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Drama

The Mule (2018)

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Film Review : The Mule

Family’s the most important thing.
Work’s fine, if it’s in second position.
But first position should be family.

The Old Man & the Gun” might be the piece de résistance of Robert Redford. “The Mule” might be the grand finale in Clint Eastwood’s career. This legendary actor looks shockingly old. I even felt sorry for him at certain times. The way he was treated is inconsistent with the image you have of him in other movies. I hoped that as a veteran, he would use a few handy fighting movements to silence the arrogant cartel members. Forget it. Clint Eastwood stayed loyal to his role as a submissive and defenseless elderly person who does what he’s told. But you can rest assured, Mr. Eastwood is and remains a brilliant and respectable actor. There’s no praise great enough when it comes to his acting talent. And this tough, almost 90-year-old man may slide the director’s chair under his weathered butt for many years because as a producer he made a few great movies as well (such as “Trouble with the curve”, “Sully” and “American Sniper“).

 

 

It’s not a nerve-wracking film.

Not only does Eastwood play the leading role in “The Mule“, but he also produced it. The pace Eastwood uses here is striking. Everything goes smoothly, quietly and calmly. It’s the age, I guess. In any case, he takes his time to tell the story. It didn’t bother me at all because it’s a pleasure to see how the Eastwood actor does his thing. Even though he’s someone who has reached a blessed age, he still knows how to impress as an actor. More than the film itself actually. Not that it’s a really boring film, but there’s not much action here either. I have the impression Eastwood is using this film to apologize to his close relatives for being frequently absent because of his busy career. Perhaps that’s why his own daughter Alison Eastwood was assigned the role of his movie-daughter.

 

 

No quality time with the family.

Eastwood plays the war veteran Earl Stone. A famous florist who, after his company is declared bankrupt, has to find another way to earn some money. Stone is an old-fashioned grump who lost contact with society apparently. Hence his misplaced comments about the internet and the way he addresses an African-American family. He was a true bon vivant and charmer in his younger years. Someone who led his own life in his own way and had little or no time for his family. That’s why he’s not welcomed with open arms by his wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) and daughter Iris (Alison Eastwood) when he returns after the internet ruined his business.

 

From flowers to drugs.

The only one who receives him with open arms is Rico, a friend of Earl’s granddaughter, who tells him about a seemingly simple job that pays good money. And before he realizes it, he’s a drug mule driving around for a Mexican drug cartel. His innocent appearance and stoic calmness ensure that Earl doesn’t appear on the radar of Detective Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper). While this motivated agent decisively searches for “El Tata”, this cheerfully singing grandfather transports kilos of cocaine stacked between pecans in the trunk of his car. Colin Bates even gets a free life lesson from Earl somewhere in a diner along the highway.

 

 

Drugs and family – bad combination as well.

Of course, drug smuggling is the main subject of this film. A story based on true facts where 87-year-old Leo Sharp was caught with smuggling 90 kilos of cocaine. This film also shows how ruthless drug cartels are. But it’s also a film about regret, remorse and the frantic attempts to heal lost family ties. Perhaps it felt kitschy and corny at some point, but that was compensated by the subtle humor that seeped into the dialogues (a lesbian motorcycle gang and comparing a Mexican authoritative figure with the “Fuhrer”). Maybe a bit daring at certain moments, but I could only make approving chuckling noises. “The Mule” certainly isn’t Eastwood’s best film and the ending is a bit too abrupt. But it was still a pleasure to see movie icon Clint Eastwood at work again.

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Drama

Tribeca Film Festival | ‘7 Days’ – A Sweet Rom-com To Keep You Going

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We’ve reached the point now where the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns we’ve faced over the past year are starting to become backdrops for films, and perhaps it’s not something we want to re-live and it’s not something we’re desperate to revisit, but 7 Days has a really touching and moving story at its centre and when you look past the coronavirus, it’s a really compelling story and makes for a good film.

At the start of the film, we meet Ravi (played by Karan Soni, best known for playing Dopinder in Deadpool) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan- Blockers, The Broken Hearts Gallery). The two have been set up by their old-fashioned Indian parents and are on a pre-arranged date. The two of them have absolutely nothing in common and the whole afternoon is very awkward for them both. But then the COVID outbreak gets worse and Ravi must spend the next few days at Rita’s place as he can’t get a car or a hotel. We soon witness the unlikely bond that forms as the two spend their days together despite being very different people.

