Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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This chilling tale of an overzealous but compassionate Copenhagen policeman assigned to emergency services desk duty while on probation serves up a taut, edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller about his valiant efforts to aid in the investigation of a possible kidnapping of a young mother by her ex-convict husband. Told almost entirely through a series of phone conversations between the officer and his colleagues, the victim and the alleged perpetrator, writer-director Gustav Moller relies on the sound of his performers' voices to carry the story, forcing viewers to use their own imaginations to visually fill in the gaps, an expert use of Hitchcock's rule if there ever were one. The result is a harrowing journey into the minds of the characters, as well as the viewers' own minds, aided by a script loaded with unexpected twists and turns. This captivating offering reaches out and grabs the audience's attention despite its simple, play-like staging, presenting a gripping story that only gets better the further along it goes. A genuine and vastly underrated cinematic knock-out.
This quiet, meditative character study about an aging postmaster forced into a decision to retire or relocate when the mail facility she manages is about to be closed thoughtfully examines the difficulty faced when changes are imposed on those least equipped to handle such drastic change late in life. While not much happens in this story, and while some aspects of the narrative are not as fleshed out as they could have been, the film nevertheless presents an insightful and compassionate look at coping with transition, a tale brought to life through the superb and understated lead performance of Karen Allen. This is not an offering where viewers should expect a lot of bells and whistles, but, like a good book and a warm blanket, it's the kind of picture that's perfect for curling up with on a rainy Saturday afternoon. A touching and heart-tugging drama, filled with beautiful imagery and warm, loving characters, the kind who, like the small towns where they live, are all too unfortunately (and all too readily) disappearing from the landscape these days.
This charming and poignant teen comedy about a naive Catholic school girl who discovers the forbidden joys of sexuality in a generally unaccepting environment transcends the silly and unimaginative qualities often associated with films of this genre. Although the picture drags in a few spots and could stand to have been somewhat more daring at times, director Karen Maine's debut feature serves up ample laughs without resorting to cheap tactics, often getting considerable mileage out of gestures as simple as facial expressions and other visuals that speak volumes. But, even more significantly, the film's insights in other areas, such as judgment and self-determination, deliver spot-on messages that expose the hypocrisy and outright silliness often preached by organized religion. The picture's superb ensemble cast, creative cinematography, impeccable editing and excellent background score add to the production's many other fine attributes, making this release one well worth viewing. A smart, sexy, sweet offering well deserving of its accolades -- and a wide audience.
This ambitious existential sci-fi offering, based on a Swedish poem of the same name, makes a valiant attempt at transcending the content, substance and style typically associated with other films of the genre. However, due to an underdeveloped script, an overreliance on viewer knowledge of the source material, more even pacing and a need for some judicious editing, the picture never quite rises to the greatness it might have been truly capable of. The film's impeccable production design and special effects and fine performances are augmented by nods to a variety of other sci-fi works, including "Solaris," "Gravity," "Passengers" and "Battlestar Gallactica," as well as allusions to "Midsommar" and various tales of hopelessly adrift seafarers. Its prolific references to matters religious, spiritual, metaphysical and sociopolitical pepper the story, sometimes effectively, sometimes not so much, resulting in a grab bag of enlightenment, frustration and assorted enigmas. In an age where our own world is seemingly being turned upside-down, the insights of this story -- had they been better developed -- could have been a godsend to a weary population, providing us all with a new, clearer understanding of where we're at and where we're headed. But, unfortunately, "Aniara" comes up short of achieving that goal -- and at a time when we could have used it most.
What should have been a touching and moving coming of age tale set against a turbulent time in history amidst figures who were giants in their own right struggles desperately to find its rhythm and tone. This story of a tobacconist's apprentice who befriends Sigmund Freud and seeks advice about young love at the time of Nazi Germany's occupation of Austria is a jumble of images and story threads mixed in with dream and fantasy sequences that never gel into a cohesive whole. The changes in mood, from light romantic fluff to serious historical drama, further confound this offering, never letting viewers know if this is something to be taken as an adolescent romp or gripping pathos. Sadly, in the end, director Nikolaus Leytner's latest feature, now available for online streaming, winds up being more confused than any of the patients on Freud's couch.