Tag Archives: World Cinema

Atomic Falafel (Film) Review

A comedy about potential nuclear havoc this week – and you might be asking, where’s the LOL in that? Well, you’d be surprised.

Another prime example of Jill picking a film I’d never choose for myself – and me thoroughly enjoying myself.

*Spoilers*

Atomic Falafel (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

Two girls from nuclear towns in Israel and Iran spill their countries most valuable secrets on Facebook while trying to prevent a nuclear crisis.

My Review

What do you get when you place a general, the minister of defense, a commander and the chief intelligence officer together in an underground bunker in Israel? Apart from a load of middle aged men blowing hot air around, that is?

You get conversation about how to deal with the threat hanging over them by Iran, obviously. Complete with strategic sandbox props. And the brigadier general Partosch figures, since the world is against Israel anyway, that the only solution is to hit Iran with a fuck off great atomic bomb in seven days’ time.

However, when the International Atomic Energy Agency rock up, things take a turn. Among the IAEA is German Oliver Hann (Alexander Fehling), a hot piece who immediately catches the eye of lovely Mimi Azrian (Mali Levi), our local falafel van driving activist. Oli is highly and deathly allergic to uranium which makes him kind of useful to have around, in the context of tracing nuclear weapons at least.

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Mimi’s daughter Nofar (Michelle Treves) meanwhile, is hellbent on getting laid by her boyfriend, computer whizz Meron. They get distracted however when they get hold of a military command disc and decide to fuck shit up.

Nofar also meets teenage rapper, Iranian Sharareh (Tara Melter) online and their blossoming friendship has a lot to do with their ongoing campaign for peace between the countries. Oh and Mimi’s late husband, and Nofar’s father, was also Iranian.

Oli stays in Israel much longer than his original duties require when he starts to fall hard for Mimi – obviously, you can’t just walk away from excellent falafel. As the seven days draw to a close and the kids get themselves into more trouble with the authorities, will peace actually be achieved?

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I’ve left out a lot of nuance from this review. It’s really charming and has a real attention to detail. While it paints some of the military big wigs as buffoonish, it also places a lot of responsibility in the hands of our brilliant teens. Nofar, Meron and Sharareh are joyous to watch and I can quite believe that they have the power to bridge peace between the two warring factions. Plus, Sharareh is freaking cool and talented as well.

That said, our heroes are also afforded the time to be concerned about teenage things such as losing their virginity, getting decent grades at school and uploading content to social media.

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My Rating

3.5/5.

What did wifey think of this one? Would she feed it extra spicy sauce or leave it to be blown up? Find out here!

Excuse My French (Film) Review

enjoy-2Jill sold this week’s pick to me like this:

“There’s an Egyptian movie called Excuse My French that might be good? It’s about a boy moving to a new school in Egypt and being the only Christian there.

Don’t worry, it’s a comedy.”

Well, first of all, girl knows me so well, she’s already anticipating me turning my nose up at a seemingly ‘boring’ movie prospect (Jill’s choices are always way more socially conscious than mine. I like dance offs, alright?).

Secondly, she added that it might be nice to show some solidarity to the Muslims (Fuck Trump). And while I’m sure it takes more to be a useful ally than just watching a comedy from a couple of years ago, understanding has to start somewhere, in whatever format it takes to get through I suppose. And given the current climate, I think it’s important to step outside our comfort zones to experience different ways of life.

*Spoilers*

Excuse My French (2014)

Director: Amr Salama
Stars: Ahmed Dash, Ahmed Helmy, Kinda Allouch

My Review:

Hany (Dash) is twelve and lives a happy life with his parents. Dad is a banker, while his mother works at the opera house. There’s money from dad’s career and little from mum’s but it works just fine. Hany is a bright student, popular at school with a solid crew behind him and he loves his church.

One day, I’m sorry to say, Hany’s dad drops dead at the dinner table and Hany’s life is changed irrevocably. While Mum is devastated, Hany finds it difficult to show emotion, even when questioned about it by the object of his affection, Sarah. She tells him not to worry about not crying now, it will come.

