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Apostle (2018)

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These people…
they’re blasphemers…
a cult, a disease.
Be careful. Be smart.
Bring her home.

The first thing that came to my mind while watching “Apostle“, was the movie “The Witch“. It takes place in the same time period. Here, too, an old-fashioned sounding English is spoken. And it’s also a religion-tinted theme. The biggest difference with “The Witch” is that I thought that one was rather boring and not a horror at all. It was more a historical costume drama. “Apostle” is, on the other hand, simply sublime. A mysterious film about religious madness. Not only content wise but also visually it all looks perfect And the facet of horror was indeed present. And no, not only because of the bloody and gore scenes. There’s only one thing that puzzled me afterward. What was it that the people of Erisden worshiped?

Bring her back home.

It all starts when Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) is asked by his father to rescue his sister Jennifer (Elen Rhys) from the grasp of an obscure sect. She’s kidnapped. And a large ransom is demanded. Thomas himself was once a sort of missionary spreading God’s word in the land of the rising sun. His experiences there, however, made sure that he got an aversion to everything that has to do with religion. Without further delay, he takes on the assignment to save his sister from the gang of fanatics and bring her back home.

Two hours are gone before you know it.

The running time of “Apostle” is 2 hours. Perhaps this is too much of a good thing for a horror with religion as a central topic. But believe me. Those two hours are over before you know it. Every sense of time is absent when viewing this captivating film. And this because of the excellent way of build up. The first hour you’ll be carried away in the enigmatic life on the island of Erisden. Beautiful images are interspersed with scenes from the daily life of this primitive living commune. Soon it’s clear that this sect developed a peculiar kind of faith with their own rituals (and despotic rules). Just as in any religion, a limited number of individuals rule and decide how to behave in this community. They are also the only ones who know what’s going on there.

Bad harvests mean starvation.

The reason why they abducted the daughter of a rich man is that their provisions are drastically reduced due to bad harvests and they are gradually heading towards a shortage of food. Prophet Malcolm (Michael Sheen) tries to turn the tide in a certain way but finally, he has to realize that he’s helplessly watching how his patiently built community gradually crumbles. Despite the sometimes rather barbaric punishments that have been introduced to keep the community under control, Malcolm seems to be a peaceful man who’s worried about the welfare of the islanders. More peaceful than some of his confidants who show a certain hunger for power and who, if the opportunity presents itself, try to claim leadership without delay.

A lot of interesting characters.

The characters Thomas and Malcolm are played in a brilliant way by Dan Stevens and Michael Sheen. Malcolm isn’t really a cruel despot, though he’s the driving force behind the terrible process of cleansing. And even though Thomas has to be careful while tracking down his sister, he immediately disobeys imposed rules and expresses his doubts about Malcolm towards the prophet’s daughter. Michael Sheen (who played a more funny role in “Passengers” as the robotic butler Arthur) and Dan Stevens were perfectly cast. I especially liked Dan Stevens (“Kill Switch“, “The Ticket” and “Beauty and the Beast“). Even though his grim and furious look started to get boring at a certain moment. There are also a few other characters that are worth mentioning. First, there are Bill Milner and Kristine Froseth who take care of the idyllic part. Then there’s Lucy Boynton as Andrea, the daughter of the Prophet. It’s not the most important role, but her appearance is in sharp contrast with the rest of the film. A dazzling beauty with a refreshing look. She looks like a fragile porcelain doll. And finally Mark Lewis Jones as Quinn, co-founder of this sect and in hindsight also a fanatic. Each and every one was an interesting character.

A bit of suspense and a tad horror.

Apostle” is certainly not for sensitive viewers. Not that it ‘s really frightening (except maybe for the sewer scene). But there are some distasteful scenes that can be quite shocking for some. Especially in the second part of the film. It’s filled with sadistic torture practices where the accompanying sounds cause chills. This in contrast to the first part that you can call atmospheric. It’s difficult to label this movie with a specific film genre. But do you like a bit of suspense? A tad of horror? And pagan religious scenes? Well then, this folk-horror movie is definitely your thing. At least one of the better Netflix productions so far.

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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fantasy

Wonka Review | Delectable And Delightful

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Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Plot

Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.

