German writer/director Ilker Catak’s highly praised, Oscar nominated drama follows the story of dedicated new high school teacher Carla Nowak (Leonie Benesch). She loves her new job and her fresh approach in teaching maths enables her to connect more easily with her Year 8 students. Everything is perfect until a Turkish boy in her class is accused of theft but Carla is not convinced of his guilt. She decides to take matters into her own hands but is soon confronted by the school’s highly bureaucratic system… The premise is deceptively simple but Catak’s intelligent screenplay, which he co-wrote with Johannes Ducker, unfolds like a nail biting thriller and it also examines society’s prejudices, which are rooted deeply into the people’s subconscious. Benesch’s luminous performance is simply stunning and her portrayal of the highly professional teacher plays like a modern day Pandora, who once she challenges the school’s rules and regulations she opens a can of worms where there is no way back. In similar fashion to Paul Giamatti’s remarkable creation in the recent THE HOLDOVERS Carla is also an idealist, who is not afraid to speak her mind despite the circumstances. The supporting cast including teachers and young students is also splendid. Do not miss one of the most exciting and intelligent films of the year!
Milad Alami’s powerful film is set in Northern Sweden and it follows the story of Iman (Payman Maadi), an Iranian refugee and a former Olympic wrestler seeking asylum along with his family. They are waiting patiently for the eternally slow decision of their case to arrive, until their translator suggests to Iman to start wrestling again, hoping to increase his family’s chances for asylum. He joins a local wrestling club but this decision brings to the surface past traumas that Iman has been struggling to hide…It is superbly written and directed by Alami, who coaches a deeply engaging performance from Maadi, as the vulnerable protagonist. He is not afraid to show the sensitive, softer side of his personality, in deep contrast to the strength he demonstrates while he is practising his sport. This essential film is not only about the plight of asylum seekers but it is also a fine portrait of masculine sexual identity.
Adam Wingard began his career directing low budget horror thrillers like segments for V/H/S 1& 2 and THE GUEST. He now returns as director for this lame sequel to the big blockbuster, which fails miserably despite Rebecca Hall’s valiant efforts. She repeats her performance as Ilene Andrews, the committed scientist, who struggles to piece together the preposterous plot focusing on the origins of the Titans as well as the mysteries of Skull Island. She has masses of dialogue attempting to explain the incomprehensible development of the plot and deserves awards for managing to play it real and with integrity. The other actors perform in different styles as if they are all in a totally different kind of movie and the whole project lacks tension and suspense. It has also the feeling of déjà vu while the special effects for this over tired franchise are dull and uninspiring. Give it a miss unless you are an undemanding 13-year-old boy hooked on video games.
This cute Mexican animation feature is the final part of the “Huevos” series that started back in 2005. It is also known as A FROZEN ROOSTER and AN EGG MOVIE 5 and as all these different titles suggest it lacks a focus and purpose. It opens in the South Pole where a Polar Bear cub is snatched from his parents and taken to a circus along with two penguins. After their miraculous escape they end up on the farm where the Little Eggs family lives, who promise to the runaways to take them back to the South Pole…It is all very amicable and fun even though the plot is all over the place and with far too many characters. The English dubbing relies on silly, loud voices but at least it makes it accessible to younger children.
Mark Rylance excels in Graham Moore’s brilliantly constructed thriller. The action takes place in Chicago during the twenties and the story follows Leonard, an expert English tailor utterly dedicated to his craft and whose corner shop appears to be a meeting place for a group of mobsters. Leonard seems to ignore their frequent visits until one night two killers, Richie (Dylan O’Brien) and Francis (Johnny Flynn), knock on his door in need of a favour…This nail biting thriller marks the directorial debut of Moore, the Oscar winning screenwriter of THE IMITATION GAME. His sharp screenplay, co-written with Jonathan McClain, unfolds like an intriguing, dark stage play with many twists and turns and provides his actors with terrific, well developed characters. The acting is of the highest order and is not to be missed! (Netflix)
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