Meanwhile, Hany and his mother must get on with their lives. The issue of money raises it’s ugly head and Hany understands that they can no longer afford the expensive private school he’s been attending so far. He asks everyone he knows about their educations, including his only friend outside school, in an attempt to gauge how bad state school is likely to be. (You’re going to have to forgive me here for the appalling lack of character/actor names as IMDB has kept it minimal)

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“Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?”

Soon Hany finds out for himself how ‘bad’ things can be. He’s not welcomed with open arms (as you’d expect, kids are mean) and it quickly becomes obvious who ‘the ones to avoid’ are. However, there’s some saving grace at the start, when everybody assumes he is Muslim. Now, this doesn’t exactly sit comfortably with Hany but he works out quickly that the few Christians that do attend the school are kept away in the dark, like mushrooms and that is not how he wishes to roll.

There’s a lot of bullying going on which has nothing to do with religion, lead by head bully, Aly (I think that’s his name). He’s a shit to be sure but doesn’t seem to discriminate when it comes to his victims. Hany’s a swot though to be fair and gets nominated Class President which causes some ructions and singles him out.

He finds some respite when a nice teacher called Miss Nelly comes to the school and shows him some kindness. She has a Christian name so Hany assumes she’s like him (this is later disproved). Miss Nelly encourages Hany’s scientific side and he wins a prize but something nasty happens to her and she leaves.

There’s a segment that causes me some confusion here. To explain, Miss Nelly is attacked by some older students. Hany overhears their plan to grab and ‘grope her’, and tells her to dress in more demure clothing but he doesn’t exactly warn her. With no context for his slut shaming comments, she tells him off for being rude.

Later the older boys are punished for what they’ve done to Miss Nelly. Then one of their big brothers, a gangster, comes to the school to seek revenge on the teacher that punished them. It’s very odd and uncomfortable – and nobody bats an eyelid. A way to illustrate just how things worked round these parts at this time?

Hany’s mother btw has forbidden Hany to, a) make friends and b) discuss religion with anybody. He does break the first rule when he makes a friend but when Hany gets beaten up by Aly and his mum comes storming into the school to confront the head teacher, he is outed as Christian. Oopsy.

This does not make things better for Hany but he’s made of stern stuff. There are some other developments including an attempt by Hany’s mother to emigrate them to Canada but in the end, they stay to face the music. Question is, will Hany ever truly fit in or will he become a second class citizen like the minority Christians at school?

Well, that’s for you find out, innit?

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We’ve all been there, right?

My Thoughts:

This was an okay way to spend a Sunday afternoon in bed (it was a long weekend of travelling for us, okay?). It was darker than I originally expected and that’s okay, I mean school is tough enough, without the topic of religion being thrown in the mix. It won’t hurt anybody to look at these issues in simplistic terms through the eyes of a kid.

The film might not change lives and is a bit of a mess but it’s presented in such a way that you can’t help feeling something. This time it’s the Christians that are treated as sub-standard, a change from the ‘western way’ in which Muslims are painted as the problem with all things, ever. Interesting to get this perspective.

That’s as political as I’m going, don’t worry. My copy of the film was terrible and the subtitles ran way too fast so I found it challenging to keep up but apart from that, it was amusing and touching in places.

The lead (Dash) was delightful and defiant as Hany, his mother (Allouch) has shades of Monica Belluci about her (a good thing) and I loved the bully, Aly more than I should have. He reminded me of Chris Lilley’s Jonah.

All in all, it took the serious topic of religion and still managed to be fun and warm. In fact, I don’t even feel like religion is the main subject matter in this, it’s more a study in bullying and facing up to that. Bullies are fucking dicks but the psychology of why they do the things they do is fascinating (though not really explored much here).

My Rating: 3/5. Okay. Thinking back on it for this post, it’s not as powerful or topical as it could have been but maybe you’ll enjoy it anyway.

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“You’ve got such good hair, man, I can’t even look at you.”

What did Jillian think? Would she beat the shit out of this movie for being one thing or would she rather learn about it’s differences and therefore become a more enlightened being? Find out here ❤

Barbara (Film) Review

Barabara_Plakat_07_Layout 1Welcome to our first collaborative review of 2016! Last year’s Collab was a blast as far as I’m concerned, featuring many, many films I never would have picked to watch myself but I’m glad I’ve seen. Yes, even the really awful ones.

I’m excited to see what this year will bring in terms of hidden gems, heinous mistakes and everything in between.

