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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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Action

Dune | Official Main Trailer | HBO Max

A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.—Warner Bros.

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Genre:

Adventure, Drama, Sci-fi

Release Date:

October 22, 2021

Director :

Denis Villeneuve

Cast:

Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Oscar Isaac

Plot Summary:

A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.—Warner Bros.

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Drama

Sequin in a Blue Room | A Dark Erotic Thriller

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Sequin in a Blue Room marks the feature debut of Australian filmmaker Samuel Van Grinsven. Working from an original script penned by Grinsven and Jory Anast, the plot is about a sixteen year old twinky teen known only to the audience as Sequin (played by newcommer Conor Leach). Sequin is his choice of display name on a Grindr-esque hookup app called Anon. He also sports a sequin crop top in all his sexy pictures online, as well as when he goes to meet older men for sex.

When Sequin has an encounter with an alluring stranger (Samuel Barrie) at an anonymous sex party he becomes obsessed with finding this mysterious man. But his deep dive into the sordid corners of these hook-up apps to find this guy puts him in grave danger.

For a first feature Samuel Van Grinsven shows a lot of promise. Sequin in a Blue Room is an intoxicating mix of coming-of-age drama and erotic thriller – two genres that are not easy to marry but for the most Grinsven does a commendable job of blending them together in a gripping fashion.

Sequin boasts a rather unique atmosphere which is quite seductive but there’s also an unshakable feeling of stakes. The plot only occurs over the space of a few days. Sequin hops from bed-to-bed, using a man once for sexual gratification before he blocks them on the app and then moves onto his next sexual conquest. Gay subculture has had a long history with disposable sexual encounters but introducing ghosting into the mix gives Sequin a very modern feel.

But as we see not all of Sequin’s sexual partners appreciate being used and subsequently ignored. Each of Sequin’s sexual encounters is initiated by a title card that reads “Apartment 10, 9, 8” etc. There is a countdown of sorts leading the audience to believe Sequin is heading to a confrontational showdown. It’s a clever subconscious way of building suspense.

Sequin is a very striking looking film. Cinematographers Jay Grant and Carina Burke have a great grasp of composition and lighting. It’s a very grimy looking which feels right at home in a story all about anonymous sex. The scene where Sequin navigates the labyrinth sheeted corridors of the sex party is a standout sequence. The sets are caked in blue neon and coupled with Brent Williams blasting pulsating score makes one feel like you’ve taken a psychedelic trip into a seedy underworld. Samuel Van Grinsven also uses silhouettes and shots from the back Sequin’s head to subtextually show he’s being stalked like the prey. A lot of thought went into how this film looked – every frame carries deeper meaning.

While there is a sense of ever-present danger, the subplot involving Sequin and a fellow gay school mate called Tommy (Simon Croker) counteracts some of the films darker moments with some awkward teenaged humour. This pairing provides levity to a rather sultry story but also helps to anchor the film in reality. Having rather charming adolescent flirty scenes interspersed between a lot of taboo sexual hookups could’ve left the film feeling uneven but Samuel Van Grinsven shows remarkable grasp of his tone.

The only place where subplot feels like a slight detriment is with the finale. The final scene is certainly feel-good cute but it negates a lot the moody tension that made the story so invigorating to watch.

The performances all around are impressive, particularly from it’s young lead Conor Leach who delivers a very measured performance as pretty young thing and emotionally unavailable Sequin. There’s also great work from supporting players like Jeremy Lindsey Taylor as his dad, Ed Wightman as B and Anthony Brandon Wong as the compassionate drag queen Virginia.

Where the film struggles is a lack of nuance in the dialogue – often it’s quite heavy-handed. The scenes in the boys English class practically spoon-feed the subtext to the viewer. Whether it be love, infatuation, obsession or transgression the themes of are essentially spelled out to us. It’s about as subtle as a wrecking ball.

Sequin in a Blue Room will appeal to anyone who enjoys a dark erotic thriller. Fans of Stranger by the Lake, Closet Monster or King Cobra are sure to find Samuel Van Grinsven’s debut equal parts steamy and engaging.

Sequin in a Blue Room is available to rent on Amazon Prime or BFI Player.

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Crime

The Many Saints of Newark | Official Trailer | HBO Max

The Many Saints of Newark is an upcoming American crime drama film directed by Alan Taylor and written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner as a prequel to Chase’s HBO crime drama series The Sopranos.

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Genre:

Crime, Drama

Release date:

2021

Director:

Alan Taylor

Cast:

Michael Gandolfini, Vera Farmiga, John Magaro, Corey Stoll, Alessandro Nivola, Mattea Conforti, Jon Bernthal

Plot Summary:

The Many Saints of Newark is an upcoming American crime drama film directed by Alan Taylor and written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner as a prequel to Chase’s HBO crime drama series The Sopranos.

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