OFFICIAL COMPETITION (2021): The Things I Liked…

Official Competition (2021), Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martínez, IFC Films
Official Competition (2021), Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martínez, IFC Films

How wonderful it is when the first line of dialogue in a movie puts a smile on your face, while suggesting that its tone is the kind you’ll be glad you experienced.

New comedy/drama Official Competition, which stars Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez is one such film, thanks to its delightful absurdity and amusing ridiculousness.

Directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, the fun starts just before wealthy businessman Humberto Suárez decides to hire a famous movie director to shoot a smash hit film. And why not? After all, what else is there, following one’s high-profile business success and noteworthy philanthropy?

You probably already agree that a super-inflated ego in action is one of the most amusing things to witness. And this tends to be true whether you are laughing aloud or stifling laughter for fear of repercussions.

Official Competition, a comedy about filmmaking gives you permission to laugh at the art of making movies. Especially the peculiarities of the processes, plus the creative and the less creative individuals involved. 

The few slightly slower moments aside, I had a good time watching Cohn and Duprat’s film. The highly skilled cast is a delight to watch. I especially enjoyed everything José Luis Gómez, who plays wealthy businessman Humberto Suárez does on screen. So much so that I selfishly wish that he appeared in the movie more frequently.

Watch Official Competition if you’re curious, and certainly for the fun, well-written movie-making ridiculousness. 

Now, please excuse me while I go and rewatch the opening scene, my favourite!

Happy Film Loving 

G

A SEXPLANATION (2021): The Things I Liked…

A Sexplanation, a comedy/documentary intent on righting all the wrongs of 36-year-old director Alex Liu’s all-American and certainly inadequate sex education is the kind of watchable 76 minutes I’d expected.

Since, unsurprisingly, my adolescent sex education also lacked some important details, especially by today’s standards, the film’s promise to uncover the much-needed hard facts and naked truths with some comedic flair had me simultaneously informed and entertained.

I enjoyed watching Liu’s journey as he sought guidance from the experts, asked his parents a bunch of highly awkward questions and shared his sex education experiences with some of his closest friends. 

More than the largely welcome puns and other amusing moments, it was great to see how finally getting the key information that a now 36-year-old Liu really needed much sooner, gave him a sense of peace. 

Besides the humour and the more detailed sex education lesson, there are two more memorable highlights in A Sexplanation. The first is the charming dynamic between Liu’s parents. And second is what happens as soon as the sex education experts and researchers are called upon to actually define sex.

I say watch A Sexplanation if you’re curious. Do it for a thoughtful and often amusing sex education lesson; thanks to one man’s review of the sex education experience of his youth. Particularly how life-changing it would have been to have received a more comprehensive approach much sooner.

Happy Film Loving

G

BLACK BIRD (2022): New Trailer From Taron Egerton, Paul Walter Hauser, Greg Kinnear, Ray Liotta…

Black Bird (2022), Paul Walter Hauser, Apple TV+
Black Bird (2022), Paul Walter Hauser, Apple TV+

New crime/drama/thriller series, Black Bird has Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene, a man sentenced to 10 years in a minimum-security prison. A sentence that could be reduced to zero, if he’d just do one not quite so little thing.

Elicit a confession from Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser,) a suspected serial killer so that the FBI can find the bodies of as many as eighteen women.

I can’t even begin to guess if Keene will get out of this alive, especially knowing how prisonguards in TV shows and movies tend to stir up trouble and inappropriately exercise their power. Then there’s the assumption that the FBI care whether Keene survives. I mean, he does seem to be, you know, a full-on criminal.

I’m into this because of the cast and this rather well-edited trailer, even if it is tinged with some sadness since Liotta is no longer with us.

I see a pair of perfectly rich roles for Egerton and Hauser, plus some incredibly tense scenes coming our way. Scenes that are ideal for fans of great prison dramas and mob/crime stories.

Greg Kinnear, Ray Liotta, Sepideh MoafiTrazi Lashawn, Christopher B. DuncanJake McLaughlin, Robert Diago DoQui, Alexander Babara, Cecilia Leal and Rachel Whitman Groves also star.

Black Bird Release Dates: July 8th, 2022, Apple TV+

Happy Film Loving

G

BLACK ADAM (2022): New Trailer Starring Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Pierce Brosnan…

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra; Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahi , Noah Centineo and Pierce Brosnan are the stars of new action/fantasy/sci-fi, Black Adam. A character for whom unleashing his unique form of justice on the modern world is a key goal.

And who can blame him really, when nearly 5000 years ago, he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods-and imprisoned just as quickly.

I Can’t wait to see what Johnson brings to this. Even as fatigued as I am with the superhero genre, the hope and possible promise of some difference always has a way of making me sit up and pay attention.

Also, surely it’s a positive sign when something that happens in a movie trailer results in at least one loud ‘WOOO….’ from me. Let’s hope!

Uli Latukefu, Aldis Hodge, Marwan Kenzari, Joseph Gatt, Quintessa Swindell, Chaim Jeraffi and Jalon Christian are among the cast.

Black Adam Release Dates: October 21st, 2022 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

SLOW HORSES (2022): Hello, Thrilling Chase…

Why aren’t there more movies with chase sequences as long and satisfying as Mel Gibson’s Apocalyto (2006? I often wonder about this and the answer is probably the same as the reason there aren’t enough films with the unexpectedly masterful execution of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite (2019); it’s incredibly hard to do.