We’ve agreed that this period is about doing whatever the fuck we want, so I think it’s a bolder version of Blog Free & Die Hard. Blog Free & Die Even Harder, if you will (and in lieu of anything more imaginative, it’s been a really aggy day.)

This week we’re watching a German film (Jill’s choice) and I have high hopes for a decent rating. Let’s see shall we?

Barbara (2012)

Director: Christian Petzold
Stars: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Rainer Bock

IMDB Synopsis: A doctor working in 1980s East Germany finds herself banished to a small country hospital.

My Review:

Barbara is a chain-smoking doctor, recently moved to a rural town having just been released from being incarcerated.

Incarcerated?! I hear you cry. Well, because I’m quite dippy and was texting at the beginning of this movie (bad Christa), I missed why she was locked up and thought it was for some dark and twisted reason. In fact, according to Barbara’s Wikipedia page, she was punished for applying for an “Ausreiseantrag” – an official request to leave the country, and specifically, East Germany. I never knew of such a thing, so I’ve learnt something new here. Oo-er.

Anyway. Barbara is treated like scum by local police officers who continually hang around her home and randomly search her premises, looking for contraband and anything they can pin on her. They also subject her to humiliating cavity searches, seemingly for their own shits ‘n’ gigs. It’s all very perverse and these man are pigs, unsurprisingly.

On her first day at her new hospital posting, Barbara stands out, and not in a particularly good way. The other doctors mutter things about that being “Berlin” for you and basically they think she’s a stuck up cow. Maybe she’s just sick of shit and wants to be left the fuck alone, you bitches.

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“I am smokin’ a faaaaaaaag.”

My first observation about Barbara is superficial AF: she dresses cute and I like her accessories. She also looks cool smoking, which is a bad message but I don’t care. If I thought I looked as good, I would start myself (but probably with candy cigarettes).

B quickly catches the eye of nice Doctor André Reiser who tells her she shouldn’t stay so “separate”. This unwarranted advice does not go down very well (and rightly so, mate). Plus, he lets slip while giving her a lift home that he already knows where she lives, and therefore everything else about her.

Our heroine warms somewhat when a young patient called Stella (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) turns up, thus demonstrating she isn’t the Ice Queen we all think she is (or rather the hospital team think she is).

Stella has meningitis and is also pregnant. B goes out of her way to ensure she’s taken care of, until she is rudely dragged back to the labour camp in which she’s being kept. Stella’s options in life are rather limited it would seem: if she decides to keep the baby and stays in the country, she will have it taken away from her, no questions asked.

“Most people text their dick pics these days, love.”

In the midst of the drams, Barbara correctly guesses that Doctor Reiser is reporting back to the authorities on her behaviour and has been tasked with trying to get her to change her mind about leaving Germany. He tells her a horrific story about boiling babies in an incubator (accidentally) to explain why he’s agreed to do this.

He’s also obviously smitten with her but too much of a wet blanket to do anything about it. There are lots of lingering looks and secret smiles, and at one point he sends over a piano tuner to fix her piano. Barbara is not impressed with the unexpected surprise.

I would think André was fit if he didn’t so resemble Brendan Fraser who does zilch for me. There is a frisson between Barbara and André though, espesh when he talks to her about art and literature. Hey, she plays the piano and came from a prestigious hospital before this one, okay? She’s cultured, innit.

Up to no good but looking fucking fabulous

But Babs already has a West German lover called Jörg (Mark Waschke) who sends her money and gifts, and sometimes meets her for secret rendezvous’ in woodland clearings and hotel rooms. I’m not really sure what or who he is but he’s trying to smuggle B out of the country so they can be together.

One night, in a motel room, Jörg explains that the following Saturday night, Barbara must be at a certain meeting point on the beach, (between a big boulder and a small boulder). There she will be picked up by a sailor who will take her to Denmark, where he’ll be waiting.

Barbara also meets a prostitute on the same night which has little bearing on the story, other than to emphasise the fact that even if she marries her lover (Jörg’s friend Gerhard (I think) played by Peter Benedict), he still can’t save her from East Germany politics. She also assumes B is a hooker*.

