Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Impossibility Nonexistent: An Exciting Action Movie Screenplay for the Next Decade!

Often in the world of cinema, an excellent screenplay will be known long before it even becomes a movie. Too often, however, innovative and engaging screenplays fail to get the proper attention simply because so many ideas get floated around. Impossibility Nonexistent is a screenplay for a film that definitely needs a lot more attention as it stands to become a very unique and thrilling movie.

Firstly, the core of the film revolves around a real-world element. Here, that element is represented by a line of products from Benigna Parfums. Because of that, the plot of Impossibility Nonexistent includes the same exquisite perfumes in its basic premise. This is how the screenplay presents itself:

"The plot revolves around a female protagonist on a mission to produce the most exquisite perfume ever created when the formula was stolen by the film's antagonist that took a new turn for what is truly entertaining and inspirational."

However, this is not the sole unique element that the film offers. It will also start a range of well-known but yet-to-be-revealed actors, as well as leading roles played by a female from a minority group. Everyone knows that modern Hollywood production suffers from a serious lack of diversity, but Impossibility Nonexistent is a different kind of screenplay that offers its key role to a group of people too often overlooked in mainstream cinema. Furthermore, the screenplay itself uses a range of topics and themes, all woven into the main plotline. This way, it will present an in-depth tale that shows the world to be more than the things that otherwise meet the eye.

If you love bold movies that are willing to roll the dice with their diversity, creativity, and uniqueness, follow Impossibility Nonexistent Instagram account. There, you'll be able to see how this screenplay takes shape and then becomes a one-of-a-kind movie!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Tenet (2020)

Pop culture is more and more saturated with all manner of influences from the video game industry. The main takeaway I have after watching Tenet, after a range of other negative impressions, is that even Christopher Nolan cannot escape that influence. I won’t reflect on the convoluted story, the whole sadly misguided and underdeveloped science fiction element, bland characters that are neither fully-formed nor interesting, or anything else from the failed narrative segment of the movie. Instead, I will only focus on the scenery and the setting of each part of the film.

If you took out the fact that this is a creation of one of the otherwise best big-budget filmmakers of the 21st century and simply said that this is the new Call of Duty game, the scenes wouldn’t change. First, you have a Slavic city opera siege level, followed by a training level which shows you how guns work, and a few short cinematic sequences. Then, the plot moves to an exciting Indian city skyscraper level, followed by a heist scene at a Norwegian airport. That is then intersected by several more small cinematic scenes, a car chase level, and a revisit of the airport level, now from a slightly different perspective, only to culminate in a massive battle at an abandoned construction site and a tense personal sequence on a yacht in Thailand. For me, besides this showcase of theoretically exciting but actually completely desolate generic scenes, the film offers absolutely nothing more. I think that even as a game, the Metacritic score for something like this would be 6.5.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Movie Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Often, great movies do present a powerful political message. However, when the whole point and purpose of a director/writer is to do just that, the results are often much less poignant. The trial of the Chicago 7 is the perfect example. Played by an incredible cast composed of excellent actors who went above and beyond to represent real people, the film still falls flat and renders itself irrelevant.  In my view, this is mainly due to the key man behind it - Aaron Sorkin.

Once more, Sorkin does what he does best - writing clickety-clack dialogs and making every individual segment of the film seem a bit too epic and historically relevant for my liking. It seems like he said to himself that he has to make a very impactful political piece of cinema. But that very obvious desire makes the film often shaky in connection to its very convoluted legal background (especially when it comes to the role of Bobby Seale and his plotline). Here, the film often shows some nodes of this complex legal case, but the connection between it and the implied tyrannical elements of the US government stays murky.  

However, a much bigger problem is the finalization of the whole story. It ends up as an ensemble collection of all manner of sappy “the good guys won in the end” courtroom drama cliches. It even features a slow-clap-people-rising scene, accompanied by a teary-eyed boy who just realized that his dad is a true hero. All that ends up on a level that would make Hallmark writers cringe. So, in other words, Sorkin needs to stop with this process of turning himself into Starbucks of smart-looking, but shallow and patronizing movies.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Two-paragraph Review: I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Now, Charlie Kaufman is a smart guy. He made some incredible movies that are definitely unlike almost any other movie out there. However, I'm Thinking of Ending Things is unfortunately not one of them. It's nowhere near bad or poorly-crafted, but that odd energy that inhabits all of the great Kaufman movies here actually ends up being a problem.

