Currently browsing the "Arty Chick" category.

Review: Slalom

Competitive sports are hell on the body and the mind. Even more so when you’re a teenager with no support system. In Slalom, Lyz (Noée Abita) is an ambitious and talented young skier who eyes the fulfillment of her dreams when she’s accepted at a prestigious ski training school in the French Alps. She’s just 15-years-old and still in high school, and pretty naive about the world. But ski pro-turned-coach Fred (Jérémie Renier) sees something in her and takes her on as his special case, training her hard and pushing her to be the best. And it works. She starts winning all the big prizes. But that’s not all he wants from her. He’s a predator, a control freak, and a sleaze. And she’s too young to have to deal with that, especially when her mother is nowhere to be found. Writer-director Charlène Favier, herself a former competitive skier, says the film isn’t exactly autobiographical, but it depicts the uneven power dynamic between athletes and their coaches that can and has crossed the line all too frequently in the sport. It’s a powerful #metoo film with great performances.

Review: Quo Vadis, Aida?

Talk about a film that’s hard to watch! This Oscar nominee from Bosnia and Herzegovina tells the horrifying story of the days leading up to the 1995 massacre of 8,000+ Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the town of Srebrenica. The central character is Aida (Jasna Duricic), a school teacher from the town and also a translator for the UN peacekeeping forces there during the wars that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. When the Bosnian Serbian army rolls into town, despite the fact that the United Nations had declared it a UN safe area two years earlier, the Muslim citizens flee to the nearby UN camp looking for shelter and safety. Aida’s husband and sons are among those fleeing. But as she can see from inside, the UN troops are left high and dry by the UN command in New York, and they’re outgunned by Serbian Gen. Ratko Mladic (Boris Isakovic) and his army. And as the time ticks by Aida does everything she can to save her family, though if you know the history, you know it cannot end well.

Review: TINA

To say that Tina Turner is a music icon is a huge understatement. She’s the original Queen of rock & roll and a force of nature. I was too young to appreciate her when she was with Ike and first made her name.  But when she made her comeback after leaving him in the 80s, I saw her on stage and she was electrifying! She was pushing 50, but she owned that stage, strutting up and down stairs in platform heels with the energy of someone half her age. I was in awe and kind of in love.  Not only was she a performer like no other, but her stage presence was that of a kind person who adored pleasing us all.  This new documentary from Oscar-winning directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin leads its audience through her turbulent life and career through interviews with Tina, and her friends and family, some never before seen video, and fabulous performance footage that makes you love her all the more. It’s the story of one of music’s greatest female performers who thankfully rose from the ashes after years in a violent relationship.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 12

This week I chose a comedy thriller, a political thriller, a classic screwball comedy, a wartime romance, a storybook romance, a Japanese existential drama, and a loving ode to an Italian childhood.

All of them received Oscar nominations and several of them were big winners. Three of them were up for the Best Foreign Film award.

 

This week’s picks are: Sleuth, My Man Godfrey, Casablanca , The Princess BrideWoman in the Dunes, Z , and Amarcord .

 

 

Review: The Courier

This is another “based on true events” film. The story begins in 1960 as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev is threatening to bury the West. The CIA and MI6 are scrambling for ways to get some inside info on the Soviet nuclear program, and to that end they make the unlikely decision to recruit a British salesman, Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch). He’s done business for some time in Eastern Europe so heading to Moscow wouldn’t be a red flag to Soviet intelligence. And he’s not expected to do anything except be a courier for leaked intel. Former Soviet military intelligence colonel, now trade minister Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) has already made contact. He has unfettered access to all the crucial intelligence, and he’s got a conscience. He may be a believer in the Soviet Socialist system, but he’s willing to work against it to stop the march towards what he sees as inevitable nuclear war. And together Oleg and Grenville save the world. Really.

Review: Dark Web: Cicada 3301

This cyber-comedy/thriller takes its premise from a very real internet mystery. According to Wikipedia: “Cicada 3301 is a nickname given to an organization that, on three occasions, has posted a set of puzzles to recruit codebreakers from the public … It has been called ‘the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age’ and is listed as one of the ‘top 5 eeriest, unsolved mysteries of the internet.'”  Connor (Jack Kesy) is just a brilliant hacker working as a bartender when he stumbles into the Cicada mystery. With the aid of hot librarian and fellow hacker Gwen (Conor Leslie, “Titans”, “Man in the High Castle”) and his best friend and art expert Avi (Ron Funches, Trolls, “Black-ish”) he follows the clues, outruns the NSA who are also trying to get to Cicada, gets in more than a few tight spots, and finally gets an invite to Cicada’s exclusive party in London. Of course it isn’t everything he hoped. 

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 11

Most of this week’s films come from the 80s. There’s a jewel heist, a race riot, a dystopian bounty hunter, an academia story, three murderers, a couple of divorces, and a lot of intrigue.

They received 10 Oscar nominations between them, and a lot of other accolades.

This week’s films are:  A Fish Called Wanda, , Do the Right Thing, Blade Runner, Educating Rita, Dance With a Stranger, Brother’s Keeper, His Girl Friday.

 

 

 

Review: Keep an Eye Out

One of last year’s most strangely entertaining films was Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin about a man’s bloody obsession with a deerskin jacket.  Dupieux is back this year with another black comedy, this time a police procedural with a decidedly absurdist twist. There’s a murder and a witness/suspect who’s being interrogated, and a death in the room that the witness/suspect covers up while the police inspector is out of the room, and some weird time manipulations in the flashbacks of his testimony. And it’s all played pretty deadpan. And it’s strangely entertaining in a trés French sort of way.

Review: FTA

This fascinating documentary is a time capsule from 1971. It follows Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland and the rest of the theatrical troupe Free Theater Associates around America’s Pacific army bases as they perform an anti-war comedy show for the troops. Fonda and Sutherland had just finished working together on Klute and were both anti-war activists. All the skits were taken from military newspaper stories and as you can see in the film, it was a huge hit with the soldiers, many of whom had become anti-war supporters despite still being in the military. The film cuts back and forth between the performances on stage and groups of soldiers talking about their experiences in Viet Nam and the military in general. Black soldiers talk about the racism. Women talk about the sexism. They all talk about the problem of being in a war that nobody wants. It all feels way too familiar. 

Arty Chick’s Seven Picks: Week 10

This week is heavy on movies about couples. They include rom-coms and complicated relationship stories, and the characters range from criminals to musicians to politicians, from kings to bakers. The genres include classic dramas, and film noir, and brilliant satire. And there’s a good dollop of sex, for good measure.

They’re mostly from the 80s and 90s, though one is from the 60s. And something they all (except one) have in common is that they were nominated for a lot of Oscars, and won quite a few.

 

The films are: Moonstruck, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Body Heat, Nashville, Out of Sight, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and The Lion in Winter