“I loved you in George of the Jungle…”

Barbara is surprised at how fast everything is moving but is prepared to roll with it. She books the weekend off work with Doctor Reiser, telling him she will be doing up her flat. Thing is,  the hospital has just admitted a new patient, a failed suicide, and the doctors are reluctant to operate on his head injury unnecessarily. Having monitored him for several days, however it becomes clear that they have no alternative but to crack him open like a walnut.

André asks B to be the anesthetist on call the night they operate. And what night will that be, do you think? Hmmmmm.

Meanwhile, Stella escapes from boot camp again and runs off to find her old friend Barbara… Gonna park this here, but not before a round of you-know-whats!

“We’re all going on a Summer Holiday…”

My Questions: 

Does Babs dig the Doctor really? What will become of Stella? Will Barbara abandon her new duties in favour of a new life with Jörg?

What will happen to the head patient Mario (Jannik Shümann)? And will you care by the end of it all?

*At one point the prostitute, Steffi (Susanne Bormann) enters Jörg’s hotel room, not realising Babs is under the covers in bed – and sniffs his suits. I took this in my suspicious mind to assume there might have been something between them, or at the very least that Jörg isn’t that trustworthy. Was that just me, Jill? 

My Thoughts:

This wasn’t a bad film to start the year on. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped either. The performances are good. I find Nina Hoss quite fascinating. All in all I expected more.

My Rating: 3/5. Bit dull TBH but it means well. 

Does Jillian agree or she more sophisticated than me in her cinematic tastes? Find out here.

Wetlands (Film) Review

feuchtgebiete_ver4After a week’s break, Jillian and I are back with a bang. A finger bang if you will.

I should say here if you don’t want to hear sexual talk from me then you should probably skip this post altogether as it’s going to be very hard not to sound crude whilst reviewing a very graphic film indeed. This week was my choice and we’re still in international waters, with a critically-acclaimed (?) German film.

As always *spoilers!* – also, let’s slap a little *NSFW* on here too, so you’re under no illusion.

Off we go!

Wetlands (2013)

Director: David Wnendt
Stars: Carla Juri, Christoph Letkowski, Marlen Kruse

IMDB Synopsis: The adventures of an eccentric girl who has strange attitudes towards hygiene and sexuality longs for the reunion of her divorced parents.

My Review:

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You know she’s eccentric ‘cos she’s got a skateboard

Underneath all the masturbation, dirty underwear and anal fixation lies a heart. A broken one, but a heart nonetheless.

Helen is 18 years old, sexually ‘creative’ and a little lax in the hygiene department. Considering her mother’s OTT attitude to orifice cleanliness this is hardly surprising. Having to present your butt hole for inspection before bed every night as a child must surely take its toll.

She also has hemorrhoids which presents its own challenges. We open with Helen walking barefoot into a public toilet that makes the loo in Trainspotting look like Mariah Carey’s en suite. It’s the kind of place people are regularly murdered but this doesn’t bother our heroine, who’s only there for the momentary relief offered by a tube of Anusol (or Germany’s version).

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This looks like my first hostel in Vancouver

Helen immediately reveals herself to be a game girl with her own strong attitude towards sexuality and her own body. Reluctant to wash very often, she’s not afraid to recycle the same pair of knickers for who knows how long. This doesn’t scare away the boys; quite the opposite in fact, Helen believes her personal aroma attracts potential mates. She’s probably right there, we ain’t nothing but animals after all.

I’m going to try to avoid bullet-pointing every sexual act one by one because I don’t want this review to read like a list, but there’s plenty to be had here, something for everybody if you will. Though, despite the graphic nature of the film and its content, looking back I don’t remember that much full sex and I think that’s quite telling. Perhaps I’m over thinking it but I’m sure that’s a comment on our protagonist.

Anywhoo. There are scenes involving root vegetables (that GO BACK IN THE FRIDGE!), a brothel, lesbian undertones (and overtones), casual wanks in the park; the list goes on and on.

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“Billy Elliot, you’ve sure grown up!”

But what Helen wants more than sexy sex is for her parents to get back together. Like badly. Like so badly that she’s got a plan to force them to live together miserably in the same bed until they die, chained together like prisoners. Funnily enough, neither parent is really up for this arrangement, so it looks set to remain firmly in her fantasies.