The start of the film perfectly showcases this issue. As the two characters chat on, mixed with the internal monologue of the main protagonists, the views get an insight into the rest of the film. Yes, they will strain to find meaning and connections, they will try to unravel the poetry and symbolism from long, pseudo-monologues. But, ultimately, they will decide against all of this because the movie simply does not connect on a more basic level. As that smart kid who always wanted everyone at school to see how smart he is, I bet that this movie also found out that you can be very intelligent and utterly dislikable at the same time.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: My Octopus Teacher (2020)

In a sea (pun intended) high-strung and flashy documentary movies and series, covering everything from, oh, I don't know, tiger wanglers and drug use, it's refreshing to see a topic that is anything but sensational. A friendship between a man and an octopus is definitely among these topics. Yet, with this premise, My Octopus Teacher managed to create an insightful, informative, and heartwarming (without approaching its audience as someone stupid) tale about a special relationship that bridges space and species.

In the documentary, a burned-out nature cinematographer dives into the shallow but enthralling waters off the tip of South Africa, only to find a particular octopus that truly becomes its teacher. Touching and impactful, the movie is a very interesting and introspective look not just at this fascinating species that might be more like us than we ever suspected. At the same time, it might be able to reveal more about us than we alone ever could.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Two-paragraph review: The Old Guard (2020)

I can see a pattern emerging in the way Netflix produces its high budget action movies. The Old Guard seems to be a perfect representation of this recipe. First of all, you need a famous lead, who is, in this case, the always solid Charlize Theron. Then you need a simple but engaging plot, which is here a story about a band of immortal warriors. You need a setting that suggests a lot of intrigue and geopolitical concepts behind someone hunting down those warriors in the present day, but which explores none of them. Finally, you need a lot of action, but none of it too much at any given time. Instead, it should be spaced out across the runtime of the film in neat chunks. Now shoot, edit, and there you go - you have your Netflix hit.

This film works in the same manner as The Extraction. Even with the fantasy element, it provides a similar viewing experience, where you emotionally barely connect with the characters, as well as their desires or needs. This goes for the plot itself, which might be predictable - still it is never becomes boring or stupid. What you end up with is a cookie-cutter action film that is neither good nor especially bad. If you took out the lead actress from the set-up, as well as a few other characters and one exotic shooting location, you'd have your run-of-the-mill SyFy film.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Greyhound (2020)

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably sick of Tom Hanks commandeering any kind of big vehicle. From boats to airplanes, Hanks was there. So, you can imagine I wasn’t too thrilled about the prospect of watching Grayhound, where he yet again takes control of a ship, this time in WW2 and the Atlantic ocean, as he protects a convoy from Nazi U-boats as a semi-trained first-time captain.

However, the sheer technical focus of the film is very refreshing. I’m clueless about what it was like to hunt subs with a destroyer but this movie paints a very good and dynamic picture, filled with a lot of old-school tech and people shouting orders about things I don’t get. The absence of any other element, besides a slow start and an unnecessary love interest of the aging Hanks, makes the 90-minute movie an ideal thing for all fans of war films who are otherwise more keen on watching a TV show than anything like this.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: The Assistant (2019)

Oddly enough, The Assistant reminded me of a film which is, on the surface, completely different. The movie in question is Das Weiße Band (The White Ribbon). Both movies in a way try to examine and explain what took place in the hearts and the minds of those who either witnessed or will witness (and participate) in numerous horrors. In this case, the focus is not the children who will grow up to invent and propagate Nazism, but a simple assistant, working for a Harvey Weinstein-like figure.

Played brilliantly by Julia Garner, the movie dives deep into the modern work environment which in this case only happens to fully facilitate a sexual predator. Through a range of mundane situations, we witness the pressures and the terrors this setup brings, along with a sad fact that even with these, the main character is just one more of the enablers. So, like the question for WW2 and "how could they do it", The Assistant also takes a long, uncomfortable look at how these people could do it as well. They could and very much did precisely that, just like you and I could.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Force of Nature (2020)

Everything about the movie Force of Nature looks cobbled together. From tired-looking and disengaged main actors, especially the abysmally tuned-out Emile Hirsch, to the lame placeholder script about a heist taking place in a run-down building in Puerto Rico during a hurricane. Of course, the runtime of the movie, which is only 90 minutes, actually morphs into something like 180 minutes of crappy action, mixed in with bland character development. The narration jumps from one group of villains or survivors and goes round and round through the film, never picking up speed or any kind of engagement with its protagonists.

