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Drama

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

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SummaryThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Genre : Crime/Drama
Country : UK/USA

Cast :
Frances McDormand : Mildred
Sam Rockwell : Dixon
Woody Harrelson: Chief Willoughby

Director :
Martin McDonagh

My opinion on “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

“Raped while Dying.
Still no arrests.
How come, chief Willoughby?”

Those who read my writing attempts occasionally, know that I thoroughly hate everything that has the appearance of a serial or when prequels and sequels are being produced just to exploit the story even further. So, don’t panic while reading the following statement. I hope they’ll come up with a sequel to “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri“. A continuation of this brilliant story where we’ll learn how Mildred (Frances McDormand) and Dixon (Sam Rockwell) handle the case.

I am sure that this film will be difficult to surpass in its genre. And not because of some amazing special effects or action-packed film sequences. But because of the ingenious story and the unparalleled acting. And even though the story is filled with ultra-serious issues such as discrimination, domestic violence, cancer, sexual abuse and murder, there’s also a subtle comic layer that is saturated with blackened humor and finished with cynical and ironic elements. This is so up my alley.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Anger versus compassion.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” is about anger, rage and helplessness. The anger about an unsolved case with Angela, the daughter of Mildred, being raped and burned alive by one or more unknowns. And after several months Mildred has come up with the bright idea to denounce the failure of the judicial investigation. And this by unabashedly spreading the message about it, on three billboards with Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) as main target, solely because of his leading position as Chief.

But it’s not only anger and revenge you’ll be witnessing in this magnificent film. Forgiveness is also included. Like the moment during a police interrogation in which Mildred feels genuinely concerned about Willoughby’s health. I was also surprised when Red Welby (Caleb Landry Jones), the owner of the advertising billboards, offers Dixon a glass of orange juice. Two moments in which blind anger made room for compassion.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sublime acting from Frances McDormand.

Even though Woody’s name is written on the billboard in huge letters, his contribution isn’t really decisive. To my surprise, he also gets out of the picture halfway through the film. In the first place it’s Frances McDormand who demands the most attention. And she does that in a stunning way. A bitter woman who’s tired of waiting for an arrest. Mildred is under the assumption that no effort is made by the corps to follow any clue or performs real police work. In her eyes, the police officers are a group of racist dipshits who spend their days harassing Afro-American fellow citizens.

She’s a tough lady who firmly tackles those who get in her way, both verbally and physically. And she spares nobody. Whether it’s a priest or a dentist. She isn’t even afraid to kick some young students in their crotch. And even though she appears to be an unpleasant person with a sharp tongue, she manages to arouse your sympathy. The sometimes dry, humorous remarks take care of that. Frances McDormand may rightfully become the owner of the coveted statue during the Academy Awards in a few months’ time.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Rockwell plays the best role of his life.

And such a golden statue can also be reserved for Sam Rockwell. His acting is simply magisterial. Dixon is an aggressive hillybilly who likes to beat up  minorities and appears to be drunk constantly while doing his job as a policeman, knowing it’s tolerated by his superior. A not so quite intellectual overweight man. And Dixon’s stupidity sometimes creates comical situations.

And finally there’s Woody Harrelson. An actor after my own heart (whom had stolen it already because of his participation in the sitcom “Cheers“) who always plays his roles with so much flexibility and professionalism. In contrast to the confused and sometimes cruel character from “The Glass Castle“, Chief Willoughby is an honest person who’s sincerely worried about the case of Mildred’s daughter. All in all, these are three parts that are played in an excellent and marvelous way by these actors. This film is already commendable because of that.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A brilliant movie. Go see it !!!!

But it is also the intelligently written script that makes this film worthwhile. It’s indeed a film full of heavy themes. The injustice in this world and how people deal with it. The processing of an immense grief. There are also uncomfortable moments full of aggression and threats. And yet there is always a laconic undertone that is peppered with thoughtful, ambiguous humor. And these different moods alternate at breakneck speed. Some scenes change from aggressive and threatening, into humorous and emotional. “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a gem of a film I’ve enjoyed tremendously. And believe me, I’m looking forward to seeing it once more.

My rating 9/10
Links : IMDB

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Drama

Netflix’s Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown’s Medicore Fantasy Drama Fails Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

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Robin Wright, Millie Bobby Brown and Angela Basett in Netflix's Damsel

Netflix’s latest 109-minute original movie, starring Millie Bobby Brown, unfortunately fails to conquer its audience. The twisted dark fairy tale turns into a fantasy survival thriller as the “damsel in distress” faces betrayal and hardships. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau, Damsel offers a beautiful concept with a weak story.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The opening narration of the movie, “There are many stories of chivalry where the heroic knight saves the damsel in distress. This is not one of them,” sets the tone of the movie as Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) was ‘sold’ to another kingdom as a bride only to be betrayed by her husband soon after getting married. Hurt, alone, and frightened, the protagonist soon learns that she has been ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of the kingdom to a dragon. Survival seems hard for the princess as she comes across the dangers of the majestic creature. Brown’s character soon finds out that she is not the first to be sacrificed. Several brides like her have been thrown away for generations like a stick thrown to a dog.

Damsel offers an unusual and strong concept with captivating visuals and cinematography. The traditional classy costumes and rich makeup style match the theme well. As usual, the Stranger Things star offered outstanding dialogue delivery with expectational expressions.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

As much as Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent performance needs to be applauded one cannot help but notice the waste of fine talents. Yes, we’re talking about multiple award winners, veteran actresses Angela Bassett and Robin Wright, who are highly recognized talents out in the world, famous for their spectacular roles in multiple critically acclaimed projects. Brown’s heavy presence leaves no room for Bassett and Wright to shine. It leaves other actors such as Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, and Brooke Carter far out from the spotlight.