We’re given lots of flashbacks that show Helen as a youngster, which act to give us a painful insight into the breakdown of her parent’s marriage. Helen’s father (Axel Milberg) is largely absent and sometimes hurts her without even registering it, while her mother (Meret Becker) comes across as a bit of cold fish, one who’s turned to Christianity and a round of douchey boyfriends since the divorce. She’s obviously deeply depressed and following the birth of her second child, Toni (Ludger Bökelmann), things don’t look any better.

BUM BUM BUM BUM... BUM!
BUM BUM BUM BUM… BUM!

One day Helen suffers a shaving injury that exacerbates her hemorrhoids issue and she has the option to either bleed all over her classroom or take herself to the hospital; luckily she chooses the latter. Here she formulates the plan to bring her parents back together over her sickbed – what could possibly go wrong?

Incidentally, one of Helen’s more adult flashbacks has us meeting Kanell (Selam Tadese), who has a shaving fantasy but considers Helen too young to actually sleep with. Admirable perhaps?

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All the lols

We also meet her best friend Corinne, a cute blonde who earns a reputation early on for granting her boyfriend a dubious sex wish. It doesn’t really matter what the Mean Girls say though, as long as our BFFs have each other.

Back to hospital and Helen has come round from surgery and is entertaining herself by flirting with Robin, her nurse, much to the annoyance of his girlfriend Valerie (Peri Baumeister), also a nurse.

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New definition of the #belfie

And since her parents can’t follow instructions and turn up at the same designated time (thus continually missing each other), Helen pretends she hasn’t had a bowel movement (even though she does have a rather messy, secret one) so they keep her in. This ensures that she has plenty of time to ruminate on her internalised sadness, but also bond with Robin (who’s pretty damn cute, tbh).

We find out what really happened between her parents and also, how it came to be that Corinne hasn’t visited her bestie in hospital (spoiler: Helen has been kind of a bitch). There’s a particularly messy flashback in which our friends demonstrate their own unique version of the blood sisters ritual which is equal parts hilarious/heinous.

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“You’ve got red on you.”

I’ll leave this here because it’s a film worth seeing, if you can get past the squirm factor. It’s both anally and orally fixated, unafraid to share bodily fluids and has more equal opportunity nudity than you can shake a stick at. I’m cool with all those things, though I had to look away during the pizza scene (which is probably one of the tamer but still turned my stomach).

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OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!

Before we’re done though, Helen has one final trick up her gown. So she can stay in hospital to wait for her parents to meet, she makes the ultimate sacrifice and it’ll have you wincing for a long while after the credits stop rolling, I’m pretty sure.

Questions? Do you want some questions?! Will Mutter and Vater get back together? Will Robin ditch Valerie and run away with Helen? Will Helen ever put her orange pants in the wash? What happened between Helen and Corinne? And more importantly, will I ever look at a knob of raw ginger in the same way again?

You know the drill.

My Thoughts:

You'll be itching to see this film. Maybe.
You’ll be itching to see this film. Maybe.

Jizz, poo, cum, spit, blood etc all gets a bit dull after a while and I do get the feeling a lot of the time that it’s only been included to shock me. I mean, I’m all for no holds barred film making and uncharacteristically disgusting (yet still aesthetically perfect, natch) female leads who challenge the stereotypical female trope.

Though, thinking about it, I don’t believe this is about me at all, this film is taking the piss out of the easily shocked, the viewers who have a problem with menstruation (men) and sexual debris. Which kind of makes it brilliant. It goes on about half an hour too long though and somehow seemed considerably longer than the whole of Nymphomaniac: Vol. I & Vol. II (2013), which, combined, is four fucking hours long.

Carla Juri btw could be the love child of Ally Sheedy and Meg Ryan; and is really very good. She does vulnerable kook well and in the end I’m sure you’ll root for her, even if her dream is misplaced and self-serving. Once you’re privy to just what the family went through, you can kind of forgive her.

Funny she’s so uncannily Sheedy, as the film’s climax is decidedly John Hughes. You know, if John Hughes made anal sex jokes.

My Rating: 3.5/5 – as above, it’s a bit too long and all gets a bit much. Well worth a look though.

What did Jillian think, I wonder? Go have a look for yourself shortly!