The only bright spot of the film is Mel Gibson, who somehow remained awake during his parts and does give the movie a bit of energy where it otherwise has almost none. But, his presence is nowhere near enough to compensate for the gray puddle that is most of this film, even the conceptual parts like the object of the heist. Also, there was an incredible opportunity to mold the entire film into a glorious so-good-that-it’s-bad work of art, but that somehow failed as well. Force of Nature is not laughably bad. It’s just plain, old boring-bad.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Midsommar (2019)

If there's a highlight in this movie for me, it's the endless bickering it often showcases and which takes place often and among its different characters. Here, their animosity, hidden feelings, ambitions, cult secrets, and social missteps all come to the forefront in a weird and viscerally uncomfortable feeling. This covers everything in their lives from the moment when Dani and Christian, a university couple with a strained relationship, decide to go with their friends to Sweden and celebrate the summer solstice in an isolated commune.

However, as the main storyline of the film picks up speed - which is essentially the Wicker Man all over again - the movie loses this odd but definite edge it has. To make things worse, the ending itself is completely devoid of talking and focuses only on imagery. In theory, I can see how this should have been a huge, allegory of a deteriorating relationship, but the problem is that it took its sweet time getting there. For me, the same trippy experience exchanged bodily horror for some missed opportunities in domains of poetry and natural celebrations. And that won't do at all. After all, nature hates wasting time - just look at the mayflies.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Film Review: Nada - A Story About Hope (2020)

The movie Nada - A Story of Hope, which "nada" directly translates to "hope" from Bosnian (and most other Ex-Yugoslav languages) starts off with a poem. It's a simple poem about a street, while at the same time the frame showcases an image of a town that could be anywhere in the Balkans. Some old house roofs, a mosque minaret, and cheap residential buildings in the bare concrete, long pass their socialistic hay day. Above them, calm blue skies. All seems peaceful as the poem unravels, almost outside of any present space-time continuous.

Then, the story kicks in in a moment, showing the residents of the same town. They try to get by while they go to work, drink with their lowlife friends, or scramble to get their first job. One of them is Damir, an ordinary teen looking to do the same for his life. However, the brutal and bleak reality of modern Bosnian life, now well in its third post-war decade, is still a harsh and grinding reality. For Damir, this means a violent pull into the world of petty but relentless crime, personified in Kiki, a local street thug with driving ambition.

There's a smoothness in the way Dino Longo Sabanovic, who wrote and directed the film, showcases Damir's story. Using a lot from both natural settings and (I'm guessing) local and amateur actors, he creates a piece of art that easily communicates on a very emotional basis. For example, sequences where Kiki leads Damir and the rest of the gang to a derelict tavern after a job includes a very interesting process of applying two soundtracks. One is the atmospheric music in the actual club and the other is a classical piano tune taking place over it. All the while, the ramblings of Kiki are heard as well as his deal to sell the stolen goods goes down.
In theory, none of this should work, but it blends seamlessly in a form of outer manifestation of what is to be Damir. Yes, you can get high, you can get drunk or even feel euphoric, but you’re still trapped and wedged between all the wrong, humiliating and even tragically final choices you can make. Yet, throughout the film, you see glimmers of hope, just like its name says - from the serene nature that surrounds the town to the images of Josip Broz Tito, which is presented almost like a divine figure or long-lost saint and finally, in the character of Merima.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Extraction (2020)

Even with the massive success of Extraction, I still have mainly one takeaway from the movie and it's not a rational idea, but a feeling. The movie, for the lack of a better word, feels tiresome to me. Yes, it's action-packed and the story tries to do what it can with a pretty limited setup - it's about Tyler, an Australian mercenary entering the city of Dhaka to extract a boy named Ovi Mahajan Jr. As the son of an Indian drug lord, he was kidnapped by a rival gang in Bangladesh. It's up to Tyler to save Ovi once his mission goes seriously wrong.

