KEDI (Turkey – 2016) – Short Review

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for Cinetalk.net

Turkish director Ceyda Torun’s Kedi propose a singular look at the city of Istanbul through the eyes of its emblematic inhabitant: the street cat.

Ceyda Torun, who grew up in Istanbul, provides numerous portraits of individual felines with an obvious sympathetic view of an animal arguably very difficult to shoot with. Today’s light camera offer the opportunity to trail the furry beast and follow it in its footsteps and into alley cats territory. The shooting certainly took a lot of patience. And it is the most rewarding asset of the project.

A feature that goes beyond the cat video, while sharing its cuteness, Kedi unfortunately runs slightly out of gas halfway through. It introduces some insight and stories about the pussy invasion within the walls of the city but it simply does not furnish enough content to fill 80 minutes. These links about the immigration of our fellow with claws should have been extended to keep it going. But it simply doesn’t. Still, Kedi is a pleasurable adventure into the world of our favorite flea bag.

First date movie? Sure.

*** For Montrealers, the film started May 26th at Cinéma du Parc.

Chuck (US – 2016) – Short Review

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for Cinetalk.net

Chuck (it was titled the The Bleeder when shown at TIFF in September)is based upon the real life story of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner who had a shot at glory in 1975 facing Muhammad Ali in the ring and making it to the 15th round.

Directed by Philippe Falardeau (The good lie) it stars Liev Schreiber (Spotlight, X-Men), Naomi Watts and Ron Perlman (Hellboy). It is said that Wepner’s story was influential in the Making of Rocky (1976). At least that is what he wants us to believe.

We are witnesses to the preceding, then the fight and the ensuing downfall. The depiction of 1970’s era is honest, the performances are enjoyable, especially Perlman as the manager. A colorful manager is a must to any boxing film.

Chuck is a pedestrian ride narrated with with a great dose of narcissism, but in such a self-deprecating way it ultimately becomes sympathetic. Chuck is much about trusting the word of the one telling the story…

I, Daniel Blake (UK – 2016) – Short Review

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for Cinetalk.net

When I, Daniel Blake won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, Ken Loach entered a highly select group of directors who took home the award twice. Much has been written about it since (it comes late on our Canadian screens as Cannes 2017 edition is already at the Gates) people even suggesting the jury’s top recognition had more to do with the overall body of work – Loach is already 80 – than the film itself.

So what?

I, Daniel Blake  bears Ken Loach (and screenwriter’s Paul Laverty) signature all along. It depicts the despair of a 59-year-old worker, Blake, who, after a heart attack, must apply for social care. Mr Blake contributed a whole life to a system soon to discover it doesn’t really work both ways as Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Nick Cabelli for Cinetalk.net

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a swashbuckling PG-13 fantastical science fiction adventure, starring Chris Pratt [Jurassic World, Parks and Recreation] Zoe Saldana [Avatar, Star Trek], Kurt Russell [um this guy’s been in movies since the 195Os, let’s say The Thing, Captain Ron and Death Proof] and an ensemble cast of dancing trees and talking rodents, written and directed by James Gunn [Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Dead]. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 delivers on its faux-mix tape title, giving audiences what they want in a film which can be considered either as an expansion on the characters and themes of the first movie or a total rehash. Either way, the result is a sparkly, glistening 3D-enabled space romp adventure with more personality than a dozen big grim movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 relies heavily on characters and story arcs established in the first film, and a newcomer to the franchise TM might be left in the dark if indeed the details of the earth-life of some sassy quipper named ‘Star Lord’ are all that relevant to the popcorn munching experience. A wafer-thin plot is armature to hang big action set pieces and Continue reading

The Lost City of Z (US – 2016)

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for Cinetalk.net

James Gray’s new film, The Lost City of Z, is a drama- adventure based on the real life character of 1910-20’s British explorer Percival Fawcett, following him on the trail of a mythical city lost in the Amazon. It stars Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Robert Pattinson (Twilight).

As opposite as it can be from more poetic art house adventure on similar subject, such as Werner Herzog’s Aguirre- The Wrath of God (1972), it is nonetheless effective and exotic, if conventional. It relies plenty , of course, on the artistic output provided by highly gifted cinematographer Darius Khondji (Seven, Fight Club, Amour, etc), fully capturing the essence of lights, shadows and movements.

The Lost City of Z basically aim, Continue reading