We Are The Best (Film) Review

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We’ve decided to stick to Foreign Cinema for the time being, for no other reason really than because it’s awesome. This week’s pick, by Jillian, is no exception. I mean, it’s a film about an 80’s teen punk band FFS, what more can you want?

Incidentally, the most dominant thought I take away from this is: should I cut my hair über short?

As always, *spoilers!*

We Are The Best (2013)

Director: Lukas Moodysson
Stars: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne

IMDB Synopsis: Three girls in 1980s Stockholm decide to form a punk band — despite not having any instruments and being told by everyone that punk is dead.

My Review:

Bobo and Klara are BFFs who take great comfort from their friendship, while the world around them seems to reject their ideals.

Classmates (right out of Sparkle Motion) taunt them for the way they look – that old “You’d be so pretty if only you…” chestnut – and maintain that punk is dead. The girls are secure enough in themselves to push back against this nonsense, they know punk still has a pulse and one day, whilst trying to drown out the sound of the local youth group band, Iron Fist (how original), they set about trying to prove it.

“What do you mean this feels like that scene in Napoleon Dynamite?”

Sadly, enthusiasm alone doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an instant hit and they must look outside their twosome for a solution to success. Enter Christian good girl, Hedvig, who plays mean guitar. Can the girls open Hedvig’s mind and show her ideas beyond her God, whilst simultaneously smashing the shit out of patriarchy via the medium of P-U-N-K? Hopefully!

This film does have a lovely feminist undertone. The girls get called ugly constantly by their male peers, and maybe this is why I liked it so much, as it really hit a nerve. All three girls are at a point in life where they’re questioning their own desirability, while actively making a pact not to conform to what’s expected of them, hence the reason the boys think they’re hideous. Bobo and Klara agree not to wear make-up and have punk haircuts maintained by themselves, in their respective bathrooms at home.

The girls have loving families by the way, though Bobo’s mother embarrasses her at parties, has relationship issues and sometimes men over. As a result, Bobo often comes across as the adult in their relationship. Her dad does come around from time to time, but is largely absent.

“So… going anywhere nice this Summer?”

Klara’s family are even more hideous in that they’re encouraging and want to jam with the girls, which goes down like a lead balloon with Klara. When the girls fall out of favour with Hedvig’s highly religious mother, by persuading Hedvig to cut her very long blonde hair, Klara’s father finds it hilarious. He also spends a fair amount of his time wandering around in his pants in polite company and this makes his A-OK with me.

As the girls get better at music, under the tutelage of Hedvig, and polish their anti-PE anthem (my kind of girls), they also explore their blossoming interest in the opposite sex.

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Say no to Scrubs

Bobo has a crush on Klara’s brother, sixteen year old Linus who’s quite nice to her, even when she gets drunk and pukes on his precious record collection. But there’s trouble ahead when the girls meet a fellow punk band, and Bobo and Klara set their sights on the same dude. Awkward.

Ovaries before Brovaries, Klara, c'mon
Ovaries before Brovaries, Klara, c’mon

All this coincides with a small gig the girls are booked to play with Iron Fist, organised by their local youth club.

On reviewing this film back, it could be said that not much happens action-wise. However, the beauty of this story lies in the relationship between the three girls, and between them and their families. Also, in the band sticking it to the man and learning to love themselves (basically the most important lesson you can ever learn, and some would argue, you never stop learning).

Friendship is good
Friendship is good
Friendship is the best
Friendship is the best

To the questions section! Will Bobo and Klara survive getting off with the same boy, in time to kick some serious musical butt? Will they ever prove that they’re the best? Will Hedvig renounce Jesus forever? Would a mohawk suit me?

And most importantly, will the band rock the shit out of their first real gig, proving without a shadow of doubt that Punk is still alive and kicking? All this and more will be revealed*.

“You did not just ask me if I know Wannabe!”

My Thoughts: I have to apologise for a slightly all over the place review, I’m in a bit of a daze after a busy weekend and a late night (more to be revealed about that soon!). Our internet also decided to go down on Friday, so I was forced to view this via the Netflix app on my phone. Which was fine but a little more laborious that normal.

But I always try to deliver on my promises, hence completing this week’s assignment, like a boss.