If anything, the movie showcases the potential of the modern Indian and Bangladeshi film industry outside of their regular genres. However, the film itself is based on Chris Hemsworth as Tyler killing people at close and sometimes medium range. Sadly, that one-trick pony gets used up quickly. At the half-point mark, all this killing becomes exceedingly tiresome and tedious, while the film as a whole never recovers from being a FPS live-action footage someone else is playing. Extraction is the biggest film Netflix made and overall, a watchable action, but it will still most likely leave you tired once it ends.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Arkansas (2020)

Back in 2009, John Brandon wrote one mean novel - I know that even though I read only the first chapter. It tells a simple story of two drug-runners who get to live in a park, fronting as rangers and working for a mid-ranking criminal who is connected to what is loosely known as Dixie Mafia. In the run-down South, the two of them, played by Liam Hemsworth and Clark Duke (who also directed and co-wrote or adapted the script) settle into the life of career crime and anonymity, while a massive calamity is slowly rolling toward them unseen.

In essence, a neo-noir that meets Southern Gothic, the movie is one hell of a start to Duke’s directing career. It’s somewhat of a dreamy mess at points, but still, one unique movie where the humor and seriousness blend in a nice world of its own that Duke builds. Yes, there are many odd moments that might not work, similar to, for example, Cold in July, but as a whole, the film still has that crucial breath of fresh air it exhales from start to finish. A big help in that is both John Malkovich and Vince Vaughn. Vaughn, in particular, has a good showing, offering probably the best character since Brawl in Cell Block 99 (and a chattier one). So, Duke got something here, just like Arkansas. Keep an eye out for both.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Pain and Glory/Dolor y gloria (2019)

There’s no need to underline the level of skill and artistic sensibility that Pedro Almodóvar brings to his works. Yet, like all great artists, he is anything but a one-trick pony. Pain and Glory or Dolor y gloria in original is a fantastic drama that tries to do the impossible and examine the life of a single individual, from its start to the (nearly) end. The subject is Salvador, a lonesome and hurting movie director who tries to come to peace with his conflicting experiences while living in Madrid.

Played masterfully by Antonio Banderas, Salvador is a genius, but also a human being, burdened by his mistakes and the choices he made. In a tale that encompasses many other in-movie stories of both theatre and cinema, Almodóvar tells this personal epic as a mirror reflection of performances and the way they add and/or detract from the unknowable source material. Through a lot of pain and glory, beauty is born and it shines a special kind of light on the most ordinary of moments. As it does, the audience slowly comes to a sobering but also empowering conclusion: we’re all Salvador, each in our tiny yet infinite universe of memories, experiences and undying hopes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Movie Review: 1917 (2019)

There's no need to compliment Sam Mendes and his amazing cinematography. While he might be in the public consciousness mainly thanks to Skyfall and Spectre, in my mind, he's still the man who made history come alive as a present contemporary movie in American Beauty. In 1917, he again showcased his ability to compress small into big and vice versa, showing individuals' lives as a representation of the wider, bigger and the more unknown collective experience.

Also, as a clear work of passion, it is hard not to compare the film with Dunkirk, another unusual war movie from a brilliant director. Yet, while Nolan's work leaves that sense of trying to be something much grander while forcing itself to stay (not completely successfully) grounded in real people, 1917 is all about the people it features.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Short Film Showcase: Fallin' - The Official Movie

Out of all the numerous evils in the world, it is easy to understand why so many feel that domestic violence is an especially heinous one. The idea of someone turning a home - which should be a place where family members feel loved and safe - into one of danger, humiliation and pain is truly terrible. What makes it even worse is that it often takes place all around us, hidden (or barely hidden) behind closed doors and dark sunglasses.

Fallin' is a short film that explores precisely this dark but very important topic. It was directed by Romel Moralez of the Moralez Motion Pictures and from the first moment, it starts to build its tension. Like domestic abuse, it takes place in a seemingly ordinary home where a woman is frantically packing her belongings, all the while keeping a gun close to her. She is interrupted by the doorbell, which begins a cascade of disturbing and ever more serious events. With a run time of just four minutes, the movie is blunt and even shocking in its portrayal of domestic abuse and its potential bloody resolution.

