The Orphanage (2007)

orphanangeDirector: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Sergio G Sanchez (Screenplay)

Starring: Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Andres Gertrudix

 

Plot: A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Ghost Story

 

Story: The Orphanage starts as Laura (Rueda) Carlos (Cayo) and their son Simon (Princpe) return to the Orphanage where Laura grew up in to adopted other children with handicaps. While getting the house prepared we learn that Simon has a HIV but just like every child is happy to make new friends in the strangest of locations.

Simon’s new friend is Thomas who during the opening of the home turns up to be real but this leads to Simon going missing and we watch how Laura and Carlos go to all the lengths they can to find their own adopted son whose disappearance goes deeper into the history within the orphanage.

The Orphanage gives us one of the most beautiful ghost stories ever put to film, with such perfectly placed music and most importantly no unnecessary horror. We do get elements of a ghost mystery film which of course you all know is my favourite sub-genre of horror film but this more about the relationship between a mother and her adopted son. This film will break your heart but somehow leave you with a smile on your face with the final shot. There really isn’t a single bad thing to say about this film because it is a near perfect class on story telling.

 

Overall: One of the most perfect ghost stories ever put to film.

Rating90

 

 

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Our Last Tango (2017)

 OUR LAST TANGO will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd September www.ourlasttangofilm.co.uk #OurLastTangoFilm

 

Director: German Kral

Writer: German Kral, Daniel Speck (Screenplay)

 

Plot: The life and love story of Argentina’s famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Dance Documentary

 

Story: Our Last Tango starts with our 80-year-old dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes telling their story of how they met as teenagers and how their styles just clicked, we learn how they were just the perfect match when it came to stage and dancing for 50 years.

We learn how the two did have their difference on and off the stage but did take Tango to a new level for a new audience, we see how their own personal lives affects life decisions which eventually led to the break-up of the dancing partnership.

 

Thoughts on Our Last Tango

 

StoryThe film here shows us the way tango evolved to keep up with more popular or modern dance trends from the 1950s right up to the modern-day times, we learn how the two most iconic dancers from the field went from small venues to bring invited around the world to show off the tango. We do learn the personal effects of the long-term dance partnership on the two stars, we do get to follow this story like the students and journalists interviewing the two icons which helps us relate to the learning process too.

Documentary/MusicWhen you watch a documentary you want to learn about the subject matter, that happens here, while you don’t learn how to tango, that will require lessons, you will learn how it became popular in the modern culture.

Final ThoughtsTango will always be a dance people will talk about, not many can master and this will give you the lessons about the two icons of the dance that helped bring it into the modern world even after their own personal differences.

 

Overall: This is a good watch for documentary fans.

Rating

 

Argentina, Germany 2015
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Runtime: 85 minutes

 

OUR LAST TANGO premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and also screened at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan and the Berlin International Film Festival.

Director German Kral was born in 1968 in Argentina and moved to Germany in 1991 to study film at the Munich Film School. A former pupil of Wim Wenders, between 1993 and 1996 he worked with Wenders on the feature film A Trick of the Light. His film Música Cubana (2004), executive produced by Wim Wenders, had its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival and has been sold all over the world.

 

OUR LAST TANGO Key Production Credits

 

Production Companies: Lailaps Pictures, Horres Film & TV, German Kral Filmproduktion

Screenwriter / Director: German Kral

Producers: Nils Dünker, Dieter Horres, German Kral

Co-producers: Birgit Rothörl, Josef Brandmaier

Executive Producers: Wim Wenders, Rodrigo Furth, Jakob Abrahamsson

Director of Photography: Jo Heim BVK, Félix Monti ADF

Costumes designer: Giselle Peisojovich, Cecilia Belsito

Production designer: Matías Martínez

Sound: Celeste Palma

Sound designer: Jörg Elsner

Music composer: Luis Borda, Sexteto Mayor

Editor: Ulrike Tortora

Cast: María Nieves Rego, Juan Carlos Copes

 

 

About Celluloid Circus and the Argentine Film Festival

 

Celluloid Circus is a film events and promotions company championing the most exciting films from around the world including outstanding Spanish-language films such as Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent and Damián Szifron’s BAFTA Best Foreign Film winner Wild Tales.

