By: Lindi Mugwara
The film is based on a non-fiction book: The Lost City of Z: A Deadly Obsession with the Amazon by David Grann. Major Percy Fawcett is assigned a mission by the Royal Geographical Society to map the region between Bolivia and Brazil as there is a dispute between the two nations about a valuable resource, and which country it belongs to. This an opportunity for Percy to reclaim his family name, tainted by his father.
He has a young son and doting, supportive wife, Nina Fawcett, (Sienna Miller) that he has to leave behind on his journey. He is accompanied by his aide de-camp, Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson). He is also escorted by a couple of other companions and an invaluable guide. The perilous expedition nearly results in the parties’ death as an Indian tribe attacks them. Uncertainty looms, as food is scarce, they have been traveling for months, delirium begins to surface. They reach their destination and that is when Fawcett discovers relics of pottery. And this convinces him that there is a lost civilization.
As his eldest son Jack (Tom Holland) comes of age, he accuses his father of abandoning them for all those years. And that was the cost for Percy, losing time with his family. His ambition to have his name in the history books, to have all the glory is what drives him to keep on returning. He explores the Amazon for a third time to find this fabled lost city.
Charlie Hunnam plays Percy Fawcett with a level of poise and vigor. You can feel the passion Percy has, and his motivation, due in part to Charlie Hunnam’s performance. Sienna Miller holds her own and shines in every scene she is in. Robert Pattinson as Henry Costin, was almost unrecognizable, he really transformed himself. Tom Holland shows flashes of his talent.
I have to admit I watched this film twice, hated it the first time but absolutely loved it the second time. With that this is not a film everyone will love, it has a slow burn appeal.
By: Nazia Adnin
The film tells story of Ellen (Lily Collins) who has been suffering from eating disorder and has been to several treatment centers. The film takes us to a journey with her to the fifth and final in patient experience. Ellen has a troubled family life with her parents being divorced and her mother turned out to be lesbian. Also, her father doesn’t want to take responsibility during her struggle with anorexia. She however, gets support from her step-mother and half sister. Ellen’s step mother Susan (Carrie Preston) sets her up with a specialist Dr. Beckham (Keanu Reeves). Dr. William insists Ellen to join his in patient program which she does not want to try. On the other hand, Ellen’s sister (Liana Liberto) makes her to change her mind. Ellen moves into the house with 6 other patients where Luke (Alex Sharp) is the only male patient. Ellen bonds with everybody in the house and develops a romantic relation with Luke. However, Ellen keeps losing weights and struggles to feel better. When one of the residents of the house miscarried her baby, Ellen runs away and moves in with her mother in Arizona. Her mother confesses for the postpartum depression she had after Ellen’s birth. Ellen goes on a walk at night and passes out for her weakness. Being hallucinated she sees herself kissing Luke who shows her nearly dead body. After walking up she decides to return home and finish the inpatient program.
This film is not so entertaining but delivers a painful insight in relatively fresh narrative way. Lily Collins is phenomenal as Ellen. She looked like a complete walking skeleton for make-up and VFXS. The movie has some great dialogues which encourage the audience to change their outlook on life. The film’s strongest scene which takes place in Los Angeles museum’s art rain room reminds us, how blissful it is to be alive!
I would give this film 2.5 out of 5.
By: Nazia Adnin
It is based on journalist Michael Hastings’ The Operators: The Wild & Terrifying inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. The film’s original score is created by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. The film was released on 26th of May on Netflix and was opened in Cannes film festival with mixed reviews.
The movie is insistent tonally but it portrays the complete confusion that must have dominated days in which Obama was sending troops over to Afghanistan and telling the country at the same time that the war would be over soon. Subsequently, the soldiers who were sent to Afghanistan were very confused about this war.
Glen was defeated by the system which once he helped create. Brad Pitt’s performance does not allow the audience to forget that “it is a performance.” There was still room to develop his character.
Michod tried to replicate the war time bureaucracy and confusion in the film. Glen’s character also represents that confusion who tries to find validation and support throughout the film. A conversation between a soldier and Glen shows that Glen is a leader with nowhere to lead people. Glenimal never gets the job done. Sir Ben Kingsley’s character as president Karzai demonstrated the trophy president and political role during war time.
I will give this film a 6 out of 10. Movie run time is 120 minutes.
