Lady Bird (US – 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

When the tricky Oscar buzz is at the gate, there is usually one or two Indie contenders. This year, actress Greta Gerwig’s second film as adirector, Lady Bird, falls into such category. It is praised in almost every lists around.

An partially agreeable coming-of-age comedy drama boosting lovable performance by lead actress Saoirse Ronan ( Hanna, Atonement, Brooklyn), Lady Bird introduces us into the world of Christine a young adolescent woman, in Sacramento, year 2002. Bored by how life goes on in her city, she dreams of going to college in NY.

Through one year in the life of Christine we get episodic honest drama and humor with friends, parents, teachers, etc. Nice.

But…

The Oscar buzz for this film is beyond me. We’ve (approximately) seen this Continue reading

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Roman J. Israel, Esq (US – 2017)

 

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for Cinetalk.net

Another Oscar contender of this Fall season is Dan Gilroy’s follow up to Nightcrawler (2014), Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Denzel Washington is idealistic defense attorney Roman Israel. He is also an odd object, a social misfit. A series of events will operate a drastic change in his life and mentality. Obviously the producers aim to obtain Oscar nod for Denzell Washington or maybe Colin Farrell for a supporting role. It is probably all they could get.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. starts as a court room drama, a tradition in Hollywood film making. The social aspect of it, in the beginning, is quite engaging.  Washington portrays a visionary with no social ability. In a way he lives in Continue reading

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (US – 2017)

 

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for Cinetalk.net

It is Academy Awards contenders season and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is out tomorrow with great expectations. The film stars Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) directs.

Mildred Hayes (McDormand) wants justice. Months have passed since her daughter was brutally raped and murdered and there is still no clues. She decides to rent three Billboards just outside of her hometown of Ebbing, Missouri, to deliver an intense and controversial message directed at the authorities, thus turning the village upside down. It creates a confrontation with the people of Ebbing, especially with the assistant sheriff, Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature and violent man.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is an open field for acting performances. Frances McDormand as a stubborn mother out for justice seems like a natural and she delivers with passion and conviction. We want to follow that mother in Continue reading

RIDM 2017: City of the Sun (Georgia – 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

Rati Oneli’s hypnotically impressive City of the sun brings us at the center of a disturbing abyss.

In the Georgian mining town of Chiatura, people seem abandoned by the rest of civilization. They go on about their mining business during the day and about their social life later, resumed by expressing creativity in half-preserved surroundings and decaying architectures. Longings and hopes seem like distant foggy dreams.

Using numerous long trackings, longshots and deliberate slow pace, City of the sun, with its depiction of a semi-ghost town, is a dark and moody piece in a near apocalyptic setting. The approach is of a fiction film. Oneli spent months with his subjects. He observes his protagonists, rather than interviewing them.  They forget his presence. It took Continue reading

RIDM 2017: Brimstone and Glory (USA/Mexico, 2017)

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Tultepec is Mexico’s fireworks capital. Viktor Jakovleski’s Brimstone and Glory documents the preparation and final presentation of the town’s annual pyrotechnics festival. The festivities celebrate San Juan de Dios, the patron saint of fireworks makers. It showcases two main attractions – the Castles of Fire day, followed by the day of the Burning of the Bulls.

The cinematography is sublime thanks to Tobias Von Dem Borne. The play of dark and light is perfectly balanced. Everything is well exposed – which must be a challenge with so much contrast from the fire on screen. The experience is aural as well as visual. The various pop, whistle, and fizz sounds are a stimulating soundtrack as is, but Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin have also scored a great musical backdrop. Percussion builds tension alongside the Continue reading