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Wildling

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Film Review : Wildling

Do you want to hear a story?
Do you want me to tell you about the Wildling?

Wildling” is a peculiar film. It’s hard to put a specific label on it. One moment it feels like a teenage movie about a freshly emerging love. On the other hand, you can’t call it a teenage film per se. It’s a kind of coming of age film with an alternative twist. You could also call it a horror film with influences from werewolf films. But a “Wildling” actually belongs to a different kind of family of mythological creatures. And then there’s the moment Anna (Bel Powley) enters our civilization after years of isolation. She suddenly faces our way of behaving and living. Immediately I thought of films such as “Mama” and “Pete’s Dragon” where something similar happened. Add to this the hunting scenes in a wooded area and you can immediately conclude that this film cannot be classified directly under one specific genre. In that respect, it can already be called unique.

 

 

Let me enumerate the positive things first.

Let me first praise some elements of this movie. I found the choice of youthful actresses playing Anna amazingly successful. Aviva Winick, Arlo Mertz and Bel Powley each play a different period in Anna’s life. There wasn’t one moment that I thought there was something wrong with the appearance of Anna. They fit perfectly in the timeline. Subsequently, the transformation Anna underwent was well portrayed. Compliments for the make-up department. And finally a pat on the back for Brad Dourif who plays Daddy wonderfully, the person who takes care of and educates Anna in a sealed room. Still, strange I didn’t immediately recognize Brad Dourif. His role as Wormtongue from “The Lord of the Rings” is nevertheless engraved in my memory. How he can display so many emotions in that limited span of time is simply genius. Unfortunately, I found the ultimate role of him in the entire story less convincing.

 

 

 

Some unanswered questions.

But as usual, you’ll find a number of improbabilities in addition to the positive points. Not that “Wildling” drops to a miserably bad level, but it bothered me a little bit. The intro of the film is simply beautiful. Mysterious, intriguing and shocking at the same time. You constantly wonder which direction it wants to go and what’s the ultimate objective. Is Anna a prisoner of a network of morbid perverts? Is the outside world uninhabitable as in so many apocalyptic films? Or is there an element of truth in the story Anna hears for years already about the “Wildling“? And when Daddy starts giving injections, it’s really puzzling. And then there comes that turning point. An event I had questions about. During the film, you’ll see that the person Daddy was an experienced hunter. Well, this is probably the first time that he simply misses his target.

 

 

The 30s vibe.

It also seemed unlikely that Anna, after being isolated from the outside world for many years without any interaction with other individuals, adapted so quickly. Wasn’t it better for such a unique person to be protected from the surrounding world? How is it possible Anna could go to a public school without any problem. A hostile environment, full of unknown emotions. I can imagine that this is very confusing for her. Let alone to let her go to a party with deafening booming music and liters of alcohol. She struggles like a fish on dry land. Another laughable moment was when Ellen (Liv Tyler) deposited a pack of sanitary pads in front of Anna. I suppose Anna had no idea what it was and what it was for. By the way, I also had trouble recognizing Liv Tyler immediately (also a “Lord of the Rings” participant). Maybe I miss her fairytale kind of appearance. Or her beauty starts to fade. But that’s a different kind of reverie from me. And finally, I thought Daddy’s final action during the hunt was terribly exaggerated. How he managed that (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it), remains a mystery to me.

 

Wildling

 

“Wildling” is a strange but special flick.

Wildling” certainly isn’t a bad movie. But in hindsight, it’s all rather blurry and superficial. Not that an extensive and detailed explanation is necessary. But I expected some more background information about the origin of these mythical creatures. Maybe it’s also because the film aims at too many genres. The fairytale mixes with horror elements and then transforms effortlessly into drama. “Wildling” can easily be added to other nature documentaries about animal species threatened with extinction. Never thought of seeing this concept in a soft-horror fantasy story. If there’s one thing this film succeeded in with flying colors, it’s the idiosyncratic use of the well-known werewolf concept. In short, a strange but special film.

 

 

My rating 6/10
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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