbell Scott, and Hope Davis, along with legends like Anne Meara and Stanley Tucci. This is a fun, smart movie. And the commentary track featuring Mottola and producer Soderbergh is a gem. 

                              Buy it here 

                              Special Features
                              New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Greg Mottola, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
                              New audio commentary featuring Mottola, editor Anne McCabe, and producer Steven Soderbergh
                              New interviews with Mottola and actors Hope Davis, Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber, and Campbell Scott
                              The Hatbox, a 1985 short film by Mottola, with audio commentary by the director
                              PLUS: An essay by critic Emily Nussbaum

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                              "The Farewell"

                              As some readers know, I produce a film festival every May called the Chicago Critics Film Festival. In its seven years of existence, I have never seen a film get quite the response as Lulu Wang's "The Farewell," a movie that sold out on a Monday night. People LOVE this movie. They see themselves in it, or at least someone they know. And that's why it became a surprise smash hit for A24, making almost $20 million for the company. Still, while that number is insane for a movie like this, it still means most of you haven't seen it yet. Correct that. This is one of the most essential films of 2019, a movie that really affirms Roger's statement about film being an empathy machine. It's a movie you don't just watch, you feel. 

                              Buy it here 

                              Special Features
                              Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Lulu Wang and Cinematographer Anna Franquesa-Solano
                              "Nothing but the Truth: Confessions of a Writer-Director" Featurette
                              "Going Home: A Conversation with Awkwafina" Featurette
                              Deleted Scenes

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                              "Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw"

                              Why does it feel like the latest "Fast and Furious" movie was kind of a disappointment? Did we really miss Vin Diesel that much? Tyrese Gibson? Ludacris?!?! Whatever the case, "Hobbs and Shaw" was kind of met with a "yeah, sure, it's fine, I guess," while the last few "FF" movies still have passionate defenders (and it made notably less than the last few sequels in this franchise, even if it's still a massive hit worldwide). I think people saw this one as too calculated, lacking some of the heart of the original series. They're not wrong. It's definitely not something Marty would call cinema. But it is fun, and it will play well on your 4K HD set-up at home. At least until we get another proper "Fast" movie. 

                              Buy it here 

                              Special Features
                              ALTERNATE OPENING
                              DELETED/EXTENDED/ALTERNATE SCENES
                              JOHNSON & STATHAM: HOBBS & SHAW 
                              PROGRESS OF A FIGHT SCENE WITH DIRECTOR DAVID LEITCH 
                              PRACTICAL ACTION 
                              THE BAD GUY
                              THE SISTER
                              HOBBS' FAMILY TREE
                              THE MATRIARCH
                              NEW FRIENDS 
                              ELEVATOR ACTION
                              STUNT SHOW AND TELL
                              KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: A CONVERSATION WITH ROMAN AND DWAYNE
                              BLIND FURY
                              DWAYNE AND HOBBS: LOVE AT FIRST BITE
                              FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR DAVID LEITCH

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                              "Good Boys"

                              The SXSW premiere of this raunchy comedy is still one of my favorite movie memories of 2019. Let's just say, it killed. People were loving the adventure of three foul-mouthed kids old enough to Google porn but not old enough to get the childproof cap off the vitamins. While the main draw of the film is its exaggerated humor, this movie doesn't work without the likable performances from the three leads, particularly Keith L. Williams' pitch-perfect comic timing and Jacob Tremblay's remarkable likability. These kids are going to be stars, which will make this early film in their career even more fun in hindsight.

                              Buy it here

                              Special Features
                              UNRATED ALTERNATE ENDING
                              UNRATED DELETED AND EXTENDED SCENES
                              GAG REEL
                              BOYS FOR REAL 
                              WELCOME TO VANCOUVER 
                              A FINE LINE 
                              ASK YOUR PARENTS
                              BAD GIRLS 
                              GUEST STARS 
                              FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR & CO-WRITER GENE STUPNITSKY AND PRODUCER & CO-WRITER LEE EISENBERG

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                              "The Peanut Butter Falcon"

                              When I heard about the premise of this SXSW hit, I was very reticent to seek it out, even with so many people I respect telling me it was worth a look. I've just seen way too many indie road dramedies for anyone's lifetime. I was wrong. While there are some beats that are a bit too manipulative and the narrative often feels forced, this is best appreciated as a hang-out movie with some excellent actors, particularly Shia LaBeouf, who again affirms his status as one of the most interesting performers of his generation. He has such a natural, fluid sense of himself in front of the camera, knowing how to play to his strengths but never in a way that feels forced. This is a funny, sweet little movie that's worth a look, even if the commercials and premise would have you thinking otherwise.

                              Buy it here 

                              Special Features
                              Photo Gallery
                              "Zack's Story: The Making of Peanut Butter Falcon" Featurette

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                              "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping"

                              When asked the funniest movie of the '10s, I often name this amazing Lonely Island comedy, now available from Shout in a fantastic steelbook collector's edition with a cover that will be hysterical to anyone who's seen it. The special features are all the same as the standard version, as is the transfer, so this is an upgrade for packaging alone, although it's now the best way to own it if you don't already. As for the movie, it's one of those rare modern comedies that gets funnier every time I see it. It's so smart and daring from front to back that something different hits your funny bone with each viewing. It's a movie that more and more people are watching with each passing year. In a decade, an entire generation will be shocked it wasn't a hit when it first came out. 

                              Buy it here 

                              Special Features
                              Audio Commentary With Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer And Jorma Taccone
                              Deleted Scenes
                              Music Videos
                              Gag Reel
                              Interview Outtakes
                              Bonus Footage
                              And More!

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                              "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"

                              I don't understand why this wasn't released to rental in time for Halloween, but I've given up trying to figure out the mysteries of studio decisions. I know that next Halloween, my kids will be watching this smart horror movie, a perfect gateway drug for young people interested in the genre that goes bump in the night. Much smarter than most movies like this, Andre Ovredal's film respects its young audience, unafraid of presenting them with actual threats and genuine nightmare fuel. Well-made and smart, this is a movie I expect people to take to over the years and turn into a holiday staple. 

                              Buy it here 

                              Special Features
                              "The Bellows Construct"
                              "Creatures from the Shadows"
                              Mood Reels
                              Behind the Scenes Trailers: Set Visits
                              Dark Tales
                              Retro Horror




                              Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/demanders/home-entertainment-guide-november-14-2019
                              By: Brian Tallerico
                              Posted: November 14, 2019, 2:52 pm