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Drama

Giant Little Ones: Narratively Speaking, It’s An Excellent, Almost Brilliant Film

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It never would have happened
if we weren’t wasted.

 

Just like in chemistry class at the start of the film, there’s a lot of intense experimenting among the youngsters in this movie. Especially sexually. However, when this experimenting turns out bad for Ballas (Darren Mann), he starts losing his mind. Because it could be detrimental to his reputation as a tough stallion who prefers to brag about the number of times he did it with his girlfriend. His blood brother, friend for life and partner in crime Franky (JoshWalking OutWiggins) suddenly becomes the feared enemy. Franky is treated as a purebred pariah whose proximity causes paranoid reactions. As if he’s the carrier of disgusting STDs. From one day to the next, Franky belongs to the camp of the outcasts in a youth community where popular teens, who measure up to the ideal of beauty, are in charge and seem to lay down the standard rules for acceptance.

 

Giant Little Ones

 

A sensitive topic.

Giant Little Ones” belongs both in the category of “Coming of age” films and the category containing films with a gay/lesbian theme. Now about that last item. The film deals with that topic in a clever way. And this by not explicitly revealing anything about the actual sexual orientation of the persons involved. At the end of the film, we still don’t know whether Franky or Ballas should come out of the proverbial closet. And that makes “Giant Little Ones” a film that feels authentic. As in reality, some people need a lot of time to discover their sexual preferences. The only personage in this film who does this coming-out is Franky’s father (a limited but defining role played by KyleTwin PeaksMacLachlan). A situation that causes conflicting feelings for Franky. On the one hand, there is a love-hate relationship between him and his father. Its the opinion of Franky that Ray has disrupted the ideal family portrait and that he abandoned them. On the other hand, Franky starts to have doubts regarding his sexual orientation. There’s the question of whether or not he has inherited genetic material from his father.

 

Giant Little Ones

 

A not so innocent sleepover.

The whole fuss starts when Franky and Ballas go to bed and sleep there together after a hellish birthday party, during which excessive alcohol and probably other mind-altering drugs are consumed. Initially, it all looks like a perfectly normal idea. Two friends sleeping in the same bed. Although, they both are in a questionable state. And all this because the plans Franky had with his so-called girlfriend Priscilla, failed that evening. That’s why they ended up together, instead of fooling around with their girlfriends. Anyway, it’s abundantly clear that their friendship reached a completely different level that evening. Blurred images of someone tossing and turning plus one of the two fleeing the scene early in the morning, are both good indications to back this up. When afterward Ballas takes a distant demeanor (or even better, an aggressive, hostile attitude) and visibly doesn’t want any contact with Franky anymore (and other fellow students as well), you know that shit hit the fan.

 

Giant little ones

 

Jocks and bimbos. Fascinating stuff.

Josh Wiggins’ acting is outstanding. A fresh young man who on the one hand effortlessly is invited to the club of popular boys and at the same time has an attitude as if this reputation doesn’t really interest him. Darren Mann also played a convincing role and was the perfect choice to play the role of Ballas. He has a charisma that fits such a guy who makes peers’ lives miserable because they are less fortunate when it comes to appearance and heritage. Such a kid who must uphold his reputation with his fellow confreres and therefor degrades himself to harassment and play that annoying tough-guy routine. And of course, such a person is idolized by members of the opposite sex who practice the same standards. Let’s try and describe such a girl. A blond bimbo with a shockingly low IQ whose sole purpose in life is to open her well-shaped, slender tanned legs wide open as quickly as possible in such a way that this popular jock can get his kicks. A victory for the young lady in question whose reputation goes sky-high among like-minded female souls. And finally, I think Taylor Hickson’s role was the most moving.

 

Giant little ones

 

Brilliant movie.

Visually, “Giant Little Ones” isn’t really spectacular. But narratively speaking, it’s an excellent, almost brilliant film. The film shows how fake a part of American youth is. A plastic payment card has more character and charisma than most of those mannequins from posh circles. Not only these cartoonish fake persons with their derogatory and homophobic behavior are being presented here. But also those who stay true to themselves, are put in the spotlight. The message “Be yourself” is extensively displayed here. The hilarious lesbo Mouse (Niamh Wilson) in particular loudly proclaims this message by doing things the way she likes it. “Giant Little Ones” has both emotional and funny moments. And what it mainly did, was surprise me. In a positive way, that is.

 

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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