As a showcase of a horrible process that is happening around the world, including many developed nations like the US (where the film takes place), Fallin' shows the reality of domestic abuse. This reality is not pleasant to watch or even think about, which is why movies like this are so important as a means of raising awareness of the problem. With the work of Moralez and other artists who cover domestic abuse, the possibility of things actually changing for the better will slowly take shape in everyday life. Watch the entire film right here:

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Jojo Rabbit (2019)

The thing about Jojo Rabbit is the fact that it is basically Life Is Beautiful made for the Age of Instagram. Yes, it seeks to present the same emotional punches (aiming often right for the gut of the viewer) but has no time for a process of buildup or gradual racking up of tension. Instead, it skips a few beats and immediately delivers the viewers to the end stage of WW2 where a small German town is about to be liberated but both the Russians and the Americans. There, a small boy has an imaginary friend called Adolf Hitler and a real future friend hiding in his attic.

Now, while Taika Waititi is clearly talented and driven, his sensibility remains that of a sketch-maker. The movie from the start to the finish, including its attempt at a cathartic ending, remains broken down into chunks that mainly barely work together. This is best seen in the endless and not so clever Gestapo sequence. Lastly, while Waititi is funny, the movie is still missing its Roberto Benigni and it's unrealistic to expect that the young Roman Griffin Davis in his main role does the same. Because of that, the movie remains somewhat entertaining, but not particularly enlightening about the human condition in one of its darkest hours.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Indie Showcase: Home With a View of the Monster (2020)

There is an endless pool of inspiration when it comes to horror movies. While most prefer to use cliche stories that have been seen a thousand times, others go for more unique concepts. Here, the most audacious try to find that uniqueness but also to connect it with something mundane and universally-known thing that is not often seen in a horror light. In the case of Home With a View of the Monster that concept is the idea of services like AirBnB and other home rental options. Here is how the movie describes itself:

Needing a major life change in order to save their rocky marriage, a young couple (Dennis and Rita) decide to place their secluded lake house on a vacation rental app. When the couple returns home early, they find that their current tenant (Kate) has disappeared, leaving only their belongings as well as cryptic and increasingly eerie clues. Dennis and Rita have few clues as to where Kate could have gone. That is until Kate’s boyfriend (Chance) mysteriously shows up not only terrified of the events that he had experienced in the house, but with a warning of what is to unfold next. Joining together the haunted house genre with the world of vacation rentals, Home with a View of the Monster provides a gripping glimpse into the lives of individuals who are each as haunted as their surroundings. This genre blending, psychological thriller takes you on a wild ride, full of unsuspecting turns that all lead to the monster at the end.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Two-Paragraph Review: Bloodline (2018)

If you grew up with movies in the 1990s, chances are that even today, you're rooting for Seann William Scott. After all, he's talented, entertaining and someone who didn't really have a whole lot of good luck in his career. Yet, movies like Bloodline show how big of an injustice that was - thought this serial killer thriller/drama, Scott paints a completely believable and understandable monster. His character is caring high school counselor by day, but by night, he’s a murdering avenger of downtrodden kids (like the kid he had been years before).

While this directorial debut from Henry Jacobson has some flaws - especially in terms of how it treats and manages other characters - Scott carries it through. This presents once again the gigantic Holywood injustice that was brought upon this actor, either by malice and design or by stupidity and indifference. Hopefully, Bloodline will help Scott get into more smaller but well-made films and right the decades-long wrong that has beset him. He very clearly deserves it and has the talent and drive to work on a wide range of different genres and film types.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Film Review: The Irishman (2019)

Recently, I got a chance to check out a list by where the author examines the list of 2020 Oscar nominations based on how good and “woke” they are. Now, it’s an interesting read even though unlike some Canadian professors, I don’t think that the PC culture is the world’s biggest problems, as for example, not many koalas are on fire right now because of it (in my simpleton mind) Yet, one thing caught my eye the most. The article states for the movie the Irishman:

“Producers behind the movie tried to win over politically correct social media mobs before the flick’s release by talking up the story’s supposed takedown of “toxic masculinity."

Now, this is art, so we’re by default all correct in our views about practically anything related to it. However, the entire approach of the movie was something completely different to me. No, I didn’t see The Casino or Goodfellas as laden with toxic masculinity - even though, yes, there is a quote from one of the producers of The Irishman saying this.