I really liked We Are The Best and I liked it because of the central characters. I love them together and I wanted them to do well. I think they all played their parts really brilliantly and made me believe in them, which is no mean feat, especially when the characters are so young.

I also wish I’d had friends like them when I was 13. Lots of the time I completely identified with how they were feeling about themselves. Had I had a punk group to focus on back then, maybe I would have been less inclined to eat my lunch locked alone in a toilet cubicle every day.

Also, in all their awkward dealing with boys I will eternally be on the same page. It’s heartbreaking when the boy you like likes your friend and you just feel perpetually shit about yourself. Bobo almost breaks me when she’s trying to be nonchalant about her feelings.

Bobo, I was you and I still am sometimes
Bobo, I was you and I still am sometimes

All in all, this was a joy. I loved one scene in particular, when the girls gain access to an electric guitar and the well-meaning youth club workers quite condescendingly (but kindly) give Hedvig some pointers on how to play. She wipes the floor with them, despite never having picked up an electric version before.

The underlying message of friendship is gorgeous and the climax is hilarious. Watch it.

My Rating: 4/5 – Highly recommend.

So what did Jillian make of her choice this week? Go see for yourselves!

*We may never know the answer to one of them. Then again, never say never.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (Film) Review

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Image from the cover of AGWHAAN OST CD

World cinema is fun! And this week is definitely no exception, although sometimes the fun gets a little bogged down in different emotions, such as pity, rage, despair, hope and triumph.

My choice this week and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Incidentally, this film has been on my list for a while but became more pressing when I read this review. I mean, any review that talks about fuck boys is always going to be alright with me.

But to my own thoughts.

*Beware SPOILERS*

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour (who also wrote the film)
Stars: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh

IMDB Synopsis: In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

My Review:

I’m kind of sad that the synopsis of this film and also the original film poster mentions that this is a Vampire movie. I mean, it’s not a shock when this is revealed, but I think it might have been a nice touch to go in not really knowing much about The Girl. Not that we know anything, mind, beyond her penchant for thick black eyeliner (my kind of girl), lipstick and Breton stripes.

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Rebel with a Cause, we just don’t know what yet

Anyway, that’s a minor thing. We begin the film gazing at James Dean-alike Arash as he leans against a fence, slowly smoking a cigarette. For the uninitiated, I am a massive sucker for this aesthetic on men or women, shoot it in black and white and I’m yours forever.

Arash is standing around and I can’t be sure of his motivation, though he does either steal or rescue a cat and walks off into the next scene with it slung happily over his shoulder. I don’t blame you cat.

Next stop is Arash’s home, where an old man sits in a grubby front room area and injects something into his toes. He doesn’t look like your average junkie so there might be a rational explanation for this but when The King of the Fuck Boys* (presumably) walks in, we are illuminated to just how bad the old man’s condition is. He’s also Arash’s father and owes Saeed (Fuck Boy) a lot of money.

Saeed plays threateningly with the cat for a bit then makes a speech about how Hossein is just a ‘normal man’ who needs ‘medicine’ to get through life. Riiiiight. Then he takes Arash’s car which is his pride and joy and Arash punches a wall.

Alas, this is life and Arash must keep on swimming so off he goes to his landscaping job. He’s called indoors to tune in the TV by the attractive daughter of his employers and under the guise of being gentlemanly, he ushers her out of her bedroom (because being alone would be inappropriate). Really, he’s clocked a nice pair of diamond earrings that might just get him his car back…

Meanwhile, Saeed meets with The Princess, a beautiful prostitute called Shaydah (Rome Shadanloo) and surprisingly, doesn’t treat her very nicely. He also rips her off for her cut of earnings like a true pig. While being a dick in Arash’s car, he spots something out of the corner of his eye and freaks out, even though he doesn’t know what it was. We know though, we know it good, it’s a figure in a hajib and it looks kind of serious.

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Dance like nobody’s watching

We follow the figure and it leads us down into a basement room where a fucking cool girl is dancing. I mean there are few things I love better than black kohl eyeliner (yes, even at the advanced age of 37) and this chick rocks it. She’s effortlessly cool and at first glance I already know she’s going to be one of my favourite movie heroines in recent years.