By: Nazia Adnin
The plot is complex and dark with common elements from the first movie. The movie features the tales of young Jack. As consequence of his past life Jack faces the “Dead Man” aka Captain Salazar played by Javier Bardem. Captain Salazar is an accursed soul who is stuck in the sea as decomposed ghost for decades and wants the sea to rid of all pirates. On the other hand Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) wants to bring back his father (Orlando Bloom) out of the commitment to the Flying Dutchman that’s kept him away from his family for the past 20 years. In order to do that young Henry teams up with Jack and amateur astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) who’s been sentenced to death because she’s a woman who practices science, and therefore a witch. And everybody is racing to acquire the Trident of Poseidon to fulfill their wishes. The “Black Pearl” returns and sails on the ocean. There is a little subplot for Barbosa. This character depicts the emotional elements of the movie. The sudden cameo of Paul McCartney is very brief and unclear. Presence of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly for few moments at the end was not satisfying enough for long time fans of the franchise.
Nonetheless, if you are looking for fun and wittiness of Captain Jack Sparrow this is a movie for you to watch on weekend with friends or family. Therefore, I give this movie a 2.5 star out of 5.
By: Lindi Mugwara
The film is a perfect blend of suspense, drama and horror. McAvoy brilliantly embodied the various characters he played with a nuanced approach. Taylor-Joy shone bright in this role, a great follow up from The Witch, which too garnered praise for her performance. However, the film has controversy surrounding it because of the way the film portrays people with mental health issues, from the character's violent proclivities to his deranged mind. This is perhaps the only sour note with this film.
Rating 4.5 out of 5.
By: Lindi Mugwara
The film has struck a chord, and resonated with people in a timely manner, especially in America with tenuous race relations at the forefront and for the fight for marriage equality. Despite it being over 50 years ago when the couple faced persecution, it is still so relevant now in 2017. I think it is necessary viewing for all of us. This story is a portrait of how love can change the world, and beautiful one at that.
By: Lindi Mugwara
Isabelle Huppert stars in the lead role. I must admit I had not heard of Isabelle Huppert before this film, only to discover that she is an accomplished French actress with a career spanning four decades with a multitude of diverse roles in her arsenal. The award buzzes that she has been receiving since the film premiered in Cannes piqued my interest to watch the film. She is now in pole position to earn her first Oscar nomination, which is nothing, more than she deserves. She inhabits the character so brilliantly. A character you feel sympathetic towards but at the same time you despise, an altogether complex character.
The cinematography was superbly shot by French DP Stephane Fontaine. The film is mostly shot on wide and it was shot in this style to show us the world around our protagonist, a world of mystery and uncertainty. The score does nothing to soothe our angst instead it accentuates the imminent danger we feel for Michele.
Elle is hard to watch at times but it is well made film with strong performances. I do not really watch foreign films but this is up there with the very few that I have seen.
Rating B+ 86%
By: Lindi Mugwara
The film centers on David (Colin Farrell), who checks into a hotel in the hopes of finding a partner. His brother was turned into a dog, and is now his four- legged friend. The hotel is in no way a paradise but instead can be more appropriately labeled a matchmaking boot camp. As the days pass, the prospect of being turned into an animal frightens many of the guests. The hotel manger is brilliantly and icily portrayed by Olivia Colman. She has the air of an authoritarian figure laying down the law. David receives a routine check up by the maid (Ariane Labed) and is also paid a visit by the hotel manager. She inquires what animal he would like to be turned to, if he was unable to find love. He chooses a Lobster, the namesake of the film, his spirit animal if you will.
David befriends two guests the lisping man (John C. Reilly) and the limping man (Jim Whishaw), their weirdness unifies them. As a way to add more days to their stay, affording them more time for them to find a mate, the guests go on hunting trips to hunt down loners that reside in the forest. Those were the set of people that shunned the notion that, that is the way things are supposed to be. As a ploy to be in a bona-fide union. The limping man bloodies his nose on purpose so he can match with the girl that has regular nose bleeds. David concocts his on subterfuge and partners up with the cold hearted woman (Angeliki Papoulia). That plan back fires, she brutally murders his brother/dog, to test his loyalty to her. He escapes with the help of the maid. He runs off and joins up with the loners. They also have their own set of rules that must be adhered to: no coupling up with anyone. David at first is okay with the idea but he is instantly drawn to the short sighted woman (Rachel Weisz), the two are connected by virtue of them both being short sighted, but I feel that their attraction goes beyond their shared ailment. The loner leader (Lea Seydoux) finds out about their love and takes preemptive action to quell this union from developing further. The short sighted woman is blinded after what she thought was a routine eye check up. David takes the lead; he punishes the loner leader, by leaving her for dead in a dug up grave. He runs off with the short sighted woman. As a sign of his love he decides he will share the same fate as his lover.
