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Drama

Just Say Goodbye

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Sarah slashes down the days to her summer vacation trip with all the gusto of Zorro and his infamous ‘Z’, until she discovers her best friend’s plot to end his life while she’s away.

Genre : Drama
Country : USA

Cast :
Katerina Eichenberger : Sarah
Max MacKenzie : Jesse
William Galatis : Rick

Director :
Matt Walting

My opinion on “Just say goodbye”

“That was the first of hundreds of conversations between us.
Most came easy. And some a little harder.
And one would change my life forever”

It’s not necessary to have a bunch of overwhelming special effects to make a great film. Or well-paid world-famous movie stars to embellish the whole. Or an intriguing story with a magisterial end. Sometimes there are films where the message leaves an overwhelming impression. As in “Just say goodbye“. Even though you clearly notice at the beginning it’s a low-budget film, it convinces after a certain amount of time. Personally, I have never known anyone who’s in a similar situation as Jesse (Max McKenzie). Jesse’s youth can hardly be called rosy. First of all, there’s his mother who commited suicide. And then there is Jesse’s father (William Galatis). A hateful person with a drinking problem who’s constantly reminded of the incident when he looks at his son. In addition, there’s also the constant bullying at school. All this ensures that Jesse has a fairly fatalistic view at life. The only positive thing in his life is Sarah (Katerina Eichenberger). A friend who looks forward to a holiday and marks the days on her calendar dayly. She doesn’t realize that Jesse is also counting down to another climax in his life.

The facts about suicide are horrifying.

“Just say goodbye” deals with a sensitive topic. The fact that we live in a narcissistic society, where individuals become more and more isolated and alienated from their environment, it’s important to draw attention to this. For many who are fortunate enough to be in a situation where the outlook is more positive, this will generate an I-really-don’t-care feeling. Until the moment that fate strikes in their immediate environment. And more than once the remark will be made they didn’t see this one coming. And also that they didn’t think the person in question would be able to carry out this act of desperation. I think when it comes to suicide among teenagers, we are at one minute to midnight. When googling about this subject, you find some disturbing facts. In most countries it’s even the number one cause of death and one speaks of three suicides per day. To talk about it with young people is essential. And it’s films like “Just say goodbye” that are a perfect tool for this.

It’s not a happy let’s-have-some-fun movie.

Just say goodbye” broaches this topic in a serene way. There was no unnecessary use of sensational imagery. In a truthful way it showed on the one hand the defeatism of someone who no longer seeks a way out and no longer has the will to live. The despondency is constantly present. On the other hand, there’s the struggle of a good friend to turn the tide and who’s willing to do anything just to show this person that life also has its good sides. Even offering herself in a sexual way is one of her attempts. It’s not a joyfull film. Far from.

Low budget, high quality result.

Even though I knew it was an Indie low-budget film (it was made with a limited budget of about $13K) and certainly didn’t expect to see some impressive visual material and acting from the top shelf, I had to admit that it actually all looked professional (even though the second cameraman caused ripples in the water, so I could already guess from where the next shot would be taken). The acting of both Max McKenzie and Katerina Eichenberger felt genuine and credible. The two perfectly complemented each other. Two good friends who cared about each other and had their romantic moments. Without any doubt it’s the most admirable part of the film, even though the interplay wasn’t 100% fluent and felt a bit forced sometimes. Also Jesse Walters as the bully Chase deserves a mention. Even though he’s a textbook case of an average bully which can be found in every school. A pampered teenager who, thanks to his wealthy parents, gets everything and treats others in a patronizing way. He’s that kind of person I utterly hate and preferably would like to pull through a heavy plate mill. The rest of the cast consists mainly of adults who, in my eyes, didn’t have a central role to play. Which is also obvious, given the subject.

Don’t ignore obvious signals of despair.

There were a few minor flaws in my opinion. For example, I thought Sarah’s plea to Chase, to cut Jesse some slack, was rather short-sighted. As an intellectual and compassionate girl she should know that this would only have a counterproductive effect. The additional storyline about Chase I found quite far-fetched and superfluous. The only use it had, was to give an explanation for the suicide of Jesse’s mother. But apart from that, this film still left an impression. Not only do we see how desperate those are who are out of touch with their environment and want to give up. But also the despair of those who stay behind is noticeable. A clear signal to parents not to ignore signals from their children. “Just say goodbye” is a film with a sensitive subject,  leaving a crushing impression. And finally I think it takes courage to make such a film.

My rating 7/10
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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