7 Days marks Roshan Sethi’s directorial debut and he does a great job here. Not only does he capture so well what it’s like to live, and to love, in the time of COVID but the film, which was also co-written by Sethi, is really funny and leaves you feeling good which is exactly what you want after having lived through the last year.

The film’s quite short as it is with a runtime of just 86 minutes but even so, it does feel very long. Whether that’s because there’s only really two characters that we’re seeing for almost an hour and a half, or if it’s because it takes place almost entirely in one location, it does drag a bit. The two characters seem like polar opposites as we discover Rita drinking beer and eating leftover chicken for breakfast despite claiming to be a vegetarian and not drinking and at times the film feels like it’s almost running out of things to do with these characters that at first seem so far away from each other and the film does feel quite long despite its rather short runtime.

But on the whole, 7 Days manages to get the tone between comedy and drama just right with lots of funny lines but also just the right amount of heartfelt and poignant moments. The film is bookended by short video clips of real-life Indian couples talking about their marriages and how they met, and the two main characters discuss these two viewpoints of a more orthodox arranged marriage versus love marriages and the film does a really good job of presenting them both to us equally.

7 Days works well and manages to avoid being a depressing film about the pandemic, in part due to the really good performances from Soni and Viswanathan and the wonderful chemistry the two have, but also due to the really good script by Sethi and Soni. And whilst we will doubtlessly see more movies set during this time, 7 Days is a sweet rom-com to keep you going.

★★★☆☆

7 Days premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

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Drama

Supernova | A Powerful And Touching Film Worth Seeing

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Get the tissues ready because Supernova is a real tear-jerker. It’s one of those films that right from the very first moment you know it’s going to hit you right in the feels. And Supernova expertly gets that blend right between sadness and hope to the point that the film is an excellent well-rounded film that has real emotion and isn’t just a complete sucker punch to the gut.

Sam (played by Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) are partners of 20 years and are travelling around the Lake District in their old RV. The thing is that two years ago, Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Over the course of their journey, they encounter friends and family and their ideas for the future clash as secrets are revealed, really testing their love for each other in a way that they’ve never experienced before. It’s a really devastating film about love and about loss too but it’s incredibly powerful.

For the first half of the film, there’s quite little actually about Tusker’s dementia and instead, writer/director Harry Macqueen decides to show us just how strong the love between the two is and we see that they’ve both put their careers on hold at this difficult point in their lives. Sam was a musician and Tusker a writer but they’ve both been unable to continue with these with everything they’re going through. But we see the incredible love that these two people have for each other.

This is, in part, down to the phenomenal performances from both Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. And that’s what really takes this film up a notch to be an excellent film. Firth and Tucci are both outstanding and give some of their best performances of their careers. The film is entirely driven by their remarkable performances and everything else helps to compliment that to create a really moving film. The cinematography is really beautiful- as you’d expect- with the gorgeous Lake District as the backdrop for film and there are some really lovely wide shots of the incredible scenery in Supernova.

For the majority of the film, the writing is really good too, however, there are a few instances where it doesn’t quite feel like what a real person would say in that situation in the moment. Instead, it sounds like the sort of thing a writer would have written- which of course it is, but because of how touching and powerful it is, and because of how well Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth are delivering these lines it doesn’t stand out too much.

Supernova is a very emotional film, particularly when you consider the meaning behind the title. Director Harry Macqueen says that “a supernova is the massive explosion event at the end of the evolution of a star”. “For me this has always been representative of Tusker himself- a man who shines bright in all he does, brings light and laughter to almost every situation and is, of course, dying. It’s quite literal in that regard, really; he knows his final chapter is just around the corner.”

Supernova is a film that’s worth seeing, even if that’s just to see Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci giving career-best performances but there’s so much more to the film as it explores the sophisticated, mature themes of love and loss. Just make sure to take some tissues, or maybe even a bucket, to collect your tears.

★★★★☆

Supernova is released in UK cinemas on June 25th.

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Action

Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Official Teaser

The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.

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Genre:

Action, adventure, drama

Release Date:

November 5, 2021

Director:

Chloé Zhao

Cast:

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry

Plot Summary:

The Eternals, a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, reunite to battle the evil Deviants.

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