The most powerful shot comes at the end of the film, which is a wide shot of the short sighted woman waiting on David in a restaurant while he is in the bathroom readying himself to go blind. And the way the shot sits on our screen, juxtaposed with what we know of what is happening in the bathroom. A feeling of melancholy hangs, one can fear the worst. A resolution without finality. The originality of the film makes it an absolute triumph coupled with the great performances from a formidable cast. A love story unlike anything we have witnessed. A film I would endorse the masses to watch.
By: Nazia Adnin
Racism, religious chaos, terrorism; all these negativities have become part of everyday life across the globe. Fundamentalism is another name of fear of the current world. “Imperium” is a movie that reminds us that we don’t live in a fantasy world where superheroes will come and rescue us from alien or monsters rather it shows a part of brutal reality of existing fundamentalism in every religion and race.
Based on true story by Michael German “Imperium” is a debut feature film of director Daniel Ragussis. The film undoubtedly features timely themes and a brilliant cast with Daniel Radcliffe as an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a ring of white supremacists.
Movie begins with an action scene of FBI agents arresting a suspect. During the interrogation Nate’s (Daniel Radcliffe) intelligence draws attention of agent Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette) who convinces Nate to go a mission as undercover agent to find leads on some illegally imported caesium-137 and its relationship with active white-supremacist groups. Nerdy Nate wants to prove himself and earn a reputation in the agency .Therefore; he gets involved with several active groups through Agent Zamparo's inside man.
Nate turns out to be a very smart individual who manages to convince white supremacist fanatics and grows very close to them in short time .
Radcliffe’s Nate carries the movie on his shoulder. Collette did an amazing job to turn her character an “asshole” FBI agent. The film features a lot of exciting scenes without any hardcore car chasing or cross fire scenes. Close-ups of Radcliffe’s eyes and face while becoming a “SkinedHead” represent the dilemma of the movie. There are many moments in the screenplay that will make you fear for Nate’s safety .Nate lacks the physicality to fight back with the white supremacists where some of them turn out to be petty criminals. However, Nate’s wittiness saves him from giving away his undercover identity.
Sound design of the movie compliments its storyline. Absence of temp music is a pleasant to the ears. Cinematography by Bobby Bukowski sets Imperium’s tone perfectly.
“Imperium” articulates the milieu of our time. This movie deserves a solid 4 out of 5. It is a great 108 minute suspenseful ride for moviegoers.
By: Nazia Adnin
After watching “Me Before You” I have realized how much I miss watching Nicholas Sparks movie with a box of tissue in my hand. This is a movie about two human beings loving each other without any expectations and wishing the best for each other. “Me before you” is a 110 minutes emotional ride and tear producing tool for brilliant performances by its two leads.
The film is directed by Thea Sharrock and adapted by Jojo Moyes from her novel of the same name. Alluring chemistry between Luis Clarke (Emilia Clarke) and Will Traynor (Sam Clafin) is the nucleus of the movie. Although, it has received mixed reviews but grossed a total of $182.2 million, against a budget of $20 million worldwide so far. But “Me before you” is a breath of fresh air for drama/ romantic genre movie lovers in the golden era of superhero and action movies.
Known as Dragon girl Emilia Clarke gives a bundle of fun performances but she could do better since her performance was outstanding as Holly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, an adaptation for Broadway. The British girl always has enchanted the audience through her accent. Her very British accent is a pleasant to ears in this film.
The Hunger Game star Sam Clafin plays Will in the movie. He manages the character beautifully. His subtle expressions demonstrates the helplessness of Will who lives a miserable life for being paralyzed and wants to go through euthanasia out of self –respect and pride. Even his love for Luis doesn’t change his mind as Will Traynor doesn’t want to be a burden on her.
The film was shot in different locations of Europe. The cinematography captures the beautiful landscape of Wales and Spain. It is been said that music can make or break a movie. In case of “Me before you” we get an array of versatile music featuring Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran, and The 1975. Music elevates the movie to a whole new emotional level.
The movie faced a controversy as well. A lot of people were against the story before its release because the movie features euthanasia.