 

In 2012 Celluloid Circus launched London’s first Argentine Film Festival to provide a showcase for the best contemporary films from and about Argentina, and in 2016 celebrated their fifth festival with Argentine director Pablo Trapero in attendance at special summer edition across Curzon and Picturehouse Cinemas in London’s West End.

 

2017 will see Celluloid Circus take a new direction with this, it’s first theatrical release of a Spanish-language title into UK cinemas.

 

 

 

Casey Affleck Weekend – Out of the Furnace (2013)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Brad Ingelsby, Scott Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard

 

Plot: When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Thriller

 

Story: Out of the Furnace starts as we meet the key character in this depressive downbeat town, we have aggressive new criminal Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), the current crime boss John Petty (Dafoe), hardworking Russell (Bale) and his brother soldier Rodney (Affleck), Russell girlfriend Lena (Saldana) and Chief Wesley (Whitaker).

Russell looks out for Rodney but when he is involved in a manslaughter case he finds himself in prison, while away Rodney finds himself working for Petty owing him money. Rodney desperate to make the money quick forces John into booking a fight in Harlan territory, to make a large pay day.

When Rodney finds himself in more trouble, he vanishes after the fight for Harlan, leaving a note to Russell about the change he is going to make with his life. When Russell isn’t happy with the speed, the police are taking finding his brother and Harlan he takes matters into his own hands risking his own newly acquired freedom.

 

Thoughts on Out of the Furnace

 

Characters/PerformanceRussell is the everyday man who always looks out for his brother, works hard to make a living and start a family but his life is turned upside when he is involved in an accident landing him in jail. He shows that he will do anything to protect his own family. Harlan is you typical crime boss who believes he is toughest around, deadly when needed to be. Rodney is the easily led astray young man who feels like he doesn’t get what he deserves after his time in Iraq turning to underground fighting. Wesley is the basic cop we don’t see enough from, Lena is the girlfriend that only shows what could have been with John being a nice criminal if that makes sense.

Performance wise Bale shines in the leading role with Affleck showing all of his acting skills in the supporting role. Harrelson is good and creepy but also seems to enjoy this role slightly too much. Looking deeper into the cast Whitaker, Saldana and Dafoe are all good but could be replaced by another actor.

StoryThe story shows how the bleak desperate people will turn to illegal actions to make money. We have elements of the criminal underworld which all comes through as we see how the fighting takes place and we see how one brother seeks answers on a one man mission. I liked how this was just a body building count for Russell, he goes straight to the source of the problems. This also does feel like many films we have seen before with the huge issue I had was not knowing how long he was in prison for.

Crime/ThrillerThe criminal underworld fight scenes are great with the whole idea that the criminals control the town, we are kept on edge as we wonder just how far Russell will go.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how much of a struggle most days are for these people, giving the criminal life the only escape they can get.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many here, most are just well drawn out fight sequences and well placed gun shots.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark gritty crime thriller that is a good watch, it does have a couple of plot holes but otherwise good addition to the genre.

 

Overall: Crime thriller fans enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)

Director: Gerald Rascionato

Writer: Gerald Rascionato (Screenplay) Gerald Rascionato, Stephen Lister (Story)

Starring: Joel Hogan, Josh Potthoff, Megan Peta Hill, Pete Valley, Mark Fell

 

Plot: Three friends filming an audition tape for an extreme reality show, take part in shark cage diving, only to be left in great white infested waters, turning their recording into life and death.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sinks Like the Boat

 

Story: Open Water 3: Cage Dive starts as rescue attempts have been put in place after a cage diving boat was hit by a freak wave in shark infested water, three American tourists are still missing and their camera has been discovered, we look back through this video.

As we look back we meet Jeff (Hogan) his brother Josh (Potthoff) and Megan (Hill) who are auditing for an extreme reality show, where they must prove they can work as a team with the ultimate goal to go cage diving with great white sharks. When they make it to the cage dive the three are inside the cage when the freak wave hits and they go crashing into the open water needing to survive shark infested waters.

 

Thoughts on Open Water 3: Cage Dive

 

Characters – Josh and Jeff are brothers who both love their extreme sports, they seem to have a strong bond and even with Jeff having his girlfriend as part of the team we get the side story that Josh has a thing with her two. Megan is the girlfriend of Jeff that is part of the team and also enjoys the extreme sports, other than that we don’t learn too much about them until the disaster hits.

