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Despite all the hype, pretty much your average comic book movie. 4/10
After the death of his father, Prince T'Challa ascends to the throne of the small African country of Wakanda. T'Challa is also Black Panther, superhero. Now not only must he govern his country but defeat a dangerous adversary.
An average comic book / superhero movie, which doesn't say much. Massively over-hyped and over-praised, largely because of the racial angle. What you have is ultimately nothing new: the usual action and CGI-centric storyline, the basic, wafer-thin plot, the token character development, i.e. just another Avengers-type movie.
This is not a revolutionary movie in terms of breaking stereotypes - if you're looking for that, watch In The Heat Of The Night (1967), or any one of several Sidney Poitier movies, instead.
Superb drama - powerful, profound and poignant. 9/10
Agu is a young boy in a war-torn African country. The war eventually reaches his town, resulting in his mother and younger siblings fleeing for the capital and his father and older brother being killed by government forces. Agu flees into the jungle where he meets a battalion of rebel soldiers, lead by their charismatic commander, known simply as Commandant. Agu joins the rebels, not realising the things he will see and be required to do.
Superb drama, written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (of True Detective fame) and produced by Netflix. Chillingly gritty and realistic, showing how easily an innocent boy can become a veteran soldier and merciless killer. Agu's transformation from bystander to combatant and the changes it causes in him is quite amazing to behold, as it is so gradual yet inevitable.
Good story, showing well the anarchy of war, and that there's often no good guys, just adversaries. Also shows the effect of war on its participants. The last few scenes show that even once the war stops, some are mentally still fighting. Emotional ending.
Idris Alba is the only known actor in the cast and puts in a solid performance as Commandant. However, Abraham Attah, only 13 or 14 at the time, steals the show as Agu. He is excellent in the role.
Solid supporting performances.
The best movie Netflix has made, to date.
Heaps of potential, largely wasted.
The lives of a group of skateboarding teens in the city of Visalia, California.
I had low expectations for this film. It is directed by Larry Clark, who specialises in gratuitous sex and nudity for shock value, and seems to creepily delight in making films about teenagers. However, the movie started very well with an incredibly powerful opening scene. Having grabbed my attention, Clark and writer Harmony Korine then proceeded to retain it with fairly engaging scene-setting.
So far, so good. Everything was set up for a good exposition of modern teen life with a profound ending.
However, Clark can't help himself and, as the movie progresses, he starts to throw in the gratuitous sex and nudity he is known for. It is all for shock value and here it is over the top. No wonder this film is so controversial.
The explicit scenes cheapen and divert what was shaping up to be a good drama. Instead of a well-thought-out and crafted examination of teen life we have extreme and weird plot developments, just for shock value.
It's not all bad though: some of the sub-plots (e.g. the Tate one) remain interesting and the ending is quite powerful and ties the movie together.
Overall: better than expected, but disappointing because it could have been great.