Damsel includes some heart-wrenching action scenes along with many emotional turning points that make Elodie question her life. She is living in fear, facing betrayal, figuring things out, and most importantly, trying to survive all alone in a dark cave. The bland dialogues in between disrupt the flow of the movie, but the rushed conclusion lashes all hopes to the ground! All the buildup was quickly washed away as the movie ends cursory.

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Damsel

Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix’s Damsel

The period movie challenges patriarchy, inequality, and gender roles. The protagonist Princess Elodie is an open-minded, strong, progressive-thinking character who can do anything for her people – even if it means giving up her dreams and life in an arranged marriage. The women in the movie are bold, strong, rational, and, protective. It is only fitting that Netflix’s Damsel was released on International Women’s Day as the distressed damsel shows she needs no man in shining armor to protect her from the dangers present in the world. She is a brave, daring, sharp-minded young woman who takes revenge and expresses power when it was needed. Game of Thrones may have set a standard for dragons, but this one is no less. We’re sure Khaleesi would be proud of Elodie!

Damsel is available to stream on Netflix.

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Action

Napoleon: Explosive and Victorious!

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Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Plot

Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar®-winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte’s relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.

Vanessa Kirby as Josephine Bonaparte and Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Movie Review

The movie starts off on a high note, showcasing the end of one of France’s major historical figures while Napoleon watches on. The storyline is centered around some of Napoleon’s highlights in his military career such as the siege of Toulon, the Battles of Austerlitz and Waterloo, as well as his exile to St Helena. Every moment combined with dramatic effect delivers a well-rounded historical war-drama.

We are taken to picturesque locations supported by an epic soundtrack delivered by Martin Phipps (listen below).

Napoleon (Original Soundtrack by Martin Phipps)

The costumes and military regalia is done to perfection. The display of explosive artillery adds to the battle highlights, and watching the movie in a IMAX theatre adds even more value in terms of sound and picture quality.

Even though the movie contains historical inaccuracies, a well dramatised historical account of Napoleon Bonaparte is offered, and Joaquin Phoenix delivers a performance worthy of a medal. Vanessa Kirby plays the part of Empress Joséphine, and delivers

One movie would never be enough to share all of the highlights of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, but I feel this movie really summed up some of the stories quite well. The movie is filled with non-stop action between the battlefields and political halls of France. Ridley Scott delivers a war movie that gives us a shortened but powerful glimpse of the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte. Give him a medal!

I would personally have loved a see an entire series dedicated to the stories of Napoleon Bonaparte.

I rate this movie 4 out of 5. Not for sensitive viewers. Lots of action with a few violent scenes. There are a few sexual scenes but with no graphic nudity.

The movie trailer doesn’t spoil too much of the movie content and is a brilliant appetizer for the history buffs among us. There is no post-credits scene though, so no need to wait till the end.

Watch Napoleon at a cinema near you!

Napoleon Official Trailer (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

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Comedy

Netflix’s Crashing Eid Review: Love, Culture, and Differences

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Crashing Eid

If you are curious about other cultures, or maybe want to see how your culture is represented in mainstream media, then you should binge-watch Netflix’s Arabic Comedy series Crashing Eid this weekend. It’s a 4-episode long series with each episode of roughly 47 minutes. The series revolves around culture, love, differences, family, and drama.

The story focuses on Razan (Summer Shesha) as she finds love for the second time in her life but struggles to convince her family for marriage. Razan is shown to be living in the UK with her daughter Lamar (Bateel Qamlo) and finds her British-Pakastani boyfriend Sameer (Hamza Haq) as a suitable match for herself. She proposes to him for marriage before traveling to Saudi Arabia, her home, to celebrate Eid. Her family is convinced that she is back in Saudi for good but Razan has other plans. She tries to tell them about Sameer but constantly fails due to fear and lack of ‘perfect’ timing. She tells Sameer that her parents have agreed to their marriage as she panics to tell him the truth.

Summer Shesha and Bateel Qamlo in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha as Razan, Bateel Qamlo as Lamar in Crashing Eid

Here comes the twist – Sameer reaches Saudi to surprise Razan and to meet her parents! She tries her best to handle the situation and hide their relationship with the help of her daughter Lamar. At the end of the episode, the truth uncovers itself and everyone is left disappointed. The story follows Razan’s family drama, bitter relations with her mother, previous abusive marriage, her brother Hasan’s (Yasir Alsaggaf) struggle to connect with his son after losing custody, etc. Her previous marriage with her cousin affected her relationship with her own mother as she blames Razan for the failed marriage.

Summer Shesha’s portrayal of a strong woman struggling with every close person in her life but still managing to face everything with bravery is appreciable. Khalid Alharbi deserves applause for his sweet, loving, and understanding role as Razan’s father.

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha, and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Despite a fun twist challenge, representation, and Khalid Alharbi’s brilliant performance, a few parts lack perspective. The story doesn’t completely revolve around Razan yet it fails to involve Lamar’s (Bateel Qamlo) emotions in the family drama. She is seen upset at times but it’s never completely addressed. She plays the role of a typical elder daughter helping out her mother in everything and neglecting herself at times. The ending felt rushed as it doesn’t properly elaborate on how Razan’s mother (Amani Idrees) suddenly changed her mind about her daughter. Emotions take time and that’s what felt rushed.

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq, and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Crashing Eid  offers strong cultural representation, women empowerment, and how love can help you deal with almost everything. It focuses strongly on social taboos surrounding women and Muslim culture.

Crashing Eid is now available to stream on Netflix.

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