FILM OF THE WEEK
Australian director Craig Gillespie made his name with such original films as LARS AND THE REAL GIRL and I, TONYA before he hit the big time with CRUELLA. The sharp screenplay of this financial satire is written by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, which is based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Antisocial Network.”
This true story follows Keith Gill (Paul Dano), an eccentric YouTuber who manages to turn the video-game retailer GameStop into one of the world’s hottest companies thanks to his ingenuity. Gill gambles his life savings into the stock market and his immense risk taking finally pays off…
Gillespie has assembled a great ensemble of actors including Shailene Woodley as Gill’s supporting wife and America Ferrera as Jenny, the hard-working nurse, who during the pandemic follows Gill’s posts and yearns for a share of some of the money. Seth Rogen is also well used as the ruthless billionaire Gabe Plotkin determined to fight back when he finds himself on the precipice of losing his vast fortune. Gillespie enters the world of the Andy McKay movies, who is well known for his political satires such as THE BIG SHORT, VICE and DON’T LOOK UP. These films are all relied entirely on strong ensemble acting and here Dano leads a perfect cast as the most unlikely of heroes.
A HAUNTING IN VENICE
The ghastly moustache and the fake Belgian accent return for another Agatha Christie mystery which was originally written as “Hallowe’en Party”. Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green transfer the action from the English countryside to Venice for this superbly photographed thriller.
Haris Zambarloukos is rapidly becoming one of the most stylish cinematographers working in cinema today and his expertise makes this otherwise dull film more watchable than it deserves. Branagh has gathered a stellar cast, but his characterization of Poirot is as unconvincing as ever. It is a few years after the end of World War II and the retired Belgian sleuth now lives in Venice hiding away from solving any crimes. But as fate would have it his old friend and celebrated mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (Tin Fey) comes to find him and soon after a séance inevitably things begin to go bump in the night…
The eclectic cast that includes Michelle Yeoh, Kelly Rielly and Jamie Dornan are as reliable as ever, despite the lame direction and lack of excitement.
The celebrated Romanian director Cristain Mungiu brings to the screen another powerful story. He tells the story of Matthias (Marin Grigore), a Romanian who, a few days before Christmas quits his job in Germany and returns home to his Transylvanian village. His priority now is to toughen up his son Rudi and help him get rid of his increasing fears. Meanwhile, at the local factory the staff begin to show their hostility against the increasing number of foreign workers…
Mungiu is the kind of bold, daring filmmaker, whose subjects enter unfamiliar territories that other directors shy away from. It is a challenging film, and his purposely unsympathetic patriarchal characters are thrown into a situation where they are forced to confront their own demons.
This sensitive film about brotherly love by Clement Virgo is based on David Chariandy’s novel and follows the story of two Jamaican-Canadian brothers during the summer of 1991. The older brother is Francis (Aaron Pierre), a strong figure of the local community that everyone knows and respects, while Michael (Lamar Johnson) is the exact opposite- a loner, who likes to be invisible amongst his community. The brothers are close despite their differences until Francis drops out of school to become a musician…
It is a gentle, beautifully acted, and imaginatively directed film. The careful designs and choice of colours also suggest the inner turmoil of his well-developed characters. Worth catching!
This is quite a rarity – a Greek film at FRIGHTFEST receiving its European Premiere. Konstantinos Koutsoliotas sets the action of his impressive film during one hot summer by the seaside. The local taverna is packed, while the rembetes are singing their little hearts out to the catchy tunes. A handsome stranger (Davide Tucci) arrives searching for his missing father and is made welcome by the attractive waitress (Daphne Alexander) at the taverna. Life is good until strange creatures begin to come out of the mist…
Koutsoliotas wisely takes his time to introduce his characters before the utter madness hits upon them. His experience as a visual effects artist is also put to great use here. Seek to see it when it gets a release!
MAN ON THE RUN
This intriguing documentary follows the story of a mysterious businessman known as Jho Low, who along with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak found a way to exploit a sovereign fund for their own benefit. The 1MDB fund was established in 2009 for the benefit of the people of Malaysia, but instead it went to the pockets of corrupt politicians and to Low, who spent his share in producing film like THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. He paid vast money to Hollywood stars including Leonardo Di Caprio, Jamie Foxx, and Paris Hilton just to attend his big celebrity parties. But thanks to British journalist Clare Rewcastle- Brown their devious plan is exposed…
The story is so far-fetched it could only be true – it is sad but true that world politicians are as corrupt as the next criminal. The film develops like a nail-biting conspiracy thriller, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood turns it into a big blockbuster with probably Di Caprio playing himself, even though he refused to appear and comment in this essential documentary.
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