From Paul King, writer/director of the “Paddington” films, David Heyman, producer of “Harry Potter,” “Gravity,” “Fantastic Beasts” and “Paddington,” and producers Alexandra Derbyshire (the “Paddington” films, “Jurassic World: Dominion”) and Luke Kelly (“Roald Dahl’s The Witches”), comes an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humor.

Starring Timothée Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time—proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Movie Review (no spoilers)

This movie is an adaptation of both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as well as the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, stories written by Road Dahl. The story takes Wonka on his journey into the world to start a chocolate business, but with all new ventures comes challenges, new friends and the obvious foes who will stand in the way of your dreams.

Timothée Chalamet delivers an excellent performance as Wonka alongside an energetic cast. I really enjoyed and appreciate the passion and energy Timothée brought to this movie. The choreography and the costumes was creatively done and on another level.

Wonka combines a feel-good story with musical elements, heartfelt messages and occasional humoristic elements from Hugh Grant. The story is as sweet as the chocolate and I hope that the factory will keep going as the story ends in such a way that it gives hope and the possibility of more stories and adventures of Wonka. 

No post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end. The movie trailer doesn’t spoil much of the main storyline. The movie has a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes.

I give this movie a 4.5 out of 5!

This movie made me feel like singing, and I leave this song adaptation for you:

“Oompa loompa doompety doo,”
At the movies I hope to see you,
“Oompa loompa doompety dee,”
Wonka’s movie, you must see!

Wonka Official Trailer (Warner Bros. Pictures)

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fantasy

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Part 1 Review: An Epic and Riveting Adventure Continues

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In 2019, Netflix struck gold with the epic fantasy series ‘The Witcher’ and viewers started thinking that the streaming platform might be close to getting a show as massive as ‘Game of Thrones’. The first season turned out to be successful, but it was the second edition that made everyone realize how the live-action series had laid the perfect foundation for something special. Almost two years after getting a glimpse of what Ciri could do with her powers, ‘The Witcher’ is back with another action-packed season that will captivate viewers with its masterful storytelling, thrilling battles, and impeccable performances.

Season 3 of ‘The Witcher’ picks up where the previous season left off, with Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), the enigmatic monster hunter, embarking on a new set of adventures, along with Ciri (Freya Allan) and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra). This season, Geralt finds himself caught in a web of political intrigue as he navigates the treacherous world of the Northern Kingdoms. From the royal intrigues of Nilfgaard to the exploration of the elven past, the show seamlessly weaves together multiple narratives, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats and adding layers of depth to the already intricate plot. Apart from that, Geralt and Yennefer continue to do anything and everything to keep Ciri safe from the bad people.

Henry Cavill (Geralt), Freya Allan (Ciri), and Anya Chalotra (Yennefer) in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

However, one of the standout aspects of Season 3 is its exceptional character development. The fantasy series continues to explore the complexities of its main characters, especially Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. All the aforementioned characters undergo significant transformation throughout the season, allowing viewers to connect with them on a deeper level. Kudos to the writing team of ‘The Witcher’ who have done an exceptional job in fleshing out the backstories of all these characters and making them feel more relatable. Themes like destiny and the consequences of one’s choices are prevalent throughout the season. Some moments will make people realize the thin line between right and wrong by looking deep into the moral ambiguity of its characters.

Once again, the show is packed with epic action sequences that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. From extraordinary sword fights to magical showdowns, the battles are nothing short of thrilling this time around. Visually, it’s stunning, and storytelling-wise, it’s more riveting than ever.

As far as performances are concerned, Freya Allan delivers another remarkable performance as Ciri and strikes a perfect balance between vulnerability and resilience. Meanwhile, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer displays how much she has grown as an actor. Season 3 explores the emotional depths of her character most effectively and gives Chalotra the bandwidth of showing her range. However, it is Henry Cavill who takes your breath away with a scintillating performance as Geralt of Rivia. From the very first season, Cavill has successfully embodied the larger-than-life character and this time around, he just knocks it out of the park by effortlessly embodying the brooding yet compassionate nature of The Witcher.

Also, the chemistry between the three leads drives the emotional core of the show.

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 (Netflix)

All in all, Part One of ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 raises the bar, and every aspect of the show has improved significantly from its predecessors. Season 3 proves to be a worthy addition to the beloved series and if you are a fan of the fantasy series, ‘The Witcher’ Season 3 is a much-watch.

Come and immerse yourself in the magical world of Geralt of Rivia.

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