Film and TV Recommendation
Available on Netflix and various other services
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An Indian historical-fiction epic, a so-bad-it-might-be-good Malaysian flop, and one of the highest grossing movies of all time in China are new to Netflix this month!
Hollywood isn't the only place where remakes are commonplace. China has gotten into the game with a copy of an exciting Korean-ish thriller and see what horror looks like in South Africa, new to Netflix this month!
What seems like an Indian stoner flick and a French film lead by some real powerhouse actors are what's new to the comedy realm this month on Netflix!
What happens when you fuse Lola Rennt with The Matrix and Tom Hanks? Find out in what can only be described as a modern epic. Out of Chile comes a film starring a local actors, a real treat from our friends way down south. All that and more this month on Netflix!
Comparing two documentaries, we earn some bits of truth about a country that does almost everything it can to deny it. Investigating the nature of propaganda runs the risk of becoming it, what will you think?
The Square is an award winning feature length film documentary by Jehane Noujaim about the 2011 Egyptian Uprising. When it began, the event was rolled into what became known as the “Arab Spring”.
This dystopian story is a cerebral meditation on a world gone mad. There is only rich and poor. The middle class has been absorbed by the other two classes. How do you break out of poverty and become one of the 3%? The Process will set you free- if you are good enough.
The movie takes the layers of mystery surrounding the true Book of Kells, and weaves in spirituality and mythology to tell the tale of a young boy, drawn to adventure
Moore attempts to show, not tell, his way through a handful of [mostly] European countries, showcasing, among other things, Italian labor practices (including paid maternity leave), French sex education, and French school meals - this contrasted with some of the worst that American cafeterias serve (sorry square pizza, it’s hard to compete with French haute-cafeteria-cuisine).
If you liked Pixar’s world-famous, tear-inducing, mini-romance in Up, you’ll get some similar warm and fuzzies from The House of Small Cubes or as it’s officially known, La Maison en Petits Cubes.
"The biographical-action-drama, Ip Man¸ takes a number of liberties in this slice-of-life piece during the 1930s occupation of China. We briefly see the city before the war as home to many competing martial arts schools, something that I imagine is played up a little for the film, and Mr. Man is the somewhat aloof master who does not operate a school or generally get entangled in the affairs of the martial arts schools."
"Perfectly titled, Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware covers the rapid advances in hardware development in a rather new Chinese megalopolis. This is the city of the notorious Foxconn facility and many of the locals interviewed are trying to change the global perception of their city. It’s up to you to decide if they succeed."
"On their new Amazon streaming video program, The Grand Tour, these English mates look like they are having way too much fun driving unlimited numbers of exotic cars and carrying out fiendishly concocted challenges. It’s like three adolescents with unlimited money, time, and driving licenses. I suppose somebody has to do the heavy lifting, right?"
"For a country who only recently re-legalized print of Mein Kampf, the blueprints to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, the sheer existence of a movie, and previously a book, about Hitler coming back to life in the 21st century was certain to turn heads."
"Urban documentarian, Iwan Baan, explores how people from around the world adapt to their circumstances by organically building and shaping their communities to match the environments around them. Baan offers a view of a poverty that we do not often see, showing people that are proud of their homes, their businesses, and their accomplishments that the developed world often glosses over."
"What I loved about this movie is how well del Toro balances the violent realities of a war and the beautiful promises of a dark fantasy world to keep us on edge and thrilled throughout. Using his characteristic practical special effects and eerie set designs, del Toro’s style is perfected in this masterpiece."
"It’s truly an artistic masterpiece with vibrant colors, expressive animation, and effective visual comedy. Moana tells the story of an energetic young “princess” of a Polynesian tribe with a serious case of wanderlust. You'll even pick up some aspects of Polynesian culture during her journey!"
"Whilst drawing your sympathy at first, Baader's cause loses its focus, and through her character I began to lose track of which side I was on. But that’s the point. You can’t say that the film takes a side. Does this make it better somehow as an historical film? For me, almost certainly, short of making a documentary, though that could be (and often is) a lot worse, given that documentaries have their own agendas."
"The most famous image of the film pictured above is on screen for maybe only 10 seconds and then passes on to the gentlemen walking around on the lunar surface unrestricted by silly space suits – and Matt Damon had to make living in space look so hard. Basically the “astronomers” explore our astronomical copine and discover a small, easily killed, alien species. They are captured, kill the king, then take a prisoner back to Earth by… falling off of the moon…?
"Les Revenants (The Returned) is about several deceased residents of a small village in the mountains of France who reappear one day with no recollection of their deaths. The series deals with the subject of death and grief, but without overwhelming the viewer. The story of these characters is both terrible and wonderful, and left me feeling quite conflicted. A grief-stricken person may wish for their loved ones to return home, but what would they feel if that wish actually became reality?"
"Sky Ladder follows the journey of Chinese pyrotechnical artist Cai Guo-Qiang attempting to enact his most ambitious fireworks display of his life, even topping his orchestration of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony. The film wows you with flash and woos you with a touch of the personal."
"The most important feature of this documentary are the visuals. In many ways, climate change is a creeping disaster, one that’s effects are only slowly doled out over time and reveal themselves in ways that can anecdotally be explained away as a weird weather but, as the old adage goes, seeing is believing.
"This isn’t your typical Godzilla film, which tend to focus on destruction and monsters fighting. This Toho Pictures reboot (the 31st Godzilla film) puts the attention on a lower ranking government official who tries jumping through bureaucratic hoops while dealing with the monster. It was closer to The West Wing than a sci-fi film."
"The establishing of the relationship between Guido and Dora, their falling in love, and the exaggerated light-hearted comedy are strong factors and draw you into a false sense of security, much like the reality for many Jews at the time. This then stares you in the face as Guido attempts to shield his son from the horrors of the camp with his imagination."
"He struggles to maintain sanity while teaching comic book art at a local university and playing the fun-loving father of (adorable) twin girls. The movie gathers its laughs through dry humor, which often reminded me of some of the funnier notes from the Flight of the Conchords TV series."
Though it is briefly addressed in the beginning, it more deals with its tag; when does something go from being a toaster to a fully “fleshed” out being with thoughts, feelings, and what might be considered some kind of digital soul? We aren’t told exactly where it is but I’ve read that most of the film was shot in Norway and, holy cow, it’s gorgeous.
I feared may show too much realistic violence but the subject matter compelled to deal with it. After all, you don’t get to be high in the food chain of drug trafficking without spilling some blood. I’m talking about Pablo Escobar and other cartel jefes.
The spark that makes this South Korean adaptation of a Manga novel such a thrill is hard to pinpoint. Perhaps it’s simply that it’s a revenge thriller and a damn good one. Or perhaps it’s the cacophony of madness this horrifying masterpiece imprints on your brain.
"The other star is the film’s titular city. Bruges is quietly spectacular with its striking sculptures, picturesque canals and “fairy tale” like mist which looms over the city. Carter Burwell’s sweet and melancholic score all the more complements the beautiful scenery. There are only a few films that bring an immediate urge to visit a city and this is one of them."
" One has to assume that Belleville is the stand-in for New York, New York because the streets are populated with oversize buildings, oversize cars... with Chomet offering a bit of winking snarkiness to the international (and especially American) viewer."