PerformanceThe performances from the three actors are just what you expect, they do come off believable with their chemistry without overacting any of the distress scenes.

StoryThree friends trapped or lost at sea after a freak accident record the moments, this is by the book found footage. The biggest problem here is the film is shot like a report of what happened and the camera was found, so it kind of implies the direction the film is going. Another big problem is that the film is called Cage Dive which makes you believe they will be trapped in a cage under or in the water, we also fall into the terrible decisions being made by three characters that believe they could be experts.

Horror/ThrillerTrapped in the water surrounded by sharks, well this should work but loses all the tension by pointing out just how the film is being shown like a documentary into what happened.

SettingsThey are in the ocean, not a shark cage this just ends up being another re-hash of the original Open Water.

Special EffectsThe wave is the only need for major special effects which looks good as do the shark moments which I imagine are CGI.

Scene of the Movie – The wave moment looks panic filled and true.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why did Megan become the stupid crazy character who doesn’t understand calm in the second half of the film, the group are meant to be together throughout not like this.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that is sold incorrectly, the only cage dive moment is in the calm, other than that it is just another Open Water movie of small group needing to survive potential shark attacks. Even though I disliked 47 Meters Down it is far superior.

 

Overall: How many times do we need to see survivors in water almost being eaten by sharks?

Rating

 

 

Okja (2017)

Director: Joon-ho Bong

Writer: Joon-ho Bong (Screenplay)

Starring: Seo-Hyun Ahn, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins

 

Plot: Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Adventure

 

Story: Okja starts in the year 2007 as Lucy Mirando (Swinton) and her company have created super pigs to help halt the starvation problem the world is facing, these pigs will be raised in different countries around the world too.

10 years later Mija (Ahn) lives with her creature Okja as they live a peaceful life in the countryside. Here we see how the two help each other out through the challenges of a small farming life. The peacefully life is about to change when zoologist Johnny Wilcox (Gyllenhaal) arrives declaring Okja the winner of the super pig contest, wanting to take her back to New York.

Mija leaves home in search of Okja after learning the truth about what the super pigs are being bred for. Mija locates Okja in Seoul where activists ALF led by Jay (Dano) help release her to cause chaos in Seoul. Mija finds herself going on a world adventure with Okja becoming the face of Mirando while ALF continue to look to expose Mirando for what they really are.

 

Thoughts on Okja

 

Characters/PerformanceMija has lived with Okja for the ten years but once Okja is taken to America she sets out on a mission to find her life long friend in an adventure that takes her around the world. This is a brilliantly created vision of innocence, determination and exploitered young girl. Lucy Mirando is the owner of the company that created Okja, this is a PR stunt to help improve the image of the genetic experiments going on within the company. She is a brilliant business mind that is just waiting for her company to come good again. Johnny Wilcox is the expert and face of Mirando who has been working on the project for ten years, but slowly going insane with questionable morals and drinking problems. Jay is the leader of the latest ALF project, his team has been working to release the Super Pigs and expose the Mirando cooperation.

Performance wise, Seo-Hyun Ahn is the latest star to come out of South Korea giving us a brilliant performance in the leading role. Tilda Swinton once again show just how talented to she is even in dual roles. Paul Dano continues to know how to make his character stand out in any film too. It is Jake Gyllenhaal that steals nearly every single scene here with his completely over the top delivery that will have you in stitches everything single scene.

StoryThe story shows us how evil cooperation are willing to create animals just for consumer reasons, we see how the friendship can create an adventure that goes across the globe but this isn’t just a PG adventure this is an adult one. There are plenty of warnings in the story too, mostly around the idea of how to treat animals and not take things for granted. We do have moments of laughter and tears too so be prepared on all accounts.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action side of the film is mostly about the chases to get the freedom that Mija and Okja desire so much with the adventure being the two leaving a small farm and travelling the world. The sci-fi side of everything shows us the warning about the potential food crisis in the future.

SettingsThe settings are used wonderfully as we see the beauty of the home farm and the big city where Mija is lost searching for her friend.

Special EffectsThe effects are great through the film as we do have the CGI Okja and other super pigs that just seem to blend into the worlds perfectly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that is part warning, part friendship and part social commentary as we learn the problems the world will face and how they are thinking of solving them.

 

Overall: One of the must watches of 2017

Rating