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Fuck the no make-up look. Fuck it all to Hell

It will also become clear soon that this is our mystery figure and I like this scene because she’s painted as a normal person with normal interests, like music, fashion and pop culture. I also like that we get to witness The Girl making up her face. Now I’m quite sure most women would identify with the ritual of meticulously applying the warpaint before going out to do business, be that an ordinary day at the office, a date or vigilante justice.

Walking back to his apartment later on, Saeed bumps into The Girl. First of all there is a face off and we can’t be sure where it’s going to go but Saeed does what most men do when faced with a female in almost any situation, assumes she wants sex. So she goes home with him under the illusion he’s about to get some.

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SNIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

Things don’t quite pan out the way Saeed planned and I’m not going to go into the ins and out. This film is very much worth a viewing of your own but let’s just say we now have an idea of what The Girl is and how she rolls.

In the aftermath of Saeed’s meeting with The Girl, Arash gets his car back, plus a case full of drugs and cash. Which is helpful. The Princess, meanwhile, is being hassled by Hossein, who seems to have a soft spot for the ladies as well as H. Oh, and don’t think The Girl hasn’t noticed Hossein’s behaviour, because she totally has.

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Why did the Vampire cross the road? To fuck up the dude on the other side… obvs

It’s a shame Hossein is such a dick nose, because Arash is actually not a bad guy, despite appearances. This isn’t immediately apparent when he’s selling X in da club to rich kids but he is. Honest. He also crashes and burns with the rich daughter from earlier on, who rejects his advances.

On the way home, Arash meets The Girl for himself and is so charming in his drugged up state that he seems to throw her intentions completely. I mean, I expected her to eat him there and then. What follows is a scene so heart wrenchingly beautiful that I’m not even going to talk about it.

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Courting, Vamp style

The Girl has also commandeered a skateboard from a future fuck boy (not after she’s finished with him though), and there’s a shot of her skating down the street with her hajib flowing out behind her that blew my tiny mind.

I might leave the rest up to you now, to be honest but along the way Arash and The Girl form a stronger bond; The Princess meets The Girl and TG inevitably ends up dishing out more nuggets of vigilante goodness, which may or may not send the course of Arash’s life crashing in a completely unexpected direction.

You’re interested though, aren’t you?

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“We’re all going on a… Summer holiday…”

To the questions section! Because no review of mine is complete without a series of wills/wheres/hows and whys, amiright?

So… Will TG and Arash live happily ever after? Will Hossein sort himself out for his son’s sake? Will anyone ever truly appreciate that poor damned cat? How did The Girl even become a vampire?

Should I buy myself a new Breton top because it’s such a chic, crisp look? Also, should I get a long-board? Some of these questions will be answered, some will be left open to your own interpretation and some simply don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Enjoy!

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Alternative poster by Levente Szabo

My Thoughts: This film is the nuts. Written and directed by a woman, which shouldn’t be a thing of note in this day and age, but still totally is, it’s a feminist piece, in that all bad men get what for. Even the young lad skirting around a future in douche baggery is handed his arse. The title is great, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – think about it, have you ever walked home from the pub on a Friday night and feared for your personal safety? Of course you have and that’s what The Girl is, she’s the saviour that cleans the streets so you don’t have to feel that way. Brilliant, non? It’s poetic, inspiring and I fucking loved it.

Yes, I can be very generous when it comes to rating the films I watch, sometimes for the flimsiest reasons (like I love Simon Pegg) but honestly, this is a true work of art. It has been very well received because it’s beautifully filmed, fantastically acted and it’s lack of gratuitous violence and gore is a massive plus, if you ask me (even though I love that shit). It could be the B&W aesthetic that lends it the subtlety. Whatever it is, it works like a (bad) dream.

There are several stand out scenes that will stay with me for a long time – two of which I have mentioned above. I also like the main characters and love that even the good guy is flawed. They’re both good at heart but capable of terrible behaviour and the final act, which I shan’t spoil for you, is extremely hopeful and romantic.

Can we just quickly talk about the cat? She’s a terrible actor, staring out of shot at the action going on behind the scenes, almost derailing the whole film. At one point I swear she strains her neck to sniff at the boom engineer or something. Go back to acting school, cat!

My Rating: 5/5 – an absolute must see.

I wonder what Jill thinks of this one? Let’s go see shall we?!

*I’m going to stop saying fuck boy now.