I say all the above as a big fan of the following clip from Apple TV+’s latest drama/thriller series, Slow Horses.

Starring Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas and Gary Oldman, the story’s focus on a team of British intelligence agents is intriguing enough. Especially considering that said team serve as a dumping ground department of MI5, thanks to their career-ending mistakes.

Nevertheless, it’s roughly 1.5 months since I saw the above clip, and I still haven’t watched beyond these 20+ minutes.

There are several reasons I’ve been unhurried about committing to Slow Horses. They include the non-film-related things keeping me busy. Also, I am a person for whom a thrilling chase sequence is one of the most fun events a film can have. Remember how exciting all the running in Apocalyto was?

I’d hate to start watching Slow Horses, only to stop because I’m not getting enough of that which had me hooked in the first place; the thrilling chase.

The cast is undoubtedly great, and with clever pacing, great dialogue and more, I may well have a good time, should I decide to surrender; something I may have done more readily had the last 12 minutes of the above clip not caught me off guard.

Finally learning patience and the right mood arising may help get me there. Or, I could be that millennial/ Tik Tok generation type. You know, the ones who are having more and more trouble enduring footage that can’t be categorised as ‘a clip.’ How scary.

Have you seen Slow Horses? Which movie features your favourite chase sequence?

Happy Clip Loving.

G

COW (2021): The Things I Liked…

Cow (2021), IFC Films

Moved and shocked are the words that best explain how I feel about director Andrea Arnold’s Cow, a film that looks closely at the daily lives of two cows.

My curiosity about a cow’s day-to-day and the fact that I’ve always considered them one of the cutest animals are my two reasons for watching. 

How far from easy and relatively short the dairy cow’s life is are the elements that moved me most, even more so because both realities happen to be exacerbated by humans.

The fact that there’s no explanation of what’s going on as you watch is part of what makes Arnold’s film particularly engaging. The camera captures what happens and leaves you to deal with how it makes you feel. 

I’m sure that the most empathetic are those likely to find Cow the most difficult to watch. 

As empathetic as I generally am – a truth I know because I cry at many movies, Cow didn’t lead to my own tears. In some ways, I found Arnold’s film strangely calming, a quality I’m sure that the almost complete absence of dialogue and a musical score contributed to.

Besides the moment past the halfway point when I thought the film started to feel too long and repetitive, I say watch Cow if you’re curious, and let it surprise you. 

Cow (2021), IFC Films
Cow (2021), IFC Films

Some random thoughts that may enter your mind as you watch Cow include:

I never imagined that the sight of fully engorged udders could be quite so overwhelming.

Considering the obvious heft of the cow frame, it’s almost surprising how quickly they can move.

This one is a film that lends itself perfectly to a screening followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.

Please do share any other thoughts in the comments, whether or not you’ve already seen, or plan to see Cow, and so on.

Happy Film Loving

G

BRIDGERTON – SEASON TWO (2022): Episode One, World Premiere…

Bridgerton Season 2, (2022), Simone Ashley, Netflix
Bridgerton Season 2, (2022), Simone Ashley, Netflix

At the Bridgerton Season two World Premiere in London’s Tate Modern this week, there were many highlights to take in. Not least of all, the Bridgerton inspired fashion show, venue decorations, and of course, interviews with key cast and creators. 

The first season focused on the fourth Bridgerton child, Daphne Bridgerton, and her love story with the Duke of Hastings. 

The main focus of season two is the eldest Bridgerton child, Viscount Anthony Bridgerton. Specifically his entrance into the marriage market and the fun dynamic between the Viscount and the older Sharma sister, Kate (Simone Ashley).

Having seen episode one of season two, I’m almost certain that the undeniable chemistry and fun dialogue between Anthony and Kate will be the main highlight.

No doubt the costumes, music, romance and humour will hold my attention. But, Anthony and Kate’s exchanges did take me back to Casino Royale (2006), specifically James Bond and Vesper Lynd’s conversation on the Eurostar. 

Let’s hope that the episodes that follow are only more and more engaging come Friday, March 25th, 2022. 

Are you looking forward to this promising new season? I know I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised.

Bridgerton Season 2 Release Date: 25th March 2022, Netflix

Happy Film Loving

G

NOPE (2022): New Trailer From Jordan Peele, Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Steven Yeun, Barbie Ferreira, Keke Palmer…

Isn’t it great when a promising trailer from one of your favourite directors lands when you weren’t expecting it?

The director is Jordan Peele and the movie is Nope. A scary but fun looking horror/mystery/thriller starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun and Barbie Ferreira.

The question going through my mind right now is ‘What kind of terrifying ride, likely involving aliens is this story about to take us on?’ I want to find out. I’m in for the special effects and to discover whether we’ll even get to see the entity causing all the terror.

What’s a bad miracle? They got a word for that?

I just love the above words and the way Kaluuya’s character delivers them, with that perfectly placed pause in the middle.

Michael Wincott, Donna Mills, Terry Notary, Jennifer Lafleur, Brandon Perea, Sophia Coto, Ryan W. Garcia, Andrew Patrick Ralston and Gloria Cole also star.

Nope Release Dates: July 22nd, 2022 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

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